Pokemon Go, oh no…

Today my son scored a goal at soccer. He’s been playing in the same team for two years and he’s now in the under 8s. He spent a few months as goalie where he rarely got to kick the ball but saved dozens of goals from being scored by other teams. He was the best goalie. Everyone would talk about how he’d throw himself onto the ball with such finesse and courage. But the whole time he’s played he’s spoken about how he wants to score a goal. So he begged to come out of goals but then his skilled defense meant he didn’t get much of a chance as striker from the back of the field.

Until today.

Today he scored a goal. He came up to the front from his position of defense up the back (excuse the lack of technical jargon). He dribbled the ball around a few players with ease, gliding in and out around their little knobbly knees. He gave the ball one final push and off it soared into the back corner of the net. His teammates all cheered and patted him on the back and the grin on his red face was worth the wait.

And I caught a Bulbasaur.

TWO YEARS we’ve all been waiting for this moment, and I’m catching Pokemon?!

I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not how it seems. You see, I downloaded the new Pokemon Go app the other day and I have enjoyed so many fun times with my boys. My husband has taken them out to the local shops and parks and gathered items and hunted for Pokemon along the way. It’s a real team effort and has been great for entertaining ourselves and coming together as a family.

But damn you, Nintendo, for dropping that red-eyed little green creature with the bulb on his back at just that moment in time. I’m just grateful I got to see his gleeful grin.

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Renewal

In less than a week I will be a grown-up again. I’ll get to wear nice clothes, makeup and even high heeled shoes! We’re not talking the sky-high shoes that are dusty and strewn across the floor of my wardrobe, or the flats that are squashed underneath the runners and slippers that have taken over my life. I mean REAL mid-height grown-up ladies shoes. There’s nothing really special about their design, but they represent my future. In all their plain black court shoe glory, they are everything I’ve been working towards.

The last time I was in the workforce was September, 2013. It was around the time of my second blog post. I was working in a stiflingly small office within the financial services sector. I had become a target for a bully, often being confronted with slamming doors, being personally insulted, and constantly questioned about why I was doing some tasks one week, then berated for not doing them the next. I was in a position where I could not possibly win. But I was pregnant. My goal was to work as far into the pregnancy as I could in order to be eligible for the government’s paid parental leave. It only resulted in a miscarriage at thirteen weeks, a resignation text from my hospital bed and a full career change. I enrolled in a degree within a few days, and here I am now.

Two years and ten months later, and I am almost finished my degree. I have two trimesters remaining. I just have my current full time study load for one trimester, then one part time and I am DONE. I can’t believe I am here. My time studying has been more fun than I can ever explain. I think knowledge and education are highly addictive. Well, they are to me anyway. Which is why it scares me to think I could almost be done. In fact, next week I begin my internship. I knew I’d have to do at least one, but I really didn’t want to … until I saw the ad for this one. It’s an eight week program within the editorial department for an online publication I have followed for several years now. It looked too good to be true, so I applied not expecting to hear back. I was then called for an interview. Again, I went without any expectations. I joked about the fact that I sat between two models in the fawyer and couldn’t hide my giggles when a hipster asked them if they were her for the “Vogue fitting”. Any other time I would have stood up and said “Yes” to watch his reaction. The building was amazing. I was just happy to be at the interview, to walk through the offices to the meeting room where I pitched my story. I smiled, sat on my hands to stop them from flying around, made them laugh, and left with no expectations. And I was selected.

Then the shopping started. The excitement hit. I’ll get to have REAL adult conversations where I don’t refer to myself in the third person. No repeating myself twenty times a day and no translating toddler speak to the cashier in Target. I’ll even get to eat my lunch without sharing with a screeching toddler, mouth open at the ready. Coffee warm? What IS that?! I won’t know what to do with myself. I will also be starving for dinner as I’m walking out of the office, but I do need to lose a few kilos so maybe it’s a good thing.

Anyway, I’ve not blogged for a while and I just got the urge, and I’m finally not so time poor anymore. You see, I’ve managed to sail through three weeks’ worth of uni readings and week one hasn’t even finished yet. This is the beginning of my new life. My life as someone who enjoys what they do, someone who understands that bullies pick on those who they are threatened by. I was never deserving of the treatment I endured in the past, but I won’t let it shape my future. Because the future is mine, and I won’t give him the satisfaction of letting him be a part of it.2016-06-30 21.16.22

Happy Valentines Day for the Old and Wrinkly Ones

Some say that love is a warm and fuzzy feeling, the need to be with that special someone for the rest of your life, a burning desire to get as close as physically possible and bear the fruits of your love in the form of many little munchkins…

I say that love is like walking across a tightrope between two buildings while balancing twenty-six dirty nappies in one hand and a tray of chicken nuggets and chippies in the other and wearing a fat suit following thirty-six hours of no sleep. And still smiling at the other end.

