Sunday, 17 July 2011

Summer Boot Camp For The Impatient

Yet another wet and dismal day and I fear that the next seven weeks will be a nightmare if the weather continues like this.  I am the type of mum to dress the kids up in waterproofs and wellies and send them outside in the rain but today they didn’t fancy it and to be honest, I didn’t feel up to sitting out there getting wet myself with them.  The problem that I now face is finding them things to keep them occupied inside the house for the whole day. I am living on student finance so don’t get any money through till September now, days out and holiday fun will have to be to a very strict budget indeed.
My eldest is fourteen and is rather easy compared to the younger two.  He emerged from his room first thing to eat, fart and grumble at being asked to vacuum upstairs for me then he returned to his beloved Xbox for the remainder of the morning.  I think I saw him at lunchtime, well he made a guest appearance to grab his lunch, fart and grumble at having to stack the dishwasher then he ascended the stairs back to his pit of a room to twiddle his knobs and yell ‘fire in the hole’ at his friends online.
My other two children are totally the opposite.  Yes they are younger and at the age of four and six years old it is totally understandable that as a Mother I have to occupy them, suggest things for them to do and generally watch over them most of the day.  If I don’t keep vigilant watch over them I pay the price dearly and usually spend my evening scrubbing pencil off the walls or fixing broken toys and items from around the house.  They can’t seem to play with one things for longer than two minutes and they are also incapable of tidying up before getting out more toys to play with.  Yesterday the contents of the dressing up box remained on the conservatory floor until my husband got home and we threatened no food until everything was away nicely.  Even this threat didn’t work fully as we both ended up helping them to tidy up just so we could sit down without clutter around us.
So far today the children seem to have been more thoughtful and are putting things away as they go along.  Maybe the large supply of custard creams as bribery has helped a little but it’s working so I won’t grumble.  What I do need to tackle though is their constant whinging and whining of they can’t have something or can’t find a toy that they want.  The more a child jumps up and down on the spot repeating ‘mummy mummy’ whilst flailing their arms about and emanating a type of wail and half scream, the more I want to join in myself and just scream back.  I have been known to shout ‘grow up’ to them which often results in fits of laughter from myself as the realisation dawns that I’ve just told little children to become adults rather quickly.  I have resisted such urges today but what I have found easier to do is ignore them until they speak to me in normal voices.  In theory it sounds good but these two little ‘darlings’ have developed an art of shouting at me, and I mean sergeant major type shouting at me until I give them what they want, do what they were asking or find what they were looking for.  These two will definitely be learning the art of patience by the time school starts in September if it kills me.
It does worry me how they are going to behave when the baby is born.  Splitting oneself into four so that each child can have a bit of mummy at the same time isn’t going to be easy and something which I don’t fancy trying to manage on a daily basis.  They will have to get used to waiting their turn and doing so quietly.  My eldest son must hate having to wait the longest usually because he understands patience and that he will get more quality time if he isn’t screaming ‘now now now’ at me.  I don’t give any of the children more attention or time that the others because when they do demand more from me and become needy and clingy it does tend to push me away more because they need to learn to become independent and not rely on me for absolutely everything.  In my eyes if a four year old can dress himself in a morning he can certainly put the dressing up outfits on without creating a scene and screaming at me until I do it.
The children think that the school holidays have begun, not for me; I’m calling it boot camp.  They will be begging for school by September.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Long Wait Ahead

