A Change of Pace

So what had initially started as a six-week trip had turned into a potential six-month trip to ensure that our family had the best start in life. In addition to reliving pressure, it also gave us a chance to actually start enjoying the pregnancy as a couple and not worry about more time apart.

The only thing was that it meant that I’d be apart from my lovely Sprite down under, who was due a week before me. This was the single biggest downside to our decision, but made it all the more exciting for when we were heading back down under.

It was all a big change for me, I’d gone from a party girl running Sydney Social 101 and being a senior consulting publicist, living on my own in Bondi and living by my rules. I’d never lived with a boy before, so this was a new experience for me too.

Let me be clear, there hasn’t been one single moment that I’ve thought I’ve taken the wrong path or have found myself doubting that this was the absolute right thing to do. I find myself counting my blessings that I’ve met someone like Stephen, that I’ve been able to get pregnant despite all my previous surgeries and that we’re in such a fortunate position. What I do find funny and hard to get my head around is what an absolute difference a year can make. The baby is due literally a year (almost to the day) that fate brought us together on the plane.

If you had said to me a year ago that I’d be living back in the UK (albeit temporarily), that I’d be living with my partner who I was completely in love with and that I’ve have a baby on the way, to put it simply I would’ve called you a liar (in the nicest possible way of course).

I guess that part of what I’ve found the most difficult in my transition from my Sydney life as a ‘socialite’ and running a start up – the time that I now have on my hands.

Here’s a typical day for my in Sydney:

8am – Wake up, check e-mails, make coffee, have a shower. Head out for first meeting of the day, log onto WIFI at a nice café, check emails again, respond t event invites, editorial opportunities and manage my team. Head to a lunch meeting, go to FIshburners and do some new business for the VIP 101 Cards, attend any meetings with client leads, final check of emails before heading to that evening’s event (whether it be a film premiere, launch of a new bar/ restaurant/ birthday party or fashion/ beauty launch). Head home about 10:30 – sleep, repeat

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My Bondi abode
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Watching VIP exclusive Mark Ronson gig on The Island in the middle of Sydney Harbour
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Attending Belvedere winter ball at The Star as a VIP
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Attending the polo in the city event

I absolutely love my Sydney life, but perhaps didn’t realise how much I had on my plate. The above doesn’t take into consideration if I was consulting to an agency, or if I had my own PR clients to factor in also. Upon some reflection, I maybe was taking too much on and drowning in my own to-do list, but also feel like I operate at my best when I’m under pressure. When you compare to my new routine, you might understand why I was struggling with, dare I say it… boredom…

 

 

 

7am – Wake up, Ste has a shower, I check e-mails that have come through over night from Aus, I make us coffee and breakfast before Ste has to leave at 8am. I have a shower, get dressed. If it’s a day that I’m consulting to a PR agency here in UK I check my emails and do two hours selling in and email follow up/ PR proposal drafting. It’s now 1pm and I do the washing (if there is any, if not I find some), clean the kitchen. Go to the shops to get food in, take Louie for a walk. It’s now 3pm if I’m lucky, so I check my work emails again and action anything. Watch some trash TV and wait for Ste to come home. Cook dinner, have a few hours with Ste (which is the highlight of my day), have a bath if my adhesions are playing up to reduce the pain and then bed.

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Walking my gorgeous Lou Dog on Crosby Beach

 

Sure you can see quite the difference here. I fear though that I might have tried to much to fill my days as I now consult 10 days a month to PR agencies here in the UK and still do 4 days a month for the PR agency in Aus, whilst also still running SS101 (however my amazing team do much of this for me ‘on the ground’), so I’ve now also tried to build up Manchester and London Social 101 too – All whilst being 6/7 months pregnant, attending new business meetings in London and also being in a new relationship. Stephen worries that I’m taking too much on, which I totally get, however I fear it’s just in my blood to have the need to feel busy.

Oh I almost forgot too… we’re also doing up Ste’s house in preparation for the impending arrival of our little one, whilst also trying to make time for our relationship and families.

