an update on our blood….

It’s going to be a shit day. After experiencing my boy having to have a blood test its clear I don’t do well with hearing him in pain. His dad is definitely the stronger one so will be there on Monday holding my hand and being the amazing support we will both need.

Looking back through this process, it’s been long and arduous. Getting appointments, getting answers, understanding more about this condition, it’s all been a little stressful. But I truly believe that the world throws you things for a reason.

Through this process we have learnt that although my son has the all clear, I actually do have Von Willebrands Disease. I’m not a carrier, I actually have it.

It’s surprising to the Dr that through numerous surgeries I’ve had and through my labour, I never experienced a bleeding issue. I’ve had my tonsils, appendix and wisdom teeth out – all operations that do cause concern for people with VWD. Every time, I’ve been fine. I’m so thankful for this and it also gives me great hope for my little niece (who at 9 years of age, also has VWD to the same level that I do). She had a traumatic bleed after her tonsils were removed last year and the Dr has warned of issues surrounding her periods and surgeries moving forward. I have always had very light and easy to manage periods and no bleeds at all, so it makes me think, maybe she will be the same moving forward. I hope so.

So once again the universe has played its cards. Its provided me with a challenge and allowed me to come out the other side unscathed and with knowledge that I needed.

It’s a clever place this universe of ours….

Xx

A

our first family photo shoot

A couple of weekends ago, we had the pleasure of working with Sheena Cooke Photography to capture some pictures of our new little family. I am entirely un-photogenic and not very comfortable in front of the camera but Sheena managed to make us all feel completely at ease.

Archer didn’t need much help looking gorgeous but he was extremely sleepy so Sheena had her work cut out for her keeping him awake long enough to get some of the shots. She was amazing and I am so grateful for her being able to capture some truly lovely moments with my little family.

Here are some of my favourites…

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Thanks again Sheena… some of these are going straight to the pool room.

xx A

hi ho, hi ho…..

I spent the day in the office today. Not yet officially back from maternity leave, I went in to lend a hand to the very busy team and to make use of one the “keeping in touch” days I’m allowed during my maternity leave period.

It was nice….

It was nice to dress up and put on heels (unnecessary, but nice nonetheless).

It was nice to use my brain and once again connect to an industry that I love so much.

It was nice to feel needed by the team and to feel that I still have worth within my workplace.

So why do I feel guilty?

My son was at home spending the day with his Grandma who no doubt spoilt him with endless hugs and kisses. He probably had no idea I wasn’t even there. All he knows at this young age is hunger and love and both of those would have been taken care of in abundance. Yet I cant seem to shake that feeling in my stomach that being there makes me less of a mum.

Is it wrong, that only 7 weeks in, I’m ready for stimulation outside of my motherly bubble?

Society is making me feel like it is. I have found myself explaining my choices to complete strangers. Not only about today’s little workplace stint but also about my plans to return to the workforce part-time in August. “That’s not long off from work” people quip, “gosh, are you sure you’ll be ready?” numerous people ask. The truth of the matter is, financially we don’t have a choice. But even if we did, I’d be going back.

It will be with the needs of my son in the forefront of my mind and of course, things will need to adapt, but with or without the financial burden that forces my hand, I’m ready, even now, to get back into the workforce.

Intentional or not, many people have made me feel guilty. Made me question my decisions and my desire to return to work.

Too soon?

According to many, apparently so.judging copy

According to many, a new mum should be home (apparently for a year). For many, being out of the workforce is a relief and something to be relished. For many, the fact that I am going back to work sooner than most, makes me less of a mum. It’s a judgment that although I am sure is not intentional, has been felt.

Maybe it’s my interpretation, maybe it’s my over sensitivity, maybe it’s just how they feel.

I was never going to be the all-baking, crochet knitting, P&C mum. I love that other women  fill those roles; it’s just not me. I’m the mum that will juggle a meeting to make it to school assembly and a schedule a gig around his soccer game. I’m the mum who may have go to work some days but will spend others in PJ’s watching cartoons. I’m the mum who wants it all and isn’t afraid to try for it.

But he will always come first. He will always be my priority, but I can have my work too.

It doesn’t make me less of a mum.

Does it?

Xx A

stupid blood

This week I’ve had to accept the fact that there is a chance that our little guy will need to go under general anaesthetic in the next 6 months.

Petrified doesn’t really seem like a strong enough word to explain how this makes me feel.

Archer’s tongue-tie was detected at birth but the seriousness of it wasn’t truly noted until he was about 6 days old. We were referred to a pediatric surgeon with the understanding that there would be a very simple procedure done in that one appointment to fix his tongue-tie and off we would go. Apparently not.

