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Memories of less happy times.
carolejo
Facebook memories presents a rollercoaster of past highlights and lowlights at this time of year. Several major anniversaries fall around the middle of March. My mother has been dead for just over 8 years, and my grandfather for 6. It can be a bit of a mixed bag, likely to trip me up occasionally. Here‘s a selection from today and yesterday.

9 years ago, I was reeling from the aftermath of miscarriage number 3, where the baby became stuck, there was a rupture and it did its best to take me with it. I also realised right there on my sickbed, dizzy from nearly 3 litres estimated blood-loss that my despite my diligence and hard work throughout the horrible and heartbreaking loss of my daughter plus 3 other pregnancies, my employers had „benched“ me. Work-wise, it was all downhill from there.

8 years ago, Daniel was taking his first wobbly steps. I was fighting with my employers who were setting up a campaign for constructive dismissal.

7 years ago, I was looking at a flickering blob on a screen – the heartbeat of my second son, Joshua. I was working 3 days a week and my employment issues were ongoing.

6 years ago, there was a bad snowstorm, resulting in flight cancellations. As a result of that, I missed my grandfather‘s funeral. I was on maternity leave.

5 years ago, I was chasing Joshua and Daniel around Amersfoort zoo. It was the first time that Josh had been there since he‘d properly mastered walking.

4 years ago, Daniel‘s new lunchbox arrived in the post, signifying the run up to having a schoolboy in the house. Meanwhile Aaron was busy commando-crawling backwards and parking himself neatly underneath every available piece of furniture.

3 years ago, Daniel built the ‚Easter Cave‘ out of blankets on the sofa, with a large football to represent the stone at the front that was rolled back. He used a toy dinosaur to represent Jesus‘ body, laying inside.

2 years ago, Aaron was fighting Joshua for his position as ‚second in command‘ of the family, just a few months after Michael was born and had knocked him off his perch as the baby of the family.

This year and last year are much the same as each other. Life in Germany is extremely comfortable and enjoyable. Family life is stable, generally a lot of fun and our family is complete. Now we get to see them grow, and to watch the next phase of parenthood unfolding.

Personally, I‘m happy, fulfilled, and wake up nearly every day so full of love, so glad and thankful for all that I have. I thought I would miss the career life. I thought I‘d be bored out of my tree, but I was dead wrong. Yes, it‘s life, so of course it’s a mixed bag. The travel to and from Kindergarten and School is a big drain on my time and energy, as it takes up 3 hours of every day at the moment. Some days are better than others, sometimes it is hard, especially being so far away from family and most of our friends. But. I have plenty to occupy my time, and plenty of opportunities to stretch my mental muscles too, with volunteer work and so on. I have good social contacts, a reliable cast of folks I can hit up for a coffee and a chat. I even have a couple of local friends I can talk to about pretty much anything at all, good or bad. I find myself wandering around with this dopey grin on my face, most of the time, wondering how a person could possibly be so lucky?

Today, the sun is shining. I‘m sat in the garden. Brexit looms over us like some dark shadow, set to make life vastly more difficult for those of us who chose to exercise our freedom of movement rights and go make a life elsewhere in Europe. I‘m also saddened on a more immediate level that our friends Matt & Zoe won‘t make it over for this weekend after all, because all the trains got cancelled and they couldn‘t get to the airport in time.

Despite that, though, life is good.

Life is really, really, good.

