The Gallery: Something I am proud of

23 11 2011

This rather dodgy collage may seem like an odd thing to be proud of. It is not the collage itself but what it represents.

Today was our last session of our Postnatal Depression support group. We were asked to make a picture or write something that showed our journey over the past ten weeks. This was mine. It may seem a bit odd but in essence on the left is me having a baby and already being a mum to a toddler. That I was shaken to my core with how I felt afterwards. That I wanted some treatment.

Then I went to group and was made to feel welcome.

On the right hand side I picked words that describe what my life is starting to be like, and how I want our life to be.

At the bottom is my new mantra. Thank you to Emily for sharing this with me recently. The words have been firmly stuck in my head since I heard them and I think it sums up my new frame of mind perfectly.

I am proud of myself. I am proud of the other women on my course. I am proud of the way we opened up and supported each other. I am proud that I plucked up the courage and went on the first day. I am proud that even though Kate had a complete meltdown in our first session I still went back. I am proud that I went along with an open mind and heart. I have learnt so much about myself. I can see how lost I was back then, and how far I have come. I am proud that I have been able to acknowledge that something was wrong, that I needed help and that I sought the help I needed. I am proud that I have felt able to write about my experience here, and I hope that this might make others feel less alone.

I am proud that I have seen this course through to the end and taken the messages and techniques away and applied them to my life so we can all move on from this difficult time and start to enjoy our life as a family of four.


A tale of two labours – At home

8 05 2011

I want to try and get this written down before it fades into the tiredness and inability to think that comes with severe sleep deprivation. It took me a month to be able to even consider sitting down and writing about my induction and labour last time, and it just goes to show the difference between the two experiences as this time I am so keen to record and remember everything that happened. I am trying to get it down and write a bit more every time I have a moment. Which isn’t often! Also as it was a straightforward labour I thought it would be short but I have split it into two parts so it isn’t too long a post.

I woke up on the morning of Tuesday 3rd May feeling like maybe something might actually happen that day. I chatted to Mr C and I suggested that to mark the first official day of his paternity leave we should go to the pub for lunch. I just had this feeling that it would be good to be active and busy.

When we got to the pub Mr C asked if he could have a drink! I suggested that it might be an idea to be able to drive later just in case as I was feeling ‘achy’. We had a lovely lunch and then popped to the garden centre. When we got back I told him that I really needed to have a bath. I said I was having something like period pains but it was probably nothing. I got into the bath and tried to concentrate on reading my book and noticed that pains were coming and going. I told Mr C and he was very good, looking after Piran and staying out of my way. It was still happening at 4pm and they were coming every 8 minutes so we had a chat and decided that it might be a good idea to take Piran to stay at his Nanny’s house. All of a sudden Piran was packed and off they went!

We had dinner although I didn’t feel hungry and watched TV and I was using the laptop to time the contractions. I finally felt that it might be for real and said something on Twitter! I spent the next hour tweeting away which was wonderfully distracting but took my mind of it all. Then around 9pm it seemed that the contractions were irregular so I decided it was a good time to get some sleep. I took some paracetamol (Mr C asked me why I was taking it. Um, because it hurts!) We went to bed and I tried to sleep.

I managed to doze but just after midnight decided to get up for a bit. I tweeted and read blogs and even commented on some, although I think I may have been a bit waffly! Then I went back to bed at 2am. Between 2 and 3.30 I woke up each time I had a contraction. At 3.30 I decided to try and time them. At 4 I had to wake Mr C to ask him to time them for me as I couldn’t concentrate enough. We made a cup of tea, got dressed and I walked around as each contraction happened. For weeks I have not been able to sleep as it is so hot at night, this night was freezing with a frost outside! Typical.

I first called the hospital at around 5am. I was having around 4 contractions every 10 minutes but they only lasted around 30 seconds. They asked me to wait another hour, to call if anything changed but that they didn’t think it was time to come yet. They suggested a bath but I was happier just walking around – as each contraction started I would leave our bedroom and go and hang on to the door frame, or Piran’s cot or the banisters. They started lasting around 40 seconds so I called the hospital again at 5.45. Again, they explained that they wanted to be sure that I was in full blown labour before we got there so we didn’t get sent home again. They told me to try and stay until the contractions were lasting a minute each.

