16 weeks 5 days

16 weeks 5 days

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Back t' yer roots, duck (19 weeks + 2 days) #PotteriesLove

Well. Goodness me. A LOT has happened since I last posted on here. I think I'll run through everything in order of importance. Major happenings are going to come first, and I'll leave the less interesting revelations until the end. So, without further ado:

1) Percy Piglet is the hungriest baby in the whole world. Ever.
Seriously, she does not stop eating. Ever. I don't know where she puts it all, because she's still only 12lbs... but my God, she can eat. We like chicken and squash rubbish; cheesy spinach crap; fruity porridge; eggy custard; normal porridge (shh it's not just for babies over 6 months...); rice pudding; and (the best) chocolate pudding (took me forever to find some, but I managed it in the end!). We still don't like bananas though. And we consume all of this alongside 5700000 oz of milk each day. Still no sign of any teeth yet, but she's Queen of the Dribbler's and Lord High Commander of the Fist Eaters, so I'm sure they'll appear soon.

2) Percy Piglet knows how to wrap Mummy around her little finger.
Note to all future parents: unless you plan on spending every waking moment doting on your child for their entire life, don't do it for the first 4 months. Percy is a very very very spoilt baby. I spend a lot of time not just with Percy, but actually on Percy. We're generally always having a chatter or a play, or reading stories. We're definitely always chattering. Constantly chattering. I probably spend more time talking to Percy than to anyone else. As such, we've now reached a stage where Mummy wants to leave Percy to play for 5 minutes whilst she goes, for example, to wash the bottles. Percy is not happy. Percy wants Mummy. Percy wants attention. Percy says, "PLAY WITH ME NOW, MOTHER!!!" And if I don't respond within 20 seconds, she has a trick. She does her little lip curl which she knows crucifies me. So I run over, and pick her up and within an instant she's smiling and giggling again. My own daughter knows how to manipulate me, and she is only four months old. Help.

3) Mummy is now officially a volunteer at the North Staffs Hospital!!!!!!!
WOOOOO, YAY! WOOOOOO! Had my interview this morning and they said everything was fine for me to start. Just need my CRB check to be sent off and then on the wards we go!!!! I've got a training day next week. I literally can't WAIT! I'm so excited about starting!!!!

4) Oh yeah, and we've kind of left home. No biggie...
Things weren't really working out, so we're staying with my Grandparents in Stoke at the moment until October. Need to formulate a plan as to where to go after then. The optimum situation would probably be to find somewhere in London that we could move into, prior to returning to Uni in January. So that's what we're aiming for at the moment. But who knows how it's all going to work out. We arrived on Monday, and so far it has been lovely. We've spent lots of time with Great Gran and Great Gramps. We've been over to see Great Nana and spent lots of time with her. We've joined the swimming baths (we're going to Parent and Toddler group tomorrow morning). We've got a running club on Saturday mornings. We're very much liking being able to walk to shops. That's wonderful. We also have a HUGE bed that has room for both of us to starfish in, so I am SUPER happy about that.

 Percy has been so good about the whole thing. She's adjusted so quickly, and settled in absolutely fine. She really is an angel. We left in a bit of a hurry and with limited baggage storage (i.e. it was whatever I could carry), so unfortunately Mummy banana brain left Percy's books and toys at Mimsy and Gramps' house (although I swear I put crinkle mouse in her bag...). Also left our lovely stash of baby food and bulk-bought nappies and wipes. So, at the moment, Percy has The Times and New Scientist as her bedtime stories, and we've bought some bargain Boots nappies to keep us going. 

We are survivors.

p.s. Everyone in Stoke is so friendly and I love the way they all speak. Seriously, yesterday some boys who were like 10 years old offered to help me with Percy's pushchair down some stairs. And I'm 75% sure that they weren't trying to steal anything from me. Ok, maybe only 70% sure. But still, a very lovely gesture.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Recap (18 weeks + 3 days)

Right! So, a little later than promised (as always!) but we're here with our recap of our week/fortnight. (It's a bit disjointed because I'm literally running through the main points of the past fortnight, so as not to have a post that is 12 feet long.)

