Category Archives: Juno!

Three months

Lying in bed, looking at the silhouette of you sleeping on your daddy’s chest. The world is quiet and you’re so peaceful.

It’s so clear in my head that you don’t care about routines or schedules. You don’t care about any of the things that the “experts” say that we should be concerned about. According to so many of them we’re doing the wrong thing, creating a dependency by letting you sleep with us. We’re letting you manipulate us into doing what you want, catering to your every whim. You’ll never be able to go to sleep on your own without us, that we’ll live to regret it because you’re going to turn into a spoilt little princess.

But I don’t care.

You’re so little. Only three months old and still so new in the world. You need us. Right now you need us in a way that you never will again. We give you familiarity, comfort and safety. You give us smiles – huge gummy smiles that light up your entire face – which is more than a fair trade. At the moment the world must be a confusing, noisy and scary place for you so it’s our job to make you feel safe and comforted. Sticking to a schedule won’t do that, trying to force you to fit into our lives so we don’t have to make changes won’t help you. One of us cuddling you will. Letting you sleep on us will.

That’s not you manipulating us, that’s us giving you love.

You’re going to grow up. You won’t remember this time. You won’t remember sleeping on your daddy’s lap while we watch TV. You won’t remember afternoon naps with me, curled up in my arms. You won’t remember all the funny faces we pulled to make you smile. You won’t remember tummy time on your play mat. You won’t remember the chats we had, all the things I told you. You won’t remember lying on your daddy’s chest, both fast asleep and looking so peaceful. But we will.

It seems to me that it’s more important that you grow up feeling loved rather than micro-managed. You’re not a little robot to be controlled or a tyrant to be overcome. You’re our Juno, our little baby girl. You’re fine the way you are, doing what babies are meant to do which is feed, sleep, develop and grow. You don’t need a schedule for that.

Enough with the photos already!!

Enough with the photos already!!

Two months

Two months oldIt’s hard to believe it’s been two months. Two months since you crashed into my life with a suddenness that was overwhelming.

Every day is a new adventure. You’re never the same. It seems that each day you’re doing something new, exploring your ever-expanding world. You eyes seem brighter, more focused. You watch me now, look at shadows, stare intently at the ceiling and I can only wonder what you’re seeing.

Your hands are still constantly curled into a fists and I wonder when that will stop. However, you are starting to use your hands more, curling and uncurling your fingers. You’ve started kicking your feet when you’re excited. Or upset. You poke your tongue out all the time, like you’re trying to taste the world. Best of all, you’ve started smiling. If I’m lucky, you give me a huge smile in the morning when you wake up and realise I’m standing at your cot, ready to pick you up. And it’s nice. It’s nice to be smiled at when previously all you did was frown at me.

I watch you with your daddy and it’s such a beautiful thing to see. You smile at him, almost silently laughing. You’re so peaceful when you’re curled up in his lap asleep, your head on his chest. His hand reaches right across your tiny back and it seems like for you it’s the safest place in the world. Eventually – and probably earlier than we think – you’ll be too big to curl up in our laps and go to sleep. We won’t be able to make you happy by simply holding you close. We won’t be your safe place in the world.

Right now there’s so much I don’t understand about you. So many times I’ve struggled to make you happy because I don’t know what you need and you can’t tell me. I feel so out of my depth. This is something I never expected I’d do. I never thought I’d have a child. Other times I feel that you deserve someone better than me to be your mum. So often it feels like I’m doing the wrong things with you. I’m so unsure that what I’m doing is okay, that I’m not somehow already messing you up.

I guess all I can do is give you my time and love. If I can do that, then I think you’ll turn out okay.

Four weeks on…

41 weeks pregnant and at France Perry, waiting for my medical induction to be started.

Some times things don’t go to plan. Really don’t go to plan and you find yourself in a situation where you have to make what amounts to a life-changing decision very quickly. That’s how it went for me with Juno’s birth.

Two days before my due date, I had an appointment with my obstetrician who had just come back from a conference. Initially she had been okay with letting me go over by two weeks but in this appointment, she had changed her mind. I knew I was always considered a high risk pregnancy because of my age and I wasn’t at all surprised when she brought up medical induction – to occur at 41 weeks instead of seeing if I would go into labour spontaneously. Spontaneous labour and a natural birth was the ultimate goal but I was sick of being pregnant so I agreed to an induction on the following weekend (which would’ve put me at 41 weeks pregnant).

I spent the week waiting to see if anything would happen. I had two acupuncture sessions and was taking the most foul tasting herbal mix, full of stuff that is meant to bring on labour. But nope, nothing happened. In the end, I tipped the herbal mix down the sink because all it was doing was making me feel sick (which wasn’t helpful).

