Sunday, 22 November 2015

Mama Mio

Long time no blog! I've missed you all! We've had a bit of a rollercoaster month with Grace being in and out of doctors and hospital again, so I've been focussing on my girl getting better and being 100% again. She's good on the whole and advancing well, that can be saved for another post as it'll be quite a lengthy one!

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Mama Mio got in touch to see if I wanted to try their products and see if they helped. I am now 11 weeks post-partum, so this is a first impressions post as products like these will usually take months to show true results. I will do an update as I can see any changes in my post-partum body, but for now here are my first impressions.

When I was reaching the end of my pregnancy, you may have remembered me mention how bad my stretchmarks were and how I was worried how they would be after having Grace. I've been trialling numerous products from the start of my pregnancy, but unfortunately, nothing has helped combat them.
mama mio pregnancy
Mama Mio 
The Tummy Rub Oil | Megamama | Goodbye Stretch Marks | The Tummy Rub Butter
The Tummy Rub Oil(*), £27 - 120ml

This product is so much nicer than Bio-Oil! It's not as greasy and although I'm not a fan personally of the Mama Mio scent across the range, it doesn't linger which is good for me which is a bonus! I do believe that oils are better at combating problems such as stretch-marks and dry skin, as they soak in better.

I use this product last thing at night time before bed as it takes a while to soak in during the day when I'm in a rush. By the time I wake up for my first feed, it's soaked in significantly and I don't need to be careful about getting it all over my pyjamas.

Megamama - Super Rich Omega Body Lotion(*), £24.50 - 150ml

My least preffered product of all the Mama Mio ones that I tried. I prefer 'target' products and since I have a lot of areas that I want to tackle, an all over body lotion doesn't cut it right now. My skin is the dryest it's ever been and I don't have the time to do a full body moisturisation, so a quick moisturisation is as good as it gets right now!

As with all of the other products, this soaks in very quickly and smells exactly the same. I've been using this after a shower as an overall quick moisturisation, using the other products to target my stretch-marks on my legs, tummy and hips.

Goodbye Stretch Marks(*), £45.00 - 100ml

This is my favourite product! It soaks in very quickly and most of all, it may sound stupid and I'm sure a lot of people will agree, but as soon as a product says it helps stretch-marks, I feel like it's going to work more than other products. The packaging says to use 3x a day for 12 weeks for maximum benefits. As I'm sure a lot of new mums will agree, 3 times a day is very unrealistic therefore I haven't seen any changes just yet!

The Tummy Rub Butter(*), £23.50 - 120g

I love body butters in all form. They are generally quite thick and take a while to soak in, but this is more like a lotion. It's a lovely whipped sort of texture and soaks in fast, so is great for a quick post-shower moisturiser. I focus on my tummy but also use it on my legs too, my target areas.              

Overall my tummy post-caesarean is still very numb so can be quite tricky to apply and slightly uncomfortable too. Mama Mio are by the the best pregnancy brand I've come across, both in products and advice when I have spoken with them on social media.

I would absolutely re-purchase the Goodbye Stretch Marks product if I see an improvement in my skin! I will do an update post in a few months time to let you know how I've gotten on!

Hope you're all doing well. Make sure to keep updated more regularly on my Instagram in between posts for what I'm up to.

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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Grace's One Month Update

Sorry for the hugely late post! Life with a newborn is completely hectic and most days I forget to eat and drink when it's just myself and the little one!

Grace is now 7 weeks old and the difference in her since she was born is huge! Her first month of life was a huge rollercoaster so I'll try to keep it short and sweet. So once we were discharged from hospital on day 2, I couldn't wait to get home and was probably a bit too eager to get back so rushed through the checks despite being far from confident with breastfeeding.


My parents came the following day after we got home and we had dinner and then got Grace to sleep and everything was going well. Then suddenly while I was in another room, I heard my Mum shout and Ollie (my husband) also run into the room. Grace had started choking and stopped breathing for a short moment. We were petrified. What was wrong with our baby? This was the third time this had happened, the first two times we put down to one-offs as they were sporadic. 

The heartache was too much so I instantly called 111, in hindsight I should have just phoned 999 but as she was fine again after this, I felt they wouldn't be best pleased to get an ambulance down. They told me to get down to A&E, which brought back horrible memories as I was only 4 days postpartum and we had literally just left the hospital. After various heart-wrenching checks and long anxious waits, we were told that Grace needed to stay overnight at least and start a course of antibiotics in case she had an infection that they needed to fight until they got the results back. 



