Twins – my life upside downs – this is it!

OMG – hold onto your hats people, I am going to, finally, get up to present day with this blog! I do have some things to tell you about before I quite get there though…

When the twins turned 1 we had a few ‘things’ happen that month (October 2016). Firstly Jessica reached a huge milestone and started walking! She was very shaky, as all small people are to begin with, but she did it and quickly got the hang of it (and loved it too!). Jack reached a huge milestone too and began to crawl! commando style to begin with but boy did he move – I remember one day being able to leave them in the front room to the next Jessica was off walking and Jack was in the kitchen before I could blink! This was a game changer for us, but we loved every minute of it. 9 days after their first birthday Jessica was booked in for her hernia operation. Yes, we still had that to get through! Richard and I took her for this procedure and we had to go to Brighton Hospital for it. This was because they were born there and her ‘after birth’ issues were all dealt with by Brighton. We had to get there for midday and because she was one of the youngest she would go down for her operation first. that day was just awful, so tense and hard, especially as she was nil by mouth and our Jessica does love her food! We took loads of food for her to have after she woke and some milk too. Richard took her down to the operating room and waited with her while they put her under – I was a nervous wreck waiting in the room for him and we decided to go and get some lunch, as the operation would take around an hour. It was probably the longest hour of both our lives and we waited anxiously in her room for the nurse to let us know she was out of theatre. When she came to get us we walked to the recovery room and all we could hear was poor little Jessica crying… broke my heart. We walked in and she held her hands out to me and I scooped her up, being careful to not squeeze her too hard as her tummy was bound to be sore. She didn’t stop crying for around an hour – if you have ever had an anesthetic you will know how awful it makes you feel, so it was quite understandable she was so upset. She wouldn’t eat or drink either and the nurse said that they needed to see her eat and drink before she could go home. After an hour of crying Jessica came round and had some food and a bit of milk – yah! The consultant who operated on her came to see her and explained that the hernia was a lot bigger than he anticipated and to expect that it will come back at some point in the future – he had left her belly button slightly baggy for her to grow into, so to not be too disappointed it wasn’t smaller. Two hours after being operated on we were back in the car and on our way home! My Mum was looking after Jack and was very pleased to see Jessica back home and looking so happy! That was that little hurdle out-of-the-way.

Jack was next to go back to hospital for an appointment, at 13 months old we went to see Dr Atkinson for his 12 month developmental check up. She was so pleased with his progress and we chatted about schooling and that she would make a referral to get Jack into the system to be reviewed and discuss his school – he was 13 months old! She also made a referral to Portage, an educational support service for pre-school children with learning disabilities. So all was moving in the right direction. Then Jack pulled a blinder… as we were leaving he waved goodbye to Dr Atkinson, I couldn’t have been prouder! We also went back to see Dr Avi, who was Jack’s medical pediatrician – he was so pleased with Jack’s progress and that he hadn’t had any major issues with his health and in particular his chest for ages. Dr Avi said he didn’t feel he needed to see Jack again but would keep his fast track passport available and review it in a years time. That gave me comfort we still had the ability to go to East Surrey Hospital and into CAU at any sign of an issue.

We had a few hospital day visits with Jack over the coming months, but it was winter and there were lots of coughs and colds flying around. He was dealing with them far better and Richard and I were better equipped to support him through them too. In fact Jessica had a worse cold than Jack for the first time!

In early 2017 Jack managed to pull himself up and has started to ‘sofa surf’ while Jessica was very confident on her feet and running around getting Jack everything he wanted! Jack’s crawling really came on and he was super fast! I was kept on my toes big time! At around 17 months Jessica started to talk! She had been signing with me for a while but now put words with the signs – I can’t believe how quickly these little people pick stuff up and how they develop so quickly, little sponges.

When the twins turned 19 months I turned 44 the same day (how the hell is that possible, I still think I am only 25!). And I also can’t believe how two years ago I was telling people I was pregnant and with twins!  I still can’t believe how far we have all come and not a day goes by when I don’t get choked up that Richard and I made these two amazing human beings!
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They are nearly 21 months now and fast approaching the big 2! Jack is walking, not everywhere just yet, but he is so nearly there and Jessica is a right chatterbox! I never really understood when people said enjoy the time they are tiny and babes in arms – it really does go so quick and they develop their personalities and develop themselves so, so quickly!
Now we are up to date my plan is to do a fortnightly/monthly blog and will use our Facebook & Instagram pages – Twins – my life upside downs – to post on! Please do follow us and huge thanks for all the likes, shares, comments and follows so far xxx
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Twins – my life upside downs – runners!

