Monday, 10 October 2011

Lost but never forgotten

The popular parenting forum Mumsnet are running a Better Miscarriage Care Campaign this week.

The aims being to increase awareness of miscarriage – sadly, it happens to many, many women every single day and is still very much a taboo topic – and to campaign for improvements in the miscarriage care that women receive in the UK.

As a Mumsnet Blogger I was more than happy to write about my experience to support the campaign. I touched on our year from hell here, but as the year anniversary of our first loss is approaching, it seems fitting (and maybe healing) to write it all down somewhere.

Its one of those things that you think is never going to happen to you.
Especially after having had two trouble-free pregnancies and two healthy baby boys.
I had a feeling from about 17 weeks that something wasn’t right with my third pregnancy. I remember waking up one morning and feeling not-quite-right – not-quite-pregnant anymore. But my bump seemed to be growing, I was still feeling a little sick and I had no reason to think that anything had gone wrong.

One morning in October (at 20 weeks) I woke up with vague cramps, I put it down to stretching pain and carried on with my day. It was only when the pains continued and worsened that I decided to phone the Early Pregnancy Unit for advice.
I was told it was all normal and to take a paracetomol.
The pains increased and after the worst night of my life – I knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what to do whilst my family slept soundly around me, screaming silently is how I remember it now – I managed to speak to a midwife who took me seriously and told me to come into the Labour Ward. The rest of that day is a blur. I was examined and scanned, to be told that my baby had no heartbeat. The memory still makes me feel sick – I remember the sonographer’s exact words – ‘I’m afraid there’s no little heartbeat there today’ and the lovely midwife who stayed in the scan room with me (my husband was at home with our boys, not thinking that there was anything seriously wrong.)
Looking back, I can’t believe how calm I was – I suppose I had to be.
At 4pmish that same day I delivered our little boy – although we didn’t know he was a little boy at the time. We had decided not to see or hold him – and although I know it was the right thing for us at the time, it still haunts me to this day. We have his tiny hand and footprints.
We have never found out we lost our little boy – and its likely that we never will.
That’s hard to deal with.

Bootie I crocheted for the first baby we never got to meet - I never got round to making the second one. It will always be his.

Even though at 20 weeks I had to give birth to our baby, it is still classed as a miscarriage. If it had happened 3.5 weeks later then it would be called a still-birth - his birth and death would have been registered and I would have been entitled to maternity leave.

I’ve since gone on to have two more miscarriages – both early thankfully, and we are still no closer to finding out what may be causing them.
The theory seems to be that it is just ‘bad luck’. I accepted that after the first, and even after the second, but after the third I am no longer willing to accept that as an explanation.

I’m lucky in that the majority of the care I’ve received over the last year has been good. I can’t fault the care we received in hospital whilst giving birth to our boy. The midwife and consultant were compassionate and reassuring, and treated us with respect and sincerity.
The only blip was when we heard the lady in the room next door to us give birth to a healthy, squalling baby.
The care I’ve received since then has been satisfactory. I do feel that I am having to manage my own care to a certain extent – researching possible problems and pushing for certain tests and a referral to a specialist. There seems to be a lack of research into the causes of miscarriage in this country, particularly late losses. You only have to look at the number of high-profile celebrity cases that have occurred recently to realize that it happens more than we think, and a cause is rarely found.

Miscarriage changes you. I can’t imagine ever enjoying a pregnancy again, I constantly think there is something physically wrong with me and I’m not as carefree as I used to be. But I am feeling stronger everyday and I know one day in the not to distant future I will be ready to put myself in that position again.

I apologise for the mammoth post – and thank-you for sticking with it if you got this far.

I will be back later in the week with a guest poster who will be telling us about her experience.
You can also click on the thumbnails below to hop to some more bloggers involved in the campaign.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Idea Jar (& free download)

My boys love to draw - and one of them loves to colour in too (the other one doesn't!). My littlest boy tends to draw the same things over and over again (currently, a house with balloons in the chimney - from the film Up) whilst my biggest boy spends 20 minutes deciding what he's going to draw before he gets down it. The scope of possible things to draw is so infinitely wide that sometimes it helps to narrow it down, so I came up with the Idea Jar.
I cut up some strips of card and wrote an idea for a drawing on each card, mixed them all up, and put them in a jar. Our usual rule is that they have to stick with the one they pick first, but if I'm feeling kind I let them pick twice and choose their favourite.

I've been playing around with some graphic packages (more about that later) and have created two pdf files with some of the ideas we use. The files are free and can be downloaded below.
All you need to do is print, cut and find a jar/container to put them in.
All I ask is that you come back and let me know what you think of them and more importantly what the kids think of them! Happy drawing .........

