My Trip to Kenya…. Overview

I am Cherish, a single mum to Ava & Isobella, apprentice nurse at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, and student at the University of Cumbria. I am extremely passionate with regards to stopping FGM and empowering women to be the best that they can possibly be. I am an ambassador for the amazing charity, One Woman at a Time, and have just returned from a truly life changing trip to Kenya, with the Founder of One Woman at a Time, Jean Anderson. Jean is a retired Midwife who also lives in Morecambe. Jean first visited Ortum, Kenya, in 2012, where she met a a Pokot tribeswoman, Margaret Lulimas, whom unfortunately passed away due to complications in childbirth. Margaret’s story became the catalyst of a small movement, and has resulted in a group of empowered women who’s mission it is to empower other women, whom do not have a choice.

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The mission of the charity is to improve the lives of women and children who are severely disadvantaged by social or economical circumstances. We do this by funding education and training, to give women the skills to create change for herself and her family, therefore transforming her community. We provide a safe place and education for girls that are fleeing from FGM and forced marriage.

Whilst in Kenya, I saw first hand the true struggle it is just to be female. The women and girls where i visited have no voice and their dreams and hopes are simply dreams and hopes, without the reality to turn them into achievements and successes. This is where I stepped in. I found it so important to ensure that these women know their worth and feel valued. I decided a good place to start was with the girls that board at Ortum School for girls. Myself and Jean spent time with the girls here and took over some amazing empowering books about bold black women in history. These girls need to be aware that they are able to achieve and if they want it, they can work for it and they can have it. This is not solely a mans world, the girls here need to know that they themselves can be future leaders, they can be providers as well as creators and they can control their ow destiny. Empowering girls at such a young age will hopefully give them the support and self drive that they need to ensure that they reach their full potential, and hopefully the gender based violence and discrimination will not stop them to lead successful lives.

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Visiting and working in Ortum Mission hospital was a momentous part of my trip that has developed me personally and professionally. From what I would class a student nurse in the UK as totally unbearable practices, to also seeing first hand the low mortality rate and high survival rates of premature babies was a real eye opener. From watching a baby being born, to sitting with labouring women around a fire as they cooked themselves a meal within the hospital grounds, every patient and every nurse taught me so much. I am so very grateful for the time that I spent at the hospital, and being able to mentor and work alongside the student nurses that are sponsored by the charity was heartwarming and invaluable. I will enjoy telling you all about them in a future blog.

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An interview with an ex-circumcisior. This was an amazing eye opening opportunity and simply wonderfully unique. To be able to speak freely with someone that has performed FGM on so many girls, gave me so much more knowledge with regards to the procedure, but also gave us valuable information on what these girls have been through, and how we can help them, not only physically, but also emotionally.

Providing re usable sanitary products to the girls at the schools was a project that we were piloting this visit, and research will be undertaken in the following years to check the sustainability of these amazing Days for Girls packs, and how together, we can try to end period poverty for so many girls. We were fortunate enough to raise enough money to pay for 200 of these packs, and i am eager to catch up with the school to see how the girls are getting along with their fabulous eco friendly sanitary wear. The girls also received sex education classes and contraception advice when necessary.

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As i covered so much in my trip, I will writing 5 separate blogs to collate all of the experience. I would like to take the time in this overview to thank from the bottom of my heart to all of the wonderful people that donated money, school shoes, reading books and medical equipment. The things that we have achieved as a charity are only possible due to these wonderful donations. You have touched so many lives and made such a huge difference to these girls, your worth is totally unmeasurable.

Thank you xxx

 

I am asking for donations to help me achieve as much as I can, and to aid me helping these women and children. My expenses whilst I am in Kenya, including my accommodation, food and transport are self funded. All of what is donated goes straight to these beautiful souls that need our help.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cherish-otoo-1?utm_term=9M8JYbAEw

£1 – puts one girl running away from FGM into secondary school for one day.

£5 – pays for refuge & primary education for one girl fleeing FGM for one week.

£5 – pays for reusable sanitary wear, for one girl for 3 years.

£10 – can buy 1 goat to help a community thrive – food for children and income for families. (Please note that Margaret Lulimas’ children and family will hopefully be receiving goats)

£15 – pays for one week’s University fees for one woman.

