Monthly Archives: February 2016

An amazing milestone 

Leo is one year old. 

How crazy is that? This year has just gone so amazingly fast it’s beyond belief. Leo hitting one is a belter of a milestone for us to hit and for us to have dealt with as well as we have done.

  It is always hard to try and work out how we will feel on certain days or at certain milestones – to be honest, I’m not even sure why I worry about how we’re going to feel as there’s nothing I can do about it.

We debated all week. In fact, that’s not the truth; we debated all month, on where to go with Leo on his actual birthdayas we wanted it to be special. We didn’t want to go to Chester Zoo as we wanted to have his own special thing as the zoo has always been Millie’s special place. We then became restricted by the terrible weather that most of us have had for the past week, so we needed somewhere indoors… We spoke about Blue Planet. Now this is where it became a little harder because the last time we actually went to Blue Planet was on Dan’s only Father’s Day with Millie and Dan was struggling with this, so ultimately I left the decision to him and when it came to it on Friday morning, he felt like he wanted to go – so we did. 

  
(Millie at Bluewater in June 2012) 

I couldn’t have written what happened on the way over to Bluewater if I tried …But let me show you some photos of Leo beforehand first.

 
 Leo absolutely loved being surprised with his birthday presents – there’s such a difference in his reaction since Christmas and that was less then 8 weeks ago. He was into his presents quicker than we could get through the living room door. 

We showed him his brilliant trike which his lovely Auntie Linz (hi Linz 😀) bought for him and he loved it and sat in it opening the rest of his presents – in fact he loved it that much that later in the afternoon, we took him for a walk in it and he cried when I tried to take him out! 

He loved his birthday balloons that our lovely friend Jay from B for Balloons made up for him for his birthday (along with a special one for Millie) and he has spent lots of the weekend playing with them (Rolo has tried to play with them too, but she has been banned). 


So we headed on up to drop a balloon off with Millie so she was included in Leo’s birthday celebrations and then we set off to Bluewater… during this journey, we knew that Millie was with on Leo’s birthday. 

So just remember here that we are heading to a place that we last visited on our only Father’s Day with Millie. 

Listening to Smooth Fm on the way there, Millie’s song started to play – You Can Call me Al by Paul Simon, now if you know this song, you know it’s not one that you hear all the time on the radio – we were about 5 miles from Blue Water at this point and both Dan and I started to cry, I’m guessing we were both thinking the same thing. Then I noticed what time it was – I didn’t mention it to Dan until later, it was 11.35; roughly the time that Millie started to lose her life – now if these two things combined aren’t a sign that Millie was with us then I don’t know what is. I’ve said this before, I don’t believe in God at all, certainly not after losing Millie but I do believe in spirits and  that when we lose someone they are still with us. 

Wow.Bluewater was busy whe we arrived, but that was fine – we knew it would it was half term! Once we were in there, Leo loved it 😀😀😀.

  

We had a lovely day, it was so hard but we all enjoyed it and Leo loved all his new presents and his outings. We have to keep smiling for Leo, sometimes it’s really hard and other times it just comes naturally and it’s lovely when that happens. Millie is always in our thoughts and we’ll always know that she is with us wherever we are. 

When we got home, I had another surprise for Leo. I had made him a homemade mummy cake, you can have a good laugh now, haha! I promise it tasted better than it looked … I don’t have the patience for cake decorating, I could never make a business out of it! 

 
Best thing about the cake though is that we were brave enough to let Leo try some.  Cake is something we haven’t let him try yet… But he has now and he loved it. 

 
So, then there was the party debate – should we , shouldn’t we? We decided to go ahead and have one for Leo because we would have done for Millie on her 1st birthday and we didn’t want Leo to miss out. So we did. Today.

Now, if you’ve read previous blogs of mine, you’ll know about Leo and I going on our Messy Monkeys adventures – so that’s the party we decided to have for him, with a Paw Patrol theme. 

   Pretty sure that the parents of the children invited to his party were cursing me today when they saw how messy we got! Haha. I’m only joking, they all absolutely loved it and was great to see all the parents getting involved too! Not many people walked out of the door clean today! 

