Sunday, May 06, 2018

The website is dead

I tried for two years to have a website. I planned to sell my wares, to write and write and write, however having a baby, going back to work, moving to Wales, changing roles at work, etc...it all went to pot! I think I wrote about three posts during 2017 and most of those were weeks after the events, just like now.

Bearing in mind we are buying a house, Ro and I decided we'd save the £25 I was spending a month on my two websites and I'd return to blogger - faithful, free blogger, so here I am. I've cut and paste all of the posts I wrote during my sabbatical and am now back!!!

We decided in September that we would officially move to Wales come March 2018, our lease was up for renewal and we wanted PB to grow up in the countryside. Ro was going to wait until February / March to close the business, however it worked out that they found new tenants for the studio in Peckham to take over in December, so it made sense to close the business come November / December 2017 and set himself up as a freelancer in the mean time; this period was very stressful  but we got through it, some how.

2018 seems to have flown by due to various things, although now I'm listing them they appear minimal...
We went to Scotland at the end of January for a week (I'll write about it in a separate post, as it was magical).
And Ro packed our entire life up and we moved house, we used Anyvan and two nice Lithuanian guys came and loaded us up in the space of 3 hours. It was a good price, we had a £100 levy due to a list of additional items we'd forgotten about, but £750 to get 75 sq. ft. of stuff to Wales from London in one day seemed pretty ship shape!

We are staying with Ro's mum while we find somewhere to buy. We originally were looking around Bridgend, but since staying nearer to Swansea we have decided to stay put, it's not ideal work wise but we way of life is nicer and we can afford more, and we'll be closer to friends and family.

Ro doesn't want to set up business just yet, especially if he has to move it once we buy which is fine, he  he is enjoying taking everything at a slower pace, spending time with PB, doing odd jobs and just enjoying life - although he stabbed himself with a rusty Stanley knife today while gardening, two stitches later and he's fine.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Motherhood - A snapshot

9 weeks in...
I'm really struggling with being a mum. I am not sure if it's because I've always identified myself with what I do (work wise), or if it's the boredom. I always thought I would be the type of mother that revels in her children and I imagine I will once PB is more interactive but at this time with a baby that can't communicate on my level and when I heavily rely on oral communication, it is difficult. I thought starting the Amina Project would distract me and give me something to focus on, when there is some downtime, and I always knew it would be a slow starter, however at this time I've faltered at the first hurdle. Who knows, but for the first time I'm not fighting for it, I have no get up and go, no drive, no desire to get off my butt and be active and I know it's because I spent so much of my time alone being a milk machine / mattress. I know I need to be more proactive, but how?

16 weeks in...
I'm pleased to report that the above mist has lifted, various reasons but PB started smiling at 7 weeks and 6 days - Ro and I fell head over heels in love with her, even more than we were before; I joined a Post-natal NCT group with some lovely ladies, and a Mum & Baby Yoga. Plus I had some under lying health issues remaining from giving birth which have finally been resolved with my doctor; and am now returning to work prematurely as my Maternity cover has had to leave due to ill health in her family, which is terribly sad for her but positive for me, as the boredom was getting to much and SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) is a shambles, how anyone is supposed to live off £140pw is beyond me, especially when paying private rent!

24 weeks in...
I've been back in work for nine weeks now, luckily I'm able to support them part time from home, popping into the office one morning a week. It's been a huge juggling act and has caused some rows between Ro and I, but all in all I feel it's working well and I hope I'm supplying work with the help they need, I've really enjoyed having stuff to keep me busy and being back in the driving seat. Additionally the Post-natal NCT group was great (highly recommend), and we've continued to meet up for brunch and other events since. PB and I have signed up to the second term of yoga, we don't always get to do much yoga, sometimes PB prefers to feed, but it's good fun and giving me much needed exercise and an excuse to get out.
All in all motherhood is shaping up to be ok. I did struggle and I think it's normal to do so in the beginning, it's definitely not what I thought it would be and the lack of "Pinterest" style filter and crops has made me feel at times feel like I was doing it wrong or missing a trick but we shall see. I'm lucky to have a smiley friendly baby who tolerates her father and my idiosyncrasies, and is a general joy to be around, we are very lucky!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Birth

