Edie_Rainbow_Baby

PREGNANCY & ME // MY POSITIVE BIRTH STORY

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  • STM
  • Edith (Edie) Lavender Aurora Hill
  • 🌈 Bébé
  • 02/08/2019 at 00:18
  • 40 weeks + 6 days
  • 7 lb 1.5oz
  • Spontaneous labour
  • No pain relief
  • No intervention
  • Gave birth in Triage
  • Stepping Hill Hospital, Manchester, UK

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I feel so bloody chuffed to be finally writing a POSITIVE birth story. Despite beginning our Hypnobirthing journey at 25 weeks pregnant, I think its fair to say that I doubted how this labour would pan out. I had a traumatic birth with Eli that lasted 30+ hours due to induction at 42 weeks. I won’t go into the story of Eli’s birth, because I have made ‘peace’ with it now and its not healthy to continue to dwell on it (hiya Mum-Guilt, great to see you again).

So I’ll push the previous history to one side and start from the beginning with Edie’s birth now.


I had initially set out to avoid ALL intervention with this pregnancy, including any sweeps.  I’d had 4 failed sweeps with Eli and felt it was a pretty pointless procedure, in my opinion. I voiced this in my birth preferences and talked through interventions with my community midwife team. Instead, from around 35 weeks I started drinking in my all of the Raspberry Leaf Tea, I started eating 6 dates a day and then when we hit 37 weeks, I started taking a bath on an evening infused with Clary Sage essential oil, I started eating fresh pineapple (including the core, ‘cos Bromelain), I added Clary Sage to the oil diffuser with lavender, we added Clary Sage to Cowshed body oil and massaged it into my bump and ankles (!!), I used my Medela Swing for 5-10 minutes on each breast in an attempt to stimulate oxytocin and continued to go to bed and meditate using my Positive Birth Company MP3′s.

But at my 40 week appointment, I was HOT and beginning to feel a bit fed up. When asked if I still wanted to decline any intervention….I said “sod it” and agreed to a one-time sweep. Just to see…

I was advised if anything was to ‘happen’ it would do so within 48 hours. Obviously, all of the above are old wives tales – Hypnobirthing science aside, of course! Nothing is going to push your body into giving birth. Your baby will come, when your baby is ready.

At 1pm, 48 hours (practically!) to the minute, I started to have what I thought were Braxton Hicks. Eli and I hauled ourselves into my bedroom and I whacked Friends on whilst he played on Minecraft. We had lunch and I kept an eye on the frequency of the surges (contractions). They seemed regular. I opened up the Freya App on my phone and began timing the surges – they were lasting 30 seconds or so and were 6 minutes apart. I convinced myself this wasn’t labour and decided it would be a good idea to tidy the entire house, hoover, clean my bedroom window and then sew up a pair of James’ trousers that I’d been putting off.

Now it was about 4pm and the surges had continued to stay regular throughout all my weird nesting chores. I texted James and asked him to keep an eye on the trains (we’d had dreadful local flooding the day before) but assured him that I was fine and it ‘probably’ wasn’t even real surges. By 5:30, the surges were more frequent and lasting 40-60 seconds. I texted James and asked him to leave work because the surges were lasting longer and had become more powerful (painful). I was really feeling the effects of ‘Up Breathing’ at this point – I couldn’t get through a surge without it.

James got home just after 6:30pm and made me beans on french toast, incase I was in labour. Then he fannied about making tea for himself and Eli. Meanwhile, the Freya App told me I was in established labour…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 7pm, the surges were less than 3 minutes apart and I was reallllllly feeling it. I had two paracetamol (LOL) and made James get a rush on with eating his tea and sorting Eli out. Of course James was ridiculously laid back about all of this! By 7:30pm I got in the bath and I asked James to ring Maternity Triage to ask for advice. We both spoke to the Midwives on Triage – they were so lovely and advised I should go in to be assessed.

I said my goodbye’s to Eli – and he kissed the bump for the last time. He told me he was proud of me and that I MUST remember to keep breathing! (I did). He grabbed his suitcase, iPad and monkey and off he went on his own adventure next door!

 

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At 8pm, we were in the car making the 10 minute journey to Stepping Hill Hospital. I had the soothing tone of Siobhan Miller in my headphones and whacked on a eye-mask so I could concentrate – I’d also added Clary Sage and Lavender to one of Eli’s old muslin’s to breathe in. I’d convinced myself I must have been about 5-6cm, especially as the surges were so close together now.

