Day 110

Dear Elliot,

We went quadbiking today. You and I and your father on one bike and your sister (with our hosts) on the other. Your sister had a grin on her face a mile wide, she had so much fun. I thought it was a great laugh. You went to sleep.

You were strapped to my chest in a hug-a-bub, with a layer covering your head to stop you bobbing it about or getting a concussion by banging it against my chest. I was then sitting astride the quadbike with your father’s arms around me as he drove. We weren’t going particularly fast but we did go down a very steep hill.

If my grandmother had been there, I do believe she would have suffered a fit of apoplexy. She would have been convinced that you were going to die. Like it was a foregone conclusion as soon as I got on the bike. I once would have thought that this was a generational thing. This intense fear of Things That Can Harm You or Things That Are NOT Safe. However, our hosts were actually of the same generation and they didn’t bat an eye. They were on the other bike! I think it’s a city thing. As in people in the country are a lot more laid back than city folk.

Your father has certainly loosened up the reigns since moving here. When your sister was starting to climb things, your dad didn’t always stop her but he certainly metamorphosed into a helicopter parent. Our new front yard has ladders all over it that lead into huge sycamore trees though. His philosophy now is, if Genevieve breaks her arm, she’ll learn to be more careful next time.

I should perhaps clarify that this is an oversimplification and we are not quite that blasé about it. She is still not supposed to climb them when she is alone in the garden or out of adult sight. We are not strapping her into a climbing harness every time she gets near a tree or standing underneath her with a mattress either though. You are going to have a field day when you are big enough to join in.

So I had a great time seeing the property and getting some fresh air. You had a nice snooze and it seems still a fair bit of air rushing up your nose despite being hidden in the wrap because you snot all over my top. I had a nice wet patch once I unwrapped you. Charming, my boy. Simply charming.

Much love,
Mama

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Day 5

Dear Elliot,

There is something a little surreal about bringing you home before the date that we had planned to go into hospital to have your delivery induced. When we last spoke to the OB, we opted for an induction on the Tuesday which would require me to go into hospital on Monday night and get the gel (just in case that would let me establish labour more naturally on my own). You apparently had other ideas.

Instead what happened was that I started getting tightenings in my lower abdomen at 11:30pm on the Wednesday before. It was kind of like cramps and they would be there for 10-20 seconds then would go again…about every 20 minutes or so. It wasn’t a feeling I was familiar with (or that I could remember) so I left it for a while. They didn’t stop though. Your dad eventually told me to call the hospital just to make sure we didn’t need to do anything.

When I spoke to a midwife sometime after 1am, she said I probably was in pre-labour. She said perhaps leave it an hour and a half or so and if my waters break or the contractions get closer together / more intense then give her a call and I could come into the hospital. Normally this is not something they would suggest but given the fact that we are at least an hour from the hospital, they give you a bit more leeway to play it safe. Which in hindsight was them more thinking they were calming an anxious mother as I probably would have left it but for your father making me question myself.

Anyway, at about 3:30am we decided to head to the hospital which was a process of your dad getting showered, calling Gigi and Grumps to let them know we’d be dropping off your sister and the dog, getting Genevieve’s things together, loading the car and finally getting on the road. We probably should have all stayed there now that I think about it but your dad and I ended up getting to the hospital sometime after 5am.

They put us in a room and secured tracing monitors around my belly. Then we waited. They called the OB at 7am to let her know I was there and then we waited for her to show up. I could hear the nurses in the hall doing the handover and explaining that there was definitely something happening but I was not in established labour. They let me come in early though because I was “worried”. Oh well, I’ve caused a nuisance with you before so why stop now? When the OB came to see me, she said I was about 3cm dilated but she could stretch me to 4cm. You were still not engaged though so she suggested getting me up and walking about to see if you would drop. Then she put a cannula in my wrist. In my dominant hand. Ouch.

We waited for a bit longer so we knew what the logistics of the plan would be but then the OB came back and said new plan – we’re putting you in a delivery suite and breaking your waters now to see if that will kick start you. So that’s what we did. And it was uncomfortable. That was about the only part of the whole process that was familiar. Apparently I had a lot of fluid though so that did at least get you to move down a little. What followed was getting an IV dose of fluids, some antibiotics to counter the fact that I was GBS positive and more tracing monitors. And more waiting. The contractions got a little stronger and a little closer together but it wasn’t like the first time.

