Grace’s Story

On the 19th of March 2014 I spent 12 hours with my 4th baby, my 2nd daughter and the person that would literally change my life. 

I was 22 weeks pregnant when we found out Grace was terminally ill, she had, after many,  many examinations by professors of fetal medicine, thanatophoric dysplasia. This condition meant her long bones were measuring short (at 23 weeks Grace’s week measuring 12 weeks) the fatal part of this condition causes the chest cavity to not grow enough for her heart and her lungs. So ultimately upon birth when babies try and inhale for the first time, my baby girl would die immediately from respiratory failure as her chest cavity would crush her lungs. I’m sorry if this upsets anyone reading but unfortunately you cannot pretty up this condition. 

I couldn’t bear this to happen my baby, my dad died 2 years previous from lung cancer and I watched him take his last breath. How could I watch my tiny baby struggle to breathe and then pass away… I couldn’t. 

I asked when I would be induced and my consultant sympathetically told me they can’t induce early if there is no risk to the mother as its against the law in Ireland. My baby was dying, her movements were weakening and she would inevitably die from respiratory failure but this wasn’t enough to stop her hurting anymore. I had to be at risk. I was at risk everyday that I met people asking if “I had my bits bought for the baby, how long have you left, the twins must be excited for a baby brother or sister…”  I nodded and smiled knowing the baby in the bump they were admiring was not going to be in the pram I had my eye on or sleeping in her brother’s moses basket. I spent 4 weeks nodding along to people’s excited questions. 

 I was slowly losing my mind. 

Because of the fact I couldn’t be induced at home with my family around me I had to go somewhere where they understand what me and my baby were going through… We travelled to Liverpool on Paddys weekend amongst hen parties and revellers… We arrived to Liverpool women’s hospital where the midwives took over my care, they were angels to me and my little girl. I remember saying  to my husband that morning before the final scan to check Grace, they may have made a mistake in the two hospitals we were in in Ireland, we might get good news, her chest may be growing and allow her organs to grow. 

The professor scanned me for over an hour and he confirmed the diagnosis along with the devastating news that Grace’s lungs were no longer in her chest cavity, he couldn’t find them so they were either crushed already or just didn’t develop. I knew having an early inducement was 100% the right thing to do for that tiny baby at that moment. 

After 36 hours of an agonising labour, pain I would gratefully repeat over and over again… Grace arrived silently into the world at 4.45am, she was stunning the most beautiful little angel with a button nose and chubby cheeks. She had dark hair and gorgeous plump lips. Her face was perfect and her body was tiny, she was so peaceful. I have never experienced feelings like that before, I was holding my child and felt content but she was never going to look into my face, or yawn or cry for food. She was still. 

We held her all day long and talked about what life she would have had. A priest came and gave her a little blessing. We named her Grace Saoirse because she was free. We had a nap that day with her beside us and dressed her in a beautiful outfit the midwifes gave us… The outfit I brought was way too big. She was wrapped in a teddy her sister gave her and a teddy Grace gave me… 

At 5pm we had to leave her, we were booked to fly out the next morning. The hospital had  a little nursery made up for Grace, it had a cot and a dressing table, teddies and a beautiful mural of angels on the wall. After we said our goodbyes, last cuddles and kisses to her we placed her in her cot all wrapped up cosy with her teddy.  My midwife came in and took over looking after her. 

I sometimes can’t believe I actually had to do this, I had to leave my baby in another country. How cruel it is that we had to do this, it actually leaves me speechless. 

We arranged Grace’s funeral from the prayers right to the music I wanted played. It took place in a church in Liverpool and the priest who blessed her did her funeral and a midwife attended. We couldn’t go because we simply couldn’t afford to. I has to wait 3 weeks for Grace to come home. Her ashes arrived by courier… A man knocked at my front door with my daughter’s remains waiting to be signed. Again I say I find it hard to believe this is something parents have to go through, did I actually have to sign for my daughter’s ashes like an order from ASOS… 

The next few months were a blur, I can still feel the pain and darkness of those months. The feeling of drowning and anger… I can still feel them because I still go through these feelings but I’ve learned how to control them and cope with them now. 

Grace’s ashes sit on a shelf in our living room and we bring her to our bedroom at night, there are photos of Grace in every room of our house. I sleep with her teddy every night, I actually brought her teddy away to a hotel before callum was born and he was taken to the laundry with the bed sheets, I was getting into bed at home when I noticed he was gone, the hotel found him in the laundry and posted him home from Athy! 

Grace is very much part of this house like any of the other kids. Unfortunately due to the cruelty of this country none of her family could meet her and say goodbye. 

She blessed us with callum almost a year after she passed… She gave me callum when I didn’t even realise I needed him. She’s my motivator, my gut, my soul, my heart, my courage, my bravery and my eyes… She’s changed the way I look at things. I’m not the same person I was before Grace, I miss that Tracey but I’m learning to love the one I am now. 

This is Grace’s story she was with me for just 28 weeks but she left me with a lifetime of love. Losing her could have been the reason I stopped living… But having her is the reason I get up every morning. 

If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever xxxx

Mum’s Next Chapter…

Today I went back to full time work! The 10th of December 2010 was the last time I punched my card before heading off on a very much (unplanned) extended maternity leave with my twins. I had planned to head back to work when the twins were about 9 months, my Dad had told me when I was pregnant himself and my mam would help look after the twins if I wanted to go back to work part time. Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer when the twins were just 2 weeks old and he passed away less than 9 months later, so obviously any thoughts of me going back to work were forgotten about. My mother moved in with me for a while after daddy died and I was busy making sure she was okay as well as looking after my three kids.img_20170224_161521

So I begrudgingly became a stay at home mum, not a title I relished nor wanted to be honest. I was never one to stay in the house, I was always out either working, in college, in my parents house or meeting friends, so being housebound with twin babies was a shock to the system! You may wonder why I didn’t leave the house, well I have written about this before  you can have a nosey here.!