We made it to Triage just after 8:15pm and were immediately seen. I really struggled with the examination due to the frequency and power of my surges. It took my Midwife, Deb, a little while to get me on the bed to be assessed. Eventually she managed and announced that I was JUST 1cm dilated. I couldn’t believe it. If this was barely the beginning, I had absolutely NO IDEA how I could cope with the rest of labour. I had to knock that doubt straight out of my head and by 9pm, we were on our way back home.

James put candles around the bedroom, closed the curtains then on the oil diffuser went. I kept the Positive Affirmations MP3 going via my headphones, rocked back and forth on my birth ball and we continued to time the surges. By 10pm James noticed that my breathing had changed and kept putting me back on track. Sadly, I couldn’t deal with him massaging my back or doing the light touch we’d planned on – I was completely in the zone, kept my eyes closed, and was doing exactly what my body told me to do.

By 11pm, I couldn’t cope with the sheer power of the surges and there was little to no break between them now. I had to switch off the MP3 at this point because some of the affirmations weren’t totally relevant. Instead, I used my visualisations (of St. Ives beach! and also of the placement of my favourite positive affirmation cards around the house) and I kept repeating my favourite affirmations to  myself: ‘my surges cannot be more powerful than me, because they are me‘ and ‘every surge brings me closer to my baby‘. I got James to ring Triage again, they advised that being in our home environment for as long as possible would be better than going back to the hospital again – especially as it had only been 2 hours since we left (and my waters were still in tact).

Reluctantly, I continued to labour at home – we knew I was in real labour so I turned off my phone and the Freya App which had proven to be so invaluable during and up till this point. By 11:30 I  found I had too much discomfort in my coccyx and it felt like my bladder was overly full – but I couldn’t pass urine (I couldn’t get off the ball to get to the toilet to be truthful!). I’m not gonna lie here, I was in total agony. My breathing had changed once again and I was actively ‘Down Breathing’, James kept trying to bring it back to Up Breathing, but there was no chance. I was screaming out as I reached the peak of each surge now too. It was an animalistic release – which brought me a real relief too.

I was thinking I needed an immediate Epidural – or even better -to be knocked out for a C-Section. I felt like I couldn’t go any longer*. There was no way any other drug would help me now. I needed my baby to come out and we HAD to get to the hospital. Then POW my waters broke. It was a massive gush of warmth down my legs, which I ignored and continued to breathe and bounce. Thankfully, my waters were clear. PHEW.

*I now understand that what I was feeling here was TRANSITION.

Transition is the final phase of the first stage of labour, following early and active labour. At this point, a woman progresses from seven to 10 centimetres, often in less than an hour. The word transition means that her body is making the shift from opening the cervix to the beginning of the baby’s descent.

 

As I’d been induced with Eli and the midwives failed to break my waters on no less than 3 occasions, I had no experience of what it felt like to have your waters break naturally. It was absolutely crackers – it was a big pop towards my public bone and I knew then, that she was coming. James rang Triage and told them we were en route again and my waters had now gone.

It took me about 6 minutes to get from our bedroom to the car on the drive. How I managed to get down the stairs I will never know.

Outside was so eery. It was midnight and there was a low cloud – you could barely see in front of you – it was completely silent. James drove SO carefully to the hospital – I screamed at him “this is one time you’re allowed to rag the car about!”. It was quite honestly like a film.

But he kept his cool. He has since admitted he didn’t think I was much further along than the 1cm, so he was relatively laid back.I do have a reputation for over-dramatising situations – so this isn’t his fault.

We got to the hospital and he parked up. I couldn’t get out of the car. I was screaming through my surges and my body started pushing down. I had no control over the pushing. It’s what my body wanted to do. Once through the hospital entrance, James grabbed a wheelchair. I jumped onto it, on my knees and he dragged me to the lift. There was another woman behind us, who was apparently also pushing. She waited for the next lift.

James tried to get me through the double doors once at Triage, but he was struggling, so I jumped off the wheelchair and ran into a room, stripped all of my clothes off and got on the bed, on all fours. I announced I was Hypnobirthing and pushing.

Deb, my midwife, who I’d seen only 3 hours earlier, was attempting to calm me down so she could assess if I was indeed dilated enough to be pushing. She said she could see the baby’s head and that she was going to coach me through the pushing. Sarah, the second midwife on Triage came in and let us know that the lady behind us was also pushing and she had alerted the Delivery Suite about the two of us. But it was too late for me – I was going to give birth in Triage!

I pushed Edie’s head out in 3 pushes – 2 pushes later she was completely out – shocked, but blinking. She’d been born in the wrong department, 10 minutes after arriving. I scooped her up between my legs and rubbed at her little body. She wasn’t breathing – Deb cut the cord and grabbed a towel to try and rouse Edie. After a minute or so, Edie was taken away to Resuscitation.

