Plus size pageant

I haven’t written anything in a while so I thought it was about I out pen to paper or should that be pixels to screen?

If you have read some of my previous blog posts you will have seen me write about my son’s, my anxiety and depression and, my being ‘fatshamed’. Well this is going to combine all of them a little.

I have Anxiety, social/general or whatever label it is this week, depression and low self esteem, some of this stems from my weight but that’s not the only reason.

I work nights shifts over the weekend so it’s the smallest amount of people in the office which is throughout the day time all week, buzzing with hundreds of people. If people ask me to go out I normally find an excuse not to go so I don’t have to see people but more importantly people don’t see me.

At one particular time a couple of months ago, I was feeling down, my husband was at work and my son’s settled in bed asleep. I had the tv on bit not really watching it and my mind was running over time, thinking random, not always welcome thoughts, anyone who has experienced anxiety or depression will know that feeling.

I noticed on the tv a programme about pageanting, so i googled plus size pageants, then UK plus size pageants and I found a few (which i was really suprised at, I always thought of pageants as an ‘American’ thing) so I decided to enter, You had to enter a few details and a picture or two , I guess I figured why the Fuck not, I have nothing to lose, what’s the worse that can happen, I didn’t hear back or got rejected? (wouldn’t be the first time).

So a few weeks went past and I got an email to say I had gotten into the final of Miss British beauty curve and another email from Miss Voluptuous UK. I got excited, I read what you have to do and started to research into pageants and we’ll lets just say . . . it isn’t cheap!!! I spoke to my husband and my mum about it and they both encouraged me to go for it!

There’s different rounds and different dresses, outfits, dances, and then trying to find sponsors . . . then the anxiety started to set in… How am I supposed to get anyone to sponsor me? Who would want to sponsor me? Where do I find a plus size pageant dress? How do I walk in heels? Do you have to have a talent, like twirling batons? Like you see on tv.

Yours clothing sponsored me this outfit

The thing I got very excited by is for Miss Voluptuous UK as part of your platform you try to raise money and awareness for your chosen Charity. This is something I could definately get passionate about, and I knew exactly which charities I would choose.

Www.gbss.org.uk as when my second son was born we almost lost him, it was the most horrific time in my life and I would never wish anything like that on any other parent or parent to be… Group B Strep is common and not many people know about it, it’s not a problem the majority of the time but in pregnancy and labour it can be devastating, even causing still birth or infant death not long after birth. It can all be prevented if the UK NHS would do a simple test around 36 weeks in pregnancy and give antibiotics to the mother in labour and the baby after birth.

Www.steps-charity.org.uk I chose because my youngest son has talipes, more commonly known as clubbed foot/feet. This came as a shock to start with as minutes after my baby was born the midwife asked me “do you know your son has clubbed feet?” My son has clubbed feet, he’s being treated with the Ponsetti method, hes now 2.5 years old and in bedtime boots and bar wear and his feet are cute and chubby and are alot straighter than they were when he was born, there is a risk of relapse but if that happens we will deal with that if/when needs be. I have officially started Volunteering for Steps for Coventry, offering advice or help to other parents of children with talipes and other lower limb disabilities like hip dysplasia.

Fundraising has been a real motivator for me, emailing and meeting with various businesses to try and get them to donate raffle prizes or funds to the fundraising pages i have set up for my chosen Charities. I have had a great response and been donated some amazing prizes for my raffles and quizzes, which i am planning on drawing via my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, a bake sale at work and fingers crossed a charity ball.

I have so much still to do for the pageants and my charity platforms. . .

Find some gowns.

Find sponors.

Try to get more prizes.

Confirm a venue.

And still learn to walk in heels which is no mean feat especially with my dodgy knees and clumsy balance.

So far my Pageant Journey has been extremely positive (I was expecting it to be full of bitchy women). But the ladies I have met at charity balls (organised by other ladies for thier own charity platforms) and communicated with have been lovely, helpful, and very encouraging to me both directly and via social media.

I always thought that women in pageants were all ditzy and bitchy and not my kind of people, but these women are amazing, beautiful inside and out, empowering to each other and role models to all women. . . especially who don’t conform to society’s typical view on beauty.