I set my alarm this morning for my first day at my new job, marketing assistant for Molloys Lifestyle Pharmacy, go on have a nosey at their fab offers, when you are finished reading mind!!I was about to head out the door this morning feeling a little emotional and my toddler shouted “MaMa!” Bear in mind he hasn’t many words yet and bar calling his nanny (“NA”) ,his brothers (“DA”) , wow (“WAH”) and “Oh No!” he has never said my name, so perfect timing Callum, lovely, throw a bit more guilt onto your already wobbly mother why don’t you!!img_20170212_192037

That being said I actually feel no guilt for going back to work, yes I have become accustomed to being a sahm but I feel proud and very lucky that I got to spend so much time with my kids. I spent every day of their lives with the boys and now they are in senior infants needing me a little bit less every day. I was at home for my teenager, I got to be there for moments in her young life that she needed her mum for. Then theres Callum my rainbow baby, he is almost two years old and adores his auntie who I am lucky to have minding him.225995_10150182943968595_5580244_n

So because of the time I have clocked in with the kids, I don’t feel guilty going back to full time work, in fact I believe I will be a better mum, I will appreciate the time we have together and do more with them, have more fun, because sometimes being with each other 24/7 fun can get diluted a little at times. fb_img_1482442715646

So at the grand old age of 35 years and 2 months I have began my professional career, yea I am about 10 years behind most people but ya know what I was busy making and rearing my family. Now I see this as my time, of course the boys are still young but I think we are all ready for the adjustment.

So here is to my short spell as a stay at home mum, it was the best 6 years I never wanted.

Love Tracey xxx

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Part 2: Budget Beauty Buys…

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Hi I’m back to continue my little budget basket full of treats. I don’t have the spare cash to blow on high end products so when I find a budget product I love I am obsessed! I hope you found the last few products I reviewed helpful for your next purchase.

Okay first up is the holy grail of budget highlighters, I think most people have this in their makeup bag but if you don’t fear not I am here to give you the low down on this beauty.

CATRICE HIGH GLOW MINERAL HIGHLIGHTING POWDER

I was a bit afraid of this product when I bought it. I had been using LuLu from the Pippa Palette (I have reviewed this beauty here) in one of my very first reviews (excuse the manky images!) and I was happy with the subtle warm highlight it gave.The catrice is frosty and very pearlescent so I was very careful how much I applied as I didn’t want to resemble the tin foil I wrap the kids sambos in every morning! But fear not the colour pay off it very subtle and the frostiness of the shade actually goes well with my pale foundation shade.budget1

I apply this with my Penneys fan brush on the highest point of my cheek bones, a little on my brow bone and a touch on my cupids bow. The texture is not as powdery as you would think, when swatched its almost creamy. If you spray your brush with some setting spray first you will get a massive colour payoff and this would be amazing for a night time look. I picked my one up in Penneys, but it can be purchased online with Inish Pharmacies also and it retails at €5.50.

Wet n Wild Colour Icon Blush

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I have two of these blushes and I plan on picking up the rest of the colours soon. The shade I purchased first was Pearlescent Pink as it was said to be a dupe for NARS Orgasm. It is a beautiful coral shade with flecks of gold running through it but the shimmer doesn’t create that 90s glitter like effect on your cheek bones. The pigment is very strong in these blushes, a little really does go a long way. Less is more, remember you can always add more, you cannot take away. The same goes for the other shade I have been using Mellow Wine, if you prefer to shy away from the high coral tones, then this shade will be right up your street. It warms up the face and gives a subtle glow. The retail price is €3.95 and you can look up your local Wet n Wild stockist here.

PENNEYS PS RANGE OF LIP PRODUCTS

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The quality of the PS range is phenomenal for the price point. The nude liner is a cult product at this stage, it goes with so many different shades and brands and any consistency of lipsticks whether it be matte or gloss. It isn’t a soft pencil so it will last longer than many more expensive lip pencils. I also enjoy using the matte crayons the PS range offers, I use the Manhattan shade and these are so handy for a quick swipe of colour. The PS range of matte lipsticks are some of my favourites too, I like the shade Manhattan and an added bonus there is a little tiny gloss in the bottom of the lipstick! The liners start at €1.50…now hands up who hasn’t thrown a liner into your basket while at the till…go on?!!

CATRICE GLAM AND DOLL FALSE LASH MASCARA

What can I say about this mascara that I haven’t already gushed about on my Snapchat (sissymcgee3). It is probably my second favourite mascara ever! If I had a desert island product, mascara would definitely be the one, I think if you have your lashes and nothing else you’re sorted!  This mascara give a wide eyed full lash effect. I am lucky enough to have long lashes so what I look for in a mascara is a more voluminous and curl effect. This mascara does all that and more. The wand is quite thin with a flat side and a curved one, so it is great to get right into the lashes from the root and for those bottom lashes. The only negative thing I will say about this mascara would be the fall out and flaking after several hours of wear can be annoying. b3

I bought mine in Penneys as I do most Catrice products but you can purchase it in the list of stockists I have linked in the highlight review. It cost €4.50, seriously under a fiver for a fantastic mascara! Where would you be going?! To your local Catrice stand, that’s where!!

