Tuesday, 17 November 2015

World Prematurity Day: My premmie nearly 2 years on

Today is world prematurity day. This day raises awareness for the hundreds of thousands of babies born early every year.

This year, the day nearly passed me by. The only reason I really remembered is because I do a little volunteer work for the Neonatal Trust, so of course it's on their radar.

This year, I no longer feel like being premature defines Ada, or me as a mother. At nearly two years old she is just a regular toddler with most of the vestiges of her early days left behind. The only times it crosses my mind might be in a conversation about birth, or the early days with a newborn and I'll be reminded of our journey. Or when Ada sees her paediatrician or dietician to check up on her weight and eating.

I can now see what I could never know in those early days: she'll be fine. 

That tiny little girl with chicken legs, and see through skin, covered in masks and under a blue light. It all felt like such a nightmare, and now it seems like a distant dream.

That fragile girl is gone and in her place is a rambunctious toddler, full of life and cheekiness, and new words and tantrums and cuddles and love.

And while I wouldn't wish this journey on anyone, I can now see the positives, and the people I've met and the paths I've been on that I wouldn't have been able to without Ada's early birth. It is a privilege and a joy for me to be able to talk to other mothers who are going through this, and to be able to provide a perspective of hope and of 'I understand.'

Here's to World Prematurity Day and celebrating all those families who have 'been there, done that.'

Tuesday, 6 October 2015


It's almost a rite of passage of becoming a mother, I think. Feeling guilty.

I am not the type of person who would generally feel guilty in life (except when I should have!), but motherhood has been a whole new ball game. 

Guilt and lies would often enter my head:
It's my fault she was born early. If only I'd seen the signs. It's so obvious looking back.
If only I'd continued trying to breastfeed, I'd have been a better mother.
I leave her in care too much!
I should feed her better food

and on and on and on. 

It came to a head a few weeks ago when guilt got a bit too cheeky and tried to make me feel bad for the most ridiculous thing. In a way it was good as I could recognise the ridiculousness of feeling this way!

I'd had wrist surgery a few days before so I only had use of one arm. I woke up and I was spewing my guts out- I had gastro. I get the kind of gastro where all I can do is lie on the floor and vomit every 30 minutes. I get it so bad I often end up needing medical attention.

Before I lost my capacity, I arranged for Ada's carer to come pick her up and take her for the day. There was about an hour before she could come. So I managed to bring Ada downstairs, I gave her milk, dry ricebubbles and put a baby dvd on which she watched happily.

As I lay on the couch watching her and trying not to spew, guilt came along. 'I'm such a terrible mother!! My child isn't even dressed, I've fed her dried ricies and am fobbing her off for the day!!'

I would have laughed (except that would have made me more nauseous). It was so ridiculous. So I said back to guilt 'I'm a f*@king awesome mum!! Ada is going to be well looked after today, she is happy now and I even managed to feed her breakfast. Go me! I rock!'

Ever since then I've been able to see guilt a lot clearer for what it is- lies.
I'm finding it much easier to retort back to guilt (in my head...don't worry I'm not speaking out loud.)

It's my fault she was born early. If only I'd seen the signs. It's so obvious looking back.
No one would have known. My quick actions saved her life. Look at her now, she's thriving.

If only I'd continued trying to breastfeed, I'd have been a better mother.
I couldn't have fed her- she didn't know how to suck-swallow-breathe! She was tube fed for 10 months and I pumped for 8, I rock!

I leave her in care too much!
I leave her in care approximately half of the week, we still get plenty of time together. Not to mention she LOVES care and is constantly saying her friends name and loves playing with her.

I should feed her better food
She is fed well. Spaghetti on toast every now and again is ok- she loves it!

If anything else I can say to guilt 'She is happy, she is safe, she is secure, she is loved.'

Guilt is such a wasted emotion. I can't really be bothered entertaining it in my life anymore (well except when I should...guilt can be a good way to help consider your action.)

To any mum who is struggling with guilt, remember, it's all lies! You are a great mother, your child is well looked after, safe and happy. Guilt doesn't deserve space in your head.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Home for Now

We moved into this house in October. And while this place is a MILLION times better than our last place, I still felt a bit blah about parts of it. It's a rental, and we are planning on buying at some point, so I had this idea I couldn't spend money improving a rental. But then I found pinterest inspiration and made a few small changes and before I knew it I was on a roll! There are little 'spots of happy' throughout the house which make me feel more content spending time here, and more like this is our home, instead of a house. I feel like valuing our rental has made me more happy to be here until we make the next big step.

