From that very first solo travel trip as a broken hearted backpacker, leaving the comfort of my world for the total unknown, no-one could have predicted the twists and turns of how the next four and a half years would pan out.
Back then I was brave (some may say foolish) to leave all I knew behind – to see the world with a shoestring budget while dealing with the emotions of what would become a very public break-up – but I am SO glad I took that bold step.
With sheer determination, a little bit of luck and some hard work I kept pushing forward.
From being jobless, single and skint I was able to share on NotWedOrDead.Com how I survived that first trip, made a life in France, continued to see the world (now ticking off 40 countries), saw my dreams come true as a published author, gave you guys a peek into my wedding and even revealed I was pregnant on these very pages.
And now I am beyond excited that I get to share some other news with you…
Our beautiful daughter. Copyright: NotWedOrDead
I can show off this little lump of loveliness who has changed my world forever. My daughter, Everleigh Gray.
I’d planned to be back blogging a lot sooner to share the news properly but I foolishly underestimated the time-sucking abilities of a newborn! Even now, I’m half staring at the laptop reminding myself how to type thanks to the sleep deprived fuzz that feels permanently settled on my brain. A job made harder because I’m also half staring at my beautiful daughter who’s napping next to me making the most adorable little snuffles and sighs every so often.
When I told people I was planning for a positive home birth, hoping to be as natural as I could, I could see them raising their eyebrows in a ‘that’s nice dear, but you have no idea what labour is like’ type way.
Well, I showed them!
The birth went better than I could have ever hoped for. Fairy lights were strung on my packed bookcases, relaxing zen music was playing and incense was burning, it was all ridiculously chilled out.
It was also a super speedy labour as my contractions intensified VERY quickly. One moment I was chatting to my mum on the phone telling her that despite things starting I thought it could still be ages, to just fifteen minutes later dropping to my knees gripping the radiator in the downstairs loo feeling like I could push!
The shock of how fast I felt I was losing control was probably the scariest thing. ‘Breathe in calm and breathe out tension’ ran through my mind like an incessant affirmation. I had to force myself to just focus on my breathing especially as this was my only pain relief thanks to the failed application of the TENS machine.
The midwife arrived in a whirlwind not expecting to see me so far in active labour and half-hoisted me out of the small bathroom to examine me. Amazingly just six hours after my first contraction I was 10cm and ready to push! She barely had time to call the back up midwife, get her kit ready, gloves on and fix the canister of gas and air before I was on my knees in the lovely warm birth pool pushing. When they say your body takes over it totally does. There was no way I could hold back. I let it do its thing as if my mind and body were two separate things.
At 10.24am on Wednesday, May 31, Everleigh Gray Siddle was born in the pool (still in her amniotic sac that the midwife hurriedly had to break) just thirty minutes after the midwife arrived, weighing 8lbs 11oz. She is perfect.
No stitches, no medical interventions and no fuss. The house was back to normal, hot buttery toast in hand and champagne popped open less than an hour later. There are so many horror stories of labours that some new mums seem to just love telling anyone and everyone, but not enough people share the positive births. The births where you emerge as this supremely powerful warrior woman doing what our bodies were created to do. The births that you *gasp* enjoy, knowing you were as prepared as you could be and trusted in your body to do the rest.
The early days were a blur of hormones as the enormity of the task of keeping this precious girl alive and safe for the rest of her life felt overwhelming at times. There is no guidebook. Despite going to antenatal classes and reading many books we still, at times, feel like the blind leading the blind. But the weeks have whizzed by and with every day that passes I feel more confident and a lot more in love.
Welcome to the world Everleigh. No one, especially not me, could have predicted how you came to being in my life but I am so bloody grateful that you are. I promise to show you the world and can’t wait to start this new adventure with you and your daddy by my side.
I can also proudly show off my new book baby – CHASING THE SUN – out on Thursday, July 27, available in paperback and digital! Escape Down Under with this summer read that’s full of love and LOLs. Be the first to get your hands on a copy here: http://amzn.to/2uFUutT