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Stickerscape Guest Blog

I guest blogged for Stickerscape last week in conjunction with Baby Loss Awareness Week. Below is the blog that I wrote for them.

Don’t forget that in October for every sale made, Stickerscape will donate a £1 to Millie’s Trust and The Miscarriage Association. Click here to have a look at what they sell

There is a well-known misconception that “it will never to happen to me”.

We all want to believe that we will live in these happy marriages with our wonderful children, that we’ll grow old and see them get married and have children themselves.  That’s how it should be. I thought it would be for us.

I met my husband, married not long after and our first planned pregnancy happened and our gorgeous daughter Millie soon came along and we were so in love with her, our new family life and how she made us feel.

We watched her laugh, cry, grow, smile and develop her stunning little personality, she was fast becoming her own little person and we loved watching this amazing little girl learn and discover something new every day.

Then we lost her.

Nine months. That’s all we got and she was gone.

No warning, no illness, just suddenly taken.

Millie was only in nursery for 3 days when she choked on her lunch.

Ten days later, we buried our little girl; our world had been taken.

We didn’t just lose our daughter; we lost our family life.

We no longer had our morning alarm clock daughter; we had no reason to get up anymore, we didn’t want to be here anymore, we didn’t want to live.

 Millie had become our world and our world was shattered in an instant. We couldn’t function, not at work, not at home, not as human beings. I wasn’t eating, I didn’t have the energy to shower, I didn’t cook, I didn’t watch TV, I didn’t’ read… I literally stopped everything.

Both of us became reliant on anti-depressants and sleeping tablets, it was the only way that we could cope. Our lives become one big circle of crying, visiting Millie’s resting place and sleeping, nothing else mattered – apart from making sure each of us was still here for the other.

Our marriage was in danger, according to statistics 80% of marriages fail after the loss of a child – we didn’t want to become part of that figure, we worked so hard not to become part of that figure, but it was extremely hard. Both of us could have easily walked away at any point, but we stood by one another, dealt with the arguments, the guilt, the pain and 5 years later we are through the worst of it.

A large part of my time after losing Millie I spent wondering if I ever wanted to have another child again, could I risk ever having to go through this pain if it happened all over again? I decided not. I didn’t want to have another child.

Not long after I had made that decision, we travelled half way across the world to New Zealand to meet another family who had tragically lost their son in a very similar incident in a nursery; they had since gone on to have another child.

Meeting this family completely changed my mindset, if they could do it, why couldn’t I?

Just over 12 months later, our Rainbow Baby Leo arrived late one evening. During my pregnancy with him, I really struggled to bond with him, I couldn’t even bring myself to look at his scan photographs for a long time, I just needed to hold him, to hear him cry and when he did, that first time – the relief was emancipating, it’s the only way to describe it.

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Our Rainbow baby brought back our family life. He brought back our smiles, he brought back our laughter and he brought back our lives.  We will be forever in his debt for that. He is obviously far too young to understand what he has done for us – but he will one day.

Is that the end of our “it will never happen to me”

Sadly not, just over 2 years later – we sadly suffered a missed miscarriage around the 12-week mark. After struggling so much bonding with Leo in my pregnancy with him, I felt a little more relaxed with this pregnancy. I felt as though everything would be fine, nothing could go wrong again could it? We had been through so much with Millie that losing a baby couldn’t happen to us again could it?  I was so angry when I miscarried, what had we done to deserve this?  Again.

But it did, yet again we became another statistic, this time in the national miscarriage figures.

We gave our miscarried baby a name. There’s only Dan and I know that special name, we couldn’t not do this – it felt as though it was a mark of respect; a mark of existence for our child.

This time though, I wanted, I needed to be pregnant again. We tried as soon as we could and I am now 8 and half months pregnant about to have another little boy.

Our journey has been horrendous but our rainbow babies have slowly pieced our family back together. There will always be pieces forever missing, our hearts will huge gaps but the stitching is helping.

We have never “gotten over” losing Millie or our miscarried baby – people are extremely wrong for saying this will happen especially when they have absolutely no experience and it’s normally those people that like to offer their opinion.

You learn to live with what has happened – that’s the only way to put it.

Love Joanne,

Forever a mum of 4, not just the 2 that you will see me holding hands with

xxx

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Copyright: Joanne Thompson

Website: www.samepersondifferentme.com

Twitter & Intstagram: @millieleosmum

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Hi, My name is

Hello.

