baby · home

Tidy Home, Tidy Mind – IKEA Trofast hack

Hi All!

So Christmas has one again came and gone and the only thing that’s left is a slowly decreasing stack of biscuits and chocolates and a ton of new toys that need to find a home. We knew that we would need some new toy storage because we previously just had two large plastic boxes in the corner and some bigger items to the side. With us getting her a play kitchen this year and family getting her a range of new toys both big and small we knew we needed to look at what storage we had and make some changes.

I have always been a fan of IKEA storage and we have IKEA Kallax systems in both Eleanor’s bedroom and my office and they have served us well. We considered getting another Kallax system but one problem with her old storage is that smaller toys fell to the bottom where she couldn’t reach and forgot about them and the bigger ones sat at the top. This meant that many of her toys were forgotten about and unused.

I then looked at the IKEA Trofast systems and thought this could be a great solution to our toy troubles as you can purchase different sized storage trays and customise it to your needs. You can also buy different colours to match the room. This was definitely the best fit for our needs and so we planned to head up to IKEA. Before we went to IKEA I had a sort through Eleanors toys, rehomed anything that was broken, unused or missing pieces and just kept what she loves/plays with. I was quite brutal with it but I needed to be as she had so much new stuff.

My cousin kindly offered to watch Eleanor and even have her overnight the night before and we headed up on a Saturday. IKEA is around a 45/50 minute drive and we jumped in the qashqui bright and early and managed to get there for around 10:15 which was great as it wasn’t super busy. We navigated our way around IKEA and found the Trofast we wanted which was the pine 3×3 and the pine mini 2×3 to go on the wall above. We also wanted to do an “IKEA hack” and bought spice racks to screw to the sides to house books as welll as a huge roll of paper and two rails – one to hold it and one to feed the paper through to keep it neat.

For the boxes we got clear mini boxes, then 3 small clear drawers and 3 orange medium drawers. These have worked so well and all her toys are split into categories so she knows exactly where everything is.

When we got home we quickly assembled the Trofast which were very easy to put together and then painted them with the same grey paint which we have on the walls. The paint has a matte/chalky finish on the wood and has tied them into the room beautifully and made them look more luxury. We then redecorated and finally installed our Trofast system onto the wall. We screwed on the spice racks which were also painted and added the paper roll and fed it through a second metal bar to keep it from rolling loose.

This is the finished product and honestly I couldn’t be more pleased with it! Not only does it look really nice in our living room and go well with the decor, it works so well for Eleanor and she loves it. It’s so easy to scoop everything up on a night and hide it away ready for the next day. Eleanor has really been loving the drawing table part and spends hours creating masterpieces and forcing me and Adam to go over and draw with her. She pulls us a tiny chair up from her little table and insists that we join her and make some artwork.

We have had a ton of compliments from friends and family and it’s a huge conversation point with visitors who come into our home. I love that Eleanor has her own space in the room and it almost makes the room have “zones” so that it’s not a complete and utter child explosion. I do think it’s good for my mental health to be able to relax and with the toys contained on a night me and Adam are able to have time that feels more adult and really switch off and just enjoy spending time together without bumping into something loud and plastic.

I always love a good trip to IKEA and my house is pretty much full of IKEA furniture, a lot of which has been painted/changed in some way. It has stood the test of time and still looks great. Cheap doesn’t always mean low quality and you can get some really pretty things from there. Plus even if you don’t end up getting something big IKEA is always a fun day out. I always end up with a ton of candles, some random kitchenware that I probably don’t need and leave with some extremely low alcohol ciders that taste of apple juice and possibly a hot-dog.

I hope this has inspired you to really think about how you can take a piece of furniture and make it work for you. I couldn’t be without Eleanor’s little toy station now and really love how it looks in our room. Now it’s time for the next project!

Thanks for reading!
Hannah x

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baby · family · parenting · personal

A letter to my daughter for International Womens Day

Dear Eleanor.

On international women’s day I can’t help thinking about what kind of a woman you will be when you are older.

