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.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

7 months

Every month we try and take some nice photos to mark Skittles growth. Seeing as it was a lovely sunny day and we're moving soon we thought we'd take some pics in front of our flat on the lawn. 

At 7 months Skittle has gained some head control and strength in his legs. He likes parsnip, cauliflower and broccoli. He can just about roll from his front to his back with a little help. He likes chewing his muslin. His favourite toy is Dafny the butterfly. He coos in the morning. He likes hearing us sing, especially in the car. He rubs his face when he's tired. And is all round super cute!

Monday, 10 September 2012

proper mum

This photo makes me happy. Me and my friend S, pushing our boys along the road in their prams. We went to the baby weighing clinic and I walked back to our flat on my own with Skittle. 


So it's a rubbish photo but I don't care. I like it. I like it a lot. 

The last time I went out on my own I felt dreadful, panicked, sweated, hyperventilated and had Skittle pressed to me in the sling as I held his little legs and constantly kissed his head. This time I went out with the pram, and although a bit tense and nervous I ACTUALLY KIND OF ENJOYED IT. Oh my goodness. I never thought I'd see the day.

Finally after 7 long months I feel like I've done something proper mum-ish. I'm so sorry Skittle that it's taken me so long. Here's to more, short and manageable adventures!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

i left him

I said I never would. And then I did. I didn't want to, but I had to. Night after night in NICU saying goodbye, walking out the door. Turning around for once last look at my precious boy. Sobbing as I left. Every step further away from the incubator hurt. I didn't want to leave him.

As we walked out of NICU for the last time, with Skittle, I vowed never to leave him again. Although I knew really that this was a silly vow. One that could never be kept. My son would grow up and go to school and make friends and be a big boy and become a young man that really didn't mind if his mum left him. But in that moment, I never wanted to say goodbye again.

But then I had to. I had to go to the Dr and I had to go to my counselling appointments and Skittle couldn't come too. So he hung out with Daddy and they had a fine time. I enjoy them having their Father-Son time. I think it's important and they both need as much of it as possible.

But today was different. Today wasn't an appointment. I just went out. And I didn't like the feeling.

After 7 months, I finally left the flat without my baby, drove solo for the first time and sat for an hour and a half in Church and chatted to people at the end. With Skittle's dodgey immune system we can't take him places where he's likely to get prodded and there are lots of children so Church is a no go. But hubs and I decided I would go in the morning and he would go in the evening because we've only been a handful of times since Skittle was born and we miss it and it's important to us.

I made the most of it and wore my hair down and put a necklace on, 2 things I can't do with a baby in toe. And I sat there with my phone on my lap staring at the photo of Skittle, texting hubs and generally missing the two of them a heck of a lot. They walked down the road and met me afterwards and I immediately felt relief and popped him in the sling when we got home.

But hey, I've done it now. And that's a good thing right? But I'm in no hurry to do it again, it's just going to be a Sunday morning thing.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

a night in a&e

Skittle is severely neutropenic. For those who aren't in the know, one's neutrophils are supposed to be above 2.5, a measure under 1 is considered severe and Skittle's most recent blood test showed his were at 0.7 so there's room for improvement shall we say. Neutrophils make up most of your white blood cells and are responsible for fighting infection. All prems are prone to a phase of neutropenia, usually whilst still pre due date and quickly grow out of it. There is a rare condition where babies are born with low neutrophils but Skittle isn't one of them. Heamotologists think his is a product of having sceptacemia but are baffled as to why his immune system is still suffering.

He also has chest recession. It's just mild. Apart from last night, when for a little while, it wasn't. He had been rather off colour the last couple of days. Feeding was a mission, cough was developing, snot was accumulating. If he wasn't prem we would have just said oh it's a cold he's fine. But he was prem and he has worryish parents. Despite being an excellent paramedic, who deals with sick children often, hubs can't think like a paramedic when it comes to Skittle. 

So when Skittle was coughing so much during his bed time feed that he brought it all back up again and was gasping for breath in between, I panicked a little. His chest was sucking in and he wasn't looking himself. 

So off we popped to A&E, emergency card in hand. Better to be safe than sorry I was thinking as his chest rattled in the car on the way to the hospital. 

When we got there we were seen quickly by the nurse as I clutched and caressed my little man. Then we had to wait half an hour for the Dr to come down from the ward. And while we were waiting thankfully/typically Skittle cheered up a little. And then he cheered up some more. And by the time the Dr came in he was rather perky and somewhat smiley. 

If it wasn't for the neutropenia I wouldn't worry so much. And seeing as he didn't have a fever I knew it would probably be fine and we would be back in our beds in no time. But it didn't stop my mind racing with NICU memories. 

The Dr was brilliant. She reassured us his gasping and rasping wasn't that bad and we could go home unless the recession was worse for a prolonged period or he developed a temperature, then we must go back. 

Many sorries were muttered as I apologised repeatedly to the Dr for taking up her Friday night. 

So until the neutrophils go up, we will carry on staying well clear of germs, children and baby groups and buying Mr Boots out of antibacterial hand wash. 

This morning - a peaky, slightly dopey looking Skittle rocking out his PJs.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

4 years ago - wedding photos

4 years ago today I married my best friend. The service started at 11am and I was ready by 10. I just couldn't wait to embrace the day! My friend Esther got me all ready for the biggest day of my life.

We decorated the Church to look like a garden. And all our family and friends came to celebrate.

We signed up...

...and sealed it with a kiss. 

We vowed to love, comfort, honour and protect each other. We promised to be together from that day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part. We exchanged rings, on the correct hand...just!

It's been a crazy 4 years, 1, relocation, 2 new jobs, 4 flats, 3 different stints in temporary accommodation between said flats, great holidays, 3 operations, 2 miscarriages, lots of hospital stays, 1 premature baby, so much heartache, so much joy, 2 very much increased waistlines, a couple of grey hairs and what feels like far longer than 4 years...I wouldn't have wanted to share it with anyone else.

Happy Anniversary hubs, you're awesome and I love you xxx