Sunday, 25 November 2012

Annoyed, chocolate-free and rather like a sieve

So... who got the right answer in the sweepstake? It turns out I was borderline on the glucose tolerance test, which makes me "query gestational diabetic". And I mean borderline - I was 10.6 on a value that should have been under 10. And I can't help thinking that it might be down to the fact that it took me 25 minutes to get the Lucozade down!

I was referred to the diabetes clinic at the main hospital, had a rather brief chat about what I should be eating and given a kit for stabbing my own fingertips six times a day to test my blood glucose levels. I came away thinking that it was certainly an inconvenience but not the end of the world.

Over the next few days I became more frustrated. The pamphlet I was given gave me very little information about what I could eat and in what combination (which apparently matters). Food that I was worried about gave no sugar spike, and food that I felt should be fine did. It seemed that the easiest way to get the right numbers on the meter was to eat nothing but meat, cheese and eggs, and surely that's not healthy?!

On Tuesday it got worse. I spoke to my midwife to set up an appointment and asked if she had been kept up to date - she hadn't even been told that I had been referred. I found out that because I had been referred to the diabetes clinic I was officially out of midwifery care for the birth and that she had to advise me not to plan for a home birth or one at the local midwife-led unit.

To some mums that wouldn't be an issue. To others, that might be disappointing. Quite frankly, it's sent me into a bit of a panic. Baby Badger was born in record time, and its expected that Badger Cub could come out even quicker - perhaps as little as 30 minutes from first contraction to pushing. The hospital is 45 minutes away from my house on a good day, and that's without traffic, waiting for someone to drive me there and someone else to take Baby Badger.

I've now reached the point of annoyance. I've done lots of reading around gestational diabetes. I've talked to an acquaintance who is an independent midwife. Everything is pointing to there being nothing wrong with me: my readings are within normal parameters for third trimester. I'm guessing the hospital are covering their backs with the referral - they're better off monitoring someone who is healthy that not monitoring someone who later turns out to have related issues.

The problem is that in doing this they are preventing me from planning the birth that is almost inevitable, and as a result my stress levels are up and I can't concentrate on anything else. Add to that, I feel as though my diet is worse because of the monitoring.

Definitely annoyed.

Image courtesy of pakorn /

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Sweepstake: less cake or more spinach?

As a result of my referral to the consultant because of Baby Badger's early and precipitous delivery, I was booked in for a fasting glucose tolerance test and told that otherwise they were releasing me to midwife care and weren't interested in seeing me again. That was absolutely fine with me - it's a pain to travel to the main county hospital.

Wednesday was the day I became the human pin cushion. I fasted from after dinner the previous night and arrived at the surgery for my first blood test at 8:20 - absolutely starving, as I get up at 6am and don't do well without breakfast! The nurse seemed to take pity on me and said she would use a fine needle since she'd be doing it three times. Three vials came from the first needle, then I was packed off into the waiting room to drink half a litre of Lucozade.

I'd like to point out that I hate Lucozade. I also don't really drink fizzy drinks, so the result was that not only did I have to taste the Lucozade on the way down but also every few minutes as I burped over the next half hour.

9:15 and back in for another needle and another vial, the same at 10:20. Three holes in two arms, and five vials taken. Finally after this I got to eat the banana in my bag, ridding myself of the awful taste of Lucozade and making me feel slightly less light-headed and grumpy.

Twenty minutes later and I had my midwife appointment. The first thing they asked me? Did the nurse take the bloods we need? A quick check and the answer was no, so in went needle number four and two more vials. No fine needle this time either, but a whopping great needle poked in by the student midwife. Let's just say the bruise has developed to a nice black and purple medley.

As for the sweepstake? I returned from work on Friday to an answerphone message from the doctor: "it's nothing to be too worried about, but please call me about your blood test results...". Obviously, I got the message too late to call, so I'll have to wait until Monday to find out!

So, do you think I need to eat less cake (gestational diabetes), more spinach (anaemia) or both? Or something more exotic, but mentally I'm ruling that out. I'm doing what any self-respecting mum to be would do and eating as much chocolate as possible this weekend in case it goes on the banned list on Monday.

