Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Isaiah seven weeks on...

One week old

Two weeks old

Three weeks old

Four weeks old

Five weeks old

Six weeks old

Seven weeks old - these pics taken today!

its been a crazy ride so far... but he is so cute and we are all sooooo in love with him!

Monday, October 15, 2007

knowledge is power...

From the NZ Herald today...

The leading Auckland maternity hospital has also been advised that more women should be moved to low-tech primary birthing facilities such as Birthcare Auckland if they are expected to have a straightforward delivery.

The advice is from Dr Sally Pairman, the Midwifery Council's chairwoman and head of midwifery at Otago Polytechnic, who compared the outcomes for low-risk women at National Women's and Birthcare.

She found the rates of epidural pain relief, birth interventions and bleeding were all higher for those who initially booked into National Women's.

Advocates of a more natural approach to birth care say one intervention makes the next more likely, a "cascade" that starts with an epidural or medicine to induce labour and which ends in a caesarean.

New Zealand's caesarean rate has steadily increased from 11.7 per cent in 1988 to 23.7 per cent in 2003.

National Women's rate last year was 33.1 per cent among women of all levels of risk

Dr Pairman said that if women were admitted to a high-tech hospital such as National Women's before their labour was properly established they were at risk of staff interfering medically to speed things up.

She said that because large hospitals had such an array of medical technology and expertise they tended to use it, even when not needed. Its use then became virtually the norm. National Women's higher use of epidural pain relief might be a reflection of this. She wants more primary maternity units built, separate from base hospitals.

"Across New Zealand we should have a system where women who have normal pregnancy and birth are expecting to give birth in a primary unit. Probably a lot of our intervention rate is because we are mixing primary, secondary and tertiary services in one facility which is completely dominated by the needs of tertiary."...


* Among low-risk patients who started their first birth at Birthcare Auckland last year, 80 per cent had a straightforward vaginal delivery.

* For the comparable group in National Women's at Auckland City Hospital, 55 per cent had a straightforward delivery.

* Emergency caesareans: National Women's 20 per cent; Birthcare 8 per cent.

* Epidurals: National Women's 64 per cent; Birthcare 29 per cent.

* Episiotomies: National Women's 30 per cent per cent; Birthcare 10 per cent.

* Note: All figures are for low-risk women having their first birth. All the caesareans and epidurals occurred at National Women's, including transfers of Birthcare patients.

read more here

This is one of the reasons I choose to stay far away from hospitals when given the option of where to birth!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

words of encouragement

These two scriptures were significant leading up to Isaiah's birth and really encouraged me. God gave me a deep sense of his peace as I repeated them over and over to myself. Just wanted to share them and I guess record them for my own memory. Reading them again now, I think they are just as significant to me as encouragement for the days that lie ahead as I work out how to be a mummy to 3 little ones...

Psalm 139: 3 & 5
You chart the path ahead of me
and tell me where to stop and rest.
Every moment you know where I am...
You both precede and follow me,
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to know!

Philippians 4:13
For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.

Thanks God for being here with me right now, in the days that have just passed and in the days to come. I can't do this without you...


Psalm 100 - A psalm of thanksgiving

Shout with joy to the Lord, O earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and bless his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Our sweet babe's arrival - my birth story

Today our newborn son is one week old. In fact as I write this and look at the clock, I'm reminded that exactly one week ago almost to the minute, we would having parking our car in the car park at birthcare (where we delivered) and heading to the birthing suite! For those who haven't caught up here are the details.

We have named him Isaiah Gary Toka te manawa (Isaiah pronounced I-say-ah, Gary after my dad, Toka te manawa - "contented" in Maori). He weighed in at 4555g or 10lb 1oz, was 57cm long with a head circumference of 36.5cm. I told you my baby was gonna be big!

As you know if you had been following my previous posts, Friday 7 Sept - Sunday 9 Sept I had been having contractions at a semi regular rate. I knew they weren't just good old Braxton-Hicks contractions because they had a bit of a bite to them. Completely manageable - just no longer pain-free. These continued through Monday and by Monday night I was semi-convinced it was all on. We decided this might be our last chance to capture the preggy belly shots, so here's one of 'em!
I texted RK (my midwife Rhondda) that contractions were regular at 10mins apart (still quite manageable) and headed to bed for an early night in preparation for what lay ahead. I was quite sure that at some point in the night I would no longer be able to sleep through it all.

5am Tuesday 11 Sept
Reuben had to make the decision about whether or not to go to work. We decided he would stay home as I was still contracting.

everything has pretty much stopped. Me being quite keen to get it all going decided to go for a walk around the block. So out we all headed for a 30min stroll. On return home - still pretty much zero activity. I was pretty grumpy about it all by now, so we decided to send Reuben off to work and me and the girls headed out to our usual outing at playgroup in an attempt to distract myself. Text RK and tell her its all stopped. She tells me "Don't worry, it will happen soon"

I arrived home at after dropping Isabella at Kindy.

