My Pregnancies – Boo

Last time I told you all about my pregnancy with Star which was worrying because of all the bleeding. I also had very bad SPD.

Before getting pregnant with Star both me and my other half had had fertility tests, but we never really had an explanation as to why it wasn’t happening. However, it did happen in the end and just after Star’s first birthday we decided it would be nice to have another baby. We also decided to go for it straight away as I wasn’t getting any younger and we could be trying for a long time. Four weeks later I had a positive pregnancy test!

Then around six weeks into the pregnancy I started bleeding again. I also had a pain in my shoulder which was really worrying as my midwife told me it could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. A visit to the Early Pregnancy Unit showed that it wasn’t but they couldn’t tell me why I was bleeding. I tried to remain calm, I’d experienced the same with my previous baby and she’d been ok. It’s still such a worry though.

The bleeding continued and I ended up back at the EPU again at nine weeks and thirteen weeks. A dating scan showed that baby was doing fine and again I tried to be calm. I then had a whole three weeks of no bleeding, but I had fortnightly checks with my midwife.

When I had my twenty week scan it was seen that I had a low lying placenta which was in fact covering my cervix. This was given as a possible reason for the bleeding. So for the first time I had a reason, but it didn’t make me feel any better, especially when they told me that if it didn’t move it could prove dangerous later in the pregnancy and I would most likely be having a C-Section.  I was booked for a thirty six week scan to see if it had moved. Another animality picked up on the scan was the increased amount of fluid around the baby.  They told me that it could be that baby was not swallowing properly or the kidneys where not doing their job. They even said it could mean the baby had a chromosomal problem. I tried to feel consoled with the fact that they did a detailed scan on the baby and believed the kidneys and bladder to be working ok, and I saw baby blowing bubbles which had to be a good sign. Then, with two much fluid I was in danger of developing polyhyrdramnios which could mean ending my pregnancy stuck in hospital and becoming incredibly huge. Suddenly all the bleeding didn’t seem so bad in comparison.

The gorgeous Boo at 20 weeks, perfect in every way, just a shame mummy was not so perfect too.

Just a few days after my scan I was back in hospital after a really big bleed and a lot of pain. They blamed my placenta. I was tested for infection because of the pain, but after a couple of days things settled down again. I did, however, continue to bleed sporadically for the next two weeks.

I made it to thirty six weeks and went off for my scan, fingers tightly crossed. After much scanning and checking and double checking and even more scanning (I couldn’t say they were not being thorough  the final diagnosis was….the placenta had moved. whoo hoo! There was a 5cm gap which was deemed big enough for me to try for a vaginal birth. The estimated weight of the baby at this stage was 7lb 6oz. Wow! big enough to come out already….please!

A week later I was bleeding again. Worried that it could be placenta praevia because my placenta was still pretty low I was sent for a check-up. The blood turned out to be from a burst varicose vein! phew!

I went into labour while watching Eastenders. The contractions where pretty strong but five mins apart so I expected a fair wait. At 10pm I decided to go to bed. I knew I wouldn’t sleep but hey, it would be nice if I could get some rest. At 11.30pm I was in the taxi on the way to the maternity hospital. On arrival I was examined and found to be 4cm dilated and in established labour.

My midwife was a student and she was lovely. Just a few hours after arriving in the delivery room I was pushing. The midwife broke my waters, boy it was like Niagra Falls, I thought it would never end. Then I foolishly hoped that that huge bump had been mostly water and my Boo was going to be really small. By now it was the early hours of the morning and I was shattered. So tired I didn’t want to push anymore, I wanted to sleep. I had to find the energy deep inside to push out my baby. My lovely bouncing 9lb baby girl. so happy I hadn’t found out the flavour at the scan. We’d called her Boo while still inside, and even though she does actually have a name we still call her Boo now!

Then we had a little more drama as Boo had passed meconium while inside and was rushed off to have her airway cleared. I could see them working on her in the corner of the room and it was so terrifying. Just a few moments later she was breathing and they brought her over to me. That few moments had felt like a lifetime to me.

