#thesnazzysockchallenge

Sounds interesting right?

A few weeks ago I was set a challenge, a dare some might say…

It all started when my psychologist was telling me about her training days, part of her training required her to take herself out of her comfort zone and put herself in the shoes of the patients she would one day work with.

So one day, she found herself in a busy shopping mall, placed herself in the middle and stood on one leg. She did this on and off all day. Why did she do this? To prove to herself that she didn’t have to care about what other people thought of her. I laughed. How mad. Surely everyone looked at her as if she was nuts? They did. She felt self conscious at first, however as the day went on, she stopped caring.

And that is what she wants me to do. To accept that sometimes others may be thinking negatively about me and realise that it makes no difference to my life if they are or not! Easier said than done for the overthinking mum with self esteem issues and social anxiety.

To test this for myself, she asked me to take myself out of my comfort zone. Push my boundaries and do something odd to see how many people actually cared. By doing this one step at a time, I would eventually be able to stop myself overthinking and in turn reduce my anxiety…apparently.

A week passed and I was too anxious to do anything out of my comfort zone. My psychologist was not impressed. I was due to work later that day, I do casual work for a local bistro as a hostess/waitress, the ‘uniform’ being all black. I couldn’t find any black socks to wear with my black pumps (socks with pumps, already a fashion faux pas I know!). It was cold out and I didn’t feel like taking my current brightly coloured socks off.

Okay, this probably doesn’t sound like a big deal to most, wearing bright socks with pumps. But when I spend all of my energy on worrying about what others are thinking about me, this is kinda huge.

I walked to work with my stomach in knots, I was building up all sorts of thoughts in my head. What if my boss told me to take them off? What would I say? What if a customer stared? What if someone laughed at me?

I imagined serving someone I knew and them going home to tell their friends that they’d seen me wearing funny socks at work and that I was obviously an unfit mother. My thoughts quickly catastrophised from seemingly problem free to disastrous.

I took a deep breath and stepped in. I worked for around 4 hours and to my surprise, no one said anything about my socks! Of course they didn’t, why would they? I had been so busy that I had even forgotten I was wearing bright socks. It wasn’t until I walked home that I remembered. I started to over think again, but then stopped myself.

No one had said anything. Everyone had a good night. The colour of my socks had no impact on any aspect of the night.

I continued to walk on my own through the dark high street and suddenly felt a weight lift from me. I could feel a cheesy grin spread across my face and I let out a little giggle. No one cared what I was wearing, why would they? I had done my job, and everyone had left happy.

I craved that feeling, so for the next week I wore patterned socks every day. Only two people said anything, a close friend joked when I was wearing Christmas socks (I was pushing it a bit that day!) and my boss, when he accidentally stepped on my foot and noticed them, he just joked that they were a bit bright.

Instead of feeling self conscious, I laughed along both times and continued as if nothing had happened. The complete opposite from the week before, where I would have panicked for days over who they might have told or what they would have thought.

So, are you willing to accept my dare? Show off your snazzy socks in public and see who cares – you’ll be surprised by how much it could brighten your day!

Share your photos with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #thesnazzysockchallenge – I can’t wait to see your ‘snazzy’ socks!

 

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The Important Meeting

Since having my first child, I have been heavily involved in the local Children’s Centre. From becoming a breastfeeding peer supporter and volunteering at the weekly support group to being a part of their Parent Partner committee, organising Family Fun Days and everything in between. I really thrive off being a part of something good. I love volunteering and being part of a community.

However once I realised just how ill I was, my son was around 4 months old, I started to close in on myself. I stopped going along to the weekly breastfeeding support group as I felt like everyone was watching me. I felt like they knew I was having difficulties, despite the happy smile I plastered on my face each week. (Even now, many people tell me they wouldn’t have a clue to my struggles, I hide them too easily). I felt I was a hypocrite, giving advice to others based on guidelines that I wasn’t able to follow myself.

