Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Welcome to the World!

Well, I am over the moon! On Friday morning our little angel of a boy arrived. He is everything and more I could have ever dreamed of! He's got my nose, Jam's chin and auburn hair, a proper red squirrel!! My grandad was a red-head, my sister and Aunty too; awwww he's so beautiful!!

The Cesarean was fine, I was really nervous, but calm and expecting it. Having the canola fitted was the worst part, I hate those things (the tube for the drip, canola may not be the right word)! The anesthetists were so lovely and really put us at ease, going through their cd collection to find some nice music, they said I should have bought one of my Hidden cd's in, but we ended up plumping for Frank Sinatra. When we told them about living on a boat they were really interested and after the procedure on the way back to the recovery ward we lost Jam only to find that he'd stopped to give my blog address to one of the anesthetists who was interested in reading it and finding out more about living on a boat!

When they lifted our baby out, they held him up for Jam to announce 'Oh Flora my darling, we've got a son, it's a boy!' He was taken to the side and checked and passageways cleared, he started to cry, then weed on the nurse, Jam started singing the lullaby he used to sing to him and he calmed down and grabbed his fingertip, then Jam bought him over to me and held him close to my face and he stuck his little hand in my mouth and up my nose and had a good look and I cried with joy. It took a bit of pulling and pushing as they sewed me back up, which was just a weird sensation and I was convinced that my legs were in stirrups, even when they took the curtains down and showed me ~ apparently your body remembers the position it was in when it went to sleep so that was why it felt like that.

Back on the ward I just held him and held him and he suckled and looked at us and it was incredible. Our little miracle safe in our arms, we've called him Rowan. When we were choosing names we were certain of our girl's name - Romilly Bella, and really struggled with the boy's name, liking Morgan, or Rowan, or more recently I'd been thinking Barnaby. His middle name would be Courtenay, the same as Jam's, slightly breaking the tradition in the family that the second born son would take Courtenay as his middle name, but hey.

I stayed in hospital for two days. It was so hard when Jam left in the evening, I should have slept whilst Rowan slept during the night, but he was on me, suckling and I was just gazing adoringly at him, unable to do anything else. The second night was the hardest, it was still quite hard to move around and the noise of the TV's from the other beds was too much and the nurses would turn on the lights every time they came in to take blood pressure or give out medication. It was hard getting up to put him down in the cot and then get back into bed, only to have to get up again because he didn't want to be there. One of the ladies from another bed, who I had chatted with in the waiting room came and helped me, I burst into tears, she was really lovely and said it was all completely normal!! Of course it is, and now we're home it is all so much calmer and more relaxed and I'm going to have to post this quickly to go and feed the little angel - more on this soon with photos, I just wanted to welcome him to the world... xxxxx

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Countdown to the Cesarean

Squirrel is a breech baby and we are having a Cesarean on Friday. This is not what we planned ~ see already the little nipper is having it his or her own way!

I've found this really hard to come to terms with and still have the odd outpouring of tears. There's so much to read about it all out there, both scary and reassuring, yet when you're actually in the hospital being told your options it all seems so clinical and quick and you're in shock more than anything so making decisions there and then is a hard thing to do.

I read lots of stuff about how to make baby turn, indeed I was already doing quite a lot of them. One friend said baby won't turn unless you want it to turn, but I don't agree. I really did want Squirrel to turn and asked kindly too, but I don't think there was any room left at 38 weeks or desire to ~ he or she much prefers sitting upright looking out through the belly button window I think!

At the end of the day though we understand that making sure Squirrel enters the world safely is our top priority and it doesn't really matter how we get him or her here. It probably knows best too and doesn't want to put me through the pain of childbirth, especially with a history of difficulties in my family. I think I was concentrating more on the birth beforehand anyway and now am focussed on the time afterwards!

My gorgeous friend that I still haven't thought of a suitable pretend name for yet came around and helped me get organised sorting out all the different bags of baby clothes I'd been given and arranging the space for baby practically - it made such a huge difference in such a short space of time and everyone that's visited since has noticed how fresh the energy is and clear the areas. Friends like that are invaluable. They just know, they come over and DO stuff. (Picture of the book shelf we removed books from to make a space for baby things, with a changing area too).

Tomorrow is our last day before baby Squirrel arrives, so we are going to spend it together, talking about everything, doing very little, perhaps a nice long lie in, breakfast in bed, a trip to the cinema or theatre or a museum. That's what I'm hoping for, I'm sure though that Jam will want to continue doing all the things that need finishing around the boat ~ I'm trying to persuade him otherwise, saying Squirrel won't notice if the back steps are finished or not, but I do understand that he doesn't want to be doing it further down the line. It's very stressful for him right now and he is worrying about everything. I know though that once baby arrives, our hearts will melt and we will not want to do anything else but gaze adoringly at this little miracle we've created.

