Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Autumn is upon us

You can feel a definite chill in the air now, but for the last few days the weather has been beautiful in the afternoons. Last night before bed I let Vinnie out to pee and I could hardly see the front fenc through the mist. I love mist! I never knew how much I loved it til it was a regular part of my life. It was cooooold out there standing in it, but I think I'm going to enjoy winter with the fire, and weather watching on the hill.

We've been taking Vinnie out as much as we can, knowing that soon it'll be dark and rainy and too cold to enjoy the out doors as much as we have been over the Summer months. He's improved so much with his training. It's a beautiful sight to see him running freely at the park, he runs so fast, you can really see the cattle dog in him when he's running.

We went for a walk over the Easter long weekend and discovered a new park near the bowling club. The river goes through it and it's beautiful, open and sunny. We've spent every day over there since then, with Vinnie running wild and the kids skipping stones on the river. Today they banked lots of them up in the current to see how the water changed course. There are lots of toadstools there and they look so pretty, Spikee thinks that faeries live in them, and was very upset to see one that had been deliberately smashed. 

We had a wonderful Easter weekend, we made a big pink marshmallow rabbit and a berry jelly one, too. And we enjoyed lots of other tasty treats like home made hot angry buns and, melting moments with mandarin icing. The family were planning on coming down but they ended up canceling, but they're coming over next weekend instead and everyone is really looking forward to it. We also celebrated Mabon, just to completely confuse things! We went walking and collected a basket of beautiful coloured leaves, red, yellow, brown, faded green, and sticks and some rocks, which we had in a basket on the coffee table. We're going to tie the sticks in a bundle and put them in the fire to welcome the Dark Mother, next weekend, and the kids are going to read Mabon poems.

hot x buns

where the faeries live

the dog, enjoying the park

pink rabbit with crazy son!

latest harvest

pink rabbit with jelly rabbit

kids at the river

Monday, April 18, 2011

At least you got the groceries!

My friend went to the supermarket to go shopping. She prefers a natural diet because she knows it's better for her and her kids. She had to go on a Tuesday because that was the only day they could fit her in, despite the fact she didn't need any groceries for another week or two. They didn't have any of the food she likes to eat, the staff were rude and insisted that she buy what they had - even though she was very firm about not wanting it - they rushed her through as fast as they could and told her to be quiet so she didn't put off the other shoppers. When it was time to pay they simply fished around in her handbag, took out her wallet and the money and ushered her out the door with armfuls of shopping bags and a toddler in tow. They waved enthusiastically and said "see you again soon!"

She wasn't very happy so I said to her "Well, at least you got your groceries!"

She wasn't very happy so I said to her "but I find that supermarket WONDERFUL!?"

My friend went to the hospital to have a baby. She wanted a natural birth with no drugs. They insisted on inducing her because they didn't want too many women there on the weekend when her doctor was going on holidays. They didn't have a birth pool or allow her to move about freely in labour to ease the pain. In fact when she tried to move around they loudly chastised her, saying she was being too loud, and that other women would be frightened by her noises and that some were trying to sleep. They insisted that she have every imaginable procedure in the "cascade of interventions", despite her protesting. They even held her down and put things into her vagina against her will, once again telling her to be quiet and think of the other patients. Then they cut her baby out, told her she couldn't feel the ripping and tearing of her flesh, took her baby away, and left her in recovery, cold and alone. When it was time to discharge her they expected her to be happy, they waved and said "see you again soon".

She was traumatised, unable to breastfeed, unable to form a true bond with her baby, her caesarean scar was badly infected and burst open, she felt violated, she couldn't stop crying, she felt alone and scared, and guilty, and didn't want to get out of bed in the morning. She couldn't look after her older children and her partner couldn't take any time off work to help out.

I said to her "Well at least you got a healthy baby"

I said to her "But my caesarean was WONDERFUL!?"


Every women is grateful for the health of her baby. But a healthy baby is NOT all the matters, mothers matter too! And just because YOU had a good birth in a hospital doesn't mean that everyone has a good hospital birth. Let mother's speak their truth!

The Cascade

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Dog, and other furry creatures

The dog is completely toilet trained (although tonight he peed on the rug because we didn't understand his "please let me out" pleas) and for the most part is settled in now. He's had a few cold nights now because he took it upon himself to totally destroy his bedding, leaving it all across the front lawn, through the kennel, and right down the driveway, there were even bits of green stuffing floating aimlessly down the street on the wind. We relented and gave him an old doona because it is quite cold out there of a night and we're hoping to pick another one up from vinnies (I can't decide if that's a pun or not...) when they have one that isn't good for humans - they do give them out apparently.