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I’ve got to say that this party was absolutely fantastic and the girls that hosted were brilliant! It was such a different party that had everyone smiling and laughing their heads off, just what we needed. 

For my previous Messy Monkey Blog, click here 

I’m still not comfortable with Leo eating food outside our home in busy places but of course we still put food on and had the most AMAZING Paw Patrol cake made by Victoria Queen of Cakes. It looked fantastic and tasted gorgeous! As you can see, it looked a lot more special than my homemade effort! Thanks Vicky for making Leo smile with your cake X (we brought some home for Leo to try) 

This weekend has been emotional,fun,sad,happy, full of miss,love  and pride – in fact very emotion you can think of we have been through and you know what, that’s ok. 
Leo is now in bed flat out snoring and Dan and I are crashing on the sofa after a crazy few days. 

Happy 1st Birthday Leo, love Mummy, Daddy, your big sister Millie and Rolo of course. Xxx

  
Paw Patrol Cake made by Victoria Queen of Cakes,Stockport 

All Balloons by B for Balloons, Stockport 
 

For details of Messy Monkeys click here 

Wrong birth date, so you can’t have it! 

Hey, it’s Joanne here! I’ve blogged this so more people see it X

Now, we rarely share petitions unless they are directly related to first aid because we get sent so many, so this one we are sharing because we teach about meningitis on our courses. 
Meningitis is close to our hearts as Dan (Millie and Leo’s dad) actually contracted it when he was 21 years old and was lucky enough to survive.
Now as a parent of a soon to be 1 year old, we really want Leo to have this vaccination a) because Leo’s daddy has had it and b) because we want to do everything we can that could prevent anything happening to Leo … BUT here’s where the problems start … 
Apparently Leo was born just a few months earlier than the vaccination programme start so he isn’t entitled to be vaccinated on the NHS … So that brought me to look privately … Which has led me to discover firstly that there is a national shortage and we can’t even pay for him to have it at the moment through any private medical centre or through any chemist and secondly … The price is absolutely atrocious … Now of course this is not something that would stop us getting Leo the injection if we could … But at £150-£200 per dosage and he would need 2 and then a booster … In reality how many families can afford that? It’s absolutely ridiculous … Now of course, you cannot put a price on children’s lives but so many people will not be in a position to pay this amount of money and believe me, it’s not money that we have hanging around for a rainy day so we are prepared to go without other things for a few months to get Leo this Injection … But we can’t even get an appointment. 
So, please after hearing some really sad stories over the past few days about children passing away from this terrible infection sign this petition and make the government listen. 

Why should Leo and any other child for that matter go without this vaccination just because of his birth date???

SIGN THE PETITION HERE 

Please also see the photos attached to this post for symptoms …

   
   
To read my last blog, click here 

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An apple a day keeps the doctor away?

I’m not quite sure that this rings true for people who have mental health issues, in fact; I am pretty sure that a whole tree full of apples a day would not keep depression at bay.

Paul Lake, ex Manchester City player has recently given a radio interview about the mental health problems that he has suffered with throughout his career. After listening to his great interview, which you can listen to by clicking here, it inspired me to spend a bit of time talking about this issue again. I have previously read  Paul’s autobiography and it’s a very interesting read to see how someone who had so many plans and commitment to his impending football stardom lose all of his football dreams following an injury and a fall into depression, through no fault of his own. That is the key to this piece, most people don’t have mental health problems because they are fault, it can happen to the best of us.

Most of you reading this will know that I had a series of mental health problems following the loss of our daughter Millie. Some of you will be reading this right now and be thinking that all parents who lose a child suffer from mental health problems, in reality that isn’t the case and to be honest, I am glad it isn’t. Due to a series of issues at the time Millie passed away I ended up being diagnosed with severe PTSD, anxiety and depression. These diagnoses were not made easily and I was reluctant for a long time to actually accept that something was wrong with me. My biggest problem being that I refused to talk. Even when I eventually saw a psychologist I reluctantly sat there in her office the first few times and just cried, I could not get the words out. All the words were there, all muddled up and whizzing around my head but I just couldn’t bring myself to physically say them out loud because when I did, to me that meant that I was admitting that I had something wrong with me. I was frightened that when I admitted this, it was going to hang around me for the rest of my life, that it was going to affect my relationships and my career.

