Monday, 28 July 2008

I'd Like to Thank My Producer...

The ever-lovely Akashapeace has given me an award. It's not too clear what for, but I shall accept it graciously.

It seems the deal is that I have to also pass it on to 7 other bloggers. Bit of a chain mail, me thinks ;)

Red Dirt Mother

The Parenting Pit

Papaya Mom
Homebirth Mutiny

Hmm, that's 7 I think. in no particular order. I've spammed you all with it! MwuaaaHaHaHaaaaa!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

my pearly whites

A few folk have asked what I did in the end with my dental dilemma, I did a lot of reading and soul-searching, and finally decided not to have the work done, mostly out of sheer laziness.

I kind of had this idea that I should be able to heal my teeth through nutrition, I know my best friend has done a lot of work on re-mineralising his teeth. Though he's also done a lot of work on getting fancy silver fillings ;)

Anyways, it seemed reasonable to assume that the dentist was really looking to make some extra money and I don't need to have the work done just yet.

So, thus begins my journey into the wild depths of nutritional healing on my teeth. I'm learning a lot about Weston A. Price and taking care to brush more and eat more dark green leaves.
Well, the green leaves part is easy ;)
I shall definitely update as I get further down this path...

In other news;
My wonderful computer, who is still pretty new and therefore under warranty, is playing up a little, so I might be sending her in for a service :(
The fun part was that I had to backup my hard disk, and re-install everything. :(:(:(

Of course I blame Vista for all my problems, and naturally, Vista makes it easy to do so.
During the install wizard, I got this screen:
A more secure environment
Spend less time fixing problems and enjoy a faster, more reliable online experience with Windows Vista

What!?? I would never have seen that screen if not for trying to fix problems. and then just minutes later, my computer popped up a little box to tell me it found some problems and I should click on it to see what they are and how to solve them. That got me to this screen:Problem caused by Windows
This problem was caused by Windows, which was created by Microsoft Corporation. Currently there is no solution for the problem that you reported.

Yep. Next time I'm getting a Mac

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Hospital Home Birth

It's been a pretty full-on week. Tuesday I did the first pre-natal since I've been back with Earth Mama, and diagnosed Pre-eclampsia - a serious condition characterised by high blood pressure and protein in the urine (she had both, as well as other symptoms).

Wednesday I took her in to see her doctor to get some blood tests done. He confirmed my diagnosis and sent us to Tweed hospital; an hour away, to do further tests.

Thursday we went up to Tweed for the tests. They admitted her straight up and started planning for an induction, which Earth Mama decided to delay for another day.

The doctor was keen to do a chemical induction, which involves using a drug to soften the cervix, breaking the waters and administering a synthetic hormone via IV drip to get the contractions started. It's pretty intense, as the contractions are stimulated unnaturally, and they come on very strong. It's been known as 'natural labour times ten'.

Obviously Earth Mama wanted to avoid this, and at some point we realised the Tweed hospital wouldn't allow any one to stay with her; not even her partner, after visiting hours; the whole place was pretty ugly.

Late on Friday night, she decided to bust outta there and come home for the weekend, to try a natural induction with me. Natural induction is generally doing the same thing, but using herbs, massage, acupressure, etc.03 accupuncture

Saturday things were progressing really well, she responded to my treatments, and was dilated to about 3cm, though still only 50% effaced (thinned out), and getting little crampy pains. We chugged along like that and even had an acupuncturist come on Sunday.

By Sunday evening, Earth Mama made the decision to move somewhere nearer the hospital, and some phone calls revealed that Lismore hospital, which is a little further away, is much less conservative. Autumn called them and they invited Earth Mama to come in and have a birthing suite for ourselves, to do whatever natural practices she wants, and have whichever practitioners she likes to come in - in fact as many people as she likes to come in. They would simply let us be and keep her under observation.

What a revelation!

