Thursday, 28 February 2013

Potty Training Difficulties

Potty training can be one of the most stressful times for both you and your toddler.

Some toddlers are easy to train, like my eldest daughter! One day, when she was 2, she suddenly realised she was a big girl and didn't want to wear nappies anymore she wanted to wear big girl pants. So we put a pair on her and she was dry from that day on and was even dry at night. Sadly the being dry at night didn't last for long as she became a bedwetter, but we managed to overcome that little obstacle eventually (see Dealing With Bedwetting)

My son took a little longer, but then he was the eldest and boys are sometimes harder to potty train. He eventually got the idea when he was 3 after several accidents at home and out and about. 

My 6yr old daughter was a little harder. She's very lazy and liked the convenience of wearing a nappy and not having to disturb her play to go on the potty. Eventually we managed to persuade her that she was a big girl and big girls wear panties. Although we're still having a struggle in getting her to remember to wipe afterwards and wash her hands!

However my 3yr old is a completely different matter and is proving to be harder than any of the others to train. The problem is she likes wearing nappies and insists on wearing them. If you try and put panties on her, she will throw a tantrum and doesn't like having her nappy changed at all. We've tried buying her special big girl panties of her favourite TV character that she chose herself, but even that hasn't helped. During the day, when we're at home, she will run around without a nappy and will quite happily use the potty, but when we're out and about she won't ask to go and will just wet herself. The biggest challenge is, she will not poo on the potty! If she doesn't have a nappy on, she will wait until bedtime and when she has one on to poo, usually several times meaning several changes in a short time. It doesn't help that she seems to poo more than once, every day! She started playschool last September when she was 2 1/2 and because she didn't like going and would cry every time I left her, I decided to leave her in nappies rather than throwing having to ask to go potty whilst she was there, especially as their bathroom is upstairs and it can be hard for the staff to take her when she needs to go. She still is reluctant to go to playschool, although she is getting better and doesn't make as much of a fuss. At the moment she only goes twice a week for 2hrs, but from Easter she will be entitled to free playschool and will hopefully going every day. I really want to get her out of nappies before she starts going to playschool every day so any advice on how to encourage her to use the potty for poos and also ask to go when we're out and about are greatly appreciated  We've tried a sticker chart and making a big fuss with lots of praise whenever she's used the potty and I don't know what else to do. 

Filming for Helimeds

On Monday we had another camera crew visit us!

Last time it was for the Tesco Uniform Competition (See Movie Star For A Day and The Winners Story)

Today it was a two lovely people from ITV Wales and S4C who were filming us as part of the new series of the TV show Helimeds. Helimeds follows the work of the Wales Air Ambulance, a vital emergency service which can reach anywhere in the country within twenty minutes of an emergency call and in the most serious cases the helicopters can make the difference between life and death. 

I knew they were interviewing in my in English as well as in Welsh and I must admit I was really nervous about speaking Welsh. My Welsh is very poor as I lack confidence and the more I don't use it the more I forget and the less confident I feel about using it. I moved to Wales from England when I was 6 and the primary school I attended was very Welsh and by the time I left primary aged 11 I was fluent in the language and could even pass as someone who used Welsh as a first language! Sadly in my Secondary school I got away with speaking English in all my classes, including my Welsh class, and slowly lost the ability to converse confidently. This was made worse when I left school as in the various jobs I did I didn't have to speak Welsh. 

Translation - I Speak Welsh

Now that my children attend my old primary school and are learning through the medium of Welsh I have started going to Welsh classes to try and relearn my Welsh and I keep hoping that one day my knowledge will come flooding back, but sadly my sink hole brain seems just as determined to keep it lost!

Hubby is a Welshman, but he rarely uses Welsh and the town we live in is very Anglicised. It is a tourist destination and even uses it's English name even though it has two perfectly good Welsh names! However I work in a more Welsh town at the checkouts of a supermarket and I do try and speak Welsh, something that the customers seem to appreciate although they can tell I'm a Welsh learner.

