Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Hyperemesis Gravidarum – what it is and how to get help (A guest post)

I recently read and shared a post from Ghostwriter Mummy: What they don't know about the sickness which got me to thinking about how lucky I am not to have ever really been struck with more than a bout of queasiness when I was hungry or too tired, but more to thinking about a number of friends who have suffered at the hands of the Hyperemesis Gravidarum and the far reaching consequences of this illness.  

Unless you know someone who has suffered from HG you are unlikely to know much about it so with that in mind, I'm hosting a guest post today from Caitlin Dean who writes at Spewing Mummy.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum – what it is and how to get help

We all expect a certain amount of feeling and being sick while we're pregnant and many of us actually look forward to it in a weird kind of way... it's a sort of rite of passage, a reminder of the life growing inside you and an indication it's progressing well. Most of us know it's not always in the morning and that for some people it's a bit worse than others. But sadly there is not nearly enough awareness of just how serious the severe end of the spectrum can be. When you're throwing up constantly and can't keep anything down you don't just have morning sickness, you have Hyperemesis Gavidarum (HG).

Let me put HG in context... before modern IV therapy and anti-sickness medication it was the leading cause of death in early pregnancy. If I had been born more than 100 years ago I likely would have died in my first pregnancy. Even now some women experience such life threatening severity and complications that they have to make difficult choices not just about the baby they carry but about future family plans as well.

In the scheme of things I was lucky. Despite vomiting over 2,000 times during my first two pregnancies we still felt able to face it again with better medical care, and now my family is complete with my three little terrors. I was also able to escape Hyperemesis without long term mental and physical damage and consider myself a stronger and more capable person thanks to it. I've turned my awful experience into a positive and am now driving a fearless force forward to improve care, treatment and support for women suffering now and in the future. I've even written a book about it which will be out in September Hyperemesis Gravidarum – The Definitive Guide.

But I am truly one of the lucky ones as my role now as a national spokesperson for the condition brings me in constant contact with hundreds of women who have not escaped so lightly. Long term post traumatic stress symptoms, anxiety, phobias, damaged relationships, oesophageal and digestive problems and a whole host of other side effects from Hyperemesis Gravidarum abound amongst survivors. These tough women who have been through so much continuously inspire me to keep blogging and raising awareness so that women of the future can suffer less and therefore recover more easily.

So how do you know if what you have is worse than normal “morning sickness” and what can you do about it? If you think your symptoms are more severe than they ought to be then they probably are! Women tend to put up with a lot during pregnancy so if you feel this is significantly more severe than you had expected then seek help. If you are vomiting more then 5 times a day or you can't keep food or fluid down then that needs treatment. If you are getting dehydrated then you need treatment. Signs of dehydration to watch for would include not having a wee for over 8 hours, and you wee being very dark and concentrated. Dehydration is dangerous for you and your baby! Another sign to watch out for is significant weight loss. It is not unusual to lose a bit of weight in early pregnancy, chances are you've stopped drinking high calorie alcohol and are eating healthier than usual. But if you aren't managing to eat, or keep food down and therefore weight loss is more extreme, more than 5% of your pre-pregnancy weight, then you need to seek help. Malnutrition is not healthy for you or the baby!

Where should you go for help and support? For medical treatment your GP is usually your first port of call. Across the UK there are many wonderful and experienced GP who will give you, not just effective and safe treatment, but empathy and kindness too. Unfortunately there are also a whole lot of diabolical GP's who will make you feel pathetic, weak and selfish for needing treatment, they may also not give you any treatment due to ignorance about the drugs available. So what can you do if your GP is one of the bad ones? You have every right to go try another GP. You may find other ones at the same practice are just as bad, or you may not. If they are then you can go to any other GP practice (in your area), register there and see another doctor. Alternatively if your GP says you shouldn't take medication you can ask for a referral to a consultant at hospital who would have more experience and confidence in treating HG. If you contact the charity Pregnancy Sickness Support and they can see if they have details of an “HG Friendly” doctor near you.

On my Spewing Mummy blog I also have lots of posts about how to seek help and information for partners about how to advocate for women suffering HG with their doctors. Hyperemesis Gravidarum – The Definitive Guide also contains masses of information about the treatments available, how to approach your GP or consultant and advocate for your self and care plans you can use to ensure you are getting the best treatment possible.