Once I was in a better place (which I’ll write about in more detail in my ‘Where it all began…’ series) I decided to start up a support group along with a friend who had also experienced post natal depression and anxiety. We had only had two meetings when I received a call from the volunteer coordinator for the Children’s Centre, someone who I had quite a good relationship with until I got ill. She had heard about the support group and was inviting me to attend an Advisory Board Meeting for Mid Devon on the topic of Mental Health. They wanted to hear from real parents going through mental health issues to find out their experiences and how they can help support parents and their families cope during these difficult times.

I was very wary to go. I had been to these meetings before as a Parent Partner, so understood how they worked. This also meant I knew who would be there. There was a long list of ‘important people in suits’ including a local MP and my primary school head teacher. Did I really want to go and open my heart to a bunch of strangers?

Apparently I did…I talked it through with my husband and psychologist and decided to go for it. Once I confirmed with my cycling group that I wouldn’t be able to lead that week, I decided if I was going to be telling my story to a bunch of important people, why not finally take the leap I’d been thinking about for so long and start a blog? And here I am…

I traveled to the meeting with the volunteer coordinator and we caught up. I took my son whilst my daughter was in nursery. I was very nervous, and it seemed my son was too as just as we arrived, he projectile vomited all over himself and his car seat. This is when I realised I had forgotten to pack spare clothes and wet wipes, I assume out of nervousness! Luckily we managed to find him some spare clothes and clean him up.

Completely flustered and feeling like I’d made myself look like an even worse mother than I feel most days, I entered the meeting room. I was relieved to see my Health Visitor sitting right in front of me, this gave me a little confidence boost, to know she was there and had my back if I needed her. Another Mum I knew through the support group PANDAS Tiverton (find out more here) was also there to share her experiences. I kindly let her go first 😉

It was emotional to listen to, but in a way comforting to know we were in the same boat and supporting each other. A few people made comments, mainly apologetic that she had such a bad experience from the team of people that were supposed to help her. We learnt that Health Visitors, the professionals that are a mothers first point of contact during the first six weeks post partum, actually have no mental health training. Isn’t that in itself shocking? How are these professionals supposed to diagnose and support mothers without the correct training?

Although I had a bad experience with my initial Health Visitor, I feel immensely lucky that I agreed to see a student Health Visitor on short notice, who is now fully qualified and one of many in my support system. She is fantastic, mainly due to the fact she was previously a mental health nurse, but also as she is so personable. I wouldn’t have been able to open up to others in the way I did with her in the beginning and I can’t thank her enough for all she’s done to help and support me. Whenever people talk badly about Health Visitors now, I can’t help but stick up for her!

I told my story and what I felt needed changing. In particular I am having trouble at the moment finding childcare in order to start an intensive Cognitive Behavior Therapy course. It seems somewhat ironic that I need this therapy because I’ve had children, yet can’t receive the therapy, because I have children.

The room was opened for questions, mostly positive and I felt confident answering them. Then a man asked a question, I looked up to see my old primary school headteacher…”Let’s get to the bottom of this then, I think PND is caused from too much pressure to breastfeed!”

Er, what?

I felt awful, mainly because I knew the other Mum had felt an immense pressure to feed when she didn’t feel well enough to. I could see she was getting emotional but couldn’t help but stick up for myself. My hand shot up. Everyone turned to face me. I felt like I was in school again.

I explained that I had breastfed both of my children, one I had no experience of PND and the other I had quite an intense experience of PND. I explained that mothers needed support in feeding, not told to give up because they were depressed or anxious. That for me, breastfeeding was my only connection to my son in the early days. And if I hadn’t felt that need to feed him, I probably wouldn’t have held him at all.

Both with tears in our eyes, my Health Visitor confidently told the room that the discussion was over and the topic of conversation was changed.

Despite a negative ending, it was overall a positive experience. I gained a few contacts who are looking into the possibility of holding a creche for PND/A sufferers to attend therapy and have been asked to attend various other meetings to build more awareness in our area.