So, on Saturday 25 April at 3pm, I was at Frances Perry House to start my medical induction. I was put on a CTG monitor to see how the baby was doing. After about an hour of monitoring, the obstetrician (one of my OB’s colleagues) arrived to give me the prostaglandin gel which that was meant to get my labour started. More lying around and eventually we were allowed to leave at 6pm to go have some dinner with instructions to return by 9pm for even more monitoring.

So, I got to have one final dinner out. Such a small moment in the grand scheme of things but it’s something I’ll always remember because it was our last dinner out where it was just the two of us. My last meal as a woman without a child. (Also, it was delicious and I can’t wait to go back there!) Then it was back to the hospital and even more CTG monitoring with a super active baby. (I probably shouldn’t have had profiteroles for dessert.) After two hours of monitoring and me getting decidedly jack of it, I was finally allowed to go home with instructions to come back at 7.30am the next day.

7.30 the next morning and we were back at the hospital with more monitoring to see how the baby was doing. My OB arrived at about 8.30 and gave me a second lot of prostaglandin gel as it turned out for all the cramping and general discomfort I was in, nothing was happening. Then we waited. For six hours. To see if anything would happen.

Which it didn’t.

At about 3pm, I had a very apologetic midwife come in and ask if I minded giving up my room in the birth suite because they had a woman who was desperate for an epidural and getting pretty close to giving birth. Whereas I had nothing happening at all except some cramps and mild back pain. Another visit from my OB to check on what was happening which turned out to really be nothing.

So we had the serious discussion about options. I was almost maxed out on the gel but could have tiny bit more. I could be stay overnight to see if anything would happen. Then in the morning, we’d have another chat about what was happening. And possibly (probably) need a cesarean anyway. Or I could have a cesarean that day.

It’s a really tough and strange situation to be put in. You have to make a life-changing and to be honest life-threatening decision and it has to be made reasonably quickly.

First cuddles for me after my unplanned cesarean section.

At 4.15pm I told my OB my decision – to have the c-section – and at 5.14pm she was born. It was all so quick. Once the decision is made, there’s no messing around. I was taken to a share room where I could change into a hospital robe and I signed the consent forms. The anesthetist came to talk to me to explain what he was going to do. He put a cannula in my wrist and gave me some antacid. Then about 15 minutes later I was wheeled into an operating room where he put in my spinal block.

Nothing can prepare you for a spinal block. The first needle is a local anesthetic and it hurt so much. I couldn’t help it, I flinched on his first effort so he had to do it again. It was at this point, the fear really set in and I wanted to make it all stop, say I’d changed my mind and that I’d wait but it was too late. It’s a frightening, isolating experience to be in an operating room with strangers, all dressed in operating scrubs so you can’t see their faces. I did feel panicked, especially so when my legs went completely numb and I realised that I was trapped there, incapable of moving or doing anything. I couldn’t get up, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t even roll over if I wanted to.

The surgery itself was over relatively quickly. I could feel things being moved around, bits of me being tugged on but there was no pain. Then all of a sudden, she was out with comments of “she’s a healthy size!”.

A baby abruptly appeared in my field of vision, looking very blue and not crying or making noise. Her arm flailed out and she hit me in the eye and wiped goop all down the side of my face. This is not an ideal introduction to your child because naturally enough, I flinched and pulled away (as much as I could). Richard went with her for her first measurements and immunisation shots. I was lying on the table, wondering what was going on and why she wasn’t making any noise. She cried when she got one of her shots so at least I knew she was breathing okay. They brought her back (cleaned and wrapped up) and placed her on my chest so I could finally see her and kinda hold her but that only lasted for about 10 minutes because I had to get her taken off me as I felt like I couldn’t breath. Turns out my spinal block was creeping up my chest which why I felt so strange.

It takes over half an hour to stitch a woman up again after a c-section and then you spend time in the recovery room so you can be monitored. On your own. With only medical staff around and no one you know. It’s not a fun time. I wasn’t aware that I would start to shiver uncontrollably and violently – which I did. My nurses were lovely and caring but all I wanted was someone that I knew to be there which wasn’t allowed. We had always planned that if I had a c-section, Richard would go with the baby and get some skin-to-skin time with her because I wouldn’t be able to do it myself. But I didn’t really think about what would happen to me.

It was hard being on my own. I hadn’t considered how traumatic a c-section would be. I hadn’t really thought about how I would feel at all. I guess I thought I’d just cruise through it all and everything would be fine. I didn’t expect the complex mess of emotions I would feel and how hard it would hit me.

Juno at three and a half weeks. Doing a face that always makes me chuckle.

