Tuesday, 28 December 2010

First 2 weeks of being a Mum

So little Nathan entered the world on Tuesday night and I knew i was looking at a couple of days in hospital. I think sometimes when you have NO choice you just need to get on with things. You accept it and adjust.

We were wheeled to our ward and i tried to get some sleep but i think i only managed an hour. Before the other girls on the ward had even woke up, I was up, showered, dressed and had my MAKE UP ON! Im sure they thought i was mad. Who cares about make up at a time like that? The girl in the bed next to me who had gave birth at the same time was practically in a coma, but not me. I was buzzing about the ward, seeing to Nathan and getting some breakfast.

Fathers are allowed to visit all day so Gerry soon arrived. My appetite was back with a vengeance and I was looking to find out where I could get some lunch. Apparently there was a cafe in the next building. So off i went leaving Gerry with Nathan. I was on the 3rd floor so i made my way down the stairs and walked to the cafe. This seemed like a good idea in theory but i did regret it half way there. It was quite a tough walk in the snowy slush, in slippers... and I had 2 hills to tackle. I bought loads! With 2 heavy bags I made the trip back. I felt good at the time. Independent even. but looking back i was doing far too much too soon and should really have been resting in bed. Soon I had a rush of visitors which was lovely and between them and the midwives constantly popping in, the day flew by. Gerry left at 9pm and i went to bed. Well sleep wouldn't come very easily and I think i only managed about 2 hours.

I kept looking over at Nathan in his little crib and I just felt really strange. I couldn't get my head around the fact that he was mine. I made him. It just didn't seem real at all. He didn't look like me really, not what I expected my child to look like. But i think it was more to do with the labour. In my head giving birth was all about pain. Pushing, puffing, panting and in the end this little baby coming. But i think my problem was (without being too graphic) because i didn't actually FEEL Nathan come out, it just wasn't gelling in my head. Throughout my whole pregnancy my tummy grew but even then i couldn't actually believe there was a baby inside me. I thought when he was born it would all just click. But it didn't. This sounds weird and some of you might even think its something to be concerned about. It wasn't like that. I loved him immediately and mothered him the way nature intends. But it definitely took a while to get my head around.

Lying in bed that night I decided it was time to go home. I was fine, Nathan was fine. I wanted to get home to my own surroundings and home comforts. Only problem was I wasn't sure that the hospital would agree. The thought of spending another day in hospital was ok, but to be told I COULDN'T leave wasn't something i was ok with. I was ready to go. When an agoraphobic is ready to leave... well... we know that feeling, the sense of urgency.

As soon as the midwife made her first visit i was on her case. 'Can i go home today'?? I was told that if the paediatrician gave Nathan the all clear we could go. I got on the phone to Gerry who wasn't allowed on the ward till 12.30 and told him we were getting out, come pick us up. At 10am he arrived on the ward armed with the car seat. I'm sure if he had been spotted he would have been asked to leave but i managed to hide him in a corner till visiting was allowed. Again the midwives visited and i was checked over. Each time i asked again 'can i go yet'. I should have just relaxed but i got myself quite stressed about it. We were warned of more bad weather and there was no way I was going to be stranded in the hospital due to the roads being so dangerous. I looked out the window and seen the snow start, RIGHT as i was having my blood pressure taken. No surprise I was told my heart rate was again a little too quick but i explained it was just nerves and had them re-take it in 5 minutes. Thankfully it had gone down. I packed my case and was literally sitting on the bed with Nathan in his car seat and me with my jacket on just waiting for the go ahead to leave. The girls on the ward did ask why i was in such a rush but i just made up some excuse about wanting a bath (i didn't know there was one on my ward). I really don't know how i would have reacted had they told me i was to stay again. Thankfully that never happened and I was allowed to go.

Ok new stress now. The journey home with this little baby. Gerry and I had our first fight seconds after leaving the hospital while trying to get the car seat in the car. I hadn't really slept since Sunday night, not properly anyway. This was now Thursday. I had impressed everyone on the ward with my get up and go but it was clear i had been running on adrenalin and i knew that i was going to crash eventually. And so as we struggled with the car seat I could feel myself ready to crack. 'Just get home and everything will be ok'

We drove home in strained silence and made our way to the flat. As soon as we walked in the door BOOM!!!! I lost it. I put Nathan down and I looked at him and felt filled with fear. Who was this little guy? Hes mine?? That cant be right. I haven't just had a baby. What if I'm rubbish at this. What if I cant cope. What if I let him down. This house is a mess. I need to get organised. I cant settle in this disorder. Wheres Nathans pram Gerry.

I ranted and raved and my head was spinning. I was SCREAMING at Gerry at this point. And instead of him being psychic and maybe realising my hormones were all over the place and i was just panicking, he fought back, which obviously didn't help. I asked him to fetch me things and he refused. If he had just went along with it, i might have been ok. But instead he stood his ground which made me even worse. Why isn't he helping me? This isn't going to work. To be fair i wasn't just shouting. I was hysterical. I was in tears and really I looked like I had lost the plot. And not only was I scaring Gerry but I was scaring myself. The responsibility of this little baby had hit me like a ton of bricks and i just didn't think I was up to the job. But what choice did I have? He is my son so i cant just give him back. I cant run away from it because number 1 - I would never forgive myself and number 2 - I didn't want to! But i was still terrified and freaking out. I was imagining the worst really instead of just taking each day as it came. I was visualising panic attacks and madness and being house bound and this poor baby suffering. In the end i had to call my mum. My poor mother. She must have been worried but she made her way to my house and tried to get me to sit down and relax. I couldn't though, i needed everything in order. I assembled his pram, put it in its place, i unpacked gifts, took the bins out, sorted out his clothes and then finally I sat down and had a cup of tea. With the house spotless and everything in its place my head started to seem clearer. Ok,i just had to get through this one night and take it from there. In a weeks time i will be in some sort of routine and this wont be so damn scary.

Nathan is such an easy baby at times and luckily he slept all day and night in between feeds. I think I needed it that night. Had he been hard work I might have panicked, but he was great and I was able to settle in.

The next few days are a blur of visitors and still no sleep. I'm breast feeding the little one and have been told to feed on demand. He is a hungry little guy so I get woken up at all hours. I used to really struggle with lack of sleep and would get really anxious if i didn't get at least 6 hours! but now i never get that and I don't mind. Like i said earlier, when you have no choice you just need to adapt.

