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At 00:1038 on Saturday 19th January I uploaded an instagram post “HOORAH!!! 👏 👏 👏 Finally I can say #Peanutisontheway❣️ 👶🏻💙 We’ve just arrived at the hospital. My daughter has been having on-off contractions throughout the day and night before, but now they’re coming full on. Hold thumbs all goes well 😊😊💕”

Peanut is on the way

And so it came to pass, right on schedule at exactly 40 weeks from conception, in the wee hours on the morning of the 19th January 2019, prospective parents and ready packed suitcase in the car, we set off on what we hoped would be the real deal….the arrival of baby Jamie. We checked in at the QEQM and straight to the labour ward. All week we had been focusing on room 8 since that was the room with the birthing pool as well as which it was large enough to accommodate the 3 of us as well as my daughter’s Doula and the midwives.

lucky number 8

lucky number 8

On the way we contacted her Doula, Maisie, who lives in Deal and she arrived not long after we did.

After a quick check of all mother’s vitals, baby’s vitals and some monitoring they decided, after about 40 minutes that she wasn’t yet far enough along to stay in and suggested we go home, that she have a nice warm bath and come back later. Besides which the cramps/pains had subsided by then.

00:38 on the 19th – Maisie (Doula), Mummy and Daddy waiting for Peanut

Home we went….at about 4am 19th January. We prayed all the way that Room 8 would still be available when we returned. Fortunately home was then only a 10 minute drive away.

Less than 2 hours later I phoned the labour ward once again and advised them – I didn’t ask if it was ok this time…I TOLD them – we are on our way back!! When we arrived, they confirmed that yes, she was now in full-on labour, 5cms dilated with what we had correctly classified as proper contractions, coming thick and fast and PAINFUL!! Taking her breath away. How my heart ached for her.

Thankfully Room 8 was still available and we settled in for the long haul….this was it and finally I could say…..

PEANUT IS ON THE WAY hoorahhh!!!

We set up the room as best we could with the candles and lights she wanted….but frankly she was already so well advanced that she was only aware of it all in the periphery of her mind…..her Mama instincts were in full flow and she could only focus on one thing….breathing through the contractions. As she has said herself, if we had stayed in the first time around earlier that morning, she would probably have enjoyed setting up the room, getting into the pool earlier and just relaxing in that environment. But as it turned out, by the time all that happened, she was too far along to really enjoy it all.

In due course we asked if they would fill the birthing pool, since she was keen to have, if not an actual water birth, then at least her labour in the pool. As baby was breech, it wasn’t really conducive to or safe for a water birth. It was hard going by now as she was having very strong contractions and in a lot of pain. But with careful guidance and assistance from us all, we got her safely settled into the warm water. Her husband stripped down to his swim trunks and settled in beside her to offer support. Maisie and I hovered around and provided support between vitals being checked and by now, gas provided by the midwives….who I might add were amazing.

in the birthing pool

19/01/19 – 08:22 in the birthing pool – beautiful beyond compare

At some point the Consultant that had upset them both so much a week before by insisting that because baby was breech that she HAD to have a c-section, brought in the ‘big boss’; the head Consultant – despite their constant protests and saying that they wanted a natural birth as far as was possible, he insisted that it was God’s will.  How I restrained myself from slapping him for making such a stupid comment is beyond me. Seriously??? An induced c-section is NOT safer than a natural birth and mothers have delivered breech babies for centuries…my daughter was herself a breech baby (albeit eventually a c-section due to sudden complications). As far as the pregnant parents were concerned, they were in the right place if there was an absolute necessity to deliver by c-section.

By now my daughter was in a tremendous amount of pain and focusing only on the contractions and the imminent birth. This woman, who shall remain nameless, marched in like some Nazi surgeon and despite the position my daughter was in, bent down at the side of the pool and insisted that she, my daughter, tell her all the dangers of proceeding with a breech birth. Wtaf???? At which point my son-in-law absolutely lost it…..he rose up out the water like some sort of underwater god, water streaming off his body, and with his hand pointing in her direction, told her to “fuck off out of here right now”. LOL If you knew my son-in-law you’d know that that was so totally out of character as to be like chalk and cheese. He doesn’t ever swear. Long story short…..the two consultants left pretty pronto.

Meanwhile the contractions were now becoming so powerful and so painful that my daughter could no longer keep herself upright and we were becoming fearful she may slip under the water. She struggled to stand and was so weak that she could barely lift her head never mind stand up to get out the pool. So, as she recalls, I put on my Mother voice and with all the Mama power I could muster, I spoke right into her ear and pretty much commanded her to “get up and get out the pool”. Which gave her the strength to actually get up.

