Friday, 27 June 2008

It's A Boy! ... Oh Boy!

Everyone's been asking what's happening with the birth... on Tuesday the 24th of June, at 3:45am, Noah Orion Leopold was born.

It turned out to be a pretty long labour. Starting on Saturday the 21st, Frangipani's water broke in the afternoon, followed by some mild contractions. Seemed like labour was going to start, so we went out to keep active, and do some last minute shopping.

Frangipani was leaking gushes of amniotic fluids though a slow leak all evening, and by night she was starting to look like being in labour. I went to get a couple of hours sleep, and told her to do the same. Of course, not long after midnight I got up to find them awake, and timing contractions on this funny website; ContractionMaster.

Contractions were still quite mild and irregular, but coming every 5 minutes or so. At sunrise Frangipani decided to get into the birthing pool, but that slowed things down, and she ended up going to sleep for a bit.04 birth pool 2

All through Sunday, she was still losing water, but not really in active labour. I figured prodromal labour, but started suspecting asynclitism (when the baby's head is on a funny angle). Only I wasn't sure. Oh if only I had been more confident in what I felt!

09 ball contractionA friend of Frangipany's came over to play with Littletree and keep her occupied, which was nice. By evening the contractions got stronger again, and we settled in to have a baby, with good contractions lasting more than a minute coming every 7 minutes or so, and getting closer.

Crazily, we passed the whole night that way, with no real change, and still irregular. Again, with the dawn, things slowed down a bit, and Frangipani got a chance to rest, but not really, with contractions waking her up every few minutes.

Monday, another friend came over to take Littletree to the Phuket Aquarium, and Jo had a sleep. I kept Frangipani active, but in the early afternoon we got a bit discouraged and decided to do a vaginal exam, though Frangipani had planned to be as intervention-free as possible.

She was at 9cm, with good descent! Thus encouraged, we decided to do some dancing to shift the baby out. It was great, to see Frangipany wriggling her way through contractions to funky reggae!

(ETA - I finally got the edited video uploaded, so i've put it in: note this isn't the same video that I posted earlier today, that one can still be seen on youtube if you search for sequoialittletree videos)
By evening, the contractions were getting pretty intense and closer together. Phew! Finally :)

Only by midnight, there was still no change. I still suspected that the head was deflexed (looking up rather than with the head tucked in) and asynclitic, so we did a bunch of postures and things to try shifting it, but no dice. I did another vaginal exam, only to find Frangipani was still dilated to 9cm, in the exact same position as 10 hours before! At least the baby's heart rate was fine throughout it all.

We tried a couple more measures to shift the baby, but in the end, suffering miserably from exhaustion, after missing two and a half nights' sleep, and trooping through such a long labour, Frangipani decided to transfer to the hospital.

We arrived into the ER at around 2am, and the doctor was called. The obstetrician came in and confirmed my diagnosis - baby deflexed and asynclitic, impacted at 9cm in a brow presentation. When I told him I'd checked her and she'd been at 9cm for over 12 hours, he called for a cesarean section, which Frangipani agreed to.

The nice thing was that the doctor and nurses were all very respectful, and totally accepted me as an authority. I managed to convince the doctor to let hospital policy slide and allow Jo into the operating room, and to take the baby as soon as it was delivered, rather than taking it off in a plastic box to the nursery, and also for no vaccinations, eye drops or vitamin K. They also agreed to let Frangipani have skin-to-skin contact and initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible. :)35 nursing help

It all went well, and Noah Orion Leopold was born, healthy and fine, 3.33kg and 54cm long. Though with his head dented in the shape of Frangipani's pelvis. The swelling went down really fast though. Now mama and baby are recovering well, bonding and breastfeeding like crazy :D

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Sharing Creates Abundance

Essence of Life published my latest Natural Parenting article; interestingly-titled, The Right To Be You.

Well, I couldn't think of a good title, so I left it up to the editor. Yep, that's what you get.

check it out Here

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Let Your Little Light Shine

Last night Frangipani and Jo got a Thai wish lantern for us, which was a lot of fun.

