Thursday, 6 June 2013

#r2BC Feeling thankful for my dad, the NHS and my health

Thursday means the weekly link up which is Reasons to be Cheerful and this week it's really easy to find something to be thankful for and cheerful about.

This week I am thankful for the NHS

Welsh map with NHS written on it

On Tuesday I woke up with a strange pain in my back. Unlike normal backache, or even the baby lying awkward or having kicked my lungs, only one side of my back hurt and it only hurt when I breathed. I could move normally, stretch my back and even twist. Usually when I have backache I can barely move or stand, but with this backache I was fine. Except for when I breathed, which unfortunately I have to do!

By the time I had gotten the kids dressed and walked them to school, which is only a few blocks away, I was in agony with my back and taking shallower breaths than usual to ease the pain. I then had to walk over the bridge to the drs surgery to see if there was any appointments available that day for me to see a dr and by the time I got there I was almost crying. I managed to make an appointment, but not until lunchtime, so I went home and after hiking up 4 flights of stairs I was ready to pass out and my breathing sounded ragged and loud. No sooner had I made it upstairs then it was time to go back out again as I had a midwife appointment. Usually I see her locally, but because we live in such a rural area, the midwives have a large area to cover and can only do clinics on certain days in certain towns. Sadly because of hospital appointments, 60 miles away, I couldn't make the day they were in my town and had to reschedule the appointment for another day in a neighbouring town 10 miles away. 

I saw the midwife, but didn't mention my back pain as I had a drs appointment afterwards. I had my 28wk bloods taken and listened to the baby's heart beat before popping to see my SIL about my daughters baby shower and then heading back home to see the dr. 

When I went to see the dr, she was quite concerned about the strange pain in my back, especially as I'm a type 2 diabetic who is also pregnant! She said that it was possible to get blood clots in your lungs, especially having a high risk pregnancy like mine and she thought it was important I went straight to hospital, to the A&E department to get it checked, which unfortunately was at our main hospital 60 miles away. She said if I didn't have anyone who could take me, especially as I would have to arrange childcare for the kids, then she could organise an ambulance for me. Thankfully my mum agreed to have my 3yr old and look after my 6, 8 and 10 year olds after school until their dad came home from work and that my dad would take me to hospital in my car.

So off we went to hospital, a lovely 2hr journey along windy roads but passing through beautiful scenery, heading towards (but not over) the Wales/England border. My dad drove and I just tried to get comfortable whilst taking shallow breaths to ease the pain. We arrived at the A&E department and thankfully it wasn't busy so I was seen within 10 minutes. First of all I saw the triage nurse who tested my blood sugars and asked why I was there. I explained about my back and breathing and my drs concerns and after waiting about another 5 minutes I was seen by a dr. 

The dr checked my oxygen levels and was pleased to see that they were 100% and that my pulse was regular at 80 bpm (with a blood clot your heart has to work harder to pump blood past the clot which causes your heart to beat faster). He then arranged for me to have an ECG just to check but he was confident I didn't have a blood clot. After having a look at my results he was happy to let me go home. I never did find out what caused my strange backache (which thankfully is a lot better now and I'm breathing normally) but at least it wasn't a blood clot. 

The following day I was back at hospital, this time accompanied by my 10 year old son. Three years ago he had grommets in his ears to help with his fluctuating hearing loss and glue ear. Recently he has been complaining (sometimes tearfully) that his ears hurt, especially the one which lost the grommet and you could see it sitting in his ear canal near the surface. It had  appeared to have fallen out as we couldn't see it anymore, but we discovered that day that it was still sitting in the ear canal. The ENT dr checked his ear and said that he couldn't see any trace of an infection or anything which could cause pain and arranged for a hearing test. Sadly my son didn't behave for his hearing test (I suspect he was deliberately trying to fail so that he could claim he couldn't hear to get more attention and out of trouble, especially as some of the beeps he claimed he couldn't hear, I could!) and the audiologist said it wasn't an accurate hearing test because of his lack of concentration which the ENT dr agreed with. He said he would reschedule another hearing test and see him again afterwards, but because he couldn't see anything which could be causing him pain his opinion was it was pressure in his sinus and he prescribed him some nasal spray. 