It has been a while since my last blog… we’ve been away on holiday! Went to Southwold in Suffolk for a week with the bestie and her family. We all had a great week away with great weather too. Now, back to my blog – I got up to the twins being 9 months old, so here is the next bit…

When the twins turned 10 months old we joined a charity that Richard found called PSDS – providing support for children with Down Syndrome and their families. I was a bit sceptical of joining as I had been to a few groups now and didn’t want to join something else where I was made to feel a bad mother (as I am by no means an earth mother type, not breast feeding, not cuddling them all the time – mainly because it is hard to cuddle two babies at once), but this group was different. We went along to our first meeting and I was imagining that it would be us all sat round in a circle discussing our babies, how wrong I was! It was very informal, the kids were running around playing with each other, there were grandparents, aunties and uncles, cousins and siblings all having a nice chat or playing. I spoke to a few ladies who approached me and they were ALL lovely. It was so nice to be in a room full of like minded people who happened to be in the same position as us. There were a few children around the same age as Jack and Jessica, so it was nice to be able to speak to families who we could ask what to expect next with Jack’s development – well of course no one could really say as all children develop at their own pace and just go with the flow! Richard and I decided this was a group for us and we joined up.

The following month was packed. I ran 10k to raise money for Down Syndrome Association and I wasn’t alone. About 6 months earlier I had a phone call from Callan (bestie’s little boy who was 8 at the time, brace yourselves this is a tear jerker). The call was at about 6.30-7.00 in the evening and he just called asking to speak to me. Anybody that has ever met Callan will tell you that he is a very gentle kind natured boy, as are his sisters Sidney and Carson. He simply said, ‘Manda, would you mind if we did a run to help raise money to help Jack and the charities that may give him and us support as he grows’. Understandably, I was in absolute floods of tears during the phone call, how thoughtful and kind of him?! One of of the things that we have learnt with Jack, and of course Jessica, is that kids of all ages do not seem to see disabilities and/or differences. Richard has always been very open about his personal incorrect misconception of how Jack may be accepted into society in terms of schools, sports teams and one day full time employment, as he develops as a human being and this is something that he is happy about as his fears are not in fact a reality. The amazing thing with kids are that kids see others kids as exactly what they are…kids.

The run was the run Reigate race and kids could run a mile and raise money. Alongside it was a 10k and a half marathon – given I had only just given birth I couldn’t possibly consider doing any more than a 10k, could I?! So I said that I would run too. Lisa (bestie) and Claire (my little sister) said they would run it with me and Dan (Lisa’s husband) entered the half marathon! Callan, Carson, Sidney, Lucas and Scarlett all entered the mile race and we put together a just giving page to raise money for Down Syndrome Association – we were known as team ‘Joggers for Jack!’ The day came and we had all done a lot of training to prepare for the run. It was a great atmosphere and we managed to get some t-shirts from DSA and printed off some signs saying who we were running for and a picture of Jack. Well, I think I cried most of the way round, every time Lisa or Claire ran in front of me and I saw little Jack’s face I welled up! We did the 10k in good time, 1 hour 12 mins and Dan completed the half marathon in an amazing 1 hour 32 mins! Then the kids all did their mile – I couldn’t have been prouder of them all. Before they started they all got in a circle and discussed their race tactics and agreed ‘we are doing this for Jack’ – I was gone again, I think I should officially get shares in a tissue company!

Bad mother alert! The following week I went off to Benidorm with the girls (Lisa, Claire, Chloe, Hels, Medders, Nat, Zoe and Fran) for a couple of nights. Oh My God… I was a broken woman on my return. I was a mother of 11 month old twins and living it up in Benners, drinking and not eating properly for 48 hours – bloody brilliant time! It was so good we all agreed it would be our annual girls weekend away. We’ve booked up for this year too, but thought we should go for three nights instead of two, I mean, we didn’t get to see all the cultural sites of Benners…

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You will notice that in this blog there was not one mention of a hospital visit! Jack was really well over this time and apart from the usual 6 weekly physio, we didn’t have to go to any other visits, doctors or hospital – YIPPEEEEEE! Will leave my blog here, as otherwise it gets far too long! Till the next time…

 

Twins – my life upside downs – Viva Las Clapping!

