Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Dear Scarlett - 5 years,11 months

This post was originally published on my self-hosted WordPress site.  For a whole host of reasons, that didn't work out so, ta-dah!  Back here.

Original post date: 25 February 2014

Dear Scarlett,
My darling girl. I cannot believe how grown up you are. Sometimes a little TOO grown up. Monday evening for example, you came in and immediately kicked off as I asked you to put your Rainbows uniform on. You're getting a little too good at the hand on hip, gesticulating with your chin! You do make us laugh, you are such a character, it's just a joy to be around you.
At the minute you're well aware that it's 28 days to your birthday and you keep asking me when your party is. Let me explain, mummy is not the go-to for maths. This question keeps requiring me to subtract 3 from the number I've already had to calculate. This hurts mummy's brain. Ask me about English or spelling, ask daddy about maths and science.
I watched you on Sunday and it made my heart swell. You know what you were doing? Putting on your socks. And it reminded me how amazing you are and that you can do so many things for yourself, and I think having Woody, who cannot do ANYTHING for himself yet, has reminded how awesome you are for being able to do so much. You are your own individual being.
This first dawned on me when you were about 19 months old. You had been walking a very short time but you soon became master of it. You came toddling in to the bedroom (at that time, we still shared the house with nanny, and we had a sofa and the big telly in the bedroom!) and you toddled passed the end of the sofa, this little blonde head, bobbing along independently. So independently. You've always been keen to assert your independence. And it was at that point that it really struck me, you were a proper little mini person.
Now, don't get me wrong, you'd been pretty damn awesome up to that point, but suddenly, it struck me that you were your own person. And that struck me again on Sunday.
You've had to be quite self sufficient the last few weeks, what with your little brother coming along, in slightly crazy circumstances. We will discuss these circumstances when you're a lot older! I admire you for mostly just taking it all in your stride. You've been ever so good at being patient, and I do not blame you for getting annoyed a few times, you have every right to.
My sweetpea, you've been our baby for more than 5 years, had our undivided attention. But this screaming Mr Grumpy Woody has come into the world and turned it all sideways. Not upside down. Just sideways. And you're taking it so well. He loves looking at you, you really are the most interesting thing in his world and daddy and I are SO excited to see you grow up together. Our precious sweetpeas. Two peas in a pod.
You're back at school today after half term break. You came home in tears from Rainbows as you're having trouble with another little boy at school. And it makes me so cross, we've been having trouble with this little boy for ages and you just do not deserve it.  You're such a kind, honest, funny little girl and you don't deserve some little sod hitting and kicking you.  I hope you can rise above it (although, you're too much like me and you're more likely to lash out, try and restrain yourself petal!)
You're doing ever so well at school, your spelling and writing is just brilliant (just like mummy!) but you need to get a bit better at reading.  That's our fault too - it's always such a rush after school, but it's no excuse!
Keep being your creative self. I know I complain about all the junk modelling everywhere when you've emptied the entire recycling bin to build a model of something, but it shows how incredibly imaginative and creative you are. For example, your Lenor hat from last week. You nut! So funny! And your drawings are always amazing, I love it when you draw us something. You're better than daddy and I at that!
I was never very good at finishing letters and it seems I'm still no better at it.  All I want to say is we love you and keep being you, because you're just fabulous.
All my Love,
Mummy x

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Scarlett's Big Haircut

This post was originally published on my self-hosted WordPress site.  For a whole host of reasons, that didn't work out so, ta-dah!  Back here.

Original post date: 22 February 2014

Yesterday, Scarlett did something pretty momentous.  She had her hair cut off.  All of it (well, yknow, nearly all of it).
This is momentous for two reasons; Firstly, Scarlett has had her hair cut probably a total of 4 times in her nearly 6 years of life and secondly, she agreed to donate her hair to the Little Princess Trust so that her hair can be made into a wig for little girls who have lost theirs during cancer treatment. 
Andy had always been quite protective of Scarlett's hair, it took her a good 18 months to actually get any hair following a rather severe case of cradle cap and as it's gotten longer, it's also gotten darker, so the very tips of her hair really are the last of her baby blonde.  But, we'd all had enough of trying to brush out the tangles and I was fed up of the kids at school pulling her plaits out and it coming home looking like a bird's nest.  And it wasn't really much fun for Scarlett any more.
She woke up yesterday SO excited to be getting it cut and kept displaying where on her shoulders she wanted her new hair to come to.  In the end, it's gone a lot shorter than we'd anticipated but it really suits her and she is over the moon!
My mum bought her a Palace Pet from Build a Bear workshop, something that she can Treasure (literally, that's the name of the cat) forever and remember the day she had her hair cut off to donate to another little girl.
I am so immensely proud of her, she took it all in her stride, I think it's only as an adult perhaps that it hits you what it's going to mean to another little girl to have new hair.
I want to say a big thank you to Claire and her team at Blush & Co in Locksbottom for cutting Scarlett's hair and giving her a wonderful new style, she was spoilt rotten yesterday!
Well done Scarlett, my beautiful, grown up girl.

