babies · children · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Then There Was You… Final Part

When I think back on those first days and weeks it seems like it all passed in the blink of an eye. However living it was an entirely different story. Days felt like they would never end, and taking our boy home seemed like it was light years away. It was 12 days before I held him in my arms, and even though this was the best thing that happened to us at the time, it just made me realise how much longer our journey would be.

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He was so sick that we had the “life or death” conversation more times than I care to remember. It’s one of those surreal moments in life where you have the responsibility of making the most important decision you will ever make. I will never forget the feeling and I can honestly say I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

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I don’t want these posts to be a long, monotonous rendition of NICU life from a mothers perspective, but I do think it’s important to share the real parts of our journey. Being unprepared was the worst part for me. I’m a self-confessed control freak and not knowing what is happening, how long its going to take and being able to fix it myself was utterly soul destroying. Needlesstosay we all got through it, despite the roller coaster ride that it was.

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Instead of going into detail about each and every adversity I will instead share all of the obstacles my boy faced in his first 4 and 1/2 months on earth.

 

  • Sepsis – including having to endure a Lumbar Puncture to rule out Meningitis.
  • Both lungs collapsing within days of each other – including having to endure the insertion of 2 separate chest drains.
  • Pulmonary Hypertension.
  • He was diagnosed with Chronic Lung Disease.
  • A Patent Ductus Arteriosus (which is a hole in the heart).
  • 2 different types of Fungal Infection – one of which there was no treatment plan for. This was when we were first asked if we wanted to continue with Matthews care or let nature take its course.
  • He had several blood transfusions (into double figures).
  • He was transferred to another hospital to have a procedure to insert a Central Line as none of his veins were viable for transferring medicines via cannulas.
  • He was on life support (a ventilator breathing for him) for 10 weeks.
  • He was on Byphasic CPAP for 3 weeks.
  • He was on High Flow Oxygen for 3 weeks.
  • He spent 16 weeks in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit.
  • He spent a further 3 weeks in Special Care.
  • He came home on 0.1LPM of oxygen.
  • He has asthma.
  • He has a Dairy Intolerance.
  • He has quite severe Eczema.
  • He has been re-admitted to hospital on 4 separate occasions since we were discharged.

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There are still many issues that Matthew faces every day. He is a beautiful, smart little boy but his time spent in the NICU has had a lasting effect on him, something which might affect him for the rest of his life.

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He has some quite obvious development delays, like talking for example. He walks and runs and climbs like every other little boy his age, but he really does struggle in other areas.

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He suffers from some Sensory issues and is in fact in the early stages of an Autism diagnosis.

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He gets regular Occupational Therapy and attends a Special Needs Toddlers class, as well as having fairly regular hospital appointments with an array of Paediatric Consultants.

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Looking at him you would never know there had ever been any problems. He has no obvious physical scarring from his time in NICU. However, after spending 5 minutes in his company you would notice his lack of social skills. How scared he gets when he hears a loud noise. How unconventionally he plays with his toys. How he doesn’t ever really look you in the eye, and many more.

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As a mum it’s heartbreaking to watch your child’s inner turmoil. I am the one person who is supposed to take all his hurt and pain away. However, his condition means there isn’t a lot I can do to help him except arm myself with the knowledge I need to get him through all of the hard times he faces.

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After everything he has been through, this is just a tiny blip on the radar. He is beautiful and bright. He is funny and energetic. He is clever and adventurous. He is my perfect little human and I couldn’t be prouder to call him my son.

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Beauty · Lifestyle

Beauty Review – Tarte Cosmetics Maneater Collection 

I recently purchased the Tarte Maneater Collection and have spent the last week trying it out so as to provide a fair and accurate review.
Firstly, it is the most fun and feisty packaging. I love Leopard print… and the added purple just makes it feel all the more girly! 

The collection includes the following: 

Amazonian Clay 12-hour Foundation

This is a full coverage foundation that somehow isn’t heavy on the Skin. I wear the lightest shade which is Fair Beige. It is creamy and easy to apply without looking and feeling cakey on your face.  It has become my absolute favourite foundation and for somebody who wasn’t a fan of a full coverage formula that is saying something. I can also vouch for the 12-hour staying power, even when up against the stress and sweat that comes with chasing a toddler around all day!

Buffer Foundation Brush 

This brush is simply amazing!!! It’s soft, thick bristles feel wonderful on the skin and cover a wide area of the face without having to reapply the foundation. There’s no streaking and unlike some other brushes I’ve used, the bristles don’t feel wet with foundation when your buffing it into your face. 

