Monday 13 June 2011

£440 raised for Smile Train

As you may know, there's a charity we support called The Smile Train. As you can imagine when you first get the news that your baby will be born with a cleft you automatically log on and hit Google for all it's worth and start learning about the problem. After a few months of researching before and after photos and all about the procedure I stumbled upon the Smile Train. They are an incredible organisation started just ten years ago and made it their mission to fix clefts of babies, children and also adults who wouldn't have access to modern medical systems. No mean feat. Other worthy organisations such as Operation Smile (who by coincidence have their UK office a few doors down from where I work) do great work too by sending western doctors to these far flung places and perform as many cleft repairs as they can in two to three week periods. This is obviously fantastic, however there are so many affected people that they'd never be able to fix them all using this method even if they had all the two to three week periods forevermore.

So the Smile Train sought to do it a different way. By acknowledging that they couldn't do it all themselves, they set up a training and information platform which allowed local doctors even in the poorest and hardest to reach places to access the tools and information required so they can use their considerable skills and fix the problem themselves. What's great is that however remote, however poor the area, there will always be inspired, bright people who seek to do good and make people's lives better. The problem is that with all the best intentions in the world, even these amazing people can't do it without resources. So the Smile Train pays for everything other than providing the surgeons, nurses and doctors and as such it is incredibly efficient. Just $250 covers an operation which will transform someone's life forever.

Without this operation, these babies become kids and then adults who live crappy lives surrounded by people who believe a cleft is a curse from God and that they should be left out of regular society. They don't go to school, they don't get jobs, they don't meet a partner and they don't have children. Literally a lifetime of slavery to a birth defect which can be cured in as little as a 45 minute operation. You can see why someone wanted to sort this out. That someone was Bryan Mullaney, a guy who we were lucky to meet at the 10 year anniversary we were invited to a couple of years ago. I understand the structure of the charity has changed a little recently and he no longer runs it, however I'm sure he's just as passionate as ever and he ought to be immensely proud of what he's achieved. The stats are amazing, nearly 600,000 clefts repaired to date and now more children have clefts fixed in India and China each year than are born with them. This charity is finally resolving the problem, containing it...not many charities can claim that or even dream it.

Amazing. So we give a bit each month so once a year we can say that a baby or child can get the same benefit that Jake did for gratis on the good old NHS. We recently celebrated my folks' 40th wedding anniversary and my sister and brother-in-law's 10th at a garden party at my parents' house so we asked guests not to bring presents but told them they could make a donation to either Cancer Research or the Smile Train. I wish I'd played the guilt trip card a bit before I introduced the band but after a few vinos I forgot, however we managed to raise nearly £900, half of which will be going to the Smile Train. So that's pretty much two kids who will now have a regular life full of opportunity where before there would be none.

So thanks to everyone who donated and thanks again to the Smile Train. You rock.

Monday 11 April 2011

James Fernie

For some reason, the data centre I use to host my domains - yes the one I used to run - seems to have turned off? Why is anyone's guess but I do know they've been moving locations recently so perhaps I'll forgive them for now.

Anyway the point is, that a search for my name is slipping down the ranks somewhat. Hence this post about James Fernie which redirects to this blog. Also James Fernie used to point to my word press blog.

Anyway for now you can follow me on Twitter by clicking the following link to find:
James Fernie on Twitter

Or find me on Facebook on this link:

James Fernie on Facebook

Apologies for this blatant bit of SEO but when your name gets mixed up with a whole load of other James Fernies drastic measures are called for.

Monday 11.4.11

Today I'm supposed to be starting a new job, looking after online marketing and ecommerce conversion at Gift Library. It's kind of a dream job for me....pretty much completely on brief in terms of what I said I wanted to do when we sold the old agency. After a lifetime of sucking up to clients who were often wrong but paid the bills, it's time to go and be the client, and work on something to build some sort of legacy.

Anyway, it all happened rather fast. One interview just over a week ago, a week's notice given on my freelance contract from Stream 20 and today's the day I start. Well, not quite.

Because Clare's waters broke last night.

I believe the expression is 'OMFG'!!!!!!!!!!!

Those of you who've read this since the beginning or at least around the time Jake was born, will remember that he was two weeks early. Labour setting in after a family meal on a Sunday. Well, different family (celebrating Clare's dad's 70th) and contractions haven't started but last night around 11pm we were in bed and she gave me the news. So, just like last time, we were on the road at midnight on a Sunday - I think I wrote at the time, how weird it was to be driving at that time of day and week, and that I'd likely never do it again! Anyway, unlike last time, Clare wasn't ready. They hooked her up to the monitor and an hour later we were on our way back home. I had said that I really didn't want to come home but I was so tired I was quite pleased. Also, the initial shock and panic is now replaced with a sort of blokish attitude that we shall now simply go back to hospital and push out a baby!

