Author Archives: ghostwritermummy

The last post..

Ghostwritermummy bit the bullet and went all posh with a new blog and everything! So this is the last post on this site. I’d love it if you would follow me over to the new one (especially if you subscribe over here. All you need to do is point your eyes towards the top right hand corner of the new pad to do it again).

It has been a long weekend but I *think* I finally have the new place looking nice and neat for visitors. There will, of course, be some tweaking going on but for now, I’m done.

For those who want to book mark me for later *ahem*, here is my brand spanking new address: http://ghostwritermummy.co.uk

So, I guess it’s over and out for now. Just having a last look around before I close the doors. See you over there!

*edited: today’s post on the new blog is important. Please take a moment to read and show your support against the government’s ridiculous proposals. Thank you.


Sign of a happy family?

Back when my daughter started nursery at the tender age of 11 months, I was a complete newby mum. I used to send her in pretty dresses, with ribbons in her hair and pristine white socks. As she grew older, she developed a penchant for climbing trees and playing football so the dresses were swapped for jeans and shorts, but she still attended each morning clean and fresh with neat hair.

As she got older and her play became more physical, she started to come home dirtier and dirtier. Once, I arrived to pick her up and saw that she was playing in the garden. I say ‘playing’, but it was more like ‘wallowing’ actually. My daughter and a couple of the other kids were making a dirty version of snow angels. They were lying in the mud and scraping their arms and legs out to the sides to make angels. Oh my.

She was filthy on a daily basis but I was told, and agreed, that the dirtier she was the happier she was as it meant she had been playing and having fun. We’ve never worried about how dirty the kids get- they have a bath every night and we totally believe that the saying is true- dirt= happiness.

The only thing is, does it have to extend to the house too? My daughter loves to quote me on this whole subject.

Me: your room is a tip!

Daughter: that’s because I’ve been having fun!

Hmmm. Since the toddler came along with his projectile vomiting and his boisterous love of digging up plant pots and scattering crumbs everywhere, my house has become a full time job to keep clean and tidy. There have been definite spills (due to blog about this soon!) and stains and hastily relocated rugs to compensate. It sometimes feels as though the house is going to one day give a big sigh and give up completely. If I didn’t know any better, I would swear our home insurance should have a separate clause for ‘child induced wreckage’ or something.

But does it really matter? Ghostwriterdaddy and I are of the thinking now that if the house is clean, the mess doesn’t really matter too much. I recently downloaded a Fly Lady app onto my phone in a bid to become organised and for one whole week it worked. And then the baby got a cold and her sleeping patterns are still all over the place so I’m finding the housework has to be done in bits these days. So my precious home is looking a little bit like… well, like we all have a lot of fun.

My daughter says that a messy home is a sign of a happy family and I think I will just have to agree. An overflowing toy basket is no problem- a child who is scared to drink from a cup in case it spills is. An overflowing washing pile waiting to be put away is not the end of the world- a child who is afraid to have fun in case a mess is made certainly is.

So if you happen to come across my house in real life, please don’t be shocked. I have three children and a husband. We are a happy family.

 

 

*sponsored post


A shoulder to cry on

Some time after the toddler was born, I made a promise to him- and to myself- that I would do everything I could with the time I had left to make it all up to him. I needed to let him know that I was deeply, deeply sorry for letting him down when he needed me most. I needed him to know that I was sorry for not being strong enough, for missing that first hour of his life, and for failing to be the mum he needed when he needed it most. He was just a baby. He was barely four months old. He didn’t understand what I was saying and in a way, neither did I. I don’t think I had even begun to accept what had happened during his birth by that point. I certainly wasn’t feeling like a mother to him; I just knew that I was supposed to be feeling it.

Making that promise seemed like the best thing to do and I admit that even today, it weighs heavily on my mind. If  I’m tired, or he’s having a tantrum and my face won’t form a smile… guilt hits me like a bullet then. What about the promise?

When I made that promise I was grieving. Not for a person, but for something… something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.Perhaps I was grieving for that amazing birth I was supposed to have, especially after the first one had gone so wrong? Perhaps I was grieving for that little boy in the delivery room, who’s heart beat fell silent and died in my dreams? Perhaps I was grieving for… for me?

I am not the same person I was before my son was born. In many ways I am a better person. It’s taken me two long years to realise that. In many ways I know so much more about life and love and motherhood. In many ways I can now be that mother I thought I was before he was born. Perhaps I can now stop grieving for that person I was back then and embrace the new me?

These are all things I have been thinking since I left the meeting yesterday. It was the first Manchester Birth Trauma Association meeting and despite being involved in its set-up, I hadn’t actually thought much about how it might affect me. I’d bought a box of tissues, knowing that it could be emotional to talk to people who understand, or even just to talk to people. Caroline bought individual packets of tissues so that we could go home and cry too.