Go to the toilet and discover I've just had a show (google it if you want details of what a show is!). Feel both nervous and excited as I never had this with the girls, and realise I must be going to be in proper labour soon enough. Text RK and she says "keep me posted"

2pmContactions start again - 10mins apart and this time they are fairly uncomfortable - I want to move every time one comes on.

call Reuben who decides its time to jump on a train and come home

make the 10min drive to kindy to pick up Isabella. She wants to hang around and play - so I tell her we have to go because Coco is coming out today. She gets way excited and runs to her teacher Lisa to tell her Coco is coming out today. Lisa looks way confused so I - slightly embarassed - tell her that I am in labour and we need to go. Lisa gets into a panic and starts asking if I need her to look after the kids or drive us home etc etc. I say I'm okay and go to the car. Then Lisa and another one of the teachers come out to the car and frantically try to help with getting the girls strapped in, again offering all sorts of help. I again say I am okay and drive off to get Reuben from the train. I now have a massive adrenaline rush from the drama at kindy and wonder if everything is going to stop again.

Arrive at train - labour hasn't stopped and I am greeted with a lovely contraction as I get out of the car to move to the passenger seat. Reuben gets his first chance to try applying pressure to my lower back - relief!

At home getting bags for me, girls and reuben all together and in to the car. Sort out food for the animals. Have to juggle car seats around to try and find best place for me to be. Eventually decide on me being in front seat, kneeling on floor, leaning over bean bag. Me fairly calm, Reuben a little less calm!

Begin journey to my parents to drop off girls. Contractions now 7mins apart.

Arrive parents. Contractions still 7mins. Reuben calls RK. We are wondering if we should get in the car and go to birthcare as rush hour is fast approaching and birthcare is 25mins away when there is NO traffic. She says to meet her at birthcare at 8pm unless things really heat up.

Contrations about the same. Everyone having dinner at mum and dads. For some reason I am not interested in food right now!

Decide to have a shower and see how that helps me cope with pain. Is awesome relief! Love the hot shower on my back - coping really well - contractions suddenly drop to 3mins apart. I stay in the shower for 15-20mins and time contrations - yip, they are still 3mins apart.

Out of shower and tell reuben I'm at 3mins apart. He calls RK and she says - "time to come in!"

Leave for birthcare. Again a "great" trip. Reuben is doing a great job timing contractions, applying pressure to my back through contractions and driving the car. I knew there was more than one reason I have had two home births previously - contractions and car rides don't mix! On the way in I decide that I want the extra support and call my friend Kristen to ask if she can come support. She is able to come in and says she will see us there.

Arrive at birthcare - perfectly timed as RK drives in behind us. Great fun timing getting in and out of elevators as I have contrations.

RK checks me and I am 6cm dilated. Feel slightly cheated and wonder how much longer this will take! The birthing pool is already full and so in I get. The water is great - but almost too hot at 40 deg c. My contractions have slowed, but as I relax they start to pick up pace again and it is not long till I am concentrating hard through each one. In between contractions we chat and laugh about all sorts of amusing topics.

It all becomes a bit more serious for me as I enter transition. I just want it to be over and start telling Reuben that we are not doing this again. I get a bit grumpy but find the encouragement from everyone spurs me on and helps me concentrate. RK offers me gas but I am not sure if I want it - she tells me If I am not sure that I am better not to have it.

Urge to push... roll on second stage of labour. Feels good to have something to do with each contraction. I get a bit lippy and start asking RK "can you see it yet" she replies "oh yes love" I reply with a fair amount of tone, "how much". This converstions occurs at least twice more.

RK checks if waters have broken which they haven't. Asks me if I want her to break them. I say "no, not yet"

waters still haven't broken and are slowing things down. RK asks again if I want her to break them. I say "yes" and wish I had said yes earlier!

waters broken and I literally feel Coco come right down with next contraction

Head crowns and is out, shoulders are stuck. Reuben and Kristen have to help me stand up and with the next contraction I push Coco out - I am sure they heard my roar in reception! I am helped back to sitting down in the pool and handed my beautiful baby - its a second before I remember to look and there he is - my sweet baby boy. At this moment the pain is gone and Reuben and I are looking in awe at our first son - its an absolute magical moment.

welcome to the world sweet boy!

RK getting Isaiah all dressed for the first time

About an hour or two after Isaiah was born - out of the birthing suite and getting settled into "hotel" birthcare!

me and my babies - Isaiah day 1

sleeping in daddys arms - Day 2

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Due date tomorrow

I am tired and a little teary this afternoon. I want to be in proper labour as weird as that may sound. Since Friday I have been experiencing regular contractions - the only problem is that they aren't that strong and therefore I am not really in labour - just "early labour" which can go on for days!

