30 July 2009

Dear God, I'm Sorry

"The thing is," I said to Hippomanic Jen as she sat in the passenger seat of my car, both of us unready to get out because we were so deep in conversation, "the thing IS ..."

She sat and waited, listening. She's good at that.

My voice dropped to a whisper. "The thing actually is - how am I not going to resent this baby?" Tears poured down my face.

"I mean, " I hurried on, "I know the placenta previa is not the baby's fault, and it's not my fault, and it's not my husband's fault, but ... it's just been so hard.

"I guess my main gripe is with God. Of course I know all the cliches: that He's in it with me and He is keeping us safe and He thinks I'm strong enough to get through this, blah blah, blah. But really?" My voice dropped to a whisper. "Really, if I'm honest, my main question is this. Wouldn't a deity worth his salt have been on duty the night the egg implanted down low? Where was He? On a coffee break? I've read Psalm 121 - 'He who watches over you will not slumber' yeah, I get it. But seriously. He's got his work cut out for Him with the risk to the baby and to me and with me going off the deep end all the time ... if He'd just fixed the Egg Implantation Problem first up, it would be a lot less work all round, especially for Him."

Hippomanic Jen thought, considered her words and took a breath. She started to say something very wise and comforting, but didn't get a chance as my tirade continued.

"I know, I know, He's not in the business of making life cushy for Himself, He's in the business of taking us through times when we can grow and change, yada yada yada. Well, I just don't feel up to it right now. I grew and changed through the bed bugs and the tests to diagnose the high blood pressure and the burglary and the move - oh the jolly move from there to here while pregnant for heaven's sake. Now I've grown and changed enough for a few years. I'm done with it."

Poor Jen sat and thought. I'd run out of complaints, so I allowed her to speak. She did indeed have some very deep and helpful things to say, and I let her. She is the absolute best person to have beside you in a crisis.

Over the next few weeks, I learned more about the peril that Joseph and I were in. I'd been thoroughly frightened by the upsoming caesarean, the probability of bleeding, and the possibility of complications including the slight possibilty that we would lose our capacity to choose whether to have another child or not.

It was stupid. It was childish. It was just about a little girl running blindly from something frightening that she had no control over, and giving herself every freedom to fall apart as much as she needed to. Many emails were sent back and forwards to friends like Jen at 'Buried With Children', who, interestingly, eagerly anticipated and embraced her two caesareans with such joy that I just had to talk about it with her. There were many other friends who sent emails and chatted with me at length.

I needed to do that. It meant that for the final week before Joseph was born, I ceased to be upset and anxious. I actually looked forward to his birth, I even started calling it 'birth', a step I was unwilling to take earlier.

The night before Joseph was born, Mr de Elba and I went out for dinner. Nat and Anna-Lucia were at Grandma's house. We were relaxed and excited. We were ready for this very different birth.

On the morning, we woke up with the alarm clock and kissed in the darkness. We got ready and drove to the hospital, amazed at how different this situation was to Anna-Lucia's birth two years ago. Although I'd bemoaned the necessity for a planned caesarean, claiming it gave too much time to get worried, the planned nature of the thing meant the morning was relaxed, and everyone took their time. Nobody was stressed: not us, not the doctors, not the nurses, not the hospital staff.

The birth was an amazing experience - not one I'd voluntarily go through again, but one that I'd never have experienced at all but for the praevia. At the end, the obstetrician said that there was another complication with the placenta - it was inserted a funny way - and I made a mental note to follow that up and learn more.

It wasn't until just before we left for home that I asked a midwife to find out from my file what this other complication was.

It was a velamentous insertion of the placenta. I did some ressearch while I was waiting for my family to come and pick us up. I only looked at medical sites - I gave the forums and non-professional sites a miss.

What I read shocked me. The blood vessels supplying Joseph all these long months were not in a good position and in addition, they were unprotected and in danger of rupturing. As I learned, "these unprotected vessels may rupture at any time during pregnancy, causing fetal exsanguination and death."

After reading that, I looked at Joseph's little body. So pink, so warm, so alive. And so deeply, wildly LOVED.

Tears pricked my eyes, so I took a box of tissues and went into the bathroom. I cried. I cried hard. I cried long. I cried for every single day he was growing inside me and the blood vessels to my precious son didn't rupture. I cried for every single moment that God was watching over him, protecting him and growing him, 'neither slumbering nor sleeping' on His job. I cried for every time I'd questioned God's wisdom in the care He gave over this pregnancy. I cried for all the women and babies and fathers and siblings whose lives are affected by similar obstetric problems, but who live in countries and conditions where such medical care cannot be given in order to save the lives of mothers like me and babies like Joseph. I cried and I cried and I cried.

I cried as I thought back to that day a few short weeks ago as I sat in the car with Hippomanic Jen, asking "How am I not going to resent this baby?"

And as I looked once again into Joseph's tiny, perfect face, I wondered how I was not going to spoil this baby rotten.

I still don't know why these problems should occur in the first place, but given that they do, I am overwhelmed by the knowledge that God was protecting us every step of the way, whether I was raging against Him and His judgment, or not.

Dear God, I'm Sorry.

Breastfeeding. It sucks a little bit.

Do you want to know what takes two hours?

• the baby wakes up
• change his nappy
• boil the kettle
• get the expressed milk out of the fridge and stand it in a mug of boiling water to heat up
• test the temperature - too cool - put it back in
• test the temperature - too warm - take the teat off, swirl it around and blow gently on it
• test the temperature - just right
• feed the milk to the baby and hope for no vomits - if so, change his clothes
• burp the baby
• wrap the baby and put him down to sleep
• listen to the baby cry his poor little self to sleep while you get on the breast pump
• express enough milk for the next feed while squinting myopically at some mother & baby magazine article on blissful breastfeeding
• label and store the expressed milk
• fill a sink with warm soapy water and wash up the expressing equipment and the bottles
• crank up the microwave steriliser and sterilise the above
• take everything out of the steriliser and sit it on paper towel to dry off
• go back to bed.

