What word did you select to be your travelling companion in 2012? What gifts did this word bring?
The concept of choosing a word for the coming year is a new one for me, so I didn’t actively select one last year. However, had I chosen, it would without a doubt have been Mindful. I’ve done my best in 2012 to learn to be more mindful in every aspect of my life and I’ve learned so much along the way. I know that I’ve weathered a few storms a lot better than I would have done had I not embarked upon my quest to live a more mindful existance. It’s a lifelong journey and I look forward to honing my mindfulness skills in 2013. Certainly I now have a great many resources from which to draw inspiration and knowledge moving into the new year. Blogroll coming!
What word will you choose to guide you through 2013? What do you hope it will bring into your life?
Calm. Being a stay at home mum is a joy in so many, many ways, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But it’s also bloody tough work – emotionally, mentally and right now 5 weeks post-caesar with a toddler to care for as well demand breastfeeding, physically. It’s 24/7. There is no let up. I have to stay calm in the face of it all, for the sake of me, my girls and my husband. I must remain smiling (albeit doubtless a bit maniacally at times) in the midst of the madness and remember that it will get easier. That way I’ll be sure to enjoy the precious moments, of which I know there will be many.
#reverb12 is about taking a little time out at the end of the year for some gentle reflection, in order to:
* celebrate the successes of 2012
* honour the challenges of 2012
* plant the seeds for a rich and rewarding 2013
Hosted by the lovely Kat over at I Saw You Dancing, each day in December there will be a question to think about. This is today’s question:
How are you starting this last month of 2012?
Take a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself the question: how do you feel…
… in your body? in your mind? in your day job? in your creative life? in your heart?
I’m starting out tired and a little trepiditious in body and mind, but hopeful and full of love in my heart. My second daughter was born via c-section eight days ago and while my recovery has been excellent to date, I am still feeling a bit battered and fragile. Plus of course as a family we are getting used to the joys of living with two gorgeous little girls instead of one, and I am a little bit concerned about how I am going to manage everything when my husband goes back to work in a few weeks! And I’d forgotten all about night feeds and cluster feeding. And clustered night feeding 😉 But, one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time as necessary, is my game plan. To be mindful.
My body has been through a lot in 2012 but I am feeling very positive about my recovery in the next few weeks and my goals for getting back into shape in 2013. Already keeping a food diary! And I picked up an ancient exercise bike on Freecycle yesterday. Looks like it comes out of the ’80s but once cleaned up it should allow me to squeeze in some exercise on days when it’s not possible to leave the house for anything outdoorsy or more formal!
In my creative life, well, definitely no time to sew this month, but I hope to be able to write a little now and then. And hey, I did just grow a baby, so I think I can say it’s been quite a creative year all in 😉
Today is the “official” due date for my second baby girl, who was born via happy elective c-section last Friday afternoon. Miss A is now 6 days old and fast asleep in her cot. I am so loved up! And this caesarean experience has been sooooooo much better than last time! It all went very smoothly, with no mind-mashing drug experiences and a very successful recovery to date. I was fully present when I held my baby girl in my arms for the first time and I remember every second. I fed her straight away in Recovery, my milk came in about 48 hours later, and breastfeeding is now becoming well-established and hassle-free. We came home first thing Tuesday morning (I elected to stay a fourth night to make sure I could go 24 hours without the heavier painkillers), having been very well cared for in hospital, and we’re now being very well cared for by my lovely husband. Miss M is also assisting in her own special way wherever possible, and has taken to her new little sister very well indeed. It’s so wonderful seeing them together.
I’m a little disappointed to report that I didn’t have my tubes tied after all. Everything was going great and I had Miss A on my chest when I started to get those dreaded chest pains. I heard voices talking about what drugs to try, what to do next, and someone mentioned the words general anaesthetic. Um, no thanks!! I asked them to stop right there and stitch me back up, which they did. Quit while you’re ahead, I say! I also elicited a promise from my husband then and there with many witnesses – he will be making his vasectomy appointment forthwith!
