Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Final Blog Post (Maybe?)

I'm starting to settle in over at the new blog so this will probably be my last post least for now.

I have returned to twitter, following a 10 month sabbatical, and although I enjoyed the time away (actually I didn't miss it at all!) I do now think that totally deleting my account, may have been a little rash.  Particularly since I now can't find anyone I used to follow and I have a grand total of 15 followers rather than yeah, I have learnt my lesson a bit there, and I realise that as much as I'm not planning to blog here for the foreseeable future, that doesn't mean I won't want to return one day.

If you enjoy my regular doses of ranting, sarcasm, and general thoughts and stuff then please do go here and sign up to follow by e-mail.

Hopefully see you there! :)

Friday, 6 June 2014

Indecision is your enemy

Well, it's mine anyway.

I can see both sides of everything, so making decisions can get pretty tricky.  I'm actually way better at the really BIG stuff than I am at the little stuff.

Quitting degrees, quitting jobs, ending relationships, getting a tattoo, chopping my hair off, moving house?  No problemo- I can make up my mind in five minutes or less.

Deciding what to say in a group conversation, what pair of socks to wear or what herbal tea to have before bed?  How long have we got?  Because this could take a while.

I've been blogging here now for over 2 years and I've amassed a dizzying array of 14 followers.  My view count increases steadily every day (and is about to hit 12,000 views) but most folk don't say much so I'm never sure why they came or if they're planning to come back.

What started as an attempt to document my boys' early months/years and maintain my sanity by using writing as an outlet, has developed into something else, and lately I've been wondering if it might be time to move on.

I feel a real loyalty to this place though, even if my url is ridiculously long, and the title no longer that relevant (our days of co-sleeping are behind us for the most part, barring illness or night terrors).  This is the blog that re-started my love of writing so to abandon it feels wrong.  But to just keep going doesn't feel right either.

So I made a new thing:

It's very new, so please consider it a work-in-progress ;)  I'm contemplating exporting this blog over there (maybe...not 100% on that yet) but for now, in the absence of being able to make non life-or-death decisions, I'm telling myself it's just something I'm trying on, to see if it fits.

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Weekend.

It's June already! Yeeeks!  So, I was pretty quiet in May, but much like that Michael Caine quote it was a case of "calm on the surface but paddling furiously underneath"
And no, I don't mean I've been doing a lot of swimming.  In fact, swimming, and housework, and well, pretty much everything has kind of fallen by the wayside these past couple of weeks.  There's been a lot going on, behind the scenes, that I haven't been able to really blog about (and still can't- sorry!  I know that's slightly mean of me, dropping hints with no intention of filling you in on the juicy details).

Rest assured that all will be revealed very soon though.

In the meantime I thought I'd pop my head up to say hello, and show you what we've been up to this weekend.


The kids, not me...I told you, I've been too busy!  Both boys picked up their (long overdue) badges and certificates on Saturday.  I now need to do the whole "proud Mama" thing (and I really am) and sew the badges on to their towels.  If you've seen me with a needle and thread, you'll know how much I'm looking forward to that particular experience.  And if you haven't seen me with a needle and thread...well there's a reason for that.

Having a Migraine!

(Just me.  No photo.  For obvious reasons)


True, I am even less skilled with a trowel than I am with a needle and thread, but I am more enthusiastic about the task in hand at least, and for the most part I just use my bare hands, eliminating the possibility of injury, except in the case of thorns (ouch!)  I did unearth (pun very much intended) some fetching pink gardening gloves in the shed, but not only had they seen better days (a few hundred of them judging by the holes) but they also appeared to have acted as a nest for a spider momma to hatch a few hundred eggs, which was possibly the nastiest surprise of my life, on sticking my hands into one. hands and arms are now covered in an itchy rash from the sticky willow and scratches from the rose bushes, but at least spiders aren't hatching under my fingernails (so far as I am aware...*shudder*)

Seriously though, I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to gardening.  I am literally clueless (and that is not a misuse of the word 'literally', because I hate that).  I don't know what is a weed and what isn't, I don't know what to prune and what to leave alone.  I don't know what to plant or where or when.  I struggle to even keep my houseplants alive, so god knows how I'd fare if I had to factor the elements or soil types in...BUT...and there is a but...I have always had a yearning to know more, and to do more.

There was a point, a few years ago, where I even got as far as e-mailing to put my name down for an allotment, but then I had a second baby and had no time to even pee, let alone re-enact the Good Life, so that idea went out the window.  