C. Xxx

Birth story for Michael
carolejo
41 weeks and 5 days. He’d kept me waiting long enough and finally we were approaching the end stages. It’d been a busy day and this was my second trip out to Blaricum hospital, following my check-up that morning with the clinical team to assess the baby’s health and to schedule an induction for 3 days’ time. “Hi Judith! It’s not gonna be long now.” I announced to my midwife as I wheeled my suitcase, laden with infant car-seat precariously balanced on top, into the delivery rooms.
“OK. I’ll be along in a minute to check you over. You’re in this room here, make yourself comfortable.”
In the background, I could sense the bemusement of the labour nurse, and a distinct vibe of “Yeah, riiight…. See you in 10 hours, girl!” as she bent her head back to the task of sorting through a box of dressings.
Once in the room, I paused for a moment and closed my eyes to focus and breathe through another contraction. “That’s it. Let it come.” Observed Judith, encouragingly, as she came in to join me. We talked a little as I hunted out an old T-shirt to labour in and I took my position on the bed for an internal exam.
………………
Two weeks earlier, I’d been idly wondering. Hoping, that these intermittent cramps and ‘rumblings’ were the start of something already. Seemed unlikely, given that all my boys were very firmly ‘late’ and I wasn’t quite at the 40 week mark, but it felt like there was something going on in there…
…but no. Nothing doing. Another week of waiting, more random cramps, only some occasional streaks of gunk to show for it. I was hopeful it was my mucus plug, and a sign my body was starting to prepare for labour and dilate. 40 weeks 6 days arrived – the others had all pretty much made a move by then, and I was optimistic. I had an appointment booked with the ‘sweep queen’ herself – Annemarieke. I’d had a restless night with cramps every 15 minutes or so for most of it, which then evaporated as the day began. Surely there would have been *some* movement by now? Nope. Still nothing. Not even a centimetre’s dilation! All that discomfort for nothing – Annemarieke couldn’t even offer a stretch & sweep to try and start things off, my cervix was still not soft or ripe enough. At this stage it was time to arrange the possible transfer to clinical induction for the end of next week. I was given a phone number to call & make an appointment for monitoring. This has to be done some time between 41w3d and 41w5d. The Saturday would have been inconvenient to say the least with all the children in tow, so Monday 22nd February it was.

That Saturday… all day intermittent cramps, not very strong, but regular and getting closer together. By the time evening rolled around, they were every 5 minutes or so. I called my friend Clari to ask if she could come and sleep over to stay with the kids, and rang the midwives. “There’s a leak in the kitchen ceiling, and water’s coming in through the back of the cupboards!” Steve informed me. Bam. All contractions vanished in a wash of adrenaline. I wondered if this baby was ever gonna make his move! Annemarieke had the ‘on call’ and arrived to check me over, maybe if there’s some dilation we can go in & get my waters broken to hopefully start things off again...? No. Nothing at all. Still not even a centimetre dilated! I felt rather foolish, and more than a little disappointed. My first ever false alarm! You’d think as this was my 5th labour I’d be able to tell the ‘real deal’ by now, but apparently not. I guess every delivery and every baby really is that different.

A quiet day, but a restless night on the Sunday. More cramps which were sharp enough to wake me periodically all through the night, yet evaporated with the dawn once again. Frustrating – whilst labour and birth itself holds no fear for me, I was very much concerned with childcare for the other three when the time came. We didn’t have a ‘100% coverage’ of friends & neighbours who could help at any given time and several of our volunteer ‘on-call’ folks were ill and unavailable. I’d long joked that a labour starting around 8:30am on a Monday, Tuesday or Friday when the kids were all safely in Daycare, all done & home safely with the baby before tea-time would be ideal! Indeed, this is pretty much exactly what had happened with Aaron.

I rang the ward at 9am that Monday morning as instructed and was told to head over there for 10:30 to be checked over, so Steve and I gathered up some books to read and went to catch the bus. Once at the hospital, they wired me onto a Toko to monitor baby Michael’s heart trace for an hour or so, and to log contractions, if any. All looking just fine, he was obviously happy & very comfortable in there. They then discussed whether I’d like an internal exam, and if I would like a sweep should my cervix be ripe enough. “Go for it if you can.” I said. They made a short phone call to Materna, my own midwife service, to check and ask their permission. This sounds odd, but this is the way it works here. At that stage I’m still Materna’s ‘patient’, not transferred to the hospital’s clinical midwife. It’s reasonable to ask, because for all the hospital knows, Materna might, for example, already have 4 women labouring and not really want another one started off if it could be avoided! Or they may have some other reason why a sweep would be ill-advised – the hospital has copies of my notes, but not my full history, or the time to read it through). I could hear Judith’s voice on the end of the line as she was the midwife on call that day. “No problem, do it!” She said.

“Ooh. 3 centimetres!” the clinical midwife announces, giving me a quick sweep – relatively gently compared to Annemarieke’s usual style.

