Thursday, 30 July 2015

Amber Teething Necklace - Worth It? | Review

I put a lot of research into the amber teething necklace before I actually bought one.
When Thomas was a baby we would resort to the teething granules, Dentinox and the good old Bongela, we never went very far without a bit of Bongela while Tom was teething!

I always just assumed that the teething necklaces were a 'hippie' fad and that it would maybe be a placebo? Not to mention the fact that it was a necklace.. I mean, who puts a necklace on a baby?

Well... me apparently! After having Ewan and knowing what a little handful he could be (to put it mildly) I knew I was going to need all the help I could get when it came to teething.

But what if it strangles my child? What if a piece falls off and he chokes on it? Just some of the questions I asked myself.
The necklace is baltic amber which are meant to be worn up against babies skin, they contain a natural pain reliever and anti inflammatory, called succinic acid.
It works well on babies and toddlers as it has a calming effect along with easing the pain of teething.

The beads on the necklace are all individually knotted so if it does break (which if pulled too tightly it is made to break) it wont scatter beads everywhere for your baby to pick up.

It is recommended that your child does not wear them through out the night. For the first few months we would wrap the necklace around Ewans ankle, though most often he would wake up with it fallen off, now he just wears it around his neck and it doesn't get taken off.

Do I think they work?

Absolutely! Ewan has been wearing his since his first tooth came through at 5 months.
I took it off for about a week once as I thought it probably wasn't really doing much, let me say that week was hell for us, the child did not sleep, until I just thought 'I wonder if I put the necklace back on, will he settle?' YEP! First night it was back on he slept right through no problem, no dribbling, no winging, teeth just pop up like its 'magic' - if it is a 'placebo' (which I don't see how it can be on a baby) as long as it works and Ewan is happy and content, that's what matters to me.

So there you have it, my thoughts and opinions on the Baltic Amber Teething Necklace,
What are your thoughts on them? Have you used them on your children? I would love to know.

Thanks for reading

Anna xx

Friday, 24 July 2015

Caesarean Section - The Easy Way Out?

I have wondered whether to write this post or not, I never got to do the natural birth, much to my contempt, both of my children were born by Caesarean section.
But there seems to be a stigma going around that having a C-section is the 'easy way out' when it comes to giving birth. Are they right? Does it make me less of a woman?

When I got pregnant with Thomas I always wanted the 'perfect' birth, I wanted the water birth with no medication, the immediate skin to skin and to be able to go home that very same day.
Unfortunately, that idea was pretty quickly snuffed out by the consultants.
See here forThomas and Ewans birth stories to get more of an idea of why.

Instead I was left feeling like someone had cut me open, reached inside my stomach and rummaged around in there for a bit, taken a few bits out and then sewed me back up again - oh wait.. yeah that did happen.
As much as it sounds relatively easy, I mean, all you have to do is lie there whilst completely numb right? It is still classed as major abdominal surgery and the recovery is really tough, not to mention the newborn baby who now solely relies on you for everything, you barely have the muscle strength to lift your child, let alone anything else.
For the first week you are walking around feeling like your insides might drop out. You ache all of the time, just getting up the stairs is a task in itself.
I was one of the lucky ones, my body is pretty good at recovering quickly, but your body needs at least 3 months for you to start feeling like you have fully recovered.

Those are just some of the things you have to deal with when you have had a caesarean birth, don't get me wrong, I have no doubt that having a natural birth is no walk in the park, but does that invalidate caesarean Mothers, and why?

When I had the kids, all too often I got told, "oh lucky you, not having to push" "you don't know how hard it is having to push naturally like I did" "lucky you got to sleep through it all"
Those are just some of the comments I got, and after having Ewan especially, those comments hurt, so much so I would leave the room and cry about it.

So to anyone thinking that Caesarean Section might be the easy way out, think again, and to anyone thinking of having an elective Caesarean, be warned.. It's not as easy as you are lead to believe!

Let me know what you think, are caesareans really as easy as they're made out to be?