Thursday, 20 February 2014


This post was originally published on my self-hosted WordPress site.  For a whole host of reasons, that didn't work out so, ta-dah!  Back here.

Original post date: 20 February 2014

Well, I've sat here for 5 minutes trying to come up with a snappier title and failed miserably so there you have it, debrief. It is, after all, about my debrief.
On Tuesday afternoon (18th February 2014) we went to meet with the consultant who had seen me during labour and ultimately returned to put me back together again.  Lovely midwife was also there and I was so grateful that she had called to move my appointment to the end of a clinic as we ended up being there nearly 2 hours.
I didn't quite know what to expect.  We started talking simply about how I was feeling but we quickly moved on to the crux of the issue; was I given too much Syntocinon?
The simple answer was pretty much yes.  I was surprised how easily the consultant admitted it.  I had gone in there expecting them to want to cover themselves but as a friend pointed out to me, it's not worth their while and the NHS have learnt that honesty is the best policy in order to get people to trust you again.  I couldn't agree more.
They admitted that the Syntocinon should've been managed better.  I asked whether it was increased at the rate usual for a standard induction and the drug chart would support their admission that yes, it probably was.
I felt such relief, and relaxed so much.  They had confirmed what I had suspected.
I asked whether the Syntocinon had contributed to the rupture and they agreed it had.  Again, huge relief.  Whilst she couldn't say confidently that my uterus wouldn't have ruptured without it (because that is something we could never prove, nor would I want anyone to prove or hold anyone accountable for), she felt that it was certainly a major contributing factor.
I raised concerns that the midwife who looked after me that day wasn't very experienced and they agreed that a different midwife should've probably been assigned to me.  I feel sorry for the midwife in question, I think it just all went over her head a little bit.  To be fair to her, she followed procedures, she increased the Syntocinon the required amount, at the required times, but it should never have really been increased with me.  I was labouring quite well on the smaller amounts.  The consultant showed an emotion that suggested she knew this, and remembered having to ask for the Syntocinon to be turned down on two occasions.  By then the damage had begun however.
We also raised concerns that she wasn't very encouraging.  I mentioned that the only times she really spoke to me were to complain that she couldn't get a good enough trace on the baby or to ask why I hadn't had an epidural yet.  I said I found it really disheartening and that I didn't feel at all encouraged or supported in my decision to continue to breathe through my contractions, as I had planned and practised.  We mentioned she had pretty much said, "I told you you would need an epidural" when my resolve did eventually break.  We also raised that her continued faffing with the monitor had probably put the anaesthetist off and contributed to the epidural not being sited properly.  They were disappointed to hear all this.  They sort of shook their heads but didn't comment too much on it, just apologised that we felt this way.  I felt bad ratting out a midwife, but sometimes, you just have to be honest about the care you've received.
The consultant admitted that since my experience, she has made a point of writing, "Experienced Midwife needed during labour" on women's notes.  She said those in charge should read the notes and see the complexity of cases but in my case, they clearly didn't, so she makes a point of doing it now. I appreciate so much that new midwives need to learn things as they come up, and I'm sure VBAC's, especially induced ones, don't come up that often.  I would've much rather them say, I'm not confident in handling this, can I perhaps have some help from time to time.  Sort of like a CPD exercise almost.  At the same time, the ward was so busy there wasn't much room for anyone to assist or oversee fully.
I talked about how I felt about the whole thing; guilt, sorrow, anger. I said I felt embarrassed that despite all my research I still allowed myself to be submitted to a Syntocinon induction.  Above all else, that's the overriding thing I feel.  I knew it shouldn't have been done yet I submitted so willingly.  I think I was so determined to have my VBAC that I was maybe blind to the increased risk.  More fool me.
I talked about how I felt robbed of my chance to have a perfect birth.  That I often felt I didn't deserve hat had happened because I was so confident and positive about birth.  At this point I could see lovely midwife had teared up slightly.  We'd had many conversations about what I did and didn't want during labour whilst I was still pregnant and she was always so supportive.  She called me yesterday to follow up briefly and told me I should be proud that whilst it did go wrong in the end, I stood up for my rights and choices in birth.
I was pleased with how much they had clearly learnt from what went wrong with my case.  The whole team involved have had a debrief, especially as the consultant was concerned about them suffering from any after effects from witnessing what happened.  She is the personal mentor to the Dr who delivered Woody with the forceps and they have had a few conversations about the birth to understand what happened and what could be improved.
I asked whether I could ever class it as a successful VBAC since Woody was born vaginally.  She sort of smiled, then deadpanned; "No, nothing about this birth was a success!"  Other than the fact they saved me.  I'm here, and so is Woody.  It could've been a hell of a lot worse.
We really wanted to congratulate the whole team on how well they dealt with the emergency. Some day I really hope to see some of them again and thank them personally.  If any of them ever stumble across this little corner of the internet, thank you.  You saved my life and that of my baby and you should all be incredibly proud of the job you do.  I hope one day to join your ranks and continue the amazing work you do.
I mentioned that I was keen to carry on talking about my experience and should they ever want anyone to talk about rupture to students or midwives or whoever, I was really happy to be involved.  She said I should come and talk at one of their team meetings and so she's taken my number to try and get something arranged.  Which is exciting.  I'll get to rub shoulders with a whole room full of actual midwives (I'm a midwife fan girl, I'll admit it!!)
Andy and I came out and both agreed how relieved we felt.  I don't think we'd call it closure, I don't know if either of us will ever have closure on what happened.  It was the most traumatic thing we've ever been through, it has brought us closer together, Andy and I, I think we both have a new found respect for each other in a way, the things we both experienced that week.  But we felt very relieved and immensely grateful and thankful to everyone involved in helping put me back together again

