Our Road to a New Family Member

The last couple of months of 2017 were a pretty rubbish time for us. As I’ve blogged about before, we lost our first baby not long before Christmas, which would be a shitty end to anyone’s year. But, by the summer of 2018, things were finally looking up.  

A photo of us taken during our holiday to Cornwall at Tintagel Castle - just before we found out the good news
A photo of us taken during our holiday to Cornwall at Tintagel Castle – just before we found out the good news!

We’d decided to relax and just see what would happen. If we got pregnant again then that would be brilliant, but we didn’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves for it to happen. We had an amazing holiday to Cornwall where we simply relaxed and toured some of the most beautiful locations in the UK. Times were good, and they were about to get better. 

Just after returning from Cornwall, I was out in our back garden mowing the lawn that had grown to jungle proportions while we were away on holiday. Alex had gone to the nearby Tesco Express, likely to procure some junk food for the night ahead (we must spend a fortune in that place!).

I didn’t notice she’d returned until she walked out of the backdoors and into the garden. She had her hands behind her back, which wasn’t unusual after returning from the shop as Alex often brings a surprise home for me, she’s cute like that. But, as corny as it may sound, what she had behind her back was our future.  

Yep, that’s as corny as it sounded when I decided to write that. 

Promise Me You’ll Carry On

I’m writing this to make a promise to myself. A promise that I will start writing here at least a couple of times a month. It’s a promise I’ve made before, but now that money is emptying from my wallet, I need to ensure I’m not wasting it.  

What exactly is the point in me paying for a URL, hosting and now a bloody SSL certificate if I’m not actually going to use my website? 

Every day I get emails about attackers trying to get into my website. Thankfully, I’ve made sure it’s now secure, which is a lesson I learned when I woke up to find that my website had been converted into a porn website overnight. A malware scan and clean-up fixed the problem, but it made me take precautions that I’d been lax in implementing before.  

I suppose the hard part is that my entire day revolves around sitting at a computer. Sometimes that day also involves writing content, and while it’s not the content I would choose to write if I wasn’t getting paid for it, that writing time has mentally exhausted me by the end of the day. All I want to do is slump in front of the TV and stick Netflix on or play a video game for an hour or so.  

There’s another massive reason why I’m exhausted, and I’ve been halfway through writing about that for a few months now. This week I’m finally going to publish it. While I know there is nobody sitting there waiting anxiously for a new hot take from yours truly (and who can blame you? Why would you return to a website that’s never updated?), it will do me the world of good to finally get it out there in a follow-up to the post I wrote about miscarriage.  

I have this dream of becoming a better writer, but that dream will never be realised if I don’t bother to do any writing in the first place. It’s tough when you’re staring at a blank page, but I need to realise that I’m not supposed to be aiming for perfection here. Anything I write here will help be improve and get back into a habit that I used to adore. If I just keep sitting on my thumbs, I’ll never get anywhere. 

Anyway, my WordPress admin panel will be seeing me again shortly.  

Coronavirus Good News: It’s Not All Doom & Gloom!

I’ve always been a news junkie, especially since I’ve been using the Internet. I like to stay informed and I love to read long and in-depth articles that brilliant journalists have often spent months putting together (that’s why I support both The Guardian and The New York Times with digital subscriptions). The media is constantly under attack today, and some of it can be warranted. But for every clickbait bit of nonsense, there are still journalists out there producing some incredible work.

During the coronavirus pandemic, there’s unsurprisingly been an explosion of news about it. It soon began to feel like that’s all the media have been talking about for the last couple of months.  It can quickly become depressing reading about infection and death statistics, as well as how it’s destroying people’s livelihoods and ripping the economy apart. It’s a good idea to take a break from all this, and I’ve tried to cut down by intentionally reading other non-related articles or just deciding not to read the news for a little while at all. Although, in my case, this never lasts for long. But if you all keeping up with all the news, let’s try to look at the good things that are coming out of the pandemic instead.

Here I’m going to post all the good things I’m reading about when it comes to coronavirus. Such as stories of people pulling together and helping each other in these worrying times. I’ll update this post as I find new things, and feel free to mention anything I may have missed in the comments.

The Updates Finally Continue

In a couple of months, it will be two years since I sat down and poured my heart into an entry about how it felt to deal with miscarriage as a man. At the time I shared the entry on Facebook, as did my wonderful wife, and I was humbled to receive an outpouring of sympathy from friends and people I didn’t even know. I didn’t write it for the sympathy, but I appreciated everyone’s comments; especially from those who have been through the same thing, of which there are many.

As hard as it was writing that entry, it gave me the writing bug back and I was all set to continue positing here on a regular basis. That is until an incident happened that put me off even going near my blog.

I don’t want to go into details about it here, mainly because it’s not worth spending my time and energy on and I’m totally over it. All I can say is that, at the time, it was an upsetting incident that really put me on a downer, which I didn’t really need when I’d finally got everything out about the miscarriage and felt something approaching relief. It really hit my confidence and I didn’t want to write anything again.

I now realise that if I’m going to write a blog, I can’t always expect that people will be nice about what I write here. I welcome debate and alternative opinions, but I don’t welcome disgusting bile and hateful comments for no reason at all. I’m just going to ignore anything like that.

