Two words

Chronic pain.

Not happy words. But that’s where I am right now with my shoulder. I’ve been to the surgeon and there’s nothing structurally wrong with my shoulder – it’s actually healed really well. I have a little bursitis but that’s about it.

I know that I was told repeatedly at the hospital that my arm would never be the same once it healed but I didn’t expect it to be like this either. I thought it might ache a bit in the cold and be weak initially but with some work it’d return to fairly close approximation of how it was before the accident. That’s so not what has happened. Nearly two years later and it still hurts. We’re not talking eight or nine on the pain scale, or even a five. We’re talking a one or two but it’s my constant companion. I have times where it doesn’t hurt at all which is nice but they are few and far between.

I guess I wasn’t helped by the fact that the accident happened at the worst possible time. Pregnancy and broken limbs definitely don’t go together. Especially broken limbs that need rehab to recover. I did do mild rehab while I was pregnant but in the end it was too much. I felt so physically overloaded by the end of my pregnancy that the idea of doing anything for arm felt like it was just too much. Guess I’m kinda paying for it now.

I think I’ve worked pretty hard with my physical therapy and I guess it’s worked because I have pretty good mobility. However, mobility doesn’t mean pain-free. I don’t want to be in pain for the rest of my life. (If my grandma is anything to go by, I’m going to be around for a while yet – she’s 98!!)

So now we’re into where to go from here? How do I learn to manage my pain?

I know chronic pain is caused by the brain’s plasticity. Provoke it into a pain response for long enough and your brain rewires itself into that being the default. Any movement, any position that your brain decides is wrong leads to a strong pain response. What fun! The pain can come on at totally random times and it can tip up into the high end of the scale. If you’ve ever noticed me with my eyes shut taking a few deep breaths, it because my shoulder is giving me a hard time at that moment.

I’m about to find out if I can rewire my brain back to how it was before. I figure that if it can wire itself into this position, it must be possible to undo it. The trick will be working out how. I’m starting with acupuncture and have an appointment with my GP in a week to see if there’s something I can take to suppress the pain in the short-term. The logic behind medication is to simply give my brain a break in the hope it’ll get the picture to quit it with pain messages. Also thinking some therapy wouldn’t go astray. Talking to someone about how to manage my pain is probably a good idea.

It’s been so long since the accident. I was undoubtedly naive in the thought that it would simply get better and go back to how is was but I didn’t expect it would be like this either.

65 weeks

Look at my little cutie patootie 🙂 So grown up now. Juno is 15 months old today.

I guess the biggest thing that’s happened in the last three months is that we’ve finished breastfeeding. I’m still not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand I’m kinda relieved because it means she’s not as dependent on me. On the other hand, I’m sad because it’s the end of something that was shared by just us. I’m still surprised that we made it to 14 months after the bad start we had. I would’ve never predicted all those months ago that we’d last as long as we did. But now Juno doesn’t need me like that any more and I guess that’s a little sad.

If nothing else, being a parent is a lesson in firsts and lasts.

She’s still not walking independently but she’s a champion at cruising the furniture. We still have the box from her stroller because she loves pushing it around – both on her feet and kneeling – even though I bought her a little toddle truck from Ikea. (She uses that too so it wasn’t a total waste of money.)

The way Juno plays has changed too. She explores her toys and is learning what she can do with them. She loves her Duplo spaceship and is slowly working out how the pieces fit together and that she can make things. It’s super cute when she decides to put all the pieces back in their box but I think that’s because she loves tipping them all out once she’s done. But she does seem to like helping with the putting away of things – something we’ll most definitely be encouraging her to keep doing.

No words yet either but she talks all the time. It’s just that we can’t understand what she’s saying. I’m sure she’ll talk when she’s good and ready to. She seems to makes big jumps in development rather then a more gradual approach. It’ll be whatever it’ll be and there’s not much we can do about it except keep talking to her and encouraging her.


366 days

Happy 1st birthday my little bubba boo.

