life

When was your first memory?

dalifirstmemoryThis thought has crept to the surface recently, riding within the waves of discussion on whether or not to celebrate Rory’s first birthday and have a big party. It has been a surreal year of firsts for both him and us, many moments that Marilyn and I will never forget as new parents, and the notion of celebrating his first birthday party was another timely decision to make.

Before realising the complexity of organising anything involving little children, I was certainly all for hosting a party at the local park. However, now that I know the logistical nightmare and possible stress of just leaving the house for groceries these days, I have erred on the side of – there’s no need for a party because what will Rory remember of it anyway?r22

Rory has learnt many new things and remembered to keep doing them, such as crawling, standing up; walking with the aid of anything to hang onto, making raspberry noises (thanks grandparents); and gleefully putting lids on his containers. His daily arsenal is growing with each sleep. However, from all this activity, I gather no visual aspect of these experiences will be stored afterwards in his memory bank. Does anyone have a true recollection of their first year? Except for (hopefully), a sound platform of love and confidence for them to build memories upon.

Marilyn and I, did what I suspect many first time parents do, and deliberated for some time on whether to have a first birthday party for Rory. As the day got closer, it started to feel like it would be more a day for us than him. I’m sure he’d enjoy it (he loves to party just like his dad), but then like the rest of his days so far, they will become a blank space in his memory bank, or at best, filed away somewhere in deep storage, its location lost over time.

My first memory, which I confirmed just recently with my Mum, was when I was two. I had made my way up onto the dark wooden dining room table, and proceeded to use the vase that occupied its centre as my first writing instrument. This was to be my first memorable mark in the world, my first art piece, the first thing I did that made an impression, if only on me and the dining room table.here'sjohnny

I remember the scene close up, and strangely enough from an overhead view, which has probably been a later addition, a bit of mental editing. The main visual sensation I get from recalling the incident, is the dark wood becoming lighter with each grind of the heavy vase. I don’t remember getting up. I don’t remember getting caught. I don’t remember getting into trouble…but I do remember the act – and it is a fond memory. The closest memory after that was when a Rhino relieved itself in front of me at a zoo. As the urine cascaded over the concrete enclosure, gushing like a fire hose, I was filled with awe at the amount that flowed everywhere. Were these really the only two memorable moments of my first few years of life? I’ve clicked on search and it seems to be the case – art and a big piss are the earliest most noteworthy moments of my childhood (some would claim they are both one and the same).rhino

Anyway, back to my point of not having a first birthday party, an idea that was helped along with a close friend’s own experience, his advice being, “You’d be crazy to, you’ll have plenty of stress with future parties, at least wait until he can enjoy it.”

I do wonder, does the fact that Rory won’t remember it, take away from his enjoyment of it?

As I’ve said, I enjoy a party, and have had some great nights out that would surely fit into the category of enjoyment over memory. The memories of such nights would have surely been lost if they had not been shared amongst friends the next day, and maybe this is why we don’t have such memories early on – we have no way of sharing them the next day. Early re-enforcement certainly works when we want to remember something, anyone that has studied can attest to that. It would be interesting to ask a three year old to see what his/her first memory is, would it be from a week, a month, or even a year ago?lonepine3

For our celebration, we finally decided to take him to Lone Pine Sanctuary, with only close family attending, as it was where I was taken for my first birthday all those years ago. I thought I would start a nice tradition, and maybe he will do the same with his first born. I don’t think there are any Rhino’s at this park, but who knows, maybe he will experience a koala with a really full bladder. Once we are able to communicate and share past experiences, I’ll ask him, just in case I missed it; as it will be great to share such a memory with him one day. Until then I’m happy to wait and enjoy each and every moment, and soon enough I’ll be able to tell him all about it when he can truly listen, and then I can reminisce and enjoy it all again.

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Your home is your castle, so defend it.

thecastle Our little family have recently had a big battle on our hands, just to stay in our home, or as Darryl Kerrigan would say ‘our castle’. I would consider ourselves to be the kind of tenants I’d want for my investment property – we have the place professionally cleaned weekly, always pay rent on time, and are respectful to our home and neighbours. However, this was not enough for our landlords who gave us notice to leave without grounds, after an agreement was made to install air-conditioning. I’m sure any parent of an infant, that lives in a climate that can climb to temperatures over 30 Degrees Celsius would want air-conditioning. We agreed in writing to the new terms and increased rent, but the landlords decided in the last minute, after getting a quote, to not go ahead with it, plus kick us out to make sure they didn’t have to. I quickly found out we were dealing with people, who’s word meant nothing. For me personally, this was not good enough on all levels. A person is only worth their word, so I saw it my duty to fight this whim and injustice – and I won. I won’t go into the details, but basically a tribunal ruled in our favour, and the landlords were forced to keep to their word. And yes, I was very tempted to say ‘it’s just the vibe’ at the hearing, but in the end I thought it best not to.thecastle1

The reason I’m sharing this little story is because I could not have found the right words, to keep the landlords and agents to their word, without the help of our local Tenants Union Queensland. This is a free service that is available to all Queensland Tenants, and I gather there would be similar services for other regions. Tenancy Law can be a little vague and open-ended, and us tenants need to be pointed in the right direction to help us enforce our rights. I found our property managers to be inadequately trained in their own area of expertise, and do not realise, that what they are trying to enforce for a landlord, does in fact at times not align itself with Tenancy Law.

Our Queensland Election is coming up this weekend and I’ve done some research into the rights of tenants, and who is in favour of upholding those rights, and in turn who will do what is right, for us voting tenants. Basically, vote Labor or Greens, if you value your position and rights when it comes to renting. I have copied and pasted a letter below, that I recently wrote to our Labor member and Liberal MP. The response from Labor follows after my letter, to date I have received no response from Liberal, which is disappointing as it’s an important issue for his particular electorate.

Renters, we must unite and support our tenancy union, not just for us and our family, but for future families like us. We are no longer the trashy stereotype, and deserve to be heard and respected, especially considering the high rents we now pay. Feel free to copy and paste parts of my letter below to send off to your local members, as the service needs our support to gain more funding. It is in our interest to have a better funded union, as they are the only true body that represents and looks after us and our families, as renters.

It was only with the help of their invaluable service, that I can now get back to normal life and enjoy our castle, whilst helping Rory build his 🙂rorysittingup

You can find more about your rights and what Tenants Union Queensland can do for you at http://tenantsqld.org.au/

MY LETTER TO OUR LABOR CANDIDATE

Dear Ms Grace,

I am writing to you regarding the importance of Tenants Queensland Inc and their invaluable service that they provide to Queensland residents, particularly Brisbane Central.

