Hyperemesis Gravidarum and some surprising news

This pregnancy has been absolutely nothing like my first, with Cass everything was a breeze. I did not have a toddler to look after nor did I have Hyperemesis.

The sickness has been bad, with two hospital admissions from being sick up to 30 times a day and an ongoing trial of many different medications, at times I’ve just forgotten how amazing pregnancy really is. It has been a struggle and it has been tough on Will and Cass too.

Hyperemesis is not just morning sickness, it is much more serious and can be life threatening for both the mother and the baby. Pregnancies can lead to organ failure in the mother and impact the life of the foetus. It has had a negative impact on my mental health, the blood vessels in my eyes burst, my throat has bled from vomiting so much and my mouth has been constantly covered in ulcers. I have had to continuously monitor my fluid intake and be extremely cautious when eating food. Smells, too much fluid, not enough fluid, movements, getting out of bed too quickly, not getting out of bed quick enough, doing too much, stress and food have all triggered uncontrollable, all day sickness. Hyperemesis has been the most unpredictable illness I have ever had in my life and the only real relief that I have felt has been the IV drips and intravenous medication that I have received at the hospital.

I have been lucky and I have had the care of an outstanding GP and the care of the staff at the Manchester Royal Infirmary has been amazing. I felt like my condition was taken seriously and a plan was put in place immediately. However, this is not always the case for a lot of women and I realised last week when I had to speak with a different doctor, just how little some professionals actually know about the illness.

His advice to me was to eat some ginger biscuits and have a herbal tea, and that, ‘it’s just morning sickness and I should just put up with it, most women get it.’ At the time, probably due to exhaustion I was in tears, but afterwards it just made me so sad that this is the level of care that some women get in the face of a life threatening illness. I had only just been discharged from hospital the day before and was so frustrated by the ignorance of someone who was meant to help. If any women reading are struggling with sickness and you feel you are not getting the care you need I would suggest that you look for a second opinion.

However, despite all the sickness, we are still over the moon about our newest addition. I am feeling lots of movement now which is magical and puts everything in perspective, my bump is getting bigger and bigger each week and the consultant reassured me that despite me suffering so much, the baby is growing and doing fine.

I was convinced we were having a little boy, but an early scan revealed that we are actually having a little GIRL. Cass would like to name his little sister ‘Roar,’ we have told him it has been added to the list.

Time to think

Over the past couple of weeks I have had quite a lot of time to think and I have had to make a few decisions about the future. The past nineteen months have been eye opening and I am slowly learning a lot about myself. At times it has been great, but being honest with yourself is sometimes really tough.

At my last midwife appointment the midwife wanted to know where I wanted to give birth, at first I thought, well obviously at home. We planned a home birth with Cass and it just seemed easier to stay at home.

After a while I started to think that maybe this was not actually the best option for me and my family. When I was pregnant with Cass I literally spent the whole nine months planning his birth. I wanted to be as prepared as possible for whatever happened.

We went to Hypnobirthing classes, opted for a home birth, hired a pool, wrote a birth plan, I thought we were going for a laid back approach. I knew I wanted to avoid unnecessary medical intervention and I did not want any medication so it just seemed easier for everyone if we just stayed at home.

Looking back now it was all quite stressful. Elvis, the dog, had to go in the kennels (I do not think he has fully forgiven us for this), we had to pump up a massive pool in our tiny kitchen and hang sheets from the windows as there are no curtains in there, what was meant to be a calm, tranquil birthing environment was more like a cave.

There were what felt like hundreds of people in our tiny home, I had lost all concept of time and space, the night became day and I did not even realise because the curtains were still closed. I felt like I was at some never ending afterparty in a strange house. It is hard to relax when there are total strangers walking round your house, I kind of felt like I should be making them a cup of tea or offering them a snack. No amount of Hypnobirthing was going to make me feel calm.

The worst thing was that the toilet was so far away, every time I needed the loo I had to try and climb the mountain face that is our stairs, and with a back to back baby this was not pleasant.

Home birth is such a wonderful experience for a lot of women and to be honest it did start off wonderful,but in the end, and in hindsight I can see it just was not for me. What I really learned is that I love natural light, routine and space. I feel like I need the routine of the hospital to keep me on track, I need to be able to just move and walk and the hospital will have a lot more space than our cosy little home. I also would like the pleasure of just coming home to a house that is not full of medical equipment or the stress of having to put away a birth pool.