If you want to follow my journey click the links below

https://www.facebook.com/Danni-Miss-Voluptuous-UK-2018-Finalist-1719089434806942/

Twitter: Ducki1984

Instagram: Plussizepageant

Dear Fat Shamer!

Dear Fat Shamer,

Today I was walking home (yes walking, thats exercise!) from dropping my children at Pre-School and as im doing so, minding my own business, plodding along you decided to hurl abuse at me because i am overweight.

You don’t know me, we’ve never met, I’ve never done anything to you to make you dislike me, yet you felt you needed to belittle me because of the way I look.

Now to you, yelling ‘Fatty’ at a random stranger may be a bit of harmless fun and if you had left it at that I would of just brushed it off (with the thought of ‘idiot’), but as I continued to walk home you drove back around and then shouted more abuse relating to my weight and threw something at me, you went out of your way to come back around on yourself to rub salt in the wound just a little more.

To you that may be funny, a bit of harmless banter with your mates or maybe you get off on making someone else feel like shit because your insecure yourself, or maybe your just a nasty vile person and that’s your issue not mine.

But to me it hurt, It takes a lot for me to leave the house as it is. Words do wound, words make people question themselves, words can destroy how people view themselves and other people. Your words almost stopped me from trying to lose the lose some of the weight (and be healthier) which so greatly offends you, it almost made me go home and reach for my kids treat shelf, it almost made me go straight home and hide in my bed and and not move again. ALMOST!!!

Instead, I cried for quite a while because yes your words hurt me of course they did, they were mean, and uncalled for, but then I decided I’m not going to let you destroy what I’m trying to do, I’m going to continue to walk and try to be healthier, not necessarily lose weight but just be more active, because I’m not doing it for you, in doing it for myself and my family. So I will keep my head up and carry on despite your vile Bullying, because that’s exactly what you did and exactly what you are, a BULLY.

I wonder if your family would be proud if they knew how you treated me today?

Take a moment to think how would you feel if someone called you out on your biggest insecurities, would it hurt? would it make you question all about yourself?

How would you feel if your mum, wife, or daughter came home crying because someone treated them the way you treated me?

I can’t change what happened and how you view myself and other people (because no doubt I won’t be the only person you have bullied).

All I can do is keep my head high and try to ensure that I don’t treat people the way you treated me, and my children are educated enough about other people that they don’t turn out how you have!

Our first ever ‘official’ Christmas Eve Boxes for the boys.

We’ve always done a treat on Christmas Eve, normally some pj’s a family film and munchies but never an individual box each.

This year hubby and I decided to make the boys all thier own personalised Christmas Eve Boxes (we did crates as I like the rustic style). This was a lovely thing to do for a few reasons.

1. I love crafting.
2. A project that hubby and I did together.
3 It’s personalised (everyone loves personalisation).
4. A treat that will hopefully be a tradition for years (and generations) to come.
5. An extra bit of Christmas magic to bring smiles to the boys faces.

What special things do you do for your children on Christmas Eve?

Any family traditions you’ve continued or made since having Children?

Merry Christmas Eve from our family to yours x

Group B Strep (My baby’s story)

Before my son being very very poorly, strep to me was a throat infection that is caused by a cold virus, I had no idea there was strep in other forms or other areas of my body. Maybe that was me just being naive.

 I had no idea I had something naturally occurring that could be dangerous to my baby whilst being brought into this world. That could at worse case, kill my baby before he even had a chance to live. 

I’m a larger lady with some family history that the drs need to keep an eye on whilst pregnant so i was put under a consultant for my pregnancy and I also had extra scans. I saw a midwife every so often as is routine with all pregnancies and I had all the usual tests to make sure myself and my baby were doing well and growing as we should be.

My pregnancy was fine with a few issues like pelvic girdle pain which made walking and getting comfortable even more difficult than the usual pregnancy aches and pains, and developing ge(o)rd which is extreme heartburn and indegestion. But all in all my pregnancy wasn’t anything unusual.

Approx a week before I was due to have my son I got symptoms of a UTI so dr took samples and a swab, I didn’t know the outcome even though I had asked, but the symptoms went so i put it down to pregnancy niggles and didn’t think anymore of it. If it was serious they would tell me, surely?

Bang on my due date my baby decided he was going to make his appearance, 7am I felt a bit of a pop and went to the bathroom to pop on a pad and as it was the weekend and still early I just timed my contractions and left my husband and older son to sleep.

