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Over the pond we go

.Before we left Ireland.

Friends and family are truly the most important things of life. They got me through the first 7 months of pregnancy using comedy, my personal favourite being “what will the baby look like” given the combination of genes…

Bahaha.

I packed up my mountain of crap. Why do we own so much crap? And stuffed it into his attic. 4 years of text books, notes, pictures, memories. Not to mention the brand new furnishings I had just bought for my apartment – but those things weren’t nearly as important. I miss my notes, we spent so much time together.

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Above. My angel.

I kissed him goodbye right in the middle of his soft precious deliciously smelling forehead, my tummy had butterflies as I left the kennel. It was clean and the humans were kind which provided a hint of relief but a piece of me shattered. Please God keep him safe on this long, turbulent flight.

Some parts of me felt excited for family, friends, the accent, the food, going by grams&gramps on Fridays – but couldn’t fight the embarrassment I felt. People can be cruel, especially on this small island. So my plan would be to stay inside as much as possible and avoid seeing anyone but close family and friends for the rest of my life. Yes good plan, said my brain. We made it to England again, had a last hoorah with friends and hopped nervously aboard British Airways, doctor’s letter in hand confirming my 27th week of pregnancy. We both sat in silence.

Imagine if I give birth on the flight…will I die?

Will the baby die? 

Is Skye okay?

Is the plane going to crash? I hate flying. Hatehatehate. Landing I’m okay with.

I always wondered – How come people don’t mind being driven into the middle of the sky by a total stranger for hours and hours on a massive machine, which kind of resembles a penis, with only two engines? Haven’t they watched Flight? What about 9/11? Maybe there are extra engines.

Also, I better get the curry dish because BA’s pasta is gross and if this is my last meal it needs to be decent. I wished my brain would chill out but that’s not a thing it does.

Then the flight attendant reassured me that not any and everyone can just go and open an emergency exit at any point during the flight. I wondered if she was fibbing. Every flight is a near death experience (yes I’m dramatic, take it or leave it) so landing felt euphoric as usual. I felt my hair frizz…yep right on cue, but the relief was immediate. 3 tortuous hours later I got Skye back from customs corruption. I bartered bitchily with the officer about the fact that my dog had no testicles (ew of course not) and I wasn’t making money off of him. That he was my first born and I wasn’t about to pay another $600 just because she felt to call that number for some unknown reason. I dodged bullets from my dad’s eyes and took a dread buff when she left, but she came back and asked for like $80 instead. So...I win ha. Silly woman.

The corruption here is despicable.

It felt so good to see everyone I cared about and as the weeks went by I gained a little bit more confidence in the pregnancy – although I still wasn’t able to look at baby clothes, or shoes…or anything babyish really. Thank God again that friends and family were there to do it for me else the poor child would have been naked for a few days well. To my dismay, they organized me a baby shower and I begged to please not open the gifts in front of everyone. I couldn’t pretend to find they were cute. I couldn’t pretend to be excited for a baby to come flying out of my vagina. I’m not a pretender.

Thankfully my friend loves a performance (usually as Gaza Slim, in pum pum shorts and ending in a split) but took one for the team, kept it PG and unwrapped all of the gifts while I sat, face hot next to her. She joked and laughed and everyone oohd and awed while I shrank into my seat. I wanted to hug her and cry and explain how much it meant to me but she already knew. Afterwards I was truly grateful and happy for the support and wished I was more into it. But I was too afraid to be excited.

I had a deep fear of being a mother, especially a single one and every day that passed, it seemed to become the harsh reality that I wasn’t ready for. My relationship with Bullseye bent more acutely as his desire to be in Ireland grew just as much as my need to be home. Both of our lives had been uprooted and we started growing apart. He went home for 2 weeks and my cortisol dropped. It was a lot to deal with and I wasn’t a mother just yet. There was enough on my plate and I was already eating for two. But I still tried. While he was gone I went to a friends surprise birthday – everyone was so wasted and so happy. Except me. I walked into the bathroom and bawled my eyes out. Then waited until the glassy coating faded and I looked less terrible, to go back outside. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d be doing this baby thing alone.

The ultrasounds which cost a damn fortune began showing that the baby’s head was measuring 40 weeks at 37 weeks. It also didn’t show a penis which made me concerned for the child if it was a boy, ha. We had no idea of the gender and didn’t need to know because a baby is a baby. It cries always, it poops sometimes and it “sleeps” every now and again. Full stop. And I got into trouble from my obgyn every single time for calling it an “it”. But again, I digress.