I still find it strange that there’s a piece of my heart that’s not inside me. Love you my darling Juno.

Muuuuuuummmmmmm!!! Stooooooop it!!!

48 weeks

In other words, Juno is now 11 months old. It’s kinda mind-blowing to think it’s been nearly a year since she was born.

Juno’s current favourite activity is hanging out at the sliding door to our balcony. Sometimes she just sits there, other times she gets up on her feet with her hands on the door base (which is about 15cm off the floor). But her favourite thing is plucking balls out of her ball pit, dropping them out the door and watching where they go. It’s very cute when she does it. She’s very precise when she picks up the ball but she doesn’t always manage to hang on to them so the balls are ending up everywhere.

She’s also very into her stackable toy. Juno is actually playing with it right now, taking a cup out and then putting it back. It’s quite amazing to watch her when she plays. Everything is interesting and she can be utterly fascinated by something an adult would find quite boring.

Childcare is going well which is a huge relief. The carers in her room are lovely and they all seem to really like Juno (who I think is considered a pretty laidback baby by them). I’m really happy with the centre. It’d definitely not the most modern one I’ve seen but the kids are so well looked after and that’s what really matters. Plus Juno really likes there 🙂

We’re done!! I’m off.

Road to recovery

It feels like it’s been an eternity since my accident but sometimes it feels like hardly any time has passed at all. Life has been a bit busy I guess…

I’m not where I thought I would be. I think I had some idea that my shoulder would just get better and everything would go back to how it was before. I don’t know why I thought this when all the medical people I saw told me it’d never be 100% again. Still, the problem isn’t with my arm per say, it’s with my shoulder. Technically my shoulder wasn’t actually injured but it’s what has been completely and utterly screwed up.

I have reasonable mobility – no frozen shoulder for me – but it’s not great. When most people lift their arm above their head, their shoulder will stay down and stable. Mine doesn’t do this. When I lift my arm above my head (ignoring the fact that I can’t lift it the whole way), my shoulder rolls forwards and up. When I’m standing, you can see that I hold my shoulder more awkwardly than the other. It rolls forward but I can’t stop myself from doing it.

I’ve been doing clinical pilates twice a week since about June last year. It has helped. I am getting stronger but I know my arm is still so weak in comparison to what it used to be like. It’s so frustrating and so sloooooooooow. My shoulder can make some pretty terrible noises too. I often hear it grinding away and other times it makes a pretty horrible crunching sound. My physio has assured me that the crunchy noises are fixable as it’s just the joint playing up but it can still be pretty alarming.

The real concern is that I still have pain where the break is/was. It’s not constant but according to my physio I shouldn’t be experiencing any pain at all in that area. It could mean that I have bone spurs or calcification. So it looks like I need to see an oesteo surgeon. I, at least, need a scan to see if there’s anything going on with the break. The idea of tiny bits of bone floating around in my arm is more than a little disconcerting.

I guess I shouldn’t be complaining too much. At least my arm works. I can pick Juno up and carrying her around. It is hard though. She gets heavy for me pretty quickly and I have to either sit down or put her down. I wanted to use our carrier a lot but I can’t because it puts too much pressure on my shoulder. But soon we should be able to start putting Juno in it using the back carry (Juno back pack!!) so hopefully that’ll be easier for me.

I guess all I can do is keep moving forward. I feel I’m doing all I can to recover. It’ll take however long it’ll take.

Ten months old

My little bubba boo is ten months old. Which means she won’t be my little bubba boo for that much longer. Well, that’s not true because she’ll always be my little bubba boo, even when she’s 35 (and will be mortified to think I ever called her bubba boo).

Juno has been a busy little bee in the last couple of weeks. She’s mastered crawling, kneeling and appears to be trying to stand. The cot has been dropped so now we don’t have to worry about her working out how to pull herself up into standing and then falling out.

