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.

The Struggle

I’m struggling. I’m feeling down.

Watching your parents get older, and deteriorate is horrible. The people that you’ve always relied on, that have been your back up, suddenly, almost as out of nowhere aren’t the strong ones anymore.

We haven’t got a dementia diagnosis for mum yet, but we are fairly sure we are going to get one. The more reading I do, the more information I find, the more convinced I am.

She’s not though. She thinks it’s just part of old age, and keeps having the same argument with Dad day after day after day about something that happened over 30 years ago, keeps bringing up the face that 45 years ago he forgot something and made a mistake and he didn’t go to the doctors about it.

It’s frustrating. Like, REALLY frustrating, and it’s hard not to lose patience when you’ve been told the same thing 3 times in a fifteen minute period, or asked for the 20th time how long the kids are off school for.

It’s sad. It’s like you are grieving for the mum you used to have, because she isn’t the same person anymore, but she’s still here, she’s still my mum. But then there are these moments where she has clarity, and she is MY mum.

My dad. The one who’s always been the strongest, the one who does the looking after and the caring. He has unstable angina. Heart failure. And he is finding it difficult to cope. Struggling emotionally. Tearful. Not being able to keep calm when he’s been having the same row everyday for months on end. But he’s the carer. the one she relies on. The one who makes sure she has her tablets, and has her insulin and checks her blood sugar, and covers for her more than you realise.

But all of that is his fault apparently. Because he’s always done her tablets, and if she’d been left to do them herself it would have been ok. It wouldn’t have been though, because she would have forgotten to take them, or take them twice. It’s so hard to reason with someone who doesn’t realise they have a problem.

And I don’t know if it’s denial, or if she really believes there isn’t a problem. I don’t know.

I’m struggling. Really struggling. And I can’t see it getting any better.

29+4

So, somehow I have gone past 29 weeks and am into my third trimester. We have a girls name decided, and we are yet to decide on a boys name, Neil and Jake vs me, it would seem!

This pregnancy feels different to my pregnancies with Jake and Zack. With Jake and Zack, I was elated, excited. This time, I’m waiting for those feelings to kick in.

It’s not that I’m not happy. It’s just that I’m not quite where I was. And I feel awful about it.

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster.

We weren’t planning a third, so it was a bit of a shock. Then I was convinced I was going to have another chemical pregnancy, as I’d had before Jake and before Zack. I was sure that was just how my body works. I had early blood tests which showed my HCG levels had more that doubled in a 48 hour period, and we had a scan at around 7 weeks that showed a strong heartbeat.

At 10 weeks, I had a small bleed and some cramping, so had another scan which showed that everything was still fine. The 12 week scan went absolutely fine. We then announced our pregnancy, and had some negative reaction. Heaven forbid we have a third child!

We chose to have a private gender scan at 16 weeks and found out what we were having, but at 20 weeks, found out we were having something else. So we had started to bond with what we thought we were having, and then had to bond with the other.

When I was 23 weeks, my Dad got rushed into hospital with heart trouble, and got a diagnosis of Unstable Angina and spent a few days in CCU. When I was 24 weeks, Dad went back into hospital, spent some more time in CCU and had an angioplasty. When I was 25 weeks, Dad went back into hospital and spent yet more time in CCU.

Also, when I was 25 weeks, Mum failed her memory test at the GP and is being referred to the hospital, and will have some more tests done. I strongly suspect she will end up with some kind of dementia diagnosis.

To add to that, we have been going through some social worker assessments, not for us, but for my brother with learning difficulties to try and get him some extra support, as the support he was getting has now gone away due to lack of funding. Thank you Mr Cameron. The first assessment said he wasn’t eligible, and was factually incorrect, so we put a complaint in, and had to start the process again. We’ve just been through the second assessment, and are waiting for the outcome, although I feel it will be a lot more positive than the last one. It helped that this social worker was older than 12.

So with all of this going on, I’ve not had much of a chance to get ready for this baby. And I think that’s what I need to do. Once the baby clothes come out, the cot gets assembled, my growths scans are ok, I think I will start to feel excited about meeting the new member of our family. I know that once s/he is in my arms, I will fall completely in love.

 

 

Fallen at the First Hurdle

I was so determined to get off to a good start on the whole weight loss thing. I’d started c25k week 2. And then I got ill. And then the snow came.

I’ve had a horrible chest infection/cough/cold and still have it. I started antibiotics the other day so hopefully they will start to kick in soon. That and the snow has meant that I haven’t been able to continue with my c25k. So I am wishing away the snow, and I am wishing away the illness. The boys have both been poorly too, although they seem to be on the mend now – touch wood!

