Thursday, 8 May 2014

I am 5

I am batman. I love to have fun, I have a wicked sense of humour. I love my watermelon (still) and I love my cat. She even lets me pretend she is catwoman.
I love bratwurst, outside, in the German sunshine. With plenty of ketchup. I love huge icecreams with lots of toppings and sauce. I love to walk on my own but with mum close behind. And I have perfected the innocent look. 

I am my own person. I can make my own fun. A stick becomes a magic wand. A rock becomes my cave. A dandelion is a clock, in the age old tradition. And on a Friday night I like to snuggle with my DS as a special treat.
When I am fragile I still love to cuddle my mummy, and mucky (my crocheted comfort blanket. I love to pull silly selfies with mummy, and I love to snuggle with daddy and atticus. And I still love my sleep as much as I always have.

I am five. 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

5 Years Ago Tonight - Birthday Eve

I was in HDU, scared witless of what the next day would bring. Not scared of having a needle in my spine, or abdominal surgery. Not even scared of eclamptic seizure, though had I understood the true implications of how ill I was perhaps I would have been more frightened.

No my biggest fear was him. Joseph. Would he survive? Was I doing the right thing? Would the fight be too much to ask? I became a mother that night, before he was born. Prior to that moment I was a pregnant person, but from the moment I was asked to give consent for the caesarean section to save our lives I became a mother, my concern primarily for my child, not me.

5 years ago I had no idea what the future would hold. My obstetrician had nothing but optimism. "The journey will be long, but I have every confidence it will be ok". My pregnancy book, written by Kaz Cooke reassured me that a baby born at 27 weeks had a very good chance of survival. Fitting that tonight Joseph wanted The Terrible Underpants read to him, written by the very same Kaz Cooke.

I had no idea that despite from being the scariest thing that had ever happened to me, pre eclampsia and Joseph's subsequent birth would actually bring so much good. I wouldn't be writing this now, or have my job, or most importantly the beautiful friends Joseph's birth has brought to our lives.

I still have PTSD symptoms to deal with, and perhaps it's the medication allowing me better clarity on Joseph's birth, or maybe the passage of time that makes it all easier.

Tonight I am not thinking of the fear, indeed the terror of that night. I am remembering the kicks I felt. The worry at the jumping of the monitor only to be told it was the baby having hiccoughs. The kindness of all the staff, some praying, some singing, some holding my hand, some talking about sushi. My insistence that I would be walking into theatre despite the catheter, lines and swelling.

It's been an amazing 5 years, with much more good than bad. With triumph over adversity for all of us. With achievements, tears and laughter. Lots of laughter.

Tomorrow is a day of exuberant celebration, of presents and Macdonalds for the birthday boy. And a day to cherish my miracle baby* turning 5.

*All babies are miracles :)

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The One Where I Have a Dawning Realisation

It was doing Joseph's homework that started it. As he browsed his pictures and calmly discussed each one he saw. "Oh I look weird there, covered in wires and stuff, let's find another". "Oh that one is better you can see my face and there's daddy". "Oh that one is the best, you can see my face and I am cuddling my mummy!"

I took many pictures of Joseph in hospital, and oodles since. I very often just snap him not doing much of anything, even sleeping, or drinking, or eating.

On Thursday Joseph turns 5. And finally, I have realised something. For me prematurity defines his birth. The fact he was born at 27 weeks will always play a significant part in his birthday. For me. And really, for me alone. I replay his birth, the decisions I had to make, those scary first hours when I had had a baby but had never seen him, didn't even know for sure what gender he was.

Nothing will ever make Joseph's prematurity "insignificant" to me. True enough, it doesn't play much role now in my day to day thinking, but I don't think there will come a time when I don't replay the circumstances of his birth and replay those 10 and a half gruelling weeks in hospital. I don't think anyone else really thinks of it much. In an educational sense the fact he was premature does have some significance and at times we do need to "play the premmie card".

However, for Joseph, prematurity is a totally insignificant part of his personal story. Of more significance to him are his trips away, his hobbies, his interests, his fantasies. His batman costume of far more importance to him than his tiny baby hat, that I hold so dear. That fact brings me great joy, that no matter how traumatised and fixated I have been on his prematurity that hasn't affected the way he views himself.

And that is where the healing happens. Yes, I can have my cry, my fears relived, my horror at how short my pregnancy was. That's fine. It will always be part of my Joseph story and that's fine.

But what I musn't do is transfer that on to my little superhero, who knows about his prematurity, understands it, but doesn't overly care about it. It doesn't make him Joseph.

And that's where he needs to be.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

#SelfCareSaturday - Week 1 - Grown Up Colouring In

Welcome to my new and first ever ongoing linky #SelfCareSaturday. For those of us with mental health conditions, self care is an essential part of our management plan. For any one of us though, taking time out to focus on our health, well being and self development is important to remain mentally and physically healthy. I invite all of you to share what you have done this week to take care of yourself.

For the past 3 months or so I have had a flare up of my underlying medical condition PTSD. My main symptoms are anxiety, high alert and over thinking. I have also had long periods of insomnia. Focussing on my craft work is difficult and I felt I needed something I could do to calm my brain down when I overthink.

I was in a beautiful design bookshop looking for presents for Joseph's birthday when I came upon a beautiful colouring in book. I bought it, then treated myself to some good quality felt tip pens and some pencils.

At regular intervals I pick up my materials and do some colouring. Sometimes for 20 minutes sometimes for 2 hours. 

Because of the detail in the book it is a slow process, which is good, as it is completely absorbing.

When I finally finish a page I feel a sense of achievement.

And then I can move on to the next one

 Please link your post below, and share on your social media with the tag #SelfCareSaturday. 

Not Even a Bag of Sugar

Thursday, 1 May 2014

#SelfCareSaturday - Introducing a New Linky

I've always wanted to have a linky, and being nominated for Best Health Blog in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards gave me an idea.

Self care is something that I am really passionate about. As a busy working mum with a young son and a couple of medical conditions it's easy to let life get so busy you neglect yourself to an extent.

So I have decided to chart some of my self care efforts each week and invite you to join me, linking up a post you have already written or write one especially. I will try and have a nifty badge ready for Saturday too.

I love this definition of self care "Self care refers to actions and attitudes which contribute to the maintenance of well-being and personal health and promote human development."

Your post could be about a hobby, a walk you've been on, something you have done for yourself. You could set yourself a challenge. It could be a heathy meal you have made yourself, or an activity you have tried.

I want to hear the ways you take care of your health, well being, and personal development.

I hope you join in #SelfCareSaturday. This week at 8pm I will be around on Twitter talking about #SelfCareSaturday, come and join in!