Celebrating International Literacy Day 2017 With Viking Direct

I am celebrating International Literacy Day 2017 with Viking Direct. To help me create a post for international literacy day Viking Direct provided me with a box full of supplies!

International literacy day with viking direct

Unesco

In 1946 International literacy day was founded by Unesco. They have continued to spread awareness and make great efforts to help people around the world access literacy for 51 years. There are still 750 million adults and 264 million out-of school children lacking basic literacy skills. This desperately needs to be changed. Everyone deserves to be taught literacy.

UNESCO has been at the forefront of global literacy efforts since 1946, advancing the vision of a literate world for all. It views acquiring and improving literacy skills throughout life as an intrinsic part of the right to education. The “multiplier effect” of literacy empowers people, enables them to participate fully in society and contributes to improve livelihoods.

 Speech Bubble Bookmarks

International Literacy Day 2017

I support international literacy day because everyone deserves to be literate. Literacy gives us access to endless amounts of information, skills and outlets. It is more than just education, literacy is a basic human right. Being literate gives us the ability to absorb and interpret information. Literacy isn’t just the ability to read, write and count, it helps us solve problems. Being literate fires up our imaginations and allows us to express ourselves creatively.

Nib brooch

 

Literacy at home

Knowing the importance of literacy the Mr and I have always tried to encourage the girls to learn anyway we can.

Dr. Seuss quote

As book lovers, we love using our local library to borrow books, a chance to socialise with other children whilst encouraging a love of literature. Using the item’s sent by Viking I have designed a new book bag to take with us to the library.

Lewis Carroll Quote

Izzy loves Dr. Seuss and Eva is a big fan of Alice in wonderland and is often running around shouting quotes from the book! Being literate opens us to a world of adventure, creativity, and knowledge and I feel these quotes were fitting.

How literacy benefits me

Growing up with access to literacy have given me the opportunity to blog which has been a fantastic outlet for me. Blogging has shown me other’s are going through exactly the same as me. Reading posts written by others shows me they feel the same and face similar challenges. I know I’m not alone.

International Literacy Day 2017

Without literacy I would severely struggle to connect with anyone. Everyone deserves a chance to express themselves and connect with like-minded people. We are in a digital age which makes literacy a key skill that everyone deserves access to.

Literary tea

*Viking Direct supplied me with a box of supplies to help me create this post. All views are my own.

 

#WorldMentalHealthAwarenessWeek – Opening Up

#WorldMentalHealthAwarenessWeek

It’s that time of the year again, #WorldMentalHealthAwarenessWeek!

I decided to join in by opening up a bit more & sharing some resources too. My mental health is far from fantastic and I suffer from Anxiety & Depression. I recently started CBT to help me with this. In doing so I have discovered my problems are much more than Anxiety and depression. I panic over the smallest things, I have nightmares and flashbacks, constantly feel guilty for EVERYTHING and after my most recent CBT session I’m pretty sure I have PTSD too. I’ve highlighted a few issues and things I can do to help my mental health which may helps others too. *May contain triggers

Guilt

Along with chronic pain having a big effect on my mental health it turns out my childhood has had more of an effect than I realised. Discussing my issues with my therapist has made me realise so much that went on when I was growing up was wrong. I always tried to protect my ‘mother’ growing up. Knowing she’d had a rough childhood herself and moved down south to get away from it all, knowing my ‘father’ had beaten her, knowing she fought regularly with my brother’s dad and knowing she had mental health issues herself I always tried to defend her.

I always felt guilty somehow, my brother being in care felt like my fault, her struggling felt like my fault, her losing her temper felt like my fault. Surely I must have done something wrong to deserve it all? I’m starting to realise it wasn’t my fault how I was treated but I know it’s going to take a long time to get out of this way of thinking.

Shame

Explaining to other’s what that went on can be difficult, most of the time I’m convinced I won’t be believed. I mean come on! Seriously, who in their right mind lets their children know they are into BDSM. Who show’s off their ‘toy’s’ (whips, canes etc.) to their kid’s? I grew up thinking it was normal, at 14 I was learning to crack 6ft bullwhips. I won’t lie I thought it was cool, that part I still do! Trying to understand that lifestyle as a teen though obviously had some major effects.

Chatting to a few people about it this week has really helped me look at my childhood in a different way. I’ve felt ashamed opening up about my past but I’m beginning to see it isn’t me who should be ashamed! I didn’t ask to be brought up that way, I was a child who had no choice in what went on around me.