Nearly half of the Brisbane Central electorate are renters and their voices need to be represented and heard. There are too many examples within this community detailing the incompetence of property managers, and unlawful conduct by landlords, who due to their careless and ill-informed actions, both disrespect and disregard tenants and their rights.

I have personally been subjected to such conduct, and was helped immensely by the Tenants Queensland. It is because of their service, that we, as a family with a 6 month old, do not have to vacate our home on a whim of a landlord. Originally unaware of our rights, I could not have represented myself without their guidance during the dispute. Fortunately Tenancy Law and common sense favoured our position, and we are now able to get on with normal life.

In this current property climate, many potential first home buyers are unable to enter the property market, and the population of local renters will only increase, especially with the domestic values being propped up by outside investment. All these local residents, both current and future renters, need access to representation and information specific to their particular dispute, should one arise.

I found the RTA does not offer such a personalised service, and steers clear of the specifics for an individual’s dispute. On the other hand, Tenants Queensland tailors the information to your individual needs. The RTA as an impartial administrative service works fine, but us local residents need more than that, we need someone with the capacity to be in our corner, fighting against tenancy injustices, and improving our set of precedents through the utilisation of QCAT and mediation services.

Currently, Tenants Queensland is grossly underfunded and lacks the resources to represent us appropriately. With only a handful of people, over the last eleven months, they received over 95,000 attempts to contact them, which is a goliath task, and were only able to respond to 2,500 of these calls, whilst running 20 legal casework files.

This underfunding is not acceptable and doesn’t give us renters a reasonable opportunity to enforce the available rights of ourselves and our families. Like all Queenslanders, all we want is a fair go.

I know that renters will unite behind this cause, as it is in their interest to do so. We are no longer the old stereotype, but are hardworking Queenslanders readying ourselves to one day own a home, and our population is only growing. The RTA is entirely funded on the interest from tenant bonds, which was upwards of 47 million dollars last year. Landlords and agents get enormous benefit and a free service from this use of the tenants’ bond interest. When this was first established, it seemed reasonable for tenants to give away their individual right to interest on their bonds, when there was a universal benefit of access to specialist services. Now it just seems grossly unfair.

We deserve and demand a better funded Tenants Queensland. My question to you, as our local contending member, is what support will you offer to Tenants Queensland, and in turn, your electorate whom are renters?

I eagerly await your response and stance on this important issue.

LABOR’S RESPONSE

Hi Robert

Thank you very much for contacting Grace to share your personal experience of
renting and your concern for the Tenancy Queensland. QLD Labor if committed to
ensuring their is affordable housing and regulations that protect renters. In April 2014
Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller introduced a Private Member’s Bill into the
Parliament, calling for new laws that will crack down on so-called ‘slumlords’ –
landlords that don’t provide an appropriate standard of housing for tenants.
Information about this can be found at http://annastacia.com.au/calls-for-new-
crackdown-on-slumlords/
.

You may also be interested in QLD Labor’s Housing Policy that is available on our
website at http://www.queenslandlabor.org/wp-
content/uploads/2014QldPolicyPlatform_web.pdf.

I have included the relevant sections from this policy below.

We hope that we are elected on Saturday so we can begin to implement these policy.

Best wishes

Vicky @ Team Grace

HOUSING
7.20 Access to safe, adequate, appropriate and affordable housing is a basic right of
all
people.
7.21 Government assistance is required for those who are unable to obtain adequate
secure and affordable housing in the private market.
7.22 Private and public residential development should be planned, sustainable and
encompass a variety of housing types that cater to the differing needs of people of
different ages, family circumstances and cultural values.
7.23 Home ownership is a legitimate goal of most people. Labor supports that goal,
including for low and middle income earners.
7.24 Local communities, residents and representative groups should be involved
wherever
possible in decisions relating to the planning, development, management and
operation of public housing.
7.25 Ongoing efforts must be made across government to reduce homelessness by
working with all levels of government and the non-government sector to improve and
expand homelessness services. A particular focus is getting homeless people into
stable employment with an income that enables them to end rather than manage their
homelessness.

LABOR PRIORITIES IN GOVERNMENT
Assistance to Tenants
7.26 Labor will provide legislative protections for tenants in the private rental market
(including right of appeal against listings on tenant databases) and restore outreach
and advocacy services for public housing tenants and private renters.
7.27 Labor will protect tenants in the private rental market from cost shifting by
lessors/
agents and acknowledges that the cost associated with the collection of rents is the
responsibility of the lessors/agents.
7.28 Labor will restore tenancy advisory services including the Tenant Advice and
Advocacy
Service.
7.29 Labor will work with all levels of government, the private sector and the
nongovernment
sector to develop and restore rent relief and advisory schemes,
innovative rental housing such as cost-rent associations and common equity housing,
cooperatives, joint public and private schemes, joint ventures with State and Local
government and lease-back arrangements.

Housing Assistance for Special Needs
7.30 Labor recognises that some groups in the community have special housing
needs
including the elderly, caravan/mobile home park residents, women, young people,
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, families, people from multicultural
backgrounds and people with a disability. Labor will tailor housing programs and
develop accommodation types that recognise and cater to these specialised needs.
Commonwealth–State Housing and Funding
7.31 Labor will support the National Affordable Housing Agreement as the mechanism
for
ensuring that adequate Commonwealth and State funds are guaranteed for secure
and affordable housing programs.
7.32 Labor will also support the National Housing Strategy.
7.33 Labor will ensure that State housing authorities are provided with sufficient
funding to
achieve the policy objectives in this section.
Home Finance and Home Ownership Assistance
7.34 Labor will work with the Federal Government and the private sector to broaden
the
source and types of finance available for housing.
7.35 Labor will encourage financial institutions to provide finance to innovate housing
schemes, encouraging the introduction of more flexible mortgage schemes such as
capital-indexed and other low start loans.
7.36 Labor will develop assistance to help home buyers to bridge the deposit gap. It
will
assist with interest payments and ensure that any state schemes in this area are
closely
coordinated with any Commonwealth Government schemes.
7.37 Labor will support moves to target first home owners with assistance, tax relief
mechanisms and similar grants towards low income households.
Housing Cost
Regulation and Development of Affordable Housing
7.38 Labor will monitor the adequacy of stocks of serviced land throughout
Queensland to
avoid price escalation caused by shortages.
7.39 Labor will regularly review building codes and regulations, housing and
development
standards and private regulation through developers’ covenants with a view to
removing obsolete and inconsistent requirements that impose unnecessary costs
without significantly enhancing amenities.
7.40 Labor will assist in the development of innovative housing projects using
alternative
planning and engineering methods while maintaining standards.
7.41 Labor will amend legislation to provide affordable housing in areas of housing
need
where planning changes and urban renewal permit redevelopment.

