Tag Archives: parenting

neonatal care

Neonatal Care Taking

You never expect your baby to go anywhere else when they are born, apart from in your arms or in a cot beside your bed. You never really plan on these types of things.

I certainly didn’t when my first born went into the special care unit; actually even the hospital wasn’t expecting her to be spending her first days of life there either. I remember her jumping the queue and taking a twin’s bed, a Mum who was meant to be induced had to wait a little while longer, because our tiny bundle took the bed.

It was when I had my third baby (second to go to special care), that we had the more intense stay. Both though meant confusing times. I thought I would share with you some tips we found that could have helped us both inside and outside of the unit.

Car Park


It will be the least of your problems, but unfortunately if and when you go home, it could cause problems…Car Parks, a lot of the hospitals have private firms and they are pretty strict with their paring rules. Some hospitals offer money off vouchers or even free ticket if you have a long stay minor – this will include a premature or sick newborn. Ask one of the admin team, nurse or onsite car park offices for details. It can become really expensive; we worked out had we made it to the 100 average stay, the car park could have cost us more than our car insurance!

Maybe see if you have friends or family who live nearby, some people rent drive space for a lot cheaper than car parks too.


Onsite Accommodation

There is often a waiting list for these facilities, you don’t always get told about them; get your name down on the list as soon as you are able to. They are helpful to have so that you can be closer to your child.



You really do need to keep your strength up when spending time in the hospital, it is hot and exhausting; so getting decent food and drink inside of you is as important as feeding your child. We found ourselves sourcing junk food, because it was easier; quicker. Living on takeaways or sandwiches wasn’t ideal. The hospital restaurants are either don’t have a lot of choice or is expensive, many hospitals have well known shops, and cafes but aren’t always the cheaper versions. Have friends and family put together healthier picnics, a lot of the family kitchens have microwaves or resources to reheat things like leftover homemade cottage pie; even if you’re staying at home and visiting daily rather than staying, having people help cook goes along way.



It is very difficult trying to rest in the circumstances, you need to make those all-important bonding days count; but you also need to replenish your energy; the heat of the wards are exhausting, get fresh air, take a break; even if it is to do one lap of the grounds. Your child needs you to be rested. But don’t feel forced to leave the unit either, do what you feel comfortable with in leaving your baby.


Ask Questions

Okay, so I get to the parenting bit. One thing I regret massively is not asking enough questions; of course we asked some – but we didn’t question or second guess what the health care professionals were doing. You CAN get a second opinion, especially if your first answer wasn’t clear enough; it is so scary and so confusing. Have a note pad to jot questions that come to mind when you are away from the hospital – typically that happens a lot. Jot the answers too, you can always return to them later if everything seems a mess.


Finally – most importantly

Remember that baby, that child is YOURS; there are so many times where that is forgotten, where you are forgotten as a parent. If you are unsure of something, then speak up you are your child’s voice, you are there to get to know your baby and love them. It is so hard watching while the world cares for your baby, but don’t ever be made to feel like they’re not yours. Talk to your baby, if you’re having communication difficulties with the staff, the charity BLISS are good for advocating for parents. The staff are doing their best; but remember so are you.

Take each and every single day as it comes. Remind yourself you are raising a miracle.

caesarean section tips

Getting Through a Caesarean Section

Having a caesarean section is never an easy option. Some opinions wouldn’t agree, but having major abdominal surgery to safely deliver a healthy baby is too often the only option.

Although I was induced and tried for many, many hours to have a vaginal birth; it still resulted in an emergency caesarean. My first daughter was born small but safe. I went on to have a further four, with a mixture of electives and an emergency. No two were the same, but each gave me a baby.

Here are a few things which helped me during the recovery.

My final caesarean I was also sterilised, so my abdomen was a lot more sensitive than my other babies’.

Suitcase Goodies

I played Suitcase Tetris so many times, in the months (yes I said months!) leading up to the caesarean dates; if I am honest I still packed too much!

