Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bramble Ward

It has taken me over a week to process the horrible happenings of last weekend when Smidge and I were subjected to three days of cubicle torture on the local children’s ward following a visit to A&E.

It wasn’t meant to happen this way you see. I’d only visited the out of hours G.P an hour or so beforehand and she’d packed us off home with antibiotics.

The trip to A&E was only ever intended to be an anxiety-related precautionary measure, the outcome of which would be a few raised eye brows and some sympathetic looks.

Needless to say when the Matron pulled the emergency oxygen supply of the wall and swiftly moved us on to the resuscitation bay, we were more than a little taken a back.

‘I don’t want you to be alarmed’ She says

‘But I’m going to put her with a one to one nurse whilst we are assessing her’

And with that we were guided to a room where monitors were plentiful and doctors announce themselves at the drop of a hat.

Second only to the time I was falsely accused of stealing hubba bubba from the local spa shop aged eight and half, The feeling was one of complete disbelief and despair.. What on earth is my baby doing on the resuscitation bay?

I can hear pipe and suction type noises coming from the bed beyond the curtain and the sound of an onlooker calling out that she’s scared and frightened.

Could you please not keep saying that , I’m thinking, biting down my already bitten down nails to the point of causing pain.

The doctor pulls out her stethoscope and starts asking about allergies and other non-urgent sounding questions.

What’s she faffing about asking questions like that for?

Shouldn’t she just get on and start resuscitating or something? I wonder staring at a slightly warm but totally breathing Smidge.

What if she misses something urgent whilst asking all this faf?

Could it be meningitis? I waffle, before launching myself in to Stephens’s shirt, unable to bare her response.

‘The Meningitis rash doesn’t normally look like this, see the way it disappears to the touch?..No, I think what we have here is a typical case of bronchiolitis'

‘See Mum?’ Says Mr. G, putting a reassuring hand on my shoulder ‘it’s all good’

‘ Okay, thank you and er.. Sorry for… you know for being worried’

‘That’s okay, I understand perfectly, It’s because of all you’ve been through’

Well actually it’s because we are in the resuscitation room.

At the hospital.

Giving my baby oxygen.

but yeah I know what you mean.

Without further ado we were then transferred to Bramble ward and placed in a pale green room with a prison cot in the middle.

Well that night Smidge started  firing disapproving looks at me from between the bars.

‘Get me out of this orphan cot’ she scowls ‘I’ve done my time in NICU’

‘It wont be for long Roo' I sympathise stroking her hair.

'Well at least do me a couple of rounds of mountain song’

So I do.

And a couple more rounds.

And a few more after that.

Before long Mountain song became an integral part of the Bramble- ward -cubicle- torture experience, along with the sats monitors and alcohol gel, taking me back to place I thought I'd long since left behind.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Mr G!

Today is Mr G’s twelfth birthday, Twelve years old I tell you!  and it’s been non stop action ever since my eyes pinged open this morning.

The fact Mr.G’s Birthday has fallen on a Saturday has had both good and bad sides to it.
It was good that we got to go out with his mates on his actual birthday. It was bad that I had to spend all morning frantically cleaning the house before their parents turned up and even worse, the Garden too! Can you imagine?

We had awesome day out at 'Battlefield Live' though and the trip to the arcades afterwards just sealed the deal.

I'm amazingly proud of my first born boy for being the person who he is today. He is a very kind and incredibly bouncy kid who has an absolute heart of gold. He has not had the best year this year but he has been unbelievably resilient and  understanding. One day Mr G is going to make a great adult, but for now he is a very much loved and appreciated Brother and Son :-)

                                                                   HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Unwanted Victories.

When I found out I was having another baby I was super excited. As a second time Mum I thought I would take to Motherhood again like a Swan on a lake, and I did sort of.. (If you can imagine the Swan hissing and stealing bread from the duck.)

Being only 20 when my first was born, I’d opted for an I’ll-make-it-up-as-I-go-along approach to parenting, and although Mr.G is a great kid, some of my approaches were a bit hit or miss to say the least.

Naturally this time around I was aiming to be an even better parent, what with education and the benefit of hind sight on my side, I was going to be admired by all for my patience, skill and experience, bringing Passion and creativity to this somewhat untrendy role.

But when Smidge was born at 25 weeks gestation, this prompted a radical reality reshuffle. All preconceived ideas about positive attachment relationships went down the plug hole along with the NICU hand soap and remnants of yesterday’s alco-gel.

The difficulty was I was really quite attached to this ‘Improved Mother’ idea and I fear I may have bought a teeny bit too much of my keen-to-do-well-ness to the Neonatal Unit, irritating some of the country’s most patient and highly regarded professionals.

