Saturday, 26 October 2013
So I've finally got around to setting up a blog, it's something I have thought about doing for a while now. I thought I'd start with a little introduction about myself and my family for those of you that don't know us very well yet. So I'm Katrina, I'm a stay at home mum, I can safely say it's the most difficult and most rewarding job I have ever had, I love every moment!
As you can see I have a son, called Griffin, he's 18 months now and he is my world along with my Husband Scott. We have been through a lot together over the past few years, Scott is my rock and I can't imagine life without either of my boys.
There are two more members of our little family, they are Sooty and Sweep, our beautiful kittens. They are six months old now and love to play, day and night! Sooty is very curious and she likes to wonder and visit the neighbours. Sweep is more of a homely cat, he prefers to stay close but he does love to follow his cousin Ringo who lives next door, he also eats everything in sight!
When I was pregnant I suffered from a serious condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, I was very poorly for my entire pregnancy which became a battle for survival. I am planning to write about my pregnancy in the hope that it will reach out to others who are suffering or who have suffered and also to help raise awareness of the condition.
I am also a breastfeeding mother and have come across many issues in this area, I'm a strong believer that a mother should choose whichever feeding method suits her and her baby best, regardless of if it's formula or breast milk and I also understand and am sympathetic to the fact that a mother sometimes doesn't have the choice for whatever reason. I am passionate to support women who want to breastfeed and to normalise breastfeeding so that women can feed anywhere and whenever they need to with confidence. So you will also find me writing about breastfeeding often too.
Scott, Griffin and I are also completing 9k walks every month to raise money for a charity that is close to our hearts, so I will be updating you as we complete each walk, with lots of photos! You will also be hearing lots about our journey as a family, places that we visit and hopefully an improvement in my cooking skills.
I hope that you enjoy reading the blogs, I'll be back very soon with the next one.
Well today is a very exciting day in our household, today our beloved Bradford City welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves) to Valley Parade for the first time since 2002 when we drew 0-0 with them in the old league division one. This is our first season in the new Sky Bet league one and I think it's safe to say that Wolves are the biggest club in the division. This game will be a huge test for us, I'm sure all the Bantams feel the same today, buzzing with excitement with just a hint of nerves.
We are hoping for a large crowd today, I'd expect similar to the recent home fixture against Sheffield United which was 18,041. There should be a lot of noise in Bradford this afternoon, no one can say the mighty Bantams don't get behind their team!
As for team news, Nahki Wells has been spotted training during the week so it will be interesting to see if Parkinson will start him today.
Today's game should be an eventful one, I can imagine there will be a lot of goals scored as both teams are very attacking minded. Hopefully we will be the ones to take all three points!
Predictions for today:
Im predicting a 2-1 win for the Bantams.
Scott is predicting a modest 2-2 draw.
Ian (Big brother) is also predicting a 2-2 draw if Wells is playing, but 1-1 if not.
Griffin is too young to make any predictions but he will be singing along with the Kop!
Friday, 25 October 2013
Scott and I brought our wedding forward a year because we couldn't wait to start a family. Friday 1st April 2011 was our wedding day and in the May I was given the all clear from some abnormal findings from a cervical screening so we were good to go! It didn't take long to get pregnant, we found out on the 10th August at 5am that I was four weeks pregnant. We were so excited, we'd done everything by the book, eating healthy, taking pre natal vitamins and completely cutting out alcohol since we started trying to conceive. For that one week we were walking on air...
One week later and the sickness struck, I thought "Ok, this is to be expected"... After a week it was becoming progressively worse, I was vomiting every 40 minutes around the clock over the weekend and by the Monday morning I was so weak I couldn't lift my head from the pillow. Nausea had at this point hit me like a truck. There's no point trying to explain the severity of the nausea, no one who hasn't experienced HG would understand it and there are literally no words to describe it! I tried to get into the shower and collapsed, so I had to stay at home while Scott went to work. I felt so humiliated to call work for a sick day because of "morning sickness" I hated myself, I couldn't understand why I was so pathetic that I couldn't cope with pregnancy like all other women? My mum took me to see the doctor that afternoon, 5 weeks pregnant and I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). I had no idea what HG was, I just assumed it was a fancy name for morning sickness. In fact Hyperemesis Gravidarum is nothing like pregnancy sickness (morning sickness as it was previously referred to), HG is a very severe and debilitating condition that can in some cases last for the entire pregnancy. HG can be a life threatening condition if it is left untreated which is why it's so important to raise awareness. The doctor prescribed me some anti-sickness drugs and sent me home with a sick note and instructions to send in urine samples daily until the doctors were happy that the ketones had gone, otherwise it was a trip to the hospital. After a week off work I thought that I was improving so I returned to work for one week. But by the Friday the HG was coming back with a vengeance! On the Monday, 7 weeks pregnant, I was back in the GP surgery, this time I was prescribed some different anti-sickness drugs to try and a sick note with strict instructions not to return to work without a full assessment from the doctor this time. I never made it back to work...
