What’s Been Happening … and What’s Coming Up Next

7 May 2013 | Life


I’m back! And the picture above hopefully gives you some idea what I’ve been up to…

Our little girl, Kitty (Katherine Constance Luke), was born on Saturday 9th March 2013, weighing 8lbs 6oz. She’s two months old now, and a big, healthy baby. I’ve been very much enjoying being a mum … but I’ve missed my writing and blogging.

So I’m glad to be back, and I’m looking forward to catching up with you. 🙂

(Just so you know – I’m only working Tuesdays and Fridays during May, so you might have to wait a couple of days for a reply to emails, blog comments, etc.)

The Baby Bit (Feel Free to Skip This!)

I know some readers will be keen for baby details – so here they are! If you’re more interested in finding out about Aliventures-related happenings, scroll on down to the next section.


Kitty was born two weeks and two days late (and yes, I was getting very impatient!) All told, it was a good labour – not so painful as I’d expected – and I’d definitely do it again.

I went into hospital on the afternoon of Thursday 7th March to be induced. The process was started that evening, and I began having small, frequent contractions straight away.

By eleven a.m. on the Friday, Paul and I were down in the “delivery suite”, and things were progressing well. The midwife was concerned about my blood pressure (which is normally really good), so I was hooked up to a monitor for the rest of the labour.

Kitty was in the “back to back” position, which meant that the contractions were most painful in my back rather than my stomach, and the most comfortable position was standing up. I was very glad of my TENS machine, and (once Paul taught me how to inhale it properly!) also very glad of the gas and air.

By late afternoon, I was really tired and had an injection of meptid (similar to pethidine), hoping it would dull the pain enough to let me doze. All it did was make me very, very sick!

As the meptid wore off, I started to get strong urges to push. I wasn’t quite dilated enough, and Kitty hadn’t turned into the right position, so the midwife got me to kneel on the bed and breathe through the contractions.


Eventually, I was fully dilated and ready to push. It took a while – and Kitty was a tight fit – but she came along safely at 1.15am on the Saturday morning, without needing forceps or ventouse. Until that moment, I’m not sure I’d been quite convinced there really was a baby in there!


I held Kitty and fed her while there was some consultation between our midwife and another, who concluded I needed to be stitched up in surgery. The surgical team were great, and though I’d been scared beforehand about tearing, I was just glad that Kitty was fine. By 5am, I was back with her and Paul.


Kitty was a very alert, healthy baby right from the start. Unfortunately, this (and perhaps my exhaustion and the painkillers I was on post-surgery) made me a bit over-confident. Paul and I were a bit bothered that she wasn’t sleeping much, but we didn’t realise it was because she wasn’t getting enough milk from me.

At our Day 5 check, Kitty had lost 18% of her birth weight, and we had to go back into hospital, where we found that she was very dehydrated. It was a scary time, but after a few days in special care, her weight was back up, her jaundice had gone, and she was absolutely fine. We’ve had to formula- feed, which wasn’t what we wanted – but we’re very happy that she’s doing so well now.

(Quick aside: yes, I tried everything I could to get the breast milk supply going properly – plenty of fluids, specialist help with latching Kitty on, double pumping eight times a day, herbal supplements, even medication. Nothing has worked. So please hold back on any tips in the comments – I’ve almost certainly given it a try already!)

Kitty’s now eight weeks old, and, looking back at the photos from her first couple of weeks, we can’t quite believe how much she’s grown and changed already. She’s a very happy, easy-going baby who loves to smile – at people, and at her own reflection.


What’s Coming Up – New Posts, Ebooks and Projects

I’m very much enjoying the experience of being Kitty’s mum – but I’m also looking forward to getting back into the swing of my work. I love writing – and working with writers – too much to stay away for long.

Over the next few months, you can expect to see:

  • More posts on Aliventures – I’m planning a series on The Novel, taking you from first idea through to publication. If you’re a novelist with advice to share, or a would-be novelist with questions to ask, get in touch.
  • More guest posts – I’ll be touring the web, popping up with posts on various blogs. I’ll link to these in the weekly Aliventures newsletter, as well as in the Aliventures blog sidebar.
  • More Facebook and Twitter action – I took a break from social media while I was on maternity leave, but I’m keen to reconnect with readers through Facebook and Twitter. You can find the Aliventures Facebook page here and my Twitter account (@aliventures) here.
  • More freebies — I’ll be adding more mini-ebooks, audios and videos to my library of free resources. To access this, you just need to join the newsletter.