As any mother would, I have all these hopes for you. I hope you grow to be clever, courageous and kind. I hope you grow to be strong, smart and generous. I hope you grow to always love your family, to help your friends and to always find the good in the bad. I hope you laugh lots, I hope you know it’s safe to express yourself, I hope you follow your dreams and know it’s okay if you don’t always achieve them.

I want you to know I’ll always love you, never judge you and you always have my support. I’ll hold you up when you’re down, I’ll laugh with you when you’re happy and cry with you when you’re sad. I’ll be there to embarrass you when you bring your first love home – no matter what gender they are, all I’ll be there with a box of tissues should they break your heart.

I’ll always be your best friend and help you see the beauty in being a woman – if that’s what gender you feel you are.

You are incredible and one day you could change the world, and I’ll be there by your side.

I can’t wait to see the woman you will become, but for now I’m just enjoying my wonderful toddler who always makes my day and amazes me with her intelligence, her spirit and her loving nature.

Eleanor Bridie Lister you are my greatest piece of art and I love you dearly.

Happy International Women’s Day! 

baby · parenting · personal

Who’s baby? My Babiie! My Babiie MB200 Rose Gold/Blush Review.

Hi All!

It seems to me that every mum that I meet has a complete and utter obsession with prams. I’ve heard of mums going through 6-7-8 prams per child! For me I spent a long time choosing my perfect pram and I originally had a Venicci polka-dot travel system which I absolutely loved. As Eleanor got bigger and I started venturing out with her more without putting her into the car seat on wheels I realised how much effort and bulky a travel system is. I would never be able to drop it down on a bus if needed and we really struggled to get it into our car at the time and still have space for anything else. I decided to get a stroller and got a second hand Cosatto which I wasn’t crazy about and I quickly re-sold it. I then decided for Eleanors birthday to get a My Babiie MB51 in pink/grey chevron which both Eleanor and I completely loved.

Last year we were going on holiday and Eleanor was starting to get a little bit long for her MB51 and so I decided I’d go on holiday and then buy a new one when we returned, that way if anything happened to the pram whilst on holiday we would still be getting a new one. We were very lucky on holiday and our pram still came back in great condition and so we sold it on to make space for our new one!

I knew straight away I wanted another My Babiie. I had trust in the brand and Eleanor had always been cosy and comfy in hers. I also had got a ton of compliments about the pram from strangers and really loved the designs. I decided to go for the MB200 as it was a bit bigger and I wanted to go for a U shaped fold rather than an umbrella fold so it was easier to store at home. When choosing a design I never hesitated – I was definitely sold on the blush and rose gold. Blush and rose gold are two of my favourite colours and the pram that I chose is so stunning.

I did however have a bit of a mess around getting it. The hype for the pram was crazy and places were selling out thick and fast. Thankfully, I managed to get one from ASDA online and it was shipped quickly to my home address.

The delivery day arrived and I quickly unboxed it and slid it together. I was even more impressed with it in person and it certain looks more luxury than it did online.

I soon got to grips (literally) with the new handle and adjusted it to size and had a little push around my living room. It was smooth, easy to push and quite lightweight for its size.

  

Next I put it side by side with my old pram and looked at the differences. The MB200 has a wider and taller seat, more luxury fabrics and a much nicer finish. The wheels are higher quality and the bumper bar is one full piece not folding like the MB51.

I then looked at how I would store my new pram and was pleased to see it folded quite small and stood up itself. This now lives under the breakfast bar where my old fridge sat and is neatly tucked away.

I couldn’t wait to take it for a spin and we headed out that evening for a walk around Teesside Park whilst I pushed my new prized possession.

I’ve always loved having a fur on my pram and I quickly ordered a matching fur and personalised pom-pom from Big Mamas Baby Boom which I would highly recommend as the service was prompt and my fur is such great quality. I really love the pom-pom, which has survived all sorts of toddler messes and is still going strong!

 

I was so pleased with it once the fur arrived, but more importantly Eleanor has loved it since it arrived. She ran over and climbed straight into it the day it arrived and sat for quite a while watching a movie happily tucked up into it.

