Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Missed miscarriage, feels like a cruel trick of nature

I wanted to write about a recent personal experience. I didn't think I would be able to but I feel strangely at ease now and thinking positive about the future. This is the first part, some of it documenting how I felt and some to help others. The next part later this week will document the process, the pain and the reality. Then I will write about what we are doing now and how the journey is going.

Becoming Pregnant

Me and my Sweepy decided to try for a baby. I had brought the idea up, wanting a mini homebird-sweep, total love, wanting this physical being, our creation. I wasn't sure if he would be receptive to the idea since his sons are teenagers and he's a bit older than me. I am 40 and he is 50, two Aries peas in a pod. But we had a chat and decided yes we would. It happened straight away and I couldn't believe it, I was pregnant at the end of November.

We were both so happy, we discussed names and things we would all do together, started planning a new bedroom and the future from the small to the big. I started with all the usual pregnancy symptoms, but just nausea rather than full on sickness. We went for a very early scan with a private company and there he or she was, nestled in my womb with a heart flickering away. The can at this stage is done with a vaginal wand as too small to be seen the usual way through the belly. I remarked on this as I thought I was 7 weeks and was expecting the same as with Little Bird but the sonographer said I was more than likely a week behind and queried the date of my LMP (last menstrual period) She said the scan photo looked like a diamond ring, the embryo and the yolk sac, so small, so much developing to do, 7mm.  My dates were put back a week, suggesting I had ovulated late in my cycle so we were due an August baby.

Very early pregnancy

Over Christmas I had a couple of days of being unable to eat much since the nausea was quite bad. I ate when I could and being out in the car made me sick so I was pleased of a quiet Christmas at home. I was so tired, asleep by 8pm each evening and my belly began to become (more) rounded and had a solid feeling. Every so often I had twinges and made me wince, like a sharp pain to the sides. I thought these must be the round ligament pains, the uterus stretching and pulling. Food aversions aplenty, the sight or smell of certain foods like Sweep's game pie or a jar or pickles made me feel sick.

New Year. Too much time on Facebook pregnancy forums started making me anxious, I read about missed miscarriages in which I had never heard of before. I started to worry, Sweep said don't it will all be ok. I thought about having another reassurance scan but decided not to in case the very act of committing to be anxious would bring bad luck.

And then I was not feeling nauseous all day anymore just a little on waking. I was still tired and I started questioning if my breast soreness was as bad. Was it?  Also the food aversions had gone, I was feeling better in myself. I had a 10 week scan booked with the private scanning company towards the end of January, I would wait it out.

10 week Scan

Saturday morning scan day arrived and I felt a little glum, Sweep remarked on this, I said I was kinda worried. Stop going on those Facebook pages he said. I agreed and with a few large glasses of water chugged down to enable the sonographer to see the baby we set off to the clinic. Once there and lay down with gel on my belly, I held Sweep's hand and couldn't look at the screen for a few moment. I caught a glance.
It didn't look right. I had been looking at scan pictures online, sort of excitement about what to expect. This looked in my brief look to be still the same as the 6 week scan.

What was the date of your last period she asked? It was then I knew,  I felt all the joy sucked out of me. She wheeled forward on her chair and said my name in softer tones. I'm afraid the baby isn't developing, I can see no heartbeat.

Missed Miscarriage

It was explained that the embryo had stopped developing at 9mm, around 7 weeks gestation. I had had a missed miscarriage - no signs of blood, no spotting, nothing. My uterus had continued to grow, my body had still felt pregnant - although of course looking back now, did this explain the reduced feelings of nausea and the food aversions disappearing. My body was holding on to the baby, just there, stuck in time at 7 weeks, no heartbeat, the little life lost. My body did not realise that the embryo had died. There is nothing you have done wrong she kindly told me, natures way, a genetic issue more than likely. I looked at Sweep, my eyes full of tears, he looked so sad, he comforted me, I don't know what I'd do without him. We left with a referral for the EPU (Early pregnancy unit) at the hospital scheduled for Monday. After this, I cried a lot. We went for a cup of tea and a walk around a pretty town, yet more cups of tea, discussing everything over and over. Those hours passed by in flurries, tears and cold hands on a chilly day, trying to rationalise and accept - natures way, as simple as.