Now in vet medicine, if a Rottweiler gets a chihuahua pregnant (these things can happen but my God I hope that’s never a combination that I have to treat – can you imagine the aggression slash a Rottie on 5 inch legs haha!) we perform a planned c-section at the due date because we KNOW that puppy aint comin’ out. If the owner says they wanted their dog to have a natural birth I would say…hell to the no. The puppy is not going to fit into her pelvis, she will get dystocia and she will need an emergency c-section which is a lot more dangerous for everyone…obviously. And that will be that because I studied for 8 years to give the best care possible to your pets. And no, I am not trying to make more money off of you. If you knew vet salaries you’d understand. Anyway it must work differently in human medicine because this chihuahua waited to full term as advised by my doctor. And if anyone has seen my child’s head you will agree that it probably wasn’t a good idea. A week before my due date I went running as much as possible but my feet would swell like water balloons and the vagrant around the Savannah would say “oh gor darlin ya belly scratching yuh” and I thought enough was enough. GET THIS BABY OUT!

But that was the longest, scariest, most excruciatingly painful day of my life so far and I am so so sorry for anyone who is reading this and pregnant but I feel a duty to be honest with you about labour. Prepare yourself… for nothing to go as planned.

And think twice before you decide to have a natural birth in a pond somewhere with no drugs or doctors around.

“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Another move

The fire was warm and crackly and the view from the house was beautiful but the sky understood me and we cried together most days. I had somehow been convinced to get a lawyer to fight the losing battle of ‘wrongful dismissal’ and the ‘right to stay’ in the UK. I knew that it was a lost cause but the doctor strongly advised against going back to Trinidad thanks to Zika – and just like that the 2 week trip to Ireland turned into indefinitely in Ireland. And I definitely didn’t like it.

Zika Shmika, that shit was the last thing on my mind. I’d done a project on the Zika virus in uni and wasn’t convinced that it was directly linked to microcephaly anyway but my nightmares were vivid and I woke up breathless. We took the letter and went to the lawyer.

The Home Office was getting antsy and required me to check into the police station every 2 weeks so they could keep track of me, as if I was some sort of terrorist. I was just a pregnant girl, Jesus. They then took away my right to drive my car, refused to give me my license (even though I’d passed the test – third time’s a charm ha) and disallowed me from even volunteering in the vet clinic, all while keeping my passports and vet certificates. Everything that I had left, really.

We tried to make the best of our situation. We went on countless beautiful walks, trips around Ireland guiltily sampling a Guinness every now and then (it truly is better in Ireland) – “Very high in iron, great for pregnancy” the Irish mothers would urge. We had some great times together but as the bump grew bigger so did our stresses.

.Side note.

…Then one day, appendages start poking out of your stomach in the most unfathomable way and you wake up to this:

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If you are not creeped out by it my guess is that you probably aren’t creeped out by spiders either, ya weirdo. So scary! I had a constant fear that something had happened to the baby, especially when the alien body parts jutted out all over the place. But once I pushed the appendage it would move and that always brought relief. You know that ‘flutter’ that people talk about when the baby moves in your tummy? That must only be for girls. Charlie did par cor and especially loved 3am training sessions.

And that was when I kissed my sleep goodbye forever.

It isn’t easy watching your body expand uncontrollably, painting marks so that you never forget how massively you’ve stretched (no matter how much cocoa butter or bio oil you use). Oh and the big black line that presents itself all the way down the middle of your tummy, right where your abdominal muscles are torn apart as your stomach grows, doesn’t add much good to the pregnant look.

.Back to the story.

He paid the expensive-as-hell yearly fee for me to use the spa at the fancy, stunning hotel down the road and I was deeply grateful. Thank God, something to occupy my time as he left again for work, and I went there most days. Spin, swim, sauna, repeat. Luxury. Until you leave the warmth and delicious scent of massage oils to endure the elements and head back home. Alone. And so painfully bored.

Being a couch potato makes me feel filthy. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes binge watching a show is totally necessary (The Alienist, Alias Grace, Sisters) but by no means should it be done daily! That would send anybody’s brain into airplane mode. I felt like my brain cells were shriveling up, like my head was becoming dead space. And the boredom gave me a lot of time to criticize myself.

