Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cesarean according to a 2 year old

This morning Butterfly and I were going through her newborn clothes, putting them on her dolly (Abby).   For fun, I got out her photo album of when she was born, to show her how small she used to be, wearing the same clothes as her doll!  We opened the book and landed on the photos from her C section.

She stared.  She got upset.  "Whats THAT Mummy?"
"Thats the day you were born"
"Whose THAT?" pointing to the OB holding her, and sounding very upset
"Thats the Dr who delivered you"
"Where's MUMMY?" VERY upset now
"I'm there darling, thats my tummy, see?"
"WHERE'S MUMMY?  WHERE'S DADDY?"  Crying her eyes out
"We are there, but um, they had to take you and weigh you before they bought you to me, see?"
"WHY?  Who is that?" Pointing to the other theatre staff
"I don't actually know sweetheart, people who helped with the operation"

She was in my lap at this point, crying her eyes out, wanting to be held. I'd close the book, but every so often she would open it again and ask some more questions.  Tears tears tears.

The things she couldn't understand were:
WHY was a strange man in gloves holding her?
WHERE was Mummy and Daddy?
Who were those other people?
Why did Mummy have a monitor on her finger and chest?  (She is very sensitive about those things since my ectopic, I can't wear a bandaid around her because she frets so much about my wellbeing)

I didn't have good answers for her.  I wished this had come AFTER Christmas so she had her Mamamor VBAC doll so I could show her how she was born, and how babies SHOULD be born.  (Yes I said should.  Babies should be born naturally, by their empowered mother, not by a surgeon.  SOME C sections are necessary, we all know that, but the rate sits around 30%.  Unacceptable)

I didn't have the doll.  All I could do was hold her and let her grieve and explain that babies are usually pushed out through a Mummy's vagina, but that I chose a c section because I didn't know any better.  Is this too much information for a 2 year old?  No.  Its the truth.  She was extremely disturbed by the photos and I confronted it with her and helped her through it.  I could have closed the book, I could have spun her some sugar coated junk about what it was all about.  But that's not how we roll. 

There is nothing like a toddler to paint things so simply that it leaves you wondering... why WAS some guy holding her up like a trophy?  Where was her MUM?  Why were there so many people there?  Why was Mummy hooked up to machines? 

Answer: Mummy should have been holding you.  Those people shouldn't have been there.  We should have been in a dimly lit room with only those who loved you... you should have been pushed out and caught by Mumma... who was neither hooked up to machines nor being cut open.

Trust a 2 year old to understand how birth should be.  If only everyone did.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Watertank Mud ART!

This afternoon Butterfly and I went out to play in the mud.  We started digging a trench to run water down... and I don't exactly know what happened... but we were soon painting the water tank with MUD!!  It was rad fun, it looks so earthy and cool, and we have clay which is wonderful and smooth!

The beginnings of our art...

Butterfly gets the hang of it... while Mumma paints her some native animals...

Naturally things progressed to body art...

A bit of this and a bit of SPLAT

The madness culminated in a full body mud pack for Butterfly! 

Man we had soooo much fun!  I find the best activities are the ones that happen by accident!  Having said that I'm planning on doing this again (I'm sure the rain has cleaned our slate by now)... so Sausage Mama, do remember to bring some old clothes when you come to visit!!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Guest blog... Kids and the Media by MEGGZ

Meggz is a regular on The Smallest Carbon Footprint with heaps of awesome eco tips! I've learnt a lot from her. This week she posted this on the wall, and I wanted to publish it as a blog because I found it so interesting and thought provoking! Thankyou again Meggz :)

"I wonder if any other parents out there who are environmentally conscious include limiting modern technology to their "green" parenting plan ? My youngest daughter Shorty who is 13 does not watch TV, we moved to an area many years ago that does not get any form of TV reception. I have copped a lot of flack over the years in regards to my hippy lifestyle, but the lack of TV really got some people angry (family). It is my child surely I can choose ?? Shorty does not need to watch the weather channel to know what type of day we are having, she has learnt to watch the animals around us eg: cows and horses under the trees = rain for several days, black cockatoos screeching over our property = rain in the next few days, red sky in the morning means bad weather is coming, red sky at night means good weather, ants coming out of the ground = rain. She does not need to watch the news, not because I want her to become ignorant about world events, more because I do not want her seeing the way the media tends to portray these events as bigger than what they are, promoting an over focus on pain and suffering. She does not need to watch home and away or anyother teen program that teaches our children to lie, cheat, sleep around ect. What she does need to know is facts, without all the over dramatised aspects attached. We read books, encyclopedias, we write stories, in short we learn facts then after we have mastered that we add in emotional responses. I have seen first hand how my daughter can react to any situation with a clear and level head, without becoming tangled in emotions. She learns how to "read" people by spending many hours watching animals, their body language and how you can predict accurately what their actions will be without the use of words or language. I hope all of this will help her to become a better person. I am proud of the gorgeous young lady she has become, others see her as a socially stunted child. Yes if she does not like a discussion in the school yard she will walk away and sit by herself, or if the other kids are misbehaving in any way she will detach herself from them. Still I get told "we are concerned she is spending so much time alone" Shorty enjoys her own company, she is not afraid to be alone, she is comfortable in her own skin and most importantly she is respectful and polite, she knows all people are different and we have no right to force our opinions on others. How many of you have thought about this aspect of parenting? Is it a path you think you would like to take ? Or do you like so many people around me feel as though I am doing the wrong thing ? Would really like some feedback :) Oh as an after thought, Shorty is ranked in the top 4% of her Australian peers intellectually, her grades are above and beyond. External environmental influences do play an important role in your childs behaviour, intelligence and judgement.

My reasons for posting my message isnt for a pat on the back or for Shorty to look like a saint, I just hope it may make ppl think a little deeper. I home schooled my now 17 yr old daughter, I found as she grew (teenage years) she rebelled a lot due to her feeling like she has "missed out" on so many things. Living in harmony with nature but seeing exciting things on TV made it hard for her. It was at this point I decided to approach things differently. Shorty (13) has never seen TV ads showing the toys that mum says are bad come to life and talk and become your best friend. She has never seen happy meals ads that transport you to a magical kiddy place while you are eating them. This made living as naturally as we can a whole lot easier. Sure she now sees some of these ads when we visit other ppl but she is old enough to not be interested in them, the foundations were layed when she was little :) I remember a long time ago at a childs birthday party they had a Dora dvd on, all the kids were yelling & shouting at the TV when asked "what should Dora do" Shorty came out with, Dora should make her own decisions, she shouldnt need or want to know what other ppl want her to do lol yes it got some strange looks off the parents, but I realised what I was doing with her upbringing was having a positive effect on her. She knows she is in control of her life, she makes the decisions, she does not succumb to peer presure. I also should clarify we do have a TV we just dont get TV channels. We do watch documentaries on the weekends and Shortys favourite dvd as a toddler was "Baraka" (google it it is a brilliant movie) Shorty attends a very small selective private school, I choose this path as they respect my way of living and support good manners and morals. She finds it very funny when kids at school go on about twilight movies, we love edward we love jacob ect she always says mum how can they be in love with something thats make believe? Its like being a teenager with an imaginary friend. That will do it for me lol I have typed way way too much on your page as it is :) my only advice would be .... Never underestimate the power the media has to undo all of your "green living attempts" and cause your child to feel like their natural lifestyle is lacking xox Much love, light & laughter to all xox"

Meggzy Moo

Monday, October 17, 2011

Adelle's guide to Hippy Gifting!

This is just for you, my favourite Kate O'Meara...

Usually I forget to link earth friendly gifts until a week before Christmas, when its far too late! This year I'm getting orgumanised!

It is important to think carefully about the gifts you give. I aim for them to be as natural as possible, as earth friendly as possible, and as RAD as possible! There is nothing worse for the environment than giving a gift that someone never uses... or worse, just throws away! You can encourage people to be more earth friendly with carefully thought out gifts like organic personal care, reusable shopping bags or Soapnuts!

