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Friday, 28 June 2013

Nine Month Rollercoaster

My dearest friends, family and followers,

I hope that today's post finds you as well as you can be and as content and at peace in yourself as your hectic lifestyles permit.

For those of you who missed my most recent post that I uploaded last month, (which I did not provide the usual Facebook and Twitter links for- apologies), you may be wondering where I have been for the last 9 months or so...

Well, if the length of my absence doesn't give the news away, then hopefully the photograph should provide you with a little more clarity...

I am indeed 37 weeks pregnant and about to welcome our much longed for baby into our lives anytime now!

Apologies in advance if you did indeed catch last month's post, but I feel that I must explain a little why this pregnancy has prevented me from being as productive in both my charity and my blog as I would have liked to have been over the last few months.

After seven years of being told by copious doctors and consultants that the chances of fulfilling our desires of having our own baby may be slim and complicated if indeed possible at all due to my disability and it's associated medical condition and medication- you can only imagine how excited and nervous we were when we  were finally given the go ahead to try for a family this time last year.

Despite defying the medical professionals fears of conceiving due to my investigations and treatments since my accident in 2006, even becoming pregnant wasn't without it's subsequent fears and complications.

My medical condition required me to take high levels of morphine and neurological drugs at the start of my pregnancy and the doctors could not tell us of the results of taking these medications on our baby. It has naturally been a scary and stressful time.

I was told that they were not too concerned about the morphine as the baby could be 'simply weaned off', of the morphine after birth, but the neurological drug was the one that they could not predict the 
consequences of.

Being the bloody minded fool that I am, having finally been given the opportunity to have the child that I had dreamt for so long, I wasn't about to just sit back and not try everything I could and use all of my strength to give my baby the best possible start that I could.

At 8 weeks into my pregnancy I went to hell and back again and managed to come off of the neurological drug completely.

I'm not going to lie- this was one of the worst times of my life and was made all the more difficult by battling with the rare pregnancy condition hypremesis gravidarum at the same time as my withdrawal.

Hypremesis Gravidarum is indeed what The Duchess of Cambridge was hospitalised with only one day before I too was admitted to hospital- so you can imagine my joy at the doctors' observations that both Kate and I were not only at the same point in our pregnancy, but also had husbands who were both pilots in the RAF. It was at this point when they were pointing out our matching length and colour of hair that I asked for the comparisons to stop there, as clearly our waist size and bank balance were very different indeed!

The hypremesis hell- ( I was sick 50 plus times a day for 23 hrs a day with just one hour's sleep if I was lucky. I was on drips for fluid and could not even take in water), went on for almost 5 months. Between this and my drug withdrawal, normal life as I knew it before pregnancy was nigh on impossible; however my motivation for keeping going was clear, the baby I was told I'd probably never have was growing inside me.

After the hypremesis had thankfully died down, I then began my next challenge, to reduce the morphine I had relied upon for survival for 7 years in my desperate attempt that I could come off of the morphine in time for the birth so that my little one would not be born addicted to the stuff that had ruled my life for so many years.

It was my request to try this, despite my consultant's options that this would be highly unlikely.

Again, this process has been horrible and one of the most difficult things that I have ever done, but as of two weeks ago I am thrilled to announce that my system is now clear of morphine for the first time in seven years.

My pain is obviously greater and I am indeed on some painkillers to control my neurological symptoms, but the consultants actually believe that in contrast to their previous fears that pregnancy would worsen my spinal condition and neurological disease, the symptoms actually appear to have been helped somewhat by the ligament loosening and pain numbing hormones that occur in pregnancy.
I have succeeded in my goal to come off morphine for the baby ( for the time being at least),  and this has been made possible by focusing upon mindfulness and adopting techniques that have been taught to me by my Daisy Birthing instructor and hypnobirthing teacher. Do look up Daisy Birthing and Natal Hypnotherapy if you are interested in doing what you can for yourself to prepare yourself for the unknowns of childbirth by following these links-

Lazy Daisy (Daisy Birthing)
Natal Hypnotherapy (Hypnobirthing)

I have found both of these methods great for getting on top of my pain pre childbirth and have every confidence that these methods will arm me with the tools to keep as calm as possible for my birth.

Despite these successes, I have naturally been less able to do as much practically to move the charity forward in it's planned goals for this first year of it's existence.

