Sunday, 30 November 2008

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Worth coming home for


I've taken my knot of anxiety and broken out of the bubble.

Isobel is in nursery just for the sake of it! I'm not doing chores,
I'm not applying for jobs, writing business plans or anything in
particular. I'm just being.

I'm writing this with a glass of red wine in my hand, looking out on
St Pauls from the Members Room of the Tate Modern.

I know i probably should have arranged to meet someone but it's not
places I have difficulty with, it's people. From here I can see
millions of people, all sorts of people, but no-one expects anything
of me.

I'm hoping the rain holds off so I can walk back the way I came, along
the South Bank, I'd forgotten that it is one if my places, one of
those places where you can connect with world in a way that makes you
smile. I don't know if it's the river, the city, the book stalls or
just simply that it's full of life yet quiet. Whatever it is, I love
it and I had forgotten how much.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The cruelest thing

Post Natal Depression has to be one of the meanest things ever to roam the planet. Here mother nature is, on one hand giving you the most beautiful and precious gift, your own little bundle of joy; meanwhile on the other hand the rampaging hormones are seeking to strip you of the ability to feel joy, in fact to feel anything except anger, fear and helplessness.

My very bestest friend in the world has suffered this in the most debilitating way after the birth of both her children, so much so that everyone myself included has urged her not to increase her family beyond her lovely pair. We love our Miss B and we don't want to loose her in any way shape or form. Each time she gets knocked off her feet by the raging black clouds she has to fight valiantly to regain her hold on the world. And she does so marvellously. She still is my rock, my towel holder in a fight, she is my guiding star.

Compared to what my friend has been through I have merely been shaded from the sun for a while but it's bad enough. I've been lucky and unlike some mums my depression hasn't spilled over into negative feelings towards Isobel, indeed our bond has remained solid throughout all this, so much so that at times I've wished I could just bundle her up, strap her onto my back and ride away, disappear with her and her alone.

So here is my story.

For the first three months of Isobel's life I was trying very hard to be the perfect girlfriend, the perfect lover and the perfect mother. I thought if I could be perfectly lovable then I could have the perfect family. After a glib couple of comments from PD at the initial health visitor visit I was flagged as at risk, I thought this just a funny tale to tell at first.

But I did feel blue, I did find things difficult at times, but I couldn't be blue, I couldn't struggle, I had to try not to cry, because it isn't supportive and it certainly isn't attractive.

And then the perfect world I had hoped for crumbled.

Yes we had three or four weeks of tricky evenings with Isobel, but in hind sight and compared to many, we got off lightly, but it was too much, things weren't working so PD left.

It was the mornings I found hardest. I'd sit at the 10 o'clock feed with my beautiful baby at my boob and I would cry and cry and cry.

I suppose you could put this down to circumstances rather than hormones, and I would agree as circumstances have got worse so my clouds have got bigger and blacker. But, I suspect, as does my GP, that it's both. I have had more melt downs in the last few weeks than a 1960's ice cream van; the thought of a trip to see one of my lovely NCT friends has bought me nausea, cold sweats and a severe anxiety attack.

It's hard enough to deal with sh*t life throws at you at the best of times let alone during the best year of your life when you are blessed with the hormones of a menopausal teenager.

I filled in a questionnaire this morning, I didn't do too well, so I have been given a prescription again (I stopped taking them last time because they made me soooooo tired and forgetful) this time I'll take them at night. And I've been given me a book to read (much more my cup of tea), a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy book. I'll keep meditating and hopefully those black clouds will soon lift and I'll be back to being me again.

Why I am writing this? Because I am determined not to feel ashamed of it, not to feel even worse because I struggle 'to pull my self together' sometimes. I know many people can't really understand it. And because if there is anyone else who feels even a little this way, I want them to know that they aren't alone, it happens to the best of us.

I am proud of myself for admitting I needed some help (well, I'm trying to be). I am DEFINATELY proud that throughout all of this I am managing to raise a happy little girl. Luckily she thinks it funny when I cry - could have something to do with the over-compensating jolly voice I try to employ at the same time. The world may crumble around us but we are still having fun, I am sooo lucky that way.

Monday, 24 November 2008


I seem to have lost the power of prose, well positive prose anyway, so here are some pictures from last Monday, you make up the story.

Oh, here are some random words to help:

Road trip, car seat, Isle of Wight, Grandma, Hayley, fifth birthday, jelly, and party hats.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Tale of a hedgehog

When hedgehogs are scared they curl up into a ball and stick their
spikes out. Now this may well protect them from hurt, but it makes it
difficult to give them a probably much wanted hug.