You can also get emotional support via the Pregnancy Sickness Support network and forum. Check out their website for more details about how to register for both.

Awareness about hyperemesis gravidarum is on the increase and care and treatment for it is improving rapidly in the UK. Although we don't have a cure for it, the medications make it a survivable condition and with greater public awareness and increased emotional support  available we hope it will limit less families and cause less long term trauma to the women doomed to suffer it. I also hope to inspire women to use their negative experience with this horrendous, joy stealing condition to the advantage of others... the more people get involved in the Hyperemesis Improvement Movement the less our daughters will suffer in the future. We are no longer having to suffer this condition alone, so seek the help available when you need it and then pay it forward for the future.

About me – I'm a registered nurse who suffered Hyperemesis Gravidarum three times. I now work tirelessly to raise awareness about the condition and to provide support to thousands of women around the world. I blog as Spewing Mummy and I'm a trustee for Pregnancy Sickness Support. My book, co-authored with Amanda Shortman will be out in September and you can sign up for information about the book and it's launch here.

I've just got back to the UK after travelling around North America for 6 months with my husband and kids. You can read about those adventures here.

Tried & Tested Tuesday

Welcome to Tried & Tested Tuesday!  It’s so lovely to see both familiar faces and new ones linking up each week.  We do our best to get round and read all your lovely review posts each week, and we really enjoy seeing the range of products you have been trying out. Has everyone been enjoying the scorching sun this week?

If you’re new to this linky then welcome along! You can find out more about it and how to join in here.  If you’re a regular then welcome to you too! Crack on, link up and share some commenty love – lets face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

Each week, as you know, we like to feature two of our favourite reviews from the previous week. This week we have loved: 

Not My Year Off
Things you should know about a Furby Boom from Not my Year Off - this review of the popular childrens toy had us both giggling away, we really enjoyed reading it.

Tried & Tested featured blogger
Lulu & Nat bedding review from The Hart of the Munchkin Patch - a company we hadn't heard of before, but this review made us want to head off and check them out - and that's what Tried & Tested is all about!

If you link up please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment as well as a couple of others if you can!  We do ask that you link a maximum of 2 posts each week to keep things fair for everyone – if you choose to link up an extra post please make sure you visit extra posts in the linky to balance it out.  (Additional posts will be deleted out of fairness)

We do our very best during the course of the week to visit you all, leave a comment and tweet your review from @FamilyFever and @Lollinski using the #TriedTested hashtag. (Sometimes life takes over and we don’t quite get round everyone but we try very hard!)  We would of course love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too! This linky is hosted by Kate at Family Fever and Colette at We’re going on an adventure .

We're going on an adventure

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Cosatto 3Sixti Highchair - Review

Last month I was invited to Cosatto HQ to have a cheeky nose at all the most recent releases where I promptly fell in love with everything!  Well more specifically the Oh la la range - of course it appealed to my long standing adoration of a navy & red combo with stripes to boot!  The Yo! would be an ideal "car" pushchair for us.  I couldn't help but swoon.

Cosatto Oh la la

With weaning high on the agenda in our house I was also really drawn to the 3Sixti2 Highchair - Amy had been using a very basic highchair and I was really concious of how unsupported she was.  She looked uncomfortable and it made feeding her tricky.  Immediately the 3Sixti2 looked like it would address so many of my issues with the current highchair and I was keen to try it out!

Cosatto 3sixti

I was very excited when the 3Sixtihighchair arrived and was keen to get it put together in time for lunch!  From opening the package to getting Amy sat in the highchair took less than 20 minutes!Fitting it together is all pretty obvious however it's well worth keeping the instructions to hand as you need to do it all in the right order for ease.

So what were my first thoughts?
* The base is really heavy - which is obviously super stable but it does mean you don't want to be moving the highchair around too much
* The highest seat setting is just right for the tray to fit over our dining room table - without the tray it can be lowered to sit under the table like any other chair
* I love the removable inner tray - much easier to clean
* The harness fits easily so could be removed to wash
* The seat cover just slides on making it easier to lift and wipe underneath. the seat cover itself should also wipe clean easily
* The seat reclines to three positions which is ideal for feeding younger babies
* The fancy gas lift makes it really easy to get the highchair to just the right position (though I won't be pointing out the foot button to Ben and Chloe)
* The pattern is gorgeous - so bright and cheerful and I love the apple details on the base!

