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Lupus and pregnancy

6 Oct

This post was originally featured on The Hibbs Lupus Trust website here

Apart from a short period of time where I promised myself and everyone around me that I’d never get married, unless he was the future King of England, I’d always assumed that one day I would grow up, get married and have a baby. When I was diagnosed at the age of 14, I still assumed that would all happen. I don’t remember exactly when it dawned on me that there might be a tiny flaw in my plan but it did. (And I’m not talking about the growing up bit!) Many of the medications I was on expressly stated that it couldn’t be taken if you were pregnant, or intending to be, and some articles I read said that these medications and lupus itself could affect your chances of even having a baby in the future.

The ‘stubborn little madam’ me was strolling around – well, coasting around in her wheelchair – flicking her hair and saying it was all so far in the future, this would all be done with by then and it wouldn’t be a problem.

Whilst the ‘thinks too much for her own good’ me was sitting quietly in the corner of the waiting room trying to rewrite her future in her head.

I told myself time and time again over the years that, when it came to it, I would deal with it.

I was so nervous walking into clinic and telling my doctor that I was ready to try for a baby but they’d seen it coming. They’d had a plan in place for ages just ready and waiting for me to come to this decision by myself. They must have a crystal ball because I’m convinced they do know me better than I know myself sometimes.

Everything happened so fast and I found out I was pregnant a lot sooner than anyone had expected. I didn’t dare believe that this was it. It couldn’t possibly have been that easy after all those years preparing myself for the fact that it was going to test my patience and our marriage to the very limit. But that easy it was.

I’m not saying pregnancy was a breeze. It really wasn’t. I coupled extreme morning sickness with starting a new job, trying to convince the whole world I was just having a bit of a flare as I threw up my lunch and stared intently at a wall in a meeting so I wasn’t sick on the visitor’s shoes. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what was said.

The hospital became my second home even more than usual and, towards the end, I needed a bit of a helping hand with some extra doses of steroids and some TLC but was it easier than I’d expected? Oh yes. One of my consultants commented that I was probably one of the only people he’d seen who was healthier pregnant than they were otherwise. I don’t know what that says about the state of my body before pregnancy, or since to be honest, but I’ll take it.

I was nervous every single day. I wouldn’t let anyone announce our pregnancy because I was terrified something would go wrong. I tried to keep it a secret from everyone at work, telling them I just looked awful because I was having a flare and my skirts didn’t fit because I’d simply eaten too many sausage rolls. I should have told them sooner as my colleagues would go out and buy me more sausage rolls to satisfy my cravings and I didn’t even make the most of it!

I was exceptionally well looked after by my medical team in Leeds and I trusted them implicitly. Every time we ventured out of the hospital’s boundaries I made my husband promise that, if anything happened, he’d get me back to Leeds rather than having to go to another hospital. It was a bit more difficult for him to agree to this when we went on holiday to Egypt – although I’d already cleared it with one of the doctors that he’d use his contacts to treat me via Skype should I need it.

I’ve never trusted my body to know what to do. It has always let me down but, when it really mattered, it pulled through and I will never fully understand why or how. From the very first moments of our baby’s existence, even before we knew she was ever going to happen, she fought against my body that sees fit to attack itself let alone anything else. She wasn’t to know the odds were stacked against her or just what it would take to get her here safe.

You don’t need to hear just how she arrived – let’s just say it took a while (!) – but seeing our little girl come into the world, calmly inspecting everything around her (just like her mother), I can categorically say that sometimes we are capable of more than we ever dare to imagine.



Being married: Three years (and three months)

2 Oct

Oh I’m a little bit late with this one aren’t I? In fact, I’m a little bit late with a blog post in general. Since we found out last summer that we were expecting our first baby, life has never been the same. Even writing that makes me cringe with the sheer cliche of it but I promise I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.

So yes, we welcomed our first child – a little girl – in April this year. I wrote throughout my pregnancy but couldn’t bring myself to make them public, we didn’t even announce on social media to friends, because I was always a little apprehensive that things wouldn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped. Becoming pregnant with lupus is quite a feat in itself, to get through pregnancy without much of a hiccup is rather a big deal. I will write a separate post about that but those nine months of pregnancy and the six months since she was born have been responsible for both the highs and lows of our second and third year of marriage.

My last post after being married for two years was about learning how to be one of two and considering someone else’s needs. My post after three is now about becoming three and not just having to consider someone else, but having to put them above all else. (Before anyone asks, my four year post will not be about becoming four!) E isn’t a demanding baby, for that we have been exceptionally lucky, but still her needs take over. Obviously we are no longer able to dedicate as much time to being husband and wife and, when the baby is asleep and the day is over, I do miss this.

