From Womb to Living Room

I haven’t really written about my wife’s second pregnancy as since we found out she was pregnant, we had just purchased our home, 400 odd miles from where we were living, arranging new job, new school for Theo and generally adjusting from the change of living and working in London to living in a village and working in an entirely different business as I did before.

As many of you may know, the birth of our first son was very traumatic with the placental abruption at 31 weeks which caused him to be delivered by emergency c section within 2 hours of the show of blood at our local supermarket.

This time around was different, at 20 weeks we were told we were expecting another boy, during this appointment we were also given the hope that my wife would be able to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). This was a great hope considering she did not expect it to be possible after what had happened before.

As weeks went on, my wife was told that our son had turned breech, and that if he didn’t turn she would have to go in for a planned c section (this was a low point for us as we were so happy with how everything was going and she was due to get the birth she always wanted). After 30 weeks she had to go and see the consultant every 2 weeks for a scan and checks due to the high risk pregnancy that it was, the other weeks were midwife appointments, so every Thursday she would be down the doctors or hospital for an appointment to make sure everything was okay.

So at 35 weeks, baby was still breech, so the wife decided to google some things to help, as the “spinning babies” techniques she looked up weren’t helping (to me it looked like yoga mixed with twerking). As she did this she found a Chinese medicine technique called moxibustion(where they burn a herb and put it on your toes, to get the baby to turn). A few days later and the pain she went through she decided to not do more sessions as the pain was unbearable and it left a giant blister on her toe ( I told her due to my phobia of feet and the giant growth of a blister that foot rubs were not an option until it went haha).

So 2 weeks after that we went to see Spider-Man far from home at the cinema, the baby was moving a lot and contractions were going strong at 7 minute intervals. We thought this could be it the baby may come this weekend. But no the baby didn’t come. He did do some crazy moments that night where I genuinely thought it was going to be the scene from alien and the baby would just rip through her stomach.

Another Thursday came and the consultant had told us that in fact he had turn round and was in the right direction. That crazy Chinese therapy worked. She decided to keep the appointment for the scheduled c section in case he turned again but decided to book us in to see her the day before to have an examination to see if the c section would go ahead or we are going to have a vaginal birth.

Let’s fast forward to that consultant appointment. 39 weeks and 3 days gestation, we walked into the consultation room and the consultant gave a scan of the baby. Turns out he was very engaged and she felt it was time to do a sweep, and was sure he would be here in the next 48 hours. She called the hospital and booked her in to be induced 2 days later if labour hadn’t started yet. We were also told that she was 2cm dilated.

The next morning was the morning of the scheduled c section but more importantly, our last full day as a family of 3. As no matter what happened the following day we would be leaving the house in the morning and next time we came home there would be a baby with us. But that morning we received a call from the hospital expecting my wife in for a c section. There went our final lay in for the next 18 months. I honestly cannot remember what we did that day ( something tells me we had lunch with my mother in law). We both decided to have an early night as everything was set and we needed to be at the hospital for 8:30 the next morning.

We woke up early the next morning, had breakfast, fed Theo, waited for my mother in law to come round and then jumped in the car to the hospital. We got there about 7:45 and sat in the waiting room for 5 minutes before the midwife took us to our labour suite.

At 9:00 my wife’s waters were broken and a cannula was put in her hand with a hormone drip going into her to induce labour. This was it, our boy was on his way at any point.

At 12:30 she went into established labour. She was told after 4 hours they would examine her to tell her the next steps. So after 4 hours of heavy breathing on the gas and air (yes I had a go) some moaning and even so moving as I called it. The doctors came to examine her, she was 6cm dilated at this point. The wishes she previously had about not taking the epidural went out the window at this point as the contractions were not easing up and it was suggested by the doctor. I remember it took 30 minutes to get the epidural in place and when it was injected, the doctor did another examination of my wife. Turns out she was fully dilated, in that hour and the epidural has only probably kicked in about 5 minutes ago she has dilated by 4cm. The doctor was going to take a blood sample from the baby’s head but could see he was ready to come so decided to get him out of there quickly. My wife started to push and after a bit, he needed some help so they had to use forceps to get him out a bit. With a few more pushes and guidance with the forceps his head was free. The midwife told me and my wife to feel his head. It was at that moment I’ve felt the closest I ever have to my wife.