I spent the rest of the weekend seeking solace from Facebook groups around miscarriage, wanting to be enveloped by others with similar experiences. My Sweep was a great help to me, I honestly could not want for a more loving man, the comforting, the right things to say and keeping me steady. He was sad too, but I think more worried for me. I can remember waking in the middle of the night crying not knowing what to do. He got me to Monday in a stronger place and I love him a million times more for his support.

I flit between using the word baby and embryo, I'm never quite sure why or maybe I am. Embryo makes me feel more at ease I think, such early development. This is not to say the life did not matter, just made me view the first trimester as so fragile and why people don't announce until past this stage. It's like a place of in between, of limbo, life is there but not baby featured developed as yet but what is lost are your hopes and dreams, it's a crushing feeling.

The next stage to be continued.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Post Christmas catch Up - The Tree!

Christmas has gone but I need to catch up and blog a few things, if anything, for my own memories and documenting this new life of mine.

The first week in December was tree week and we started a new tradition. When looking for a Christmas tree I knew I wanted to get a real tree and also it had to come from somewhere equivalent to my previous Cheshire tree stop at Delamere Forest. It couldn't just be a shop or a farm where they had bought them in.....I know, super picky!! So I found this gorgeous place on the outskirts of Shrewsbury called Leaton Forest, an estate where one of the enterprises are Christmas trees with a plantation where you can pick your own and have it cut down for you.
Picking a Christmas tree
 We drove over there after an early start going to a car boot sale which turned out to be a waste of time, then a McD's brekkie for the hungry young foresters in the group. Now to choose the perfect tree.
boy amongst the fir trees

We walked along a very muddy squelchy path, so oozy that Toby fell splat in! A few wipes with some grass and the mucky explorer was on his way again. We wanted a Nordmann fir as I like their shape the best and they don't drop needles. Passing the Norway spruces and the unusual Korean firs, we came to a plantation of firs. So many to choose from, some already reserved with tags, including the most perfect one I'd ever seen. Alas, we had to pick another, 7ft, 8ft too tall, keep it in budget, walking around and around, do we give up? A forester told us of a couple who had been there hours trying to choose. This could not be us for the teenagers wouldn't allow it although I think Toby would have been kind happy, oozing the mud, touching the piney branches, turning in circles and hiding, breathing in the fresh forest scent.
Standing by the fir trees

Eventually, we made our choice.
Cutting a Christmas tree

And now I didn't know if to feel happy or sad, the tree was leaving its friends, that's how it felt to me. How long had it taken to grow this big. One would be planted for each one cut so that helps to think it's an ongoing process. And then off we went, back through the plantation with Sweep carrying it on his shoulders.
Carrying the Christmas tree

Were we being watched, like we were looting the forest of their tree family.....
Log eyes

Past the mistletoe boughs and holly wreaths off the shop, we loaded her up onto the van. Ready to take home and decorate and for Christmas to start.
Christmas chimney sweep

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

House Plans - a new bedroom and en suite

Having moved in with the love of my life and starting a new home together, it's has been a whole new dynamic to consider. There is Sweep and his son, me and my son and our three dogs. We all need our own space and needs, so there is some re-planning happening next year`. Rooms are being moved and me and Sweep, and my son are moving bedrooms. In fact we are moving to another area of the house.

The house is an unusual one, the front is normal but the back is the old church hall and there is an upstairs room that was used by scouts and brownies. The hall also has a gallery/balcony that is a good size space that will become a library for the 1000's of books that I've brought with me. I'm not even joking and there are still heaps at my old house. It's a vast space in the hall, currently used for storage, as a workshop, for playing badminton and keeping things that I suppose you would keep in an attic and a garage - ladders, tools, Christmas decorations and everything you hoard as a family.