Now, where did I get you to? Ah, that was it, Jack had just had a little stint in hospital again…

The twins turned 7 months and Jessica started crawling. Well, that was a game changer – I couldn’t leave her alone anymore, she was off! I ended up blocking her in our front room with tables just so I knew she wasn’t going to go crawling round the kitchen (we’ve got a bit of an ‘open plan’ layout, which was great before children now it was proving a bit awkward!). Jack didn’t want to be left out so he decided he could sit up unaided – what a pair of little superstars! We also did something new too, we went on holiday with our friends, to Vegas baby! I was excited about going but also filled with dread at leaving our little ones. I knew they would be fine and wouldn’t even know we had gone, but I felt like I was letting them down. Saying that after a lot of deliberation and consultation with family and friends we went! We had booked this trip a year in advance thinking we would be fine leaving the babies, we didn’t even consider that we would have been in and out of hospital with Jack or that we would feel so bad about leaving them. I cried as we got in the car to go to the airport and when we picked up the Madden’s I had a little cry on Chloe’s shoulder and then again when we got on the plane! Alcohol helped to stop me crying and when we arrived in Vegas (which is one of my most favourite places to go to) I decided that I couldn’t sit around being sad, I needed to enjoy my time away being with my friends (Chloe & Dan, Helen & Neil, Zoe & Adam and Debs & Adam and most importantly my husband). Every day we would FaceTime home, just after they had dinner and were getting ready for bed (my Mum and Dad stayed at our house for 3 nights then Richard’s Mum came for the rest of the time), that made us feel better, seeing them happy and laughing at us – it was morning time for us in Vegas, so it set us up for the day nicely.  I’m sure lots of people judged us for leaving them and you may well be judging me now – but I have to say that the twins were fine, it was great for the grandparents to be able to look after them by themselves and it did Richard and I the world of good to have some ‘us’ time. We could be a couple again. We did however, vow that we would never leave them for so long again – it was way too hard on both of us. They on the other hand didn’t bat an eyelid! No problems sleeping, eating or with Jack being poorly. They just got on with it!

When we got back I had a letter confirming an appointment with the hospital, this time for Jessica! This was to check her bellybutton and see if she needed an operation. We had to go to Chichester hospital (a new hospital for us to visit – yippee!), this was because the twins were born in Brighton they came under that NHS Trust still and the specialist was based at Chichester. It was a novelty for me to leave Jack with my Mum whilst Jessica and I went off for an adventure together. As always seems to be the case the appointment was when Jessica would be due her lunch, so we took a little packed lunch for us both and ate it whilst we waited to be seen. The consultant was so lovely and really gentle with her. He took a sharp intake of breath when he saw how big her bellybutton was and after a little examination explained that she had a supra umbilical hernia – this is a hernia which sits just above the bellybutton. He went on to say that she would need it removed as it would cause her issues as she grew, but they wouldn’t operate on her till she was 12 months old (as it wasn’t an emergency). Oh joy! My little lady was going to get knocked out and cut open – couldn’t wait for it!

The next milestone for the little ones was their 9 month check-up aka ‘the test’. I may have mentioned before that the twins have a friend, Charlie, who is 3 weeks older than them so we were prepared with what this check-up would involve and Sarah (Charlie’s Mum had said that one milestone was if they could clap at this age). Well, I was desperate for this to happen. So I immediately started to sing, every moment I could, “wind the bobbin up” – I had the whole family singing it to them, jeeezz if they didn’t get this clapping lark then I was sacking them both as my children. The day of ‘the test’ arrived and neither of them had mastered bloody clapping! I thought of how I could distract the health visitor to focus that they were good at other things – Jessica can crawl and was ‘sofa surfing’ and Jack could sit up alone, surely thats better than clapping?! The health visitor started with Jessica first and she was very pleased with her progress, what she ate and drank and what she was doing. Then we came onto Jack, now, don’t know about you but I was expecting a slightly different gauge to be used for him as he has Down Syndrome but she said she needed to use the same form?! Now this form has three tiers on it, not doing very well, doing ok and average (they don’t use those words, but that is how I interpreted them), Jessica was ‘average’ and blow me down Jack was ‘doing ok’ – these little miracles of ours amaze me every day with how well they are doing. The health visitor was getting ready to leave and the best thing ever happened… Jessica clapped! I tried to contain my sheer joy and I am ashamed to admit, that I told a lie – I said that she’d been clapping for weeks now… You will all be judging me again now, I know it, but I couldn’t help it, it just slipped out and I couldn’t take it back. I do hope she’s not reading this blog, she may well come round to reassess them!?!

