Category Archives: The mom

Now we are 10.

It seems like yesterday that I woke up in the recovery room after an emergency C-section and felt like I had been sliced in half. Well, I was, but you know what I mean.

After I woke up in the recovery room and the staff felt all was well, I was wheeled to my room and there was Elton sitting on a chair with what looked to my drugged eyes, a very  lumpy chest.

He then lifted his T-shirt and out popped this little wrinkly old man who was HUNGRY.  I was so drugged and woozy and in an acute state of WTF, that it felt really weird and odd to have to take this little person and be all gooey and motherly.

It didn’t happen immediately, but when it happened, I felt all the feels.

tenone

And now it feels like I blinked and you morphed into this young MAN. Double digits. A decade. 10. Two hands full. I’ve been a mother for ten years but I still feel like an utter failure and a total newbie at times.

I find myself trying to desperately grab the time I feel slipping through my hands.

The hair on your legs, arms and upper lip are growing thicker. The little boy face is gone and instead of flushed cheeks and sweaty forehead, we now have little pimples and a fine layer of hair making themselves at home. I am taller than you by just a third of a head.

You are a beautiful soul inside and out. Funny, smart, loving, loyal and full of empathy. You made me a mother and you’re still teaching me so much every day.

I love what a great person you are. I wish I had a friendy like you when I was growing up.

I love your sense of humour, you have me howling with laughter many times a day and I love that we have the same sense of humour.

I love how you protect your friends and people who you feel are in need of protection. Your instincts are spot on and you fight for justice.

I love how you run with something once you’ve made a decision. And that you know that every action has a consequence. Sometimes the consequences are not that great, but you own it, because you considered it while making your decision.

I love that you are not afraid to let your feelings show, to share them and to be sad and cry if you feel like it. This is so important.

I love that consent is already a part of your thinking and how considered your actions are. That you still ask me if you can lie on my lap or chest and if I’m okay with you leaning on or touching me (especially after my long commute home when I’m almost always all peopled-and-touched out).

I love all the lessons you’ve been teaching me since day 1. They weren’t always pleasant, but they were necessary. You are my ride-or-die, my bae and my bestie. You are my worst critic (with love) and my best encourager. I love what “making” you has done for my self-confidence. Since making you, I have a whole new respect for my body and I love how strong she is. I used to hate my broad shoulders and not-so-petite body before you as I was teased and humiliated because of my big body.

But after having you, I realise my body was made this way so I could safely build you when the time came. This powerful, not-so-petite body built the most spectacular 10 pound baby and for that I am happy to endure all the teasing and humiliation all over again. Now you know the pride and strength I feel when I say “I built that!” when looking at you. (Three weeks ago you overheard me telling my friend Traceyanne about what having you did for my body positivity and self-image and when we were alone you asked me if I meant what I said. And seeing your face beam when you realised what an effect you (and your words) have on me, was super special.

I love all our deep chats whether we’re bobbing in the ocean or lolling on the couch. And I can never get enough of our silly chats and nonsense songs (especially when we’re supposed to be falling asleep).

I love that you can go from hanging with the boys and being all grown up with your squad all day, to wanting to melt into the safety and warmth of my lap to just be my Beeb.

tentwo

But most of all, I love you. Just you. Being you. Being mine. Being of me. Because before long, you will spread your wings and find your space in the big wide world. But until then, I still have you all to myself!

Happy birthday, Beeb!

 

 

Back to reality I go

Guys? I turned 40 last month and on the 1st of February this year I made a decision to consciously uncouple from Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). I was heading for 40 and just finished the latest round of going through all of the tests the medical aid and medicines council need to help us beg for them to pay.

The news of wrong arterial pressure readings knocked us further sideways and I needed to uncouple for the sake of my sanity. Also, I had a desperate need to celebrate. And celebrate I did. #Oneis40 was my hashtag and I owned it. After 4 months of glorious uncoupling with wanton excess and indulgence, I now need to go back to tricky terrain.

Another round of tests await. Another round of having to go to the various medical bodies with begging bowl in hand. The double dosage of meds we were trying based on his new arterial readings has done nada in the last six months, so we have to go back to the drawing board. The drawing board that has loads of fab meds — in the US/Europe — but just two in SA. The weakest two. The runt of the litter, so to speak.

First on the agenda will have to be a heart catheterisation to definitively establish the pulmonary arterial pressure. Based on that, doctor will have to decide which meds to try next. Milpark hospital up north has been doing some great work with PAH patients and have helped patients get their hands on the super IV drugs we don’t get here easily. We might have to move the husband to Jozi but first things first… get into that heart and see what the real deal is.