Do you want to know what else takes two hours?

• sleep until the baby wakes again.

Four years ago, I did all this with Nat FOR A FORTNIGHT. If he fed any more frequently than four-hourly, I was going to die of exhaustion. This time, I can't keep up with all that. And I don't have to, because the Elba Plague is ensuring my milk production is so low that I'm only expressing when I can, and feeding Joseph formula whenever I have to. No use flogging a dead horse (the dead horse being me.)

Why do all this instead of whacking a baby on the breast and letting nature take its course?

Because most (my) breasts (which heretofore have not been mentioned on my blog, suffice to say I do have them) do not work that way. Even a good attachment between baby and Milk Distribution Setup hurts like crazy, and causes untold damage. This is not because I can't tell a good latch from a bad latch (I could pretty much write a textbook on lactation by now,) it's because in general, women's nipples are forced to stretch to about 2.5 times their normal length when a baby sucks on them.

Call me crazy, but I would suspect that if you took any part of the anatomy that was composed entirely of soft tissue (on the female body or the male body) and stretched it to 2.5 times its original length, it would hurt. It might even tear a little bit, bleed, and form scabs.

What? What?

I was thinking of the earlobes. Feel free to imagine any part of your own soft tissue.

So yes, Joseph did know instinctively how to feed. This does not mean that it was all smooth sailing in the first week. In fact, it meant he was a little more rough with The Milk Distribution Setup than he would have been if he'd had no clue what to do with it.

So by Saturday morning, things were pretty damaged.

* * *
Now some of my readers will find the following information distressing. Those who identify as "male" might want to skip the next bit, as might those who identify as "female." Not wanting to get too graphic, but just to say that the heparin-induced clotting problems made healing of these abrasions tricky. A pea-sized clot that had formed internally for healing purposes was, if you can believe this, sucked out so it became, as it were, external, along with copious amounts of thin blood on my hands and Joseph's shirt. That was the freakiest breastfeeding experience I have ever had in my entire life. Apparently the midwives were shocked and amazed when they heard of this at handover.
* * *

Add to this low milk production because of the virus, a caesarean scar that is more than just a little ouchy, helpless coughing fits, constant nose-blowing and an ongoing headache from sleeping on my neck weird, and things are more than a little tricky right now.

Mr de Elba is helping me with Nat and Anna-Lucia so much - he has been wonderful. The Grandmas are joining forces to provide childcare and housework that is much-needed at this point.

The families from Nat's kindy have banded together to provide meals for us for a little while, the first of which came tonight. A tray of honey-mustard chicken drumsticks. I whacked them in the oven and proceded to burn them all to a crisp.

I was getting frustrated with the dirty dishes on the sink so I filled the already-half-full dishwasher and was about to start the cycle when Mr de Elba informed me that the existing dishes in the dishwasher were, in fact, clean.

Breastfeeding turns me into a zombie.

I cannot WAIT until I am the Queen Of My Own Kitchen again. When that happens, the place will be a pigsty not because of Incapacity, but because of Laziness. And that feels like the way it should be.

Until then, you know where I'll be. Putting Baby and Milk Distribution Setup together, expressing, or sterilising bottles, expressing equipment and nipple shields. Maybe I'll even be asleep. But I can reassure you that wherever you find me, I won't be wearing a cocktail dress or high heels. More likely Granny Undies and trackpants.

I would like to add that reading http://icanhascheezburger.com/ after a c-section is not wise.

29 July 2009

Wordless Wednesday - I love a good warm shower

27 July 2009

Doing Well

I can see that the blog will suffer while Joseph is little. Still. If something has to suffer, that's the way it should be.

I can let you know that:

• I'm really sorry for not updating people earlier when Joseph was born. I'd estimated that he'd be born about 8am, but because in a planned caesarean they work slowly and methodically, everything was so cruisy that he was born at 9am, then I was in recovery, Joseph puffed some oxygen, we went back to the ward and then just chilled out together. We didn't log on to reassure our friends, it even took us a long time to let Australian friends and family know via phonecall or text message. In the meantime, people are waiting, wondering ... Sorry!

• We're doing okay. Joseph is looking so great and drinking and sleeping to his heart's content. I'm getting more sleep too. That previous post about "sleep depravation" didn't mean I'm currently getting no sleep, it was something that just occurred to me: the typo, the second meaning. I can't promise I'll be feeling well-rested in a week or two though.

• Although everyone says, "Ask for lots of pain relief," they really don't give you much (just PRN panadol/paracetamol). So at the best of times, things are sore and achy, then when you forget to take your medication you get really bad. Not all that great.

• Breastfeeding is about as bad as it usually is, with a few extra complications thrown in. Like, for example, when I was expressing and realised I was producing PINK MILK! Not strawberry, though. To explain how one produces pink milk, I'll need another dot point...

• There's a new fad in either Queensland Health or my hospital, but it's raising the eyebrows of other doctors and nurses. What they're doing is giving every lady who has a caesarean some sub-cutaneous heparin 12-hourly to combat potential DVT. Which means a jab of a blood-thinning drug so you don't get blood clots from lying down too much after surgery. WELL. I don't think I needed it. I was up and about 24 hours after surgery and wearing my lovely pressure stockings, but on top of that, the heparin made me BLEED. I scratched my elbow - BLOOD. They'd jab me with the evening dose of heparin - BLOOD pouring out the needle site of the morning's dose. I'd express some milk - PINK. Everyone say it with me: "Eeewww!"