Next issue. We needed to register Nathans birth. Pfffft i thought i was off the hook for a while and could just enjoy my baby. I didn't think i would be fighting my agoraphobia for a while. Registering him required travelling out of my comfort zone. My first thought was, Gerry can go do it. but when i looked into it I discovered that I HAD to be there! I did actually put it off for a couple of days, don't tell Gerry. I told him the office was too busy and i couldn't get an appointment but i knew it had to be done eventually. The weather on the day was awful. The place was covered in snow but worse we had thick fog. I have said before i am NOT fan of fog. It makes me very anxious and claustrophobic. I know i couldn't cancel though as Gerry would go nuts. I didn't want to take Nathan out in that weather though so my mum came to sit with him while we were out. I wont lie, it was hard this time. The registry office was somewhere that I haven't been in a long time, and if i DID go there in the past it would be with me driving. But this time Gerry was the driver and I sat there in the passenger seat sweating. Every set of traffic lights we came to turned red and my anxiety climbed the charts. There were definitely a few moments when that urgent feeling came over me and I wanted to shout OK TURN THE CAR AROUND AND TAKE ME BACK. But i fought it. 'Remember this will pass'. We got to the office and I still struggled. I asked the women on the reception if we could be seen asap as i was feeling sick, but I was told there was someone else before me. The anxiety came in waves and i tried to distract myself in many ways. I had visions of me running out screaming. Or running into the room and ranting 'OK IM LYNN THIS IS GERRY THE BABY IS NATHAN FILL OUT THE FORMS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE AS I NEED TO LEAVE GO GO GO GO GO' Finally the person in front left and we were seen. Slowly my anxiety reduced phew!

The days have passed so quickly and as I write this Nathan will turn 2 weeks old. How has it really been? Has it been as hard as everyone describes.. Well truthfully and as i say this i touch wood, but no. I love it. We quickly got into a routine and although there are still sleepless nights I don't mind. If we have a bad night we curl up together on the sofa during the day and have a little nap together. I breast feed so i don't have the hassle of constantly making up formula or sterilising bottles. Nathan can sleep for HOURS and so I'm able to do my house work. Our families totally dote on him and we go visiting. I'm a dab hand at changing nappies etc. I love that Nathan knows my voice and no one can settle him as quickly as I can. How he seems content when i am near. The hard part for me has been health issues. He does this thing that i REALLY appreciate where he holds his breath and goes a lovely shade of purple. As you can imagine this sends me into a panic and although outwardly I'm all calm and just pat his back and make cooing noises...inside i am screaming and visualising running into my neighbours house holding a sick baby asking if she knows mouth to mouth. But the more he does it, the more used to it I am and i don't freak so much anymore.

The final issue only happened yesterday and this was a hard one for me. We had been invited to Gerry's parents for lunch. This was going to be a challenge for me but i accepted it as I want Nathan and I out doing things together. I wont let agoraphobia affect going out with my son (well within reason). But I had a sleepless night previously AND had a bit of a dodgy tummy. You know sometimes when something is just beyond you. Like one day you need to go to the supermarket and although it scares you, you go and you struggle through it. But other days you might need to go but you just know its not the right time and your bound to feel terrible. Well I was having one of those days. I didn't want to panic but more importantly i didn't want to panic in front of Nathan. Ok he may be too young to understand but I didn't want to take the chance, knowing that if i DID panic in front of him it would probably only make me more upset. So, all day i dreaded telling Gerry and when i did he was not a happy bunny. I also knew his parents were very excited to have Nathan over. How could I let everyone down? In my head I knew the sensible solution was for Gerry to go and to take Nathan with him. But in my heart I didn't think it was possible. I didn't want to be apart from my baby. I couldn't tell Gerry that i wasn't allowing him to take his son out. I couldn't deprive his parents of seeing their grandson.

So Gerry got Nathan into his car seat. Uh oh this was a bad idea. I felt physically sick and i started sobbing! He was only going to be about a 20 minute drive away but to me it was too far. I imagined Nathan crying for me and me not being there. Or i imagined me having a panic attack and not being able to make it stop until my son was home. I tried to hold it together. I know its only because Nathan is so new and that in time ill be grateful for someone taking him away and giving me a break for a while. But it was just too soon! This will be good for Nathan, he will enjoy it etc etc but suddenly i was really upset and asked Gerry not to take him through my tears. He simply said 'we are going visiting' and walked out the house.

Well i was a mess! I had to phone my mum and with every minute i was aware Nathan was getting further and further away from me. She told me to enjoy the rest and assured me Nathan would be fine. but I couldn't rest. I attacked my house in a cleaning frenzy as a distraction. Floors were swept and mopped, washings done, hoovering done, dishes washed. I ran myself a bath and by the time Gerry came home I had done so much housework i hadn't even managed to have my bath. 3 hours I passed. The longest 3 hours ever!!

And so i know this is going to be a battle. Today Gerry and I argued and he through his favourite insult in my face. The one he thinks will get a rise out of me. 'You never go out' or 'You cant leave the house'. This REALLY pisses me off because, well i CAN go out, but also hes touching a nerve and making it all an issue again. How cruel. and how horrible to dismiss all my hard work and achievements. Maybe the old me couldn't go out but now i do, and look at me trying to justify myself. He shouldn't say it just cause its not very nice!

Anyway that's been my first 2 weeks as a mummy and apart from these anxious moments i am loving every minute. And in a way I have even loved the anxious parts because i tell myself that every time i over come one of these it makes me a bit stronger. That was definitely how i dealt with Nathan being away, telling myself that it was something i needed to get used to and something that would get easier. Next up, New Year. Whats everyones plans. I think we should vow that 2011 is going to be a good one. For me 2010 has been one to remember!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Labour

Well a week has passed since the birth and its high time i told you what happened.
So last Monday I was sat at home in quite a bit of pain. My due date wasn't actually till the Thursday but i had a good idea that i had gone into labour. I was told I wouldn't be admitted to the hospital till I was 7cm dilated and so i braved it out at home. The pain was coming and going but it was bearable and that's why i wasn't rushing to hospital in a panic. I realised it was going to be a long process and since i was happy to ride it out at home i was sure i was quite a long way off from giving birth.

As Monday progressed the pain grew and came more frequently but it was still all over the place and not regular like they tell you contractions should be. I spent Monday night on the couch just breathing through them but by now the pain was less tolerable and i got no sleep whatsoever.
Tuesday morning i felt a little better. The pain was easing which was a little confusing. So i set my laptop up and started checking emails. Then suddenly POP. My waters broke. Uh oh this was really happening now. I rung the hospital and they asked me the colour of my waters. 'Brown' i told them. The nervous sounding midwife explained this could be a sign that the baby had pooed and i needed to get up to the hospital immediately and into the labour suite.

Well OMG i wasn't happy. I was terrified! My fears of travelling etc had to be brushed aside. No matter how i was feeling i had no choice but to do as I was told and get to hospital asap. I thought this meant that i would need a C Section and so i was even more frightened but more than anything i just wanted the baby to be ok so i rushed off to gather my things.

The drive to the hospital was fine although obviously my head was filled with negatives wondering how serious this was and would the baby be ok. When i got there they checked me over, confirmed the baby had pooed and took me straight to the labour suite. No slow labour for me I was put straight on a hormone drip which would speed the process up considerably. They wanted the baby out quick!

