Sunday, July 31, 2011

Winter is sweet in Antarctica

Click here to read about snow hunting

We're two thirds of the way through winter now, and by all accounts it was a pretty harsh winter in spots, but now it's turned quite warm. This evening it's hardly cold outside. We had a few weeks where it just rained non stop, the yard turned into a swamp, but it's dried out pretty well now.

Our side garden beds are nearly ready to have things planted in them, so over the next couple of days I plan on getting some seeds planted in seedling starter pots. We've planted a cherry tree, a plum tree, and a nectarine tree out the back and a sundowner apple out the front, and this coming week we're adding a pink lady apple to our orchard. 

We're also in the process of choosing some paint to painting inside the house. We have a whole selection of greens to choose from, and our aim is to select one that matches the greenery outside the window so that we're really extending the out door space to inside. 

The chooks had a few weeks off laying but are now laying up a storm! We gave 6 eggs away yesterday and still had enough for Spikee to eat four last night (yes you read that right, 2 were bantam eggs) and eggs benedict this morning.  

So in summary, all is well in Antarctica!

 The elected spokeswoman demanding food
 The fence A built
Where the outdoor veggie garden will be

Monday, July 18, 2011

Reasonable Expectations

So many women think that they'll just go to hospital, have a baby, and all will be well. They think they will be respected, supported, and that the experience will be a happy one. Unfortunately that's not what's happening to many women. I'm one of the ones who didn't have that experience.

When I go to the supermarket I don't expect the staff to treat me specially, I just expect them to be polite and helpful. When I imagined what my first birth would be like I had similar expectations but they went unmet. However,  unlike a trip to the shops, the ramifications of my "birth" were lasting. They still impact on me thirteen years later.

Sometimes when women are critical of hospital staff or their birthing experiences, they are met with disbelief, criticism, and outright anger. I don't really understand why it's so hard for people to believe that a woman and her baby were treated badly in a hospital. 

People criticise hospitals all the time, there are frequently news stories which report dangerous, dissatisfactory patient care, but society won't accept that this reality extends to the maternity ward. We know that doctors often make errors and do shonky work, but for some completely unfathomable reason it's almost impossible for some people to imagine an obstetric surgeon in the same light. 

It's nice to think that birthing women will only be surrounded by caring staff who work hard to ensure the safest, happiest birthing experience possible, but it's not reality. The same way that it's nice to expect your grocery shopping trip will be easy and you will encounter only friendly and helpful staff, but you know you may also encounter rude, bored, inexperienced, rushed, and overtired staff - you should expect nothing less in a hospital when you intend to give birth there. 

So if you are pregnant or planning a baby, what can you do to protect yourself against the possibility that you will encounter less than perfect hospital staff?

  1. Give birth at home with an independent midwife and / or a doula. 
  2. Take a doula to hospital with you
  3. Be well informed about hospital protocol and typical interventions and their impact on birth
  4. Write a HARD ARSE BIRTH PLAN! Don't stuff about with "wish lists" and never ever ever include the words "unless necessary". If it's necessary of course you'll consent to interventions - refer to point 3.
  5. Ensure that your partner is well versed on your birth plan and hospital policies. He / she may become your best advocate or be used against you. (it happened to me twice) 
  6. When you're in labour it's not your job to please hospital staff or to be convenient, it's THEIR job to ensure that your needs are met, so be assertive!
  7. Last but not least ==> if a woman says she was treated badly and feels dissatisfied or worse, don't deny her that personal truth. Be part of the solution, don't add to the problem.
Remember that although you  may want a natural birth very few staff in a hospital have ever actually seen birth without interventions, or unhindered birth (click here). Watching The Business of Being Born is an eye opener when the young medical students are asked how many unhindered births they've seen and they all answer "ummmmm none". Statically speaking, if you're after an unhindered birth you have a far greater chance of getting it at home.  

Finally, to those doctors, midwives and nurses who do work hard to protect women's bodily integrity, and offer genuine support to labouring women, THANK YOU! Please keep doing your job to the best of your ability, and when you hear women criticising hospital birth, don't take it personally. Work towards changing the system that you work in but don't attempt to silence a woman who has suffered birth rape, birth trauma, or dissatisfaction as a result of her own experience. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What's white and fluffy?


The hill with snow icing on top, taken from our front doorstep by Stylish

Mount Wellington, taken from the Tasman bridge while we drove over it.

The day before Spikee's birthday we went to get last minute party supplies and when we drove through Longley there was snow beside the road so we pulled over and threw it at each other. Stylish had decided to stay home that day so she missed out, but she noticed snow on the hill so she took pics of it for us. Spikee thought snow was excellent! 

Today we're more or less stuck in the town because the rain has caused the Huon River to burst its' banks and the roads are flooded, and who wants to drive on the icy roads anyway! Luckily we're well supplied. The weather has been crazy, much more extreme that locals can remember it being for about 20 years. We had several black outs the other night, one on Spikee's birthday night when we were without power (thank heavens for the wood heater!) for a couple of hours. We played snakes and ladders by candle light. It was actually nice being all snug and warm and just being a family with no technology however we didn't complain when it all came back on.