28 December 2011

E's first Christmas

This Christmas was my first with K's family, and our first with the boy, who celebrated five months (three months gestation) yesterday with his first laugh out loud - so cute! 

Naturally it made sense to have Xmas at the Cape, free beach house and all. We acquired a tree from the *ahem* roadside and tizzed it up with ornaments made by E's great nana (!), including a crocheted angel. There was wine, a delicious 'pot luck' lunch where everyone made a dish and which came together exquisitely under our new (and very sandbagged to prevent it flying away) gazebo on the front lawn, heritage values be-damned. 

E was thoroughly doted on and spoiled by his nana, aunties and uncles and received all manner of softies, finger puppets, a mobile, bibs, clothes, Baby Banz, a Laura Veirs CD for kiddos, and signed kids books from his kids-book-editor aunty. Santa came through with a full length rashie and sunhat, as well as some funky jeans and Baby Legs. He also left a note for E (thanks to Uncle R who had a few more clues than K about parental duties in regard to S. Claus). The editor-for-an-edgy-Melbourne-publisher (the other editor in the family) heeded a not-too-subtle tweet about book cravings which are being presently devoured, and also curated some funky new music, a foodie calendar and TV viewing for us. We also received a Nice Bottle of Red, a new coffee pot and a proper cane picnic basket. A boon all-round!

Boxing Day, the wind dropped and we headed to the beach and lunched and swam in a tidal lagoon, where the boy tried out his new rashie. On our return, we wandered down the back to the Picnic Tables With a View, drank Pimms and scoffed various soft and moulded cheeses as the sky turned a golden pink. Very satisfactory! 

It all flowed very nicely, with kitchen elves making sure the cooking and washing up all happened with minimal input from me. And to top off the gains and festivities, the boy slept a whole NINE unabridged hours on Xmas eve. Woohoo! I am convinced by the new going to bed early routine (we had been quite laissez faire with bedtime, as E just seemed to sleep when he needed to as a newborn). 

The door will swing open again tomorrow for more visitors, just as we've bade the last of the Lusks fare-thee-well. 

*any errors are the result of attempting to post via iPad, and not the result of having consumed more alcohol in recent days than in the past year altogether.

12 December 2011

dog days, and blessed relief

Hello, stranger. I miss you. I miss the other blog, too. Here's a bit of an update.

Now that the House Move to End all House Moves (and I sincerely hope it is the end of all house moving, at least for a while) is dusted (and that is a whole other post), things are settling into more of a routine. Sort of. And for the first time since E was born (nearly five months ago!), life seems, um, normal. Sort of.

*Attaches self to wooden surface and doesn't let go*

But let me backtrack. I've found it very hard to deal with (read: had high anxiety over) E being in distress a lot of the time. Since we've had him home from hospital, he has been either vomiting, distressed with gas or reflux (and there was a horrible week of constipation too), or crazed by a hunger that can't be sated despite whole days of cluster feeding (and associated vomiting). It is just the worst, not being able to help his pain, watching his eyes fold into a thousand crinkles. And then some days, for no apparent reason, he would not go in either carrier. Or the bouncer. Or bed. But would happily sleep when attached to me. I've spent untold hours on the couch with him, or pacing aimless laps of the house (with requisite scurrying around afterwards with a wet tea towel cleaning up vomit splats). I have resented the endless washing of bottles (it really is endless with a baby who feeds like this one). And I desperately missed walking (I used to get two decent walks in a day, to and from work) and yoga. My mind went spare and my body hurt.

Amidst these days I started feeling weepy again and have struggled mentally with the transition to baby-dom. I've thought horrid thoughts and wondered why the hell I'd chosen to become a mum. (And then felt sinfully guilty, just to top it off.) I've even thought longingly about going back to desk - probably because I got more done inside the bureacratic machine than I do with a baby. And that explains why doing the dishes AND laundry feels like a major accomplishment. Also, I'm someone who needs alone-time like I need air, and coffee. Not only did I have no alone-time, I did not have time to do all those basic things that come before free alone-time (shower/toilet/coffee,etc). 'Hellooo?!' Yes, I can hear you who have had babies boggling at my propensity to state the bleeding obvious. But for me, this is new.

