Master Bedroom from Drab to Fab

You spend a lot of time in your bedroom over a lifetime, it needs to be somewhere you can relax and switch off from the world. And that’s what I set out to achieve.

We moved into our house over eight years ago, we were only 23 when we bought it. So as you can imagine we didn’t have our life’s savings behind us. Everything was done on a budget and we were happy that way as we had our own house, independence and we were standing on our own two feet (more like four feet). Over the last number of years we’ve got engaged and married, had two beautiful kids and all the other things that come with owning a house and running two cars to contend with. Now was the time to spend a little money on us and start to update the house room by room. Over the next few posts I will show you what we’ve done and hopefully give you some tips. But for now let’s start with the master bedroom.

First to go was the old, worn, stinky carpet. From those of you that have kids you will know how often you are on your hands and knees cleaning up mess from the carpets after little people. Spilt drinks, baby puke, toddler puke, big child puke, too much puke. It was time to go. Grey was my colour of choice and as you will see from the pics of the rest of my house, this colour carried through. I love it, it’s neutral but has depth and warmth, depending on the tone of grey you choose. I like to go with the greys with a hint of purple in them, makes it warmer. The carpet I chose was carried into all three bedrooms and on the stairs and landing so that there would be a continuous flow throughout the first floor. I bought it from Denis McGinley’s carpets in Portlaoise. He’s on the Mountrath road and can be found on Facebook. He is very reasonably priced and I have bought all my carpets from him since moving in to our own house and my Mam has bought all her carpets from him as long as I can remember.

But before the carpet could go in I wanted to get paneling done on my bedroom walls. I just love how it changes the look of a room or hallway. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but when finished it looks expensive. I approached a childhood friend of mine who is a carpenter to see if he would do the job. Alan Kirwan Carpentry Ltd (he can also be found on Facebook). He sent one of his guys into do the job. I’m quite handy with a measuring tape so already knew what timber I needed to get, but for those of you who wouldn’t know where to start your carpenter is the one to ask. I ordered sheets of MDF in two different thicknesses to create the box paneled effect and I also ordered beading to finish off the edges of each box. I tried to find a dado to finish off the top but I couldn’t find any I liked, so the carpenter, “Murty” suggested using the cut offs of MDF and rounding the edges on them, creating a layered effect.

The headboard was also designed from the MDF using the box panel effect, I wanted it to look grand so decided to bring it up very high on the wall and I used a large dado to finish the top of it, giving it a wide flat top. And to finish the room off nicely I asked him to make me a radiator cover. I just bought a sheet of patterned wooden MDF trellis and he inserted it into a frame. The top was then left open so as not to block the heat in the room. This was all messy work as there was a lot of sawing and trimming causing a lot of sawdust and mess. And then it had to be painted. Oh the drama. 

First I bought an oil based undercoat and gloss which was a nightmare to apply. Three coats later I couldn’t see the finish line. I called the hardware and explained the trouble I was having and they suggested a water based satin wood. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this in the first place. I had to buy another undercoat, which was to counteract the oil base and then the water based top coat. I forgot to mention that before I started to paint I also had to fill all the nail holes and joins in the timber, sand it down and refill again where necessary. Although all of this sounds like tedious work, it was worth it in the end and the finished product looks amazing.

I chose a grey colour for the walls in the room, I thought with the white paneling a crispy grey would be nice. It was Dulux “Moderism”. It turned out really well and I was able to get the two coats done in a few hours as there was very little wall left in the room. The carpet was now safe to go in, no more messy work to do, only accessorizing. All the furniture was brought downstairs from the three bedrooms and when I got home from work the carpets were finished. A thorough Hoover and it was time to enjoy the sponginess under my feet. We want this carpet to last a good few years so made sure we chose a good thick underlay to help it last and give the feel of luxury as you walk on it.

To add some character to the room I painted a cut off of the MDF in the same colour as the wall and stuck a wall decal to it. It is an inspirational quote reminding us to take the good with the bad. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, It’s about learning to Dance in the Rain”. I bought a cheap extendable curtain rail from Heaton’s which I mounted at the top of the wall and from this I draped four white voile curtains from Ikea. Such good value and they look voluptuous. I added some icicle battery operated lights to each side to create some mood lighting. I also bought these in Heaton’s in the New Year sale. A bargain at €4.00 per set.

The bedside lockers are from Homestore and More. I had my heart set on French boutique lockers and was searching Done Deal for a set I could upscale. I couldn’t believe my luck when Sean and I came across the ones in the pictures attached in Homestore and More. They were exactly what I wanted and weren’t too expensive at €70.00 each. After securing that find we went into Homebase for a noisy. They had a sale on in their lighting department upstairs and we were thrilled to come across bedside lamps. The base and the lampshades were separate but I think they make a good combination together. The bases are really heavy and the glass globe helps disperse the light around the room. The lamp shade on the ceiling was bought in Dunnes Stores for €20.00 and blends in with the grey and white colour scheme. The bed linen was also bought in Dunnes Stores. I chose a light purple duvet and matching pillow cases to add some contrast to the room and then a deeper purple sheet and matching pillow cases for underneath. 

I recently picked up the heart shaped mirror in Homestore and More reduced to €4.99 and the small grey heart shaped clips used to tie back the voile curtains are also from there at €4.00 each. It’s the small touches that give the room character. These heart shaped clips are hung up on the wall using command strip hooks, no holes, no screws and easy to move if you ever change your design. 

You might also notice the shutters in our room at the windows, these were made for us years ago by a very talented carpenter friend of ours, Brian. I told him what I wanted, gave him a quick design brief and I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. These block all the light from the room, you can sleep in pitch darkness. They are sealed all around the edges, which keeps the heat in the room, which was the main reason for getting them. There are two latches on one door on the inside, securing it at the top and bottom and then a lock on the outside to keep them closed. They actually help retain so much heat in the room that we usually sleep with ours open, as I said in a previous post I am always warm. They proved really beneficial in the boys rooms and eliminated any draughts you might get from the windows. They are made from solid pine and have been varnished once to maintain them. They were reasonably priced but asthe  MasterCard ads would say the benefits were “Priceless”.

Moving onto the wardrobes. I’m a divil for trying to optimize storage. In a small three bed house there are not too many opportune places to steel a bit of storage but I was all over it in our bedroom. There was a chimney breast in the centre of the back wall dividing two alcoves. Originally when we bought our house there was a small double door wardrobe in one of the alcoves that barely held all my clothes. Poor Sean had to go to another room to get his. When we saved up a few pound we decided to up scale. We contacted John from Robe Design in Kildare and he designed the finished piece. We asked if he could incorporate the tv into the unit somehow and he definitely did not disappoint. The chimney breast was covered in white timber and the tv was then mounted to it. The distance from the tv to the doors was carefully calculated to allow the sliding doors pass safely. We bought got double height hanging room, a selection of drawers and shelves and I even got a long area for dresses and two pull out shoe shelves. Very fancy pancy! It was amazing to have all that wardrobe space and sean was allowed bring his clothes back into our room 😂. The colors I chose a few years back for the doors would probably not be what I would pick now but they are neutral enough to get away with it and I won’t be rushing out in the morning to change them for aesthetic reasons.

Finally, to the famous “Wall of Love”. This was something I was really passionate about doing. The bedroom is Sean’s and my room and our relationship should be celebrated. I think sometimes we got lost in the small things, bickering and fighting and we don’t look at the bigger picture. With these pictures of the happiest moments in our relationship displayed on the wall, at least every morning we wake up and every night we go to bed we get reminded of these times together and it grounds you and reminds you of the love we both share ❤️. Corny I know, but with all that is going on in our lives it’s nice to have something just for us. I bought the frames in dealz for €1.49 each. I arranged them on the floor first, getting the sizes right and the layout I wanted and then I stuck them onto the wall using Velcro Command Strips. I carefully chose the best pictures from our wedding day and made sure to include our 21st kisses to each other. How nice is it to say we are together that long and we were both each other’s 21st kiss. Seems so long ago now, but it was very important back then. 

