Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Not one of my finer moments...

So I got into of one of my more amusing predicaments whilst on placement this summer. You see, just as luck would have it, I landed myself a week on a beautiful yard in Newmarket. 

It was my first day - six in the morning, standing on the Heath with the lovely head lass, Sarah, watching as the horses disappeared off into the morning haze. Life for a wannabe equine vet just didn’t get any better than this. But it wasn’t long before my bliss was rudely interrupted by what we’ll call a typical Louise moment…I was asked by one of the Baker McVeigh vets who was attending to the horses on the yard if I wanted to go with him and his assistant to castrate a few horses.

No need to ask twice, really!  You see, just like every other nerdy vet student, a vet only needs to hint towards the word surgery, and I will be tripping over myself to be there!

So eventually Tristan the vet, his assistant Taff, and I, all jump into this jeep. I can’t honestly say there was a huge amount of chat from the vet – on first impressions he was one of the more serious intellectual variety. His assistant, on the other hand, was just about as friendly a guy as you could meet, so pretty much kept the silence to a minimum.

Anyway, just as we pull up to the gates of what could have easily been mistaken for Buckingham Palace, I reached down to undo my seat belt, only to realise that there was no release button!

“Oh dear,” I thought, whilst trying to answer the generic “how are you finding the course” questions he was courteously asking.

I started searching quietly yet somewhat frantically to see if there was something I could jam inside the buckle to release the belt. “Yeah, it’s great, love the course, amazing!” I said, as I pulled the belt out to try and give myself some space.

“So what topics are you covering at the moment?” he asked.

“Errmmm - anatomy and ermmm…” - but, just as I said that, the belt locked. Not good!

I tried to let it go to see if it would loosen; of course, it didn’t. Instead, it simply ratcheted me in tighter.

“Anatomy..? Oh, right,” he said, no doubt assuming I was very engaged with the veterinary curriculum. NOT!

Basically, it was like one of those moments that perhaps you may have had as a child where you have just spilt something everywhere, and you are trying really hard to clean it up before anyone notices.

Only, nothing I was doing was working.

The jeep eventually rolled to a stop outside the bustling tack room. The vet and his assistant jumped out and headed over to speak to the boss.

“Think, Louise!” I found a pen down the side of the door and jammed it down the buckle, but unsurprisingly, that didn’t work either! I was desperately trying to think of my next course of action when, all of a sudden, the door was flung open.

“Are you coming then, or what?” Tristan said. 

“Yes, but give me a moment - I’m just a bit stuck here.”

“Oh, the seat belt - sorry! I forgot to tell you it doesn’t work.”

Amazing! I thought…how very helpful!

“Right, one second,” he said, racing around to the other side to try and get it loose, but it wasn’t budging.

“Okay, wait a moment.” By this stage we had several jockeys watching on in amusement.

He rustled around in the back of the jeep, then came round to my door with a pair of surgical scissors. “We are going to have to cut you out!”

“What! It’s fine, I can just stay in the car whilst you do the castrations…” I gabbled.

“Right, but then what are you planning on doing?”

Good point. “Okay,” I said, “there’s nothing else for it. Just let me see if I can squeeze out of this.” So, in least dignified fashion you have ever witnessed, and with what was, at this stage, a packed audience looking on from the tack room, I slid out of the truck hands first with these two distinguished gentlemen who were supposed to be helping me to freedom doubled over laughing.  Eventually, I landed on the ground (minus one boot and a sock that had been caught on the belt).

Therein lay the first of many (thankfully not all so undignified ) lessons of the week - do not take yourself too seriously, because when you end up getting yourself stuck in the sh*t, you are going to have to get yourself unstuck by whatever means necessary - which brings me back to the story,

“What do you mean, you don’t want to be a nurse?” Judith (the head nurse) exclaimed. “Why did you apply?

“Well, actually, I didn’t exactly apply to be a nurse, but I thought if it was something that I was going to have to do to get the job then I would.”

“Huh?” she said.

“I want to be a vet,” I said, awaiting the all-too-predictable response.

“Right…” Her look was slowly changing from confusion to scepticism. “But…”
Before she could finish I interrupted - “I know what you are going to say, but I still reckon I could make it work.”

“Um…okay…I’m not really sure what to say to you?” she said - but now her tone was more one of pity. “I have no problem with your work, Louise - but I am going to have to speak to the bosses and see that they say.”

A day or two later, Judith came down from the operating theatre and said that Mr. Grant wanted a word with me upstairs.

“Hello,” I said, as I knocked, and popped my head round the huge dark wood Victorian door of his office.

“Hello, Louise. Come in,” he said, whilst pointing to the seat.

“So, I hear that we have got our wires crossed somewhere?”

“No, no, it’s not that. I am more than happy to do the veterinary nursing course if it means I can stay! It’s just that, well….you see…”

“You want to be a vet,” he said bluntly, finishing my sentence for me.

He lent back in his chair and smiled. “Well…”

If I’m honest, I assumed he was going to start reeling off the list of reasons why I wasn’t going to be able to do it - but, instead, he just asked curiously, “Why do you want to be a vet Louise?”

And before I even had the chance to think of how to respond he said, “Look, you’re a young mother with a 9-5 job, you have most evenings and weekends off, and you are not burdened with an excessive amount of responsibility. You don’t want to have to deal with people calling you at 3am, then have to go to some field in the middle of nowhere to sort out a down cow.”

I couldn’t do anything but stare at him blankly. Everything he was saying was true, what on earth was I thinking! This plan was borderline insanity. In my head I was agreeing with him, but in my heart this was all I had ever wanted to do, and I knew if I only got the chance that I could be good at it.

“I know,” I said, “I know it sounds crazy, and I have no idea how I’m going to get there, but there is one thing I do know - that, somehow, I am going to find a way to do it.”

“Well then,” he said, with the look of scepticism all over his face, “if that’s the case there’s nothing more to be said. There’s no point in you doing veterinary nursing if all you want to do is become a vet.”

Oh dear, I thought, not good, not good… 

“You had best get back to work.”


“Does that mean I can stay?!?”

“Yes,” he said, “I suppose it does.”

“Thank you so, so much!”

I remember walking out of work that day thinking - that’s the hardest bit sorted! Now all I have to do is finish my equine science course and apply to vet school…

But, little did I know, things where only just getting warmed up…

Thursday, 31 August 2017

You know what? Other parents LIE!

When you have a newborn people keep telling you that “things get easier once they start sleeping all night” - but what they don’t tell you is that this could actually be five years down the line, and, if you have any other kids in-between, you can add another five years onto that! All in all, I reckon that I’ve spent nine solid years waking up at night to little footsteps on their way to the bathroom, or coming in to tell you that there is a goblin in their bedroom then since you are too exhausted to drag yourself out of bed to ensure said goblin has vacated the premises, they end up in bed beside you, and proceed to kick you in the face the rest of the night.

