Friday, 30 August 2013

#Competition Win Jack the Giant Slayer on Bluray and DVD


Based on the well known  story of Jack and the Beanstalk, I have a fantastic competition for you to win your own copy of Jack the Giant Slayer Triple play combo consisting of Bluray, DVD and digital copy (via Ultraviolet)

Movie Storyline
Sent to the market by his uncle to sell their horse and buy thatch for the roof, Jack meets the beautiful Princess Isabelle who he rescues from ruffians. He returns home with only a handful of beans given to him by a monk who claims they are sacred, but that does little to impress his uncle who throws them away. In the night the Princess arrives having run from marrying Roderick who is only interested in becoming king. Soon the beans take root with a giant stalk carrying away the princess and Jack's house. He soon sets off on an adventure with with king's guards to rescue the Princess, only to find that a mythical land filled with giants really exists. 

Starring Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy), Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge!) and Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)

To win a copy of Jack and the Giant Slayer then all you have to do is comment below with your results of the How Brave Are You? quiz above. Entry is easy via rafflecopter and the competition will end on the 2nd September.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to you all :)

The competition prize will be sent out via a Warner Brothers and will be delivered by FedEx or UPS. No P.O Box addresses will be accepted. 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Welcoming our new arrival

I've taken a most of this month off from blogging as there has been big changes at the Really Rachel household and we have a new member of the family, Baby R.

My beautiful little smiler
The picture was taken when she was just 3 days old

At the start of the summer holidays I was heavily pregnant and I wasn't coping very well with the heat and just wanted to stay home and chill on the sofa. Of course this meant that the children had to stay home as well as we don't have a garden and it was too hot for me to take them to the beach. The older two were allowed out to play with their friends at the back of our house, but the younger too are too young. Although in the case of my 6yr old, she doesn't have the maturity to go out like her older sister did at the same age, so she isn't allowed out yet. 

It didn't help as well that because of my diabetes it has meant several trips to hospital for check-ups with my diabetic doctor, growth scans, eye check ups to check for diabetic retinopathy, and obstetrician appointments. I even ended up being admitted for monitoring because my blood pressure had climbed (see The End Is Nigh), not to mention that because of the 60 mile distance to my hospital, it meant the whole day was taken up by the appointments. 

Since I am diabetic (I suffered from gestational diabetes for the first time with my 4th and it returned as type 2 diabetes a year later) and I have been on insulin injections for most of the pregnancy in an attempt to stabilise my blood glucose levels, my consultant decided to induce me early at 38 weeks. 

I was given a membrane sweep by my midwife two days earlier, which had worked with my 3rd at 39 weeks pregnant and my 2nd at 41 weeks pregnant but hadn't worked at 37 weeks with my 3rd or 38 weeks with my 4th. For those of you who don't know what a membrane sweep is, it is a vaginal examination during which your midwife will use her finger to sweep the neck of your womb to try to separate the membranes (the bag of fluid which surrounds your baby) from you cervix (neck of the womb). This can encourage your body to release hormones called prostaglandins which work to soften and thin the cervix, which might encourage labour to start naturally within the next 24-48 hours. It can be uncomfortable but it doesn't increase the risk of infection to you or your baby and is one of the best ways to naturally encourage labour, however only a trained midwife should do this, please do not try it yourself! Sadly it was too early and the membrane sweep didn't work. 

Hubby and I arrived at hospital for 9.30am on Thursday the 8th August ready for my induction. Although I have been induced twice before, with my eldest they decided to induce me the day after his due date as they were concerned about his size (he was one of my smallest at 8lb 13oz but you can read the story of his induction and birth here) and my 4th because of my gestational diabetes at 38+5 days (you can read her birth story here), I wasn't sure what to expect as both times it was a completely different experience. With my eldest I was given a pessary twice a day for 2 days and on the 3rd day it was my day of rest where they didn't give me anything at all. Typically, that was the day I went into labour and he was born at 5am the following morning after a 17 hour labour! With my 4th I was taken to the labour ward the night before and given a different medication to the one I was given with my son. After an uncomfortable night, I was taken to the labour ward in the morning and my waters were broken. 1 hour and 20 minutes afterwards, my 4th was born!  

This time I was given a completely different medication again and was told this one would take about 24 hours to work and I would be checked after 24 hours. I was having lots of braxton hicks pains but after the 24 hours were up I still hadn't gone into labour. One of the disadvantages of living so far away from home meant it would take hubby over an hour and a half to drive back if he went home during the night, and judging at how quickly my 4th came he decided he would stay at the hospital as he didn't want to miss the birth. Sadly the hospital wouldn't let him stay with me and he had to go sleep in the car, where he didn't get much sleep because of the rain. This meant that when he came back in the morning, he kicked me off the bed so he could get some sleep!!!

