From Baby to Toddler

not my baby anymore

My son finally started walking over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. I say finally as he is 16 months old, which in comparison to my daughter who walked at 10/11 months, is a considerable difference. I am overjoyed that he is finally able to toddle after his big sister and all of her friends.

For quite some time, I have felt an immense pressure for him to be walking. As much as we like to state we shouldn’t compare, we all do it. When people would coo and ask how old he was, I would reply with his age, then cringe as they would look curiously at him. Maybe they were wondering how he could still be so small?

At times I would feel like it was my fault. He wasn’t walking because I hardly ever gave him the opportunity to walk. He would always be sleeping, or in his pram, the carrier or being fed in a high chair. Maybe he was delayed because of his early birth or maybe he didn’t receive enough nutrients due to my HG pregnancy. He crawled perfectly fine, and although part of me knew he would do it when he was ready, I still felt like it was my fault.

However, now that he is walking, I feel sad.

I feel sad that my final baby is now a toddler.

I feel sad that I will never have a baby again.

My husband got the snip when our son was 8 weeks old. We came to this decision whilst I was still pregnant, however due to my superstitious mind, I didn’t want to jinx anything. Once we discovered how awful my pregnancy was in comparison to my first, we could only assume each further pregnancy would be worse. This was not something we were willing to risk. In addition, knowing how the pregnancy had by then affected my mental health, confirmed our decision.

However, I sometimes feel bitter that the decision was really taken out of our hands. It wasn’t because we didn’t want more children, but rather that we couldn’t have more children. The possible dangers to my health, physically as well as mentally, were just not worth the risk.

I think this put extra pressure on my perfectionism. I knew this baby was our last, meaning I wanted everything to be just right. I wanted to experience everything I had learnt from my daughter to bring up the perfect child. I can see myself now, I was determined we’d sleep in the ‘family bed’ and I would tandem baby wear, as well as tandem breastfeed. At least I got one out of three!

I don’t really remember the first six months of my son’s life. Only the bad times. I look back through Instagram and Facebook and just feel disconnection. Obviously I was physically there, but I don’t remember being there. The happy smiles, the captions full of happy emoticons, constantly trying to assure everyone in my social media world that I was coping just fine.

I became obsessive.

Paranoid that everyone would be checking my Instagram and Facebook, that if I didn’t post regular photos of my son, they would know the truth.

They would know we weren’t connecting.

But we’re getting closer every day.

He first walked for me. Just me.

My husband and daughter were downstairs, and he just did it. Once I calmed down and everyone came to have a look, he was soon walking around the room like he had been walking for months!

He has been so proud of himself, and I am so proud of him.

It’s as if he knows that him walking puts a smile on my face, he seems to always do it at the right time, rushing to give me the biggest squeeze possible.

He’s not my baby anymore, he’s my toddler.

And I think I love him.

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Toddler’s First Holiday – without us!

toddler's first holiday

We took Nana and Grandma for Mother’s Day lunch. Just as we were leaving, Nana asked if she could take the toddler to Oxford for three days to visit her family. I couldn’t say yes quick enough; immediately dreaming of lie ins, hot bubble baths and lots of blogging time! My husband on the other hand was unsure. Him being unsure made me unsure.

After a long chat we decided she would go, however when the time came I felt uneasy. My daughter had stayed with her grandparents on numerous occasions, it just seemed to feel different with it being quite a distance from us. In the days leading up to the trip, I was plagued with nightmares. From them being in car crashes, to my daughter being abducted and everything in between. When Nana arrived to start their trip, I hugged her tight and nearly didn’t let her go.

Although I had agreed to let my daughter go with the reasoning that it would mean my son and I would have some bonding time. When they finally left, I felt unsure. I wasn’t really sure what to do with my son when my daughter wasn’t around to dictate everything we do. Within minutes I was pacing the house, so I decided we’d go for a walk.

