2012 – A year of highs and lows

On the one hand 2012 gave us the most special gift we have ever had, Mrs Tiggywinkles, but it also gave us the biggest shock of our lives. Just weeks before I was due to give birth, Cal was diagnosed with non-hodgkins Lymphoma. We couldn’t believe it – three months earlier he had completed the London marathon in three and a half hours. Although he hadn’t been feeling well since, we never imagined it would be anything as serious as cancer.

Fortunately, the outlook was good. It was caught early and he was quickly started on chemotherapy. It has been a tough time. His diagnosis came at the same time I was told I had Obstetric Cholestatis – a condition developed in pregnancy where bile acids build up in the blood stream and cause unbearable itching all over the body.

After eight rounds of chemo, he has come out the other side and thankfully, at the moment, he has got rid of the disease. It has been challenging but we have been carried through by the positivity of Cal’s doctors, the amazing progression in treating this type of blood cancer and Cal’s outlook. It has made us appreciate even more the time we have and not wanting to waste a minute as it.

Although Cal has been off work with the illness, it has meant Mrs T has had the rare privilege of spending almost everyday with both her parents – which has helped us bond even better as a family.

Since then we have been grateful for everyday we have. People may think we can be a bit lavish with our holidays but we say, life is too short.

We like going on holiday

It’s a bit of a standing joke amongst our friends and work colleagues because we are always off SOMEWHERE. It’s actually a bit embarrassing telling people, ‘oh, we can’t make that coz, erm…we’re off on holiday – again’. It’s not that we are particularly flush – we just spend most of our earnings on wandering around the world. Mrs T is already a far more seasoned traveller than I was by the time I was 18 years old.

Her first foray abroad was to Portugal when she was nine weeks old. We spent five days visiting the Douro valley and Porto. She loved it and it gave us the chance to spend some quality time together – just the three of us. There has also been several trips to the Alps with family and friends, on one occasion a stop off in Champagne and then a detour to Paris. Then when she was five months old we headed off to the sun for a relaxing holiday in  Dubai where she went up the world’s tallest building. A few months later there was a trip to Mykonos, Greece. That was just her first year! As a one year old she has already been to Madrid, visited the vineyards of Rioja and the Basque country in northern Spain. More recently we embarked on a big, long haul trip to Asia which saw us go to Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Singapore and Dubai. Phew!

Mrs T started life as Mr T (without the gold jewellery, obviously).

Four days after first being induced (due to a condition developed in pregnancy) I was finally rushed into theatre for an emergency caesarean. Hubby was in bits. I was demanding ‘soothing music’. He got bollocked for putting on Cee Lo Green. After the initial panic, our baby was lifted out and I was relieved to hear it was crying.
As my husband peered around the green medical tent erected on my stomach, he proudly announced… “It’s a boy!”
As I couldn’t see anything I took him at his word, after all we had both convinced ourselves we were having a boy.
Through the haze of drugs, I listened to its crying, relieved he was alright. I started to imagine what he would look and chose his name.
A good ten minutes after our child was born, my thoughts were interrupted by my husband who had got up to see it weighed.
He rushed back to my side, stammering: “Whizz, Whizz it’s…it’s…it’s a girl, it’s a girl.”
“WHAT?” I exclaimed in disbelief. “You said it was a boy!”
My drug filled brain couldn’t quite comprehend what was going on. How can a child suddenly change gender?
“Can’t you get anything right?” I demanded, “What is it?”.
“It’s a girl, a girl.”
I really couldn’t get my head around it at first and started panicking slightly that I might not bond with her. But I need not have worried.
Upon further probing, it turns out Cal mistook the umbilical cord for something else…
I have a feeling when MRS T gets older this story will get wheeled out again and again until she is thoroughly fed up and embarrassed by the whole episode. My husband obviously isn’t, and regales the incident to anyone that will listen. Thankfully he likes taking the mick out of himself – which saves me a job.

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