That's MY bed not yours!!!

After the 24 hours had ended and I still hadn't gone into labour, I was given another medication, this time it was the one I had been given with my 4th and I was told it should take 6 hours to work and they would examine me after the 6 hours. This one seemed to do the trick and my braxton hicks got stronger and closer together, although a lot of the pain was in my back so the midwife gave me a big ball to bounce on as the baby was back-to-back, one of the most painful positions for a baby to be in and can make labour last longer! 

Trying to get the baby moving

When I was examined after the 6 hours I was 4cm's dilated and they took me to the labour ward so they could break my waters (otherwise known as rupturing the membranes). In the labour ward I was given a cannula as I would need a drip during the 2nd stage of labour (the actual pushing stage) to try and stabilise my glucose levels, something called a sliding scale. They asked me how much I weighed, which usually I don't know but I'd been weighed the week before at the diabetic clinic and I actually remembered. It confused the midwives at first and they thought I must have heard wrong, until I explained I'd actually lost weight whilst pregnant (probably because my sugar levels were under control and I lost my appetite!) 

The calm before the storm
Ready to evict the baby

When they examined me my cervix was still quite high and back and the baby's head was actually pressing against the membranes and cervix, which made it very difficult to break them. However they went suddenly and the midwife had to jump away quickly to avoid being covered and as they burst the baby's head came down the birth canal (they were worried that the baby's head would move up not down). Once my waters were broken the pain got worse as my contractions got stronger, but the midwife mentioned that they needed to get closer together and stronger before I entered the 2nd stage of labour. By this time my attitude was getting snippy and the midwife commented to the student midwife how this was a good sign that the baby was almost here and it was time to start getting ready and warming the towels. They had just started preparing for the baby when suddenly I told them the baby was coming. The midwife replied "She can't, we're not ready yet!" to which I replied "Tough she's on her way!" and then with one push, out she came!!!! In fact I didn't need the drip in the end as it was all over so quickly! She was born a mere hour and 35 mins after they broke my waters, at 9.50pm on the 9th August 2013. 

First cuddle 

It's tiring this birth lark

Hubby cut the cord and all I could say, as I stared down at my newborn daughter lying there, was how small she looked! I'm used to big babies, my smallest being 8lb 13oz and my biggest 10lb 14oz with the other two 9lb and 8lb 15oz. In fact my 4th was 8lb 15oz, despite being 2 weeks early and I fully expected this one to be at least 8lb, if not 9lb. So you can imagine how shocked I was to learn that she was only 7lb 11oz as I'm not used to such small babies! She quickly latched onto the breast as we cuddled and then I had a quick bath before going back onto the ward. Sadly it was late and hubby was kicked out again. No royal treatment for us with the father being allowed to stay the night!!!

First cuddles with daddy

First nappy change and getting dressed
The following day I carried on breastfeeding and was pleased to see how well she was latching on. Because of my diabetes they had to monitor her blood glucose levels closely as her body has been dealing with my excess blood sugar and creating insulin of her own to deal with it. Now she was born, the sugar supply was cut-off and she had to learn to stabilise her own sugars by not creating as much, or even any, insulin. This meant that the midwives had to prick her foot to test her sugar levels and send a sample off to the lab for the most accurate readings. She needed two readings of above 2.6 to be discharged and if she didn't achieve this before her feed, then she had to be tested again an hour after a feed. Sadly, her levels were very low at around just 2.0-2.4 At first I was reluctant to give her any formula as I was determined to breastfeed, but when I saw how her levels were going down instead of up I agreed! Later on they became worried at how low her levels were and they decided to take her up to SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) sadly this was the time my parents turned up with the kids. Their first question when they arrived was "Where's the baby!" but they had just passed her as they took her away to have her blood tested. They brought her back after a few minutes and everyone had a cuddle before they came back and said that they were still low and they wanted to take her to SCBU. I started crying, but mum was there to give me a quick cuddle before I said goodbye to the older kids and followed the baby up to SCBU.

Eldest and youngest.
My son has a quick cuddle before the baby is taken to SCBU

At SCBU they put a cannula in her hand and prepared the glucose drip, but the paediatrician kept changing her mind and about 5 minutes after they started the drip, they took her off and gave her some formula in a cup instead. Finally they decided to give her top-ups of formula and by now I was ready to agree to anything to keep her out of SCBU and off the glucose drip!

That night I gave her the breast, but she saw another paediatrician as her glucose was still low and he decided to give her 30ml of formula every 2hrs. I remember thinking how am I going to breastfeed if she's constantly full of formula, as the hospital were supportive of my breastfeeding as long as her sugars stayed up. 

