Sunday, 2 December 2012

we dreamt of this

I know, I know, I disappeared. When things get really tough - I withdraw. I go quiet. I implode.

But today there were these 2 little moments that I don't want to forget. So I must record them here.

These moments melted my heart a little bit and lifted me from that blue place I seem to be swimming in so often.

So this evening I was holding Skittle and rocking him round the living room hoping to eek him out for another 20 minutes before tea time, when hubs came over and put his arms round us both and we stood in front of the twinkly Christmas tree and had a family hug. And I was aware and I felt. I embraced the moment and let it be.

And earlier this morning something similar happened...hubs and skittle were laughing and playing on the bed while I tidied and as he looked over at them enjoying one another I couldn't help but sigh a happy sigh and say to hubs...

We dreamt of this.

Friday, 12 October 2012


I know I'm biased but I think Skittle is pretty special. In NICU he often used to shoot one arm up in the air superman style and quickly gained the nickname 'Incredababy' between hubs and I.

A friend of mine had a 'superbaby' vest for her little one, only they live in America and I didn't think I'd find one here. But low and behold mothercare stocked a t-shirt version, hurrah! But then it was out of stock...nooooo!

Last week a friend came round and had sourced a babygro from's so cute!

Here he is modelling it...

He's so handsome. And that little curly baby finger resting on the sofa just melts me.


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

eight months

8? Really?! How did that happen?

The monthly photos this time had to be taken on my phone :( because our camera was in a box, or in the car, or in another flat, or in another land, we don't know where anything is!

The location was my parent's woodstore and Skittle was wearing a super cute little bear outfit that is nearly too small so we wanted to get some snaps before it was too late.

He's wearing little boots that his Great Grandad bought him the day he died. They're very special boots that sort of deserve a post all of their own. Sadly I thought they were bigger and they actually wouldn't fit on Skittle's feet...oh well, they're photographed now!

At 8 months Skittle loves to bang his hand on the table, the duvet, our faces, our hands, his muslin, anything he can get his little hand on really. He loves books, especially "that's not my" usborne books. He likes chicken and rusks. He has started to drink from a cup, although we all end up very wet and he swallows very little! He likes to shake his black and white book. He has a fantastic range of facial expressions and likes to scratch everything that comes near him.

Happy 8 months gorgeous boy!

Friday, 5 October 2012

this flat

Dear Flat,

I don't like you. I don't like your smell. I don't like your hallway. I don't like your loo. I don't like your walls. I don't like your entrance.

I know you're really pretty. I know you're beautifully decorated. I know you're the nicest flat we've ever lived in. I know you're in a lovely location, with a lawn and a carpark.

I appreciate how generous your owner is. I appreciate her kindness and flexibility. I appreciate her willingness to let us live here for less than the rent market dictated.

I thought you were perfect. I thought you would be our happy home for many years. I thought we'd make amazing memories in you. I thought we'd be friends for a long time. I thought I could imagine us here for a whole lot longer.

But the thing is flat, I don't like you.

I remember the time we moved in and hated your second room. I remember thinking I hate you second room, you're supposed to be for our baby but we've miscarried twice and I wonder if you'll ever be needed. I remember when my pregnant sister in law came to stay and how much it hurt. I remember wondering if I'd be able to get out of bed in the morning because I felt so low. I remember dragging myself to work on the tube for weeks. I remember so many pregnancy tests. I remember the positive one. I remember the fear. I remember the pain. I remember the cramps. I remember the bleeding. I remember the crying.

I still think of the sickness, the staring down the loo, the silly seat that doesn't stay up. I still think of the time I would put bananas outside the front door because I couldn't cope with the smell. I still think of the time I thought I would pass out while hubs was in the shower. I still think of the time I fainted in the bedroom, under the table, in the lounge. I still think of the terror before each hospital trip. I still think of the sleepless nights and the agony of pregnancy.

I picture myself alone in the lounge without Skittle. I picture myself sobbing while I was too sick to visit NICU for long. I picture myself expressing night after night after night. I picture myself trying to nest when I'd missed the nesting phase. I picture myself home with Skittle and hubs struggling more and more and more. I picture myself isolated, too scared to leave the house, too afraid to tell anyone how I felt. I picture myself depressed and self harming. I picture myself blank and failing.

