Tuesday, 23 May 2017

My get fit (fat-loss) journey | Update 1



Last week I told you guys that I was starting my get fit journey and that I would share it with you, so here is my first update.

I first started this journey by actively trying to work out more and eating more healthy. I found this hard because when you have a baby they're your priority so you often forget to eat or "have no time" to eat. Due to this I decided to loosely count my macros and to start meal planning.

What does counting macros mean?
Well macros basically refer to the protein, fats and carbs that are in your food. You first calculate what your macros and calorie intake should be based on your body weight, daily activities and end goal and then you set out to reach those daily values.

Ever since doing this I have realised 2 things:
1. I've actually been eating less calories than I should, which is not good for weight-loss
2. It's actually quite hard to eat the amount of protein that I should be eating. I didn't realise how little protein a lot of the foods I eat have.

What is meal planning?
It's planning your meals for the day, more commonly weekly, in advance and then just taking them out and eating them as needed.
It's good because it means that, if counting macros, you can just enjoy your meals without having to worry about whether you're getting the right nutrition and it saves time (and sometimes money).

I plan on counting macros for at least 1-2 weeks, just so that I can see what nutrition I'm getting from certain foods so I know which to go for.
Since eating healthier, which for me just meant eating more fruit and veg and drinking more water, and exercising I've realised that I get hungry more quickly than before and so have to eat more often. This shows that my metabolism has already started being more efficient which is good but eating every 2-3 hours is a bit of an inconvenience, with having a baby, but I'm trying to find ways to help me do it.

As I mentioned above, I've been exercising more regularly, nothing major, even just 15-20 minutes of intense exercise 2-3 times a day. I've been going as hard as I can which my body gets used to so after a few days, I increase the intensity again. After not having exercised for over a year it's very important, in my opinion, to slowly build up your fitness and to go at a good pace for you.
I've not noticed many changes in my body so far but it's only early days so I'm not too worried about it.

This update is for my first week of actively trying to loose fat. I will be updating you all every week. So far I've enjoyed learning more about how the body works and what it needs in order to loose fat. I've enjoyed finding out about different types of food and their macros. I've become a lot more aware of what goes into my body and how I can help it to help me in my fat loss/get fit journey. It's only been a week though, so we've still a long way to go.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to either contact me on social media or by commenting on this post. Remember to follow this blog by email and to follow me on social media so that you know when I've a new post up and so you can see us in our day to day through the week :)

So, until next time...

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Eli's 9 month update | Mummy diaries



9 months!! My little baby has reached 9 months!! (Well... 8 days away from 10 months but let's kind of skip over that for the means of this post)
Feels like only yesterday I was given my newborn to hold for the first time. He was so quiet and still, absolutely beautiful. Now he kicks me, punches me; headbutts me, none of it intentionally but it still hurts!!!! Hes still just as beautiful and I love him just as much as I did when I met him for the first time No that's a lie because I love him more, a lot more, my love for him is ever-growing, but you didn't come here for me to tell you how much I love Eli, you came here to see how he's developing and what's been happening in the past few weeks. So, without further ado I shall commence.

Food

We started properly weening Eli from 6 months. Then, he just had purees and extremely smooth soups and veggies (stage 1) but for around 2 months now he's been on to mashed up food, more lumpy. Some days he loves the more lumpy food and others he'll prefer it smoother.  He eats 3 meals a day with 2 snack in between, which is mostly breast milk at the moment just before his naps. He has breakfast at 9:00, lunch at 13:00 and dinner at 17:30, or around those times. As I mentioned, I'm still breastfeeding so if he's ever still a little hungry or thirsty then he has milk. Oh and let's not forget water in a sippy cup at least once a day (although  he doesn't take much).

Sleeping

We're still co-sleeping but hoping to move him to his own bed soon as it'll be safer and more comfortable for us both. It'll be very hard thing to do for Eli and I, I think, as we're both so used to sleeping next to each other. It will be a big change,  a beneficial one for all (which I'm sure Rob will be overjoyed with) so hopefully it'll run smoothly (who am I kidding...).

Development

He can crawl !! I remember watching 8 month updates on YouTube and seeing all these babies crawling and standing up, and although I know that all babies are different and develop at different speeds I couldn't help but feel that maybe Eli wasn't crawling because of me. maybe I wasn't playing the right games or encouraging him enough, but babies will do things when they're ready, and sure enough... Eli is now ready. He speed crawls about the flat, pulls himself up to stand on anything he can, he's now even trying to stand up without having to hold on to anything... he goes non stop!!! It's like he never get tired !!! I'll tell you what though, it's some good exercise running after a wee bubba all day haha!!
He "speaks" a lot too, he can say 'dada', 'dad', 'mamama', ' nana', 'bob' and 'bababa'. I have to say though, I have no idea where he got 'bob' from lol
He has 7 teeth!! Which I guess is a lot from what I've been hearing. He's had them for nearly a month now though with no new teeth coming, guess it's slowing down now, give him some time to recuperate.
He mostly wears 9-12 clothing. Some brands run big and others small so sometimes he can fit into the size down and/or the size up. We've had him on size 4 nappies for a while now, maybe 3 months? We've recently, this week, changed him to the active nappies to help with his crawling, I will post a review on them soon, for now lets just say that I'm thinking of going back to the normal nappies.

Finally, Eli went to his first baby group 2 weeks ago. It was all so much for him, he spent most of his time just watching the other children and stuck to me. He fell asleep before the music and the group was finished, but it seems like he loves it so I hope to return soon.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Eli's "9 month update". If you did and would love to read more posts like this, remember to email subscribe to my blog and to follow me on social media in where you can see our day to day and loads of picture of us, the Jacksons. 

