Tag Archives: labour

Lessons in Letting Go……Lesson One.

8 Jan

Dex first day of school2 years
8 months
23 days
15 and a half hours

That’s how long D Man has been by my side. Every day. In fact, with no family support, it’s been almost every minute of that time.

They say you forget the pain of labour, but you don’t really. I remember it like yesterday.
I remember feeling as though my entire lower back was opening up, splitting in two, like some weird bi-fold creature, as I pushed  the child I’d been nurturing inside myself free into the world.

I suppose that was the first letting go.

Even though he was placed directly in my arms, upon my bare breast, he was no longer encased in my flesh, where he was safe from harm.
I also remember that little, pale blue, baby lying on my chest in the seconds after his birth and he looked straight into my eyes.

I know you, his eyes said.

I know you.

We’ve loved and grown and struggled, and loved and laughed, and played and yelled and loved and cuddled ourselves to this point we are at today.

This little dude has taught me so damned much about myself, and about life, and he’s made me a better person……

I’m more patient, most of the time.
I’m less selfish.
I’m more open, not just to him, but to the world.
I see things differently now.

Yesterday, I took D Man for his first day at school. It’s just day care. Two days a week.

I always said not before three, but if I don’t do it in the January intake, I have to wait another year……. and he’s ready.

He needs more than me now, because I can’t do everything cool and fun and messy everyday.

I’ve taught him to put on his shoes and take them off again, and to ask for what he wants with nice manners. This week we toilet trained so he can be a big boy because he doesn’t like just anybody changing his nappy……..that’s private boy’s business, you see.

I suppose that’s all we do from the moment that they are born, really – teach them stuff, to make ourselves OBSOLETE.

ouch

Then we can set them free and hope we’ve done enough.

I didn’t hang around. I hung around in the orientation mornings. Yesterday was not a day for hanging around.
I showed him where his bag went, put his water bottle with the other kids’, took him to the toilets and told him who to ask if he wanted to go.

‘Where you going, Mummy?’
‘I’m going home’

‘Oh’.

Of course, we’d talked all about it, what was going to happen on this day, but still, neither of us were quite prepared. You never can be fully prepared for that umbilical cord getting a little more severed.

We had a quick kiss and I left, with Kiki on my hip.

But I made the fatal error……I looked back.

You shouldn’t look back.

Never look back.

He was crying at the door, my big boy. His little face was creased up in a look that made me want to never set him free. To keep him with me forever (oh my god, can you imagine when he was a big, sweaty, 45 year old? We’d probably have loads of cats too. Ew.).

I stood outside and cried. I didn’t mean to but I couldn’t help it. I felt like a bit of a tit because one of the other mums (an old hand, obviously) walked past me and smiled knowingly.

Ten minutes later I received this picture and a text……

Hi Mum, I’m doing so well, you would be proud.
I’m colouring a picture of Spiderman and telling all my friends the colours
xxxx

school pic

So, I dropped my mummy guilt, danced all the way to the shopping centre, shopped in peace, painted my toenails in silence and ate all of my lunch without sharing.
I reckon we’ll adjust quickly.

 

Today I’m hooking up with Jess, for IBOT, over at EssentiallyJess, go check it out. It’s a whole community thang……

Courage of Conviction

7 Oct

I saw a documentary aaaaages ago about birth, and the different choices women make.

There was a lesbian couple, a single lady, a woman undergoing about her 10th IVF treatment, someone who had elective caesarian, someone who had a home water birth, a lady who loved her nephews infinitely but never wanted a child of her own….you get the picture, right?
A mixed bag of all sorts.
It was a beautiful study into the wealth of choices we have available to us, but time and again I heard loud and clear that whatever your choice, there was always someone standing in the wings to judge you.

I had two natural births. I practiced the Calm Birth technique, that I’d practiced for a weeks in advance, and I managed to get through the experience with nothing more than a suck of gas.
Am I Captain Smug Pants?
Sure.
Am I amazing?
Absolutely.

If I had another child, would I have another natural birth?
I don’t know. I think I’m done on that particular experience (especially asking me now, 5 months after my last -not long enough to forget).