 

As we’d not been able to have delayed cord clamping because Edie had rushed into the world, I used my B.R.A.I.N and agreed to having Active Management of the placenta. Deb administered the injection of Syntocinon and began massaging my tummy. A few minutes of surges and pushing later my placenta was delivered. While the placenta was in tact, Deb noticed that out came a gush of meconium with it. This indicated that Edie had passed her first bowel movement with the stress of coming out so quickly.

We were all shell-shocked.

Completely shell-shocked.

It felt like a lifetime before Edie was brought back to us.

 

When she was finally placed in my arms, I relaxed down. I felt the biggest rush of love, EVER. I’d done it. I’d given birth to our daughter, using Hypnobirthing tools and without any pain relief whatsoever. I’d gone from 1cm dilated to giving birth in the space of 3 hours.

I couldn’t believe it.

I still can’t believe it – almost a fortnight on. It still feels like a totally surreal, but serene, experience. Kind of out of body. I can remember every single detail. Which is something I am missing from Eli’s birth, due to the amount of drugs that were administered.

A run-down of my labour – total time is cited as 1 hour, 40 minutes!

Deb finished cleaning me up and then we were taken to the Delivery Suite (ironically). Once there, Edie was taken to the warming cot by my new Midwife Eileen, who took bloods and called a Paediatrician down. There had been issues with the PH gasses of the placenta, meaning Edie needed some extra monitoring. Eileen was an Irish midwife who was just the biggest and brightest soul. She was old school and simply magical.

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There was a struggle with getting the right amount of blood from Edie so more specialists were called. Remembering my Hypnobirthing kept me as calm as I could possibly be. James didn’t leave her side – he held onto her tiny hand while Eileen repeatedly checked my stat’s and then called for a Doctor to repair the 2nd degree tear I’d received. After a fairly shocking Episiotomy (that landed me with blood poisoning and a week back in hospital following Eli’s birth), a specialist was required for the repair job. I finally got my hands on Gas & Air. I did as I was asked and took 10 deep and quick breaths on the gas, I shouted that it didn’t work in that oh so familiar low-tone and then felt that floating feeling. My Doctor, Sarah, started stitching, I could feel it, so I got my breathing in order using Up Breathing and sailed high and free. Bliss.

I didn’t want to hand the gas back, but Eileen made me. She then brought that Tea and Toast… so all was forgiven!

 

 

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If you know, you know!

 

This experience was so far-removed from my previous labour and recovery. For one, James was addressed at every single opportunity. Which made such a difference.

Eileen ever so sweetly grabbed my toiletry bag from my case and started unpacking the shampoo and conditioner so I could have a shower with everything I needed. It’s such an intense relationship that you form with a Midwife, in such a short time. I felt so overwhelmed with love and support from Eileen – I could actually cry right now, remembering how she cared for me.

We weren’t rushed at all; given all the time we needed, but by 5am, it was time to head to the postnatal ward, MAT2. I went into a wheelchair, pulled by Eileen, holding tightly onto Edie who was now bundled in blankets and her very first baby grow. A red knitted hat was given – this was intentional – we later found out that different coloured hats meant different things. For us, the red hat was a signifier for staff that Edie had needed special care (as well as keeping her little head warm!). We said our goodbye’s to Eileen and settled into the cubicle on the ward. James was even allowed to stay – again, this meant the world to us as he’d been sent straight home following the birth of Eli.

6am and James was snoring in the corner, I watched the sunrise through the gap in the curtains and felt the most intense love for this little human in my arms.

At 6:30am I was introduced to Emma, the Midwife on duty – she took mine and Edie’s stat’s and I was given Paracetamol for the after-pains you experience post-birth. We were also shown to the family kitchen, which was stocked to the brim with breakfast foods and an array of tea’s and coffee – of which James was allowed to access too. I was soon given a menu to choose my main meals for the rest of the day. We were then left to chill for 3 hours until our stat’s were repeated again. I tried to sleep, but it was warm and loud as new patients were added to the ward – along with people having their own stat’s read. I couldn’t stop staring at my new sweet baby girl anyway, so nothing was going to interrupt or impact on that!

By 9am, James wanted  to grab Eli from our amazing neighbours next door and freshen up. At 11am he returned and our glorious children met for the very first time.

 

To say I was emotional at our little family all meeting for the first time, would be a total understatement. I cried the happiest tears I imagine I’ll ever cry. I am so proud and so happy and so full of love, I’m not sure how I haven’t burst yet!

