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The difference in medical care

You may remember that I wasn’t particularly well during my last pregnancy.

Well, I continued being sick again after the first trimester but not as badly as last time, I can live with up to four times a day…

The biggest difference for me in this pregnancy is the difference in the level of care that I am receiving from the health professionals.

Last time, in the South:

I walk into my GP surgery and explain to the receptionist that I have done a pregnancy test and it was positive.  She gives me a form to fill in and tells me that’s it, I obviously look confused so she says that the Doctor isn’t interested now and won’t see you until after the baby is born, the Midwives will deal with you until then.

Now, back at home in the North-West:

I go to the surgery and say that I think I’m pregnant and th receptionist looks for the next available doctor’s appointment.

I was stunned.

The Midwife that looked after me last time was great, don’t get me wrong on that score, it’s the rest of the care that is the biggest shock.

Pregnant women have to provide a little urine sample at every appointment that is tested for blood, protein, sugar (maybe other things that shouldn’t be there, I’ve never asked).

Last time:

Before 24 weeks gestation and beyond, pluses of protein were identified in the dip tests, the samples were sent to the lab to test for infection, none was found.  No further action.

Now:

Before 24 weeks, pluses of protein were found, samples sent to check for infection, more frequent tests and scans have been booked and I was sent for a kidney scan.  That has shown some anomalies so I am being referred to the renal experts at a different hospital.

Last time:

I see one obstetrician very late in the pregnancy, he doesn’t listen to me, tells me to diet, sends me for a gestational diabetes test that I don’t need and insists that I will have to be induced.  I argue with him and leave feeling like I might as well have not bothered because he was following a script based on my age.

Now:

At the 13 week scan, my first obstetrician appointment was being booked (for a couple of weeks later) and the midwife made sure that I was referred to the one who specialises in renal issues because I’d had HELLP last time.

Last time:

Towards the end of the last pregnancy, despite not having high blood pressure, my high PCR (proteinuria) gets me a diagnosis of pre-eclampsia without any further investigation.

Now:

During my second obstetrician appointment following the 20 week scan, I was told that there is no way it can be pre-eclampsia before 24 weeks so the kidney scan is booked as the blood tests didn’t show any possible causes for my already high PCR result.  As previously mentioned, there were anomalies so I’ve been referred to the renal department at another hospital because “they are the best”.

Last time:

When I went on for a sweep on the Wednesday in an attempt to prevent the need to be induced, the midwife (mine was on holiday) phoned the main hospital and discovered that my PCR was over 460 (I believe that normal is under 70) and insists that I get  up to that hospital URGENTLY.  I go and having waited for 3 hours, spend an hour with an ECG strapped to my belly to check that baby is okay.  I’m told: “The good news is, baby is okay.  The bad news is that your kidneys are failing but we are too busy to take you today so you’ll have to come back on Friday to be induced.”  I was, it didn’t work, I was told that it had failed so they would have to give me 24 hours rest and try again on the Sunday.

Three times over those last few weeks when I was constantly strapped up to the ECG to monitor her, I asked them to take her out so that she would be safe.  They refused and told me that would be an elective C-Section that they didn’t have time for.

Of course, the kidney failure wasn’t the end of it, I had liver failure too when she was born and you know the rest, basically, I was too ill to feed her and she lost a tremendous amount of weight, I was fobbed off when I asked for follow-up to check my liver and kidney function and my body was really wasted.

Now:

“Your PCR is already 173, if it gets to 300, we are going to just take the baby out to keep you both safe.”

I won’t lie, this pregnancy made my anxiety levels go through the roof but I am gobsmacked by the level of care that I am receiving this time.  I come home from every appointment shocked by how GOOD it is.

Could that be any more wrong?

 

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What relocation did for us – an update

For those who don’t know the history:

I was made redundant from a well-paid job, decided to take 3 months off to concentrate on my studies and get over the devastating blow and half way through that break, discovered that I was pregnant at a point when we’d come to believe that we couldn’t have children.

We were so happy.

Then things went onto a rapid decline.  I discovered that in my high-stress, well-paid career, I was no longer employable – who wants a Quality Manager who won’t put in the 70 hour weeks and puts her baby first?  Then Mr PinQ lost his position in the charity that he worked for and had to start temping whilst his dream job application failed to be processed by one particular organisation’s HR department.  I started a little business doing sewing, including working for a local (then) shop one day a week and taking their alterations home and with the help of some very generous donations from friends, was able to buy a sewing machine capable of doing the work and a pot besides for building the business further (buying fabric, creating a website etc).  Then we were given notice to leave our home because the landlord wanted to sell.

