Father’s Day Reflections

The first Sunday in September is the day for celebrating Fathers here in Australia. So yesterday the girls excitedly gave Daddy their handmade cards and crafts, while he received them with smiles. I tried to do a “Let’s talk about the things we love about Daddy” kind of thing, but let’s just say that at 3 and 1 years of age, that didn’t go super well. We enjoyed a lovely morning at Church, followed by a long, leisurely family lunch in the sunshine. I called my Dad later that night and had a nice chat too.

It was a great day, but I didn’t really do anything for Paul. He’s not big on presents (that’s an understatement) and Father’s Day isn’t a big deal for him. But I was reflecting on what to blog about tonight, and I want to write this post for him. To say thank you for all of the ways that he is a wonderful father to our girls.


1. I love the squeals, laughter and pure delight that erupts every time you come home. Daddy coming home is the highlight of the day some days and it’s beautiful to watch.

2. I love that even though you grew up in a household of boys, you now love your household of girls, and wouldn’t want it any other way. You may not have had sisters growing up, but that doesn’t stop you from being a big softie who is happy to sit and have a cup of tea, comment on a cute hairstyle, or join in a ballet dance. You’re man enough for that.

3. I love that you are so capable, even though it sometimes makes me feel insecure! I have no hesitations whatsoever when you have the girls by yourself.

4. I love the way that even though you are a serious guy, you light up and joke, play and get some good silly going on with the girls, because you love them.

5. I love the way that you enjoy the time in the mornings when it’s often just you and Heidi up. A special quiet time in the morning with your daughter, and rather than seeing her as an interruption you cherish that time together. That’s beautiful.

I could go on. But you are waiting to chat with me, so this must come to a close. You are a great Daddy, a great Husband and my very best friend. I love you Paulie.


Parenting and Humility


Once when riding a train in Japan with my husband, 15 month old daughter and my 6 month pregnant belly, I was on the receiving end of that delightful thing called judgement. My daughter was exhausted, and while we had a little pram for her, she had been in it for most of the day, so we let her out of it while we were on the train. She was really tired and despite our best efforts, she was inconsolable. So Paul was trying to calm her down by holding her, rocking her, whatever he could do. I would normally have done this for a while too, but it had been a long day, and my body was tired. There were two non English speakers (clearly not Japanese people either) sitting across from us on the train, and while I couldn’t understand all they said, I did catch some Japanese words that they used. More importantly though, I caught the glances, the hushed whispers and the darting looks of judgement across the train. They offered me some food (a small packet of small crunchy things!) for Heidi, which I refused up to 4 times before giving in, and smiling politely, received it from them. Very reluctantly I let Heidi have some. Let me say, we did have food for her, but knew she wasn’t hungry, but just exceptionally tired. After an initial interest, Heidi then spat it all out. As horrible as it sounds,  I did a little internal jig! We may have only been sitting across from them for 15 minutes, but the way they were suggesting to one another, “Why doesn’t she do this? Why is the Father holding her? Surely the Mother should comfort the baby?”, I was quietly seething with rage. And let me just say, I don’t anger too easily. I often have to think for quite some time to remember the last time I was angry. So for me this was big. Let’s just say that when we got off the train, Paul was concerned that he had done something really wrong. I’m pretty sure he sighed with relief when he learned my anger was directed elsewhere.

Somehow parenting has become one of the most keenly debated topics of society today. Dummies, bottles, ‘breast is best’, slings, prams, cloth vs disposable, sleeping through, control crying – the list goes on! There are  many contentious issues regarding parenting that it can be hard to find your way and when books contradict one another, different parents experience different things, and everyone else seems to know what is right, unfortunately judgement is rife. Add in cross cultural differences, generation gaps and linguistic barriers, and it’s any wonder those ladies on the train in Japan had something to say to my apparently horrendous parenting skills!

