Update

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My last update was me swearing to write more, and i didn’t. Oops.

The truth is that it is very hard to run a blog, a household and work a full time job, I know most of you do it, but I’m not sure how!

Things are going well here. I am still working full time from home so that Emily can stay home with me. It is working well, I really do miss going in to the office though and do get starved for adult company. My mom gets lots of phone calls during the day and Shaun has to listen to me chat incessantly when he gets home. I enjoy my job though, even though it can be very disheartening at times. I am learning a lot.

Emily is getting so big. She is walking and falling all over and is learning quickly to be a princess from her big sister. She has three and a half teeth and wears size 12 – 18 and a size 4 nappy. She sleeps so well and will only wake up three times a night most nights. She fights going to sleep usually and we still feed to sleep for most naps and bedtime. We all sleep together in the main room and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, Though we may move Lily onto a mattress on the floor at some stage. Emily wants to sleep next to her sister every night, and be sleep I mean play. She loves Lily and wants to be with her every second she can.

Lily is the most amazing child. She is sweet and polite and kind. She is still very shy and is taking a while to adjust to school and her new class and teacher. She will get there though and I know it is the right thing to send her, she gets so bored staying at home. She loves to dress up and always has her doll, handbag and cell phone at close reach. She has long conversations on her “phone” with her granny and nana and is really starting to amaze me with her attention to detail. She remembers bizarre things from months ago and will tell me them at random times. I have to watch what I say! She has started telling me off for swearing and constantly berates Shaun and I for fighting (we don’t fight that much!). She look after Emily amazingly, feeds her, gets her water, takes her clothes off for bath time, helps her up and down stairs and is just generally a huge help and the most wonderful big sister. She is gives hugs and kisses and love so easily and is just the smartest and best kid I know!

My dad leaves in March, I am trying to not think about it…

My brother is coming to visit though! I can’t wait!

Conversations with my three year old

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We have these conversations EVERYDAY with Lily.

L: Mommy, what colour is your hair?

S: Blonde

L: What colour is your face

S: erm, peach (we try to be politically correct; Shaun once said Caucasian and got a very weird look from Lily)

L: what colour is your nose?

L: what colour is your legs?

(This goes on for a while. Sometimes I change it up and answer green or blue, but she gets cross when I do!)

L: Mommy, on Monday I’m going to see Grandpa Kulu (this is her word for my dad)

S: On Monday? I don’t think so my babe

L: yes I am

S: on Monday you’re going to school baby

L: when then?

S: I’m not sure my baby, Grandpa Kulu is very busy

L: you phone him and see when he’s coming to play in my Wendy house

M: ok

*looking out the window in the car*

L: mommy what’s that man doing?

S: which man?

L: that man there

S: that one?

L: no

S: that one?

L: NO

S: that one?

L: NO Mommy!

S: which one Bean?

L: the one in the blue shirt

S: oh. He’s walking to work.

L: why?

S: because he doesn’t have a car so he is walking

L: why

S: because not everyone has cars

L: why

S: because it’s expensive to have a car

L: why

S: sigh. Because it is my love

L: why

…this goes on for a while

*reading her book in the car*

L: mommy look here

S: I can’t look baby, I’m driving

L: look here, what’s this?

S: I can’t see my baby I’m driving

L: why?

S: because we’re going to school

L: mommy look here!

S: I can’t Bean I’m driving and it’s not safe for me to turn around

L: why

S: because if I turn around to look at your book I might crash and then you and your sister will be very sore and have to go to the doctor and daddy will be very sad. It’s my responsibility to get us to school safely…cue long lecture…

L: silence

L: silence

L: mommy look here…

L: Mommy are you going for a hair cut?

S: no, not today

L: why not?

S: because I don’t have any money

L: I’m going to buy you some money

L: mommy I’m going to the shops (Usually in her sisters walking ring, or pushing her trolley. She will have one of her handbags over her shoulder, a shopping bag, her sunglasses and a baby with her)

S: what are you going to buy?