So, yes it looked as if things were going fabulously well in our little world, but that was just because I was in deep denial and taking a break from carer wife-ing. That little break from PAH did me a world of good. Perspective and all that. I feel renewed. Energised. Bracing for what comes next.

Aluta Continua!

 

 

 

Twenty one questions about me

Saw another Mommy blogger do this 20 one questions thing and because I am such a lazy blogger, I thought yay, that could be a blog without too much effort.

Thanks to Cindy from  3kids2dogsand1oldhouse for doing this and inspiring me to do it. :)

1. Are you named after someone?

Yes, my mother’s mother was Rachel, so I was named Rochelle. My sister Clementine was named after one of Lady Diana’s bridesmaids. She was supposed to be a boy and his name would have been Remy but then a girl popped out. Yes, my mom was a HUUUUGE royal fan. Am so glad she was gone by the time Diana died. She would’ve been INCONSOLABLE.

2. When was the last time you cried?

Thanks to blocked tear ducts I cry all the time. Well, my eyes leak. The tears are not always as a result of emotion. But I do like a good cry. Nothing as cleansing. My eyes do look like red and puffy little vaginas afterwards but who cares?  I do most of my crying in the shower away from husband and kid, but I have honestly not had reason to cry for about a month now. Which is great considering that we live with a motherfucker of a disease in our midst.

3. Do you have kids?

I am the queen of fuck-ups and my life was a huge mess until I made this beautiful baby. He is 7 and my world does indeed revolve around him. I would be adrift and wholly bereft if Thomas was not a daily part of my life.

4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?

Someone told me just yesterday that they would like me or some version of me in whatever lives they go on to have after this life! What a compliment, right?  I really do think that I would want to be my friend. Not all of my friends might like me all the time but they always say they love my honesty and empathy.

5. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Not really. I do what I like, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.

6. Do you like handwriting?

I love handwriting. I have the most illegible handwriting actually.  I had many teachers try to correct my handwriting, in the end they all gave up and said you’ll probably end up being a doctor or a lawyer one day. Funny thing is, when I tried to forge a doctor’s note at Tech once, it wasn’t a very convincing forgery!

7. What is your favourite cereal?

All-Bran Flakes!

8. What is the first thing you notice about people?

If they’re kind or an arsehole. Introverted or extroverted. Someone I would like to have in my world or not.

9. What color are your eyes?

Bog-standard brown.

10. Scary movies or happy endings?

There has been a distinct lack of happy endings in my life, so happy endings definitely. My life has been enough of a horror show, thanks.

11. Favorite TV show?

Breaking Bad, Scandal, Boston Legal, The Blacklist, Greys. Don’t make me choose.

12. Summer or winter?

Winter! I was born in winter and the fact that I was forever chubby because of emotional eating after my mom died when I was 9, means that I like being able to hide behind winter layers.

13. Hugs or kisses?

I am a hugger. Only special peeps get kisses but when it comes to hugs, I’m like Oprah, “you get a hug, you get a hug, you ALL get hugs!”

14. What’s the furthest you’ve been from home?

Johannesburg

15. Do you have special talents?

My memory!

16. Where were you born.

Cape Town

17. What are your hobbies?

Gardening and reading

18. Do you have any pets?

We have two dogs. Violet and Izzy. They’re a mother and daughter duo we adopted from Leaps. They were thrown out of an office window in Vredenburg. We suspect the rest of the litter was sold and nobody wanted the mother and runt of the litter. Their hard life is long forgotten now as they are spoilt brats these days.

19. Favorite movie?

Remains of the Day. Driving Miss Daisy. Thelma & Louise (because Brad!!!) and anything with Meryl Streep, Maggie Smith or Judy Dench in it.

20. What color is your car?

According to my owner’s manual, it is Sherbet Blue which is a light powder blue job,

21. What did you want to be when you grow up?

I wanted to be a teacher, then a doctor, then a lawyer. I started off in HR, then TV production, then book publishing, then magazine copy editor and now to finally and happily end up in copywriting.

Camping is fun!

This is a theme that comes up often. Mostly from the child housemate. But the adult housemate has also been known to suggest it or encourage it from time to time.

Right so how do I explain to them that camping is the last thing I would ever want to do? Like if I were on death row and I was given the option of going camping or getting the needle, the needle would win. Every. Time.

Up until the age of 9 when my mom died in a car crash, I had a reasonably ok life. Two kids, a devoted mom and a father who was mostly home (except those times he made babies with that other woman). After the crash in December 1985, my life was one looooong camping trip from hell.

