Friday 27 May 2011

Blake makes bread with Grandma's breadmaker!

Whilst our kitchen project is taking part, we are staying at my inlaws, my mother in law is very lucky to have any kitchen gadget you can think of and Blake really enjoys watching and taking part in cooking - my list of kitchen desires is growing by the day and I've now added breadmaker to my wish list in the unlikely event that there is money left in the pot after all the essentials are done!

At 23months Blake is like a little parrot and copies everything - his impressions of a breadmaker are adorable - well in my opinion they are but then he is my baby boy!
Thought I'd share videos of Blake's breadmaker impressions!

Blake took great pride in making his mini loaf - Grandma had chosen to take the dough out of the breadmaker, divide the dough and make two loaves from one mix and finish it off in the oven!
Blake helped with kneading and made his own teeny loaf, I was very impressed with how much he did, given it was his first attempt - but also, there was a moment where he tried to eat some of the dough!

I can't wait until we are back in our house with our new kitchen so Blake can help me to cook too and fingers crossed for a breadmaker! - After the fridge freezer, dishwasher, washer dryer, cooker, kettle and kitchenaid mixer!!! phew! what a shopping list hey! we need everything, even a bread bin!

Here are some photos of Blake making his first loaf of bread.

Emma in Bromley x

Sunday 22 May 2011

Bromley Kitchen - Emma's Kitchen Project Part1

We bought our first home five years and eight months ago, it was always intended to be our first step on the ladder and we envisiaged moving to a more long term home within two years but life got in the way!
Why do we still have our petite 2up2down? because we decided to get married, have babies and things such as my redundancy have popped up and messed with our plan!

When we bought the house, it came with an awful 80's kitchen (and other delights such as mouldy carpets, horsehair plaster crumbling off the walls and granny decor), a teeny tiny kitchen with a very narrow bathroom stuck on the end. Since then, we have rejigged the upstairs to now include a small but lovely bathroom, meaning that the downstairs one can go!

First thing we did was sit down and discuss if we should turn the old downstairs bathroom into a utility room (Pro's being that the house desperately needs storage space, the noise of the washer will be out of the way and there would be somewhere to air and dry clothes etc...) or if we should knock it down and make our little kitchen big enough to fit a small table - all this time we've been eating our meals from fold up tables in the living room which I really hate - especially when I'm trying to teach my little man table manners! We went with a bigger kitchen which means a wall to be removed and ceiling to be replaced! - Messy!

We realised that emptying the kitchen would mean everything going in our living room - leaving no room for living! also, the dirt and lack of kitchen/water/electrics would mean stopping somewhere else - que the lovely inlaws! We started by neatly storing everything behind the sofa, on the bay window and infront of the dvd cabinet - but it didn't take long for total takeover!

Unpacking our old kitchen also meant we discovered that for people who don't drink very much, there was actually a rather large amount of alcohol hidden at the back of cupboards, ontop of shelves and in the back of the fridge! - Our old fridge BTW was donated to a local charity - The Hope Foundation.

We don't have very much in the way of kitchen things because we had been living with the too small and dated kitchen - but we do have a few treasured items - mostly wedding gifts such as my our kitchenaid food processor and blender (I'm in need of a kitchenaid mixer to complete my our set!) . We were amazed at just how much our kitchen kit took over the living room! I love the kitchenaid blog for tips and reviews!

We decided to start by clearing the kitchen all the way back to brick, removing the wall and ceiling and trying to create as empty a shell as possible. So we booked a skip and started the dirty work!

We hung a dust sheet over the doorway to the living room to try and minimise dust - but the entire house is covered in one very thick layer of dirt! and some horrors were uncovered - in the ceiling our builder found evidence of an old mouse nest! when we first bought the house, there was a mouse problem which we sorted quickly (and I'm sad to say the humane traps didn't work as well as the other types) I think it came from holes which we filled in which lead to our next door neighbours who have cats. Cat food next door means a constant food source from a safe distance!

Here are the photos for part1 - Part2 coming soon!

Thursday 19 May 2011

Milk bank at the pruh, donate your breast milk!

* Please note, this post was originally published on the 11th May but disappeared during a blogger maintenance update. I have republished this post again today - appologies to anyone who may have already read this on their RSS feed etc...

*Please also note, there is a copy of the response I got from Karen Lewis at the bottom of the post - this was not originally published.

Ok so, I've given birth at the PRUH (princess royal university hospital, farnborough nr Bromley),  had a midwife show me how to breastfeed, seen a breastfeeding counsellor at the PRUH and had a stay on children's ward with my then 5week old breastfed baby. I'm currently on my second pregnancy at 33weeks and have been under consultant care at the PRUH where I am planning on giving birth again and already been asked if I will be breastfeeding again and I've also had a stay in hospital with a bleed in this pregnancy.

My point is that during two pregnancies, a number of hospital stays and breastfeeding assistance, I have spent quite a bit of time at the PRUH but in all that time, not once has the milk bank been mentioned to me, nor have I seen any posters or leaflets! - The only reason I know of it's existence was via a tweet on twitter from the NCT trust - apparently there is a milk shortage!? - anyone know why?! Really, would it hurt to stick up a poster or too?

