Thursday, 19 February 2015

New found talent

A selection of wonderful works I have learnt to make in my crochet lessons
Back in the summer last year, I had major surgery and was very ill. Whilst recuperating I thought of all the new talents I would like to learn. Crochet was on top of my list! A local lady (mum and teacher) has her own business making wonderful gifts and home things from vintage fabrics and materials, and also makes super projects from crochet.
For the last 6 months I have been having weekly lessons, with two other lovely ladies in the group, who I didn't know, but have now become good friends. I absolutely love the class. We have tea, cake and crochet... and of course our weekly natter and catch up. It is also a child-free zone! 
I have gone from not even knowing what a crochet hook looks like to making things I never imagined I could. I find crochet very relaxing and therapeutic. Most evenings when watching telly I can sit and whip up something beautiful with my crochet hook. 
At Christmas time, I made a few people in my family homemade presents, they take some time as I am not particularly quick. For my mother-in-law I made a hot-water bottle cover, something she had requested. It took me 3 months (ages I know)... but was well worth it. And she was really pleased with it.
Christmas present hot-water bottle cover
My sister got a cowel I made, which she also was really pleased with... So much so in fact, she commissioned me to make her another in a different colour (big compliment).
Its half term, and we don't have our lesson during the holidays... I have missed our get together this week and the fun& support our group brings. But have still been making during the evenings. 
At my daughters school they get to bring home the class toy and keep it for a week at home. They then fill in a book, a 'diary' about what he got up to during the week. My middle daughter brought home a giraffe and asked me to make him a crochet crown... I did and was pleased with the results.

Crochet crown made with Dk cotton and 4mm hook
Watch this space for more of my crochet makes, I will share on the progress I make. 
It is nice to have some me time, to make something creative that I can share, something that thought and time has been put into. Recently, I posted some of my crochet makes to people that were in my thoughts with a hand written letter. Random acts of kindness and giving is a real passion of mine, especially letter writing... yes old school... pen to paper. There's nothing nicer than receiving a hand written card or letter in the post among the bills. Being told someone is thinking of you, to tell you their news. That person has taken time out of their day, to sit, to write, to get a stamp and post the letter to you.... I think that is very special, they can hold it in their hands... its real. Let me encourage you to go 'old school', write a friend a letter, it will not only bring the person receiving it joy.. but also great joy to you.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Blooming - not so much

February is the month that celebrates birthdays for two of my daughters, as they are 1 year and 2 weeks apart.
We are incredibly proud of all 3 of our girls. The girls always ask for the story of how they were born around their birthdays. As for the two eldest especially, there are stories to be told. 
When I was younger, I imagined when I 'chose' to have children it would happen straight away, I would bloom, look radiant, have a great excuse to eat all my favorite foods, waddle around for abit and then after a little discomfort pop the baby out and be home in a matter of hours, cuddling my newborn child. My reality was very far from that dream of becoming a mother.

My husband and I lost to miscarriage our first baby together.  We were fortunate in that, I fell pregnant again only a few months later. The first few weeks were fine, but at just 6wks gone, I started vomiting and having constant nausea. It was getting into the hotter months, and the doctors seem to think it was just caused by over heating. The term morning sickness, implies nausea and sickness in the morning, I had it all the time, 24 hours a day.
After a few days of not even being able to keep water down, let alone food.. I was admitted to hospital. There they gave me IV fluids and anti-emetics (anti-sickness medication), to try and stop the constant vomiting and if possible give some relief to the nausea. The anti-emetics are given either IV, IM  (as an injection in a muscle), PR - per rectum (in your bum) as I was unable to keep any tablet medication down. The nursing staff monitor your fluid input and output, testing the urine's ketone levels. Ketones are produced when the body starts breaking down stored or ingested fat for energy, this happens when your not getting enough carbohydrate (food) caused by the vomiting/nausea. This is when I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease marked by rapid weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration due to unrelenting nausea and/or vomiting with potential adverse consequences for the mom-to-be and the newborn(s)

I hear you saying, oh its just abit of morning sickness she couldn't cope with it. This is where your wrong, and it is views of health care professionals and others that stop women with this awful disease get the treatment they need and deserve. At this stage we didn't realize what we were dealing with, and how all consuming and debilitating this condition would be.
For me, I would vomit typically 30 times a day on average, some more, some less. Some days all you can do it retch as there's nothing bile nothing to actually bring up. I can describe it as that horrible hangover nausea but ALL the time... constantly... 24/7. Even the most smallest things used to make me sick. Smells were a big thing for me. I remember my sister telling me I could be a 'sniffer dog for the police', my sense of smell was so acute. Someones perfume, if someone was a smoker, passing them in the street... yep I'd vomit. Just peoples general 'smell' their essence = vomit. My own body wash or toothpaste =vomit. One time I couldn't go into Tesco, because I couldn't stand the smell of it.. and there we go again...being sick in a corner outside.
I won't bore you, telling you of the many times I was admitted to hospital. My first pregnancy I spent 14 weeks of it in hospital! yes that's right over 3 months!
We have very few photos of me whilst pregnant, this must have been a good day.
2009 Pregnant with my 3rd daughter
The general treatment for Hyperemesis, is to get re-hydrated, anti-emetics to control the vomiting, get eating and drinking again (most importantly keeping it down), ketone levels back to normal, then send you home with minimal (preferably none) medications.

