Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dear Me Two Years Ago.



Dear Me two years ago,

I can see how worried you are sitting there today, looking in on your baby. You're struggling to believe she'll ever be anything more than the smallest Smidge you've ever seen but she will be, she'll grow big and strong and beautiful, just give her time.



You feel tired today, I can see that, You want more than a dangerous cuddle that may make her worse, I'm afraid it's going to be that way for a while, but one day she'll be yours,all yours and you can hold her close whenever you want, it will be up to you.



Today the Doctors are talking about restarting her feeds, but you don't want to rush her, you want to freeze time and keep her safe forever. No one can blame you for thinking like that, you don't like not being the one to make all the decisions, it goes against all your natural instincts, against everything you prepared for, but don't be scared. 

One day you will look back and you will know it was for the best and knowing will be be so much easier than hoping.I promise you that.


Sometimes you get worried that you're not your level best, that other people are judging you.It's not easy feeling like you're being watched but try not to worry, nobody expects you to be amazing, nobody expects you to be okay with all this. If ever there was a time to not be perfect, then  now is that time so don't feel ashamed.


It wont be long before you're taking that baby home, yes,soon it will be your turn to walk out of the NICU doors with a beautiful baby girl.

                                        

It will be scary at first and I'm sorry to say it won't be the last you'll see of the hospital either,but things will be okay because you will know just what to do and how to look after her.

And now best of all, let me give you a little glimpse of the future...


 This is your little girl. Isn't she perfect? Isn't she everything you ever dreamed of?



This is her just after her second birthday enjoying her third Christmas.. beautiful, happy, healthy.

Now look again at the tiny face in the incubator in front of you, because she will only be that tiny once. You see that little hat she wears? One day it will make a snug fit on her tiny doll that she'll push around in a toy pram.

One day you'll look at a copy of her tiny foot prints and you'll ask yourself  'Was she really that small?'
and you'll be reminded of this very day when you wondered what the future held and you will know it was worth every minute of the path you walked.

Until then, have faith.

Kindest regards,

The future Me. xx


An extra special Thank you to the lovely Amymouse from Nearly Everything But The Kitchen Sink for providing me with the inspiration for this blog post.Do pop over and check out some of her other fabulous posts!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Gifts For Mum's In NICU

There's no doubt at all that the very best gift  a NICU Mum could have this Christmas is a stable day with her baby. A day free from the fright of another infection, a day tolerating feeds or in low oxygen supply, a day that doesn't bring surprises of the unwanted variety.

If a NICU Mum is really,really lucky maybe her baby will meet an important milestone this Christmas, a first cuddle,the move from ventilation to C-pap or that all important move from an incubator to a 'hot cot.'

Who would ever think this could be on a Mother's wish list? but it will be because this is exactly what hundreds of mum's of poorly babies want across the UK today.

When this time two years ago I was in intensive care, fixated on a monitor, watching my tiny baby's chest rise and fall, I cared nothing for the Christmas cheer that would warm peoples homes and see the faces of small children light up.

I cared nothing for what gifts I'd bought for relatives or what they'd bought for me, I just felt a strange combination of being upset and grateful all at the same time.

Upset that it had come to this, that here we were, watching a baby fight, experiencing possibly the worst Christmas ever. However, at the same time I was pleased, so pleased and grateful that she was still here and fighting and if I'm honest, that was what I think I held on to... that is what got me through, knowing that whilst she was there in front of me there was still hope...

and for Christmas I really wouldn't have wanted anything else.

x





Saturday, December 22, 2012


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Top Five Doctor's Who Have Saved My Sanity

Generally speaking at Diary Of A Premmy Mum, I try and keep the names of professionals anonymous. However, If someone has done something Ace, Something brilliant or something thoroughly unforgettable, then why not  publicly declare their excellence? It is nearly Christmas, After all.

So in today's post I bring you my top five Doctors.

Top five? I hear you say. That's a whole lot of Doctors to come top . But you know this Premmy Mum has met more than her fair share in recent years, there have been at least 100 who have looked after Smidge between the four Neonatal Hospitals and  the children's ward.

Some Doctor's are naturally gifted with people,others have to work at it, personally, I made nearly every Doctor work at it, so if they made it to my top 5, then they are hard core, dedicated.....the best of the best!

So here they are.. in no particular order.

Dr Dylan Watkins. (G.P) Leatside Surgery Totnes.        
Dr Watkins used to be my G.P before I  had Smidge. I wish he was still my G.P now but dreaded Geography forced a surgery change, putting an end to all that was awesome about care in the community.
What I liked best about Dylan was his laid back attitude, his off the wall sense of humour and  his willingness to listen and support.
He is totally devoted to his patients, a bit of a cynic and  not in the least bit  P.C. If there was a town award for being the 'People's Doctor' I'm fairly sure he'd  bag it in a flash and I wouldn't hesitate in signposting a few of my bean sprout loving friends his way, or any friends for that matter.
I love the way this Doctor embraces the alternative nature of the  community, he doesn't judge people in difficult times and regularly goes above and beyond for everyone.On occasion, you'll even catch him whizzing around town on  his motorbike dropping of prescriptions on his way home. If every G.P took his attitude to good community care then perhaps we wouldn't be so swamped by services trying to fill in the gaps.
Dr.Watkins also writes his own blog, where he raises awareness, shares his views and talks about community and medical issues.