It feels like we've turned a corner in the past week or so. Most of our gains are the result of E sleeping more during the day. Which has given me - oh holy of holies - some time to myself. Yesterday I made muffins (blueberry + oat) AND did yoga. Unheard of. I've also been able to explore more feeding options, at last. We tried (and swiftly ditched) goat's milk formula (see constipation, above) and I'm investigating breastmilk sharing and making my own formula (both exercises in complication, especially living on an island, but very much worth checking out). I'm also ending the nappy guilt arising from our unpreparedness for E's early arrival and subsequent protracted house move. I did buy half a dozen clothies early on, but these are now too small for him.

I'm also tweaking our routine. K strung a mobile above the couch where E now sleeps during the day and this is helping keep him amused once he wakes, and sometimes - *gasp* - get back to sleep! I have some 'sanity-busters' within arm's reach to keep me from going spare during the endless feeds: a book, a notepad, my phone. K usually clocks on for dadda-time when he gets home mid-afternoon, and I'm using this time to do yoga and walk. Oh, wordless rapture.

But best of all, E seems to be doing better. He is more content, less prone to reflux and wind, though still vomits quite a bit (and I think this is in part due to the amount he eats, which is a LOT - at nearly 3 months gestational age, he's now in six-month old + clothes). And he is smiling and even silently giggling! And gurgling back when he is sung or talked to - way too cute. All the awesome bits that seemed like they would never arrive, finally have.

All this has given me hope that I will get to do some of the things on my spiralling wishlist. I bought some Very Expensive Wool before E was born (the fantastically named 'Squishy', in hues of seafoam and teal) and have a pattern for a rug bookmarked. I'd love to finish the paper crane mobile I started making when I was pregnant. And my mind gapes at the driftwood mobiles I could make! Our fledgling vegie garden could do with more tending. Oh and I would cook, and read more. And write. And write. And write...

Nevermind the things I should be doing. Ahem, Medicare application, healthcare rebates, mindless administrivia. La-la-la-la-laaa....

We also need to unpack the spare room of its boxes before we have K's family staying over Christmas, and a revolving door of friends to start the new year. Which I am very much looking forward to, btw, if not without some trepidation. Social minimalist that I am.

Anyway, that's all for now. See you in a bit, with any luck.

27 October 2011

we live here

Now I have that off my chest, to share the ridiculously amazing station we find ourselves in. It is nothing short of stupendous. This place, here... 

I've mentioned it before here, and here. Thanks to an amazing stroke of luck/karma/patience/brilliance, and after battling for nearly a year to find work to complement his solo web design, K landed a ranger posting. On Moreton Island. It is so perfectly him. I've never seen a job fit anyone as well as this fits him. It's as though some godly hand reached down from the sky and granted him his lifetime's wish - though I'm sure he remembers the interview somewhat differently.

And it was all so perfectly timed. Fast forward a month from the job offer. We had a baby. Needed family-sized lodgings. And now, find ourselves in the assistant lighthouse keeper's cottage ('cottage' reflecting the heritage value of our lodgings, not the size). 

And the location? So perfectly us (though only in our wildest dreams). Living on a windswept sunny Cape, a prime whale-watching spot. On the world's third-largest sand island, all but a whisker of it national park. Remote, salty, thick with coastal heath. We'd wondered aloud before, how one goes about finding a posting at a lighthouse. In the end, it found us.

It's like I blinked and life changed. Baby. Lighthouse. I know not what, next. And it sort of doesn't matter. Life is grand :)

22 October 2011

milk (and other catastrophies)

I have been wanting to write for so long now (writing as therapy etc) but have been utterly bereft of time. It is hard enough finding windows in the day to perform minimal personal hygiene, let alone reflect and document. Lord knows how some bloggers do it. Anyway, to catch up...

We brought E home from hospital on the second day of Spring, after three long and tres difficult nights rooming in at hospital*. K had only been back at work on the island for a day when the doctors suddenly declared, after several days of breastfeeding without tube feed top-ups during the day (babe was initially fed via naso-gastric tube as he was born before he learnt to suck), that babe was fit to go home. Naturally I was super excited, though with only 24 hours notice, barely managed to dash home between feeds and pack a bag for our hospital stay. The short notice meant K couldn't get back from the island to join us for our first night of rooming in. Which in the end was no drama as night one went really well. Thankfully he was there for the second night, which was, at best, traumatic. After a whole day and night on our own, without any tube feeds, E's hunger caught up with him by night two. By the wee hours, he was in such distress that the breastfeeding that had gone so well in the daytime in special care turned to mud. The special care nurse assigned to check in on us took one look at him and said 'that is a hungry baby'. I'd been doing everything possible to boost a low milk supply since his birth, however it was now clear I did not have nearly enough to feed him. After anguished hours, and hankies full of tears - and then some more - I gave him a bottle, thinking it would probably be the end of breastfeeding for us but at least he wouldn't go hungry nor be in such distress.