I am determined to support as many local mums as possible through our support group and awareness campaigns and help others, through this blog, feel less alone and slightly more normal. #1in4

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When you go down to the woods today…don’t.

When you go down to the woods today...

We got lost.

Of course we fricking got lost.

If you’re aware of Haldon Forest, you’re probably wondering how the heck we got lost. But we bloody managed it!

It all started out quite fabulously. My husband decided to take along the big bulky backpack carrier as he refuses to wear by beautiful Boba 4G in ‘Wildflower’. I insisted we bring it along anyway, just in case.

We got to the forest and parked along the road, right next to a large puddle. The toddler decided, of course, she wanted to jump in the muddy puddle (Thanks Peppa.) We agreed, on the condition she put on her waterproof suit first. She refused. Even after we told her how cool it was. Still not interested.

Wanting to avoid tantrums, we distracted with thoughts of seeing Stickman, and we were on our way. Toddler walking, baby in the bulky backpack carrier with Daddy.

5 mins into walk…Daddy decides the bulky backpack carrier is very uncomfortable and he can’t possibly carry baby in it any longer. Not wanting to say ‘I told you so’…(Ha!) I agreed to carry baby in my Boba (how nice of me).

6 mins into walk…Toddler starts tantrumming over the fact baby is being carried by Mama when she wants to be. Daddy carries Toddler in arms.

7 mins into walk…Toddler decides she is hungry. Find bench and have a snack. Baby goes crazy over thought of food. Offer yoghurt tube which he proceeds to squirt all over self, Mama and Daddy.

10 mins into walk…We are off, for real this time. Stop to take photos of children having a lovely time on our family day out in wooden seat. Toddler refuses to let go of drink to smile for camera. Give up.

20 mins into walk…Decide to go off the beaten track to ‘hunt for bears’. Hmm, if you’re sure Daddy.

45 mins into walk…Yup. We are lost. But at least the toddler is happily running along the path. We follow the ‘Butterfly Trail’, butterfly we feel means it will be light and easy? Awwe, maybe this isn’t so bad.

46 mins into walk…Toddler falls over.

1 hour into walk…We manage to soothe toddler, she is content however refusing to walk. Daddy carrying in arms, with bulky back pack carrier still on back, holding nothing.

1 hour 15 mins into walk…Toddler exhausted, baby content in carrier but getting heavy. We sit on a tree trunk for a snack. Whole forest seems deserted. No one to ask for directions. Daddy tries to find where we are using Google Maps. This does not help in the slightest.

1 hour 20 mins into walk…We get up and trudge along again. We now seem to see lots of people and manage to find our way back to the car park, all up hill.

1 hour 30 mins…WE MADE IT! So. Tired.

We checked the forest map and turns out we walked the hardest route, covering 3 miles, mainly uphill.

We’ll stick to the path next time!

So happy! Before the walk truly began...
Before the walk began, at least we got a good photo?

 

 

 

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Sunday Morning Smells…

I woke up to my daughter shouting ‘Boo!’ at the side of my bed. My husband had left me to sleep in whilst he caught up on Match Of The Day upstairs with the baby. I picked her up and gave her a cuddle. Lovely…or not?

I could smell something.

‘Darling? Have you done a fart?’

My daughter laughs and shakes her head. Fart is quite a funny word in the eyes of my toddler right now.

I shouted upstairs to my husband, asking him if she’d done a poo recently. He said no, but that she had been alone in her bedroom for a while.

I quickly rushed into the kids bedroom. I don’t know why I rushed as it obviously wouldn’t have changed anything.

Crap. Literally.

Over the floor, over her bed, on her pillows. Oh look, some actually made it into the potty!

I cleaned it up, changed the sheets, opened the window and shut the door. But why could I still smell it? I had washed my hands, but did it again just in case. I turn to my daughter.

‘Mama, I couldn’t find any wipes so I came to you!’

Of course she did.

Happy Sunday!