From there on things got hazy and crazy with the pain escalating and the midwives in and out. Trying all sorts of different positions that were really not at all ideal, they eventually brought her a birthing stool and finally she was in a comfortable enough position to give birth. It didn’t take long before we saw baby’s wee bottom appear and as he slowly made his was into the world we all did our best to comfort and ease Mummy’s pain. We took turns to hold her hand, mop her brow with a cold cloth, rub her back and shoulders while the midwives provided the gas and medical advice. So far, so good.

Suddenly his legs popped out and then his wee body and arms and shoulders…..very nearly there.  A breech birth is really difficult to witness and frankly I was terrified…..but I kept my wits about me and kept taking photos and videos so they could have a record of the birth. They had the absolute best midwife in attendance that you could ever wish for in this world. Although this was her first breech delivery, she was calm and collected and reassuring, offering guidance and a commentary of where he was and how he was progressing. Suddenly and apparently not ideally, his body went white as he prematurely drew breath…but his head was not yet born and now she had seconds to get him out. With the Granny on the sidelines shouting “don’t pull him” she gently slipped her fingers into the birth canal hooked her fingertips above his cheek bones and with a deft sideways twist she slipped his head out. 12:45 on the 19th January 2019 our beloved baby boy was born.

But, now he wasn’t breathing, so she rubbed him down vigorously and gave him a solid thumping. My heart stopped LOL I’d never seen a baby being thumped like that…and you know how fragile we ‘think’ they are. She quickly passed baby over to the midwife on standby who rushed out the room to put him on a ventilator, and returned less than a minute later with baby Jamie lustily yelling… “Hello world, I’m born!!”. Hurrah, he had breathed on his own. What a CHAMPION!!!

Mummy, Jamie and Daddy

19.01.19 at 12:46 Mummy, Jamie and Daddy

It was crazy after that. We were all crying, the midwives were checking vitals, my daughter went into meltdown, and Daddy was sobbing. She simply couldn’t handle all the emotion and was still struggling to deliver the afterbirth and just couldn’t hold the baby, so instead I gave baby Jamie, all 7 lbs of gorgeous newborn to Daddy for some precious skin to skin. To our amusement and Daddy’s intense embarrassment, baby immediately tried to latch onto his nipple hahaha

skin to skin with daddy

19.01.19 13:02 precious skin to skin time with Daddy

We attended to Mummy and got her settled, wrapped up in a towel and then she was able to hold her precious son. It was such an amazing experience and I am so joyful and grateful that I was there to support them, provide reassurance, my boobs to rest on (for Mummy’s head during contractions), and witness the final stages of Jamie’s incredible journey into this world.

Mummy, Daddy, Granny and Jamie

19.01.19 Mummy, Daddy, Granny and Jamie

My precious daughter is now mother to a beautiful precious little boy….and I am finally a Granny 🙂

 

I’ve been trepanned

As mentioned in an earlier post, since logging off both twitter and facebook I needed something to read in the mornings before work, so I gravitated back to workpress. I also realised that except for the post on toilet paper in June, and barring the odd repost or quick article prior to that, I hadn’t blogged for over 3 months and most particularly since my grandson was born. My posting activity compared to previous years looks quite scarce.

I have over 100 drafts waiting to be posted, 90% of which are about my delicious grandson and his journey since he was born. I cheated a wee bit and used my (daily) instagram posts as the basis for the drafts, but somehow I just haven’t had the time to actually flesh them out, checking for spelling and grammar (my bugbears), add images and actually get as far as posting them.

But now that I am no longer living at what used to be my home, and since I am working more (to save on accommodation costs), I have more time to blog….and I’m making up for lost time 😉

So, whilst reading the next article on the fantastic blog I discovered under the tag ‘Saxons’ : ‘the traveller’s path” I came across the word ‘trepanned’ on her post ‘Bald’s Leechbook: The Doctor is in‘ – and the word literally jumped off the page at me and I had an epiphany…..I too had been trepanned. LOL

When I was about 15 months of age my mother fell down a flight of stairs with me which resulted in a damaged head and a brain bleed. So the surgeons drilled 3 holes into my skull; 2 on the right hand side of my head and 1 on the left in order to flush out pooled blood and bone fragments. This left 3 small indentations in my head that make for a good story today (and over the decades 😉 ) and I get perverse pleasure out of making people feel the bigger hole in my head. They’re usually very squeamish about touching it, but I insist….. hahaha!!

