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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas has arrived in our house and it is my most favourite time of the year! After having a challenging week last week we are on the mend - Caleb is improving and his remaining cough is gradually getting better. He has just had his first immunisations so is back to not feeling his best but the light is at the end of the tunnel!

Erin's 3rd birthday is this coming Sunday, so amid my huge pile of presents to wrap I also have a Tinkerbell cake to make! The sponge is cooked and in the freezer, so on Saturday I'm quite looking forward to crafting it all - although I am cheating a little and have bought some Tinkerbell figures.

This year I haven't made anything for Christmas that is ready-homemade yet. Last year I made a Christmas cake, cooked my roast potatoes in advance, made some cranberry sauce... but I bought Erin's cake!Lol! We haven't really had our evenings with Caleb being so little so I've not had a huge amount of time (or energy) to do anything. My plan is to get a load of housework and things done at the weekend so we can relax from Erin's birthday on. We have Christmas with our close friends this year, and we are all about having an easy and relaxed day - with plenty of food and enjoying a glass of wine or two!

I made Christmas Sacks last year, which have now got the children's names on (having made an extra one for Caleb this summer!) and now I'm wishing I'd made time to make the stockings too - project for next year I think.

We have also been thinking about traditions, and this year I have started a few. We have a new Mince Pie plate for Santa and Rudolph, we have letters from Santa to be received on Christmas Eve with a goodie bag from the elves containing new pyjamas and a new story book. We are also taking the plunge getting rid of Erin's dummies! She only has them at bedtime, but as she is turning 3, I have decided that the Dummy Fairy is paying us a visit. So the day before her birthday she will receive a letter from the Dummy Fairy explaining she will be a big girl and asking for Erin to leave her dummies in a special bag. Then in the morning, the Dummy Fairy will have left a special present, and a certificate... and then we go cold turkey... I'm dreading it!lol!

I'm desperate to give this blog a bit of an overhaul and re organise it, adding in some new pages but I just haven't got the time yet - it's on my 2014 list!

What I have come to realise is that Christmas time can motivate me to do almost anything, and although I love the present giving, family time and traditions, I find myself thinking we must ensure that we bring the children up to appreciate the real meaning of Christmas. To be thankful for all we have, some years we will have little and some we will have plenty. To know that God has our best interests at heart and loves to see us being child like when it comes to him - the excitement we have for Christmas as children should be the excitement we have when it comes to God.  Not always easy when you've had tough times, but even more reason to put things in perspective.

If this time of year is difficult, or you are feeling heavy with pressures that are currently going on in your life, then take some time to rediscover your excitement, for Christmas, for God, for good times to come - have faith in Him that the new year will bring new adventures, challenges, and ultimately bring you closer to Him.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Crunch Point - where do you turn!?

The last week has been rather difficult in our household - both girls have stinking colds and Caleb was the most settled he's ever been last Tuesday... until about 4pm that day. He suddenly seemed to progressively get worse with his reflux with no obvious trigger or reason why. After a couple of days I decided he was getting quite bad and called the On Call GP who agreed to prescribe some medication but wanted Caleb to be checked the following morning. As those of you with children will know, if they are really poorly, an overnight wait can be agonising and we had a difficult night.

The GP we saw was fantastic, and after consulting with the local hospital to make sure the dosage was right, we got some medication for Caleb. He seemed to have caught the girls cold and we still couldn't work out whether it was just his cold or the reflux. As we could hear his reflux regularly, we thought that we would have to give him medication even though the prescribed formula we had recently started had been sufficient up until this point.

Caleb seemed to get worse, and after a delay waiting for the medication to arrive at the pharmacy we were finally able to administer it. That was Friday.

I went out on Saturday and took over from Mr Strong with the kids mid afternoon. He was due to go out to a work Christmas Party in the evening. Caleb seemed a little worse but not massively noticeable. At 6pm Mr Strong went out and I got the kids in bed, Lara was really unsettled as by this point she was tired and feeling quite ill. Caleb kept coughing, and was starting to wheeze quite badly, more so than the past few days. I gave him his dose of medication and expected to have a quiet night to myself.

An hour later Caleb was struggling, I gave him a bottle as he wouldn't settle and afterwards he seemed to get worse. He had a coughing fit a few minutes later, went bright red gasping for breath and his lips went blue. He couldn't breathe, and I started praying fast for his airways to open and for him to just breathe. Just breathe!! My prayer was answered and he then threw up and settled slightly. I put him in his cot to let him rest whilst I quickly asked advise off a close friend and checked the side effects of his new medication.

The instruction leaflet told me a very rare allergic reaction was difficulty breathing, wheezing and tightness of the chest. Bingo I thought and called 111. By this point Caleb's breathing was rapid and after being asked a few questions they advised that they were sending an ambulance! I burst into tears, called our close friend and neighbour to come over and text Mr Strong to come home ASAP.

The paramedics arrived and assessed Caleb who had calmed down a bit by now, but took us to A&E nonetheless. At the hospital we were told it wasn't his reflux or his medication, but a viral infection that to children and adults is just a bad cough and cold, but to babies it was serious. This RSV infection had given Caleb Bronchiolitis, and he was given an inhaler to try and bring down his rapid breathing.

He was admitted that night, tube fed to give him rest, and given oxygen to bring his levels back to normal. He was discharged the following afternoon as he had made good progress and they had determined that the infection had probably peaked at home and he would be on the road to recovery. This is a very short and simplified version of what was a very emotionally difficult time!

It's a real test of faith when your child stops breathing and you need to act fast. What would your instant reaction be?! I wasn't sure what mine would be if I'm honest, but it was turning to the only thing I know is dependable and steadfast. God.

Caleb is by no means recovered, and I think we have another week or so of getting him back to normality, but once again I can thank God for his hand over us. It has honestly been such a battle at times to help Caleb - we now have a referral appointment for mid January for his reflux to be assessed, and I am praying that this infection clears up fast. It's awful when you just can't do anything... but prayer can break down what seems like the thickest wall, the biggest hurdle, and the most complicated of situations.

Take time this week to think what your foundation is, who your support system is when you have a time of need, and what you rely on when it comes to the crunch point. If you aren't a Christian, then you might not understand how faith can be such a crucial factor in times like these, or how you can depend on something you can't see or feel. If you are curious, then I am hear to answer any questions, or if you have any friends or people who know who are Christian's then I know they would be happy to tell you how their life has changed because of their faith. Wherever you are, whatever point or stage in life you are currently in, God doesn't change, and all it takes is a moment to say "God I'm here, show me how I can know you".

When it comes to it, I am thankful that I have God to rely on, because in my own strength there are lots of things that I simply cannot do!