• And then there was the ultimate BLOOD story to end all BLOOD stories. I'm not sure if you're ready for it (despite the fact that the blood did not come from below the waist.)

ElbaPlague hit me again quite badly on about Day 3. I have had bad colds before. This is not the worst I've had, but I am sick - very very sick with constant nose-blowing and violent coughing. Imagine what that's like after a c-section, when your pain relief isn't all that crash-hot. Hmm. Please direct any spare prayers towards this ElbaPlague being finally stamped out. We'll pray as if prayer's the only thing that works and I'll take antibiotics as if antibiotics are the only thing that works, and together we will see this thing dead, once and for all. Because today marks 60 days of being sick for me, and I am over it.

• Joseph is lovely. Extremely, totally, wonderfully, awesomely cute and lovely.

Look at my sons. Both asleep.

25 July 2009

Depravity and Lack of Sleep

I got to thinking. And I ended up with an interesting term which required a definition.

Sleep Depravation: Commonly thought to be a misspelling of the term "sleep deprivation," sleep depravation refers to the state of depravity a new parent enters into following the birth of a child, when they receive fewer than 3 hours of non-consecutive snatches of sleep each night for weeks on end.

Day Three - Day Four

24 July 2009


Hello all, and thankyou for your kind words and comments.

Joseph is doing very well - he is feeding like a natural (what a relief after two quite tricky breastfeeding experiences!) and he is just a delight. I feel a special bond with him having got through the last scary 5 weeks together. He's pretty chilled out about the whole thing.

In fact, he's pretty chilled out in general. He had his bath today, and nearly fell asleep on his back in the warm water. Then he had his heel prick test and although he did a little squawk, he was nearly just as chilled out during that!

I'm doing well too. I need to remember to keep ahead of the pain and ask for medication before it gets too bad. The staff are talking about sending us home tomorrow (3 nights in hospital) but I will request another night if we're not up to going home quite yet. Surprise surprise, the other de Elbas have varying levels of winter colds and sicknesses (I tell you, it's this new town we live in!) and Joseph and I might do well to have another night in here. In hospital. The place where ... err ... sick people are. Maybe I need to think this through a little more.

Now, about that nappy/diaper bag, my only concern when I bought it was that it might be too PINK for a little boy baby (and we didn't know whether our babe would be a boy or a girl.) So I made a point of asking Monique what she thought. She said that really, the bag is meant to co-ordinate with ME, not the baby, and I decided that since the colours were so perfectly ME, that I would have to get it. Sorry if you felt I was leading you up the path regarding nappy bag colour and the sex of the baby!

I am truly sorry I flipped out about the transfusion (minor freak-out) and the hysterectomy (way off the deep end.) The transfusion was a strong possibility and by the end of the pregnancy, I'd realised that it would be quite a small deal in the end. However I surprised everyone including myself by not needing it. I did lose a lot of blood and my haemoglobin was low, but I felt fine. I'll be on iron tablets and vitamin C for six weeks, which is no big deal.

The risk of a hysterectomy was slight. Small. No big worry. But I'd beaten it up in my head because of estimates I'd heard of the risk, e.g., a 5%-8% chance, even 10% from another source. Final de Elba Family Size will be determined by our family dynamic, how well we all work and live together, and how we feel down the track about another baby. But let me say that a Final de Elba Kiddie Count could well be three. Meaning I shouldn't have worried. The thing is that at 32 years old, I wasn't ready to have the choice taken away. I do love my children like crazy, and I love having new little babies to cuddle (I love it much more than I feel hassled by nappies and lack of sleep, etc.) I really only will be able to happily shut up the baby factory once I'm good and ready. This week was not that time. I am very thankful to God that I don't have to lose my choice just yet, whatever we end up deciding.

Yes, Anna-Lucia's expressions in the photos are a little uneasy aren't they? That day, she was not taking good photos! She'd just had a massive tantrum, and we ended up posting the best photos that didn't involve tears or her Angry Eyes. She is head-over-heels in love with her baby brother, saying, "Aaww, Doe-sess! He coot! I need ta cuddle my Doe-sess!" That's how she really feels!

Glad you liked the granny undies. They're really quite good to wear, and it's true, having the waistband pressing onto the wound would be quite bad, as I do get a fair bit of pain there.

What a blessing to recline in bed with a sleeping babe beside you, blogging and checking emails, and knowing that there is nothing else you SHOULD be doing! I've really enjoyed writing this post, even though the thoughts are all over the place. Have a lovely day/night, wherever you are. Joseph and I plan to. His plans include drinking milk and mine include producing milk.

What's wrong with this picture?

I was most amused to receive a little booklet at my 36 week visit which trumpeted the benefits of breastfeeding and included the funniest picture I've seen for a while.

I post this picture and dedicate it to my good friend, Swift Jan, whose little babe is due in the first week of September and who is committed to being a bridesmaid for her friend a short fortnight later.

Can you imagine? Do you see what this mother is wearing? And where is her giant structurally engineered maternity bra? And where are her pads to soak up the milk? And will she leak into that fabulous gown down to her knees or just down to the waistline?

Humm. Good luck, Swift Jan.