Don't forget to check ebay and your local op shop before buying new, you would be surprised at what you might find!

So here are a few ideas for gifts for the whole family.

For the LADIES:
Envirosax pouch! I love these green bags SO much! They look AMAZING and fold down so small. Each pouch comes with 5 Envirosax, and is small enough to carry in your handbag! No more excuses for forgetting your Green Bags!

Neoflam Cookware! Are you aware of the dangers of Teflon? Neoflam provide a non toxic range of non stick cookware, and come in gorgeous colours! Fellow Dalbians, you can get this from Eloquence! Gold Coasters, you want to get your butt into Eco Vida in Burleigh :)

Cheeki stainless steel drink bottle or flask! You can get these from most health food stores. Or for the coffee lover, a reusable coffee cup.

Organic Clothing! Just google it :)

Organic personal care products! With any luck they love them and you won't have to bring your own body wash when visiting yo Mum! Miessence have everything from makeup, shampoo, moisturiser, toothpaste to PERFUME! Also check out their health care section for some awesome products to create health and beauty from within.

A good book! The Anastasia series I've just linked is very hard to find in stores, but Eco Vida stock them :) Its an amazing and mind expanding book! I recieved "Greeniology" by Tanya Ha last year and I adore it! "Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering" by Buckley and anything by Ina May Gaskin are great books for expecting mothers! "The Continuum Concept" by Jean Liedloff is awesome for all mothers (put it on your own wishlist if you haven't read it yet!)

Microfiber cleaning products such as Enjo or Norwex.

Tupperware or, better yet, Pyrex glass storage containers! Down with cling wrap!

Check out some local markets for handmade or upcycled jewellery or clothing!

For the MEN:
GAD. This is going to be a small section. Men are so hard to buy for!
Most recently I got my Dad a Thermos to take soup to work in.

Miessence products such as Ancient Spice Deodorant or Shaving Gel.

A magnetic energy torch

An eco lunchbox (just discovered a new page, buxtonbaby.com.au!)

Organic clothing.

Something to DO! Red Balloon is a website where you can buy vouchers for a drive in a rally car or a hot air balloon ride! So many things to choose from. They have spa packages for women, too.

For the BABIES!
Wooden teethers and rattles: no more yucky pastic ones! The Natural Newborn and Eco Toys have a great selection.

BPA free Boon bath ducks

Modern Cloth Nappies! Some companies will even do personalised embroidered nappies! My faves are Itti Bittis, Bonnibuns, B cheeks and Bambooty.

A Rainstick. Seriously though, go to The Natural Newborn and Eco Toys and search by age group, I can't list out ALL the amazing products in one blog!

An amber teething necklace! Homeopathic teething remedy, great for a nephew or neice

A cardboard box and a wooden spoon. For reals!


Organic Doll. The Keptin Jr doll is my favourite! And Butterfly's.

Wooden Workbench

Wooden Kitchen and accessories! Best investment I ever made, Butterfly actually has TWO! Also wash out and store some old spice jars, butter containers etc instead of buying expensive play food!

Makedo! Make toys and cars from the materials around you! You might remember I used some Makedo to make moveable knobs on SB's mud pie kitchen...

Wooden Scooter: we haven't tried these but I want to get Butterfly one for her 3rd birthday

Wind Up Torch!

Play Silks! Encourage your child's creativity and imagination!

Calamity Bolt Hobby Horse! Butterfly is getting one! Giddyup! (You will have to wait until the next stocking, check out the facebook page! They are handmade so there are limited numbers)

Mamamor pregnancy and breastfeeding doll: great for a child who might attend their siblings birth!

Glob botanical paints

Livos natural face paint

A toy cash register! Butterfly plays with this more than anything. Again, save up old cereal boxes etc for your own grocery store!

Green Toys cars, trucks and tea set! Made from recycled plastic and BPA free. We love the recycling truck!

Barbara Lord's Green Cleaner: a small and inexpensive guide to taking care of all household matters the earth friendly way! Not only does green cleaning help the earth, but its very cheap!

The Environmental Toothbrush: comes in adult and childrens sizes, and is compostable once you've finished with it! You can buy them in bulk and use some yourself, and give others as gifts (I find it handy to slip a childrens toothbrush in a present at the last minute)

Trial size bag of Wild Soapnuts! These are the greenest option for washing your clothes available.

Organic Seeds! For the home gardener.

Eco Toys have a great selection of toys under $20... bath ducks, felt play food, puzzles etc!

I could go on and on but this blog has taken me a bajillion years to add links to! The links are to specific products in webstores but have a browse around the rest of the website while you are there. Thankyou to The Natural Newborn, Eco Toys and Eco Vida for being so fracking awesome that I barely had to look beyond these sites! Mwah!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Do you MIND?

I love love LOVE Sarah Napthali's book, "Buddhism for Mothers". Please don't tune out if you are a Christian, or any other faith, I don't actually see this book as religious instruction. It just gives me some practical tools for raising children in a peaceful and loving environment.

The first time I read it, I got the most out of the chapter on mindfulness. I'd heard the term, "be mindful" before but never really grasped what it is all about.

We live such hectic, busy lives, especially as mothers, that we are often multitasking by doing one thing and thinking about another. We think about things that happened in the past. We plan things for the future. We are very rarely mentally IN the present.

This REALLY resonated with me. I remembered a few days earlier when I was making something for a Christmas present, and was using scissors to poke holes in cardboard. I looked down to see red stuff all over my project, and was confused as to what it was. I kept going. Then I realised it was blood. Only then did I pay attention to the fact that my thumb had been stinging for ages, the scissors had cut it open! If I had my mind on the job instead of day dreaming, I would have realised instantly and would have only had 1 slice in my finger instead of 10!

And geez, I am totally one of those people who run into walls (in my own house, you know, the ones that have been in the same place for YEARS) because I'm daydreaming. I am no stranger to looking at a large bruise and not having the foggiest idea of how I got it!

So I knew this is something I should work on. Its not just about keeping myself from injury, either. Its about giving Butterfly a fully present Mummy, who can imagine and laugh and play with her, instead of mindlessly pushing along a car, sitting with her but not paying attention to the game. Sometimes I drift off and realise she's been asking me the same question 5 times and I still haven't answered. Or I'm looking right at her but only realise she is about to insert a screw into the cats nose at the very last second!

Its been slow going. I have to work at it every day. Sometimes I feel myself drifiting off, and pull myself back into the present. It is like someone switches a light on! And I don't mean metaphorically, I mean the room totally gets brighter. It makes me appreciate just how far away my thoughts can get sometimes.

What I have also noticed, that if I have my mind on something aggravating, I often overreact to things Butterfly does. For example, if I dwell on something someone said that was hurtful in the past, and Butterfly sticks her finger up my nose, I crack it big time and stop the feed and she gets very confused and upset. Which is totally unfair to her.

I bought letters from a craft shop, that spelt MINDFUL. I painted them red to stick to my wall as a reminder. Butterfly got to them with some blue paint, which bugged me at first, but then I let go and realised this is just as good a reminder as any to be a relaxed and mindful Mumma :)

How many times do we hear "before you know it they will be teenagers!". And they will. Mindfulness to me, is about enjoying this time while Butterfly is so young and adorable and inquisitive. If I don't pay attention, I will have missed the whole thing!

I highly recommend reading "Buddhism for Mothers", but you can try to be more mindful by keeping your thoughts on your child when you are with them, so they feel valued and you will enjoy them more! Practice mindfulness in your daily tasks. If you are walking, focus on your steps. If you are folding washing, think to yourself "I am folding washing" and focus on the task at hand. Which, lets face it, is friggin boring, but its a form of meditation.

I am blogging... I am blogging... LOL!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mumma Vs WEEDS!

So we are finally settled in our new house! I love it sooo much, the space is so relaxing. We have 1.6 acres which is lovely, but the best part is our back fence hits farmland so it seems like we have much more land! I love sitting on the daybed out the back breastfeeding Butterfly and watching the birds.

