Just the Four of Us

Today, yesterday and the last few weeks have been a struggle. But today more so than anything. No particular reason, I am sure it’s just a build-up of everything. Isn’t it awful when life knocks you down and makes you feel like giving up.

As you have read over the last few months I have been struggling with fertility. I have mentioned the big dark cloud that looms as things keep getting progressively worse with disappointment after disappointment. Well this is different. I can’t even describe how I am feeling, I am fine one minute and then angry, upset, inconsolable, or just plain crazy the next. My need to control things has increased and my anxiety is through the roof.

This is not a call for sympathy or I am not trying to dwell on things to be a martyr, it is just a lot to digest and I feel like I am mourning. I am mourning the life that I thought I was going to have and the baby that I was going to love with all my heart.

I have received conflicting reports from Doctors, all helping to mess with my head even further. When we met with my Gynaecologist, who did the procedure, on the day my stitches were being removed, she gave us hope. It was more the delivery of the news than the words themselves as she delivered them with a smile and optimism. Sean came out of the meeting with a sigh of relief and said that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. To which my reaction was – “Were we in the same room?”.

She explained that during the hysteroscopy there would have been an element of fluid and there was no spillage from my tubes. The D and C went ok and she was happy enough with her findings and she even showed us pictures of my womb and tubes. From these pictures, she was able to show me the opening to my tubes which were in fact open and not in spasm. However, during the laparoscopy instead of using 10ml of fluid she used 50ml and there was no spill into my abdomen. She explained that during the procedure my tubes might go into spasm but that it was unlikely that this would happen for the length of time that she was doing her investigations. She then explained that my left tube had attached itself to the wall of my bowel with adhesions and that surgery to remove it and free it up may not be successful.

There was so much to take in and she was very understanding and kind, but also said that with the art of making babies anything goes, that although things don’t look or sound great that miracles happen and people have proved her wrong in the past. I am not feeling miracles at the moment. I don’t want to give myself anymore false hope. The last few months have been all about the science and through no fault of my own miracles have not helped. I have done everything I could. I have pumped my body with so many hormones and drugs. I have put my life on hold and I have been borderline insane at times. But no miracles.

I want to believe that everything will be ok and that things are the way they are meant to be, but am I really meant to be this unhappy and this broken. Am I really meant to feel guilty that it’s all my fault that I can’t give Sean another child or my children another sibling. I understand that things happen in life to make you stronger and that you will see down the road why it happened or the greater good that has come from this experience. But this is going on for nearly three years, I would rather just know why I feel like I am being tortured.

My consultant in the fertility clinic in Dublin told me that my tubes are more than likely fine and that they were just in spasm. It was very blasé on the phone and there was no consideration of my feelings. He hadn’t seen the scans, he hadn’t done the procedure, he was just giving me the numbers. He told me he would see me for my next appointment (which was meant to be this week and we would talk about it then). He said to arrange to get another HSG scan done, which I had. This would hopefully show that my tubes were ok and if not, I would have to consider more surgery or IVF. I postponed my appointment with him. What was the point in paying out 200.00 when I had no more information for him. I need to wait to have the next HSG scan done and also be back on treatment to have some blood results to review.

I am afraid to even try for a baby at the moment because I am at risk of ectopic pregnancy and losing my tubes altogether. If I was to fall pregnant I would need an early scan to rule it out. Imagine finding out your pregnant and feeling the excitement that it has finally happened and then living with the worry for a few weeks that it may be ectopic and not viable.

I brought Nathan, my oldest boy to an appointment last night with a craniosacral therapist last night, which is another day’s work. But this woman was able to read me, and not in a physic sort of way. She asked me if I was ok, she said that she could feel that I was holding a lot of upset on my chest. I told her that I was grand and she said that “Mammy’s always are, for the sake of their kids”. Am I that transparent, besides that fact that I am spilling my guts to all of you. But can I not even put on a fake smile and pretend to be ok in public anymore?