Ideas 1 pdf file
Ideas 2 pdf file

Friday, 7 October 2011

Friday Finds 02

Today has been a good day.
My littlest boy has been really struggling with his spellings since he started Year 1 - to the point where I was on the verge of talking to his teachers about it. But today, despite the fact that we only practised them twice and then once again rather hurriedly on the way to school, he got ten out of ten! And they were not easy words : were, then and little amongst them.
I was so happy - and he was pleased as punch. It just seems to have clicked all of a sudden - and its so lovely to be a part of. He is growing up before my very eyes.

So its Friday finds time again .....

This throw would look perfect in our living-room - so pretty

Love, love, love this cardi

This is so lovely - great colours

Its getting to that time of year again - I'm determined to make something along these lines this year

My boys would love to eat off of this

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Dressing-up chest (part two)

I talked about the dressing-up chest we put together for my sons 5th birthday a few weeks ago.
I wanted to share some of the items I found to put in the box.
One of my favourites is the black cloak in the pictures below.
It is second-hand but homemade and I found it on ebay for a snip.
I love that it is so versatile - perfect for Darth Vader, as seen (rather menacingly) below.
Or Lord Voldemort, or Harry Potter, or Merlin, or Gandalf etc ........
My littlest does seem to be drawn towards the baddies - hmmmmmm, should I be worried?

Friday, 30 September 2011

Friday Finds 01

Well, I've got a stinking cold that has had me laid up in bed for the last two days. Feeling slightly more human again today - which is good, as Friday is always a busy day here.
I've decided to start a new regular slot on here called Friday Finds.
The aim being to share some of the cool and inspiring things that I stumble across on the internet.
Because I like some structure in my life (and to stop me getting carried away!)- my Friday finds every week will include: an item for the house, an inspiring tutorial, a print that I love, an item of clothing and something for the kids. So here goes .....

  • Love these retro floor lamps - I'm coveting the red one for our cellar when its done.
  • Sleepover pillowcase tutorial - what a good idea.
  • Love this print - again think it would be perfect in the reading corner of our cellar.
  • How sweet are these dresses - especially the one on the right. From the US unfortunately.
  • We are changing the way we do the kids lunchboxes in this house after finding this blog.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Dressing-up chest (part one)

Our youngest son was five a few weeks ago. Having two boys, less than two years apart, means its getting harder and harder to think of birthday presents for them.

My little one loves dressing up and acting in character, so I decided to fill up a toy-box full of dressing up clothes for him. I scoured ebay and charity shops for second-hand bargains, mixed them with a few new things and some props - and hey-presto - an original birthday present that will keep him and his brother entertained for many years to come.

As I was using a plain white toy chest that we already had - I decided that I need to decorate it, in some way to make it look a bit more special.

I had some A4 wallpaper samples that I ordered a while ago with another project in mind, and decided this was the perfect opportunity to put them to good use.

I cut each A4 page into six (roughly) equal rectangles, and arranged them in a pattern on the top of the chest.

I then glued them down with PVA glue mixed with a little water. Once dry, I covered them with a coat of matt varnish and left it to dry again. I then repeated this three times.

The matt varnish on top of the paper gives a lovely smooth feel and also protects it against the batterings/spilt coffee/juice/goodness knows what else, it is destined to receive.

Friday, 2 September 2011


How lovely is this .........

I defy you not to feel sleepy whilst watching.

Yawn, I'm off to bed ......

Folksy treasury # 3 - Autumn

The leaves are already falling off the trees in our neighbourhood, and I've noticed a definite autumnal feel to the air over the last week or so. Autumn is my favourite season - I love it, so I've chosen an autumnal theme for my Follksy treasury today.

Angeldust Images Big Softie
iMake Mimsical Ceramics
Through the Round Window Pats Paraphernalia

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Card games

We've recently discovered a love of traditional card games.
My boys are at the age where we can play more challenging games together now - and we've had a real game playing Summer this year.

I found this book in the library which has some great ideas for all sorts of games. There is a whole section on card games - some I've never heard of and others I remember well from my childhood.

Here are some of our favourites:

Snap - always a favourite, although someone inevitably ends up stomping off (or is that just my kids!)

War - new one for me, nice and simple

Beggar my neighbour - we knew it as Strip Jack Naked as kids, much better name - great game!

Cheat - what kid wouldn't love a game where they are allowed to cheat

Go Fish - we liked this one too, but they do struggle to hold their cards without everyone else being able to see them, which is essential for this game. Might have to invest in some of these. !!

Do you have any favourite card games to share? We'd love to know about them if you do.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Folksy treasury #2 - Playroom prints

We've decided to convert our cellar into a playroom with sofa-bed for guests.
It was partially converted by the previous owners but we've only ever used it for storage. We got a very pleasing quote from a local company - and I'm very excited. I've already started furnishing, decorating and accesorising in my head, and have been browsing Folksy on the look-out for cute prints.
It will mainly be an extra space for the boys, so I had them in mind when searching.
Here's what I found so far:

Iota illustration Jo Empson
Hide n Seek Lucy's Happy Place
Lucy Cunsolo littlegreenshed

Click each image for more details.