L: coffee, ice cream, chocolate and chips!

L: mommy, what colour is your……..eyes/hair/cheeks/knees

(We have this conversation at least five times a day)

L: mommy we can’t go to school, the puppies are lonely!

L: Emily is catching me! (Runs away shrieking with laughter while Emily stares at her)

L: mommy, one day when you were small, you rode on Grandpa Kulus bike. I was a baby in your tummy. (Weeks ago I told her about our visit to Amsterdam and riding on the back on my dad’s bike. I was six, so she was definitely not in my tummy.)

Lily. I. Don’t. Know. Why. Day 2 of Writers Boot Camp.

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We were standing in Pick n Pay today, waiting to buy biltong. The conversatuon went like this:

Lily: “mommy what are you doing?”

Me: “waiting for the lady to come so that we can get some biltong”

Lily: “why?”

Me: “because I’m hungry”

Lily: “why?”

Me: “because I didn’t eat lunch”

Lily “why”

Me: “because I was working and didn’t get chance”

Lily: “why”

Me: “because I was working”

Lily: “why”

Me: “because I have to work to make money”

Lily: “why”

Me: “because we need money to live and buy food and pay for the house”

Lily: “why”

Me: “because that’s the rules”

Lily: “why”

Me: “because that’s what society says”

Lily: “why”?

Me: “because”

Lily: “why”

Me: LILY I DON’T KNOW WHY. 

Lately, those are my five favorite words. 

Topic for day 1: Even if you know me well, you don’t know this. #writersbootcampza @Writersbootcmp

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I have birth nightmares often.

 

 I had two difficult births; to use the word traumatic feels wrong because I had the best possible outcomes. I have two healthy girls, who were discharged immediately with no complications for either of them. This doesn’t stop the flash backs and nightmares though. I feel like a traitor to the natural birth cause by saying this, but I am terrified to even think of falling pregnant, because I do not know how I will birth. The thought of another natural birth paralyzes me with fear. Am I proud to say that I birthed naturally? Yes. Do I wish it went differently? No. I wouldn’t change anything because who knows what the final outcome would have been. I wouldn’t change anything; I just don’t want to do it again. I don’t want to remember the fear, the pain, the uncertainty and the exhaustion.

 

I hate saying this. I hate it because I don’t want anyone to read this and decide against a natural birth, it was one the most amazing experiences. I am glad I did it and that I got through it, it has shown me how strong I can be. This doesn’t change the fact that I can’t think about the mask going over my face, the midwife telling me that there is no time for an epidural , and the feeling of being stitched up while not numb, without getting goose bumps and a sinking feeling in my stomach. It doesn’t stop me having nightmares about going into labour and knowing what was coming, while trying everything in my power to prevent it. One day they will stop though, time heals all wounds.

 

 

Madness, a quick update to get back into blogging.

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The last few months have been insane. Here is a quick recap of the madness, starting in September last year:

 

We had planned to travel up to JHB for my mom’s wedding at the end of September. We made a week of it and had a bit of a family holiday before the end of year sprint. A few days before we left Shaun got a call from a company in Pretoria asking him to come in for an interview. We quickly shifted plans a bit and he attended the interview the day before the wedding. The next week was spent talking and planning and trying to not freak out. We got home and he got the call that he got it; they wanted him to start 1Nov. That’s where the madness started. Shaun resigned, I spoke to my boss and organized a plan to work remotely, Lily was meant to start a new school the day after we found out, I cancelled that and was lucky enough that her old school could keep her for another month. We gave notice on our flat, booked a truck and started packing. My mom found us somewhere to live in Centurion and researched schools, hospitals and gynes. I was going to only meet my new doctor at 36 weeks pregnant. Shaun then remembered he was writing exams the first week of November. This threw us. He spoke to his new company and they were ok for him to start the 2nd week but he couldn’t change his exam venue. This meant that he would have to stay in Durban while I moved us and drove Lily up to JHB alone. At 32 weeks pregnant. I did it with no problem, except that half way into the almost 6 hour drive, Lily spiked a fever of 39 degrees. Quick stop at the Montrose rest stop, break open the car “just in case” kit – wet face cloth, thermometer and panado, followed by ice cream and we were back on the road. She wasn’t well for a few days and I ended up having to find a doctor in my new town, the first week we lived there.

