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It was like an Aladdin’s cave! The wonders that it held were simply untold. Particularly if you were 11 years old. Naturally, I was never allowed up there but, sometimes (and only sometimes), he would go out and the minute he was out the door, I had free reign, providing Mum and Dad weren’t looking that is. My brother had his own floor of the house and being a tall 1900’s Victorian town house, it was full of lots of nooks and crannies that were so appealing if you were a child. Sometimes with curtains covering; sometimes with stairs that stopped.

Mum had loved this house for such a long time. She loved the garden and all the high ceilinged rooms and quite amazingly, we had been able to move into it and see her dream come true. Plus, it was only next door. As we lived above the café (in the scary house that I had mentioned before), we never really seemed to have a proper family space like other people had. Mum was always popping in to see the various neighbours to help out with things or just to have a chat and our immediate neighbours house had always been her dream. It was my dream too, but only because I look back on it now and remember how I loved it so. How exciting it was as a child and as a grown up, with a Dad in a wheelchair, I pretty much had the top two floors. Apart from the time that Dad crawled up the stairs like a snake so he could nose at the neighbours building project. This was the time I called him an ‘utter idiot’ and slammed every possible door; whilst he slivered back down the stairs again, giggling and then calling me to help him back in his chair….’Shuiieeeeeeeeeeeeee’….still giggling. What a sod he was!

So, when our neighbours wife sadly passed away, he told my Dad he was going into a home and my Dad was to have first refusal. Effectively, he bought it for my Mum. He never held it in the same regard because he spent all his time working. The day before he went into hospital and never walked again was the day he finished paying off the mortgage on my Mum’s dream house. She had been gone for five years by then. It wasn’t exactly an ideal house for someone that was disabled, especially when your ramp(s) are delivered from the NHS and they only have one available! Rather annoyingly, Dad still had the very old fashioned four wheeled wheelchair! But, we made it work. Whilst Dad was in hospital, I made it as suitable for him as I could. I decorated the bathroom downstairs and with the help of some friends, cleared out the downstairs ‘room of crap’ to be his bedroom. We added tiny ramps to each room so he could get around and were massively grateful for the Victorian town house which used to be self contained flats as he had every room he needed downstairs.

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Mum and a monkey….sorry, I mean my brother.

I worked hard on that house. I worked hard getting it ready for Dad and I worked hard clearing it out when I had to leave. Thankfully I had my previous in laws, who, now treat me like the anti-Christ but, actually, without them, I probably would never have managed. Or at least I would have completely lost my marbles. Sadly, it was the case that nearly everything got chucked. A five bedroom family home to clear is not the easiest task and although, I regret it so much, I had little choice but, to simply skip the majority of my memories. I can never get those things back but, I always have them where it counts. For as long as I keep those marbles anyway.

After I had finally moved and negotiated the sale of the house to the same person that had bought our café next door, I came to the house again. The new owner had some post for me and asked that I would come and collect it. I was hesitant because I really didn’t want to go back in. It was no longer my house and I wanted to only remember my house as it used to be. I wanted to think of my Mum catching me smoking in the upstairs loo (God knows how because I left the window open!), finding my brothers giant porn stash behind the curtain in his bedroom and, most importantly, those last months with my Dad. Buying him treats from Waitrose. Going to the dairy to buy chocolates, and then dropping them and running over them. Shouting at him for slithering up the stairs and trying to get him back into bed when the dog had pushed him off. Against my better judgement, I knocked on the door and was faced with a sea of builders inside, whacking the crap out of the banisters with a massively huge sledge hammer. I cried all the way up the road until I got home. It was only junk mail!

Due to our house previously being flats, we had our own fire escape into the garden from the second level. Under the stairs outside was an old dresser that used to temporarily house my guinea pig(s). My Mum bought me one from Devon County Show when I was 11. It was a boy. Magically, the little boy guinea pig grew a vagina over night and gave birth to eight babies. My Dad was thrilled. Anyway; the dresser now held my special offerings to Fairy Folk. General crap that no fairy would actually want. You know? Butchered ‘4’ Leaf clovers and a saucer of stagnant water. The Fairies left me notes all the time. They would apologise for their shaky writing but, it was tricky to hold a pen. I knew it was Grampy writing them actually and the writing was a combination of age and difficulty in holding a fag whilst corresponding.

Home

I wish my kids had the garden I did to play in.

He had the whole top of the house. My brother did. One room housed the ginormous video collection. One, the general living area with games console but, the room I loved the most was the one with the entire wall of CD’s. There was everything you could ever imagine, from Hole to Barbra Striesand to Gorky’s Zygotic Monkey and I couldn’t wait to get in there. After I had selected the video of my choosing, pilfered a book (usually Fantastic Mr F0x), I would peruse the collection of music available to me. This ensured that I could sing and watch myself in the mirror pretending that actually, I was most talented and attractive. After I had watched my video that is; usually skipping bits in case he came home and caught me. He always knew I had had one though because I never rewound them. Mr Anal 1992 would never have let that happen! It was only when I was older and he would let me play Trivial Pursuit with him (whilst wearing gloves), that I thought to peek behind the curtain in his room. That was when I discovered the giant stash of porn magazines. I will leave that there.

Home

My Love of music extended to my girls. This was my 3 year olds birthday cake.

