wonky, windy relaxing

I ventured into new territory this evening – I attended a relaxing anti-natal birthing class. It pretty much is what it says on the tin, a class to help you relax and encourage the best birth you can possibly have. This is not something that I ever did with little miss s and first time round found myself a little naive when it came to the actual birth bit. No such luck this time round, I have little anxieties about everything, will I go all natural, opt of a sunroof joby or will the little one decide for itself with the position of the placenta?!?!

Add to these birth questions the never ending Bells Palsy saga and the fact that we are moving house next week and I am a little stressed. I think Dan may have got the picture this morning when after the devil reincarnated itself as little miss s at 2am this morning for an hour of screaming, kicking and general crapyiness, come 3am as quickly as it came it went and I was told to leave her alone so she could go to sleep?!?!? Oh and I was totally overjoyed at hearing her wonderful morning welcome of ‘MUMMY, MUMMY I need a poo’ at 6am – then to get her ready and off to nursery whilst singing the Jungle Book/wheels on the bus before a whole day in the office. A day that I survived purely based on the amount of bread I consumed… hot cross bun anyone?!

And so, to say that I fancied a bit of relaxation tonight was an understatement and when Dan suggested a fish and chip super before I left for the class I was thrilled, tonight was starting well! I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this class and as with most things during pregnancy went with an open mind hoping to learn a little something but really to have a little nap in a peaceful and calming environment, far far away from Peppa Pig! And we started off well, the ladies were lovely and welcoming and like me loved to share a births story and moan about this weeks aches, pains and appointment scares.

The core aspect of the class was focused around learning to breathe and stay calm during labour, to relax your mind, body and soul and all that jazz. This I’m afraid was when my issues began… I am physically unable to relax my face – the Bells Palsy means that the righthand side of my face is forever tense, I just cant relax it and then instead of relaxing I’m concentrating and thinking about relaxing and my mind is in overdrive with, relax, relax, stop thinking and relax… a viscous non relaxing circle! Another of my major issues was that I had fish and chips for tea. Now fish and chips give me wind – normally not too bad but in pregnancy it is sooo much worse and when your trying to relax your entire body whilst on all four position instead of relaxing your mind is racing…don’t fart, don’t fart, don’t fart!!! So in essence I spent the whole time over thinking everything and trying really really hard not to fart. I may have sneefarted (snezzed and let a little one out) at one point but I don’t think anyone noticed?! O god I am gong to be forever known as the girl who looked like she was chewing a wasp who had flatulence problems.

I must say though as I said earlier I think Dan got the message as I was welcomed home with a hot bath, candles and incense (ok WAY too much incense but it was the thought that counted!) and farting in the bath is just the perfect way to relax!!

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This is her crafty face!

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and hoommmm

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The boy done good with the candles, but did leave in the non slip croc!


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style v’s substance

I have posted in the past about my ‘Mummy Wear’ the fat pants, big jumper and slippers… well now that I am with child number two I find myself changing into this mummy wear as soon as the door is shut behind me. Top of my Christmas list this year was a dressing gown and slippers! Is it ok to turn into a chav of the night rather than lady of the night (ok maybe not lady of the night, but you get my drift!) as soon as it turns 8pm… who am I kidding 5pm?

And as many things do, it got me a’thinking about my ‘style’. I recently read somewhere that there is a distinct ‘mum’ style of skinny jeans, stripy top and converse trainers – whilst reading and totally disagreeing with this statement I was wearing skinny jeans, a stripy top and converse trainers… time to mix it up a little.