It's basically a big paper balloon with a small ring that you light on fire, which fills the balloon with hot air so it rises up into the sky.

Apparently it's a Thai tradition, and you make a wish when letting the balloon go. During the Thai Festival of Lights people set off thousands of them, filling the night sky. Pretty spectacular, though I wonder what happens to all those balloons when they finally hit the ground :/

Still, it was a lot of fun for Littletree, who made a wish that the baby will come, which looks like it's coming true, since Frangipani's water broke.

55 lantern 57 lantern

59 lantern

Friday, 20 June 2008


Nothing like being in the tropics for a little fungus. Littletree has a ringworm on the back of her hip. It started out small (which I foolishly didn't take a picture of) and just got bigger and bigger.

after one week:19 ringwormafter two weeks:36 ringworm I sprayed some tea tree oil on it every morning and now it's getting better, almost faded. It looked pretty gross - it's about 4 or 5 cm across, and Littletree said it was a bit sore and itchy, but it didn't really seem to bother her all that much.

We talked a lot about fungus, and how they spread and grow. Then we got into talking about parasites, including the botfly larva Littletree had in her butt cheek when she was 13 months old. That was freaky - she had this red-kidney-bean-sized flesh eating spiky worm abut 2.5 cm deep in her butt cheek. poor thing. If you're not squeamish, look on Youtube for "botfly".

On a less gross side of life, I started making a wishlist on Amazon, which you can see here or by clicking on one of the fun buttons on the sidebar. I'll probably be adding new books to the list regularly; who would have thought that unschooling a small child and studying midwifery would require so many books!? But don't be shy! you too can be one of the first to Buy a Book for Majikfaerie!!!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Oishi Desu Ne!

Purple left, back to Israel a few days ago, but before he left, we all went to Oishi - a Japanese all-you-can-eat buffet...

OMG!! The place is AMAZING! Huge bars laden with all kinds of sashimi and sushi, and other Japanese dishes. We filled our plates so many times :)
22 oishi sushi

Chinese steamed dumplings galore, and a huge area full of platters of raw meats and fish that you can select, and they cook them fresh and bring it to the table.

Purple took a plate of meat and they brought it to the table in a little pot of soup, that was cooked at the table. I stuffed myself on raw fish, Littletree ate HEAPS of sushi and some miso soup.

Littletree got out her lipstick and princess crown and made herself and Frangipani beautiful. She declared that Frangipani was the Queen of the Universe, and she was Princess of the Universe. Jo was King of the Universe and Purple was Prince of the Universe. And me? I was the Midwife of the Universe. Funny, all this time I had assumed the Universe was a Freebirther LOL We mostly just hung out for ages laughing and chatting, occasionally heading up to refill our platesThen Littletree discovered the restaurant had a playground! She even made friends with a little girl who was there, though they had no common language; the other girl was speaking Thai, the kids communicated and played together just fine :)
25 oishi playground

Monday, 16 June 2008


We arrived to Phuket town bus station to be greeted by Frangipani and Jo. After our harrowing journey, I was so glad they were still there to meet us, especially since we arrived much later than we'd thought.

They took us home in their jeep, and showed us to our room so we could shower, rest and relax.

06 our roomWow! The house is absolutely gorgeous; they've been hard at work decorating, nesting for the new baby to arrive. The house is so full of plants and greenery, one could almost feel in a forest, and my room is decorated with really nice lighting and hanging baskets, cool and breezy in shades of citrus and green :)

Frangipani has set up her birthing pool and birth space in a way that would put the fanciest private birth centre to shame; surrounded by plants, in a cozy corner overlooking the ocean with candles and soft lighting.08 birthing pool

The house is amazingly, right next to the sea, and in a kind of remote place with no near neighbours. For Phuket, it's a real paradise.

