Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Living in a box

That's what I'm doing at the moment.  I'm living everyday as though I'm in a perspex box.  People can see me, talk to me & interact with me but they can't get close to me.  They can't feel me, I can't feel them and so I'm disconnected from everything around me.  Lonely.  Alone.  Visible but unseen. 
Just blah...nothingness.

I'm a good actress.  I well versed in being what I need to be for each person in my life.  Performing the part for them and not allowing them to feel uncomfortable about how I feel.  So I keep quiet.  I'm ok in my box.  That's where I live.  In a box.
Living in a box 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The loudest bark

I have been very quiet of late.  I haven't had the voice to say what I want to say.  
I am sinking.  I am consumed and overshadowed by my black dog.  He has grown to a monstrous size and I have started some medication to try o mitigate the affects that this dog has on me.  It's power is such that it's sapped the life from me, the smiles and the laughter and left me a shell.

I am so lucky to have the support of a very understanding husband to help me through this difficult time and I am endlessly grateful that it hasn't affected my bonding with the children.  I'm just not their mum right now.  I A mum but not me.

I am in almost constant pain in my chest from anxiety.  It feels as though my chest is so constricted that I might get cramp in my shoulder and even my jaw.  It drags and pull on me and makes me want to tear my heart from my chest to make it stop.

When I heard recently that Robin Williams had died.  my first reaction was envy and to think "Oh, he's free".  I don't want to die but I don't want to be this enormous burden on my family just sapping the happiness from our home.  I don't feel worthy of my family.  My black dog tells me I am not.  I simply cannot stop thinking about Robin and his family, his story has touched me so much.  For the first time in a long while I feel faced with where I'm heading.  I can't let this happen to me.  I can't lose sight of perspective.

I wanted to write and explain what was happening but I just didn't have the energy or belief that anyone would care enough to read.  This isn't everything I want to say but I can't focus enough to organise my thoughts just now. I 'm glad I wrote something though.  Thank you to my friend Chele who encouraged me to say something after reading and commenting on her blog post Be kind.  It's a great piece of writing that I relate to on so many levels, please go and read.

I hope I am strong enough to claw my way back.

I have to be.



Thursday, 19 June 2014

Truth be told

It's been age's since I posted anything.  It's like I've disappeared off the face of the earth and if I'm honest I feel as though in some ways I have.  I was avoiding writing anything here because I didn't want to appear negative or sound ungrateful but in reality that's just me not being true to myself and my feelings.

I was trying pretend it wasn't happening and hoping that if I kept my mind off it it wouldn't be true, but it is.  I am relapsing.  I am falling back into depression.  At first it was slowly but now it's snowballing and I feel overwhelmed with the strength and speed that my black dog has gained and it's sudden ability to easily wield power over me.  

During my pregnancy I felt nothing but fear and anxiety.  I couldn't allow myself to believe my baby would arrive until the day she did and that fear hasn't left me.  I am permanently in a state of 'fight or flight'.  Constantly throughout the day I get the urge to throw up as my tummy flips and my heart races as terrible anxiety and fear comes over me and my brain scrambles thoughts trying to locate the source of this intense fear.  

Then I realise that there isn't a source or a reason but I can't turn it off and I'm stuck.  It's feeding my depression.  Making it bigger and better than me
and I'm sinking.

Many months ago due to having terrible sickness followed by severe and relentless pain in my back and pelvis during pregnancy I had my most powerful weapon against my black dog taken away from me, that being exercise.   

I haven't been able to take part in exercise since October 2013.   I was desperate to exercise during my pregnancy to fight the depression but couldn't.  I was desperate afterwards but couldn't due to recovery from c-section and now although it's a slow recovery process and I can start a slow exercise program, I don't have the motivation.

Now I look in the mirror and I don't see someone worth working for.  I don't see someone that anyone cares about or that can achieve anything.  I feel like a loser, an idiot.  I feel like my friends and family just look through me.  They don't see anything but the funny me, the joker.  They laugh at me and don't take me seriously.  I don't warrant respect or the time to listen to me.  I'm ignored, I feel isolated and I feel alone.

So I just say "yeah I'm ok".  Why bother saying anything else?

I know that I'm paranoid.  I know that this is my perception because my brain can't fight right now.  I'm weak and I can't fight and I'm scared.  I was only meant to type the title of this but am now crying into a pot of boiling linguine!

I don't know where I can find the strength to stand up and fight.  I don't know how to believe in myself right now. 

I have a lovely health visitor who looks at me like a broken doll she wants to fix.  I feel like a 6 year old girl around her.  I want her to hug me and rock me but I just tell her I'm ok.  She can see through me though and refuses to discharge me and secretly I'm glad.  I also have arranged to see my CBT counsellor for a follow up session.  One that I kept available in case something like this happened.  I hope it helps me.  I hope it helps me believe what I think I know.  My black dog is a liar and I am worth something after all.