In an earlier post All Change, I discussed how the midwife system had changed since having my youngest child.  It now seems that I was misadvised on the telephone and since having my booking-in appointment with the Midwife this week I now know what to expect over the next seven months.
The booking-in appointment did take place at the antenatal clinic at Leighton Hospital however, this was just because the midwife team rents a room there in a way so they can free up rooms at the GP’s surgery.  These appointments ‘usually’ take an hour, mine took two.  I guess every patient is different and with having three previous births and numerous pregnancies to document, I was lucky that it was only two hours and not longer. 
The midwife herself seemed nice and approachable and is also one that I will be seeing again at the 16 week appointment at the GP surgery.  She seemed thorough in collating the information on previous births and family medical history however, I did have to question the overall efficiency of the process.  I’ve now had three of these booking-in appointments over the years and have repeated the same information over the three appointments.  I was rather bemused that the hospital didn’t already have this information linked to my file considering all three of the children were born at the same hospital, as was I.
I am also rather upset that I am now limited to four cups of tea or coffee a day.  This woman really doesn’t know me yet, that’s my hourly intake.  I shall have to hunt out some decaffeinated tea bags and coffee and stop moaning about it.  I was also forced to hold back tears when she went through the list of forbidden foods, almost two thirds of my diet was on that list.  Oh how I want a runny egg now or a baked camembert with pecans and chilli.  At least I don’t have to be responsible for cat litter duty anymore, always a silver lining to everything.
The next stop for me is an official scan and screening tests which will take place on the 28th July.  The midwife was hoping to get me a quick appointment with the history of multiple births in the family and previous complications that I’ve had but I am not quite sure if this appointment is a speedy appointment or just their usual waiting times.  I won’t grumble and just wait patiently till the 28th, yes me, wait patiently.  Something that I’ll have to get used to again at Leighton Hospital, their appointments never run to schedule and I always seem to get forgotten or end up waiting two hours or more.  Next time I shall go prepared with a book, a drink, a snack and the good old iPhone for company.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Yummy in my tummy

I’ve discovered that I like writing when I’m munching on nice cakes and sipping a lovely coffee, usually not at home too.  On Tuesday I popped into Waitrose for a few bits and bobs and found myself writing away in the coffee shop whilst eating a lovely little nibble.  Economically, this partnership of writing with cake and coffee could be problematic but also what will I do when the summer holidays commence?  Six weeks of no ‘me time’ may sound like I’m selfish and resent being a mother but having finished University in early June it has become rather nice to just nip and have a cuppa in my favourite surroundings.
On reflection though I think it was mainly a way for me to escape a little whilst waiting for school to finish.  I was kind of excited and nervous at the same time because my youngest had been in school all afternoon on the last of his taster sessions.  I was excited to hear how he’d enjoyed school again but I was also nervous that he would be mad at me for abandoning him there. 
My husband and I did get to enjoy lunch at the school with him and the other new starters today before leaving him.  The lunch was amazing, stereotypical school dinners are definitely a thing of the past.  I’ve always laughed in the past when the school have raved on about their award winning chef but now I can see why.  The food is sourced locally and for £2 a day the children get to enjoy the most tasty dishes ever.  I’m not just saying this to blow smoke up their backsides, I personally would make Chef Ramsey look like a pussy cat when it comes to critiquing food.  The spag bol I had was dee-licioussss and the portions were good too with offers of second helpings! No wonder I rarely get my daughter to eat much of an evening. 
After a lunch and a quick play in the school woods it was time for us to abandon our son for the afternoon.  His sister was there trying to help but I still had to resort to the classic ‘dump and run’ manoeuvre that I’m sure many parents will be familiar with.  Dump him in the arms of a teacher and run for the car park.  I could hear him shouting ‘Mummy I want a kiss’ from the car but I didn’t go back, I just left.  I can’t even begin to describe how guilty I was feeling.  Perhaps I should have gone back to give him a kiss but he’d already had five or six before I handed him over, plus lots of snuggles.  For years I’ve had to endure a ritual of many kisses, hugs, and more sloppy kisses before the nursery staff or child-minder have had to prise him off me as if stuck to me by Unibond’s finest. 
With him going to school I felt he needed to break this habit a little.  This little bump protruding from my tummy is making it so hard to carry him everywhere or lift him up to cuddle him all the time.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Sleepy Hollow