With Gerald by my side I begun my 'labour'. The hormones worked quicker than I imagined and before i knew it the contractions were regular, close together and OUCH painful! 'Remember your breathing' I told myself and i puffed and panted through each one. At this point i grew more frightened and one of the machines began to beep. My heart rate was up at 140 bpm.I dont know if this is very high but it was higher than they would have liked. But i explained it was anxiety and with some breathing i would be back to normal soon. Thankfully there was so much going on that I didn't really have a chance to get anxious. I had other work to do. Puff, pant. Deep breath in and long breath out. I kept going without any pain relief. I figured it was going to get much much worse and so i better wait till i REALLY needed it. Gas and Air never appealed to me. Being a control freak I didn't like the fact it apparently made you feel 'out of it'. Diamorphine sounded even worse to me. This makes you totally gone. High as a kite. On another planet. Plus it can make you sick and if your ill after the injection there is nothing you can do but just deal with it. Nope i didn't like the sound of that at all. And then there was an epidural. Well this is the one where apparently you are left with no feeling in your legs. For someone with agoraphobia who likes to make a quick exit should things get scary, this was not an option for me either.
And so the best of a bad bunch looked to me to be the gas and air. I had heard of women who had given birth using this only and i hoped i could be one of them. I avoided it as long as possible but eventually I asked for the tube. As i bounced on an exercise ball and hunched over the bed i sucked the life from the tube. 'OH PLEASE WORK'. So many people had told me, 'The Gas is great, you feel drunk and it really helps the pain' SUCK SUCK SUCK. I was feeling drunk yeh but pain wise, it did nothing at all. Ok i was starting to get worried. I was told I was 4cm dilated and i had come to the conclusion the gas and air was rubbish. It literally didn't help ease the contractions in the slightest. Its amazing how what works for some can be hopeless with others, but with me it wasn't happening at all.

I battled on for another few hours with Gerry rubbing my back or helping with heat packs but by now nothing was helping. I felt very very sick. And very hot. I grabbed a sick bowl but mid contraction i was so all over the place i was using it as a fan. Nope I had enough, this was not my cup of tea EPIDURAL PLEASE.
But what about the numb legs Lynn? Well i couldn't have cared less. Numb me from the neck down just make this stop!
Quick as i asked for it there was an anaesthetist there armed with the equipment. It didn't take long to do and after 20 minutes i felt AMAZING. I was very very lucky. I got a fantastic epidural. Yes I have heard the horror stories about them, and i know people who have had them and they just haven't worked. but for me it worked perfectly AND i still had full movement of my legs. I wouldn't have been able to walk very well (or at all). But i could move on the bed ok and the pain disappeared completely. Well this epidural was my new best friend. I spent the next few hours lying trying to nap as i hadn't slept since the Sunday night. I couldn't sleep but was happy just dozing with no pain. It was really weird actually. I was lying there just as i would have been at home reading a book or watching tv. Meanwhile my contractions were even stronger but i was blissfully unaware.
The next time i was examined I was told I was fully dilated and i could start to push now. 'What'???Its that time. Time to start pushing already and this is where you see women, on tv or in movies, screaming the place down in agony. And here I am sitting quite happily, texting people etc. Weird! Well i did as I was told and pushed and pushed and pushed. But nothing happened. And so i pushed and pushed and pushed some more. I was examined again. My little baby was facing the wrong way AND had his head in the wrong position. Ah that's ok I thought ill just push and push and see how it goes. Wrong...

'Sorry Lynn but it looks like we are going to have to perform a C Section'. Oh no no no no this is just what i don't want! Lying on an operating table, wide awake while someone does that to you.No no no not for me thank you. But really in my head I knew i had no choice and had to do whatever was necessary. And so i signed the consent forms and told myself everything would be ok.

I had more waiting around to do as there was a queue for theatre. Gerry got given his scrubs to put on. It was now about 10pm and I was told my baby would be born before midnight. It still didn't seem real. I never really could get my head around the fact a baby would come out of me. I was given more epidural. Apparently the amount i had was enough for a normal labour but not enough for a section.
In theatre we were surrounded by about 10 other people. Maybe more. Everyone was doing their job and i was put on the table. The doctor had made a decision. He was going to use forceps to try and turn the baby and if it was successful we would try a forceps delivery. If that failed we would have the section. I had heard forceps were meant to be very painful but i was delighted that i might be able to avoid a section.

It was over so quickly. Forceps in. 'the baby has turned', 'ok push'. A little push and i was told the head was out. The doctor said hello to baby who must have been facing him. He told me i would need to push once more and baby would be out. No need in the end ' oh oh wait hes... hes... here's your baby' and he was placed on my chest!
It was that easy! He was placed on my chest and i just shouted Oh my god! It was so wonderful and soooo weird! What an amazing event for anyone to go through or witness. How on earth had i made this little bundle! Baby was checked over and given the thumbs up. He was looking great and no sign of downs syndrome which i told was a possibility.
And so i had survived and brought the most gorgeous little boy into the world. Who would have thought it. I certainly couldn't have predicted this a few years ago. But this was only the beginning. It was to be much harder over the next few days .......

Thursday, 16 December 2010


Nathan Jackson Spencer.
Born 14th December 2010 at 10.56pm
Weighing 7lb 9oz
Will update more later but we have a very tired mummy here xx

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Its the End of Days

Scotland from space.. completely covered in snow

Well you'd think it was here in Scotland. The weather we are having is mental!!!

Scotland has a reputation of having bad weather and so you would think when it hits us we would be organised. Not at all! We have had snow and the lowest temperatures in years and it is causing utter chaos.

Traffic has been at a stand still and people have been stuck in their cars for over 15 hours. The temperatures vary but I have seen -15 here the last few nights. The shops are empty with people panic buying and so you ll struggle to get some milk and bread. The schools are all closed leaving poor parents tearing their hair out with the kids stuck in doors. There have been deaths reported with people freezing to death outside. (mainly Old people who had perhaps fallen). Many people stuck on endless traffic have just abandoned their cars and walked home. Lorries are jackknifed all over the country and many other accidents reported. And of course people cant get to work etc so in short the place is falling apart.

For an agoraphobic caught in the middle of this it isn't a barrel of laughs. I remember years ago if i saw the beginning of fog i would be sent into panic, would close all the blinds and curtains and hide away in my bedroom. I hate the claustrophobic feeling fog gives me. The snow has been doing much the same. Although I haven't had a panic attack i have definitely felt very uneasy and try not to focus on the fact that if i want to escape... i wont really be able to.

Escape what though?? I dunno. Just escape the panic i guess. Worse case scenario if panic was causing me to absolutely lose the plot i would rely on the fact I have a car outside and could go to hospital But with this weather that wont be happening. It would take me hours to get to the nearest hospital now and I'm just praying the roads are in better order when i go into labour!

Yes no sign of baby as yet. My due date is the 16th and so I am hoping the weather situation may be slightly better by then. If not I can relax (somewhat) knowing that the ARMY have been drafted in to drive paramedics around in 4x4s!

