Monday, January 23, 2017

An unplanned home birth, catching our baby in the bathroom...

This is my story...

 From a traumatic first birth to an empowering second birth,

the EPIC arrival of baby number 2! 

Catching bubs myself in our ensuite bathroom...

8 months pregnant, date night, pre baby number 2

So what are your plans for the birth?......a home birth?”.... the woman suggested.
I was awkwardly perched on a couch experiencing the typical discomforts of a woman at 37 weeks gestation. The familiar “oh so delightful” ailments ranging from burning reflux in my throat, bulging haemorrhoids out my backside and the constant urge to pee had me nearing the end of my tolerance tether.

My 2.5yr old toddler and I were attending his weekly music class in the hilly suburb of Ferntree Gully on the outskirts of Melbourne. I was surrounded by a group of earthy mums, many of whom had birthed at home themselves. They listened on in eager anticipation for my response.

Id love to be one of “those” people who have a home birth... but I don't think I have the confidence” I responded sheepishly. “I have a doula planned to attend the birth and have done lots of reading and preparing to get myself into a calm birth zone” I hurriedly added (hoping to earn myself some “earthy” street cred).

Little did I know that exactly 7 days later I would deliver and catch my own son at home kneeling on our ensuite bathroom floor!

It had been 2.5 years since my first eventful and rather harrowing birth experience. (Link to my first birth story). During that time my attitude towards birth swung across a full spectrum of thoughts and emotions. Beginning with....

NEVER! Again.... unless it is a caesarean” which I recall shouting loudly shortly after the birth of our first child.
To “As long as I get an epidural as early as possible”
To questioning “How is it possible that some woman claim to have a calm and pain free labour?”
To finally... “What could I do to prepare for the best possible “calm” birth experience of my own?”

During my second pregnancy I did a lot of reading, soul searching and research. I wanted to arm myself with as many different tools to prepare for the best birth possible.

I started with a birth plan.

The first time around I turned up my nose at birth plans. I thought it was silly. How could you plan for something which essentially in the end is outside your control. Second time around however I found it very helpful. Regardless of whether I ended up birthing in any way like the “plan”, it made me sit down and consider “what would I do if?”. I allowed myself time to envision my best birth possible, what would it look like? Where would it be? Who would be there?. I gave my mind the space to consider multiple possibilities and outcomes. I began to feel excited... what was once a dreaded awful, traumatic experience was suddenly now an event I was anticipating.

In preparation I organised a doula, had an elaborate birthing set up (which included a vaporiser with essential oils), a night light, massage oil, music, a tens machine, birthing ball, raspberry leaf tea, clary sage oil... the whole kit and dam kaboodle!. In the weeks leading up to the birth I practiced a variety of mindfulness and breathing techniques with my husband at home. Guided by an absolutely brilliant book called “Birthing from Within” (by Pam England and Rob Horowitz). Together hubby and I followed various techniques with the use of ice clasped tightly in our hands as a “pain” prop. Despite the “pain” of the ice being absolutely nothing in terms of what I knew to be even the slightest contraction. I was able to practice and learn some techniques which later became invaluable.

These two tools helped me to transform my birth experience. I cannot recommend enough the book "Birthing from Within" by Pam England and Rob Horowitz, as well as the use of a tens machine during labour. 

Although I had prepared an elaborate set up and birth plan I wasn't precious about throwing the whole thing out the window when it came down to the actual event. Because at the end of the day I was an active passenger on the birth ride. But I felt prepared like a warrior heading into battle, with many tools, weapons and tricks up my sleeve.

The Event...

After finishing playing a board game with my husband on Sunday evening (30th of October 2016) I headed to bed around 10pm. I was joined by our toddler who had decided tonight his room was scary and I didn't have the energy to fight him. My husband had spent the previous few weeks sleeping in the babies nursery as I was constantly up and down during the night.

Despite the constant need to pee I did manage a few hours sleep and awoke around 2am to cramping pains. The type you might experience with uncomfortable period pain. I wasn't overly concerned as this had happened a few times over the previous week or two and had never progressed further. After half an hour the cramping started to come in pulses, like waves (aka early contractions). I attached the tens machine and lay back down in bed next to our toddler who was blissfully unaware of the epic metamorphosis that our family of three was about to experience. I decided to wake my husband and ask him to transfer our toddler back into his bed. As I glanced over at our son I was hit by a wave of emotion... I suspected the next time I saw him he would no longer be an only child. I grieved for a moment for that special time as a family of 3 had almost past.

I woke my husband around 3am. Despite my husband being a night owl by nature he was absolutely ratshit after going to sleep first and then being awoken. He squinted up at me from the mattress on the floor accusingly... slowly he stumbled down to move our toddler back into his room. I had mentioned that I thought I was experiencing early labour and was waiting for him to come back into our room after transferring our son... when I heard the door close behind him. He had gone straight back to bed! I rolled my eyes... I figured the pain was still very manageable so I would continue on alone. After another ten minutes I started to feel slightly more concerned... the pain was slowly increasing and the contractions were regularly spanning 2 minutes apart. I woke my husband again.

Me: “Babe, contractions are two minutes apart”
Hubby: “What does that mean?”
Me: “I don't know”
Hubby: “Okay...”(shuts his eyes again)
Me: (shut door...ughhhh, stomp back to bed alone)

I felt angry, unsupported... I started to get upset. I felt like this was a repeat of last time. I thought we had talked this thru, I thought that I had expressed that I wanted him to be more of an active partner during this birth. I stomped back up to the nursery.