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Tuneful Tuesday: Follow Me, Follow You

I'm afraid this week's post has me teary eyed as much as last week's one did.

This week I have chosen a song which has meant quite a lot to me for some time.

It's no secret that I really quite like Genesis.  I want to do a full Tuneful Tuesday post dedicated to my special, sometimes secret, love for Genesis.  But they're very personal to me, and along with the Beatles and Pink Floyd, really are the soundtrack to my childhood.

The song I have chosen today however has me quite emotional every time I hear it.  For two main reasons.

Firstly, it reminds me of my dad.  I'm sure I recall dad singing along to it as a kid (I'm sure mum and dad will contradict me on that).  It was a song I really toyed with having as I walked 'down the aisle' (or rather, across the courtyard) on my wedding day.  This was my plan, until I realised dad and I would be in tears by the time we got to the barn and so I dispensed with the idea.  Something I sort of regret.  The first verse in particular has me in tears.

Secondly, it was on the radio whilst I was in hospital.  I was on the postnatal ward, and over night they had Magic or some similar radio station playing in the office.  I was having my obs done at some point when I heard the strains of this drifting across the ward.  I laughed, and had to explain to the midwife why.  She didn't seem to understand, but hearing it faintly just comforted me so much.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Looking Back/Looking Forward - 2nd February 2014

I'm linking up rather late this week with Hannah's TWTWC (We've had a very busy few days...)

Looking Back

We had quite a busy week last week.  We have finally got our house on the market (I say finally, it's actually only taken 2 weeks from the decision being made to us signing with an agent) so the week has been mostly filled with tidying and de-cluttering.

I managed to do the school run twice last week in the run up to this week which is basically the start of the daily morning school run.  Scarlett will continue to go to after school club for the time being - she enjoys it and has lots of friends there and it's better than coming home and listening to Woody cry!

My hospital notes arrived on Wednesday and made interesting reading.  Nothing we didn't already know though, but it has been really good to put a timescale back on what happened - my sense of time had completely disappeared.

