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This is a 'tea and chat' style blog where I blog about whatever fills my head each day. Many posts are about my experiences as mummy to my little boy born 16 weeks early :)

Thursday, 22 September 2011

A day to celebrate!

Today is my little boy's third birthday. Three years ago today was not a day to celebrate. Yes, my baby had been born, and thank God he was born alive, but he was born 16 weeks too early.

Today is 22nd September, his due date was 6th January. I had visions of being a big, round Christmas pudding come Christmas time and looked forward to meeting our baby in the new year ahead. My body and Blaine had other ideas. That day was a long one - Blaine was born at 5:19am so the day seemed to go on and on forever. Waiting by the phone, listening to whispers in corners, making the journey to visit my baby later that evening when he was transferred and stable, expected to sleep that night - no baby in my belly, no baby by my bed, no baby even in a room nearby.

Three years later and today is a day to celebrate! My precious baby is THREE! He has grown in to a beautiful, smiling and funny little boy. I couldn't be more proud, in fact I feel very lucky.

Today we went for a birthday lunch together - Blaine's choice - cowboy burger and chips and ice cream with a wafer! This evening family descended on us for birthday cake with presents and cards galore! Saturday afternoon Blaine is having a party with all his cousins and friends!

Yep, today we can celebrate - a day that proves miracles do happen. The day my beautiful baby boy was born :)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

I feel blessed ...

Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth,
selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.
As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.
"Beth Armstrong, son. Patron Saint, Matthew.
Marjorie Forrest, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia.
Carrie Rutledge, twins. Patron Saint ... give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."
Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a premmie."
The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."
"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel."
"But does she have the patience?" asks the angel.
"I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll handle it.
I watched her today.
She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother.
You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of its own.
She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."
"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."
God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just the right amount of selfishness."
The angel gasps, "Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive.
She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied.
She will never take for granted a spoken word.
She will never consider a step ordinary.
When her child says 'mama' for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it.
I will permit her to see clearly the things I see – ignorance, cruelty, prejudice – and allow her to rise above them.
She will never be alone.
I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."
"And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.
God smiles.
"A mirror will suffice."

Monday, 12 September 2011

Friendship - Miss Mullan

Have no idea how to start this post, nor how to fill it. It's not that I don't have the material - I do. That's the problem, there's just soooo much. Where to start? What to include? I could probably fill a book.

Because this post is about Sarah Mullan.

I first met Sarah in nursery school when we were probably about 3 or 4 years old. We instantly became friends and looked for each other every day. My mum tells me that I was only really happy to go to nursery, and stay, if Sarah was there. Each breaktime the class would charge out into the playground; Sarah would run for her life to get to the see-saw and 9 times out of 10 she would succeed! 'Noeliiiiine!' she'd yell, holding on to that see-saw with all her might. And then we'd while away the minutes in sheer bliss!

The rest of my school days are filled with memories and anecdotes including Sarah. We made lots of other friends along the way and through the different schools but still stuck together or came back to each other.

Our Sixth Form days were spent planning nights out, going on the nights out and then talking endlessly about the nights out. Some of my best, funniest, most enjoyable and favourite memories were made in those days. We can still fill entire nights re-living and talking about them now.

Our first home was together. A house well in need of some updating; wooden cladded walls and patterned carpet straight out of the seventies - just perfect!

Since then we've grown up. Sarah was my chief bridesmaid on my wedding day and stayed with me eating chips the night before. I remember the day we said goodbye, and cried, as she went travelling to Australia. But after 2 years we just picked up where we left off and I was over the moon she had returned just in time to be Godmother to my little boy.

We've seen it all, we've seen boyfriends come and go, tears, tantrums and dramas, joy, happiness and laughter. I know she's there, even if it's at the end of a phone or laptop -  she's there. A true, life long friend. We've never outgrown each other.

The great thing is there's still lots more to come - I can see us giggling at 3 years old right through to 80 years old. 

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Mum's the word!

The saying 'no one has ever written a book...' is rubbish. There are tons of pregnancy, parenting and baby books and during my pregnancy I would sit and flick through these books and magazines. Once Blaine was born these books went out the window, quite literally.

Blaine has been delayed in reaching almost all of his developmental milestones. We are told these milestones are just 'guidelines' but most parents and professionals take them seriously none the less. We all want our babies to progress and thrive and will them to 'tick off' the next thing.

When Blaine was about 8 months old we started going to a baby singing group. Blaine was still about the size of 0-3 month old, was a babe in arms, wasn't sitting. I answered endless questions week after week. I sat back and watched as babies started coming from a couple of months old and within another couple of months had bypassed Blaine. Every parent gets asked the usual: is he sitting yet? Is he walking? Is he talking? People just have expectations. We found it difficult finding our place in the group because my story was so different and Blaine was falling behind on the blasted milestones.

We kept going every week and moved on to the next group. We don't get so many questions now. Blaine is 'catching up' and the 'gap' isn't as noticible. In fact he is overtaking some.

Back in the NICU days I remember a nurse giving us our own 'guidelines'- sit at one, walk at two and talk at three. Blaine has pretty much been on track.

Blaine will be 3 end of this month and only this week he has started calling me mum. I'm chuffed. And I mean not just saying mum but calling me mum. Mum, mum, mum, mum, mum!

Needless to say I am over the moon!

Friday, 2 September 2011

A picture paints a thousand words ...

So September has arrived and I'm starting to plan my little boy's third birthday. THIRD. THREE. How did that happen? Sometimes it seems crazy to think he is almost three. How on earth did we get here?

When Blaine was in NICU, particularly in those first few weeks, I would spend ages stood at the picture board in the corridor. It was covered in photos, thank you cards and letters, poems and stories of incredible progress. I must've read and re-read everything on that board a hundred times. I would look at the photos that resembled Blaine with photos next to them of toddlers, sitting, walking, playing, laughing. Some in school uniform, some with Santa, some holding siblings. I would stare and stare; looking from the first photo to the recent photo in disbelief. But also in hope. Just maybe, if I let myself dream a little bit, that would be my little boy.

It's a long day in NICU, most of it sat by an incubator, some of it wandering corridors, some of it sat infront of a trashy mag or wordsearch. All of it filled with stomach churning anxiety. I found comfort on that wall, that picture board. I knew every inch of it and would show it to family when they visited. 'Look!' I'd say. Desperately watching their response, hoping they too would believe it.

Blaine will be three on 22nd September. He now has a place on that wall. He is one of those babies that offer hope. It doesn't seem real. That baby that fit in my hand, hidden under wires and tubes in an incubator is now on the wall!

And I know it helps the poor mum who stands in front of it day after day searching for a glimpse of hope, a glimpse of the future.