That gave me an idea and I talked it through with Mr PinQ.  We could go North.

After every visit over the previous 6 years, he had said, “When are we moving North?” because he always loved it and we knew that one day we would, which had been part of the decision not to buy a house when it was just my wages coming in back in 2011. The funny thing is,one of our biggest deciding factors was walking our pup.  We looked at walks within an hour of (our then) home and a specific postcode in the North-West and spent 10 minutes on each.  We managed to get 12 walks in our bit of the South and 58 in the same sized area in the North!   So it was decided, we would both apply for jobs in Lancashire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire and whichever one of us got accepted first would decide where we would settle and who would stay at home with our precious baby girl.

It was a logistical nightmare with a rambling old 3-bedroom Victorian terraced house worth of “stuff” to move as well as a baby, pup, cat, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchilla…

If that wasn’t bad enough, the purchase of the new house by our landlord was delayed and we found ourselves a week away from the move with no home to go to!  We were again rescued by kindness and a lovely couple who are good friends of friends, allowed us to rent a house from them in the short-term but we couldn’t even tell them how many weeks it was going to be!

If that wasn’t enough, Mr PinQ didn’t have a start date for the new job so with no money left to live on and no job to go to, we moved.  Within a week, he had secured himself a job as a labourer for a landscape gardener whilst out walking the dog!  He loved it and by late summer, his boss was very sorry to lose him when the start date came through.

We were still on the bones of our collective arse and I walked around Lidl with my calculator to make sure that I didn’t go above the £30 a week for the family shop and Mr PinQ was living away on training.

Whilst he was away, I managed to re-decorate most of the house during the night when Baby-Girl was asleep (one room left to go, plus I still need to gloss the woodwork on the stairs and landing!) for less than £40 – because I already had paint etc that I’d bought for the old house.

Those 13 weeks were particularly difficult for Baby-Girl because the same week that Daddy moved away, Nanny and Grampy went on their lollibobs for 2 weeks.  In both cases, she was with them, she fell asleep and when she woke up, they were gone.  It devastated her and for a while, she didn’t want to go to sleep.  Especially when Daddy came home at the weekends!

Since the end of the training and Daddy’s return, her separation anxiety has gone and she’s a happy little monkey again.

In addition to which, we have a little spare every month now and can go ice-skating once a month.  Okay, I know, it’s not the once or twice a week that we used to be able to do but compared to not being able to go at all, it’s brilliant and baby-Girl has astounded us with her ability to stay upright on her toddler skates at 18 months old and her pure joy at being on the ice!  It also means that I can cook more varied meals rather than the bulk/batch style of cooking that I had to do on limited ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, I made sure that Daddy and Baby-Girl had all of the correct nutrients and he never once complained at eating the same meal for 4 or 5 days in a row but it is nice to be able to have a roast dinner or to do a small pan of soup for just a couple of lunches rather than for the whole week.  We’ve even been able to have little treats such as Lidl’s basic tortilla chips with a dip on an evening when Mr PinQ isn’t on shift!

Mr PinQ is doing his dream job – and in an organisation that actually cares!  With the difference in the cost of living, that means that I have the privilege of being a stay-at-home mum until Baby-Girl is old enough for a free nursery place.  Once the house is done, I’ll be able to split my nights (when Mr PinQ is on shift) between my studies and building my business and it doesn’t matter if it takes time to get off the ground because I’ll be home-based anyway.

Pup-Dog has completely changed since we moved.  She gets a different walk every day and now that Baby-Girl is running around with her, I’ve revised all dog-walks to only those that allows both of them to enjoy themselves.  When Baby-Girl was in her pram, it didn’t matter what the terrain was like but now that she’s chasing Pup-Dog, it has to be something that she can manage.  The walks aren’t too long in distance but because Baby-Girl only has tiny little legs, she’s quite slow (except when you have to catch her!) so Pup-Dog still gets the same amount of exercise because she’s constantly chasing a ball.  Of course, that means that when Daddy takes her hill walking without Baby-Girl or a ball, she sees that as an extra-special walk.  The best of it is that we have 7 park within 10 minutes of the house that are suitable for both Baby-Girl and Pup-Dog, never mind how many there are within an hour!

We have lovely nieghbours on both sides of us now.  Compared to one set of lovely neighbours and one horrible one in our home in the South, that is a massive bonus.

