Monday, January 30, 2006

Spanner + Works = Unhappy Panda

I had the follow-up antenatal appointment back in Consultant Care section this morning to discuss Spudly's errant placenta. I have a nice little box to pop myself into now, called Grade 1 placenta praevia. Its not serious enough to require a definate "there's no way that's coming out the normal way", but it is serious enough for me to be permanently kicked out of the Birthing Centre and kept in the High Risk area, in case I start haemorrhaging or he gets stuck or his head doesnt engage.

With the placenta at 3.3cm from the cervical opening, the head of department is happy to take a wait-and-see approach: wait for another month and see if his head starts to engage. If not, then we have another ultrasound.

For now, we have a very healthy and active Spudly who seems rather keen on getting out through my belly button. I just have to get used to the fact that despite all my plans, this birth may not be so Crunchy after all.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

New Poll

After several months of ignoring the little green box, I've decided to stop being boring and lazy and put up a new Poll.

It's a question that I know has had a lot of air-time on other blogs and it intrigues me, because I find it very weird and uncomfortable to be nearly 8 weeks away from giving birth and yet still considering myself infertile. I know why I feel this way: its a statistical anomaly that Spud exists at all and if we want to have another child we will undoubtedly be back at the IVF Clinic. Nevertheless, the pregnant infertile role still doesnt sit right and I have arguments in my head about it all the time, which I can assure you gets rather rowdy.

What do you all think? Are infertility and pregnancy mutually exclusive states? Is "infertile" such an integral part of your persona now that you cant let it go or do you want to forget the path you had to take to achieve your dream of having a child?

Oztraya Day

In honour of the fact that a lot of years ago a bunch of whitefellas landed on our shores and thought "This looks like a jolly place to swan around and claim as our own," today is National Get Pissed and Carbonise Animals on a Barbie Day.

I have mixed feelings about celebrating an event which led to the wholesale slaughter of thousands of people, and started the systematic extinction of an entire culture. Yes, we have a bloody good country here, most of the time I'm proud to call myself an Australian (shameful antics of the Howard government notwithstanding) and I am thankful for the opportunities and the lifestyle that we have here. But these things all came at a very high price.

There are plenty of Australians who take a dim view of the "black armband" view of history, but I seriously doubt that any of them would be reading this blog. Regardless, I want to take this opportunity to say that I am so very very sorry for the atrocities that have occured within the Indigineous community as a result of the actions of past and present Australian governments.

Recently in Los Angeles, a strange event called something like "Cooee Cobber Week" occurred, where they celebrated all things Australian, including playing Aussie Rules Football and eating lot of our national emblems. I scratch my head in wonderment, but...well... those crazy Seppos will do just about anything so I shouldnt be too surprised. I know that this was a publicity exercise on behalf of our tourism industry, and its all about generating goodwill and - more importantly - lots of money for the coffers. But how many people outside of Australia are aware that its not all Steve Irwin, being allowed to say "wanker" on prime-time tv and the domination of world sport?

Something to think about while we all whack some lamb on the barbie today.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Best Laid Plans....

Yeasterday morning I finally got my shit together and spent two hours on the 'puter typing up my Crunchy-Deluxe Earth-Mother Birth Plan. 7 pages later and I had every possible contingency covered. It was a veritable thesis on Natural Birth. Not that I'm a control freak or anything, but I do like to have my bases covered and people to know where I'm coming from and what I will not have under any circumstances and okay so I'm a control freak.

Half an hour later I got a call from the hospital.

My placenta is still considered low lying and therefore I have been kicked out of the Birthing Unit and sent directly back to regular old Antenatal where they like to Do Things To You. I've been told to make an appointment with the Registrar on Monday to assess the situation as to whether its possible for me to have a normal birth.

Umm...this wasnt on the Birth Plan. Nowhere did I mention anything about planned caesarian. I've been quietly freaking out ever since, it being above 40 degrees (108F) here and too hot to freak out with any gusto.

The worst case scenario is that as the uterus thins and stretches even more I start bleeding sometime in the next couple of weeks, require constant bed rest in hospital as they try to keep the pregnancy going until 36weeks, when they do a c-section. Best case scenario is that the placenta stays attached and moves up with the uterus, moving out of the "danger zone" and allowing me a completely normal birth.

