Life has always been good to me. I have the most amazing parents who love me dearly and spoil me rotten; a younger sister Kirsty who is my soul mate and a younger brother Jack, who thinks I’m far too old and totally not cool but still loves me really. Growing up, my life was pretty sheltered. I grew up in Harrogate and was lucky to go through high school with my besties (aka “The Sporties”). We still remain the closest group of friends (Harrogate girlies). In 2005, I went to university in the hope of finding my potential husband, not to get a good degree, (sorry Mum and Dad, although I hope you are happy, as Connor is a good man and I worked hard and achieved a first class honours degree). I met another group of amazing girls, my uni girls, when I joined the rowing team and had three fabulous years with them. On graduating, I decided to train as a teacher then further down the line became a special needs teacher. In 2011 we bought our first house in Newcastle and spent the next five years renovating. In January 2012 we got our first dog, a black Labrador called Hattie and six months later, I persuaded Connor she needed a friend so we got another black lab called Mila. I love my dogs so much and they always cheer me up. I also met my third group of gorgeous girlies, my Newcastle girls.
Over the next five years, my teaching career taught me many life skills, however along with other reasons, this career was not good for my health and I developed anxiety. In 2015, I had cognitive behaviour therapy for six months and realised I had an intolerance of the future. I had to be certain about things. If I wasn’t certain, I would do so much research and doubt the decision I made or I would make a decision quickly and then spend forever doubting it. I would make myself so anxious in thinking about how to make the future certain, but this is an impossible thing and only heightened my anxiety.
My poor husband nearly threw himself out of the window when I told him that in order to sell the house we needed the laminate floor putting down in the utility room “this weekend”. In my head, if the floor was done, then that would be another thing ticked off the list so we would be one step closer to selling the house and buying our dream cottage in Yorkshire. Just to let you know this was now January, we were getting married on the 5th September, I was starting my new job in York the day after we got married and we needed to sell the house so we could buy a house before we got married, so that once we were married we could start trying for a baby (crazy, I now realise). If only Connor knew my line of thought behind getting this bloody floor down. To shut me up, he did it. With the cheapest, shittiest laminate floor boards which the dog ended up destroying. Waste of money! I think that was the final straw before I put myself forward for counselling, as I knew it was me but I couldn’t work out why I was getting so worked up by it.
Having the counselling changed my life (and Connor’s). I’m not sure how I would have survived last summer if I hadn’t have had it. On the 23rd June 2016, when Charlotte’s waters broke, I had to very quickly learn that nothing is certain. Not even my babies’ lives. For the majority of time when the girls were in Intensive Care, we had to live by the hour and were told many a time that we were not yet out of the woods. Here I learned to only see the positives and to make the most of every second. To not let your mind wander and to listen to my daily YESMUM card (Empowering women in birth and motherhood phrase cards #yesmumcards): ‘Take control of what you can and let go of what you can’t’.
As you can see, I’m not one for doing things by half. We ended up selling our Newcastle house three times in the summer of 2015 (very stressful, my poor counsellor didn’t half get it in the ear) and by the time the third sale had gone through (8th October) we had got married and I had begun my new job.
I think this was one of the first hurdles of learning that I couldn’t make the future certain (of course I now know this is impossible) and my plan hadn’t gone to plan. We were married and I was living with my parents (thank you Mum and Dad) and Connor was still living in Newcastle. We had the most fabulous wedding and a perfect day, even if it did end up with me tripping on the dance floor, banging my head on the band’s speakers and knocking myself out. I was concussed for a week! I woke up thinking I was still on the dance floor to realise no, it was the morning after MY wedding and I was in my pyjamas with the sorest head imaginable. I daren’t look at my new husband. Not the best start as Mrs Campbell. I should have maybe slowed down on the vino when the wedding planner asked if I wanted more, I answered, “Yes, of course.” and he laughed and said, “I haven’t met a bride like you before.” I asked “Why, what do brides normally say?” He laughed again and said “No!”
By the time we finally moved into our dream country house, we were nearly able to start trying for a baby as I almost qualified to get full maternity pay, hurrah! As you can see I was beyond broody. The trouble was with all my anxiety and losing weight for my wedding, I hadn’t had a period for over a year. This made me extremely anxious that I couldn’t have children at all. After having MRI scans and seeing a gynaecologist, he said he could see a few cysts but it’s more than likely I just needed to put a bit of weight on. This filled me with hope. During our honeymoon in Italy, I ate for England and by February we had the very exciting news that I was expecting a baby (the day before I went skiing)!!!!