Then we celebrated because my Boo was the student midwife’s fortieth delivery which meant she became a fully qualified midwife.

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The magic moment when I met my Boo!

Bloggers Are Also Bonkers!

Last year I went to Blog Camp and it inspired me to write this blog. I did have a blog (or three) at the time, but I didn’t really have a direction (read as- a clue as to what I was doing)
Going to Blog Camp taught me many things. One was that is was ok to change your blog, you see that’s where I’d been going wrong, instead of changing my blog I started a new one and had several blogs all going in different directions. So I came here, to this blog which was called something completely different and basically a load of crap and re-invented it (to hopefully something a little less crap!)

Last year I also learnt a lot about taking photos and editing them. Something I’m still not brilliant at but I think that’s because I need a more fancy camera that will do all the work for me, any PR’s out there got one they’d like me to review? (If you don’t ask, you don’t get)

There was lots more that I learnt but that was last year and now I’ve just been to Blog Camp  Summit this year and learnt a whole heap more. I just wanted to point out that it was last years event that started me out on the path I am now, and I’m come such a long way (don’t bother going back to look at the rubbish posts in my history, I’ve deleted most of them) and I’ve made so many new friends. I’ve gained so much from my blogging but my proudest moment has to be becoming a finalist in the MAD blog awards. So you see, these brilliant Tots100 events can bring you great rewards.

So what did I learn this year?

Well,. first up, I have to say I’ve become a lot fitter and the four flights of stairs didn’t phase me (I think they almost killed me last year)

A grill session with some great bloggers ( Sally from Who’s the Mummy, Chrissie from Mediocre Mum, Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Ruth from Geek Mummy) taught me that it’s ok to take time out from blogging if you need to. Also, you need to follow your heart and take your blog where you want it to be. Find your voice and do things your way, it’s ok to do reviews and sponsored posts if that’s what you want but you will learn in time how to balance things out and keep your readers happy. One more tip was to make a sock puppet, but the reason why is a secret only for those in attendance. Finally, Sally gave us a quick lesson on the metrics of the Tots100 ranking, which really is quite simple, honestly.

number of people who love your blog + number of people who loved your blog even more in the last month + number of people who like socialising with you x number of kids you have + how many bathrooms you have – number of people you’ve p**d off in last three years (or something like that)

An advanced SEO session with Judith Lewis taught me that I need to analyse some brilliant keywords for my blog and create a new page for them to bring in the traffic from search engines. This procedure involves much work and spreadsheets, apparently spreadsheets that have pretty colours work better. I can’t go into too much detail here right now (it was a lot to take in and would take up a lot of this post) but once I’ve had a go and worked it out for myself I may just make a new post to let you know how I get on and if it works.

After lunch I went for an interesting talk on Pinterest by Cathy James from NurtureStore. Now, I’ve used Pinterest for a while, I find it a great resource for, well, practically anything I’m planning from parties to picnics, wallpapers to cake decorating. However, I’ve never fully optimised it for my blog, and didn’t really know how. But now I do and it’s pretty straightforward. You can create images specifically for Pinterest to go with your blog posts and you can cross post your images to different but relevant boards (so long as you don’t do it all in one go) Images should be portrait rather than landscape and your boards should be organised on your page with the most appealing images as the cover. Also, up to 50 is the optimum number of boards to own. Apparently Pinterest can bring  you lots of traffic to your site and I have to admit I have noticed this from an image I posted from my daughter’s birthday party last year.

We also had a talk from some PRs from Frank, Volvo, Parent Dish and Argos which was very interesting. It’s always good to know how the PRs work and how they want to develop their relationship with bloggers.