I had 24 hour care, my mum would arrive every morning 15 minutes before Scott left for work and she would stay with me until he returned home. Scott never went out, he went to the football because I begged him too, the way I saw it I couldn't be there to support the team, but he could at least! Scott also went out for a couple of drinks once with an old friend we used to both work with, but even then he stayed at the pub just down the street and even called back to check on me, despite my mum been there with me. He really is a wonderfully kind and caring man, I am so lucky to have him. I could not have survived this pregnancy without the love, care and support of Scott and my mum.
Vomiting would be at its worst from around 6pm through until 2pm the next day with nausea so extreme that I could barely sleep. This was the same every day. Scott would stay up all night with me, holding me up because I was too weak to sit up on my own to be sick in the bucket, holding my hand when I was feeling scared, he would talk to me for hours despite the fact that I could never say a word back. My nephew Zak, who was 14 at the time would also come and sit with me every week, he would sit there for hours telling me about school, his ice hockey matches and his computer games. He didn't mind that I barely spoke a word in return. He always made me smile and when my bump started to show he started to call me "Podgy" to make me laugh. He's such a fantastic kid, so kind and caring. My brother Ian was also a great support, he would call me regularly to check on me and to let me know he was thinking of us while he was busy away with work. He would call in to visit on a weekend too. My mum would drive me to the hospital every other week to see the consultant who would review my anti-sickness drugs and swap or change them, trying to find something that would work. She would drive me to the hospital for IV fluids usually every ten days - two weeks. My GP would see me every week and check my ketone levels twice a week too. No drugs seemed to work, I would vomit between 25-40 times every day for eight months. I also tried acupuncture with absolutely no improvement what so ever.
I had a lot of hospital admissions ranging from two to four days at a time hooked up to IV's and injected with drugs to stop the vomiting and rehydrate me. 28 weeks was when HG peaked to it 'a worst, the GP sent an ambulance, I was very weak, tachycardic and barely conscious. Scott was at work so my mum came with me in the ambulance. I had a severe allergic reaction to the first anti-sickness medication that I was injected with, which lead to temporary paralysis and breathing difficulties just to add to the trauma! Basically all the medications had stopped working and I had a severe kidney infection. After a week in hospital hooked up to IV's I went home with more new drugs, but literally within six hours HG was back in full swing! At 36 weeks whilst on the CTG machine at the hospital a doctor that I hadn't seen before, who was covering for my usual consultant, came to see me. He had researched HG due to his wife suffering from the condition previously and he very quickly prescribed me a new anti-sickness drug that I hadn't tried before, a very strong anti-sickness drug that is usually reserved for cancer patients. I took this along with the other medications that I was prescribed at the time. Within a few days the improvements we've clear, vomiting reduced to around 15 times a day and a "window" of about three hours mid afternoon where the nausea reduced enough that I could eat small amounts of food! I even managed a trip out to my Aunt & Uncle's wedding anniversary party, although HG made sure that I paid for that for a few days after!
At 38 weeks, Easter bank holiday weekend I was rushed into hospital late at night. They patched me up, checked baby on the CTG monitor, took some bloods and sent me home. On the Tuesday, 10th April I had the call from the hospital asking me to go in and bring my bags with me. They put me on the CTG monitor to begin with to check the baby's heart then informed me that my bloods had come back and that they needed to induce me as my liver and kidneys were not functioning properly. So I called Scott to come to the hospital and at 5pm they put me in a delivery suite and broke my waters. They gave me IV fluids and continued my anti-sickness medications. I was also put on a drip to increase contractions to help move the labour along. After 12 hours of labour, constant vomiting and barely conscious, baby's heartbeat started to slow down, he had also turned onto his side. The doctor came and decided that I needed taking to theatre for a forceps delivery. Griffin was then born very quickly. He was breathing, his heart was fine, he was perfect. I kept asking them if he was ok and I couldn't take my eyes off him. I couldn't believe that after eight months of starving, dehydration and so, so much medication that I had this perfect little baby!