Thanks for reading,

Anna xx

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Ewans Caesarean Section Birth Story

I have had two very different experiences when it comes to having a caesarean birth, Thomas' experience was really quite straight forward in terms of the birth, and I have always spoken about it as being a very positive, happy experience for both Matt and I.
A few months after having Tom, I went for an MRI scan to find out why the doctors had such a hard time trying to get a spinal block into my spine and to get answers in the event that I would have another caesarean and to be better prepared. What they found was that my spine was beginning to fuse together at the bottom - no wonder it was nearly impossible!

When I fell pregnant with Ewan, it was pretty much a done deal that I would be having another caesarean, and this time it would be planned to perfection, with doctors visits galore, trips to see anaesthetic consultants where I would express my fears of being put under general anaesthetic, I speak briefly about this in my birth story with Thomas. In short I have a sensitivity to general anaesthetic. Plenty of ultrasounds, midwife appointments, both at the hospital and the Doctors surgery, you name it.
 Though through out all of this I still felt a fear about the birth, 'what if they can't get the needle in? What if they put me to sleep and can't wake me back up again?' I think even a woman giving birth naturally has this fear right in the back of their head of 'what if I die?' That sounds drastic doesn't it but it's going into the unknown, it scares us. Except this time I did know, I knew that this was going to be a challenge for all involved.

Ewan was due to come the day before I turned 38 weeks to make sure that I didn't go into labour on my own again. The day came and Matt and I set off for the hospital bright and early. It was a new experience being a planned caesarean, the whole thing was very surreal. We were basically made to sit and wait our 'turn' with all of the other couples due to go in that same day.

I had a quick check up and a talk with an anaesthetist who I had never met before and who seemed to know nothing about my condition or my history, in fact I seem to remember her saying she didn't have my notes with her. My heart was filled with so much dread at that point, I had to go through everything that I had previously told the consultants, but everything I was saying just seemed like it was going over her head, I don't know why. I came out of that room feeling sick and I remember turning to Matt and just saying 'I'm going to be put to sleep' I think he knew it too.

It was my 'turn' to go and have a baby, so I got ready and left Matt in the waiting room for when I would hopefully be all numbed up and ready to have a baby. I sat down on the bed to get the cannula put in my hand by the anaesthetist, they had a hard time getting it in, after about 6 attempts from numerous people, they managed to get one into my hand using an ultrasound machine. You can imagine how much confidence that filled me with?...

It came to putting the epidural in, I was scrunched up over a cushion on the bed, desperately trying not to move while being watched by a load of nurses sat in the corner just waiting for it to be over with, eventually one nurse came over to hold my hand and give me encouragement. I had three failed attempts at getting the epidural in, finally they manage to get it in, after being extremely uncomfortable and a massive amount of pressure on my spine, they laid me down and waited for the epidural to work, nothing was happening.. so they kept on upping the dose, I could feel my left side going numb, but nothing was happening on the right side.
Still they kept upping the dose and I still wasn't numb. This all made me go extremely dizzy and light headed, I felt sick and thought I was going to pass out, my blood pressure had dropped dangerously low and before I knew it all I heard was 'Anna we are going to put you under' all I could think was 'somebody please tell Matt!' and I remember saying the 'last time I was given a general anaesthetic they couldn't wake me up' they told me they would do everything they could, and the gas mask was put over my face, I was out...

Obviously while I was asleep I don't fully know what went on for Matt, but I know it wasn't easy for him, he was sat there on his own not knowing what was going to happen to either me or Ewan, he also had to deal with my Mum on the phone having a break down of her own, knowing what happened the last time I was put under and fretting that she wasn't there.

They got Ewan out very quickly as far as I'm aware and he was born at 12.42 in the afternoon weighing 6lb 14oz. Matt got to see him about half an hour after he was born, he walked into the room where he saw Ewan in the corner screaming his little heart out. Both Matt and I hate the thought of Ewan spending the first half hour of his life feeling scared and alone.

