Saturday, January 7, 2012

Today I'm Going To Give Birth!

Well I am going to reminisce, sort of.  In March it will be 35 years since I had my one and only delightful daughter.  Oh boy, was it all different way back when! Hearing about scans and all sorts of amazing things, especially those 3 and 4D scans, made me think back to 1977, and realise how primitive we had it - even then!

The first trip was to the doctor, for a urine test to see if "the frog died" (I have NO idea, don't ask!).  Yes, I was told a couple of days later - you are pregnant.  Obviously, we were supposed to always keep track of our menstruation - which I faithfully did.  Mainly because I was fortunate if I actually did menstruate! My cycle was 40 to 45 days, if it stayed as a cycle.  Which it didn't always.  So we were able to pinpoint conception.  Rolling around laughing here, because there was only the one night it could have been anyway!

Onwards.  I had to see my doctor once a month to get weighed, for him to check the baby, listen to the heartbeat (with a stethoscope) and have a chat.  Then at three months I was sent to "Clinic"  at the hospital, to have a check-up, get weighed (hahaha), have a blood test and a chat.  The first blood test I have ever had, and it was horrendous.  The nurse tried to take blood from halfway down my arm, unsuccessfully.  She eventually worked out how to do it, but left me bruised from elbow to wrist, and it hurt for ages.

Repeat this visit for 6 months (yep, we counted months).  Then towards the end we attended 'classes', which were actually amazingly good.  We were taught relaxation, some exercises, diet (bit late mate), how the birth process went, how to bath, feed, put nappies on etc.  The disposable nappies were quite new at that time, and were horrible things.  Guaranteed to give baby nappy rash in the space of five minutes.   The last class we were to have a visit to the "Labour Ward".   I kind of missed that one, being in there panting away at the time, trying to have my baby!

The big day dawned, a week overdue by my calculations, spot on by the doctor's calculations (he was wrong ha ha!).  I was pretty scared, as we all are I guess.  So with contractions all over the show, stopping and starting, going to 2 minutes apart and then quitting, I called the hospital. They said they felt I would be more comfy with them, and to come in.  We arrived at around midday.  I had eaten a very small breakfast, as advised, but had nothing after that.

First thing?  Oh, we will have to break your waters for you.  That was an experience not to be repeated, even the midwife wanted to know if the membrane was made from Dunlop rubber!  Then the indignities began.  First off was shave - not the nicest experience, someone shaving your private parts.  Thank heaven she used a new blade!  Next indignity was an enema - I kid you not, an enema.  It is just that - grossly undignified.   Then "into the bath with you" - " but I just had a shower as instructed".  Doesn't matter, into the bath kiddo.

Into the damned bath, lukewarm water 3" deep. Out of the bath onto the toilet.  Into the bath. Straight out onto the toilet.  After the fifth attempt I splashed water over myself hurriedly (to get rid of any lurking hairy bits) and dried off.

Right. Action stations.  Into the "labour room".  There was someone along the hall screaming and screaming, and I tell  you, it made me feel ill.  What next? Onto the bed.  IV attached because "you haven't eaten and we want to keep you hydrated also". Great.  Just what we needed.   A little shot of pethidine - they may as well have given me water for all the good it did.  

So for the next 6 hours I went in and out of labour, most of it paralysed, where my baby was pressing on a nerve in my spine - backache like you wouldn't believe.  Gas and air - god bless whoever invented that stuff, because without it I think I would have probably gone home.   Actually, at one stage I asked them if I could - they said "you had your fun, now you pay the piper!"  and laughed?  They laughed?  Aaagh.  Rotten lot.

It was around 6.30 that I was told that they were changing my IV to an induction drip, as "you aren't getting anywhere, and the baby is distressed".   How did they tell the baby was distressed?  Listening with one of those 'funnel' things, and a stethoscope!  Out went my nice little friendly saline drip, in came the torture fluid.  From then on, it was 'increase the flow rate' and 'increase the flow rate'.

At one point my midwife said no pushing until we say, you aren't fully dilated yet, but will feel you need to push.  This was what we were told was the THIRD stage of labour. When you need to push.   Oh boy, did I need to.  Lots of huffing and puffing and gas going on in that room.  A midwife (now I am there with no lenses in my eyes so I am blind as a damned bat) put her head around the door and asked was everything ok?  I said "Oh, I need to push".   She said go ahead honey.

