Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs, Personal Blogs

A Letter To My Son

Once you have a son, life is never the same and you find it hard to imagine what your life was like before he made his appearance into this world.  It is the most wonderful feeling to be a mum! I wanted to write a letter to my son so when he is older, he can read this. Many other mums may also be able to relate to my pregnancy and fertility journey!

I carried you through the hardest months I’ve had in my life so far. Pregnancy was hard and with chronic illness, a stoma, PGP, and mental illness added into the mix, it was quite the mocktail without the cherry on top! As you began to grow in my tummy, I felt butterflies rumbling as you moved in your sleep, when I played music, and when I lay in the bath (I knew from that first wriggle in the bath and every time I was in there, that you were going to be a water baby!) If I hadn’t of announced I was pregnant with you, everyone would have been none the wiser, due to having such a small bump, which didn’t appear until you were around 26 weeks old and boy, didn’t I know about it when I did! I felt every kick and hiccup which was super painful but rewarding at the same most precious time. Your favourite place to kick was under my ribs and my bum! It’s a sensation I can never really explain to anyone when they have asked how it feels, all I can say is it’s super sore and weird but also funny at the same time.

I remember the very first outfit I ever got you, it was just after my gender scan and I had found out we were having a little boy. Now the gender scan did not go to plan at all! When I think back, I laugh! I had taken a Chinese gender scan online and, with the symptoms I had whilst pregnant with you, it appeared to me, that I was having a girl! When the person doing my scan said I was having a boy, I was so emotional and I cried. Half of those tears were due to hormones and the other half was down to being so annoyed at myself for thinking you were a girl and also due to grief. You see, before I was pregnant with you, I had a previous pregnancy but she had to leave too soon with the doctors help as I was too poorly. It would have been her 3rd birthday this year and she is never forgotten even though she was so little ( I say she because [some may not believe in this] I saw a pshyic medium who seen her with your great, great granny). Now, your outfit was this gorgeous blue and white winnie the pooh shorts romper, you’ll see this picture below.

SO cute!! At just 5 months, you have the greatest lanky legs like a dandy long legs! Which you love to kick around and swing left, right and centre whilst wriggling and rolling in mid nappy/clothes changes, cheeky! You might notice when you’re older, a little cut on your hair line. This is because I had to have my tummy cut open to give birth to you, ouch! I’ve had lots of many different surgeries and by the time we read this and you’re old enough to understand, I know I will have had lots more! Never worry, I’m always looked after by very nice doctors and nurses and I had many surgeries before I had you so I’ve learnt a thing or two on how to be a tough cookie! Same as for your daddy, which is how we met, and is a story for another time.

Being your mummy is hard some days because when I am sore, I become very tired and some things that wouldn’t really bother me most days, bothers me and I get grumpy. Like not being able to take you out for walks in your pram or having the house clean and tidy. Every time you laugh on those hard days or when you smile or say “dada” it helps me feel better and it makes them so worth it! When I see you splashing in the bath and having so much fun soaking my face, all I can do is laugh. When I hurt and feel pain, your cuddles are the best medicine I could ever need. You are six months old and growing so quickly, slow down! I haven’t had enough of my little baby just yet, and maybe you will always be my baby boy. When you are old enough to understand, I can explain in more detail just how much of a special little rainbow baby you are.

A little miracle. A blessing. Pure joy.

Your big brother Biggie knew when I was pregnant with you before we had announced it to all our family and friends, and has loved you from the minute he knew. He loved to lay his head on my belly and listen to you inside! When I brought you home, he slept by you in your moses basket and bouncer chair and still now, loves to be by your side. You have just started to see him as a dog with fur and his big flappy ears! You explore his face and body with your tiny little hands and fingers, feeling his soft smooth and jabby fur as he naps next to you before you too drift off into a nap. You are trying to say “dog” too! What a clever little man you are. As you grow older, Biggie will too, and he will always be your bestest friend and remember that Biggie is part of the family, more than just a dog!