In some ways judgement is understandable. If parents are making informed, considered decisions on the way they raise their children, many times parents have chosen one option over another. And let’s face it, as human beings, our default position is that our choice is the right choice. Of course I think it’s right to (insert parenting issue here), otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen it! But does my ‘right’ choice mean that your choice is, in fact, ‘wrong’? Why has parenting become a matter of right and wrong? Of course, there are some things which should have no grey areas. Child abuse, be it physical, emotional or sexual, is always wrong. But for the most part, parents judging other parents is not about a huge concern for a child (although that can happen) but is primarily about feeling better about your own parenting decisions! Judging others can lead to an ego boost – “Look how poorly they are doing” translates as “Wow, I must really have it together!”

Like most sin, judging others is easy to justify, explain and permit. It makes us feel good while making others feel bad. It lifts ourselves up, while dragging others down (even if just in our own minds). Judgement on others and how they parent is not living by the fruit of the Spirit. Yes, discernment of our own parenting styles is important. Yes, we will be different to others. And yes, we should be concerned about the welfare of others. But as Philippians chapter 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Christ has shown us the ultimate example of humility, and it is that kind of humility that we are to imitate. False humility is no good. I can’t pretend to think others are better than me, that’s just plain old patronising. We are to truly consider others better than ourselves. It’s not easy, and I by no means do this as I should. But it is what we must strive for. Judgement is also damaging because most of the time we don’t have the full picture. We’ve all done things in moments of pain or desperation that we would never normally do. But if that’s the only snippet that someone sees of you, what kind of judgement might be made? We don’t know of sicknesses, extended family worries, marriage struggles, work issues, LIFE issues – there is so much going on for everyone and often we can assume all is well when people are doing it tough. Instead of offering a listening ear and an understanding heart, we make a quick judgement based on an external thing like clothes or appearance or whether the child has a dummy or is eating a hot chip. It’s just not right.

Parenting is an ever changing, constantly evolving thing. Just as you think you have things figured out ‘for now’, everything changes again. None of us have it worked out completely. And we are all human and don’t know everything, all the time. But we can collaborate with one another, as parents, and share with each other, encourage one another and really understand one another. We are simply trying to do our best in a big, busy world where thankfully we have an even bigger, much more capable God who we can trust on and look to for help. Instead of judging one another, let’s remind one another of the humility and sacrifice of Christ, and of the work He has done. Let’s try and follow his example, and give sacrificially to those around us – humility and love are a great place to start as we discuss parenting in a godly way

Next time someone shares with me the struggles they are having with their children sleeping, instead of offering unsolicited advice, I might just offer to look after said bub while Mum has a sleep herself.

I love to hear from those of you who read my blog, so if you have a moment, please feel free to comment and share some ideas of how we could encourage (and practically help) one another in this difficult parenting game? Or perhaps you have experienced judgement in regards to your parenting: If so, what is something helpful that the ‘judger’ could have done instead? Thanks again to everyone who reads my posts – it’s very encouraging to me and I love being able to share some thoughts with you all!

Stay at Home Mum: Taking my own advice!


Mummy. Mama. Mum. Mom. Mumsy. So many different words to express that one special relationship. What is it in your household? I am currently known mostly as Mummy, occasionally as Mama, and frequently (by Pippa) as Mumumumum. It’s amazing though how just one word, one concept, one relationship, can effect your life so wholly, completely and utterly. While I worked part-time when Heidi was a baby, I am currently a Stay-At-Home-Mum (SAHM) with the desire to continue being one at least until our hoped-for move overseas in maybe 18 months. It is an absolute privilege to be able to do this. Many women (millions, I’m sure) have no such option. The choice is, well, not even a choice. No work? No money. No money? No food. I am entirely aware that pretty much primarily due to being born into this wealthy country, Australia, that I have even an option here. And it is one I am truly grateful for.

This does not make it an easy task though. And it is one that has been a little challenging lately. I feel like I am going through the crazies associated with being at home with small children a lot, mostly for the first time. Considering my oldest is not quite two and a half, I feel like this is not such a bad effort. But in saying that, maybe it’s happened before and I am simply choosing to suppress and forget those feelings! Either way, it feels fresh for me right now.

