Twins – my life upside downs – what could have been…

My social media feeds (god I sound like a social media queen eh?!) are filled with pictures of gorgeous children, either going back to school, starting ‘big school’, starting school for the very first time or starting pre-school/nursery. It is so lovely to see all the kids growing up and moving on to new chapters in their lives – little do they know how quickly it all goes and that they should make the most of every day. Instead, like I was at school, they will be wishing the days and years away until they can be classed as adults! And, as we all know, thats nowhere near as much fun as being at school with all your mates!

Now I know what I am going to say is not really talked about and I by no means mean any offence or upset to anyone – but I am sure I am not alone in how I am feeling and if by writing this down it helps someone who reads it then thats a win for me! I started this blog to share my experience and how I became a mum to my two little miracles and I wanted to make sure I shared all of what happened. It wasn’t an easy ride and along the way I lost a baby. The baby died inside me – because I was taking progesterone to trick my body into thinking I was pregnant (as this pregnancy was following my first round of IVF) I didn’t miscarry it. I was given the option to stop the drugs and let the baby ‘bleed’ out but I couldn’t bear the thought of doing that, so I had an operation to remove it. Seeing all these school pictures did make me realise that the little one I lost would have been starting school this year and I have to admit it made me feel a bit sad. I know that my little one was only 9 weeks inside me, but I don’t think that should mean that I shouldn’t feel sad that he/she didn’t make it into this world or that I won’t see him/her starting school, does it? Don’t get me wrong, I am not crying or getting really upset at seeing pictures or feeling envious or anything like that, it just made me feel a bit sad. And, I am definitely one of the lucky people in this world – I have my rainbow twins, who bring me lots of joy, happiness, laughter and, I will admit, frustration. Would they be here if I my first baby had survived, I just don’t know – what I do know is that they are here and I am very grateful for the both of them. And when they come to go to pre-school and school, I too will be posting pictures of them, very proudly.

I know some people will question why I think I am lucky, I have one child who is not considered perfect in this world as he has Down Syndrome – but believe you me, I am the luckiest person I know. Jessica and Jack are amazing small people and Jack, although will bring different challenges for us as a family, is doing just great! So, yes, I am very lucky!

I wrote this blog as I just wanted to let anyone else who is feeling a bit low or a lot low about their little one not being here – it is ok to feel like that, it is ok to talk about it and it is ok to pick yourself up and carry on. And if you have not had your rainbow baby/s yet – I am sending you all the positive vibes I can that it happens very soon for you.

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Twins – my life upside downs – more ice cream?

 

We’ve had a busy few weeks, full of seeing friends, play dates, soft play, Jack and I having a haircut (check out my handsome boy in the pic below) and ice creams (lots of ice creams!). I have been trying my hardest to get fit for the upcoming Run Reigate 10K, eating lots of ice creams hasn’t really helped! Two weeks on Sunday team Joggers for Jack will be doing our best on the various distances we are running. I just hope I can beat my time from last year… Some of the other stuff we’ve had to do are below.

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We think that Jack has started to say a few words now, Dada, bye, dink (drink) and bisc (biscuit), which is brilliant! I say we think, as we are not 100% sure that is what he is saying. My Mum is convinced he is saying these words too, so at least it is not just us wishing it to be that he is. He has also started to sign a few words in Makaton too – more and thank you being his favoured ones. We need to harness this start of communication with him as this will make life better for all of us and he will be able to play better with Jessica and his little friends. He is still in his destructive phase and it is hard to get him to understand he shouldn’t throw every toy he picks up! Even Jessica has started to tell him “no throwing, Jack!” – he still chooses to not hear or understand us! Tell him his dinner is ready or ask if he wants a biscuit and he responds, rapidly! But anything we say that resembles a “no, Jack” he conveniently doesn’t get it. He starts Digbies (speech & language therapy, occupational therapy and social skills – provided by PSDS, the charity we belong to and the one that team Joggers for Jack are raising money for), in a few weeks and next week will be the start of Portage support too, so hopefully we can start to work with him on his communication and listening skills! I guess that although we have done quite a bit of research n what needs to be done, it is always better when someone shows and demonstrates exactly the things that we can do to help him. If he’s anything like his sister he will be impossible to keep quiet once he gets going! Will keep you posted on his progress…

One day after writing the above and Jack has decided that he won’t throw toys anymore but brings them to me one by one! This certainly progress but Jack, do you have to bring me EVERY toy and book that you have?!?! I just hope I am not jinxing this development by putting it in writing to you all!

