Monday, 1 September 2014

{Guest post} Louise - Cleft palate

Today's guest post comes from one of my online friends, Louise.

We always knew that when we started our family, we didn't want a huge gap between the children so were thrilled when we found out we were expecting number 2 (D2) when Will was 13 months old. The pregnancy progressed exactly like my first but was under consultant lead care as I delivered via emergency section the last time. We have no serious health issues in our families and I don't know about anyone else but you don't go into the scan expecting to be told anything apart from the sex of the baby during the 20 week scan so when the abnormally scan picked up a bilateral Cleft Lip it was like someone had pulled the rug from under us. They took us to what I call the bad news room, a room of neutral calming tones, comfy sofa and box of tissues and were told that it was ok the surgeons would do a great job of repair ........ Sorry ??? surgeons???? A what now??? We had to wait a whole week to have it confirmed by the consultant that it was a unilateral cleft lip and although they couldn't tell we should prepare ourselves for the baby to have a cleft palate also. Almost as soon as we were diagnosed we were contacted by the local cleft team who would be taking care of us after D2 was born and we were given a good understanding of what we should expect in the coming months. The following 4 months went in a blur and during which I went through almost every emotion imaginable including a sort of grieving process for the 'perfect' child which now seems incredibly crass and melodramatic. However, I think it was me I was feeling sorry for as a cleft meant breast feeding would be nigh on impossible and as I had such a hard time the last time had been looking forward to knowing what I was doing this time around!! D2 arrived 13 days late, induced and once again delivered by emergency c section as I was losing a lot of blood (1 litre in the end). We were introduced to this 8lb 12 oz of boy who looked almost identical to his big brother apart from the obvious gap in his upper lip. It was a huge shock to see even though we were expecting it, and I'm sure this feeling will continue for some time although it has no bearing on how gorgeous he is and how much I adore him. We called him Samuel and were visited in hospital by one of the cleft nurses who gave us 3 specialist bottles to use to feed him. Initially I despised them but quickly got over this and realised Sam needed feeding regardless of how so I needed to suck it up and get on with it. The cleft team understood my need to breastfeed so have provided me with my very own milking shed (or as good as) in the form of a hospital grade medela pump, it's hard to find the time to pump but at least he is benefiting from my milk as well as formula. So where are we now? Well we have seen the surgeon who is pretty much the best in the country and spends a lot of time completing cleft ops in India for charity, so he's a great guy too! Sam will have to have two operations the first we anticipate to happen when Sam is 3-4 months old to repair his lip and the hard part of his palate and the second when he is 6 months to repair his soft palate. Which apparently afterwards may mean he will latch for me (if it's only for a week I will be thrilled!) He has been diagnosed with glue ear which is the preferable reason for why he failed the newborn hearing test which is normal for cleft babies and we are awaiting a date for his first operation, it's going to be a tough year but we will get through it as a family! We will keep you posted on our progress Lou xx

Saturday, 30 August 2014

{In the media} The depressing truth

I recently came across an article that a couple of friends posted on social media recently. The headline caught my eye simply because I related to it - The depressing truth behind mums 'unable' to breastfeed. I put together three of the words - depressing, unable, breastfeed - and immediately thought of myself. If you have read my blog before you will know that I really struggled to breastfeed both J & N.

The months after J was born were some of the worst of my life because I was unable to breastfeed. I blamed myself, my body didn't work properly, I couldn't provide for my baby. My inability to breastfeed led to an enormous amount of breastfeeding guilt. In turn this led to me developing post natal depression. I mention in the post I linked to for the experience with J, that I had help from the support workers. But that was it. They could see that I couldn't get J to latch, but they didn't suggest anything else. Now I see it wasn't my fault, but is a possibility that J had tongue tie; but nobody could diagnose that because I didn't know about it back then, and nobody else mentioned it to me. So I gave up before I even really tried.

My experience with N was slightly different in that I tried battling on for longer but we had the exact same problem - his latch, or lack of it. We had help from the NICU nurses when we were in transitional care, but nothing when we were discharged. I refused to give him formula as I was so so scared of developing breastfeeding guilt and depression again. The support workers came out to me a few times for a week or so after he was born, but every time they came out it was the same. They could see he couldn't latch, but nothing else. We attempted, but no other suggestions, nothing. I was simply told as was said in the linked article, "Stick at it and it will click". So we stuck at it. It didn't click. This time though I didn't blame myself as I know I tried my hardest for four weeks, on my own for the most part. Again, a friend mentioned to me recently that N could have tongue tie too. No-one mentioned anything during support.

