Five Minute Friday: Privilege

Ok it’s been a long time since I have done one of these… almost a whole year… but I figured if I want to be deliberate about keeping my blog going with a baby… five minutes was a good place to start… and it comes with no other pressure than the clock… which is good… and necessary.  Anyway, if you want to know more about Five Minute Fridays you can click that link just a few words back, or you can look at the last one I did here.   Ok… 5 minutes here we go.

Privilege

Ok… firstly I don’t think I knew how to spell privilege before this… I am pretty sure I have been doing it wrong… thank goodness for auto correct.

Privilege is a word that has been getting a lot more air time than ever before… and I think it is one that I have been thinking a lot more, about my own privilege, the things I get to do just because of the circumstances I was born into… and I often find it overwhelming.  But that’s not the kind of privilege I really want to talk about… because as I sit here typing this my little boy is asleep next to me and he has me thinking about what a privilege it is to be his mum.

Privilege can be defined as “a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most”…. It’s a good thing, something enjoyable beyond the advantages of anyone else but sometimes I lose the enjoyment part because being his mum is also a huge responsibility.  I get to help shape this little man as he grows, teach him, guide him and help him.  There is a verse in Proverbs (Proverbs 22:6) that says “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” and that’s what I am aiming for… There are so many things that I would like for him, things that I hope to teach him, things I hope to show him and things I hope to watch him achieve… and in that sometimes I feel overwhelmed… because I want to do a good job, and lead him in the ‘right’ way.  But when I get caught up in the responsibility I lose sight of the incredible privilege it is… the fact that while trying to lead him in the way of the Lord, I also get to know him probably better than anyone else on earth ever will… I am his person… and while my role might change as he grows… it can’t be taken away, I am always going to be his mum and that, right there is the privilege.  I get to share in his joys, his sorrows, his challenges and his achievements.  His victories are my victories.  At least for the next little bit we will do it all together… and that is an amazing thought… that is privilege.

 

Our Curious Life: Week 5

Far out week 5, you have been busy… seriously busy!  This week has been full of people… which if you ask me is a great way to spend any week.  We started with the Thrive BBQ on Sunday, where we survived the crazy hot weather with 30ish other Thrivers swimming, eating and watching the tennis and we finished the week celebrating a beautiful bride to be. During week 5 we brunched and lunched with Mum, Lorraine, Clare, Jess, Dave and some of my work mates on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday… I love brunchy lunches the most, if my waist line and my hip pocket would allow all of my weeks would look like this. Oh and all that brunching meant no. 94 is off the list because I also love an iced coffee.

This week also brought some new ‘mum’ things for us… I went to my first mothers group (no.45), which I actually loved.  I had been so nervous about attending, because despite being fairly out going, I find new situations, especially new social situations quite unnerving.  I had also pinned a few local community hopes on having a good mum’s group.  When Dave and I moved house we moved to a suburb where we didn’t know that many people, and despite some intentional effort we have found that most of our life still exists back in blackburn… we have made some more local friends through Dave’s work, but this was my chance to find some more local community, which meant that mother’s group had a lot of pressure on it.  It had always been something coming… and now that it was here, I was really feeling it… it also didn’t help that they had given me the wrong date so I was joining on week 2… but now that it is done I am hopeful, it was good… and I think it will just get better.  My fellow mums were super lovely, and very understanding.  They were interested in how Isaac and I were going and hearing about his journey without making me feel different.  It was just really nice.

We also tried story time at the library this week, which after my mothers group experience was the total opposite… we didn’t love it, which was super disappointing because I had really been looking forward to it.  I think that there were a couple of reasons we were disappointed…

1. Our expectations were really high… probably too high, it was probably unfair to expect them to be met.

2. I don’t think I had really thought about what would happen at story time and the fact that I wouldn’t be able to explain the fact that Isaac is well and actually really good… instead people would just see me and a baby with oxygen prongs and a tank… People meant well, but there were lots of looks of pity, which we don’t need… we are smashing this…

3. I didn’t have a buddy… I should not have gone alone… also something that I didn’t think about… but at the end when all the other mums found their friends and went and got coffee… the fact that we weren’t the same was really just confirmed… we were outsiders… sure I was probably being a little sensitive, but it was pretty lonely… next week we will story time with some buddies

4. It was also the first time we went into a group where people hadn’t journeyed with us, they didn’t know our story, where we had come from, what had happened… they just saw Isaac’s bonus attachments and filled in the blanks.  We have been so blessed to have so so many wonderful people surround us over the past 2 years, who have just taken us as we are, loved us through the good, the bad and the really hard and who haven’t pitied us, or made comments or made us feel different… so I guess I just assumed story time would be the same… especially after being so pleasantly surprised by mothers group… but I guess the saying is true… you should never assume.