Dr David Mabin. Paediatric Consultant and Neonateologist
Ever since we returned to Devon (when Smidge reached about 33 weeks gestation) Dr Mabin has been helping us to take great care of our family.
When I first met him, it was a time of massive upheaval, I was hugely stressed from the whole Smidge Live/Die saga. The frequent hospital moves, the constant shifting about but he was so kind and understanding and he reserved judgement, despite my coming across as quite rude and insensitive at times.
He's been nothing but a support to us over these last two years, watching Smidge grow and develop, Always sitting in the background empowering us as parents and having us believe that we are making sound decisions about her care.
There have been long periods spent on the children's ward, where I've suffered more than a little cabin fever from being shut in a cubicle for too long.There's been tears, there's been snot, (me not the doctor) there's even been me asking him out right (in a totally undiplomatic way) if he thought I was a bonkers raving lunatic who needs professional help. I have to say he dealt with it all fabulously, always taking so much care to make sure I take something positive away from our conversations and goodness knows when I'm in that state I don't make it easy for him, so what he's done, it really means a lot.
Further more, I know I'm not alone in my 'Dr. Mabin Loving' as he is a very popular Doctor amongst all the families we know at Exeter S.N.U.G group, many of whom have been lucky to have him as their allocated consultant.

Dr.Richard Thwaites. Paediatric Consultant and Neonatologist at Q.A Hospital, Portsmouth.
How Could I ever forget Dr.Thwaites?The doctor who who resuscitated Smidge at birth, the doctor who put the tube down her throat and bought her safely in to the NICU. He was very involved in her care in those vital early weeks and made a lot of the clinical decisions, literally saving her life.
If it were not for him and his dedication to Neonates or  his obvious expertise in dealing with extremely low birth weight babies, she really wouldn't be here today, I totally believe that.
From the second Smidge was admitted to Intensive Care, we knew she was in the hands of an expert.Of course i'd be lying if I said I completely put my faith in him, I couldn't, not in anyone, knowing the risks. However I did always know she was in the best possible hands, I always knew if anyone could save her it would be him and the team around him. He was passionate about premature babies, it really came across when he spoke about them. His explanations of risk,of the theory that lay behind the decisions he made were really second to none and  One-day Hubby  felt a lot more involved on account of his detailed descriptions.

Dr Alice Martin. Registrar at RD&E Exeter
Another Doctor who I will always remember is Dr. Alice Martin, a registrar in Exeter. My dealings with her have  only ever been brief and in emergency situations, once, when she was working on the transport team and then again quite recently, in the spring when Smidge was 'naughty' again.
Alice comes across as really genuine. She is friendly and supportive and can canulate an ex pre- term baby in record time.It was thanks to her quick thinking and steady hands that Smidge came out of a 25 minute seizure and I was extremely impressed with the way she conducted herself in this this emergency situation. If Smidge had gone on to fit much longer she would have been at risk of brain damage and I think it's a real skill,remaining calm, giving instructions and not saying anything that would  alarm parents and make the situation worse.
I can also tell that Alice really cared about the impact that the whole event had on us and she came by to check on us several times afterwards to make sure we were okay.This made a real difference to us, knowing that she cared.

Dr Liz Donovan. Paediatric Consultant and Neonatologist Q.A Hospital Portsmouth
Dr Donovan was one of those Doctors who made me feel sane when I thought that I was losing the plot.I guess the thing is when you have a child in intensive care, its so easy to worry about everything, I would need constant reassurance about the decisions that were being taken.
Dr Donovan was the sort Doctor who would make herself available if she saw me in the corridor.She'd even take me in to a side room for a  bit of a chat if that's what was needed. She wouldn't do it in a scary 'lets go to the quiet room' kind of way but more in a 'lets get away from the noise' sort of way, which was great because I couldn't always concentrate in the ICU with the monitors going off and Smidge apnoea-ing left right and centre.
Whenever I had a concern about Smidge, she didn't make me feel foolish or unskilled or obstructive, she'd validate my concerns and take my views on board. She seemed to totally understand my battle of wanting to be a Mum but not 'having the knowledge' and she really wanted to help with that. Without this kind of support my mind would be plagued with fragments of medical  information which would drift amidst the bleeps and fear. When someone takes a little time to understand how you're processing all that it really makes a difference, I'm so glad she was there.

So there we have it, My top five Doctors and why I loved them. I think it's really important to recognise good care like this. These people work so hard, they go above and beyond and the real reward for them is knowing that they have made a difference. So which Doctors have made a difference to you and why?


I








Friday, December 14, 2012

Two.


Dearest Smidge,

It is so hard to believe that you are now a whole two years old. Two years old I tell you!, Two years old. It's really true, you have gone from being a teeny tiny 1lb 7oz Smidge in to a fully grown, pony- tail- wearing, Christmas- tree- terrorising toddler and I couldn't be more proud!

As well as being amazingly strong and fabulously resilient you are also incredibly cute, as was your big brother Mister G when he was just your age.

You love being around your bonkers family and often our names feature amongst your babbling gibberish.At present you say 'Mummy' approximately 300 times a day.

For the longest time you called your Daddy 'Da' but recently you've considered him worthy of two syllables, a gesture that has both pleased and delighted him to no end.

Like many babies, books are your absolute favourite thing and already you can point to the relevant shapes, animals, body parts and  different types of food when asked, such a clever girl!