Another way of looking at it is why should I have to pretend to be ok? Why can’t I just be a mess all the time? I haven’t slept since the 30th of June, I am exhausted, both mentally and physically, I am trying to put on a brave face for my kids all the time and I am just tired. On the rare occasion that they find me upset I just tell them that I have banged my toe or have a pain in my belly. They have asked a few times in the last few weeks when Holy God is going to give us a baby and I have had to try hold my SHIT together and tell them that there will be no baby for a while and that we are happy, just the four of us……………………………..

To be continued

The Lights Went Out

It’s with a broken heart that I write this post. And while you are reading it, I am sitting with the Doctor waiting for her to say out loud what I already know in my gut to my true.

Friday morning, I went to hospital early, nervous but full of hope. We checked in and made our way to the Day Ward. After meeting my nurse and being shown to my bed I waited patiently to be called for my turn to go to theatre. The nurse went through questions with me, took my weight and then the Doctor came to insert the cannula and take some bloods. I was told that a section had gone in first and I would be next. This wasn’t the case and I was waiting around until 12 to be called.

The anesthetist came around to go through a few things and then I was asked to get into my gown. It was time to go. I had butterflies in my stomach and as Sean kissed me good bye I knew I needed to be strong and just get through the next few hours alone. I was wheeled down to theatre on the bed as I was on a drip to keep my fluids up. I was waiting in the corridor outside of theatre to be called in. My theatre nurse was the same one I had when I was having Jacob. It was familiar space but this time I wasn’t getting the baby I desired so much.

The doctor came out to me before surgery and said that she was going to do the laparoscopy and that if she needed to do any work while inside that I would have to stay overnight. It was time, I was wheeled in and helped from my bed to the operating table. Bright lights and the sterile smell and soon I was under after breathing in gas through the mask.

I woke up nearly three hours later in recovery with the theatre nurse calling my name. I was tired and didn’t want to wake up. There were nurses coming in and out and then my nurse from the day ward arrived. Then in walked my Doctor/Surgeon. I wasn’t fully coherent but I remember everything she said. She told me that she did not do any work during the laparoscopy. She told me I had a lot of adhesions and that my tubes were blocked, especially my left. She told me that she pumped me with blue dye and that it kept pouring out of me and not to be alarmed if there was blue appearing for the next few days. She said that she was checking for endometriosis and I didn’t have it. She said that I wasn’t to go back to work for a while and she gave me a prescription for pain relief. She also mentioned that she needed to check my scans from November as my tubed were not blocked then. She told me to come to see her on Thursday to get my stitches out and to go through the operation. Then she left and my nurse followed her. She was gone about ten or fifteen minutes and I spent that time yapping to the nurses. Coming out of the anaesthetic made me hyper and I couldn’t stop talking.

When my nurse returned, her and the theatre nurse wheeled me back to my room. We met Sean coming out of the theatre doors and he said he had been pacing for an hour and a half. Poor Sean he must have been beside himself with worry. When we got back to the room I asked Sean to dress me, the gown is horrible and sweaty and I was feeling disgusting after the surgery. Poor Sean saw some things that I am sure he wishes he could un-see but he was a trouper. He was an amazing help all day and looked after me the best he could. The nurse told him to go to the car and have a snooze to let me rest and to come back in an hour or so. I couldn’t sleep, I had the urge to pee and eventually called the nurse to help me to the bathroom. My nurse was gone to do another job so there was another lady with me. She was lovely and heavily pregnant with only 10 weeks left.

I was very unsteady on my feet and she propped me up on the way to the bathroom. I got myself onto the toilet and ten minutes later nothing was happening. I had to call out to reassure the nurse I was ok. I eventually squeezed out the tiniest drop and got back into bed. Sean came back soon after that and kept me company. I was so naive and just so delighted to finally know why I wasn’t getting pregnant. I thought that now we knew we could fix it and just unblock my tubes.

It was nearly time to go home and the nurse was in with me checking my wound. It was oozing a bit but nothing to be worried about. She took out my cannula and was talking to me about how attentive Sean had been all day and how we were an amazing couple. Then she started to get upset. The conversation moved on to whether I could remember what the Doctor had said to me earlier as she didn’t want me to get upset on Thursday if I was hearing it for the first time, that my tubes were blocked. She asked me if we had thought of any other options like IVF or adoption and I think she knew by my face that we hadn’t. None of this conversation registered with me as being strange until the next day and I just continued as my happy little self, glad to be finally getting out of hospital.