I hope you have enjoyed the pictures and detail put into our bedroom and maybe it might spark some DIY or Interior Design desires in some of you. I have posted some videos and pics to Snapchat @dawnheavey, Facebook @Insidemammysworld, Instagram @insidemammysword and on Twitter @insidemamaswrld.

2013 – A Tough Year

If any of you have suffered with Post Natal Depression you will know it’s hard to explain or put into words what your feeling. I remember leaving the hospital on my first baby, Nathan, and before I left the nurse told me to be aware of the baby blues hitting in the next few days. But there was no explanation of what we should feel or how we should react or no follow up support. For me Post Natal masked itself in many different ways:

  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • OCD
  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Guilt

After Nathan, there were a few low months that I felt the cloud, as I described it before, looming but honestly this was pushed to one side as I had a wedding to prepare for. I had a year between having Nathan and getting married. With all the major things booked I could have my time at home with him for a few months and then it was all systems go from the New Year. I didn’t have time to ruminate. It really hit me after Jacob more so when I returned to work full time.

I went back to work in January 2013. I loved my job so much and really felt I had found my forever place of employment. This all changed when I got back to work. The lady that replaced me was leaving soon after some loose ends were to be tied up. I returned to my office and reprised my role as Accounts Payable. However, the girl I shared an office with was a cold sole and by that, I mean she felt the cold. I, on the other hand, am always warm. There was a heater behind my desk that was turned up full blast most of the day and then she also had a heater the length of her desk, in front of her desk. The door was always closed as the information we worked on and phone calls contained sensitive information. I was so warm. I could feel my face overheating and I was struggling to function. I didn’t say anything about it and I struggled on just trying to do my work and get on with it. One day while my colleague was on her lunch I opened the window behind me to get some fresh air. I forgot to close it before she came back from lunch and when she returned to the office I shut it. I also lowered the heater from 5 to 4 on the dial one afternoon. The next day she had a go at me and told me how annoyed she was that I turned down the radiator and how inconsiderate I was and that when my maternity replacement was in the office there was never an issue. She was not one bit nice that day. I got upset as my emotions were all over the place. I tried to explain that I was really warm and the office was uncomfortable to work in. That it is very hard to cool down and much easier to warm up with an extra layer or two. The office was only small and therefore unbearable to work in the heat. She really upset me that day and there was no reasoning with her. That was the day I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I felt I was being bullied and there was no one I could speak to or get help from.

A couple of weeks previous I brought Nathan to see the consultant regarding his tonsils. He had at least one antibiotic a month due to tonsillitis and ear infections. He was only two and a half but he was missing so much time from creche and then I was also missing time from work. The consultant took one look at his tonsils and told me they were rotten and had to come out. He was scheduled in for two weeks later. I had to take time off from work to be there for his recuperation and this made me feel terrible as I was only back five or six weeks. I was able to go into work during this 2-week period on the days my husband had off and also when my mam was off from work. At least I was trying to be accommodating as possible.

I was nervous about the operation and Sean couldn’t come to the hospital with me. I don’t think he felt comfortable asking for the day off but I was really hurt, I needed him with me. Thankfully my Dad came so I had the support I needed. We checked into our room and the nurses were fussing about getting everything ready. Nathan was fasting and couldn’t understand why he couldn’t eat and therefore they tried to get him in as early as possible. They put the numbing cream on his hand for the cannula insertion and after a few minutes it started to burn him and he took an allergic reaction to it. This had to be removed but he was getting stressed and so was I. His time came and he was wheeled down to theatre. I was allowed go into the operating with him until he was put under anaesthetic. This is when things got very upsetting. I had to restrain him for them to get the gas mask on his face. He was screaming at me to stop and to lift him up. It was the most difficult time as a Mammy that I have ever had to go through. I knew it was for his own good, but that was hard to comprehend at the time. As a Mammy, your instinct is to protect your children and I was getting very upset.

He finally went to sleep and I was ushered out of the room. I had a cry on Daddy’s shoulders and we went to the café to sit down and wait. The operation didn’t last as long as I had expected and a nurse came looking for me in the café. Nathan was in recovery but he was hysterical coming out of the anaesthetic. I forced my way into in recovery and jumped into the bed beside him and cradled him. He was upset about his foot as the cannula was inserted into it instead of his hands. He as so groggy and in and out of sleep, but when he was awake he was crying. I was glad to be moved back to our room where I could comfort him in peace. He was fine after a long sleep and some food and ice pops. We were released the following morning and he was happy to get home. He told me his tonsils were bad and had to be thrown in the bin.

His recovery went well and he was so brave. On day five his scars started to get really tight and it was loads of medicine and ice pops to get him through. On day 7 he was feeling much better and I brought him for lunch in a local restaurant. He was itching to get out of the house so I thought some lunch and ice-cream would be a nice treat. I had carbonara and we sat back and relaxed. That evening my sister was coming over to make her boyfriend a cheesecake, as it was the eve of Valentine’s Day. I tasted a bit of the Belgian chocolate that she was using but didn’t like it and still felt full from my lunch. That night I woke up from my sleep with the worst pain high up in my stomach. I couldn’t sit, lie, stand or move. It was excruciating. I was crying with the pain and woke Sean. I rang Midoc and made an appointment. Sean rang our friend to come and get me as he couldn’t leave the house with the two boys. I wasn’t in a position to drive myself. I got to Midoc and they sent me straight to A&E. I was assessed and quickly put onto a drip and given some IV antibiotics.

The pain started to subside and I was brought for an ultrasound. I was admitted shortly afterwards and told I had gallstones. I was in hospital for a few days, which was really tough as Nathan needed me at home. On release I was given an appointment to have my gallbladder removed in the coming weeks once the swelling and infection went down. In the meantime, I returned to work and that is when the incident occurred with my colleague. I wasn’t on an amazing wage and with the cost of two kids in full time childcare and trying to pay bills, it wasn’t worth it. My heart wasn’t in it anymore and I was leaving my kids and not getting home until late every day. I know so many people do it but at the time it all got too much. I handed in my notice in work reluctantly and finished up the week before my op.

While in hospital getting, my gallbladder removed I felt really down, I was lonely. With Sean at home with the kids and having too much time to think and be away from them, I think this is when I started to realise something was the matter. Also, while in hospital the doctors kept talking about my weight and telling me I had to lose weight. I had lost 24lbs since January and I was really active as I was training for the mini marathon. This really got to me as it was a sensitive issue and I was doing my best.

It took me a really long time to recover from the operation and for some reason I was having recurring pains as if I still had my gallbladder. Being at home again, although it was great to be with the kids, it isolated me from adult contact and I started to become more and more of a recluse. I was getting upset a lot, my stress levels were so high. I could feel anxiety creeping in about doing simple things. After a few months of feeling so low I approached my doctor, I told her how I was feeling and that I didn’t want to be medicated, but I wanted to be referred to someone that could give me the skills of managing my stress.

Even that felt like a weight lifted. The first guy I met was not for me. Firstly, he couldn’t possibly understand what I was going through and honestly he wasn’t even trying to understand. I got that feeling from him like he wasn’t listening and then he gave me a patronising speech. Back to the doctor I went and she referred me to someone different. This time the fit was right. She was a real Mammy figure and gave me a hug at the end of each session. She made me feel like I wasn’t alone and gave me some coping skills to deal with everyday anxiety and stress. It wasn’t a fix all but it definitely helped.