When we were looking at the place I did notice the lawn had a lot of clover. I didn't care too much as Butterfly loves traipsing through it! Little did I know that clover becomes EVILLL in spring and forms ouchy prickles! So I started pulling it all out. By hand. Hubby rolled his eyes and said we needed Roundup. NOT ON MY ORGANIC PARADISE THANKYOU!! So he continued to be amused my the sight of me out the back, in the rain (makes the ground soft!), pulling out clover, meter by meter. And you know what? I bloody did it! I pulled 80% of it out by hand, by the roots, without any chemicals at all!

Me pullin' weeds!

Our land also had these beautiful small white wildflowers. I told hubby to mow around them, they made me smile! BUT. Then those little fuckers dropped their petals and sprouted thorns and became prickles 100X ouchier than the clover ones! W.T.F! These ones cannot be pulled out by the roots, they are too small, are rooted in too many places and even gardening gloves can't save you from their razor sharp spikes!

The 3 species of frog we've found in our garden! All jumped out from under the weeds.

Butterfly wastes no time getting hands on!

Again, taunts of Roundup. NO NO NO! I didn't waste hours of my life weeding to give up now! I shouldn't really say waste. Truth be told, I love weeding and would love for hubby to take Butterfly for a day so I could spend the whole day in the rain with only my thoughts!

So I thinks to myself, I thinks "I should ask those savvy Smallest Carbon Footprint fans!" So I does. And one of you comes up with white vinegar!

I bought 20L of the stuff from Coles (if you know of a bulk way to buy vinegar I'd like to know, I got 2L bottles!) and sprayed it all over the evil white flowers. It did a really decent job! It didn't anhilate them, but it did kill the majority of it! I have bought another 20L to get the spots I missed. In the meantime I have been scraping the ground with a shovel to get the damn weeds up, and kicking the white flowers off when I see them (before they turn EVIL!).

I guess the score is currently... Mumma 1, Clover 0!
Mumma 1, White Devil, 2. But I'm working on it!

I'm still open to other suggestions for keeping weeds away! After removing the majority of the weeds I discover we actually don't have much grass, so will plant some grass seeds soon.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Alphabet ROCKS and Secret Special Places!

If you know a child like mine, who LIVES for rocks, why not try this cheap (or FREE) gift idea??

Butterfly adores rocks. We were househunting a while back, and it was difficult to get her IN any of the houses because she'd be in the garden or on the driveway collecting rocks! She has a treasure box full of them. I find them in her pockets. In the washing machine. Under the couch. In the kitchen. You get the idea!

Alls I did, was collect 26 flat rocks, and write on them with permanent marker! Totally free if you already have the markers!

I wrote on one side of the rock the capital letters of the alphabet in black.

On the reverse side, the lower case in red. Yes, I realised later I had written "c" on the back of the "B"!

Viola! I was actually hoping to engrave the rocks somehow but didn't know how!

Another project we have been working on lately is Butterfly's play room. We didn't allocate a bedroom to her in the new house since she sleeps with us anyway, and sunrooms make excellent play spaces!

There is an existing desk in the sunroom, under which I decided to make Butterfly a "Secret Special Place!". I wrapped an old cot mattress in pretty material and slotted it under the bench. Next I added toys and pillows to make it comfortable.

Last night I got under there and stuck a bunch of her favourite photos under there, of family and pets! She adores photos.

Daddy installed an Ikea spice rack ($2.50! Woot!) as a secret shelf for storing special things!

I also added a spice rack near her reading chair to hold her favourite books.

Butterfly loves her Secret Special Place! Its pretty sweet. I would have LOVED something like this when I was a kid! Footprint Fella has even jumped in on the design and is hoping to add a wooden support across the desk to secure some more fabric to make it like a cubby house! I knew I married him for a reason, what a wonderful Daddy! And a spunk :)

Here is a photo Butterfly took of her Mummy and Daddy :)

Peace xx

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mud Pie Kitchen in a BOX

Inspired by a blog by The Golden Gleam I decided to make Sausage Mama's manchild a mud pie kitchen for his birthday! It was fun to make and turned out pretty cool, even if I do say so myself.

First Butterfly and I went to the Op Shop and bought an old pot, cups, plates, spoon, salt and pepper shakers, tomato sauce bottle, water jug and some other containers for mixing and storing. Then we invested in a large plastic box from a cheap store.

Butterfly and I then made coloured rice for the box by mixing food colouring into a few tablespoons of water and pouring onto rice. We used brown paper bags to store the different colours. We made red "sauce" for the sauce bottle by making red finger paint (add one tablespoon of cornflour to one cup water and heat on the stove until thick. Then add food colouring)

We used real salt for the salt shaker and good ol' dirt for the pepper one! The large tin we filled with sand.

The lid was my most favourite part! I drew on hotplates using red and black permanent markers. The knobs are old shampoo and toothpaste bottle lids, with the top removed and painted black. I got hubby to solder some holes in the lid, and I used some of our Makedo (available from Eco Toys) to fix them to the lid. Using this method the "knobs" actually turn!

Shampoo lids and makedo make movable knobs!!

Finally I wrote sausage boy's name on it to personalise, and hey presto! Environmentally friendly, upcycled gift! I would have loved to have used an upcycled container for the actual box but Op Shops don't always have everything!

Now to make one for Butterfly!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nightweaning... for REAL this time!

When Butterfly was a newborn, she slept 2 -4 hours at a stretch before needed milk. I was told how good this was. "Good?" I thought! "YOU try getting up every 2-4 hours to give a breastfeed and nappy change! I am SO tired!"

Well! At 6 months I got a rude shock. Someone flicked Butterfly's switch to "wakeful"... she would only sleep for an hour at a time, before crying for milk. Seriously, an hour! HALF an hour if she was sick or teethy. There were nights where I hadn't yet had a chance to get to sleep between feeds, and the sun was coming up! I don't know how I did it for so long, but I did. Well, cosleeping had a lot to do with it!

I think part of me stuck with it because I was only new to attachment parenting, and wanted to embrace it, so was reluctant to take any steps to get her to sleep longer that would result in crying. I am a reformed "baby trainer" and still had majuh guilt for letting her cry to sleep for so long! So crying was out of the question. When she cried, she got boob. I was happy with the situation, as tired as I was, because she was happy.

I don't regret the 18 months I spent suffering through the nightfeeds. At all. I think we needed this time, as healing for both of us. From the age of 2 months to 6 months we followed a sleep schedule set by the "Save Our Sleep" book, which meant crying to sleep, no talking or eye contact at night time, and I was pretty depressed and detached. So the closeness we shared at night helped both of us. I still have trouble forgiving myself for reading that book, but I have reconnected with my daughter on a deep level and I hope she forgives me. (NOTE: Butterfly began chronic nightwaking when on the routines. I switched to AP when her night time cry escalated to full blown hysteria and sobbing. As brainwashed as I had become my motherly instincts told it wasn't right!)

Readers of my blog would have read about my attempts at nightweaning before. They worked for a short time then failed. The first attempt went well, but I started feeding Butterfly just before dawn, and she began waking earlier and earlier till we were back where we started. Other attempts have been thwarted by illness (who can deny a sick child boob?). The past few months I have been restricting night feeds... she goes to bed at 6pm, would get boob at 11pm but would then wake pretty regularly after that until morning.

My plan this attempt was COLD TURKEY. No more milk at night. Not until the sun comes up! I gave her about 4 days notice that this was going to happen, and made sure she understood.

So at night now we go to bed, have milk, then she goes to sleep awake. Sometimes she rolls over and goes to sleep immediately, sometimes she wants to sing and talk and kick her legs for ages first! When we first stopped feeding to sleep she would cry for milk before she went to sleep. Understandable, it must be such a lovely, dozy way to fall asleep!