7.42 Labor will actively encourage industry and public superannuation funds to
facilitate
the provision of affordable housing on previously unreleased state government land
through prudential investment of funds, and the extent of this investment is to be
reported annually to members.
Public Housing
7.43 Labor will increase public housing stock to continue to reduce waiting lists to a
reasonable level.
7.44 Labor will ensure that state Housing Authorities are provided with sufficient
funding
to allow public housing accommodation to be expanded to at least 10% of the total
housing stock in each region by 2020.
7.45 To assist with meeting the above goal, upon the sale of State Government land
designated for housing development, a minimum of 10% of the land or land value
equivalent will be set aside for social housing (both public and community).
7.46 Labor will ensure public housing rental rebate policies do not require tenants to
pay
more than 25% of household income in rent, unless there is an agreement with the
housing authority to charge a higher rate for the provision of additional services.
7.47 Labor will increase the public housing stock through a combination of public
tender and direct construction, acquisition through spot purchase, restoration and
rehabilitation of existing structurally sound dwellings, and promoting small scale
redevelopment projects in existing residential areas.
7.48 Labor will review all State Government land holdings with a view to releasing
land for
affordable housing development in accordance with the principles and policies in this
section

Two front teeth – Someone opened their present early…Now what do I do?

Check these chompers !

Check these chompers !

It seems that just like his Mum, if little Rory wants something, he just goes and gets it, which makes him, like his Mum, rather hard to buy for. I had planned to get him his two front teeth for Christmas, thinking I had plenty of time considering he is not even 5 months yet. However, true to genetic form, he has already got his two front teeth. What am I to do now? Chew it over I guess…

There has been a lot of discussion lately about non-gender toys, no more pink for girls, or soldiers for boys, so it makes the decision even harder. I’m sure many fathers before me hadn’t given much thought to what toys to buy a little one, and just bought what was put forward to them. I believe that most toys are typically seasonal and aren’t played with for too long anyway, as each child is constantly looking for some new treat. How else do you explain such a big toy industry, and in most homes, overflowing toy boxes full of stuff hardly touched anymore? Unless of course you call tripping on the strategically placed plastic lounge-mines and then putting them away, as touching. So what do I get a little one that doesn’t even know you exist once you’ve left the room ?..it’s a tough call. 912_3

To be honest I won’t be searching for something pink, but I also won’t buy him something typically male oriented. Even though I totally agree that gender stereotypes shouldn’t be forced on our young, so much so, that I intentionally wrote my first children’s book to be non-gender specific – I never refer to the central character’s sex. (Insert shameless plug for The Tale of Kangaroo Point here). But seriously, I feel this discussion of non-gender buying to be a little left of the mark, because either way, most of the toys that are made are pretty much useless bits of plastic that will end up in some land fill, or hopefully a second hand op shop to be recycled. I think the real discussion is, what will be the long term benefit of giving such an item ? Experience should be seen like currency, and I don’t want to be buying something that has no long term benefits, and quickly becomes worthless once you leave the store. I feel toys should be a capital investment in my little one, and therefore I want them to promote growth and yield a high return. Perhaps there is a little accountant in me after all, this would please my parents.

912_2

Same beach, same family.

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New generation, new millennia.

Looking back, I can see that my Mum and Dad didn’t buy me anything they saw as pointless, even the board games I received tended to be like Boggle, or Scrabble (the original Words With Friends),  because they wanted me to learn during play, and probably also being an only child, they didn’t want to be playing something with me that had no point to it…ironically, The Game of Life sat in this category.

This Christmas, the decision for me on what to get, probably isn’t so important, as the little guy seems pretty occupied by his toes at the moment, but as his interests evolve it will be up to me to help guide him, like my Dad did for me. For the moment I’ve noticed he likes banging his hands on anything; tables; his thighs; his mum’s face; my crotch (ouch), so I’m thinking maybe a little drum or keyboard with sound effects might be a winner – try to channel that inner beat and rhythm. I will let you know how I go post summer equinox.

Anyway to wrap things up…yes I went there (it’s ok, I’m a Dad now), I put this to you little Rory – when you are old enough to read, and you are asking for the latest plastic crapenator, I will refer you to this little piece as to why you received a telescope, a chemistry set, or something sport like. If I feel a toy doesn’t help you learn something, you won’t be getting it from me, but feel free to buy it yourself with your earned pocket money, because Son, that’s the value of currency, if it’s your own, you can get what you want, and if it’s not, be thankful you get anything at all xxx

912_7 912_6 912_4

Stuff you have done lately

1. Said Dad three times (yes I can lay claim to the first word), not sure if you knew what you were saying but like any good Aussie, I’ll claim it. It took you some effort to get it out and much concentration, but it went like this NnnnnnnnnnnnnDaaaaaaaaaad. Too cute and your Mum can vouch for it also. You have also said No to Avó…cheeky monkey.

2. You have had your first couple of flights, and you’re a good little flyer. I’ve only had to by earplugs for a passenger once, and you prefer bosoms for a pillow (Cornershop’s song holds true).

3. You like to smack your Mum in the face to wake her up.

4. You are not big on being left alone, even for a minute. Hence your Mum has dubbed you the ginger whinger, only because it’s easier to rhyme than auburn.

5. You are getting better at tummy time, although since you have learnt to roll, you much prefer to do that.

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6. Your farts stink ! Like a little stinky malinky poo poo monster.

7. You love spinning, rolling, and being thrown and caught. Your face lights up and you start giggling with glee ( Your mother hates the up up catch game but it’s our little secret;)

8. You love the boogah song and all its re-mixes. He’s the boog boog boogiddy boog.

9. You can hold your own bottle, and have learnt how to get monkey to play his music by pulling on the handle.

912_1110. You have swum in the ocean and a pool. You weren’t really sure about it both times but you did have a little kick kick.

11. You adore your Avó and her big pillows, and love nudey nude time during your daily bath with Mummy.

12. Your yoga skills have become enviable, you can actually put your foot in your mouth and I don’t mean by saying the wrong thing, that will come later.

912_1Tip of the Ice-blog #10

With our little boy teething, his sleep has become even more precious. To help soothe and settle we use shooshas (dummies) from the freezer, and if needed we put a little (as directed) bonjela on the bottom of the shoosha and rub the area affected before bed. I’m not game to put my finger in after hearing his Mum’s cries. Occasionally, if he’s really irritable and all else fails, we use baby Panadol liquid via a syringe. During the day it is all about taking his mind off the sore little gums with plenty of play and love.

Our Top 10 Weeks

DSC02082

The weeks have certainly flown, with the caring of little Rory an ever reminding presence of what it is to be busy, and what can be done with one’s time. It’s amazing to look back over photos for this journal and see the timeline of his early life. I didn’t realise the extent of change that takes place in such a short period. This bearded blog captures the journey so far, in the form of a little montage of moments from weeks 0 to 10, now capsuled and kept, in case my memories don’t. I have also included some of my favourite pictures of Rory throughout, so let’s get into the top 10, before I forget.