Her latest thing is to get herself in the downward dog pose – hands flat on the floor, up on her feet with her butt sticking up in the air. It’s hilarious to see but less so when she does a face-plant and starts crying. Then it’s time for cuddles.

She’s also licking everything. The floor, the walls, the sliding door… Which is why we don’t bother sterilizing anything any more. That time is well and truly past. The phrase don’t lick that!! is often heard and then followed by the mandatory accompanying sigh as she proceeds to lick whatever it is we’d prefer she didn’t. Because, as everyone knows, you can’t stop a baby from doing anything if they’re determined to do it.

But as always, she’s utterly charming. She’s just too adorable. It’s amazing to watch her discover the world. Sometimes she will sit at our living room sliding door and stare outside. When she does that I often wonder what she’s thinking. Then she’ll lick the door and I stop wondering. I didn’t know having a baby would be like this. It’s hard work, it’s infuriating, it’s monotonous but then there are these moments that beyond words. There is such joy. Like the moment she crawled for the first time. I was so worried we’d miss seeing that because she goes to childcare now. But nope, she saved it up and did it here.

Next week is my last official week of maternity leave. I’ve extended it for a bit longer by taking some annual leave so my return date is March 30. It feels so strange think that I have to go back to work. I can’t quite get my head around the fact that it’s been a year – a year!! – since I was at work. It feels like it’s been ages but it also feels like it’s gone by so fast. The past 51 weeks have been the most difficult and rewarding of my life. Life is so utterly different now. I’m not sure how much I’ve changed but I guess I have. I don’t think you could have a baby and not be different. If nothing else, Juno has taught me patience and once again reminded that it’s okay to let that which does not matter, slide. That’s something I had forgotten but now I try to not worry about the things that really aren’t important and to focus my energy to where it’s best spent – on my family.

That’s it, I’m outta here!!!

Nine months

Nine months in and now nine months out in the world.

My little newborn is long gone and a small, chatty person has appeared in her place. Juno is actually a bit of a handful these days. Still working on the crawling thing but today mastered sitting up unassisted. So now we have to drop the cot because if she’s worked that one out, standing up probably isn’t that far away. Not that her lack of crawling is stopping her from getting about. It’s not a normal day if she doesn’t trap herself under the dining table because she’s rolled under it and gotten caught in the chair legs. Then she shouts until someone gets her out. But five minutes later…

Speaking of that, Juno has been decidedly shouty the last couple of days so that’s back with a vengeance. And to be honest, I’m really over it. She can be loud – really loud – when she wants to be which becomes grating uber quickly.

And there’s even more teeth coming through! Another one of her front bottom teeth is already peeping through after all four of her top front teeth popped out only a few weeks ago. Its mate is probably not that far behind. I thought there was meant to be a bit more a gap but Juno is definitely cutting her teeth to her own schedule. However, it does explain the insane amount of drool.

She started childcare on January 13. And she already has a mild cold – mostly just a cough but you can hear that her breathing is a bit clogged up when she’s asleep. Sigh. But I live in hope that she’ll get all the illnesses out of the way early and that this is toughing up her immune system. I’m not going back to work until the end of March so we’re having a long transition to her attending three days a week. She’s going for a few hours at time on the days she goes and I’ve only left her there on her own twice so far. On the upside, she seems to really like it though. She gets very excited once we’re near the baby room. It’s the toys I think. After all, she’s too little to even think about interacting with the other babies.

There’s one baby who’s a few weeks older than Juno and she’s been attending the centre full time since she was three months old. Makes me sad that her mum (or dad for that matter) had such a short period at home with her. I appreciate not having to rush back to work and that I’ve been able to spend this time at home with Juno. It hasn’t always been a happy happy joy joy experience (funny how none of the “experts” ever mention how much early parenting is a groundhog day experience) but at least I’ve had the choice. So many parents don’t get that.

Juno not really looking like Juno. And no, I did not put make-up on her!

This is more like it.

I can hear her thinking God, mum!! No more!!! Enough already!