I’m feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of bringing these two little people up into the world. I’m feeling underwhelmed by the prospect of another day trying to get a baby to sleep and needing to entertain a toddler. I’m feeling frustrated by my lack of enthusiasm for getting out and about. I’m bored from being home a lot. In short, it’s a conflicting time!

I spent some time thinking about the advice I would give to myself, if I was the giving advice to myself kind of girl. Here is that  advice:

Don’t be ruled by the routine. Even though babies and toddlers need to sleep and eat, try not to be controlled by their routine. You are the Mama, you make the decisions. If you need to get out of the house even though it’s in the middle of nap time, just go out anyway. You will feel better, and more able to care for the kids if you are feeling good, calm and present.
My rebuttal: But the kids’ sleep is way more important than my sanity. If they sleep they won’t notice my crazies. Until they wake up…oh…then they might notice the rubbish in the fridge and the vacuum up the tree. Hmm.

Enjoy the little joys in the day. That first wobbly moments of standing alone for a few seconds won’t happen for much longer. That tender stroke on the face and whisper of “You’re so precious Mummy” will spark a fire of affection for your toddler that can keep you going in the middle of the next tantrum. Hold onto the good moments like they are a life jacket in a stormy gale – they may just keep you afloat the next time you think you are going under.
My rebuttal: Sometimes good moments are nice, but what I really need is a 10 minute break and a hot chocolate. Oh. Maybe I could do that. Yes. Good idea me. (So here I am!)

Pray together. With the kids. Even the little ones. Remember Mel, those times when you were having a grumpy morning and you could feel those frustrations rising and your patience decreasing (why not the other way around) ?You should sit and pray with Heidi. Out loud. Thank God for her. Ask God to help.Think of the wonderful things about Heidi and thank God for them. It really helps. God really helps.
My rebuttal: But I like being grumpy. Self-pity makes me feel worse. And I love revelling in my disastrous life. It’s awesome down here. Or maybe not so much.

Have a plan. Even though you are not a naturally super organised person, it can be helpful to have just a few things roughly in place. When you might have lunch, and what you might do before lunch. Stop looking at Pinterest and feeling crap. You don’t need a perfect morning filled with crafty creations that cost a fortune and make you lose it because it’s not quite working. Say something like “Let’s draw” – with blunt pencils on crumpled paper. Or “Let’s go for a walk” – which consists of the baby being popped in the Ergo and the toddler walking about 50 metres over 20 minutes, examining each gumnut, crack and leaf on the ground. The walking part of “Let’s walk” is so insignificant it can’t even count as exercise!
My rebuttal: But I can’t be bothered. And my kids are bored which is so annoying. Oh…

Talk about it with your spouse. There is nothing like bottling up feelings, seething resentment and bubbling bitterness to make life suck. Talk, listen, specifically explain your feelings. Remember that generally guys have a harder time hearing the feelings we are saying, and not just listening for the problem. So to help him out, be clear. And then clearer. And then add some clarity. Getting it out of the system is half (if not more) of the battle.
My rebuttal: But I like Paul to walk on egg-shells around me wondering about what is wrong. Then we can snap and argue ALL the time. I love that.

So I think I may have just convinced myself to take some of my own advice. I might just have to let you know how it all goes. Next week is looking better already!


Sleeping Like A Baby…Finally!

Being a baby is really tough...

Being a baby is really tough…

Babies and sleep, how much sleep they have, how to get them to do it, and how long they do it for are all hot topics for parents-to-be, new parents, and weary-eyed parents. Other people also seem to be interested in babies and their sleeping habits too. A baby is often deemed a “good” baby or not in regards to how much they like to sleep. And I have to admit, a sleeping “good” baby contributes significantly to whether you feel like you are a “good” parent or not – untrue as that may be. So please join with me as I jump for joy with excitement, enthusiasm and, well, joy (!) as I announce to the world…Pippa has finally worked it out. Yes, that’s right. It only took about 8 months of practice but she now knows how to sleep. And an extension of that is, you guessed it, that now I (and Paul) can get some rest and sleep too. Mind you, it still feels like there is a possibility that it may all just change again, but here is what happened and why I am currently enjoying the benefits of a sleeping baby!