It was strange but he seemed to know right away that he now got a say. Silly things like when we came to the traffic lights, he reached up to touch the button for us to cross the road. Big sister always does this, and he has never once tried to do this before. But as soon as big sister is gone, he decides to give it a try! He seemed so determined that I lifted him out of his pram and let him press the button. He was so pleased with himself, and gave me a lovely long cuddle afterwards, as if thanking me for letting him do something his sister normally does.

The next day we went on the bus into town, he immediately wanted to sit next to me, instead of his usual place in his pram. We snuggled together and watched the world go by. Every now and then he would turn to me and smile. His smile filled by heart.

It also had some negatives. It seemed that without big sister to entertain him, my son became a lot more attached and clingy. I wasn’t able to get anything on my ‘to-do’ list completed which I found very frustrating. I seemed to have forgotten how awkward this age is, too old to just sit and catch up with friends, yet too old to do anything fun! He is normally so content to slot into the background and let his sister take centre stage, that I struggled to find a place for him when the main act was taking a break.

We’re now all back to reality. Struggling through the expected toddler tantrums from having lots of late nights and basically getting her own way in regards to everything. But we’ve also had a few enlightening moments…

We rode the bus into town again today, on my own with both children. I expected to go back to routine of baby in the pram and toddler on the seat, but my son was close to a temper tantrum, insistent that he should sit on the seat too. After the initial panic and arguments with the toddler over who gets to sit in the window seat, I calmed myself down and rationalised with the toddler. She agreed to sit on a special seat next to the pram, meaning the baby got to sit in the window seat and watch the cars drive by.

They were both happy.

I had put my sons wishes in front of my daughters.

It could have been disastrous.

I could have just left my son in the pram to cry whilst my daughter got her own way.

But instead I found a resolution that everyone was happy with.

And I feel really proud of myself for that.

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The Dreaded Chicken Pox. (Where it all began…part 5/5)

Chicken Pox

My daughter got chicken pox just a month before her 2nd birthday. All her friends had had it, I wasn’t concerned. I lathered her in calamine lotion, took silly selfies and she seemed fine. On day 3, she woke up with a chicken spot in her eye. It seemed quite red and irritated. I wasn’t really sure what to do, but not wanting to take an infectious child to the Doctors, I called our GP for some over the phone advice. The GP decided to see her on the safe side.

Quite concerned it could cause vision issues, she sent us to the Eye Specialists at our local hospital. They gave us some eye ointment and antibiotics to help with the infection and sent us on our way.

Once we got home, my daughter became quite distressed. Her temperature would not come down. We tried to put the ointment in her eye but she would not calm down. I handed her to my husband so I could get a better angle, and when I saw her face, I shouted to stop.

Her face had ballooned, and she could barely see out of one eye.

We immediately rushed back to A&E. Her chicken pox had become severely infected and needed treating immediately. They administered IV antibiotics and she had to stay in for a few days. They had to use the veins in her feet, as the veins in her hands were so small. Each dose of antibiotic caused a lot of pain. I had a lot of expressed milk, so my husband went home with the baby whilst I stayed in with my daughter.

My heart ached to see her in pain. I wanted to stop them, even though I knew they were doing their best for her. I was glad to be able to comfort her, just a bit, by breastfeeding her during each infusion and throughout the night.
By the third night, we had run out of expressed breast milk so I had to go home with the baby and leave my daughter with my husband.

I was so angry.

I didn’t want to leave my little girl, she needed me.

But so did my son.

I battled with myself over the possibility of using formula. I wanted to do it. But neither myself nor my husband knew what product to get or how it would affect our son who had not had anything but breast milk. I will be honest in saying, I didn’t really care about using the formula. I was more concerned what people would think of me, a breastfeeding peer supporter, giving my son anything other than breast milk.

My Mom took the baby and I to her house. She suggested we have a bath together, to try and bond whilst I was away from my daughter. I tried but he just annoyed me. He climbed all over me, hit me and bit me. I knew it was because he was frustrated from not feeding for so long, but I didn’t care.