2015 in 40 questions

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
Had a baby.

2. Did you keep your new year resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Eh. Who needs them?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Me? I’m pretty close to me. 😛

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. Any overseas trips are most definitely a few years into the future.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
100% ownership of my own body. Some days I’m so touched out it’s ridiculous. I never knew that was a thing until I had a baby. It’s most definitely a thing.

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
26 April, 5:14pm. The moment I went from never having kids to having a daughter.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
On a very personal level… Riding up not one but two mountains! I didn’t think I’d be able to make it up the summit of Donna Buang but I did. A month later, I did it again; this time it was Fall’s Creek.

I had so many doubts about whether or not I’d be able to reach the summit of Donna. I was six months post-baby and it was definitely ambitious. But I did it. It was really hard but I did it. I didn’t feel the sense of accomplishment until later but I guess it shows that having a baby doesn’t have to mean never doing the things you want to do. And it doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you did pre-baby.

I had a friend give me some good advice on the day. He said If you picture yourself failing, you will. Picture yourself at the summit. I think that’s pretty good advice for life in general.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I dunno. If I hadn’t got myself some help with the breastfeeding I think that would’ve been. Sometimes I can’t believe we’re still going now when at the beginning I was struggling so much. It got down to a day-by-day decision as to whether or not to continue. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to stop, that I’d decided to give up and switch to formula. But I didn’t. We’re at eight months now and still going strong. Down to three feeds a day but Juno starts and ends her day being breastfed.

Uh… that didn’t answer the question at all did it? Okay… my biggest failure was not being able to stop myself buying so many cute things for Juno. I mean really, how many t-shirts, oneies, skirts, dresses and pants does she need?!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got a cold in late February. Once I got it, I couldn’t get rid of it. I had it for the last two and half months of my pregnancy. It sucked. Juno and I both got colds when she was about seven weeks old. I was miserable, she was her normal happy self. Breastfeeding became a bit of an issue though.

Then there’s the elephant in the room… I knew there was a really good chance I would get post-natal depression. And I did. Breastfeeding was toe-curlingly painful and I was really struggling with everything. It all came to a head one day when Juno was around four weeks old. I just couldn’t get out of bed. I would look at Juno and wish that she wasn’t there. I couldn’t care for her. I just lay there.

Later that day I called a specialist psychologist who I had a referral for and got myself some help. Being able to recognise what was happening to me probably saved me. It’s something that we don’t like to talk about because the perception of motherhood is all love, cuddles and joy. And that’s such a fallacy.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Bike trailer for Juno. Haven’t used it yet but I’m hanging out to do so. We also bought an absolutely amazing vintage Polish Art poster.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Hillary, my physiotherapist. She has been a huge, huge part of my post-baby recovery. She has helped me in so many ways and is kind, compassionate and has amazing hands.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The bastard who stole two of our bikes. My commuter got taken and Richard lost his single speed. Whoever it was came prepared with bolt-cutters to cut through the lock.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Juno. I have spent so much money on cute little outfits for her. Also once I got back into it, I’ve spent a lot of money on new cycling kit. More than I meant to. Oops.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I want to say Juno’s birth but by the time it came around I was so over being pregnant that I just wanted her out. And when it came to take her home I was still in shock over the birth and the abruptness of her arrival. It seems that I’m too tired these days to get really excited about anything.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Let me put it this way – the highs are high but the low are really freaken low.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner! But I am no longer growing a whole human being inside me.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Doubting myself as a parent. This parenting gig is freaken hard work without constantly doubting yourself. All I can do is my best and what I think is best for Juno.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With Richard’s family. Juno had more fun with the wrapping paper than she did with her presents but that’s to be expected.

21. What was your favorite month of 2015?
To be honest, it’s all been one big blur. No month in particular really stands out.