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Twins – my life upside downs – back again…

I sat down to write this blog thinking that I will be getting up to present time by the end. Sorry… I think there will be a few more ‘episodes’ before I get there, I forgot how much happened in their first year on this planet!

So, Jessica and Jack were 5 months old and Jack had just come out of his second stint in hospital. We fell back into our little daily routine quickly and they amazed me every day with how they were progressing. I think we all feel this as parents and can’t quite believe how much they do and how quickly they do it?! I was busy ironing one day (my most favourite of house-hold tasks, NOT!), Jack was having a little nap and Jessica was on the playmate gurgling away. Next thing I knew she had rolled over – huge smile on her face rather proud of what she had just managed to do. I couldn’t believe I had missed it! I promptly turned her over and refused to take my eyes off her till she did it again! I wondered how long it would take Jack to roll over… As I still do to this day, I don’t compare what they do when, even though they are a minute apart in age in my eyes it is wrong to assume they will do stuff at the same time. Firstly boys and girls are very different, as we have all no doubt witnessed, and secondly Jack has Down Syndrome, so he would no doubt be a bit delayed in his development. Well, bugger me but the very next day Jack was on the very same mat and only went and rolled over – I was so proud of them both! My babies were rolling! Yes, I cried, I couldn’t help it! It did however bring another challenge to light, night time rolling. I was so scared and hated it when they rolled in their sleep, could they breath properly, would something happen because they were on their front. I am not afraid to admit I would spend a lot of time flipping them back over during the night! Until one night (probably night 3) I stopped, I mean, what could actually happen? Lots of babies sleep on their fronts, don’t they? They both spend most of the night on their fronts now and I don’t worry a jot! I tell you, this new mum lark was hard on my nerves – I have even started to get a few grey hairs!

When they turned 6 months we had another little trip back to East Surrey. They both got a cold (bloody hate winter!) and Jack got it quite badly. We were out with friends one night and my sister was babysitting for us. Her two were at their Dads for the night so she stayed over. She was a little bit concerned about Jack’s breathing but he slept ok, so I wasn’t too concerned that night. In the morning though he seemed to get worse and it happened quite quickly. He was sat in his little bounce chair and his head was bobbing up and down where he was working so hard to breath. I rang 111 and they sent an ambulance round immediately. I was so scared. The paramedics were great, they checked Jack over and calmly told me that we should get him to hospital and they would take us. I packed a bag for Jack as fast as I could (having to squeeze in some food for him as well as a couple of bottles) and didn’t even think about stuff for me. Richard stayed at home with Jessica. We got settled into the ambulance (can’t believe it was his second time in one and he was only 6 months old!) this time they sat me on the stretcher with Jack on my lap. He had only gone and done a poo! I asked if I could change his nappy quickly before we left. The paramedic who was in the back with me said no, he was quite concerned about Jack’s breathing and said that he felt if we left it much longer we would have to ‘blue light’ him to hospital! Tears pricked my eyes, I could deal with the smell!

We got into the children’s A&E department and the paramedics helped me with Jack’s car seat and our bag. The nurse assessed Jack and said straight away she thought he had croup – she called her colleague over and he agreed so they gave Jack a dose of steroids to try to calm down his throat (croup is, in very basic terms, laryngitis). They expected that after an hour he would improve and we might be able to go home. Unfortunately that was not the case. Jack got worse! So they admitted him as couldn’t give him more steroids till 12 hours later. He had a nebuliser and that seemed to help him a bit and he was happy to have a bottle. They said not to give him food, just milk, so I did.