Today also marks exactly three years since my husband and I arrived in Australia – and here we are, our little Aussie family complete and ready to begin the next chapter. Feeling immensely fortunate and excited to see what the future holds for us. Meantime, my plan is to take it one grateful, intentional, mindful and undoubtedly muddled day at a time 🙂
During this pregnancy I’ve felt a lot of social pressure to VBAC from strangers who have for some reason felt compelled to share their views with me upon being told that I am planning to have (another) elective caesarean. There have been tears, which on one particularly memorable and distressing occasion prompted a rather ranty post a few weeks back. Yesterday, however, I finally learned how to stop a VBAC v Caesar discussion / interrogation in its tracks. I was out back at playgroup, and there it was again, from someone with whom I have never had a conversation beyond “how ya goin?”:
Her: “So, you’re having a caesar on Friday? Why?”
Me: “I’m just too posh to push”.
Conversation over. Short, if not sweet, and definitely preferable to having another of “those” conversations, especially 48 hours from the birth. I just wish I had learned to say this months ago! I’m not “too posh to push”. I have my reasons, but that’s just it, they’re my reasons, and the only people who need to be privy to them are my husband, my OB and a very close girlfriend.
Anyways! In less than 24 hours I will hold my baby girl in my arms at last! I was showing at 7 weeks and am just enormous now at 39 weeks – I feel like this pregnancy has lasted forever! I am so excited to meet her. I’m hoping for a much better experience than last time, and armed with new knowledge and prior experience, I am confident that will be the case.
I’ll probably be in hospital until at least Monday morning if not Tuesday, and thereafter I foresee a bit of a hiatus for The Mindful Mum. I’ve had a great couple of months getting back into the blog with the help of Blogtoberfest and have found so many great new blogs to read and met some lovely bloggers. I’ll be back! But for now…ciao! 🙂
I have never been able to remember the first time I held my precious Miss M. She was born via elective caesarean section (unusual breech), and right after she was lifted out I experienced the most excruciating pain in my chest. I thought I was going to die. I don’t remember anything except hearing her first cry, registering she was ok, and then…nothing. I don’t remember leaving the operating theatre, I barely remember being in Recovery and I have no recollection of being taken back to Maternity. The following hours and that first whole night are a blur. I have always thought that I was simply traumatised by the surgery, afraid and in pain. I thought my own pain over-rode my feelings for my newborn daughter. I never had that precious time that everyone talks about, the first time they held their baby in their arms. But, she was ok, and I was ok and that was all that mattered. I didn’t let myself get hung up on it, I’d read that it didn’t happen for everyone, that immediate connection and burst of love. In all honesty I never actually felt disconnected from her – I just felt overwhelmed, and that something had been missed, and in some way I had failed mentally in dealing with the surgery and subsequent recovery, but that it was ok now, so I should just move on. I never spoke about it and life did move on.
Indeed I forgot all about that pain in my chest until last week when it was time to book in for my second c-section and the subject came up. I said I wanted the baby to be given to me right away and explained why I thought it hadn’t happened last time – because something had gone wrong with me that to my recollection was never explained to me. I was given a pre-op appointment with an anaesthesiologist this morning so that we could find out what happened last time and stop it happening this time. It turns out that I didn’t fail my daughter – there is a reason for my not remembering anything. It wasn’t because I was emotionally unable to cope with the surgery and its aftermath. It was Fentanyl. A synthetic opiate analgesic which is 50 – 100 times more potent than morphine, and which was administered after I reacted badly to the Sentocin which was given (as was routine) to make my uterus contract while I was still on the table. Although still conscious, I was completely out of it before I even got to hold Miss M. I was then put on an intravenous morphine PCA – more opiate – which I told them to take out at some point that night as it made me nauseous and the fear of vomiting with my stomach all stitched and in so much pain was greater than my fear of more pain. And at some point after that I started to come out of my haze.
They don’t administer Sentocin any more, so chances are I won’t have that same reaction this time. There’s nobody to blame, I just had an unusal reaction to one drug which was treated with the drug they thought most appropriate at the time. I don’t quite understand why such a strong drug was used, but I’m not going to get hung up on that now. What’s done is done, and now I have the knowledge to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. I can refuse the Fentanyl and ask for Endone instead, or have nothing if I choose. I’m told that the chest pains, excruciating as they are, won’t last for long if they do recur, so if I can endure it and I don’t want any drugs, they won’t give me any. It’s all in my notes, plus the request for no morphine at any time.