We'd been at his appointment for 2hrs by now, so we had just enough time to pop to the hospital cafe for some lunch before heading to my diabetic appointment. I was also thankful that I could claim some money back for my travelling expenses because of the distance involved (120 miles round trip) and although it doesn't cover all of the cost of diesel to get there, it does cover 3/4 of the cost. 

At the diabetic clinic there was some confusion as there was another lady there who was also a pregnant diabetic (either gestational, type 1 or type 2 I don't know which) who shared my name! So I never knew if they were calling me or her! After having my blood pressure and urine checked and blood taken (the 2nd time in 2 days), I saw the diabetic doctor who looked at my blood sugar results from the past week and adjusted my insulin medication accordingly. He did explain I was at the stage where my body struggles to cope with sugar and my blood sugar levels will rise. The hardest part is realising it is not my fault! He upped my insulin levels which I was taking at teatime (quick acting) and bedtime (slow acting) as well as adding a new breakfast (quick acting) dose. 

Afterwards I saw the obstetrician diabetic doctor who looked over the results of my growth scan from the week before, which shows the baby is in the 50th percentile for her gestation. Of course, I'm expecting another 9lber as none of my babies are small (8lb 13, 10lb 14, 9lb and 8lb 15 with only my last pregnancy affected by gestational diabetes). She asked if we were aiming for another virginal birth, which I said I was (my 2nd was an emergency section as she was wedged in my pelvis and showing the largest part of her head. 3 and 4 were both Virginal Births Afer Caesarean or VBAC). 

She's arranging for me to have another growth scan in 3 weeks when I'm 32 weeks pregnant and to see her again the following week. I guess then we'll discuss the plans for my delivery, especially as there is a risk of big babies for diabetic women as the unborn baby gets some of my excess sugar, made worse by the fact I am on insulin. I was induced 2wks early because of the gestational diabetes with my 3yr old and I suspect I will have the same thing again. They will also have to monitor the baby when she's born to check her blood sugars as her body is creating insulin to deal with my excess sugars, which are passed to her via the placenta and of course once she's born she will lose the extra sugar and it will take her body a while to realise and to stop producing insulin which could cause her to have a hypo (hypoglycemic shock caused by a lack of blood sugar).

On Monday I have yet another hospital appointment (at this rate my car will be able to find it's own way to hospital!) This time it is to check my eyes for any signs of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes, which occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the cells at the back of the eye, known as the retina. If it is not treated, it can lead to blindness and is the common cause of blindness in diabetics. Because I am pregnant it is even harder to control my diabetes and sugar levels which is why I'm having my eyes checked more regularly than a normal diabetic would. Of course this means that I cannot drive myself home on Monday (last time I had my eyes checked it took 3-4 hours until my eyes could bear the sunlight) so my poor dad is taking me to hospital whilst my mum picks the kids up from school (I bet he's so glad he's retired!!!)

So today I am feeling thankful for the NHS!!! I am thankful that;

  • I can easily access all the medical help and support I need to have a successful pregnancy and to stay healthy despite having a serious medical condition.
  • I am thankful that the NHS is free so I don't have the worry or stress about the cost of my medical treatment.
  • I am thankful that (despite the journey) the hospital is taking good care of both me and my baby and ensuring that my pregnancy will not cause any long term diabetic complications and that I will have a healthy baby at the end of it
  • I am thankful that once I have had this baby the NHS will sterilise me so that I cannot put my health anymore at risk by having any more babies (and really 5 is enough LOL!) 
  • I am thankful that I am able to claim my travelling expenses back to help with the cost of getting to and from hospital
  • I am thankful that the NHS covers the cost of the medication I need to monitor and stabilise my blood sugars 
  • I am also thankful to the Welsh Assembly Government for allowing everyone in Wales access to free prescriptions regardless of their age and whether they're pregnant
Me and my dad on my wedding day

And last but not least, I am thankful to my parents. For my mum for babysitting and attending hospital appointments with me and my dad for driving me to hospital when I cannot drive myself, which means that hubby can still work and still earn an income to provide for his family!

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

What about you? Do you have anything that is making you feel blessed or thankful? Why not join up with #R2BC Reasons to be Cheerful this week! It's a wonderful opportunity to find the positives in your life as too often we're full of the negative! If you want to learn more about #R2BC why not have a look about why Mich from Mummy From The Heart started #R2BC and what she believes about it. 