I don’t need to tell you the obvious for you and baby – so here are maybe some of the less obvious ones.

  • Straws (non-plastic of course). It isn’t the easiest to move after the operation so; to manage a drink isn’t easy either. But you really do need to keep your fluids up.
  • Flip-flops (or Slides). Footwear that is waterproof, easy to get on so you can wear them in the shower; hospital showers aren’t always the nicest under foot – but also you lose a lot of fluid too.
  • I was always offered tea and toast once back in recovery (why is that always one of the best meals you ever get?!). Pack something healthy and naughty to nibble on in the middle of the night.
  • Coffee sachets. You can often get your favourite coffee made up in individual sachets.
  • Maternity Pads, the hospital do supply some, but they’re often not as nice as the ones you get from the shops. There’s also the option of postpartum cloth sanitary towels too, which are even more comfortable.
  • Dry Shampoo. The hospital gets very hot and sticky, and while waiting for your anaesthetic to wear off the spray can make you feel a little more human.


The Birth

You can request skin to skin with your new baby, it wasn’t until my 5th baby that I knew this could be done, if you have the screens it isn’t the most comfortable of positions, but it can be done, and so wonderfully beneficial to both you and baby.

Cord Clamping, again this wasn’t something which was done until my 5th baby, but I have a wonderful photo of my daughter sprawled out on my legs, while still being connected; I won’t show as she is completely naked, legs and arms stretched out completely brand new!

Photos, there is most likely someone available to take photos of the birth if your partner isn’t comfortable, or if you would rather your partner be next to you. My very first baby a health care professional took photos of the whole birth, right to when she was born. My last baby as I mentioned before I have a photo of her chilling out waiting for her cord to stop.

Also be prepared if your baby is born in a rush, or unexpectedly poorly, there may not be an opportunity for photos; rest assured should you be separated there will (hopefully) be other opportunities.

Little Extras

You don’t have to have visitors; you are well within your rights to say no. If is incredibly overwhelming having this tiny new human to look after without out queues of visitors. Of course, they’re excited and happy for you; but (providing baby is healthy and coming home) they really do have plenty of time to meet baby. The bed spaces aren’t big either, so can feel claustrophobic too.

Have a towel or muslin cloth handy to hold across your stomach while coughing or laughing, this helps with the pain giving a little support to your new stitches. Try and move as much as you can to relieve any stiffness.

Going home; I was incredibly lucky to go home 24 hours after delivery with three of my babies. To be honest our youngest two we made sure this request was taken care of due to anxieties of being in the hospital. Make sure you do rest when you go home; take one day at a time. Remember to take regular pain medication, there are no prizes or point scoring if you do or don’t accept the pain medication.

Ask for help; accept offers of cooked meals, or babysitting any other children. Not all Dads can get the time off after, or at least not long enough when it comes to recovery.



Enjoy being waited on if you are able to. Enjoy your newborn. If you have to turn away extra visitors due to hormones, or feeding or just simply wanting time alone to adjust; have no guilt in doing so. If and when you do have visitors, let them make the tea!

Settling in with a new baby can be hard work without the added surgical pain; take your own time.



Congratulations on your new baby!

my cheerful list

My Cheerful List #29

Welcome back to My Cheerful Post. A place to share cheerful moments which have made us smile during the week. In times where it seems impossible, it can be helpful to find something, no matter how small that moment is. Here is week 29


I have had an incredible week, involving so many emotions. Completely up, down and inspired.

One thing I do know I need to be free of worrying about what others think of me, I want to be free of caring about people who have little or no thought towards me. Because I know if I don’t, it WILL destroy me. Time and time again, I let these things ruin the best things for me. I shouldn’t.

There isn’t a particular ‘thing’ for this, so please don’t guess. I’ve heard it is an anxiety thing – overthinking; maybe that is what it is, but this overthinking will make me sick. It will eat me up and break me. I walked out of a hospital leaving my dead daughter behind; I carried on breathing. I can’t let anxiety or overthinking destroy me.