Reputable breastfeeding advice says that low milk supply is rare, that all babies fuss, especially at night. I knew this was different. His crazed hunger coincided with the withdrawal of regular tube feeds, and we had only been breastfeeding solidly during the daytime (mostly) without tube-feed top ups, for a few days. I was feeding or expressing eight times a day, had been on Domperidone and fenugreek for weeks, tried (and failed) using a supply line, and read and tried everything else: protein-loading, guzzling water and herbal nursing teas, massaging pressure points and trying failing to rest and keep stress at bay. I saw enough lactation consultants to qualify as one myself. Still, I only ever expressed a mournful milli-fraction of what might be considered in the orbit of normal.

In the end, I obsessed. The whole 'trying to find a solution' thing just depressed me, to the point of utter despair. I cried and sobbed and self-diagnosed PND, the whole experience being far more traumatic than the birth, and coming on top of an already stressful time. (Oh, and did I mention we were are also moving house?) I obsessed about how tragic it was, because he breastfeeds beautifully. And my god, how I loaded my body with goodness for him when I was pregnant. The supply issue was the icing on the cake of the whole baby thing not going at all how I had expected.

In the end I let go the pursuit of a magic bullet, for my own sanity, and accepted that we would have to formula feed in the main, while I continued my supply-boosting regime. I have accepted it, but still hate it. (Other than the obvious nutritional and wellbeing differences, formula and bottles are a lot of work, give him loads of wind, and combined with breastfeeding, are mind-bogglingly time consuming.) We did buy donor milk for a while, but at $80 a pop for 20 x 100ml bottles which may or may not be full, plus a car trip or courier from the Gold Coast, probably won't continue with this. Anyway. I am grateful that my initial fears with the first bottle have not eventuated and we have been able to continue to breastfeed, even if it constitutes a small part (volume wise) of his feeds.

There has been much agonising over why, why, why. My GP reckons my body wasn't ready. My midwife reckons that's crap, though I noticed that many first-time mums in special care seemed to struggle with supply. But then others didn't. I think it's a combination of his very early arrival, blood loss at the birth, and a possible predisposition to low supply. Perhaps my body was not ready. I had not laid down any breastfeeding fat stores during pregnancy - I was possibly skinnier immediately after the birth than before I was pregnant (it annoys me when people get jealous of this because I would be happily fat to properly breastfeed). I could also be a candidate for the confidence bustingly named (excuse the pun) 'insufficient glandular tissue'. I think the early separation played a large part... it's tempting to wonder how things would have gone if I'd got to hold him after the birth, if he wasn't stuffed away in an isolette for those first weeks, if I'd been able to feed him round the clock when he first learnt, at around 34 weeks, to suck. Also, no one suggested I start expressing until at least 12 or more hours after he was born, and then the interruptions on the maternity ward meant this was nigh impossible. Anyway, a girl could go spare wondering...

As for the depression, it has all but abated. In fact I have not followed up on a referral to an antenatal psychologist - partly due to the logistical issues of living between the city and the island, and partly because I've cleared the worst of it. OK, and partly because I'm not a talker. I'm keeping a watching brief. I recently ran into an old work colleague who now has two babes - both born about a month early - and it was so good to briefly talk to someone who has had a baby in neonatal care. Because I have felt somehow an unequal member of the mummy club. All of the preparations you do, all the things other mums tell you when you're pregnant about having a newborn relate to having a full-term baby. None of this really held true for us. It's a totally different road, one we've walked with the guidance of nurses and Google searches. Apart from a few couples in hospital we gelled with, we haven't really had that peer support, I guess.

Anyway, life evolves, and I've realised it's not the worst thing that could happen. We are more preoccupied now with wind and reflux (if I can be so bold as to call it that), and when those nasties abate, enjoying E becoming more alert and interested in the world. Let it be said, I am completely over the politics of breastfeeding. And moving on...