However, as the summer continued that year Nathan got very sick with pains in his belly and I ended up in hospital with him. He couldn’t walk one Sunday when he woke up and was doubled over in pain. He had been ill for a few days with a high temperature and tummy aches but no vomiting or diarrhoea. Sean was working that Sunday and my parents and sister just happened to be in Galway at the same time for different reasons. So, I was on my own. Over to the hospital with Nathan and a one year old. Nathan was admitted and Sean’s sister kindly came and took Jacob from me. Nathan had an ultrasound and an x-ray and it showed his abdomen was full of air. It looked like he was full of bubbles on the ultrasound. A tube had to be inserted down his nose and into his stomach to release some of the trapped air. He was so uncomfortable and upset with me for letting them put the tube in. It’s tough to be the baddie even though you know it’s for their own good. Thankfully he recovered quickly and was back to his normal self.

A few weeks later I put my back out. I bent down one morning when Sean was in work and took some food out of the grill for the kids. No sooner had I bent down, I felt something go and I couldn’t get back up. I was in agony. I rang one of my neighbours to come and get me some medicine out of the press as I was crippled on the couch. My sister came to take me to Midoc and my parents took the kids. I was given an injection to ease the pain. Over the next few weeks the pain didn’t go away. I was barely able to function normally and the medication wasn’t helping. I couldn’t take the full medication either as I had two kids to look after. I think people thought I was exaggerating as they were getting annoyed with me. I asked for an MRI after four weeks to see what was causing the pain. I knew it was sciatica as the pain went down my right leg. The MRI was done and the information sent back to my doctors to read. I had a bulging disc and deterioration of the lower spine and they couldn’t give me an answer as to when I would feel better. I had to let myself heel and they suggested taking to the bed in order to give myself time to get better. Obviously, this was not possible and I still had a one year old who needed to be fed and picked up and cuddled all the time and a 3-year-old who wanted to be up as much. It was October before I felt better and stopped taking pan relief.

It was such an eventful year with all of the above happening and I am sure anyone would struggle under those circumstances. But with having PND it heightened everything and made it harder to let things go.  There were other personal things that happened that year like strains on important relationships and this added to the loneliness and isolation I felt ……………………………………

To be continued

Our Wedding Day

Your Wedding Day is such a special day and ours did not disappoint. I stayed in Mammy and Daddy’s the night before my wedding. I slept in my own bed and Tara took Nathan in with her so that I could get a sleep. The night before there were a few family and friends in Mam and Dad’s house, a few glasses of champagne and wine were consumed and then Tara and Shauna (my sisters) presented me with my hen memories book, with loads of pictures and messages from all my chicks 😊. It was such a nice gift and something I will cherish forever. Off to bed early as I needed as much sleep as possible before the big day.

Early to bed and early to rise! I was up early and straight into the shower. Our hairdresser, Andrea, from the Hair Gallery in Portlaoise was there to get started. The rollers were put in and then it was under the dryer for me. While I was drying, I was on my phone reading all the well wishes I had received that morning. It was so relaxed. The front sitting room was the hair studio, the living room was for makeup and the kitchen was chaos. There were bodies everywhere. Olive was on the floor with a few of the kids putting the marryoke lyrics into the mass booklets, Nathan was crawling around full of divilment. We had so many visitors that morning. The flowers arrived with my uncle. My cousin was driving Sean and the Groomsmen so he was in the house to collect the flowers for their lapels. My Aunt was there with my beautiful flower girl and her brother, our junior groomsman/usher for the day. Someone went out and got breakfast for everyone there and drinks and laughter were flowing.

Once my hair was done it was off to make-up with Lisa, she did an amazing job. Everyone got their turn at hair and makeup, they even squeezed in a few extras. The photographer and videographer were there taking pictures of us as we got ready. We also filmed some scenes for our marryoke. It was hilarious singing along to the lyrics of Barry White, “My First, My Last, My Everything”. I had to sing it by myself and with my sisters and Mam. Our videographer and photographer were Frame It Weddings (https://www.frameitweddings.com/). Richie and Les were so accomodating and captured amazing memories from the day. After that I was walking around the house enjoying the atmosphere and a sip of champagne. Tara and Shauna my bridesmaid were off getting ready and so was Mammy. They looked amazing. We were all so relaxed that we forgot the time, oops! The car had arrived to bring us to the church and I wasn’t even in my dress. The pressure was on. Into Mam and Dad’s room I went and I was helped into my dress by my sisters. Tara tightened the back and Shauna was underneath fixing the tulle and strapping in my shoes. Dad came in once I was dressed with Nathan in his arms and tears were shed.

Then we were off. Into the car with Daddy and off we went to the church. It was a glorious day and the temperatures reached 26 degrees. I was a bit late for the church so as soon as we arrived it was time to line of for the procession. Dad turned to me and asked what he was to do when we got to the top of the aisle. I started off by saying you can shake Sean’s hand and then lift my …., oh s**t. I forgot my vail. In all the excitement, the vail was hanging the in the wardrobe and it was forgotten about. Panic stations! Tara took over, into bridesmaid mode. My uncle was called for, with whispers going down the church. When he came out him and Tara jumped into the car and sped off towards the house. The priest, Fr. Tommy came out for a chat and the church inside was alive with whispers wondering what was happening.

Tara and my uncle arrived back in no time and the vail was thrown in any which way, who cares, it was here. Down over my face and the String Quartet Vltava began to play. As I walked down the aisle I got so emotional, it was finally happening. I was on my way up the aisle to the love of my life, ready to start a new chapter and commit ourselves to each other in front of all our family, friends, and God. It was a beautiful ceremony, if I say so myself. I prepared the mass with help from Fr. Tommy and tried to get as many involved as possible. All the kids in the family were invited and they all did prayer of the faithful in pairs with their siblings. Sean’s sister did a reading and so did a very close friend of ours.

It was time for the vows and Sean and I had been practising for weeks. He nailed his and I mixed mine up to a different version but no one noticed, till now. Before the priest got to announce us as husband and wife I leaned in and kissed Sean. I got the timing wrong and the priest made a joke and the whole church erupted in laughter. It wasn’t the first time during the ceremony that laughter was heard as Fr. Tommy made a few jokes about how late I was and about my vale. It made the ceremony more personal. I dos were exchanged; another kiss was had and we were married. My sister read a prayer after communion which was very emotional for everyone. We signed the registry and took a few photos and then we danced out of the church to Barry White.

Everyone gathered in the church yard after congratulating us. Champagne was passed out to the immediate families and group photos were taken. It was great to see all the people who could join us on our special day and looking back at it now we were so blessed to have so many. It’s sad to think that a few special characters have passed away since then, but they are always in our thoughts.

The wedding party made their way to Emo Court for pictures. It is such a special place for us and it was fitting to have our pictures taken there. We got all the group shots out of the way and then everyone left, leaving Sean and I and the photographer for some more intimate shots. It was so hot in Emo that poor Sean got burnt on his head. Once the photos were taken the videographer got some scenes of Sean and I singing and dancing around a tree for the marryoke. Sean was so embarrassed which made me laugh more. It was hilarious. Richie and Les from Frame It Weddings were there encouraging us – more Sean and me to embrace it and just enjoy it. The photos and footage would be worth it.

On our way to the reception we were so overwhelmed with the ceremony and everyone’s love and well wishes. We took that time to relax and have a cuddle and a chat before the exciting celebrations ahead. We arrived at a red carpet leading us inside the Heritage in Portlaoise. I am so glad that we went with this venue, they were amazing and so accommodating. We had originally booked the Heritage in Killenard and it was only going to be a small wedding with a large afters. We booked the day of the wedding fair and the next day they called us back to cancel our booking as the meal was only for 30+ people and it was too small. I was heartbroken, but in hindsight it worked out for the best. A few weeks later the wedding fair was on in Portlaoise, again we booked for a small meal and a large afters. They were happy to take the booking and helped with all our questions. The next day after discussions with my parents the guest list went from 30+ to 200. Portlaoise was the perfect venue, they provided us with loads of choices and accommodated us with everything we wanted and needed. It was an amazing day from start to finish.