 

Loneliness

With my brother going into care & my ‘mother’ out most of the time at clubs of events, I spent a lot of time alone. I watched her go through so many relationships some ‘vanilla’ some very much not so. It’s only recently I have realised this had such an impact on my relationships.

I found it hard to trust, or feel and most of the time just became obsessed with an excuse to be out the house. Of course this meant I was selfish, didn’t care about her or the fact my brother was in care. I broke up with people simply because I couldn’t deal with the stress and moaning at home. It was easier to be lonely.. less stressful. I was always told no man would ever love me & they only wanted one thing. I couldn’t put my trust into anyone fully.

When a close family friend died the day before my 18th birthday my world literally fell apart. That man had stood by us through so many problems, he stood up for me on more than one occasion and I knew without him there things would spiral out of control at home. After this I tried to overdose several times. Luckily I failed, after the first 50 odd tablets I tried I kept throwing up and eventually I slept it off.

 

Friendships Growing Up

I struggled to make friends growing up always being the weirdo’s kid but I did at least make a few over the years. Some were disgusted by what my ‘mother’ got up to but chose to ignore it, other’s were slightly interested and thought it was ‘cool’. The kids in our street all knew quite young what she got up to and I can imagine their parents were horrified.

By the time I hit my teen years only one other parent would talk to her & I think that was more for us, she covered for me a few times saying I was sleeping over or having dinner with them so I could get out for a night. I remember one huge argument between my ‘mother’ and her boyfriend, freshly laid patio being smashed up, plants & pots flying everywhere, me & my brother were so upset and confused. I grabbed my bear ‘Bestie’ (The girls now have him!) and my brother and stood in the street crying, this friends mum took us in for a few hours to get us away from it.

Leaving Home

As a teen people thought my ‘mother’ was cool for a while but then they started to encourage me to leave home. Bit by bit people were seeing what she was like when we were home alone. The majority of people I knew all felt I needed to get out as soon as possible, part of me wishes I listened sooner but it’s difficult to believe you aren’t just an awful teen causing problems!

I guess I’m glad I stayed so long as I might not have got back with the Mr and have our gorgeous girls. The day I did get brave enough to leave we had an argument, I was pinned to the bed and when she raised her fist I got brave. ‘Go on fucking hit me!’ This made her back off physically and instead she started screaming at me how I was such a horrible person, how I hated her & my brother, I’d ruined their lives because I was so selfish. She got ready to leave for work screaming how she was going to go jump in front of the train and kill herself because that’s what I wanted.

Panicking I sat in my room sobbing until the front door shut. I couldn’t do it anymore, whether it was her or me causing these problems I just couldn’t carry on living that way. I called the council explained everything & was told I needed to head to Women’s aid as what had just gone on was classed as domestic abuse. Because of my age social services couldn’t help.

Still Apologising

Even after that call I still felt like everything was my fault. I thought I was causing her to have this temper and ruining everything for her. If I wasn’t there that solved the problem for her. I wrote a letter apologising for being such an awful daughter. Writing how I hoped me leaving would mean we could build a better relationship, not being on top of each other. I left my keys with the letter packed a bag with a few essentials & my birth certificate & headed to women’s aid.

As I got to the women’s aid centre I got a call which I was told to ignore as she would have just discovered I’d left and be angry. They were right and I quickly got a text saying if I couldn’t ‘be bothered’ to answer the phone not to bother her again. I didn’t contact her again after that and it took another 3 months before she discovered a diary of mine and called me. She had read a paragraph loosely mentioning I had been abused and she wanted to know what had gone on. I still felt guilty and told her nothing, I made out it was me being scared after we had been burgled.

Trying Again

I felt so guilty after that call that I agreed to meet up with her in London. We met and things were ok for almost a year, I fell pregnant with Eva and she showed interest & helped me out where she could. At this point my brother was in Northampton after several suicide attempts. It was difficult to visit him especially after a C-section with a new born to look. I had a chat with his social worker and we agreed on a home visit at our flat. We would have to be checked out by Social services and have the flat looked over for escape routes etc. I figured this would be better for him anyway, in a more comfortable setting.

Our ‘mother’ wasn’t allowed home visits, looking back it’s not surprising! I talked to the social worker and managed to get her to agree to our ‘mother’ being there too since it was supervised contact. We had a great day and took loads of pictures for us all to look back on. I had high hopes that this family setting would help us all be a little closer.

