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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

No hope for a brighter tomorrow

Ran into a colleague whist getting a hot chocolate this morning, and I mentioned that I was scared of the results of the election tomorrow, and she turned to me and asked what difference it would really make. I had to pause and think for a moment, and then concede that really, it wouldn’t make a great deal of difference. It certainly doesn’t feel that way, that there’s much of a difference. Both parties are so entrenched and full of conservatives that we’re effectively functioning in the dark ages.
Traditionally I have voted Labour under the guise of it being slightly further left than the extreme right Libs, but this time around I’m finding both parties lacking even more than normal. Maybe it’s just because I’m more politically and socially aware this time around.
I have this entrenched paranoia that the Liberals will be elected, and it drives me insane when I hear swing voter on Insight saying they are leaning coalition. But rationally, eh…
Who are we kidding, thinking this backwards conservative piece of crap country will actually elect a party headed by a woman. They’d rather a crazy right-wing religious wingnut.
Don’t get me wrong in anyway, I damn well want Labour to come through tomorrow, preferably with flying colours and no doubt. My ideal outcome would be that Labour wins, Libs lose seats, Greens win Melbourne and a huge increase of seats in the Senate. Go Greens getting balance of power. And how could I forget, Fielding getting turfed out on his bigoted ass, preferably with the whole Family First party crumbling into the dust.
However, I despair.

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I was getting better there with posting, but then I got a call from my previous work and they wanted me to help out for a few weeks.  Seven weeks later and it’s been a little hectic around here.  I feel like I’ve barely got time to breathe anymore.  Also doesn’t help that we are down two computers as both our desktop and netbook went kaputski within the same week and now we’ve commandeered FenFox’s clunky old box to get by.  Bring on our tax return and a new computer!

Lot’s of stuff going on around here.  I am job hunting, not as easy this time around, when I’m looking at part-time and set days each week.  Not much around that fits the bill, and competition is fierce.  There’s the larger overbearing issue of what I am going to do with my life too, still unresolved.

McBean has been through a wildly naughty and traumatic (for us) stage, where he was being a bugger about sleeping, waking up sobbing inconsolably every day and every nap and getting up to as much deliberate mischief as he could manage.  He’s now being lovely and practically angelic (for him), he is a delight to be around which is so very nice.  He’s been to a paediatrician about his delayed speech and she is investigating.  Had his hearing tested, concluded he has adequate hearing for speech development, so we’re now facing a full developmental assessment.  More on that later.  His speech is progressing slowly without further assistance so far, but we’ll see.

FenFox is getting more and more tweeny.  Had a little cry at the breakfast table this morning because the art teacher had “abused” her about her poorly made clay pot, which required a quick pep talk from Clark.  Mostly FenFox is so like R1 that it’s absurd, and then, like this morning, she’ll display an outstandingly Clark-like quality, such as getting upset that she is not good at doing something (like working with clay).  The mind boggles sometimes.  You just have to keep reminding them that in the grand scheme of life, the practical application of making pots by hand out of clay is not so important, and that you just need to move on through these little trials.  They get so bogged down in the minutiae of their lives.

Clark is beavering away at work.  She’s doing a lot of training for child inclusive practice, she’s off to a conference in Darwin in a couple of weeks, she’s got some research ideas for a paper she wants to write.  It’s all happening for her.  Full time is a hard slog though, so I’ll be glad when I finally secure something which means she can drop a day.

Election is upcoming, much discussions about that.  I worry that the mad monk will scrape in, somehow.  No matter who I talk to they are disparaging about him, and yet the polls are still close.  I guess I’m lucky that I don’t associate with the caliber of people who vote Liberal.  Disappointed in JG and her same-sex marriage stance, still hope that she gets in.  What’s the alternative in any case?  Shudder at the thought.

Election night we have plans with close friends, it will be her first time she can vote since recently becoming a citizen and the last time we’ll see them for a very long time, as they are moving to France in a couple of weeks.  We’ve know it was happening for so long, but it feels that it’s snuck up on us, and we’re no where near ready to lose them.  Every time we go over (which is often because FenFox is spending practically every spare moment with her best friend before she goes) the house is emptier and emptier, and it becomes more bleak and real.  Hopefully at least the election will be good news, so we can bid them farewell without the specter of the mad monk and the xtian right hanging over the country.