At that moment the doctors and midwives realised his shoulder was stuck and before I knew it my wife was told to push as a midwife jumped on the bed to push down on her stomach to turn his shoulder. As soon as this was done he was born at 18:51.

The next 10-15 minutes were a blur as doctors tried to get him to breathe on his own and I was so scared that he wasn’t okay. Next thing we knew he was being taken to the NICU to do some tests. All the time frames from this evening all got mixed up but some time later a paediatrician came in to say his gas results from his cord and his brain activity were not doing what they needed to do so they would have to send him to another hospital for a cooling therapy which was take 72 hours. My heart sunk when I heard that he would be in hospital for another 3 days. With the trauma from Theo’s birth this was the last thing I wanted to happen.

We then got to see him before the transport came for him this was around midnight. We were told that our ambulance would come shortly however this didn’t turn up until at least 3am. I was sitting in the chair was my wife slept in the hospital bed just panicking about what was coming next. When we got to the other hospital, we got settled and got to see our boy at 5am. After a small holding his finger we both decided it was time to get some sleep.

It was lucky that the ward my wife was put on she had her own room with had a put out bed for me.

I remember my sister in law phoning me at 7:30 and I ignored it so I could go back to sleep. When I woke up I had text messages from family members and colleagues asking how everything was. My wife was bed bound for the day so I had to help her get about via wheelchair. We went down to see the baby whenever we could.

The next day we went down to see the baby, when we spoke to the nurse she told us about the NICU pack which had a lot of information, a cuddle toy for mum and baby (which gets swap everyday so each toy smells like mum and baby, I’ll will be posting on Instagram about this soon) and also a mumcam (which essentially was a 24 hour FaceTime call with the baby so we could see how he was in the hospital, once again an Instagram post about this will follow). My wife started to get better to the point when I woke up, she had gotten out of bed and had a shower before I had even woken up. She was still weak on her feet but she was getting better. That night we knew it was the final 24 hours of the cooling treatment.

The next day we went straight down to see the baby in the NICU, spent about an hour with him then went back upstairs so my wife could rest before lunch, after lunch we went back down to see him and same routine for dinner as well, where we took his clothes down for when he was warmed up. After the 72 hours of cooling, the baby gets warmed for 12 hours to get back to resting body temperature. Cooling was going to end by 11:30 so we called it a night and decided to go down the next morning to see him.

So the next morning came and we decided to get breakfast before we went down to him, as we left the break room, we saw our sons doctor on the ward, she asked if we could go to our room to discuss the baby. When we got in the room she told us the treatment was complete, however they had 4 babies come into the NICU that night (we noticed she had been working 24 hours at this point), with this she suggested that we went back to our original hospital as he doesn’t need intensive care any more. We agreed as we didn’t want to take up space for a baby who may need more help as our son just needs to get feeding to go home. We went down to see him and my wife finally got to have a cuddle with him (photo on Instagram with this post). She went upstairs to sort her stuff out and express milk, so she left me downstairs to have a cuddle with him before I came up to get ready. Within an hour we were notified the ambulance was here to take my son and wife to the other hospital and I would have to get transport there. Once we got downstairs, the paramedics saw it was hammering down with rain and told me to jump in the front of the ambulance. What I found out is these paramedics are actually neonatal nurses, which gave me a lot of respect for their jobs. Once we got to the other hospital my son was put in an incubator. One thing I didn’t mention is the whole time since my son was born I myself was suffering from some sort of PTSD from our firsts sons birth and all of the experience was bringing it back to the point whenever I fell asleep I could see everything including the hospital corridors and even a toilet of all things, the reason I mentioned this now is seeing him in that incubator completely broke my heart and I couldn’t help how I was feeling, even though I knew that it wasn’t serious and he would be out in 2 or 3 days.