It wasn’t a tensing of the muscles that would reach up the sides of my belly. There was no sense that my body was trying to push you down. It was more like it was just trying to squeeze your head. Like a fist clenching in my pelvis that would occasionally twist at the end just for fun. Some contractions were stronger than others and some were more frequent but none formed a real pattern and were regular. So we waited. We were told that the OB had already written up Sintocinon to move the induction along but there were currently two women labouring in delivery and only one midwife (the other was attending a Caesar). They can’t have more than one woman on Sinto per midwife at a time given the results of the drug can differ greatly from woman to woman so we had to wait. Meanwhile, I decided to get an epidural because I was not having fun and wasn’t sure how long I could put up with not having fun. I wasn’t the only woman that wanted one though so when the anaesthetist arrived, they suggested the other lady be accommodated first. According to the midwife, my face was prettier than hers. In other words, I was not labouring anywhere near as hard – she was already on the gas. So once again, we waited.

Going in, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have an epidural or not. I did my first labour without one and I think I was kind of hoping that I could do that again. The first time around, everything started in the hospital. I was calm and I felt as in control as possible of a situation that is really totally beyond your control at all. I was in the zone. The ramp up of contractions was incremental, regular and manageable. I could watch the monitors to see a contraction coming on before I could feel it and use the numbers to gauge how strong the contraction actually was. There was a sense of accomplishment when I knew I had gotten through a big one. It didn’t quite work out that way this time. The pain and discomfort was all centralised at the bottom of my belly, somewhat random in terms of timing and generally making me feel crap. Unfortunately that didn’t change much.

The epidural itself was not painful. I felt the sting of the local and I felt a strong twinge the first time the anaesthetist tried to put the needle in my back. The one that she left in my back though, I didn’t feel at all. What I did feel was a slight tingling in my right leg which graduated to a limb long lethargy. I definitely wasn’t feeling a cessation of sensation from the waist down. I have heard so many stories of women getting an epidural and then feeling nothing. Nothing but relief that allows them to go to sleep. I bloody well felt a lot. And since the ongoing epidural was self-administered, I was watching for that little light to go on so I could get the next hit. I was asking if the epidural was done properly. I was trying to roll over slightly on my side to see if there was pressure somewhere that was cutting it off. I was still very much not happy. I was also bed-bound and in severe discomfort from the elastic straps round the tracing monitors, specifically the one monitoring me which wasn’t working properly anyway as it wasn’t reading the full strength of the contractions.

This state of affairs continued on through the administering of the Sintocinon which was started at 6mg then progressed through 12mg and finally 24mg. The contractions eventually became intense although the sensation never moved from the underside of my belly. You however moved over to one side of my belly to make it look rather misshapen. As the afternoon progressed, I started to feel more pressure in my lower back but I wasn’t sure if I needed to push or not. The third change of midwives since I had arrived at the hospital was trying to be guided by me and asked me if I felt like I wanted to push which didn’t help a whole lot because I didn’t really know. I mean the pushing happens at the end so once you start to push, you’re at the last bit. Of course I wanted that. On the other hand, the pushing bit is really hard work so I didn’t really want to waste the energy doing that if I wasn’t ready. I wanted someone to say yes, you are fully dilated and you should push. My brain wasn’t really working at this point though.

Start pushing I did though eventually. Somewhere along the way, the midwife checked me out. They also called the OB to tell her I was in transition. Then after I had started pushing, they asked if I could actually breathe through the contractions again for a bit to allow her more time to get there. Which might seem a bit like cruel and unusual punishment but I think the best part of the whole labour for me was having her there whilst I pushed. The OB for your sister turned up when she was crowning and after two hours of pushing, was basically there to catch her and stich me up. I had a great midwife then though so I was ok with that. This time around, my OB was with me for most of transition which was thankfully only an hour this time. She was the encouraging voice that I needed and the take-charge presence.

Jyoti

So I pushed. And it was really hard work. I’m pretty sure I burst some tiny blood vessels in my face cause it was all blotchy the next day. I had a second degree tear again which was to be expected and I fortunately didn’t need the episiotomy that I saw the OB prep for just in case. Your dad stayed upright though which was a bonus. He apparently prepared himself and the OB was waiting for it so he didn’t get to see as much blood as last time. The not ok feeling never really went away throughout the whole of labour though so I was still frazzled and stressed and anxious and feeling like it would be awesome if I could just give up. I knew I could do it. It wasn’t unbearable but it was horrible. It was also probably a good thing that I didn’t know you were born posterior till after you were out. I got myself to the point that they said stop pushing now which confused me because I couldn’t figure out why they would want me to stop pushing in the middle of labour and then there you were. There was a sloshing sound and you were out. At 6:15pm.

Jyoti-2

After that, it was a process of sewing me up, cleaning up and letting you calm down before they took you for measurements. Like your sister, you grizzled a fair bit when you were on my chest but after a while, they determined that you were calm enough that you didn’t need to go to the nursery to be checked out. You could be wrapped up and given to your dad so I could have a shower.