Cracking down on routine

During the Semester break, sleep was getting worse. After our tiring (yet brilliant) trip to Japan, and with Paul and I both being at home, there was not much of a routine for Pippa. We had always been fairly strict on an eating and sleeping routine with Heidi when she was a baby, and she always did sleep well, but we had let things slide a bit with Pippa. So as we headed away for some family time for 5 days at Phillip Island, we decided to really make a big effort to help Pippa sleep during the day. She generally has slept well during the day, but only when at home. She isn’t such a deep sleeper that she nods off the moment the car or pram moves. Which makes for some hard decisions: go out, have fun and Pippa misses her sleep, or stay home, be bored and at least Pippa sleeps. Up until the time away I had generally been choosing the first option. But when, as we intentionally gave Pippa solid time and opportunity to sleep, it really helped. She began having 2 naps each day of about 2 hours each. That’s a good amount of sleep! But the big change was a baby who slept in the evening!!

Evening sleep had been ever elusive

Pippa had never slept well in the evening. Prior to the recent ‘crackdown’ I could have literally counted on one hand the amount of times she had slept for longer than 30 minutes in the evening (roughly 7-10). This might not seem like a big deal, but when you are up with your toddler and baby from 7am or so everyday, and then you put said children into bed around 7pm, that evening time is precious. Time to yourself, time with your spouse, time to clean, time to relax…oh those few special hours before bed are golden. And we had been enjoying them for quite some time when it was just Heidi in the picture. And then picture all of those golden moments of blissful peace and quiet being snatched away…that’s right, go get some tissues! The first half of this year rather than enjoying that time of the night, it was the dreaded black hole of the day. Time no longer existed, life just seemed to get sucked out of me, of Paul, and Pippa just whined and cried and whinged and…you get the picture. And then it happened! Once, then twice, and then, most of the time! We found that the old adage is true.

Sleep is conducive to more sleep

When Pippa began getting good sleep during the day, she began to sleep well in the evenings. And, she also began sleeping well overnight too. As did I! I am not really sure at what age this principle ends. I am guessing there comes a point where too much sleep is just too much sleep, but for babies it seems that the idea of keeping baby awake so that they will sleep at night would be a disaster. They need sleep to sleep. And Pippa definitely proved this point!

Food and more food!

Just keep eating, just keep eating.

Just keep eating, just keep eating.

Just after we began seeing some amazing changes in the way that Pippa was sleeping, they stopped again. It had maybe been 6 nights and then she began waking up a couple of times each night, screaming and screaming. We tried letting her cry a little, but nothing helped except for a drink of milk from Mummy. We couldn’t work out what was going on. Then at our routine Maternal & Child Health Nurse appointment, the nurse noticed that Pippa hadn’t gained quite as much weight as might have been expected. She recommended more food. And then I thought about it. Yep, she was a slow eater. And we weren’t giving her enough time to eat. The next night when I really paid attention, she ate for at least an hour at dinner, and ate more than I had seen her eat before. Way more! And she began sleeping again.

So it continues

The drastically improved sleeping has continued. She sometimes wakes for milk in the evening around 9 or 10pm, but now she often sleeps from 7pm-7am. It is like we have a different baby, and it has given me new energy, new enthusiasm for life! I feel fresh and ready for the day when I wake up! Well, maybe not everyday, but definitely a whole lot more than I did before. Pippa is a happier baby, and I am a much happier Mummy/wife/human being!



My Disclaimer

In saying all of this, I am not giving specific advice but merely sharing with you what has helped my family, specific even to Pippa. She has settled into a great routine, and sleeps well consistently now, rather than consistently badly as she did before. There is often no easy solution for helping your baby to sleep, but perhaps trying a couple of the things that helped us might help you too.