We all settled right in, and quickly made friends with Frangipani and Jo, enjoying leisurely breakfasts out on the patio.12 patio Followed by gorgeous sunsets from the upstairs living room.15 sunset

We started catching up on our pre-natal checks, and now not much is left but waiting for the baby to come :) 11 franziska


Sunday, 15 June 2008


*This post simply wouldn't work (slow internet connection).
So I've re-posted and deleted it. See the next post :)

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Back in the Land of Smiles

It's so nice to be in Thailand again. When you arrive in the airport, there's a big sign saying "Welcome to the Land of Smiles". It's nice.

Littletree enjoyed being back in a familiar place, and she asked to go to the dentist again to have her teeth cleaned (I guess in response to me taking a close-up photo of her teeth in a bid to get her to brush.

I took her back to the same dentist we'd been to about a year ago to have Littletree's teeth cleaned. They are really nice there, and very sensitive and patient with small children; I can't recommend them enough. (not to mention paying only $10 for treatment in a private dental clinic!) 04 dentistLast year when we did her teeth, it was also at her insistence, and it had gone very well. This time she had less tolerance for the procedure, but still, came out with a set of shiny pearly whites and a minimum of fuss.

Who would have thought that a child would be begging to go to the dentist?! I guess one who hasn't been exposed to cultural images of dentists being big scary menaces. LOL

After we spent 2 days in Bangkok, mostly recovering from the journey out of China, and with Purple right back to work, we booked ourselves in on the night bus to Phuket. Somehow, after taking a 16 hour overnight train in China, taking an overnight bus seemed do-able, but it turned out to be much worse than it sounded.

Naturally, the bulk of the difficulty was thanks to the travel agent not mentioning a lot of what seemed to me, pertinent information. Like, we were told that the bus would leave from Khao San Rd - where the travel agent was. They didn't mention that we would have to walk to the top of the street, and when they finally told us that, we were told it was just to the end of the street - a hop of about 150 metres. Only we were herded (with Purple hobbling on an injured leg, and us lugging 2 loaded backpacks, a suitcase, 2 full day bags, a guitar, and a bag of food - which we could just manage to carry, if it weren't for the wild card - SLEEPING LITTLETREE!) for about a kilometre! *groan*

Finally, getting to the place; some random spot on a big road, we waited about half an hour, then the bus came, and parked on the other side of the road, so we all had to lug our gear across in front of whizzing freeway traffic.

On the bus, no worries. we scored a full row to ourselves, and the bus was somewhat comfy - the seats reclined pretty far and had foot rests. 10 hours later, we arrived to Surat Thani, a big town in southern Thailand, where we all had to get off the bus, lug our bags to the other side of the road, and sit in front of another travel office, waiting for a mini bus to take us to Phuket.

For some reason, minutes after the entire bus load of people set their gear down, a guy came out with a hose and started watering our bags! Nothing would make him stop. Purple got red in the face and would have attacked the guy, I'm sure, if he hadn't been safely behind a fence.

We waited there for an hour, before a car came and took us to another travel office, where we waited another hour before a minibus took us 3 hours to Phuket, and then left us at another travel agent where we waited about 40 minutes for another car to take us to the bus station. The whole journey was about 18 hours.


But we arrived, and our hosts, my new birthing clients, were there to pick us up :)

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

New Articles

Essence of Life published a bunch of my articles while we were in China;

Great Giver: Wangari Maathai
about an incredible Kenyan woman's struggle to bring about political change and women's rights in Africa
A Joining of Tribes about our experiences at the Australian rainbow gathering and the native aboriginal ceremony there
A Child Environmentalist: Bindi Irwin about everyone's favourite little TV greenie :)

Check em out. and don't forget to visit the forum...

Monday, 9 June 2008

Down the Mountain

When it finally came time to leave the rainbow, we packed our things and started the hike down the mountain. For some reason, walking back down was much harder than the way up; Littletree needed a lot more motivation to keep walking.

By then my sprained ankle was pretty much healed, though it still feels weak, Purple had injured his knee somehow and 106 truckfound walking difficult. Luckily a few other people started walking down and helped us with the bags so I could carry Littletree in the sling, but it still took a long time to get to the bottom where we could hitch hike.

