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 🙂
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!
We live in Australia, but my husband and I are from Germany and Scotland respectively. Apart from my father’s cousin who I’ve never met that lives in Perth, WA, we have no relatives within 16,000k. Only my stepmother and her partner have ever met my little girl, and we have no plans to visit Europe any time soon (if ever) because it’s too expensive. We have been here for almost 3 years and have no regrets whatsoever about our decision to emigrate. We LOVE living here in Australia and we feel very blessed and grateful that we have been able to make it happen, and start a family over here. I was 35 when we landed in Brisbane after 7 months carefree backpacking in Southeast Asia and within 6 weeks of settling in our new home on the NSW Mid North Coast, I was pregnant and we were over the moon!
In hindsight getting pregnant and having a baby in a new country so quickly was a very tough road to travel and I struggled quite a lot, not having the support of any family or close friends. I didn’t know any other mums and I had no idea what I was doing. Fortunately I had made some community contacts during my pregnancy – volunteering with Lifeline as a telephone counsellor and becoming an active member of the local branch of Amnesty International Australia – and my husband and I did know a couple of people in town, albeit not very well, so I didn’t feel completely isolated. The months went by though and I realised things were not quite right, as I was becoming increasingly down. I went to my GP who referred me to a psychologist and while I only attended a couple of sessions, she helped me so much. I was able to see where my difficulties were coming from – absolutely natural issues relating to being a new immigrant and a new mother, and deep-rooted stuff with my own mother that had come to the surface with the birth of my own daughter, mixed up with not having a close, familiar network to lean on, was a tough, but understandable set of circumstances. Once I was able to talk them through, things became clearer, and life got better and better.
My best decision during the more difficult times in my daughter’s first 6 months was forcing myself to go to a local mothers group that I found on Facebook. So many times I didn’t think I could face it, but I made myself go and always felt better afterward. I dreaded the monthly mums night out even more but I kept on going. I learned that it was normal to find the days hard sometimes, everybody wanted to cry some days, it wasn’t just me. I also grew to appreciate the joy of being to share little things about my daughter with other mums who understood my fears and wonder and love for my child. Two years later and these same women are some of my closest friends. I love our catchups, and am myself involved in setting up meets and welcoming newcomers. I now adore mums night out 🙂 Last weekend some of my lovely Aussie mummy friends threw me a baby shower brunch. As we sat in the sunshine laughing and sharing our tales of woe and joy, I couldn’t help reflecting on how different things are this pregnancy, and how very lucky I am to have found these friendships in a far away country that is now very much our little family’s home. So all the time, but this week most especially, I am grateful for my friends.
Blogtoberfest 2012, 2/31