£20 – pays for a young mother (one weeks fee) to become a nurse on a 3 year course.

£20 – pays for a blood pressure machine for maternity care

£250 – pays for an incubator in special care baby unit.

Please visit www.onewomanatatime.co.uk for more information and stories of women we have helped. My blog www.mycherishedmemoirs.wordpress.com also has information with regards to FGM.

One woman at a Time currently supports 300 women and children. Please help me maintain these 300 women and children, and hopefully help more.

Things are changing…..

There have been many times in my life where I have looked back and wished that I could change some aspects. Whether it be leaving school at 15 with no qualifications, the loss of heartfelt of friendships and the breakdown of relationships or simple regrets and mistakes. As I write this blog, I reflect upon these changes and I appreciate and embrace the belief that these events have brought me to where I am today. They have empowered me and shown me that change isn’t scary, it’s a fundamental aspect of life and must be used to drive self-development. These bittersweet events of the past and the change that came with them, to educate me personally and professionally, remind me to throw my energy into tomorrow, to focus on the here and now, and give myself a thumbs up as I look at my achievements. I refuse to put these memories in a bag and close them. I chose to keep them close, to pull on them, to learn from them and to make me realise that I can do this, I have done this, and I am winning. Thank you change, you have made me who I am today.

 

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I am glad some things have never changed. Hugs with my big sister 23 years ago.

The past 6 months have been all about change in my personal and professional life. In February I managed to secure a place on the first cohort of Nurse Degree Apprenticeship. It was a big move and it was a bold move. I needed to weigh up the pros and the cons, and the impact that this would have on my family life. I knew that working shifts may be a problem and I may struggle for childcare, and maybe my children would not like not seeing me as much as they are used too. But then one massive pro overshadowed the rest – how can I tell my children that they are unlimited in what they can achieve, tell them they must always aspire to better themselves, if I then chose to fear the unknown and refuse to change? So that was it, I applied and I got the job! I left the comfort of my Monday – Friday 9am-5pm office job and entered life on the wards as an apprentice nurse. I have realised that this was the best career move that I have made. I really have found my passion and love my job. Whilst working on the ward, professionally I have witnessed that the implementation of change is a daily occurrence. At first I thought it was strange that things can change so much, and I saw this as an inconvenience. As soon as I was felling comfortable with one policy or way of working, it would change and it would be more learning and having to get used to another way of working. Upon sitting back and looking at the whys and the evidence, I am now realising that these changes are all for the better. They are evidence based changes that have a positive impact on the way in which care is delivered. These changes are not here to make the life harder for the nurse, they are put into place to ensure safety and more efficient ways of working. Some of the staff on the ward have seen many changes over the years, including practices that we were using many years ago, being revised then put back into practice many years later. The ways in which practice is changing makes me think about the way into nursing, and how this is also changing. This evolution of practice and the new pathways available for nurse education are welcome and need to be praised. We are at a time where the ‘old’ style of nurse education, along with the degree level current traditional practice have been re-written, improved and evolved into an Apprenticeship. This is neither the old way nor the traditional way, this is the new way and it is shaping and changing the future of nurse education.

’We can’t change the world, unless we change ourselves’’

Martin Luther King Jr.

Am I the same person that I was 10 years ago, 6 months ago, one week ago or even yesterday? No I am not. I am evolving, I am learning everyday and choosing to make positive changes to better myself in my professional life, which will in turn have an amazing impact on my personal life and my ambition to always provide for my children. My children are my drive for change. I want to be the very best version of myself, to show them that anything is possible. It doesn’t matter what your drive is for your own self-development, but make sure when you find your drive, hold onto it, take it with you, and let it push you into the places you never thought were possible. Change is always coming – embrace the change, and where you can, be the change.

Working, Single mum on Birthday’s…..

Being a working single Mum on birthday’s is hard work. The constant questions with myself and the calculations of how much overtime I need to do to buy the Barbie dream house? Do I even buy a Barbie dream house? How many party bags do I need? Why does no one RSVP these days?! Am I going over the top? Will people be offended with my multiracial doll only rule? Can I afford this? How can I make this day even more special? These, plus a whole host of the other birthday questions have been running around my head, and have obviously been on the forefront of my mind for a while. The reality is, my little girl would be happy with any present that I got for her. As her mum, I want to get her the best, and I want to get her the only present she really wants. So I do the overtime, she gets the Barbie Dream house and her party is booked for the weekend. I don’t believe that this is shallow, nor do I believe that it is purposely putting unnecessary stress onto myself. I see it as I want now, and I will probably always want the very best for my children, whether this be materialistic, in health in education or otherwise. The look on her face this morning was worth every minute of that overtime, and I would do it all again, ten times over.