I’ve caught up with (not enough) old friends and met some of Mr PinQ’s friends that live in the North-West that he hadn’t seen for years and Baby-Girl gets to see more of Nanny and Grampy as well as seeing Nan-Bear more often because she’s now only about 100 miles away, not over 300!  Baby-Girl and I managed a flying visit to see a couple of friends (not enough) in the South but illness prevented the second planned trip so we have to re-schedule that soon but it was lovely to be able to go down and say hello.

I won’t lie, I’m exhausted.  Some of the big jobs that I need to do have been postponed because the day-to-day tasks are wearing me out and with Baby-Girl and Pup-Dog, I can’t afford for the acute ME to return or worse, for chronic ME set in but I’m slowly chipping away at my to-do list.

Being back amongst the hills is so good for the soul.  When we’re in the car, regardless of what road you are driving along, you can see hills (unless it’s foggy!) and we live at the bottom of a little hill that we can stroll up, let Pup-Dog run around and play and just take in the views.  Bigger hills and hills walks are only minutes away and we have 3 town centres within walking distance whilst being within spitting distance of massive amounts of wild, green space.

Our house is warm and dry.  In the old house, I didn’t really dare let Baby-Girl crawl around on the floor because of the damp and I know that restricted her confidence in herself so that it took a long time for her to let go of her walker and walk on her own but here, I just make sure that I sweep or vac every day and steam mop every other day and she has no restrictions.  It’s lovely to see her running around and giggling when she’s stolen Pup-Dog’s toy or toddling upstairs and sliding back down on her belly (we are always a couple of steps below her but let her enjoy doing it herself).  Of course, having a warm, dry house means a significant reduction in the combined monthly gas and electric bills from £130 a month to £50 a month!  That said, just knowing that it is safe for Baby-Girl to run around means more to me than the £80 a month saved.

It’s lovely to get on a bus, take the dog for a walk or go to the shops and find yourself in conversation and laughing with complete strangers – I missed that when we were in the South where even a lot of the dog-walkers could be very stand-off-ish.  On Pup-Dog’s second birthday, we were walking in a park and she and Baby-Girl were running around and getting filthy when a lovely elderly gentleman and his friend interrupted their walk and conversation to play with Pup-Dog, then another pair of dog-walkers were throwing her ball whilst their older dogs played with Baby-Girl, it was an absolute joy to see her chasing the beautiful, big, old Golden Retriever and watch him transform into a pup when she had a little ride on his back.

When people ask about the move and I say how happy we are, the usual response is, “Yes, but what about Mr PinQ?”  Well, it turns out that he’s as happy about the move as I am, if not more so!  As well as the dream job, lovely home, happier Pup-Dog, lovely people and marvellous views – he has an awful lot of exploring to do and the reality isn’t an anti-climax in comparison to the anticipation when new places are discovered.  I am loving re-visiting places that I loved as a child but Mr PinQ is seeing them for the first time and things like our New Year’s day adventure to Lytham and finding little reservoirs and paths in the hills or seeing the beautiful old mills are an absolute delight for both of us.

I went into Manchester on Monday and it re-affirmed my love for the city.  When I was in the South, I regularly proclaimed that I detested Portsmouth and Southampton because I’d been so spoilt with the likes of Manchester, Leeds, York and Sheffield being close by – but part of me thought that I maybe I was looking at the past through rose-tinted glasses.  It turns out that I wasn’t.  There I was in the middle of this beautiful, bustling city that as well as the slinky modern architecture and trendy places to be, it still has a proud heritage, beautiful old architecture, independent shops, restaurants and clubs and the really important thing: superb transport links.

I thought that the only thing that I would miss bout the South would be our friends but over the winter, we’ve had a few foggy days and I realised there is something else I miss.  When I open the back door to let Pup-Dog out for a wee on a foggy day, it’s silent.  It turns out, I miss hearing the fog horns from the ships!

That said, it’s good to be home.

I don’t know what possessed me!

++++ POLITE NOTICE ++++

++++ MISSING SPACES ARE DUE TO BABY REMOVING SPACE BAR EARLIER TODAY ++++

N.B. Any other mistakes are entirely my own 😉

When I was walking to Mum’s a few weeks ago in the rain and my feet were getting wet. Unusually, not because I had my flim-flams (fit flops) on – they finally broke earlier this summer.