I’m being honest when I say the last few days have been tiring.  I have even found it hard to write about anything and feel that I want to blame being tired and emotional but ultimately feel that it is down to sheer bone idleness.  After having three successful pregnancies you would think that I know what to expect, what to look out for and what to avoid but forgive me because it all feels new to me.  I guess I suffer from selective memory loss along with the selective hearing that comes naturally to parents as it does to children. 
I seem to get done what I want to absolutely need to do and then just sit in a daze like a hollow shell until it’s time to pick the children up again.  Just the other day I commented how I’d never felt such tiredness during pregnancy but the more I think about it the more I remember how much I slept during all three pregnancies.  Having my eldest at the age of 16 was quite easy looking back, I was at the age where I could laze in bed of an evening without having to think of chores and other children.  Carrying the other two was different, I worked full time and travelled with work too.  The housework suffered, the homemade evening meals became ‘ding ding’ meals and my evenings became snooze time on the sofa. 
Last night I think I was asleep by 10pm which for me is extremely early.  I say ‘I think’ because I really don’t recall what time I was doing anything to have an idea of what time I may have nodded off.  I awoke at 6:30am under my fluffy pink blanket with a note saying ‘sorry but I tried to wake you’.  I felt so guilty and yet had slept amazingly well.  During breakfast I was doing the usual moaning about how tired I was when my Husband interrupted to comment that anyone would think I was nine months pregnant because of the way I was talking.  Initially I laughed at his remark but as the day has passed it has played on my mind a lot. 
It’s nothing to cause an argument over but do men actually realise just what our bodies are going through during early pregnancy?  Maybe it’s just my husband hoping to ignore the symptoms I’ve been moaning about.  Let’s face it, showing him my sore boobs over the breakfast must be a turn off for any guy.  The more I’ve thought about his comment, the more it has reminded me of similar comments with him twice before, both times when pregnant with the two younger children.  Maybe I need to sit and have a chat with him, again I don’t wish to cause an argument but I want him to realise just how wiped out I am feeling at the moment.  I really don’t want to be in that position again like six years ago where the day I gave birth to my daughter I cried to my Mum on the phone because he hadn’t offered me a cup of tea since we got home.
I also laughed about a remark he made during my last pregnancy the day after I discovered that I was with child.  He was wondering how I could be all of a sudden tired, feeling bloated and having back ache.  He had a fair point and to be honest after breeding what feels like a football team I now feel equipped with the knowledge to answer him.  It isn’t all of a sudden and he’s right.  What does happen, in my opinion at least, is that the symptoms, especially tiredness, is there all along but because we then discover that our bodies are now incubators and changes are happening our senses are more aware so we notice things more.  It is also a lot easier to admit that we are tired when pregnant and haven’t actually got of our backsides all day.  Notice how I’m saying our, I sure hope others are like this, if not I really am just a lazy person.  I just hope this feeling passes soon, my to-do list is growing daily and the summer holidays are growing nearer.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

On the edge

Sunday 10th July 2011
Yesterday flew by so quickly that I didn’t get a chance to write anything down and apart from a bad back, sore boobs and lots of sickness there wasn’t much to report.  I have now informed the world of my stupidity in becoming a mummy again for the fourth time, the broadcast on Facebook was a necessity because my kids were dying to say things to their friends and I didn’t want other friends finding out by word of mouth. 
I wasn’t on Facebook when I had the other three children so never had to think of a way to announce it until now, how was I to know a lot of people would get upset?  Not because of the way I announced it but purely because I am pregnant again.  I fear that I shall have a few less friends over the next few months but that is their choice and I cannot influence that at all.  What they do need to realise though is that we haven’t taken this decision lightly at all.  Yes our life isn’t ideal, I do have my own health problems and yes I do know that our relationship can be explosive at times. 
To those who feel that I cannot cope with the three children already then let me be the first to say, I agree.  But parents all cope in their own way, some like to be out and about mingling with others and being super parents at the park 24/7 but some just like to muddle on alone and not in the public eye while they are dealing with their children’s inability to behave.  And for me, I do prefer to stay at home and that is my decision.  To you it may appear that I cannot cope however I feel more in control when I can manage my children’s behaviour in my own house, my own garden rather than becoming that screaming fishwife in the local park who is constantly telling their children off. 
This decision that I have made will be at the front of my thoughts for the remainder of this pregnancy and believe me, it’s not easy thinking each day over choices being right or wrong.  My emotions have been especially torn each morning when my two younger children are screaming the house down because they cannot play nicely together without adult supervision.  My husband usually sees to them at this point because when I do eventually sleep it would take a nuke to wake me up and not world war 3 going on downstairs in the kids bedroom.  This is now driving him mad and today I felt ‘told off’ when he announced that I shall have to start seeing to the children when they get like that because it’s wearing him out.  Initially, I felt like starting an argument and pointing out all of the things that I do with the house and children that tire me out but I had no energy, my boobs feel like they are about to explode and my back, yet again is throbbing.  I just nodded and agreed but now I am worrying about it.  It does take a lot to wake me, I was always good with the children when they were babies but now their cat fights don’t seem to wake me.  I felt so sick at the thought of being told off and I don’t think he meant to make me feel like that but is this a taste of things to come?  I don’t think I could cope with all this again. 
On the other hand though, it is 9:45am and I am awake with the kiddies who are now playing in the garden and he is still in bed, but even still, he has been up and down to them early this morning.  Maybe I should start pointing out that I rarely stay in bed like that, once I’m awake I just get up and at ‘em.  Or maybe I should just leave it?  Why cause an argument just for the sake of making a point or standing up for myself?  I don’t want to argue but hearing that this morning has made me feel so bad in myself.