I was stunned when the anaesthesiologist explained all this to me. I finally have a reason for what happened, and it wasn’t my fault. I hadn’t beaten myself up about it, or talked about it, but it made me very sad whenever I thought about not remembering holding my little girl, and the fact that I let her go to the nursery that night instead of staying with me. I was too out of it to make a different decision. The anaesthesiologist asked me if I felt “cheated”. I guess I do if I think about it. Because I was denied that precious time that everyone talks about, the first time they held their baby in their arms. But I am comforted by the fact that I know that I was able to hold her just 15 minutes or so after she was born, even though I can’t recall it. And her father held for that whole first 15 minutes, she wasn’t alone or with a stranger. I was completely disoriented but I managed to breastfeed her straight away, and every time they brought her to me in the night. I have photos of me holding her and gazing at her with love and wonder, even thought I don’t remember those moments with any clarity. She was with me, as she has been ever since. And this time around, it’s going to be better. I know it.
I find that, like me, my “gratefuls” are increasingly closer to home as the birth of our baby girl becomes ever more imminent. Apart from sticking to Miss M’s regular outings (without which we would both go mad), and my joy and relief at the re-election of President Barack Obama, my world has shrunk to home and hearth. The kicks are everything, the regular tightenings are an obsession, my hospital bag is packed and I’m putting together a little bag for daughter #2 today. I’m organising and list-making and trying to rest as much as possible. Thirteen days to the scheduled caesarean date but I feel more and more sure that she’s not going to wait that long!!
In particular this week I am grateful:
* to my husband’s flexible workplace, which has allowed him to take Miss M to work on a few occasions to give me a break, and also cut his hours to mornings only in these final 10 days before his 4 weeks off begin – much needed respite for this big, tired mama;
* that the hospital is only 5 minutes down the road;
* that I got the lovely OB I wanted via public healthcare, that he’s on call the entire week before my scheduled c-section date, and that the OB I can’t stand is now off rotation until the end of the month (relief!);
* that I’ve found a sleep book I hadn’t yet tried, on my own bookshelf – Elizabeth Pantley’s The No Cry Sleep Solution – and so there is (I hope!!!!) some light at the end of the sleep deprivation tunnel for both daughter #1 and her parents;
* that my pregnancy continues to progress relatively easily with no major issues even though the minor ones are starting to get me down a lil bit at this point – I am, for example, sad that I had to (with great difficulty and much assistance) remove my wedding ring from my swollen fingers last night – but if that’s the most of my late pregnancy hassles apart from being so cumbersome and achy, then I’m grateful indeed!
Tubectomy. Not a word I was familiar with until a few days ago. Also known as tubal ligation, or female sterilisation. Scary sounding, that last one. Very, very…final. I was always under the impression that it is a major surgery and had decided that if anyone was doing anything quite so drastic, it would be my husband, not me – I figure my body has at this point done enough for this family! So, although we definitely don’t want to have any more children after our second little girl arrives in two weeks, it’s not a contraceptive option we have ever considered. I was rather taken aback, therefore, when my OB quite casually asked me during a routine 36 week pregnancy appointment if I’d like him to tie my tubes before he stitches me back up after my baby is born via caesarean section. He explained that it’s just a quick job and as he’s going to be “in there anyway”, it’s a good option for me if I am sure that I don’t want to have any more children.
In the days since my OB (who delivered Miss M via c-section two years ago and is most lovely and trusted) and I had our chat, I’ve thought about it a great deal and my husband and I have talked about it a lot. I’ve been assured that there will be no risk of added complications on top of those already present in c-section surgery and no extension to my recovery time beyond that which is considered normal for a caesar. I’m 38 now and I do not want to have a third child at 40, for financial, emotional, practical and physical reasons. My husband is in complete agreement (and also I daresay delighted that consequently he won’t have to have anyone “chop off his willy”, which is apparently the calm and measured view he has of the very thought of a modern vasectomy). So, while we still have two weeks to make our final decision, I think we are there already.
No more condoms, pills or IUDs!! Praise be!!! One day, I might even want to have sex again 😉
We are a long, long way from Europe and family. Come April it will have been four years since we left and while we are not especially close to our families, we still love and miss them, would adore it if we were able to see them more often, or indeed at all – and at times like this, well, we need them. But we can’t have them. In all honesty I realise now that we didn’t really properly think through the whole concept of having children so far away from our home countries (Germany and UK). Our current issues have really brought it home to me that by emigrating to the other side of the world, we have in reality sacrificed a great deal on behalf of our children before either of them were even conceived – the opportunity and security of getting to know their own extended family. That said, we know that this is the right place for us to be. We don’t regret our decisions. However, the difficulties of recent weeks have left me facing the reality that our little immigrant family is very vulnerable under certain circumstances, and it has been quite frightening and very stressful at times.