I got home and my sister had Jacob, I came in and put my feet up waiting for Jacob to get some cuddles. I face-timed Nathan to reassure him I was home and ok and had a quick chat with my sister when she called over, then It was off to bed. That night Jacob slept with me and although it was lovely to have him there, I was in a lot of pain. Sean had to work the next day so Jacob and I got up around 8:30 and I made him some brekkie. Soon afterwards alarm bells started going off.

I remembered that my tubes weren’t blocked in November and this was one of the first things to be checked in the fertility process. Then I thought it was strange that if there were adhesions there and she was already working on me why she hadn’t dissected them. Then the nurse came to mind and how she got upset and asked me had I thought of any other options. It was time to use Dr Google. It was confirmed, blocked tubes are nearly impossible to unblock if there are adhesions and scar tissue. I would never conceive naturally again. My whole world crumbled and my heart began to race. I lay on the couch barely able to move, screaming with the physical pain of heart break. How could this be happening. Months of torture all for nothing. I didn’t mind doing it as there was light at the end of the tunnel. Now the lights had gone out.

I text my fertility advisor to call me when she was free. I needed to hear it from a professional. The rest of the day was a blur. I told my Mam but she didn’t want to believe it and told me to wait until Thursday when I met my Doctor. I told Sean and my sister and each time my heart broke a little more. Saying it out loud made it real. My dreams were crushed. And I know a few of you might be saying – but you have two beautiful boys. Although I cherish them and love them with every ounce of me, when you long for a baby and then find out that your body has failed you, it’s heart breaking beyond belief. I feel like I am in mourning, I feel guilty as it’s my body that has failed and I am denying Sean anymore children, I feel so angry that this has happened and I am sure there will be no real explanation as to why. Why is the big question? Why me? ………..

To be continued

Welcome Distractions

It was the week leading up to the procedure and I was distracted with Birthday parties, football matches, training and other kids related stuff. The weekend started with Jacob graduating from Montessori on Thursday. It was an emotional day and both Sean and I were bursting with pride, our baby was finally finished creche and ready for big school. On Friday, after school Nathan attended a joint party for two of his friends and of course Jacob tagged along and then after that they had a match and I had dinner with a friend. The next morning was a breakfast birthday party at 10am, which they both attended and we were meant to go back that afternoon for the older brother’s party but poor Jacob was wrecked and fell asleep. He was all partied out.

I spent Saturday afternoon scrubbing the house trying to get on top of the house work for the following weekend as I knew I would be out of action. In between scrubbing and cooking I went outside to chat to one of the neighbour’s. It was an overcast day with a lovely breeze but still warm. I didn’t see the sun pop out at all that day but Mr Sun definitely saw me. I got the worst burn of my life all over my chest and down my arms as far as the inside of my elbows. And course I had a shiny Rudolf nose. I didn’t notice it till that evening until it started to get sore and turn purple. I am usually so careful wearing factor 50 to avoid these situations. I was so annoyed with myself but at the same time confused as it wasn’t overly sunny.

Saturday night in all my shinny sun burnt glory I had a ladies’ night organized out the back. We put up a gazebo and we all had our blankets to snuggle as the night went on. It was a well needed escape from the stress that I was facing with the impending operation. We laughed until the early hours of the morning and I enjoyed a jug on Pimm’s. Of course, I over stocked for the night, preparing freshly cut orange, lemon and lime slices, sliced strawberries and some mint to spice up the drinks. There were jars of sweets, pringles, doritos and pretzels a plenty. I thoroughly enjoyed the release and the company and of course paid for it the next morning.

Sunday was a quiet day by all accounts, we took turns getting some sleep and about 4pm I got the bright idea to go to Portlaoise. I wanted to get some leggings and a loose top for the hospital as it was a day procedure and a jammies wasn’t necessary. Much to everyone’s dismay we all headed to Portlaoise. It was a quick visit, in and out of Shaws sorted the clothes and I ran into Boots with ten minutes to spare to get some Aloe Vera for my burns. Boys got a cheeky McDonalds and everyone was happy going home. I packed my bag that night and everyone got into our bed at eight o’clock to watch some America’s Got Talent.

