Christina Sparkle

  1. My birth story

    Thunderbirds are go! Finally. #labour #induced #42weeks

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    I’m back!! And I had a baby!

    I didn’t blog during my pregnancy; since starting work at the RSPB and buying our new house I haven’t made time for blogging. However, now I have some time off and need something to occupy my mind so it’s time to get some of these feelings out. Here’s my birth story, be warned there will be some gory detail!

    We had known for a while that baby’s back was aligned to my back and not at the front of my tummy but I wish I had known how significant that would be, or what I could have could have done to help. Whenever I had midwife checkups they had found it difficult to say how the baby was lying and sometimes found the heart beat hard to listen to as well.

    Baby was due on December 21st 2015 however he decided to stay in there as long as possible. I went in for a stretch and sweep on Saturday 2nd (40 weeks + 12 days) but as my cervix was completely closed the midwife couldn’t complete the procedure.

    I was due to be induced on Monday 4th but I started contracting naturally on Sunday at 2am. My contractions got to 3-4 in a ten minute period however they were only 30 seconds long so after another internal exam which showed my cervix was still only .5cm I was sent home to try and relax until the contractions were more meaningful.

    On the evening of Sunday 3rd my contractions were now 50 secs to a minute long but not frequent enough. I got into bed but within half an hour I got my show. I wasn’t sure it was my show (I expected a show to be small), it was like raspberry jelly and there was so much of it I thought it might be my waters but a trip to the midwife in hospital told me that it was in fact my show.

    The midwife encouraged me to go home but I was losing patience and knew I had to be back for 8am anyway to be induced. She very kindly found me a bed on the ward along with all the new babies and Andy went home to get a proper nights sleep that I knew he needed. The midwife did warn me that I wouldn’t get any sleep because of all the newborns but it turned out that it was me making all the noise, not the poor babies.

    Every contraction I was swearing through the pain, I feel so bad for all those newborns whose first sounds they heard in this world are me effing and blinding through the night! Still my contractions were not 3-4 in a ten minute period like they need to be to be considered in active labour.

    In the morning I was moved down from the ward to the labour suite ready for induction as planned at 8am. To increase the intensity and frequency of my contractions I was started on a drip and epidural. There was no point in a pessary or gel to start contractions as I was already contracting. Again, because the baby was back to back the midwife found it hard to track my contractions because the tightening was all in my back, not in the front as usual.

    One thing I hadn’t considered with being induced is that my birth plan (or preferences as I called them) would essentially be thrown out. An induced labour already has a specific plan so it’s very unlikely that it would involve a birthing pool or surviving with gas and air only.

    I found the epidural to be quite scary. I wish that I had done more research into all the steps of an induced labour once I had been given a date for the induction. I was still focusing on my ideal labour that I had in my birth plan. The epidural required all kinds of needles and tape in my back; when the anaesthetist was putting everything in and taping me up I was crying just from feeling overwhelmed and out of control of the situation.

    The epidural helped some but unfortunately my pain was all in my back because of the position of the baby being back to back. I still needed to use gas and air throughout my contractions and especially during the internal exams, despite the anaesthetist telling me to try not to use it anymore. I used the manual top-up button that you get with an epidural every time and took more from the anaesthetist as often as I could.

    Around 8pm my midwife and doctor prepped me for a caesarian section as I was bleeding so much but as I was now dilating well I think they thought it was worth carrying on and hoping for the best.

    Eventually I got to 10cm and I was feeling very out of it with all the gas and air and epidural drugs. The midwives and doctor started telling me to push but I felt that I couldn’t push through the pain and made no progress. I knew that I may be dilated enough but the baby wasn’t far down, it was still going to be a long process. This was the point were I felt even more out of control; I was heavily drugged and talking nonsense most of the time to the point where the things that I really meant to say were not being taken seriously. Poor Andy had to answer some very silly questions from me!

    I got to the point where I was really arguing with the midwives and screaming out in pain so much with every contraction because the drugs really weren’t hitting my back where all the pain was. A senior midwife came in and told me that if I didn’t start pushing properly they would have to give me a caesarian section to which I responded to tell her that’s what I wanted, that I couldn’t do any more.