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Cheers and tears

I was sitting at my desk at 8am this morning and one of my colleagues walking past my desk and said something to the effect that McBean should be made the poster boy for what happened yesterday.  I looked at him blankly and he started to explain to me that some new legislation had been passed in parliament last night – at which point I stopped him with an emphatic “Dude we were there!”  It just seemed so surreal and so removed from the mundane-ness of my work, weird that someone else would know about it.  Actually he wasn’t the only person to mention it to me – it’s times that this that I really appreciate my workplace with its accepting and inclusive culture.

So, yesterday – big things.  We’re well on the way now.  It was the first time we’d managed to actually make it to a sitting of parliament – what an amazing one to go to.

Both J-Le and Owlie have given very good descriptions of what happened, no-one needs another rehash.  In fact, J-Le’s account would be very similar to mine, as I was sitting next to her.  Not only was it amazing to be a part of it all, but we also managed to meet quite a few people both from the blogosphere and not.  Awesome collection of familes at parliament yesterday, hanging out, kids running around, generally acting like we owned the place.

Sitting waiting for the vote to be counted, I felt physically ill – we were so far to the aye side that it was impossible to do our own count – we could see 18 people on the no side – I was watching Col.leen Hartl.and, trying to read her lips as she counted – watching her get to 19 twice, then confer rapidly with some other members and her amused realisation that she’d forgotten to count the other member tallying the ayes.  So we were looking at 20 to 18 – but still it was nerve racking until the announcement was made – then the spontaneous cheers which quickly turned into tears.

McBean was such an awesome little guy – he barely fussed the whole day.  We had several appreciative comments from the MPs about him – and indeed one MP said she’d just love to take him – she told us she was missing her kids and had not seen them since Monday.

The whole experience gave me a new insight into the workings of government and the human side to it.  Parliament always seems so remote and lofty – like the pantheon on Mt Olympus handing down laws on high.  But they we just people, having jokes with each other and sometimes with us, acting like schoolkids, umming and ahhhing.  Even crying with us – as we exited the public gallery one of the staff was standing in the doorway with tears streaming down her face congratulating everyone.

All in all, I think its one of those times that will stay with me forever.  And it was worth it, staying to the anti-climactic end, even if it meant I did a 13 hour day at work today on 3 1/2 hours sleep.  Gotsta get ta bed now.  ZZzzzZZZzzzZZZ…

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Musings from Clark

The ART debate is now on and final vote expected this afternoon.  I’m apprehensive and nervous about this.  I’m going to be crushed and disillusioned if it doesn’t pass.  I simply won’t understand how the pollies can positively vote against our children.

fenfox-and-mcbean-snuggles

See how adorable they are?   This was taken last night during their nightly goodnight snuggles in FenFox’s nest.

We’re currently listening online and planning to head in this afternoon to watch from the public gallery.  Hopefully McBean behaves himself!

I’ve been to two different mothers’ groups this week.  It’s interesting to be a part of all that once again.  It’s so anxiety provoking!  It’s most probably just my insecurity but I feel really judged.  Especially when the group is an existing one that I’m just joining.

The first group is a local rainbow families babies group that has been meeting for quite some time so everybody knows each other really well.  I felt really welcomed there, but still a bit nervous at the same time.  It didn’t help that McBean lost it after about half an hour and proceeded to cry loudly until I left.  And I couldn’t find his dummy because the pram wouldn’t fit into the house and I had to fold it up to get inside which made everything fall out and have to be just stuffed into the nappy bag.  Not that I would have felt comfortable giving him a dummy there – somehow I feel like I have to be the perfect earth mother there.  And I’m so conflicted about the dummy thing, no matter how helpful it has been.  Silly thing is, this judgement and need for perfection is all in my own head and just like I really don’t care and don’t judge (or at least try really hard not to) other mothers for the decisions they make for their babies, I can’t help but feel really insecure about it.  And then there’s the feeding thing.   I guess all the troubles I’ve been having continue to make me feel like a bit of a failure, even though logically I know how absurd that is.  So feeding in front of other mothers makes me stressed, especially when McBean doesn’t seem content or satisfied, which is probably due to my being tense… a vicious circle.  I guess it can only get better as I relax more and get to know people. It was really nice to be in a room full of queer mamas and their adorable babies and I look forward to continuing to be involved with that group.

