Monday 5 December 2011

Elliot is here!

♥ Elliot Paul Rudolf Mason ♥
25th November 2011
9 pounds 10 ounces
4:45 pm 
Brighton Hospital

He's here, finally. After waiting an extra 15 days and a labour that was more painful and took longer than expected as well, Elliot, little EllieBellie is finally, finally here. 

So, Dylan, Andy and I were a particular shape. We had found our ways, had our routine, did our thing and then shazam! Another being joins and you're 'forced' to change your shape. This change is difficult for all involved. Of course. So, now, we're on day 10 of Elliot being our newest member, we've already gone through: feeling weird, elated, grumpy, confused, utterly exhausted, angry (Dylan), happy (Dylan) and many more highs and lows of emotions. 

Dylan in particular liked the baby at first, but was very, very sad and disturbed to see him breastfeed on the boobies that were 'his'. He had a few good meltdowns over this, but, since yesterday he's contented with the rule that 'the baby gets milk first, because he can't eat things like 'mananas'' and then when baby is finished Dylan can have milk. This seems to have really appeased him. He often wants to hold, cuddle, kiss and hug the baby which we think are all good signs. :) 

Here they are together: 

Hormones are now fluctuating, so I'm up and down a lot with baby blues and crazy mummy mania, but that too is already getting less. Though not as much of a 'birthquake' with Dylan, Elliot's arrival has truly whacked everything out of shape (again!). You kinda think it won't, or only a little, and then you realise how little you were really prepared for the massive impact a new baby will have on your little family from before. A whole new shape is needed. We're getting there. I think our shape is going to be starshine heart shape with rays of light beaming out oh and a bit of unicorn. :0) 

Elliot and Tam's Birth Story

Since having given birth to Dylan, I read a lot of other people's birth stories and a lot of people don't start their stories the way I want to start mine. They seem to 'romanticise' the whole process a bit. The way I want to start the birth story is: holy motherfucking mother of hell this baby birthing thing hurts so bloody much!!

Right, got that out of the way. :) I really cannot for the life of me not say that first. It is, for me, THE most excruciatingly painful thing a woman can ever go through (apart from perhaps going through massive rheumatic pains and a few other chronic illnesses). And to gloss over that, or not even mention it up front, to me, is like, I dunno, not being true to what the overriding experience actually was. And for me it was: misery, pain and true hell. Of course, afterwards, totally different story, but birthing not my favourite thing to do to put it mildly!!

Ok, so what happened? Elliot was 14 days overdue so I went in on the 15th day to have my labour induced. I was already feeling very apprehensive about inducing the labour, I had a couple of days before asked to delay the induction in hope that labour would've started naturally, but nothing happened, so on 24th November I went in at 8am to start induction.

By 11am they inserted the first pessary. This pessary is an artificial prostaglandin and is meant to soften up your cervix. Because my cervic was no where near low down, still high up and tight shut (it was trying to tell us something I think), the midwife had to insert the pessary in a rather 'plumber-like' way. (LOL). This was not massively painful, but definitely uncomfortable. 

Then, nothing much happened for about 6 hours. Andy and I mostly played word welder on our iPhones. The fact that nothing happened in response to the first pessary was frustrating for me because I had hoped to be in at 8am and out by 8pm that same evening (still banking on this whole idea that a second birth is faster). Ha ha. Mostly because I didn't want to leave Dylan with anyone other than myself at night. Alas, it wasn't so and my wonderful neighbour was a trooper and looked after Dylan like he was her own! 

At about 5pm they inserted another pessary, again, in a plumber like manner, oh so elegant! Nothing much happened for a while again and Andy and I went to a local pub even where they had lovely food! It was actually a lot of fun to go out just the 2 of us like that. :) 

Andy wasn't allowed to stay the night, so he left around 10pm and I went to sleep around 11pm after having chatted with the lovely Katie who delivered Dylan. She is flat out awesome and she was on shift that night, so we were hoping that she could catch Elliot as well! Had a lovely chat with her and went to sleep. 

In my sleep, I noticed that some really mild contractions had started and I remember being so tired that I ignored them and slept through them, ha ha. Then around 3am, I thought my waters had broken, but instead it was just quite a lot of mucus (I found out hours later), but the contractions were getting stronger, so I called Andy and he drove to the hospital straight away.

So, when Andy got there, it turned into a bit of a waiting game, sort of, as the contractions were coming on, but not as fast as with Dylan. With Dylan the first thing that happened was my waters breaking and from there on it went pretty fast, but this time, we timed the contractions to be every 7-10mins or so and stayed like that for quite some time.