I think I resemble a hedgehog.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, 21 November 2008

Catch up

Okay here are the things I haven't yet told you but can't make a whole post out of.

Isobel has tooth number three, top right. It arrived with a simple wimper last friday at 1:20 in the afternoon. All it seemed to need was a dose of Neurofen and a cuddle. So far so good, lucky lucky me.

If I'd written this yesterday could have told you it was nearly a week since Isobel was last sick, but unfortunately she empted the contents of her stomach on me yesterday. Although this did fill me with oh-no-here-we-go-again dred, I do believe we are getting a handle on this thing. Oh, and her appointment at the hospital has come forward to a week on Monday.

Those pesky cells of mine are still hanging about but didn't require a biopsy this time, so I'm taking that as good news and choosing not to think about the test results yet to come.

Ok, I still have posts to catch up on; birthday parties, car seats and heart break. Yes, I can see you breathless with anticipation.

Ps. Does anyone know how to get banana out of a sleeping bag? (No it isn't a bad joke, I've tried vanish and nothing shifts it.)

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Lovely to know

I was going to write a dispatches type post to bring you up to speed with the various thngs that I have yet to tell you. I was going to begin by telling you that my world was a bit like the sky today; a blanket of grey cloud with the odd little gap through which the sun can be seen.

But, then Lorin left a lovely comment on my 'Rock Bottom' post and I wanted to write about that first. Lorin, thank you so much for letting us know about the loving kindness that is being shown to our family in South Africa, because yes that's what they are to us, even if we haven't met them YET.

It bought a tear to both my eyes and I had to stiffle a sniffle just being reminded of how lovely people can be. I forwarded the comment to PD because I hope it will help him too, I know how helpless he feels being so far away. I also know how, quite rightly, enraged he is, something that may well get him in trouble if he was there. Although he hasn't exactly bought me much joy of late, I do love him dearly and while I cannot imagine life without him, I certainly do not want Isobel to grow-up not knowing who her real Daddy is.

It is an odd place you all live, for me it just seems impossible to imagine living in a country full of such hate, which is why it's lovely to hear of the love being given to our own.

Thank you xxx

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Pushy Parents

Last week PD and I went to our first Parents Evening - yes, we know; it's nursery for heavens sake!

Anyway, judging by the way be both mainlined plastic cups of wine (the good thing about going to a nursery in a good area is the wine is of quite a high standard even if it is served in a plastic cup, at least it wasn't served in a cup with a spout I suppose), we felt just as odd being there as it sounds. US parents? Our 8 month old daughter having parents evening? Needless to say we were praised for having such a happy little girl.

Now, I wouldn't call us pushy parents but we did get Isobel to perform the following several times so I could get the right angle:

Don't you love the way she knows the cups will fall so closes her eyes to protect herself!

Anyway, we dedicate this video to our South African family. Lots of love, and best wishes, from your English extension. xxx

Down but not out

Thank you.

I have been so inundated with emails that I thought about pulling my previous post. Instead I just want to reassure you that while I am down right now, I'm not out yet! Fighting talk I know, but I do believe everything happens for a reason, what that is I haven't figured out yet.

I still hope it won't come to moving, I will find work soon, but I have to be prepared.

But, I have little Isobel, lots of people would give anything to have that, and I'm one of them.

Rock bottom

Today is, I hope, the very bottom of the pit, and soon I will have a
firm footing with which to climb out.

Meanwhile it's dark down here.

I've just been to the Job Centre to see if I can get income support, a
very sweet, ruddy faced old man said probably not, but gave me a
number to call anyway.

I've been to the estate agents to see about renting out the beautiful
house that has been my home for eight years, and with a view to moving
into a one bedroom flat with Isobel.

I'm looking for the certificate for my diamond ring to see if I can
sell it, it should cover a mortgage payment.

I'll visit another temping agency tomorrow.

Yes, PD is trying to help but with the best will in the world he can't
support two homes and he has a life of his own to live. That's not to say his help isn't appreciated xxx.

This afternoon I'm off for a follow up appointment to check on the
rogue cells that have decided that I'm a good place to live - I'm
hoping they will have moved out of their own accord and won't need

But all this pales with the news that Grandma in South Africa has had
her home painfully invaded. I'm not sure what's more shocking, that or
the fact that over there it's an everyday hazzard. So to our South
African family this funny little English contingent, namely Isobel and
me, send our love.