Me: “I think you should get up”
Hubby(Squinting at me in a dazed sleep state) “What am I going to do? its probably going to take hours... do you think its actually the real thing??”
Me: I don't know...(starting to cry) Get up! Get the f*$k up! Make a coffee! Wake up! I am scared and I feel alone. I feel like this is a repeat of last time!

Hubby slowly crawled out of bed and sheepishly followed me down to our room. He started to dress and pull himself together. I know he wanted to try harder this birth to be more helpful... bless him... (to his credit he is an amazing husband and dad...just don't wake him in the night... ha ha).

We lay in bed for the next hour, chatting between contractions. The pain was still manageable with the help of the tens machine. At 4am the pain started to increase. I managed it by alternating between the tens machine and standing or kneeling beneath a super hot shower. My husband did his best to assist me and my demands, taking off and reattaching the tens machine between shower breaks. He also attempted to rub or stroke me, to which I brushed away every time. For me I realised I needed to be in my own head as much as possible. I was the only one who could get me thru this and I needed to focus.

I was using one of the visualisation techniques we had practiced called “Spiralling”. I imagined myself hovering above a favourite beach of mine from my childhood and dragging a giant stick thru the sand. Spiralling the stick outwards until I reached the edges of the shoreline and tree line. Taking a giant breath and then spiralling back into the centre of the small beach cove.

As the intensity of the pain increased sometimes I would sway my head in the direction I was spiralling, sometimes swaying my whole body. Somewhere around here I started to vocalise to cope with the pain also. Deep moans or chanted howls. Occasionally I would feel self conscious about the sounds I was making. Despite my husband being the only one present, I kept thinking maybe he would think I was “putting it on” or “overdoing it a bit”.

At 5am I asked hubby to call his mum and organise her to drive over to look after our toddler. I was concerned it was going to take her an hour to arrive and I knew our son would be getting out of bed at around 6.30am. The last thing I wanted was to be dealing with a needy toddler demanding breakfast in the throws of active labour! My husband was reluctant to call his mum yet.

Hubby: “She doesn't get up until 6am... ill be waking her”
Me: “We need her to come now!”
Hubby: “Are you sure?”
Me: “Yes I am sure!” I shouted

I could hear my husband discussing details with his mum over the phone in the adjoining room. They were fussing about which car to take and whether she would still be going to work. All the while each contraction was rapidly increasing in intensity. Next hubby called the hospital to inform them we would soon be on our way. The first light of dawn started to stream thru the windows and as with my first labour my body began to shake and vomiting commenced. I wasn't overly concerned as the same symptoms had occurred at dawn during my first labour and our son wasn't born until the following evening. Over the phone the midwife from the hospital suggested I try taking some Panadol and head up once hubby's mum had arrived.

Hubby sheepishly suggested taking panadol. “Is there really any point taking it at this stage? Do you think it will help at all?” he added. “I guess so?... it cant hurt” I replied between contractions.

Not that I was convinced it would be of much use... but surely something was better than nothing. That is when the first of the last three contractions hit! And they hit with epic force! I kneeled on all fours under the shower as hot as I could bare. Moaning and whaling, swaying in the same circular motion as my spiralling visualisation. I started to wale hubby's name, “Annnndddddeeeeee..... oh gawdddd! Andeeeeee! Call one of the neighbours quick! Call Emma, call Jill! QUIIIIIICCCCKKKKKK!”.
As the contraction ended I crawled out of the shower as fast as I could, naked I hopped onto the bed as the next contraction hit in an overwhelming wave. I could hear Hubby talking on the phone with our neighbour Jill. Urging her to come as fast as she could. The force of this second contraction had my body contorted in pain. I experienced for the first time what I thought was the urge to “bare down”. Half of my brain knew our baby was about to be born... but the other half was still in disbelief... Was this really it?

As the second contraction ended I knew I need to get off the bed and back into the bathroom.

Instinctively I began to build a nest of towels beneath me. I crouched down on my knees and bravely reached down below. “I can feel the head!” I yelled out to my husband in the other room. I was still in denial of the words coming from my mouth. I recall hearing Jill (our neighbour's) voice “I am here... where is she? How far apart are contractions?” as she raced in our back door and thru the house towards me. With urgency and great force the final contraction hit. I wreathed in pain... Jill and hubby raced to my side. I called out a disclaimer “I think I might shit myself really bad”.... Deep down I knew the baby was coming... but I didn't want to announce it with bold confidence to my audience of two, only to give birth to an explosive brown stink baby instead. In a split second my waters popped with explosive force, I kneeled in utter silence waiting for the “ring of fire” I had read about from so many other birth stories...waiting... nothing...waiting... and then in one almighty gush he was out!