Ok, so this was around 11am and at this point, I was finding the contractions pretty painful already and then I remembered how with Dylan there was a time that I could not help but SCREAM through the contractions and so at that point I thought to myself: 'oh noes! I'm finding the contractions already very painful and I'm not even screaming yet!! - what's gonna come?' And then I said to Andy: I think I'm going to ask for an epidural. (While with Dylan I was all gungho about going totally natural, this time round I was all for trying to give me an easier time (though of course I didn't want to overdo it, morphine! morphine! morphine! hee). But yes, I wanted them to be prepared for that I might want an epidural. So I told the midwife.

She looked hesitant. Not a good start. See, here in Brighton, if you're a low risk pregnancy, they're not going to encourage you to have pain relief like epidurals and for good reasons of course. But, when you're the one in pain, you don't want resistance. No. you. don't.

So this particular midwife, informed the labour ward and also asked if she could go ahead and break my waters. She then also did an internal and found I was about 4cms dilated which meant I could go up to the labour ward (before that I was still on a maternity ward.)

Ok, when I arrived on the labour ward, I was introduced to a new midwife who I immediately explained to that I wanted an epidural. She then explained the risks to me and started what I've come to refer to as the 'stalling process'. (Again with good reason, but when you're in so much pain, you hate them for doing this). The stalling process goes somewhat like this:

Mother in excruciating pain: "I want an epidural"
Midwife who is not in excruciating pain: "Well, why don't we wait and see for the next 2 hrs, your waters may break at any moment and then it'll go really fast"
Mother in excruciating pain: "No, I want an epidural, now" 
Midwife who is not in excruciating pain: "I really think if we wait a bit longer you'll be 10cms in no time and then it would be pointless to have the epidural as it'll take 30mins to put in and 30mins to take effect. Let me examine you to see how far you've dilated."

I then agreed to be examined with a huge sigh and heaps of reluctance. So she examined me and said that I was about 6cms dilated, she then said that we could either wait and see if my waters would break naturally or she could break them for me (with a scary looking crochet like hook, mind you). I was desperate to get things to go faster, so I said 'go for it'.

She broke my waters and then the contractions really started to kick ass. Faster, more intense, more frequent, more painful. Helloooo!

Please. Epidural. Now.

She got the message and found me an anesthetist, who was -luckily- readily available, as often they are otherwise engaged. He came over and explained the risks to me (again). He also explained that he needed to put in a 'cannula' for a drip, I was like: 'whatever you need to do dude to get me out of this hell hole of miserable pain' (ok, I didn't say that, but I think everyone got the message).

So he started to faff about with my arm/ hand and oddly, he had to be overseen by my midwife doing that. It occurred to me that it was odd that the anesthetist who was going to put a needle in my spine of all places, needed supervision from a midwife, but at that point, I was so desperate for pain relief that I would've let a toddler do the spinal block on me; paralyse me for all I care as long as I don't feel this anymore! So I didn't mention it. Cannula went in, but the plasters didn't stick very well. Again, I didn't pay too much attention to it, too busy being in the most horrifying pain of my life and also: I started throwing up.

All of a sudden, the whole thing became like a scene from fawlty towers or monthy python or something.

I was throwing up, while having massive and frequent contractions, the anesthetist was ready in good old scrubs and disinfected gloves plus mask with all is little surgery equipment on a table, his boss, was there as well to 'oversee' (again: I thought: what?! is a student going to put a needle in my spine, but then couldn't care less), then all of a sudden 2 new midwives came in to alleviate the one for lunch (lunch seemed like the oddest concept to me at that point, too normal for the state that I was in) and then there was Andy, too. So there were about 7 people plus myself in one room, I was throwing up, and then, I was asked to sit on the bed with my back arched towards the anesthetist for the best way to administer the epidural. I could hardly do anything with that pain, but ok, I tried. When I went to sit down, I didn't sit down 'the right' way, so the midwife asked me to move and as I tried, the cannula (from earlier) popped out of my arm, as did about half a litre of blood! It sprayed out like mad!

Nice one.

And while under more normal circumstances I would've freaked out a bit to see so much blood squirt out of my arm, under these circumstances, I just rolled my eyes and hoped that someone was on the case as I had other things to be busy with.

So then everything got a bit fawlty tower-esque with one midwife running over to try stop the bleeding, another getting me another puke bucket, Andy picking the cannula up off the floor, other people looking confused at the labouring, bleeding, puking woman screaming obscenities. Crazy chaos moment that was.