If you want to join in, then go for it and jump right in. Just make sure you remember to link up with the linky below. The fab thing about this linky is that there are no rules and you can link up whatever you like. Just remember to visit all the other blogs which are linked up as well and share the comment love as everyone loves to see comments on their blogs and to know that it's being read and enjoyed!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Bin Weevils Bling Collector Tin Review

My 10 year old son and 8 year old daughter enjoy a certain website called "Bin Weevils". 

For those of you who don't know about it, Bin Weevils is an online virtual world aimed at children, where you are a sort of insect. You have shops that you can visit, you can go on holiday and even have your own pet! You live in a nest where you can design and improve it by buying furniture using money or "mulch" that you earn by playing games. 

Playing is free but some features are only available (such as a bin pet) if you become a paying member. There is even an option for paying members where they can become a bin tycoon and create their own nightclub, salon or cafe! You can also meet up with real or online friends for chats and games, although you need to teach your children not to share any of their real details, such as name or where they live etc.

But now Bin Weevils is becoming real and Character Online have released figures and playsets so you can play Bin Weevils outside of the computer as well. 

Much to my 8 year old daughter's delight we were sent a Bin Weevils Bling Collector Tin for her. 
The gorgeous silver tin box is covered in Bin Weevils and is ideal for keeping your Bin Weevils safe and to stop them escaping when you've finished playing with them. Inside the box you find 8 super special figures including a "blinged" Tink and Clott plus 6 crystalised Bin Bot characters  It also includes 6 clear Bin Bot plinths to stand your Bin Bots on and a sheet of glitter stickers. The Bin Bots were;
  • Brainless Bot
  • Barf Bot
  • Hug Bug
  • Munch Bug
  • Mulch Mite
  • Slug Bug

My daughter quickly fell in love with these cute Bin Bots and had lots of fun playing with them, along with her 3yr old sister, and when she's not playing with them she puts them carefully to bed in their tin. 

The only thing which could make these better is if they had a code where you could unlock special features on the website, but I'm sure any little Bin Weevils fan will have hours of fun playing with them and also get them off the computer for a little bit and playing using their imaginations and also socially with others.

With a RRP of £9.99 they make a wonderful birthday or Christmas gift

We were sent a Bin Weevils Bling Collector Tin for free on the understanding I would write an honest review of what I thought about it. 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. 

#50Things to do before you're 11 3/4 - Crabbing Catching a Crab

As part of the National Trust's 50 Things to do before you're 11 3/4 we took the children crabbing today.

We live by the sea in a beautiful corner of North Wales with a little harbour which is ideal for crabbing. However cos daddy wanted to have a go at fishing as well, we went to the Old Harbour and it turned out to be a FANTASTIC place to crab!

 The tide was coming in, which I think helped with the crabbing and the first time my 8yr old threw her line in she caught 7 crabs (2 of which fell of but 5 made it to the bucket). Of course the younger girls were funny, especially if any of the crabs missed the bucket and were scuttling on the floor, as they ran off screaming.

Crabbing is lots of fun and easy to do. Lots of shops in town sell crabbing lines and even little pots like lobster pots to make it even easier. Then all you need is a bucket of water to store the crabs and some bait such as fish or bacon. What I liked about our new crab lines is that they came with a little net to tie near the weight to hold the bait, this meant there was no dangerous hooks which can really hurt little fingers, and it also meant that the crabs couldn't steal the bait!

My older two had a lot of fun crabbing, especially as it was their first ever time. Although they did wish they had two buckets so they could've had a competition!

The only downside of the day was when my 3yr old lost her croc in the water and despite daddy trying to catch it with his fishing rod, it sailed up the estuary! 

Poor daddy didn't catch anything, not even the croc!

50 Things To Do Before You're 11 3/4

Recently the National Trust came out with an ultimate list of 50 things to do before you're 11 3/4 as suggested by the nation for 2013. 

Make sure you check out their website which has a great parents area for tips on completing the challenges and by registering on the website you can claim rewards to personalise your child's online explorer by completing each of the 50 adventures. They'll unlock special certificates, games, hidden secret challenges and rewards for the best explorers.