When I met my husband, I was a size six. I had abs, long luscious golden locks, and perky breasts. Now I have a pouch that could house a small joey, mousy brown hair and floppy sock breasts with big giant nipples. When I take my bra off I could find a whole collection of Lego, hair clips and Cheerios. Love is what my husband still has for me, despite all these changes in the bargain along the way.

Love is ageing alongside one another, changing so gradually that neither of you notice these changes and beg the marriage gods for a refund. Love is sacrificing designer handbags and European holidays for a nappy bag and a trip to the zoo and still wanting to take photos to preserve the precious memories. Love is about getting three hours sleep and finding a smile inside when you’re woken by a one-year old blowing raspberries on your flabby belly. Raspberries ALWAYS sound better when there’s a bit of give in the skin’s elasticity. I do it for her. Really, I do.

Love is that coffee and shortbread that you hurriedly share after the kids are in bed, while both hoping that it lasts forever. It’s walking around MovieWorld the day after tearing your hamstring clean off the bone. It’s the way I feel right now and every second of every day of my life without exception and I would never change a thing.

Love is a smile, open and free

Love is an embrace, especially for me

Love is my cocoon, warm and secure

Love infects me with a passion, of which I want no cure.

My sweetheart’s love is balmy and thrilling

We share passion, excitement, our love is fulfilling

Like the apples fallen from the abundant tree

Our love has created cherished hearts three.

The love of our cherubs is innocent and bright

Unconditional and constant as the stars at night

Always forgiving, never a grudge to be held

To protect them forever, I am always compelled.

Love is acknowledging how blessed we may be

And never assuming its loyalty

We give and receive in equal shares

Showing our love that nothing else compares.

I Want to be a Munchkin or an Oompa Loompa

The schoolyard changes as we move through the years, but is it the schoolyard or us? From that scared little girl on the first day of school to the anxious mother going into a school fundraising meeting, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference. No matter how old you are, there are still bullies. There are still people who feel so threatened, jealous or territorial that they can’t help but push their negativity onto others. But why? Why can’t a playground be JUST a playground? Why can’t it be all about the children and learning and everyone getting along like those cute little orange Oompa Loompas in the chocolate factory or the happy-looking munchkins from Oz? I could be the happy little green one doing backstroke through a river of chocolate ganache while sucking on a lollipop tree… Actually, that’s it! I’m buying up shares in Cadbury. Problem solved.

Confidence thrown out with the placenta?

Sometimes I wonder if they threw my confidence out with the placenta. Or even a little bit each time. Like the midwives and obstetrician all get together as they’re stitching whatever part of my body back together, and they say “Ooh, let’s take away her ability to make new friends!” or “Why don’t we get rid of those interview skills?” They rub their hands together and with a little tug and a toss over the shoulder it’s gone for good. Bye-bye job interviews, new friends, and even the ability to look your son’s school teacher in the eye when she’s complimenting you on being a super mum as you “have three children, including a BABY and you still manage to help with fundraising and attend open classrooms at the school”.

As I ponder all of these things, I sit here FREAKING OUT. You see, I had this silly idea that I could apply for a scholarship a few months ago. I fit the criteria, so why not give it a shot? I set a reminder in my calendar to print off the application form in February, I got some amazing references, one which literally brought a tear to my eye, and I submitted everything before the deadline. It’s not a huge monetary figure, but when one is not working, they do not turn down free money, right?

So now here I sit, a few hours after receiving the phone call. I have been selected for an INTERVIEW. At first I thought it was great, but then I couldn’t shake the weird nervous feeling. I used to look forward to interviews. I was one of those sick sadistic people who got off on being asked difficult questions. Or maybe I was just too far into myself back then to realise that interviews were the work of the devil. I used to have a heap of clever answers all ready to go in my head, and I even coached hubby through some interviews too, jealous that I couldn’t sit them in his place. I honestly thrived in those situations and was a natural.

