Friday, September 25, 2009

Anniversary / Babymoon

September 21st was our seventh wedding anniversary(!) and to celebrate we spent the weekend at a beach house on the coast. Below is the view from our verandah and just behind us is an enclosed full size hot tub with the same amazing view. Oh, and in case you're wondering, that's cherry juice in my wine glass :)

We had a really nice walk on the beach when we first arrived and were fascinated by this cuttlefish we found as we'd never seen one before. Some gentle prodding revealed that it was full of ink, lots of eggs and an undigested fish!

Unbelievably enough, we were up the next morning for sunrise and got these great shots before having our first breakfast of the day and then going back to bed.

I've always wanted to paint my nice round belly so Brian got to be the artist and created this cool design. The little red thing on what was once my belly button is the baby surrounded by us on either side. I really like this photo even though I look like somewhat of giantess :)

Not sure yet what the plant below is called but we'd never seen anything like it - it towered above our heads and nearly reached the second floor of the house.

And to top it all off, we saw dolphins in the bay on Monday when we were packing up to leave. Not the best photo but so nice to see, I just had to include it.

So, a lovely weekend was had by all. We'll celebrate again when the harvest moon appears on October 4th and roll out the Neil Young. Crazy to think that it's been just the two of us for over eight years now and in five weeks there will be three of us....

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Birth Classes

Last night was our second in a series of five childbirth and parenting classes at the Birth Centre and we continue to be incredibly grateful for being able to have our baby there. The midwives are just wonderful and we’re starting to meet the others in the north team who could be present at the birth should our midwife be on her weekend off or be up all night the night before. Apparently, though we have an 89% chance of having our midwife present.

Other things we love about it - the BC has a really low rate of interventions and Cesarean rates are way below the national average. The centre itself is very comfortable with couches and photos of babies born there all over the walls with notes from grateful parents. The rooms have huge baths, dimmable lights, oil burners (for aromatherapy), balls, mats and a button that brings emergency assistance within sixty seconds – all good things! The staff treat you as if you are the most important people in the whole process who are capable of making intelligent decisions and best of all, fully capable of birthing your baby in your own time. There is absolutely none of the fear you often find surrounding the issues of birth and no one will be saying "well you're not progressing according to 'schedule' so lets induce!"

The first birthing class was all about breastfeeding and we found it really informative. Last nights class was on managing the first stage of labor and we learned about all of the crazy things a woman’s pelvis can do! The midwife even had a hand knitted uterus as a prop :) I only expect you to appreciate that if you’re a knitter by the way. We also talked a lot about the support person’s role in labor, which is, of course, to do anything the woman asks and give lots of massages and positive reinforcement :) Brian is going to be a terrific support and the midwife even had to tell him (nicely) to shut up at one point because he’d been doing his homework and knew all of the answers to her many questions. I was glad he was with me :) Also very pleased to have my dear sister-in-law Heather coming over for support as well. I’m feeling very confident in my team and in my ability to do this rather miraculous act! But not for another eight weeks.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Standing in the rain for a voice in the house

I've just accidentally taken almost the entire day off of work and since the emails (surprisingly) haven't piled up, I thought I'd take the chance to post. Today was the national Homebirth Rally at Parliament House and I'd been planning to attend for weeks, but waking up to a very wet and rainy day, I was considering staying in. Except that I remembered that women were flying and driving in from all over the country to attend this event and that I probably should make the ten minute drive to get myself there! So my friend Janette, a midwife in a local hospital, and I donned our rain gear and were pleasantly surprised to see that thousands of other people didn't let the rain deter them either. Here's a nice shot of the crowd full of moms and dads and kids and baby bellies:

The rally was held to protest federal government plans that would effectively make homebirthing illegal. The Labor party introduced laws into parliament in June which proposed, among other things, to establish a national midwifery register. However, in order to join, midwives must be insured, but private insurers no longer provide cover for homebirthing. So hundreds of independent midwives would face fines of up to $30,000 if they would continue to practice next year.

The issue of course is that everyone deserves to be able to make the decision about where they will birth their babies. And if families choose to birth at home, then they should have access to qualified midwifery care and back-up medical services if required. The introduced law, if passed, would essentially send homebirthing underground and that's not in anyone's best interest. And making it all somewhat ridiculous is the fact that homebirth statistics have excellent outcomes with far fewer unnecessary interventions than hospital births and parents report very high levels of satisfaction with homebirth. So, the crowds came out to say "We demand the choice."

One of many terrific banners:

And excitingly, my friend Ela (a homebirth midwife) drove to Canberra all the way from Byron Bay for the rally, about fourteen hours! I wasn't sure if she was coming until we managed to find each other at the rally. Yay!

And since she'd come all this way and was going to start the drive back tonight, I thought the least I could do would be to spend part of the afternoon having a nice lunch with her and some of her friends in the homebirthing and homeschooling community. So that's how I accidentally took the afternoon off of work for a very good cause.