Like the weekend, the week was as busy. Monday Nathan got his school report and to treat him and celebrate I brought him to the cinema. We were like the CIA trying to get out of the house without telling Jacob. Nathan was dying to get his hair cut so we went there first. Blade 3, a comb over and two lines shaved in his head later we were on route to Portlaoise. Much to his disappointment I stopped in Shaws first. I wanted to see if I could get a soft wireless sports bra that I could wear under my clothes at night-time and specifically for the hospital. I wanted something that separates the to footballs attached to my chest but without any wires. Such a thing doesn’t exist and after trying on a few Granny bra’s we bolted.

A quick feed in SuperMacs and then off to the cinema to see “The Diary of a Whimpy kid – The Long Haul”. I booked the tickets online and luckily got them for half price with the June offer. We had a great time and it was nice to have Nathan to myself. Jacob is two years younger but still considers himself a baby at times. He monopolizes me and poor Nathan doesn’t get a look in. I think he does it to get a rise out of Nathan most of the time and then I have to explain that there is plenty of me to share. Nathan enjoyed himself and that’s what mattered. I was so proud of his good report.

Tuesday was one of the neighbour’s birthdays. When I got home from work they were already there and I happened to get an appointment with the nail technician to fix my nails. The top coat on a few of them had cracked and I was embarrassed about going to hospital with them that way. Sean was off early on Tuesday so it worked out well and he was able to pick them up from the party and I followed home.

Wednesday night was training in the rain, I had to wet boys jump into the car afterwards. Home for a bath and some super and then bed. Sean was working late both Wednesday and Thursday night so he could be off Friday so I was running around after the monkeys by myself. I left Thursday night free so I could get myself ready.

I took a long time to settle the boys to bed Thursday night. I had to explain to them that I may not be there when they woke the next morning as I was leaving early to go to the hospital. Their childminder was coming over to get them out of bed and ready. It was Nathan’s last day of school and he was going for a sleepover in a friend’s after school so I didn’t need to worry about him the next day.

However, that night he was very unsettled. He kept getting out of bed and I had so much to do. At first, I was getting annoyed with him and telling him to go back to bed. But then I realised he just needed some reassurance. I realised this when I was having a shower and a tiny person appeared and frightened the life out of me. I followed him back into his room when I was dressed and gave him loads of cuddles. I explained that I was going to hospital in the morning to get my tummy checked to make sure it was ok and that I would be home the same day. He was going to have his iPad with him in his friends and at any time all he had to do was Face Time Daddy to check on me. He seemed happy with that and turned out to go asleep. As I was walking out of the room he called me back and asked, as he always does, “When is Holy God going to give us a baby Mammy?” And I replied as I always do, “Soon baby, very soon”.

Or so I thought………………………………………

To be continued

Back to Square One

As I sit here today, sick to my stomach, waiting on my blood results I look back over the last six weeks and I honestly don’t know what end of me is up. I feel like giving up and over the last week or two have decided on an end date. It’s not set in stone, but something has to give. Feeling sick, not sleeping, nauseous with worry, having anxiety attacks; it’s no way to live. It’s not fair on my heart or my head, or my poor stomach.

After Nathan got better in April I was coming up to ovulation. My mucus started to appear and I had a perfect score for April. I was optimistic and excited because last month’s results were so good, with progesterone of 50. I took all my meds and injection as I was supposed to and went for my bloods on peak plus 7. Two days later I got my results. My oestrogen was fine at 500+ but my progesterone had plummeted to 25. This means I didn’t ovulated and thinking about it more, I am on progesterone top ups every month so therefore my real result would have been much lower than this again. I felt like I was back at square one and that the last couple of months taking medication was for nothing.