So, until next time...

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

My year out | Maternity leave



This year I've taken a year out from uni to be with Eli for his first year. I thought, at first, that I might be able to go straight back to uni after he was born but since his due date was Aug 20th, he would've been less than 2 months old when I needed to go back. I realised very soon after being pregnant, from the extremely strong bond that I already had with him, that I wouldn't be able to leave him so soon after him being born and it wouldn't work with my breastfeeding plans. I am very fortunate to have been able to make that choice as I know other women, especially in countries which don't enforce paid maternity leave, do not have that choice and are made to go straight back into work after having a baby in order to keep a roof over their heads,  but that's a whole other post.

This year 2016/17 has been a good year. I got engaged, Eli was born, we got married!!




But its also been a very hard year, I had to let go of "someone" dear to me, we've had money problems, I've had my own problems.

You see being a stay at home mum is a lot harder than I thought it would be especially when you're away from "home" and don't have a lot of contact with your friends. It can be very lonely and it can leave you in a bad place. It's not that I have no friends, it's just that some live far away and others have their own lives being students. It's hard, to bring the world of a mum and full time students together as they've completely different schedules. Still it gets lonely, you love your child more than you love yourself but adult contact always helps.

I sometimes feel I give myself a hard time for not having been extremely productive but have I not? I've brought up an extremely healthy and happy baby who's now crawling and pulling himself up on things. I've planned a wedding and baptism in a tight budget. I've now got a weekend job and am hoping to soon get my license before I go back to uni. I mean, I've not invented the cure to anything but I should still give myself a pat on the back no?

When you're used to leaving the house everyday and seeing your friends often to not really speaking to anyone, it gets really hard. Your job now is to clean the house, look after baby, cook, do the food shopping list, get the clothes washed... I have to say... I have had my ups and downs with this but Rob has been very understanding.

Now the time is approaching to go back to uni and for Eli to go back to nursery and I am a little nervous. Mostly because of Eli going to nursery if I'm honest. He's only ever been with me or Rob and even then it's hard for me to leave him, feels like my heart breaks a little. I guess I get scared of missing a beat like I'll go away and come back n he'll be walking or something... but I guess I'll just have to get used to it. He'll be fine, I know it, i mean it's always the mothers that have a harder time and I'm no exception.
I'm also excited though, to go back to learning, to go a step closer to earning my degree, a step closer to a good job that I'll love and a step closer to the next step.

It's been a hard year, but a good year. I've learnt many things that will benefit me forever. I've become a mother and a wife. A stronger woman than I was before. I'll be going back a new person with different priorities, a different way of seeing things, and a more intensified hunger to succeed, to do well, but now not just for me... but for my family.

So, until next time...

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Pregnancy | Expectations vs Reality



Hello beautiful people!! Ladies and Gents, before you got pregnant I'm sure you heard many things about what to expect. Here are some of mine and the reality that I experienced.

1. Expectation

You will get morning sickness.

1. Reality

Morning sickness... Morning?? uhm nope. I will have you believe that this is very misleading because the sickness isn't confined to the morning it happens all day, morning, afternoon, night time and sometimes, even when you're in bed going to sleep. Morning sickness my ...

2. Expectation

"Morning sickness disappears after the first  12 weeks"

2. Reality

Uhm... I'm sorry did you say 12 weeks? then why is it that I'm 28 weeks pregnant and still running for the toilet every now and again especially when I smell my partner...

3. Expectation

You will get that pregnancy glow

3. Reality

More like ' You will look like poop!' I had no glow in the slightest. I gained so much weight, way before I even got my bump so I just looked liked I ate that little bit too much during the Christmas holidays. I will say though, that my nails got stronger and I got less spots. Still, glow is too strong  a word fin my opinion.

4. Expectation

Feeling your baby kick will be amazing.

4. Reality

It's true it felt so amazing and helped us all bond even more. It also gave me pain and cramps but that's okay right? I mean after all the kicks do feel amazing...
No but seriously they were, just wish Eli hadn't decided to kick me so hard when he finally decided to let me know he was okay.

5.Expectation

You'll get to buy extremely stylish and cute pregnancy clothes

5. Reality

You end up just getting over-sized shirts and even buying from the men's section. Comfort, that's all you want.

6. Expectation

Your boobs get bigger

6. Reality

I mean they didn't just get bigger... they went up 4 sizes!!!! I know I used to say I wanted bigger boobs but 4 sizes? hmm okay then...

7. Expectation

Everyone will be in awe with the fact that you're pregnant and give you lots of attention

7. Reality

You get on a packed bus, visibly heavily pregnant, and no one offers you a seat so you end up having to stand up for a whole 40 min journey.... thanks guys...

8. Expectation

Your libido will increase and so you'll have a uhm... "Happy" 9 months, if you know what I mean...

8. Reality

Your partner/ husband/wife doesn't want to go there as they're scared of hurting the baby or, due to some complication you can't or its really uncomfortable because of the I don't know... extremely big bump that's in the way or, you feel the complete opposite... your libido goes down.


You've now reached the ond of this post. I hope you enjoyed it, laughed, related to it and want to read more because if you do I have a little surprise for you... I will be writing another!!! yay!!! There are so many expectations you have for pregnancy that I couldn't write them all in one post.
Remember to email subscribe to my blog so you never miss any new posts.