She has always managed to sleep in it and drops off quite easily in the padded seat. This makes life much easier when you’re out for the day as she can be quite ratty without a decent sleep. The hood fully extends so she can snooze in peace without having any sun/wind/people disturbing her. Thankfully there’s a little viewing window so I can still check on her and make sure she’s okay.

I love this pram. I get a ton of compliments and always see a lot of people looking over and talking about it. Apart from it being pretty, it’s also super practical. It’s comfy, easy and lovely to push, super simple to fold down and up and even has a carry handle. My only negative with it is I wish it had a toddler sized cosy-toes that went with it as the apron velcro isn’t the longest and can often be a pain to get on – but that’s only a tiny thing. Oh and a matching bag would be a dream!

Sadly this will probably be Eleanors last pram, and what a pram it is. If I was to have another baby I would most definitely have another My Babiie and really like the look of the travel systems. They’re really affordable and for the price are really great quality.

Let me know below if you love my pram or have any thoughts on My Babiie!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah xx

baby · fashion · parenting · personal · plus size

Black Cat Birthday On A Budget!

Hi All!

When I got my c-section date to have Eleanor, I wasn’t very pleased. They had scheduled it for Tuesday 13th, which meant that growing up some of her birthdays would fall on Friday 13th and being of Irish heritage, I can be quite superstitious. In the end though, I didn’t really care what the date was as long as she came healthy.

As her second birthday approached, It was evident that this would fall on a Friday the 13th. Rather than dreading this day, I decided to embrace this by throwing Eleanor a black cat party!

When I sat down to plan the party I decided that because she had a christening/birthday the previous year that I would throw her a proper party this year and invite her friends along. I was lucky enough to have a great venue available and soon made plans on how I was going to make her day special.

Her party was going to be held in St Lukes Church, which is the church I attend and where I hold our baby music class Wriggle & Rhyme. I thought about how I could decorate the space and soon found out that “Black Cats” isn’t a massively popular theme and I struggled to find anything that would actually go.

Thankfully, I’m quite crafty and set about making my own decorations. I made cat face shaped bunting, cat face paper fans, decorated black plates and cups with cat faces and other bits I went for black/white/gold and polka dots.

I managed to buy polka dot straws, white/black/gold tassel bunting and polka dot table covers from eBay and found some gold Happy Birthday balloons from New Look. I even got black, white and gold balloons for the floor for the kids to play with from card factory but unfortunately these were the WORST balloons ever and most of them popped the night before as we were setting up the space!

My last little touch was some cat faced pumpkins I found in ALDI! These sat at each end of the table (and we got to re-use them for Halloween!)

For the food we catered ourselves and did most the night before and some fresh on the morning. We did four types of sandwiches, sausage/cheese rolls, chicken nuggets, popcorn chicken and some other party style food which we purchased from Iceland. We saved quite a lot of money doing this and we got quite a lot of compliments on the food.

For Eleanor’s cake I decided to make it myself. I’m quite a good cake baker and knew I wanted to keep it simple. I made her a devils food cake (ironic that we were in the church..) and then vanilla cupcakes.

I made this cake topper from glittered paper by cutting out two identical cat faces, then using a craft scalpel to cut out the letters and then glutted the two layers together and attached it to cocktail sticks.

I also made different shaped cat toppers for the cupcakes. I used a cookie cutter as my stencil and then cut them out by hand. I finished them with a cocktail stick so they would sit neatly into the cupcakes.

The cakes then sat around the main cake on a separate table which I sprinkled with handmade confetti. The confetti was made from the leftover scraps of glitter paper which I cut out with a heart hole punch. 

Eleanor loved her cake. Here she is blowing out the candles with daddy!

 

We went with a “cat dress optional” theme and some people did, some didn’t. We attempted to draw little whiskers on Eleanors face but they were mostly off by the end of the day. She wore a sparkly black velvet dress, tights and a fluffy cropped cardigan.