So I know you're great flat. I know you are lovely and very pretty. I know you were our first home as a family of 3. I know we will always look back on you with an odd fondness.

But flat, I just don't like you. Don't take it personally. It's just I'm not going to miss you. It's not you, it's me. Maybe one day we'll meet again, we'll pay you a visit and reflect on our time here in a different light, but until then I can't wait to go our separate ways.

All the best for the future,

Your tenant x

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

it wasn't supposed to be this way

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

It wasn't supposed to happen like this.

We were going to live here for a good few more years.

We were going to enjoy this lovely flat.

We were going to share child care and I was going to return to work.

We were going to have more children.

I wasn't meant to be so sick.

I wasn't meant to have PTSD or PND.

Skittle wasn't supposed to be early.

He wasn't supposed to be apart from us.

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

Sitting on the lounge floor tonight, our last night in this home. Sobbing and praying with hubs, so sad that it's come to this. Absolutely relieved to be moving nearer family, so grateful that hubs got a new job, so thankful that Skittle is here and growing, so overwhelmed when we look back over the last 4 years. But so sad that everything we planned has been turned upside down.

We're looking forward to this new season though. We're looking forward to a new home that's not marred with memories of pain and illness and heartache. We're looking forward to a new chapter. We're looking forward to a different pace. We're looking forward to some space and some time to heal.

Deep breaths, here's to the future.

Monday, 1 October 2012

what a day

I feel like I'm in a washing machine! I had the most intense, raw, painful, productive, beneficial counselling session this morning. As I came out hubs told me he got the new job! Which means we get to relocate and live nearer our families...which is a massive relief...and really exciting. But it's also kind of sad...we never planned for things to be this way, we didn't think we'd be moving for a good few years yet. But everything of the last 4 years and in particular our NICU nightmare has had such a huge impact on us that we just can't stay. This job, this move, this choice is definitely the right thing for our family. We're just sad it had to be this way. But we're so incredibly pleased to be moving. It's hard to balance. Then I found a journal I wrote at the time of our second miscarriage while I was packing and it just added to the momentous, pivotal nature of the day. I sat their with Skittle on my lap reading it feeling completely overwhelmed. So many tears, so many prayers, so much has happened. I am one grateful, exhausted, spinny girly today. Don't know whether I'm coming or going!

Trying to tell family on skype that hubs got the job!

mixed bag

Well hubs has gone back to work. Having had 2 months off to avoid wife PND hospital admission, this week was the week that had loomed. 

I felt ready. Ish. 

We had done almost everything I had wanted to manage alone, so that when it came to flying solo I could indeed fly, not fall. I had gone to the shops, got used to being out the flat more and generally just become slightly more socially acceptable. 

That said, it's been a mixed bag. There have been moments that I've loved. Moments I'm proud of and enjoyed. Moments that I'll cherish. I popped Skittle in the sling and we walked round the corner to a friends house. 

I walked. With Skittle. Round the corner. To a friends house. Me. Baby. Yay. 

This is a big deal. Even if it sounds like I'm maybe going a bit over the top. To me, this was huge. 

I sent hubs a picture of us all wrapped up and ready to go!

Then there were also moments where I felt so overwhelmed, out of my depth and depressiony. Where I don't think I said anything for a couple of hours and can't remember time passing, where I blanked off. I hate that. Skittle doesn't deserve that. 

And the other thing, something that made a really big difference. The fact that I only actually had one day on my own. Of the three days that hubs was back on shift, my Mum and sisters came to stay for 2 of them. So really it wasn't that big a deal. I had company and plans. 

I am trying to focus on the positive and say it was a good start. We did well. We did so much better than before. Skittle is so much bigger and into books and toys, he isn't anaemic anymore and doesn't sleep as much. I loved spending time with him and doing his veggies and reading him stories. 

But then the positive disappears behind the nagging voices that I didn't really do that well at all. That it's been 8 months and I am ridiculous for thinking that one day is an achievement  That it's pathetic that I have to put such effort into something that is so natural. That there are wonderful single parents, who are friends of mine, some with 4 kids, doing a fabulous job every flippin day, all day. So why am I so crap at it? 

And Skittle is so adorable, cute and easy. He hardly cries and isn't crawling or even sitting so he doesn't need chasing around. So what am I so scared of?