TOP 10 LESSONS

Holding Rory – At first, I was handling Rory like the last egg in an egg and spoon race, slow and timid, frantically worrying about supporting the head. Now I’m about as timid as a hungry trucker, demolishing his big breakfast.

Changing Nappies – Leakage is a thing of the past, either Rory has grown enough to fill out the leg space or I’ve become a grand master at the ancient art of nappy-gami. Probably a bit of both.

Noticing the different cries – I must say, my partner is way more adept at this skill, but I can discern between a hungry, trying to poo, wanting to be moved, and wanting to sleep cry. In the early weeks it was all just ear piercing wails, but the subtleties and nuances are now more apparent.

Dealing with Nappy Rash / Cradle Cap – Thankfully, we have only had to deal with this once within the first ten weeks, but it was one of the most worrying situations. We thought we had been changing the nappies regularly enough, but it seems we had not been drying his little bot bot well enough before putting on the new nappy. His little backside had become red raw, so much so, that it had created little carpet burn like marks. We applied Sudocrem regularly and liberally until the redness and sores disappeared (you can see from the picture the drying is now a breeze, and no, I don’t do this every time;). The plan onwards, is if there is even a little hint of redness, on goes the cream. We also try to alternate between disposables and cotton nappies to give the skin a rest, allowing the skin some time to breathe. Cradle Cap on the other hand, doesn’t appear to be preventable, and comes and goes like bad reception. Books suggest rubbing pure plant oil on the area, which reminds me of the great George Costanza, but we prefer using papaw ointment as it seems to clear up pretty quickly once applied.

Make the most of down time – As some of you might be aware, it has been weeks since my last blog. The honeymoon of the always sleeping and easily entertained baby are well over, Rory from about Week 4 onwards has been on a quest for stimulation, like the late Mr Cobain said ‘Here we are now, entertain us.’ We haven’t had the luxury of a baby that sleeps for 8 hour periods, like some of the legends I have heard about, so those small windows of opportunity to get stuff done or just to get a little shut eye for oneself are never to be wasted. Fortunately, as many of my friends would know, I’ve obtained a very good stock pile of downtime from previous years, although this seems a lifetime ago.

Working out his routine – I believe there have been many books written, and money exchanged, to work out the one true routine that binds all others. We as parents, like our personalities, kind of went with the flow and let Rory dictate his routine. My partner was the first to notice that little Rory was tending to go to sleep from 6pm onwards to about 10:30 or so, once this was realised our ‘make the most of down time’ was amplified. I have noticed more little routines pop up through out the day and I try to adhere to them, life commitments pending. A friend of mine gave me a general rule of thumb, 6, 10,  & 2 is a way to make it through.

r1

Tummy time – I’ll come out and say this, Rory hates tummy time, he seriously has a major dislike looking down at the world and can only tolerate it for very brief periods of time. A friend of ours gave us a curved cushion that can be placed under his chest to provide more support, this has worked to a degree, it’s now a couple of minutes rather than seconds before he tells us what he really thinks. All the books say Tummy time is very important for development, so we persist, and persist. Another method to try is to put them on their belly before changing them, even if it’s just a brief moment. Slowly, they are supposed to get used to the idea. The tummy saga though is still a major learning curve so any advice in this area from anyone in the know is more than welcomed.

Swaddle, Cuddle, Cradle & a Kiss – This mantra works wonderfully for putting our little guy onto the snooze train. Even if he looks like he’ll never settle down, with flailing limbs, arched back, and letting the neighbours know his concerns, this SCCK method works 99% of the time. The swaddle makes him feel snug and secures the flailing limbs, the cuddle soothes him so he can nestle into your torso, the cradle gets him used to the idea of being on his back, and the kiss, well the kiss is for you. A dummy ( or what we call a Shoosha ) can be used in conjunction with this method.

Sleeping – Following on from SCCK, the next lesson for us to learn was to where to put the bub to sleep. Conventionally, we thought cot or bassinette, and had bought both in preparation. One for his room, one for our room. Perfect we thought, in reality…not so much. Rory didn’t like either cot or bassinette, and we stayed up many nights trying to work out what to do. How about I rest my hand in the cot, or maybe if I tape myself to the ceiling he can see I’m still there….it’s a mattress, it’s a cot, why won’t you sleep ?? Finally, at our wits end, we went down the more unconventional (or you did what ??) route of co-sleeping. I was apprehensive of co-sleeping at first, and still am for myself (got a story for this later), but with my partner it works fine as long as it’s safe. Rory’s head is placed higher up the bed than your own ( the pic I’ve shown below is a no no, but looks cosy ) so the covers won’t be pulled over the head, and pillows are placed in positions so he won’t roll off the bed or suffocate. Another method we have is in a swing (shown in pic above), as the rocking motion helps soothe and the slight angle helps with any possible reflux. We also have been given a rocking, floor level, bassinette, which works well for naps and the like, once again the access to a rocking motion helps. There is some great literature out there to ease any of your concerns on these alternative methods, in the end, it is best to keep your options open and use common sense when it comes to safety.

What works today may not tomorrow – This motto is my most important realisation to date. With an ever changing bub where the goal posts of what they require and desire are constantly moving, it is hard to determine what will work this time or the next. This mystery seems to envelope all facets, from food intake, to soothing, to play time, and sleeping. I found keeping all options open is the best mindset, just keep trying all your different tricks of the trade, perhaps read up on some new ones, and sooner or later one will work. Keeping your mind open will help you keep your cool in this trial and error stage, and you will be soon rewarded with a contented, smiling baby in no time.

TOP 10 MOMENTS & MILESTONES

Hearing from friends and family, far and wide. It was extremely touching to receive all the well wishes, congratulations, and general outpouring of love from everyone. It’s lovely to see, and for Rory to be a part of the lives of so many great people.

Wayward sprays. I think I’ve previously mentioned Rory shooting Marilyn in the eye with a jet of wee. So very glad I was there to witness that. Well anyway, Marilyn has had just revenge, the other day a wayward stream of milk shot out from her bosom, coating Rory’s face, he was not as amused as I. At least he could lick the milk off though, unlike Marilyn.

Aeroplane Hand. This game has been one of the constants that Rory and I share. I used it originally to help him focus, and grow out of the cross-eyed chris stage as I called it. He loves following my hand flying through the air, with optional sound effects, and always gets a surprise when my hand whooshes towards him stroking his head as it passes. We can both enjoy this game for ages.