As I said, the only way is up and 'this too shall pass'. And I'm still
working on my dream.

Ps. I promise to post something cheery later. I think we all need it.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

A tale

Here is a little tale to help all those having a tricky time at the mo, and it seems like there are many. It's a tale I reminded myself of when little girl woke up screaming hungry, again, at five o'clock this morning.

So, I as I lay awake in that lonely, LONELY time, here’s the story I remembered:

Once upon a time, many moons ago there was a King. He was a lovely King, and ruler of a very large kingdom. While everybody loved him, he wasn't sure he was respected.

You see he was a bit of a 'new age' man and very very in touch with his emotions; one day he could feel ecstatic with joy, and another, when the kingdom was shrouded in fear, he could be floored with melancholy. Now this is all well and good if you like that kind of guy, but not so good if you are a king who everyone looks to to make important decisions.

The king sent for his wizards, his witches, his warlocks, his fool, his alchemists... basically every bloomin' one. He set them a challenge to make him something to level his moods.

Well, they came back with lotions and potions etc. But, the prize went to the wise man who presented the King with a ring, a ring that was engraved. The message on the ring was designed to level the highs of joy and the depths of despair. The message read:

'This too shall pass'.

Friday, 14 November 2008

hearts desire

Somethings are just not meant to be, I really really believe that.

I also believe, like The Alchemist and the Law of Attraction, that if
you follow your true hearts desire the universe conspires to help you.

So, maybe I'm not meant to work. This morning even a temping agency
has turned me down.

Watch out independent booksellers here I come.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, 13 November 2008

A mummy's little angel

Do I need a white stick?

I've been hoping to write a post about how returning to mild and
gentle fairy dishwasher tablets has gixed my luttle girl. But, instead
you are getting one on my specialist subject, the fine art of the up-

Yes, you guessed it, little girl woke up at 5:30, I gave her a small
bottle and put her back to bed. She was still hungry so at 6:20 I made
her proper bottle and took her, in the dark, to our bed. She drank her
milk and went straight to sleep. So far so good.

7:15 she woke up smiling, 7:25 she coughed and projectile vommitted
part digested milk all over me and the bed.

But, they say a mothers love is blind, and it's true, because all
though this is a far too regular an occurence, I still think she is
angel baby.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

This isn't going to win any prizes...

but being a Mum who has little to show off about apart from a daughter, I couldn't wait to make a better one.

My very own creepy crawly:

Monday, 10 November 2008

Soap Box

I love christmas, I really, really love christmas. I believe it really is the season to be jolly, my tree has often goes up in the early days of december. I'm not a big fan of tinsel but presents and holly and ivy and parties and friends and family and turkey and... all of this I LOVE!

But,why oh why, do we have to start Christmas straight after Bonfire Night?

Can't we wait until December, please?

Sunday, 9 November 2008

If I could I would

There are two new things that I'd love to show you pictures of:

I'd like you to see Isobel's two eyed wink. It's a real squeeze-your-eyes-fake-grin-cheeese!'-face that she seems to do just to make you smile. But it's also a real blink-and-you'll-miss-it face. My camera blinked and it missed it, several times.

Also, I desperately want to show a film clip of the leopard crawl that now takes Isobel from place to place. It's not quite superseded the roll, as there are occasions for both. Anyway, for some reason my camera has stopped taking movies (is that taking or making?).

So, you'll just have to take my word for it, unless of course you bump into Nicola, Gareth or PD.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Daddy's girl?

Over my dead body!
I don't have evidence to the contrary because no one ever really takes pictures of me and my little girl, but you have to hope that, after all we have been through together, she is a mummy's girl.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Lovely, lovely people

The world is full of lovely, lovely people. To all of you who have wished us well, thank you, it means a lot. I guess that's what blogging is about, it's about letting people into your world.

Isobel has been a joy today, almost back to her normal, rolling, crawling and of course, SMILING self. Just doesn't have much of an appetite; where there were dimples before there are knees now - shame.

Here's Isobel, a couple of weeks ago, playing with one of her boyfriends, Larry. This pic made me laugh so hard I nearly wet myself.

I don't know why either.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Another picture to cheer a mummy up

The plot thickens

Firstly, for those who like the figures, and in the world of competitive mothering it seems all important, here are our eight month stats:

Height: 71cm (between 75th and 91st percentile)
Weight: 16lbs 12 or 7.58kgs (25th percentile)
Head: 44.5cm (50th percentile)

Yes, lucky girl is tall and skinny - not sure where that came from.