This being said, I am pleased to say that we have received some great support and encouragement from Esther  McVey, The Minister For Disabled People, who I met with last month, who loves our charity's plans and particularly the fact that we are focusing on the emotional support for not only the person who has become disabled, but also their partners and/or families.

We are thrilled to have this support and are looking forward to helping the minister with some further projects over the coming months.

I have also had the pleasure of recently taking a 'Lunch and Learn' talk for a major European construction company who enjoyed learning about what it means to become disabled and deal with the emotional fallout of becoming so.

As exciting as these things have been, sadly there is very little we can do to fulfil our goals of creating tailored emotional support for people who become disabled and their partners and families without donations.

Should you wish to help us create this much needed infrastructure of emotional support for people who become disabled through illness or injury, then do please send your cheques to-

Get a Life! Foundation is a registered Charity No. 1149041. 
Registered Incorporated Private Limited Company. Company No. 8219689. 

2-6 Cannon Street 

Or make your online payments to- 

Get a Life! Foundation

Sort code- 77-91-15
Account number- 68781868

We hope to be launching our online donate button on our website very soon, but in the meantime, please know how appreciated your donations are and how much we hope them to make a difference in the lives of families affected by becoming disabled.

Well, as I am currently experiencing braxton hicks at ever increasing intensity, I sign off today's post to you on a positive note...

There has been more than one occasion since my accident and diagnosis of my neurological condition that I have been told that having a baby would simply not be possible and that even if we did defy predictions and conceive, that my condition would be made dramatically worse by being pregnant.

Having always wanted to become a mum and share the joys of parenthood with my wonderful husband, I was simply never prepared to let these dreams die with so many others that have had to wither away and be put to bed since my life changed so much when I became disabled.

I am not so naive as to believe that everything is possible by simply believing, or rather refusing to believe that something will or will not happen, as sadly some things in life will not be possible for all for whatever reason; however I do believe that in my case, keeping faith and positivity that one day I would fulfil my dream in some shape or form has helped me to not only stay emotionally strong through the majority of the last 7 years that I have had to fight through to get this exciting point now.

I am by no means saying that I have not wobbled, cried and despaired that I would never reach a degree of happiness that I once knew pre-accident and disability, as this would be false.
I have cried so many times that my life has changed beyond recognition and on top of that I would not be able to be a parent either- however now I am actually here.
I am washing baby grows and attending baby showers ready to welcome the biggest change in my life since my accident in July 2006.
Not only am I thrilled to be proving so many doctors wrong, but I believe that with most things in my life I am appreciating this blessing even more intensely than I would have been had my accident not taken place and I not experienced the physical and emotional pain that I have over the last 7 years.

My life is lived in Technicolour compared to the life I used to sleep walk through before my accident. Every thing is felt more intensely now: yes, that may go for pain as well, but I also appreciate my highs in such a more intense way than I could have ever imagined.

Your goal may not be to have a child post life changing illness or injury, it may be to return to your career you once loved, or change career path completely. It may even be to regain some degree of the confidence in yourself you once knew but can no longer recognise.

Whatever your goal, don't write it off completely. It may take longer than you once thought it may do when you began your rehab.
You may have to take a different path to reach that goal, or perhaps you may even have had to adapt that goal slightly, but I do believe that with the right frame of mind and the right help (that Get a Life! Foundation are working to provide for you), that it is still possible to fulfil your goals and dreams.

This goes for those who haven't directly experienced a life changing illness or injury too- to improvise, adapt and overcome ( to steel the motto of the US Marine Corps once again!), applies to us all.

Life throws curve balls at us all and we all have to deal with unexpected change and learn to improvise our plans so that we can still reach our goal or at least adapt those goals to achieve something along similar lines.

As I leave you this afternoon to go and listen to my Natal Hypnotherapy CD and practise my Daisy Birthing techniques to give myself every chance of fulfilling my goal to have the natural birth I dream of, rather than the general anaesthetic that I was originally told would be my only option due to my spinal injury and medical condition, I urge you all to do all you can to succeed in your own goals whatever they may be.

I dearly hope that I will be dropping you a quick line to say that my new addition has arrived safe and well very soon.

In the meantime I thank you again for your support for the charity and for your patience with me during these difficult but wonderful last 9 months.

I wish you all good health and happiness.
Many, many thanks for your ongoing support,

Best wishes,

Karen. x