A few months after that happened, I decided to not let it bother me anymore and I wanted to return to normal and continue writing here. I wish that I’d documented everything that happened after that, but I was about to become a busy man and updating my blog came far down the list of a thousand other things I now had to do.

Let’s leave it here for now. I’ll return soon to talk about one of the best periods of my life

As a side note, one of the reasons I’m suddenly writing here again is that we’re currently in week 7 of the UK-wide lockdown that’s been implemented due to the spread of Covid-19. I’m still able to work from home, but anything resembling a normal life is pretty much non-existent at the moment.

I feel like I’m slowly getting the writing bug back. So, while this may never be set in stone, I’m going to try and write here at least once a week (or twice a month) to begin with.

How I Dealt With Miscarriage As A Man

The nurse’s face said it all.

I’d been sat squeezing the hand of my wife as she lay there with a nurse searching around inside of her. It felt like the longest moment of my life and ,as the seconds ticked by, I increasingly lost hope that our baby was still alive and kicking.

I didn’t look at my wife as the nurse’s eyes flicked around the ultrasound monitor. Instead, I stared intently at the nurse’s face, looking for any sign of recognition of a heartbeat showing on the monitor.

The moment that I was dreading eventually arrived. That slight grimace on her lips. That flash of disappointment that ran across her face before she quickly regained her composure. Anyone not paying attention may not have seen it, but I was staring so intently that I saw it straight away. This nurse has no doubt carried out this test hundreds of times before, but the dread of having to tell a young couple that they’ve lost their baby must always be in her mind during these moments. After all, she’s only human.

Because of what I saw I already knew that it was over before the nurse opened her mouth to say ‘I’m so sorry, but there isn’t a heartbeat’. But those words were always going to be a punch to the gut and they just confirmed what we’d been dreading for a couple of days.

Back To Blogging

Well, here we go I guess.

Yes, I’m back! Not that anyone really noticed that I’d gone. I was hardly pulling in thousands of hits a day and I didn’t have a thriving community where we discussed every topic under the sun. I suppose that’s why it’s easy for me to start again as I’m not really leaving anything behind. Plus, since blogging is apparently making a comeback, I figured that now was better than ever.

My old blog, No Signal Input, has been dead for a few years now. Given how old it was, I’m a bit gutted about that. But at the same time, I wanted a fresh start. I’d got to the point where I was just fed up with it and didn’t know where to go with it.

No Signal Input was mostly focused on gaming, which is all well and good because that’s one of my main hobbies. But as much as I like talking and writing about games, I don’t want a website that’s completely focused on it. I want a website where I can talk about whatever takes my fancy, and I don’t want to be bogged down in a ‘niche’ like all those blogs that profess to teach you how to make millions blogging say you absolutely MUST do. Hence this blogs current strapline, ‘screw having a niche’. I’ll probably change that at some point in the future, but it’ll do for now.

I just want to write.

I want to write about whatever I want to write about. I don’t want to be forced into what I should write about.

Sure, I’ll probably write about gaming a bit, but I don’t want my blog to be solely about gaming. If I’ve read a good book I want to write a review. If I’ve seen a good film or watched something excellent on TV then I want to write about that. I want to highlight comics I read, and I want to share cool things that I find on the Internet. I also want to write more about my personal life and the travels we go on as a couple. So, if I’ve been somewhere nice, or eaten somewhere I’ve loved, expect me to write about it.

I’m not here to build an audience of thousands. I’m not here to become a millionaire off my words. I’m hardly the best writer in the world, although I’m fully aware that people who’ve made a living off writing don’t always have exceptional writing skills. All I’m here for is to write for me, to write things that I want to write about. Blogging was initially created as an online diary of sorts; somewhere to express your thoughts and feelings, so I want to embrace that again.

I’ve been writing online since around 2003 and somewhere along the way I started blogging about things I didn’t really want to write about. It was simply to fulfill some bullshit advice that the SEO blogging community seems to vomit out all the time. I don’t want to be part of that. I want to have fun writing this blog and I never want to see this as a chore again. If I pick up a few readers along the way then that’s brilliant, but I’ll continue writing here regardless of whether anyone is reading it or not. I’ll always keep the comments open and I’m always happy to engage with anyone who wants to talk.

Finally, I need to stop worrying about whether what I’ve written is any good. Part of the reason I stopped writing a lot is that I didn’t think it was any good. But some of the best writers in the world struggle with publishing the final version, and I’m willing to bet that many go to press wondering how they could have improved it further. Now I’m far from one of the best writers in the world, but I am always worrying about how good something I wrote is. This fear blocks me from putting pen to paper as I start to believe that there isn’t any point.

Of course, I’m wrong about that. Everyone can improve if they continue to do something enough, and I’m never going to improve my writing skills if I refuse to write at all. I love writing and I often feel my writing reads like I’ve just thrown everything out from my brain. But that’s cathartic for me. It makes me feel much better and gives me a wonderful release at the end of a busy day or week. I’m going to challenge myself to write regularly and write about different things. That’s why I don’t want to put myself in a ‘niche’. I want to be as open as possible.

So, if you got this far then welcome! Who knows what you’ll find if you ever come back?