We climbed into bed and I fed my son. Again, I was tense and painful pins and needles rushed through my arms and legs. I flicked through pictures of my daughter on my phone to calm myself, sobbing as he fell asleep. I had a restless night, just waiting until morning, when I could be reunited with my daughter.

Luckily she had improved massively overnight, and we were allowed to take her home that evening.

Two weeks past, just as we thought we were in the clear, my son became pickled in spots. I was anxious that he would suffer in the same way that my daughter did. And I was right to worry.

He constantly wanted to feed and I was drained. Just like my daughter, by Day 3, his temperature soared and we made a visit to the GP. My Mom came with me this time whilst a friend looked after our daughter. My son screamed in his Grandma’s arms, she had tears in her eyes as she explained to the doctor that he was never like this. I sat by the doctor whilst explaining his symptoms.

I was emotionless.

I could see my son in pain, and of course I felt bad for him. But I didn’t want to comfort him.

We were again rushed to hospital and placed in the same room as my daughter had been in just a few weeks before. As I sat on one side of the bed and my Mom on the other, she asked me how I was feeling. I explained that I was still struggling, that I still didn’t feel a connection to my son. She questioned this.

How could I not love my child, as he lay in bed with an IV in his hand, moaning in his sleep?

It wasn’t something I could control. I just didn’t.

He too recovered, but I struggled.

I started becoming a bit reclusive. I wouldn’t go out as often. I felt people were looking at me and judging me more than ever. For both of my children to get so sick from simple chicken pox. Maybe it was my fault? Maybe it was because I didn’t care for them properly? Maybe it was punishment for not being good enough?

I refused to attend the weekly breastfeeding support group, the antenatal classes. I made continuous excuses to not meet up with friends. I spent a lot of summer inside, sticking the children in front of the telly whilst I dozed on the sofa.

When my son was 8 months old. My therapist finally convinced me to start antidepressants (you can read more about that here). I attended a craft therapy group and met a friend that I used to see at the breastfeeding group. We connected and started to share lifts to the group and she convinced me to start going back to the breastfeeding group. It turned out we were taking the same medication, which helped make me feel more normal in a time that was very scary.

I look back on those times, on those first 8 months. And other than the parts I have described in this series, I don’t remember anything. I see the photos on my Instagram and Facebook, I see the smiling faces of my little family looking back at me. But I don’t remember being there. I obviously was there, I can see I was there. Either in the photo or encouraging those smiles from behind the camera.

But I wasn’t there.

My mind wasn’t focusing on the present. And I still struggle to focus, even now.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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The weekend away.

the weekend away

We went away for our wedding anniversary this weekend and had a fantastic time.

We ate lots of food, drank lots of wine and caught up.

It seems silly to say we caught up when we spend a good chunk of our lives together. But it seems to be a different type of ‘together’ when the children are around. Even when they are in bed we spend more time playing on our phones or sitting in silence whilst watching some crap on the telly.

We chat over dinner, ask each other how our days have been. We talk about the children, make plans for the week, organise our lives. We don’t actually have a good conversation that often.

And it was so great to actually have an adult conversation.

I think as parents, and more specifically mothers. We sometimes put all of our focus on our children and we forget that one day, those little people will become big people.

They won’t need us anymore.

Yes, they will still visit, but they will have their own lives, and maybe even their own little families.

And then what?

And then we will be left, just the two of us.

We need to focus on our relationship, and not completely focus on the children, to ensure it lasts past their childhood.

To love each other separately from the children.

So when they grow, our love can continue to grow too.

To remember why we do this all.

Why we got married and had children together in the first place.

We love each other, but we actually quite like each other too.

We laughed and joked. We had fun.

And I forgot.

I forgot about the sadness I feel when he is at work. When I’m alone with the children.

I forgot about the frustration, the anger…the depression.