Giving Up For Good

I was asked to email over the photo’s to our ‘mother’ so I did. The next morning I got a rather aggressive text demanding I sent the photo’s. I replied to say I had sent them but would try again. She refused to believe I had sent them as she hadn’t received them. I sent screenshots of the sent messages & she blew up at me saying she had told me it needed to go to her work email not her personal one as she could only access her work one.

By this point I was in tear but sent the pictures to the correct account whilst still receiving abusive messages. I’d apparently not sent her the pictures because I hated her. Apparently I thought she was a shit mum and didn’t deserve pictures of her family. No matter how much I tried to explain I had sent them, I was wrong. Even when I realised she wanted them sent to her work email and did that it still wasn’t good enough.

The argument quickly took to Facebook where she tried to embarrass me which she seemed to enjoy doing. The Mr had had enough at this point. He’d seen what she was like when I was living with her. He had also seen how it affected me and how hard I tried to please her. He stepped in and told her to stay away from his family from now on. I haven’t spoken to her since and never want to again. I gave up for good on that day.

Relationships

The Mr has been absolutely amazing and helped me through a lot of issues. He has had to put up with so much because of my dysfunctional upbringing. When things started to get worse with chronic pain on top of everything else it caused a lot of problems. I reverted back to being extremely defensive and told him to leave far too many times. He shared this article with me the other day and I have to say it explains anxiety in relationships so well! I actually felt less guilty for reading it. He doesn’t deserve to go through it & it’s difficult for him just as it is for me but it can’t be helped. I can honestly say the Mr has had a great impact on my life though and has stuck by me through some of my biggest crashes. I have a lot of issues to continue working through which will take time. The Mr has already helped me massively, but it definitely hasn’t been the easiest ride.

Self care

Whilst CBT and the Mr are helping me I need to help myself too. Self care is majorly important for our mental health. Growing up to believe I was selfish means I struggle badly with self care. Usually I have to find ways to justify doing something for me. It has to somehow help someone else too or do some good. I’m slowly working on this though and trying not to feel guilty doing something for myself or something I enjoy. I’ve been conditioned to think nothing but negative thought’s about myself. I hope eventually I can kick these negative thoughts. I’m looking into mindfulness and ways to look after myself & have some me time to help.

Talk about it

Blogging has been a big help, somewhere to rant and ramble when I need to. Uplifting comments & people understanding what I’m going through has helped a lot. I’ve overcome a lot of the years and have a lot more to work through. I still have nightmares that wake the Mr, violently hitting out & screaming in my sleep. Explaining a lot of this and reading up on guilt, shame, anxiety has pointed me in the direction of PTSD. Due to my nightmares & flashbacks the Mr also seems to think I have PTSD.

I’m slowly beginning to realise none of it was my fault. I was a child and not in control at all. I’m beginning to realise it’s not normal for a child to find out about BDSM so young. Seeing people walk around dressed up (or not so dressed up!) and hearing/seeing people being beaten messes your head up. Regardless of the fact it was 2 consenting adults, a child shouldn’t be seeing that.

Positive’s

Growing up in a dysfunctional family  leaves it’s mark for the rest of your life. You are probably wondering how I’ve managed to find positives. I know it’s affected me negatively. I also like to think it’s made me a better person in some ways too though. I’m more open minded than a lot of people I know. I’m the first to admit when I mess something up. I love my girls to the moon & back and make sure I hug and kiss them always. Affection was something we lacked growing up. Cuddles were extremely awkward. We were told it made her feel ‘dirty’. I think I remember being hugged maybe 5 times growing up. I hate how that felt even now and I promised both my girls the day they were born I would smother them in love, hugs & kisses for the rest of their lives!

It was a struggle to believe for a long time the Mr loved me, I didn’t see how he could. Now I know that I’m extremely lucky. He DOES loves me & would do anything for me which he’s proven time after time over the last 8 years. He’s stuck by me and supported me through some rough times even when I’ve been a complete bitch.

Whilst I don’t have a lot of friends those I do have I would do ANYTHING for! I understand when friends are down and need to just be around people even if we don’t talk. I know sometimes people need to rant essays at me and don’t want a real response just something to let them know you are there, you are listening, you do understand they are struggling & they have somewhere to vent.

Getting Help

It’s taken a long time for me to finally reach out properly and get professional help. Always believing I’d be wasting their time! Now I realise just how messed up my head is and how important getting help is. Get a referral if you can. It may take a while but do what you can in the meantime to get help, take time out for you, there are online sites & telephone lines to help anyone struggling too.