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to – how your writing’s been going, what projects you’ve got planned over the summer, or simply what’s been happening in your life. Do pop a comment below to tell me. 🙂



I’m Ali Luke, and I live in Leeds in the UK with my husband and two children.

Aliventures is where I help you master the art, craft and business of writing.

My Novels

My contemporary fantasy trilogy is available from Amazon. The books follow on from one another, so read Lycopolis first.

You can buy them all from Amazon, or read them FREE in Kindle Unlimited.


  1. Samar

    Congratulations Ali! Kitty’s absolutely adorable! Give her a tight, squishy hug from me please.

    I’m glad you caught the dehydration in time and that Kitty’s fine now. I know you probably felt horrible when it happened but you couldn’t have known. The same thing almost happened to me with Z too. Luckily, I was still in the hospital and the nurse realized that the reason she was crying so much was because she wasn’t getting enough milk even though she’d latched on properly.

    P.S: I know it’s a very touchy subject and people are passionate about their opinions but there really is no right or wrong when it comes to raising your baby. Whatever works for Kitty, whatever helps her thrive – no matter how unconventional or against the norm – is the right thing for her. At the end of the day, mum knows best 🙂

    • Ali

      Thanks, Samar! Sorry to hear that your little one had troubles too. Apparently, dehydration is sadly not too uncommon — perhaps partly because (here in the UK, at least) breastfeeding is being promoted so heavily that it’s hard to realise that it doesn’t always work out.

      Kitty is certainly thriving on the formula — she’s at the 91st percentile for weight and 98th for head circumference. She’s going to take after her dad (who’s a foot taller than me!) 🙂

    • Ali

      Thanks Joely! It’s really good to be back. 🙂

  2. Cassie

    Your baby is beautiful; congratulations!
    I bought Blogging For Dummies a while ago & have actually set up my blog etc now. Your guides have also been great so for a very un tech person I did ok with your help. Thanks & enjoy every moment of being a mom.

    • Ali

      Thanks Cassie! Congratulations on getting your blog set up. Really glad m guides helped you. 🙂 (Just to clarify — I didn’t write Blogging For Dummies, but I’m sure it’s packed with great advice — the For Dummies editorial team are fantastic. My “Dummies” book is Publishing Ebooks For Dummies)

  3. Cyn Rogalski

    Congratulations! Hold on for the ride of your life!

    • Ali

      Thanks Cyn! Yeah, it’s just about sunk in that we’re parents *forever* now…!

  4. Silver Huang

    Welcome back Ali! And Kitty is looking healthy and happy!

    Relaunched my blog in March and it’s been going along better than it has ever been. The only hitch has been my health. Was out of commission for two weeks of March and April each due to some pesky water borne bacteria. Impacted my ability to write so April was disappointingly slow for posts but I’m slowly on the mend now and looking forward to jumping right back into it. Also uploaded my first YouTube! Eek!

    Looking forward to reading your fantastic writing and advice again and especially to the reopening of the Writers’ Huddle!
    Silver Huang’s last blog post ..Freedom. My Oversimplification.

    • Ali

      Thanks Silver! That’s great news on your blog relaunch, though I’m so sorry about the health troubles — glad you’re on the mend, and best wishes for your continued recovery.

      I do have your email, by the way (VERY full inbox!) — will get back to you soon, though I guess this post answered your question about the next Huddle reopening. 🙂

    • Ali

      Thanks Sarah! We don’t know where she gets the good looks from…!

  5. Elizabeth Cottrell

    How wonderful to hear your happy news and see the pictures of your beautiful baby. Really, it’s hard to imagine she could have been dehydrated — she looks so smooth and healthy! Congratulations all ’round!

    I’ve been derailed with issues representing the other end of the life cycle – with a 95-year old father and an 88 year old mother, we are watching Dad’s decline with both sadness but also gratitude for a life well-lived. It just means a few things have been put on the back burner including all but the most essential writing.

    But the ideas are percolating, and I’m confident that when the opportunity arises, some content creation will emerge effortlessly. As a rabid proponent of the power of connection and personal handwritten notes, my first book will be along those lines.

    Best wishes to you all.