At this hospital my wife had a room and I was allowed to stay however there was only a chair to sleep in. Which I didn’t really sleep that night as I couldn’t get comfortable until I climbed into the hospital bed with my wife. When the nurse came in the morning I jumped up and made it look like I was comforting my wife so I didn’t get in trouble. Once my wife had breakfast my wife went down to see the baby, walking down the corridor we heard him cry, we walked into his room and they were putting him into a cot, and for the first time in his life he was in clothes. The midwife also told us that we would be rooming in that night and he would be going home the next day. This is the news I needed to hear, my mood suddenly lifted. Our boy would be coming home. That day his brother came with their Nan to visit, I made sure I got a picture with my boys and believe me I put that’s as my wallpaper right away (I’ll attach it to this post on Instagram too). When they went home we settled for the night, in a double bed with the baby in a cot at the end. We still had to write down when he had feeds and nappies we changed but that was just as a formality.

Today was the day he was coming home, but just as we were ready to leave we were told he had to do a hearing test and a blood test before we left, by the time these were done it was about 2 hours later. So when we got to leave I was starving so I made my sister in law go to a KFC drive thru on the way home so I could eat. When we got home Theo came back home from his aunts house and within 5 minutes he held his brother and produced the proudest moment of my life (picture on Instagram).

Oh during this post I have called the baby “the baby” but I should really announce that we called him Leonidas or Leon for short

And that is the journey of Womb to Living Room, thank you for reading

The leap into a new job

So the last month has been an adventure. Exactly a month ago I walked into my new bosses office all fresh faced and ready for a new challenge, the way I saw it was I had a bad time at my last site and still came out successful, with a client and team that I respected and had a respect for me. Fast forward a month to now, this new job is a real challenge, business is quiet which I’m really not used to. I’m learning a lot about new part of the business and I’m not commuting as far any more which has given me a lot more time to be a dad to Theo, which was probably the main reason I left my last job as sometimes I would go nearly a week without seeing him. Which along with problems at my last job put me in a bad place mentally and this had an effect on my marriage because it dragged me down which in course would lead to me and my wife arguing.

Life is amazing right now, my wife is starting a new job next week in a position she wants to do and works around her being a mum too, I now have a lot of support at work and have a great team who believe in me and my vision.

Above all that me and Theo’s relationship is growing like mad because he gets to see more of me and I’m not too tired when he does see me.

What I’m trying to say here is, no matter how unhappy I was in my last job, I was comfortable and sometimes leaving would scare me to the point I’d rather put up with the bad stuff just to be comfortable. I took the leap and the parts of my life that were suffering have improved by a million times. 

I have a friend who is a father who was working a job in the city working 6 days a week. Now he’s helping people develop themselves into a better version of themselves (physically and mentally), and he’s said to me many times it’s the best move he’s ever made. Regularly we would speak before I left my last job and slightly that gave me motivation to make the move I have, as I spoke to me on a level that nobody apart from my family have before, and told me not to let my family life suffer for work and to chase my dreams.

Fear of change is not a reason to stay at your job if you’re letting your relationship with loved ones get in the way, the house, the car, none of that matters if your family is suffering for it all.

New Job

So I’ve slightly mentioned previously about a new job but Friday marked my last day at The Body Shop. I have taken a back seat with the blog and social media platforms for the last month as work as been really busy. My main focus has been trying to prepare a handover, which I only started two days before I was due to give it. Let me take it back a little, the struggle of my working at The Body Shop started last year when southern rail started to strike. The journey time went from one hour to nearly two hours each way on a daily basis, okay I get it, people have the right to strike but the time I was working and commuting was unreal and it was starting to get me down that I couldn’t spend time with my wife and son. So then I had a few HR issues with a manager at work, which actually led to me bringing the blog back alive back in November as a mechanism to fight depression and it worked. As time went on I started to realise that the prospect of me developing myself in this role was non existent and then saw a position half the distance from my house. I won’t go into the details of that process as they were all in my last blog post. But after I accepted the job I spoke to my new manager who was completely supportive of my decision to move on and understood my reasons behind it.