  Ada's room before

Ada's room after:
(including black out curtain liners- a great investment!)


I took some plain drawers in the study and whacked a bit of Molly Voodoo paint on them. This paint is amazing and doesn't require any sanding before use!

Now I have a nice wee office nook

While I was on a roll with the paint I did this wee shelf from the Sallies for our front door

I discovered Euro pillows!!!

 We don't have a laundry unfortunately, just this monstrosity which can be seen from our lounge. A quick curtain installation and it's much better!

Bathroom before
Bathroom after

 Wee touches


Kitchen nook


(New curtains are next on the list!!)

Next project:
I've been waiting to do this beauty up for a while. I've got fresh paint and new handles on order and over the next few weeks I'll do it bit by bit at night. I can't wait for it to be freshened up!

I've had a lot of fun with these wee projects, I hope you enjoyed seeing a wee glimpse of them :)

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Motherhood: 18 Months


You are 18 months old today.

As close to 2 as you are to 1 and I can't believe how fast time is flying.

To be honest, your first year dragged a little. This second year is flying by and I want to grab time by it's heels and tell it to slow right down!

Everyday is a new day with you. You are constantly changing and learning and growing.

Over the past few months you've shed your baby-hood goodbye and well and truly welcomed toddlerdom into our home.

In your first year I was sleep deprived, and you were still and mostly quiet. Now I (usually) have enough sleep, and you are chaos and noise.

You are talking and learning new words all the time. Current favourite phrases include 'less go' (as in, lets get out of here mum before I lose it!), 'dank ooo' (thankyou), 'shus' (shoes) and 'cuuk' (book.) You're a pro at animal noises but you haven't quite learned that sheep and other 4 legged animals don't all say 'ooof ooof'

You haven't mastered the word 'no' yet but you have mastered shaking your head which you use at your every whim.

Frustration and tiredness lead you to lose it- tantrums on an evening are your way of telling us you are O.V.E.R it! We're slowly learning to respond and cope with this new behaviour, and guide you through all these new overwhelming emotions. We get 'over it' too sometimes, and then take a deep breath and carry on.

You are a great sleeper and know your own limits. You happily go to bed and talk yourself to sleep.

Discovering lipstick
You are far more social than your Daddy and I put together. You gain energy and joy from being around others. Your idea of hell is a quiet morning home chilling out (quite the clash- that's my idea of heaven.)

You constantly challenge me to be a better Mum and person. I think before you were born I had this idea that I would reach a 'pinnacle' of motherhood which would involve me wearing an apron and happily building block towers with you for hours. You and I both know this isn't our reality. I can see now I'm never going to reach some great pinnacle of motherhood. I am flawed, and you are too and that's ok. We will muddle through together.

So here's to you, at 18 month, no longer my baby but my wriggly, joyful curious toddler. Here's to climbing and laughing and reaching and falling and all the bits in between.

It is my joy (and my heartache, sometimes) to watch you learn and grow and change.

Mummy xx

(See my other 'Motherhood' posts here and here)

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

You'll be so proud

Premmie mum,

Right now you are hurting, confused, overwhelmed at the birth of your premmie baby.

You don't know what you did to deserve this happening to you. You are scared, and would do anything to turn back time.

From one premmie mum to another: I know how you feel.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

t w e n t y - n i n e

Today I turn twenty nine. 
I'm standing at the start of the last year of my twenties and wondering what it will bring. How will this decade be sealed? I'm feeling a lot of trepidation.

And the reason is this: now Ada is 17 months old, the idea of having another baby at some point is being floated.

And while I want another baby one day, the thought of ever being pregnant makes me physically recoil, fearful, scared scared scared.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Being One

Dear Ada,

You are now 17 months old and you are so much fun!

You have really changed from a baby to a toddler in the past months. Your grubby hands and cheeky knowing smile are testament to this. 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

My village

I've been meaning to write for a while about the ebb and flow of friendships. I've been mulling it over, as I've seen my friendships change as I've become a mother.

