Monday, 7 November 2011

My Birth Story - Anouk 27 October 2011 16:17

Well it's all done and dusted.  My beautiful little girl Anouk is here and she is such a good baby that I actually have time to write this!

To say I was petrified before the birth is putting it mildly.  I was scared stiff.  We just arrived in Australia, we couldn't get medical insurance as there is a 12 month waiting period, which meant I had to go to a public hospital and have a c-section done by whichever registrar is on duty which is basically a trainee doctor.

My antenatal care was fine but basic - waited a long time to see a doctor who took my blood pressure, listened for the baby's heart beat with a doppler and measured my bump with a measuring tape.  I got so nervous that I thought about having a natural birth, but all the obstetricians I spoke to were negative about this, saying it's safer to have another c-section as it's my third and I'm quite small.  I realized without the proper support it would probably not be the right thing to do.  Although I wished I would go into labour before my scheduled c-section date which was booked for the 27th October, a day after Mieke's birthday!

Just before Mieke's pamper birthday party on the 15th, I had quite a lot of contractions and it felt like the baby was pushing down - it was so sore that I struggled to walk when it happened.

This continued for a few days but the week before my c-section all went calm and I had no pain or contractions at all (even though I was desperately hoping for some!).

So at 10am on the 27th Werner and I checked in at the Birralee Maternity Unit at Boxhill Hospital.  I was taken to a room in a ward which was just off the antenatal waiting room so at first it didn't seem very private, but later on I forgot about it as the curtain was up most of the time.  I was very nervous but the midwife answered all my questions and concerns and I started to relax.  I was last on the list so had to wait until 3:30pm for my turn to go to theatre.  A doctor came and put a drip in my hand - she struggled quite a bit and then called a midwife to come and see if it was okay, so I was a bit worried at this point.  The registrar and assistant anaesthetist also came to see me.

When I got to the theatre there were loads of people - all of them trying their best to make the experience as comfortable as possible.  Werner was sent out while the spinal was put into place but as soon as it was done he was back.  In the meantime the theatre nurse held my hand and the anaesthetist kept on asking how I felt and adding meds to my drip if I didn't feel well.  They kept on chatting to me and asking me questions to keep my mind of things, I wasn't told when the operation started, so it felt like only a few moments when I saw my baby being held up, dripping blood and stuff all over my face!!  The anaesthetist took loads of lovely photos while they quickly checked her and dried her off a little.  Then they immediately placed her under my hospital gown on my chest, and got her to latch - still covered in vernix and smelling so sweet!!

She cried a bit at first but quickly snuggled cosily into me - it was such an amazing experience and one I only dreamt of having with my other children.  I was enjoying it so much that I didn't pay much attention to the sewing up bit and she stayed there in recovery all the way up to my room.

Finally, and very unexpectedly, I had the birth experience I always dreamed of.  Ok it was still a c-section, but it was still magical.

My recovery was also great.  On the second day I asked when I could go home and the midwife said 'Tomorrow!'.  I wasn't really ready and would've liked to stay another night, but they sent a midwife to my house twice after I was sent home to check on me.  And I didn't really get much sleep in hospital anyway so maybe it was for the best.

My most tender sweetish, saddish moment was on the second night after she was born.  It was about 3am, she'd been up most of the night wanting to breastfeed all the time.  Every time I put her down she would start fussing again, I didn't know what to do... eventually I lay her down on the bed next to me and fed her lying down - we both fell asleep and only woke up the next morning!  Sweet...  I wish I had a picture of that moment, of the crumpled bed and the exhaustion and the blissful sleep and the tenderness I felt while holding her.  But it will always be in my mind and my heart.

At home she is such a good baby, I'm actually a bit worried as she sleeps an awful lot.  Last night she slept from 10pm to 4am!  She does cluster feed at night so no more late nights for me, but overall she is a dream baby.  And I'm enjoying her so much - can't believe I've been given another chance...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The honeymoon has started....

We moved into our rental mid September and even though we've had all sorts of hassles (broken beds, etc.) we are just enjoying it here soooo much.

