Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The magic number.

Exactly three years ago last Friday, I was on a maternity ward being induced at 41+2 days pregnant. I sometimes catch myself reliving my whole birthing experience in my head and wincing. But being at that same hospital at the same time three years later, I smiled at what would have been happening at that very moment. Smiled at how unknowing I was.

I've always believed in fate and often noticed 'signs' and to some extent I believe in 'The Universe' and everything it has to offer you. And on Friday as I was walking into the hospital at the same time I did three years ago, I thought it must be a good omen. I hadn't miscarried, I wasn't having an ectopic pregnancy, It was a viable pregnancy. Three days prior I'd sat in A&E for six hours, I was told at first I'd miscarried and then hours later I was still pregnant. Which was it going to be? Deep down I knew it would be good news, it was too much of a coincidence that I'd been here three years ago heavily pregnant and ready to give birth. It was a good sign!

After blood tests and a scan and lots of waiting, I was told that it was an ectopic pregnancy. I won't go into detail but it just wasn't possible that it could be a viable one. I felt a flood of different emotions in the space of three seconds, the most intense wave of mixed feelings but mostly I was frightened. I knew what was going to happen next, I'd spent the night before looking at my options even though there was a glimmer of hope it wouldn't come to this. As the doctor explained what those were, my mind whirred and whirred. I never knew it was possible to think so many things in a split second, the brain is a phenomenal thing. But still I was shocked that The Universe hadn't delivered, the 'sign' I thought there was simply my imagination running away with itself. I felt foolish.

It took seconds to decide that the medical route was best. The nurse gave me a shot of methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug - yeah, intense... I feel like I've been hit by a truck) and just like that I wasn't pregnant anymore (in my mind, not yet in my body). I have to go back to the hospital every week for the next month to ensure the hcg levels in my body are dropping (they've dropped by 2000 in four days so the drugs are working). My fingers are crossed this drug will continue to do what it's supposed to and that it doesn't result in a ruptured fallopian tube because that can still happen.

I've never found it easy to write about feelings of sadness or grief, my speciality is generally rage(!). But I am sad, I do feel as though I've lost something. I am terribly sad, I feel withdrawn, I don't want to be around anyone. I feel wretched and I'm in pain. It's a hard thing to grieve, a pregnancy that wasn't 'quite'. It's as though I have less of a right to feel this than someone who has lost a pregnancy further down the line and I know it's ridiculous. Every pregnancy that's lost should be grieved. I'm angry too, angry at others ignorance. I think people expect me to be up and about and doing things but ectopic pregnancies can be life threatening and until my hcg levels drop back to zero I've been told to rest. I could feel the effects of the drug for a month and I have to avoid exercise, alcohol, foods rich in folic acid. I'm exhausted and nauseous. But I'm trying to direct my anger into looking after my body (does that even make sense?), not at the ignorance and selfishness of others (I'm sorry I've lost a baby, have just had chemicals pumped into my body, am still at risk of a ruptured fallopian tube and an operation and have been instructed to rest. I'm sorry but this isn't a straightforward miscarriage!). People are dicks. Everywhere I look there are women pregnant and I feel jealous and I hate it. I'm not a jealous person but this whole experience has left me bitter. I know time is a great healer and this won't be forever but I'm finding it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank goodness for Lil.

As I write this, my almost three year old is playing with her princesses. Three years ago today I had a baby who was a day old. I am so lucky for what I have. I still believe this is a sign. It wasn't meant to be, as vomit inducing as it sounds.

A sign (perhaps) that three is still, and always will be, the magic number.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Can I take a sick day?

Just putting my head in the oven, be with you in a second.
Not quite.

Oh the joys of looking after a sick child. Everything is either amplified and they get on your nerves more than they normally do or they turn into sad little mice. Fortunately she only has a cold, unfortunately that means her inside voice has turned into a shrill shriek alongside one billion demands per second. Oh my ears!

I've never had a ton of patience, especially when I've had to nurse my husband on his sickbed (ie. never because I NEVER get nursed on mine and I don't get a day off to be ill either but you get my drift... manflu is enough to drive any sane woman to madness... manflu does not equal death) but I thought having a child went hand in hand with having all the patience in the world. Yesterday I realised that's a crock of shit, having a child doesn't mean you're any more patient than... well, I don't know what really.

