Monday Musing – How Many Children?

When I tell people I have five children I see eyebrows raised. Some say they think I’m mad, others comment that I must have my hands full and many ask if I always wanted a big family. If I’m honest, I don’t think five children makes a big family and I feel a bit of a cheat. I don’t have my hands full, my older children where already in their late teens before the other three arrived. Of course, the fact that I had three children while in my forties also raises eyebrows.

In my heart I believe that every child is a blessing and people should choose how many children they bear even though it does worry me that the world is becoming overpopulated and that times are difficult, even more so for larger families.
 I started my family with my husband. Then long after he had gone, and our children were growing up into young adults, I met my current partner who did not have children. We decided to try for two together, the third was an unexpected bonus.

When you have your first child everyone asks when you are going to have another. Two children is a respectable number per family, people accept that readily. Then if you have two boys, or two girls, then people will accept that you may try again for another. If you have one boy and one girl then no-one asks if you are going to try for more. My first two were a boy and a girl, and if I’m honest, even I felt my family was complete.  Many years later I  had my two girls and I was often asked if I would try again for a boy….mostly by people not knowing I had older children, and already had my boy!

They say the more children you have the easier it becomes. I’ve never really felt that, I know you get used to having children and that elusive handbook of parenting is already half way written, but can you ever predict what your next child will be like? I find having three young children a real handful. I’m sure it was much easier before when I only had two growing up. Or maybe it’s just because I’m older.

Having a larger family also makes life more expensive and more difficult. For instance holidays…I would not be able to afford a holiday for seven of us. Thankfully, my older two wouldn’t want to holiday with us anyway and are quite happy to fund their own holidays. I find it hard enough with just the five of us though, most hotels have rooms for two adults and two children…where do we put number three? Even most places where you can go for a day out will offer family tickets which are for two adults and two children. It seems that having three children is just not normal, which is crazy.

So when do you know you have had enough? I’m not sure of the answer to this, it will be different for everyone. I’ve known women stop at one child because their pregnancy and birth were horrific, or they suffered terrible Post Natal Depression. My first born experience was like that, but it made me desperate to try again to see if I could get things right next time. A little naive of me perhaps, but it worked, my second pregnancy and birth was completely different and I did not get PND again. This is probably why I was content to stop at two, but in reality that was my husband’s decision, deep down I longed for more.

By the time my first two were growing up I was thinking that I would never have any more children and starting to get used to the idea. Then my current OH came along and we decided to try for a family between us. It didn’t happen straight away and I was hurtling towards my forties. We tried everything, then after just over two years it happened. As I said, we were planning on stopping on two but my body, fate or God even had different ideas and along came baby number five. I started with boy and finished with a boy.

Of course after number five I knew my baby days were definitely over. Not only did I feel that my family was complete, I lost all feelings of broodiness and my body was screaming no more. It was not a hard choice for me to stop.

Is it really so wrong to have more than the ‘normal’ number of children. We think about the overpopulation problem but isn’t that more because we are living longer? Were older generations not bigger families, my grandma had eight children? Just because contraception is available it doesn’t mean that people should have smaller families, they should still be able to choose without judgement.

Monday Musings – Migraines

I started suffering from migraines when I reached puberty. They are hormone related and I can just about work out when I’m going to get one.

Before a migraine attack I will experience what I can only describe as flashes before my eyes. Not quite as bright as when a camera flashes in your eyes, similar, just dimmer. I also get little squiggles floating around in my eyes, if you try to look at them they move around so they are never in focus. Have you ever looked at the sun or a light bulb for a few seconds and then looked around and saw things that were not there? It’s kind of like that.

When the pain strikes it’s usually focused in one place. Not like a headache when your whole head aches. With a migraine I can actually point to where it hurts, and it’s almost always the same place. I can also suffer with pain behind my eyes and at the back of my neck.