The second group was a really informal thing.  It was a lunch with my personal trainer and all the women that she trains who have had babies recently.  There was six of us there with babies ranging from McBean at 5 week to a little boy at 5 months.  And Tess tells us that there are a few who couldn’t make it and at least three more pregnant!  She’s a fertility magnet that woman.  The lunch was lovely and very relaxed.  None of us know each other beyond having trained together, and we make a really diverse group, but we all seemed really comfortable talking about our babies and the issues we’ve all had.  As well as the complimenting and admiring of the gorgeous babes! I found it really interesting that all but one of us have had a stressful time with babies not gaining weight fast enough and various bf issues – all 5 of us are on dom.peri.done!  It makes me wonder how much of this is due to unnecessary hysteria and trying to compare babies to unhelpful guidelines and charts.  I left the lunch feeling really good (maybe it was the beer!) and really keen to get back to training with such a supportive group.  So McBean and I will be heading off to mums and bubs sessions ASAP!

All this being with other mothers has made me even more grateful for the growing friendship I have with YZ.  We’re spending an afternoon together, with all the kids, about once a week now and I really value the support and advice that it offers.  And the interesting conversations about non baby related things (in between the discussions about decidecly baby related issues!)

So the BF issues continue and I continue to be really insecure about my supply and whether McBean is getting enough.  Every time he’s fussy or won’t sleep I think that it’s because he’s hungry even though I know it can’t always be the case, especially given that he sleeps beautifully and settles very easily at night, and occasionally during the day.  I have a few plans though, mostly formulated after discussions with YZ and then Lazyboo…

  1. Track McBean’s feeding and sleeping habits for a week.  Write everything down!  This will help to identify patterns and maybe explain some of the difficulties we’ve been having.
  2. Do a formula feeding trial.  Give him formula exclusively for a few days so we KNOW that he’s getting enough and then observe his behaviour.  Obviously if we do this I’ll express every few hours day and night in order to maintain supply.  This will answer so many of the questions I have.  If his behaviour doesn’t change, I can have more confidence in my supply.  If he is more settled and sleeps better throughout this time, then we know that supply is still an issue, and know to either supplement regularly or think about giving up.
  3. Give myself an end date – which I’ve put at 3 months.  If I continue to be so anxious and uncertain about it all then, then we can seriously consider conceding defeat.

Despite all this, I remain committed to breastfeeding.  But I am just sick of the uncertainty and insecurity.  I’m trying to find solutions that will help me to get over it.  Hopefully it will all help me to move forward with more confidence.  But if we work out that we need to change things, and exclusive breastfeeding just isn’t going to be possible, then at least we can even though I’ll be thorougly disappointed and will have to deal with those ridiculous failure issues.

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Blog silence that is.  Haven’t really felt up to writing this week due to said ups and downs.

Big things happening though so the dot points will have to do:

  • The ART bill passed the second reading inthe upper house.  Very close though: 20-18.  Thank you so much to all who have done so much to help this thing through, and big hugs to all our friends and family who responded to our email plea to contact the MPs to voice their support of the bill.   One of the MPs even responded to us:  ‘Wow do you have a great many active friends!‘  And I just spoke to my dad, who tells me he sent emails and one of the MPs called him!  She’s a known supporter, but that was still a good thing – it’s nice to know they actually pay attention to emails.  The bill now been referred to committee and will be back before parliament on December 2.  Waiting with bated breath.
  • I really wanted to go to parliament this week to join the rainbow family contingent – they were even successful in converting a conservative MP to vote yes!  But I had an exam to prepare for and attend this morning.  I walked in there the least prepared I have EVER been for an exam ever, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected, and I am fairly sure that I at least passed the exam.  That was my last assessment for this degree, so it’s all over now.  I just don’t have the energy to be excited about it though.
  • In case I didn’t pass the exam, I do have a special consideration application duly filled out and signed by Dr Rebecca.  The primary reason for this is that this week it was decided (after yet another visit to the hospital) that I have a uterine infection, which is affecting me in so many ways.  So now I’m on really heavy duty antibiotics and am finally starting to feel better.
  • The milk supply issues continue.  I’m feeling quite emotionally fraught about it today.  The heat of the last few days hasn’t helped (it got to 35 degrees yesterday and 34 today) – poor McBean is all hot and thirsty and I just can’t seem to keep up with him.  We’ve seen Irma the MCHN and Jenny the LC this week (weight gains were 25g on Monday, and a further 115g by Wednesday.  He’s now only 70g under birth weight.  He’s also grown nearly 4 cm in length since birth – at nearly 55cm, he’s so tall!).  But everyone remains concerned, and Jenny even said on Wednesday, ‘I don’t think you’re going to be able to exclusively breastfeed’.  That wasn’t helpful, and just keeps repeating in my head.  We’re seeing Irma again tomorrow, and Jenny on Monday.  It all just feels like constant judgements on my ability to mother.
  • It feels like our lives have been taken over by efforts to increase milk supply.  I’m drinking copious amounts of galactagogue (what a great word!) seed tea, we’ve hired a bigger and supposedly more efficient breast pump so I can continue to express repeatedly, and I’ve started taking the drug thing today.  And it also feels like I’m constantly feeding McBean too, who seems to be increasingly unsettled and the last couple of days has been extremely hard to get to sleep.  As I said to YZ the other day (who is also having bf issues, though the opposite to mine), I’m so sick of breasts, and I never thought I’d say that.  This afternoon I was almost at a point where I was ready to give up, but as Lazyboo (and Dr Rebecca yesterday) pointed out, it’s only been two weeks, there’s been a lot going on, and we need to give all these efforts more of a chance to work.  I’m just so tired of it all though.
  • Just because there’s not enough already happening to keep us busy, we started looking at rental properties this week (looking to capitalise on the generosity of the government and their baby bonus).  There’s a place we saw yesterday that we’re really conflicted about.  Lots of pros and cons.  Still undecided on if we’ll even apply for it.  And of course only a slim chance that we’d actually get it.

So I guess it’s been a busy week!  McBean has finally gone to sleep, as has FenFox.  Lazyboo, who has been feeling awful all day with some sort of tummy bug, is off in the kitchen doing stuff so I better go help.  Then we can both relax a little before it all starts over again.

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McBean has put on 130g.  Yay!  And that’s without any formula.

Jenny the lactation consultant came over this morning.  She was here over two hours and was wonderful.  She talked to us about everything and asked lots of questions about McBean and about my experiences with FenFox.  She examined me, observed me feeding McBean on both sides and examined him.

She came to the following conclusions:

  • McBean has a slight tongue tie.  But it’s not causing too many difficulties and we don’t need to do anything about it right now.
  • We have been attaching well, but she gave us some tips for deeper attachment which already seem to be making a huge difference.
  • I do have low supply, which is causing McBean’s restlessness, his slow weight gain (and losses) and his failure to produce any poop.
  • The low supply can be explained by a number of things.  Firstly, I have reduced breast tissue on one side, and have had a badly damaged nipple on the other (which is nearly healed now.)  Secondly, I am still bleeding quite a bit and she’s concerned about that – apparently it’s possible that my body still thinks it’s pregnant so hormones are all mixed up.  I’m supposed to call the hospital about that but i don’t like the hospital so am reluctant.  Thirdly, she thinks there is a further physiological issue that is causing my body to not produce milk (the fact that my experiences with FenFox were largely the same is indicating this for her).  She is recommending taking dom.peri.done in order to ‘trick’ the body into making more milk.

So we have a new plan which involves working on attachment and using breast compression.  I’m going to express after each feed (no more than 20 min in total) and top him up with the EBM during the day only, but make sure I demand feed overnight (like I have been).  We’re going to give McBean a bottle of formula in the evenings to allow me to have a break, spend some time with FenFox and build up both my supply and McBean’s energy levels (and mine too!) for night feeding.  She also recommended that McBean be awake for only about an hour at a time (cos staying awake is using energy he needs for feeding), so he shouldn’t be at the breast longer than 45min each time.  Any longer is taking too much of his energy for too little return.  She also emphasised how important it is that I get as much sleep as possible.