Juno at three and a half weeks. Doing a face that always makes me chuckle.

I’d never though that a c-section was the “easy” way to have a child but I know there is a preconception in society that it is. Right now I’m telling you it’s really not. My uh… girly bits might be in better shape and I have a pelvic floor that still works like it did before but now I have a stomach that looks like a half deflated pool toy (thanks Olivia Wilde for that description!) and a pretty large scar as well. I think it kinda gets forgotten that a c-section is major abdominal surgery. I had three layers of stitches. I have a scar that’s about 12 centimetres long – although technically it’s still a wound as I don’t think it’s healed 100% yet. It hurts when I sneeze and it feel irritated pretty much all the time. Still, it gets a tiny bit better every day and to be honest I’m a bit too distracted to think about it that much.

Motherhood has definitely come as a bit of a shock. No one can prepare you for it. You can read every single book ever written on it but all the words in the world simply can’t convey what it’s like, how utterly life altering it is. I’ll be the first to admit that the suddenness of Juno’s arrival has affected how I’ve bonded with her. Being smacked in the eye by your baby isn’t exactly a great bonding experience.

There have been so many what have I done? moments. I’ve cried more in the last four weeks than I think I’ve cried in the last four years. At the moment it feels like the hard stuff is outnumbering the good. But the good moments are cute, adorable, funny. She may drive me mad sometimes – having a baby screaming into your face for two hours can be wee bit wearing – but I am glad she’s here. I’m holding on to the hope that it will get easier and better as she grows.

I guess the other thing that’s thrown me completely is that I did expect to be a different person once she arrived – who I thought I’d be, I have no idea – so it was a bit of a shock to realise I was exactly the same as I was before. I’m not sure yet how to incorporate the of idea that I’m a mum now into my identity. I often think I’m not doing a very good job because I feel so conflicted about the whole thing but it’s too late. It’s not like I can give her back or anything. She is my responsibility and I have to do what’s best for her.

It’s been an overwhelming, confronting and relentless experience thus far. I’m still struggling to find my feet but there are moments I look at her or she does something that makes it worth it.

Counting down…


So… 38 weeks. Feeling huuuuuuuuge!

38 weeks means it should be only two weeks to go. We shall see. However, it’s very rare that babies actually turn up on their due date so I have a feeling I’ll be going over (according to my mum I didn’t want to come out and was quite late).

But it’s okay – kinda – because my OB is on leave for ten days and won’t be back until two days before my due date. Being over isn’t necessarily a bad thing – except of the fact that I’m going to be really uncomfortable. Eh… that’s nothing new.

At least this is a temporary discomfort. It’s been seven months since the accident and my arm still hurts. Obviously nowhere near as much as it did but it kinda sucks to wake up every day and have it twinge and ache. And sometimes it just flat-out hurts. But apparently it’s all part of the process of my arm healing.

On the upside, I’ve made huge progress with my physical therapy. I have a very good physiotherapist who I’ve been seeing weekly for about four months now courtesy (mostly) of TAC. I can lift my arm above my head to nearly the same point as my right, undamaged arm. Sideways I can nearly get to the maximum reach point but it still hurts when it gets above my shoulder. Backwards reach is still not great and it hurts but really, how much do you need that particular motion? I can dress myself so there’s not much point getting worked up about. It’ll either come back or it won’t. I was told that I would never recover 100% mobility so I guess the backwards reach is it for me.

When I reach sideways, I can feel it pop and creak so there’s still a fair amount of weakness in my shoulder which will only ever be fixed by me doing exercises – of which I have plenty. It’s more important at the moment that I focus on being able to lift things up as very soon I’ll be lifting a little person who’s only going to get heavier. So I guess she’ll be helping with my rehab.

There is only one small upside to breaking my arm. It’s made me realise that labour won’t be anywhere as scary as it’s made out to be. After all, I went through four weeks of severe pain with nothing to show for it except a dodgy arm. At least with childbirth, it’s worthwhile. There will be this amazing little person who will make it worthwhile. It also won’t last anywhere near as long 😉

It’s suddenly a bit more real now

We had a growth scan on Friday and for once she didn’t spend the whole time turning away from the scanner. So we got to see her face. It’s getting a bit squashy in there so it’s hard to judge what she actually looks like. But she has perfect, pouty lips. We could see those clearly.

She’s currently measuring in the 80% growth percentile. The one thing that is worrying me a little is that she apparently has a big head, which could make labour… uh… interesting. But, of course, all the measurements in scans are mostly best guesses so I’m hoping her head measurement isn’t actually accurate.

Not long now – five more weeks – and we’ll get to see her for real.