Sometimes, I may need to be away from home when I don’t feel well but always know, I’ll be coming back home to you and when I do, I will always be ready for your kisses and cuddles. When I am away, I go to a place called the hospital where I get looked after and helped to feel better so you mustn’t worry. Daddy and Biggie will be there with big cuddles and Biggie more than likely will make you laugh with his loud and stinky farts!! Sometimes daddy may need to go to hospital to feel better, too,but he is much more braver than I and we never need to worry. You will also become aware that both Daddy and I poop and fart differently with our pink squishy buttons on our tummies! My squishy is called Lola and she saved my life and she can be very funny! You will learn all about her from your Buttony Bear book i read to you through the years and your buttony bear!

Know this icke baby, that whatever we go through in life, know we have eachother. We got this. Strength grows with love and our family is full!

Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs, Personal Blogs, Pregnancy and Baby

Travelling

Waiting for the train. 15/03/21

Travelling for the first time on my own since having Odin has felt so strange. I’ve missed him from the minute my partner drove away in the car. Finally, after being on the train for a half hour, I was able to relax and enjoy the Scottish scenery we are so lucky to have here in Scotland!

We were up at 8:30 am. I got showered and packed the last of my things after changing Odin whilst my partner fed him and let our doggy out for his morning business! My train was at 10:13 am so we left the house around 9:40 am to make it there in time for me to print out my train tickets. It was bloody freezing, so I quickly dug out my hat and gloves from my backpack (pictured above, which is from Hype.) Once on the first train, I popped in my wireless headphones and put on my rock playlist. I was feeling pretty down from missing my boys, but after coming off the first train, I went and got a coffee and a maple pecan plait (which is my favourite bakery food!!) And back to listening to my playlist on Spotify, I feel a lot better. It sounds super strange, but it definitely helps to pick some really chilled out rock when I feel anxious.

So what are my tips for travelling with a stoma? In my previous blog from when I flew with my stoma (you can find by clicking here.), I haven’t blogged about travelling on the train with a stoma! Here are some tips that may help you;

  • Apart from the main things you need, it’s handy to bring a backpack with your essentials in there, for example, medication, juice, snacks, hand sanitiser, and a phone charger.
  • Empty your bag when you can, especially when you feel it getting near halfway. This will help you not only avoid leaks but also panic! If you suffer from frequent leaks or eat anything high in fibre the night before and are a little worried, take some spare stoma supplies in your backpack. Eating low fibre foods if you are sensitive to those also helps and drink plenty of isotonic drinks to keep hydrated, for if you have a long journey, it can be quite warm on public transport.

Thanks to Scotrail for having WiFi on the train, I was also able to video call with my partner, which helped my anxiety A LOT. I got to see Odin and my dog, Biggie, and see how they all were doing. The views on the train from Montrose were absolutely stunning, too! I forgot there was a bridge and freaked out a little being on a train above water, haha! Once I arrived in Glasgow, it was onto busy and exciting things! Which I can’t reveal just yet (which also means when I do, my social media will be private for a little while). After my slightly busy afternoon, I came back to my hotel and nipped to tesco for some makeup remover wipes because I forgot to take my Elemis cleanser with me, then ordered some food from Tofu Asian Fusion Partick (a place that specialises in tofu but is highly recommended by people I know and me!)

After food, I got tucked into bed and started to watch the new Jeremy Kyle documentary on Channel 4 via the all 4 app, (gutted it’s only just two episodes!) and relaxed for the night. In the morning, I had a fabulous relaxing shower, a coffee, and lounged around in my towel whilst doing my makeup and continued to watch the second episode of the Jeremy Kyle documentary. Once ready, I popped off to go the shop for some isotonic drinks and a quick look in the charity shop, in which I managed to grab a bargain; a top for just £2.50! Then, a quick dash to my taxi and then the start of a busy and exciting day! After an exciting and emotional but fun day, I had to make a quick dash back to the hotel to check out. I then picked up a coffee and toastie before heading off to get my first train home (I had a couple of changes to get).