We're so lucky as Clare's mum drove round to stay and look after Jake and will pick him up from nursery later and keep hold of him until our baby arrives. Because the waters have broken, they will induce Clare tomorrow morning at 8am and although we'd love for it to come today to share granddad's birthday (not to mention how cool 11.4.11 looks,esp as it matches Jake's 8.9.8), we're definitely going to have a new baby tomorrow. Which is utterly crazy. But we're ready and can't wait.

Bring it on!

Thursday 31 March 2011

Sorry been busy again!

Sorry all, it's been a while since my last confession entry...still got the whole job thing going on. A real pain working for someone else but it puts food on the table.

Clare is due in 23 days time. When you say it like that it really hits home...just after Jake has finally, at long, glorious last, settled for once and for all into the sleep pattern we've been praying for, another one is going to come along and turn things upside down again. I'm not complaining though. Much.

It's going to be wonderful and I really can't wait. I said on this blog waaaaay back in 2008, that getting married validates your relationship but having a child is what makes you a family. I know that sounds utterly obvious but you could be a family with say, a cat or whatever but maybe it's more that it rubber stamps your relationship and adds another dimension. Well, having the second I guess completes the set. Gets you to the point where if you didn't have any more kids or pets you wouldn't feel or look to the outside world at all incomplete.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to that.

Also, had a lovely message from someone of Facebook who said this blog helped her when she discovered her boy would be born with a cleft lip and palate. For what must be the hundredth time I've written this, I genuinely had no idea that people would read this and although it says in the title that it's for others, I didn't expect anyone to bother coming along to it, let alone have it help someone or give them comfort. That it did is awesome and I'm really glad it's still going, albeit sporadically.

Incidentally, the other blog at James Fernie is down for some reason, must be my sh!tty ISP - yes, the one I used to run...see what happens when the boss leaves town!

So long peeps.

Monday 17 January 2011

I'm back...

...although probably not for long. I've neglected both my blogs for a while and am acutely aware that when I started the other one (at that I said I wouldn't be one of those people who starts their blog full of ideas and enthusiasm only to see it fall into disrepair once the initial inspiration ebbs away.

After all, I was a seasoned blogger with over two years of content under my belt and felt that I could make such a statement with a hand on heart commitment. That was before a fairly drawn out process which firstly involved selling a business and secondly involved finding a new job and ultimately involved doing a new job. Turns out working for other people means you can't spend an hour or two creating literary genius as and when you feel like it. Who knew?

Anyway, with my feet, albethey freelance, now firmly under the desk, I'm happy to pick up where I left off. So where was that then...? Oh yes, Clare's up the duff.

So we've had the 20 week scan and this time there doesn't appear to be anything remotely clefty. Of course you never know about the palate until baby is born but the lip is definitely all there. We've had a 3D scan (on the free) as all the new equipment at Royal Surrey includes this mode as standard now...we got much clearer pictures this time too than when we visited the kind man with the bow tie down in Kent.

The scan itself was a nerve racking experience though. Again we had a foreign lady look after us and Clare's initial question of 'was everything o.k with my blood' got the following response:

'I'll talk about that at the end.'

I'd like to think that this lady knew about the level of anxiety we suffered last time and that it was just her foreignness that made her put her response that way. What she meant was that she couldn't give us all the information until the measurements taken during the scan had all been recorded and then, in conjunction with the other info, she could give us the prognosis. As it was, I was sat there, with hidden, crossed fingers thinking every conceivable bad thought possible. Clare had AIDS, the baby would be born a hippo, that kind of thing.

Anyway, all was o.k and the relief was palpable. I think Clare was more relaxed than me but we were both so, so relieved that it was a continued case of 'so far, so good'. It's weird but I found myself thinking that if I could bargain at this stage and take a cleft now rather than risk anything else which might go wrong, I would. That's something that the majority of parents who've sailed through a regular pregnancy will never understand. I don't mean to be flippant; of course all expectant parents go through the wringer and have a lot of concerns and worries, but until you've been through it knowing that something won't be quite right, you'll never know what the second time round feels like. In the back of my mind, I'm resigned to the fact that something still could go wrong and I'm o.k with that. Alright, perhaps not o.k with it, but I'm prepared for it and it doesn't completely freak me out. If something happens, it happens and we'll deal with it, whatever 'it' may be.

So all being well, come April-ish, Jake will have a sibling and the family will be even more complete. I'm dreading the sleep thing again but am also really excited. I'm looking forward to a different feeling on that first night. I remember bringing Jake home like it was yesterday. He and I slept in the living room while Clare caught up on some well deserved sleep upstairs. I had no idea what I was doing but the pair of got through the night o.k and the rest is history. A lot has happened since and the next installment in our story is due this year.

Can't wait!