So… we are not riding story time off just yet… but we will make some adjustments and try again… hopefully we will have weaned down the oxygen enough that we can leave it behind… we will find some story time buddies… and really even though it wasn’t quite what we had hoped it still crossed no. 12 off Isaac’s list and no. 18 and I think no. 26 off my list, as we did all of our outings this week with a tank attached (and we got an early delivery of tanks so I had to swap the regulator over before we left the house)… but I only have two pictures to show.. because Isaac and I have the same photo for no. 12 and no. 18.

In happier week 5 news… we survived a whole week with Dave at work and we started a new month which means January is over, here is what it looked like in pictures:

And… Isaac is now 6moths old… check him out… At 6 months he loves to smile and kick his legs.  He loves bath time and splashing with Daddy and he is slowly weaning down off his Oxygen and tolerating his hip brace like a superstar!  What a champion!

Thanks week 5

What happens once you get to Adulthood?

Today I have found myself thinking about my future and what my life might look like over the next 12 months and beyond… it’s a question that for as long as I can remember, I have always had an answer to… but right now I don’t…

To be honest, my life has run a pretty standard course in terms of life stages… but I think I might be in a gap… and the control freak in me is not sure how to do a long stage that doesn’t have a whole heap of direction…

Let me explain… When I was in primary school, the next step was high school, from there I went to uni, when I finished uni I got a job… then next on the list was moving out of home, then getting married, then traveling and then having a baby… which brings me to now… I think the next logical step in my life plan is retirement… which as much as I would love to tick of right now… would be a fairly miserable way to live, given my working carrier has not been that extensive and my ‘nest egg’ is pretty small…

I am guessing that for the next little bit Isaac’s goals will become my own… I will help him move through his stages of life… but right now, looking at just my life… I have hit a big chapter… where I can say I have reached it… but it will be a long time before it is complete.

It’s such a strange feeling… not really know where to aim, not knowing what I need to do, or how I will know when this bit is done… usually I would find a situation such as this stressful and unnerving, but I am hopeful… this ‘adulthood with kids’ stage will be long and I am sure as I start to journey through it, it will have its own goals, but it is also a blank canvas. Previously I have always been pushing myself forward… willing myself to be older and to tick all the boxes, so I had never stopped to think about what this bit would look like, what I would do, who I would be… I was just in a rush to get here (which in hindsight seems silly, because the chapters that came before were just as important and also very fun).  Yet, despite my lack of planning… here we are, with so much ahead… and it’s exciting.

Maybe I’m the only one that looks at parenthood and thinks like this… I am sure I am not… but over the past 5 months I haven’t had a heap of time to plan and dream for what it might look like, and I am sure once Dave goes back to work later this week, I will be totally focused on getting through one day at a time… but right now… in this moment, where my head is above water and I have the energy to swim… it’s exciting to dream about my ‘mum’ life and all that it will bring.

Our Curious Life: Week 1

Ok… a new year means a fresh start and a good opportunity to try something new… so this year on the blog I thought I would try a new method of weekly blogging, one that I saw on one of favourite bloggers, Shutterbean, and it seems super simple… although that’s usually a cue for me to totally over complicate it.

Anyway, it’s just a recap of sorts of the week that’s been… somewhere I could write about our listing adventures, share some pictures, and quickly recap. I am a little worried mine will start to read a little like a grade 5 diary entry… but hey, when it really all comes down to it, this is here for me… and if you love it too, excellent.

So the plan is at the end of each week… probably Sunday (which is technically the start of the next week) I will write this… which will help my regular blogging, help me to record some fun things… and maybe the not fun things, and give me a little “me goal”… which I already have way to many of… but maybe a “me goal” that I might actually achieve.

So here we go:

January is a funny time… a new year brings lots of potential… a little associated pressure and some really really big plans.  It fills me with hope, but also stress that this is the year that I have to fix/complete/try/achieve x y & z… some of which I bring on myself with a little thing I like to call the list but also for those things that don’t make it on to the official list.  The lists in my head, the lists on our bench, and the lists I didn’t even know I was keeping.