Self-Sharpening Eyeliner

Now this is a tricky one for me to properly review as I am utterly TERRIBLE at applying eyeliner. However I have swatched the liner and applied it (rather haphazardly) and it goes on lovely. It’s soft tip and high pigment makes it easy (for most people) to apply. Again, much like the foundation it has great staying power which needed several swipes of cotton wool and cleansing oil to remove. 

Voluptuous Mascara

Im already a big fan of Tarte Masacaras with Tarteist Lash Paint being my absolute favourite. The Voluptuous Mascara is similar in the sense that the wands are not unlike each other. There’s a slightly different formula but it’s still really dark and lengthening on the lash. Didn’t have the chance to test how waterproof (if any) it is but again it had really great lasting power that only really started to fall onto the under-eye after about 6 hours. 

Lip Sculptor 

This product is 2 for the price of 1. The first end is a nude-pink lipstick. Creamy formula that feels very moisturising on the lips, while the other end is a nude lipgloss. It’s not tacky or uncomfortable on the lips in any way, instead just providing a glossy look on top of the lipstick or bare lips. Really love this product, and especially since I’m not usually one for nude lip colours! 

Eyeshadow Palette

This beautifully compact little palette comes equipped with a small selection of neutral/ earthy colours. They are all highly pigmented and last well on the eyes. There is also a highlighter included, which can be used on the brow bone or the face to illuminate the skin. It’s the perfect little collection, with all the natural and muted shades anyone would want for everyday wear. 

Double Ended Eyeshadow Brush

This is a basic little product that reminded me a lot of the double ended brushes you get with the Urban Decay Naked Palettes. They are absolutely fine for basic use, but for more intricate and heavier eye looks, you would be looking to use a more well rounded eyeshadow brush. Definitely useful and handy for an everyday look however. 

All in all I have loved using their collection. Some of the products have already become necessary staples in my main makeup bag. I purchased the collection from QVC at the ridiculous price of £43.96 (I still can’t believe it!!!) but unfortunately a few of the items were exclusive to QVC and are therefore not available elsewhere. However, the majority of the collection is, so I would definitely encourage anybody with an interest in makeup to treat themselves to this… You will not be sorry!!! 

babies · children · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

What’s In My Bag – Venturing Out (Toddlers Edition)

Being a first time mum I have discovered a great many things about having a child. Things like never expecting to have a long lie ever again are obvious, but I didn’t fully understand that every time I ventured out with said child,  it would be the equivalent of moving house with all the “stuff” I’d have to bring with me.

Of course, as the tiny human grows, the list of required items to bring with us decreases. Thank goodness!

My tiny human is almost 2 and so I am happy to report our baby bag has drastically reduced in size. Here is a breakdown of the main things in his bag at the minute.

This is a “Tommee Tippee” Sippy Cup. We have tried a few different ones, but have found that while we are trying to slowly wean the tiny human off his bottles, this is the most effective cup for his water and fruit juices. He doesn’t have to use his sucking reflex to the same degree as his milk bottle and so he knows the difference between the both of them.

If someone had told me how many bibs I would need when I had a baby, I would have laughed in their face. I literally have over 50, just to let me get through the week without having to do a washing every single day! This is a must have item in every baby bag!!!

We are at the stage now where our boy can eat along with us, so it’s not necessarily a big must to have a food jar in his bag. However, he’s a toddler and can be a difficult little monkey at times, so in the instances where he refuses to eat with us, we always have his food jar to fall back on. His Biscotti snacks are a no-brainier!
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This is a given… Babies and toddlers are a messy species so Baby Wipes are an absolute necessity! Nappies for the obvious reasons and Sudocrem because it is not only a fantastic cure of nappy rash but is a soother of many other ailments (for adults too).
I used to laugh at these devices. I now not only understand their purpose but I appreciate them greatly. To restrain your tiny human when they frantically try to break free from your grip! They therefore have a permanent spot in the baby bag!!!
No explanation needed really… This is a requirement for all those moments (and there are many) when mine or the company of his daddy are no longer riveting enough to relieve his boredom. This toy in particular is great for the tiny human as it’s a Sensory one and it stimulates him as well as relieving any tension he may be feeling.
Lastly I always have spare outfit. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly he’s a toddler who loves making as much mess as any other child and secondly, if we’re at a function and he’s dressed up we can get him changed and comfortable as soon as he begins to get tired and grumpy. Nothing worse than being exhausted and stuck in your party clothes. Trust me, if I could get away with going to every function in my loungewear I would!