We got taken up to the child assessment unit and went up with another couple and their little boy. We are so lucky that Jack has had nothing more than breathing issues and a UTI – this little boy had recently had a heart operation and had now caught a cold, so he wasn’t breathing too good either. Oh my, what a worry that was for his parents, my heart went out to them. Once we were in a room in CAU the nurse took Jack’s obs and gave him an oxygen mask to help him. The Doctor came in and I showed her a rash that had developed on Jack’s arms and face – turned out to be all over his body. She wanted to take some blood from Jack to rule out anything sinister… To be able to do that they have to put a cannula in, and the last time they did that it was awful. This time wasn’t too great either. The doctor was faffing around putting the needle in and even the nurse helping was getting impatient with her! Jack was crying his little heart out and getting really agitated – I managed to hold it together and not hit the doctor (wouldn’t look good getting ejected from hospital when your son had just been admitted!), but she got the cannula in, eventually, and I managed to calm Jack down. Meanwhile they were sorting out a room for us on the ward and we got taken across to it and settled in. Jack with his arm all bandaged up, they kept the cannula in just in case they had to take more bloods or give him antibiotics. Now, I didn’t have anything for me, again! So I called my brother-in-law (Lisa wasn’t around to come in) and he came to my rescue with PJ’s (well, PJ bottoms and no top – my sister-in-law was away too so couldn’t supervise the packing of items required to sleep in!) and a McDonalds – I was starving and a big mac meal was just what I needed! Thank god our friends and family live close by to the hospital!

The next day Jack perked up a bit and was given more steroids to knock the croup on the head, it seemed to do the trick this time round, for a bit… The blood results came back and not only did Jack have croup he was suffering with flu and bronchiolitis too! Not over the top at all, eh?! Considering he had all of that he was doing really well – he had started to eat solids again and only had a very small dose of oxygen. They wanted him to be off the oxygen overnight before considering sending us home – we had been down this road when he was in before Christmas and the little pickle took quite a while to come off it. I was hoping he would find it easier this time round. And he did! What a super star – after 2 nights in we were discharged! Back to our little home and Jessica again – god I missed her and Richard so much when we were away from them.

Till the next time…

 

 

Twins – my life upside downs – East Surrey Hospital fast becoming our second home!

I can’t believe I am so close to getting you all up to present day with Team Grover’s life with twins. I have a few more bits to tell you about what happened in the first year of the Grover two’s lives, below is the first bit…

So, we were still in hospital with Jack and his swollen ‘bits’. We had been there for a night already, the next morning the doctors were doing their ward round and finally got to us. The doctor checked Jack over and asked if his swelling had reduced. I said that it had a bit, but not much. She then asked if I had a picture of what they were like at the height of the swelling – I mean, really, do people take pictures of their children’s privates? You don’t know who could get hold of it! In hindsight I wish I had, just to show how bad it was… Anyway, the doctor said she was sending round the UTI consultant to check Jack over. They had started him on a course of antibiotics too, they seemed to be helping him.

The UTI consultant came to see us, he wasn’t too happy with how Jack’s ‘bits’ looked and said he would organise for them to be scanned. This was to check that they weren’t twisted in anyway. He warned me that if they were Jack would have to have an emergency operation to correct it! Now, I am not one to worry about things until I need to but I have to admit, this did send me into a little bit of a spin… The scan was organised really quickly and we headed off down to the right department to get seen. I didn’t have a buggy with us so the lovely nurses got one for us to go in (Jack was getting rather heavy by now, so I didn’t fancy carrying him! And the nurses didn’t want me walking around with Jack). He looked all grown up in the buggy, my little 5 month old boy. We got to the right department and I felt rather weird that someone was scanning my son’s testicles, but it had to be done. I popped him on the table and took his nappy off ready for the scan – of course, as boys always seem to do, he peed just as the guy was about to put the scanner on him! How embarrassing! The scan was quick and he assured me that there was no twist in them – yah! I was so relieved, the thought of Jack going under the knife was not a nice thought at all! Now I didn’t need to worry and also proved to myself that I must not worry about anything until it happens from now on – such a waste of energy!

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We got back on the ward and the UTI man came back to see us – he wasn’t happy with Jack’s reaction to the antibiotics and he now wanted Jack to have a scan on his kidneys to confirm it hadn’t spread anywhere else. That would happen the next day, so for now we could settle back into our room and chill out. The time soon came for us to have the next scan and Richard came along to this one, thank god! We got back down to the right department and waited – this time there was no buggy free for us to use so Richard had to push me in a wheelchair holding Jack (if anyone knows him he is not the best driver of a car, let alone a wheelchair! We had some near misses going to the right department!). We got in the room and had to strip Jack again, this time the nappy stayed on. As they scanned Jack he burst into laugher, he is very ticklish! Now, as you will know if you’ve ever had to take antibiotics they play havoc with your tummy and make you poo quite a bit. Because Jack was laughing so hard he then farted, and followed through… the smell was immense and it started to seep through the nappy (of course, I hadn’t thought to bring nappies with us as we were only going for a quick scan, oh boy! And I had to carry him back to the ward! Another change of clothes for me!). The good news though, no spread of any infection to Jack’s kidneys! Yippeee!

