This is the locket my husband bought me….

IMG_12264th April 2013……………

I can honestly say, without a shadow of a doubt that this was the worst day of my life so far.

In early 2013 we found out through an early scan that the one baby we were expecting was actually identical twins. I was over the moon and couldn’t wait for our little family to arrive.

Everything was fine until 11 weeks, when I began spotting and went to the hospital. They performed an ultrasound scan to show that both babies were fine inside. We saw both heartbeats and both babies were very animated on the screen. I remember laughing with my husband at how funny they looked moving about.

We went home reassured that everything was ok. However just one week, a mere 7 days later my routine 12 week scan revealed that both our twins had died. I can still remember every detail of what happened that day and the day that followed.

I remember laying on the bed and looking at the screen in front of me whilst the sonographer looked at her screen. Almost immediately I couldn’t see their heartbeats. I told myself not to look, and that I didn’t really know what I was looking for so I looked up at the ceiling. After a moment I needed to look again, so I did, and again I was unable to see any heartbeats. Then the sonographer said the words that made my heart sink “I’m not sure what’s going on so I’m just going to go and get a second opinion”

She left the room and I told my husband that I couldn’t see any heartbeats. He said that he hadn’t seen them either. I began to worry and get upset. He tried his best to reassure me, and told me to just wait and see what they say when they come back in.

When the sonographer came back into the room with her colleague I didn’t give her a chance to say anything, I blurted out “you’re going to tell me they’re gone aren’t you?” she replied that she just needed to have another look. She scanned me again and within seconds said “I’m sorry, there are no heartbeats” She completed the scan and took measurements of the babies, even saying that they were both perfectly formed. I felt like shouting at her “So why are they dead then if they’re perfectly formed?!”

She then took us round to the early pregnancy unit where we were left in a waiting room for what seemed like an eternity, while she went back to scanning all the other pregnant women there that day.

The Dr who saw us was concerned that because it was a twin pregnancy, and that I had gotten to 12 weeks, if they allowed me to miscarry naturally there was a risk I could bleed heavily, so he advised that I have a D&C and booked me in for the following day.

After that a young nurse came in and handed us a pile of documents to complete. In amongst them, unknown to me was a consent form to determine what we wanted to be done with the twins’ “remains” once the D&C was completed. We had the choice of a burial or cremation, neither of which we would have any involvement with, it was all taken care of by the hospital. I found this really upsetting when I read it, as I wasn’t expecting to have to make that decision, and I also wasn’t warned that this document would be in there, it was just tucked in with all the others. When my husband saw it, and my reaction he took it straight out of my hand and gave it back to the nurse, who clearly hadn’t thought it through and just said “I don’t think we will be making that decision today”

I then had some blood taken and was sent home.

We had to be in the hospital early the next day, I remember the song “when I was your man” by Bruno Mars was playing on the radio as my husband drove me in, and to this day I cannot listen to that song without getting upset. If it comes on the radio I turn it off. I find the words upsetting and it just reminds me of the worst time in my life.

When we got to the hospital I requested another scan to make sure the twins were really gone. I wanted to double check before going through with the procedure as I felt as though I was aborting them. It had all happened so quickly the day before and I was clinging onto any chance there may have been a mistake.

The doctor was very understanding and said that he had actually pre-empted this so had put me on both surgery lists. I had the scan and got the confirmation I needed. I had a complete mixture of emotions prior to the procedure. I thought I might feel better once it had been completed as I did not like the thought of them being dead inside of me, but I also didn’t want them to go either. I knew I wouldn’t get to see, I wouldn’t even know where they were when I woke up.

The nurse who dealt with us before the procedure was a lot more understanding and actually went through the paperwork with us, step by step. She spoke about the document that had upset me and explained it all to us before we made a decision.

Just before I was about to go down to theatre it was discovered that the blood sample they had taken the day before had my name spelt incorrectly on it, so I had to have another one done, which followed me down to theatre.

Throughout the whole process my husband was my absolute rock. He held it together all day while I was just a complete mess. Broken and laying in a hospital bed while people came in poking and prodding me. Then having to have a general anaesthetic and a procedure to remove my dead babies from my body. I just wanted to curl up into a ball and not have to go through with what was about to happen to me.

After the procedure I was in quite a bit of pain, so the anaesthetist gave me morphine. This didn’t agree with me and I began vomiting. The hospital staff wouldn’t let me go home until I passed urine. However every time I took on fluid I threw it up again. I spent the whole day in hospital, drinking water and throwing it back up again. In the end they were talking about admitting me to a ward overnight, but all I wanted to do was go home and be with my husband so I could cry in private and not in front of all these strangers.

As a last attempt they suggested my husband take me out of the recovery room and around the hospital for a bit. As soon as I got back I tried to go to the toilet and finally managed it! They said I could go home.

I then had the long journey of grief to get through. Before the miscarriage I considered myself to be quite a strong person emotionally, I didn’t often let things upset me, I was able to rationalise things and move on.

