Friday, 30 March 2012

Olympic Reasons To Be Cheerful

Back to my normal #R2BC format this week (all be it a bit late). The sun is shining so here's what's making me cheerful this week:

1- I'm running in the Olympics!

Well sort of, on Saturday I'm taking part in the National Lottery Olympic Park Run. I (and 4999 others) will be running 5 miles around the Olympic park, finishing off in the stadium. Well I say running, I'm not a runner at all but I was training hard for what would be the longest distance I've ever done, when unfortunately I picked up a back injury. I'm now under doctors orders not to run, which is really disappointing but I'm not going to throw in the towel all together, I'm going to walk the course and maybe try a wee jog at the end, a bit of pain isn't going to make me miss the opportunity of crossing the Olympic finishing line with my little daughter watching me!

2- Its the Easter Holidays!

Hoarry horray! Now that Fred is working in a school he has the holidays off, it'll be great having him at home with us on my Mummy days and he's going to take E out of nursery on a couple of my working days so they can get a bit of Daddy-Daughter time again. He's been really missing that since changing his working pattern and loosing Daddy Wednesday. The only slight down side to this is that I still have to go to work - which is going to be really annoying!

Time to plant some seeds!

3- Farewell Baby Clobber!

I've occasionally joked that armies can mobilise with less equipment than I take to the park. This has been especially true recently. Winter meant waterproofs, hats and gloves were in the bag (just in case she ever agreed to wear them), being partially potty trained meant at least one complete change of clothes plus nappies, wipes, flushable wipes, and a portable potty. A desire to walk everywhere, that was quickly followed by a desire to be carried meant the buggy always came too, even if she wasn't in it (see previous comments on my back as to why the carrying was out) . But...  E is now about 95% reliable with the potty training, the weather is warmer and after our holiday in Cornwall she has proven herself able to walk a fair distance too. So we can now brave a trip to the park or local library, on foot, with no buggy and with me only carrying my handbag - yes a handbag! Not a changing bag! An actual grown up handbag with stuff for me in it! How very novel that feels.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Lessons From My Two Year Old

Dear Mummy,

I know you believe that you are in charge of teaching me stuff (thanks for the eating solids thing by the way I really like that one), but I think there are a few things you could learn from me:

1-Don't try and hide your belly with a baggy tops and big pants, stick it out proudly, strip naked and run around. The more people and mirrors you can find the better, having a body is brilliant!

2- Satsumas are at least as exciting as chocolate, possibly more so

3-Poos and farts are funny. Shouting "Daddy likes to do poos, PERRR-LOP!" at the top of your voice in the doctors waiting room is even funnier.

4- Why have a party dress and only wear it twice? Dress up for going to the library and doing the gardening too.

5- Tomorrow is ages and ages away, stop worrying about it.

6- If you're full, just stop eating.

7-The Internet will still be there when I'm in bed, it'll still be there when I'm 15 and don't want to talk to you. Right now put it away and come play.

8 - Giggle uncontrollably at least once a day.

9- Stop rushing down the street, slow down and you'll be amazed at what you might spot.

10- If you're hurt or sad don't hide it all away, scream your head off. Sooner or later someone will come and give you a hug.

Love from E, aged 2 1/2

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Baby Gift That Keeps on Giving - Umbilical Cord Donation!

Here is an article that made both my Mummy head and Scientist head happy this week, so in a change from my normal format, I'm making cord blood donation my reason to be cheerful.

When a baby is born, the placenta and left over blood in the umbilical chord are just chucked in the clinical waste bin. But squirrelled away in that "rubbish" are some really amazing little cells that could save the life of a total stranger. They are haematopoetic stem cells (try saying that after a night on the gas and air) and I've been lucky enough to be involved in lab research using them, but now the NHS and the Anthony Nolan charity are collecting them to set up a cord blood bank to treat patients with leukemia.

These stem cells normally lurk quietly in your bone marrow, but every so often they divide and produce a new cell which can make all the different cells in your blood; the red cells that carry oxygen, the platelets that form clots if you cut yourself and the many types of white cells that make up your immune system. It's an elegant and complex process but sometimes it can go wrong, pumping out cancerous cells instead of healthy ones. When this happens, and if all other treatments have failed, extreme measures are needed to save the patients life. If a donor can be found (and it's a big if), the patient's own immune system is deliberately destroyed, including all those stem cells and the new donor stem cells are then transplanted, in the hope that they will start to produce healthy blood, and therefore - a healthy person.

This is where umbilical cords come in. Donor stem cells are usually taken from donated bone marrow,  but they can also be found in cord blood. In this country we're actually importing this blood to treat people (see the lovely story at the end of the article for an example of this) so now attempts are being made to set up a national cord blood bank in the UK. The blood is simply drained out of the umbilical cord once a baby is born and then stored up for a transplant, or if there isn't quite enough for that, passed on to someone who can use it for research into cancer, degenerative diseases etc. The mother is asked for consent, but if that was me it would seem a bit of a no brainer really - chuck it in the bin or save a life?

At the moment the scheme is only running at a few hospitals in London and Leicester, but some other places will also take donated placentas for research into conditions such as pre- eclampsia ( this is hopefully what happened to E's, but I can't say I was thinking much about afterbirth at that point!)

There is probably nothing that could add to the feeling of holding your new born baby for the first time. But a few days later, when the first glow is passed and you're on the 20th night feed, wouldn't it be nice to remember that your little one may have saved a life, just by being born?

That is unless you had afterbirth pâté in mind...
(WARNING: this link is to a video that contains bad language and scenes that may put you off your lunch)

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful - Holidays again!