After 3 extra days in hospital, Grace was diagnosed with having reflux and all tests came back clear and we were free to leave. Since then we have been trying to keep her reflux under control using milk thickeners and infant gaviscon. It's been an ongoing problem which is yet to be cracked so watch this space on a post completely about reflux...

As for Grace's development, she's surpassed my expectations and in the first month alone her head control was phenomenal from even day 2. The second month has been a complete change and she's now a lot more alert and active than month one of course. She was on a pretty solid routine of a 3 hour cycle which included eating, sleeping, pooping and then repeated over and over. It's safe to say we're very much exhausted but things are getting a little easier!

Until next time, I'll soon be back with another update and reviews coming when I get chance of baby skincare products for eczema/dry skin, mummy skincare for post-partum bodies, the sleepyhead and more.

Friday, 16 October 2015

My Newborn Essentials

From getting pregnant to giving birth, I spent the entire 9 months researching every single baby product that I could buy. I'm sure all new mothers would agree that you get obsessed with all the 'things' you need. As much as I felt I did my research, it's difficult to gauge as a first time mum, what you truly need. So here's my rundown of things that you should buy and don't waste money on equivalents - you'll only cave later and buy them anyway! 

Co sleeper crib
Whether it be the Snuzpod or Chicco Next To Me sleeper, you're going to want to be very close to your baby. To the point where getting out of bed is the biggest chore of your night feeds. This takes that task away and means you can check they're breathing/haven't been sick without waking me up 

Inserts
First up we bought the Babymoov Cosydream which is an insert that fits in your Moses or crib and supposedly helps with colic and reflux (I'll get onto those another time). In my experience, it's helped with neither, but as part of Grace's routine she does prefer to sleep with it now but only out of habit. It did make her feel slightly more secure as a tiny newborn as it hugs her body, but now she fills the Moses it isn't an issue. 

Sleepyhead
Ohh the grand sleepyhead. Just buy one now and save yourself the money later when you have so many sleepless nights you're willing to sell your soul in exchange for sleep! This thing has some sort of miracle built in for babies, I don't know why it works but it just does. Expensive, but buy it. Note it doesn't fit in Moses baskets so this ties in with my point about needing a crib to fit it in! 

Top L-R: Snuzpod | Babymoov Cosydream | Sleepyhead | Dr Browns Bottles
Muslin Cloths
A smaller price than the previous buys but an absolute essential. I don't go a minute without using a Muslin. Miles easier than a bib and means you're not covered in so much sick because bibs can't absorb that much. Get good quality ones. In my opinion, bamboo ones I've picked up from TK Maxx, the brand is Angrl Dear, an American company have been by far my favourite. Not easily accessible in the UK so my next recommendation is Aden & Anais. I'm sure you've heard about them, just buy them. You go through so many you want them to stay fresh like when you bought them. Cheaper brands generally don't. The bigger the better. 

Clothing
For the first month or so, rule out dressing them in cute outfits. Thankfully this is one thing I didn't go mad on, newborn clothing. It's true what they say, they grow so fast it's a waste of money! Shop for 0-3 months+ and stick to sleepsuits for the first few weeks, trust me it's so much easier. My favourite shops to buy sleepsuits are Next, Sainsburys (Tu), Morrisons (Nutmeg) and The Essential One. Stick to ones built in with scratch mitts too, also much easier. They're good quality and a price tag to match. Hit the sales and you're good to go! 

Feeding
This is a difficult one as you don't know how you're going to feed your baby. Not everyone can breastfeed as they thought and you may end up doing it when you planned to formula feed. Either way whatever you decide to do, here have been my favourites for both methods.

Top L-R: Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine | Tommee Tippee Breast Milk Bags | Medela Mini Electric Breast Pump | Aden & Anais Muslin Cloths
Breastfeeding
An electric breast pump. A lifesaver. Now the healthcare professionals don't recommend expressing for 6 weeks so not to over produce milk, but this has been conflicting information and I was personally told to express in the first few days when Grace didn't always take to the breast. I tried a few pumps but nothing compares to Medela. A great all round brand and I highly recommend the Swing or alternatively the Mini Electric. I found mine second hand on a Facebook selling group, you don't need to go all out and buy a brand new one. They're expensive! 

Breast pump bags
I was only informed about these very recently and wish I knew about them in my early days. Tommee Tippee Express and Go bags are already sterilised and disposable meaning you can pump straight into it from your breast pump and feed from the exact same bag. So handy. 