The original plan had been to interview on my own whilst the children were in school and the toddler in playschool, but since my 7 and 3yr olds have chickenpox my mum came over to watch them. I kept my son off school as well as I knew they wanted to interview him as he had been around when I had been airlifted so only my 6yr old was in school. 

They arrived just after 9am and following a cuppa and a chat we were ready to begin filming. I did ask my son to take photos but he only managed one before claiming the camera didn't work! He did get a nice one of me ready to be interviewed though!

We sent my son upstairs to be with his sisters, when all of a sudden we heard this almighty crash! The girls were sitting on the stairs watching what I was doing and my son was in my bedroom playing on the wii. When I went in my bedroom I found my storage heater had fallen off the wall and that's what had caused the almighty bang! Relieved no one was hurt, I went back downstairs. 

By now my mum had arrived to watch the children, but I did have to run upstairs a couple of times to ask them to be quiet as we could hear them bagging on the floor, each time the culprit was my 3yr old!

Finally we managed to do the English interview and we started the Welsh. Now as I've already explained, my Welsh is very poor and we had a lot of stops and starts and of course the more we had to stop the more stressed I became and the more I stuttered and forgot my Welsh. The interviewer was really helpful and would tell me ways of saying what I want to say in Welsh, but then I would try and I would immediately forget what she had just told me to say! Eventually we did manage to do it and I breathed a big sigh of relief!

Hubby popped home for lunch then and they managed to persuade him to take part. Just like me they interviewed him in English and then Welsh, but I don't know what he said as I wasn't in the room with him. I did hear a lot of laughing though and the interviewer told me afterwards he got a little bit emotional talking about what happened and how close he came to losing me. This was really nice to hear, as hubby is what I call a man's man and he doesn't like showing his emotions, something that drives me mad because I want him to show me!

Afterwards they wanted to film me doing something, so I spent about 10 minutes taking 4 clean glasses out of the dishwasher and putting them away, several times! Which was quite funny! Then they wanted to film me doing something with the boy, so we spread some books over the table and we started searching for The Stig in his "Where's Stig" book (based on Where's Wally or Waldo as he's called in America but with a Top Gear twist of finding their tame racing driver known as The Stig)

The plan originally had been to come back during the Easter holidays as the older two are having a joint birthday party, and film the 4 of them then. Because the girls hadn't been around when I was airlifted which means that the Air Ambulance saved their lives as well as mine, they didn't want to introduce the girls until the end of the piece and that their party would be the ideal time to do this. However they changed their mind and decided to film them all that day, which meant I had a quick dash to school to collect my 6yr old as I didn't want her to miss out. 

They decided to take advantage of the fact we have the beach on our doorstep and filmed the boy putting on his shoes and my 6yr old putting on her coat as we got ready to get out. My 7yr old suddenly got shy and refused to go downstairs unless she was attached to my arm, which was quite tricky getting down the stairs without falling! We then had a short walk along the promenade which runs alongside the beach before going onto the beach and walking along looking for shells. 

Finally it was over, we said goodbye and the boy and the 6yr old went back to school whilst I took the 3yr and 7yr olds home with me. 

The show will be on ITV1 in June, but I'm not sure when it will be on S4C.

If you can't wait till then and want to know what my story was, you can read it here

 If you want to help support the Wales Air Ambulance, which is funded by donations and isn't entitled to any government or National Lottery help, then check out Katie Cupcake Cymru and her fabulous Barmouth Big Knit, which raises money for the Wales Air Ambulance and the RNLI both important charities which survive thanks to generous support and fundraising!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Reclaim Tax For Wearing A Uniform At Work

Nearly every day I see a post on Facebook about reclaiming tax for wearing a uniform at work but what people don't realise is that they charge you for just sending a letter, a letter you can easily send yourself! In fact most of these sites have blocked me from commentating on them because I tell people to do it themselves. 