Another good one is this - “aww, it’s great when they can get ready all by themselves”. Um, NO! It’s really not. You try telling a four-year old that they can’t wear goggles and wellie boots out for dinner with the in-laws!

And, of course, here’s the lie of the century - “once you have had one the rest are a breeze!” Folk should actually have to do time for this comment, because it lures poor unsuspecting parents into a false sense of security…and then BAM!  There you sit, with baby number three, feeling like you have just been hit by a freight train!

Anyhow, the reason I say this is because I think we all underestimate the fact that our gorgeous little bundles of joy don’t take long to grow into gorgeous little rascals (that have not so little opinions!) For example, just over a month ago, a new addition joined the Samuel-Napier household; a beautiful little tabby kitten who has, due to one thing and another, remained nameless. Until after dinner today, finally, I decided enough was enough,

“Family meeting!” I called, to my peril. “Right. We need to name this darn cat, and, more importantly, we all need to agree on it!”

(FYI, if you ever need to brush up on your negotiation skills, you should try chairing a meeting with a nine, six and five year old - oh, and your other half, who in this case may as well have counted as another 5 year old…)

Eventually, they came up with four names: Henry, Cecil, Peter, and Eustace.

I know right!? Whatever happened to Fluffy or Sooty? However, the last cat was called Edmund, so this one didn’t stand a chance. After about thirty minutes of chairing the meeting from hell (which involved tears, children storming out and my husband and I staring daggers across the table at one another) the cat is now lovingly been named Benjamin!

(Just to clarify - I absolutely love being a Mum, and it is the best most entertaining job in the world, but it’s also the trickiest. So, when you get your kids into bed in the evening (mostly) in one piece after a long day, don’t forget to give yourself a quick pat on the back.)

Back a few years now.

I found myself in the waiting room of the most beautiful old Victorian building, nervous as anything. It was the day of my interview.

“Hi there! Can I help you?” asked the friendly brunette receptionist.

“Yes, hello. My name is Louise - I’m here for an interview with Mr Grant & Mr Fitzsimons?”

“No problem. Take a seat, and they’ll be with you in a moment.”          

God, Louise, please don’t mess this up, I thought, as I fanned myself with the Petplan leaflets trying very hard not to sweat through my top.

Eventually, I was ushered into the office, where there sat two relaxed-looking gentlemen eating lunch and radiating a distinct smell of horse.

“Hello, Louise, My name is Cathal and this is Liam.”

“Nice to meet you,” I said, as I leaned over to shake their hands.

“So you want to be a veterinary nurse?”

“Errrr….yes.” Well you ought to now you silly mare, I thought.

Anyway after a fairly lengthy conversation that mainly consisted of me trying to explain my recent decision for a “career change” however very purposely failing to mention that it was, in fact, because I wanted to be a Vet (that would have been too much crazy for a first meeting).
One of the partners eventually announced that they would be more that happy for me to enrol on the course, and start work the week after next.

“Seriously?” I said, “Have I got the job?”

Next thing I know, I am sitting in a classroom on the first day of term with a very nice group of aspiring Veterinary Nurses, looking worriedly through the huge stack of notes we had just been given, still wandering how the heck I got myself into this. Then, to top it off, one of the vets came in to give us a brief account of the future career we were embarking on and she finished off (I kid you not) by saying - “basically, a lot of your time will be spent cleaning up after the vets.”

Wow, Wow, Wooow ! Sorry WHAT!?!

Since when did it become a thing that people don’t clean up after themselves? Yes, I know we all need a hand from time to time, but surely vets aren’t that inefficient?

(It turns out they are! Not all, might I stress, but definitely a fair few… *cough* mainly men…yeah…you know who you are!)

A few weeks later, I was settling well into work at the practice - so well, in fact, that I was totally oblivious to the storm that was brewing behind the scenes.
I had just sat down to ten o’clock tea when I was called into the head nurses’ office.

“Louise, as I’m sure you are aware that I really was not happy with the situation under which you started.”

What is she on about? I thought. She had been a little distant, but I assumed it was just because she was busy. “Um?” I said sheepishly. “I’m not quite sure what you mean?”

As it turned out she hadn’t quite agreed to this new teaching role she had landed in. In fact, she actually only found out about it the day I started (awkward!).
“Basically, I already have a huge workload as it is, and I didn’t agree to having a trainee vet nurse to supervise as well.”

“I see,” I said, panicking that I was about to be given the boot.

“But” she said, “I have spoken to the partners about it and, given that you work hard and seem very keen to learn, I am willing to give it a go and we can start afresh”.

“Okay,” I said. Really still quite confused about what exactly was going on. “So you didn’t actually want a trainee nurse?”

“Correct” she said, without hesitation.

“Hmmm funny you should mention that,” I said jokingly, “because I hadn’t actually planned on becoming one either .”

Suddenly, I wasn’t the only one looking confused…

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Finally Free!

So, having just quit my job in spectacular fashion, I was finally free!

But getting your freedom is one thing - what you are going to do with it is a whole other.

I marched down the stairs and out the front door (with an enormous smile, that I couldn’t wipe off my face). I strolled around Victoria Square several times, and texted various people to tell them about the morning's antics. Eventually deciding to grab a coffee and take some time to think seriously about what just happened.

Now, according to my friends, I’m a bit of a curious being, one such reason for their conclusions is that I talk to myself a lot, but apparently that’s not the strangest part, it’s when I start answering myself back that its an issue - an oddity that frequently gets me some bizarre looks and strange reactions depending on what the topic of the day is.

Anyway, on this unfortunate occasion, I found myself standing in the queue at CaffĂ© Nero having just been pondering the mornings’ events, the woman in front of me (a formidable looking character if I might say so) had just ordered three slices of the lemon cheesecake and one of the chocolate.
“I can’t believe you just did that,!” I said chuckling to myself, an unlucky coincidence to say the least.

She swung around with a fearsome looking stare.

“Oops, I said that out loud.” making myself look all the more guilty!

As you might imagine the situation did not end well! Anyway as I sat drinking my coffee that almost cost me my life, as far away form CaffĂ© Nero as I could get before the coffee went cold, the replies to my original “Just quit my job, I’m free!” text began to filter in.

“Haha, whatever Lou! ;)” that one came from my friend Christine.

From Chris - “Are you being serious? If so, have you lost your mind???”

And particularly droll was the one from my Dad. “Right, why? Oh and by the way, freedom’s just another word for; nothing left to lose.” (Big country and western fan, in case you hadn’t guessed).

It was true. Suddenly the enormity of what I had just done began to sink in, and my brain went into overdrive. As quickly as I could convince myself everything was going to be fine, I began to panic that I had just made a massive mistake.

What do I do next?
Calm down, its going to be fine!
How long have I got before I run out of money? The answer to that one was, not long…

Though in the end even with the shadow of uncertainty, the thought of having some control over my life and the chance to spend quality time with my family did massively outweigh the risk.