Finally, after what felt like forever, I got onto my last train home!! The anticipation to see my boys was crazy! The whole hour, I was thinking, “I can’t wait to see them and give them all a big squeeze!!” Which is EXACTLY what I did when I saw them once returning home! Odin became wide awake with excitement (he was fast asleep in the car). I ran a bubble bath after changing Odin’s nappy and popped him to bed and then enjoyed a lovely soak in the bath and then also went to bed!

Travelling can be exhausting when travelling, so it is important to take time for yourself and rest when you get home.

Personal Blogs

Motherhood

Odin and I at the aquarium!

Motherhood is such a mix of emotions. Mostly full of joy, pride, and love. Each day is different, some you find that you are on top of everything i.e the housework, you’ve showered and you have maybe went for a walk and some days the house is a total mess, you haven’t showered but your baby is smiling, clean and fed.

Being a chronically ill mum, it adds a whole lot more into the mix! You ache, some days you can’t eat, you’re so exhausted from looking after a little human and the chronic fatigue. On the good days, however, you make the most of your day! Which is exactly what I did in the picture above. You begin to find your own routine, too, which helps you make a plan in your mind when you can take your medication and shower, which are the main important things for me. Self care is so important (I know, I ALWAYS say this, but it’s true!), and you need to remember to take time for yourself too, it helps keep you sane, relaxed and can benefit your mental health. I also try to get out for walks with Odin and our dog Biggie, when it isn’t too cold. On the days where I’m either too tired or sore to do much or Odin’s having a bad day, I may find myself being pooped on, spewed on, haven’t been able to shower and the house is a mess! It’s totally OK to have days like those.

The main downside I’ve found, from a combination of chronic illnesses and being a mum, is that you soon realise who is REALLY your friend. It’s a harsh, quick sadness that you may find yourself in more times than once. I’ve had friends turn out to be huge jerks after years of friendship, out of nowhere, or I simply didn’t see the signs. I’ve dealt with friends simply blocking me for standing up for myself, another was truly awful to me because I was hoping to have a girl in my pregnancy and others just simply not think of me and dont invite me to anything. You also realise what family truly cares about you, too. I’ve had many not bother to message and ask how Odin is or myself, some so excited for me to have a baby and meet Odin and i gave up asking them when they wete free with excuses and some didn’t even congradulate me when i announced my pregnancy. However, there is also the beautiful side of life, where you make new friends and choose your family! I’ve made such amazing friends with other chronically ill mums, have been blessed with still having friends from school around and the family I have now, are so supportive and loving that I consider Odin, Jaimie and I super fortunate. I like to count one blessing or good thing in each day, which helps me cope so much! For example, yesterday, we got out for a walk and spent time with family. The day before, I had a long soak in the bath and really enjoyed some me time.

In tough times, count your blessings and love the people who love you! The rest who don’t think about you don’t let yourself think about them.❤

Personal Blogs

Travelling For The First Time As A Mum

The beautiful scenery

Travelling for the first time as a mum and a family has been a mixed experience, full of highs and lows. It took hours to pack, due to Odin not settling (I think he knew something was happening.)

We both took an LFT after finishing packing and putting everything in the car and then left for Glasgow around 2 pm and finally arrived at about 8 pm. The weather was fortunately on our side and made the views absolutely stunning past Aviemore and Grantown On Spey! We had to stop about two hours in to feed Odin and change him, let Biggie out for a wizzy, and then we set back off again. Our second stop was at McDonalds for a quick bite to eat, which was SO busy! Everything went great until about 30 minutes before arriving in Glasgow..