*Stupidly, after choosing to spend two nights instead of one rooming in, we were made to spend a third night after E lost 40 grams between discharge from special care and our planned day of departure from hospital. Bitter, much. The third night is now just a blur and I think they would have discharged us regardless of any further small weight loss as they belatedly gave in to the realisation that the environment was not doing us any favours.

24 August 2011

our little earlybird

That last photo of me at 30 weeks was the last one taken of me pregnant. A week later, we had the shock of our lives. I'm not sure that I've actually pieced it all together until now. Anyway, it happened like this...

On the weekend I caved in to my nesting energy and cleaned and scrubbed the floors. As in, on my knees. And then walked to the video store. And back. Up a stupidly big hill. So on Monday, I attributed the mounting back and pelvic pain I was feeling to over exertion. On Tuesday it got worse and I left work early feeling headachey and 'off'. That night I could not get comfortable on the couch and as soon as I went to bed noticed the pain was actually coming and going. Harbouring terrible suspicions, I googled 'early onset labour' and spent a mostly sleepless night in considerable discomfort and denial, thinking 'it can't be, this is too soon'. I got myself a hot water bottle and practised the positions I learnt in yoga. K, home from the Island two days early for training (thank god), got some (but not much) sleep.

Soon as the sun came up I called my midwife and reached one of the other midwives in my group - my midwife was on annual leave. I explained the pain I was having. Maria told me to meet her at the pregnancy assessment and observation unit at hospital at 9am. Her lack of concern relaxed me a bit. Our hospital is just round the corner so we ate breakfast and got ready. I remember thinking in the shower that I would really take to the bath when it came time to actually give birth, as the hot water was great for easing the pain. Denial still intact. We packed a bag of snacks and I threw in my hypno-birthing book and K threw in his board shorts (for the bath/shower)... just in case.

At hospital I was shown to a recliner but couldn't sit down. Finally someone came and took us into a room for tests. I had to lay on the bed on my back which was so uncomfortable. We both relaxed a bit more when we heard the Bunyip's heartbeat. I was given antibiotics for a suspected urinary tract infection. And panadeine, suggested when a very annoying doctor said I looked like I was in a lot of pain. The final assessment was an internal ultrasound. The operator mucked around for a few minutes, then looked disbelieving and uttered the words "fully effaced". I then proceeded to have one of those strangely calm 'this is not happening' moments. I'd always skipped over the 'premature babies' section in Up the Duff. Why would I need to read that?

Maria put on her best faux-calm face and said "right, this baby is coming, we need to prepare for birth suite" and relayed the excellent outcomes for babies born at 31 weeks. K and I looked at each other (more faux-calm) and said stuff like "we'll be fine". I got a jab of steroids in the leg to help ready Bunyip's under-developed lungs. Maria said I'd done really well to complete the first stage of labour without much pain, to which I replied, "actually it WAS a lot of pain", and to K, "I told you it hurt". He'd been worried my pain threshold was really low because I tend to yelp - through surprise more than pain - at minor stuff. Scoff.
Let me just say, we feel so incredibly lucky to have a gorgeous healthy baby, delivered without any cutting or instruments. But because it happened nine weeks early, everything else was the complete opposite of the birth I had hoped for and visualised. The next eleven hours went something like this... wheelchair, hospital gown, continuous electronic fetal monitoring. Which meant laying on my back - or at a pinch, on my side, since my entire labour was IN MY BACK (Bunyip was posterior, like me as I later found out). During this time, no food, limited fluid intake (I verged on dehydration), no toilet, a procession of doctors, student doctors and internal exams. Once in birth suite, Maria told me I could start pushing, which I did for a while. A subsequent internal exam by one of the doctors showed I was in fact only about 7cm dilated, so I now had to supress the urge to push - which was a bit like trying to stop going to the toilet once you've started after you've been hanging on forever, plus BUCKETLOADS of pain. Contractions were short but intense and coming one on top of the other. The only thing I could remember from yoga was the breathing - not strange considering I could not use any of the movements in my prostate position. (I discovered K has some degree of post-traumatic stress the other day when I breathed out with 'horsey' lips, which I am now forbidden to do, ever again). I remember vowing to never clean the floors again. For the record, it was a urinary tract infection - not the floor-cleaning - that brought labour on early.