09 hospital templeSo that's what we did - at 10pm on Sunday night we packed up the house and drove the hour to Lismore. The birthing suite was massive, and we decorated it with lots of rugs and shawls, crystals and sheepskins, even Earth Mama's own lamps. The room ended up looking like a hippie tent, and we spread out our sleeping bags on the floor to get some rest.

What with the hospital folk coming in to check Earth Mama's blood pressure and do tests, rest wasn't much forthcoming, but we kept at our herbal regime and had some good progress.

By Monday, Earth Mama was ripe and getting more toning contractions. At 2pm, the doctor came in saying her blood results were looking pretty bad, and they wanted to speed things up. Earth Mama agreed to the induction, knowing that we had done a really great job of getting her ready.

25 josie in labourSo good, it turned out, she was in hard, active labour just minutes after starting the drip :) We worked really hard supporting her through the intense contractions, and after a while, the hospital midwife agreed to turn the drip off.

Two hours later, the baby started coming down. Earth Mama got into a good position squatting on the edge of the bed, and I got in position to catch the baby, with the hospital midwife standing sentry at the ready by the door.

41 beautiful babyA beautiful boy was born fast and easily, at 9:11pm, breathing on his own and very strong! I put the baby on Earth Mama's belly and checked to make sure he was all fine. We cleaned up a little, made sure she wasn't bleeding too much, and then relaxed for a few minutes.

Just then, the shift changed, and a new hospital midwife came in. She was fantastic! She came to me and said, "Hi, I'm M, I've heard you're Earth Mama's homebirth midwife; I'm happy to stand back and let you handle everything, and I'll be right here if you need an assistant."


13 angel mamaI honestly never would have believed one could essentially do a home birth, with the attendants of your choice, but in a hospital. M was really great, and let me get the placenta out, even when there was complications (a placental lobe that wouldn't detach). 

In the end, it was a beautiful birth, with a healthy baby. Amazing, considering he was 2 weeks early, with a pre-eclamptic mother and his placenta was so deteriorated it literally fell apart in my hands!

After it all, I drove home at 2am, exhausted beyond belief.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

There's No Place Like Home

CIMG3902I haven't posted since I've been home, because we arrived to find the internet connection still isn't working. Anyway, we spent one last day in Wollongong, hung out with our friends on the beachThen we took our flight back up north.

Earth Mama arrived to the airport to pick us up; the poor girl - her partner, Autumn was supposed to pick us up, but he forgot, so she had to leave in the middle of her Blessingway and drive an hour to get us.

It was so wonderful to arrive home and find our little cottage just as we left it. Actually, in a better condition than I left it. My tenant who was taking care of the place left it so clean, and the veggie patch better than I'd left it. He even left me a note saying that he was very sorry he'd broken the broom, but left me a vacuum cleaner to replace it!

We spent a couple of days unpacking and getting settled in, we went to see a play of Roald Dahl's The Twits for the homeschoolers' group meeting, and did a lot of shopping and laundry.

Ahhh, I get such a deep satisfaction from seeing all the green of my clothes on the line :)CIMG3906I went down to do a 37 week pre-natal check on Earth Mama, feeling a little worried because she had quite a lot of edema and hadn't been eating protein... A quick check and I diagnosed Pre-Eclampsia, and thus begun the latest birthing odyssey.

But more about that after I've had a good sleep and a massage - I've just spent the past six days caring intensively for Earth Mama and Autumn... anyway, it ends well, with a healthy boy :)

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Canberra Pie

We decided at the last minute that we would indeed drive down to Canberra to see my friends; it's about 3 hours south of Wollongong, and more than half way to the snow fields, so it seemed like a good idea.

After getting only slightly lost, we arrived, happy to see our friends, B and J, who were waiting patiently with Turkish Pizza and home made Pumpkin pie!16 Pumpkin pie Seq19  Pumpkin pie Brian

The pie was delicious, made from their home-grown pumpkins, no less :) I'd never had American-style pumpkin pie before; actually I don't think I've ever had any kind of pumpkin-based desert. Now I'm a full convert, of course.