So, until next time...

Friday, 12 May 2017

Being a new parent | Expectations vs Reality



When you're expecting you get many people giving you both solicited and unsolicited advice, some to scare you and others are genuinely trying to help you. Since becoming a parent for the first time, I've noticed that the expectations I had due to either research of my own, people telling me their experiences and advice or even watching other babies, wasn't necessarily what happened to me. In this post I will be comparing 11 of my expectations of being a new parent versus what the reality was for us.

1. Expectation

My baby will sleep through the night once he gets to [insert week/month]. I mean, Sally kept on bragging about how much of a good sleeper her baby was at 6 weeks so it'll probably be the same for us.

1. Reality

It's 2 am and you're sitting there thinking about that time Sally told you that her baby was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, and how she must've been lying as this is the flipping 2nd time this night that you have had to wake up to put your baby back to bed. Like seriously... 6 weeks... Girl you lying...

2. Expectation

When baby is here we will attend every group there is and we will be extremely sociable and make loads of mummy friends.

2. Reality

9;30... that's the time that a lot of mummy groups start at and okay I guess that's not extremely early and it helps those who have more than one child, but when you've been up all night or you just want to take it easy in the morning that time ain't working. Also, mummy groups aren't always suitable for your little one if he/she is too small and sleeps all day and sometimes not all groups make you feel welcome :/

3. Expectation

Maternity leave will be like a holiday. I mean I'll have so much free time.

3. Reality

Let me tell you... I have never appreciated SAHM more than I do now being on my "maternity leave". I mean free time... what's that? I have no free time!! When Eli was younger I would do some housework and look at him all the time and just enjoyed that blissful time, the older he got, the less time I had. They want to play more and they need more attention as they start to move more. When you're not with them you're cleaning the house or trying to find some time to eat, doing shopping etc etc It's not an easy job and it's not for everyone I mean... people get payed to do this job and they come home shattered... how do you think we feel?

4. Expectation

I will instantly fall in love with him and I will never want to leave him.

4. Reality

I mean for me, that was true. I love spending time with Eli and especially at the start I couldn't imagine being away from him but it can get a bit much sometimes for some people and I know that it's not the same for every mum.

5. Expectation
I will buy him all these cute designer clothes and he will look cute all the time.

5. Reality

Have you ever been with a baby? Are you a millionaire? Because that's what you'll have to be in order to dress your baby in cute designer clothes all the time, everyday. Babies go through so many changes a day due to poo explosions or spit up or when they get older and they start to eat, I mean... you put a bib on, and try to be careful and then your baby will just have a mini wee "fit" and the food goes everywhere. On top of that do you know how fast they grow? like overnight, literally!! It's crazy one day he fits a 6 month vest and the next day its too tight. Also putting them in all these cute outfits etc isn't always very comfortable for them so for me it was cheap but quality clothes that did us best.

6. Expectation

If co-sleeping- It'll be very easy to move my baby to his own bed when he's ready.

6. Reality

When he's ready... I like that phrase but reality is some children aren't ready until they're 8 years old!!! I mean... that's a long time. If it works for you then it works for you, but I will say though that you might have to do it before they're ready.

7. Expectation

I'll never let my baby watch TV

7. Reality

When you literally have no time or space to have your breakfast because your baby is attached to you 24/7 you might just resort to this. I'm not saying I leave my baby glued to the TV and then just go on doing things while he's stuck in front of it but if I need to get up and make lunch for 10 minutes, then why not?  Doesn't make me a bad parent... just means I need to eat!!


8. Expectation

My body will get back into shape in no time, especially if breastfeeding as my weight will just drop off

8. Reality

"Your weight will just drop off', hahahahahaha!!! The amount of times I heard that and the amount of times I wished it were true, but for me... nope. I breastfed and still am and I haven't dropped off a flippin thing. Nope still got my pouch and handles and bingo wings and fatty legs. The only reason I'm not crying in my room at the state of my body is because I get to see that beautiful little face that "did this to me" every day. Every time I see him smiling up at me I think, 'I may look like this... but I have you', and it makes it all worth it, but dang people!! why you gotta lie like that?!? had me hoping and everything...

9. Expectation

We will have a routine and we will always be on time and on schedule.

9. Reality

Routine... What's that? On time... whats that? Oh... yeah I remember... see it was so long ago that I experienced such a thing that I couldn't even remember.

10. Expectation

My baby will never have rants like that in public

10. Reality
...

11. Expectation

Breastfeeding will come naturally to me, and it'll be very easy.

11. Reality

At first breastfeeding was a little hard, because Eli was so hungry and I wasn't producing enough milk or colostrum, as he had just been born, in order to satisfy him and so he wasn't sleeping at all. The midwives had to feed him a little formula so that he was satisfied enough to be able to go to sleep. When we came home though my milk started to flow very well like water shooting out of a squirt gun, to the point where Eli had to try to catch up but sometimes... booby won.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I loved writing it. There were so many of these that I could't write them all down so I will write another post with more new parent expectations vs reality at a later date. If you can think of some that I haven't mentioned or had some similar to mine please comment below to let me know. If you love blog posts like then make sure to subscribe to my email list so you never miss a post in the future.

So, until next time...

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Obstetric cholestasis | What is it?