SO. I believe the last time we updated our blog with general day-to-day things was when we were in Cambridge. We had a lovely time in Cambridge. As a place, it is lovely, and it was wonderful to see my friends again (who were so good with Percy- I was very very impressed). We would be very very very happy to spend four years at Cambridge.

Last Tuesday, had my mock driving test. OH MY GOODNESS. It was hysterical. I am officially the worst driver in the entire world. It was appalling. I don't even want to talk about it, it was that bad.

The following Thursday, went to sit my UKCAT. I was very stressed about the whole thing (as may have been apparent from those of you who are friends with me on fb), but it actually turned out fine. I was reasonably pleased with my result, and I've scored high enough to be considered for the places that I may want to apply to. (Minor boast: I actually got full marks on the quantitative reasoning section because I'm such a super nerd.)

I took Percy swimming on Wednesday, which was lovely. She really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it. We managed half an hour in the pool which was longer than I thought we would! I think we're definitely going to make it a weekly thing.

In other baby related news, she has been absolutely fine since the glass incident last week. There hasn't even been a hint of a black eye (Thank God!)

I think she might be teething at the moment because she's constantly trying to put everything in her mouth and chew it, and she's dribbling all over me. I am not being melodramatic when I say constantly. It's great.I love being covered in Persephone saliva. My Mummy said that none of us started teething until we were 6 months old, so if she is teething she must be getting that from her fathers side (apparently teething is genetic? I haven't looked into this yet so if anyone knows if this has any factual basis I'd love to know. Also if anyone knows if her dad was an early teether, I'd love to know that too. In fact ANY health-related information about his side of the family would be really beneficial for us).

I spent yesterday trying to get Percy to roll over. She can roll from her back onto her side, but not quite on to her front yet, so I was trying to encourage her to do that. She seems to be more preoccupied with trying to sit up at the moment though! She is not happy if she is lying down and everyone else is sitting up, and desperately tries to pull herself up. I keep trying to explain that she's still too small, but she refuses to listen. Who knows, by the time we write the next entry she might have actually achieved it!

p.s. I promise we'll write a less rushed, more eloquent blog next week. I'm currently trying to speed-knit Pippa's birthday present (it needs to be ready by Sunday) and I've still got quite a bit to do. I also need to start her birthday cake so needless to say I'm a little preoccupied! 

Friday, 11 July 2014

And Time Stood Still (17 weeks + 3 days)

Ok, so I'll give a brief overview about the past week later on (probably Monday), but the main focus of this post regards things that have happened to us today. It's been quite eventful, and something that (I imagine?) the majority of parents can relate to (in some way or another).

There are a fair few moments where I have said "This is 110% the worst thing that has ever happened. Nothing will come close to this. This is truly atrocious." These have ranged from the now insignificant: getting a U in a Maths AS-Level mock; behaving like an idiot when I've been drunk; my interview for Imperial (buy me a couple of gins and I'll tell you all about that one!), to those which have been a bit more serious (I'm not so willing to share those. Become my best friend, buy me a couple of bottles of gin and I might tell you those at 2am). Today, I can officially say, has topped all of these moments. Today I did the worst thing that I have ever done.

It was around 3pm when it happened. Percy had been fed about half an hour before. She seemed a bit tired so I took her upstairs and put her on our bed. It was warm, so I went to open our window. As I pushed the window open, I knocked an empty glass off the windowsill.

The windowsill which is directly above our bed.

The bed where Percy was lay.

And time stood still. 

It's missed her, it must have missed her, if it had hit her she'd be crying wouldn't she? Have I actually just knocked a glass off? How could I be so stupid? This is not happening. It's not happening. Can I go back? Yes, just go back. We don't need the window open, the window can stay closed, oh my gosh the glass is smashed.

