I'm sorry I've been away so long. It wasn't my intention but it has been my reality.
So, my big kids are all fine. Great news.
Life is going so smoothly with them it's a little unsettling to be honest.
Dominik, 10, has discovered a love of cooking and has been cooking us egg fried rice and stir fry, making exotic sandwiches and French toast and generally getting to grips with the kitchen and its pleasures.
Oh, and we made Groot biscuits complete with their dirt pot chocolate muffins and, as per Dominik's request, we made sushi cakes too. Now they were a feat! We decided to try and make marshmallow fondant...never again! It was the most arm-work (and mess) ever and I wasn't even that impressed with the taste to be honest. Next time we will use fondant icing for sure! However, they did go down a storm and looked great in the end.
Hannon, 8 next month, has had his birthday present early. A full on beast of a computer! He has been learning all about bookmarking, downloading, installing, updating, virus scanning and has generally increased his reading ability by about another year I think.
It has been tiring though, I won't lie. I am having to constantly look over his shoulder to ensure he really is learning what to do and what not to do and he does need coaching with his spelling as he is far less confident with that than the reading. At the moment the computer is set up in our kitchen so it does feel rather like we are living on top of each other which is not normal in our house, as we all tend to do our own thing most of the time. Sigh. It will be worth it in the end!
Lily, 6, has been trying to read and write with such determination I am in awe of her! She is using some very simple 'My Little Pony' phonics books and she is typing to her friends on the PS3 whilst playing 'Little Big Planet'. She is naturally inclined to write everything phonetically with no spaces but it is amazing to witness.
Yesterday she wrote me a note which said, "How many more days until Harriet is here (the baby in my tummy who will be arriving by c-section tomorrow)?" and she wrote it like this: "hawmenymodazintilHarrietishere". Isn't that fabulous? Her oldest brother was highly unimpressed (no shock there) but I was thrilled. Her basic understanding, her desire to learn, her desire to do it for herself and her ability to communicate are wonderful.
It is a lovely reminder that yes, children do want and love to learn and are perfectly capable of finding their own way to move forward if simply encouraged and left alone. All I have done is write out what she has written correctly underneath her message and she is massively impressed with herself, which is all that matters. Her little face when I read her message back to her was precious.
So, me, well, I've been distracted! Hmmm, biggest understatement of the year right there! Having given birth four times (one angel baby boy still born at 27 weeks in 2006), all naturally and twice completely unassisted at home in two foreign countries, the prospect of surgery is a daunting one.
The reason for the c-section tomorrow is because after Lily was born in 2008, I developed a haematoma, which led to a recto-vaginal fistula.
The fistula was successfully repaired on the first attempt (incredibly rare), three weeks post-partum in Peru and I have thankfully never had any other symptoms.
I have been consulting with colo-rectal surgeons throughout this pregnancy and their advice has been to have a c-section to ensure that the fistula does not recur, (or perhaps even cause a fourth degree tear where the scar tissue is and possibly lead to the long term consequence of needing a colostomy bag and repeated surgeries). Any further surgeries after the first one are significantly less likely to be successful and I have been very lucky so far.
I have weighed all my options thoroughly and the bottom line is, that I am simply too frightened to risk a vaginal delivery. Sigh.
The chances are all would be well but the risk is too great for me. I am a single mum with high needs children and I simply do not have a large enough circle of support to risk needing to be in and out of hospital for an unforeseen length of time. That's not even considering the psychological damage it could do to me which I know I do not have the energy to deal with.
So, I am facing my worst fear. Elective surgery. Tomorrow. Wow!
I guess some great things have come from this experience though. The children and I have had lots of time to talk about babies (from conception to birth) and we have watched countless YouTube videos of natural births and c-sections (the kids by far preferring the c-section over the natural route...far less messy)! We have also discussed our fears, talked about the changes that will occur once baby Harriet is here and worked out together who they would like to look after them in my place whilst I am in hospital.
This will be the first time I have been away from them all over night since 2013 and I can count the number of nights I have ever spent away from them on less than two hands. Yes, for me, this is a big deal. Breathe.
Today I am going to savour every baby wriggle and squirm, every big kid cuddle, and every moment of it just being the four of us for one more day.
Bring on the life change! See you all on the flip-side.