Formula Feeding
The best bottles I've found hands down are Dr Browns. Whether your baby has colic (which is what they're targeted at) or not, they are by far the best. Another expensive buy compared to other leading brands, but you can't put a price on your babys happiness! Second up is Mam. Self-sterilising meaning you can pop them in the microwave, great for travelling, and not as many fiddly bits like Dr Browns. 
Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine is the best purchase I've made so far, I was so sceptical that we needed it, mainly due to the price but if you're adamant you're formula feeding then get this! 

Wipes
I bought soo many wipes whilst pregnant, anything that was on offer really but the one brand I'd heard nothing but amazing reviews of was Waterwipes. I've tried all the ones I bought which included Pampers, Huggies Pure, Aldi Sensitive and Boots own brand so far. Nothing compares to Waterwipes, sure they're expensive but they're well worth every penny in my opinion. 

So they're my must haves that I wish someone had given me this list in my pregnancy rather than buying countless things that didn't work for us! I hope they help someone and if you have any queries about anything I've mentioned please leave a comment and I'll be sure to try to help. 

I'll be back with Grace's 1 month update (2 weeks late but newborns are so time consuming!). I hope you're all well!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

My Birth Story

So Grace is now 3 weeks old and what a fast 3 weeks it's been! As most parents will know, newborns are incredibly time-consuming and we haven't had the best start to our first weeks together, but gradually we are getting there now! What with nappy changes, feeding, burping, bathing and taking care of a little human, I've not had much chance to do things as you can imagine! My birth story could easily be the longest post ever, so I'll try and wrap it up as much as possible but sorry if it's long in advance!

2 hours old Grace :)
30th August 2015 I was 40 weeks + 12 pregnant so very much overdue, it was the day of my induction date that I'd been given, but we hadn't got a time. I phoned at 08:00 to get a "time slot" to start the induction process and was given 11:00 which meant I had little time to panic and had a quick bath, got ready and off we went.

The first step was to insert the pessary which was unpleasant, but a relatively pain-free experience. This wasn't as bad as I expected and after this, we just relaxed and watched TV and I even managed to sneak in a few naps while I waited for the contractions. Now unfortunately I don't remember the exact time that contractions started but I think it was around 5-6pm. They were manageable but felt painful at the time, little did I know at that stage how much more they were about to get! I remember I kept asking the nurses how much more painful they'd get and they just laughed and said these were mild!

Once contractions started getting more unbearable, it was difficult to concentrate on anything other than the contractions. My husband was by my side the entire time from start to finish and I could not have done it without him, honestly. I'm not sure where his strength and sudden breathing knowledge came from, but he guided me through the breathing when midwives weren't available. That's another point, the midwives in the induction ward just leave you to it, or at least in ours, as you're in for a long time usually. I couldn't listen properly to what anybody was saying and things got a bit too intense. I was well aware of the pain relief options I had but didn't want to go for the top scale too soon so I started on paracetamol and codeine. This worked for around an hour before I then repeatedly asked for more pain relief. They gave me more paracetamol and codeine which again worked for such a short time but I think they thought I was a huge drama queen and didn't need more!

Daddy and Grace - one of my favourite pictures!
Eventually, after several midwives had seen me in between swapping shifts, another came in and tried to give me paracetamol in which I lost my patience at this point and threw them back at her, quite literally. I asked what else they could give me at which point she asked to examine me in case I was starting active labour. Unfortunately, I wasn't which was incredibly frustrating to say the least! I was only 1cm and in so much pain, how was this possible?! Since getting pregnant I always knew that I was going to struggle with the pain since I'm a huge wuss, hate needles and any form of exams by Doctors!

As time went on, I went up the scale of pain relief and progressed from paracetamol and codeine, gas and air to pethidine, an epidural and finally much more that I couldn't even list! Gas and air was my most hated form of pain relief and despite saying how much I felt sick, I wasn't given any sick buckets until eventually I was sick all over the bed, floor and everyone at my side. Horrible! Never again. The epidural was my best friend once this was put in when I was around 5-6cm dilated at 8am on 31st August! I was always open to it when pregnant but as soon as that pain got too much, I had no other option! The consent form and all the warnings were a little scary, but I guess they have to tell you these things just in case! The process itself wasn't horrible at all although I had already had lots of pain relief before hand. I decided to lean over my husband sitting at the end of the bed, with the anesthetist kindly stopping to pause for contractions. Once it was in it took around 10 minutes to kick in but I instantly felt the numbness from my waist down. They constantly did an "ice cube check" around my body which was a way of seeing if I could feel the coldness, and ice cube itself and was actually a brilliant way of checking!