I knew it was all too good to be true. My body just HAD to screw up somewhere along the line.

Now I have to try to get my head around the possibility of a c-section, something I have diligently not thought about because it wasnt part of The Plan. How am I, someone who shakes uncontrollably in the dentist's chair, supposed to cope with being conscious for open surgery?

Nope, they'll have to rethink this one. I'm not going to have placenta praevia. Lalalalala not listening....

Friday, January 20, 2006

A surprise and an acknowledgement

I had my 30 week antenatal appointment yesterday, at which I disocvered that I am quite anaemic and very dehydrated. This may account for why I feel so crap these days. Who knew that when its 40 degrees outside you need to increase your fluid intake to 3 litres a day? Obviously not me.

I also discovered that Spudly is head down already, and feet and legs are all on my right hand side, which explains the constant pummellng in that region. Heartbeat 143bpm. Fundal height 29.5cm. Nice.

The surprise was an appointment for our ultrasound to check up on the position of the placenta, which we managed to get the SAME DAY! Instead of having to wait another two weeks to see the boy, we got a lovely look at his gorgeous chubby cheeks (and his enormous scrotum) straight away. He weighs 1.9kg (4.2 pounds) and his head is already 10.2cm across. Bugger me he's going to be HUGE. Hyperactive, with a big head. Definately takes after his father.

If you tilt your head to the right, you can see his face and a little hand waving to us all.

After waking at 4am this morning and crying because my coccyx wont stop hurting, my back hurts if I lie on my left, my belly hurts if I lie on my right, I cant breathe if I lie on my back, and worrying that there is so much for us to do and maybe no one will turn up to our Working Bee and I just want to be able to DO STUFF and I cant coz it just injures me and wa sniff wa sniff wa, I have acknowledged that perhaps I should be relaxing at this point and giving orders to people rather than trying to sail through like there isnt another human feeding off my energy reserves and making my body go all spastic.

Now for the placenta. Posterior, 3.3cm from cervical os. Dr Google has told me thus far that where it is more than 2cm from the cervix a vaginal birth should be attempted. However, 60% of women with low-lying placenta end up having a vaginal birth, and are at greater risk of post-partum haemorrage. Just what you want with anaemia really, isnt it. What does this mean for me? I think I'll play it safe until I know for sure at my appointment in two weeks, and put myself on the aforementioned - and now possibly medically indicated - rest and relaxation program.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Solanum tuberosum "grande" *

I thought it was about time to give an update on said Solanum spp.

I would first like to ask, however, WHO MOVED MY TICKER COUNTER ALL THE WAY OVER TO THE RIGHT???? It was nicely settled on the left hand side of the flowers for such a long time. I'm not at all comfortable with this willy-nilly moving towards the END OF THE LINE.

Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean....

So as you can tell from the previous belly shot, I am, in fact, carrying an entire watermelon patch in my belly. This has several interesting consequences:

1. People know that I'm pregnant. I know I've mentioned this before, but it still freaks me out. Bank Tellers, Pie Purveyors; they all know and they all ask when its due. Its weird.

2. I feel fat. Even though I've only gained 7 kilos (15 pounds in the old money) and there isnt any fat on my anywhere that wasnt there before, and I wasnt overweight then either. I catch sight of this enormous protuberance (haha - proTUBERance!) from the corner of my eye and think "Fat. Must lose weight." Am totally retarded in this regard.

3. I cant fit through my own kitchen if Monkey Boy is in there at the same time. We have a "galley style" kitchen, which is real estate speak for long and narrow and too small to do anything resembling food preparation in.

4. I cant roll over in bed without doing an sixteen point turn, and it hurts.

5. Despite the obvious expansion of said wasitline, I still have trouble coming to grips with the fact that its NOT a watermelon or an undigested pie and is actually a real live baby that will shortly come out of my clacker.

calm blue ocean...calm blue ocean...