Everyday I check my car is working and mostly it sits there with a battery which has been killed by the cold or i simply cant get it in at all as its completely frozen shut! I have managed a little walk to the shops each day but its not enough, i am experiencing extreme cabin fever! I'm used to seeing my mum everyday for a cuppa and a chat but I haven't seen her in a week now and its starting to get on my nerves. So tomorrow I am out of here! I am braving the elements before i lose my mind. Its not good for me to be at home with too much spare time and too much time to think. Always better to keep busy i say.

Baby wise I am pretty huge now. Sleeping ok but growing increasingly uncomfortable and nervous about the pain i am due to go through lol. There is no way out of it really it just has to be done and so I am coping ok with my 'just get on with it' attitude. Still its not exactly a thrilling thought.

My updates are lacking because i literally spend my days doing the same stuff and so haven't had much to update you with but im sure that will change over the coming weeks. I hope you are all well and looking forward to Christmas. I'm not making any great plans for mine this year as I have no idea where I will be or what state ill be in lol. Wherever you are I hope your anxiety free and warm!!!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Agoraphobia and Pregnancy

Hi everyone. Time for an update I think.
Sorry I haven't written much but I haven't had much agoraphobia/anxiety related going on. This is probably due to the stage I'm at with the pregnancy. I am quite heavily pregnant now at 8.5 months and so I haven't been doing much travelling. I have been out and about of course but it has been very much locally. My routine is very simple at the moment. I wake up, clean the house, visit my mum or some friends and then I am home by late afternoon exhausted.
Ive only had to deal with the old familiar anxiety twice. Firstly was when the clocks went back. Ive said before many times that this is my least favourite time of year. The clocks go back and suddenly we have an extra hour of darkness. Plus the weather here is utterly miserable and pretty much raining and grey all the time. This can make it quite difficult to give you some get up and go. I love hot sunny days and would lie in the sun all day of i could, but when its so miserable outside you cant help but want to lie on the sofa with a duvet. I don't do that though. That's dangerous behaviour for someone who suffers agoraphobia. Spend a couple of days in doors and before I know it, going out can be quite difficult again. Theres no secret to how i dealt with the clocks changing, or the gloomy feeling that accompanied it. I kept busy and I ignored it. I think I am getting much better at this now. Maybe that's just because i have a house of my own now, i take to cleaning. A great distraction.

When I went for my 20 week scan it took A LOT of hard work. I really didn't think i would manage it and its probably the hardest I have ever had to fight against agoraphobia. When i finally made it to the hospital I was so proud and delighted. I knew that after that appointment i wouldn't have to return until the baby was delivered. All other appointments would be carried out locally. Wrong! Due to my low lying placenta I was told I would need to return at 34 weeks to check my progress and make sure i didn't need a c-section.

Well i managed to put this to the back of my head. I tried not to worry myself and told myself that since i made it for the 20 week scan even though it was ridiculously hard, then it wouldn't be as hard second time around. The months past and my tummy grew and of course now and then the appointment popped into my head, but i ignored it again telling myself it would be ok. 2ND of November was the date and when we arrived in October I began getting a little more nervous. 'Don't think about it' i told myself. In the past i would have OBSESSED over it and so i tried to handle it differently. Before I knew it there was a week until the appointment and although i had ignored it, i was certainly dreading it. I still refused to allow myself to think about it until finally it was the day before the scan and finally i said to myself 'ok you can think about this now and get it straight in your head'. Meaning, how i would get there, how i would cope with anxiety etc and even entertained the negative thoughts that I knew would come. I allowed my head to face all of these questions and tried to prepare myself mentally.

So the appointment was on Tuesday at 10am and on Monday night i went to bed early exhausted. Well the exhaustion didn't matter. I lay there awake for what felt like the entire night. I imagined every possible scenario. I'd see myself in the car panicking, screaming, curling into a ball. What if i really needed to turn back and go home and Gerry refused (he was driving). What if I panicked so much i went into labour? Well at least if that happened i was driving to the right place! I told myself that there was no pressure and if i couldn't make it then i simply couldn't make it! But all the while i knew that was rubbish, i NEEDED to go as it was regarding my baby and my safety should i go into labour.

And so Tuesday morning arrived and i decided... I'M NOT GOING. I CANT DO IT. I have noticed for years that when i am having an anxious time it affects me much more when i just wake up. Its like your body has been resting and asleep and when you wake up, someone flicks a switch and everything turns on again. Its all speeded up a little and takes maybe half an hour for everything to be in sync and calm down. So i was a bit shaky and anxious when i rose on Tuesday morning but I went about my usual routine. Tea, breakfast, get washed and before i knew it I was ready to go. Luckily I had an hour to kill but in getting myself ready my nerves had definitely died down a little. I decided it was time to pack my 'panic bag'. Last time i went to the hospital I went in the back of a van and took things i could use as distraction should i have a panic attack and so this time i took the same items. I packed my phone, earphones, baby wipes (should I sweat), magazines and a drink. But this time there was no van, i was going by car. I wont over dramatise this because it was quite simple. I got in the car, put the radio on and flicked through a magazine. Next thing i knew we were there. Yes i was a bit wobbly but i done much better than the last time.
I went for my scan and my anxiety raised a little as i realised this was the moment i could find out if i would need a section, or if they seen anything wrong with the baby but the appointment couldn't have gone better. Baby was looking fantastic and i don't need a section. I was overjoyed. I met with my consultant and discussed my labour plans. I luckily have the option of having the baby in birthing pool AND i can have aromatherapy and acupuncture too. Gerald said it sounds like a spa and hes jealous but I'm sure we are all aware it isn't called labour for nothing! And so i went home. Simple. The dreaded day was over, i have no more hospital appointments until the big day. The scan i dreaded for 14 weeks was done and i felt a huge weight lifted, i felt amazing.
And so it makes me think AGAIN. Every time i travel a distance like that I am pretty much always ok. Not only that, once i have done it i feel fantastic. So why do i still dread it? I think its obvious. Habit! I'm not in the habit of doing these things enough. I don't challenge myself enough anymore. Ok i can use the pregnancy as an excuse cause really I am knackered and really just cant be bothered! I want to lie on the couch and take it easy. Also when i do these things i kick myself for not doing more and suddenly want to start doing more challenging things. Already i want to make plans for the rest of the week, for Christmas etc. Its all about practice isn't it. Not sitting back and saying no to things because it makes you feel a little nervous. Get out there and do it. Now i am not saying its that easy. I am at a stage with my agoraphobia where i am able to tackle more, but i know in the past i couldn't have done these things. A walk to the bottom of the street would have been a huge challenge in itself, but at least i MADE myself do that walk everyday, and that's my advice to everyone else. No matter how small the task may be, don't give up, just keep on pushing. That's what i did and I am now in my own home, expecting a baby and 99% of the time i am anxiety free. So i cant help but ask myself, when will i think of myself as recovered. Instead of labelling myself an agoraphobic could i not say that time of my life is over. Yes i still have off days but really they are few and far between. Also i don't travel for miles and miles, and i don't see myself having any forgein holidays any time soon but that doesn't affect my day to day living. So maybe I am a 'normal' person now who suffers with nerves from time to time? Oh i don't know. All i know is that I will keep on pushing and will push even more once my baby arrives.
For women with anxiety and/or agoraphobia who would like to have a baby, but think they cant then my advise is this. When i found out i was pregnant i was told it might not be the best idea. What kind of life could i give the baby if i couldn't do anything. Well thankfully I was already at a stage where i could do pretty much everything within reason. But my answer was that agoraphobia had robbed me of so much in life that I would let it rob me of my right to have a baby. Ok baby might not be going abroad with me for quite some time, but it will be loved more than anything in this world, have a wonderful family around it and i can offer it a good life! So i was going for it. My pregnancy has been quite easy. I'm touching wood as I still have some time left, but really its been ok. I worried that hormones would make me crazy, that i wouldn't like my body changing, that I wouldn't like the lack of control over my body, but its not like that. Yeh threes been a few times i have been scared, but really I have taken it day by day and coped very well. In around 5 weeks time my baby will be here and i feel already its the best thing i have ever done. Don't let agoraphobia take away your choices. Especially not something as big as this. I would say if you are housebound then now probably isn't the right time. But don't rule it out in your future. When i was housebound i thought i was the worst agoraphobic in the world and saw no future outside of my home. I NEVER imagined for a second that I would one day have children even though it was the main thing i always wanted in my life. If you aren't housebound but can travel relatively well, can make appointments and have a good support system around you then i would say go for it. I am very excited about my future once the baby arrives and look forward to sharing it with you all.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Bump and Bus Journeys