39 weeks & 2 days
7.30am: This morning I woke feeling a little wet down there. Popped to the lavatory and didn't seem to have anything to show for it, so decided to clean my teeth and return to bed, however as I stood up a little trickle down my legs led me to believe that my waters had broken, even though I'm having painless contractions.
8am: A quick call to the midwife and a visit was imminent to confirm. 
10am:  The midwife shoes up, does the usual checks, confirms that it looks as though my waters have broken, but I'm not in active labour. Advises me to keep active, that she'll check on me later and that we'll need to head to the hospital if labour doesn't start on it's own.
 3pm: We went for a little walk.
5pm: My contractions are starting to have a small ache to them and Prudie is still kicking away merrily. Waiting is so boring!!! 
7pm: Still not much going on. My midwife called and advised that unless I am having three HUGE contractions every ten minutes by 7am, to call the Birthing Centre - so much for our home birth plan. I doubt my gorgeous one is particularly bothered to get anywhere quickly.
11pm: Still not much happening. I've sent Ro to get some sleep and am having mild contractions every 7 minutes. Yawn!
39 weeks & 3 days 
 1am: My waters have now officially broken...I'm going to try and get a couple hours sleep before heading in to St Tommy's.
3am: My waters are still flowing out of my body at regular intervals. They don't explain that once the brook starts flowing, it will continue at various intervals over several hours - gush!
6am: Still gushing water everywhere and little sleep. I'm a mess - emotionally exhausted and crying for no reason.
8.30am: We've arrived at ADU, St Tommy's, and I am now under observation having passed all of the checks: Abdomen pain? Are all fluids clear? Headaches? Flashing lights? Blah blah blah...
11am: We have met the Doctor and he's booked us in for the next available bed within the Ward; apparently everyone and their dogs are requiring Induction today, so we're in great company, and Tommy's is rammed full! We are officially part of 20% of births that start with the waters breaking and the contractions never showing up - which is nice.
Spoke to the Mothership and discussed how waters breaking are disgusting as you feel like you are constantly pissing yourself and you require a sodden adult nappy between your legs at all times, to which she replied "I've no idea, they were always broken for me", well isn't that nice for her, some people have all the luck.
12.30pm: Our Home Care Midwife has arrived and arranged for us to be moved to the 'Home from Home' unit and will now look after us for the next six hours. Hopefully the induction will speed everything up and Prudie will get her butt in gear, fingers crossed.
2pm: I've had the induction pessary, Prudie enjoyed having her scalp played with by the midwife. midwife. We have until 6.30pm to see if anything gets going, however at 2cm dilated, I doubt it.
6pm: Our midwife has headed off to enjoy her evening and we are waiting to be transferred to the Birth Centre for our Drip Induction, depending on our dilated I am upon arrival. I'm currently experiencing contractions every four minutes and they are pretty uncomfortable.  Roll on the drugs!
8pm: There is a shortage of Midwives, so we need to wait for Home Care team members to be called in.  I thought having a bath while I wait, might help with the pain. The bath is tiny and badly designed, I struggle to get my belly and knees past the handles and find it very hard to get out; it's comfortable and relaxing but did slow down my contractions, so I opt to get out again - with Ro's help, like a large Welsh crane.
(From this point, it was written post the event, I'm good but not THAT good)
