{Writing Prompt} Survival

Nickie over at Typecast is running a writing prompt #dosomethingyummy for the CLIC Sargent Do Something Yummy awareness campaign.  And the subject this week is survival and what we’ve over come.

We have thankfully been blessed in that we’ve been very lucky and not had any terrible illnesses such as cancer in our family. So my story is about Miss L’s birth, which I’ve blogged about before but it’s been a long time since I shared her story.

I had a horrible labour with her, it started in hospital as I was being checked out as I was a tiny bit over due. Labour started as 1 contraction every 3 minutes, we were all excited thinking we were all systems go because that’s what you’re told from the moment you start the ante-natal lessons.  A very matter of fact midwife was called, checked my dilation and this what was now a classic conversation in our house:

Midwife: ‘Yes you’re contractions are every three minutes, but you’re 2cm dilated. Come back when you’re 6cm’

Me: ‘How will I know? I’ve not seen my feet for 3 months?’

Midwife: ‘Just come back later’

With that she swept out of the room and we were kicked out in tears, not knowing what to do.

Long story short, I phoned my Midwife from the car on the way home and she came out and spent 5 hours with us helping me labour at home, then she sent me back to give birth in the hospital – another 45 minute journey back still having a contraction every 3 minutes.   27 hours later my beautiful baby girl was born by emergency c-section.

I was exhausted, my body was in shock from the labour and emergency c-section so it wasn’t a surprise when she wasn’t feeding that well.   But she was also making a weird snorting noise, to be honest being a first time mum I was more than a little clueless.  I’d seen a baby once from a distance, but that was about the extent of my experience.

I mentioned it to the nursing staff but they said it was ok, newborns feeding badly isn’t exactly unusual so I left it.  However by the time she was 30 hours old I needed some sleep, I’d been awake for 3 days at that point and close to utter collapse.  Thanks goodness I did, they took her from me so I could rest and for the first time noticed something was wrong when they tried to feed her.   She was rushed instantly to the Special Care Baby Unit, with a Group B Strep infection.

I’m forever thankful that as I’d had the labour from hell and an emergency c-section and was still in the hospital.   If we’d gone home I think she’d have died because it was such a quick decline.  It turns out that if you have your waters broken and then are left in labour for over 24 hours, the baby can contract Group B Strep even if the mother has tested negative for it – which I had.

However I didn’t have a clue what Group B Strep was when I was woken in the middle of the night, by a doctor telling me that my baby needed a spinal tap as she had Group B and possibly meningitis, and did I have anyone who could be with me ‘in case of the worst’.   By the time I arrived in Special Care Unit (as quickly as I could shuffle down the corridor) I was welcomed by a really lovely nurse who sat me down and gave me a Polaroid picture of my daughter wired up to every conceivable piece of medical equipment.  When I asked why she explained they took pictures to give the mother something to ‘remember their child by’.  We’d already lost one baby through miscarriage and I refused to lose another who’d been perfectly healthy at birth and had caught an infection,  you can imagine how I felt when I found out it was from me.

Thankfully she’s a great little fighter and survivor, and she had 10 days of excellent care by a very experienced group of medics and she pulled through to be the sassy little bright button she is today.  But it was needless, it shouldn’t have happened.  I showed signs of maternal temperature in labour, the length of labour and the fact my waters were broken I should have been given antibiotics in labour and then she wouldn’t have been infected.

To quote the GBSS Website:

“intravenous antibiotics (in the mother), during labour. When given from the start of labour or waters breaking (and ideally 4 hours before delivery), prophylaxis of this kind has proven to be very effective at preventing GBS infection in the baby. Sadly, waiting to give antibiotics to the baby after delivery will sometimes be too late.”

In the UK

       1 in every 1,000 babies born in the UK. Each year, based on 700,000 babies born annually in the UK, approximately:

  • 230,000 babies are born to mothers who carry GBS; 88,000 babies (1 in 8) become colonised with GBS; 700 babies develop GBS infections, usually within 24 hours of birth; and
  • 75 babies (11% of infected babies) die.

I was hoping that nine years later, women are now being informed of the dangers and can be prepared/tested/aware of Group B Strep and there are more little survivors like my girl but it seems the numbers are staying static.  If you’d like to know more, pop over and visit http://www.gbss.org.uk/

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Creating Shade

Kat from Housewife Confidential shared this product months ago with me on Google Reader. It seemed a bit daft writing about it in dark and dismal February, but as on Monday my car’s temperature gauge was reading 35c degrees (95f)  it now seems a bit more appropriate.