And then time started.

 Percy started crying. Really crying. I started crying. I was frantically cuddling her, trying to conceive what had just happened, and what I may have just caused. I literally didn't know what to do. I was in shock. I called my Mummy. Mummy had gone out for lunch with her friends; she wasn't anticipating receiving a phone call from a hysterical daughter. My Mummy is amazing. She came home straight away and took charge of the situation. We took Persephone up to the doctors where she was immediately seen by both the nurse and the doctor. They checked her over and assured us that she was absolutely fine and they weren't worried. We've been given information on minor head injuries and told to keep an eye on her and if she deteriorates call them again.

At the moment she's lay next to me. She's just finished another feed and she's happy and smiling and chatting away. They've said she might end up with a black eye but at the moment she's just got a red mark above her eyebrow. I'm filled with guilt. I feel like a terrible mother. I am eternally grateful to my Mummy and everyone at the doctors, all of whom were truly wonderful. Persephone is going to be locked up in a bubble for the remainder of her life. I am using plastic cups from now on.

And I have been reminded of what the most important thing in my life is. It's not how fast I can run. It's not how well I do in entrance exams. It's not how good my tan looks. It's my beautiful baby, who I am so blessed to have, and who I love more than words can describe.

p.s. Trudie if you're reading this, kindly stop stalking me, and go and get a life

Friday, 4 July 2014

Judgement Day

Right, so we ended up missing last weeks blog post because we've been very very busy ladies but, as promised, we are back and marginally less upbeat. In fact, if I had to choose a word to describe how I was currently feeling I would say....pensive. Yes. Today has brought on a pensive mood.

HOWEVER, let me recap over what has been happening in our lives before I start getting all deep and reflective and meaningful (i.e. angry and rant-y).

Percy has been getting very very very very hungry recently and I've been giving her lots of different things. She loves fruity porridge. She loves rusks with milk. She even loves (wait for it) cheesy spinach and potato bake (goodness me...). Unfortunately, she appears to really not like banana. Which is fine. I guess. Except that I've bought about 10 pots of various banana flavoured foods. So... that sucks a bit. I'm hoping that it was a case of introducing too many new flavours, too quickly? So I'm going to try again in a couple of days (but honestly, she really seemed to not like it).

Driving is going really well. I've got a mock test next week. Exponentially nervous. But also absolutely buzzing. Percy and I are also running a 5K with Mimsy, Auntie Bean and Auntie Pippa next Sunday (13th July), so we're looking forward to that.

Percy was supposed to have some vaccines yesterday but we had to reschedule them (see below). That means that the nurse missed out on the chance to mispronounce her name (I love her, but she always forgets how to say it).  I'm starting to thing that her name should have the phonetic spelling on official documents so that people know how to pronounce it: "Per-sef-oh-nee". Or maybe some kind of "sounds like" game: "Persephone- rhymes with Stephanie".

As I've mentioned, I am in the process of applying for Graduate Entry Medicine. I'm assuming that unless there are any other prospective GEM students reading this that most people won't know how the course works. It's an accelerated version of the undergraduate course and it's only available for people who already have a degree (so basically, it does what it says on the tin. It's pretty self-explanatory). It also differs in the way that you can apply for funding. Because it's a second degree, the finance criteria are different and you have to self-fund the first £3465 of your tuition fees. You aren't entitled to any maintenance grants either. Financially, it's a bit daunting for anyone. When you have a baby aswell, it's petrifying. Trying to plan how I am going to feasibly find that sort of money has given me a number of sleepless nights.