After waiting quite a whiles, we got a ride on this crazy little truck, which seems to be the vehicle of choice in that mountainous area.

Back in the village of Mao Gan, we hung out for all of ten minutes, just enough to have a look around, feed Littletree an ice cream and see the market, before the local minibus came to take us to a bigger town with buses back to Sanya. 108 mao ganMao Gan is quite the "one horse town"; here's the main drag:

There was one old woman who came up to gawk at us, she seemed so frail and skinny, but somehow radiating a confident power. She had this awesome hand woven cloth on her head, probably antique, which reminded me of my best friend, who collects and deals in such things. I showed the woman my camera and made a kind of questioning gesture to which she nodded. After I snapped the shot, I showed her the photo (ahh the joy of modern digital technology!), she jumped up 109 womanlaughing and shouted excitedly like a small child at Christmas. It was very cool.

So after a long bus-ride back to Sanya, quite exhausted, we got the local bus back to the rainbow house, only the conductor didn't want to let us on the bus. We knew it was the bus we want, and standing with all our backpacks, I kind of pushed our way on. They refused to take the bus fare from us and kept trying to convince us that we should get off. Eventually, the bus driver showed me the list of the bus route, and got me to understand that the bus wasn't going there. confused, we got off and took the next bus. no problem.

Arriving at the Rainbow house, the rainbow sign was gone, and there was a big padlocked gate keeping us out. we climbed around to the back of the house, to find everything dark and locked up. We thought we could, in the worst case, at least put up our tent and sleep on the beach, but even the water wasn't running! Seemed like something had happened, but we didn't want to leave, mostly from being too exhausted, but also because a friend of ours had helped us by carrying one of our bags down the mountain, with the plan to meet at rainbow house. So we waited.

Thankfully, it was all just a co-incidence. After about half an hour, someone arrived to open up the Rainbow house - the main caretaker of the place had gone back to his home in Sichuan, where his family had been sadly devastated by the earthquake, and everyone else had been at work. The rainbow sign was still there, it had just blown around in the wind so we couldn't see it. The water came back on shortly after - just a freak outage. All was well.

We stayed 2 days in Sanya, made an adventure out to the train station to buy train tickets to Shenzhen for our flight (we found out that flying to Shenzhen was cheaper than taking a sleeper on the train, but since Littletree didn't have to pay for the train, it would be less than plane tickets).

The train was a great adventure. I'm so glad we decided to splurge on first class tickets - we had a cabin to ourselves with four beds (though we'd only bought tickets for 2 beds, luckily no one else was booked in our cabin), and it was a very comfortable 16 hours.

We played Fish, we ate a lot of noodles; in China there is everywhere (even on the trains) little taps dispensing boiling water for tea or instant noodles. everyone just drinks green tea all the time, and eats a lot of instant noodles. The train even went onto a ferry to get off Hainan Island to the mainland. The crossing took about an hour, it seemed, though there was a lot of shunting back and forth to get all the train carriages onto the boat. Definitely riding a train on a boat is something I've never done before!115 train sequoia

We arrived to Guangzhou city at 9am to wait for a local train to take us to Shenzhen at 5pm. Guangzhou is the kind of place you go to if you want to buy 100,000 pairs of shoes or half a million DVD players. We browsed around shops, and bought Littletree a new personal DVD player, which was incredibly cheap, and predictable, already stopped working.

All the connections back to Bangkok were pretty easy, though we got to the airport a little early and had to hang out doing nothing for a while. Then we arrived to Bangkok after midnight, dreading our chances of finding a room that late.

Amazingly, our arrival was as if angels were leading the way! Usually one arrives to Bangkok, you walk off the plane and down about 2 miles of corridors to get out. Luckily, we got to disembark from the plane onto a bus, which deposited us directly in front of the immigration office, where we breezed through to find ourselves immediately in front of our baggage carousel, with our bags being some of the first to come out. we sailed right by customs and into a taxi, maybe 20 minutes from getting off the plane! A new record :D

Being so late at night, there was little traffic, and with the driver doing 120kph all the way into town, we arrived to our neighbourhood really quickly. Purple stayed with his bags and injured knee while I took Littletree to find a room. Against all hope, I tried first at our favourite place, which is always full up by noon every day.