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The Sunshine Blogger Awards!

It seems I’m on a bit of a tagging roll 😉 The Sunshine Blogger Awards are a bit different, as each blogger sets their own ten questions!

I have been tagged by the lovely Beth at A Blonde And A Baby to answer the ten questions she has come up with for The Sunshine Blogger Awards, lets see how I get on…

1. What made you start blogging?

I’ve wanted to blog for as long as I can remember really. I have A Levels in English Language and Literature, and have always enjoyed writing. I wrote for an online magazine for a little while but didn’t enjoy the sales side and not having freedom in my writing. My psychologist kept suggesting I start a journal, so I decided to take it one step further and write for the whole internet to see!

2. What’s your signature dish to cook for dinner?

Fajitas. Whenever we have friends or family over for dinner, it’s fajitas. Our Nan (my Step Dads Mum) lived with us and looked after us during the week as Mom worked away a lot, and Nan’s dinner menu consisted of very British ‘meat and two veg’ style meals. If my Mom was due to be home by Friday, she’d make fajitas! It was the only time we’d all sit around a table and share food and stories, so always reminds me of family and good times.

3. What’s been your proudest parenting moment so far?

That’s a really hard one. I’ve been sat here about 20 mins now trying to think of something that I’m proud of. I guess that’s why I’m in therapy, eh? Hmm…I am very proud of pushing myself to breastfeed my daughter for 2.5 years, 1 year of which tandem feeding with her little brother. 

4. Who is your celebrity crush?

Peter Andre. Have had a special place in my heart for him since his I’m A Celebrity days, I had his picture all over my workbooks in primary school and still know the words to all his songs. 

5. What is your biggest pet peeve?

I don’t really know, I get annoyed quite easily. I absolutely hate whining. I never realised how irritating a child’s whine could be until my lovely daughter descended into the ‘terrible twos’. However according to other Mum friends, ‘terrible twos’ soon becomes ‘terrifying threes’, ‘frustrating fours’ before finally… ‘thank fuck you’re off to school fives’. 

6. What is the thing you would most like to achieve this year?

We bought a ‘fixer upper’ last year and it’s going to take years to get it exactly how we want it. With me being a stay at home mum, we’re on a tight budget so will be doing up one room a year. This year I’d like to have got the playroom finished. It will be so great to have a separate space for all the kids stuff, maybe I’ll spend less time organising their toys?

7. Where is the best place you’ve been to on holiday?

Definitely touring the Rocky Mountains in Canada in an R.V. as a child. Best family holiday so far! I have so many happy memories from that holiday. As we have lots of family in Canada, it will definitely be a holiday to re create with my own little family.

8. What’s your go to midnight blogging snack?

Haagan Daaz, Strawberry Cheesecake. If we’re out then I’ll make myself some nachos!

9. Are you a messy play lover or hater, and why?

Love doing it with other people, not so much on my own! When my toddler has other friends to play with, she plays for longer. When she’s on her own, she tends to get bored after 5 mins, then it’s a very frustrating waste of time!

10. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Start a compliments book! And pretty much everything my therapist has suggested to date, especially when she finally convinced me to start taking anti depressants. She’s a bloody hero. 

Awesome set of questions Beth! They definitely got me thinking…

Now I’m tagging Ella at Flex Vegan, Bethany at Being Mummy and Harriet at Mummy Goes Where Florence Goes to answer the following ten questions…

  1. How would you describe your blog to others?
  2. Who is your biggest inspiration?
  3. If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
  4. Do you have any siblings?
  5. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
  6. What has been your biggest achievement in life so far?
  7. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
  8. What do you love most about yourself?
  9. If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
  10. You have a whole day to yourself, what do you do?

Good luck! I’m looking forward to reading your responses! 🙂

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A rushed morning…

6.45am – Toddler wakes. I am not ready to be up yet.

6.50am – Taken Toddler upstairs, turned on cBeebies and made her a bowl of cereal then went back downstairs and back to bed. Luckily the baby is a sleep-aholic like me and doesn’t rise most mornings until we wake him.

