Slow down and focus…

Week 16 – Simplify your life

Well this really seemed a prefect point for me to jump back in!!

I have been reading and participating in all the challenges from the time I was taken into hospital but have not had the time to write them up in my blog. I have been trying to write a catch-up post for about a week now but am finding it tedious and therefore it’s making very boring reading! So I’ve decided it’s time to ditch this post that is holding me back and move on with the challenge…

My approach at finding some quiet time up until recently has been really non-productive but since writing my daily planner and managing my time in Week 14 I have fixed this. I’m quite good at taking it easy and rewarding myself which I think is just a part of my personality make-up, naturally I’m a messy person so I could live with letting things go a little and then doing one huge swoop. In reality though this approach has caused me more stress and chaos I cram everything into a small space of time and burn myself out; then I take it easy a few days whilst feeling guilty about what I’m not doing until things become urgent and the process starts again! I also think it must be incredibly unsettling for my husband and children as I suddenly decide I want things sorted, develop a short-temper and bark general orders unable to relax or do anything else until the house, or whatever job I’m focused on is sorted.

Planning, routine and systems have really helped me remedy this. I do a little housework often so nothing becomes a huge job and most paperwork and organisation in the evening so I can run errands first thing. That way I have a quiet time on week days in the late morning when the children are in school and toddler napping so I can coo at my new baby.

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Too posh to push..?

I realise this is a dated issue but couldn’t help but put in my tuppence worth after my own caesarean experience. My procedure was an unavoidable medical emergency and not the elective caesareans this phrase applies to but now having first hand knowledge of what is involved has had me thinking…

It took two spinal blocks before I had sufficient pain relief to be operated on and even then it was patchy. The anaesthetist explained that this could happen and there were other things that could be given to help; well I received the full repertoire of ‘extra help’ and was still screaming for mercy! This was not the pressure or ‘wishy-washy’ sensation others refer to (unless they’re heaps tougher than me) it was agony! I was sobbing and shaking uncontrollably when he offered to put me under but my husband would have to leave. I was sorely tempted but he is my rock and the thought of him leaving the room at that point was unthinkable. I thought about my current children in turn and was terrified that I wouldn’t come round again; then I blacked out!!

I came round to the sound of my little girl screaming the theatre down. The relief at hearing her was immense and somehow I managed to stay conscious (just) whilst they finished. The pain didn’t end there and they continued to pump me with drugs in the recovery room with little effect, the anaesthetist described me as ‘a conundrum’ but I have since heard a friend’s experience was very similar. Barely two hours later and the pain was back the nurses stood and stared at me in disbelief and I had to call my husband back up from Paeds where he had finally fallen asleep with The toddler to convince them that I wasn’t over-reacting.

On hind-sight I am left with guilt; I wish I had asked the consultant for more time to start dilating and I wish I had just let them put me under instead of forcing my husband helplessly watch my pain. I do not feel a failure as such because I’ve given birth naturally before. This was just my experience and a nasty example but it’s the stuff that however well informed you think you are you just can’t prepare for. Natural birth is often much the same; as I told my sister ‘by all means write a birth plan but consider it as rough guidelines and be prepared to rip it up the minute you walk in the hospital!’

I couldn’t find the exact origins of the ‘too posh’ statement but know it refers to stars such as Victoria Beckham who chose a c-section over normal delivery with seemingly no medical necessity. I hope this phrase wasn’t (as I suspect it could be) penned by another women as I think it does the vast majority of us a great disservice. Most women who undergo elective caesareans still do so on medical grounds and are as well informed as possible. For the minority who do elect for c-sections as the ‘easy route’ I respect their right to choose. After that I’m tempted to bang my head off a wall when I hear ‘vaginal stretching and tearing’ quoted as reasons not to give birth naturally. I’ve had an episiotomy and a small tear and neither was as disfiguring or had the same recovery period as having my stomach cut open!

Women give birth because we are indeed the stronger sex and need to start embracing sisterhood and applauding one another. This became apparent to me as my husband had a vasectomy soon after my birth. He was advised by his doctor to rest with his feet up for 48hrs and not stand for more than 30mins; vastly different to new mums who have undergone an episiotomy or major abdominal surgery who are expected to be up caring for a baby!! On top of his rest male friend’s visited with drinks to applaud his bravery and listen to his story of woe (which I was grateful for as I’d heard enough). I think it’s time we dropped judgmental phrases and credit women with the ability to give birth in whatever way they believe to be best for them and their baby.

In like a lion and out like a lamb…

This saying is exactly how March went for me this year!!

My worries for this pregnancy turned out to be right and after a scan on 29th Feb I was admitted to hospital on bed-rest with another baby struggling to grow. The scan was repeated on Friday and with no improvement to the state of my placenta the consultant decided to induce after the weekend – 5wks early. My baby’s estimated weight was just 3lb 8oz so we were dreadfully worried even though The toddler’s birth was a similar situation.

Things didn’t get much better…

On Friday afternoon hubby brought the three children for a visit; he had mentioned The toddler’s cough which by this point had got really bad. Luckily I have an amazing friend who’s a children’s nurse so a quick phone call and she had agreed that hubby could bring them all to hers and she’d check his chest. Well, not much later the phone went and it was her. ‘I’m sorry Mummy he needs to be seen in A&E. Don’t worry about the older two, I have space and can keep them here.’

I feel blessed to have such an amazing friend, at this point she appeared like an angel, The toddler was admitted and hubby had to stay by his side. She happily kept and entertained my 2 children on top of her own 3 all weekend – I’m honestly not sure what we would have done without her!

My mother in law flew over as soon as she could whilst my parents made their way home from America and on Monday morning induction went ahead and my waters were broken. The toddler was still in paeds so my husband spent the day between me in labour and checking his mother was ok with the little man.