Then... no milk until sunrise. NO MILK AT ALL. The first night was TERRIBLE. She cried for hours. Yes, hours. It has taken me a long time to allow her to cry at night. Like I said, I still have guilt issues, and I am VERY against the "Cry It Out" method. I realised, however, that this is NOT CIO. Not once was Butterfly left to cry alone, in the dark. I was by her side the whole time, offering cuddles, water and even a "fake booboo" (YES! I am a dork but I did buy Joss her very first dummy at 2 years old! She rightly rejected it, but I wanted to have one in case things got bad). I allowed her to be sad, to get mad, to grieve, to let it all out. And boy did she!

In the morning we talked about it. She said, "Dossie very sad. Booboos go sleep. Dossie very crying. Booboos wake now?" I let her feed as much as she wanted during the day, I didn't deny her once. I knew she would be insecure and wanted her to know she wasn't being weaned completely.

Night 2 was much better! She woke and cried probably 2 or 3 times, but no where near the intensity of the night before. Night 3 was about the same, night 4 maybe one short crying episode. Last night she went to bed later than usual (10pm) due to an out of character day nap, and didn't wake until right on dawn! WOW! She feeds at dawn and goes back to sleep, waking sometimes for more milk. I don't mind, I can deal with that! She gets up around 8am usually.

Tonight she went down at 6pm, its 9pm now and she just woke. She didn't cry, just asked for me, and allowed me to cuddle her back to sleep. She didn't even ask for milk! AMAZING!

I have learnt a few things from this journey. One is that you should always ask for help and be honest! I thought I would get criticised by my AP friends for mentioning night weaning, or for not feeding to sleep. When I finally got the guts to ask, I was surprised how many have been through the same thing! I also learnt that you don't have to FEED your child to sleep to be an attached parent. I think Butterfly is the type of kid who, if fed to sleep, needs it between sleep cycles. Some kids don't, I have many friends who feed to sleep without any issues!

Everyone has their breaking point. I reached mine and had to resort to drastic nightweaning measures. I don't recommend it to everyone, I think as long as you and your baby are happy then continue along your path. If you simply can't keep it up, its OK to make changes. Its OK to stop breastfeeding to sleep. Its OK to make tough decisions that may upset your child temporarily. Having said that I don't think there is ever a time where your baby has to cry ALONE. Be there for them, comfort them, love them. I don't think I would try nightweaning a child before they turn 1. 2 if you can handle it! Babies need their mothers, day and night, and time spent meeting their needs really pays off in the long run.

If you are the parent of a wakeful child, I feel for you! I hope you get some decent sleep soon. I also hope this nightweaning effort will be the end of my sleepless nights. I hope to get pregnant again soon and start the ride all over again! *YAWN*


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Green Frog

This is the story of Green Frog...

Butterfly and I often look around the yard for frogs, its our favourite thing to do! Unfortunately there are SO many dead ones around, all black and dried, its frog jerky city! Its the first Butterfly has seen of death... "oh, dead frog. So sad" she tells me. Occasionally we find a live green one! Thats so much fun, we usually pick him up and pat him (gently) and put him back. More often than not, we go back the next day and that frog has also succumbed, and is all black.

That is really hard for me, having ONE frog in your yard in Brisbane is like winning the lottery! So seeing a dead one makes me so so sad. Out here, though, they are everywhere! Around the time of the floods we also had a cricket plague, so I guess frog numbers exploded and now there isn't enough to eat (NOT helped by our landlords getting the house sprayed for pests). Thats my theory, as they all look so frightfully skinny!


The other day we found a green one in the shed. We gently lifted him out from his hidey-hole but he was not very well. He could crawl but not jump. I didn't say anything to Butterfly as she was so happy to see a live one! We said hello then put him back (home to his Mummy, as Butterfly says), and I was very sad for him.

The next day we went back into the shed and he was still alive! Strong little bugger! BUT he was even weaker, hubby turned him over in his hand and he just lay there. I couldn't stand to see another frog die! SO we got Butterfly's bug catcher, a small bowl of water and set him up a new home. Butterfly and I went and fished a bunch of live bugs from the swimming pool while hubby dug up some worms (I love him for indulging me, he knew the frog was a goner!). Then we put him in an empty snake cage with the light on for the night. Not very hopeful he'd be alive in the morning.

The next day hubby went to check. He found him flat on his back, dead. He came back in the house "the "you know what" is "you know what" I was devastated! Poor froggie!

BUT that afternoon he says to me, "did you replace the frog in the snake cage with a live one?" Because our little froggie miraculously JUMPED back into life! He was alert and active and ALIVE! YAY! Butterfly and I immediately caught him some more to eat and took him inside into the warmth. I made hubby buy insects from the pet shop to feed him too! He is going great guns now, he is getting more colour in him and is gaining strength!

I asked Butterfly what she wants to name him and she said his name is "Green Frog". So Green Frog it is! She's a very literal namer, she has horses named Friday, Phillip, Mummy horse and Boy horse. At any rate, Green Frog sums him up perfectly, because GREEN means ALIVE!

Its illegal for us to keep him forever, but we will until he is fit and able to look after his royal frogginess by himself :)

That concludes our feelgood story of this eve!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I don't need you to be WRONG...

I am an attached parent. I don't go onto facebook sites for sleep trainers and try to change their minds. I really couldn't be bothered, and I don't think I would change many minds. I also don't fancy opening myself up for the ensuing drama.

Others do. They feel so passionate about the correct treatment of babies and children that they can't let harmful advice go unchallenged.

Who is right? I honestly don't know. I hate it when people "troll" our AP pages... but is my decision to keep out of it more a selfish one?

When we debate with the "mainstreamers", as happens from time to time, sometimes its very satisfying to throw links and research at them, telling them how harmful their methods are, and the potential damage they are doing to their children. I'm starting to think that all this achieves is to embarrass and anger a parent, who DOES love their child, and make them dig their heels in deeper. Nobody wants to be wrong when your child's health and mental state are on the line!

Thing is, though, I am not AP because of what would happen if I wasn't...

I breastfeed... because its so easy and awesome! A good friend of mine lovingly referred to it as the "parenting toolbox": always there ready to soothe a hurt/upset/hungry child! Breastfeeding is so bonding, such an easy way to nourish and love your child. I believe I will mourn it when our journey is finally at an end. I love that its the most nutritious thing in the world, immune building, and the perfect thing for cuts and bruises ("milk it, Mumma!")

I cosleep... because when Butterfly wakes during the night I don't have to get up! I love sleeping next to my beautiful daughter, to be able to hear her breaths and know she is safe all night long. Its so AWESOME that when I am really tired in the mornings, we can talk and sing and read books for as long as an hour until I'm functioning well enough to get up!

I babywear... because I love interacting with my child at eye level when we are out and about. I love the cuddles! Also because its so easy to feed her when we are on the go.

I parent peacefully... because it creates a loving and trusting relationship between Butterfly and I! I love that she feels so safe and valued that she can remind me to "ask nicely Mummy" if I am in a bit of a mood. When she says "thankyou Mumma" "your welcome" or "sorry Mummy" (complete with sign language) it melts my heart! *I've never pushed manners or apologies on her

I live chemical free/eat mostly organic/additive free... because I can! And my family are healthier for it.

I will be homebirthing... because I want to welcome my next baby directly into our loving home! I want to experience labour and birth in its most intimate and primal form. I want my baby to recieve the benefits of an uninterrupted hormonal cascade, to be bright and alert on our first meeting and breastfeed!

I use cloth nappies... because they are adorable! And great for the planet! And more natural on pure, smooth little botbots.

I don't need for "mainstreamers" to be wrong, to know that I am doing the right thing by Butterfly. I don't HOPE their kids suffer ill effects, just to prove my point. I HOPE that every baby and child feels loved, secure and happy. I hope that no adult has issues stemming from their childhood!

Is that the reality? Doubtful. As parents we are the biggest influences in our children's lives, and we have to make conscious decisions about how we will foster their self esteem, meet their needs and make sure they know how much they are loved. Unfortunately I often see children being treated so horribly that I literally hold back tears. Which is why I am not suggesting we never speak out against injustices.