But now I’m DYING. I can’t talk myself up anymore. I stutter. I go into a fumbling mess. I try to talk, and when nothing comes out in the right order, I try to make up for it with my hands. They wave around in front of my face, totally out of my control. My hands are like two flapping fish … very much out of water. I am my hands, that fish – gasping for air. Do you think they’ll give it back to me if I write to the hospital and bribe them? Why is it that only a year out of the workforce can send someone back so far? If anyone has any tips (or vodka, or maybe even duct tape for my hands?) I’d be grateful.

Sincerely,

C.

How do you know when you’re done?

One year and three months ago I found out my baby had died inside me. I had a D&C as my body froze up in disbelief and refused to let go. I was then was advised to wait three months before trying again. I was supposed to be thirteen weeks pregnant but my baby measured ten weeks plus five days.

One year ago today, my third post-miscarriage cycle was complete and a new one had just begun. We were getting ready to have a few friends over for New Year’s Eve, and I was going to have a few drinks as I wasn’t ovulating until around the fifth of January. I had a bender that night and although it was still shadowed with sadness, lots of cuddles with our two boys, time with good friends, and a few laughs it was really good for me. That night was the last time I felt tipsy.

I’m happy to report that this year, I still cannot have a heavy night on the Strawberry Daiquiris because I am breastfeeding our four-month-old baby girl (she was conceived in the first days of 2014 and arrived four weeks early for those doing the maths). This year though, I’m filled with sadness and uncertainty. I always wanted four children; my husband was happy to stop after our two boys. Our baby girl was our compromise. But how do I know we’re finished? When I was pregnant this last time I vowed I would never go through it again. Every scan terrified me. Every symptom had me worried, every lack of symptom had me picturing that still lifeless figure of a baby on the ultrasound screen … I just never wanted to go through it again. We also just do not have the room for another child. I thought I was OK with that, but now I’m not so sure.

I know I should be grateful for even having the choice to try again. Many people are not so lucky. Some have one child but run into roadblocks on number two, and many don’t even have that chance. I am eternally grateful for the three beautiful children I have and I feel like I should just listen to hubby and stop pondering another … but I can’t help wonder if I’m going to regret not having that one last baby when I’m old and wrinkly.

I’ve googled and even good old Mr Google doesn’t have the answer. The internet is just flooded with many more women asking the same one. How do we know when we’re done? Will I ever know?

TOP FIVE THINGS I’VE LEARNT THESE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

These holidays I have been making the effort to get my kids out of the house as much as possible. There’s a great new water play park near our place so we’ve walked down to that a few times, done some shopping, visited friends, had friends over for a play. We’ve been really busy, which is great because I am incapable of sitting around at home all day every day. I have, however, learnt a few lessons during the school holidays.

1 – Do NOT take all three of your children to the local pools.

Until a few weeks ago, my two boys aged six and four were terrified of the water. We’ve been through years of swimming lessons which have resulted in them fake vomiting on the side of the pool, waking up crying every morning asking with big, wet, puppy dog eyes “Is it swimming today?” and when they were younger, claw marks down mummy’s back and chest from a toddler trying to scratch their way out of the pool. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super proud of my kids overcoming their fear of water, but they are now fearless little people. Fearless kamikaze children are NOT what you want to be watching slowly creeping their way towards the deep end of the pool while you’re trying to breastfeed a newborn. So lesson learnt – only go to the pool when hubby doesn’t have to work.

2 – Do NOT take ANY kids to the water play park in Darling Harbour on a busy summer’s day.

That place is like one giant MOVING Where’s Wally picture. You can blink and lose a child. Even when I dress my children in the brightest stripes, which I often find make it easier to find them, there is still no way to spot them. Hundreds of moving children and water DO NOT MIX. Don’t do it if you value your sanity.

3 – Do a toy cull with your children.

I’ve not done this one yet but it’s on my list. My kids have been seriously spoilt, as they do each year, but they also learn to let go of older toys. Most of the time I remove the things they no longer play with and donate/give them away or throw them out while they’re not home, but this time my six-year-old will help. I’m hoping the pain from the wailing “I WAAAANT THAAAAT!” is outweighed by him learning where everything goes so that he has some direction come pack-up time. I’m sure he’ll still blame any mess on his little brother, but it’s worth a shot, right?

4 – Do NOT leave uni essays until the last minute.

