Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Winter Dark

picture by coconut
It finally resembles something akin to Spring here in Perth. Kamabarang, the Noongar name for one of our six seasons. Kamabarang is a far more apt name for what is happening around here right now. Something tells me the Noongar have a far better understanding of the way of the world in these parts…
The sun is beginning to peek through the cloud more often than not. The ground is warming and giving off that earthy, lush smell. Wildflowers in abundance. On the road side, in the parks, in my garden. Bright, warm, inviting, captivating. The air is no longer crisp. The air is affectionate, it wraps itself around you, enveloping you in a gentle caress, and oh how I have missed that touch. Tantalising and teasing you with all that you know Spring and Summer will bring.
I loathe Winter. I really, truly do. Every year, around June, my mind is taken over by a strange, dim fog. Nothing makes it go away until the sun returns in October. June through September is a horridly depressive and despairing time. And it’s really for no reason other than the sun is too far away to energise me. It is curing those in the opposite hemisphere of what I now suffer badly. The Winter Blues.
I’ve only really made the connection this year. I’ve begun looking back through old journals and online posts, and I’ve found that the colder and darker my world gets, the colder and darker I become. Like a bear, I retreat to my cave, and hibernate. I gather my blankets and my ugg boots. I indulge in my sweet and heavy foods. And I sit inside and wait for the sunshine to break through the cracks in the grey skies. I wait for the sunshine to bring my bliss back to me. I’ve found this year particularly shocking. There are a few reasons for this. For one, in the first week of June I gave birth. I roared a sweet and precious baby girl earth side in the calm between two Makuru storms. And that meant that I began the cold and dark days already confined. Even when it was light outside, I didn’t have the urge to soak up what was left of the sun for the season. I stayed inside with my fresh earthling, keeping warm and recovering from bearing her. Ensuring her access to the sweet and heavy milk she would need to make it through with me.
By the time I was ready to embrace the world again, as a new mother of four; the sun and warmth had dissipated. It was slate skies. Torrents of rain; heavy, hard, stinging rain. We had hail, and whilst my wee men enjoyed bringing me the ‘snow’ they’d collected off the lawn and learning about the stages of rain to snow and how that relates to water in its solid and liquid forms, all I felt inside was a deep desire to escape the bitterness and loneliness of Winter. I was trapped. I knew that I had to wait for the cycle to continue and that soon enough the sun would come again, but oh how long are those Winter nights, weeks on end of nothing but cold and stark, inspiration-less environments? My mood darkened with the lack of daylight. I could feel my fog descending on what I knew was clear thinking. Thoughts began to turn to the darker of humanity. Depression reigned. I had SAD.
I know that the transition of seasons here is consistent. I know it like I know that if I drop an apple it will fall to the ground, and if I stub my toe I will cry. But by the end of Djilba, the August-September season I’ve almost lost hope that my mood will improve. I resign myself to a fate of limited functioning because the cold has frozen parts of my brain and I can no longer think without a feeling of having a head stuffed with cotton wool. My husband can see it in my eyes, that wild searching for warmth and earthy spirit. He knows that I need to take my shoes off and feel dry dirt beneath my feet. He also knows that this is a pattern I follow, entirely dependent on the seasons. He wonders aloud “How different would your time be if you didn’t suffer Winter?” I know. I’ve lived in places where there is no Winter. And oh, how I long to be in one of those places by the end of September. I contemplate packing myself a bag, and walking to where it’s warmer.
By this point, my insanity is at its peak. I need warmth and I need it right now. A week later it’s October. Kambarang. Finally. I’d thank God if I thought there was one. I wake to see sunlight streaming through my bedroom window. It’s blinding. It’s orange and bright and it’s warm! Oh thank you! I wake, and I smile. For the first time in a long time. I know today is different. I can already feel it in my bones.
Over the coming days, I feel my lifespark reignite. I feel passion. I feel heat. I feel alive. The world around me agrees. The birds and the bees and the lawnmowing neighbours. My world is alive. And it’s bright and shiny out there. I’m overcome with gratitude for Sol, our sun, my sun, my saviour. I kneel and kiss the warming dirt. I smell divine, overwhelming smells of new life springing forth. My new life, my baby woman’s new life. All out in the air, the warm, sun touched air. My taste returns. I crave real food. The starch and the sugar of cold days no longer interest me. I want crisp, fresh, cool food to soothe my warming, scorching body.
