Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Something I never counted on when I decided to have a baby was the amazing tsumani of goodwill that comes from all corners at the arrival of a new life.

Since our little baby bird popped into the world I've been completely overwhelmed by all the gestures, gifts, emails, messages, phone calls and visits I've had from so, so many people. And not just from people close by, we've had gifts, cards and messages from all corners of the world and Australia - China, the UK, Pakistan, Sweden, Germany, Far North Queensland, Melbourne and also from those incredibly close by (even one of our neighbours turned up on the doorstep bearing a beautifully wrapped package one afternoon.)
Ivy, Ed and I have felt like celebrities as cards and flowers arrived at the hospital constantly, mysterious packages landed on our doorstep at home day after day from all kinds of interesting places and my mobile almost exploded from all the text messages. It's been a wonderful way to keep in contact with so many people I know on a positive level and even better it's allowed me to reconnect with some people I haven't seen or talked to in a long time. There is something so fresh and positive about a new baby that it's like it gives people the space to be sentimental and emotional without all the usual barriers we put up around ourselves in daily life. The birth of a new life completely disarms people emotionally.

I feel very lucky to have such gorgeous and thoughtful people in my life and so is young Ivy. Call me sentimental but I'll be keeping all those cards and keepsakes for her to have one day when she is grown up so she knows just how lucky she is.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The end of an era for Superdad

It's Sunday night and I've got that sinking feeling in my belly........it's the same feeling I had as a little girl when the long summer holidays were ending and Mum would take me school shoe shopping and I would be haunted by the "back to school" ads on the telly. It's the same feeling I've had as a grown up at the end of a holiday or a particularly good weekend when work starts a calling. This time the feeling is the same but it's someone else who is returning to work, yes come the beginning of the new week things will change. This time, my lovely Ed, Ivy's superdad must return to work and Ivy and I must learn to fly solo.
Superdad's special powers include super fast nappy changes even in the middle of the night, baths, strapping on the baby holder and taking the young tacker out for a walk, coffee or to the shops. Superdad plans and makes dinner everynight and reminds not so supermum of things like feeding herself and reminds her to feed Ivy as well. He also takes over during the witching hour when Ivy turns into a little demon for a couple of hours while I can sneak off to get an hour or two of sleep in case the long nights sitting up feeding are a shocker. Superdad also makes cups of tea, washes up, feeds Chloe the cat and cheers up not so super mum when she is feeling a bit crap about things.
I might be biased but I really do think Ivy and I may be of the two luckiest women around town. But sadly reality bites and superdad must return to his work at Channel Ten five days a week. It's going to be a little hard but I'm sure we'll struggle by each day and will always be looking forward to his return to babyland each evening.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Amazing new weight loss scheme

Want to lose 11 kilos and drop 2 dress sizes in less than 12 days all while eating Tim Tams, bread, butter, muffins, copious amounts of creamy pasta and cheese? Have a baby! Not only will the baby ensure a large weight loss almost overnight giving you a much needed boost of encouragement but the subsequent days of constantly breastfeeding and walking kilometres each day pushing a stroller with an unsettled baby will shear off those pesky last kilos before you know it. Incredible results! I should really release a diet book.

So - I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight alreadyand looking quite good apart from a slightly floppy pot belly. Shame I'm usually too sleep deprived and covered in baby vomit* to really make the most of it, my only audience is Chloe, Ed and Ivy who if the truth be known is really only interested in my bosoms.

*Actually that's a bit rich, Ivy's a good girl and has only vomited on me once so far. Not bad I say - though her single effort was pretty good, all through my hair and over several pieces of clothing and down into my cleavage, all at the sociable hour of 3am - go Ivy!

Monday, June 18, 2007

the RPA way

It's Ivy's two week birthday today - it feels like we've had her forever but in other ways the time has flown. We stayed in hospital for 8 nights in total. Partly cause my labour was such a shocker and partly cause Ivy developed jaundice which left her looking like a piece of pumpkin.
Hospital was good.......and very bad. The shock of a 24 hour labour, major abdominal surgery and then being left to recover in a shared room with someone with a screaming baby, your own crying baby who you can't comfort because you can't actually move didn't really help ease the way. Nor did the nurse who I called after Ivy had been crying for over an hour who just told me "it's best if you just get used to not sleeping now cause it's going to be like this anyway" gee thanks. I started to dread the nights when Ed had to go home at 8pm and I was left in the dark with an inconsolable Ivy and no idea what to do.

Things improved a few days later after a lot of tears from me, total exhaustion, hideous problems learning to feed, jaundice from Ivy and culminating in me doing a runner from the hospital one morning after it all became too much! (I did go back.....) Luck turned around when on day 5 Ed was told to pack his bags and that we were going to be moved to a private room where he could stay overnight and help out. I have to say it was one of the best days of my life, it was such a major turning point and it was so wonderful to have Ed all night long with us. In fact the memory still makes me want to cry over a week later.