Feeling Weary and Fickle


Last night we had some friends come over for dinner. (Hi Matt & Cazz!) After dinner as we sat on the couch enjoying some hot drinks together Cazz asked me how I was finding life with the two girls and enjoying being a ‘Stay At Home Mum’. I don’t know if I was really able to answer the question well. Which got me to thinking about why it was such a hard question. 

I love being at home with my girls. I am so thankful that we have the means and ability as a family for me to not have to go to work (paid employment more specifically) each day, or even just a few days in the week. 

I am so very glad that I am the person that these two precious gifts get to spend each day with. I want to be the one who is shaping, teaching, influencing and loving them consistently each day of the week.

My girls are a delight to me. They fill me with joy, laughter and enthusiasm for life.

And yet…

I’m so tired a lot of the time. I don’t get enough sleep because Pippa is not sleeping well at the moment. And Heidi is taking longer to get to sleep, and rising earlier. And she needs her sleep, so is consistently a lot grumpier than usual.

I don’t get a lot of down time in the day because now matter how hard I try, the girls just don’t always sleep at the same time.

Now that Pippa is starting to eat solids the mornings just seem to be full and stressful. Breastfeed Pippa, while keeping Heidi happy. Change Pippa. Empty potty. Express some milk. Get Heidi dressed. Prepare some food for Pippa. Feed Pippa, or watch her with some finger food. And so on it goes. Breakfast for me? I usually manage to eat, but it’s not a nice quiet time. It’s hectic! Always hectic!

And the afternoons are tricky too, because I need to start thinking about dinner, cooking, feeding Pippa again etc… 

So it’s really hard. It’s challenging. My patience wears thin far too easily. I want to be the bubbly, happy, fun Mummy who has the days full of Pinterest worthy activities for her Toddler, while bouncing the happy baby on her (perfectly fashionable outfitted) knee. Actually, I would be happy to settle just for part of that: I don’t mind so much about looking amazing. Because lets face it, vomit and other such things find there way into crevices, onto shoulders and over hair in the blink of the eye these days.

I don’t think that parenting will ever be easy, but I think the challenges will change. Right now my challenge is time. Time for anything except for getting through the day. There is so much energy, effort and care required just to keep two little people alive, fed, dressed (mostly) and somewhat content each day. Let alone shopping, cooking, exercise, relationships and any other kind of thing. I am thankful that for the most part the relational side of things is easy at the moment. The girls love me because I am their Mummy. They want to be with me. I know that this is one aspect that can greatly change with years and age. So I don’t take that for granted. But there are some real unique challenges to this stage of life, and I hope (and think) I’m not the only one who struggles with them. When I reflected on my previous post ‘The Small Sacrifices’ I realised a lot of the challenges had mostly to do with having two small children, more than having to do with Paul and I. There is just so little time for anything.

I feel very fickle. Some days are amazing. Like when we had a lovely time at PlayGroup, and after nap time Heidi played outside by herself for about an hour – a miracle! And then there are other days, where nothing seems to go very well. So I feel weary and fickle, and unable to adequately talk about how my life is going. And yet I know this is just a season. That it will all go by so quickly and I will miss the delights of watching these little creatures learning new things every day. From new words and funny sentences, to the gorgeousness of fat baby things – I know it won’t last. And yet, here in the thick of it, the days are long and not always easy. 

So forgive me if my answer to how life is going right now changes from moment to moment. Because that is life for me right now. And I love it – most of the time. 

7 Fun Toddler Ideas

It is hard to keep a toddler happy, healthy and busy every day. Very hard! But lately I have found a few new activities that Heidi has loved. This doesn’t mean she will always love them, or that she will do them for hours, but they have been helpful over the last couple of weeks. So I thought I would share in the hope that someone else out there might get some use out of them.