Squishy little face. D’awwwww!

Sooooo…

This is me at 32 and bit weeks pregnant.

I gotta say being pregnant is one of the strangest things I’ve ever been through. Probably the oddest thing is watching my stomach move on its own, sometimes quite energetically.

Less keen on the having to pee all the time, including multiple times at night. Preggie brain might not be real but the interrupted sleep and insomnia certainly is and that’s not good for optimal brain activity. Also not so keen on the indigestion either. It started about a week after the morning sickness stopped so I didn’t really get a break at all from feeling crappy.

Everything is getting that little bit harder. It’s harder to get out of bed, it’s hard to roll over in bed. It’s getting harder to get off the couch. I feel slow, heavy and awkward (even though I still weigh less than I did when I got really fat). My centre of gravity is wacky and I haven’t even bothered to try to get on my step-thru in two weeks now. I bump my bump into things all the time because I’m still not used to it.

To be honest, I’m kinda over it. I’m tired so much of the time. My feet hurt from the extra weight. I had terrible pain in my knees for a few weeks because my gait changed (but a round of acupuncture helped with that). I miss being able to ride my bike(s). I miss being able to move freely. I miss being able to get up a flight of stairs without being out of breath. I miss my fitness, I miss having a body of my own because right now I’m not an “I”, I’m a “we”. There’s two of us in here and she’s pretty much in charge.

I feel like I’ve lost a lot of autonomy. My whole world at the moment is about her, trying to make sure she’s healthy and growing. So, of course, I wonder who I am. Am I me any more? Who will I be once she’s out in the world? I know I won’t be the same as I was but I don’t know who I’ll become either. It’s like being in stasis. I’m waiting to see what happens next.

Well, hello there!

20 week scan has been and gone. According to the doctor who did the scan, she’s perfect. Which I’m assuming means not too big and not too small, growth-wise with an excellent blood flow through her heart. Her brain has two spheres and was all there 😛

She was pretty active during the scan too which is always nice to see. Except for when we tried to get a profile shot and she kept showing us her spine (which was kinda freaky).


This was the best profile we got. My little fidgeter 🙂

So much for me being all zen about my accident

Time to admit it.

I am really angry about it. As in really, really fucking angry.

Sigh.

I guess it all came to head for me when we went up to Bright for our annual cycling-eating-drinking extended long weekend with a big group of friends and I had to sit by and watch everyone else having a grand old time conquering mountains and spending serious time on the bike.

Me? I barely managed a 40km ride. I had to be pushed up a small rise that was maybe 250m long because I couldn’t get up it on my own. (Don’t get me wrong – I am eternally grateful for that push because otherwise I would’ve had to have gotten off and walked.) Yes, it was awesome being on my bike again but the next day I regretted it. My arm was so painful and it took a few days for me to recover. I don’t believe it set back my overall recovery but it was just so frustrating. I really felt like I should’ve been doing so much more and I couldn’t. All because some stupid woman ran a red light and hit me.

Okay, yes I’m pregnant so there’s no way I was going to be riding up even the smallest mountain. I knew that, accepted it but I had been looking forward to doing what I was capable of – which would’ve been a lot of flat(ish) rides. I should’ve been able to do so much more than a pissy 40km.

I know I should be grateful. My injury really isn’t that serious. When you think about what could’ve happened, I really did get off lightly. I could’ve fracture my pelvis, suffered a serious head injury, internal bleeding or I could’ve miscarried but all I did was break my arm. I should be grateful but I’m not. I feel like I’ve lost so much.

Those weeks should’ve been about me whinging about morning sickness and getting some sympathy for that. I should’ve excited about being pregnant. It should’ve been about me doing what I needed to do to stay fit and still riding my bike. But no, I spent weeks lying in bed because I couldn’t do anything else. I’d wake up in pain and go to sleep in pain. It took weeks for it to get to a tolerable level so I could try to get my life back on track.

I wanted to do what I could to stay fit in the hope that it’d help me have a reasonable birth experience and a faster recovery. I know the shortness of breath I experience these days is because my diaphragm is being squashed but that doesn’t mean I have to like it! I can’t help but think if my accident hadn’t happened, stuff like this would be a bit easier

I was initially quite zen about the whole thing but I realise now that I am really angry about it. I’m angry about being in pain so much of time. I’m irritated about the fact that when I wake up in the morning I have to be careful about how I stretch because if I do it wrong, it’s a whole world of pain. I’m angry that my rehab will take so long and that even when it’s done and I’ve “recovered”, I still won’t have full functionality. My arm is never going to be 100% ever again.

I’m just generally pissed about the whole thing.