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 FLORMAR TERRACOTTA BLUSH AND CASHMERE DELUX LIPSTICK

I have been using the Flormar blush and radiance primer for quite a while now, most recently I picked up the Cashmere lippy on the back of a high recommendation from Michelle from Needs not Wants Blog and I was not let down. I had forgotten how good this brand is. This blush is fab on, it does leave a shimmer so if you are more a matte person, I would stay away but for a night out or an occasion definitely give this a go. The shade I use is Touch of Rose. It is highly pigmented so tap your brush before application. I use my Blank Canvas angle blush brush (the number has worn off) and it sweeps the product on beautifully. The price was €11.95. The lipstick is a newish purchase, and I am loving the colour! It is in the shade Absolute Nude and the price was €5.95. I purchased mine from Quinns Pharmacy in Ballina Co. Mayo, but here are a list of your local stockists. I team this lippy with my PS nude liner and it is a match made in nude heaven! It is a creamy consistency but there is no high shine which I like in a lippy! It does contain some ingredients which are good for fine lines, which is an added bonus.

So there ya go the second instalment of my budget beauty buys! Hope you enjoyed and if you have tried these let me know what you think, good or bad! over on my social media, click the links below!

Tracey xxxx

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Budget Beauty Beauts…Part 1.

So as you know I love makeup, love love love it. I could stand in chemists and beauty halls swatching makeup all day long! But, I have, like most people have, a life where I need to pay bills, mortgage, feed my kids, clothe them and generally not spend every penny I have on beauty products! So instead of lusting over the new Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk lipstick I have decided to write a review on the best affordable beauty products I have enjoyed using. That lipstick looks so fab though…*longingly clicks on the tab again*

There is nothing nicer than purchasing a high end beauty product that you know comes highly recommended, but this is done very rarely (for me anyway). So I get great pleasure is spending damn all and finding a real gem every now and again. So if you are like me and simply can’t afford to splurge on high end cosmetics every month, read on I have gathered my favourite budget friendly beauty products and done a little review on them…

 

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Okay so these products as you can see are a mix of Catrice, Wet n Wild, Primark/Penneys PS range, Collection and Revolution. I will attach links below to each website if you feel like a perusal!

Catrice HD Liquid Foundation..

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First up let me say! I toyed with the idea of taking pictures when I had the foundation on but to be honest, for me personally looking at makeup on other people makes no odds to whether I purchase or not. No two skin tones are the same so it would be pointless to photograph it (in my opinion).

So I have naturally Irish pale skin, I am dark haired but my skin has no warmth at all (living dead!). I have recently started to purchase the second lightest colour within most ranges as sometimes I do have to “warm myself up” with bronzer! I have always chose the lightest of the light, even way back when I purchased my first Max Factor compact in 1995 (never had a Pan Stick, I am very proud of that!).

So back to the makeup! This little beauty comes in 4 shades. I chose shade 020 and it is the second lightest shade. The texture is very watery, so where ever you usually apply your makeup from i.e. back of your hand a few droplets of this will go a long way. The applicator is a droplet, I would suggest buying the little mixing palette and spatula from Penneys for this type of foundation as it is so handy to control the amount you apply to your face. They are €4  so not a huge expense and they are so handy if you want to darken your foundation with tan or lighten it with the Body Shops lightening drops, just mix with your spatula.

spatula-196x300 I apply mine with my Blank Canvas F20 bounce it on rather than rubbing it around your face. Another method that is effective for this foundation is using a beauty blender, I like the Real Techniques one, just dab it on… download-26until even and flawless. I have an oily t-zone so I do need to pat on some powder on top, but you guys with dry skin it will give such a beautiful glow and you lucky gals who are not oily nosed the coverage will last all day, I would have to reapply around my nose but the rest of my skin would be still flawless in the evening. The price is €7.90 and you can click the link above to purchase, also available in Penneys, Inish Pharmacy and local pharmacies.

REVOLUTION ULTRA EYESHADOWS PALETTE

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This little palette surprised me so much. The main reason I got this was because it was on offer. My daughter had a good few palettes and she liked them so I purchased this palette in Superdrug, they were doing a 3 for 2 promotion. I wanted the oil control spray (which is a must for us oily gals!), I got this to avail of the offer more than anything.

Am I glad I did the colour payoff is fantastic on all the shades and this is the great thing about this palette, if you like nudes and mauves every colour will be used. Most palettes there are always some colours you wouldn’t highlight your grocery list with but honestly all the colours are wearable everyday. They blend so so well, better than the NAKED palette shadows (shock/horror!) and with little blending you get a lovely edge free, seamless eye look. They last very well too, again if your like me you will need a primer on your oily lids to ensure no creasing or fading. But it lasts all day with the right prep and doesn’t move around the eye. The one thing I will say is and its not a big deal, always tap your brush before applying as one tiny swatch will pick up a massive amount of product. I had my eye on a quad shadow from MAC recently with lovely plums and mauves but I have changed my mind about spending €45 when I can use an exact dupe here with the revolution palette which cost me less than €12!! The lovely girls at Matte to Metallic have put together a stockist list of Revolution and Freedom goodies Stockists List you can also purchase products from that link. If you are thinking about getting a matte palette and are unsure about which one to go for, I highly recommend purchasing this one for your go to palette, it fits into any makeup bag better than most  palettes too!