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick /

Friday, 12 October 2012

Parsley stew, anyone?

Until now we've been very lucky: both Father Badger and I have worked 8:00-4:30 and we've been home with Baby Badger soon after 5pm each day.

Father Badger started a new job this week. He seems to be enjoying himself, which is the main thing - I honestly believe that we spend far too much of our lives at work to be doing something we don't enjoy most of the time. The only downside is that they're insisting on standard hours, at least for the first few months, which combined with trains and our local bus service means he's home at 6:40 in the evening. That means it's all change in the Badger household.

It means that each day I'll do the childcare drop off and pick up; I'll do the cooking of the evening meal whilst entertaining Baby Badger. It's like 1960s role reversal, only that I'm also working a full time job. It's absolutely do-able, and I will manage, but it feels slightly daunting at the moment.

I've survived most of this week by using the crockpot - again, 1960s nostalgia anyone? Tonight's treat was beef and carrot stew with a shed-load of homegrown parsley. There's only so much stew I can eat though, even in this season.

Anyone got any tips?

Image courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut /

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Ready, steady, push!

I'm getting nervous now.

Baby Badger arrived over three weeks early, and was very fast: a mere 45 minutes between first noticeable contraction and pushing! My midwife referred me to the consultant because of this and I had my appointment a couple of weeks ago. They are not particularly interested in seeing me again (which suits me just fine), but did say Badger Cub is likely to be early too, even if not quite so early, and to expect it to be as quick if not quicker (he mentioned 30 minutes being a possibility this time)!

If you're a mum who had a long or even normal length labour, you're probably wondering what I'm complaining about...

I'm at least 45 minutes from my nearest hospital, and that's on a good day with no traffic. Obviously, there's no way I'll be trying to get there - I'd rather not give birth on the ring road in the back of the car.

There's a midwife-led unit less than ten minutes drive from my house; the place I wanted to go with Baby Badger but couldn't because I hadn't reached 37 weeks. I'll be aiming for there this time, but I'm worried that I won't make it to 37 weeks again, in which case they're not allowed to take me.

The plan I've agreed with my midwife is that I should prepare for a home birth. Not my ideal scenario, but pretty much my only option. I'm not nervous as such about doing it at home, but I am nervous about who, if anyone, will be with me.

I was lucky last time that my waters broke overnight, which meant that they were easy to notice when I woke up. I might not be as lucky this time: they might not break until labour is established, or if they break whilst I'm upright I may not even notice (apparently Badger Cub's head might stem the flow). If this happens, the likelihood is that Father Badger won't make it back from work in time. There's a fairly good chance that the midwife won't make it to me. I feel as though I might be in the very real position of having to deliver my own baby, and quite frankly it's a scary prospect.

Image courtesy of digitalart /

Saturday, 15 September 2012

To the farm

A couple of weeks back we had a glorious week in Devon for our family holiday. Note that I say glorious rather than gloriously sunny... It was somewhat damp at times, but very enjoyable nonetheless. We had such a good time that I have to share with you the details - I'd recommend each and every place we visited!

We stayed at Birchill Farm: a group of self-catering cottages on a farm with no less than two cats, two ponies, two donkeys, several sheep, some alpacas, two kune kune pigs, two goats, two pigmy goats and a large number of chickens and ducks! The guy that runs it works his socks off, and every morning all the children staying at the farm joined in with feeding the animals and counting the eggs. I swear he must be Mr Tumble's alter ego - the energy and entertainment factor was amazing. The cottages were great too - high chairs, toddler plates and cutlery and cot all provided, well equipped kitchen, and a great adventure playground split into zones for little people and less little people.

We found something different to do each day and here are the highlights...

Quince Honey Farm is a museum all about the honey making process with the added excitement of being able to see 20-30 working and occupied bee hives, all behind glass (because bee stings hurt) but with magical buttons that opened doors into the hives so you could see exactly what was going on. Once we'd exhausted the museum, we had a spot of lunch on the cafe and through the door into the soft play warehouse. Baby Badger decided she'd outgrown the toddler area so I was nominated to accompany her up ladders, through gaps and down slides with a slightly dodgy moment where she decided to zip round the comedy padded mangle and I had to squeeze myself through it to catch up, bump and all.