And I didn’t miss them. I feel awful saying that. But I didn’t.

And it felt great.

I felt like someone other than a mother.

I felt weightless.

I came home and gave my babies cuddles.

Their laughter and joy at seeing me again lit my heart, and I was glad to be home.

I felt love and I felt loved.

And it’s given me hope, that one day…

Maybe not today, but one day…

I will get better.

 

 

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The ‘Rocking Motherhood’ Tag

the 'rocking motherhood' tag

The ‘Rocking Motherhood Tag’

So I was tagged by Sophie from Mama Mei to list a few things that make you a good mother – thank you Sophie!.

Most have been listing ten, because it’s a good round number. But really, I should have looked through the other posts before agreeing to be tagged, as I’m not particularly the most confident in my ‘mumming’ abilities right now!

However, I’m going to give it my best shot and start with the basics. #youareenough

  1. My children have a safe place to live and grow…we have worked really hard, and with the help of family, have bought our forever home. We hope our children will always have fantastic memories in their home 🙂
  2. They always have food in their bellies…I’d like to say I’m a good cook. The amount of times I’ve given my husband food poisoning can be counted on one hand, so that’s good? I’ve never poisoned the kids anyway! Sometimes they eat cereal for dinner, sometimes a full roast dinner. Food = happiness right?
  3. I give good cuddles…still feels a bit weird having a post just tooting my own horn, but hey, I give good cuddles! I find comfort in being tactile and like to give cuddles whenever possible, even when they aren’t particularly in the cuddly mood!
  4. I make sure we’re always out and about…I loathe to stay indoors so pride myself on always being somewhere exciting with the kids. Whether it’s a trip to the library, the soft play centreor the various baby and toddler groups in and around our local area. We keep busy!
  5. I’m making a change. Argh! So yeah. I cringe when people say it, but it is pretty good of me for being honest about all the crap going on in my life. I have been honest about my emotions from the beginning which has meant I’ve been able to receive the best care and support possible. I am going to get better, and my children will appreciate me all the more because of it.
  6. I’m also helping others. Along with my good friend, we’ve seen a need in our local area and filled it. I’ve met so many lovely people in the process of setting up our support group, and it truly fills my heart to know we’ve actually made a huge difference to other peoples lives. And we’ve done all this on top of looking after our own children, and continuing to work through our own struggles. Which is pretty awesome when you think about it.

Wow. Okay. So I’m going to stop at six before my head explodes. I’m actually blushing whilst writing this, it all feels a bit cringe but a bit lovely too! My therapist will certainly be pleased 😉

It seems everyone and their dog have already done this tag, so I’m not going to tag anyone. But if you haven’t been tagged yet…why not give it a shot?

 

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Wildflower Wedding Photography

wildflower wedding photography

I got a message from my husband’s friend asking for a ‘random favour’…a bit odd at first, but when I heard what it was, I was beyond excited!

When Jamie and his fiancé Anika started planning their dream wedding, they were astonished to find how expensive wedding photography can be. They started to explore other options and after seeing the quality of student photographers, who all just needed a bit of experience, Wildflower Wedding Photography was born!

Wildflower Wedding Photography is wedding photography agency for students studying photography and wanting to get more experience and build up their portfolio. It’s a win-win, as the student gets experience, and the happy couple get a cheaper than usual photography service!

A brilliant idea, but what did I have to do for it? Well, the website needed some example photos to get off the ground, so he asked if I could pretend to get married for the day! Could any girl say no?!

I was 29 weeks pregnant on our wedding day so I was…round. I had a custom fitted maternity gown and although I absolutely loved it, I look back on photos and feel a bit fat, which is silly in itself as I was pregnant, not fat! To get back in my dress and look skinny (well, at least skinny in comparison to 29 weeks pregnant) was like a dream come true!