I miss my home town a lot lately. I want to go and visit, walk around with my girls and visit the dairy. I would like to walk to the fields where my brother and I would take our dogs; Candy and Floss. Where we would spend all day. Have a Chinese curry that my Dad and I would enjoy every Thursday, after I had been to the pub. My Mum and Dad are still there and I am all the way over here; in a town that never really felt like my home. I am very happy and have a lovely life but, I miss it. I miss them. They will always be there but, it feels completely alien to be somewhere where they are not, even though they are in the ground. It may as well be a million miles away, particularly when you reach the part of the month when it is bread and water all round.

Whatever happens, I will always remember that I was lucky. So very very lucky and I am grateful every day. I have so many stories that I can tell my children to take me right back there whenever I want. Perhaps I will refrain from mentioning the special stash behind the curtain though. Perhaps!

Rescue me

Rescue me

Rescue me

Eughhhhhhhh! I hate driving! I hate it!

I have made no secret about my anxiety and panic attacks and how they affect my life. Actually, they had not really affected my life at all of late. Certainly not in the way they used to. But, I still have one thing that fills me with dread that brings back that clammy and ‘whizzy’ feeling which I thought I had said goodbye to long ago: driving to work.

I just cannot shift it at the moment. Not like I can with an ordinary panic attack. I have triggers that I use to eliminate them but, the art of distraction is not so easy to perfect when you are motoring along on the M5 motorway. As much as I have tried to listen to music, I find anything with too much base will set me off. If I have a bottle of water, I will worry that it will run out before my journey has ended and I will be too dependent on that as a solution. Even my long anticipated Rescue Remedy pastilles stayed in my glove box for the first few journeys as I was concerned that the ingredients may cause some adverse reaction, leaving me feeling even worse. Typical! Totally bonkers and irrational arguments for each possible solution but, isn’t this just the nature of Panic Attacks? I still find it so difficult to comprehend that this is my bodies actual way of protecting me as it certainly does not feel like it. The main and very pertinent difference with these panic attacks is that there really is no escape from my car. I am encapsulated inside my own little whizzing ball of anxious anxiety cloud.

Rescue me

My little nurse.

Ironically, on my drive this morning, I thought about exactly what I would write if I wrote a post about my anxieties. This seemed to help me. Suddenly though, something else would creep into my mind; remember the time I fainted after I had a tattoo….. cue; complete and utter panic that I am going to faint because I have thought about fainting. That’s it! I am going to faint! My car will veer into the path of an oncoming lorry and that will be the end of me. All because I did not pull over but, if I pull over, I have given in and will make things so much worse for myself. I absolutely and categorically can never pull over.

Then I start to worry about other things, ie; everything. I wish I had money, I wonder if I could crowdfund my life?  Can I afford to send my daughter to nursery? What can I buy for dinner tonight that is less than the £3.75 in my bank account? Oh my God! I am a failure. I have failed my life…. cue; foggy head, feeling sweaty and just a deep sinking feeling of impending doom in my stomach that lasts for one nano second. Then it is gone! It does not even affect the way that I drive (crap as my other half would say!) I mean, it is not the actual driving capability that worries me. It is the worry that I will get that awful low down dread and I cant do anything. Because I have to keep driving.

Rescue me

My life has been so much more colourful since I faced all my demons.

I have always had a nervous nature. When I was a child I can remember being worried about everything. It wasn’t just the death of my closest relatives that made me the basket case I am today. I was already one! So, I seek some solace in that. The path of serendipity and all that! When I was around 9 or 10, the age my eldest daughter is now, I saw a keyring in Clinton Cards that caused me to worry for months. On the front was a picture of a cartoon frog and each frog on each key ring represented a trait or premonition for each sign of the zodiac. The frog that represented mine had crosses for eyes and a knife in its chest with the title; MOST SCORPIOS ARE MURDERED! Who on earth designed these key rings? (This is my thought now) My thoughts then were, yes! You’ve guessed it! I would be next. A true Scorpio.

I spent weeks even months after, ensuring that whatever happened, I categorically could not listen to the news. It was easy at home as Mum and Dad were working but, In the car, Dad would always have the news on the radio, or so it felt like. So, I had to turn my Sony Walkman up to its maximum and ensure that my Shamen cassette tape (that’s right! I was cool!),  drowned out any news of any possible murders. If I heard about one, that would mean it would happen to me. Ironically, as my life got harder, I became much more rational in my thinking. Probably then, I realised that Life can be an utter bastard to you no matter what you do or what you happen to listen to.

Rescue me

Now I’m much more ‘well rounded’. Well I am in this picture anyway.

So! I shall continue to search for a solution to my ‘motorised mad moments’ in the hope that I can clear this chapter of negativity soon. As I continue to work and know that Nancy is in safe hands, I feel so much better about going , I even enjoy it. I will not be defeated again and nor will I feel so negative. There are plenty of people willing to do that for you and without explanation that its a wonder not all of us are a little bit mental (which of course we totally are).

 

Work Work Work

Work Work Work

Work Work Work

I am so slack! It has been an obscene amount of time since I actually sat my rather large bottom down and wrote a post. I have been agonising over it slightly because I keep thinking that I do not really have anything to write about. Not that anyone would be interested in anyway. Then I realised; that doesn’t matter! This blog is meant to be cathartic for me and simply sharing last years Facebook CooeyMrShifter memories rather than writing again does not really cut it for me.

As I have always said, I never plan anything that I will write. I make a conscious decision to either go back in time or write about now and that is about the limit of my planning. I find it incredibly stressful if I start to write a post and I do not get a chance to finish it in one day. I am slightly OCD about this kind of thing. I could not go to bed knowing that there was a CD in the middle of the living room floor (for example) and this is the same. As I write, it clears tension out of my brain. A little like unwinding a knot. That is why I do it. Plus, I am not particularly good at anything else. Apart from possibility having children but, I did fail at that a few times too. Not from my own choosing.