Sunday, 30 September 2012


Just some biased mummy indulgence.


That is all.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

big day out

Having mastered waitrose we thought we'd really push the boat out and go to the paralympics. 

Crazy fools.

We were hooked on the Olympics and the Paralympics. It was so great! Living in London in 2012 we decided it was a must to visit the park. 

So we stayed home all day to get some day release tickets with the intention of not actually going to an event, just going to the park and saying we'd been there.

We went at a good time of day and didn't have to queue to get in at all. And sped through security.

We did go to our seats in the Aquatic centre but it was too much. Skittle started to cry and I started to have a panic attack. So we called it a day.

A good day. A scary day. A big day.

But we did it! And now we can say we went to London 2012 on our 4th wedding anniversary.

We were only out of the house for 5 hours and were home in time for Skittle's tea.

We didn't walk into this crowd, we stayed up the quiet end and took photos of the stadium. Fun times.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

on the move

We’re moving. Again. Since getting married we have lived in a ridiculous number of different homes. Are you ready?

1. Gorgeous flat in Dorset for 4 weeks whilst trying to decide whether we were going to take the leap and move to London. 
2. Hideous shared house for 4 weeks whilst looking for a rental in London having chosen. 
3. Lovely but teeny studio flat in Woodside park. 
4. Lovely but teeny studio flat with a bathroom, next door to previous flat in same building.
5. Bigger one bed flat above the North Circular and with drug dealers living downstairs.
6. Lodged at friends in their top floor for 2 months whilst we waited for our new flat to become available after an unfortunate delay with landlady.
7. Our current flat, lovely decor and location in Whetstone and a good deal but still flippin expensive and impossible to afford on 1 salary. 

So we’re moving out of property number 7 next Thursday and we don’t know where we’re going to live next. Hubs has an interview on Saturday for a job down south so hopefully he’ll get it and we can relocate back to Dorset and live in flat number 1 again. 

Flat number 1 is owned by my super amazing friend Becci and her husband who have left it tenantless for a month until we know what we’re doing. Uber generous or what?! I really want to move back nearer my family. Having been through quite a traumatic year I’m ready for a rest. I’ve handed in my notice at work and am all set for a year out. However if hubs doesn’t get the job we’ll be staying in London and flat hunting...again. Groan. At least we get to stay in number 6 again.

I want to know where we’re going to be come next month. I want to imagine life with my toddler and know what friends we’re going to have and which hospital we’ll frequent. I just want to know either way. Until we do I just can’t think about anything passed the end of each week. I’m feeling all unsettled.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

night time fears

When will PTSD leave me alone at night? The last few nights haven’t been that restful. I’m a bit tired. I’ve worried about the sublime to the ridiculous. 

Last night I dreamt Skittle was still in hospital. Mid-September and he still hadn’t been discharged and I’d forgotten to visit him and he was lonely and someone tried to feed him prawns. Honestly. Prawns?! I don’t even like prawns. But prawns wasn’t the bit that woke me up in a stiff and sweaty state. 

It was the lonely bit. Was Skittle really lonely in NICU, or was he so poorly, so anaemic, so tiny, that even on the few occasions when he was awake he wasn’t aware. Did he really recognise my voice? Obviously 40 weekers do, but then they had an extra 10 weeks of listening to their mother’s voices. Skittle missed out, how crucial is that womb time listening? I sang, hummed and sang some more in NICU, eventually one of the sister’s commented on it! I sang songs I knew the words to and songs I didn’t, I made up songs and I sang my prayers, whether he was awake or asleep that boy was going to hear my voice whether he knew it or not.

And forgetting to visit? Did he feel forgotten? Every day I would do everything to be with him for as long as I could. But it was never long enough in my eyes. We weren’t together. Mum’s and babies are supposed to be together. End of. 

In most of my dreams lately we’ve been separate and I’ve been frantically looking for him. I’ve found him under a pile of washing on our bed having searched and screamed my way around the flat. I’ve found him being held by my mum in the garden while I’m stuck inside banging and screaming out the window but no one can hear me. I’ve found him being pushed in the pram by my mother-in-law when she hadn’t asked and I was stamping and screaming that she had taken him without my permission. 

Do you see a pattern emerging? Basically, we’re apart for some reason, I scream, no one listens, I tense up, I wake up. 