Then when all had calmed down a bit and my arm had stopped spraying blood, one of the midwives said: 'I think we'd better check how far you're dilated because I think you might be quite far, and if you're near 10 already, the epidural will be useless as it takes about an hour to do it all and by then you may have already given birth'.

Really, really, not the thing I wanted to hear: more stalling. But, she made sense. Also, the boss of the dude who was going to put a needle in my spine said that it would be a shame to go through having an epidural done with all the risks involved and then not have any use of it.

So, even more reluctantly I agreed to be checked again. Yep. almost 10 cms now, so epidural is really not a good idea (according to everyone in the room apart from me).

Ok, why not go in the birthing pool? Cool, I liked that idea as Dylan was born in that very same pool. They filled up the bath, I went in, and then the pushing part started. Only, I was so so exhausted, so fed up, so in pain, that I wasn't pushing 'right'. I knew from last time round how to push, it's like this:

Open up, go with the downwards pressure, don't bear against it in order to brace against the pain, noooo, open up your 'canals' and willingly decide to be in even more pain than you were before.

In other words: you need to go against what you instinctively want to do: brace against the pain, and willingly open yourself up to be in even more pain. So it's like telling someone to walk into a fire, or walk over glass. No one in their right mind wants to do that.

So, for a very long time, I kept 'bracing against' the pain, which effectively means I was doing a sort of clenching thing, 'down there' and not opening up the way for Elliot, but 'opening up' was just so so painful, I could not get myself to do it. The midwives kept saying: bear down into your bum etc. t this point though I was SO fed up that at some point I said to the midwife: 'please, can't you knock me out or something and cut this baby out of me?' They laughed!! And I said: 'this is REALLY not meant to be funny, I'm very VERY  serious'. When they told me that wasn't possible, my brain started scheming. I remember thinking: 'hey, isn't there a drug that stops / slows down contractions? if they give me that, then they can put in epidural and then they can start contractions again using pitocin' ha ha. I was totally out of it, but I was so clear headed about this plan. I remember just thinking to myself: 'How can I convince them, this is a good idea?'

I spent too long pushing in the bath. At some point, instinctively I wanted to get out of the bath, I felt I needed to be more upright. Use gravity. So after about 2 hrs in the bath I got out and went back to the room. I panicked a bit, because Dylan was born in the water and I didn't know how to give birth 'on land'. I couldn't lie on the bed, lying down was the last thing I wanted to do, so, I stood in front of the window and saw this iron bar attached to it. It was the perfect 'holding on to' bar.

So I stood in the room for a while longer and I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden I found some kind of strength within me that I didn't know I had. From whence I do not know it came! I was like a woman I didn't know, like a primal cave woman who stood upright, with slightly bent knees and I started to fucking push. And it came with such strength and primal force, it wasn't me anymore, it was I dunno, some kind of flintstone in there that did it all.

Then, I thought the head was out, and this, for me is the most painful part of the whole birthing thing. As I thought the head was out, I thought the midwives would started pulling Elliot out, but they didn't do anything, so all of a sudden I heard this voice scream, no squeal: 'pull him out!! pull him out!! why aren't you pulling him out?!!!' And all of a sudden I realised it was MY voice screaming this, but I had never heard it at that pitch and with that hint of craziness before! Then like 5 voices were screaming back at me! Which was confusing as I didn't know who to zone in on, so I just kept screaming back: 'pull him out!! pull him out!!' Then, I heard a male voice cute through it all say: 'You need to hold you breath and push again - into your bum'. Ok, so this was clear, I had to push more. So I pushed more, and more and more.

Turned out that when I thought the head was out, he was only crowning! So I pushed and pushed and pushed and I remember screaming in pain while half hanging off that bar, half falling through my knees until I felt all of his limbs and his entire body fall out of me.

The relief of that moment is indescribable. It's over. It's over. It's over. Hallelujah. It's over. 

Apparently Elliot had a lot of the cord entangled around his body (not his neck), so it was a bit of struggle giving him to me, but they managed. And as hard as this labour was, I remember being instantly concerned for babe, wanting to know if he was ok, and then I held him! And all was instantly beautiful. (Though a little sore, down there).

Then, there is this beautiful peace and joy and happy stuff. The after care is something I really enjoy. They do your stitches if you need them, make you a nice bath, make you toast, give you drinks etc. You get to chat (and apologise) to everyone and you're just generally in an oxytocin bliss which is just wonderful. Also, you're just so happy you're not in pain anymore and then there is the wonder of getting to know your new baby!