23 July 2009

The Eagle Has Landed

Joseph Samuel
born 9:02 am
22nd July 2009
Our earliest baby at 36 weeks 6 days
Our biggest baby at 3105g or 6lb 13.5oz
Sure we lost a lot of blood
But we didn't need a transfusion
We didn't need Special Care
And we didn't need a hysterectomy!
Our biggest hurdle has been Internet Connection in hospital
Our Fashion:
1. The Tiny Man of the Moment in his little hat

2. Ah yes, my hosiery

3. The much-awaited picture of my Sexy Granny Undies. The pair pictured is new & never used, to decrease the gross factor

22 July 2009

Looks like a nice day to have a baby

By now, I'll be out of contact for a little while. As soon as possible, I will post about our little Thingamababy, but until then the only updates I can give you involve a clock and an Estimated Time of Baby. In our part of Australia, the time is currently:

At 6:45am, Mr de Elba and I will show up at the hospital, and about 7:30am I'll start "having" this little babe. My best guess is that Thingamababy will be out and about, glaring slowly around the room like a milk-crazed desperado by 8:00am.

And then? And then! I really don't know. Like most of the last 5 weeks (and the whole of the next year,) I'll play it by ear.

Let me say a deep, heartfelt THANKYOU to everyone for supporting me: for my praying friends for their prayers and for my not-so-much praying friends for their thoughts and best wishes. I appreciate every one of you, I do.

Talk to you soon!

21 July 2009

Live-blog your labour? (Flashback - not the current baby.)

Some people Live-Blog their labours. Back in the day, I thought that sounded cute. It wouldn't work out that well for me though.

This is how it would have gone for Anna-Lucia's birth.

14 April 2007

9:30am - I think the baby is coming today, but at the hospital, multiple midwives, registrars and even one consultant said I just had an "irritable uterus" and sent me home. Humph. When I was induced for Nat's birth they told me I had a "favourable cervix." Now they tell me I have an "irritable uterus." I never knew lady parts could be so fickle. Still. I think the baby wants to come today. Good thing I live close to the hospital.

9:45am - Mr de Elba drives fast over a bump in the road. I snap at him that he needs to pretend there's a pregnant woman in the car and drive slower and more carefully, or the baby may just fall out.

9:50am - I wash my funky stretchy Slazenger pants and put them on the clothesline, acting on an instinct that I will need them later in the day to labour in, if "irritability" turns to labour.

1:00pm - Trying to sleep.

2:00pm - Can't sleep.

2:30pm - Uterus very ... "irritable."

2:45pm - Friends call and ask if they could visit. We say yes. Afterall, an "irritable" uterus isn't any reason to be "not at home to visitors." Vaguely wonder if we can make it to Chestnut Cheeks' birthday party which starts at 3:00pm.

2:55pm - Friends arrive. "Irritable" uterus seeming very like a labouring, contracting uterus.

2:57pm - Shout at friends that we love them but they'd better go home, Mr de Elba takes Nat to a neighbour's house.

2:58pm - Uterus so "irritable" it refuses to have waistband of my denim skirt anywhere near it. I head out to the clothesline to get funky stretchy Slazenger pants to labour in. Pardon me - to "be irritable" in.

2:59pm - In car. Mr de Elba drives very slowly and carefully over bumps in the road. I snap at him to drive the damn car as fast as he can straight to the hospital. Stuff the bumps. This baby is coming now!!!

3:00pm - 3:15pm - I don't believe God reserves parking spaces for his little sunbeams, but He did today - the closest park in a multi-level carpark that is always full. I wait out a contraction, then I walkwalkwalk like a madwoman while Mr de Elba gets my bag and tries to keep up, all the way across the road, into the hospital, into the lift, down one floor, out of the lift, through the OPEN door of Birth Suite silently blessing the thoughtless soul who'd inadvertantly left it open, past the midwives' station shouting, "Baby's Coming!", "Room 4 is free" they call back and scrabble around for my file and a pen, I go into Room 4, take off my shoes, get into a comfy position and start moaning, for that is what I do, they feel a few contractions and say, "Hmm, they're not starting up the top and moving down, you're probably a while off," silently I think, "Like heck," and gratefully accept the gas they offer me. They leave the room to chill out until the action starts, and suddenly I am plunged into the transition phase, the baby moves down, the contractions move towards real serious second-stage-type contractions and my waters break in a huge gush into my funky stretchy Slazenger pants. Damn. They were clean! The midwives are suddenly back milling around me saying things like, "She did this to us last time too." As in: my first birth was precipitate too. They have this absurd idea to take off my funky stretchy Slazenger pants. Priorities? Birth first, fashion later! Oh, right, baby's coming out around about there. Okay. Look, I can't move: I'm focussed. They'll have to do it for me. Then one push and all of a sudden ...

3:16pm - ... Baby slithers out. Mother in shock. Father is too. Midwives lay the baby down on the bed saying, "There's someone here you should meet." It's actually my job to move the cord and see that it is "Anna-Lucia", and not the much-expected "Unnamed Baby Boy Project." Things start getting less crazy and more peaceful.

3:17pm - Suddenly realise we will miss Chestnut Cheeks' birthday party. We're already 17 minutes late. We forgot to buy a present and I haven't a thing to wear. Not my funky stretchy Slazenger pants, anyway.

See how that worked? One minute I'm at my washing line, and 18 minutes later I am checking out my new baby. Not much time to switch on, log in and think up the right words.

Live-Blogging one's labour. I'm not sure it would have worked for me.

20 July 2009

At least I've got some great accessories

So in 48 hours, they will have unzipped me using that handy little zipper that all women have just above the Map of Tassie and I'll have a baby. Out of me. As opposed to inside me. Which is where it currently is.

Should I take time to get my head around that NOW or should I wait until later? Say, sometime in November or December?

Anyway, I decided that this is such a deeply medical, highly surgical and totally terrifying thing to happen that I must get my priorities right first.

I need to accessorise.

The thought process started with Swift Jan's lovely purchase of a gorgeous Nappy (Diaper) Bag from SewFunByMonique on Etsy. It is truly magnificent.