10pm: It appears our room isn't available anymore, I'm guessing an emergency came in. Plus, the pain is getting mighty. The midwives bring me 'Gas & Air' and I ask if it's possible to get our antibiotics while we wait...as they are supposed to be administered four hours before birth climaxes.
11pm: Ro and I have found nice way to relax, listening to "Creedance Clearwater Revival," while lounged on the bed sucking the gas and air...however I keep on dosing off then being rudely awoken by a fresh contraction, not pain free. This sends me flying across the room trying to walk them off. But the rest of the vibe was blissful!
39 weeks & 4 days
12.30am: A new part of the contraction has started and I have a feeling it's the joyous birth canal moment...I fear I'm too late for any additional pain relief and I've no idea how I'll cope.
1am: We are finally being moved to the Birth Centre and not a moment too soon. I hobble around to the delivery room and am greeted by a lovely lady called Isatu, born and raised in Hereford by parents from Gambia - she's an angel. We also have a trainee called Jess from Cambridge, who is just so nice.  My crack pipe and I are hooked back up and I'm in bliss again. I ask Isatu for loads of pain relief, however upon inspection I am 9cm dilated and advised that additional pain relief could slow down the rate of my contractions. I guess we are getting this show on the road, as it is. 
1.30am: I have a crazy, crazy need to push (in line with a Thunder storm) and discover that I have no idea about which muscles do what and how to push a baby from my lady parts. After lots of dramatics and coaching from Isatu, I've got it, I hope.
The pushing starts and is exhausting, I've not slept in two days and now I need to use my bum muscles to extract a few kilos from my body, through a stretchy hole, and not just that, but I've got to engage my diaphragm and other big internal muscles to do so.
3am: Ro ponders why women in films are always so sweaty when giving birth,  which must mean I look serene right now...
4am: The sun has started to rise and London looks beautiful. ..I on the other hand have requested ice for my back and cold flannels for my forehead and back of neck; I think Ro just discovered why ladies are sweaty in films and on TV.
4.45: I've done it, I've no idea how...my final contraction was dying and I heard someone say 'one more push and she'd be out, so I did it, I mustered up some energy and did it and out she popped like a greased up seal...literal - head out the rest will follow. She has a raise lump (around 2inches, in diameter on the top of her head), I assume it led the charge down the birth canal and she's all squished but she's perfect! Fucking perfect, I'm in shock and awe!
Post Birth: 
I had four tears, mainly internal: three 'firsts', one 'second', Isatu was a master seamstress and I advised her to go on 'Project Runway'. I also got pretty high on gas and air, as the anaesthetic didn't realty work and every time she removed the gauze it felt like someone shaking a tambourine in my lady parts. It took about an hour and a half to stitch me back together and I lost a litre of blood.
I'd say that the grossest thing was seeing Jess check that my placenta was present and correct, it looked like one of the crappest jigsaw puzzles in the world.
The constant stream of people to our room after we were transferred back to the 'Home from Home...' was frustrating, bearing in mind we hadn't slept in 48 hours and there was a 'Do Not Disturb' on my door, however I guess they have to do their job.
All in all, it was a roller coaster and something that as soon as it was over, I wanted to start all over again - I guess that would be the endorphins talking...I'm so in love but also amazed that I created something so utterly in tact and perfect! It is almost beyond my comprehension