I just want to add here, that non-one knows what affects of medications have on a unborn baby (of course there's no testing on pregnant women) so to prescribe a woman medication is to out weigh the risks to mother/baby. We prayed every day for protection over our unborn child.

After many hospital admissions, some for a few weeks, some for a few days. we found I required two different types of anti-emetics to keep me 'stable'. I had one via tablet, the other via suppository. At one stage I tried 'melts' its a small tablet that melts in your mouth, unfortunately the taste... you guessed it made me vomit.
We found that after a while, IV access to my veins became increasingly difficult. I have very thin/ unstable veins which made it hard to get the fluids into me. I found that I had so many IM injections in my buttocks that the nerve endings got damaged, I had an altered sensitivity/ numbness there for a long time. You get damage to your teeth, you are being sick so often, and can't brush your teeth, because it triggers sickness - its a vicious cycle. After my first pregnancy I had 5 filings, then had a further 4 more with the other pregnancies. I had an over sensitive 'gag' re-flux, if a food didn't feel right in the mouth or went too near the back of the throat - it would be a trigger.

2008 Pregnant with my 2nd Daughter
I still consider myself one of the fortunate ones. Some woman can't cope with the torment of hyperemesis and need to terminate the pregnancy. Women can be so incredibly ill, they have to constantly be fed by NG (nasal gastric) tube and IV fluids, it takes such a toll on their body they start going into liver/ kidney failure. This is where a few ginger biscuits won't do the trick (still to this day I can't stand ginger). Some poor suffers loose all their teeth, as the gastric acid slowly dissolves them.

There are some views of the medical profession that the condition doesn't exist. That it is all in a woman's head?! Yes I did meet doctors that had this view! Also That at 12 weeks, 16weeks max, the condition will stop. And for the majority of women, it does. But not for me. I remember every week that passed, my doctors/ nurses saying it will be better at 12 weeks, then it was 16 weeks.... oh in rare cases 20 weeks. Well for me it didn't stop until my daughters were delivered. For me it lasted the whole pregnancy.
The mental toll is immense, you just want the feeling to go. You know if the baby wasn't there you would feel this wretched. I remember crying my eyes out begging for the feeling to stop, but at the same time knowing your child was growing inside you and the love you have for the unborn child. I can understand why some women can't bear it anymore and feel that termination is the only way for them.
The condition has at least had some publicity in recent times with our Duchess and other celebrities coming forward highlighting the disease.

My work suffered and I was not coping at all. I think workplaces try to understand but at the end of the day you are having so much time off work, and even if you are there... your work capability is really rather poor. I thankfully with use of owed holiday and early maternity leave, finished work at about 28 weeks, and then left work for good when I found out I was pregnant with my second- as we knew what was to come!

Eating is a strange one.... I found once I stopped being sick and fancied something I just had to eat it. And found snacking helped keep the sickness at bay. Low blood sugar levels for me seemed to bring on more vomiting. And then once I started being sick... that would be it for sometime.
I was fortunate that I didn't loose a shocking amount of weight, we managed to keep going.
2009 Pregnant with 3rd child, holding a 16mth old middle daughter
People ask me... If it was so bad.... Why have 3? We felt as a couple it was either now or never. I cant really explain how hard it was, but we wanted a family...and knew what we had to do to get it. We had the girls close together, as we 'just had to do it' ....not over and done with... but I couldn't have waited knowing what was in store for me to make our family bigger. I was terrified of falling pregnant... as after our youngest, I know mentally it would break me to go through another pregnancy. Plus the births were no easy journey either (will share soon). The following year I was sterilized.

My advice if you find yourself with HG, get help, get educated and your family educated in what you are going through. My husband was amazing and got me the help I needed when I was too weak to search myself. There are so many help groups out there with detailed information on medications and treatments. Support is key, if you can keep mentally well you will be able to cope with the physical torment. We as a Christian family, found the power of prayer invaluable. Sickness, in an ironic way is a good sign that the pregnancy is viable and doing well (in general).
The most important thing to remember is .... IT WILL END! even if you are unfortunate like me and it lasts till your little one is born, there is and end, at 9 months, you will get your prize... your beautiful baby. You can do this, as having made it through the other side.. it was worth every minute.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Everyone has their number

Before I talk about kids, I want to say please don't think me insensitive to couples that can't have them for whatever reason. Infertility is heart breaking, and couples that struggle with this are very much in my prayers.

