Raising Will


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Think Again Mama: A Letter to Myself

Dear me,

I see November 2013 is rolling around and you are getting that itch. That hankering for the ovary-tingling smell. That uncontrollable urge to hold ALL the babies. That sly glance at assorted newborn-sized cuteness. That desire for an uncomplicated little bundle who’s needs are so simple. That thought of proferring your uterus to a wriggly tenant on a nine month lease…..

STOP!

Stop right there Missy!

I give you Exhibit A:

Screamy Baby

Screamy Baby

And Exhibit B:

Tantrumming Toddler

Tantrumming Toddler

And through your newborn-coloured glasses you may not remember the following:

1. At least four weeks of house-bound pain and invalid-ness;

2. Two hours of sleep a night if you’re lucky;

3. Boobs the size and weight of the bag full of nappies you have to lug out to the bin every three hours;

4. Being tethered to a little person who demands you frequently otherwise SCREAMY happens;

5. Always being 30mins late…. ALWAYS;

6. Waving to the wine bottle as it passes;

7. Fashion dictated by whether or not you can get your boobs out quick enough;

8. Unless you want it stretched, broken or eaten – no fancy-schmancy jewellery;

9. Only taking a purse, phone and glasses for yourself in a 45kg bag of crap for everyone else;

10. Getting. Nothing. Done;

11. Stubbing your toe on various tractor-related sharp and pointy things;

12. Never going to the toilet alone….. EVER;

13. Having absolutely no idea whats wrong with the writhing screaming bundle in your arms;

14. Tantrums because the top fell off a sandwich or the juice is in the wrong cup;

15. Being drooled, spewed, weed and pooed on all within 3 minutes;

16. Wearing the drool-spew-wee-poo clothes for four days because the washing machine is running overtime washing kidlet clothes;

17.  Killer back-ache from leaning over the bath/cot/couch/floor/car and under the bath/cot/couch/floor/car – yes! Under the bath!

18. More Peppa Pig, Wiggles, Play School and Pingu than any sane, normal person should have to handle;

19. Always… ALWAYS being required to share half your meal;

20. And NINE MONTHS of feeling like a hungry whale that somebody perched atop two tree stumps and sent off in a V8 Supercar to drive up and down from Bright to Falls Creek at 80km/hr.

Yep! ALLLLLL that!

No –  I don’t want to see……

I said don’t show me!………..

Nooooooooooooo!

Can't handle the cute...

Can’t handle the cute…

Ah crap….. As you were.


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Getting happy after Baby

I had a hard time with the end of Xavier’s pregnancy and his birth. After ten weeks of crippling pelvic pain followed by nineteen hours of excruciating posterior labour followed by what felt like the world’s most traumatic c-section, let’s just say when I held my baby boy for the first time (three hours later thanks to his trip to Special Care) I was in a funny place.

And not funny ha-ha.

While I pottered around in my hospital room for the next ten hours in my clouded, funny state – a familiar feeling crept into my right shoulder. Not only was I dazed and confused, I was now in breath-taking pain thanks to a surgery complication the midwives refer to as ‘shoulder-tip’ pain (I’d also suffered this when I had Will – I knew no fun was coming my way any time soon). Caused by air pockets under the diaphragm referring pain into the shoulder blade – I was literally stopped in my tracks; couldn’t sleep; couldn’t move. As forty-eight hours of this came and went with about two winks of sleep and big fat dose of Pethidine, I somehow emerged with a  little champion breast-feeder. I still don’t know how I survived those first days to be honest. I’ve never felt so unlike myself…. ever.

There's a storm inside...

There’s a storm inside…

Unlike myself? That’s totally how it was. I was full of anxiety about my boys and how I was going to handle them. I was full of disappointment for not achieving the VBAC I had so desperately hoped for. I was full of vicious sarcasm for any midwife that rubbed me the wrong way. I was full of anger for the hospital and doctors that brought Xavier into the world while I screamed in terror at the feeling of all my insides being pulled out. I was full of fear about the thought of another pregnancy (yeah I know – why the HECK was I thinking about that!). If I’d been full of a colour it would’ve been dark, dark grey. I felt cheated, powerless, weak and scared. Not. Me. At. All.

And at the time, I knew this wasn’t me. It was a little surreal, like I was watching it happen to someone else and I was giving them advice about breastfeeding, breathing exercises, feeling grateful and thinking positive. It was as if I was floating above my body shouting ‘this will pass’. But alas, my body was determined to stay in the storm.

Then we came home from hospital. And I cried. A lot.