Oh another hilarious thing happened. So I needed some stitches and they gave me gas and air to deal with the pain. I only ever had 2 puffs of gas and air with Dylan which had no effect, so I didn't think gas and air was going to do anything for me. But they said to use it anyway and inhale really fast and deep. And so I did and got instantly massively stoned!! LOL! I couldn't stop laughing, it was HILARIOUS. I used it twice and the second time I used it right when something was really painful, so I inhaled even faster and deeper and then I saw black and said: 'oh noooo, I think I overdosed!!' While still giggling through that too!

That gas and air stuff is truly funny, and the moment you stop inhaling you're back again. It wears off within seconds!

So then Elliot was checked over and we were released after 6hrs! We were home by midnight.

And now, we're doing the early newborn thing of no sleep and trying to adjust back into life. We are totally in love with Elliot, he is amazing. And Dylan is coping so well now.

It's a remarkable thing, this life. I'm blessed and grateful. : ) <3

Thanks to all for reading if you've made it this far!

Monday 21 November 2011

You are not alone in this

So, I'm sitting here a few hours away from going in to hospital to possibly have my labour induced. I'm having very mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, I realise that not inducing can pose a risk to baby as the placenta tends to become less efficient after 42 weeks (though some sources say the placenta starts to become less efficient over 48 weeks, the info is conflicted on this). Also, the baby can become big which can cause problems during delivery (shoulder dislocation for one), it is also more likely to pass meconium into the water and if baby inhales it, it can cause pneumonia.  Instead of 1 out of 1000 babies being stillborn before 42 weeks, the figure goes up to 2 out of 1000 when they stay in over 42 weeks.

On the other hand, induction comes with its own potential problems: prostaglandin pessaries and/or synthetic oxytocin can bring on stronger than usual contractions which can cause the baby to go into distress. It can also mean that I'm more likely to want/ need pain relief which can mean a need for more intervention.

More than this. I don't feel emotionally ok with the idea of induction. If feels like a version of aggressive eviction: "you must get out now because we say so" type thing. I know that this isn't rational and possibly very hormone influenced, but I want my baby's very first choice in life to be 'his own'. Ie: I'd love for him (or my body whichever actually makes that decision) to make the choice to come out. Not me or a bunch of medical people. Why would a baby stay inside if it doesn't need to? That question keeps coming to me. Surely nature knows what it's doing, no?

Don't get me wrong. I know this is not intended as anything other than keeping him safe. It's not really the case here in the UK that the medical guys induce for reasons such as lawsuits and covering their own back sides, so I do appreciate and understand the care with which these decisions are made.

And still. It feels too aggressive to me. Why would a baby stay in, if it's not healthy for him? What is wrong in my body or with him to stay in without needing to? It makes no sense.

The other worry I have is about Dylan. I particularly feel very stressed about the idea that he might wake up at night and doesn't have me but the neighbour or a family friend (who are both awesome btw) tend to him (he loves them both, but it's so much more vulnerable and weird when you wake up and everything is suddenly different and your mummy isn't there as usual).

I had a massive cry about this last night. I just want Dylan to be ok and not be traumatised by the experience of suddenly finding his mother missing in action. We've prepared him immensely about the baby coming and I have no problem with me being away during the days or early mornings, but it's that night time thing where we are so close and I've never been away from him at night, that the thought of him finding me gone kills me. (The weird thing is: he's probably going to be all right and this probably just my own projections, but still, that thought just kills me).

With induction, there is also a chance that everything takes longer and that I have to stay in hospital longer. I seriously dislike staying in hospital anyway, but to be away from the little Dylbee in the nights is another killer on top of it.

So, I'm considering postponing proper induction until at least Thursday which is when I've properly reached 42 weeks. I might ask them later today to do another cervical sweep and just give me the 24hr pessary (which a milder pessary - still prostaglandin - they insert and then send you home for 24hrs), to give this babe another few days to start it all himself (with help from the pessary and the sweep - hopefully).

Labour dust and peaceful thoughts are welcomed at the moment. I want to feel strong about it, but I'm mostly quite emotional and am on the verge of tears a lot. Just want both the bambinos to be ok.

I want to thank everyone who's been leaving messages, been following me on FB and leaving sweet messages of support and love. It means so much to me, I get totally emotional just thinking about how sweet everyone has been. <3 You people are amazing.