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This year I was working for Isobella’s birthday. Our options were to either wake up at 5am for presents and birthday cake, or to do this at 8.30pm. I took the executive mum decision to completely throw the rule book out of the window, add another column to our Callander to create the 32nd July, and delay Isobella’s Birthday. In layman’s terms: I LIED. I told my daughter that her birthday was on Thursday when in fact it was on Wednesday. Did I feel guilty? Yes I did a little bit, but these things happen. I’m allowed to pursue a career as well as parent my children – and do you know what, I can also be good at both!

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Birthday’s also remind and amaze me, as although I may be a single mum, I do not do this on my own at all. I have a whole army of people around me that love and support me, and give my children so much love. My brother in law who spent hours late at night to build the dolls house, my dad who flew in from Africa and although jet-lagged, helped with late night balloon and banner duty, my sister who was at my house at 8am and respected my multiracial doll rule!, my mum for providing cake and Auntie Jean who also provided cake and even put up a flag for Isobella (obviously when you are 6, this is the best thing to ever happen!) and to all of the many friends and family that went out of their way you wish Isobella a Happy Birthday, and helped me to give her the most magical day. The thanks comes from the bottom of my heart. These selfless people, and acts of kindness are what makes my world go round, and it is this that gives me the strength to power on everyday. Thank you for the part you play in my journey, I am so very grateful for you all.

‘’There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return’’ – Nelson Mandela.

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Birthday Flag!

One Woman at a Time….

As I kiss my children goodnight and tell them I love them, I walk out of their bedroom content that I have done everything I can today to give them every opportunity, show them love and keep them safe. I sit down with my coffee and a heavy heart as I begin this blog. This blog, although, at some parts harrowing, is the reality of what women and girls face on a daily basis. The reality of Female genital mutilation (FGM), children being sold for marriage and never given the chance to receive education or feel in charge of their own body, soul or mind.

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Ava & Isobella looking over the Bay.

Gender based violence is a violation of human rights, causing not only physical harm, but also psychological. Unfortunately for the women and girls of Pokot, this extreme, disturbing and distressing act of violence and agonising treatment of females is common practice. Girls are exposed to FGM type 3 at a very young age, most occurring between 4 and 12 years old. FGM is seen as a right of passage, and upholds family honour following cultural tradition. Type 3 FGM is the removal of the entire female genitals. This will be performed with no anaesthesia, with any sharp cutting tool available including scalpel, scissors or knife. The girls are pinned down to keep them still, whilst the cutter performs the ritual. The opening of the vagina is then narrowed and sealed by sewing together the outer labia leaving only a small opening. The girls will then have to have her legs bound together until the wound has healed. This brutal mutilation poses serious medical risks for the child including repeated infections, blood loss, abscesses and incontinence. These risks are then multiplied when the girls have to have the seal recut open for sexual intercourse and childbirth.

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2868693/Young-women-dragged-away-village-dowry-20-goats-three-camels-Inside-traditional-tribal-wedding-ceremony-takes-place-Kenya.html

FGM is considered a necessary ritual of bringing up young girls and a way of preparing them for marriage. A dowry is paid by the grooms family, which is typically paid in the form of livestock. This payment ensures that the girl is then a valuable asset to the family, and arrangements will be made for the child to be married at a young age. After the girls have been subjected to FGM, they are then prepared to be sold for marriage, and live the rest of their lives being owned by their husband, with no chance of education and the fear of being disowned and thrown out if they speak out.

