Artifact Motherhood September 2022 | A van-less summer

Our family adventures took a different path this summer for a number of reasons.

Our beloved camper van and my family’s much-loved holiday home on wheels. Has been undergoing major restoration. It’s been off the road for months. We always knew that this would be the year of different family adventures for us. We want to honour all those thousands of miles and far-flung destinations it’s gifted us, so we have chosen to gift it back a complete refit.

For selfish reasons, for all the adventures we yearn for and are yet to have.

I’m going to pause the van-less adventures and rewind back to the beginning of the year. Where we unexpectedly experienced a bereavement within our family. It continues to shift and shape the foundations of our daily lives. Finding that world kept turning while we tried to stand still, we found ourselves amidst school exams and some post-pandemic anxiety.

I booked two different overseas trips in an attempt to regroup and breathe together as a family.  The first was a trip to Spain during the Easter break, but you tested positive 48 hours before we were due to leave. The second attempt was in June, to Sicily, after your last exam. The airline cancelled that flight that morning, three hours before taking off.

We were sat in a cafe at 8.30am and clicking ‘yes’ to an old cottage in Cornwall.

We headed off instead, to a place we thought we knew so well. Yet during this week, we found new wonders and experiences in the familiar landscapes. Explored the old tin mines buildings that frame the wild and dramatic coastline.

Walking east one day, west the next and talking to people we’d never met, possibly will never meet again.


* This season’s story is an edited extract from the next JUNO Magazine Autumn issue.

Artifact Motherhood is a collaboration of artists/mothers from around the world. Sharing stories of the joys and struggles of our journey. Our hopes and dreams for our children. With little nuggets of wisdom here and there. These are more than photographs with dates written on the back. These are the artefacts we are leaving behind for our children and the generations to come.

Please visit the next artist in our blog circle, the talented Hollie Stokes and continue through all the artists until you get back to me.

martha's dancing heart

Martha was born on the 10th of January 2015, checking into this big and beautiful world a whole five weeks earlier than planned. It was an emotionally charged journey for mum and dad, Michelle and Rick leading up to her birth, with regular hospital visits until this gorgeous little lady was able to come home some weeks later.

Michelle and Rick, along with Martha's big brother Will have decided to raise £10,000 for the Children's Unit at the University of Wales Hospital by her first birthday. Without the love, support and care from the Unit, things may have turned out very differently for this family.

I asked Michelle to write some words about her journey to meeting Martha and how she came to launch Martha's Dancing Heart...

On the 23rd of December I went for my routine 32 week check-up with the midwife, I'd had an amazing pregnancy and felt really well all the way through. I was looking forward to Christmas then welcoming our new baby girl in February.

The midwife did all the regular checks and all was fine, she then said she wasn't required to listen in to the baby's heart beat anymore, unless I asked her to. She was smiling as she said it and I laughed and asked her to listen in.

It quickly became apparent that all wasn't quite as it should be - our little girl's heart was beating twice as fast as it should and it wasn't long before I was in the hospital hooked up to a monitor having fluid pumped into me.

I was kept in overnight as they tried to stabilise her heartbeat - it was 240 bpm (a normal rate would be 100-140) - and allowed home at 8pm on Christmas Eve on a cocktail of heart drugs, needing to come back to the hospital daily for ECGs.

The next three weeks are a bit of a blur to be honest. Christmas came and went and new year passed with me regularly staying overnight at the hospital. The heart drugs I was taking were slowing my heart, but having little effect on our baby.  By Jan 9th my heart rate and pulse had fallen very low, so the consultants decided the safest option was an early delivery by c-section the following day.

On Jan 10th 2015 our daughter, Martha was born and diagnosed with a condition called PJRT ... it's a type of tachycardia and is basically an electrical short circuit in her heart. It's a condition that is rare in babies and needs to be controlled with medication.

Martha was cared for by the amazing staff at the Neonatal ward of University Hospital Wales, and the staff of the Children's Heart Unit for Wales, After four weeks we were able to take her home. She's now doing fantastically well, and we know that without the love and support of her hospital angels, she could have been very poorly.  So we want to say a huge thank you by fundraising in lots of different ways throughout the rest of 2015. We want to be able to donate at least £10,000 to the Children's Unit at UHW before Martha's first birthday.

We'd love your help and support xxx