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Flashback: February 2020

I remember waking up on the morning of 20th of February 2020 thinking that everything was perfectly normal and, as it was my 30th birthday pretty damn awesome!

Chloe and I were pregnant, I had presents to open and later that night we were going for a family meal to celebrate me officially getting old.

Me on the morning of my 30th birthday.

The day seemed to be zooming along in the blink of an eye but in and out of the usual excitement that surrounds birthdays I could tell that something wasn’t right with my wife.

If there is one thing to know about Chloe, it’s that she is hard as nails. That is not an understatement, the woman has the pain tolerance of a wild boar. I could have skewered her with a spear and she would still have charged down and killed Robert Baratheon.

It turns out that her pain tolerance was the only reason she made it to my birthday meal, most normal people would have been in hospital at least the day before, but she was determined to make it to my party.

To be completely honest I don’t remember much of the party after we arrived, everything happened rather quickly.

Chloe almost passed out on the way in to the venue and as we sat together in one of the side rooms her situation deteriorated very quickly, but being the amazing woman that she is she asked her mam to give her a lift home so she could rest and she asked me to stay and enjoy the party.

The problem being I couldn’t enjoy it without her.

Fast forward one hour and after blankly shovelling down my pizza, receiving my presents and then getting the phone call from Chloe’s mam that she had gotten worse, I was in the back of an ambulance being blue lighted to Durham Hospital.

Chloe getting some rest in the small periods that her pain meds were at their peak.

The next few hours were some of the worst I have ever experienced, there is no way to describe the feeling of complete helplessness I had while I watched the most important person in my life in constant agonising pain.

We waited hours, being moved from room to room until eventually Chloe was given a shot of morphine and wheeled into a private little cave at the end of the worlds longest corridor.

Watching her finally get some rest was bliss, the last time I stayed awake all night just staring at my wife was the first time we went to Amsterdam. Chloe had a nasty flu on the DFDS seaways voyage across the ocean and in her fevered state she asked me to stay awake and make sure she didn’t die. So I did.

I did the same thing again, only this time she hadn’t asked. She didn’t need to.

Me, alone in the cave. My phone was dwindling to around 10% at this point.

I stayed with her all through the next day, not that anyone could have stopped me. It was then that we learned that it was suspected pancreatitis and that she was so ill that she might not survive it.

I felt like my whole world was crumbling around me, people offered help where they could but I chose a different coping mechanism.

I slept on the couch for the first few days, the dog didn’t leave my side.

I was at the hospital every minute that I was allowed, the first few days were bad, Chloe couldn’t really talk and needed her pain meds constantly 24/7. Even that didn’t take away the pain. She was water only for ten days.

I can’t imaging being water only for ten minutes.

The house was eerily quiet, I tried to keep busy when I wasn’t at the hospital by keeping up with work. Stupid fucking idea. I couldn’t think about anything but Chloe so in the end I gave up even trying to keep up, they would survive just fine without me.

I had a takeaway pretty much every night, more out of laziness and feeling sorry for myself than anything else (sorry Jo).

You could be forgiven for forgetting that throughout all of this Chloe was indeed still pregnant with Arthur, for some reason I never had even the slightest fear that he wouldn’t be perfectly fine.

I know Chloe better than anyone on Earth and I knew that she would get better and that the little man would be fine, safe inside of her.

One of the 300 scan photos that the lovely sonographer in the hospital let us take away with us.

That was confirmed when Chloe was finally well enough to have a scan while she was still in hospital, little man was perfectly fine just as I knew he would be.

But he was quiet. In all of our other scans he had been wild, a little like he is now. I could tell that Chloe was disheartened but seeing that little heartbeat still flickering away. In that moment, it was enough to keep us going. The sonographer was very reassuring and all we could do was trust her.

Chloe was in hospital for a few days after the scan was taken, but she was in much better spirits once she had seen the scan and, as the pancreatitis had started to subside her pain was becoming far more manageable.

Once Chloe was allowed to eat again, the gourmet cooking began.

Before I knew it the day had come when I was awaiting the phone call that would announce Chloe could be collected, it came. I was at the ward within the blink of an eye and after a lot of waiting around, she finally got discharged.

