I found out I was pregnant in December 2017. Gavin and I had completed a couple of charter seasons together and we had just started the new year. We thought it was pretty good timing as I could complete most of the charters we had booked in and the baby would arrive as we were finishing the season.
The pregnancy turned out to be a pretty easy one for me. Thankfully, I had no morning sickness, no real food cravings apart from apples and cheeseburgers which were easy to come across, so I wasn’t having to send Gavin out on food runs in the middle of the night, I didn’t really show until week 24 and the only real issue was the tiredness. The tiredness in the first couple of months hit me badly… I would have a full night sleep and wake up feeling like I’d been hit by a bus! Gavin was amazing on charters and would help me make the beds, collect mooring balls once I’d gotten too big to be reaching down into the sea and try his hardest to keep me cool in the blazing summer sun with the oven blasting heat out at me! I worked until I was 7 months pregnant and it was too difficult to be moving around on the boat easily.
We had discussed marriage before I was pregnant, but having a baby coming into the world spurred us on a little quicker than originally planned. Gavin had planned a day out for us to St. Croix, getting there by seaplane, something he knew I had always wanted to have a ride on. We were both a little anxious as the pilots greeted us on the wings. We then boarded and watched the two of them fire up the engines, working the pedals as we listened to the propellers hum, preparing for take off. Take off and landing was so smooth and quick, it was like driving a go kart as we almost nose dived back down to the sea. We had a wonderful day exploring the island. We hired a guy to drive us all over the place. He showed us the beaches, drove us between the two largest towns on the island from Christiansted to Frederiksted, we saw the regal 18th & 19th century homes, explored the historical site of Fort Christiansvaern, passed by the closed down oil refinery which was once the largest in the western hemisphere and he took us to the Cruzan Rum distillery. It was a fantastic day out.
Once we arrived home we dumped our bags and freshened up. Gavin then asked me to come down to the beach with him, just in front of our house. He had a blanket laid out under the trees and a bottle of champagne with him. As we watched the sunset in our own little paradise, Gavin proposed to me. It was the perfect end to a wonderful day. Oh and I obviously said ‘yes’.
The engagement was short and sweet, just a month to be exact. We planned our wedding in between charters and it took me just two days to plan. Gavin and I drove down to the registry office in Road Town where we got our marriage licence, finalised all the paperwork and organised the registrar. We found our venue, went shopping for our wedding outfits and ordered a bouquet, a cake and the rings. Two days before the wedding I tried the dress again and decided I wasn’t happy with the length, so we rushed around town trying to find a tailor to alter it. Thankfully we found someone who could do it for me that same day. Originally we had matching rings, two toned, one with blue inside, the other with rose pink. Unfortunately mine didn’t fit when it arrived, so I searched my jewellery box to find my great grandmothers ring, which we decided to use on the day.
Our wedding day came around quickly. I woke in the morning feeling excited, but also sad as we didn’t have any family or close friends invited to the ceremony. I had always wanted my dad to walk me down the aisle, my best friends to be by my side and my mum watching in the front row. Nevertheless they were all very happy for me as they knew I had always wanted a small wedding on the beach and this is what we had planned. My friends sent me a video they had recorded wishing me luck which made me ball my eyes out and my parents called to make sure I was ok.
We didn’t have the conventional wedding whereby you didn’t see your other half the evening before or the morning of the wedding. We stayed at home together that evening and drove to the venue together that morning. Before we left the house, Gavin was out collecting palm leaves from the garden to decorate the beach, as we said we would prepare the venue ourselves.
Once we were all packed up, we drove to Surfsong, located on Beef Island which was our venue for the wedding, It was a small boutique resort located right on the beach with a couple of luxury villas. We dropped our bags in the room and went to set up the beach, ready for the day. We wanted everything nice and simple and decorated the beach with palm leaves for the aisle, placed tiki torches all around, we had my iPod plugged in with a wedding playlist I had made, and we set our laptops up so we could have both sets of parents watching from the other side of the world.
Back in our room, I helped Gavin get himself ready as friends arrived. Gavin then went to have a drink with the guys to calm his nerves whilst the girls stayed with me and helped me get ready. Everybody had a part to play in the wedding, from one friend doing my hair and make up, one taking photos, and another walking me down the aisle…
Just as I was almost ready, I was told the registrar had arrived and she was ready to get on with the ceremony. I walked with the girls down to the beach, with butterflies in my stomach. It was a big day for me and I wish I had my parents there to tell me everything was going to be alright, but as soon as I walked down the aisle and saw Gavin waiting with a huge smile on his face, it made me so happy and knew I was marrying the right man for me.
The ceremony was quick and ran smoothly with a few laughs along the way. The views of the ocean and the sounds of the crashing waves behind us were amazing. I had always dreamed of getting married on the beach and this intimate ceremony with a few friends was just perfect. After we were married, we had a few nibbles and drinks (obviously I had only had the one glass of champagne to celebrate as I was pregnant at the time) on the terrace as a few friends gave a couple of speeches. We then had a wonderful dinner and cut the delicious chocolate cake we had ordered. It was enormous and ended up lasting us weeks!
Gavin and I stayed at the hotel that evening and woke up to a wonderful breakfast in the courtyard that morning. We had an incredible day and I couldn’t have asked for it to have gone any better. I married the man of my dreams and we had a wonderful little girl on the way. Life was feeling pretty amazing right now.
The season was almost over and I was 7 months pregnant. I decided to fly home so I could be with family for the last couple of months of the pregnancy. Gavin was due to arrive one month before the birth. I had all my midwife appointments to check everything was OK with the baby and was enjoying being looked after at home by my parents. One evening I noticed something wasn’t feeling quite right. The following morning I went to see the midwife, who then referred me to the hospital to go and get checked over. I was in the hospital all afternoon whilst they did scans on me to check everything was ok and the babies heartbeat was normal. I eventually got the all clear and was told to go home. The following morning I went out shopping with my parents. We had a nice leisurely walk around the mall then headed home for some lunch. After lunch I went to have a lie down as I usually did in the afternoon, when I felt a the sensation of a water balloon bursting down below. I couldn’t believe it… my waters had broken!! I ran to tell my dad, who was amazing at keeping me calm as I called the hospital to explain what had happened. My parents then drove me to the hospital. As soon as I walked through those hospital doors, contractions started coming hard and fast. My parents called Gavin to let him know what was happening and suggested he come over to England ASAP. He packed his bags, left Ben with a friend and jumped on the next flight back to the UK.
The doctors told me contractions usually come and go and they would probably send me home for a week as it was too early for the baby to come out. It was 5 weeks prior to my due date but I knew she was coming, I could feel it…
5 hours from my waters breaking, our beautiful little baby girl was born. Gavin was absolutely devastated he had missed the birth and so was I, but everybody was happy and healthy. Léna got taken away to the special care baby unit and placed in an incubator until she could maintain her own body temperature, whilst I got sent to the maternity ward .
Gavin arrived the following day after the birth. He had a long journey back to London and another 5 hour journey back to my hometown with my parents who went to collect him. He arrived at the hospital, looking excited, but nervous to meet his little girl. It was amazing to see his face light up at the sight of his daughter. He was so proud of her and you could see the love instantly in his eyes. Léna and I stayed in hospital for a week, with Gavin visiting us all day everyday, until we were finally discharged.
We were both so ecstatic to have this new little bundle of joy in our lives. We are looking forward to her growing up into a beach baby and can’t wait for her to meet Ben and have the whole family together on our Caribbean island.
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