What more can I do, how much more of me can I give. My whole life is consumed by infertility. I can’t get away from it. Sometimes I have outer body experiences and look down at my tired broken self and wonder is it worth it. Every month when I get bad news something dies inside of me. I can’t forget about it, I can’t just try and relax or enjoy myself as I am constantly tracking each day of my cycle. My stomach is always bloated, my moods swing all month with the hormones. I am trying to remain grounded and keep my crazy for Sean but that doesn’t always work. I just keep asking myself – WHY ME, WHY NOW??

I got the results in work on a Wednesday afternoon at the end of April and to say I was broken is an understatement. I was in the office on my own thank god, as I broke down. I thought the day would never be over. I had to pull myself together in work but once I got in the car, I broke down again. I cried all the way home, big elephant size tears, I was drowned, my sunglasses kept sliding off my face. I had to pick the kids up from the childminder and I looked terrible. I tried to disguise my upset but when she asked me if I had a headache I broke down again.

The rest of the day was a blur and I took to the bed, typical Irish person, but sometimes its essential. I had no choice, I couldn’t be social able or pleasant, I just needed to process. When I get upset or anxious I have to keep occupied, I can’t sit because my thoughts consume me. So, for the days to follow I started to paint, I painted all the new fences out the back, all three coats. I power hosed and planted up a storm. Then I moved onto the front of the house and started painting all my flower boxes and arranged to have the house painted. I had to put my energy into something other than me.

I got my periods the May Bank Holiday weekend, I knew they were coming so on the Saturday night I enjoyed a few glasses of wine in my parents’ house for my sisters going away party. She moved to London to start her career and I couldn’t be prouder of her. She had an early start on the Sunday morning so it was early home for everyone. When I got home, Sean was going next door to watch a fight, so I grabbed one of the girls and we had a few drinks and a chat while the fight was on.  It was well needed and I enjoyed relaxing for a few hours. The next day was a write off. Sean was very understanding, I wasn’t hungover, I was exhausted. My bones couldn’t hold me. I got up for breakfast and went back to bed. The boys had a birthday party so Sean brought them and left me alone for the day. I got up while they were gone and cleaned up and did some washing, but it was straight back to bed for me. It was a day of rest I needed and when I got up on Monday morning my periods came.

I made a conscious effort to eat healthily, when I could. I went to see a dietician for meal ideas but I honestly didn’t find it any good. The suggestions were a lot of food I didn’t like, I know you are meant to try new things but I am 32 and I know what tastes I enjoy. I felt the meeting was more geared to exercise and he told me that I needed to be active 7 days a week. I explained that I have two kids and that this is an un-realistic expectation, but I felt like he was patronising me telling me that if I really wanted to I would and that I need to set myself an exercise goal and that should motivate me. I wasn’t there for exercise advise and nor was I really interested. The whole idea was to get suggestion of foods and meals so that I could avoid mainly dairy and wheat as they have been found to be fertility blockers. I was really disappointed with the meeting and felt it was €80.00 wasted. To top it off the meeting was Friday morning and he didn’t send me my meal plans until late Sunday night. I’m sure all of you who have young children know the stress of bringing them to the supermarket. I try avoiding it at all costs, so my window of getting to the shops that week was gone.

I decided to buy loads of the Paleo Ireland meals and cut carbs out completely, bar rice. I don’t know whether it was stress or the change of diet but my stomach got very sick. I had chronic diarrhoea for days and the pains in my stomach got so bad that I thought it was appendicitis. At this stage, it was time for me to take sight of the situation and deal with what had happened – how I was feeling and to breath for 5 minutes. It’s when you stop for a minute your brain kicks back in and what your avoiding comes to the surface.

I called the Gynaecologists office and requested follicle tracking for this month. I needed to know what was happening in my body and which side was active this month. I strongly believe that it was my left side in April and that’s why I didn’t ovulate. I also called the hospital to find out when I was scheduled in for a DandC and Laparoscopy. I had to take action. Follicle tracking was organised for Day 9 of my cycle, unfortunately my right side could not be seen due to having a distended bowel. This was as a result of being so sick. There were 2 x 11mm follicles in my left ovary and on day 12 this increased to 4 x 11mm and 1 x 9mm. Between Days 9 and 12 was when I made the decision to put a date on it. Not an exact date but a month. I had to create a finish line for my sanity.

