Friday, 31 May 2013

Me at 15

You are 15 and a half. You are finishing high school. You are overjoyed to be leaving that place, a place where you have been teased, tormented and picked on.

A place where you have been beaten, had your work sabotaged, your lunch stolen, your bag bombed with paint. A place where you've been isolated and excluded, jeered and bullied. Every single damn day.

A place where your teachers didn't have a clue about your past, about how unbelievably tough things had been for you. A place where you never felt safe.

A place where you met true friends, people you can turn to now. Fellow introverted quiet geeky types happy to play cards, or read journals about social justice, or discuss the latest current affairs programme.

A place where you completely and utterly failed at anything remotely sporting like. But tried hard. Every single time.

A place where your mind flourished and you developed your sense of humour which becomes your tin hat, getting you through life.

You leave thinking you are ugly. That any beauty you possess is merely a reflection of the inside.

You look at this photo over 20 years later and it will take your breath away.

You were beautiful.

They were wrong. You weren't fat or ugly.

You are beautiful.

Monday, 27 May 2013

100 Orange Roses

I am working on a big project for August, a yarn bomb with a Garden theme to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. You can find details here.

As most of you will know in 2012 I went through a tough time, deciding to "come out" as an adult victim of child sexual abuse. Deciding to go public was incredibly hard, and I struggled with this decision. One person became my confidante and my strength, Daniel. My husband finds it hard to deal with the detail, and I have had a residual fear of men, so having a man I can trust implicitly as well as my husband has been pretty key to my ongoing recovery.

Daniel happens to have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. I found him on Twitter because of his condition, I was interested to see what the guys with Duchenne were doing in regards to social media, and I am nosey!

One of the first things I recall Daniel saying about his condition is that he expected to live to 100. DMD is a life limiting condition, I won't go into the statistics as they make for grim reading, but suffice to say no one has ever lived to 100 with this condition. But who am I to question? Daniel lives his life with quiet positivity and determination, so why not? Daniel is currently 38 years old.

I never expected to become close friends with Daniel, visiting him several times, my family has met him and his mum, and we've become a team.

I rarely think about Daniel's condition. When I visit we chat, watch tv together, play on our computers together, and play with Joseph. DMD doesn't loom in our discussions. Yes, he is in a power chair, and uses a ventilator, but after a few minutes with him, you don't notice all that stuff.

But I do know two things. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy needs a cure. And that men with Duchenne need a future. It can't all be about a cure. As a society we are woefuly inadequate at giving these men futures. Not just a life, but a meaningful life, employment, relationships, opportunities to thrive. Just living is not enough.

I am doing this yarn bomb as my gift to Daniel, to show him I do care, not just about him but about every boy (and the rare girl) diagnosed with Duchenne, and to leave a legacy.

When I was discussing the yarn bomb with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign we talked about a symbolic number.... the number of people diagnosed, or death rates or some other number.

But no, in the spirit of Sadako and the Thousand paper cranes, the only number that makes sense to me is 100. 100 orange roses.

The yarn bomb entrance will be a feast of orange with the roses the central feature, and then moving into other colours and themes as you walk along.

If you would like to make something for my yarn bomb, I would be thrilled, and there will be other opportunities to help too. If you would like to blog or promote it in some way, let me know, and I am happy to link back to you.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Stranger Danger

Joseph came home yesterday very excited. The local police team had been to the school. Joseph got to go in a police car and got "the talk". Joseph was full of information about what to do if approached by a stranger. Now this is right and important, don't get me wrong. We have had reports in Bury of a man in a car attempting to lure children, in the light of the recent Rochdale grooming trial
stranger danger needs to be on the agenda. However this is where I get nervous. I asked Joseph what he would do if a stranger approached him, and he told me. To be personal body safety is very important, and I think it should be covered from an early age. In the light of the current April Jones trail and the recent conviction of Tia Sharp's killer, it is equally relevant that we need to teach children that it is not just strangers.

