A Tricky Parenting Secret

Do you want to know a tricky wee parenting secret? After three years of being a mama with a chronic illness, it’s just dawned on me…A Tricky Parenting Secret

It doesn’t take as much as you think to make a nice day for your kids.

Take a day recently as an example, I’m exhausted and my pain levels have been creeping up thanks to the baby waking up to six times a night. We went to church (with a baby and a three year old, it’s not so peaceful anymore) got frustrated with Nu not being quiet. We’re not crazy, we know he can’t sit quietly for just over an hour. But not yelling would be great.

Back at home, he was frustrating us, we were feeling cabin fever but also the weight of the incomplete housework (sorry our bathroom gets cleaned fortnightly now eek). Baby wasn’t playing ball with the napping. I was so tired I felt sick.

But we decided to go out. I wanted to be tired and sore out, instead of tired and sore at home. So we bundled into the car, drove half an hour, of which the baby slept 25 minutes (he’s a chronic catnapper) and visited a nice beach with a park. Parking was difficult, we got a 30 minute park, unbundled and faced the cold but beautiful scene. Nu happily rode his scooter up and down the beach, baby watched. On the way home we stopped for chocolate sundaes at a special chocolate cafe.

Nu was difficult to keep occupied as we waited for our order. He was loud on the drive home.

But at the end of the day, as I remembered how frustrating it was to wrangle Nu and the overtired baby and my own issues. While admitting I had a nice time. Nu remembered a great day. He had fun. He remembered the scooter, the birds, the swing, the chocolate sundaes. And our photos look so great.

All it took was a park and a treat. And I managed to give that to him (granted, with Husband’s help) despite pain levels of 5/10 and fatigue levels up the whop.

It is a timely reminder as I worry about my lack of energy and time. As I worry that I don’t have enough to split between two kids. But I do. I continually find reserves I didn’t know I had, for their sakes. And my little efforts to keep Nu occupied pay off.

On days where we’re housebound by baby and pain levels, Nu is just as happy to bake (he loves to stir!) and colour, an ride his digger (as long as I’m watching!) and snuggle while watching a movie.

So now my definition of a successful day is when I ask Nu, “did you have a nice day?” And he responds with an emphatic yes!

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Nu loved his chocolate sundae!

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New Name, Same Mission

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I have spent a long time thinking over the name of this blog. I don’t claim ownership over the Fibromyalgia. It is not mine. I will never say “my” before Fibromyalgia. However, when you name a blog, people need to know what it is about in order to find it.

So here it is, Melissa vs Fibromyalgia. This encapsulates my mission perfectly. I am fighting Fibromyalgia. Not just for myself, but for my two beautiful, busy boys and the love of my life (Husband).

This site is the compilation of my learning from my own journey and from my research.

Here’s a post that I wrote about: The Whole of Life Change Anniversary

Here’s where I write about What it’s Really Like to Live With Fibromyalgia

Here’s a recent post of what other bloggers and I have found to help with fighting Fibromyalgia: What Works: A Roundup

I am trying to come to terms with the idea that this could be a progressive illness. I cannot give up that nugget of hope that I will find some measure of relief one day.

Welcome to the continuation of my journey.

Turning 30 and a Trip

To celebrate my thirtieth birthday, my husband, son and I went away to Hamilton (New Zealand) for a few days. It was something I have been looking forward to for months.

Hamilton is an inland city surrounded by many farming areas with warm days and cold nights. I was born there and my family lived there for about two and a half years. It feels a bit like an anchor point for me. My Maori mihi grounds me in my land (Hamilton), my mountain (Taupiri) and my river (the mighty Waikato river).

Me at the Hamilton Gardens

Me at the Hamilton Gardens

On the way down we visited my Dad’s oldest brother and family. Once we arrived we explored the stunning Hamilton Gardens. My husband loves taking photos, so we posed for a fair few.

On our second day we were at the Hamilton Zoo bright and early, my son and I adore animals so we had a blast. With the animals fresh from a night away from the humans, we were lucky to see most of them wandering about. Nu especially loves birds.

Just Nu, me and some birdsTwo lovely ladies that I worked with a few years ago live in Hamilton now, so we visited them after Nu’s nap. I felt so special, they had prepared afternoon tea, dinner, dessert and a cake!

On the last morning, I did something very special, I made myself ride a horse. I have been scared of these giant, mostly gentle, creatures since an incident at a petting zoo in preschool! I met the most fantastic horse and his team at the Pirongia Clydesdales and we took a few turns in the garden. Me and my new friend

While we were away, we kept to usual (early) bedtimes due to Nu and I performed a body scan meditation each day. On the way home I was not feeling particularly well, so I performed a body scan meditation and sat quietly with my eyes closed for most of the trip.