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One Woman at a Time is a charity that is giving the girls of Pokot hope. Founded by Jean Anderson, a retired midwife living in Morecambe and supported by patron Leanne Brown, One Woman at a Time is giving the chance of education to women and girls, and standing with them as they say NO to FGM. The aim of the charity is to provide relief and assistance to girls and women fearing FGM and early marriage, by identifying and assisting these women in training programmes and employment to help these women shape their own future and give them the chance to be in control of their ambitions. By giving the girls and women the chance to be educated and the ability to provide financial independence, they will be in turn be empowered, driven, have money, success and employment. They will be able to pay their own children’s school fees, look after their siblings and will be passing on a legacy by passing on education. I have recently been given the opportunity to re train and provide for my children through the Nurse Degree Apprentice program. I have people behind me, supporting me and giving me the chance to better myself. This is what I want to share with the women and girls of Pokot. With the help of One Woman at a Time, these women can have the chance to train to be a nurse. They can flee the rural areas where they live and at risk of FGM and sold for marriage, and they can find refuge in education, where they can train to be nurses with lodgings, food, clothing and most importantly hope and knowledge. Although my passion lies with these women receiving an education in nurse training, there are many other ways in which One Woman at a Time can assist employment and education to the women of Pokot. Computer courses, Primary school fees, community education, supplying sewing machines, farming tools, and further education are just some.

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Beautiful gifts the skilled women of Pokot made for my children.

Fear of speaking out has caused centuries of women conforming to this brutal practice. These women and girls need their voice to be heard, but they also need their voice to be valued. By helping One Woman at a time I am helping these women get a seat at the table, they will then use their seat to speak out and educate others. Using their own voice, and their own education these women will make a difference. They will make a change and they will stand for what they believe in, they will chose their career, chose their husbands, and be in charge of their own bodies. Until this is achieved, I have vowed to be their voice, and I will be their seat at the table. We are women, we are mothers, daughters and sisters. In our own right we are amazing, but together we can be unstoppable and a force to be reckoned with. Let’s stand together. Let’s hold each other and carry each other. Let’s be the voice, lets help One woman at a Time.

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I will be visiting the women and girls of Pokot in March next year, to first hand see the work that One Woman at a Time has achieved, and to let these women know that they are valued, loved and that I do believe in them. This blog has only touched upon what this amazing charity has, and is achieving. I will be blogging more information about the charity, and sharing the stories of women and girls that are currently receiving help from the charity. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions, or you would like to know more about One Woman at a Time, or if you would like to help us in any way.

On the 1st September myself and my daughter Ava will be taking part in the Cross Bay Walk to raise funds for One Woman at a Time. Any donations would be hugely appreciated and received with heartfelt thanks. Donations can be made through the following just giving link.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cherish-otoo

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Myself and my daughter Ava are trying to raise funds to support One Woman at a Time.

Cherish on…. Night shifts as a Student Nurse Mummy.

Night one.
Procrastination over preparation. Tonight is my first night shift. I am excited to see the ward at nighttime, and looking forward to experiencing my first night shift. I know that I need to get some sleep in the afternoon before my night shift, but the huge ironing pile that has been staring at me for days was just too tempting, and I spent my valuable sleeping time ironing school uniform. It didn’t stop there. I then rearranged 3 of my kitchen cupboards and cleaned all of the tiles in my bathroom. I know that I am the worlds best proscratinator and this is something that I need to improve on. I dropped my children off at my sisters who was having them to sleep over and set off to work. Upon arriving at work I was greeted by all the day staff and had my first ever handover for a night shift. Everything about this handover was different than the usual night to day handover that I am so used too and it took more energy to register what was being said, and took a little longer to ensure that I had all of the information that I needed. The nurses were very patient with me though, and didn’t mind my questions. They really do support my learning and I am so grateful for them. I had a chat with the nurse that I was assigned too for that night, and we discussed my breaks for the shift. As I had not done a night shift before it was great to get some advice of what works best for breaks. I decided that instead of taking one break for an hour, I would split my breaks up and have 3x 10 min breaks, and then one ½ hour break. I had only been at work for one hour and I yawned. It really unnerved me. I had a little panic to myself, then started one of those silly arguments that you have in your head with yourself: regretting the kitchen cupboard organising and wishing I had had that slept. 2 ½ hours into my shift and I decided to have one of my ten minute breaks. I came off the ward and outside. I felt so much better after having some fresh air, I came back onto the ward, made myself a coffee and felt great. I decided that I would take another 10 min break in 2 hours, and carried on with my tasks. It was really good to go around with the nurse at medication time. I have not yet witnessed night time medications, and there were lots of PRN and controlled drugs to be administered. This was a great learning experience, and is also one of the aims that I had set with my tutor. I was that wrapped up in medication and having the opportunity to ask the nurse all about the medications, that my planned next 10 min break came and went. It was 2am before I felt like I needed a breather, so off I went outside for my air and I took my coffee. My first night shift was over before I knew it. I got home and took my children to school, then got into bed where I had probably the best ‘days’ sleep of my life.
Night 2.
After an amazing sleep, I was up and raring to go. On the way to work I was thinking of all the things that I learnt the previous night, and excited for the opportunity to learn even more. My expectations did not disappoint. I met one of the site managers who came onto the ward to see if we were all OK and if we required any assistance. I spoke with her for a while, and she let me know her role and all of the fascinating tasks and variety of things that she comes across. I realised straight away that this would be a great learning opportunity. I felt elated when she welcomed me to work with her team and was really positive about the Nurse Apprentice Programme. I admire this active leadership and willingness to ensure that students have every opportunity they can to advance in their learning. The 4am sugar craving hit me like a ton weight and I raided all the staff chocolate supplies. I realised from this that I need to prepare my hydration and nutrition for night shifts, and chocolate is an essential component! I finished my second night shift, again really pleased with all that I had learnt and got home in time to take my children to school. I was even more tiered than the previous night and when I got home to find that my Mum had done all of my housework including the washing and ironing I was amazed. There she stood in my kitchen halo and wings. My angel mother sent to save me from my nocturnal delusion.