I visited Monique's shop. I visited ONLY Monique's shop - visiting others would cause me to want more stuff than I could possibly buy.

Monique, like some long-lost sister on the other side of the world had made this lovely Diaper Bag just for me - well, she didn't know it was for ME, she just picked fabrics that I love and put it together so nicely that - well - let's just say that it used to be hers, and now, it's mine!

I'm doing a lot of resting at the moment otherwise I'd take my own photos of this gorgeous bag and post them instead. But if Monique will forgive me for using the pics she herself posted on Etsy, I will just settle with posting them instead.

As we emailed each other while I was working out if I could/should buy this, I told Monique that I'd just found out I had placenta praevia, and I felt that these three things could help me find the fun in the end of this pregnancy:

1. I wanted to treat myself
2. I wanted to buy something new and gorgeous for the baby, and
3. I wanted to pack both our bags for hospital.

This groovy diaper bag helped me achieve all three.

As well as selling me the bag, Monique herself was full of comfort and kind words, and I've made another friend from across the ocean. She too has been praying for me and the baby, and I am so thankful for this. (Thankyou Monique, so very much!)

What is "Church"? It's not the same huddle of people in the same building, Sunday-in, Sunday-out. Instead, it's really quite an amazing network of awesome people from all over the world, praying for people and situations they have never encountered face-to-face. It's humbling to be a part of that.

Now if I may revert back to my natural flippancy, somehow, it doesn't matter now that I won't birth this baby while on all fours, groaning like a tribal woman. Things will be a lot different this time, but hey! At least I've sorted out my accessories!

PS: Visit Monique's Shop!

19 July 2009

Still wondering how Baxon Eats

Thanks to one and all. I understand everything she says except when she wants to talk and has nothing to say (so she makes up her own language just so she can hold my attention) and when she says, "That's how Baxon eats." It's frustrating, so I'd love to work this one out.

She doesn't know anything of Braxton Hicks contractions (unlike her mother) so I don't think she's talking about that. But if she WAS, what on earth does it mean? And why does she say it so consistently at mealtimes? You'd expect something that off-the-wall to be spoken once and then forgotten.

I have been wracking my brains about the possible semantic intent behind this mystery phrase. I have come up with nothing.

I could indeed let her draw this 'Baxon', but I suspect it would come out no clearer than her cats, which she draws until she can persuade me to give up what I'm doing and draw cats for her.

I'm not saying her drawing is bad, I'm just saying it's a little ... abstract.

And finally, "Now I look gorgeous, now I ... sorta don't" - a video to explain that I don't actually think I'm awful-looking, but am simply mystified at the un-chemistry between me and a camera. However, I made the bad decision to go ahead with this video with no makeup, chapped lips, and a coffee stain on my shirt. Not helping myself there.

Yeah, a great freeze frame there at the start. And I certainly didn't sound that "ocker" when I recorded that. Strewth, crikey. I think the camera takes my normalness and cranks the Dork Dial up to 11.

18 July 2009

That's How Baxon Eats

For weeks now, Smoochy has been saying, "That's how Baxon eats." She says it a lot. We have no idea what she means.

Who is Baxon?

We've asked many questions to try to understand who Baxon is and what he/she/it eats and why, but we have no clue. Most of the questions that you can ask a two year old are leading questions anyway and we don't get any useable information from them:

Me: Who is Baxon? Is Baxon a boy?

Smooch: Yeah.

Me: Is Baxon a girl?

Smooch: Yeah.

Me: Is Baxon a dog?

Smooch: Yeah.

Me: Is Baxon on TV?

Smooch: Yeah.

Me: What does Baxon eat? Crackers and cheese?

Smooch: Yeah.

See? Baxon could be anyone or anything, eating goodness-knows-what. But why does she mention Baxon so often, and say that that's what he eats? I am putting the call out to see if any of you have ANY clue.

We've thought of obvious speech errors, but it can't be Jackson or Staxon or Draxon, partly because THEY make no sense either and also because in her speech system, all those would change to Daxon, not Baxon. The only phonological rules that would end up at Baxon would be reduced "sp", "br" and "bl" clusters - and Spaxon (etc) doesn't seem to make sense to us either.

Yesterday she said, "That's how Baxon eats" quickly about eight times in a row and I decided to video it so you could see for yourself. Unfortunately, as I pulled out my camera, she stopped saying it and this is what we ended up with:

So I did switch it off, as commanded. She then plonked her little self down on the bottom step of that stepladder you see there in the background, and declared, "That's how Baxon eats."

Help please.

17 July 2009

Time Capsule

There's a time capsule beside my desk. The List Of Things To Do on my whiteboard, frozen at "Week Beginning 15th June."

It was frozen then because on 18th June I found out about the placenta praevia. And we all know how that rocked me for a bit.

Tonight I decided that we're moving on. We have to because this baby's coming, and outdated Things To Do just won't fly.

At today's appointment I was given the choice to have the baby this coming Wednesday (22nd July - 37 weeks) or to wait an extra week (29th July - 38 weeks). Based on a whole lot of Mother's Instinct borne of Smoochy Girl's extremely rapid birth spontaneously at 38 weeks, I gratefully took the option to maintain my booking on the 22nd. So here we are, a few days away from holding our little baby. And this is what my List Of Things To Do looks like now:

Of course that last point was tongue-in-cheek. I know that we will be fine, both of us. But it's been a long few weeks knowing of the risks to myself and to the baby and it's been scary thinking of how I was totally overdoing until 18th June. Now I've carried Thingamababy as long as I've thought safe, I feel like a having a little joke between me and the babe: "Don't Die." We plan to achieve our two goals for the week and enjoy our time doing so.