But when I arrived home, it was to some kind of  ‘intervention’. My family had come to the conclusion I was having a melt down.

“Louise we need to have a chat, what exactly is going on here? We are all quite worried”

“Em, sorry to disappoint folks I am completely fine, oh, and guess what? I’m going to have a career change!”

“Right, okay. And what are you going to do?”

“Veterinary!” I said with a beaming smile on my face.

“Sorry, WHAT?”

“I’m going to be a VET!” Needless to say, that earned me a few concerned sympathy laughs.

“So how exactly are you going to go about this, Louise?” My mum asked, with a look of dismay all over her face.

“Actually, that’s the bit I haven’t quite figured out yet…”

Anyway for the next couple of hours, I was bombarded with various pieces of evidence that may have suggested I had actually lost my mind (which, if I’m honest, was quite convincing) and that I needed to seek some ‘help’. But to be honest if one of my friends had done the same, I would seriously question their state of mind. In the end I gave them all an abrupt “Good night!” and just about left the door on the hinges.

The next morning I got up all the more determined in my quest, fired off my formal resignation in an email before we set off on a week’s holiday; time which I definitely needed to clear my head.
Though, once we returned, I knew I had to get my act together.

First thing’s first, a job!  I wanted to work in mixed practice, but, without any relevant qualifications, these jobs are quite difficult to come by.  So, I decided to apply for a part time degree, distance-learning - it was in equine science (perfect!). First of all, you complete the Cert. then Diploma, and eventually, after the final year, you got a degree. I also began studying to become a SQP (and for those of you who don’t know what this is, basically, it’s short for Suitably Qualified and Perfect - exactly what every practice needs, haha!) Okay, it’s not really - it’s just an ambiguous name for someone who can prescribe certain veterinary medicines.

Anyway, I wrote my CV, which, as you might imagine, proved an unusual read, posted it to literally every mixed practice within a 60 mile radius and hoped that, if all else failed, statistically someone was bound to give me a job.  But the weeks went by without so much as an acknowledgement, one week rolled into the next, and as the days elapsed so eventually did my optimism. I began wandering if this was all a huge mistake. Things were really not looking good at all, and I had no plan B.

Then, some four or more weeks later, out of the blue, I got a phone call from a gentleman asking if I was still interested in a job in their veterinary practice!


“Yes, definitely!” I shouted down the phone, sounding far too over keen.

“Oh, okay, great! We are currently looking for a trainee Vet Nurse, and we would like to offer you an interview.” he said.

“Ohh.” I should have known it wasn’t going to be straightforward.

Veterinary nursing! I thought, that takes three fairly intense years of training and study, without any guarantee of even getting paid!

“Would you be available this week?”

“Urm…yes, I think so,” I said, at the same time wandering why in a month of Sundays did you just agree to that?

“Okay, great, would Friday at 11am suit?”

“Yes, perfect!” I said in an attempt to sound cheery, but now fully convinced I had, in fact, lost the plot.

“Okay, see you then.”

So I had somehow got myself an interview to become a vet nurse, in the furthest away practice I could find, while already having signed up to studying two fairly intense science based courses. It could only happen to me!

There was nothing else for it.

Ring ring. “Hello, Redmount Veterinary Nursing College.”

“Hi there…I was just wandering, do you think it would be possible to study veterinary nursing whilst already studying for a part time degree and an SQP, and if so, how do I apply?”

“Sorry, what?” said the voice on the phone, sounding understandably, utterly bemused. I took a deep breath.

“Well, if you have a moment or two, I can explain…”

Monday, 3 July 2017

The month of STRESS!!

So the glorious British summer has well and truly arrived and although on one hand I don’t really want to dampen the holiday mood, I’m going to wander off the story line this month and talk about …

Stress, stress and guess what?
More STRESS!!!!

So it has been a crazy month to say the least! Over the past few weeks a lot has happened in our (normally very mundane) little lives. A incompatible mix of events to include, blue lights to A & E at 2am, weddings, funerals, surgery, more weddings, car crash, kids birthday parties (Oh… don’t get me started about these!) more escapee guinea pigs…(who have yet to be recaptured), and the MOST annoying new neighbour who has just moved in, in the shape of a bird that sits in the tree next to my bedroom window mimicking a squeaking gate from 4:00am onwards, aye and not to mention my end of year EXAMS!!!

Seriously, it’s as if someone made a pick’n’mix of life events and just fired the bag at us! Which brings me to my first question, did I cope?

Actually wait, so what exactly is coping? Like seriously!?

Well according to the good folk at Oxford dictionaries it is; “The ability of a person to deal effectively with something difficult.” But then who determines whether you’re being effective or not?

So I began to give this whole thing some serious thought and started trying to figure out where I was on the scale of things. I reckon our innate instinct to compare ourselves to people around us (something we do so much we don’t even know we are doing it) causes us to get it wrong time and time again and as it unfolded from my perspective, using this scoring system was literally the WORST idea ever!

The folk in my study group reek of genius, my daughter is best friends with the child of a full time super-mum and my own close friends are childless, glamorous serial holiday goers! If I was scoring 4/10 in any of these categories it was at a push.

So after getting quite annoyed with myself and then with our traditional measuring system I had a sort of light bulb moment…

Constantly judging ourselves against those around us, whose lives we really only see the surface of means we are never going to get an accurate measurement of how we are doing.

Yes I know, none of this is anything new but actually figuring out that it is a completely flawed system and therefore will NEVER be able to give you a true result is actually quite liberating.

To draw a comparison, you don’t rush off to diagnosing a patient based on nothing but their temperature; you do it with all things considered, using a huge range of information quite literally down to what they ate for breakfast. So with this in mind using this system to judge anything let alone ourselves is borderline insanity!

Now back to the matter of stress, people ask me all the time how do you cope with three kids and studying? And if I’m honest I never really know how to answer, partly because I’m not quite sure that I really do?  Yeah ok, during the year our life functions fairly ‘normally’ but in the past month for example, I really don’t think I qualify for the ‘Oxford dictionary definition’.

Basically whilst I studied frantically for my exams and as previously mentioned all hell was breaking loose, the house got messier, the washing backlog was beyond a joke, I took one of my kids to a birthday party a day early, forgot about another (party, not child , thank goodness!), booked flights to London for a wedding that was in Ireland (and we live in LONDON!).  Forgot to pay my credit card bill, oh and to top it off I totally forgot about Fathers Day….ahhhh!

Ok I know, that’s pretty useless BUT….

Had all of these things happened last year, I have no doubt I would have packed up all our stuff and been on the first boat back to Ireland.

So what’s changed?  Well from an obvious perspective absolutely nothing! The exams were only going to get harder, the kids are still kids and life goes on. However there was one massive difference… ‘Frame of mind’.