Wednesday also saw Woody's hip scan at the hospital.  I felt slightly strange as it was my first trip back to the hospital since Woody was born, thankfully a different building and it wasn't as bad as I had imagined.  Woody was very well behaved for his scan and I'm pleased to report he's had the all clear.

My lovely friend Emma took me and Woody to Ikea on Thursday where I bought things I shouldn't have done (isn't it like the law to go to Ikea and come out with unnecessary purchases?!)  Andy had taken the car seat adaptors with him in his car so this was Woody's first trip out in the big boy seat on the pushchair, he seemed comfy enough but I wish we had a cosy toes for it.

The biggest news of all is that I'm driving again! Watch out Worcester Park, Stirling Moss is back behind the wheel!  Woooohooooooo!!

On Saturday my friends Jo and G came down for the afternoon.  Unfortunately I'd been suffering since Friday with a terrible ache in my tummy and by Saturday afternoon I was in agony - I had to leave my poor friends in charge of a screaming Woody for a bit until Andy came back from a children's party to take him off their hands!!  But they came bearing awesome gifts - Jo has proved herself to be rather good in the craft department and made us a Scrabble letters frame with our names and G gifted Woody with his very first Threadless tshirt.  My friends rock.

Sunday was a day of partial rest (we've started using these vented bottles from Tommee Tippee and they seem to be working wonders for Woody, he's back to a regular 3-4 hour routine which meant on Saturday night we had nearly 8 hours sleep (minus an hour for Andy as he did the 3am feed!).  We had a lazy morning in bed followed my a manic afternoon of tidying and boxing stuff up ready for photos to be taken of the house on Monday.  Weekends are always best when rounded off with a trip to Pizza Express. Perfick.

Even more photos this week....

Clockwise from Main:
  • Sleep deprivation gets the better of us and we resort to finding this possibly the most hilarious thing ever.
  • Scarlett was off school on Monday with a 'tummy ache' (I think we'd had a terrible night with Woody).  Nevermind, cuddles and Up were a good prescription.
  • We made it to Sainsbury's on the bus!
  • My hospital notes.

Clockwise from Main:
  • This costume was reduced in Saino's and I literally couldn't exist - I want one in my size!
  • Woody in his big boy pushchair seat at Ikea.
  • After nearly 7 weeks of not driving, I'm finally back behind the wheel - my first trip was a 90 minute amble round the countrysidey areas near us in an attempt to get Woody to sleep and give Andy a solid chunk of sleep (90 minutes, wowee, don't have too much!!)

Our awesome Scrabble picture with our names made by my super friend Jo - Can't wait to move to give it a permanent home, for now, it's next to the tv.
Woody's first Threadless tee from Mr G.  It's a little big for him at the minute, but it should fit him towards the Summer I hope.

Clockwise from Main:
  • Chillaxing in bed on Sunday morning - we definitely need a bigger bed, Andy and I are clinging to the edge!
  • Woody choosing his first Pizza Express dinner!
  • My boys

Looking Forward

I'm hoping for a slightly calmer week this week.  I've had a horrible cough and cold and my tummy has been so sore from coughing - I'm bending myself double to protect my scar and it's starting to hurt!  So I'm going to just take it easy, shame I have to be up and out every morning for the school run but hey ho, it's exercise and I desperately need that at the minute.

I'm not really sure if I have a goal this week.  I like to set myself a goal, really I just want to get through the week without spending any more money!!  It's only the 4th and already I'm basically out of money (I'm so crap at budgeting!)

Hope you all have a good week!

Tuneful Tuesday: You Got the Love

I've been wanting to write this post for a few weeks now.

I don't want to say too much about it.  I loved the version which was released in the 1990s with Candi Staton.  However it's the Florence+The Machine version I'm sharing with you today.

The day I was discharged from hospital, December 22nd 2013, it was on the radio as we drove home.

The lyrics seemed to reflect precisely how I felt about Andy and his support in the preceding week.  Tears came and poured, silently.  Scarlett asked what was wrong with Mummy.  Andy told her I was just relieved; relieved to finally be out of hospital and on my way home.  It's true, I was so relieved and so very thankful for Andy, Scarlett and Woody.

I haven't listened to this since then.  It felt too raw, it still does feel too raw.  Listening to the lyrics again I want to offer them up to Andy; it's true, all the words are true, they really reflect how thankful I am for him and his love and helping me get through an experience I will never fully recover from, in many ways.