    • Ali

      Thanks, Elizabeth! She seemed so alert and well at the time that we were shocked when we got sent into hospital — she got worse quite rapidly that afternoon, though, so we were very grateful that it was caught quickly.

      I’m sorry to hear about your father; it’s good that you and your mother can be there for one another. I hope that, when you do get the chance to write your book, it’s a brilliant experience for you — do let me know how it comes along, it sounds like it’ll be a great read.

  6. Barbara McDowell Whitt

    Ali, it was such a pleasant surprise to see Aliventures in my inbox and know that I, along with your other readers, would get to see your baby. Kitty is absolutely adorable. How fortunate you are to be able to be the mum of Kitty and, when she is sleeping, work on your writing and publishing. Welcome back! And enjoy every moment of motherhood!

    • Ali

      Thanks so much, Barbara! I was a bit worried everyone would have forgotten about Aliventures, so I’m ever so pleased it was a nice surprise. 🙂 It’s good to be back!

  7. Bill Polm

    Such a pretty gal. So very alert too. You can tell in those photos that she’s right there with you.
    Take lots of photos, lots of videos. You’ll always be happy you did. I’m happy to see that she’s obviously healthy and gaining weight well.

    Glad to see you back and full of enthusiasm.

    I’m up to my eyebrows in the How to Revise Your Novel, 22 week, very demanding online course. Top notch and absolutely brilliant content and teaching, by the way. It takes several hours a day, 6 days a week to keep up. But the novel is shaping up into a lot more effective story.

    My paintings are going well too. My daughter decided she wanted one of my most recent surf scenes to hang in her bedroom. So I must be doing something right! I’m dong watercolors, pen and wash sketches at a local nature preserve–quite beautiful now in Spring, and larger paintings, acrylics in an oil painting style.
    Bill Polm’s last blog post ..Do you copy your favorite authors?

    • Ali

      Thanks Bill! We’re doing pretty well on the photos. 🙂 She is so alert and attentive, knows our voices, moves her head to follow us around the room. She’s just discovered her mobile, and likes me to stand by her cot and spin it for her…

      I’m so glad that your painting and How to Revise Your Novel are going well for you. All of Holly Lisle’s materials that I’ve used have been brilliant (though I’m not on that particular course) — and I’m sure the time commitment will be well worth it.

  8. Allison

    Congrats on the adorable baby (she is cute. And I’m acting like a complete idiot over the pics, but oh well, I’m a teen, I’m supposedly an idiot at this age [can’t help but agree, but I try not to act like it.])

    Second: I’m utterly swamped in school project and am currently procrastinating on a research essay. *facepalm* Such is the life of a high schooler. No, I’m not procrastinating on anything else again when my schedule is sorted out.
    Third: Novel needs to be edited (and done, of course!) by June 30, or won’t be able to claim the 5 free books I won from NaNoWriMo. *EEK* And most of my betas are going to be busy in the summer, so I know it won’t be my best work. Drat.

    Writing-wise, I’ve been a horrid person. Idea wise–the plot bunnies keep breeding!

    I’m also thinking up how to bring a TV show back (Young Justice) and managing a roleplay forum for the same show.

    I dunno if this is too much info or not, but eh.
    again, YAY YOU’RE BACK! 😀

    • Ali

      Thanks for the welcome back! And don’t worry about being an idiot, I’m sure I’m still one (or at least a dork) about a lot of things, and I’m supposedly grown-up. 😉

      I think procrastination is often an inevitable part of being a student — though a good habit to break (or at least reduce) if you can. I’m not sure if it’s still in print, but if you can get hold of a copy of Mark Forster’s *Get Everything Done (And Still Have Time to Play)*, you might find it useful. It helped me a lot when I was at university — just wished I’d had it a couple of years earlier. (It’s written for adults, not teens / students, but you’ll find that plenty of it applies.)

      Best of luck with the novel edits! Nothing I write ever feels like my best work — I guess that means there’s always hope that I can keep improving in the future… 🙂

      I’m glad that online endeavors to bring TV shows back are still around. 🙂 Back in my teens, I and others were trying to get *Now and Again* revived (never happened, alas).

      • Allison

        Thanks for the book reccomendation! *what to get at the library next*

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s a perfectionist about their writing (I keep remembering that too late ^^’)

    • Ali

      Aw cheers! We were a bit surprised how good-looking she turned out (but we’re sure we didn’t get handed the wrong one ;-))

  9. Archan Mehta


    Congratulations. I am sure glad things worked out for your family. Blessings to your baby. She looks bright and alert and in fine health. Which is good to know. Hang in there and best wishes. Cheerio.