My point, today, is that we know the consequences of certain parenting practices. Next time we find ourselves in the position to educate, however, maybe we should start with the POSITIVES of AP instead of the negatives of the alternative? I don't know how much of a difference it would make, but GAWD its worth a shot! Notice how I said "START with the positives"... sometimes the cold, hard truth is called for. And sometimes people just piss us off! None of us are perfect.

Love your babies. Respect your babies. Treat your babies as you'd like to be treated.

They love you.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

How to ROCK a baby shower!

I have just come home from a friend's baby shower. It was so much fun... but when it came to present time, there was literally NOTHING I would use/let near on my baby! Except the organic Ergo baby carrier and organic infant insert... that was an awesome present! YES, that was the one I gave!

Most people are content to buy stuff from the supermarket with the mindset of "if it was toxic they wouldn't be allowed to sell it" (SIGH. If ONLY this were true!) or "My Mum used it on me and I'm fine!" (I want my kids to be BETTER than FINE! I want them to be AMAZING!)

In my home, plastics are a rarity. Those that ARE allowed in, are BPA free. Read more about the dangers of BPA by clicking here. I feel it is EXTREMELY important to limit BPA in your home, especially when your children put everything in their mouths and are at a crucial stage of development.

In the bathroom, I don't tolerate toxic chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulphate (click here for more info) in my shampoo and soaps etc. It is found in most personal care products sold at the supermarket. Don't be fooled by packaging that claims its "natural" or even "organic"... the amount of times I've turned the bottle over and been gobsmacked at the ingredients! "No more tears" does NOT mean SAFE. Most of these just have ADDED chemicals to prevent stinging. Some products will be mostly natural with a sneaky bit of phenoxyethanol or betaine, this is better than most but I still don't tolerate these ingredients in anything I put on my skin! I won't mention brands, but the leading baby product company is not allowed in my house! Get to know your toxic ingredients. I recommend "The Chemical Maze: Shopping Companion" by Bill Statham as a great resource. For more information "Chemical Free Kids" by Dr Sarah Lantz is the bees knees (this would make a GREAT baby shower gift!).

This information is such a drag, ain't it? BUT there is hope! You CAN be a great baby shower gift giver, even if the mother is a tie dye wearing, tree huggin' hippy like me! Where the text is a different colour, click the word to be taken to a link where you can purchase the items! Lets begin...

resist the temptation to bung a packet of disposables into the basket. Nappies take SO long to break down, every single disposable EVER made is still sitting in landfill, WHOLE. YUCK! PS unless YOU wear plastic undies, don't expect a baby to. Elimination communication is where its at, but if thats not your bag, here are some of my favourite options for Modern Cloth Nappies (cute and easy to use!)

Itti Bittis
Sustainable Hemp Products (Lushies get the prize for newborns!)

Nappy Accessories
PlanetWise wetbags (mums will need a large or hanging bag for home, and smaller ones for the nappy bag)
Cloth Wipes

Lotions and Potions
Miessence Baby Barrier Balm (organic)
Miessence Baby Bottom Mist (organic)
Bath Wash: don't bother! Give her some advice instead... Oats in a sock! BUT if you really want to give something Miessence Baby Cream Wash
Miessence Baby Lotion (although totally unnecessary in my opinion!)
Miessence Baby Body Powder (or at least something based on cornstarch, NOT talc!)
(yeah I know, but Miessence are 100% trustworthy when it comes to their ingredients)

For Mum
Miessence Belly and Breast Balm
Cloth Breast Pads
Cloth Post Partum Pads (best go on a case by case basis on this one, excellent if they already use cloth, could be a waste of time for a disposable fan!)
Cheeki 1L stainless steel drink bottle, also available from most health food shops. Breastfeeding mothers get VERY thirsty!
Apple and Bee baby bag

The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff (This is my favourite book!)
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Dr Sarah Buckley
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Chemical Free Kids by Dr Sarah Lantz
Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley
The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
Sleeping Like a Baby by Pinky Mckay

The Business of Being Born by Ricki Lake

Wooden Teethers
Sophie the Giraffe
A Baltic Amber Teething Necklace from Mumma Rocks, or these can be bought in Eco Vida (Gold Coast), Nest Nappies (Brisbane) or your local health food store if you are lucky enough!
Under the Nile Organic Teethers

Natursutten Natural Soother (although unless you know the mother is dead set on using one, I'd steer clear!)

Boon! Best BPA bath toys including duckies!
Anything and everything from Eco Toys!

Baby Carriers + accessories
Organic Ergo
Organic Ergo Insert

Baby bedding
Organic! The Natural Newborn has a great selection

Baby Clothing
Organic gorgeousness from Eco Vida!
Rock Your Baby gear (not organic, just amazingly cute!)
Ecocubs organic clothing section

Feeding Accessories
Boon BPA free range
Agoo Stainless Steel Drink Bottles
*I wouldn't get a new mother newborn bottles of any description, but thats just me*
Babyushka bibs

Something Special
Ninky Bear Gifts! I would LOVE to get one of these!

Don't underestimate the help that you can give a new mum by taking around cooked dinners, offering to do the cleaning for a day, supplying information such as a recipe for lactation cookies or the phone number of the ABA!

If you aren't an online shopper, look out for organic and natural baby items where possible. If you live on the Gold Coast, get into Eco Vida at Burleigh Heads (then pop over the road to Urban Groove for Rock Your Baby gear!). ANYTHING from Eco Vida is RAD! If you live near Brisbane, try Nest Nappies in Paddington, they have more than just modern cloth nappies! Eco Toys have their shopfront in Melbourne.

If you just want to browse, the stores I have linked above are:
The Natural Newborn
Eco Vida
Ninky Bear
Eco Toys
Nest Nappies
Sustainable Hemp Products

None of the companies I have linked have asked, or paid, me to do so. That would defeat the purpose of providing a comprehensive list of the things I believe to be the best! So if I get pregnant again, my friends have my permission to start at the top and buy your way to the bottom! Hahaha I jest, I jest *narrows eyes at Jitter Bubs and Sausage Mama*

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mud Washes Off...

I'm loving living in my new town! I have always loved nature and living in the city drove me nuts. Out here, you can actually SEE the horizon. You don't realise how boxed in you are in suburbia until you can see the horizon on all sides... it is so relaxing, beautiful, and makes you realise how small you are in relation to the world around you.

There are birds in every tree, and not just magpies and introduced pest birds, but galahs! Cockatoos! Red Rumps and Rosellas! Our small backyard is abundant in frogs and lizards and insects. Butterfly saw her first witchety grubs! We found about 10 under a log.

I was in the backyard with Butterfly the other day and she went to stick her hand in the mud. I stopped her. Then I thought to myself "when did I become THAT mother?" and apologised to her and let her go for it!

So she got a little dirty. She felt the earth between her fingers, delighted in its texture and giggled at her covered hands. THIS is why we moved here! I vowed to relax and go with the flow.

So yesterday we were checking our "frog log" but there were none to see... but I spied a small slug and showed it to Butterfly. "Pat 'im?" she asked. GROSS! I didn't really want to touch it, or have her get slimy, but I let go. "Sure honey" I said and she gently stroked him. "Simy Mummy! Mummy Pat 'im!" So I did. I don't want her to be grossed out by the world around her, and I knew she'd be watching for my reaction too. Sure he was slimy, but harmless!

Be aware that your children will mirror your reactions to the world. Sure spiders are disgusting but if you scream and run and lock yourself in a room should one turn up on your wall, you are setting your kids up to be fearful. I do realise children need a healthy respect for creatures that can bite and sting, but do you really want your children inheriting your irrational fears?