No, it was all down to my tatty old hiking boots.  They weren’t brilliant boots to start with but they were on sale in the Trespass shop at Gunwharf Quays and I needed a pair so I thought they’d do.  The soles were having a conversation.  Now, I can’t afford either new flim-flams or new hiking boots at the moment and had requested the latter for Christmas but I was sick of getting wet feet, luckily, Mr PinQ had delved into some of the (still packed – I know, I know but I have decorated two rooms,made a couple of sets of curtains, repaired appliances and a million and one other things!) boxes and had rather randomly, pulled my trail running shoes out.

They were a last-minute buy before my first event.  I had ordered some at booking but the week of the race, they hadn’t arrived and when I contacted the seller, they offered to bring me a pair on the day.  Yeah right.  I asked for a refund and ordered a cheap pair of Karrimor ones because I had no intention of ruining my Brooks on a February cross-country event.  They were tight but I didn’t have time to return them and get the half-size bigger that I should have ordered in the first place!  I then wore them for the next event.

I cycled, skated and swam my way through most of that summer and early autumn but with the Team disbanded by our employer and a very poorly pregnancy, I didn’t run again.  I carried on cycling, swimming and skating (the latter until a few weeks before Baby-Girl was born) and of course, Pup-Pup had come into our lives too so I was walking every day again.

I guess it was the wet feet thing.  I binned my hiking boots when I emptied the bin and litter tray this morning, having worn the trail runners to walk to Mum’s yesterday and not only loving that I had dry toesies (it was a mizzy day yesterday) but also realising that they fitted beautifully!  I’ve lost about 2st since that first run 2 years ago so my feet are back to normal – I was so pleased.

So today, I set off walking to Mum’s with Baby-Girl in her pram (which also contained a nappy bag, handbag and laptop) and Pup-Pup on her lead, which was slung over my shoulder as I had no spare hands.  What did I then decide to do?

Run.

I’ve been thinking about the fact that I have all these beautiful hills around me again and what a shame it is that I can’t go cross-country running because I am (temporarily) a single mummy and whilst I can walk the dog all day in the hills, Baby-Girl is getting rather heavy in her little harness and the pram isn’t brilliant on most of the footpaths. I’m odd.  I love cross-country running but I don’t particularly like road running and I hate treadmills.

I was doing a variation of fartlek training.  There are lots of roads to cross on the way so I ran a block, walked a block, ran a block, walked a block etc.  I’ll be honest, I do need to find my sports bras; a lovely, soft, cotton, non-wired maternity bra really isn’t the best for running but it didn’t stop me.

If I hadn’t surprised myself enough by running there, I only went and did it on the way back as well!  The best bit… I thought that one block would kill me because it has been such a long time since I did any training but I feel fine.  Let’s see if I edit that last bit tomorrow.

Kindness

I cannot get over the kindness of our family and friends.

Since I was made redundant 18 months ago, things have been really difficult financially, particularly when Mr PinQ’s contract with the charity that he worked for came to an end and he started doing temp work.  Losing my great wage was a blow but losing his low one was devastating, we didn’t know how we could feed and clothe ourselves, never mind our beautiful Baby-Girl when she arrived last summer.

Everyone has been so generous, giving us: bags and bags of knitted, crocheted and bought clothes, blankets, a pram, nappies, a cot-bed, change bags, a steriliser; a little work to earn extra money; lessons in crochet so that I could make things for her myself; toys; a practical helping hand when we’ve needed it; somewhere to stop and feed Baby-Girl or somewhere to sleep when travelling to see family and friends; a shoulder to cry on when it has been needed; puppy- and baby-sitting; baby sign classes – the list is endless!

If that weren’t enough, a friend with a property portfolio is buying another house for us to rent so that we will have a secure roof over our heads until we can afford to buy; another has arranged for us to live in another house until the sale of the other completes.

I’ve had hard times in the past, but it was never as bad as the last 18 months and of course, it was only ever me, my old doggy and cat (when they were still alive) that I had to think about.  Having a baby magnifies those sorts of stresses a hundredfold but having such wonderful, kind-hearted and generous people in our lives negates most of that stress.

Some people handed me money and said, “Get something for the baby”, so I put it straight into savings accounts for her.  With everyone having bought her so much already, we didn’t really need anything so making sure that she has a bit of money behind her when she grows up seemed like the right thing to do with it.

I’ve even been given loads of textiles (Nan-Bear and NannaD) and clothes so that I can make things, either for Baby-Girl or even to sell.  On top of that, people donated to help me set up my own business and I’ve already bought the sewing machine that I dreamed of owning when mine broke – although I’m goign to buy the other bits when we are settled in our new home, it would be silly to buy it now just to have to transport it 275 miles!

