Friday, March 26, 2010

The choice is yours

‘Once a caesar, always a caesar’ is no longer the norm, as more women are successfully achieving natural birth after having a caesarean
Just over a month ago a friend of mine gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.
Sure, heaps of women have beautiful baby girls, but this was her second child, and she is among a group of mothers who chose to have a vaginal birth after a previous caesarean (commonly called VBAC).
Her successful outcome was a result of months of preparation, research and support, and she is a perfect example of how VBACs can be achieved.
She undertook a hypnobirthing course aimed to help her relax during labour, employed a doula (birth attendant) for support, swam and took pilates classes (to help get her baby into a good position), and found an obstetrician willing to support her birth choices.
And now she has a happy and thriving baby, and none of the complications or side effects associated with surgery.
If you’ve had a caesarean and would like to open up your birth choices for future children, here are some facts and tips to get you on the path to a successful birth.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Help, I've got pram envy!

Finding the perfect pram has gotten a whole lot more difficult
I don’t know of any parent who has raised a child without the help of a pram.
Seriously, can you think of anyone? Even I was pushed around in an umbrella stroller and my parents were probably pushed around in huge bouncing buggies when they were babies.
I’m sure there are parents out there who remain true to attachment parenting and carry their babies from day one until they can no longer take the weight of a preschooler, but they are most certainly the exception.
However, I might just be destined for this style of parenting – and not by choice but because prams and strollers are being made more complicated than ever.
I spent half a day with my husband going to every baby store in Cairns trying out every pram to see if my arthritic hands could actually fold/unfold, lift, adjust the seating positions, and buckle/unbuckle the harness.
As the population continues to rise, so does the number of prams on the market. There are prams of all shapes and sizes, colours and styles, with varying tyres, fabrics, accessories and features.
But there was not one pram suitable for my needs, and it is obvious that the more our society becomes safety conscious, the more we sacrifice making things easy, instead we only make it harder.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thank God I'm a country girl

The country or the city? It’s a no-brainer for most families in the Far North but our society does shape our children
My family recently spent a few days in Sydney.
It had been a number of years since we last visited, and the first time for our daughter.
We planned well ahead with flexible itineraries for each day, affordable accommodation in an ideal location in the CBD and budgeted plenty of spending money for food and public transport.
But from the moment my husband and I got on the Airlink train from Sydney airport to the CBD, we felt sick.
(Incidently, my husband and I met each other in London, and any reminder of the Tube gives us flashbacks of feeling like a sardine with our face in someone’s sweaty armpit, and regular delays causing an acute case of claustrophobia.)
Our daughter was thrilled to be on a plane and then a train, and loved the adventure, so we grinned and bared it for her sake.
Each day in the city was a lot of fun, as we saw all the major sights, visited Taronga Zoo and a couple of museums, joined the other tourists on the hop-on/hop-off buses and indulged in various restaurants and cafes whenever we got hungry.
Despite the experience being a positive one, we couldn’t wait to leave. The city is just not for us.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thank you!

To start at the beginning, I had a somewhat emotional rollercoaster day on Saturday. Woke up with hands that screamed at me, but I was determined to get my daughter to her Little Ballerinas class on time (8.30am). After a breakfast of cereal and a handful of pills, hubby got Laura ready, then he started the car for me and helped me put on my seat belt. We made it on time, but I was hurting from head to toe, and my brain was like pea soup fog. After class, Laura had a tantrum and we ended up fighting all the way home, with me crawling into my room in tears unable to control my fragile physical and emotional state. What a drama queen!

Eventually the family storm become calm and hubby took us all to the North Queensland Baby and Children's Expo at the Convention Centre. Now in its second year, the expo is going from strength to strength and is a real credit to event manager and director Jodie Cox. She has brought together so many wonderful exhibitors, presenters and entertainers for two full days of shopping, information and fun for kids. While hubby took Laura off to meet the Easter Bunny and get her face painted, I wandered through the aisles looking for information relative to me and my family, in particular, anything to do with pregnancy and having my second child.

I had a lovely chat to a midwife from Cairns Base Hospital and discovered that a lot has changed since 2006 when I had Laura. My chance for a water birth is a lot more likely, with more staff qualified to assist, and my options for pain relief and third stage of labour (delivering the placenta) are also more flexible than last time. She told me they also offer refresher antenatal courses so I think that I should probably enrol... four years isn't a long time, but when you suffer from brain fog like I do, it's probably a good idea!

