Monday, 28 May 2012

Little Dish Shoes Giveaway

This Little Dish Shoes giveaway is on behalf of Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance.

DD will not sit in her pram any more. She wants to walk. For about five minutes. Then she wants me to carry her. *sigh* But I've found the perfect event to get her walking for a good cause. The Barnardo’s Big Toddle is an exciting ‘mini’ sponsored walk for toddlers. Now in its 16th year, it is the biggest fundraising event in the UK for under 5s and already attracts an amazing half a million children.

All the money that Barnardo’s receives from this event goes towards helping some of the UK’s most vulnerable under 5s. More importantly, it’s a fun and memorable way for young children to help those who need it. Put simply, it lets children help other children. Each year there’s a dressing up theme for the Barnardo’s Big Toddle. This year Barnardo’s are encouraging children to dress up as their favourite superhero and help save the day. Anyone can set up their own toddle by registering online here.

Also this year Little Dish is partnering with Barnardo's Big Toddle and they've created limited edition packs of Chicken and Butternut Squash Pie with a pair of toddling shoes for just £5 that are available in Sainsbury’s from Wednesday 23rd May for 10 days only. 

I'd encourage you go out and buy one of these packs because the proceeds from the sale will go to Barnardo’s. But Little Dish and Sainsbury's have also given me the chance to offer you one of four pairs of toddling shoes in a giveaway - hurrah!

Here's how to enter:

Log in to Rafflecopter (using the widget below) with your Facebook account or your email address and enter the giveaway up to 3 times by...

1) leaving a blog post comment
2) tweeting about the giveaway
3)‘liking’ this blog post.

The more times you enter the better your chances of winning. The winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter (which uses and announced here. Please make sure you state the size of shoe you'd like if you win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The all important small print: Sainsbury's and Little Dish offered me four pairs of toddler shoes to give away and are also sending me a pair to review. I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own. This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 or over, one entry per household. There is no cash alternative.

Brit Mums Live - the outfit?

Boo hoo Maxi Dress

With less than a month to go before Brit Mums Live (squeeaaaal!) my thoughts have turned to the eternal conundrum of the fairly-newly-pregnant-but-already-feeling-huge - what the heck do I wear?!

Nothing immediately sprang to mind so I consulted the oracle that is Twitter. suggested a floated grecian type dress and suggested a nice plain maxi dress with a belt. Thank you ladies, you rock awesomely.

I looked high and low for both of those but came up with nowt that didn't cost rather more than I was willing to spend. Until my next door neighbour gave me this little number above from Boo hoo. It's one shoulder, not my usual choice and heck knows how I'm going to carry that off with my maternity bra without frightening the fashion Gods but it's cool and comfortable and very accommodating for my ever expanding bump. So, what do you think? Is it the one?

Friday, 25 May 2012

Bumplog - phew and pink or blue?

This week has been one of the most difficult for a long time. From the of realising we were pregnant by some natural miracle to the of finding out we had a high risk of baby having Downs Syndrome, my emotions have been on a roller-coaster ride. I've prayed, hoped, feared and run every possible scenario through my mind.

On Wednesday evening we were watching TV in the living room, DD soundly asleep upstairs, when at 8pm the phone rang. We get a lot of cold calls from overseas so I prepared my most polite 'bog off and leave us alone' voice and ran to the phone before it woke DD up. But it wasn't a cold call. It was a midwife from Kings College hospital, where we'd had our on Monday.

I took the phone into the kitchen and tried to breathe. I confirmed my date of birth. I held my breath. Then I realised that I could tell that she was smiling. She explained that the four sets of chromosomes they had tested first had come back negative - Downs Syndrome and four other abnormalities had been ruled out with a 99% certainty. OH had come rushing in. He looked worried and expectant.

I grinned. He grinned.

The midwife continued to explain that the rest of the chromosome pairs would be tested over the next two weeks but that anything they found now would be extremely rare. If they did find anything they would call but assuming all was well they would send us a written report. While she was talking part of my mind was backtracking to something she'd said about the first tests - they had tested the X chromosome for gender abnormalities.


The lady on the other end of the phone line knew if we were going to have a boy or a girl. I repeated this to OH and raised my eyebrows in a way I hoped he'd understand meant 'do we want to know?' Thankfully marital telepathy works and he nodded. So she told us. And so we know that this time around we're having..... A BOY!