    • Ali

      Thanks so much, Archan! She is indeed a lovely alert baby. 🙂

  10. Martin Hughes

    Beautiful! Funny how you said feel free to skip the baby bit, which is the bit I’ve been waiting for since you announced that you were pregnant. 🙂
    Many congratulations to all of you. Treasure every moment with Kitty. I’m in the midst of all the baby fun at the moment too, after my son was born on Jan 9. Only two months between ’em!
    Martin Hughes’s last blog post ..Sleeping on a Busy Student Lifestyle

    • Ali

      Congratulations, Martin! And I figured a few Aliventures readers might be impatient for baby news. Hope it’s all going well for you too — isn’t it a wonderful time? 🙂

  11. La Mc Coy

    I am very happy for you Ali! Laura.
    La Mc Coy’s last blog post ..Mom is Weird

    • Ali

      Thanks Laura! 🙂

    • Ali

      Thanks so much, Maria; we’re really enjoying parenthood! It’s good to be back blogging, too, though. 🙂

  12. Ken

    She is beautiful, Ali. Congratulations!! Coincidentally, I was just thinking today at lunch that it had been awhile since you had spoken and somehow I knew that Kitty had arrived! How wonderful!

    • Ali

      Thanks Ken! 🙂

  13. John Richardson

    Great to have you back, Ali. What a beautiful baby. Now you have a whole new subject to write about over the coming decades. Congrats!
    While you were gone, I had some copywriting that I needed help with. Since you were out I decided to take James Chartrand’s Damn Fine Words course and learn more about the process of writing copy. Great experience, but not a complete substitute for your extensive skills. I published two eBooks with the third one coming this week. Learning all about Kindle publishing and the ins and outs of KDP Select. Will definitely have some work coming your way in the near future. Hope you are feeling well and that the words are flowing again.

    Take care,
    John Richardson

    • Ali

      Thanks, John! And that sounds like fantastic progress — congratulations! My client list is actually full right now, but do get in touch and let me know what you’re after — if I can’t help, I’ll try to pass you on to someone who can. 🙂

  14. Ahu

    Congratulations Ali!!!!
    You seem to be doing so well and Kitty is sooooo cute…
    Wishing the best for you guys…

    • Ali

      Thanks so much, Ahu! Your Motherhood Game Plan definitely came in handy. 🙂

  15. Tho Loveless

    Congratulations. A fine day for babies. My daughter (now an actress) was born on the same day, albeit 25 years ago…..

    • Ali

      Thank you! And a very belated happy quarter-century to your daughter. 🙂

  16. Michelle James

    Ali, Congratulations! She is beautiful! Are you have a wonderful time being Mom? I’m looking forward to seeing more pics as she grows.
    Best wishes.

    • Ali

      Thanks so much, Michelle! I am indeed having a wonderful time … and looking forward to posting more photos. 🙂

  17. D Arlando Fortune

    OMG! She’s so cuuuuute! Congratulations, Ali. You’re going to have a whole new set of stories to relay to us… and I wanna hear ’em. Keep writing Ali.

    • Ali

      Thank you! And I’ll absolutely keep writing. 🙂

  18. Thu Nguyen

    Ali, as I mentioned on Twitter, so glad you’re back! I’m here on a Friday evening going through the rest of your mini-ebooks. Well, that’s what I call fun. 🙂

    However, first and foremost, congrats with Kitty. Her smile is really hard to not want to say ‘awww’ to. Secondly, I want to thank you for providing such a great resource for your subscribers.

    I’ve put off writing for awhile now due to schooling obligations, however, like yourself I miss it and want to get back into the practice.

    Moreover, my summer’s goal is to vamp up blogging and effectively connect with like-minded bloggers as well.

    Thanks again for the resources and have a great weekend! 🙂
    Thu Nguyen’s last blog post ..What I Learned Listening To Dan Heath’s Solution on Being Decisive

    • Ali

      That sounds about as exciting as my Friday evenings usually are… 😉 Really glad you’re finding the ebooks useful — if there are any topics you’d like me to cover that I’ve not written about yet, just let me know. 🙂

      Hope you do get back into writing soon, and that you have a great summer of blogging!

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