Possibly the most bizarre tourist attraction I've ever visited was the Gnome Reserve. Yes, it's what you think it is: lots of garden gnomes. In fact, probably thousands, all posed in a woodland clearing according to themes such as fishing, sports, food, potty time (I kid you not). As part of your entrance fee you are even presented with a selection of gnome hats so that you can visit the gnomes "without embarrassing them". Baby Badger loved every minute, and must have hugged at least 100 of them. Once we were done with the gnomes, we ordered our sandwiches and tea (which were delivered on bone china into the garden) and then we went round the wildflower garden next to the gnome's wood. There was even a treasure trail for finding various plants and counting fairies!

The Big Sheep, which would have won "most bizarre tourist attraction" had we not already been to the gnome reserve, was fabulous. Sheep shearing demos, duck trials where dogs herded the ducks through an obstacle course, a farm safari (aka being pulled around the swampy farm tracks on the back of a tractor to see more animals) and of course feeding the sheep. There was plenty to amuse us and Baby Badger, but I think it would be ideal for primary school age as there were various fun things to do that she was too little and timid for.

The Lynton & Lynmouth cliff railway was a lovely day out. The two villages are at the top and bottom of a cliff with a water-powered cliff railway linking them. The journey is all of five minutes, but fascinating and the views amazing. The two villages are lovely too, and we were subjected treated to an hour of green clad morris dancers while we relaxed on the village green.

We did of course have the obligatory afternoon on the beach, arriving just as the heavens opened but at least there was plenty of room for us!


Friday, 14 September 2012

Pink or blue?

Today was my twenty week scan. It was as expected: late (a 10:40 appointment was never going to be on time) and lots of prodding on a full bladder. An amusing extra was being sent into the corridor to walk around and jump (yes, jump) to see if Badger #2 could be persuaded to turn into a more convenient position.

The main outcome, and the only one I really care about, is that everything looks fine. We had a great sonographer that described everything: pointed out that both bones were present in the lowers legs, explained what she was doing and looking for at every step. It was an education!

And the big question: pink or blue? Anyone that knows me will laugh: Baby Badger was assumed to be a boy for months because I refused to dress her in the customary pink. Badger #2 needn't worry though - he won't be getting all of her hand me downs...

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

New Day, New Badger

I've not blogged in a long time. I always said that if I had nothing to write about then I simply wouldn't: I'd rather not write drivel. In truth, life is busy. I work full time, and by the time we've done dinner and bed time, it's quite often nine o'clock! Needless to say, Baby Badger is not the best at getting to sleep but we're slowly getting there.

I now find myself with something to write about... there's another badger on the way! He or she is due at the end of January 2013, and it's quite exciting! The only question is, what should his or her blog name be...?

Monday, 19 March 2012

Happy Mothers Day

As part of celebrating Mothers Day (which was yesterday but I had rather a busy day) I have been tagged over at Trouble Doubled - thank you! It's been a good opportunity to think about how lucky I am compared to my own mother and appreciate just what she did for me - surely the meaning of mothers day.

Describe motherhood in three words

Amazing, tiring, inspiring.

Does your experience differ from your mother's?  How?

I was born in an RAF hospital in West Germany so I my mother's experience of birth and early motherhood were fairly regimented. They were not well off on their return to the UK (I was a few months old) and my father worked away from home at various points in my early childhood. My grandmother moved to the same village when I was three years old, which enabled my mother to return to work.

My pre- and post-natal experience has been much more free-flowing, probably due to the vast amounts of information available nowadays: I did a lot of reading whilst pregnant and formed my own opinions as to how I wished to mother. Father Badger and I have rarely been separated overnight since Baby Badger was born, and I've found the rare occasions apart very difficult. I can't imagine how hard it must have been for my mother. We are also much better off, enabling me to return to work at 12 months.

What's the hardest thing about being a mum?

Not being able to do what I want, when I want. It's not even the selfish or self-indulgent things such as sitting with a book or going out clubbing (not that I really miss those days): it's having the time to sort through boxes in the spare room without having to watch what's being posted through the bannisters; being able to prune the garden without constantly checking that Baby Badger isn't trying to eat gravel.

