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!

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.)

Personal Blogs, Pregnancy and Baby

Merry Christmas!

My first Christmas as a mummy!

Christmas 2021 has been amazing! Odin’s first Christmas and my first one as a mummy! We were truly spoilt from everyone.

We spent Christmas and boxing day with my in laws and the doggies, watching movies, listening to music, eating good food and opening presents, it was such a fab two days! My stomach and c section scar has been quite sore and my Fibromyalgia along side hyper mobility syndrome have been causing me to ache quite a lot which has been making me super tired from the insomnia and being a mum too. Soaking in the bath helps A LOT and I rather this approach than pain relief as it makes me so drowsy and gives me such a sore stomach. I also got an electric heat pad for Christmas so that will be lovely to use tomorrow whilst relaxing! Hopefully it helps with my pain, too.

Odin got a lovely cot for his Christmas and so we will be putting it up in the next few weeks! He won’t be going into it for a good few months yet though, I love having him sleep by my bed side. He really is growing so quickly but at the same time it is so lovely. He’s starting to smile and talk and he loves to watch baby sensory videos, it’s super cute!

In terms of my stoma, each day is different. 6 years on as an ostomate and I still find my body changing, more so after having a baby! It is still numb under my stoma and it does swell from time to time but I do what I can to be the best mum to my ability and rest as much as possible. Being a chronically ill mum, the one thing I have found and therefore that is my advice to any other chronically ill mums is to rest as much as you can. Take a bath when you are able to, to help relax and for pain.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! Here’s to 2022!

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

Welcoming Baby Odin!

We are so very happy to announce that my beautiful little boy was born on Wednesday the 13th of October at 12:48pm weighing in at over 8 pounds! We have named him Odin George Edward Laughton and he is just gorgeous!

I was in hospital for 2 weeks prior to my c section as I had gotten really unwell. I also had contractions for a whole week which took my breath away when contracting! Luckily, I never dilated nor did my waters break – both of which is good in my circumstances of not being allowed to go into natural labor. My C Section wasn’t near as bad as I had thought it out in my head to be and being put under General Anesthetic wasn’t traumatising for me at all. The staff were so amazing and really went above and beyond to make it comfortable for me. Waking up afterwards was really rough, I was vomiting really hard because of the mucous stuck in my throat and being so tender, I couldn’t cought it up. I stayed in recovery over night and they were so great in helping me look after Odin with feeds, nappy changed and burping him. The day after the surgery was the worst pain wise due to my womb contracting back and shedding the thick lining that forms during pregnancy! It didn’t take them long to get my pain under control though and yesterday (16th of October) we got home!!

It is so surreal, I keep thinking I’m dreaming! Being a mummy is the most amazing thing in the world and nothing beats it! Being a mummy is something I have wanted for so long that we didn’t think would ever happen for us. Now, I have such a healthy baby boy despite being so ill during my pregnancy! It’s such a blessing as well as a miracle and having a rainbow baby (baby after loss) makes him so special to us. The late nights/early mornings and nappy changes are all such a blessing even if I am tired, just being a mum and caring for my baby makes everything so worth it!

I am so thankful to all staff at Aberdeen Maternity Unit for the amazing care Odin and I had! From the domestics, kitchen staff, cleaners, nurses, auxiliaries, midwifes, doctors, surgical team and everyone there! I also met three great new friends during my admission who I still keep in contact with. Jaimie was also able to stay for three nights at a hotel very close by thanks to the NHS Aberdeen and NHS at Dr Grays in Elgin and we are so grateful!

I had my midwife come round today to check on us and the same tomorrow. I also have family coming over today to help us put things away and clean the house. Jaimie had major surgery just over 3 weeks ago to move his Ileostomy from the right side to the left and so he is still quite tender. My c section wound is a little sore but mostly it is my back that hurts which a hot water bottle really helps! The bleeding after my section has also not been too bad at all which is a huge relief as I was so worried about that prior!

Over all, it’s been the hardest but most amazing experience in my life. ❤

Personal Blogs

Words Can Hurt But Also Heal

Lately, I’ve had some negative comments about my pregnancy and it has been really hurtful. I wanted to be open about how many pregnant woman can often come across these situations and how to cope and deal with them as best as possible and to put yourself first.

Sometimes when people don’t know you, they often judge without knowing your struggles and the journey it has taken for you to get you to where you are. I am always very open and honest about my journey and the struggles I’ve faced but it is apparent that many don’t take the time to read that and make assumptions. They also forget that it doesn’t only just affect myself, but it also affects my family and my partner.

Just some of the things I’ve had is “she only got pregnant to get attention” “she is a pitty party” “she always goes woe is me” “she just did it to get likes on social media”. I’ve also seen comments about other woman, too such as “she doesn’t deserve a baby” etc. Some women get pregnant easily, some dont. It is not for others to decide how or why we got pregnant!