Butterfly is LOVING our new life here. She can get up close to nature, pat new creatures (her favourite thing in the world! Frogs definitely regret being discovered by us! She is gentle but relentless) and get dirty. The larger properties around mean that we can walk 5 minutes in one direction and feed some sheep (they LOVE oats and birdseed!) or go for a long walk alongside farmland and feed the horses (if they are in the mood). I love that Butterfly is fearless when it comes to animals, and is always willing to get up close. She got bitten by the sheep twice the other day, she hasn't quite grasped the concept of holding out a flat palm, and it made her cry. BUT she got right back in there a few minutes later. Bless her!

The house we are looking to buy is over an acre, hardly a farm but large enough for us to reconnect with outdoor living! It backs onto council land and so we will never be built in. It has a dam where we can all get good and muddy! We will grow vegetables and fruit trees, plant native vegetation to encourage wildlife in. I'll set up a mud kitchen for Butterfly, and would LOVE to try a living sunflower cubby house! It will be awesome to have my home birth in such beautiful surroundings, with plenty of great spots for planting placenta!

The future is very exciting, but until we can move forward I have to make the most of what we have. Butterfly and I will continue to explore the yard we have and all the creatures within it!

When was the last time you spent a whole day in your garden? Walked barefoot on the earth? Got dirty? Lay in the sun and gazed at the sky? You might find it very therapeutic, and your children will love it!

Remember: mud washes off!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Healthify My Recipe! Choc Chick Cookies...

I may have started The Smallest Carbon Footprint facebook page, but I am in no WAY the most knowledgable of the lot of you! Going organic, earth friendly and healthy is not something that is easy, or that we all know how to do instinctually. We learn from each other, each having something to contribute at one point or another.

I am attempting to create a healthier family, and at the moment my focus is on what we are eating (since we have succeeded in going chemical free in the home!). I have bought "The Chemical Maze Shopping Companion" by Bill Statham, and I do try to get to the health food shop to find healthier ingredients. Trouble is, I see a lot of things that are unfamiliar to me, and I don't know what to do with them! For example Chia seeds... I know they are awesome for health but like... HOW? What makes them so special? And what do I DO with them?

So here is what I propose: I want to post recipes to favourite dishes (some of them mine, if you would like help with a dish feel free to email me your recipe! smallestcarbon@hotmail.com) and I need YOUR help in suggesting healthier substitutes for ingredients. Like, I LOVE choc chick cookies from Jessica Seinfeld's "Deceptively Delicious" but it contains a LOT of sugar and white flour etc. I would love to tweak it to maximise nutrition and decrease additives and calories.

Perhaps some of you would like a recipe adapted to be gluten, meat or dairy free? You may have allergies (or need to cook for someone who does). Or, like me, you are just searching for some better options! It would be awesome if you could also let us know where you get your ingredients (link, if you have it) if it is obscure. And let us know what health benefits there are, if you know this also. Of course, it will be experimental and may require some trial and error!

So here goes... help me Healthify Choc Chick Cookies!


Nonstick Cooking Spray
Brown Sugar
Margarine Spread
Egg Whites
Vanilla Extract
Semisweet Chocolate Chips
All purpose flour
Baking Soda

I use butter instead of margarine and wholemeal flour (bought some spelt to try) and always get organic where I can. I need to get some organic chocolate chips, I went against my social conscience today and bought up the nestle ones because they were on sale... and now I hate myself for it! Last ones, I shwear...


Saturday, July 2, 2011


I LOVE peaceful parenting! I don't discipline with yelling or smacking. I encourage Butterfly to make good choices by modelling good behaviour, and by respecting her. Sure, sometimes she pushes the boundaries, all kids will, and I have no problem telling her not to do something. But, like the courtesy I extend to others, I ask her nicely instead of berating her for being naughty... after all, a toddler rarely knows she is doing something she ought not to... she's just trying to have fun!

And Butterfly is an awesome kid for it. She doesn't throw tantrums (she has in the past, but there was major life changes happening and she was entitled to them!) She is happy, she listens most of the time and says sorry if she knows she's acted inappropriately (hurt mum or dad etc).

Even still... today I managed to treat her as though she is the worst kid in the world.

I have a feeling my hormones are playing up (MP is still missing after my ectopic but feeding is tender)... at least that would be an awesome excuse. Lately I just haven't been coping very well. After a chat with a good friend I realised how isolated I'd become in my new town. I don't have any friends here... true I've met people, nice people, but you don't make a best friend in a day. I miss the weekly catchups with my girls, where we could hang out with each other and talk like adults while our kids played.

Here Butterfly and I stay at home a lot, and I guess we are sick of each others company. Its super hard being so attentive and peaceful (patience does take great effort sometimes!) without a break. Usually she wakes at 8.30 or 9am and then stays awake till 6pm when she goes to bed. So at least I get a few hours at night to myself.

Today she woke at 6.30am. I was SO tired but I thought, "Oh well, at least she'll have a nap today and I'll get a break". Well, as tired as she was she WOULDN'T NAP. This drives me INSANE. I spend aaaages lying there breastfeeding her trying to get her to sleep. Only for her to look sleepy then pull off an launch into an animated story about SeaWorld. FRUSTRATING.

So I say horrible things like "I don't WANT to hear you talk! Its time to sleep!" or worse. Sometimes she bursts into tears and says "No push me mummy! Very sad!" (she says push for emotional pushing, too). This makes me feel like SHIT.

Then later in the afternoon she wouldn't get off someone's driveway when they were backing out. In all fairness to her she was looking in the wrong direction and didn't compute what I was asking. But I lost it. I told her to move NOW! And dragged her roughly off the driveway. This broke her little heart. She was SO upset. And so was I. I knew I'd been a bitch for no reason and I desperately wished I could take it back!

I had to apologise to her SO many times today for my behaviour, it wasn't good enough. She deserves SO much better.

I have told my hubby I need a break. Not an hour here or there, but a whole day. I NEED it. For both of our sakes.

Tonight I got an invitation to go back to the Gold Coast and stay with a friend. I am SO excited! I think its exactly what we need. A break, some socialisation, an adventure!

So why am I writing this blog, admitting my worst when I could pretend it didn't happen? Because sometimes I feel so inadequate reading AP blogs, that other people's lives are all sunshine and puppy dogs. Maybe one of you is going through something similar. Maybe you have some advice.

I KNOW how to parent well. Its just not easy to apply ALL the time. I hope that Butterfly forgives me, and that tomorrow we can have a better day.

I love you Butterfly, and I'm sorry. You deserve the best Mum in the whole world, and none of what happened today was your fault. Please forgive me darling! *SOB*

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'll unschool! No wait... Private School? No, um, distance ed?

Some may think I'm jumping the gun by obsessing over Butterfly's education. She is, after all, only two. But to me its a big decision and I don't want to be furiously researching at the last minute...

Sometimes I get very excited by the idea of homeschooling. There is a lot that appeals to me about it. Firstly, my children won't have to get up early and rush to get to school. I HATED getting up early for school, I was a real sleeper as a kid. Not that I want my kids sleeping in till 10am and staying up to midnight, thats not what I mean. Flexibility would just be nice should Butterfly be kept up late at a family function, or by a sick sibling etc. It also means we can make sure we all get a full, nutritious breakfast, not a peice of toast as they head out the door.

School holidays... wouldn't it be awesome to be able to go on an educational (/FUN!) holiday to Thailand outside of peak times? Go camping at a moments notice? My husband has trouble getting holidays during school holidays, and he works shiftwork. So choosing our own school days and holidays would help the kids to spend more time with him. Who cares if we do school on a Monday or a Saturday?

I read an article recently about how kids are getting frustrated in school playgrounds because the teachers hover too much. They aren't given any freedom, they aren't allowed to climb trees or pick up sticks... heck when I was at school they started banning chasing games. All in the name of keeping the kids "safe". I would much prefer my kids to cop a few scratches and bruises being KIDS.

I also don't believe in homework. Not for primary schoolers. Hometime is time with the family. Time to play.

I just want my kids to have a full and carefree childhood! Imagine spending the day at a creek catching tadpoles, fish, bugs and worms! We could bring books and identify species, or draw them, or discuss life cycles. We could go to a coffee shop and learn about counting and money.