What's the best thing?

The constant love I have for her. Being able to comfort her and connect when I breastfeed her.

How has it changed you?

My priorities have changed. All those things I say that I can't do such as gardening and tidying: I can do them but given the choice I'd rather spend the time with her.

What do you hope for your children?

Health and happiness.

What do you fear for them?

Everything. Every time I watch the news I realise that so much of humanity has no respect for life and I panic, fearing the worst.

What makes it all worthwhile?

The hugs. The way she's loving her time with grandparents or at nursery during the day but is still delighted to see me. The way she learns new words, new things every day, making me proud.

You're tagged...

I've not actually chosen any victims but if you'd like to join in then comment below leaving a link to your post!


Monday, 12 March 2012

Improvements and blunders

I've not written much recently because things have really been getting on top of me: stupid pressure at work including trips away from home; never ending colds; generally feeling down. I finally feel as though things are on the up.

At the weekend I had a lie in both days then I spent most of the daylight hours in the garden weeding and chopping at the hedge. I went for a jog both days. I cooked two pretty decent meals, and over the week lost a couple of pounds.

It's amazing what a difference some sleep, some fresh air and exercise and a bit of a confidence boost can have!

Today I was especially tired from the aforementioned fresh air and exercise. So much so that a) I turned up to a dentist appointment 24 hours early and b) I lodged my foot well and truly in my mouth by asking if a colleague in another office had left the business only to find out they'd died before Christmas...

To finish on a positive note, we just watched Little Miss Sunshine. I've not laughed that much in quite a while!

Image: Simon Howden /

Monday, 5 March 2012

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Saturday, 3 March 2012

63/366: robopig

Just sittin' in my tunnel with robopig...

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A Mother’s Work Meme

This meme was started by and as it's a subject I've been pondering recently I thought I'd chip in.

  1. Please post the rules
  2. Answer the questions in as much or as little detail as suits you
  3. Leave a comment on so we can keep track of the meme
  4. Tag 3 people and link to them on your blog
  5. Let them know you tagged them
  6. Tweet loudly about taking part (well ok, that isn’t a rule, but how about if we start a hashtag – #amothersworkmeme
Did you work before becoming a mum?

Yes. Before heading off on maternity leave I had worked in the IT industry for over a decade, building up technical skills, knowledge, a nice salary and a good reputation.

What is your current situation?

I am back working at the company I was at before my maternity leave. They have a good maternity policy so I was lucky enough to be able to take a full year's leave and return to my job.

Freestylin’ on Childcare Costs and Expectations

I work full time. I am lucky: my parents and my mother in law live locally so between them Baby Badger has two days a week with family. That's great for our bank balance, but more importantly great for her to grow up knowing her grandparents. The remaining three days are spent at the nursery on the business park where I work. It's a good nursery: the staff are engaged and enthusiastic, the standard of cleanliness is good enough without reaching obsessive levels, and the staff all know my daughter by name. I've made a point of observing out of view before I collect her and she seems to be genuinely enjoying her time. In this respect I have no qualms over our decision to use nursery time.

Standard day rate at the nursery is just over £50. Again I am lucky: I get a discount for working on the park, then I save almost 50% because I pay via salary sacrifice (saving tax and national insurance). Three days per week costs me approximately £300 per month.

Consider someone using the nursery that has to use it five days a week; someone whose employer is not forward-thinking enough to offer to offer the salary sacrifice option. That monthly bill comes in at around £1,000. That's a serious amount of money. What do you have left from your pay packet once the mortgage/rent and bills are paid? I'm guessing a lot of families wouldn't have that £1,000 available.

Father Badger and I are considering adding a second cub to the sett and I'm honestly wondering what we'll do when it comes to my career and childcare costs. We could perhaps come to an arrangement with the grandparents with regards extra help, but they're not getting any younger and it seems unfair to expect them to either give up extra days or contend with two children. I'm guessing that we're at least looking to double our childcare costs. We won't make a loss, but it's a big enough dent to wonder whether a change of approach is required.

