So here we are.

So here we are.

It’s been a while and I’m sorry for that. I guess I lost my mojo a little bit (if I even ever had one). I write like people read this but I’m not really sure if anyone does, oh well, I’m going to write something anyway. It always feels good to get words out.

I wanted to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while, something that is very important to me. Arth’s birth was very traumatic, I still believe it was a very big trigger/ part of developing post natal depression and anxiety. It was not at all how I had hoped/planned and everything that I was terrified of happening, happened.

A big part of feeling that heaviness of feeling “weak” and that is was a “bad birth” I think stemmed from having too many people almost boast “I didn’t have any pain relief at all”, “I had a completely natural birth”, or “my labour was 48 hours long”. This may be an unpopular opinion and I am in no way saying how you give birth and labour should not be celebrated. It is bloody hard. However you do it, you are incredible.

Yes, it is natural. Yes our bodies are “designed” for it. But that does not mean it doesn’t hurt, because trust me it really bloody hurts. If you had a natural, pain relief free, short birth, good on you. If you had csection with allll the pain relief, good on you. It’s not a competition. And sometimes I felt during pregnancy like there was such pressure from others to have a “good birth” how others perceived it to be.

It almost felt like if you had an epidural, or an assisted delivery you were coping out. I felt like during Arth’s labour I needed to try and prove, i don’t know to who, but someone, everyone, that I could do it with minimal pain relief. And that I could do it naturally. Like having help, not being able to push was wrong, made me weak and not cut out for giving birth. Writing it down it now just seems so crazy that I thought that way but I did.

When I was pregnant with George I knew I didn’t want the birth to be anything like Arthur’s. It was so traumatic, I still think about it now. I remember talking to the consultant and she explained after a traumatic vaginal birth, having a second one, if it went well could be quite healing. It could show you how positive birth could be. But I couldn’t get past my fears, who knows if I am lucky enough to have a third baby, maybe I will look into having a natural birth again.

But truth be told, I really believe the planned csection with George helped to relieve so much anxiety. Of course I still went into spontaneous labour because babies often don’t go along with the plan but I still had the calm, controlled birth I had always hoped for. Of course birth cannot always go the way you hope. It cannot always be “controlled” because it is something that has aspects that is just out of our control.

However, you can have preferences, you can explain your choices. Use your voice, if you believe that a csection is important to protect your mental health than speak up. It does not make you weak, it does not mean you are not strong. It doesn’t mean your “too posh to push” (hate that phrase). Epidurals, spinal injections, having pethidine, it doesn’t magically take away all the pain. It doesn’t make you heal faster postpartum, none of those things are magic fixes.

Labour is hard, birth is hard. If you find it easy, if you weren’t in hardly any pain, that is awesome. Celebrate that shit. Because that’s amazing for you and wonderful. But don’t use that against other peoples fears, don’t invalidate how someone else feels. Don’t compare, because we are all different. If someone is scared, if someone has questions and fears, listen. That’s what I try to do. I bring in my own experiences if they ask for them.

I’m real about it. Not to scare, not to make people feel afraid of what could happen but just to be real and honest. If you had a wonderful labour and birth that you enjoyed, you are incredible. If you had a traumatic, hard, unpredictable labour and birth, you are incredible too.

And lastly, just because you didn’t enjoy it doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby, it doesn’t mean you won’t bond together in time. If you need to talk someone about your birth, don’t be afraid to reach out.

Hopefully I’ll be back to write some more soon if you want to stick around.

Love, Kate. X

So here we are. So let’s talk about money.

It’s something people can be uncomfortable with. It’s something that’s not really spoken about. I will tell you the truth. I think sometimes it’s harder than we think. They have been days when I think “do we have enough for food?” They have been days when I’ve cried because I’m scared about the future. They say money can’t buy happiness but the thing is, you do need it. We need it in life. It’s sad but we do.

