Stubborn is as stubborn does

When we found out I was pregnant things didn’t change straight away.  We had the happy job of telling our parents we were expecting – all of them were over the moon.  For my folks William is their 4th grandchild but for Adams mum and husband he was their first.  My folks tell me every grandchild is special regardless of how many have come before.

I carried on my evening classes but had to stop salsa quite early as I was getting too dizzy with the spinning.  Tai Ji, however, I continued right up until the last week of my pregnancy.  I’ve been doing Tai Ji for over ten years now and believe it was this that kept my blood pressure low for the whole pregnancy – lower than a healthy non-pregnant adult.  The midwife said it’s no problem, just be careful for falling over; the fall is fine, she said, it’s the landing that’s the problem!!

Towards the end of my pregnancy it became apparent that my baby was a stubborn one (can’t imagine where he gets that from…) He was feet down and not for budging.  We tried having him turned at the hospital and even tried acupuncture and moxibustion (a traditional Chinese herbal medicine).  All to no avail though – this child was happy standing and that was that.  I say ‘child’ because at that point we didn’t know if we were having a boy of a girl.  After trying everything we could to turn baby we were told I would have to have a Cesarean section.  I was devastated. I’d imagined a water birth with Adam and my mum present.  I’d not ruled out pain relief and was just going to go with the flow.  I was looking forward to giving birth and having my new baby put straight onto my chest so we could start our magical journey of breastfeeding.  All this was shattered when the hospital told me it was too dangerous to try for a natural birth – a bum-down baby (breech) and it would have been my choice but a feet-down baby (footling breech) means baby would probably stick a foot out before I was fully dilated resulting in all manner of problems.  Because I’d be in a cold theatre, it also meant I couldn’t have skin-to-skin straight away as I’d be too cold and would actually cool my baby down rather than help warm him up. Instead, Adam would have skin-to-skin and they would sit in the recovery room waiting for me to be stitched up.  Now, call me selfish if you like but, I wanted first cuddle – I grew our baby in my body and I wanted to be the first to touch him, kiss him, hold him.  I felt like I’d failed as a mother before I’d even begun.  All this was by-the-by really.  I knew the most important thing was to give our child the best start and if that meant Adam having skin-to-skin while I was finishing in theatre then so be it. The c-section went fine.  We told the doctors we didn’t know the sex so please could they hold baby up to show us rather than telling us.  Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I imagined them holding our child up like the monkey does with Simba in ‘The Lion King’; I imagined back-lighting and a fan softly blowing the hair of the doctor (baby’s would be too wet and gooey to be blown around); I imagined a gospel choir singing in the back-ground… What I got was a strange pulling feeling in my stomach; I said to Adam I thought baby was coming, and the next thing I saw was a giant pair of testicles where the head should be!!  My boy (I have a boy!!!) was being held upside down from the ankle by the doctor.  They really should warn you the baby will be upside down.  It makes sense to a rational thinking brain; let the fluid drain out of the lungs and all that, but to a nervous first-time mum about to meet her child for the first time it was a little bit of a shock.  All that aside, he took my breath away.  ‘We’ve got a boy’ I gasped. He cried and we cried.  The nurse gently wrapped him up and held him next to my head so I could give him a kiss hello and take a long look.  Adam held him next to me for 10 minutes or so then they had to go into the recovery room to warm up.  I have no idea how long it took them to stitch me back together but it was too long – a few minutes would have been too long.  One last disappointment awaited me – when I was wheeled through to recovery my body went into shock and I started shaking like a leaf.  The nurses piled extra blankets on me but I couldn’t warm up for about one and a half hours.  Meaning I couldn’t hold my baby until then.  I eventually warmed up enough and they handed me my child (at last!) He went straight to the boob and fed for the next 2 hours!  So began our life together.

from phone 27sept 2013 002

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An introduction to me…

The story of how I came to be in the position I am in now is a long and winding one.  I’ll keep it short and just give you the highlights.

I am born (to quote Charles Dickens, David Copperfield).  My family and I moved around a fair bit when I was growing up and I ended up leaving my parents at the ripe age of 18 to head to university in the small city of Worcester.

Worcester is a beautiful city and, after graduating, I stuck around for a few years.  Fast forward five years or so and I find myself in a job in which I’m not completely happy (sound familiar?).  At the time I was planning a holiday to China – a country I’ve wanted to visit for as long as I can remember, probably inspired by Bruce Lee movies and the Chinese writing on the paper the local chip shop wrapped the chips in when I was younger…  In preparation for this holiday, I was taking Chinese lessons so I could at least ask directions and where the toilet is – you know, the essentials when travelling alone.  Well, one day, I arrived at my lesson after a particularly bad day at work and was having a bit of a moan before the lesson got underway.  My teacher (a Chinese student studying here) said she could get me a job teaching English in a Chinese school back in her home town of Qingdao.  To cut a long story short, 3 months later I found myself living in China!

After an amazing and eye opening year in China I returned to the UK and moved to Hereford to do a two year course in fine furniture making.  Upon graduating from this course I secured myself a job as a carpenter at a yacht building company.  After three short months redundancies were announced and, as last in I stood to be first out.  As luck would have it I managed to stay with the company as a sewing machinist and there I stayed for the next few years.  Finally, a job came up in the design department.  I know the product inside out and had proven myself well.  After taking an evening course in Solidworks to get the basics I was given the job.  A year or so later and redundancies reared their ugly head again.  Unfortunately this time the whole design department was going so out the door I went.

It was all for the best really.  I founded my own company called ‘Simply Upholstery’.  Using my design and sewing skills I started designing and making upholstery for narrow boats, caravans and campervans.  Business was okay but not quite enough to cover all the bills.  Needs must and I got myself a job as a design draftsman working on helicopter training systems.  This was an interesting job working with a fantastic bunch of people.  Once more I was silently thankful I had taken that evening course in Solidworks.

I continued to run Simply Upholstery while working for the man, slowly building the business up.  While working on the helicopters I became happily pregnant.  I’ll return to the story of my boy’s birth in a later blog but needless to say things changed once he was born.  I wanted to stay at home and raise him rather than employ a child minder but Simply Upholstery required me to visit customers’ houses and the work could be quite large.  Therefore, I started another company, ‘Flutterby Memories Limited’, in which I could use all of my skills and do the work around William’s naps.  This company makes patchwork keepsakes, such as quilted blankets, out of your baby’s clothes.  It also, supplies embroidered baby clothes with either a fun slogan such as ‘I’m going round the Mulberry bush, Mummy’s going round the bend’, or a personalised message.

I’m going to sign off for now but I’ll hope to chat with you all again soon.

Do any of you have an inspiration tale as to how you got to where you are today?DSC_0437-1