I would like to say that as we walked to the corridor that led to freedom from the hospital there was a fanfare of trumpets and dancing. There wasn’t. Just me with my arm around my wife, and it was perfect.

Believe it or not, I have finally finished the tale of the last two weeks of February 2020. The worst two weeks of my life.

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Where do I start?

To say that the almost two years since I last wrote on my blog have been crazy would be a wild understatement!

Yet here I am, coming to you live from a house filled with Christmas cheer and the smiles of a little boy that brings me happiness I cannot even comprehend.

Over the course of the next bunch of posts I will be mixing stories from the moment, with the odd historic tale about the time I have been away from the blog.

And so, without further gilding the lily,. And with no more ado,. I give to you Arthur Roman, the cutest, happiest little guy I have ever known.

Arthur and my beautiful wife.

The lead up to Christmas has always excited me, from getting the decorations out of the loft to blasting Last Christmas out of the car windows while the icy morning air freezes my ears.

This year however, was different. It was more exciting than it has ever been in my entire life, more exciting than the christmases I would be bouncing off the walls for as a child.

The reason for that, is Arthur. His little face takes the excitement, throws it into a blender and whacks it up to max power with the lid off. And I love it!

COVID has been hard for everyone, but Arthur is one of the true COVID babies, he was born right at the end of lockdown one.

No family and no friends. Just me and my wife, and we smashed it! I couldn’t imagine how well we would handle such a crazy situation, but we didn’t just make it through, we bonded with each other and with Arthur on a level that amazed even ourselves.

But I digress, the run up to Christmas was a strange affair. Borris sent us able to work from home folk that had just started to settle in to hybrid working back to our dining room tables. And in the process sent Christmas plans in to uproar.

Omicron started spreading like a wild fire and in the last week before Christmas we were left trying to figure out how best to navigate family visits leading up to the big event and also what to do on the day itself.

My wife and I are both triple vaccinated but we like to be as careful as possible when it comes to Arthur, the fact is that if he caught the virus he would probably be perfectly fine, but why take the risk?

So we were extra careful, we did our tests as did the family that we saw leading up to Christmas, we wore our masks everywhere we went (which wasn’t much further than the living room), we kept washing our hands and we kept our fingers crossed.

Thankfully we all arrived at Arthur’s Grandmas house (sorry Jo) on Christmas Day COVID free and ready to enjoy our Christmas dinner.

Sorry for pulling you away from desert son.

I even managed to find the energy to perform at little puppet show with some of Arthur’s new toys, thank god he can’t feel embarrassment watching me yet. At least I hope he can’t.

After stumbling into the house at the end of Christmas Day to full to do virtually anything besides the most basic parenting the little man went to bed after the first Christmas that it felt like he knew something (whatever that may be) was different, and he was a little angel.

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He or She, what will it Bee?

Should we find out the sex of our baby?

This has to be one of the hardest questions that a couple are faced with when they reach that magical point in their pregnancy that the wizards can see whether the baby has a burger or a hot dog, the old crowd will often say you should wait until the baby is born to find out what you are having.

While i’m sure the ‘surprise’ of finding out at the last possible moment is nice, there is nothing quite like the feeling of being truly prepared that can come from finding out as early as possible.

Photo by David Pisnoy on Unsplash

My wife and I made the decision early that we wanted to know as soon as possible what we were having, both to help us with the preparations that are necessary when having your first baby and also because we are both extremely impatient.

With that in mind, we made our reservation at the same private scanning clinic that we used for our ten week scan, and the colossal six day wait began.

The night before the scan we couldn’t sleep and the morning of we made sure we had booked the earliest possible appointment, patiently waiting was neither of our strong suits.

The building itself is quite inconspicuous, but once inside you realise how much care goes into the design of a place such as this. The staff are all lovely and they make you feel very at ease with the whole situation, a quick form filled in, and the final wait begins.

Photo courtesy of Window to the Womb

We are called into the room and before you know it my wife has been jellied (she didn’t even flinch) and the scan has begun.

These things always start with the slightly uncomfortable wait to see the heartbeat. That is the part of the scan that always seems to take the longest, but once you see it, you are instantly lifted onto cloud nine.

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

It is at this point that my face starts to ache from smiling, and I love it.