 I knew all about stranger danger at 5, but I had no idea that someone you knew could hurt you and do things that were wrong and hurtful, that the tickling games, the hide and seek, the bathtimes were not innocent. They were abuse. The horror doesn't have to be the stranger in the dark car, the horror can be next door. Striking a balance with body safety is so important. Kids need to have a childhood, be happy, be confident, but they need to be safe. When I blogged my own experience back in October in my Jimmy Savile is dead post, I was contacted by Jayneen Sanders who has developed a book and training package called "Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept" I am using this with Joseph and finding it effective. I would strongly recommend this book, it can be hard to know where to start.

But start we must.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

International Kangaroo Care Day

International Kangaroo Care Day is such an important day to me. When Joseph was in hospital I read a lot of leaflets written by Bliss, and had access to some great resources and was keen to start kangaroo care early. I just thought it was standard, I never expected to come across opposition.

The consultants were all keen for us to have kangaroo care, but the nursing staff felt we should wait. And wait we did. Until Joseph was 5 weeks old. I have since learnt that there has been a lot more research done in those 4 years and now babies are having kangaroo care much younger and that's amazing.

Kangaroo care is important for babies. It teaches them to regulate their temperature, it comforts them, it stimulates growth.

For parents, it helps restore what was lost at birth. It bridges the gap between premature delivery and taking your baby home. It's beautiful to be reunited with your baby. Time stands still.

Bliss, the charity I work for, are committed to the consistent provision of kangaroo care. Together with Best Beginnings they have put together a pack for units to help them facilitate kangaroo care.

Kangaroo care is a vital part of family centred care, but its increasingly recognised it has substantial clinical benefits for the baby as well.

Did you kangaroo? 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Like a Lamb

I have been around disability my whole life. I was considered disabled for a period of my life when I was a child, and then it was decided I wasn't. Happy days. To me, disability was nothing. I met all sorts of kids, and growing up I always had friends with disabilities. To this end, I now just don't see disability. I see variance. All of us are "disabled" to some extent or another, none of us are perfect.

When Collin Brewer (yes two l's - seriously) first hit the news in February with his mindboggling and archaic views, I was stunned that in the 21st century people could still think like that about children with disabilities, that some of them shouldn't be here.

Imagine my shock when Hayley from Downssideup brought my attention to his latest comments which you can read here. He likens a disabled baby to a deformed lamb. You put down deformed lambs don't you?

There are so many thoughts in my head but here are three.

When Joseph was born nobody knew what the outcome would be. We were given a range of possible scenarios. Would Collin Brewer have likened Joseph to a deformed lamb? Withdrawn treatment?

My husband was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. His hands, feet and knees all badly affected. He had years of surgery and now faces more. He also works, pays tax, and is a great father and husband most of the time.
This is my best friend Daniel, you can read his thoughts on Mr Brewer here. Daniel is an insightful, intelligent, hilarious person. Everyone who meets Daniel is touched by his kindness and thoughtfulness. He has a degree, he contributes where he can, by helping friends, furthering causes and generally just being amazing. Who cares that he needs government support? I can't think of many people I would rather my taxation going to. This is what a caring society is all about, surely?

Who decides who is worth saving and who isn't? Who is prepared to make the call of which baby is "worth" saving and which ones are not? Who is qualified to make that call?

No one.

What would my life be without these three special people Mr Brewer? Tell me that?

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Mother's Day

I am sure I have broken a cardinal sin of blogging as I post this picture quite often. But I don't care.

Today is Mother's Day for most of the world...... I sent tulips to my mother, I have them growing in the backyard, but since she is not around the corner, sadly, I had to order some. Fortuitously I found just the same colour as the favourite ones out the back, and even more so, they were called Kylie, how wonderful!

Today I have been thinking a lot about Live Aid. Random I know but I was listening to music on YouTube yesterday and came across Oz for Africa, the Australian leg of Live Aid all those years ago.

