Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Learning together

Pregnancy... what a miracle, huh?  Well... it is. It's also lots of other things.  Like gross. Exhausting. Draining.  Amazing.  Exciting.  It is so many things, but for me- hugely worrying.

I didn't see that coming really.  I mean, in the world of books and television its a beautiful thing.  The expectant mother is serene and at peace and glowing and then there is that perfect little bundle at the end of it and off they go for walks in the park and snuggles in bed on a Sunday morning... bliss. Pah!  I'll warn you now- if you're squeamish, don't read any further.  I now spend my days with a toddler.  Snot, pee, poop, blood, bogies- these things are part of daily life now and I'm not afraid to share them! (Not literally, that would be disgusting.  Crazy doesn't have the same social boundaries, sadly)

Here's a glimpse into my story.  I found out I was pregnant fairly early- as I previously blogged- via a spell of dizziness and a serious hankering for sausages.  There it was, clear as day on that little plastic stick.  'Pregnant 1-2 weeks'.  Wow!  I can't believe it! I'm pregnant! Eeek!! (Continue solidly for about four hours).  Now what? Everyone knows you can't tell anyone until the 12 week 'safety' point.  So... Erm... Just how am I supposed to function?  I have this huge burning secret and its so exciting and I have to tell the world NOW!! But I can't.  So I'd better go to work then.  I remember the days, the hours even, absolutely dragging by.  In the end, we had to speak up sooner than 12 weeks due to some complications.  I was worried sick after some early bleeding.  Scan after scan confirmed that our little seed was, in fact, still going strong and growing well.  I pee'd on countless sticks to make sure I was still pregnant because, after all, it's been an hour and I haven't felt sick, something must be wrong, I'd better take a test to be sure I haven't dreamt it all.  Yep- I was obsessed!

It wasn't the easiest journey, but I was still fairly lucky on the old symptom side.  I was a little bit queasy in the early weeks and I had trapped nerves and elephant's ankles nearing the end, but other than that my only real worry was worry itself.  I fell into depression in the last trimester.  I had convinced myself that there was absolutely no way I could give birth naturally and requested a c-section.  'Cut me open please- it's best for me and the baby. Thanks very much'.  Thankfully my obstetrician knew what she was doing, flatly denied my insane request and insisted I take antidepressants until the baby arrived.  I was heartbroken, insisted Mr T tell her where she could stick her pills (I was too busy blowing snot bubbles and generally having a tantrum) and when he eventually calmed me down and took me home I realised that, just maybe, they were right.  They worked wonders and although I was still terrified of giving birth (tell me, who isn't terrified of pushing a tiny person out of there?!) I was much calmer and prepared for what may be in store for us.

Whilst at the mother-in-law's for dinner one day I had a terrible backache.  I couldn't sit down because my hips hurt no matter how comfy the sofa.  I perched helplessly on an exercise ball that the goblins had been playing with and found instant comfort.  Brilliant.  I'll just spend the next 9 days on this ball until my due date rolls around.  Mr T says "You're probably in labour, babe".  Ha! He has no idea.  It's not my due date yet.

Fast forward about 10 hours, some icky stuff (see? I spared you details, I'm nice really) and they're telling me to push. PUSH?! But.. you're supposed to tell me to go home! That it's not time yet.  That I'm an overreacting first timer that knows nothing- I've watched 'One born every minute', I know the drill! My nearest and dearest know all about just how it happened, but all you need to know is that it happened.  The miracle from the films.  There he was.

This beautiful, perfect boy lay in my arms.  An actual person with fingers and toes and the most scrumptious kissy-lips.  I literally lost hours just staring at him.  When visiting time was over and we were left alone I was suddenly very aware that I had no clue what I was doing.  None at all.  But wait! What if he poops! What if he's sick? What if he stops breathing?! I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS?! But at the same time, I just knew.  I knew that it would be ok and that I would be the best Mummy I could possibly be because this is why I'm here.  This is what life is all about.  In those days he was known as 'Hippo' (the boy could EAT! 'Hungry Hippo' seemed apt).  I made Hippo a promise that day.  I remember it so clearly.  "Well kiddo, I have NO idea what I'm doing, but the way I see it, you're pretty new to this too.  I promise you, I will do my very best by you and we will learn together- deal?"

He didn't say much, but I took that as a good sign that we were in it together.  He slept all night.  I stared at him all night.

As he grew, so did I.  My heart grew.  I had so much love for this little being.  He had some problems with a cows milk intolerance and that was tough.  He was so poorly and I knew then and there I would do anything within my power to help this little man.