Since the arrival of little miss s two and a half years ago (OMG!) I have actually found myself with a little more confidence when it comes to dressing –I had never really been the shy dress to hide type, or the look at me look at me type, I stayed rather boringly in the middle of the fashion howha and wore what I saw others wearing. Since S I seem to care a lot less about what other people think and tend to wear something if I like it. It may look odd but if I like it then who cares right? This new found confidence / arrogance may also have something to do with the Bells Palsy, with such a visually striking condition I have learnt over time (often the hard, slowly, painful, ever so slightly over dramatic emotional way) that your appearance is not everything – confidence and how you carry yourself have an awful lot more umph in everyday life. I also find myself maybe trying to stand out a little and look a little differently now – I find that I now tend to dress my personality rather than for looks. I am a dunagree, bobble hat, slipper, onesie wearing kinda gal and if you don’t like it, well, your missing out because dungarees are the BOMB!

And than BAM I am presented with a whole new challenge – dressing an ever growing bowling ball, not to mention the ballooning boobies! I do have to say that I after starting off so well with my ‘no leggings in pregnancy’ policy I have failed. I am only 22 weeks and not even half the size I am going to end up, but seriously there are only so many times I can tie my jeans up with a hair bobble. Buy maternity jeans I hear you cry… have you seen maternity jeans?! To get a decent pair you have to spend £30 at least and even then its under the bump or over the bump, skinny jean, flared, boyfriend style… in my current state of mind I am in no position to make important decisions like that. Little miss s’ future pre-school, yes, maternity jeans, no. Anyway I digress, leggings, I have allowed myself to wear them but on one condition – that they are as mad and colourful as how I feel at the moment and hey if people are looking at your legs they aint looking at the bump or face! I even bought and wore a jumpsuit last week (not maternity but ever so stretchy!) which was great and didn’t look half bad, although pregnant people need to use the loo a lot – getting naked everytime did become a little old. Revelation number two was that I wore a bikini swimming… the less said about that the better, but does anyone else try on their swimmers before going swimming – just in case 1. They don’t fit or 2. To make sure your trimmed!? I am learning to be a little more adventurous with my clothes, and little miss s isn’t really old enough yet to die of embarrassment so I’m rolling with it!

So the bump dressing adventure begins, but just to be sure, its never acceptable to wear pj’s out of the house right?!

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the jumpsuit!me2the leggingsme3less said about this the betterme4ahhhh and relax

And yes these are in black and white as its more flattering… still vain!

The best medicine…

This weekend we had a good’ol family gathering in West Wales and as Lloyd/Thompson/Williams family gatherings go, this one was sponsored by laughs, food and lots of Prosseco!

We had an amazing time away, bar the rain, and spent many hours catching up, sharing childcare and laughing – and boy it’s good to laugh. I have come to realise that you can spend too much time in life moaning and worrying about the next months wages etc and lately I’ve been worrying about leaving little miss s, this weekend was the prefect opportunity for me to go away, chill and be grateful for my wonderful family, as mad as they can be! It makes me so happy that I have them around and that we all get on, I think it’s safe to say we are a little like the Brady Bunch!

Laughing till you cry is the best medicine ever, the laughing so much that your belly aches and you catch yourself laughing all over again an hour later… This happened on many occasions over the past few days (mind you this may also have something to do with the amount of wine consumed!) from little miss s saying ‘Oh Dear’ when reading my mums ‘big’ birthday card to Dan taking part in an egg challenge which ended up with Dad being covered in egg!

All this family time and laughing was a great reminder of the amount if support that my loved ones have given me over the past two years – two of the most challenging ever. It has been nearly two years since I contracted Bells Palsy and although I have come to terms with it and found ways to adapt (drinking from a bottle is still a pain in the a**) it still takes up a huge space in my head, I worry about it coming back if I were to get pregnant again but at the same time know that it is a small price to pay for a healthy baby. My family got me through the crapy days when I didn’t want to go out as I felt fat and like a freak, they laughed with me when I dribbled and they all slowed up with eating so I didn’t notice how slow I was! They are my rocks, every single one of them and because of this support I was made even more aware of how little support was available from the doctors or professionals. I have received no counselling and the only information available has been that from the Internet – sometimes a computer screen and google just don’t have that personal approach!