The 8 years of studying was for nothing. My parents wasted their money. They must be so disappointed. I’m such a failure. An embarrassment. A waste. I’m also so fat. OhmyGod am I a loser? Negative Nancy and her drama-queen-self was overstaying her welcome.

My mind was a tornado. Destructive, unpredictable and uncontrollable. My mental health was slipping away.

Thank the good Lord for great friends (and Skye but that’s obvious). They came and visited and comforted (and have no idea just how much it meant) and we all felt the love that weekend… But I was hanging on by threads and when they left I plummeted back into that spiral. Not to mention the ongoing relationship struggles.

No way in hell was I going to stay in Ireland without family and with a baby. It was time to leave. So I waddled back to Trinidad big and pregnant, the anxiety never lagging too far behind.

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Above. Who needs yoga when there’s cows? So relaxing.

“When you’re in a Slump,

you’re not in for much fun.

Un-slumping yourself

is not easily done.”

Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

The unexpected move

.Let’s go back in time to just before I was fired…well, let go.

After the naked-sitting-on-toilet-sobbing phone call to my boyfriend, he came straight off of the oil rig to my rescue. I must have also sounded like I had lost the plot. He lifted me up and hugged me for ages. I felt calm and comforted, finally.

Flowers. A TV. Food. Candles. He made my home cozy and I felt loved. The next few days were spent coming to terms with it all. The support that my parents offered gave me confidence that I could do this. False confidence maybe.

Some days during surgery I was dizzy and nauseous being around the isoflurane gas, the blood etc and people at work seemed to be getting suspicious (maybe it was in my head). To be fair I wasn’t very discreet rushing to hide behind concrete walls during x rays (one practice I worked at had no door to the x ray room) and making sudden formal complaints about radiation safety. I felt obligated to tell a handful of people at work. No Trinis. Too much gossip.

“Are you keeping it?” Usually accompanied by big concerned eyes and a tiny hint of ooh this is good gossip, was the most frequently asked question of 2016 and for some reason I felt a little bit offended when people asked. Not sure why – Abortion was definitely an option, just one I didn’t want to take. It’s just such a personal decision and I thought it odd that people asked so openly. Or maybe I was the odd one.

I felt defensive for a baby that wasn’t even a baby as yet. Motherly instinct? He was still a ball of cells probably just looking like a baby fish at this point, right? And I still kind of didn’t even believe it anyway.

Until we went for an ultrasound.

I sat half-expecting to be told “No, you aren’t pregnant silly!” And we would all sit together and laugh and laugh. I crossed my fingers. Then suddenly, I jumped out of my daydream at the sound of the rapid heart beat and wondered why on earth she felt the need to crank up the volume that high. Almost gave me a bloody heart attack. Couldn’t she tell we were freaking out? Jesus. My stomach sank. It was true. We both sat stunned and motionless.

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Above. OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGod. It has a head.

Denial is a hell of a thing. Truly, the brain is incredible the way its coping mechanisms kick in to get you through struggles. I actually believed that the pregnancy tests were wrong. This wasn’t the first time my brain had done this and I quickly reminisced on the past, am I crazy? The last time this happened my brain managed to convince itself that my boyfriend wasn’t cheating on me. Even though Steffi knew he was. But I digress. We will talk about that another time, maybe.

A few days later I started getting messages from my close friends who I was too nervous to tell just yet. “Stef you aren’t pregnant right?” How on earth did people know? I only told my parents. I called my mum.

“Stef I have to tell you something.” Oh Christ. Was she pregnant too? Did someone die? There wasn’t much more that I could take. TELL ME NOW… “I accidentally sent everyone on my WhatsApp your ultrasound picture.”

… uhmyGod.

Now I don’t even know how this is a thing that can happen because I still can’t figure out how to WhatsApp a mass message but my mum is special, she can do anything...clearly. Not to mention the whole “mouth open, story jump out” situation from my dad’s end. Again, Trinis cannot keep secrets but everyone knows that.

Quaking, I thought to myself it’s fine. Everyone was going to find out at some point so whatever – at least I didn’t have to be the one telling my friends. The words “I’m pregnant” had never even had to leave my mouth which was good because I wasn’t ready to say it myself as yet. Bullseye went back to work and I was alone again.

As the flowers shriveled, so did my composure and most days I bawled for my entire drive home from work. For approximately 2 hours per day I made a conscious effort to not drive my car off the road. It would have been quick, just one swerve to the left and it would all be over. But that was the easy way out and I was strong –  or so I tried to convince myself. So I gripped the steering wheel tightly and through the tears I kept focused on the road ahead… all the while blasting Queen (I cannot wait for the musical to come out).

