Heart Bypass: A Daughters Story (Part I)

On Tuesday my dad had his triple heart bypass. After it had been cancelled twice, the second time only an hour before he was due to go into surgery, we were all relieved it was finally happening. Little did we all know what a rollercoaster ride it would be for all of us. Here is my story.

Pretty.Little.Things - Funky Footwear

Apologies for being late with this week's post but my dad is having a hard time following his surgery so I have been travelling back and forward from Manchester to Yorkshire everyday to see him. Anyway, without further ado here it is!

The Essential One

I have only recently discovered the lovely online store that is The Essential One, thanks to my lovely friend Vikki at Love From Mummy. This online store sells a beautiful range of baby clothing that even on first glance I formed a huge crush on! When Vikki very generously sent me a set of vests for Baby J's arrival, I fell in love. Arriving in carefully wrapped tissue paper and enveloped in their exclusive baby fragrance, the vests are lovely and soft to the touch, and in shades of beige and browns they look rich and warm.

My Week That Was - Hearts and Failures

This week has been an emotional one to say the least, if you don't already know the full story check out No Room At The Inn.

No Room At The Inn

Today my dad was due to have a triple heart bypass. A routine surgery as so many have told me but can you imagine how it feels? Picture your dad, there for you whilst you were growing up, giving advice, helping out and being a tower of strength when nobody but your dad will do. Now imagine him being cut open, his ribs being broken, his heart being stopped whilst a machine works for him, various wires running through his body whilst he lays unconscious on a surgeons table. Not so easy is it?

That is how me, my sisters and my mum have all felt ever since we were told in February that the surgery was required. Anxious, worried, upset and waiting for what seemed like an eternity to get it over and done with. Today, three hours before his surgery was due and having spent the night in hospital, my dad was told his surgery has been cancelled due to not enough beds in intensive care.

So now, after getting ourselves geared up and emotionally prepared for him to undergo his surgery and then for us to see him in hospital afterwards, we will have to go through it all again in who-knows how long.

It's a frustrating and maddening situation, yet who do you blame? It's not the staffs' fault there aren't any beds, nor is it the surgeon's, or even the hospital's. But the ever-growing feeling of anger when I think about the situation makes me want an outlet for my frustration, someone to scream at for putting us all through this.

So in a no-doubt terrible mood, my dad is currently sat in his hospital bed awaiting my mum to pick him up and bring him home where we will all gather to offer our support, although I'm sure there will be little we can say or do to ease his frustration or the stress all this must be causing him. And in a few days or weeks we will all once more gather ourselves for his surgery again, and hope this time there is a bed waiting for him.

Pretty.Little.Things - Calming Comforters

Baby Boy's Birth Story

On Monday 28th May 2012 at 11.53am, our baby boy arrived in the world. At three days past his due date and weighing 7lb5oz, he was born via elective c-section. A beautiful blond screaming boy, he certainly made his presence known! Here is his birth story.

After a 40 hour labour with H, I had gone backwards and forwards for many a month about which delivery method I would opt for. An elective section would mean I would know what I was to expect and wouldn't end up having another emergency section and the more difficult recovery that came with it. A VBAC would mean a much easier recovery and that I could be there for H almost straight away, however there was the risk that it would be unsuccessful. After speaking to the consultant it was decided they would let me go three days over but if he had not arrived by then I would have a section. In the end he made the decision for us and declined the option of arriving on his own. This turned out to be for the best.

On the Monday we awoke bright and early at 6am in order to get to the hospital for 8am. To say I was nervous would be putting it mildly. I hadn't really let myself think about the coming surgery too much, but now the day had finally arrived it had become a little too real.

