Let me tell you about my day…

I’ll start at about 2am. That’s when my son decided it would be a good time to wake for a feed. Slightly unconventional and not really socially acceptable, but I’ll go with it. No problem – job done. We should be good for another couple of hours. 

Except no. We will wake again at 2:58, 3:40, 4:50, 5:23, 6:38 and 7:52. Some of those were feeds, but most of them because he grunts so hard he wakes himself up and requires a lot of shushing, patting and dummy insertion to get back to sleep. Breaks my heart when he does this because he’s not fully awake, appears to be suffering a lot of wind pain and cries out in his sleep. Except by 7:53 he’s cooing, laughing and smiling apparently ready to start the day. I stare at him murderously as I sip my first of many coffees.  

He’s tired by 8:20 (naturally since he’s been up half the night) and refuses to go to sleep unless being held. Luckily Grandad and Juju are there to tag team some baby rocking and humming while I pack to fly home from the Gold Coast to Townsville. We’ve somehow doubled the contents of our suitcase in 2 weeks. I play suitcase Tetris to get it all to fit in. Exhausting – another coffee. Shower, get dressed and pretend to be a normal human being. 

Head out with my mum and brother around 10am for a pleasant stroll in the sun. Third coffee of the day consumed, along with a delightful vanilla choc muffin. Tom decides he’s hungry again. No problem, I have boozie juice on tap. Except actually he’s not hungry. Oh wait, yes he is. No, false alarm. Chomps on and off for 20 minutes and cries when he gets sprayed across the face with my fembot milk. Sigh. 

Get back to Grandad and Juju’s. Tom makes faces like he wants to poo, but then decides it’s too much work. Naps instead. This time in my arms, because why would anyone sleep in their own bed? 

Leave for airport around 2pm. In the car ride we play a little game I like to call “I want the dummy but I want to spit it out 12 times first and then cry so you put it back in.” I discover that I am some sort of shoulder and elbow contortionist, as I twist my arms back to retrieve the dummy out of Tom’s lap from the front passenger seat. Potential future physio required. 

Check-in at airport on time. Lining up at airport security. Tom stares contently up at me, cooing and smiling. And then let’s one rip. Except it’s not just wind. This is the real deal. A FUCKING POONAMI at the x-ray machine. I somehow manage to place 2 bags on the conveyor belt and quickly assess the damage. I see a mustard stain on his white muslin blanket. OH SHIT. Literally. I miraculously avoid getting any on myself by holding him out like Simba in the Lion King. “EVERYBODY MOVE OUT OF THE FUCKING WAY!” I screamed in my head. Nobody moved. We finally got through the slowest security line ever and as I collected my bags, a lady with a wand encroached upon me to swab my bags for drugs. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME LADY?! I wafted Tom under her nose and her face crinkled as she waved me through. Little victory. 

Found a parents room quickly and set up shop. Holy crap. There is shit everywhere. It’s all the way up his back. TO HIS FUCKING NECK. How does… What the… Jesus Christ. In no way is this outfit salvageable. His onesie is binned. I make my way through a whole packet of baby wipes, while Tom laughs like it’s the funniest thing he’s ever seen. Which to be fair, it probably is. At 9 weeks old he hasn’t been exposed to much other than peek-a-boo and a song about a potato train. (That’s a train that carries potatoes, not a train made out of potatoes. There’s potential for confusion there.) 

Mercifully, I have a spare outfit in my bag. He screams blue murder while I change him, so I pack everything away and feed him again. I’m finally getting my breath back when the lights go out. What the actual fuck is happening? Turns out the lights in the parents room run by sensor, so if you don’t dance about continuously it shuts off. NEVER MIND THE DOOR IS AUTOMATED AND SHOULD KNOW THAT SOMEONE IS STILL IN THERE WHEN THEY HAVEN’T PRESSED THE BUTTON TO LEAVE! I fumbled around to get the lights back on, while Tom absolutely devoured his meal as if I’d been starving him for weeks. After he finished, I checked to see if my nipples were still there and found with great relief that they were. Just as we’re getting ready to head to our gate, an announcement comes in that our flight is delayed. Wonderful. 