1. Mud Puddle Fun


There has been a small, round dirt patch in our backyard for a while. I think it used to be the place where a fire barrel was, or something like that. The other day I was thinking of ways to encourage Heidi to spend more time playing in the backyard, and voila! The Mud Puddle was created. I basically just poured water on the dirt, filled some buckets, kiddie watering cans, grabbed some outdoor toys, took off Heidi’s good clothes and let her go. Word of advice: Give in to the fact that childhood, play, and in particular muddy play will be incredibly messy. Be prepared to bath or shower the kids as soon as the activity needs to be done. Heidi has had a brilliant time with the Mud Puddle. She has played with it in various ways for hours. It is a great sensory experience, with hard dirt under her feet, squishy mud between her toes and water splashing her legs. It encourages creative play by incorporating a few toys and a new environment for them to be in. It gives an opportunity for independent play skills to grow too.

2. Playdough Kitchens


Heidi’s birthday gift recently was a huge container of tea set toys, cooking toys and play food. She loves them, and I am so glad that she has been enjoying them – eBay purchase win! But I discovered that when I added some Playdough to the mix that she loved it even more! I am constantly trying to think of activities to keep Heidi entertained while she can sit up at the table during meal prep/clean up time. This was a big hit! There is something about combining two kind of toys that she just loved. And of course, Sophie the Doll was in on the action too – she is a favourite at the moment.

3. Teddy Bear Picnic


While this is by no means an original idea, it is still a good one! The combination of being outdoors, having teddies and dolls nearby, using water, grass, gum-nuts etc in the teapot and cups meant that Heidi had an absolute blast with this. And I have to admit, it was pretty fun for me too.

4. Indoor Picnic Dinner


We don’t usually have Fish & Chips, as Paul can’t eat it most of the time. But one night before going to church we decided we would have an easy dinner and this is what we ended up doing. It was fun, easy to clean up and a great time together as a family.

5. Cubbies From Blankets


A few weeks ago the heatwave of the Never Ending Summer in Melbourne finally did come to an end. But for a month or so it was really too hot to spend much time outside. Especially because water play was not an option for 3 weeks with Heidi’s broken wrist. And so the Cubby began. I simply turned our two couches around (they normally face each other with a coffee table in between), moved the coffee table, made a roof with a blanket, placed a nice soft blanket on the floor and piled in the cushions and pillows. It was lovely in there, that I have to admit that I actually had a little nap in there myself when the girls were in bed! We had lots of little books and dolls in there too – two of Heidi’s always favourite things.

6. Dancing. Lots of Dancing.


Heidi loves to dance, and hey, who doesn’t? So most days, at least twice a day, the music goes on and the dancing begins. Or the spinning, more specifically. And Heidi will run around looking for her ‘dancing skirt’ and Sophie the Doll to dance with her. It’s a great activity for exercise, coordination, and most importantly, fun!

7. Painting Outdoors


I tried a home-made paint recipe today which was fun. It probably ended up being a bit watery but it was perfect for painting the path with. Heidi also liked just rubbing it on her legs and arms. And considering it was made from corn flour, water and food dye – that was fine! We did have the Chalk/White Board easel out with paper, but it wasn’t as popular as painting everything else.

Hopefully some of these ideas will be useful to you! What are some things you do to keep your busy toddler entertained on those long days at home?

Pippa’s Birth Story


Fresh out of the oven

Birth stories can be kind of crazy, graphic and sometimes push certain birthing/parenting philosophies. This is not that kind of story. While there will be some mention of birth and other related moments (due to it being a birth story), I am telling this for a few reasons, and pushing an agenda is not one of them.

Reasons for Writing

1. To record what was a particularly crazy moment in life
2. To fill in those friends/family who may have only caught snippets of the story
3. To share with Pippa one day when I am too old and forgetful to remember the details

The Pregnancy

We found out that we were pregnant the day that we moved house, about 20 minutes before a bunch of (wonderful) friends were arriving to help us out. It was quite simply a matter of, “Oh my goodness! Quick! Hide the test before people get here!” and then the day carried on. We were very excited, and despite a difficult time of morning sickness for the first few months, my health and Baby Squishy’s health was fine.

