Tuesday, 22 April 2014

8 month update

Martha Grace is now 8 months old. I wasn't planning on posting anything this Easter Holidays, but there has been such a change in Martha Grace recently that I want to write it all down before I forget, after all - that is the reason why I blog.

Mam warned me after Martha caught the tummy bug in March that when I was little, whenever I was sick with Gastro - I'd have a growth spurt. It's not that I didn't believe her, but Martha was so small I couldn't image her getting bigger. To be honest as she is my last baby I don't want her to get bigger.

If you follow me on any of my social media accounts then on Sunday you would have seen a photo I posted of Martha trying to turn over while she was lying on the floor. This is a really massive deal for us, that Martha has the physical strength to manage it and that she has the instinct to try in the first place.

We've also noticed recently that Martha Grace has found her voice, her baby babbling is most certainly becoming louder. There's lots of "Mamamamamam" and "Dadadadadada" sounds too, but were a while off hearing her actually saying "Mam" or "Dad". 

As much as I try to make Martha laugh - the only person to get a real belly laugh from her is her Big Sister, Isabella Nicole. I pull all kinds of funny faces and make silly faces and she might smile at me; Isabella just needs to stand next to her and she's in fits of giggles - it's amazing to watch them together. I love how gentle Isabella is with Martha but at the same time Martha will be pulling Isabella's hair but Isabella just laughs.

We've bought new teats for her bottle too, up until last week we were still using the first size so we upgraded to the 6months+ ones. Martha is now able to drink more from her bottle and today we haven't needed to give her any through her NG tube. She's been drinking between 125ml-150ml all by herself which is a huge achievement for us.

Our Health Visitor came for Martha's weekly weigh-in today. I wasn't expecting her as I thought she was coming on Thursday so I didn't have time to get myself worked up about any weight gain. We popped Martha on the scales and today she weighed 5.80Kg - which is a weight gain of 110g from the 5.69Kg she weighed last Tuesday. I then asked that Martha be measured because she's only just started wearing 3-6months clothes, but when I put her in a 6-9months baby grow last night - she filled it!!! 

When we left Great Ormond Street in January Martha Grace was 60cm long.
When I took Martha Grace to Ysbyty Gwynedd 3 weeks ago she was 62cm long
Today she was 67cm long.

I'm taking all these little things as positive signs that she's doing ok. But at the back of my mind I have a nagging feeling about Martha Grace's cardiac review appointment at Great Ormond Street on Monday. I remember feeling optimistic back in December that Martha was doing well...only for a consultant to come see me late on a Friday evening to warn me that Martha needed further surgery.

But until Monday - I'm going to he happy with how our brave Baby Girl is doing at 8 months old.


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

On this day 16.04.2013

"I'm sorry, there's a problem with your Baby!" 

I can remember the exact way her voice sounded as she shot up off her chair and ran out of the room. I remember feeling as though a ton of bricks was landing on my chest knocking the wind out of me.

It was our 20 week scan with our last baby. I'd felt the baby kick for a few days prior to the scan, so in my head she was alive so she had to be OK. As we drove to the hospital that morning we had chatted about girls vs boys and which bedroom the baby would sleep in at the new house.

It was the feet we found first so we found ourselves working our way up the body, she measured the thigh bone and then we asked if she could tell whether we were having a girl or a boy... She was a girl.

We made our way up the rest of her body, her spine, her face, her skull and finally...her heart.

The sonographer told us the baby was in an awkward position so she was going to ask a more experienced colleague to get the image of the heart. But she struggled too. They offered to send us home with an appointment to return in two weeks time when hopefully the baby would be in a better position - or go for a 20 minute walk to see if she would have moved around. 

We debated for a couple of minutes - we both had to be in work that afternoon; but better to get it all done that day than have to come back and need more time off work.

While we waited we made the calls to each Mother, told them that we were having another pink one but the scan wasn't finished just yet.

There was a different sonographer waiting for us when we got back, two of them had a go at getting this "image" before she stood up out of her chair and delivered the blow...there was a problem with our Baby's heart.

I remember trying to talk but my throat was dry and all I could do was burst in to tears. What the hell was going on. They asked us to come to the A.N.D.U and wait for them to make the referral calls to The Women's Hospital in Liverpool. I remember calling my dad (who works at the Hospital) and asking him to come meet us. I remember calling my Mam and asking her to call Gavin's Doctor in London.