But so far so good… it’s summer and lets face it everything feels better in summer.   So this week, I was glad I posted the new list… but a little disappointed that I never quite managed to finish my recap of last years list, blog thanks to my computer breaking down… I will finish it, but it turns out there is even less time to blog now that Isaac is at home.  But we did manage to cross a few things off the new list…

97. Fix my computer – completed: 02/01/2018
My computer had a moment on new years eve… and after a few hours on the phone to apple support it seems to be back… although it’s probably time I really start saving for a new one… I think it could be on borrowed time.

89. Update some photo wall photos – completed: 03/01/2018
There are still a couple more that need updating, and it is unlikely that this is the only time I change some of the pictures, but we have updated 3, and I figure that’s enough to cross this off.

92. See coco – completed: 06/01/2018
Yep, but I didn’t take the baby… I finally have a valid reason to indulge my love of Disney… but I left him at home with his Dad and went with some of my besties instead.  And unsurprisingly I cried like a little baby.

We started the new year at the beach, and I got my first real dose of fomo… (fear of missing out, for all of those who are playing at home, who unlike me have embraced their age and don’t try to keep up with the cool kids).  It turns out, that even though I knew life would be different with a baby, I hadn’t really thought about what that looked like on holidays.  It turns out going to the beach and spending hours in the ocean without a care in the world will probably never happen again… we may be able to spend hours in the ocean… but we need a few years and a few hundred swimming lessons… and I will probably always be worried about Isaac.  So this summer we just walked near the beach… because our pram does not like sand and neither does oxygen tanks or tiny nose prongs.

When went for a few late night family walks…

Swam in the pool at my Dad’s place for the first time in year… why I have I not been doing this more often?

And Isaac turned 5months old… far out… how did that happen?   So we celebrated with two little photoshoots.  One on the actual day, and one a few days later, because I forgot to take the milestone card to the beach with me.  But at 5months, he is super smiley, starting to coo and getting bigger everyday… right on track for being 8weeks corrected.

So there you go… week one.

 

Dear Isaac

Dear Isaac,

Today is the day we had planned to meet you… well on paper anyway. It was the day we were hoping for, the day that would have meant we had made it to full term this time round… but today you are 98 days old… 14 weeks… or 40 weeks corrected.

There are so many things that I want you to know, but the most important is that I love you and I am so super proud of you. Even though this isn’t the path we would have chosen, I wouldn’t give any of my 14 bonus weeks back. You are strong, brave and very clever and there is nothing that you can not overcome. You are a little warrior.

It has been hard to watch you fight these battles, but I have done it with confidence knowing how determined and stubborn you are and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by someone who loves you even more than I do. I have also not done it alone… your dad is pretty amazing… and more tolerant than I ever gave him credit for. You have held us together when we thought our world was falling apart again.

Watching you grow has blown my mind… you are so great… I have never been more excited about someone gaining weight or pooping… but I guess that’s an unspoken joy of parenthood. I love watching you learn, get stronger and develop knew skills… I also really like the in built stuff… like hand holding and the best burps I have ever heard.

I love holding you, chatting to you and singing to you… and even though I though I had quite the repertoire, I have learnt that humming works just as well when the lyrics slip from your brain.

I love your little personality, your dramatic throat clearing, your extreme strain face, your skeptical looks, your sneaky peeks, your super wide eyes and your excellent wind smiles… I love it all.

Actually it turns out I am so glad that I didn’t have to wait until today, I am glad we have already spent three months together! I can’t wait to take you home, show you off and just be able to hang out with you all the time… I can’t not wait until I don’t have to leave you behind each night… but I know it will be soon enough, because you are such a mini champion that you will be out of there in no time.

Happy due date buddy! You are a superstar! Thanks for my bonus three months!

I love you,

Love Mummy

One

Dear Joshua,

Hi mate, it’s mummy here. It’s been a long time since I wrote you a letter but today would have been your 1st birthday, so I thought it was time to write again.

To be honest, it’s been really hard to write to you, losing you has left a huge hole in mummy’s heart and while it has been mending slowly, it will never be quite the same again. Since knowing and losing you, I am now afraid of things I had never thought were even possible, but I know how to love deeper and with a fierceness that I didn’t know I had.  As I sit here at Monash Medical Centre writing this from the same place we met you one year ago, it’s overwhelming.  I miss you so much and really wish you could have stayed.  I wanted to watch you grow and to see what kind of man you would have become. I am pretty sure you would have been a champion, with your defiance and determination… you would have been unstoppable!