These rather gorgeous sunshades made by Hollie and Harrie in Melbourne, Australia, they are ideal for the beach or garden and they ship them internationally.  I’m very jealous they are just beautiful and nice and big so you can get everyone under there.  The problem I have with those little beach tents you can get from Millets etc is that I just can’t get them up with the North Sea wind blowing when I’m up at the beach in Norfolk. Something like this is a little easier – less fiddly poles to fight with when the wind is getting up.


Obviously you can make something similar yourself, I have a vague recollection of my aunt or grandmother making one for me when I was little. I spotted some inexpensive canopies on the Ikea website too.  But anything like that is ideal over a reading area in the garden or a child’s sandpit or paddling pool.  It can also looks pretty glamorous!

A covered area in the garden can also make the idea place to eat and chill out with family during the heat of the day, we’ve grown trees over our BBQ area so we can sit in the shade no matter what time of the day we are out there. It’s nice to pop out in the sun to have a play and then back under the shade for food and a Pimms where it’s cooler

 I’m joining in with Sun Savvy Bloggers in promoting sun awareness, due to the untimely death of my friend at age 29 from Skin Cancer.  Find out more at the Cancer Research’s Sun Safe website on how to protect yourself, your children and about vital early detection.



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Status of Africa Campaign

I get approached about a lot of charity campaigns, but this one is close to my heart.  I nearly died giving birth in a lovely safe NHS hospital and had there been no modern medical care or intervention, I’m under no illusions that both Miss L and I wouldn’t be here now.

AMREF, is Africa’s leading health development charity, and they want to raise awareness of the difficulties many women face in poorest communities of Africa. Every year 280,000 mothers die unnecessarily in pregnancy and childbirth because they lack basic medical care. AMREF is working to change this – to ensure no woman dies whilst giving birth.  Even just a simple inexpensive birthing kit can prevent deaths:

So this Mother’s Day AMREF are asking people to give up their Facebook status, change their Profile Picture or use their Twitter Status tweeting the hashtag #StatusofAfrica just for the Day to raise awareness and support for AMREF’s.   Alternatively if you’d like to donate here’s what your donation will buy and how to donate.




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Aid for Japan

What is there to say? It just beyond horrific and getting worse. If you want to help by sending financial support http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/, http://www.redcross.org.uk/ and http://www.shelterbox.org/ are all running campaigns and getting help up and running on the ground where it’s needed most.

In addition I had an email about this auction this morning as well. If you’re into books and want to raise money for a good cause this might be for you:

>>Freelance journalist Keris Stainton has pulled off an amazing feat.

Keris has, within 48 hours, brought together some of the UK’s best known popular fiction talent, as well as some overseas writers, in an auction to raise funds for the Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal.

Authors taking part include:

  • Dorothy Koomson
  • Andrew Crofts
  • Jill Mansell
  • Adele Parks
  • Caroline Smailes
  • Cathy Cassidy

So far there are more than 100 lots including exclusive editions of new books, signed works, feedback and critiques on manuscripts and proposals as well as publicity help, social media expertise and freelance journalism mentoring. There are three lots from me: A critique of a non fiction book proposal, a place on a Kick start your freelance writing career day-long workshop, and four one-hour telephone mentoring sessions, with exercises and feedback in between and two signed books with each.

You can see the details here:


Bidding opens at 8am tomorrow (Tues 15) and closes at 8pm on Sunday 20th<<

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Charity Store Find

I was wandering past the Oxfam store today on my way to the hairdressers, when I spotted the perfect picture frame to make one of these fabulous chalkboards . It’s gold but it’s nothing a lick of white paint on the frame can’t solve – blog post to come soon.

But anyway,  as I was queuing up to pay for it I glanced about the shop and spotted this from a distance……

An Emma Bridgewater Butterdish and it was a fiver!!  So having squealed internally – you don’t want alert the sharp eyed old dears of our town to something they can sell on eBay. I grabbed it, and went to pay for it.  Sadly there was no lid – well there may have been but it’s probably been lost when its been left there.

I’ve just ordered a new lid from Emma Bridgewater for £10, which means it’s come to a grand total of £15 rather than the £32 on the Emma Bridgewater site.  So between that and my new haircut, I am a happy woman! 🙂

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It’s been one of those days here.  Just after 8am this morning the water at our house stopped working, so I popped round the neighbours thinking that it was just ours and it turned out they were all down too. I shouldn’t have been so pleased, but I had images of the pipes under our house having burst and how much that would cost to fix!