The other problem was that there didn't seem to be any milk coming from my breast! In fact I felt like a cow, having my breasts prodded and poked to see if anything was coming out. By now it was Sunday and I could feel my milk glands starting to fill up, but still nothing was coming out. I spoke to the midwives and asked them to check she was latching on properly, which she was, but they also commented on how it appeared nothing was coming out of my breasts and I couldn't remember if I'd been able to see the colostrum from my breasts with my other two. I also began to wonder if this was the problem I'd had with my 2nd who I hadn't been able to breastfeed. I'd spend 7hrs with her on the breast only for her to drink 2oz of formula so I gave up breastfeeding, although she had been a difficult delivery which you can read about here

Late Sunday night, early Monday morning I discovered milk leaking from one breast and wanted to throw a party I was so happy! I began to believe we were over the worst and now that my milk was coming in I would be home before I knew it, but sadly I was wrong. When they tested her blood glucose on Monday afternoon after she'd been nursing little and often all day, her levels were still low and I just wanted to cry as I felt like such a failure! Even though I had been unable to breastfeed my oldest two, having breastfed my 3rd and 4th for almost 3yrs I didn't think I would have a problem with my 5th. 

That was when I made the difficult decision to give up the breastfeeding and just put her on the bottle. But I still didn't feel happy with the decision, despite knowing it was for her own good.

Finally on Tuesday we were discharged and after popping to the registry office to register her birth, we ended up in Tesco buying formula, bottles and a steriliser as we didn't have one. 

Then we went home and the older kids all had their first cuddle with their new baby sister.

My 8yr old is thrilled to finally welcome her sister home

My 6yr old loves cuddles with her new sister

My 3yr old is such a happy big sister

Proud big brother glad to see his sister home

My 5 angels

And my 8yr old showed me the cake she'd made to welcome us home from hospital. 

My 8yr old and her yummy cake

Monday, 5 August 2013

Who is the new Who?

So last night, the whole world was watching the BBC as it was revealed who would be playing the 12th Doctor in Doctor Who.

In the UK alone, a peak audience of 6.8 million tuned in to watch a very special show "Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor" which was hosted by Zoe Ball and featured a live studio audience of "Whovians" (Doctor Who fans) and the 5th Doctor, Peter Davison. A show which was simultaneously shown on BBC America in the United States and on networks in Canada and Australia.

Here is a clip of the moment when the 12th Doctor was revealed... Peter Capaldi

My first reaction was... WHO????

But Peter is no stranger to appearing in the Doctor Who universe!

He appeared alongside David Tennant (10th Doctor) and Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) in the 4th series (since the relaunch in 2001) entitled "Fires of Pompeii" where he played the father of a roman family saved by the Doctor and Donna

He also appeared in the Torchwood spin-off of Doctor Who as John Frobisher in the special Torchwood: Children of Earth

But, the bit that really blows your mind, is one of his latest roles. One that has an eerie link to Doctor Who.

In the 2013 movie World War Z, Peter Capaldi plays.... W.H.O Doctor

He goes from WHO Doctor to Doctor WHO!!!

He will make his first appearance in the Christmas special of Doctor Who when Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor) regenerates into the 12th Doctor

Friday, 2 August 2013

The End Is Nigh

On Wednesday I attended my final diabetic appointment at the hospital! Such a relief as it's a long day, made longer by the 60miles, 2 hour journey from home every two weeks! 

I wasn't sure what to expect as no one had discussed the plans for delivering my baby, which is complicated by my type 2 diabetes. All I had to go on is my memories of my last pregnancy when I suffered from gestational diabetes. Last time I saw the obstetrician was when I was 32wks pregnant and he asked if I had a scan booked at 36wks to check the size of the baby. I wasn't sure so whilst the midwife was on the phone to the scan department asking if I had an appointment booked, he dictated a letter to my GP where he said that they were going to plan for delivery at 39wks. Sadly I got more information from listening to that message than I actually did from him! 

I had my scan at 36wks and although the baby is still within normal limits, she has had a growth spurt and has moved from the 50th percentile to the 90th percentile. However no one seems concerned about how big the baby is at the moment, but I'm expecting her to be at least 8lb if not more! My 3yr old, with whom I had gestational diabetes for the first time, weighed 8lb 15oz at 38wk+5.

So I attended my appointment. I had my blood pressure and weight checked before having some blood taken to check my HbA1c. This blood test checks my blood glucose control over the past 8-12 weeks. When haemoglobin joins with glucose in the blood it forms a glycosylated haemoglobin molecule known as A1c and HbA1c. The more glucose found in the blood, the more glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) will be present. For non diabetics the usual reading is 4-5.9%, for diabetics a level of 6.5% is considered good control. My readings over the past few months have been really good, between 5.8% and 6.2%. My blood pressure was a little high, but at the time they weren't concerned.