At Xavier’s four week check, the Maternal Child Health Nurse asked that stupid* question – ‘Are you OK?’…

I wasn’t OK…

I was not OK.

The problem I had wasn’t with my baby. The problem I had was with me and I realised I needed to deal with the dark grey that was clouding my brain.

At the very moment that I understood how serious my situation was becoming, I felt my floating self come down and walk next to me. It’s voice became stronger. Every time I caught myself being negative, my floaty self would sit on that negativity with sunshine blazing out its bum saying “You are ok; this was just something that happened; you are not a failure; forgive yourself”… There was a real internal struggle going on inside me and I’m sure when people weren’t looking, my two selves were literally wrestling each other.

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week | Nov 18-24 | #bePNDaware

Next week is Postnatal Depression Awareness Week.  15% of women and 5% of men will be diagnosed with this condition in Australia this year, so it’s important that people are aware of the signs and have the confidence to seek the assistance they need. Whilst I wasn’t diagnosed with PND, had the MCH Nurse not confronted me about my feelings that day, this may’ve been a completely different post.

One of my favourite bloggers, Naomi at Seven Cherubs faced a true battle with Postnatal Depression. When I was in the dark, I watched Naomi’s vlog post here and identified with so much of what she had to say. Sometimes its the sharing of stories that can be the best therapy – knowing you’re not alone in your battle.

Looking back now from my place in the sun, I know which self won my battle. I’m so glad that the grey is all gone and I have accepted what happened to my body. I can get on with life. I can dream about another pregnancy  I can breathe. And when someone asks me “Are you OK?”, I can say “Why yes, thank you.”

* This is NEVER a stupid question!

Click Here to check out PANDA’s Fact sheet on Postnatal Depression

If you or someone you know needs help you can all the PANDA national helpline on 1300 726 306 or visit www.panda.org.au

**Part of the Postnatal Depression Awareness Week Blog Hop. Click on the link below to see all the amazing posts**



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Announcing the Arrival of…

Well, it’s been a whirlwind 4 weeks and I’ve finally been able to find some time to sit down at the computer! On Aug 1 at 12.06am, we welcomed our #2 ball of love into the world via Caesarean Section after 19 hours of posterior labour.

Hubby and I are very pleased to announce the arrival of…

Xavier Thomas
3692 grams (8″ 2′)
Length: 52cm
Head Circumference: 38cm

Introducing Xavier

Xavier Thomas – Cuddles With Mum

I will one day write a post about his not so awesome entry into the world, but it’s all still a bit too raw for me to write about yet – so that will come later down the track.

Xav is an angel baby and is feeding like a dream – and if you remember reading about Will’s breastfeeding complications you will know how much of a luxury it is for me to have a baby that just latches and away he goes! He is thriving and at his 4 week check it became apparent that his giant head (which I totally blame for the caesarean) was even GIANTER again! The equivalent of the average 4 month old boy to be exact!

Brothers - Will and Xavier

Brothers – Will and Xavier

I’m very slowly adjusting to life with two little boys (and one big boy) – it’s a hard slog full of complete chaos and unpredictability – but it gets better every day, just as I get better every day as I recover from the c-section.

Anyway – I look forward to sharing Xav’s milestones here as he grows alongside his big brother Will (who is proudly sporting a ripping case of the terrible twos!).

And hopefully, blogging becomes a bigger part of my life again in the very near future – Lord knows I miss the therapy! Ha!

Bump @ 31 weeks 5 days


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Help… I’m Pregnant… And I can’t get up!: The Joys of the Third Trimester

So I’m 31 weeks and  5 days pregnant today. It’s a little hard for me to believe that, if my last birthing experience was anything to go by, I could be holding a new baby in my arms in precisely 5 weeks and 3 days.

* falls off chair*

*gets back on chair*

This pregnancy has been a completely different experience to what I had with baby Will. Where my first pregnancy was all sunshine and rainbows and yoga and acupuncture and day-time naps and massages and nursery decorating, this one has been painful and exhausting and dehydrated and disorganised and stressed and nursery is still a pile of crap in the spare room and keeping up with a toddler is doing my head in.

I don’t think I could miss my last pregnancy more if I tried.

Don’t get me wrong, the phenomenal amount of love I feel for the little bean growing inside my ever-increasing belly is… well… phenomenal. I’m just over my body whinging at me about the hard time it thinks it’s having. GET OVER IT BODY! Not that much longer now, surely you could give me a break from those nerve impulses you’re sending from my pelvis telling me that I am in constant pain. And I’m positive that my stomach can handle more than a glass of water without burning the crap out of my oesophagus! 