As Edie had needed special care, she was closely monitored by specialists – they found that her temperature was going up and down (only very slightly), but enough to warrant an extra night in hospital.

This was completely fine by me. It was a welcome stay. I wasn’t rushed out – in fact, the nurses told me we could stay as long as we wanted to! This really helped with my anxiety and stress. I felt like we had real personal care here – by professionals who were passionate about our wellbeing. We weren’t just another ‘number’ – which is how we felt at the hospital where we had Eli. (I am trying not to dwell on that past experience!)

Unfortunately, our first night, just us two, was not so successful. Edie screamed the ward down from 11pm until around 6am. I think she was over-tired and nothing I could do would overcome that. Two midwives came to the rescue and she eventually calmed down. I tried my best not to get stressed over it, but when you’re on a ward, its difficult to not worry about everyone else! I ended up walking up and down the hospital corridors for a few hours. As soon as I fell asleep, James and Eli arrived for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a full day of monitoring to get through before we were allowed to go home. Edie’s temperature eventually stabilised and all my stat’s were good. We then had a the Newborn hearing test and as Edie had received special care, a Paediatrician had to sign her Newborn Check off before we were discharged.

Everything was signed off and we were given the A-OK to head home in the evening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got home and all our neighbours came out to greet us. We had fish and chips and we all slept mega soundly. It was just the perfect start to our new family life.

In complete honesty, I would not have had the same pregnancy OR indeed  birth experience without The Positive Birth Company. I may not have had any of the TEN birth scenario’s that I wrote preferences for, or planned for (didn’t get to use the LED tea lights, playlist, oils or massage, birth pool or delayed cord clamping) but this was still such an incredibly positive birth.  An amazing labour and birth and so far, postpartum period.

From the Digital Course to reading the daily positive birth stories, I would not have been able to do it without the PBC and the Freya App. I felt so prepared and at ease this time around. I was genuinely excited for Edie’s birth and I’ve probably never felt more ‘zen’ in my entire life – which is quite the statement, coming from me. I feel a peace with both my birth experiences and the Hypnobirthing tools I learned will live with me forever!  I’ve even used several affirmations and the breathing techniques since having Edie.

I have never, felt so empowered and strong and brave in my entire life – and I doubt I ever will feel like this ever again.

So thank you Siobhan and the PBC for allowing me to have confidence in myself and my own decisions. I cannot recommend The Positive Birth Company enough. From our little family of four to you Siobhan, THANK YOU!

C
✖️✖️✖️

 

EDIE LAVENDER AURORA HILL
02/08/2019 at 00:18
7lb 1.5oz

 

 


For clarity, I was kindly #gifted The Digital Course by The Positive Birth Company. This is not a sponsored, paid post or an ad.

I only shout about items that I genuinely believe in, so be safe in the knowledge that I’m in love The PBC!

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BRAND IN FOCUS // COWSHED x SCAMP & DUDE

 

If you know us, you know how house is filled with Cowshed products – in every single room! Yep, we’ve been avid Cowshed aficionados since circa 2009 when we first visited Shoreditch House and had our first whiff of Cow Pat.  Ahhhh dreamy.

As you might notice, I’m always interested in brand collaborations, so when I saw the latest collab from Cowshed, I was pretty overjoyed!

I’m a little bit in love with Scamp & Dude. Founded by the wonderful Jo Tutchener-Sharp, Scamp & Dude is a truly beautiful brand with such an amazing back story…. With a long history in the world of fashion and beauty, Jo directed PR campaigns and arranged events for high profile individuals and brands such as Tom Ford, Matthew Williamson, Dolce & Gabbana, Vogue, Estee Lauder, Topshop, NARS and The BRIT Awards. In October 2015 Jo’s life took a difficult turn when she suffered a brain haemorrhage. She had to leave her children for a lengthy stay in hospital to undergo life threatening brain surgery. Every parent understands the feeling you get when you have to leave your child, whether it be a business trip or first day at school. That knot in the stomach and the ache in the heart. It was this moment that inspired Jo to create a brand that helps children feel more secure when apart from their loved ones, and Scamp & Dude was born.

From something dark came something light*

The Scamp & Dude slogan (and ethos, if you will) is  ‘a superhero has my back’, which tells children that someone is watching over them, even when they can’t see you. I also take this into my own adult heart too.

Jo says:

“I love everything about Cowshed, its ethos, heritage, the spas (especially Babington House which is one of my favourite places on earth!) and of course the products, so Cowshed seemed like the obvious partner to create a Superpower Spray with.”**

 

If this isn’t the backbone for a brilliant brand partnership, then I don’t know what is. So what does the collaboration consist of I hear you ask – well, take a look below at the three items that have now been released.

