Anything Etsy can do…

My blog writing partner tonight.


What a weekend. I got up Saturday, excited about the start of our Bradley classes. Bradley is a 12-week birthing course, designed to prepare the couple as a whole for a natural childbirth. 12 weeks seems a long time (one 2 hour class per week), but Bradley’s rationale is that the woman is preparing for a intense endurance exercise which you should try to enter at peak performance, which takes time – a lot of 5K programs are designed to be conducted over 12 weeks; and heck, running 5K (which I first did with no prep) is quicker and easier than giving birth. So, Bradley is designed to teach you optimal nutrition, exercises for fitness, and also proper relaxation. It is also partner / couple-Β  centric. The idea being that the ‘other half’ supports the labouring woman with full understanding through helping with positions, breathing and massage. When she transitions and wants to give up, it is him that stops her giving in too early. Maybe it is too much… all this ‘preparation’ – after all, didn’t women just give birth without preparation since forever, and don’t women still do it all the time now? Sure, but Wes and figured a few things:

(1) Babies are bigger, our fitness is not as optimal, and our endurance is probably lower than ‘since forever’

(2) Sure, women do it all the time without preparation; but intervention rates are soaring, and many people do not report a happy experience (many do). Why not prepare to make it as good / positive of an experience as possible?

(3) This is a good way for Wes to be involved: reading blogs and talking to girlfriends about birth over coffee is not exactly his style… coming along and learning how to be useful is

(4) The social / emotional aspects are appealing. We are both looking forward to learning massage and relaxation together, and to meeting some people here in Houston (more on that later).

Plus, it is only $250 for 12 weeks… pretty impressive. The only annoying thing, was that I was preparing for a 2.30 class… kind of annoying time. It basically makes it hard to do anything in the morning or afternoon: midday would have suited me better. But, hey ho, I decided to do a manicure in preparation:

RCM Envelope Please

For my birthday, my Mum got me a whole gel polish kit. Gel nail polish is awesome: you apply a basecoat, 2 coats of polish and a top coat, allowing each one to ‘cure’ (read: dry completely) for 45 secs under an LED light. The polish is extremely chip resistant, and your nails tend to be fairly protected against flaking and breaking.

After the final coat was on, I looked up the address for the Bradley class, and found that it was at 12.30 after all. Score one for having a better time, lose one for having missed the class. I was mortified. I texted our class leader to apologise and she was ever so sweet, saying we could come on Monday evening to learn the exercises for the week. Phew.

Not sure what I did after that: tidy up, unpack from NYC, sort and clean out the bathroom. Then I felt at a loose end… which is odd as I have plenty of hobbies I can do at any time: reading, working, gardening, exploring Houston, piano playing, movie watching… but none appealed. Going and getting some craft stuff to start to make things for Firework’s nursery appealed, but didn’t ‘click’ I just felt lonely. I realised: I miss female company. Mostly, I miss hiking with Stella or David, going and playing with Sasha, Liam and Rachel (who will do anything with me), cinema trips and chats with Kat and my bookgroup 😦 It’s fine; we have only been in Houston 6 weeks, and building up those sorts of friendships takes time. But… I do miss it. So, Wes came with me to Hobby Lobby and patiently waited an hour (OK, patiently waited 40 mins, then was a pest for 20 πŸ˜‰ ) while I got some craft stuff. Dinner out, and then home to organize all my craft stuff. Everything put in neat draws and filed away before bed.

For the crafting

Meanwhile… Wes was back in the attic trying to locate the source of water dripping through our ceiling. Joy.


Sunday was… dramatic. We left for church in separate cars so that I could go to IKEA after and Wes could go to Home Depot so he could solve the dripping water, which by now was staining our ceiling, causing little holes in it, and threatening to ruin our new laminate floor. More joy.

Wes left 5 mins before me, and then I got stuck at a train crossing for ages. So. I was surprised when Wes was not at church. Very surprised. I called him – no answer. I couldn’t fathom why he had not called if there was a problem… or why he was not answering now. Unless she had been in a horrible accident. So bad, he could not even call to tell me. Cue slow tears descending into complete hysterics as a further 4 minutes passed. Then Wes turned up… no explanation. He forgot to charge his phone and had made his way there. Must have gone a different route. It took me a full 15 minutes to calm down… I do blame hormones.

So, off I went to IKEA. I hate IKEA. The whole thing is stressful. I hate most things in there. I 1/2 believe that Satan sends his minions for training there on a Sunday. BUT, my beloved Clio is coming out, and staying in Firework’s currently empty, save a beautiful changing table, room (also currently called ‘Clio’s room’). She must at least have bed linen and blinds. Blinds are hella expensive (if you want them to look decent), except at IKEA. So, in the interests of Clio sleeping, in something other than bright morning light, I braved IKEA.