I crave the company of people venturing out in the same world. Walking the same path. We sit in gardens, in sun dappled covens. Our toes bare. Tea and good food. Laughter and grinning and smiling while our skin crisps and sweats gently. Invigorated, we wish for the sun to get hotter, knowing that the strongest heat is yet to come, and knowing that when it arrives, we’ll curse it. But for now, we say goodbye to grey skies and howling winds. And we say goodbye to despair and darkness. Hello world! I’m outside and I am loving life.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Silent Ways Our Rights Are Eroded

They're going to make homebirth with a private practicing midwife illegal come July 2010. No really. Have a look for yourself: Midwife Professional Indemnity (Commonwealth Contribution) Scheme Bill 2009 HEALTH LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (MIDWIVES AND NURSE PRACTITIONERS) BILL 2009 If you believe in the rights of women, and the right of a woman to choose the how, when and where of HER birth get in touch with your local MP, rally with your fellow women, sign the petitions that are circulating and stamp your feet damn loudly. Even if your birthing days are long gone, you yourself would never choose to birth at home, or even, you don't ever plan to birth simply due to lack of inclination and/or reproductive capabilities (being also that it's possible that you're male) don't let them take the right to choose away from ALL Australian women. It's a basic human right to birth where we want to. This is about far more than birthing where there is nicer curtains and better food, this about our Government removing the right of a woman to self determination and bodily autonomy. If you want more information on how our government is creating a criminal of a woman making an informed choice, see these links to relevant blog posts - Make a submission to the Senate committee into the draft legislation about homebirth into Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Bill 2009 and two related Bills Reason for referral of the Bills and information relating to the reference On 25 June 2009 the Senate, on the recommendation of the Selection of Bills Committee, referred the provisions of the Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Bill 2009 and two related Bills to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 7 August 2009. The Bills may be accessed at the following links: Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Bill 2009 Midwife Professional Indemnity (Commonwealth Contribution) Scheme Bill 2009 Midwife Professional Indemnity (Run-off Cover Support Payment) Bill 2009 Quote: The Committee invites you to provide a written submission which should be lodged by 20 July 2009. A public hearing will then be held later in July. The Committee prefers to receive submissions electronically as an attached document – email: – otherwise by fax (02 6277 5829). Submissions become Committee documents and are made public only after a decision by the Committee. Publication of submissions includes loading them onto the internet and their being available to other interested parties including the media. Persons making submissions must not release them without the approval of the Committee. Submissions are covered by parliamentary privilege but the unauthorised release of them is not protected. Information relating to Senate Committee inquiries, including notes to assist in the preparation of submissions for a Committee, can be located on the Internet at For further information, contact: Committee Secretary Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Australia Phone: +61 2 6277 3515 Fax: +61 2 6277 5829 How to make a submission to a Senate Committee inquiry:- 1. A submission may be as short or as long as you like. It may contain facts, opinions, arguments or recommendations. It may cover all the points in the terms of reference or only some of them, depending on what interests you. Supporting documents may be attached. 2. There is no prescribed format. However, to make submissions most useful we suggest:* the terms of reference of the inquiry can be a good guide to structuring a submission;* if the submission is longer than a few pages, please include a summary at the front; and* submissions published on the Senate website will be converted to pdf format and, therefore, may have a different appearance to the document that was submitted. Sensitive material and confidential information should not be sent via email because it is not a secure medium. 3. If possible please provide submissions by email. Otherwise please type or write clearly in black ink on A4 paper. The preferred format is Microsoft Word but all submissions are considered regardless of their format or medium. 4. Inquiries from hearing and speech impaired people should be directed to the Parliament House TTY number (02) 6277 7799. Adobe also provides tools for the blind and visually impaired to access PDF documents. These tools are available at: If you require any special arrangements in order to enable you to participate in a committee inquiry, please contact the committee secretary. 5. Make sure you sign the submission. E-mailed submissions must include your name, phone number and postal address so we can verify them. If it is the submission of an organisation, say so clearly. Show the signatory's position and say at what level the submission was authorised. 6. A submission to a committee becomes a committee document, and must not be disclosed to any other person until it has been released ('published') by the committee. Unless you have requested that the submission remain confidential, it is normally published after the committee has received and examined it and authorised its publication. Once a committee has authorised the release of a submission, subsequent publication of it is protected by parliamentary privilege (see below). The content of a submission may be published in another form or for another purpose before the submission is released by the committee, but this publication will not be protected by parliamentary privilege. 7. If you want your submission to be kept confidential, please say so clearly at the top or in a covering note. Say why you want it to be kept confidential. If you want part of the submission to be confidential, please put that part on a separate page(s). The committee will sympathetically consider requests for confidentiality, but cannot make promises in advance. If you have concerns about confidentiality, please discuss with the committee secretary before you make the submission. 8. If your submission 'reflects adversely' on another person (for example, accusing them of lying or corrupt behaviour), the committee will send the comment to the other person so they can reply. This applies even if the committee agrees to keep your submission confidential. 9. Making a submission is protected by parliamentary privilege. It is an offence for anyone to try to stop you from making a submission by threats or intimidation. It is an offence for anyone to harass you or discriminate against you because you have made a submission. The content of the submission is also protected but only after the committee has accepted it. This means that what you say in the submission, once the committee has accepted it, cannot be used in court against you or anyone else. More information is available in another brochure, entitled 'Procedures to be observed by Senate committees for the protection of witnesses'. 10. A committee may reject a submission that is not relevant to its inquiry. In that case the content of the submission is not protected by parliamentary privilege. 11. If you make a submission, the committee may invite you to give evidence at a public hearing. 12. For more information contact the Senior Clerk of Committees, phone (02) 6277 3506, fax: (02) 6277 3899, em: or the relevant committee secretary. If not for you, for your daughters, wives, sisters, friends, cousins, work colleagues, aunties, neighbours and women far across this wide brown land - let our government know that it's OUR BODIES, OUR BIRTHS, OUR RIGHTS, OUR CHOICE.