Just before I went in to see the obstetrician my nose started bleeding! I went in to see him and it was arranged for me to be induced next Thursday (the 8th August) when I am 38wks exactly and I have to be at hospital for 9.30am that morning (I really hope it works quickly like it did with my youngest, with my eldest it took 3 days for the induction to work!). He also agreed to me having a membrane sweep by my community midwife before my induction. Which has now been booked for Tuesday the 6th. 

As I was about to leave the clinic, the nurse came back and said that the obstetrician wanted me to have my blood pressure checked again as it was a little high and they were concerned because my nose bleed could be a sign of high blood pressure and being diabetic increases the risk of pre-eclampsia (and is the reason I am an a daily dose of aspirin) which I have to stop taking on Sunday. They took my blood pressure twice, with the machine and manually, but as it was still a little high, they sent me over to the ward to get it monitored.

By now, the two younger girls who we'd taken with us, were hungry and bored, so I sent my mum over to the cafe to get them something to eat whilst I saw my diabetic dr to discuss my blood sugar readings over the past two weeks. That appointment went well as I've had really good control, with no hypos and no high readings. When I was pregnant with my 3yr and had gestational diabetes, I couldn't get my readings below 10, but with this pregnancy they've rarely been above 7.8 which is the highest acceptable level. Good control means less risks of diabetic complications in me (such as diabetic retinopathy which is the main cause of blindness in diabetics) and other diabetic problems which can be made worse by the fluctuating control of pregnancy. It also means less risks to the baby, such as stillbirth, pre-eclampsia, large baby and low sugar in the baby when she's born.

I went to the antenatal clinic afterwards but because of the time I was sent upstairs to the ward to wait for the midwife there. Finally we were seen and I was attached to a monitor to listen to the heartbeat and check for contractions (I had a few braxton hicks whilst being monitored which I saw register but the baby was sleeping so didn't have much movements until after I came off the trace and she woke up!). I also had my blood pressure checked every 15mins for an hour. Finally they said they were happy with my results and we could go home, which was a big relief! All I remember thinking was that I had my bag with me but I had forgotten to pack my insulin medication! The staff were lovely and really looked after us, especially the girls, who were very bored by now and just wanted to go home. At least on the ward I was able to plug my tablet in to charge so they could take turns to play on it!

Of course whilst we were at the hospital we realised that mum's phone had a dead battery and I haven't got a phone at the moment, since my 3yr old decided it wanted a bath in her full potty! This meant we couldn't phone hubby or my dad who were home with the older two children. Whilst I was being monitored, someone came over from labour and delivery looking for me as hubby had started panicking because he hadn't heard from me and was trying to find me. Mum spoke to him but was asked to keep it brief so hubby thought they'd been cut off and this time phoned the ward where mum spoke to him again and the midwives asked how many husbands I have!!!

We finally made it home and I phoned my community midwife to arrange them checking my blood pressure today, otherwise it was another trip to hospital to get it checked there. Thankfully it was fine, although I doubt it was yesterday as I had a really bad headache, the kids were doing my head in and I was feeling stressed! Especially when I learnt the car was going to cost over £200 to get the handbrake fixed which of course we need! I also arranged for my midwives to give me a membrane sweep next Tuesday in an attempt to get the baby moving and I'm hoping all the braxton hicks I've been feeling and the fact the baby feels so low she's gonna fall out, means I should go into labour easily!

My parents took my 3yr old for her very first sleepover last night, along with my 8yr old for company, to get her used to it. She's never slept apart from me and still comes into our bed during the night! It was so strange without them last night, just having two children, and although it was a lot calmer and quieter, I didn't like it and missed my babies! The 3yr old did get a little upset during the night at my mums so my 8yr old woke up with her and took her into my parents room where she got into bed with them. Poor dad ended up sleeping in her bed though as she's such a restless sleeper! Which both girls found hilarious!

Now I'm just waiting for Mothercare to deliver the car seat and the garage to phone about my car. Plus I have to take my 10yr old son and 6yr old daughter to the dentist this afternoon so mum is coming over to watch the other two girls and wait for my delivery and if my car isn't ready, lend me hers! I really don't know what I would do without my parents, they have really been a big help with this pregnancy, ferrying me to appointments when I haven't been able to drive, coming with me to keep me company and looking after the children! I also love seeing the close relationship they have with my children, just like I did with my late grandparents (my dad's). 

Tomorrow is my dad's birthday! What really makes me laugh is that the baby's birthday is going to be around a week after my dads. What's so funny about that? You might ask! Well... My 6yr old has her birthday a week after her daddy's. My 3yr old has her birthday the day after my mum's birthday. My son's birthday is 5 days before mine, and my 8yr old's birthday is 9 days after mine, 2wks after her brother's. So all of them have birthdays around a family member!!!