Next thing, hell broke loose, as she wasn't my midwife and I was pushing too early.  Eek, I apparently tore my cervix quite badly, I found out long long years later.   Finally, finally I was given the go ahead, and the room seemed to suddenly get light and warmer and fill with all sorts of people.  I still have no idea who they were, which is kind of hilarious!

At approximately 8.50pm my tiny tiny girl was born, and was whipped away to be weighed and have a wrap put around her, eyes and mouth cleared etc.  She was then given back to me for a while.  Now they tell you babies can't see for the first six weeks or something.

My tiny miracle lay and gazed and gazed into my eyes.  I was overwhelmed, just totally awed.  And then I was brought a cup of tea (I hate the stuff!) and was promptly sick.  Too much gas and air, she laughed.  My tiny girl was taken away to the nursery, and I was rolled in a wheelchair to the ward.

I believe there were about 20 of us in the ward, if not more.  It was quite a lovely long bright airy room, but oh dear, the snores and farts etc were a little too much!   I didn't see my baby until the small hours, when a nurse woke me - apologising!  They gave the newborns dextrose water the first night, to let the mothers rest.  My stubborn little scrap absolutely refused!  So I had to try to learn how to put her to the breast at about 2.30a.m.  Such fun! 

We were forbidden to shower or bath, in case we 'started bleeding'.   I was going mad, needing a shower or bath so much - so I sneaked one!  Bliss.  Most of the new mums had had external stitches, and although they wanted to stitch me I refused.  So we all did what the nurses called the "wet knicker waddle".   Our babies were wheeled in to us each morning, and we were shown how to deal with nappies etc., (but only after the first day, nurses dealt with meconium nappies!).   A physiotherapist came to the ward and we all lined up to do pelvic floor exercises (oh the joys!) etc.

I won't talk about how dismal it was trying to feed my kid, that is for another time, another place.  It was a nightmare.  On around the third day of the hospital stay there was a Thanksgiving Service in the hospital Chapel.  I am sure the Reverend or whoever was used to 40 or so snivelling mothers each time he held the service, but it was a little blush-making just the same!  Talk about drowning in tears!

Plodding on, we also had a visit from the District Registrar, and those who wished to could register their baby's birth then and there.  Of course I did!
Day six arrived, and (a day early!) I was allowed to go home, feeling totally unreal, waiting for the baby's mother to come and get her, wondering how on earth I was going to do whatever it was I had to do....

I had 3 or 4 visits from the midwife, who checked me, then checked baby and cleaned around the cord (we weren't supposed to touch it!).   I have a vague thought that there was one visit from a Health Visitor, who was so jolly and cheerful that I felt there was no way on earth I could talk to her - and that will be a lead-in to my next blog, which is about my own experience with post-natal depression, or "baby blues" as the illness was so lightly termed in those days.

No prizes for spotting the difference from then to now, as far as pregnancy, care, health and labour are concerned!   You know though, I would have done it again in a heartbeat.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I Think I'm A Hard Bitch

Happens most of us believe in 'karma' and that if it goes around it comes around.  I have always been a firm believer - and the other little thing I believe is that you should 'be careful what you wish for'... you just might get it.

Why am I thinking like this?  Weeelll... had a phone call from my beloved Aunt, who has just turned 83 (to her utter disgust).  She told me that my cousin (her youngest son) phoned my sister on Christmas Day.  And my sister was alone.  Maybe I am not as hard as I would wish, as my heart hurt when she told me this.

Why was she alone?  Oh, it is such a long story. To cut it short, she is a very jealous person, and so is my niece.  My niece is also a compulsive liar, vindictive to the nth degree, vicious and extremely aggressive. One tiny tiny example of her personality is the day she sat at the table with me and her mum. I was looking at her eyebrows and thinking what a beautiful shape they were.  Was wishing mine would be like that.  I asked her "do you pluck your eyebrows, Jo?".  She snarled (yep, snarled) at me "yes, I DO, you got a problem with THAT?".   Oh wow, such a shock to be spoken to like that.  I just replied quietly, "no, I was just thinking what a beautiful shape they were".   My sister said "see, Jo?".........  I didn't have the heart to ask what she meant.

I digress, as usual.  Back to the plot.  My niece has always pushed herself between my sister and me, and between my mum and me.  She has tried her level best to do the same with mum and my aunt.  She loathes and detests me now because when my sister was in hospital fighting for her life because of brain aneurysms and a stroke, my lovely niece was stealing every cent from her.   We all visited the hospital every single day, except for Jo.  Her mum had been in rehab for three months before Jo bothered to visit her.  She also stole from our mentally handicapped foster brother's bank account. 