Finally, we had an amusing talk from Andy Cope who told us about his research into why only 2% of us are happy and what we can do about it. In a simple summary you have to stop chasing happiness, for example, stop saying you will be happy when you achieve ‘this’ or you will be happy when ‘that’ happens. Instead you need to chose to be happy anyway. His little tip was to wake up every morning and be thankful that you don’t have toothache. So you need to stop being a mood hoover, moaning about everything and waiting for happiness to happen and instead chose to be happy anyway. I like to think I’m an optimistic person, and I think the best of people and look for the best in situations. Even so I know I’m guilty of chasing after happiness. But now I’m going to just chose to be happy each and every day, and as for the mood hoovers in my life, well hopefully I can make them happy too.

Just one more thing to say, did you know, Bloggers are awesome!! It’s true, I met some really lovely people at the summit and I know some of them will be real friends from now on.
Bloggers are also Bonkers! <<<<< click for more photos

from left to right Jaime from The Oliver’s Madhouse, Charly from PODcast and me!

Choosing A Name For Baby

Did you pick your child’s name before they were born? How did you choose the name, does it have a special meaning for you?
When my first child was due I had no idea if he was going to be a boy or girl and although I was quite set on a girl’s name I hadn’t really made up my mind about a boy’s name. However, a soon as I saw him I knew what his name would be. 
With my second child I gave the honour of choosing to her daddy. As soon as he said her name, a few minutes after the birth, I loved it, even though I’d never heard it before.
With the three younger children we used names from loved ones who have passed on for either their first or second names. 
Emily Davies Writes – What’s in A Name? Where she looks at the meaning behind the names she has chosen for her new baby girl. And Over40andMumtoOne tells us why she chose the names she did for her little boy. Others have told me that they chose names from favourite tv/film characters and some have been careful about choosing names too popular. Some say that the name hasn’t been an option until after baby is born and they can decided what suits them. Some look closely at the meaning of names, some make up their own. You can gain insight or inspiration by looking at top baby name lists for boys and girls. 

The most unusual name in my family is my little great niece, Nevaeh (pr.Nev eya) have you heard that name before? I hadn’t. Now read it backwards. She’s a gorgeous little girl, truly heaven sent.

Celebrities sometimes start trends with names but would you name your child after a fruit like Gwyneth Paltrow who called her daughter Apple? Maybe the name Theodora will become popular after Robbie Williams gave the name to his daughter last year? I didn’t spot a trend when Victoria Beckham gave her daughter, Harper Seven, a number as a middle name back in 2011. 
Jack and Olivia have been very popular names for some years now but they have knocked off the top spots by Harry and Amelia. See chart below for more popular names for 2012. My children’s names do not make it to the top 10 but are not so uncommon that they don’t feature in the top 20 to 40. 
Choosing a name is a personal choice, and also a difficult choice because in reality it’s not only you who have to live with it. I could have called my son Arthur, which I think is a little old fashioned but still a nice name, but put it with his surname, Stone and it sounds silly. Say it out loud Arthur Stone! Again, I could have called my daughter Precious or Gem.  Someone told me of a little boy called Ben with surname beginning with D. There are two Ben’s in his class at school so he gets called Ben D. There is so much to think about when choosing names. One thing I missed when choosing my older children’s names where their initials. The are not bad, but they are the same and my son’s initials (CASS) spell out most of my daughter’s name (Cassie) It also means I have to look at any post that arrives for them very carefully. My mum had the same problem when my brother lived at home, 
she was Mrs J B. He was Mr S J B. 
The following infographic from Bounty shows the most popular names of 2012 as well as looking at some trends. It seems that the Royals have had some effect with Harry being top of the list for boys and Catherine rising 21 places. Some of the most unusual names include Tinkerbell and Nemo, seriously? I like that 80% of girls called April were born in April, but only 35% of girls called May were born in May. 
Do feel free to let me know in the comments why you chose the name you did for your child.

Baby Names Infographic from Bounty

The infographic is provided by Bounty. All other thoughts and comments are my

A Night Out With The Girls

A few weeks ago I had a night out with the girls, well really it was a weekend out with the girls.We met up on Saturday morning in a very sunny Nottingham, spent the day together, booked into a hotel and then in the evening went out on the town. It’s not something we do very often as we all live in different parts of the country, but we have been friends on-line for many years.

