From one mum to another - Vicki Cockerill

From Vicki Cockerill
Our blog feature comes from the gorgeous Vicki. I love her pure, open hearted honestly of confessions which have all played a poignant part in her life. Nonetheless, this beautiful lady found the strength and determination to succeed and what's more her heavenly desire to help and comfort others who have can relate or experiencing it presently.
I love hearing about birth experiences and how they are all different, did you have a ‘normal’ birth as far as normal goes?
My two births were very different.My eldest Elijah was very straightforward, the pregnancy was fairly easy and he was born in hospital after eight hours labour with a fairly standard delivery. I was very ill afterwards haemorrhaging and required a blood transfusion and seven night stay in hospital. Elijah too, was very ill and admitted to NICU (Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit) with an undiagnosed heart defect and neo natal stroke.
We were in the NICU for 9 days where he was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot a congenital heart defect that would require open heart surgery before his first birthday.
My second son, the pregnancy was very hard and I suffered depression throughout. There was a lot of added worry and he needed extra tests and scans due to Elijah’s heart condition. Harlow was born at home in the bath and was delivered by my partner after just 50 minutes start to finish! We sat down after tea to watch Die Hard 2, and less than an hour later I delivered!
We went into hospital to be checked over, and came home within hours which is something I wasn’t used to after Elijah.
What’s the most amazing part of being a mum?
Seeing the boys learn, and develop. They each have their own likes and dislikes and have very different personalities. I love that Elijah plays the class clown where as Harlow is more reserved.
I love the sleepy cuddles, and experiencing new things with them. Elijah loves reading and exploring and Harlow is now beginning to say quite a few words.
I love the feeling you get when you see them do something for themselves and seeing the pride on their faces.
Everybody has their highs and lows, what would you say have been you lows since being a mum?
The lowest point was the NICU stay with Elijah and the months that followed. Elijah required a corrective open heart surgery and whilst we waited for the date to come through I became very ill. The surgery was a success but I found it very hard to move on during the first year of Elijah’s life.
I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it took me a long time to crawl back out of the darkness. I suffered from eating disorders, self-harmed and medicated myself with pills and was extremely depressed.
To process it all I began my blog, where I honestly confess what it was like to have a NICU baby in hope it would help and comfort others. I raise awareness of the issues we have faced and am incredibly proud to have written for some amazing publications and websites as well as writing for a living now.
I also had severe post-natal depression after Harlow was born and it took perhaps a year of medication and therapy to get back to feeling as though I was myself again.
One of the highest point was seeing Elijah achieve absolutely anything he sets his mind too. Not letting the surgery or his stroke affect him in any way.
When I see how the boys act around each other and how much they love one another and make each other laugh is also a heart-warming and gives you all the feels!
Let’s get to know the boys, what’s their favourite toys and what do they enjoy doing the most?
Elijah is currently obsessed with all things Power Rangers, so we normally have a whole array of them accompany us everywhere! He loves books and puzzles and going out in the garden on his bike. If he could go to soft play everyday he would be very happy indeed!
Harlow loves wooden toys and books too, he also has a comforter called DogDog he takes everywhere. He has now started to enjoy watching Peppa Pig and his favourite thing to do is go out to cuddle our pet tortoise! He will wait at the back door chanting his name until we take him out there!
What does your average day look like?
The boys tend to wake up quite early at the moment and we have just put them into the same room. My partner normally takes them downstairs and gets them breakfast, they go to nursery/childminder, so we have to get them ready and out the door.
I tend to then try and fit all the housework and shopping in while they are there, and I also work from home as a freelance writer.
I tend to do as much work as I can without them being around, but it can be very hard to fit around my partner’s schedule as he works as a chef. Most of the time I balance work and keeping the boys entertained long enough to try and work!
Then it is just about making sure they are clean, fed and in bed ready in time to me and my partner to sit down before the inevitable night wake ups from Harlow who does not sleep!
There are so many products available for babies now, what’s one product you would say would could not live without?
Both boys are at very different stages, but the one thing I will use countless times throughout the day is… wet wipes!
My Tiba and Marl changing backpack gets a lot of use!
Lots of comfy clothes for the boys as they are always rolling and wresting about, and a insulated lunch/ snack bag for bribes when we are out!
Not a product but the NHS have played a huge role in our lives and without them we would be days of celebrating Elijah’s fourth birthday. They continue to care and monitor him and they do a frankly wonderful job, and they play a huge role in our lives.
Lastly, what’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is about to have their first child?
Let go of the expectations of motherhood you have seen in the media. They aren’t real and they aren’t achievable. There will be good days, there will be low but the most important thing to remember is that it will pass. Don’t strive for perfection, strive for happiness.
Surround yourselves with amazing people that will pick you up when the going gets tough. It takes a village to raise a child.
Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog and co-founded the @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and campaigns for NICU and MMH issues. You can contact her via her blog or social media;