Disputing clinical decisions, Making amateur diagnosis’s and questioning policies and practices were amongst many of the bazaar behaviours I exhibited in an attempt to play Mummy.

Eight out of ten times of my predictions would prove to be unfounded but sometimes, just sometimes I would get it right.

Say for example Smidge was having recurrent pauses in breathing, I would think this was due to infection, or if her heart rate was plummeting regularly I'd think she might need a blood transfusion.

But even when I was right, the victory was somehow bitter sweet because the imminent concern over Smidge's health would over ride what would have other wise been a perfectly good gloating opportunity.

See I wanted to do what other Mothers did, to cuddle and comfort their babies, to tuck them up in just the right way that only Mummy knows how, but when it became evident that this wasn't really an option, I wanted to know what the doctors and nurses knew! I wanted to do as they did!

Of course deep down I knew that I had neither the skills or experience to carry out these roles and probably looked very ridiculous trying, but still I think my Smidge knew I was there for her. Hell- I think everyone knew I was there for her!

But did predicting an infection or surgical assessment help me feel more like her Mother?


Did it help when I was right?

Not one little bit.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Friday, November 18, 2011

Five Currant Buns

At this morning’s ‘Bounce and Rhyme’ session, Smidge and I were inspired by the song ‘Five current Buns in a bakers shop.’

Five current buns sounds good to me I thought, feeling more than a little flakey after doing all that singing before I’m barely out of bed, So we stopped off at the local bakery to buy some .

Once Home, I popped Smidge in to her Bumbo chair and broke off tiny bits of bun and put them on her tray. 'Aside from being a tasty treat,' I tell her ‘this is also a great opportunity for you to practice your pincer grip’

However once Smidge had tasted the yumminess of the sugary bun, she looked at me sternly ‘Stuff your silly pincer grip’ she conveyed ‘put it in my mouth damn it!’

Each taster was followed up by a frantic whine implying I wasn’t performing efficiently enough.

Eventually she switched tactics, put on her cutest face, looked up at me with those big brown eyes and  said ‘Oh please Mama…wont you tear me off my very own big strip to suck on?’

‘Well okay’ I negotiate ‘But I’m holding it’

So we sit there, her in complete ecstasy sucking away on this bun, Me feeling like my arm is about to drop off….

I wonder what’s in these things any way.. I ponder, performing a quick recipe search on google with my spare hand.

Browsing through the ingredients list  three scary words hop off the page ‘Glaze with Honey’

Oh no…what have I done? First I poisoned Stephen and Mr G with cheese and now I’m going to top off Smidge with the honey. 

I try to call the bakery to check the situation. Bloody BT call minder.

I try the health visitor. No answer,( he knows me too well.)

Panic struck and guilt ridden, I go to put a confused Smidge into the car, practically bringing the Bumbo seat and it’s stupid plastic tray with me.

We arrive at the bakery in record time. Illegally parked and sweating I swing open the bakery door to see a middle aged woman gassing away on the telephone.

‘Is there…

‘Is there.. honey in those Buns?’  I pant, swallowing a guilty lump and bracing myself

‘Them  buns? Them  buns there? ’she asks in a deep husky voice.

‘Yes the Chelsea ones’

‘Nah..not them, they ‘avent got any honey’

‘You’re sure?’

‘Definitely not’

Phew.. Says I,  breathing a sigh of relief and planting a kiss on a bewildered Smidges face.

‘Mummy was nearly a little bit stupid but it turned out okay’ I tell her.

‘I told you to just give me the bun’ says she, and we go home to finish it off.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Dress That I Did Not Want.

Last week I went shopping on the High street. I was seeking out clothes,Winter clothes to flatter my post pregnancy shape. But those damn winter woollens, they add inches just where I don't want them and anything that looked remotely flattering was more suited to cocktail party than the British winter weather.

But then suddenly, amongst all the rails of clutter, out popped a most suitable looking winter dress. It was cut in all the right places, 'Wow!' I thought 'What a winner' and toddled off to the changing room to try it on.

I was pleasantly surprised with the way it fell, it didn’t cling to all my wobbly bits like others I'd tried.

A little bit delighted, I thought 'I'll buy that!' and went to put it back on the hanger before getting changed. However just as I as I did, something terrible came to light. Oh no! The flattering winter garment was  Maternity wear!

I hurriedly left the changing room red faced and ashamed, practically thrusting the dress in to the shop assistants hands with full force and a very loud ' No Thank you'

Once again, I have  been forced to seriously re evaluate the diet situation and I might just have to wipe the dust off that sports centre membership card, that is if I can find it.

The problem I have is that I stick to diets like blue tack sticks to glass, pretty much a non starter from the off I'm afraid.

So this time I must take this dieting lark more seriously, starting firstly by attempting to understand my own unhelpful and annoyingly repetitive behaviour.

