It’s been a while…

It’s been a long time since I last wrote a blog post. I got to the point where blogging had become a chore and I’d forgotten what I was even doing it for.

A lot has happened, a lot is still happening, and I think maybe if I got some of it down, it might help me process things.

I don’t even know where to start.

Mum has Alzheimer’s. She has declined so much over the last two years to the point where she can barely string a sentence together. She can’t go to the bathroom alone, she gets scared if she’s alone for more than a minute or two. The grandchildren she adored and who were her world are now nothing but a noisy irritation to her. She’s not my mum anymore, not really, and it’s horrible.

7ae3145c9bfcac90ae3aff1aa6409447

My parents are selling their house, my childhood home, and buying a bungalow. Whilst I know this is the best thing for them, I’m sad that they have to. And quite frankly, I’m not sure how mum will cope.

The people I thought might understand and might be there for me, aren’t. I know that people have lives to get on with, I’m not so completely ignorant of that, but sometimes it might be nice for people to involve me, to include me in things where I don’t have to be “on call”. I have elderly parents who need me, I have a husband and children who need me, but I still have feelings, and it seems as though not many people care about them.

I’ve reached a point now that I’ve made a decision.

I’m going to stop trying to fit in where there clearly isn’t room for me. I’m going to stop making the effort. Because I can’t do everything. Getting through each day is struggle enough.

Life-is-too-short

Life

I have my 8 week check coming up on Monday. 8 week. Madness. I don’t know where it’s gone.

I know, I just know that the doctor will ask how I’m feeling, to try and gauge whether I might have Post Natal Depression.

I don’t. Not PND. I have life. Things that have gone wrong, that make me feel, well, prett damn miserable actually. But is it PND? No, it’s bad timing. It’s stuff that if it cropped up at any other time, people would understand, but because it’s all come to a head after I’ve had a baby, it will be PND.

It’s my house that wouldn’t sell, that has left us paying two mortgages since January, so we have no money.

It’s my mum going through the diagnostic process for Dementia, even though we all know what the end result will be, it’s dealing with her anger and mood swings. Psychiatrists, brain scans.

It’s my dad that has had heart problems, and now may have something else wrong with him, he’s waiting on results.

It’s my brother with learning difficulties that has just moved out for the first time, who still hasn’t got all his benefits sorted, so is struggling to cope, and social workers that cancel appointments at the last minute. Trying to do everything for him, forms, phonecalls, meetings.

It’s trying to do everything for everyone, and not having help from any other family, as well as looking after everyone in my own house.

It’s dealing with the terrible twos.

It’s trying to keep a smile on my face when smiling is the last thing I want to do.

It’s not PND.

I don’t want sympathy. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. That’s not why I’ve written this. But if you ask how I am, and I say “Pretty miserable actually” then you know why.

Lymphatic Cancer Awareness Week 15th – 19th September

This week is Lymphatic Cancer Awareness Week. Did you know that more than 14,000 new cases of lymphoma are diagnosed each year in the UK, making it the most common cancer in the under 30s and the 5th most common cancer diagnosed overall. Despite this, awareness of lymphoma is relatively low and many people have not heard of it unless they have been affected in some way.

I’ve always been open about the fact I had Hodgkin’s, I’ve never tried to hide it. I think people don’t always realise that Lymphoma is cancer, and I think it’s important to raise awareness.

I will never forget the day that I got taken into a room, with a young female doctor, and told “You have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma”. Obviously, I knew what it was. I’d been telling the doctors for 6 months that I thought I’d got it. But hearing those words and it becoming real, your world just shatters. Yes, it’s one of the most curable cancers, but it doesn’t have a 100% cure rate. There was still a chance I could die.

Jake and I a few days after diagnosis - the day I had my hair cut off

Jake and I a few days after diagnosis – the day I had my hair cut off

I guess I am one of the “lucky” ones. I’m four years out of treatment now, and the chances of it coming back are slim. Slim, but not nil. Once you have been diagnosed, it never goes away. I’ve got physical and mental scars. It was a scary time, it was awful. Being used as a pincushion when they couldn’t find a vein for cannulas, losing my hair, knowing that the chemo was going to make me feel like s**t, but having to endure it anyway, whilst looking after an 8 month old, having to ask for help to look after him on days I knew I just wouldn’t be well enough to, spending a week in hospital with pneumonia, including a stint in intensive care.

Rocking the bandana

Rocking the bandana

Just because people aren’t aware doesn’t make it any less real.

The Lymphoma Association have lots of information and support available, so go and read up on it, but I am also aiming to write a couple of posts this week to tell you the signs and symptoms to look out for.

Jake and I after the all clear

Jake and I after the all clear

The Birth of Hugo James

Hugo James – Tuesday 12th August 2014 – 9.49am – 9lb 9oz

I can’t believe it’s taken me four weeks to write this, and at the same time I can’t believe that four weeks has gone by so quickly.