It took the anaesthetists longer than they thought to wake me up, I woke up at about 2.30 in the afternoon and I remember just bursting into tears feeling a mixture of emotions, relief that I was awake and that both my husband and my new born son were stood there waiting for me, but also the sadness that I had missed it all, and the feeling of panic still remained from when I was being put under. I still remember the feeling like it was yesterday and I think I always will.
I had trouble breathing for the first few hours, but other than that I was doing well and so was Ewan and I'm so thankful for that.

The birth experience I had with Ewan was completely different to what I had with Thomas, but I am so thankful that they both got here safe and sound, for that I will never be able to thank those doctors enough.. For now though it is still quite upsetting to think about Ewans birth and the fact that I will never have been there to witness the first few hours of his life, even a year on it still feels very raw for me,

Did you have a caesarean? Did you have to be put to sleep? What was your experience? I'd love to know.

I talk more about my experiences after the birth here Caesarean Section - The easy way out?

But for now, thanks for reading.

Anna xx

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Thomas' Caesarean Section Birth Story

I had a caesarean with both of my children, but let me tell you, their births were completely different experiences, I was going to talk about both my children's deliveries in one post, but it turns out I have a lot to say! - So here is Thomas' birth story.

Let me just give you a quick back track of my history when it comes to pregnancy and child birth. I have numerous medical conditions which are far too complex to go into on a blog post, but one of those things was having a Unicornuate uterus (now I didn't, nor did the doctors know about this) but it meant that from about 25 weeks onwards of pregnancy, Tom remained breach. Being under a consultants care through out the pregnancy, they looked after me really well, I couldn't have asked for more. The deal was that we would wait and see how the pregnancy was progressing as to whether it would be a natural birth or a caesarean.

One week before Thomas arrived, I had a scan to tell me that he was still very much head up and was told that 'it was natures way of telling us something' and that he didn't want to try and turn him (he would be right, having not known about my uterus at this point) So we scheduled for a C- section two weeks from then.
Thomas actually had other ideas and came a week before I was scheduled to go in, the night before he was born I suffered with some server back ache and the next morning something just wasn't 'right'. Matt had noticed that I was being a little odd, so had told my Mum to go over and check up on how I was doing.
That morning I actually went to the doctors office to get blood drawn for the week ahead.
I sat in the waiting room with pains coming every few minutes that would literally have me with my head between my knees holding onto my stomach (can I just say, no one batted an eyelid at this) lol!
I managed to drive home where I was met by my mother who could clearly tell I was uncomfortable.
I thought this would all blow assuming that it was 'probably just braxton hicks' and even asked her if she wanted to take a trip out to the shops! She quickly told me I was nuts and took matters into her own hands and called my in - laws to be driven to the hospital where I was checked, I was two cm dilated and having contractions, poor Matt who was supposed to be having a job interview rushed to the hospital and I was rushed in for an emergency in caesarean.

My previous history with anaesthetics is not a great one (long story short, it would lead to eight hours of trying to be woken up and a collapsed lung) so only under extreme circumstances was I to be put to sleep, I had the hospitals senior anaesthetic consultant and the maternity wards anaesthetic consultant, lets just say it was a big deal shall we?

The doctors  were amazing through the whole process, they had a problem getting a spinal block into my spine, In the end I was given an epidural (which took the best part of two hours) but I felt well looked after, very calm and actually having fun listening to the radio and laughing with them.
The actual delivery of Thomas went very well, very smoothly, Matt got to be by my side through the whole thing and Tom was born at 4.36 in the afternoon, weighing 7lb 3oz, we got to be with him almost straight after he was born and were both doing really well.

The after care left a little to be desired, I had little to no help and having the disabilities I do, I needed a little.
I remember one instance as I was bottle feeding, I politely asked the midwife if I could have a bottle for Thomas, and was told 'go and get it yourself' I can understand they are under staffed there, but I could barely move from my bed to the chair (and I was one of the active ones!) Luckily Matt and my Mum took it in turns to be with me for help and support, and we got to go home 48 hours after the birth.

