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Up the Road

I gave birth to my miraculous baby girl, in January 2012 by caesarean section… after all the nay saying and the ups and downs of pregnancy and the health scares which made it all so nerve wracking. She was a tiny fragile little soul initially fed through a tube but determined, alert and feisty, we’ve been getting to know each other ever since and sharing endless wonderful adventures. My heart went a little awry before she was born but seems to have settled down again now, I guess at 47 I didn’t expect everything to be plain sailing … all in all I’ve been so very blessed.

hand in hand

I’m self employed so life is a bit hectic at times and can be very stressful trying to make ends meet and making sure I am there for her and relishing and enjoying every possible moment with her. When I’m working she’s generally asleep in her basket just across the room from me or playing with her toys on her cheerful carpet beside me. She has the most amazing Granby who helps us and I think Hope regards her as her very best friend, as do I. Her father tells her wonderful stories of the seals that live on the beach at Brancaster, following Hope’s first holiday there back in February, she listens attentively and beams throughout.

I’ve worked ever since she was born, often in the middle of the night, she’s come to meetings and conferences with me and charmed everyone and it has meant that we (8 months later) have never spent more than 4 hours apart … and that only once when I went to a Bruce Springsteen concert in Hyde Park and her father sat in a deck chair listening outside.

We’ve travelled by plain, train, automobile and boat, she’s met famous people, we’ve danced the last dance, we’ve been to four terribly sad funerals and a wonderful wedding, Hope’s been christened and has eight Godparents, we’ve paddled in the sea and we’ve just sat and gazed at each other … Hope hates vests and loves her singing along to her car seat song ‘Comfortably Numb’, she is gleefully excited when she’s outside and she sleeps the most determined deep and happy sleep when she’s lying next to me in my old cot. She’s slept in about 20 different places so far and in 4 different beds and one laundry basket, she chatters constantly and waves goodbye, she is a happy little soul.

Hope is quite quite perfect, she’s a little person but according to the hospital consultant, who discharged us a few weeks back, in perfect proportion and totally healthy and thriving in every way possible. The little tuft  she was born with at the front of her hair has carried on growing and is now a perfect curl. I’m sure every new mother thinks their child is the most miraculous being, well mine is.

Two things she hated … winter hats and the feeding tube

This blog started as a way of helping me to deal with all the noise in my head, the negative messages of the medical profession and keeping a close group of friends up to date with our news … then one of them showed it to someone and so the genie was let out of the bottle (or whatever the saying is) and more and more people started to read my muddled words. Their support and encouragement helped me through my pregnancy and gave me so much comfort and joy when I needed it, and apparently what I was going through, pregnant and exhausted in my late 40s resonated with other people some in the same position, some wishing they were and some who long ago gave up the idea of having children. That humbled me and made me feel very proud at the same time. I’ve been very fortunate in my friends, both in person and online and all they have done for us. We’ve been showered with love, gifts and knitwear and cherish all of it.

When my little Spaniard (IVF in Spain hence the unborn baby’s name The Spaniard) ceased to be in the middle of the afternoon that cold January day I did definitely mourn a lost friend, a constant companion, the little fellow I walked so many miles talking to, just as I celebrated and wondered at the perfect little soul that is Hope. Also at that point the blog took on a new voice somehow, no longer just about me and my worries but sharing the amazing, exhilarating, exhausting journey of a life as a new mother …the fear during a meningitis incident when she was still tiny, the irritation at the cost of baby stuff, all that’s new in the world with a baby, my rejection of most of the paraphernalia we new mums are encouraged to buy and finding my own way having thrown away all the sponsored leaflets and advertisements.

Hope has her own Twitter account @thedigitalbaby and our blog has a Facebook page. I’ve been invited to write for the local paper on being an older mother, we even have our own logo, and I’ve also now spoken on national and local radio for the BBC several times about the issues and joys that are different or unique to geriatric old crones such as me!

I was determined from the first moment to breast feed my baby, and although I struggled terribly at first, I had encouragement from the wonderful La Leche League at a ‘feeding class’ and Hope had a tongue tie cut in Bedford hospital which made all the difference and we’ve been enjoying the absolute and unique pleasure and privacy of nursing ever since … in fact I’ll probably be one of those mothers people think are odd (well they already do), and be feeding her in a few years time … we’ll see when the teeth finally appear. She is also now starting on baby led weaning and currently loves red pepper, beetroot and apricot … oh and curry, nothing better than chomping on a bit of nan bread.

So, there we are … and here I am, the most dishevelled and deliriously happy mother in the land, ignoring my aching joints and the grey hair showing at the roots and striving to do the best I can for my girl and enjoy to the utmost my time with her…. and our story continues here.

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