A Pictorial Update

Rhiannon is here and she's slotted right into the chaotic house of 6. She's happy to just hang out with mama, and spends 99.9% of her day in arms. Her brothers adore her and spend far too much time hassling me to get cuddles with her.
William had a go at Auskick, he made it to one game... he's just not that into it. We figure he'll let us know when he's ready, if ever, and for now he's preferring to concentrate on being a scientist.
Lochlain is crusing along, he's 4 this month and is an absolute treasure of a big brother to Rhiannon and Tristan. Such a gentle soul.
Tristan, the little bully boofhead. He's small, but he's dynamite this one. You can't turn your back on him for a minute, careful now - he's out to destroy the world.
I'm a busy mama of four these days... so I hope this tides you over for a bit.
Love to all and merry Winter days.
x B

The Homebirth of Our Wee Rhiannon

Monday morning around 3am I wake suddenly. Staring at the ceiling, wondering why my brain is suddenly alert. I can hear DH snoring across the hall, I can hear the heating vent creak. I hear the skylight in the toilet banging. But there’s no reason for me to wake suddenly. I lay there, Tristan breathing next to me. I roll off my side and begin to feel that dull ache across my back and through my cervix. Ahhh, so that’s what woke me. I get up to go to the toilet, and another ache rolls across my back, the cold draft from the skylight bugs me. I’m completely awake and the thought of laying down again makes me feel nauseous, so I light the candles in the lounge room and wrap myself in a blanket while I sit and stare at the wall. I feel a bit giddy, and the rolling ache comes and goes. I begin to nod off on the couch and catch myself wondering if it’s worth timing the sensations. As I lay down, I realise I can’t actually sleep during the peak of the rolling, but in between I am napping, believing that today is the beginning of a big task. By 4.30am I am convinced it’s going to continue, I figure they’re coming in waves about 10 minutes apart and I can’t say they’re particularly gentle. I feel jagged on the inside. I get up go to the toilet again and I feel my plug move down and out of me, it had been slowly coming away in the weeks previous, but now there is no mistaking what I have in my hands. Grinning at myself. At 6am I sms doula and mw, just letting them now I feel the beginning of something, and reminding them that I am a slow starter. My doula rings me later that morning, I’m pacing the house and getting frustrated that the sensations aren’t changing, they’re just sharp and seem to be moving further apart. DH has the day off, it’s a public holiday, I warn him that something is happening and that I’m feeling fragile, and he takes the boys into the shed to ‘build stuff’ and manages to distract them for most of the day in there while I pace the house. My doula decided to come down and give me a hand, knowing that I was really fractious and volatile. The sensations were backing off, and leaving me confused. Some really hurt, others didn’t. I knew it was all working towards a higher purpose, but believing that I could have days and days of this to come was playing with my head. My doula loved me, nourished me. She committed to staying the night, believing that once the kids were in bed, things might change. She organised getting the pool blown up. She set up my space with help from the boys. We eat take away on the front lawn and watch a storm roll in. We watch a movie,. I feel strange in myself. I’m not quite sure where I feel comfortable and I’m nesting all over the house. We go to bed late in the end. And there is nothing happening. Not a twinge. Not a twang. I’m feeling lost. I wake in the morning to a busy house. DH leaves for work and MIL arrives to take William to school. Melissa helps me get breakfast and after the house settles again when the morning rush is over, she showers and I vacuum, like a crazy woman. I clean the lounge room, I vacuum the house. Melissa emerges from the shower and I sit on the lounge room floor and have a tantrum. It was a good one. I threw toys. I cried. I can’t do days more of this. I am exhausted. I am in pain. My body aches. My bones hurt. My head hurts. I’m terrified of things going on any longer, because I fear what I might resolve to do. Melissa listens, the little boys listen. I cry. Melissa asks me what I want to do. I need sun, I need air. Let’s go for a walk at the marina. We get down there, and it hurts to walk, so we go get a juice and sit, then leave soon after. I feel like a freakshow exhibit. I feel enormous and hideous and far