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

NCT Class

We had our very first NCT class yesterday. Going in I had two hopes, with an optional third:
·         Ro and I would feel more confident and have a better understanding of what we were getting ourselves into and what to expect with parenthood.
·         Ro might find a mate or two to speak with, who were going through the same thing at a similar time, who he could possibly escape to the pub with.
·         And, if I find a new mum friend, that would be a bonus, but it isn’t imperative.
The first class was ok: we learnt a few new things regarding birthing options, and the cultural viewpoints on pregnancy and child raising differs between we Brits and others nationalities. We also learnt about the Birthing Centre vs the Labour Ward, and the other options open to us through the NHS and privately.
Our class leader is positively lovely, knowledgeable and very approachable, so that’s promising. However my main reservation at this time is that the other attendees are very “nice”. I am hoping that with time they will relax and come out of their shells. Ro nailed it when he said “most ‘Londoners*’ aren’t overly keen to befriend new people and it normally takes them time to come out of their shells and truly relax. Other than us, who go in guns blazing trying to befriend everyone’. And he is right, we are very personable and friendly with very low boundaries, so maybe I am expecting too much too soon.
The one thing I found interesting was that most of the couples will be having their babies during mid-May - end of June, and yet none of them were particularly prepared and hadn't discussed issues like: 'the man's role within feeding', 'what type of nappies they would use?', 'how long they wanted the child in the bedroom'. They'd discussed where they wanted the baby to be born and the type of pain relief, but that was about it. I thought I had held off getting involved as I spent the first trimester convinced that the pregnancy wouldn't work out, spent the second trimester thinking that there might still be problems and being surrounded by baby stuff would destroy me. And it was only around the start of the third trimester that I finally relaxed and started considering what we needed and finally wanted to acquire it all. We did want the wedding out of the way also but that was a welcome distraction for me, as otherwise I would have been a lot more stressed.
The other realisation I made after last night's class was that Ro and I are very relaxed going into parenthood, we have discussed at length our ideals and preferred methods, we both want to take everything at face value and assess, manage and execute within the moment, and we aren't stressed about the worst happenings, as that is completely outside of our control anyway. Therefore the one thing I will walk away from the first class with, is that we are a lot more confident than I had previously thought.
I guess if this doesn’t work out, maybe the NHS day drop in might be better for us; or the post-natal NCT class may have a better selection of people for us to befriend; I guess time will tell…

*by Londoners, I mean those of us who moved into London from outside and are not proper, proper Londoners.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Warheads vs People

  Image courtesy of the internet
Image courtesy of the internet
Rowan and I were discussing the air strike on Syria this morning, whether it was good or bad, and what it would achieve.
My theory is ‘if you don’t take any refugees in and make a conscience effort to refuse to do so, you’ve no right to get involved in war or the bombing of the countries who are expelling their people’. You are either in or out. Therefore we (UK) and the US have no right to get involved. Germany and Norway have every right, however.
Then Ro said something to me that got my mind going ‘the amount of money it costs to create and send 56-60 tomahawk missiles could have resettled and housed a lot of refugees for various years’.
I’ve done some maths based on dodgy information, as always there is no actual cost of anything, just lots of hypothesis and depending on the papers stance on refugees it inflates or deflates. Plus I’m going to use Britain as the basis and all sums are approximate (I’m not an accountant or Mathematician, please bear with me).
Let’s start simply: One tomahawk missile costs £1 million.
The Guardian reported that the local authorities who resettle refugees will receive £20,520 for the first five years per refugee adult. The Telegraph cited that each refugee will cost Tax payers £24k per year. And the BBC said it could cost up to £23k for the first year.
All very confusing. So let’s use an average, £23k for the first year and add the following four year payments the government would make to local authority over the next four years (yes I’m aware that this may not cover the actual cost, but we are just looking for an average cost), this totals: £35k
Now reports on the air strike cannot quite make up their minds how many missiles were despatched, so we will say 58. Most reports sit between 56-60. That totals £58m.
We will work this out on adults only…I guess we could estimate that two children cost the same as one adult, if you like, but that would just add a level of confusion to my brain.
So based on £58m, divided by £35k, we Brits would have resettled 1657 adult refugees. That doesn’t sound like that many, bearing in mind that we said we would accept 20k, and were advised to take 50k.
You have to remember that once settled, it is estimated that they will boost the annual output by 0.1% for the EU as a whole, according to The EconomistThe Guardian pins it to between 0.2 – 0.5% growth.
The BBC says that our annual GDP is £1.8 trillion, and our exports to the EU are 13%, therefore 13% of the EU’s GDP’s 1% is 0.0013%, equals £23,400,000. £23,400,000, divided by the £35k, totals 668 people, which means the UK could resettle and look after 2325 refugees for five years, all for the same price as 58 warheads.
Therefore, Ro was right and this doesn’t even acknowledge how much it cost to get the warships out to the Middle East. But it does involve someone who doesn’t understand economics, maths or war, has no idea what 1.3846154e+17 means on a calculator. Which means I did my maths wrong and in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s my total times ten, of who can be resettled for the same price as 58 missiles.
Or even, that I didn’t take in to account that some of those being resettled won’t be of working age or have the opportunities to contribute to the economy, but we will pretend that I’m Einstein and that I’ve nailed my point well.
Thanks for your time and please, please, please do correct my terrible attempt at maths.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