We arrived on the ward and were given a bed, and then told there would be an emergency section before us so we were to wait a bit longer. I had been warned of this beforehand so was prepared. Of course, it didn't help with the nerves! Finally at 11am Mr H was told to change into his scrubs and we were taken to theatre.
They sat me on the table and a kindly nurse tried to distract me as they prepared the room around me. I was told to sit perfectly still as they administered the spinal, which is harder than you think, then once it had been done they quickly laid me down ready for the section. To say I was nervous would be a huge understatement and they told me I was incredibly tense - after all they were slicing my tummy open, who wouldn't be tense! At one stage I became short of breath so had to be given some oxygen - after passing out during H's birth and missing it, I thought 'here we go again'. However once I took some deep breaths I was fine and within a few minutes (although it seemed like hours) they announced he was about to be born. They told Mr H to stand up just as he came out and he actually saw baby boy arriving into the world. They then lifted him over the screen for me to see and I was completely in awe. It was so amazing for me to see one of my babies being born, I didn't even cry I was so overwhelmed. He absolutely screamed his head off, which I had to check with Mr H if that was normal - how was I to know?!
After he was cleaned off he was brought back and Mr H held him as I was still laid on the bed, arms out at each side, whilst they stitched me back together. It was then they advised me that my uterus wall had torn downwards, away from my previous scar, as it hadn't healed right from the first section. They told me that if I had tried naturally the chances are I would have ruptured, which would have put both the baby and myself at high risk. They also advised me not to have any more children and if I was to, I would have to have a section. It makes me think there was maybe someone watching out for me, somewhere.

After waiting in recovery, we then returned to the ward with our baby boy. After only a short deliberation we decided on our long-standing favourite name, Jack, along with the previously chosen middle names of Alan and James, after both our dads.
Forty eight hours after Baby J's arrival, we were finally discharged from hospital and arrived home with our beautiful boy, ready to introduce our two babies and make our family complete.

My Week That Was - Settling In

Baby J is now three weeks old and it has been an interesting few weeks, adapting to the new man in our lives. H has done really well, but it has been a struggle at times, especially to keep our patience when we've had little sleep through the night. Anyway, here is my weekly catch up.

Pretty.Little.Things - My First Photo

From This Moment - Always A Mummy

Fomr This Moment by Gemma from Always A Mummy

If you have missed what this series is all about please read From This Moment Blog Project.

Waiting 9 months, 40 weeks, 280 days, 6720 hours is a long time right? Well thats the length of a typical pregnancy. Some will be shorter and some will be longer it all depends on when your bundle of joy wants to make their arrival.

I fell pregnant with my first, a little girl we called Kelsey-Leigh, at the young age of 16. I grew up around little kids and loved children so no question was asked when we made that decision to keep her. My pregnancy went rather smoothly and our due date arrived. All the way back in October 2008 I awaited anxiously for my waters to break.

Little did I know she decided to keep us waiting - a whole week to be exact. The worse thing is waiting. And while your waiting what is upsetting is seeing babies, hearing that your friend has just had theirs although they was due after you. It seems it was not fair. But the wait is so worth it.

I had a rough time in labour with Kelsey. Very long indeed - 44 hours from first contraction til she was in my arms. At the time all the screaming, blaming my very supportive partner, feel like I was dying from the pain didn't feel worth it and as horrible as that sounds when your going through excruiating pain thats what happens. But from the moment they put her in my arms all that didn't matter. She was perfect in everyway and she was mine. All mine.

Me and my partner were no longer just a couple, but we were a couple with a baby. A family of three. The first few hours we spent together getting to know our baby, and being so happy that no one could wipe the beaming smile of our faces. From that moment our adventure began. Our rollercoaster ride of emotions, our happy & our sad days. Milestones, holidays, learning new things. But most importantly from that moment we learnt the true meaning of true love.

My Week That Was - Baby J

For the last two weeks my blog has been very lovingly looked after by some blogging friends as they guest posted for the From This Moment series. The reason for this was last Monday we celebrated the arrival of our baby boy, J. So here is a quick catch up of the last couple of baby-filled weeks!

From This Moment - Ready, Steady...Mummy!

From This Moment by Natalie at Ready, Steady...Mummy!

If you have missed what this series is all about please read From This Moment Blog Project.

I always imagined a huge deal being made of my first cuddle with Isaac; photos, pomp and ceremony. But it wasn't like that whatsoever, and it was perfect.

When I came round (I'd decided to pass out 4 minutes after giving birth) it was 4 hours later and the room was empty, dark and very, very quiet. I felt like I'd been hit by multiple trucks and it took a moment or two to work out a) where the hell I was, b) why I felt like I did and c) what the hell had happened.