He had been a little bugger at the park when we let him off his lead and he was refusing to come when he was called, and running rings around us when he did come. This was ok in the middle of the park but he ran up onto the main street (not too busy in comparison to Sydney, but still not entirely safe) and wouldn't come back. So we took dog treats to the park and made him sit for one. let him off the lead and then called him, made him sit and gave him a treat every time he came. The first day we did it he came about half of the time, the next day he was even better, and the third day he came every time except when there was another puppy (which happened twice) and when he was chasing pink crocs (stay tuned).

After a wander up the platypus walk we took Spikee to the skate park on his bike and he was happily riding over bumps and ramps and whatnot when Vinnie decided to chase him and try to chew his pink crocs. Spikee came off his bike very badly and landed with an almighty face plant on the concrete. Blood was gushing out of his mouth and I was worried he might have lost a tooth, but he just cut the inside of his cheek very badly. The cut is easily the size of a 20c piece, and there is a graze on the outside and purple and blue bruising is still coming out. He also grazed his knee and got a cut on his forehead from where the helmet was crushed between his head and the concrete. Seeing him come down as I did I am relieved beyond words that he was wearing his helmet because without it he would have undoubtedly fractured his skull.

On our next trip to the park we will take Spikee, his bikee, me, A and Stylish, and when Vinnie goes near Spikee on his bikee he'll get a whack on the bottom. I attachment parent my kids, the dog isn't so fortunate after this incident.

The day after the accident was shopping day and A and I made a snap decision to ge the kids a guinea pig each. One of the cutest things I have ever seen is Spikee sitting down watching tv, tickling the guinea pig in his lap. They're really tame little things even though the guy in the petshop said they were quite skittish. Today we went to the tip shop and bought timber to make an outside run for them. It's coming along nicely so stay tuned for pics!

You can see the cut on his face and the swollen lip here but not very clearly. It's actually much worse!

House of a different colour

The boys, hard at work
2/3 finito!
The latest harvest

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Surgical baby arrival awareness month!

My first son's welcome to the world.

Yeah yeah yeah. Some women NEED caesareans. But MOST women DON'T need them. So how come more than 30% of pregnant women end their pregnancy with surgery? How come all those women are meeting their babies for the first time, drugged to the eyeballs?

Don't tell me it's because women are requesting elective surgery. If it was really because women were electing surgery then surely doctors wouldn't be conducting major surgery on healthy women and babies, they would counsel women on the risks of unnecessary major abdominal surgery and support them in planning the best possible vaginal birth.

Don't tell me it's because birthing women are older now than they were when we had a far lower caesarean rate. Because women are also living longer, and their bodies are far healthier owing to good nutrition and hygiene.

Don't tell me it's because women are too fat to have babies coming out of their vaginas. Left alone the vast majority of women labour beautifully. MOST complications during birth are the result of obstetric over management.

Don't tell me that it's because of the risks of giving birth AFTER you're already had a surgical baby removal, because the risks of repeating the baby amputation are greater than the risks of letting the baby choose it's own exit route - but doctors conveniently forget to mention that.

So what can YOU do to lower the surgical baby birthday rate?

Why not blog about it during caesarean awareness month!

You can tell women the truth about their birthing day. They DIDN'T GIVE BIRTH if the doctor cut the baby out. Even if the baby needed to be cut out, they still didn't give birth! The baby was BORN, the woman did not give birth.

You can write to your local hospital, politician, doctor, mother's group, health insurance company or anyone else involved with the beginning of life in any remote capacity.

What can you do to save yourself from having unnecessary surgery?

You must be the expert on health care during pregnancy and birth. You must NOT entrust your care to an "expert" no matter what happens. Google everything three times, read many many sources, read books, ask more than one type of birth professional how they will handle your pregnancy and what their protocol for birth is.

If you're hiring a doctor make sure you ask the difficult questions. If you're afraid to ask the doctor the right questions, WALK OUT THE DOOR, YOU HAVE THE WRONG DOCTOR. When asking questions if the conversation goes like this -->

YOU: How often do you do repeat surgery?
DR: Only when we 'really need' to

then your next question has to be

YOU: For what reasons will you suggest that I 'really need' surgery?

and if the answer that follows isn't a good one (post dates, stalled or slow labour, breech etc etc), then you must walk out the door and hire a new birth professional.

Hire a midwife - not to be confused with a MEDwife - and give birth AT HOME.