We did come to blows a couple of times as I got frustrated with feeling the house was top of list of priorities, when I just wanted to spend time with my partner after spending so much apart. I had to ask myself a lot whether I was acting rationally, or if it might be my pregnancy hormones making me be unreasonable. Luckily Ste is amazing and listens to me, but also tells me if he feels I’m not being fair. Its a good balance and it means that we can chat through any potential issues or frustrations before they become anything more.

It was a welcome break when we decided to head to Spain at the end of April to spend time with my mum and grannie, as the house, my work and everything else seemed to take president over Stephen and I spending quality time together.

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Reunited at Last -Big Decisions

So here I was back in the UK, a nice full tummy after a lovely curry lunch at my dad’s local pub. I’d been back to my grannie’s house for a shower, freshened up before heading to see Stephen. I am very fortunate that my mum had insured me on the family car so that I had a set of wheels for the six weeks I was back in the UK.

 

Driving to see Stephen was just so exciting! When I got to his house and he opened the door I literally threw myself around him, it was so nice to see him in the flesh and not on Facetime! Don’t get me wrong, Facetime has a time and a place, but after 10 weeks, sometimes you just want to be with them in person.

 

We had take away and put the world to right, it was like we’d never been apart. He couldn’t get over how much my belly had grown and was just in awe, which was so special. The thing I love so much about being with Ste is that I can be 100% myself and that we’re so comfortable with each other- whilst still having the spark of course. I’ve often been told that with relationships, when it’s right it’s easy – it just works and feels right. I can honestly say that is the case with Ste and I. Don’t get me wrong, this includes being 100% yourself when you’re frustrated as well as when you’re on you’re A-Game. You need to be able to say how you feel and voice what you’re thinking without fear that it’s going to be taken the wrong way.

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Ste was keen to show me all he’d done with the house. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned before but one of the reasons I’d decided to come back to the UK was to help Stephen finish his house before the big move down under. Stephen had the house for three years, but had unfortunately been left to his own devices so hadn’t got very far with the renovations – best laid plans and all. His bathroom was absolutely outstanding. We’re talking freestanding bath, walk in shower and his and hers sinks… but this was as far as he had got before we met.

 

It’s amazing how much having a baby can put a rocket up your ass (pardon my tone), Ste had been in a haze of painting, renovations and brickwork prior to my arrival. It was clear to see how much he’d done to the house, but also clear to see how much still needed to be done, and that’s before we’d even thought about renting/ selling before the big move… Six weeks seemed massively unrealistic and I could tell that we were both apprehensive about the looming due date deadline and the fact that I couldn’t really fly long haul after 32 weeks. I didn’t want to begin our time together chatting about timings of renovations, house stuff and the other pressures we were facing, so I kind of put it to the back of my mind and jut focused on how happy I was to be back with him.

 

When I arrived back in the UK I had some sad news about my dad’s cousin, my uncle Michael. He’d sadly passed away following a short fight with cancer. It had come as a massive shock to our family and we all of course wanted to show our support and to pay our respects. The funeral had been planned for the following Wednesday (a week after my arrival) in London. I’d arranged to go with my dad and family to stay for two nights, that way we could pay our respects, attend the funeral and I’d also get to spend some time with my dad, step mum Helen and brother Jack.

 

Over my first week Stephen and I spent all our time together when he wasn’t working, I caught up with my family and of course his. I also got to meet his mum for the first time, which was just lovely. Luckily Stephen had taken me to meet her back in October, but she hasn’t been in, so I felt better in the knowledge that he has wanted to introduce me to his mum before we’d found out we were going to have a family! I think it probably meant a lot to his mum too.

 

It was an interesting time for me as I’d never lived with a boy before, EVER! So I’d found myself going from single, Sydney socialite living in a Bondi studio on my own to being in love, in the UK, 22 weeks pregnant and living with my partner. Some might say this was a huge change, and they’d be 100% right. Whilst a huge change, it was absolutely for the better and I’d never felt more like this was where I was meant to be.

 

Stephen took my to the station for the funeral on the Wednesday morning, which was lovely. I’d decided to take the train there and to come back on the train on Friday night so that I could come back to Liverpool for the weekend.

 

The funeral was a lovely service and the wake was just so touching, it was clear to see how loved Michael was and how much he meant to those that knew him.