I lifted him up onto my chest as Jill raised a towel up to cover us both. “Oh my God! Oh my God!....Oh my God! You just had a baby!” Jill repeated in shock... “Oh my God! In your own bathroom! You clever thing!!”. Tears welled up in Jill's eyes, shaking as she leaned over to kiss me on my face. I leaned back against the toilet behind me in wave of pride and absolute relief! It was over, it was over! It was perfect. Just as I had dreamt and envisioned. Strong, fast, safe (and the added bonus at HOME!). Jill fussed around me, attempting to get me a pillow and searching for more towels to get us comfortable. I was completely unfazed. She was worried about how my legs were tucked awkwardly underneath me. I couldn't have cared less. I was in a post birth bubble... I couldn't even speak. I just wanted to sit, in silence, in this moment of utter relief and exhaustion. I became aware that hubby was on the phone to the paramedics. I kept thinking, I don't want them to come... do they have to come? Can't I just be left in peace, in this bubble?...

The ambulance arrived 15 minutes later. I was completely unaware of time passing. I glanced down realising for the first time that we hadn't even check the gender. I brushed the cord aside revealing a perfect tiny willy. I glanced up at my husband who had seen the gender at the exact same time it was a boy, another boy. A split second of disappointed washed over me... as we had both hoped to have a little girl. I knew my husband didn't want to have another child and I longed to have a daughter. The relief and pride outshone the momentary disappointment. He was here, he was breathing and wriggling and beautiful and pink. He was ours... 

....The story doesn't end here....

I'd like to say that was the end of the story, as perfect a birth as I could imagine. The pain ending there and then... but unfortunately that isn't the truth. I think it is important to share this next bit, as often these are the things women forget about after the fact (black out perhaps). What followed in the ambulance and at the hospital was another 3 hours of torturous pain. Afterbirth pains, the placenta being born and stitches all had me sucking on the gas, eventually screaming for morphine and continuing to use the tens machine. I didn't feel prepared for this last bit of pain. I felt like I had done my job, the baby was here,,, I lost my control and focus. I remember absolutely tripping "off my tits" as I sucked on the gas in the delivery room, I noticed a bright green M&M lolly under the couch across the room and it became my focus point with each afterbirth contraction. I would look at that M&M, like it was just me and the M&M in a warped vortex of pain, my mind would say "faarrrrrrkkkkk you MR GREEEENNNNN M&M FAAARRRRRRKKKKK YOU!....THAT'S RIGHT....I CAN SEEEEEE YOUUUUU!!!!". Later after the morphine had kicked in, the stitches were complete and the pains had subsided I whispered to my husband... "Hun, can you just check if there is actually a green M&M under the couch over there". My husband looked at my slightly oddly and then proceeded to check under the couch behind him... "Yes, your right...whhyyyy? what were you doing looking at that?"
I smiled and leaned back... "I'll tell you another time......another time babe".

Welcome to the world little one, we promise to keep you safe, thank-you for choosing us to journey thru life together.

Moments after young Valentine Yves Napiorkowski entered the world.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


I am creative,
I am also a mum, 
and each day I struggle with varying degrees of anxiety and depression...

I wanted to take a moment to share with you my thoughts.

I guess everybody struggles to cope with life at some point. Some more than others... questioning our life purpose and navigating our direction forward.

Some people seem to be able to place these questions in a neat box in their mind. A box that doesn't interfere too much with their everyday life. They seem to be able to take this box out at appropriate times (after work perhaps, or during a sleepless night). They can untie the neat bow on the lid and sift thru the contents, family, friends, relationships (which one is currently in need of more attention?), work...(working more? or less?), religion (important or not?), health, helping others, caring for the planet, giving to charity, recycling, looking after animals, making money (or living on less money).... some people can sift thru this imaginary box and can carefully re-shuffle the order of relevance deciding on a new order of importance... then neatly pack the contents away, re-tie the bow and store the box away for another sleepless night.

Others struggle to keep the box closed! The contents are overflowing!! sometimes interfering with their ability to perform everyday activities. The ribbon for the box is too short, the ends are frayed and as hard as they may try to find an alternative ribbon to tie around this unruly box of thoughts and emotions, no other ribbon seems to be long enough to constrain the contents. They may lay awake for hours sifting thru the contents, trying to re-order and catalogue them.. perhaps alphabetically? or maybe into bullet points of importance?... only to wake each morning and find all their hard work has been forgotten.

I personally fit into this latter category.
If you also struggle like this then take comfort that you are not alone.

Whether you want to label this as a just a"busy mind", perhaps the thoughts of a "tortured artist", or whether this strays precariously over into being "mentally unwell" (or maybe it swings between all three?), Take heart, you are not alone. 

Close your eyes for a moment and take a big deep breath....

When I was younger I thought I could do anything, I could be anything! All I had to do was focus and work hard. If I wanted a particular job or career, if I wanted to travel overseas, if I wanted to save money to buy a car. To me it all came down to focusing and working hard. I didn't worry so much about the philosophical questions of my existence. I could work those out later (when I was a grown up).

Becoming a parent forces you to re-consider your world views. Perhaps... just perhaps you now are "grown up"
so have you got it all figured out yet? ..........

I certainly haven't!

I recently asked a friend how they managed to stay so happy? They explained to me how they felt very grateful everyday for being able to live in a beautiful place in the world with relative peace. They had work, a family, a roof over their head and food in the fridge. When the sun was shining who really could complain...

They turned the question back to me "what are you so unhappy about?"

I agreed that I also felt extremely lucky for all the things they had listed... Which in turn made me feel even more guilty when I did struggle with periods of severe depression.

