Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all!

Well, Christmas has come and gone, thank God! We learnt a number of lessons about how NOT to do the festive season in future, which will stand us in good stead, methinks. However, we did manage (in the midst of all the learning) to have a few hours of fun together with family, which was nice.

Graeme is still not better, and seems to be getting worse again. Part of me feels incredibly fed up with the whole illness situation (if I were him I'd be even more fed up... it's been over a month now that he's been unwell), but as he's been working instead of resting, I suppose it's to be expected. At least he's been taking naps and going to bed early, which is good.

Nellie's walking has come on in leaps and bounds! The problem now is that she wants to walk so much, but doesn't really have the strength of limb or balance to walk long distances, so keeps falling over. Needless to say, she is very frustrated too. She also seems to be teething again, so her hands are constantly in her mouth again. Fortunately, this also seems to be translating into a renewed interest in solid food, and she wants to try everything she sees us eat or drink - a bit of a mixed blessing really.

She is as cute as ever - particularly when she really tries to talk. She's started trying to copy everything we say, and I swear she understands more than we give her credit for. Anyway, here she is walking to Daddy, arms in the air for balance, and here we are celebrating Graeme's birthday with his family.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Will this never end?

Here's hoping that following Christmas our lives will settle back into some sort of normality!!

We were supposed to be going away for Christmas, to house-sit for a friend's mother. But we're still in London and no longer going. What happened? Well, this week is was my turn to be rushed to hospital.

I had a routine ante-natal appointment with my consultant (whom I actually got to see!!!! only an hour and 20 minutes late, but I got to see her!!!) at the end of which, she and the registrar who was with her both thought I looked a little 'blue'. Blueness, for those not in the know, means that you're not getting enough oxygen into your blood, and while pregnant that can have significant knock-on effects for the baby. A quick check of my hands, lips, tongue etc later, and I was being rushed off to St Thomas's for a full check-up. And when the consultant said full, she wasn't kidding!

I had 3 different doctors listen to my chest and give me a physical, an ECG, an ultrasound of my heart (ECO), bloods taken from an artery in my wrist (which thankfully the regsitrar used a local anaesthetic to take because Graeme said his was very sore!), and several lung function tests. Of course, all this was done while being hooked up to a monitor that measured my blood pressure, oxygen levels in my blood (which was between 95-100% the entire time, so really excellent, particularly given that I have a cold, am feeling quite breathless and tired) and number of breaths per minute. The only thing they didn't do was take a chest X-ray, as they ruled out TB from my history. As all of this took about 24 hours to do I was in hospital overnight. And they still don't know why I was blue because everything came back normal (or at least, normal for being 24 weeks pregnant - some slight abnormalities in my heart, but nothing that couldn't be explained by the pregnancy).

Those who know me though, will know that I often have blue lips and fingers. I will admit to getting a fright though when I looked in the mirror and saw a blue tongue. That's a first for me! So I still have blue lips, and blue fingers, but apparently the doctors are now satisfied that that's just a quirk of my genes and has no implication for my oxygen levels. Al the checks of the baby came back fine too - baby is growing well and seems happy, thank God!

The only positive thing I can see in this whole mess is that I got a complete break for just over 24 hours from looking after other people! It was lovely to be able to just lie in bed for a while without feeling that I ought to get up and [insert a typical mother job here - cook/ entertain/ clean/ tidy up/ bath/ fetch someone from somewhere/ run around like a headless chicken/ etc]. I could just lie and read or sleep and not feel guilty at all. That was lovely! It also made me realise just how much these past few weeks have taken out of me and how much I wish my parents were around to help...

On that note, one of the other major stresses in my life has been waiting to hear whether or not my dad's cancer had returned. About 2 weeks ago he found another lump, so was scheduled for surgery at the start of this past week. When the doctors went in, the lump was gone - no trace of it anywhere. Praise God!! Now if that isn't an answer to prayer, I really don't know what is! But needless to say, waiting for news has weighed heavily on us all, and having Graeme rushed off to A&E in the midst of all of that was not easy to bear either. I consider this miracle the best Christmas present I could get this year, so thank you Lord for your grace and favour shown to me and my family!

My only remaining question is - will this be the end, or will there be more trouble to come in the New Year? Either way, I hope to celebrate the good things we have now, while they last, and while we have the time and space to rest. We may not be where I'd like for Christmas, and we may not be as healthy as I'd like, but we're alive and have each other, and that's a lot more than many have.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

And then there were five....

Tooth #5 has made its way out into the world - at last.