too obviously pregnant. Melissa has clients for the afternoon, and decides to keep her appointments and lets me know that if I need her tonight, it has to be after 10.30pm. I agree to that. I think she’s mad. I’m never going to have a baby. It’s all a fucking myth. I get in the car and I cry, Tristan and Lochlain fall asleep on the way home, so I grab something to eat and lay them on the couches. A friend had dropped off a copy of ‘Birth As We Know It’ over the weekend, and I’d been putting off watching it. But now that the house was silent, it seemed like as good a time as any. I sat on the couch with the phone, watching this film, and in my hand I had a piece of paper with Andrew’s work number, the midwife’s phone number and King Edward’s phone number on it. I was at the end point. I needed help. I needed to have a baby before my back broke with the pressure, before I became an even worse parent than I felt. The boys woke from their naps together, I fed Tristan while Loch lay his head in my lap, and the phone rings. It’s Andrew. He’s on his way home. Why? He’d thrown up at work. Great. He gets home about 45 minutes later, and he lay on the couch moaning for a couple of hours. His parents dropped William off after picking him up from school, and Andrew volunteers me to cook dinner for everyone. I want to hurt him. His parents agree to stay, and I cook a giant chicken stirfry. They bug me through dinner, asking if I feel like it’s going to be anytime soon. No. There is no baby. They do my dishes and get the kids in their pyjamas, Andrew is in the shower, he doesn’t eat dinner, he goes to bed, he looks green. Andrew’s parents leave, William falls asleep on the couch and I tell Lochlain and Tristan it’s time for bed. Lochlain climbs in with Andrew and I take Tristan into my bed. It’s about 8.30pm I hear Andrew get in the shower again, and I hear him vomiting, fair enough, now I’ll have a fucking baby. I roll over, and I feel a *pop*. I wait for the gush. There is no gush. Where is the gush? I get up to pee, still no gush. What the hell was the pop then? I lift William off the couch to put him to bed, there’s the small trickle. Aha! I contemplate going to bed. It’s after 9pm now and the house is silent. I might just enjoy myself for a bit. Andrew is back in bed. I soon start noticing that sharp sensation again in my hips. I get the ball and bounce in front of Andrew’s computer, leaning on the edge of the pool sometimes. I’m finding I can’t sit for long. I try chatting to Jo/Sirius. I let her know something is happening. I begin taking note of the times the sensations are happening... 8 minutes apart, 7 minutes apart, 6 minutes apart... ok they’re getting closer and they’re hurting. I can’t sit here. Talk to you later. By 11pm I have texted Melissa to get sleep. By 11.20pm I am ringing her telling her to get her arse down here. I’d gone in to DH asking him to help me. He’d put his hand on my back and he was cold and clammy and his stomach gurgled. He looked at me and his skin was a yellow/green colour. He apologised and said he couldn’t move, as he shook with chills. I’d come back out to the kitchen to ring Melissa and noticed that the sharp feeling was more frequent. I messaged my midwife, asking when I should call her, and she just said when I was ready. I busied myself while I waited for Melissa, I gathered blankets for the baby and towels, and gripped the bench often. Planting my feet solidly on the floor, not believing this was going to be quick. Melissa arrived, she helped me with grounding myself. She got my drinks sorted out. I bounced/rocked on the ball between the rushes and stood at the bench holding her hands tight during them. It hurts in my back. I don’t like this. Back pain is not my thing. Get these pants off me. At some point she asked me if I wanted my midwife, yes. I hear her talking, I hear my midwife says she’s on her way. From one contraction to the next, the pain moves from my back, to my front. Suddenly the sharpness is in my pubic bone. I can cope MUCH better with this. It’s easier to hold out hope of surviving without splitting in two. I stay at the bench. Bouncing/rocking. Standing and roaring. The house is oblivious. I’ve shut the hallway door. My midwife arrives, she asks me if I want to have my baby in the water. No, the idea makes me feel nauseous. Right, she’ll fill the pool she winks. More contracting, I feel the splitting, sharp tearing sensations in my cervix. At some point the backup midwife arrived. I didn’t hear her. I hear Andrew get in the shower again. I hear my midwife ask if I want to get in the water now. I am already on my way into