We had a co-assistant with us, a trainee. She stopped to ask the midwife what it is like when the cervix is dilated, and how you’re supposed to feel it with your fingers. “If you’d like to feel for yourself, I really don’t mind at all.” I said. “Wow! Really..? Are you sure?” “Yes, of course. Go for it. Everyone deserves a chance to experience & learn.” “If you’re sure you don’t mind. Yes please!” She got herself a pair of examination gloves and tentatively stepped up to the bed. “Ooh. It’s completely different! So soft & stretchy!!” “It might help to try closing your eyes, and focus instead on what you can feel with your fingers.” I told her, having watched a succession of midwives do just that, over the years. “Oh yes. I see what you mean. Thank you so much! That was the first time I had the opportunity to feel a partially dilated cervix. You get to examine some volunteers in training, but of course they’re never pregnant and certainly not this far along. That was amazing. So helpful! Thank you for the lesson!” It felt great to have so obviously made someone’s day.
They sent us off on our way. We took the bus back and went to get kebabs for lunch. Nothing much doing. Two or three irregular contractions in the space of an hour or so. I tried not to think about it and to get on with the rest of my day. By around 3pm I was starting to wonder if this might actually be the beginning of something. Timing showed only every 20 minutes or so, but they were definitely a bit ‘pinchy’. By the time 4pm rolled around, they were coming every 7 minutes or so. I was pretty sure this was actually ‘it’ but after Saturday’s debacle, I wanted to make sure I didn’t call it too soon. I contacted Shuki to see if she’d be able to stay with the other 3 children that night. She could be there from around 8:30pm. Good enough, I thought. Let’s get the kids in bed as quick as we can and head over to the hospital.

I went to collect them from Daycare. By now I was 100% sure this was it. Contractions every 5 to 6 minutes, and pretty strong. “Any news?” the ladies wanted to know. “Yes. The baby will be here tonight.” I told them. “How do you know?” “Because the contractions are coming every 5 minutes.” “What are you doing here…?! You should be at the hospital!!” “I’m collecting the kids, of course!”

Aaron (18 months old) was really not very well at all. Fever, crying, overtired. Once we got him home it was one endless howl-fest. He wouldn’t eat anything, he wouldn’t sit on the potty. Steve took him upstairs. Bath was skipped for once & he screamed as his pyjamas were put on. He fell asleep in minutes once he was put into bed, mid scream.

Meanwhile, I’d cooked some pasta for the family to eat. At that point, I realised I might be cutting it a bit fine, because by now contractions were every 4 to 5 minutes and I really didn’t feel like eating anything at all, anymore! Steve came back downstairs & we had a thought about what to do. Getting the kids in bed and asleep as soon as possible was of course priority number one. With Aaron the way he was though, chances of him waking again and screaming the place down were extremely high. Imagine that happens and he’s faced with a (near) stranger instead of mummy or daddy…? Hmmm. A recipe for therapy for years, for both parties involved! Looked like I’d be going it alone to the hospital then, and Steve would see at 8:30pm when Shuki arrived how things were going, if Aaron was still sleeping peacefully or not, and if Shuki herself was prepared to deal with it.

Everyone in bed. Super early, but fortunately they can’t tell the time properly yet :-). At 6pm I rang the midwife. Judith was still on duty. “This is really it, this time.” I said. There was no doubt anymore. She suggested to meet me at the hospital at 7pm, so I booked a taxi, grabbed all my stuff and said my goodbyes to Steve for the moment. We were still hopeful he might be able to join me later in time for the delivery – although I was starting to wonder if I had all that long left. Those contractions were feeling a lot like end-stage to me. I decided not to mention that to Steve.
………………..
“8 centimetres already!” Called Judith to the delivery nurse, who was still in the hallway, sorting through that box of plasters. I heard a kind of ‘clatsh’ sound from outside the room, which I’m pretty sure was that box falling to the floor in the scramble! The only reason for me to be in a hospital poli-clinic for my deliveries is because I have a history of post-partum haemorrhage, so they need to get a line into me ahead of time, in case it becomes critical later.

Everything was kind of happening at once, now. I was calm & relatively relaxed, now that I’d arrived in hospital (just in time, after all!). In between contractions, I was joking around with Judith and the nurse. Judith broke my waters, and the nurse asked me to make a fist to get the cannula fitted. It took quite a mental shift of gears to perform this feat, given that my ‘take’ on labour is that only the womb needs to be doing any work, and as much as possible I try to consciously & deliberately relax all the other muscles in my body during a contraction. Sadly, the line in wasn’t a success and she had to take a second go at my other hand. “If you’re not quick, the baby will be here before the cannula is in!” I told her, cheekily, with a big grin to take some of the sting out of it. “Here comes the urge to push!”
The line was fitted in the nick of time. 2 contractions and 3 minutes later, Michael John Patrick was born and placed onto my chest. “That wasn’t a delivery - that was a launch!” joked the nurse as they administered a syntometrin shot for a managed 3rd stage (placenta delivery). I’d not even been at the hospital for half an hour! The line wasn’t needed – blood loss was minimal, estimated at less than 200ml in total. I had a small tear which required 3 stitches. If it hadn’t been for the fact that he came out with his hand resting on his cheek, I’d have probably escaped without so much as a graze.

