the-retreat_main

Me & Mine | Me and my shadow.

10354424_1445531739032264_1204573939_n

This is me and my shadow. My darling boy.

We were walking back from an afternoon at the local park. Eli was obsessed with the big boat, that is on springs, kind of bouncy-see-saw-thing. It doesn’t do an awful lot, but it definitely captured Eli’s imagination.

MM.

 

the-retreat_main

Mr Eli turns ONE!

563897_780619827218_118421543_n

 

This was us, a little after 9:43pm on Monday 6th August 2012. I cannot believe our beautiful baby boy is now ONE! This year has just flown by. Mr Eli has been so so brave throughout all the challenges he’s faced – he’s the happiest little boy, with the cheekiest grin!

To celebrate his birthday yesterday, the three us of took a trip to Colchester Zoo. It was just brilliant. We had the BEST day! Colchester Zoo is just 45 minutes away from where we live; and after a recent trip to a farm we knew animals BIG animals would go down a treat with the birthday boy! He loved seeing the elephants, zebra’s, rhino’s and of course, all of the different types of tortoises! Can’t lie, OH and I enjoyed it thoroughly too. We made lots of “woah” and “ahh” noises throughout the day.

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 12.48.32

Just a perfect way to spend the day reminiscing over Eli’s first year on the planet and how this bundle of joy has grown into such a handsome chap.

Happy very FIRST birthday Mr Eli. You’re our absolute world and we love you more than anything.

xxx

 

the-retreat_main

Mr Eli has Talipes…What happened next?

Just hours after Eli was born, 6th August 2012.

It’s just dawned on me that I have failed to write about Eli’s Talipes! I did blog about it when I was pregnant as it was found when I was having additional scans at UCLH, you can see the original post here: Hospital Update: Baby Boy bump has (mild) Bilateral Talipes. And I mentioned it in the 4 week update I did, here: An Eli Update: 4 Weeks Young. But I haven’t updated my blog with the developments since…

So from the top, it was found during an additional scan at UCLH that ‘baby boy bump’ had mild Bilateral Talipes. As the weeks progressed and I got bigger,  it meant that ‘baby boy bump’ got more and more squashed up inside me. This was the cause for Eli’s Talipes; it’s “positional” due to him literally being too big for me!

As you can see, from the first picture above (taken just a few hours after Eli was born), the Talipes looks really mild. But it turns out Eli was quite lethargic after my traumatic labour and birth. It wasn’t until he was home that we noticed how much he pulled his feet inwards (picture below).

This photo looks distorted, must have been a strange angle! Eli is 4 days old.

We were seen by a Paediatrician just before we left Broomfield Hospital and we were told that Eli would need his hips X-rayed and of course, Physio. I was told to expect both appointments within a few weeks.

After 3 weeks, I spoke to my Health Visitor who advised to wait one more week and then chase. I chased and chased and chased. I was pushed from pillar to post between departments. I couldn’t believe how badly organised everything was. (Hence why I haven’t actually written about this until now!). It was an absolute shambles. I finally received an appointment for Eli to have his hips scanned when he was 7 weeks old. During the scan I was told his hips were absolutely fine! (PHEW!) And again, that his feet were an isolated case due to him being so crammed in (Sorry boy).

I was STILL yet to receive an appointment for his Physio at this point. But as we have common sense, from birth, we had been massaging Eli’s feet ourselves with exercises we found on the internetz.

8 weeks old, after his first set of immunisations.

-You can see Eli’s left foot is much straight, but his right is still pulling inwards.

We saw a marked improvement with this – until about 9 weeks, when it just seemed to not get any better. It felt like we’d hit a brick wall. I finally had my appointment with the Physio when Eli turned 10 weeks. I’d like to point out at this is appalling. It took 10 weeks to finally see someone and the Physiotherapist, although absolutely lovely, gave me the exact same exercises to do. She said that it’s the muscles and tendons on the insides of both feet that are tight; causing Eli to pull his feet inwards. She suggested that Eli might need plaster casts, and in her opinion, it would only be for a week. I already had another appointment organised with a leading Talipes Consultant at Broomfield for when Eli was 12 weeks old. Again, this is terrible – we should have had Eli seen by a Consultant WAY BEFORE he got to 3 months old. I’m extremely unhappy about how long it’s taken and the awful communication, or lack thereof, between departments.

10 weeks old feets 🙂 

Last week we finally saw the Consultant at Broomfield. He looked at Eli’s legs, hips, spine, neck and feet. Which we didn’t expect, but was really reassuring. He agreed that Eli has Positional Talipes and has advised a course of plaster cast treatments. The casts will go from his foot and up his thigh – to avoid him kicking the pot off! When the Consultant left I spoke with the Senior Nurse (who organised our first appointment for THIS week). The Nurse advised that Eli will wear the casts for up to a fortnight at a time and will then need to wear special boots inbetween plaster cast treatment, the Consultant did not mention this, so I’ll see on Wednesday of this week what the definite course of treatment will actually entail. This sounds like Eli would be undergoing the Ponseti Method, but like I say, we’ll find out this week.