There are a few things that we always have with us that are missing from this list; his dummy and his cuddle blanket for instance. However these are items that he most likely has on him or with him at all times, as opposed to being in his baby bag.

My hubby and I have found that if we at least have all of the things listed above packed and ready, then our days out are generally successful ones, with as little drama as possible.

Beauty · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

My Favourite Lip Products 

As well as being a mum and a proud one at that, I am a lover of all things makeup related! 

I’m in no way, shape or form any good at applying my own, but I have a real weakness for beautiful eyeshadow palettes, creamy foundations and most of all, any and all shades of red lip products.

So on that basis, I thought I’d share my favourite lippies with you all. It’s a mixture of shades and brands, ranging in price from approximately £5 to £25. 

£18 – This is a deep plum liquid lipstick. It drys quite matte and applies better with a lip liner. It’s a gorgeous vampy shade and well worth the higher price range I think.

£5.49 – have a few different shades from this collection and a nude which is actually one of my favourite lipsticks ever. The formula is creamy and if blotted can stay on the lips for up to 4 hours without reapplying. For the price it’s a steal and a definitely a collection to invest in.

£24 – Charlotte Tilbury knows how to make a lipstick… And this shade is my absolute favourite of all my lip sticks. It feels creamy and moisturising on the lips and have amazing staying power. If you’re going to buy one lipstick this year, make it this one!

£16 – As liquid lips go, this is an absolute winner! An amazing array of shades to choose from and the best liquid formula I’ve tried by far. It doesn’t feel too drying on the lips and the colour payout is unreal!

£6 – What can I say about this brand that hasn’t already been said?!?!? They are cheap and brilliant. As simple as that!

£6.99 – I don’t know what it is about this particular lippy, but it just feels so luxurious. This shade in particular is such a classic red, not to mention the super moisturising formula. It’s just a beautiful collection.

This collection is the ultimate for any lover of red shades like myself. I have searched high and low, buying more products and spending more money than I care to mention, finally settling on these beautiful products. 

Seriously, who doesn’t love a red lippy? 

babies · children · Lifestyle · pregnancy

Then there was you… Part 2

The day after Matthew was born I was moved from the labouring room into a single room. I felt quite lucky being allocated a room of my own, what with having so little privacy in the open wards. It wasn’t until later on that morning that I overheard one of the midwives telling another staff member that they had put me there so I wasn’t in amongst new mums and their babies.

It broke my heart, but I felt grateful that they had thought about me in that sense.

Still unable to walk and with the doctors debating my requirement for a blood transfusion, my husband wheeled me over to the NICU to see our son. The unit was much scarier in the cold harsh light of day, with a great deal more staff there than the night before.

Matthew still looked the same. Small and fragile.

I still felt the same. Disconnected and ashamed, feelings I didn’t share with my husband.

We spoke with the doctors who told us that Matthew was doing really well considering. The pressures on his ventilator weren’t too high and they were in fact thinking about extubating him in a few days if his stats remained at such good numbers. At this point Michael and I knew nothing more than the facts and figures they were giving us and so we were content to leave every decision up to them.

A decision we did make ourselves was that we wanted to have Matthew blessed by our priest. Michael and I are both catholic and it was important to us that this ritual was carried out in case the worst should happen.

Michael contacted our priest the following day and he was at the hospital within hours, offering to baptise Matthew for us. It was just myself and Michael there standing at his bedside and despite the sense of urgency and the fleeting ceremony, it was actually a beautiful moment for us both and the first time I felt any sense of hope about our situation.

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I had been trying desperately to express milk for those first few days, but to no avail. It was important for Matthew to have breast milk ready for when the doctors started him on feeds. Breast milk was easier for his body to digest and kinder on his gut than formula, so I really felt the pressure to deliver the goods as it were.

It took 4 days, but on Sunday the 23rd of August my milk supply finally came in. I managed to express 0.6ml which sounds like nothing, but it was honestly the most rewarding feeling in the world being able to produce anything at all.

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I immediately got ready and took the syringe over to the NICU, where we were met with masked and scrubbed up doctors and nurses surrounding Matthews open incubator.

His lung had collapsed and the doctors needed to insert a chest drain to allow for the fluid and air to escape. I honestly think my heart stopped beating for those first few moments.

We of course consented and were ushered into the family room located across the corridor. Both Michael and I fell apart and held each other, waiting for news.

We waited for what felt like a lifetime. It was in fact 30 minutes. The procedure was successful and Matthew was stable and a lot more comfortable than he had been in the previous half hour.