If you can't do that ask yourself why not. Is your partner against it? Tell him to go jump in a lake. Your body, your choice where and with whom you give birth. Period. I know of at least three women whose husbands overrode their desire to homebirth, the women had surgery and promptly divorced their husbands. Marriage can not survive birth trauma that is caused during unwanted hospital birth. Is money a problem? Get a loan. Save up. Pay the midwife in installments. Safe birth is priceless, unnecessary surgical birth is costly in ways you probably can't imagine.

If you still can't do it hire a doula. Know your interventions! Don't set foot in a medical birth management facility without knowing when and why the staff will try and push you into "consenting" to each medical intervention. Less than 5% of women leave a hospital after an intervention free birth. So maybe 3 or 4 in every hundred women will have an unhindered birth.

Here are some thing you should look into before going to hospital, or even hiring a care provider.
  • pregnancy due date estimating
  • scanning and other tests they will want you to undertake "because it's routine"
  • induction
  • monitoring during labour
  • the effects of pain relieving drugs. ALL of them have side effects. ALL OF THEM.
  • natural pain relieving techniques that the institution support and to what degree they support them (for example some hospitals will "let" you labour in water but insist you lie on your back with your legs in stirrups to push the baby out)
  • how long they will "let" you labour for before they push chemical augmentation and/or surgery
  • Know that when you set foot in a hospital you will be just one more woman in another bed and nothing more. The staff will forget your face in a week, you will remember their faces for the rest of your life. Hospital staff are the same as supermarket staff, they just want the customers to be in and out without "making their jobs difficult"
  • Make sure your partner and/or any other support people you take will not tell you to "listen to the nice doctor". Make sure they know as much as you know about hospital "birth". Make sure they know that staff will use intimidation and emotional blackmail to get birthing women to cooperate.
  • BE PREPARED TO SAY NO until you are blue in the face, to as many scary people in white coats as they can send in to scare you with their non evidence based practices.
  • Be prepared for them to laugh at your birth plan and completely override it
  • Know that you might just be that one in three who has their baby cut out
  • Know that your chance of a completely natural birth in hospital are about 3-4 in 100
I am a mama who has had two caesareans. One hospital vba2c and one hba2c. The ONLY reason I got my hospital vba2c was because I had a very stubborn support team who really knew their way around obstetric birth managment, and because I turned up at the hospital at 10cm, ready to push (but they still tried to section me, telling me my contractions were ineffective). The ONLY reason I was in hospital is because I was in premature labour. Had labour begun on its' own and all been well I would have stayed WELL AWAY from the Knife Happy place.

The time has come! Women need to stop waiting for governments, hospitals and obstetric surgeons to reduce the caesarean epidemic. Women must take charge of their own pregnancy care, demand support and respect from their partners, husbands and families. Demand the care they want, the BEST and SAFEST care from their pregnancy health care professionals. Demand evidence based care, demand to SEE proof of the evidence! Source your own material, never rely on one source.

Vote with your money, take your business elsewhere if you aren't getting the service you want. Would you hire a plumber who said he would only install a toilet in your lounge room because that was what he believed was safer? No! You would hire a different plumber and insist that the toilet be installed in the bathroom. Never hire any professional unless they can guarantee you the service you seek.

Obviously some births will always end in caesarean, but those surgical births must be undertaken with the greatest of care and kindness towards the woman and babies undergoing this major surgery, and they must never be undertaken unless they are absolutely necessary.


My youngest son's welcome to the world

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What's happening in Antarctica

The front of the house is ready to paint, it's been sanded and had a white undercoat and puttied and sanded some more, so now we just need a few fine days in a row so we can dash out there with some paint and some brushes.

We've started killing off the grass out the side in preparation for starting our garden bed out there, we're using a salt thing that washes away after a good rain. We're also getting lots of lovely plump, dark green zucchinis and broad beans and gorgeous tomatoes out of the hot house.

There is a definite chill in the air, I can feel winter is on the way. We've been glad of the fire in the evenings. We took out thermometre outside and read it the other night, it was 9 just before the kids dropped it and it smashed, but I think it would have gone lower. Every time I'm in the yard at night I'm struck by how many stars there are and how much I love the night sky. In Sydney you couldn't see the stars, but here you can see lots of them and they're so beautiful *happy sigh*. I'm looking forward to winter in a way, I love it when it's misty, it makes me feel like I'm in a celtic fantasy. Looking out the window and watching the weather changing on the hill is my new favourite hobby!