I am SO SO pleased that our beautiful baby boy is finally getting his little feets sorted out. Better late than never I suppose.

I’d like to hear from you. Has your little one undergone treatment for Talipes? What was your experience? Can you offer any advice or tips?

MM.

the-retreat_main

An Eli update: 4 weeks young.

Weight at 4 weeks: 9lb

Length at 4 weeks: 53cm

Yesterday marked Mr Eli’s 4 week birthday. I actually cannot believe how quickly these first 4 weeks have flown by! I also can’t believe how quickly our little boy is changing too! He’s so strong and curious about the world; he can hold and move his head so well, already!

When your newborn, is newborn, their hearing is checked in the hospital. Unfortunately, due to my quick delivery, Eli had A LOT of fluid/blood stuck in his ears for a few days after the birth, which meant that the hearing test failed to work and would be repeated. We weren’t concerned because Eli had proven he could hear very well! From as soon as we got him through the front door he looked for where sounds were coming from and would jump if there was a bang or a clap etc. So yesterday I took him for the repeat hearing test… we got to go on a big train!

Mr Eli on the big train!

Granted, we literally went one stop on the big train – but still! He was as good as gold all the way there (even when Mummy got lost on a building site!). Then as soon as we walked into the testing room, Mr Tetch arrived! Which meant that it was difficult to get a clear reading. Breast feeding commenced and a clear response was found straight away. So that’s done with 🙂

We’re still awaiting an appointment for Physio for Eli’s mild Talipes however. I’ve been chasing the hospital on a daily basis but am getting nowhere. It’s a good job we have common sense and have been massaging his feet ourselves (which is definitely working, we can see a difference already).

 

MM.

 

the-retreat_main

HE’S FINALLY HERE!

This is the first photo of me and my son. My beautiful, perfect son.

Introducing Mr Elijah Joseph Thomas Hill.

Born on: Monday 6th August 2012.

Time: 21:43.

Weight: 8lb (exactly).

Length: 48cm.

I think I’ll save the gruelling birth story for another day. I’d like to just reflect on how beautiful my little angel is for now 🙂 The past fortnight has gone like a blur (not helped by the fact I ended up back in hospital with an infection! But that is another story). So will gradually be easing back into things slowly. I hope I have time to blog as much as I did previously, but as any new Mummy will understand, there just aren’t enough hours in the day! I don’t know where the time actually flies away to! I can’t believe my little one is already 16 days old today! So please bare with me as normal service begins to resume 🙂

MM.

 

the-retreat_main

Weekly Update: 39 Weeks Pregnant.

Here we are at 38 + 1 weeks pregnant at the Day Assessment Unit in Broomfield Hospital.

Baby size at 39 weeks: 50 cm long.

Baby weight at 39 weeks:  7.2 + lbs

——————————————————————————————-

Me and the internet have been having a somewhat long distance relationship the last fortnight! I’ve been absolutely EXHAUSTED. I’ve been getting up around 4-5 times a night for a wee (HOW?!) and been snoozing throughout the day. Aside from when I’ve been having hospital appointments and meeting the girls from my NCT group!

So, I’m just a week away from my due date. I REALLY thought Boy would have arrived by now. Considering how big he is! But clearly, he’s just far too cosy in there.

Last week I went to the doctors about my rash (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy) who was beyond blasé about the whole thing. By Saturday of last week, I’d scratched myself so badly I was drawing blood. I was also struggling with my SPD, so we took a trip up to the Day Assessment Unit at Broomfield to seek their advice. I was taken to an assessment room and hooked up to a monitor for 45 mins. I had lots and lots of tests done. But the doctors were not concerned about my rash – it’s quite common and will disappear after Boy arrives. What they were concerned about was the fact I’m still measuring big! I was measuring just over 41 weeks. So went for a growth scan on Wednesday of this week while we awaited results for late onset Gestational Diabetes. Boy is measuring correctly for 39 weeks… apart from his tummy! He’s a little bit on the chunky side 😀 To us, he sounds absolutely SCRUMMY! The scan, at so far into my pregnancy, was incredible! You could see his spiky hair at the back of his head! But because he was so big and squashed, you really couldn’t see as much as on earlier scans. SO, it’s back to the waiting game!

Boy is still head down (good boy) and is 2/5th palpable – which means only 2/5th’s of his head can now be felt above my pelvis. So that’s good.