No child of the 80's would have been untouched by the images from Africa, mothers crying for their children who were going to die, because of malnutrition. We all placed our faith in Geldof, Ure, Bono et al. We really thought music might just change the world.

But here we are knocking on the door of 30 years since Live Aid, and I wonder, is life any brighter for a mother in Africa than it was in 1985? Have we made enough difference?

And I am sure in many ways we have done amazing things since then. We have come a lot further in our thinking in terms of charity and how we help developing nations. We have better programmes, more responsive solutions, and have charities and campaigning organisations who really care.

But I wonder what I as a mother can do? I want to do more. It bothers me that 500 000 babies a year could be saved just by kangaroo care alone. It's free. But on speaking to a mother from Venezuela on Twitter, it's clear that there are huge cultural changes and acceptance of research that needs to take place. This mother had no kangaroo care at all. Her baby is fine thankfully, but we need to take this message out, mother to mother.

One thing hasn't changed. In 1985 I wanted to get out there and change the world.

And in 2013 I still do.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Baby Massage in the NICU - Trust Your Instincts

When I was a carer I had a young girl I looked after, and she had very complex issues. It was suggested by her GP and her social worker that we try massage. I had no idea where to start. She wasn't a baby, she was 7, but I bought a book on baby massage and read it cover to cover. I used some of the techniques and they worked really well. By the time I left her after a year she had completely changed, she responded to her name, had learnt to say a few words, and was much more relaxed and happy.

In that book was a section on premature babies, and I had read that too. When Joseph was born, I recalled all of it, and I chose to massage his feet. Some of the nurses and doctors queried it, saying he was too young, but it just felt right. I strongly believed I could read his cues and would know when to stop.

With Joseph's 4th birthday just gone I have been looking through old videos and photos and found this. Joseph had been really poorly and had recovered somewhat, but was still clearly very small and fragile. However you can see that when I massaged his foot, he loved it and responded to it. His lead consultant believed in me and wrote me as a prescription! He said I would meet opposition at times, and that I knew what I was doing and to never ever lose sight of my mothers instinct. It was this doctor that made me confident in my parenting.

If you have a baby on the NICU, trust yourself. It can be hard especially if you are being challenged, but stay firm. There is increasing evidence based research on all sorts of family centred care practices:- massage, music, singing, kangaroo care etc. Don't be afraid to look it up, to quote it, to politely challenge back.

At 4 Joseph still gives me his feet for a massage, especially if he's tired or scared. And he still goes for kangaroo cuddles too, though now there are arms and limbs everywhere!

And The Decision is Final and a Request

Thank you for all the comments on my pre eclampsia post yesterday which I received privately. Its lovely people care and took the time to message me.

I wanted to clarify something as I have had a lot of questions and comments. No one knows what will happen in any pregnancy. Particularly in regards to pre eclampsia, it's a very weird condition, it shapeshifts and alters from woman to woman, from pregnancy to pregnancy.

No one knows if I will get it again if I have another baby. However what consultants can do is a risk assessment. I have been given a figure of around 80% of recurrence, and my consultant feels I would have to deliver at around 30 weeks.

I am not having another premature baby. Yes, I am eternally grateful to the NHS, and to all the support I have received. But I think they have done quite enough for us in the baby department.

I am not mentally tough enough. I know everyone thinks I am strong but I am not. I still cry over our time in neonatal. I go back into units now with work and look at parents sitting by incubator sides and my heart just goes out to them. I could never go throught that again. Why expose our family to that?

All the monitoring in the world cannot stop preterm birth as a result of pre eclampsia. I would be put on aspirin as soon as I fell pregnant and that might help. Or it may not. I would get regular monitoring this is true, but it can't stop the inevitable.

Everyone has to make their own decision based on their acceptance of risk and ours is to not have any more children and to be quite frank, its not up for discussion. Decision made.