Love to all. xoox

PS. A special special heartfelt shout out to my neighbour Corrina who has been offering the most amazing unconditional support when it comes to this (ready to be late for work, leave early from work, come to our house in the night to be with Dylan etc - she makes me cry with her kindness). <3

Monday 14 November 2011

The waiting game

Well gosh! We did not expect this babe to take his sweet old time as he's doing at the moment. You see, little Dylbee came bang on his due date, so we sort of assumed this one was going to do a similar thing! He was due on the 10th and it's now the 14th, almost the 15th! (I know some babies go way over than just 4/5 days, but still!)

All household labour inducing remedies have been tried and none seem to have much of an effect. Gah. I don't mind him being late, but but but, I don't like the idea of being induced, and soon the medical people are going to be a bit twitchy and will want to interfere a bit. Also, the longer he takes, the bigger he'll be and the harder he'll be to push out! And, lastly; the placenta can start to deteriorate as well. All not fun things. So, I ask the bubba to please decide to come out sort of before this Wednesday (which is when my next midwife appt is and when she's probably going to offer me a "cervical sweep").

So, it feels like we're in a bit of a 'twilight zone' at the moment. I hadn't made any concrete plans for this week, or any plans at all but be with babe etc! Now, I find myself with a lot more time and space to do stuff (though my energies are incredibly low, so I mostly do low key painting and blogging and things like that, earlier, I had a nap too, it's slow low key pace type of thing :)). 

I made a few paintings! I call them 'wacky hair ladies'.  Hee hee. I already posted 'Lou Lou' the other day, and here are 3 more! Ariana, Made of Butterflies and Smokey: 



I think the last one's face looks a bit like Tori Amos though it wasn't intended. :) It's real fun making these guys. I'm experimenting with spray inks and stencils, something I haven't done some much in the past. Also, there is loads of rubber stamping and brayering going on in these pieces.

If you're interested in buying any of them (though Ariana is sold already), have a look at my new art blog solely dedicated to the sales of my original art (I used to have shop on my site, but with the new dynamic blogger system, it's much easier to maintain a shop/ sale place like this now, yay!).

My new blog is here:

So, anyway, no babe yet, so I'm around, though I'm low key on da intarwebs. :)

I AM however still signing up new students for Life Book and other courses.
If you want to join the 400+ students who've already joined Life Book, make sure to sign up 

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Lou Lou & the waiting game

Lou Lou - detail 2

So, today is 3 days away from the official due date. I am swollen, huge and exhausted. Walking is a thing of the past, sitting I do fine and lying down I do quite well too. My concentration is waxing and waning, but I feel so much passion for the work that I do and my family, my Andy, Dylan, this new babe about to grace our lives. I feel privileged and blessed and so very very lucky.

I manage to sneak in little bits of art time here and there and have finished a new portrait, I call her Lou Lou. :)

Lou Lou - full painting

It was fun doing the layering in the hair. I've been playing with a few new materials lately: spray inks and acrylics inks. Yum. But guess what, I dropped a bottle of acrylics ink on the bottom of this painting!! Such a waste! I hadn't fastened the lid tightly enough! I managed to salvage the painting though and in a way it was kind of a 'happy accident' as it gave an interesting extra layer!

Here another detail shot:

Lou Lou - detail 1 
Lou Lou is for sale, msg me if you're interested. 

So, other than that; it's the waiting game now. We're all set, we've got all the hospital bags ready, house is ready to greet the new little one. I'm really excited about meeting this new babe, also; weary of the birthing process (my only consolation around doing this again is that they say that a second baby is much quicker!) Fingers crossed, fingers crossed, fingers crossed! I'm not looking forward to going through that kind of pain again, but hey, it's gotta be done!

Also, of course, wondering about the impact this will have on little Dylan. I very much hope it's not going to be too unsettling for him. And then also, I hope that the birth will go ok and that babe comes out happy and healthy (there is always the small fear about something going wrong!) And there is still the naming thing. Neither one of us is really excited about any of our chosen 'maybe names' which I don't like. I'm hoping that maybe during the birthing process a name will come to me that overrides all of the ones on our list, otherwise, we're going to look at him and then decide. It's been so hard this time round to find a name for babe!

Anyhoo! In other news, I've just published the WEEKLY year schedule for Life Book which looks amazing! Click on the image below if you want to download it too, it looks just DELICIOUS to me! If I didn't run this course myself, I'd definitely go on it. Ha ha! 

(Just click on the image to download the PDF).


Want to join the 360+ students 
who have already joined Life Book?! 