Hours later after the epidural was inserted, the midwives and doctors continued to check on me and looked concerned as I hadn't progressed from 5-6cm for hours. I also had an IV drip in which was upping my fluid intake as well as the dreaded catheter. Due to this combination, I managed to contract a fever which worried the medical staff. Grace's heart rate started to accelerate and then decrease frequently and we were monitored a lot more closely from this point. Unfortunately, things are a little hazy for me since I was so drugged up, I just remember Ollie (my husband) trying to distract me when countless people came in the room looking at me and the monitors and saying that everything is fine and I'm doing well. I heard them whisper the chances of a c-section and was petrified and confused. I had no clue what was really going on but just wanted my baby girl safe and out of me. Not long after, I was examined again and had jumped to 10cm dialated at around 6pm and was told to start pushing despite everything previously.

Once I started pushing, I could feel the pressure from Grace descending into my birth canal but not the pain itself. I tried my absolute hardest but considering I'd been in labour for so long with minimal sleep I was exhausted. I gave everything I got but couldn't truly feel whether she was moving further down enough. As more doctors came in to watch what was going on, I knew things weren't progressing and before I knew it the final doctor came in to tell me that unfortunately I wasn't able to give birth naturally and Grace was getting stuck. I was already shaking from the fever uncontrollably but was even more so once I was told I needed to go into theatre and they'd attempt to use forceps or a ventouse.

1 day old!
Ollie got changed into his scrubs and I was whisked away alone into the theatre while they got me ready. Shortly after they got me ready, the main doctor decided that this wasn't going to work and they put the forceps and ventouse to one side thankfully and decided I'd need an emergency caesarean. I had to sign on the table there and then to consent to it whilst being told all the risks involved. Ollie was then brought in finally after around 10-15 minutes and they checked my epidural was still working and upped the dosage that was required for c-sections.

Once they got to work I felt a bit of relief as I knew it would be super quick from start to finish. I couldn't feel any pain, but the pressure from tugging on various parts of my abdomen was uncomfortable. The entire time, I had the anesthetist behind my head guiding me through everything that was happening whilst distracting me by talking about my baby. Ollie was on my left and couldn't see what was going on either behind the raised curtain. Minutes later, Grace was born at 7:47pm and I heard the first cry. It was such a relief and they took her off immediately to get weighed and checked. Ollie still got to cut her cord which I loved and he had the first hold of her before they placed her on my chest for skin-to-skin. It was the happiest moment of my life and I'd do it again in a heartbeat to feel those happy moments. After around 30 minutes of stitching me back up, they then wheeled us back into the labour room. I was able to breastfeed her for the first time which went well immediately and she latched well. It was so peaceful finally and the doctors and midwives left us alone to enjoy our first time as a family of 3.

We were discharged after day 2 post-partum and I was ready to go home to start our family life, which was soon to be disrupted unfortunately. I'll tell the story of our hospital stay part 2 in my next post otherwise this will be super long!

Although there is a lot of my labour that I don't remember due to the drugs, it is still an incredibly happy time that I'll forever look back on. I'm so pleased Grace is finally here and healthy. She takes up all of my time and isn't quite into a routine yet, but we're getting more established!

I'll do the next post on the complications that followed coming home but for more updates, be sure to follow my Instagram (paulab90) :) If you got to the end of this post, huge well done and sorry it was so long!

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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Gro Egg Review

Gro Egg thermometer (*) - http://www.gro-store.com/gro-egg.html
I'm sure you are all aware that my baby girl Grace arrived on 31st August 1 day off being 42 weeks pregnant (2 weeks overdue!). Whilst I documented a lot of my purchases on my blog, Instagram and Pinterest too even, there have been a few products that I've accumulated since giving birth that I've found a huge necessity when having a newborn.

One of these products is the Gro Egg. Since Grace was born on the cusp of Summer/Autumn, as we all know England isn't exactly warm at this time of the year and I was paranoid about how to dress newborns in this weather in the day and night time too. The Gro Egg thermometer takes the stress out of knowing whether it's too hot, cold or just right.


The ideal temperature is between 16-20 degrees celsius for babies and since they sleep in your room for around the first 6 months of their lives, you have to remember that this will apply to your room too! This lives in our room right now and is a lovely night light too when you don't want to keep it bright in the middle of the night.

You can also get little "tops" called shells that make your Gro Egg look more appealing and there are a few different animals. I'm definitely going to look into these as they're usually around £3.99-£4.99 from various online sites.


Overall I couldn't recommend the Gro Egg enough for all Mums and Mums-to-be. It takes the stress out of adjusting your room temperature accordingly and second guessing.