(N.B. If you are not a migraine sufferer and you get a really bad headache accompanied by pain in your neck please see a doctor as soon as possible as it could be serious.)

The pain will get worse if I turn my head, if I speak, if I move..in fact absolutely anything I do apart from staying very still will make the pain worse. If untreated it is unbearable and will make me feel sick. Sometimes I am sick, and the wrong kind of pain relief can make me feel sick.

I feel best when I am lying down in a dark room, but sometimes that is just as unbearable. The migraine is unbearable.

I cannot watch TV, I cannot read, I cannot use the computer or my mobile phone.

Painkillers will help to make the migraine more bearable. With painkillers I can get out of bed and put on clothes. I can’t really do much else and the relief doesn’t last long.

I’ve tried several things to help me throughout the years and these are what I find most useful.

  • A cold pad on the forehead. I have one that I keep in the fridge. The gel pads you can buy from the chemist for migraines work too. They provide relief for a while, but as soon as you remove them or they get warm the pain is still there. They do not take away the pain. I once felt a migraine coming on while about to board a train for a long trip home. I popped into the chemist and bought some cool pads and didn’t care what I looked like with one plastered on my head. The train was crowded and the whole trip was a nightmare, but it would have been much worse without the pad.
  • Preventative medicine. I use a drug prescribed by my GP which is a beta-blocker. I’m on a very high dose and suffer some side affects, but since taking it regularly I have noticed a change in frequency and length of the migraines.
  • Migraine medicine. You can buy certain drugs over the counter at the pharmacy. They are expensive but can work for some. I’ve tried them all and none worked for me. The one that had a little effect was triptan based. My GP prescribes me a different triptan drug, it dissolves on my tongue so it works quickly. When I take it I fall asleep. I have no choice. When I wake up, mostly the migraine is gone. If it hasn’t then it’s just painkillers and cool pads because I can’t take more than one triptan per migraine. They don’t work like pain killers, they narrow the blood vessels in the brain.
  • keep rehydrated and drink lots of water based drinks and less caffeine based drinks. If I get really thirsty I know I am at risk of getting a migraine. I always carry a bottle of water in the car or my handbag. I also have water by my bedside.
If I don’t take a triptan, or if it doesn’t work my migraines can last up to three days. The first day is the worst, the next two are just like a really bad headache providing I take regular pain relief. Then I am left with a migraine hangover, which does actually feel like a alcohol induced hangover but without having touched a drop.
Some people have triggers which set off their migraines. I get them if I get really dehydrated but I’ve tried eliminating all sorts of foods from my diet to see if it helps with no success. Common culprits are cheese and chocolate.
As my migraines are hormone related I have experienced more of them recently, including a cluster of attacks when I actually thought I was dying it was so awful. Just as soon as one was clearing up another would start. Since then I’ve been particular vigilant in my preventative tasks. My age means my hormones are beginning to change so I think this may become more common for me over the next few years. I am hoping that it will also mean that there is an ending in sight. 
Do you suffer from migraines? If you do you have my sincere sympathy, but do share your tips for getting some relief or preventing them.

Monday’s Musings

I think I may have mentioned this before but I am a seasoned blogger, having set up my first blog back in 1998. My blogs have served many purposes since then but mostly they have been all about my musings, my stories, my takes on my life. In fact, very personal. That’s something I’ve missed here on Raisie Bay. It wasn’t my intention, I even chose a personal name as it’s an anagram of my former name. However, I do feel that I’ve not been very personal, not like I used to be. I guess the main reason being my other blogs were fairly private with only a handful of readers. They were mostly written for me, a way of logging my life, an online diary if you like.

I’ve decided that I would like to bring a little bit more of my personality to this blog. I think I am brave enough now. I’ve had an idea I’d like to implement and I’ve called it Monday’s Musings. I already have a huge list of things I’d like to write about, things that are personal to me but may also be relevant to my readers. So each Monday I will muse about something different.