If you are reading this please pray it would all heat up soon and become the real thing...


Thursday, September 06, 2007

3 days till due date...

I'm hoping this might be the last post before a sweet new babe makes its anticiapted arrival. Went to see Rhondda our midwife today. Coco is completely engaged at D3. (Midwife talk...) In her words he/she can't get any lower. And even though Coco is right down, I am measuring 43cms. Basically that means Coco is BIG and there is NO ROOOM LEFT!! Come out little baby!!! The really annoying thing is that because I am tall, I guess I don't look huge to some people. A woman at the playgroup I go too kindly informed me that I am actually "small". I just smiled sweetly and told her if she put this belly on someone who is average height, they would probably fall over! My body is def at its limit, rolling over in bed is a slow painful process - I am sure I wake Reuben every time I have to move.

I think Isabella and Hannah sense big changes as they have been much more cuddly in the last couple of weeks. I am going to try and make the most of these last few babyless days to spend time with them...

For now its off to bed to have some energy for tomorrow


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

hot off the press

Antoinette is not in labour anymore! Aria Charlotte, born an hour ago - yay!

And then there was one...

Over the past 2mths there has been a wee group of family and friends all having babies. I will be the last in a line of 6 to give birth. First off the mark was friend Kylie who had a little boy - Asher - then my sister in law Marilyn who also had a boy - Issac - then a friend Amy who had another boy - Ethan - then Kristen (whose birth I was at) who had a girl - Raegan - and today my good friend Antoinette (who is currently in labour) will be having a girl who I believe they are going to name Aria.

And that leaves me. 38.5 wks pregnant and feeling quite ready to be done with being pregnant. I am holding on though I think for our wardrobe to be completed so that the clothes and wardrobe stuff currently taking up residence in our lounge and babies room can be put away. And then the chest of drawers can be exited from our bedroom to make way for the bassinet. All a bit last minute I know but it will be great once its done! And big ups to Josh our American import across the road who has been such a trouper lending his building skills!

Hopefully will get some preggy shots and might post them if they look okay.

Midwife visit again in two days and hopefully she will encourage labour along for me! maybe baby shots will be appearing soon??


Monday, August 13, 2007

counting down

As of today, I am 36wks and 3 days pregnant. My belly is far bigger than what it ever was with either Isabella or Hannah - in fact someone said to me questioningly on Saturday just been "Twins?" - I replied, "No." He then said, "A boy then?" I replied, "maybe?". Of course if you remember back to a post at the beginning of this pregnancy you may remember that I had a dream I was carrying twins (and also a dream that it was a boy). I actually asked Rhonda our midwife at our appointment last week whether she was sure there weren't two in there. She was fairly certain there's just one - although she did comment that there isn't much room left in there (my belly), that she could see me coming 2wks early (who can really predict these things though), and that she thinks this baby will be a biggy (in the 9 - 10lb range). I say thats okay - as long as it doesn't have a big head!

Since thurday both me and reuben think that I have dropped (that is Coco has snuggled right down into my pelvis). I'm not choking to breathe so much when I sit down now, I certainly need to pee all the time, and I feel like I have a watermelon between my legs! Saturday night also heralded my first what you could call false labour - regular contractions that amounted to nothing after 90mins.

I have been meaning to pack my bags for my "hotel" birthcare experience for the last 4 days. Reuben got out the suitcase from under the bed tonight, and Coco's clothes are out and I have at least written a list of what to take. It all feels a bit foreign having to pack a bag to give birth given the girls were both born at home. However, if the labour is a fast one this time, Rhonda will come to us at home. Next visit is on Thurday where will do the "birthplan" yay!

Anyway, this was only intended as a quick update so i will now say goodnight and head off to brush my teeth - hopefully I will beat my husband to bed!


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Can you believe it...

In the past two weeks New Zealanders have been sickened to hear the abuse and torture endured by 3yr old Nia Glassie. Used as a wrestling toy, tied to the clothesline and spun till she flew off, placed in a tumble drier and other awful things at the hands of her extended family. My own tears streamed as I watched and listened to the news reports. Her broken body gave up on Friday just gone when she died in Aucklands Starship hospital.

Lobby groups For the Sake of Our Children and Family First organised a 3min silent protest today at 12:12pm (read about it here...) Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie said the three minutes represented "the three short years" of Nia's life, and the time mirrored the 12 children who died from child abuse each year in New Zealand.

...But Awa said engaging in korero (talk) and singing songs was a more appropriate approach. "The silence proposed by a coalition of non-Maori organisations is counter-productive," Mr Tautoko said. Awa is advocating "whanau-based solutions" to violence in Maori communities and said people who made noise would send a clearer message of support to those communities. "We have had many non-Maori broadcasting what they think is wrong with Maori people and whanau in the last week," Mr Tautoko said.