The Last Few Days

Due date came and went with not a lot of action. The midwife at my check up did a ‘Stretch and Sweep’ (aka S&S) – which as much as Paul called it a ‘Scratch and Sniff’ is not what it was). It was quite painful, but she was fairly confident that it would get things happening. It basically helps the body to get ready for labour. The midwife actually thought I might be back in after a few hours. I was enthusiastic, but not too worried about things either.

The Build Up

Thursday night I had contractions. The midwife was right in that things got going, but wrong in that it wasn’t as quickly as she thought. Paul and I sat and enjoyed some episodes of ‘The Office’ (American version), while every now and then I was quiet and shifting in my seat with some nice little contractions. It also meant that I didn’t get a good night of sleep, but thankfully the contractions didn’t go on all night. Paul also didn’t get much sleep, which was quite unusual for him.

Quite early on Friday morning I realised that Paul wasn’t feeling well. I thought he hadn’t slept well because I had been up to pee about 356 times, he had actually had a really bad headache all night. So at about 7am we got in touch with Paul’s parents and asked if they were able to come down for the day to help out. They live a bit more than an hour away, so we were keen to check their availability early, and thankfully they were free. So I got up when Heidi woke around 8 while Paul stayed in bed with a headache.

The day continued fairly normally, and I began to have contractions again. They were inconsistently persistent. There was no pattern, rhyme or reason, but there they were, over and over again throughout the day. Ron and Mary (in-law’s) arrived around 9am and helped with Heidi during the day. Paul stayed in bed for the whole day, and I ended up having a few hours to sit on my own with nothing to do – Heidi was out with R & M, Paul was in bed, and there I was, twiddling my thumbs and waiting! I still kind of thought my contractions with die down again, and that nothing would happen over the weekend…

The Evening Before It All Happened

It was probably around 6pm when we started to really worry about Paul. He had taken some medication but still wasn’t feeling any better. He had a migraine, was unable to move his head or cope with light because of the pain, and we decided to try and get him to see a Doctor somehow. After a few fruitless phone calls, we realised we could call a locum service, where the Doctor would come and visit Paul at home.

It was probably 9pm when Dr Martinova arrived. She had this thick, Russian accent, like she had just stepped off the set of a James Bond movie. But she was very good and thorough. I liked her. Up until the point when she said to Paul, “You probably had viral meningitis. You have to go to hospital straight away in an ambulance.” I grimaced through another contraction and thought to myself, “As soon as she leaves we will just drive to the hospital ourselves. I’ll need to go soon anyway.” But she was insistent. We needed to give her a phone. I had to speak to the ambulance officer. And then I had to sit on the couch and cry.

My contractions were getting stronger, and I was a little bit past the thought that they might just disappear. So I sat down and cried. If Mary was going to go to hospital with Paul, and Ron was going to stay home with Heidi (who thankfully slept through all of the drama), then who was going to take me to the hospital? And what about Paul? I didn’t know if he was going to be OK or not. After thinking about who I should get in touch with, I decided to call my friend from church, Merrilyn. She also happened to be a midwife. Only I didn’t actually call her myself because I was too upset to speak. But she could be over in about half an hour. And she was.

It was about 10pm when Merrilyn arrived (I think). By that stage it was time to get the heat pack out, as the contractions were getting quite strong, and closer together, but I was still able to kind of breathe through them. They were still quite irregular though. Probably because I wasn’t particularly focused on what I was doing. And also because I didn’t really want to go and have this little baby right now because Paul was so sick! But I couldn’t quite convince those contractions to go away.

Probably at about 10:30pm Merrilyn decided it was probably time to go to the hospital. So I called the birth suites, they asked me a few questions, and said that I could go in if I liked. The nurse on the phone asked me, “Would you like to come in?” And I remember wondering why she was asking me. I thought she was the one who knew! Anyway, after that we moved my bag from our car into Merrilyn’s car, and then I said a quick, quiet and teary goodbye to Paul. As we were pulling out of the driveway, we had to wait for the Ambulance to move. Paul was literally about to leave in the Ambulance as we were leaving for the hospital. This is a true story. Unbelievable yet true.