This was the other part of the whole experience that I hated because I think my body went into shock. I had had a fever whilst in labour which was still present afterwards. I didn’t notice given everything else that had just happened to my body. I started to feel fuzzy in the head though. I wasn’t dizzy but rather detached. Like my attention and care factor were half asleep. I couldn’t really concentrate. And every time I had to move, I got terrible shakes. By the time I was sitting in the shower, I was shaking uncontrollably. I could hardly talk and I was freezing. I managed to get clean and dressed with assistance and then I moved to a wheelchair and got the shakes again. We moved to the ward and I got into bed and I got the shakes again. At one point, someone suggested that I take a cold bath to get my fever down and I was ready to beg in order to avoid that fate if I had to. They let me be though and the next twelve hours were a bit of a haze of sleep, drugs, shakes and getting the catheter out.

Your dad stayed with me because I really wasn’t sure if I could cope had you woken up and demanded attention. You were great though and passed out yourself for about seven hours. In fact you slept most of the first day too. One of the midwives told me I should be waking you up at least every four hours to feed and I think I bothered to try once (you were completely uninterested) and then I just went with my gut. The labour might have been spectacularly craptastic this time around but on the flipside, I have been so much more relaxed on the other side.

I made sure that I ate all my meals this time around. If something arrived just as you started crying, I’d let you cry so I could eat. If you wanted to sleep for hours, I’d let you sleep. I wasn’t stressed about my milk coming in as you were sucking and regularly enough. My feet got all puffy and swollen and I had this Quasimodo eye thing happening on day 2 but I was ok. The day four blues hit at about day 2 ½ but even those were more of a half day thing and didn’t leave me as wrecked as I was last time. You would start your witching hour at around 10pm and had a bout of clusterfeeding one night before we left the hospital but again, I knew this too shall pass and I was fine. Ok, I was tired and frustrated as well but mostly I was fine.

So now we find ourselves bringing you home at a time before I had booked into the hospital to have your birth induced. We didn’t quite make it to February for you to be born but since you were 4.08kgs when you came out, that is altogether not a bad thing. Several people have also made the comment that you were well and truly cooked anyway because you came out with much of your skin already peeling which is apparently more indicative of post term babies than those born before 40 weeks.

You are wonderful little man. Welcome home.

ElliotHospital

Much love,
Mama

Week 117

February1

Dear Genevieve,

You have a new dance move that you have started trying out at every opportunity. It’s this cute little bum wiggle that is a complete crack up. You isolate your hips from your torso and swish them from side to side as you look up at us with a cheeky grin and it’s really funny. You do it when you hear music you like, when you find a stage to showcase your talents and whenever you happen to be filling in time. Like when you are waiting for a babyccino. And you LOVE your babyccinos.

February-3

Before your father and I had you, we saw babyccinos as one of the biggest ripoffs on the planet. A marketing tool for cafes and a way to make money out of the leftover froth from their cappuccinos and lattes. Now we think they are just short of brilliant. Your dad really enjoys going out for coffee and it’s a way for you to be Just Like Him. You have become quite the connoisseur of babyccinos around Sydney too. You and your father have been all over the place along your travels. You know where the ones with the chocolate milk, the baby marshmallows, the big marshmallows and the extra marshmallows are. You know where you can get the best froth, the syrup and the sprinkles. You have also sussed out which cafes have the best playgrounds as well which may contribute to your longing for the beverage.

You will ask to have a babyccino quite regularly and you have become very adept at getting your way. Whenever your father asks what you would like to do together, nine times out of ten you tilt your head to the side, grin and say babyccino? If the answer is no, you work your way down the list – daddy coffee? Because naturally what follows from that is the baby version. And when your father decides a trip to a cafe is not on the cards you might suggest “the shops”, you know, for that all important ingredient, milk, which just so happens to be what you need to make ababyccino at home! You’re a pretty smart kid. That thought process was enough to get you what you wanted on at least one occasion.

February-4

So yeah, you love getting your own way. Who doesn’t? We are trying to curb the most obnoxious aspects of your desires though. Like the fact that, in your words, whatever it is that you want ismine. My phone, my shirt, my puter, my everything. As your mother, I have apparently ceased to have any of my own belongings. And it’s not a reference thing, like my house as opposed to your house, it’s a possessive thing. Like my car…but I will let you parentals drive it. Now there are things that actually are yours but your possessive streak often dictates that we are not allowed to touch whatever it is because you must have it in your literal possession and control. Which would be really inconvenient if we weren’t bigger and stronger than you are. I’m not ashamed to say it.