I hate not feeling just quite good enough. I always feel like I miss the mark on everything really but, when I write, even though it is about my own life, I could be anything or anyone I want. Someone far more interesting than I actually am. Unlike the people that I Love the most.

My eldest daughter has the kindest heart ever and combined with her natural aptitude to literature, I am 100% that she will go amazingly far in life. Middle child (as I have three now. Don’t know if I mentioned it!) is so completely and utterly free from any anxieties and negativity that quite frankly, I find it hard to believe that I created her. I know that she will live the fullest life imaginable because with her attitude, she will take from it exactly what she should. Something that very few of us can say we really do. The 10 month old does very little yet but, she appears to have an equal measure of eccentricity and an obvious love of music so perhaps she will be the Artistic Savant.

Work Work Work

A bit of light reading for the girls.

My Fiancé is a man of much fulfilment and offering. which, considering that he would rather stay in the house all day every day is ironic. He decides to do something and then he just does it. No speculation, nothing. He just does it. An admirable and frustrating quality all in one. He thinks that he hasn’t achieved much but, he has achieved everything. Me! I write this Blog. Also, currently, I am watching aforementioned ten month old cover the floor in sweetcorn. I bet I shall still see a lot more of it later though.

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We have a great relationship. We are each as hard work as the other.

So, I digress! At lot has happened since I last forced my Life Story onto you. The very thing I was dreading since I left the Maternity Unit has happened. I had to go back to work! Yuuuuk!! I am not sure what aspect of it petrified me the most. but, I hated it all. The drive. Leaving my daughter(s). Having to get up early and be so much more organised. But, probably it was the reality that I had to return to ‘normal’ now. I had given birth months and months ago and the flowers were long dead, cards in the memory box and I had to accept that I had to be me again. I didn’t want to do that. For such a long time, you live in your own little bubble of being a new Mum, however many times you may have done it before. Plus, I got to watch as much as crap on Television that was physically possible. Good old Breast Feeding!!!

Getting in on the selfie action.

Getting in on the selfie action.

I have worked for the same company for 15 years. I am certain that my Boss (who also happens to be my future Brother In Law) has found me hard work from the start. I do like my job though. I wouldn’t have stayed there as long if I didn’t. Even if it would be a pain to find a new one. To be fair though, I have had three days off sick since I went back so I may well get fired anyway!

This is why I also felt so negative about returning to work; It was a job I enjoyed. I still had friends there. Although, as new staff were employed, I seemed to be becoming the older generation of staff. Who wants to be the elder of anything? For the first time ever, it did not bother me that I could have a hot cup of tea or that I could have ‘me’ time again. I did not want ‘me’ time. I wanted to be at home with my little girl. It was unfair that I had to miss things from her growth and two days each week is a long time when you look at how fast she will grow . I felt resentful that I had to do this. Resentful towards who, I don’t know! The Universe. Life. All those crazy invisible entities that have a lot to answer for when I am hacked off! I also felt sad because this is the last time I will do this. This is the last baby I will have and all those first moments gone are gone forever now. Which is an irrational way to think. Totally unsurprising coming from me.

But, actually, now I am back at work (when I am there!) I feel totally different. It took a little while and I will still always be just a little neurotic but, I completely become involved in it now and find that I can concentrate on what I am doing with little distraction.  I am hardly sales person extroardinare but, I think I am OK at my job and it is good to add something else into my Life which I may be OK at. Strangely, I do not really find it stressful like I used to. I enjoy that my brain still works the way it used to before I expanded my Uterus for a third time. I am hoping the stressful part of me has changed. In the same way that I won’t mind if I don’t finish this post today. But, hopefully I will.   More importantly, now that I know that I can leave my Nancy with anyone else and she has survived, I am OK with that too. Now I am a high flying executive and all!! In actual fact I really should be a little less selfish and let Daddy and The Grandparents get some of the cuddles also.

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No More Babies!

Next step, an actual date with my Other Half before he remembers that I am just a bit saggy and not nearly as attractive as over 75% of Instagram. But, I do have my own eyebrows!

 

I'd do anything

I’d do anything

I’d do anything

Well! I expect you are surprised to hear from me again! Trust me, if I could type one handed then I would have written hundreds of entries by now but, breast feeding somewhat limits your computer abilities. In the last six weeks, I don’t think I have eaten more than one meal with two hands; fine if it’s anything but peas. Peas are tricky. I think I still have one in my bra.

I'd do anything

She’s here! I am not in the pub yet!

I can almost hear you all groaning from behind your computer screens but, I can assure you now that, although I have now had my beautiful little girl Nancy, I will not be writing about her today. Or my perineum. You can jolly well wait for that! Although it is about Mums. My Mum actually.

It isn’t until you become a Mum that you realise what your own Mum went through. When I was 14 and an absolute bitch, My Mum would tell me all the time that when I had my own teenage girl, I would realise how horrible I could be. Now, I will have three! I understand now just how fantastic my Mum was, particularly as at this time she was having pretty horrific Chemotherapy. But, I will not be able to laugh with her about it or relive stories from when I was young and as I get older, I struggle to remember the things we did together. In truth, the main thing that I attribute to my Mum; is that she died. If that was the legacy I left for my three girls, I would be devastated. So, I am going to try my hardest to remember this as an adult, not with the brain of a 16 year old girl. That’s who I revert to when I think about my Mum as that is when she left us.