If I turn up anywhere pregnant I will have had an affair, as my husband has had the snip.

No more babies.

I am incredibly lucky to have a perfect little boy, I have more than what a lot of people have. Yes I would have loved a larger family and a sibling or two for Joseph, but it's not to be.

And I am happy. 

Now my request. The very lovely people at The Princess and The Frock have designed a dress for Matilda Mae with 20% of the profits going to Matilda's Precious Star Fund

If you have a girl in your life, please consider buying this really beautiful dress in memory of Matilda Mae.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Dear Pre eclampsia

Dear Pre eclampsia,

I hate you. You robbed me of my pregnancy. You made me so sick that there were concerns I could die. You made them cut my baby out and put him in a box. He was very sick too.

You have taken precious babies away from friends of mine. The lovely Danielle who blogs here about her beautiful boy R and Dawn who blogs at the Moiderer to name just two.

You cause doctors, midwives, nurses and researchers no end of trouble, without your shape shifting sneaky ways. You can come in at any time during pregnancy. You can pretend to be something else. You can come slowly or suddenly.

You can strike in first pregnancies and never again. You can stay away in first pregnancies then sneak up in subsequent ones.

Because of you, we have had been advised to have no more babies. You have taken my dreams of having more babies away from me. Never again will I be pregnant. And that's down to you. I hope you are happy. 

You cannot be cured, except by taking babies away from their mothers.

You are an evil, nasty, malicious horrible condition.

I cannot tell you how much I hate you. I am angry. Not for myself, because I have won. But I am angry that women die every year due to you. And many, many babies. It shouldn't be that way.

You strike fat women, and thin and everyone in between. Healthy women, unhealthy women. You are indiscriminate.

One day there will be tests, treatments, and maybe even a cure. One day. And I hope to live to see it.

Until then, I will be there, watching you, looking out for other women and their babies.

I hate you pre eclampsia. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Pollyanna's Guide to Surviving NICU

Some time ago I wrote this post for Leanna at Diary of a Premmy Mum. I learnt to play the glad game as a child. I could always find the positive in everything.

It may seem odd, but sometimes a little denial and optimism is a good thing. There are downsides, I do think it made my post traumatic stress disorder worse when it dawned on me just how close we came to having a less than optimal outcome. Sometimes consultants didn't take me seriously as they thought I was dippy, rather than just, well, glad.

On day 5 when we were given "the talk" every NICU parent dreads, the "this baby may not be coming home talk and a time will come when we need to discuss how far we go with treatment", I kept smiling and singing. The consultant was concerned and bemused. "You do not understand, your baby is very sick". I smiled and said, "You don't understand, right now, I have a baby, and he's mine and I am going to be glad that I have him, and it's your job to sort him out."