Has it? The honest answer. Absolutely not.

I’ve just drawn this to show you what I think my head looked like inside when I was at my worst to try and help you understand a little better …Some days my head still feels like this. 

As Paul Lake mentions in his interview  “when you talk about depression and you deal with depression, it’s a sign of strength – not a weakness” I wish someone had said this to me when I was struggling, maybe I would have started to talk a lot earlier than I did.

Image credit: http://mental-health-quotes.tumblr.com

Now on a better day, I think that the inside of my head looks a little like bit like this now  … 

What does this mean? Okay , so as you can see all the muddled up stuff at the front of my head can still be very confusing for me but in comparison to the first drawing you saw, it’s a lot less confusing than it used to be.

Now what happens next is now I can send my “head muddles”, such a technical term 😀 across my brain into the little boxes at the back of my head where they can stay for a little while until I am ready to deal whatever issue it is. By having these boxes constantly in my head and using them daily means that I can function and get on with my daily life much better.

I do apologise for my childlike drawings, I am the world’s worst artist!

I was so angry. I was angry at myself, I was angry at the world, I was angry about what had happened to Millie and I was angry at Dan. Why didn’t he feel like me? Why didn’t he get the horrendous flashbacks and the nightmares where I would wake up and I was choking? Why didn’t he keep seeing the same images over and over again like they had been burnt into my brain? Why wasn’t he the one having panic attacks in public? Why wasn’t he the one that walked out of rooms if a friend brought a young child in?  I didn’t understand any of this. I do now. I understand that Dan was suffering from grief because we had lost our daughter and I understand now that my grief was a lot more complex due to a number of matters – matters that were out of my control.  Things are different now, I am in control.  I can control the power of my black dog , I can turn him back into a puppy. Dan become my rock even more by helping me through my illnesses and I wouldn’t wish any of what I went through in my head on him, I would rather go through my toughest mental health periods again than to see him suffer like I did.

I completely agree with what Paul Lake when he talks about “not recognising the person that you were but not being ashamed of that person” – that person that you look back on has become part of you whether you like it or not. The key is to maintain what you have learnt through this process and to be able to call back on what you have learnt and discovered about yourself on this journey as and when you need to on days in the future when you may be struggling more than usual.

So many people suffer from mental health problems and struggle in private. I hope that by writing this piece and talking about this “taboo” topic that one person will be able to stand up and get help.

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Unfortunately, it is extremely hard to access the mental health services through the NHS, in that way, I was one of the lucky ones as I got access very quickly due to my severe symptoms. I genuinely wish that there was more money in this country to allow more people to access these services because I can honestly say that without them, I wouldn’t be here today.

Now if you’ve read anything that I have written previously about mental health then you know what I’m going to say now!

If you know someone that is struggling right now with any mental health problems, please give them a text to say hi, send them an emoticon with a smile on it or ask them if they want to meet for a cup of tea – right now, yes go on, as you’re reading this please – I’ll pause for a few seconds here whilst you do this …… la de dah, la de dah , dum dideee, dum didee – SEND.. great, now I can carry on.

If they don’t today, ask them again in a few days and they might surprise you and say yes and it might just be the day that they really do need that communication and a friend to talk to.

The worst thing that you can do is ignore the problem if you see it and pretend that it’s not happening. It’s not good for the person who is suffering whether that is yourself or someone else.

Look around you at the people you know, I can point out people in my circles that have/are suffering from depression, OCD,PND and panic attacks – all types of mental health illnesses. It’s not as far away from you as you’d like to think.

Mental health should not be a taboo subject in 2016 and it’s a genuine shame that it is.

For more information on mental health illnesses, click here

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Happy Valentine’s Day? 

Today’s been a bad day. 

Any special day is a bad day. People said these days would get easier after having Leo. They don’t. Not at the moment. Obviously all the “special days” that have been are made much nicer with having Leo here to make us smile and to have cuddles from but I wouldn’t say they have gotten easier.

