29 - How Alfies Studio came to be...

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

No Matter What by Debi Gliori
Image taken from "No Matter What" by Debi Gliori (found on notsupermum.com)
I often find that when networking and meeting new people when I mention what I do and I introduce Alfies Studio I am often asked "Why Alfies Studio?". They want to know where the name came from or (correctly) assume that it is the name of one of my children. Here is the story of Alfies Studio.

I have been self employed (sometimes whilst also having a "day job") since 2004 (nearly ten years, yikes!) and never really had a business name until a life changing event forced me to get serious about life, love, business, all of it, in 2008.

We were expecting our first baby, due date 7th April. We kept joking about the stork and Parcel Force and damaged goods and all of that, our stork must have been clumsier than we could ever have imagined. After a few issues for the baby being breech we had a scan on the 2nd April. The scan was to see which way around the baby was and if I may have to book in for a c-section as the consultant was not keen on the idea of delivering a breech baby. I was a little concerned about having felt a lack of movement the previous day too (after being out with a friend for lunch and a wander around Bath I thought my 39 weeks pregnant self was just tired out and hadn't noticed any kicks because of that) so they were to check on that also. After a Registrar, and another Registrar (worried at this point), and a Consultant (terrified and certain) and finally a Sonographer (white knuckles holding on to the bed and wanting to be sick with revelation of what was happening) tried frantically to find a visual of the baby's heartbeat I knew, before anyone even opened their mouth to tell us. Our baby had died. 

If I'm completely honest my memories from then on seem to be in the third person, as if watching myself. I have some views of my own, of sitting in the hospital garden watching a Robin whilst waiting for the induction medication to do its thing, of the Tiffin that we bought and shared in the hospital canteen (too sick to eat but just needing something) of being given an overnight room reserved for cases like ours away from the main labour areas full of new life (which we now "affectionately" refer to as "The Room of Doom"). I remember that this time five years ago we had a corned beef sandwich (all that was left from the dinner rounds) and were watching the new Dan Cruickshank series on the wall-mounted t.v which we had been looking forward to for weeks. I remember a haze of gas and air and contractions that would not progress during the night, Pethidine around 1pm which knocked me out completely as they had super-sized my dosage and being assigned our own midwife around 3 in the afternoon to help us through things. By 6pm I had gone through the only physical "birth" process I would ever go through (Dominic and Evelyn both being c-sections for being breech too). I was empty both physically and mentally. That night we drove home having left around quarter to ten, not with-child in any sense. I vaguely remember that there were flowers waiting for us from my good friend Sarah (these could have come the next day, I don't really remember) and the next morning I woke up and was so tired that for a second (only a second) I had forgotten what had happened in the previous two days. Then I realised and looked over at the crib in the corner of the room, already made up with boxes of clothes and nappies laundered and ready to be used in boxes underneath. The moments following, the next weeks (months) are all a bit of a haze. We moved across the country to the new home that we had bought for our new family. Our hamsters jumped ship too and died around the same time. It seemed like such a lonely place for just the two of us.

When I finally started to get it together again I decided not to go back to working for someone else full time (I always wondered a little bit if the stress and long hours in the final few months had contributed to what happened, no reason was ever found) and to throw everything in to making a real business of my own that I could call the shots with and could grow around a one day (hopefully) growing family. I felt like I owed it to our A.L.F (so called because the first time we ever saw a hand sweep across my stomach it looked like a little Alien Life Form) to achieve the greatness that they would never be able to achieve and so my business has been since then, and always will be, Alfies Studio.

Stillbirths happen ten times more frequently than cot deaths. I had heard of cot death and taken measures to prevent it such as a ventilated mattress and bedding and cellular blankets etc but knew nothing of stillbirths or that it could happen to us.
For more information go to http://www.why17.org/About-Sands.html or http://www.justgiving.com/why17 to donate to the research of Sands.

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