Teething Tots

Let’s talk about the wonderful world of teething….

Having twins is hard enough, most of the time you are sleep deprivedand running on empty. Put that together with both babies teething at the same time and you’ve got yourself a real nightmare. Let’s be honest, it isn’t what any parent wants to deal with now is it?! But let’s face it, who really wants a mouthful of teeth coming through at such a young age when you don’t really understand what is going on apart from the fact that something is hurting you!

Every parent has their own remedies they use to try and soothe their little one’s gums whilst teething. Ours is Teetha® Teething Granules and Teething Gel! Did you know that Teetha® is a trusted brand amongst parents and has won various awards over the years?

Let me tell you right now – Teetha® does everything it says it does, and very effectively too. The granules and Teething Gel are both so simple to use, they can be used on the go which is perfect for us busy mums.

Let me talk about the Teething Granules…. to use them I simply open one of the sachets and pour them into each of the twin’s mouth. I find that you will notice once the granules get into their mouth they start to chew, this to me is a sign that they are already being relieved of pain.Not to mention the moment of peace and quiet you get whilst they work the magic granules around their mouth.

Now onto the Teething Gel…. when using the Teething Gel, I have two different ways of applying it into the boy’s mouths. Firstly, if they are in so much pain and won’t even let me get near their mouth I will smother their dummy in the Gel and then insert the dummy into their mouth which soothes their gums straight away.  Secondly if the boys are being cooperative I put the Gel onto my index finger (I always clean my hands prior to doing this) I then smother the boy’s gums in the Gel. 

The first time that I saw the Teetha® products was in my local Boots. I had always known about the teething granules and teething gel but had never used them. Since picking up a box of each, I have never looked back since. In my eyes I would pay any price to try and relieve my babies from teething pains, plus I would also do anything for a full nights uninterrupted sleep.

My personal preference are the teething granules over the gel. My reason for this is that I find they take the edge off the boys teething pains straight away, the granules are also very simple and quick to use with no mess at all. Sometimes I find with the gel if the boys are really distressed they will not let me get my finger in their mouth to apply the gel on their gums nor will they keep the dummy with the teething gel on it in their mouth, so they end up spitting out their dummy and the teething gel goes everywhere!

Please do remember that Teetha® products are only suitable on babies who are 3+ months, nothing before. There are lots of Highstreet retailers that stock the Teetha® products too, these include Boots, Superdrug and Holland and Barrett.

Learn more about the Teetha® range here: https://www.nelsons.net/en/our-brands/nelsons/baby-range?utm_source=instagram&utm_medium=influencer&utm_campaign=localuk&utm_content=parent_blogger_teddy_ronniett

You can also follow them on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/teethauk/

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Anxiety and Mum Guilt

I haven’t posted in a while so I thought I would sit down and do a blog post.

Something I’ve got a lot of messages about recently is anxiety and mum guilt so I thought I would touch on the subject.

Anxiety….well well well no one likes the word anxiety or the words mental health but as a matter of fact more people suffer with it than you think.

I’ve always been quite an anxious person, my mum told me as a child I used to get anxious if I was ever late for school, I wouldn’t let her take me in I would cry and be sick until I got to go home just because I wouldn’t want to walk into assembly late and have people staring. As I got older my anxiety was still really bad, my confidence has always been an issue too! I used to even whisper to my mum “ask nan if I can have a bag of crisps” just so I wouldn’t have to ask. Not sure why as my Nan is the most kind lady you would ever meet, it wasn’t just my Nan I was like this with, it was everyone. I feel like in my late teens my confidence came back, I felt confident in myself and my anxiety seemed to have disappeared which was a result!

However, starting our fertility treatment really triggered my anxiety again, not knowing whether we would ever be parents or if we could even have children. We used to go to appointments on a regular basis and just have so many unanswered questions after!

I don’t think until someone has had a fertility issue they will ever understand how hard it is. The feeling of not being able to just fall pregnant isn’t a nice feeling at all

We didn’t have the easiest pregnancy, I spent 7 months thinking everyday “I wonder if my babies are alive” There were times in my pregnancy I would say to my partner “I just don’t want to be here anymore, it would be so much easier if I was gone” I look back at it all now and realise if that would have happened that would have been the easy was out.