I don’t want to write a long and boring labour story but here are the ‘highlights’. I was put on a drip to start contractions and was having 4 every 10mins which is supposedly ideal ‘active’ labour but they did nothing. My mother in law had to leave the toddler because it was getting so late and even though he was asleep with a nurse by his side being helpless and unable to go to him was very distressing. After 8hrs of an ‘active’ labour showing no signs of progression I had a c-section. After 3 natural births this was very disappointing and with the anesthetic not working as it should, incredibly painful.

Altogether it was a traumatic experience but ended in the birth of my beautiful baby girl. She was much bigger than expected at 4lb 2oz and although this blog is mostly anonymous I can’t resist sharing one of the first photos of her…

I spent 5 days in hospital recovering from the c-section and she spent 3wks in Neonatal, the toddler was discharged the day after her birth. She only needed minimal support and time to gain weight and tolerate feeds. Needless to say with 3 children at home and needing to be driven everywhere life became a juggling act; wherever I was I felt guilty for not being in the other and didn’t feel I was spending enough time with any child.

Until 2wks ago when she came home and our family is complete!

I couldn’t be more delighted to be able to resume blogging again with all four children happy, healthy and settled – I really am a very lucky lady!

Happiness…

It would seem this last week has mostly been about being happy in the blogging world;

Week 8 of the Simplify Your Life Challenge was to take time to do the things that make you happy and Kate Takes 5’s Listography was 5 things that make you happy. Well I couldn’t do all the things that I think would make me happy; like buying a Hot Magenta coloured car, new house, expensive wardrobe etc

Although I really do wonder if these things would really make me happy because when I think about what makes me happy and read what makes others happy pleasures really do seem to be the small simple things.

So what happy things did I do last week…

On Sunday when I read the challenge it was a beautiful clear night so being no time like the present I started the challenge immediately. I poured hot drinks for me and hubby and dragged him out onto the back step to snuggle, natter and gaze at the stars. Effectively wrapping a number of things that make me feel good into one small moment. Husband, Cuddles, Stars and Mocha in no particular order!

Monday I planned to take a refreshing walk out in the sun but the weather didn’t co-operate so instead I was incredibly self-indulgent and crept back into bed whilst the toddler was napping.

Tuesday was pancake day so the children and I cooked and tried to flip pancakes, I love baking with the children and me flipping dropping pancakes had them in hysterics which is my favourite sound in the world! My son ate the pancakes so quickly I probably would’ve been happier if I’d eaten more but once kids were in bed I indulged in raspberry and chocolate ones – mmmm!

On Wednesday I struggled with the challenge!

Thursday was fantastic, the sun came out, my son got a fab report and me and the toddler had a run and giggle in the park. I posted my first listography and got a nice quiet bubbly bath on Friday so a pretty lovely week.

Saturday was the best; my dear husband went surfing which makes him happy (he deserves it too)! The children and I sat outside, played and nattered in early spring sunshine.
I was really lucky and got one of those ‘it’s normal, I understand’ nods from a friend on something that had really been bothering me.

So that’s my really happy week, thank you Debra!! I want to add pretty pics but this will be a post in progress as I am blogging from my iPhone and haven’t learnt to do that yet – in hospital on bed rest more news to follow…

Who’d have thought…

How addictive this blogging lark would be!!

I knew it’d be a theraputic process to write down a few thoughts, I’ve always loved writing but I had no idea that it would bring a genuine sense of calm to my life. I had a sense that my thoughts needed organising as much as everything else in my life – everything felt cluttered, busy and demanding my attention and I hadn’t a clue where to start, that feeling has lifted! To be honest I thought that starting a blog could be counter-productive, I really didn’t need to be spending more time staring at the internet – I needed to get on with things. Somehow though I’ve found time to write whilst still getting everything done, I finally feel of things and in control again.

So the house is as organised as it can be because I’ve learnt to…

Break it down into small chunks;

Room by room and maybe even cupboard by cupboard I’ve been reading 52 weeks to organise your home which has helped me to think in terms of small achievable tasks rather than one huge job.

It’s a work in progress;

Now I’ve re-organised cupboards and given everything a proper home I have become much more disciplined about putting everything back. I do small clean-ups 2 or 3 times a day instead leaving it to become a big task.

Lower expectations;

Being heavily pregnant and living on a low budget I can’t paint every room as I’d like or buy pretty containers for the kitchen and laundry room so being realistic and a little bit inventive…

 

Here’s an example – no it doesn’t look like one of those beautiful pantries from Pinterest but I now have a nice space to store containers and cake decorating items. I was quite pleased with my idea to make shelves out of cardboard boxes and told my husband I might build another one next to my space on the sofa where I store my laptop etc and want a sideboard eventually…

Like prison furniture‘ he said! Hmmm better rethink that one then – oh and no he’s not an ex-convict just worked in Holloway Prison a few years back!

 

 

Mummy & Me…

Car!

I really can’t help it – every time I see this car, (which is often because for some reason it regularly appears in my Facebook adverts) the little girl in me before I had 3+ children screams – I WANT ONE!!

I used to drive a small purple fiesta, it was my first car and I loved it. We’d drive for the sake of it, had time to go where the road took us and we did. We played the music stupidly loud, wore sunglasses even when it was raining and thought we were oh so cool…

Before there was Mummy there was me,

She’s a girl you know but don’t see!

Her hair was bright red and she drove a small purple car,

She dreamt of her future and now here you are!

She knows her mother felt the same but you’re always Mummy,

even once children know your name.

We wouldn’t have it any other way,

But it’s nice when me comes out to play!

Occasionally a warm breeze brushes my cheek,

And I hear a whisper that Daddy hears too,

I smile because he still sees the me before you!

What reminds you of life before children?