We had a minor set back last night (Wednesday 30th August). After a long stint of Jack being well he had to be whisked to hospital – he was fast asleep and started to choke and couldn’t catch his breath. We scooped him up and he was breathing but it was clearly hard work for him. It was almost like he was winded in some way. He then let out this barking cough and it sounded very much like croup to us – that barking sound and when he took a deep breath it sounded very ‘raw’. I rang the child assessment unit at East Surrey, as Jack has a passport which means we can go straight to them rather than through the doctor or A&E. Unfortunately they were closing for the night and said they couldn’t admit him but to take him to A&E to be checked – given his history of croup, bronchiolitis and general breathing issues they wanted to see him sooner rather than later. Richard took him whilst I stayed at home with a sleeping Jessica. He was given steroids and they had to wait to see how he reacted before they could let him come home. He reacted well and my boys came home in the early hours of this morning, with another dose of steriods for Jack to have. What Richard didn’t tell me, ’til this morning, was that the doctor thought Jacks heart beat sounded irregular. As a result they put the ECG machine on him, the reading didn’t pick up well so they had to repeat it, luckily all was ok! Jack isn’t due another full heart scan until he turns 3, I am relieved nothing further will happen until then with regard to his heart! Richard said that he didn’t tell me as at the time, it was just a routine check and that therefore there was nothing to worry about. I guess it’s the same for all Mothers out there in that you just know when something is not right and I’m glad that we took the decision that we did and just take him into A&E to get checked out. Richard kept me in regular contact via text whilst at the hospital. I am just glad we have the passport and access to CAU and that they give us the support we need. Thanks to the team at ESH!

We have the dreaded 2 year check coming up soon – I am prepping Jessica as on this one she has to be able to jump. God, she’s a nightmare and I am not sure she will be able to do it! But… she can sing a fair few nursery rhymes now, thanks to my Mum, we regually wake up to her rendition of “how much is that doggy” or “I’m a little teapot”! Surely that will make up for the no jumping situation?!

I had a medical appointment this week, the dreaded smear test… Now, I know how important these are, around 10 years ago I had a few dodgy test results which ended up in me having two separate colposcopy procedures. This is when the ‘bad’ cells are burnt off from your cervix – believe me it is not pleasant and I ended up getting an infection after one procedure. I tell you, I think all my medical issues have been due to ‘women’s things’. But, if I hadn’t of had my smear tests I wouldn’t have known that I had those bad cells to be removed and it could have ended up far worse than having a minor procedure – make sure you are up to date on your smears, ladies! Now,  you would think that me having a smear test would be a walk in the park after all the internal scans whilst having IVF, but oh no, it is not! My cervix is slightly off centre and it takes a bit of wiggling of the contraption they use to open up your cervix to get some of the cells they need to complete the test. For any guys reading this, I can assure you that this ‘contraption’ is like some kind of torture tool from the medieval times. It bloody hurts and is not helped by the fact I get myself so wound up before and during it! Oh well, fingers and toes crossed I will get a good result and won’t have to go through that for another 3 years!

Benners (Benidorm) is fast approaching (annual trip away with the girls) where we have 3 whole nights and 3 whole days of drinking, laughter and more drinking! Richard is off work for the time that I am away and will be in charge of the kids. I’m sure he’ll be fine as he’s done it all before although I would be surprised if he stays at his Mum’s one night, just to help ease the burden. I will obviously miss them while I’m away but its nothing that a little bit of FaceTime can’t sort.

The masses of ice creams over the past few weeks and having carried twins in my body, albeit two years ago now, have put pay to me ever being in a bikini again – I am just lucky the girls don’t judge my big belly! Bring.It.On!

Last years Benners group photo!

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Twins my life upside downs – 26 weeks…

I love the Facebook memories when they come up, this morning I felt I needed to share one with you.