The surgeon told me that I had sustained a third degree tear and that he was repairing it, it wouldn't take long. The midwife then asked me if I wanted to breastfeed still, which of course I did. I was shaking terribly though so Scott held Griffin on me and he fed for such a long time! That to this day is the happy moment that I hold onto through what was a terrible, traumatic day. As I was laid there in theatre feeding Griffin, I heard the surgeon call for the head consultant to come and assist him. The anaesthetist was instructed to give me another dose of the epidural, no one was smiling anymore, everyone went quiet. Even Scott looked white as a sheet, I was more scared then than I have even been in my life. The surgeon told me that the tear was worse than he had initially thought, that I had actually sustained a fourth degree tear and that he was having difficulty stopping the bleeding, the head consultant arrived and together they got to work. My eye lids were so heavy at this point, I could barely stay awake but the fear that I would never wake up kept me going, just. This was more terrifying than any part of my pregnancy had been and to this day I still remember every tiny detail of that theatre room. It took them three hours to repair the damage and stop the bleeding. I had lost a lot of blood and my blood pressure was very low, I was also very anaemic before I was induced which wasn't helping my recovery. I continued to breastfeed Griffin with Scott's help. I felt amazing to be honest, the HG symptoms stopped very quickly after Griffin was delivered and a few hours after the surgery I regained my appetite! I had toast and a cup of tea, it was amazing and wonderful to finally be able to eat and drink. I stopped my anti-sickness drugs straight away. By the afternoon they were still concerned about my blood pressure and I was extremely weak so I was moved to a side room
and they arranged blood transfusions for me through the night. They allowed Scott to stay with me at the hospital that night, he helped with Griffin which was a relief as I still couldn't move off the bed. By the next day I felt much better and had regained some strength, a couple of days later and we were able to go home.
18 months on and I am still recovering both physically and emotionally. I have suffered with post traumatic stress disorder since the birth and post natal depression during the earlier months. But writing down my story and talking about it has over time helped me to come to terms with everything that happened. My experience has motivated me to help other women who suffer from HG, I just can't bare to think of another woman suffering that way that I did or even worse.
Looking back I am so proud of our little family for getting through what has to be the toughest year of our lives, it has certainly made us stronger!
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
I am a volunteer for a charity called Pregnancy Sickness Support (PSS). They are a charity that offers support to women who are suffering from all degrees of severe nausea and vomiting including Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). I am also currently involved in a personal fundraising event for the charity. Scott, Griffin and I are walking 9k every month for nine months in order to raise funds and awareness for PSS. You can see our fundraising page here.
Two weeks ago we completed our September walk in Blackpool, we decided to stay for a couple of days and make the most of some family time together.
We walked along the promenade under all of the illuminations which are 10k long so we walked a bit more than the 9k we had originally planned! We set off walking around 5pm and it was pretty dark by the time we finished. It's amazing to think that over one million bulbs are used in the illuminations, it must take a long time to get them all set up. Griffin bought his own illuminations to carry around.
We were pretty tired by the end of the walk so on our way back to the hotel we decided that we deserved a treat so we shared some do-nuts...
The next day we visited the Sealife Centre, Griffin loved it, he has always loved watching fish though as his Uncle Ian has lots of tropical fish. We also walked around the arcades, Griffin shares our love of the 2p slot machines so we spent a lot of time in there. Sadly we didn't manage to win any minions!
I will update you all again later this month when we have completed our 9k walk for October. If you would like to sponsor us please take a look at our fundraising page here
It's hard to believe that you're 18 months now, it only seems like yesterday that you arrived. You were so tiny and so perfect, which was a miracle considering how ill I had been and how much medication I had to take to keep us both alive. You really are a HG hero, a true miracle!
From the moment you were born you filled our hearts with joy, we can't imagine what life was like before we had you. You have a cheeky smile and could charm the birds out of the trees. It's going to be very difficult to be cross with you when you do anything naughty!
Your first birthday came along far too quickly, you had grown so much and your first two teeth had just popped through.
You were 16 months when you took your first steps, we were so proud! Now you're running around everywhere!