Catrice Prime and Fine Smoothing Primer

This is a little gem to have in your makeup drawer. As you know if you follow me on snapchat (sissymcgee3) I have an issue with Benefits Porefessional. I have large open pores on my nose and the high end version just does not cut it (or cover it) for me. The texture with the Catrice version sits better on my skin, it is more smooth and greasier (not as gritty as Porefessional). Once its applied (and I use my fingers to do this, you can use a dome or buffing brush also) it turns to velvet on the skin and instead of trying to sit into the pores and fill them, it drapes itself over them and blurs them!! That is the best description I can give! One tip is let it go dry before going in with your concealer or foundation as it will sit better and last longer for you. The price point for this little pot of gold is €5.49 and can be bought in most Penneys, local pharmacies or just click Here.

WET N WILD COLOURICON CONTOUR PALETTE

I think this was the first product I got from the Wet n Wild collection and I bought it on the back of so many recommendations from beauty bloggers. There are 2 shades and the one I have is Dolce de Leche. There is a pressed banana powder and a contour shade, the shade I have is perfect for pale skin tones as the contour shade in it is an ashy grey base. The other shade is much warmer and would be suited to bronze more than shade the skin.

The cream shade I use under my eyes and T zone, I don’t always use it as I prefer a translucent shade. The contour shade I apply with my Blank Canvas F15 and it is the perfect brush to get right into those hollows! Any tapered brush will do the same though. The minute I start to work this shade into the hollows of my cheeks, oh my God, I have dimension in my face! I’m only bloody gorgeous! But seriously though, immediately that flat look to the face disappears and it is a saviour for any over-eating that occurred! Chizzled beyond belief! Work with your brush up toward to temples and along the hairline, I avoid bringing my contour below my jaw bone during the day as I think it looks to harsh o me. Remember to blend blend blend and if you go to heavy, wipe the excess from your foundation brush and buff into a less harsh shadow. I am not bashing Benefit (again) but I have been using their Hoola Bronzer lately and it does not hold a candle to this contour shade! I am going to keep going with it though because it cost me almost €40 and I am stubborn like that! The palette costs under €12 and can be bought HERE from these fab outlets.

So that is part one of the little bargain basket I have gathered together. Let me know if you use these products and if there are more budget products I should get my mitts on!

As always thanks for reading and if you like feel free to share

Tracey xxx

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Benny the Begrudger

The notion of begrudgery fascinates me, I went to look it up the meaning of the word and it is listed as an Irish informal word. I always thought of it as a very Irish thing to do but it seems the word was formed to describe a uniquely Irish tendency. Even as I type here the word is underlined in red because WordPress does not recognise it!

So why are Irish people so begrudgent? When the Euro Millions was won recently you could feel the begrudgery in the cold misty air. If small talk could trend on twitter “Sure, that’s too much money for one person to have” would be number one and “It‘ll bring nothing but trouble to them!” would have been number 2. This is begrudgery in its purest form, trying to reduce a persons happiness by adding doubt or misery to the situation. Now don’t get me wrong, I was one of those people who said the above statements. I am not sitting here pretending to be Holier than Thou. But think back, was your first thought after hearing 88 million was won in Ireland, “Shite! I should have done the fekin lotto! That could have been me!”

Just think about it though “That’s too much money for one person”… do you think the person/s who won that money rocked up to Lotto headquarters and said “Listen lads, that too much money for me, I’ll just take half, cos it’ll only bring trouble to me door”. No I doubt they did nor they will. What they do with their money is nobody else’s business, obviously, if you lived in another country, but as they probably live in Ireland they wont be able to take a piddle in their newly furnished bathroom without someone commenting on it!mrs-doyle

I was born in the 80’s and as such my earliest memories hail from the Lycra laden decade. This is where I am sure begrudgery was at its peak! The following is a comprehensive but not exhaustive list of “begrudgery victims” if you will:

  • Farmers (any farmer, no matter if they had 1 duck or a herd of cattle. They were all labelled as “Big Farmers” who do nothing but cry over the great spell of weather everyone else was enjoying!

 

  • Young people who went to third level. “Oh yea! a secretarial course wasn’t good enough for them! They’ll be off to Dublin now to study for a “BIG JOB!” (Whatever a big job is?!)

 

  • Emigrants. The economy was diabolical for the majority in the 80’s and early 90’s. These young people who flew off to JFK from Shannon or Dublin were given an emigrants wake and the people were so upset for their poor mothers. “Fair play to them, they’ll send a couple of dollars home every month for their mother when they get settled”, you’d hear them say. The first visit back home be 1 or 10 years later, these heroes who flew off to make their fortune working in ‘Merica’ were labelled as “Big Shots” or they’d whisper, “Look at them, the yanks are home thinking they’re better than us. Its far from coffee they were reared! They’re not in Man- HaTTan now!”

 

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You know how we have a metaphorical ‘devil’ and ‘angel’ on our shoulders? Well I truly believe the minute we hear someone else’s good news, achievements or basically doing anything that is outside the (their) box, this little leprechaun shaped figure peeks out from the side of our head. Lets call him Benny, Benny the begrudger. Someone opens up a business in a small village or town, up pops Benny. Someone has a huge white wedding inviting hundreds of people, up pops Benny, someone goes off on their second holiday of the year, Benny nearly breaks his neck popping up here! Someone starts a blog and uses their social media to push their blog (yes, yes I know, why not?!) Benny pops up “Who do they think they are ‘blogging’, what do they know about what they’re trying to talk about?!” Having Benny there doesn’t make us any less happy/delighted for their success or happiness and we will all nod our heads and say “Fair play to them“. That’s the outward emotion, Benny, well Benny is definitely kept inward for fear people would think less of us!