My belly has changed shape this week, I'm sure of it. Spudly is going through another of his hyperactive phases and will not keep still, unless of course there is some power tool action happening. Power tools are my friends at the moment. Anything that will stop those little feet from digging in to my pelvic bones or my entire belly jiggling like he's having an epileptic seizure is a Good Thing. All that movement just serves to upset my uterus and consequently I have Braxton-Hicks contractions every day now. Along with reflux. And more dry-retching.

Speaking of uteruseses, mine seems to have joined up with the bottom of my ribcage, which probably goes a long way to explaining the fact that I cant breathe altogether too well anymore, and I'm tired and feel really weak most of the time. Unfortunately, this does not match my enthusiasm for renovating.

I've also become a stupid wussy girlie girl on the verge of crying most of the time. Not that tears-welling-up stage, but more the "just-give-me-an-opportunity-and-I'll-lose-it" stage. Yesterday morning I felt like crying for no other reason than I was tired and my belly hurt. Stupid hormones.

Spudly's room now has a floor! A floor you can walk on and dont fall through! Today I start the sanding. The Plan is to have it finished by the end of the week. So far my Plans have been grossly underestimating the time a particular stage will take. Apparently you CANT put in an entire new floor in one day. Shrug. Who knew? [Monkey Boy, apparently...]

So, here we are, 9 and a bit weeks from Enspudification, with an almost completed Nursery, and a Working Bee organised to get rid of all our crap.

Calm blue ocean...calm blue ocean...

*Large Spud

Familius Horribilus Retardum

Not so very long ago, I did question the likelihood of my mother ringing up and asking me if I was taking dad to his specialist appointment, did I not?

She is more predictable than Swiss trains.

The other day she rings up, complete with "oh poor poor me" voice on, which I'm sure she practices for such occasions.

Mother: The air-conditioner is dead.
Me: Yes, we already knew this.
Mother: well, [store] wont accept credit cards over the phone and [other store] will but they wont install it and when are you coming down so you can get more money out for me?
Me: I'm not.
Mother: Arent you coming down for dad's appointment?
Me: No. I told you last time that that would be the last time I could take dad to the doctors.
Mother: Well *I* cant get him there.
Me: Get a taxi.
Mother: I cant get a taxi. I cant even get down the back doorstep.

[Note: the last time Monkey Boy and I went around there, she was in the back garden watering with the hose, and she has proudly shown off what she has been able to in the garden to me since then. I point this out to her.]

Mother: Yes, but then I'm in pain for a week.
Me: Well you'll have to figure something out.
Mother: Well if I cant get there he just wont go.
Me: He HAS to go. You have to figure something out.
Mother: Back to the air-conditioner. When are you coming down next?
Me: I have no idea. I have enough trouble waddling around the house and getting to my hospital appointments at the moment. This is the 21st century. I'm sure you can find someone who will take your credit card.
Mother: Ohhh, its just all too hard. I feel like going down to [beachside suburb] and jumping off the jetty.
Me: Whatever you think is easiest.
Mother: Well what am I supposed to do?
Me: I've given you options before about people who can help you but you dont want a bar of it. You're not interested in the easy option, you want to do it the hard way. So if you dont want to accept the help I've offered you you have to figure something out for yourself.
Mother: [muttering, hangs up].

Boy that felt good.

Am I a bitch?

Obviously, she will not take dad to the doctors. I'm in two minds about ringing the Doc and reiterating the situation, but as Monkey Boy has pointed out to me, there is a limited amount he can legally do. Thinking about this just makes me very angry. You would, after all, expect that the medical practitioner of someone with dementia has SOME responsibility to ensure their patient is living in a safe environment and getting the care they need.

Must stop thinking about this or it will angry up my blood even more.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Morning Chuckles

Thanks be to Bugsy for this little gem appearing in my Inbox today

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Playing Catch-Up

This has turned out to be a rather long and rambling post, which I guess is what happens when you absent yourself from Blogania for 3 weeks. Grab a glass of wine and make yourselves comfy.


Spent at the in-lawses at their vineyard. Was supposed to be Monkey Boy and I, Monkey Boy's younger sister and the olds. Found out when we got their that it was also going to be Grandma and Grandpop, Cousin M and Auntie H & Uncle R. None of whom I've previously met.