7.30am – Toddler wants a snack. Go upstairs, give apple, go back to bed again.

8.40am – Toddler reminds me she’s going to nursery today. Drop off is 9.15am.

Oops.

8.50AM – Spent the past 10mins bribing with biscuits to get toddler to put on pants.

8.55AM – We have decided that the Peppa Pig nightie will work as a top on the condition the toddler wears socks.

9.00AM – I’m still in my pyjamas and the baby still in bed. Toddler decides she doesn’t want to go to nursery today and instead wants to stay in bed all day watching YouTube videos. Ooh, she knows how to tempt me!

9.02AM – Climbed back into bed for a lovely cuddle.

9.05AM – Toddler starts licking my face.

9.06AM – Change of plan, definitely need to get rid of toddler.

9.10AM – Whipped on hoody and trainers, baby still in pyjamas. Chucked in baby carrier to keep him warm and hide the fact I am not wearing a bra.

9.16AM – Dragged toddler to nursery, she sauntered in without even saying goodbye – feeling unappreciated.

9.20AM – Got home and looked at self in mirror. Realised hair was still in braids from night before and have last nights make up all over my face. No wonder the staff were staring at me!

9.30AM – Put baby back to bed, decided to give up on this morning and go back to bed.

 

I’ll try again tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

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Meet Other Mums #BlogSquad

Wow!

I am super excited to announce that I am now a member of the Meet Other Mums #BlogSquad!

I will have a monthly blog on their site, which reaches just over 25,000 – WOW! I never thought I would get the opportunity to reach so many other Mums so quickly. I couldn’t be more pleased!

My first blog on MeetOtherMums.com will go live shortly – I’d love for you all to go check it out!

It’s also a great site for finding other Mums with common interests in your local area, like a dating site, but for Mum friends.

Now to get writing…!

 

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The Bedtime Tag – my first tag!

Yay for blogging firsts!

So very excited to be tagged by The Mum Reviews in The Bedtime Tag, thanks Nicole!

This blog is not quite what it seems, instead of being a quiz on your child’s bedtime routine, it’s a quiz for the grown up’s. Have a nosey and see what I get up to before getting in the sheets…

Describe your usual bedtime routine

It depends what kind of mood I’m in to whether I go downstairs (we have an upside down house) with my husband at 10pm or stay up a bit later to watch a few episodes of reality trash, as my husband so kindly calls it. My current faves are Ex on the Beach and Geordie Shore. I love a bit of mindless telly! I’ll eventually make my way downstairs, spend another half hour or so flicking through Facebook whilst on the loo, then climb into bed.

What are your favourite pyjamas?

I actually sleep in my pants and a vest top, however I like to change into my ‘lounge wear’ once the kids are in bed. I currently have some lovely fleecy jogger style bottoms and a cosy pink spotty dressing gown.

What is your current bedtime reading?

I am incredibly low brow and tend to read on my iPhone or Kindle Fire. I click ‘Romance’ and download whichever ones are free. Most are self published so need a bit of editing, but once in a while you get a fab read! I particularly like the naughty ones, however with the lack of editing, some are a bit cringey. You would think there’s only so many ways to describe ‘doing the deed’ but boy, some get quite creative!

What would I find on your bedside table?

I don’t actually have a bedside table! However I do have a box that my daughter uses as a step to climb into bed with us in the morning. On that there is a Frozen Night Light (our lamp broke and we haven’t bothered buying a new one yet), my compliments book, my journal and a few pens. I like to write first thing in the morning, once I’ve had a night’s sleep to mull over everything!

What scent makes you sleepy?

I don’t really use anything to make me sleepy, however I do love the smell of freshly laundered sheets!

What are your usual bedtime and wakeup times?

Bedtime can vary from 10pm – 12pm, wake up time also varies. Can be anywhere from 7am – 11am, dependent on the previous nights sleep, my mood that morning and whether I have anything on that day.