This week I wanted to give up the one thing I have been able to do for said daughter and that is to care for people, to look after people in their darkest of hours. But I can’t do that, I don’t bloody want to give it up either. I need to hold on and paint my own rainbow, and be the colour my brain needs to focus on; I am sick of looking through the grey. For a moment I felt lonely and worthless. I am not meant to feel this way.

“Don’t you dare give up. If I’m not allowed to you’re definitely not.”

Is part of one message I received, from one of the most inspirational people I know. I will not go any further. But this person has given me the kick I need to keep my head up, to keep breathing – to not drown. While someone else with the swear words, but meant the very same. I think have found my people.

I know it is a difficult time of year, and it does feel like I am wading through treacle sometimes; that is allowed. I can’t let life break me.

I am alive.

I can do anything but I can’t do everything.

London Baby

The week began with more snow and a trip to London. We didn’t know if it was going to go ahead because of the weather. But the charity who wanted to interview me was insistent I go; so they offered to move the interview time, and pay for a hotel. We ended up taking the younger two; one had a snow day, of course, the youngest was at home anyway. It really was the most amazing experience. There were a proper film crew and staging. The girls and my husband were able to watch while I was interviewed; then my husband was able to be interviewed too – I can’t wait to share what we have been up to.

I have never been to London before, we didn’t explore or stay long – but I am definitely a country girl!


Majorette Competition

The competition season has begun. First one was today, our troupe hosted; in two weeks time they will be competing, and my eldest daughter will turn 13!! Crazy. We did have an eventful start, with the fire alarms going off, and a visit from the fire brigade – early on a Sunday morning and the clocks moved forward too – brilliant. They did get a free bacon butty for their troubles. Very memorable.


Have a good week. This time next week is her anniversary, so we’ll see.


my cheerful list

My Cheerful List #28 Birthday


Welcome back to My Cheerful Post. A place to share cheerful moments which have made us smile during the week. In times where it seems impossible, it can be helpful to find something, no matter how small that moment is. Here is week 28


Wednesday Treat

This week we paid a visit to a small soft play area the little ones love, in a town close by – Shakees. We’ve visited for a few years now, perfect for very small people.


Mum’s Night Out

I went out with a group of new Mum friends this week; I even had an alcoholic drink! Am not a big alcohol drinker these days. It was really lovely to get out, have dinner and a giggle. We’re all very keen to do it again; very soon.



I do find it hard to find and keep friendship; and question myself on a regular basis, about why I feel so socially awkward. I try really hard. It is such a nice feeling to be building a village of friends, who have children who love each other and as parents we can all make friends too. I was really worried about baby number four starting school; whether I would make friends or fit in. So far, it would seem my worries may have been not needed. I look forward to making lots of memories!


A Fifth Birthday

We celebrated one of our girls’ 5th birthday this week, she has been very excited this week. She had to go to school for her actual birthday, but she still had such a lovely time. We were terrified about her birth five years ago. We had fallen pregnant not long after the death of our daughter, leaving 13 months between their births. Here is her birth story. I can’t believe she is five!

She also had a party with her lovely friends from school, they seemed to have had the loveliest of times, and she certainly did and was very spoiled.



Well, as I write this we have a duvet of snow outside; we’ve only just recovered from the last lot. It is not what we want with our plans for the week ahead.

We did go out and play in it for a short while this morning, I think the adults had more fun, as the little ones, cried very loud tears until we returned home.

Here’s hoping for a glorious Summer now! This is what it was like six years ago

Have a lovely week, see you next week.



Working Mum And Stay At Home Mum

Early Jobs

I have always loved working. I’d had Saturday and weekend jobs as a teen; the thrill of your first wage packet, then each one afterwards.
I’ve moaned about different days at work, had tears of sadness and of course the laughter.
My weekend jobs consisted of hairdressing salons, a residential home or photography, the last one I loved!! (I wish I had pursued it).
I left school wanting to be a hairdresser, but quickly realised my mistake and went for a job in the care industry.
There I stayed for many, many years. I switched from different employers but always within the same industry.
From a small residential home to a cottage hospital; to care at home, to a much bigger hospital. I had always loved working.