Incredibly, they had a room free, and not just any room - one even better than our usual favourite room - on the quiet side of the house, a large airy wooden room, with a balcony and a double and a single bed!!!! For 200 Baht - about $6! I almost cried with joy and kissed the night man. Unable to believe our luck, we fell asleep, exhausted, and glad to be home.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

China World Rainbow Gathering

We got a lift up to the turn-off from the main road near the rainbow - a 40 minute hike up a steep cow trail. Well, 40-minutes for a fit person without a lot of luggage. For us with our big bags, and Littletree, in pouring rain and mud, it took more than double that.

At some point on the trail, I fell off the path, 2 metres down into a hole, where I ended up hanging literally by my fingernails onto brittle bushes, over a five metre drop to rocks in the river below! It was a scary moment, and I couldn't get out with my backpack on, but Purple managed to pull me out.

We made it in the end, with Littletree managing to walk all the way by herself. It was so wonderful to arrive to Welcome Centre to be greeted by caring family and a hot cup of chai :)021 welcome centre A couple of days in Welcome Centre - still in seed camp really, and then the family decided it was a sunny day and time to move to the main kitchen and main circle, which was about 500 metres up the trail.

The site was so beautiful - faeries everywhere, swarms of butterflies by day and fireflies by night. Beautiful lush green jungle full of edible plants and mushrooms of many kinds, fruit trees, 2 rivers, 3 spectacular waterfalls...

Main Circle:057 main circle Swimming Pool

073 deep poolWaterfall:075 waterfallWe had beautiful circles every day, and wonderful food; a small but strong international family from all over the world. 097 circling I celebrated my 29th Birthday, which was wonderful to be in rainbow for. I got some nice presents and a good massage too :D

It rained a lot, so we spent a lot of time under the big tarps in the kitchen / chai shop, but we also had a lot of sun050 rained out rainbows034 ribbonThe children made a little rainbow gardening in the Kid's Kitchen (aka Main Kitchen/ Chai Shop)094 rainbow gardening Family communed with nature...095 buffalo lars

And finally we had a consensus in Vision Council for there to be a Black Current Regional Rainbow Gathering in Taiwan in January 2009 (The black current is an ocean current in East Asia, starting in the Philippines and flowing north along the coast of China to the north of Japan).

Consensus for an African Regional Rainbow Gathering to be held in Morocco, in September 2009 and The Next World Rainbow Gathering to be in New Zealand in December 2009 -  January 2010!

Okay, I have about 100 photos from the gathering, so I can't post them all here, but you can see them here if you want.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Travelling To China

The flight to Shenzhen, which is near Hong Kong, was pretty crappy. Of course, we took a really cheap Internet airline; the kind where they don't serve food or drinks, and the only way to get drinking water is buying a bottle of spring water - $1US for a half litre!

This wouldn't be a big problem, except that thanks to all the bullshit "anti-terror" security, one can't take any liquids onto the aeroplane. So we can't bring our own drinking water, and in Bangkok, there's no where to fill our bottles with potable water after the security check, like there is in most places. Crap.

We survived anyway, and were again sailed through customs and Chinese immigration in a wheelchair, thanks to my trusty sprained ankle.

We landed just after midnight, and Purple set about finding us the best way to get to Hainan Island. We thought we'd take a shuttle bus into town and then find a place to sleep, and then take the train, but Purple found out (amazingly, since no one spoke English) that there was a flight direct to Haikou, the capital of Hainan, leaving in 1/2 hour and if we ran, we could still catch it.

So, we ran.

Well, Purple ran, I limped, and Littletree whined and grumbled, all the way from International arrivals in terminal B to domestic departures in terminal A, with a worker from the airline hurrying us along all the way.