    The midwife and doctor at this point agreed to a c-section, everything from now onward went very quickly. The anaesthetist prepared a form for me to sign and the process was all very quick. I was moved to an operating room and given a local anaesthetic but when we went through the tests to see what sensations I had I could still feel what they were doing too much. This meant that I needed a general anasthetic instead.

    Apparently within 15 minutes the baby was out and Andy could hear his cries from outside the operating room. Shortly afterwards the anaesthetist came out and handed the baby to Andy. Meanwhile I must have been stitched and patched up because a few hours later I woke up in the recovery area to Andy holding our baby.

    I was still quite out of it and at first I turned down holding the baby until I had woken up a bit more. When I did hold the baby and tried to feed him he latched perfectly first time. There are some photos of that moment but I look like a complete crazy person I’m scared someone will come and take him away if they are ever made public!

    So there we are, welcome to the world Sacha Bradley Trent Walton! Born 3.15am on 5th January 2016. He weighed 7lbs 15oz and so far has blue eyes and lots of dark hair.

    Sacha Bradley Trent Walton born 3.15 am today weighing 7lb15oz

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    Since the birth I’ve been having a rollercoaster of emotions about the whole experience. I am happy that I didn’t have to keep pushing because I felt so much pain and I dread to think how long that might have gone on for. However, I do wish I had been able to be more “present” and hold my baby straight away which makes me cry every time I think about it.

    I am just so happy to have him now, it’s all quite overwhelming… I’m off for another cry – come back for his one week update coming soon!

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  2. Laughing With – Regina Spektor

    Last week we both had a stomach bug and spent most of the week in bed. Not the best start to a new job!

    Getting back to my old favourite music, I really haven’t listened enough to Regina Spektor’s last album, and it has been so long since she released it. I hope for more new music from Regina some day soon. Her style is so unusual, especially compared to the rest of my music collection, but it is like comfort food to me.

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  3. Bye bye baby


    Since we moved down to Bedford we’ve been renting out our house to tenants. The idea was that if we decided Bedford wasn’t for us we would still have our house to come back to. I also found it very hard to let go of the place that we had first bought together.

    This week we had an offer on our house in Leicester and accepted it! That means if all goes well we will be looking to buy a new place in the Bedfordshire area in 2015.

    We’ve tried to play it safe this time, we hoped that we would be able to sell our house and then have our deposit ready for a new house with no chain. Our house went up on the market about 6-8 weeks ago and we didn’t seem to have much interest, but I guess it just takes one person. We did have a slightly unusual situation in that we are selling the house with tenants so we were marketing the house to potential landlords. That meant less people would be interested but luckily the right person has come along and made an offer this week. Here’s hoping everything goes smoothly!

    In Bedford we’ve been relying on sites like Bedford Blog and Board to give us tips on the best areas. However, we’ve also found that the popular areas don’t necessarily have the types the houses that we’d like. This means we’ve been considering different types of houses, and also different areas that might be less popular.

    One thing we do know is that new houses are just not for us. We’ve been renting a newer build and the walls are just so thin, we can hear everything our neighbours do. We also miss having simple things like a chip shop around the corner, hopefully an older house and neighbourhood will suit us better.

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  4. Stitch and B*tch


    Just a quick update today because I haven’t done the extra work on my new Clemence skirt quite yet. However, this week I started my new job in Bedfordshire so I no longer have to travel around for work. This means that I can finally go to some of the evening groups I’ve wanted to go to.

    Unfortunately it seems that the local young WI group, the Scone Roses, have moved away from the WI organisation and it’s not clear if they will keep meeting up yet. It’s a shame because I hadn’t made to a meeting at all yet.

    Last night however, I did get to the crafting circle at The Three Cups near Castle Road in Bedford. I didn’t have any crochet or embroidery on the go but I just picked up a bag of yarn and my hooks and went to the pub. I’ve decided to make another baby blanket in the Cath KidstonĀ -inspired colours that I had previously made for my friend Aurora.