What was weird to me is that I have told that story many times over the years, and I’ve read the word ‘trepanned’ many times whilst reading various books, but I have never associated the word with what had been done to my head. Till today! So there it is, I too have been trepanned. I am however rather glad it was done in the 20th century and not the 8th 9th or 10th, since I think the survival rates of the patients were not as high then as they are today….although to be fair, as the author mentions in her article, many people did survive and this is known due to the fact that when ancient skeletons are dug up at various archaelogical digs, they sometimes find skulls with holes that show signs of having healed. Of course some of said holes are acquired during battles fought and possibly won, but some are of a shape and size to indicate trepanation. Fascinating.

To conclude the story about my trepanned head, the fall down said stairs was as a result of my Mother wearing stiletto heels. One of the heels got stuck in a groove and resulted in the fall. From what I understand my Mother lost a baby as a result of the fall and I had to learn to walk again and ended up wearing support boots for many years. There’s one photograph in particular that I can visualise as I write, and that is one of me at the top of a slide, wearing a little embroidered dress and pair of solid brown leather boots that reached halfway up my tiny little legs, securely buckled. My Mother is standing at the bottom of the stairs and still wearing heels. Interestingly (to me anyway), I don’t recall my Mother ever saying whether or not she suffered any damage to her body beyond the trauma of losing the baby, which apparently was a boy.

Courtesy of wikipediaTrepanning, also known as trepanation, trephination, trephining or making a burr hole (the verb trepan derives from Old French from Medieval Latin trepanum from Greek trypanon, literally “borer, auger”) is a surgical intervention in which a hole is drilled or scraped into the human skull, exposing the dura mater, to treat health problems related to intracranial diseases or release pressured blood buildup from an injury.

And in case I haven’t whetted your appetite to find out more, or induced shudders of repulsion, here is a nice shudder inducing graphic image to get you going LOL Hopefully I was unconscious when the surgeon drilled the hole in my head!!!

painting by Hieronymus Bosch depicting trepanation (c.1488–1516). courtesy of wikipedia

Painted Ladies

I was watching The One Show on BBC1 a couple of nights ago and they featured a small snippet about the Painted Ladies; our favourite butterfly.

Their arrival in the UK is awaited each year with much anticipation and there is much competition between butterfly lovers as to who will see the first one and where!

a painted lady – borrowed from the butterfly conservation website credited to Iain H Leach

I remember some years ago, quite some years ago, I was working in Suffolk, right next to a farmers field surrounded by hedgerows and trees.

It was Painted Lady season and to my delight it was one of the best years for their numbers and one day, seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly there were thousands of these exquisitely ethereal creatures alighting on every branch, along every hedge and flowers everywhere. A plethora of fantasy as far as the eye could see.

The interesting thing about these butterflies is of course that they are a long-distance migrant, which causes the most spectacular butterfly migrations observed in Britain and Ireland. Each year, it spreads northwards from the desert fringes of North Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia, recolonising mainland Europe and reaching Britain and Ireland.

Now, in my ignorance I assumed (mistakenly) that it was the same individual butterfly that started it’s migration, flying hundreds, if not thousands of miles across land and sea and then arrived here, to our delight.

But no. Apparently the butterfly that lands on our hedges and flowers and trees is in fact the 6th generation…..well, now that is to quote; ‘gob-smacking’. LOL I have learned much since arriving across thousands of miles across land and sea myself 😉 although I flew via SA Airways.

It seems that the first butterfly flies as far as it’s going to fly, it then lays it’s eggs and eventually dies, the next butterfly eventually emerges and sets off, the pattern is repeated and in due course (up to) the 6th generation is what we see here, and they are seen as far as northern Scotland, albeit the majority alight in England.

I was amazed. It’s one of those little snippets of information that is so incredible and previously so unknown that it sticks forever in your memory.

For more information about the Painted Lady (always reminds me of Geishas when I read that term) visit the Butterfly Conservation website

the traveller’s path

Since I logged off Twitter (3 months ago) and Facebook (last month) I’ve had time to do some proper reading (as opposed to scrolling) and have rediscovered the joys of WordPress. Whilst searching for interesting blogs to read, I followed the tag ‘Saxons’ and came across this blog, a blog that has turned out to be absolutely fascinating.

The writer transports you back in history to the time of the Saxons with just enough information to keep you interested, written in an easy to read format, you’re left intrigued and wanting to learn more.