I decided to have a bath and would shout to Mr C each time a contraction started and finished. They started getting to around 45 – 50 seconds and the bath was nice but there was a point where I had to get out immediately and go to the toilet. Not my finest moment, cold, wet and naked on the toilet! Mr C got my dressing gown and I decided to stay out of the bath for a while. I got dressed and the contractions started getting much more painful. At around 6.50 I told Mr C that I didn’t think I would cope much longer without help with the pain so I called the hospital expecting to need to convince them that I wanted to come in but they agreed immediately. Mr C took the bags to the car, I got myself and my pillow together and got out of the house in less than five minutes. It was 7am. I was so conscious that I didn’t want to be spotted by our neighbours but a contraction hit just as I reached the car, so I stood clutching the door handle for a minute!

The contractions in the car were fierce, made worse by winding roads and having to sit still. I bit my pillow and tried to breathe the best I could. We got there at 7.30. Mr C got ready, I waited until another contraction had passed and we headed into the hospital. I remember telling Mr C to be sure he had put the carpark ticket somewhere safe.

Three more contractions, including one in the lift which was odd, and we were there.

I have written part two, what happened at the hospital, here.

Piran’s first year.

1 08 2010

I know, two posts in one day but you will have to indulge me as I couldn’t resist making this. It is only a couple of minutes long, I have watched it over and over. That is where the last year went!

Soundtrack: As You Are Now by Susanne Vega.

Christmas and a lovely surprise

9 07 2010
Christmas in July

On Thursday I joined a group of bloggers at the John Lewis Christmas Magic Preview. I was in shiny, happy heaven for the whole time I was there. Held in an amazing building I could have happily stayed there forever just sighing and stroking the pretties that I saw. I thought that I would share some of my pictures. Some lovely and very knowledgeable people showed us around and chatted to us about all of the wonderful things that we saw.

Click on the images to make them bigger.
9 months on, 11 months off!
Two months ago I wrote a post where I confessed that instead of losing the weight I gained whilst pregnant the scales were actually creeping up instead of down. So I decided it was time to make a change. In the past 10 weeks I have gone from 170lbs to 152.5lbs. I signed up with Slimming World online and it has been brilliant. Simple to follow, you don’t have to give anything up and I eat loads. 
The happy surprise this week was the fact that I fit back into my pre baby jeans. I have gone from the top of a size 16 to a size 14. I feel confident and happy and it is only now I am realising how my weight had really been making me feel.
I am not done though. I am the weight that I was when I got married and fell pregnant but now I have lost this weight I really want to get down to 135lbs and so I will continue to eat well, follow the rules and see what I can do.  


4 07 2010

In the past day I started so many blog posts in my head. I do it normally but yesterday was such a whirlwind, such an amazing day that made me feel so many emotions all at once that even more than usual I wanted to record and remember the day. But I didn’t write any of those posts down, choosing to stay in the present and be there and fully experience every moment. And now that leaves me on a train, with a suitcase bulging at the seams with goodies, a slight hangover and a desperate need to try and capture the fading memories of one of the greatest experiences of my life. To be there, at the beginning of CyberMummy (I am sure this is just the beginning) was amazing. To meet and hug these women that have been there for me over the past 13 months as I went from just a blogger to a blogger with a baby was too special for words.

To stand at the front of the crowd and read one of my blog posts was scary, thrilling and highly emotional (I cried! My mum would shake her head at that). What an honour to be chosen to stand on that stage with those people. Sandy, Carol, Jen (amongst others) these women that take my breath away with their beauty and honesty and words whenever I read their blogs. To hear those posts read as they were written, to feel the emotion and to see the room moved to tears and laughter was incredible. It was my favourite part of the day, despite my own nerves and streaked make up.