For a little while this year I have had to try not to think about you for too long, because a lot has happened in the past 12months… and remembering has made it scary and hard… You now have a baby brother, Isaac, and even though he has helped mummy heal, he isn’t you. I know that there is no way I could have ever had both of you on earth at the same time, but I really wish it could have been possible somehow.  That you could have stayed, and that you and Isaac could have grown up together.

While mummy was carrying Isaac she couldn’t look at pictures of you, or wear the necklace she had made with your hands and foot prints because they reminded her of how hard it would be to lose him too.  I’m sorry I couldn’t wear my reminder of you all the time… but now that he is here I think about you a lot. I think about how similar the two of you are, what you might have been like if you had stuck around and how much I have learnt from knowing you.

You, my dear boy, have taught me how much I wanted to be a Mum. It took me a little while to get there and you were a big price to pay, but losing you made me realise how ready I actually was, and how much I had wanted to complete our family.

You have taught me that life is hard, but even in the darkest times there are beautiful moments, like holding you, singing to you, and kissing your tiny nose.  That we are loved by so many, and that even though your wider family is very large and a bit messy, this family of ours is supportive and reliable and even more important than I had ever realised.

You have taught me to be stronger, to hold on, and to hope even when it isn’t easy. You have taught me to trust and because of you my faith is deeper and more real. I know I will see you again and I know there was a purpose for you coming and going… but I just have to wait, heaven is not so far.  You have taught me that I can get up in the morning, even if I need daddy to help me… and that the sun will shine and I can get through the day… even when it is really hard… thanks for the beautiful wether today to remind me.

Because of you I got to watch your dad become a great dad and an even better husband. He is so much stronger, more faithful and loving than I knew before this.  You have made us an even better team.

You have taught me I am not alone, since losing you I have spoken to, heard from and read about so many other women and families that have been through this grief of losing something so precious. That as ugly as it is, 5 babies are born sleeping everyday in Australia, a country with the best medical care and resources… and this is a stat that still breaks mum’s heart.  You have made me advocate and encouraged me to speak out about heartache and loss so that hopefully no other babies have to go too soon, and no other mummies are left with empty arms.

But most importantly my sweet baby boy, you have made me a better Mum. Because I loved you first, I hold Isaac tighter, I speak up when I am worried and I don’t take any of it for granted.  You have taught me that I could do it… that I was made to be a Mum.  Of course because I now know that precious little boys can be taken away, I am scared, but I am holding on to him with all that I am. I tell him all about you and I know you have been watching over him, because there is no way he would have known to go limb first without your cheeky influence.  You two would have gotten into all kinds of trouble together.

Today daddy and I will visit Isaac, but then we will go and have some pink donuts and a Turkish delight milkshake and think about you… how you made us parents, how you taught us to love and together we will try to work out how we go on without you for another year.

I love you little one and I miss you,

Sleep well precious boy,

Love mummy. 

26weeks & 56minutes…

Ok… it’s been a while… months in fact.. but there has been a really good reason…

When I posted my last blog… right before my birthday, I was 9ish weeks pregnant and pretending to be upbeat and excited about my birthday, rather than crawling back into bed to sleep the whole of the first trimester away.  I had been waiting to post about the second little baby George because I was really really nervous about letting people know.  I was scared that we would lose this baby as well, and I wasn’t sure how I would ever be able to cope losing another child let alone telling the world that it had happened. So… after losing Josh at 24 weeks last year, and the doctors telling us that if we could get to 26 weeks the baby would have a much better chance, 26 weeks became my magic number.  The number after which I would tell the world about baby George no. 2, I would start clearing out the room again and I would start purchasing things we would need like a cot and pram etc. It was the number that I needed to get to before I would let myself believe things would be ok… that we would get to keep this baby and I could let myself breathe…

26 weeks was 9 weeks ago… and the last 9 weeks have been quite a rollercoaster. In week 25 of my pregnancy I was admitted to hospital for bed rest in the hope that it would delay baby George from making an unexpected arrival. After the initial shock of potentially having to stay in hospital lying down until November, I had settled in and was ready for the long hall and secretly pretty excited that I could ride out the rest of winter in air-conditioned comfort, because if all went according to plan, I wouldn’t be leaving until it was pretty much summer… but it wasn’t to be… On Tuesday 1st August, 56 minutes into week 26 Isaac Ezekiel arrived… 35cm long and 827g.

