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 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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


To say it was a juggle managing an older sibling when Smidge was in intensive care is an understatement.
I really wanted to make things as normal as possible for Mister G but no matter how hard I tried, I found it very difficult to think about anything else but Smidge.

I'd return home to our make shift home in Southampton and I'd collapse on the sofa exhausted, my mind still racing about all the discussions I'd had that day, What was the various meanings of terms the doctors had used? Was the consultant being entirely honest with me? Did the nurse think I coping really badly?

Mr G would try to talk me in to playing games of  top trumps with him but it was no good, the second my mind tried to turn it's attention to something other than Smidge, anxious thoughts would overcome me. Trying to block out the days events just gave rise to more intrusive thoughts, accompanied by an  overwhelming urge to focus all that had happened, all that was said.

But one morning, I'd awoken to decide that I wouldn't follow the usual routine of going directly to NICU, I'd decided to take Mister G in to the town to buy him some home learning things. I'd hoped to spend some time with him to make up for the complete lack of attention, maybe go for a burger or a KFC.

I'd already phoned the NICU that morning and nothing too alarming had been reported, nothing I'd picked up on any way, so I decided to go ahead with my plans to catch the train to town.

But just after we'd purchased our tickets, I thought I'd call again, just to double check. I liked the illusion of being in control and a little reassurance would make me feel I was doing the right thing.

The nurse taking care of Smidge came on the line, she was stumbling a bit and trying to find the right words.

'I'm er...waiting for the doctor to ring you won't be long.'

'Ring me? Why? what's happened?' I said, my heart sinking.

'Oh..I think it's probably better if she explains it...I er...wouldn't want to get it wrong if you know what I mean...'

'Can I speak to her then?'

'Um...she's a bit busy at the moment, talking to her colleagues...She'll ring you very shortly'

I put my mobile back in my pocket.

'C'mon Mister G, I'm afraid we can't go to town now, we have to drop you back home'

'Why?' said Mister G, scowling a disapproving look.

'I don't know' I stammered heading back towards the house and picking up a pace.

'Why?.... Why Mum?...Why? came the eleven year old voice chasing along  behind me.

'I don't know, I've got to get to the hospital'

After dropping him off I got straight in to the car It was a stupid automatic thing we'd hired and there was a particular way to get this car started, a regime I had to follow. I did so slowly and carefully so as not to cause any further delay.

A doctor had never needed to speak to me outside of ward rounds before, I had no idea what was going on, was I going to get there in time? How bad was she?

When I arrived at the hospital there was team around Smidge. She was laid in her incubator, her stomach blue and distended with tiny little blood vessels apparent all over the front of her body.Her face was white and she lay there stiller than still. She was in 80% Oxygen.

Smidge had NEC, a deadly bowel infection and the biggest killer of premature babies in the UK today.

A transport incubator had been wheeled in and it was placed next to her cot bay. The consultant strolled over and out her hand on my shoulder.

'Okay' she said.

'I want you to know that I am a little bit worried about Smidge, We've been talking to our colleagues over at the surgical unit, and they'd like her to be bought over there, where they can monitor her more closely'

'We've stopped her feeds for now and the transport team here are going to take good care of her en route. She's not being ventilated at present, which is encouraging, but you should know that I think it's likely she will require an operation on her tummy at some point in the near future'

Tears sprung to my eyes as I looked at the doctor in disbelief  'She will be okay, won't she?' I asked fearfully.

The Doctor placed her hand on my arm  before offering a warm sympathetic smile and said 'I'll give you  a minute with her  alone'

"Can I touch her?" I asked the tears streaming freely now.

"You can put your hands in the port holes"

And as I did just that, I could feel the warmth Smidge's tiny body and see the weakness in her breaths.  I started to sing quietly to her,but this time the words seemed painfully more apt as I quietly sang 'Everybody hurts' by REM.

After a few minutes the doctor nodded her head and directed the transfer team to proceed.

I could only stand by and watch them wheel my Smidge away in the back of an ambulance and pray she made it there safely...

A day I'll never forget.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

We're Through

I am so angry at Dyson right now, uugghh..

There is dog hair where I really don't want there to be dog hair.There is dust where I don't want there to be dust. There is sorting that refuses to be sorted and why? It's because of yoooooou Dyson... and now, this Dyson  related fury knows no bounds and holds no depths.

The over flowing laundry basket?... I blame dyson.

The untidy airing cupboard?...Dyson

The unwatered plants...Dyson again.

And now, as Dyson sits there  big and gray and  plastic, I ask myself again and again..

What did I ever see in you?

With in hours of meeting you, you started to show me your true colours, putting your weight around and bruising me on the stair case. But at the time I was vulnerable you see, having just come out of a long term relationship with vax.

And after that I swore nobody was going to make me cheap promises again, So when I saw you  stood there  with your special features and five year guarantee, I was charmed by you,  tricked like a fool.

But special features are no good when motor blows up are they dyson?

A five year guarantee is worth nothing, when your serviceman does not carry spare parts.

And now I feel I have come to a point in our relationship where I have to expose you for WHO YOU ARE, nothing but a big old plastic ugly eye sore with limited shelf life.

So fellow readers, bloggers, Mum's... You have been warned. Do not be taken in and exploited by this evil piece.