On Day 12 my right ovary could barely be made out, after what seemed like half an hour of searching, a shadowed sight appeared and I had a follicle of approximately 18mm. It could have been bigger but with the restricted view, we couldn’t be sure. I also had a positive LH surge on my ovulation kit that morning.

I phoned the clinic with the results and they suggested that I take the HCG injection the following night. Following their orders, I did just that. I arranged with my fertility advisor to administer the injection and I was back to hoping again. This month my progesterone intake was increased. As well as the pessary’s. I also had to take three extra injections of HCG at a lower dose on Peak +3, 5 and 7. I didn’t want to impose on my fertility advisor on all of these days so I asked my sister to give them to me. She seemed way to happy to inflict pain (only kidding), she was happy to help.

On Peak +3 we were both standing in my kitchen, I knew how to mix the liquid with the powder and get the needle ready for her, but there was no way in hell I was doing it to myself. I gave her the needle and I knew she was nervous too. I told her what she needed to do and when she approached me with the needle I reversed. Instinct 😊!!! Eventually we pulled ourselves together and the injection was administered. It was fine. It doesn’t hurt going in but it stings when the liquid is pushed in and I think it has something to do with applying pressure to the needle as you push it in. All over and Peak plus 5 and 7 to look forward to.

I was given a date at the end of June for my procedure, which means I will have another full cycle before then. My understanding with a DandC I will have to wait a month or two to try again as I will have no lining on my womb. With no lining, an embryo would not be able to implant and if it did, there is risk of miscarrying. So, in my head, July and August are out.  I made the decision to enjoy my summer with the boys and Sean. No point investing my energy into a lost cause – once I have given it two cycles we can try again. Giving us time to reflect on what’s important and all the emotional torture we have been through for the last two and a half years.

On a plus note the house is looking great. I have put so much energy into getting it looking good we are nearly there …………………………………

To be continued

Kids Come First

April was a new month; my positivity was oozing. I was so excited. Then reality hits and these things that consume you don’t seem so important anymore when your child gets sick. Easter was approaching and the kids were bursting with excitement. The thoughts of all those Easter eggs. On the Thursday before the Easter holidays I collected Nathan from my Mam’s as normal. He was complaining of a headache and was very sheepish when I picked him up. In the ten minutes, it took me to drive home he couldn’t open his eyes as the light was hurting him. I told him to go straight upstairs when we got home and go to bed.

Nathan is not a child to give in easily, there is always a row in the evenings when it is time for him to come in off the road and get ready for bed so for him to get out of the car that evening, go straight upstairs, close his shutters and get into bed was so unusual. He got into bed fully clothed with his shoes on and by the time I had unloaded the car and got into the house his temperature had soared and he was shaking in the bed. I helped take his shoes off and gave him some calpol to try get his temperature down. All the while he was crying cause the door was slightly ajar so I could see what I was doing. He fell asleep soon afterwards and I checked on him occasionally.

Sean came home at 6ish and I filled him in, I had an appointment in Portlaoise so I rushed off, keeping in contact with him over the phone to get updates on Nathan. My appointment lasted an hour or so and when I got back to the car I saw a missed called from Sean. Nathan had woken up and got sick and he was still very hot. I knew in my gut when I saw the call that Nathan had been sick, I could just feel it. I was home soon after that and checked on him. As Sean was filling me in we could hear someone up and Nathan had stumbled into the bathroom and was crying because of the light, trying to go to the toilet. He was very disorientated and wobbly on his feet. I helped him get back into bed and gave him some Neurofen to help with his temperature.

After I settled him I called the VHI 24-hour nurse-line. I went through all his symptoms and she stopped me and said, “Mammy you need to bring him straight to A&E”. I knew I would have to, but sometimes you need a professional’s opinion to let you know you’re not overreacting. Poor Nathan, I had to get him out of bed and into the car, trying to keep his eyes covered at all times. The drive to Portlaoise in the dark must have helped him or the medicine must have kicked in because when we got to Portlaoise he had cooled down and cheered up a bit. It’s always the way when you bring your kids to the doctors they make a liar out of you. I remember as a child myself being very sick and lying in Mammy’s bed. It was late at night and before the Midoc and out of hours Doctor’s services that are available these days. Mam called our doctor at the time as she must have been worried about me and he came out to the house. When he was gone, I can remember her giving out, messing, that all I did was smile when the doctor was there and made her feel like a liar. Ooops!