After reading about the Mercian king; Penda, I’ve gone right back to the beginning of 2017 and am making my way through history.

The history of England and the UK is nothing if not varied and the allegiances are like the tides that surround our fair isle, they flow back and forth, with waves that violently crash or lap gently on the shore, with whirlpools and hidden depths to trap the unwary.

The problem with the history of this country is that learning one piece of history leaves you wanting more, and I am never satisfied. One of my favourite TV programmes is of course Time Team with Coast a very close second. I can watch them over and over.

http://lasmithwriter.com   Reading this blog is like following a treasure hunt, with links to fascinating people, places and events. I’ve seen many references to places and people I already know, with titles waiting to draw me in. Cuthbert in particular since I’m planning to walk St Cuthbert’s Way in the near future. As well as which there’s a post about my favourite king; Alfred the Great and Winchester. Winchester was the 2nd city I visited after London in 2002 shortly after arriving in England proper. It’s still my 2nd favourite, after London LOL, and I’ve been back many times.

Meanwhile, I have a lot of reading to do 😊😊 but it is all so very interesting…..

If like me, you enjoy the history of the Dark Ages (seriously? Its probably one of the most fascinating periods) and in particular Saxon history, then do yourself a favour and click on the link above, I’m sure you will enjoy her posts.

The Dark Ages according to Britannica.com : Dark Ages or Early Middle Ages, the early medieval period of western European history—specifically, the time (476–800 CE) when there was no Roman (or Holy Roman) emperor in the West or, more generally, the period between about 500 and 1000, which was marked by frequent warfare and a virtual disappearance of urban life. 

The Middle Ages, or medieval time, is generally believed to have started with the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 and to have lasted about 1,000 years until about 1450. The beginning of the Middle Ages is called the Dark Ages because the great civilizations of Rome and Greece had been conquered. Ref https://westernreservepublicmedia.org/middleages/big_intro.htm

Personally I find this to be one of the most intriguing and fascinating periods of history and if the Sutton Hoo treasures and various similar treasure troves discovered over the years are anything to go by, then dark it was not…….

Happy reading.

the saxon monastery

UK Elections 2019

So the UK elections are in full swing and once again we are subjected to loads of promises about how the relevant party will spend our hard earned taxes…..

My question is this: does anyone actually believe anything they say?

Considering past history and how very quickly they change their tune and how often their memory fails after they get into power….is there any use believing one single campaign promise? Of any party?

And since this is being touted as the ‘Brexit’ election….Let’s remember, if you will, just how many lies Boris Johnson told in order to get himself into the position of Prime Minister (and still does). Does anyone in this country still believe any electioneering promises he makes?

Gosh, how time does fly. It’s been 4.5 months since I last wrote a blog (about toilet paper?? LOL) and so much has happened in the interim I hardly know where to start.

Blogging is one of those things that I need my computer for, and since said computer is, in today’s world, classified as ancient, it takes ages to boot up and by then I’ve lost time & interest. But I recently, with the help of my sister in Cape Town via whatsapp, had an online session and we managed to clear some space which has made it marginally quicker, and so I thought it’s about time I got back to blogging.

I’ve also in the interim logged out of both twitter and facebook….I’m so sick of the rubbish on twitter (I miss the days when you could have a decent ongoing conversation with someone without the bots interfering and sticking their noses in with their vile rhetoric). I logged off facebook recently after a very emotional situation because I needed to separate myself from the emotion and facebook is a thorn in my side anyway (for various reasons). I do miss comment/chatting to my friends though – do we ever talk in real life anymore?

So since I was off both twitter and facebook, both of which voraciously consume your time, I started reading through and clearing out my email inboxes, both of which had in excess of 3,000 unread and unfiled emails. It took a good few hours I can tell you, over a period of about a week, but oh the satisfaction once it was done. It’s amazing how we can even accumulate clutter online. While doing that I also unsubscribed from hundreds of charity emails, petitioning emails and sales advertising emails and now my inboxes are more manageable. I also file the emails I need to keep into their relevant folders immediately after reading them. Now I have about 10 emails pending attention and few starred emails that I need to keep open for various reasons.

So instead of wasting time scrolling through twitter and facebook, I started reading wordpress blogs again, followed a few bloggers whose posts I enjoyed and started proper reading again….and talking of reading, I’ve also started reading books again…..marvellous. The latest book I borrowed from the B&B hostess where I recently stayed… The Secret Dossier of a Knight Templar of the Sangreal. I’ve been interested in the history of the Knights Templar for ages and the book is absolutely fascinating; I’m learning so much.  There are quite a few famous places linked to the Knights Templar along the French Camino Route through northern Spain and I hope to visit those when I do the walk. I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few places in the UK with links to the knights…..so interesting.