It is not about me thinking my choices are the best or the right choices for everyone, it is about seeing what works well for me and choosing that. Also, learning to understand why it works for me and trying to avoid falling into trends or being easily led. This time I am not going to try micromanage the birth and everyone involved, I am just going with what feels right at the time and hopefully everything will be slightly calmer. Who knows though, I’ll probably end up having the baby in the car on the way to the hospital.

My Valentine

Sometimes we live our lives at such a fast pace that we become totally unaware of those around us. Not because we are selfish or thoughtless, just because we are trying to survive and do the best that we possibly can for our families in a hectic and busy world. I am never fully aware of what is going on around me especially when it comes to thinking about Will, I am guilty of taking him for granted and I am working on this.

These past three weeks have consisted of me not actually doing very much and Will, doing everything. I keep saying, ‘oh I’ll do that, I’ll see if I can take Cass out for an hour,’ and then not really having the energy to move or just feeling so sick I cannot face leaving the house.

It has given me time to think about how lucky I am. I am so guilty of using the line, ‘I do everything around here,’ and can often be seen piling washing into the machine in a rage. But actually, having some time at home has made me realise that it is not me that does everything, in fact I do very little and laying here feeling sorry for myself (with good reason of course) has been quite humbling.

It is actually Will who takes on all the childcare, Will who cooks all the family meals, Will who does all the food shopping and tries to keep the house clean with a pint size dictator in tow. It is Will who takes the bins out, Will who walks the dog and takes Cass to nursery and Will who does all of this whilst having a job and studying for his Masters.

I go to work and almost forget that all of this goes on, come home, do bedtime and then eat a delicious home cooked meal. Working all day is hard and it is exhausting in a different way, but that does not make what I do any more important that what anyone else does with their day, especially my husband.

I have come to realise that I had become so stressed out and consumed with myself and how I felt about working all day, that I have forgotten to appreciate how much Will is actually doing to care for us. It is only now that I have been forced to stop my weekly routine, that I can see really how lucky Cass and I are to have him.

Families are built up of so many different dynamics, with people taking on different roles. From single parent families, with very little support to those who have close family living near by to help out, but all families face challenges. Cass only has me and Will, as all our family live in other cities. Sometimes it is a struggle and sacrifices have to be made, it is hard work but it is manageable. I need to take the time to be more aware of what is going on around me and with our family, I will be working hard to keep this going and just taking sometime to look around me has helped me realise just how lucky I am.

We do not normally celebrate Valentine’s Day, not for any deep or social reason just because we are bloody lazy and by the time one of us remembers all the cards have sold out. But this year my Valentines gift to my husband is to be more thankful, considerate and present. This will probably be the year where he decides he would prefer a card instead.


So my body has finally forced me to slow down and after being admitted into the hospital yesterday afternoon, I have been diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (big bad morning sickness). I am being cared for by the absolutely amazing staff at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and hopefully I will not be here for too much longer.

I have suffered horrendously with morning sickness and nausea through out this pregnancy and it has been debilitating at times. I feel like I have had to excuse myself from so many things over the past three months without really knowing why and then feeling awful for letting others down. I just thought it was normal and just kept going despite wanting to curl up in a ball. I guess I should have listened to my body sooner and then it would not have become so bad, knowing when to stop is not one of my strong points though.

Although it is not ideal, I am so happy that they have finally found out what is wrong and has been causing all the sickness, dizziness, migraines and general feeling of ‘rubbishness’.


Between the morning sickness, dizzy spells, migraines and absolute exhaustion this pregnancy has totally wiped me out. All this alongside looking after a toddler and working full time, I am starting to feel somewhat beaten.

We have just reached the 14 week mark and we have been for our first scan, which was amazing. Up until now, despite the horrific pregnancy symptoms I feel like I have not even had a moment to think about being pregnant at all, let alone plan for becoming a family of four. There are at times moments when I forget that I am even pregnant.

Last week I went back to pregnancy yoga, the teacher there promotes and teaches Active Birth, it helped me so much during Cass’s birth and I can not recommend it enough to anyone out there who is expecting. It also meant that I got to spend sometime thinking about our new baby and having a couple of hours to myself. It was bliss. It felt like the first time my mind and body had finally agreed that something new was about to begin. It really put everything, all the sickness, crappy weather and exhaustion into perspective.