After possibly an hour or several (time blur) of trying to breathe through contractions and eventually becoming unconvinced that I was not pushing, I told Maria it was getting increasingly difficult. In hindsight, I am not convinced that she or the doctors could really tell how my labour was progressing - at one point I got the severe shakes and thought I was going to vomit and recognised this as transition, however it was ages before anyone gave me the all-clear to push.

Anyway, the doctors told us Bunyip's water bag was bulging and they were worried about cord prolapse - serious but more readily managed than placental abruption which was also on the cards and the reason for various interventions which were suggested to us. Poor K, I realised about a week afterwards, was quietly falling apart on his quick 'breaks' (read difficult phone updates to parents) outside the birth suite, worried he was going to lose one of us. I was too focused on managing the pain to register how he was doing or really think much about the possibility of anything other than a healthy baby... I was so focused I couldn't even look at K or at doctors when they came and spoke to us, though listened intently and kept my talking to a bare minimum as even that required energy I could not spare.

Despite my focus, I was aware of tensions between Maria and some of the doctors - apparently she copped a serve for letting me start pushing early. As unsettling and distracting as this was, I was glad I'd read about the medical and midwifery approaches to labour in The Birth Wars, and the potential for these tensions to affect outcomes.

Knowing that any intervention was likely to kick off a cascade of same, I eventually agreed to an epidural (the upside being it was our decision, made after much deliberation and out of concern for Bunyip's wellbeing), to having my waters broken with one of those needle things (again for Bunyip's wellbeing), and after little progress (probably because I was laying down), Syntocinin (to speed things up for little Bunyip). And some other injection (whatever) to expel the placenta (due to concerns of excessive bleeding). All these had been definitely off the cards up until the moment we conceded their necessity for our tiny babe.

On one of his 'breaks', K told me a swarm of neonatal resus people had converged on the little antechamber next to the birth suite. Which was reassuring but at the same time quite worrying. After what seemed like forever, it was declared I could now push, which was much easier than managing contractions - though perhaps this is the epidural talking? I pushed for a while for what seemed like little progress. Unfortunately the epidural meant it was hard to tell where the baby was, until he was ready to be born and I felt the sting. It was the most amazing thing to watch his head emerge! My hopes that K would catch the baby were now all but lost in the thick of events.

Though things didn't go as we'd expected, there were some good bits. The choices sucked, but they were still our choices. Maria was awesome. She met me at hospital at 9am and wheeled me to my room just shy of midnight, and in between was a staunch advocate. We had a great doctor for Bunyip's birth (not the annoying one), the only OB I'd seen (once) during my pregnancy. He was on my wavelength. I was chuffed that I managed the pain without letting it dominate me, though admittedly the epidural I was never going to have was a godsend, even if at the business end it was only working on my left side.

And the truly great bits... K stuck with me like glue and kept me positive and calm throughout. We helped keep each other together, I think. We watched our baby being born. And discovered he was a boy! When he plopped out, he gazed slowly at us and let out a cry before being rushed to the resus room next door. Our little boy was fine - a lot of bruising to his poor little noggin after sitting so low inside me, and on oxygen for 16 hours - but otherwise great. He has wispery beach blonde hair and the cutest little lamb's bleat that makes my heart melt.

So many nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit have said he's a great size for his age. I was so chuffed when one commended me for feeding him so well. I know I did, but it was so lovely to have someone who wasn't there, and doesn't know me, recognise it. Especially because I feel like I didn't finish growing him. And am now was struggling to feed him.

The saddest part has been the separation. Not getting to hold him until day two (or three? I can't remember now). This is our first cuddle... can you tell we've been teary? I held him and all I could think was how small he was and that I wanted to put him back inside.

It was also hard being plonked in a room on the maternity ward after the birth, with a woman and her bub, born two hours after mine. Spending that night on my own without K, in that room, in utter disbelief and sadness. No baby in my belly, no baby in my arms. And every day thereafter, leaving him at hospital every night, though it has got a lot easier. I need to constantly remind myself how lucky we are to have him, healthy and growing and coming home to us soon. I am crying writing this, nearly three weeks later. I sometimes get flushes of jealousy when I see very pregnant women - and there are many where I spend my days at the Mater Mothers Hospital. I missed almost the entire third trimester... we didn't even get to our antenatal classes (so thankful I did active birth yoga really early).

