Thursday, January 27, 2011

Spade = Spade! The REAL BIRTH lie.

Today, three years ago, I had a vba2c. My son was born still. I sometimes think that the most important gift I could have given him, was something I could not give my other two children, a REAL birth.

I recently posted a link to the story of my latest REAL birth on facebook and someone decided to tell me that it wasn't fair of me to say REAL birth, that a c/sec is also a REAL birth. I tried to be diplomatic and not offend anyone but seriously ... it was MY BIRTH! I can say what I like about MY BIRTHS! I've also had two c/secs and guess what? THEY WEREN'T REAL BIRTHS! Saying a c/sec is a REAL birth is like saying a prosthetic leg is a real leg, or dentures are the same as real teeth. No one would be that stupid or presumptuous to someone who lost a leg in a car crash. Why must we placate women by telling them that they gave birth via c/sec? Why not simply allow them to grieve?

I think what we need to do here is sit back for a minute and see why we're so invested in telling women that a birth is a birth no matter what. The only thing you need to do to be classed as having a NVD (normal vaginal delivery) is to have a baby come out of your vagina. But guess what? It's not NATURAL if there were forceps, if there was pethidine, if there was an epidural, if the cord was cut and the baby was whisked away to be poked, prodded and given an arbitrary score out of ten.

The reason we're so invested in the REAL BIRTH LIE is because hardly anyone has a natural birth that goes to plan. Well that's true of hospital birth, but not of homebirth. A NATURAL birth is where the mother is supported by those she loves and trusts, and she is the first person to touch the baby, when she pulls the baby to her and greets the baby with whispered joy and shocked elation. When those in the room looks on in silent awe of the moment that is taking place before them and leave.

What's that I hear you saying? "That's not always possible!" Well, NO SHIT! I've watched as a team of strangers tried to revive my still son, while they pumped him full of adrenalin and tried to start his tiny heart, I've been there while time stood still and all I could do was pray*. And my prayers have gone unanswered. I've also been there when my child was taken away from me, living, but needing special care after he was cut out of me. I've also had my perfectly healthy child taken from me because "babies aren't allowed in recovery". None of these experiences were NATURAL nor were they REAL births.

"how can you say that about your children?" I hear you ask. Well that's just it. I'm NOT saying it about them. They are no more their births than you are yours. I think society has latched onto the idea that birth is joyful and tried to make it a one size fits all emotion that women MUST feel when they meet their babies. How was my mother meant to feel when she met me? She'd had a general and I was cut out while she was unconscious. I know she loved me, and I know that my birth was separate to how she felt about me. That's just as well because she was off her face on pain relief! It's the same for me and my kids. I love them but THEY ARE NOT THEIR BIRTHS. My c/sec children are not their births, my stillborn son is not his birth and my triumphantly home birthed son is not his birth either. But his was the only REAL birth. And I can say that about MY BIRTHS. I can say it because it's a fact, and I can say it because I am the only person who can articulate how I FEEL.

It's time to call a spade a spade. Stop lying to women, surgery is not birth any more than dentures are real teeth. Stop having unrealistic expectation of how women should feel about THEIR births. Stop telling women they have unrealistic expectations of birth. Tell the medical world to give birth back to whom it belongs. Stay safe, stay home, and make appropriate use of medical technology only when necessary. Birth CAN be great, birth CAN be amazing, beautiful, empowering, transformative and so many other things. But only the woman whose birth it is can describe it. The more we call c/sec birth, the more we embrace the dangerous, financially motivated, medical approach to labouring women and new babies.

I wish you were here baby boy. I thank you for all that you have given me, and pray* you know how often I think of you.

* I am not religious

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A month in the life of a humble vegetable.

broad beans and zucchini. Top photo November, bottom photo January.

Tomatoes in November (top) and then January (bottom).

The garden is coming along really well. Our tomatoes are flowering, and we have quite a few on the bushes that are ripening. The broad beans are flowering, we've had a few blueberries off the already established bush, and we've finally taken time to plant our new blueberry, brown fig, and red current all in the frnt garden. It will be quite an orchard over the coming years. We've also decided where the outdoor garden bed will be, it's going in the unused side area of the front yard. All the seeds that A's mother gave us were thrown into the raised beds in the hothouse and soon we'll be eating all manner of crunchy, delicious green leafy things.

There were a heap of new seedlings planted out in the hothouse today, bush cucumbers, eggplant, four varieties of basil, cress, radishes, a watermelon, and tarragon. We also had to transplant the entire herb garden, coriander, chives, two varieties of mint, a rainbow chili plant, and dill, because the paint scraping would have ruined it all.