Things got better day by day as we inhabited our little hotel-like hospital room, taking turns looking after madame, watching some bad telly and eating some bad meals. And then finally it was time to go.....in some ways I couldn't wait to get home but in other ways I still miss the hospital. There's something really comforting about institutions: the sounds, the smells, the routine, the people, the daily bustle and cycle of life. It was a pretty amazing time holed up in that room just the three of us getting to know each other (with help always just a button press away.) Our own house feels so much bigger and looser and it's so weird that one minute you have midwives invading your space every ten minutes telling you what to do and then when it's time to leave it's just "okay then, good luck" the doors open, the training wheels are off and here we are at home.

Hopefully Ivy will forgive having such novices as parents, we're learning as fast as we can and hopefully one day we'll know what we are doing.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Answers to the big question

Dear readers,

You may recall in my last post my young 4 year old friend David asked the all important question "how do you get the baby out?" to which I replied "i'll have to get back to you on that one." Now......14 days later I feel qualified to give an answer - just don't know if any of you have the time to hear it.

For most gory details Ed has logged the journey from his perspective on his blog http://www.overlandeddy.blogspot.com/ - he probably remembers more than me but here is my version of 'how you get a baby out' in 50 easy steps.

1: 8am waters break all over floor in true hollywood movie fashion. run to bathroom leaving trail of fluid on floor.
2: go into weird calm land where instead of ringing the hostpital, my doula, anyone... I decided I will hop on my email and cancel all my lunch engagements for the week while Ed dances about wringing his hands.
3: finally agree to go to hospital, arrive, don't like it, cry, say I just want to go home, bossy old midwife pats my leg and admires my ugg boots.
4: hooked up to monitor which is supposed to be babies heartbeat but sounds like I am carrying a group of mini racehorses galloping around the track.
5: It is agreed I can go home and have early contactions there - I go home.
6: decide that I want to make a lemon cake - odd cause I don't bake, or make cakes. Order Ed to stop at shops for lemons, icing sugar and butter between contractions.
7: have lovely lunch of lasagne chased by panadeine forte, feel great
8: forget to cancel Emma and Jason who call to come over, off my nut on panadeine, say "well I am having a baby but do come over anyway".
9: entertain E & J over cups of tea and contractions
10: go for walk to Mum and Dads, scare Mum by having contractions in the loungeroom - finally go home.
11: cake still not made, am anxious, cannot have baby until cake is completed. Start cake - contractions so strong I have to grip the table between mixing.
12. Cake in oven, watch big brother
13: cake out of oven, Ed has to finish icing as I am now screaming into cushions like a barnyard animal. Chloe my cat is so alarmed but wins my heart by running up to me, jumping up on me, pawing my shoulders and gently biting me as if to check I am still okay. She should be a midwife.
14: Cake finished head to hospital as contractions are now thick and fast. Ed calls Michelle the super doula and she agrees to meet us at the hospital.
15: Ed tries to drive and not lose the plot as I scream in car like pregnant woman in movie.
16: car park blocked off - Ed bashes on car park mans hut and demands to be let in. I am still screaming. have to walk from car park, oh the glamour, stopping every 30 seconds to have contractions. Surreal moment when some guy walks past and says to Ed, don't worry it's worth it in the end.
17: Arrive at front doors, while waiting to get in deliver 4 massive spectacular projectile vomits onto snazzy entrance pavers - shouldn't have eaten lasagne.
18: Am in so much pain I can't even see people's faces, midwife with annoying voice already giving me the shits as I announce first and foremost "I want an epidural' she argues "you've written that you want a natural labour in your birth plan, I don't want you to be disappointed" I growl back "I wrote that at work, GET ME AN EPIDURAL!!!" Michelle super doula arrives and confirms that I have changed my mind. Decide I love Michelle.
19: Waiting for man with the epidural...run between room and bathroom like a demented person half naked and unable to find a comfy position. Interspersed with extremely loud barnyard noises that I didn't know I could make.
20: Discover stupid bathtub, fitball, pillows, shower, music you name it totally suck and beg for chemical intervention pronto.
21: Become paranoid that no-one will give me an epidural and that they are all lying, start hissing like a nutter "are they lying to me Michelle? Where is it? Will they give it to me? Are you sure? Where is it?"
22: more barnyard screaming, too loud for my own ears
23: Jim the anethsetist arrives, does whatever he has to do - I don't care if I die at this stage. He puts something in my back and slowly the pain goes away as I shudder uncontrollably. Michelle and Ed hold me down.
24: numb, happy, good.
25: Everyone decides it's time I push - what a fast labour you will have they say. We get pushing. Pushing shouldn't take more than an hour - I look at the clock. I should have a baby by 1am I think. Ed and Michelle have to hold my legs as I can't feel a thing from the epidural.
26: Epidural wearing off, midwife suggests toughing it out cause it won't be long.
27: push and push and push. Pain getting unbearable again, start screaming for Jim.
28: Am told no-one can find Jim
29: Jim still nowhere to be found, now in total pain, no baby to be seen.
30: start throwing up between contractions - keeps me Ed and michelle entertained emptying bowls.
31: Michelle super doula unleashes her secret weapon, strawberry lip balm. It is the best thing that's happened all night.
32: Am now crying "I want Jim, I want Jim, where's Jim?" Midwife mistakenly says "here he is" and shoves Ed forward. I snap "no! Not him! I want the anethsetist!!".
33: Jim finally arrives, tops me up, pain doesn't go away. Tell midwife who doesn't seem to believe me.
34: pain still with me, still screaming, the search for Jim goes on once again.
35: hours tick by, pushing, vomiting, panting, resting. Still no bloody baby.
36: Realise that same Jack Johnson album has been playing on stereo for 4 hours, growl at Ed to change it. He puts on Norah Jones, Michelle informs us these are the two most popular artists to push babies out to. Disappointed we are so predictable.
37: stare at Michelles handbag, admire it and make mental note to ask her where she got it.
38: hear someone come in and say good morning - look at clock in horror and see that it is almost 6am. Still no baby.
39: Pain back, search for Jim back on, I start with the barnyard noises again.
40: Still pushing, feel like I will be trapped in this room forever pushing and listening to Norah Jones.
41: Start to lose plot, new midwife arrives, gets me to push, sees no baby is coming out and finally fetches obstetrician. Ob arrives just as I start to push and break down in hysterical crying fit. I am well out of gas and have no more to give - 8 hours of pushing has done me in.
42: Ob tells me that they will take me to theatre soon and will try and get the baby out with a vacuum thing, if that's no good it ceasar time. I cry with relief and she seems to think I am disappointed I'm not having a natural birth - she doesn't realise I just want this baby out. She then has to tell me the risks of a cesear which include cheery things like a total hysterectomy and death. I just hold her hand and cry as she tells me.
43: Michelle super doula has to leave cause she's not allowed in the theatre. I get all upset and hang onto her and don't want her to go. She is indeed so super she even moves Ed's car for him out of the car park when she is leaving.
44: off to theatre - I keep crying. Ed is now dressed like some spunky doctor from Greys Anatomy. I don't know what's going on so I continue to cry.
45: Big lights, Jim is back pumping me full of drugs, I decide I love him the best. Weird people everywhere, the sheet goes up the vacuum is produced and I have to do more bloody pushing. On and on it goes for another hour.
46: baby stuck, it's ceasar time. It's pushed back up the birth canal and the second team move in to cut me open. I advise Ed not to look and actually fall asleep as my insides are tugged apart and they try and get this baby out as I am that bloody exhausted.
47: Finally I hear an outraged sqawk and the announcement "this baby has a big head" - Ed and I laugh as he accuses me of the same thing all the time.
48: Some meanie says "what were you told this baby was?" I say "girl" and they say "oh well you'll just have to wait and see" I freak out thinking that it's a boy but luckily an outraged, bloodied, squashed looking nude Ivy May Browne is dangled before our eyes before Ed is swept off to cut the cord and mind her while I get stitched up.
49: Ivy May returned to me swaddled up like Afghan woman in a burqa. Am mostly dazed that I have a baby, Ed is crying so I decide to join him.
50: Ed dispatched with Ivy while I stay in the theatre to be stiched up, taken to recovery and then to the room to be reunited. Baby is out - hurrah!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Like a ticking timebomb