If you need someone to talk to DM me on twitter (@lentlesslypurpl) or email me (Relentlesslypurple@gmail.com), I’m usually around somewhere and more than happy to chat. I’ve provided a few sites & numbers below for those in need of help.

If you or someone you know need a little help the numbers & sites below may be useful:

Womens Aid – 0808 2000 247 – Available 24/7

NSPCC – 0808 8005 000 – Available 24/7

Mind0300 123 3393 – Available 9am-6pm Mon-Fri

Heads Together Support – Contains A list of different services available

Sane – 0300 304 7000 – Available 4.30pm – 10.30pm daily

Find Mental Health Services in Your area using NHS Service search

It has taken me the entire week to write & rewrite this post. My anxiety made me worry for so many reasons, I wasn’t sure I was going to post this. Tmore we talk about these things though the easier it is for others to open up and get help too. I’m not hiding anymore.
This is my story in support of #worldmentalhealthawarenessweek

#WorldMentalHealthDay

#WorldMentalHealthDay

 

Today is of course #WorldMentalHealthDay. I wanted to join in and share a few things with you all to help raise awareness and help those struggling to see that they are not alone, such a huge percentage of the population struggle & feel so, so alone & that really needs to change. We need to reach out to one another & share our stories!

Mental Health is something I heard a lot about as a child as a lot of the adults I grew up knowing had depression, anxiety, bipolar & schizophrenia, so it is something I’ve learnt a fair bit about different issues over the years. I was going to look into statistics and figures but honestly I don’t feel there is any need, so many of us don’t say a word which leads me to believe the statistic’s are unrealistic.

I myself struggle with depression & anxiety and for quite some time I struggled massively with ED’s which I’ve slowly discovered has contributed to my Chronic pain which of course has caused me to feel quite depressed, I also struggle with how my Scoliosis makes my ribs stick out but sharing my stories in my blog has meant I’ve had a lot of support and encouragement from other people and that has made such a difference!

I talk openly on my blog about all these things, NOT for sympathy but to connect with other’s who feel the same, it can be very lonely and stressful when you feel worthless & too scared to ask for a little help and I truly hope that the blogging community sharing their stories helps anyone struggling.

My brother has Aspergers & PTSD amongst other things & yes he can be difficult to be around at times but that ISN’T his fault. He had very little support growing up and felt very alone, being pushed from one foster home or care home to another as a child and being sectioned as a teen and then suddenly being all alone in a tiny bedsit has been very stressful and hard for him.

He spiralled out of control turning to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain, he was EXTREMELY difficult to be around during that time BUT the Mr and I made it our mission to help him turn himself round. And you know what? With a bit of persistence, love and a little bit of a kick up the bum he has become a totally different person over the past year.

Now he is dealing with his issues and facing them in counselling he is coping much better. Knowing he IS part of our family & our home is his home has helped him relax and realise he is loved and cared for. He still has bad days especially because of his past but now instead of trying to numb the pain & destroy himself he picks up the phone and calls me or jumps on a train and distracts himself or talks his problems through and bit by bit he has turned his life round completely.

Talking about our problems can help us more than most things especially if we feel someone is actually listening, we know people may not fully understand but it’s nice to be heard and it makes us feel less alone.

What’s your story? What are you struggling with? What do you do to cope?

Image result for you are cared for

If you need to talk please do, my DM, email etc is always open to ANYONE that needs to talk, day or night! If you prefer there are plenty of charities to help, whether its over the phone, by email or on-line chat, whatever method you prefer there is ALWAYS someone waiting to help you and talk through your problems, PLEASE DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE!

If you do need to talk to someone here is a small list of contacts:

The Samaritans are a well known organisation who are always there for a chat whether your just having a low day or you feel thing’s are much worse, get in touch!

Whatever you’re going through, call us free any time, from any phone on 116 123.

We’re here round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call us on the phone. This number is FREE to call. You don’t have to be suicidal to call us.

Another brilliant organisation is Togetheruk.org although I have no personal experience myself they offer a range of services around the country .

Together is a national   charity working alongside people with mental health issues on their journey towards independent and fulfilling lives.

MIND is an amazing organisation that offers counselling & they have helped both my and my brother. My brother still currently has counselling with them and I can honestly say that has played a HUGE part in his recovery. They offer a range of services and support too.