But I am my father's daughter, and by that I don't mean: I'm a raging alcoholic, destined never to see my 50th birthday or meet my grandchildren.  I mean- I grew up with a Dad who loved to be outdoors more than anything, who knew the name of every plant he came across, who could make anything grow.  Our garden when I was a kid was pretty magical, and the memories I have of my Dad where he doesn't have a can of lager in his hand, are of him in his greenhouse.  So, when I stare blankly at the greenery in our garden and struggle to identify what should go and what should stay, and when I squeal like...well...a girl, when moving a rock reveals a family of scuttling woodlouse, I can almost hear my Dad turning in his grave.  I say almost, because he was cremated, and because I'm being metaphorical.

There are a million reasons why it is shit to have an alcoholic father, and the fact that he couldn't pass his gardening wisdom on to me before he died is really only a very teensy tiny one.

So, I am trying, as of today, to figure it out for myself.  I doubt it will be easy (neither of the boys were particularly enthused about helping today- apart from when I let Toby loose with a pair of secateurs, and Chris is even less enthusiastic than both of them combined).  I'm sure I'll make plenty of mistakes (in fact I think I may have made some already today) but I'm going to try, and I think that ought to count for something.

So that was my weekend.  I am ending it with a bottle of passionfruit cider, and this blog post.

Friday, 16 May 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

So Saturday was a sliding doors experience, but not in the way I'd envisaged.
Instead I found myself taking the boys to their usual Saturday morning swimming lesson, and chatting to another Mum there about school, and moving into the next stage of our parenting journeys (her youngest is Toby's age, so she's a little ahead of me).  Something that I know wouldn't have happened if I'd had a newborn baby in a sling.

Then at lunch time I dropped Chris at work, and on my way back home had an even bigger sliding doors moment, when I stopped at a red light at a pedestrian crossing and saw one a guy I recognised from The Infusion Bay (where I have my IVIg).  I sat opposite him at my last treatment.  He crossed in front of my car- in his electric wheelchair, while I waited, behind the wheel of my car, with full use of my limbs.

I got home and the boys started to play this really involved game of make believe that mostly involved spreading their toys across the entire living room floor to make "the sea" (also making it pretty much impossible to cross the room without potentially breaking a bone) so I picked up one of my library books...

Don't worry, I'm not going to give away any spoilers.  But I'm not kidding when I say, that aside from breaking to feed/water/clean my children and tuck them into their beds, I could not tear my eyes away from the pages of this thing until I finished it that evening.  I laughed, and cried and would probably have turned back to the first page and read it right through immediately after finishing had I not vowed to return it to the library because someone else had reserved it.

A book about cancer, when you have just lost someone to cancer, and have other people you love battling cancer, may not sound like an ideal read, but this book is different.  It's not even a book about cancer.  It's a book about people, and they just so happen to have cancer.  And that is what makes it different.  It is also what gave me my biggest 'sliding doors' moment of the day.

I wasn't sure how I felt about the outcome of my molar pregnancy, or it's due date, right up until I felt it on Saturday and here it emotion you'd probably never expect to hear in relation to miscarriage: relieved.

Molar pregnancy is a form of gestational trophoblastic tumour, you don't need to understand the first two words to appreciate the impact of the last one.

The letter I received in November, informing me of my histology results told me there was a 1 in 10 chance that remaining tissue in my uterus would become cancerous and potentially spread to other parts of my body, requiring chemotherapy.  1 in 10 is of course still 9 in 10 it wouldn't, and that's what I kept telling myself.  But that same day I took a photo of my hair, my ridiculously unruly, curly-but-not-in-a-good-way hair that I normally hate, just in case I was about to lose it.

But I didn't, did I?  There was no remaining tissue, my HCG levels fell steadily, I didn't need any follow up treatment, my hair remains long and a source of constant annoyance.

I've always known how lucky that makes me, but on Saturday, after reading The Fault in our Stars, I actually really felt it.

There are a lot of brilliant quotes I could take from that book, but "The world is not a wish-granting factory" has to be my absolute favourite.  I am thinking of getting it tattooed somewhere on myself as a reminder, so that when I  start to feel like "It's not fair" I can look at it and tell myself to STFU.

Life owes us nothing.  We owe it to ourselves to make the most of the life we get. (My words, not John Green's!)

Friday, 9 May 2014

The Due Date

Tomorrow is D-Day.  The due date of the baby we were having, but aren't anymore.

The early scan we had at 7 weeks put us back a little, giving us a due date of 17th May, but by dates our baby would have been due on the 10th May- tomorrow.

Of course, in reality s/he would have come whenever s/he wanted, but if previous pregnancies are anything to go by (and I'm aware they're not a guarantee!) then I tend to pop my babies out in the 38th week, so chances are we would have a brand new baby already.

I'm not sure how I feel about that, to be honest.  Nor am I sure how I'm supposed to feel about that, or what to do about it, even if I could figure out what my feelings are on it all.