I have often praised the wonderful work of the Australian Breastfeeding Association in my columns, but today I just want to give a pat on the back to Cairns group leader Julie-Anne who I spoke with at the expo. I explained my situation of dealing with rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy and medications safe for baby, and she said she would try and find some information for me. Well, late last night I got an email from her with a very comprehensive list of information, links to various websites (some of which I knew about, but some of them I had not found before... Google doesn't always get it right!) and a personal invitation to get in touch with her if ever I need any further advice or assistance. This information is like finding gold... it's up-to-date and it's relevant to me. So, Julie-Anne, I want to let everyone know that I'm very grateful for your help, and super impressed at your efficiency!

When you consider that ABA counsellors are all volunteers and receive no payment for the work they do, it's so great to know that there are women out there supporting other women. Yesterday was International Women's Day, and I really didn't give too much thought to what it meant... but in the past month I have been given so many helping hands from family, friends, colleagues and complete strangers, and most of them are women. Thank you ladies, may good karma come back to you!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oops, now where did I leave my brain?

Baby brain has been a handy excuse for pregnant women for years, but new research suggests it’s all in our head

It was a morning just like any other.
I got up slowly, and with blurred vision and that half-asleep stagger, I made my way to the bathroom.
I picked up my razor (which, let’s face it, doesn’t see much action when you’re pregnant) and carefully and skillfully started shaving off my eyebrows.
One at a time, the hair came off and I looked at myself in the mirror admiring the fact that I now had not one hair between my eyelashes and the top of my forehead.

Early arrival

The premature birth of a baby sometimes brings more heartache than joy

When my daughter was born two weeks before her due date I thought: “Great … there go my last moments of rest and relaxation.”
I was excited about meeting my baby, but I was put out by the fact that I had made plans for those two weeks involving massages, pedicures and cooking meals to freeze for later.
Instead I spent the early stages of labour mopping the floors and packing my bag to take to hospital.
For some reason I felt the house needed to be spotless before the baby arrived, as if this little mini-me would be horrified at the sight of a speck of dust.
The real reason, of course, was so I would not have to lift a finger to do housework when I came home from hospital a few days later. The “nesting” instinct is really just a term for mothers who plan ahead.
So my final trimester was cut a wee bit short, but I was prepared for the birth and my husband and I were both ready to meet our baby.
Imagine then, if instead of being two weeks early, she arrived two months early.

Mums who blog

WHEN PakMag contacted me to do an article about mums who blog, I realised I was probably the right person to write about such a topic.
Not just because I love to write and have at one time ran an online business, but because I have not one, but three blogs.
The first one was started in March 2006, a month after my daughter was born.
It’s a blog dedicated to my children with lots of pictures, journal of their milestones and events, height and weight records, and other “baby” stuff.
My second blog was started last year as an outlet for my creative side. It’s my “diary of nice things” free for all to read and peruse at their leisure, but also a place for me to show off what I like to do in my spare time. Sadly, this is also the most neglected blog on my blogroll.
My third blog is Mumologues and is essentially my thoughts on parenting and my strategies for being a better mum.
With this blog I hope to inspire, inform, encourage and entertain other mothers about issues we all face at one time or another.
Blogging is most definitely a form of nurturing one’s ego if you have a certain talent you can show off to the rest of the world, but it’s also a way to express yourself in words that you cannot always do in a regular conversation.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Oh baby!

It's official! Far North Queensland has the cutest babies I've ever seen! 
Check out the gallery of entries here, and you'll see that my task of picking a winner is not going to be easy. 
When I was putting together the Babies of 2009 Book in January, most people assume that after a while one baby looks the same as the next, but in fact, every single baby looks different. We are all unique from the moment we're born (except if you're an indentical twin!) but babies have one thing in common – their irresistible smile. There's something quite magical about a gummy baby smile that can make even the hardest of men melt. And if you're wondering who the cute baby above is... it's my daughter when she was seven months of age. No longer a baby, she turned four years old last Friday, and is still making us laugh.
Before we announce the winner, I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to every who entered because your entry fees are going to a very worthwhile cause – the Leukaemia Foundation.
Best of luck and keep those babies smiling!