There was a champagne reception with canapes and music playing in the background. We were able to enjoy a chat with a few of the guests before being called for dinner. We decided to have the speeches before dinner, Sean was so nervous that he said he wouldn’t be able to eat knowing he had to speak. Sean’s brother was the best man and he was the MC, introducing us as husband and wife and handing the mike over to my Daddy. His speech was so heart felt and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Actually, looking back all the speeches were tear jerkers and everyone was crying. My sister Tara said a few words, Sean and I spoke and Conleth, Sean’s brother and his Mam also spoke. Then it was down to the meal.

The day flew by and it was a whirlwind of excitement. The band that played were called Epic, they have since reformed as The Electrix. Damien Carroll the lead singer was brilliant and they got everyone on the floor after the first dance, which was “Better Together” by Jack Johnson. This song is so special to us and has been our anthem for years. It was amazing that when we went to get Nathan’s 3D scan that this song was playing in the background and was used as the music on the DVD of the scan we took away with us. The second song was one of my Dad’s favourites, “Simply The Best”. Him and I had such a good dance that at some stage he spun me and I landed on my bum. He got too excited. I was up as quick as I went down and not many people noticed.

The cake was made by Bernie Gorman of House of Cakes. She called in to my house for a consultation and everything we discussed was brought to life on the cake. It was a castle of course, because I secretly I wished I was a princess. There were icing cut outs of the wedding party going up the stairs of the cake with Sean and I at the castle doors. There were also 3D butterflies going up the cake. The theme for the tables was different breeds of butterflies and the invitations and mass booklets all had butterflies on them too.

The videographer (Les) had set up in the lobby outside the function room and had loads of different groups singing along to Barry White. It was such a good addition to the day as everyone embraced it and the DVD turned out great. The afters came around so quick and when the band took a break Sean and I decided to disappear for a few minutes. I had bought a lighter wedding dress from Monsoon in Kildare Village so that I could change into it later in the night. I was never so glad to get out of my wedding dress. I bought my dress in Berketex Brides upstairs in the Jervis Centre, it was my dream dress and I fell in love with it. Mam came with me to pick it and it was so nice to have that moment together. Afterwards we went to St Mary’s Chapel for dome champagne and dinner.

As I said earlier the day was very hot and with all the too-ing and fro-ing I was roasting under all the tulle. I put my hair into a shower cap and had a cool shower. I felt so refreshed we were able to go back down to the party and appreciate it more after taking those few minutes to ourselves.

The dancing went on all night and last few stragglers hit the residents bar. There was great laughter and reminiscing done when the crowd thinned out and we even had a performance of Braveheart from my cousin dedicated to Daddy. Tears of laughter flowed from everyone’s eyes. I only watched the video recently of the performance and it was so funny. The bar staff brought out some sandwiches to soak up the drink and Sean and I left around 3am. It was the perfect day from start to finish and I cherish the memories deeply in my heart. We are so lucky to have such amazing families and friends and they all got to share our special day with us.

Baby Number 2

We got married In June 2011, just a year after having Nathan. It was our plan to have another baby as soon as possible after getting married so they would be close in age. We jetted off on honeymoon, nowhere exotic, it was just a break away. I assumed that we would get pregnant straight away like we did with Nathan but my body had different ideas. It took us until October to conceive and that is when we decided to take a break from trying and just relax. In hindsight, it wasn’t that long at all, but like now, you feel it every time you get your periods. I had just started a new job and I was thrilled with myself, 2 weeks later I found out I was pregnant. The whirlwind begun.

I was very nauseous on this pregnancy too but it wasn’t like the last time. I was thrilled and had a good attitude but I couldn’t help the waves that presented themselves on more than a few occasions each day. My sense of smell was heightened and the women I shared an office with drank coffee all the time. I had to run to the bathrooms most days. Any slight smell would set me off. It was hard to conceal it in work. Our Christmas party was coming up and we were going away for the night. I had to pretend I was drinking all night to try get away with it.

After Christmas I started to get pains in my lower right side, and a few days later I decided it was time to go to the doctors to have it checked out. Of course, the doctor was airing on the side of caution and sent me to A&E in case it was appendicitis. I was so worried because I didn’t want to do anything to harm the baby, like having to go under anaesthetic. I was seen to very quickly and an ultrasound was arranged to see if it was in fact my appendix. Anyway, long story short it wasn’t appendicitis because it’s still intact but at the time they couldn’t give me a definitive answer. It was a worrying few days.

The nausea went away for a few weeks but came back with a bang in January and February. It got so bad that I couldn’t keep anything down, not even water. I was dehydrated and so tired. I went down to the doctors to see if there was anything they could give me to stop me from getting sick. At the time, he gave me an injection as I was a few days without food and that wasn’t healthy.

The pregnancy progressed and we went for our 3D scan, like we did on Nathan. This time we were sure we wanted to find out. It’s a boy!!! Another boy, Nathan was thrilled to be having a baby brother. There was great excitement when we got home to tell Mam and Dad and my sisters. I also took a trip down to my aunties house and showed her the pictures from the scan. We sat out on her decking and it was very emotional as I started by saying “meet your Godson”. I know it’s premature to ask so early but I knew I wanted her as Jacob’s Godmother. She is a great mammy and has always been there for me and I treat her two children as my own too. There is only 12 years between us and from changing my nappies as a baby to now, we are very close.

After one of my check-ups it was noticed that I had a kidney infection and I was admitted into hospital again. I wasn’t feeling any discomfort so it took me by surprise and with Nathan not even two at home it was harder to just think of yourself. Nathan was so cute and well up and he loved his mammy. We have a very special bond, so as hard as it was for me to be away from him, it was even harder for him as he didn’t understand. I was released after a few days and told to continue taking antibiotics.

A whirlwind, I told you. It was coming near my due date and I was attending the gynaecologist for a check-up. Mam was with me that day and it was lovely for her to come and see baby growing inside. After all the usual checks were performed it was time for a chat. I wanted to discuss an elective section. The Doctor was not happy, she said that after one section that I could have a natural labour this time. I could not be convinced. The trauma of the last delivery was in the back of my head and it was likely that I would have to be sectioned anyway as the labour progressed so I wasn’t taking any chances. She then listed off all the risks of having a C-section including harm to the baby and that I could die. Very dramatic, but I suppose they have to cover themselves. I was adamant and at my next appointment my date was set.

In the meantime, it was normal life, I was working away until two weeks before, everything was packed in the suitcase, unpacked, and packed again. Babies room was ready and all the equipment like car seats and buggy was ready to be used. We just needed baby. A week before my delivery date we had my cousins wedding. I was as big as a beached whale with a week to go and the big idiot that I am decided it would be a great idea to wear my clip in hair extensions. I was being cooked underneath them. Sean and I snuck out to the car after dinner and he helped me get them out, oh the relief! It was a great night but we retired early around 12pm.  It was nice to be a part of her day and to enjoy all the family before our big day. It was like I had a fortune teller’s crystal ball as everyone was rubbing my belly all day. People are drawn to the bump. Just remember it doesn’t have magical powers.

In the week leading up to going into hospital we were busy getting ready. I went down town one evening before Sean finished work to pick up flowers and a thank you card to midwife that worked in the clinic who was so helpful throughout this pregnancy and the last. I was getting back into the car after picking up flowers from the florist and Nathan pulled his hand out of mine and darted out onto the road into oncoming traffic. The car that was coming slammed on his breaks but there was still an impact. Nathan fell to the ground with fright and I ran onto the road to pick him up. How easily it can happen, he just got excited and pulled away from me. He was ok, thank god as the car had slowed so much. I was just worried about him and in shock.

I called Sean and he came down to me immediately. I was cradling Nathan in the front seat of the car, thanking god nothing serious happened. The girlfriend of the driver gave me her number and they moved on after making sure Nathan was ok. They were in shock too. I didn’t leave the house again until it was time to go to hospital. I feared going into labour from the shock so I just stayed put and cuddled Nathan for a few days.