Sharing a bed/close sleeping quarters with at least two people at any given time? Check
Not my own comfy bed I’m used to? Check
Not enough bedding in winter? Check
No electricity? Check
None of the yummy foods you’re used to at home? Check
Black coffee, pb& jam and tin foods? Check
Never enough loo paper? Check  (people who know me well, do you now get why I always have tons of loo paper in my house?)

And I think this is the case for many people I know and grew up with. Our lives were/still is one long friggin camping trip. So no, we don’t want to go camping. A close friend is 41 and she recently went to a friend’s wedding in America (friend paid for alles). It was the first time she did not have to share a bed with siblings, a child (she was a single mom for a bit) or husband! She said it felt unreal to have a bed all to herself for the first time in her entire life.

Housemate 1 grew up in reasonable comfort which means camping is an adventure for him. Housemate 2 is growing up in the kind of comfort that I didn’t even dream of as a child.

So in the spirit of reality check, I have shared my story with them and housemate 2 has now said he’ll be happy with camping at the bottom of our garden. That way I can still sleep in my bed and he gets to camp with housemate 1. Thankfully his entitlement levels are low and his empathy levels are high.

Plot twist…

When something goes wrong in your life, just yell “plot twist!” and move on.

WARNING: THIS POST IS DARK AND FULL OF SPOILERS. IF YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH DEATH AND DYING, KEEP SCROLLING

I saw this quote the other day and it just so resonated with me. Up until now, this blog has been about our gorgeous son Thomas and everything being his mom meant to me. There has however been a plot twist even George R.R Martin in GoT could not have come up with. Yup, we had our very own version of Oberyn’s head being squashed like a vrot guava. Well that’s what it feels like to us, anyway.

I had met the man of my dreams (or actually my father’s dreams, hahaha), we made a beautiful baby and life was just beautiful. Well as beautiful as being knee-deep in nappies, snot, vomit and teething can be! While waiting for Thomas to be born in those last excruciating 41st and 42nd weeks of my pregnancy (yup, I went up until 42 weeks and 3 days!) we binge-watched a whole lot of shows.

Grey’s Anatomy was one of our favourites. Man alive, that Shonda Rhimes knows how to kill nice people and she’s so the queen of no-happy-endings. Should have had a premonition of things to come when our favourite show was a show where NOBODY gets a happy ending.

We were just starting to really enjoy the start of Thomas’ independence. Out of nappies, off the breast, no more teething and best of all, we could talk and reason with the little guy. We had just moved to a house near the beach in Muizenberg, where Thomas could have more space than the little Woodstock semi he was born in. We were gearing up for bike rides, long walks on the various trails in the Southern Peninsula and lots of swimming and surfing.

Enter pulmonary hypertension (PH) and the end of all that. The average PH patient has about 5 years of good years after diagnosis. Provided diagnosis was early enough. Jenna Lowe was an example of how little is known about PH and how often it is misdiagnosed and the treatment plan worsens the symptoms. Jenna was told she has asthma and to increase her exercise. The worst thing ever for a PH patient.

Elton was diagnosed the same year as when Jenna finally got her proper and devastating diagnosis. We had no idea of what we were facing but thanks to Google and Jenna and her family’s tireless efforts to raise awareness, we slowly realized that we were in a Grey’s Anatomy episode. One of those episodes people talk about for days and openly admit that they were ugly crying.

We are now on year 3.5 of the 5 good years after diagnosis and a lot has happened. We have new furniture (assistive devices) in the house and Elton has been medically retired. We have both had some ugly cries. Like the ones Grey’s junkies freely admit to on social media. We’ve had lots of trial and error sessions with meds, new meds, experimental meds, unregistered meds, whatever it takes to buy us more time.

Because there is no cure for PH, all we are doing is buying time. We have an amazing doctor in Dr Anthony (Tony) L. Biebuyck at Panorama MediClinic. He was the person who tested Elton for everything and wouldn’t settle for “just asthma”. Something about Elton’s symptoms bothered him and kept investigating until he found the cause. There are days I wish he is not such an overachiever 🙂 But that would mean my husband would be dead. Which I don’t want either.

Thomas can read now and knows that  I document his life online so I have to ask for permission  before I “tell my friends on the internet”. 🙂

So in the light of the plot twist and the reading child, I have decided to rename my blog. Welcome to No Happy Ever After?

I know. Dark right? But I warned you at the start of this blog. Something I will do with all the dark posts as we have been told to lighten up and go easy on the death and dying already.