In filling out the pre appointment medical survey, I told the doctor of the history of Von Willebrands in my family (my niece has the condition). This in itself is not an overly serious diagnosis. If the disease is present, prior to any surgery, treatment is given to ensure the blood clots correctly to avoid excessive bleeding.

Prior to this appointment I hadn’t even considered that my son my have this disease. I certainly hadn’t considered the fact that the tongue-tie snip may be a procedure that could be dangerous if he did have Von Willebrands. I’m thankful for the cautious nature and thoroughness of our doctor in detecting this as a concern!

DNALong and short of it is, they can’t test Archer for the Von Willebrands until he is 6 months old. They wont cut his tongue-tie until they eliminate Von Willebrands. Once he is older than 12 weeks, they wont do the tongue-tie procedure unless he is under a general anesthetic. Catch fucking twenty two.

So, what we decided to do was to test N and I to see if we are carriers of the disease (highly unlikely N is, the gene is in my family – but better to be safe than sorry!). Essentially, if we aren’t carriers, Archer can’t have the disease and snip snip we go. About a litre of blood taken later and as expected, N’s results are negative. Mine are inconclusive. Fuck fuck fuck.

We now have a referral to a hematologist for me to see if we can eliminate me as the carrier. Its not looking good but I will be doing everything in my power to beat the clock in getting some sort of result.

So the countdown is on. 7 weeks to go and I need to – get an appointment with the hematologist, discount me as a carrier (fingers crossed), get an appointment back at the pediatric surgeon and get my little dudes tongue fixed.

Or its general anesthetic time in October.

It terrifies me to think that Archer would have to have any sort of procedure. But the thought of him having a general anesthetic in his tiny body makes me feel ill.

I know its not a definite yet and there is no point getting anxious over something that may not happen but I am allowing myself to mentally prepare for the just in case. In the meantime, a warning to the hematologist and pediatric surgeon – I will be stalking you for appointments daily until I can get this resolved – the clock is ticking!

Have any of you lovely readers had to face surgery for your little ones?

Xx A

Ps… you can learn more about Von Willebrands here

dear lactation consultant…

One of the most common questions I was asked throughout my pregnancy was “are you going to breastfeed?”. My response remained the same throughout – I’ll do my best.

I wasn’t born yesterday, I am fully aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, especially in those first crucial few days. I am also fully aware of the issues that many of my girlfriends have had on their journeys through motherhood and that breastfeeding is not always as easy as hoped.

I knew that I definitely wanted to try to breastfeed for at least the first couple of months. I was prepared for the late nights feeding my son when my boob was his only option. I was prepared and excited about the bonding that comes with feeding. I was prepared for the benefits of a massive cleavage and the inevitable weight loss that goes along with exclusive breastfeeding.

I was not prepared for the issues that I encountered.

I was less prepared for the emotional turmoil that comes along with feeling like I failed my son.

I was totally unprepared for the abuse I received when after just 6 days, I had to start giving my son formula.

The long and short of my story is that due to a tongue tie that my son was born with and an inability to latch on correctly, my nipples were so badly damaged in the initial few days that my body went into shut down, my milk dried up and formula became a staple in our home. That makes it sound so simple and matter of fact.

It wasn’t. It was traumatic, both physically and mentally. The physical part I could handle. The emotional impact was tougher. Breastfeeding was impacting my ability to bond with my son and nothing is worth that.

Thankfully N saw what was happening and held my hand through the tears as I realized that my boobs were betraying my baby and I. We have an amazing Child Health Nurse who also recognized that the best thing for Archer and I was finding an alternative.

So my family, partner and direct career all agree that breastfeeding, although a fabulous option for most new mums and bubs, was not working for my son and I.

this is what i neededWhy is it then that certain lactation consultants within the community have found it suitable and necessary to inform me of the error of my ways? Telling me that “breast really is best”, “you should push through” “just hold your baby differently” “here, let me show you”.

NO!

It’s not working for us. My baby isn’t happy! I’m not happy! You are not in my home at half past three in the morning to see our struggle. Don’t tell me what is best for my son when you don’t know either of us.

The lack of support and self-righteousness of these women has been something I was totally unprepared for. I’ve had phone calls from a lactation consultant telling me that she knows better than our pediatrician how to treat my sons tongue-tie – stopping short of telling me I was a bad mother for listening to the doctors. I’ve had another practically wrestle my poor son by the neck to try to get him to latch on differently. I could go on for hours about the ways in which I have been insulted and offended by this certain breed of lactation ladies who lack empathy, manners and decency.

this is what i gotI know that not all lactation consultants are the same. There are some who are warm, kind and supportive – regardless of whether you breastfeed or not. Unfortunately, the ones like those I encountered, damage the industry as a whole and leave a bad taste in the mouths of new mums that take a long time to fade.

