It would appear that the terrible twos have entered our life a little earlier than expected! It would also appear that only mum is on the receiving end. We are going through a stage where I am not flavour of the month and everyone else in the room is … a difficult pill to swallow for me but hoping this is one of the short lived phases!
Back to the temper tantrums. Ranging from lying on her front, sliding back in a fit of rage, screaming to arching her back, wriggling and refusing to put her pyjamas on! It may seem a tad cruel but watching a meltdown is rather amusing. However attempting to get her into the bath and then pyjamas is no laughing matter. I think the latter is contributing to the anti-mum stance as inevitably it falls on mum to do those necessary jobs of keeping the small person alive!
During a phone call to my mum, whilst laughing about the current state of affairs with Poppie ruling the state of order, she reminded me of something. In the early days of Poppie being born my mum reckons that she took one look at the world and thought “I’ll be having you!” The little fighter in her back then made it past the bad days. And there really were some bad days, especially when she contracted bronchiolitis and was re-hospitalised. Now the little fighter in her is really just making a point that she is here, alive and to be heard. One would think a reasonable request from someone who has such a story to tell. However living with it makes life that tiny bit tricky!
Tonight is a case in point that she is here to be admired. We ventured out for an early tea at a local fish and chips restaurant. She smiled at everyone that looked at her, charmed all the waitresses and was very much her best self. I love seeing her little personality grow, even the diva side. Especially the diva side, because it is the reason I have such a little feisty fireball and the quality that ultimately makes us smile the most.
This summer I am embarking on my first ever sporting challenge – a 46 mile bike ride around London to raise money and awareness for Bliss. The Prudential Ride London is on the weekend of the 28th July, so plenty of time to get ready, but after my first ride out think I need a tad more planning.
Since having Poppie I am still trying to rid the last bit of weight around my middle that is proving a tough one to shift. I am hoping that focusing on a positive change in lifestyle, focused around being outside and also testing myself spinning, to build up my stamina will help to shift a bit of the wobbly bits! As well as attempting to improve my physical fitness I swore to myself when I was on maternity leave that I would fundraise for Bliss (a charity that supports babies born premature or sick). Throughout the time in hospital and the milestones I feel that Bliss offered a crutch of support. They were a place to go for advice, inspiration and knowing that our journey was very much shared by others.
Now to my preparations. The first and last time I attended a spinning class I fell off the bike! An embarrassing moment where I didn’t understand how to increase the resistance, resulting in my legs going much faster than my head could compute. Follow that and I had fallen off the bike with the instructor dismounting his to check I was ok. My brother, who was with me at the time, could not stop laughing and I was very much the colour of beetroot. All eyes had turned to me and how ridiculous it was that someone would bump their bum from the seat. I hope that this story paints the picture of the sort of person I am when it comes to exercise …
Day 1 of my training was me on the bike, freezing this Saturday morning. At one point I squealed, “my fingers, my toes!” Quite clearly not in the right attire. I didn’t manage too far, only 4 miles in about 25 minute but I have 6 months to get myself a little more prepared and hopefully not make an embarrassment of myself on the day. A bit like the stubbornness I see in Poppie, almost daily, I am determined to train and do everyone proud on the day.
The past few weeks have been hectic to say the least. Someone commented that being this busy is feeling like your feet aren’t touching the ground and quite literally this sums up our little family. Now I find myself with a spare moment to catch you up on our antics.
Poppie is flying high and has impressed the physio and OT so much that if she carries on moving about like the trooper she is then following the next appointment we could be discharged! Her latest trick is not only moving like a whippet, but pulling herself up. There was a stage of Poppie standing, looking proudly, but then shouting so that you could put her back on her bum! Thankfully that was a quick stage and the ups and downs are becoming more and more competent with a bit of cruising in for good measure. I love Poppie gaining more and more independence but she is really quite fearless, with no looking back when she ventures onto pastures new. This is particularly stressful when she sees a dog as she bounds over to day hello!
Last weekend was another huge milestone for us, having Poppie’s christening. Typically little ones are baptised before they are one, but what with a disorganised mother it took a little longer than it should have to plan. Having said that I think that Poppie was merely waiting for her moment in front of a crowd. An adoring audience watched as she rubbed the ointment from her head, waved like the queen and giggled at the right moments. A true treasure. Poppie has learnt that the way to please a crowd is to smile and laugh, a quality I hope she never loses.
On Friday 17th November it was World Prematurity Day. We represented on social media with pictures of Poppie over the past year. Reflecting on how much she has changed is just amazing. Last World Prematurity Day I remember looking into Poppie’s crib and thinking I really want to do something to mark this day, but it was all so new to us. She had only just come home and was so small and vulnerable. Now she is still pretty small, but fierce with enough attitude to fill a room. This meant that this year I wanted to embrace doing something to not only raise awareness and money but also to mark how incredible a journey we have come along.