I have a post where I talk a little more about my recovery from the caesarean in Caesarean Section - The easy way out?
and you can hear about Ewans birth story here.
Let me know if you had to have a caesarean, what was your experience? I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading,

Anna xx

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Should I Have Daughter Envy?

When I was a little girl, I always had it set in my mind that I would have One daughter and One son. In my family there was always the elder sister and the younger brother, that's how it worked, it was always one of each (or in my Mums case, two of each)
However, when I fell pregnant with Tom, I just KNEW he was a boy, right the way through the pregnancy, and actually, I was OK with that. I just thought 'well the next one will probably be a girl then, and we will have one of each' always having that 'fear' if you want to call it that, that there was probably no daughter in my future. Seeing my Mother In Law with 3 sons I knew that was a very real possibility.
My pregnancy with Ewan was so different to the pregnancy I had with Tom, in almost every aspect. So naturally I thought 'this is a girl, I just know it!' You can imagine my surprise when the ultrasound tech told me that we were having another bouncing baby boy.
Imagine coming out of that room, just having seen your precious unborn child, perfectly healthy, nothing to worry about, and feeling... sad... That's how I felt, It was like I was mourning this imaginary little girl that had never existed, and that made me feel like the most awful Mother on the earth.
It took me weeks to finally get my head around the fact that I would probably never have a daughter, for me it wasn't about being able to buy the cute dresses and the pink outfits. It was that Mother, Daughter bond, the friendship that I was never going to experience.
I had it always in my head this saying that my Mum had said to me years back, "Your daughter is a daughter for life, your Son is a Son until he takes a wife" That saying still haunts me to this day because I have seen so many experiences where it rings true, and I definitely don't want to be that awful controlling Mother In Law!

Ewan has just turned One year old, and already I get the question, 'so are you going to try for a girl then?' As though just leaving it at two boys would be some sort of tragic imbalance that needs to be corrected. But the truth is, I think this girl is shutting up shop, so yes, two boys it is!

The past few months I have really been embracing my two boys for the amazing little people that they are, and finding the positives of being a Mum of Sons.
For instance, I will never have to put up with the drama and 'cattiness' of girls, boys tend to just get on with it and sort it between themselves, there is also the fact that they are (somewhat) safer, I'm sure I will always worry about them, but I think that worry would most certainly be amplified had they been girls.
All in all, I feel ready to take on the challenge of raising my two beautiful boys and turning them into respectful gentlemen, who will be suitably ready for the big wide world, when the time comes.

Anna xx

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

50 Things That Make Me Happy

I was tagged by the lovely Rebecca from Percy and Grace to do the '50 things that make me happy' It is so important to remember the little things in every day life that make you happy, So I really enjoyed this, here are my 50 things that make me happy..