They are;

  1. Climb a tree
  2. Roll down a really big hill
  3. Camp out in the wild
  4. Build a den
  5. Skim a stone
  6. Run around in the rain
  7. Fly a kite
  8. Catch a fish with a net
  9. Eat an apple straight from a tree
  10. Play conkers
  11. Go on a really long bike ride
  12. Make a trail with sticks
  13. Make a mud pie 
  14. Dam a stream
  15. Play in the snow
  16. Make a daisy chain
  17. Set up a snail race
  18. Create some wild art
  19. Play Pooh sticks
  20. Jumo over waves
  21. Pick blackberries growing in the wild
  22. Explore inside a tree
  23. Visit a farm
  24. Go on a walk barefoot
  25. Make a grass trumpet
  26. Hunt for fossils and bones
  27. Go star gazing
  28. Climb a huge hill
  29. Explore a cave
  30. Hold a scary beast
  31. Hunt for bugs
  32. Find some frogspawn
  33. Catch a falling leaf
  34. Track wild animals
  35. Discover what's in a pond
  36. Make a home for a wild animal
  37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool
  38. Bring up a butterfly
  39. Catch a crab
  40. Go on a nature walk at night
  41. Plant it, grow it, eat it
  42. Go swimming in the sea
  43. Build a raft
  44. Go bird watching
  45. Find your way with a map and a compass
  46. Try rock climbing
  47. Cook on a campfire
  48. Learn to ride a horse
  49. Find a geocache
  50. Canoe down a raft
Some of these we have already done, but a few we still have to check off the list. My son is 10 so he only has a year to complete the list. My daughters have a little bit longer as they are 8, 6 and 3.

Once we've completed something then we will link back to this post and share our adventures of completing the list! 

I can't help but feel that it's a shame there isn't a cub scout here for my son to help him complete a few of these challenges! There used to be many years ago when my mum ran cubs and my dad ran scouts. In fact I used to be dragged along on all their activities, feeling very sad because in those days a girl couldn't join in. The girls are lucky as they attend Brownies and Rainbows which incidentally is ran by the same lady who ran it when I was a Brownie!!!

So why not register today and start your adventures with the National Trust

#SilentSunday Welcome Home Bro!!!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Kenson Fragment Quinny Zapp Xtra Review

One of the biggest decisions facing expectant parents is which pram to buy, it is also the biggest and most expensive purchase you will make. It doesn't matter if you are on your first or fifth baby, as needs change over time and the pram that was suitable for your last baby, may not be suitable for your next baby, or you might want one that will be suitable for any other children you might have i.e double or triple, tandem or side-by-side.

The best thing to do is to work out a realistic budget and work out exactly what kind of pram you will need. There are hundreds of different prams across dozens of different brands and they can cost anything up to £1,000, which is the price of a small second hand car. Prams to suit different budgets, different needs and different ages.

The most important thing when you buy your pram for your newborn is that it is suitable for a newborn. Some are suitable for older children who can sit unaided, but some can be adapted to use from newborn. You can even get some that attach to car seats to make it easier to get out and about with your little one, but please be aware that guidelines state that a newborn shouldn't be in a car seat for more than 2 hours at a time as the slightly upright position can affect the babies oxygen levels. 

You also need to think about how you get around, do you use a car or public transport, do you do lots of off-road walking or mostly in towns or city centres, as these can also have a big impact on the kind of pram you need. 

One important thing I have discovered, is to TRY the pram out before you buy. With my 3yr old I researched online and thought I found the perfect pram for her. It was a complete travel system but also a pramette which meant that the bottom of the stroller folded out to create a flat pram for when she was small and it folded small. Sadly I could only find online pictures and videos and I wasn't able to try it out before I bought it. Once we had the pramette I quickly discovered it had one major design fault, the 5 point harness to strap the child in was very complicated and time consuming as you had to attach each strap, including the shoulder harness, individually whilst pushing them through the padded waist strap. Needless to say once she outgrew the pram part I quickly sold it and bought a cheaper stroller. 

Another thing I have found in the past is that once my baby has outgrown the newborn stage, and no longer needs such a bulky pram, I've gotten strollers to make it easier to get out and about, as they are smaller and lighter to use. This of course means more money to spend and a pram that sits idle in the house. 