I of course dressed the part and decided to wear the cat whiskers that Eleanor refused to.

For my outfit I went with a lace top over a strappy vest tucked into a fluffy tulle skirt. I finished the look with some gold cat ears that I made from leftover glitter paper.

For the entertainment my mum kindly booked a bouncy castle which we set up in an adjoining room which was great as it meant we could contain the kids in one area whilst we set up and unwrapped the food. The bouncy castle also had a slide which the kids seemed to love. I set up a spotify playlist and linked it to a docking station I have and let the kids listen whilst they bounced. We then went back into the hall and we had set up lights and projected “Happy Birthday” onto the wall.

For games we had a few round of pass the parcel. I wrapped up some mini plushy toys and some sticker books with sweets in between each layer and made sure every kid won something. We then finished with a disco and cake!

Considering we did it on a budget we had a fantastic day and we got loads of compliments on the decor, the cakes and the food. We were even asked by some kids if they could come next year which was a huge compliment. The biggest reward was seeing Eleanor really enjoy herself – she loved it!

If you’re willing to do things yourself and put the work in you can achieve a lot on a small budget. If you’d rather buy things and hire people in, that’s also great but I didn’t want to throw money away at a party she probably won’t remember when she’s older!

Now I’ve got to start planning for next year, I wonder what weird and wonderful party that will be! Or maybe I’ll do a quiet family meal and give myself a little break.

Who knows.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah xx

 

baby · parenting · personal · plus size

Whats the t?

Hi all!

Once again, life has gotten in the way and has stopped me from blogging as much as I would like to.

The culprit this time? My laptop decided to stop working – but only the t key! This made typing incredibly awkward as I had to copy and paste every single time I wanted to use the t key. Very annoying.

Now I finally have a new laptop after there was an accident which ended up in the screen getting completely smashed – making it completely useless. Finally I can get back to blogging and hopefully keep up with it. I do love writing, but I think I second guess myself quite a lot and really it’s gone on the back burner since I’ve had a child. I think I get a sense of guilt if I’m just sitting behind a laptop and not really engaging with my child, but there’s ways I guess I can do both as she’s a very independent baby who is just happy to play!

Well, I keep saying baby but she’s almost 2 – how did that happen?!

I figured with this post I’d give you a little insight into where I am with my life at the moment. I’m in the weight loss management program and I’ve lost around a stone and a half so far, and 3 in total since last year. Currently going through all the steps to eventually have weight loss surgery which isn’t something I’ve decided on lightly. I hope that people understand I have no way been pressured into WLS by anybody and I don’t dislike the way that I look at all. I’m happy and confident as a plus sized woman and will genuinely sad to be smaller – however I am doing this for my health and so that in the future I can have another child. I certainly couldn’t do another pregnancy like the last one and I really want another child in a few years. I also want some quality of life. I have sleep apnea and honestly I’m just so sick of being tired – which is another reason I’ve stopped blogging as much.

This summer I’ve been super busy helping out at lunch club at church. Lunch club is a thing my church runs where we invite the local kids into the church for a hot meal over the holidays to take some of the extra financial burden off families in the area. It’s also a great way to see all the kids and to do things like crafts with them and we’ve even had great fun with mini discos.

I also arranged and ran a fundraising summer fayre within the church which raised £500 for our youth services. We were all so happy with this and we plan to raise another around Christmas.

Finally, I’ve been working with AWAYOUT to do crafts and outreach with the girls in the blossom project which I love. I finished my sponsored swim for them – all 1416 laps of the pool swam and really enjoyed my time doing it.

Another big difference in my life is that for the past few months I’ve made a really amazing group of friends and we have been hanging out and having play dates as well as baby free nights. It’s so nice to be around other people who “get” you and who are on your wavelength. I almost feel like they’ve saved me a little bit and their support is really just so wonderful. I was slipping into pretty bad depression again but honestly this group of women have helped me so much – I don’t know where I’d be without them. So a massive thank you and shout-out to Charlotte, Nikki, Sam, Steph & all our beautiful squad babies, I truly love you all.