When we finally get to board our flight an hour later than scheduled, we are luckily placed in a row by ourselves on an otherwise full flight. Finally our luck is changing! Though there was a toddler in the row in front of us that may or may not have some sort of infectious disease due to the hacking cough she produced for the entire flight, some of which she pointed in our direction as she attempted to scramble over her mothers head throughout the journey. Swell. Add turbulence +++ and a second wave of shit (happily contained in Tom’s pants) and we finally made it to Townsville. I had crazy eyes fo sho. 

At the baggage carousel I had the happy job of holding a baby while wrestling my suitcase and pram off the conveyor belt. A small group of young men watched on with bemused expressions until a lady came over and helped me. Bless this woman, whoever she is. I somehow negotiated my way back to my car with my son happily gurgling in his pram, towing a suitcase and my remaining dignity in tact. Paid for parking that was cheaper than expected (winning), packed up the car and turned on the engine. 

Except scrap that last bit, because the engine didn’t actually turn on. FUCK. MY. LIFE. 

So then I called RACQ and was given a 45 minute window in which someone would be deployed until I almost had a nervous breakdown on the phone to a kindly voiced woman named Lee, who upped our status to “priority”. Tom and I occupied ourselves by pacing the car park singing ‘potato train’ until a mechanic came, replaced the car battery and sent us on our way. As I exited the car park, the machine charged me another $15 because I had waited too long between paying for parking and leaving. FUCK YOU. 

We get home in one piece, the car ride spent dreaming of flopping onto the bed and sleeping until lunchtime tomorrow (baby permitting.)  I walk into my house to discover that my DARLING husband has left for his work trip without putting sheets on our bed. Never mind he was here for 2 nights between our family trip to Sydney & his work trip, in which he would have had ample time to do so. I queried where Mick slept when he was here, until I saw evidence of it on the couch. I cursed his name under my breath. And then very loudly for good measure. I noted there were clean towels in the bathroom… So he does know where the linen cupboard is. It’s not like he couldn’t find any sheets. He just… Didn’t. Can’t wait to hear what his excuse is. He’s currently ignoring my abusive text messages. 

Sheets on the bed, bath my stinky baby and he stays up for a second too long and is now overtired, refusing sleep and demanding boozie juice every 10 mins for about an hour and a half. I weep on the inside. And the outside. Somewhere around 10pm he finally gives in. I saunter out to the kitchen in search of a small morsel that might tide me over until the morning and discover that anything left in the fridge is rotting, because apparently my husband doesn’t know what to do in this instance either. Evidence of Thai takeaway containers in the bin confirm suspicions. Am livid. 

Discovered a fun size Crunchie at the back of the fridge and eyed the wine lovingly before deciding against self-medicating. Opened my mail and realise I’d forgotten to pay the Telstra bill last month and I have a specialist appointment to go to in May for follow up for when my vagina broke. This includes an Anal-Endo ultrasound. Great. Sounds fun, I’m sure you can all look forward to that post. 

I debate whether to have a shower or wait until morning when I spot a slight mustard coloured hue on my fucking elbow of all places. I’m too scared to look in the mirror, certain that if ever I was going to get Tom’s shit on my face, it would be today. I scrubbed myself from head to toe, just to be sure. 

Make my way back to bed and am suddenly wide awake, all those coffees from earlier finally deciding to kick in. FUCKING HELL! So I write this and feel better about everything and finally am able to drift off to sleep until 1:28am when it all starts again.

Give me strength. 

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Why it’s worth telling the whole internet about my broken lady parts (and I get to use the word UMBRAGE in a sentence.)

Sooo. Controversial.

My last post appeared to resonate with many people and with others… not so much. I knew what I wrote might have been unpopular. It’s not okay to speak about something that’s supposed to be the happiest time of your life and discuss the less favourable aspects. Yet overwhelmingly I’ve found that most women who’ve had kids and read the blog relate to it – going so far as to say they felt the exact same way when they were going through it. Which relieves me greatly because they’re all kickass mums & I’m happy to be in such good company.