Hi all from me and my ever expanding waistline! As you can see from the picture above I am getting bigger by the day. I would say im loving it but it is defo a love hate relationship i am having with my tummy. Not the baby of course, who I already adore, but the BUMP.

Pregnancy wise I guess I am doing ok. All the fears i experienced at the start have mostly gone. I wasn't actually scared of labour or being a mum, just scared of being pregnant in general. Would i cope with the fact that I would be growing and not able to control it, or would I like the feeling of a little baby wriggling around inside me? I couldn't help think of that scene in Alien when the Alien claws its way out of someones stomach. Luckily the pregnancy has been ok. Yes I have suffered ridiculous heartburn which has driven me insane but apart from that I have had no major problems. Well... at my scan I was told I have placenta previa, don't know if I mentioned that before. Basically my placenta was sitting very low and needs to move up as it could be blocking the babies exit. I go back at 34 weeks for another scan to see if it has moved and if not, I may need to get a C section. I don't know why I'm not overly concerned about this, I just think i will cross that bridge when I come to it. Also I was told I was high risk of having a baby with downs. A one in 74 chance. Again, i am not worrying myself about it, there is no point. The baby is here to stay regardless of this and so i will just need to wait to the birth to find out. Sorry if i have already mentioned both of these things but i have baby brain and cant remember and am too lazy to go back and read what I have wrote previously, hey at least I'm honest ha. Oh and I have sciatica now so i cant really walk anywhere, i just hobble! I noticed in a shop today that they had walking sticks for sale and i seriously considered buying one as the pain is really not nice but i resisted. So many my pregnancy hasn't been THAT straight forward after all.

Ok so the house move. When I wrote last I hadn't spent a night at home alone and I really wasn't sure how I would cope. Well I needn't have worried because I have been here for almost a month now and 99% of the time i am here alone. Gerald has stayed a couple of times but mainly I'm just pottering about myself. I cant even remember my first night alone clearly but with the pregnancy I am pretty exhausted and I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I have a great routine and the house is always spotless as i am alone all the time. I go to bed early, and get up early. Do some chores for about half an hour and that's everything done. Changed days to when i would be up will 4am with anxiety and would happily sleep the day away! I go to the supermarket and domy shopping like a 'normal' person. (although this can still have me a wee bit flustered) I have had no anxiety, no panic attacks, nothing. I am amazed at how easily I have settled in and just pray it stays that way. I pop round to my mums everyday so i cant say i miss home too much and I have friends visiting regularly so its all good. I would say i can get quite bored and even lonely at times. I think if I wasn't pregnant I would probably get myself a little dog, or I would be looking for something outside of the home to keep me busy. but I know in a few months i will have a wee baby here and wont have a minute to spare so I'm telling myself to just enjoy the 'me' time.

So since things are going so well and i am anxiety free I pretty much sound like a 'recovered' agoraphobic but that's not really true, the problems are still there. My support worker and I are still working on me travelling on my own using public transport. On past trips I have got the bus and headed homeward on it, which seemed quite easy. But we decided that next time I would get this bus outward bound. This seemed to scare me more basically because I might be anxious and once off the bus i wouldn't be back in my safety zone, i would be stranded. It was decided that I would catch the bus and Margaret would meet me at a bus stop and drive me home. On the planned day i was pretty nervous and as I stood waiting for the bus I wanted to cancel. I knew Margaret would be parked waiting for me and so many times I wanted to call her and tell her i couldn't do it, but I fought with myself and stayed put. Finally a bus arrived and I got on and took my seat. Ok this wasn't so bad really. Margaret would be waiting for me, I can do this after all. Suddenly I noticed my phone flashing in my bag, quickly answering, it was Margaret telling me she was parked in Riverview Industrial Park. 'WHERE'??? I had NO idea where that was and as far as I was aware it was nowhere near where I thought she would be. I had 2 choices, stay on the bus and get off where planned, hoping that I could direct Margaret there by phone asap... or i could get off the bus before I was taken further into the danger zone haha. I jumped up, catching my jacket in the process, wrestling to get free i bolted for the front of the bus and got off. All the while Margaret was still on the phone and getting into a panic worrying that she had let me down. It was only once i was off the bus that I realised I was now stranded.. outside of my safe zone... with no one there to help and this was NOT place i would usually be walking! Pounding heart 'OK Margaret I'm off the bus you need to start driving back towards my house NOW', dizziness 'I am panicking a little I'm going to start walking home as fast as I can, please hurry'. I put the phone down and i told myself 'STOP IT'! Stop panicking! I wasn't THAT far away, yes it was new ground to cover on foot and yes i wasn't very comfortable but i could freak out or I could get a grip and make the journey a lot easier. And suddenly I was ok. ( wasn't exactly fine, but i was well enough to walk at a normal pace and not lose my nerve. Before I knew it, i was back home and Margaret pulled up in her car. Poor Margaret I think she was more anxious than me in the end.

So it wasn't exactly a success that day but i got into her car and took her to where she would need to wait for me when i try the bus journey again. With that clear i feel better about the next time we give it a bash. I was just grateful she didn't ask me to do it then and there because that might have been a bit too much for my nerves.