So far (fingers crossed) I have gotten away with developing depression because I was yet again unable to breastfeed.

Both times, I believe I really could have done with specialist help. Maybe it would have made a difference, maybe it wouldn't. But just the fact that it would have been a 'professional' rather than just support, might have helped me not to become another statistic.

It is so sad and such a shame that there is no specialist help for so many women who really want to breastfeed. It's okay saying that breast is the best option (which it is, I know), but where is the help, rather than just the support, if women don't know about it and therefore can't find it?

Friday, 29 August 2014

Foodie Penpals - August reveal

This month my parcel came from Jemma in Wales. I always love trying local goods from other areas in other countries so I was excited to see what I would receive.

First up, some local goodies:


  • lamb & mint welsh potato crisps. My first thought on finding these was 'Yum!'. I've been saving these for our car journey today.
  • local Welshcakes. These are delicious, on their own or with butter and/or jam.

Jemma lives in a multicultural area so I also received:


  • harissa paste. I've wanted to try some kind of recipe with this for ages so it was very welcomed.
  • pistachio & almond cookies. These are delicious & moreish. (Hubby likes them too). I might have to try and recreate these.
  • chai latte. This was sent because Jemma thought it had caffeine in it (I always say I love coffee!) but it doesn't... But no matter, I had recently discovered it and it's one of my new favourite hot drinks anyway! 

And finally:


  • orange flavour infused raisins. I've received these in a couple of different flavours before so it was a pleasant surprise to receive a different flavour. They are good!
  • cinnamon apple sprinkles. I already have an idea of what I'm going to use these for (it obviously involves cake).

If you wish to find out more about Foodie Penpals and join in, visit Rock Salt for more details.

The Lean Green Bean

Thursday, 28 August 2014

A to Z of Family - J is for (little man) J

In the A to Z of Family series, what could J be for, other than little man J?

He is one of the main subjects of this blog, so of course it had to be.

3 years (and 2 days) ago, we saw J for the first time. He was a little blob on the ultrasound screen. We had waited over 2.5 years for this moment.

It was magical. Surreal. That was our much waited for, much longed for, clomid baby. He looked perfect.

He arrived into our lives a week and a day later than he was supposed to. But he was so worth the wait. My first words when I saw him were "He's beautiful".

Nowadays, he is a lively, cheeky, intelligent, clever, if not somewhat stroppy, gorgeous little man.

Some days, he drives me up the wall and I can't wait for his Daddy to get home to save me. (That sounds awful, but it's true!).

Other days, he is the most loving, caring son & brother. I treasure the bad days, I treasure every day, but these days makes the bad ones worth it.

He is him. He couldn't be any other way. If he was, he wouldn't be J, would he?

And I love him. From the bottom of my heart.

He is my original little man.


A to Z of Family

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Recipe - Blackberry & apple crumble (#GreatBloggersBakeOff2014)

Now in my opinion, you can't beat a good crumble. Usually good for autumn & winter, but it's perfect for our 'summer' at the minute! We had acquired some fresh apples & blackberries so I thought I would use them together in a crumble for Sunday dessert. The oats in the topping make it extra crunchy.



Ingredients (serves 6)
Filling
  • 250 g blackberries
  • 4 large apples, cored, peeled & diced
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice

Topping
  • 240 g plain flour
  • 120 g butter, room temperature
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 50 g porridge oats

Equipment
  • large bowl
  • large baking dish

Method
  • Preheat the oven to gas 5 / 375F / 190C.
  • In the bottom of a large baking dish, place the blackberries & apples making sure they are spread evenly.
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon, mixed spice, and sugar evenly over the fruit.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, butter, sugar, and oats until they resemble breadcrumbs. Get your hands right in there!
  • Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the fruit, spreading evenly.
  • Bake for 45 minutes until the topping is crunchy and golden brown.
  • Enjoy (with custard or ice cream)!


This is my entry to the #GreatBloggersBakeOff2014, theme of dessert - linking up with Mummy Mishaps (though I'm not out for a star baker accolade this week as this is nowhere near the featured recipes - just something I knocked up on Sunday and I won't have time now before I go away to do one of those - enjoy anyway!).

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