It’s Been A While

Hello everyone,


I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted; it’s been seven months and two days to be exact.  A lot has happened in that time, and all of it very positive.


The first positive change is that Ella no longer needs any more therapy, which I am so ecstatic and relieved about.  Now I can just be her Mum without having to look over my shoulder, waiting for something else to be wrong.  On that note, a message to any future professionals who work with my daughter and I: please consult me first when it comes to things to do with my daughter, oh and “no” means exactly that.  The therapy has been well worth it though and Ella is doing amazingly.


I applied for a new guide dog in May/June, and have been on the waiting list since June.  I want a dog that is like both my previous two guide dogs; Iona was calm and placid and that one in a million dog whom everybody wanted.  She had wisdom well beyond her years I felt.  Yannie was an anxious girl, but at the same time she was assertive when it came to knowing her routes; if I went the wrong way, she would get me back on track.  A labridor golden retriever mix sounds like a good plan.  Fingers crossed for the final matching meeting for the year which is next week; I hope to have an early Christmas present :).


The trip away to the UK to see family in July was challenging and great at the same time.  We stopped in Malaysia on the way to, and on the way back from England to break up the trip.  I really liked KL; it was so hot, full of people, and there was so much traffic it wasn’t funny, but I definitely would go back there again.  On our bus tour of the city, we passed the Special school for the blind, but there were no people who were blind or visually impaired out and about, accept me lol.  I think pedestrian crossings are just a thing; they certainly aren’t what they are here, ie, you give pedestrians the right of way, not over there.  It’s everyone for themselves it would seem.  There is no benefit system over in KL either it would seem.  I find KL charming, romantic and elegant all at the same time.  Romantic in that you didn’t have to have much to be happy, and charming and elegant in the oldy-worldy part of the city in amongst the modern highrise buildings, and what about the Petrona Towers?  It was amazing to stand in front of them after watching them being built on the programme Megga Structures :).


The highlight of my trip to Malaysia was going to the aquarium, and one of the workers allowed me to touch some of the sealife, such as a horse shoe crab, a sea cucumber, and a banded shark.  That meant so much to me and I was very appreciative; I couldn’tthank him enough.


Seeing family and friends in England was great; they fell in love with Ella and she them.  this month long trip was I think the best thing we could’ve done for Ella; she is a very different child now than before the trip.  She is talking up a storm now and is a very inquisitive, observant little girl who loves to learn new things :).  I love her so much.


We are nearly at the end of the year, but I am still working on some projects; I hope o tell you more about them in the next blog post, which won’t be seven months away, I promise!

From Frustration And Feeling Disilusioned, To Problembs With Solutions

I have been tooing and frowing since my last blog post about whether or not to apply for a new guide dog when I got back from my holiday in the UK in July.  About two weeks ago, on a day where I wasn’t feeling great, I decided there was no point in applying for a new guide dog then because I don’t have the work for it.


Since then, I have had a change of heart and have decided that actually, this can and will work, if I put the work and effort in to learning two or three routes with my cane, which I will know when it comes to teaching the new dog :).  I have made a plan to practise one route every week and make that a priority, so I feel confident when the new dog arrives.  Next week’s route will be the same as yesterday’s one (down to the shops), crossing over at the pedestrian crossing with lights, instead of the alternatives which aren’t that safe in my opinion.  To motivate me and make it even more fun, Ella will be right behind me in the stroller, and that’s all I need (to know that she’s there and that I am not alone).  I felt accomplished after yesterday’s outing :).


I have also started to make up a meal plan so we know what we will be having for dinner each night (there will be some flexibility in this of course, ie leftovers), but if I can make a list of some meals I know and rotate them each week, that will make me feel better too :).


Until the next blog post, God Bless 🙂

A Letter To Guide Dog Number Three

To Guide Dog Number Three,

I shall call you my mystery dog for now, as I know nothing about you, and I know I love you before I’ve met you (sorry, had to bust out that song from Savage Garden).


I am not even on the waiting list yet!  The instructors have their work cut out for them, and they will have to do an assessment to make sure you’re the right dog for me.  I hope you’re ready for what’s to come and who you’ll meet!  There is my husband, and my full on toddler who will want to chase you and vise verser in fun, and maybe even pull some of your fur out.  She will laugh at you just playing with your toys, which is adorable to watch, and follow us everywhere.  Eventually she will be attached to you and I, and we will then have the big responsibility of keeping us all safe.  We also have a cat called Delilah (she has an attitude), who won’t welcome you warmly at first, but I’m sure you two will become good friends.