Other news, the Adult literacy course I was involved in. Remeber I started the course where i would be helping adults who have problems with reading, writing or numbers? I went for one day and loved the course, looked forward to the coming weeks, but at the last minute the tutor told us they were relocating to an area which was quite simply beyond me. I told them the truth about my agoraphobia and they said they would be in touch when another course started in the location i was comfortable with. Thankfully I received a letter yesterday to say the new course starts in October and they would like me as a tutor so that was great news. Will get me out the house and keep me busy. I just hope the pregnancy doesnt affect it what with me being pretty exhausted , but ill give it a really good go!

I think thats all for now, I cant think of any big news or any events to talk about but as always I hope you are all well and happy. Untill next time xx

P.S = someone just pointed out that i sound single on this. They asked if Gerry and I have split as i talk about being on my own. Thats mainly down to his work. he works every night and does long shifts which is why i am alone, and since he works through the night he sleeps all day...and so I am alone then too. Thought I would clear that up lol

Sunday, 12 September 2010


I have written before about a website that I used to save downloads. I had made these downloads available to all readers of the blog. The downloads include relaxation Audio, Audio specifically aimed at Agoraphobia and also Ebooks.

The website has no closed and people have still been asking me if the downloads are available so I have found a new website that offers online storage.

If you are looking to download any of the mentioned items just head to www.humyo.com. Sign in with the email address lynn_jackson@hotmail.com and use the password blogger.

I will write a proper post in the next couple of days with all updates and news. Hope you are all well x

Monday, 23 August 2010

How does an Agoraphobic move home??

That's a question i ALWAYS asked myself. How can someone who suffers agoraphobia move home? In the past this would have been my biggest nightmare. Why would I want to move somewhere completely strange? To leave behind each familiar room, my safe place, the place where I can find comfort and relax?

I Have been living with my parents since about 2004, I have been house bound in their home and gone through the worst of my illness there. You would think it would be a place of bad memories that I would be happy to leave behind. But it is also the place where, at the height of a panic attack, i could calm myself. Its my safe place. If I am anxious I have everything I need round about me and I know how to cope. No one likes change, but I think of anxiety sufferers we definitely dislike it more than 'normal' people would. I remember a change of curtains or a shift of furniture would be enough to set me off in a panic. Its that old chestnut... control!
Since meeting Gerry, I have been keen to find my own place. For lots of reasons really, wanting our own space, a bit of privacy, but mostly I saw myself approaching 30 and living with my parents and decided this is not what I wanted at all! I want to be an independent woman (far more comfortable using the word 'girl') I have pushed the boundaries with my agoraphobia. I am comfortable at home when left alone etc, and i felt it was time to move. We had been house hunting for a while but when I found out I was pregnant the search got more serious.

I have had a flat of my own since 2006. I don't know if I have ever discussed this on here before but I will explain briefly. I got my flat through the local housing association when I was still suffering quite badly with anxiety. It was a cosy little one bedroom place and I made myself go round everyday to decorate. After a few months the work was done and it was time to move in. I just didn't seem to want to. I never moved my clothes or private things in, only furniture. Looking back its pretty obvious I just wasn't ready for it. 4 years later the flat had gone to ruin. A total dump if I'm honest and moving there now just didn't seem to be an option. I wanted better. Also since it was only one bedroom i wanted bigger for when the baby comes.

But talking to a midwife she discussed how the baby will be sleeping in my room, ideally for the first few months anyway. So after lots of thought it was decided I would give it a go.
Last week Gerry and I started working on the flat. Day and night we have ripped everything out and started from scratch! The dump I didn't want to live in turned into a beautiful home, one which we would both be happy to live in. And so on Sunday came moving day! I have been buying home things for months for a new home and a new baby. I have talked excitedly about all the things I would do and what it will be like when we finally had our own space. but yesterday was Sunday and that old faithful anxiety came to visit.

I knew it was going to be a little difficult. Moving house is stressful for anyone, but I haven't slept anywhere other than my parents place for years. I was alone for most of the day and so my mind had too much time to wander and imagine all sorts of horrible outcomes. Gerry had told me he would stay with me but instead of finding comfort in this, i found it stressed me out even more. What if i cant calm down? I cant just run away and leave him there! When he finally arrived at the flat I had a bit of distraction. We were still doing odd jobs, building pieces of furniture etc and so i was kept occupied. Then I finally sat down to just sit and watch tv and the anxiety returned. I cant say I ever got to the stage where I panicked and thought 'ok i want to leave, i cant do this'. but there were definitely a few wobbly moments when I wondered if I would ever feel comfortable.
Thankfully that feeling did go away and at 1am i got into my new bed. After reading for a while I feel asleep and slept fine. I thought I would be buzzing when I woke up thinking 'yes i did it!' but if anything the anxiety just returned. Gerry had left for work and so i was on my own and was thinking 'what now'. My morning routine at my mums couldn't happen since i wasn't there and so I was a bit uneasy. Luckily a friend popped by for a visit and distracted me long enough to get back to normal and continue my day. The thoughts i have had are always the same. What if i become house bound here, what if i cant visit my parents, what if the short drive to their house becomes difficult. What if i don't see my nephews as often, what if I never settle in, what if i visit my mums house and that is no longer comfortable for me. What if the place where I calm myself no longer calms me. And on and on and on. Mostly my head just felt messed up. All over the place. I'm neither here nor there, where should i be. But I am hugely relieved to say that tonight I feel much better. I have told myself to CALM DOWN, CHILL OUT. I realised that anyone must feel this way when moving house. They leave a home and move to an address and they don't have the luxury of being able to visit their old place, but i do. And if i need to visit everyday i will ha. I will go with the flow and take each day as it comes. I am where I want to be, doing what I want to do. I have a beautiful home of my own and a place for my baby. I have peace and quiet. I have the maturity and Independence I have craved for so long.

And so i sit here MUCH calmer and my head is far more settled. In saying that, Gerry is working tonight and i will be on my own so who knows how it will be, but I know ill stick it out and each night will get easier.
Today I am 6 months pregnant and I cannot believe how quickly it is going. A little TOO quick! Although I have now been pregnant for half a year, its still a big thing to get my head around, another huge change. But a welcome one. I do feel like my life is really going to start when baby arrives and I cant wait to meet the little one. I am blooming and i suppose this is when i will REALLY start to grow, so its good that the move is over and all the major work is done.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The Lengths We Will Go To

In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them. Maybe you can hire.... The A Team!

The way i finally got to my scan very much reminded me of the A Team!

So I am now 20 weeks pregnant and as you all know I didn't go for my 12 weeks scan. This has been causing me huge problems which include guilt and anxiety. As each day passed it got worse and worse. I just couldn't seem to visualise the drive to the hospital at all. In each scenario in my mind I was screaming and freaking out. I tried practice drives to the hospital but I was under so much pressure and so nervous that I only ever made it half way.