So here are my Pollyanna tips to surviving NICU
  1. Stay in the here and now. Don't borrow trouble or think too far ahead. Just enjoy the moment. Find something in the moment to enjoy.
  2. Plan your day. Take in your favourite children's book to read to your baby. Choose a song to sing, print out the lyrics. Ask if you can play some music to your baby. Find something enjoyable to do whilst sitting by your baby's cotside.
  3. Share a smile or a kind word. By the time we left hospital all the cleaners, porters, ward clerks and healthcare assistants knew me. Working in a hospital is hard and often thankless. Give a bit of praise and recognition, and make someone else feel glad too.
  4. Every day is a new day. If you've had a bad day, own it, cry if you need to, but leave it behind. Tomorrow is a chance to make a fresh start.
  5. Support another parent. Sometimes on my really bad days I'd notice that other parents were doing it tough too. 30 minutes out for a coffee in the cafeteria can sometimes really help.
  6. Retain your interests. I found sometimes that even I ran out of glad. I would embroider Joseph's tiny clothes, or make a gift for another baby, or look at my honeymoon photos on my ipod. Sometimes in utter desperation I'd go to the WRVS cafe and buy a mars bar and a Closer magazine.
  7. Eat happy foods. My happy foods are fruit salad, poached salmon, nice salad. Eating healthily in NICU is a massive challenge, but take time to eat food that will support you. If the only thing you can manage are smoothies and yoghurt that's ok. I found I craved vitamin D. Trust your body.
  8. Find people to enhance your gladness. I used Facebook a lot. I found my friend Hiba to be my glad person. She always knew just what to say to make me look at things differently and to keep my spirits up. The other people I used were the chaplains. I found them just amazingly supportive and would never have got through without their support.
  9. Don't be afraid to take time out. People who haven't had a baby in NICU might think it strange or even cruel if you take a day away, but sometimes it's necessary. I had one day where I got my hair done, had some beauty treatments, and then went out for dinner with Corey. I still went to NICU in the morning, but had a day to myself. It was very necessary. Sometimes you need to take time out.
  10. Enjoy your baby. Let go of your ideals, and enjoy the here and now. I found that really challenging at first, I felt utterly cheated of what I considered "normal". I felt guilty and angry and one hundred other things on top. But quickly I learnt my baby's cues, what made him happy, and just learnt to enjoy him.
There is a lot of support out there. Bliss of course, is there, with our family support team, and volunteers, people who have walked your path and will help you to keep going. There is informal support all around. I found NICU to be a very lonely experience, and I had to reach out, I had to ask people to help me.

Being Pollyanna really helped me through, and now I can look on a lot of our experiences with fondness.

And I am glad.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Theatre

At 9 in the morning the midwives came to take me to theatre. My husband wasn't anywhere to be found. "Um, where is your husband?", they asked? "Dr K took him", I smiled. Dr K had taken us under his wing and treated Corey like a colleague, and went to help him scrub up. The midwives giggled "they don't normally do that", they grinned. "He loves the two of you". I felt really blessed that we were being treated like individuals in a very terrifying situation.

They asked me if I wanted a stretcher or to walk. I decided I was walking into that theatre, I didn't want to be stretchered in. It was the hardest walk of my life. I was scared, I was full of odema, I had a catheter in, and canulated. I felt pretty rough, and hadn't slept in 36 hours.

The anaesthetist met me in theatre. "Mrs Hodges, will you please consider changing your mind. You are not, ahem, a small person, and I really would rather you have a general anaesthetic". I looked at him and said "what if the baby dies? Who will comfort my husband? How will he tell me? You will try the spinal".

I practiced my hypnobirthing and went silent. At first I visualised my cat Atticus, and then Wineglass Bay in Tasmania. I imagined my back curving into the bay, me and the beach were one. I felt the dampness on my back, and then the sensation of the needle going in. It seemed to take no time at all. The anaesthetist popped round the front of me and said "my dear you are fat at the front and thin at the back". I glared at him "well I am pregnant you know", and the very serious gowned and masked team sniggered.

My husband came in with Dr K, and sat by my side. He looked calm, and I started chatting about our honeymoon. They started working. I couldn't feel anything at all, no pressure. There were two doctors, Dr K and the gorgeous Charlie, a big Ghanaian chap who I really loved.

Quietly Dr K delivered my baby. No big moment, he was taken swiftly away, they forgot to tell me his gender. Off he went into the treatment room, and they sewed me up. It was a strange moment. I could already feel relieved of the placenta that I had failed. Or which had failed me. My baby was gone, but I didn't even know what I had had. I felt a bit lost at that moment.

And then I heard crying. I was fed up. Labouring women then that. I complained to Corey, and he grinned. I could see the midwives eyes shining. It was my baby. The baby was crying. At 27 weeks, weighing not very much, his estimated weight was 2lbs, he had enough energy to cry. I felt nothing but pride.

Then it was over. Taken away to recovery, my husband went to see our baby. It was over. I felt lost and frightened. My battles weren't over. Another 24 hours monitoring ahead of me, I felt exhausted and drained, and I wasn't to sleep. I couldn't see my baby, I still couldn't read or watch television.