I know we are incredibly lucky to have a roof over our heads, we are incredibly lucky to have food in our fridge. But we do struggle. Babies are expensive, life is expensive. Transport whether you have a car or you get the bus, train whatever, it’s expensive. Sometimes trying to save feels like we’re trying to run in sand. We’re saving and saving but we’re actually not, the money is going but there’s actually nothing to show for it.

I don’t think we talk about it enough. We don’t talk about food banks. Or soup kitchens enough. We don’t talk about affordable housing and loans enough. But it happens. And I don’t think we should be ashamed. We need to talk about how if you have twins you can only claim child tax credits for one of them. We need to talk about how expensive house deposits are. How expensive childcare is. We need to talk about flexible working. We need to talk about car sharing. All these things that need work, change, discussion. Otherwise we won’t ever see improvements.

There are a few people out there who are talking about the tricky subjects. But I still think we need to do more talking. There are times when I feel like I need to shy away from talking about tough stuff like money, I don’t want to speak about it. I don’t want to think about how I’m struggling. But we should. I don’t think you should feel shame in looking into getting help with money.

And with everything we went through I did worry about it. I still do. It was scary thinking about Jord travelling to see me in Nottingham, money goes quick. Hotels, food and petrol. It went. And it went quick. When you become unwell you have to focus on getting better but the world doesn’t stop. You still have to pay bills, buy food, you still have to live.

Worrying about money created stress for us both individually but it also puts a strain on relationships. It slows down healing and getting better. It makes everything harder. Even now it’s still hard. Times are tough. You know it’s really tough when you google; “can I sell a kidney?” Turns out no, FYI. It’s good to know these things though.

Children are expensive and money does have an impact on mental health. For those instagramers that do sponsored posts, I say good on them. They get a lot of stick but it’s a job. It’s a way of providing for themselves and their family. I would do it. I am not ashamed. I work and I love my job. I want to move further in my career in the future. For myself but for my family too. For self development but for the money too. I don’t think about spending money on material goods, I want money to buy our own home. I’d love to be able to help my Mum, to give back a little.

So here I am. I’m talking about money. I’m trying to work out how to buy our own home. I’m trying to move forward in my career. I would like to blog and one day I wouldn’t say no to doing sponsored posts on Instagram if it works for us. I would love it if my writing around mental health and motherhood got published, if it was really recognised. Money? We do need it. I know we are incredibly lucky. Sometimes I forget, but I know. But I’m still going to strive to do better, to develop.

Stay tuned for another one.

Love, Kate. X

So always trust your instincts.

So there we were. Arthur went through a lot at the beginning of his life. He had rotavirus, norovirus twice and bronchiolitis leading to a hospital admission. Every time he got ill my anxiety would go through the roof and I would often feel very low in mood. I feel like we battled a lot and if we hadn’t of faced everything that we did we might have got home sooner and I might have been in recovery sooner. But what matters is that we’re here now. But for now let me tell you why I think we should always trust our instincts…

I remember when Arthur first got rotavirus. He was pooing every hour. I knew straight away something wasn’t right. He pooed about 3-4 times in the day and maybe once or twice in the evening but the first day he just could not stop. I remember telling them on the unit and they suggested they would have a look next time he went. So they looked and said it looked really normal for a breastfeed baby. They said how often babies could poo once a week one week and then several times a day the next week. Something still didn’t feel right but we carried on. He seemed well in himself and was still feeding, nothing else was out of the ordinary. The next day, the pooping seemed to of died down a little, however a member of staff asked if they could take a poo sample next time which of course I agreed too. They said they just wanted to check. Then somebody else said they didn’t need too. So they didn’t.

A couple of days passed and he was still pooing more than usual and I flagged it up again, my gut instinct was telling me something wasn’t quite right and I became very worried that he would become dehydrated and start loosing weight. Eventually they approached me and took a poo sample which I happily gave, the next day it came back as positive for rotavirus and Arthur had to be put in isolation. When you suffer from anxiety I think at times it can be hard to see what is a real worry and what is not. I know sometimes it can manifest itself convincing you there is something wrong when there isn’t. But I think we should always trust our instincts. Whether your a parent or not.