There will be many other people whom you will meet on our personal and professional journeys together.  You will be there for Ella’s first day of kindergarten, her first day of school, and many other adventures I have no idea about yet.


Rest assured you will be well loved!  I will have waited maybe two years by the time you come to me, my mystery dog, and that is a long time to wait, considering I have had two dogs before you, for pretty mmuch half my life (15 years).  I am waiting with open arms and an open heart!


Till then,


Lots of love xxxooo

A Hypothetical Day In The Life

Happy new year everyone! :).  I hope you had a great Christmas-we had family over from Australia :).  My post today is called A Hypothetical Day In The Life because it raises the rhetorical question, what would I do if I was sighted for a day?  More importantly, what would I learn from it?  What would be my conclusion at the end of the day-would I still rather be sighted?  The answers to these questions I will never fully know or understand, until I get to Heaven, and the stuff that I worry about, or get jealous about because there are just some things I can’t do, will be a distant memory.


Anyway, this is what a day in the life of a sighted me would look like.  I would do everything independently both inside and outside of the home, and not have to rely on a sighted person as much as I do now.


So why did I write this if I can’t change anything?  Because I needed to acknowledge it, and to remind myself that things as they are now won’t be like it forever; I will be able to be independent with my daughter and be the Mum I always wanted to be.

On Reflection

So Ella is now 13 months; where did that time go?  It feels like yesterday I was holding her in my arms for the first time.  She is very mobile now and into everything, oh and she doesn’t like the word “No” when she opens drawers and pulls out her clothes.  Ella loves to chase our cat, and gets very excited when she sees her; it’s “At” for cat.  The cat doesn’t like her tail being pulled, but she doesn’t exactly get out of the way to avoid Ella either.  Ella loves to sing Row Row Your Boat and ABC.  She’s a great little eater too :).


I think the biggest adjustment I’ve had to deal with in the last few months is giving Yannie a new home.  I hadn’t planned for it while I was pregnant, and nor did I see it coming back then either.  I know it’s probably a stupid analogy, but a family doesn’t always have to change their car because it doesn’t suit the family any more, and nor would they have the attachment to the car that one has with their guide dog-they are part of the family.


Yannie has a good life; she lives in a rural setting with dairy farms all around, she gets to hang out in a bird avery, she gets toast with marmite for breakfast, a gingernut for afternoon tea, she has a couple and their family who love her very much and who walk her everyday :).


I am no better off independencewise now with the cane than when I couldn’t work Yannie in the end because I still can’t take Ella out by myself without anyone else there.  In fact, I practised my cane skills on a route the other day while the person with me pushed Ella in the pushchair, and I couldn’t really enjoy the walk because I had to concentrate on what I was doing; I might as well have been doing the route on my own with the cane and a million miles away; I couldn’t have felt more alone as I did then if I tried.  The only walks I enjoy now are the ones where I am right next to the pushchair and I don’t have my cane with me.


I will be applying for a new guide dog next year, so I know I have to keep up my cane skills in order to have the best chance, and I will do that.

From A Four-Legged Friend, To A Cane I Now Depend

So I said goodbye to Yannie just over three months ago.  I still miss her, and probably always will.  I still miss Iona, who was my first guide dog-she has been dead just over four years now.

So I have gone from a four-legged friend, to a cane and my skill in using it on which I now depend.  I make a mistake and get hurt-well cars and other pedestrians should be watching out for me, but the bottom line is, my safety is my responsibility alone.  Mine and Ella’s safety will come into it eventually as well, once I get the confidence to be able to take the two of us out alone, like in my opinion, me as a “proper Mum” should be able to.

So guess what?  I’ve traded in one mobility aid for another, and the result so far?  I have learned one route and am able to do it solo, yay.  Also, learning a route with a guide dog verses a cane is very different-you get to know your environment very well-each bump in the footpath, making sure you follow the grass verges so you don’t miss your corner, oh and that I am actually really rubbish at trying to judge how far cars are away from me, so I shouldn’t even bother trying.  With a guide dog, they are trained to take you around obsticles, so the pressure is at least half off you-it’s teamwork-something I am missing with the cane-it isn’t a friend, just a means to an end.

From Then And Now To Why And How

So I said in one of my earlier posts, that I would talk about Ella’s birth in another post.  Well here goes.

My pregnancy was normal up until week 36-37 when things started to go a bit wrong-mild preeclampsia.  As a result I had to be induced at 38 weeks.  People say induction is horrible-well it is, and you try and avoid it at all costs, but it wasn’t to be for me.  I was in labour for 37 hours, had an epidural which didn’t work, Ella got stuck and it ended in an emergency caesarean and Ella not breathing after she came out.  She was taken to NICU and I didn’t get to see her for a couple of hours.

After that experience, I won’t be having any more babies.

Ella is having therapy and she is doing really well-she is slightly behind where she should be, but she will get there.

I know what happened at the birth wasn’t my fault, logicly anyway.  Maybe if I hadn’t have had the epidural and was able to get up and move around, then maybe she wouldn’t have got stuck.  She wouldn’t be in therapy now either if things had gone the way they were supposed to.  Or maybe I was just too small in the pelvis.  We will never know now.

Homemade Is The Best

Quite a bit has happened since my last post.  I have started making Ella’s solids-it’s amazing how just a few dollars spent on fruit and vegetables can make around 20 meals, which lasts quite a few days.  I try to make them every week so I don’t run out.  I have also started slowly introducing Ella to what we eat.  One of the meals I made gave her three meals-one for dinner that night, and two for the next day.

I plan to make as much as I can this year in terms of sauces, jams etc, and maybe even my own cleaning products if I have time.  There is always Ecostore which I use for my laundrey and dishwashing needs :).  I also plan to read Tim Ferris’s books The Four Hour Work Week, The Four Hour Chef and The Four Hour Body this year and put what I learn into practise.  I am going to work smarter not harder, because working harder is exhausting lol.  I always think Homemade is the best if one can manage it :).


I have been able to put Ella in her little chair and feed her some breakfast by myself, and an unflavoured rice cracker or two.  I have also managed to bathe her by myself too, which is a big step for me.  I know some people that don’t know me might think half this stuff I am just managing to do with Ella now is trivial, but not to me it isn’t.  The next step is to take Ella out for a short walk by myself in a backpack with my cane, and don’t even try to throw a bucket of cold water over it.

Highs and Lows and Internal Conflicts

So I am sitting here on my 30th birthday and it’s some time after 4.30 AM.  It’s been 2.50 AM starts for the last few days now, but stuffed up sleeping patterns are the norm-I haven’t slept well for years.  I will get some Melatonan to see if it will help-I am sick of this.  That’s the trouble when your body doesn’t produce Melatonan naturally because it’s all to do with daylight getting to the retinas etc-mine are caught up somewhere in the mass of scar tissue inside my eyes.  I had a scan of my eyes a couple of years ago and because of the damage caused by being given too much oxygen during an operation, they couldn’t really make out many of the structures inside them.  Anyway enough about that.

I feel very blessed to be Ella’s Mum-she has given me more than anyone will ever know, and a joy that at some points of my life, I wasn’t sure I would experience.

Let’s just put this out there-being a non-sighted Mum isn’t easy.  I hate admitting that sometimes because you get that little voice in your head that says “See, I told you so”.  There are some days where there seems to be an obstacle at every turn; feeding solids is the big frustration at the moment.  I am looking forward to feeding her more of what we eat which is slowly happening.  The jars are great, but not if you can’t see how much is left in the bowl and you leave quite a lot, or she ends up wearing most of it on her bib.  I use my left hand to find Ella’s mouth and then my right hand follows up with the spoon.  I only just started feeding her solids myself about a month ago.

I think the biggest frustration of all though (and I don’t know why I thought it would be different with having a baby, because it’s been this way all my life), is how long it takes me to learn and do things.  Most sighted Mums are doing stuff like feeding solids or taking their babies out on their own, long before I have.  I have done both of these things now, though it has taken me 7-8 months to do it.

Anyway, I had better go and get ready for the day.

Life After Yannie

So after my last post, where I ranted about what’s the point in having a guide dog if I had to take her and the baby out separately, I made the difficult decision to retire Yannie.  She was my guide dog for six years, and is now officially retired, and I have her guide dog medallion as a momento.  I said goodbye to her this Thursday just gone.  It was a tearful goodbye, but I know I did the right thing for her.  Yannie will get a lot more walks than I could give her and she will be happy in her new home, wherever that may be (I haven’t heard yet).  I keep looking for her.  I will be 30 at the end of this month, and I have had guide dogs for half my life almost (I realised that the other day).

So what will life look like without Yannie?  Well it’s back to the cane for the next few years, until I am ready to go on the waiting list for another guide dog.  The instructor said it will take them at least a year to find a suitable match for me.  I will apply when Ella is up and walking.  Hello white cane, I have to get used to taking you out again.  Yes you take less looking after than a guide dog, and I have to keep my cane skills up if I want to get another guide dog, but it is quite stressful when you are relying on yourself, and a white cane to keep you safe.  Oh well I will cope, just as I do with every situation in my life past and present.