Odin got hungry (he also had pooped which I realised when I changed him at the hotel), and the traffic was absolutely mental, to say the least! People don’t let you past here or give you way and we had a terrible time trying to find the car park and then the car park was such a long walk to the hotel, my feet are super sore and swollen. On the walk to the hotel, someone was arrested with another being questioned, people were smoking weed on the streets like it was legal, and the nightlife here is 100% not for us! Jaimie definitely found it way too stressful driving around Glasgow (and the traffic lights take forever to go green!) My anxiety got the better of me as it wa so busy I was worried a stranger would try to touch Odin or go near his pram and the sheer shock of walking on a street with all that happening, sent me into tears, most likely a panic attack?

However, that all being said, now we are settled in the hotel room, it is so nice to get away for a night. Biggie is lying, snoring at the bottom of the bed, and Odin is sound asleep in his travel cot. I’ve had a cup of tea and have my heat pad on my back, which is easing the back pain which I suffer from daily. I’m really excited for the opportunity tomorrow has for me, and I’m so grateful for this entire experience; it’s a learning curve and another memory and exploring of Scotland to pop in memory Bank!

It also has helped know that for future holidays, the do’s and dont’s!

Pregnancy and Baby

Rescue Balm by Samantha Faiers

Knightly Adventures by Samantha Faiers Rescue Balm!

I saw this in Tesco and decided to give it a go for wee Odin. At just £3 I thought if it wasn’t good, it wasn’t super expensive, so no Biggie!

It has oats and chamomile  in it and works the same as a lip Balm where you turn it at the bottom, so more is pushed up. Odin gets very dry cheeks, probably from the cold weather.. as he was born in October, after all! I didn’t think it would have much of a scent, if any. It actually smells really nice and sort of sweet! It has done wonders for Odin’s dry cheeks, which are super soft now!

I definitely would recommend this product, and you don’t need to use a lot of it either. At just £3, you really can’t go wrong. It says you can use it for any dry areas on your baby and I will definitely be carrying this in our nappy changing bag for when we are out and about!

(Not an AD.)

People's Stories!, Pregnancy and Baby

Danni’s Birth Story

Danni, 26 shares her traumatic birth story to raise awareness for other pregnant women.

Danni is one of my best friends whom I met through the Colostomy UK support group via Facebook. We have been eachother’s rocks through our pregnancies and everything that she has been through, we have gone through together! *please note any triggers before you read about trauma, surgery and birth*

About 2:30am on the 11th November 2021 I finally had enough of feeling unwell and my gut was telling me something was badly wrong. (For those of you who know I’m a Type 1 Diabetic and have been for 16 years now) I checked my ketones and they were extremely high which is VERY dangerous for a Diabetic let alone a PREGNANT Diabetic.

Josh (Danni’s husband) immediately called for an Ambulance who said that because I was still breathing, it would be a 6 HOUR wait and that I wasn’t classed as a priority. I then rang my family who rushed me straight into A&E and even though I explained my situation to the Receptionist, I was told it would be a long wait. Knowing full well I was in something called DKA by then, which again is VERY dangerous and life threatening.

I eventually got seen by Triage about 15-20 minutes later who understood my situation and quickly got me onto a bed in the main A&E bit of the Hospital. I had NOTHING done other than bloods and my health started quickly deteriorating (throwing up black stuff with blood in it) which I mentioned SEVERAL times to the nurses. Maternity didn’t even come down to do a check on Jackson even when I told them I hadn’t felt him move AT ALL for hours.

By about 9am my amazing Diabetes Team came to see me and noticed how ill I was, they then rushed me into Resus and proceeded to work on me trying to get me stable. Maternity came down and I will never forget my Midwife’s face when she put me on the baby monitor. Jackson was in severe tachycardia and I was also in pre term labour.

DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis) masks the normal symptoms of everything especially in Pregnancy. I was also in severe tachycardia so the Surgeons came down and decided to get me straight up to the operating theatre and do a Cat 1 C-Section which means a threat to life unless intervention can be done.

I had to have a spinal (where local anesthetic is injected into the spine) because it was too risky to put me under general anaesthetic, which I was kinda glad about because that meant I could have Josh by my side in theatre while they saved both mine and Jackson’s lives!  Myself, Josh and our families will be forever grateful that me and Jackson are now safe and healthy.