I had to make a conscious decision that from now on, if I was to make it through the next few years alive I was going to need to learn to take some things on the chin!

Now this all sounds straight forward, but let me tell you it is NOT!

‘Taking it on the chin’ is in no way something that comes naturally to me.

I am that person that freaks out if someone puts the forks in the tray that the spoons are in, and that has to have all the yogurts facing the same way in the fridge. I know its pretty bad right, but I have come to the conclusion it may be some sort of random coping mechanism, you might have a weeks work of work to get through in a day and your laptop has just had a hissy fit BUT hey!
At least all the tins of sweet corn are in an orderly fashion!

So whilst one wave came crashing in after another I had to force myself to remain unruffled and remember that the storm was eventually going to pass. I had to prioritize within an inch of my life to get through what actually really needed to be done and if at all it could wait it had to.

Prioritising  - now this is an interesting one, when we have to do this during our working day we are great at it, but ask us to start prioritising our personal lives and it’s a whole different ball game. Letting people down, saying no to spending time with friends or family and sacrificing a bit of time to yourself , so whilst none of these things are ever ideal, sometimes they really are necessary. We talk a lot about getting a work life balance and yes I guess this is something we can aspire to, but the reality is that often our lives have to go off balance and actually as far as I can see, if it’s only for a little while it is okay. I used to get more stressed thinking I had to somehow maintain this unattainable ‘balance’ than I did about the things I should actually have been stressing about, however what is important is the ability to re balance as soon as you can.

So on that note and after thankfully surviving the last chaotic month, still married and with all my children in one piece if you need me I can be found on the deck chair in the back garden with some cheap but tasty Prosecco.

Louise xx

Monday, 8 May 2017

The Taste of Freedom

Mornings are often a peculiar and somewhat disorderly time in the Samuel-Napier household. This being said, I still try to find some solace in the fact that, by the time I get my kids out the door, sit in almost an hours worth of traffic (even though we live but a mere three unwalkable miles from school), do battle with the fearsome London commuters for my one square-foot of space on the ThamesLink, only to finally get into University and sit down to a week of neurology lectures, I genuinely feel like the most challenging part of the day is already behind me.

So before I kick off by telling you all about how the previously mentioned random set of events gave me the kick up the butt I needed to turn my life as I knew it on its head, I have to vent about the even more chaotic than normal morning I just had…

1. Husband burns toast = Wake up to a house that smells like an incinerator

2. Col-‘Gate’. This (for any one who hasn’t yet parented a 5-year-old) is a conspiracy whereby your kids see how many times you will have to ask them to brush their teeth before either:
A) You crack and send them out with their breath smelling like mouldy cheese;
B) You threaten to brush their teeth with the dustpan brush.

3. Then comes the cereal swap,
Parent: What would you like for breakfast, love?
Child: Cornflakes please.
Parent: Ok, no problem (puts cereal in bowl and adds milk)
Child: Actually, I want Coco Pops!
Parent: No, you asked for cornflakes, so here you are.
Child: Well, I’m not eating THAT!
Parent: That’s FINEEEE. I’m leaving it beside you but suit yourself!

(Then it all backfires when just as you are walking away from the classroom after having sent them off with a kiss and cuddle, you overhear them spouting to their teacher about how hungry they are because they didn’t have any breakfast! Arghhhh!)

4. Find the SHOE, because of course it must have grown little shoe legs and wandered off from where you left it (this part generally being the tipping point between being on time and being late…)

To be honest, after almost ten years of being a mum, I have learned to suppress my OCD-like tendencies towards order, and lowered my life standards enough that I now think that this kind of malarkey is fairly normal. However, today was a whole new level of crazy. There I was, with my two older kids running around our garden in my dressing gown trying to catch two escapee guinea pigs before our cat could call them  breakfast.

Meanwhile, back inside, my youngest daughter was busy flushing an entire thing of loo-roll down the toilet, all because ‘Leo’, her invisible friend that jumped out of a book a number of months ago, threw it in.

Anyway, we were about 20 minutes late at this point and so, full of self-pity,  I shoved a chocolate eclair in my face, swung the front door open, only to time it perfectly for a first meeting with my new (and might I add very sporty-looking) next door neighbour (who must now think I’m completely ridiculous, not least for my attempts to say hello in some weird made up sign-language due to the mouth full of pastry I was chomping on!)

What’s new, I’m off on a tangent. Anyway, back in the story, I had decided to jump into the driver seat and take control of my life, and so away we went on one almighty off-road trip.

You know I think we must have some sort of inbuilt mechanism to help us deal with those folk that for want of a better word might be considered a bit of an arse! Because it’s only now, looking back on it, that I realise how much of an old bovine my old boss at the time actually was.

I had come to the conclusion that I was going to ask for more flexible working hours, and enroll in a part-time science-based course and see where I went from there. But as time rolled on, and I continued to ask, she continued to palm me off.

It had started to get to the stage where I was getting quite annoyed with the situation, so I had decided to ask one final time - but this time I wasn’t going to back down.
She reluctantly organised a meeting just before I was due to go off on three weeks annual leave. A member of senior management had flown over from London to sit in on the meeting, and I remember walking into the conference room feeling quite cheerful and positive, but this wasn’t to last long.

“Morning Louise,” my manager said in an abrupt tone.

“Good morning,” I replied politely. “I hope you are both well?”

She interjected sharply, “Look, this meeting is a matter of formality, so lets get on with it, I have a VERY-BUSY-DAY ahead!”

“Ok,” I said, feeling like someone had begun to siphon off what little positivity I had.

It was all-downhill from there really. My manager clearly fuming she had to have this meeting in the first place, seemed determined to make it as awkward as possible for everyone involved and boy, didn’t she half. I told them that I felt like I needed a better work-life balance, and that I didn’t feel like I was fulfilling my role as a parent as a result of the current situation. But, honestly, I may as well have been talking to the Mona Lisa, they both sat silently staring straight through me. Both of them where highly motivated women which you have to admire but neither had any sort of family commitments and they just did not get it.

   I asked them to take a look at the detailed plan of suggestion that I had spent ages drawing up. She picked it up skimmed through it in about 45 seconds flat and then… began using it to fan herself! Like SERIOUSLY!

You know I think it is quite important for anyone who is dishing out Sh1t to understand that there is a limit to the crap you can put in the wheelbarrow and after that it tips out all over you! (A phenomenon of which my boss clearly wasn’t familiar.)

This was not going well, It felt like the walls had began to close in around me, I was going to be trapped!

So, basically, after about an hour of me trying to salvage any sort of deal - a few less hours, a bit less responsibility (I would have taken anything at this point) - she said, “Look, Louise, I can’t see how we can accommodate what you are requesting. And, besides, things are working really well as they are.”

Yeah, working well for who? I thought. Then out of the blue and quite out of character I said quietly, “Can’t see or don’t want to see?”

