An unexpected visit to the ER

Last summer (2018) I left my work conference in Washington DC a day early – I took the greyhound home because it was the quickest I could get back.  Chris described his symptoms to me…he was crawling up the stairs, his legs were extremely painful – inexplicably painful that he could barely walk.  He had numbness and tingling spreading up his legs.  Chris went to urgent care where the doctor couldn’t really explain what was going on, but took several gallons of his blood to test for various things including Lymes Disease.  The doctor sent him home and told him if it started to spread up his body to immediately go to the Emergency Room.  I made it home and it was clear Chris was very ill, with what exactly we had no clue.  It was all very worrying.

The next day when Chris woke up the numbness and pain had started to spread to his hands and arms, so we sent Aviana off to daycare and headed to the nearest ER.  It was there that Chris was admitted into hospital for tests and observation.  The doctors were very concerned and he became that patient that would have had House M.D. appearing at his bed.  It was a mystery.  Each day they ruled out various diseases with tests and observations, new doctors and specialists appeared with their theories and hypotheses.

It was very difficult for me to leave Chris in hospital and go home to look after Aviana in the evenings. It was difficult for Aviana to understand why daddy couldn’t play with her.  The hospital is generally a terrifying place for a toddler, beeps, noises, wires, strange people etc aren’t overall very welcoming.  I had friends who helped to look after Aviana whist I visited Chris in hospital.  Of course this all happened when our regular sitter was out of town otherwise it would have been a whole lot easier to handle.  It made us realise how far away our family is in a time like this. Of course we were all worried.

Eventually Chris was discharged and told it was probably a virus and one of these things that happens. (Ummmm yeh, just one of those things???!)  When he became an outpatient Chris had some nerve tests done which confirmed he had nerve damage in his legs…and so was diagnosed with acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, also known as Guillain Barre syndrome.  It is basically an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly attack the outside of the nerves and damages the myelin insulation.  It is often triggered by an infection of some sort (he had some kind of stomach bug thing a few weeks before), but it can happen to anyone, anytime. They don’t know why it happens. Scary. Chris was told his recovery could take from 6 months to a year.  He was off work for several weeks, exhausted as he slowly gained his strength back.  He also suffered from a lot of ‘brain fog’ as well, so mentally he has had to build his strength back up before going back to work. There are still unknowns if this would ever come back again (chronic form), but so far, it’s looking promising.

Chris was lucky that this did not spread further to their parts of his body and that the damage did not require him to need physiotherapy nor need much longer hospitalization.

So that’s where I was and where I went to.  It was a crazy summer and I decided to take some time off blogging to focus on my family.  Then I got busy with learning how to sew and knitting blankets for local families who lose their babies (that’s another story for later).

I miss blogging but I have also been thinking very carefully about this blog and what I write about here.  At the forefront of my mind has been Aviana’s privacy, especially after reading an article about a kid asking her mother to stop blogging about her and her mother refusing to.  I don’t want to be that kind of parent, but at the same time I want to share my experiences as a parent. So I will return to this blog!

(Ps. the post I posted the other day was SOOOOO old and incomplete, sorry about that- I have a lot of draft posts I have yet to finish!  My goal is to finish them within the month!)

Goodbye 2018, you have been full of highs and lows.  Hello 2019 – what will you bring us this year??

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!

Daddy’s going back to work

Dani’s thoughts and feelings on Chris going back to work….

…it sucks.

The end.

That is all I wanted to write….but perhaps I should explain myself a bit more.  Although I reckon that many of you mums out there won’t need me to write an explanation because we probably feel the same way about our partners returning to work after parental leave.

Chris technically doesn’t get parental leave.  In the US, you are lucky to get any parental leave.  Chris saved up his annual leave to allow him to take 3 weeks off for both the birth and learning to become a dad.  Fortunately some of the days include public holidays – Christmas, New Years and Martin Luther King Day.  So that was lucky to get an extra few days without eating into his leave.

Chris’s company does give him a ‘transition week’, which when you add up the time off equals 2.5 days of parental leave.  What is a transition week? Well, he gets to work half days from home…allowing him to support his new family but ease both him and us into working life again.  Makes a lot of sense.  I’ll let you know how that goes!

So Chris’s last day of leave was last Friday.  It has been amazing to have him around.  He has been amazing.  I don’t know how mums do it when their partners go back to work within a few days…or worse, they are simply not around because they are deployed or for some other work related reason.  Why has he been amazing?

  • He has given me confidence that I can do this.
  • He supports my breastfeeding, by making sure I have everything I need – water, food, pillows, blankets, burp cloths, entertainment, timing the feeds.
  • He changes Aviana’s diapers/nappies.
  • He gets up at night to wake up Aviana, give Aviana to me whilst I am in bed so I can nurse her, then put her back down to sleep.
  • We share the burden of dealing with Aviana fussing at night.  But sometimes he takes on more of that share.
  • He has done the cleaning, washing, cooking, tidying, driving etc.  All the things I haven’t been allowed to do for the two weeks of my post partum recovery.
  • He is an expert in all things bath related for Aviana.
  • We take turns in dressing Aviana and trying to figure out what is and isn’t appropriate to wear!
  • He has dashed out to shops to get things we hadn’t thought of or ran out of sooner than expected.
  • He looks after Aviana, even when she is fussing, so that I can take a shower in the morning, and a bath at night (helps with my postpartum recovery).
  • Read the books, googled advice and hacks on looking after a newborn.  Sharing his newfound knowledge with me.
  • Tells me he loves me and how he loves seeing me being a mum.  He also makes me feel like I am more than just a mum to him, I am still his wife.
  • Encourages me to achieve one personal goal a day.
  • Cries with me when I randomly cry (which mostly has been at happy things or pure relief things have worked out well for us)

😦 Dani’s sad face.

The Inconceivable Adventures of Parenthood

Welcome to the Inconceivable Adventures of Parenthood!

Please let us introduce ourselves! We are Dani and Chris… We moved to Virginia, USA from the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, UK in 2013. Although we speak the same language, life in the US is a little different to living in the UK. Our amazing daughter Aviana  was born in the US in December 2016 just 5lbs 1oz as she suffered from Intra Uterine Growth Restriction (IUGR).

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Our new family of three – Dani, Aviana and Chris

Becoming parents wasn’t easy for us as we battled infertility.  The moment Aviana arrived into our world we were instantly smitten with her.  We had hoped and dreamed of becoming mummy and daddy for so long, you would have thought we were well prepared!  But no amount of classes, reading, family story telling or googling can prepare you for the whirlwind of becoming a parent.

This blog is a place for us to share our adventures in parenting.  It’s a place to vent, it’s a place for us to communicate with other parents, it’s a place to reflect openly on the things we have learned – the good, the bad and the ugly.  We may also talk about the observed differences between the UK and US as we navigate our way through the maze of advice, hints and tips on being awesome parents.

Sometimes we may talk about infertility, just because we have a daughter now it doesn’t mean our infertility has been cured.  We are still infertile.  Our perspectives on family may differ as our lenses have been coloured by the disease, both in the past and in the future.

Please join in the discussions by leaving us your thoughts in the comments section in each blog post!  We would love to hear what you think 🙂

If you want to know more about our infertility journey, I have a separate blog where you can find out more about how our family grew from 2 to 3…and may be in the future it will grow again!  I will still be blogging here on IF related posts.  Visit her at www.thegreatpuddingclubhunt.com

Dani X

Ps.  We are just getting this site up and running so forgive the cosmetics as we construct our blog home!