I put a stop to her.  So I am persona crap and have been for years.  Don't ask me (because I don't know) what line of bull she fed my sister - but my sister suddenly became my number one enemy.  We had always been reasonably close until this happened.
Jo wished us out of their lives from the first, simply through jealousy.  She might have to share her grandparents and her mother - and she wasn't prepared to do this at all.   Since my sister's illness she has been the same way.  My sister can also be very vicious, and after she came home from hospital that's all she has been towards me, my husband and daughter.  I can't handle the vileness, so I keep away.

Every time I saw her she was so horrible to me that I ended in tears.  Because she does have some brain damage from the stroke I can't bring myself to respond, to defend myself, or even to ask why.

There is no way I will put myself in front of her again to be a victim.  After mum died the two of them lied and lied to me about everything.  They are such lousy liars that they trip themselves up.  What incenses me is that they hold me in such contempt as to think I won't see through their lies.

So my sister has (as was to be expected) been abandoned by her only child.  She thinks the sun shines out of Jo, and can't or won't remember that just before the operation she told me "you can't believe a word that comes out of Jo's mouth", and that she had kicked Jo out of the house (she was 18). Now my sister believes Jo is the answer to all the world's problems.  Sadly, Jo holds her mother in contempt and has always done so.

They both now have what they wished for, sadly for them.  We are out of their lives.  The reason for my sister being alone on Christmas Day?  My niece had another mental breakdown.  Hmmm, yeah.  Right.  Sure thing.  Liar liar pants on fire. So even if she did, where was her partner?  Why couldn't he have come and got my sister and taken her to their place to be with her 3 grandchildren?  Hmmmm?   The lies keep coming.  And where is the love?

Am I wrong to keep away?  It is so hard to be with her and be spoken to as though I am a piece of dog poop on the sole of her shoe.  It just feels to me that my sister died on that operating table, and this 'thing' that has her body is something I can't relate to, believe, or put myself in the way of, and that I have no defences.

Yawn, Another Year, Another Million Dollars Blown Up

I guess when I was young a new year seemed exciting, except for the celebrations (so-called) on the evening before.  Oh hell, how I used to loathe the New Year's Eve parties.  So much so that I would use any excuse to get out of them.  And most certainly around about 10 to midnight I would have to disappear to the toilet and wait there for half an hour. Until all the old fumbling drunks had finished slobbering over every female in sight, and grabbing a quick feel most times as well.

Oh, not to mention all the young fumbling drunks.......eew.  One thing I despise is being fumbled, groped and slobbered over by some strange person.  Even some not so strange person can turn me off instantly by breathing second-hand alcohol fumes into my face and spitting in my eye whilst they stagger, sway to and fro,  and slur their words. Guaranteed to gross me out.

Now?  New Year's Eve is a source of tension, something to be endured until the inconsiderate bastards have finally finished blowing up their extremely illegal and expensive fireworks.  I can't go to sleep, no matter how exhausted or ill I am, as for sure I will be woken any time from 9 p.m. (why 9 p.m. for fireworks?) and won't be able to rest until the last mortar goes off sometime around 2 a.m.  

Alright, I know I am old and crabby but jeez give some other people a tad consideration eh?  We are not the only family who have dogs that are just terrified of the noise, and it is LOUD.   Last night someone having a party must have blown up thousands of dollars worth of gunpowder... and every damned dog in the district was either barking, howling piteously, cowering in a corner, or escaping and trying to run from the noise.   That lot finished finally and someone else took over.  I honestly don't understand the attraction?  I don't much like fireworks, they stink for a start.  Oh yeah they look pretty when the huge displays are done, but half an hour in your back yard is just an excuse to bloody show off.   You people would have been better off giving the money to charity.

The worst of it is that since 2000 New Year celebrations, every man and his stupid wallet buys fireworks for any occasion.  And now the dogs are petrified of a storm - thunder is a huge bang and the dogs can't distinguish between it and fireworks.  When we still had our Staffies I had to sedate them every time we had a storm.  Simply because of the hours of fireworks on New Year's Eve 1999.  My dogs are fortunate, we have never gone out on New Year's Eve since then.  Other people have, and have lost their beloved pets, when they escaped and were run over or never seen again.

Why, oh why do you let off fireworks?  I need a reasoned answer please.  They aren't pleasing, they stink, they have a loud noise, people get badly injured and even killed by them (for example the little girl at the school fireworks at Strathpine), they start fires, AND THEY ARE ILLEGAL IN THIS STATE.  So what's your excuse, lamebrain?