It's ridiculous that at double the UK national average salary (2010 figure), and a household income of double that, I'm considering whether it's worth going back to work with two children in part-time childcare. Absolutely ridiculous.

And now to the second part of my rant: expectations.

Expectations of flexibility. I am writing this post from a hotel on the outskirts of Leeds, 200 miles from home. My husband and daughter are at home, 200 miles from me. It's not the end of the world, but I don't like it. I've reached the point in my career (ignoring the fact that I'm not sure what I'll do after baby number two) where I need to take on bigger projects, more responsibility, hence I'm travelling. It's not required of me, but it is expected. If I refused, it would be "ok" but I would struggle to progress any further with the remaining opportunities. Thank goodness for Skype and FaceTime - without being able to see the faces I love I don't think I could bear being away from home.

Expectations that I am no longer breastfeeding. That's probably not fair: it won't be a conscious expectation as it won't even cross their mind that I might be. I'm the first employee in a company of thousands to request somewhere to express when returning from maternity leave. I no longer need the facility but that doesn't mean I'm not feeding. I was also up in Leeds a few weeks ago when Baby Badger was so ill that she couldn't keep any food down. I literally was her only source of food but didn't feel as though I could give it as a reason to cancel my trip. Maybe I should have plucked up courage, but honestly - do you think an employer would have understood?

You're tagged!

End of rant. It's late and I should be in bed...

I am tagging:

  • Beth aka @plasticrosaries as I'm guessing she's got a lot to say on the subject of trying to juggle work and motherhood.
  • Menai aka @MenaiN for a different perspective as a working mum on a break as an ex-pat


Friday, 24 February 2012

Lesson of the Day - snot and mash should never meet

Warning: this gets gross. Read on at your peril...

Poor Baby Badger is in the wars at the moment. A couple of weeks ago she was a vomit factory, and as soon as she was over that she caught the latest cold from nursery. She's being producing snot by the gallon and earlier this week she managed to rub it into her eyes.

Result? Conjunctivitis and eye drops that are an absolute bugger to get in, mainly due to the flailing arms and eyes screwed shut (she's not daft).

Unsurprisingly the added liquid from her watering eyes is adding the volume of snot. More fluids. Nice...

Today's lesson: allowing your toddler to shovel mashed potato in on top of a belly full of snot results in a scene reminiscent of The Exorcist, with seemingly endless pints of foaming white stuff appearing around the fork. Gross (you were warned).

Image: Simon Howden /

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

52/366: banana pancakes

With bacon and maple syrup. I meant to take a photo before we ate them but they were too good.

Monday, 20 February 2012

51/366: red scarf

BB is chatting away, stringing words together. Bye bye Mummy, red scarf!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

49/366: finished!

I've finally finished decorating BB's bedroom only 20 months late!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

45/366: poorly bunny

So tired from being unwell, she keeps falling asleep wherever she lands!

Monday, 13 February 2012

How to feel useless

Last Thursday I was called by the nursery to pick up Baby Badger: she had a temperature of 40 and wasn't looking very happy. I rolled up with my scarcely used bottle of Calpol (we are not big on medication), got the staff to administer (yes, I wussed out) and took her home for cuddles. She perked up a bit (mainly due to repeated Igglepiggle), had some dinner and went to bed. It all went wdo so and keep an eye on her.ell until she woke up at 10pm, demanded milk then promptly threw up all her dinner.

The following day she stayed home with Father Badger, the vomiting episodes becoming more frequent until the point where not even water or breastmilk were staying in. NHS Direct advised waking every hour that night to get her to sip a little water, and Father Badger generously offered to sleep in the nursery to do so and keep an eye on her. What do you do when nothing stays in? Time to feel useless #1.

Saturday was the scary point: she would wake up, have a sip of water, then her eyes rolled up, her head slumped and she'd be asleep again. We knew she was dehydrated but couldn't get anything into her. Time to feel useless #2. We cracked and took her to the out of hours doctor who reassured us. The moment we arrived she demanded milk and spent the entire examination attached to my boob!

She's now on the mend. She's not eating much and has mainly had booby milk and water, but things are definitely improving. Time to feel useless #3... She's not eating much but happy to nurse and I'm in Leeds, 200 miles from home, for the next four nights. I want to be with my daughter and I'm stuck here with work when she needs me the most.