I didn’t cry. But I did think about that promise. I think I’m keeping it. I think I can keep it.

 

I’m glad to have a shoulder to cry on.


Does that mean I have a normal baby?

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I took the little ones to play group today and handed the baby’s red book in to the health visitors for weighing. She was weighed last week, but I’ve been on a bit of a detox (or, not eating lots of rubbish all the time) and I wanted to check that it wasn’t affecting her weight gain. It would be so fantastic awful to have to revert back to a diet filled with whatever I like.
Anyway, we were last in the queue but once I had waited that long I sure as hell wasn’t going to give up. And anyway, it was soon our turn! Yes, everyone else had left but the toddler loves an empty room to run around and I can be stubborn at times.
So the baby is now 10 lb 8! I am astounded. I had just fed her, bit still… that’s 11 ounces in 8 days!
Of course, I panic.
“she seems to be putting weight on really quickly,” I say, hoping I don’t sound too panicky. “its about half a pound a week on average!”
“thats absolutely fine!” The health visitor responds.
She looks curious so I explain that my eldest daughter never really fed much, slept through at 5 weeks and was still only 10 at 6 months. Then my son… he wasn’t thriving at all so by 4 months our consultant had him in formula and baby rice. I think the confusion I’d subconciously come to was:
” I always assumed my breast milk wasn’t all that good…”
“your breast milk is good stuff!” She laughed. “half a pound a week is exactlybwhat we want. It’s.completely normal.”
Um, ok. I’ve got a normal baby then? What does one do with one of those then? I’m used to the extreme. Average is alien to me! From one baby who slept so well, potty trained so early and easily and has never had a tantrum… to one who still doesn’t sleep, regularly has dirty protests and is currently on his 7th tantrum of the day… to now have one that does things by the book?
Goodness, what pressure!


Silent Sunday

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Baba and Boo and me

These days, I am a true cloth nappy convert and slowly starting to make my way through several different types and brands of nappies. Everyone has been so helpful in helping me to get to grips with it all and I have to say that I am a firm fan of fluffy bums!

One of the nappy brands that really caught my eye early on is Baba and Boo. The nappies that these guys make are just gorgeous and definitely up there in the style stakes. The lovely Louise sent me a Baba and Boo nappy to try way back in December and has patiently waited ever since for my feed back. The reason I have been so long in my response is because the nappies themselves are only suitable once a baby is of a decent weight. I think officially, that weight is around 8lb but it really depends on your baby. Isobel has really skinny legs so the nappies have only just started to fit her properly. Incidentally, this means that the bigger sizes of Baba and Boo nappies allows for them to be used on much older babies- the toddler has been rocking an animal print himself lately.

Here is Isobel in her giraffe print nappy

How gorgeous is that?

Each Baba and Boo nappy comes with an insert and a booster, which is fantastic if the baby is ready for a long sleep as I know it will hold everything in without leaks. And so far, we’ve had no leaks. The nappies also have poppers which adjust to suit your baby. At the moment we are on the smallest setting so there’s plenty of wear in them yet!

Baba and Boo have some simply beautiful designs over on their site, with some new colours recently added for spring. I love this Blue Bubbles design and the Sweet Candy  is perfect for Isobel. I’ve invested in a few Baba and Boo nappies so far. Along with the giraffe print, we also have the tiger print and I have to say that these are amongst our favourites of all. They’re made from a super soft minky fabric and are just so luxurious- it’s a shame to put clothes over the top! Once Isobel is crawling, I’m going to invest in some babylegs  so that I can show her nappies off!

Overall, Baba and Boo are a fantastic nappy. I would definitely recommend these to anyone wanting to give real nappies a try because they are reasonably priced, beautifully designed and very reliable. Plus, who wouldn’t want a leopard print nappy anyway?

Did you know it is Real Nappy week? For more information, visit http://www.goreal.org.uk/real-nappy-week

* I received one Baba and Boo nappy for review purposes only, and no monetary payment. The rest of the nappies mentioned in this review have been purchased by myself and these views are entirely my own!


My baby is nine weeks old

How time flies and how little you notice its effects. Until someone points them out to you, that is.

The baby was weighed this week during her 8 week check. She is now a whopping 9lb13! She surprises me. She was the smallest of all three at birth and yet she has gained weight quicker than either of them. Going from 5lb13 at 3 days old, to 6lb8 at ten days is no mean feat! To then go from that to 8lb at 1 month…

Actually, when I think about it, I’m not all that surprised, really. The baby is still feeding on average every 2-3 hours during the day and every 2 hours at night. God bless co-sleeping! Luckily, she settles really well after each feed so I can’t really complain.