I had asked Richard to bring Jack some sleep suits – what would you think I meant? PJ’s? Vest? Babygro? No, not my husband, he bought along a sleeping bag! With Jack poo’ing for England he was going through clothes fast and I was running out! We live 45 mins from East Surrey and Richard needed to get home to take Jessica off my sisters hands (she’s got two children of her own to sort out!). We managed to make do and get through the night, it so hot in hospital he slept in the sleeping back and a vest. The next morning he was still getting rid of this poo and we ran out of clothes! I had to make an emergency call to Chloe, who lives near Redhill and the only friend local who had a baby too, albeit Lola is 10 months older than Jack, Chloe had some bits I could use. Dan, her husband, dropped them down to the hospital for me (what life savers! And savers of Jack’s modesty!). I now know that my son looks good in whatever he wears, he rocks pink like a rock star!

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Luckily the ward round bought us good news that day. After 4 days and 3 nights in hospital Jack was discharged! Yipee! We could get home to Jessica and normality again. I find staying in hospital very draining, it was so good to get home! As the twins were now 5 months old I cracked on with weaning when we got home – they LOVED it! Within a few weeks we’d got into a great routine, using the Annabel Carmel book and timetable, and they both took to it well enjoying all the food I gave them. Audrey, Jack’s specialist Health Visitor, organised for a weaning expert to come and chat to me about how we were getting on and what to do next. She gave me some great advice and said to implement the next step routine when they were 6 months old. So the day they turned 6 months I started that routine and we’ve not looked back! Had a few issues with Jack choking, but he soon learnt to sort himself out and still does – good boy!

Richard and I were on a countdown to going away for a break with friends, in May 2016, to VEGAS BABY! And I was now starting to get a bit nervous, what if Jack was ill whilst we were away, how would I feel leaving them for more than one night, would our parents cope, the list went on… We had a few more hospital visits before we went away, will tell you those tales in the next blog! Life with my little ones was certainly filled with lots of fun, laughter, love and some challenges to boot!

Twins – my life upside downs – a tour of Southern Hospitals…

Before I begin I must tell you that being a mother of twins has ruined my memory (which was pretty poor to begin with!). Also, the constant appointments, hospital visits, made my brain go crazy too – we were in and out that much I was on first name terms with a lot of the staff (well, actually Jack was and still is – i am just known as Mum). So that explains why I forgot to mention about our visit to Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, back in December 2015 (in between Jack’s stays in hospital), which was to ‘sign off’ the twins from Brighton Special Baby Care Unit care. This is what happened and what followed for us and our appointments – I am now very well versed in medical terminology!

My Mum came with me to the appointment, it was a horrible day, wet, windy and cold. We arrived at the hospital and bundled the babies into the buggy – bear in mind that Jack had only just come out of hospital, so I was fretting that the cold weather would get to his chest. We waited patiently for our appointment with the consultant and, as is standard when you go to any appointment, the twins had to be weighed and measured before we got seen. It was soon our turn and we trotted into the consultants room. He asked how they were doing and we started with Jack, I let him know about his recent stay in hospital and he checked Jack over for me confirming that he still sounded chesty but seemed ok. He gave him the all clear to be discharged from Brighton’s care – yippee! Then we came to little Jessica – he was happy with her weight and how she was feeding. I then expressed my concern about her belly button – it was huge! (see pic). He immediately dismissed my worries stating that, “a lot of babies have that”, insinuating I was being a paranoid mother!  He took her clothes off to examine her and gasped “oh, you are right, it is rather large!”. He wanted to talk to his colleagues about it before deciding if Jessica would need an operation to remove it. It didn’t seem to bother her and you could push it back in (I couldn’t do it as it mad me feel sick!), so I was happy that we would need to wait and see what they wanted to do. Although the thought of her going under the knife was not a very pleasant one, I can tell you!