The majority of times that Mum and I talked the most were when we were in the car together. That sounds bonkers but, as my Mum and Dad were working in our café a lot, My Mum and I had time on our own when she ferried me around to various activities (as most Mums do ) I moan about it frequently!! Otherwise, we were all together as a family. Horse riding was on a Sunday morning and I always used to love it when she picked me up as we would visit a random garden centre or fruit picking farm before we went home. I didn’t really take to horse riding even though I did it for such a long time but, because of Mum’s background in the stables, I did it because I knew she wanted me to. But, I never loved it.This time in the car was when, as I mentioned before, that I can remember all the music Mum would play. When I have a bad day or need a pick up, these songs can take me back there. For example: Curiosity Killed The Cat – Down To Earth was a firm favourite and I have it on my special playlist. I felt safe at these times. This was when my childhood was as it should be. Before, it became about loss.

Our car had a certain smell; almost hot, whatever the weather. We had a dark Maroon Volvo and the seats were almost carpeted, as they so frequently were in the 80’s. My Dad never allowed us to have any other car because he always said that we would never be safer. That was true actually: Mum and I had a crash once on the way to school.Well, I say crash but, our car never actually moved from its stop position. Someone drove into us from behind and their car crumbled in half almost. We weren’t hurt and we didn’t need to be checked out but, I had the day off school anyway. I had toast and tea when I got home, in Mum’s beloved Willow pattern china and watched musicals all day. I collected them! Should have been on the stage really. If I hadn’t just become a ‘normal’ person.

I'd do anything.

My gorgeous girl is now the same age as I was when my Mum would take me Horse riding.

I was fascinated with my Mum’s life as a teenager. It always seemed so glamorous. Sneaking out of the house with my Godmother Ro to the latest party. Stories of her boyfriends and working as a waitress in a beautiful country pub. Of course, the side she never talked about when telling me these stories is that she never actually wanted to be in that house. She wanted to avoid a beating and not have to hide under her bed when her Father came home. This was her childhood but, she never told me stories about that: just of the fun she had. That was the type of person she was and that despite her childhood and the horrendous things she saw, she always remained loving, elegant, strong and fun.I knew from her stories that she was definitely a little wild and who would blame her.. Naturally, I did not follow in these footsteps as an adolescent.

She had a few notable boyfriends, always older than her, much older in fact but, who treated her like a Princess. Based on the father she had, this was unsurprising. Her relationships with men were always for replacement father figures who cared for her which, was really what she craved. Thankfully none of these relationships resulted in a broken jaw, only very beautiful jewellery. This was until she met my Dad: Tony. He was her savour. I know what that’s like!

I'd do anything

I try to teach my girls to enjoy every minute as a child and fill it with love.

The reason we were always milling around those garden centres and flower farms was because of my Mum’s passion for flowers. She loved them. Her interest didn’t really start until later life and after she was diagnosed as I guess she found it therapeutic. I say ‘later life’ but, she was three years younger than I am now when she was diagnosed. I never found these places boring, unlike my girls do now (until they realise that there may be cake involved) Instead, I loved listening to her talking about all the different flowers and what she was going to do with them. Always such beautiful colours and smells. Naturally, we would have cake too and I always ended up with something to bring home. A glittery butterfly or fury rabbit which were on a stick and ordinarily meant for a flower arrangements. The health and safety on buying a child one of those bad boys now would be unquestionable.

Mum ended up arranging flowers for our local church. There wasn’t the massive conglomerate of florists that there is now who simply arrange the flowers and deliver them ready. Mum would design them, buy them and trudge up to the church with her basket and her oasis and spend hours making the most beautiful accompaniments for a wedding or funeral. Most of these times she would take me with her and there was always some kind of adventure with it. Also, I would sit and watch and she would talk to me, sometimes about the flowers but, mostly about other things. The smell of oasis brings those times back to me. And that church, although, having both her funeral there and my Dad’s a few years later, the memories it held became slightly different for me. I still felt her there that day though. The day she wasn’t really there anymore.

I'd do anything

Rocking them socks..

Once, the vicar said I could take the tiny windy stairs to the steeple if I wanted and look out over the town. It was amazing. I wouldn’t do it now though! As a child you have no idea of your own mortality. As I grew up and more people left, I grew fearful of everything. Plus, I’m really claustrophobic so would probably poop myself! Ultimately, Mum would come up and find me so, she wasn’t fearful of that either. Thinking back, this was a gift of time together that most Mum’s don’t always get. For that I am grateful and when the memories of my Mum are taken over by simply remembering that she left me, I shall try and replace it with the times when she was there. When she was my beautiful, beautiful Mum.

I'd do anything.

Miss you Mum.

Dignity

Dignity

Dignity

Lavender candles, lovely warm bubble bath and a magical feeling of love and new life. This is not what childbirth is like in any stretch of the imagination. Even those annoying cow bags that pop out a baby in one hour and slip into their size six jeans for the post birth journey home would agree! However, if you are having your first baby, the minute you discover that the miracle of life is forming in your uterus, you cannot help but think that for you, it will probably be just like this. Let’s face it; Technically you are the first person to ever go through it and God Damn you are going to have the easiest birth since Copulation began!

