30 September 2009

Cheers!

Cowboy, Champ and I just returned from a lovely little 4 generation getaway (Champ, me, my Mum and my Grandmother - along with two of my siblings). Champ was totally spoiled for company with everyone vying for his attention while Cowboy and I sat back and relaxed (we are paying for it now though with a 'lil muchikin who thinks someone - me - should be playing with him every waking minute of the day).

As I could have predicted, AF decided to crash the party. Once again 4 weeks after miscarriage, Bam!, my cycle is back. I am hoping that this heralds a new phase in my moods. For the last 4 weeks my moods have gone through all of the mourning stages. The strongest of all were anger and sadness.

My moods were not necessarily directed at the object of the loss, more upon almost everything else in my life (thankfully Champ escaped unscathed - the same can not be said for Cowboy).

I have been left shaking with rage at Cowboy for forgetting to tell me he was off for the morning to play squash, and again when I was stuck in traffic that made me late for the toy library, arriving just after close time, I was frequently angry at the back gate for not opening/closing easily enough.

This last week I have been very sad. Sad that so many of my clothes seem to have shrunk (particularly in the tummy and thigh areas), sad that my friends and I hadn't caught up for so long and then when we did things were a little awkward, sad that our 'good' couches have little finger print stains all over them.

But with the arrival of AF, my moods seem to have settled a bit. I am no longer left raging hours after the storm which drenched my clean clothes which had been left of the line has passed. I don't feel like crying into my cup of tea when Champ throws his bowl of cereal over board.

I feel more stable.

This cycle will be a non-event. It seems counter intuitive to waste a cycle when we want to add to our family so strongly. But that is the choice we have made. We will wait until our appointment with the specialist at the end of next month and see where we go from there.

So instead of using the month to try to conceive, I will be using it to get back into shape a bit with lots of walks to the park and lots of good healthy food choices. I have let 3 months of pregnancy and many more months of mourning add far too many kilos to my weight scale. I think that shedding the kilos will help me to shed some more of the mood swings too.

So I'm off now to down my carrot sticks and rice crackers with a nice glass of cold water. Cheers! To stability.

22 September 2009

I extended my Loungeroom:

Playing with the caterpillar we found in the back yard we had a great science lesson about the whole caterpillar - cocoon - butterfly thing.

Arts and craft times are what Champ enjoys most. Moving the fingerpainting outside was genius as I could sit and enjoy a cuppa while he played happily for over an hour (this includes time playing with the water while washing up the paint brushes and containers afterwards - you know, the best bit).


In his pajamas practicing his 'cool' look for the playground the next day.

19 September 2009

What's the rush anyway?

After my second miscarriage Cowboy and I had some decisions to make about what to do next. If you will recall, he thought we should just go and try a third time since conception happens pretty quickly for us, whereas I was leaning towards not gestating for 10 weeks before being back to square one again. Again. One thing that was holding me back was cost.

I don't know how much fertility docs are, but I know they are not cheap. We do have private cover, but that still leaves a pretty big out of pocket expense. I know that cost alone would not stop me from investigating further, however Cowboy's argument that we could have just been unlucky with the gene pool twice (rather than it being any long term, fixable problem) did have some weight - especially since we have no difficulty with my first pregnancy.

I had pretty much reconciled myself to trying again next cycle (waiting out my first post-miscarriage cycle), that way by the new year I would either be 12 weeks along or on my way to a specialist to cure all our problems (ha!). But then I met a mother at one of our breastfeeding association meetings who also had a child Champ's age. I asked her if her daughter was her only one and she responded that having her daughter had literally almost killed her so as much as she would dearly love another one, she wasn't going to risk it. This led me to open up to her and another Mum close by that we had been trying to make Champ a big brother but that we miscarried twice this year. The other Mum asked if we were going to see anyone and recommended a doctor (a professor actually) at the hospital which Champ had been born at who would see you after only two consecutive miscarriages. She had been herself having suffered two before she had her daughter and could not recommend him highly enough. The hospital is a public hospital. Free!

The place the professor works is called the recurrent miscarriage clinic and it sees women who have have three consecutive miscarriages, however there is another department, the pregnancy management clinic (PMC) which sees you after 'only' two. For free!

The PMC offers consultation before conception (including blood work and pelvic ultrasounds) as well as treatment if any problems are found. It also continues to see you weekly once you do conceive. Weekly. For free!