I had no idea just how this experience would affect me and before this happened to me I couldn’t understand why other women continued to talk about their losses years afterwards. I now have so much more respect for those women, and I can see what an immense, life altering experience this is. I felt completely broken, nothing made sense anymore.

I just wanted my babies back, why were they taken from me when I did everything right? From the moment I became pregnant, I ate and drank everything I needed to, I took all the right vitamins, and I still lost them. It was so unfair, when there were other women out there falling pregnant at the drop of a hat, some not even wanting their babies, some not looking after their babies, some even abusing their babies, and my husband and I had it all ripped from us. We would have adored our twins, kept them safe and done the best we could for them.

Whilst I was having my D&C my husband went and bought me this locket. He gave it to me when I woke up from the anaesthetic, he told me that he would put a picture of each of our twins in either side from their last live scan, the one we had at 11 weeks when we saw them moving around.

I wore that locket every single day, and bought 2 charms to go on the chain, identical, like our twins. I stopped wearing it every day when I got a new job working with children with behavioural problems. I stopped because I didn’t want any of the kids there to ask me about it and then use it to hurt me when they were having a bad time, so to protect myself I stopped wearing it. I keep it safe and wear it when I get dressed up and go out, but I regret not being stronger and keeping it on no matter what, I feel as though I’ve let them down somehow by leaving it off.

Recently the clasp has started to come open on its own. I hadn’t looked at the pictures for a while, but when I did I saw that one of them has faded more than the other. It’s the one that sits closest to my skin. It made me sad to see them fading away, it was like I was losing them all over again.

For a long time I had to just exist in my life, I clung on to my husband and his words of wisdom. Every day I’d finish work and if he was on a night shift I’d go to his work and he’d sit with me for a while then I’d go home, because I didn’t want to be on my own with my grief. I kept repeating the same things over and over again, I couldn’t get out of that place of darkness. But loyal and patient as ever, he kept repeating the same answers to me over and over again. He never got frustrated or annoyed with me. He never told me to start getting over it. He never rushed me to move on with my life. He accepted me as I was. When the dust settled and everyone else had moved on with their lives he was the only certain thing left in my life. He stayed with me in my grief, he waited for me.

What happened to us made me see him in a completely different light. Losing the twins tested us, it made us stronger. My husband really stepped up and I am in absolute awe of him. He is the strongest, most reliable, caring, gentle and patient man I know. He was there when I needed him the most, putting his own grief aside so he could focus on mine, being strong for me when I was unable to be strong for him. I will never forget what he did for me. He got me through the worst time in my life, what happened to us could have split us, but it didn’t; and it’s because of him.

Thank you for reading, I hope it has been helpful to you. X

I have a terrible habit…….

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You wouldn’t think it to look at these nails, but I have a terrible habit……..

This terrible habit has been an ongoing issue for me since Childhood. Its almost become an obsession over time, an addiction if you will. It’s a habit of picking at the skin along the side of my nails. I continuously pick until I create a skin tag, then I pull it and it bleeds. The pain stops me in my tracks for a few minutes and then I start again, even though I have just made my skin bleed.

As a rule I don’t like long nails and I’ve always kept mine short, but I have noticed that I am less able to cause damaged to my skin when my nails are longer. I still do the picking and feeling motion but there seems to be less skin there to pick at.

I have looked this up so many times over the years trying to find an answer as to why I do this and why I can’t stop myself, my husband tried for a long time to remind me every time he saw me picking but within seconds I’d be doing it again. I do it CONSTANTLY. When I drive, when I watch TV, when I’m in meetings, when I’m with my family, or with friends

It’s an incredibly frustrating cycle, I cut my nails, within days I’m picking at the skin along the sides, I make my fingers bleed and hurt, I regret picking but I can’t help myself, I keep picking, I try to stop but I can’t, my nails grow out a bit and my skin starts to heal. I cut my nails and it starts all over again.

I don’t ever remember a time when I haven’t done this and I have made my fingers very sore over the years. It peaked last year and I was picking more than ever. A day wouldn’t go by when I didn’t have a plaster on one or more of my fingers. My hands were so sore that it hurt to pick up or hold things and I had to wear gloves whenever I cleaned anything as the chemicals made them sting even more.

In addition I also saw my eldest daughter doing it one day (she’s only 4). I told her not to and said that she would make her fingers sore and she replied “like yours” my heart sank, I didn’t think she knew. I try so hard not to show my anxieties so that I won’t pass any bad habits into her and I ended up doing it anyway.

That prompted me to make a serious attempt to stop this once and for all. I started growing my nails and have been having gel polish manicures. This was completely new territory for me, I didn’t even know what gel polish was or how it worked. I was stunned when they told me it had set in seconds and I didn’t have to wait for it to dry!

However, my nails became very weak after just 3 manicures, and began tearing and bending back, I had all the polish taken off and cut them back, but when they grew again they were so thin and fragile that they just started bending back again, and of course, as they were growing, the picking started up again.