The Morning She Arrived

The drive from home to the hospital might have only been 15 minutes, but contractions while driving are definitely not fun. After arriving at the hospital and being shown through to  the birthing suites the contractions seemed to step up a notch in intensity. Merrilyn was a great support, and I had a lovely midwife called Robyn who was just what I needed: Encouraging, positive and gentle.

When Robyn managed to check how far along things were – after not quite long enough gaps between a number of contractions – I was already about 8cm dilated. I was very glad to hear that! So physically things were moving along quite quickly, but mentally I was struggling. It was just so much harder without Paul being there. I didn’t have that same concentration, focus and determination that I had like I did with Heidi’s birth.

I tried some gas twice. Laughing gas is meant to help you to relax, focus and help to dim the pain. I tried it and felt like I was going to pass out. My face flopped onto the bed and I couldn’t move it again. It was not a nice sensation! I was very, very close to asking for more drugs, but in the end I didn’t.

I really felt like I couldn’t keep going. My mental resolve was absent. As each contraction began I would whine “No!!!!” as if I could actually stop it. I wanted to stop it. I got very close to begging for a Caesar, but managed to keep those thoughts in my head and not voice them. Although apparently that is very common!

After an episiotomy, some loud noises, pushing, and waters breaking, Pippa Violet was born at 2:03am on October 27th, 2012. Paul was able to share the moment in a distant way. He was on the phone (Merrilyn had put me on speaker phone) as Pippa cried her first cry, and as I said, “It’s a girl!” and then tentatively said, “I think this is Pippa Violet…?”. But he was unable to hear much more than that, and definitely didn’t say much. He was dopey on some drugs that he had been given for the pain.

Those First Moments

Pippa was so bright, quiet and alert from when she was first born. It was lovely. And she had so much dark hair! I didn’t expect that! But new life is a joy, a blessing and an absolute gift from God. I was sad that Paul wasn’t there to meet his new baby girl, and to celebrate together with me. But I was thankful for a healthy baby, and SO glad that the birth was over!!

The Next Few Days

Paul did have viral meningitis. I had to be put in an isolation room with Pippa just in case either of us had it. We couldn’t see Paul for 3 days. But in the end we were all healthy and well. While I wouldn’t have planned it that way, we are all OK now. And it’s a pretty good story too!


Smiley girl last week

The Birthday Girl


My beautiful Heidi.

Happy 2nd birthday for the 25th.

You are strong, energetic, social, intense, happy and determined.

You love dancing, spinning, animals, friends, reading books, praying, cooking and tea parties.

You are now only in nappies overnight. You sleep in a toddler bed. Little miss independent is on her way.

You are a beautiful big sister who is kind, loving and enthusiastic with your baby sister.

You only smile when you want to. You only let us tickle you on your terms. You often take yourself off to bed crying “sleep!” if you are particularly tired.

You are a joy and a blessing and it is a privilege to be your Mummy.

I love you.

Ηeidi’s First (Real) Haircut

I cut Heidi’s hair for the first time today. Her fringe had been getting in her eyes, and she always had a ‘frazzled’ look about her. While I am no expert at hair-cutting (!!!), I think she looks gorgeous with her shorter ‘do’.



She has only had it cut once before. About 6 months ago we went and got a trim. She finally had enough hair that we thought she would have some left after going to the hair dressers. So we payed $10 for about 10 minutes of cutting. We got home and I declared “We will never pay for that to happen again!” The cut was basically a few snips at the front, and we didn’t even like it. Now, if it is a bad job I only have myself to blame.





What do you think? Probably a little short at the front – but what a gorgeous little girl we have. She certainly looks more like a “little girl, not a big baby” as Paul’s Dad said today when he saw her. Love you Heidi.