Begin at the beginning

My name is Alice and I live in Gloucester. I am currently on maternity leave from my job as a Primary School Teacher. Why have I decided to start blogging in one of the busiest phases of my life? Well not only am I full of Early Years Practice ideas I want to share with other new mums, I have not had the easiest start to motherhood; a long 31 hour labour and subsequent severe deep vein thrombosis (DVT). I have struggled to find anything online about mums in a similar position to me and so I would like to reach out to other mums who may be in the same boat.

I had my beautiful son in October 2015. He came 2 weeks late, in the end it was on the day I was due to be induced. This was a long and hard labour and for all the plans and bag packing it could not have been further from what I had in mind. My “birth plan” (chuckle!) was to be in a birth pool and to not have any other pain relief other than gas and air. The reality was several phone calls, a couple of visits to the hospital before being allowed to stay! I did get to go in the water, but after several hours my boy (unknown to us at that time) was not in the right place, so I was not dilating fast enough. I couldn’t cope anymore and so asked for an epidural (it was awesome!) I required a drip of Oxytocin to help speed up the dilation and contractions. There were still questions about whether or not I would need an emergency C-section at this stage. I managed to push Danny down on my own (loads of support from my amazing midwife) but required forceps at the end and had an episiotomy. My beautiful boy was put on my chest, but quickly taken away to SCBU (intensive care for babies) after hours of checks and a two day stay he was given the all clear (phew). I developed a temperature and was incredibly sick and unwell, so there was another battle to help me. I pulled through and 7 hours later was allowed to see and hold my boy for the first time. A magical moment, and a very brief overview of the 31 hours of labouring (plus some more after he arrived!)

Fast forward a couple of months and I was just about starting to get the hang of being a mum and starting to form some basic routines with my boy. My confidence was growing, but unknown to me, something else was growing too. The 14th of December I started getting shooting pains down my left leg. To me they seemed to start almost in my lower back. I left it a few days, not wanting to cause a fuss. The pain got worse and I started to wonder what it could be. On the Friday night the pain was excruciating and I was finding it hard to walk. The Saturday I rested as much as I could, but noticed in the evening that my left leg was swollen. I saw the out of hours Doctor on the Sunday who said it was just muscles tensing due to a trapped nerve. By this point I was asking if this could be a blood clot due to having Factor V Leiden (a genetic predisposition to clotting). This was dismissed and I was misdiagnosed at this point. A lot of back and forth happened and I was eventually admitted to hospital a few days later where an ultrasound and CT scan picked up 4 positions of a DVT in my left leg. I was given Fragmin injections (blood thinner) and sent away with paracetamol and ibuprofen for the pain (additional note: if you are taking a blood thinner do not take ibuprofen, it is highly dangerous). After a miserable Christmas Day I was taken by ambulance back to hospital with chest pains. After getting though a very dismissive Doctor I was given another CT scan which found a pulmonary embolism. I was eventually taken to another hospital with vascular specialists. Here I was told it was in fact 1 clot running from my abdomen down my left leg as far as the calf muscle. The next day I was given thrombolysis; a tube was inserted into my vein from behind my knee and pushed through up to my belly button and then a clot busting drug was pumped into my body through the tube. After 48 hours on this it was removed and a whole leg stocking was put on me. I was on Fragmin every day and then given Warfarin. I was allowed home very late New Years Eve, so saw in 2016 with my family. The 8 days (total) I was away from my son I continued to pump my milk even though Danny couldn’t have it due to the drugs I was on. I was able to keep my milk going and resume breastfeeding after I came out. There were a few weeks of mixed feeding (formula and breast) but by 3 months he was back to fully breastfed. It was incredibly hard to maintain, but I am glad I persisted. It was absolutely terrifying and the outcome could have been far far worse. I am so grateful to still be here with my son and husband. The road to recovery is going to be a long one. There is still some clot in there, I am waiting to find out if I need blood thinners for life and I will be wearing my compression stocking for the next 2 years.

Having the DVT was a mixed blessing. It was horrible to go through, and I haven’t finished going through it yet, but it made me so grateful for what I do have. It also gave me the courage to start blogging and sharing my experience with other people who may be going through the same thing. I want to share my experience, my diagnosis, my recovery and my feelings so that other women in the same situation may not feel quite so alone.

I didn’t want this blog to be just about that though! There are so many positive ideas and experiences I want to share with you all! I love to craft, bake and play with my son. I love bright new creative ways to learn and think everyone should be given the opportunity to have a go at fun activities with their little ones. I can’t wait to start my outdoor learning area project! I want it to be ready for when Danny is old enough to play outside and I want to share my Early Years Practice with you so that I might inspire others to create amazing learning environments for their babies! I also want to encourage as many people as possible to eat more cake and biscuits and to drink plenty of tea!

I look forward to sharing so much with you all!