Kweznuz Lunch consisted of the usual round of baby-related questions and "amusing" remarks about what we're letting ourselves in for, followed up by Grandpop (harmless and somewhat doddering 82 year old cutie having had too much vino), bailing me up and telling me his life story several times and often going off on tangents. Twice he told me that he hadnt seen Monkey Boy in 55 years. Everyone else was apologising and trying to look sorry for me but I'm sure they were all secretly amused. Rumour has it that I passed muster. I'm SO pleased. Ahem.

Unfortunately, Kweznuz coincided with the beginning of the THIRD TRIMESTER which brought with it emotional fragility, heartburn and reflux, an incredibly large and unwieldy belly, constantly sore back and ligaments and constant tiredness. I cried because MIL gave me a Bunnykins bowl for Spudly. I spent about an hour wandering around the gardens after Christmas Eve dinner dry retching constantly. I got almost no sleep. Yet somewhow, I still managed to have a good time. Go figure.


Our cute little Norty Tortie, Muffin, disappeared about two weeks before I found out I was pregnant. Nothing unusual. She's an Adventure Kitty, often fond of pissing off for weeks at a time and then casually sauntering in through the kitchen, demanding food, sleeping for a weekend and then buggering off again. This time, she didnt come back. I'd given her up for either dead or moved in with some other family she could mooch off.

Until the day after Boxing Day, that is. 25 weeks after we last saw her, she comes hurtling in through the back door at breakfast time with the rest of the feral herd. Incredibly skinny, rather ratty looking, with a massive swelling on one side of her face. But alive, and home. Best Kweznuz present ever.

Of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and as far as Muffin is concerned, there is no such thing as a free 6 month holiday either. That swelling has thus far cost us $200 to have lanced and drained, and then lanced and drained again 5 days later under a general anaesthetic because they didnt get it all the first time. She now has a lovely satellite dish on her head and a drainage tube sticking out of her head. She hates us and wonders why the hell she came home.

We, on the other hand, can now pick up Cable TV: 28 channels, nothin' but cats.


We stayed home. We watched the incredibly wasteful and excessive fireworks from Sydney Harbour on the teev (okay, they were pretty and sparkly, but surely we could find something better to do with $4million?), played Canasta (which I lost, as I always do) and went to sleep at 12.30. Hardcore!


Every year the same thing happens. I get to August and start complaining about how I cant stand the cold for a minute longer and let's move to Geraldton where its lovely all year round, and where the hell is summer, bring on summer, I want it to be warm, yay summer. Then summer gets here and we end up with days of 42.5 degrees (108.5F) which happen to coincide with the day we are driving into the city to do our shopping in a giant TIN SHED and I want to die. I'm pleased and amazed that I managed to get through it without any massive swelling of my extremities, but for the next few days I declined to do anything that didnt involve my bed and an airconditioner and the cricket on the telly. Obviously I survived, but I'd still like to move to Geraldton please.


Hmmm... where to start. Well, needless to say there has been no change whatsoever in the House of the Perpetually Retarded. Mother is still hobbling around on the walking frame, downing codeine tablets like there's no tomorrow and refusing to get any medical attention. Dad is still off with the pixies, and it seems as though that's a pleasant enough place to be as far as he's concerned. My concern, however, is with his increasing weight loss, which my mother (when prompted) will acknowledge with "I thought he's lost a little weight, but he's eating fine." Hmmm, sorry, but 10 kilos is not a little, and having a tin of Spam for Christmas Lunch is NOT EATING FINE!

Oh, and another thing... their air-conditioner broke, ooooh, about two months ago. Mother says "I dont know what to do. Dad cant fix it. I suppose I'll have to ring somebody." Two months later, when its 42.5 degrees, its still not fixed. Dad is obviously not coping with the stifling temperature in their timber frame asbestos clad house and she's still saying "The air-conditioner is still not working. I dont know what I'm going to do. I suppose I'll have to ring somebody."

See a pattern here, anyone? That's right, ma, its BROKEN. Its not going to FIX ITSELF. Just like your hip. Just like dad's dementia. Just like the gall stones you've been ignoring for 30 years.