“Dear Body,

Get a grip on yourself. It’s a baby, not an elephant.

God, I hope it’s not an elephant.

Sincerely,

Michelle.”

So, I’m hoping to bring back some peace to my pregnancy. A visit to the health food store and a Homeopath today will hopefully make me feel a bit better. Think I need a cup of Raspberry Leaf Tea. And maybe I’ll make a cake. Because in my experience cake fixes most things.

What herbals did you go nuts over when you were pregnant?


Did they work for you?


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A hello, a baby, and a great big wheel-barrow…

Why hello there!

It is me! I have returned!…… again.

So much has happened since I last blogged. And it’s been happening everywhere – my home, my neighbourhood, my friends, my mind and not least of all MY BODY! For those out of the loop, this should explain a few things:

Bump #2 at 12 Weeks

Bump #2 at 12 Weeks

Yes, that’s a baby bump you see. Our three is due to become four in early August. Here’s hoping it’s a little less fast-paced than Will’s entry into the world, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

I’ve really been feeling the pregnancy this time around. Where it was a breeze with Will, this little one has been nothing but trouble (which I’m hoping is not a sign of things to come). And not trouble as in stuff-wrong-with-the-baby trouble, just trouble as in I-think-I-might-be-having-every-bad-pregnancy-symptom-under-the-sun trouble. The first three months were so icky-sicky that I struggled to do anything and Will was lucky he was bathed and fed most of the time. Poor little ferret – but he’s taken it all in his stride and is still as rambunctious as ever.

A rambunctious little toddler...

A rambunctious little toddler...

Onto my head though… It’s beginning to clear from the pregnancy fog, but (and you know I love metaphors) have any of you just found yourself piling so much stuff into your barrow that you begin to realise it’s tipping over? What do you take out? What should you replace? Do you really need that in there? Anyone want to help me push? Oh Bugger! The wheel fell off! That’s pretty much my head at the moment.

I have so many things floating around in my brain-space right now and I find myself getting to this barrow-about-to-floweth-over stage; that’s when big changes in my life happen. The last time my barrow nearly tipped over, we moved 250km to a new house; a new town; a new outlook. Looking back at some ‘barrow moments’ in my life, I’m beginning to realise that this might be how my head chooses its way. I pile all of these potential paths into my barrow and when it tips, the one that I manage to grab first seems to be the one true path that I was looking for and end up pursuing whole-heartedly. Kind of like the first thing you’d save if your house was on fire.

What’s in my barrow at the moment I hear you ask:

1. Knowledge is what I crave. Should I go back to Uni? Would Psychology be beyond me? How on earth do you muddle through the application process without your High School Career Advisor pulling out the stops? Could I handle a study workload with a toddler and a newborn?

2. Writing is my passion. Why have I stopped? Will all (yes, the whole handful of you) my blog followers still remember who I am if I came back to blogging? Do I really want to grow my blog into a business? I should really go to a conference/networking event and get my bloggy-mojo flowing (reading all the tweets about Digital Parents Conference 2012 is sending me greener and greener as I type). I’m craving some article-writing for happychild and I really should email the gorgeous publisher, Yvette. Must make time must make time must make time!!!!!

3. Creativity is happiness.  I think I officially have 1 million creative projects on the go. I really need to catch up on Project Life, do some sewing for our new arrival, and stay away from creative inspiration for a few weeks so I can be inspired to finish the stuff I’ve already been inspired to start!

4. Community is filling a gap I never knew existed. I’m throwing myself into roles in my local community and it’s a good feeling to be making our area just that little bit more awesome. Have I bitten off more than I can chew with a Project that I am developing through a Leadership Course being run by our local shire? Is it really as good-of-an-idea as it sounds in my head? Am I even really qualified to be considering this?

5. Life is hard. The house always needs attention. There are people to be fed and watered. There are not enough hours in the day, dollars in the bank or chocolate bars in the fridge. I should spend more quality time with my husband. There are too many loads of washing. Fuel and groceries are ridiculous and I should really make more of an effort to save money. 

Ranty brain-dump over. The worst part about running around with a giant, metaphorical wheel-barrow all the time is that you get tired. I really need to work out a different way of fielding my needs, wants, hopes and dreams. This barrow is getting too heavy to push at 5 months pregnant.

Do you cart around a ‘barrow’? How do you sort out what’s really important to your happiness?