 

Shaun passed all his exams, drove up and started work the following day. That was 7th November. Lily started school the same day and went on holiday a month later. I was frantically working from home in that time, to try and get as much done as possible before the baby came. I met my new doctor on the 28th Nov and booked my bed in the new hospital. I was 36 weeks. Lily finished school on the 6th December, and we spent a week together, me moaning and uncomfortable and her painting, drawing and bored to tears with a mommy who could barely walk anymore. On about the 12 Dec, we decided to buy the house we were living in. It had suddenly gone on the market and was too perfect to let it pass by. Shaun got the ball rolling and the following day, I went into labour. I had only met my doctor twice but as you all know, she didn’t deliver Emily anyway as she wasn’t on call. I didn’t know gynes did that, but I was pretty annoyed. Anyway, the new gyne was lovely and I will return to her again. I far preferred her to the original doctor, who was rushed and cold.

 

I was in hospital for the weekend and came home on the Sunday arvie. I was very sore, in a ‘this isn’t quite right kind of way’. A few days into it and I couldn’t take it, I went back to my original gyne. I was a sobbing mess, could barely walk for the pain. She told me I was depressed and prescribed anti depressants. She had a quick look at my cut, said my stitches were torn and told me to take pain killers. As I was leaving I started crying again and told her this pain wasn’t right. I was so sore, she prescribed antibiotics for a bladder infection, without testing my urine or examining me. That was the Friday. The following Wednesday was Christmas day. I had been feeling fine but woke up that morning a bit sore. Took two panados and a suck it up pep talk. The following day I woke up in agony. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t get out of bed, shaking with fever and just feeling horrendous. It was boxing day, so short of going to the hospital not much was to be done. The following morning I went to see the stand in gyne (cue gyne number FOUR). She saw that I had an infected uterus and kidney, due to an untreated bladder infection, turns out the rushed prescription of antibiotics weren’t enough. She prescribed strong antibiotics and to come back in three days, after three days I was still in a lot of pain but infection markers were going down. She advised a hospital stay with IV antibiotics, but the thought was to terrible. How could I do that with a toddler and newborn over the festive season? I decided to stay home and wait it out. Anyway, the long and the short of it is this: birth and recovery sucked. Six months later and I’m still struggling with recovery. I’m glad I have my two healthy girls and don’t have to do it again.

 

Emily was born 13th December. I started working again full time on the 1st of March. Juggling working, a baby and a busy toddler and a husband who is travelling a lot has it’s challenges. This is my excuse for being a crappy blogger. I am going to try my best to blog weekly from now on, This post has been thrown together so that you all know what we have been up to and why I have been so quiet. I promise to post more updates on our adventures starting now…

 

 

 

Never underestimate the power of a good scream.

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Never underestimate the power of a good scream.

‘I cannot believe this is happening to me again’. This thought went around and around my head, as I moved in and out of focus, waiting for the gas to start to work again. It was happening again. How was this even possible?

It all started a few hours before…

I woke up with cramps and a feel of anticipation. I had spent the last nine months saying that I hoped she would come on the 13th as it was a long weekend, my mom was still here before her holiday and I knew how over pregnancy I would be. I was past the point of ‘over it’ however. My dad took Lily and I out for breakfast and I had cramps on and off but nothing to say ‘this is it’. We came home and Lily and I spent the afternoon painting and bouncing on the ball, the pains were getting worse, bad enough to stop talking and walking. Eventually I decided to make an executive decision and call it. I sent Shaun a message saying ‘I think this is it’. He called me back, doubtful. He thought I was being dramatic. I told him to come home now. I then called the labour ward and told them that I would be in in a few hours and I started timing my contractions. They were about 6 mins apart so I called my mom and told her to make her way to my house as well to look after Lily. I started to prepare Lily for a night without us and made sure my bags were ready. I then wrote a list of Lilys eccentric vocab for my mom, so that she knew what she was talking about! I actually just needed something to do, to push down the terror that was building. As you all know, I had spent the last nine months swinging between calm acceptance of the inevitable, and crippling fear of a repeat experience. I wrote about it here for parent 24. I felt quite calm as I sorted and prepared though, I had decided to focus on the baby not the birth and knew that whatever happened, I would be a mom of two soon.