 In addition to this, the courses require different sets of entrance exams. Some want you to sit the UKCAT, some want you to sit the BMAT, and others want you to sit the GAMSAT. They're all different types of aptitude tests. But, again, you have to pay for them. Now, because I am a lone parent on a low income (i.e. basically nothing) I am eligible for a bursary to cover the fee for my UKCAT exam. Which is brilliant. That is a big help. The other exams don't have that kind of system in place. So, I have to pay for the BMAT, which is in the region of £60. I also have to pay for the GAMSAT. Which is £234. Again, scary number. Bear in mind aswell that there is no guarantee of getting in if you sit the exams. So I could spend that money and be rejected outright from all four of my chosen universities. Which is really scary. There's a lot of fear and anxiety going on at the moment.

ANYWAY, (this is all leading somewhere, I promise), my thinking was that it would be best for me to look at all the prospective universities I wish to go to and then evaluate my choices after deciding if I liked them. Basically, I didn't want to have to end up paying to sit an exam that I wasn't going to require for my application.

So, last Wednesday, I went to my first open day at Swansea. Swansea require you to sit the GAMSAT and don't have any financial aid for low income students regarding tuition fees. I went to Swansea hoping that I wasn't going to enjoy it for that reason. Unfortunately, I loved it. I loved the sound of the course; I loved that you get put on wards and clinical placement so early on; I loved that it was a small school so everyone knew each other; I loved the diversity of the applicants; I especially loved Dr Heidi Phillips, who I found completely and utterly inspirational. Location-wise, it would be lovely for Percy. It's a city, yet it's not too urban; it's right next to the beach; it would be a really lovely place for her to spend a part of her childhood. I really really liked Swansea.

Percy spent the day with Mimsy (my Mummy), and was not a happy bunny. We're not sure if this is possibly because she was still feeling a bit poorly, or because it was the first time I'd been away from her for so long. Either way, poor Mimsy had a bit of a rough time and I felt incredibly guilty about both that, and my poor Piglet being upset.

This week, I've had another two open days. Yesterday, I went to Warwick. Warwick ask for the UKCAT (yay!), but like Swansea, have no tuition fee aid. Warwick is completely the opposite to Swansea in terms of size: they have the largest graduate programme for medicine in the country. However, when I was there, I liked the sound of that. And I loved the sound of their course. And the way that their case-based learning was structured. And here, I loved Dr Colin Melville. And (as silly as this sounds), there was something about the place that I really liked but I just couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. But, in terms of location for Persephone, it didn't have that beauty that Swansea did.

Again, Percy spent the day with Mimsy. But this time she was absolutely, 100% fine. (Obviously she'd had enough of me and felt like she needed a bit of space).

So, as it stood this morning, I had been to two open days and seen two completely different medical schools, both of which I absolutely adored, but for different reasons. I think it comes down to the fact that I am trying to work out what is best for both of us, not just for myself. Today was my third open day. Today, I went to look at Cambridge. Today, I took Persephone with me.

I like Cambridge. Cambridge is a world-renowned institution. I like that. That is part of what I love about Imperial. (I'm not saying that other establishments that I'm considering are not of the same calibre, that is not my opinion at all. I'm simply quoting league tables for overall performance). Cambridge has a tuition bursary for students on a low-income. For their undergraduate course they require the BMAT entrance exam; I'm under the impression that this is the same for the GEM course.

The main reason that Percy came with me today, was that we are seeing some of my friends tomorrow (in Cambridge) who I went to Uni with, and as such we're staying here overnight as opposed to going all the way home just to come back again.  She's also generally very well behaved. She rarely cries, as long as I keep on top of everything and don't run out of bottles or forget to have cooled boiled water in the fridge. At Warwick, I made it very clear to the head of the medical school that I had a baby, and he was incredibly supportive, and said that they were very flexible with parents and it was perfectly feasible to be able to study the course and be a Mother.

Today, I felt like I was treated differently. I want to first make it clear that I am not referring to staff at all when I say that. I didn't speak to any staff members today (except for a lovely lady who let me in through the non-stairs way). I spoke to one of the students who was running the event, and whether it was intentional or not, he looked at me as though he pitied me. And I really didn't like that. I thought it was rude. I thought it was narrow-minded. I thought it was incredibly judgmental.

