Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Today has not been a great day. I took a multivitamin on an empty stomach. This is almost guaranteed to make me throw up. And I fought the nausea for a good two hours, while feeding and tending my sweet babe. Yurk.

Then we went out to work to sort out a few things and buy some screen doors for the retarded back glass ones we have. I don't think I've shared my frustration about these doors.

They are double doors.
They are recessed into a frame from the inside, but flush with the outside.
But - there are bricks on the outside frame. So you can't open them outwards more than about 120 degrees.
There is a good 5" drop down to the ground from the houes to the patio, so you have to have something tall and heavy to peg said doors back.
But because of the bricks, you can't open them all the way.
They open outwards, so there is no screen on the outside.
Which means we have no screen on the doors, and that is frustrating as all get up.
Oh and we have no screen on the front door, which means (a) we can't get a breeze through the house and (b) we have to open the door to see who's there. And they are practically inside the house before I open the door.

So the owner of our house got a quote (or 5) for doors on the back of the house. Drama drama drama. All of the companies said "Nope, too hard - we will charge you like a wounded bull to put something Ugleh in". And so the owner said it was too hard.

I went into work, found some DIY screen doors that were $38 instead of $200 (because they were taken out of stock in 2008 and we've been trying to get rid of them for 2 years!), bought 2 and am going to have a look at the instructions in a second. So we might have screen doors tonight!

So ANYWAY - I went to work and Sally was in the sling with Osk (here's a photo of a baby wearing dad. Not from today but a great pic all the same! He gets hit on something shocking with her in a sling!).


And still people were able to touch her enough to leave her STINKING of crap nasty aftershave. Which meant when I went to sniff her on coming home, she didn't smell like my baby and it gave me a migraine. Erk. I'd forgotten how sensitive I can be to things like that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why would I want to do that??

Did I tell you about me changing my name on my license? I had to renew my license before my 30th birthday, for the second time for 10 years (that's something that made me feel old and grown up - renewing it for a 2nd time for 10 years means I'm Of a Certain Age!) and did it while heavily pregnant so used to being treated like a moron.

I took in my New Zealand marraige certificate, which is as valid as an Aussie one is (I checked!). The woman behind the counter took 20 minutes and 4 phonecalls, all being told the same thing, before she agreed with me and then told me "it's ok love" like this was news to me. I hated her quite a lot during that time because yes, I know it's valid. I've used it without issue to change my bank details and my university enrolment just fine thanks.

She then asked me if I wanted to change my name to Oscar (TheHusband's name). I was all o_O. Why would I want to do that?

She asked again and I was still huh?

She was all frustrated at why the hell was I wasting her time when I didn't want to change it to Oscar. I asked again - why would I want to do that??? And she said cause it's your husband's name! Like der??!

I had to point out that that was his first name and why would I want to be Mrs Emma Oscar. She was really pissed about having this pointed out. Apparently it's because on Aussie marriage certificates it goes groom's lastname firstname so she hadn't actually bothered to read what was on the certificate.

Luckily my photo on my license came out surprisingly well - I wouldn't have been surprised if it'd had little black eyebrows and a moustache on it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Famous last words

So my last post was Wednesday night... and Thursday morning at 2am I started to have contractions, and then by 7am on Friday I was a mama:

Sally (Salome for realz but Sally for short) Clio was born at 6:43am on 12 March 2010 into my hands in water. She was 7 lb 6.5 oz (3.36kg), had a 35cm head, and was 48cm long.

Short birth story: contractions started slowly at 2am Thurs, no idea when my waters broke, got more intense during day but ate breakfast and lunch so not too bad, and then contractions got closer together, midwife came about 8pm (I had said it would kick off at dusk and it did!), got in the pool at some point, started pushing about 3am, swore up and down to myself that she was going to be born by dawn and yep, 6:43am!

So doesn't even begin to cover it but that's the nuts and bolts. I'll get to writing a really detailed one soon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