Anyway, I have extricated myself from the situation. I went out and got her enough cash to last for at least a month, and she knows (well, I told her, at least) that I wont be taking dad to his next specialist appointment this month. (What's the bet that she still rings up a couple of days before and asks if I'm coming down to take dad to his appointment, and then whines about how she cant possibly get there blah blah blah?) I have no reason to have to go down to see them, so I'm not going to. On one hand, I can make myself feel incredibly guilty for abandoning the olds when they need help, but on the other, you cant make people accept help when they dont want it. All it has done to me is make me feel even more like shit when I go and see them, and who needs that, especially 11 weeks away from giving birth? Not I.


I've been reading up a storm over the last twelve months. The most recent offering that wasnt connected with babies was Orwell's 1984. I've had this book sitting on my shelf for years, and I cant believe its taken me this long to pull it out and read it. Aside from finding it rather disturbing in its similarities to the current political climate in both Australia and the US (pretty much the same country these days, as far as I can tell) I also had an epiphany.

Both my mother and Fuckhead engage in Orwell's Doublethink. I never knew before how to articulate what it is they do exactly, with their manipulations and their incredibly complex mindgames. Now I know.

"Doublethink" is:

the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. ... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed... (Orwell, 1984)

What an incredibly powerful tool. Rewrite history, and both realise you are doing so and denying to yourself the fact that you are doing so at the same time. How can anyone living with that sort of obsessive and all-pervasive behaviour stand a chance of not being driven mad by it? How on earth did I live with that for 19 years with my mother, and 4.5 years with Fuckhead, and come out of it with my sanity in tact (more or less)?

Fuckhead would make constant claims, both to me and to anyone else who would listen, that he would NEVER hit a woman. Usually just after he'd hit me. I'm positive he believed it himself. In addition, we would have conversations that would go round and round in circles, where he would start off making some ridiculous assertion (usually about how wonderful he was and how crap I was) to which I would respond, and the fighting would start. This happened almost every day. At some point in the conversation, he would deny ever having said what he'd said in the first place, twist what had been said and assert that I was the one who had made that claim in the first place and that it was just ridiculous. I swear there were so many times I thought I really would go mad.

My mother has a fondness for rewriting history. Rather than claim, like Fuckhead, that she never said things that she'd only just said, she would rewrite the script of her life. Accordingly, I had a perfectly normal and happy childhood, she didnt live with domestic violence, she absolutely NEVER took Thalidomide whilst pregnant with me, she was always happy to look after her mother in her declining years and NEVER complained about it, dad never showed any signs of losing his memory until he disappeared last year... Need I go on?

She has spent a lifetime behaving in this way. It has become so ingrained that she, like the members of Orwell's Party, believes her own deceptions. People have said to me that she rejects any help for her and dad out of fear, or wanting to maintain control over her own life. However, in the context of her life, this behaviour appears to me now for what it is: beyond all rationality or reason. I'm not sure what the psychiatrists of the world would call it but whatever its label is, it s clearly a very powerful psychological disorder. One I havent a hope of changing.

At long last, I GET IT. It wasnt my fault that I couldnt help Fuckhead. I wasnt weak for feeling like I was going mad. Its not my fault that I cant get through to my mother. There IS nothing I can do and I am not a bad person for walking away from trying.


New Study is finished! Check out the improvements:

Spudly's Room has vastly improved. The new floor goes in tomorrow when the in-laws come up to help, bless 'em.

Here's the lovely colour scheme. The ceiling idea was a test to cover up the crap plasterboard that we cant be bothered replacing. I think we'll keep it.

The floor, as you can see, needed work:

Those little termite bastards ate everything except the floor varnish.

And here's the new floor ready to go in. the boards came out of a local Primary School which was being demolished. I spent hours banging the nails out of them, which is not nearly as much fun as it sounds.

Ummm...yeh...I think thats it.

Renovating, Kweznus, hot weather, more renovating, kitties...

Oh! We have ducklings!

Thank you for your patience. Our normal programming will resume shortly.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Remember Me?

Just to put minds at rest (assuming, that is, that anyone is still bothering to check this blog) here's why I havent been posting:

I've been trapped under a giant potato and cant get up.
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