Luckily, and unsurprisingly for me, the tranquillity and beautiful magnitude of my first ever pregnancy lasted for a whopping two days. Two days because no sooner had  I discovered I was pregnant than I was spending my days crawling round on all fours and sitting on the toilet for forty five minutes at a time. Just a little ‘nodule’ on the Ovary apparently. If that was a little one, I would have had to bite down on a whiskey soaked rag in the weeks that followed to cope with any bigger. Bugger, it really hurt! Any woman that has suffered with something on her Ovary or generally in her womanly bits will know that really, you just feel like you constantly want a giant poo but, it has taken the wrong turn! Still, it was better than the alternative we faced, as for a few days the doctor had told us to expect the worst and that this pregnancy may well be ectopic. Thankfully it was not but, in true spirit of Gynaecology departments all over, unless you were dead, you could wait a few days to find out for sure. (Although, my Gynaecologist rocks!! and looks like Louis Spence 🙂 )

Dignity

I have used this picture before, but it is disgusting and I like it!

So, apart from the constant need for a poo, the daily navigation of a spiral staircase on all fours and the hourly requirement for grated cheese in a white roll, the rest of my pregnancy seemed to pootle along quite nicely. The determination of this as an in-utero pregnancy was discovered during an internal scan but, I feel the intricacies of this particular procedure may be too much for some. Ironically, they cover it in what looks like a giant condom first but, as I said…I must stop there!

The fun really began when it was realised that all those grated cheese rolls had ensured a very yummy environment for my daughter and she clearly did not want to budge from where she stayed. Even after two weeks, she was not in the mind set to make an appearance and all the things they tell you that will encourage labour are about as useful as the birth plan they tell you to write beforehand. What you should really write in your birth plan is: give birth. In whatever way works for you. Oh, and remember the time you said that whatever happened, there was no way you were having an Epidural….Ha Ha Ha…..that was a good one Monty Python!

If when overdue, you are fortunate enough to have a ‘Sweep’, you will have had a lovely little insight into what might be waiting round the corner for you. I have had five in total and its a wonder I don’t have lady bits that could safely house the car keys. To be fair, I have never actually tried! I have friends that are nervous to have a smear test. Us Mum’s will have a little giggle at that. Blimey! When you have had a child, you are pretty much willing to save time for future gynaecological appointments by going in your pants!!

 

Dignity

To look at her now you would think she never caused me any trouble at all.

So…What happened for me the first time round?

As I have mentioned, my daughter Lani was two weeks overdue. Technically she was two weeks and ‘God knows how long in labour’ overdue but, lets not get pedantic! I had three sweeps (which incidentally is not a type of spring clean) and was booked in for an induction on the 14th day. Almost every Mum that has been induced kindly informed me of exactly how much more painful my whole experience would be with induction, which was kind! However, if I knew then what I know now, I would have demanded that Epidural from the car on the way in…Best invention ever!!…After wine.

I honestly can’t remember where I was or what I was doing when the contractions started. I do however, remember that I was wearing an orange top! I thought, ‘Well, this isn’t bad. Give it an hour or so and I shall be pushing my lovely (and tiny of course) baby into the world’. Well, on the second night…yes night..of these pains, I was ready to reach in and pull it out myself. The pain starts off like the feel of a fart collecting in your bottom region. Except, it doesn’t escape giving you immediate relief, it goes upwards where it shouldn’t. It swirls around your back passage and creeps up towards your tummy like ‘The Scream’ and the skin on your abdomen has become so tight that it would make Joan Rivers jealous. Encompassed with all this is the feeling that you must dispose of every fluid remaining in your body and you have the urge that you never thought possible to wee, poo and vomit all at the same time. Oh, and all those baby magazines you bought which suggested you have the special raspberry flavoured lip balm for this joyous occasion can stuff that lip balm right in their print press!

It starts off as a little trickle at first. I was watching Vicar of Dibley, the Christmas episode where she has to have several Christmas lunches and stuff sprouts into her mouth. I was thinking that I had to do just the opposite of that and feeling like it too. I also remember being really grateful at this point that I had a leather sofa (and that I was wearing my ex husbands trousers) but, it is not till you stand up that you realise the full fun of the ‘Gush’ that you are about to incur and the way that it actually feels, just that little bit satisfying…..

To be continued…. (because I realise I have not even got to the hospital yet and the fun increases by ten fold then) Oh and obviously Joan Rivers was alive when I had my first baby. RIP Joan (I know she wouldn’t mind)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mo Problems

Mo Problems

Mo Problems

As time moves on, I remember my Mum less and less. I remember how she sounded when she talked, how her skin felt when she washed me in the bath and how it felt to hold her hand. I also remember how she smelt: Opium she used to wear, the perfume not the barbiturate!

If it was not so ruddy expensive, I would buy a bottle, just so I could sniff it if I felt sad or missed her more than normal that day. I would not wear it myself though. Personally, I think it smells like old lady knickers!! But, I mean that in the most respectful way.

I also remember how she used to stare at me in the car. It drove me insane! Invariably, my brother would sit in the front seat, which was great as he was an annoying little toad and it got him out the way, if just for an hour. Mum and I would sit in the back; my Sony Walkman constantly attached to my bonce, where I would stare out the window and dream that I was on stage performing or modelling in my spare time as Cindy Crawford’s understudy (no one ever said imagination was similar to real life!). I would look at Mum and there she would be, staring at me again! ‘Mum! For gods sake!’ She knew what I looked like. She had produced me from her Vagina. She would always just say, ‘I like looking at you’. It is only since I became a Mother myself that I could understand what she meant. I could study every inch of my girls faces, day in day out. I am hoping that in years to come they will laugh about me staring at them in the car, not reminiscing that they wish I was still around to stare at them, like I do now.