We've begun scraping back the paint under the car port, in preparation for painting. We decided to buy a heat gun to make it easier, but we're trying not to think about the next power bill ...

Vinnie seems to be toilet trained at long last! It took him over a month, but he's finally gotten it through his doggie skull. The current problem is his walking, or should I say PULLING! He's a royal pain in the bum when we take him for a walk. There are several ways we can correct this but we haven't started yet. Tomorrow. He's pretty good at "sit" and we're still working on "stay". Puppies are cute, but they're hard work!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Hearth, with baby gate, and phone stands from the tip shop

Book shelves from chicken feed and ginger beer starter (top shelf)

James, I like him near the fire because I can imagine that he's warm

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A decade has passed!?



I spent NYE 2000 in a women's refuge playing monopoly.

I spent NYD traipsing across the country trying to get my daughter back from her father and his girlfriend (my x best friend). He threatened me with a knife, the police wouldn't do anything, I went home without her. I eventually got her back in February.


Moved into one bedroom flat with Stylish, felt safe!

Had seriously scungy boyfriend with mostache. He used to abuse me and then cry when I got mad at him. Seeing tears run down his mostache was possibly one of the most pathetic things you could imagine. Went back to school to get my HSC. Set eyes on A in my first class, knew I wanted him all to myself when he started shouting about hating John Howard. Dumped scungy mostache boyfriend over the phone, for tall gorgeous one. Tall gorgeous one caught a cab over to my house ... and stayed. He's still here. He still hates the liberal party.


Grandpa died.


Finished HSC with an average Distinction grade, astonishing really when we spent so many hours playing pool at the pub opposite.

Mum died


Stylish started school. I thought it would be happy but it felt wrong for reasons I would not discover until much later. Tried so hard to be a good schooling mother - not sure I ever really succeeded. Attended a free course run by St John's Ambulance designed to help kids learn to read, really loved it! Taught Stylish to read because the school was failing. She went from bottom of the class to top of the next class in about a month.

Became an Aunty!


Started to worry that x would kidnap Stylish from school. No law in the land would protect her from that unless I took him to court. Decided to take that option. Quit smoking dope.

Discovered that family court is one big masquerade, it's really FATHER'S court. Had first ever panic attack in mediation, realising that my daughter would have to spend far more time with her father than was actually beneficial to her. Cried. Felt powerless. Sucked it up.

Decided that I might feel safe enough to ttc, having discovered home birth. Discovered that when I had felt about my first birth was actually PTSD. Flash backs and fear subsided when I realised this.

Had first miscarriage.


Court case finalised in favour of father's rights. Father sees Stylish regularly for the first time since we separated in 1999. Spends far too much time poisoning her against me and makes our relationship difficult.

Conceived Spikee!

Started studying News Media and Communication at TAFE.



Told by numerous people that I would never finish my course because I was too heavily pregnant. Finished course 5 days after he was "due".

Had Spikee cut out. Discovered that it wasn't the end of the world, felt like big failure anyway.

Acquired a new niece 5 days later. Awwww!

Had our first ever holiday together. Met IL's for the first time, breastfed our way around Tasmania, had a ball!






Breast fed 1yr old


Still struggling with schooling Stylish. Still not really in the swing of it. Heard about home schooling as a possibility but stuck to the old "I could never do that" mantra.

Completely by surprise conceived James. Scared shitless! Yes, vba2c happens, but does it happen to me? Planned freebirth because we were too poor to hire a mw.

Xmil - dear friend- diagnosed with cancer of the whole body.

Went on camping trip, Caught listeria.



Breast fed 2yr old

The day before school starts, Australia day long week end, I give birth to my stillborn son, James. vba2c. I felt like the world ended that day. Seeing life go around me on is hard to fathom.

Planned funeral in a fog. Stylish wrote this for the Order Of Service

J ames was a very special baby
A s I laid my hand on his hand tears welled in my eyes
M y dear little brother, whom I will never get to know
E veryday I think about him and when I first saw him
S o special, like he was the only drop of water in the whole world.


She read it at his funeral, and I cried.

Longed for a new baby. Miscarried.

Lost beloved xmil


Pulled Stylish out of school, feel LIBERATED! no wonder I hated schooling so much! I was an unschooler all along and I just didn't know it!



Breast fed 3yr old

James turned 1.

Lost beloved niece. Cried.
Longed for new baby. Miscarried. Didn't cry.

Conceived Angus, didn't dare hope. Didn't dare get attached. Held breath lots.

Went camping. Had fun!



Breast fed 4yr old

James turned 2.

Still pregnant.