I always have the best intentions and aim to have my uni assessments started way ahead of time. What I really do is procrastinate, write-up the cover page, procrastinate some more, check the formatting … Skim through the novel again, stick some post-it notes in a few pages, vacuum the house, check the formatting again … You get the idea. This always results in me sitting up until half an hour before the due date, frantically typing away then submitting without proofing. I honestly think this is where my best work comes from, but it’s not a pleasant process and I become an evil, snappy, cranky MUMSTER. There’s my new year’s resolution right there – I will NOT leave my work until the eleventh hour. Wish me luck on that one. Actually, I have one cover page to check over right now, yet here I am …

5 – Enjoy your children.

The holidays will be over before we know it. I want to look back at the end of my holidays and know I’ve spent time with my children. I want to know I’ve shared some laughs, helped them to the next level on Knack (the PS4 game) a few times, shared a special meal or two with them, watched a movie with them, and just generally made memories. And along the same lines, take many photos. These memories when our children are young will be gone in the blink of an eye. I like to make photo albums every year or two. I order them online and they are printed and shipped out to me. So far I have four, and they are my most prized possessions. If my house went up in flames, they would be the first thing I’d grab after my children. We all take photos and they get uploaded to social media, or they get saved to a hard drive. But what do we then do with them? I choose my absolute favourites and compile an album. They are such beautiful things to look at after time has passed. I highly recommend it.

So there you go – the top five things I’ve learnt from these school holidays. I know I’ll make it to the end, where another phase of my life begins. I will have two children in school, no daycare fees, and subsequently only one location to drop children off at. Bring on 2015. May we all make beautiful memories and live happy healthy lives.

A Birth Story

Throughout my most recent pregnancy, my biggest fear was going into labour when hubby was at work. He works from 2pm until midnight, and I know the majority of women that spontaneously go into labour do so during the hours of darkness. I’ve also had the pleasure of having a super fast and relatively easy labour with my first son. With him, my water broke just before midnight and he was born at 1:26am with just the use of gas and air and two pushes. My second son was born via scheduled caesarean as he was in the Frank Breech position, which basically means he was ready to greet the world butt first. Even before he was born, his personality was shining through. Unfortunately, he was unable to turn head down as he had the cord around his neck three times. Having had both a caesarean and natural labour before, I was aiming for another natural delivery; however, having also been on the edge of post natal depression following the caesarean birth of my son, I was also determined to not let the birthing process influence my emotions. Birthing is such a small blip on the radar of motherhood, and several weeks later it won’t matter how you birthed your baby as long as it’s healthy and you’re both happy.

It’s 11:30pm and I’ve just waddled to bed, complete with empty bladder, ready to settle in for a mediocre night’s sleep (this is the best I’ve come to expect in months). I wedge my pregnancy pillow under one side of my belly and gently roll myself onto it. Then I feel a warm gush between my legs. It’s way too much for it to have been the result of a pregnant bladder. I slide my pants down and jumped out of bed to turn the light on. As my finger flicks over the light switch, I hear a loud “SPLAT” and look down to see a puddle of water at my feet. My eyes go wide. I’m thirty-six weeks pregnant … I look at my watch … It’s 11.30pm. I will be thirty-six weeks pregnant in thirty minutes.

The words of my obstetrician flicker in the back of my mind when he was joking with my husband after the birth of my first son: “Better take note, the next time you might be delivering your own baby at home!”

I take three steps to the right towards my hospital bag which still needs some last minute additions. I pause then take a few steps towards the kitchen where hubby’s emergency work contact number is. I pause again and head towards the bathroom. I turn back around and race back into the bedroom, grab my mobile phone then I go to the bathroom, finally able to commit to a course of action. My hands are shaking and I have no idea what to do first. I sit on the toilet and hear another gush of liquid. I look down to make sure it’s clear then replace my underwear with a giant maternity pad (read: “miniature pillow”) and head towards the fridge. I call hubby’s emergency work number, which I find on a magnet on the fridge, and advise his manager that I am in labour. He replies “He’s on his way!” but I don’t miss the slight snicker in his voice.

I then text hubby, but my shaking fingers don’t quite work properly.

Git hom qik.

Com now.

DUCK! In laboru! Get home now!

My mobile phone rings and I answer immediately. He breathes down the phone, “Are you for real?” I assure my husband this is no joke. I explain I’ve had no contractions yet so will wait for him to get home as he’s already on his way.

I go into my inlaws’ bedroom and nudge my mother-in-law just as I hear my four year old son wake up calling out “I need-to-go toilet!”. I tell her my waters have broke and ask her to help me.

I help my son to the toilet, then guide him back to his bed. My mother-in-law tends to him while I throw my phone charger and iPad into the hospital bag along with my most comfortable tracksuit pants and a breastfeeding top.

