What we did for Pippin’s Birthday

It has only taken me three weeks to write about what we did for Pip’s birthday.

As you’re only one once she actually had a four day long birthday spectacular, and I am pretty sure she loved it. I am also equally sure she had absolutely no idea what was going on at all.

I had been hoping to have a little party for Pippin and her friends, but the weather and the house renovation had other ideas. So we all got together at my friends and destroyed her house with cake and paint. Which was lovely, and they enjoyed themselves. Pippin’s particular trick is to stroke her friends faces whilst saying “awh”. This is what we taught her to do to the dogs. I’m not yet sure if she thinks her friends are dogs or the dogs are her friends…

 

On her actual birthday we took a trip to the zoo. It was absolutely boiling and very busy. But we had a really nice day, and Pip loved seeing all the ‘Ack Acks’ (Ducks), Dogs and ‘Oooow’ (Cats). Currently anything with wings is a duck, and cat and dog are used interchangeably for anything with four legs. She really liked the big dogs with a horn.

We then went to Zizzi’s for tea. We love eating there, it is one of the few places you can get a dairy free, gluten free pizza. They also do a children’s menu which can be adapted for allergies, and they even do a pasta and garlic bread for really tiny tummys. Of course she never wants her own meal and always wants mine, but the option is there at least. Allergy mummies, if you haven’t been already then I urge you to check it out.

On the bank holiday Monday we went out with family for a birthday tea and Pip had her second birthday cake. She put her toes in it, which is clearly what chocolate cake is for.

Then for her final birthday day she saw the family that couldn’t make it to her birthday meal and had her third birthday cake, and got more presents.

Birthday Photo Shoot with Milk and Cuddles Photography

For Pippin’s birthday I wanted to have some photos taken. I adore photographs, I love taking them, I love having them and I love looking back at them and remembering the time they immortalise, and when a friend shared the photos take for her daughter’s first birthday I knew I wanted Lauren from Milk and Cuddles photography to take them.

She didn’t disappoint.

We didn’t want to do a cake smash, and initially we were going to have a studio shoot that took elements of our wedding. But then Lauren suggested we go to Dunham Massey and it was perfect. We have been to Dunham quite a few times since Pippin was born, we’re National Trust members and we love exploring with her.

The weather wasn’t brilliant, and we nearly moved everything to the studio at the eleventh hour, but Lauren was really flexible and we pushed things back to the afternoon and, luckily, the rain held off. Although I did have to do some last minute outfit changes because the little romper I had picked out was a definite no go!

Lauren was divine with Pippin, she made her feel comfortable and I think she made a friend for life after presenting her with a pink balloon (or ‘Baaaaall’ as she calls them)! Pip doesn’t warm to people easily, but she acted like Lauren was an old friend, which led to some really beautiful photos.

Oh and she did all of this whilst being heavily pregnant.

My only problem now is picking only a few to put up around the house.

When things don’t go exactly to plan…

Does anything go according to plan? Not the renovation at any rate.

We are four months in and we’re still no closer to being home. Well, that’s a lie. We have functioning electrics and some rooms on the way to being completed, but it is now looking like it will be the end of November before we’re back in our house, and that is if everything goes smoothly.

Nothing ever goes smoothly with a renovation.

It feels so disheartening to go over there, our family home has been reduced to brick walls and although we’ve re-plastered all of the upstairs and most of the downstairs it is still no closer to being liveable. Which is sad because it was our family home, and now it just feels like a bit of a shell!

That has a knock of effect as well, because I love my in-laws and I’m grateful we’ve had somewhere to stay and the ability to do the much needed work on the house. But it is hard for a family of three, and a lot of their stuff, to be in one room.

I’ve lost motivation with it all, because it feels never ending.

Has anyone else done a renovation? How do you get over the hump?

Hopefully, soon, I will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hopefully we will be back home for Christmas!

My OCD and Pregnancy

This post is written for PNDAW17. This year PANDAS Foundation are concentrating on pre-natal mental health, highlighting how illnesses such as depression, anxiety and OCD can affect mental wellbeing during pregnancy.   

I’m crouched outside of our bedroom listening intently for the sound of my daughter breathing.

It took ages to get her to sleep, and I’ve checked on her four or five times since then. Logic tells me she’s ok, but my brain won’t rest until I’ve been in and gently put my hand on her chest.

After each time I’ll be able to relax for a few minutes but, inevitably, the thoughts will start again. I’ll keep checking the monitor. Then I’ll stare, watching her chest move up and down. Then I’ll feel the need to check on her again.

Sounds like normal behaviour for someone with a newborn doesn’t it?