I tried talking about it, relaxation methods, deep breathing, positive thinking etc but nothing as working this time. I told myself to just go for it because the past had proved that DOING the thing was much less stressful than you ever imagined it would be. One of the top midwives at the hospital was in regular contact with me and was very concerned. She even offered to come and pick me up and drive me their herself but I explained that even that was unlikely to work.

Poor Gerry was tearing his hair out with me. He got to the stage he was losing sleep with worry about how the baby would be. I myself couldn't stop thinking about it. What if there was anything wrong with the baby? I would have no idea. What if it needs help and no one knows because I cant get there. On top of that I had people constantly asking after the wee one and asking if I had been for my scan yet. Totally embarrassed I would make up some stupid story as to why it hadn't happened.

The head midwife offered me the solution that instead of having to make an appointment, they could offer me an open door policy that meant I could go anytime at all, if i suddenly felt I could make it. But that didn't work either! Eventually she told me there was no point in going for my 12 week scan. I had totally missed it anyway and there was no point going for a scan at 14 weeks only to return again at 20. And so she told me we would aim for the 20 weeks but it was important that I made it.

In my head I knew this wasn't going to happen. I was starting to dread even seeing the midwives at my local surgery because at my last appointment it was really obvious the midwife did not approve of me at all. In the end the pressure, guilt and anxiety was all so great that it just seemed utterly impossible.

Throughout the whole time I kept moaning saying 'I wish i could just go in an ambulance'. This was because of last year. Remember when I was taken to hospital in the middle of the night via ambulance. It was something that as an agoraphobic, I always worried about happening. But when it DID happen I coped really well. In the back of an ambulance with a fantastic paramedic, I was completely calm. I figured this was down to the fact I couldn't see where I was. Bizarre though because I know the roads so well I KNEW exactly where I was, but not being able to see everything whizzing past made it easier. I find that when I am anxious and hypersensitive, your surroundings can seem to overwhelming. There is too much going on around you and its harder to gather your thoughts and get yourself calm. And so knowing that I couldn't just ring an ambulance since i wasn't in any pain, i worked out another solution.

How about I go in the back of a van!

Gerry who was desperate to get me there, thought this a tad extreme but agreed that if it got me there, he would get us a van. It was planned that he would borrow his dads work van on Thursday and we would attempt the journey. I have to admit but even then I didn't think it would work. But Thursday was a week away so i had bought myself some time.

On Wednesday night Gerry was texting saying he was really excited about the next day and how we would finally see the little one. I told him not to get his hopes up because deep down I didn't believe I would get there, however, i did tell myself I would at least have to TRY it.

Thursday morning came far to quickly and I woke up to find Gerry in my bedroom. He didn't look too pleased at all! Bad News. He explained he had been to collect the van but when he was trying to get in the back to unload some stuff, he had snapped the key in the door! 'Yes'!!! I thought. I don't need to try this now. Gerry on the other hand had had enough. Seriously annoyed about the van car he told me enough was enough. I had to get in the car and just do it. It was far too important to miss. 'Get in the back seat and put a cover over your head', 'If i need to drag you I will'. Well if there is one thing you shouldn't say to an agoraphobic its that! Maybe just maybe, if Gerry had been calm and soothing, he might have talked me round. But standing there shouting and losing his cool he had blown it completely. Absolutely NO WAY was I going near his car. He stormed out of my house screaming all sorts of abuse but I just sat there because at the end of the day, I knew he was right and I was the one in the wrong here. Poor guy just couldn't handle it anymore. I did feel awful, this was all my own doing. My phobia, my issues. But i tried to explain that it was hardly ideal for me too. I never feel sorry for myself and the life agoraphobia has caused me to lead. But for once I did. Do you think i wanted this? Do you think I don't want this scan. Why cant I be normal and enjoy my pregnancy and get excited about these appointments. Its not fair!!

Friday was Gerry's last free day before he started working constant 12 hour shifts. He was gutted that he was going to miss the scan, and although i told him that wouldn't happen, it was looking pretty likely. I woke up on Friday morning with Gerry standing beside my bed again, this time with a big smile on his face 'I got a new Van key, the vans outside'

'Oh s**t' I thought. Ok so he has the van, randomly after weeks of rain the sun was shining and this is his last day off... I need to try this!

He took me out to show me the van and where I would be sitting. Oh my i should have taken a picture. I would be huddled into this van sitting on top of piles of metal pipes. DIRTY metal pipes. Well beggars cant be choosers so I went back indoors and got myself ready. How can you prepare for a journey like this? I decided to take magazines (for distraction), My ipod for music to distract me and also the panic application that helps you control your breathing. Baby wipes for when I get hot and start sweating. A bottle of water for when I need a cool drink. And finally my notebook which has all the helpful phrases I need during panic, for example, 'this will pass', 'breathe', 'Don't let the panic win'. And before leaving the house Gerry was given strict instructions.

  1. Should i want to stop the drive and turn around you MUST do it.
  2. If you continue to drive with me after I have asked you to stop I will freak out and who knows what that will do to me and the baby.
  3. If you ignore me I will call the police and tell them I have been kidnapped and I'm in the back of a transit van (this was all said in jest but i think i would have done it had i felt the need)
  4. Do not shout at me or lose your cool as it WILL NOT HELP
  5. If you don't do what i need you to do you will be blowing it completely and the chances are I will never get in a car with you again.

Got myself seated in the van and immediately phoned a friend as Gerry began to drive. It was another distraction method, which usually works for me, but this time it meant I wasn't able to compose my thoughts and it actually just made me more nervous. Oh no I wasn't enjoying this at all! The panic came which was inevitable really after all my over thinking. Grabbed my ipod, with shaking hands I stuck some music on and turned it up LOUD! I realised pretty quickly this wasn't a great idea. Ok i couldn't see round about me, but i didn't like it either. I felt like mentally I needed to know exactly where I was and to deal with each step of the journey. I cant really explain it to be honest. Thankfully I could see into the front of the van and out of the window a little so I kept having a little check now and then. Much to my disappointment, every time I looked out I wasn't as close to the hospital as I had hoped. In my whole experience with panic attacks I have never felt so exposed, so vulnerable and so unsafe. I was aware that I was out of my safety zone, that the journey BACK to my safety zone was going to take a while and every time i thought of this I felt the panic rise. Looking back on it now I realise that even though I was extremely uncomfortable, turning back never entered my head. I knew i was getting that scan done and it was as simple as that. I will say though that the panic never got to that unbearable stage where you just lose it, so maybe had it got that bad, i would have told him to stop but thankfully that never happened.

We made it, we were at the hospital. And what happened then? Same thing that always happens, I went completely calm!

The scan department was on the 3rd floor of the hospital and since I don't do lifts I headed for the stairs. I introduced myself at the desk to some praise for finally making it. Someone was in being scanned before me so i was going to have to wait. But even then I was calm and we all know how much I hate waiting. I walked around alone looking where everything was, the anti natal classes, the birthing suite etc and finally they were ready for me.