1. My children Of course this is a given, they are my kids and I love them unconditionally, they make me happy every day 
2. Matt again, a given, he's my husband and if he didn't make me happy he probably wouldn't be doing his job properly! lol
3. Family Being with the family, whether it's just our little foursome, or my parents, or dare I say it, the in laws..  
4. When the sun shines Everything is better when the sun shines!
5. Family days out We only get one day a week together as a family, so it's important to me to spend those days having quality time as a family, having fun out and about.
6. My home I love my home, it is small but perfect, not to mention the view!
7. Driving with the music on full blast I'm not sure there are many people who don't love doing this..
8. Having a good hair day My hair can be pretty wild and curly, so to tame that frizz is a great feat for me!
9. Giving the house a good clean with music on full blast Now I usually hate cleaning, but give me an empty house with a bit of Queen and I'm well away.
10. Watching the kids play together Well if they can entertain each other without me having to intervene, what's not to love?
11. Sunday roast Now I don't mean to toot my own horn - but I cook a mean roast..
12. Cooking for people I do like to show off those culinary skills sometimes!
13. BBQs Getting the family or friends round for a sausage and a cider on a summers day, brill.
14. My bed It's always there for comfort.. when you can get to it!
15. Chinese food Is it me or is this post becoming very food oriented? 
16. Shopping Much to Matts dismay.
17. Next Home Everything is so pretty in there and I want it all!
18. When the kids make each other laugh 9 times out of 10 they are just laughing at each other laughing.. I love it!
19. Being sat outside with a cuppa I do love watching the world drift by with a brew outside.
20. Cozying under a blanket watching a movie with Matt That feeling of being all snug and safe with the one you love!
21. Watching old footage of the kids This one breaks my heart a little and makes me happy at the same time.
22. Summer evenings spent outside watching the sun go down If you were to ever visit this place, you would see how calm and tranquil it is, so to be sat outside wrapped up with a warm drink watching the sunset is bliss to me.
23. Eastenders I can't help it, it's an addiction! 
24. Seeing the kids learn something new for the first time I love the look on their little faces when they have just figured out something new, excitement, accomplishment and determination all rolled into one.
25. Christmas!! Everything about it! Matt calls me Mrs Christmas.
26. Getting the time to paint As you can imagine with two young kids, this doesn't happen often these days..(unless you count poster painting with Tom) but if I get the chance it is one of the most relaxing things to do.
27. Buying clothes and makeup getting to pamper myself is quite rare, so when it happens I take full advantage.
28. Buying the kids clothes Just about every time I go out, i'm on the look out, can't help myself, god knows how bad I would be if they were girls! lol
29. Billy Connolly / Lee Evans I love a good comedian, those two are my favourites.
30. The excitement setting off for a holiday I probably get this one off my mum, we used to get up at the crack of dawn for a holiday and make the whole thing as exciting a possible, proper little adventure, so I still do it now, Matt thinks I'm nuts.
31. Being by the sea Living where we live, we are probably as far away from the sea as you can get, but I love it and hope to one day maybe live by the sea (can only dream)
32. Visiting Cornwall My favourite FAVOURITE place, have been going every year since I was very small, If we havn't been to Cornwall at least once that year, something is very wrong!
33. Having an organised house Well who likes a chaotic house? Granted that's what I live with the majority of the time, but for the small amount of time it is organised.. it is very pleasing...
34. Wearing clothes I feel good in There aren't many of these so it's always a good day when I'm wearing something I can be confident in.
35. Vlogging and Blogging This not only has made me lots of new friends and lovely people to chat to, but it is my little outlet to just be 'Anna' for a bit.
36. My fur baby Bosco Bosco is our doggy, he's now 5 years old and he's just so lovely, gentle, loving and well behaved (most of the time)
37. Spending time with my sister You know those people who just 'get' you, well for me that's my sister. She is at Uni in Newcastle right now, so I miss her lots!
38. Date nights Matt and I don't get very many of these, but we have figured now that when someone offers to have the kids, take it! It is so lovely to get out and be a couple again for a few hours.
39. Seeing friends We don't see our friends as much as we would like to, so when we do it's great!
40. Going through old photos I love doing this, especially the really old baby photos of myself and family.
41. Spending hours watching comedies like friends & scrubs with Matt We do love a feel good comedy, if ever one of us is feeling down, on go friends or scrubs to make us smile.
42. Getting cuddles from the kids. Especially without having to even ask!
43. Getting to hear from my brother I don't get to hear from him nearly as much as I would like, he is working as a chef in Honk Kong, before that it was London and after that it will be Copenhagen. So for his Nephews to get to speak to him makes me really happy!
44. Hearing music I love whether it be old or new.
45. Seeing Ewans smile just for Mummy That boy has a cheeky little smile saved just for me and I love it!
46. Seeing Tom excited I love seeing his little face getting excited about something or other (it's usually dragons lately)
47. Painting something and being incredibly pleased with the outcome again, this doesn't happen as much as I would like, in fact it has been years. But that feeling of accomplishment when you get a painting just the way you wanted is amazing.
48. Making others happy A selfless act in making someone else happy, makes me happy, so maybe it's not selfless at all?
49. Fresh bedding You can't beat a freshly made bed.
50. Making new friends This definitely makes me happy, being the shy awkward person that I am, it doesn't happen that often, which is why I love youtube and blogging :)

Well I hope you enjoyed reading that, if you got to the bottom! Hopefully it gave you a small insight to my world, thank you again to Rebecca for the Tag!