Contact us

Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).

0300 123 3393

info@mind.org.uk
Text: 86463

Even if you find ways to cope and manage and feel you have recovered well there may still be days you need a little chat to help you keep on top, please do ask for help if you feel thing’s are slipping again.

If you know someone struggling, make them a cuppa & share some cake & just be there to listen when you know they are feeling low. Sometimes just being there can mean so much, we don’t need to be told what to do or to just cope we just need a little love & understanding to help us through the bad days so we can fully enjoy the good days.

Making Packed Lunches Easy With #FloraLunchbox

A packed lunch is somewhat dreaded by most parents. With children’s fussiness & guidelines to follow it can be difficult putting together a healthy nutritious packed lunch that your child will actually eat. With #FloraLunchbox packed lunches have never been easier!

Flora Distributed 631,000 Lunchboxes and healthy meal planners throughout the UK in light of recent research.

Did you Know only 1.6% of packed lunchboxes in primary schools across England are actually meeting food based standards for school meals!? I know.. it shocked me too! Children’s Lunchboxes have only improved by 0.5% in the last 10 years and only 1 in 5 lunchboxes (17%) contain ANY vegetables or salad.

Those are some pretty sad statistics and clearly this needs to change, Flora understands Parents don’t need telling off & just need a little help, especially with fussy eaters so with the Flora website full of tips & recipes anyone can put together a healthy and nutritious lunchbox for their child.

Eva is VERY fussy when it comes to food and putting together a packed lunch for her can sometimes be quite a difficult task but with the Flora Planner & Recipes on-line it has never been easier!

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The Lunchbox Builder makes it easier to put together a healthy lunch for your child as it gives you healthy options containing easy-to-make plant-based recipes alongside Flora spread, giving you Mains, Snacks and Fruit & Veg ideas to choose from and of course a selection of Flora Spreads you can use.

Every Flora tub contains plant oils, such as sunflower, rapeseed and linseed oils. Flora is lower in saturated fats than butter* and provides a source of healthy Omega 3 and 6. These essential fats contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels and are also needed for normal growth and to support the development of children. Flora also recently launched Flora Freedom. This is a 100% dairy free product, which is free of preservatives, artificial colours and flavours, and like the rest of the Flora range is approved by The Vegetarian Society.


Eva loved pointing out things she likes & things she’d like to try (Mini pretzels!) on the Lunch Builder but came up with her own idea’s based on the builder where she is very fussy. She went for a Grilled chicken & Cucumber Flat bread using Flora original as her main, Raspberry Rice cakes & a Fruit Jelly for her Snack along with a choice of Banana, Apple or raisins. (I give her a few choices as she WILL change her mind several times across the school day & this prevents a meltdown).

Eva’s usual packed lunch isn’t much different from this but we tend to give her a variety of breads such as bagels, crusty rolls, pitta’s, sandwich thins etc.. Occasionally mixing it up with different pasta & noodle dishes with lots of hidden veg in. 😉

Bread sticks with dips & rice cakes are a big favourite lately along with crackers & crisp breads. Eva absolutely loves fruit so we always give her a variety, she loves apples, grapes, bananas, blueberries and melon. What’s your child’s favourite packed lunch?

If your struggling for idea’s don’t forget to head over to the Flora website to see some yummy nutritious dishes even for the fussiest of children! Florasaurus is full of fun facts & tips & recipes.

This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas here 

#misCOURAGE

I started blogging a few years back now, I was struggling with my emotions (as always!) over a variety of problems and blogged about a few. One that was really making me struggle was getting over the miscarriage of my first baby at 18.

I never made it to that first scan even though I lost the baby at 13 weeks because it was the Christmas holidays and I was booked in for the new year. I began to miscarry boxing day 2008, was sent home from A&E and told everything was fine only to wake up around 5am the following morning in excruciating pain as I passed my baby. Seeing my loss was extremely hard for me. Having nothing to prove my baby ever even existed and mattered was even harder.

I wrote a post on my previous blog on how a few years on I was still struggling to deal with my miscarriage, the images in my head and the fact I never had a scan picture or anything to confirm my baby ever existed and remember my angel apart from my blood test form and hospital bands from A&E.

I didn’t feel like I was allowed to grieve or remember my baby at all because to most people my baby wasn’t a ‘baby’ just a foetus. I wasn’t with the psycho sperm donor so I was expected to be ‘happy’ and ‘relieved’. Regardless of the circumstances that was MY baby.