I went to work like normal and felt relieved to have just finished a bitch spay when I got that phone call (from previous post) to leave work forever and move out in a week. Ouch.

.This is where the last post ended.

For the second time now, I called Bullseye with an emergency but this time no tears. Just shock. Again, he reassured me that it will all be okay and I felt safe again. I needed to go home to be with my family, to cry to my mum…be hugged by my friends. But in the mean time we had to move all my stuff to Ireland (Bullseye’s house) until I booked a flight home.

In Northern Ireland I felt especially isolated, especially given my circumstances, and I was counting down the days to go home. Only I didn’t end up going home until 5 months later and that’s when I realized that the relationship was over for good.

Below. Skye loved his Irish walks.

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“And when you’re alone there’s a very good chance

you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants

There are some, down the road between hither and yon,

that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.”

Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Losing the plot – Trini style

When I first heard the term “she’s lost the plot” I died in laughter. I love how the British had found a polite way of saying “bitch be crazy”. It resonated with me… because unfortunately I myself was losing the plot and when I repeated it, it made me feel less ‘looney’ and more ‘just a bit confused about life’. Here goes.

.2016.

I had just graduated from uni as a vet (a very proud Dick vet, but most people won’t know what that means) and started working for a company in England. Eight years of working my ass off (…traveling, partying, drinking too) and finally I had the life I dreamed of. Living in England with my cute new VW Polo and my first born – I could hear that Drake song playing in the background … “Started from the bottom now we’re here)

Lol I was only there for like 5 minutes.

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Above: The perfection of my first born. The reason I still exist.

Turns out my life was about to become “deeply unsettled” as my one-off therapist later described.

I was pregnant.

Never did I ever think that this would happen to me. Children were not in my life plan (ever) and I was usually quite a responsible person. But as they say, it only takes one time – and boy were they right. Literally one time. The first time in fact. It’s almost funny now (not then) how impeccable the timing was, especially since I had taken a morning after pill a few hours after you-know-what took place. This was also a fella who I had massive respect for. We spoke daily for months leading up to this and 6 weeks later I had to call him and tell him the result of my pregnancy test. It was NOT fun. I don’t recommend it.

I thought it was negative. Sometimes you see what you want to see. I sighed in relief as I threw the test into the bin thanking God it was a false alarm. Then I back tracked – actually…did I mix up positive and negative? Hands starting to shake, I took it back out of the bin along with the paper to re-compare them. No no no no no. What, how could I be pregnant? I did another test. Same result. I was hysterical. Frantically, I picked up my phone and took a picture of the test just in case I was seeing it wrong in real life. The picture was (obviously) the same. A rush of nausea came over me as I called my new (brand spankin’ new) boyfriend.

He was working offshore and unexpectedly, cool as a cucumber while I sobbed on the phone. Thank God he was with me when we bought the morning after pill and I took it in front of him. He could have thought I was a maniac sneaking a pregnancy! (Do people do that?) Why was this even one of the first things I thought? Phew, anyway at least there was that. He was so supportive, as were my parents, and I thought – I got this.

One week later, BAM! I was slapped with a letter from the home office stating that my work visa application had been rejected.

Is this real life or pregnancy brain?

What even is pregnancy brain?

What even is being pregnant?

Months before, the company I was working for made a mistake on my first visa application (they weren’t paying me enough) so it was rejected. They had paid for me to reapply as it was their error but it managed to get rejected again just after I told the company I was pregnant. Something about health surcharge which I had already in fact paid. Coincidence, Maybe?

Maybe not.

The day I got the second rejection letter I got a phone call around 2 pm just as I’d come out of surgery. “Hi this is ‘whatever the hell her name was’ from the head office, you need to leave work now and move out of our flat by next week. You can’t work for us anymore.”

Umm. Ha ha?

And so the spiral began, unfortunately heading downhill. I thought I was strong. The only time I really cried was during a euthanasia or Love Actually. Sometimes I wondered whether I had any feelings at all (my mum wondered too). I thought after my last tumultuous relationship of deceit and total heart break I could handle anything life threw at me. Turns out life had never truly thrown me a curved enough ball to warrant me losing the plot but this girl went cray cray.

And this blog is my very raw, very honest story.