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Pain, rhymes with Gain?

January 11, 2012

One Born Every Minute


This week’s One Born Every Minute has the theme pain; two women have very different approaches to dealing with pain. One is scared after a traumatic first birth, the other has declined ante-natal classes because she feels they focus too much on pain relief, and that’s a negative starting point.

In thinking about this post, I tried to remember back to what my biggest fear was. And I think it was just an overwhelming phobia of hospital. All things medical – the smell, the beds, the injections, the examinations.

The overwhelming, primordial urge to have my baby – to see her safely into the world helped me conquer my fear bit by bit.  I no longer cried (I know! What a wimp!) when they took my blood. My breathing calmed when I sat in the hospital room.

But when we were told she was breech the scenario was recast. Scared of a c-section I began to panic. I’d already been listening to a hypno-birthing cd, determined to try and reconcile my irrational fear of doctors/hospitals/etc. I was booked in for an ECV (where they attempt to make the baby do a forward roll through giving your tummy a Chinese burn). It hurt and I was a mess. I tried my ‘relaxation’ technique but all my brain wanted to do was get my body up and out of there! Anyway, the ECV didn’t work so we were booked in for a section.

Did it hurt? Not at the time. Did I panic? Yes. Was I scared? Yes. Did I hobble around for a week afterwards? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes. Anything for the baby!


This post is part of the Channel 4 \ Netmums One Born Every Minute linky that is currently running on Netmums Blog. 

Channel 4 and Netmums would love you to get involved so please pop across and see what it’s all about. 

One Born Every Minute is on Channel 4 on Wednesdays at 9pm.

One Born Every Minute #dads

January 3, 2012

To celebrate the start of a new series of One Born Every Minute, Netmums and Channel 4 have teamed up run a blog prompt on the theme of the first episode which is all about dads.

Here’s my story. It’s not the birth story as such, but it’s all about dads.

The fact that my husband was there for the birth of our daughter was of course important, but it had an additional resonance as my own father hadn’t been there when I was born.

Of course, I didn’t know this but the story my mother told me haunted me. They’d emigrated to Australia, but she returned to the UK to have me. My father had been due to follow her, but didn’t. It wasn’t so much the birth itself, I think men were rarely there for the ‘event’ itself.

But it was the aftermath. Women stayed in hospital much longer in those days. The trauma of fathers visiting each day to see their newborns became so painful that the staff moved my mother to a private room. In the end, my father never came back to the UK.

So when our daughter arrived, the fact my husband was there meant the world to me. It was a planned c-section so not only was I prepared for the fact that my husband would be the first to hold Miss H, but I rejoiced in that fact. She will have what I never did. A dad. Right from the start.

This post is part of the Channel 4 \ Netmums One Born Every Minute linky that is currently running on Netmums Blog. Channel 4 and Netmums would love you to get involved so please pop across and see what it’s all about. 
One Born Every Minute is on Channel 4 on Wednesdays at 9pm, starting 4th January.

What colour shall we paint your room? Pink.

December 2, 2011

I’ve written before about Miss H’s gravity towards pink.

‘In Praise of Pink’ 

And having just asked if Miss H would like her room painted. “Yes please” and then on being asked what colour “Pink”. Actually, to be fair she said purple first. But it’s all from the same pallet as Changing Rooms would say.

We’re not sure about going all out pink. A gentle shade of pink? “A breath of pink” if dulex make it….or a parchment style colour with pink highlights…

ANYWAY my point is according to the Daily Mail

“In the pink: How girls develop a taste for the colour at the age of two

Girls favour pink objects from the age of two, despite the fact they are not born with a preference for colour, a study has found.

Boys also steer clear of anything pink at the same age as they look to adhere to stereotypes as soon as they become aware of their own gender, the research found.

Researchers at Rutgers University, in New Jersey, U.S., got children aged between seven months and five years to choose from eight pairs of bracelets, cups and picture frames, one of which was always pink.”

Read more:

So I guess we embrace it. Now where did I put my Farrow & Ball colourchart….

Baby Hip Hop

November 14, 2011

This month Richmond is running  a Literature Festival, including a programme for “young people”.

A few months ago I took Miss H to see Charlie Dark’s show at the South Bank’s Intelligent Movement festival. She thought it was brilliant. I thought it was different and fun. She still knows how to “dance hip hop” (old school…)

We’re away so can’t go but if you’ve a little one aged from 1 upwards, it’s something different and fun!