Only two more sleeps!!

Monday, 12 July 2010


Apparently, according to a very close friend of mine, who shall remain nameless ~ because I haven't thought of a suitable pretend name for her yet ~ I don't update my blog often enough. So I'm now wondering what the protocol is with updating your blog?!!

Once a week? Once a day, twice a week, every hour? How glued to the computer does one have to be? How much do people want to read and where do you draw the line?

I mean, I started writing a blog a few years ago when I was travelling down under, then deleted it all for I didn't feel right somehow doing it and preferred to just send an email updating my friends on what I was up to every week, sometimes more if it had been an extra special week. I then started the blog again just posting my poetry, then I decided I needed more structure and a purpose for writing and decided to do the London Boat Life, incorporating the pregnancy. I really wanted to just do it for myself, making sure that I wrote regularly, but once I started getting readers it became a bit harder and I would find myself writing for the reader rather than myself.

I'm probably putting far too much thought into this and should just get on with it, take more photos and keep posting things that amuse and interest me and point my friend in the direction of all the other blogs out there to read and make sure she just checks in to me once or twice a week.

Right, I'm going to go and buy one of those wire things to download the photos from my phone, I seem to keep losing it...

Friday, 9 July 2010

Nice Catch!

Watching what goes on outside our boat is better than having a TV anyday! Yesterday I heard a rather loud SPLASH and thought that perhaps someone else was having a swim ~ it's been happening a lot lately, there's a funny sounding couple that keep diving in and swimming around a bit further down. It baffles me, the water is so disgustingly murky and polluted, but they seem to love it.

So back to the splash, I opened the hatch, peered out, with a bright and chirpy 'Morning' to the regular fishermen who were already three hours into their morning fish and saw a man with a pair of shorts on and a woolly hat, holding a line and tugging on it. A couple of people were with him, watching for whatever he was about to haul up. Nothing was coming, his line was stuck. I thought he was the same man that had been pulling out motorbikes and cycles further down the canal a few months earlier, but he said he was just a regular fisherman who was fed up with his line getting stuck and so had come down with a rake to try and fish out whatever it was that kept tangling up his line. Fair play.

The only problem was that his line was stuck. Well and truly stuck. I noticed that the funny sounding couple who loved swimming were actually sitting on the edge of the canal further down and mentioned that perhaps they would dive down for him to try and untangle it. He left his line with one of the keen onlookers and ran down to ask them for the favour. They declined saying they'd just dried off. This meant his only other option was to get in there himself. So he took off his shoes and started to lower himself in.

Now the other fishermen were showing some interest, in the kind of 'shake-your-head in bafflement at the crazy things some people do' way. I asked him if he was mad and hoped he would go home and have a shower afterwards. He said it was quite refreshing and he wasn't going to swallow any of it and didn't have any open wounds. Then up came a bike, his helper hoiked it out, quite a nice looking one at that, if you saw through the oily gunk. The line was still caught though, as he pulled it further, up popped a wheel of a shopping trolley...

'Ah, I remember when the boys threw that in, you should keep looking though, there were definitely two!' So he pulled himself out of the water, for the trolley was caught up in his rake and untangled it all, then threw it back in and caught the other trolley. 'That's great' he said, 'now I've got a clear path to fish in.'

I popped out for the afternoon. When I came back I asked if he'd caught anything more than the bike and trolleys, 'nah' was his reply, but he seemed quite happy enough. No real edge of seat clinchers here I'm afraid, but this is the real -life TV!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Never under-estimate the power of a pregnant woman!

4.17am. Rudely woken from our sleep by what sounded like the neighbour having a party. Jam sent Paddy a funny and rude message telling him to 'pack it in, you noisy bleep bleeps', which was promptly returned with a 'it's not me mate, woken me up too!'

Jam then pops his head out of the bedroom hatch and shouts to the group to 'keep the noise down please, we've got to be at work in a couple of hours'. Nothing happens. I turn over, with some difficulty I might add, then Jam puts a pillow over my head, I throw it off laughing at him as he starts humming loudly to try and drown out the sound of the all-night-revellers.

Twenty minutes or so later, the noise is not getting quieter and so I get up and go and look through the round window to see the bunch of young revellers with a couple of policemen standing talking to them. I think the policemen are asking them to put out the fire they have lit on the path and maybe to keep the noise down, then they head off back up the steps, leaving them all, still making lots of noise.