This post is going to be about obstetric cholestasis and how it affected me. In my last post about pregnancy, Eli's birth story, I lightly touched on it and how it changed the end course of my pregnancy and so in this post I'll go into it a bit more.
Obstetric cholestasis is when your liver stops functioning as it should and you get a build up of bile acids in your body. This causes mild to severe itching which will make you really uncomfortable, but even more serious, it can increase the chances of stillbirth if you have a high bile acids level. There is no cure for it but it tends to go once you give birth. There are different courses of action taken depending on how far along your pregnancy you get it and just how far above the normal level your bile acids are. You get diagnosed but getting a blood test which is called liver function test or LFT for short. Within that test you'll results for your bile acids, GGT, AST, ALT among others. From what I was told and through research, symptoms, itching, typically start at around 30 weeks and tend to be concentrated on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet, but not exclusively.

I started getting itchy around 20 weeks but thought that it was due to an allergy, so I went to the doctors to see if there was anything I could take which would help. When I got to the doctors she thought the same, but since some antihistamines can be bad for the baby when pregnant, she ordered some tests just to make sure it was nothing else. The results came back and she told me that some of the tests came back abnormal and that I should probably do then again because due to body changes and hormones etc. sometimes your results can be slightly higher or slightly lower than usual. I went back, did them again and they were still abnormal, at which point I was referred to a consultant. The doctor never once mentioned obstetric cholestasis or anything else for that matter and so I went and did some research myself. I found out about obstetric cholestasis and thought that maybe that was what I had.

I went to the hospital for my consultant appointment and was met by a doctor who didn't seem to be too interested in me as a legitimate patient. When I got there he, in not a very nice tone, asked me what I was doing there and why had I come there. Immediately I was on edge and didn't feel confident about my situation because if he had simply looked at my pregnancy book, which he had taken off of me at the start, he would've known and also because despite me having done some research myself, the GP that asked for my tests never really told me what was going on or why I needed to be referred to a consultant. I told him that I thought that it was because my tests were abnormal which I thought maybe meant that I had obstetric cholestasis and he just said that they were too low and sent me on my way. It seemed like he was rushing me as he thought that I was just a first time mum who was over analysing things and getting worried for no reason but the thing is that I didn't refer myself... The GP did without even telling me why. This incident got me even more worried because it made me feel like nobody was caring about me and my baby and like I was being pushed round. On top of that, I was getting reduced movements and so I was having to go back into hospital to get a scan to get Eli checked which just made me think that maybe they were all related. Thankfully the scan showed us that everything was fine.

My itching just kept on getting worse and so I went back to the doctors to see if there were even any creams that might help or what else could it be since it apparently wasn't OC. This time, I saw a new doctor that gave me some antihistamines that were okay through pregnancy and said that they didn't know why the last doctor hadn't given me this. The antihistamines didn't work.

I continued to get reduced movements and so had to go into hospital again to go get checks. Between the GP doctors and the doctors that came to check on me when I was admitted, I was told that it wasn't that I didn't have OC, it was that my results weren't high enough for them to be able to do anything about it. Due to the continuous itching and recurring hospital visits for reduced movements I started getting my bloods done every 2-3 weeks and saw a consultant afterwards as well.
The itching again, just kept getting even more worse than before to the point where I couldn't sleep, I'd go out and just start itching outsude, who knows what other people though when they saw me. The GP doctor gave me suggestions on what to try, diprobase, calamine, nothing helped.

At 34/35 weeks I got my last LFT's taken at the GP. I called in around 5 days later to find out about the results. My bile acids were now  over the normal range, which according to my research meant that I now officially had obstetric cholestasis. I thought that the GP would've wanted me to come in, but got told that a consultant already had my results and since I had an appointment with a consultant in the hospital at 36+2, that I should just attend that.

While this was happening, I had heard a youtuber say that one of the mummies from her nct had unfortunately and very sadly lost her little angel a few days before her scheduled induction due to the obstetric cholestasis. This made me even more worried than I was before and anxious to see the doctor.

In the meantime while I waited for my appointment to approach, I was preparing myself mentally as I was expecting to be told that I would have to be induced early at 37 weeks.

My appointment day at arrived and I made my way in. I was sitting in the waiting area waiting to be called feeling both scared yet excited. Scared because I didn't want anything to be wrong with my baby and wanted to make sure that everything was okay, but excited because I might be getting to see my perfectly healthy baby soon. I went in and was met by an extremely friendly consultant who confirmed that my results were now above the normal range and so I had obstetric cholestasis. She told me that in her opinion I should be induced early to remove any chance of any harm coming to me or baby. She then left to go see when they had a space for me to be induced, and when she came back she told me to come in to be induced the next day, THE NEXT DAY!! I mean I was expecting to be waiting at least another 5 days but this meant that I might be able to see him the next day...
I asked her why so soon and she said that it was so that we would both be completely safe and since my last scan showed that everything was okay, it would be safe.

When I left the hospital, I was relieved. Why you ask, I mean I'd now been diagnosed with something that could be dangerous to us, especially Eli, yet I was relieved? Well.. finally I knew that it was OC that I had, that I hadn't just been making things up and getting worried for no reason, that it wasn't just a bad allergic reaction but that there was actually something wrong and that I did well in going to the doctors to get it checked out.

I have told Eli's birth story in a previous blog pot so if you want to know how my induction went, refer to it.

I have to say though that the reduced movements and OC were not related, that I know of.

Something that getting OC has taught me, is to never ignore a symptom whether pregnant or not but especially when pregnant or relating to your child. Always follow it up with a visit to the GP, and if you're still not convinced keep going at it because thankfully, nothing happened to my beautiful little angel Eli, he was born a perfect healthy boy, but had I ignored it and just thought that I was being over dramatic and it was just 'first time mum nerves', it might not have turned out the same.