Littletree got on great with J, and spent ages playing games and taking photos of each other.20 Seq and Jen

Though we'd planned to drive 2 hours further south into the Snowy Mountains to see the snow to fulfil Littletree's dream of seeing snow, she decided that it would be a bad idea, since she wouldn't be able to wear her princess dress, and we would have to buy her gloves. Yep. Littletree would rather be cold and beautiful than warm.

30 Aust nat museumInstead she chose to go to the National Museum, which I later realised was because she saw characters in Bridge to Terabithia going to the museum, and they had a cup of tea in the museum cafeteria. We could have stayed home and had tea, but there you go.

We walked around the museum, looking at the exhibits. Some of it was very interesting, some was a bit boring. I could have stayed longer and looked at more things, but Littletree got bored in the end. They have a cool revolving cinema, where the whole room rotates around so you can view different screens. It's nice, but anyone who doesn't already know a lot about Australian history and culture probably wouldn't understand more of the images.

For me t28 Fire displayhe funniest thing in the museum was a display about bushfires and controlled burning (where they deliberately set small controlled fires to burn off the undergrowth, thereby reducing the risk of big bushfires).

There was one wall that had a big picture printed on it showing a man lighting such a fire, and in the wall was a door labelled "Fire escape Emergency Exit" and a fire alarm with emergency telephone mounted on the wall.

I'm quite sure the fire alarm and exit are legally-required safety features, and I'm sure the display about bushfires was planned to be there anyway. But I'm also sure that the particular placement was a typical example of the Aussie sense of humour. I really got a kick out of it anyways.

Here's a zoom of the alarm:29 Fire phone

Thursday, 10 July 2008

And the Winner is... Sydney!

We're back in the Land Down Under, it's all very okker and ozzie. Not to mention FREEZING!

People don't really think of cold when they think of Australia. Somehow, in other countries, people think Australia is just Bondi Beach; in summer, and the Outback. We all get around on the backs of kangaroos.

Sometimes I almost believe it. Except that there is a winter, in most of Australia. It even snows. They have ski resorts! And we were crazy enough to think it would be fun to go up the mountains when we arrive and have a day to play in the snow.

Somehow I forgot to calculate for us being really well acclimatised to the heat of Thailand, and not actually having any proper winter clothes. Not even shoes or a raincoat for me.

In any case, we arrived to Sydney, breezed through fairly easily and got our rental car. The funny thing about flying planes and renting cars these days; it's cheaper than taking public transport. For the same price as the three of us going by train from the airport and to our friends' house in Wollongong, and back, and making one trip into Sydney, we rented a car for 5 days.

01 twin slingIt was great to visit with our friends Luminy and Hillarioush, who we met 7 years ago in Africa. We all travelled and stayed together back in those days before we all had kids and had to stop travelling. er...

These days they have a two and a half year old girl; Clear, and five month old twin boys. The twins were born 10 weeks premature, so they're very small, and one of them has a liver condition and needs a transplant. So they're pretty busy.

Yesterday we went to a meet up of mamas from Joyous Learning in Sydney, which was really great. A bunch of parents and unschooled kids got together and sat in a funky cafe that has a children's playroom upstairs. Then we all walked up the road to a playground.12 JL meetThis afternoon we're going to drive down to Canberra and visit our friends, and then hopefully get up the mountains to see some snow. Littletree has been wishing for ages that we'll go to a snow forest and play in snow and see snow faeries...

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Dental Dilemmas

Here we are in Bangkok, our flight is tonight at midnight. Yesterday, we arrived at 6am, after the 12 hour night bus, tired and grumpy. We spent a quiet day lazing in the park and doing some souvenir shopping. I even made time to follow Littletree's good example and get my teeth cleaned at the dentist.

Now I have nice shiny white teeth, and a new vow to actually floss twice a day this time.