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

An even quicker one this week. I have very many reasons to be cheerful today, but here are three:

1- Four years ago today I married my best friend, it really was the happiest day of my life.

2- We've already had our official anniversary celebration so no need for fancy restaurants - we're currently on the sofa trying to recover from a trip to Padstein for fish and chips by the sea!

3- We're having an absolutely lovely week at  Coombe Mill, E is just as excited as I'd hoped she'd be and loving running about freely with the new baby lambs although, rather unexpectedly, her second favourite animal is the plastic crocodile in the lake!

Look Out!!! E's driving the tractor!!

I'm sure there are lots of people who've put more effort into their Reasons this week - so have a look at the links below:

Also, please take a look at my latest pregnancy/medical rant from yesterday. I'd love to hear people's opinions and experiences.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Is a Planned Repeat C-section Safer Than a VBAC?

Yes yes I know I said I was on holiday, but having a look at the BBC news I just came across this article and couldn't keep myself from commenting....

The quick summary is that two studies, one in the UK and one in Australia have been published which show that women who chose a repeat C-section over a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) have better outcomes. There were fewer cases of still birth and uterine rupture (very dangerous, potentially fatal complication that is more common after a previous Cesarean) in the C-section groups than the VBAC groups, although in both groups the risks of either were very very small.

The papers were published in PLoS Medicine and are open access for a change so you can have a look at them yourself (here and  here ) or read a nice perspective article on them here. This article is also interesting in how it suggests these studies will affect medical practice. It is written from an American point of view where the Cesarean rate is far higher than in the UK and where many hospitals just don't allow a VBAC because of the tiny risk of uterine rupture. This is very different to the UK where the majority of obstetricians and midwives advocate VBAC.

Having had an emergency C-section with E, I was told by a consultant obstetrician at the hospital that a VBAC would be the expected route for any future delivery and that elective cesareans were possible only if the mother could argue her case on mental health grounds with the departments own psychiatrist. Not exactly free choice.

Currently there is no solid evidence that either the UK or US model is better. Which begs the question - if both C-sections and VBACs carry very little risk why are women often pushed (if you'll excuse the pun) down one route or the other?

Is it assumed that pregnant women are too befuddled by hormones and what they've seen on One Born Every Minute to make a reasoned decision for themselves? Left to our own devises would every British women opt for major, debilitating surgery over trying to experience natural childbirth? Would every American Mom prefer to risk death by uterine rupture so she could birth her child with only the aid of homoeopathic remedies and an aromatherapy candle?

Of course not, we're grown women, we're not stupid - can we just have the facts and make the choice about our own bodies now please?

I'd be really interested to hear other people's opinions and experiences on this, please comment below.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Holiday Reasons To Be Cheerful

Officially I am on holiday this week, and I'm taking that to include blogging, but as I am also very cheerful about being on holiday a little #R2BC post is allowed I think! So this is why I am cheerful right now:
1. I'm on holiday! Well actually at home at the moment but I've had a lovely couple of days away, just me and Fred (post to follow about that at some point) and our family holiday at Coombe Mill farm is now very close at hand!

2. But before that - It's my Mums birthday and she is not at all in any way 60! (sorry Mum) we will be heading down to Devon to celebrate with her and have a family photo shoot on the beach with Sarah Lauren photography - fingers crossed today's lovely sunshine lasts for that!

3- As E is at nursery, we have nothing in the fridge and today's to-do list is progressing well, Fred and I are about to pop out to our lovely local deli Bumbuni for lunch, may have to try out their new selection of British charcuterie mmmm.

That's it! The blog may be a bit quiet for the next couple of weeks as I give myself over to mud, wellies, lambs and cream teas but I'll report back once we're safely back in zone 2!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful - New beginings

If you saw my last post on the blog, you'll know we spent the weekend out in our garden, welcoming the first spring flowers and preparing for warmer, longer days to come. I think there is some ancient part of us northern Europeans that is always relieved by those first, bright little promises, that winter is coming to an end and new beginnings are on the way - and it happens to fit in very well with my reasons to be cheerful this week:

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

1- A New Baby!

I have a lot of friends with babies on the way, and on Friday we got the wonderful wonderful news that my sister-in-law is expecting! Yay!  We're so excited for her and her husband and it will be lovely for E to have another little cousin to play with. The news came at the end of what seemed like a very long week steeped in other peoples negativity so it really did cheer me up!

2-A New Job

Fred started a new job this week, it is in a school which means he shouldn't be working so late and will have school holidays. The downside is that he is loosing his Wednesdays with E. He has been working compressed hours since just before E was born, doing a full weeks work in four days and having Wednesday off to look after E while I'm at work. It's meant very long hours on the other days (very long, think after my bedtime never mind E's), but has given him a great opportunity to spend time alone with his daughter and has saved us the cost of an extra day at nursery. I've been anxious about how it's all going to work out, but we hope the extra time in the evenings, and perhaps some designated Daddy time at the weekend will make up for the Wednesdays. It's still too early to tell overall, but seeing how delighted E was when Daddy arrived home at tea time on Monday and Tuesday and how pleased I was that we could all sit down and eat a meal together (on a week night!) was a very good start.

3-New Readers

Having a peak on Google analytics this week - I discovered I'd had my highest ever number of unique visitors over the last month and I'm sure a lot of that is down to the Reasons To Be Cheerful linky! So thank you everyone who has read this - you've all made me very cheerful indeed!

PS. please also take a look at some of the other lovely blogs which will appear below!