The fatigue flared up and I had to leave work early on the first day back. Each day since, I have progressively become a bit less fatigued. It is different for the fatigue to be the most dominant symptom, though my neck joined in on the third day. I have mindfully taken it gently.

I am feeling spectacularly blessed, it was an ideal way to sail into my thirties. I look forward to many more experiments, more fun, more challenges and more love. x

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Some Fun with the A to Z Survey

I found this on Counting My Spoons, who in turn found it on another blog; this survey seems to have done the rounds a fair way around the Internet world. So, just for fun, I have filled it in. 
 
A to Z Survey

A – Age: 29
B – Biggest Fear: Hopelessness and that my symptoms would worsen to the point that I couldn’t even attempt a “normal” life.
C – Current Time: 11.30am
D – Drink You Had Last: A coffee using my Nespresso machine with Chai spices thrown in.
E – Easiest Person To Talk To: My husband and the middle of my brothers.
F – Favorite Song: If That’s What it Takes by Celine Dion.
G – Grossest Memory: Fresh in my mind! My son and I are down with a bad cold at the moment and he keeps coughing until he gags. A few nights ago he actually vomited, over me, him, his cot and the floor. I took off his clothes, my dressing gown and then he puked again. Off went the last of the clothes and we had to clean up orange/red (he’d had pasta and sauce for dinner) vomit with a very upset baby.
H – Hometown: Born in Hamilton, New Zealand. We moved down to Hastings and then to Wellington for 20 years and then up to Auckland. I consider Wellington my hometown, despite never wanting to live there again!
I – In Love With: My baby boy. My husband. My dog.

J – Jealous Of: People who can go to sleep and wake up refreshed.
K – Kindest Person You Know: My husband.
L – Longest Relationship: My husband and I have been together for two years, this is the only relationship that counts, it’s forever 🙂
M – Middle Name: Nicole.
N – Number of Siblings: Four!
O – One Wish: To be healed of the pain and fatigue.
P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: My mum.
Q – Question You’re Always Asked: “You don’t work full time?” Mostly by people who have no idea that chronic pain and fatigue make living tough enough, but to do it and be a good mama is even harder, then to add more than 20 hours of work – no thanks!
R – Reason To Smile: My baby. Even thinking about him makes me grin.
S – Song You Last Sang: “Here I am, Lord” the last of the four songs I always sing to my son when he is getting ready to go to sleep.
T – Time You Woke Up: 7.30am
U – Underwear Color: Black.
V – Vacation Destination: Doable and planned: Tauranga, New Zealand (my nana is there). Potentially doable but on the long-term list: Europe. Most dreamed of: Somewhere warm with a spa!
W – Worst Habit: Pushing on when I know my energy levels are gone and I’ll pay for it later.
X – X-Rays You’ve Had: Last, my back. Previously, pretty much everywhere, mostly my neck and back though.
Y – Your Favorite Food: Burgers. Mmm burger…
Z – Zodiac Sign: Libra, but I’m not really into that stuff.

Family Rituals

Being a relatively new family, I have all sorts of ideas for some rituals and traditions and I have spent this first year of marriage deliberately putting the framework in place for our own little family traditions. Some we have started and some we have to wait for our boy to be a little older for, but here they are:Picture
  • Family date day – recently we took advantage of a midweek day off (my husband works rotating shifts which include weekends) and wandered to the local beach where our nine month old was placed on varying items, including trees for us to photograph and for his delight. He adored the swing and turning wheel. On the way home we stopped for coffee. Divine. While baba and my husband napped in the afternoon, I got to read! Perfection.
  • Christmas Eve tradition – I recently read an article about Christmas Eve Boxes in which you can put new pairs of pajamas, popcorn, hot chocolate, a new game and a Christmas movie. I’d like to do this when my boy gets older. We just have to fit it in with my husband’s family’s tradition of midnight mass and present swapping (after midnight mass, I know, late!)
  • Birthday Sleepover Tradition – I like the idea of the three of us getting into pajamas and sleeping bags and snuggling up to watch a movie together (it could be like the Christmas Eve one!).
  • Anniversary traditions – because my husband’s family typically celebrates anniversaries with parties and in mine it is celebrated by the couple (think date night, alone) I have decided we are double celebrating! We are going to do a family lunch party and a fancy date night together.
  • Date nights – being in our first year of marriage and parents of a baby, I like to make the most of our time together. So we claim “mini date nights” regularly. We will either cook something nice for each other or order in. We typically snuggle up together and watch a movie we have been meaning to see. This is something I have deliberately put in place, even when I’m exhausted and sore, because if we start the way we mean to go on, then we will be having date nights and celebrating our relationship for years to come!
  • Time out – one of our resolutions this year is to have one night a month off. We started it off in January with a night away for a friend’s wedding, while my mother stayed at our house with the baby. It was lovely. We hope to alternate weekends alone with weekends with friends.
Are there any other family rituals that you follow?