Now that I'm pregnant with my 5th, my needs have changed. With my youngest being 3 I don't need a double buggy as she walks everywhere as it is, but owning a people carrier to fit the whole family in means I lose boot space to gain extra seats. Therefore space is a priority and I don't want a pram which takes up too much room, but is suitable for a newborn. 

I was lucky enough to be given a Quinny Zapp Xtra to review in an exclusive design named the Kenson after the Belgian designer. There are two exclusive designs, the Kenson Fragments and the Kenson Signature and it was the Fragments I was given to review

Using images from busy cities he came up with two unique and limited edition designs, the Kenson fragments and the Kenson Signature,  especially for the Quinny Zapp Xtra and Yezz. See how he came about the design in this video. 

But those two designs are not the only choice as the Quinny Zapp Xtra is also available in 7 different colours and apart from the limited edition Kenson designs, the others can all be matched with a Maxi-Cosi Pebble's car seat in the same colour for a true colour coordinated travel system. 

The Quinny on it's own is only suitable for a 6mth old, but if you add a Maxi Cosi Pebble or CabrioFix car seat or a newborn inlay, then the Quinny is suitable for a newborn. 

I really like this pram, I like that it will grow with the child, as my 3yr old sat in it comfortably and even slept in it, but is also suitable for a newborn making it a long lasting pram. It's lightweight and it isn't bulky, meaning you have no reason to buy a smaller stroller as the child gets bigger.

I love how small the frame folds down, you unclip the seat and the frame itself becomes so small I can fit in in the foot well of my car by my 3yr old's feet and I don't have to worry about losing boot space, which as I have a people carrier is at a premium as you lose boot space to gain extra seats. Used with the car seat as a travel system it takes up even less room. 

The pram is lightweight to manoeuvre and even my 6 year old could push it with ease. It's also light to carry when folded and if you live in a block of flats, like I do, and you need to carry your pram upstairs, the folded seat unit can be carried one-handed, especially if using the car seat to hold the baby. 

With three wheels it makes for an all-rounder especially if you adjust the swivel wheels to fixed. You can then push it easily through sand or along a dirt path, much better than a tradition four-wheeled pram, making it ideal for a day at the beach or country walks which aren't tarmacked. Yet with the shopping basket which sits on the frame below the seat or car seat, it makes it an ideal pram for shopping around town, although one thing to be aware of, especially with lightweight buggies like the Quinny, overloading the handles with shopping and the buggy will tip! In fact there is a warning saying that the handles are not designed for shopping! 

Another feature I liked on the Quinny Zapp Xtra was the extra long hood, giving protection from the sun and keeping your baby in the shade, but if you wanted just a regular size hood you can tuck the extra back in on itself inside the hood. The Quinny also includes clips to attach a parasol if needed. 

The Quinny can also be used either forward facing or facing outwards and has 3 forward and 2 rearward recline positions. The seat is easy to recline with a switch by the hood and also easy to flip if you decide to let your baby see out or vice versa. The little footrest also adjusts which is handy for smaller children or if you have a sleeping babe.

Included with the Quinny Zapp when you buy it is a raincover, shopping, sun canopy, basket, parasol adapter and car seat adapters. There are also several other accessories you can buy, such as the parasol, birth inlay, bumper bar, cup holder, footmuff and changing bag. 

The Quinny Zapp seat cover is also water and dirt repellant so you can simply wipe-clean any spills. For major spills or dirt you can also remove the cover to be washed. With easy how to videos on the Quinny website telling you how to do this. 

I've had a Quinny before and I found the handle wasn't high enough as I'm 6ft tall however I am pleased to say that the handle of Quinny Zapp Xtra is slightly higher which meant I didn't have to stoop like I did with the previous Quinny. However one improvement I think would make the Quinny even better would be to add an extendable handle

Overall I must say how much I really liked the Quinny Zapp Xtra and how lovely it is having an exclusive design which meant I have had lots of admiring glances and questions whilst out and about. The hardest part now is persuading my 3yr old that it isn't her pram but her baby sisters! We have a nice new Maxi Cosi CabrioFix car seat and raincover for the car seat waiting for the baby's arrival and just have to order the from birth inlay which is available online from Mothercare.

We were given a Quinny Zapp Xtra in the Kenson Fragment design for free on the understanding I would write an honest review of what I thought about it. I received no payment and the review is my own honest and unbiased opinion of the product and I retail full editorial control and integrity.