I phone the hospital and tell them my waters have broke and I have a history of fast labours but no contractions yet so I’ll just wait until they kick in. The midwife asks how far along I am. When I tell her I’m thirty-six weeks, she says not to wait for anything, but get there as soon as possible.

As I hang up, I hear my husband’s car pull up out the front and I meet him at the back door. He throws his things into the kitchen, changes his shirt and heads off to the car. I duck back into my bedroom to use the doppler to check for the baby’s heartbeat. After you’ve had a miscarriage, there is never any point where you take anything for granted and I realise I’d not felt any kicks since my waters broke. With a steady heartbeat detected, we head off to the hospital

We walk into the birthing suite and are greeted by a petite young midwife. She’s in her late twenties, has her hair tied back in ponytail, a name badge which reads “Louise” and she speaks with an English accent which reminds me of my family overseas. I giggled with excitement while she asks me several questions. She checks my pad and hooks me up to the monitors then the room fills with the loud beat of my baby’s heart. Louise explains that it would be better for baby if she stays inside for at least another week, so as long as I have no contractions, I will stay in hospital while baby gains some more weight. She leaves the room and we start to discuss names as we still have no idea what we’re going to call this baby.

Not even ten minutes pass and I feel some light cramping. A few minutes later, I feel what I’m sure is a contraction. While I’m squeezing hubby’s hand and breathing through the pain, the steady thud of her heart beat slows down. It’s noticeable, but once the contraction finishes, her heart beat picks back up again. Louise the midwife reappears to check a few things, and I ask her if that was normal. She says it can happen, but we’ll definitely keep an eye on it. She gives me IV antibiotics as a precaution since I’ve not had the routine swabs done yet. My obstetrician is overseas and I have an appointment to meet his colleague next week. It looks like I’m not quite going to make it …

We’re alone again in the room and I feel another contraction coming on. This one is tough. My stomach muscles go rock hard, I feel like I have horrible period cramping but it keeps increasing in intensity. I grab hold of hubby’s hand and rock back and forth groaning in pain. This one is knocking me about and doesn’t seem to be stopping. I realise the steady beat of the baby’s heart has become one beat every two or three seconds. I look at hubby with frantic eyes while breathing through the pain and start to shake my head and point at the monitor. Hubby can hear it too. I start to panic. There is no beating. I say “COME ON!” and hear one beat … then another … Hubby hits the emergency button and the midwife comes running. My contraction has finished but the baby’s heartbeat remains scarily low. I picture my little baby girl struggling for oxygen. Can I have made it this far and go home without a baby? My mind starts to ponder how easy things can go wrong.

Louise goes out to call the obstetrician who I’m scheduled to meet the following week. She says there is every possibility that I may need an emergency caesarean. I tell her that it doesn’t matter how it happens, but we need the baby to be OK. Louise returns to the room and explains that they’ve called a Code 1, which means the theatre staff, anaesthetist and all relevant medical staff are to get to the hospital immediately. They put a drip in my arm and start preparing me for surgery. Once my nail polish is removed and I’m changed into a gown, they wheel me down for surgery. Baby’s heart beat is still too slow and they prepare me to be put under a General Anaesthetic. I cry at the thought that I may sleep through the birth of my baby. They go through the protocol and as the last of the theatre staff arrive with mussed hair and smudged eye makeup, her heart rate returns back to normal. The anaesthetist is a solid man with an accent and a deep voice. He explains to me that we’re going to have time for a spinal block so I can be awake for the birth of my baby, and the recovery is much easier.

I had my first son without an epidural not because I’m wonder woman, but my fear for the giant needle far outweighs my fear of the pains of natural child birth. I honestly HATE needles. I don’t know how I do it, but I relax and curl my spine forwards while he inserts the spinal block. The pain and feeling of that needle going in will always be the worst feeling I’ve ever felt in my life, but it only takes a minute and I can already feel my legs going tingly. They lie me back on the cold metal table and I start to shake. I’m covered with multiple layers of warm blankets as they bring in my husband who takes his seat to my left.