    Blue, green. cream, pink and red make for an unusual combination but the result is very fitting for any Cath Kidston lover, and gender neutral too. I’m not sure who I will gift this blanket to but at the rate all of my friends areĀ getting pregnant at I’m sure it won’t be long till I have someone in mind!

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  5. Coco: week 4 finished!


    Ta-daaa! Here are my final Cocos photographed on a blustery day in Bedford.

    In my final week I attached the cuffs to the black and cream striped top, and hemmed both to finish. I hemmed with a double needle, rather than zigzag like the pattern suggests. I far prefer this finish and is much easier than I expected it to be. It is scary at first but even my old 1960s Bernina handled the double needle with ease – just remember to make sure you are set to straight stitch not zigzag every time.

    Luckily I have been able match the stripes on all side seams and sleeves which I wasn’t expecting to happen. When I cut them out they were distinctly wonky but I guess the stripe is just the right size to match up and then be able to hide uneven hems easily.

    The only place I wasn’t able to match the stripes was on the collar as you can see in the above photo, they actually match alternatively so cream meets black, black meets cream. I actually quite like the checkered effect, perhaps I’ll try that on something else with the fabric remnants?

    I’m not sure I would make this pattern with a collar again, I do like the effect but (perhaps due to the weight of the fabric?) I haven’t quite found the right position for the collar. It doesn’t roll over enough to cover the understitching and seems to weigh down the neckline. After a few more wears I will hopefully find the right way to wear it.


    The grey and black version I think will get the most wear. This is the most simple version of the pattern, no pockets or added detailing and therefore the most flexible. I’m wearing it here with a new Clemence skirt that is almost finished (more info on that next week).

    The fabric on the grey and black top is thick and more stiff than the black and cream version. This results in a top that holds its shape really well.

    Both tops are loose fitting, I may try a size (even two) smaller next time, but I think the pattern is supposed to fit loose. I’d be interested to try a more close fitting pattern to wear with full skirts, perhaps the Nettie? Before that though I have quite a pile of patterns and fabric building up that I want to get through.

    Things I learned this week: a hot iron will flatten out any bumpy hem.

    I hope you like the photos that actually include my head! Usually I take photos of me wearing my makes before leaving for work when I haven’t done my hair or make up yet but I made a special effort with these and went out on Saturday so that Janet could feature them on her blog. It’s very strange taking photos in the street while people are walking around.

    It was a lot of fun taking Janet’s course and I would highly recommend it. I’ve been teaching myself dress making from books and bits and bobs on the internet but there is so much you learn from having someone show you. I’ve also made two lovely friends in Janet and Charlotte – it’s really good to start getting to know people in Bedford. I’ve signed up to Janet’s Christmas course to meet some more people too.

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  6. Coco: Week 3


    They are both coming together so well now. The sleeves and side seams are now finished, next week will be hemming and then I’m all done.

    Last week when sewing the collar on to the black and cream top I zigzagged the seam allowances to the top, as per the instructions but this didn’t work out right at all. Firstly the zigzag stitch was too tight which resulted in a wavy effect, nothing a good press couldn’t iron out but still, not ideal. Secondly, the idea is that the zigzag would be covered by the collar but that really wasn’t the case on my top.

    I decided to unpick, painstakingly, and then redid the understitching with a double needle. This has resulted in a much nicer effect, far more professional looking.

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  7. Coco: Week 2


    Second week of my Coco course with Janet from Kitchen Table Sewing and now I have started to put the pieces together. For my black and cream top I am going to make the version that has a collar, a sixties style rolled neck that reminds me of the collar on my bridesmaid’s dresses. For my grey and black top, which I’m making on my own at home, I’ve gone for a standard neckline and this will be the most simple version. I’m not even going to do a pocket on the grey and black top because breast pockets are just a no-no with a bust like mine.

    Things I’ve learned this week: how to use a double needle for hemming (never ever try to zigzag with a double needle); it is important to hold onto the threads when starting to sew on a modern sewing machine (I’m so used to my 1960s Bernina); unpicking stitches in jersey fabric should be avoided at all costs (I’ve been doing it as delicately as possible!).

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