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Yes 🙂

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
Daredevil. It was so good. The casting was pretty much spot on (except for the actor who plays Foggy – just don’t buy him as the character). And surprisingly enough Supergirl. It’s nice to have a show that’s not all dark and depressing. Kara has her angsty moments but it’s nice to have something that’s about finding the light.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope. Hate is a pretty wasteful so why put any energy towards it?

26. What was the best book you read?
The Shepherd’s Crown. Terry Pratchett’s last ever novel. *sniff* The day I found out he’d died, I just cried and cried. But he certainly had one big surprise in store with this book. It’s such a great read and a very fitting end for the Discworld series. (Now to hope that it gets left alone and that a greedy publisher doesn’t try to cash in on it by getting someone else to write books.)

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Still listening to the same stuff I always have. But I haven’t really had the time this year.

28. What did you want and get?
A healthy baby. And thankfully that’s exactly what I got.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
I didn’t really make it to the cinema that much this year but like everyone else, my fav was definitely the new Star Wars movie. Sure it had flaws but it captured the spirit of the original films. Plus, kick-arse female protagonist!

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was meant to be taken out for lunch but I had a cold so that got cancelled. Still managed to have a nice day at home with Richard and Juno.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having a little more confidence in my parenting skills. And worrying a good deal less about what other people thought of said skills. Juno is my baby therefore I know her best and I know what’s right for her.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Who knows?! I don’t have one. I’m a first-time mum. I’m allowed to not have one.

34. What kept you sane?
So, towards the end of the July I had a truly shit day. I felt like I was the worst mum on the planet and I simply wasn’t coping. I decided I had to go for a ride the next day come hell or high water. The forecast wasn’t great – it was cold, windy and rain was expected. But I still went for a ride. I got on my bike and just went. I’d been riding for about 10 minutes when I started to cry. I’d forgotten how awesome being out on my bike was. Yes, I’d missed it intensely but I’d forgotten what it felt like. My relief and happiness was so intense, there was no other way to express it except cry.

You can tell when I haven’t been riding enough. My ability to cope plummets, everything becomes too hard. But get me out on the bike for a few hours and I’m so much better.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Thought it was pretty shit how the government announced they were cutting their meager paid parental scheme on mother’s day. Calling women double dippers was pretty low too. And they wonder why women don’t like them…

37. Who did you miss?
My friend Helen who moved with her family to New York.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Well, that’s pretty obvious. Miss J of course!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015
There is joy in everything if you chose to see it.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I can never think of anything for this. Also, baby brain!!

Eight months old…

How time marches on.

This time last year I was 23 weeks pregnant. These days I have a very active baby on my hands who is currently trying to work out how to crawl. She can get up onto all fours but then is at a loss as what to do next. She kinda scoots backwards and can actually get a fair way. But it’s not like she needs to crawl, she gets around just fine by rolling.

She also has six teeth now. Her top four front teeth all came through in the space of a few days. That was some fun times (not). But maybe now she’ll be more interested in feeding herself rather than getting all her food spoon-delivered. She seems to be getting the idea of chewing down pretty quickly.

She’s talking a lot too. We’re getting plenty of baby babbling, lots of da da da da, ba ba ba ba, na na na na, mmm mmm mmm mmm, wa wa wa wa noises. The shouting stopped as quickly as it started which was good but she still loves blowing raspberries.

Scarily enough, she starting child care next month. I’m not going back to work until the end of March so we’re doing a long transition and easing her into it rather than suddenly dropping her in there for eight hours a day, three days a week. I would’ve preferred a later start but this is the only way I could get her into the centre I wanted. Not sure how I feel about it to be honest. I’m kinda looking forward to having some time to myself before going back to work but I look at her and think she’s so little!! It’s too soon. She’ll probably be fine, I’ll be the one who’s a mess.

And we’re so done at this point. I’m such a mean mummy.

Keeping with my tradition (but with bonus Juno pic spam)

I know I always put this up but this year it seems to have extra meaning and I get a bit teary towards the end (gee, I wonder why). Much love to those I hold dear, both near and far.

And because it’s all about Juno…