Nothing had changed.

Yet everything had.

I was a mummy.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Premmie Game Part 3

My hospital evening meal arrived. I can't remember at all what it was. I ate it and then Corey and I went for a walk. We walked past the neonatal unit. I wasn't well enough for a tour but had met a neonatal nurse/midwife (in our unit the senior nurses were all midwives) and a paediatrician. I then went to the chapel and wrote a prayer and a note for the chaplains. 

We arrived back on the antenatal ward and the game had changed. More bloods had come back and I was in deep trouble. I was taken back to my original room in the delivery suite. The room had changed, there was a desk and chair, and loads of equipment. One of the doctors I had seen earlier in the day showed me a mirror. My skin had gone a very dark shade of grey. Odema had set in. I felt like the Hulk, with my clothes bursting at the seams. 

There was no time to explain anything. A student midwife and two seniors were working on me along with a senior registrar, my own consultant having gone home to rest up. I had a catheter inserted, one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life I have to say, together with a magnesium sulphate drip and Hartman's solution, to keep the eclampsia at bay and support my kidney function. It was hideous. 

All night I had to be kept awake. I had blood pressure checks every fifteen minutes. I had to have ecgs every 3 hours. I had to have consultant visits too. I couldn't read as my eyes could not focus. There was no television. I sat and thought. I thought of names for the baby, we had decided on Joseph or Matilda, I thought of middle names. I sang a lot, hymns and songs. 

I have never been so frightened in my life. Reassuringly the baby was moving a lot, I could feel outside kicks. I felt so guilty that I was failing him, that my body was rejecting the very thing, the placenta, that was meant to be keeping him alive, nourishing him, supporting his growth and development. I was so scared of what was ahead. 

I felt cheated and angry. I could hear labouring women, excited families in corridors. I could hear people complaining of short staffing due to the medical emergency over the corridor. That was me. I was an emergency and I was using up a staff member. 

By 4 am I was distraught and exhausted. My husband was called and he came straight down and held my hand. 

Dawn was coming and soon I would have a baby.

The Premmie Game - Part 2


So its the 7th March 2009 and I am in the delivery suite of Fairfield General Hospital, having reached 26 weeks and 6 days of my pregnancy. I am showing signs of pre eclampsia, and I am scared. My husband settles me in, and at 7am not seeing much action, decides to go home, shower, dress and go to work. I am slightly bemused by this decision, but hey ho. Perhaps I am just being over the top.

Michelle, the midwife has taken bloods and given me a very big pot to wee in, so that my wee can be assessed over the course of the day for protein. I sit quietly just thinking and trying to relax, hoping my blood pressure will come down. The first protein dip has come back. Protein +++.  Um yeah. This isn't good is it?

A couple of hours go by and suddenly 4 doctors and a large team of midwives walk in. Crap. They all look worried. Crap. They huddle and a small doctor emerges and quietly explains it is suspected I have severe early onset pre eclampsia, they will have to deliver the baby, hopefully they can hold off. Til early next week.

I hang on to "suspected" as they leave. I am reassured that I am not going mad. I am to be admitted. I leave my delivery suite room and go to antenatal into a four bed ward. Two women are taken down to delivery, the third has her mum with her, who comes and gives me support until my husband arrives.

Dr K, a large, happy looking Indian obstetic consultant comes in. He smiles, calling me Dr Kylie. He has a senior midwife with him who is giving him a run down of the story so far. He has more recent blood results and says I can tip the wee down the toilet. I have severe early onset pre eclampsia. I need a scan to see if the baby is ok. I can feel the baby move like crazy so I am reassured that the baby is, for the moment, alive.

He holds the scan off until my husband arrives. As soon as he comes in we have a kiss and a cuddle and are taken down. It's a Friday lunch time and its busy. Lots of happy expectant parents. My eyes catch the sight of a very scared woman and her husband. We have a cuddle and chat. She is threatening miscarriage and is terrified. We are united by our fear for our babies. I do see her again, but not until baby weigh in clinic many months later.