I felt flutters, my belly had begun to grow and I had constant sickness throughout the 13 weeks my baby grew inside of me. You can’t tell me it wasn’t real and my baby never existed. I may not know if it was a boy or a girl, I never got to hold my angel in my arms or even got to see them on a scan but my angel existed if only for a short time and my angel deserves to be remembered along with every other angel baby taken from this world far too soon.

It’s hard dealing with the fact you have lost your baby and if it’s your first pregnancy, even though technically you are a mother theres no longer a bump and no baby in your arms to prove you were ever destined to be one.

To anyone that has lost their baby, you are a mother/father. You have every right to grieve and talk about the loss of your baby just as anyone else who has ever lost a loved one.

When I wrote the post on my previous blog I had already had my daughter Eva and everyone kept telling me I should be grateful I went on to give birth to a beautiful healthy baby and had become a mother at last.

THAT HURT.

Of course I was and always will be grateful for having been blessed with being able to give birth Eva (2010) & Izzy (2014). Both my pregnancies were rough, Eva was premature delivered via c-section 4 weeks & 1 day early, Izzy was naturally born but came out back to back on my due date. I had severe ‘morning sickness’ throughout both pregnancies and I was on agony with my back. I wouldnt change it for the world! I am more than aware they are miracle’s and I am honoured to see them grow (even if they drive me crazy at times!) but that doesnt stop the pain or the what ifs.

An extremely lovely blogger got in touch with me after having read my post and asked if I would allow her to order me a gift, something special I can look at and hold when I want to as I don’t have a scan photo. Every time I look at my keepsakes I remember her kindness. She didn’t know me at all but she went out of her way to help me cope better with my loss.

#misCOURAGE

I have a beautiful engraved heart and a plaque to think about my angel for a moment or so when I feel the need and every single time I am overwhelmed by the kindness Kate from Katetakes5 .  I disappeared from the blogging world for a while but still remember what she did for me and I appreciate it greatly as the last few anniversaries of my angels passing have become easier for me to deal with & even talk about. Every year when we put up our christmas tree I hang the bag these keepsakes are in on our tree along with the girls special decorations and if I am asked I now show them and talk to them about my loss instead of keeping it to myself. Several people have confessed they have lost a baby too and shared their story and I believe everyone should.

When I saw the #misCOURAGE campaign run by Tommy’s I had to join in and help break the silence about miscarriage, raise awareness and share my story. At the same time I felt it only appropriate to mention Kate since she helped me break my silence & gave me such a thoughtful, special gift that allowed me to grieve and remember my Angel baby. I will cherish my keepsakes forever.

Kate if you read this..Thank you so much for being such an amazing and beautiful person and helping me in such a thoughtful way xx

World Prematurity day – My story

World Prematurity day - My story

World Prematurity day – My story: Lots of babies are born prematurely for all sorts of reasons and it can be a tough and scary ride having your baby early.

Small premature babies are very common in my side of the family so although I kind of expected my babies to be a little early I still wasn’t ready when my oldest daughter Eva was born prematurely at 4 weeks and 1 day early.

I was in hospital already with an infection alongside a friend I had at the time. This friend went into labour so we met outside and began to have what I thought were braxton hicks as I had awful braxton hicks over the last few months. When I went back to my room I had a very strong ‘braxton hick’ and a midwife came to check on me and hooked me up to the monitor.

After a while the midwife came back, checked the results and ran off, quickly returning with a Dr who checked me over and told me I was in fact in early labour and I was 3cm dialated. As I had an infection I was advised an emergency c-section would be best to prevent passing on the infection to a premature baby who may not be able to fight it off.

I was terrified. I was only 19 but I knew I had to take the safest and best option to bring my baby into this world.

I was told I’d be taken down around 6/7pm but my labour was progressing rapidly and by 4pm I was down in theatre having my spinal. The Mr had to rush back from town when I told him the c-section was going to happen sooner and as he was still getting himself changed and ready to enter the operating theatre when I had the spinal done I was in tears. Having a needle phobia that was the worst part for me at the time and not having the Mr there to hold my hand had me in a state.

Im not going to lie throughout the procedure I cried at my Mr telling him I was so scared but after what felt like someone pushing down on my rib cage I suddenly heard a small cry that had me sobbing for a whole different reason.