When I was pregnant I was subscribed to the BabyCentre forum and part of some forum pages. I have to say that being on them helped me out a little as there were some, very few, which is to be expected, mums that had had mentioned a little about their experiences with OC after I asked bout it. Despite there being a few mums on there who helped me learn a little more about it, what I realised is that there wasn't a lot of support from doctors or even a consensus between the health professionals on what levels they deemed acceptable and which required immediate interference. this lowered my confidence in my own doctors and got me even more worried.

I hope that this blog helps someone out there in the same position and makes others aware of OC and what it is.

If you have any questions about OC or anything I've mentioned please do not hesitate to contact me or comment below. You could also get some information on the nhs website.

Update: I have recently been made aware by a mum on mum's group that there is a support group for ICP (another name for OC) on Facebook. The link is ; https://www.facebook.com/groups/icpsupport/
The group was started by a mother who had OC/ICP and works with scientists researching the condition.

So, until next time...

Red lentil and Carrot soup | Recipe



This is a simple, tasty and filling recipe with not a lot of work required. Perfect for everyone in the family, babies included although for them I would consider lowering the amount of stock cubes used in the stock and taking away the chilli powder. I got my inspiration for this recipe from, bbcgoodfoods; https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/red-lentil-carrot-soup .


Prep time; 5-10 mins                                  Cooking time;30-40 mins



Ingredients


  • 175 g Red lentils

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves 

  • 3 carrots, chopped

  • Olive oil

  • 1L of vegetable stock

  • Half a teaspoon of chilli powder

  • Petit pans/bread (optional, to serve)


Method

  • Pour a generous amount of olive oil into your pan and then add the onions and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

  • Add your carrots into the pan an cook until soft (a further 5-10 mins)

  • Add your lentils and stir it all in, then ad your 1L of stock cube made per packet instructions.

  • Add your chilli, lower the heat and let it simmer for 30-40 mins or until everything is cooked through.


  • Take your pot off the heat and blend using a hand blender or eat as is.

Serve with bread or eat it on its own.

Hope you enjoy it all to the last drop.

So, until next time...

Monday, 8 May 2017

Eli's Birth Story - Being Induced


I've been wanting to write/video this for a while but just got to it now. Even though it was nine months ago I still remember just as much then as I do now. In order for you to understand everything completely I have to go back a bit.
 During my pregnancy I kept feeling really itchy which I suspected was an allergy, due to antihistamines being uite dangerous in pregnancy and the fact that it could be something else the doctor ordered for my LFTs, liver function test, a tet that can be used to determine whether you have OC, obstetric choletasis.
Obstetric cholestasis is an uncommon pregnancy condition that affects the way your liver functions and causes itching, I got told that it basically meant that my liver was starting to not be able to keep up with the pregnancy.
When the tests came back, my bile acids, were slightly high but not enough to be concerned for, and the rest of the results were higher than normal but because my bile acids weren't over the thresh hold they couldn't diagnose me.
Keep in mind that I only found all this out at a later date as no one really told me what was going on, so I only found out after asking Dr Google and speaking to my family nurse.
A family nurse is someone who helps prepare you and inform you of what's to come and gives you advice when you need/ask for it. They then also acts as your health visitor after the baby is born but see's you more often than a health visitor does, I believe, every two weeks. You can choose to opt in to the family nurse service if you get pregnant before you are 20 years old but I believe that they should be available to everyone, hopefully one day they will be, and if you ever get offered it I would highly recommend it.
I got my first set of LFTs at around 20 weeks which is apparently quite early to develop OC, but due to numerous GP and hospital visits due to reduced movements and continuous itching, after around 28 weeks I started to get my my LFT's done bi-weekly at the hospital with a consultant meeting nearly just as often.
I will go more into how the itching, due to OC, affected me and my pregnancy journey in general in another post, but for the purpose of this blog I'll skip back to closer to his birth.

At around 34 weeks I went to get my routine LFT. 5 days later I called to check on my results and found out that my bile acids were at the threshold, which worried me as I had recently heard through the vlog of yotuber Rhiannon Ashlee, that one of the mums at her group had unfortunately lost her little angel a few days before her scheduled induction due to her having OC. I got told that since I had a consultant meeting at 36+2 that I was just to wait until then. When I went in I got officially diagnosed with OC and told that it would be safer to deliver early, which I expected. Having said that I expected the doctor to tell me that they would wait until 37 weeks but that wasn't the case, she though it best that I get induced as early as possible which turned out to be the next day. Before I left the doctor told me that with being induced the chances of a cesarean increases which I was hoping wouldn't happen but knew that due to how my mum gave birth to me and my sister, it was a high probability. As soon as I left the room I got onto my phone to call rob, my husband, to tell him what was happening and then my mum, to update her so that she could make arrangements to come over from Belfast. Most of my things were already packed, because as a first time mum I was very excited and keen to do everything early, so when I got home I decided to relax. Night time came and I tried my best to get to sleep early as I'd heard that childbirth is extremely tiring, but I couldn't. I ended up sleeping around 3 hours in total that night, just thinking about what was to come. Cue the next day, Rob worked in the morning and when I called in to see if I could go in, everything was still according to plan. I waited for around 1-2 hours before getting the pessary inserted. Thirty minutes later I started to get these weird pains which I thought were due to the examination but later realised that they were contractions. Later that day My mum arrived at 5 pm, which made me feel so relieved as I didn't want my mum to miss the birth. That night I hardly slept due to all the excitement. I also felt contractions through most of the night and  bounced on the birth ball, but by the time the morning came, they were gone. When visiting hours started again, my mum and Rob came back and unfortunately due to hospital rules only one person can be with you at a time and so they alternated coming in, or sometimes we would all stay in the family room. We played crosswords and talked to pass the time until my next examination at 24 hours after the pessary was inserted. When time came I was so excited, 'I'm going to see my baby soon!!', I thought. All the pain of pgp, pelvic girdle pain, and stretch marks etc were all worth it and soon I'd get to meet him but unfortunately, I had made no progress :( time for the next stage, which was a propess pessary, after which I got some morphine as the pains were getting quite bad.
The propess pessary go in for 6 hours then , an examination after which, if there was no progress, you'd have to wait for 6 hours before having another propess inserted and the same continued. In total you get 2 lots of the propess pessary unless progress is detected, and guess what??? I was the one with no progress, which was quite annoying to be honest because I got all the painful contractions butbnothing to show for it. The doctor came to give me an examination and when she was finished she said, 'You're 2 cms, we can break your waters'... 'exqueeze me... you're talking about me ... you can break my waters... I could not believe what she was saying, because after having had no progress I thought that I might end up having to get a cesarean which I was trying to avoid.
I feel like I had this image in my head that I needed to give birth naturally or I was less of a woman, and although I felt this way about myself, I never once felt like that about other women. Another reason that was such good news... I would get moved to my own room!!! yes!!! Finally Rob and Mum didn't have to go home every time it reached 9 o'clock and I wouldn't have to be on my own :)