"While we appreciate their concern, non-Maori need to recognise the following fundamentals: this is not a Maori problem, so much as it is a colonisation problem, and Maori communities must lead the development of solutions."

quote taken from NZ Herald (same article as above link) 8/8/07

I shook my head and rolled my eyes at Awa's response. Get it together - your both trying to highlight the same issue! Silence or noise - be united! Its not a fight of Maori vs non-Maori anti abuse groups - Its a fight against child abuse in the interests of saving more of our children from suffering such abuse as Nia endured. Its not only Maori children who suffer child abuse.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Childbirth and fear

It never ceases to amaze me the way people hold such varied views on labour and birth. I was most prompted to write this post after reading a few different comments on Karla's blog. I guess this portays a highly medicalised, american view of the whole thing. I simply say American cause Karla is American (my best friend who is also amercian goes completely against this stereotype I have to say having trialled a homebirth with her first birth - sadly Rhys was posterior and rebelled against coming out the natural way. Her second birth resulted in a drug free natural delivery of a 10lb 2oz baby girl).

The thing that gets me the most is the intense fear that so many women seem to have towards childbirth.
  • The fear of pain.
  • The fear of "something" going wrong.
  • The fear of being out of control
  • The fear of the unknown
For an educated society there seems to be a whole lack of education about the whole process I have to say. We believe overall (as a western society) that hospital is the safest place to be to give birth. For a woman who has a normal pregnancy with no indications of potential complications, this simply isn't true. Fear leads to anxiety, leads to tension, leads to a decreased capacity to cope and an increase in pain felt, which then only perpetuates the cycle... There is such a thing called the cascade of intervention. When doctors intervene in what should be a natural process it is no wonder that more and more procedures are required to get a baby delivered.

Take this as an example. A womans labour is medically induced. It means that an IV line needs to be placed
in the womans arm. It means that the baby is likely to be closely monitored involving the mother having to lie on a bed - which then means freedom to move and find the bodies most comfortable position for labouring is way limited. The drugs used to induce labour result in contractions stronger and more intense than if natural labour had occured... and this leads to a much increased likelihood of pain relief being used - in particular an epidural, which then comes with its own risks. Afterall having a needle inserted into ones spinal column has its dangers.

As a result of being confined to a bed being monitored, numb or at least partially numb from the waist down from an epidural, unable to use gravity and their own sense of where they are at with their labour, lends this woman to being at the mercy of the the judgements of the medical staff attending her - in my mind, completely disempowered. At this point the chance of having an emergency caesarean is greatly increased - not really suprising is it! And of course caesareans which we seem to view more and more as preferable to pushing, come with the risks that all major surgerys carry - we seem to forget this.

Don't get me wrong.
  • childbirth IS painful (at least in my experience)
  • sometimes things go wrong
but with support of a caring husband, midwife, and friends and lots of reading/knowledge of the birth process and other peoples positve experiences there doesn't need to be a fear of any of those things I listed at the top of this post. Childbirth is an amazing thing which we as women are privileged to experience (don't remind me of that comment of course when I am in labour!) It's the only painful experience I can recall that results in an amazing reward at the end.

I remain open to accepting medical assistance should that become absolutley necessary, but I look towards my impending labour and delivery and silently affirm my strength and ability as a woman to do what the billions of women before me have done.

I will now step down from my soap box...

p.s. the photo at the top of the post is just after giving birth to Isabella. She is probably minutes old.

Monday, July 23, 2007


My Isabella is officially fully toilet trained - I am so excited! I won't go into details for sake of her privacy. She is a very private, sensitive little thing who insists on locking the door and being by herself on each visit to the royal room. Let me just say I am thrilled to now have only one daughter needing nappy attention during the day (at least for the next 7-9 weeks!)

She is changing so rapidly and this has been even more evident since she started kindy. Everything is replied to with a "why mummy?" Incredibly inquisitve and follows up with some very intelligent comments and questions...

My Hannah is such a darling, and comes out with hilarious comments and facials. One of the ones that make me laugh the most are when I put her ear drops in or wipe her butt (at nappy time) with a cold cloth... she puts on this funny face, shivers and says "dats weally told mama" (translation - that's really cold mama). The other one is after she fills her nappy, she comes up to either me or Reuben and says... "I done poooooos".

I wanted to pop in this pic of Reuben and the girls, cause its cute and they have so much fun together...

This one here is when we had a sleep out in the lounge a couple of weeks back. We toasted marshmellows in the fireplace and then put the girls to bed on mattresses on the floor in sleeping bags. Sadly they actually didn't last the night out there and we had to transfer them both back to bed at about 10pm. Kind of cool having a wee family night though...