Jack’s next appointment was for his full heart scan, which was in early March. This had to be done at Brighton Hospital, because that was where he was born. Bit of a pain for me as it isn’t the easiest of hospitals to get around. I left Jessica with my Mum again, as the appointment was at the same time as they would be due a feed and the thought of having to juggle that with them both was not a happy one! We got to the hospital early as Richard had warned me how hard it is to park at that hospital. Just as well we did – we had to queue to get into the car park, for 45 minutes! Jack was starting to get hungry and I was starting to panic that we would miss our appointment and that he would really start to kick off! I asked the attendant if there was anything he could do to get us into the car park as my little man needed his bottle – his response was “just feed him in the front seat and move the car when the line moves” – I really don’t get some people and their thought processes! Needless to say I did not take his advice! We did make the appointment in time and I managed to feed Jack half his bottle before we were seen. The heart scan went well, as I expected as I had managed to get the heart specialist at East Surrey to check for me. I shared that information with the consultant who informed me that each NHS trust will not share patient information! Seems to me that if they did then that would have saved us having to go to Brighton and saved the NHS a bit of cash too?! But the good news was that Jack has no heart problems and will not need another scan until he reaches the age of 3! Another big win for the Grover’s!

We got through the next few weeks appointment free. Then it was Mother’s Day – my very first one, a day that I had only dreamt of in the past and finally I was a Mum! Richard was away on a stag do in Tenerife so the twins and I went and stayed at my Mum’s. My sister and her two kids came too. We had a lovely evening on the Saturday and I was looking forward to waking up on Mother’s Day to cuddles with my small people. The day did not go well… Jack had a high temperature that morning and was not interested in having his milk – a sure sign that something was a miss. I checked his breathing and that was fine, it was something else. I gave him calpol and his temperature went down but then came up again. I changed his nappy and to my dismay found that his testicles were quite large and red – you know that angry looking red when something is infected. I rang 111 and was given and appointment to take him to Worthing hospital – as that is the nearest hospital to my Mum’s. A new hospital to visit, oh joy! The doctor listened to Jack’s chest, as that was my worry, and that was fine. I told him about his ‘bits’ being red and swollen – he had a look and said he wasn’t sure why they were like that. If they were still the same the next day, take him to my doctor! Richard wasn’t due home till late on the Monday, so I didn’t bother him with this as there wasn’t much to tell him and I didn’t want him to worry about it when he was meant to be having fun. My Mum (who is an angel) came home with me to stay the night, in case Jack got worse and I had to take him to hospital, so she would be there to look after Jessica.

The next morning I changed Jack’s nappy and they were even more swollen, poor little man. So as soon as I could I rang the doctors and we went to see Dr Rapheal – as soon as he looked at them he rang the Child Assessment Unit at East Surrey and we were off there again (my familiar place where the nurses love Jack). I packed a bag for Jack, just in case we had to stay in overnight, and off we went. Karen greeted us at CAU and we got settled into a room. She took Jack’s obs and his temperature was still high, so we gave him more calpol. She also needed to take a wee sample. Well, that was a funny experience! She came in with a little bottle and we took his nappy off and waited. Luckily Jack was in a helpful mood and he pee’d and it went straight into the bottle – I was very impressed with Karen’s pee catching skills! Jack was diagnosed as having a UTI (urinary tract infection) and we were going to be admitted overnight. Balls and nuts! And, I had packed stuff for Jack but had forgotten my things! So I rang Lisa and Eve (Richard’s Mum) to let them know we were in hospital again and they came to see us. Lisa bought me some overnight supplies, thankfully! After they left Jack did the biggest poo EVER, I mean EVER. I am sure no other baby has poo’d like it! I was mid changing him and boom! He exploded again, all over me! I was covered in yellow, stinky poo! I couldn’t stop laughing. I rang the nurse bell and Karen shot in and then she couldn’t stop laughing too! She attempted to help me and he did it again, getting Karen this time round! How was there so much of the stuff!? I had no other clothes to wear so Karen had to get me a set of scrubs to wear! As we were going to be in overnight I thought that maybe I should now tell Richard about it! Also, I knew he would be coming home late and I didn’t want him getting into bed with my Mum! Of course I couldn’t get hold of him – his battery was dead! So I had to message a few of the other wives of the lads who were away and get some numbers I could ring. Luckily one of them answered so I could fill Richard in. He turned up on the ward that night at around midnight to see us and give me a big hug. I needed it, Jack had to have a canular fitted. Firstly to take blood from him to check the severity of the UTI and also so that they could give him antibiotics to start to get him better. It was awful. He got so upset about it and I then was in tears (trying my best not to be upset so I didn’t make him worse) it was awful. I soon calmed him down after they had finished, but the doctor took so long doing it I nearly gave her a bloody canular to see how it feels! There’s more to tell about this hospital stay, but this blog has gone on waaayyy too long now, so will fill you in on the next one!