I recently became aware of a new Charity for Facial Palsy sufferers and when I read the personal stories really wanted to get involved, fast forward a couple of months and I’m a blinking celeb!! Well, I have been featured in the Sunday Mirrors Celeb magazine (so not quite celeb status). I want to share my story, if it helps just one person feel a little better about their situation then I’m happy and even if I am still a little wonky at least my story wasn’t next to the ‘I ate my daughters cat’ real life stories I was worried about! People are starting to recognise Facial Palsy and this is a good thing for me and my wonky smile!

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when did i become a ‘dropper’?

I used to be able to catch, run and had co-ordination… Seriously what happened? Did I get old and not notice? When did I start to actually throw like a girl?! I have become a mum and in turn become girly… 2013 needs to be the year I get my man back (by that I mean catching, fearless attitude, the who gives a ** look and being able to run without wanting a wee every 5 steps!

All in all 2012 has been a good year, a year of firsts like my first Mothers
Day, and my constant battle between life and baby… As well as the baby-less trip to Norway that just left me a blubbering mess!

There are changes afoot – 2013 is going to be a tough year, already Jean Claude has been sold and we are preparing to move house. A move we don’t really want to make but one that we need to make if we want to make our home in Wales! I also have more appointments for my Bells Palsy and have everything crossed that this will be the year my smile returns to ‘normal’! It’s that time of year when you write a list of everything you want to do but realistically you know will never get done, so here’s my 2013 bucket list…

1. Scare myself
2. Learn a new skill and get more crafty
3. See something I’ve never seen before
4. Bake a cake that actually rises
5. Get my smile back
6. Finally do my wedding album
7. Be more proactive
8. Get more work
9. Learn to be a housewife!
10. Embrace the ‘saving’

And a couple of our 2012 memories, Happy New Year everyone!

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Today, I wore a bikini…

Ok so I know that this is not a major thing in most lives and yes it wouldn’t have been in mine a year ago – I did attend anti-natal swimming classes in a bikini. But today I ventured into dangerous water and pulled on a bikini for the first time since my body just went blllaaaaahhhh!

Since little miss s I must say my figure resembles a mums body! Gone are the days of a flat belly and shaven legs, I am sorry to admit that my legs usually resemble sand paper and my belly is far from flat – add to this stretch marks – seriously as if giving birth wasn’t punishment enough you then get left with this most amazing ripples of skin that more often than not are a nice pinky colour so they stand out rather nicely – and I have a mums bod. I am also sticking to the story of being mauled by a tiger in the rainforest as that is sooo much cooler than saying that you didn’t have enough skin to fit in the exceedingly large head of your baby girl!

Today I thought sod it, I am wearing this bikini, what’s the worst that can happen. I mean even if people do stare at my mum belly at least they are not staring at my wonky face. Today helped me to put to bed some demons, since contracting Bells Palsy I have fussed soo much about my appearance and yes now, more than a year on it is so much better, almost 50% back which is amazing and maybe next year in the pool it will only be mu belly people can stare at!

At the time I was lost and felt very lonely in the feelings that I felt about my face, everyone always knew someone who had had it but there was no one I could talk to about it. At the time it would have been great to have been able to ask some questions to someone who had been through it, family and partners are great but there are only so many times that you can hear, “but it’s soo much better, I think it’s coming back” whilst you’ve just dribbled your way through another drink. At the time a survival list like the below would have been a lifesaver, I hope this may help anyone any of you may know who has to experience the ‘wonky face!’

