Our family; bye bye Opera (for now!), hello baby!
I’ve been so grateful for all the messages and Instagram follows we’ve had since starting Little Evie and Me. Thank you for following along! For all of our new friends, I wanted to give some background on how our little family came to be!
I’m originally from Manchester and in 2008 I was offered the opportunity to study abroad in Chicago for a term. I was pursuing a degree in music as a mezzo soprano and had found the first two years of conservatory life very hard going. The chance to go to Chicago came at just the right time. As scary as it was to leave my family and friends and travel 4,000 miles away, I knew it was the break that I needed.
I arrived in Chicago and everything just clicked. The city itself quickly began to feel like home away from home, I started to work with teachers and coaches that are still mentors and friends to this day and was finally back in a place where I was working hard to better myself as a performer, while enjoying every second of it.
After two weeks in Chicago, I met this charming pianist who happened to be in my acting class. He invited me to a party he was having and while we were there, he offered to play for me in an upcoming performance class. We did the class together and afterwards I offered to buy him a beer as a thank you for playing for me. He saw this as me asking him out (I still say I was just being friendly!!) and the rest is pretty much history.
I quickly realised that a term in Chicago wasn’t going to be enough for me, so I made arrangements to extend my study abroad for the full academic year. By the end of that year, I was in the same predicament; I had grown to love life in Chicago and wasn’t ready for that time to end. Artistically I was in a great place and my relationship with my piano man was getting more serious. I decided to do a full transfer and complete my degree in Chicago.
After graduating in 2010, I took a year off from studying to figure out what my next step would be. I stayed in Chicago and during that year was offered the chance to be a young artist with a great company for the next two years. I would visit my family at home intermittently and despite how happy I was in my new city, it was always a struggle to leave my family and friends at the airport.
In the Summer of 2012, me and my piano man got engaged. We were married in December 2013, and decided that for the time being Chicago would be our home base. We both travelled a lot for work and it is safe to say that it put strains on our relationship. Being apart for 6 weeks at a time is bound to take its toll.
In 2014 we extended our family with the addition of our best furry friend, Margie. She has become my most loyal companion and makes us smile and laugh on a daily basis. (If you’d like to see some of her day to day antics, feel free to follow her on Instagram, @margiedood- yes, she has her own Instagram and currently has more followers than me!)
Fast forward to the Summer of 2017 and we were finally on an extended gig together in Colorado. I had spent the years leading up to this summer auditioning, teaching and trying to get my performance career moving. In Colorado I was performing in 4 different operas and everyday was spent singing. It was hard work with mostly 12 hour days, but I enjoyed all of it.
It was during this gig that we found out we were expecting. We had both been working long hours, but for a few days I’d been feeling under the weather. My parents happened to be visiting at the time and we’d just got home from dinner with them when the hubby suggested we do a pregnancy test. When we saw the positive result, I burst into tears asking “Are we going to be ok?” Although I had always known that I would want to be a mother and have a family one day, the timing of this just seemed terrible.
Once the news had sunk in, we still had about a month left of our contract in Colorado, so we decided to enjoy the rest of our performances and make a doctors appointment once we were home in Chicago. The rest of the Summer was a mix of amazing performances and coping with morning sickness at high altitude. My colleagues were non the wiser, even though I would be sipping ginger ale and eating crackers in my dressing room before performances!
When we got home to Chicago, we booked an appointment to see a doctor where it was confirmed that we were indeed pregnant and we had our first ultrasound. We were told baby would be arriving in March and we were probably about 8 weeks along at this point.
The hubby and I talked a lot about where we would like to be based when baby arrived. We had always talked about moving to Europe and thought we could probably stay in Chicago until baby was born and then make the big move a couple of years down the road. However, the more I thought about it, the more I knew that I needed my family close by. I’m fortunate to have a husband that saw how important this was to me and said he would happily move to Manchester without question.
This all happened in August. We decided that to be moved and somewhat settled, we would need to be heading to Manchester in December at the latest. The four months leading up to the move seemed to go by so fast. We had lived in our Chicago apartment for 8 years and slowly we had to pack it all away. The hardest part of all, was saying goodbye to friends that over time had become our Chicago family. They all supported our decision 100% and were excited for our new arrival, but they, like us, were sad to have to say goodbye.
In December, we left Chicago for our new adventures in Manchester. Within a week of being back, we had found a house and were starting to make it our own. Midwife appointments started and we were on track for baby girl’s arrival in March.
Five days fashionably late on a Tuesday morning in March, Evie made her appearance. It was a difficult delivery with an extended stay in hospital for us both (more of on all of that in a later post!), but we eventually all went home and started the next chapter as a family.
So, that’s how our little family came to be!
It has been a whirlwind since Evie’s arrival, probably since the moment we found out we were pregnant in all honesty! I’m hoping that future posts on here will both give insight on becoming a new parent as well as serving as a place for me to reflect on all of these crazy life changes over the past year!
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Little Evie and Me