My name is Joanne.

And I have mental health problems.

Seems easy that doesn’t it?

It’s not. It’s hard. It’s really hard.

It’s one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to admit to myself.

That I had problems and I needed help.

That I needed help more than I could ever have imagined.

The trigger of my illness? My daughter suddenly passing so unexpectedly. Things I saw on that day. Things I didn’t want to see. Things I didn’t want to hear. Things that I had no control over. Things that I couldn’t stop. Things I couldn’t change.

Of course I was grieving for my daughter but I thought I was normal. I thought everyone grieved like I was.

Turns out that I wasn’t though.

I was one of the lucky ones. If you can call me that. I didn’t feel lucky after losing our daughter. Although I was lucky. Lucky to get quick access to an amazing NHS psychologist – because if I hadn’t have done, I know that I wouldn’t be here today.

That might sound dramatic. It’s not though, it’s the truth.

My darling husband realised that I wasn’t functioning as I should be. That I wasn’t grieving like he was. That I was different. That something was wrong.

I didn’t want to believe it. I’m glad he made me go to the doctors though. It saved me.

I was diagnosed with

Severe Anxiety

Severe Depression

Severe PTSD

Panic attacks

Complex Grief

So, as you can see. It turns out that I wasn’t just grieving.

It’s roughly 4 years down the line now since my first psychologist session, when I didn’t really say much,I just sat and cried and then got angry. It’s a little different nowadays I talk more, I pour my heart out sometimes. I was there just last week. It’s not an easy fix to deal with mental health problems.

It’s hard work.

Its emotional.

It’s heartbreaking.

It’s torturous.

But as the old saying goes, “it’s good to talk”. It truly is.

Some days I can’t function. I feel like I’m failure as a wife, as a Mum, as friend … as everything.

These illnesses nearly cost us our marriage, nearly cost us the chance of having more children. I could’ve ran away. I wanted Dan to be with someone who could make him happy. Not to be with someone who cried herself to sleep most nights, that woke up and didn’t want to speak to him, that didn’t want to socialise. I wanted to leave so he could be happy. But he loves me more than I could ever have imagined and he stood by me and he’s my rock.

Social media is full of all these fabulous photographs that are photoshopped, edited, filtered – often we only see what people want us to see. They want you to see that their life is perfect and oh so happy.

So here is an unfiltered, unedited, unattractive photograph of what I looked like after a very recent anxiety attack and this is after nearly 5 years of having them. I took this 3 weeks go, not knowing if or when I was going to show it – but today seems right to do so, on World Mental Health Day. There was a trigger for this attack, I’ll talk about it in another blog when I’m ready …

After this attack, I was burnt out for a couple of days. It’s not like this just for a few minutes, the after effects always last a few days and it takes a while to piece me back together – but Dan and Leo always do this for me and help me through it.

So now you’ve read this, I’ve said this before.

Time to text that friend who you might not have heard from in a while, that might have been distant, that might have seemed rude last time that you spoke to them.

They could need that text more than you could imagine tonight. Offer them a brew. It might take them 3 months to take you up on the offer, but they will, when they’re ready. Let them know you’ll wait.

Mental Health does scare people, that’s not a surprise at all.

But the person it scares the most, is the person who is suffering and they might not even know it.

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Read one of my recent blogs here, Unexpected Reminders

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Donation can be anything between £1 and £10

Visit the Millie’s Trust Shop here

Unexpected Reminders

This has got to be one of my all time least favourite statuses that Facebook shows me every year …

It reminds me what was about to come and how much of our future we were going to lose.

I was so excited to buy Millie her first Halloween costume, it was a black & purple cat onesie with little ears and I’d arranged a little Halloween party at home for Halloween weekend for a few of our friends.

Text MILL05 £5 to donate for Millie’s 5th anniversary.

(Donation can be changed from £1 to £10)

This is one of our last ever photos taken of Millie, we never did get to see her in the Halloween outfit x

This outfit is a haunting image for me now as I clearly remember going back to our house for the first time after we lost her, just before her funeral and it being hanging over her cot … just waiting for her .. but now it was never going to be used.

This month is getting tougher now, every day seems a little harder as we she towards her anniversary .