Thanks to our recent house move, you had a crash course in baby signing too (the wonder of DVD's) and now you  have little conversations with us, using your hands. You're favourite signs are 'where?' and 'more.'
The latter, 'more'  is flipping relentless serves you very well indeed.

I love looking after you myself. Watching you learn and develop. It's such fun when you learn a new trick! I know you can tell that it pleases me as you keenly prompt me to applaud you.

Since we moved here, we've taken up 'cat spotting' in our local neighbourhood (there has to be some benefits to living in a street) and when you spy a four legged friend you point excitedly and exclaim 'there! th-th-th- there!!)

Your favourite song at the moment is 'here we go round the mulberry bush,' both in the form of my own terrible vocals and  on the CD in the car. You like it best if I combine the two and sing along with the music, in such instances you beam me a smile in the rear view mirror, which is extremely cute to see!

Your big brother George treats you to a bit of rough and tumble and you squeal with delight when he chases you around the house.When he catches you he gives you a great big hug and your little heart is racing but still you are laughing.

Helping around the house is another favourite pass time, you like putting the laundry in the basket and setting the washing machine off when it's not time.

You learned how to say 'yes' before you learned 'no' which has had Mister G ask you to agree to all sorts of  things, but you've cottoned on now and when he laughs at you for declaring your own insanity you look embarrassed and stop saying 'yes' for a while!

I could sit here for a hundred hours and write the millions of  things you do to make us happy but truthfully, no one is going to find them as lovely as I do.(apart from maybe Daddy and George) but  I hope it sums it up to say that you have completed our family and made all of our dreams come true.

Happy Birthday Pudding,


Love

Mummy

xxxx

You In Your Party Dress

Your Sweet Little Two Year Old Face

Your Special Moment



Present Time!

                                   
With Cake On Your Face!



Birthday Smiles !

















Friday, December 7, 2012

Asda

Bright strip lights blaze down, glowing yellow over the supermarket isles.

Over sized cardboard pointy fingers are directing customers to the shortest available queue. 

Those fingers are stupid. If you paid me a hundred pounds an hour i wouldn't hold a fingers on a stick like that. So big and stupid and green.

Mummy-bot wonders over to the clothes area. She's only has two sets of clothes for weeks now and she needs something else to wear.

What would be the right thing she wonders..

But she doesn't wonder for too long. 

She doesn't wonder too much. 

What if something happens when she is wondering?

Mummy-bot quickly reaches in to her pocket to feel the presence of her phone. It's there, that's good.

 It's not vibrating either, that's good.

Pulling it our of her pocket she checks for  missed calls. There are none.

She stands still a moment. blankly fixated on the clothes department.

A woman in a green uniform pop's out of nowhere. she's wearing sparkly read earring's.

'Can I be of any help at all?'

Mummy-bot looks up and mindlessly recites 'I came to get clothes' She is like an Alien in a foreign land.

She picks up the first thing she sees.

She only wore that dress once.


> > > >Two years later (or there abouts) > > > >

Bright strip lights blaze down, glowing yellow over the supermarket isles.

Over sized cardboard pointy fingers are directing customers to the shortest available queue. 

Those fingers are still stupid but now they are local stupid pointy fingers instead, we are back in Devon.

And this time I am not shopping for clothes but for party food for my beautiful sweet baby girl.

Lists, Lists...so many lists.

But no matter how busy I am I still remember.

No matter how healthy she seems I still reach in to my pocket and eagerly await the reassurance of a blank telephone screen.

And no matter how many times I come home to a healthy peaceful Smidge I rarely turn in to our house with out preparing to see an ambulance.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to not think like that.

Sometimes I wonder when being me will feel okay again.












Monday, November 26, 2012

He's Turned.

Apologies readers, Manic house move has prompted an online silence but I just had to pop on and let you know the  news that Mr G has turned.

It is an emotional struggle putting my finger tips to the keys and typing the sentence of doom. Every key tile pressed upon, forces me one step closer to the gut wrenching reality that I am now officially living with a teenager.

*Enters world of Harry Enfield, ginger hair and baseball caps'*

I'm not totally unprepared though because as it is well documented here at Diary Of A Premmy Mum, Mr G has been practising teenagerism in the lead up to this day for months. It's just now it is official.

On the positive side, from today, I can explain away undesirable verbal goings -ons with the  raising of ones eyebrows and quietly uttering 'teenagers' under my breath with a bit of a sigh.

To mark the occasion I let Mr G have a party in our new house. That's got to be the best way to introduce ourselves to the new neighbours...right?

High sugar nibbles and energy drinks were the cringeworthy theme, but what can you do if you dont want to look like the saddest mum on the block?..it was a party after all. (Cringe again)

So why was I surprised when at two in the morning the youth were still jumping around like loons, the only respite from this roudy behaviour being the intermittent periods of  lap top engagement or temporary engrossment of xbox/ play stations or other unknown sorts of gaming paraphernalia.

Inevitably, we had to separate the party up  in the early hours when noise levels reached an all time high and one unlucky teenager faced the ultimate punishment - a night in Roo's fairy bed!

Who would believe this Premmy Mum could be soooo cruel?

Which one slept under the princess canopy :) ??



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Anxiety And Pressure

It must be really hard being a NICU nurse sometimes. Trying to pitch the care of the parents at just the right level. The trouble is I suppose, every parent brings to NICU their own life story. A story that will dictate how they function under the most extreme pressure.