It may sound like I've decided to homeschool. I haven't...

I am still in two minds. Some days are so mind numbing and tiring at our house, I worry that I wouldn't find the energy to actually teach the kids anything. Then again, I can see the unschoolers point of view: Butterfly can already count to 15, just from playing hide and seek. She knows all her colours from general talk around the house. And she is only two! Kids learn a lot just from participating in life. Oh, and she can identify a corroboree frog... could YOU?

The social issue bugs me sometimes. I loved seeing my friends every day! If I homeschool I plan to join a homeschooling group and get my kids involved in a sport, an instrument and an art in order to keep touch with kids their own age. And when you think about it, at school you only get around 2 or less hours of lunchtime/recess to play, in the classroom socialisation is stamped on much of the time. Didn't you hate those teachers with seating plans!

I am making my decisions based on the assumption that Butterfly will be intelligent, and therefore will be bored with mainstream schooling. I was. I was put in special programs while the other kids grappled with basic maths. On the other hand, if she ends up with a learning difficulty, I wouldn't want her getting lost in the system.

What to do, what to dooooo? Send her to a private school? Homeschool by distance ed? Unschool? I totally wish there was a part time school option!

I would love to hear what you do in regards to schooling!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


You guys!

So I get to the Sausage Mama and the Sausagettes showbag launch and my first thought is "hmm why are there so many people here? I thought I was getting here early to set up?". I walk in to see my friends dressed in grass skirts and coconut bras and they all shout "Bula!" (hello in Fijian). I'm all "umm, Bula" and put down my bags.

Then someone (SM I think) says, "since you couldn't go to Fiji we thought we'd bring Fiji to you!" and its then I notice the sign on the wall made from flowers. I was so surprised! That is the sweetest thing! Before I can even process this (or say hello to the friends I can see that I haven't actually met yet, CC and KK!) Nerissa comes at me with a present.... a QUILT!

I was overwhelmed. And confused! I was all, "this is the SMATS launch why am I getting a quilt???" LOL! Nerissa did tell me who all of the squares were from but I am afraid I couldn't remember it all at the time.

I LOVE IT! It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen! And the most meaningful! I am totally overwhelmed at the thoughtfulness and generosity of my friends, you guys are the BEST! I have carefully stowed it away in my linen cupboard until I can find a way to mount it on my wall. The cats aren't getting anywhere NEAR it with their claws! Nor is my 2 year old Peta Pantsless Pee-a-lot getting a chance to sit on it...

My Mum asked me that night if I cried when I got the quilt. I did shed a few sneaky tears but hid it well (after all those times I tell Joss its OK to cry, I wuss out in public!) Then she says "well I hope you showed the appropriate amount of gratitude and amazement!" That made me panic. Did I? Was my reaction what people were expecting? I don't know. I didn't see myself. All I know was how I felt, how I still feel, and if you contributed a square, TRUST me I LOVE it! I will cherish this quilt until the day I die!

It means so very much to me. I have been through a lot lately: losing a baby to an ectopic pregnancy then moving to a town far away from my friends where I know NO ONE. Its been a very hard time. This quilt is a beautiful reminder of how many wonderful friends I have (some I've never met!) and that I am loved.

So thankyou. ALL of you! Words cannot express how you have made me feel.

Nerissa (and your Mum)... I know how long it takes you to sew these quilts together, and I have NO idea how you managed to do it with everything else going on! I love your GUTS.

Sausage Mama, you sneaky sneaky sausage! Thankyou man. For knowing how much I would appreciate this. And how it would make me feel. I love YOU!

I hope one day I can contribute to a quilt for each and every one of you, so that you can have what I have, and feel what I feel.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My unnecesarean

Butterfly was born almost 2 years ago, via elective c section. A TRULY elective c section... I waltzed on in and asked for it! *Facepalm*

Here is how it all went down on my first visit to the OB...

OB: "How come you have chosen this hospital when you live 40 minutes away? Thats a long way in labour"
Me: "Well I wanted to talk to you about that. I want a c section"
OB: "Oh? Why?"
Me: "Well my husband had a baby with his ex girlfriend and he was stillborn"
OB: "so you are worried about that happening again?"
Me: "yes. Also, my family has a VERY strong history of uterine prolapse following birth" (a family member had recovered from surgery in recent times that was botched and her recovery was traumatic for all of us)
OB: "OK, based on those reasons I will do a c section for you"

Now, what he SHOULD have said was: "actually C sections don't decrease the likelihood of stillbirth. In fact by having one c section you will increase the chances that your future offspring will be stillborn. Also uterine prolapse is not genetic, nor is it helped by having a surgical birth"

But he didn't. I get the feeling he always expected me to change my mind, to educate myself. He always said he had "pencilled in" my c section date, and I remember thinking to myself "you may as well do it in PEN because I'm having a c section!"

Some people have told me I did the right thing, that my fears justified my decision. No. If my OB had told me that none of my reasons were valid, that a natural birth was the safest option all round, I WOULD have changed my mind. See, I have never feared birth itself, I wasn't trying to avoid contractions. I mean if you want to talk about pain, try breastfeeding a baby with an abdominal incision!

I have seen arguments online about c sections vs natural birth. People can be very defensive about their c sections. I get it, it IS hard to have someone tell you that the best day of your life (the day your child was born) was somehow substandard, a tradgedy. However when I see people saying "women should be able to CHOOSE to have a c section if they want to!" I cry "NOOOOOOO!" I chose. I was not informed. I live in regret. And with a damaged uterus.

Now I believe that my c section almost cost me my life. Why? Because if you read my last blog you would have heard about my ectopic pregnancy. I suffered a rutpured fallopian tube which went undiagnosed for a whole week, filling my abdomen with blood. Ectopic pregnancy can be caused by a few things:

Pelvic inflammatory disease caused by chlamydia: Nope. The Dr checked my liver while he was in there and said that my pristine liver told them I have never had chlamydia.

Endometriosis: Nope.

IVF treatment: Nope haven't had that either.

IUD: never had one

Smoke: Pfft never even tried the things.

Previous ectopic pregnancy: Nope

Abdominal surgery including C SECTION: Bingo.

C sections are overused in our society, damn near one in THREE women are having one these days! And all of them will tell you theirs was necessary, because thats what they've been told. If one in 3 women would have either died in childbirth or lost their baby, the human race would never have survived. If you look at statistics from The Farm in the USA, where all births are at home attended by experienced midwives, the c section rate is less than 2%. A far cry from a 30% c section rate! Not only do they have a low c section rate, but also a very low infant mortality and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think they've ever had a maternal death (I can't check, my copy of "Spiritual Midwifery" by Ina May Gaskin is already packed for our move!)

I never wish to diminish the birth experience for any woman. Birth is extroadinary! Yes, even Butterfly's birth was amazing and wonderful and life changing. If you have had a c section, you cannot change that, but don't sign up for another without doing your own research.

My c section made breastfeeding extremely difficult. My milk was late. My baby blues were severe. My recovery was painful and slow. My uterus will always be damaged, my future births riskier than they should be. Butterfly never got to choose her birthday, she was taken out when she was because that was my OB's "surgery day". Neither of us ever felt a contraction, nor experienced the hormonal cascade of birth that aids in breastfeeding and bonding.

My c section led to an ectopic pregnancy. One that almost KILLED me. My fertility is decreased, my risk of another ectopic is increased, and I have only one fallopian tube left.


I recommend reading "Spiritual Midwifery" and "Ina May's guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin. "Delivery By Appointment" by Michelle Hamer. "Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering" by Dr Sarah Buckley. And if you don't like to read, watch "The Business of Being Born" by Ricki Lake.

What I DON'T recommend is relying on a doctor to inform you about childbirth. Inform YOURSELF. Empower YOURSELF. I wish I had.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pregnant? But I'm BLEEDING!

Here is the full story about my recent operation for my friends and for those who might find themselves in the same situation!

My journey started on the 4th April when my period FINALLY returned 22 months post partum. It stayed for a week and a half, and then returned a week and a half later. It then hung around for 3.5 weeks!