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We all do it, including myself on a daily basis, but I am trying my best to be aware of it when I do it. If I see a mum at the school gate looking slim and glam I’ll try not to give her a side eye and presume shes had lipo/personal training cos how else does she look so well. When I see people getting their dream job,  I will stop wining “why can’t I find a job, haven’t I studied enough? Aren’t I smart enough, young enough, blah blah blah”... Instead I have been focusing on how they deserve the job and my turn will come from the many interviews I rock up to, I will stumble upon my perfect job. Its hard bloody work trying to get rid of Benny, he’s in our DNA as Irish people, he’s running through our veins along with Barry’s tea and Tayto.

It makes us unique and granted to hear us go on it can be funny. Even reading this, Benny is peeping through…isn’t he??!!

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How’ya lads I’m Benny!

So that’s my little tongue in cheek look at begrudgery, hope it gave you a giggle anyway! Any more thoughts or musings on it leave a comment!

Tracey xx

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My week as a teenage mum…

I was almost 6 months pregnant when my mam found my pregnancy book in my room, she fired it on the table and asked “who’s is this??!” I had contemplated using the old line I used the time she found my box of 10 silk cut purple…”I’m minding them for a friend!” But I knew there was only one way out of this situation and I was sure she’d notice the newborn crying my box room eventually…so I came clean, I defiantly declared “Its mine! I’m pregnant! in a ‘what you gonna do about it tone’. I was  19 and had just moved back from my college house back home. download-21

I love being a young mum. Now. I love the look people give me when I line up at parent teacher meetings. I love the way my old teachers ask her did you have a sister that I taught and she answers with “No, but you probably taught my mum!” Its great being 35 with a 15 year old daughter, we have certain things in common like makeup and TV programmes. We have the same daft sense of humour and can snort (mainly me) and giggle about something for much longer than its actually funny. Now don’t get me wrong just because I am a young mum doesn’t mean I am a walk over. I am just as strict as an older mum might be, maybe more (ask my daughter she’ll happily concur!).

Yep its all shits and giggles now but when I had just turned 20 sitting home on a Friday and Saturday night with my parents watching the Late Late or Winning streak wasn’t the best of craic. I had Chloe the week before my 20th birthday. I was a teenage mum for a week!

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While my friends were out dancing and drinking Smirnoff Ice I was bathing a  baby and praying the colic wouldn’t keep her up all night.

Although at the time missing another Saturday night dancing to Nelly’s “Its getting hot in here” was the worst thing in the world, myself and Chloe grew up together, I matured into a somewhat confident mother while she grew into an independent little girl. images-17

Its such a novelty to say my daughter has been by my side throughout all the highlights of my life, getting married to her dad, getting my degree, watching her twin and baby brothers grow up, masters, and this blog. Now its my turn to watch all the milestones in her life begin and I cannot wait!

But its funny how life comes full circle, most of my friends who were dancing their asses off in oversized belts and flared jeans 16 years ago are now up to their eyes in bumps,nappies and pre-schools and I, well, I’m still buying nappies, BUT, I now have not only a great little buddy in Chloe but also a live-in babysitter! No more pleading phone calls to grandparents to let us out to the cinema for a few hours. Happy Days!

I will never forget the feeling when the nurse told me I was pregnant all those years ago in LYIT’s doctors room, I was scared, angry, nervous, nauseous, all of the emotions and 9 months later I gave her life, but really, she gave me mine.

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Tracey xxx

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Its not just a statistic, its Me.

To lose a baby. Its such a common phrase to say, but when you have a miscarriage or a stillbirth, its feels like such a wrong turn of phrase to use for your own baby. But what else do you say? I had 2 miscarriages and a stillbirth and I didn’t “lose” any of my pregnancies or babies, they died. Miscarriage and stillbirth has been in the media lately due to Kim Marsh’s hard hitting and raw portrayal of a mum “losing her baby”. Obviously it wasn’t a portrayal she went through the horrific experience of giving birth to her sleeping baby at 21 weeks. She is now campaigning for babies in the UK born before 24 weeks to be issued a birth cert. The same law is in place here, ridiculously.

Miscarriage and stillbirth (and I use those words separately because they are not the same) are so very common, but yet there is still a problem talking about them. People don’t know what to say so they say nothing or sometimes say the wrong thing unknowingly. Women who have early miscarriages feel like because people may not have known they were pregnant, they cant speak about their loss. But they want nothing more than to talk about the baby they should be still pregnant with, they know exactly how many weeks they should be or the size their baby should be, be it a peanut or a melon. But they’re usually just sitting there with friends or work colleagues nodding their head to how everyone’s weekends went. When a woman is further along in her pregnancy and has to give birth to her sleeping baby, a lot of people in all their well-meaning ways, avoid talking about the baby or saying the babies name. I don’t know if its an Irish thing, traditionally women were told to move on and try again, whats the use in dwelling over it, put it out of your mind… Bereaved parents are sometimes treated like lepers, people avoid them rather than talk about what has happened them. People want them to “Get over” their loss as soon as possible, so things stop being awkward.