Friday, 8 July 2011

The Tutor

Friday 8th July 2011
The battle-axe of a tutor wasn’t quite as harsh and ‘matter of fact’ as I was expecting yesterday.  I even caused her to chortle a little by saying, ‘I thought I’d give you extra to worry about over the summer holidays’.  She was very helpful in explaining the options open to me for the second year of my degree.
  Instead of taking a full year out now and having no money for a year, I shall start back in September and carry on with University until the baby is due.  This will however have slight implications, mainly with the School Based Training which I need to pass to move onto Year 3.  During the Autumn term I will be required to do a two week early years placement however some schools do refuse to take pregnant students so that could cause problems with finding somewhere to do the placement.  I am rather optimistic and hope that the schools will be quite accommodating because I won’t be that far along in the pregnancy by then. 
The other major placement I have is February to March where I will need to do a 6 week placement.  It will be impossible for me to do this placement because I should be about ready to spit out the watermelon.  Oh the pain!  What I will need to do is find a school who will accommodate me on a 6 week placement in May onwards.  Sounds simple but apparently a lot of school refuse to do this.  So, I may have to get used to the idea that I have already failed the second year of the degree course.  I refuse to be negative though and say why bother going back, I shall give it 100% and hope that I find a way to progress to Year 3.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

All Change

Thursday 7th July 2009
I’ve secured a ‘proper’ midwife appointment today.  I am in the middle of changing GP surgery, so I’ve found it very laborious getting the right information and even struggled to get an appointment.  The appointment I secured yesterday turns out to be at the Patrick Murphy Unit which is a bit like an abortion clinic and counselling session.  There is no way that I need to attend this now and thankfully it is now cancelled. 
So much has changed since I had my youngest four years ago.  There’s me faffing about worrying over registering at the GPs surgery and getting seen by the Doctor before anything could get done when all along all that I needed to do was a self-referral to the midwife team at Leighton Hospital.  The lady I spoke to today was extremely helpful.  She offered me a booking-in appointment next Wednesday which should last approximately an hour.  I remember this type of appointment from having the other three children however, it is new to me that this is now done at the ante-natal clinic at the hospital rather than at the GP surgery.  Are the NHS cutbacks that bad now that midwives are limited to staying in the hospital?
I am quite lucky that I live near to the hospital but I can imagine some women finding it very inconvenient to travel from the other side of Cheshire just for routine appointments that used to be carried out at their local surgery.  Then of course there is the £3 parking fee, maybe even more if there is a long wait at the clinic.  If there’s one thing I’ll never forget is that the ante-natal clinic at Leighton is never running to time and quite often I spent more than two hours waiting around.  This baby is costing me money before it is born….the sign of things to come.
March seems such a long way off at the moment but from past experience I must remain inpatient and enjoy what little freedoms I have before my life becomes completely taken over by sleepless nights and swollen nipples.  I need to prepare my nest and at the rate I work, March is far too soon for me to have this nest ready.  Time to get off my backside and get the duster out.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