So, boy who looked at me with pity, next time you see me, I'm going to be training to be a doctor. Because regardless of what you may think of me and my child, we are awesome. We are going to be incredibly successful. And any establishment would be lucky to have us.

I've got several more places that I'm looking at before I make any firm decisions as to where I want to apply. We've got Kings next week, and Oxford the week after. I also want to visit Nottingham. Today has definitely spurred me on though. In terms of motivation, whilst I haven't been lacking in it, I've definitely been having a bit of a confidence crisis. Academically it would be so much easier to remain in Chemistry and pursue a PhD. Medicine is new. Medicine is exciting. Medicine is unknown. So, there's an element of fear there, of the unknown. When I go to these open days, I seem to suffer from superiority and inferiority complexes simultaneously. In my heart, I know that this is the path that I'm meant to be pursuing and I have so much passion for it. When I encounter others who are after the same goal, I know that I would be better than them, and yet I fear that they are better than me. The dichotomy of the entire thing is really odd. I need to go and do some public speaking or something to get my confidence up.

Anyway. Rant over. Needed to get that off of my chest. I'm really looking forward to the moment that everything falls into place.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

"We are the champions, WEEEEE ARE THE CHAMPIONS" (14 weeks + 5 days)

WE HAVE NOW OFFICIALLY COMPLETED OUR FIRST HALF MARATHON!!!!!
(By "we", I technically mean "I" since Percy was relaxing on the sidelines with Mimsy, Gramps and Auntie Pippa.)

Managed to complete it in 2 hours and 5 minutes. So just past what I wanted to achieve. But considering how atrociously hot it was, I wasn't that disappointed. I'd done the majority of my training in the evening so I really wasn't used to the heat! That's something to take note of for next time!

I can honestly say that around the 3 mile point, I didn't think I was going to make it. The start was vile (literally tripping over people's feet) and then I just hit my wall really early on. And then at the tenth mile I twisted my knee. Honestly, this running is dangerous business. (Although it's completely my fault, because I should have worn my knee support.)

Anyway, to summarise, I am now ABSOLUTELY BUZZING and have signed up for a 10k in September. Percy will be accompanying me on that one because I can cope with a pushchair for that distance.

Also this week, we have had some very exciting milestones. Percy did her first ever proper laugh on Friday! She's been giggling for while, but this was a serious laugh. We were very kindly given a bumbo chair, and decided to try it out. Hence, the laughter. To begin with. After a few minutes of laughing, it all became far too much and she got overexcited and a bit upset. But it was lovely. It was so so so cute. My favourite noise in the whole world.

We've also been poorly ladies :( Mummy has had a vile cold and Percy has a cough. (Another reason I was happy to abandon my dreams of a two hour half-marathon: we've been in bed half of the past week trying to recuperate!)

I don't think I mentioned in any of my previous posts, but we've been taking some baby massage lessons, which we've been finding really interesting. We've only covered legs and tummy so far, but Percy seems to really like it. After the first one she instantly fell asleep without crying or fussing. I was very impressed. So big recommendations regarding baby massage. Yay for baby massage!

And a quick final note regarding cosleeping. I've said before that Percy has been sharing my bed and I'd been trying to get out of the habit of it. It hasn't worked and my bed is now firmly our bed. I was, however, getting a bit worried about her rolling over. Obviously, I didn't want her to fall onto the floor! But at the same time, I'd read that you shouldn't use the bed guards with small babies because they can get caught between them and the mattress and end up suffocating. So I had a bit of a predicament. Until: I stumbled across this thing on amazon called the baby bed barrier? (or something similar). It's basically a giant foam wedge that goes on top of your mattress and is held in place by your own sheets and bedding. It's amazing. The edge of the mattress is obviously now raised so she can't roll off, and because it's essentially part of the bed there's no chance of her getting stuck anywhere accidentally.