Urgh. It’s better than the nightmares of previous months which always ended in death. But it’s still unsettling and not exactly restful. 

I shall be glad when they are no more. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

the holiday that never was

We’re not going on holiday. 

We were going to go to America. Oregon, the West coast, 2 flights away. 

The holiday was booked in a moment of madness, whilst looking at our bank account and deciding it was now or never, we scraped the funds together and booked it. We booked it 2 weeks after Skittle came home, seemed like a good idea at the time, I thought it would be something to look forward to and that by the end of September I’d be feeling ‘back to normal’.

Oh how wrong I was! What were we thinking? I hate flying. Really loath it. And that’s on a good, calm, average day. My fear of flying has got worse, in 2007 me and hubs went to South Africa and Australia on a once-in-a-life-time/everyone-goes-travelling-in-their-early-twenties kind of trip. I was scared and felt ill but not in the way that I am now. Maybe it’s old age creeping in early. Maybe something happened to my hormones or balance canal or mind. By the time late 2009 came along and my brother was getting married in Oregon, I was full on terrified of the thought of flying and hideously air sick. Jet lag makes me feel like I have the flu for about 5 days, my body clock can’t handle it. I struggle with a late night, how hubs works shifts I have no idea. 

Anyway, what were we thinking? According to all our friends who have had babies, the earlier the better when it comes to flying. And we really took that advice on board and wanted to go while Skittle was still breastfeeding and young enough to sleep a fair bit. I miss my brother and his wife so much, we are desperate to see them. 

But as September 27th has crept ever closer I’ve found myself dreading the travel. But there’s been a real battle of mind going on because I am longing to see my brother and his family and I know they can’t wait to see us too. I don’t want to disappoint them and I really want to meet my niece. I want to spend time with them and learn from them and enjoy them. But everything else is getting in the way. PTSD is getting in the way, PND is too. My normal fear of flying. Flying with a baby. Two flights, two. And then there’s the fact that my brother is younger than me and that my niece was born 6 days before Skittle, on her due date. Four days after the due date of our baby that we miscarried. There’s a lot of emotion tied up in that. Far too much for me to deal with in time for a smooth holiday mental health wise. 

Then I saw Kylie’s post and thought maybe we should go. If she can do it I can do it kind of thing. And my lovely GP went to India to see her family when her little one was 11 months and she said it really helped her progress. Only I knew deep down I couldn’t do it. I started having nightmares about planes and escape doors and decided as much as I want to see my family, now really isn't the time to go. I was actually hoping that Skittle’s consultant would declare him unfit to fly. But then we decided really I was unfit to fly. 

So off we popped to lovely GP and she wrote a medical report for the travel insurance company in the hopes we can make a claim. 

The things is I do really want to go. Even though I don’t, I do. I want to hug my brother and sis-in-law and see our babies play together. I want to make sweet memories and live and love and cherish my family. I want to take photographs that we’ll treasure forever and see new things and have quality time together. 


All in good time. When Skittle isn't neutropenic and when I’m a little more stable and when it’s right. We’ll go, we’ll see, we’ll embrace, we’ll enjoy. 

And I’ll be very drugged up for the flight. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

date night

Last week hubs and I had our first date night since Skittle's arrival. To be honest, we've never been very good at date nights, his shifts are on a 13 week rota and no one can plan 13 weeks at a time so we pretty much have no routine and no two days, let alone two weeks are the same. But seeing as it was our wedding anniversary I thought we'd use the excuse. 

Not being anywhere near ready to have a babysitter/relative to look after Skittle I used my parents house for the location! I gave Skittle his bedtime feed and put him down in the cot, opened the window, turned on the baby monitor and moved the garden furniture to the patio just outside our room. So we didn't actually go anywhere! Perfect. 

It was going to be ever so low key. Literally just eating our dinner outside with a couple of tealights flickering. Sweet. But then my little sister caught wind of my plans and decided to get involved. Personally I think she's been watching a few too many princessy, sickly sweet, romantic barbie films. The girl is 9 and she was intent on setting us up a full on restaurant outside, bless her. 

The conversations we had were hilarious.