 

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Cowshed x Scamp & Dude Good Luck Candle

£38.00 – CLICK TO BUY


Cowshed and Scamp & Dude created this limited edition version of the invigorating Wild Cow room candle. With an unstoppable mix of energising Lemongrass, invigorating Ginger and reviving Rosemary essential oils, this bracing blend of essential oils will create a fresh atmosphere to stimulate the senses and help focus your thoughts.

• Invigorating light, oriental fragrance with lemongrass, Ginger and Rosemary essential oils

• 100% natural soy wax and Egyptian cotton wick

• Free from GMM, pesticides and herbicides and suitable for vegetarians

• Approximate burn time: 60 hours

 

 

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Cowshed x Scamp & Dude Superpower Spray

£16.00 – CLICK TO BUY


Limited edition, all natural Superpower Spray will help little Superheroes sleep and provide a burst of superpowers when required. The light, floral fragrance features Mandarin, Neroli, a splash of Chamomile and Lavender in a gentle Bitter Orange flower water base with absolutely no nasties. Spray on your little one’s sheets, clothes, their favourite teddy or blanket to help them feel calm and secure both at home and when they’re out in the world.

• Mandarin, neroli, chamomile, lavender and aloe vera

• Gentle Bitter Orange flower water base

• Spray on bedding, clothing and soft toys to evoke a feeling of calm

• Great for travelling

 

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Cowshed x Scamp & Dude Courage Candle

£38.00 – CLICK TO BUY


Cowshed and Scamp & Dude created this limited edition version of the uplifting Grumpy Cow room candle. With its invigorating, refreshing blend of Mandarin and Grapefruit essential oils, this zesty citrus fragrance is perfect for lengthening a short fuse, or as a wakeup call. Mandarin can help soothe the nervous system while Grapefruit is a known anti-depressant and both smell delicious, making this candle the perfect pick-me-up.

• Uplifting citrus fragrance with Mandarin and Grapefruit essential oils

• 100% natural soy wax and Egyptian cotton wick

• Free from GMM, pesticides and herbicides and suitable for vegetarians

• Approximate burn time: 60 hours

 

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This is such a lovely brand partnership and I do hope there is more to come from Cowshed x Scamp & Dude; but for now, I will admire them from the laptop until I can get my hands on the products and give them a good sniff in real life!

C
✖️✖️✖️

*Words from My Story, at ScampandDude.com
** Words from Introducing Scamp & Dude, blog post, at Cowshed.com

 


For clarity, this is not a sponsored or paid post – but does contain Affiliate links to Cowshed.com. I only promote items that I genuinely like however, so be safe in the knowledge that I’m in love with this brand collaboration.

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Mumsnet: This Is My Child | Mr Eli has Talipes and Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis.

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I have been looking, with interest, at some of the posts that have been published during the This Is My Child awareness campaign via Mumsnet. We live our life day-to-day as normal. Because THIS is our ‘normal’. Eli is our first born and we know no different. But I suppose, our story is different. I’ve not really highlighted Eli’s Talipes or (recently diagnosed) Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis on my blog before. I have mentioned in a few posts about his Talipes. But nothing in depth. So here it goes!

Everything stems back to when I was pregnant. I had a very tough first few weeks, after a bleed we were told that the pregnancy might not be viable at a 5 week early-pregnancy scan and told to return in 3 weeks time; where we saw the most amazing and incredibly tiny flickering – a heartbeat! PHEW!

We so looked forward to that 12 week scan. The sonographer was lovely, but seemed concerned. Eli was jumping ALL OVER, I thought she was just having difficulty measuring up dates because he wouldn’t keep still. She then turned the machines off and said she was sorry to tell us that our bundle of joy had a “nuchal fold measurement on the cusp of high”. The exact measurement was 3.5 mm. This was indeed the cusp before they offer you further investigation. We needed to know. We were informed that a high NT measurement could mean a multitude of conditions, including Down Syndrome. This was heartbreaking. This baby was so wanted – we needed to know what we were facing. We had ‘counselling’ and I had bloods taken. The nurse then called University College Hospital London and told us they had a referral for the the very next day. We were told we could have a more in-depth scan at the Fetal Medicine Unit; where we would also be offered the option of CVS – which would indeed confirm any anomalies, through a horrendously invasive procedure. After the lengthy scan with several specialists, we were advised that we could either go ahead with CVS there and then, or wait… It had been picked up that there was a lack of nasal bone; another marker for Down Syndrome. Our world shattered. HOW WOULD WE COPE?! We went ahead with the CVS there and then. It was like a whirlwind.