We REALLY hope he arrives soon – we’re beyond impatient! 🙁

 

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/39weeks/

It’s all about watching and waiting now, as your baby could arrive any day. Your baby could be up to 50cm long, and weigh about 3kg.

The hair on your baby’s head may now be thick, and his fingernails extend beyond his fingertips. They may look long when he’s born. Your baby’s skull bones are not yet fused, which allows them to overlap as he passes through the birth canal during labour. This is the reason your baby’s head may look cone-shaped after birth.

 

MM.

the-retreat_main

Surprises from my best friends!

Table at Babylon restaurant, Kensington Roof Gardens.

On Saturday of last week (9th June), I was whisked off to Kensington for lunch with my best friends at Babylon, Kensington Roof Gardens. The restaurant and garden’s were absolutely amazing… there were real-life flamingo’s in the gardens! On the ROOF, in Kensington! Crazy!

When I arrived at the restaurant I called my friends and they came and met me at the reception and lead me to our table. They’d decked the table out with ‘Baby Shower’ banners and presents! What a lovely surprise!

I thought I’d share the lovely gifts that they got us 😀

Scrummy cupcakes from Whole Foods.
Scrummy cupcakes from Whole Foods.

 

We're massive fans of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", so this amazing box has taken pride of place in the nursery!

 

Lots of presents! Lots of essentials 🙂

 

Beautiful gifts from The Little White Company.

 

Absolutely adore this super-soft bunny rabbit and elephant rattle from The Little White Company!

MM.

the-retreat_main

Newborn Nappies: There’s so much choice out there, which did you go for?

We’ve pondered many-a-time over which Newborn Nappies to use. Which brand are best in quality, absorbency, fit and of course, which are lightest on the old purse strings?

As we live in a very rainy Britain and we currently do no have a tumble dryer (plus only electric heaters/radiators) going cloth isn’t really an option for us. We struggle to get our own clothes dry at the minute (definitely going to invest in a tumble dryer for Winter!!). So, we’re going disposable…. but what does that mean?! With so much choice out there, which are best for Newborns, based on my criteria above?

I asked my Twitter followers for their tried and tested recommendations… here is what the lovely people out there said.

 

From @CharlieMooswww.charliemoos.co.uk

 

From @NatGourleyreadysteadymummy.blogspot.co.uk

 

From @MummyAdventurewww.themummyadventure.com

 

From @Petitmewwww.petitmom.co.uk

 

From @BexandMicbusybeemummybex.blogspot.co.uk

 

From @TheMakeUpMentor – themakeupmentor.co.uk

 

From @CupcakeMumma11cupcakemumma2011.blogspot.co.uk

 

From @KiddyChartswww.kiddycharts.com

 

So there we have it… the consensus is Pampers Vs Own-brand.  Do you have a different opinion from experience? Or even just agree? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below or via Twitter @MaternalMusings and I’ll be sure to add your comment to the post above!

Thanks for all the responses so far!

MM.

the-retreat_main

I’ve FINALLY done it! Hospital Bag(s) are packed!

After weeks and weeks of , “Oh, I’ll definitely pack it this weekend!“, I did actually get round to packing my hospital bag(s) this week! But only after I thought I was going into labour with my coccyx pain! Perhaps Baby Boy Bump was tired of my excuses for not packing the bags too!

So, with this all in mind. I thought I’d share my list of ESSENTIALS. I’ve been through absolutely dozens of “What to pack…” lists, along with forums and speaking with friends. And I think I’ve pretty much formed the definitive list. You DO need to take lots to the hospital. I’ve chosen to take everything in a suitcase simply because it’s easier than cramming everything into lots of bags… it will also fit in the boot of our car neater 🙂 I do know it looks like I’m going on holiday, but I swear, it’s all completely necessary!

Here we go then…

FOR ME.
To have ready to hand.
Birth plan/preferences
Maternity notes
Cash for carpark
Cash for payphone – there might not be signal. The battery might go on your phone!

For labour/ward.
Maternity pads – two packs of 10
Breast pads – 15 pairs
Cheap nightie(s)
Large cotton knickers – 7-10 pairs
Bedsocks with grips to the bottom – your feet get cold during labour.
Massage oil
Lipbalm
Bobbles
Headband
Hair grips
Brush
Pillows – my usual pillow and maternity pillow
x2 Dark towels
Phone chargers
Change of clothing for leaving the hospital – baggy, to fit at least a 4-5 month pregnant bump.
Slippers/Flip flops
Fan
Stopwatch – to time contractions
Swimwear – for the birthing pool!
Hot water bottle
Plastic jug – useful for afterwards, going to the loo is likely to be quite painful. Pouring a jug of warm water over the affected area whilst going to the loo can allegedly help sooth the pain.
List of phone numbers on paper
Face cloth
Camera
Toilet roll – we like our quilted Andrex!
Plastic bag for dirty clothes/towels
Book/Magazines
Pen and paper – useful for writing down notes that may be passed on from doctors/midwives; or in the instance that I can’t talk whilst mid-contraction! Also good to have if we get bored and fancy hangman!
Clean clothing for James (Other half)
Ear plugs – it might be quite noisy… 
Nice nightie for afterwards
Dark dressing gown
Birthing ball – just incase there isn’t one spare. This can be left in the boot if not needed.
Birthing ball pump