We arrived at the location and were introduced to our photographer, Lydia. She was raring to go with lots of fantastic ideas up her sleeve. We felt relaxed and at ease as Lydia took the lead.

We’ve had a few sneak peaks so far and are so pleased with the results! Take a look below…

could any marriedwoman say nocould any married woman say nocould any married woman say no

If you’re looking for a fantastic, low cost photography service for your special day, give Jamie and Anika a call.

We all deserve to have the memories of our special day captured, whatever our budget!

could any married woman say no

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Mental Health Support Groups and Me.

mental health support groups and me

Shortly after my mental health explosion, a close friend told me about an old school friend of hers, and how she was in the process of starting a PANDAS Foundation support group starting up in a town a half hours drive from us. Although both of us cannot drive, we managed to coerce our husbands into sharing lifts to enable us to attend the first ever session.

I took my son, although he had taken bottles of expressed milk with no problem, I figured he was breastfed, and breastfed babies go everywhere with their mums…right? There were six mums in total and I was the only mum to bring along a baby.

The other mums all had toddlers, and were in the ‘I have PND but am surviving’ team. I immediately felt anxious. All of the stories of their bad times and the past, were my reality. My now.

My son, who normally sleeps like a rock, was unsettled no matter how many times I fed him. Whilst others told their stories and struggles, I flustered over feeding him. Fully aware of the stares each time I did so. The mums each explained that they couldn’t breastfeed due to their depression, or that their struggle with breastfeeding caused them to be depressed. Each time they mentioned it, they stared in my direction.

I felt self conscious for the first and only time in my 2.5 years of breastfeeding. I felt uncomfortable and didn’t really feel I could take part in the conversation. Towards the end, one mum decided to corner me and ask me to tell my ‘story’. I stuttered. I wasn’t really sure what to say. In comparison to their revelations over the evening, I felt my problems didn’t really matter. Despite a lot of their comments ringing true to me, I wasn’t quite sure I was ‘ill’ enough to take part. Which thinking back is quite silly.

I decided it was my son that put me off, and returned to the following meeting leaving him at home with my husband and plenty of expressed milk bottles. This time it was only my friend, myself and the two organisers. I immediately felt more relaxed. I had had a particularly rough week, and being able to talk openly with like minded mums brought a mass of weight from my shoulders. Without my son there, I felt relaxed and was able to truly release some emotions I had held in due to his presence.

Myself and my friend desperately wanted to continue to attend the fortnightly meetings, however over the next few weeks we found for one reason or another one of us were unable to make it. The travel arrangements made things particularly hard. As we are both members of our local Children’s Centre ‘Parent Partner’ Committee, we decided to ask about the possibility of setting up a similar group in our area. We knew there was a desperate need, with so many new mums and no mental health facilities less than a half hours drive away.

The Children’s Centre were unable to support us with funding due to money constraints and as our local centre does not currently have an actual building, were not able to help us find a location either. After a lot of thinking, we decided to try it on our own. We were in touch with a local cafe, who told us that they wanted to help the local community so were more than happy to provide their premises, fortnightly in return for a small donation towards drinks. We were overjoyed and started promoting, spending our own money on marketing materials.

We held one meeting, which was attended by the two of us and one other friend, although we hadn’t met any ‘new mums’, we all left feeling that we had accomplished something and looked forward to the next meeting. Unfortunately the owner messaged us shortly after, stating that she felt that she would not profit from such low numbers and therefore would not be able to continue hosting us. We were devastated. We had explained that it would take time to build numbers, it’s such a taboo for most and takes a lot of bravery to even admit your problems, let alone attend a peer support group!

We used the Christmas break to regroup, and after discussing our situation to a local bistro, he kindly agreed to let us use his restaurant free of charge, for as long as we wish to. Although disheartened, we were determined to make a name from ourselves from the start this time. We created a Facebook page, appeared in our local paper and promoted all over our town. This in itself was terrifying, as this meant our actual names appeared next to the words ‘post partum mental health issues’. If we were in denial that no one knew our issues, they certainly knew now!