The morning of my delivery was so exciting. I could nearly burst. I couldn’t wait to get to hospital. I didn’t tell many people my delivery date so that we could go over there in peace and not have people ringing all day. We got the hospital and there was another couple just in the door before us. You should have heard Sean giving out, we should have got here quicker, walked faster from the car – hello pregnant lady here, swollen feet, dislodged pelvis, do you want to carry me??? I didn’t mind, he was coming today, we only had to wait a few hours. Lazy bones was pacing the hospital room, come on, where are they, is it our turn yet? He was worse than a child. A one stage he laid his head down against my bump on the bed and fell asleep. Well for him!

In walked the porter, it was time. Up on the gurney I climbed and away we went. I was more nervous this time around as I knew what was coming. Im terrified of needles and the spinal was freaking me out. It took what felt like forever to get the needle in and there was even talk of putting me asleep – hell no. I was meeting my baby, not waiting a few hours. They eventually secured the line and it was time to get started. In walked the Doctor and her understudy and the section begun. I was sick again after the spinal but it passed quickly, this time I was prepared and told the nurse ahead of time that it was a possibility. As the doctor got closer to baby she asked if I suffered with indigestion. I said no as this was never an issue thank god. She went on to say that baby had a full head of hair. He was lifted out a few minutes later and I was given a peak over the screen. While she held him up he peed all over her. I knew then he was going to be trouble.

Baby Jacob Felim was born at 12pm weighing 8lbs 8oz with a full head of black hair and again the image of this Daddy. After the midwife checked him out he was given to Sean for cuddles, he laid him down beside me on the head of the theatre bed and I snuggled into him for kisses and cuddles. He was finally here. Doctor then said that while I was already open that there was a cyst on my ovary that would annoy her on any future scans and if she could remove it. I told her to work away, I was too busy looking at Jacob. When the cyst was out she gave me a sneaky look and then it was into recovery. The hospital had changed its policy since I had Nathan and now they allowed skin to skin for mammy in recovery. Sean had to leave and went back to the room. It was so special to have that half hour with Jacob to myself. He latched on very easily and was so content on my chest.

The excitement begun as calls and texts began to roll in, visitors were over and Jacob was cuddled by his nearest and dearest. I had asked that only immediate family visit that day so I could rest and it also gave Nathan a chance to meet his baby brother in private. He was so excited to see me and he climbed up on the bed for cuddles. My first boy was no longer the baby and it’s like he grew into a giant overnight. I couldn’t get over the size of his hands, he was a big boy now. He brought in a teddy for Jacob and gave him a kiss on the head while Nanny cuddled him. The cuteness.

When everyone went home that night and Sean left, Jacob had a feed and went to sleep. I was wrecked and floated off to sleep too. Next thing I know it was morning and the nurses were poking at me taking my temperature and the rest. Jacob had slept all night and was happy wrapped in his little cocoon. I fed him shortly afterwards and we waited for Daddy to come in. I was never so happy to have a shower. Later that day the doctors were around and worried that Jacob was slightly Jaundice. They did the Bilirubin test and they said he was just under the level but was ok, so I relaxed and thought nothing more of it. Later again a younger doctor came back to check Jacob with a group of student doctors. He checked Jacob again with the bilirubinometer and although the levels were close to normal and the same as earlier he decided to do a blood test. I was so annoyed and reluctantly allowed him to proceed. The results came back normal and I told him I didn’t appreciate my new-born baby being used as a guinea pig for his students to learn something.

With all the stress of earlier that day, or so I thought, I got a terrible pain down my arm and into my shoulders. I just ignored it for as long as I could until it became unbearable. The pain went into the top of my back and down the other arm. My head was thumping. The anaesthetist was called as they were worried that there was a leakage of spinal fluid and they may have to do a blood patch. Thankfully it started to subside and the pains were due to trapped air, as I was sectioned and then had a cyst removed, I was open for a while. The air travelled to the top and that’s what was causing the pain. I was wondering why for the last few days the nurses and midwives were asking if I was passing wind, I thought it was a bit personal.

The next day came and Jacob and I were released from hospital, such a relief to get home to my own environment and to Nathan. It was bliss, a shower and to lie in my own bed. I had Nathan one side, Jacob lying on my belly and Sean the other side. I couldn’t have asked for anything more …………………

To be continued

 

Unanswered Prayers

My birthday was finally here, I was awoken like most mornings with a smile and a squeeze from Nathan, he is always the first up in the mornings. Jacob was soon to follow. Sean got up and got my presents and the boys were full of excitement giving them to me. We put on Bruno Mars “Perm” and had a little disco in the bed. The opening line is “It’s my birthday (No it’s not) ……”. After our sing song and the boys shaking there moves, it was time to get up and get organised. Bathroom first and then……. My periods had arrived. As prepared as you are for them to come, there is always disappointment. It hit me like a blow to the chest and I was crying uncontrollably in the bathroom. Sean came to see what was the matter, the boys were down stairs having their breakfast. He hugged me and told me everything was going to be ok and it will happen when it’s supposed to and all the usual things a man says when he really has no clue how their wife is feeling at that moment but is instinct is to make it better. I was inconsolable.

Tears as big as golf balls streamed down my face for what seemed like hours, I felt drained and my heart was hurting. I had to pull myself together. It was my birthday, I had to go to work. I had so much to be thankful for. I got ready and set off, on the way I called the chemist and ordered my medication for this cycle, I am always worried to order it before I get my periods in case I am giving up hope and with that maybe brings bad luck. Always stay positive until reality hits. Work wasn’t too bad. I work with my Dad so I got a big birthday hug when I arrived. His business partner heard me talking about buying a BBQ and gave me one of the commercial ones we have on sale in the showrooms. The day was starting to look up.

I called my gynaecologist that I visited in January to arrange follicle tracking for February. She too prescribed me hormones to take at the beginning of each cycle but I decided to stay with the medication from the clinic in Dublin as it was a full treatment of each cycle from start to finish. I was booked in for Day 9, which to me was too early and I explained that I don’t usually ovulate until day 15/16. No it was Day 9 and that was it. This worked out to be a Friday and as I only work a half day on a Friday I decided to book the day off.

In a bid to cheer me up Sean booked Kelly’s Steakhouse for dinner that night and I organised my sister to babysit. The food was fabulous as usual and we had a great evening. I even treated myself to some wine. It was straight to bed after dinner. Friday was a busy day. I had work for a few hours and then off to the local GAA Dinner Dance. When I got home it was off to the blow dry bar for GHD curls and then to get my make-up done. My neighbour is a make-up artist and she is amazing. She always makes me look and feel great. I wore a black jumpsuit from Joanna Hope purchased from the Simply Be website. It was bedazzled and very flattering.

It was a great night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was able to relax and unwind. I met the midwife from the clinics that we attended during both pregnancies and she was always so good to us. I told her my situation briefly and she said to hang in there, to continue taking the metformin and it should start to work in the next couple of months. I needed to hear that and get her reassurance. I was obviously meant to go to the Dinner Dance and meet her that night.

The month continued and I took the hormones on day three and day four. This month they had been increased to ten from seven to see if this had any affect. I went for my follicle tracking in the early pregnancy unit in Portlaoise on day nine of my cycle. It was great to go as it gives you some indication of what’s happening on the inside and if your body is responding well to the drugs. The lady who did it for me was amazing, she was so kind and helpful and had great advice for me that I had never heard before. She suggested taking Exputex as this would help me produce more mucus each cycle. You should take it in the days coming up to ovulation. She also suggested that both Sean and I start taking Co-Enzyme Q10 as it helps strengthen the head of the sperm to aid penetrating the hard exterior of the egg and also should help me produce better quality eggs. There are loads of more reasons why to use these supplements but they are the main ones.