So back to Friday, the last month I knew I was leaving, but it didn’t kick in at all. I kept thinking I have so much to do let me get that done before I think about what’s next. Once I had finished my work and people had started to say goodbye it finally hit me, I was leaving a place that dragged me to a dark place but I built amazing relationships there which I will treasure for a long time. 

My wife has told me she’s unhappy that I’ve left as she will no longer have access to their products. Even though our cupboard is full is full of them. 

Today I start my new job with the same company but a brand new site with a new client. Which is very exciting, I now take on more responsibility which will help with my progression in my career. Plus it being half of the distance, I get to spend more time with the family and work on the blog a bit more.
-Jeff

A week apart

So the other week, my wife and son went to Scotland for four days to go and see my sister in law and her baby son. They did this last year and I will not lie but this time was a lot harder to deal with. Last year I spent the first night going to the pub with a old work friends and getting completely wasted on jack daniels and tequila. Probably wasn’t the best idea when I had work the next day. The day after I met one of my buddy’s for a beer after work and went home. Day three I had work to stay late for so by the time I got home it was late anyway.

This year was not like that at all. I had a job interview on Tuesday (so I thought) so on Monday I had to go and find a barber near to my work to get my hair cut. I ended up getting home at a decent time after this and decided to try and catch up on a new show I was watching. On Tuesday I thought I had my interview so I left work early to go to the place and it turned out after half hour of waiting I had the wrong day. On the Wednesday I actually had the interview, but by this point the week was really starting to take its toll on me, between worrying about the interview, work (because we were short staffed) and missing my wife and son. I hardly slept at all. During the interview the guy I met had asked if I could come up again the following day to actually see the site I would be working at, as you do I agreed but let him know that my family were returning from Scotland that day so I wouldn’t be able to make a long thing of it. So when Thursday came once again I didn’t sleep well and I was rushed off my feet at work, by the time I got to my meeting I had a massive headache. My potential new boss understood this and we went to see the site. After our visit we went back to another site where we sat down and discussed the job. This is where I found out I was being offered the position. The whole week I had been trying to sort out my career with my main support not around, which was really quite a challenge.

After that I went home to wait for my family to get home. I laid on our bed and decided to watch a documentary on Netflix. By the time the had gotten on the train at the airport I was already falling asleep, this was at 19:30. Once I replied to the text message I feel back to sleep. Only to wake up when they got to our local station.

Last year I actually met them at the station, this year I did not even have the energy to meet them at the end of the road.

I opened the door and when Theo saw me, he ran down the road to give me a cuddle. This was something I desperately needed. As everyone was settling down, Theo sat on my lap for half an hour telling me about the airplane and Scotland before he went to bed. Once he was in bed, my wife had to wash her hair and sort herself out for work the next day. I pretty much zoned out on the bed and fell asleep. I then woke up to give her a kiss as she got into bed and that was it I slept all night (which I hadn’t done all week).

As I mentioned earlier, last year was easier. I think the main reason behind this is that I was making a life changing decision without my wife’s input. Normally I seek my wife’s input in even the smallest things I do. Not seeing my son for days only for 20 minutes at most on FaceTime. We never really spend time apart like that. With them being back for a week it’s brought us closer, I also think the bank holiday weekend helped as well, where both me and my wife didn’t have to work for most of it so we actually got two whole days together as a family.

Why do I blog?

