BadMom.

And I was off. Sitting on a plane (praying and holding back the tears of fear as per usual- Jesus when will I get over this) wondering how the hell I am actually going to follow through with this new future I’ve created, wondering whether this was the best decision, wondering whether this was real life…just wondering. I already missed my angels but this was EXCITING so I snapped myself out of it. Wee! I would leave smarter (YAY) so it can never be the wrong choice because there is no better feeling than learning. I touched down in London Town (cue Kanye West), went to an LGBTQ event (woo!) and then went to Scotland to start my 10 week course in Emergency medicine. Am I smart enough? Am I good enough? OhmyGodwhatamIdoing. Breathe, girl you got this. Choke.

We arrived at these stunning little wooden lodges on Loch Leven in Scotland (if you haven’t been to Scotland you NEED to go – it is such a beautiful and unique place to visit, especially in August when it’s fake summer but the festival is popping so no one even cares that they are still in winter jackets). 13 strangers from different countries, ready to learn, ready to make new friends, just ready for it all. Looking back now, the first week was so funny – everyone was a bit awkward and overly studious…until we hosted the first dinner and drinks night at our lodge, 5 days in lol. It always amazes me the magic a little bit of alcohol can create. The ice shattered – suddenly we were besties, going on long amazing walks together, out for coffee, lodge dinners and drinks nights, out on the town in Edinburgh causing mischief lol. Friends for life. Felt like I was in “A Bad Moms Christmas” – literally I was Carla. The course days were long and they were hard BUT they were jam packed full of information and I could feel my brain exercising again, FINALLY. Bye bye mom-brain RIDE OUT. Hope I never see you again.

We got lectured by people I thought I’d never even meet, far less have the privilege of being taught by. I was one hundred percent being a nerdy bird and I’m not even afraid to say it. Glory. We had practicals in ultrasound, anatomy, surgery, CPR…and every step of the way it was fun. I didn’t realise tears of joy were a thing. They are. I wondered every night before bed how I managed to pull this off, how was I so lucky? Usually my life comprises of shit hitting fans more often than not. This was one of those times when you think “I feel blessed” and then your eyes pop open as you have flashbacks of when people write it as captions on their Facebook pics and it makes you absolutely cringe…hashtag tooblessedtobestressed… No, just no. So I slapped that statement out of my head as quickly as it jumped in. I worked hard for this. I deserve this. Aw yea, much better.

There were two girls in charge of taking care of all 13 of us, poor them lol. I am sure that we annoyed the living daylights out of them at the beginning and they would probably say throughout the entire time we were there 😛 But we got so close and we had so much fun with them – I don’t even understand how a company can employ so many amazing people. The last company I worked for was just so awful it still shocks me that this place can have these absolute gems of humans. A-MA-ZING.

We spent 4 weeks in lectures (and exploring, having way too much fun…drinking way too many coronas) and then we went out to work for 4 weeks in our clinics under supervision by our mentors (who were aweeeesome). It was scary, it was hard and it was challenging BUT let me tell you something, after those 15 hour night shifts you want to KISS the floor, hug everyone around you, put your hair in pigtails and SKIP all the way home because YOU ARE SO HAPPY THAT YOU ACTUALLY DID IT. You did it…you saved the animals, you stayed up all night, you did your best and now you are free to go home and sleep. Sometimes you even feel like maybe you should go to Church and thank God for helping you get through the strife, but you don’t. But you should, probably. At some point. Soon, you tell yourself.

And sometimes you get complaints and you feel genuinely upset like someone has just stabbed you through your heart – kind of like when you find out your boyfriend cheated on you – because the people who complain seem so nice to your face but then leave some awful complaint (usually about cost) – and you doubt yourself, feel like maybe you aren’t cut out for this, maybe you’re not strong enough for this line of work… and then you speak to your manager and colleagues and realise that you’re doing a fabulous job and some people are just “unpleaseable” and then you put those pigtails back in that hair and you skip right back to work.