Having Babies and Maternity

When I went onto Maternity and had babies there were moments where I thought about not returning to work, how I’d miss them, the dread of missing out on all their important moments. But once I had returned I’d always liked it and there was never any question I’d be a stay at home mum. At the time we were lucky to fit child care in with family and friends; it worked well. It felt important to me to keep some kind of social aspect outside of being a Mum. The balance felt right.



I ended up losing my job at the bigger hospital; I was devastated – but I came to other opportunities and was able to experience other things as an agency; and found it even easier to balance home and work life. Things at home then changed; I fell pregnant again, then I wrote my car off (not my fault), I became ill with the pregnancy condition Hyperemesis which saw me having to give up work, or at least take maternity a lot earlier than planned. Luckily for me, these employers were really accommodating to this. When our much-loved baby didn’t make it home; it left me feeling incredibly confused about everything I had ever done since beginning my working life – literally everything changed.

It didn’t take me long to decide that I could not return to doing care work; I told my employers and they told me I could go back anytime. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to.


Staying At Home

With the aftermath and a new pregnancy I didn’t return to any work; I became a stay at home Mum; not only did I have the hyperemesis again; but of course there was no way I could face it; particularly when I knew I would be starting something brand new –  I had no clue what.

I remained a stay at home Mum for three years; we had two babies in that time; I did do the occasional freelance work here and there; but nothing on the scale of making “real” money.

Being a Mummy after an Infant Loss.

It has been wonderful being able to stay at home with them, make memories, do more things with them; not rushing through life. I was able to do more baby groups with baby number 4 and for a short while with baby number 5.

Being a parent after loss certainly changes you; your perspective on life and what is important – but the ugly side was being too scared to leave them with anyone else; too scared to miss out on a moment, even a second of their life; it can be incredibly suffocating and very isolating; which in turn led me to make a new decision.



In 2015, when our youngest turned 4 months old (the same age my eldest was when I returned to work with her); an opening came at the school my children attend; it was to only be an hour and a half a week; but I felt it was an hour and a half of being me again. It wasn’t about escaping the baby or not wanting to be around her; but I really and maybe even selfishly wanted some time to myself, and that was to go to work, even if it was only a very short period per week.

I love it. Working with children is not something I ever imagined doing as a job, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else. Well apart from writing full time!! I have increased my hours; it hasn’t been easy to arrange child care; family members aren’t always available and childcare comes at a price. But we have sussed it and it is working well. I love this little part-time job.

It gives me that little break away from the house; a chance for me to miss them, a chance for them (her) to miss me. It works out really well.



Having been both sides of the coin, a stay at home mum and a working mum; the opinions of others really do show through. How society thinks parents – more so mothers should be with work life, how the government also sees parents too.

Stay at Home Mums in particular get a lot of stick for being home; often the case is like ours where the husband goes out while Mum stays at home –  we were okay with that; but I felt embarrassed (not for anyone else, but me personally), because I wasn’t working, leaving the children for someone else to look after. I felt like I would be judged for not going to work. My mother in law was incredibly supportive of it, and felt that all Mums should have the option to stay at home should they wish, with no repercussions financially or from society. Some families simply can’t afford the childcare – like us.

Working Mums don’t escape the judgement either, through forums or hearing people talk about how these Mums spend no time with the children they choose to have. Some Mums don’t have the financial choice to stay at home; the need to live and support using both parents is greater at times than those wanting to stay home and look after their child; this too is us.

Sometimes it feels like a lose-lose battle.



As parents we really are doing the best we can, whether that means a parent staying at home either through love or because finances need or allow them to; or going to work because staying at home would cost families a home and food.

I have really enjoyed being back to work; I found myself lost and at times incredibly lonely being at home. Not working meant there wouldn’t be many outings or Mums coffee mornings, because of having little or no money. As much as I love my children; I love being able to do nicer things with them, take them places and above all.