That day my largest follicle on my right-side measured 21mm. This was a big improvement to last cycle and I was over the moon. I went out to the car and called my fertility advisor straight away. She suggested calling the clinic, which I did next. They wanted me to take the HCG injection the next day. A mature follicle that is due to rupture usually reaches 24mm, on their advice, so I was very close. Once the injection is given, it causes the follicle to rupture within 36 hours and then ovulation occurs. The reason behind the injections is to ensure that the follicles rupture as sometimes this process doesn’t occur. As it happened the next morning I got a smiley face on my ovulation test which indicated an LH surge. I was good to go. I called Mary and made arrangements to see her that evening.

This cycle progressed normally, the progesterone was not really affecting me as badly anymore and I started taking Femtab this cycle to bring up my Oestrogen levels. On day twenty (peak plus seven) I got my bloods done and the results came back a few days later. My Oestrogen levels had come back up to 605, I was thrilled but the progesterone was still low at 42.6. It’s so frustrating, one without the other is no good and I had to prepare myself for disappointment again this month.

As it happened my periods were late, I got very excited and was praying for a miracle. In the back of my mind I was excited. A year previous I had lost a very special uncle and I pray to him and Nana all the time to send me a baby, put a good word in. It was coming up to his 1st year anniversary and my periods were nowhere to be seen, I thought my prayers had been answered. But it was not meant to be. They came a few days later and again I went through the same emotions as last month. I felt myself slipping under the dark cloud again, I thought this month was it, I felt like I was being teased with them being late. It’s not fair. I would love that baby so much and I honestly considered giving up treatment. I had a review appointment with the clinic in Dublin that I made in November and I postponed it. I couldn’t face it, it wasn’t going to affect this cycle regardless as it had begun already, so what was the point until I figured things out in my own head.

It’s so hard every day to face infertility issues. I know I have my beautiful boys and they are what keep me going. However, they are constantly asking for a new baby, especially my oldest boy, he loves kids and is so kind and gentle with them. He likes to talk before bed every night and have cuddles and asks when Holy God is going to send us a baby. He plans if it’s a girl or a boy depending on his mood that day and he picks out the baby’s name. He tells me he wants the baby to sleep with him and we laugh and joke about him changing dirty nappies. He refers to the spare room as the baby’s room and we have all got into that habit now. I always tell him our baby is not ready yet but Holy God will put it into Mammy’s belly as soon as he/she is. Kids are so accepting, this is all he needs to hear and off he goes to bed. Kids are so resilient, there innocence to the big bad world is something to cherish. Keep the problems away and let them just enjoy their childhood.

Oh to be a child again ……………………………………

To be continued

January Blues

Christmas came and went and there was great excitement in our house, the boys were thrilled and totally spoilt as per usual. I didn’t have a drink Christmas day as I had entered the second half of my cycle and didn’t want to take any chances. I usually allow myself to have a night out or a few drinks around the beginning of each cycle to wind down and drown my sorrows. I started the progesterone again this month and they were not agreeing with me. I had heartburn constantly and was living on gaviscon. I couldn’t enjoy food at all and felt nauseous for the whole week. Instead of a night out in the pub Sean and I went to the cinema and then to Kelly’s Steakhouse to for something to eat. It was our first time there since it reopened. The meal was amazing, eyes were way bigger than my belly and I suffered for it afterwards.

I was optimistic this month, naive really to think it would happen as soon as I started the hormones. But my emotions took over. A late Christmas present from Santa. We had a quite night in for New Years and I got my results from my blood test a few days into the New Year. They weren’t good. Oestradiol had gone down slightly from last month and my progesterone levels had plummeted. I was heartbroken. I knew my periods would be coming in the next day or two and I was trying to prepare myself.  A few days later I decided to email my consultant, I was confused and frustrated and needed some guidance.

In the email, I basically said that I wanted more information on how the whole process worked. I could not understand why my Oestradiol had halved since starting the medication and why my body was not reacting to the progesterone. I like to know what exactly is going on in my body and have all the information. The email I received back three days later was not helpful at all. It did not address any of my questions and basically suggested that I look into fertility counselling. I didn’t need counselling, I just needed answers. This upset me more.

I had booked follicle tracking for Day 12 as requested by the clinic and just focused on this for the following days. Day 12 was a Saturday morning. The boys had a birthday party in the local play zone for their cousin’s birthday and I went to get the tracking done. It was my left side that was active and there were two follicle’s 11mm each. This information was forwarded to my consultant in Dublin. I got all my answers from the Doctor that did my follicle tracking, she was very understanding and helpful and although I was upset leaving the clinic I had more information than before. I knew now that the progesterone levels were only being topped up by the medication I was taking. That if I had a result of 33 that this meant I probably only had somewhere in the region of the teens or twenties and the meds just topped it up to 33. Therefore, it indicated I had a poor ovulation or none at all the previous month. Knowledge is key and without it you are doing it blind.

My consultant in Dublin called me first thing on Monday morning and wanted me to go for another scan that day. Said that there were no dominant follicles and another scan would give her more information. At €100 per scan it wasn’t just as easy as of course no problem. I was annoyed and said no that I couldn’t go today and that I had one booked for Saturday. Curiosity got the better of me and I called the local clinic to see if they could fit me in. They squeezed me in for after work. This time it showed that both follicles had grown to just above 15mm. This information was also passed on to the clinic and I received a call the following morning. I was now on Day 15 of my cycle and was not testing positive for an LH surge on my ovulation indicators. I also had no mucus present to indicate ovulation. So frustrating! I couldn’t take the HCG injection without any clear indication of ovulation.

It got to Thursday and there was still no positive result. I called my fertility advisor for some advice. We both agreed that I should bring my Saturday appointment for follicle tracking back to today to see what’s going on. So, off I went again, another €100. This time the scan showed that the follicles had ruptured and that there was fluid in my pelvis. The doctor in the local clinic was happy with the cycle in her opinion but the clinic was not convinced. I suppose the blood tests would give a better picture of what was going on this month. They weren’t good, my progesterone was at 37, no move from last month and my Oestradiol had halved again. It started at 533 and was now at 156. What was going on? I rang the results into the clinic and they agreed to increase my Letrozole from 7 tablets to 10 and also to put be on Femtab which was to increase my oestrogen levels.

The end of the month was coming, January was nearly over. I can honestly say looking back it now I was so depressed for the whole month. I didn’t want to socialise, I barely wanted to get out of bed, I was struggling to hold back the tears most days and honestly questioned what was the point. My birthday was coming up at the beginning of February and as it happened by periods were due that day. Talk about trying to ruin the birthday buzz. I got a phone call from a friend to attend the local football club’s dinner dance. I gave myself a kick in the bum and tried to come out of my slump before my periods arrived. I figured if I didn’t take control not only would it ruin my birthday but it was going to be harder to dig myself out from under the cloud once I got my next periods. I started back at the gym and made plans to get out of the house. I got my nails done and bought a new outfit for the dinner dance. I put on a brave face and got on with it………

To be continued

Baby’s Arrival

Today was definitely the day, contractions were coming strong with really no break in between. Around lunch time I called Sean to come home from work. I remember sitting in mam’s waiting for him to come home with my face buried into the side of the arm chair. Although the pain was not pleasant I was bursting with excitement. Sean picked me up and it was straight to the hospital, he may have broken a few speed limits along the way. He dropped me at the door and parked the car. I remember holding myself up on the bollard outside the hospital when my cousin and her boyfriend walked past.

I went upstairs to be assessed and was assigned a midwife. I was barely 2cm – seriously what was the pain all about so. She showed me to my bed and told me to go have a bath. Bad idea, I got into the bath like a beached whale. I had nothing to grip onto when the pains got strong. And oh boy, they went from bad to worse. I got out of the bath with great difficulty, I was like a contortionist. Sean helped me to dry myself and get dressed and he went off to get the midwife. She escorted us to the delivery rooms and that’s when the fun began.