"Depression about what?" they enquired
"Well that's just it, if I could tell you perhaps I wouldn't be depressed"

They didn't understand. For someone who has not experienced mental health issues it its very hard to understand the battle and very easy to dismiss it as bad behaviour, a choice, a bad attitude, a self obsession.

I do my upmost to try to improve my outlook. I try exercise each week, get out of the house everyday, take time to ponder on the good things in my life. I read self help books, have a great husband and a good relationship with my GP. I take anti-depressant tablets everyday (and have done for the best part of the last 14 years).

But I still struggle everyday. 
It doesn't make sense...
That is exactly why it is a "mental illness"

But I am starting to realise that perhaps we never "work it out". Perhaps the key is in learning to adjust better to the changes. To relish more in the small things that make us happy and learning to ignore the constant mind chatter that distracts us and throws us off track.

I used to be constantly seeking that perfect balance. Thinking that if I could just manage to find the right amounts of work, creativity, family and friends that I would be happy. Over the years I have written countless lists, or new schedules trying to get my life "on track".  I realise now I was wrong. We will NEVER reach this perfect balance, there is no such thing. Just as the earth is constantly spinning on its axis, the seasons changing, so too are our needs and wants. The age old saying "the only constant is change" has never rung home so true. Even if we were to in one magic moment to find the perfect balance it would most probably not work the week following.

Perhaps this struggle has something to do with our pre-conceived ideals about what our life would look like in the future. If growing up we had an extremely strong idea or projection of "who we wanted to be" or "what we wanted to do" and our life didn't live up to those expectations as we thought it would, perhaps this is where our battle began? If we continued to fight against the tide, forcing our life "back on track" (so to speak) as we wished it to be, we might just be creating an endless battle for ourselves.

Does this mean we should give up on our hopes or dreams if they don't seem to be working out as we wished?.... I am definitely not advocating that. But sometimes we need to re-consider something.... SOMETHING REALLY REALLY BIG

Here comes a BIG REVELATION....

"Do I really want, what I am trying to get?"

Think about it seriously...
If you could be that career woman, if you could own your own property or business... if you could have all the money in the world...
Really take the time to stop and consider it.
What then?
Be honest with yourself. Take the time out to meditate on this thought. What would your life look like then? What would your daily activities look like?

Recently, after a few weeks of severe depression, I sat down and listed a "daily schedule" of what my "perfect self" would do on the "perfect day". As I reached about halfway down the page I ran my eyes over the list so far and started to LAUGH! The woman I was striving to be was SUPERWOMAN! (in fact she put superwoman to shame!). This woman was up at the crack of dawn exercising, returning home to clean the house before the baby woke, achieving goals both career wise and creatively, constantly striving to be the perfect wife and a good friend. The list was UNACHIEVABLE! My goals were equal to an olympic high jumper... except I was an excitable two legged dog chasing my own tail.

So was the answer to let go and allow life to take over? To "Go with the flow?"

Over christmas this year I tried doing that. I packed away my creative projects and put my career aspirations to the side. I focussed on being a mum, attempting to keep the house clean and my baby happy. The outcome?
I was more depressed than ever! I reached a very exhausting low. I felt utter despair, I was lost.

A beautiful friend of mine helped me out of my slump, she visited daily for a week and we focussed on gardening. She helped me to find confidence in myself again, she kindly help distract my thoughts and together we combined our efforts on a task that had no definitive end result. For anyone struggling with depression I would highly recommend gardening as a great active form of meditation. Firstly you get out of the house and secondly you are spending your time in nature. The physical hard work and sweat is extremely rewarding and at the end of the day you can stand back and really see some results.

So the answer lay somewhere in between. I couldn't just "go with the flow" and I also could not set my goals so high. I had to find a balance in between.

The realisation that my goals were too high has flooded me with some relief. Instead of spending every minute of the day when my son is in childcare to scrub the house and pay bills and work on my business AND BE CREATIVE! I am now allowing myself to take moments out for myself to just be. Having a coffee on the deck by myself, taking an afternoon nap occasionally or writing (which I find to be extremely cathartic).

I hope that by sharing my thoughts and my life experiences with you, whoever you may be, that perhaps I can help you with your own journey. I don't by any means think "I know it all" (HELL NO!) and I definitely DO NOT have it all figured out! But I am learning to love my life... the up's as well as the downs. The triumphs as well as the defeats. When I do have dark days I remind myself they will pass and when my days are good I thank my lucky stars. Life is truly a blessing and for that I am grateful.

Kindest Regards

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I am your slave... and you are my parasite

A poem I wrote recently... hope it puts a smile on your face!

I am your slave... and you are my parasite

The most beautiful parasite I ever did meet
who knew a parasite could be so sweet
I am your arms, I am your legs
I am your food when your suckling mouth begs
I knew I wanted you right from the start
but holy shit this small bundle can fart!

Who ever knew such a tiny boy 
Could at times my mind near destroy
When I put you down for a sleep
I hope and pray you dont make a peep
Please give me a moment for my thoughts to collect
so when your cries return my soothe has effect

No book or website or words of advice
could have EVER prepared me for such a needy device
So would I ever give you back?
change my life and choose a different track
a quiet clean house and leisurely strolls in the park
sleep-ins till noon and drinks out after dark
a life where my wants could be followed at a whim
seems too empty now without him...