My fundraising has been to support Bliss, a charity raising money and awareness for babies born sick or premature. So last Saturday we supported Bliss Little Lights Walk with a potter around Roundhay Park with local mums and friends. Last Friday my school had agreed to host a non-uniform day, splitting the money with Bliss and Children in Need. I organised a cake sale and overall £1100 was raised with £550 going to each. Independently for the Bliss Little Lights Walk we raised over £100 so not a bad couple of days doing our bit.
Next up is Christmas and last year I missed a bit of a trick dressing Poppie in ridiculous outfits. I think that I just wanted to hold onto every moment and dressing up was not on my priority list, especially as she had been back in hospital. However this year with more time to plan and think watch this space!
What a year! This time last year our worlds were turned upside down as Poppie hurtled into our lives. At just 27 week + 1 day pregnant a check-up by the amazing midwives at St James hospital turned into a visit to the delivery suite, followed by an emergency C-section and then Poppie arrived at just 1lb 9oz! We celebrated with a big party at my dad’s house last weekend and then today opened up all of her presents followed by a visit to tropical world.
Poppie’s arrival was so unexpected that obviously I turned to goggle and a specific statistic has stuck with me. 90% of babies born at 26, 27 and 28 weeks make it to their first birthday. She did it! In that moment a year seemed a million miles away but we are here and now it’s time to do the equivalent of shout from the roof tops.
Celebration of this little life is very much name of the game and has made me reflect on the highs and lows of the past 12 months. Looking back at photos of Poppie when she was first born seem unrealistic, especially when you compare them to the smiling, happy little girl in front of me. I don’t think that a year in my life has held quite so many tears and happiness sometimes only moments apart. At about 2 and a half months into our journey we met another amazing mum, who had a baby headed home on oxygen. She writes an amazing blog about her experiences of being mum to premature twins, grief and the challenges her little family has overcome.***
One of the huge parts of this year has been the sheer amount of love from near and far. When Poppie was born I felt very far removed from the situation, which may sound strange seeing as though I am her mum. This might sound funny but I felt like I was caught completely off guard as I was most definitely not expecting my baby so early. I managed to catch a glimpse of her as she was whisked away after being delivered. Pops then had to take a trip to the other side of Leeds where she would receive appropriate care for a baby so early. I managed a squeeze of her foot before almost 48 hours passed and with the help of an amazing midwife at St James I could see her again in her incubator. This was to be her home for a few more months. Those first few days are all a bit of a blur but a huge milestone was on day 6 when I got to have my first hold. Proud as punch doesn’t cover the feeling and I will never forget that moment. I looked forward to skin to skin and loved the feeling of holding her so close. During this time we were inundated with messages, gifts and cards. Every time I had a wobble I knew that someone was on the other end of the phone / whatsapp / just a train ride away. The words of congratulation on becoming a mum made the situation real and gave me so much strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
We continue to receive so much love and support. The amount of presents are testament to that, even if Poppie was far more concerned with the wrapping paper and cards! On days like today I feel so thankful for everyone who has helped us on our journey and I know will continue to do so.
We have celebrated today with such a super little girl. Our little miracle has come so far and I am so excited to see what the next year will hold for us. I am sure we will see more ups and downs, and there is a definite anxiousness about this next winter. However as her personality grows and her cheeky smiles brighten everyone’s day I cannot wait to see what the next year holds for us all.
***Check out Amy’s blog at https://thisismybraveface.blog/
As Poppie has grown the days have definitely become a little tougher as she becomes wiser and is adopting very diva like tendencies. Watching her develop into her own personality is both amazing and testing as she learns how to manipulate situations to her benefit. Although a tiny person, just recently breaking 13lb 7oz, it would be easy to underestimate her powers to influence. Her cheeky looks give her away and slowly I am learning which ones to get on top of. My mother labels me a princess at my ripe age of 31 so I am really not sure how I expected Poppie to be any different.
As her personality grows there are moments of pure sunshine in the day, notwithstanding the fact that she is devoted to me and responds to so many of the little things in the day. I am not really a morning person, but breakfast is becoming a favourite part of our day. Still in my dressing gown, the radio is on and I pull a few shapes in time to the music. In response I receive smiles, sometimes a laugh but best of all the look of complete commitment to the fact that I will provide for her during the day. Poppie really is the best audience I have ever had, watching and laughing at me as I pull funny faces, voices and a few moves.
In September I will return to my day job as a teacher where I constantly attempt to grab a 28 full class of 14 year olds’ attention. With Poppie there is no attempt needed. From moves in the kitchen to silly voices when changing her nappy to peekaboo on her playmat there really is very little effort required. And I love it! Everyone craves a bit of attention from time to time but no one tells you that bringing a new life into the world will result in undivided, devotion. Of course a lot of this comes from the fact that Poppie needs to survive and has worked out that I will provide food for the day, but it is definitely more than that. At the age of 10 months she is working out the world and certain of her mum and dad as her constants.
Being a mother doesn’t come with a text book. Sometimes I find that hard but when I find a funny face or gesture making her laugh it is the best feeling in the world.