The procedure was horrible. Just horrible. I had soreness and tenderness for a few days after. Not to mention the constant worry and stress of the risk of miscarriage. It was a very very hard time for both of us, waiting for the results. 3 weeks passed and we received a letter confirming that everything was spot on with Eli. He didn’t have any of the common anomalies that CVS tests for.  We were over the moon to say the very least. PHEW!

But this was not the end of our hospital visits. To cut the (very!) long story short – we had a total of 9 scans. Because of the NT measurement, Eli’s heart, organs and growth was routinely monitored. He developed fantastically. At the 25 week scan, it was found our baby had a degree of Bilateral Talipes.  But it was “extremely mild”. PHEW! It was corrective. We were happy. In the grand scheme of things.

Fast forward to almost 42 weeks pregnant, I was just a HUGE pregnant ball; unable to move, pretty much. That little boy was so so squashed up inside my petite 5 ft nothing 1″ frame. I was eventually induced. Which, shock horror was just the WORST thing ever. (Incidentally, I would never recommend an induction. Just bloody wait till the baby wants to arrive!). After 30 hours of labour, Eli was pulled out of me in an emergency situation using Ventouse. He was out, safe, at long last. PHEW.

Or so we thought.

We both immediately looked at his feets. Yes, they turned in, but probably weren’t half as badly affected as we were imagining.

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Again, fast forward to 8 weeks old. We’d not been seen by a specialist. Not even had a referral. At Eli’s 8 week check the GP who was head of the surgery, told me that his feet would ‘correct themselves when he learns to walk’. I wasn’t happy with that. We’d been massaging, manipulating and exercising Eli’s feets since birth, but at about 8-10 weeks had hit that brick wall. They weren’t getting any better. With the encouragement from @BexandMic on Twitter, who’s beautiful son Hugo was also born with Talipes, I kicked off at the Health Visitor. I got a referral to see a Physio about his feet. At the very first appointment our lovely Physio, Jenny, pointed out that Eli’s head was tilted to the left. I couldn’t understand what she was referring to, he just couldn’t hold his head up yet… She explained it looked like he had something called Torticollis. Possibly from being so squashed up during pregnancy, possibly from the trauma of being pulled out so quickly. I was given exercises to do with his neck regularly, after a week, his head was straight! I still to this day can’t believe we didn’t notice it. Looking back at photos, his neck is completely to his shoulder on every single one. There was still tightness after a few sessions with the Physio and more manipulation on our part. We eventually saw our consultant, Mr Tuite at Broomfield Hospital on 31st October. Eli was almost 14 weeks old. Worryingly, most children with Talipes begin their treatment shortly after birth.

We were devastated when Mr Tuite said that Eli would in fact require plaster casts to begin the correction process. Mr Eli was pretty mobile at 14 weeks old! He was used to his bedtime routine and his bath. We knew the casts were for the best though. We had to do it. We were told Eli had really mild Talipes, again, so would require 2 weeks worth of casts…

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6 weeks later Eli was still in casts. It was incredibly tough.

Being the age Eli was, we got a lot of stares. You could just tell people must have thought he’d been dropped and had broken legs. When people asked what had happened, they didn’t understand. They made me feel like the story I was telling was a pack of lies. It was just a horrendous feeling. We did however have luck on our side, in the fact that it was Winter when Eli was in casts. It wasn’t hot, he would have been so much more uncomfortable if it was! He spent a lot of time in long socks and snow suits! In hindsight, I wish I’d been more confident with his casts. Embraced them more. Decorated them, even. The casts did not hinder Eli in any way, he was rolling over in them and they were SO heavy and awkward. He kicked his legs up and down and bashed the casts to bits! He was so brave – he didn’t sleep at night, but hey, he doesn’t now either!

The Torticollis would occur when Eli seemed to meet new milestones. It wasn’t constant. It was irregular. His neck tilted for around a week when he started rolling, sitting up and crawling. But also seemed to coincide with teething too. We continued to repeat the exercises and manipulations.

Mid-December 2012 and Eli went into Ponseti Boots and Bars 23 hours a day. He got an hour “free” where we gave him his bath and he had a kick about afterwards. This was a huge relief. We could get back to normality somewhat. We hadn’t even thought about the visual  impact the Boots and Bar contraption would have on other people. After our journey, we had just accepted what we had to go through.

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In the coming weeks, I had an array of comments and conversations about his B & B’s.