Obviously our childhoods, our adult lives and any experience we may have had as parent are all likely to impact on our perceptions and lets be honest there are some pretty dark realities available to engage with in the intensive care unit.

Naturally, nurses experience the unit in a very different way to parents. Years of training and mental preparation is what has enabled them to spend time there. The things they see, do and experience must be far from pleasant and surely no matter how much training they have, there must be things that will haunt them beyond their working hours.

My own experience as a parent was in itself  multi -dimensional. There was was the terrifying fear that my baby wouldn't live, there was the feeling torn between Mr G and Smidge. There was the bonding issue, and then, probably as a direct result of all the other issues was the increased anxiety and feeling like I was being judged.

See I don't think the doctors and  nurses meant to make me feel worse at all, they were all about making me feel better. I see that now. However when scribblings about my anxiety and conversations about getting counselling repeatedly came to my attention, I felt I was doing something wrong, that I had been deemed as 'coping really badly'

Every time such issues were mentioned in a bid to offer support, I became immediately defensive. 'Anxiety? What Anxiety?' I took it to mean I was failing.

I guess it stems from the fact that I come from a 'pick yourself up and get on with it' sort of family, so the suggestion that I might be anxious was not received very well at all. This, in turn made me feel very isolated because I genuinely had no idea that was it okay to be worried. I assumed that my constant questions, fear and worry was making peoples jobs harder and they just wanted to divert me to a counsellor so I stopped taking up their time.

About three months in to my journey, I'd heard so much about the anxiety and counselling that I decided I wanted to bring the whole thing to a head. I felt very misunderstood. I wanted to shout at every nurse and doctor who had ever cared for Smidge and say.

'Don't you get it?? There is a VERY sick baby there...why does this have to be about my anxiety? Surely it's about the baby I've watched turn blue, gray purple and white more often than anyone should see a baby turn blue,gray, purple or white.'

Or in one day Hubby's words.. You wouldn't go up to somebody in a war zone and say 'You're looking a little anxious there....' would you? It just doesn't seem appropriate for the circumstances.

I guess what it boils down to is this.

It was important to me that I was perceived to be coping. To be told I was doing well would have gone a long, long way.

To be reminded there is no right or wrong way to be or behave in these situations would have been sanity saving.

When I finally did sit down and read my notes with a doctor and a nurse, I told them in no certain terms that I found all this 'anxiety +++' malarkey extremely upsetting and asked them why it was noted.

The nurse said  "It's because we recognise that this is an anxious situation"

And that was the very first time it occurred to me that  it might be okay to be anxious.




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pass on the Lurve.. twice...!!

Well just the other day I participated in my first ever blogging meme where I was forced, yes forced to name but one blogger that I loved the best.

Since then I've been plagued with bloggy guilt and have been left with no alternative but to break the rules and submit not one, but two posts to Anecdotes of a manic Mum's Linky because it would be absolutely criminal to let another day pass with out me expressing my heart felt appreciation for the lovely Christina over at Beadzoid

See when you first start out in this blogging game, you look around for a bit of support as it's not easy putting yourself out there, strutting your bloggy stuff. So you can imagine how pleased I was to receive my first ever blogger comment from Christina, who was, at the time coming to terms with her own NICU experience.

Since then, Beadzoids blog has taken on a new tone, which is massively inspiring to someone like me. She writes about all sorts of things  relating to society and culture and often has me roaring with laughter with her down to earth accounts of life as she sees it. She's a girl who likes to keep things real and not being one to fluff things up myself, I simply adore her style.

In addition to writing a fab blog she is also really kind lady and can often  be found in times of need via a little square box on facebook.

In this box I have downed many a glass of wine and chatted openly with Christina and one day would love to meet up with her and get totally trashed to know her better.

In the meanwhile, she is right up there with the best of the bezzies in the blogosphere...

Cheers Beadzoid!! :D



Do you have a brilliant bloggy friend who you really appreciate? Check out Anecdotes of Manic Mum's fabulous linky and spread the lurve...











Monday, November 5, 2012

The Mother Fail.

I am an awful Mother..

No, don't tell me I'm not, well you can actually you can in a minute after I've told you how awful I am, or tell me that I am not alone in my awfulness if you like. However, nothing can take away from  the beastly  bare faced truth that I  am failing epically at parenting the pre teen.

Not him, he's not the failure, It's me.. The Mother One and as I see streaks of the overworked, overtired mum from my own child hood come forward in scary proportions, I realise that the choices I make as a parent do not automatically make me the most patient and understanding carer.

I chose stay at home Mumism because throughout my own upbringing, circumstances forced my own Mum to work herself in to the ground. Understandably, in the little time she had left, she needed to relax and there was little time to do the things other families take for granted such as days out, or evenings together doing something fun.

I vowed the same thing would never happen to me, that when I worked it would manageable hours so there was always time for the children. I would be there to collect them from school. I would sit at the end of the bed and have long communicative chats at bedtime. The biscuit tin would always be full in my house and people wouldn't be running around the house half naked first thing in the morning screaming that they cant find matching socks.

And I never did return to full time work after Mr G was born and didnt start part time until he was at pre school. When I did, nine times out of ten I was there at 3.30 to collect him from school. The paired socks, custard creams and long understanding chats didn't materialise quite as well as I hoped but hell, the intention was there.

Now I have Smidge too and all I do is stay at home, (minus a bit of social media work) But it's not time consuming, yet I am still a ranter. I am still a get out of bed late an utterly disorganised, Shouty Mother who blames her pre teen for springing a school trip on her at 8.00 in the morning.