The boys were born at 29+6 by emergency caesarean, we went into the operating theatre at Portsmouth hospital 70 odd miles away from home not knowing whether our babies will be alive or not when delivered. The boys were only 609g and 1.42kg when born, they had such a traumatic journey when I was pregnant and when they were born this was just the start of so many more ups and downs as a family.

NICU….any mother who’s child has spent time in the neonatal unit will understand what this does to you mentally. You see parents leaving the hospital with their babies on the same day and then there’s you, you don’t know whether your baby will come home in days, weeks, months or will they even come home at all!? NICU was full of more downs than ups. Blood transfusions, operations, intubation, needing oxygen and even their saturation’s dropping so low that all of the staff would surround your child to resuscitate them. Regardless of how long you spend with your child in the neonatal unit it will get to you, it will make you down there is no other way to explain it.

When you get your babies home, the panic doesn’t stop there! The boys got home at different times so we had one baby at home and one baby still in intensive care. The struggle was real. Trying to juggle twins in two different places was a nightmare. Having to take Ronnie to the hospital to visit Teddy (not that I wanted to take him out but I had no choice) Ronnie then fell ill with bronchiolitis – he stopped breathing twice, he went blue twice. We kept being sent home from hospital until finally they realised how sick he was and he needed to be intubated for a week. Mum guilt really set in then, I had one baby in neonatal at Frimley Hospital and one baby in Oxford in a coma. I began to blame myself for Ronnie falling ill and me taking him out but I had no other choice because we had to be there for Teddy too.

Just keep going, when times get tough talk to someone. Admit you are having a bad day and think tomorrow is a new day

Going back to work – I remember being pregnant and saying I want two years off I don’t want to work. But after 14 months I decided it was time for me to go back to work part time. It gave me my independence back and it’s allowed me to have some ME TIME. The boys Nan owns the Nursery they go to, they are treated like royalty and have the best time ever, but here again the mum guilt kicks in of me having to the leave them.

Since having the boys my anxiety has been sky high, I’ve opened up to my followers about this a lot as it’s not something I want to hide. I run my Instagram page to help other parents going through difficult times and to also share the boys crazy journey!

I get messages on a daily basis asking how I coped in my pregnancy and how I cope with my anxiety now. The truth is Instagram isn’t always what you see. I try to be as open and honest as possible but really behind the scenes I am breaking. I didn’t cope well with my pregnancy, I didn’t want to be here but I kept going for my family and my two warrior boys. If I ever felt unsure if the babies were alive or not I would call the hospital and get seen straight away just for my peace of mind. My anxiety is still here now, I’m not going to sugar coat it. I don’t think it’ll be an overnight thing that will just go away it’s something I am working on fixing. We have a lot of amazing things happening this year and also next year we get married.

Not everything is perfect and not everyone is perfect.

You keep me strong and you keep me going, you are the reason I always reach for the stars

Pregnancy & Birth

So….

Here we are again! My second blog post. I have been a bit slow with this upload, but I am back and will make sure I regularly post new blogs.

The 24th March was the day we could take a pregnancy test which came back positive! We were so excited about the next 9 months. We could not wait for this new chapter in our lives. Well, we really didn’t have any idea what this pregnancy had in store for us.

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From the moment I found out I was pregnant I suffered with severe hyperemesis gravidarum. I was constantly back and forth to the doctors and hospital to find the right anti sickness tablet for me and to also have drips on a regular basis to keep me hydrated. Most of the anti-sickness tablets didn’t work for me so in the end the hospital finally decided to try me on metoclopramide.

On the 11th April 2017 I had felt so strange all day. I couldn’t quite figure out why I didn’t feel myself, but I didn’t let it stop me from going to watch Joe play a big football game. My friend picked me up as I didn’t want to risk driving. When we got to the football ground I started to feel tense, my neck started to feel like it was poking out, so I walked over to my mother in law to ask her if I looked ok. She started to panic and told my sister in law I needed to go to the hospital as soon as possible. The drive to the hospital felt like it was going on forever, when we got to the hospital I told my sister in law not to worry about me and to just drop me home. She wasn’t having any of it and spoke to the ambulance man who was parked up next to us. He explained when you are pregnant if you have any neck or back pains you should be checked over. The two paramedics kindly got me into a wheelchair and took us into A&E, explained to reception what was going on and sat with us whist we were waiting for me to be seen. Well then, this huge wave of hot air travelled through my body, I started to feel sick and I then could not control my body. I can’t really remember much but I was told my body was bending in half and my eyes were rolling in my head. Everyone started to panic, and I was put onto a bed and rushed into the main hospital and given injections with diazepam in to try and relax my muscles.