I really struggled the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I was, to put it mildly, a moody cow. I was tired, I was hot, I was uncomfortable. I felt like an awful mum because it was the summer holidays and I was too big to fit behind the wheel of the car so we didn’t really go anywhere or do anything. My due date came and went, and I was STILL pregnant. I was starting to worry that my much wanted home birth wouldn’t happen and that I would have to be induced. I’d started ignoring the phone because I knew what the person on the other end would say: “Any news? Any twinges? Come on, get a move on.”

My midwife did a sweep when I was 40+2 and we got hopeful. She could feel his head and my waters bulging. We came home, we rearranged the living room to make room for the pool, I text Jay, our birth photographer, and got her on standby.

41 weeks came, and I decided I was going swimming. When I was pregnant with Zack, my waters went after going swimming, so I figured it couldn’t do any harm. I swam, I went home, and nothing. I bounced on the birth ball, I sent Neil to the shop for comfort food, I cried at Long Lost Family, and I went to bed.

I woke up at 5am, as I’d been doing fairly regularly, and was pleased that I knew my midwife was coming later to do another sweep. I came downstairs. Read the news about Robin Williams, read some of my book. I started getting twinges, but didn’t think anything of them, they weren’t painful, they weren’t regular, but I thought something might happen later.

Neil’s alarm went off at 7am, so I went back upstairs, and told him that I had a feeling today was the day. I had my shower and went back downstairs. Neil got his shower and got the boys up and dressed. They came down about 8am, and by then, I was fairly sure labour was in the early stages. I wasn’t in any pain, just uncomfortable. But I text Jay to give her a heads up.

Jay text

I was sat on the couch, and I felt what I thought (for about half a second) was an almighty kick, and then realised it was actually my waters. Cue, another text to Jay to let her know we were on.

Neil and Jake were inflating and filling the birth pool, and my contractions were still not following any regular pattern, and I was talking through them. I called my midwife at 8.30am (MY midwife – was so happy she was working that day!) and told her that she wouldn’t need to do the sweep, that my waters had gone, that I was contracting, but I was fine. We agreed that she would do the visit she already had booked in, and then come and see me.

My neighbour was on standby to have the boys for us, she’d been on standby for a few weeks, so we called her, and got no answer on either the landline or her mobile. We later found out that she was outside with some workmen and didn’t hear the phone. So Neil went a put a DVD on upstairs for the boys to keep them out of the way.

Jay arrived just before 9.30am. She says that I had “that look” on my face and that she knew it wouldn’t be long. It was just after she arrived that I made Neil call my midwife back and tell her that I needed to use the gas and air, so could she come please. She was here ten minutes later.

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it into the pool. It was full, it just wasn’t warm enough, and at this stage I was fairly confident that even if it had been, there’s no way I would have been able to get in. Louise got me hooked up onto the gas and air, and held my hand through contractions.

Contraction

She used the sonicaid to check his heartbeat, and it was then that I shouted “He’s coming!” It was quite comical, Louise said “If he’s coming, shall we take your knickers off?” Yeah, that would help, wouldn’t it?

A few pushes, and my gorgeous boy was born at 9.49am. 22 minutes after Jay arrived, and 9 minutes after Louise. You could say we cut it fine.

He's here

My first words after he was born “Oh I’ve made a mess of the carpet!” And I really did. We hadn’t planned for me giving birth on dry land, and even if we had, I laboured so quickly that I’m not sure we would have had the poly sheets down anyway.

The photo’s that Jay took are amazing, and prove that I am a crier. Neil says I’ve been the same now with all three births.

Yep, still crying

The fact that the boys were at home meant they got to come down and meet their baby brother when he was a few minutes old. It was lovely.

Big brothers

So, I didn’t get to use the pool, but I did get my home birth. I got my amazing midwife (who I now consider a friend), and a fabulous photographer there to capture it all.

Louise

Best of all, I got a gorgeous baby boy, who we all love very much.

Welcome to the world baby Hugo.

Roz Barnwell, Hugo James Birth Story, Worcester 120814 Roz Barnwell, Hugo James Birth Story, Worcester 120814 Roz Barnwell, Hugo James Birth Story, Worcester 120814 Roz Barnwell, Hugo James Birth Story, Worcester 120814

A very special thank you to Jay at Jay Emme Photography for capturing these amazing pictures that I will be eternally grateful for. Every time I look at them, I get so emotional. Go and check out her facebook page and give her a like, and tell her how much you like them.

Pregzilla

I am 38+4 and really not coping with the heat. Any other year I would be soaking up the rays and rolling my eyes at anyone that complained, but, alas, this year I am a complainer. 

38 week bump

38 week bump

I am now not booked in to see the midwife until August 6th which is after my due date. This week I had +1 ketones in my water, but I know that is because the day before I didn’t eat nearly enough, so I got a bit of a telling off, but they weren’t worried. 

Home birth is still all go. I have all the stuff (although I need to lay my hands on some poly dust sheets we bought the other week), my “go bag” is nearly all ready, my play list is ready, all we are doing now is waiting. I must admit I was hoping to have given birth by now, but baby seems quite comfy and isn’t even engaged yet. The midwife assures me this is normal for a third baby and the head might not even engage until labour starts so it’s nothing to worry about. I’ve had no contractions, I’ve had no “bloody show” and my waters have not broken. I’m uncomfortable and struggling to sleep, which is no fun. 