I feel really good about this plan, and I’m not at all concerned about adding the bottle of formula.  It feels like it’s all working towards building a good supply for continued breastfeeding, not like it’s the start of the slippery slope towards giving up because it’s too hard.

So I’m feeling really positive about all this.  I do have low supply, but she really made it clear that it’s not my fault, and not because of anything that I’m doing or not doing.  That was really helpful.  It was also good that she had so much advice and so many ideas on how to move forward that don’t involve moving straight to formula feeding.  We did discuss however, that sometimes, we can try anything and everything and it still doesn’t work out.  And I think that now, I’m in a place where if that happens, when we’ve tried all we can, that I’ll be ok with that.

Next weigh ins are on Monday and Wednesday next week.  Hoping for good things!

And now for some more cuteness:

How adorable are McBean and his little friend SLJ?  This was their first meeting – she was born 10 days before him (even though he was due before her!)  And he really did watch the US election coverage – was fascinated by the colours and lights.  Not that I actually want him watching TV so young, but it was a historic event that we didn’t want to miss.  But also bittersweet.  The election results were so good, yet so many anti-gay measures were passed.  And then there’s the demise of one of the few gay relationships on US TV (grey’s) … it may be trivial but not a good sign nonetheless.  I just hope that we have better news closer to home next week when the ART bill goes to vote in the upper house.

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What a day.

We went to the Love Makes a Family rally this morning and are really hoping that the debate in the Upper House of Parliament is going well.  We sent lots of emails to the MPs last night and have gotten quite a few replies.  I’m a bit scared to listen to the broadcast though.  We did manage to finally meet Owlie and Pcat and their two lovely girls this morning too, if only briefly.

After the rally finished we dropped in on my dad to take him some strepsils – he’s got a bad cold and sounds like a sick little boy.  He answered the door with a scarf over his mouth and nose so as not to give the cold to the baby – very funny!

Then we wandered all the way through the city to Lazyboo’s work so she could show our boy off – it was quite amusing to see the flock of people coming over and going ‘ooh he’s so cute!’

We got home just in time for the hospital midwife to drop in.  She weighed McBean who has lost more than 10% of his birth weight in 40 hours.  And he’s become decidedly yellow as the day has progressed.  So the midwife took some blood to test his jaundice level and should call us with the results any minute.  It’s a bit daunting – if the results aren’t good, McBean and I have to head back to hospital.  No matter what the results are, she advised to make sure he feeds every three hours (which he’s doing anyway), and to express after each feed to encourage my milk to come in more quickly.  There was even talk about maybe needing formula to help him flush out his system.  I’m really not sure how I feel about that.  I had been feeling quite positive about the whole breastfeeding experience so far, despite the inevitable attachment issues and sore nipples.  But it seems as if it’s not going as well as I had thought.  I’m keeping things in perspective though.  McBean is responsive and alert and waking for feeds.  He’s attaching well and enthusiastically.  He’s not overly sleepy or overly distressed.  I guess we just have to wait and see.

I’m deliberately trying to not overreact.  So many feeding issues were had with FenFox and I was so distraught and distressed by the whole thing.  I am going to try not to stress too much about this.  Remaining in my calm happy place.

But wait that’s not all for today!

FenFox’s school is having all sorts of crazy events this week, and we’re managing to keep up with it all even with everything else!  Yesterday Lazyboo and Nanny S baked and arranged for gluten free dairy free cookies to go to school with her for her camp fundraiser cake stall, and today we organised FenFox for her Wacky Walkathon with costume and all, and managed to make it there this afternoon for the end of it.  I think it’s really important that we don’t drop the ball on things that are important for FenFox, especially now.  She needs to feel secure that she’s still valued.  She seems to be coping well though.  The gift that McBean ‘gave’ her is certainly a big help – she’s ecstatic about it.

So this afternoon we’re expecting at least two sets of visitors (assuming that we won’t have to head back to the hospital).

I’m exhausted and am planning on planting on the couch for the duration!

Some more photos from today:

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