After the in-clinic block of mentoring, we went back to those stunning Scottish lodges for 3 more weeks of glorious lectures. This time around we chose who we wanted to lodge with and BOY oh boy…it’s a lucky thing we weren’t together from the start because it was TOO good. I love my girls so much ❤ From our abs challenges to corona routines… speed dating LOL we bonded and it was wonderful and I’ll never forget those days. We also learned so much from each other too – don’t get me wrong, we worked our butts off.

The last week of the course we moved into a MANSION near by. I have never felt more like a kid (how am I a mother, when I’m actually a kid) – we jumped on the trampoline for far too long, played wii for far too long and giggled and laughed more than I had in years. And I have videos to prove it.

On the last day of the course the company had a little surprise graduation ceremony for us and (I don’t want to say too much more in case anyone reading this is thinking of doing the course we did and I ruin it for them but…) it was the sweetest, loveliest thing that happened and we will never forget how they made us all feel. We felt accomplished. Accepted. Supported. Excited. Excited to work for a company who values their employees. It is NOT easy to find. I want to shout from the hills to anyone considering participating in this course to come and speak to me so I can tell you all about it.

We hugged each other and said goodbye for the time being and all went our separate ways, already planning our next adventure together. Luckily one of the amazing girls on my course came with me and we drove back to England in my new ride (wee!) singing the best songs – it always amazes me how music brings people together, whether English is their first language or not. Alcohol and music…just magical.

I worked for a week and then hopped on a plane back to Trinidad to get my boys. I was so excited to see my them, my family, my friends…but I cried all the way home, uncontrollably. I swear it must have broken a record.

Scotland at 6am

Scotland at 7am the same day

Oh, life.

Why is it that just when you think you’re getting your life back into some sort of order… when you’ve made a plan that may actually stick (moving to England) and not explode into a million pieces…some event comes along and throws you totally off track? This event may be a person. And this person may actually throw you off your current track and get you onto an even better one, which you will realize after a bit of denial. And as usual… impeccable timing, life.

It started with a dog. A very beautiful doggie as a matter of fact.

I got an emergency call that she was vomiting masses of green fluid constantly, suddenly not eating and drinking, lethargic – just totally not herself – definitely an emergency case that needed stabilizing – so I met the owners at the clinic. Not like the ones who call you just to have a chat about their pet at 11 pm. We took her into the clinic that evening and put her onto fluids, antibiotics and pain relief until the next morning when I did radiography and ultrasound. The owner was convinced that she had eaten a piece of carpet. But this definitely looked like a cob of corn on the x-ray and on ultrasound I saw the swirling fluids rolling back and forth in the intestine, blocked from flowing through by this stupid piece of corn.

That stupid, stupid corn on the cob.

We performed a full hematology and biochemistry blood test to ensure no concurrent issues and took her straight into surgery. Foreign bodies can be fun to operate on because usually it’s just a small incision into the intestine and you remove the silly thing they ate, put it into a bag to excitedly show the owner, close them up and that’s that. I’ve seen mango seeds, toothbrushes, metal cloths, my friend got a rubber duckie recently… But this case wasn’t that simple. Because it was an entire cob lodged in there, her intestine was compromised (it looked an unhealthy purple colour) which meant that we would have to perform a resection and anastomosis. Remove a portion of the intestine and close back the two healthy ends. This was after much debate and even trying laser therapy to bring the unhealthy tissue back to life – to no avail. We ligated the vessels that fed that portion of intestine, removed it, sutured the healthy ends together, leak tested it and made a beautiful omental wrap. We then moved on to the stomach which was dilated at least 3 times its normal size, made a tiny incision about 3cm long and suctioned over 1000ml of green foul smelling watery fluid out of it. We sutured it closed, double checked all of her abdominal organs and went through (again) the entire length of intestine from stomach to colon to make triple sure that we got everything out and to check the integrity of the sutures, all of which were A-okay. I closed her up and that was that. Or so I thought.