It's really easy and simple to do, as long as long as ALL of the following apply
  • You wear a recognisable uniform that shows you've got a certain job, like a branded t-shirt or police uniform. (Although some people have managed to reclaim even if they wear plain clothes, without a logo that you only wear for work may count)
  • Your employer requires you to wear it while you're working
  • You have to pay to clean, repair or replace it yourself. However you can't claim if your employer washes your kit, provides facilities to do so (even if you don't use them) or pays you for doing maintenance.
  • You paid income tax in the year you are claiming for you work?
However if you are in the Armed Forces then you needn't bother going through this process as the cost paid for the maintenance of their uniforms should be dealt with through their tax code with their tax-free personal allowance being raised to compensate for the outlay. 

If you can say yes to all of the above then the next step is really easy to do and only costs the price of a stamp! You just need to write to;
HM Revenue and Customs
Pay As You Earn
PO Box 1970
L75 1WX
Write "Repayment Claim" on the envelope to speed things up. 

The letter should include and mention the following (where applicable)
  • Employer's name and address and dates of employment for the past four years.
  • Your occupation, job title, industry sector and national insurance number
  • Details of any laundry or cleaning services provided by your employer (if any)
  • Details, if any, of payment or vouchers provided by your employer to cover laundy or other costs. 
  • Why your uniform can't be worm outside work (i.e it includes the company logo)
  • Whether you want the rebate to be deducted from the current year's tax or you would like a cheque. 
You can claim for the past 4 years and it will take up to 5 weeks for the claim to be processed. How much you can claim back depends on how much tax you pay. Basic taxpayers can reclaim £12 back per year and higher rate tax payers can claim £24. Some occupations do pay more, especially if you have a specialist uniform which means a higher rate tax payer would get back £56 per year. Check the full list of occupations to see if yours is listed. 

It really is that easy and quick to do and both my husband and father have reclaimed their tax (thanks to my letter writing skills!). So why pay a claims handler (like one of the ones advertised on Facebook) £10+ when you can do it yourself for FREE just by writing a letter!!!

Please share and pass on this message as no one needs to pay when they can do it themselves!

A massive thanks goes to Martin Lewis and the team at MoneySavingExpert for all the information contained in this blog post. I thoroughly recommend signing up to his weekly email

Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy

Being told you have gestational diabetes can be scary. All of a sudden you're told you have a serious medical condition that you didn't before and you feel scared and alone and don't know who to turn for advice. I even remember thinking "But I don't eat that much sugar, how can I be diabetic?" You start to worry about your baby, what does it mean, what will happen, is my baby at risk, will my baby be born with it, am I now diabetic, do I need to inject myself? Questions buzz around your head and you feel very scared, but you might have a few days before you see anyone about it. 

So I hope this post will answer some of your questions until you see a specialist. If you have any worries or questions then make sure you write them down to take with you to your first appointment otherwise you might not remember them. I hope this post will help put your mind at ease and help explain your condition to you. The answers have been taken from what I was told and have learnt since I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 29wks pregnant with my 4th and also with help from the Diabetes UK website. 

What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is a type of diabetes which only occurs during pregnancy. It usually appears during the second or third trimester, although occasionally it can occur in the first trimester but in those cases the condition was probably present before the pregnancy. Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in your body is too high because the body can't use it properly. This is because your pancreas doesn't produce any insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or not enough (Type 2 and gestational diabetes) to help the glucose enter your body's cells. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows glucose to enter the body's cells where it is used as fuel for energy so we can work, play and generally live our lives and it is vital for life. Glucose comes from digesting carbohydrates and is also produced by the liver. Carbohydrates comes from many different kinds of food and drinks; including starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, chapatis, fruit, some diary products, sugar and other sweet foods. If you have diabetes or gestational diabetes, your body can't make proper use of this glucose so it builds up in the blood and isn't able to be used as fuel. Gestational diabetes happens because the body cannot produce enough insulin to meet the extra demands of pregnancy.