Anna x

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Going From One To Two children

I have noticed lately a lot of posts about having a second child, when is the best time? what is the best age gap? All these different things to consider, and I don't know if it's the Royal baby arriving, or Ewans first Birthday coming up, but I have been thinking a lot about how those first few months went, going from one to two children, so I thought I would share my personal experience.

When I found out that I was expecting Ewan, it was a month before Toms second birthday. I always had it in my head that I wanted my children to have the same age gap as my brother and I, that and the fact that my body needed to be relatively young to carry a child safely, so I knew they would be relatively close in age (they are 2 years and 7 months apart).
Being pregnant with a toddler is not a walk in the park, Tom was always a very easy going baby, eat, sleep, play. Just a joy to be with, but he hit his gross motor skill milestones relatively quickly, so from 7 months we were on the go with him none stop, we knew that this was going to be one toddler that didn't like to sit still for long!
So let's just say that in that first trimester, there wasn't a lot of time to rest and let my body sleep because I was busy chasing a toddler about, I sailed through the second trimester relatively easily (apart from the sciatica, oh and the SPD) the third trimester was tough.. I would tell you more but I fear I have a mental block on those last 3 months!!

Anyway, Ewan arrived Via C-section, which didn't go straight forward, but I'll save that for another blog post, I was in a state of euphoria that my baby had gotten here safe and sound and we were both doing well. Right from the word go, Ewan let us know that he was a kid that knew what he wanted, and what he wanted was Mummy... literally.. none stop, I think I had text Matt that night telling him that he was going to be a little diva, and sure enough he was!
Don't get me wrong, I always wanted a 'cuddly' baby, that was one thing Tom never was, but my god I wish those two had been the other way around, as I felt constantly stuck to the sofa with a sleeping baby on me, unable to play with my eldest who desperately needed some attention.
Those first couple of weeks, Tom found extremely tough I think, Ewan was taking up so much of my time and energy, I was trying to establish breast feeding, which wasn't going great due to Ewan having a tongue tie, So I was pumping my milk 8 times a day so that I had enough for every feed, it felt like I was spending all of my time feeding! Ewan also suffered with very bad acid reflux, and eventually was prescribed ranitidine, which was a god send! But before that happened, we were dealing with a screaming baby every evening for hours on end, I was physically and mentally drained, thank god Matt was home with me for 3 weeks, he would try and spend as much time with Tom as he could, whilst I tried to bond with Ewan. I felt myself almost detach from Tom in a way, I would cry about it a lot to Matt, feeling guilty that I couldn't split myself in two for them both, I would say that was the main feeling I had in those first months, guilt, guilt for not being there completely for both of my kids. Of course things settled down when Ewan turned around 4 months old, he was like a new baby, smiling, laughing, just generally being a happy baby, which of course makes everything just seem worth while. Tom came round to the idea of another little person being part of our family too and the both of them adore each other now (not without a little sibling rivalry though).

So believe it or not, this is the short version! I have rambled plenty I'm sure, for me, going from one to two children was harder than going from zero to one! Both my children are complete opposites which threw me through a loop. Don't get me wrong, there are aspects that are so much easier about having a second child, you are much more laid back about things, and you feel more confident in your parenting decisions,

So when deciding when is the best time to have another.. I would say to just go with that gut feeling, whatever time you choose, there will always be things about it that were right or wrong, so there's never really a right time, just the same as there's never really a right time to have your first.

Let me know your experiences at going from one to two children (if you have done it yet) I'm sure everyone has vastly different experiences.