This year my daughter and her husband are sleeping in the park for the charity social bite. They’ve been raising money throughVirgin Media and I think so far they’ve reached their target. Of course they are not homeless, but are nevertheless unselfishly willing to sleep out in the extreme Scottish Weather to raise awareness and much needed cash for those that are less fortunate in life. By any stretch of the imagination this is quite an impressive commitment; they have stepped right out of their comfort zone to make this unselfish commitment to people they’ve never met. Granted you might be thinking “that is no big deal for one night is it? ” so I’m using this opportunity to provide a little insight to what her “comfort zone” actually looks like and then you can make your own mind up about it being a big deal.
My daughter found out a little too late she was allergic to pregnancy; 6 weeks too late to be accurate. She suffers from severe hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Described as a pregnancy complication, it results in severe nausea that can lead to weight loss and dehydration in pregnancy. It can also lead to deep vein thrombosis. She spent most of the 9 months of her first pregnancy in hospital due to complications with this condition. Then toward the final three months, as if she hadn’t suffered enough she developed Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD). This misalignment of the pelvis is common in pregnancy, 1 in 300 will get it. This condition causes, extreme discomfort and, sciatic pain and can affect simple tasks like walking. In her first pregnancy she was using crutches for the last three months
Her second pregnancy magnified both the HG and the SPD which were much worse, simple walking for the first six weeks was a problem. So my treat for her recent graduation; a trip to NYC was a bit of a flop since she struggled to walk at all for any of our short visit. ( it was a holiday could we expect anything more??).
SPD is caused by production of the hormone relaxin necessary for the ligaments to loosen and enable delivery, but in her case her body reacts badly to this hormone so much that by the 3 months her pelvis had separated so much she was on crutches. By 6 months she was in a wheel chair and had started to develop several DVT’s. Her delivery was a finely tuned performance with a team of over 10 specialists on hand to support delivery of her second baby. The risks to her own health, led the consultant obstetrician to propose that any more children were out of the question. Neither condition disappeared after the pregnancy as she was advised they would and her health has continued to deteriorate over the past 3 years. On the positive side her children are both healthy, and well (thank the lord). But SPD in pregnancy in particular has left her with constant nerve pain, pelvic and sciatic pain and a recent MRI revealed she has two bulging discs.
I don’t know the last time she had a full nights sleep, she cannot find a comfortable place in her bed. She has basically been advised by the NHS that they cannot do anything for her except to dispense a complex concoction of pain killers to help her get through the day. It seems pretty inevitable she’ll need them for the rest of her life. It’s so heartbreaking to watch, she is such a young woman. Like my daughter in law, she has had so much to deal with so young, and the total lack of any positive prognosis for this condition it is bound to affect your equilibrium.
As a mother myself I’m not sure where her parenting skills were honed, it certainly wasn’t on my watch. She does a very good impression of Mother Nature; her devotion and commitment to her children appears an inherent trait, it takes so little effort. She has also become involved in supporting the community and is becoming an amazing role model for her children. She rarely if ever complains about the constant pain she is in and is first to support any one that needs her help. She has continually made herself available to me during my challenging few months.
It’s hard to remember when she’s doing so much for me that she is struggling so much herself. Although she rarely gets a sleep, this week has been incredibly hard as her youngest has had an awful cold. He has a bit of a weak chest and struggles to breath sometimes. On Wednesday night after a prolonged period of nose-bleeding she had no option bit to take him to A&E. It was 3 am before they were allowed home but she didn’t get any sleep that night as a child that has trouble breathing is like living with a hand-grenade without a pin. And it’s been pretty similar for the last two nights. In addition to a sick child she was on civic duty yesterday flying the flag for the gala day at the Christmas light extravaganza. As if she hadn’t enough to do!
She has recently started a nursing course and is busy trying to write her first essay and prepare for her first exam this Tuesday. And it is her youngest’s birthday today so she has of course organised a party for family and friends, leaving her just enough time to organise her sleepover in the park tonight. It’s the reality for any young parents that sleep deprivation is a fact of life for the first 8 years (if you are lucky). Nothing can alter this, it has to be accepted and managed as routine as preparing your breakfast.
So tonight it is a bit out of the ordinary for them, they’ve put aside their own needs to support others. I am immensely proud that they are doing this. And I am sure that she will actually sleep if the conditions allow and the pain relief she needs work their magic.
I cannot say she is a credit to us, this girl is a credit to herself, determined, altruistic, generous in spirit and kind. While I am glad she has her prince with her tonight who will protect her but I am almost certain she has her own reserves to drawn on if she needs them. Sleep tight baby girl love you………………………..