We made it! 2am saw us arriving in Haikou and on a shuttle bus into town. Thankfully a friendly guy on the bus spoke a little English, so we asked him if he knew where we could get a cheap hotel. He took us to the hotel he was staying at - a 'cheap' place; marble floors in the expansive lobby, complete with fountain and fish pond, brass fittings, and a suite with AC, TV, hot shower, western bathroom, breakfast included. Amazingly enough, all this cost 128 Yuan - about $17US. Much more than we are used to paying in Thailand, but a good deal.

005 rainbow houseAfter sleeping for a long time, we took a taxi to the Rainbow House in Sanya, which turned out to be a kind of guest house on the beach. They had dorm rooms, kitchen, mountain bikes, kayaks, climbing wall, internet, even a little aeroplane!

We just missed a crew going up to the gathering, and ended up relaxing for three days in the Rainbow House, playing on the beach and exploring.

Here's the Welcome Home Aeroplane:

The sea was really beautiful; clear water full of coral and tropical fish. Heres a massive Jellyfish in the sea - it was about 1.5 Metre circumference!

008 jellyfish Sunset over Sanya bay:

011 sunset

A Storm coming in:020 storm In the end, we got a ride up the mountain to the gathering with some other rainbow crew. I'll post about the gathering tomorrow...



Wednesday, 4 June 2008


One really fun thing about China is the baffling over-use of automatic translators. For some reason, the Chinese seem to think that you can translate anything in Chinese, word-for-word into English, and it will still make sense. The upside of this is that it makes for some freakin hilarious signs! Here's a few beauties:

For Weak Only; sign on a toilet


Let the wealth's arithmetic figure become the vital property; billboard


The extravagance is just monotonous adjective; billboard


All taste completely except the east wind(you)!; packet of seasoned peanuts

CIMG3486 Please count on the spot the money thing; sign at a supermarket checkout

CIMG3493Sandy Beach Shoe; sign in a shoe store. I've no idea what they're trying to say here.

CIMG3504 Best for last:

Are you readly? 2008 China biejing; t-shirt. Honestly, the Olympic translators have been working overtime!


Tuesday, 3 June 2008

It's Been A Long Time

We're back in Thailand! China was great and the rainbow gathering was fantastic, but it feels good to be 'home' in Bangkok.

Sorry that I didn't post for so long, but I did warn you all that I'd be mostly incommunicado while in China - no Internet at the rainbow gathering; we were in the jungle on top of a mountain, and in any case, Blogger is blocked in China (annoyingly, half of the Internet is blocked) so I couldn't post.

003 eating wormsI did see all the comments everyone left, expressing concern about us with my extended silence, especially with the earthquake in Sichuan and all; I feel so touched, thank you. And I did try to send a quick post from my email... but clearly that didn't work. Oh well.

Anyway, I just finished downloading, cropping, rotating and renaming all our photos - over 200 of them, and I shall write a nice long post or maybe two about our adventures in the next day.

Meanwhile; enjoy this lovely snap of Littletree in Bangkok, eating worms wrapped in seaweed, the night we left for China...

Monday, 2 June 2008

We're fine!!! (old post)

while we were in China, I couldn't access Blogger, so I tried to send a post in by email because I got all these comments from people worrying about us, only it didn't work and I only now found the post had been saved into the drafts section, rather than published, oddly enough. Well, it's pretty belated now, I think it was from the 1st of June. but here it is:

I don't know if this is working - is blocked from China, so I can't really access my site :(
Anyway, we are out of the Rainbow Gathering, it was fantastic! The next World Rainbow Gathering will be in New Zealand, December 2009, as well as an African gathering in september 09 and a gathering in Taiwan in jan 09.
My ankle is better (though Purple injured his knee, so it balances), and we weren't in the area of the earthquake. But thanks for all the concern. I feel loved!
I had a wonderful birthday with the Rainbow Family, and we enjoyed our weeks in a paradise tropical jungle with spectacular waterfalls and abundant mushrooms.
More details later - we fly back to Thailand tonight so I'll upload photos and write a nice long post!