The reason why a full investigation is being done by the NHS and PALS is because the A&E staff should have done so much more, being busy is no excuse before someone comments that. The nurses were talking to eachother quite a lot so I know they weren’t rushed off their feet and when I was being violently sick they just stood there looking at me. I also wasn’t allowed Josh with me even when I was in critical condition.

Just wanted to share my story, I’m VERY grateful we now have our little family, I do have PTSD from the Trauma but hopefully that goes away in time.

Very proud of Danni to raise awareness of such a traumatic event in aid of helping others!

Pregnancy and Baby

My Favourite Baby Items!

These items are fantastic for when you have a newborn! Super affordable and definitely what you want stock of in your bathroom/cupboards!

I had heard about vapour bubble at being great for babies full of the cold from friends and the ‘From One Mum To Another Official’ Facebook group. There was another kind by a brand called Shnuffle Babe at £7.30 which is quite a bit more expensive, ASDA’s own brand is just £1! Their bubble baths and nappies/wipes haven’t let me down yet! Tonight, we tried it with my 6 week old as he has come down with the cold terribly for the second time in under 2 weeks and spent the night choking! Afterwards, so much came out of his nose and he is no longer sounding like a little snorter. I use bubble bath for him every 2 days and never get results like this with those so the vapour 100% does the job!

The Johnsons bed time bubble bath at £3 smells gorgeous and super relaxing! I also have the oil to match. These were recommended to me by babies godmother who’s little girl turned 1 today! The oil is really lovely for massaging your babies tummy if they are colic or constipated and smells so lush!

I also highly recommend pure organic Coconut Oil and e45 for moisturising your babies skin!

Now for the cute star shaped ‘thing’! This is actually a bath thermometer believe it or not! I got this in my baby box, which is a Scottish baby package, to read about the Baby Box Appeal please click here. It has two different modes of measuring the heat in either Fahrenheit or Celsius and let’s you know when the water is too hot or too cold by flashing blue for cold and red for hot! It’s very easy to clean, too. You can get these pretty much anywhere online and they are not expensive.

Last but not least is the Boots steriliser descaler at £2.50 that can be used on other household appliances, which is stated at the back of the box. You only need one scoop and it works great! I have used it in my kettle this evening, usually I use more expensive brands like Ecozone. The boots own brand did the same job if not better! It is quite a big box compared to the sachets I normally get at £3 for a box of three sachets.

I hope this is helpful for other first time mum’s out there! ❤

Pregnancy and Baby

Knowing The Necessities and Accessories With A New Born

Before having my new born, there was SO much items I got either free, gifted or bought. It’s amazed me just how much I haven’t needed! In this blog, I’m going to help you prepare for a new born with what items are necessities and accessories.

Firstly, let’s talk about accessories; things that look lush but don’t serve much purpose or that are really not needed so much.

  • Changing mats – where these can be practical mostly for traveling and easy to take to places e.g visiting family, they are actually quite messy when changing your baby and they have an accident. Due to being waterproof the accident stays and your baby gets messy so easily and it takes longer to clean up as well as longer time cleaning your baby.
  • Feeding pillows – where these look super comfy and cute, it actually makes feeding a bit more difficult and they take up quite a bit of room.
  • Prep Machine – where this looks super cool and a good bit of electronics to have in the house, a kettle is much better due to being much more sterile and you don’t have to worry too much about cleaning and worrying about any bacteria that may get trapped as it would in a prep machine.
  • Joggers or jeans type outfits – for a newborn these are great for a photo shoot or a day out but practically speaking, it is a lot more difficult and time consuming to put these on! New borns have accidents and also suffer with colic so the tight waistband of these can make your baby a lot more uncomfortable.
  • Fancy bottles and teats – this is the most important lesson I have learnt! Don’t buy too many of these until you have had your baby. When in hospital, there are two different types of teats and you will learn what works best for your baby whilst in hospital. When you go home, you can buy what works best then to save wasting money on bottles and teats!
  • Fleece type blankets – where these are good for walks in the pram, practically for moses baskets and cribs these aren’t ideal! Your baby over heats so quickly with these and can cause your baby to become dehydrated and unwell very quickly.
  • Pre made milk (if you are formula feeding) – I thought this would be most handy to have! The pre made milk takes longer to heat up than what it does to cool down a fresh made bottle with powdered formula.
  • Maternity clothes – over priced and buying a size or two up saves you A LOT of money. I personally found the maternity jeans SO uncomfortable.