– don’t panic you have not had a stroke
– take your steroids, and no you will not end up like popeye (unfortunately)
– when your doctor tells you that there is nothing you can do and that it’s just a matter of time, nod say thank you and go home. There are things you can do, ask to be referred to a physio Asap.
– when the doctors says it can take up to three weeks, don’t get down when 6 months later your still the same, everyone is different.
– buy straws, dribbling is not fun or clever
– buy dressing tape, eye patches do nothing for your ‘special time’
– take sunglasses with you everywhere, even in winter, you will look like a diva but squinting is just a pain in the arse!
– talk about how you feel to your nearest and dearest, don’t bottle anything up or you will explode in a teary and hysterical mess and your husband/wife/partner will think you’ve had a breakdown (sorry Dan)
– laugh. Laugh at yourself and your situation, remember it feels like you are quasi-modo but you could be worse.
– remember that it will get better over time, keep upto date with physio appointments and do your exercises
– use this as a perfect opportunity to get some facials!

And finally, smile. It maybe wonky but it’s yours, don’t feel shy or ashamed about your appearance, the experiences you go through make you who you are. For me 6 months ago I thought that was going to be a pirate, with my eyepatch and wonkyness, now I’m just Han with a slightly wonky face who winks if I eat on my right side, multitasking or what!

My face while ago, now and my target… (sorry the effect helps the now pic!!)

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feeling two faced

Say cheese quasi-modo style!

    

When I get a smile from my gorgeous daughter I can’t help but have a little giggle – the poor thing has a wonky smile and this is my fault.

Her rather lop-sided smile perfectly matches my own, this is not the result of my wicked sense of humor but is because I have a condition called Bells Palsy which recently paralysed the whole right side of my face.

In late May Dan and I had just got back from a fab weekend away in Devon, we walked, Dan surfed and we generally chilled out. The morning after our return I woke up and felt a strange tingling sensation down the right hand side of my face, I had been having pains behind my right ear all weekend and just brushed both things off as earache. It was only until I tried to brush my teeth that i realised that I couldn’t feel my face, also, the reflection staring back at me looked like I had had a stroke, my right hand side had dropped and my eye was unable to close. (to be fair my first thought was that i had slept funny!)

Being 7 months pregnant the thought that I had suffered a stroke was rather alarming, after a rushed trip to the Doctors and 10 hours in Nevill Hall hospital i was finally diagnosed with Bells Palsy. I was prescribed a course of strong steroids and told that the condition ‘should’ resolve itself at best in a few weeks to a couple of months!! The word ‘should’ was a little worrying, what if I stayed like this? I looked like quasi-modo! My eye would not close, my cheek and jaw had slumped, I couldn’t speak properly and sounded like I had drunk about 10 pints – the irony being that I couldn’t actually drink without dribbling! The worst feelings were that I couldn’t smile, when I tried I looked horrendous, I was all lop-sided and sneering and I couldn’t kiss my husband (the kissing was the worst part!).

At any other time in my life the collection of all of the above symptoms would have me hidden away at home embarrassed about my freak like appearance, however the realisation that what ever I did would potentially effect the health of my unborn baby really put things into perspective, my vanity had to take a back seat and life became about more than looks and peoples perceptions. I looked like quasi-modo and this could be a permanent thing, but as long as the baby was healthy then I figured i could put up with the dribbling, eye patch and slurred speech. I could be the weird mum in the corner of the playground – or become a real life pirate!

No-one really knows what causes Bells, people have said that in some cases it is caused by a viral infection which can be heightened in pregnancy, this paired with fatigue and stress causes paralysis in 1 in 5,000 people (man this made me feel special!)

Although the feeling has not returned 100% (as you can see in the mug shots) as soon as little miss S popped out the symptoms lessened and the feeling started to return – I can now close my eye and smile slightly but I still carry straws with me everywhere!

It’s funny what life throws things at you, I am a firm believer that you sink or swim – my way of coping with this was to keep my sense of humor, without it combined with the stress of being hugely pregnant it may have all got too much and could have effected mine or my babies health in more serious ways. I must say though, a sense of humor and a great family really will fix anything, and one evenings antics summed this up to a tee…

I thought I would romance my husband so I surprised him at the bedroom door, wearing superman pants, an eight month pregnancy bump, an eye patch and not much else – I never seen him laugh so much in all my life! Thanks Dan x