When your cries reach a certain decible
I want to shout, I want to yell
I want to get down on the floor
and roll around and thrash some more
I want to be a big baby too
I want somebody else to clean up that poo
Please please would you stop that awful racket
for a good nights sleep I would pay a packet

Sometimes at night I must admit
I think my brain STOPS..... just for a bit
I may find myself staring at the wall
Thinking of absolutely nothing at all
and on those nights (where lack of sleep makes me lose perspective)
I wonder why, we didn’t use a better contraceptive?

But then you go and do something brand new
a smile, a giggle, a roll or two
and in that moment my earths obit slows
and inside my chest a piece of my heart grows
I am linked to you intrinsically 
and forever your mother I will be 

Yes I am your slave and you my parasite
But by gosh I love you with all of my might

Monday, August 4, 2014

8.55AM and I am eating a big creamy bowl of carbonara!

Let me paint the scene, It is 8.55am on a wintery monday morning and although the winters sun is beaming down thawing thru the ice outside, I have the curtains drawn. I am sitting in bed, with the doona pulled up, eating a huge bowl of reheated carbonara pasta left over from last nights dinner. Yep, creamy, bacony, pastary goodness at 8.55AM ON A MONDAY MORNING!

When you are awake at 3am breast feeding and then UP from 5.30am feeding, playing, singing, nappy changing, feeding, rocking... then 8.55am doesn't seem quite so unreasonable to eat very creamy, carby, carbonara... does it??

My house is a disaster zone. My baby cannot even crawl yet and somehow there are toys, books and food strewn from one end of the house to the other.

Only two weeks ago I thought I was super mum. I went to the gym three times in one week (yes my gym has a creche, LIFE SAVER!). Just those few hours of time out for myself with some physical and mental space to breathe I started to feel semi normal.

Then the very next week everything fell apart as my little boy was sick for the first time (ironically possibly picked up from the "life saver" gym creche). My sweet little poo bag even so kindly decided to share his sickness with my husband and myself. Don't get me wrong, I am so very proud he is sharing (even at such a young age, what a good boy...) but I could have done without that cold.

Just for the record, SICK BABIES SUCK!
YEP, Dealing with a sick baby is CRAPEDDY, CRAPSTICKS!
It was one lonnnnnnng week of baby Panadol, vaporisers, long nights, screaming, red cheecks, snotty noses and a lot of rocking back in forth hugging for hours on end, consoling a very confused little person.

So after 1 SUPER DUPER WEEK, followed by 1 SUPER SHIT WEEK, I am starting off this one with 1 SUPER LARGE BOWL OF CREAMY PASTA.....week?! I think that means I have given in. Not given up. Just given in, to roll with the punches this week. So instead of being super organised like I usually try to be, I might just try to be. Messy house, afternoon sleeps, daytime tv, perhaps a lay on the deck rugged up in blankets in the winters sun.

My usual way of coping with the world is most definitely NOT just letting things be. I am a woman of many LISTS, PROJECTS, DREAMS, ASPIRATIONS, GOALS... MORE PROJECTS. So for me "letting things be" is quite challenging (scary, a little "out of control"). Its like being drunk without the wine (and the cover of nightfall). So here I am throwing caution to the wind and lists out the window, I am leaving the piles of washing, toys, dishes where they are... on the floor, in an attempt to "let go" (even if its just for a week).  CLEANINGS FOR LOSERS! (HMMM OR FOR PEOPLE WITH CLEAN HOUSES.....HMMMMMM).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

war on terror

How are all the other mothers coping? How are women not just having complete tantrum, screaming, moany meltdowns in the street (on every street... all over the globe). I only have one baby to keep alive and sometimes I feel emotionally raped and starved of solitude.

It occurred to me that a lot of my time is now spent indoors, so perhaps the mummy meltdowns are happening behind each of the closed doors (on every street... all over the globe) and hence why I am not "seeing" the proof.

When I think of the words "War on Terror", I am not thinking about an awful war in the middle east, where trumped up charges of "weapons of mass destruction" allowed America to invade, dominate and dig up oil. Nope, I am thinking of babies. There are small war's going on all over the world, war's behind closed doors, wars with "weapons of mass defecation".

I used to think that old people were soooo annoying (well actually I still do) with their forgetfulness and clumsiness. Repeating stories, farting and burping at any given moment (in public or at the dinner table). Walking slowly, Drive slowly... repeating stories... not listening to the conversation at hand. Being selfishly consumed entirely by their own small world... repeating stories...

AND NOW I KNOW WHY! I can see the writing on the dam wall! I am slowly, but surely, being worn down, I am becoming that crazy old ANNOYING person! and I blame BIG BABY!
You gorgeous, smiley, soft, round, cuddly, life drainer. You are making me old and saggy and forgetful and clumsy. I repeat stories, fart and burp at any given moment. Walk slowly, Drive slowly... repeat stories... and find it Insanely hard to follow the conversation at hand. I am selfishly consumed entirely by my own small world... and often repeat stories...

For example; PET HATE- People who drive around with their indicators still on when clearly they are no longer turning or changing lanes but their car has failed to click the indicator off. Pre-baby I was all "what the HELL are you doing! can't you hear the annoying TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK of the indicator telling you that it is STILL ON!!! BEEP BEEP! GET OFF THE ROAD YOU OLD FART!"
and yesterday.... I was that old fart. I was on my way to the gym (which has a creche, thank the sweet lord) all of my energy and will power had been used up by getting my small needy child fed, dressed, packed and out the door before 10am, that I barely had the brain function to focus on the road. After about 8 minutes of driving down a straight highway I realised my indicator was on. Suddenly my brain chugged over a gear to tell me "HAY! YOU-WHO! That TICK-TOCKING is not actually your brain trying to think, ITS YOUR CAR INDICATOR!"