Unfortunately Arthur became quite unwell with rotavirus and began vomiting and not wanting to feed much. I remember I started to cry late one night and couldn’t sleep because he kept vomiting. I was convinced he was going to choke whilst he was sleeping. I felt like I had to watch him all night which I know was not rational but at that time I couldn’t think rationally. Immediately I thought of the worst case scenario and was convinced I was going to lose him. It was a horrible time and I had to do a lot of talking through it. That’s what anxiety does, it creates a tornado inside your head, it’s exhausting.

Thankfully we got through it. Our next big battle was bronchiolitis. Watching you baby struggle to breathe is the hardest, most horrible thing. Breathing is something we all do, for most of us it’s not hard, it’s easy. When your tiny baby is using all their strength and muscles just to breathe, words can’t describe it. Arthur started with a cold and the cough gradually got worse. Then he started to struggle to breathe, he was really working hard with every breath. I told them I was concerned and we went to A&E. His respiratory rate and his pulse was up and you could see how hard he was working to breathe. They diagnosed him with Bronchiolitis but said because his oxygen levels were okay and he was still feeding we could go back to the unit but we could return if we were concerned again.

I will never forget what happened next. When we got back to the unit he was exhausted, we put him to sleep and me and Jord both closed our eyes too. Arthur was making a lot of noise when he was breathing but suddenly it went quiet. Me and Jord both realised at the same time, we looked at each other and both jumped up, we rushed over to him, Jord put his hand on Arthur and he gasped and starting breathing again. That moment will always haunt me. Words cannot describe how scared we both were. I barely slept that night, constantly watching him, terrified it would happen again, thankfully it didn’t.

Arthur did however continue to get worse. He didn’t want to feed, he was fighting really hard and I knew people thought it was my anxiety that was making the situation seem worse that what it was. However I decided we needed to back to hospital, this was the third time. When we got there, Arthur’s respiratory rate was high, his pulse was 190-200, and his oxygen level was 84%. They gave him oxygen and it gradually went up to around 92%. We would have to stay in hospital. I was relieved that they were finally doing something because all that time I felt hopeless just watching him struggle, but I was also heartbroken that he was in this situation in the first place.

All the things he has faced he has fought so hard. But I remember feeling so angry. I felt like I was being punished for something. My little boy, who had barely been in the world had already faced so much that he shouldn’t have and I didn’t I understand why?! It didn’t seem fair. I blamed myself. Part of me still does. But I know now that young babies do get ill. Their little immune systems are still growing. I remember looking at him in his massive cot in the hospital just wishing that he didn’t have to go through anything else. I would have done anything to take his place. For the first two days I didn’t even hold him, he had no physical strength left and he would just lie in his cot, tilted upright to feed and then he would just fall straight back to sleep. It was heartbreaking. But once again I was in awe of how strong he was. How brave he was.

When he was discharged from hospital we were so happy. He was so much better. However as the evening went on I became more and more anxious. I realised we went in the hospital with all the nurses and doctors. There wasn’t the equipment we needed there if something went wrong. It came to the night time and I couldn’t put him down. Convinced he was going to stop breathing if I did, I explained I was never putting him down. Something that was impossible but I just couldn’t face it. I was crying and so scared that I couldn’t think rationally. My anxiety was rearing it’s ugly head once again. It was consuming me. With the help of the staff and Jord I managed to calm down. It took time but eventually I put Arthur down. Day by day he improved and got through it.

My anxiety heightened moments of these bad situations. But I knew something wasn’t right with our boy. I knew he was going to need a little bit of help to get through this and I am so glad I trusted my instincts with the bronchiolitis and kept going back to hospital. I am a nurse but I’m an adult nurse. I don’t know babies, but I know my son. Trust that you know your babies and children. If your pregnant and worried about telling your midwife something, trust you know your body, and you know your unborn child.

Even if your not a parent or a parent to be, trust yourself, trust your instincts, go with your gut.

Stay tuned for next time peeps.

Love, Kate x