Aside from the fact that I have no idea how to raise a baby boy we're completely over the moon of course, but nothing is as awesome as knowing that I'm carrying a healthy baby boy.

Thank you so much for all your support and well-wishes over the past few days. It has really meant a lot to us. You all rock, mahooosively.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Bumplog - distancing myself

Image credit
Yesterday we officially entered the second trimester. This should be an exciting time for us, the risk of miscarraige decreases, and the not-so-pleasant symptoms of pregnancy should start to go too, leaving me with the so-called 'blush' of motherhood. But when I looked in the mirror yesterday morning my cheeks weren't rosy and as I gently pulled away the small round plaster from my bump I tried not to think about being pregnant at all.

On Monday we travelled into London for a screening test. With a 1 in 75 risk of Downs Syndrome or another abnormality we elected to have the Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) diagnostic test. We won't know the outcome for a few days. But for some reason, self-preservation I think, and totally subconsciously, I've ever-so-slightly distanced myself from baby.

We travelled into London after lunch, telling DD we had some shopping to do and leaving her in the capable hands of Nana. (I couldn't cope with having DD there to be honest.) When we arrived at the hospital there was a short wait so I busied myself trying to complete the Telegraph crossword. Frankly anything to take my mind off what was about to happen would have worked, a clown would have been nice. Perhaps I should suggest that in the feedback form. Anyhoo, when we were finally called for our turn, a lovely research fellow and a sonographer talked us through what was going to happen. Basically a lot of baby's measurements were going to be taken and they were going to repeat the nucal test and blood tests I'd had done at my local hospital. They were also working on a research project to create a dignostic blood test that would eventually replace the need for the CVS test. We agreed to help with the research by letting our results be used in the sample. If it means that one day DD might be able to have a simple blood test rather than going through what we were about to, we were more than happy to help.

The scan was more of less like any other, just a bit longer. We got to see a lot of baby wriggling about and heard the heartbeat for the first time. (It always makes me whell up and I'm pretty sure I heard OH gulp.) Once the measurements were taken, the sonographer reassured us that as far as anatomy was concerned baby looked fine. I breathed a sigh of relief but she cautioned us that it was the blood test results that had caused us to have a higher risk so anatomy wasn't an indicator for us. I felt cautioned. After a quick cervix check we were sent to wait outside for the CVS test.

I was just trying to remember the name of the director of Twin Peaks (--N-H) when we were called for our turn. The room wasn't the sterile operating theatre that I'd expected, just a large consulting room with a bed and scan machine in the middle. We were talked through what would happen again and asked to sign another set of consent forms. Then I lay down on the bed just like for a normal scan and another research fellow checked the position of my placenta. Luckily this time around it's anterior, which means it's lying on the front of my tummy rather than the back, and makes the procedure a bit easier. When the team had decided on a strategy for taking the sample of the placental cells, the consultant in charge chatted away to us about anything and everything other than what was happening, a welcome distraction that I was so grateful for.

The research fellow gave me an injection of local anaesthetic to numb the skin and then they prepared the sample needle. I decided not to look, but apparently it's about half the width of the needle they use for a blood test. She rested the needle on my bump and asked me to try and relax. The point prickled on my skin for a moment and then I felt some pressure and a small point of discomfort as it entered my womb. It wasn't half as painful as I'd expected it to be, to be honest. They used some suction to hoover up a the sample of cells and then it was all over. The consultant showed us the test tube with my cells, and our future, floating about in it. It seemed strange that such a small amount of matter could decide so much.

I'd read that I would need to rest for a few days and not lift heavy things, like toddlers, but the consultant explained that putting my feet up and having OH cook me dinner wasn't necessary. (Damn.) He said the procedure had gone well and if I didn't have any major pain or bleeding by the time we received the result then the risk of miscarriage was much lower. Notwithstanding the fact that I like having dinner cooked for me, it's been a blessing that I can just get on with things and not think too much about the outcome of the test.

We should know the result within a couple of days. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Silent Sunday

Inspired by

Love All Blogs

You can read more Silent Sundays at Love All Blogs

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Bumplog - after the highs...

Following this week's announcement that by some natural miracle we're pregnant with our second child, the flood of congratulatory messages both here and on Twitter quite overwhelmed me. You lot are just lovely *sniff*.

But after the highs come the almost inevitable lows.