Realising the family bond with smiles, stroking, gripping, and playing. Over the weeks, Rory has been developing his motor skills and personality, and he is turning out to be a lovely, observant, good natured little boy. He is quick to be smiling, laughing, cooing, holding hands…or my chest hair (ouch), stroking mum whilst feeding, recognising and smiling at Netty (my mum) when we first open the door,  hugging monkey (which is a present, not a metaphor), and batting at the sun (also not a metaphor but a little toy on his mobile). He doesn’t cry too much, and when he does, we are quick to figure out why and lend a helping hand. Rory is also quite the chatterbox in the early mornings, telling us about last nights dreams at 5am the next day. I would say we could have a cheeky, mischievous little toddler on our hands soon enough.

r8Sitting up, and seeing the world. Even within the first few minutes of life outside the womb, Rory was interested in his surroundings, always observing with wonderment. He seemed to be quick to gain strength in his neck so that he could easily gaze at everything whilst being up in our arms. He also tends to get bored rather quickly on his back and wants to keep his view fresh and interesting. In the last few weeks he’s always trying to sit up, which he can do with a little help from us. He extends out his arms, grunts while staring at you, I’ll hold out my hands and hold onto his and he does a little sit-up to get into the sitting position, he’s then a happy little munchkin. Pretty funny to watch.

photo 5Anytime he is asleep. I love seeing him when so peaceful. I know that I’m bias, but I think he looks like the most beautifully serene little cherub when asleep. It makes my heart glow.

A cute little bottom lip quiver in late august. It was such a cute moment, and I was able to soothe him quick enough before Pandora’s box was opened. Rory nowadays makes many different, thank the heavens that’s over sighs, coos and breaths. It’s so funny how he see’s such magnitude in these moments, when all that took place was a change of clothes.

Latching onto his Mum. The start of the trying to breast feed phase was a pain for all involved. Sore nipples, crying baby, upset mum, hovering dad with clumsy fingers, made for too much drama for this guy. It was a tough period but with much persistence and some free lactation lessons, little Rory worked out how to get the pump working on the magical well. It was such a momentous moment that he was able to get his fill straight from the tap, as it is the quickest way to feed and soothe him. We still use expressed milk and formula when required, but the ability to whack him on the boob is a great one to achieve, especially for those 2am feeds.

Morning chats with Mum.  Who would have thought two night owls would produce a morning person, but this is the case. Every morning at about 5am, young Rory is up bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for the day. At this time of day he’s a little chatterbox, and is consistently showing signs of his growth. A lot of his new achievements are showcased first thing in the morning. I must admit though, his mother tends to be the one who is awake with him at this time. The most recent addition to his vocal repertoire is neeeeeeh, he’s loving it at the moment, ooooooooooohneeeeeeeeh. Cute !!!

Bath time. Rory enjoys a good wash, whether it be in the tub with mum, or on his own in his portable bath. His face is a mix of serenity, curiosity, and trust during these bath times. His little arms are extended out holding onto mum with one arm and onto my arm hair with the other. I’m glad the hospital gave us a quick run through on how to bath Rory as I’ve kept to their method. One arm under the head holding his left arm, and my other hand holding his leg, it feels very secure even when he’s kicking about in the soapy water. I love the way he looks up at me with a face that says ‘You got me Dad, I’m ok right?’, I smile down reassuringly, ‘of course I do son.’ He then looks over at Mum with the same question in his eyes before he settles in for a good scrub. Once clean, he’s out, dried and oiled, and ready for his next adventure. Got to love a nude baby bot bot, he actually enjoys it when I give his cheeks a tender slap saying ‘Nudey Nude !’, he giggles each time, wiggling his chubby legs.

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TOP 10 USEFUL ITEMS

Breast Pump.

A good travel bag with change mat.

Tommy Tippee Nappy Bin.

Shoosha / Dummy / Pacifier ( as much as I hate to say it).

A nappy that doesn’t leak. ( I recommend Naty )

Swaddle.

Peg Perrego Capsule, Car seat, stroller in one.

A swing and bassinette that rocks.

Microwave steriliser Bags / Container

Well set up change table, with wipes, disposable mats, sudocrem, hand sanitiser, diapers on hand etc.

What a good boy or boogah as we like to call him.

r2I can’t believe ten weeks has passed but then again it feels like Rory has always been there. It’s a strange feeling having a new born come into your life, it’s a bit like growing up with your parents, in that it was never uncomfortable or foreign as they have always been apart of your life. Having little Rory just fits, there is no awkwardness or clumsy conversations, no need to be someone you’re not, no need to feel like you have outstayed your welcome, no need to tip toe around a personality, just the need for love, care and a helping hand, even though it’s extremely tiring, you can always find that little extra to keep you going. It’s a true love he gives you, as he knows nothing less, and he is authentically appreciative of all the help, probably until he can help himself….then comes the awkwardness, the tip toeing, the outstayed your welcome, I suppose that might not be until the teenage years. Better enjoy this while it lasts, I’ve got another 666 weeks to go till he’s a teenager, even the number seems ominous, oh well, I guess he can’t always be my little angel, but as all parents can probably attest to, and something I’ve heard my nanna and mum say, no matter how old they become, they’re still your baby.
Tip of the Ice-blog # 9

If you are a restless, kick your leg, talk in your sleep kind of person, it probably isn’t best to fall asleep next to your little one. As I hinted at before I’ve had a little incident with Rory whilst we were both sleeping. I should have realised it might not be best for me to sleep right next to Rory, when I first accidentally violently shoved my partner in my sleep, because in my dream I was pushing away a Komodo Dragon that was trying to eat the hypnotic turtle that I was protecting (yup my dreams are lucid and freaky). The incident with Rory, I was being held captive by someone who was leaning over the top of me, and I went to bite his arm to get away, and I awoke to poor little Rory’s cheek in my mouth, and he let out a ‘Why did you do that???’ yelp and cry. It was the weirdest feeling, to go from one world into another to find yourself about to bite into your bub’s cheek. It only left a little mark, and wasn’t serious…this time, but safe to say I don’t sleep next to him anymore, which is a shame, but one I’m happy to live with. I’m sure Mr Freud would have a few words to say about it all if he was still alive.

sigmund

 

 

 

In Da Club (New Parent Remix feat. My fifty cents)

indaclubYou’re probably starting to think that I’m getting a little gangsta keeping with the R&B theme, but a good club beat is hard to knock. I loved the song, In Da Club by 50 cent when it came out, it bridged a gap across my mainstream musical landscape. It let me experience another side to life. Nodding my head, I felt like I was in da club, even if it was for a fleeting moment.