I timed my contractions and texted my mum to let her know then woke my husband and son and then went about keeping busy whilst my contractions were bearable, I dropped my son to his uncle’s, then went shopping with my mum, hubby, and brother for some things for my brothers girlfriend as she was taken into hospital early hours to have her appendix out as an emergency.

Then we went to lunch and scared a waitress when she asked if I was okay whilst bend over double with another contraction, by telling her yes I’m just in labour (her face was a picture). Then we went to labour ward who checked me over and advised i was only 2cm dilated and it would be a while yet so i went to see my brothers girlfriend as she just got out of surgery.

Back at labour and delivery I was checked again and not progressed much but they said I had to stay in a ward as I needed some IV antibiotics as when they took the swab the week before I was positive for group B Strep. (THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME I WAS  MADE AWARE OF IT). I asked what it was and it was brushed off as nothing serious, they said it was just something that naturally occurs in women and you need some medication to get rid of it. No big deal, right?

So i had my antibiotics and went up to the ward, I asked for paracetamol as the contractions were strong now. The nurse said when shift change was done they would check me over, they did and sent me right back down to delivery as baby wasnt waiting any longer. With my mum, hubby and a midwife, I stood up bent over leaning on the bed, biting and chuffing on the gas and air I pushed my son into the world at 22.12, Not even an hour after I was given the IV antibiotics so in no way had they made it into him. He was checked over with the usual checks and was reassured a number of times the loading dose of antibiotics I was given in labour would prevent any issues, we were sent home the following morning, I took what they said as they are the experts, right?

Forward a few day’s. We are at home, he was here in my arms, my beautiful little boy but he was so unsettled, always grizzly, barely slept, nothing at all like I remembered his brother being, worst of all he kept losing weight no matter how much he fed. His HV said its ok to lose some at the start especially as he was a nice plump 8lb 7oz born, she will check back on him in 2 days. I knew something wasn’t right, in my heart i knew there was something off.

2 days later he was the same, barely sleeping, crying constantly, grizzly, and still losing weight, HV said possible constipation so try boiled water and cycling his legs, rubbing his tummy. Next day I took him to our gp and they said possibly colic so we were given colief to put in his bottles. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong so I took him A&E and they advised to formula feed instead of breast so we could monitor his intake. I called 111 as he had a temp of 39.6oC at 3 weeks old, Told to strip him down. HV came again and checked his weight he had lost again so she sent us back to A&E. Within minutes of his vitals being taken in A&E he was rushed through for lots of tests and samples taken, he was admitted fitted with an IV and given a lumbar puncture. He was treated for suspected meningitis and put on a course of antibiotics until his tests came back. He was 3 weeks old and at deaths door. 

1st pic 2 weeks old. 2nd pic 1 day old. You can see the weight loss.

I thought he was going to die, I remember crying and begging a Doctor not to let him die. Barely sleeping and not daring to leave his side even for a minute. He was on a drip and routine IV antibiotics for a week, he slowly started to perk up after a few days and then I was forced to go home by my family and let my hubby stay with him over night so i could try and sleep and also see our eldest son, who was worried sick about his new baby brother, I was back at the hospital first thing the next morning.

I asked the Dr multiple times a day for any updates on the test results and after 5 days in hospital on antibiotics the Dr said he had E.Coli and Sepsis, related to Group B Strep. He was allowed home to see his big brother for a couple of hours that day, by a week he was well enough to be allowed home but with another 6 weeks of antibiotics ahead of him, more tests to check his kidneys and organs were working okay after his awful start in life.

I almost lost my 2nd son to this, it has made me question. . .

  1.  Why isn’t this tested for as routine like in other countries?
  2. It is so preventable with a simple test and course of antibiotics, so why are babies still getting ill, and dying from this?
  3. Test is less than £40 privately so why doesn’t the nhs offer it?

Although he’s now 3 years old and over that it still worries me everyday how this may affect him as he gets older, he’s recently started Pre-School and they think he may be high functioning autistic, which could be an issue related to him getting group b strep whilst being born, only time will tell . . .

      http://gbss.org.uk/what-is-gbs/for-pregnant-women/

        Group B strep

        Group B strep (strep B) usually live harmlessly inside the digestive system and in the vagina.