I have a friend with a babe two weeks younger than my daughter, Kiki. She elected a caesar, and is not breast-feeding. *sharp intake of breath*
I like to think I’m open minded to anyone’s choices but my inner Judge Judy knitted her eyebrows at this news, and went into vicious debate with my open minded self.
What kind of woman does this????

You know what kind of woman?

A woman who has the benefit of experience to know that she didn’t want to experience a long and potentially fruitless labour, or a hungry baby losing weight.

A woman who has the benefit of options available to her.
Watching this gorgeous mother sing her baby love songs leaves absolutely no doubt that the method used for baby expulsion has nothing whatsoever to do with the type of mother you are.

Is she amazing?
Absolutely.

I have another dear friend who was all ethno-bongo with her first labour, but it all went wrong at the last minute and everyone was very lucky that we live in the 21st Century, else the outcome may well have been drastically different.
With the labour of her second child she was scared going into it. She decided she wanted an epidural at the first contraction, thank you very much.
Does that make her less ethno-bongo?
Nope.
It makes her damned lucky that she has the opportunity to embrace the birthing experience in whichever way she feels is the best for her…..and she had an awesome birthing experience that is no less inspiring and beautiful.

No matter what you choose, in any aspect of your life, there is always someone waiting to judge you.
Whether it’s something simple like the clothes you wear, the way you live your life or the way you raise your children, someone else thinks they’re way is better, cooler or right.

The biggest gift we give to ourselves is courage of conviction. You need to back yourself.

You need to stand strong in your choices and stick by your guns. Only you know the best way to live your life, and provided you’re doing it with integrity and love, then no one has any right to judge your actions.

Live your life.

Your way.

Henri Matisse said creativity takes courage, but you know what?
Life takes courage.

BYO Dancing Shoes

9 May

After spending my first proper night on the dance floor of the Newborn Disco, I can say with a fair amount of conviction that, yep, I had indeed forgotten – I mean, really FORGOTTEN. I do not recall ever having an evening like the last with D Man. In my rose coloured memories, D Man fell directly into a three hourly night time feeding routine which I thought was difficult to adjust to but at least, predictable. Last night was anything but predictable and served only to remind me how long one single passing the moon can actually be when you’re sitting in a house were everyone is sleeping, or at least pretending to, except you and your tiny, frustrating new person whom you really don’t understand yet.

Needless to say, I’m feeling decidedly wrung out today. It was a fairly fast and furious labour. Totally different from my last, but just as much fun was had by all. It’s not called labour for nothing, huh? I took my cramping tummy in for a scheduled midwife check-up, thinking I was still miles away from the good stuff, and ascertained I was indeed 4cms dilated. No wonder I felt like I was walking around with a bowling ball in my knickers. They suggested I didn’t go home as they feared I would not make it back in time. Luckily, THE BAG was in the car. I’ll spare you the details of the next few hours, but I must say my husband is amazing and my dear friend, L’il C, who was our support person, did an amazing job. Without them I would surely have hurled myself head-first from the first floor window of our birth suite, without bothering to open the window first…. I tried a few times but they pried my fingers from the window sill and talked me back into the shower.

I’m a ‘hospital is for sick people or people allowed morphine’ type of girl so as soon as we were both got checked out (and ascertained they wouldn’t give me any of the good gear) we came home so I could rest in my own bed with my family around me. Much nicer as my Mama is here and she was cooking dinner!

It’s lovely to have my Mum here, especially as she’s bought her hand written recipe book with her. There are recipes written in there by old friends from all around the world and many from my Nana, passed down from who knows where. It was funny as she was flicking through my recipe book and she noted that there were some of her recipes in there written in Nana’s handwriting. We all steal from each other, it’s seems. Over the next few weeks I’ll no doubt be stealing borrowing some of her foodie love to share with y’all….actually, I’ll probably just photograph what she’s made and claim it as my own. What are family for? More about her infamous recipe book later….back to me.

D Man meeting his sister for the first time was like watching National Geographic. (THINK ATTENBOROUGH) ‘How will the small members of the tribe react to each other?’ Well, I’m proud to announce that Ratty, D Man’s best, furry, friend kissed her straight away and then D Man reached over and tenderly ‘beep beeped’ her nose. Perhaps a little unorthodox in another family, but for us it’s a fair sign of acceptance if ever I’ve seen one. I must admit the she did bring him a highly coveted gift of a new scooter. How can you dislike someone bearing gifts?