So this week has brought a maintain in weight, whereas last week was a 2lb loss. Hoping to feel better soon, and hoping that my motivation comes back.

Mum Reinvented has a competition over on her blog called Get Fit, Feel Epic from moneysupermarket.com so I am entering to see if I can get my hands on a Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker, worth £49.99 and Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scales, worth £99.99. Why don’t you go and have a look?

Our Hospital Stay

Zack and I had a stay in hospital last week. It’s only now, almost a week later that I can talk/write about it without crying.

I took him for his 12 week immunisations on the Tuesday and went to the baby clinic while I was there to get him weighed. He’s been gaining weight slowly. I know that. Jake was the same. I just assumed he’d catch up in his own time. At 8 weeks, he was 9lb exactly. I expected him to be at least 10lbs at 12 weeks, especially considering how often he feeds.

He was 9lb 6oz. He’s dropped two lines on the centile chart (and below the 0.4th), so we had to see the GP. As soon as they said he had only put on 6oz, I knew the discussion of formula would be on the agenda. It’s not that I’m against formula. It’s that I wanted to breastfeed. I had no concerns previous to him being weighed. He’s smiley, he is alert, he sleeps through the night. There was nothing to make me worry.

The doctor sent us up to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. We ended up in A&E as that’s where the RMO’s were (Registered Medical Officer). We were taken to cubicle and Zack was asleep in his pushchair, so the RMO was talking to me, asking me questions about Zack, about me, about Jake, about my pregnancy. Then he woke up and needed a feed, so she left me to it for half an hour or so. Then a different doctor came round to see us and examined him. Said that she didn’t think there was anything wrong with his tummy or anything and that we should top him up with formula. I said that I didn’t really want to and that I wanted to fix breastfeeding first. So she admitted us and arranged to Zack to have a blood test, in which I cried more than he did and was reduced to a snotty mess. So much so that even the nurse took pity on me and wiped my nose as I had no hands free.

I’m a bit angry, because I feel like if I’d agreed to the formula, she would have just sent us home, but because I refused, we had to endure a horrible 24 hours in hospital. He looked so small in the huge cot in his room, and I had the delight of sleeping on a faux leather recliner for the night.

The doctors came round in the morning and again, had a poke and a prod. Then a dietician came in and spoke to me.

I have had to compromise. We have agreed that he has two 3oz feeds a day of a high calorie formula that promotes catch up growth, and that I breastfeed as well. I have been prescribed Domperidone to try and increase my milk supply. Zack has to be weighed every week and I am to call the dietician with his weights so we can plan the next course of action, which will hopefully at some point be to drop the formula altogether and go back to exclusive breastfeeding.

It’s taken me a long time to be OK with this. Not because I don’t want him to gain weight, not because I don’t want him to have formula, but because I feel like I’ve failed him.

One of the most natural things in the world is to breastfeed your baby, to nurture them, and I couldn’t do it alone. Whether it’s because of everything my body has been through over the last two and a half years, I don’t know, but I wanted to be able to do this so much and the fact that I couldn’t upsets me more than I can put into words.

I know he’s put weight on. I can see his cheeks are chubbier, and he feels heavier. I’ll know for sure tomorrow when I take him to be weighed. I hope it’s positive. I certainly don’t want another night in hospital with him any time soon.

The Week It All Went Wrong

Even though I’m a high risk pregnancy, apart from a tiny bit of spotting at 18 weeks, I made it to 31 weeks without any problems.

Then, quite quickly, everything went down hill.

I’d had, in the space of about 10 days, some episodes of seeing flashing lights. The last one was last Monday evening, and it lasted for about 15 minutes, whereas the others had only lasted about 2, so I thought I’d make an appointment with my GP to get it checked out.

I went to the GP on the Tuesday morning, and my blood pressure was fine and there was no protein showing in my urine. She called triage anyway to see if they wanted to see me. Apparently, the did, so I called my dad to watch Jake, and up I went. I only expected to be gone for a few hours, but I was sat in the waiting room for 2 hours before I was even seen.

I was seen, baby’s CTG was fine, blood pressure was fine, but urine now had some protein in it. How exactly it magically appeared in the 3 hours since I was at the GP, I don’t know. I think they also decided there were some white cells in it, and decided to give me some antibiotics to treat a water infection and to take some bloods to be on the safe side. I was discharged with a prescription and an agreement that they would call me if my bloods were abnormal.

I got a phone call about an hour later saying that in hindsight they should have kept me until my blood results came back, because one of my liver functions (ALT) had come back abnormal. So they had found me a bed in the antenatal ward and were expecting me about 7pm. So, time to pack a bag, wait for Neil to get home from his meeting in Coventry and organise for my in-laws to have Jake over night.