“Excuse me?” she said.

Oh sh*t, what had I just done? But there was more…

“Seriously? You aren’t even willing to compromise here!” What the hell was I doing… it was a classic case of verbal D+++, and it just kept on coming.

“Louise, you are needed here in your current capacity,” she said veerrryy calmly staring me straight in the eye.

“Is that a no?” I asked bluntly.

“We can re-look at this in another six months, Louise.”

“That really won’t be necessary. I don’t think either of us need the stress and hassle of this rigmarole again.”

“Okay?” she said, looking a little confused.

“I quit!”

WHAT? My boss said “Louise just a moment now…”

 “No, I think we have wasted long enough on this matter will send you my formal resignation in the morning,” I said with the most random surge of confidence.
“Anyway, I’d best be off, I have a VERY-BUSY-DAY ahead… with my FAMILY!”

I stood up, shook both their hands, as they stared at me in complete silence- lifted my things, spun on my heel, and off I went.

I was free!

Monday, 27 March 2017

The Realities of Motherhood

Okay, I’m gonna do it! I’m going to start this months’ blog with a total rant - a rant about other mums to be precise. Now before you grab the pitchforks, I’m most definitely not referring to the majority - just a select, yet very annoying few. The mums who, for whatever (farcical) reason, decide that, if they sell enough ‘motherhood is bliss’ crap to other parents, the world will somehow think how well they have done in having life completely and utterly sussed…

Sorry, but I ain’t buying the crap you’re selling!

Now, I’m not saying we all need to start posting Facebook pics of our 6am pre-coffee faces or the pile of washing that by Friday is easily the height of the kitchen table. But, seriously, ‘Fakebook’ is getting out of hand, and, from what I can see, it is putting undue stress on other down to earth ‘normal’ mums who are being bombarded with these unattainable, staged snapshots of other people’s lives.

Of course everything looks magnificent in the selfie you posted (three weeks after giving birth) whilst jogging along the promenade with your perfectly done make-up, bugaboo, and pristine pink Adidas (which clearly have never seen a muddy puddle in their life…). But those of us who know a thing or two about having young kids will know that, before you set off on your run, you just spent forty minutes in the carpark trying to feed your child - then, you had to somehow hoist out and assemble your pram from the boot one-handed because ‘said’ child would not go back into their car seat for all of two minutes without screaming so loud the nearby seagulls decided to set off on early migration! Then… once you eventually got the opportunity to prance off down the busy promenade (to get the all important selfie) you were restricted to a snails’ pace for fear of knocking over an OAP (probably resulting in you having burned off the equivalent of half a digestive biscuit…). Then you eventually get back to the car only to realise that the child’s nappy is at bursting point, and your pram has dog poo on the wheels!

So that’s the reality of motherhood! Anything else should be considered ‘false advertising’. Of course, this is a hypothetical example and its not all bad but it’s certainly not easy! In actual fact, I think I would go so far as to say that, if you are a mum and your life is in fact a breeze, you are doing something seriously wrong…!

Sorry folks…rant over…ha. Back to the story.

So, I was working away in my nice little job in the city, but starting to regret that I hadn’t pursued my dream. But with a young family and all the responsibilities that that entails, I had long since said goodbye to my now unfeasible pursuit of happiness. Until…

One very average day I was dealing with a customer who had come in to discuss a faulty product. It just so happened that her son was heavily involved with rugby, and, as my husband also played, we got chatting, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something I really liked about her. We somehow ended up chatting about her daughter’s horse, which then lead to the following discussion.

“Actually I always wanted to be an equine vet… guess we don’t always get what we want,” I said.

“Why didn’t you” she replied immediately.

“Well, you see, I had a little boy instead!”

“Ah, I see.”

I nodded in agreement, but then unexpectedly she fired back with;

“Well I wouldn’t let that stop you! Would you not think about going back to study?”

“What now?”


At which point I thought either A) this woman hasn’t heard me properly or B) she’s a sandwich short of a picnic.

“No, no, I left that notion behind a long time ago.” I laughed

“Ah well. Fair enough, as long as you are happy” she said, with a sympathetic smile.

Once she had left a member of staff came scurrying over to me and said, you know the lady you where just with? Well she is one of the top paediatric surgeons in NI, she looked after my nephew a number of years back.

Really?? I though she just seamed like a very nice, inconspicuous ‘mumsie’ sort of lady, definitely not the type I would have expected to find wielding a scalpel in her day job (I know, I know, idiot for stereotyping)!

On the way home I couldn’t stop churning over what she had said.

I kept asking myself, am I happy here? Like, actually happy? Is this my life for the next forty-five years?

It’s not like I’m very unhappy, I thought, but then again I wouldn’t say that I’m happy either. Maybe you could call it subclinical unhappiness or something like that.

Anyway, a week or so went by when, totally out of the blue, I arrived into work, and one of the girls handed me a parcel. It was wrapped with brown paper and tied with twine. I opened it and it was a book (DISCLAIMER: I’m not on commission nor do offer any guarantees that it actually works). It was the much talked about (and often controversial) book called “The Secret”. My name was scribbled on the inside but no name left or suggestion of whom it might be from, on quizzing the messenger, the description matched the lady’s to a T.

How very odd, I thought.

I guess I’m a bit of a skeptic, and the idea of a book that could actually change your entire outlook on life seemed ridiculous. The only other book I’ve heard of with that effect is the Bible, and that seemed like a lot to live up to…!

Anyway, since someone went to the bother of giving it to me, I felt duty bound to read it. That weekend, I curled up on the sofa with a cuppa and began; but, oddly for me, I couldn’t put it down. Some of the stuff I thought a bit far-fetched, but mostly I quite liked the principle behind it the idea ‘a positive mind-set will attract positivity to your life’ (I suppose its not an entirely new concept).

I guess it could be argued the events which were to follow may have happened anyway, but I can say it did give me an unusual sense of empowerment over my fate. It was almost as if I had been sitting in the passenger-seat while the car was freewheeling, when suddenly I realised I could take the wheel and drive wherever I wanted…

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

What is the difference between determination and delusion?

There is something that I have often thought about, and always found curious when it comes to human nature - what makes one person decide to draw the line and another person decide to keep going? What is the difference between determination and delusion? And how far is too far, or not far enough?

I have spent a lot of time deliberating over these things in the past few years.

When someone asks me, “When did you decide you wanted to be a vet?”, my answer is always the same - “I have absolutely no idea”. I can’t remember a time when I ever wanted to do anything else, aside from a brief phase where I thought I might like to be a farrier (but perhaps that was just for tea and cakes!).

Okay, so…let’s skip back another few years to explain how I ended up in this situation in the first place.