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Now i’ve been able to upload all my pics to my new laptop I’ve got a few local reviews and pieces to post, and I’m on holiday at the end of this month so watch out for that! We’re off to (hopefully) sunny Ibiza with a toddler – wish us luck!

Just wanted to say a huge thank you to those who stick with me, comment on my posts, ask how I am on IG etc. It means a lot to know that people care. I know my posts are more and more sporadic but I really will make an effort to keep people update!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

 

baby · Community · fashion · parenting · plus size

Why I Want To Lose Weight.

 Hi all.

This post has been a difficult one for me to write for a number of reasons. First and foremost I don’t want to upset/offend or trigger anybody with weight loss chat. Secondly, I am losing weight because I personally need to and believe that what everybody else does with their bodies is their business. Thirdly, I don’t want anybody to think that I’m now against fat bodies. I will never be against fat bodies. If I could be well and still the size I am – I would be happy with that. Unfortunately, I’m not healthy and this means I need to lose weight.

When I was pregnant with Eleanor, I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and it was tracked that I stop breathing around 100 times an hour when I’m asleep which is super scary. It means that I never ever feel well rested and I drop off asleep through the day for a few minutes which isn’t great. It’s quite embarrassing when I drop off and I hate it. The only way to tackle it is to use a c-pap machine which I just can’t get the hang of or lose weight…so I’m choosing the latter.

I’ve battled with my weight for quite a long time now. I’ve gone through every stage of hating my body to the point of hiding away and self harming, to parading my beautiful body along a stage at a plus size beauty pageant – whilst wearing a bikini! I’m at a happy place with my body and how I look, but not with how it functions and if I’m going to have a better quality of life then I really need to change.

For so long I’ve championed plus sized bodies and the amazing things they can do that defy the bullshit that doctors try to push on you. I’ve seen so many beautiful plus sized mothers bring their babies into the world when they were told they’d never be able to even conceive as a plus sized woman – I myself was one of these women. I was told at every step how high risk I was and truly bullied by the NHS. When Eleanor came there wasn’t a single thing about her that wasn’t perfect, and she’s growing to be an intelligent, bright and confident little girl; something they told me I wouldn’t be able to “cope with” and would have to have extra help with. I’ve had none and need none.

I’ve seen plus sized bodies climbing mountains and doing yoga, running marathons and being “healthier” than their slimmer counterparts.

Unfortunately for me – that not the case. My body is different from others because I have hypermobile joints which means they are unstable and move too much and even dislocate. This causes me extreme pain and so anything I can do to take pressure off them and improve my quality of life – I want to be able to go on long walks with my family and not worry if there’s somewhere to sit on the way around. I’m sick of staying in the house whilst Adam takes Eleanor out alone because I’m sore or because I need some rest as I feel isolated away from them and almost feel at times that they have a much better bond together.

The big thing I need to lose weight for is Sleep Apnea which is currently giving me no quality of life. I stop breathing in my sleep which means I never feel well rested and often fall asleep during the daytime – mostly when doing quiet tasks such as writing blog posts. I find it so hard to get the focus to write and finish a blog post, it takes me days/weeks to write just a snippet without nodding off which is why I’ve not been blogging as much.

With sleep apnea you get something called a CPAP (continuous positive airway machine) to wear at night which is a face mask which pumps out air into your nose and throat. Unfortunately, I find it hard to breathe through my nose and so I can’t use the machine without finding it very hard to breathe. It also triggered the PTSD which I was left with after my c-section that didn’t go to plan.. I’m hoping with weight loss that this gradually gets better.

It’s not just health why I want to lose weight. I’m sick of paying the “plus size tax” on clothes. I want to be able to go to shops like Primark and buy a pair of shorts for £3, not £30. I want to be able to see in my hand what I’m buying and not wonder what the sizing is going to be like on my online order. I want to have choices like everybody else and not have to stick to the same 2-3 shops I always do.