At our 13 week scan we were offered a combined screening test for chromosome abnormalities including Downs Syndrome. We decided to take the test and I had some vials of blood taken for testing. At the scan baby's neck was measured. All looked normal. We were told that if we didn't hear anything within two weeks then the blood tests had come back negative and all was well.

On Thursday afternoon, after a lovely morning sharing our news with all my Mummy friends at playgroup, I had a phone call. As the midwife started talking a wave of nausea broke over me. I asked her to wait for a moment and sat DD in front of Thomas the Tank Engine. Then I sat down to concentrate on what she was telling me.

The blood test results had come back and combined with my age, history and the nuchal fold test we had done at the scan, there is a 1 in 75 chance of baby having an abnormality.

1 in 75. Not 1 in 1200 like DD. 1 in 75.

The midwife was incredible. She calmly explained all our options and offered all sorts of advice. But in the end the decision about what to do next was ours and ours alone.

OH and I discussed all the options. It seemed that Sod's law had applied to us again. Thankfully we were both of the same opinion. We want to know for sure.

So on Monday we will be travelling to London for a Chorionic Villus Sampling test. A very thin needle will be placed into my womb and a minute piece of the placenta, the placenta that is feeding our baby, will be taken out for testing. There is a small chance that the procedure itself will cause a miscarriage. I'm trying not to think about any of it.

Whatever happens we should know the outcome of the tests by the end of the week. Please bear with me while we have the test. I may not be posting here much.

Image credit

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Miracles do happen

I bent down to tie my shoe lace and my vision narrowed from countryside to road in an instant. An ant bustled past my toe, goal driven and full of busyness. As I stood up a wave of dizziness broke over me and I placed a hand on my stomach. The realisation suprised me again. Realisation that by some twist of fate, by some natural miracle, I was, I am, pregnant.

Yep, pregnant. No, not with drugs. No, not with fertility treatment. Just totally, utterly naturally.

If you've read our you know what we went through to conceive DD. The physical and mental challenges of infertility that were followed by the new but no less taxing challenge of her premature birth and beyond. And all in a foreign country.

We had a few attempts to conceive again in China using IUI but it wasn't to be. So we decided when we came home to the UK and just let the fates decide if another child was in our future. Sometimes I was a but I came to accept it.

Were the fates reading this blog I wonder? They certainly had other plans.

So here I am, 13 weeks into my second pregnancy and still in shock.

It's a new chapter for us, uncharted territory with no compass. But it's a journey that we're so, so happy to be making. I hope you'll join us, it'll be a wild ride I'm sure.


Monday, 14 May 2012

The waiting game

Waiting for critically important events, events that can change your path in life, whether by roadblock, diversion or by supplying a completely different destination, is terrifying.

As time ticks by, I phase between alternate states; first nonchalance, then fear, then resignation. There's nothing I can do to affect the outcome. It will be what it will be. But still the little metronome inside my head tick-tocks the seconds as they drag by.

Times passes slowly when you're waiting for an event to happen. (A watched event never boils I suppose.) Then when it's upon you the minutes zoom past at warp speed, often with a self-satisfied 'whoosh' in my experience. I wonder where they're going in such a hurry? Is there another important event about to take place in someone's life that they need to speed through too? If so they must be single-handedly keeping Red Bull in business. Phew, I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

I'm not going to be explicit about this particular event yet. All will be revealed in time, whatever the outcome. But suffice to say this crossroads we're at is taking up my time. The paths are clear. Which one we'll take is not. But until the seconds get their wings, we'll travel hopefully.

Image credit

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Silent Sunday

Inspired by...

See more Silent Sundays at Love All Blogs

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Silent Sunday

Inspired by

See more Silent Sundays at Love All Blogs

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Dear So and So...

Dear blog

This week has been a non-blogging week (apart from the , natch). Nana came to stay and all sorts of loveliness ensued. You were somewhat neglected and for that I apologise. Actually, that's not true. I don't apologise for life getting in the way of blogging because that's the way it should be sometimes. But I will be back soon, with all sorts of very exciting news to share. Promise.

Da author.


Dear friends

I love you. That is all.

Grateful that you're there *blows kisses*


Dear Silent Sunday

Last night there was the most beautiful full moon. I tried to capture it. I failed. Hope you're not too disappointed with tomorrow's picture.

Very amateur photographer.


Read more Dear So and So... letters over at .

Image: Stuart Miles /
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