What I do not remember as much now is things that we used to do together. I can recollect a couple of instances that she picked me up from school, especially when she bought me a brooch shaped like a camel and I thought it was a piece of honeycomb! I remember that she used to put on a silly voice when she saw my headmaster and I used to tease her about it. He was always far too ‘tracksuity’ in my mind. No good ever came of a man always wearing a tracksuit. She definitely seemed to like him though!

Mo Problems

I love my girls faces. Even when they are full of stroppiness and bogies.

I struggle now to remember the Disney World trips. I remember going on Space Mountain with my Dad and accidentally catching a peek of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ when I should have been asleep but, the rest is fading. It scares me that I may run out of things to tell my children about my Mum, about their Grandma. It scares me to think that by the time Rusty can understand, the stories will be even fewer. But, it has reminded me of one important thing: that we cannot spend our lives looking backwards and if we do, we will hinder the possible achievements we can conquer now.

Even after everything, I have always had this naïve sense that there will always be a miracle when you least expect it. God knows where I got this from! The very fact that I perceive it though and it is yet to happen, only cements my belief even more. I think things like all our money worries will be sorted somehow when we least expect it, that we wouldn’t have to struggle anymore and that maybe one day we will wake up and the Universe has decided that it is our time to be rewarded. It is daft I know but, if I lose this belief, I would worry even more. You never know what is around the corner I think, negative or positive. So for now I keep hoping and thinking that tomorrow may be the day.

We are wealthy in other ways though and I am never ungrateful for that. I am lucky enough to have someone that loves me, that does not make me feel like I am not good enough or want to change me and I feel the same way about him. I have two lovely girls and as much as I would like a holiday, to take them to Disney World ourselves or not worry about paying the next bill, those things are the things that are important really. It is just hard on a daily basis to remember that. More importantly though; we have our health. Although I now struggle to complete more than one physical task a day and if I could, would spend the majority of the day in the bath to ease my aching joints. I do currently have the boobs I always wanted though. 🙂 Ironic Shu as you brag about your boobs whilst talking about losing your Mum to Breast cancer.

I have also come to realise that I need to concentrate on my small family and stop spending time worrying about other factors. I had always hoped that the relationship with my parents family would improve but, really life has taken over and they are busy with their own immediate family also. I say parents family because they really stopped being my family from the point my parents left.We can never go back. I just know that if my Mum and Dad were still here, that would all be very different. They were a cement almost that kept everyone together. It is difficult for me because that aspect of family see me as a grown up but, when I think of them, I feel how I did when my Mum was still here: 16 and part of a large caring family. The spectrum for me now does not span so far and I would have loved that for my children but, it is not to be.

Mo Problems

Ahhh yes the 80’s frog willies (and my toad of a brother) Ha ha!!

So, I shall just carry on. Being happy with my life I have here, trying not to look back. I could look down but, I wouldn’t see very far at the moment! And I shall be grateful for what I have been given and remember every day just how precious it is. For those around me who are there for me and make me complete, mainly my Tristan, Thank you for helping me to remember that what life can take away from you, it also gives you back, usually when you least expect it.

Tony

Tony

Tony

I have never really had much problem with sleeping. I am one of those people that can awaken during a dream and pick up where I left off if I want to: depending on who is in it that is! This week though, I have suffered a little: probably because of Rusty deciding that he/she is not a child but actually a jumping bean! At one point, in Lidl, I thought that Rusty might even be coming early. Other supermarkets are available obviously.

One night this week when I was struggling to nod off, I began thinking about my Dad, as I normally do. I know I am 35 and I have my own family but I sometimes cry into my pillow and think that I really want my Dad! Not much shame in admitting that, I do. My Dad had the ability of making everything alright, as all Dad’s do of course but, it was almost like he could inhale your worries and bury them deep inside of him: like that massive bloke in The Green Mile (if you haven’t watched it, you should have). There are times when I need him to do that for me: not just because I want him to make me feel better but, because he gave my life light. It was only when the light went out that I realised I would have to live in darkness for a while.

Tony

My boyfriend sent me this once: if you had met him you would know what a grand gesture that is (he’ll moan at me for that)

I have thought to myself on many occasions: what is the point in being such a fantastic human being and then not having anything to show for it when you are no longer around. This is part of the reason that I started this blog and part of the reason that however small my effort, I will always do my best to ensure people know what happened to my Dad so they can make sure it does not happen to their loved ones. I wish I could go back. By that, I mean that if you have read my blog, you should be nagging your Dad to have his Prostate checked. It’s not just an ‘old man’s’ disease, just like Breast Cancer does not only afflict woman over 50. My Mum was younger than me when she first found a lump. Just because you don’t have any symptoms, does not mean diddly squat!! My Dad was born in 1945 and he died in 2005. He never went to the doctors for 25 years but, there was no prize in obtaining this milestone, in fact, it was the opposite. He most definitely got the wooden spoon.

I recently visited a local Prostate Cancer support group to talk about Travel Insurance for people with pre existing medical conditions (because that is what I do as a day job) and of course, my own experiences. My Dad would not have been the youngest one there, I would! I would have given anything to find a group that we could visit together and talk to. Although, it may not seem much, I felt like I really achieved something that day, like I did something about it, instead of just feeling sorry for myself and questioning why the Universe can be such a terrible bastard sometimes. And I know I am not the only one, there are people that have suffered much worse but grief is very inward and its hard to think of others. I do think of others now though: knowing my Dad made me a better person. I hoped that my Dad would have been proud of me too.