Of course the main event of the year, and the reason for my tardiness and lack of blogging, was the birth, in January, of my first grandchild One year ago; best news ever, a much desired and much wanted, precious little boy. Life as they say, changed forever. I read a blog today by debs-world that really struck a chord, and on that note I decided to get back to writing so that I can share more about this special little boy and his development. I have dozens of drafts written, but with one thing and another, I never got to actually post them ….. and he is a week away from 10 months old!! The absolute joy of my life. I never knew you could love another human so much.

Besides that I am once again homeless and that has been the cause of so much trauma I cannot tell you. Much as it was heart-rending to leave what has been my home since June this year and for a few years prior to that (just different houses in different towns), it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do and although it nearly broke me in two, it was an absolute necessity for my own sanity.  But it’s tough not having a home. I’ve had to once again put all my belongings into storage and that in itself brings a multitude of complications. Every time I want to file documents or get a change of clothes or access my toiletries or whatever it might be that I need or don’t want to carry around, I have to traipse to the storage unit and keep their opening hours in mind. No easy access. It all requires careful planning….and frankly it’s just fucking boring. Cést la vie. However, you can really appreciate the difficulties that people who end up on the streets have. I’m still one of the lucky ones…I have a job (that provides me with a home for two weeks at a stretch) and can pay for storage and a B&B when needed inbetween jobs.

I haven’t done any walking this year either which has added 6 kgs to my weight (gahhhh). Unfortunately my love of food has not abated LOL. And anyway I opted to spend time with the bub rather than go walking. an easy choice really.

I wrote a blog a few months back about the X52 pledge I made and I’m pleased to say that I have stuck to it. Of course I have needed to buy new underwear and socks (I wear through mine a fast pace) and desperately needed a new pair of trainers, which are my daily wear anyway, but fortunately those items are considered necessities and not a luxury.

Besides travelling to various parts of the country for work, I haven’t done much travelling this year either. I was reluctant to stray too far from my delicious grandson, opting instead to spend as much time as possible with him. Sadly now that I no longer live with them, my time with him is going to be cut down to a visit maybe twice a month. It bloody sucks and I miss him so much it hurts. But there it is. I rail against this situation to no avail…..hopefully in time I will get my emotions under control and not feel like I want to scream and jump into the abyss. I am after all just his Granny and not his mother and he does have other grandparents. It is lovely though when I do visit…he gets so excited to see me and giggles uncontrollably. I fear that our bond will eventually wear thin though since he won’t see much of me …and yes I am feeling bereft and very very sad. It’s hard not to when I’ve been such an integral part of his life from before he was born. Having gone right through my daughter’s pregnancy and labour, witnessing him take his first breaths, and then being very closely tied in with his subsequent daily care, looking after him most nights for the first 6 months, leaving was such a wrench…..I confess I am still reeling from the loss. It’s been a horrible 12 days just thinking about it. Still I’m grateful that he’s not in another country and I will get to see him at least twice a month. And I have our Christmas Butlins break to look forward to when I’ll be spending 4 whole days with him….shared with the paternal grandparents of course.

I’m still very active on instagram and love looking through the many wonderful images that get shared, saving links to places I still want to visit and walks I want to do. Gosh there are so many I’ve lost count. Instagram has to be the best travel brochure ever. I’m saving up to buy a campervan so that when my gorgeous grandson is older, I can take him on a multitude of adventures. I hope to eventually buy a motor-home so that I have a permanent residence.

So that’s just a quick catch up and summary of the last few months….I shall now start finalising and posting the articles about the wonderful life of Jamie, my divine grandson…..

Just took delivery of our first order of recycled toilet paper from a socially conscious company.
Sustainably-sourced 100% recycled toilet paper rolls Extra long rolls contain 400 sheets (20p per 100 sheets) 50% of profits donated to fund sanitation projects.

Each box contains 48 rolls No inks, dyes or scents.

Who Gives A Crap donates 50% of profits to help build toilets for the 2.3 billion people who don’t have one.

They’ve donated over £1 million to date! Unlike the majority of the world’s toilet paper, Who Gives A Crap 100% Recycled loo rolls are made without trees.

Who Gives A Crap Eco-Friendly 100% Recycled 3-Ply Toilet Paper 400 Sheets https://g.co/kgs/PjQWdY

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