15 July 2009

Givinya de Answers

Lovely comments as usual, and some so funny they require an answer.

Heather said...
Must say, I'd definitely rather book my tickets to the opening day showing of the new Harry Potter movie, than your particular matinee...xo

Me too, Heather, me too. Still, this matinee is a once in a lifetime event, so I'll tune in for that and catch Potter some other time.

Givinya De Elba said...
After the blood and stuff is done, I plan to thank them all for being a great audience. To keep with the atmosphere of The Theatre.

Yeah, I said that so it doesn't require an answer.

Tracy P. said...
And seriously, could they keep the drama to a minimum?

I hope so Tracy. They won't be sure til they're inside me exactly what lunacy this placenta has wrought, but I'm hoping for the best, and that everything is pretty standard and drama-free.

Femina said...
Just remember to thank the Academy.

I hope I remember heaps of stuff actually. I'll put The Academy on the list.

Joy said...
I guess it is theatre depending which end your on. Give 'em a good show!:)JoyP.S. I had my first daughter in a teaching hospital. I felt like every wannabe doctor and nurse came in to take their turn to check on things. It felt like a theatre.

The consent form I signed said I agree to have students watching - and since they see this level of placental craziness about once every 6 months in my hospital, I am sure the dress circle and stalls will be full. If I end up with Jaffas and Maltesers zipped up inside my guts I won't be happy though.

Beth said...
Presumably it's an arcane reference to when they called it the "operating theatre". Which, I must admit I've never understood. Why is it that hospitals (the place you'd hope be ruled by logic) seem to have the most confusing departments and the largest amount of red tape?Anyway, been keeping up with your whole saga and please know I too will keep you and Thingamababy in my prayers...

We must be arcane over here - we still call it the theatre. But you call it the OR don't you? Thanks for praying - I appreciate every praying friend out there.

Schmoochiepoo said...
Wow, you guys in Aus make it all sounds so civilized. :) Will you have to dress up? LOL!

Yes! I am assured I get a lovely 'gown' and everyone will be wearing funny hats!

tinsenpup said...
I don't know, that whole guts show sounds like fairly typical post-modern theatre to me. :)I just wanted to quickly point out too what a great job you've done to bring Thingamababy so far. By the time you have your baby (challenges notwithstanding) you will both be in a really good position to go forward in health and (as you recover) happiness.

Thanks for your lovely words. It's possible that I'll be knocked flat by the stress of the last 18 months (which has been challenge after challenge after burglary after bed-bugs), but I hope it's all made me stronger and I'll be able to whip Life back into shape after this.

You're probably right about guts and post-modern theatre. Probably a caesarean is tame in comparison to a fast explosive natural birth. Less x-rated anyway.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...
So I guess I shouldn't ask if I can watch???Hallie :)

Only people who are paid to watch should actually have to. The rest of us should be spared such a gruesome sight. Chill out Hallie and look at something nice instead - like those gorgeous little dawgs of yours! :)

Jen said...
Oh come on, at what theatre can you get your guts put on your chest? If that is not drama, I don't know what is. Did I say to much?

Not at all. I'm looking forward to having my guts put on my chest. And then trying to make them drink milk from a Milk Distribution System that has proved difficult and awkward in the past. And HUGE - the Milk Distribution System even gives me a fright when I catch sight of it in a mirror, which I generally avoid having to do. (Regarding cup size, I think 'E' stands for 'Enormous' and 'F' is definitely 'Frightening'.) Not sure which will be the more grisly showing in the Theatre - the guts or the Subsequent Milk Debacle. Did I say too much?

14 July 2009

You Can't Fool Me

Dear Hospital Staff,

I am writing to comment on the name you have given your department that handles the bookings for non-emergency surgery.

"Theatre Bookings Office."

Well done - you've made it sound like I'm off for a night at the opera. Pity, but naming it the "Theatre Bookings Office" doesn't quite make me forget that I am not off for a night at the opera, but in fact I will be flat on my back with my guts, complete with maverick placenta, open for display. Good try though.


Givinya de Elba.

13 July 2009

Perfect Little Family

As I type this, it's 8:00am and I am eating breakfast. Both my children are in their bedrooms. She is screaming blue murder. He is screaming, punctuated by shouts that I am not his mother anymore and the smack (swat) I gave him didn't even hurt.

Their list of complaints is long and I would hardly remember them all. I do recall a few of their gripes though.

Smoochy Girl caught sight of the kindy fundraising chocolates and wanted them for breakfast. I however wouldn't let her eat chocolate for breakfast.

Sonny Ma-Jiminy brought out a box of Tiny Teddy biscuits and wanted them for breakfast. I however wouldn't let him eat Tiny Teddies for breakfast. He suggested having them on top of his porridge, and I said No to that too.

Hence the simultaneous tantrums.

See, these days I'm not able to do as much complete discipline and am becoming a toothless tiger. Yeah, yeah, I can still warn them and talk firmly to them and threaten to take away privileges and blah-blah-blah, but these little cherubs are 4 and 2 years old. Sometimes for major transgressions, you need to grab them, physically remove them, put them on their beds, sometimes they need a smack, and they usually need a very stern talking to.

I'm not up to that and my doctors wouldn't let me do that anyway.

And the kids seem to know it.

I know that I will have to get back on track with all this after the baby comes, but it's a little daunting contemplating putting the discipline system back together alongside recovering from surgery and managing a newborn (I remember that! It's not easy!)

I wonder how it will work?

11 July 2009

Sleepwalking Dog

Found this. Had to share. Bizkit the Sleepwalking Dog.

10 July 2009

Only Kidding!

I said that Thingamababy is scheduled to arrive on 22 July, didn't I?