Fast forward to today and Hippo is now 'Crazy' and he makes me laugh every day, without fail.  He is the most energetic, funny, bright little man and I'm so very proud.  I may be biased but he is also gorgeous- we made a good one!  He knows what he wants, he's as stubborn as me and we clash on a regular basis, but he's learning that Mummy is right.  I'm still learning that lesson at 30 so I can't blame him for trying his luck at 20 months.  He's starting to understand the world around him.  He loves to figure out how things come apart and go back together.  He loves to interact with people.  He may be Russian... the English language isn't too important for him, but I guess it's early days yet.  I delight in his excitement when he balances the most bizarre things together to make a tower.  My favourite to date is my slipper, a train, a building block and a Quaver to top it off- brilliance.

I have less time for my friends and I miss them dearly, but they get it.  They understand that a whole new life started for me the day he was born and they're still there when I need them.  I still need them.  However busy life gets, I'm still here for them too.  I hope they know that.  I enjoy our rare nights out all the more these days- I don't take them for granted.  Although I'll be honest, these days, midnight is about my limit knowing that in about five hours a small excitable dictator will be clambering over my head demanding "Mummy, digga giggaaarr... badum-badum niet. Yar? Yeah!" "Yes baby.  Wait... what have I just agreed to?"and I'll have to be conscious enough to avoid the book being jammed into my eye socket and not so hungover that I can stomach the soggy leftover cereal and stale crisps being shoved into my mouth while he grins and tells me "mmm yummy" just I as I have to him for the past 18 months...  I do love my life.

I feel very fortunate to have Mr T, Crazy and the goblins.  Even if, at times, they turn ME into a crazed goblin.  I wouldn't change it!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Behind the smile

It's been a while!

I see my last post was written when I was 12 weeks pregnant and vowing to blog my way through the journey- and I meant it. Just like these days I wholeheartedly intend to have dinner ready on time, call that friend back for a catch up, put the washing on... the list is endless.  Life got busy. Truly busy! My, then, 12 week seedling is now fast approaching two years.  I will revisit the missing years now I'm finally back in blog, but for now, I have things to get off of my chest.

A little recap: I am Mrs T, happily married to Mr T with 3 step-goblins and now my very own goblin... more of a Tasmanian devil or tornado than a goblin, affectionately known to us as 'Crazy-Eight'.  I am now a stay at home mother, a homemaker, unemployed- whatever you want to call it is fine with me. I have Crohn's Disease- like it or not, this is a big part of my life and always gets a mention.

So, as any parent will know, this job is full time. 24/7, no holidays, no 'clocking off' and it is EXHAUSTING.  I had no idea just how much I could love a small person until he arrived but my goodness it's hard.  Throw health problems into the mix and life doesn't get any easier.  Don't get me wrong- I'm so very grateful to be at home with Crazy during his first precious years and some days we laugh until we are in tears.  We play, we dance, we sing, we shout, we throw stuff, climb, wiggle, shuffle- you name it, we do it, just for fun.  But some days are darker and it's all I can do to keep him clean, fed and watered and get through the day.  Yesterday should have been a long awaited 'day off'. Dear Mr T took a day off and paid for me to visit a day spa with my sister for a much needed break after he recently had some time abroad for work.  I was so looking forward to this day and having muscle knots pummelled out of my shoulders- pain... pleasure!  But unfortunately, I was refused treatment because I suffer Crohn's Disease, which is a story in its' own right and I get it, its for insurance purposes, they can't risk it (but could've kindly told me this at the time of booking when having Crohn's Disease 'wouldn't be a problem!' when it came to taking my money).  Anyway, what should've been a minor thing actually had me in tears all evening.  Poor baffled Mr T was asking with concern, "why are you crying?"

I didn't have the words to explain, and so I find myself here trying to find the words.  Writing has always been my friend when it comes to organising my thoughts and I'm not afraid to put them out there for anyone interested to read.

Some days are exhausting.  I have started a new medication called 'Humira' which is a subcutaneous injection once a fortnight to control the Disease.  It is a pen- pinch, 'click', count to ten, job done.  OUCH!! Seriously, ouch. Then the fire. Oh my leg IS ON FIRE! Oh my! What do I do? What do I do?!  This feeling continues for a good hour- I now try to ignore it and continue as normally as possible, especially with Crazy looking on with interest.  I don't ever want to instil fear into this small boy.  I want him to be able to take anything life throws at him and so he will see Mummy do just that.  So, injection done, I'll just go and... wait, what? I was going to... er... Well.  It's gone.  I guess I'll just sit down a minute, maybe it will come back to me. Ouch! Sitting hurts as much as standing.  Wow I'm tired.  Crazy is engrossed in a book.  I'll just shut my eyes for a second...