Yep

But seeing as baby isn’t here yet, I am hoping labour holds off until Monday/Tuesday as the lovely Jay from Jay Emme Photography isn’t around this weekend, and we are hoping that she is able to make it (we’ve got a stock of bacon in the fridge and everything!), and my usual midwife is back from holiday on Tuesday so she may be able to attend if she’s back.

Although, now I’ve said that, baby will no doubt arrive tomorrow. 

The next time I post, might end up being a birth announcement! One can only hope!

The One Where I’m Classed as Full Term

On Monday, I turned 37 weeks. Although I’m not technically due for another 3 weeks, I am now classed as full term, which means that if I go into labour (soon, please let it be soon!!) the midwives are on call for me and will attend me at my home birth. 

37 week bump

On Thursday, my home birth pack was delivered, and on Friday my birth pool arrived! I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’ve had my pool from Water Baby Birthing Pool Hire. I haven’t used the pool yet, obviously, but if you are considering a home water birth and don’t want to buy a pool, I would thoroughly recommend this company. Emma is lovely to deal with, and for £90 you get your pool delivered at 37 weeks for 5 weeks hire and it includes all of the accessories you need, so you don’t need to buy them. You can reserve your pool at any point during your pregnancy and at 36 weeks, Emma will call and see if you are still having a home birth, and if you are she takes payment and arranges delivery. 

Anyway, the pool I went for is the Birth Pool in a Box Mini. We went for the mini as it doesn’t take as long to fill, or take as much water, and as I’m vertically challenged at 5ft 1in, I didn’t see the need to go for a bigger one. Neil isn’t coming in the pool with me (we are both fully agreed on that!) so it only needs to be big enough for me. 

We  had a test run of sorts on Saturday evening, where we went through the box, made sure all the accessories were there and inflated it, we didn’t fill it, just wanted to see how long it took to inflate, and how big it was so we knew exactly where we were putting it. 

PicMonkey Collage

Whilst we were doing that, I had a bit of a “moment”. Call it pregnancy hormones if you like, but I had a few tears. I couldn’t have a home birth with Jake, with Zack, we had that horrible scare and even the chance of using the Birthing Centre was gone. This time, my pregnancy has been pretty much text book, with no complications, no scares, and a different consultant who is much more relaxed. So this time, we get to do things the way we wanted to since 5 years ago. We’ve come so far since then, been through so much. Four years ago, I was still having chemo and had not long come out of hospital being treated for a bout of Pneumonia with a stint in Intensive Care. Never would I imagine that we would be here today. 

Not long to go now. We’re on the final leg!

*Disclaimer – I haven’t been paid or recompensed in anyway for mentioning Water Baby Birth Pool Hire- I just loved them so much I wanted to share it with you*

 

The One Where I Get Excited

I am now 36+3. Almost full term!

36 week bump

Yesterday was my 36 week growth scan and consultant appointment. When I saw her for the first time, she told me that if everything was well at my 36 week appointment, I could be discharged back to midwife led care. It was when she said this I started toying with the idea of homebirth providing baby was okay.

Well, Neil, Zack and I went to the hospital yesterday and first thing was to go for the scan. At my last scan baby was plotting just below the 50th centile, and is now plotting just above the 90th. Either one of the scans was wrong or baby has had a major growth spurt. If this scan is to be believed then baby is already weighing about 7lbs. However, when I was having growth scans with Zack, they told me he was going to be 8.5-9lb. He was 7lb 4oz.

After the scan we saw the midwife who checked my blood pressure which was a lovely 104/64, and checked my urine which was fine.

Then it was in to see the consultant. She said she was happy to discharge me back to midwife led care. She asked if I was having the baby at hospital and I said I was hoping for a home birth. I was hoping she wasn’t going to bring it up because I was worried she wouldn’t agree. I was wrong.

The consultant is fully supportive of my home birth, as long as if there is a need that I will transfer to hospital, which of course I said yes to, I’m not going to risk the health of me or my baby.

I actually felt a little bit bad that I was so happy to be discharged, but I walked out of that room with the biggest cheshire cat grin on my face and a spring in my step, whilst high fiving the hubby and Zack.

Ultimately we were going to have a home birth anyway, but it would have been a visit from the Supervisor of Midwives to explain all the risks to me and try and talk me out of it. The fact that I don’t need to go through that makes me so, so happy.

So today the midwife has delivered my home birth pack with three full canisters of Entonox and, tomorrow my birth pool is being delivered. And as the clock strikes midnight on 14th July, the midwives will be on call for me to have my home birth.

Home birth kit

We still have a few things to sort out, and I need to move some things around in my living room to make space for the pool, I think I’m going to attempt that this weekend, Neil and his dad are working on getting some taps fitted so that I can connect the hose, and we are hopeful that it will be done on Monday.

Hang on baby, we aren’t ready just quite yet, but we are looking forward to meeting you!