Mieke went to school, made a best friend called Piper and has loved it ever since.  The school seems great - she's learning Japanese, is in the top groups for most subjects but still gets challenged by things - she's had to do a Powerpoint Presentation for the first time.  She is going on a school camp to Beechworth next month, after her birthday Pamper Party on the 15th October - she had no problems finding friends to invite which is great.

Silke my baby is still struggling a bit making friends at her kindy, but she still loves going and I'm very glad I kept her back as next her they will all be new kids at school.

They spend all their free time in the park next to our house, or at their new friends' houses - we've got two sets of neighbours both with two girls - how cool is that!

Otherwise we are very busy weekends still sorting out the house (so far we've bought 2 cars, tv cabinet, tv, 3 bar stools, washing machine, fridge / freezer, sandwich maker and storage shelving!!) but we've also been to Brighton beach, Healesville Animal Sanctuary, Melbourne Museum, Victoria Market, Warrandyte, the Dandenong Ranges incl. Olinda and afternoon tea at Skyhigh, as well as twice to the drive in and a few times to the cinema.  I think we better slow down as we've only been here for 3 months!!

So we're having a great time and enjoying Melbourne, discovering more each day.

But for now I've got to go as this baby seems to want to stretch herself out of my tummy, so I think I better go lie down so she'll have a bit more space!!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Good days and bad days...

Today was a good day!  We went to visit our new valley again where we will be living next month and had a look at two schools and one kinder.

At the one school Silke told the headteacher: 'I have nits, my mummy is trying to get the nits out of my hair.'  Hence why yesterday was a bad day as any nit combing day would be...

So far we liked most of the schools we visited.  Which makes it a bit tricky to choose.  Do we just go for the closest school, we can walk to school and it's nice and small - in Prep only about 15 children per class?  Or do we go for the bigger, higher achieving school which is a 10 but probably closer 20 min drive away in the morning traffic?

But I have decided to keep Mieke in a public primary school and then apply for 2 private high schools, that way we save loads of money until then!

The schools are different here than the UK in the following ways:

The class sizes are smaller (can vary between 15 and 25).
They don't have school dinners but normally have a canteen open a few times a week.
Uniforms can only be bought at school and seem really expensive.
Although the kids are in their own home groups they work across 2 year groups, for instance Year 1 and 2, 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 work together.  This gives opportunity for children who find the work easier to go ahead as well as give time for the slower ones to catch up.
They are not as rigid with going to school at a definite age like the UK - for instance children can go to school if they turn 5 by the end of April in the year that they go to school, but you are free to keep them back as well.  Most of the schools I spoke to suggested I keep Silke back until next year, so she'll be going back to Kindy as they call pre-school here.
In the area where I am looking for schools (East / North East of Melbourne) there aren't catchment areas, so I am free to send my children to any public school I like!  This makes it good for me but quite tricky for schools as it is difficult to plan from the one year to the next.

The schools seem well equipped with interactive white boards / televisions, computers and basket ball courts!  Most of them have an art room, music room and language room where they learn LOTE (language other than English).  The schools I've looked at offered Indonesion, Italian, Chinese or Japanese.

The classes are mostly open plan though so I think this will be something for Mieke to get used to.

Things I like so far in Australia:

Watermelon and Avos - delicious just like in SA
Chocolate Milk and Strawberry milk come in 2 litre bottles!!
U turns are encouraged.
Parking is free at most shopping centers and the parking bays are big enough for our wagon.
They pack your bags for you when grocery shopping.  Hooray!!  I know I'm sorry but I'm lazy...

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Sunday afternoon...

I'm lying on my side in bed looking out the window through a flyscreen.  The bedroom is at the front of the house, overlooking a quiet close.  There is a big gumtree right outside with brightly coloured birds cackling away.  My belly is heavy but busy.

I am in Australia...

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

What happened since February...

1.  I started a 4 month TESOL course to learn how to teach English to speakers of a foreign language. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever done, BUT I MADE IT!!!

2.  Werner received 2 job offers for Australia, accepted the best one and guess what, WE'RE LEAVING FOR MELBOURNE IN 12 DAYS TIME!!

3.  I though I was going through early menopause as my cycle was really short and I googled it.  So when we had a little accident straight after my period I didn't think anything of it, as that time of the month you can't fall pregnant anyway can you?  WRONG!!  TOMORROW I'M 20 WEEKS PREGNANT!!  Oooops.