Treasure each day as you never know what is around the corner xxx

Help us to raise £2,000 for Millie’s 5th Anniversary – click here to see what for x

Or text MILL05 £5 to 70070

(Donation can be changed to between £1 and £10)

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Limited Edition Giraffes – now on pre-sale, click here to purchase

Baby Room!

A while ago on my Facebook blog page, I was talking about how hard it is to decide on how to decorate a nursery. I’m not the most imaginative person when it comes to decoration but of course we wanted it to look lovely for our new arrival.

Many of you suggested lots of lovely ideas and we loved the idea of using animals in there. Millie had a Winnie The Pooh decorated nursery and Leo had stars – so we wanted a different theme and we had a blank canvas as at the end of last year we moved into a new home and luckily the room which was to become the baby’s new nursery was bright white when we moved in.

During these conversations on Facebook, a fabulous company called Stickerscape got in touch with me and suggested that we take a look at their website and see if anything caught our eye. We hadn’t even thought of using stickers instead of wallpaper but we were open to the idea.

On taking a look, we found some fabulous ideas and some amazing stickers. I had no idea how many we needed for the size of the room we have, so I sent a drawing with sizes of the room on to the lovely Fi and told her which stickers we liked and she worked out what we would need to make it look beautiful!

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A few days later … a well packaged delivery arrived and when we opened it,of course it had blue wrapping.

It was best if we painted the room and then tried to wait 2 weeks to attach the stickers to the wall, so Dan got painting (after I’d picked the colour).

We actually ended up waiting a little while longer than 2 weeks because Dan got Tonsillitis, twice in a row ( I have never known that to happen to anyone!) and we also had a new carpet installed and it turned out that there was a fault with it and we had to wait to get it replaced again. 🙈

Anyway, fast forward around 4 weeks from Dan originally painting and we could start getting the stickers on!

We read the instructions and we’d also been sent a YouTube link that showed how to apply them – This came in very handy as I myself don’t do very well reading instructions, I follow visual instructions much better. Check out the video here The stickers arrived in printed sheets and they only need a rough cut around the transfer, not a delicate time consuming cut which was good for us as neither of us have the patience for that. So we laid them out on the floor to see exactly what we had been sent and how big each sticker was.

Once we had taken a look, I started to cut all the stickers out into individual pieces as then you can put them exactly where you want on the walls. Whilst I did this, Dan and Leo prepared the walls and literally all this entailed was wiping the walls with a clean duster to get rid of anything that might be on the walls that could’ve shown through the stickers.

Next up Dan had to smooth over the back of the plastic with a card from his wallet to ensure that the sticker would come off correctly – this was a few seconds for each sticker at the most.

Next up, actually applying the stickers to the wall (this was definitely a Dan job as I have no patience, but to be honest as I was watching him put them on the wall, I realised that it was actually really simple). Leo of course wanted to be involved, so we gave him the job of collecting the excess cuttings from the stickers – despite the look on his face here, he was actually enjoying it!

The application of these stickers actually took a lot less time than we had originally thought. We thought it might be quite time consuming due to the detail of the stickers, but actually it wasn’t and only took a few hours from start to finish and the stickers look amazing! (You can see how big the tree sticker is by looking at the plug socket on the bottom of the wall)< <

They even got the approval of my granny last week when she visited and when I told her that I was writing a blog about them she said and I quote “Make sure that you tell them that your Granny said that I thought they looked like they were painted on, they are that good”. I think Granny approval says it all 😀.

There are lots of stickers to choose from including some fabulous In the Night Garden and Peppa Pig ones for little fans of those programmes.

Stickerscape also sent Leo a gift too, alongside wall stickers they do labels for children’s clothing/bags/shoes etc and they personalised some monster ones for him – which of course Leo loves!

Here are some in his wellies!

If you like the sound of using these stickers and other products that they sell, October is THE PERFECT time to purchase because they are donating £1 from every order to our Millie’s Trust Charity and to The Miscarriage Association as October is Baby/Infant Loss awareness month x

In conjunction with this, I’ve also written a blog for Stickerscape for a project they are supporting this month for baby loss awareness. Look out for that coming soon, as soon as it’s published, I’ll let you know!

Click here to view all their products and rangesFull disclosure: I was sent the Stickers for the nursery as a gift from Stickerscape but was not asked to review or blog, I wrote this blog to show you all what we’ve been doing and wanted to mention the company and how fab their products are 😀.