3Sixti2 highchair strudel

And after a few weeks use . . .
* Amy is so much more comfortable in the 3Sixtihighchair than the highchair we were using previously
* She's fastened in safely with a full adjustable 5 point harness which is easy to fasten and undo. The shoulder straps come apart from the waist straps which initially irritated me but I actually love it now as it means no trying to bend her arms through the straps, I just pop them over her shoulders. 
* There is a post between her legs as well as the harness which stops her from slipping down the seat
* The seat is nicely cushioned, I can put her in there with a toy while I make lunch and know that she's comfortable and safe.  She is happy to sit in the 3Sixti2 highchair for quite a while unlike her old highchair which was very much an "in and out" job
* It's pretty easy to clean - let's face it all highchairs are a nightmare to clean in one way or another however al the plastic wipes clean easily and the fact that the seat cover isn't fastened anywhere at the bottom makes it super easy to lift and clean under.  There are no fabric edges to get grubby with food either.
* The two part tray is easy to remove and wash in the sink (or even better the dishwasher!)
* The rounded base means its easy to get it close to the table - no sticky out legs in the way 
* The gas lift means its very easy to get your little one to exactly the right height to sit at the table with you (or wherever else you might be sat!)
* Amazingly after noticing there was a button and being shown what it does, Ben and Chloe have left the pedal to raise and lower the seat alone which is a relief! 
* The 3Sixti2 highchair comes with a 4 year guarantee so you should have no problems using it for more than one child! (Of course this helps to justify the investment!)

The 3Sixtiis of course available from all good stockists

We love our 3Sixtihighchair and really wouldn't be without it now!


*Dislaimer - We were sent the 3Sixtihighchair free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions are my own*

Silent Sunday 19.07.14

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Mama Jewels Teething Necklace - Review and Competition

I was thrilled to be offered the chance to review a necklace from Mama Jewels - with so many different styles to choose from I spent quite a while browsing the site but once I spotted this navy and white breton inspired beauty I just had to have it!  It's like my blog in necklace form! 

Amy has cut two teeth in the last few days - though we knew nothing of them till she basically bit Dave during Chloe's assembly!  Although she hasn't really shown any signs of teething at all this doesn't mean she doesn't love to shove things in her mouth and have a good chomp!

As soon as I put on my new Mama Jewels teething necklace she made straight for it and had it in her mouth within seconds! 

She hasn't left it alone since - fiddling with it, chomping on the wooden ring, the chord.  She is a massive fan - as am I.  I definitely want to treat myself (or Amy!) to another one!

What we love about it: 
* The long and adjustable chord (I often find things are too short for me)
* It provides baby with something to concentrate on during breastfeeding (which means less scratching and grabbing of my poor boobs!)
* It's pretty and doesn't look like I'm wearing a baby's teether round my neck!
* It's a nice size for baby to hold on to, to fiddle with and to chew
* The chord is guaranteed not to break
* It's not ridiculously expensive!

What we're not so keen on: 
* I do worry that the untreated wood could end up looking a little grubby - fingers crossed it just ages nicely!

If you'd like the chance to win a £15 E-voucher to spent at Mama Jewels then crack on with Rafflecopter options.  As ever the more you complete the more chance you have of winning. Please do make sure that you complete the options accurately as they are checked and you will be disqualified if you haven't entered properly!

*Disclaimer - We were sent the Mama Jewels necklace free of charge for the purpose of review however all thought and opinions are my own*

Morrisons Delivery Service - Review

Anyone with a child knows that supermarket shopping can be akin to hell on earth . . . The magical solution to avoiding small people in supermarket trolley nightmares is either to get someone else to go (always a winner if you can wangle that one) or to hit up the online shopping.  We used to do an online shop pretty regularly but having tried the top three supermarkets offering the service we eventually got pretty disheartened with missing items, damaged shopping, short dated products and so on and so forth - really what is the point in paying for someone to bring your shopping to the door when you still have to go and buy half of it anyway.  