I remember after my baby girl died, I met up with a friend for coffee months later and while we gently talked about what happened, she didn’t shy away from talking about Grace and saying her name throughout the conversation. It was the first time I had heard somebody else say her name in a normal conversation bar her dad, it was so comforting and I felt a little bit like myself, because I am a mum, wouldn’t it be strange if people didn’t mention my other living children in a conversation, wouldn’t it be strange if they purposefully avoided saying their name? Yes it would and that’s what it is like when people avoid talking about the loss of a baby. OF COURSE the parents may not want to talk about it, but mention their loss, don’t go out of your way to avoid it.
Even now when I mention my miscarriages or Grace I can see people shift in their seat just a little, simply because they don’t know how to speak about it with me or maybe they are worried mentioning my babies name will make me burst into tears. Remember women want you to speak their babies name, they want you to recognise they have had a miscarriage or a stillbirth, it is not taboo. Maybe there’s a stigma with it because they cannot see the hurt. If they broke their leg, people would see the hurt and the pain. When my friends called to my house after Grace died, one of the first things I did when they arrived was show them her pictures, it seemed to settle their nerves, they could see her and saw how beautiful she was and talking about my loss and her was somewhat easier.

Miscarriage and stillbirths, like most taboo topics need to be talked about more. Make it okay for a woman to feel its okay to talk about her pregnancy with her friends and family, even though she may not have gotten to hold her baby from that pregnancy. Allow her to talk about her babies beautiful chubby cheek or long fingers, even if that baby never took a breath, allow her to speak about her child like any other mum, don’t feel like you need to steer the conversation away from pregnancies or babies. These women have not moved on from their losses they have simply learned to live with them and part of this is to talk about their babies and their losses. Long gone are those days when women were told “try again a healthy baby will heal you”.
I now find it therapeutic to talk about my losses. I had a missed miscarriage at 12 weeks and 4 months later I miscarried again. We had just gotten married and couldn’t wait to extend our family, I naively thought it would be as easy as it was to get pregnant and give birth to my oldest daughter 8 years previous, by our 1st wedding anniversary I had suffered 2 miscarriages and was in A&E with a suspected third. Luckily that was to be our twin boys, they hung in there and were born 6 weeks early healthy and happy. Naivety got the better of me again when I was pregnant with my forth baby, I was shitting myself sitting in the sonographer’s room at my 12 week scan that I would see nothing on the monitor again, but all was fine, strong heartbeat and no problems. I could relax and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy. Grace was born sleeping at 28 weeks in March 2014, hers is a story that I replay in my head at least twice a day. One day I will tell her story because it deserves to be told. For right now though, I am content enough to say this much about my angel, she was a stunning little baby, dark hair, gorgeous little lips and a button nose. Perfection. She was perfection.

So that is my two cents about pregnancy loss, I suppose if you could take away something from this bit of a ramble, it would be to ask that friend who you know lost a baby, how are they now or just give them a hug…or if you lost a baby, talk about them, talk about your pain, if that’s what you want to do. If you want, talk to me. Message me, rant to me whatever you want. PM me on Facebook or Instagram or whatever, but if you want to talk about your loss and you feel you cannot to your own family or friends, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I have added some websites that may offer more professional advice or help.

Lots of Love

Tracey xx

Miscarriage Association of Ireland

Feileacain

The Weight on my Mind.

xti9b3rAh January, a new year, new starts, marketing departments within all areas are limbering up to deliver their “New Year New You” mantra. Whether it be beauty regimes, healthy eating, fitness, gym gear, running apparel… the list goes on and on. If you think about it its the sloth like activities we displayed during the last 2 weeks of December they are trying to poke guilt at and yes the majority of us ate and drank to excess and in general were very static on some couch or high stool somewhere around the country but that along with a couple of weeks on holiday if you were lucky enough during the whole 52 weeks of the year is the only time that we do go to the extremes with food over such a long period. It just so happens this Christmas excess falls right next to a New Year, its pure coincidence and a money maker for different industries. That rant is the science bit of New Year guilt!

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I was thinking about resolutions and the fact that I don’t make them because I think they are pointless, but then I began to think back. Four years ago I gave up smoking on January 4th, two weeks later I began a fitness journey in my local gym because I felt I couldn’t afford to pile on any more weight from quitting smoking which I had done before. It was initially 28 day program, complete clean eating and 3 sessions in the gym every week. I was a size 14/16 (I am only 5 2) that first day I was introduced to a burpee by the May/ June I was wearing a size 12 comfortably and I was the fittest I had ever been in my 31 years. Was it a coincidence that this journey began in the New Year? If you smoked you know you need to be ready to quit the fags, a new year does will not help your mindset in any way if you are not ready to quit. I guess I was ready and the gym were offering the program coincidentally in January?!

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I am a marketers dream when it comes to weight loss to be fair. I have been self conscience of my weight since I was 11 years old, I have an old diary that goes in to great detail about how 11 year old Tracey thought her thighs were huge and they wobbled way too much. This complex continued on my whole teenage life, but the thing is when I was 16 and thought I was obese I was 7.5 stone??? I genuinely thought I was heavy. Looking back at that girl I feel for her because whoever or whatever got in her head at an early age made her not like what she seen in the mirror, I wish I could go back and stand behind that young girl and clear the shit from her head to see what everyone else saw, a gorgeous young girl. BUT that’s why hindsight is such an amazing thing right?! After I had my first daughter I did pile on real weight, emotional and pounds. I was 19 I had just had a baby my friends were off doing their thing at the weekends, so I just ate to fill an emotional void. I did this until I was 22 and I discovered CURVES…remember that? I lost quite a bit of weight and I was feeling good. I went back to college and I simply did not make the time to work out so over the next 4 years studying for my degree the weight crept on again and the demons were back in my head. By the time I had finished my final exam I was eating meal replacement bars and shakes twice a day as my wedding was the following month. It was pure panic. The crazy diet thing was nothing new for me though, I was always on some fad from a young age: cabbage soup, Atkins, starvation, celebrity slim you name it I put it in a soup or a shake! download-18

In recent years my struggle with weight wormed its way towards my mental health. I found I go through phases of anxiety and being very down where I see nothing positive at all. I might have 5 bad days a month but they were a real struggle. When I began working out 4 years ago I did not have a bad day the whole time, I had moments where I felt shitty but working out had giving me a balance in my mind that was worth so much more than losing all the weight in the world. I gained some great friends from being at the gym. It cleared all the crap my brain was storing up for me, I didn’t need as much sleep and I slept better, I had more energy than ever before and in general I was a better person, for me and my family.