Having had Champ at this hospital (in the Family Birth Centre) under public care I know that some of the best doctors and midwives in Australia work in the public system and they give fantastic care (even post birth - Champ's hospital stay of 36 hours in special care was in this hospital and I know for a fact that many private hospitals were sending their intensive care babies to this hospital because it has the best reputation). I do know however that the public system is pushed to near breaking point and it is very difficult to get into their care. They only allow you one ultrasound at 18-20 weeks for the entire pregnancy. However, if you are managed under the PMC you get an ultrasound weekly for the first 12 weeks, plus one whenever you feel worried and need reassurance. Did I mention that it is free?!

So it all sounds great and I went to my GP last week and go the referral. I spoke to the clinic this week to schedule my appointment. The lady was lovely. She gave me an appointment with the professor.

For the 30th of October.

Do they not understand how women's cycles work? That will be after my next cycle. It will even be 7 days into the next, next cycle. If they have to run blood tests over the whole cycle that will mean waiting for the next, next, next cycle. And then wait for the results (next, next, next, next cycle?). And then possibly treatments.

So I am having a little meltdown thinking about it. Cowboy has very considerately not mentioned that we just try one more time since I may well end up 12 weeks into a successful pregnancy by the time we are even to get the results back from the professor (although I am sure we have both thought it).

Then a little voice inside my head asks me 'What is the rush anyway?'.

Even if we wait and are not able to commence operation baby making until the new year, Champ will only be 2 years 9 months by the time his sibling is due. Hardly a huge age gap (my ideal has always been 2.5 years).

We are very happy as a one child family at the moment (albeit with dreams of more children in our heads which we are not able to surrender). Champ would like a playmate, sure, but Mummy makes the best playmate for a 2 year old anyway.

Then I remember why I am in such a rush.

I will turn 30 next October.

The brick wall. The age which is a marker in a women's life between youth and being ancient (ok, a little melodramatic maybe). I know I won't suddenly develop gray hairs, wrinkles and be unable to run around and keep up with my kids anymore the moment I turn 30... but it sure feels like it.

So there is my dilemma. Go it alone (well, with Cowboy) and hope to have a baby next July (well and truly enough time to get in shape for a rocking 30th birthday party!) or see the professor and receive all the additional medical attention and support and be either in labour or still sore from the stitches at my birthday party?

17 September 2009

Attitude

I have noticed lately how I walk away from some conversations with certain Mums feeling grateful, happy and hopeful; and from conversations with other Mums feeling grumpy and dissatisfied. Some Mums have such a positive attitude towards parenting and their children that I mentally count my blessings as I walk away from their company; other Mums are so dissatisfied with their lot in life that their dark cloud starts to follow me around for the rest of the day and I find myself finding fault in my darling little boy.

Upon further examining these mothers, I realise that the children of these different types of mothers are all really the same, not better or worse bahaved than the other. It is the attitude of the mothers that makes them either darling angels or cheeky minxes. Often it seems that these 'difficult' children have been labeled 'difficult' since before they were even born. Have you ever noticed that 'difficult' labels are almost impossible to remove?

These mothers often had 'difficult' pregnancies and 'difficult' birthing experiences; the baby was 'difficult' and now the toddler is, of course, 'difficult'.

I know that these experiences can be easier or more difficult to varying degrees; however, all pregnancies are uncomfortable at the least, not many births are a walk in the park, all babies cry and fuss, and all toddlers are clingy attention seeking, tantrum throwing little beings. At times.

Some mothers manage to talk about their toddler with a smile on their face and a twinkle in their eye as they juggle the kid on one hip while calming him down from a tantrum, accepting and enjoying the fact that their child wants their attention more than any other thing in the world.

All I can do it try to surround myself with these kind of parents so that my attitude can be just as positive. Raising children is not easy; but nothing that is worth it ever is.

15 September 2009

Holidays

It just occurred to me that I have not blogged about this wonderful holiday that I have been on for the last 6 weeks. Let me tell you about it.

Pretty much straight after I quit work to raise Champ full time, Cowboy's work started offering redundancy packages. Cowboy hadn't been there very long (2 years) but he was considering looking around for another job with more pay, more mental stimulation, less hours and closer to home (you know, something ideal). The package covered about 4 months of his salary and by the time you consider that it is tax free, it came to about 6 months of his net wage (good to have an accountant for a wife, see?), in which time we are pretty sure he will find another job. Of course, he took the package.

