Fabulous Family and Friends

We have realised just how lucky we are to have such amazing family and friends lately and we have also really appreciated the generosity and kindness of strangers.  I’ve been finding it quite hard to leave the house since Lentil’s death and receiving little messages from family, friends and strangers has really helped.  

The fundraising has also been completely overwhelming.  We initially set out to raise £5000 but we very quickly met this target and decided to increase it to £10000.  The unit that we are raising money for is so important.  It allows parents who have children who die before, during or soon after birth to have a separate space, away from the normal maternity ward where they can spend time with their child and grieve in peace.  Unfortunately at present parents still have to enter and exit this unit through the normal maternity doors, one of the next plans to improve the unit is to build a separate entrance.  I can say from personal experience that this will really help, the sound of a crying baby is only just something that I’m beginning to be able to bear.  Initially it tore my heart in two.  We have now reached a total of £13335.24, £10649.30 has been donated via our Just Giving Page, another £2385.94 has been donated as a result of gift aid and £300 was donated in cash.  We are so thrilled with the amount of money raised in memory of Lentil, we are so proud of him and the positive impact he has had.  We’d still like to raise so much more as ideally the unit needs £200000 to make all of the improvements needed.

As well as supporting the special unit at Derriford Hospital we also wanted to support the Jubilee Midwives, they are a team who work with ladies in the area who want home births.  We decided to use the £300 that we received in cash to buy TENS machines for the Jubilee Team to use with women in labour as that’s what they said would be most useful.  We managed to buy 6 TENS machines and a pile of spare electrodes.  We were really lucky as the manufacturer gave us a big discount when they heard about why we were buying them.

  

Practical Things for the ‘Differently Able’ Parent

I have a condition called Holt-Oram Syndrome. It affected the growth of my arms before I was born. I have no thumbs, short arms, a lack of dexterity and no biceps / triceps. This occasionally makes things harder to manage although I tend to find my own ways of doing things. The idea of becoming a mum was something I found a little daunting. I find that it usually takes me a while to find a way to manage something new so dealing with so many new things at once seemed like a challenge. I decided I wanted to make things as easy as possible on myself and started to research more manageable options.Babygrows and their fiddly poppers were a concern. I’ve seen people with ‘normal’ hands struggle so knew I needed to find an alternative. It took a while but eventually I found these Velcro babygrows from Hook and Loopy.

 
They can be found on www.notonthehighstreet.com too and you can get cashback if you visit the Topcashback website first. You can also find them on eBay.

Another option that I found during my search is the magnetic babygrow from magnificent baby. It looks amazing, I’d love to get my hands on one but they seem to be a little hard to find in the UK. I have contacted the company and they are hoping to set up distribution to the UK soon so fingers crossed they will soon be available.

  
The easiest non-popper babygrow to find seems to be the zip up babygrow. They are available from a range of different shops, including Boden, Gap and Hatley.  They are a little more expensive than traditional babygrows but I decided that they’re worth it if they make life a little easier.  

  
The pram was something that really worried me. There were so many different elements that might make it hard to manage. The height of the handle, the brake, the folding mechanism, the weight, the ease of steering etc. Eventually, after trying a lot of prams, I found the Bugaboo Cameleon 3.  It ticks all the boxes and looks pretty good too!  I also have to say that the customer service has been amazing.  

The car seat was even harder to find. They’re heavy, they’re awkward and they have childproof buckles which makes them hard for those lacking opposable thumbs! After months of searching and many tears we found the Cybex Aton Q.

  
Cots were another problem. We wanted to have our baby in the room with us to start with and we discovered the babybay which adds on to the side of a normal bed so that you can co-sleep without the danger. It has a removable side which makes access really easy.

  
Bathing the baby was also something which I was worried about managing, until I found the changing unit from Cosatto.  It has a bath under the changing unit. The whole thing is on wheels and there’s a draining tube so you can take it to the bathroom and empty the water out without having to lift a heavy bath full of water.

  
I also thought that this bath support from Mothercare would be useful to help deal with a slippery wriggly baby.

  

20 weeks

We began seeing our midwife regularly and were so excited every time she listened to Lentil’s heartbeat, it was the best sound I’d ever heard, it filled me with joy every time and was so reassuring to know he was ok. At about 17 weeks I started to feel the first flutters of movement and soon after that Paul felt a kick too. It was so special. We loved feeling him moving around. We went for our twenty week scan, again I was worried, I was sure we’d find that Lentil’s arms had stopped growing or that his heart hadn’t formed properly but once again we were reassured. Everything was fine, he was growing exactly as he should. Our beautiful boy was perfect although a little camera shy this time as he wouldn’t pose for a clear photo! 

  
 We decided that we didn’t want to find out whether Lentil was a girl or a boy at this point although a few weeks later he gave us a very definite sign! Paul put his hand on my tummy and said ‘kick if you’re a boy’, we very quickly had a very big kick! We tried again with ‘kick if you’re a girl’ and felt no movement at all. We already had a feeling that he’d be a boy as all our friends seemed to be having girls and my husbands family is full of boys.  

12 weeks

We were so excited when we reached 12 weeks. We went for our second scan and again we were so relieved to find that Lentil was doing well. We could see his little heart beating. We couldn’t believe the difference in how he looked. He suddenly looked like a real little baby. He showed us his arms, one and then the other, he showed us his thumbs. Even the sonographer couldn’t believe how clear the pictures were. She apologised for being quiet and said she was just really enjoying looking at him, he looked exactly like the pictures in the textbooks and he was beautiful.

We still didn’t tell many people at this point. I was constantly scared that something would go wrong so we decided to wait until our 20 week scan to mention it on Facebook although we had to tell people we saw regularly before that as I was getting fat!