        Strep B can sometimes cause urinary tract infections (UTIs), skin infections, bone infections, blood infections and pneumonia, particularly in vulnerable people, such as the elderly and those with diabetes.

        Strep B in pregnancy

        It’s estimated around one in every four pregnant women have strep B bacteria in their vagina or digestive system.

        The bacteria can sometimes be passed on to the baby through the amniotic fluid (a clear liquid that surrounds and protects the unborn baby in the womb) or as the baby passes through the birth canal during labour.

        Most babies exposed to strep B will be unaffected, but in around 1 in every 2,000 cases they can become infected.

        A strep B infection during pregnancy can also cause miscarriage or stillbirth, but this is rare.

        Strep B in newborn babies

        As newborn babies have a poorly developed immune system, strep B bacteria can quickly spread through their body, causing serious infections such as meningitis and pneumonia.

        The symptoms of a strep B infection in a newborn baby usually develop within the first few hours or days of giving birth, and include:

        • being floppy and unresponsive
        • poor feeding
        • grunting when breathing
        • irritability
        • an unusually high or low temperature
        • unusually fast or slow breathing
        • an unusually fast or slow heart rate

        In some cases, a baby can pick up a strep B infection a few weeks or months after birth. It’s not known exactly why this happens, but it’s not related to infection during birth. Symptoms of a late-onset group B strep infection can include a fever, poor feeding, vomiting and reduced consciousness.

        You should seek immediate medical advice if you think your baby may have a group B strep infection.

        Preventing and treating strep B infections in babies

        It’s possible to reduce the chances of a baby becoming infected with strep B by identifying cases where there is a risk of the bacteria being passed from a mother to their child and giving the mother antibiotics directly into a vein (intravenously) during labour.

        Known risk factors that may mean you need intravenous antibiotics during labour include:

        • you have previously given birth to a baby with a strep B infection
        • strep B is found in your urine during tests carried out for other purposes
        • strep B is found during vaginal and rectal swabs carried out for other purposes
        • you have a fever during labour
        • you go into labour prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy)

        If your baby develops symptoms of a strep B infection after they’re born, they will have tests to confirm the diagnosis and will be given intravenous antibiotics as soon as possible.

        Most babies who become infected can be treated successfully and will make a full recovery, although there is chance they could die as a result of complications such as meningitis. Some babies who survive are left with permanent problems, such as hearing lossvision loss, and problems with memory and concentration.

        Colic & reflux is the work of the devil!

        Colic and Reflux is evil, My middle son had this as a baby and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I can honestly say that if you want to put people off having a baby, ask them to look after a baby with Colic and/or reflux, it would be the best contraceptive going.

        After having my eldest son in my teens, who was such an easy and content baby, he pretty much got himself into a wonderful routine from the day he was born. I remember thinking (rather naively) this having a baby malarky is easy.

        Fast forward 10.5 years later and I am about to figuratively swallow my words, and come back down to earth with one hell of a bump. After thinking yeah this baby is going to be just like his brother, let him get himself into a nice routine and follow him like i did with his big brother,(Hahaha yeah right).

        I have my second little bundle of fun and he is nothing like my first, he entered the world kicking and screaming and from that point on he has barely stopped. As for sleep? Well that was virtually non existent! I know all new parents are exhausted but it gets to a whole new level when you have a baby upset and screaming constantly.

        The evening my midi K was born we stayed in hospital over night, my anxiety was at an all time high and I was determined I was going to breast feed this time round it was something I really wanted to do. So there we were in hospital with my mum (who was amazing and actually delivered her new grandson as the midwife was in a fluster keeping an eye on the internal monitor that they attached to my son’s head as i was havings this baby standing up, and my baby decided he wasn’t hanging about any longer and made quite a speedy entrance into the world), who after quite a battle with the midwives allowed her to stay with me and my new baby boy.

        Well that first night was a sign of things to come for the next 5 almost 6 months. Constant screaming till he was bright purple or so exhausted he would sleep or catnap as he never really slept. Pulling his legs up, arching his back, clenching his tiny little fists, It was awful, I’m not going to lie.