The equipment at Ysbyty Gwynedd didn't give the most detailed picture of her tiny heart, all they could tell us was that they could see something going in to her heart but they couldn't see it coming out.

I felt like I was having an outer body experience like I was just watching this happen to someone else. I couldn't stop myself crying. When we were leaving the hospital I walked as fast as I could to get away from the place but Mark called me back; when I turned around I saw that he was crying too. We stood in the corridor for a few minutes just crying with each other. But once we got through the exit I suddenly realised we hadn't had the picture from the scan, so we ran back in to ask them for it.
It broke my heart to see it. The side profile of her face looked so perfect - how could she have a Heart problem. What did I do wrong? I didn't smoke, I hadn't touched alcohol since November, I hadn't eaten Pate or shellfish or Brie...

The hardest part was not knowing what the problem was, how serious this really was. At this point I didn't have any idea how the Fetal or Human Heart worked. I remember telling myself that it couldn't be that bad or she wouldn't have grown and developed like she had. Surely her Heart was pumping blood around her body properly or she wouldn't be alive at 20 weeks in to the pregnancy. Little did I know then of the PDA between the Aorta and Pulmonary Artery that all babies have in the womb but closes shortly after birth.

For the rest of that day all we could do was wait for a call from Liverpool with a date for a Fetal ECHO.

Martha Grace at 20 weeks

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Just Giving

As some of you probably know, we were lucky enough to have a room at The Sick Children's Trust House on Guilford Street while Martha Grace was in Great Ormond Street. We were there for just over two weeks after she was born, but second time around we were there for 10 weeks.

It was nice to have a room which was ours, a tiny shred of privacy which was warm with a comfortable bed, a proper duvet and pillow to sleep on each night. It was a relief to have somewhere to wash and dry our clothes rather than having to traipse around London trying to find a Laundrette. 

A Friend of ours, Steven Owen has very kindly volunteered himself to run the Chester Half Marathon in support of The Sick Children's Trust - the Marathon takes place on the 18th May. We would really be grateful if you could sponsor him. 

Mark's colleagues very kindly raised and donated an amazing £1000.00 on Children in Need day...it would be absolutely amazing if we could match - better still beat smash that total.

Please visit our Just Giving page and donate however much you can spare, we really appreciate anything you can give. 

Thank you all so much.

Mark, Gemma, Martha Grace...and Steve

Sunday, 13 April 2014

12 week jabs

Only 21 weeks late but Martha Grace finally had her 12 week jabs on Friday afternoon. I didn't worry about jabs with Osh & Isabella; even though other parents would warn me that they might become irritable for a few days after having them...mine weren't. I'd dose them up on Calpol straight away and then we'd go shopping.

So I wasn't worried about Martha being cranky after her jabs - being cranky was the least of my worries. Her Cardiologist recommended that she should be immunised just like any other baby so I know she was safe to have them; but if she were to become really ill after her jabs I'd always blame myself. *Touch wood* so far she's been grand.

I made my Nain take her in; I can sit next to Martha with her chest wide open and watch blood drip through her chest drains...but I can not sit with her when she's having a new NG tube or injections. I sat outside in the waiting room until I could hear Martha crying - I knew they must have been done so I went in for cuddles and to get her dressed. I strapped her up in her car seat and took her home for Calpol; she was in a great mood for the rest of the afternoon.

We gave her some more Calpol at 8pm that night aswell just in case she spiked a temperature. She drank her bottle as usual, slept through the night, was in great spirits - you never would have thought she'd just had her jabs.
More of the same in 4 weeks time for your 16 week jabs please Martha Grace.

PS. If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen these photos already!!!

Smiles for her big sister Isabella

Monday, 7 April 2014

Our trip to Legoland Windsor

After the year he's just had, Osh deserved a treat more than anyone. He has been mad about Lego for as long as I can remember. Over the years he's asked a few times if one day we'll take him to Legoland...a few weeks ago I finally booked a weekend away for the kids.

From the start the decision was made that Martha Grace would stay with my parents, it would be too much work to bring all her things and one of us would have to stay with Martha while the other went on a ride with Isabella and Osh went by himself!

I'm not going to bore you with the nightmare journey there and back, or what the Hotel was like (Hilton, Bracknall - just in case you were wondering) - I'll just post some of our pics for you lovelies to enjoy.