Graeme was away for two days in Edinburgh with work last week, so I was on my own with her. This was then followed by Graeme working late several nights this week and being ill (having caught Janel's viral thing). Janel, meanwhile, was pushing out her tooth (with all the ensuing drama that brings). I was busy at work as my Year 9's wrote their mock SATS (which we then had to mark - lovely! 3 papers, 150 scripts for each set, and only 2 full time staff plus me....). Physically I'm getting worse and I suspect I'm developing PSD, which (if I'm right and it isn't halted) may mean I'll be in a wheel chair for the last few weeks of the pregnancy. I'm finding walking very painful, but I'm trying not to let that stop me walking as I need the exercise. To top it all off, Graeme's viral thing then sparked a chest infection resulting in him going to A&E and then being admitted to hospital for 2 days. (He's still recovering, but at home now and on strict bed rest.)

In the midst of all this we've been on tenterhooks waiting for my dad to have his op on Tuesday (he has another lump in the same place as last time....) to find out whether the cancer is back or not.

So all in all, the past 2 weeks have not been fun and we are all exhausted. Needless to say, all I want for Christmas is peace, quiet and as little fuss and hassle as possible, so that the 3 of us can have a lovely Christmas together as a new family.

However, we had a fun time this morning at swimming. What was supposed to be only a 1 week postponement because of the relining of the pool became a 6 week complete refurbishment. But we are finally back for our final 2 lessons (the last one is tomorrow). To say thank you for the inconvenience, the instructor took 2 underwater photos of us this morning. That, along with getting used to the new pool and swimming again after a 6 week break, was all rather intense for Janel. I doubt the photos will come out nicely, but we'll see. If they're any good I'll put them up on the blog.

We'll be away from Thursday, so the next blog will probably only be after New Year, unless something momentous happens before then!

Have a great Christmas! Remember that the real reason we celebrate is because God gave us the greatest gift - his Son - born as a baby (and what new meaning that takes on for me now!) in Bethlehem, and may that remembrance bring you great and everlasting joy. Shalom to you all!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Stupid Doctors!

So today was supposed to be my check-up with the consultant. I got there on time, only to be told - sorry, she's not in today. Would have been nice of them to ring and let me know, so that I didn't have to stress about getting there and finding parking (it was hailing today, so there was NO WAY I was walking to the clinic!) etc etc etc.

This clinic is driving me MAD!! Last time, I waited 2 hrs, only to see the registrar and not the doctor. This time, she's not there either, and no-one rings to tell me.

Anyway, I have another appointment booked now, for 2 weeks time. This will be the 3rd time I will try to see her - let's hope that I actually DO get to see her. Otherwise I'm going to kick up a bit of a fuss. They are potentially putting this baby's life and health at risk with all this lack of proper monitoring for risk of a prem birth!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

It's my party!

What a lovely afternoon we had, despite Nellie still feeling ill. Here are some of the key moments.

Here's the fairy princess, wearing a gorgeous dress that was a gift. She didn't want to put it on and we had a lot of tears when we insisted that she wear it! However, she looked absolutely gorgeous in it! You can't see her spots too well here, as they are mostly cleared up by now, but her nose is still very raw and red. You can see it better in this next one.

Here's the birthday cake. I feel like a 'proper' Mommy now that I've made my first real birthday number cake - it's like a rite of passage or something!

It was a special non-gluten recipe so that Madam could have as much as she liked without worrying about allergies, etc. As it happened though, she didn't want a single bite! (Obviously not feeling well!)

She's had a such a lovely lot of presents from people - push cars, toys, books, a dolly, clothes and a lovely African Noah's Ark painting. As woth most 1 yr olds, she wasn't interested in unwrapping the gifts - she was interested in the wrapping paper and boxes that everything came in!

Here she is yesterday, wearing another gift - a lovely outfit from a friend.

She's had a lot of fun this week playing with her gifts, so thank you to everyone who has helped make what would otherwise have been a disasterous week bearable.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Progress report

Well, after all that, it isn't chickenpox after all - just a viral infection that has a rash and blisters associated with it. How frustrating!

However, we've put the time at home to good use, learning to blow a whistle!! Yes, little Nellie can now blow a whistle (not loudly, but you can hear it). So cute!

She's also got a favourite book now - one about a bunch of birthday presents - which has flaps you lift up to reveal the present item. One of them shows a ball (bouncy ball). Whenever we get to that page now, she starts "bouncing", and even if you just say 'bouncy ball' she will start to bounce.

One of her presents was a little car that she sits on and pushes with her feet. We haven't got that far yet - she's too uncertain about it all - but as it has a handle at the back, she is very happy pushing that around the room. She's even learnt how to start to turn it round when she gets up against wall.

Right now I'm baking her a cake (my first attempt in YEARS) which I'm hoping to shape and ice as a big number 1. Not very original, I know, but fun never the less. Although her party was cancelled, a few people have still managed to arrange to come over for lunch or tea, so that will be nice (assuming she isn't asleep or crying!)