The owners have no idea how she got this piece of corn.

She recovered from surgery really well, started eating little by little and seemed to be doing fine. The first 48 hours are the most critical and I’m a paranoid freak so I kept her in for four days before sending her home. Because the surgery was a biggie, I asked the owner to keep a really close eye on her as there are many potential complications, and they updated me constantly Some complications included shock, leakage, ileus, dehiscence, peritonitis, adhesions, stenosis, recurrence, intussusception, and ultimately death. Gosh it sounded like those adds on TV for drugs that are supposed to help you but actually you’ll die from some other random complication. “Take this pill to lower your cholesterol, but watch out as it may actually make your cholesterol higher and give you a heart attack, cause severe depression and kill you from a blood clot.” And they say it in the happiest voices too, it confuses me every time. The owner said she pooped at home which was like music to my ears, and although she wasn’t back to her normal self as yet, clinically was doing fine. I wasn’t worried. Until the next morning when I got a frantic call that fluid was aggressively leaking out of her incision and she looked like she was dying.

It was Sunday. I flung Charlie into my mum’s arms and flew to the clinic to meet the owners – my stomach sank when I saw her condition. She was very obviously in shock with bloody fluid flowing out of her incision which seemed to have opened up a little bit cranially. Her mucous membranes were pale, she was tachycardic and almost totally unresponsive. I felt sick and I felt my eyes tear up. Get it together Steffi.

At this point there wasn’t much stabilization that could have been done so the vet-on-call and I made a clinical decision to get straight back into surgery. Differentials were now post operative peritonitis from wound dehiscence, DIC secondary to sepsis… We thought that going back into surgery and finding it would at least give her a chance of survival. We couldn’t find a source of bleeding, the intestinal and gastric tissue didn’t look necrotic or dehisced, the abdomen just kept filling up with blood. We removed over 1 litre of bloody abdominal fluid that had no clotting and under the microscope all we saw were red blood cells and the occasional white blood cell. During the surgical exploration her heart stopped and we administered epinephrine and dopram to try to get her back up and running but just couldn’t. My stomach twisted and I was in total shock myself. I stayed for ages looking, searching for a cause of the bleeding to at least have an answer for the owner but I just couldn’t find anything. The vet-on-call spoke to them as I wasn’t in any condition to do it at that moment, and I was so grateful. I spoke to them after a little while of sitting down and trying to figure out what the hell just happened. We took biopsies of every organ and sent samples of fluid from her abdomen to the lab but they were all inconclusive.

You always feel extremely upset when you lose a patient but this was different. I felt a deep sadness and couldn’t figure out whether it was because it was the first case that I had personally lost post-surgery so I felt totally responsible and like a terrible vet. Or if it was because she was just such a lovely sweet beautiful dog or if it was because I’ve known the owner for most of my life. We weren’t ‘friends’, but we knew each other. Probably a combination of all three. I found myself randomly crying about losing her and was feeling waves of guilt intermittently for a few weeks after it all happened. I took the sympathy card along with a photo of her for the owner. It was tragic seeing someone lose a pet that they cherished so much and I kept imagining the mess I’d be in if it was happening to me. I also felt responsible for her death because she was my case and thought, God he must hate me. I hugged him tight.

…and that’s how we started getting to know each other.

🙂

Who on earth would have thought that a beautiful relationship would come out of such a heart-breaking situation?

Luna.

Some troubles are shallow, while others are deep. Just try to stay focused and stand on your feet.

Keep reaching.

And carry on we do, sometimes kicking and screaming…most times trying to stop the child from kicking and screaming…but sometimes there really is nothing you can do to stop them besides maybe give them your car key. But try to avoid that.