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Poem for Leo 0316

Dear Leo,

This morning I’ve been sneezed on and generally covered in green snot,

But it doesn’t really matter as I love you such a lot.

You also threw your Weetabix across at me and smiled,

Now how can I resist that cheeky grin from my boy child,

You also gave me cuddles whilst sneakily pulling on my hair,

I think you really planned that, you cheeky little mare.

Then you shot a smile, a real big toothy grin,

My smile it came so quickly, I could barely keep it in.

You snuggled in my shoulder with your lovely soft brown hair,

You like to lay here soundly,it’s a comfort being there.

Whilst you lay there sleeping soundly I glanced around the room,

Rolled my eyes, had a laugh, toys everywhere like an explosion that’s gone boom.

But this mess I really love, along with little clothes out everywhere,

I missed this all so much, when your sister was no longer there.

So I’ll forget about the washing, the ironing and the sweeping,

Because today is just for us to play, of course when you’re not sleeping 😍

(Randomly just found this poem from

last year that I’d written on my phone, it made me smile, so I thought I’d share xxx)

Come along to our new venue opening day! See details here! Come and meet some of our team and take a look at our new training premises. Click here to see details of where and when.

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Read my previous blog, Oh The Guilt!

Oh, the guilt!

Could I actually feel guiltier than I do?

Pregnancy is full of amazing moments, watching your baby move in your stomach, mum looking “blooming” lovely, hair and skin glowing, energy to carry on going to the gym, eating healthier etc. etc.…

Actually, no. My experience is the complete opposite

Being totally honest, I cannot stand being pregnant. People often presume that being pregnant especially after child loss should automatically mean that you would enjoy every second of the pregnancy and treasure everything that is happening, that you should be grateful that you have the opportunity to have another child again and be thankful for being able to have this experience again.

That’s exactly why I feel so bloody guilty. I lost Millie and had a not very enjoyable pregnancy with Leo, alongside the crappy physical experience that I had with nausea, sciatica, iron problems and exhaustion; I also had an awful time with my mental health and struggled to bond with the little man Leo growing inside me because of our previous loss of Millie. I couldn’t wait to just have Leo in my arms, to not only stop all the physical pain I was in but also because I knew that my mental health would be so much better once he arrived.

Then there was the miscarriage. Sadly, 12 weeks into my third pregnancy last November, I suffered a missed miscarriage that was not only physically hard but affected my mental health yet again. I was extremely embarrassed that my husband was watching me miscarry in the bathroom (I don’t even pee in front of him) but I needed him more than anything by my side, I couldn’t have gotten through it without him. It felt demeaning, I felt useless that I couldn’t protect my baby again and I was also filled with so much sadness that my husband was watching me lose his child.

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Then I got pregnant again earlier this year – and the cycle began again. I was diagnosed with HG, it turned out that I had huge problems with my iron that meant my body wasn’t doing what it should be with it and that was causing exhaustion. You might think here, she was just a little tired. It wasn’t that. I physically did not have any energy. I couldn’t shower, I couldn’t get dressed, I couldn’t come down the stairs and some days I couldn’t even lift my arms. Eventually after a few months, I was put on some medication that took a few weeks to work but my energy started to come back and I began to function again. I was so glad because I felt so guilty that I couldn’t play with my little boy Leo, he spent weeks seeing me laid up in bed or with my head down the loo, some days he even learnt to hold my hair back whilst I was throwing up. This type of illness played havoc with my mental health, it took a huge nose dive and some days I just didn’t want to wake up (when I did sleep) because I felt such a burden to my little family.

Click here to purchase Millie’s Trust merchandise VAT FREE for the final day until 9pm 30th Sept 2017. 

My hair comes out when I brush it when I’m pregnant, I can’t stand my skin, I can only eat certain foods and then the heartburn kicks in. I honestly feel like I am genuinely keeping Gaviscon in business and have been for the past few months. The hospital has given me tablets for the heartburn, they were great; for the first two weeks. Unfortunately now, they seem to wear off pretty much as soon as I have taken them; not fun.

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Then there is the bladder jumping. Yes, this little man seems to like partying on my bladder during the early hours of the morning, pretty much every day. This was okay in my last pregnancies, as I could get to the bathroom pretty quickly but now, I’m on crutches.