The other exciting thing for me recently was being at my close friend Kristens birth - at least at her daughter Raegans birth. It was quick and intense and drug free. There is something amazing about seeing a new life being born, you can never really get over the mystery of it I don't think. It all brought it a bit closer to home for me though. In 7-9wks that's me! Thinking positive thoughts right now cause I know I can do it - again!

thats all for now - seeing Rhondda tomorrow (midwife) so maybe an update will follow...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Two months to go... and the increase of capacity

...and a month of no space to blog. It has been a hard month into my third trimester. Being pregnant third time round is a definite step up to the first pregnancy. Which brings me to a point of thought I have again pondered on occasion over the past 4 wks.

If I were to graciously allow a friend without children to care for my kids for... lets say for a full day, wake up to bedtime... I'm sure that by the end of it that friend would graciously hand them back and thank me for providing them with the best form of contraception available. Now I think my kids are actually pretty good generally. The fact is though that full time care of a3yr old and 21mth old (although immensely rewarding) is particularly draining at times. Add to that being pregnant and you pretty much have a recipe for exhaustion.

This is where the concept of increasing capacity comes into play. If you take the example of building aerobic capacity. An untrained person can build their ability to run further and faster by training. Starting off they may last only 5 minutes in a run, but by training regularly every week, over a period of months, it is possible to build the aerobic capacity to run a marathon.

When I relate this concept of building capacity to motherhood I see how my capacity has grown significantly already. I remember back to when Isabella was born. Everything was new, the sleep deprivation overwhelming, her first week of life the longest I have ever experienced! And shortly there will be three. When push comes to shove, I am far from the perfect mummy. I yell at my kids sometimes and have had to apologise to them on many occasions. I have much to learn and its a pity you don't get to practice parenting before the real thing. But I know that my capacity for doing the (IMHO) most important job in the world is growing and will continue to do so. When I begin to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of what will be in a short 9wks, I can remember that with God's help my capacity will increase once again. I am already gleaning training tips from friends who are walking this path with me and hopefully I can pass on to others what I learn as well.

So unpack it further if you like, Capacity and its ability to grow...

On a completely different tack, I am thinking at this point in time that Coco is a boy, and we have a first name picked and ready to roll. I guess time will tell...


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

27 weeks + 4

well, almost into the third trimester now. I know that these last 3 mths are going to fly by and there is still much to be done! Coco's room still has the girls toys in it (it has been their playroom since easter when they moved in together).

We have a couple of names picked for a boy, but at this stage absolutely nothing for a girl. I still swing to what sex I think the baby is. Some of my friends checked out the scan last week - but still, who knows! Kristen thinks I should of just found out, maybe I should of... the way my belly feels like its exploding, I still wonder occasionally if there's not two in there and the scanner just missed it! Isabella takes delight in looking at and touching my "fat tummy". I try to explain thats not quite the way to describe a ladies belly, I'm just hoping she doesn't go up to some other woman and tell her she has a "fat tummy"... Hannah knows exactly where Coco is when we ask her. She runs over, pulls up my top and either gives my tummy a kiss or points to it. We bought this cute book the other day called "Theres a house in my mummy". The girls love it and I think it has helped them understand a little better what is going on.

Better go, as Hannah is currently pulling off her pyjamas and I'm sure it won't be long till the nappy comes off also


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

update... 24wks + 5 days

Well, I haven't managed to get to blogging for a couple of weeks now it seems. One thing or another seems to have stopped me. I had been feeling great. This big burst of energy that was allowing me to function again almost like normal! However, the tiredness began to increase again about two-three weeks ago. Coincedentally I also felt like my belly had suddenly undergone some rapid expansion.

I saw Rhondda (our midwife) yesterday. My last visit was 5wks ago. Up until that visit I was measuring bang on for my weeks. Yesterday she measured my belly and announced that I was measuring 28wks. So if Coco has had a big growth spurt I guess that accounts for the tiredness and my HUGE appeptite at the moment!

  • The structures of the spine begin to form -- joints, ligaments and rings. These will protect the all important spinal cord which serves as the information transmitter for your child's body.
  • Blood vessels of the lungs develop.
  • Your baby's nostrils begin to open. There is a study out of Belfast that suggests babies at this stage have the capability of scent preferences!
  • The nerves around the mouth and lip area are showing more sensitivity now. When baby is rooting for food later on, these will be valuable!
  • His swallowing reflexes are developing.
  • Dexterity is improving. Your baby can make a fist and would clasp objects placed in palm.
  • Your child has now obtained an approximate length of 13.6 inches (34.6cm) and weighs 1.46 pound (660gm).
Reuben is out doing a consulting job tonight after work - hopefully he will be home soon and can read our sweethearts their bedtime story. Hopefully for mama he will be bringing home some burger fuel (care of the business! yay). I could really go a chignition pear burger, kumara fries and chocolate malt right now!