Thursday 27 October 2011


24 x 16 inches on wood

For Sale

£149 GBP
(approx $239 USD)
+ shipping

Last week, I was lying on a hospital bed with my head in a cupboard. For some reason I thought it was poetic, to be lying with one's head in a cupboard (the bed folds out from a cupboard down). Next to me, in his own bed, lies my 26 month old son with breathing difficulties. He's got an oxygen level monitor taped to his toe and an oxygen dispersing pipe taped to his t-shirt blowing concentrated oxygen into his little face to help him 'work less hard' to keep 'his sats' up. When you're healthy, your oxygen saturation is around 97/98/100%. When Dylan first came into hospital it started at 88%. They think it was bronchiolitis and if you don't help a little one breathe when they have this, they can become too tired from working too hard to get the oxygen in which can - in serious cases - be fatal or at least cause some kind of 'not so fun things' to the brain. So, I kept watching the little red numbers go up and down, 91%, 88%, 94%, 96% and tried to be ok with yet another nurse forcing a nebuliser or ventilator on him which terrified him.

The first night, sleep was horrific, though Dylan - so tired - slept through all the noise. Wards are really not my thing and if I could decide where my tax money goes it would be on health and education only and first priority is to create single rooms-only in all hospitals. Wards are not conducive to healing. Sleep and good food are top priority to overcome illness and the hospitals don't provide either of those. Ridunkulous.

There is something so inexplicably difficult and painful about seeing your own child suffer. To see the fear in their eyes, to see them going through uncomfortable (or downright painful) experiences. It requires such a zen mind on the part of the parent, to 'let suffering be' and be strong so that you can be there to process it with your child afterwards. It requires a type of strength that I didn't think I needed to have. What your child needs is for you to be strong and there for them, but when you see them kick and scream against the people who hold him down to put a mask on his face, all you want to do is break down, fall apart and scream and kick too. (Particularly when you are 8.5 months pregnant).

Luckily, I've been told by a friend (who is also a child psychologist) that the key thing for a child not to be scarred for life from a traumatic experience is to be able to process the experience afterwards in however way they need to. If there is no adequate outlet to process the experience, it is much more likely that long term scarring might occur.

So, empathy is needed after the trauma. A way to express without being told 'you're wrong to feel that way' or to be dismissed for what you were feeling, nor to be told that you 'should be a big boy' or to be denied that the experience was the way it was for him. A child needs to be able to express and then be reflected back to. So, the reflecting back would sound like: "you were really scared weren't you, when they put the mask on your face?" - "you really didn't like when they put the tape on your toe" - "it was very upsetting for you when daddy had to hold you down, wasn't it"? It's a simple reflecting back of what he was feeling - no need to say: "but it had to happen", "you don't have to feel that way" etc.

Within the NVC process of communication there is an element called 'empathy giving' and this is what we use when Dylan is distressed. Whenever he is upset and we empathise with him, he calms down within minutes. All he needs to know is that he is being understood and heard around his pain. Sometimes we offer a small explanation as to why what happened, happened, but not usually before he's calmed down. When he is upset, we reflect and reflect and empathise. It is an amazing way of providing support for someone in distress.

I am incredibly grateful for this tool as I am always worried that some of his experiences might 'scar him for life'. I'm so glad to know that most long term scarring can really be avoided as long as the traumatic event is properly processed and empathised with.

Dreamscape - detail

24 x 16 inches on wood
For Sale
£149 GBP
(approx $239 USD)
+ shipping

When we were finally allowed to go home (I sobbed in front of doctors who told me we had to stay another night - not because I was worried for Dylan - he was doing fine - but because I thought I'd go insane having to stay there another night! At some point I hysterically exclaimed: 'If I'm going to have stay here another night, you're going to have another patient!' - Crazy pregnant lady alert that was), Andy fell ill!

Now, we're a week later, and we had planned a 'baby 2 day' yesterday to get all final preps finished for the next arrival (due in 2 weeks) and: our childminder fell ill! (She still is today).

So, 2/3 weeks before giving birth, one bit of chaos after another jumps into my lap! Is the universe trying to tell me something you think? ;) Are these ominous signs from the babe to come to warn me to prepare for a chaotic child? ;) Or, is this the 'storm before the silence'? I hope so! Ha ha.

Anyway, as you can imagine, I'm tired now.

And on top of all of this, I have continued with all my driving lessons (my practical exam is on 3rd of November, lol, which is a week before due date). Talk about too much on your plate eh. But hey, I do like me a good big meal! Although I don't always eat it all.