Speaking with other women about their breastfeeding journeys, I find that my story is not unique. Many have had encounters with lactation consultants that have left them traumatized, teary and questioning their decisions and ability as a new mum. How is this helpful?  An occupation which is designed to encourage breastfeeding and provide support to women at an emotionally and physically fragile time is doing the opposite – instilling negative emotions, fear and feelings of failure.

So to the lactation consultant community – I beg you…. Calm the fuck down. Stop for a moment and listen to your patients. Open your eyes to each individual mothers situation and help to guide her to a solution for her and her baby. I know it will pain you to hear it but breast is NOT always best.

Some of us are betrayed by our boobies. It doesn’t make us failures. It doesn’t make us bad mums. Please don’t make us feel like it does.

Xx A

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/goetter/3588637633/”>Raphael Goetter</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

2 weeks in

This time 2 weeks ago, my son was born. My world was changed forever. I became Archer Flynn’s mum.

He arrived at 1.40pm. Much quicker than the doctors had expected. Much smaller than they had warned.  I had spent a few hours in a bathtub. Sucking on gas and air like a woman possessed, doing my best to work my way through contractions without needing to submit to stronger drugs. When it all became too much I listened to the advice of my amazing midwife and took the epidural that was on offer. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see a needle in my life.

I’m not going to go into graphic detail but the long and short of it was that it seems my son is as impatient as his mum and was ready to enter the world a lot quicker than the doctors were prepared for. After about 4 hours in labour, he was here.

Perfection.

photo3From his tiny toes to his dark blue eyes, to the intricate lines that mark each knuckle on every perfect tiny finger, he is perfect. And he is ours.

I still can’t believe that we made him.

The first few days in the hospital are somewhat of a blur. A haze of bad coffee, amazing friends and family visiting and hours lost staring at our son.

Coming home was a wonderful feeling. It’s true that the world looks like a very different place when you have your bundle in the car for the first time. Danger everywhere!

Now at day 14, we are getting into our groove. A few stumbles along the way have seen the occasional tear from both he and I. The pure joy I get from staring at him makes it worth it.

My favourite moments are early in the morning. Just my son and I, in the haze of a pre sunrise feed and the warmth of a dressing gown. The world outside doesn’t exist and I can sit with him in total peace.

photo6His dad is totally enamored. I secretly listen in as he talks to him during a midnight feed, chatting away in their own little world. I love that they have their own secrets already.

It feels as though we have had him forever. Although it’s only been 2 weeks, I can’t picture my life or heart without him in it. There are three of us now and we wouldn’t have it any other way. My two best men and me. Happiness. Pure and simple joy.

2 weeks in. Can’t wait for the rest of our lives.

xx A

that wasn’t in the brochure….

Before I got pregnant, I thought I knew a thing or two about the joys of being up the duff. I was by no means an expert but I had witnessed numerous friends and family go through the process, so I thought I was pretty up to speed on what to expect when expecting. And I was. Except for a few little things that people had magically left off of the list….

Here are some of the gems that I have learnt along the way.

  1. medium_6832566733You’ll miss your vagina. Seriously, I haven’t seen it in weeks, maybe months. I miss it. I’m pretty convinced it needs some “tending to” (mental note to book waxing appointment asap)
  2. You might want to consider buying a dog. Much easier to blame those stinky farts that will haunt you for 8 months on a dog than a partner who knows it wasn’t him.
  3. You’ll share things with people like never before. Something about having a pregnant belly makes you community property. Not only will everyone want to share their story with you, but also towards the end, you find yourself having no concerns at all sharing your bits with whoever will listen. In the last couple of weeks I’ve had in depth conversations with other women about the state of my vagina and what is/isn’t normal this far along in my pregnancy – conversations I never thought I’d have.
  4. The boobs you always wanted might just piss you off. This was a real disappointment for me. I had always looked forward to the perks of perky boobs during pregnancy. But when I found myself carrying around a set of double D’s, they were no where near as fun as I had imagined. Disappointing for N too… am sure he’s been dying to play with them the whole time. Poor bastard.
  5. medium_2685851866Heels WILL become the devil. As much as I thought I was going to be “different”, I’m not. I don’t care who you are, being 8 months pregnant and wearing heels to anything other than a super special occasion is insane. I look forward to welcoming stilettos back into my life in a few months time but for now, they are the devil.
  6. People will touch you. A lot. Not only doctors, family and friends (all of which are fine), total strangers will have a good old feel around too. Stranger Danger has been a pretty constant issue for me.
  7. You’ll miss the simple things. Putting on shoes with ease, bending over in general, eating ham. Oh how I miss thee.
  8. It is possible to want to vomit AND eat, at precisely the same time. I was very lucky in the early days of my pregnancy and didn’t suffer a lot from morning sickness. But, who knew that at precisely the same moment, you could have the strongest desire to scoff a bowl of carbs AND throw up. Lucky for me, the carbs usually won.
  9. You will learn the meaning of true patience…. From your partner. Those poor boys. Seriously, I have a newfound respect for the patience of my man. Putting up with me for the last 9 months is something I wouldn’t want to do. Must remember to thank him for that with afore mentioned waxed vagina in about 6 months time. 😉
  10. You’ll pretty much be petrified the entire time. From day dot, I’ve been scared about something. The first few days were pure terror from the realization Fearfulthat there was no way in the whole world that I was ready to be a mother. The next 12 weeks were full of fear about being able to hold onto the embryo that I didn’t realize I wanted so badly. The next 6 months have been a constant balance of irrational fears about eating the wrong food, my baby not moving enough or in the right way, an upcoming scan and basically everything and anything to do with the health of this little person I am carrying. Then there’s the birth bit – you can read about the fear associated with that here.