Our first meeting came round and we sat nervously waiting…it got about half an hour past our official start time, and no one had turned up. As we started to pack away, feeling hopeless, a mum came in! I nearly squealed I was so excited! Shortly after, another mum came and tried to look in the window from the other side of the road. We clocked her and smiled. She told us after she was just about to walk away, but we caught her eye just in time! We all had a moan, laughed over silly things our children did, and joked over what we had considered normal before our therapists told us otherwise. It was amazing to feel such a connection with these women we had never met before.

Towards the end, one of the mums stopped the conversation…

“Can I just say…YES! THANK YOU!…It is so amazing just to know that I am not alone in feeling this way” she teared up.

We all started to tear up. We had done it. It didn’t matter to us if no one ever turned up to a meeting again. We had helped just one person not feel alone. And selfishly, we had enabled ourselves to feel supported too.

Our group, Mum to Mum, Crediton, has been running a couple of months now, and our numbers are slowly growing. We have also started a day time meet up, for mums that are unable to get to our evening groups.

It’s fantastic. I’ve made some brilliant new friends, ones who understand when you’re an hour late as you just didn’t want to get out of bed that morning, or that you’re still wearing clothes from the night before or even if you’ve not showered in the last week. 

If you’ve been thinking about going to a support group but are too nervous…DO IT! It may be completely overwhelming at first, but it will be worth it, promise! 

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What I’d like for Mother’s Day

what i'd like for mother's day

What I’d like for Mother’s Day…

I’d like to be given a precise schedule of all Mother’s Day activities in advance. No plans makes for a anxious night, which will mean a cranky morning.

I’d like a homemade card. Preferably made in advance, maybe found on Pinterest? Hand prints are always a win. Clean up should be included in the gift. It’s no fun getting a homemade card when you then have to clean up the paint.

I’d like a surprise present, picked from a list of pre agreed ‘surprises’, as actual surprises are kinda scary.

I’d like a Mother’s Day cake, like a birthday cake, but for being a Mum. With candles. And singing. And no one else is allowed a slice of cake. And ice cream?

I’d like to have just one nice photo of my little family, where we are all smiling and looking at the camera. And we’re all clean. Without snot running down any noses. Or even any snot on my sleeves from wiping said noses.

I’d like a nap. But not just any nap, a guilt free nap. Not one of those naps where Daddy is letting the children create havoc (that you inevitably have to clear up) whilst you rest. A proper nap where you wake up feeling refreshed AND the living room is still in one piece.

I’d like a roast dinner. Made exactly how I like to make it, but without me making it. But I can’t watch it being made either else I’ll just end up getting frustrated and do it myself anyway. Maybe whilst I’m having a nap? But the kids also have to be napping therefore not creating chaos whilst I nap/husband cooks to my very precise directions.

Not too much to ask for…eh?

What would you like for Mother’s Day this year? Let me know in the comments below!

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Guess that rash!

guess that rash

One complete week on my new medication and I’m feeling fantastic, I’m more active and energised. I’m buzzing off the success of this blog and my fandangly new website. However, all good things must come to an end…

The week started with my son coming up with a nasty nappy rash. After a few of our ‘go to’ nappy creams didn’t shift it, and it becoming dramatically worse, we decided a trip to the Drs the next day would be in order. We woke the next day to my son’s face covered in a similar, angry rash. With Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease going around the area at the moment, I thought nothing of it, dosed him up with some Calpol and got on with life. It’s a common illness in children which as viral, cannot be treated so just needs to run it’s course.

As the day progressed, the rash became more angry and started to look infected. As both children were extremely poorly whilst having Chicken Pox (ended up in hospital for 3/4 night stays, each) I became quite nervous for him. I showed a few friends the nappy rash and they agreed I should go to the Dr just to be on the safe side.