What if I told you my daughter was twelve months old?

What if I told you that everytime I get the urge to check on her that I also have to touch the wooden table I’m sat at as a way to keep the bad thoughts away?

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Simply put OCD is a series of obsessive thoughts that are dealt with by the use of a compulsive behaviour. In this case the thought is that my daughter has stopped breathing in her cot, and the compulsion is both touching wood and then going and checking on her.

I’d tried lots of medication and therapy prior to my diagnosis at age twenty, but it took having private therapy for things to really click, and on a day to day basis I was coping pretty well.

Then I became pregnant.

Unexpectedly. My world was turned upside down.

We hadn’t planned to get pregnant, and since I had been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and didn’t appear to be ovulating the chance of me becoming pregnancy seemed slim. To say I was shocked is an understatement. My normal reaction in situations of stress is to run. Unfortunately there’s no way to run from cells that are rapidly dividing in your uterus. You kind of have to deal with the situation.

It is really difficult when you know you should be happy, and everyone is congratulating you and the reality is that you’re terrified and hurtling towards an unknown that you have no way of coping with.

Pregnancy was scary. I had “complications” and there wasn’t a day I didn’t think I would lose my baby. I developed coping rituals to try and deal with the anxiety: I started colouring books in the hope that it might allow me some respite from my own brain. Every scan we had I would turn my face to the wall, expecting to hear the baby didn’t have a heartbeat.

I made good friends with Dr. Google, analysing every little twinge and ache, checking ingredients in all products to try and reduce risk. I even struggling to have blood taken during my pregnancy, the fear of contamination actually caused my blood flow to slow down when the needle was in.

I opted for a home birth, in an effort to help myself remain as calm as possible. My reasoning was that being in a familiar environment might help reduce my stress levels and therefore bring about an easier birth. That didn’t work out. I ended up with Gestational Diabetes and was scheduled to be induced at thirty-seven weeks.

I’m not sure how people without OCD face impending labour. I worried that I wouldn’t want to hold my baby because of the blood, I was concerned about going into hospital and the risk of Pippin or I contracting something, I was scared of sharing a bathroom with other women on the ward after the birth in case of contamination, and I was really scared that my OCD would come back with a vengeance.

As it turns out I coped better than I expected.

My birth was not idea or as planned. I was never given the choice to have her birthed onto my chest, as she was born via emergency caesarean and immediately taken away whilst they dealt with my bleeding uterus. I breast fed, the decision was almost made for me as I had expressed colostrum to be taken over to the SBCU for my poorly daughter. I also managed to share the bathroom with the other women, because the only way I was getting out of that ward was to pee and nothing would stop me seeing my little girl.

It wasn’t easy, and in the first few weeks after her birth I was plagued with intrusive thoughts. I look back and I can feel a little of what I went through in those early weeks. I remember feeling sick every time I tried to feed my daughter, and the dread that appeared towards the end of the day when I knew I had to have my daily injection. It’s still not easy some days: I’m having therapy again to help me deal with the trauma of the birth and the separation from my daughter, but I’m here and my daughter is doing well.

I was reading a few blogs, as you do, and came accross the concept of Zero Waste.

So, I want to be a bit more commited to looking at the stuff we throw away.

We used to be quite good, but then we had a baby. A baby who never sleeps and, quite frankly, somewhere around the fifth day my brain stopped functioning correctly. I’m never quite sure if I’ve remembered to brush my teeth, so actually getting my head around dealing with our waste output felt a bit too much to handle. Then my dad came round, and he took five bags of rubbish from around my house to the bin, and I was horrified. We’d gone from meticulously sorting rubbish to throwing away colossal amounts of rubbish and it felt grim.

Yet another thing that fell of the wagon when the baby arrived, and yet it was probably one of the more important things we could do for our daughter. Not only to help safeguard the planet that she will be living on, but also to teach her (and through her future generations) about the importance of minimising our impact on the planet (and how nasty landfill is, obv. We live near a skip company, if the wind is against us we can smell how nasty it is.)

Zero Waste Week was launched in 2008, to raise awareness of the impact on the environment of the things we throw away. It runs for one week in September, and this year it starts this coming Monday.

So we’ve made a pledge at No. 1: this week we’re going to attempt to cut down on the rubbish we put in our general waste bin, and hopefully go into our next collection without an overflowing bin.

We’re hopefully going to achieve this by:

  1. Bringing less packaging into the house.
  2. Making sure we recycle everything that can be recycled.
  3. Wasting as little food as possible.
  4. Making use of our green bin for what food waste we do have.