BUT the dentist said he can see a few of my molars are showing early signs of decay, and he thinks they should be drilled just a little and filled with a resin composite.


Okay, I'm already 29 years old and I've never had a cavity or a filling. not so much as a single toothache my whole life. Genetics, I suppose, coz it's surely not from diet or obsessive dental hygiene; I brush daily, but that's about it. LOL.

Amazingly, it's only 400 Baht per tooth, and to have both back molars, on both sides, top and bottom (so 8 teeth altogether, as he recommends), would cost only 3,200 Baht, or, wait for it... $100. You heard correct. One hundred American dollars. Actually, it's more like $97, what with the dollar being so weak at the moment.

The thing is, we fly out tonight, and I'd have to go do it now, and I can't decide!! Waaaah!

Obviously, I don't want to have fillings. I don't want to have my teeth decaying. yes. I know. Denial is a river in Egypt. I've been there. Could be that the dentist is just trying to make money.

But it's also possible that I really should get this done, and if I leave it, it will just get worse, and I'll get a toothache and have to pay a fortune to get it fixed in Australia.

So then I think, what the hey, just go for it. But can I expect Littletree to sit for an hour and a half while I'm in the chair? Do I really want to get on a 10 hour flight right after having dental work done?

Sometimes being a grown-up and having to make responsible decisions sucks.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Leaving Phuket

Today is our last day in Phuket; tonight we take the night bus to Bangkok, and then our flight to Sydney is on Sunday night. We're all packed and ready to go, the laundry is done, and the room is tidy. All that's left is to change and say goodbye.

Yesterday we went to the weekly afternoon tea of the local expat mothers group. Littletree finally broke the ice and made friends with the other kids, after 3 weeks of shyly watching them from the safety of my skirt. I'm glad that she finally got a good chance to play, but sad that now we have to leave.19 the girls Jo gave Littletree a make-up kit, full of pink sparkly eyeshadows and blushers. She's certainly budding into a regular little make-up artist!

20 makeupLittletree is excited to go back to Australia, and excited to spend a day in Bangkok, but she's also sad to leave here, especially not to watch Noah growing up. Her favourite time in Phuket? Swimming in our friend Dee's pool46 pool

Journey to the Big Buddha

Yesterday we went for a little trip to see the Big Buddha of Phuket, which is still under construction, but already very impressive at 45 metres high. You can see it from everywhere in southern Phuket.

Littletree was SO excited to go up to the Buddha!

10 seq buddha

There's loads of little temples and statues around14 buddhaAnd great views

08 temple

From the top you can see where we live - on the beach at the far left.

09 view

Littletree is still talking about the big Buddha, it's been the highlight of our stay in Phuket. Funny how she's so obsessed with the Buddha, and Hindu gods...

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Fashion in a Flash

Lately Littletree has been hassling me to buy her more Barbies. I realise this is because 63 Barbie sewingwe didn't bring any with us on this trip - when we packed and I let her choose what toys to bring, she deliberately left all her Barbies at home. Though I suggested she bring some, Littletree said she wouldn't need to bring any since her cousins in Israel have lots.

Well, of course, it's been almost two months since we were in Israel. I bought her a couple of cheap imitation Barbies to give as a gift to keep her occupied during the labour, while I would be too busy to give her so much attention.

Of course, they didn't have enough dresses, and *that* was the problem, and why she wanted more. So! I took some crappy old clothes and scraps, and we made a pattern off one of the Barbie dresses, and sewed a new one :)

It was actually really fun to work together; I did a lot of the technical stuff, and Littletree did the design work.

64 Barbie sewing When all the sewing was done, Littletree did some bead-work on the skirt, which turned out really lovely, and great to see how skilful she was with the needle and thread.CIMG3773 The finished product:CIMG3775 I think we should call her "Full Moon Party" Barbie, what with the tie-dyed batik skirt, sparkly, raggy look and ratty hair ;)