As time passed I was juggling two vet jobs (plus a few outside jobs here and there), and it was just becoming all-encompassing. I was starting to feel crazy with the lack of sleep. By the time I got home I’d be too tired to want to play with my son and dog. The goal became to get my son to bed asap. How terrible am I? Not to mention that as a younger vet you tend to take on the weight of each and every case. Each and every complaint. It all comes home with you. I would start doubting my abilities and go to work looking all distressed with my drama-queen self, then co-workers would stop to ask “gyul what happen to you, you only been working here a few weeks”…and for some reason the way that Trinis speak makes you feel instantly better and you can’t help but laugh.

And just when you feel like you can’t endure administering another vaccine and you need something to spice up your life, you get an interesting case. YES. This was a 10 year old Rottweiler who presented in lateral recumbency, body condition score 2 out of 5, paralyzed in his hindlimbs with severe muscle wasting and no deep pain on one side and of course the pressure-sore-turned-maggot-wound in his perineal area. Maggot wounds are about as common as the totally-made-up gossip is in Trinidad. So we see them very often. He had been treated 3 months previously with AmoxyClav for a bite wound on his back from another dog and never fully recovered. He would seem to be walking fine one day and then regress. He was given steroids which always seemed to perk him up but the same cycle would repeat itself. Steroids are like Ben and Jerry’s after a bad break up. It helps in the moment but when the ice cream tub is finished honey, those tears come straight back. Although steroids can obviously be useful in certain cases like severe skin issues or certain types of inflammatory reactions, I avoid them. They trick you into believing that your pet is cured. And no one likes a tricker.

Anyway so the owner of this very lucky dog named Max is a lovely man who just doesn’t know what else to do to help his beloved dog child so he brought him for me to give him one last go. He would come in to feed him delicious rotisserie chicken for lunch and allowed me to do any diagnostics that I felt were necessary to help him. It isn’t often you get a case where the owner gives you that luxury, so I was like a kid in a candy shop. I did radiographs and found that there was some mottling in his lumbar vertebra consistent with osteomyelitis. He got IV fluids for his dehydration and IV antibiotics (Zinacef) for the bone infection, Gabapentin and Tramadol for the pain (we don’t get good opioids easily in Trinidad) and laser therapy along his entire spine twice per day. During his third night of hospitalization I casually checked the cameras to see what he was doing after hours and my “paralyzed” dog had managed to get out of his kennel and drag himself half way across the room! It was extremely exciting. But I did have to go back into work and put him back into his kennel – with great difficulty because he was aggressive and heavy… not without help from my brother and his girlfriend (thank God for them). But it was a fantastic feeling to see some progress.

Of course, he started getting urinary tract infections because he was immobile and he wasn’t able to urinate properly – it would just leak out at random times. Kind of like those men you see at random times in random inappropriate places, just peeing. So we had to express his bladder multiple times throughout the day (up to 1200ml at any given time) which wasn’t helping my prognosis. If he couldn’t control his bladder on top of his inability to walk, his quality of life wasn’t high enough on my scale to keep going. It wouldn’t have been fair to him. Doctors are allowed to try everything under the sun to keep their patients alive…Vets on the other hand are usually restricted by cost concerns and frequently have to put animals to sleep for various reasons. Ending an animals life, even when they are suffering isn’t easy. It sticks with you. I always feel so guilty, like a murderer, and to be remembered as the vet-who-put-your-pet-to-sleep isn’t the best feeling. But sometimes it does feel good to end an animal’s suffering. That’s what keeps us from getting too depressed about euthanasias. At least it does for me.

A week of tossing and turning trying to figure out what I’m missing, what else can I do for him – and my Max was still not walking, although he did sit up fully on his forelimbs and was able to drag himself around. Progress, but not nearly good enough. He needed to walk again. I started questioning my judgement…should I not have put him through all of this? Should I have recommended euthanasia? Am I making a poor clinical decision? Jesus this bill is high. I filled out my trusty quality of life form daily and it reassured me that he was still well enough to keep trying, although the people around me also seemed to be questioning my judgement. Gotta go with your gut.