Shaun came home and started playing with Lily and making no move to rush or get ready. He hadn’t even changed out of his work clothes. When I demanded he move it he said ‘why? We’re not really going to the hospital are we?’. He was totally in denial. My response wasn’t polite but got him moving. My mom arrived and Shaun and I left. We got to the hospital, making bets on how long we would be there for. He said she would only be here on Sunday. I said before midnight.

We got to the hospital and the midwife checked me, I was 3cms with irregular contractions. Cervix was very thin and ready though. She suggested walking and bouncing for an hour to try break my water. My new doctor wasn’t on call, so after all my planning I would be delivering with an unknown doctor anyway. I decided to remain zen and not let it bother me. They called the doctor on call who agreed with the walking and bouncing and reassessing in an hour. They didn’t want to induce in anyway as I wasn’t quite 38 weeks yet, but were happy to let nature take its course. So we walked and bounced and at 8pm I was checked by a different midwife who said nothing had changed. In fact she said my cervix was still thick and far back. Not a good sign. It was two totally different diagnosis but what could we do? She went off to call the doctor and came back with a plan. They advised I have a dose of pethidine and atarax which would take the edge off the contractions and allow me to sleep for four hours. As I was only 3cms I was in for a very long night, especially since I was in a lot of pain already and the contractions weren’t dilating me anyway. She said in four hours they would wake me and check and reassess. They planned on inducing by breaking my waters in the morning. They didn’t want to do anything in the evening as less staff on call and just generally safer during the day. We hummed a haaed for a while. We were both totally against pethidine but also knew that I needed sleep in order to have the sterength to survive labour. The midwife offered a half dose but assured us that a full dose would wear off long before baby came. We decided to do it. I was tired and sick of being in pain. I wanted to go home to my Lily. So they gave me the jab and we settled in for a few hours nap. Shaun was going to go home and come back in the morning. We called my mom and said he would be home shortly, he was going to wait for me to fall asleep.

Thank goodness he did!

As I dozed, listening to the beeps of Candy crush that Shaun was playing, another contraction hit. It was sore and I complained loudly but knew the meds would kick in soon. A few minutes later another one hit, this one very sore. I breathed through it and as it ended I felt a pop. My water had broken. Shaun ran to get the midwife and she came in and checked. I was 4cms. She went out to call the doctor to tell her and as she left another contraction hit. This one was really bad and I told Shaun to go and get her and tell her to call the anaethatist because I wanted my epidural now. She came back in and checked me and didn’t remove her hand as I had another contraction.

That was the first time I swore at her.

The next second I had a gas mask on my face and she said to me ‘Shannon, you’re not going to believe this but you’re 9cms. This baby will be here in half an hour. The doctor won’t get here in time. There is no time for an epidural’

No time for an epidural. The words echoed in my mind as the gas kicked in. They floated around the room and out the door. Then I lost control. I screamed at Shaun. Told him that this was not happening and he can’t let it and how could he do this to me? I swore at the damn midwife again to get her hand out of my fucking vagina it hurt! Then I floated away again…

‘Shaz you need to focus, the doctor is almost here. Don’t push’

‘Please please get me an epidural, I won’t move I promise. I had it last time, I promise I won’t move’

‘Shaz you need to stop screaming’

‘ I’ll stop screaming if you get me an epidural!’