I’m not going to go too in-depth with some of the criticism I received, my very excellent sister did that for me when coming across a statement comparing having a baby to breaking in a new pair of shoes. If you haven’t already, you can read her brilliant response here…

http://smithstandard.tumblr.com/post/114569597561/apparently-being-a-new-mum-is-the-same-as-breaking 

Like my sister, I encourage healthy debate and discussions and know that not everyone is going to agree with me and that’s okay, it keeps things interesting. Ultimately, while having a baby is in NO WAY like breaking in a new pair of shoes, I get the point this woman was trying to make: that having babies can be hard but ultimately rewarding (Is that the same as having a new pair of Louboutins? Anyone?) My son is the best thing I have ever done and I am filled with wonder and love whenever I look at his tiny, gorgeous face. Even at 2am when he wants feeding AGAIN and I haven’t slept more than 2 hours together since he came home. When he stares at me with his big blue eyes, my heart melts.

However I do take issue with one thing she said that I can’t let go. Well actually 2 things.

Firstly, I don’t believe that one can be too honest. The truth is the truth. My experience is not everyone’s truth and I have never pretended to speak for anyone else when I write. Clearly, what I write about is personal – it’s MY experience. I’m not going to sugarcoat it so that it’s easier to read and doesn’t scare new mums and I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for doing so. I’m honest not because I’m trying to horrify or shock anyone, but because this is genuinely how I felt (and still feel) while going through these major life events and I wish I was better prepared for it. If I can help just one new mother feel less loco by telling her MY story, then it’s ultimately worth telling the whole internet about my broken vagina (my dad has read these posts, you guys. My DAD.)

Secondly and I feel most importantly, I take UMBRAGE with the fact that I’ve been accused of promoting a negative birth/mothering experience (UMBRAGE is an excellent word I desire to use more in my everyday vocabulary.) Despite all the scary and painful stuff I’ve been through in the last 10 or so months, I feel like it’s been overwhelmingly positive and I’m sorry if that has not translated into print. I have plenty of great things to say about my birth experience. I was lucky enough to be case managed by the best midwife in the world (like seriously, I’m in love with her and if she would let me, I would feed her grapes and fan her with giant palm fronds all day long). I chose to have a drug free, natural labour and while it fucking hurt (which I’m saying because it’s TRUE and I’m not going to omit it just to appear positive), I’m so glad I did it the way I did. Never have I felt more alive or human than the day I gave birth to my beautiful son and I would fully encourage any woman who is low-risk to go through a midwife run birth centre. My decisions were supported and my body was allowed to do what it was supposed to do without any unnecessary intervention. And even though the process SAVAGED my vagina and ended up being incredibly emotionally traumatic, I would do it again the same way. (I know people have heard me say otherwise, but honestly? I could do it naturally again. Probably. Maybe. I’ll get back to you on that.) And lets face it, whose birth experience is a walk in the park? Epidurals, c-sections, forceps, multiples, it’s a major trauma on your body and emotions no matter how you go about delivering your baby. Some just deal with it and recover better than others. To accuse me or anyone else of promoting negativity, because the experience I’m retelling isn’t as positive as you’d like is inappropriate.

Happy child despite crazy mother. It can happen.
Happy child despite crazy mother. It can happen.

(Worse still, there are people who give a backhanded comment like “happy mum = happy baby” which is absolute bullshit. My baby is very happy, smiley and calm while I’m anxious as fuck. Don’t minimise my feelings with some ridiculous cliche that implies it’s my own fault if I’m finding some aspects of motherhood difficult and that if I just relaxed a little, I’d enjoy it more. Shut up.)

To quote my sister: Please stop with your zen mother shit. It’s okay that some women don’t enjoy every aspect of pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood and comments rejecting that idea are what make a lot of new mothers feel useless in the first place. Support those who are struggling by ALLOWING them to say they are struggling – and then be a good friend and take them food and let them cry and tell them they’re doing a great job. Because they are. At the same time, commend those who are killing it! How lucky some are to get to enjoy every aspect of pregnancy and motherhood? My stories shouldn’t take away from that and they shouldn’t feel guilty for enjoying it just because someone else is finding it tough. Everyone has a different experience and that’s okay.

Don’t worry I’ll be back with the regular stuff next time. I just needed to get that off my chest.