Its the half term holidays, and boy was I ready for it. For me its the stress of the mornings in a school week. No one can find their shoes... They are where you left them! laid our by they front door... 
but is just my kids that cant see things right in front of their faces?! My girls just squabble constantly from the minute they get up, winding each other up... into a frenzied chorus of screeching, whining and moaning. Oh my head... I love my little cherubs but I am simply counting the minutes till I hand them over at school after a stressful time getting them ready. Anything with a time restriction seems to make everything feel so pressurized.
With half term, all that is lifted away.... Ahhhh bliss. 
I am also very privileged that my in-laws have one of the girls to stay with them for the week for a little holiday. This is what got me thinking, about how everyone has their number, what I mean is... the amount of children that someone can cope with... that someone is content with. 
We are fortunate to have a lovely variety of friends. we have some... with no children- it simply wasn't for them, some that have one child and that's more than a big enough challenge for them. Two, three or four. I have a very dear friend who has five kids, two dogs and family that live with them all under one roof. She is a super mama, and is always is calm and amazing with her children. 
 For me... it was a difficult journey to have our daughters, one I will share at a later date. I lost two babies to miscarriage, then had three very troublesome pregnancies and births.
We were fortunate to have my first daughter, our second daughter came a bit by surprise (fell pregnant 3 months after having our first!) still our family didn't feel complete. To be honest I found two children easy... you either deal with one child or the other. I was organised, I felt in control... we had the girls in a great routine (including super sleeping) I used to get up half an hour before I knew they'd get up in the morning... shower, make-up on.. ready to go. What difference will one more make? All the difference.

My Girls aged 8 months and 20 months old

Our third daughters pregnancy again proved to be incredibly difficult, we employed a mothers helper to get us through the pregnancy and whilst recovering from my third C-section. 
It just seems for me I always have one child upset,wanting something, lost or running off. The amount of mess, washing and organisation seems to beat me. 
I wouldn't change any of it. But, I've been on catch up ever since. For my girls, 3 is a crowd. It doesn't matter which two are together, they get along... but the third tips the dynamic and the fighting starts. we can't have anymore children.... even though people constantly ask me if I'm going to try for a boy?! I am fortunate to have one daughter let alone three. I felt in control when I had two.. now its more of a 'Keep calm and Carry on' ethos. All you can do is your best, love your kids, be it one or five (or more). When my littlest was born, we had a 2 1/2 yr old, 1 1/2 yr old and a newborn... 
3 under 3. It was EPIC!! 
Daughters aged 4 months, 3 yrs and 2 yrs old
Having this week with my two eldest, is lovely. I feel I have time for them. And also my littlest is getting lots and lots of time and attention from her grandparents. I miss her.
We try and make 'one on one' time for the girls. Every Saturday morning, the girls take turns to choose mummy or daddy to take them out for a drink and cake - normally to Costa and then for a trip round the charity shops, so they get some time out with one of us. They love it!
I remember very clearly after having my first daughter, trying to work out how would I ever get out the house, what would I do if she needed feeding or changing... where do I go? How would I cope?
A few years later, I had three... two in a double buggy, one strapped to my front and a huge backpack on my back facing the big wide world.
Its easy to look at families with fewer children, and think 'they've got it easy'! I'm sure large families look at me and wonder what I am moaning about.
I firmly believe everyone has their number, its never our position to judge or assume.... but to always encourage each other in bringing up our children.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Where to start?

For a few years now my sister  has nagged me to start a blog. The last 10 years have been chaotic to say the least.  lt seems we have squeezed in these years what some people go through in a life time. Here we are still running the life marathon...

Experiences need to be shared, to be used, to be told... because if they can help anyone get through another day, to persevere, to carry on then.. its been all worth while. 

So here goes... Hi, I'm 34yrs old and a Mama of 3 beautiful (and challenging) girls, aged 5,6, and 7yrs old. We live with my husband, who I've been with for over 12yrs and married for 10yrs. He works, doing something fabulous in IT, with big computer systems... and yes i'm one of those wives that hasn't a clue what their husband does while he's at work. 

Before the kids... I worked as a staff nurse on a Womens heath ward in Gynecology and early pregnancy, a field of nursing very close to my heart. Before that I worked in a day hospice, as a cook (did a year at catering collage), and various shops.

I'm a christain, and have been since I was 21. I love the Lord with all my heart, and wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for God and the relationship I have in him. We go to church as a family, and I enjoy singing in our worship(music) group.

When the opportunity arises... time is always a tricky one... I love baking, sewing and general homemaking type stuff...and my new love of crochet- which I am fortunate to have weekly lessons with a super group of ladies.

My heart is to help others, random acts of kindness, written letter, parcel in the post, a cooked meal, a hug to say I care... that's what I have an aspiration to be .. someone who shows Gods love, is a light in my community to those around me.. To be a wonderful mama and a super wife..this is my desire and my ultimate aim.... follow/join me in my journey.