It was in this moment that my heart swelled for this tiny boy. He was fighting for his life, already enduring more in his first few days of life than most people do in a lifetime. I felt overwhelming pride and an outburst of love and affection. The feelings and emotions missing from those first few days surged through my body like a tidal wave. I sat by his incubator, put my hand inside, placed it gently on his body and wept for my son.

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Lifestyle

My Current Favourite Books

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I am a big fan of books. Unfortunately since having my little boy I’ve found I no longer have the time to pick up a book and get lost inside the pages like I used to. 

However… I do try to as often as I can, having even resorted to audio-books in bed once my little person is tucked up in his.

The majority of the books I’m reading at the minute are all based around parenting and motherhood in particular. I am not ashamed to say that I am that person that upon finding out I was expecting, bought all the cliché pregnancy books.

“What To Expect When You’re Expecting” was obviously my first purchase! 

So it was only logical that once said baby arrived, that I would continue on my journey through those unending pages offering the A to Z’s in parenting advice. However I’m not too into those books that are quite judgey (if that’s a word) and so my selections were based on reality and full disclosure, which is where Sarah Turner and Giovanna Fletcher come in. These books are filled with humour and wit, tears and tantrums and I’ve loved every last word!!! 

That being said, baby books are not the only thing I’m interested in. I am of course human… and in being human I share a common love and admiration of certain celebrities. In other words, like many of the millions of people around the world I love Beyoncé… Probably too much if I’m honest! Nonetheless I am currently indulging in the story of her life and I’m relishing it.

As well as those selections I am also making my way through Fearne Cottons “Happy”! 

After the birth of my son, both my body and my mind went through an unexpected and quite dramatic transformation. I found that my already crazy emotions were heightened and there were days where I just didn’t know how I would be able to function. This book has been an  amazing tool for reminding me that these feelings are ok and it provides me with a point of reference for when I’m needing a pick-me-up. 

Finally I have included Sarah Knights “The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F**k”. It was part of my New Years resolution this year to stop being a ‘Yes Man’ or woman as it were, and this book has gone a long way in giving me the balls to do just that. It’s funny and life altering all in one. Just brilliant really!  

I honestly can’t recommend these books enough. I pretty much have them all on audio-book as well so there’s no excuses really for not being able to give them a go!

babies · children · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Matthews Favourite Books – Toddler Edition

So it may have something to do with the fact that I am a lover of books myself, but my boy, even at such a young age, has really been enjoying his introduction into the vast and exciting world of children’s literature . 

I make a conscientious effort to read to him most nights and we have made our way through an abunadance of beautiful books he has been gifted or had passed down to him. However, he has had the best reaction so far to this collection of books in particular. 

1. Always There Bear – Its a story depicting the special relationship between a child and their favourite teddy bear. It’s heartwarming and beautifully illustrated, and takes only a few minutes to read. I find this is the perfect book for Matthew when he’s on the edge of falling asleep. 

2. Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone – I have to confess. This was actually a purchase I made for myself. I am a self-proclaimed “Potterhead” in all its glory, and I fully intend on turning my tiny human into one too… Hence the introduction to not only JK Rowlings wonderful stories but the most beautifully illustrated books I think I’ve ever laid my Muggle eyes on. This is a working progress which we are taking our time to get through. There’s never a rush with Harry Potter, after all, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

3. The Gruffalos Wean – This humorous and downright lovely book was gifted to Matthew by our NICU friends, who know how much I want books to be a big part of his life. This book is a translation of “The Gruffalos Child” into Scots. It is one of the classic children’s books with a Scottish twist, and being Scottish ourselves we love it!

4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Again this book was gifted to us by Our NICU friends. It’s a finger puppet book, one of many in Matthews collection, and to say he loves it is an understatement. It’s definitely not a book we read when it’s time to settle down. He loves the animation of the finger puppet and gets excited by the mere sight of the book. It’s beautifully colourful and vibrant, and just the perfect little story illustrating the transition of a caterpillar to a butterfly. It just never gets old!

5. If You’re Happy & You Know It – This is a musical book which plays the title tune, as you follow along with the words and pictures on the pages. Again, Matthew has several of these books in his collection and this so happens to be the one he’s enjoying most just now as it’s one of the songs he has been hearing most in Toddlers group. They are fun little hardbacks that bring an immense amount of joy to any child exploring them. 

So there we have it. This list will most likely change within a week, as it has done previously. Just means more fun adventures to journey on, and more beautiful illustrations to admire with my boy… And there’s nothing to complain about there. 

…We lose ourselves in books… We find ourselves there too…