Woah! Where am I? WHERE IS CRAZY?! Oh, he's sitting next to me. Phew.  Right, I need to get him some grub.  I'll just go get some... wait, what? What was I doing? Where is Crazy?! Oh, he's there on the couch, he must be hungry, I'll go get him some grub.   What did I need from the kitchen? I can't remember.  My leg hurts. I better change the boy.  Hmm, he must be hungry...   you get the idea.  I call this 'The Fog'.  Its lasts at least 48 hours.  I daren't drive.  We rarely go out.  I don't feel safe.  Above all I feel incredibly guilty.  Poor Crazy is fending for himself whilst Mummy is a mess!  These are the 'dark days' when I just about manage.  Everything hurts.  Skull-crushing headaches.  Crazy shouting and shrieking regardless and who can blame him- Mummy is being BORING!  When The Fog has lifted I have a few 'good days'.  I am almost normal.  I almost remember how it was to be in remission.  Those good days are spent getting Crazy out and about, experiencing the World as a toddler should.  We go out on walks, get grubby, climb, race, paddle, roll... When the good days pass, we stay closer to home.  I can't be too far from a toilet.  I'm tired.  So tired my eyes hurt.  My joints ache.  My hair and nails are weak, I look a mess.  I'm emotionally unstable and it's all I can do to keep my cool whilst Crazy has a tantrum because the-slipper-just-won't-balance-on-top-of-the-guitar-Mummy-WHY?! The thought of climbing both flights of stairs to collect the washing to put on makes my eyes water.  I can't almost hear my knees creak as the searing pain shoots through them with every step and elbows ache at the weight of the clothes in my arms.  Keep going.  The floor is sticky.  Crazy has been using his yogurt for an art project on the hardwood.  I better get down and clean it.  Yep- you guessed it.  It hurts.  I had better steam the floor before the ants come marching two-by-two-hoorah. Ouch.  The washing has finished... I should hang that on the line.  My poor elbows! Maybe I will tumble it.  My poor knees.  Time to feed Crazy.  Whatever I make will almost certainly be discarded on the floor.  Which I will have to crouch down to clean up. Which hurts.  These things are boring to write about and so very boring for you to read about.  But all these little things add up.  When Crazy is finally in bed it doesn't stop there.  It's time to tidy away the day's carnage and put the house back together.  Then I should probably think about sorting out some sort of dinner for the rest of us.  When I finally sit down I see the sadness in Mr T's face as he reminds me he needs a shirt ironed for tomorrow- he knows I'm exhausted, but I forgot to do it and bless him, the man can't iron!  So up I get again.  When I finally get to bed, Crazy will probably wake.  If he is awake, I am awake.  The mornings roll around all too soon and I could burst in to tears as another days starts.  But I don't.  I burst into Crazy's room with a "Good morning handsome!"

Because I have to.  Because he needs me to.  Because it doesn't stop.  Because I love him dearly and I want things to be normal.  I want to be 'able'.  Because crying won't help.  But, you know, sometimes I can't help it.  That's why I'm crying, my dear Mr T.  Because I can't help it.  Crazy is in bed.  I can let go.  I'm steaming the floor with tears in my eyes.  I'm polishing the sideboards with a puffy pink face.  I'm vacuuming whilst sobbing.  Because it can't stay inside.  What should have been a little disappointment was a big deal to me.  What would have been a lovely day off was just delaying the inevitable.  When you see me getting on with it- I'm still hurting.  When I make it out- I'm almost always the first to leave.  Not because I don't want to spend time with you, but because I have to keep it together.  If you haven't heard from me for a while, the old cliché is true- 'it's not you, its me'.  Really it is- give me time.

I don't want sympathy.  I don't want 'poor you' and despite what I've written here I don't feel 'poor me'.  I don't have time.  I'm too busy worrying about Crazy- am I doing a good job? Should I do less of this or more of that?  Is he reaching his milestones on time?  Is he sociable/happy/fit/healthy enough?  Is he eating enough?  Will he fall off of that?!  I wouldn't change it.  I am exhausted.  I am in pain.  Sometimes I cry and get grumpy (sorry Mr T and goblins) but I'm still going.  I am happy despite all of this, overall.  Because I have my family.  I have time.  Time to enjoy it all at whatever pace I am able- be it from under a blanket or on top of a slide.  I am grateful.