Baby · Birth · C-Section · Diabetes · labour · Pregnancy

Hospital Beauty Essentials

The title of this post may seem like a total oxymoron; ‘beauty’ is really the last thing on my mind at the moment, but by pure chance I happen to have packed a few things in my bag which have, unknowingly, been an absolute godsend over the past two days.

I’m really the LAST person to take beauty advice from – my lack of regime is a laughable combination of apathy, forgetfulness and lack of time, but sometimes being in hospital, and so far out of your comfort zone, requires a bit of extra effort.

Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

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I don’t know if its all hospitals, or just the one I’m in, but the ward is ridiculously warm. I’m a proper chilly-arse and I slept (albeit for only 2 hours last night) without a single cover over me. The upshot  of this is that the atmosphere can be very drying and the first place which suffers is my lips. I adore Burt’s Bees, with its slightly menthol tang and honey-infused softness and I’ve been applying it liberally to stop cracked lips.

Boots No. 7 Cream Cleanser

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I actually have pretty complicated skin which dries out in places if I use anything too harsh, but can be prone to spots if I use nothing at all and No. 7 Cream Cleanser seems to be a happy medium. Its moisturising enough to be soothing on this dry ward and still leaves me feeling clean and revitalised.

Hair Bands and Bobby Pins

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My poor husband despairs of my love affair with the humble bobby pin, as I do tend to leave a liberal scattering in my wake where ever I go, which means painful stepping incidents and even an expensive Dyson-damaging occurrence. However, bringing clips and hair bands to hospital is an absolute must if you have medium or long hair as, even if you wear it down 99% of the time, there are bound to be times when you want all of your hair off of your face and neck. Pack spares just in case; even if you don’t use them they’re handy to have.

Moisturiser

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A general purpose moisturiser that you can use on your hands and body is super handy to have, as you’ll probably be washing your hands a lot more and using that super-drying alcohol gel on them about 20 times a day. Be prepared and you won’t end up with cracks and dryness.

Toothpaste

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This may sound like a no-brainer, but lots of people forget their toothpaste. Also, if you’re on nil-by-mouth, often your tongue will feel like the inside of a parrots cage and being able to brush your teeth with something minty and zingy can make you feel 100% more human.

Baby Wipes

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Obviously, most wards have a dedicated bath or shower for patients, but if you’re hooked up to a drip or other machine for more than 24 hours, you might simply not have the opportunity for a proper wash. Never underestimate the power of the ‘Festival Shower’ – a thorough going over of all your bits and pits with a cool baby wipe can really help you to feel better and I often find that a simple thing like being clean and smelling fresher can speed up recovery and give you a mental boost when you’re poorly

Feminism · Happiness · Life · Opinion · Parenting · Politics · Relationships

Why I Don’t Care if Ellen Page is Gay

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I became aware of Ellen Page back in about 2006, when Husband told me about this film he’d watched where a young woman entrapped and brutalised a paedophile, mostly for shits and giggles, which had an awesome actress playing the lead role. If you’re aware of Hard Candy, you’ll know that a young Ellen Page gave a performance which was as convincing as it was memorable and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

Skip forward a couple of years; Husband and a very pregnant me sat and watched Juno, a film which handled the issue of teen pregnancy with a grace that had never been seen before. Here, we were faced with a young woman who, while on the surface may have been a bit off-beat, was conscious and uncompromising in her decision about what to do with the life of the child that she knew, ultimately, she wasn’t ready for. Juno was a kid who fucked up, had an accident, did what so many others do, but the way she dealt with it (and the space and respect that her parents showed her in dealing with it) reflected what a kid can really do, under such enormous pressure. I cannot imagine anyone else playing that role.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed watching Ellen in various films, such as Inception, X-Men, The East and Whip It (a particular favourite which has made me desperately want to learn to skate so I can try roller derby!) and I can honestly say I don’t think she’s made a bad choice or put in a bad performance.

Aside from her impressive career, she seems to be a pretty impressive person, too. Away from the spotlight, the (self-confessed) “tiny Canadian” has involved herself with various humanitarian issues, such as campaigning to end the military dictatorship in Myanmar, Burma and also appealing for The New York City Food Bank.