Being a working mum sucks sometimes.

Image: Sayan Samana /

44/366: my four walls

Back in Leeds again, though thankfully not in the log cabins again!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

42/366: the calm between the storms

A brief period of happiness between vomiting sessions! Bless her...

Friday, 27 January 2012

Thursday, 26 January 2012

26/366: och aye!

A day late but it's burns night dinner for us tonight: haggis, neeps (or carrots because turnips are tasteless) and tatties.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

25/366: puzzle time

Baby Badger is really enjoying her Christmas animal puzzles.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Saturday, 21 January 2012

21/366: shoes!

Baby Badger's brand new red shoes, and she loves them!

Friday, 20 January 2012

20/366: home at last

Cuddled up in bed with Baby Badger after three days away with work. I missed her.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

19/366: stuck in Leeds

I've resorted to a picture of my dinner. I'm stuck in Leeds on my own for a work trip and I didn't think my desk would be any more exciting.

Dinner was yum though!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

17:366: peekaboo stew

Unfortunately it leads to gravy in the hair but it's still fun!

Monday, 16 January 2012

16/366: watching Igglepiggle

Sat on Mummy's leg, watching Igglepiggle and friends (much missed while on holiday).

Sunday, 15 January 2012

15/366: Hello Natural Calico!

The finished papering and paint job, courtesy of my parents. Probably not fascinating to the majority of you, but after living with someone else's dubious paint choices for five years I'm definitely excited!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

14/366: exploring baggage reclaim

Baby Badger explores Gatwick baggage hall while we wait for our bags!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

12/366: view from the top

The view from the top of Verdons Sud chairlift (for those of you that have skied La Plagne). Breathtaking...

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Monday, 9 January 2012

9/366: freedom

I think this is what I love best about skiing: the sense of freedom as I sail down through beautiful scenery. Bliss!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Saturday, 7 January 2012

7/366: in the departure lounge

Baby Badger waits for her first airplane ride.

Friday, 6 January 2012

6/366: Goodbye salmon pink

This is the last time we will see this hideous decor: my parents are redecorating the lounge while are away as our Christmas present.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

5/366: Because I can

The photo doesn't do justice to the amount of leg waving...

Life Circle 2012: a fresh start

Kate over at The Five Fs blog is kick-starting Life Circle 2012 and I've decided it's just what I need to get motivated. There may be a certain sense of deja vu to this. I did try Life Circle a few months ago but got bogged down in just the sort of stuff that Life Circle was meant to help sort out.

I've survived the redundancies at work and we've done a bit of de-cluttering at home over the Christmas break (although there's plenty left to do), so hopefully I can embark afresh without feeling as though I'm drowning under the weight of my to do list...

And now onto the task for week one, in Kate's words:

I want everyone to introduce themselves. Who we are, what we're about, where we're coming from, and where we're headed. Why we're here. What we want to achieve out of joining LifeCircle. Why? Because I think it will be useful for us to do a little bit of team-building. A little bit of background, however much you want to give, will help with that. Think of this as the ice-breaker at the start of a course. Include some funny things if you like, anything really, it doesn't have to be relevant to what you want to achieve; just something that you think displays the measure of YOU.

The basics: married for some years (but less than a decade) to a man I can't imagine my life without, mother of one toddler, full-time employed within the IT industry. Rather overweight, or probably technically obese at a BMI of 34 (one of the motivators for doing Life Circle) and too far post-partum to blame it on baby weight. Love my food, especially cheese and chocolate (predictably).

Hopes for Life Circle: to motivate myself to lose weight and get fit. To tackle some of the tasks on my to do list, many of which revolve around sorting out our home. To generally feel as though I'm making progress with life other than the routine of work, house chores, sleep, repeat ad infinitum.

Something funny: ooh, I'm not sure I can do that on demand! Maybe this will do? Something I tweeted a few days ago and a good reason for joining in with Life Circle...

Got ready for shower, clothes off, hair in a top knot, looked in mirror and thought... Sumo wrestler is not a good look. #timetoeatlettuce

Life Circle
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