        I spoke to the midwives and health visitors and they thought he could be constipated but he was pooping regularly, I did what they advised and circled his legs like in a bicycle motion, gave him some boiled cooled water, massaged his tummy. I decided to give up breastfeeding as maybe I wasn’t producing enough, maybe he was super hungry, but no nothing helped, he was so fussy and upset all the time. Non of us was getting much if any sleep, I managed to get a couple of hours bolt upright with him on my chest, surrounded by a pillow fort to keep my arms in the same position whilst my husband watched us to make sure we were both okay. I felt like I was the world’s worst mum, I am his mummy, I should be the one to be able to make it all better for him, no matter what the issue.

        I took him to the dr’s and they told me it was colic and gave me some Colief so off i went with this little yellow box and followed the instructions to the letter, gave it a few days and still nothing changed. I changed his formula, I changed his bottles from Tommee Tipee to Avent anto colic, I got gripe water, I changed his formula again.

        I was at my wits end, he didn’t sleep, he was always fussy, and it got to the point where I could time it for when the full on screaming for hours was due to start. Between 3:30-4pm everyday without fail, till around 10-11pm at night. I dreaded what the neighbours thought was going on in our house, half expecting the social services to turn up any minute. I hardly left the house (hardly showered or got dressed either if I’m honest) as I didn’t want to be stuck anywhere and him start screaming, or people think I was a bad mum, so i Locked myself away, people would ask to come visit and if make excuses as to why they couldn’t. If I did go out i would make sure I was back before 3pm. I wasn’t eating (great for the diet) as I couldn’t leave him for more than a few minutes doing tummy time, in his pram or moses basket without him getting upset.


        I remember one day I got so overwhelmed I put him in his buggy, all strapped in front of the tv (I know, and mummy), and just went into the back garden and walked round the garden crying, until I collected myself together ready to start again.

        The only respite I got was when my mum would come and stay a few days and help with him so i could sleep a few hours. My poor husband tried his best but I was overly protective and wouldn’t let him help half as much as he wanted to. I remember him coming home from work to what must of looked like a possession, me sitting on the sofa literally rocking back and forth with my baby in arms, eyes red and glazed over from crying, hair all over the place.

        We managed to find a combination of things that helped, Anticolic bottles, comfort formula which was thicker to help stop his reflux but the side effect was his poop was green and sloppy. Also giving him gripe water with every feed helped, sitting him up whilst feeding and burping him regularly throughout his feed, and keeping him upright after his feed for at least half an hour. It didn’t stop it completely but it stopped it being so extreme.

        This went on for almost 6 months, counting and wishing the days go by till you can start to wean your baby and hoping that weaning will help. But that also meant wishing away his days of being tiny, and learning some of his first.

        Thankfully it does eventually subside and get better, I can tell you as a mummy who has come out the other side, it’s one hell of a rough ride. Now looking at my 3 year old midi K I can promise you, you will get sleep again and Colic and Reflux doesn’t last forever.

        Thank god for mummy groups. 

        Since becoming a mum my circle of friends has gotten smaller and smaller. Going from what seemed like knowing almost everyone in the club/pub on a night out in my late teens and early 20’s to a virtual recluse. 

        Now don’t get me wrong I know alot of it is to do with my choices for example I no longer drink and the thought of going to a club full of people all squished in like sardines makes me feel anxious to say the least. But it also got me thinking . . .

        • Does it happen to all mums?
        • When you have a baby, are you no longer considered fun enough (for plans other than child related ones)?
        • Does becoming a parent make you boring?
        • Do people automatically think they won’t be able to (do whatever) because they have kids?

        A few years ago I joined a mum and baby group on facebook (Up the duff or soon to be Divas) and since then the women on there have become more like friends to me than people I know in my everyday life. 

        Although most of these women I have never even met in ‘real’ life I consider the majority of them my friends, I have ‘known’ them for the past 4 almost 5 years. 

        I have more interaction and things in common with these women than I do with people i have known since my teens. We share alot of things in our little group, some very personal things, ALOT of advice, tips and experiences we’ve had since becoming mum’s or on the journey to becoming mum’s, but it’s not all parent related and most of the time it is that little bit of light hearted fun or support that you need after having a shitty day. 

        There is so much support and encouragement for each other from these ladies, from job advice to support on a new hobby or venture, ideas shared and nothing is off limits no matter how personal or mucky.