The milk bank at the pruh is nothing new, it was one of the first to open in the UK and there are only 17 of them in the whole country. It's been open on and off for over 40 years.

The milk bank is at the pruh to support premature babies at the PRUH, Woolwhich and Sidcup - The little lovelies need breast milk to survive - particularly in the younger ones - they just can't handle formula milk and because they are born so early, not all their mummies can produce milk yet. So yep - donations of breast milk is important! Those that can spare some, should really if they can.

All donated milk is pasteurised and to become a milk donor you will have a blood test to check you don't have illnesses or anything that can be passed through milk, and you will be asked a few lifestyle questions such as if you smoke. Your baby needs to be under 6months too.

The hospital will provide you with sterile bottles to store your milk in after you have expressed it and will ask you to freeze it. The pruh will also collect your frozen milk from you regularly.

If you are interested in donating your milk, you can read more here or contact:
Contact name: Karen Lewis & Jean Rae
Phone: 01689 864924 (most likely to get an answerphone but please leave a message)

Emma in Bromley x

UPDATE - Response and additional information provided by Karen Lewis:

Hi Emma

Below are my details should anyone be interested in donating, please do email or call Jean or myself ( or . We are looking for women who can donate three to four 4oz/ 100ml bottles per week  over a couple of months. The reason we can't take donations of just a few bottles is due to the fact that we have to blood test every donor at the point of donation and this costs us £50plus per donor.

Our milk pasteurised at the PRUH is also used at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Woolwich as we are part of the same Trust.

You may have seen the program "Is Breast Best" and on the programme they mention the cost of buying pasteurised donor breastmilk and this cost refers to units who don't have pasteurising facilities. The £100 per litre refers to the cost of pasteurising the milk, the testing and screening is very expensive. The milk itself is free they are paying for the processing of the milk. They actually do very well out of it as it costs more than £100 to process a litre of milk.

If you'd like to read more about milk banking then please view the following website

What milk banking would really like to see is regional milk banks so that donor breastmilk is available to all premature and sick babies. At present hospitals that buy milk in often give the milk to just a few very sick babies but restrict this due to cost. So other babies who may benefit don't receive the milk.

At South London Healthcare NHS Trust we use donor milk to prevent Necrotising Enterocolotis (a disease that can perforate the baby's intestines), one in 25 babies confirmed with this condition will die. The sad thing is that many hospitals who buy milk in are buying it to give to a baby post surgery who has had the disease. Prevention has to be better than cure, which is why it needs to be more available at a regional level.

We do now have a poster we can forward via email and have asked for it to be displayed at HV clinics. However, there's no funding for a professional quality poster.

Anyway better go now, but thanks for letting me give you a little info.


PS Would love to have you as a donor. Thanks for blog.

Karen Lewis
Infant Feeding Support Centre/Milk Bank
01689 864924
Bleep 388

Tuesday 10 May 2011

I started bleeding in late pregnancy. Placental Abruption.

This is a very personal post, I almost didn't write it but what I went through was scary and I thought I would share it.

On Thursday morning, I woke up as usual bursting for the loo - I blame it on the baby being head down but I'm the same pregnant or not! When I got to the bathroom, my PJ bottoms were soaked in fresh blood and the toilet bowl was full of blood, it wasn't like when you get your period by surprise in the night, this was enough blood to scare me! I was 33weeks and 5days pregnant and terrified!

The baby doesn't normally move in the mornings and this morning was no different - no movement obviously made the situation scary but I had to keep thinking that it was normal not to feel her move.

I had Hubby call the labour ward for advice, I was too anxious to do it myself - trying to keep myself busy by just focusing on getting dressed and cuddling our toddler. Over the phone the labour ward asked a few questions such as if I had any pain, which I didn't and if the blood was fresh, watery or brown - this was bright red fresh, just like a cut.

We were advised to go straight in to be assessed. By 8am we were at the PRUH (Princess Royal University Hospital in Farnborough nr Bromley).  Firstly the midwife took us to a triage room and checked a few details and looked at my pyjamas and pad to see how much blood I'd lost, she also asked me to do a wee sample and checked my tummy over before strapping me to a monitor - the moment we heard our baby's heartbeat was just such a relief!

The midwife explained to me that with bleeding they admit you to hospital and I would be in for at least 24hours - I wasn't quite prepared for this, in my mind all I could think of was if baby was alive and I seemed to think that now we knew she was alive and not in any distress I would be free to go. I have a bit of a phobia of hospitals (I had childhood kidney disease) but at that moment I fainted! I like to think it was just because I hadn't had breakfast but lets face it, I'd lost a lot of blood and had just been told I'd be in at least over night!

When the doctor came to see me, they did an internal to see if the blood was coming from cervix or if I was dilating - I really hate the internals but it showed the blood was fresh and was coming from further inside and I wasn't dilating. They wanted to fit me with a drip tap just in-case, this also really annoys me, I hate them, I've got tiny scars on my arms from having them as a child and I do wish they would just fit one if they are definitely going to use it! The doctor had so much trouble trying to fit it that she had to put it in my elbow crease. They also took a few blood samples from me for testing. I chose this moment as moment 2 to faint! - This time they stuck me on the oxygen mask! - honestly, it had nothing to do with the drip tap in my arm, I just needed breakfast!