It really feels like the last three months have been so chaotic. Nothing has been normal. My calendar is full of medical appointments and little else (okay, the baby-related appointments are pretty exciting and make for a nice change). While I am making progress – I’ve gone from being able to not lift my arm at all to to about 130 degrees in front of me – it feels like it’s taking forever and it’s hard to not get frustrated by how slow progress is. I can’t really reach backwards at all and I’m still restricted in how high I can lift my arm to the side. It’s a slow, painful process.

As petulant as this will sound, I always end up thinking that this shouldn’t have happened to me and that is just so unfair (see, petulant – next I’ll be stamping my foot). I guess the problem is that before I didn’t really have time to be angry. I was so focused on dealing with the pain I didn’t have room in my head for anything else. Now I do have time and I’ve pretty much lost my zen attitude. I want for it to be done. I’m so over it and that makes me angry.

And life goes on

It’s kinda amazing when you think about it.

I’ve been through what most people would consider a traumatic event – both physically and mentally. But life just goes on. It doesn’t stop because you’re in pain or feeling like absolute shit. It just continues rolling on and the only thing you can do is roll with it.

I finally had an appointment with my naturopath yesterday (yes, I have a naturopath – feel free to roll your eyes) and she said something I found quite interesting. She commented that found my answers to her questions about the accident and how I was feeling “quite measured”. I think she was expecting me to be angry or stressed out of my brain. But really, what’s the point in being either of those things when that’s just a huge waste of energy?

Okay, I’m still a wee bit ticked off about the whole situation. I’m in pain every day and that’s not conducive to a positive, chipper frame of mind. But all I can do is deal with it. I can’t change what happened, I can’t make it be different regardless of how much I wish I could. I got the only justice I knew I would because the woman who hit me didn’t get away scott-free. There were ramifications for her actions. She was fined – heavily so – and from what the police officer was suggesting, she’s lost her driver’s license. That’s about as much justice as I could’ve realistically hoped for.

Initially it was incredibly stressful and hugely upsetting. I was petrified the whole time that something was wrong with the baby. Not a lot of people knew I was pregnant at that point so it’s hard to deal with it when you’ve got people asking how you are and all you want to blurt out is I’m so scared that my baby is dead. Because that’s what I thought. For an entire week.

This particular aspect of my situation wasn’t handled particularly well by the hospital. What would’ve made me (and Richard) feel a million times better would’ve been an ultrasound. Or someone coming to see me who could find the heartbeat. But I didn’t get any of that. Their attitude was that I didn’t have any abdominal pain, there wasn’t any bleeding so I (and the baby) were okay. An obstetrician came to talk to me and tried to be reassuring and tell me that they were sure everything was fine but it wasn’t enough. We finally found out the following week at our 10 week obstetrician appointment where I had my first ultrasound – a quickie done in my obstetrician’s room. There’s no words to describe how it felt to see my little passenger wiggling around and hearing the heartbeat.

Knowing that didn’t take away the amount of pain in my arm. It didn’t change my immediate situation. But it lifted an enormous weight from me and it got rid the mad panic in my brain.

So right now, my choices are either:
1. dwell on what happened and how unfair it was
or
2. focus on the here-and-now.

After all, I’m still pregnant. In about five months time there will be a little person who will need me. I can’t allow myself to dwell on the bad shit in my life – of which, I will admit, there is plenty right now – because it’s not good for her. Me being all petulant and grumpy won’t help me grow a healthy human being. My focus must be on getting my arm back to as normal – or as normal as it can be – so in the not-too-distant-future I can do stuff like pick up my baby.

At the moment, it feels like I only have a finite amount of energy each day so isn’t it better to put it towards recovery? All that anger and frustration just becomes a burden so why not put it aside? I didn’t die and I’m not seriously injured when you really think about. It could’ve been a million times worse but it wasn’t. My baby survived. She survived me being hit by car. She’s still in there, wiggling about, growing, developing. She’s alive and that should be reason enough to focus on what’s good in life.

I’ll just leave this here shall I?

I’m sure some people were probably wondering why I’ve lay-byed a girly step-thru at Velo Cycles. But there was most definitely a reason and this is it…

Just in case you don’t get it, this is me saying I’m up the duff. Or for my non-Australian friends – I’m pregnant. Richard and I are going to become parents on 19th April 2015 if everything goes according to schedule – which never happens with babies. So my parents might get to do something nice on their 45th wedding anniversary that’s not sixth grandchild related after all…

We’re pretty excited.

Big thanks to my good friend Kelly Tindall for doing such a cute announcement drawing for me. You should read his online comics: Strangebeard and The Adventurers. I especially like The Adventurers.