Must have been joking!

Today at my appointment, the doctor was impressed that I am doing so well (that's polite blog-speak for "I haven't had any bleeding at all with this placenta previa") and he would like to push the date out to between 24 and 30 July. As late as he feels he can safely leave me.

I am thinking this through - processing it - and I realise that if Thingamababy is born on 22 July, he/she would only be 2 days "younger" in development than Sonny Ma-Jiminy was at his birth. Nobody worried about Sonny's lungs or his development, and he was strong and healthy. (I like being conservative, but I'm feeling positive about Thingamababy's health and development ... if Mother's intuition counts, while also fully accepting the doctor's medical experience ... ?)

Sonny fed, he grew, and he shot from a tiny 5lb 1oz up to the 50th percentile by 6 months of age. No steroids for the lungs, nothing. Just a healthy strong baby. And Sonny was (in the womb) about on the 20th percentile - Thingamababy is already about the 58th percentile. My Mother's intuition says Thingamababy will be fine, even on 22nd July. Even without the extra steroids they recommend.

BUT if they want me to wait longer, then Wait I Will. The aim of waiting is to increase the possibility that Thingamababy will be with me all the time instead of in Special Care, and hey - I'm all for that. So - whatever. To achieve this end, they may want me to kick back as an inpatient for goodness-knows-how-many-days before Thingamababy comes.

Nuisance? Yes.
Burden on relatives? Of course.
Extreme inconvenience? Absolutely.
Just a little attractive? Admittedly, yes it is.

Imagine it. Aaahhh.

Sorry I've built up the 22nd as The Date now. (It still may be the date, but if I keep going well, it may not.)

One of the things I was sad about when birth changed from natural and spontaneous to surgical and booked was the lack of spontaneity regarding the date. YAY! The spontaneity is back!

Mr de Elba is working on a way for me to get wired in hospital, whether it be pre-Thingamababy or post-Thingamababy, so I might still be able to blog, check your blogs and to email. How wonderful! What a technological hero.

Again - Imagine it: feet up all day, not allowed to do anything (at all), meals served, no small people clamouring for attention and watching me pee or shower, and unlimited time to read Stephanie Plum books and blog!

I don't think I even know how to slow down that much.

09 July 2009

Hey, baby, I got the MOVES.

This is me walking:

This is me washing up at the sink:

This is me getting up off the floor:

Such Grace.

There's a Russell in my Brain

Thankyou for coming over from your Readers to see what those posts were about. I have no idea how that happened. I wanted to post something and the first letter of the title was "L" - I typed quickly and all of a sudden my Compose window was gone and I'd inadvertantly posted FOUR identical posts - each one bore the title "L" and had no content.

A little like my brain these days. Nothing but Russell the Mouse running around in a tiny mouse wheel in there (he moved in once the janitor had turned all the lights off.)

Must have been a speech pathology head&neck I got there.

If there WERE anything else going on in life apart from Russell the Mouse, here would be the facts as we knew them:

♦ Name: Thingamababy (we need to think of something better than that)
♦ Scheduled to arrive 22nd July, 2009
♦ (36 weeks and 6 days young)
♦ Currently well, and huge compared to his/her brother and sister at the same stage
♦ Mother received steroid shots to give the best chance of child being with mother instead of Special Care Nursery after birth
♦ Hospital ready and prepared for what might happen
♦ Mother less so
♦ Father just doesn't want to faint
♦ Anxiety: repressed
♦ Fear: repressed
♦ Disappointment with Life and God: repressed
♦ Prayers: coming in from around the globe, in lieu of being able to form any prayer but a Silent Scream myself.

Thank you all for being there for me. As you can tell, I am waiting until there is something important or positive to post, and I am struggling to provide that here at Killing A Fly. However I DID get some bargains in the way of bedding for Sonny and Smoochy's new beds. It's the best I've got. Perhaps posting about my excitement regarding these bargains and a few pictures of the bedrooms wouldn't drive TOO many followers away?

06 July 2009

It's great having principles ...

... but somedays, sitting little children and their cousins down in front of the TV saves your entire sanity.
PS "Anne," I can't contact you any other way than this. I wanted to say don't worry. I'm certainly taking it very easy right now, and a quick look around my house would confirm that for you! I have never before had so many signals from my body to slow down, and I do listen to that, I really do. Should you be in my area any time soon, feel free to pick up a load of washing or ironing. While you're here, could you vacuum and sweep a few floors for me? Throw a tennis ball to the dog 20 times? Push Smoochy in her beloved "Red Swing" a bit? Accompany Sonny across the road to ask if Jack can come a play? These are the things that are sadly getting ignored chez de Elba these days. But never fear, I am resting - a lot :) Thanks for your concern :)

04 July 2009

My husband makes my world turn around

That was a nice experiment - posting about my deepest fears. Let's not do that again. 80% of my comments are really great and helpful and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. The others just served to remind me how deeply words go into your soul and how hard they are to get out. Especially when you stop being brave and give over to tears and sobbing in the middle of the night. And I thank you from the heart of my bottom. So - perhaps no more of that. Now you know what's going on in my life, and one day soon I might tell you the date that's been planned for Thingamababy's arrival, but let's make a deal - no more deep stuff. Let's ease back into regular blogging with something serious but nice.

Mr de Elba has been a tower of strength for me over the last few weeks. I usually manage things myself - the house, the kids, and all my antenatal appointments. But, starting on that day when the sonographer paused, sighed and said kindly, "Well, you're not going to be happy. You have placenta previa. I'm sorry," Mr de Elba has rearranged work commitments (some of them are hard to rearrange) and helped me so much with Sonny and Smoochy, and he has come with me to all my appointments.