Cass is becoming independent fast, he loves to lead the way and be the boss so there is not as much opportunity for wrapping as there used to be. Cass is big on exploring, but we have our moments and those snuggles are so special.

My baby boy is growing up. I do not wish for him to stay a baby and I am not sad to see him becoming more independent, I honestly thought I would be. I love to look at photos of when he was a tiny squish and my heart melts when I fold away his tiny little clothes that no longer fit him, but every day he does something new, it amazes me and makes me realise how lucky we are. It is fascinating to see him change and grow so much, he teaches me more about myself than anyone I know, every single day.

We are looking forward to what the future holds and I am feeling excited about our growing little family, even though I am absolutely knackered!

Keep Calm and Carry On

‘Keep Calm and Carry On,’ a slogan adapted from posters distributed by the British Government in 1939 during the build up to the Second World War. The poster was intended to raise the morale of the British public during a time of imminent air strikes.

I feel that the damage caused by this thoughtless slogan continued long after the war had ended, with the demobilisation of thousands of men returning to Blighty. What is often portrayed as a young couple sharing a loving embrace on the platform of a station, with the imminent return to marital bliss, is now known to be far from the truth of post war life for these families.

These young men suffered horrifically from the horrors of war. Post traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, guilt, fear, anxiety, panic, how did society expect a whole generation to go through such trauma and then return to life as they previously knew it? Were these families expected to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On?’ What support was available for these people?

This attitude of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ has long resided within our society here in Great Britain. People are not encouraged to talk about their ‘feelings’ but to just get on with it and to toughen up. I think that this is even more so for boys

Fears and anxieties are trivialised by parents, teachers, employers, friends. With others making comparisons of our own emotions, ‘if you think you have it bad then you should think about…’ and ‘oh it could be worse.’ It is like our emotions and thoughts have been shut down before we have even begun.

Telling people that they are alright when actually, they know that they are not, is a direct attack on their own personal judgement of their situation. People think that they are helping when in fact they are doing the opposite, causing individuals to question themselves and push problems deeper.

Mental health is something that I spend a lot of time studying and researching, it is an extremely important aspect of my job and the work that I do to support young children and their families. My own mental health is something that I care passionately about and after having Cass my need to know as much as possible order to support him, grew.

On average, around 6,000 people take their own life by suicide in the UK every year. Around three quarters of all suicide attempts in 2016, were male. Mental illness is killing our family and friends, and it is terrifying.

So as my little boy is growing up I will encourage him to, STOP, talk to someone, work it through, get help, get answers, make a plan, don’t just fucking ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’ We should all take time to listen and support each other, give our family, friends, partners, children, students time to speak to find someone that they can trust and someone that cares about what makes them scared, and really make a difference.

It is ok to not be ok.

When is the right time to announce a pregnancy?

When I was pregnant with Cass I was really nervous, after struggling with miscarriage we made the decision to tell people when we saw them, face to face. We did not put a date on it, we just thought it would be nice to share with people as we went along, after a few weeks it is pretty obvious what is going on anyway.

We announced that we were having a baby on social media when I was 8 months pregnant and people thought it was a joke, they could not believe we had waited so long to announce it. I think it was more down to the fact that 18 months ago I never really went on social media, but night feeds changed that.

There is definitely is no ‘right’ time to announce such a personal and amazing piece of news. It is so special to be able to have a couple of hours, days, weeks, months with the smallest amount of people knowing, but it is so amazing to be able to shout it from the roof tops too.

Baby #2 arriving July 2018

Making it work for you

I read an article last month about how women should adjust their lives after having children, how their work should incorporate their child. That women should be allowed the freedom to both work and be mothers at the same time, a sort of take your child to work kind of system to allow both mother and child to be together at all times.

The article then went on to say that it is society and the government that has created a terrible situation where mothers have to be at work all day and their children are left with strangers in childcare settings and nurseries. It discussed the damaging effects of such systems for both mother and child.

It discussed the role of the father and traditionally the father is seen as the one to work all day long and bring home the money. Then went on to say how this is also wrong, how the father for his own wellbeing should play a key role in family life and not be out working all day as this was detrimental to both himself and his family.

I can whole heartedly say that I agree with some of the points made by the author. However, the ideal that they seem to be portraying is so out of reach for some people.