The upstairs brownie scout room is currently a living room with a kitchen, bathroom and a room that was going to be my study workroom. All change now! Little Bird will have the study as his bedroom and the living room will be boxed in to create a bedroom with an ensuite and the kitchen will go. Sweep used to be a builder so he can do lots himself and we will just need a plumber and electrician.
 I desperately want the ensuite to be to my liking as I hate sharing bathrooms with sweeps and teenagers :) Currently there is a roll top bath in the ensuite to be but I feel it is not practical as I like a lovely hot shower and give Little Bird a shower each evening too. I'm not a bath person and so having never been used, this bath will be sold to a home that will use it.


I would really like a walk-in shower as I think it would help Little Bird and his autism, although he doesn't have major issues with mobility, I feel like this would be a safer option for him as he can be a little uncoordinated at times and a walk in shower with a seat such as these from Mobility Plus would be a great solution. The seat would give him a structured place to sit and wash, the rails would provide safety so he can hold onto them when having a bad day with his autism when his vestibular senses are heightened and he needs assistance.

The larger space of  a walk-in shower would make it easier for me to help him and get to him quicker if he became distressed. He loves water and it is a great sensory activity for him, he's always splashing around. As he gets older, having a walk-in shower would make me much more at ease for him as he learns to look after himself and manage his self care. With the Mobility Plus showers you can choose the separate elements, the shower tray, or level access tray or wet room floor and then the screen or door and finally the extras like the seat  and fittings. Classy and also great for giving people with mobility issues independence. Walk-in bath and wet room solutions are available too.

Of course I'll love the walk-in shower too, a bit of luxury and I plan on accessorising the ensuite simple but smartly with new fluffy brightly coloured towels and pretty products, plus my son's fruity soaps and shower gels and some water play toys.  On days when he's overwhelmed a shower will help him feel a lot better.

So in the New Year it will be a busy time, getting the kitchen dismantled, putting in stud walls and creating new doorways and of course changing the bathroom. I'm hoping we can get a plumber and electrician in soonish after the holidays but I know how hard it can be to find one available. Also, we'll probably have to sell the kitchen components on eBay and I'm hoping it doesn't linger around too long. I'll report on the project as we go along so look out for lots of posts about it. Until then I'll be sifting through home magazines over Christmas to get some ideas for the bedroom decor.

*Collaborative post


Monday, 17 December 2018

How to use your mid-century sideboard

If your living space looks like an advert for a dream 1950s home, you might be wondering, is a mid-century sideboard the right look for me? If everything else screams mid-century, then you’re missing a trick if you haven’t completed the look with a sideboard from the era. Sideboards can be the perfect way to add a touch of sophistication to any room, regardless of size. Here are a few tips on how to maximise storage potential and style your interior space appropriately.
Vintage sideboard

1. Firstly, choose a size of sideboard that is right for you and your home. Yes, those 7ft long numbers might look amazing, but if your space is on the smaller side, you may want to tone it down and go for something that fits with what you’ve got. It’s the style that makes a sideboard, and big isn’t necessarily better. Decide where the sideboard is going to go: do you need additional storage in the hallway, or is it going to line up along a wall in your dining area? Make your mind up and you’ll be able to measure up the area you’re looking at and pick out a model that fits perfectly.

2. Now that you’ve chosen a size of sideboard that will fit snugly into its allocated space, it’s time to decide what manufacturer you’re going to go for. G Plan is an obvious choice – their British made sideboards are the last word in mid-century cool and they have retained their appeal for decades because they are such quality, robust pieces of furniture. That being said, there are plenty of other craftsmen who have made beautiful mid-century style sideboards over the years, too, so don’t get too hung up on finding a G Plan model – do a bit of online research and you may find an unbranded piece that is absolutely perfect. Create a Pinterest board of options you find online and see if you can imagine them working well alongside the rest of the furniture in your living space.
Retro sideboard