During that time I had some bad aching pains in my right side. I thought it was period pain because I was bleeding, and it would only hit me in the afternoons. I saw a naturopath who thought it was an upper UTI, and I started drinking water and taking a cystitis remedy. The next day it was worse so I went to see a GP. He thought UTI too, although he never tested my urine as it would have been contaminated with bood anyway rendering the dipstick useless. He prescribed antibiotics but I never took them because they weren't breastfeeding safe. I just stuck to my natural path and the pain was gone within a day. I never had other UTI symptoms such as painful urination etc. No one seemed to think that was relevant.

All the while, I was also having AGONISING gas and bowel pains. Took my breath away. But I googled it and asked around and it was common for women on their periods to have bowel pain. So another symptom dismissed.

Then about a week ago I was having really sharp pains, again in my right side, during the middle of the night. It got so bad I went and woke hubby (who sleeps in the spare room due to Jossie's waking) and told him about it. Said that I might need him to call an ambulance. Or at least listen for Jossies crying in case I died. He went back to sleep. We know I'm a hypochondriac! I took two panadol (which I never do unless I am DYING) and went back to sleep. The pain went away.

Joss and I at her 2nd birthday party. At this point I was bleeding internally but had no idea! I had a vivid pregnancy dream the night before, my body was trying to tell me something...

Since then I had some annoying period like pains while packing for my Fiji trip, I assumed it was because my period was "due" again (even though I still had it!). Heat pack and panadol and I was fine.

Then the day before we were due to fly to Fiji, we were busy packing. I had been meaning to take a preg test "just in case" before I cut loose on the buffet! I didn't feel at all pregnant. I remembered at 2pm when packing the toiletries and I saw them in the drawer. So without telling hubby (who would have scoffed at me) I took a hasty test. The positive line came up IMMEDIATELY.

I yelled out to my husband. "Umm, I just took a pregnancy test and its positive".

"WHAT? Your pregnant?"

"No I really don't think so, I've been bleeding for 3 weeks remember? This is wrong, I know it. I'll call your Mum (who is a nurse)"

I phoned my mother in law who was first excited at the news, and then when I told her about the bleeding she said she would ask one of the GP's at her work and ring me back. I couldn't sit still. I was so confused, and worried. Joss wanted me to take her to the toilet so I did. I explained that Mummy was a bit frazzled because there may be a baby in my belly. She craned her neck, trying to see the baby. I laughed. Then I felt overwhelming sadness. Pregnant? But SHE'S my BABY!

I took a second test in case the first was defective. Also positive.

My mother in law phoned back and said I could be pregnant and miscarried a twin. Told me to see a dr and let her know how I go. I spoke to my hubby and we decided not to see a dr. We wouldn't get the test results before we left for Fiji anyway and if I was pregnant, I was pregnant. I started packing again and changed my mind. "BUT I've been bleeding. And remember all those pains? I better check this out". So I made an emergency appointment with the dr. Did you know you can do that? If its serious, don't ring up and ask for an appointment and give up when they say there are none. I told the receptionist it was an emergency, she asked what kind of emergency (I've been a receptionist, you would be surprised how many people think a splinter qualifies) and booked me in when I told her. I got in at 3.45pm that day, and lucky I did!

The GP immediately started talking ectopic pregnancy. We were trying to decide what to do since I was due to go overseas the next day. But health takes precedence and she ended up recommending I go to an emergency room for a scan.

Thats just what I did.

It was excruciating watching the technician scan me silently. I SO badly wanted him to smile and flip around the screen and show me a strong heartbeat. He didn't. He eventually told me my uterus was empty but he could see "something" next to my right ovary. After an internal scan he told me he had to talk to the doctor about the results. I started to cry. I knew I was in for surgery, that I wasn't pregnant and that my trip to Fiji was off. I stopped abruptly though, as my hubby and daughter came in and I didn't want her to see me upset.

I was told there was a mass near my right ovary and they promptly walked me through the doors to the emergency department. The dr told me it was most likely ectopic and that they had called a gynacologist to come and speak to me. While I waited for him a nurse came in and inserted a drip into my arm. "I guess this means I'm having surgery, then?" but she couldn't really answer me.

The doc told me you CAN treat some ectopics with drugs, but its not very successful. He also said you can try to save the fallopian tube but that there wasn't much point as it is likely to result in another ectopic down the track, and fertility wise, it only increases it by 2%. And my EP was apparently golf ball size so they were going to have to give me an operation, and that tube removal was best. I agreed. I asked hubby to text my friends to let them know what was happening (I'd told them I was heading for a scan) so they wouldn't worry. He had too much on his mind and didn't. Sorry girls! I did think of you!

I was scared. Not so much for me, but because Joss still feeds to sleep and wakes for boob often during the night, and this meant a night without me. It was already past her bedtime. Hubby ran to the car to fetch the carrier in the hope she would go to sleep. While he was gone they told me I was ready for surgery NOW. I panicked. I NEEDED to say goodbye!

Luckily hubby returned in time to give me a quick kiss, and to allow Joss to do the same. It wasn't enough. I wanted to hold her, to feel her, smell her hair, kiss her all over. I am well aware of the risks of anaesthetic and I'd never been under before. I was unsure whether I'd ever see her again. I tried to drink in every part of her gorgeousness as she disappeared through the door, blowing me kisses.

There wasn't time to be upset. I was wheeled out of the room, and had to suppress a strong urge to cry "weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!". I must have been grinning like an idiot. Maybe comedy is my go to thing in a crisis, because I didn't feel scared after that, just chatted and joked with the nurses.

Soon enough I was in theatre with some dude pressing oxygen to my face asking me to take deep breaths. His hands were pushing it on so hard I thought he was going to stop my breathing. Anyway that was my last thought and I was asleep.

I woke up in recovery and it SUCKED. I only remember it sucking because I was telling the nurses "this SUCKS!" I don't even remember why. Except that the oxygen prongs in my nose were SO ANNOYING. I recall hearing something about an appendix and then feeling my Mum holding my hand. Then I went back to sleep.

At 5.30am I got a text to say hubby and Joss were on their way. I unplugged my drip (only half sure it had batteries) and ran out to ask them if it was OK that I breastfeed on the drugs they'd given me. It was, and sure enough Joss saw me and cried, "MILK!". She has been stuck to my boob ever since. I have cracked nipples like when she was a newborn!

Apparently she did worse than I expected. A LOT of tears were shed at my house while I slept in hospital. Neither of them slept much. Hubby resorted to pizza at 9pm and a late night bath! I think it traumatised both of them. Hubby wasn't sure I was ever coming home and was scared about how he could raise Joss without me. Pretty heavy all round.

When the doctor returned just before discharge he showed me the photos of my insides. GORY! Apparently my fallopian tube burst at least a WEEK ago! I am lucky to be alive. If I had've gotten on the plane to Fiji I may never have come home. The foetus was maybe 6 weeks old? My abdomen was full of blood all the way up to my liver and my appendix was caught up in the fray. So they took it out too. There was no hope of saving my tube after all anyway, as it was splattered about my insides. The gravity of the situation still hasn't hit me yet. I do wish I was in Fiji enjoying a mocktail instead of couchbound in agony, but I am very lucky.

Lucky I took a pregnancy test. Lucky I went to the drs. Lucky the foetus didn't have a heartbeat by the time I saw it on the U/S (that would have been really hard to take). Lucky to be ALIVE!

So my fertility is down to 65% of what it was. Thats OK, because to get pregnant this time must mean we are super fertile! So much bleeding and a busy month didnt leave too much time for conception. Next pregnancy I was not planning on having an ultrasounds, but this changes that. I have been advised to have an early scan next time to make sure bubs is in the right place. And I will. I don't have anything against medical procedures that are NECESSARY. Just like, I would have another c section if my life depended on it. I just won't sign up for one without labouring first!

I'm sore, I'm off for some Cadbury therapy...