I have struggled with fertility since the age of 17 and in 2017 was told I would never have children. Fast forward to now after 5 misscarries and a surgical termination, I am 6 months pregnant that is an absolute miracle and blessing to my partner and I! We have had amazing support from family and friends even through these awful comments and this is where I am healing.

If you are struggling through hard times with hateful comments, find your healing in the supportive calls and messages from friends and family. It can be hard to see through it but never loose focus on what is to come – a beautiful baby completing your family. Don’t loose sight of what obstacles you got through and the journey you have faced! You are stronger than you know and we have all got this!!

Pregnancy and Baby

The Highs And Lows In Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of those experiences that unless you experience it, you don’t REALLY understand it. The good and bad thing is that it is different for so many!

Many women find that falling pregnant doesn’t ‘just happen’ and it can take a few tries and losses to finally get far along enough to feel that “safe zone”. If you are high risk and have lost before, you will find that each milestone feels like a huge achievement. As each day, week and month goes by you still feel anxious, scared, nervous, excited and have a sense of wonder for what the future holds for you as a first time mum.

For me, the first milestone was 12 weeks because I have never, ever gotten that far before. Then came 20 weeks where we also found out the gender of our baby and had the babies weight and organs checked, all of which came back 100%!! It was a huge shock for us due to us both being chronically ill, we worried something would happen or be passed onto the baby so we were super chuffed to hear all is well and a VERY strong heartbeat! Now, at 21 weeks my next milestone is going to be 24 weeks and I feel that at that one I can fully breathe and relax a little bit better without so much worry.

So what have the highs and lows been for me? There has been so many, just to list a few:

  • Losing friends – it is true what they say that when you become pregnant, you realise who is really there for you. One of my friends of years completely blocked and removed me over night. It still hurts to this day but you do learn to come to terms with losses of friendships over time!
  • Feeling the baby kick – it feels bizarre! But it is SO lovely to wake up in the morning by little baby kicking away letting me know they are awake!
  • The hot flushes – oh. my. goodness. They come out of nowhere and can last upto a few hours!! The room can be freezing due to windows open and the fan on the highest setting and I will still feel too hot! Eventually it does settle with some paracetamol and an ice pack.
  • The hunger – this is a funny one! You eat and eat and EAT and you still don’t feel full, only when you feel the indigestion pain starting and the sick burps from your body letting you know that “girl you have to stop!!”
  • The amazing support – you connect with your friends and family in a much different way than before. Especially those who have had children of their own as its nice to have something in common. For friends who haven’t had kids yet, its nice to be able to share this experience with them!
  • The fatigue – this part is probably the worst. As I have said previously, 10 years of chronic illnesses has not prepared me for how tired you become when pregnant. Before I would laugh it off when people would tell me how tired you get when carrying! Naps have become my daily routine and really do help.
  • Looking at baby clothes/items!! – looking at all the cute items and clothing you can get for your baby is the best feeling ever! Everything is so dinky and cute! It makes you that more excited for the arrival of your baby.
  • Blockages/constipation – this has been super difficult! Just a few days ago, I had a really bad blockage and was vomiting real hard. I was super close to going to hospital but eventually after sipping on diluted laxatives from 6am, it eventually did clear. The constipation makes my stoma quite swollen so sometimes it can be painful however having an Ileostomy means there are now nerve endings so you really don’t feel much apart from pressure and swelling which is like a tightness.
  • Lastly (this one is very dependant on you and your pregnancy) the pain – luckily my crohns hasn’t been too bad but everything else has not been so kind on my body! I was diagnosed with PGP (pelvic girdle pain) which is super painful along side having Hyper Mobility Syndrome – my joints dislocate and pop back into place almost daily, sometimes multiple times per day. So I have to rest quite a lot! All it takes is a sneeze or cough and my hip clicks and pops.

It’s been really lovely to document my pregnancy journey not only here, but over at Trio Healthcare too where I talk about how pregnancy has been with a stoma. When I first became an ostomate, there was no blogs or information available about pregnancy with an ostomy and so, I never knew what to expect or any advice on how to cope with things! I hope by sharing my experiences, that it helps anyone out there with an ostomy feel reassured and have some advice on becoming an ostomy mum! To start with, I was so worried about how it would affects my stoma and my chronic illnesses but in time like with most things, you learn to adapt and cope with what your body throws at you. You learn to grow through your pain and bad experiences and turn them into something good! My number 1 advice would be is to listen to your body, so often we push ourselves to do that bit of housework or go for a walk when our body feels ready to collapse with tiredness! Rest is so important.