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Another hospital visit

Today we had to visit the hospital again for April’s 6-8 week check up.  The rain has hit Cumbria again, so it was a bit of a mission wrapping her up and getting her to the hospital without getting cold or drenched.

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Me & my Daddy

We had in our minds that she would have a full MOT, be stripped down and checked from head to toe.  However, the doctor just measured her head and checked her weight.  He asked a few questions about her ‘social smile’ and what we we need to be looking out for.  We thought we would be told we wouldn’t need to go back for a year, but told we have to have another check in 4 months and they will see her until she is 2.  She wil also need to take her medications until she is 5.

Mind it is really good having all the support and guidence as to what we should be looking for with her development 🙂

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Life is cruel

Life is sometimes just so so cruel.  2 weeks after we buried my Nana, we have to say goodbye to Phil’s Nana as well.

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Eve & Nana Ridley

Nana Ridley had been in hospital for a couple of weeks before I ended up being admitted to hospital.  Phil even got to visit her in Carlisle hospital, while I was on the maternity unit, before she was transferred to Penrith hospital and I went to Middlesbourgh.

There was a time when our Nana’s were in the rooms next door to each other in hospital.  Phil’s Nana was also a good age of 91, but again she was unable to meet April.  She moved into a care home, but sadly passed away last week.

I wasn’t able spend a huge amount of time with Nana Ridley, but I know she was a big part of Phil’s childhood.  Making sure her family were well was always her priority and nothing gave her more satisfaction than when everyone was together having a good time.  Philip thought the world of her.  We are both so sad that our little miracle never got to meet her two Great Nanas, but we know that Nana Ridley and Nana Jackson both knew she was here and was doing really well.

We will always tell April stories and with big siter Eve able to recall stories from her early years then the memories of Nana Ridley will live on.

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Got my pass signed…

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Play time

Mixed bag of a week last week, but April finally had 2 poos!  She’s still not wonderfully regular as she is only going every 2-3 days.  You can tell when she’s building up to it as it’s like her little cries turn to a little squeals like she’s saying ‘owww’ ‘owww’.  We upped her Lactolose that she was prescribed from the hospital , but it’s still not moving things, so we’re now trying boiled water and apple juice as well.

I don’t worry much about April, such as her immunisations, as I was so used to her getting things done in hospital, so take it all in my stride.  However when I can’t settle her and she looks in pain I do wonder what’s going on inside and if she is OK.  We have the hospital tomorrow though for her 6-8 week paediatric check, so hopefully she will get the all clear and be discharged for another year – fingers crossed.

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Bath time with Eve & Daddy

The health visitor came on Friday and she did a big poo – it was like she knew a medical professional was coming over to check on her, so she had best do a poo.  Anyway, we’d not seen her for 2 weeks, so we had bets on what April would weigh.  We all thought she would have reached her 7lb mark, but were astounded when she weighed in at 7lb 14oz!!!  She is still in tiny baby clothes though as she is so little.

April is really starting to develop now.  It’s hard to think she is 3 months old, when she’s really just like a newborn.  However, last week we had more play time and she was reaching out for me (pulling my hair!) stroking my face, watching me and smiling.  I love that time and seeing her develop and learn – she amazes us all the time at what a little miracle she is!

I had a lovely weekend.  Some of my friends from away came to visit on Saturday and I got a pass out on Saturday night.  I didn’t feel ready for a night on the town yet, but we headed to the local pub for a lovely meal and drinks.  It was so nice to feel like Lisa.  The past few months I’ve just been in a bubble of hospital and being at home and you lose your identity a bit, so seeing friends and talking about normal things was such a tonic.

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The girls meet April

As soon as I saw them all though I cried.  These girls really know me and know the struggles I’ve had in my past, so it felt so good to tell them about the whole experience, shed a few tears and have a few belly laughs!  It wasn’t a last night and I was surprisingly awake at the 2am feed…think it hit me last night instead!  It’s amazing how you can feel so tired and then get your second wind and keep going.

Tried to do a bit of work again today, but only managed an hour.  I’m hoping to get into more of a routine soon and have set days/times when I can do work.  I’m sure I’ll have good days and bad, but a positive attitude is a must to keep going.  Ohhhhhh to win the lottery haha!