I got a quick appointment, so went straight to the surgery instead of picking up any extra bits at home first. On arrival, my daughter wet herself. Of course she bloody did. With no spare clothes on me other than some knickers I found right at the bottom of my purse, she paraded around the office bare legged, without a care in the world.

By the time we got to see a Doctor, I was already quite flustered. We saw a few different Dr’s who all seemed quite stumped as to what the rash was. They were pretty sure it wasn’t Hand, Foot and Mouth like I initially suspected. Whilst waiting for another Dr to come have a gander, they suggested I leave my sons nappy off to give it some air…

My son peed on the floor, and all over his clothes. Of course he bloody did.

Because of my sons previous history with infection, they decided to send him to the pediatric unit at the local hospital just to be on the safe side. This is a quick trip for a parent that drives, but for a parent that doesn’t drive. It’s a whole other battle in itself!

So I sat on the floor of the office, trying to stop two naked children from completely destroying everything whilst also trying to contact my husband. He was working in a little village, so of course he didn’t have any phone signal. I vented my frustrations on my Mum to Mum support group page and was so grateful to receive messages from friends asking if they could help in any way. One friend brought my bag and spare clothes for the kids from my house, whilst another brought clean nappies.

The fact that these mums, who I had known for only a month or so, had been so willing to drop everything and help me out in a time of need made me quite emotional. Both arrived and gave me a proper hug. One of those hugs where you lose all of your strength and they have to squeeze it back into you. I was so overwhelmed with their kindness, I nearly burst into tears right there.

I had managed to get hold of my mother in law to give us a lift and my sister in law offered to take my daughter off my hands. We arrived at the hospital and met my husband there. The Dr’s there were also stumped. As he was still eating and drinking, they gave him some generic antibiotics and booked us in for another appointment a few days later to see if there was any improvement.

We continued life as normal, going along to all of our groups and bike rides. Another lovely friend drove us to the hospital for the follow up appointment. We were seen by a few different doctors, all still confused by the rash and even more so as to why it was still spreading, which the antibiotics should have been stopping. We were seen by another doctor, by this time our ninth doctor to have had a look at his rash. She finally confirmed what I had thought all along…Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease! To say I was frustrated was an understatement.

After a dull weekend of mainly staying in, my daughter and I have both woken up covered in a similar rash. I was a bit confused as hadn’t even realised adults could get Hand, Foot and Mouth…turns out we can, and it’s worse in adults than children! Brilliant.

We are both covered in spots, and I’m in a lot of pain. Luckily it doesn’t cause any itchiness or pain in kids, nothing Calpol and lots of Peppa Pig won’t fix. We will be spending the next week hiding in doors. My very energetic children are not used to this. I’ve found all of our craft supplies and I’ve stocked up on bribery foods and two bottles of wine, however not sure if that will be enough. I’m absolutely crapping myself as I don’t do well being stuck indoors.

Wish me luck!

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Me, You and My Medication

Medication

I had never been keen to take antidepressants. I had always been of the opinion that they would only mask the problem, not fix it. I thought they would take away all emotions, or I would be so happy I wouldn’t be able to control them.

My step dad once told me about a time when he had just split from his first wife and a Dr (who since has become my favourite Dr!) called him and offered him some antidepressants. He said that antidepressants were for the weak, and they definitely wouldn’t work. I don’t even remember why he told me, however it has always stuck with me.
After having Alfred, within a few weeks I was being offered every medication going. I refused, sure that I would fix whatever was wrong myself, because antidepressants were for the weak. Months passed and nothing got better. I went to the Drs, where they handed me the Depression and Anxiety leaflet and a prescription for antidepressants. Both stayed in my purse, before eventually finding their way to the bin.

My anxiety levels increased as more and more health professionals tried to convince me to take medication. I was having panic and anxiety attacks over the thought of taking medication to stop my panic and anxiety attacks. I can’t remember how many times I went to the pharmacy, one of many prescriptions crumpled in my hand, heart racing, then rushing home to throw it in the bin.