Of course, there’s long been speculation as to her sexuality. Her ‘conspicuous’ lack of male escort at various award ceremonies never fails to set tongues wagging and her graceful but slightly awkward avoidance about whether she ever had a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio in various press junkets leading up to the release of Inception caused even more hyperbole (although, quite why anyone thinks that’s an appropriate question of a professional actor, I don’t know. Would it ever have been asked of a man?!).

Ellen’s self-outing was delivered at the Human Rights Campaigns Time to THRIVE conference, where she decided to use her personal life, and effectively sacrifice her well-protected privacy, to campaign for the safety and well-being of other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people across the globe. She’s unleashed her truth in the most conscientious way possible, in a way that doesn’t benefit her, but will hopefully help millions of other people across the globe. She says she’s “tired of lying by omission” and hopes that her coming out will help others to have the strength to be open about their sexuality, too.

So, while the title of this post may come across as slightly glib, I really do mean it. I adore this young woman and everything she stands for. As a mother to (almost) two girls, I feel that I can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that there are women like her out there, setting an example of strength and selflessness and showing that above all else, being yourself is the best thing you can possibly be.

Who Ellen Page chooses to fall in love with is of absolutely ZERO consequence to anyone but herself and her chosen partner and what I hope is that we can start to end the process of defining people by their sexuality. It simply does not matter whether a person is gay or straight or any of the other shades of the Rainbow. What matters is how they choose to live their life and the way they treat others around them. Of course, I believe people should be proud of who they are, and their sexuality, to an extent, factors into the person as a whole, but there’s so much more to everyone than that one small factor.

Anyway, its 4.16am, I’m sitting in a darkened maternity ward and probably rambling somewhat now, but I wanted to get my thoughts on the page and say that I wish Ellen a lifetime of happiness and love.

That’s all. 

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Snoozing and Infusing…

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Well, its all happening. After I saw my consultant last week it was decided that my delivery date needed to be moved forward. A combination of 2.1 being large for her stage and my blood pressure deciding to go haywire means that, even at just under 37 weeks, its safer to have her in than out and the beauty of a planned c-section is that we have control over when that happens. I did not, however, expect to get a call from my Husband while in was driving to the hospital yesterday saying “it’s Monday. Your section has been moved to Monday!”.

After my planned appointment with my midwife, I had to take myself off to the maternity ward for a pre-op assessment and meeting with my anaesthetist so that I could have my section on Monday. In the midst of all of this, I kept thinking “its okay, I still have the weekend to sort everything out at home”.

Err. No.

As it turns out, having the baby before 39 weeks means that (just to hedge our bets) I have to be given a course of steroids which will ensure her lungs have matured enough by the time she’s born, at 36 weeks and 6 days. This would all be fine if I weren’t a diabetic but unfortunately the steroids can play havoc with sugar levels.

The upshot of all of this is that I’m stuck in hospital for the next two days. I’m on a constant infusion of insulin to keep my blood sugars regular and I’ve had a steroid injection today which will be repeated again tomorrow. My blood sugars will be taken hourly, and the infusion adjusted as it needs to be.

Happy Valentines Day to me, huh?

I shouldn’t complain. If anything, despite the fact that I miss Sausage, Husband and Chuck a ridiculous amount and that I’m sat on a crappy chair in the corner of a noisy ward, just knowing that everything is under control is a great comfort to me. My wonderful Husband, as well as his Mum and Aunt have been at home, getting the house spick and span and putting up the cot, ready for our homecoming and Sausage was so brave and strong this morning that even thought I could tell she was upset, she didn’t show it at all. I’m so grateful to them all and would definitely have completely lost it if it weren’t for them.

This is all such a massive contrast to last time, when it felt like everything was being left to chance and ultimately ended up in bad things happening. We have a plan. We know what’s happening and the baby and I are being looked after in a way that makes me feel a whole lot more comfortable than before. Okay, so I almost passed out when the doctor who put my canula in managed to allow about a cupful of my blood to spill everywhere, but that’s been the only major hiccup so far!