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Volume button?

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Strike a pose

Can anyone tell me if babies come with a volume button?  I was told that premature babies are often a bit noiser than term babies; they snuffle and gurgle and yelp.  I’m sure it is true for all babies, not just prem babies, but wouldn’t it be great if they came with a volume button, so when they were making noise you could just turn them down!

I got about 3 hours sleep last night…and about 4 the night before!  I don’t know what has changed this week, but April is refusing to let me sleep.  She used to sleep more in the day, so I could get on with things, but not anymore.  Even at night she doesn’t seem to want to settle as much.  Last night for example on cue, she woke up for a feed at 10pm.  Then, again on cue, at 2am.  I crawled back into bed at 3.30am, but she woke me up again at 4am…and then she was on and off until about 6am.

Today she just couldn’t make up her mind.  She was happy for 10 mins in her moses basket, then would cry, so I’d pick up her up and she was happy for 10 minutes.  Then I’d put her in her bouncer and she was happy for 10 minutes.  It was like that all day!  I’ve been trying tough love and leaving her, but when her gurgling becomes screams with tears it’s hard not to give her attention.

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Barry Bee – my favourite toy

I also had a meeting planned in today at the house.  It was cancelled in the end, but while I was waiting I was thinking that there is no way I can have a meeting at home anymore when she is like this!  I have not had 5 minutes to myself today, until Phil came home…not even 5 minutes to catch a sleep.

Phil and I went across to the North East yesterday to a funeral (Mam was on hand to look after April – don’t think I could have coped with her screaming all the way!)  Poor Phil as I slept all the way there and all the way home again.  God knows how I am meant to do any work when she is like this.  I think the only way around it is to have full days off with her and other days call on the Mums to watch her while I work; otherwise it will be impossible for me to do anything…and this has to work!

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New Yummy Mummy hairdo

April would have been 3 weeks today if she had gone full term.  The doctors say we need to take her development as if she was 3 weeks…not 12 weeks, which she actually is.  So, things you would usually see a 3 month old baby doing we have to wait an additional 10 weeks.  I’m sincerely hoping this doesn’t go for the sleeping through as well.  It is hard enough having a newborn baby at home, but on top of that we’ve got the 10 weeks she was premature and the 2 weeks I was in hospital before she was born.  It’s almost like we have to cut out those 12 weeks and just go from the last 3 weeks, but it’s hard to catch up on 3 months worth of sleep!

One thing that made me feel normal last week was having my hair done.  I had about 4 inches cut off.  While in hospital my hair just used to get swept up in a messy bun, as I didn’t even have a hairdryer.  I must have looked pretty rough at times.  April has also discovered how to pull my hair, so it was time for a chop…and a bit of a curl.  See how I can manage it this time!

Right, off to bed! x

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Back to Business

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April being winded

Yesterday I went back to work.  Now I know you are saying “WHAT!!?? is she crazy?”  Believe me I would like to have the next year off with April, like most normal Mums who haven’t been through a traumatic experience like we have do.  However, I have a bit of a different predicament…I run my own business and as it is a Limited Company, it employs me rather than me being “self employed”.  In effect I pay myself maternity.  Or something like that.  I don’t get statutory maternity and I haven’t had any materntiy pay over the last 3 months.  There is only so long that savings can keep you going.  So, needs must.

 

Friends have often told me I’m a strong person and can deal with things really well, but this experience has actually shown me that yes, I am bloody strong.  I mean how many people do you know who would have a baby, been in intensive care, nurtured their baby in SCBU, expressed 10 weeks worth of milk before due date…and went back to work in less than 3 months.  Well, I’m either strong or nuts!

All through this experience I wasn’t going to let it defeat me and only a few days after my C-Section, did I get my slap on, get dressed and force myself out of bed.  I had to do it for my baby girl!

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Sleeping Beauty

So, yesterday I had my first meeting.  I’ve scaled back the amount of work I’m doing and just concentrating on 3 or 4 of my main clients who have supported me through the last few months and patiently waited for me.  Experiences like this put your life into perspective and even though I did get stressed that things weren’t getting done, and I felt so out of control, the world doesn’t stop if a press release isn’t written or a website is not updated.  However, I have not built my business up from nothing after redundancy (I could write a boook!) to turn my back on it.