Of course, every baby is different so some things that one baby likes, another may not. For safety and great advice, read those booklets your health visitor gives you! They are packed full of great information and are so helpful.

Now for the necessities! Things that you need close by at all times and a stock of!

  • Size 1 nappies – have a good stock of nappies! Even in your hospital bags for going into hospital. Try a few different brands or stick to one, whatever works best for your baby makes a happy baby. It’s handy to store some next to your bedside; which I’ll elaborate on in my next point.
  • A storage caddy – these are so handy for keeping items close by, keeping them tidy and organised! In my caddy I have nappies, sudocrem, nappy sacks, wipes, sleep suits, vest suits, bibs, coconut oil, bed time oil, a fresh towel, the red book, cotton wool pads and soothers.
  • Lots and lots of hooded towels – these are fantastic for nappy changes (any accidents are quickly absorbed) as well as their main purpose at Bath time.
  • Coconut oil – this is a great way to keep your babies dry skin at bay and really good for massage time! It contains no perfumes and is totally natural.
  • A bath support sponge – you can get these on amazon and I’m so glad I got one! You can use them in the sink, bath or in a baby bath to keep your baby supported during bath time. Making bath time so much easier.
  • Drawers specifically for baby stuff – however many drawers you have, it’s good to keep your baby’s clothes, nappies, bathing items etc in their own drawers so it is easy to find them.
  • Variety of sized clothing – now this is a BIG one! Different places are differently sized with clothing and it is super frustrating. So it’s good to shop around and get a variety of sized items.
  • Cellular blankets – you can never have too many! You’d be surprised just how many you use and go through daily.
  • An electric or cold water steriliser – both of these are just as good as the other. The cold water steriliser is great for keeping items in there for upto 24 hours if you don’t need them constantly and the electric steriliser is great for items you need sterilised quickly.
  • Tummy time play mats – there are such varieties of these to choose from and are great for keeping your baby entertained when they are wide awake.
  • Maternity pads/breast pads – these are a MUST. Normal pads simply don’t cut it, where everyone does bleed differently, there are some days you may bleed heavily and the maternity pads are super absorbent. The breast pads are handy when you leak and although I didn’t leak very much, it does help having them in your bra to avoid any staining on your bras and clothes as well as keeping you fresh.
  • Nighties – I found these far better than pyjamas especially in hospital due to frequency of needing the toilet and vaginal examinations.
  • Granny type pants!! – post partum these are a god send. If you are a c section mumma, even better; these help with recovery by not putting pressure or rubbing on your scar as normal underwear would. (If you are an ostomate, Vanilla Blush briefs are amazing for recovery after a c section by helping keep your bag away from your wound/scar.)
  • A nappy changing bag – any will do but SUPER useful when you are out and about.

When it comes to baby chairs, bouncers, prams and car seats always make sure they are certified and within date if you are getting any second hand. There are so many gorgeous ones to pick from within any budget. If you are receiving benefits you should sign up for your best starts card (this may only be limited to Scotland – this I am unsure of) and make sure you get your MatB1 form. Scotland also has the baby box scheme which your midwife will give you to sign up for and you will receive it at around 34 weeks!

As I am a first time mum at just over 2 weeks I am sure there will be so much more things I find useful along the way as Odin grows up and so I will make sure to blog about those. It’s been such an exiting journey and I’ve loved how the most simple items have been the most useful for us!

Until next time, Alannah x