Happiness

*Image source: Happy To Inspire*


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“Honey, My waters just broke!”: My birth story…

There has been an influx of newborns all over my Facebook pages recently. Reading about how others are welcoming new ones into their lives feels me with joy and maybe a few chickens (cluck, cluck, cluck). It is such a precious time (and sometimes horrendous – but I’m being positive today) and I can’t wait to head back there again. Yes, part of that ‘heading back there’ business has something to do with another 12 months holiday, but mostly to do with that gorgeous little bundle that you hold in your arms and stare at for hours in wonder of the life you created and the love you feel for you family.

 Feeling a bit nostalgic about my own experience, I thought I’d share with you all my birth story (my mother’s group already heard this story yesterday – can’t remember why I was telling it, but anyway, I digress), bones and all. I apologise in advance because I’m a bit of a story-teller so this will probably end up a bit of a novel, but hope you can stay with me. So here goes……

Baby Bump

Baby Bump: great expectations...

It was Wednesday the 4th August 2010 and I was sitting in the waiting room of my Obstetrician reading the same magazine I’d read every visit. It was the ONLY pregnancy magazine on the table. That’s right – ONE pregnancy mag in an obstetrician’s waiting room. Anyway, I was called in to the Dr’s room and I was dreading the news. I knew he was going to want to cut me open. I was 37 weeks and my little man had decided right way up was the right way up – he was breech and had been comfortably so since about 32 weeks. Dr Cullen (settle down ladies – not any relation to Edward) performed his examination with a whisper in my ear not to say anything about the baby’s position, as he gestured for the intern to have a push around. I will never forget the look on the kid’s face (yes, he looked like a kid). It was a mixture of confusion, curiosity and panic, presumably about how he was going to tell a 37 week pregnant woman that her baby was the wrong way up. As he muttered “Breech?” to Dr Cullen, I secretly did a little happy dance inside. He had got it right. Maybe one day my kid would be that smart – how many 18 year olds (ok maybe he was 24 or something) can push on a woman’s tummy and know what an unborn baby is doing! Incredible I say.

I jumped… no… I rolled, somewhat like a walrus, off the exam table and took a seat in front of Cullen’s desk. “Now, you’ve still got a breech on board. So we’ll have to look at a caesar. How’s Wednesday next week for you?” “WHAT!?” I exclaimed, he really was seriously just gonna whip my baby outta there! I muttered something about giving the baby more time to turn and managed to bargain Cullen down to an extra week and a half with my baby belly bubble. He’d see me the next Wednesday and make the final call, but Friday week was d-day. So I walked out of the offices beside myself that I would have a new baby in less than two weeks. I mean – what did I think was going to happen!? I guess it was just weird knowing when you were going to have it – at least with the element of uncertainty it was just that – uncertain. For someone often so organised, I really don’t know what scared me about the ‘knowing’ thing. Anyone would’ve thought it would make it better…

That afternoon, I walked in to see my accupuncturist. We had been trying all types of hurdy-gurdies and hoodoo gurus to try and get my baby to turn. Now that I was classed as term though, she could try some extra needles. They say that when your body approaches labour it gives the baby a signal to turn to the correct position, so with this in mind, these ‘new’ needles were meant to stimulate ‘labour-like’ hormones or something in order to get that stubborn boy moving. So she needled away and I sat back and chilled out, sending my little bubba so much E.S.P. that I think I got a mini-headache. Turn, turn, turn… There is a season… Turn, turn, turn… I sang inside to my little baby. That night at yoga – I kept up the E.S.P. messages. No movement at the station yet **sad face**.  I mentioned to my instructor that this would be my last session because my class card had run out. She nearly talked me into paying for just one extra week, but I declined. I kinda liked the fact that I wouldn’t have to walk to my car in the rain  for the next few weeks as I left the yoga studio. Why did it always rain when I left yoga and didn’t have an umbrella! 

Thursday morning and I’d set up the ironing board against the couch so I could lie ‘upside down’ for 30 minutes, encouraging the baby to turn. The torch to my belly the night before had my boy very active but no turning action was to be had. I went about my day, E.S.P.ing my heart out but bubs wasn’t in the mood to listen apparently. Hmmmm…. maybe I’ll give up trying to change him – isn’t that what they all say?

Thursday night arrived and I think my baby turned into a gremlin. It was like a scene from Alien. There was a head sticking out, then some feet, then a head, then a bum, then more feet, then a trombone! Ok, maybe I lied about that last one. Bubs was on the move! Woo Hoo! Well done little guy. Keep it up. I went to sleep that night knowing that in the morning I would wake up and my baby would ready to go, head down, bum up, no worries! If only I’d known how almost right I was; I might’ve had a shower at least.