Baby was sunshine, meaning his spine was against my spine, this was causing so much pain in my back. One of the housekeeping ladies popped in and brought me some toast and orange juice. I didn’t eat it all maybe just a bite or two and a sup of the drink. Sean was rubbing my back and the midwife was busying herself getting prepared for what was to come. They started talking and somehow knew each other’s families and got into a great conversation. Hello! I am still here in pain. Rub my back. Grrrrrr!

I was not progressing much, cm’s hadn’t changed and a decision was made to break my waters. At this stage, my Mammy had arrived and Sean stepped out for air. The doctor came in and broke my waters and there was meconium present. All hell broke loose and the pains got worser. 😊 The registrar on duty came in and said that I would be ok that process would be very slow and to proceed with a normal delivery – Epidural, anybody. I was sucking on gas with no relief.

Next thing the midwives start talking amongst themselves, they noticed something on the trace with regards to baby’s breathing. They weren’t saying much to us but I knew something was wrong. Mam kept asking for information but they ignored her. The gynaecologist on duty was called who happened to be the same one that delivered myself and Sean all those years ago. Thank god for him as I wouldn’t like to think of what could have happened. An emergency section was called for immediately. Baby was struggling and needed to be delivered asap.

I got a terrible fright and really did not want to be sectioned. It wasn’t in my plan and I was scared. Sean wasn’t here either and I later found out that they wouldn’t let him back in as my mam was in with me. A gurney was brought into the labour ward to transport me down to theatre, I could barely move with the pain and the midwife that wouldn’t give us any information was beside me. I asked her to help me up off the bed and she said no – she didn’t want to hurt her back. She definitely won’t be on my Christmas card list. Sean was outside the labour ward waiting on me. He got a terrible fright as he didn’t know what was going on. Mam hung back for a minute and had a stern word with the midwife for withholding information and being down right rude.

It was off to theatre. It was such a rush, I was brought in and placed on the operating bed, I was asked to sit very still heaped over while they inserted the epidural/spinal – which mid contraction is very difficult to do. Success they were in. Instant relief. No nicer feeling, honestly. After having contractions on and off for a few days and the intense last few hours it was amazing. I felt a cold tingle down one leg and then down the other. No more pain. They did their checks to make sure it worked and the screen went up, they were ready to go. Sean was brought in at that stage and I was more worried about him seeing anything gory as he is so squeamish.

After getting the epidural I felt the need to get sick, I was given anti-nausea meds but it didn’t help. Damm that lady who gave me toast and orange juice! Incisions were made and baby was delivered. He was checked first and then brought to me. He was gorgeous, Nathan was born at 8pm weighing 8lbs. He had lovely black hair and was the image of his daddy. Sean and I sat there starring at him for a few minutes before the midwife and Sean brought him upstairs to check him out and get him dressed. Time in recovery was the longest half hour of my life.

Eventually I was brought back upstairs on the bed and was met by Sean and Nathan in the hall. Mam and Dad were waiting outside my room door and it was all hugs, kisses, and tears of joy. I was reunited with Nathan and everyone got their cuddles. Mam and Dad left soon afterwards and Sean and I memorised every part of our baby. I was so happy and overjoyed to have him with me finally. It was hard to put him down, the cuteness. Pictures were taken, phone calls were made and text messages were sent. He had arrived and we wanted the world to know. The drama of the day was behind us and forgotten about, it didn’t matter now that he was here…………………….………

To be continued

 

First Pregnancy

There is no better feeling in the world than holding your baby for the first time, their smell, their tiny fingers, and toes, how actually small they are. Your emotions are over flowing and it all becomes real. This little baby you have been growing inside of you for 9 months has finally graced you with their presence. You’re in love, a love that is like no other, a love that fills you with joy from head to toe. Your protective side kicks in and when the nurse takes your baby to dress him and make sure everything is ok, you watch her, you watch her every move, making sure your little person is safe. Not taking into consideration that the nurse or midwife works with baby’s every day or that this is what he/she is trained to do. She has your baby now and she’s not worthy.

Let me take you back to the beginning. Deciding to have a baby and change our lives for the better was easy for me. I wanted a baby forever, I was always broody and surrounded myself with children, especially my cousins growing up. I felt like I was a part of their lives and them apart of mine. I was first to offer to babysit. I remember traveling across the country as a teenager to spend time with the first-born cousin in a long time. I was obsessed. My aunt that lived locally had a baby a few years later and I nearly moved in. I was 6 years old when my youngest sister was born and she was so precious to me. I mothered her and still to this day have to be reminded that she has one mother and my role is a sister.

It took Sean a little longer to come around to the idea. I think it’s different for men, he was being practical and was thinking with his head and not his heart. Can we afford a baby, are we ready, it is the right time? He came around in the end. We went to Manchester for a few days in the August to see a match and stayed with Family. We had a great time and really relaxed. We had decided we would try when we got back. We figured it would take a while for it to happen. Little did we know that God had different plans. We got pregnant first time, how simple it was looking back at it compared to our struggles now.

As you will see from yesterday’s post we got engaged in September and two weeks later found out we were pregnant. I remember going up stairs to unpack from our night way and doing the test. When the results were, in I couldn’t believe. Although I instinctively knew, I was still in shock. I nervously called Sean upstairs and showed him the test. He hugged me but I could see he was struggling to digest it all. He went back down stairs to watch the match and I busied myself upstairs. I came down a few minutes later and offered to go pick us up some dinner. I wanted to leave him to his thoughts until he was ready to talk to me. When I got back we went outside as it was a nice day to eat our food and my cousins arrived, they were staying over for the night. When they went to bed later that night we sat down and had a great chat, Sean was delighted and I knew he just needed time to process everything.

It was then time to tell our families. We called to my parents’ house first. I was so nervous. I had participated in a fitness camp over the previous few weeks and signed up for the next one. Mam mentioned the camp and was asking what nights was it on. This was my cue. I said I won’t be able to take part this time, why she said? Nervously I told her and she was thrilled. She told Daddy straight away and they both hugged and congratulated us. Daddy made a joke and said now he was married to Granny and I knew they were ok with the news. My sisters were there too that day and everyone was told in my house. Off to Sean’s Mothers house.

When we got there his sister happened to be there too as well as a few of his brothers. We went into his Mam’s room and told his Mam and sister first and then told his brothers. There was great excitement. The hard bit was over. I don’t know why we were so nervous. We were adults, had bought our own house the year previous and were now engaged to be married. I suppose it’s only natural.

I went to the doctors on the Monday morning after finding out, he thought it may not show up yet on their tests as it was so early, but it did. All my information was sent to the hospital to get me in with a consultant and to arrange the first scan. It wasn’t will all this was over the nausea started. For weeks I was so nauseous, until one day my mam said to me on the phone during a moaning session; “You will never be pregnant again for the first time, don’t waste it moaning and feeling sorry for yourself, enjoy it”. It was the kick in the bum I needed. I just got over myself. Mind over matter.

I loved every minute of being pregnant, every scan, every kick, every hiccup. I loved it. It was the miracle of life. At 24 weeks, we went to Blackrock for a 3D scan. I was dying to find out the gender, Sean was on the fence as usual. But when the scan started he was sold. He wanted to know who he was looking at. Our son. He was the image of his Daddy; strange I know but his features were the same. That was an amazing time for both of us. On the way home, we picked his name and stopped in Newbridge to pick up his letters for his Nursery.