On our night out we went for a meal, after much deliberation we ended up in Pizza Express, then on to the bars. We had cocktails in an Eerie pub, which was supposed to have been scary, but I was disappointed with it’s eeriness, there were no demons or vampires and the only spirits were the ones behind the bar.
At the end of the evening we found ourselves in a church. No seriously! The Pitcher and Piano used to be a church before it was turned into a bar, it still looks very much like a church, if you can imagine a packed out church with people drinking alcohol and dancing to loud music.

Me and my friend on our night out

I think as you get older a night out with the girls is one of those rare events. Often with children to look after it’s difficult to muster up the energy for a night on the town with friends. I do think it’s something that should be done occasionally though. I can meet friends at playgroups or the park, but nothing beats a good night of fun, laughter and even a little alcohol.

Another option is a night in with the girls. This survey by Ladbrokes Bingo shows that nearly 70% of the ladies surveyed preferred a night in with the girls than a night out on the town. The reasons given were cost, it was cheaper to stay in, not having to queue for drinks and no chance of bumping into your ex. What about no queues for the toilet? I think that would be top on my list. So less women are dressing up and painting the town red, preferring to stay home and gossip with the girls instead. Well, apart from my home town  Birmingham where it falls to 58% preferring a night in to a night out.

I have to admit, although I loved my night out with the girls, the most fun was had during the day time, and back at the hotel afterwards. At least you could actually hear each other speak, and kick of those heels that might look gorgeous but boy do they make your feet sore! Another pet hate of mine also mentioned in the survey was queuing for drinks, does anyone actually enjoy that part of the evening? Squished up the bar amongst a load of strangers getting drinks spilled over you, I don’t mind paying for a round if you go and fetch it.

So, what do you prefer, a night in with the girls, or a night out? My Birmingham girl friends are off out on Friday night if you fancy coming.

This post has been published in association with Ladbrokes Bingo.

Visiting Mum

It seems not so long ago that I would be visiting mum at her little house with the pretty garden. We’d put the world to rights over a cup of tea, after she’d given me a low down on all the soaps she watched. I was almost tempted to start watching the soaps myself as I started to miss them, but who has the time? Not me! I did start watching Strictly Come Dancing though because I’d grown fond of it after watching it with her when she was really poorly. I remember the last final when she was in the hospice, she didn’t really have a clue what was going on but she smiled when I told her that Tom had won, he was her favourite, he had to be, he was a soap star. Mum passed away in the hospice on December 25th 2008, just two weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. I would give anything to sit with her and chat over a cup of tea, I miss her so much.

Mum never met The Little Man so I like to take him to visit her. He likes the bus ride and the opportunity to help out. The church where my family are buried is 227 years old, it celebrated it’s 200th anniversary the year I was married there. It’s a lovely church and I’m happy that my family is there together.

st laurences church
It was a beautiful day today and the church looked lovely in the sunshine. We even spotted a squirrel in a tree. The cheeky little animal didn’t run away but stayed there long enough for me to get a photo. Can you spot him?

The Little Man was really helpful, he knew where to get the water from, he filled up the flower vase and helped me arrange the flowers before taking the leftover bits to the bin and helping me clean the headstones. Mum would have loved him, I wish she could have met him and he his nanny.

Also in the plot is my daddy who died in 1973 when I was a little girl. Then there is my nanny who died in 1996 from pneumonia, and finally the ashes of my younger brother who died January 2009, the day before mum’s funeral. From when I was small I have always visited this grave. After my nan was buried there mum’s eldest sister looked after it, now it’s taken care of by me and mum’s youngest sister. I wonder if the Little Man will continue once I get too old? 
I know this post might seem morbid to some, but to me it’s just my way of visiting my family. I can’t share a cup of tea with my mum but I can still talk to her and give her some pretty flowers to let her know I love her still. And you have to admit, it is a beautiful church, and the grave always looks so pretty when I leave.
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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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.