Toiletries
Shampoo
Conditioner
Makeup bag
Mirror
Deoderant
Toothpaste
Toothbrush
Mouthwash
Facewipes
Antibacterial hand gel
Gaviscon
Anusol
Deoderant
Dettol wipes for ward
Lavender Oil
James’ wash bag with toothbrush/deoderant/bryl creme

Something extra…
Chocolates for the Midwives for afterwards
Card for the Midwives for afterwards

Food/Snacks/Drinks
Raspberry Leaf Tea
Mini cheddars
Bananas
Cereal bars
Frozen drinks – it’s apparently quite hot on the wards. A frozen drink will melt slowly, so will be much nicer than warm bottled water!
Juice – cordial
Bottles of water
Glucose tablets
Bendy straws – useful for drinking at any angle!
Crisps
Two plastic cups – so we can celebrate afterwards?!
Peppermint teabags – useful for trapped wind and cramps afterwards.
Dried fruit
Chocolate
Soreen

BABY CHANGING BAG.
Going home outfit
x5 vests
x5 baby grow’s
Pair of scratch mittens
Hat
Booties
Blanket
x6 muslin squares
x6 bibs
Soft toy
Swaddle
Towel
Cardigan – just incase, I know it’s July, but I do live in England.

Toiletries
Cotton wool balls/Cotton wool pleats
Grooming kit – for his little nails!
x27 nappies – a whole pack of Pampers New Born.
Sudacrem
Vaseline – useful for smothering over Baby Boy’s bum, it makes it easier to clean the first newborn poo’s away.
Bottles – just incase there’s an issue with breast feeding.
Ready made formula bottles – just incase there’s an issue with breast feeding.

Is there anything I’m missing from your own list?! Something that might have proven absolutely essential for you during labour or afterwards?

MM.

the-retreat_main

Woe is me… I have SPD.

As I’ve documented over my recent Weekly Updates, I’ve been suffering with what I thought was just ligament pain. Albeit, with ‘just’ ligament pain I should have probably kicked up more of a fuss (I hate causing fuss and I hate fuss!). But since Saturday last week I’ve been in absolute agony with my coccyx. To the point of screaming to just roll over in bed. And I like to think I’ve got a high pain threshold! Needless to say, I’ve not slept since Friday night (and that was a rubbish night’s sleep anyway!). On top of this, I’ve had a cold… a proper cold. Every single time I’ve sneezed it’s felt like my undercarriage was going to rip out of me. Horrendous.

I’d reluctantly started taking paracetamol on Sunday as the hot baths and heat compresses had failed to ease the pain; and had the long Jubilee weekend to rest. But forced myseld into work yesterday. I cried on the train journey in, just limbering on the edge of the seat. I got to work and was completely drained. I felt emotional and tired out. I couldn’t sit in my chair at my desk. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m the first pregnancy in my department, EVER. So have found it difficult when having even just standard Midwife appointments – people continuously asking why I’m at the Midwife so much. (As if I need to explain my medical situation anyway! I would NEVER ask a colleague why they’d visited the Doctors, would you?!). So when I’d been suffering with the aforementioned ligament pain, I found that people were more or less confused or found my blatant explanation “distasteful”. Goodness knows why! So of course, when I got to work yesterday in obvious pain, explaining that my coccyx were killing me didn’t go down all too well. I don’t think people understand just how sodding painful it is!

So I thought SOD IT. And got myself to the doctors at 5pm. The Doctor examined me and diagnosed me with SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction). I’ve been referred to a Physio (not sure how long it will be before I get my appointment mind!) and has given me a cream to rub onto my coccyx and upped my paracetamol intake. He did offer to give me Codeine aswell, but refused this as it can affect the baby. He also gave me a sick note. My first sick note. So close to the end of work, before my Maternity Leave begins on 22nd June… so I’m quite disappointed with myself. I’ve never ever had a sick note. I didn’t even know what to do with the damn thing.

So that’s that. I’ve had my first day off work today and literally slept the entire day through. The paracetamol and sitting on a hot water bottle has helped.

I just need to keep on top of resting and relaxing. This is definitely my body’s way of telling me to SLOW DOWN.

Has anyone else suffered with SPD? What are your coping techniques? Did you get better post-partum?

MM.