Michael John Patrick Parkinson. 3,88kg. 51cm long. I’d left the house at 6:45pm and we returned there together just before 10pm. Total time in hospital, two and a half hours.

Perfect.

Love C. xxx


Posted via m.livejournal.com.


12 weeks tomorrow & all is well!
carolejo

Just had my NT scan / Combi test.

All looks fab, low risk for everything, all body parts present & accounted for, 4 chamber heart view already clearly seen, 2 kidneys clearly seen, can already make out 3 strands in umbilicus (with about 95% certainty), brain, stomach, nose bone, 2 hands & 2 feet with 5 digits each. In short, everything attached in the right places & working just fine.

Wonderfully active & absurdly co-operative baby, who just slotted him/her self into the right position for every measurement we wanted to take.

Wow.

Our wonderful sonographer, Ellie, with 18 years experiece to count on, also took a look to apply 'nub theory' and made a predicition '60% chance this is a girl'.Smile

She'll be following up with our midwives later to see if she's right.Wink

Can't stop grinning.

Whoooooo!!!

love C. xxx


The Fairer Sex
carolejo
Girl or boy? A question which seemingly occupies most of the world around me – from family & friends, right down to the random lady who walks her dogs down the street every day, and the elderly couple I often see at the supermarket. “After 3 boys, you must be really hoping for a girl, right?” Well, actually it’s a lot less simple than that.

When I first fell pregnant with Aaron, I really thought I wanted this one to be a girl. I recall writing about that, wondering if it was greedy, if I was pushing my luck in trying again & hoping for a girl this time. I mean, I’m very happy with my boys, but still do feel like I’m missing my girl, somehow. There are a small number of ‘girl things’ we were given for Caitlin and it seems such a waste that they never got to be used. Early on in Aaron’s pregnancy, I was extremely jittery & nervous, much more so than with Joshua or even with Daniel. Steve was pretty much convinced this one was going to be a girl and I was all set.

Of course, he wasn’t. There was a fabulously funny ‘reveal’ 15 weeks in, when I went for another routine check-up & scan. The midwife put the scanner on my belly and then nearly fell off her chair laughing! “You did want to know the sex, right..?” she asked us, when she finally caught her breath again. “For sure we did, and it’s just as well, that’s clear enough for all to see!” “Yep, a little boy alright, and he’s not at all shy about letting us know, either.”

So here’s the thing – right at that moment, I relaxed. I hadn’t even known I was carrying that much tension, it was all unconscious, but right at that very moment, I suddenly felt like I’d lost 50kg and could float right up off the bed and bump into the ceiling. All that tension, all that stress… Gone in an instant.

I suppose it makes perfect sense. I can do boys. I know what to do with them, how the plumbing works, what to dress them in, the works. My boys are robust & healthy, full of energy & vitality. They’re ‘tangible’, here, now. Very much alive & well. We have all the ‘Stuff’ we need for boys. And I’m near pathologically opposed to the colour pink, so a world composed of all other bright colours but that one suits me just fine. It’s pleasant not to have to confront that particular set of stereotypes.

Girls though? Yes, I’d like to have a girl. What I’d really like is *my* girl back, but wishes aren’t horses. There’s plenty of room in my heart for another girl though. It sure would be interesting to see what it’s like to parent a girl too.

But.

Obviously, given my experience in that examination room, there’s a large part of me that is deeply afraid. Afraid that it would go wrong again. Girl - at least according to my subconscious – equals trouble. Girl (on some level of my mind) means deep emotional pain & loss, difficulty and a fight for life itself. That’s all the experience I have of raising girls, so far. It’s all I know.

So, this time. Will it be different? Perhaps. Perhaps because I’m aware, this time around. I know that I carry this fear inside. A fear that is no longer buried, no longer hidden, is somehow easier to handle. You can’t face a fear if you don’t even know you’re frightened, let alone what you’re afraid of! Indeed, I find myself relaxed, so far, throughout this new pregnancy. There are no mad (& irrational?) jitters about everything & anything, just an over-riding sense of calm & wellbeing. What will be, will be. We’ll face it & come out the other side, mostly intact, no matter what.