Leo got his own Valentine card this year and a special rose from daddy and I, obviously he doesn’t know that and won’t know who are they are from every year until he is old enough to want to know! 

 
Millie of course got a card and roses off us too. Our little Millie will always have red roses from us on Valentine’s Day. Aways makes me sad on this day that she’ll never get the excitement of having an anonymous signed card arrive on the doorstep or to receive a bunch of flowers from an admirer for her to look at and smile at.

One thing does really help us though. Every year since she was born, Millie has received Valentine’s gifts off someone else, a lovely little boy who is just a couple of weeks older than her. Millie sent a card to him on her first Valentine’s Day and got one back and every year since she has received special gifts on this day and I appreciate it so much. I appreciate the fact that Millie hasn’t been forgotten even on Valentine’s Day. So for this year will the be  5th year this gorgeous little boy has left her gifts and it makes me so happy yet so sad. (Big thank you to this little boy’s mummy, X) 

Today has been a real down day and a day of tears for me. I keep my tears away from Leo at the moment so not to confuse him but when he is old enough, I’ll explain that even when I smile and I am happy, I am still partly sad inside and I know that he will understand. 

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But for now, his lovely little hugs and smiles will keep me going through the day.

I’m looking forward to going to sleep and starting a new day tomorrow. 

Happy Valentine’s Day xxx

Click here to read my last blog “you’ve been called”  
Did you know???
That Millie and Leo’s daddy is running the London marathon? His first ever marathon? You can donate by clicking here or you can text DANT01 £3 to 70070

All donations greatly appreciated 

“You’ve been called…”

This evening I used a Minor Injuries Unit for the first time ever and it was great! I was in and out in just under an hour- I expected to be there a lot longer than that. 

A week or so ago I had a silly fall at home and hurt my wrist and it doesn’t seem to be getting better and it’s quite painful – so me being me with my hate relationship with hospitals have avoided going for a week – certainly not advice that I would give to you guys of course. 

For obvious reasons I didn’t want to go to my local hospital as that’s where we were sent went we lost Millie and I didn’t really want to go to a&e at Wythenshawe as i think more serious injuries should go there, so I hit Google! 

I googled Minor Injury units and two came up that I could visit, Trafford or Altrincham but with the time of day it was, I decided Altrincham was the safer choice if I wanted to avoid traffic. 

Now the reason that I googled this is because earlier this week I saw this photo below doing the rounds on Facebook.

 
Now apparently these types of places are under utilised and in particular at the moment according to the info that was with the photo, they are currently averaging 2 patients per night after 6pm – I don’t know how true this is but it might be worth a try for a minor injury; which is why I googled my local one.

I arrived in Altrincham Minor Injuries Unit and there was only 1 person in front of me waiting and I have to say all the staff were so lovely there, so thank you to everyone who helped me and had me in and out so quickly. I had an X-Ray done to confirm nothing was fractured, which it wasn’t, phew 😀 but its tendonitis and I’ve come home with a splint to wear for a while …

Check out this link to see what Minor Injury Units can treat – it’s worth a look

I’ll tell you what, I couldn’t make up the stuff that happens to me though. Whilst I was in there, I ended up kind of walking behind a dad and a daughter about 3 years old who had been for a nappy change and a woman sat down looked at me and said “they’ve just called your daughter in whilst your were in the toilet, they’re going to call her again in a minute”  I responded, “I’m not with them” and the lady apologised. She wasn’t to know. 
It was like a punch to the gut. It really hurts

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Just 12 months ago, this would’ve sent me under, tonight I took it in my stride , I kept myself together in there and then had a little cry on the drive home.

This is proof, reality that things do improve for parents who are grieving, I promise and here you can see it – because just 12 months ago, I wouldn’t even have been able to step into a place like this on my own without having a panic attack, let alone someone saying something like this to me.  

It will ever go away, but coping mechanisms work and every day you learn to cope better just a smidgen better than the day before. 

I found Leo’s 10th tooth today! He’s doing so well with them, the one that I found today was one of his back ones and apart from dribbling a lot,we wouldn’t have know he’s been teething this week.

He loved his carrots today 😀 Check out his toothy grin.