It all went quite swimmingly, with me hankering after this for FW’s room:

For the nursing

until I got to the actual blinds. The walls are going to be a fairly dark grey. I could not picture wooden blinds against that. I just couldn’t. I had been all set on them, now I couldn’t see it. I called Wes. 45 minutes I spent discussing / researching blinds and alternately thinking I might like white drapes against the grey. Wes said everything right; from offering opinion, to saying ‘if you like something, get it and I will love it – really, this is your room’. But, I was overwhelmed. Possibly precipitated by the fact I had just fallen down the stairs (shoe broke as I was descending) and in an attempt to protect the bump had bruised my ass (isn’t there enough cushioning there now??) and smashed my teeth into the railing, I just dissolved into more tears draped over a stack of blinds. Not a few – but streaming, snot inducing, dress staining tears. The sight was quite pathetic: pregnant woman in floaty floral peasant-style dress, with broken flip flops weeping into the textiles at IKEA. I grabbed dark grey roller blinds, white drapes, fixing and high tailed it out of there.

To decide on the way home that maybe white blinds would be best.

Which made me cry.

I made it home. Just. My broken and emotional state was faced with the news that the plumbing is up the spout, can’t be fixed until we can get someone in, we can’t get someone in until we speak to the people who deal with our home warranty and so no air conditioning for us. Let me repeat: no air conditioning. It is some 90-100 degrees during the day and 80-100% humidity. NO. AIR. CONDITIONING.

Yes, this is a story of first world problems… but… still.

Wes took me out to buy me a craft table from Walmart ($35 steal) and insisted I bough a ‘chocolate turtle cake’ and bottle of wine. He is a wise man. I went up and crafted myself into calmness (see? I need Bradley. I need to learn how to relax). I am quite pleased with what I made for FW’s room (not Clio’s room, she shall be spared the infantile decor):

To be bookends?

I will make several of these into a tableau

and came down somewhat better. If not. Hear my no air con plea? Yeah. Hot. Comfort food of pizza, and turtle cake and wine later, and I was ready to tackle my plants, which had survived my NYC trip with varying success. They had dried out somewhat, and needed restaking – sadly, some of the stems had snapped under the weight of the leaves 😦 Hoping that they can regrow?

Quite a forest here – hoping they will be ready to acclimatise soon, and be put outside for increasing periods of the day.

So, as above, my seeds grown in a mixture of potting soil and perlite were doing very well. My seeds grown in peat pots, not so much:


But, whatever the outcome, gardening further calmed me. I am now sitting downstairs (it is slightly cooler) on a made up bed, with the dregs of my wine, preparing to read this:

Walter is sitting with me. He got into my chocolate Philadelphia and ate a pot of it, and would have been told off, had he not been looking so ridiculous:

My pot

So proud was he of his steal, that he carried the empty pot EVERYWHERE with him, even into bed with me.

Oh, some good news though. 2 crafting episodes, 1 IKEA trip, 1 gardening trip and 2 sorting binges and check out my manicure:

LOVE gel nail polish πŸ™‚

11 thoughts on “Anything Etsy can do…

  1. hollychristie

    You are so creative! Love the canvas with the giraffe and the boxes. Where or where did your Ma get the gel kit? I can get the professional one but it’s so expensive and I long for gel nails! xx


  2. Fiona McEwen

    The course sounds interesting, at least partly because I never got around to doing anything like that (I figured I’m a vet, I’ve pulled out a fair few baby animals, surely everything works the same way…). I did have a birth plan, bought a TENS machine, asked for a pool, etc. However, I went into labour really quickly when in for a check up (they were threatening to induce me because I was overdue, but I was saying no), Biri raced home to get my hospital bag and TENS machine, Sarah had to step in (Biri randomly bumped into her outside the hospital and sent her in), I was too far gone to even get into the pool, never got the TENS machine in time, and Hugo was born 4 hours after my waters broke. So much for the plan!

    Despite the lack of preparation I realised that just doing what the midwife told me was the best plan – they really know their stuff and it’s worth listening to them even if you think you know best! Biri did a great job – more cheerleader than anything (which was actually what I needed) – and helped the midwife wrestle the gas and air off me when it was time to push…

    Will you have a midwife throughout? They definitely know all the tricks to getting babies out with less intervention and, if anything like mine, will give you the honest/blunt comments like “If you stop making quite so much noise you’ll be able to put all that energy into pushing.” Stuff that you need to be told at that point!