'I gave you the letter weeks ago' says the pre-teen, glaring at me as I wipe sleepy dust out of my eyes.

'It's your fault, not mine'

God it's true. It's all true.

I need to change. I need be a better more organised, less ranty stay at home Mum, who isn't late for school. who makes her pre teens happiness the most important thing. However, when things are going wrong and I am faced with the jaw dropping face of a hormonal pre-teen, when I am presented with the conceited tones of a moody adolescent......I am far less than perfect. I am actually everything about Motherhood that I don't want and I just know the attitude phase is only just beginning.

So I need to learn to to be nice even when I feel like being evil.

Any ideas on how to do this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.






Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pass on the Lurve...

I'm not usually one to participate in meme's and nearly always end up with a bit of the old blogger guilt for being something of a spoil sport and not joining in. However when I saw this fabulous linky arranged by Anecodotes of a manic Mum I simply couldn't resist the opportunity to Spread the Luuuurve.

Rather fabulously, Manic Mum has asked fellow bloggers to say nice things about other bloggers and in particular, about one extra special blogger who is wholly brilliant and utterly champion.

Well when faced with this challenge, I was a little bit stumped really, as there are soooo many awesome bloggy friends to choose from. I love reading others' blogs and love it even more just as much if they take the time to read mine.

There is so much more to being a good blogger than just writing your own blog  and the bloggers that I love best  are true socialites and can be seen everywhere, not just in their own corner of cyber space.

My very favourite blogger would have to be Amy mouse over at Nearly Everything But The Kitchen Sink. We had never 'met' until she had started blogging back in September 2011, However I felt an instant connection with her as she is smart, funny, down to earth and clever too. Although she would deny all knowledge of being any of these things.

With us both being Mum's to ex premature baby's (who have both suffered numerous frightful hospital re-admissions on account of it) We have blogged, bantered and broadcasted all sorts of issues across the world wide web.

I think Amy mouse is the one other person who truly understands what it is to live through your worst nightmare time and time again and how it feels to have your worst nightmare sneak up on you when you kind of do expect it.... but never actually get used to it. I believe our reflections help one another in some way, even though each of our experiences are of course unique and could never be fully the same.

I also love Amymouse's adaptability, her upbeat and hilarious comments on twitter and on other peoples blogs too. In addition to bringing humour where needed she is also  perceptive and sensitive and has kind words for everyone.

If one day, I finally do get to meet Amy mouse, it may actually be quite strange as it's not every day you meet a complete stranger who knows you really quite well and that could be sort of weird... but still, I look forward to it anyway and for now I'm just happy to have a really ace and totally lovely cyber friend :)




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Smidge















Monday, October 22, 2012

"Pushed"

As it is World Prematurity day coming up, I wanted to write a a post about something that matters to me, Something that affected me quite deeply through out my NICU journey.However, I haven't posted about  it much on here because when your childs life is saved, above all else you are grateful, grateful for every day that medics studied a text book, grateful for every decision they made and their commitment to medicine in general..So when I write this post I want to make it clear that this is not a criticism of the staff involved, it is a reflection of the chronic shortage in the cots available to Neonates in the UK today.

Dear Government,

Thank you so much for agreeing to give Britain's tiniest babies a chance at life. When my baby was born, she weighed just 1lb 7oz and we were terrified that she would not live.

It was a shock to hear we couldn't stay close to home, that we had to travel 150 miles to receive the care she needed, we naively thought our local hospital could help us, but they couldn't, they could barely help us at all.

When I was driven through a snow storm in the back of an ambulance, I thought my baby would die but she stayed with us until we made it safely to the other end. Thank you for providing us with this ambulance.

I won't lie, it was hard being so far from home. We had to leave our other child, our animals, our places of work... but  more than anything else, we were grateful because someone, somewhere might be able to save our baby, so thank you for that.

When after a few weeks our baby got sick, she had to be moved somewhere else, It wasn't that the doctors didn't give her a good care, they did but she needed looking after by surgeons and the other doctors, they weren't surgeons so they couldn't help us.

The change of hospital was scary because the nurses and doctors, they didn't care like the others, they didn't know our baby. They didn't know us. To them she was a 'thing' and we were 'the things' family, the ones who had to be kept informed.

But they did keep her alive and warm and we are so grateful for that.

A week or two later,the doctors,(the surgical ones) they told us that she had to leave their hospital. She was still small, sick and wouldn't take any feeds but they needed to make space for the sicker babies, the one's who weren't going to make it unless they went there. But they did arrange an ambulance to take her back to the first hospital, so thank you for that.

When we got back to the first hospital, the nicer one, her incubator wasn't where it was before, she had been put somewhere else now.She didn't really belong there, by the window but she didn't really belong anywhere really, not anywhere at all.

Then, only a short while after that, the doctors, they told me it was time to for her to leave their hospital too, to move closer to home. Only I didn't want to move closer to home, I wanted to stay there with the doctors and nurses who knew her. I worried that she wasn't ready,that she hadn't been tolerating milk for long. I pleaded for her to stay but they couldn't help us any more because they needed the cots for the other babies, the ones who lived close by.

The day she  moved from the hospital we didn't get to say goodbye to the doctors and nurses who saved her. When we arrived hoping to see our baby be put safely  in to the transport incubator she had already left and there was another baby filling her space.