Then the maternal nerves took over. As i lay on the bed I couldn't look at the scan monitor. I guess due to my miscarriage last year I as too frightened in case i seen something was wrong. The doctor told me to look at the screen to see my baby but i couldn't look until I knew there was a heartbeat. Within minutes I was told I could look and there it was. My little baby kicking and wriggling inside of me. The images were so clear I couldn't believe it. The little face looked perfect. I just lay there smiling from ear to ear and enjoying every second. The doctor took measurements and I began to worry thinking that something was wrong. But he explained he was checking the baby and this is what they do with everyone. He was so thorough and the whole thing lasted over half an hour. Being as impatient as I am, I asked the babies sex. I am totally delighted with the outcome but I am keeping that a secret until the wee one arrives. To be told that everything was ok was just the most wonderful news ever. In a way I felt so lucky but also that I didn't deserve it! I had been so useless and yet I was totally blessed. I got the scan pictures printed out and was free to go but i ended up chatting and getting bloods taken and weighed etc as for some reason the midwives had never weighed me. (The bloods are to test for down syndrome)

I left the hospital clinging to the scan pictures and headed for the van. I was fine now. I had done it. And I didn't feel like travelling in the back of the van A Team style. I joined Gerry up the front. I chatted to him and wasn't even bothered about where we were and how far from home I was. I realised it was lunchtime and suggested we go have something to eat together, which we did. It was so normal and so good! While at lunch I suggested we go have a look in some shops but Gerry had to be somewhere.

I got home and my mother was white as a sheet, she had obviously been worried sick as we were gone much longer than she thought we would be. I handed her the pictures and her eyes filled with tears. Weeks of worrying about getting me to that scan were gone. The relief on her face was completely obvious and I let her enjoy her moment.

It is horrible to be the cause of so much worry in other people. My agoraphobia had pretty much disappeared for so long, but my constant over thinking and stressing caused it to return when it was most important. I have over come a lot of the problems that agoraphobia caused in my lofe, but this is by far the proudest I have ever been of myself. I am gutted I took so long, and disappointed for allowing myself to believe the bad things my head tells me when I know better. But in one day I killed some demons for sure. I got my buzz back and I want to get out there and do so much more. And now I can enjoy the rest of my pregnancy with no pressure, and when people ask if i have been for my scan I can stop lying and say Yes!!!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Scan Success!!!

20 week scan done and dusted!!! I will elaborate later but I am so happy I DONE IT AND BABY IS FINE!!!! (plus i know the sex)

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Back on the Bus

As you may or may not know, my agoraphobia caused me to housebound and stop going out at all. Obviously this meant everything else stopped, but first to stop was travelling.

I used to use buses or taxis to get everywhere before I could actually drive myself. I had a few major panic attacks on buses which had pretty much left me scarred and not in a hurry to get back on one again.

Meeting with my new support worker she acknowledged that I could drive but felt it was important that I could still travel by bus too. What would happen if one day my car didn't work, or if it was in the garage? My life couldn't just stop until the car was back in action, I should be able to use public transport and keep up my independent living.

At first I thought it was a bit of a waste of time. I would make more progress quicker if I could concentrate on driving in the car, but Margaret, the support worker, explained that If i felt comfortable travelling to places by bus, then it would be really easy to do it by car. So i understood her logic.

I probably put it off for a while, while I waited for my bus pass to arrive. Really I could just have gone anyway and paid the fare but anything to put things off eh. However, the bus pass arrived about 4 weeks ago and it was time to face up to the challenge.

I suppose to most people this doesn't seem like a big deal, and I guess it isn't really, but I hadn't been on a bus for probably about 9 years?

The first trip was actually quite funny. How was I to know that bus 'etiquette' had changed?? I seen people with bus passes before and they would walk on the bus, flash their pass and take a seat, so that's what i did. I was lucky this day as I arrived at the bus stop when a bus was pulling up so I didn't have to wait around. Waiting for anything doesn't seem to sit well with me. And So along with my support worker I got on the bus, flashed my pass and sat down. I was called back quickly by a puzzled looking bus driver who explained I didn't have a ticket. Apparently you need to sit your pass on this little ticket box, it registers your card as if by magic, and then gives you a ticket. Margaret had a little giggle, i just felt like a total dunce! But I got my ticket and took a seat.

Immediately the same thoughts that i always had on buses came back to mind. The most crazy thought being 'this bus driver is on a suicide mission and is just gonna crash' and to be honest the guys driving wasn't really doing anything to put that thought to rest. Also i was on one of the 'bendy buses'. I have never been on one of these before so this made it even more strange. I hear they are trying to ban them in London but I'm not sure if they are going to do the same thing here, whatever, i didn't walk beyond the bend because the back of the bus looked like it had a life of its own.

We only rode a few stops for my first time and although the bus driver was a total misery (aren't they all) I actually enjoyed it. I probably found it as thrilling as any 'normal' person would find a trip on a roller coaster. Within minutes it was over and I was quite happy with myself. But Margaret wanted to know how i would push it further the next time I met her. So it was decided that I would go to a bus stop further away and that even if a bus pulled up, i would ignore it and wait for the next one.

It was a nice day when we set off but i was definitely a little more nervous knowing i could be standing waiting for a while, and while waiting on anything my mind can have too much time to think. But really it wasn't too bad at all and my anxiety levels were pretty minimal. The bus journey itself was also fine, thoughts not too bad since this driver didn't seem to have a death wish. I do seem to panic when the bus is making turns though, thinking that hes going to go a different route, which is certainly not part of my plan. I guess its about handing control over to someone else, and obviously on a bus your handing the control to a complete stranger. Margaret joined me on the trip again.

So how could we push it further again next time? Well I guess I would have to do the bus trip myself. I wasn't bothered at all to be honest. The only thing I don't like is the waiting but it couldn't have been to bad cause i don't actually remember it. I got the bus no problem and was shocked to find I had a pleasant bus driver!!! I took my seat but he shouted back a little conversation with me and I laughed at his small talk. I still didn't travel very far, and the bus drivers could think I am just extremely lazy, but since I'm pregnant and sporting a fetching bump, its a good cover and seems to make my small trips acceptable.

I thought i should update you with something a little more progress related and not just baby stuff. I do get really frustrated with myself because I always make comparisons to how I was last year. And back then I as definitely travelling further and had more confidence. But going out was so new to me then that i was always buzzing with every little thing I did, every little walk or trip to the shops. Once that becomes the norm, you don't get that high anymore. But I wouldn't change it for the world and am grateful to be where I am now. You just need to keep on going, keep on trying. I think you really only get that buzz when you try something that is pushing your limits, but we all know how hard that is and that's where I am struggling at the moment. But hopefully over the coming weeks that's going to change and Ill have lots to been buzzing about.