It's a bloody weird time. I've finished work, I've unpacked all sorts of strange pieces of equipment, I've laid out unfeasibly small pairs of socks and singlets in drawers, I've ummed and ahhed over dummies that look like spacecraft, wondered over buying a bottle or not and bought packets of nappies feeling like a total pretender. I've lunched, had coffee, run around doing social things and now as I look into my diary after the next couple of days there's......................nothing, the pages are all blank.

The baby's due in six days, but my Dr says it could be any day now from the look of me. It's a weird feeling, I make plans to meet people for lunch but have to tell them I'll call them to confirm in case I'm having a baby instead. Ha ha ha - I laugh a little too hysterically. Other friends and family I have seen recently kiss me goodbye and then wish me luck (specially those who've had kids already) and then kind of give me this look like I'm about to head off to the gallows or check into a nunnery or something equally all changing and dramatic. Argh! I feel like I am teetering on a precipice and when the time is right for me to topple off nothing will be the same again.
But in the meantime the land of denial is a nice place to live and I'd quite like to live there a little longer. However my body and baby keep reminding me that I won't be living there for much longer. I'm now hobbling about with a sore lower back and loosened pelvis, and my body is throwing out what are usually called 'practice contractions' which according to the baby books "feel uncomfortable." Well if being "uncomfortable" means gasping for breath, unable to speak, falling onto the couch shaking and managing to rip a button off a cushion while writhing about in pain I can't wait for real labour - what a delight it must be. Why don't our bodies come with a nice zipper somewhere so I could just reach in and pluck my baby out when she is cooked and ready. Why does it have to be so messy and unpredictable? Hardly intelligent design.
And I'm not the only one who thinks there's a serious design fault with this whole pregnancy and birth lark. Ed's little nephew is four, he was having a good look at my enormous belly the other night and after inspecting it from all angles he looked up at me with a puzzled expression and said - "how are you going get the baby out? "That's a very bloody good question David", I say. "I'll have to get back to you on that one"...