I was trundling through school just fine, getting pleasing GCSE results, and was dedicated to my sports, and so the promise of Vet Med was looking good. I had a part-time/summer job with a fantastic equine vet called Mr. Suffern. Looking back on it, he probably thought me a bit odd for turning up to work in a beat-up Ford 6610 tractor (max speed, 27mph) with no back window and Dolly Parton blasting from the wireless. (Not exactly what you might call COOL when you’re seventeen, but, as my Dad used to say, second class driving is better than first class walking!).
I had just moved to a new sixth form and all was going well. Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths - a nerd living the dream, until…

I got myself a CAR! A Fiat Punto to be precise. I started living life in the fast lane (max speed now 49mph). This particular phase of my life is called ‘trading what you want for what you want right now’, starting with nights out with friends and a new found interest in rugby (or, as the guy who fate would have it is now my husband would like to think, more of an interest in a particular rugby player - big head!). This resulted in the studies going from being top of the priority list to some box of books under my bed that never got to see the light of day. To say that I was now heading off-road would be an understatement.

So what happened next, you ask?

Well, the next thing I knew, there was a midwife handing Chris a bouncing baby boy along with her congratulations, friends and family showering us with presents and balloons, along with a massive smack round the back of the head from reality!

We had gone from being carefree, fun-loving young adults, to sitting in a hospital room gazing down at this little bundle of joy. All of a sudden, our outlook on life became very different. “What if?” became so familiar, plans go from being week to week to the next 6 months and beyond, something I’m sure is true not only for parents but for anyone who has the responsibility of caring for someone.

I guess life has a very funny way of turning your plans upside down, and perhaps learning to accept and embrace it is the actual challenge of life? Often easier said than done, I must admit.
So, with that, I took a last breath, thought of what could have been, and closed the chapter on my dream of becoming a vet for good.

I got myself a job in a large department store as an assistant manager. I was working in the city, in an industry that was initially quite alien to me, driving sales and setting targets with figures that make Monopoly look conservative. So I learned the rules and played the game; I got to go to work well dressed (wearing make-up!), and was well paid (nothing more than a fading memory these days!). But it seemed that the better things were going in work, the more targets reached, commission and pats on the back I received, the more I wished somehow things had worked out differently. To the outside world, it looked like the perfect job, and the perfect little life - but in reality, I was a million miles from where I really wanted to be.

However, city life did offer one thing I loved, and this was the chance to meet some of the most fascinating characters. One in particular was a lady called Barbara Bell, who, unbeknown to me, was a prominent paediatric consultant, and the person who, if I ever get the chance to meet again, I can inevitably thank for giving me the courage to turn my life around (or upside down – whichever way you want to look at it.)

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A piece of cake!

Now, those of you that know me will know that I tend not to get embarrassed that easily, and I freely admit that this is something that I find fundamentally liberating.

Of course I would love to tell you that this was a result of some confidence-building, life-sorting workshop that I attended way back when; that would have been an ideal situation. However, the ACTUAL reason that I rarely glow red and emit awkward radiation these days is simply that, in the past, I have been in some of THE most perplexing, cringe-worthy, in the hole so-deep-a-JCB-couldn’t-dig-me-out-situations, and, now, the small humiliations which occur in day to day life seem somewhat trivial (such as the coffee I dropped all over myself - and the poor chap sitting next to me - in this morning’s lectures…although he did gain a double chocolate muffin for his troubles).

Anyway, back to the story. In my eyes, Mr Fitzsimons is one of the few remaining old-school, checked-shirt, quilted-gilet, peak-capped gents of the veterinary profession; the kind that elderly women with nine or more cats might leave a house and all their worldly belongings to in their last will and testament. I guess ultimately his reaction to my little outburst has helped forge my opinion.

His expression of puzzlement was soon followed by one of realisation. “Are you…?”

I replied with a silent nod.  Uttered

“Oh! Ohhh! I see, okay! Not a problem. Just one second now, bear with me,” he stated whilst becoming increasingly more uptight and awkward. His face now beginning to turn a wonderful tomato red. Then, he started frantically searching the surrounding cupboards as if he was going to find the answer in one of them, eventually grabbing the x-ray record file and hurtling out of the room, leaving me with whatshisname the dog who was now staring at me curiously, no doubt wandering how on earth he ended up getting dragged into this!

Eventually, after what seemed like forever, he returned with what most men must see as the most ingenious solution to a problem - a WOMAN! Head vet nurse, Judith, to be precise.

“Louise, I just have to pop out - I will leave you with Judith, but I will get speaking to you before the end of the day.” Then off he darted as fast as his loafers would carry him, leaving Judith, the dog, and I to all stare blankly at one another.

“Oh dear,” I said, with a fretful look on my face.

“Well I’m not quite sure what he wants me to do, Louise! But, anyway, congratulations,” she said whilst breaking into a jittery sort of laugh.

“Thanks…do you think I’m going to get the sack?”

“No, of course you’re not.”

I really wasn’t quite so sure.

Realistically it’s quite a bit of hassle, time, and expense when a staff member you have invested time and effort into just ups and offs for nine months (repeatedly) with really little guarantee that they will come back. I guess, looking back on it now, knowing the hassle it would cause was probably what was making me so reluctant to tell them.

We found a kennel for the dog (poor thing still hadn’t had his x-ray) with an inevitable question mark beside his name on the hospitalisation sheet, followed up with “HE IS NOT A STRAY or a PTS!!!” in capitals.

We withdrew to the quiet of the office, where I began to sob and apologise profusely for not telling anyone, whilst poor Judith had to hand me tissues in production line fashion.

I suppose now would be a good time to mention that this office was no ordinary office. Okay, yes, the chairs are fairly ordinary, and the desks are standard, but this office itself is home to two extremely rare breeds (I’m going to be in quite a bit of trouble for writing that…!). In the form of Sarah Barry and Danielle Shields, who have together acquired the most unsuitable sense of humour to deal with basically whatever life has to throw at them, although they would profess this to be a result of them being “institutionalised” to the practice.

So there I was, feeling very sorry for myself and fearing for my livelihood, with Judith trying to console me, when Sarah Barry, who had obviously got wind of the latest drama, comes bursting around the corner with an orange shoulder length examination glove on and a bottle of ultrasound gel, shouting from the rafters, “Danielle, come here quick! Put her in the crush till we get her scanned!” in her native farmer’s daughter brogue.

We erupted into hysterics (even through stream of tears and sniffling). She then gave me a jolly hug and told me I would have made quality dairy stock (which I have decided to recall as a bizarre compliment…!), Danielle then gave me an enormous hug and told me to look on the bright side, I can eat as much cake as I want and tell everyone it’s the baby.

Interestingly none of my female colleagues at that time were married or had children, which is why the degree of support they offered during all of my time there still amazes me to this day - but perhaps this is down to them being genuinely great people.

Mr Fitzsimons hadn’t returned before I left for home, so I knew I  would have to cross that bridge in the morning.