Cancer leaves a massive trail of destruction and not just to the one it affects. My Dad said to me once that he had the easy job because, I would be the one that was left behind to deal with it and he was right. My Mum never said a lot towards the end, she couldn’t talk and so had to use a magnetic sketch pad to tell us things. Hard to convey all your final wishes in a matter of sentences eh? So why do we not do it when we can.

Tony

My Daddy! Make sure you hang onto yours tight: with both hands.

I know that I am a bit bonkers and those who know me will know that my brain and mouth have no connecting off switch. But, whatever you think of my Blog, whatever you think of me, just remember that you have a chance to change things: before it’s too late! And so why wouldn’t you?

Multicoloured

Multicoloured

Multicoloured

Pink or blue? This week we find out! Actually though, this one is Rainbow! A Rainbow baby is a baby that has followed a loss and my little Rusty really didn’t fancy hanging around in the ether for long before he was given to me.

We are not going to tell anyone what we are having, but I will find it incredibly hard. For purposes of clarity I always refer to Rusty as a boy and so will continue to do so: I would like a boy, purely because I don’t have one. Naturally, I just want everything to be OK and this is the first concern.As a mother you worry from the moment they start to grow but, I will not be disappointed with a girl. After all I know how to deal with girls: I am an old pro at it really (OK! maybe not so old….shhhhhhh!!) I just have a horrible horrible feeling that as both of my daughters were just so amazingly good (in hindsight), that this one will be a terror. Completely in a good way of course! When they are 17 and staying in bed all day, I am sure I could then look back and laugh. Whatever happens, I have been blessed with Rusty and he is my (I should really say our) Rainbow that’s for sure!

It happened when I was at work. If I am honest, I had a niggling feeling from the moment I woke up but, I tried to put it down to wind! Sorry that was bad taste! I started bleeding and I remember thinking, ‘Please just let it be a blip, they say it happens, I have read it in magazines’: but, really I knew that this was no blip. I left and I drove home, worrying because I had left work early.I tried to focus on what I would cook for tea and what the evenings viewings would entail.Anything other than focus on what I knew was really going on in my body. I didn’t make tea and I didn’t watch the television, I just went to bed. I did this to try and forget for a bit, not breathing too heavily so as to keep it all inside. Keep it safe. And I willed everything that was there to keep growing, to hang on like a limpit with rigamortis. But, of course it didn’t and by the next day, it was pretty much completely gone. My baby had gone almost as quickly as it came.

Multicoloured

I didn’t feel like a real person again until I was given Rusty.

It was a small comfort that I could indulge in one of my favourite hobbies again: Pinot Grigio! However, it was nice to go back to the gym and work off some frustrations and of course concentrate on my flabby bottom. Which, coincidentally is now flabbier that Pavarotti’s bicycle seat! There was however, one major hindrance concerning the gym and basically moving/walking/cuddling and this was that my boobs felt like they were in a juicer! Three weeks this continued to the point where I was genuinely worried. Given my Mum’s history and the fact that the surface area of my boobs was ordinarily so small that I barely knew they were there half the time anyway.

I have given my doctor some real ‘stick’ in the past but, to be fair! After the whole Molar Pregnancy debarcle, he deserved to be prodded with it, very hard and in his nether region. He was very kind to me now though and he humoured me as no doubt he remembered me as the nasty complainant who had wanted to poke a stick in his nethers.( He did not know this of course, mainly because I have just said it now) He is my hero now though. I weed in a pot and went on my way to indulge in my favourite hobby again I expect. Incidentally, straight after,we met my Boyfriends old friend (again, he’s not old) and wife for coffee on their way down to Cornwall.They told us of their unexpected pregnancy and how they were also given one that was slightly more challenging than their others. This is course does not still play on my mind…no no no!!

Multicoloured

I am pretty sure my brother was the troublesome baby and I was the good one!

I suppose he called me around three hours later. ‘We had discussed your fertility earlier following your miscarriage Shushanah’, ‘I don’t really think that is an issue any more’. Blimey! That was quick!! I have absolutely no comprehension how it did not even cross my mind that I may be pregnant. I had tried to stay away from the internet regarding pregnancy after miscarriage but, what I did read was all pretty woolly. This bit is scientific: I must have ovulated exactly 11 days after and Rusty was given to us pretty much on the next love in. I know exactly what day it was too! I know! I don’t get out much!

And so to the pressing question: how are the hormones? Well, they are still having a party like its 1999! I continue to try and explain to my beloved what it feels like to be pregnant.Mentally I mean, not physically. Obviously, I am over the moon and incredibly happy with our Rusty. I do not, like some, feel like I am carrying an alien and despite the wobbly bottom, love showing off a growing bump. I do however continue to be frustrated with the feeling of sheer irrationality and irritability and what’s even more frustrating is that I do not care when I act this way because it comes from so far within the depths that if it did not come out, I would surely spontaneously combust. I am sure that most of the time, my boyfriend would prefer this option greatly.

Like a lot of people, I moan on Facebook sometimes and it helps for a while but, really I want to have a regular rant to the person closest to me. His obvious avoidance of any such instances merely compounds the feeling and not only do I get in a teenage strop but, I also feel like he does not actually want to know and does not care. I understand though that I probably would not want to talk to me either. I have to though as am kind of attached! Being pregnant can make you feel vulnerable, like you want to be looked after and anything other than 100% attention 24 hours a day just feels like the total opposite. And so I remain, horrible, selfish, unreasonable and absolutely no fun to be around but, I am doing quite an important job at the moment and it is easy to forget that. I am still me and I still have a big heart, which I want to use to its full capacity on a daily basis. It is also easy to forget that I will do anything for those I love and give everything I have for them…right the way to the end of that rainbow. I just might kick a few leprechauns on the way…..