I turned it off, checking my side mirrors for other (younger, child-free, brain using drivers) and then quickly forgot that train of thought as my baby sang out from the back seat. Yep, I blame you baby! One day I am going to be old and annoying too and I blame you.

Disabled Disabled Disabled

A few weeks ago I was saying to my husband that caring for a baby made me feel like I was living life whilst hopping around on one leg with my arms tied behind my back. I felt disabled. That was Until.... I fell over and sprained my ankle and was on crutches, which meant I was then disabled, disabled. Next, I got bronchitis,,, and I was disabled, disabled, disabled.

After a rough few weeks of injuries, complaining, coughing, frustration, limping and a big fat dark cloud of depression... I am almost back to one disability (being a mum). I never in a million years thought having a baby would be this hard. When I voiced this to my husband he said "really? I did"...
(and I thought to myself "you did? I can't believe you agreed to having one!!!").

What If I was actually a disabled mum? How are single parents doing this gig? I really don't know what I expected... But it wasn't this. I thought there'd be more time to do ummmm ANYTHING? Cook dinner, clean the house, meet a friend for a latte, make craft, do paperwork (have a shower, go to the toilet, feed myself).

These few super tough weeks gave me some time to reflect on mum's thru the ages and made me contemplate in wonderment how the human race even exists at all. How did mum's living in "caveman days" deal with babies teething before baby Panadol (and Sophie the overpriced chewable BPA free plastic giraffe)? What did tribes do for nappies? (just hold their baby outside the tent?). My little man often likes to do his number 2's whilst I am feeding him, so If I was a tribe woman feeding my baby with no nappy on I would just be covered in shit. What about post birth infections? tearing of the perineum with no stitches?... I am guessing that is why many woman died in childbirth (or post childbirth from infection).

I take for granted my washing machine, dryer, dish washer, steriliser, microwave, kettle, toaster, mobile phone, car, DISPOSABLE NAPPIES! and yet I am still complaining about how hard it is!! 

My mum pointed out that although these mod cons help us to speed up our daily chores that tribal life had the advantage of "many hands making light work". In tribal times the babies could be past around to a variety of mum's, sister's and aunties for rocking, sshhhing and entertainment. Where as nowadays in our western society often we are holed up in our individual houses trying to tackle each individual task on our lonesome. 

I can't help feeling like there is a better way, like we have missed something? It sure is a giant leap from tribal child rearing to lone western mothering... surely there is a better middle ground.

Friday, May 2, 2014

pieces of the goddam puzzle

When women used to say to me "You really can't understand what it is like to have a baby until you have one of your own" I used to think "Riiiiigggghhhhttt!" and walk away thinking "how goddam condescending! I have a pretty vivid imagination I'll have you know! Yeah I know its not going to be a sweet walk in the park, but I think I have a fairly good idea what it will be like. I am tough! I did super well in school and uni, I am successful in my career, Ive got this covered Girlfrienzzz!" 

It was like these women thought they had joined what I like to call the "Triple S Club"..........................
the "Smug with Spawn Sorority" and the ONLY way to join was to have one of your own (Ive heard of harsh initiation ceremonies for joining sororities... but pushing a watermelon out of your Clakka has got to rate in the top 3... surely).
But Alas, I hate to admit it... but I was wrong! (and I HATE, HATE, HATE! BEING WRONG!). The rumours are true... I have now joined the "Smug with Spawn Sorority".
I am truly sorry "non breeders" but you REALLY can't understand until you have had one of your own. Looking after a newborn baby around the clock is a SUPER TOUGH GIG! The actual "Job" of feeding, hugging, rocking, kissing, singing, changing nappies, is not "hard" Per se. Anyone can do it in small doses, and perhaps if you had a lot of help, or a nanny, or a large extended family living around the block it wouldn't be as tough. But it is the constant day in-day out, physical and mental taxing which takes a near super human feat.

So why does nobody ever REALLY tell you what it is going to be like?... are they all Evil narcissists just encouraging you to join the "Triple S" with the lure of super cute designer babies clothes and newly decorated nurseries, for you only to be sucked in like a fly into a Venus Fly Trap, slowly being enticed by the bright colours and then snapped into nature's jaws!

Well personally Ive never liked rules! So I am going to let you in on the "Triple S Club's"
BIG SECRET! of why nobody ever REALLY tells you what its like.....are you ready for it? .............
It all comes down to one word...
The reason why nobody tells you what it is really like to have a baby...........
Its called SURVIVAL!
Yes folks, new parents are too busy SURVIVING to have the time to tell all the "non breeders" what its really like. So why don't they tell you once the child is older? Well remember our good "ol" friend "Amnesia" who helped us to black out the agony of childbirth?? I am pretty sure he also comes along and takes all the blurred sleepless nights, days of throbbing breasts and sore nipples, a whole month of bleeding and the tears of exhaustion... locks them in a vault, buries them under a volcano and fills said volcano with concrete.