Anyway, back to Nathan, we had to check in downstairs and I swear the receptionist thought I was a hypochondriac. She let us in and we made our way upstairs. It was 10ish and there were two babies ahead of us. Nathan was wrecked so he fell asleep on the couch, thank god, he did as we were waiting hours before we even got seen. I couldn’t understand the wait with only two ahead. While we were waiting a couple with a seven-week-old baby came in. Baby was crying and Mam was too, on and off. Baby had been crying all day and they were worried about him. They had forgotten to bring any bottles with them, probably not knowing how long you can be held up as it was their first. A nurse went to get them a bottle to feed him to see if that would help with the crying. As she was gone to get it, Mam was getting very frustrated and started to cry again. I really felt for her, as I know how it feels not knowing what to do to help your baby and then the guilt of feeling that you are doing something wrong.

The nurse came with the bottle and baby started to drink it. However, the teeth were too big and he was gulping. I was sitting there and I could hear him filling with wind as he gulped and his poor tummy was rumbling. I was toying with the idea of saying something, will I, won’t I. Well I did. He was crying as he drank and it was obviously so uncomfortable for him. I had to interrupt and I just explained that he was filling with air and that he was going to be in a lot of pain, the teeth were too big. She agreed and decided to fly home to get him his own bottle. I think she needed the break.

While she was gone, I offered to take the baby from her husband, I really just wanted a cuddle for myself 😊 He was so cute and tiny. Poor pet had colic and was full of air. As I held him in my arms and rubbed his back he got up loads of wind. He eventually settled and drifted off to sleep. As he was quite I was talking to the dad and subtly tried to tell him to keep an eye on his wife as she seemed to be struggling. I knew her pain, I suffered through it, and getting on top of it early and getting support and help from your loved ones is so important. He seemed like a really nice and genuine guy and was all about his wife, which was lovely to see. But something he said shocked me. I mentioned Post Natal Depression and that I had suffered with it after my boys and he said that people are talking about it too much, its everywhere. He said that people are too quick to jump to it and that in his case his wife just needed her Mam and she would be ok. He didn’t have an attitude, he was just matter of fact and that’s what he thought. It threw me really, as the whole problem is women don’t talk about it as much as they should and they suffer in silence until the problem consumes them. It needs to be more acceptable to talk about and to ask for help.

Besides that, he was a lovely guy and was asking me all about Nathan and was very kind and polite. When his wife came back, the Doctor happened to call me at the same time. Nathan was still asleep so I told them to go ahead first, they were worried and distraught and Nathan’s symptoms had subsided to an extent. They happily took the offer and we were called soon afterwards.

I went through all of Nathan’s symptoms with the doctor and he felt it was important to get a sample of Nathan’s blood to test. Poor Nathan doesn’t do pain, bit like his Daddy. I had to restrain him while they inserted the cannula. He is so dramatic at the best of times and was sweating and screaming at the thoughts of the inserting the needle. He also needs to know exactly what is happening at all time and needs to watch so that didn’t help matters. I remember about a year ago he got a splinter in his finger. It was hurting him and he wanted it out. That day will be engrained into my memory forever. I sat him on the kitchen counter and although he wanted it out, he didn’t want me to look at it, let alone touch it. That was proving to be difficult because without super powers I wasn’t going to be able to get it out. He screamed and shouting and sweated for a solid hour. He jumped down off the counter so many times and pulled his hand out of mine every time I was close to getting it out. Two people called to the door that evening to what I am sure they thought was a torture house. I was shouting at him to stay still, he was shouting at me to take it out, don’t touch, stop, ouch it hurts and then Sean was there trying to calm us both down. It was like a comedy show on TV.