I’m going on holiday in September and in some ways I’m dreading it. I’m hoping that I fit in the seat okay and don’t need loads of extenders! I’m hoping I can fit down the water slides and have the energy to run around after Eleanor and dance with her at the kids disco.

Eleanor is my number one priority. I don’t want her to get bullied in school cause I’m the “fat mam” at the school gates out of breath and I don’t want her to be ashamed of me. I want Eleanor to grow up in a world that accepts people for who they are and doesn’t judge people for their appearance and I want her to grow up knowing that she is beautiful and perfect – but I also want her to be able to live her life without any complications like mine and I don’t want her to feel as unhappy I do at times. This world is a cruel place and people are really nasty (kids in particular who have been brought up to be fatphobic).

I really don’t want to cause any upset or offence to the plus size community because I fully intend to still be a member of the plus size community and body positivity for all – I just need to do this for my own health so that my life is actually worth living again and so that I can enjoy my family and be around to watch them grow.

Hannah x

baby · parenting · plus size

Scarred for life – My c-section story.

Hi all!

I’ve always been a fan of literature and reading, and one of my favourite all time quotes is from Dickens “A Tale Of Two Cities” which reads –

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way”

To me, this has always spoken of happiness and joy in one hand in comparison to sorrow and despair in the other – and that’s exactly how I feel about my c-section. I’ve not told this story online before and it might be triggering talking about medical talk and PTSD etc so please don’t read this if it may upset you.

If you read my last post, I was ready in hospital to have my section and had been kept in for days beforehand ready for the birth on Tuesday. Tuesday came around and Adam and our mums turned up bright and early as I was scheduled to be going into theatre at 8AM. The doctors had cleared their diaries and decided that I would be their priority for the morning to ensure a safe delivery for my baby.

8AM rolled around and the doctors still hadn’t came to get me and so I waited patiently in my room with my family getting more and more nervous and anxious about the upcoming procedure. Finally, just after 9 the doctors came and everybody took me down to the delivery suite where I would be going after surgery and we had a quick discussion about what would be happening. I was then quickly whisked into a tiny room to start the epidural process to numb me in preparation for surgery. We were all crammed in the smallest room and it was boiling hot – the sweat was rolling off me. I was asked to sit on the table bend forward whilst a doctor attempted to get a needle into my back. After almost an hour of him trying, I was crying in pain and asked for a break to which he snapped back at me “well I don’t get a break”. This was the start of his negative attitude, and sadly not the last. Eventually he got the needle where he thought he wanted it and he asked if i thought it felt central and I said no, but he left it anyway. They took so long with the needle because they wanted to leave it in my back for extra pain relief the next day (which never got used).

It was then time to go into theatre and have my baby. The doctor who had put my epidural in was spraying me with cold spray down my side and asking if I could feel it, to which I was saying yes I can. I could feel it up until my hips but not after that. I kept telling him I could feel it but he didn’t seem to believe me and said I could feel the pressure when I was telling him I could feel the cold.

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I was laid down on the bed and the sheet went up right in front of my face and I knew it was time. I was still being sprayed with cold spray and feeling it and so the doctor started pumping me full of drugs. From the first touch of the scalpel on my stomach, I felt everything. I felt like I was actually going to die. I was crying in pain as they burned me to cauterize the skin and made cuts to get to my womb. I was then told I would feel a little bit of pressure as they delivered Eleanor, but as I wasn’t numbed properly it felt like they were scooping my insides out. I was still crying and telling them it hurt but all the doctor would do was spray me and give me more painkillers. I was so thankful for Adam being there to hold me, reassure me and sing to me to try and calm me down. Finally, at 11:36 on 13/10/2015 she was born and I laid there whilst Adam held her and they stitched me up.

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Finally I got to hold my baby girl and I was so happy that she had arrived and was healthy. The doctors put her onto my chest for skin to skin contact as I’d requested and wheeled me into the post op room with her snoozing on me. From there we went back to the labour ward and our mums got to meet Eleanor and that’s as much as I really remember.