Right, back to the plot.

If I was to write this blog in Bridget Jones style I feel the stats at the top of the page would be Vomits - Isobel's; loads of washing; units of alcohol - mine; and number of sobs - mine again.

Breaking point was reached last night, when after 5 bouts in the space of two hours, Isobel could no longer even keep water down and was becoming increasingly distressed as she gagged, choked and retched. So I tearfully called PD and then NHS direct.

They, after an hour waiting for call backs, sent us to A&E to ensure little girl didn't dehydrate.

Well, that was a waste of time - by the time we were seen Isobel just wanted to sleep, she kept down the dioralyte we were administering, so at midnight when the paediatrician actually got to us there was little she could suggest. The diagnosis proffered was pretty much what we said: that she thought there was two things going on - a mechanical sensitive gag reflex and a bug.

By 1am we were home armed with kits for me to collect various nappy samples. I have never seen a little girl so pleased to get into her bed.

Today though she hasn't slept enough for a normal day, let alone to make up the half a night she missed.

Blimey, this is hard. I'm sitting here with a purely medicinal whisky mac, my eye is swollen with an infection, I'm coughing and I probably smell vaguely of sick - yes I'm an attractive prospect, who can blame PD for leaving.

So, yes I'm feeling quite poor me, but really it's little girl who is suffering.

Oh, and our paediatrician appointment - 15th December. Yes, you read correctly, even after I rang today, pointed out that Isobel had been to A&E, begged and cried, they still couldn't find us an earlier appointment. Now that sucks.

Monday, 3 November 2008

But she is still beautiful

BBC One Sunday evening

We are in the midst of an ongoing saga in this house. Ok, we are in the midst of many, but this isn’t a love saga (unfortunately) or a tale of poor girl doing good (yet) so it’s unlikely that the BBC will be around to force corsets and hooped skirts on us, even if it is turning into an epic.

No, our sage is one of vomit. Yes, I am fighting a rising tide of it and everybody is losing.

Isobel as a baby (listen to me, it’s as if she’s a teenage already, but you know what I mean,) she didn’t really sick up much, not much poseting. But on the two occasions she was sick, it was of exorcist proportions soaking all in sight and me right down to my underwear. It’s just as well her head couldn’t spin.

This was put down to an air bubble.

Then Isobel started nursery and caught a cold, the vomiting started in earnest; at least once most days, normally the morning feed requiring a change of ALL my bed linen, Isobel’s pjs and mine. Sometimes it would be twice or even three times a day and could be up to six loads of washing a day.

I took her to the doctors, they said it was probably the nastiness from her cold trickling down her throat making her gag and as long as she was gaining weight it was ok. Well, as I would make a new bottle after the ‘lost’ feed, she was doing ok.

Two weeks ago Isobel was weighed again, and she had lost weight.

So with this information I marched into the doctors. They proffered gaviscon with every feed, but I refused as she isn’t sick every day or with every meal so it seemed an awful lot of medication and a little hit and miss if you ask me. I took the option of a paediatrician appointment – an appointment we are still waiting for.

Meanwhile, last week Isobel had a tummy bug, both ends, and I was literally washed away with the volume. It’s not pleasant for a pretty girl to be ill so much, she has been poorly, days without rolling poorly, and she is so light and her dimples are no where near so deep. It’s been quite hard.

Why am I telling you this? Because tomorrow Isobel has her eight month check, and I’m dreading finding out how much weight she has lost.

Throughout all this she has been an angel baby, but the other angel in our house has been the washing machine (which, btw, Isobel has just developed a real dislike of).

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Blimey, doesn't time fly

I know I say it every month, and I know I should be used to it by now, but my goldfish brain (yes Dunc, somethings never change) keeps being surprised by the fact that I have a baby who is now eight months old. Yes, 2/3 of a year old.

I had a phone call a few weeks ago from Erica-May letting me know that little Genevieve had started to look at the book we gave her to line her pram, it reminded me how Isobel was facinated by the flowers in her pram, how excited I got when she really, really began to focus on faces, and then when she started to enjoy her mobile and baby gym.

Isobel can now see birds and planes, in fact if she hears a plane she now looks to the sky to find it, being not too far from Heathrow she spends a lot of time looking skywards . So as her field of vision has grown so has her world no wonder she is keen to get moving.