How do I know if I'm at risk of developing gestational diabetes?
At your booking appointment you will be asked questions to assess if you have any risk factors which make you more susceptible for gestational diabetes. These include;
  • Obesity
  • A family history of Type 2 diabetes (usually a close family member such as mother, father, brother, sister etc)
  • An unexplained stillbirth or neonatal death in a previous pregnancy and/or
  • A very large infant in a previous pregnancy (4.5kg (9lb 14oz) or more)
  • You have had gestational diabetes before 
  • Your family origin is South Asian, Black Caribbean or Middle Eastern
How do they test for Gestational Diabetes?
If you are considered to be at risk for gestational diabetes then you will be offered a Glucose Tolerance Test. The test is simple as a fasting blood test is taken before you are given a sugary drink (such as lucozade). Two hours after your sugary drink another blood test is taken and the results are compared to see how your body coped with the influx of sugar. If your body produced enough insulin then your body will have reduced your blood glucose level by converting the glucose into energy, if your body didn't cope with the influx of sugar then you will have a high blood sugar level and will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. 

I failed the glucose tolerance test so what happens now?
If you fail the glucose tolerance test then you will be diagnosed as having gestational diabetes and you will be referred to a dietician who can help you reduce your glucose levels by changing your diet and being aware of what you can eat. Sometimes a change in diet is all you need but around 10-20% of sufferers require tablets or insulin injections to treat your gestational diabetes. You will have an appointment with a specialist medical team who are trained in diabetes and gestational diabetes who can answer any questions you might have and will monitor your blood sugar levels throughout your pregnancy ensuring that both you and your baby are safe. 

What are the risks to my baby?
In most cases, gestational diabetes is discovered during the second trimester of pregnancy which means that the baby's major organs are fairly well developed at this stage and there is a lower risk to the baby than for women with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Babies of women who had blood glucose problems which were undiagnosed before pregnancy, have a higher risk of malformations. The degree of risk depends on how long blood glucose levels have been high and how high the levels have been. Once the baby is born it will need to have it's blood sugar levels checked regularly and may appear sleepy. This is because your baby has been getting some of your excess sugar via the placenta and the baby's body has been producing insulin to deal with this excess sugar. Once the baby is born, it stops getting your excess sugar but is still producing insulin so the baby will be monitored to ensure it stops producing excess insulin.

Am I now diabetic or will it go away?
If you have true gestational diabetes then it will go away once the baby is born. You blood will be tested about 6wks after the baby is born to check that your body is producing enough insulin to cope with your blood sugars. If you took medication during your pregnancy (either tablets or insulin injections) then once the baby is born you can stop taking them. However, in some cases a pregnant woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes when in actual fact she has developed Type 2 diabetes and this means that the diabetes doesn't disappear when the baby is born. Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes means you have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future. In rare cases women who suffered gestational diabetes will go on to develop Type 1 diabetes. In those rare cases it usually means that the women had a slow developing form of Type 1 which is unmasked during pregnancy.  I was unlucky enough to develop Type 2 diabetes a year and a half after the birth of my daughter. Gestational diabetes can be a warning that are at risk of developing diabetes and is a warning that you should take seriously and make changes to your lifestyle, such as losing weight if you are obese to help reduce your risk.

Will I get gestational diabetes again if I have another pregnancy?
Although the risk of you developing gestational diabetes is now higher than someone who has never been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it doesn't mean you will get it again. I know friends who have suffered from gestational diabetes but not with any of their other ones. Losing weight can help reduce the risk as well. If you have previously had gestational diabetes then you will be offered a glucose tolerance test at 16-18 weeks which will be repeated at 28 weeks if the results of the early one were normal. 

Will my baby be born with diabetes?
Absolutely not! Your baby will have a higher risk of developing diabetes than a child whose mother didn't suffer from gestational diabetes, but that is only because you have an increased risk of developing it. But the child born during the mother's gestational diabetes has only the same risk of it's siblings.

My Story

When I was 29 weeks pregnant with my 4th child I had to have a Glucose Tolerance Test. However I wasn't worried as I'd had one with each of my 3 previous pregnancies and I passed so I fully expected to pass this time. Sadly however, I failed this one and I was diagnosed as having Gestational Diabetes. 

Because of my diagnosis, I had to attend a special clinic every two weeks where my blood sugar readings (that I took myself using a blood glucose meter and recorded in a book and meant I had to prick my finger several times a day) were studied, my blood was tested, the baby was checked and my sugar levels were checked as well as my health. 