So for the last 6 weeks the parent to child ratio in our house has been 2:1. Bliss!

Do you have any idea how easy life would be with two full time parents and only one reasonably well behaved toddler to take care of? Holiday for everyone! Of course we are rationing money a little (just in case) so we can't actually afford a holiday anywhere special, but the fact that I can leave the house during Champ's nap time, Cowboy can take Champ to the park in the afternoon so that I can vacuum and tidy up in peace, and I can read Champ stories while Cowboy takes his time preparing dinner each night makes for a very relaxed atmosphere in the Lemoncake household.

We sometimes take the divide and conquer route whereby Champ gets all of one parent's attention while the other either does household chores or relaxes with a good book. But we find our family is happier when we all get a piece of the action whereby we dress up and clean up together and then get out of the house for the morning, either to the zoo, a park, a children's farm or a play centre, sometimes even a day trip around our lovely state.

Soon Cowboy will begin the job hunt in earnest. It is probably a good thing both for our finances and our sanity. He has openly admitted that full time parenting is not for him. I don't think I could hack it, he says. And despite the extra help I get, sometimes I think it would be better for our relationship if we went back to the 'evenings and weekends only' relationship which existed before. I freely admit that I get frustrated if I feel he is not pulling his weight. Despite previously doing it all by myself when he was at work, I feel tired and angry when I know that he is slacking off somewhere in the house while I am cleaning and entertaining Champ. I don't mind doing it all when he is at work; but he is not at work so it is frustrating all.

Overall, this time with Champ has been great for their relationship and for Cowboy's parenting skills. It does, however, bring into prominence the difference in our parenting styles. When it is occasionally my turn to sleep-in in the morning (very occasional, ok?) I wake at 10 am or so to find both Champ and Cowboy in pajamas, breakfast bowls still on the table, toys everywhere and them both in front of the tv watching cartoons. I don't need to tell you how exactly opposite this picture looks when it is Daddy's turn for a sleep in. Cowboy would actually be hard pressed to find us both still at home at 10 am, he would also find the house tidy (maybe not clean, but tidy), pajamas folded and a load of washing having been hung our on the line. Still, I get an occasional sleep in, right?

Holidays are great and make for wonderful happy memories; but all holidays have to come to an end sometime.

And maybe that is a good thing.

10 September 2009

Schooooool's out for ... ever!

So I know I quit work to be a SAHM a few months ago (best thing I ever did!), but this week was Champ's actual last day at 'school' (daycare). Now before you go thinking I was sitting around for 3 days a week sipping lattes childless, I'll let you know that it wasn't like that.

I left work with the desire to start my own small business at home (in addition to caring for Champ full time). I spent a couple of weeks looking into the idea and created a business plan, I am educated as an accountant so it wasn't too much of a stretch to figure out what I would do from home. Then I fell pregnant. My business plans fell by the wayside as I found it useless to build up a client base just to throw it all away in 6 months when Muscles was due.

Meanwhile, since Champ was doing well at daycare when he was there 3 days per week, despite my better judgement, we decided to keep him in one day a week so I could give the business a red hot go. Champ didn't like the change. I think one day a week is too hard. When it was more frequent he was in the routine of going, but when we cut it right back there was too big a gap between daycare days and it stressed him out to be left there. The carers kept saying that as soon as I left he was fine and had a great day, but I was never happy about it and never enjoyed my one day per week 'off'.

Even once the business idea was put on hold, I kept him in for a while because it would be good for me to have that break when Muscles arrived. Before the miscarriage though, I decided it was too much stress for everyone and gave the centre our four weeks notice. Last Monday was the fourth week. We are now officially a daycare free family! Yay!

I know there are some benefits to childcare. The socialisation, the early (forced) independence and skills that the carer can teach that Mum and Dad might not have thought of. I really liked his daycare centre, as far as daycare centres go.

Overall though, I find daycare centres to be lacking in one vital thing: parental love. How can it be better for someone else to care for my child than for me to? No one else loves him as much. No one else cares about his learning and development as much as I do. No one else can be better than a Mum for a toddler.