It’s a lovely place to be, in a club, a place where you can share an experience, or a time of your life with another. Especially, when it’s your love. I used to own a Kombi, I dubbed it Blue Moon, and I was absolutely stoked when I could finally drive something I loved everyday. The Kombi is of course, loved by many, and I had unexpectedly found myself in a new da da da da da da da club. I would drive down the coast, or just around town visiting friends, loving the feeling of sitting up high on the road, turning a bus wheel, and listening to da humming of the engine. Other Kombi drivers, knowing the joy I was experiencing, would wave when passing, or chat about it at parks or parties, lovingly sharing the finer details of our motor babies – Is yours a pop top too? How good are they!! kombibeard

It was such a nice connection to a greater unknown community. Random conversations with people who I didn’t know, except for the fact that we shared a love, and each time was a pleasant and interesting encounter. I’m sure everyone can relate, we all have our loves and hobbies.

Although I ended up having to cash in at this club, selling my beloved blue moon to finance another beloved which involved an extended stay in Ireland, I knew that the club would be fine without me. It has plenty of members, I would miss it, but in the end I was just happy to be a part of it.

I’m now over the moon, in more ways than one, at being a new devotee to the long awaited (especially in my mum’s eye) parent club, and it’s the best club ever ! Better than any club by a mile and half, with a membership greater than any club I can think of. I am finding it so very true in what they say, you’ll never love something more. It’s amazing the capacity for parents and strangers to connect over common loves, and the most common love that we have as humans, I now believe, is the love of our own child, perhaps the love of a good sleep coming a close second. As a fresh club member, and perhaps feeling a little enlightened from the initiation of sleep deprivation, I now understand this common love, and love to share this love with all other members – old, new, soon to be, and want to be. It’s a great way to bond.

Just today, Marilyn and I had a wonderful discussion with a Mum, and her 1 year old, Connor. It was so interesting to see another bub hitting his first year milestone, especially when compared to our just turned four week old bub. We could see a little bit into our future, and were eager to hear stories of what was to come, the mother more than happy to chat to new club members to share her experience.

Another time, we met with close friends at New Farm Park down near the river, and one of the couples had a two year old, Leo. Again for us, it felt like looking into the crystal ball and seeing the future. Greg, Leo’s father, is probably looking ahead at 4 year olds, and marvelling the steps Leo will climb.

From just these two experiences, it was crystal clear, the huge advances our little ones take in the first couple of years. From our little Rory, still sleeping, grumbling, and a little unsure, to Connor, sitting up at the café tables having his first babyccino and waving at other clientele, to Leo, standing tall, playing games with adults, and showing signs of the little man he is to be.

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I’m ready for the car !

I can’t wait to see little Rory become the little man he is to be, and he’s already showing signs that he’s enjoying the journey. Hopefully one day, down the track, he will have the pleasure of joining this new parent club too, and myself and Marilyn, a grander club again.

Tip of the Ice-blog #8

Bouncing baby boy, this old adage is so true. Our little guy loves to bounce, and it is one of the best methods for getting him to calm, burp, poop and sleep. My other mates who are fathers have said the same. If all else fails, bounce in da club ya hear !

When tha Poop goes down, ya better be ready !

cypressCypress Hill once eloquently stated, ‘When tha ship goes down, ya better be ready’. The line I’ve quoted is of course the clean version that Cypress Hill released to be more radio friendly or PG (just like I’m trying to be). However, I’m sure you all know the original line, or at least can guess it. Well it’s these lyrics that I find to be bang on, when it comes to a newborn at nappy time. Cypress Hill had the advantage of being able to release a clean version, I on the other hand, am yet to see a clean version to be released from Rory.

Of course this topic was to come up sooner or later, this is a blog about a new child. A bog blog was always on the cards, and on the floor, and on the wall, and on the….. There has been many hilarious movie moments, horror stories, and a whole genre of comedy based on those little surprise packages that our little ones leave for us to deal with. Because of this build up, I was always a tad worried when it came to changing nappies. I can now tell you, if I’m to be honest, it’s not that bad…I can hear other parents mouthing right now ‘ oh yeah, you wait and see buddy ‘, and I totally agree, my child is only a couple of weeks old, and I’m guessing as input increases so does output, but for the moment it isn’t too bad. This could be due to the fact that I was ready for it.

Ok, as I don’t want to get bogged down in too much of the details, sorry just had to say it,  I think I’ll let Cypress Hill continue to describe nappy changing time with their hit song, so here goes, apologies if the rap is crap, but it is a crap rap….

When tha Poop goes down (ya better be ready) – BabyandtheBeard remix

Sittin’ on fat nappies they’re fat wit tha gack
Rollin’ around on the change table, an Ikea flat pack.
Still got my partner to watch my back
And she’ll clean ya ass, while I hold your hand and chat
Let fly some pee and my partner be gettin wettin’, I followbandana
With a hollow hand so she don’t swallow
Why wallow when you come to roll on? I pull the nappy clip
And before I bring ya ass on, what chu gonna do
Kickin’ a fuss, peeing on your head or a midwife’s bust
My grip surrounded, I’m about ta get rushed, I’m brushed wit brown death
How many smells stuffed in that nappy, my disposable change matt, cut

When tha poop goes down ya better be ready
(When tha poop goes down)
When tha poop goes down ya better be ready
(When tha poop goes down)
When tha poop goes down ya better be ready
(Ya better be ready)

I told my partner get tha bits off his glock
And tha rest from tha crack
As I strapped on tha bullet-proof vest
Boom I think I got one to tha chest
Hot damn I didn’t want to spill a thang
I still stand tall with tha Tommee-Tippee Clan
Y’all better stand back, diapers ’bout ta fall
I’m comin out blastin like Yosemite Sam
Spin tha handle on tha bin for tha plastic sausage bam!

When tha poop goes down ya better be ready
(When tha poop goes down)
When tha poop goes down ya better be ready
(When tha poop goes down)
(Ya better be ready)

There you have it, changing it up, nappy style.

In all seriousness though, being well prepared in advance of what is to come does take the heat off you at changing time. We found having the change table ready is best, with disposable mat, clean wipes, new nappy, new clothes (as I found leakage tends to happen, will cover later), and antibacterial hand sanitiser gel within hands reach. If your change table has a couple of layers, you can keep them stocked. Another great addition we have is a Tommee Tippee bin / nappy wrapper, this is a separate bin for disposable nappies, spoiled wet wipes, etc, that rolls them into a sausage like chain of plastic wrapped goodies. Locks in the smell!

There are many varieties of poo, and it depends on different factors, like, if your child is fed breast milk or formula. Our boy is getting breast milk so he supposed to have a nice mustard colour poo that is liquid like in consistency. There can also be little lumps of white milk curd. He is nearly creating these colourful treats (once straight onto my hand) each time he is fed, which is up to 10 times a day. I have been told by our mid-wife though, that a baby after a while, may go days without pooping, and this is normal when a child is breast fed. If fed formula, the child is supposed to be more regular however.