 

The day after the funeral was St Patrick’s Day, so my Dad, Step Mum and brother all decided to take a tour of London and to hole up in an Irish pub for the afternoon – which ended up being one of the best decision – for me and my sanity – sound ominous…? Bear with me.

 

The morning was spent exploring Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus and the Houses or Parliament. We saw some great sights, the sun was shining and it was great to spend such quality time with my dad.

London

For lunch we went to the Irish Bar near Leicester Square and I got chatting to my dad and step mum and Stephen and my plans in terms of having the baby down under, Stephen sorting out his visa and the house and everything else. It all seemed to overwhelming and I was struggling to figure out what exactly I wanted to do for the best.

 

I knew that I didn’t want the six weeks I was back in the UK to be all about finishing the house and for Stephen and I to neglect our relationship as a result and to not enjoy the pregnancy. At the same time however I didn’t want to return to Australia without him and have to spend another number of weeks without him there. I’d already spent so much of my pregnancy without him and our relationship was so new, the thought of even another four without him there, especially for my third trimester seemed daunting and not something I wanted at all.

 

I’d been mulling things over in my head and I think my dad could pick up that I had quite a bit on my mind. I opened up to my dad and Helen (my step mum) and spoke about how I was feeling and my predicament. After hearing my concerns my dad totally understood where I was coming from and advised that I should write a list of pros and cons for both options. Option 1 being to return to Oz as planned and for Stephen to follow ASAP and to have the baby there. Option 2 involved staying in the UK to help Stephen with the house and to have the baby here, then to move back once the house has been sold/ rented and the baby is ¾ months old – massively taking the pressure off – but the baby wouldn’t be an Australian citizen…

 

I came up with the following:

 

OPTION 1

 

  • The baby would be a resident of Australia
  • We wouldn’t be moving with a newborn baby
  • We get to start our new life in Oz ASAP
  • No house in Australia – I’d have to move on my own
  • I’d have to spend at last six weeks away from Stephen
  • I got to go back to my job in Oz
  • My mum had flights booked to be I Sydney when the baby was due
  • Stephen can’t work for six weeks upon arrival in Australia
  • Stephen’s family wouldn’t get to meet the baby until we returned from Oz on a holiday

 

OPTION 2

 

  • We get to relax and enjoy the pregnancy
  • I wouldn’t be spending any more if the pregnancy on my own
  • Stephen can have more time to finish the house
  • We have support following my C-section from family
  • Stephen’s and my family get to bond with baby
  • We get to move to Oz anyway, just a few months later
  • Stephen can continue to work and save for the move
  • I can work remotely (run my business from UK and also contract for UK PR agencies)
  • Whilst my mum would miss the birth, she’d get to spend more time with the baby overall in the first ¾ months

 

Overwhelmingly I started to think that the best option for our family was to take the pressure off Stephen with the house, to relax and enjoy the pregnancy and of course our relationship. I felt like since the moment we met we were always on a count down, or working towards a deadline. I wanted our relationship to be normal and for Stephen to not feel like everything was changing and that time was against him.

 

I was in a position where I didn’t have a place to live in Australia, my job was contract based and not permanent and I’m a resident of Australia, so can return at any time.

 

Stephen has a job in the UK that he’d been doing for ten years, a house that is I a perfect location near to the beach that was very much a work in progress and his family and friends. I wanted to let Stephen know that there was no pressure either way, but that I thought that it might be better in the long run for us to take the time pressure off and to start 100% enjoying the pregnancy and our relationship.

 

When I first spoke to Stephen about my thoughts on the phone, he was quite resistant to staying in the UK, he was keen to get to Australia to start our lives there and was worried that if we didn’t go before the baby was born that we wouldn’t go. I had to stress to him that I had no grand designs on moving back to the UK, that I’d moved to Oz nearly seven years ago and it was where I considered home. I explained that I was trying to look at our situation objectively and not emotionally and to do what was best for our baby and us in the long run. Once I started to explain about the house, our time together (and the quality of it) and the support we’d probably need after the birth he started to agree and understand that it probably would be for the best to take our time, step back and have the baby in the UK.