Night 3
My third and final night. I was confident now that I understood the running of the night shift, and this was evident in my contribution to care. I was much more efficient and felt more relaxed. Although we were shorter staffed than previous nights, we worked so closely together that this did not have an impact on our patients, and I felt so grateful to work with a brilliant team that really valued each other and supported each other in this way. As with any shift day or night, patients can decline and patients can improve. This night shift was the perfect example of this, having the opportunity to take time to see this from beginning to end is vital for me in my learning. I felt well supported, included and valued. I am grateful that the Nurse Degree Apprenticeship gives me so many hours of learning time that I know I can do many more night shifts and really broaden my knowledge. As this night shift draws to a close I’m looking forward to getting home and getting my children off to school. I am ready to see their smiling faces and they think its amazing that their Mummy is working all night to make sure that patients are feeling better. I get home and get them ready for school. I glance at myself in the mirror and I am defiantly looking more Count Dracula than Florence Nightingale but anyway, off we go to school. We chat all the way to school and my girls tell me that they are glad I will be at home that night. I promise them their favourite tea and we look forward to it. Then I spot her, ‘Movie Star Mum’. Movie star Mum has a perfect blow dry, face full of the most perfect make up and is dressed like a fashion icon (hence the movie star Mum title). Beautiful high heels at 8.30am on a Thursday morning and she is glowing. We exchange our normal ‘Hi, How are you?’ And my 5 year old can’t wait to let the world know that her super Mummy has been working nights. Movie Star Mum’s reply…”awwwww poor you”. I smiled an carried on walking. As I walk home, I reflect on Movie Star Mum’s reply. I don’t need a sympathetic poor you. I am elated! I have worked 3 consecutive night shifts, I have so much more knowledge than I did three days ago, have confidence in myself, and a huge sense of achievement. I may look a bit haggard in my worn out sketchers, comfy old jeans and cosy hoody, but that doesn’t mean I’m not bursting with pride. I have got this, I am doing this, and I am borderline superhuman. In fact this Student Nurse Mum, feels on the inside, how Movie Star Mum looks on the outside. P.s, I’m also a bit of a clip removing, dressing changing, catheter Queen.

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Super-Nurse Mummy and her team.

5 Things I am grateful for:

1 – My ward manager organising my night shifts before the children started the summer holiday’s – I would have really struggled to sleep in the day if they were at home!
2- The amazing person that left shortbread and chocolate biscuits for the night team on night number 3. These were appreciated more than you will ever know.
3 – The Registered Nurse’s, CSW’s, Site Managers and Doctor’s that all welcomed my learning with open arms, and went out of their way to ensure I got the most out of my shifts.
4 – My family – for taking care of my children, keeping my spirits high, and washing pile low.
5 – Movie Star Mum: for bringing glamour to the school playground, and making me realise that I am just as fabulous as you are.