At this point, they were unsure as to the cause, bleeding in late pregnancy can come from damage to the cervix, sex, a knock or fall, ruptured blood vessel, low lying placenta or part of the placenta coming away from the wall (Placental Abruption).

I was being moved to the maternity ward - which is basically through a door! Labour ward, maternity ward and the oasis birth centre are all in the same area on the 3rd floor separated only by glass double doors.

The bleeding stopped by lunch time which was a relief, I have R neg blood type which meant that I needed to have a dose of Anti-d and I was also being sent for a scan to check the placenta - these didn't happen until the evening of day 2 because they were so busy.  At first I was in a shared bay usually reserved for inductions (There are never more than 4 in a shared bay at the pruh) and was moved later that night at 10pm to my own room because they needed my bed for an induction.

On the shared bay, I met a lovely girl called Amelia who was only a few days behind me in pregnancy but was in because her waters had broken and she was having contractions. - The doctors had given her steroid jabs to help her baby's lungs in case she went into full labour and also stuck hormone patches on her tummy to try and stop the contractions.  Luckily they worked and she was also allowed home - I hope to bump into her when we both reach or due dates!

I got a little more sleep in my own room but it was still very noisy and disruptive through the night, all I could hear were alarms going off and doors closing. Oh and a midwife came in and woke me at 1am to check a few details! I was also woken for blood pressure readings in the night and just before 6am on both mornings to monitor the baby.

In the pruh, breakfast is self service from 8am with a choice of cereals and bread (no toaster!), I was really shocked to find the lady in the queue in front of me had had a c-section the previous afternoon and was expected to walk from her room to the breakfast cart, make her own breakfast and carry her tray all the way back to her room - perhaps it's all part of your rehab but the poor lady could hardly even walk, let alone carry anything! - obviously I carried her tray for her. Lunch at 12 and dinner at 5 are both a manned cart that you need to go to and have choices of really awful smelling stodgy - microwaved potatoes seemed to be the most popular choice. The only fresh fruit I saw on offer in 3 days was a brown banana and for some reason which I'm not sure about, I wasn't allowed a banana - perhaps because I'd already said yes to crackers? You literally have half an hour at best to get yourself to the food cart and grab food before it's taken away again and veggie or special dietary needs seemed to be ignored - unless you are happy with microwaved potato and a portion of butter.

My blood test results came back showing I would need anti-d because of my blood type (B negative) I'd had a dose of anti-d not long ago, when I  was 28 weeks - I'd also had this before in my first pregnancy. It hurts, it's quite a large needle and goes into the muscle at the top of your arm, leaving you a bit tingly! I've found afterwards I get a bit warm and also a bit sleepy but the effects seem to wear off quickly.

The scan showed the bulk of my placenta was intact - they can't really see all of it and have assumed that part of the placenta coming away from the wall is the most likely cause of my bleeding, Placental Abruption. The doctor explained that it forms a clot and reseals itself. Baby's weight is 5lb 2oz already!

I was in over night for a second night and released on Saturday (day3) just before lunch, On day2 the doctor had said that as long as I'd had no further bleeding by lunch I would be free to go after the scan and anti-d but because both didn't happen to early evening, and because the ward was so busy, I wasn't discharged :-(

One of the hardest things being in hospital was being away from my hubby and toddler - although hubby stayed with me most of the time and our 22month old son came to visit me a few times each day - but it was heartbreaking on night two when toddler went to leave and realised I wasn't coming too - he just screamed "mama" and was desperately trying to get back through the doors to me - needless to say, I was in tears walking back to my room.

It's been almost 2 years since I was last in labour/maternity ward at the pruh and the staff are still all lovely - I've yet to come across any midwife who's not full of character and smiles,  but what is very very clear is that the department is too busy since the close of the maternity ward in sidcup and the staff are over stretched. There aren't enough beds available to cope with the demand and as a patient, I felt how busy the ward and staff were - it's not a relaxing feeling. I was close to the door to the new Oasis Birthing Suite (Which I want to use if I can but I keep being told "no" because I might develop pre-eclampsia again - even though I haven't actually got it)) but it just seemed to be empty when the labour ward was over busy! - By having such a strict criteria for entry to the lovely relaxing oasis suite, it's empty! Honestly, it took me 30 seconds in a straight line to walk from the door of the oasis suite to the door of the labour ward where you would be transferred should you need further medical assistance than what they can deal with in the oasis suite. With it's lack of use, either the oasis suite needs to be a bit more flexible or I can see that it's just going to be turned into (desperately needed) more beds for the maternity ward.

I've been warned the bleeding can come back at any time and it's certainly left me a bit off, for the last few days I've felt over tired, drained and just weak, even just a small walk leaves me needing to stop along the way. Apart from that I feel fine (which is what I keep telling everyone!)

Emma in Bromley x