Which is why I haven't blogged in four months.  I was in shock, I was busy trying to do this crazy course while fighting ALL DAY morning sickness, and trying to organise our move to Australia.

Anyway my little Silke is coughing her lungs out so I need to go rub Vicks on her chest and rub her back and pray she gets better and not worse....

Monday, 7 February 2011

Silke willie skool toe nie...

Dis nou elke dag se storie, sy staan vrolik op, eet haar ontbyt, trek aan en huppel kar toe.  In die kar raak sy stiller en stiller en nadat ons vir Mieke afgelaai het en by haar skool stop is sy tjoepstil.

As ons in die klas inkom dan begin sy aan my klou - eers was dit aan my hande en arms en bene maar vandag het sy haar arms om my lyf gegooi en geklou asof haar lewe daarvan afhang.

'I want to come with you, Mummy' is al antwoord wat ek kry en maak nie saak wat ek se of doen nie sy wil nie laat los nie.

Dan moet haar arme juffrou kom mooi praat en help trek en die se geduld is ook nie nimmereindigend nie.

As ek vir haar vra hoekom hou sy nie van skool nie dan se sy sy want sy moet reading en numbers doen en sy hou nie daarvan nie en almal anders kan dit doen behalwe sy.  Ek probeer verduidelik maar ek dink nie sy luister nie...

So vandag toe skryf ek 'n tragiese email vir die juffrou oor hoe erg dit is vir my en wat kan ons doen om haar te help en oor hoe my arme bloedjie nagmerries kry in die aande en in die middae omvalmoeg is.

Halftwee toe moet ek skool toe om saam met Reception na Mieke se junior skool toe te loop.  Ek kom in die klas en madam sien my nie dadelik nie  - sit te heerlik op die mat en speel 'n handjiesklap speletjie met haar beste maatjie Amira.  Laggies en giggels en geselsies.  'Silke your mummy is here!' roep haar ander maatjies 'n paar keer voor sy hoor en toe sy my sien is haar ogies groot en sy wil net weer haar Mamma he en by haar wees.

Ja so ek weet nie.  Sy mis my en ek mis haar en ek voel dis vreeslik om 'n vierjarige so lank elke dag skool toe te stuur.  En dan moet ons nog in die aande sit en lees en letters leer so ek weet nie wanneer daar tyd is vir speel nie.  Maar sekerlik geniet sy haar maatjies en hulle speel tog heeltyd by die skool?

So nou het ek Donderdag 'n afspraak met haar juffrou wat seker dink ek is nuts want volgens haar is Silke heel gelukkig by die skool.  Net jammer haar Mamma is so eensaam alleen by die huis!!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Aussie Aussie Oi Oi (cringe cringe)

We got our Australian Visas!!!  On the 14th January 2011 - precisely 1 year and 1 day after application.

We got it thanks to me.  Thank you Claudine.  For firing your migation agent and deciding you can do a better job on your own.  For getting all the unabridged documents.  For organising the skills assesment and IELTS tests.  For writing the IELTS tests.  For applying for South African and UK PCCs and ringing Pretoria on a daily basis to find out how much longer its going to take.  For filling in millions of forms.  For keeping up to date with all the changes happening with immigration.  For making appointments for medicals and getting us all there on time in the snow.  For keeping contact with our case office and scanning and emailing the documents the moment we got them.  Thank you Claudine, without me we would not have gotten this far.  I don't think anyone else in the family really gets what a job this was which is why I take it upon myself to thank.. myself.

BUT  we are all on board now.  Silke want a big house with a pool and a DOG.  And she hates school with a passion and enquires about spring every day.  I want the same.  Mieke wants to live near the beach and learn to boogy board.  Werner is fed up with his job and wants a change.  For the first time we ALL want the same thing - AUSTRALIA.  And the UK media is bombarding us with Phil Downunder and Wanted Downunder and cute little adverts of a landrover driving as fast as the kangaroos around it can hop is not doing us any favours.  We want it NOW!

So bring it on Australia - we are ready!!!

PS:  If anyone can find my hubbie a top management consultant job in Australia which pays... A LOT... please feel free to contact me!!