I drove to work the next day with Garth Brooks playing so loud that I couldn’t hear myself think - a tactic I have used frequently going into stressful situations (works quite well I think).

I arrived and began to go about my business as usual - if anything, trying to be particularly efficient. I was determined to prove my worth and make sure they knew that I wasn’t going to use pregnancy to become work-shy. I was fit and well, and, although there was inevitably going to be some things I wasn’t going to be able to do, there was also a shed load of things I could do.

Just before tea time, I accidently barged into one of the consult rooms, where Mr Fitzsimons and Mr Grant were in discussion, Mr Grant was the youngest of the partners, who, unluckily for him and for no official reason, was our go-to boss if so much as one duck wasn’t in a row.

“Hello Louise”, he said in his usual cheerful tone.

“Hello,” I answered with an uncomfortable smile.

“I heard your news, congratulations!”

On this cue again, off Fitzsimons went like a hare into a hole. I can’t say I blame him though - I would have been out of there with him if I wasn’t scheduled to face the music.

I braced myself for the blow…but then, as if some crazy woman took over my vocals, I blurted out, “Do you want me to resign???”

Mr Grant looked surprised. “What? Why, were you planning on leaving?”

“No! No! I’m sorry, I mean, I don’t know why I said that. I want to stay! I can work right up until due date, then I will be back once I finish maternity leave.”

“Hmm. Do you really think you are going to be able to manage that, with two other children as well?” He wasn’t being patronising, he was being realistic. This was subject he was an absolute expert on - he and his wife each ran their own businesses as well as having 4 young children and a farm.

His question was valid.

“Yes,” I replied, “I can.”

(I suppose a bit of the story you haven’t yet heard yet was that, not so long before all this pregnancy malarkey, I found myself sitting in his office, with no significant qualifications to my name, a house , a family, responsibilities, bills, and a car that needed 2 new tyres and a wiper blade, telling him that I was going to get myself onto arguably one of the toughest degrees in the country , places for which require you go into metaphorical battle with some of the best and the brightest obsessive-compulsive veterinary have-to-be’s in the country. PIECE OF CAKE!...)

He looked at me in disbelief, no doubt thinking that perhaps I had taken leave of my senses.

“Louise, do you have any idea how difficult that would be for you?”

“Hmmm, sort of…but I am going to do it, you know!” I said with a cheerful smile.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Telling the Bosses

When you work in a vets there are two quite intimidating factors you need to overcome when telling your boss that you are pregnant. The first is that, in general, you don’t just have one boss - in my case there were five. And the second, as statistics will reflect, is that the majority of these bosses are MEN! 

‘I should write them a letter, or perhaps i could pick one of them to speak to, but which one? Will I tell them now or wait until I get so big they have to ask me? Actually maybe I should just quit, yep that would be a hell of a lot easier!”

Anyway after lots of deliberation and having given all options serious consideration I decided in the end to do…. nothing! That’s right, I did absolutely nothing, and instead the following weekend rang my good friend and vet office manager Danielle and asked her to meet me for lunch. Just as she was about to tuck into her chipolata chicken fajitas, I hit her with it! 

“What?”  “Again?”  “I mean sorry, Congratulations!”
“Yes, I know, thanks, so how am I going to tell the bosses? “
“Mmm, I don’t know, I suppose your just going to have to tell them Louise”
“Yes I know that! But how?”

So every evening on my way home from work I would think about what I was going to say and convince myself that tomorrow was the day. But tomorrow came and tomorrow went, the weeks came and went. I managed to wriggle out of assisting with x-rays and the heats for the giant dog lift World Championships, and meanwhile, Danielle, who was sworn to secrecy, did her best to assign me bundles of paperwork. Meanwhile my colleagues were becoming increasingly suspicious of my new found need to carry a pocket sized Sterillium with me at all times, two squirts of which was a MUST if I so much as looked a cat poo. 

So basically instead of doing the logical thing by stepping up and taking control of the situation I let the situation take control of me. (FYI, that was not the best idea I’ve ever had).

It was a Friday afternoon, I know this because Friday was cake day, and Mr. Fitzsimons, one of our senior practice partners called me into the consult room as I was mid face-full of Victoria Sponge. 

“Louise, would you mind having Mrs. C sign Oscar’s consent for a pelvic x-ray, then meet me in the imaging suite.”

This my friends was what I like to refer to as, my “Oh Sh1t” moment!’

The practice was two nurses down and I was about to be asked to help with an X-Ray.

“Yes, not a problem,” I mumbled through the mouth full of cake, whilst trying to maintain some level of professionalism.

“I’m gonna get the sack! No, they can’t sack me, it’s illegal! Yeah, but they could find another reason to get rid of me, like they’re downsizing or some hogwash like that.”

“Do you have a pen dear?”
“Excuse me do you have a PEN?!” 
“Oh, Oh yes of course sorry!” I said.

Snap out of it Louise! I could feel my heart racing and some sort of odd ringing in my ear. 

“Will he have to stay in over night?” 
“Pardon?” I replied. 
“Will he get HOME today?” she repeated.
“Yes I should imagine so” realising as soon as I said it I actually hadn’t got a clue!

Then as if that wasn’t bad enough I committed the cardinal of all veterinary sins!

“Sorry what was his name again?” I asked sheepishly
“My name?” she replied 
“No sorry, the dogs name?”
“Oscar, it’s OSCAR!” with noted frustration presumably at my clear lack of attention. 
“And what a good boy you are Oscar” I said trying to redeem myself. 
“Ok, well Oscar can come with me now and Mr. Fitzsimons will ring you as soon as he has the results” and off she went, clearly of the opinion I wasn’t capable of being responsible for a teddy bear, never mind her four legged pride and joy.

‘Oh Oscar, why couldn’t you just be like every other Westie and have itchy skin or something?’ I asked as I picked him up. This was all my own doing; why hadn’t I plucked up the courage to sort this before now? The partners were genuinely nice people and great to work for; this being said, you would imagine it would make the prospect of telling them easier, but instead it had the complete opposite effect! I was coming up to 16 weeks now and still hadn’t said a word. 

As I carried Oscar down to imaging the feeling of guilt seemed to increase with every step, guilt that I hadn’t told them yet, guilt that they will have to once again organise maternity cover for me and guilt that I wasn’t able to give my job 100% as I have always tried to in the past. 

And in the midst of this guilt I felt a far greater more profound guilt towards my unborn baby, husband, and self for feeling guilty about being pregnant in the first place. It was the ultimate catch-22.

I was frantically trying to think what I should say. By the time we arrived at the bottom of the hall my face and Oscar’s coat were rather a similar shade of white.

“Okay, Oscar, let’s get you sorted” said Mr. Fitzsimons
Then it came…

“Louise can you give me a hand to X-Ray.”
“I cant!” 
I blurted out rather more loudly than I had intended, catching the attention of other nearby staff.
“What?” he said with a look of confusion.
“I mean, I’m sorry, but I have something I need to tell you.”