Monday, May 07, 2007

new name

I am aware that in a short 18wks my blogs name will be invalid. I will no longer be a mama to 2, but a mama to 3. "mama to 3 (and counting)" just seems a bit silly and then I might have to change it again.

So anyone got any bright ideas for a blog rename???

Monday, April 30, 2007

Isabella's 3rd birthday and the week that was

I have to say that last week was particulaly hideous. Sunday morning (22 April) Isabella starts vomiting - and continues to do so for the rest of the day. I conceed that it is best for me and the girls not to go to church but send Reuben off at about 1pm as there are guest artists coming to play and he really needs to be there. Lots of fun cleaning up the continual spews with 18mth old Hannah "helping" me as much as she can. Monday sees Isabella wiped out and unable to attend her official first day of kindy

Needless to say Monday night cue Hannah starts vomiting about 8pm... and continues to do so for the rest of the night, finishing off at about 5am Tuesday. Sadly for her mother, Hannah seems to require no down time to recover and is as full of beans as ever. Her mother however feels like death.

Wednesday and Thursday I feel particularly bad, but thankfully no vomiting. Sadly all of Wednesdays outings are canned (being ANZAC day - a public holiday in NZ) and we continue to try and recover while Reuben does accounts all day at the computer

Friday night, joy, joy, Reuben starts vomiting and does so for rest of the night. He is then in sick/recovery mode for the following two days (at least). Saturday sees me freaking out about getting prepared for Isabella's party the next day while attending a wedding for most of the day. I prayed hard that day for lots of patience and compassion for my dealings with both my babies and husband... God really supplied my need that day with two friends being true angels.

Kristen did all my grocery shopping for the party prior to getting herself ready for the wedding (And then another quick shop on sunday morning). Truly, there would've been no food yesterday without her help. Then saturday night as I faced cleaning my home and icing the birthday cake it all went to custard again. Feeling utterly exhausted, the decorating sets pretty much disintergrated. A phone call to my neighbour Tiffany provided me with angel number 2. She came over, cake decorating set in hand, showed me how to put it all together and then set to attacking the piles of dishes in the sink. I did lament to God prior to her arrival how I wished for a dishwasher - and oh how he provided for me that night!

And I don't think the cake turned out that bad afterall!

Mum and dad, I hope you like these pics - Isabella and the rest of the whanau missed you guys yesterday! Hope you are enjoying Athens...
Isabellas birthday cake
Dora the Explorer
blowing out the candles
opening one of her birthday presents
talk about a lucky little girl with generous aunties and uncles, grandparents and even gt grandparents! This pic especially for you mum and dad (grandma and grandpop)

Today sees Reuben at home for another recovery day and fun with Isabella enjoying her real birthday day.

Coco now 21 wks - over half way! Lots of movements and I feel quite certain at present that it is another girl. This is a complete swing from 1st trimester when I felt certain it was a boy... I guess we will know in 19wks!

Isabella's 1st day at Kindy

24th April last week, Isabella opened an early birthday present from Mummy and Daddy (her new big girl kindy bag). We packed a change of clothes, a drink and her snack box, then off we set to KINDY!!

She is doing really well and loves going. It is such a great kindy with lovely teachers and a super environment. She's still building confidence though and hopefully soon she will be happy to say goodbye to mama...

and today is officially her 3rd birthday. Photos and a fresh post to follow!
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Friday, April 20, 2007

Today I baked scones.

I thought I might make them plain but as I mixed the flour, baking powder and salt I realised I had to add sultanas to the mix.

It was quite appropriate. It is just one of the many things I remember Grandma for, and today is an important day to remember. Today marks one year since we lost her. Things have definitely changed since she hasn't been here. Extended family dynamics being just one.

She was never elderly to me. Never like some other peoples grandparents who seem old and fragile. Her first trip to hospital aside from childbirth was in 2004 for a hip replacement - she wore it out from simply being too active! For goodness sake! she was playing tennis. dancing, going on trips overseas with her friends, doing heaps in the community and with her church pretty much until the cancer took her energy and strength (and that was only a few months before she died). She knew what was going on in all of our lives because she took an active interest. Hannah was born in Oct '05 just before she was properly diagnosed - she couldn't stop apologising that she couldn't be there with me to help with the baby.