        As with anything if you get a load of women together there is the occasional bit of bitching but I have to admit this is very very rare, all the women on this group are really supportive, even of we differ in the way we express ourselves or parent our children. 

        If it wasn’t for these ladies sharing thier stories, pictures or rants I think I’d be a very lonely mummy. 

        So if like me your circle of ‘friends’ has all but disappeared since becoming a parent, join an online mummy group, your first step to find some new ‘friends’ who understand and can relate.

        Duffers are Awesome!

        Why i love Autumn and Winter more than Spring and Summer.

        Most people i know can’t wait for the longer days and the warmer weather, the beach holidays, bbq’s with family and friends, trips to the beach or just sun bathing in the garden.  Not me I just don’t like it, I’ve never been a fan of the warmer weather even when I was a kid. To me the warm weather means sweat, people smelling of B.O, people parading around in what can only be described as underwear as outerwear. Im not a prude in any sense but there are limits to how much flesh i want to see whilst out with my kids. Everywhere is rammed, parks, beaches, play areas. Im the person who prays for a storm to come to clear the muggy heavy air.

        I love the colder weather and darker nights, there’s something about it that always seemed magical to me as a child and even now as a mum, with 3 of my own children, I love seeing the leaves change all different colours and frost forming making everything look like it’s coated in a layer of glitter few drops on spider webs (normally I’d stear well clear of them) that look like little jewels. 
        It feels more like ‘Family’ time to me. Being all wrapped up in your Wooly warm clothes, hats, scarves, and gloves its like walking around all day in a hug from your mum.

        The food too is so comforting, soup and warm crusty loaves, stews, hotpot, jacket potatoes (done in the oven),  chilli con carne. Then puddings like spotted dick, treacle sponge and custard it just makes me feel like a kid again.

        Also the things to look forward to like Halloween which is my favourite time of the year which i still think should be a week long festivity. I always loved it as a child but since having my own its even more magical, having all the cousins round in thier costumes, playing messy games like apples bobbing and the flour game, and seeing how excited they are to trick or treat and then when they get back examining what they recieved, then trying to carve a pumpkin and scooping all the insides out. Watching them so excited and full of chatter and laughter is magical to me.

        Then bonfire night, this was always a big deal when I was a kid as we used to have a real sense of community as all the kids from the local area would find bits and bats of old rubbish and wood and we would build a fire in the big field next to our house. We would go penny for a guying and use the money to buy fireworks for everyone to watch and my mum used to make hot dogs, cinder toffee, meat and potato pie (proper northern grub) and feed all the kids and neighbours who came to watch the fire and fireworks it was amazing. Even the official organised ones ive been to as an adult never seem to compare to that.

        Of course the big one CHRISTMAS. As a child it was exciting but as a parent it is somewhat stressful but seeing the kids opening thier presents on Christmas morning and how excited they are thier little faces lighting up with delight is better than any gift under the tree as an adult. Then snuggling on the sofa watching Christmas films like Die Hard with a much younger Bruce Willis in his grubby white vest saving the day, a Christmas carol of course. Whilst waiting for the dinner to cook and the kids play with thier toys with everyone still in thier pyjamas. 

        Some people may disagree with me but Autumn and Winter are by far better than spring and Summer.

        My little ‘NEMO’ footer (boots and bar, our journey so far)

        Continuing on from our previous blog post . . .
        3 weeks ago Kyllian had his tenotomy and was out of his procedure wearing his last ever cast (or so we thought), we went back to the hospital armed with our newly purchased special socks with grips on the bottoms and long enough to go to at least his knee, we eagerly awaited our now 15 week old baby to be fitted with his first ever pair of ‘shoes’.

        I’d done a bit of research by this time and joined a few Facebook groups for children with clubbed foot and So when the nurse entered the room with what looked like some kind of torture device i wasn’t too shocked but if I hadn’t seen one before (Thank you google) i’d be rather concerned by what the nurse was planning on doing to my baby’s teenie chubby (if some what wonky) tootsies.