It's a strange sadness, mixed with elation. There is a video of me touching Ellery in his humidicrib, at two or three days old. I'm smiling, but it's a smile I've never seen on my face before. Like I've been pummelled by love, bloated with pride, and strung out with weariness.

And now, four weeks after his birth, the days are becoming more joyous as we bond and learn to breastfeed. He'll be in neonatal care until we have breastfeeding down solid. Yesterday the nurses started talking about it being only a matter of a week or two before we can bring him home. And we still have no clothes that fit him (he swims in four '0's), no nappies, no change mat, pram, anything really. We were so unprepared. But in another sense, so ready for this, the completely unexpected. 

The past four weeks have been the ultimate surrender. 

Welcome to the world, gorgeous little boy.

Ellery Sage Lusk, born 9.06pm, 27 July 2011 at 31 weeks and one day, weighing 1922 grams (about 4 ounces).

Life After Desk begins again...

17 July 2011


Early new year,
dinner with K's family.

Eating sushi, drinking wine,
unbeknownst for the last time in a while.

We dream of you, 
yet have not an inkling.


 Just for fun, I take a test.
I'm not even sure how they work.

He's wide-eyed when I ask him what he thinks
the faint second line means.
Probably should have mentioned I was taking the test.

Lots of googling ensues, we think yes,
but daren't get too excited.
The doctor confirms!!

4 weeks.


Fast forward - since this time positively dragged!

At 16 weeks,
starting to feel a little more comfortable and excited.

By now I have a back-catalogue of dreams about blond-haired boys
but we've decided we can wait to find out.

The little nausea I had is gone.

And the grumpy wench who purportedly took up in my skin
has fled, leaving us to our calm and happy bliss. 

In less than a week I will feel your little pulses for the first time.


Nearly 21 weeks.

We saw you through the womb and my goodness you are cute!

Tiny hands, fingers, feet and ears,
such an active little babe.
Even Dadda has seen you move now.

Can't wait til you grow some more and show yourself to the world! 


By 25 weeks
I work out that my really hard belly
is practice contractions...

Lower back pain has stopped me walking to work
for the remainder it seems
but the physio steers me right.

You've been listening to Mozart, Saint-Saens, the Middle East
and my bathroom rendition of Frank Mills by the Lemonheads,
the only non-cheesy song I know that sounds like a lullaby.

Big-time exciting news, your Dadda got a job on Moreton Island!
You'll grow up with dolphins, turtles, dugong and whales,

our little beach babe.

Everything we dreamed
seems to be falling in place.


Hello baby! 
(That grin? Your Dadda just spoke your maybe-name!)

By 26 weeks life is busier than ever,

especially now K is on the Island.

You are growing daily
and are a constant reminder of things more important
than the work which preoccupies me.

You love to sit in the sun
and by the way you bounce around at dinner
I can tell you're going to love your food!


28 weeks... 7 months!

Boy or girl? You've got us stumped.
Your legs were crossed when we saw you at 20 weeks,
so a workmate says you must be a girl, all practicalities observed.

Another had an out-of-the-blue premonition, and says boy.

Either way, I fail to get my head around
the reality of you,
connect you with the empty little clothes we've got you.

Though it finally hits me that we'll be moving house
- across the water, no less -
with a brand new babe.



30 weeks

About a week ago I think you turned head down,
your quick little hiccups now feel really low.

Your movements have changed - lots of rolling, wavelike movements
as limbs push against diminishing space.
Your Dad likes to tickle you and watch you squirm.

Materially, we are not ready for you,
nesting thwarted
as we wait for news of a lease on the Island.

Yoga is all the preparation I need.
And the wisdom of generations
before birthing left the home.

Not long now til I finish work and can concentrate

on our journey together to welcome you into the world.



11 May 2011


It's a slippery sucker... and I've been watching it slip right through my fingertips. 

I've lost a bit of momentum in places. Am now trying to start walking again after a sedentary spell. I got a nasty bug a little while back and didn't walk to/from work for about two weeks. And it has rained, leading to even less walking. Then I had 11 continuous days off work (woohoo!) which translated into very little walking - or actually quite a lot of walking but all squished into one day when we circumnavigated Coochiemudlo Island on foot. 

Anyway, I hate not walking every day. I get stiff and sore and stodgy without it. But once you've stopped a routine, it's very hard to pick up again. But I'm getting there.