I decided to switch from a salon to a mobile nail technician. She was so lovely and friendly, she listened to my concerns and gave me advice on what I could do to strengthen and hydrate my nails. She has been so helpful, and has enabled my nails to grow so much stronger. They grow ridiculously fast now, and feel so strong!

I have kept this up, and it is working, my skin is completely healed, and my nails look lovely to boot! However, even now I still do the picking and feeling motion, so I know that if I did ever cut my nails back the picking would start up again just where I’d left off………

As I said before I’ve looked this up a number of times over the years, and even spoke to a CBT therapist about it, but could never get a definite answer as to why I do this, what has triggered it, and is it even a thing? Is it something other people do, or am I alone? Am I a freak?

I looked it up again last year when the picking was at its worst and I was at the end of my tether with it, I just wanted to stop and have hands that didn’t hurt anymore, but I couldn’t physically stop myself from doing it, no matter how hard I tried, even with my husband reminding me.

I finally came across a name for this overpowering obsession. It is called Excoriation (skin picking disorder)

From reading articles what I saw really resonated with me, as I read I found myself nodding along with the words. This was me! This was exactly what I do and have done for years! Finally I had an answer! It IS a thing!

I learnt that it a repetitive “self-grooming” behaviour called “Body Focussed Repetitive Behaviour (BFRB) and is classified as a type of OCD because of the compulsive urge to perform repetitive behaviours. This explained why I am unable to stop, even now, without any skin there to pick I still do that repetitive motion, feeling the skin around the sides of my nails.

So now I know. There are other people out there who do this, and it is an actual disorder.

I read that it can be treated with therapy and medication, but I am reluctant to go down that route, and haven’t even seen a GP to have it officially diagnosed. I am just happy to know what it is. I still don’t know what triggered it off, I just know I have always done it. I do think it gets worse during times of stress and I was suffering with very bad anxiety symptoms at its height.

For now I have found a solution, growing my nails and having them manicured, and if that ever stops working I will try and find another solution. I have lived with this disorder for the majority of my life, not even know that it was a disorder. I have found a way to minimise its effects on my life, and now I have beautiful nails and actually look a bit feminine for once!

Thank you to Georgie for giving me such beautiful nails!

And shes at it again!

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The things this little one gets up to when she’s left unsupervised for even a millisecond!

I’d just finished my shower yesterday morning and my first thought (as I hurriedly dried myself to get back to mummy-ing a fast as possible before there’s a disaster of some kind) “It seems a bit quiet out there”

So as I peak round the corner I see my youngest munchkin had made herself comfortable with a pillow and was now sitting on the floor happily playing with the toilets brushes!!

A bit about me….

First off, I’m a mum of 2 girls. I don’t actually like saying I’m a mum of 2, I want to say that I have 4 children and that 2 of them didn’t survive pregnancy but I know that will lead to awkwardness. So a lot of the time I don’t say it. I am sure a lot of you can relate, as we’ve recently celebrated this year’s wave of light for pregnancy and infant loss awareness.

I actually lost identical twins in April 2013 and it completely changed my outlook on life, and how I am as a person. My twins are never far from my thoughts, more so on certain days, and less so on certain days, but they are always there.

I am extremely lucky that I have a very supportive and loving husband who completely took care of me through our loss, he selflessly put his own feelings aside and looked after me. During my darkest times, when I was completely broken and felt that everyone else had moved on and the world had continued spinning around me while I just stood still, he patiently stayed by my side, waiting for me to catch up.

We then went on to have our 2 healthy girls, our rainbow baby in 2014 (Munchkin number 1) and our golden baby in 2017 (Munchkin number 2). I try as hard as I can to cherish every moment of their lives, constantly telling myself that they are growing fast and that one day these moments will be gone and I will never get them back.

Often I put too much pressure on myself to be a good mum, and can find it all a bit overwhelming at times. I know i’m not the perfect mum, and none of us are. Being a mum is a really hard job, but it also has great rewards.

After having my second daughter I started suffering with Anxiety, and had very bad physical symptoms, namely a lot of vomiting. These symptoms did not leave me and my anxiousness was not situational. For a long time I didn’t tell anyone I was having these symptoms, but I eventually went to my GP and had some talking therapies which has helped me get my physical symptoms under control and make them easier to manage when they do come back.

I then started talking to friends about it, and the one thing that absolutely astounded me was the amount of people who have or still are suffering from some form of mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression, but until you bring the subject up, nobody really talks about it. I think this is a real shame, and am welcoming the changes in awareness that we have been seeing recently. The most important thing you can do if you’re feeling unwell is talk to someone, just tell someone, a friend or family member, or your GP and they can help you.

For a long time I have wanted to write a blog, but have only ever got as far as the research stage, so today I decided to push myself past that stage and finally do it!

It’s nap time, the house is peaceful and calm, so I have sat myself down with a cup of tea, (which I managed to drink while it was still hot!) and taken my time to tweak my site, and write my first post.

I hope you will enjoy my posts, If you do please feel free to share with your friends.

Thank you for reading! x