When we got into the delivery room I got fitted with a catheter then, my waters were broken. It felt so weird... it didn't quite feel like I was peeing myself, as I've heard some women say, it just felt warm and wet. They started the hormone drip and slowly increasing the dosage. We talked and did crosswords as the contractions started to get more intense. I got given gas and air and more morphine. As the contractions got stronger, the more gas and air I used but it served more as a distraction as supposed to pain relief as it didn't really work that way, this I agree on with other mummies. Due to the pain and exhaustion I wasn't really fully aware of the time, I was half asleep half awake and in pain. I didn't really pay attention to what was going on around me apart from when the midwife came to do the examination, and guess what I heard the most... the words 'I'm sorry, there's no progress' ... the cesarean I didn't want so much kept getting closer and closer to what might end up being my reality. The longer I was on the drip and the more painful the contractions, the more I was warming up to the idea getting a cesarean as I didn't know how much longer I would be able to deal with the pain and I couldn't imagine how good being in labour for that long would be for my cute little baby that I was so excited to see. 36 weeks and 6 days I had him just for me, we formed a bond that we'll never have with anyone else. He felt and heard my heart beat, heard me speak and sing to him. Where I went so did he, I felt his kicks, light and strong, sweet and painful. You will never be as close to another person as you are to your baby, and I just couldn't wait to meet him. After being on the drip all night and having another examination, we all saw that having a cesarean would be the best choice for me. I signed some papers, got taken off the drip, and now it was finally time to meet my angel. Since I could only choose to have one person in the room, my mum stayed behind in the labour room while they took Rob away into another room to get suited,while i made my way into theatre to get me ready. I got another catheter inserted into my hand, in case of any complications, and my spinal, which I must say surprised me as I'd also heard that an epidural/spinal was extremely painful to get, but I didn't think it was that bad. I got sat down on the table and the doctor tested to see if I could feel anything, which I couldn't, after which Rob was allowed in. Next thing I know, Rob is beside me and they tell me they're going to start. I don't know how long it took exactly from them starting to Eli coming out but to me, it felt like a quick 1-2 minutes. They took him out and put him up for us to see, the most beautiful being I'd ever laid eyes on, half me, half Rob. From that moment, nothing else mattered but this little guy that had come out of me, this little guy had changed me from an ordinary young adult to a mother, my baby.

Eli was born at 36+6 on Friday 29th July 2016, at 6:55 am weighing in at 3.1 Kg.




Soon he was in my arms and I got to hold him close, see all his little features, button nose, old man hair haha, chubby cheeks, plump little lips, the spit image of... MY MOTHER !!! Still, he was beautiful, perfect, my all, my everything.

We, Eli and I, stayed in the hospital for 2 days and finally got to go home on Sunday.

This was Eli's birth story, I hope you liked and enjoyed it. I will be writing a post about my pregnancy and going into more detail about OC as when I was pregnant and diagnosed, I couldn't find a lot of information, especially from someone who had it.

So, until next time...

Friday, 5 May 2017

Mothercare Roam Travel system | Review






Background info

When I found out that I was pregnant one of the things I was worried about was, ' how much money are we going to have to spend?', I thought. You see, I knew that babies are expensive and that since I was a first time mum there were a lot of things that I would need to buy for my little one. One of the first things started looking at was a pram.We, due to our financial situation, needed to buy things on budget but at the same time we wanted something that would be safe and sturdy enough so that it would last a while.
Our first stop was Mamas and Papas; we, after attending a 'parents to be'event, went looking around at the prams they had available and we picked out our favourites based on their style, sturdiness, price and whether it came with a carrycot, which was very important to us. We knew we wanted a four wheeled pram and a neutral colour so that we would both feel comfortable pushing the pram.
In between the event and our visit to Mothercare I had also been researching online and had been on online forum for mums and mums to be BabyCentre. Through my research I came across one which surprisingly didn't have a lot of reviews on it, but seemed to fit our needs and budget. That pram was the Mothercare roam four wheel base pram. Knowing our favourite pram before going in saved us a lot of time and hassle as it meant that when we went in we could go straight to it to test it in person. We both decided that we liked it and that it was the one pretty quickly after having had a quick browse through the others. Getting the pram was really easy, we went to the tills, ordered it and then just waited for a text to inform us that the pram had arrived in store. In order to get the pram like the picture we had to buy the the buggy and car seat (which came together) and then the covers separately, but even then it was still cheaper than other competing brands and came in at just over £200 (sale).