Sister: Would you like me to pick some fresh flowers for your table.
Me: Umm ok, if you like but I'm fine without.
Sis: No it would look pretty and I could pick them in the garden.
Me: Ok.
Sis: What are you going to wear?
Me: Just what I'm wearing now.
Sis: Oh no I think you should wear a skirt and a pretty top.
Me: Well I'll see how long it take Skittle to fall asleep.
Sis: What about jewlerry? I've got some you can wear.
Me: Ok sweetie thanks, you're being very thoughtful. (I wore a plastic bead necklace and bracelet that I think came free with a magazine!)
Sis: It would be nice if you had some music.
Me: Hmmm maybe we could get a CD player. 
Sis: Yes and my classical music CD.
Me: Ok!
Sis: Shall I help you with the candles?
Me: Sure.
Sis: Oh no I've got some left over, I know I'll do you a big love heart on the floor...oh no I've still got some left, I'll write "love" for you.
Me: Wow you're really excited about this aren't you!

So in the end, date night was pretty special and she did everything! She put a party dress on and became our waitress for the evening, she was menu writer, CD operator, entertainment provider, photographer and general darling. Love her.

She took all the photos for this post and generally had a whale of our time! Skittle slept soundly and the baby monitor was a table feature. Excellent, so that's our date nights sorted for the next five years! 

Monday, 17 September 2012

big toys

Skittle is growing up. There's no doubt about it.  He's been starting to lift his head more and we thought it might be about time to progress from a lie flat play arch to a supported sitting play ring thing. We had a voucher left over from Christmas and thought we'd use it towards a new toy for Skittle, but ELC had a sale on so we didn't spend any of our own pennies...yippeee! Don't you just love shopping with vouchers!

Initially he was a little unsure about these new surroundings. But he quickly adjusted and gave us possibly the biggest smile ever. It was really nice to see him so happy because he's not been himself at all since being poorly.

It was so sad packing up his old play mat. We are never going to have another baby. Most people are talking about next time, packing up clothes and putting them in the attic, recycling toys and imagining what the future siblings will make of them. But we've already passed on smaller clothes, taken things to the charity shop and given away his play mat. I shed a tear and then was overwhelmed with thanks that our baby that nearly never was, is growing up.

Apparently no matter how many toys I surround him with, he'd rather just suck a muslin.

Friday, 14 September 2012

out and about

It's a been a while since I've been out and about on a regular basis. A couple of days after we came home from NICU we went out for a walk, for about 5 minutes if that. I wanted to enjoy it, but I didn't. Then gradually over the next couple of weeks and a few more attempts, PTSD really set in and I didn't go out again (other than for appointments) for about 3 months. I stayed safely inside where I could control all the risks. And although at times I will still terrified indoors on my own it was a lot better than outside, so inside I stayed. 

Our 1st walk, March 2012
I did want to go out. I had ideas of taking Skittle places and meeting up with a friend and even going on the train to see my family but in the main I couldn't even follow through with a walk outside the flat block. I'd put my boots on and find a coat, sometimes even open the front door but would never make it any further and then get immensely frustrated with myself for being so gripped by fear.

In the end I wrote a list and hung it up in the kitchen. Things I wanted to do or be able to do by certain dates. I surprised myself when it came to the Bliss Buggy Push, when I booked us in I thought surely I'll be feeling fine by June. But no, it was really really hard to go. But we did it. This week I walked to the post box on my own (almost, hubs stood on the corner) and I went to the HV clinic.

We've walked on the beach and enjoyed our friend's garden. 

We've been out for strolls and walked to M&S, I've been in with Skittle while Hubs waited for us in the car park. 

And although we didn't go to GBK by the date set (because I had a voucher due to run out) we did go to Zizzi for hubs birthday...and enjoyed it!

I am almost embarrassed to write this post. Ashamed that I've done so poorly of late that it even needs to be written. I haven't quite completed my list, or carried out some of my tasks on my own. But it's progress. Progress from the girl that didn't go out and struggled to open the curtains. The girl that just walked up and down the car park outside our block of flats for about a month. The girl that now doesn't panic when she leaves the front door.

I might be nervous and a bit tense but it's a darn sight better than full on panic attacks so excuse me while I'm proud of our trips out and about.

We even managed a train journey, during which I felt no where near as calm as I look, but more about that another day. For now I'm just happy things aren't the way they were. We've got a way to go but we've come a way too.