Time flew to the end and I was nesting for weeks. The house was ready but no sign of baby. We got to term plus 4, it was a bank holiday Monday and I woke with contractions, they were mild but happening. It was 6:50am and I rang Mammy. The excitement began. She said to come straight to her house and be there until I needed to go to hospital. The day passed by and the contractions came and went. I was ready for my baby and had planned to have a natural birth. It got to the early hours of Tuesday morning and Sean and I went to the hospital. I was assessed and given a bed. No move and I was discharged as quick on the Tuesday as the contractions stopped for a few hours. I was exhausted and glad to get home to Mammy’s for a sleep. I slept well on Tuesday night but the contractions woke me again on Wednesday morning. Today was the day………………………

To be continued

Getting Engaged

On the Friday 11th of September 2009 Sean asked me to marry him. It was a whirlwind of excitement. Sean had arranged that we both had the day off work. I was blind folded that morning and put into the car, prepared for the surprise ahead. We got to Emo Court and Sean took me for a walk. He had a bag in his hand and wouldn’t tell me what it was. I hate surprises, I was not born with no patience and the suspense was killing me to know what was in the bag. He took me down a path that was covered in trees, like a tunnel.

Approximately half way down we stopped and out of the bag came a box. Very intriguing!!! Sean held it while I opened it and inside was a bottle of champagne and stuck to the front of it was a little note saying, “Will You Marry Me”. I couldn’t believe and it was so overwhelmed. I hugged him straight away and we were both very emotional. A few minutes later he said, “You didn’t answer me”. Oooops I got carried away – forgot to say Yes! Of course, it was YES!

We stayed in Emo for a few minutes, Sean carved our initials and the date into the tree beside us, but the excitement was bursting. We made it back to the car and I called my Mammy straight away. She was screaming and shouting with excitement down the phone and couldn’t believe it. I called my Dad (who already knew – fill you in later) and then called my sisters and my closest family and friends. Mam did the rest. Sean called his family too. We went back to Mammy’s house to fill her in properly and then it was on to Newbridge to pick a ring.

Fields in Newbridge was our jewellers of choice – Sean had it prearranged and they were so helpful. Rings were coming from everywhere but of course it was the first one I tried on that I went back to. It had to be ordered as they didn’t have my size. Heart-breaking to come away without my ring but it was worth the wait. We met up in the local pub for drinks that night to celebrate with my family. And the following night we went to celebrate with Sean’s family. An amazing weekend.

Sean went for a drink with my Dad the night before the engagement in Dad’s local pub. I wasn’t really that suspicious as we were both off the next day so why not. Dad goes out most Thursday nights so he just joined him. I later found out that the reason behind this night out was Sean wanted to ask him for his blessing for my hand in marriage before he asked me. Old fashioned I know, but it was a mark of respect and Daddy really appreciated it. So, did I. The next day, Friday, Daddy knew what was coming. He kept ringing Mam all morning asking her if she had any news. She thought he was going mad. He would never ring her so often.

We planned an engagement party for four weeks’ time, Sean’s family were heading away on holidays for a few weeks so we wanted to make sure everyone was there. We are from different towns not far from each other so instead of picking one over the other we settled on neutral territory – The Fisherman’s Inn. It was perfect for a great night.

In the meantime, we had booked a night away in The Killerig Resort in Carlow. It was a gift from Fields when we purchased our ring. We made the booking for 2 weeks after we got engaged. It was lovely to get away and step back from the madness that ensued with getting engaged. The hotel was gorgeous and we were upgraded to a Junior Suite. We had a beautiful dinner in the hotel and I had a glass of wine. It didn’t taste right. Strange, it would be my drink of choice. I said it to Sean and said I just wasn’t feeling it tonight. We went back up to the room after dinner and got an early night. The next day came and I was aware that my periods were due but no sign. Only a day late so wasn’t getting too worried. On the way home I got Sean to stop at the chemist and I picked up a pregnancy test just in case. As I said no patience.

When we got home there was a match on. Sean made himself comfortable on the couch and I went to unpack. I did the test and continued doing a few jobs. The results were in, it was positive. As clear as day, Pregnant 3-4 weeks………………………………………………………………

To be continued

Sitting Room Makeover

Your couch is a very important part of your family life, from the obvious relaxing and watching tv to all its other functions such as:

  • Changing baby’s nappies
  • Eating your Saturday night takeaway
  • Kids enjoying popcorn and a movie with their friends
  • Your almost one year old pulling himself up and getting steady on his feet as he walks holding on to it.

It’s a very special piece of furniture but ours was looking old and tired. We bought it about 7 years ago, pre-children. It replaced a leather suite that Sean had picked out when we first moved in, but it annoyed me deeply and I didn’t find it comfortable. One day I decided enough was enough and I put it on Done Deal. It may have been briefly discussed at some stage, maybe when Sean was falling asleep but it definitely wasn’t agreed on, as I was later told. The ad was up with pictures and within the hour Sean received a phone call from a local man coming to collect his furniture. Oooops I should have put my number on the ad, that was an awkward conversation. He got over it!!!

The suite we replaced it with was a newer version of the couch you can see below. It was so cosy. We got a three-seater couch and a one seater. Within the first two weeks I came home one evening to find a hole chewed into the seat cushion on the three-seater couch, all the stuffing was pulled out and that was the end of the new couch. From then we covered the seat cushions with blankets.

The poor couch had threads pulled out from everywhere, the cushion was ripped as I said, the frame on the three-seater was shaky and broken as we later found out and it was time for a makeover. I contacted local upholster Quality Upholstery. I sent them pictures of my suite on Facebook messenger and they sent me back a price and the amount of material I would need. I decided that it would be great if I had a two seater to replace the one seater. Trying to expand the family and room for visitors to sit, it would definitely be more beneficial to have more seats. I scoured Done Deal and narrowed it down to a few options. I finally settled on a couch in Wexford as pictured below. It was €40 and a lot worse than mine, but who cared, all I needed was the frame. Off my husband and his friend went on a warm summers evening down to Wexford and back after work one evening. He must really love me!!!

That weekend my sister and I went to Newbridge to the Fabric Outlet to pick out fabric. I knew I wanted grey but I had so many options to choose from. You need another person with you to help choose, you have to pull out rolls of fabric and place them beside each other to make sure they match and another pair of eyes is essential. After an hour of trawling the shop we settled on the Grey and White Triangular patterned fabric. It was easy to pick the base, I needed something darker as that is where little toes first touch as they are climbing up with dirty shoes. It was harder to pick the cushion fabric, the accent colours. The staff in the Fabric Outlet were run off their feet, the place is so busy but when it came to my turn they were very helpful and full of ideas. They cut extra fabric for me as I had changed from a one-seater to a two-seater and off I went. The fabric was so reasonable only 4.95 per metre. You can find them online at www.fabricoutlet.ie or on Facebook @fabricoutlet.ie.

Phil and her husband Murt collected our furniture on a Thursday evening, including our ottoman and said they would be back in a few days. I asked for our ottoman to be converted into a storage box so that I could use it for storage of dvds. Nothing could have prepared me for the finished piece, it was amazing, out of this world. You can see from the pictures below that it was a total transformation. The frame was fixed on the three-seater. We were lucky to pick up three large cushions in a warehouse that were going to be thrown out, for the back as these are expensive to buy and they really help fill out the back of the couch and make it look so much grander. The two-seater looks great and was a bargain and they look amazing in the sitting room.

While the couches were gone, we repainted the walls with a lilac/grey colour and changed the wall paper on the chimney breast. We also previously ripped out the fire place as it was never used and placed an electric stove into the alcove for effect. Removing the hearth off the floor has given us so much more room and floor space. The new floor boards were laid and it looks like a new house.

To add some cosiness I ordered a mat from Dennis McGinley carpets in Portlaoise. I wanted a large mat to fit between the couch and the ottoman and I wanted it very high pile and cosy under your toes. The boys love to sit and watch telly on the mat and they play on the floor a lot so it was important that it was comfy and warm. It was a bargain, I chose the carpet I liked and Dennis arranged for the size I wanted to be piped around the edges from a lady in Portlaoise.

It didn’t help that I had bought a mat two weeks previous in Dunnes for the sitting room that was put down for a day and is still rolled up upstairs. Oooops again!!!!

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So Tired and Sad – Help Me!!!

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