My Hypnobirthing story…

So today is 6 years to the day for the due date for my beautiful little girl Isobella. Isobella decided she would make us wait until the 1st of August until she was ready to meet us though! I wrote this story a couple of weeks after Isobella’s birth. I wrote it for my hypnobirthing mentor Jean Anderson, hoping she could use my story to empower other women to make the right choices for them. As it turns out, this story is one that I have read over and over as a reflection of myself, and to remind myself of what I can achieve. It gives me strength, encouragement and focus. Jean is a retired midwife with over 35 years experience, founder of FGM charity One Woman at a Time and a passionate leader with a focus on empowering women. Jean is now a lifelong friend, Isobella’s godmother and an inspiration.

My account begins with a brief encounter of my first labour and birth with my daughter Ava (now 8 years old), and follows with my hypnobirthing experience, the highs and the lows! Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

My hypnobirthing story is untouched, unedited and straight from the heart.

http://www.hypnobirthingmanchesterandcheshire.co.uk

https://onewomanatatime.co.uk

hypnojean@gmail.com

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Jean, Isobella & I

4th January 2010 – Welcome to motherhood.
4.20am, I looked at my baby, and instantly fell in love. Ava Marie Cherish 7lbs 14oz of perfection. The midwife passed Ava to her Daddy as I was too weak to hold her, and they needed to ‘’have a look at me’’. 6am – I locked myself in the bathroom in the delivery room, and cried. They were not tears of joy and fulfilment after just bringing my beautiful baby into the word. They were tears of failure. I had never ever felt so low in all my life. 10.30am – I signed myself and Ava out of the hospital. I closed the door of the delivery room, leaving my dignity, feeling of self worth and a broken heart…. Right there, in the cardboard kidney bean tray along with my placenta. I promised myself that I would never ever have another baby.
January 2012 The realisation!
I looked at the baby on the 12 week scan picture and a lump in my throat blocked any words that I could say. I got home and my mum was there waiting. Everyone was fussing over the scan picture and I sat there quiet. I was so frightened. Not frightened of being a mum – I can do that. I was frozen stiff with the fear of childbirth. I decided right there and then that I was going to ask for an elective caesarean under general anaesthetic. There was no way that I could have a baby naturally again.
After I got over the initial shock that I was pregnant, my mum asked me if I had thought of hypnobirthing. I instantly got defensive, my mind was made up, I was having the caesarean. Mum asked to me please give it a try, and after her going on for a couple of weeks, I decided that I would go and see what it was all about. I had a look on youtube at some hypnobirths. My initial thoughts were that the women were crazy! How were they so calm and collected and in total control. It felt alien to me that this was possible.
March 2012 Hypno what?!
I went to see Jean and had a chat about hypnobirthing. Jean had so much information and so many wonderful stories to share with me. I left with a book by Marie Mongan and told Jean that I would have a look. I started to read the book when I got home and there were some things in there that I just couldn’t gel with. There was a section about ribbons, and how visitations of these ribbons can assist with labour. I just couldn’t find a connection to it. I closed the book and thought that hypnobirthing was not for me. I’ll just have the caesarean. I went to see jean the next week and told her that I didn’t really feel it was for me. Jean and I chatted for hours. I opened up and told Jean that my fear was so overwhelming, that a ribbon long enough to circle the world wouldn’t lighten my fear! Instead of disregarding hypnobirthing all together, Jean instead decided that we would tailor make my hypnobirthing experience. First thing we did was ditch the ribbons. I agreed to see Jean again the week after.
May 2012 – And relax.
I had tried many different relaxation techniques with Jean until we found one that worked for me. I started to look forward to my weekly classes. The relaxation was wonderful. I was still very apprehensive with regards to the birth, and my personal circumstances were not good either. I had separated from my partner, left the family home, and was starting life again with a two year old and a baby that I was due to meet in only a few months. The relaxation classes were vital to me. I needed them to keep me calm, not only for birthing techniques, but to keep my mind focused throughout the rollercoaster ride I was going through with my life.
June 2012 – the Panic!
It was getting closer and closer. I was due to meet my baby in a few weeks and the fear started to over shadow again. I called Jean frantic and we started to see each other more. I knew that my fear was because I didn’t know what was happening to my body during birth. Jean started from the beginning and we went from effacement to dilation to transition. Jean used a pelvis model and told me everything that happens, at every stage and what my body naturally does at each stage. It was like a lightbulb went off inside me. The fear of the unknown was gone. I knew exactly what was going to happen, and exactly what I wanted to do at each stage. I made a birthing plan and wrote down all the things that I wanted to happen, and when. I felt so educated and this gave me the confidence to really plan for the birth that I wanted. This was the first time in the pregnancy that I felt excitement. I promised myself and my baby that this birth would be amazing.
July 2012 – I’m ready.
My due date came and went. I was calm, I was excited to meet my baby, and I was in full control. I refused to be induced. My baby would come when my baby and body were ready for her to come and not a minute before . And I was happy to wait for this.
August 2012 -17 days past ‘due date’
I was going for daily scans as I was over 42 weeks pregnant. The midwife told me that baby’s heartbeat was becoming irregular and after a couple of checks we realised I was in slow labour. I was having mild contractions and I was 2cm dilated! I was so excited! I went home for my bags, had a lovely relaxing bath and went back to the hospital a couple of hours later. I was so ready to meet my baby!