I have as a result of this realisation, and having been let down by someone I trusted, been forced to ask for practical help amongst my mummy circle. It wasn’t easy to do it. I explained the situation, told them I need them, that my little family badly needs help right now. Those I asked directly came through for me, straight away, and offering more than that for which I had asked. Others also proactively offered assistance to me and my husband and my girls. Immediately a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I slept well that night for the first time in almost two weeks.
The word grateful doesn’t cut it, how I feel on discovering that all I had to do was tell the truth and ask. This week I am so very, very grateful for the true friendships I have discovered here in a small town in Regional Australia. I can now breathe easy, knowing that our little family is not as vulnerable as I thought it was. And best of all I am now able to look forward to the birth of our second little girl without anxiety and with joy again. We found out yesterday that she will be born (via c-section) exactly three weeks today, almost to the hour!
Choosing to have my first caesarean section was a tough decision. Choosing to have this one is the hardest decision I have ever had to make. It’s my life, and my baby’s life! Don’t demand that I explain myself to you. Don’t use me to validate your own life and choices or make yourself feel good. Get a bloody grip and keep your opinions & judgement to yourself!
Sometimes one of the hardest parts of motherhood is other mothers. It shouldn’t be this way. Usually I let it slide but it’s hard when I’m this pregnant and so close to meeting my little girl and feeling so excited about it all…and I go for a picnic in the park and face a barrage of questions from people I don’t even know. Why can’t people just live and let live??
Next time someone tells you they’re having a c-section, unless they volunteer further information, a word of advice – don’t say “why are you having one? why did you have the last one? is this baby also breach? can’t you try for a natural birth? don’t you want to?” It’s none of your #%^@**# business!!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 17/31
32 weeks! Can’t believe it! I’ve been feeling like this pregnancy has gone on FOREVER but all of a sudden things seem to be speeding up! Living in Regional Australia where we do, one of the milestones of pregnancy is getting to 35 weeks, because if the baby wants to come before that you have to be airlifted out to a hospital about 5 hours drive away as there are no NICU facilities here for babies born so soon. That, we do not want. But, that is now less than 3 weeks away. Then one week after that I have an appointment with my lovely obstetrician, and he will give me a date for my elective caesarean. He also delivered Miss M via caesar and I really like and trust him, so I feel very lucky that the cookie crumbled my way and I got him again (public healthcare doesn’t allow for choosing your OB). Based on the weeks I will be and the days Dr W operates, I’m thinking possibly 19th or 23rd November, which is only 6 or 7 weeks today. Woot!
(I’m deliberately not explaining / justifying my elective caesars. I’ve had quite a few unpleasant experiences discussing this topic (e.g. did I know I’m more likely to die, or have a hysterectomy? – this from a stranger who knew absolutely nothing about me!) and really, I do belive it is my own personal choice based on my OB’s recommendations, and nobody else’s business. I don’t know why some mothers feel the need to get all uppity and judgemental about other people’s birth decisions. I could write numerous posts about those who call for a “birthing revolution” and would wish to deny mothers like me Choice. I could also get quite fired up about people who have VBAC’d and believe the world should follow suit. However, I have learned that life is too short!).
I’m all organised except maternity pads (sorry yes yurgh, TMI), breast pads and nipple cream (ok all TMI really, apologies). Bought a car capsule and a cot mattress last week, everything else we already have from when Miss M was a baby. I’ve sorted out all Miss M’s baby clothes and all those I’ve been given by kind and lovely friends – my baby has a better wardrobe than me and she’s not even born yet! And I just now finished washing and hanging out a few onesies, singlets and wraps and will be packing a small bag at the weekend, just in case. This mama is ready to rock!!
Miss M is napping (at last) so I now have time for a browse through Chrissie Gallagher-Mundy’s Caesarian Recovery, which arrived this morning and looks fantastic. Accompanied by a nice big mug of English Breakfast tea and one (/two) of yesterday’s blueberry muffins, of course 🙂
Blogtoberfest 2012, 5/31