The article meant well, it really did and maybe it was not written for people like me. Maybe the author had not taken the time to get to know their potential audience and had just published their writing with a specific type of person in mind, a person like themselves. However, the internet is a powerful thing and it did reach me, and probably lots of other people just like me and I found it to be damaging.

The way that Will and I parent is our style alone, it does not fit in with that of any particular group. We do what works best for us, we do not plan or make long term decisions, I learned a long time ago that my plans did not always materialise or work out, we go with the flow and take every day as it comes.

I suppose you might call it child led but then I have to go places and do things that might not necessarily fit in with this style. I have to go to work full time, I have no choice, if I don’t go to work we would have no home or food. It is my responsibility as a mother to work provide for my family. In an ideal world I would absolutely love to stay at home, I would want nothing more. People said to me that my ‘return to work would give me a break,’ firstly I do not think that these people fully understood what I do every day at work and secondly, I am really not that person. I do not want a break from Cass, I want nothing more than to be with him every day.

Will takes on most of the Cass care, I had the pleasure of a whole year of maternity leave and now Will and Cass get their time together. Will also has his own business, works all weekend and is in the final year of his masters. We are a busy family.

Cass goes to nursery for two days a week and in the beginning it was tough. It was out of necessity for many reasons but I cannot tell you how much of a positive effect nursery has had on Cass, he is confident and independent and it has only allowed him to grow even more.

We co-sleep, we have a gentle, child led parenting style, we both work full time, Cass goes to Nursery, I breast fed, we used formula too, Cass self weaned, we use a Sling, we use a pram, we have no family around us, we did traditional feeding, sometimes we use cloth nappies, most of the time we use disposables, some days I eat chocolate for breakfast, we eat meat, I gave birth in a hospital, I had no medication, I had post natal depression, Cass sometimes wears blue, he plays with prams, Cass sometimes wears pink, he plays with cars, we are fantastic parents raising a confident, independent, kind natured little boy. We are doing what we can in a society that requires us to have some form of financial income, however you may acquire it. We make decisions based on what we feel is the best way to support our entire family.

I am showing strength by doing all that I can in a system that does not allow me to necessarily do what I want. Placing unrealistic expectations on mothers is damaging and advertising one version of motherhood as the best version, or the version to aspire to is careless and blinkered.

Some parents choose to be stay at home parents, some parents choose to be work at home parents, some parents choose to go to work, but others do not have a choice either way. We are all different and this should be celebrated, women should be lifting each other up not tearing each other down.

So to the author of the article that I stumbled across last month. Open your eyes, go outside and learn to understand why others may choose to do things differently to you, and write about that.

A little bit of me

The past fourteen months have been absolutely wild. I am very lucky to have been able to spend so much time with my family and get used to being three, but after a year of maternity leave and six weeks of Summer, now is the time to return to work.

Returning to work at any point after having a baby is going to be tough. Some absolutely love the thought of getting back to work and the sense of self that it brings, whilst for others it is pretty traumatising. However you feel about it though, and what ever work you do, it is once again a huge change in our lives that no one really prepares us for.

If I am honest the thought of wearing an actual bra filled me with impending doom. Not to mention the fact that I might have to wash my hair and find some trousers that do not fit into the ‘lounge wear’ category. Most of all though I did not want to be apart from my baby, I was loving being a mum too much. I could not just ‘abandon’ him and return to work.

I found that my keep in touch days gave me a sense of freedom and a break almost, it was like I had a glimpse of me before Cass. The mum guilt definitely started creeping in after a few hours though, not to mention the extreme exhaustion after breast feeding a baby all night and attempting to access a very dusty section of my brain.

One minute I was at home, my time dedicated to keeping a tiny human alive and the next, I had all of these tiny human responsibilities, and work thrown in on top.

We decided to send Cass to nursery for three mornings a week and he absolutely hated it. It was soul destroying dropping him off crying only to be called an hour later to find that he was still crying. The nursery were amazing and kept trying different things to help him settle in.

Eventually they realised that he loved the toddler room and was content just watching the older children. They asked if they could move him early, the crying immediately stopped.

I am now four days into my full time return to work. I absolutely love my job and I have worked really hard to be where I am. I am blessed that I work with amazing and very supportive people. Yeah it’s hard and tiring, but like everything else this past fourteen months it is just another step. The past four days have been wonderful, Cass has been spending some amazing quality time with Daddy and loving nursery. As much as I said I would never feel this way, I am actually enjoying feeling a little bit more me.