This diagram 'The Cycle of Change' written by Prochaska and Diclemente and can be used to understand all sorts of dependant behaviour, I like it because it illustrates my failings beautifully.

I'm really hopeful that I can come up with full proof plan that enables me to stay in 'maintenance' for at least three months. 

As one of my main issues is not being able to stick to a diet for more than a week, I've decided the best option is to change the diet each week, this should help to prevent boredom. Each week on a Sunday I'll be reviewing the diets and rating them on things like how much weight they made me lose, amount of time spent flaked on sofa,how many friends I lost, whether everyone else had to get their own dinner and how many times I went over my overdraft limit.

Should be fun so watch this space x

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wagner, The Senses And My Deteriorating Mental Health.

About a year and a half a go, I went on a training course for foster carers, Yes it may come as a surprise to you but the local authority not only allow me to look after my own children,but other peoples too from time to time.

Anyway, this training was aimed at helping foster carers to understand how memories, triggered by the things we see, smell, taste and hear can impact on our behaviour.

In order to illustrate the point, the speaker bought with her some little kodak film tubes, from back in the day (when you actually had to take a film to the developers.) Now what she she did next rather reminded me of what my brother used to do with his farts in our youth, She had preserved scents in the cylinders to pass around and see what memories they activated.

And its strange because as we are moving in to these winter months there are many seasonal happenings that trigger memories for me, taking me back to this this time last year when I was desperate to hold on to the baby I had not yet met.

Halloween Costumes, the wet weather or the X-factor theme tune music all remind me of being in hospital, five months pregnant, trying to convince the staff there that I was not a nut job, that I was going to have a baby early and I was scared. High tariff television was my only escape from the prospect of the impending pre term labour.

Stephen and I would huddle up on the too- high, too- thin bed, holding on to a headphone each and watch the celebrity wannabes dish out one cheesy pop song after another. (forgive me Stephen for exposing this)

Any way, the one act that that I disliked above all others was 'Wagner.'
It wasn't because he couldn’t sing for all the tea and china but because he made me giggle so much I just couldn't help myself! This would then be followed by me thinking I'd provoked yet another bleeding episode. Of course being a silly pregnant woman, I'd laugh at any thing remotely funny and Wagner had me biting down on my lip so hard I looked like I'd done ten rounds with Mike Tyson, Talk about an emotional roller coaster!

Those days leading up to the 'viability' stage of pregnancy were marked by fear and powerlessness. The sense of guilt, worry and concern saw my anxiety levels soaring and I felt very isolated in the realisation that my baby would not be born to be healthy. Nobody else echoed my concerns much less confirmed them, not a single doctor or nurse, which had me questioning weather I was, in fact losing the plot.

I see a similar pattern emerge these days when the the X-factor theme tune plays out on a Saturday night. It triggers a sense of alert deep in my consciousness, only this time it's not the bathroom I run to but the cot side where before me lies a beautiful sleeping Smidgy-Roo, and I count my lucky stars (excuse the pun) that we are where we are today.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Letter From Parliament

You'll never guess what I found nestled in my rusty old post box on my way back from the school run..

A pale yellow envelope, smooth to the the touch with the 'House Of Commons' printed across the top.

So I keenly deposited the remaining bank statements and Pizza Hut buy- one -get- one- free leaflet in to the 'I cant be bothered box' on top of my tumble dryer and peeled open the high quality envelope made from recycled paper to reveal....

A letter from my MP Anne Marie. No,

A letter from my MP Anne Marie, on Embossed Paper.

Well if I wasn't impressed with Anne before I certainly am now I thought, as I cast my eyes over the text.

See, I'd called in to see Anne at her 'surgery' a few weeks ago as a part of my work campaigning for Bliss, the Charity who strives to improve outcomes for vulnerable babies and their families.

'As Marvellous as the care was in the hospitals', I'd told her in our meeting, 'I'm getting a little bit flustered about how the NHS budget cuts are impacting on Britain’s most vulnerable babies.'

The new Bliss research shows that more than half of all UK Neonatal Units are not meeting the standards that have been set out by the NHS, and there doesn't seem to be an infrastructure that ensures health care professionals get the training, education and learning opportunities they need to be able to deliver vital life saving care to their teeny patients.

Having heard my concerns, Anne immediately agreed to do what she could to help, starting by writing to the secretary of state to see if he can tell us what's going on with regards to how the cash is being splashed.

So Anne's letter was in short, to clarify our conversation and put in writing her next steps. Jolly nice of her I thought. And what can I say but I'm delighted to have a community MP who is willing to listen to her local ranters residents and act on their concerns.

She finished her letter by saying she will write again once she has more details and that she will keep what I told her a secret. (apart from when liaising with the big house) very respectful Anne, I wish I could say I'll do the same!