The clinic consisted of a consultant obstetrician, a diabetic nurse and a dietician if needed. We would discuss my diet and my blood sugar results and as I was injecting myself with insulin my doses were adjusted based on my readings. At first being told I had to prick my finger to make it bleed as well as injecting myself in my thighs was pretty scary, but I soon got used to it and thankfully they didn't hurt too much. 

There was talk of me having an elective c-section, but in the end I was induced at 38 weeks (after having a membrane sweep at 37wks to try and get my labour started naturally). Now having had a previous section with my 2nd I was under the impression that I couldn't be induced as it can put extra strain on the caesarean scar, but because it had been almost 5yrs since my section and I had had a VBAC (virginal birth after caesarean) the consultant was confident that I would be ok. The reason I wasn't allowed to go full term is because the baby receives some of your excess insulin through the placenta and this means babies of mothers with gestational diabetes or diabetes can be larger than normal babies. 

When my daughter was born she was a little sleepy because of the excess sugar and the midwife's had to test her blood sugars regularly, but I found lots of kangaroo care (skin to skin contact) and waking her regularly to breastfeed her helped a lot (it also helped stabilise my sugars as well as hers). She was also a little red as well because she had too many red blood cells attacking her glucose, but within a few hours her sugars stabilised and the redness faded and she was discharged the following day.

Three years later and she shows no signs of my gestational diabetes having affected her, but sadly my diabetes returned a year and a half later as Type 2 diabetes. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Half Term Fun - Baking Cakes

Since my 6yr old has chickenpox she's stuck in the house and can't go out and with hubby at work as well, it means the other 3 are under house arrest too.

Today however, knowing how much they wanted to go swimming, hubby managed to get the day off work and took the older two with him to the pool, leaving me home with the youngest two, my 6yr old and my 3yr old. 

So we decided we would make some cakes, sadly though I cheated and used the packet mix that daddy had bought a few weeks ago instead of making them from scratch. 

However the girls didn't care, they had just as much fun making them!

 And even more fun eating them!

Emotion Pets Little Cuddles Review

Flair have released a new range of Emotion Pets which are ideal for smaller children aged 3-5. 

Based on their popular Emotion Pets interactive animals you can now find Little Cuddles, smaller baby versions of Toffee the Pony, Cherry the Cat and Milky the Bunny.

Much to my 3yr old's delight she was sent a baby Cherry the Cat to review and it certainly was a big hit. She loved how the cat would nod her head, wiggle her tail and wave her paw when she stroked her back and she carries it around the house calling it "My Kitty!" 

My 6yr old also likes petting it and likes to pretend it's a real cat and would try and give it milk if I would let her. 

It would be nice if the cat meowed or purred as well, although part of me wonders whether that would be an annoying noise to hear all the time, but I think it would make them just that little bit more lifelike. 

The animals themselves are really sweet with expressive eyes and they look really lifelike. We don't have any pets but now my youngest thinks we do and that "Kitty" is part of the family!

A wonderful little toy for any younger child (although it is not suitible for children under 3 because of the small parts) especially if their older sibling has the larger versions of Emotion Pets. I can also see them being popular with older children as well, who could use them as pretend babies of their Emotion Pets.

We were sent Cherry the Cat from the Emotion Pets Little Cuddles range for free on the understanding I would write an honest review of what I thought about the product. I received no payment and the review is my own honest and unbiased opinion of the product and I retain full editorial control and integrity.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Win an iPad 3 with Sudocrem

How would you like to be the proud owner of an iPad 3?

Sucdocrem Mousse have a competition where you can win one!

Entering is easy! All you have to do is get your little one aged 4 - 12 to colour in a picture of Bruce the Moose. The main prize is an iPad 3 but there are also 6 runner up prizes of Crayola Scribble 'N' Wiggle Pens. 