What are your top three bedtime products?

Um, I don’t really have any bedtime products…I brush my teeth and if I’ve managed to put some eyeliner on that day, I’ll use Primarks Own Sensitive make up wipes to take it off. £1 for two packs, I do love a bargain!

What is your most common sleeping position?

Foetal, on my right hand side, legs in between duvet and hand under pillow with other hand tucked into duvet holding it in place. Every night. Without fail. Sometimes my husband likes to snuggle but as soon as he falls asleep I shove him off and get into this position.

Do you have anything you like to take to bed with you?

My phone. I’m a bad person and sleep with it under my pillow. I often wake during the night so will watch random videos or read blogs to get myself back to sleep.

What is your worst bedtime habit?

Probably a mixture of being on my phone and shuffling the duvet about to get into my position to sleep, it definitely annoys my husband – oops!

I tag Jelly With The Belly and Harriet at Mummy Goes Where Flo Goes to answer the questions above.

 

THE RULES OF THE BEDTIME TAG

Step 1: Thank the person who nominated you, and link back to their blog.
Step 2: Display The Bedtime Tag badge; which you can find above. (save the picture)
Step 3: Answer the ten questions included above.
Step 4: Nominate fellow bloggers to take part and answer the above questions.

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And then there were four…(where it all began part 3)

So where did I finish off…I guess I was just waiting for 37 weeks. I continued with my weekly admissions for re hydration and also continued to breastfeed my daughter. I got a lot of flack for this as people thought that me feeding her was making me sick. I was however reassured by my consultant (the nice one), my doctor and my breastfeeding practitioner that what I was doing was perfectly safe and had no relevance to my pregnancy and sickness. [I will probably write a whole post about this one day, when I do, I’ll link it here!]

So I got to 36 weeks and my midwife brought me in for my first sweep. She told me I was looking promising, which is great to hear whilst a hand is rooting around your nether regions, and I was told to wait for my induction date.

We went in on the afternoon of the 30th December. I was all set so had regular monitoring then waiting for a delivery room to become available. We ordered the 4 day TV package, knowing now that we would be in for a long haul. Had dinner then my husband went home to look after our daughter, promising to bring her in for a visit tomorrow.

The next day was quiet, we walked the hospital halls, making it a game by touching each end wall. My daughter came for a visit with Nana, we bounced about on my birthing ball, went on lots of walks and had lots of cuddles as well as she has her last breast feed as an only child. I was emotional. I didn’t know this would be the last time I saw her and that she would return not as my baby, but as a big sister.

Walking through the hospital, little did I know next time I saw my daughter she would be a big sister!

We were just trying to decide whether to order a Dominoes or a curry when we were told it was our turn to go onto Labour Ward! We had not been expecting this. Well, we had, but not so quickly! I called my Mom and told her it was go time, she squealed and rushed in to be with us. Lots of people frown when they find I had my Mom with me for both pregnancies, however I think it is important to have a second female birth partner (someone other than your partner). Research shows mothers who have a female birth partner, have an easier childbirth. This is because they get double the oxytocin, not just there own love hormone flowing, but the love hormone of the other female flows through to the birthing mother. How awesome is that? Besides, due to our first scary encounter (which you can read about here) I needed her there in case it all went wrong again.

So Mom arrived around 5pm, just as they were inserting my cannula to start the Pitocin and break my waters. Seeing as it took around 8 hours with my daughter to start pushing, we decided to order a pizza anyway and I settled onto the birthing ball in the hopes to speed things up.

By the time the pizza arrived (double pepperoni and jalapenos) I was getting very strong contractions. The midwives were finding it difficult to keep a track of the heartbeat and contractions using their wireless monitors with me bouncing, I ended up with around 8 different straps to keep them in place! Otherwise, they left us alone, with the lights lowered and the radio on. I asked my husband to text in and get some words of encouragement but he said it was lame – I think he’s lame. I ate a slice of pizza, I was determined to not let it go to waste, but the contractions were getting stronger and stronger. I needed the gas and air already, but I felt like such a wimp for giving in at only 1.5 hours in, once checking my contractions, they gave it to me and I started sucking like mad. I hadn’t felt much effect the first time around, however this time I felt light and dizzy after the first inhalation.