iFind, St Thomas' Hospital

St Thomas' are currently participating in lots of different pregnancy related projects at this time, so they asked if I would consider taking part and of course I said yes. Especially after helping with the progesterone trial.
Here is a video of the MRI of little Prudie chilling in the womb. They said that most foetus' once in the flow of the MRIs don't move much for the cine, however we were lucky and she did a little wiggle.
I did feel very sorry for her though, as the machine is incredibly loud and I imagine it must have been rather startling for her little ears.



The next day at work, after this experience, I noticed that the umbilical cord is up around her neck and got rather freaked out. I called the hospital, who were wonderful and had a Doctor call me back within ten minutes. They explained to me that unless it is coiled twice, they generally do not worry. I calmed a little but also noticed that she wasn't moving much - she was probably breathing in my stress and anxiety and keeping chilled in response, which didn't help.
By Saturday morning I was totally freaked, we were two days into Prudie only responding if I poked her, played music or requested her to react...unlike her normal three doses of hiccups a day and constantly kicking. I spoke to one of my midwives who directed me to St Thomas's. I felt bad as I didn't want to bother people without cause but knew for my state of mind, I should go. So off we trotted to see the Daily Antenatal Centre. All positively lovely, like always. Once again, the NHS are wonderful and so understanding. After 20 minutes observation, they were happy and sent us on our way, of course hearing the professionals telling me that all seemed fine calmed me down, and come Sunday morning she was back to her active self.
The midwives at St Thomas' did tell me that it is quite common for women to pop in between 28 - 31 weeks, as the foetus' have lots of space still but seem to calm down for some reason. I wondered if it is because kicking is so new initially and you become comfortable with it; I guess you lose track of how much they kick and as soon as you start focusing, you wonder "is it more or less than before", or maybe they do just chill out and ease off for a short while. Who knows?
Since Sunday, Prudie has been back to her old hiccuping and kicking self, thankfully, and now we only have ten weeks to go until her arrival date.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Wedding Planning Pt.10

Below are the fascinators I made for my bridesmaids and myself to wear on the big day. I had hoped to commission them from a professional but it didn't work out. They ended up costing me financially a quarter of the commissioned pieces, however a lot of time, love and care was invested. I hate to blow my own trumpet but I think they look smashing; and I even managed to make a second one for myself.

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios


 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios
Images all courtesy of Rowan Morgan

Wedding Planning Pt.9

I can't sleep...I had the strangest wedding anxiety dream and was visited by Ro's dad. His mum saw and spoke with him also, it was calming. But that's not what has woken me. Mainly, it is the loading of the car that is weighing on my mind, we have so much to take with us:
36 bottles of fizz, 48 bottles of wine, 120 stubby cans, Two dresses and a suit, a huge box of decorations and fascinators, 160 rashers of bacon accompanied by 80 sausages, 52 eggs, 14 garlic breads, and camera equipment. Pretty exciting stuff all round. I know it is all trivial stuff but what if we forget something? Or can't fit it in...
 The difference between Ro and I is that he got nervous for the first time today and he was panicking about people not enjoying themselves and him letting them down, which I thought was really sweet. This doesn't bother me, if people don't enjoy themselves that is their own issue, we've put enough in place for them to do so, it's up to them to get involved.
My concerns are superficial in turn, it's more about trivial silly things...and these concerns have woken me five hours in to sleep and won't cease or desist.
My work have been amazing and given us a gift voucher and Fortnum & Mason hamper; I told my Grandma and her first question was about what biscuits it included. She's convinced that F&M cheese biscuits are the holy grail of cheese biscuits. The irony being that if she knew how much they cost, she'd refuse to go near them.
I wish I could empty my brain, just for 2 more hours sleep...