Keep my sanity!

Working and home balance

Because parenting is bloody hard work; judgement or not. There’s nothing easy about it – but it is incredibly rewarding.

The Red Head Diaries


This month has flown by, I’m looking through my photos, and I can’t believe how quickly it has gone by.

We were lucky enough to have some beautiful weather over the month, but also not so great, it is nothing new.

Our month kick started with a majorette display and a lovely BB with friends, to celebrate their daughter’s 18th birthday; I must admit I had been a while since I’d had that much fun.

We managed to squeeze in some strawberry picking and a trip to the park, the ground was wet and muddy but we were able to do one of our favourite annual things.

I’d picked up a couple of shifts at work, ones which will become more permanent in the new term, in between them I was able to visit our girl on a weekly basis – it isn’t something we do any more, in fact it is quite rare that we do visit, unless for special occasions or if her siblings ask.


A few things going on in the writing part of my life, as well as becoming a contributor for Still Standing Magazine, I’ve been once again shortlisted for a Butterfly Award. I am very honoured to have gotten this far again. I know there are far more deserving winners, but it’ll be a night away, maybe this time, I will brave a bit longer away. Last time we left the hotel by 6 am, I was nervous about leaving the children – with no reason to be. It is an experience, and a wonderful one at that.

My lovely new camera arrived this month too; I have been very lost without one. I love taking photos from my phone, but there really is nothing like taking them from a proper camera. It isn’t top of the range, but it will do me nicely for now.

I was lucky enough to be invited to watch a friend’s daughter on stage, a production through her college – Spamalot, it was brilliant I loved every minute.

July saw the final month of 2017 majorette competitions, we all had such a wonderful day –  the best even, the troupe members were all treated with a McDonald’s Supper followed by entertainment by their trainers and committee…singing our way home. Not forgetting the Piggy Back Races during the day.

It was a perfect ending to a brilliant competition season.

We took a trip to a National Trust Property, to make the most of the sunshine, a place for the smallest two to have a run around. We love Montacute; it has the loveliest of grounds, easy distance for us to just ’pop’ to for an afternoon walk.

End of term for the children. My eldest left her first year of secondary school, my son moving in to year five, and Mini moving from play school to Primary School in September.

It seems like such a long time coming. Although I have children already at school, due to co-parenting I have never really felt like a “school-run Mum”. Standing on the outside while my Son took his first day at school, it has never been what I had imagined being a school mum would be.

As our daughter begins her journey, I feel like I am beginning this new chapter with her, most siblings follow older siblings in classes at the school, but she won’t be; not that it matters– for us it really will be a whole new experience, new teachers, new classes, a chance to be that “school run mum”. We’re still keeping our options open about whether to keep her at the same school, but for now we’re okay with the choice we made, we know Mini will be happy.

I’m just glad that she gets to go to school.

Afternoon Tea with a friend filled one Saturday afternoon, it was wet, but we had a wonderful walk around the property, head over here to see some of the photos I took. It was nice to have such a relaxing afternoon.

My relaxing Saturday afternoon was followed by a mini fundraiser, in the form of two Tombola stands. One was for Majorettes and other for charity. It was incredibly wet, but worth it to get a spot of fundraising done.

My two older children went away with their Father for the week, I have been missing them terribly, I’m looking forward to the summer adventures ahead.

Final Saturday of the month brought the rain – again. A wet and very soggy Saturday. We did manage a morning out to the very lovely Pecorama in Beer. We didn’t stay particularly long this time due to the weather, but it is one of our favourite local attractions. It was strange going without my Biggest and the Boy, but we had a raffle prize to collect for our up and coming Fund Day, so we decided the girls may have liked a trip out.

Although the weather wasn’t in my favour, there are some amazing views from the attraction.

This pretty much rounds up our July 2017.

My first Magazine article over on Still Standing Magazine will be published on the 17th, while I have a post on Melody and Me scheduled in.

I’m looking forward to our August Adventures.


The Red Head Diaries