I liked that hospital but I wish there had been time to say goodbye.

I liked hospital  number three too, we were there for a week but sadly we couldn't stay.

Our baby found it all too much you see, the move, so she had to go and be with surgeons again, different ones this time, and hospital number four.

It was old there, chaotic & smelly.

But they kept her warm and alive so thank you for that.

Thank you actually, to all the doctors and nurses in hospital 1,2,3 and 4 and especially to 3, our local (ish) hospital for working with the impact of hospitals 1,2 and 4 and for not sending us to hospital 5 even though that would have been the usual practice according to protocol.

Thank you for all of that.

But dearest Government,whilst I am grateful for all of these things I want you to know this.

When you agree to give these tiny babies a chance a life, you fill their parents hearts with hope. But when you cart  fragile, tiny babies up and down the country like you know you do Every Single Day you put their tiny lives at risk and your promise becomes a dangerous game of Russian roulette.

So when you say, you do everything you can to save the lives of babies born under 28 weeks. Please honour that effort by putting your money where your mouth is and give Neonates the resources they need

Because a life is a life..

No matter how small.
















Sunday, October 21, 2012

Getting The Most Out Of Your Pumpkin!!


For ages now I have been meaning to get more thrifty, I've never been much good at cutting costs but seeing as how One-day Hubby and I are now buying our own house, we I am going to have to be a bit more disciplined when it comes to spending.

This year, I thought Halloween would be the perfect opportunity to show off my penny pinching potential by demonstrating to you lovely readers just how many uses I can get out of a pumpkin.

Picking the right Pumpkin
It all started here. Determined not to find myself stood before a box of  pumpkins  asking myself the same old question 'Which pumpkin is the biggest and looks easiest to carve? I tried to learn more this year and find out which really is the better buy. It turns out that smaller does mean more tasty so I ditched the idea of taking home a monstrous wide boy and grabbed myself a few small but mighty pumpkins for the exact same price.
.
Tools
Year on year I have come away from pumpkin scooping with an aching wrist and splattered wall, leaving me frankly lacking in enthusiasm when it comes to the fun part - The carving. So  you can understand my excitement at the discovery of the ice cream scoop. Talk about revolutionary!!


Once I got scooping with this, I saw I could get a whole lot more pumpkin for the money. .Most impressed with the neat little curls that transpired, I popped them in  a roasting pan with some garlic, onions and sweet potato. Upon completion of the carving, the walls of the pumpkin cavity were approximately three quarters of an inch thick. 


Exploration

Smidge loved exploring the slimy texture of the pumpkin seeds in her sand and water table and ever since Amy mouse showed us how this contraption doubles up as a floor cleaner, it's handily lived in our kitchen. 

Soup Donation
Once the Pumpkin,Garlic,Onion and sweet potato had roasted in the oven, we stuck it in a blender with a pint of stock. It made the most delicious soup which we took to the Mum's who are staying on the local Neonatal Unit. As I made the soup on behalf of our local support group, it came out of our 'gestures' budget,  meaning I got the pumpkins for absolutely free *Oh Yippers!*

Savoury Snack
We then washed the seeds and dry roasted them, later you can add salt or paprika for a cheap but tasty snack.


Do you think the trick or treaters will be impressed?

The Works Of Art
When it came to carving I used the craft knife (as it's much easier to cut small pieces). I noticed it's better not to not try and cut all the way through the wall at once. It's easier to cut in at an angle too so you can remove small bits at a time when working on smaller areas.
We didn't use templates or stickers this year, just picked  designs we liked and drew them out in biro. Not being  natural artists, I had to 'wipe out' our markings a few times, However, the usual case of pumpkin- pattern- template dyslexia thankfully didn't occur. 

Purrrrrr....

Mr G's  Evil Effort

Shape sorting made easy !




























I


Monday, October 15, 2012

Baby Loss Awareness Day

Today is Baby Loss Awareness Day and to honour it, I'd like to share with you a story of a baby named Harry Cunningham.

Harry was cared for at our local Neonatal unit, he was born early at 35 weeks gestation. Sadly, there were complications during his birth that set him on a path to tragedy and the little boy that should have been taken home to his family instead became an angel.

Since Harry's passing a few months ago, his Mum Nikki has blogged and campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness about a condition called Vasa praevia. It was this condition that cost young Harry his life.

Take a moment to imagine how devastated you would be, to carry a baby for 35 weeks. To fully expect to bring that baby home. Nothing that anybody could say to you could take away the pain of the sudden frightening reality that it isn't going to happen.

But as a Mother to that baby, you would at least want to know that there was no possible way your babies condition could have been prevented. You would at least want to know that their sudden passing was a cruel twist of fate that could not have been avoided.

Now imagine that you found out that that this was not the case, that three extra minutes with a sonographer could have bought you a healthy baby. That your baby could very easily have been saved by a few extra checks.

Wouldn't you be devastated? Wouldn't you want to do everything you could to make sure this never happened again?

I would and I know Niki Cunningham does too.

So if you do one thing today, please go to her website and sign her e petition. Help her to help others.

Don't let Baby Loss be one of those things that doesn't matter because it didn't happen to you.

I wonder how many of my readers will take thirty seconds out of their day to do something for baby loss Mum's and to honour the life of baby who was taken too soon.