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The next day I had some spotting, I immediately started to panic and wanted to have a scan as soon as possible to know whether the baby was ok. We managed to get a private scan in that evening. So off we went to see what we thought was ONE baby. We got to the clinic, filled in the necessary paperwork and then went in for our scan. As soon as the sonographer put the scanner onto my tummy I shouted “oh my god there is two” I had spotted that it was twins before the sonographer and Joe. At this scan (which I was 7 weeks pregnant) a size difference had already been picked up between the babies.

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A week later we met with our IVF consultant for our first scan, I explained what had happened the week prior and gave over the scans. I was laid down on the bed and scanned again. The consultant then said “there is a big size difference, in an ideal situation the smaller baby will disappear to make this an easier pregnancy”

It’s safe to say I never went back to her again!

From here the complications started. I was sent to the early pregnancy unit to be scanned weekly to see if it was a genetic size difference or if we could be possibly looking at TTTS. When they mentioned TTTS to me, I didn’t ever realise the severity it can have on a multiple pregnancy. When I reached 12 weeks I was able to be seen at my local hospital for weekly scans and I was also referred to a fetal medicine consultant.

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We met with our fetal medicine consultant and she explained TTTS to us and what the ins and the outs of the disease are. We were scanned once or maybe even twice a week sometimes; no scan was ever a happy scan. I finally hit 16 weeks, this is where everything started to go downhill, the TTTS had been diagnosed and we had to be referred to St George’s Hospital in London. I was scanned twice a week for three weeks, when we went to the scans no one really spoke to us or explained what was going on, it was a guessing game. On the 7th July we had a scan and after was asked to come into a room with the consultant, he explained to us the TTTS was stage 3. We had a few options – 1. Carry on the pregnancy and possibly loose both babies. 2. Have the laser ablation and possibly loose one baby. 3. Have the laser ablation and loose both babies. As you can imagine after this scan I was broken, I couldn’t stop crying and I just didn’t know what to do. I felt as if these babies’ lives were in our hands which I didn’t find fair at all.

We got in the car to travel home, I rang my mum and explained what had just happened. She told me to get a second opinion, at this point I was exhausted I had no fight left in me and I said I didn’t want to see anyone else. Luckily by the time we got home my thoughts had changed, we had until Monday to make a choice on what we were going to do (it was Thursday) so I googled “best fetal medicine consultant in England” and my search came up with Professor Nicolaides. I found a number for him and begged his secretary to try and get me seen by him and that I was willing to pay anything. I had to send over my notes to her and then she was going to speak to him, around 20 minutes later I got a call back to say “he will see you tomorrow, go to your doctors in the morning and get a referral for us and we will see you through the NHS” I couldn’t believe my luck, I had called at around 4pm on the Thursday and was being seen the next day in the afternoon.

The day was here, I got up in the morning went to my doctors and got the referral I needed. In the afternoon myself and Joe got the train to Harris Birthright Centre where I was going to see Professor Nicolaides. We were firstly seen by consultants and then the Professor came in to discuss with everyone what their thoughts were. He then sat next to me and said “if you want to have at least one baby you need to have this laser ablation” we didn’t know what to do, so we called a few family members for advice and in the end decided to go ahead with the laser ablation. We were sent off into a room to read all the paperwork and sign it. A little about the surgery –

This procedure is performed under regional analagesia or local anaesthesia with maternal sedation. Under ultrasound guidance, a cannula and needle are inserted through the maternal abdominal wall, uterine wall and into the amniotic sac of the recipient twin. The needle is removed, and a fetoscope with a thin fibre to carry the laser energy is then inserted through the cannula. The fetoscope is used to look at the blood vessels on the surface of the placenta. Vessels that are found to communicate between the twins are then coagulated using the laser. After completion of surgery, excess amniotic fluid in the recipient twin’s sac is removed to achieve a normal volume.