BRCA2

BRCA2

BRCA2

Would you like to know if you were going to die? Ok! I know it’s not exactly that dramatic but, for a long time now I have anguished over this one. I am lucky enough, at my age and only because of my history obviously, to have regular ultrasounds and check ups. I don’t have Mammograms because I am too young and younger (cough cough) breast tissue is much harder to read on a Mammogram than it is on an ultrasound. Mind you! I had to push for it. I had a referral from my doctor and numerous pointless conversations and telephone tennis in order to be able to have these reviews. Unbelievable really.Luckily, I stuck to my guns.

I have also been offered the BRCA2 test. As if it wasn’t a ticking time bomb in my life anyway without having any concrete confirmation of a defunct gene which could lead me down the same path as my Mother. Perhaps I am naive to think I would rather not know, particulary given my massive spiritual beliefs in life but, what would I really do if I did have the irregularity in my genes? Would I have a double mastectomy and rebuild my breasts and then have a hysterectomy? Of course I bloody wouldn’t. I don’t have the most amazing rack but, I am more than happy to leave it how it is for now. I do want more babies though: the thought of never having another child is absolutely devastating to me. I already feel like my biological clock may prohibit me anyway but, to chose to eliminate even the option for good is beyond any type of comprehension I must admit.

BRCA2

My daughter and I were doing the selfie before it was even popular 🙂

We have all been alerted to the BRCA2 test, mostly thanks to Angelina Jolie but, quite strangely for me, I spoke to an absolutely lovely lady whilst at work (selling her Travel Insurance) who recommended me to her specialist. The first thing she asked me and probably because of my name: Was I Jewish? Specific mutations of the gene can be associated with some ethnic groups, namely those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. I am not Jewish by the way but, in case you were wondering Shushanah is a Hebrew name.

There can be a mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that can suggest that you are at higher risk of Breast and Ovarian Cancer.If there is a mutation, your risk of getting Breast Cancer can be as high as 85%. However, your environment and lifestyle can always have a big impact. Well! Of course it can! If I never left my house, it would be unlikely that I would die from being run over. No-one else in my family had Breast Cancer but, did my Mum get it because she had a genetic mutation? Her Grandma may have had it too but, as she was run over by a bus, we will never know. Do you sense where I am going with this one?

I have agonized whether I would want to have my girls tested. The truth is, it wouldn’t be up to me. They should do whatever they see fit when the time arises and should I get Breast Cancer, then we would look at that much more closely of course. I have an Insurance in place which I have had for years, if I’m being honest, I could really do with now but, that’s an utterly despicable thing to say. I could though: or I shall continue to wait for my miracle and keep on dreaming.

BRCA2

I never want my girls to have to go through what I did..never.

I watched an amazing programme not long ago about an utterly beautiful and inspiring girl called Kris Hallenga who started the charity Coppafeel, promoting regularly checking your breasts for lumps and irregularities whatever your age. In this day and age and with all the media attention, it really isn’t still something that young girls feel they need to do. Kris was 23 when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and it had spread: to stage 4! Kris now spends all her time promoting breast checking and if you have a chance to check her out, make sure you do because it’s women like her that make this world seem like it has a purpose. She does for me anyway. As I said, I am lucky enough to get checked but, I still had to fight for it and as I’m used to fighting, I stuck it out. I know how easy it would have been to give up though. Very!

Don’t misunderstand me, My Mum didn’t die of her Breast Cancer because it wasn’t caught in time. She died because she first had Breast Cancer in the 80’s. That is truly what I believe. And she was in her 30’s which was considered really young to be diagnosed at that time. If she had the treatment that there is available today, I know she would still be here. There was no Herceptin then and Radiotherapy was primitive by today’s comparison, in a Prisoner Cell Block H type of fashion. My Mum’s had spread of course, spread to her brain in the end and when she could no longer talk, she jotted down her witticisms on an Etch a Sketch type affair. My treasured Godmother Ro (who I will tell you about soon) said that she had told her that she knew I would be OK because I was strong. I never wanted to be strong. I would have much rather not been strong and had an easy life. That is me being selfish again.

BRCA2

My Mum was in hospital when this picture was taken. I was 15..oh and I was angry…

My Dad on the other hand, did die because he was diagnosed too late. Had he just had a routine check where Prostate testing was standard, he would still be here: infuriating me by never doing the jobs I would ask him to do whilst I was at work and then when I moaned at him, smiling at me with an almost bellowy smile that shone deep out of his soul.. If I had a time machine, I would not go back and get the Lottery numbers, I would go back 10 years, march him to a doctor and and demanded that they stick their finger up his bum right away! It really is not a difficult concept, every man over 50 should get that ‘digit up their doughnut’!

A man with Prostate Cancer after treatment or even during can have a PSA reading (Prostate Specific Amount) of 4 or under. When my Dad’s Prostate Cancer was discovered, his PSA was 2000! 2000!!! In my job whilst Medical Screening for Travel Insurance, in 13 years I have never spoken to one client with the disease who had a reading over 100. The doctor phoned me and said she was worried that I did not understand the severity of his condition (the drunk doctor I told you about before) Cheeky cow!!! Six months she told me we would get. Nearly 4 Years we were blessed with. That’s one determined, amazing, funny and much missed old git! I wish I could ask him if he would want me to be tested.

Happy fathers day you old git. Love you Dad!