10 things no one told me about pregnancy

It's nearly the end of this journey so here are 10 things that I wish I'd been told about pregnancy. This is something I've been thinking of the whole journey long but inspired by the great article over here I am writing them down:
  1. Things change during pregnancy - but no one ever tells you that they change back and forth and no one can tell you when or how. Just because something is bad or hard or great or easy now, doesn't mean that tomorrow won't be different. I was surprised that, for example, my abdominal muscles separated really early. They came back together after a few weeks though. Other things that changed included my breasts getting hard and sore and then going soft again, my feet swelled and have gone down, my skin GLOWED and then has gone back to being a sulky teenager, morning/all day nausea came and went and came back again, and so forth.
  2. Your breasts really can grow a LOT in the first trimester so be prepared to buy new underwear quickly if not immediately. It's not just a little bit of change at that stage - it can be a lot. For me it was a band size as well as a cup sizes.
  3. It's also that your body changes shape. Your ribs spread - that means your tshirts stop fitting across the back, well before your bump stretches them. Your jeans stop fitting because your hips are bigger, not just because you're belly is. Be prepared to embrace these changes because they are hard, in our culture, to embrace.
  4. That you slow down at the end because of lots of things, mental and physical. Pregnancy is a great time for you to cultivate judgement about whether you want to do something badly enough to get up and do it even when you hurt and feel like arse, or whether you can ask someone else to do it.
  5. It feels good to cry when you want to cry and this can be liberating.
  6. The same applies to naps. There is no guilt about napping during pregnancy, when the chance presents.
  7. No one who isn't pregnant or recently so really gets how much hard work it is, but don't disappear up your own arse with being consumed with how much work it is. I wish I'd taken this advice more.
  8. People will only talk to you about being pregnant, regardless of what you do for a living or for a hobby or how interesting you are. You don't have to be ok with this but it does help you keep #7 in perspective.
  9. Having someone dance on your cervix is like being stabbed with a knitting needle through it. Even if you've never had anything else near your cervix, when it happens you'll know what I mean. And you'll be dancing on your toes until it passes.
  10. That sleepless nights do start before bub arrives. Insomnia, hormones, nausea, I'M WIDE AWAKE AT 4AM, can't get comfortable, etc etc.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Support for birthing at home

I have a lot of people respond to our plans for me to birth at home with "Oh I couldn't do that because my husband/partner wouldn't support me / is scared / refuses / said no".

Ok so I get a lot of other responses too but this one is the topic of this post so I'll leave them for another day. And yes, your partner's opinion could have very little to do with your birth because it's yours and not his, but that's not always the be-all and end-all of the situation, is it? I'm a strong woman but if TheHusband was not onboard then I'd have a struggle on my hands because I need his support more than I need to be right. Doesn't mean I wouldn't argue every single day for the entire gestation of course.

So - let's say you have no desire to birth in a hospital but the realities of your relationship mean that your partner is not going to support you to do that.

REGARDLESS of the reason, valid or not, if you can't argue the point to a homebirth conclusion then here's some advice I wanted to pass on.

Even if you don't/can't stay home to birth - and your partner being completely against it, and either has a lot of anger, fear or reluctance - you need to make it clear that you will absolutely be staying home until the latest possible time. This could be until you are feeling pushy, or when contractions are very close together (2 minutely, established that way for a while)

I am not suggesting you trick him into a homebirth. But he has to be on board to support you labouring at home. He has to understand that going to hospital early will not get you a baby early. It will get you stuck on a short and artificial timeline, and get you a lot of intervention so if you absolutely can't birth at home, at least only turn up with a little while to go.

Birth is not a spectator sport and nor is it a two-person tagteam game - he can't birth for you. He can only support you in your journey. It is about you and your body and your future. Acquiescing to his preferences to go to hospital early on isn't going to help when it's your body and your experience and your future.

Perhaps get him to read birth stories where the husband/partner/father to mentioned - they are often described standing there stunned, crying, angry, upset, devestated, etc etc at the process and the outcome, and compare them to homebirths (stories, youtube, pics) where the husband is the woman's rock and is in the pool with her or rubbing her back or cheering her on with sweet words. Try to get him to understand how much impact this'll have on him too.

I am SO not saying that all hospital births are like this, or that homebirths are all awesome. This is advice for people birthing in hospitals as well. When you set foot inside those doors, your body and your labour and birth are theirs. You are on their turf and on their timeline. There is no way that someone without an idea of the process (your husband/partner for eg) can support you and advocate for you if you can't. That's what a midwife who does walk with women is your best asset - but in a hospital this is a lottery and there are sometimes few of them, or they are against a lot of pressure from the institution.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In preparation for birthing

Here is a list of things that have been suggested to be assembled and easily found for birthing day:

- plastic drop sheets
- icecream tubs
- lip balm
- massage lotion
- bendy straws and plastic cups
- heat packs
- cord ties
- newborn clothes
- newborn nappies
- baby blanket
- birth certificate to fill in (made myself at home!)
- birthday cake recipe
- "0" candle
- tea lights and matches
- essential oils (I've chosen kunzea, lavender and rose)
- witch hazel to put on pads to put in freezer
- squeezy bottle for peeing afterwards
- electrolyte powder (cause I struggle with low blood sugar and pressure, and with vomitting at the best of times and this won't be!)
- fit ball (need to blow this up a bit more!)
- old towels next to bed in case of membranes rupturing
- colander and bowl for placenta
- garbage bags
- placental remedy bottle (need to decorate!)
- placental slice receiver for the freezer (ie a freezer-safe container!)
- epsom salts
- rescue remedies
- music (thanks for the suggestions! We do have a playlist but I forgot to put it on here)

Also plan on stocking up in early labour with juice, mint leaves (lollies - no point in trying to have them now because I loves them!), and charging the camera up.

Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My blessingway - 37+3 weeks

Saturday just gone: I am a LOT pooplicated after a 4:30am wake up and a BIG day and LOTS of amazing things and then giving a concert then pancakes and home to bed by midnight.

My sister arrived early in the morning and helped me wind the skein of yarn that a girlfriend had dyed for me and sent over from Canberra. It was lovely to have my sister sit there with her hands out, holding the yarn, while we chattered and wound. People started arriving at 10am and by 11am there were about 20 women there including TheHusband.

It was a little unusual in that TheHusband was a part of it (most blessingways are female-only), but I am so glad that he did. It was a really special time for us and to have him also say "you are strong" meant a lot to me.

We cleansed the circle with some water with rose, lavender and kunzea essential oils, passed around and everyone flicked their fingers in and flicked water around. Kristin lit the blessingway candle (big chunky white one that belongs to the women's group I'm part of) and added it to the collection of candles that were there for people to take home later, and invited people to introduce themselves.

It was lovely that I got to add to that process and also reflect on the fact that I've known most of the women's group only a short while but these were some of my longest-serving friends ;). There were chorister friends who are now women's group friends, and midwife friends who are now women's group friends, and lots of choristers and women's group friends but enough cross-pollination to show me that I am in the righ place(s) in my life!

Then Kristin invited people to share thoughts and stories and experiences of birth. This was when the amazing women I call friends really shone through. Billie reduced a lot of us to tears with a poem (again! She's going to have a reputation for that!!!), and others spoke on their experiences, some very recent (Rose had her 3 week old with her) and some a little ways older (Emma had her 5 month old with her), and reminded me that I need to continue to trust the process and also surrender to it.

To hear people say that they thought I had courage, and was true and unwavering to my path, made me laugh a little. I am sure that my outspoken confidence shines through but at times I have my doubts as people reading here will have seen. I have gone forward on this path towards a homebirth, confident that my body is amazing and can do what it will, and the idea of giving birth actually excites and scares me all in one but mostly I am looking forward to seeing how amazingly well my body works. It has made me consider though that this confidence perhaps appears as arrogance, and I think I heard some people warning me of that in their stories - to be prepared to surrender to a path that is not the one I expect. I take their gentle reminders to heart though!

Then the circle was closed and blessed with yarn that I'd wound that morning, and cut and tied around each person's arm to wear until I birth. The candle was blown out and the blessing complete.

People were invited to hand over a bead to me with a chat, and I ended up with a lot of beads!!! Alice, Cassia and Ali set to work making a necklace for me which is surprisingly heavy and very lovely and balanced.

Billie then took me outside under a gazebo we have set up and took some photos of me - clad, unclad, draped in fabric and without my glasses! Then Kristin set to work on an AMAZING henna tree on my bump which made me so happy, and people took to the calico squares that I'd prepared and wrote blessings and thoughts on them for me to read during labour. I very sadly had to wash/scrub the henna off early for tonight as I had to wear a white shirt for the concert tonight, so I'm not sure how long it'll last.

Once the henna was done, people started to leave and took a candle and a crane with them. The cranes I'd made for the cupcakes that Billy had made (lavender/vanilla, and chocolate/chocolate ones) as I hadn't wanted to ask for 20+ vaginas to decorate them, and everyone took one home after eating their cake I hope! Billy and I went back outside for a few more photos, and this time Osk came out as well and we have some lovely couple ones as well.

My sister and Alice then tidied up, swept, packed the extra food into the freezer and let me nap a little. Then off for a concert and post-concert celebration and of course leaving me too tired not to snore, so Osk slept on the couch for the first time last night :(.

The back room is abuzz with energy from yesterday and I can see it becoming a birthing space now, not just somewhere we eat dinner.

I feel ready to birth now.

More photos care of Craftastrophies over on Flickr.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Table decorated!

Way too long ago to be 'fessing up here (it's more than 6 months) I commissioned my friend Eve from Atom and Eve to make some decals for a weird table I got in an op shop a couple of years ago.

It was white formica and I painted it purple originally and while it was an AWESOME colour, a paint mishap (crap formulation - product recalled after I'd painted of course!) meant the finish was less than awesome.

So I discussed with Eve how to make some octagons to suit the table. She was easy to work with and had some great ideas. I went with turquiose and wood grain and they arrived pre packaged for me, numbered and everything!

All I had to do was take the backing off and apply. Some of them needed trimming to fit of course!

And in the end it looks awesome! I bought a piece of 0.4mm plastic to cover it as well, as the paint is a bit rough still