Dylan is fine now and he continues to grow physically and cognitively on a daily basis. Yesterday, he started singing 'baa baa black sheep' out of nowhere but with all made up words, it went something like this:

"Baa baa back sha habboo any wuuuul? Yes sa yes sa dee bag ool". That sort of thing just makes me so crazy happy. It's those moments that make every hard thing worthwhile. I wouldn't give that up for anything.

Andy is also ok, we're just now waiting for the childminder to find her footing again. We did manage to get some stuff done for babe 2 yesterday, but it's like this poor one is not going to get the royalty treatment Dylan got.

I'm ok too, but tired, have to pee every 2 hours at night, stomach feels like 6 basketballs packed tightly together and when I sit down I have to have my legs wide to let the stomach hang in between them. Charming no? ;)

I'm still passionately working on Life Book - people continue to sign up which is also SO happy making (we now have over 300 students!!) ! And I'm about to publish the weekly year schedule, so that everyone can see what will happen on a weekly basis! How cool is that?

Here are some more detail shots of my newest painting I did a week or so ago. I love this painting a lot, one of my most favourite ones that I've done. :)

Dreamscape - detail

Dreamscape - detail

Dreamscape - detail

Dreamscape - detail

Dreamscape - detail

Dreamscape - detail

Dreamscape - detail

24 x 16 inches on wood

For Sale
£149 GBP
(approx $239 USD)
+ shipping

Back to work lovely people. I hope everyone is doing well and sparkly. :) Big hugs! 

Do you want to join the 300 + Life Book Students and have an awesome year of art making in 2012? 


Wednesday 12 October 2011

Me, new art, life and 'surrogate suffering'.

WIP - trinity

So, it's about time to do a bloggie about me don't you think? I know, you've been dying to read more about my life, haven't you!? ;)

Well, I'm almost 36 weeks pregnant, round round round, busy, crazy busy and in love with my family and the world. That would sum it up pretty much.

Ah, you want more detail. I get that. ;)

Ok, well, here is how round I am:

I know, you *really* wanna do a belly swap with me right? ;)

Well, I'm pretty much consumed with 2 things at the moment: being pregnant and almost giving birth to babe nr 2 and Life Book. Then also, of course: Dylan and Andy, sleeping, trying to keep my sanity and eating chocolate muffins are also high on the list. Oh, I also try to take a few moments each day to relax and I paint to relax. The above image is a detail shot of a recent painting I've been working on. Those who follow me on Facebook will have seen it already. I've been experimenting with combining different face styles together. The face in the lower part of the painting is a stylised face and the other two are much more realistic. The top two are done through a different technique: paint-over acrylic's transfer (similar to paint-over collage). I'm not sure if I like the combination of the different styles. I like them all separately, but not sure if they go together. Interestingly, on FB there is a varied response, some people love the combination of different styles, others don't!

Here is the painting in its entirety, but it's not finished yet, still in progress, also, this pic was taken with iphone, so it's not the greatest pic of it:

The baby bump is so big at the moment that I'm really ready to have him out. But, I'm almost 36 weeks, so have to wait just a little longer. After 37 weeks he's ok to come any time apparently. Dylan came bang on his due date though, so if this dude is anything like him, he might do the same and I'll have to sit it out for another 4 weeks! Then of course: the whole birthing thing again; NOT looking forward to that bit in particular, but hey, it'll have to happen, ha ha.

Now, Andy and I are pondering on how to best prepare for babe nr 2. There are a lot of unknowns: how's Dylan going to respond? How much will this impact our current way of living (again! lol!), how will we organise all the night time arrangements etc.

No doubt it'll be almost as life altering again as when Dylbee graced us with his presence, yet, we don't really know it yet. Oy ve! Ha.

Speaking of Dylbee who is now 2 years and 2 months old. Woah, time flies! He is many things in the span of a week: hysterical, beautiful, amazing, annoying, stinky, wonderful, growing with leaps and bounds, expanding his vocabulary on a daily basis (he's recently started doing this thing where he tries to copy almost everything we say, including: when I call out for Andy, I call: 'Andy? Babe!?' and Dylan is now doing the same, he goes: "Daddy?! Daddy?! Babe!?" but the 'babe' sounds more like 'bep'. Ha ha! It's hysterical. I can't stop laughing every time he does it)! It's truly incredible watching him grow and develop. It's so fast now. Every day it's like he's a different person with more awareness and understanding. And the love, oh the love for this little being, sometimes it floods me and overwhelms me with such magnitude, it knocks me off my feet.