I had the procedure, all had gone well. We were sent into a room for a while, so I could recover and then sent home. Well what a nightmare the journey home was, I collapsed getting off the train and when we got home I was rushed into hospital as they thought I was in labour (it was severe trapped wind due to all the fluid that was removed)

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Let’s just say the next months were horrific, it was a waiting game to see whether the twins had survived the laser ablation or not. We were sent back to our original fetal medicine consultant where we were scanned once a week. This was to make sure both babies had a heartbeat. Not only did the boys have TTTS, Teddy only had one artery and one vein in his umbilical cord and he also had fetal growth restriction. We felt as if every week we had a scan and both babies were alive was a blessing, even though every week we had heartbeats it was never a happy scan.

On the 14th September 2017 we went for a routine scan, I felt more nervous than usual for some reason and I just couldn’t understand why. During our scan I turned to Joe and said, “she is going to deliver” and then those very words came out of her mouth. The amniotic fluid around Teddy had significantly decreased and she feared that the TTTS had come back (it was only then that I realized the laser ablation was not 100% full proof). Teddy was only showing at 575g and his blood flow was just nonexistent but our consultant suggested that if we were going to stand a chance of saving the bigger twin, the one with the higher chance of survival (Ronnie), then we would have to deliver the twins straight away.

As Teddy was so small we needed a level 3 NICU unit with two bed spaces for us, the hospital called everywhere and the only NICU which could fit us in was Portsmouth (a blessing in disguise) once the beds had been confirmed I was blue lighted to Portsmouth, sent down onto the maternity ward and ahead of me was a long night of monitoring as my cesarean had been moved until the 15th September due to complications with my bloods that were being sent off.

The morning of the 15th came, I was taken down to theatre and then everything started. I had my spinal blocks which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was laid down and sprayed with cold spray to check I was completely numb. The room was filled with staff, there was around 15-18 people in the theatre room. My surgery finally started but surprisingly I was coping quite well considering the circumstances. This came as a shock to me as I am usually one to faint at the sight of a needle. The procedure came and went quickly. At least I thought it did until I looked at Joe and he was as white as a sheet and he told me it felt like it lasted a lifetime.

At 9.28am and 9.29am the boys were delivered I always imagined having the babies held up over the screen and me crying with happiness – oh how I was so wrong. I didn’t have the babies held up to me nor did I hear babies crying, all I kept saying to Joe was “are they alive” imagine after a traumatic pregnancy all you want to see if your babies which I wasn’t able to. The boys were taken off to NICU straight away, I was sent down to recovery and then wheeled back to my room. Around half an hour later I was given two photos of the boys, I was happy and sad at the same time. Happy I had both of my boys but sad because I couldn’t see them, touch them or kiss and cuddle them. I sent Joe and our mums to see the boys as I didn’t feel well after my cesarean, so I slept until the morning and first thing I got up and went to see my boys.

I knew this wasn’t the end of our journey and that we had a tough few months ahead of us. We had so many ups and downs, but we got through them as a family and now we are stronger than ever.

NICU mums, just remember your time will come. There is light at the end of the tunnel, yes you may see families come and go quicker than you but when the time is right you will be home in your happy place.

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you.”

Teddy David Smith                                               Ronnie Kenneth Smith

15th September 2017                                           15th September 2017

9.38am                                                                    9.39am

609g                                                                        1.42kg

 

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me on my first ever blog post.

After lots of people telling me I should start blogging, I have finally decided to bite the bullet and create one!

In my blogs I will be talking about lots of different things, firstly going through IVF and finding out I was having twins, hyperemesis gravidarum, dealing with TTTS, having to deliver the twins early and also our NICU journey. If you have any requests of things for me to blog about please do get in touch.

So….here we go….

Finding out we needed IVF!

Myself and Joe have always both wanted a family. So when the time was right and we wanted to think more about children I went to the doctors to have a check up as I have polycystic ovaries. My doctor then referred me for a scan, I attended my scan and was told if myself and Joe want to have children I would need to go onto tablets to help me fall pregnant and he would need to be checked to make sure everything is ok with himself. When I told Joe he needed to do this he was extremely confident everything was ok with him. So he went to his appointment to provide a sample, the sample was tested and he was asked to go back and give another sample as nothing came from the first one. He then went back and repeated his sample, after he had done this we received a call from his doctor asking him to go into the surgery for a chat.