The most valuable thing people dont tell you is that you are stronger than you think. Through all of the panic and sometimes uber uncomfortable parts of pregnancy, you’ll be fine. You’re tougher and more resilient than you ever gave yourself credit for. Mentally AND physically. That’s why women get to do this bit. Men would crumble.

What surprised you about your pregnancy journey? I’d love to hear from you.

Xx A

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questions for my son….

What will you look like? What will you smell like? Will you have your daddy’s hair and my skin? I picture you with a mop of dark locks and big brown eyes. Handsome like your daddy and pale skinned like me. I think you will smell like pure joy and the occasional bit of vomit but that’s ok, we’ll take the good with the bad.

Will you be as big as you feel inside my belly right now? You feel strong and long limbed. You’ve been trying to break my ribs for weeks now I’m sure of it. The doctors think you’ll be a very healthy sized baby but looking at your daddy’s build, that’s no surprise. Long legged like me and broad-shouldered like dad.

What will you be like? Calm like your daddy, slightly eccentric like me? A night owl with him or an early riser with me? My sister insists you will be a night owl, based on the series of kicks you give me from 7pm every night. A sign of things to come she says – an active baby belly at nighttime means trouble for your sleeping pattern. I think I’m ready either way. You haven’t let me sleep properly in weeks now, so my body feels prepared for late nights, early mornings and catching a nap wherever I can.

What will we do? My days will be so different to those I have now. I’ll have you to look after and I’m not sure exactly how that’s supposed to go. I see us taking some time to figure each other out but slowing falling into a routine that’s just for us. I think we’ll take walks to the beach and I’ll watch you sleep and when daddy comes home you’ll make him smile like no one else can. I know I won’t do all of it right every day. I’ll mess up along the way. There will be tears from the both of us but I promise I’ll do my best. I’m new at this too, but we’ll figure it out.

Where will you go? I bought a picture for your bedroom the other day. It’s a quote by Dr Seuss. “Oh, the places you’ll go” Dr Seuss proclaims. I know you’ll go far. You’ll have the drive of your mummy and the travel bug like your daddy, I’m sure of it. I don’t see you being a wallflower. Not with our genes. You’ll be bold and brave and want to challenge yourself and the world. Go everywhere. Do everything. Just make sure I know where you are.

What will you be? Whatever you want is the answer! If poppy gets his way, you’ll be the captain of the Tottenham Hotspur’s. If daddy teaches you well enough, you may be a famous guitarist. I think you’ll be creative and smart. I think you’ll leave your mark on the world as well as our hearts. I think you’ll be amazing at whatever you choose. I think you’ll always be yourself and that is perfection to me.

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What will I be like? Being your mum is a pretty big deal. I still can’t quite believe that I get to meet you soon and that you chose us to be your family. I feel full of something I can’t quite describe. It’s a fear of the unknown mixed with an almighty sense of joy and excitement about what our future holds. I never knew that I wanted you so badly, but now you are on your way, I have never been so sure of anything in my life.

I don’t know what I’ll be like as your mum. I know that I’ll work harder at this than I have ever worked on anything in my life. I know I wont be perfect but that I will give you the best I possibly can. I know that I will make sure you never go without and that you know you are loved every single day. I know that I’ll kiss you too often and probably embarrass you along the way. I know one day you’ll be taller than me but that I’ll still call you my baby. I know that I’ll be proud of you no matter what and that whoever you become I will support you. I know that from now until forever, you will be my son and I will be your mum. I know that I love you to the moon and back and you’re not even here yet.

I can’t wait to meet you.

Love your mummy. x

xx A

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