Dear men...

And don't get me started on looking after a sick child when you're not 100% yourself (I don't remember my body aching like this since the newborn stage). I'm as snappy as snappy the alligator (who?!). Every single demand that's thrown at me is met with a tut and an eye roll (ok maybe not the reasonable ones - cuddles, calpol, watching a dvd... I'm not a complete monster) and a countdown until bedtime until I remember that bedtime is sure to be a pain in the arse and the hours that follow, equally horrendous.

When do we, as mothers, get a break? When will we hear that all mothers are entitled to 5 sick days a year (PAID), 30 days holiday and a hefty bonus? Somebody, please?

I'm asking for what's left of my sanity.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Olive and Vince and a princess nightie.

Lilian is obsessed with princesses. This isn't the road I thought she'd go down, we've always opted for gender bending toys and pink was never an option. It's funny how things turn out because she's such a girly girl and loves swirly dresses and her favourite colour is, of course, pink. I won't lie and say I'm pissed off she's turned out this way because secretly I'm delighted. I used to be the same. Oh sue me.

The other day we were in Marks & Spencer and she spotted a Peppa Pig nightie, 'I like that dress Mum'. I explained to her that that was a nightie and you wear it to bed. A bit like pyjamas but dress pyjamas. 'Rapunzel wears nighties to bed mummy...' And then I thought... why doesn't Lil wear nighties? Because she wears pyjamas.

I thought about getting her a nightie but those god awful ones in M&S resembled vomit on a dress (sorry M&S - I love you still, lots) so I did what I always do, every day without fail... went on Etsy. I scrolled down for ages before I stumbled across Olive and Vince and what a find!

In a little workshop in England, we take pleasure in producing by hand fun, practical and comfortable clothing for toddlers. We hold a strong belief that style should never compromise comfort, nor overlook practical issues such as quickly dressing and undressing a toddler. With us you will never find a crunchy denim, itchy lace or clothes that restrict a bendy toddler’s movement. You can have total faith that anything you find in our store will have been made with comfort as THE number one priority. Our own little ones inspire our sewing and we make the stuff we want for them. You’ll see hints of retro styles, symmetry and simplicity, but most of all fun!

Simplicity and fun - the two things I always look for in clothing I buy for Lil. This is the kind of nightie she needed! Traditional and made of 100% cotton. AND the type of nightie she could wear in the summer during the day too, perfect.

And the story behind Olive and Vince is as cute as their nighties (they sell other kids clothes too - tie dye and leopard print... ALWAYS a winner).

Naomi and Natalie both live in Devon, Naomi by the seaside and Natalie in a little leafy suburb. They have been good friends ever since their children were born in 2009, with little Vince belonging to Naomi and Olive belonging to Natalie. Shortly after meeting, Naomi and Natalie embarked on an amazing mission to learn to sew and make clothes together. 

When Lil unwrapped her package (not daintily like a princess), her eyes almost popped out of her head...

'It's a dress!'
'It's a nightie Lil, for you!'
'Wow, like Rapunzel!'

Yep, she looks like a princess.

Her little nightie is so beautiful, I'm going to frame it when it no longer fits her. Such amazing quality, I'm going to buy more!

Read more about Naomi and Natalie here.  

Olive & Vince are on Twitter (although not actual Olive & Vince!). Visit them on etsy here.

Dorset Apple Cake

I'm really shit at baking, as I have pointed out before, but on Friday we got a delivery of local fruit and veg in a box from a nearby farm. Inside were some cooking apples so naturally I was going to make an apple pie but then I remembered how rubbish my last attempt was so googled apple recipes and this one popped up.

I'm not very good at following recipes and like to experiment so really baking isn't for me. But this time I decided to follow every word and see what happened. The only thing I kept out was the almonds as I really don't like them.

It doesn't look too interesting, does it? But it was so good. I excelled myself if I'm honest (although it's not really hard considering how bad I usually am at baking). Perfect with a cup of tea and even better as a Mother's Day treat. And it's super easy.

You're welcome.