Down through the head, all looking good, chest perfect, it was at this moment that we finally got to hear the heartbeat for the first time, and it was magical then on to the stomach, lovely and the starting of a tidy little digestive system.


I saw it the second the scan moved down, I learned after that my wife had seen it too but the sonographer continued scanning and taking pictures a bit longer until she finally confirmed it.

We were having a boy!

Not that there was ever any doubting it.

Back in the waiting room my faceache reached it’s peak but my smile showed no signs of leaving, we sat at the computer to select our photos.

My wife at the photo computer.
The little ones heartbeat bear.

We then had a quick browse of the bears (we had decided to get a heartbeat bear so that we could listen to it whenever we wanted) of which my wife had already made her decision, she had spotted the little blue bear before we even knew we were having a boy.

Before we knew it, we were back in the car, and we knew we were having a baby boy, an actual baby boy.

Since this very moment we have been discussing names, throwing around the classics and the crazies and having a good time doing it.

The day after the scan we threw a small gender reveal party for our close family, we had the cannons ready and had decorated the house in a super cute bee theme.

My nerves were non existent (unlike when we did our pregnancy reveal) and when the canons went off and the blue sparkles flew out we couldn’t hear anything for my mother in laws screams of joy.

I now spend my days on Google, searching for the most wild and wonderful baby names you could imagine and I am feeling even more excited than I was before and a little bit more prepared.

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The Mint Mayo Bagel

1 Bagel

1 tsp Mint Sauce

Photo by Christian Kaindl on Unsplash

1 tsp Mayonaise

3 slices of Ham

Take one bagel, cut in half and lightly toast then allow to cool.

Spread mayo on one half.

Spread mint sauce on the other half.

Place ham between bagel slices and serve.

What you have just read is the recipe for my wife’s favourite meal over Christmas.

Morning sickness (or always sickness as I refer to it) has been abusing her constantly since week five and as a result, at the times when the sickness was at it’s worst, she could stomach only cold foods or, to be exact, she could stomach only ham sandwiches/bagels and the occasional bag of ready salted french fries.

We added the mint sauce in an attempt to give the ham bagels a more Christmasy feel, and for the most part it worked a charm, as long as it stayed down of course.

Being fifteen weeks at the time of writing the sickness has gotten progressively better, either that or my wife has gotten progressively better at coping with it, and for that she is an absolute trooper.

There is nothing worse than the helpless feeling of being stood outside the bathroom door holding a glass of water and thinking that, as a man, I am getting away with murder.

Photo by manu schwendener on Unsplash

If continuous sickness wasn’t enough for her to deal with, her discomfort at night has truly begun, when you are pregnant, there is no comfortable position to sleep in, you can pile every shape of cushion imaginable into the bed, they just don’t help, it has reached the point where we climb into bed on a night and she disappears into her pregnancy fort, and she still isn’t graced with the comfort she deserves, and there is nothing I can do to help her.

Photo by u/rsrhsjjYG from Reddit

It doesn’t help that my nature is to fall almost instantly to sleep the second my head hits the pillow, I imagine that this annoys her even more, though I have no idea, because by that point I am already dreaming of mint mayo bagels.

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The Best Christmas Present

Why is it that no matter how old you get, or how long you have been trying for a baby the thought of telling your parents you’re pregnant is terrifying.

Me and my wife, 2010, two months after we starting seeing each other.

Don’t get me wrong, the excitement that I felt from the second I found out right up until the second I finally got to tell everyone the news was massive.

But the whole thing was still so damn frightening.

We officially had our first scan photo, we were now sitting almost on top of the twelve week ‘safe zone’ and my wife and I were discussing how we would tell our families.

My mother in law was not included in this discussion as she found out about two weeks after we got home from Rome and was already suffering from the same secret keeping itch as we were.

The big question however, was how do you do it?

How do you announce to your family that they are going to be Grandparents and Aunties, Great Grandparents and Great everything else’s.

Should there by balloons? Should there by fireworks? Should there be dancers and a string quartet? Will I have to make a speech?

Oh god, there was going to be a speech.

My last attempt at a speech was at our wedding.

Things were going perfectly well, I followed my notes to the letter, then a moment of madness came over me and I thanked my parents for having me.

Me the second after realising what I just said in my wedding speech.