 


1st August 2012 Happy Birthday Isobella!
After being in a comfortable labour for 16 hours, I was still smiling, still walking around and so very relaxed and excited at the same time. I had a check over and baby’s heart beat was becoming more irregular. I sat down with the midwife who was aware of all of my choices and had read my birthing plan, and I decided that I would allow the midwife to release my waters. Almost instantly I knew things were progressing and fast. I stayed comfortable, in my relaxed state on my birthing ball. The midwives asked if I would lay on the bed so they could monitor me. I declined. I knew that I did not want to be on a bed, I wanted gravity to help and I stayed comfortable, on my ball, relaxed. The midwives found a way of bringing the machine to me to monitor the baby. Baby’s heart beat became more irregular and there was a chance that I would require a caesarean. I accepted this and stayed calm whilst the anaesthetist came and put a line in my back in case of a rush to theatre. I kept my breathing deep and my mind focused on my baby.
Its 9.15am, I am 4cm dilated and we had agreed if we had no baby by 10am that I would have a caesarean. I had 2 very strong but manageable contractions. I felt a wave of heat over my body and I instantly knew, from what Jean had taught me that I was in transition, I smiled as I knew I was so close to meeting my baby. I climbed on the bed and looked at the midwife – ‘’are you ready, my baby is coming’’ she looked at me as if I was mad! But after a few deep breaths there was my babies head. I was birthing my baby, my way. No noise, no prompts to push, no medication, no fear, just me and my baby, in our special place letting my body naturally take over.
9.40am – Here she is! My 9lb 4oz hypnobaby! Isobella Rose Carmel is perfect. I’m crying – happy tears! I feel amazing! We did it. I gave my baby the best birthday present, a calm relaxed entry into this word. Hynobirthing gave me the birth that I wanted. My birth, how I wanted it, and I am so lucky to have experienced this magical moment, and elated that I did this for my baby.

Why have I decided to Blog…

Hello, My name is Cherish and I am a 29 year old Mummy, to 2 amazing little girls. I am a student nurse and ambassador for anti FGM charity One Woman at a Time. I want to be the best version of myself. I want to empower others, and I want my children to know that they can accomplish anything that they put their minds too. I am using this blog to empower myself, as a memoirs that I can look back on when times are really hard, when I am struggling to find the last 250 words for my essay, when the children don’t like the meal that I spent 2 hours cooking for them, when all I want is a bottle of wine and a lovely boyfriend, but I get a pile of un ironed clothes and a bill from the milkman. This blog will be my go to, you can do this Cherish, you have this covered. You’re a great nurse, you’re a brilliant mum. I want to be able to reflect on what I have achieved, look at what I have totally messed up and what I can do in the future to improve. I am human, there may be tears, there may be swearing, there may be lots of jumping for joy. I may change my mind, I might not take my own advice. Ill try my best though, and that’s all anyone can do. There will be personal accounts of how I parent as a single mum, how I am a passionate student nurse, and how I feel in this ever so changing world in my little home, in the tiny seaside town of Morecambe Bay.