Monday, 16 January 2017


Now, don’t get me wrong; I love my children with all my heart, and count myself wholly blessed to have them. However, when you have just finished a stint of being the human equivalent of Daisy the dairy cow and you STILL haven’t had a full nights sleep in over four years, this is the kind of information that can strike fear into the best of us!

What do I do?       What do I do?!

It has been said that people react in peculiar ways in stressful situations, and as it turns out I am no different!

Ring…. Ring….         Ring …..Ring……..

Receptionist: Hello Village Medical Practice.
Me: Hello! My name is Louise Samuel-Napier, I need an emergency appointment….today!
Receptionist: Can I ask the nature of the emergency?
Me: I just found out I’m PREGNANT!
Receptionist: Hmm…do you definitely need an EM..ERG..EN..CY appointment?
Me:  Yes! Yes I DO!
Receptionist: Err, ok…. Well…. Dr. Crawford has an ‘urgent only’ appointment at 2:45pm?
Me :  Great, I’ll take it!

Like, seriously! I can’t say that this was responsible use of our NHS, nor do I remember what I was expecting him to do. Un-diagnose my self-diagnosis perhaps? But, just as I was hanging up the phone, a feeling of absolute trepidation washed over me.

“I’ve been helping with X-Rays! Cleaning out kennels! LITTER TRAYS! And perched right beside that dammed anesthetic machine! Oh this is not good!”

So, for the second time that day, I packed my poor children into the car, and off we went, this time to the Doctor. After a wait that seemed to go on forever (allowing my two youngsters to successfully litter the waiting room with NHS leaflets whilst reception staff looked on disapprovingly at my poor attempts to regain some control over the little vandals, it was finally our turn to go in. After an exhaustive rant to Crawf (as he is affectionately known in our family) of all the things I had done in work in the past 4 weeks, and how some of the time “I wasn’t even wearing gloves!” and with my PhD in Google reeled off all the harmful effects this could have on an unborn child.

Eventually he broke his silence. “Now, Louise,” he said in a calm, reassuring tone “some of these examples to which you are referring are incredibly rare, and, most of them, I have not come across in practice. I have plenty of patients who are vets and vet nurses who have worked during pregnancy, and, going forward, if you take the necessary precautions at work, it should be fine.”

I can’t honestly say that this made my concerns disappear overnight but mostly I did try to keep things in perspective; still, you and I both know ‘necessary precautions’ in a mixed veterinary practice could realistically include anything from putting on a glove to wearing full American football attire and carrying a personal oxygen supply.

Behind Closed doors.
When the ‘sh1t’ hits the fan, apparently I come across as calm and level headed(at least to the outside world), but in fact this could not be further from the truth. Indeed what my coping mechanism generally involves is having a series of short but dramatic melt downs, in the security of my own home, preferably when my children are asleep so no one else other than my poor unsuspecting husband can see. Then, once the amateur dramatics have come to a close, I try to remind myself of all the positive factors in the situation, then go to bed in the hope that it will all look better in the morning.

So true to form I waited until my husband returned from work to cry uncontrollably and repeatedly tell him how, it was all his fault (obviously!) until I eventually calmed down and came to the conclusion that, as we had always wanted three children, it was, in fact, a GREAT idea!

I could literally talk myself in or out of anything, but getting out of this one wasn’t an option, so in it was.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

You have got to be kidding!

Rewinding back a few years from my first blog, it was a picturesque autumn morning Ethan had just turned four and Darcey was seven months and being the delightful little world wind that any seven month old is. I was happily settling back into work at the practice but all week I had a peculiar feeling something was up!

Me : “Something’s not right
Me 2: “Stop being dramatic your fine!”
Me:  “No, seriously I feel a bit funny
Me 2: “Your grand!! Perhaps you have eaten something that didn’t agree with you?”
Me: “yeah, probably…. But actually what if……????

Enough is enough! Impatience and curiosity two of my many qualities …Euh! I dusted the breakfast crumbs off Ethan, wiped his face (with a baby wipe, ahhh, BAD mother!), bundled the baby in to her car seat and off we set.

When we arrived at the chemist I grabbed the biggest bottle of water I could find then discreetly picked up a double pack of clear blue (of which I’m sure every man and their dog is familiar with thanks to the persistent and somewhat unrealistic YouTube adverts). Then just like the script you couldn’t write who comes waltzing into the chemist and joins the queue behind me but Mrs. Dorman, so called ‘friend of the family’ and gossip of all gossips who frequently likes to voice her opinion on my life choices.

Seriously! I thought, why me? 

Hello Louise” she said leaning over my shoulder  “you’re looking well!” she remarked in her factitiously friendly tone. As I was sporting tracksuit bottoms and an oversized hoodie with my hair scraped back and a visage naturel, I couldn’t but infer her sarcasm.

Ahh hello Belinda” I said as if I hadn’t already clocked her presence. I did my best to conceal the pregnancy tests whilst trying not to succumb to her finely tuned interrogation skills, I was clearly struggling so I did what every one of us does best and defaulted to, the weather! (God bless changeable weather, I’m sure it’s saved many a hide.) Then just as the person in front was handing over their money, and for fear of her beady eyes seeing what I was about to buy..

  “Oh Gosh! “ I said,
I completely forgot shampoo! Id better run back, enjoy the rest of your weekend.” I said in haste
Oh…ok, well, see you soon” she mumbled, presumably frustrated that the only intelligence she managed to extract was my thoughts on last nights strong winds. HA!

Eventually after a lengthy decision making process on the bath & shower aisle to ensure the coast was clear, I picked up the same shampoo I’ve been buying for at least the past 5 years, scurried to the till, paid and hurried out of the shop as fast as I could carry a baby in a car seat and coax a four year old.

The drive home was driving me to distraction, my brain was working overtime trying to figure out what on earth I was going to do if I was pregnant again. ‘I can’t be pregnant again!! This wasn’t in the PLAN !’ in between moments of sheer panic I was taking massive gulps of water so I wouldn’t have to wait around for the need to pee when I go home and trying to compose myself to answer my son’s persistent requests to go to the park!

Go to the park, I thought…..NOW??   Perhaps the other parents and their offspring would enjoy seeing a public break down ehh?!

When we arrived home I plonked Ethan in front of the TV and thankfully Darcey was fast asleep.  I ran straight into the bathroom whipped the wrapper off, didn’t need to read the instructions, bit of a pro at this stage! Then came the dreaded wait; Clear Blue unlike the £2.99 bargain basement pregnancy sticks is much too fancy to have you watch with anticipation as your pee travels up the stick instead it loads as if it where a web page then flashes the answer at you like those annoying Bet 365 adverts.

3-4 Weeks      3-4 Weeks    3-4 Weeks

“You have got to be kidding!”