That my friends is why people don't tell you what its really like.

Luckily I am smack bang in the middle of this crazy arse adventure and MR Amnesia is yet to "come-a-collectin"... so before I forget, I am going to share with you some newborn "true-ism's". You might want to make yourself a cup of tea (heck, pour yourself a wine) and let me shine a big "ol" torch under that volcano.

I dont know about you but I LOVVVVVVEEEE SLEEP! I mean I could marry my bed. I'd chose a good ol nanna nap over sex any day of the week! Pre baby I was known to sleep in on the weekend until the PM on a regular basis. After my little bundle of joy came into the world he was a hungry little beast eating every 2 hours day and night! Those first 2 weeks were a blur of feeding, burping, spewing, changing nappies and crying. The precious moments in between feeds were taking up with caring for myself, showering, changing maternity pads and breast pads, a quick lie down on the bed staring into space waiting for the whimpering wahhhhhhhhhh wahhhhhhhh to start the regime all over again. I know this time is different for everyone, some people have babies who also love sleep... (DAM THEM!!). My bubs is now 9 weeks old this week and is slowly learning to enjoy longer naps, the longest sleep he has had so far was 6 hours (this has happened once) and whilst it sounds like bliss I kept waking to check he was still breathing and had to deal with my explosive breasts leaking all over the place. For new mums still in the newborn faze not coping with the sleep depravation my advice is this... every week gets easier, keep on "milk trucking", you're doing a great job!


I was determined pre baby to keep my house noisy. I didn't want one of those babies where a pin drops and the baby wakes up screaming. I was determined to keep the TV up, radio going, vacuum roaring and pots and pans clanging! Most of the time I have managed to continue my household racket and luckily my baby seems to find comfort in the noises knowing I am still somewhere close by. However..... There have been moments of DESPERATION,,, when I needed sleep so bad I was near making a deal with the devil to get some shut eye. In the wee wee hours of the morn (on more than one occasion) my "noisy determination" and dignity was thrown out the window as I sat next to his bed patting, humming and shoving the dummy back in his mouth over and over again to finally see those sweet little eyes close. Then I slowly crawled... yes CRAWLED on all 4's out of his room to avoid even making the floorboards under his soft new carpet squeak to ensure he didn't wake up. Not only was I crawling, I was crawling with no top on after a mammoth feeding session. This little man had me well and truly wrapped around his little finger.

My breasts no longer feel like my own! Apart from the stretch marks and constant suckling around the clock its the very tricky "whipping them out" in public places that I struggle with. Don't get me wrong, I am no prude and I am super grateful that our Aussie society is in general largely accepting of this practice nowadays, but I still find it a little uncomfortable. I was speaking to a friend recently who travelled to france with her 4 week old (some 20 years back mind you) and she was "LITERALLY!" spat on (or at) in the street for feeding in public!! At that time french hospitals routinely would dose women up on meds to stop the milk supply straight after birth. French "a la tits" were for "a la sexy times" ONLY. I am SUPER glad we don't have to deal with this sort of hostile response, but I still find the whole process quite challenging. First of all your baby is hungry, often to the point of screaming and flailing around like a half-cut seagull by the time you find a quiet cafe nook or park bench to feed your hungry sucker. Next ensue's this uncomfortable dance were you attempt to get your boob out without exposing yourself to every Tom, Dick and Harry ("nope nothing to see here... move along, nope I am not half undressing in public... yes my baby is screaming, thank you for staring, please now avert your eyes!"). Its not just the feeding in public that I find tricky, I also find it sometimes uncomfortable feeding in front of various family members. I don't know about you but pre-baby my husband was the only one privy to those "fiery biscuits". I am sure its not just me that finds it confronting, I'd like to think some of the family members also feel appropriately challenged by the situation. 

In short... welllll NO. I am sure this is different for everyone, and at 9 weeks since my birth I do feel like my vagina and bumhole are appropriately back in the right position. But I do recall in those first few weeks thinking "I am ruined!" I will never be the same again! Initially the post birth pain leaves you inching in and out of your seat, popping panedeine forte's round the clock and walking like a demented crab. Shower's, ice packs, heat packs, hot towels out of the dryer (pain killer's, pain killer's PAIN KILLER'S) Sleep (when you can), don't lift anything too heavy and change pads often. Again this topic seems to be one that barely anybody discusses with you before having a baby. "If you are yet to travel down this crazy path, did you know you can bleed for up to a month after giving birth?"
I thought that would be a "NIGHTMARE!" but in reality it wasn't that bad (I guess you have a lot of distractions...). Again I am just writing from my personal experience and all of the above varies greatly from person to person. Nine weeks on my bits feel fine... not the same, but fine and hopefully they will return to semi normal... until the next bub at least :)

Just throwing it out there... BUT, I HATE ADVICE! Nurses, doctors, parents, family members and friends! BE WARNED! What I want is a listening ear, a babysitter, a shoulder to cry on, a cup of tea made, my house cleaned... Actually I could go on all day with this list... ha ha ha! But what I DON'T WANT IS YOUR ADVICE! If I want to know something I'll ask for it (actually that is a lie "I'll Google it"). Number 1-(If you have had children) You had your turn... its my turn, things have changed, the world is different, please just enjoy the cuddle time and leave me be. Number 2- (If you don't have children...) "Then GET FARKED!"............
hmmm, that is all I have to say on that topic.