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I became pregnant with my second daughter Grace towards the end of that year and we lost her at 28 weeks, when I felt ready to go back to the gym a few months on I could not get back into the mindset I had the year before. I half halfheartedly went to class but I may as well have stayed in bed. When my youngest was 10 weeks old I once again went back to the gym, that’s 17 months ago now and I am not looking back. Yes there have been weeks where I just about made it in to one class and my weekend cheat meal would spill over to the middle of the following week and I felt it not only in my jeans but in my head, I would wake up full of dread for the day. I now know how to mind my mind as well as my jean size.

The past few weeks of eating too much and not moving enough has caused that shitty black cloud to form over me once again. So I have decided its not a new year resolution I intend to make rather an update to my current operating system! I aim to get rid of the bugs within my system and delete all the crap to free up some more space for positivity and balance. I am looking forward to cutting out sugar, wheat, dairy, alcohol and caffeine from my system for at least 30 days and getting back to gym this Thursday to try and hit at least 4 sessions per week. I feel like shit right now, but I know how I will feel in 2 months and that feeling tastes so much better than any Chinese or chipper does. I know  EVERYONE is on the same bandwagon right now but I feel by writing this all down it will give me a little bit more of a head start on getting back to fitness, eating better and a better mindset.

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I will always have an issue with my weight even if I ever get down to my target jean size, its imprinted in my brain, its never going to leave me. But I will live with that niggle as long as I retain that much longed for mindful balance. I always thought losing weight would cause me to have a more positive outlook but in actual fact, working out creates mental positivity that in turn helps with losing weight and being healthier and feeling good about myself when I look in the mirror.

Its not just about losing the weight from my hips and mum tum anymore, whats more important for me is losing that weight in my mind that causes that dreaded imbalance. So…my 2017 update begins Thursday with my first workout at 7am at my gym Functional Fitness and I am genuinely looking forward to it! I am going to try to keep my social media updated with meal prep and plans etc. so if you would like to join me please do!

Thanks for reading and a very healthy and Happy New Year to everyone

Tracey xxxx

 

 

 

Which twin are you?

I thought about writing a post giving advice to parents about tips for twins or who may be expecting twins but to be honest apart from the practical stuff like product advice its pointless as the only way to raise multiple babies or (single babies) is through the good old accounting concept of trial and error! Keep plugging away until you figure out what works for you and your babies. I personally do not like baby advice books especially Gina Ford, soz Geen! Yes it is true when you have twins you need a damn good routine down early on, but figure that routine out for yourself not based on what a woman who has not had the joy of 2 screaming babies during witching hour. Yes I did buy the book when they were born and on page 3 of what looked like a military itinerary of navy seals for newborns I googled her and was delighted to find out she did not have twins…WTF? There were a few twin mammies I connected with on Facebook and I would have been lost without them.So instead of an advice post I’ve decided to basically gas on about my twin’s last almost 6 years amusing little lives.

From the minute they were born 6 weeks early I have had people approach me and say the usual things, “Oh are they twins?”, “You’re busy!”, “How do you do it?”, “How do you tell them apart?” , “Do twins run in your family?” and I have always nodded and smiled, “yes they’re twins, yes they are identical”, “Haw haw I can always tell my children apart” (that is a a lie, I cannot ALWAYS tell who I am looking or talking to), “They are identical so no genetics involved!” (here I might throw in a ‘any woman can get pregnant with identical twins, its just chance!’…just to watch the blood drain from their faces!).

I remember  two things about the day we were told we were having identical twins. Ducks and McDonald’s coffee…I had an early scan at 5 weeks and again at 8 due to some spotting, we had already had two miscarriages in the months previous so we were keeping our hopes low. I was lying there hoping against hope all was alright and she said everything is OK aaaand there are two babies in there… jaw. floor. dropped. We got the printed scan picture and there looking back at me were what looked like 2 little ducks floating on a lake. We floated out of the room and ended in McDonald’s at 10.30am I ordered a coffee (which was as it turns out the last coffee I would consume for 30 weeks,  it made me sick and I’m the Lorelai Gilmore of coffee addicts so this was a shock to the system!) But I digress…

I have often thought how would people react if you told them exactly what having my two wild boys is like! Now don’t get me wrong, my Dad used to say I won the lotto having these boys and that is a perfect way to sum up how I feel about them. I know I am blessed that they are healthy happy little boys, but sometimes I look back on the last almost 6 years and think mother nature has a beautiful way of helping you blur out the hard times! From the minute they grew legs and arms in my belly they took chunks out of each other and this has been happening since! Their teacher recently said at a meeting “they are always telling on each other!” and this is because they simply do not like each other. They love each other and they are rarely apart even in the same room, but they do not like each other. Here is one of the first examples…I had a beautiful Out n About Twin buggy and I was delighted with it, after 4 months I had to change it to a double buggy that had TWO separate seats…yes I had to purchase a new double pram because my infant sons did not like sitting so close to each other…they bawled and bawled when they were next to one another. I found a pram with two separate seats and what was better they could face separate ways! They didn’t like being in the car either, I remember my poor mother would have to chirp out twinkle twinkle on a loop sitting in the car with them while I ran into Tesco (good auld Tesco!). They cried constantly when they were out, singing was the only thing that would calm them for a short period. I still have the  nursery rhymes CD in the car..ya never know!!