The other thing that's been bugging me a lot is my complete lack of writing. I do plenty at work, mostly a complete borefest. But the less writing I do for me, the harder it is to do any at all. And I mean, really hard. It's taken me a good ten days to finish writing this featherlight post. 

I'm not really sure why it's been hard, or getting harder. Maybe there's too much other stuff occupying productive brainspace - a combination of seemingly endless administrivia, and endlessly fascinating pregnancy/birth/baby stuff (and there is SO much to absorb). 

Anyway, I'm hoping that acknowledging these ruts will help me haul myself out of them.

And not to dwell on the losses. While I'm losing momentum in places, other things are gathering pace. The bunyip has been making itself felt for the past three and a half weeks. I was centre stage in a meeting the other day and the little monkey started dancing its heart out! My hand shot to my belly to soothe the robust little pokes. Unbelievable that a tiny 20-week old human can squirm so much! A momentum all of its own... and another post of its own - hello inspiration!

03 April 2011

a campfire kiss

I love this photo. I love it to bits. K took it. We're at Woody Head, Bundjalung National Park, just starting out on our first camping holiday last winter. It might've even been his birthday. We spent the day trekking across windy beaches and headlands to Iluka, where we had a late pub lunch in the sun. And headed back to a campfire where we ate a simple meal, and goosed around with a couple of torches and some time lapse photography. 

Time disappears. And you weave through ups and downs. And try to bottle happiness. Or at least catch it on film. Thank goodness he did.

Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and difficult as that. Leunig

01 April 2011

the bunyip

Though we've become expert keepers of the secret, it's bloody hard when everyone is having babies.

Yep, we are growing ourselves a little bunyip!! I am nearly 15 weeks!

It's been hard to believe it's real, considering my general wellness. Though the exhaustion, ravenous hunger, sore boobs, canine sense of smell and cravings for orange juice (and a nausea-induced pie and chips binge) are giveaways. Oh and the small bump which I can now tell is not just gas and bloating. Which has swallowed my waist and half my wardrobe along with it.

It all became a bit more real at the 12 week scan. According to the scan lady, our bunyip's a 'sleeper'... it had its head buried in the placenta and would not budge,
despite her furious prodding. Not even after the doctor was called in and made me do star jumps in an untied gown! It dug it's heels in (like someone I know) and showed the camera its little bum (that one's from the father's side - not kidding).

According to the genetic counsellor at the scan place (Betsy Peach - how cool is that name? - perfect for a fast-talker with a thick Yankee accent), I have the lowest risk rating possible for chromosomal abnormalities. According to Betsy's computer's calculations, my risk rating (slightly elevated to start with because of my age) based on the scan and blood test is on par with that of a 15 year old! Woot!!

Am also feeling pretty chuffed that I've kept up walking to and from work every day: an hour all up, and getting longer (in duration not distance!). Though the walks home are becoming harder, mostly because of the hills and because I'm totally exhausto at end of day. Lucky for me, K walks in to meet me and pushes me up the hills while administering back rubs. :)

I got a second sneaky look at the bunyip yesterday at an echocardiography appointment (for a 'flow murmur' which is apparently a harmless and pretty common thing in pregnancy) - and it was waving its arms and legs and rolling all around! So maybe not a sleeper.

Well, this'll test if anyone's still reading this thing!

#madeinvictoria #janfebmarchaprilmayjunejulyaugseptfast

31 March 2011

fillings and gaps

Poor neglected blog. Thank goodness for Firefox's password memory thingie, as I doubt my own would have got me any editorial privilege here. If you've stumbled here from somewhere else, you might like to keep stumbling to my other blog where my online energies go (as opposed to this one where they clearly don't).

I guess a small bit of updating is in order. *Applies time-lapse technique.* So. December, we visited Uluru. Pictorial evidence here. Christmas, Binginwarri, shamefully scant pictorial evidence here. (Oh and finally upgraded my Flickr account - way less commitment than setting up a new photo blog... refer first point.) Stayed dry through the floods and gagged on my overuse of the word 'surreal'. Baked a little, and found myself inadvertently on a small bandwagon. Got totally addicted to Twitter, various blogs and my mate R's little bub (not in any particular order of course). Went swagging in the rain at Brunswick Heads. Despaired the lack of sunshine. Saw Sufjan Stevens, most awesome Christmas present ever. Whistlestop visit to Melbourne to see Mum in hospital. Started yoga classes after the longest absence. Discovered a genius recipe for steamed chicken.