The sonographer is the same one we had for our previous scans. She says "I'm sorry". I immediately sob, the tears will not stop. I am confused and think the baby has died.

We go back up to the room escorted by the midwife, and I am in buckets of tears. Dr K walks in and is cross "What's all this for?" he listens to my worries and reassures me. "I am delivering a live baby tomorrow. This baby will be small, will have a huge fight ahead of them, but you must believe in the team, the baby and yourself. Enough now". I pull myself together.

Pollyanna is back. I am in a good hospital, I have a great team, my husband is standing strong, we are going to have a baby. No one ever promised this was going to be easy. Parenthood isn't easy.

My husband leaves to get things sorted at home and to ring people. I start to try to relax and get some rest. I have a long night ahead.

Monday, 6 May 2013

The Premmie Game - Part 1

And so it begins.

This time four years ago.


It was a warm and sunny May day, just like today. I felt revolting. Just 26 + 5 days pregnant and already on daily monitoring, my morning visit with the midwife went well, but by afternoon I was laid low, feeling utterly awful. I just didn't feel like me. It was a weird sensation. I napped, and felt worse. I took paracetamol and it did nothing. I had a shower, and that didn't clear the strange feeling. As the afternoon turned to evening, I felt worse. I couldn't put my finger on it.

I read my favourite pregnancy book "The Rough Guide to Pregnancy and Birth" which reassured me that should my baby be born at 27 weeks they would have a very good chance of survival. But surely no one would be delivering my baby this early, would they? I still had a third trimester to go. 27 weeks would mean months of special care, stress, worry, separation. I could never be that strong. I couldn't manage months and months of a hospital owning our family.

Then it started. The headache. It wasn't the worst headache I have ever had, but it was strange. Just in my right frontal lobe. It wouldn't move. The most amazing pressure like feeling in my head that just got a little worse each hour.

Could this be the pre eclampsia headache that doctors and midwives had warned me about? Surely not. Surely pre eclampsia wouldn't strike til 34 weeks. At 26+5 this looked an extremely long way away, let alone dreams of term.

By 3am I decided that I really needed to go to the delivery suite. I thought I was just being a bit neurotic. My husband drove me there, having grabbed my already packed hospital bag. As an afterthought I put in a toy for an incubator and a photograph of us to put inside his incubator. Just to put aside for when I reached closer to term, for now I would start 6 weeks of hospital bed rest to get to 32 weeks or so then they'd deliver my baby.

Wouldn't they?

Thursday, 2 May 2013

My Weekend with George

When Mumsnet offered to send me to a cooking class and watch the George Foreman grill in action I was very intrigued. You see George and I have been around the block. Twice. And it starts well, but then, he gets old, stale, and ends up back in the cupboard.


I was given a George grill to try. Now this is the Grill and melt. George now works two ways if you choose this option. He cooks both sides by pressing down on the food like he always did, or in this model he has a floating hinge, which means you can grill cheese, cook fish fingers etc.

I cooked in it all weekend. I tried fish fingers and a ready made pizza for Joseph, both were perfect. I used the floating hinge for these. I cooked fajitas which were amazing!

raw fajitas
cooked fajitas

I also did lamb chops in a lemon and olive oil marinade, some paninis and a cooked breakfast.
 The only thing I didn't cook under George were the eggs.

I have to say I am delighted with the new George. He costs £49.99 for this model but is on offer at Argos at present I notice. He is easier to clean than he ever was. The floating hinge is a real boon and I love that feature. This was the two person model and is plenty big enough for two and a bit. 

People often ask me what to buy a new parent of a premature baby and to me this is ideal, a few of you get together and buy George and put together a food hamper, job done. George cooks so quickly, is easy to clean, you don't have to warm up the oven, I love George!

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I
have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity