Thursday, 5 April 2012

Guest Post: With Nat Kringoudis

Today on PottyMouthMama I have a guest post - which is not something I ordinarily do. But during the four years I have been blogging, I have had the great fortune of meeting some truly inspiring women. Women that I wanted to share with the rest of the world. To shout about from the rooftops. 
Well this is my rooftop, and today Nat Kringoudis is guest posting. Nat is the brains and the beauty behind The Pagoda Tree and Fertile Body, Heart & Soul. 
I've known Nat for over two years. She's the type of woman who very politely takes life by the scruff of its neck - and makes it better. That means it's positive and bright. I can't say enough good things about Nat - she's like a bright nurturing beacon of light.  
Nat juggles her incredibly busy work life with life as the mum of two gloriously beautiful babes. The below post has been written by Nat. 
This time last year, I fell pregnant. Something many women find themselves doing at some point in their life, but equally it's no mean feat.   As a natural fertility specialist, I know that some women’s journeys to pregnancy can be more difficult than other women's. Another thing I know is babies.  I know how to make them, I know how to keep them in until they are well baked and then I know how to get them out when my patients are ready to have their babies. I practice this everyday in my clinic.
However nine months later, I was in for a shock when I experienced nothing short of a horrendous 18 hour labour, drug free (just saying), which ended in an emergency c-section.  Again, something I know many women have been through, but certainly not something I would have chosen if I had been given an option.  This birth didn't go to my plan. I couldn't control it. This took some coming to terms with. It was a good lesson for me as a health professional, not one I wanted to have to learn but I took it on board. 
Just as the dust was settling and I was finally getting my life back into gear post cesarean and I was coming out of the haze of new mum-hood, I got a phone call that would change our family's life. My son was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF).  I can’t remember much from that day. This was not how I'd envisaged this working out for us.
As a health educator and blogger, I’m yet to share my story on the world wide web.  Now a few months have passed, I've got more of our story to tell. Initially I was wary to share.  I wanted others to see my son Geordie for who he is rather than 'Geordie with CF'. You see, we very quickly learnt that people don’t know anything good in regards to CF. They know that people with CF suffer, they are sick and in the past they very often died at a young age. I also wanted the chance to prove to people (and perhaps even to myself) that that would not be my son's experience.  I needed time to show others (and again, prove to myself) that I could hopefully keep him well.  Not to be delusional about the reality of CF, I realised the challenges that the future would hold for us, but I would use all my might to scurry through every crevice of my brain and use all the tools I had.  The 11 years I devoted to studying health care was for a cause.  It seems, this is what I had studied for.
I’m no stranger to CF. My best friend of 20 years has a son with CF. Two best friends, two boys with CF – what are the chances?  This question I have asked myself a thousand times.  What are the chances?  With 3000 people living in Australia with CF, how is it that my high school bestie and I could both find ourselves here?  Most people's reaction is – ‘you’re so lucky you have each other.’  I agree, whilst I am so lucky to have her - this reality has been the hardest thing to come to terms with because the biggest risk to a child with CF, is actually being around another child with CF.   It means that our two sons shouldn’t really play together.   How do we do play dates?  How do I cope with limited time together?  I’m still learning to come to terms with it and it’s hard.  Really hard.  What about our dreams of taking them on a flight together to Disney land?   
 The first few weeks left my heart dark and heavy, like somebody had dropped a blanket over it.  Every time I felt like I had my head around it, I’d be punched in the face again as if somebody was saying “oh no you don’t – get back to feeling sorry for yourself.”  Thing is – that ain’t me.  Soon after, I couldn’t face it any longer.  I took charge and I took it real good.  We had to move on and get going with the job of making sure Geordie is a healthy boy.  
See, Geordie picked the right family or should I say, he was given to us as a gift.  Whatever way you look at it, I had lessons to learn and still do.  I learnt I’m a control freak – yup!  Who knew, right?  Granted, he has a bloody determined mother with a head harder than rodeo bull and a really level headed easy-going daddy.  He’s way lucky.  He also has a sister with a love for him that is larger than life itself.
Prior to having children, I would wonder what they were going to look and be like.  Every parent dreams of their ‘perfect’ child, or rather, they want their child to be perfect.  When I received the CF news there was a moment where all of this ‘what about...’ flashed in front of me like a broken neon sign that is shorting out.  I thought to myself  ‘this isn’t what I imagined, somebody let me out of this silly dream.’   When Geordie was diagnosed, so many messages streamed through saying “I’m so sorry to hear about Geordie” like he was gone and we were in mourning – and this broke my heart to say the least.  Reality was, there was nothing to be ‘sorry’ about (and I know these messages were sent with the best intentions), he was still Geordie and frankly nothing about him had changed.  I took it upon myself to make sure people understood the positives, that there was hope and that my Geordie had a big, bright future.  I understood that people didn’t quite know what to say to us, and that sometimes, silence is ok.  That’s a big deal coming from this chatterbox.  We didn’t need words, we just needed to know that we had support – thankfully, we had plenty of that. 
We’ve been lucky.  Geordie is going great guns.  He’s gaining weight at a rapid rate, and he is well, and this alone lifts the weight off my shoulders (not literally!).   Research in CF has come along in leaps and bounds and the future looks so bright for kids with CF. The big thing with CF is that you don’t know what you’ve been dealt.  Nobody can tell you how ‘well’ or ‘sick’ your child will be, and there are so many factors that go in the mix – genetics, environment, lifestyle and luck I’m sure.  The things I can’t control – I’m letting go of, but those that I can I’m going all the way.  I’m blessed with knowledge and I’m blessed with my perfect son.  I truly feel lucky.
Someday we will all go to Disney land – it might be on separate flights, but we will get there and we will have the time of our lives, together.  Geordie has already taught me that life is for the living – we will be making every day count for the rest of our long, long lives.
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Nat is currently finishing work on her upcoming e-book on priming your body for fertility, with tips and tricks for a wellness overhaul, including over 25 recipes for building a fertile body. I'll keep you posted when it comes out.

image: the beautiful image of Nat with baby Geordie is courtesy of Nat


deux chiens et un garcon said...

Thank you Lexi and Nat.A perfect match I think for Geordie and his family.

no55style said...

Oh Nat. I am sorry and I know you do not need to hear that but I had tears in my eyes. I have been in love with your little Geordie from the first day you posted pics on facebook. He is in the best hands with you as a mother. I wish all your family the very best and a long healthy time with your boy.

Thank you for sharing.

Vicki xoxo

Oh Gorgeous Baby said...

Nat I hope Georgie continues to put on weight and stay as healthy as possible during the future and that research continues to help learn how we can beat this. In all of my life I've never known a family with CF until a few years ago, now I know at least 4 families with children with CF. one friend in particular is very active in informing those around her with just exactly what cf is. Her and her army of friends and family also fundraise every year too. I think it's always inspiring watching her do her thing and I feel like I understand a little more now because of her. She has a couple of blogs and a fb page, if you want to check them out send me a message on fb and I'll send them via inbox. Fiona Dixon xx

Oh Gorgeous Baby said...

I'm sorry I spelt Geordie's name wrong! Replying on my iPhone.

suzy said...

My two little children are Autistic and would you believe my best girlfriend (of over 35 years!) also has a son with Autism. MC and I put it down to eating too many lolly bananas - our lolly of choice back in the day.
The thing I have learnt is that you must keep your sense of humour and if you have a bad day, start again tomorrow.
I wouldn't trade my two precious children for anything in the world. They have taught me to be a better person.
Thank you for your beautiful story.

Unknown said...

We too got the call that our new baby had a 1 in 5 chance of having CF after the new born screening test. My husband had already packed our bags and planned our new life and began to move us out to the bush... P ended up just being a carrier of the disease but the days of not knowing were the scariest of our lives, the fear of the unknown and the challenges her life could hold. I love how your positivity radiates and it has touched me greatly. Geordie is truly blessed to be born into such an amazing family and a "stop at nothing" mumma! Keep on keeping on! You are a champion! xo