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When I think back to when they were newborns and babies I remember how hard it was of course, trying to feed one while the other screamed, juggling getting them into their car seats and out again…but this was expected, I was prepared for this. Also I have to admit they slept, from about 8 weeks they slept through the night, so once you get your sleep well lets face it you can do a lot more than not, right? So the actual keeping them fed, clean and rested was not too bad and lets face it, you have no choice so you have to get through it.

The crying and screaming while in public was the first sign they wouldn’t be shy quiet boys…I had to stop going anywhere I used to including shops and cafes (the ones that I could fit the hummer version of buggies into that is!). Some people thought I had emigrated, I met a lady I worked with before I got pregnant with the twins during the summer and she thought I had died! OK… OK!I am exaggerating, but only slightly!

They walked at 16 months and that was probably the last time I saw my wedding ornaments or had clean walls! I had to change the buggy again around that time to a tandem (one in front of the other) because they were just to heavy for the other one and I missed being able to push my buggy through things like my front door. This new buggy brought about a whole new series of problems, Cian sat in the back seat because he was the quieter of the two, this did not stop wigging or kicking Jamie at every opportunity from his seat. Jamie being at the front was usually acting out a claw machine toward any item he passed, grab and go.

dsc_0308Its funny NOW looking back at things they got into but the amount of visits to Westdoc used to make me blush, here is a condensed list of complaints, and please don’t judge me!

  • Jamie got the little blue cap of a Bic pen stuck up his nose…we did not see this happening just noticed the little piece of blue plastic hours later, did not bother him in the slightest.

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  • Cian somehow got his hands on the oven cleaner that was way up high and in a plastic bag…he licked the top of the bottle…
  • Jamie drew all over Cian’s face with permanent marker…he was trying to draw eyebrows and a tash to be fair.20141222_121425
  • Their Granddad wallpapered my sitting room, 1 hour later they scribbled all over it with biro…not the same one that was up his nose.
  • They broke my mother’s fridge freezer.

 

When they turned 2 I bought two separate buggys (are you keeping track? yep Toymaster loved to see me coming!) now this was luxury! Sure, I always needed my mam with me when we went out but hey I wasn’t complaining!

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The last few years they are so much quieter, but the mischievousness and the twinkle in their eye will never fade and you know what, as much as I may complain, I wouldn’t want it to.

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When the Firsts are the Lasts

I read a blog post recently about a mum talking about her youngest child completing the milestones of their first step, first word and these being the first last step/word she will ever have as a mum as this baby would be the last. When I had my toddler 19 months ago I knew he was the last, but its recently as I am throwing out his bibs and thinking about cutting out his bottle that it has dawned on me to soak his ‘firsts’ because these will be my last firsts. *Disclaimer:Now I can guarantee you (and Mr. Mumsmakeupbag!) that this does not make me broody in the slightest, my ovaries have stopped skipping a beat when I see a newborn or smell that baby smell (even though no smell will ever beat it).*

I first became a mum at 19 and now about to reach the grand old age of 35, I am watching my baby turn into a toddler way too fast for my liking. I have spent almost 16 years on the baby train and I am more than happy to jump off. I am not sad that I will never be a new mum again, but I have had to mourn it. I know I will never feel my baby kick inside me again or waddle around at 30 weeks wearing stripes and I am content with that, but I wish I could have that last kick one more time just to remember it better. Now I am determined to embrace every last first my children go through. Its so easy to get lost in the busy moments of parenthood and work and basically life that we don’t see the times we wont see again, we miss out on the lasts. My oldest is almost 15 and her firsts do not mean any less than my youngest  but I have gained (obviously maturity) but also the gift of hindsight to take a step back from a busy day (not every day) and lock in memories that were forgotten about before with the older kids. Its hard bloody work to get them all through the day and fed and to bed without too many tears, I just want to collapse on the couch and watch TV once they’re all snoring! But once in a while I will lock in a memory, it could be the 4 of them having dinner at the table together, it won’t be for much longer the youngest will be in a highchair or in a couple of years the oldest will be gone off to college and her chair will be empty but I just make a mental image to remember… Like Phoebe’s boyfriend (Alec Baldwin) in Friends “Click!” !!!!

Its not even the big firsts, I don’t remember that last time I helped my daughter with her homework, like I helped her everyday and then one day it obviously stopped but I don’t know when that was. I complain about having 2 sets of homework to help out with the twins but there will come a day when they won’t need my help anymore and I want to remember when this happens. Silly things are standing out to me like, when did the boys stop asking me to get them a drink or buttoning up their school shirts or zipping up their coats. I am still very much in demand with tying their laces and fixing their school ties but the tasks they have that only mum can help with are reducing at a rapid speed.

Now I am not saying I am going to be standing in my hall at 8.55am on a wet Tuesday morning going “Oh this could be the last time I took your shirt in and fix your tie, let me soak it up” with a tear in my eye…Jesus no. I am just saying once in a while I will take a step back and embrace been needed so much.

With the baby its different, his needs and his firsts will never happen again.Its a melancholy kind of outlook I suppose. As his independence grows with little steps like being able to walk or feed himself, my duties as his mum grow a tiny bit smaller.

His firsts are my lasts.

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