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After that the day is a huge blur till the evening when I was filled in on the days events. Due to the amount of painkillers in my system, I actually stopped breathing twice as opiates suppress the respiratory system. I don’t remember any of this obviously as I was out of it, but this was quite terrifying for my family – in particular my brother who walked into the room as a team of doctors were running in to make me breathe again.

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(Me when I was out of it)

When I came back around in the evening I was quite aware that I couldn’t feel my legs.I hadn’t expected this and so I was quite alarmed. Without having the use of my legs it was really hard to move myself on the bed – even more so as I had wires etc connected to me. The sheets were quite soggy with my sweat and so the nurses decided to change them with me still in the bed which was hard considering I couldn’t move. The nurses went to find a couple of people to help change the sheets with me still on the bed and at this point the doctor who had the bad attitude with me previously and who had given me too many drugs popped in to see I was okay and got roped into helping change my sheets. After the sheets were changed and I had been repositioned into a comfier position, the doctor then remarked that he wished he hadn’t bothered coming to see me and left again. Once again this upset me and left a negative feeling on what was supposed to be one of the best days of my life.

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Seeing as I was out of it all day, I missed quite a lot of time bonding with Eleanor and I was really upset about this. Adam was there through it all though and dressed her, changed her, held her and was so wonderful with her and so hands on from the first moment. He was so supportive with me even though he knew how distressed I was and somehow made it all better. I’ll never forget him sleeping on the uncomfortable blue sofa and refusing to leave my side till the morning when he went home, changed and brought me breakfast as I’d had nothing since the Monday night. I was feeling a lot better by the Wednesday morning after having some breakfast yet once again it was ruined by the staff who then piled into my room (around 8-10 of them) and proceeded to lecture me about my weight and tell me I would be dead within ten years if I didn’t lose weight after my pregnancy. Once again, what was supposed to be a lovely blessed time was tainted by lectures on my weight and talking about things not even related to my baby.

At the time I did know I needed to lose weight. I had been watching what I ate and working out before I got pregnant and barely gained during (I actually lost weight at first) and had every intention of getting back on track when Eleanor arrived – but they didn’t ask me about any of this and they just presumed I was going to go home and eat blocks of cheese dipped in butter.

I was also told I wasn’t allowed to breastfeed unless supervised because I have sleep apnea and they thought I would crush the baby with the weight of my breasts if I dropped off which meant I had to learn to pump and then bottle feed which was a chore and took twice as long to feed. I only lasted 5 weeks of not being able to pump enough, or pumping for hours through the night and then leaking when I didn’t need to pump. It was a nightmare and quite frankly put too much pressure on me. I had it drummed into me that breast was best and breastfed babies go further in life etc etc but in the end I was just happy to have a baby with a full tummy.

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By the middle of day two I had enough feeling left in my legs and decided to get up and sit in the chair as I was sick of the bed. It was then that I found out that my pressure dressing for my c-section scar wasn’t stuck on me properly and was sticking my thighs to my stomach rather than being stuck to my under stomach. This meant that every time I wanted to stand up or move, I had to unstick the bandage from myself before I could go anywhere and it got very tedious.

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I soon got into the swing of caring for Eleanor and kept trying to express colostrum and they wanted me to go home on the Thursday, however I had wanted some more help with breastfeeding and expressing and so I stayed another night. For some reason I was never moved to the post-labour ward and stayed in the actual labour ward and so never got to have the new baby photos and almost got forgotten about. One day I got trapped in a chair and pulled the buzzer but nobody came for over twenty minutes whilst my baby cried and I couldn’t get to her. I had been sitting in a reclining chair with my legs up (to stop blood clots) pumping milk and didn’t have the strength to actually push the leg part back in and push the chair back up to get out. I ended up using every ounce of strength I had and throwing myself off the chair almost sideways to get out of the chair and get to Eleanor who was so distressed by this point. I understand nurses are busy and there’s births going on, but I was so panicked and desperate after being left so long – it was awful.