Another week later while outside trying to get Max to weewee, he WALKED. He took a few steps. It was miraculous and amazing and I wanted to cry of joy. The next day, the lady who had brought him into the clinic initially, came back to pick him up. She brought the stretcher inside and asked us to help her put him onto it. The look on her face when I told her we didn’t need the stretcher went from confusion to tears when I brought him out, walking. She hugged me tight and we celebrated quietly in that moment. And these are the cases that reignite my love for the job.

Meanwhile, I had been chatting with a recruitment agent from a very well known and respected Veterinary company in the UK. Since Charlie was 3 months old I had been in touch with her about working for them as a vet. I told her my entire life story (because I think being open is key) and she was so supportive and kind through it all…it shocked me. Especially because of my previous, scarring experience working for a big company in England. Charlie was now a year and 4 months old. Or as some mothers like to say, 16 months…which, who the hell knows what that means? It always baffled me why people say that and I thought maybe when I’m a mother I’ll understand. Nope, don’t understand. 

“Hi Steffi, how old are you?”

“354 months”

…it’s just weird, man.

Anyway, now that Charlie was over a year old and I felt confident that I can keep him alive all on my own, I decided to go for it. Apply for the job, it can’t hurt. So I did. Then I had to do a timed test online before getting an interview. The day after the interview they called to say that I got the job which starts on March 4th. Which we all know is…DUN DUN DUN. Carnival Monday. Naturally.

I was elated, ecstatic, smiled all day, felt euphoric and was so excited to tell my parents. Dad congratulated me and was so happy and excited for this next step.

Mum said…”What job?” The one I had to do the test for, the one I’ve been telling you about all year, the one I had the Skype interview for yesterday, mom. Then she cried. Lol.

I was given a choice of clinics based on location and went up to England the month after I got the job to scope them out – see which one seemed most doable with a baby and dog on my own. I chose one… and I felt my life change a little. Of course this was after I was detained in the airport for 2 hours for questioning. Every single pocket, paper in my diary, piece of clothing, dollar bill… was searched, taken for inspection and then brought back to me. Literally all they didn’t do was ask to have a peek inside my you-know-what. Then a Trini angel appeared. An officer strolled up to me casually in true Trini fashion with the biggest smile on his face exposing a gap where a tooth once lived. “You from Trinidad?” He asked. Yes, I am. “Ey me too!” And the conversation started. I thanked my lucky stars for Calvin that day who managed to take the devil out of the immigration officer and make him human again. The officer apologized for how he treated me explaining that it was just part of his job, while his trainee who couldn’t get the gloves on over her long stuck-on sparkly nails apologized for searching my bag so thoroughly after Calvin told them that I’m from a “rich” part of Trinidad. LOL. This isn’t true whatsoever but I needed to get the hell out of that airport and go for a drink so I entertained the silliness, accepted the apologies and off I went.

Max sitting up for the first time, 3 days into hospitalisation

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.” 
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!


It doesn’t stop.

Even at work. In the middle of a consultation – Charlie pops into my head. Gosh he has been coughing for over a week now. I wonder if he ate at nursery today, or if he got bitten by a kid again, or if he sat on any of them. “Sorry, how long did you say your dog has been vomiting for…?” My mind is all over the place.

Then I sit for approximately 4 minutes to eat lunch (If I’m lucky – most days there’s no sitting involved), open LinkedIn and see that it’s “World pneumonia day” on the WHO’s account which says that almost 1 million children under 5 died in 2015 from pneumonia, and my stomach sinks. Jesus, does Charlie have pneumonia? But the doctor said once he’s getting better, which he is, that he should be fine. And I reassure myself that all is ok…after I call the nursery to ask whether he ate and whether he’s still alive. You never stop worrying.