Isaac arrived in a hurry, and just like his brother, had turned around at the last minute to make his entry more dramatic, needing an emergency caesarean as he had decided to come feet first. But, he arrived, breathing and even letting out a small cry which is a moment that I will never forget. Despite all the panic and fear that I felt that night, hearing that cry and knowing he was alive brought so much relief.  That night Dave and I took up a joint residence, in many ways, at the hospital, as even though we could go home after a week, Isaac had to stay.

Once again our lives were turned upside down. I had been expecting that taking a baby home… preferably at full term, would change our lives totally, but I wasn’t expecting the ups and downs of having a baby that had to stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It has been so bitter-sweet visiting him, first in his isolette (humidicrib) and now in his cot… because all the emotion of having a baby is still there, but you can’t just pick him up, you can’t hold him until he falls asleep, and you are always wondering what will happen to him.  Even little things like changing his nappy is quite a task through the little arm holes in the cot, especially if you have tiny little arms like mine. Yet, he is here, he is alive and he is ok… and that is all that really matters.

Fast forward to today and Isaac is still doing well, I think I would even say really well… although there is still a huge part of me that is still waiting for something awful to happen that will take him from us. Dave and I have spent every day of the last 9 weeks traveling from home to the hospital and back again between breast pump expressions, baby store trips and tiny pockets of sleep. Our lives look and feel totally unrecognisable, and while that is probably true… and maybe even standard, for most new parents, I feel like our newborn phase one, the phase while he is in hospital, would have been totally unfathomable to me, if you had have described it to me before now.

Isaac is so strong and much braver than me. He has already faced so much and it is impossible to describe how proud I am of him. There is still fear… fear about whether or not his difficult and dramatic start to life will have any impact on him as he grows… wondering if everything has continued to develop and grow the way it should have if he was still inside, but there is also hope and faith.

Just before we found out we were having Isaac, I had been praying a lot about having children and really felt like I had to give my desperate desire for a family over to God. I knew that my faith was bigger, and my relationship with Him was more important than the plans I had for my own life.  That ultimately God’s plans for Dave and I were better… even if they didn’t look like the ‘good’ plans I had come up with… so one night a church event, in tears, I handed it all back, making peace with the fact that if God called me to follow him childless… I would. Minutes after praying this alone and with Dave, a man, whose name I do not know, asked to pray with us and unprompted, specifically prophesied children in our future… at the time we didn’t know we were already pregnant, but we knew there would be a child… a promised child and that was enough. So when we found out we were pregnant again we were pretty excited and I really felt that this was the promised baby I would get to keep.

So when Isaac arrived so early and so little I had to choose to hold on to the promise I had for him and to remember that God loved him even more than I did, and that even though it didn’t look the way I thought, protection and promise would look… that God was holding him and knitting him together just as He said he would.  This choice to trust and declare good things for his little life were why we chose to name him Isaac Ezekiel… Isaac means “he will laugh, he will rejoice” and Ezekiel means “God will strengthen”.  We liked them together and thought of them as a bit of a prophetic declaration over his life, regardless of what we could see then and can see now.

It’s really hard to trust and hope when things have gone so badly before and when you are a bit of a control freak and think you know how things should be… but I have had to learn to… and God has been faithful.  Isaac is here and he is healthy and now he is getting bigger and stronger everyday.  In fact so dramatic has his improvement been in the last week and a bit, Dave and I have had to get a wriggle on with setting up his room, because he could be coming home very soon. Most likely we will need to wait until his due date, so still early November, but in the chaos of the last 9weeks… that’s now only 5 weeks away… and then phase two, the newborn at home phase will begin…

Between now and then there is still a lot to do, finish the room, learn to breastfeed, work out what the heck we are doing… oh and the list, I haven’t forgotten about that… its been buzzing away in the background… but it was time to write, time to share and time to add Zac to the Curious George family.  Hopefully now as we settle into this new routine of being parents, I will get back to blogging a little more regularly, because I have missed it… but it was hard to know where to start… but here it is… the last 6 months of our crazy and very unpredictable life…

170929_GBlue_Isaac_2516_Lge

P.S Until recently I hadn’t read the original Curious George book… we read it to Zac in the hospital… and it’s pretty nuts… who just takes a monkey from the jungle and expects it to be house trained?

P.P.S This wonderful photo is thanks to Heartfelt, who, once again, have given Dave and I a beautiful gift of photographic memory of this really difficult chapter in our families lives… they are truly wonderful.