After a quick check to ensure I couldn’t feel any pain, I start to feel tugging. My body is jolted around so much that I worry I might fall off the table. The anaesthetist explains to me that there is scar tissue to get through so it will take a little bit longer than last time. Hubby and I chat for a few minutes and then someone calls out “Get your camera ready!” Hubby raises his mobile phone to the top of the curtain in front of us and the obstetrician lowers the sheet. I’m not expecting this and I don’t want to see my insides, but it is the most amazing sight I’ve ever seen. Just as I look down, I can see my daughter’s head. Her face is all scrunched up, her eyes are shut tight. A hand comes around her neck and she’s lifted out of my stomach. I cannot believe it. I have just watched my daughter being lifted into the world. She lets out a loud cry and I start to sob.

Louise explains to me that they will measure her in theatre, but if she weighs less than 2.4kg, she’ll be transferred to the special care nursery. If she’s over that, then she can room in with me and we can bond like I did with my other two. I hold my breath while she’s weighed. Louise explains that she weighs 2.395kg, but there is another set of scales upstairs in the labour ward and they could be out by up to 30grams. Hubby goes with them and our tiny new baby and I call out for them to “just lean on the scales a tiny bit”.

Once I’m stitched up and have spent some time in recovery, I’m wheeled into my room on the maternity ward. Hubby is there waiting already with our baby girl, who is completely healthy and weighed in at a refreshing 2.406kg.

Apart from a bit of jaundice a few days later, she has had no problems. From the day she was born, she has fed and slept just perfectly. She doubled in size in the first six weeks, and even the paediatrician who had called her “scrawny” in hospital commented that she had piled on the weight and even looked chubby.

The birth of my daughter was meant to be my perfect labour, just like I had with my first son, but things don’t always go to plan. Just like with my second son, I needed to have a caesarean for the safety of my baby. The difference is that with him, I was in denial right up until the last minute, I resented the fact that I needed major surgery when my first labour was so easy. I panicked and needed much more drugs than necessary which meant I couldn’t walk or hold my baby for a few days. This was a big factor in my mental health following the caesarean. It took me a long time to get over the disappointment of things not going to plan, and those times sometimes cast a shadow over what should have been happy bonding time with my new baby.

This caesarean experience I was determined not to panic and to just accept what was going to happen was required for the safety of my baby. I would do anything for my husband and children, and this small sacrifice is one of many which I’d do again. One thing that I was sure of is that I wasn’t going to let my failed expectations cloud one of the most memorable moments of my life. And when you don’t fight it, a caesarean’s really not that bad at all.

Thank you for reading.

A GRATEFUL POST

Since posting the story about my miscarriage, I’ve had a read through some other experiences which have floated across my WordPress app and I feel the overwhelming urge to do a grateful post. What happened to me is nothing compared to what many people face every day. Infertility plagues approximately 15% of Australian couples of reproductive age. I am so lucky not to ever have tried to conceive for more than six months straight. I found it hard enough to deal with symptom-spotting and peeing on sticks waiting for a line to come then imagining lines when they’re not there, etc for a measly six months. I found it mentally draining and I really had nothing on the many people who go through this for months and even years. Kudos to those who are still chasing their dreams of conceiving after extended periods of disappointment. You must possess such a strength to keep fighting and I am in awe of you.

There are also major life-threatening issues like congenital heart disease which gives a set of loving parents their dream, only to yank it back in such a cruel way you wonder how they could possibly get through it. I’m not sure if I could have said goodbye to one of my babies shortly after they were born. I struggle even imagining it.

So anyway, don’t let me get sidetracked. I am so super grateful for my three healthy kids. Having children is a blessing, not a right. I am so blessed to have been chosen as their mother. Through sleepless nights, sore nipples, the unrelenting screams through “witching hour”, and countless spew-adorned early morning school runs, I am always grateful.

I am grateful for my angel baby who grew wings last year when I was thirteen weeks pregnant, because without her, we would not have our little ten week old princess now. Our third child was always going to be our last, so if last year’s pregnancy had gone full-term we wouldn’t have Miss O. I couldn’t imagine a world without her now. She has given me perspective and understanding while making me truly appreciate everyone around me.

I am also hugely grateful for my husband. Above all, he is my perfect partner. When we’ve thought our love could not grow any more, it has. We’ve been married for almost eleven years and they have been the best years of my life by far. I like to think we have so much love for our children as they were born from the love we have for each other. He takes such good care of us and works hard to feed our three children, myself and also help out his parents. I’m grateful for his patience and understanding when I decided last year that I couldn’t face my workplace any longer and started to pursue a university degree. I wake up every morning and smile because I get to do what makes me happy (even when there’s a poosplosion and subsequent nappy leak) with those that mean the most to me, all day, every day.

I am blessed. I truly am.