‘You need to stay in control. Breathe don’t scream’

‘I want a fucking epidural NOW’

‘Ok Shaz the doctor is here you can push’

‘I can’t I’m going to die’

‘You’re not going to die, push’

And so I pushed and I screamed and I pushed and a baby came out of me. Instantly I sobered up, all thoughts of gas and pain and epidurals gone. Shaun cut the cord and she was handed to me. Unfortunately the doctor started stitching me up right then and that was a whole new pain, but Emily Grace Richards was here. After 45 minutes from 3cms to birth. She was here. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe I had just given birth completely drug free. I was still not feeling any effects of the pethadine. I was terrified it would hit any minute though and insisted I get Emily latched before I passed out into a drugged sleep. She latched well though and we spent a few hours getting to know eachother before she was taken away for her paed tests and I went to sleep. I still couldn’t believe she was here. Before midnight. I had been right🙂

She came out face up, this, the gyne informed me the next morning, meant that instead of having to open up 9cms, I had to open up 11.5cms. Which is why I had to be cut again, even though she was 600g smaller then Lily and I could push effectively as I didn’t have an epidural. Because it was all so fast, she didn’t have time to turn her so out she came, face up. This is why I was in so much pain after the birth. There was a lot of damage.

It has been just over two weeks and I am still recovering slowly. The recovery has been difficult this time as I am a lot more damaged then last time, although thankfully it is mainly physical. I do not feel as traumatised as I did after Lily was born. This time I know that things happened as they should, naturally and without us forcing the issue. She came when she was ready and I’m happy with that. Natural birth is sore, very very sore. I don’t know how women do it more then once!

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The story of the two wolves…

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There is a story about a Navajo grandfather who once told his grandson, “Two
wolves live inside me. One is the bad wolf, full of greed and laziness, full
of anger and jealousy and regret. The other is the good wolf, full of joy
and compassion and willingness and a great love for the world. All the time,
these wolves are fighting inside me.” “But grandfather,” the boy said.
“Which wolf will win?” The grandfather answered, “The one I feed.”

For the last few years, I have worked on my good wolf. I have nurtured her
and fed her, I have pumped her full of positivity and self-confidence. Thus
I have grown. I have gained so much confidence in myself as a person, a
mother, a wife and a daughter. I have learnt who I am, and who I want to be.
I have discovered what is important to me and spend a lot of time thinking
about how I can portray myself to the world in the light I want to be seen
in. I strive to be kind, to be thoughtful and to reproduce these qualities
in my daughter. So far I am succeeding which just goes to further prove that
my decisions are the right ones. I am confident in myself and the person I
am.

My good wolf has starved my bad wolf; she is sitting on his weak and
malnourished body and growling down his protests. The bad wolf, the wolf that
represents my low self-confidence, my second guessing, my doubts on who I am
and who I want to me. My thoughts on how I portray myself to others, my
failings as a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother. Those negative
qualities have been kept down for the last few years.

Someone recently fed the bad wolf. This person said awful things to me and
my bad wolf stood up and took notice. He smiled and started to gain weight.
He snapped at my good wolf. These words were aimed at crushing my
confidence, aimed at putting these thoughts into my head and it worked. A
few well-placed jabs and my good wolf was suffering.  Thankfully I have
people around me who build me up, not tear me down. My family and friends
helped me to feed the good wolf again, and started the process of starving
the bad wolf back in to submission.

This experience has taught me that the people we have in our lives, makes
such an enormous difference. They can make or break you, and can affect your
whole life. Now that I have more than just me to worry about, I have a
husband and two children to think of and have to be the person that I want
my girls to be. I have to be the person that they look at, that one day they
can say, I want to be just like my mom, or, I learnt that from my mom. It is
a big job, one all parents are faced with. I recently spoke to a friend who admitted her bad wolf is gaining strength; unfortunately he gains strength a lot easier than he is starved. We are now embarking on the same journey I went through, of starving him slowly, bit by bit. We will get there.
Our children and families deserve all the positivity in the world and they deserve a mother who KNOWS that she is the best that she can be, and not doubt herself. So my dear friends starve that bastard, keep him down! WE deserve better!