Also, as just sung about, little boys can shoot pee anytime, so we found having a cloth over it can soak up any stray shootings during nappy change. This doesn’t always work as Marilyn can attest, Rory is a keen shot, and can hit bulls-eye or Marilyn’s eye from over 3 feet ! His great, great, grand father was awarded a clock from Queen Victoria once for winning a shooting competition, so it must run in the family!

Well that’s about it when talking about such…..but I guess in life we all have to deal with it at some point, but I find it isn’t so bad when it is coming from your little one.

photonap

Tip of the Ice-Blog #7

As I briefly mentioned before leakage can happen, which has been a nuisance of late, with changing sheets, mattresses and clothes etc. We had been using huggies disposable nappies, and they were fine for the first week, but with increased output they haven’t been able to keep it all in, all of the time. There seemed to be gaps around the leg. Thankfully, Rory’s aunty, had given us some re-usable Bumkins nappies that click together for different sizes. Since we have used them, Rory is leak free. You have to wash them but that’s easy enough and you can either use cloth or disposable inner linings. Perhaps a more cost effective option for both your wallet and the environment.

 

Boy meets boob – A journey on the Marilyn Express.

boobmountainIt has been a lovely week with little Rory and Mum home. Yes it is true, sleepless nights go hand in hand with a newborn, mainly due to the consistent feeding that is required – every 2-3 hours – so we have said adios to those nice long uninterrupted slumbers. But who wants to sleep when you can marvel at your little wonder ? Another thing to marvel, is the intellect of a breast ! A breast you say…chuckle chuckle.

I am serious though, they are wonders of nature. It was jammed down our throat at all the courses, that breast is best, but only after seeing them in action can I fully appreciate them (hmmm hard to contain my smile writing this blog…yeah I know I’m immature, but tell me you’re not smiling too).

We were always hoping that Marilyn was able to breast feed, though never sure that this would be the case. Marilyn has a family history of it being difficult, and you don’t really know if you can until birth occurs. Thankfully, perhaps due to the support of our current health care system, Mum is able to breast feed. This may have not been possible without the midwives being hands on immediately, consistently assisting with the manual expression, providing general encouragement and offering support via lactation consultants.

Although, I say breast feed, it isn’t what you are probably thinking, it’s more like express or perhaps espresso feeds. Little Rory along with being a great sleeper, is a lazy feeder, just likes to have the boob in the mouth really…just like errr. Mum has therefore had to resort to expressing the milk into bottles and feeding him via them. Yes, I refer you back to a previous post of mine, monkey pump…according to Marilyn a breast pump bra would be very handy right now!

This constant expressing is a little bit of a nuisance and uncomfortable for Mum, as you have to plan for expressing, and have a power source (unless you have a manual pump), you just can’t whip it out so to speak. I’ve never seen someone use a pump in public, but from what I’ve seen at home, it is far from subtle, I again refer you to the pic from the previous post.

feedingbook

This impressed our GP. ‘So you’re in IT’ he said…

The benefits of breast milk is worth the hassle though for both baby and mum. A couple of benefits for Mum, are that it helps reduce weight via fluid loss, and the act actually contracts the uterus back to pre-pregnancy. Amazing machines us humans, seems to be a reason for everything. For baby, it gives the child all the nutrients it requires, and provides natural anti-bodies to help with the immune system. Plus, it’s free. The breasts even regulate the amount of milk required.

We found that through expressing we were able to document exactly what we were feeding Rory. No worries about if he was, or wasn’t getting enough milk. Breast milk production increased through the week, exactly co-ordinating itself with what Rory required. 20-40 mls milk after the first few days, once colostrum had dried up (colostrum was administered via syringes whilst in hospital), and now up to 80 ml per 2-3 hour feed. The breasts knew best.

Our next step is to try and get Rory to get the milk from it’s source, all us guys know that tap beer beats bottle ! RBWH provides a free lactation service so we will be making an appointment this week to get some tips, for using the nips…can I say that here?;) We are after all, noobs to the boobs.

pooface1

Can’t cock the leg, but can definitely cock the eye !

As you can read, it’s all about learning for the family this week. Mum and I are getting to know what the little boy’s grumbles are. Urrrrrrrrr – is doing a poo (see left), so we put him in the squat position as gravity can help. Head bobbing, smacking lips, and hands in mouth – is he needs a feed. This is nearly clockwork. Just general grumbling is that he wants to be in a new position or some cuddles to help sleep. Wide bright eyes and reaching out, it’s time to play, whether it be tummy time on the chest, some up and downsies, or some fine air guitar to Led Zeppelin ‘Whole Lotta Love’. It’s such a pleasure seeing Rory come into his own, and showing more and more cute little expressions, even if it’s just him saying, ‘Yo dad, change my nappy!’

Rory has also had his first couple of outings, one to visit my Mum, or Netty. Another to see the Robinsons at the local markets, and some lunch with Unky Craig & Richie. Rory was happy to open one eye to say hi, and just lay back in his chair to take it all in (or sleep, mainly sleep).

All in all, it has been a wonderful first week, a fantastic learning curve for the whole family. We are first time parents just trying to get it right, but thankfully Mother Nature has some pretty great arsenal, just ask Austin Powers. Which takes me back to my original point, perhaps the next time someone calls you a boob (does anyone use this term anymore?), you can say ‘Thank you, so nice of you to say so!’, feeling sound in the knowledge that boobs are both smart and useful 😉austingirl

A quick thank you to everyone for their beautiful gifts and well wishes this week. It’s so nice to hear from friends, near, far and wide.

We are loving the love !

Tip of the Ice-Blog #6

Not everyone is able to breast feed. This doesn’t mean your child can’t get the nutrients he/she needs, as formula is a perfectly suitable substitute (we’ve used it when the boobs were out of service for a session, and I’ve got friends who could only use formula, their children are better than fine !). We have found breast feeding hard, and for us, it hasn’t come exactly naturally, but if you have the chance, I think it is worth the perseverance. It can save time and save money. There are many services out there more than willing to offer support, not just your local hospital. Such services as Australia’s Breast Feeding Association and Early Feeding Support Clinics.

Zero to Baby in 10 minutes. Thank you RBWH !

Rory_1I can proudly say I’m a father to a beautiful, and more importantly, healthy little boy. It was a long wait, especially the last 30 plus hours, but the final scary minutes was unexpectedly hurried. I nearly missed it, and can’t thank the staff involved (all 12 of them or more) for making what could have been a disastrous outcome, a little blessing. An emergency C-section was not something we had planned for, or even crossed our minds, as everything about the pregnancy had been normal up until giving birth.