To enter you can either go to their Facebook page and click on the 'Colouring In Contest' tab or download the colouring in sheet here

Once they've finished colouring in their masterpiece, just upload it to the Sudocrem Mousse Facebook Competition App here

The closing date for the competition is 11.59 on Thursday the 28th Febuary 2013 so make sure you get your entries in before then

Pregnancy and Chickenpox Antibodies Injection

On Friday my 6yr old came down with Chickenpox (See Pregnancy and Chickenpox

Friday evening my Doctor called to tell me the results of the blood test I had that morning, and it proved I wasn't immune to chickenpox and would have to have an injection of antibodies. Fair play to my Doctor he actually phoned up the hospital on Friday to chase up my results as I didn't think I would have them until Monday or Tuesday.

He explained on the phone that I had until this coming Friday to have the injection as there is only a 10 day window and because chickenpox is contagious before the spots appear, this window began 2 days before the spots. To be honest I wasn't surprised she caught them as she is the 10th child in her class to have caught them since Christmas and there's been at least 35 children in town infected with them since Christmas. 

We arranged that I would travel up to the hospital on Monday morning, as I was told the injection had to be given by an Obstetrician. So after dropping the girls off with my mum, my dad, the boy and I headed off to the hospital.

We got there quite early so we popped into the cafe for a cuppa, before heading up to the ward I had been told to go to. We got there and I explained to the nurse why I was there and she went to check my records on the computer before coming back and telling me she was ready. 

Now 90% of adults in the UK are immune to chickenpox, having had it as children, but as I haven't had chickenpox then I am in the 10% which isn't immune (ironically, so is hubby!) and this is why I had to be injected with chickenpox antibodies because chickenpox whilst pregnant can be dangerous for me and the baby and in extreme cases can even be fatal.

I went back in the room and the same nurse I'd spoken to said she would be giving me the injection and she mentioned she was surprised I hadn't had it at my local surgery instead of having such a long journey. I explained that I had been told an obstetrician would have to be the one to give it, but she said it didn't have to be. 

Now, as every pregnant woman knows, pregnancy is not glamorous  We're poked and prodded in areas where the sun doesn't shine and when we're actually giving birth we end up with a room full of people (not that we care at the time, we're in so much pain that a marching band could come in and we couldn't care less!) and this injection wasn't very glamorous either! There I was, showing my arm ready for an injection but instead being told to lie on my side and pull my pants down so I could be injected in my bum!

I have NEVER had an injection in my bum before, not even when I was injecting myself with insulin towards the end of my 4th pregnancy, then I was injecting myself in the slightly more glamorous thigh region. So there I am, baring my bum to the world and having a needle poked in it! Thankfully it didn't hurt too much!

The injection I had is known as Human Varicella-Zoster Immunoglobulin and is made from the blood plasma from screened donors who have had chickenpox and whose blood contains a large dose of antibodies. Antibodies are the fighters in your blood which the body produces when it feels it is under attack and these antibodies are trained to provide protection from chickenpox.

As well as being given to pregnant women who have come into contact with chickenpox whilst not immune, it can be given to newborn babies whose mother develops chickenpox within 7 days before or 7 days after the baby's birth, or newborn babies who come into contact with chickenpox when their mother isn't immune (so hasn't passed on the antibodies to her baby). It can also be given to adults and children who are not immune and come into contact with chickenpox who have a reduced immune system or by certain medications or certain treatments. As those are the people most at risk from chickenpox and serious and life-threatening complications. 

I asked the nurse whether this injection would make me contagious and I was reassured it wouldn't so I could go to work that afternoon and I also asked how long the protection would last. Sadly it only lasts 3 weeks and should one of my other children come down with chickenpox or I be exposed another way after 3 weeks then I will have to have another injection. 

There is also the risk of side effects, just like with any medication, but thankfully so far I feel fine. Side effects that may occur are;

  • Short term swelling, warmth, pain, redness, wound itching or rash at the injection site
  • Allergic reactions which may be serious with difficulty breathing or dizziness
  • Lightheaded, fainting or feeling faint
  • Headache
  • Chills, fever
  • Itching, redness of the skin
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Joint pains
Another thing I have to be aware of is that this medicine is made from human blood or plasma. This means there have been certain measures put in place to prevent infections being passed on to patients, these include careful selection of blood and plasma donors to make sure those at risk of carrying infections are excluded, and the testing of each donation and pools of plasma for signs of virus/infections Manufacturers of these products also include steps in the processing of the blood or plasma that can inactivate or remove viruses. Despite these measures, when medicines prepared from human blood or plasma are administered, the possibility of passing on infection cannot be totally excluded. This also applies to any unknown or emerging viruses or other types of infections. The measures taken are considered effective for enveloped viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. The measures taken my be of limited value against non-enveloped viruses such as Hepatitis A and Parovirus B19. Immunoglobulins have not been associated with Hepatitis A or Parovirus B19 infections possibly because the antibodies against these infections, which are contained in the product, are protective.