This time two years ago I had turned 26 weeks pregnant. I had been for a scan at East Surrey Hospital that week too (one of many I had). It was the first time meeting Dr Gandi, the Fetal Medical expert at the hospital, my Mum had come with me for this appointment (we kept rotating it between everyone, so I didn’t have to go alone and other people got to see the small ones). We didn’t really get on at first, she was busy and struggling to get her computer to work and I was uncomfortable and found lying on the couch waiting for her to scan me hard work – yes, just lying down was hard work!

Dr Gandi looked at my pink notes (the booklet you get when you are pregnant, that you are meant to take everywhere with you!), she asked me to tell her about the twins and in particular she wanted to know about twin 2 and the 1 in 8 chance  he would have Down Syndrome. I went through everything with her – she asked if I was ‘happy to continue’ with the pregnancy. Of course I was and I was going to get to 37 weeks too – was my response. She then scanned my every growing tummy. Starting with twin 1 (Jessica), all ok and she was growing nicely and had a good heartbeat. Now onto twin 2 (Jack), this took a bit longer and she was measuring lots of different angles, something I hadn’t seen before now (I was basically a sonographer at this point, with all the scans I had!). Dr Gandi then shared with me her findings. Twin 2 had a lot of extra fluid around him, and this was dangerous – the medical term for this is polyhydramnios – there were several reasons he could have this. 1, because he had Downs (but we hadn’t got this confirmed and I didn’t want or see the need to do the amniotic test that would give the answer), 2, that he had a problem with his oesophagus and would need an operation as soon as he was born, to allow him to swallow properly, or 3, that he had a problem with his tummy (it was rather large too, which is a ‘soft’ marker of Downs. She was also very concerned that I would give birth at any moment as Jack was pushing Jessica and as she was twin 1 and head down, he may well push her out early! I firmly told her that wouldn’t happen, I couldn’t give birth just yet!

I was told to rest, just sit and do nothing, not go to work or anything. I also had to have steroid injections – which would help to develop the twins lungs so that they stood a better chance should they come early. We were sent off to the antenatal ward to have the injection. Mum and I made ourselves comfortable in the waiting room – which had a few other pregnant ladies in there too. The nurse came along, checked my details and went off to get the injection. Now, I have had to inject myself a fair few times with having IVF so it doesn’t really bother me the whole injection thing. However, this needle was BIG and the dose LARGE. With no warning the nurse popped it in my arm – OH MY F’ING GAWD! it hurt like hell and when I say hurt, I mean bloody HURT! A few swear words passed my lips and my mum really told me off! When I explained the pain she was not happy that I had been given that in a room with other people in there or that I hadn’t been warned how bad it would be. The pain lasted around 10 minutes too and I had to go and have another one 24 hours later! Couldn’t wait for that!

I did go into work afterwards to explain what I had been told and they sent me home. I took my laptop and was lucky enough I could work from home too.

Ladies, if you ever have to have steroid injections – I can tell you that the pain does pass but to ask for it to be administered in your bum (I had to have another lot just before having the twins, in Brighton hospital their protocol is to put the injection in your bum – far less painful!). And if you ever have polyhydramnios, it does make you very swollen and large and is painful too, but you can get through it, promise!

Pics just because they came up in my memories today – me at 26 weeks and the twins 3D scan pic (and I didn’t have to pay for it!) at 25 + 6 weeks.

 

Twins my life upside downs – reflection on time gone by…

Firstly, thank you to everyone who commented on my last blog and sent me private messages – it means so much to me to have support and know I am not alone (although don’t like it that others have tough times too).

Anyway… I have reflected on the last blog and wanted to clear something up. I am in no way ungrateful for my life now and my little miracles! In fact the total opposite and I just had a tough week and got myself in a bit of a pickle worrying about stuff that I can’t control right now.

It all hit home when I came on my period (sorry for the detail, but it is what happens). I realised how differently I feel these days when ‘it’ arrives. Whilst I don’t like them (who does, this being a woman lark is hard work), I no longer have those awful feelings I used to. The tears, upset, feelings of being a total failure every month, have gone. But they are not forgotten. I know there are many women out there who go through those feelings I had for 6 years of my life and I don’t want you to think that my last blog was a whinge about having kids, far from it, I am the luckiest person I know and I am so grateful for Jessica and Jack. I went through a lot to have them and I am so happy to have them – they just bring with them worry, fear and as well as a hell of a lot of joy, happiness and proudness.