3. Deciding how to use your sideboard is lots of fun because there are so many options to choose from. Maybe you’ll opt to turn it into a liquor cabinet, storing alcohol and your best glasses inside, and perhaps a decanter of whisky on the top – they make fantastic little home bars! Or maybe you’ll pop your TV on top of it and store the DVD player and X Box inside, creating a modern-day multimedia cabinet from a piece of design history. If you go for this option, you may need to pop your DIY hat on and drill a hole in the back to feed the wires through, but that’s easily done and brings your sideboard right into the 21st century. Sideboards can also be used to look after Christmas decorations until the winter rolls around. If you find one with a set of drawers, use it to store table linen and your finest cutlery and porcelain, or, if you’re at a loss for what to do with a ton of children’s toys, why not allocate a couple of the sideboard’s cupboards to those?

4. Styling your sideboard is perhaps the best bit! Give your sideboard pride of place and top it with some carefully chosen family photographs and a jug of freshly cut flowers. If you’re worried about damaging the wood by resting drinks on the sideboard, make a runner to go the length of its surface, using a beautiful strip of vintage fabric that compliments your colour scheme.
Styling a sideboard *Collaborative post

Monday, 10 December 2018

Upcycling vintage furniture

In my new home I have gained a love of antique and vintage furniture from my OH (Sweep) who used to be an antiques dealer. His knowledge and enthusiasm for older furniture has inspired me and I've starting looking at these items with new potential. In the past I had delved into junk shops and found old pine that I've painted in eggshell white, such as my beloved dresser and my church pew that think came from a chapel in North Wales. I love the history that these items carry and the stories that they could tell. My church pew has a number on the side of it, I wonder who sat there and where they lives, what kind of life did they leave....
chalky white upcycled dresser

So....lately we have been going to local auctions and picking up all kinds of goodies, some unusual items for the home, things to sell on and furniture items to complete the home. It's an evening out with home cooked food and some funny characters, this is rural Shropshire and it's a whole new world to me. Whilst we have been going there, we have picked up cabinets and desks, some to give makeovers to. We both love Halloween, so we had the idea of making a Halloween cabinet for all our spooky treasures that we have been collecting. I love this upcycling  and so I was super pleased when Door Furniture Direct got in touch with regards their campaign around upcycling using their great range of crystal and marble door knobs. 

We have had the idea to paint the cabinets in a crackled black look with green underneath for a  Gothic feel and for door knobs I thought the quintessential Halloween colours would look amazing. I found these fantastic coloured cut glass cupboard knobs in amber, green, black and purple and I thought they would make for the perfect Halloween cabinet to display some of our delicate vintage spook finds so they are able to be seen but protected. I picked up two different sizes for a contrast on the drawers and cabinet doors. 
Coloured crystal door knobs
There are a choice of metal rose too, to compliment your piece of furniture - polished brass, polished chrome or satin chrome. I chose the satin and I particularly love the purple cut glass cupboard knobs, the light shines lovely through them and I think they'd be great on a bedroom wardrobe or dresser too. 
Antique Cabinet

We are going to look for some paint that the vintage shop in my old town sells and Sweep might try some arty effects on another cupboard we have purchased, he really wants to paint a vintage style jack o'lantern. I know it's nearly Christmas but Halloween is such a collectable love of ours so it will carry on all year. We may even try to sell some for other enthusiasts. Back to the auctions over the winter to gather more interesting pieces of furniture and I hope to have a finished piece to show you soon. Upcycling is so satisfying and I'm glad to be having a go again, creating unique items for your home with your own stamp on them. Plus going to auctions is a lot of fun, quality pieces, well made and often purchased for so little so an inexpensive way to do the home up with furniture that will last. Adding different cupboard knobs instantly adds a new look and only takes minutes, it's a good way to match to any other colour accents in a room. 

Doing our home up is going to take a while what with work and children but upcycling gives me a buzz as it is a quick win, a lovely addition in not much time for instant room updates.

*Collaborative post