So, I would have to say a few words, keep it simple, wish everyone a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year tell them that next year would be even more exciting as there would be a new addition to the family.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Bowes aka Dad

Just like that all of the anxiety of the past few weeks faded away, curious faces turned to excited ones and there was a race to see who could hug us first.

My dad sat grinning in the corner and told me later that he just knew, the birds at the park had already told him.

We had baubles made for our parents with the scan photo inside of them and they received pride of place on both trees the second they got home. 

What followed this evening of anxiety and eventual triumph was one of the best Christmas times I have ever experienced, having more people to talk to about the pregnancy was a huge weight off our shoulders.

Between Christmas and New Year we called a few other people to give them the news, before we issued our ‘official’ announcement on Facebook on New Years Eve.

This seemed like the easiest thing in the world after telling our parents.

In the middle of all the Christmas madness we went for our official twelve week scan, it went well and we got our first photo of babies face (side profile) but were told that we were a little bit early (11+5) meaning for the sonographer to get the correct measurements we would have to come back a couple of weeks later.

We returned after another wait and received the next scan, at which point we finally got our official due date, 11th July. 

Hearing that we had an official due date was more exciting than I could have imagined, the whole thing was starting to feel very real, and while I thought this would terrify me it was in fact the complete opposite, I was more excited than I have ever been in my life.

This post brings us up to the current date, meaning all posts following will be chronicling our pregnancy as it happens.

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When in Rome

Photo by Willian West on Unsplash

Have patience with all things but first with yourself.

— Saint Frances de Sales.

There is something strangely ominous about sitting in a cracked leather chair staring down at a ten year old issue of Razzle with your pants around your ankles and a sample bottle grasped tightly in one clammy hand.

And that is not even where my story starts.

My wife and I had been trying to get pregnant for almost a year, tests like the one above had taken place and results had all returned perfectly fine, yet the struggle continued.

Ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, colossal excitement followed by disappointment and heartache every time that little strip said, “not this month.”

As funny as it may sound, it was the one month that we truly switched off a little that our luck finally changed.

We were due to travel to Rome for our second wedding anniversary at the start of November, a couple of weeks prior to this my wife took a random ovulation test after some light cramping, positive. No point in wasting an opportunity.

Fast forward those two weeks, we land in Rome and after a rather eventful few days we reach the morning of our second wedding anniversary.

“Today is the day that I can take a test.” My wife smiled up at me from the bed.

She took the test, and I was given the highly complicated and massively important task of checking the strip, a task at which I failed miserably.

Courtesy of Air BnB

I wandered back into the bedroom of the old Italian apartment we were staying in and told her that the stick said negative. She had expected this, and although disappointed she took the news well, she then asked if she could see the stick and her face turned to shock then beaming excitement, in the dim lighting of the Italian bathroom I had missed the positive line.

Oh, that’s a risky little game.

— Rachel Green.

We had a positive test!

And we were in another country.

With no pregnancy vitamins.

The finest Italian pregnancy vitamins

Cut to me in an Italian pharmacy, trying to explain in true Bridget Jones fashion that my wife is pregnant and that I need folic acid.

I left with a box of Natelben Piu and our pregnancy journey truly began.

The next few weeks dragged along in a strange almost ethereal blur.

We had a private scan booked for ten weeks, the wait for twelve just seemed too much, but so far things were progressing as normal, the morning sickness had reared its ugly head though the term ‘always sickness’ would probably be more appropriate.

As the scan loomed closer, time moved even slower and our anxiety reached an all time high, I am not a particularly anxious person so this feeling was new to me, and I was not a fan.

The day of the private scan arrived, and as we sat in the waiting area my wife’s hands were shaking as she tried to complete the paperwork.

Suddenly, we were there, the scan woman introduced herself, my wife lay upon the bed and the final wait began.

We stared up at a blank screen for what seemed like an eternity, when finally the big screen was turned on and we could see it for the first time.

Our baby was perfect and the little flickering heartbeat confirmed that everything was progressing as it should, it felt like a giant weight had been lifted off of our shoulders and we couldn’t stop smiling.

The first ten weeks of our pregnancy had already felt like an adventure and I can’t wait for all of the adventures still to come.

This first post brings us up to just before Christmas, meaning my next post will bring us right up to my wife’s current date which is at the moment of writing thirteen weeks.