Now, please don’t get expecting too much. I’ve already decided they won’t be humorous, I think I’m funny but other’s don’t. So I’ll leave the humour to those who are good at it and I’ll just tell it as it is. Also, they won’t be profound, just basic every day musings, they won’t blow you away or have you running to your friends telling them to come and see what I wrote. Finally, I do not consider myself an expert in anything (more like a Jack of many trades). I have tons of experience in a lot of things and hopefully something to share, but I’m not professing my word as gospel. .

I’d like to start with…

Pinterest

I will admit that when I first went on Pinterest I didn’t really get it. I started by just re-pinning things I liked, like cakes, diamonds, anything pink and owls. 
Then I entered a competition to become a Center Parcs Family Blogger and I had to create a Pinterest Board depicting my dream Center Parcs holiday. I was stunned when I was chosen. The competition had shown me how useful Pinterest could be and I don’t just mean in winning me a holiday. The boards are great for putting together a plan, an idea or even a storyboard.
I now use Pinterest for planning almost everything. Recently a friend asked me to make her a wedding cake so I created a board of cakes I thought she’d like and we spent an afternoon going through them all and using them to design her cake. 
I think I use Pinterest mostly for cakes, I’m always collecting pins for inspiration.
If I have a kids party coming up I create a board full of ideas.
At the end of term I created a board full of ideas for teacher’s gifts.
At Easter I created a board full of Easter Crafts and activities.
Now I am decorating my house I have several boards with ideas for different rooms. It just makes like so easy having all these pins gathered together, easy to access from anywhere online. Everything so neat and orderly. It suits me just fine.
Of course Pinterest has other uses too.
When I first joined I ran a small business and was in touch with other small business owners. We would share pins of each others products to help get them noticed.
Similarly, I now share pins from Bloggers so they can share their blog posts and ideas.
Pinterest is also a social media site so remember to be social and comment on pins you like or repin. 
It’s good to follow loads of people on Pinterest, the more you follow the more pins you will see. I have only ever had to stop following a few people, it gets quite annoying when your timeline is totally flooded by one person all the time. 
Most people will go onto Pinterest and pin like crazy, then leave for a while. It’s not too bad so long as you are not constantly pinning. However, I like to pin something, then take a break before pinning something else. the break only has to be a minute or two but it means lots of other pins will come through before your next one and it won’t look like you are flooding.
To me, Pinterest is my online storage place of everything I need to know. I’ve found that organisation is the key and often board need sub-catagories…i.e. Cake board, chocolate cakes board, wedding cake boards, birthday cakes board…you get the idea. Then If I need to to find something that I’ve looked up before it’s easy to find.

Here are a few tips for pinning.

  • Make sure you have a description for your pin. 
  • Have your pin lead to a proper web page with the information promised
  • If posting a picture of lovely food state whether clicking will provide a recipe or not
  • The picture you post as a pin does not have to appear on the website it links too, but the information there has to match up.
Pinterest is one of my favourite places to visit, you can spend hours on there. Likewise you can choose not to visit for days and not feel like you are missing out. It’s very much a take what you need and leave place. 

Decoupage – Three Personalities

My three youngest may be close in age but they are so different in personality. The other day we decided to do some crafting. After a trip to Hobby Craft with Star we had picked up some little figures, a cat, a chameleon and a penguin and some decoupage paper. I’m pretty sure there are cheaper ways to have a go at decoupage but for now they were given a little treat (oh my poor purse!)

I set up the table with an old table cloth (Frozen, left over from party season) a pot of glue and the figures and paper.