Joe went to the doctors for the “chat” which consisted of him being told in the samples he gave there wasn’t any sperm. So from there we had an extremely long road ahead of us, from February 2016 until August 2016 we had a lot of un answered questions. The feelings we felt in this time were something I never want to feel again, there were times where Joe would be in tears and tell me to leave him if he can’t give me children. As you can imagine this was heartbreaking to see and hear him say things like that.

Appointments then started and we were referred to a urologist Mr Kalsi, he saw us several times for many different things. Joe had scans and numerous blood tests done to try and find out what the issue was. In the end Mr Kalsi decided that the best thing to do was a sperm retrieval to see if there is any sperm. I wont go into detail about that! we decided to pay and go private for the operation as we just needed answers as soon as possible. Prior to the operation we had to attend counselling in Harley Street to make sure we understood that the operation could either be a good or bad outcome, gynecologist appointments and also IVF appointments.

On the 12th August 2016 Joe had his operation. After the operation Mr Kalsi came down to room and explained that everything went well. After this the embryologist took what they found in the testicular tissue to test, we were told we would have a call by Monday (it was Friday) That evening Joe was discharged and when we got home we were speaking with our neighbors on the stairwell of our flat, when suddenly my phone started ringing and it was the embryologist! She started to say how well the operation went and she had good news to share with us, I fell to the floor crying so Joe took the phone to speak to her. She explained they wasn’t sure why the sperm doesn’t come out but he has it in his testicular tissue and its really good quality!

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On the 4th October 2016, we received an email whilst we were in Florida to say that our IVF funding had been accepted and we were going to be starting IVF at Oxford Fertility in Oxfordshire! We were completely over the moon as this was the next stage of our journey.

Once we got back from Florida we attended our first IVF appointment with our consultant and nurse, in this appointment we had to sign consent forms and talk about what would be happening next. The day finally came where we were attending an appointment to start our first cycle of IVF, after having a scan done on myself they found a dermoid cyst. This meant that we couldn’t go ahead with the cycle until I had the cyst removed, as you can imagine I was absolutely devastated. You get your hopes up for something and then they are completely crushed. I was so lucky to have private health insurance through work which I managed to have the operation within two weeks on it. On the 26th November 2016 I had my dermoid cyst removed, they also lasered my endometriosis whilst I was down. I don’t cope with anesthetic well as you can see so I had to stay in the hospital overnight.

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Finally we had got the sperm and I had my cyst removed so we could start our IVF! 22nd February 2017 was the day we started my first injection. I hate needles so Joe had to do them for me, I had 1 injection for 4 days (Gonal F) and then on day 5 I introduced another injection (Cetrorelix) I then had a scan to check everything was ok prior to the egg collection, we got the green light that we could have the egg collection on 7th March 2017.

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I went down for my egg collection at 9.30am and they managed to collect 8 eggs which we were over the moon about! On 12th March 2017 I had the embryo transfer, we had paid for embryo glue to try and increase the chances of the embryo sticking. They transferred one embryo as the quality of them was really good. We then had to wait until 24th March 2017 to do a pregnancy test, this felt like the longest 12 days of our lives!

 

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I couldn’t stop waking up in the night as I was so nervous, every time I woke I would say to Joe can we take the test now and he would say no Dan go back to sleep we will do it in the morning. At 6.30am I couldn’t wait any longer so I went into our en-suite to do the test, I done the test and left it in the bathroom for Joe to look at as I was so scared. I was shouting at him to tell me the answer as he was taking so long, he didn’t know what he was looking at so I went into the bathroom and saw the test was positive. I couldn’t believe it so I took another test and also called my sister in law to check that the test definitely said I was pregnant, you can clearly see how dark the lines are!

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Finding out I was pregnant meant that this was then the start of the next chapter of our journey.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my first ever blog post and I can’t wait to share the rest of our rollercoaster journey with you!

Lots of Love,

Danielle x

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