 

I felt relieved that we were in agreement, but had a few things to consider about the impact of our decision and how it affected my family and friends in Australia….

Homeward Bound

It was March 7th and I was at the airport, only 25 hours away from seeing my love again after 10 weeks and rapidly expanding by the week. I managed to get a really good deal with Qatar Airlines, it was only $1,400 return (my return flight was booked for 20th April – six wonderful weeks ahead). Luckily I’d contacted the press office prior to my departure and explained that I’d be doing a write up on my Global Social 101 network about travelling whilst pregnant and had been cheeky and asked for an upgrade if at all possible. I seriously lucked out as I was upgraded to Business Class from Sydney to Doha – RESULT! They explained that I was on standby for the Doha to Manchester leg of the flight for business too – I had my fingers, toes, legs and eyes crossed for this too.

 

Travelling a long way whilst pregnant is no joy, no matter how far gone you are (I’d already experienced travelling to Vietnam of course, which was more uncomfortable due to the nausea). Well, let me tell you Business Class is like a whole new world! I seriously don’t even know how I’m going to even attempt to go back to economy after my experience here (of course I know I’ll be able to go back to economy, I like to be dramatic you see). I was not only upgraded for the flight, but was also granted access to the Qantas lounge at Sydney airport, which is absolutely palatial and the best way to prepare for a round the world flight.

 

I made sure I phoned Stephen before I boarded the flight of course to tell him (brag) about my upgrade – he couldn’t believe it, but was made up for me. He reminded me what the doctor had said about walking around the plane every hour and to wear flight socks and drink loads of water, god love him always looking out for me. A quick call to my mum followed (as is par the course when I’m flying) and before I knew it I was boarding the plane and I actually got to turn LEFT! I was beside myself.

 

The seats were exactly as I’d imagined – like a space age cocoon where sleep would not elude me and an endless supply of film and TV choices would be at my fingertips. We were offered a lovely beverage before take off (in a glass, posh!); I opted for a orange juice, as I was with child of course. I couldn’t help but think that if I hadn’t been pregnant I could seriously go crazy with the al la cart endless food options and amazing drinks service. The mocktails however were on point, and to be honest I took full advantage of the lie flat bed and quilt, and pjs, eye mask and slippers and pillow! I was I heaven.

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The whole first leg of the flight I struggled to contain my excitement as I knew each minute that passed I was a step closer to being with Stephen again. The flight went by in a haze of movies, food, water, walking, sleeping, more sleeping, more walking water. I left the first leg feeling refreshed and ready for the next leg which is something that I’ve never felt before when going to board another long haul flight within two hours).

 

I was also provided access to the lounge at Doha, which was a delight! I headed to the gate early this time as I was excited to get on the flight and get back to Ste. When I gave my ticket in for boarding I was surprised to see her tear it up and advise that another ticket had been provided… another business class ticket, only this time it was on a Dreamliner! I felt like I was floating on air – I was so excited to see Stephen that I completed forgot about the potential upgrade, I had a feeling that this was to be the beginning of another trip of a lifetime – it was certainly starting off that way!

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The second flight was even more decedent than the first, with our own capsules with all the perks, food and entertainment, I was beside myself. I decided to sleep as much as I could this leg, so that I could be my sparkly best for the other end.

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Prior to me flying back to the UK, I’d said to Stephen that my brother would get me front the airport – It might sound silly, but I hadn’t seen him for 10 weeks and was decidedly rounder (and of course I didn’t know I was going to be flying the whole way in business!). I wanted to go and freshen up first and feel my sparkly best, plus Ste was working so I didn’t want to put him out.

As the plane touched down in Manchester, all I could feel was pure excitement! None of my family or friends in the UK had seen me pregnant yet, and I knew that I had my dad and brother waiting for me at arrivals.

 

I was straight through arrivals and customs and my bag was ne of the first off ( I could get used to this) so within 20 minutes of landing, I was going through nothing to declare to see my dad and brother.

 

When I saw them I was just so excited! My dad couldn’t get over my little pregnant belly and was very emotional. We didn’t come up for air on the way home, via the pub of course to see my nana, aunties and cousins. I was home! It felt amazing – made all the more special knowing that In just four hours I was going to be back with my beau.