No distraction is enough

by Veronica Foale on September 8, 2012

in Children, Me

We fell down the rabbit hole and then carefully, slowly, clawed our way back out.

And then my baby got sick again, and landed back in hospital.

I am stuck on that point. My BABY is SICK and no one knows what is wrong with her. No one can fix her yet and everyone just wants to poke more needle holes into her tiny precious skin. This child of mine who lived under my heart is sick and I cannot magically fix it.

She’s having seizures – we know that much. Tiny seizures that come again and again and again and exhaust her body and brain. Tiny seizures that make her face and eyes twitch and the muscles in her back jump like she’s being nibbled by ants. And yet, no tests show anything, denying the truth of what we’re witnessing over and over.

I spent three days sleeping on a recliner next to her cot in Paediatrics and then we were sent home on weekend leave, with no solid plan in place. The tests are the be all and end all and with negative results, no one knows what is happening and why.

My mama instinct tells me that this is WRONG, that there is something WRONG and why is no one fixing my BABY?

I can’t breathe, because my baby is sick and no one is fixing her, because no one can work out what is happening.

She’s asleep now. She’s always asleep now, exhausted by her muscles twitching when they ought to not be. But she’s asleep now and I type this and watch her and wonder what is happening here. How do I distract myself from worrying about brain damage and developmental delays and the fact that my baby is sick?

There is no distracting from this.

Not now.

Not yet.

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Down the rabbit hole

by Veronica Foale on August 27, 2012

in Children, Me

I had a baby and down down down I fell, into the rabbit hole of new motherhood and adjustment.

When Alice falls down the rabbit hole in the children’s animated movie, she floats down safely, spinning a little, landing carefully at the end.

Becoming a mother is nothing like that. Not for the first time, not for the third time.

I fell down the rabbit hole and landed ungraciously at the end, with my legs akimbo and my underwear on display. Figuratively, not literally – by the time my baby was born, there was no underwear for me. Or any clothes, really.

I was due to give birth this week sometime. Instead, my daughter is four weeks old and I have spent the last month trying to recover from the advent of her early arrival and the trauma of her first week of life. Not that it was traumatic for her – she was lucky enough to escape her premature birth with nothing worse than a plethora of heel pricks and a raging case of jaundice.

When you give birth to a well baby, at term, they send you back to the ward with your child and it’s sink or swim, baby. You change nappies and learn to feed, while eating your breakfast one handed and hoping that you can manage a shower before they stop napping. I’ve done this, twice. You’re an instant mother, making the decisions. On day two, or three (all going well) you take your child home and your new life begins.

A premature baby is a whole different kettle of fish.

I held my daughter for two hours after birth, feeding her and loving her, before I had to walk her around to NICU and leave her there with strangers. A stranger dressed her for the first time, while I sat in the chair next to her and tried not to cry. A stranger explained the visiting rules to us, and a run down of what would likely occur. A stranger stole drops of her blood. And then, a stranger smiled at me as my husband and I left our baby there, alone, without us, and went back to the ward.

I cried until my head hurt and that feeling of having accidentally misplaced something important lodged itself inside my chest. An hour later and I was alone on the ward, trying not to hate my body for expelling my child early.

(I was meant to keep her safe, my body was meant to keep her safe. Oh God, what have I done?)

Over the next few days, I became intimately acquainted with the special care unit and the nurses that worked there. No longer strangers, but still, they were the people making the decisions for my child. MY child, not theirs.

That feeling of unreality as you sit next to a plastic box, knowing that they aren’t truly yours, not now, not yet.

My daughter got better, fast. We were lucky that she wasn’t a sick child and in the end, probably not as premature as they suspected.

As a new mother, you’re meant to be overwhelmed and covered in spit-up. Not holding your baby’s head in place while they insert a nasal gastric tube, or dripping sucrose into the corner of their mouth while a nurse pricks their heels yet again. You’re meant to get covered in milk as your breasts leak, not blood, as the bandaid doesn’t quite cover their wound.

In the scheme of things, we were lucky. I fell down the rabbit hole and we all emerged relatively unscathed.

But I can’t say that it wasn’t (isn’t) traumatic.

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by Veronica Foale on January 29, 2012

in Life, Me

Life got crazy and the unessential parts of me got neglected. Not that I stopped writing blog posts in my head at 2am, I just stopped getting out of bed to type them out. Which I’m certain is sensible, but it’s also pretty slack.

I managed to get married, without any hiccups, except the rain and an impatient celebrant.

And then I miscarried.

There is a certain miserablness to watching a pregnancy slide down your legs. Even more so when you wonder, if you’d rested more, would this be happening? (probably) The week leading up to the wedding was crazy, with hospitalisations (Isaac) and bleeding (me) and vomiting (me) and arguments (also, me) and shouting (Amy) and stress (Nathan). But we did it.

And then I took a mental holiday, as December tried to suck out my soul and my brain simutaneously. It wasn’t pleasant, as I finished miscarrying at a school pageant in which religion was mentioned more times than I felt comfortable wish.

But we all survived (except the fetus, which didn’t have a chance) and my body decided to magically work and get pregnant again. Not that the actual conception was magical (fun is a better word). There will be no religions based around an immaculate conception here. The fact I ovulated at all is magical, let alone twice in 8 weeks.

My body is kind of a fuckwit, given to practical jokes and refusals to do anything normally.

Now I sit here, nine weeks pregnant, hot, pukey and still pretty sure I’m missing both my soul and my brain.

Never mind. They can go and join my sanity in the cupboard, if December decides to release them.

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Internet, I am dying. Maybe. This headline may contain hyperbole.

by Veronica Foale on November 17, 2011

in Me

Manflu has stricken the household and we’ve all fallen down into a great heap of aching joints and miserableness.

On top of that, my cat is staging her very own #occupy protest.

Be assured that #occupyworkspace is actually nicer than #occupyveronicasneck and #occupythelap, because there is less licking.

There. I said it. My cat likes to lick my nose. I don’t share her joy.

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I am a perfectionist

by Veronica Foale on November 12, 2011

in Me

I am a perfectionist, so I bought myself this.

Sometimes, it is easier to do nothing perfectly, than it is to do something.

Especially when you’re a perfectionist and the possibility of failure is weighing on your heart with every step you take.

So I’m wrecking my journal and seeing what happens. NaBlo is also giving my inner perfectionist a run for her money, forcing me to write every day, regardless of quality.

It’s probably good for me.

PS, it’s also my birthday today.

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