Despite these risks, since chickenpox in pregnancy, in newborn babies or in patients whose immune system is not working fully can have serious effects on health, the expected benefits of your medicine will usually be greater than the risks of suffering any harmful side effects. 

*** All the above information regarding the injection has been taken from the information leaflet which came in the box with the injection ***

One thing I have noticed since Friday is that it is really hard to find information about this injection, which made having it rather stressful and I hope by writing this post and sharing the information I received and what the treatment was like, I can help someone else who has to have this injection. 

So little information is known that my nurse couldn't answer my questions and she had to ask the head midwife and I still had questions when I returned home (was I contagious and how long would the protection last, both of which are covered in this blog post already). I even phoned the NHS Give Blood for information on whether this injection could mean you cannot give blood in the future as I know if you have had a blood transfusion you cannot give blood and I wondered whether the same rules applied to an injection made from blood. Their advice was to mention it when you next give blood (which the earliest it could be is when your baby is 6mths) as it would have to be considered on a personal basis based on your history, how many injections you have had and when. 

If you think about it though, it's not that surprising that so little is known. Only 10% of the UK population isn't immune and out of that 10% it means a woman has to come into contract with it whilst pregnant which lowers the chances significantly. For example this is my 6th pregnancy (my 2nd pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 13wks) and with 4 children at home, this is the first time I've had to deal with chickenpox and had I not been pregnant it wouldn't have been an issue!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Chickenpox and Pregnancy

This morning as my 6yr old was getting dressed I noticed a few spots on her body and as was examining her a few more appeared including one on her eyelid, one on her groin and a couple on her private parts.

So it looks like the dreaded pox has hit the Really Rachel household.

Now you wouldn't think this was a problem, but it is. My 6yr old is the first of my 4 children to catch it (which isn't surprising really because since Christmas at least 10 of her classmates have come down with it) but not only hasn't any of my children had it, neither have I or my husband.

Now with chickenpox the older you are when you catch it, the worse it is but you have to factor in that I'm pregnant as well and I have type 2 diabetes.

Now whilst complications for the pregnant woman are rare, but they can include pneumonia (with a greater risk of catching it if you smoke) inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and liver (hepatitis) and in extremely rare cases can be fatal. 

However it is the baby who is the most at risk of complications caused by chickenpox and the complications vary by how many weeks pregnant you are when you catch it. 

If you catch chickenpox before you are 28 weeks pregnant, although there is no evidence that it increases your risk of miscarriage, there is a small risk that the baby can develop foetal varicella syndrome (FVS). FVS can damage the baby's skin, eyes, legs, arms, brain, bladder or bowel. 

If you catch chickenpox between 28 and 36 weeks the virus stays in the baby's body but doesn't cause any symptoms. However it could become active in the first few years of the baby's life, causing shingles.

If you catch chickenpox after 36 weeks then the baby may be infected and could be born with chickenpox. 

If you develop chickenpox around the time of the birth and the baby is born within seven days of your rash developing then there is a risk of your baby developing severe chickenpox which can be fatal. 