Too scared to fall in love with belly babe until BANG. Realised I couldn't help it. Consumed with quite a bit of fear, talk lots to wonderful counsellor and come to terms with it.

Have wonderful, blissful Blessingway! Feel so surrounded by love and get covered in henna!


Realisation: Can not guarantee outcome. Babies die. My baby might die. Find deep well of inner strength.

Buy house in Tasmania on crazy whim like thing! Do conveyancing from bed in Sydney, feet up, heavily pregnant.

Get more heavily pregnant.
Get even MORE heavily pregnant!
Nearly explode!

Go into labour. Have baby. Drink champagne and eat chocolate cake. Go to bed and sleep the sleep of the exhausted, wake up two hours later to gaze at sweet sleeping baby. Develop extreme addiction to gazing at small sleeping baby and breast feeding.


Move state.

Find self.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011


My hill on a balmy summer day, as seen from the window in the lounge room.

We have finally chosen colours for the house, a yellow for the weatherboards and a browny / red for around the windows. I'm thinking the doors will be another colour, I'd like them to be a dusty pink or purple but we're gonna look at it all and then decide because it has to match the green roof. A has begun scraping back the window frame on the Ugly Room window onto the carport. Today we applied some paint stripper to speed things up a bit. We're getting the Ugly Room done first because it's in need of painting quite badly. We have a bit of a dilemma coming up because we have to scrape and paint the weatherboards above the herb garden ... wish we'd thought of that before we planted it!

The hothouse is coming along really well, everything is really reaching for the sky. We planted some new tomatoes in there yesterday, a yellow cherry plant and a normal red cherry plant, so all up we have ten plants. The strawberries we're getting are so delicious and because we have so many varieties of plant I'm seeing how different they all are from each other, it seems that a strawberry is not just a strawberry!

Vinnie needs more intensive training, I keep meaning to set aside some time and just train him for about ten minutes a day but Angus has been very clingy so I haven't been able to. I'd get the kids to do it but the dog really doesn't pay much attention to them unless they're playing.

Angus is very close to crawling, he's moving about but we never seem to catch him doing it so we're not sure exactly how he does it. Right now he's wriggling around on our rug chatting to A, who is lighting a fire. Spikee has been sick with a cold, but he's really enjoying having his books unpacked now, I read him five stories while he ate his dinner tonight (a banana with manuka in it). Stylish is having a sleep over with a friend tonight, I'm sure they're changing clothes and talking about boys as I type this!

The chook is still broody! We didn't like putting her in the cat cage so we're just throwing her out of the coop all day and closing it so she can't get back in. We are getting plenty of eggs, enough to keep us well supplied. This morning we had home made bread toasted with fried eggs for breakfast. They're really yummy!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Library Arrives!

While in transit from Sydney to Antarctica all of our bookshelves managed to completely implode, except one of the less beautiful ones. So although we've been here for about two months all our books were still in boxes. Yesterday we discovered that the local two dollar shop was having a sale on book shelves, and they were only $32 each so we grabbed three of them. We'd been scouring the tip shops and ebay etc for months with no luck so this seemed like the best option. I spent New Year's Eve unpacking a huge box of books and squealing with delight at some of my discoveries ... not the most exciting NYE to many I'm sure, but it was perfect to my inner book lover. Now the surviving book shelf from Sydney has gone into Stylish's bedroom because the colour of it will suit her room when she paints, and we have three large dark brown ones. Two in the lounge room and one in the ugly room.

Tonight Stylish and I went for a really long walk, we walked for two hours and got to see some gorgeous rolling hills as the sun was setting. It's always nice to touch base with her, she's changing so fast at the moment, and so am I. Apparently I have suddenly become the most embarrassing mother on the planet!

When we came home we checked the nesting boxes in the chook shed and found the smallest egg we've ever had, it's about half the size of the phantom eggs we normally get. One of the LOTL has been broody, last week she had a crush on A, and followed him around clucking at him affectionately and then she went beserk about her eggs! Getting the eggs from underneath her became quite an athletic and strategic event, not unlike a jujitsu tournament crossed with a chess championship. I would have left her to it had she not been so violent, we couldn't get eggs from underneath her without risking life and limb so we needed to fix it. A's brother gave him a book about chooks and the first chapter was on brooding. We had two options, one was to make the nesting box really uncomfortable, but since she shares it with the other LOTL that's not going to work, so we resorted to option number two and stuck her in the cat carrier cage by herself for the day. She's back on the nest again now, so it looks like she has to go back in the cage again tomorrow. Ultimately I'd like to get some fertilised eggs, but there aren't any available locally at the moment.