Review

When we got the boxes, everything that needed to be there was there so that was a good sign. I had a relatively clear instruction manual on how to set it all up, the only thing that wasn't clear was how to change the main buggy part from a buggy position to the carrycot position. I had to search for it online and even then it required a good few hours before I found the answer (there is a we lever at the top of the buggy which you press and then you pull the carrycot/buggy seat up for the buggy position and push it down for carrycot position). One thing I noticed was that when in the carrycot position the buggy was still slightly tilted, not enough for me to want to return it or for it to affect a newborn baby when sleeping, but enough for me to notice. Apart from that everything else was perfect, just what we had been looking for.




I have been using it from when he was a new born and am currently still using it now that Eli is 9 months old. He, Eli, has seemed to enjoy going into it. It's quite comfortable and has been able to grow with it's been able to grow with him (different positions). The only thing on Eli's part that might make him slightly uncomfortable, is the straps on the pram under the cover, I just tried to position them a far to the sides as possible but would've preferred some type of option to take them off or something similar when in the carrycot position.

The only problem I have with it now, and that some other people might not like, is that it is quite heavy. The only reason it has become a problem is because since getting the pram, we have moved into a 2nd floor flat with no lifts and so getting it up the stairs can be quite the workout haha!!

I am very pleased with my purchase and I believe that it was good value for money. I am now thankful that we didn't decide to break the bank just to get the likes of Bugaboo or Cosatto, because although both those brands have good reviews the Mothercare roam travel system was just right at half the price of a pram from the other brands giving you around the same.

Coming to a conclusion... I highly recommend the Motherare roam travel system and give it  5 Star Rating System 3 and a half stars.

So, until next time...

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Baked Chicken Curry | Recipes



What I have realised ever sine becoming a mummy is that time is very precious, and so I've had to come up with ways to reduce the time I spend doing things such as cooking and cleaning. I've come up with a few hacks to help reduce the time I take to make dinner and this baked chicken curry is one of those. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Prep Time: 5 mins                          Cook Time: 40 mins

Portions: 3-4

Ingredients


  • 1 Can of tomatoes (I use a tin of Italian tomatoes)

  • 2-3 teaspoons of medium curry powder 

  • half a teaspoon of ginger paste

  • half a teaspoon of garlic powder

  • 400ml of chicken stock 

  • 450g of diced/sliced chicken breast 

  • half a teaspoon of chilli powder for a light curry (add more for a spicier curry)

  • Rice and/or Nan bread

  • 100ml Cream (optional)

  • Salt and pepper (to taste but in my opinion not required)

Method


  • Preheat your oven to 200°C

  •    Prepare your stock, add in your spices and mix it

  • In an oven proof dish, add the chicken and prepared stock together and mix it all up. If you have time, leave it to rest for 20 mins.

  • Set a timer for 20 minutes and place your chicken in the oven

  • After 20 mins, take out the dish and add a tin of tomato. Mix it all up again and put it back in the oven for another 20 mins

  • Once the chicken is back in, make up enough rice for 4 people (according to pack instructions)

  • After the second 20 mins are done, take the chicken out and leave it to rest for 5-10 mins. If you want it to be creamy, add the cream but you can eat it without it.


  •  and voila!! Now all that's left to do, is for you to serve it up.





Wednesday, 3 May 2017

My body and mind | Depression | You're not alone (Part 2)

Depression; A mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, typically also with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep.
(depression, def.1. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com, oxford dictionaries)

It started when I was 11/12, I don't know exactly what triggered it but I think it was the lack of friends and feeling rejected. Maybe it was due to bullying from when I lived in Portugal, maybe it was that along with some other things ans one day it all just came to surface at the same time. It could've been due to us not having a lot of money and struggling but just getting by. I was not alone in this situation though, many other people in the world have it worse than me. I mean I never starved, I  got a good education, never had to go without clothes or shoes nor did I ever have to walk miles to collect water for my family, but others have. I guess that knowing that others have been through worse and have it worse off and yet here I was feeling this way when I hadn't been through nearly as much made me feel guilty which made it all worse. I've realised since that things affect different people differently and I shouldn't compare myself nor feel guilty for feeling the way I did because everyone is different.

In the second year that I lived with my dad, I was basically left to my own devices. He worked at night and slept during the day while I was school, and during the weekends he'd go out n do his own thing, although not every weekend. I sometimes had my sister (who was 1) and we would go shopping for food or go out to play and do things on our own. There wasn't a specific system or routine in place and that was what I got used to. Then in 2006 I moved back in with my mum, who was much stricter. I had to be home by a certain time, do certain chores at the time specified, my "freedom" was restricted. I went from doing my own thing to "being locked in a cage", not to compare myself to a dog or anything but at the time that's kind of what it felt like. This was a huge change for me, and along with it, change in school, culture, friends, it was a lot. I also learnt some things that had gone on "behind closed doors " with my mum and dad which affected me a lot. I'm not about blaming and shaming so I'll not get too much into that. I was a daddy's girl growing up, full of hope and optimism and then when my dad was out of contact with me for quite a while it felt like a blow to the gut, kick in the head, felt like a beating. 