“They’re funky boots” “Thanks! They’re to straighten his feet” “ohh… I thought they were just fashion accessories! I’m so sorry. Didn’t realise your son was ill”. “He’s not ill?”

“Does he have broken legs?”

“Does he have broken hips?”

“Is that a contraption to stop him wriggling away from you?”

“Do they make him taller?” “WHAT?!”

 Etc. Etc. Etc.

We had a lot of nasty glances. A lot of nasty sniggers. I’m REALLY not thick-skinned at all. Like I say, I’d completely accepted that this was his treatment. It did not bother me. This was normal to us now – this was part of our every day lives! Until someone pointed his feet out, or made that eye contact, that’s when I’d think. Then it would upset me. But, I needed to get through that for him. It was in his very best interests. He wouldn’t be able to walk without it! Had we just been too blasé about the entire thing?!

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Eli wore his B & B’s for 23 hours a day, for 6 months. Most children wear them for 23 hours a day for just 3 months, then hours are dropped throughout the day until they eventually just wear them at night time. To our surprise, Eli went straight down to just nights at our next review. This was just insanely cool. It was just magical seeing him so free. His feet look PERFECT! We’re so so pleased. We’re also convinced though, that Eli struggles at night time because of his boots and bar. He’s free all day long, then come bedtime he’s confined. He can’t move with ease. It’s uncomfortable and heavy. He will sleep for 2-4 hours at a time. Then I will need to settle him. There has been nights where I have taken his bar or both his boots and bar off, and he’s slept soundly. I’m sacrificing my sleep so he can walk. Easy decision. I do worry it’s not good for him, the broken sleep. But what can I do?!

At 10 months, he started pulling himself up and cruising around his play pen. I can’t tell you how proud we both were. It was just so special; still is! SUPER PROUD PARENTS!

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Not long after Eli started standing up, there was an afternoon where Eli was particularly miserable. Anyone who knows Eli knows he is a jolly boy. Barely cries. He’s only ever grumpy in the night! He was super grizzly. I put it down to teething. Then he projectile vomited. His neck was tilted. He went floppy in my arms, the colour drained from usual his rosy cheeks, his eyes rolled back and he seemed to pass out. I was beside myself. Naturally. I rang my OH who calmed me down. I’ve never been so frightened, it was seriously scary. This had happened previously, but I wasn’t there. Another bout of sickness and drowsiness and I let Eli sleep. We then recalled another time when he projectile vomited (he was never a sicky baby so could recall these occasions clearly). Within in a few hours, his neck was back to its mid-line straight position. Without any manipulation. We worked out that they all coincided with his neck tilting. Could the Torticollis be causing this?

I took Eli to the doctors – who were, USELESS. He googled Torticollis and told me what Wikipedia says… He said he’d seen just one other case of this and to go back to the Physio if I was concerned. Hell yeah I was concerned. We didn’t know if it was underlining with something else. I went to Portugal for 4 days. Eli had another bout of the sickness and drowsiness with the Torticollis. Again, his neck had straightened up itself by the next morning. It was all definitely linked.

I went to the Physio again after my trip. She was lovely, she explained that the condition was Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis. This variation of Torticollis comes in waves, or ‘attacks’. The attacks can last anywhere from minutes, to hours, to days and is accompanied by vomiting, pallorataxia, agitation, infantile migraine, unsteadiness of gait upon learning to walk, general malaise and nystagmus. All sounded about right. The periods in which the child’s head is tilted and other symptoms appear can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, with a frequency of anywhere from two per year to two per month. Looking back at the frequency of the attacks, we’ve found they seem to happen at the beginning of the month – every month, so far. It seems to surround teething, more than milestones now.

So now we know.

But what to do about it. Well, we’ve been told my several doctors and the physio (as well as Google) that Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis is something that Eli will grow out of, probably by school age.

His most recent attack was on 6th August, his 1st birthday. His neck didn’t straighten up quickly this time though, it’s taken a good 10 days this time.

The additional care that Eli requires surrounds his Talipes and his Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis. We don’t know when he’ll be out of his boots and bar, could be at his next appointment (28th August), could be when he’s 3 or 4 or 5. We also worry about relapse; there’s also cases where the feet have been over-corrected so they point outwards. We also do not know when he will have another attack of Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis, or the severity. I have to carry dozens of muslins with me, just incase he projectile vomits. I often worry it’s just going to come out of nowhere. I also worry about when he goes to nursery – are there people who are going to be able to look after him if he has an attack? Luckily, at the minute, I can work from home. But he will need to go into nursery sooner rather than later, for him to be able to socialise with children his age, more than anything else.