I can’t wait for Sunday, when I’ll be able to go home and spend a day with Husband, Sausage and Chuck before the new arrival is here but until then, I’ll be trying to see the silver lining and catch up on as much sleep as I can!

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Stairway to Bedtime Heaven

As a child I was jealous of my best friend for a number of reasons, mostly because she had something I didn’t: a pair of high-heeled shoes; cool parents under the age of 40; a pink bike with the spangled handlebars; and, probably top of the list…a bunk bed.

Bunk beds, or cabin beds as they are now known, just seem so much more exciting than your average single bed in a box room – unless put in a prison context and occupied by delinquent cell-mates! I used to imagine that my pal would be having all sorts of adventures in her bunk bed, so, when my seven-year-old child first raised the question about having a bunk bed in his room the romantic in me felt compelled to say yes.

At what age is the right age to have a bunk bed? Well, I reckon their greatest appeal is from the age of about seven or so, when the fear factor of falling off the top deck fades away, until the age of 16 when having to use any sort of effort to get in and out of bed is way beyond the call of duty. Some people like to take it too far and sleep in bunk beds well into adulthood. But when you find yourself calling emergency services to help you get back up the ladder, or call the local occupational therapist to have a hand rail installed, it’s probably wise to call it a day.Another good indicator is when you’re old enough to sleep in the same bed as your significant other. At the end of the day ‘bunk up’ can have very different connotations depending on what stage of life you’re at!
As I wasn’t fortunate enough to have a bunk bed in my youth I’ve not really given them much of a second glance until said offspring declared his interest. I found this useful link, http://www.gltc.co.uk/cabin-beds/dept/fcp-category/list, to a website that has all manner of different bunk beds, and I’ve since gone on to purchase the stairway to bedtime heaven I was never fortunate enough to have.

One thing it could not tell me though – apart from the obvious practicalities like saving on space -is what makes bunk beds so appealing to the younger generation. Personally, I think it’s because they are the closest thing you’ll get to a hideaway indoors. Den-building has become a lost art in the big outdoors, in part due to health and safety constraints, so being able to build one in your own bedroom, using the bunk bed as a frame instead of a few moss-covered twigs, can be a real blessing, especially on a wet weekend.

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Bath or Shower?

245776_R_Z001When it comes to bathroom furniture, everyone has their preference. Husband and Sausage love to wallow in a nice, deep bath while I prefer standing under a hot shower after a long day. I’m a huge fan of the traditional roll-top bath with big brass taps, while Husband likes the sleek lines of an ultra modern suite. In an ideal world, we’d live in a house big enough to have bathrooms of our own, to suit our needs (and I wouldn’t have to pick up soggy towels and empty shower gel bottles, either!).

I wondered what my blogging friends had to say about their ideal bathroom, so I asked around and this is what they told me:

Angie from Cakes, Photos Life said: “I love a shower, always makes me feel clean and refreshed. Husband on the other hand refuses point blank unless none available, a full bath every morning. I have a basic bathroom but would love an ultra modern large power shower”

Helen from The Crazy Kitchen said: “I prefer a shower, hate having a bath & only like white suites with no fancy scalloped edges or gold taps! I would love a wet room or walk in shower….”

Laura from Tired Mummy of Two said: “I would love a large deep bath but tend to have showers most days”

Mummy is a Gadget Geek said: “My ideal bathroom would have a bath that’s great for reading in, mixer taps with a shower attachment so I don’t need to stand up to wash my hair, underfloor heating and a heated towel rail full of snuggly fluffy towels. More modern than traditional but as long as the water is hot and the bath is relaxing I’ll be happy!”

Charlotte from Winegums and Watermelons said “My ideal bathroom would have a shower and a bath. A nice big bath to relax in (maybe with the spa jets?) and a power shower for when I need waking up. Underfloor heating and tiles, definitely not carpet!”

Aby from You Baby, Me Mummy said: “My ideal bathroom would have underfloor heating and a heated towel rail. I would love a rainforest type shower with the massive showerhead and a free standing bath – obviously with an amazing view!”