But… I can’t get away from how awful it was all those months and years of trying to conceive and how I wish I could help anyone out there who may be going through the same thing that I did. I really do get how these feelings are hard to describe and to deal with when you are going through them. You feel like you daren’t say them out loud for fear of being negative or sounding silly. For people who get pregnant quickly, and by quickly I mean within a year or so (because that is quick, Medical professionals will tell you it takes, on average, a minimum of a year of trying before you get pregnant. And some people are able to get pregnant straight away or within a few months – that is quite some feat as it is bloody hard to get pregnant), don’t really get how devastating having a period can be and how hard it is to describe it. And when people say stuff like ‘just relax and try to forget about it, it will happen’, ‘stick your legs in the air after sex, that works’, ‘have you tried ovulation kits’ – it is just not that easy, people! Please don’t get me wrong, I am not expecting people who have got pregnant quickly to feel guilty for being able to conceive so quickly, I am just envious that I wasn’t in that position. It is a miracle for anyone who gets pregnant when you delve into the world of fertility and realise how complicated it all is. Women have these tiny, thin tubes that an egg and sperm are meant to meet in to do the deed (you’re all thinking of that bit from the film ‘Three Men and a Baby’ aren’t you?!). The egg doesn’t always like the sperm, so reject it and don’t let it in. That egg, once its agreed to be fertilised, has to bury itself in your womb and then grow for 9 whole months – it just ain’t that simple and when you have issues with your fertility (for me I was ‘old’, 38 when I started treatment, my egg count was low, had one tube out of action and bad endometriosis – oh joy!), it is even more complicated.

There is not a lot I can say to those of you who are having a hard time of getting where you want to be right now, but what I can say is that you can talk about it. It is normal to feel the feelings you have. You can only go from one month to the next and live in hope that next month will be your month, whether this is natural or you are having fertility treatment. And my only advice I can give, because it is what worked for me; stay as positive as you can, look after your body, eat well and stay fit, and most importantly of all, surround yourself with loving, caring people who support you through this tough time. People who you can say anything to, who won’t judge you, but who are there for you and give you a cuddle when you need it most.

I am one of the lucky ones in life who finally got my little family and my little miracles. I will never, ever, forget that.

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Twins my life upside downs – what a busy few weeks…

Well, what a very busy few weeks we have had!

It started off with me having a massive wobble – everything just got on top of me. I felt awful having these feelings, but I do believe, after speaking to a few people, I am not alone. Some times when I look at social media and hear how everyone is having a lovely time with their families I feel I am such a bad mother for not having a lovely time with my little ones. Don’t get me wrong, I do generally have a lovely time, but I do find it hard. Having two 21 month old kids, who are both running around now (yes, Jack has gone from a few steps to being quite quick on his feet now) and who never run in the same direction, Jack is destructive and throws everything and Jessica doesn’t stop talking = exhausting days. I am very lucky that they sleep well and on the whole don’t cry a lot, but it is still hard work. I have also been getting myself wound up about Jack and when he goes to school! I know, I know that is ages away, but it worries me. I worry that he will get picked on, not by other kids really but by their parents who will tell the kids not to be friends with him because he is ‘different’. I worry that Jessica will get the same treatment as her twin. I worry that he won’t fit into mainstream school and that he won’t keep up with everyone. I worry alllll the time about him! I do worry about Jessica too, but not in the same way (and I know that every parent has these same worries, but it is just that bit more complex when you have a child who is seen as different by society and I know, as I have seen it happen. People get scared of different and shy away from it and don’t want to have it as part of their lives. Which I understand, but I don’t want Jack or Jessica hurt by it).

I shared all these fears with Lisa and she told me not to beat myself up. Having twins is bloody hard (hers are 9 now) but rewarding in equal measures. Oh, and to not forget that we were off to Benidorm in around 8 weeks time, with the girls, for 3 whole nights! Whoop Whoop!