But then, I felt the need to push. I panicked, don’t we all? I wanted to stay sat on my ball, well they could maybe move the ball to catch the baby…however the midwife was insistent I get up on the bed and go on all fours. I tried this position with my first and hated it, which I told them, but they thought I should try again. So up I went, I started not being able to move myself properly so my husband lifted me into position. I was still inhaling the gas and air without stopping. This is where it all went fuzzy…

I remember my Mom asking me if I wanted to turn around. I tried to say ‘Yes’ but nothing came out. I tried to nod my head but I couldn’t. I tried to signal with my hands but felt like I couldn’t control them. Then everything went black.

I had overdosed on the gas and air and had started having hallucinations. The following did not actually happen in ‘real life’, but purely in my head. In ‘real life’ it probably lasted about 3 minutes tops, but in my head it felt like hours.

I saw my husband pulling the emergency button, just like during my first pregnancy. I was screaming, asking if my baby was okay, no one would answer. Doctors and nurses rushed into the room and rolled me out to theatre. I was given a gas mask and all I could see were the harsh lights above me. Then everything went black again. I heard a voice, it was asking me whether I wanted to live or die. I couldn’t respond. It asked me whether I wanted to live or if I wanted my baby to live, I shouted ‘No!’ The voice then told me I needed to breathe, I responded that I was trying. Then the voice told me to let go. So I did. 

I don’t know what the first voice was all about, it still haunts me now. However after shouting ‘No!’ the voice was actually my Mom’s. She was holding my face and trying to get the mouthpiece out, I had clamped my jaw shut in my hallucinated state. She managed to get it out and told me to breathe. My eyes refocused and I was ‘back in the room’. I had basically had flashbacks to my daughters after birth disaster. I asked if my baby was okay but had completely forgotten I still had to actually birth my son.

I pushed, and out he came. He was 7’13 and covered in vernix. He looked gross. He was placed skin to skin, but I asked for a towel to wipe all the gunk off me. I felt nothing. My Mom cut the cord whilst I gave him his first feed. The whole room was tense, none of us could relax and be happy until my placenta had been birthed. I passed him to my husband so I could concentrate on the final phase. I pushed and out it came. Oh, was that it?

I was a bit confused, I had been expecting some drama at least, so when nothing happened it was just a bit odd. We held the baby and started taking pictures, I watched him be weighed and even dressed him myself. I asked my Mom what I was supposed to do now, I didn’t know what a normal person did after birthing a child. She ran me a bath and I shakily stepped in, the adrenaline was still rushing through me, I couldn’t stop my legs from twitching. Apparently this is normal. My Mom and husband held my son as I looked on from the bath, wishing for an emotion, anything to come to me, but nothing.

My Mom left, it was New Year’s Eve so she was off to the pub to celebrate the news with friends and family. My husband was allowed to stay overnight this time as policies had changed in the 18 months since my first born. We both admitted we just wanted our daughter with us. I had assured myself once our daughter was here, that rush of love would come. The fireworks started, but we couldn’t see any from our window. I text a few family members and close friends the good news. I fed my baby and he was so content. I tried to get him to sleep on my chest, just like my daughter did, but he squirmed and wouldn’t settle until I handed him to my husband where he slept soundly.

I lay in my bed, confused and just wanting to sleep. Everything had gone perfectly. This was what I had always wanted, our little family was complete, so why did I feel only emptiness inside?

To be continued…AGAIN!

[Geesh, this is taking way longer than I had anticipated. I could write a novel! I wonder if anyone is actually reading this…]

 

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Pregnancy, HG and Me (where it all began – part 2)

We were blissfully happy.