Did I not tell you that bit? No, well, just to add to the fun, my body is trying to wear me down even more by adding Sciatica and SPD to my list of pregnancy problems. Again something I was coping with until recently when my legs starting to go from underneath me, in particular if I had been asleep in bed during the night. It soon became where I couldn’t walk to the bathroom without having to hold on to pieces of furniture or the walls to get there. After a very quick referral (thank you NHS and Wythenshawe Midwife/Consultancy Teams) to a physiotherapist, I had a few sessions and was straight away given a support belt for my stomach (I really wish that I had the nerve to put a photo of it here – but believe me, it is the least sexy thing that you have ever seen. Think Tubi-Grip that you have when you sprain your wrist, except this one is big enough to go all the way from your boobs, across your stomach and to your hips).

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Dan just laughed. I don’t blame him. I look ridiculous.

Then came the crutches. Well this is lots of fun, with a toddler. Not.

I also have to use them every day even if I have no pain, so I don’t counter-act the benefit on good days. I feel like a total spanner. 8 months pregnant with this huge bump and on crutches – no wonder people are looking at me in sympathy.

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Chester Zoo was fun this week on my birthday. Dan hired me a mobility scooter. Oh the humiliation I was thinking … but actually it was a great idea and we got around so many more animals than if I would have been hobbling around on crutches. Leo thought it was hilarious and he got to have a little sit on it before we left.

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The physical pain that I am in though isn’t a laughing matter. It’s excruciating some days and it makes me cry. It makes me really sad that I can’t play with Leo like I want to.

After all that – I’m not even sure that I have captured all the reasons that I don’t like pregnancy here – but you must get the idea.

To all you mums that completely adore being pregnant, I totally envy you – I really do. I wish I could enjoy my pregnancies; it would be great.

But to all those mums who feel even the slightest bit of guilt like myself, I’m with you, I feel your pain and it will all be over soon, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Bring on the Pink Botegga Prosecco and Camembert Cheese! I cannot wait. That’s all I can say!

Saturday 30 September is your last chance to purchase VAT free merchandise and Qualification Course places for Level 3 Paediatric First Aid and Emergency First Aid at work. You have until 9PM on this date to purchase VAT FREE. This includes are limited edition giraffes too, so please click here to purchase to save pennies before the increase.

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During October Stickerscape will be supporting Baby Loss Awareness UK 2017. Every sticker sold during this month we will donate £1 to the The Miscarriage Association (charity no. 1076829) and Millie’s Trust (charity no. 1151410).

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We have some news!!!

October will see us into Millie’s 5th anniversary and December will see our charity turn 5 years old. We honestly cannot believe that it has been 5 years since we last saw our daughter’s gorgeous smile or heard her stunning laugh.

We could never have imagined when we started Millie’s Trust that it would grow so fast and gain so much support. I remember the first training kit delivery we had and then a few months later the manikins being sat at our dining room table. It was at that point that we decided that we needed to find an office to build the charity from. Within a couple of months we had our first office space, a few months later we expanded into next door and in July 2014 we moved to our current head office venue to create an internal training room and hire some

staff!

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Well, things are changing again. We’ve grown tremendously over the past few years and we’ve been after a bigger venue or a second venue to create more training space.

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A couple of days ago, we completed on a second venue in Cheadle Hulme Precinct, not far at all from where we had our short and happy time with our daughter – it feels like a mark of respect to her on her 5th anniversary to be opening near her home – because the whole charity has been built on her and the legacy she has left behind.

After a very stressful few weeks trying to complete, we finally got the keys! Yippee!

Check out our wish list here

Now we are on a tight deadline of 4 weeks to furnish and set up the venue before we officially have an open day on Saturday 14th October 2017 – I cannot believe this has all fallen in the final part of my

pregnancy, talk about stressful!

The venue will give us opportunity to host even more qualification courses, new courses and my own personal favourite, more courses for children!

We are very excited about our new premises opening and we hope to see lots of you there for the opening day and popping in to see us and may be pick up some Millie’s Trust goodies.

We cannot thank every that has supported us over this past, nearly 5 years as you have helped our charity thrive and be able to continue to grow and provide life saving courses.

With the new office opening, we’ve decided to upon a wish list up on AMAZON with office supplies on that we will need for our new place. This is your opportunity to purchase something directly for Millie’s Trust to use rather than a donation as we know some people like to do this. If you’d like to take a look to see what is on our wish list click here, you can purchase things on it starting at just less than £2!

Come and visit us some time soon!

Read Toilet training adventures blog here!