At your 6 week check up your GP will ask you "Have you resumed Normal Sexual relations?"
WTF! First of all, What is classified as "NORMAL" sexual relations? (is there a booklet and checklist for this?). Second of all... My fanny just got ripped open, it was a gapping bleeding wound for the first 4 weeks and even if I had wanted to attempt some sexy time in the last 2 since the bleeding stopped I am not sure when I was supposed to "schedule that in??".  In saying that, at nine weeks I have jumped back on that bicycle and the relevant parts worked....ANNNNDDDDD,,,,, that is all I have to say on that topic.

Baby brain really is a REAL thing. First of all sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture... and now I can understand why. It can make you do (and for that matter SEE) some pretty weird things! I am not sure if it was a combination of the Endone (morphine pain medication I was on post birth) as well as the sleep dep, but twice in the first week I swiped my hand on the bed in front of me whilst feeding trying to "Shoo" away bugs.... that weren't there. Yep, I was literally seeing things!
Baby brain is not just privy to the mumma's of the world, the daddy's experience moments too. I recently watched my husband struggling to put the capsule into the car and when I bent down to look in the window to see why it wasn't working I realised he was putting it in back-to-front. Even though he had put the carseat in multiple times before, bub's was facing the front instead of the back (and the look on bubba's face was also one of confusion as to why he was being so jostled about). 
Maintaining one train of thought during a conversation can also be VERY tricky. I feel more relaxed about this with people who are parents as they tend to kindly remind you what you were talking about after being interrupted 12 times a minute by your little bubba. But when it comes to talking with friends without children I tense up, my brain is saying... "Maintain the train of thought!", "Finish the sentence", "Don't just talk about the baby", "Ask them questions about their life...", "Remember their new boyfriends name"........ Ugh screw it, Just gunna hang out with other mum's!

Pre baby I thought this phrase referred to situations such as purchasing music festival tickets only to have your favourite band cancel... or getting a cold before going on holidays. I had never heard of this "Let Down" term in reference to boobs before. The "Let Down" definition is the "accelerated movement of milk into the mammary glands of lactating mammals upon stimulation by massage or sucking" 
This sensation is different for everyone and can be an enjoyable or very uncomfortable experience depending on how your body reacts. Who knew that when the milk gets started it sprays all over the place!! Yep if your babies mouth isn't sucking that milky juice down (or if he/she pulls away for a breather or to look around) you risk spraying the babies face, surrounding furniture or nearby people! (as I write this I look down at my smudged laptop screen and milk sprayed keyboard... classy). I recently sprayed an unsuspecting young woman at a friends baby shower event. This woman who has yet to have any children of her own and was slightly shocked/horrified (as was I). Spraying the general public with my bodily juices was definitely not a planned event.

If you are about to embark on this parenthood journey then get ready to deal with lots of poo's and wee's! Not just at nappy change time, also explosive "up the back poo's", spraying on you at bath-time wee's or covering your outfit when you finally got dressed moments. At the start I thought it was almost fun changing nappies, unbundling your little precious cargo and checking out the tiny colourful explosions that were waiting inside the nappy. But as they get bigger... so does the poo AND THE SMELLS! I have had 2 gag moments so far when a fresh hot steamy nappy has caught me in the back of my throat and I had to pull away for a moment for some fresh air. I was recently changing bubba at a shopping centre change room when a lady entered with her two children, one looked about 3 and the smaller one maybe 9 or 10 months. I could smell the smaller one as soon as she entered the room and as she started changing him on the change table next to me I had to use all my might not to vomit as she pulled off his pants and revealed what looked like an adult sized giant bog down his trouser leg. The trousers could not be saved, she had to throw them in the bin and then proceeded to use up nearly an entire packet of baby wipes to clean the child up. As she was leaving the room in a cloud of hot stench her 3 year old was shouting "Why does he have no pants on? MUM!! MAARRRMM Where are his pants??" the mother was embarrassingly shooshing her daughter "Shhhh, Shhhssshhh, we need to go to the shops to buy some more pants" the little girl continued loudly "But what was wrong with his old ones MUM?? Where are the other pants MARRRMM??". I glanced down at my quiet smiling baby who seemed unawares to the stenchy air and thought ahhhh what I have to look forward to.... those little mustard coloured (milky diet only) nappies had never looked or smelt so good!

I doubt it. Sure the sleeping will get longer, the baby will learn to be toilet trained, my stitches will heal and my bits will stop aching. My breasts will stop being sucked on or tugged out in public and I might get a nookie session once or twice a month. But life as I knew it will NEVER be the same. First of all, I am a mum! Even the terminology seems surreal, it still doesn't compute... and as I am about to experience my very first mothers day tomorrow that will never change now for as long as I live. I am glad life has changed, I am excited about the future and for all the pain and sleepless nights I am keen to do it again a few times over if my body and husband allows. Sure parenthood is not every bodies cup of tea, I get that, I respect that, if you have NEVER wanted kids and can't stand the idea of having them, then for their sake as well as yours its probably NOT a good idea. But if you are sitting on the proverbial fence thinking its your last chance and you don't want to look back with regrets that you never experienced it then my advice is GET A JIGGY ON A-SAP! 
Things will NEVER be the same and I am loving this crazy journey!