So we had look on the Anglian Water site it turned out a water main had burst in town resulting in the whole town losing water, but it should be fixed in 6 hours or so. Not terrible, we could live without water until 2pm, not a massive problem.  But we do have a combi boiler (installed by the idiot man who lived here before us), which means we have no water tank which in turn means no heating either! But at least we have an emergency electric heater I bought when the boiler died last winter and between that and the dog we were warm for the morning.

I left it until about 2.30pm and still no water so decided I’d need some water for when Miss L got home from school. I talked to friends on Facebook and discovered the central town supermarkets had sold out so went to the out of town Tesco’s.  Luckily they had 5 litre bottles so I’ve bought a few for drinking water, cleaning teeth and washing our faces.   I also realised I had water in the tumble drier so I’m using that to flush loos as well if needed, I love my condensing drier!  It’s 5pm now, so fingers crossed it should be back soon or at least by morning.  If not we can snuggle tonight with hot water bottles and extra blankets, the only thing is I really wish I’d washed my hair last night!

But it has made me think of all the poor people in Haiti, Bangladesh and other parts of the world who don’t have ready access to clean water. I’m moaning about a few hours and for them it’s their lives – just horrific!  So I think I’m going to make our family Christmas charity Save the Children for the work they are doing round the world to combat this, very valuable work.

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Blogadesh – some of my blogger friends – Josie from Sleep is for the Weak, Sian from Mummy Tips and Eva from NixdMinx are going to fly out to Bangladesh for a week to see the work of Save the Children and report back via their blogs raise awareness. Mummy Blogging at it’s very best!  Read more about it on the Save the Children site here

I, for one am really looking forward to reading about their experiences and hearing about such important work done first hand.  If you want to know how to support them, here’s some information on Josie’s site.

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Street to School

I’m a passionate believer in education improving people’s lives.  My parents were little more than teenagers when they had me, but worked really hard and encouraged me to do well at school, which meant I was the first person in our family to go to University.  As a result there is no question that our lives as a family have been improved by the education and how different our lives would have been otherwise.

So I’m very pleased to support the ‘Tell Us Your Story’ campaign, which encourages kids who have dropped out of education and haven’t been supported, off the streets and back into education.

Over to them:

This campaign gives people the opportunity to recognise and reward others who have made a positive impact on their lives or in their community over the past year. Entries are submitted online at http://www.avivatellusyourstory.co.uk/

Launched by Aviva, for every entry they will donate £1 to the Street to School Programme – a global initiative with the aim of reaching 500,000 children worldwide, helping them get off the streets and back into education.

A weekly prize of £1000 will also be awarded to the local hero that captures the hearts of visitors to the site and receives the most votes.  One overall winner will be chosen by a celebrity judging panel for a prize worth £10,000.

If you’d like to take part and recognise someone in your community, join in!

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Great Ormond Street Hospital – Peter Pan Week 26-30th April

peter-pan-week-logoOne of Miss L’s best friends has spent a lot of her young life in and out of Great Ormond Street hospital having excellent treatment for a genetic disease. So I was delighted when I was contacted by their fund-raising arm to raise awareness of their Peter Pan week 26th -30th April 2010.

Join thousands of people across the country in the biggest ever Peter Pan dress up day. The record attempt takes place on Friday 30 April at 9.15am and lasts 10 minutes.

For more information on how to take part or how to make your costume please visit their Peter Pan site here

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Sports Relief 3 Mile Run

logo-strap Obviously it’s not me running it (I have boobs, I can’t run!), but my lovely hubby is running 3 miles in aid of Sports Relief on the 21st March.  So if you have a bit of spare cash, no matter how small you can sponsor him here Thanks x

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Bloggers for Haiti

As more information comes out of Haiti it becomes apparent how much the country will need help for a long time to come. 2 million orphans and millions homeless, the numbers of people needing aid is just unimaginable.  To try and help Bloggers for Haiti have started a Just Giving page to donate money to buy some of these, I think they’re a great idea

Each box costs an average of £490 including all materials, packing, storage and distribution to individual recipients worldwide. Based on six months use only this equates to 27 pence per person per day.