Which one do you like best?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Iced blobs

Since I treated myself to a this a few weeks back I've been baking almost every day, which is unusual for me. But the Kmix just makes everything so much quicker and easier - I love it. I was quite excited when I saw the contestants using them on The Great British Bake-Off last night.
I decided to give Iced buns a go today - never made them before, but I remember my Mum making them for us when we were little, along with Chelsea Buns (have to give those a go too).

They came out okay - not fantastic, but still distinctly Iced-bunish. I overcooked them and they were not as soft and squishy as I was hoping.
I also struggled to get the shape right, so they are more blob-shaped than anything else.
But these guys liked them - and got thoroughly sticky in the eating process.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Sausage and mash monsters

We usually eat together as a family in the evenings, but occasionally the boys will have something different to us, a little earlier.
Sausage and mash is one of their favourites and a no-brainer for me. Its one of the meals I know they both love and will eat without complaint.

They only thing they do request are monsters....................and gravy of course.

Stand and deliver

We are a bit Horrible Histories obsessed in our house.
We've only discovered it recently - as we gradually moved over from Cbeebies to CBBC, and its clear why it has won so any awards.
This is our favourite song at the moment - the boys know this one off by heart, and it still hasn't become annoying (yet!).

And you can't have the Highwayman without the song it was clearly inspired by. I played this recently to my eldest and he loved it immediately.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Raisin Bread

I made raisin bread yesterday - and I have to say it was pretty delicious.
I love anything cinamony and doughy and this fit the bill exactly.

The recipe was from The River Cottage Family Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Fizz Carr.
This has to be our most used cookbook - it has lots of simple homely recipes like pancake batter, scones, banana bread, lentil soup - with an emphasis on the kids helping out. So, the instructions are very detailed and clear. I actually learnt how to make an omelette from this book - only last year, never quite been able to master it before.

Anyway, back to the raisin bread. In the book Hugh describes it as a giant currant bun and thats exactly what it was.
Perfect with an afternoon cuppa.

Friday, 12 August 2011


This little boy was five on Monday.

At five, you:
  • Have a 'sense of fun and enthusiasm that is infectious' as your teacher wrote in your first school report
  • Love to draw and paint - and have a definite talent for it and a confident, quirky style
  • Have recently outgrown your hoover obsession! (thankfully)
  • Are loving, caring and so affectionate
  • Still have the occasional afternoon nap on the sofa
  • Still cry when you get properly told off and it breaks my heart (especially when your bottom lip wobbles)
  • Have a swagger about you that is going to get you noticed one day (in a good way!)
  • Love to 'pretend', to the point where you can spend all day in character, and we're not allowed to call you by your real name
  • Love to help me bake, especially when you get to lick the spoon at the end!
  • Don't eat many vegetables but your favourite fruits are peaches and strawberries
  • Love jacket potatoes, beans and cheese
  • Still fight and argue with your big brother, but you also think he's the greatest.
  • Have a soft spot for all your aunties and can charm the socks off them!
  • Are the most adorable little boy in the world - and I'm so glad you are my little boy. You make me happy every single day xx

Folksy treasury #1 - Garden

Here is a round up of some of my favourite items on Folksy at the moment, all with a garden theme.

Julia Smith Ceramics Belle and The Bean
Quernus Crafts The Linen Cat
Mary Elliot Dig The Earth

Thursday, 11 August 2011


I've had a nightmarish ten months since I last posted in October last year.

Two days after my last post we lost our baby. I was 20 weeks pregnant.
We had many tests but were never given a reason why and we have had to come to terms with the fact that we probably never will.
Since then I've gone on to have two more miscarriages - both at early stages, but still devastating. We are due to see a consultant who specialises in miscarriages in September so we shall see what becomes of that.

Its heartbreaking to read back that last post. Least of all as it reminds me how naieve I was about pregnancy at that time. I just assumed that when you get pregnant you would have a baby at the end of it - and now I know that is clearly untrue.

It also reminds me how much I've changed in the last ten months - and not necessarily for the good. I'm much more intolerant of people and get angrier much easier. But the whole experience has made me realise that I'm incredibly lucky to have my two boys and my supportive husband - and that knowledge has helped me through probably the worst year of my life.

We found out that the baby we lost in October was a little boy, and I still think about him every day. About the boy he could have been - and the brother he never was to my sons. Every month that goes by I count the months old he should be - and the milestones he would be passing. It still hurts, but you get to a point where noone asks you how you are anymore and seems to have forgotten when all you want to do is talk about it.

Anyway, its been hard to come back here and write this, but I feel like I'm turning a corner and I'm determined to get back to how I was, albeit a slightly different me, but me all the same.