Here are some pics of him:

Dylbee swing

Dylbee slide

Dylbee sand

Zen stones Dylbee collected Zen stones grabbed 
(These were 'zen' stones that Dylbee collected and I laid them out nicely in a row, very zen no? ;))

And here is some new art I hadn't shared yet, these are new journal pages: 

Art Journal Sept 2011

Also, here are my first Life Book pages! :-)
These are the pages I'm creating in the first few lessons for Life Book! Eeee!
Exciting no? :)
Life Book - 2012

lb-3-700Life Book - 2012

Life Book - 2012

Life Book - 2012

  Life Book - 2012
Life Book - 2012

Life Book - 2012

Life Book - 2012

Life Book - 2012

Other than that, I'm ok, but I do still go through phases where I do this thing where I read something horrible (like a 10 month old who has been kidnapped or a 2 year old with leukemia) or hurricanes, earthquakes, wars and people going through tremendous suffering and then I imagine it happening to me and I then can't stop crying. I've always been an empathetic person, but since I've had Dylan this has become 'worse'. I put 'worse' in inverted commas as I think empathy is brilliant of course, but I also think what I do isn't necessarily empathy, but more a sort of "surrogate suffering" that is 'useless'. Ie: how am I helping anyone, by imagining my own child having leukemia or being kidnapped and then crying about it? 

I think this behaviour actually stems from stuff that happened in my childhood, what I mean is, when I 'suffered' in childhood due to bullying and other things, I didn't feel anyone cared, and I think subconsciously I think that if I do the 'surrogate suffering' for these people who are going through these terrible things, I somehow express 'care' and 'solidarity' which is almost like I'm giving myself empathy, care and solidarity for the stuff I went through when I was young. So by expressing care and sadness for other people's suffering, I'm also sending myself the same on some level.

I know, it seems perhaps convoluted and roundabout, but I think I'm onto something here. 

There is the additional fact, of course, that I really do care for people and their suffering. Truly, if I had one wish in the world, it would be to erase all suffering (or at least: certain types of suffering that seems too painful for me - certain type of suffering should just not be 'allowed'), but I also think when I do this 'solidarity crying', it's about me and deeper stuff about me. 

Additionally, the fact that horrible things like leukemia and kidnapping etc happens to little ones, does make me feel fearful and worried about what could happen to my own children. Imagining Dylan with cancer just absolutely devastates me in so many ways and on so many levels. And then I think: but this IS happening to some people! And that's how I get into a crying sessions, imagining how those parents must be feeling etc etc. See? Useless no? How is that helping anyone? 

And of course, this 'behaviour' is very non-zen or being in the now. It's all about future projection, attachment and 'false suffering'. (Well, it isn't 'false' as I am suffering, but I'm crying about an imaginary situation: Dylan having cancer or being kidnapped (!)). 

The other thing that is going for me too is that: all children in the world are Dylans to me. It's isn't less 'bad' that it's happening to someone else's child, it's as painful to me to see a little 2 year old starve to death in Ethiopia as to see a 2 year old in France battling cancer or Dylan going through something horrendous. 

Anyway, I try to be more present to just the now and tell myself that if such a horrendous thing DID happen to me, I'd have to deal with it then and not suffer for it now, but at times I just can't help myself and just tears keep flooding out of me. I suppose preggo hormones don't help either. 

Byron Katie helps me too with this, though her 'work' is quite radical and one needs to live it continuously. Also, at times it feels devoid of empathy. Anyhoo, the other day, this vid of hers helped me: 


and also this one always helps me as it's about fear of 'something in the future', worrying about a projected potential future (that is totally me): 


and lastly this one also mighty helpful: 


I just watched all of those and I'm actually feeling a lot lighter again. 

But anyway, I go through phases of just feeling absolutely aggrieved by what goes on in the world and feel lost as to how to deal with it. Byron Katie and Tolle are my usual go to guys to feel more balanced and leveled, but the outbursts often come back. I suppose their work is something I need to integrate into my life on a daily basis.

Don't want to end this on a slightly sad note, I'm not sad now, just wanted to share this with the world out there, as I feel sharing this sort of stuff often helps others too and I'm all about wanting to be authentic and open, so there! :-) Let me know if you understand/ relate? 

On a VERY happy note: Life Book has just exploded with sign ups, this makes me soooo happy I could cry happy tears! :) I'm also very excitedly writing up the detailed WEEKLY year outline (we're doing something every week, even though small things on some weeks), which is just so cool! And I'm super excited about having 2 more teachers join instead of Leonie! (I'll be introducing them on my blog this week and next week too). They are Kylie Fowler and Tracy Verdugo!

Registration is still open if you want to join the 220 + students who have already joined!


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