For now though, I paint on my smile and say:

I'm ok


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

A change of plan

What a whirlwind Easter break!

You know my baby that's due on MY 5th?  Well guess what...... 

The baby is not in my belly any more!

I actually am still struggling to believe that my beautiful baby has arrived safely in my arms.  
After everything we've been through.  The fear, paranoia and worry.  Not being able to bring myself to even believe it was true and now my child is here and it's truly magical.

Let me introduce you to the beautiful Evangeline.  

Yes I had a little girl!  I'm going to have to stop saying this but again...I can't believe it!  

I really thought it was going to be a boy.    No idea why and I really didn't mind which gender at all but I was completely swayed towards boy so when I heard them say it was a girl I was really shocked.  Happy shocked though.  I'm over the moon that Ru has a little sister to grow up with and to share things with. I would have been perfectly happy had she been a boy too though and after all of the concerns and worry I'm just glad she's here and safe.

It had really gotten to the point that I could barely contain my anxiety and fear.  My body didn't feel safe and every few days my blood pressure medication was being increased in the hopes that bubba would remain in my womb for longer.  The aim was to try to stabilise my blood pressure but monitor me to make sure that the baby’s growth wasn’t being compromised in any way.  That way baby could stay in until 39 weeks if possible but that obviously wasn’t to be.

At 34+3 after some very high blood pressure readings I was admitted to hospital for 4 nights to try and get things under control but my blood pressure (BP) just kept going up and then wouldn't stabilise regardless of the extra medication they gave me.  I had to be monitored constantly with BP taken at least every 4 hours to see what meds worked and what didn’t.  It was pretty exhausting and horrible being away from my family and  I was pretty gutted to have to spend Mother's Day in hospital.  DH did bring the kids to come and see  me though and they brought me some beautiful flowers and cards.

After the weekend I was finally allowed home but by the time I left I was given an earlier date for the birth and told to visit ADU (antenatal day assessment unit) every other day up until the birth.

I didn't want to have to spend lot of time at the hospital but as time went on I grew less confident that I was keeping the baby safe at all.  The constant visits to the hospital started to feel like a relief, an opportunity to have proof that my baby was ok.   The days were dragging and it felt like I would never get to the end of this pregnancy.  Each visit took a new turn and I'd often spend most of the day at hospital waiting for my blood pressure to stabilise and being given more drugs and a  new prescription to try or another scan to check on progress.

The week before Evie arrived I had gone from 2 x 100mg Labetalol (blood pressure meds) a day to 3 x 400mg a day AND 2 x Nifedipine (fast acting bp meds) a day and even then on several hospital visits I had to stay and wait for hours and sometimes all day whilst I was given extra drugs to bring my bp down.  I hate to think what it would have been like without the drugs.  It started to feel like I was jinxed.  I had one day when I didn't have to go to hospital at all but then I developed a pain in my foot and leg and ended up there all day getting tested and scanned to check for a blood clot!  Thank god it was all clear but I think these were well signs that it was time for the pregnancy to be over.

Nothing was clearer than my last visit to hospital.  The night before my edema in my legs had turned into pitting edema and I was really feeling the stretch and the fluid which was really gross!

Even after this change I still felt that due to the sheer quantity of medication I was on and how unwell it was making me feel, that my blood pressure to be fine and even maybe a bit low that morning.  

I told DH not to bother coming with me as I assumed it would be a quick visit but he insisted and I was glad in the end as when they tested me my blood pressure was through the roof. 

I had only taken 400mg of labetalol and 10g Nifedipine about 2 hours previously so the medication was well into my system and my BP was  173/113!  Well that was it, I knew that my notes were specific.  If I gave a reading of over 160/.110 which was considered extremely dangerous I would have to stay in and be admitted to hospital.   At first we thought it might be a faulty machine because the reading seemed too high to  be correct, especially after I had taken so many tablets but the next reading was high and I knew I was doomed.  

I was given some more medication and given time to relax and be calm but when they came back an hour later and did it again I was up to 197/124 and I was officially really frightened.  

It's really hard to explain the undercurrent of concern surrounding the high blood pressure thing.  You can't feel it, you feel fine but yet the doctors and nurses look so worried and won't leave you.  Groups come to look and talk about your condition and you feel like anything could happen at any point.

I was feel if lucky that I hadn't had any of the most concerning symptoms when suddenly developed a headache that wouldn’t budge.  My reflexes were extremely brisk (very kicky legs when they tapped my knee) and then I started to see stars and what looked like remnants of smoke in front of my eyes.   Ahhh this is what they meant when they kept asking me every single day if I had visual disturbances.  