    Anyway, stay fit and active, keep moving during labour, leave your inhibitions/dignity at the door, do what the midwife tells you, and you’ll be fine! xx


  3. Lekki Frazier-Wood

    Great story and tips πŸ™‚ I don’t know if we get a midwife – they are not standard in the US, in fact in some states are illegal (crazy, huh?). Even legal midwives are not trained as rigorously as in the UK, so… But, some places do give them; usually the more progressive states like MA, but I think Texas Children’s (Houston seems pretty progressive) do as well.

    I am concerned that the birth model is so different in the US… some places only give you four hours of labour before they induce (!) Some places give continuous fetal monitoring which involves strapping you to a damn bed – how is a natural labour supposed to progress when you can’t move around? Their ‘checks’ are way more frequent and invasive too. It all adds up to slowing down labour and a tonne of interventions hovering on the horizon. Depends where you are, and it is a result from the lack of prenatal care for many sections of society (people have different prenatal care levels depending on insurance, but go to give birth in the same way)… I am glad to be out of AL.

    So, I thought the course was a good idea – best bet of beating the system! I hope Wes doesn’t turn into Sergeant mode “Push Wood! Push! Do you think I’d have got out of Afghanistan if I’d pushed like that???” πŸ™‚


  4. Fiona McEwen

    I can’t believe they don’t use midwives in the way they do here, where the whole system revolves around them. I barely saw a doctor my entire pregnancy or during birth. He just showed up to stitch me up afterwards…

    Can you do research and choose your hospital based on their birth model? Presumably there’s some scope to discuss options. The doctor was determined to induce me because I was 10 days overdue, but I said no on the basis that all the women in my family have been 10-14 days overdue, no one has needed to be induced, and I really seemed to be on the point of going into labour that day (and did, just to prove them wrong πŸ˜‰

    I suppose at least with the US system you can ‘shop around’ a bit for hospitals, whereas here it’s wherever’s got a bed (or in the car park if it’s a busy time…). I’d like to think the US hospitals are better funded and don’t run out of space, but I may be wrong.

    It might be for the best if Wes is in that mode – I know that I was hardly aware of what was going on around me (from pain, not drugs, I was more with it when I had some pain relief) so I couldn’t register anyone who wasn’t shouting!


  5. Lekki Frazier-Wood

    Thanks. Getting my craft on is a good distraction. Must try not to go too mad πŸ˜‰ The manicure set is from Red Carpet Manicure – Ulta Beauty ship it, but amazon might too? It is awesome _ I prefer it to OPI as less gloopy. Really easy to apply. Still no chips πŸ™‚


  6. Lekki Frazier-Wood

    Yes, you absolutely can do your research and pick your hospital – more so than in the UK. I am looking for one that will allow me to walk around in labour, eat if I want (and vomit if I want too!) and have a long labour as long as the baby is not in distress… and not induce me before 14 days overdue. I think TX will be OK with this – like I say, Houston is pretty progressive. Thriving doula market, lots of Bradley classes, state regulated birthing centers. I think TX Children’s will be good – if they can just leave me alone πŸ˜‰

    Yes… Wes is good in a crisis. I might even let him wear camo πŸ˜‰


  7. Sarah

    As with Fi, I had a quick labour too which meant my birth plan went out the window. Be prepared, but also be ready to be flexible – that’s my only advise πŸ™‚ Mic only just made it there for Rosie’s birth.

    I did of course get the sneak preview with Fi! She was more responsive then she lets on, she just doesn’t remember probably ;-P

    I think one of the most valuable things with these courses is potential contacts / new friends – particularly important when you are new to the area!

    Take care of yourself, and try not to stress too much or fall down any more stairs please!!

    Lots of love and hugs xxx


  8. Lekki Frazier-Wood

    Yes! I am fully prepared for the birth plan to go out of the window – especially given my tiny ‘pelvic arch’ – which is medical speak for… ahem… πŸ˜‰ Plus FW could be breech… who knows. But, if we get the chance I’d like to be prepared. And yes, I NEED FRIENDS IN HOUSTON – we hope to meet some people this way. I made Wesley look through my ‘cute crochet projects’ book with me last night, and he nearly filed for divorce πŸ˜‰


  9. Fiona McEwen

    So are doulas like midwives? Do they have specific training, or more like professional birthing partners? I’ve heard the name before but don’t really know what they do (I suppose there’s less of a market here when the system is midwife led).
    I’m still chuckling at the thought of Wes having to sit and look at crochet patterns with you πŸ˜‰


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