You love your food and right from the start you insisted on feeding yourself. You love to explore your food too, which makes a lot of mess, but we don't mind as we love to see you enjoying your food and well it's just part of who you are!
We are so proud of you and love you so much that there are no words to describe how much. You make us smile every day, you fill our lives and our hearts with so much joy. It doesn't matter how old you are or how tall you become over the years, you will always be Mummy and Daddy's little man...
Thursday, 17 October 2013
Choosing the right car seat for your child is a huge decision and can be very stressful. I spent a lot of time researching car seats, safety tests and reviews. Unfortunately though the decision ultimately lies with two factors, which seat will fit In your car securely and secondly which seat your child is happy to sit in. If the child is unhappy and likely to escape from the restraints then it doesn't really matter how safe the seat is, it won't be safe for your child if they do climb out. We recently had to move Griffin up to the next stage car seat. He was using his first seat which was a group 0+ which can take upto 13kg weight. Griffin only weighed 9.5kg at the time but had become too tall for the shoulder straps. I took him to the shop so they could check him in his seat and they confirmed that he needed to move up to group 1.
We made three separate trips to the shops, each time we spent quite a few hours trying Griffin in the car seats and trying the seats in our car. The problem we had was that Griffin hated harnesses and would manage to escape from them all. Griffin also wanted to be forward facing and became quite upset when sat in a rear facing seat. I found this to be very stressful and upsetting as I felt that we would never find a car seat he was happy with. Ultimately the safest seat for a child under four is rear facing, which is what I was hoping to buy. We did well to keep him rear facing in his Group 0+ seat for 17 months really, but he was ready to turn around now so we had no choice other than to buy a forward facing seat. We then started to research car seats with a safety impact cushion instead of a traditional five point harness. Because these seats are still quite new and the market is still dominated by five point harnesses, the thought of not having a harness terrified me. However, I researched the seats with a safety impact cushion thoroughly and actually found that they are better for the child on impact as they reduce the strain on a child's neck when they are thrown forwards. I did come across a video that was released showing a crash test with a safety impact cushion car seat and the car rolling over. This video put me off the seats straight away, however when discussing this with a car seat expert in the shop, she talked me through the video and how the tests hadn't been performed accurately. We fitted Griffin in the seat properly and could clearly see he wasn't going to slide out in the rare event of the car possibly rolling over. After talking to the sales person at great length I was fully reassured, then seeing how happy and comfortable Griffin was when fastened into the seat confirmed my decision.
We purchased a seat that has a safety impact cushion and this is secured in place using the seatbelt in the car. We allowed the sales person to install the seat and help us to fasten Griffin in for the first time so that we were confident that he was fastened in safely and correctly. Griffin loves his new seat, he always lifts his arms up so that I can slide the cushion into place without been asked. I feel happier that he is safe, happy and comfortable. Car journeys are so much more relaxed now.
I have listed below a few tips that I have learnt along the way for when choosing a car seat:
• Do your research before visiting the shops
• Always check a car seat in your car before buying
• Always check your child in a car seat before buying
• Always ask the shop assistant to help install your new car seat and to show you how to fasten it properly
• If you buy online then take your seat to your local fire station or a shop that sells car seats and have it checked to ensure it is fitted correctly
• Try to buy a car seat with detachable covers that are machine washable
I hope this helps if you are currently looking for a new car seat or will be in the near future.
Monday, 14 October 2013
Last week I went to stay with friends in Norfolk, we are all HG survivors and volunteers for Pregnancy Sickness Support. Emma with Adam, Cori with Isadora and Sam with Harper. When we arrived we were greeted by a stray cow which we decided to call Butler!
We had a wonderful time together, everyone was relaxed and it felt like we had known each other for a lifetime. Emma, Cori and Sam are such lovely, kind, caring and supportive ladies, I am proud to call them my friends. Adam, Issi, Harper and Griffin all played together wonderfully, they had a great time too.
There was a lot of stormy weather so we didn't venture out far. We did enjoy a walk around the gardens, up and down the track and chased the chickens. Well the kids chased the chickens, the grown ups were way too mature for that sort of behaviour of course!
A massive thank you has to go to Cori for cooking the meals, which were all absolutely delicious! We especially loved Cori's chocolate and Guinness cake, I can't wait to try the recipe.
Griffin and I miss everyone so much now that we are home, we can't wait for the next get together.