It’s amazing how quickly other things become apparent after having a baby too. Like, how rubbish is statutory maternity pay? Yes, I am lucky to get anything at all but seriously- we are scraping the barrel here. I took the option of just statutory as the future of my job is uncertain and I didn’t want to be faced with a huge bill if I was unable to return to work. This way, if I do go back I get a lump sum so it’s something at least.

Which leads me on to another wonderful thing. Friends. And hand me down clothes. We have not bought a single thing for the baby since the going home outfits (which still fit by the way!) because people have been so kind. I’ve done my bit too, I’ve donated clothes to other friends who’ve also recently had babies. But the generosity of others has really astounded me lately- and its not just the baby who has been kitted out, either. The big one and the toddler have also received some amazing items too.

So how do you make the pennies stretch whilst on maternity leave? I’d love some ideas please!

Other highlights at this age for the baby include the fact that she is now really looking at faces and smiling voluntarily. I totally forgot how awesome it feels when your baby smiles at you.


Rug Doctor: a review

It was good timing when an email arrived asking if I would like to review Rug Doctor right after Ghostwriterdaddy spilled a cup of coffee on the cream carpet and a strange smell started to drift from the room… Well, you can guess that I agreed!

I was given a voucher that would entitle me to a 24 hour hire of a Rug Doctor carpet cleaner and a litre of cleaning solution. I have to say that I’ve been intending to do a proper clean of the carpets for some time and since Spring was sprung (before the rain came back) it seemed like a good time to do it. So off I went to Morrisons (you can hire them there and at other venues around the country) to get my machine.

The leaflet that we got with the cleaner is very easy to understand and within no time I was ready to go. Of course, I took photos of the offending carpet for the purposes of this review but I beg you- please don’t judge me! Sometimes you just don’t realise how dirty carpets get over time when you have an active family…

Ok, so I found the machine simple to fill, easy to use and easy to drain after use. That’s all fine and well- but did it clean the carpets?

I had 1 litre of cleaning solution which was intended to clean two rooms. In fact, I actually I cleaned the living room, up the stairs, the landing and my bedroom. So 1 litre goes a little further, depending on the size of your rooms. Its also worth mentioning that Rug Doctor promises dry carpets in around 2 hours and I found this to be the case, but only in rooms where the access to heating and fresh air through windows was not restricted. My upstairs landing took a little longer.

So the photos tell the whole story:

 

 

 

Carpet before

Dirty water!

Carpet after

 

 

Carpet stain before

Heavy traffic area by the door- part cleaned

Carpet stain after

 

Not perfect as there are still a couple of stains (grrr) that need a little more attention but overall the carpets look like new once more. The test came when I went to close the living room door and found that our carpet had rediscovered it bounce- the door struggled to close easily! Once more my carpets were the kind that your feet sink into when you walked on them! Which led to a new family rule- no more shoes in the house (I hated this anyway) and no food in the living room. We’re doing really well!

Overall, I would recommend the Rug Doctor. It’s cheap at around £20 for 24 hours and it’s easy to use. Most importantly, it does what it says it will- it cleans your carpet!

 

*I was sent a voucher to exchange for 24 hour hire and 1 litre of cleaning fluid. I was not given any money for this review and all opinions are my own.


Frankie and Benny’s Bolton: a review

We recently reviewed our favourite family restaurant as they unveiled a new menu. This was the first time we had done a review like this- as a family and under-cover! The children thought it was great fun and I have to say, I really quite enjoyed feeling a bit like those food critics you see on Master Chef…

Ok, so it wasn’t quite like that, but we did have a good try!

We went on the first day that the new menu launched and it happened that my sister and her husband had come to visit for the weekend so it was a lovely way to say goodbye to them too. Frankie and Benny’s has always been a favourite place to take the kids because the menu has something for everyone and the staff are always so great with them. We’ve been going since the big one was tiny so we knew they would find something to eat and have fun.

Frankie and Benny olives

As always, we started with the olives (the big one normally wolfs these down within minutes and once again she did not disappoint! That over, we devoured the new menu and ordered our meals. We went for the Specials menu because the offer of two courses for £10.95 is really good and a great option when there are a few of you eating.

I had the Goats Cheese and Red Onion Pizza while Ghostwriterdaddy went for the New Yorker pasta. Lovely. The kids, obviously, had Spaghetti Bolognaise and fish fingers (its nice that the whole menu wasn’t ditched in favour of the new dishes as sometimes happens) and my sister and her husband both went for the New Yorker burgers.