At 8 months post partum, I finally admitted to my psychologist that maybe I wasn’t doing as well as I was making out. She had not been pressuring me to take medication like everyone else had and we had formed a trusting relationship. I spoke with a friend who had been taking medication for a while and she suggested I see her doctor. My psychologist contacted that doctor so she would know my full history, just in case I masked my worries, one of which were the side effects. I knew the medication could make me feel nauseous, which with my experience with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (read more here) I was terrified of.

The doctor was amazing. She prescribed a medication that the others hadn’t suggested, along with anti sickness medication to ease my nausea fears. I trusted both my new doctor and my psychologist, so finally I went along to the pharmacy and handed in the script. I took the first pill and obviously expected an immediate change, despite my doctor telling me they could take weeks to work.

A week passed and I went for drinks with friends. I knew the medication could make me more sad when mixed with alcohol, however no one ever told me it would also make me more drunk. Two glasses of wine into the night and I was absolutely trollied. The room was spinning and I admitted this to my friends, we all laughed and confided with each other. I was starting to feel confident that I had made the right decision.

As the weeks went on, I became increasingly exhausted. I was plagued with an intense insomnia, alongside an increased anxiety and paranoia. I would walk around the house, ensuring all windows and doors were locked. Looking inside wardrobes and behind doors to check for I don’t know what. Twitching curtains so they lay just right. I had to sleep in a particular position, with each pillow and the duvet laid in a certain way. Then after half an hour, would convince myself I needed to pee, which resulted in checking all the doors again, running back to bed and then faffing with all of the covers and pillows again.

By morning I would be exhausted, if I had any sleep it was broken and full of bizarre nightmares and constant night sweats. I dreaded the moment my daughter would run into our bedroom, ready to start the day. My husband started taking her upstairs with him, giving her breakfast and putting the telly on before leaving, with the assumption I would go upstairs and take over.

What he didn’t know is that I would then go back to sleep. Leaving my daughter to look after herself for a few more hours. She would come and check on me every now and then, asking for another snack or to change the channel. My son is a sleepaholic, so continues to sleep until woken, sometimes until 11am or noon! This became my routine, and still happens now on my bad days, however my husband is now aware that I do it.

My doctor increased my dosage on a few occasions, each time feeling it wasn’t quite right yet. Each time my insomnia increased, along with my nausea. My anti sickness tablets became habit, I would take them each day for fear that not taking them would cause me to vomit.

A few weeks ago my doctor finally decided that this medication wasn’t working, and it was time for a change. By now I had developed a trusting relationship with my doctor and agreed to the change. Although I hadn’t realised in order to change medication, you first had to wean yourself off the current one. I was nervous. Despite my paranoia and depression worsening, my sleep had improved and I had become reliant on my meds. The thought of taking less terrified me.

And it was a bloody rough few weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time in bed, with most days having to be coaxed out by a very dear friend, helping to make sure my children were fed and dressed. I’ve felt very low, all my hard work became unwound, I spent hours comparing my children to others. I started to doubt myself and my writing. I came very close to deleting this blog altogether. I drank. A lot. Luckily with friends who understand and were able to look after me. I’ve eaten way too much cake, and probably 4 or 5 tubs of Haagan Dazs.

For the first time since my depression arrived, I thought about what life would be like without me in it. I started to plan how I could run away. If I left enough bottles around the house, maybe a couple of packed lunches, my daughter would make sure the baby was fed, I was sure. I found myself cuddling my husband each night, asking him if I should be taken to a PND rehab unit. Paranoid that I was going insane, that I would be locked away, or that my children would be taken from me.

Then I was able to start taking the new medication and within days the fog lifted. I felt re energized. I slept! I laughed so much my face hurt. I’m not ‘better’ by any means, but I feel like I’m back on track again. It’s been terrifying. But, the only way is up, eh?

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