5 Things That Keep Me Sane

Having a chronic illness is hard. So is having it while trying to raise a baby.
In addition to coping methods and lifestyle changes, the following things help keep me going:

  1. A close family. We’re all pretty close, but my sister and second brother, Luke, are my best friends. My mum helps me with the baby often and Luke keeps me company a lot. My other two brothers will often watch the baby so I can go for coffee with mum and Luke. My dad also regularly calls to see how we’re doing. If I need them, I know they’ll be there.
  2. My faith. I know there’s Someone bigger than me keeping everything together, so I don’t have to. Prayer, hope and grace are super important mechanisms I use to cope.
  3. Reading. I love to read. It’s my favourite. I usually read a few books at a time, have multiple requests with the library and a giant to read list on Good reads. Getting lost in a good book with a hot coffee is perfection.
  4. Passion. I am passionate about many things. This keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. Currently I’m in love with scrapbooking my baby’s first year and our wedding.
  5. My husband, baby and dog -my little family. They are why I am so fixated on trying to be well, why I push myself, why I smile every day.IMG_20141029_141835-EFFECTS

Six Months of Awesomeness

I’ve had my precious boy for six months.

So I think it’s time to take a minute and recognise how awesome I am for getting here.

I survived pregnancy with symptoms wildly exacerbated by the fibro. I also got married and found out I was severely iron deficient at week 28. The entire third trimester in which my back hurt so much that I couldn’t sit down for long periods of time.

I endured the labour and delivery, which included 20 hours of the worst back pain I’ve ever known. And the physical recovery that spanned further months afterward.

At week three, when my boy went back into hospital with an unknown problem that ended up requiring a minor operation, I coped. The nights that I stayed with him, not sleeping because he was vomiting so forcefully and so regularly. The nights that I stayed at home and expressed every three hours so that I would have food for him when he was ready.

Everything that is part of the new mama experience, not sleeping and not resting enough.

I’ve done it. I’ve conquered it. For many of those days I had a sore neck, headaches, nausea, aching legs and back and shoulders. For more still I was tired right down to my bones. For some I had an upset stomach,  if my neck was super bad I’d also be dizzy.

I am so unbelievably proud of myself.

I’ve also learnt so many things and developed as a person.

If you’re in that battle that is a new baby or pregnancy, know that you can do it. One day at a time, one step at a time. You will get through it. Remember to look after yourself, you need your strength to look after your beautiful baby.

Mama’s who have done the baby journey with additional issues are AMAZING!

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Changes and a Family Home

We have been looking for a house for a while. We have tried different neighbourhoods and different counties. We even considered buying a house for someone else to live in, as an investment, in an area we couldn’t live in.

But we have finally found a house in an area close enough to where we currently live and work. It has plenty of indoor and outdoor space for our growing boy. The neighbourhood is “up and coming”. But there are good schools around.

Now I’m excited to get to work with “cheap chic” decorating ideas. I’ve been waiting to decorate baby’s room and have made do with his scrapbook so far.

Of course, my first stop was the library. They have some great books on the subject. The next will be scouring the internet for ideas.

Last week baby started three short days per week with his in-home carer. I’m so thankful for this option of childcare. He will know and bond with his fully qualified early education teacher/carer, who will have no more than one other baby and no more than four children total at a time.

So the time has come to get back into my business and set up some work. Which is a bit exciting and scary at the same time. Will I have enough energy for work and my baby? Will I be able to find a good balance, physically? Will I have the energy to do other things? Will I be able to generate enough work to help is pay this mortgage? Will my neck pain skyrocket?

These questions can only be answered with experience. Please send positive thoughts my way!

Last Adventures

We embarked upon our last adventure before baby this weekend. We joined 10 friends in a beautiful beach front location, about two hours drive from our place, for one of their four night holiday. 

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From: www.dreamstime.com

It was the last time we would be able to join them for that sort of holiday as those holidays are not the type for a baby. As a pregnant woman I struggled! But it was fun. 

We also ventured over to visit some of my family, about 50 minutes further away from where we were. This will be the last time I see most of them until after baby. It was so lovely to have a family BBQ and spend time with my nana. My husband enjoyed the more in-depth meeting than the usual wedding catch ups that have previously passed. 

Baby is due in about nine weeks! It’s crazy how fast this time is going. We have prepared nowhere near as much as I’d like! I am counting down the last four weeks of work before my leave kicks in, as I am exhausted and have so much to do! 

After such a full on weekend, I am struggling today. But it was worth it! I do think that I am on the wind down now, though, no more late nights and long drives for me!