So, I tried. I never wanted Champ to grow up in daycare. Maybe selfishly, I just never wanted anyone else to see him more than I do. But I gave it a go. Cowboy went to daycare full time at Champ's age. He turned out ok.

But I was never able to quiet that voice inside my head that told me that it wasn't right. I could never reconcile myself to the idea that even 3 days in childcare was a 'good' thing for Champ.

And, as all mothers do, I wanted the best for him. I wanted 1 on 1 care (a better carer:child ratio than any childcare centre), I wanted him to explore the big wide world (rather than one playroom), I wanted the most involved, caring, loving person to care for him, I wanted the person who knows him best to be teaching him and helping him learn about the world.

I wanted him in the full time care of his Mum. And now I do.

07 September 2009

21

This month my baby boy, Champ, will turn 21 months old.

This year my baby sister, Clare, will turn 21 years old.

I want to cry with how the time has passed. It really wasn't that long ago that my sister was 21 months old. Really.

My baby sister has been my substitute daughter. I was 8 when she was born; the right age to want to help Mum out with all the Mummy tasks. I paced the floor while she screamed through long afternoons when Mum was too tired (she was a screamer as a child, I can not emphasise that word enough), I sat watching tv folding her cloth nappies for hours, I watched proudly all of her toddler dress up and singing performances both at home and on stage, I cried bucket loads the first day she told me that some rotten kid had called her names at school. She is now such a great friend to me. She has been my single biggest helper outside of our household since Champ has been born, coming over for a whole day each week to keep me company (and sane in the early days) and play endlessly with Champ while I get things done.

Champ will sometimes pick up my handbag, or his nappy bag, or anything that looks like a bag and hangs it over his shoulder saying 'Bye, (see you) soon.' as he walks towards the front door. I just know that the time will fly so fast until he will be turning 21 years old and his little 'goodbye' charade will be reality.

And I want to cry.

03 September 2009

Different

Warning: Gross post. Don't read if you have a weak stomach.

Sometimes life is just too cruel.

At 10 weeks gestation with Champ I had an ultrasound. Cowboy and I experienced the absolute thrill of seeing him waving his little arms (arm buds we were told they were) to say 'Hi Mummy and Daddy'. That image of joy will stay with us forever.

Yesterday I should have been 10 weeks gestation with Muscles. I alone in the bathroom at playgroup experienced another image that will permanently stay with me. I passed Muscles in one laugh.

While laughing with another Mum I felt an odd thing escaping me. I excused myself for the bathroom and there falling into the toilet, before I had a chance to react, was my baby. It looked just like the internet said it should at 9 weeks.

I started at Muscles for quite a while. What option did I have but to flush? I don't know what I would have done if it had fallen onto my pad instead and I had the option of doing something else with it. So I said a silent prayer and flushed.

01 September 2009

Snakes


I am deeply saddened by the loss of our baby Muscles. I have many emotions about it, and yet somehow they seem dimmer than last time.

Maybe it is because I have already experienced miscarriage once. The emotions aren't taking me by surprise this time.

Maybe last time there was more shock and surprise. I am surprised by this outcome, I really thought that this would be our baby. With Turtledove I had strange denial feelings all along, but this time I 'knew' it would work out (more fool me). But the first time that we miscarried there was certainly a lot of 'this type of thing doesn't happen to us' thinking. This time, I knew that 'this type of thing' happens to lots of people and that includes us. Twice.

Maybe it's that I know that I'll recover. I don't want to discount the emotions of miscarriage, however it is different than I feared the first time. Recoverable. I cannot even stomach the thought of what it would do to Cowboy and I if we were to loose Champ. From that, we would never recover. Now I know that miscarriage is not in the same league. Last time, I thought I would go to pieces. Which I did, momentarily. But our family recovered. And we will again.

So my emotions are still hurting, but not as much. I am very sad about loosing Muscles. I am worried about future pregnancies. Overwhelmingly, I am frustrated by where we are.

As Cowboy pointed out to me last night, I have to do the first trimester over, and over. The worst trimester. I am a much nicer and happier pregnant woman once trimester 2 comes around. I promise.

So despite slogging it our for nearly 10 weeks this time, almost having the end to the first trimester nausea, exhaustion and grumpiness behind me, I am back where we started. I made it 10 weeks and then landed on the snake; the one that takes you back to square one.