I’ll try to be brief, not really my forte, but basically this is what happened.

Around about 3am on the Wednesday before, my partner started getting much more period like pain, and by later that morning, 10am or so, her contractions had become much more regular and consistent. The intensity of them slowly increased, and they didn’t fade away like previous ones had. The show was finally on the road, so to speak.

bianca

Bianca – The heart monitor

By 5pm we thought it best to call the hospital, luckily, we lived just around the corner, so they told us to come in. After a few tests, they concluded it was still a little bit away (2cm cervix dilation). They offered us to stay but going home seemed to be preferred. We were utilising a public hospital, so we thought why take up much needed space. It was great to be home too, especially for pain management, plenty of shower time and nudity involved, which you really don’t want made public. At about 11pm, my partner’s waters broke, but it wasn’t sweet smelling, like it should be, and after a call to the hospital we headed in. The non-sweet smell, and yellowish green colouration was because our boy had defecated whilst in-utero. Our onsite mid wife decided to induce. Luckily we had discussed our pain management plan beforehand, speaking with a friend who is an anaesthetist, who reassured us about the benefits and disadvantages of an epidural, we decided to go with the jab sooner than later. A big factor he said, is that once you decide to have an epidural, it may take an hour for it to be administered and become useful. If you want it, then remember that. Also, he perhaps fatefully said that they are great to have in case of an emergency. As we were to find out, this was invaluable advice.

Our birth suite was very comfortable, even a lazy boy for me to recline on, which I used with pleasure, whilst holding my partner’s hand. We were allowed to bring in snacks, jerky is a must, and other items to help soothe the tension of the labour. We watched some TV, and a movie ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, now that I think about it, it seems a little fateful too.

Mainly though, we were happy just chatting, and listening to the comforting beeping of Bianca, the machine that monitored baby and mum’s heart rate. Another strange detail actually, as Bianca, is my partner’s sister’s birth name (Tia Yanta!). I like seeing such signs.

At about 4am Thursday morning, I decided to get some sleep.  Marilyn seemed ok, and the epidural had gone smoothly. I slept and awoke a couple of hours later, to the midwife and doctor discussing something that caused me concern. Whilst I was asleep the boy’s pulse rate had been dropping every time my partner had a contraction, to nearly half of what it should be !! They brought in an ultra sound and found that, even though the boy was upside down and in the right position, there was one slight problem. His head was tilted up, rather than down on his chin, so each contraction would extend his neck backwards. For such a small detail, it complicated matters immensely for a natural birth.

My partner’s cervix was starting to swell from irritation on one side, luckily the epidural was already in, as the pain would have been way more severe for her, and likely to cause more stress on our boy. All we could do was nervously wait to see if his position would change, this was not in our initial plan.

The doctor after some time came back into the room (they work tirelessly in Public Hospitals, due to these little surprises), read the charts spitting out of Bianca, and decided to do a lactate test. Especially so as there was blood colouring in my partner’s urine, visible in her catheter.

A lactate test involves a tiny blood sample taken from the child’s head and testing it for lactic acid levels. If the boy was still receiving nutrients from the placenta it would be low, if not, it would be high. There were 3 outcomes pending on levels. 1. Wait some more to see if his position changes. 2. Organise a C-section for a couple of hours time. 3. Emergency C-section. Our level was 5.5, it was too high, things were about to become hectic.

The doctor quickly stood up, told me not to worry and the rush began, and not only from my tear ducts. Seeing the room flood with people shouting stats and medical jargon, with my partner being prepped and whisked away was too movie like for my liking, and I have never been fond of dramas. Marilyn was strong and mouthed ‘I love you’ as she disappeared down the hall, with midwives and others hovering over her. I was alone after all these hours, and lost.

DSC02077

Thumbs up to being stitched up !

Another doctor took me by the hand comforting me, with the good old ‘she’ll be right’ aussie attitude, and lead me to the changing room to get into scrubs. I was not thinking straight, putting pants on my head, and hair nets on my feet. Finally, I was ready, and literally jogged down to the operating theatre. Jogging in, my heart dropped, Marilyn was on the table, stomach open…don’t look left, don’t look left, I made my way to behind the blue curtain, safe from any images I didn’t want burned into my mind.

Marilyn was thankfully awake (if she hadn’t had the epidural she would have missed the birth as she would have been put under), and looking stable, there appeared to be a person for everything. A man who was just there to explain what was going on, asked me to sit down. 10 seconds later we could hear crying. The boy was out!!! I couldn’t believe it, it was so surreal, after 9 months, 30 hours of labour or so, no pushing, no crowning, he was just…out. 10 minutes ago my partner and I were holding hands, watching the doctor do a test.

DSC02083

First contact with Mum

Now here he was, amaze-balls (in more ways than one) !

He was then taken over to a table to be checked, pipes cleaned of any possible poo remnants, and taking general measurements. The strangest thing was that amongst the excitement, I noticed his balls were huge, seriously huge, like a grown man’s!!!

My partner from her vantage point, lying on the operating table, getting stitched up, thought he had a tumour, thankfully not, I was told this happens a lot due to fluid retention. The staff were great and had brought my camera in, I’d forgotten it due to the rush, and so was able to document this case of big balls for his future 21st. The fluid build up probably had nothing to do with it, but the little guy certainly released some, in the form of pee, all over his new medical handlers. Nice one I thought, if only I had the camera switched to video.

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Beanie measurement (or something similar)

Anyway, what a day, what a ride, and I am so, so, thankful, that we were surrounded by experienced and professional staff. A free service mind you, well done Queensland’s health system! I can only give them praise, for their help, care, and service. Pre checks, classes, birth suite, onsite midwife, epidural, operation, post-op after care, post checks of baby, vaccinations, breast feeding services, what to do once home, and a free beanie!rorybeanie

All done professionally, all done with the utmost care and heart. To think I heard someone complain about having to pay for parking, I nearly said something, but hey, I had just become a father, I’d let that one go. Thank you functioning health system and thank you RBWH. From my experience, I would never even consider home birth, it could have been much different and not so, well, clinical.

I hope all who read this, don’t have to go through an emergency operation for birth like us, but it is what it is, and this little guy is a reminder of not just our love, but the love of others too, in all their chosen roles.

Tip of the Ice-Blog #5

When there is so much at stake, we all get nervous, which can lead to us being a little rude to the people that are trying to help. I noticed in the hospital a lot of media about not abusing staff, when I asked about this, I was told it is a frequent occurrence. I was shocked. Worry can of course lead to anger, but I feel if we can’t do things ourselves, then we need to rely on experts and trust they are doing the right thing. No point venting frustration on hospital staff, as they like you, just want the best result for all involved. Stay calm, ask questions, and like the old adage ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’.