Monday, 30 August 2010


"Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist;
it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges;
it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life;
it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with;
it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die."

~John Taylor Gatto

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Feelings that are beyond describable

When I kissed my child on the forehead, smiled and told him I love him and that I will see him later.
My throat hurts from the hard lump, and I strain to hold back tears so he doesn't see.
I want him to see that I am ok, smiling, it's all good.

The doctor says "Ok, let's go little man" And my son is wheeled away. I wave just before he is out of site, Daddy by his side.

Then the tears flow fast from your eyes as I slump in the chair. I don't think any parent wants to admit it, but for a moment, or more, you can't help but think, will he really see me again? Will it really be ok?

Fuck what have we done. Our baby going in for surgery again. This never gets easier. I am not strong, I am numb. How could this get harder every time we do this. Part I guess is I wonder if we are tempting fate. Each time the surgeon has come to the parent waiting room and said "It went well" and with those words I could breathe again and my heart would start beating again.
But what if he doesn't say that this time. What if his first words are "I am so sorry to tell you but.."
Fuck fuck fuck. Being at the hospital is the only time I have actually heard my heart thumping. So loud.

I am reminded how we do the best, what we think is right, with the information we have at the time. That is little comfort when you know what is happening to your little boy. Because no matter what the decision it was ours.
We have no idea how he will feel in ten or fifteen years time. My only hope is he believes us that we truly did, with all the information we had, and soul searching and tears, feel this was the way to go. Our hearts ached no matter what we chose.

When hub walks out alone we sort of stand there, just for a few moments. Then grab our bags and walk out. Our little boy is now in theatre. I remind myself that he will be ok, his surgeon is the best at what he does.

We go and get something to eat. All the while our baby girl is happy on my back. Smiling, gurgling and reaching out to grab everything we go past.
It is so warm and stuffy in there, I can hardly breathe. So we go to the garden area. Fresh air, feels so good.
All this time we make small talk. I can never recall what we say. Just a mix of words to pass the time, break the silence, break the thinking.

We go to the parent waiting room. It is quite large, with very uncomfy couches. There is a TV to help pass the time.
We spend a lot of the time glancing back and forth to the door.
The surgeon finally walks in. Something I only noticed last time was that he walks in with his hands behind his back.
He sits on the edge of the chair near us. "It went well, we got a lot this time"
And I breathe, heart starts thumping again.
He tells us how it went and that recovery will call us soon to go in.
Relieved to have seen him, and hear that our boy is doing well, we know get to wait some more.
Sometimes it feels like this wait is the hardest. I want to see him with my own eyes. Touch his soft skin.

When we hear our names over the speaker we scramble everything together and head to see him.
The recovery room is very big. It can hold around 20 beds. There are about 6 babies and children in there when we walk in. We scan the room looking for our son. Hub spots him first, and then I see him too.
I walk straight over and touch his arm. The relief, the exasperation, I smile at him even though he is still asleep.
He has to stay in recovery for about 45 minutes. So he can wake up, have a drink or icy pole and get a bed organised on the ward.

While I am gone changing bub he is moved upstairs. So we head up to the ward. I walk to the wrong end, so I head down the other end. I hear crying and I know it is him. He is awake and very upset. Ugh I hate this. Seeing him in pain, upset, groggy.
He knows we are there but he is obviously disorientated. It takes a while to settle him in, with lots of help from Daddyo soothing him, and holding him in his arms.

I feed bubs again while hub sits on the bed holding our boy. Before I leave I go and grab some water and snacks for hub as I know he is not going anywhere until I come back the next day.
Leaving is very hard for me. I know he is safe. I know the only person who could ever come close to loving him like I do is his daddy, but, I am the mummy, you know? I carried him, birthed him, and nourished him. But I know that the little babe on my back needs me now too, all her nourishment is from me.

I miss them both terribly over night, despite being a mummy sandwich between bubs and Miss toddlership.
It is so good to get a picture message from hub the next morning, of our smiling boy. I can't wait to go back to get them.

The other children are with my mum while I am gone. I know that she cares very much for our babies and despite having some differences with parenting she is consistent with how we do things, and if she forgets something our eldest boys remind her, which makes me laugh.

When we are all home again it takes our little guy a couple of weeks to settle back in, recover and feel himself again. To be honest the first week he is a nightmare, which is a combination of the drugs, the weight off his head and getting back to some kind of normal. Patience, patience and more patience is needed for us all.

We know that there will be more treatment needed for our son, but the biggest part is thankfully behind us.
I don't want to put my head in the sand, it's hard to when you can visibly see his large scars, but for now we are moving forward to healing, getting our family rhythm back and enjoying life again.

Here are some pics of the last surgery.
Arriving at the hospital. Bubs on back, ready to go.

My big and little men heading up the hill. Every week when Hub would take our son for his fill ups this is how he would insist on travelling. Apparently as soon as they would hop out the car son would say "My legs are tired daddy, you carry me"

This was our little guys first big smile after surgery. It was sooo wonderful to see. We took him and the kids to the snow. It was his first time and he was sooo excited. His face lit up and filled my heart.

Thank you everyone who sent well wishes and positive thoughts our way. They truly do help and are a comfort to read.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Love/Hate relationship

I have a Love/Hate relationship with this Country.

I hate that people who hold higher powers of other people feel they have the right to tell them what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. Women are viewed as problematic to start with, so you can imagine what it is like for a pregnant women. Her body and baby are not hers.

Our government is now teaming with people who only want control and not to actually support women, into to taking every Australian Women's pregnancy and birth choices away. Decisions being made about women, with no input from women. Deals signed behind closed doors and in secret.

Lies, deception, and treating women as though they cannot research, know their bodies, or let alone read information and make informed decisions.

All this is done despite thousands of women, men and families protesting against. Fighting with them are also professionals, in particular Midwives. But also doctors, nurses, even Obstetricians.

I, we, will keep fighting for our rights, for every woman to hold autonomy for her body and stop the 'them vs us' hierarchy that has hurt far too many women, babies and families. Every woman, every choice.

And then, the love side. This country has Medicare. My children can have medical help anytime it is needed, from our wonderful Doctor, to Major surgery, and we do not pay. Well, we do pay, but through a medicare levy every year, but in the scheme of things it is very cheap, and certainly much cheaper than private health insurance.

There is a lot of controversy surrounding Medicare, in our country and others too. For me I see in the mindset as paying it forward. We pay taxes and the medicare levy, and use medical services only when it is truly needed. Our children will grow to be tax payers, paying it forward to others.

Our 4th child has needed several surgeries to improve his health and well being. This is made possible because of Medicare. The hospital he goes to is one of the leading children's hospitals in the world, seeing children from the whole world in need of specialist care. I am very thankful to live here, for my child to receive such care.

I don't know of any country where all the people are happy all the time. I would hope that ours will get better. Where people can work together and focus on the bigger picture of humankind rather than dollar signs.