We’ve had all of the things from the food bank that other people wouldn’t take. Things like vegetables and uncut, lovely bread: Meditteranean, soda bread, organic brown batch, olive bread, ciabatta rolls and the rest!

We are the poorest we’ve ever been financially but the richest in love because of the kindness of others.  I really do hope that there is a heaven so that I can sit down with all of those wonderful people and tell them what they mean to me.  Some of you will think, “but it as just a little thing…” it wasn’t a little thing to us.  The baby clothes from the charity shop was as gratefully received as the leg of lamb, the pork joint, the vegetables, the vegetable peeling to feed the hens, the second-hand crib, the cot-bed and everything else.  I can never sell any on any of the beautiful things that people have made for Baby-Girl, they are too precious, but I expect I will sell bags of assorted baby clothes at some point but even if I don’t keep everything forever, I will never forget the generous, kind souls that gave us so much peace of mind.  Being able to dress your baby (for at least a year) because so many lovely people have given you so much – when you didn’t know how you were going to dress her past her first few weeks, really is amazing.

I have no way to adequately express what it means to be moving to a warm home where you aren’t in a daily battle with mould.  I even think that the cough and sinus thing that I started with on Christmas day will go when we are settled.

From anyone in need, thank you to all the good people.  When you help someone who really needs it, you give a them light, hope and joy.  Even when reality hits again as it must, the benefactor will always have the memory of that helping hand, in whatever form.

N.B. I normally proof-read in case of garbled sentences, typos and grammatical errors.  I am too tired to do that tonight and I have a tonne of work to do for Saturday plus a landlord visit tomorrow so I am just leaving the post as is.  Apologies if it reads like alphabetti spaghetti!

 

They must think we are stupid!

“Hello,
Message important for you! You have a tax refund of £ 241,76 GBP still pending! We have been unable to credit the funds on your account.”

Their email address showed as:HM Revenue & Customs <payment@germany-carsale24.com>

Honestly!  Even if the email address hadn’t been visible, the dodgy English in the subject field would have made it an obvious scam: “Enquiry from HMRC urgent for you! You have a tax refund of £ 241,76 GBP still pending!”.

Reported to HMRC.

07527915436

“Am I speaking to Mrs PinQ?”

“Ye—s”

“Hello Mrs PinQ.  I am Dave [MYAR5E] from Credit _______”

I didn’t catch the name of the ‘company’.

“It is my understanding that you have personal debt that you pay off monthly.”

“I must stop you there.  This number is TPS registered.”

“But your number was given to us by Citizens Advice and the Financial Conduct Authority with regard to your debt.”

“I don’t think so.  Even if Citizens Advice did have my details due to a problem with debt, they would not contravene the DPA ’98.”

“Well, what I don’t understand is if you can’t amanage your debt, why you have TPS.”

He then hung up.

I have reported the call to the TPS, Action FraudCitizens Advice and the FCA.  Mainly because of the people that would be suckered by these scammers – especially when they are bandying about organisations such as Citizens Advice and the FAC.

EU: the FACTS

Was the title of the leaflet that came through the door this afternoon.

I can’t say that I was surprised to find a UKIP logo with contact details on the back, the leaflet proved to me that they are aiming for a less intelligent following.  The “IF WE VOTE TO LEAVE THE EU” page had green headers and the “IF YOU VOTE TO REMAIN IN THE EU” using red.

N.B. The use of “WE” and “YOU”

You are part of a nice, snuggly, warm club/family if you choose to vote leave.  Isolation and doom for you if you choose to remain.

Not surprisingly, the “facts” are not particularly factual.  Opinion is not fact – even when it’s mine 😉

I had a look at it because Star (the puppy) kept trying to paw at it so I thought I would read it to her.

Now, the reason that I kept it on the coffee table in the first place was so that I could lodge a complaint.  When we got Star, Mr PinQ put chicken wire across our wrought iron garden gate and fitted the following sign (on both sides):

Please Close the Gate

The sign is approximately 5″ x 7″ (roughly 13cm x 18cm) and the gate is easy enough to operate so I was not impressed when I went out with Star earlier and found that the gate had only been pulled to rather than closed.  I was taught that when leafleting, you should always leave the gate as you found it and I KNOW that I closed it earlier; never mind the fact that there is a SIGN asking people to close the gate.

Further to all of this, I then tried to call the number on the back of the leaflet to complain about the gate, only to be put through to the UKIP membership hotline!  Really? Membership?

With my Aryan looks, I might have to ask Mr PinQ to put on some DMs so that he looks as BNP as possible and pay a visit to the local UKIP member’s office…