Full details here:

Charlie Dark: The Dr Octopus Show
Saturday 19 November – 10.30am
Clarendon Hall
£7 per child
Dr Octopus and The Wheels Of Steel
Join acclaimed DJ and poet Charlie Dark
on a Hip Hop poetry adventure deep
beneath the sea with an original soundtrack for babies and little people.
Featuring Stevie the Starfish who wants
to be star, a beatboxing blow fish, a
clumsy octopus and a mermaid who
can’t swim. Using old school hip-hop as
inspiration, join him for a fun-filled show
with lots of movement and guaranteed
laughter. Featuring a 30-minute DJ set to
get your feet tapping.

And the whole brochure is here:

Our (late) summer break to Center Parcs

November 14, 2011

Who knew that late September would bring weather that put the UK on a par with Mexico? Not us, that’s for sure as we took a chance and decided to staycation it.

Did we go to Mexico? No - it's Centre Parcs!

Our destination of choice? Center Parcs, Longleat. Booked last minute it represented really good value for money. Plus, with a toddler, we’ve learnt that kiddy-friendly activities that are weather-proof are a necessity for holidaying at home.

And I have to confess, before Miss H came along I wouldn’t have considered a holiday at Centre Parcs, preferring city-based breaks abroad, or sight-seeing – or a beach-based holiday in Cornwall.

But faced with a week in late September, in the UK, an activity holiday appealed greatly.

First up, the accommodation. It was slick, well designed, spacious (we stayed in a new style ‘executive lodge’) and Miss H loved running around.

The lodge – while stunning on the inside and spotless – smelt damp (in my opinion – husband didn’t think it was that bad) in one of the bedrooms. I asked the lovely housekeeping lady and she suggested putting up the heating and opening the windows. To be honest, it’s in the middle of a big forest canopy – even in the heatwave it was cool under the trees, there was green moss everywhere; scrape back the leaves on the forest floor and it was damp. I guess my point is – it’s a forest. It’s damp. The interior was spotless. It was kitted out incredibly well. The damp-smell faded. Hey, ho.

The activities were fun – Miss H painted a mug – but exploring the forest on playing on the ‘beach’ was adventure enough! We didn’t try out the crèche.

Food – Strada etc was fine, the Sports Cafe a little miserable food-wise.

The pool was impressive – indoor, outdoor, toddler pool, baby pool.

All in all Centre Parcs hit all the right notes. No cars, lots of cycling, a handy land-train.

The awesome weather helped enormously, of course!

What we liked:

  • The lodge
  • The pool
  • Cycling
  • The friendliness of the staff
  • Bowling – something that at 2 and a bit Miss H could really join in
  • The fish in the ponds – a nice man let Miss H feed them!
  • The weather (possibly freakish, admittedly)

What we didn’t like…

  • Food in the sports cafe (basic & beige)
  • The handover days – but with no cars on site, it’s hard to see how they could do it better

Silent Sunday

September 18, 2011

A day out to Hampton Court Palace

August 31, 2011

The best things in life are free, so the song goes. And there are times when it’s heartwarmingly still true.

When I was little my grandparents used to take me to Hampton Court Palace all the time. It was on the bus route from their house. We used to stay in the gardens, only occasionally entering the Palace. And it’s certainly been spruced up since I was a child.

There’s parking in the Palace itself, but we parked in Bushy Park and enjoyed a walk there. Once in the Palace gardens we made a bee-line for the rose garden and I was amazed at how Miss H was fully entertained there for Over. An Hour. We played smell the roses, and chased round the statues. Then we had a look at the Castle.

“Bouncy castle?” asked Miss H, hopefully.

“No. Real castle.” I said.

Once we’d cleared that little matter we enjoyed the impressive façade of the palace and went to watch the boats on the river. Miss H sang “Row Row Row you boat” at the top of her voice, and lots of people were kind enough to wave.

We had a picnic on the grass although there’s a nice cafe (the Tiltyard) which has a baby-changer.

Also, you don’t need to pay for entry to the Palace to go to the Tiltyard Cafe, the Rose Garden, to picnic in the grounds or to soak up the atmos.

Hampton Court is a beautiful, historic, atmospheric place. It’s well-tended and a real gem. While it’s worth looking around the Palace Gardens (for things like the oldest vine in the world (or something) and the real tennis court) as well as the Palace itself (the grace and favour apartments are fascinating, as are the kitchens and the Royal rooms) but if you have a small person in tow they may be just as happy running round the rose bushes.

Not a bouncy castle - a real castle!

If you’ve also discovered the gem of Hampton Court Palace, or if you’re looking for inspiration of days out then I hope this is useful!

What we like: 

  • Well-kept, friendly and lots to do (if you like running around and smelling roses)

What we didn’t like: 

  • Ermm…I think we were pretty happy all round!
We love our days out and have also been to the London AquariumNational Army MuseumKew Gardens, and the Natural History Museum

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