        That first day/night in the boots and bar was horrible I’m not going to sugar coat it, Kyllian wouldn’t settle, he was upset constantly, was clearly very uncomfortable with his new accessory and sleep was virtually non existent. But we persisted and by the time it came for us to have his 1 hour free from the boots and bar I think we were all as relieved as he was. I took his boots off and then his socks only to see what looked like 2 big red welts on the front his ankles where the straps had been (the first of many boot related injuries). I felt awful as I just thought he needed to get used to the boots and so persisted with them staying on, and I thought he was fussing due to not being used to his legs constricted and held in place, but he must of been in so much pain. When I saw it I hugged him tight and silently cried as I held him close, because me trying to help had caused him pain. 

        I left his boots off that night as I didn’t want to cause him anymore hurt and the next morning I called the lovely nurses at UHCW childrens outpatient clinic, who told us to pop down so they could check his feet and make sure his boots and bar were fitted properly. So off we went back to what felt like our second home by now and the nurses checked his feet, we were given some dressings called mepilex boarder (kind of a fancy plaster) and an odd shaped piece of rubber (a pringle the nurse called it) which was fitted onto both the middle straps of his boots to help with any rubbing. And told to give him calpol for the sores but to try and keep his boots on as much as possible. 

        We didn’t have much luck with his boots and bar for the first few weeks as his skin kept breaking down and he ended up with welts on and off and also some very nasty blisters on the heels of his feet. It was heartbreaking to see him in so much pain and also exhausting as no one was getting much sleep (and with a teenager and toddler to also contend with on a daily basis, sleep was needed).

        Taking Kyllian out wearing his boots and bar meant we couldn’t have him in his carrycot on the pram as they wouldn’t fit, his bar was too wide, So we had to lay his pram flat and have him in there until he was big enough to sit up. We also got whispers and stares whilst out with him, people asking how he hurt or broke his legs. Also putting him in his carseat with his boots and bar on caused some challenges bit we worked round them by taking his bar off to fit him into his seat and then putting it back on once he was in his car seat.

        After one particularly bad blister on his left heel the doctors decided to recast his right foot so to give his left foot a rest from the boots and heal over properly. We were back and forth from the hospital daily to have his left heel cleaned and re-dressed by the nurses (by this time we were on first name terms and they always made such a fuss of Kyllian which cheered him up no end) we found that mepliex boarder and granuflex helped brilliantly and so the doctor put it on a repeat prescription for Kyllian as the doctor advised he has very sensitive skin on his feet and the sores will continue to  occur. We still use this any time his feet get sore to this day. 

        After 2 weeks of being back in cast his heel was looking good again so we had his cast taken off and his boots put back on. This time his heels and ankles were cushioned with the granuflex first then his socks and then his boots with the Pringles. This worked well but he was still unsettled especially at nights so we asked the doctor is we could try a Dobbs bar which his shoes fitted to just as the ponsetti bar had but the Dobbs bar has joints in to allow some more freedom of movements. Unfortunately Kyllian was extremely distressed when using the Dobbs bar so we went back to using the ponsetti bar after a few days.

        Once we managed to get the right dressings for his feet and ankles and he got used to having his boots and bar he was alot happier. We even managed to get him some lovely accessories from taz at bar bumpers  (link to the facebook group is below) to make his boots and bar personalised and much more trendy and to keep his toes warm in the cold weather. He wore his boots everyday for 23 hours a day with one hour out for a bath and a wiggle on the play mat until he ‘graduated’ to part time wear after a further 12 weeks. 

        https://www.facebook.com/groups/1540233092899020/

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponseti_method

        My Little ‘Nemo’ Footer (first few weeks in cast)

        The birth of a new baby is something all mums look forward to, holding your new baby in your arms. That baby smell. The sound of them breathing and cooing. Checking out thier chubby fingers and toes for the first time.  

        That’s is exactly how I felt as my 3rd little boy decided to make his quite speedy entrance into the world. It was the smoothest and easiest labour i had, and as I was looking forward to doing all of the afore mentioned, the midwife asked me a question, whilst she was checking him over. “Do you know he has clubbed foot?” “Did they not pick it up in the scans?”. 

        I remember alot all running through my head in the next few minutes.

        • What the hell is clubbed foot?
        • Is my baby okay?
        • Will he be okay?
        • Will he be able to walk?
        • Is it my fault?
        • Did i do something wrong whilst pregnant?
        • I had loads of scans and no one mentioned any problems.