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Finally the day came to leave and I was happy to be going home. There was some wonderful nurses on the labour ward, but most of the higher staff had been less than kind to me and I was ready to come home and get on with motherhood. Despite being told by staff that they thought I would need “extra help”(which I never have – I do the majority of the caring for our child and manage just fine), I was ready to get home and get into a proper routine with Eleanor. Adam came for me after work and I packed up my bits and got Eleanor ready in her car seat and we were ready to go. Later I would find out I wasn’t discharged properly and no paperwork or medical notes were sent to my doctors, no follow up diabetic appointments were made for me and I had to chase up getting medical stockings which I should of been discharged with. I really did feel forgotten about. It was quite annoying because I had to get prescriptions for medication from my doctors, but they hadn’t sent any paperwork over to my doctors so I had to call the doctors who then had to fax the information over before I could request my medication and make postnatal appointments.

I know that I have complained in this post, and really I shouldn’t complain about the NHS because it IS a free service and they do wonderful, incredible work every day but unfortunately I had a bad experience with them with things going wrong (which can’t be helped) which coupled with the fat-shaming and constant negativity about my weight – it all left a bad taste in my mouth.

A few weeks after I left the hospital I came back to have a meeting with a consultant as I complained about how the doctor treat me and how the procedure went in general and after I explained my story he admitted that they used the incorrect technique in my back and they should’ve used a shunt instead and he couldn’t understand why one wasn’t used. I said I understood I was a difficult patient and am aware how overweight I am yet he admitted that I’m not much bigger than the majority of the women coming through his doors and that his staff don’t have enough training on plus sized mothers. He assured me he was going to look into more training and research for plus sized pregnancies. I then brought up the way the doctor had treat me and how he refused to believe that I wasn’t numb which resulted in me feeling the whole operation. I explained that from the first moment he had a bad attitude and the consultant told me he was actually known to have a bad attitude and that was just how he is. Okay, there’s having an attitude but when a person is in the most vulnerable position they can be in – you really don’t need somebody having a negative attitude or making you feel upset. It’s really shitty and I felt like nothing and nobody would help me when I was going through the worst experience of my life.

This post has taken me a lot to write. Bringing it all up and re-living it all is so triggering to me and I’ve taken weeks to write this in tiny pieces as I’ve had to put it down and walk away and reassure myself. Since my section I have accessed counselling and have been diagnosed with having PTSD. I still have nightmares (thankfully not as frequently as they were) and I wake up crying, screaming, talking in my sleep, grabbing Adam or getting trapped in dreams. I dream about members of my family being trapped in medical situations, or I dream that I’m being chased by medical staff. I dream that Eleanor is getting taken away from me because I’m not good enough or that people are tearing at my flesh and worse things that I can’t even write about right now. I’m quite agoraphobic and I’m quite scared of being outside on my own and I’m working on building myself back up and building up my confidence. I still find it hard to watch medical scenes on TV and I can’t go to the doctors alone but that’s okay because I’m not perfect – I’m a work in progress and I will get there one day.

I really hope that one day I will be able to have another child. Right now I don’t think I could put myself through it again physically or emotionally because I’m still healing, but I really want Eleanor to have a sibling. Maybe I’ll never have another biological child and maybe I’ll go down the route of adopting which has always been a dream of mine – but not right now. Right now I want to enjoy my beautiful baby girl and grow with her. She inspires me every day and is the reason I get out of bed and go along with my day. Throughout my anxiety and PTSD, she is that one shining beacon of hope that gets me through and when I feel like I’m fighting against the current and drowning, she gives me the strength to pull my head above the water and keep on trying.

They say that time heals all wounds and love conquers all, and I hope that this is true. I hope that one day my c-section will be a white faded scar and a distant memory and memories of my beautiful family will slowly push the negative thoughts away and replace them with nothing but positives. I know I’m not there right now but I have so many hopes for the future. As Eleanor grows – as will I.

I hope this hasn’t been a too “woe is me” post and in no way am I looking for sympathy – I’m just a plus sized mum telling her story and trying to open up in the hopes of helping others and breaking down the stigma around PTSD.

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x