When Ada was born (in quite dramatic fashion) I remember being surprised at who showed up at the hospital, who supported us, texted me to check on me, brought gifts and who didn't. I'll be honest- at the time I was kinda annoyed that some people who I thought were friends I never heard from. But I can see now that they probably just didn't have the faintest clue how to respond in that situation. And I've found some people assume that when you become a Mum you're not interested in doing the things you used to. Which can be true but isn't always. I'm still me.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Steps forward and backwards

Two weeks ago I posted an elated status on Facebook: 

"This girl is 7.25kg and gaining and doesn't need to see her paed for feeding any more (just for normal premmie check ups) and is being discharged from her homecare nurse, slt and dietician ‪#‎progress‬ ‪#‎shessoawesome‬ ‪#‎proud‬‪#‎tubefree‬"

We were told she was being discharged from all care except the regular 6 monthly preemie check ups.

Turns out that isn't quite the case and she does need to be under some care for a while longer. There are still concerns about her weight and development.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Becoming 'me' again

The first year after having a baby is rough huh.

My identity took a hit in such a big way in those first few months. I didn't know that 'who I was' was so tied up in 'what I do with my time' but it was.

I remember really struggling in the early months with days that (felt to me) like they were not purposeful. I was on a three hour cycle of breast feed, bottle feed, tube feed, pump, sleep- rinse and repeat. I felt like I achieved nothing (although of course I did I KEPT MY BABY ALIVE which is amazing in itself.)

In those early months everything is inward focused- just baby and me. No one else can really penetrate that bubble and it feels so lonely.

Gradually as time went on, as A grew and became slightly less dependant, I was able to lift my head and start to look outwards, beyond us. I was able to meet friends for coffees again. I was able to go back to church and connect groups. I was able to spend time with Matt. These were just short snippets of time where it wasn't just 'me and baby' but of course gradually these times became more and more often.

I started doing a little work again when A was about 7 months old and it was SO amazing to feel like 'me Jenn' again instead of 'Mama Jenn.' I really valued the times I could work as 'me' time, which is so strange as I never would have felt like work was 'me time' in the past. Just a few hours to talk to and listen to adult conversation, to snatch a coffee and think about things beyond my world was so good for the soul.

For 2 years (during pregnancy and A's first year) I did not take any care around what I ate. I piled on the kgs in a serious way when pregnant and they dropped slowly after she was born. In that time I barely exercised either. I remember trying to work out again when A was about 3 months old and I ended up nearly fainting on my kitchen floor. I wasn't ready yet and that was ok. But now, as she has turned 1, I have started to do more regular exercise and be much more aware about what I'm eating (not in a restrictive way- in a healthy 'giving my body good fuel' way.) It feels so nice to be taking care of my body and I am feeling much healthier and stronger than I have in a long time.

And Matt and I managed our first night away from A last weekend. It was such a great time to reconnect and talk and just 'be' together. We missed A lots, but 24 hours was a good time to be able to recharge our marriage again before picking her up. 

Baby A herself has changed too of course. She doesn't need me to be with her all the time now, and I have loved seeing her grow from a dependent newborn to a more independent happy toddler. She is happy with others, and LOVES being with other children, which means I am happy to leave her in care as I work more.

Gradually over the year I feel like I've moved from being an insular inward facing person to opening up again and being 'me' again- albiet with a baby in tow- but she makes life so much richer!

I feel like I have found my rhythm again. As a family we've settled into a nice pattern of daily life, with both Matt and I having time for us and ourselves with plenty of family time thrown in.

Baby A brings such richness and joy to our lives everyday and it's so nice to finally be able to work out who we are as individuals and as a family.

Monday, 26 January 2015


We are loving summer. I feel like this is a summer I will remember  for a long time. It's not the first summer with our girl, but it's the first summer we've been able to enjoy as a family.

Saturday, 10 January 2015


This time, one year ago, I had been in hospital for 2 days, with bleeding and other worsening symptoms.

One year ago, I was in my room alone- Daddy was at work because I thought it would be 'just another day' in hospital.

One year ago, the team of doctors came rushing into my room, to tell me that you and I were severely ill.

One year ago, I was told you'd be born today.

One year ago I was shocked, tearful, worried, anxious. But also hopeful and yes, excited.

Thursday, 1 January 2015


Time away with family and friends over the christmas period is so special. A time that has been anticipated for months. Time for hugs, food, stories and being together. Time to cherish and remember as we all go our separate ways again.

Time to reminisce and look forward, to create precious memories.

This time is so special, and yet, coming home is special too.

In our own place, just the three of us, back to normal, routine, but far from mundane.

Holidays are special but so is the everyday.

There is no place like home.

Happy 2015 everyone xx

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