Seeing my husband with our baby girl changes everything though. The way you see your partner before they become a parent is never how you see them again afterward. She is a daddy’s girl already, saving her biggest smiles for his return from work and rewarding his silly games with the best giggles.

The little things have been what’s kept me going over the last year. The late night bar of chocolate to satisfy that pregnancy craving (Galaxy and sausage rolls – but not together). Creating a steam room in our bathroom to help treat that nasty cold you’re not allowed any medication for. An extra hour in bed. Washing the baby’s bottles. Changing a nappy.

I always said it was important to find time to be a couple even after the baby has arrived like a tiny tornado in the middle of our world. My aim for next year is for us to get better at that, even if it’s just having a takeaway and watching a film when she’s in bed. 3years

Stopping by…

28 Nov

We spent three weeks in America for our honeymoon and really enjoyed spending all that time together. It was the first time in such a long time we’d been able to spend every day and evening together and it was perfect. I knew that as soon as we landed back in England, that magic would start to disappear. But we were adamant that it didn’t have to completely. Sure, going to work and all the real life bits in between can get a bit intense but I wanted to make sure that we took some time out to enjoy married life.

So far, so good. Although it’s not lent itself well to updating my blog or getting any of my writing done! But that’s a small price to pay for really enjoying life with my new husband.

I’ve finally written a run down of our wedding that I’ll be posting over the next week or so. So if you’re interested in confetti and cake, make sure you look out for it. I’ve also added some of my favourite photos – but there’s so damn many and I love them all, I couldn’t possibly post every single one.

I’ve also got some exciting news from the clinic frontline which I’ve been desperate to share. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably have already seen it but I want to log it here too for myself more than anything. You know how I use my blog posts to process thoughts!

Leaving this post here for now. I’ve been promising myself I’d dedicate more time to writing and that just hasn’t happened – I think I’ve lost my mojo – but I’ll do my best. And a wedding post will follow this…promise…

Mid-Year Resolutions

17 Aug

There have been so many occasions over the past 6 weeks where I’ve thought of something to blog about but just not been able to sit in front of the computer to write it all down. I’ve tried to stash all my ideas in a little part of my brain ready to bash out when I get chance so, brace yourselves, that may still happen. 

Since my last post, I got married!

The wedding went brilliantly and I feel so luckily to finally be married to my lovely D. Becoming Mrs W was one of the happiest days of my life. I fully intend on writing a wedding blog post complete with pictures and all the details for those of you who are keen on the whole confetti stuff, so you’ll just have to hold out on that one I’m afraid.

I’ve always used my blog as a way of sharing my feelings about my life and about things in general. And there’s been times where I’ve posted all the time about something or other and, more recently, when I’ve been very quiet. Sometimes I go quiet because I’m feeling particularly sad and I lose my writing mojo (as it were) but other times it’s just because life takes over. It’s a good thing but I often wish I made the time to sit and scribble it all down before I forget. I’ve got countless photos and some fantastic memories but sometimes there’s just no substitute to writing. I’m making it a mid-year resolution – it’s August but still – to get better at this blogging stuff again. So that sometime in the future I can look back on it all and remember just how it felt to be there, in that moment, wondering what on earth was going on?



Becoming a Wife – 1 week to go

30 Jun

At this very moment in exactly 7 days, I will be a Mrs. As I write this I am listening to the playlist we have put together for our wedding breakfast and in exactly 7 days we will be listening to the exact same playlist in a room full of our favourite people in the world. Am I nervous? Not at all. Am I excited? Not really. At this moment in time I don’t think there’s a word to describe how I feel about it all. I’m feeling quite relaxed about it all – relaxed about the plans coming together and, most importantly, relaxed about the ‘forever’ part.

During the Jubilee, I watched a documentary about the Queen and they read a letter she had written on her honeymoon following her wedding to Prince Phillip. One of the lines in it I will never forget;

“There is no strangeness between us and it feels as if we have belonged to each other for years.”

I don’t think there’s anything more you could ask of a marriage in the early days and decades later. I hope that D and I continue to feel like this years into ours.

I’m surrounded by wedding bits and pieces. A big basket full to the brim of things that need to be transported to the venue. A guest list that appears to be growing by the day and the most wonderful dress hung up waiting to be worn. And, right now, it feels that everything is coming together. All the plans and ideas I had at the very beginning are starting to make sense – and some may have fallen by the wayside. And for all the time and effort we’ve put into them, they will be very lovely. But right now, the most important thing is the legal bit, the “I do” bit and the becoming Mrs W bit.

I like that very much.

(Although I can’t blooming wait to wear my dress…)

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