*Note*

I know the Cunningham family cannot praise the paediatricians and nursing staff on the Neonatal Unit enough for their dedication and effort throughout Harry's short life. However by the time he came into their care he was already extremely unwell.


My candle for the wave of light and especially for the Cunninghams. I loved the way the reflection created a star like effect!

* Please read and support Niki on her blogging journey by following this link

* Please sign the e-petition requesting that screening for vasa praevia to be put in to effect in the U.K by clicking here.       .

* Learn more about the Harry Cunningham Trust by clicking here












Wednesday, October 10, 2012

That Question


Ever experienced those moments where you bump in to a fellow Mummy and there you stand, buggy to buggy nattering away. If you make it past the pleasantries stage then it's only a matter of time before the ego crushing killer question weasels it's way in to the conversation, the answer to which is never as honest as I would sometimes like it to be.

Yes I'm talking about about the old 'So what do you do?' Question.

What do I do? Well lets see, I shop for buy one get one free offers. I stay inside my house (a lot) and I mess it up constantly. I make animal noises,such as oink oink, baah baah and woof woof. I scoop up chewed on crayon and vacuum up dog hair pretty much all day long. I am a woman who wipes hand prints of her leggings approximately seven times a day and then will go to the supermarket wearing those very same leggings and look like an utter frump, making others feel smart in their primark clothes.

No I don't have an I-Candy pushchair and my car may be missing a hub cap or two but I do consider it's worth it because I get to spend the days with my daughter.

Oh and in case your thinking that must mean I'm a good Mum, very patient, it doesn't mean that at all. I get tired like everyone else.There are days when I really don't want to go oink oink,baah,baah, and woof woof and Smidge very well knows it but I try my best and it doesn't matter if I don't get it one hundred percent right all of the time, what matters is that she and I are working at things together and if that means that things arn't always perfect then that's okay because life isn't perfect and neither are situations or people.

It's not that I didn't have a good job or that it wouldn't be in our financial interests for me to return to work, I did and it would. However, I choose not to.

What I choose is smelly nappies and the dishes that need washing, I choose toddler tantrums and jam smeared leggins, I choose putting the doll in the pram, taking it out of the pram and then crying because it got  stuck. I choose jumping in puddles because one more wash wont hurt and putting a decent meal on the table at the end of it all. 

I choose sounding like I'm the voice over in trainspotting.

I choose Stay At Home Mumism. 






Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Bit Of A Fling

You're going to be disappointed in me but I'm afraid I've been unfaithful. I want to say it was spur of the moment decision but in truth I did have time to think.

Word get's around quickly, so I won't beat around the bush but it's true, I ran off with another blog.

Of course I want to tell you I only toyed with the idea,that I wasn't really serious but that is simply not the truth, I really did go all the way.... and publish my first post.

I'm ashamed to say I was going to string you both along for a while until I knew what I wanted but  my plans were shattered when I was cruelly exposed by that damned Google reader and it became clear that half my readers had already discovered my secret other.

So here I am torn between two blogs...

On the one hand, Diary Of A Premmy Mum is like the pair of shoes that fit perfectly on my feet, They don't look so great to the outside world but I'm comfortable in them.

Yet I see that there are far nicer shoes out there. Shoes that are colourful , shoes that hold purpose..Shoes that open up possibilities.

Do shoes really do that?


I guess what I'm really wondering is...Is it time to try something else?



The chart that goes with the shoes.






Monday, October 1, 2012

The Mad Blog Award Finals.

Apologies for the delay in getting this post up, I've been in hiding since the late hours of Saturday morning when I woke up with a sore head, a sore throat and an all round totally hung over feeling, the result of  a fabulous night at the Mad Blog Awards.

I didn't win of course but fortunately, I was so drunk on the free wine  by the time they announced the winners, that my runner up status was very well received indeed.

The night in itself was brilliant, I was quite nervous in the lead up to the event as I didn't know a soul going and I was fretting about the possibility of being left standing around like a spare part but I need not have worried, I met some very lovely parent blogger's and they all made me feel very welcome.

Check out this pic..It's me ready for the event ( just before my dreams were shattered...)



The hotel where the awards took place was super posh, So posh in fact, one old lady even frowned at me in disgust to see me in my dribbled on jeans before getting changed for the event. (Sorry old lady but I only own one posh dress.)

At 7pm, the exclusive bar was opened and all the finalists filtered through, We were given lovely, lovely champaign to drink, Of course, they didn't have to ask me twice, I was ready to celebrate!
( have been practising at home for months in fact )

Later we went through to a dining hall, where there was a board with a seating plan, there were two big projection screens that span out live tweets, it was very social media ish and I felt like something of a fraudster being there, what with my 36 twitter followers (but I love each and every one of you!)

At the centre stage there was a podium of sorts, with a mega sized Mad Blog back drop, it was very professional looking and I was super excited to see who was going to be up there making speeches.

Sitting down at my table I got to know some other bloggers' and I was very lucky to be seated beside the hilarious Emma from adventures of an unfit Mother and the equally lovely Lucy, Author of Lulastic. Our table had a brilliant laugh, and we proudly finished every drop of wine on the table, quite an achievement really.

A shocked Emma managed to scoop the award for best family life blog and we were all delighted for her, I can't say I knew the other candidates but I  thought her a very deserving winner and I'm definitely going to be following her and the others' from now on!

A three course meal was served over the course of the evening, which was very scrummy and the table waiters did a very impressive job of getting all the meals out on time.