We currently do not receive any help, support or funding. I do know of people who have been granted Disability Living Allowance for their children with Talipes.

I’d absolutely LOVE to hear from others who have experiences with Talipes or Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis. The latter being quite rare, so not heard or seen anyone else who has had a child with BPT.

Would we have had it any other way? Ideally, I’d love to have Eli without all the discomfort and challenges he’s faced – of course I would. But my goodness me, he’s a brave boy. He’s SUCH a character. And frankly, it’s made me and my OH better people. We’re stronger. We understand.

Worry, worry worry – isn’t that what all parents do?

MM.

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BRAND IN FOCUS | Belle & Boo.

For those who know me, will indeed know that I have a penchant for all things old. I love things with character, a story. I’m a particular fan of 70’s interior, as can be spied throughout our family home. I wanted Eli’s bedroom to be no different (it is however still a work in progress, so I will follow up with a blog post when it’s all lovely and finished!). I came across the wonderful world of Belle & Boo completely by accident – but fell in love straight away. The illustrations are just beautiful, harping back to a by-gone time. All their products feature the whimsical drawings, everything they craft is of the highest quality (as is their lovely packaging!) and it’s just such a lovely, original and nostalgic brand.

Before Eli had even arrived I purchased the Pirate Party money tin for his nursery… but knew I’d be back for more!

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As soon as we moved house I wanted a few more  Belle & Boo pieces, so came up with the idea of using their greetings cards as pictures and promptly bought the simple white frames.

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But then of course, a fortnight after we moved into our new home, it was Eli’s birthday! I knew I’d seen some party decorations on the Belle & Boo website – and I just could not resist! I purchased some plates, napkins, a beautiful party garland, table cloth (which sadly does bear the stains of the incredible pulled pork buns and burnt beans that we had as our party food) and party bags.

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Everyone commented on how unusual and lovely the decorations were – oh, and how they matched our home perfectly too! We didn’t really have a a ‘theme’ for Eli’s party – we just wanted all of our close friends and family together to celebrate (plus we’d just moved house!), but the Belle & Boo decorations MADE the theme. I was so so pleased with how everything looked and I will certainly treasure all of the  Belle & Boo pieces from his party. In fact, I’m thinking about putting the party garland up in his bedroom, we only have bunting along the one wall, the addition of the garland would work really quite nicely.

MM.

 

Belle & Boo have not asked for this review or paid commission. I am solely passionate about this lovely brand and wanted to share my pieces with you.

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Halloween costumes for kids.

It’s almost Halloween! The first dess-up occasion for Eli this year. EXCITED. Eli is going to be dressed up as a Skeleton. I had bought his skeleton baby-gro from Mothercare a while ago; to be honest, I’d love for him to just wear it as an everyday-outfit, but thought we should probably save it for Halloween first!


Click here to purchase>> Skeleton babygro, £8.00, Mothercare.

 

Here are my other favourite Halloween costumes from around the web>>

Click here to purchase>> Vampire mask and cape, £10, John Lewis.


Click here to purchase>> Pumpkin Tutu outfit, £7.00, Asda.

Click here to purchase>> Lil Spitfire outfit, £15.99, Angels Fancy Dress.

Click here to purchase>> ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Baby spider outfit, £12, Marks and Spencer.

Click here to purchase>> Witch outfit, £12, John Lewis.

Click to purchase>> Gruffalo Outfit, £20, John Lewis.

 

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Warning: May induce hysterical tears. (Or maybe that’s just me then!)

While watching the Britain’s Got Talent – Final last night an advert came on that reduced me to hysterical “I can’t breathe” tears. I got emotional at adverts before my pregnancy, but now it’s an absolute extreme set of events. Horrendous. Not only did I sob my heart out at the entire advert, not even knowing what the advert was even advertising, it got to the end and I couldn’t breathe when I found out it was for Volkswagen Polo. OUR CAR! Cue more intense hysterical sobbing.

The advert is tells the story of a very protective Dad, through the years of his lovely daughter growing up. Then handing out a brand spanking new Volkswagen Polo to her as she drives off to university… more crying ensues (on my part).

If you think you’re tough enough to watch this advert, click the play button below! Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

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That old argument: To eat or not to eat the Placenta?

It’s just been revealed that Mad (wo)Man, January Jones, ate her own placenta after giving birth to her first child last year.

The placenta hold key, essential vitamins that can boost energy after a draining birth. But what are your thoughts on consuming your own placenta? Do you know anyone, or have you yourself eaten your own placenta post-birth?

Would love to hear your thoughts!

MM.