I ventured into town that afternoon, still feeling a bit low if I am honest, but felt I needed to get the twins out and decided on a bit of soft play. First though we had to pop into Wilkos – as we were looking for something I bumped into a lady who had her 33 year old daughter with her, who has Down Syndrome. The lady stopped to admire the twins and asked if Jack has DS – I responded yes and asked how old her daughter was and we chatted. I let it slip that I was having a down day and shared my fears with her. She totally got it and gave me a huge hug and a few reassuring words of comfort, that everything will be ok. She gave me her number and said I could call her anytime and she will happily help me through, what she guaranteed would come – more down days. I felt lifted and also that it was meant to be that I would meet this lovely lady. How many reading this can honestly say that they have met a stranger in the the street, bared their soul and got a reassuring hug from them. We headed off to soft play and I let J&J loose – I got myself a cup of tea and sat down to watch them (they now head off in different directions so I just survey they activity). In came a lady with her girl twins and she did exactly the same as me and slumped down into a chair – I asked her how old her two were and pointed my two out to her. The girls are a little bit younger than my two, but still running around and in different directions! I asked how she was getting on and she expressed all the troubles I was currently having – I felt so relieved that I was not alone! We chatted whilst the kids played and I hope I helped her feel that she wasn’t alone too. She said that it had all got too much and she’s booked a weekend way with her husband – I agreed with her wholeheartedly that it was the best thing ever to get away and be yourselves for a few nights (admittedly you will probably talk about the kids and miss them like crazy, but you get to be a couple again and not just Mummy and Daddy). It was one of those days that when Richard got home from work that I just needed and anted a hug.

The next day we had our last coffee morning with the PSDS ladies and smaller children – we all gather at Sarah’s house and she is such a wonderful host. I dread it a little bit as my two just seem to destroy her house (but she never, ever complains and always reminds me that she has three kids and is used to it). It is always lovely meeting up with this group and such a shame it was our last time together in that environment – we all start Digbies in September (a group specialising in the development of speech and language skills together with occupational therapy and social skills for children with DS).  We are all really looking forward to starting these sessions and I can’t wait to see how Jack will develop with this support and help. He will also start to receive Portage support too in September (Portage is a home based educational support service for children with special educational needs and their families). So it will be all go for Jack from September – just need to make sure Jessica doesn’t miss out!

A few other ‘lasts’ happened too – we had our last swimming lesson (not sure we will be able to continue in September what with everything else Jack will have going on). They love swimming and love Tracy, their swimming teacher, too. And we had our last Talking Tots for this term too (we will definitely go back to that in September, as it is on a Sunday and Daddy can get involved) – they have come on so much with attending Talking Tots and I really do think it has helped Jessica with her listening and responding skills – thanks Jeanette!

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And then we had a few firsts…

On Thursday we had our fist play date and tea invitation to go to. The lovely Folan family invited us over for tea! Emily is soooo brave to invite the terrible two round! Jessica, Jack, Joe and Zoe all played really well together and then we sat down for tea… Well, it is a comfort to Emily and I that both Jack and Joe like to throw their food! And the girls sit and eat so nicely. Boys never seem to get the hang of eating nicely, even as men! They did all manage to eat all their tea and with a lot of laughter and a lot of chat from Jessica! We can’t wait for our next play date.

On Friday the twins had a ‘settling in’ session at the pre-school they will go to in January 2018 (I call it a pre-school because it is term time sessions and its not technically a nursery, although sounds weird as they are only going to be 2 when they start going!). They had a wonderful time and both enjoyed playing with the other children who will be starting there soon too. Jessica was straight in with everyone else whilst Jack hung back a bit and sussed everything out – lots of ooooing and ahhhignng from him as he figured out what he wanted to play with, he was very excited. All the team there are so lovely and asked lots of questions about Jack and his needs – as although we want him to be treated as any other child in the class, he will have additional needs to support him, of which they are more than ready to take on board. Jack is the first child they have had go to them with Down Syndrome, but I am sure he won’t be the last child they have through their doors with DS. t all their tea and with a lot of laughter and a lot of chat from Jessica! We can’t wait for our next play date.

And we had a couple of other firsts – Jessica can now sign songs! She belts out a fabulous rendition of ‘twinkle, twinkle’! And Jack, after a lot of coaxing, ate a corn on the cob – now you may think that I am being ridiculous being proud of this, but he is really, really funny about trying new food, especially when he has to bite down on it like you do a corn on the cob! So, to us it is a big win and he did so well 🙂 So after those few days of a wobble, I have had those rewarding moments Lisa told me about.

 

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…