At this point I started to panic and was just so glad I was in the hospital when all this started to happen.  I knew that these were all classic signs of pre eclampsia and with my BP that high it wasn't mild.

Within an hour my consultant was by my beside and the decision was made that with my BP rising like it was I was off to the high dependency unit for iv BP meds, medication to stop my having a fit, constant monitoring and a c-section that day!  36+5 and my baby was coming.

I was whisked away to the high dependency unit strapped to a blood pressure machine that took a reading every 15 minutes.  I was attached constantly to a CTG machine to make sure that baby wasn’t distressed and then was given IV medication, magnesium sulphate to prevent me from having a fit and endangering myself and the baby.  

This medication was the weirdest thing I have ever had.  They have to administer it over 10 minutes because it literally makes you feel like you are cooking from the inside out.  I can hardly explain it.  I could feel my insides heating up, like really getting hot to the point that I felt short of breath and was streaming sweat.  It was very scary but I was warned before it began so at least I was prepared for something odd to happen.

We remained like this for quite a while, waiting for staff to become available and slowly getting more nervous and excited.  I was so glad that DH was there to keep me company as I was so anxious and was building myself up into a frenzy.

and at about 9.00pm we were told we could put our little blue hats on and DH could change into his scrubs.  Then we were called through and I walked across the hall flanked by the lovely midwife Jo and DH.  My baby was coming.

I cannot tell you the nerves I felt as we stepped into that theatre.  The doctors were lovely and explained everything nd introduced everyone to me but realy the room was just spinning.  I had come this far and all I could think about was what could go wrong now.  Could I really come this far and then fail to produce a healthy baby?

I sat on the edge of the bed with Jo supporting me an DH holding my hand as the anaesthetist began to administer the spinal.  I remember having an epidural with DS and that was uncomfortable and the same with DD even though it failed and they had to do it again it wasn’t that bad.  This time however, it was extremely painful and uncomfortable, it felt like the needle or tube was pushing so hard against the nerves that I felt like I was going to make sudden involuntary movements.  I was very frightened but at the same time felt safe because of how good the staff were.   I was very relieved when it was in but gutted when we realised that it had failed and we would have to put an epidural in instead.  This felt even worse than before but at least it was relatively fast.  We then spent 25 minutes flipping me from side to side to make sure the anaesthetic was not settling all on one side. 

Although this was scary I was fine up until the point when they sprayed me with the cold spray to check I was numb.  This action in itself isn’t scary but the moment they did it I was back at the birth of my daughter in 2010.  I was in full flash back and started to panic. I couldn’t focus and just started to feel very afraid.  Luckily I held it together and the doctors were patient with me whilst they tested the spray over and over until I couldn’t feel it.  The screen went up and I knew it wouldn’t be long.  As the surgeons began they must have thought I was a complete nut case as I calmly declared “ok so I think I’m going to lose it.  I’m going to panic now”.   Ray and Jo held my hand and the anaesthetist talked to me as the surgeons began their work and I started to calm down but then I started to feel pain in my pelvis.  Not excruciating pain but more than just tugging and stretching and enough to make me wince and grimace.  I told them how afraid I was and the anaesthetist asked me if I wanted to have a general anaesthetic.  I wanted to avoid that at all costs.  I didn’t want to sleep through my baby’s birth but I was in pain.  He suggested that I could try some gas and air but if I became distressed he would suggest a general.   I decided to have some gas an air as although it doesn’t take my pain away it disassociates me enough that I’m away with the fairies and it worked a treat.

I laid there talking complete rubbish for another few minutes and then I felt my waters break and the baby’s head dislodge from my pelvis and within second I could feel the baby being pulled from my tummy and immediately….”WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!”  The most beautiful sound I have ever heard!  Born screeching!  My worst nightmare was for the baby to be born silent and having to wait to be told that he or she was healthy.  The happy sounds of the doctors and surgeons filled the theatre and I got to see bubbas face before they did their weighing and cleaning and  DH rushed over to be told the gender before he came back and tod me.  I was so shocked!  I couldn’t believe we had a little baby girl!

I have spent almost every minute possible since she came into my life just staring at her, not wanting to take my eyes off of her in case suddenly it’s not real.  I can’t believe she’s mine and she is here.

Welcome to the world Evangeline, you are everything I could have ever hoped for and more.  What I have done to be blessed tro call you mine, I do not know but I am grateful beyond words.

I love you


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Dribble bib tutorial

Ok bear with me as this is my very first attempt at a tutorial and although I follow them a lot I am bit sure how this will turn out.  I thought I'd start small with something simple but very useful so here we go.   Give it a try and please let me know if I've missed something or if you have any problems following me.

Dribble bibs - size newborn plus