So, you can only imagine what he was like when they were trying to put the cannula in. They got it in eventually. He is allergic to the numbing cream so they used a spray, but even that wasn’t welcomed. They took a sample of his blood and told us to wait in the waiting room until the results came in. At this stage I was getting tired and so was he. I thought they were going to send us home as he wasn’t symptomatic anymore. The couple with the baby came out while we were waiting and they were given the all clear with baby. He had colic and that’s why he was screaming all day. I suggested they get him tested for intolerance to dairy and also look for some alternative remedies that might help him. As they left the doctor approached me and took me by surprise. He told me Nathan’s white blood cell count was alarmingly high and they were admitting him. They were worried about Meningitis and wanted to get him on very strong antibiotics asap.

I called Sean to tell him and asked that he get some clothes ready for us. Then I called Daddy to see if he would bring them over. I felt terrible as it was 3am before we got admitted so he had to get out of bed. Sean fell back to sleep, the big dope 😊 I had to ring him again to wake him up. Once Dad had gone I was able to lie down on the extra comfortable chair bed and close my eyes for a while. On the rounds the next morning the doctors explained that they were worried about meningitis and that they wanted to send bloods to Temple Street and run their own bloods cultures. They also wanted to do a lumbar puncture – I said no, not unless it was completely necessary and wanted to wait for the blood results first. Nathan was spiking a temperature for a few hours but it was soon controlled with medication and the nurses were in every few hours to administer antibiotics into his cannula.

Its gas, kids are so funny. Nathan was upset as he was missing his last day of school – seriously! It was more like missing out on the party in school. He had loads of visitors that day and was delighted with all the match attacks he got, spoilt rotten. The boredom was starting to set in and he was in isolation so couldn’t leave his room. Either could I as he didn’t want to let me out of his sight. When Dad came over late I ran out when he was going to get something to eat and left Nathan with Sean. When I got back he was asleep and I followed soon afterwards. The next morning when he woke up he was as bright as a button and that was heightened when Nanny arrived with the white and grey united kit. He was made up. Had to get dressed straight away. He was running around the room and dancing. After Nanny left for work we got some breakfast and he wolfed it down. All we needed now was the doctors to come around to discharge us, we had cabin fever.

The night before we got the all clear for meningitis. I had to chase them for the results as no one told us. With those results and the fact that Nathan hadn’t spiked a temperature since the day before and he was in flying form, I wanted to go home and keep an eye on him myself. He didn’t need round the clock medical attention anymore. The doctor came in and he was lovely. He got Nathan to do some jumps and tests and Nathan was loving the attention. He had young kids himself and was chatting football with Nathan as he was all kitted out. I asked for him to be discharged and eventually got around him. They wanted us to stay for the week, but I had Jacob to think of, my job and also Nathan’s sanity. He wasn’t feeling sick anymore, if he was I would be the first to stay. They let us home on the condition that we came back daily for IV antibiotics and therefore the cannula had to stay in. It was a compromise we could accept.

Nathan was delighted to get out and he strolled out on top of the world. He insisted on going straight to the barbers to get his hair cut. He’s gas. Dad met us there with Jacob and he was thrilled to see us both. It was a beautiful day and Nathan was glad to get home to his own house and see his friends outside. He sat on the bench first talking to them and he even snuck in some football.

The next few days we went back to the hospital each day for IV antibiotics. After a few days though his fingers were very cold and his arm too. He was uncomfortable and had pins and needles. I called the hospital and they said they would probably have to redo the cannula in the order hand when he came in the next day. That was not the case. They removed it completely and he was reassessed. The doctor had a team of student doctors with him and nurses and on review of Nathan’s file wanted to re-admit him. I refused, he was only covering himself I think and we negotiated to get oral antibiotics instead. We were free, Nathan was thrilled. He had to get repeat bloods the following week but besides that he could start enjoying his Easter holidays.

We never found out exactly what was wrong with him but was glad it didn’t manifest into something serious. With all this going on you can only imagine I completely forgot about myself. I didn’t get a chance to arrange follicle tracking and I sure wasn’t thinking about ovulation. Luckily I was only at the beginning of my cycle and didn’t miss any of the important days…………………………….

To be continued

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

 

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