After all the winners were announced, the lights went on and a guy with a camera came over and started snapping shots of Emma. I was a little bit surprised to see he didn't maintain his professionalism as he started to get a little fresh with with her...

However Emma took it all in her stride,( the good natured girl that she was ) but it certainly caused a few raised eyebrows on my part..until it became evident the guy with the camera was actually her husband..  Damn red wine Who let him in? 

Like Cinders,I left at midnight to get a lift back to One day Hubby's sisters. Shockingly Mister G was waiting in the car, I stumbled towards him, apparently stammering 'give the loser a hug...' He embarrassingly recounts.

Any way, All in all, A jolly good time was had by all. If I was ever lucky enough to go again, (which is probably highly unlikely) I'd probably make more of an effort to stay sober enough to remember everyone's names, but then again... that really wouldn't be much fun would it?


A slightly tilted shot of the ceremony!















Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Preemie Pride And Predjudice

Forgive me readers but I've gone and done something cringeworthy. No it's not just cringeworthy, It's Mega cheese. :-/

You've seen those friken' awful survival video's on you tube right?  The ones with love song melodies playing in the background ? ( usually 'wires' ) Well I've only bleedin' gone and made one of those haven't I?

I know, I know..

But I can't help it, I'm going through a proud phrase!

See, when I first bought  Smidge home and bestowed her beauty on to the general public, not a single one of them knew just what a miracle she was.

They didn't see how big she was, they only saw how small. and when they learned that she was fifteen weeks early, they didn't see her struggle, they saw only her survival.


It wasn't that I didn't want to share what an amazing fighter she was, I did! but you have to understand readers, that when you are having a conversation with a person who thinks a premature baby looks like this...


....a parent such as me can end up feeling more than a little misunderstood and  others can come across as being insensitive, nosey, patronising or even quite dismissive.

Needless to say it was a HUGE relief when Smidge turned  fifteen and a half months (12 months corrected) and questions about her age no longer prompted a discussion on prematurity.

'She's just turned a year' I'd respond when asked about her age and I have to say, I found it really quite liberating. 

Not delving in to the whole NICU live/die saga with cheek pinching supermarket busy bodies was a welcome break for yours truly, However, more than relief from boredom, there was the opportunity to be 'normal,' there was a chance to be like your average Joe and it was almost as though suddenly, I realised that I was under no obligation to  re live my worst nightmare at random intervals and actually, I quite enjoyed not doing this and I certainly didn't miss some of the remarks.

Further more, these days, I try to make a point of not disclosing Smidge's early start to new people at first and sometimes not at all.  When I've talked to other preemie parents about this as a way of managing public prejudice, they say I should be strong, they say I should be proud. They have even said to NOT disclose her micro preemie background would be to be ashamed and that my Smidge may grow to be ashamed too...

I say this :

No one is more proud than this here Premmy Mum.

But does it really make me 'ashamed' because I don't want prematurity to define Smidge the way it has defined me for nearly two years?

Am I letting the side down because I want to give us both the chance to grow outside of the context of her early start?
.
I dont think so. 

See, I never planned to have a preemie. 

What I planned for was a  baby, a  baby girl if I was lucky.

And  lucky I was, I got my baby girl.

And whilst here at Diary Of A Premmy Mum she'll always be a  preemie, to others, I think she will always   be my daughter before she's anything else.



Friday, September 21, 2012

Toddler Craft.

Well yesterday readers, I was having an Arty moment, (these happen from time to time) and I decided in a moment of madness it would be a good idea to do some crafts with the toddler.
So the five- year -old bottles of multi-coloured paint were retrieved from the cupboard and together, Smidge and I created this masterpiece..


If you are also out of your mind equally passionate about introducing art to young people then why not make your own 'egg chime.' Unlike the conventional model, this contemporary version will NOT annoy the hell out of you and it's authentic and environmentally friendly image  will do wonder's do reinforce your Earth Mother Status,especially if you've been...you know, slacking a bit.

All you will need is:

*Some old egg boxes
*Some old quiche or Pizza base packaging
*Poster Paint
*Tupperware Tubs
*Sewing needle and thread


1. Wait until you are the mood for cleaning, a lot of cleaning.

2. Chop up some egg boxes and locate tupperware tubs, your toddler may want to help with this..



3.Pour the paint into the tubs and put the broken egg boxes on the floor. Gritting your teeth, invite your toddler over to swirl the boxes around in the paint, all the time obtaining photographic evidence that you did in fact, let your toddler take part.
*Tip* Don't bother with newspaper (I promise you will just make things worse for yourself)










5. Locate and retrieve paint covered toddler from new found cubby hole and deposit  on to settee with milk bottle in hand, Lay out egg shells to dry.




5. Coat toddler clothes in washing up liquid (having removed them from toddler first) and place in washing machine on 60 degree heat. Pray that not using overalls will pay off.



6. Next take your quiche base and lightly cover it with poster paint, all the time pretending that the act of painting on foil was deliberate and that you are a pioneer of the new recyclable shabby chic look...



Allow one hour to dry, then thread the egg shells on to a string, tying a little knot under each shell to keep them in place. Encourage your toddler to watch television get involved, after all, one day they'll be big enough to do this themselves.

7. Attach to shabby chic base and hang from window.

8. Remove clothes from washing machine, gloat that paint completely washed out.


9. Finally, upload your pictures to facebook without delay and have everyone believe that you do this every day of the week :) x