So, to conclude: baby massage, foam wedges and running are all really really awesome and fantastic and everyone should have them in their lives.

p.s. I promise to be more moody in my next post once I've gotten over my runner's high.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The F Word

Today is Father's Day.
Today is the first Father's Day that my Mummy will be spending without her Dad.
Today is the first Father's Day that my Daughter will be spending without her Daddy.
Today is a very different Father's Day.

Mummy has written a poem in memory of Grandy. She said I should pass some sort of social comment on the day. I started by trying a poem about Percy's dad:
"We don't need you,
Because you don't give a toss,
And we just wanted to say,
It's your loss."
Evidently poetry is not my strong point.

I thought about getting myself a card from Percy and spending the day with a moustache drawn on my face. (To symbolise the fact that I am both parenting roles: not because I am losing my mind.)

I considered saying nothing, but felt that my silence would be doing her an injustice.

I'm surprised by my feelings surrounding Percy and her having a relationship with her Father. I chose to keep her. I always knew that it was going to be just us. And I truly believe that is what is best. I do not want her to think that the way her Father treats women is the way she should allow herself to be treated. However, there is a part of me that feels guilty. My Mummy could always rely on my Grandy. I can always rely on my Daddy. Percy does not have that figure in her life. And that is because of me. 

I am aware what people will say about this. That I shall be fine on my own. That she doesn't need a Father. That I can do both roles. And that is what I am doing. And I will try my best. I am going to attempt to be the best Daddy that any Mummy can hope to be. 90% of the time I think I can do it. 90% of the time, I am positive that everything is going to be wonderful. But sometimes, I worry that I am not going to be enough for her. 

I am lucky enough to have my Daddy with me. He is truly a wonderful man, and I couldn't ask for anyone better to be my Father. He has been a strong male role model for me throughout my life. I am grateful that Percy has him.

Today is my first Father's Day.
Today will be the hardest Father's Day for my Mummy.
Today will be the easiest Father's Day for my Daughter.
Today is a very different Father's Day.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Medicine, Milk, Marathons and Mischief (11 weeks + 1 day)

So then... big news of the week: It was Rob who pushed Tina! :O

Seriously, that has probably been the big news of the week. Not a lot has been happening baby-wise or mummy-wise. Not that I can think of anyway... I've definitely still got residual baby brain. (Seriously, it needs to clear up soon.)

I've spent the majority of today trying to make Percy laugh. She's very smiley and very vocal and so close to laughing, but she's just not quite there. Cue lots of googling "how to make your baby laugh". Which returns results like "blow raspberries on her feet". Actually spent about half an hour doing that. All that resulted was I had a very alarmed looking baby who clearly thought I'd lost my mind (maybe I have...?) And still no laughter. I guess I'm just going to have to be patient.

All her new hair has properly come through now. She still looks a little like Friar Tuck because of the colour difference between the new and the old hair. Nowhere near as much as she did before with her bald patch though. (Poor Percy. I'm a terrible mother. Really shouldn't be saying these things about my baby. She's beautiful, even if she does look like a balding middle-aged man <3) In other head-related news, I've discovered that she hates headbands even more than she hates hats. Clearly head accessories are a big no-no.

Reports from Mummy's life... Passed my driving theory test (Thank GOODNESS). Considering that I'd passed it last time, it would have been very embarrassing if I'd failed it. I've got an interview for a hospital volunteering placement, and I attended an open day for another. Which was really interesting actually. I'm really looking forward to starting. I've also fallen in love with Jillian Michaels. Seriously, my abs have never been so good. Love you Jillian, Jillian you are a Goddess, marry me Jillian. And we've got less than a month to go until our half-marathon (http://www.justgiving.com/Harriet-Stanway) which I am VERY nervous about. I want to complete it in under two hours. Which may be a little optimistic. We will have to wait and see!