Then it dawned on me - I was a mum. I actually said it out loud 'Oh my god, I'm a mummy...' to the empty room. Then I looked over and saw the crib at the end of my bed. I imagine they'd put it there as opposed to by my side to keep an eye on Isaac should he have needed anything while I was out of it, and for a brief second I panicked that they'd taken him away and that I wouldn't see him again. There was a lot of feelings like that in the days and weeks following his birth, but, for the purposes of this post we'll focus on the good bits.

In my panic though, I sort of dived toward the end of the bed which, in hindsight, was the worst thing I could have done. For starters I had a canula in both hands and one of my feet. Secondly I had a catheter- singly the most unpleasant thing following having a baby I assure you. My tummy was weird and pouchy, and fell sort of, well, empty. And saggy- mustn't forget saggy. And my nightdress was wet where my milk had started coming in while I'd slept. It was all very bizzare but was pushed to the back of my mind as I summoned the strength to get out of bed and go to the crib.

Isaac was sound asleep. He looked tiny. He was wearing a tiny backless hospital gown as nobody had bothered to look in my hospital bag for the clothes I'd brought for him. He was parachuting. I bent to pick him up when the midwife came in and told me off for being out of bed. I felt like a naughty school girl and got back into bed.

'I just wanted to see him and maybe hold him, if that's ok?' I asked her. She gave me a look of such sympathy and told me that she was sorry and that of course I could hold him. She handed him to me and I cuddled him for the first time. It didn't matter that he was covered in blood, that his face was severely bruised, that I could barely lift him. It was wonderful regardless. The midwife said she'd leave us alone for a while and I had him all to myself.

We drifted in and out of sleep for an hour or two, me talking to him quietly when I was awake, and looking into those big dark blue eyes. I felt like I was going to burst with the love I felt for him. It was bliss. Everything I'd wanted in my birth plan - the calm, quiet experience - was being made up for with that first few hours.

It was almost a shame when mum and the Mr came back, the lights came on and they were passing him to each other and holding him and talking to me. I didn't want that at that time, I just wanted my baby.
Ever since that day I've tried to recreate those moments as often as possible. When it's just Isaac and I, it's like we could achieve anything - we're such a great little team. We snuggle in bed most mornings and even seven months on I still encourage skin to skin contact, though I stopped breast feeding long ago. There's nothing better than a scrunchy little body snuggling into you and keeping each other warm and drowsy. And there never will be.

From that moment, all those months ago, for now and forever more, until the day I die, I will never tire of cuddling my boy.

From This Moment - Dear Beautiful Boy

From This Moment by Lucy at Dear Beautiful Boy

If you have missed what this series is all about please read From This Moment Blog Project.

To say life changed at the moment my little boy was born, would be an enormous understatement. It was almost like all life before ceased to exist and everything from that moment on was all about this tiny person we had made.

I had always wanted to be a mummy; to have children, to watch them grow, to play with them, to help them learn and to learn from them. I can honestly say that it was my life's ambition to become a mum, and so the moment when my son was born genuinely was a dream come true. And I don’t think I really understood the enormity of suddenly getting everything I had ever wanted.

I don't think anything can quite prepare you for the all-consuming nature of becoming a parent. You could never find the words to describe that love, and you'd never believe it was possible if someone did tell you. But suddenly your whole purpose for being becomes about doing the best for your child.

And in a lot of ways that is scary. Because you can’t possibly fathom what you did to be so lucky, and so you live on tenterhooks waiting for something to balance it all out. I loved being a mummy to a newborn, and I know I will love it again, but you feel completely lost trying to please a person who can’t tell you what they want. I lived in constant fear of doing something wrong.

I think parenthood is the real meaning behind the phrase "to love something so much that it hurts". In those early days thinking about how precious my little boy was to me would actually physically make my chest ache and my eyes sting and my breath catch. It would bring spontaneous tears to my eyes. And some days, even after the hazy hormonal days of having a newborn are over, it still does.

Being a mummy so far, has been a combination of unbelievable pride, terrifying responsibility, absolute joy, crippling fear and a completely overwhelming love. And getting to do it all over again in a few months time is exciting and terrifying in equal measure.

Babies are born;
and in that moment 
when they are completely vulnerable and helpless, 
they also have unbelievable power. 