I got a bit drunk afterward, in the hotel bar with a group of the funniest, best people I could ever wish to meet. I sloped off at midnight, after taking a few photographs, when the tequila shots were being handed out. Thankfully these days I know my limits. I went to my room, drank water, brushed my teeth and then lay on the bed every nerve fizzing in my body, words and memories, adrenaline and experience keeping me from sleep for a good hour.

I tweeted all day and some of the night (check out my stream to see the evidence) and woke up this morning with my brain thinking in hashtags, #cybermummyhangover #whereisthebacon #howcanjosiebesoawakeandbubblyatthistimeofthemorning

All too soon tomorrow is here, and I am on my way home. It was fun to be me for 2 days but I miss my boys and want a Piran cuddle more than anything in this world. All too soon tomorrow will be here again, and I will have to leave him to go back to work after 13 months of maternity leave. It’s only 2 days a week but that is a whole other post, so I will go now, to live in the present for a while. I’ll be back soon.

Update: Gosh, I am such a scatterbrain these days. I would just like to add a HUGE thank you to Huggies for paying for my ticket and for arranging a breakfast on Saturday morning so all the Huggies mums would have friendly faces to arrive with. You are all fabulous, and I love working with you.

What I was wearing to CyberMummy

29 06 2010

Well, after going to the Minack Theatre last week I was all set with what I was going to wear to CyberMummy. I was thinking the pink was the best choice, complete with the hair.

But today I got a wonderful email informing me that I have been picked as a Keynote Speaker* for the Keynote address at the end of the day. So, back to the drawing board I reckon!

*my heart stopped and I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and I fully expect to feel queasy until it is all over at 5pm on Saturday.

One of those days…

17 02 2010

…but not the sort I was expecting!

My MIL used to have Piran for a few hours one afternoon a week, but since the middle of November there have been a number of reasons that it has not been possible. The past couple of weeks things have got back to normal so we are just getting back into the routine of her looking after him for me. It is good, although I find it hard to switch off, because he doesn’t sleep and eat the same way as he would with me, and I usually end up with a grumpy baby at the end of it!

That said, this week I made no real plans to do anything, just arranged for her to have him this afternoon and once he was sorted I decided to go into town. I had a vague idea of finding somewhere for some lunch and to sit and write.

I read a post on Motherhood: The Final Frontier this week called Wholeheartedness which has really stuck with me so I decided to just go with the flow and see what would happen. The result was a few hours that were better than I could have imagined.

I found the perfect parking space in the small little car park. I had the correct change for parking in my purse. I had time to browse in the children’s book shop I have always meant to go into but never found the time. I found a cafe that I had heard about but never quite found before. I got a seat in the sun, outside, and realised it was warm enough to sit without a coat. I ordered a cup of tea and a fruit scone, and when it arrived it was pretty and perfect. The cafe owner gave me a hot water bottle in case I was cold and it warmed my lap as I wrote.

When I ran out of things to write a loud man had an intriguing conversation with two women which I scribbled into my notebook, about the Royal Ballet and houses worth £20 million pounds with courtyards and disappearing swimming pools. I finished and was ready to leave just as the sun hit the rooftop. The delightful treat cost only £3.50. I remembered to buy Piran a helium balloon, which I had wanted to do for ages. Driving home this in my rearview mirror made me jump, then laugh!

The sky was perfect and blue and gave me hope of warmer, happier days full of adventure ahead.

I opened the post and my mum had sent me the outline of a tea cosy that I was waiting for. She had also sent me this article which I immediately tweeted about!

I was seized by the urge to start sewing right then so I did. Piran came home and he had learnt to blow raspberries and was so funny I fell over from laughing at him. Mr C offered to buy a takeaway. I finished sewing my tea cosy and I am so impressed with how well it turned out.

This afternoon did more for my feeling of happiness and well being than anything else I can imagine. Just sitiing back and going with the flow and just trusting that things will be fine and will work out.

I hope I can manage to have one of these days again tomorrow.

This post is my entry for this week’s Writing Workshop – write about one of those days. Click on the picture and come and join in.