Would I like to have a girl this time..? Yes, probably, and no, not really. I have been joking recently that if this one *is* a girl, then we’d better have another child afterwards, just to make it clear to all those looking down the line of ever shorter heads in the supermarket queue that we didn’t just keep going in order to have our ‘girl’.

I already have a girl.

Another might be nice, hopefully this time for keeps, but I don’t need one.

Love C. xxx

The Help
carolejo
The novel loaned but never returned.

A book, read and re-read twice more, back-to-back. A story of inter-woven lives, contradictions and commonalties, set against a historical backdrop. A novel, fiction of the kind which could have been truth, is somehow truthful in the most meaningful way.

The experience of reading a transformative, transportative, one. Like reading one long, perfectly crafted sentence which you know will come to a satisfying conclusion, yet will mourn the passing of.

I leant this book to my mother, but it never came back. She was reading it when she died, you see. It was the very first item my father removed from the house – the poignancy of a half-finished novel, lying beside the bed, like a moth with spread wings, proved too much to bear.

I haven’t thought of it for nearly 4 years.

I just watched the film adaptation.

I need to buy a new copy.
C. xxx

Birth story Aaron James Thomas Parkinson
carolejo
Full details here...Collapse )
Aaron James Thomas Parkinson. Weighing in at a sizeable-but-perfectly-healthy-and-normal-for-us 4.640kg - that's 10lb3oz in old money.
We got home around 5:30pm. All in all, a good day's work!
Back home and everything is slowly settling into a new routine. Daniel & Joshua are both relatively calm about the new arrival, whilst obviously a little apprehensive, they're both very sweet with him, and want to shower him with cuddles & kisses. No doubt it'll take a few weeks for us to all find our new groove, but it's off to a promising start.

love C. xxx

happy birthday to me! - we now know what flavour number 7 is!
carolejo
Yesterday was my 38th birthday. Steve and I had a day off, with both kids in creche. First time since I went back to work after Josh was born.Really lovely. Went out for lunch, had a wander round town, watched some junky telly, ate too much chocolate & had a nap. The nicest birthday I've had in years.

It started with a routine scan with the midwife, at 9am. 15 weeks. We can clearly see that 'Seven' is another little BOY . He was absolutely not shy about showing off his dangly bits .

So, say hello to Aaron James Thomas Parkinson, everyone!

love C. xxx

baby number 7 - all good so far.
carolejo
Just got back from my 12 week scan (today at 13 weeks) and got my combi-test results.

risk factor very low, 1 in 2808 for Downs, 1 in 7195 for Trisomy 18 and 1 in 22474 for Trisomy 13.

Placenta low, posterior but clearly not over the cervix, normal levels of fluid, 4-chamber heart view seen, all structural elements of baby looking normal.

All good!

Sonographer guesses at boy, with 50% accuracy... Grin Steve is still convinced it's a girl though. It feels good to be able to waste our energies on such trivialities.

So, much relief all round here. It's time to get in touch with Leiden & book myself in for my detailed 20 week echo & heart scan. Eeek! It's definitely a baby!!!

love C. xxx

Small people - numbers 5, 6 .......& 7.
carolejo
My head's a bit all over the place at the moment. I'm pregnant again, pregnancy number 7 is on board which is of course always a cause for wild celebration. Tomorrow I'll be 5 weeks 'pregnant' (based on actual ovulation date, rather that the more usual but often wildly inaccurate 'date of last menstruation') and the sticks I can't seem to stop peeing on each morning get reassuringly darker & darker - but why am I so jittery about it?

Yes, I know that after everything so far there are legitimate reasons to be a nervous wreck. Afterall - I've been here 6 times before & can only count 2 wonderful, live, children at home with me, so the rest of you can do the maths just as easily as I can. I know that the last miscarriage was a 'missed' one, and although my hormone levels were high & rising, and the pregnancy tests kept getting stronger, the baby still didn't make it. On the other hand, those 2 gorgeous boys are the result of the last 2 pregnancies, so taken purely on that level I should be MORE relaxed about it this time, surely? Maybe I could start to hope that my body finally knows what it is supposed to be doing? I know I was somewhat nervous the other times too, but compared to now, it feels as if I was on happy-pills the whole way through!