I have to pause and give credit to my mum because I became a little bit of a handful, because as I said everything changed for me and I didn't like it, at which point I fought back. Now not in any way shape or form was I a bad teenager, I mostly did what my mum asked, never stayed out late, I had good grades, but I can see that for her with how she grew up and with all of the things that she had going on I was probably quite challenging. My mum was my mum and dad she did everything for us and I appreciate her more than she will ever know.


After the move I was feeling quite wounded and hurt, uncomfortable with my surroundings. I started primary school and made a few friends, no one I talked to after I left primary school. Secondary school came, and as I mentioned in my last post I started off with no friends which made me feel even more rejected. I went to school, did my work and sometimes some activities, went home and had no one. This all just happen to coincide with the "EMO era", which I'm only mentioning because it was those songs that made me feel "better", made me feel like I wasn't alone in feeling the way I did. To the outside world I was fine but as soon as I went back into my room I was my true self, I felt broken, alone, unfit, I just wanted all of this to stop I wanted to go "home" but I didn't know what "home" was to me, the only answer was to leave. Leave to where? you ask, leave this world where I felt like I wasn't accepted, I wasn't meant for it, not that I was better for it the complete opposite, I wasn't good enough for it. I was dragging everyone down and I needed to go somewhere else, "home". To me "home" was heaven. You see I grew up in a Catholic household in a predominantly Catholic country. I went to Sunday school and when I went back to live with my mum I did my  confession, communion, confirmation, attended church, the lot. I thought that if I killed myself I would go to heaven an the world would be a better place. I thought that all of these feelings would stop and I'd finally stop hurting, there would finally be some light. I think that this was my last hope for something good, but that I never really believed that that's where I would go, but ending the pain was more important. When my mum would see me upset she would tell me to read my bible, which I disregarded, but one day I gave it a go. I saw that if I had carried on with what I believed to be my only option I would be committing a sin. If there's anything I held on to relatively tightly was faith, although through those times it was getting thinner, I still had a thread of it left, and not to sound like I'm trying to push religion on you, I'M NOT,  but for me that's what stopped me from making my last bad choice on this earth. I say my last bad choice because you are worth being on this earth, you' re more than worth it. You're not alone in feeling the way you feel and hopefully if you do reach out someone will help you. Unfortunately this help isn't available in all parts of the world. 

Despite my faith, or the fear of facing something even worse, stopping me from trying to leave this earth, it didn't stop me from feeling the way I felt. It affected all parts of my life. I felt disconnected to everything and everyone, and eventually I started to inflict pain on myself. It made me feel slightly better, momentarily, it made me feel alive and it helped disguise the other pain that I felt. 
I started getting friends in school but even then I was still unhappy. I would pretend to be happy, pretend to be content with my life, I would laugh, make jokes and then I'd go home and back into that empty hole. Every now and again my facade would crack, where something as small as a teacher taking a long time to come to me when i had my hand up would make me cry, I couldn't help it. 

I started to get more friends and continued to pretend to be "normal", when one day, I couldn't even tell who I was anymore. I couldn't tell if I was the person I was pretending to be or someone else. I couldn't tell if the things I did and said when I was in the company of others was for their benefit or mine. Either way, I kept pretending and with the help of friends, unbeknownst to them, I started to get better without even realising it. I started not to just pretend to enjoy things but actually enjoying them to the point that the person I was pretending to be and the person I was, became one and the same. I guess fake it til you make it kind of applies. 


In my last post I said that this post was going to be about how I "overcame" depression, and the reason I wrote it that way is because, for me at least, its something that is never really over, its something I will have to deal with forever. When I feel like I'm going back into that state I make sure to surround myself with friends and family, I make sure that I don't stay alone or get so busy that I go back into it without even realising it, I take time out and recharge. 


When I got pregnant, I felt the increase of a feeling that I only got every now and then, this being anxiety. I guess I could attribute this to the change in hormones. Now most days I feel anxious to go outside, 'what will people think of me?', 'how will they judge me?', I get scared and upset at the though of having to leave the house, I crave and yet fear the same thing... human contact. This makes it hard to make friends. It's hard to explain why I feel this way, I just do. Some days are better, others are worse. Being with someone while out helps but some days it's not enough.


From what it seems I will forever have to deal with this, maybe it's because it never really got resolved or maybe its because even if it did I still went through the things that got me there and so they will always be there to try to drag me back. I don't know, but for now as I said despite the anxiousness and the feeling "down" every so often, I'm the happiest I've ever been. I believe this is due to my beautiful family, especially Eli. 


If you ever feel like I felt or even the start of it please seek help, please try to talk to someone, but in between now and then you're not alone in this world I'm here with you and you are worth it, the world isn't better without you, things will hopefully, with some help, get better. If you ever need to talk to someone, I am here. Whether you know me or not sometimes an hear helps, so that you're not the only one bearing all this pain without being able to share it, without letting someone know. Please remember these words, although it may not feel like it at the time, YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!! don't let anyone or anything make you think otherwise, because you are.


I'm hoping that by next week I'll have numbers for some good people to get in contact with if you're ever in that position.


https://www.facebook.com/melbabae

(if you want to get in contact with me, just private message me)

I hope this has helped someone in anyway or at least even enlightened someone on what in feels like to be in such a deep hole, even if I was only able to explain a fraction of what it was like for me.


So, until next time...

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