The little lady is sleeping like the proverbial bambina now, I guess she’s plum tuckered out after her first night at the disco……she’ll no doubt sleep it off all day and do it all over again tonight. Can’t blame her much, that behaviour definitely comes from my side. She’ll settle down in her 30′s.

God, help us.

The Train Has Left The Station

7 May

For all my bravado, I’m actually a bit scared. The early cramps have started, and though they’re far between right now, they still take my breath my away when they come and they remind me of what’s to come in our very near future. I think that’s the thing with your second baby, isn’t it? Your first, you don’t know what to expect in labour so your excitement is higher. Now, I know what to expect. I guess that’s where the fear comes from.

I’m excited though. Of course I am. I’m really looking forward to meeting the new member of our family….. We’ve been waiting for ages it seems.

So, I’m off to breathe until my feet tingle, and pretend that it’s making a damn difference.

Seems like a bit of a pants post but didn’t want to disappear for a few days with no explanation. We do have a little something going here, don’t we, and I don’t want to leave you hanging…….we’re all in this together now.

Catch you on the flip, when the Holsby’s are no longer three….but a beautifully even four.

HELP WANTED – Nipple Attendent

3 May

As I reach what feels like my 15th month of gestation I feel decidedly more sorry for elephants. Those poor cows (not derogatory, they actually are actually  cows) carry a baby elephant for 24 long months and seriously, that shit’s gotta get to you. As uncomfortable as I currently I am, I know that my little one is also busting to stretch her legs. She’s been cramped in for a mega long haul flight and she’s pretty over it too. How do I know? Because her arms and legs are poking me in places I wouldn’t have thought imaginable in her attempt to get comfortable. At any given moment I feel as though there is a leg in my rectum and an elbow in my throat. I know it’s only a matter of hours before we go into the ring, but man, it’s been a long week.

Needless to say, I’m ready for lift-off. So, this week has seen me looking up a few natural ways to induce labour…..and I gotta say, sorting the fact from the fiction in this matter is fairly interesting and somewhat laughable.

Raspberry leaf tea, it is fairly innocuous, a nothing much flavoured tea, they aren’t entirely sure if it truly does kick start the process but it certainly can’t hurt and has been used by witches and pagans for centuries. It’s another good source of liquid (like I need to pee more) so I’m doing it. Then things start getting interesting with the humble pineapple. Rumour has it that the enzyme bromelain present in pineapples may actually induce the big push….there is a catch though. You need to consume about 7 pineapple’s worth. Now, I love me bit of apple from the pine, but I dare say that 7 of the suckers would probably induce the squirts if nothing else. Then, imagine if I did actually go into labour? Seriously, that is not a pretty thought. Especially, if I had already taken heed of the ‘eat a hot curry’ wive’s tale. This is simply getting diabolical for Mister H. He’s down with the birthing process, but hell, that would leave no mystery, and probably permanent stains.

We have acupuncture options, and of course, sex is known to get the ball rolling if you’ll pardon the pun, but a suggestion I find quite intriguing is nipple stimulation. Apparently, rubbing and rolling your nipples can stimulate oxytocin which is the hormone that does the job in this matter. It simulates the suckling of your newborn – however, you must do it quite a lot. Like, A LOT, a lot. Now, I’m a little busy getting all of my last minute preparations ready and I really can’t see myself strolling through the shopping centre pushing my trolley with one hand and tweaking my nips with the other (however will I hold my pineapples?). I do not have idle hands at the ready to help me with this one but it certainly sounds more plausible than the pineapples – perhaps I should consider hiring help? Not sure how I’d word that ad in the St George Courier.

If you’ve tried all of these methods and still, no movement at the station there are a few last ditch efforts that can be made. One that would certainly make D Man very happy, although I find it very hard to hide my scepticism on the effectiveness of this one, is….wait for it……blowing up balloons. Are you kidding me? Apparently not. It is rumoured that the build up of abdominal pressure can induce labour. Do you know how much abdominal pressure I’m already experiencing? I feel like the friggin’ Hindenburg with fiery, gas emissions to boot.

I guess I’m back to the drawing board and in for the ol’ fashioned wait….I suppose while I’m waiting I could have a cup of raspberry tea and a slice of pineapple. I do have a balloon in the cupboard. I’ll just give it a shot. Where are those nipples?