5.45am, Friday 6th August. I awoke. I weed. In bed. OMG! I WEED IN BED! ‘Damn it!’ I mumbled as I ran to the toilet. Whipped down my undies, went to sit and Weeeee… hang on… that’s not wee. Uh oh…… Waters. I straightened myself up and a sense of calm washed over me.This was it. Go Time. And I was cool.  I walked back to the bedroom and woke my husband. “Jarrod, my waters have just broken. I’m going to call the hospital” I said as cool as you like. “Hmmmm” he groaned back. “Jarrod,” I said a little more urgently this time, “my water’s have broken, It’s time to go to the hospital”……… “WHAT!!!!!! Are you serious?….. Holy Sh!t” He exclaimed as I nodded my head – this time he was wide awake.

I called the hospital and I was to come in right away. With a breech on board there was a very real chance of cord prolapse and that could be very bad. I quickly gathered my things and by 6.45am we were at the hospital and in a delivery suite. I had no contractions but my waters had definitely broken. My Obstetrician rocked up, grumpy (hah!) and mumbling something about missing breakfast. I exclaimed “How do you think I feel! I’m about to have a freaking baby! I would KILL for a McMuffin!” As everyone had a giggle at me telling off the obstetrician, I was wheeled to theatre and Jarrod left my side to go and grab the camera from the car. I was so worried as anesthetists and surgical staff fussed over me, that Jarrod would be lost, but thank goodness he found his way back and turned up in scrubs next to me all of a sudden.

They wheeled me in and prepped me for a spinal block. An intern was instructed to let me lean on him as they inserted the tube or whatever they do. It was a little funny for me to note that the intern was shaking with nervousness. What a crack-up! Here was I about to have major abdominal surgery and he was the one shaking like a leaf. I remember he smelt nice. Funny. I get a needle shoved in my spine and all I could do was enjoy the scent of a young male intern (Jarrod honey – if you are reading this, I still love you and have no feelings for any interns whatsoever – it’s a girl thing…to remember smells. That’s all. A girl thing that only other girls get.)

There was lots of talking by the staff and I was laid down on the bed and a curtain went up. I looked over as Jarrod was let back in the room and noticed that my smart ‘Breech?’ intern was in the theatre too. I wondered if he remembered me. Then they were cutting me – although I had no idea. Cullen taunted in a teasing sing-song “I know what it i-i-i-s…”…. I was desperate to know for sure that we had our little boy “If it’s a girl you have to put it back!” I yelled at him. Then from behind the curtain, at 8.29am, emerged this gorgeous, puffy little blue face and I was in love. With a smurf. (Gawwwdddd, I’ve got tears now – stupid blog)

My Little Baby Will

My Little Baby Will

He wasn’t really a smurf. He was a gorgeous little boy. All there, all working. As he let out his first scream my tears of joy ran thick. Jarrod was looking at me and I looked at him. We had made this beautiful little baby and I don’t think I’ve ever loved my husband more than at that precise moment. We were a family and it was the most happy I have ever been. I so wanted to hold my two boys and touch their faces. Wipe the tears from Jarrod’s cheek and kiss the tiny head of our new precious bundle. We were both so engrossed in our new family that we completely forgot to take any pictures in the delivery suite – but that didn’t matter. We have a lifetime to capture our little boy.

William Alexander. You were so very welcome. xxx

Mother & Son: My first hours with my little man...

Mother & Son: My first hours with my little man...

Baby Bump


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When the bubble bursts: Heading back to work after Maternity Leave…

At some stage throughout most pregnancies, maternity leave will enter a mother-to-be’s life. Some women love the break and never return to work. Some women, amongst other reasons, hate feeling isolated from the adult world and return to work as soon as possible. Some families can’t afford for mum not to work. Some families can’t afford the childcare. No matter what your situation is, maternity leave calls for big decisions. And in the last week I’ve been faced with several.

I have been one of those mum’s that has revelled in the maternity leave bubble. That 12 months where I can just ‘be’ with my little man and maintain the house (even if it becomes sporadic maintenance at times), build relationships with other mothers, attend to my baby’s and my own health needs, planning a holiday to Tassie, all without the worry as to how it affects my work. I was floating in my bubble above the ocean of happy families.

Now anyone that knows me and my husband, will know that we are desperate to buy a house. Seven years of renting with a revolving door of noisy neighbours is wearing as thin as the wall adjoining our unit to theirs. Chatting with our bank when I first began maternity leave we came to the conclusion that a home loan would probably not be comfortable for us until I returned to work and we were happy with that plan.  We’d wait a few months after I went back to work and start looking for a house around Dec 2011, whilst save save saving in the meantime.

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