Saturday, October 6, 2012

New house tour

Because I get bored after having a baby and need some adventure. And for a bunch of other reasons that I can't be bothered going into, we moved house in September.

It's a house in the country which we are currently renting, but hope to buy soon. It's further from town, but not too far to commute. It's on 3 acres and the neighbors are cows and horses.

We kept quiet about moving, mostly because we didn't want anybody to feel obliged to help, since I feel we've used our quota of moving-house-help. Yet still some friends showed up and got stuck in (thank you).

It's been a ton of drama moving from the old place which I haven't fully recovered yet, and honestly the drama isn't fully over yet. But we'll get through.

The plan (ours, not necessarily God's) is to live here until we die. I'd like to never move house ever again if possible. We have many hopes and dreams for this place. Watch this space, I'm sure I'll be posting all about it. I'm super excited to have a place to fix up and build up and make my own.
Here is Hame'lldaeme:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Funky Cheese Fluff - a poem about newborn babies

by Niecey Docherty

Your face is adorned with newborn acne
alongside lines caused by unclipped fingernails and uncoordinated hands

Those eyes too large for your face and too wise for your newness
lose focus and cross in the middle, like plastic googly eyes

A button sits where a nose should be,
above pouty lips which contort into various poses when you sleep

Leaning close to your skin, I inhale you
I find your fragrance intoxicating - or maybe the buzz is just due to the fermentation of milk and spit up stored in the folds of your neck

I relish my daily task of picking out fuzz from between your toes and prying open your tightly closed fists to dig out strings of fluff with an odor not unlike cultured cheese

There’s a stench of decay from your navel, which I have affectionately named The Zombie Appocalypse
It earned you the nickname, “Smelly Belly”

Quite undignified, you pull awkward facial expressions and begin to grunt your desire for nourishment

So I come to your rescue with a breast full of milk and as you partake I savor the sweet sounds of your sloppy gulping
You indicate your satiation with an enormous belch which seems impossibly loud for a tiny tot such as you are

Nature calls to you and you are compelled to pull up your knees and growl with effort as you thunderously deliver something atrocious to your diaper

Then the hiccups launch themselves upon you

Helpless you suffer as they seize control over your wee body

Gentle convulsions and adorable squeaks, at an impressive rate of about fifty per minute
They exhaust you, which you express in a yawn so wide you could swallow the room whole

Until that yawn is rudely interrupted by a violent sneeze which leaves you staring at the ceiling, pondering the cruelty of this world outside the womb

There’s nothing so perfect or so beautiful as being so utterly depended on, so wholly trusted
by someone so needy and incapable

This is pure beauty, utter loveliness, exquisite fine art

I need more than breath to never let you down

I wouldn’t change a single thing. 

Besides your diaper 
(and I’m thinking a bath wouldn’t hurt...)

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Guest Post by Alasdair Docherty

Hi. My name is Alasdair, but you can call me Ally. I'm most used to that.

I'm one and a half years old and until a couple of weeks ago I was the youngest of a family of seven. It was quite a privileged position: never a shortage of attention or doting. In a family this size, you have to find your niche early - something that makes you stand out in the crowd. My niche is being an adorable stud muffin. I have huge eyes, which really draw people in, and then a killer smile to finish them off. I love being funny and silly and get away with all sorts of ills by smiling my way out of trouble.

In my family there is always a pair or arms to hold me and a set of eyes to watch me and give me attention. I did really well as the baby of the family. I had the role down. I was rocking it. They teach me all sorts of tricks and I love to perform them and watch them all swoon and ooh and ahh at me. One such trick they taught me in recent months was to lift Mummy's shirt and point to her tummy when they would say the words, "Where's baby Chicken?". I never quite understood what it was all about, but it seemed to be another way to prove how cute I am and it further established me in my role.

I was a little confused when Mum cried a couple times, snuggling me and apologizing, something about how my role was going to change and I had no idea, and I wouldn't be a baby anymore? I didn't understand, but she seemed pretty cut up about it. She can get that way sometimes though. Geez, mums can be such hard work sometimes.

Then a couple weeks ago the weirdest thing happened...Mummy was in a pool in her room making all sorts of weird noises and I was busy imitating her in the living room and making everyone laugh and swoon when Daddy came running through asking us to come in if we wanted to see the baby being born. I didn't understand but since the siblings ran through I decided to play it cool and follow them as if I knew what was going on. I looked at Mummy in the water and was amazed to see a baby come out! A real, actual baby! A girl. Apparently she is called Chicken too, but Mummy's tummy isn't called Chicken anymore (these people can be so fickle sometimes).