They cast a spell on us which will last a lifetime. 
They hold our big hearts in their tiny hands. 

Pretty.Little.Things - Best of British

Last week was a quiet week on Pretty.Little.Things but we would like to thank Angela at Mum of Three Boys for taking part and congratulate her on being photo of the week with this very amusing photo of her son Oliver trying to stay cool. Please feel free to display the Pretty.Little.Things badge!
This weeks theme is Best of British - a theme we thought very suitable for the recent Jubilee bank holiday celebrations! As we were just out of hospital with our recent addition, baby J, we were unable to join in much of the celebrations. However the children's Great Grandma recently celebrated her eightieth birthday with a patriotic theme and H enjoyed playing with the decor! My mum also threw a Jubilee themed celebration party for baby J so of course we had to dress him appropriately!
I can't wait to see your pictures and if you're new to Pretty.Little.Things and haven't participated before then why not join in and show us your little ones celebrating the best of British? It's open to anyone and everyone so if you have a photo or post that fits in with the theme then link it up below.

All that leaves me to do is let you know next weeks theme which is:
My First Photo
With the arrival of baby J we would love to see your little ones first photo after their arrival into the world!

Next week, it's Vikki's turn to host Pretty.Little.Things so we'll see you over at Love From Mummy.

From This Moment - Boy Oh Boy

From This Moment by Emma at Boy Oh Boy.

If you have missed what this series is all about please read From This Moment Blog Project.

I remember the first moments with each of my boys very differently. The pregnancies were different but so too were the births. In fact, they couldn't have been MORE different.

Ollie I don't really remember a lot of the birth and I don't remember the moment he came out.  I remember the tug (he was a forceps delivery) and gush and vaguely remember him being placed on my chest for a moment before being taken to the baby table to be looked over. He was then placed into an incubator. James took some photos... I sat there in awe and shock. It was a traumatic birth and I think this really affected our first moments.  I remember he looked huge, and had blue feet. I felt so sorry for him lying there in his incubator.

Nate was a water birth... I was the only person to touch him during his delivery and the only person to have touched him in his first 20 minutes of life. I remember he looked tiny and had a really squishy little face. I remember almost every part of his birth whereas with Ollie, it's a puzzle and lots of the pieces are missing.

My first hours with Ollie again, are a blur.  I remember them bringing me toast etc once we got up to the ward but I wasn't feeling great so James ate it!! The midwife took him away to the nursery after James had gone home, I think I was still showing signs of shock and they figured I needed to rest. I zonked out. I woke at 5am... with such a massive EMPTY feeling.... I suddenly missed him SO much so went to the nursery to get him... it wasn't until the moment I saw him again, that my MASSIVE love for him came flooding from nowhere.

Because Nate's birth was a lot easier (obviously horrendously painful...but quicker, more straightforward etc) my mind was a lot clearer when he was born. Because I had not needed pain relief apart from the gas and air and there was nothing traumatic about his delivery, I remember it all so clearly. I remember being stitched up, exclaiming how I couldn't believe that it had been SO quick! It was 3 hours 25 minutes from the moment my waters broke until he was born. It felt surreal and I felt like SUPERWOMAN.

The first days as a first time mother went by fast.  James and I looked at Ollie in wonder... snuggled... caught sleep when we could.... ordered takeout.... had adventures such as the first time out for a walk together, the first time out for a drive together... we had visitors.

The first few days as a mum of two went even faster. I spent the days (and still do) feeling like the most crazy lucky lady that ever lived. Two perfect, healthy, handsome, happy, little boys.  It was nice the second time knowing how to do everything. There wasn't the same nervousness and unknown as the first time.  I knew how to dress a newborn, hold, feed and burp him.

I can't believe I have a 4 year old and a 4 month old. I don't think the surreal feeling of having carried two children and given birth to them both will ever go away. I look at them both and can't believe they are mine and that they're mine forever!

From This Moment - Three Years And One Stone Then Home

From This Moment by Rachel from Three Years One Stone Then Home

If you have missed what this series is all about please read From This Moment Blog Project.

The first ...