Yet the day goes on. Some fly by and others seem never-ending…until a case comes in that shakes and wakes you right back up. An owner comes in with a dog who has been chopped with a cutlass, by accident. The owner was hunting and the dog jumped in front of the cutlass at the last second directly in the line of fire…right along her face. Her eyeball was dangling, jaw broken, sliced all the way from the top of her head to the tip of her nose. The first thing you usually feel in brutal cases like this is of course, anger. I was angry, upset, horrified, sad. Up until I sat down and spoke to the owners and realized that they are truly genuine, kind people who actually really adore their pets and brought her all the way from the other side of the country to get help for her. I still get a shiver when I look at the ‘before’ photo – which I will not post because it is just a bit too much.

And because I know certain people who would buff me cause their tummy’s can’t handle it.

You see, when you decide to become a vet it’s usually because you love animals more than people, you feel like you were strategically placed on this planet to help them, you feel an inexplicable level of anger that channels your inner virago when people mistreat them, and you cannot explain its depth. Because they are innocent and pure and amazing. Why can’t we be more like them? Things change though, when you actually start working because you realize that it’s just as much about helping the animals as it is about helping the people who own and love them. Your job is about the human and the animal as a whole…one unit, it’s a cycle. By helping one you help the other and vice versa- a unique symbiosis. It’s more responsibility than you ever thought it would be and not something you were fully prepared for, but theres no escaping now.

Anyway – The whole situation was totally depressing until I had an epiphany. Of course, the owner must be devastated. Of course the owner is feeling a guilt that we cannot imagine. What is wrong with me, why am I so angry? I quickly realized that they were in a much worse position than I was and snapped myself back into professional mode. No judging. They were humble and kind and didn’t complain about the cost of the surgery and after care, which is a rarity. I felt guilty but thankful to be reminded that you should give people the benefit of the doubt in certain circumstances. Like this one.

We were in surgery for about 4 hours. I enucleated her almost already fully detached eyeball and we wired her jaw back together. Her soft palate and nasal cavity were torn apart, as was her gum from her jaw, and we sutured her face back together from the frontalis muscle to the orbicularis oculi to the levator nasolabialis. When she woke up I felt relief and shock. How on earth did she survive this? It had happened the night before and she hadn’t even tried to bite, snap, she didn’t even cry…she just sat there, helplessly waiting for us to fix it. She woke up all stitched up in dreamland and I imagined that she felt like I did after my c-section…high as a happy kite. I didn’t expect her to recover that quickly from surgery and sure as hell didn’t expect her to heal that well. I sent her home with a few different medications which were color coded so that the owner wouldn’t be too overwhelmed- various antibiotics and pain medications. A few weeks later the owner sent us pictures on WhatsApp and my stomach sank, fully expecting her to say that her wound dehisced, or she had an infection, or she didn’t pull through… but nope. She was totally back to normal, back to hunting, her good old self. I sat for a second, reminded of why I chose this profession. Medicine is truly incredible. Oh how I love it.

*Of course, the owner gave me full permission to post a picture of her lovely pet-child, and tell her story 🙂 *

Then the day which was initially taking decades to pass has suddenly turned into night and I fly home at inappropriate speeds to get Charlie from my mum. Hug, feed, bathe, play, sleep. Exhaustion. Netflix, wind-down and eat. Then bedtime – the time I’ve been waiting for all day. So tired I excitedly think that tonight I will knock out in a millisecond, yes. Then I toss and turn for hours on end contemplating life, Charlie wakes up for a beppm, Skye cries to go weewee outside, I run to weewee after that, then sneak back to bed wondering how many hours I can get in before it’s time to start another day and force myself not to check the phone. I lie down, heart racing, trying to work out what time it could possibly be then sorely give in, click my phone and it’s 4am. I lie back down distracted by all of the things to remember to do tomorrow, check that Charlie is still breathing 1,000 times using my phone light and swear to myself that one day things will get easier…then I must have fallen asleep because I wake up to “MummaMummaMummaMUMMA” at 6am. Here we go again! Another day.

Here she is, the super trooper, right after surgery. Girl power.

And this is her a few weeks ago.

“When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad…
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…
oh, ever so much more…
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!”

-“Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” Dr. Seuss

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.