I felt nervous heading back into the boardroom so to speak, but if I didn’t start now I never would.  I had told my client to be gentle with me and that he was…my first meeting was pain free and my baby mushed up brain still seemed to function!  As long as I take it easy and don’t take on too much (but enough to pay the bills) I should be OK – just need to watch the old BP!

Not quite sure when I’m going to do the work juggling baby – however with an amazing Mam and Mother-in-law on hand and falling over themselves to look after me and help out I’m sure we can all do it together!  If any one can I can! (I have to keep telling myself that!)

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Tummy time with Daddy

Today, Daddy was off work with us as we had an appointment at the hospital.  A few weeks ago April had to have blood tests and it had shown that her white blood cells were low.  This meant that she was more prone to infection due to a low immune system.  Today was time for more bloods to be taken.  I know all parents will relate to this, but you need to get ready well in advance to get out of the house, take a shopping trolley full of equiptment with you and plan your movements around feeds.  We timed getting to the hospital to coincide with her feeds 15 minutes early, but the staff on the Children’s Ward are always very punctual and we were seen right away.

April would usually have blood taken in a heel prick, which she has had done loads of times, but today it was taken out of her vein in the back of her hand.  To ease the pain they give little ones tubes of sugar solution, which she loves (sweet tooth like Mammy!) However, there was still lots of screaming, but she always does amazing and after the initial shock soon calms down.  We were in and out before we knew it!  This afternoon we had a call from the hospital with good news…April’s cells were at a normal level from 88 up to 101, so they don’t need to see her again (whoo hoooo!!!!!)  She just needs to go back to the hospital for her 6-8 weeks check in a couple of weeks and hopefully if she gets the all clear we won’t need to go back to the hospital for a year!

Our little miracle continues to amaze us every day!

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When will I, will i be famous…

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Phil and Lisa Jackson from Clifton near Penrith with their baby daughter April Jackson. Little April was born ten weeks premature after mum Lisa had medical complications during pregnancy: 7 January 2016 STUART WALKER

Well you can take the girl out of the marketing industry for a few months, but you can’t take the marketing out of the girl, as I started April off with her first bit of press coverage last week.  Our local paper the Cumberland News had heard about our story via social media and got in touch with me to see if they could write about us.  When we had first got home it was a bit too soon and I was still processing the enormity of what had happened to us, so I waited…and they contacted me again in the New Year.  They wanted to feature my blog as well (although there was no mention of the link) so I said yes as i thought it might help other parents and also raise awareness about pre-eclampsia and the work of the Special Care baby unit in Carlisle.  So, April had her first taste of publicity with an article written all about her!

click here for article

2016-01-07 22.37.23April was also weighed again last Friday and now is a massive 6lb 8oz!  I was gob smacked when the Health Visitor told me.  I thought she’d perhaps have hit the 6lb mark, but the extra 8oz was a bonus.  She was really pleased with April’s progress, and so April now only needs a visit once every 2 weeks!  Her head control is spot on and she is very alert – she’s even giving us a cheeky smile (well we’re sure it’s not wind) and has a double chin now.  It’s amazing to think how tiny she was and how far she has come.

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I know this is NOT a flattering photo, but this is how I feel before I dive back into my business!

This week I am dipping my toe back in the water of work.  I wish more than anything I could take a year out like most mums and enjoy my baby, but unfortunately as I am a director of a company I have to keep working to keep the money coming in.  It would also be very easy to say give it all up, but I’ve not worked hard for 5 years to give it all up.  My clients have mostly all been amazing, but there is only so long they can wait for me to crack on.  If i left it too long they’d go somewhere else.  Hopefully I can work a couple of hours a day or as and when needed and fit in around April.  At the moment it seems daunting getting my head round work, when we’ve been through such a trauma, but hopefully I can ease myself in and my clients will be gentle with me.  I’m scaling back the amount of work I do and concentrating on my 4 main clients – then hopefully introduce more back, in a few months time. Fingers crossed – will keep you posted on how I get on being a SuperMumPreneurHousewifeAllroundAmazinHumanbeing hahaha!