Welcome back to My Mountain. I love this series so much because I just think it’s so important to be honest and upfront with each other when it comes to parenting difficulties. Today we have Polly from Blogger By The Sea sharing her story…
‘So, do you think you’ll have any?’ friends would ask, when news of the latest birth was announced. Siblings inquired too, though would-be grandparents kept shtum – too much riding on the response for them, I guess. Not asking the question kept their hopes alive – just.
We had, more or less, decided not to have any children, mainly because of my health. Then I hit thirty-nine and now-or-never beckoned. Let’s just see what happens, we said, agreeing not to use contraception but equally, not to time things, either. Let what would be, be.
My very next period was late, but I’d never been that regular. I was sure that I remembered being about ten days late once or twice before. I was two whole weeks late when I did a test, which screamed ‘positive’ practically at the very moment my wee hit the stick.
It may sound strange, perhaps I’m alone in this, but I still find it hard to believe that test result now, even though I have a beautiful, clever – and cheeky – little girl as proof positive. I’d had various treatment for chronic back pain over the preceding years, including major surgery. Twice. I think I just couldn’t believe that I could fall pregnant that easily; especially at nearly forty.
I saw various doctors, nurses and midwives throughout the nine months – more than most because I was deemed ‘high-risk’. ‘You’re going to have problems,’ said one of the first, in the early stages. ‘I know,’ I concurred, through gritted teeth, ‘I’m expecting that’. It was exactly why I’d left it so late to conceive.
They were wrong. I sailed through the pregnancy, with less back pain than usual, if anything. We had a hard time choosing whether to go for an elective caesarean, or to put our trust in Mother Nature, though. In the end – although he sat on the fence like the rest of the medics – the anaesthetist we met said ‘an elective caesarean was far better than an emergency one’ and that sealed the deal for us.
On the day of the planned birth, I was last on the surgeon’s list. It was an anxious wait; because we were waiting to meet our baby, of course, but also because I might need to have a general anaesthetic. They weren’t sure if an epidural would work on me, given the amount of scar tissue in my lower back. Thus, we didn’t know if either us would be present when our daughter was born – me because I might be out cold, and my husband because he wouldn’t be permitted in theatre if the procedure was done under GA.
The epidural worked. Our small daughter came into the world with a brief tug at my tummy and a hearty cry, reassuring me instantly that all was well. It didn’t all go smoothly thereafter – we had some feeding problems and had to stay in hospital for a few more days – but once we agreed to resort to bottle feeding all went well and we could take her home.
She was easy to look after at first, as she was so light. Even bottle feeding caused me extra pain, but my husband did his share to lighten the load. He was around to do most of the lifting, twisting and bending that go with putting a baby in and out of a buggy, car seat or cot. No real problems there, but as in day-to-day life, it’s often the things people don’t think of that cause me more pain. The extra washing, cleaning and so on meant that I had less rest time and my back was under stress for more of the time. I overdid it – by which I mean that I did far more than my moody back was happy with.
I was getting more and more pain, and therefore, less mobility. I had physiotherapy, I saw a consultant, I had an MRI scan. Nothing had changed, I was told, I was overdoing it and just needed to rest more. Ironically, people started asking if, or even when, we were having another child. We just smiled and said we were perfectly content with one, thank you very much.
Now our gorgeous daughter is four – she’ll start school next September. I love her so much and would lay down my life for her in an instant, but if I’m honest, I cannot wait. A good time to be thinking about another one, the other parents say. There’s no way I can do all this again, I think to myself and say to my husband – who heartily agrees, incidentally. (He health issues of his own but that’s another story).
I’m so glad I have a child, that I’m a mum, but one is plenty for us. I’m getting by, but things will be easier when Missy is at school, I’m sure of it. My back is happiest when I’m either cycling or lying down and I’ll have more time to do both. I’ll have more opportunity to ‘pace myself’ as per the doctors’ advice. Well rested and in less pain, I’ll be better placed to enjoy the precious time that I spend with my darling daughter.
Polly Taylor lives on the sunny South Coast of England with her husband, young daughter, and their ageing cat. Northumbrian by birth, she was brought up close to the countryside, and miles of stunning coastline. She has lived in Manchester, Liverpool and London and spent a year in Australia. She has been a student, barmaid, shop assistant, backpacker, office temp, fruit picker, travel agent, carer and full-time mum. So she’s had years of experience in making a little – time and money – go a long way.
She started her blog only last month because she enjoys reading other blogs and loves writing about food, travel, music, family, money and lifestyle. Her philosophy is simple – you only have so much money, so spend it well. The same applies to life. The more money and time you can save, the more you have to spend on more exciting things. It really is as easy as that. She would love it if you would visit her blog, and follow her on social media. Lots of new, exciting posts are in the pipeline…
Do you have a parenting struggle or challenge you’d like to write about? If you’re interested in contributing to the My Mountain series please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.