New Era

Wednesday 6th July 2011
I was so tired after the hectic day yesterday that I slept like a log.  My eldest woke me early this morning to inform me that the cat was stuck on the loft roof.  A clothes prop and skipping rope later I was fishing for cat out of my bedroom window.
After a few more conversations with my husband I had a chat with a Midwife on the telephone.  She was very helpful and I now have more information to work with to move forward with this pregnancy.  It is very early days yet, approx. 5 weeks but even still, it’s scary and exciting.  It’s a new life that has formed and I cannot wait.
My Mother-in-law thought we were joking when we told her on the phone this evening.  She had her concerns regarding my health but was wholly supportive of our decision.  I spoke to my own Mum who seemed supportive but still had to ask if it was the right decision for me.  I was still quite upset by this.  It does lead me to wonder if my sister had the same conversations with Mum or whether they treated her differently.  I do need to stop worrying about how she is being treated compared to me but I would like some emotion other than anger or worry directed at me at some point in the future.
My mother is making me feel like I am disappointing her, she tried to change my mind again by pointing out all the bad things about becoming a parent again.  I love her deeply and do respect her fears for my health but I long to have that motherly support and approval which I seem to rarely get.  Even with my studies I feel that only my husband respects just how much hard work I put in these days.
We also told the children today.  Truthfully I would have preferred to wait until I was out of the danger stages but the children do jump on me and quite often on my stomach.  They also  treat me like a slave and usually demand something there and then with no room for negotiation if I’ve just sat down.  In order to get them to understand just how tired I am and how I need to take it easy, telling them about the baby was the only option.  They all seem thrilled and the younger two are already falling out over who will do the feeds at 2am.  I’m not sure that idea will last long.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Choices and Chaos

Tuesday 5th July 2011
What a day !  If yesterday’s traumatic trip to the dentist was a challenge then this was my Everest.  I had planned a lovely relaxing morning, a little housework, a nice coffee and a catch up on some paperwork.  Sadly this didn’t happen. 
I did however get a fantastic text off my husband confirming that he had told a friend about my pregnancy.  So does this mean we’re having a baby?  Can I get excited fully yet?  Last night we talked through a lot of the issues and came to the conclusion that perhaps we can do this.  We can have four children and make it work.  The decision was aided by the very helpful lady at University who went through the financial options for me.  Even though I still need to finalise plans with my tutor it is still very possible to continue my course.
This morning  I was so overjoyed, I did what I needed to in town and returned home to have my relaxing day.  All the time I had been excited inside thinking ‘eeek, I’m having a baby’ rather than ‘oh, I’m pregnant’.  Five minutes into my relaxing time, the phone rang.  My eldest son had a headache at school and could I take him some paracetamol. I rushed to the shop as we had non in and delivered it to the school.  I knew he had an exam at last period so there was no way I was going to be soft on him.  Having just got home, the phone rang, he was now feeling sick.  At the same time the other phone rang, it was my daughter’s school.  Her toothache was bad and could I call in to give her some Calpol.  I rushed to the shop (I really need to stock up more often) and bought Calpol, rushed to school to administer the pain relief to the now happily skipping 6 year old and slumped in my car shattered.  I then rushed to the Doctors appointment that I had at 11:30 only to still be say there at 12:45.  I had to leave without being seen because my youngest needed picking up from nursery and dropping off at the Primary School for his taster afternoon ready for September.  We made it just in time for him to go in.  I was a proud Mummy until the eldest started texting me to tell me of his impending death from illness and could I rush to his rescue.  I hadn’t even stopped for lunch.  Picking my youngest up from school was lovely.  He really enjoyed himself and promptly fell asleep after a bowl of Ready Brek at 4:30pm.  Bliss.
And one more means four? More like chaos, but good chaos.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Coping or Surviving?

Monday 4th July 2011
Had a small but meaningful chat with my Dad today.  He seems to have digested the news better than Mum.  They can’t make a decision for me but they can be there to support whatever option I choose.  My husband knows that I want this baby, I’ve opened up to him.  The thoughts of cruelty and un-want kept me awake again last night.  I look at my children now, pains in the backside at times but all unique and individual too.  They are lovely children who just seem a tad hyperactive at times.  I’m sure we’ll cope as a family.
I coped today at least.  Well, kind of coped.  It was more of a bad day turned hectic.  The Primary School was closed for a training day so not only was my daughter at home but my son was too because the childminder was taking a day off.  My daughter had toothache so I managed to get her to the dentist for an emergency filling.  The poor little live was ever so brave but she’s been in pain ever since/  If I can cope with her screaming and the youngest causing havoc in the dentists, I can cope with anything.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Selfish Excitement