Which makes this a somewhat pointless blog post.  But I just wanted to acknowledge the significance of tomorrow, and the fact that it actually happened in the first place.

In August I peed on a stick, and found out I was pregnant...the same day I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  And here's the proof, sat atop a copy of Juno magazine, which Chris had brought me to read in the hospital:

In September, there was an actual baby inside of me, with a heart beat of around 148bpm:

And then I was scanned again at what should have been 10 weeks and there wasn't.

Later of course we found out that the pregnancy had been 'doomed' from the start, as it was a Molar Pregnancy, meaning there was an extra set of chromosomes and our baby was incompatible with life.

Does that make the whole thing better, or worse?  Should it make me feel better?  Or worse?  I don't know.  I am still sending urine samples to Sheffield Centre for Trophoblastic Disease to monitor my HCG levels and ensure there isn't any molar tissue left in my uterus, so I have to say I'm inclined to say that the Molar aspect is scant comfort if any.

This isn't my first rodeo of course, having had two previous miscarriages, but I have never been in this position before, as with each of those, I was already (heavily) pregnant again by the time the "Would have been due dates" rolled around.

You never forget them though.  It's so weird.  My first pregnancy I worked out I would have been due on October 21st 2009...but it wasn't to be.  By the time October came though, I was waddling around with an almost full-term baby inside me, who turned out to be Toby.  So although I remember recognising the day quietly to myself, it wasn't with sadness as I was focused on the baby I was carrying, whose life wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't miscarried.

Likewise, my 3rd pregnancy had a due date of 20th July 2011, although as it was a twin pregnancy, it likely would have been moved forward anyway.  Again, it wasn't to be, although by the time the summer came, I was pregnant with Rudy and again, felt thankful for how things had worked out.

This time, the due-date is almost upon me, and not only am I not pregnant for a change, but I'm not even planning to be.  Which makes this a very different situation to the other two, and probably explains my whirlwind of thoughts and emotions on the issue.

I haven't really reached out to talk to anyone about my experiences, if I'm honest (well, apart from the handful of you reading this I guess!) but if anyone out there stumbles across this and does want some support then The Miscarriage Association is a good place to try.  And for those affected by Molar Pregnancy, you can click here to visit the Molar Pregnancy UK site.

As for me, I have a feeling that tomorrow will be a bit of a Sliding Doors experience (you know, that 90's film with Gwyneth Paltrow?) as I go about my normal day-to-day life with Chris and the boys, acutely aware of what might have been instead.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Library Adventure

You'd be forgiven for thinking that I've forgotten all about my Book Jar pledge. After all it's been about 6 weeks and I've yet to pluck a scrap of paper out of it.

I haven't though, honestly. It's just that I went to the library...*oops*

In my defence I was just taking the kids so they could swap their books but it spiralled somewhat. After all, when you have 70 unread books in your house, the obvious thing to do is surely to acquire MORE...right?!?!

I was almost thwarted in my attempts: I had an unpaid fine on my account for returning my last lot of books late (tsk) and these days it isn't as simple as handing over some loose change to the librarian behind the desk.

Ours is a 'community' library now. Which means there is no librarian...or desk...and you can't pay your fines there...or get any assistance at all whatsoever. There is a guy (sometimes two) hovering around where the desk used to be but as he said himself "I'm just here to make sure no one steals any of the books or computers".

So security guards have replaced librarians, an ATM style machine has replaced the borrowing/returns desk, and it is now only open for 2.5 days a week. The "baby bounce 'n' rhyme" group which I took Toby to every single week of my maternity leave is long gone, as are the stickers and certificates the boys used to get from The Book Club after borrowing a certain number of books/grinning cheekily at a librarian.

Apparently the fact that the building still stands and houses books signifies a small victory for our community, and yes I feel fortunate that we only have to walk 1 mile up the road to borrow books but that doesn't mean I don't feel sad at the compromise.

What it meant for us this time, was that I was unable to borrow anything as my account was suspended until I paid the fine (that I wasn't allowed to pay to the guy who was there to stop me from stealing stuff/setting fire to the place!) If it were just me I'd have shrugged (perhaps haughtily) and not been TOO bothered, but the thing was that Toby had chosen a Spiderman comic book as one of his 'books' and they can't be borrowed on a child's account. Usually I borrow them for him on mine but...duh...I couldn't could I? So he was devastated (and I mean distraught, in the way only a 4 year old can be when life is so cruel as to deny them the basic pleasure of taking home a book they have set their heart on borrowing).

Our options were: 1. Forget about it OR 2. Make a mad dash home, jump in the car and drive up to the nearest library that still actually functions as a LIBRARY with really real librarians who can accept cash for fines.