*** Information from NHS Choices ***

So as soon as my daughter came out in spots this morning I phoned our local GP's surgery for advice and was advised to come in straight away for a blood test to test my immunity to chickenpox. If it comes back I am immune then great there's no risk to me or the baby, but if it comes back that I'm not immune then I will have to have an injection of chickenpox antibodies called Varicella Zoster Immune Globulin (VZIG)

The VZIG injection helps to boost your immune system for a short time but won't necessarily stop chickenpox developing. It can usually be given up to 10 days after contact with chickenpox, as long as you haven't developed a rash or blisters. The injection doesn't work once chickenpox has developed and it is not known whether the VZIG injection helps reduce the risk of a FVS in the unborn baby. 
*** Information from NHS Choices ***

Sadly it turned out I wasn't immune and I had to have the antibody injection. For more information see Pregnancy and Chickenpox Antibodies

Thursday, 7 February 2013

R2BC - Feeling Very Cheerful

At the moment, life is really good and I'm feeling happy and hopeful and even excited for the future!

The children are doing really well at school and have settled back in following their Christmas break. My eldest daughter is learning swimming this term and she is doing really well and has proudly told me she has moved up to the deep end. My son has just started a drama group on a Saturday as he really enjoyed his part in his school play and has been bitten by the acting bug. My 6yr old daughter had an appointment with the ENT following her grommet operation last year and they are really pleased with her as she hasn't had any ear infections or loss of hearing despite losing one grommet and the bad weather and all being well she will be discharged from their care in the summer. The baby is getting better at going to playschool and although she is reluctant to go in on the morning, she doesn't cry and make as much fuss as she used to and I'm sure once she's free from Easter and can go every day she won't even be bothered about going.

Sadly my car, fondly known as MR B by the children, is poorly. He has a cracked head gasket and after lots of discussions and thinking of what to do for the best, we have decided to have him fixed, because at the end of the day "Better the devil you know!" We could go out and spend all our money buying a new car, only to buy another car with the same problem and have no money left to fix it. Another bonus is that I took out Repair Cover with the AA so for about £80 a year extra on top of my breakdown cover (I pay £15 a month for both) I can claim FIVE times in one year up to £500 towards the cost of repairing my car following a breakdown where they have towed me to the garage. It gives great peace of mind, knowing that should my car develop a fault and breakdown due to mechanical failure (which given the car's age gets more and more likely each year) I don't have to stress too much over the cost of repairing the car because I can claim up to £500 (minus a £35 excess fee). So soon my car will be home, as good as new, with no overheating problem and able to take us on long journeys, holidays and days out. 

And of course, my getting my car fixed brings me nicely onto my wonderful news and the reason I'm going to be using my car a lot and need one that works and is reliable...

A couple of weeks ago we discovered that this summer we will have a new addition to our family. Yes, that's right, I'm pregnant!!!

It came as a bit of a shock at first as I wasn't planning on having anymore children. I was happy with 4 and it was a nice round number, so you can imagine my shock when I began to suspect I was pregnant. Now this is my 6th pregnancy (my 2nd ended in miscarriage at 13wks) and in all 6 pregnancies I have been very lucky because I don't suffer from morning sickness at all, so the only clue I had was when I realised that I hadn't had a period for a month. Even on the pill, I'm not very regular and I can't quite remember when in November I had my last period so I'm not quite sure how many weeks pregnant I am, probably between 10-14wks, so we're eagerly awaiting my scan to find out. However because the kids were jumping on me, we decided to tell them why they couldn't jump on me rather than just telling them not to. Of course this backfired as the girls were so excited they told all their friends and we had their friends or their parents coming up to us to ask if I was pregnant again! So last night we decided we would share the news on Facebook.

Of course being diabetic it can cause complications and I'm classed at having a high risk pregnancy. I developed Gestational Diabetes when I was pregnant with y 4th which returned a year later as Type 2 Diabetes, however I've started monitoring my blood sugar levels and so far they've been really good and between the ideal range, so hopefully this will last! Although I have to have another Glucose Tolerance Test, probably around 16wks.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

So how are you feeling? Are you feeling cheerful or happy, then why not join in with the #R2BC linky below which is hosted by Michelle from Mummy From The Heart and share your cheerfulness  Or maybe you're feeling depressed and can't think of anything to be cheerful about, then that is the perfect time to try. You'd be surprised how many things there are to be cheerful about, they might only be little things but little things can be enough, so why not find something and join in with the linky and of course don't forget to visit all the other blogs in the linky and share the love, because everyone loves comments and to know their posts have been read and enjoyed!