It seems that this baby is here to stay - she's a part of our family now and will live with us forever and ever. So anyway, maybe this is what Mummy meant about my role changing, but I still don't understand why she cried about it. I think this is the best thing ever! I get to be a big brother! I never got the chance to practice being nurturing before, but now I get to do it all day - and as it turns out, I'm freaking awesome at it!

I started practicing with baby dolls. I was never interested in them before, but now I carry them around all day and wrap them in blankets and change their diapers. It's good practice and helps satisfy the urge to hug a baby when my real baby is busy drinking milk or something.

I heard Mummy telling people she was worried I might get jealous. OK, I must lay down my pride and admit it...I am a little jealous. I mean...she's always holding the baby, and I only get to hold her occasionally. It seems a little unfair. But I make sure to get a baby fix as soon as Mummy sets her down.

I absolutely shower her with kisses. I can't keep my hands off her.

She's sooo sweet and cuddly. I love to just watch her. I say, "baby" more than any other word these days. Except for maybe "kissy" (which means I want to kiss the baby), which I say a lot too.  I guess you could call me obsessed. I'm not ashamed.

Sometimes I try to take her out of Mum's arms so I can hold her instead. Mum doesn't appreciate it and says something about Mama Bear, bla bla bla. But doesn't she realize how much my baby sister needs me? What would she do without her big brother to put her hat back on or tickle her feet?

I think she's simply the best thing that ever happened. I love her to pieces and am so happy to be a big brother. And I'm pretty darn awesome at it. 

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The noob - birth story

This was me on Sunday Morning, July 22nd . 42 weeks pregnant. The plan was to head through to hospital the following day for a non-stress test and possibly be induced. If not induced on Monday then Wednesday at the latest.

This was my longest pregnancy ever. I am used to going past the EDD but not this far past. It was very challenging to say the least. I didn't have a very positive mentality about it all, I was downright miserable to be honest. I've always been vocal about my principals, "Baby chooses their birthdate, patience is important, let them cook, you don't have to *do* anything to usher in the labor just as you needn't *do* anything to make the baby grow eye lashes or fingers or to encourage their heart to start beating. Trust the process. Wait for the perfect timing."

But then I was 42 weeks pregnant and miserable, so I showed my principals where they could shove it and I did every old wive's tale in the book to try to encourage this wee lamb to come meet us. I prayed and cried and journalled and talked to the baby and strongly felt that the baby wanted to come out. They were ready. I wondered what was holding it back and it was difficult to not become anxious.

Sunday as a last ditched effort I decided to try some black cohosh. I've been cautious about it in the past and didn't think it's something I'd ever try. But I tried. I took one dose every hour for four hours and we went out to walk around some shops. I had a couple of tightenings but nothing significant. After I took the last dose and we came home and nothing was happening I began to feel very discouraged. There were no tricks left to try. We had done it all. My body must just be broken. I was very down.

Rene kept the kids out of my hair and let me have some time to try to find some zen space (or at least that's the delicate way of saying, "why don't you stay in a different room so we don't have to be brought down by your mysery and your terrible mood"). I laid around in the hammock for a while, which was lovely despite the 100+ degree weather. I listened to the birds sing and felt the hot breeze on my skin and prayed. And found some peace.

About 4pm I went for a nap. But I was feeling a bit crampy and couldn't get comfortable. I thought I might have a UTI coming on because I kept feeling like I had to pee, but I couldn't. And of course I kept up some hope at the back of my mind that it was a sign of impending labor. But then I thought *everything* was a sign, because I was so desperate for it to be true. Then somewhere around 5pm, or just before it I got a decent contraction. It only lasted about 15-20 seconds but it demanded my attention. A few minutes later and I got another one, still short but uncomfortable. When the next one hit, I found myself thinking, "I'd love to get in the pool for some relief" and I got excited. Surely that means this is labor?

I decided to tell Rene, and ask him to fill the pool. I remembered last time it had been hard to convince him to fill it when it didn't look like I was in labor at all, so I chose my words carefully, "Rene, I'm in labor. Can you fill the pool?". He had been determined to believe me this time so he went straight into prepared script mode with a, "yup" and immediately started filling it. I hadn't been prepared for him to believe me...I had only had a few contractions and they were really short, but they did hurt...but I felt fine in between. I felt really stupid suddenly like I was calling a false alarm. But I went with it anyway.