After another ten minutes or so of loud chatting, I decide that I should be the one to go out and ask them to stop, Jam protested but I insisted, whipping on my dress from the previous day and donning my flip-flops and glasses and heading out. Daylight was already upon us, a few stray revellers were lounging opposite our boat, but the main crowd were down by the tunnel entrance, some of them were nipping off into the bushes for a quick wee break.

I walked slowly down to the end of the mooring, a couple of them clocked me then they all turned round and looked. 'Hi guys, er, it sounds like you're all in my bed with me. Could you maybe move further down the canal where there are no boaters or houses nearby please?' Lots of apologetic mumblings follow, then I asked where they lived and their answer was 'Norway, France, Sweden etc'. 'Oh good, well give me a week or so and I'll come to your houses and wake you up in the middle of the night with a screaming baby!' Not sure they understood that but they all shouted sorry's and Good Luck with the birth, as I waved nicely and headed back to bed.

Jam gave me a round of applause as I got back into bed. I didn't expect it, but was amazed to hear nothing more. With a huge sigh of relief I drifted back into lala dream land.
Never under-estimate the powers of a pregnant woman!

I'm totally exhausted today and whilst writing this have managed to chow my way through half a packet of ginger nut biscuits some chocolate cream biscuits and an apple... ;)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

a baby shower

So the girls all get together to throw a baby shower party for the Mum to be (me!). There's lots of excitement, laughter, nibbles, wine (not for me ~ although I brought along a bottle of non-alcoholic Riesling our dear neighbour Paddy had given me, left over from his all night mooring party, it was kind of disgusting, but palettable with some fizzy water...), there's presents, screaming, tears, silliness and the big surprise as to what the girls are going to make for the little one this time!?

Every time someone has a baby, our groups of friends get together and create something ~ one of our first parties we painted bibs, then we painted babygros, then some fabulous bunting and a really cute mobile of soft toys. We all bring along our sewing kits, complete with sparkly bits, buttons, crazy material and let rip. It's a huge amount of fun, everyone has a go and a good catch up at the same time.
For my Squirrel shower we were going to be outside in the park nearby so I didn't have too far to waddle, but unfortunately this was last week, when the weather had changed slightly so a last minute weather check meant we went to Prin's house instead. Scarlett came and picked me up beforehand with some whispering to Jam and disappearing off into the bushes to put things in her bag. I was beginning to wonder what they had in store for me! I was also feeling quite exhausted for I was about to have a quick pick me up nap when Scarlett arrived ~ she gave me a wee massage which was heavenly but not quite the same as a snooze! Still the excitement kept me going!

As you know, I'm a consultant for Neal's Yard Organic Remedies now, sharing my love for the products and finding a new business to throw myself into, that will work around Squirrel. So I took along my kit and held a mini party as well. It was great fun, I even managed to sell enough to be able to get the New Baby kit for free! A good result! (If you would like to know more about this let me know!)

So cut to the chase WHAT DID THEY MAKE YOU I can hear you cry! Well, they opened their bags and announced that they were making me a dreamcatcher! If you don't know what one of these is, it's a willow hoop, that has a spider's web inside and jewels and feathers attached to it. It is meant to catch the bad dreams which would then dissolve in the light of the day and all the good dreams would filter down to the sleeper.

Scarlett and Yogi start binding the willow together to make a circle with it, then they attached material around it and sewed it on, then they wrapped leather straps around it to try and make the shape stay. Some of the other girls make some dangly bits with buttons and badges and feathers to attach to the hoop. The web-making part was proving difficult and I wanted to help so got stuck in and made a web, but unfortunately it was too loose and didn't stay and it took so long to do I couldn't hold my arms up long enough to do again, so Scarlett tried again but it wasn't happening, so we fixed the shape using beads instead.

It was getting late and everyone was tired and needed to head home, Prin, who was feeling a little loose-tongued after a few glasses of vino, came out with, 'Oh Flora, every time we make something we get more and more creative, and for you, one of the most creative amongst us, we've made something really shit!' And the wonderful Ra churps up 'and you don't even like dreamcatchers!' Scarlett was adamant I shouldn't take it home, but I insisted, saying it was beautiful, it looked more like a mobile without the web part and I really wanted Jam to see it!

Anyway, it's the thought that counts and I think it looks lovely on the door of the boat, even if it is a bit squashed! It's colourful , fun and made with oodles of girly love for Squirrel!