Sunday 3rd July 2011
I saw another close friend last night for a cuppa and a chat.  They too have had a baby taken from them in the same way which I am contemplating.  Before I left the house, my husband bared his soul, his pain and anguish at feeling so selfish in his thoughts regarding termination.  We shared a moment together, I fear we are both feeling this way.  We have our life together on track for the first time in many years.  I have made real progress the last two years both mentally and academically.  Would it be fair to bring another child into the world?  I fear the excitement within is consuming my thoughts more rapidly now.  He knows that I want this child, he also knows that if his decision is so strong and final that I will also stand by him and not go against his wishes.
Marriage is a partnership and we are only just discovering this after seven years.  What I cannot understand is that this decision is crushing me more than I expected.  I was sixteen when pregnancy first became an issue for me.  Abortion, termination, ‘getting rid’ never even entered my thoughts.  I wasn’t married, I wasn’t in a stable relationship at all.  I was a child myself.  So why now am I being more thorough in my judgement? What do I know now that I didn’t know then?  Is it my inner conscience telling me that I haven’t given my children the love and support they deserve already?  Is it just me being selfish thinking of nappies, weaning and the dreaded breast feeding again?  Perhaps I’m just older and wiser and have more touch on reality now with having three children already.  Time will tell.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Fear the Parents

Saturday 2nd July 2011

Whatever decision I make I shall have to tell my parents.  I don’t want to.  I know I need to but I just cannot face the ‘what have you done?’ accusations again.  All of my children came at inappropriate times according to my parents.  They have never actually said this, maybe I am wrong however it’s the general feeling I have been left with.  When my sister announced her news of forthcoming Grandchildren it always appeared to be a happy occasion.  For me however, more sombre times with the parents looking harassed and stressed giving off those vibes of ‘oh shit’.

I went to my parents mid-way through this post.  I told Mum and guess what, no fireworks and champagne.  I fully understand that it wouldn’t have been a joyous occasion and the fact that my two youngest children had just spent half an hour strangling each other didn’t help.  But what I wasn’t expecting was the clear lack of sympathy from my Mum.  She has made her feelings quite clear that termination is the only option.  I wonder if she said this to my sister a few months ago when she announced the arrival of her third child.  I wonder if she said this when my sister announced in May that actually the third child would be third and fourth because she’s carrying twins.  I doubt it.  All we’ve heard about since April is baby this, twins that. 

So why can’t she even give me a hug?  I’ve explained that termination is something we are having to consider, I was crying as I was telling her and yet she just looked so disappointed in me.  I feel like I’ve lost my best friend and now I feel that I have no option but to supress that twang of excitement inside me even more.  Each day it has been growing and now and then has been forcing me to smile at the thought of holding a newborn baby in my arms again.  No more.  I need to really and truly decide what to do for the best here.  There’s obviously going to be a clear lack of support from my parents.  I don’t mean financially or for childcare, I mean emotional support.  That absence of a hug said it all to me.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Familiar Choices

Friday 1st July 2011

I had a lovely chat with a close friend last night.  One who knows from first-hand experience exactly what I am going through.  She confirmed my fears, I shall regret this forever if I make the wrong choice.  What would life be without challenges to keep us focused and motivated?  What is a normal life that my Husband and I yearn for?  Maybe this is normal. 

I can imagine there are many women throughout the world asking themselves the same questions.  This year has indeed been a challenge for me.  I’ve overcome breast cancer, I walked 13 miles in just over three hours to raise money and most of all, I passed the first year of my Primary Teaching Degree.  How can I give up on that now?  I’ve worked so hard for two years no to be able to get this far at University.  The Access course at college was demanding but not a patch on the first year at University with the school placements alongside.

The finance for students is far from wonderful however, it is something. If I was to defer my course for a year it would mean living on nothing, maybe even losing the house.  My Husband has been thinking the same too.  His fears are, that for the life of a newborn baby we could be putting the security of a good home and future career at risk for myself and the children that we already have.  It hurts so much inside to work out what to do for the best.  What is best?