Although this product was sent to me, my opinions are 100% honest and I have to say, the Gro Company are one of my favourite baby brands, in particular, their Gro Bags. Once Grace is a little bigger, we will be putting her in her Gro Bag as she kicks off all of her covers but right now she's a bit too small for it!

Have you tried the Gro Egg? What's been your essential purchase for newborns?

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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Introducing...



If you don't follow me on Instagram then you may not have seen the latest updates I've posted introducing our baby girl! I will do a completely separate post on my birth story when I've got more free time, but for now here is our baby girl, Grace Amelia. 7lbs 9oz of perfection born on 31/08/15.

It was a huge rollercoaster journey after a long 48 hours but we are so in love and so happy that she is finally here! <3

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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

40 Weeks Update

Here we are again, I am now 41 weeks pregnant and although I've had signs for several weeks now, it seems baby girl is either very stubborn or lazy!

How far along? 41 weeks.
Total weight gain: 19.5lbs.
Maternity clothes? Definitely don't need any new ones! It's been a tad sunnier this week and warmer in parts so I dug out my maxi/midi dresses again.
Stretch marks? Yep!
Sleep: Pretty disturbed. I'm waking up more frequently to pee now and think the anxiety has kicked in too making me wake up more.
Best moment this week: Knowing the end is in sight for sure!
Miss anything? Being mobile! Not long to go though yippee!

Left pic taken 40+1 | Right pic taken 40+6 - Ignore the stretchmarks, although they don't look half as bad as they do in real life!
Food cravings: Still a lot of ice and mainly sweet things, oops.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope, I feel great!
Gender: Girl!
Labour signs: Still tons of Braxton Hicks and lightning crotch but other than that, unfortunately not.
Symptoms: As above plus a very moody/stressy Paula this week! The hormones have finally kicked in resulting in lots of breakdowns.
Belly button in or out? Out.
Happy or moody most of the time: Moody :( I hate being pessimistic but it's been a tough week, I just want her here!
Looking forward to: Of course my final days/week of pregnancy where I can finally meet our princess :)

Baby Gap Haul | Etsy Haul - JennyWrenCraft
Of course the only way to cheer up a hormonal, pregnant lady is shopping. Last week after a disappointing midwife appointment, we went for a trip to Cheltenham. Hours of walking later in the hope that it would bring on labour; I stopped via Baby Gap...no excuse necessary. The left pic is the result of the shopping. They had a sale on so it was rude not to. I love the picks! Most items were 6-12 months.

Recently I've been absolutely loving Instagram. I've found so many great feeds and not to mention shops, including this one featured from Etsy. JennyWrenCraft handmakes gorgeous baby pieces on there, if you are in the market for beautiful items please check her out! Her shop is linked here.

So that's all for this week. I'm due to have a sweep today so fingers crossed things pick up soon, failing that I should get an induction date also very soon. Hopefully, my next update is introducing our baby girl!

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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

39 Weeks Update

Well here I am...I hoped to not be writing this but life; labour in particular, cannot be planned that much. I wish this weeks was a positive update, but unfortunately it'll probably rightly so come across as pretty whingey.

39+2 weeks - bump has since dropped a lot lower! | Thor shouting at baby girl to come out - I feel her pain..
How far along? 40 weeks exactly.
Total weight gain: 18.5lbs.
Maternity clothes? No new ones but even my maternity clothes are tight now! 
Stretch marks? Lots.
Sleep: Slightly better this week actually, a blessing in disguise.
Best moment this week: We had my husbands parents come to visit us from back home (200 miles away) which was lovely! Also, knowing it's only a matter of days until we meet our princess finally.
Miss anything? Having no bump which sounds terrible, but generally just bending down, laying on my stomach and walking without pain.
Food cravings: Thai food! I've been thinking about it constantly. Ice is still very much on the menu too!
1 week ago when I hoped she'd be here by today. | A new book I picked up from Annabel Karmel. I've heard great things about this weaning book for months to come!
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope, I feel great.
Gender: Girl!
Labour signs: Still tons of Braxton Hicks but mainly the worst pain this week has to be the lightning pains. Ouch! I've had to really stop and clutch on to things when the sharp, lightning sensation strikes. 
Symptoms: The same as last week, tons of lightning, Braxton Hicks, stretching pains, general uncomfortableness and huge mood swings!
Belly button in or out? Out.
Happy or moody most of the time: Pretty moody this week sadly :( I just want her here now!
Looking forward to: More signs our princess is coming.

So that's my 39 week update. Please keep your fingers crossed that our baby girl comes very soon and as always, keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram and Twitter pages for more regular updates!

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