... time I laid eyes on you was after a long and difficult labourfollowed by an emergency C-section. You were all bundled up with just yourlittle eyes and nose peeking through and you were being clutched tightly byyour papa – half out of love, and half out of fear that he might drop you. Hebent down and held you close to me so that I could give you a little kiss andthen he whisked you off to be washed, weighed and wrapped up. You were thesweetest, cutest and also chubbiest newborn that I had ever seen. Quite simply, it was love.

… time that I held you was half an hour after you were born. I’d beenefficiently stitched up and taken back to our room and your papa and the nursebrought you to me so I could cuddle and feed you. You were greedy from thestart. In months to come, you would start to squeal with joy whenever I fed youwhich limited our trips out and about during the breastfeeding months. Atnineteen months old, you’re still a little obsessed with boobs, something Ifind bemusing, your papa delighted with.

… time that we took you home was a week after you were born. We stayed in thehospital for a while so the nurses could look after us while I recovered fromthe operation and you learned that there was no need to panic, I had plenty ofmilk for you. You might remember your first day at home because I shoutedloudly at your papa for shrinking all my clothes. He thought he was helping bydoing the laundry. I thought he was more of a hindrance.

… time that you smiled was at six weeks old. And you haven’t stopped since. Ilove your smile. I love that you smile so frequently. I love that you have somuch to smile about. I particularly love your gappy toothed smile now that youhave a full mouth of teeth (though I did not love the sleepless nights thatthose teeth caused as they made their painful journey through your gums).
You were my first baby. My first bundle of pure joy and I suspect, pure mischief.

From This Moment - Caroline Ridge

From This Moment...by Caroline Ridge

If you have missed what this series is all about please read From This Moment Blog Project.
After a very long and tough labour, it was with such relief that I held my baby girl in my arms knowing that she was ok. I had struggled through my pregnancy with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (an extreme form of morning sickness) which had left me at times, quite depressed and often unsure of myself and my ability to be a good mother.

It sounds like a cliché but the moment I looked at my daughter Niamh I instantly fell so deeply in love with her, it actually shocked me as I really didn't expect to feel such strong feelings so quickly. I dreaded the thought that I would look at her and not feel anything, or that I would think I'd been through so much and it didn't feel worth it, which sounds awful now, but at the deepest loneliest part of my illness, this was how I felt. So that instant love and bond I felt, was just the most amazing thing I have ever experienced.

My first words to my daughter (which unlike a lot of my labour experience, I actually remember!) were 'oh my god, you are so beautiful, you are so beautiful, how have we made something so beautiful' and I sobbed and sobbed and I remember thinking that she was looking me right in the eye, listening to me, thinking 'what am I doing here and who is this mad woman crying at me?!'

I had decided to try feeding Niamh myself, so I cuddled her close to me for what felt like a few minutes but was actually about an hour (!) and she latched on easily. Now not only was I in love with this gorgeous little creature but I was able to feed her by myself and I felt like the most important person in the world!

When I finally let Daddy and then Nanny have a cuddle, I lay back and took a deep breath. I was so proud of myself and what I had achieved, I wanted this feeling to last forever. I tried to lay there and relax for a bit, but I just couldn't contain my excitement so in the end I rang my Nan, my Dad and two of my friends excitedly repeating the story of how Niamh was born and how perfect she is! I also relayed my joy at the fact that my husband Paul, usually very uncomfortable in hospitals had proven to be an excellent birthing partner, as had my Mum Jenny (also a midwife) and how I couldn't have coped without them.

That evening, for health reasons I didn't reach the ward until midnight. I was tired and really ready for a good sleep. But this was not going to happen! Niamh wouldn't settle that night and so I spent much of the next six hours rocking her in the day room of the hospital ward, while everyone else slept as I was worried she was keeping everyone awake. As a totally inexperienced Mother, I did not know what to do with her. I tried changing her nappy and feeding her again but nothing would calm her down. It was exhausting and here I think the realisation kicked in of my new life and just how much things were going to change. However, even through the screaming and the times since when I have felt like walking out the door and not coming back, I know that this little baby needs me. And from that moment in the hospital, as tough as it was, I made a promise to my baby girl that I would do whatever I had to do to show her I love her, that I would never turn my back on her and that I would prove everyday to her and myself that despite my doubts during pregnancy, I can be a good Mother.


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