I have finally contacted my midwifery practice, and booked myself for the earliest available slot with the best ultrasound technician amongst the bunch (there's a scanner in the consulting room and they're all trained to use it, but Daphne is by far & away the most experienced, especially if looking for heartbeats in very early pregnancy, where the baby is just a couple of mm in size). Unfortunately, it feels like a very long time to wait - 12th December, by which time I'll already be 7w1d. Now I wish I *hadn't* stalled for the last week. I briefly considered whether or not to contact Leiden recurrent miscarriage unit & arrange for an earlier scan there, but logically I am aware this is an over-reaction, and I really should leave the places at the academic hospital for those who don't already have 2 broadly healthy (see below) children at home. I suppose I could storm my (lovely, sympathetic) GP & ask for a referral to obs & gyne at the local hospital for a 6 week viability scan, but honesty compels me to admit it's not necessary.

I'm trying to be rational. I know there is nothing anybody can do about it anyway. If it goes wrong, then there's nothing that can be done. There’s nothing I can or should be doing to improve my odds, besides attempting to chill out about it. I guess at least I can be pretty damn sure that if there isn't a heartbeat on 12th December that it's 'game over', there'll be no need to hang around for another couple of weeks of hideous limbo just to 'wait & see'.

Perhaps it's because I feel a bit like I'm pushing my luck? Is it greedy and silly to really want a baby girl? I almost can't bring myself to type that. I mean, what if this one is another wonderful little boy? It feels disloyal to a potential 'him' to put it into words, even. I know I would love him too. And of course, at least if he was a boy I already have plenty of 'boy' things and I won't have to constantly fight the inevitable tide of pink-disney-princessification that goes along with small female people these days, no matter how hard you try to curb the gender stereotypes (please note, people. If this baby is a girl, PLEASE don't bury me in a sea of hideous PINK things...)

What a self-indulgent tirade of first-world concerns! I suppose I should feel reassured that this is all I have to get myself worked up over, these days..?

Somebody slap me (digitally, and preferably gently) upside the head & tell me to get a grip, please.

Just. Keep. Breathing.

So that's where we're at, with small person number 7. In the meantime, small person number 5 (who is of course more usually referred to as Daniel) has stopped sleeping properly again these last 3 or 4 nights and is again complaining about his ears. Time to visit the doctor & check to see if the grommets are still in-situ & doing their job correctly, methinks. Small person number 6 (aka Joshua, Squashua, Sploshua, squishy-squashy-Joshy) had surgery on the 15th (Friday before last, the day before his first birthday) to get his matching set of little tubes in his ear drums fitted as well. Since then, his right ear is still very gunky and we had an appointment with the hospital poli-clinic this morning to get it looked at. Yet more ear-drops for him, but at least it seems to be healing, slowly but surely. Of course when I bemoaned the fact that I seemed to make beautiful kids who had wonky ears, my dad rather sagely replied 'Better wonky ears than wonky hearts, darling.' Not much more that can be said on that front, really. I said half jokingly that I might as well buy myself an ottoscope for Christmas & save us all the bother of the seemingly endless rounds of doctor visits to peer inside my kids' ears by doing it myself - and Steve rang just now to inform me that he's gone ahead & bought me one!

Apart from aural concerns, both of them continue to delight me on a daily, if not hourly, basis. D is so imaginative, and comes up with the maddest games. J is crawling & cruising all over the place, into everything, just as a one-year-old should be. They're both pretty even-tempered & happy little souls, on the whole. Not much trouble with 'terrible twos' from Daniel, and Joshua is extremely placid & cheerful all round, although there's been a definite increase in his visible frustration level recently as he's trying to do more & more.

There now. There really is something therapeutic about writing it all down.
I'll keep you posted.
love C. xxx

Somebody ate the last 10 months...
carolejo
I only just realised how long its been since I last updated here. Too much to fill in for now, so yeah, stuff happened. A lot of stuff. Mostly OK, some not-so-OK, some good.

Tomorrow would have been Katie's 4th birthday. According to the way things are done here in Dutchlandshire, her first day at school would have been the day after that - this thursday... Tomorrow will be extra strange too, because for various reasons both kids will be at nursery whilst I have a day off. Given Josh seems to be going down the same route as Daniel with multiple ear infections & therefore has pretty much stopped sleeping for the last 3 weeks, I plan to spend most of the day asleep. I also have to go the opticians. My glasses are now 4 years old & falling apart.

So weird to think that, had things gone a little differently, I would now be the mother of a schoolgirl.

After nearly a year of nothing interesting at all to do I finally had a big exciting project to occupy by time at work - right up until it got cancelled yesterday.

Feeling pretty flat, it must be said, and quite a bit sorry for myself today.

love C. xxx