A few minutes past 5pm and the pool was starting to fill and I got in and was still completely comfortable and smiling.

A contraction hit and I gently moaned through it, and it sounded like I was having a great time. I felt silly for vocalizing. I felt like I was really playing this whole thing up out of desperation to not be pregnant anymore. Another contraction and I breathed through it. Still very short. 20 seconds or so. I'm hoping they pick up and this is really it. I'm hoping they'll get stronger. Next one that hits was a good 'en! And I was THRILLED. I started crying and sobbing, saying, "this is really happening! I'm really going to have a baby! I can't believe it! I'm so happy". And as I sobbed, I could feel the baby moving down lower. And that was the end of "easy" labor.

Maybe 5.15 or 5.20 ish and I was slapped with a real, serious contraction and I couldn't help it. I yelled. Rene calls it the "birth warrior cry" but I watched back the video and I look like a huge wallrus wailing at the top of its lungs. It was not pretty or feminine like all these lovely hypobirthing videos. It was all of a sudden severe. It was sheer power and pain blasting through me and I just repeated the words, "surrender, surrender" in my head, and I did surrender. I didn't care how I looked or sounded, I just did what my body needed. Which was to yell like a giant wallrus. Rene reminded me at one point to keep my tone low, which I tried, and it helped, but was too much effort to sustain. I wasn't screaming, just hollering. In between contractions I was still nice. I asked Rene to rush through at one point to make sure the kids know that I'm ok, these sounds are normal. He reported back that they were totally unphased and in fact Ally was entertaining them by copying me. They care so much.

I hadn't had time to build up endorphins and I felt everything. I was dilating super fast and it was really insane. I guess this was transition hitting, though it's hard to tell, because it really had just gone from mild to crazy as though it were an on off switch. But I heard myself saying, "I can't do this" and hoped that meant it would be over soon. And when Rene would try to reassure me, I shooshed him, and silently felt guilty, but also realized maybe it was a sign I was in transition and an end was in sight. I was reminding myself to surrender, working hard to maintain awkard positions to keep my bottom in the water because the pool wasn't filled to minimum yet, and telling myself there would probably just be a few more contractions to get through. And I was right.

5.50 and I felt my body pushing, I felt the baby descend and I told Rene, "it's coming". He ran through to get the kids if they wanted to watch and by the time they ran down the hall and into the room the head was crowning. I was leaning back and facing them so they saw the whole shebang from the action end of it. All five kids were in there. The water broke and there was meconium in it. We were too busy to worry about it. The room was suddenly a circus with kids everywhere making comments and whooping and whatnot. I wasn't vocalizing anymore, just silently surrendering to the fetal ejection reflex and telling myself over and over that it would be done soon, I'd get to hold her soon, my work was almost complete. The kids were giddy, and were all shouting, "You can do it, Mummy. You can do it!"

The contraction ended and the head was out, though I didn't feel that relief I usually feel when the head has been born. I tried to feel with my hand what was going on, but couldn't tell. I tried to just soak up the break and regain strength for when the next contraction would hit. Which wasn't a very long break at all. I felt the shoulders popping out one at a time in graphic detail (man I wish I had some endorphins to make it a foggy memory!) and then the body slipped out easily at 5.55pm. Rene had just put his hands down to check for cord and keep baby in the water when the baby happened to come skooshing out into his ready hands. He lifted the slippery giant onto my belly and I could hear the kids cheering and asking, "it is a boy or a girl?!". I looked down and said, "Hi baby, hi baby girl!" and the room erupted with happy exclamation.

I felt amazing! I was so happy to meet this baby. I was on cloud nine and it hasn't really warn off yet. I was SO glad this was over, and I looked at her and said, "I did it!". I felt like nothing could ever stop me, there must be nothing I couldn't face. Such an empowering feeling.

She was alert, but too content to bother to cry at first, but was still getting good blood through the cord. I swapped her around from arm to arm, trying her in different positions and after maybe a minute she let out a beautiful cry and pinked up right away. We noticed she had a knot in her cord and thanked God for keeping her safe. She found her thumb and started sucking it before her placenta had even been born. She's a pro.

Meet Ashlynn Victoria. 11 lb 1oz of deliciousness.
She belongs in our family. She's fit right in. We are all so in love. She has the sweetest, easiest temperament and is so snuggly and lovable. I don't know how we ever could have lived without her. She is amazing.

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