The former seemed the easiest but Toby's heartbreak was off we went on a mad cap "Library Adventure" (Toby's words).

Of course it was almost library closing time and it just had to start raining, and the traffic was heavy and Toby started yelling at the other cars to "move" and it was so farcical that it actually became hilarious. We made it back to our local library just in time to grab our abandoned books from where we'd left them and borrow them on my newly credited and unlocked account.

So, as I'm sure you'll understand, having gone through all that I feel I should probably read this lot before commencing Operation Book Jar. Along with the Spiderman comic, which was the real reason for the adventure, although I'm not very good at reading comics (Shhh! I just find it so tricky to know who is saying what and when!) so I usually leave that to Chris ;)

I've already read one of that pile, so I promise it won't be too long before I am consulting The Jar!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

10 People You Meet At The Swimming Baths

As mentioned previously, I recently started swimming again, partly in an attempt to lose some of the 2 stone I've gained since being ill, but mostly just because it's a thing I used to do that I enjoy, and I missed it.

It's all going really well- I've built up from being able to do 17 lengths to 30 (and last week I managed 40 as a one off! Not that I'm showing off, you understand.) I've been going at least once a week, often more, and it's all good...there's just one teensy tiny (extremely irritating) problem...the other pool users.

I was going to say "fellow swimmers" but that wouldn't be an accurate all.  

So here's a list of the ten different kinds of people you are likely to come across at my local baths.

1. Splashy Mc Splashersome

Usually wearing speedos, goggles and a swim hat, Splashy McSplashersome takes his/her swimming very seriously indeed. To watch them furiously attacking the water with their dramatic take on front crawl, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you'd accidentally found yourself in the middle of the Olympic Finals, rather than, say your 100-year old local pool on an average Wednesday evening.

Splashy McSplashersome has no spatial awareness. So in an otherwise empty pool will always choose to swim right beside you. If you feel something brush against your leg try not to freak the fuck out. It is, after all, unlikely to be a sea's probably just one of Splashy McSplasherome's limbs as they propel past you, oblivious to the fact that PERSONAL BUBBLES STILL APPLY UNDERWATER FUCKWIT! In fact, even more so since you're pretty much naked. *shudder*

2. Stinky Person

If it's not an over-abundance of aftershave making you feel like you're swimming in a vat of old spice, then it's cigarettes. How many fags does a person have to be smoking a day in order to actually cause chlorinated water to take on the smell of cigarettes the second they get in? I don't know. I'm going to guess *a lot*

3. Other People's Kids

Let's face it: all children can at times be irritating self-centred assholes. Putting them in a body of water without parental supervision, unsurprisingly does not help.

If you're sat there shaking your head in disbelief thinking "Not my children" then chances are, yes your children. The only reason you can't see it is because EVOLUTION. It'd be no good if we all went round drowning our young, would it? Other people's young though...well now, I can make no promises...

4. Some 90 Year Old Man or Woman Who Can Swim A Lot Better Than You

There's always one.  And they're always overtaking you.

5. Show-Off Guy

Diving in, swimming ridiculously fast drowning everyone in his wake, doing pull-ups on the side of the pool...I'm never sure who show-off guy is trying to impress...the lifeguards? (What, are you five?!) Other swimmers? Me? Because the only way you could impress me if we're sharing a pool is to stay the fuck out of my way.

6. Grunting Guy

Sometimes interchangeable with show-off guy. Here's a man who needs everyone to know just how hard he's working. It's not enough that he's swum ten laps in ten minutes, he has to spend at least twice that hanging out in the deep end, splashing his face with water and making grunting noises to demonstrate his exertion. Most off-putting.

7. The Non-Swimmer

Leaning on the side, wearing full make-up, including freshly applied lipstick and eyeliner, discussing the sordid details of their love life with a friend who just happened to be passing through on their way into the gym, these folk never actually get round to doing any swimming.  Some people just like to chill out in the water I guess?  Although, if that's the case why the fuck they don't just stay home and take a bath, I have no idea.

8. The In and Outers

They're swimming. They're getting out. They're in the shower. They disappear into the sauna for a bit. They're diving back in. They're swimming. They're climbing out again...rinse and repeat (literally) x about five. What the hell?! I don't get it at all.

9. The Unaware-Of-Public-Shower-Etiquette-Guy

Pulling their shorts away from their body to give their privates a good rinse? Check.
Lathering up their inner thighs? Check.
Catching water in their mouth and spitting it out? Check.

I don't know why some of them don't just bring their loofahs, toothbrushes and razors and be done with it.

10. Some Grumpy Bitch Scowling at Everyone who Gets in Her Way Whilst Doing Breaststroke for An Hour

Oh...that's me...

(*Sigh* What I wouldn't give...)