the lounge. Stripping off as I walk. Emma says it’s too hot. I say I don’t fucking care and get in. It’s too cold. More hot please. I’m on my back, I put pressure on my own hips as the contractions get further apart but far more intense. The splitting pressure builds and there’s no release. The candle light is pissing me off. Get rid of it. Melissa. Get that clock off the wall. Put it outside. That ticking is too loud. The contractions stop and change. The baby moves, and wriggles and moves more. Make it stop. It’s making me feel sick. It’s moving and kicking. Make it stop. Suddenly, I feel the sensations change. I grunt. Nope, I don’t want to push yet. It’s too early. No. I don’t want to do this bit. I push again. No. And again. No. Next one, I don’t get a choice, I am pushing and it’s hard work. Melissa wanders off to get Andrew and the boys. I push and push and push. There’s my men. I have a head, it’s almost out. It’s nearly there. Sally tells me it’s a caul baby. Clunk. Push, no movement. Splitting pain across the pubic bone. Sally, help me. I can’t get it to move. The head moves back in. NO! Sally tells me the head is gone. I blow through the next contraction I want to save up the energy. I feel the baby turning, spinning, the head on my perineum. Sally tells me she can see the baby turning. I breathe and then push. I roar. The head moves down again and I ask for help. Sally reminds me to move to all fours. I throw my legs back and lengthen my body. I feel something slip inside me. The head births, and Sally reminds me to bring my knees right up on the next push. Knees up, push. It’s still really hard work, Sally tells me she’s not going to help me but she’s going to reach down. I feel her feeling the shoulders, they’re past the bone, they’re on the perineum and they come through on the next push. She supports the weight as the abdomen is birthed. I breathe and roll back over as she brings my baby earthside. I’m handed my baby, one hand behind its head, one hand between its legs. There’s nothing there. I feel again. It’s smooth. I look up. There’s my men. It’s a girl! It’s a what? It’s a girl! HOLY SHIT! The boys come closer to meet their sister. Andrew stays in the corner, in the chair, he’s still green. He smiles at me. Melissa grins. Emma emerges and grins too. Baby girl cries and we’re wrapped in a towel. I feel a push coming, and small clots coming through. I let Sally know. Then I push again, and I tell her that if that’s not the placenta we’re in trouble. It’s the placenta. Get me out of the pool. I’m cold. Andrew asks me if I am going to need the shower any time soon. No, I’m going to get warm on the couch first. He goes and gets back in the shower to vomit. I move to the couch, the boys crowding around to see the fresh baby. I’m piled with blankets and towels. Andrew comes back out to message his parents. I ring mine and Melissa plays with my feet to keep my body aware of being ‘here’. I’m fed. I have tea and toast. Lamingtons too. We chat and sit staring at this little girl. The placenta sits on the coffee table and Will investigates the cord. He’s fascinated by it. Emma leaves. Melissa begins to nap on the couch. I ask Sally to cut the cord so I can get the baby to my breast better. I offer Will the chance to cut it, but he doesn’t want to. Let’s weigh this baby. Sally lays her on the scales, then looks behind to see that no one is leaning on them, then checks again. Nope, that really does say 5.5kg. 12lb something. I shake Melissa, it’s a fucken 12lb baby. She blinks. And sits up. No way. I look at Sally. Yep. Cool. I want to shower, I feel great. I feel fine. I walk steadily, there’s no pain anywhere other than my tail bone. I shower and get in to bed. Sally checks for tears. Nothing. Not even a graze. No swelling. No bruising. I feel wicked. Time for a well earned rest.
Rhiannon Eleanor BORN AT HOME
Born 3rd June 2009 @ 4.14am
41 weeks and 5 days 12lb 2oz (5500g) 55cm long
37cm head circ

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Art Attack in Late Pregnancy

Thought I would share my latest creation before the more labour intensive one is available for viewing. I am currently 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant with baby #4.... and this is what came forth via the brush when asked to 'release and express' by my doula.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Want to see words I've written spat in my face years later... read this: PTSD is real and I am suffering right now. Miranda, I can not fathom how you feel good about what you do. Rape is rape, regardless of the prize at the end of it. Grow a heart. Please.