On the work front, I moved back to the old policy job, after the person who's seat I warmed for a year in manager-land returned. The old-new job has proved thusfar better than expected. Enjoying being back in the policy head space, and actually doing something quite different to what I'd previously done (win). In other work news, the Uluru job didn't eventuate :( ... which is not to say it mightn't yet. We're staying put in Brisvegas for now and K is continuing to build the web empire. Anyone need a WordPress site built or hosted?

There was probably some other stuff in there too. Oh yeah, I finally twisted someone's arm to play Scrabble with me!

Well, there is some other news, but that deserves its own post. ;)

12 January 2011

hell or high water

Inner Brisbane, January 29, 1974. Bruce Postle/The Age
I wasn't quite sure how to start this post. It's been a while and I'm out of rhythm here. But today feels quite surreal. So I'll go with that. 

Went to work this morning after having yesterday off - sick all weekend with throat lurgie that migrated to chest. Anyway. Woke up nauseous but optimistic so K (now in lurgie-dom too) dropped me in. We'd been shocked last night to see images of the devastation in Toowoomba. Early reports were saying the floodwaters were headed for Brisbane and these would coincide with a king tide. It wasn't talked up, but K had picked up some stuff from the stupid-market and fuelled the car. At work I was whisked into a meeting straight off the bat. But after that, everything seemed to grind to a halt. It was all flood talk, people checking the news, calling family, wondering whether to leave. News reports were now saying the flooding would rival that of the mythical 1974 floods.

A colleague walked by my desk and recalled a photograph from the '74 floods of someone diving into the water from an awning at the old Festival Hall, where high rise apartments now stand in its place. 'Festival Towers' are just round the corner from my work. 

Albert Street, CBD, January 1974.
Copyright State Library of Queensland, author unknown

Our executive director came round several times telling people to leave if they needed to. I encouraged my team to leave and made sure everyone was OK to get home. Just after lunch, I left, worried that if I stayed it might be difficult to get home, which is across the river. I'd already seen photos on the ABC news site of the river encroaching on Davies Park at West End, just down the road from us. 

I was one of the last to go. It was eerie outside, the middle of the day but like peak hour with everyone heading home. Traffic was banked up. People were running. Rain fell from low grey skies - as it has for several weeks months. I wondered whether I'd get home my usual way, across the Goodwill pedestrian bridge. I always walk, even in the rain. (My pack-cover and wet shoes have become normal.) Anyway, the busway on the southside had closed at 12pm. K came to meet me, as he usually does. We walked along the river in the Botanical gardens. There's a looped boardwalk out through the mangroves there we often take on the way home. It was underwater. Surreal.

The Goodwill bridge was fine and gave us a birdseye view of the now very high and fast-flowing river. Full of debris. Gangways to floating CityCat pontoons were angled upward to meet the river, instead of their usual downwards tilt. The pontoons were at the very top of the pylons. We wondered what would happen to the pontoons as the river continued to rise beyond the pylons. I've since heard people say they've seen pontoons unloosed and flowing down the river.

At home we hovered over our computers, where K was streaming some tap to a police scanner. I thought Twitter might explode and cursed people jamming up the qldfloods hashtag. Tweets were running so fast as to be an illegible blur on TweetDeck. Anna Bligh held her first press conference at 3pm. I fell in hero-love. She was calm, in control and sympathetic. Clearly teary, even. Twitter subsequently went mad again in praise of Premier.

Tonight we helped K's brother's girlfriend and her sister move their furniture and stuff to the top floor of their townhouse. They (and their poor little spooked kitty) are staying at K's brother's place which is probably one of the highest points in Brisbane. Leaving their place it was odd to see people still sitting inside neighbouring townhouses watching TV. Everyone in their street had been warned to move cars etc to higher ground! People are strange.

So tonight we are fine but feel kind of useless. I heard that 75 percent of Queensland is underwater. Our place is safe and will continue to be so - high on the hill. Everything is damp as it has been for days and we have garbage bags over a window that doesn't shut properly. But we have water in jerry cans and non-perishable food. And internet connections, for now.

I have no idea whether I'll be able to get to work tomorrow. I suspect it's not such a good idea.

All is eerily quiet. For now.