Better late than never!
I guess this is a bit of a catch up as well as talking about Athena and Athena’s birthday.
Taking us back…..
So as you know, we were lucky enough to spend five weeks in Europe this year, four of which were in Vilamoura, Portugal. More blogs still to come with that. For more information on Portugal see Visit Portugal
Both of our daughters had their birthdays whilst we were away. We had a joint party for them on Tia’s sweet 16th and we were travelling home on Athena’s birthday so she actually turned 8 whilst we were in Tours, France. I’d planned a party for her with her school friends for when we returned to the UK.
Wow, eight years eh?! I struggle to think I don’t have this younger little girl and I guess we probably do baby her. When I look back at Tia when she was 8, it all seemed so different. Now Tia, twice Athena’s age, so grown up and doing us proud beyond words. Working, studying and mapping her life out. Setting examples for her younger siblings for the same I’d like to hope.
Athena came into our lives at what seemed to be the perfect moment. I hadn’t dreamt of having a third child. I’d struggled for four and a half years to conceive our son so I assumed the same would happen again and I could not put myself through that again. Then there was the worry that any other further children could have been born with the rare hereditary condition my son was born with that needed life saving surgery. He’s still under Alderhey Children’s hospital till he’s an adult. He’d only had the major surgery 6 months before I fell pregnant with Athena so you can understand that I was overwhelmed, excited, frightened and most of all overjoyed that I fell pregnant so easily.
It was a frightening time Athena’s birth and had I not been stubborn, the hospital that failed me said she would most likely have died. Further failings left me with sepsis and weeks of medicines and bed rest. Athena had needed oxygen at birth but luckily nothing more, however from the moment she came home she seemed ill. It was like she had a permanent chest infection. This continued and before the age of one, she had pneumonia. I remember that call like it was yesterday, I was told I needed to see my GP. The hospital had phoned to say that they suspected Athena had cystic fibrosis and needed testing. They did the ‘sweat gland test’ on her. It turned out luckily she did not have it but however they said they could confirm from a baby that she was a chronic asthmatic. Open access and many hospital admissions, was this her life mapped out for her?
She was tested for so many things. She had allergies and every time she had a chest x-ray, this strange blocking in the lungs was always there. The blockage that had initially made them check for the fibrosis. I was not allowed to have chemicals near her, anything. How the hell could I ever leave her side? She had open access to the hospital, we had nurses on the end of the phone Monday to Friday so I did feel safe. Three children and all with complications, is it any wonder I turned grey so young?!
Well, I swore I wouldn’t wrap her in cotton wool. After Wallace’s multiple operations and all the risks for him too, they said to me, don’t wrap him in cotton wool and I swore I wouldn’t. I managed to get a dog that they said didn’t moult. I thought, I’ll build her immune system. I’ll let her play in the mud and my god, did she, the horse obsessed little one! Yes she got ill, but she got stronger and the stronger she got, the less she got ill. I never thought I’d say this but now we have chickens, ducks, a bird, a tortoise, two dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs and she handles them all with no problems what so ever! She horse rides and that doesn’t bother her. So what ever you may be told, don’t always go with it. She’s had one bad chest infection in 4 years (touch wood).
Athena has the most magical imagination and she inspires me everyday to see the world through her eyes. She can sit for hours in her own little world playing role play with her horses. It was only yesterday on her way home from school she walked in and told me she’d just cleared some rubbish from the street. She doesn’t care for things. When writing this years Christmas list, I had to beg her to write one as she wasn’t bothered about asking for things.
I never would have imagined I’d have three children. For over five years it was just three of us and I’d settled for this. I just don’t know how I got to where I am now but I am the luckiest woman alive. All them health scares with all of them, the pain and worry, it was all worth it.
So Athena on your 8th birthday I just want to say, thank you. Thank you for being sent to me like a blessing in my darkest days. The days where I had lost my sparkle from having constant fear of surgery. Days where I didn’t want to leave the house and days when I wondered how my life had changed so fast. You came into this world with those big blue eyes and you made it sparkle again. I saw the sun through the clouds, the stars in the dark and heard the laughter through the rain.
Now lets see this magical party she had at Karma Cactus!
Athena and 7 friends made gorgeous bath bombs (to keep), played pass the parcel, ate cake and drank juice and had glitter make up done! A fantastic party that I wanted to be part of! The prices are amazing and the staff so great. I couldn’t recommend it enough!
Find them here https://www.karmacactus.co.uk/