PS Painting your toenails whilst nursing a watermelon in your lap ain’t easy…….

Meditation and the Art of Zen

29 Mar

With the impending birth of my new babe, I thought it best to pull out my Calmbirth CD’s and reacquaint myself with the meditation technique that I used for D Man’s labour.

This is actually quite a good form of meditation as they firmly believe, and indeed encourage the thought, that your conscious mind doesn’t need to be paying too much attention to the guided meditation banging on about ‘opening like a flower’ as your unconscious mind is deeply interested in what they’re saying…..so I’ve been known to use this ‘homework’ opportunity to have a little nap. Multi-tasking at it’s absolute finest.

Naturally, using meditation as a form of pain relief during labour draws raised eyebrows and looks of disbelief from many, and I smile an enigmatic, Earth Mother (if she had lips) type smile and lower my gaze. However, if I’m asked an outright question like ‘Does it work?’, I really can’t lie. Although many will testify that their ‘surges’ were like waves bringing their baby closer to them, or their tightenings were merely like the muscle spasms of an orgasm (I’ll have what she’s having instead of passing this watermelon, thanks!) I have to say that no, I didn’t zen out for 20 hours of deep breathing and rouse to find a bonny bairn in my arms. It ain’t called labour for nothing.

My history with meditation is sketchy at best. Having read ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and devouring Elizabeth Gilbert’s enlightening experience in India, I fancied myself as somewhat of a zen goddess and check myself into Vipassana (sounds like rehab but without the entertainment!) for a dose of Kundalini. For the uninitiated, Vipassana is a 10 day, silent, meditation retreat. There are many around the world but I went to the coldest place in NSW in the middle of winter to live like a monk, deprive myself of comfort, live on only two meals per day and meditate for 16 hours a day whilst never uttering a word to another soul, nor making eye contact. That sounds enticing, right? I thought it did. I’ve since had a stern word with myself. A few of my friends had been and they ALL said what an amazing, empowering, enlightening experience it was, and they can’t wait to get back……well, if my friends like it, then it must be awesome.

Perhaps I was expecting Gwingana Health Retreat, or perhaps I anticipated myself being a tad more ethno bongo then I truly am, but I did not reach enlightenment. No, no, I did not. Why is it that enlightenment must come from such extreme circumstances? Hasn’t anyone ever attained enlightenment at a degustation meal with a skin full of wine? I reckon I could get a darn sight closer.

Upon arrival at Vispassana, they take your phone and wallet claiming it’s for safe keeping as the rooms (read : cells) are unlocked. Now, in hindsight, I realise it’s so that you don’t try to sneak off in the night, and drive your car like a maniac down the mountain side, straight home via the nearest MacDonalds. Perhaps the fact that I’d only ever really meditated once a week for an hour at a lovely little, warm, oil scented studio in North Sydney had something to do with it? Suddenly getting up at 4 am to trudge through the freezing dark to sit cross legged for 16 hours (ok, I exaggerate, they do have a meal breaks that you don’t have to be cross legged at, but food only at breakfast and lunch – salad and lentils). The most entertainment I received, aside from the yogi’s nightly discourse was listening to tortured lentil farts from bodies quite unused to this style of diet in the dark, quiet, and audibly sensing people’s relief that everyone’s eyes were closed. For the record I didn’t fart. No more than usual at least, my body is pretty down with a lentil…ok, maybe the occasional fart but they were only little ones. But I made it through, and felt a sense of achievement (The truth? I was too damn proud to leave, but man, I wanted to every day) and I couldn’t recommend it more highly if you think it’s your bag.

Needless to say, after this experience, I was sceptical about Calmbirth but I needed a plan. I wouldn’t try to run the New York Marathon without training and this seemed as good as anything.

So, does it help? Sure. Breathing is really important, at the best of times, and deep, rhythmic breathing definitely helps focus the mind and keep you relaxed. It certainly helped me to have the kind of labour I wanted for D Man, and I hope I have the same experience this time around. One of the most sage things anyone ever said to me about childbirth was ‘Don’t be a hero. No-one ever got a medal for having a drug free labour.’ So, we do what we have to under such primal conditions, but as for orgasmic spasms? I’d like my money back, please.

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