At the heart of every ShelterBox is a ten-person tent. It is custom made for ShelterBox by Vango, one of the world’s leading tent manufacturers, and is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, high winds and heavy rainfall. Internally, each tent has privacy partitions that allow recipients to divide the space as they see fit.

A smile
Every box contains a children’s pack containing drawing books, crayons and pens. For children who have lostmost, if not all,their possessions, these small gifts are treasured.

Warmth and protection
In addition to the tent, the boxes contain a range of other survival equipment including thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets, essential in areas where temperatures plummet at nightfall. Where malaria is prevalent mosquito nets are supplied, as well a life saving means of water purification. Water supplies often become contaminated after a major disaster, as infrastructure and sanitation systems are destroyed, this presents a secondary but no less dangerous threat to survivors than the initial disaster itself.

Self sufficiency
A basic tool kit containing a hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters can be found in every box. These items enable people to improve their immediate environment, by chopping firewood or digging a latrine, for example. Then, when it is possible, to start repairing or rebuilding the home they were forced to leave.

Fit for purpose
Every item is durable, practical and brand new. The box itself is lightweight and waterproof and has been used for a variety of purposes in the past – from water and food storage containers to a cot for a newly born baby.

A heart to the home
A key piece in every box is either a wood burning or multi-fuel stove – that can burn anything from diesel to old paint. This provides the heart of the new home where water is boiled, food is cooked and families congregate. In addition, there are pans, utensils, bowls, mugs and water storage containers.

We keep a broad range of equipment in stock so we can adapt the contents of a box to a specific disaster. For example, following the Javanese earthquake in 2006, when some resources were available locally or could be salvaged fromone storey buildings, the overwhelming need was for shelter – so we just sent tents, packing two in each box.

Check out the site and see if you can help in anyway, all donations are very gratefully received.

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Haiti – Where to donate

I’m sitting here in tears watching the news and the scenes from Haiti are just horrific.

If you would like to help you can donate to the British Red Cross here ( UK readers remember to tick Gift Aid so they get the full amount)

Or Médecins Sans Frontières here

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Decluttering for Christmas

I’ve been looking round the house and realised that I probably need to do a declutter before Christmas, before we bring anything else into this house.  To make it less painful I think I’m going to a room at a time, rather than trying to do one big mass clear out. I think it’ll take a couple of weeks, but I’ve discovered that if I rush it and try and do it all at once, I get frustrated, bored and then I don’t do it.  And now Hubby is finally reading the blog on RSS I will actually have to do it!

I try to follow the decluttering advice of ‘if you haven’t worn it in 18 months then you’re not going to wear it’.  And if it’s still in the box it came in a year later, chances are it’s not going to be played with/used. So bearing this in mind I’ll be creating the following piles

To Keep, Friends with Younger Children, Charity, Recycle, Tip


So here’s the plan


Clear out the side board of old candles, and all the general Miss L colouring/toys stuff I’ve shoved in drawers when we have visitors.

Dining Room

Move the Wireless Printer upstairs to the office where it should be

Paint the little table which I’ve been meaning to do for 8 years

Have a clear out of old XBox & PS2 Games as we don’t actually have either anymore!


Discover what is exactly at the back of the corner cupboards? Who knows??

Clear out the canned foods & Dried Foods that aren’t in date

Our Bedroom

Old Clothes have a charity turn out and put summer clothes into storage (suitcases on top of the wardrobe )

Magazines…..honestly I don’t really have 4 piles in there….maybe 😉

Return all of Miss L’s things that she never ever uses or plays with that have made their way into our room.

I’m also going to make the tiny built in cupboard in our room into the airing cupboard and make the airing cupboard into extra storage for seasonal clothes etc.  The sheets etc will fit into our cupboard and be more accessible.

Miss L’s room

This is the big one…. sort through old toys, sort through books, clothes etc

Under her bed…who know’s what’s under there? But clearning it should create more storage.

Clothes…she’s had another growing spurt and I know there are loads of summer clothes that need to goto charity.

Tame all the school work, we’re not doing too badly with the actual work but I need to clear down the things she’s made and put them into storage/throw out.  There is only so much you can have on display made of out toilet roll!


I always, always give Miss L the final say over giving away toys, or saving items. But I’m proud to say she’s really good about donating to charity and has been know to offer all her toys to’little girls who might not have any’ – Proud Mummy moment! Finger’s crossed I can get all this done before Christmas!

So are any of you going to do a Pre Christmas De-clutter?

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