I’ve touched on the subject of losing weight after losing Melody before in previous posts, and especially in the original post that started this particular journey.
So let’s go back to the beginning.
My wife and I married in 2011, and fell pregnant on the wedding night. Stop sniggering at the back; I saw you, don’t think I didn’t. After a fender bender, she was hit full force by Hyperemesis (which is NOT the same as morning sickness before you mention Kate Middleton). One day on one of my days off work, we were having a DVD marathon, watching both Doctor Who and NCIS. Melody (as in Melody Pond), and Caitlyn (Caitlyn Todd) became our daughter’s name.
Valentine’s Day 2012 my wife was sent to hospital as she was experiencing all the signs of pre-eclampsia, supposedly something that couldn’t happen at her gestation. After tests, lo and behold she had pre-eclampsia, kicking off a race to get Melody as far along as possible. It didn’t last long. Essentially, it was the medical equivalent of a sword-wielding maniac colonial declaring independence from Great Britain. Or something to that effect.
At 26+6 weeks Melody Caitlyn Scott was born by emergency caesarean. She was a fighter straight off the blocks, coming off the ventilators and breathing apparatus like Jonah Lomu on steroids. She was a Scott, and a Scot through and through. Fuck yeah. She even gave the Consultant a kick on the way out of the womb! Ha, take that! She even gave a visiting cardiologist a good going over when he tried to give her a scan. You could hear the little smack from across the NICU. How’s that for a middle finger?
So it was that we spent a good deal of our lives there. I was off work, and the older two were at their dads for a few days each week. My brother was in Australia for several weeks and let us crash in his flat. I’m still not sure what the hell possessed him, but he decided to defrost his fridge with a chisel. Yeah, that was the same look I had. Facepalms all round…
So the hospital and flat being far from our own home, we had to rely on takeaways and deli counter goodies. A lot of it. It didn’t occur to me to eat healthy. It was quicker and easier to do the takeaways as we quite often didn’t arrive at my brother’s flat until late at night. So I piled on the pounds.
April 1st, we had a phone call early in the morning (a Sunday) to ask us to come over as Melody was feeling poorly. Shit. So we dropped the big two at their dads and bombed over, thinking they were going to be taking her to an ambulance or a helicopter up to Bristol or something like that.
When we arrived it was quiet, the other parents that we normally saw were nowhere to be seen, and the couple of staff we had spied outside NICU quickly disappeared. So we walked into the NICU, and they were waiting for us. All of them: her paediatrician, the nurses, even the HCAs. And some of them were crying. There was a set of black room dividers hastily put up around a bed over in the corner, where the tiny babies that are the sickest go. I looked around the room for Melody wondering what was going on.
The paediatrician came up to us, calmly and quietly.
“I’m so sorry, but Melody isn’t expected to survive.”
WHAT THE FUCK?!
My first thoughts weren’t of anger or dread, but disbelief. Even as we approached the bed they were still working on her, keeping her going until we got there. They disconnected her, and wrapped her up and put her in our arms.
And she was gone.
She’d developed sepsis, and hadn’t been able to recover. We were numb, phoning our parents, wanting to know if they wanted to say goodbye. She was cleaned and placed in a little cot away from the rest of the NICU, and we had to say goodbye.
We had to say goodbye.
The next time we saw her was in the chapel of rest. By then, things had changed, mostly relationships with people, it certainly opened our eyes.
I still look back, and wonder why I didn’t break down like in the movies or on the American TV shows where someone is given bad news and they smash shit up, or scream to the gods or some such. I’m still not sure if that’s a normal reaction, or not.
I had to go back to work a couple of months later as I wouldn’t be paid, which I see now was a mistake. I should have stayed off, or simply not gone back at all, starting fresh as my wife has done to great success. But it occurred to me, when I was returning, and having to wear massive sizes of work overalls, that I needed to lose weight.
At this point, we had experienced the hospital’s attempt at “counselling”, who decided to hold our sessions in the Sexual Diseases Clinic…. Facepalm again. They were useless, always diverting away from the reason we were there.
My wife received help from a brilliant charity, Cruze. I was put on a waiting list…. Which I’m still on for several organisations, if you can believe it. Nobody wanted to know. My wife found an incredible set of friends and mums through social media, but I didn’t.
As it turns out, bereaved dads are left in the corner all the time. They’re expected (usually by everyone but the mums) to be strong and supportive, making the cups of tea, being there for the mums. It’s frustrating, like shouting into a hurricane. When I talk about it I always call it “the shield”, the public face we’re expected to put on and hold up, and then put down in private.
My wife has been amazing in how she’s dealt with it all, and everything she’s done for awareness, and helping others.
Which brings me to… well… me.
The dreaded scales
When I finally braved a set of scales, I weighed 151kg/24stone/332lbs. Something needed to be done. At first, my wife and I did it together, going on massive long walks around the countryside around our town. But she fell pregnant with Melody’s sister, and was hit with the Hyperemesis again.
I found some cheap dumbbells, and started jogging in the mornings. It helped that at the time, the walk to and from work was 25 minutes, and work itself was a damn sight more strenuous physically. But I managed to keep the food going, calorie counting and the exercises, at least 30-60 minutes a day. When I look back I think maybe it was some kind of therapy. Although, when Melody was born, I spent a good 45 minutes panicking in the scrub room because I couldn’t find a set of scrubs big enough for me.
Melody’s New Sister
By the time the baby was born, I was down to 113kg/17.7stone/249lbs. And then I stopped. I don’t know why, more important things to worry about. I figured “I’ll do it tomorrow”, and then it kept going like that. Work became more wearying and stressful, and exercise was the last thing on my mind.
Fast forward to now and Melody has another sister, and my weight had crept back up to nearly post-Melody levels. Medical professionals were telling me I needed to lose weight immediately. So I started documenting the restart of this journey here on this blog. At first, I was just doing exercises that came into my head, assisted by the EZ Curl bar from my wife for my birthday, and now some old York and Thor weights from my dad.
A couple of months ago, I found the YouTube channel of the Buff Dudes, two brothers who like to educate in the ways of fitness whilst having fun. They run their own fitness programs, the basic version in its third edition. This is the program, or at least the free version, that I’m following now. I’ve been introduced to the deadlifts and overhead presses, chest presses, all sorts.
So once again, my weight is slowly going down, this time with a fair bit of muscle building thrown in.
All the while, I’m thinking that I wish I had done this after losing Melody, and made her and the rest of the kids and my wife proud. This time around it’s not as therapeutic, maybe that’s why the motivation is lacking each morning? That there’s not something big driving it? Not like a Spider-Melody swinging around me, pushing me to get on with it.