First in was the Little Man. He was jumping up the table excitedly and couldn’t wait for instructions as the glue was slapped everywhere. I told him repeatedly to rip the paper into tiny pieces but he just slapped it on his chameleon in chunks. When he was half way through he’d decided he’d had enough and went back to play with his lego, and train set, and garage, and the wii…he has the attention span of a newt. I don’t want to start labelling him just yet but he really strikes me as a child with ADHD. I still have hope that it’s a phase he will grow out of. He’s four years old, the world is an exciting place and there are just not enough hours in the day to play with everything he wants to. He does however go to bed, and sleep. Ok, it took him nearly four years to start sleeping through the night, but he does now. And all of my children have taken a long time to sleep through so I think that’s just a family trait. So, his attention span is short and he spends his day like a little whirlwind. He can’t wait for anything and will ask repeatedly. For instance, if he wants a drink he will keep on asking for it even while you are making it for him. Whenever we go out he is off, rushing ahead. We let him go mostly, only restraining him if we are somewhere unfamiliar, or crowded, or near a busy road. He is pretty good with roads though, he won’t cross until we have caught up with him. Also, he likes to keep us in sight, so if he’s run off a bit too far he’ll run back again. He does worry me sometimes.

The girls arrived at the table at the same time. They are very close as sisters and do most things together.

This was all Star’s idea so she was excited to get to work. She listened to my instructions and worked very carefully. Then about half way through she started to get bored. I did manage to keep her at the table until she’d finished though.
Star finds it difficult to do anything that she has not decided to do herself. It’s not that she has a short attention span, she can spend hours doing what she wants, it’s only if she’s asked to do something else that the problems begin. You can see her fidgeting, itching to get back to something she wants to do. Generally this is her pc or her DS. As I said, she is very close to her sister but is also very bossy and Boo has to do as she is told. Lately Boo has started to rebel in which case Star gives in very quickly, but soon gets her own way anyway. Star doesn’t have any friends, particularly since she hasn’t been to school for so long, so Boo is her only friend as well as her sister. Mostly they get on well, but they do have their arguments too. I love how close they are though. I was the only girl in my family, having three brothers, and I always longed for a sister. I’m so happy that my girls are so good together. The other night I went to check on them before going to bed and they were both in the same bed. I woke Star to go back to her own bed and she informed me that they were having a sleepover….they share a bedroom!

The Last one to leave the table was Boo.

I think this photo sums Boo up perfectly. She gives everything her full attention. She tries so hard in everything that she does. She’s not the brightest spark but she always gets top marks for giving her all and doing the best she can. I told her what to do and she followed the instructions carefully. Each piece of paper was torn up small and glued on seperately. She spent ages covering her figure until there were no gaps at all. She stayed and finished her work long after the other two had gone. Boo is a very caring and gentle person. She was telling Star today that when she came back to school she would save her a seat in the dining room so they could eat together. Boo has lots of friends at school and is always there to help anyone. Boo does get frustrated sometimes, especially when she is being bossed about by Star, then she runs to her room to sulk. She just loves it when Star sucks up to her and agrees to what she wants.

So there in a nutshell are my three little different personalities. Three children that couldn’t be more different, but all get on well. These three are going to look after each other in years to come.

In the meantime I have these three little ‘ornaments’ adorning my bookcase.

My Pregnancies – The Little Man

After the girls I really thought my family was complete, I didn’t plan on having any more children and I wasn’t trying. Then in December 2009 I was busy re-papering the living room just before putting up the Christmas decorations up. I found it really hard going and was so tired. Once finished I realised that my period was late, and my period is never late so I worried a little. My first thought was that maybe it was a sign of the peri-menopause! Before rushing off to get my hormone replacements (only joking) I decided to do a pregnancy test first and splashed out on a stick from the local pound shop. This is how convinced I was that I wasn’t pregnant, I just wanted to rule it out. I was a bit shocked to get a strong positive.