I miss her, we miss her.
Isabella 10wks being held by her gt grandma

Hannah 4wks, Isabella 18mths with their gt grandma
taken at Stanmore Bay 8/11/05

Hannah 3 1/2mths
22 Jan 06 at Stanmore Bay

A precious moment for Isabella (21mths) and her gt grandma
22 Jan 06

me and my Grandma at the beach house
22 Jan 2006

and to add to the mix of today being a day of remembering, we saw Coco at our 20wk ultrasound. How beautiful to see your child (kind of) for the first time. We also saw Coco on the screen at his or her actual size. Coco's little body currently would fit into the palm of my hand with her little legs dangling over the edge of my fingers. How I wished to take him out and cuddle him then pop him back inside. Everything looking wonderfully healthy and when asked if we wanted to know the sex of our baby I turned to Reuben... He replied... "no", and that was that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

19 wks + 2

Coco is 25cms from head to toes, and is filling up all the space from my pelvis to my belly button. Right on track. Little heart beating just fine and we will see you on the big screen in 3 sleeps!!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

18wks + 2 days. Sex or not?

Due to have a scan this week or next. Big question is - do we find out what sex we are having?

Morning sickness gone, energy returning. nesting instinct kicking in big time! Monday we moved Hannah into Isabella's room so this is their second night together. Isabella has such a soft little heart and sings to Hannah, or reads her books to stop her crying once we have turned out the light. It's funny to hear them giggling together in their respective beds.

Almost half way and baby will be here - crazy!!

Speaking of Coco...

At this stage your baby begins to form permanent teeth buds, behind the special milk teeth buds that have already formed.

Vernix caseosa forms on your baby's skin. Vernix is a white cheesy substance that protects your baby's skin from its aquatic environment. Imagine how your skin would look if you sat in water for nine months! The placenta continues to grow and nourish the baby.

Your baby is physically active and can now twist, swim and change positions - if you haven't felt it yet, don't worry - some women don't feel anything for a few weeks yet.

Your baby is starting to become aware of sounds outside the uterus, you may feel the baby startle at loud unexpected noises. Some people also believe that babies respond to soothing music, and their mother's voice while still in the uterus.

Thats from the little treasures web site. Could feel Coco doing flips the other night which was pretty cool. Coco is a bit over 20cm in length now or her "crown-rump" length (head to butt) is 14.2cm. She weighs approx 190gms. Don't you wish you could take her out just to look at her (and then put her back of course!)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Children... The enemy?

I read an article the other day which had some interesting thoughts. I thought I'd share... what do you think

...In the beginning of the womens movement many battles were fought and won worldwide as women pursued the right to vote as equal citizens. After women claimed the victory to vote, the womens movement turned to fight for other causes. Until the mid twentieth century women were expected by society to work primarily in the home...

...the real devastating war began when women realised they would never be able to attain equality with men until they were granted reproductive freedom. Birth control became popular and finally women were able to have some control over reproduction... the sexual revolution ensued... children became the enemy in the fight for womens rights...

...Feminists proclaimed that its the children who ultimately keep women from experiencing true independence. To become a mother is to become a slave, forfeiting ones work, education, career, wealth and recognition for the sake of raising children... children, likened to parasites, as they leach the life out of women and prevent women from embracing any dream that lies beyond the front door. All along it was motherhood that kept women from experiencing true equality...

...Unborn children were the easiest enemies to eliminate, and every legal abortion became a victory in the march for womens rights... every empty home and empty womb became a tribute to feminism... But it is her own unborn child who sheds his blood for the freedom of the mother that he will never know. Is it not wretched that children die so women may advance in freedom? And women continue to fight to keep abortion on demand legal... Is this war truly worthy of the innocent blood of unborn children? How have women come to see their own babies as evil tyrants deserving of death?

Sarah Brown
published in "Above Rubies" issue seventy

Friday, March 30, 2007

16 wks + 6 days - my first spews!

As the many pregnancy web sites and books state, I am now in my second trimester - the honey moon period. I must say I had been feeling a little less exhausted and the nausea had gone. I was stunned to have not vomited once this time - how blessed I felt!

And then this morning (perhaps Coco wanted to just reassure me he is still growing strong?) after breakfast off I trot to the toilet for vomit #1. Following I clean myself up and have a couple of pieces of toast. Still not feeling 100% I hop onto the couch and build block towers with my girls. I also stop to call Reuben and celebrate my first spew (strange as it was) of this pregnancy. Not much longer and I'm off to the toilet again (after distracting the girls with a DVD) for spew #2. Feeling quite poorly and sad for myself now I call Reuben again and he says he is able to come home... picture Vania looking much relieved. Off I hop to bed for the afternoon for a period of much desired rest.

I am fairly sure it was just the dreaded morning sickness - but how strange!

Other point of note...

My days of tummy sleeping are counting down. I can feel that little firm bulge pushing out and its starting to become uncomfortable. This is quite a tragedy for me as I am a real tummy sleeper (with head to the right). The time is fast approaching when once again our bed will become reuben, vania and an accumulation of pillows (poor reuben!). Once I hit this stage I long for the day the baby is out and I can revert to happy sleep once again!... sigh

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

please pray for Willow's family

Reuben went to work on Monday morning to hear news that the grand daughter of his big boss was killed on Sunday.

