Hello Somerset 

The big move has happened, our little family has packed up our home in Margate; the home that we brought our tiny little pumpkin back from the hospital to, the home where we graduated from a couple to parents and the home which became a family home for the first year of Pumpkins life.

Over the last month we have tried to make the packing, sorting and trips to the recycling centre as low key as possible, without impacting too much upon Pumpkin’s day to day routine. However, throw in teething, nappy rashes, a Birthday and tantrums suddenly emerging; this was not as easy as originally planned! Pumpkin wasn’t silly, he noticed the boxes piling up in the spare room, the toys disappearing overnight, rooms becoming bare of photographs and worst of all the broadband being disconnected! The bribe of Mr Tumble or Elmo on an iPad, whilst changing a stinky nappy in order to try and pacify ninja pumpkin was well and truly missed (probably more so by Mummy and Daddy!).

Fast forward, one week…we are almost unpacked in our new home; Pumpkin is absolutely thriving here, he has so much more space to practice his walking and master stumbling around like he is milk drunk.  Most of all, he is happy, smiling and more often than not laughing at a new discovery!

We have an amazing view from our home, Pumpkin can often be found, climbing up on toys and peering out the window! Story time is now sat in a chair by the window, bringing the Somerset countryside to life and now all our new neighbours are quickly informed that cows go Moo! Whilst Pumpkin naps, I am able to enjoy a coffee and take in that same view and contemplate our new family adventure, knowing we have made the right decision and feeling excited for what the future has in hold for us.

Pumpkin is One

One year ago, I was in Labour, which wasn’t supposed to happen as I was booked in to have an elective C Section 4 days later, at a set time, with no, I repeat, no labour pains! However, no matter how much I was repeating the mantra “this is not how it is supposed to happen” to myself, I was reminded every 3 minutes for the next 18 hours, that I was well and truly in labour and Pumpkin was going to come out sooner than planned. It was at this point, I wished that I had paid more attention in the ante-natal class about other birth plans/pain relief. In the end, I had an emergency C Section, my surgical team were amazing and all was fine.

Roll on a year, one of the most magical, life changing years of our lives. A year ago, we became parents to the most adventurous, mischievous and comical little boy, who everyday without fail, makes us laugh and feel extremely lucky. I can’t lie, sometimes the realisation of the responsibility of being a parent to Pumpkin can be overwhelming. Frequently wondering if we are doing things right: are we feeding him the right foods, is he warm/cool enough etc. Then, all we have to do, is look at Pumpkin, he is thriving, happy and learning so much, so quickly; and then we fall in love with him even more than we already have.

Tomorrow, Pumpkin will wake up to his family celebrating his birthday, will he understand what is happening? The lovely scrunchy wrapping paper, the new toys and books, the bright birthday banner across the wall and the sugar loaded cake which he will have as a special treat for his pudding? I don’t know how much he will understand, but it’s his special day and we are going to make it as special as the day he arrived screaming into the world and our arms; the day our lives changed for ever.

For us, we are celebrating a year of surviving as parents and a stronger relationship as a result. This year has been amazing and really hard work; there has been laughter, tears, pure exhaustion, some bickering (again, usually down to pure exhaustion) and a love never experienced before for a little person completely dependent upon us. So, think of us tomorrow evening, eating left-over Birthday cake and then wishing we hadn’t, when we are desperately trying to fall asleep, but can’t because we are on a sugar high at 10.00pm (for those without children…that is a late night, when your little one likes to wake up at 5.00am!).
Happy Birthday 1st Birthday Pumpkin xx

An Unwelcome Visitor

This weekend an unwelcome visitor arrived, unannounced…and by the look of things she is here to stay for a few days. Unfortunately, this visitor does not take the subtle and unsubtle hints that it’s time to leave, as my family have made other plans. I’m sorry, but this time my unwelcome visitor, you are just not welcome.

Let me take a moment to introduce you to this unwelcome visitor…meet ‘Flare’, Flare likes to make an appearance every now and then, to remind me that I have Lupus SLE. Lupus SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), basically for me, means that my immune system doesn’t work properly and tends to behave rather hyperactively. When Flare visits, she brings with her a bag laden with the following things: fatigue, Joint pain, a facial rash and mouth ulcers. Can you begin to see why Flare is not a welcome guest?

Since Pumpkin has been born, there is an additional item in Flare’s bag, ‘Mummy Guilt’; this makes the physical pain bearable in comparison to the emotional pain of rearranging plans to make the day more manageable, yet fun for Pumpkin. In this case it was having to cancel pre-made plans to go out for the day, but instead it was now a day at home, with maybe a gentle walk at the end of the day. Of course, Pumpkin is only 11 months old, and he does not understand our daily plans, except roughly when food/milk is due and when he is tired and boy does he let us know!

I have found it hard this weekend to keep the happy Mummy face on, trying my hardest not to let it slip to show that Mummy is in pain; and most importantly to me, not letting Pumpkin know. Even when he happily jumps about on my legs as the sleeping bunnies wake and hop all over the front room… keeping things hop hop hop not ouch ouch ouch! Mr Tumble has a lot to answer for, but a lot to be thankful for this weekend!

For a brief moment, I worried about what Flare would bring in her bag for future visits as Pumpkin gets older. For a fleeting moment, I was a little worried and then I got excited and my imagination ran away from me. The quiet days in will be what and wherever our imaginations take us; from dens in the front room rain forest, to a pirate ship made out of Mummy and Daddy’s Bed. There are so many adventures our little family can have on quiet day’s at home, so perhaps Flare may become a welcome guest, you never know.

For more information on Lupus, please take the time to visit www.lupus.org.uk based at Guys and St Thomas Hospital, who have been absolutely amazing since my diagnosis in 2011.