The booking in visit with the midwife was done at home. She told me I would need consultant care. I sighed, I’d always had consultant care because my first pregnancy ended in an emergency c-section. So I complained ‘but I’ve had three vaginal births since my section’ The midwife kindly pointed out that was not the reason for the consultant care, the reason was, in fact, my ‘old age’

At 12 weeks I had a dating scan and a triple blood test. It was advised because of my ‘delicate’ age. It came back as 1 in 7 chance of Downs Syndrome. I went to the hospital to talk about my options. I wished I’d not taken the test. The lady we spoke to was honest and clear in all our options and told us to imagine our own worst case scenarios before decided what we wanted to do next. This is what we came up with;
1. finding out the baby did indeed have Down’s Syndrome
2. having a miscarriage whether the baby did or did not have Down’s Syndrome.

We agreed that number two was the worst possible case scenario and opted out of further testing. It’s a very personal choice but we were happy with our decision. We had decided that we wouldn’t terminate anyway and the only advantage of finding out would be for preparation. I did feel a weight lifted off my shoulders and longed to meet my baby, Down’s or not.

The first five months passed happily, I had none of the worries that had bothered me with my previous two pregnancies, no bleeding which was such a relief. Then it was time for my 20 week scan. We had decided to find out what we were having and were greeted from the moment the scan began with ‘boy parts’ We were overjoyed. He was perfect, he showed no anomalies at all, everything was in place and working properly. The grins continued.

Then the atmosphere changed and the sonographer left us to get a second opinion. Baby was fine but she’d spotted something that worried her. Whispering on the other side of the curtain allowed me to catch the word tumor. My grin was disappearing fast. However, back on the scan and the second opinion was not a tumor but a big fibroid, the size of an orange and almost covering my cervix. It was ok though, I was told that baby could still push his way through and they would take a closer look.

The closer look flagged up another problem. My cervix was funneling, the top part was opening and closing. I had no idea what this meant so I was told I’d be rushed in to see my consultant. He gave me the news that I could miscarry at any time and offered me a surgical stich to close my cervix, which would be taken out closer to the birth. Then I was told of the risks of having a stitch at such a late stage in my pregnancy, in particular infection which could cause a miscarriage anyway. I’d got so far without miscarrying I decided that the risk of infection was just as bad, probably worse than the risk of miscarriage so I declined.

What a day, first the huge high of having a perfect little boy, followed by the incredible low of thinking I may lose him at any time.

The next day I was back in hospital with a nasty UTI and again I was offered a stitch. Again I refused and the anti-biotics cleared up my infection.

My pregnancy continued and as each week passed I became more relaxed. At my 31 week anti-natal the midwife was concerned about the size of my baby and the size of my fibroid and she sent me to see the consultant. He seemed to the think the midwife was wasting his time and did not even examine me.

At 36 weeks I was sent for a growth scan because the midwife was still concerned about my little man’s growth rate. It turned out that he was fine but there was too much liquor and a urine test flagged up protein so I was sent for a diabetes blood test. The test was ok and I was told to go back in two weeks for another scan.

At 38 weeks I found out that he was breech and that my fibroid had grown even bigger so the chances of a vaginal birth were minimal. I’d already been told that I was not going to be allowed to go over my 40 weeks so my best option was to go for an elective c-section. At first I was dismayed. I’d hated my first Caesarian and really never wanted another, but I had to do what was best for me and baby. The chances of having him turned were poor and not advisable with my age and condition (yes, my poor old body was suffering.) Delivering breech was un-advisable because of my fibroid. If baby was in right position and head had become engaged then he could have pushed past the fibroid, but delivering breech could have caused a lot of problems. So I really had no choice.

So the Little Man was born by elective C-section on his due date. We were first into the theatre and he was born at 9.50am. Just before the operation they scanned me again to make sure he hadn’t turned, but he was still feet down. The operation was surreal, so calm and amazing. My first section had been an emergency under a general, so it was strange to be awake while they opened me up. The surgeon’s were lovely and talked me through everything. I told them Little Man’s name and they used it throughout. It was particularly lovely when they held him up over the screen and said say hello to mummy and daddy. Then moments later he was in my arms. My precious little man.


A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I’ve also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me…is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I’ve loved. If I don’t love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It’s always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I’ll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.