So what else this month? Well you have started to refer to yourself as Genevieve and not just Genni. Oddly enough as I have started to use Genni more often. You know it’s not your full name though. And you like talking. You also like putting things together in your head to communicate. We were joking around in the car the other day and I started telling you that Daddy was being so silly. I had repeated this a couple of times when you finally piped up “no, sensible!”. Which surprised the hell out of me because 1, I didn’t know that you actually knew the word sensibleand 2, it was perfectly in context (even if not precisely accurate). And that wasn’t your only pearler in the car either.

February

At another point when your Dad was yet again joking around and being silly, you decided that you’d had enough. We encourage you to say no thank you or no please when you want us to stop something so you said “no please Daddy, no please Daddy” and when he didn’t immediately cease, you figured he either didn’t hear you or wasn’t taking enough notice so you said almost to yourself “say it louder…” then “NO PLEASE DADDY!”. I thought it was hilarious. Just like when we talk about something and then I ask you a question in reference to the subject – maybe it’s time for afternoon tea, what should we have? We have some yoghurt in the fridge, would you like some yoghurt? – to which you will sometimes reply with a very surprised sounding “oh yeah!”, like you totally didn’t know that such a thing was possible a minute ago and you never would have remembered on your own.

Overall though, one of your father’s favourite things this month is that you will both recognise and request that Michael Jackson is played in the car. Which may or may not precipitate in dancing. There has been a lot of dancing this month. And when you are out of the car, this totally goes with the bum wiggling. My two favourite memories of you this month though were ones that top and tailed February for us. At the very beginning of the month, we took you to putt putt for the first time. You got your mini golf club and your hot pink golf ball and before your dad could instruct you on the proper technique to master your game, you gave the ball a bit of a whack and off the ball went. And you got a hole in one! Your father thought he’d be generous and give you another go at the first hole though because he wasn’t prepared the first time around and you’d made a bit of an uncoordinated hit. So you put the ball down again, gave it another whack before he could start to instruct you and got a hold in one again! It was totally cool.

February-2

Finally, at the end of the month when I was really upset and your father told you that I was very sad you showed what a caring daughter you are. He asked if you wanted to make me feel better and when you agreed completely, he asked you what you thought might make me feel better. And bless your cotton socks, you said in all seriousness “an ice pack”. Because that’s what we give you when you have a big ouch and you are very sad.

I love you big time my baby girl.

Alles Liebe,

Lexelah

Work For A Living

Sculpture (1 of 1)Dear Job Applicant,

I got my first job when I was 16 years old and on the day that I started, my boss said something to me that I have never forgotten:

I am not here for your convenience, you are here for mine.

So ok, not the most inspiring of induction speeches. However, she did make a very valid point. And now, years later, I am absolutely dumbfounded at your collective behaviour. And at your assumptions. Really, I am. Because collectively, you are quite stupid.

Did you all have Lawnmower Parents that ploughed down everything in your path so that everything has come easy to you? Did they tell you that you were brilliant just as you are? Because I am sorry but that is a load of crap. You should be loved unconditionally, just as you are but this does not make you brilliant. It does not make you God’s gift to my firm and you are not above following some basic instructions. Do you even want the job?!?

When I put that job ad on Seek last week, the ad that (along with the general preamble about the job) asked for applications including a resume and cover letter to be sent to the office address, I used plain English. I wrote the address (inclusive of my name and job title for addressing purposes) in the format that you would write it on an envelope. By the nature of it appearing on a website, everything was typed so there could be no possible confusion from deciphering handwriting. I didn’t think it was a particularly complicated instruction…It turns out that it was akin to asking for the 12 labours of Hercules.

In the space of a week, I have had 21 applications delivered to the office. I have had 105 applications uploaded through Seek. Can’t you people read? You certainly can’t follow instructions. And then you ring me up to make sure that I have received your application (and you inevitably are one of the 105 idiots). Did it occur to you that I wanted to test if you actually took the time to read, understand and respond appropriately to the job ad? No, I guess not. You don’t think it could actually be considered to be a character strength if you are seen to pay attention and not go off half-cocked at a moment’s notice? No, why would you?

And then, within the 105 idiots, there are those of you that assume I was joking when I said that I wanted a cover letter addressing the criteria set out in the ad. My fingers just got a little happy as I was typing and put some extra words in there that I didn’t actually mean. It was an empty request apparently because one of those letters could never fulfil any real purpose. I mean your resume in and of itself should be sufficient, right? That alone should bowl me over with your brilliance…When I expressed that exceptional communication skills were mandatory for the job, why on earth would I want any visible evidence that you could in fact string a grammatically correct sentence together?

So if you’re not really interested in the job, if you think the cost of some paper, an envelope and a stamp is just too extravagant or if you think you are above responding to a potential employer in the manner requested, bully for you. But if you would honestly like to be considered for a new position in a great company, please don’t waste my time.

Yours sincerely,

The Person In Charge Of Putting Your Resume Forward

* Photo taken at Floriade this year