He has seen me cry - more desperately and longer than ever before in my life. He has seen me slack off in my parenting to the point when fighting children only raise a half-hearted suggestion from me that if one of them kills the other, things would be a lot quieter around this place.

He has listened to all my deepest and most stupid fears and worries, and disappointments at dreams lost. He has accepted my terror at slight-chance complications and their most horribly permanent outcomes.

When I had a wild idea to let go of my anger and frustration by taking up kickboxing, he gently reminded me that if lifting children and moderate housework was ill-advised, that kickboxing was probably out of the question.

When I had an alternative idea to stand on the roof of my house naked shouting, "Give Me Zoloft Or Give Me Death!" he made noises of caution but refrained from reminding me that he has actually seen me naked, and Holy Wow, the world don't need that sort of shock right now.

Tonight I lay on the bedroom floor while I watched my kids alternate between wrestling on the big bed and jumping down on the floor to "rest" with me under the fluffy blue blanket. (Remember it's the middle of winter here. We don't get snow, but we get this wind that comes out of a bottle labelled "Extract of Snow".)

And then they disappeared. I lay there quietly by myself, enjoying the peace and the space to think unthinkable thoughts. Then I realised it was a great time to have a shower! So I did. When I came out, my bedroom was still a peaceful little sanctuary. Granted, the bed was a wreck after the wrestling, and there were dolls and books on the floor that -pardon me- Mr de Elba and I did not put there, but it was quiet.

After a quick search, I found my little family here.

Bless Mr de Elba's heart. I love him.

03 July 2009

Who am I kidding?

I have been telling you that there's nothing to blog about.

The truth is that the risk in this otherwise-healthy pregnancy and upcoming ultra-surgical birth is consuming all my thoughts every day. (Cos I can't do anything without wondering if it will cause a bleed, I can't plan for the birth without facing the fact it will be a caesarean, and I can't pee without being compelled to check if I'm actually bleeding. And I pee a lot.)

I thought that I was really only dealing with a small chance of bleeding a bit over the next few weeks, and then a standard caesarean which was going to make all the stress go away. And I was getting my head around it. Slowly.

But today's appointment had me in floods of tears, both during and for hours afterwards. I didn't want to hear all the risks. I sort-of know them, I carry them loosely around with me in the far-back recesses of my brain, and that's all I need right now.

However, 'informed consent' means I have to be told, clearly and without any chance of hiding beneath the chair before they speak, that with my major placenta praevia, I will probably have bleeds (in fact, it's pretty surprising [but awesome] that I haven't had any yet), I am likely to bleed a lot during the birth, and a transfusion is likely to be needed. Not just minute possibilities here, this is what they are preparing for on the day of the birth.

They have bumped another lady off the list of caesareans in order to fit me in.

Instead of doing 3 caesareans in a day, they will only plan to do 2. This is because mine carries the added risk and the added complication and ... oh my goodness.

Sometimes, it's like there is a little janitor inside my brain and when I have reached my capacity in terms of stress and worry, he walks around my grey matter and flicks the lights off one by one. It's a self-protection thing. Today the lights started going off in my head when the doctor reminded me that in extreme cases if bleeding can't be stopped, a hysterectomy is sometimes needed.

I mean, I knew that.

I'd read it somewhere.

And although I'm not much of an "It'll never happen to me" sort of girl, I guess I must have read it and thought ... oh, I don't know. I don't know. I don't know I-don't-know-IdontknowIdontknowIdontknow.

Right now, I need to surround myself with positive people. And I also need to talk. Can I talk here? I mean: really talk? Some of you commenters have been wonderful - you seem to have really heard what's going on inside my head, my passionate natural-birth head, and have met me where I am. You've comforted me and said what I need to hear, without needing to beat your own drum.

Can you do it again? I think I need to talk. I need to relive Smoochy Girl's birth, I need to gripe that I never get to talk about other stuff anymore (sacro-iliac-related whinging, pregnancy carpal tunnel, baby's head smashing the insides of my hip bones, and WOW it feels low! ...etc) and there will probably be more.

Sorry. But it's my blog, and even though I won't be eloquent, I need to write. There might be God-Stuff, there might be too little God-stuff for a Christian's blog, but either way, I know my Christian and non-Christian readers alike will take me as I am. Thanks.

Mondegreen - beware: neither funny nor interesting

I apologise for the lack of blog posts. I have nothing of note to blog about. I am enjoying surrounding myself with positive people right now, trying not to get nervous before each doctor's appointment, resting whenever I possibly can and spending the rest of my time trying not to let my lack of energy and the current propensity of my children to do nothing but FIGHT to colour my outlook onto the brave new world of having three children.

So, in the absense of anything else to blog about, today I bring you a nonsensical sort of Mondegreen.


Sonny Ma-Jiminy (singing): Do you know the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man,
Do you know the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man ...? (searching for the last line.)

Daddy: Oh, did you learn that song at Kindy? Do you know the Muffin Man? Who lives on Drury Lane?

SMJ: No!!! (as if 'Silly Daddy, that's not it!!')

- pause -

SMJ: Oh! Yeah! (singing again)
Do you know the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man,
Do you know the Muffin Man, or senton-turen-lein.

Daddy (trying not to laugh): Who Lives On Dru-ry Lane ...

SMJ: That's what I said.

Daddy: Oh, okay.

(a minute later)

SMJ (knowledgeably): Yes, I know the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man,
Yes, I know the Muffin Man ... or senton-turen-lein.


Mr de Elba and I were trying not to crack up. However, written out here, it makes little sense and would fail to raise a smile. It isn't even a real Mondegreen, for goodness' sake.

What a waste of a blog post.