        As the slight daze and confusion started to clear, possibly still lingering from the gas and air; the midwife handed him back to me I said to my new baby, hubby, mum and probably myself if I’m honest. “It doesn’t matter what it is, we will deal with it”.  Before leaving hospital we were given an appointment and some fact sheets on clubbed foot (Talipes) and the treatment. 

        • Weekly casting to turn the foot to the correct position resetting the bone whilst it’s still soft.
        • Tenotomy to cut the heel cord in the foot to loosen and lengthen it.
        • 23 hours a day in boots and bar to hold feet in correct position.
        • Part time boot and bar wear (nights and naptimes) until 4-5 years old. 

        http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Talipes/Pages/Introduction.aspx

          Kyllians first try of casting at 3 weeks old didnt go very well, his little toes went an alarming shade of purple, even after the doctor loosened the cast. (At the time Kyllian was already in hospital as he was unable to keep his feeds down and had terrible nappies, but thats another blog post). So we rearranged to try again in a fortnight’s time. 

          A fortnight on and my tiny little 5 week old baby was put into a cast, it wasn’t a pleasant experience and holding my distressed, crying baby boy on a table, trying to comfort him whilst his little foot was manipulated into the correct position, then as well as his leg (up to his knee, some hospitals do up to the thigh) was put into a cast. 

          We weren’t able to bath Kyllian whilst wearing his cast instead having to ‘top and tail’ wash him. Each tuesday for the next 7 weeks we took him back and repeated the process of manipulating his foot round slightly further into the correct position. The only reason I looked forward to this day was we could bath our little man, as we got to remove the cast before the new one was put on. 

          The nurses at UHCW on children’s out patients got to know us all quite well during this time as Kyllian had a couple of slippages and sores with his castings and we had to have it reapplied a number of extra times.

          Finally after 7 weeks of casting, back and forth to the hospital we were given a date for his tenotomy which was a quick procedure to cut his heel cord to help loosen and lengthen it. The morning of his operation we were told not to feed him from the previous night (so starving  a 12 weeks old baby essentially) before his operation. Sitting in the hospital waiting for them to take my baby away was heart wrenching, when they wheeled him away i sat and sobbed, watching the clock through my tears. 45 minutes he was back all done, with a new cast on (which would stay on for 3 weeks) and sound asleep. 

          We will continue our story in our next blog. . . 

          Mental illness and Mummy.

          Today is world mental health day and as something that is close to my heart I thought I would share a little about my experience with mental health as a mum.

          Have you ever had that feeling of complete and total all consuming dread, that feeling that something bad is going to happen and your powerless to stop it, no matter you do, so it becomes all you can think about, the feeling that you aren’t good enough or strong enough for those who need you to be?

          It’s hard trying to deal with those feelings for anyone, but as a parent and trying to keep your children oblivious of how your feeling and keep everything ‘normal’ (I dont like that word). When even getting out of bed to face the day is hard, but you do it because you have someone more important (to you) than yourself wanting the day to start. 

          I didn’t understand why i was feeling the way I did (sometimes still do). It took for me to breaking down in tears, having a panic attack, feeling like I couldn’t catch my breath, my mind racing ten to the dozen,absolutely sobbing like a little girl to my mum to realise the ‘sad’ feeling I had was more than just regular ‘sad’. 

          Once I started trying to explain how I was feeling all these things that I didn’t realise were affecting me came spilling out of my mouth, Well as much as they could between the sobbing. My mum made me promise to go see the GP, so I did, and was referred to IAPT and prescribed some tablets to help with my depression and anxiety. Yes I have Depression and Anxiety, but that doesn’t make me less of a person and definately no less of a mum. 

          Now I know why im ‘sad’ and ive changed little things that I know affect me, like no longer drinking 2ltr of energy drinks to see me through the day. Ive started adult colouring books, using relaxation apps. I take my tablets and I try not to bottle up how im feeling. 

          I now know that looking after me (even a little bit) means I can look after my boys, can be who they need me to be wether that is cuddle giver, cook, teacher and so on.

          It’s an on going battle and one I face everyday, but I guess by sharing my story im hoping to let people know, you aren’t alone, and there are other people who know or can relate to what your going through. 

          If you can relate or any of this rings a bell, talk to someone, go see your GP, or find your local IAPT online. Your Stronger for asking for help…