  
Happy Pancake Day X

Read my last blog, FLY BY WEEKEND by clicking here. 

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To see Millie’s Trust current courses, click here. 

Fly By Weekend

Weekends just fly by so fast don’t they. They fly by even faster for us and probably for many of you when you have to work a day at the weekend – but needs must! So you need to make the most of the bits of the weekend that you do see. 

We’ve been out having some fun at our friend Archie’s party and Leo went on a slide for the very first time! If you want to to see this video, head on over to my Instagram account and search for millieleosmum, I promise the video will make you smile 😀 

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We were at Wild Things play centre in Bramhall and it’s great because it’s a great size to be able to see your young children the whole time they are playing! I couldn’t not go on the little slide with Leo, his big eyes were lighting up when he was watching the other children fly down it! Five times we went on it and he had this massive grin on everytime we whizzed down it! 

Obviously food was served at this party today but I’m still not comfortable with Leo eating out of our home yet (apart from the ice cream he was licking off my finger) – I know one day I will be ok with this. 

During this eating session though, I totally added another reason to my list why I liked this the place – I clocked the grapes on the table and you know what, they were cut in half!!! Absolutely great to see this happening in a play centre because we have been made aware that not all play centres do this as standard with grapes but it made me like the place even more. BIG TICK in my book.

Leo is now fast asleep! A little bit earlier than normal but I’m not surprised as he has had an extremely busy day. Also, he seems to be dropping his afternoon nap now. For the past few days he hasn’t wanted his afternoon nap and that’s great 😀 more playtime with Leo!!! 

As well as dropping naps, we’ve just moved on to cow’s milk and he is constantly cruising … Our little baby is turning into a little boy! So it’s not just weekends that go so fast … Babies growing up do too! Treasure  every second.   

Image credit: www.quotesgram.com

Did you know???

That Millie and Leo’s daddy is running the London marathon? His first ever marathon? You can donate by clicking here  or you can text DANT01 £3 to 70070

All donations greatly appreciated 

Purchase Millie’s Trust Merchandise by clicking here 

Time to give away ….

Time to give my blood away again, currently sat in the recovery bay at Poynton Civic Centre after donating, it’s true you know, everyone comes for the tea and biscuits at the end 😀  

Seriously though, if you want to know our reasons for starting to donate blood, you need to read my previous blog – CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT WHY WE DECIDED TO DONATE 

This time I came prepared and brought my magazine to read whilst the blood was taken from my, the time flies this way …Reading and puzzling 😀  

The nurses are so nice at these blood donation sessions they’re always really chatty and lovely and when you leave, they are always so thankful to you for coming.

 
(Donating selfie – ha, it’s really hard to take a donation selfie when you are hooked up to a machine)

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For anyone who is frightened of donating, don’t be , it only looks like this …

  
… And you don’t really feel a thing to be honest. Truth – my trick is to not look at the needle when it’s going in, I’ve never been very good looking at needle but even that’s only a little sting and nothing to mither about.

So come on guys, think about donating and as I said READ MY PREVIOUS BLOG and see if that convinces you … It’s all about a little boy who needs some donations.

If you are interested in donating, click here for more details or to book an appointment somewhere close to you, if you fit the criteria – there’s no reason not to donate, it’s so quick and easy and remember; one day it might be you who needs blood.

I’m very proud of my hubby at the moment because he’s training very hard for the London Marathon (his first ever marathon) we are both so busy all the time that it’s surprising that he’s fitting all the training in but he is and you know what, (at the moment), he’s really enjoying it! I’ll be telling you a different story in a few weeks when he’s jumped over the 20 mile run mark! Last week he went for a run, came back and said he’d run through rain, hail and snow all on a 12 mile run! He was absolutely drenched! 

If you think he deserves a little bit of sponsorship and support you can TEXT donate by texting DANT01 £5 to 70070 or donate via Just Giving by clicking here. 

And just for cuteness, here’s one of Leo on our mummy adventures this afternoon  … We also discovered something today … Read below to find out what…?!?!!!?

 
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What did Leo and I discover today?

Bob the Builder has had a makeover … When did that happen guys??? 😜 

xxx