Now, we’ve been to Frankie and Benny’s in the past and had to wait a long time to get our food when its busy. The staff know that waiting times can be a little long and that’s why children are given colouring books to keep them entertained. At two though, the toddler is too young so we always come prepared with toys etc. The particular evening that we were there, the computers decided to have a hissy fit and our order wasn’t able to go through to the kitchen at first. We did wonder why they couldn’t just tell them, especially as even we could see the chefs quite clearly due to the open kitchen! However, to the credit of the staff, we didn’t actually wait all that long to be served at all.

We brought toys for the toddler

Dessert was also delivered promptly: ice cream, fruit salad, hot chocolate waffles (YUM!) and fruit crumble. All perfectly delicious.

The real wait came (as it often does at Frankie and Benny’s) when it was time for the bill. Usually we don’t mind as the kids like to choose their balloons and have a play etc, but on this occasion my sister had a three hour drive to make so we felt we did wait a little too long at this point. Once we asked though, the bill was with us and sorted immediately.

All in all, it was a really good experience, as it often is at Frankie and Benny’s. There are lots of other delicious sounding meals on the new menu and I know for a fact that this won’t be our last visit!

 

*we were given a 50 voucher to spend during our review; we did spend more of our own money and all views reported are my own. We received no monetary payment to write this review.


Who do you blame for your birth trauma?

This is a question I have asked myself many times and each time I tend to get a different answer, depending on my mood. At first, and on many other occasions since, I blamed the hospital. I must stress here that ‘the hospital’ is not the staff (not all of them anyway) but more the red tape, rules and lack of funds leading to bad decisions and busy midwives. Naturally, I moved on to blaming myself- if I had stamped my foot harder I would’ve got my elective section when it mattered and the whole trauma would not have occurred. But that only leads me back to blaming the hospital because they should’ve  been in a position to offer counselling/ serious thought to the vulnerable pregnant woman.

The more I look at it, the more I am forced to just accept it. Yes, lots of things went wrong, mistakes were made and hearts were broken. I can’t change that. I never made a complaint, believing- wrongly, I am told- that if I was to be awarded compensation, that would only make the problem worse for a hospital that is already struggling to provide adequate care. But then I am told that my complaint could help others… could stop the same thing happening again. Whether it would or not, I think its too late.

I never wanted monetary compensation. I would’ve swapped all the money in the world for some understanding. For an apology. For someone to tell me they cared about what happened. For someone to explain, truthfully, what went wrong. For someone to take away the nightmares and the anxiety and that cold, hard ball of fear that rested in my stomach day in and day out. That would’ve been priceless.

So who do I blame? When I was interviewed by the BBC I stated that I blame the hospital for what happened but what I really meant what I blame the system. The NHS, I suppose. I’m entitled to quality care and I just didn’t get it. Not because anyone was particularly negligent, more because they just couldn’t give it to me.

They were forced to deny me an elective section because they cost a lot of money. They were forced to leave me alone for hours because there was nobody available to help me- it was a Sunday and they didn’t have enough staff on duty. They were forced to send me home with a broken body and no pain relief because budgets would not allow them to do otherwise. Never mind I was in agony…

I never really blamed the midwives- in fact, my interview was part of a Royal College of Midwive’s appeal for more midwives in the NHS. There is a severe shortage and it is affecting people like me, families like mine.

But mistakes were made. For which no apology has been given. For which, no apology has been sought.

Am I right or wrong? Am I now in a position to seek out that apology, or explanation? Next week myself and another birth trauma survivor are hosting the Birth Trauma Association’s first support group in Manchester. Caroline’s story was printed in the Manchester Evening News yesterday and today Deanna Delamotta has written a piece about it. It’s interesting that she chose to comment on the fact that Caroline has never sought compensation for what happened.

For so many women who have been through a traumatic birth (and its estimated that around 7,000 women in the UK feel traumatised by birth each year) it is hardly ever about the money. It is always about being listened to. Somebody accepting that mistakes were made and things need to be done differently again. It’s about hospitals improving their care for other women.

So who do I blame? I blame the hospital for the things they did wrong. I blame myself for not standing firm and insisting on the birth I wanted. I blame the consultant for not recognising I needed support when I asked for a c-section. I blame the hospital for changing the surgery dates and not explaining why. I blame the midwives for not listening to me, or taking me seriously. I blame the hospital for cutting budgets which meant I was discharged too early and with no pain relief after labouring and enduring a horrific c-section.  Mostly, I blame fate. Childbirth is such a tricky thing you see. Nobody can predict what will happen. And what will be, will be.

 

 

 

* If you are local to Manchester and would like to come along to the Birth Trauma Association’s support group, our first meeting is taking place next week, Wed 25th April at 3.30-5 pm. Location: Pannone Solicitors Manchester 123 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BU


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