I went through the typical ‘Baby Blues’ on days 3 to 5 post partum, which included a good cry in front of my in laws on day 3, as for some stupid reason I decided going to a family BBQ was a good idea. It wasn’t.

I felt like I eased into parenting. Breastfeeding went really well, we managed to prove all of our family wrong by actually using our cloth nappies, we were peacefully cosleeping and I had made some lovely new friends from various Mum groups, including the breastfeeding support group I later trained to be a part of. I thought I had it down. And I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was very judgmental of those who didn’t parent in the same way that I did.

We were so cocky in fact, that when my periods returned at 8 months post partum, we decided to let nature takes it’s course. Which was a good thing too as at 9 months post partum, we were pregnant!

It all went down hill from there…we were gleefully happy, but within days my Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) came back twice as hard. Over the course of the next 32 weeks, I was admitted into hospital for rehydration and fluids a whopping 30 times. 30 times where I had to leave my little girl; my breastfed, cosleeping, little girl, to sit in a hospital where I received IV fluids, anti sickness and pain relief medication until I was able to keep down a dry piece of toast then sent on my way… until the next week. It was heart wrenching. This baby inside of me, that was supposed to fill our lives with joy, was breaking me, mentally and physically.

We had always decided we would only have two children, mainly due to how my body can’t seem to handle pregnancy very well. This meant I put a lot of pressure on trying to enjoy my ‘last pregnancy’ as much as possible. I forced myself to take weekly photo updates, plastering a grin on my face for my family and friends to see on social media. I got a maternity photo shoot done, to try and find some beauty in a crappy situation. I already felt detached from the baby inside me, I resented it from taking me away from my baby girl. I wanted to bond with it just like I had the first time around, but the sickness made it so hard.

During one hospital visit, at around 20 weeks pregnant, a female consultant sat me down and calmly asked how everything was at home. As these are usual questions to ask when a woman is alone in hospital, I thought nothing of it. But then she asked again, I again answered that everything was perfectly fine, my husband was at home looking after our daughter to keep some routine in the upheaval that was this pregnancy. A few hours later, at around 3:30AM, she came back and asked again.

By this time, I was quite annoyed. I knew exactly what she was hinting at, so asked her outright why she was asking. She explained that it was ‘impossible’ to have HG so severely that I would be admitted weekly, which must mean I am trying to get away from an abusive relationship.

Eh, excuse me?! You can see me, not able to even keep water down, and yet you are accusing me of making my condition up because you think my husband is beating me? I was shocked. After finding my words and assuring her my husband couldn’t hurt a fly, and that our relationship was anything but abusive, the doctor then started a different route. She started talking about my daughter, and stated that I must miss her so much during these hospital visits. Of course, hormonal pregnant woman starts crying when she thinks about missing her darling daughter. The doctor smiles, tells me I’m obviously mentally ill, which is why I’m getting so sick, refused to give me any more medication and referred me to the peri natal mental health team.

I didn’t know what to do. I knew that although I was quite down, I knew I was down because of the sickness, not sick because I was down! I was a part of a few HG Facebook support groups, so posted about my situation that same morning. Luckily, I was put in touch with the charity Pregnancy Sickness Support (find out more about PSS here). They were able to explain to me my options, and gave me some great advice on how to change consultants and who they recommended from my hospital, as well as a volunteer peer supporter who had also been through HG. She was my rock. I was able to change to a brilliant male consultant who understood HG completely, we got a game plan and decided that should the HG continue throughout pregnancy (like it did with my first pregnancy) then I would be induced at 37 weeks due to bile acid build up and liver troubles in myself.

Now I knew there was an end, I just had power through. I had assured myself as soon as the baby arrived, everything would be fine. Our family would be complete, we’d live happily ever after…if only life worked like that, eh?

[Next time, our baby boy’s birth and delivery…]

(Oooh, I feel like I’m writing a drama series, it seems so much more intense all written down!)

 

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