We got to the hospital just around the same time that shift change was happening, so it took ages for anyone to come and see me, and she had to go and get my notes from triage in order to find out what was happening. It works out that the normal range for this liver function is somewhere between 5 and 35. Mine was 54. So not too high, but high enough with the trace of protein they found and the flashy lights for them to be concerned. I found out they wanted to keep me in a minimum of 2 nights as they wanted to do a 24 hour urine collection starting from 9am Wednesday morning. They also wanted to repeat my bloods to see what was happening with the liver function (the next blood test showed it had dropped from 54 to 51).

So, two nights in hospital. I was then discharged on Thursday with no major concerns, but told to go back if I had any more flashy lights etc.

Friday came, and I just had a day at home. The phone rang, and it was the cardiologist I saw last week. I have seen a cardiologist twice and had two echo-cardiograms this pregnancy due to my chemo and the fact that one of the drugs is potentially cardiotoxic. The consultant told me last week that all looked fine and that he would see me again in a year. So I put it to the back of my mind.

When he called me on the Friday, he told me that he and his boss had looked at the echo together and noticed that my right atrium looked slightly narrow when looked at from a particular angle. In order to get a better look, they have referred me for an urgent MRI. He says that this is because the further along in my pregnancy I am, the more likely I am not to fit into the machine, and that I should expect an appointment in the next week. Later on, I get another phonecall saying that the MRI department is extremely busy and can’t get me in until the 28th Feb, which is over 2 weeks away. They may have a cancellation on Wednesday though, so I am to wait and see.

I thought we were all done, and then about 5.30pm, I had a phone call from my endocrine consultant who is responsible for my care throughout this pregnancy. She apologised that she hadn’t had chance to see me whilst I was on the ward and asked how I was feeling. Apparently, they have a “plan” for me. I need to see my haematologist this week (luckily I already had a routine appointment booked anyway) and ask to see the head of the department as that is who she has been speaking to. I am to have more blood tests done, as well as the aforementioned MRI, but now also an ultrasound of my neck.

“Let’s be blunt…” I said to her. “All these tests, are you worried the cancer is back?”

“We just want to make sure everything is ok, it being back would be worst case scenario, and there is only a slim chance.”

That there should have been the sentence that reassured me, but it didn’t. The last two times I have been told “it’s only a slim chance” I have been told I have cancer.

I have been trying to stay calm and not worry, but it is hard. Things that should reassure me are the fact that surely if there was a mass on my chest causing my atrium to narrow, that would have been seen on the echo cardiogram? And surely, if a mass had been seen on my chest, with my previous cancer history, they wouldn’t make me wait until the 28th Feb?

My white count is perfect at 9.7. When I had Hodgkins, my white count was high, even in the early stages.

When I had Hodgkin’s, I had alcohol induced pain with even a few sips of wine. I had half a glass on wine on Friday (no lectures please) and didn’t even feel a twinge.

So, I am hoping beyond hope that they are just being cautious based on my history and based on the fact that I am pregnant. But it doesn’t stop me worrying. I don’t think I could cope going through all of that again.

Here’s hoping I don’t have to.

The Waiting Game

I have been pregnant three times. I am not pregnant now. I only have one child. It doesn’t take a genius to do the maths there.

Whilst I was going through my treatment for cancer, one of my main concerns was whether or not I would be able to have more children. I have said on many occasions that I am not done being a mum yet. We always wanted two children, a boy and a girl with about two years difference between them.

Cancer changed our plans, and it seems as though two years between them is nothing but a pipe dream, seeing as Jake is already two and I’m not pregnant. And, even if I got pregnant this month, the baby would be due in March, just two months before Jake is three.

I’m not a patient person. I don’t like waiting for things to happen, and I especially don’t like it when things are out of my control.

Some people would say that we have only been trying for four months (does it matter that it’s “only” been four months when month one of that was a loss, isn’t it worse for me because I’ve HAD a loss and the people saying that never have and managed to conceive on the first month of trying?), or that I shouldn’t complain because I already have a child and I should count myself lucky for that. And I do.

But, I don’t know what the chemo has done to my body. And although I ovulate every month, that doesn’t mean that I will conceive. And then when I did conceive about 7 months after chemo finished, it was a chemical pregnancy/early miscarriage.

So, I’m feeling really fed up that it hasn’t happened, and I hope it does soon. Telling me not to worry about it, and to relax, doesn’t help. Neither does asking me whenever you see me “Any news yet?” When there is news, I shall share it when I’m ready. Until then, please don’t ask, it just irritates me and makes me all the more aware that it hasn’t happened yet.