When you go into early labour your head goes into overdrive thinking about all the ‘What if’s’. Hearing that tiny cry brought relief knowing my baby had made it into this world alive. Having previously miscarried with my first pregnancy at 18 my biggest fear was that my baby wouldn’t survive.

I had a very rough pregnancy being sick constantly, suffering from anemia and continuously having water infections which made me think my baby may not be as healthy as I had hoped.

When I was shown my tiny 4lb 14oz baby breathing fine and appearing very healthy apart from a touch of jaundice I knew I was extremely lucky that things had gone as well as they had. We didn’t know the sex of our baby as they had their legs crossed during scans, so was anxious to find out and when the staff congratulated us on the birth of our beautiful little girl I broke down again.

I remember being wheeled into the recovery room and being given my tiny baby to hold in my arms at last. It was one of the most emotional and amazing moments of my life. I had all these names in my head and was trying to think what suited her best when the Mr suggested his mum’s middle name which had been passed on through the women in his family. We agreed to call her Eva-Raye, somehow it just suited her straight away.

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I fed her and kept her warm inside my hospital gown while the Mr headed home to bring in some clothes for us as we had been unprepared. I remember staring at our beautiful little miracle the whole time he was gone and being amazed she had made it through this far. We were taken back up to the ward where a few people arrived to congratulate us and see our little girl.

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The Mr returned with the newborn clothes and they were all huge on her making her look even tinier especially with the Mr dressing her.

After everyone had left the nurses came round to check on us both and make sure I could get up and walk but there was a bit of panic over Eva’s blood test results and the fact she had dropped from her birth weight of 4lb 14oz down to 4lb 4oz, she was rushed down to NICU.

Honestly I freaked. My baby brother had been born very early 9 days before my 5th birthday and had spent months in NICU. Walking back through those doors brought back all the memories and I begun to freak out panicking something was about to go very wrong and that after everything I may still lose my precious baby.

I handed over some bottles of milk I had pumped and left Eva to be tested and went outside with the Mr where I broke down. The Mr was amazingly strong throughout all of this even though I know it was hard and terrifying for him too.

After about an hour of talking we headed back to my room and after a little while some nurses appeared with Eva telling me the previous results were wrong and although Eva did have jaundice she should be ok after a bit of phototherapy and they wheeled in all the equipment for it and showed me how it worked.

Eva was given a biliband to cover her eyes and we settled her in the crib under the light to begin treatment. I was only allowed to pick up my baby and cuddle her once every 2 hours whilst I fed her then had to put her back under the light.

Unfortunately even with all the complications we had the staff forgot about us and we ended up staying in for 5 days with Eva spending most of her time ‘sunbathing’ whilst myself and my Mr could only watch and try to comfort her as best as we could whilst we tried to make sure she got enough milk to begin gaining weight instead of losing.

We were eventually allowed home on the 5th day and we were beyoned relieved our tiny baby girl had made it home at last. 2 days later Eva still hadn’t gained weight and was still showing signs of jaundice so we were admitted to the pediatrics ward so Eva could continue light therapy. Luckily by the next evening Eva was recovering well from jaundice and once again we were allowed home.

Our tiny baby girl was a strong little fighter and didnt let prematurity get the better of her, seeing my brother go in an incubator in NICU for months as a child and seeing the other babies on the ward, witnessing babies gaining their wings at the young age of 5 I am well aware we are ridiculously lucky Eva only had jaundice and recovered so quickly.

At the age of 5 she is a clever, funny, crazy little girl who you would never guess was a preemie. She has slight problems with her fine motor skills which we are working on and she does struggle to stay focused but she is otherwise very healthy and keeping up with her peers.

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My teeny tiny preemie all grown up

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Many babies are born early and have all sorts of complications and it’s a very tough time for those tiny babies and their families. Some babies dont make it, others take a very long time to recover and some are lucky enough to make it through with few complications but every family with a premature baby needs as much love and support as they can get to make it through such a tough time.

Please remember if you are going through a rough time after having a premature baby it is not your fault your baby arrived earlier than planned, I know I blamed myself for quite some time but I have since realised nothing could have been prevented and I did everything I could to ensure my baby arrived as safely as possible.

If you know someone who has had a premature baby take a few minutes out of your day to check in on them and make sure they have a shoulder to cry on and an ear to offload too if needed as it can be a very difficult and lonely time.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my premature baby on world prematurity day and please feel free to share your own links and stories in the comments. Apologies for the poor photo’s, camera quality on phones weren’t as good back in 2010!