 

Twins – my life upside downs – life after hospital

Well, I say ‘life after hospital’…

We had a lovely first Christmas as a family of four. I really wanted us to be at home on Christmas day, so we had my parents, my sister and her two children and Richard’s mum over for the day – in hindsight it was a bit much with two little babies too! But we had fun and the two Nanny’s got stuck in with feeding and changing nappies – one of the many positives of having twins means that both Nanny’s get to have cuddles, feed and do nappies at the same time! Richard cooked up a brilliant Christmas dinner and we had, compared to previous years, a rather sober Christmas! New Years we hosted again and had my sister and her two children round, along with the bestie and her gang – we had a right laugh and again had more than enough help with feeding and nappies!

Going into 2016 we had a big appointment for Jack to go to. His first developmental assessment with Dr Atkinson, his paediatric consultant. The four of us turned up at Crawley hospital with plenty of time to go till the appointment – a rare occasion for me, especially now I am a mother of twins (my constant excuse for anything I struggle to do!). We trotted into the appointment and there was a panel of people to see us… occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech & language therapist and Dr Atkinson. In my usual nervous style I immediately commented that I felt like we were auditioning for X Factor, I was met with the panel giving me false laughs (I thought it was quite funny!).

Dr Atkinson introduced everyone and the part they would potentially play in Jack’s development as he grew. It seemed very strange to be talking about his speech, going to nursery and school when he was 10 weeks old – but it was just the start of all and some of the support would kick in till he went to school. Dr Atkinson did a general check of Jack’s health and we filled her in on his recent stay in hospital. She was happy that his chest and breathing seemed clear that day – I was forever worrying about it now, checking his breathing rate daily (well, probably more like hourly on some days!). I showed them our feeding book – I am sure I told you about my obsession with how much they fed and if they had poo’d or not – well the book was still in use! Dr Atkinson was highly impressed with it and agreed it was a good idea to keep a record, as we were constantly asked how much Jack was feeding so at least I could look organised in some aspect of my life! They explained that Jack would have a hearing test, eye test, he had a specialist health visitor assigned to him (the lovely Audrey), be referred to have regular physio sessions and would see Dr Atkinson on a 6 monthly basis. Few dates for our diaries! There wasn’t much else to say at this stage, as you can imagine. We were both really impressed with how the NHS were so on top on ensuring Jack has the best start possible.

The twins had their first swimming lesson in January too – busy old month eh? My Mum came along and went in with Jack, whilst I took Jessica. Charlie (the twins friend) joined too and we had such a great time splashing around in the pool. This was the start of weekly lessons, which continued until I went back to work.

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In January the twins had another first, their first overnight stay away from us. It was Richard’s birthday and Lisa (bestie) had suggested we have a night away and the twins could stay at hers. I was of course nervous about leaving them but knew they were in safe hands. The amount of stuff required for them to have a night away was ridiculous – two travel cots, steriliser, bottles, bedding, spare clothes, nappies, wipes, Jack’s nose drops (he had and still has to have saline nose drops to help clear his snot. Jack has a very small nasal passage and combined with not being able to blow his nose needs help getting the snot moving) and of course our trusty book! After dropping the little ones off we headed to Bills in Reigate for lunch – I had a big glass of wine and started to relax. Lisa text me pictures of the twins having fun and I soon got into the swing of only having to think about myself! Richard had a massage and I had my nails done, then we chilled out in our hotel room – I did feel a bit lost, but made the most of it by drinking more wine! Best thing we ever did! Really made me realise that the babies would be ok without me and that it was good for Richard and I to have some quality time together. Thanks Lisa, Dan, Sid, Cal & Cars xxxxx

We had more hospital appointments booked in for February, Jack had to go for a full heart scan and the twins had to go to get checked over to be signed off from Brighton Hospital baby care unit. Will tell you more about those events (yes, there are more dramas to come) in my next blog!