Aside from that we also discovered our local Morrisons and found we much preferred the prices and quality on offer - the only downside was that they didn't offer a delivery service . . . until now!! 

Here in Manchester we are lucky enough to have been next on the list as they roll out their new delivery service nationwide.  Now Morrisons are doing things bit differently - your average supermarket delivery service is ordered online and picked in your local store before being delivered to your doorstep. Morrisons use a dedicated distribution centre - in our case this is currently in Leeds which means my groceries are making a bit of a trek over the M62.  Morrisons wanted to make sure that they're service was "worth the wait" . . . so was it?! 

The ordering process:
When you first start to do your shopping you are asked to book your delivery slot - the slots range in price according to the deliver times with the cheapest being after 9pm on an evening - even on a Sunday!  Gold star for flexibility there.  Of course the sooner you book your delivery the cheaper it will be.   Your delivery slot is held for an hour while you do your shopping but, if like me, you take far too long and end up having to keep going back to it you just rebook at the end.

When you type in a product it gives a range of alternatives which is helpful especially as we buy a lot of Morrisons own brand products so for example, if you search "branflakes" it will bring up Kelloggs, Morrisons own brand and Morrisons Savers etc.  It does attempt to correct your spelling and offer suggestions (which helps when you're doing your shopping at the same time as about 6 other things!)

The pricing is clear for example giving price per 100g so you can compare different sized packets to see which provides you with the best value for money.

I was somewhat lacking in inspiration when I sat down to do my shopping so really liked the feature that allowed to search for seasonal ideas (picnics, ramadan etc) and I also searched through the offers just to see what we might fancy.

Quite a few things I wanted to buy weren't available - I found this frustrating initially as I knew they were products I would normally buy in my local Morrisons and couldn't see why they weren't available to order.  I've since realised this is because the shopping isn't actually coming from my local Morrisons and as the service continues to grow and improve so will the number of available products.

These are the things on my list which I wasn't able to order: 
* Morrisons own brand caramel rice cakes (luckily branded ones were on offer so didn't cost me too much more)
* I could only order bottles of own brand Dandelion & Burdock rather than cans
* There were no cans of 7up free, only bottles - which was a shame as I knew the cans were on offer in store
* No Cif actifizz
* No wholemeal flour
* No fresh red chillis
* No fresh curry leaves
* No sweet smoked paprika
* No dried cranberries
* Fresh rosemary was listed but out of stock
* I wanted a fresh ciabtta and coudn't get one - I thought this was particularly odd when the baker is such a big part of Morrisons and it just kept offering me packaged garlic bread.  You can access and browse the "Market Street" but the bakery items were decidedly limited.

The website does allow you to make product requests so I did a lot of that.  It makes sense that they need to suss out the market I suppose rather than wasting lots of product in the distribution centre.

Before you complete your order it reminds you of the items it thinks you might want and then lets you know offers on your favourites (if you've imported them) and then "flash sale" items which are limited to a set number.

The delivery itself
The first thing I really liked about the delivery service was the text to remind me that my deadline to make any alterations to my order was imminent. This was followed up by several more texts with information such as reminders about the delivery time and details about the van.  The delivery arrived perfectly within the aloted time slot (which considering it was coming from Leeds was all the more impressive).

A lovely lad called Araon talked me through the most comprehensive delivery sheet ever - everything was sorted into cupboard, freezer, fridge items etc and then even better by use by date!  Previously other supermarkets have sent me produce to go out of date on the day of delivery - this wasn't going to happen with Morrisons, I was even offered a "freshness check" where Aaron would go through my shopping with me to check everything was ok (I declined).

All my shopping was delivered in perfect condition with no substitutions (something of a miracle if you have any experience of online grocery shopping).  I loved the colour coded bags which just made it so easy to put my groceries away (as it was Amy was shouting so I shoved the freezer stuff away and left the rest till I'd got her settled).

The service was absolutely fantastic and the few niggles I had when ordering I can cope with - I just need to write a separate list of the bits that were missing for the purposes of a top up shop - it's not like I don't' always end up going anyway.

As I'm writing I've got a Morrisons tab open planning my next delivery!

Top marks Morrisons! I'm impressed.


*Disclaimer - I was provided with vouchers to do my shopping for the purpose of review however all thoughts and opinions are my own*

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