I was having a conversation a few weeks ago and Memoirs of a Mad Dad came up. The person I was speaking to asked me "why do you blog?". I gave them a short answer which I cannot remember for the life of me. However since then I have been thinking about why I do this, what drives me to do this.
The answer to that question is not the short answer I gave to my colleague. It is that blogging has been an amazing outlet when I've been at my lowest. Even though I haven't spoken about what issues I may have been battling over this time, I feel like blogging about what I love most has taking me out of these battles I may have had.
I have always wanted to do something that helps people develop themselves. At work I always try to develop my staff and get them to progress in their careers. But I found that wasn't enough, blogging has been a very good tool to help me do this outside of work. I'm not saying I know all the facts about parenting or I'm the perfect father (far from it) but giving people the advice and tools to make themselves better parents, or even less stressed parents because they've tried something they would never have thought of.
As some of you may know I am eventually planning to publish what material I have on here (if I build enough material) into a book, the hobbit, lord of the rings and Harry Potter are all books about an adventure. I felt like I wanted to document my adventure of being a parent. Originally I never thought about publishing however it's becoming more of an appealing idea as time goes on and I create more material.
Since blogging I have found that there is actually a community out there of parent bloggers, I won't lie before I started this I was completely unaware this was a thing. I want to thank everyone who has supported the page and made me feel a part of this amazing community.
There you have it, that's the reason I blog. So let this post help you look into yourself and maybe influence you to write about why you blog. Feel free to message me, I love hearing people's stories and if you do a related post, share it with me as I'd love to read it.

Blog Update

I felt it was right to let you all know that Memoirs of a Mad Dad will now be a solo project by myself.I have spoken to Paul and he has other commitments in his life he needs to focus on. This won’t be last last we all hear from Paul as we have come to an agreement that he can feature as a guest blogger at anytime. 

Me and Paul have been friends for a long time, so if anyone wishes to contact him or ask him anything feel free to drop a message and I can pass it on.

-Jeff

A Letter From Daddy

Dear son,
You’ll probably never read this, or if you do it’ll be a long time from now and life will have changed for all of us dramatically. There are a few things I wanted to get off my chest but you just won’t understand yet.
When me and your mum found out we were having you we were over the moon, I won’t lie to you you I was terrified. It was when we found out you were going to be a boy, the real fear started to come in. It wasn’t worrying about being a parent, it wasn’t about not knowing what to do. It was about you being proud of me. At the time I worked one shift a week in the bar and me and your mums university but I knew that wasn’t enough. My company lost the contract and a new company came in and they offered me a full time position right away. At the time I felt like I was just a catering assistant and it wasn’t enough, I was embarrassed to put my job title on your birth certificate as I felt I was at the bottom of the table. Nearly 4 years later and I’ve realised, those thoughts were silly. I’ve reached a point in my career that back then I wanted my current job on your birth certificate. But my career doesn’t matter as much as I thought it did. I look back at the last 4 years and see that you have always looked at me as I was your hero. You may have your bad days where you want your own space (no I don’t listen) but I remember you are our son, we like our own space at times. Now I think the happiest thing about your birth certificate is that I am your father. 

I want you to know that when I’m busy at work and I won’t see you for days at a time, or I’ve worked so hard over the week and we have lazy weekends because daddy is exhausted. I cherish those moments as much as the time we are going to the cinema, getting food or even on an adventure. Making those memories with you and your mummy is what keeps me going and drives me through those tough weeks. One instant of this was the other week when it was hot, your door was open, I was getting ready for work at 5am and you woke up and gave me the biggest smile ever. That moment made my day and even my whole week.

I’m sorry if you’re upset and I don’t understand why, or I ever make you upset. Seeing you upset breaks my heart. That’s probably why I treat you every weekend, because I love making you smile and seeing pure happiness flow through your veins.

The thing I want to say the most is that I will always be proud of you, no matter what you do. I will always be there for you until my last breath. I want us to have a relationship like me and my dad never had and even when you’re grown up I will still love our cuddles. If I started my career all over again, it wouldn’t matter to me because I’d have you and your mummy. I may act like my job is really important but I want you to know, no matter how many promotions, pay rises, awards I get none of that will compare to the accomplishment of seeing you grow up and develop and knowing that is partially down to me. 

I love you son 

Dad x