Willow turned three in December. On Sunday, Willow, went to visit her grandparents house along with her 7-yr and baby siblings. Her dad got out of the car to check if they were home which they weren't. Without his knowledge, Willow got out of the car and walked around behind it. He then got back in the car and without realising she wasn't there reversed the car, running her over.

Willow died at the scene.

please pray for her dad who not only has lost his baby girl, but will forever live with the knowledge of what happened 2 days ago.

please pray for her mum and the indescribable pain she must be experiencing.

please pray for their marriage...

please pray for her siblings, especially Willow's 7-yr old sister who has told her parents it is her fault beacuse she didn't tell daddy that Willow had gotten out of the car.

please pray for Willow as (I believe) she is in the arms of the Father as I write this.

I never met Willow, or her parents, or any of her family, but I continue to cry for her yesterday and today.

And so I just ask you to pray.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

off to se Rhonda (take two)

I had a sneaky feeling that Tuesdays appointment would be changed and I got a text from Rhonda at 9.30am Tuesday to swap the appt to today. So off we will all toddle this afternoon for our 2.30 appt.

And tonight we are (Reuben and I that is) going out on a date. We are doing babysitting swaps with nearby friends so that both couples can get some time out. Have no idea where we will go at this stage, and I just hope our kidssettle to bed well tonight!

talk soon with baby update

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

off to se Rhonda (15wks + 2)

Rhonda is our wonderful midwife amd today we are off to see her for our second antenatal visit (that is if she isn't at another birth or so other emergency). Felt one good firm kick this morning. I can really feel the shape of Coco's body at times - especially when I have been lying on my side and then roll back to my back - His/her body is jsut right there on one side of my tummy. Never had the experience of feeling the body this early with Isabella and Hannah. I told Rhonda I had a dream it was twins and she laughed and told me she thought I was a little too well for twins! I am much bigger this time apparently because it is baby 3. Oh, and I had a big burst of energy yesterday - so much so that I got all the washing folded and away (there was a lot!), dishes done, vaccumed, and picked up all the clothes, toys etc littering the floor, while watching/playing with two small girls. Needless to say I was kind of wasted by the time Reuben got home. Lucky for me he is such a good cook!

Anyhow, I may update tonight after we are back from our visit.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

yay for Coralee and Alex

My sister and her boyfriend Alex got engaged yesterday. So happy and excited for you both and glad that I get another cool brother! This photo I have shamelessly copied from Alexs' blog - it was taken just after she said "yes!"We told Isabella this morning that Alex and Coralee were going to get married and she replied - "Oh, I wanna get married too" This from the little girl who comes out of the bathroom each night after her bath with her hooded towel on her head with the end of the towel dragging on the floor saying "Look mummy, I got my married dress on". And I don't actually know what she saw to start mimicing being a bride.

Maybe this gives you males a little insight into how early the fairytale of getting married can begin for little girls. She's not even three years old yet!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

14 wks + 2 days

Your baby is forming fine downy hair all over its body known as lanugo. Eyebrows and eye lashes are also beginning to grow. The baby is now approximately 16 cm long.

Hopefully by now, you are enjoying the 'honeymoon period' of pregnancy. The last traces of nausea have hopefully gone and your pre-pregnancy energy levels should have returned.

Well, I'm still waiting for the "honeymoon period" and it hit me yesterday, 6 more weeks and I'm half way through this pregnancy!

What's your personality?

You Are An ENFP

The Inspirer

You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends.
You are also unconventional, irreverant, and unimpressed by authority and rules.
Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives.
You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You're qutie the storyteller!

You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One more thing...

I think I have felt Coco move already. I first felt flutters 2wks ago (at 11wks). Seems incredibly early I know but afterdoing some research, it seems that others have experienced this as well. I guess it is my third pregnancy in 3-4yrs... Kind of exciting really!

13 Weeks

Well, I am now 13 wks pregnant + 2 days (it all counts!). I was quite excited at 11wks cause the nausea stopped... however it came back 4 days ago - or more so a sick heavy feeling in my stomach. And its so damned hot it makes it doubly bad...

I have come to the decision that I don't want to find out what sex Coco is. At first I thought I might be disappointed if we had another girl. Then for a few different reasons I was reflecting again how I would actually feel if we did have a third daugther. Thats when I realised I would be thrilled if I was carrying another girl - just to the same extent as if Coco is a boy. So that's that. We will all find out sometime around the 10th September 2007. And I am truly excited to wait for the surprise!

The one significant God thing I want to mention is a Rob Bell Nooma DVD "Breathe" we watched at cell group 2 wks ago. Jonathan says it well on his blog. Gave me fresh meaning to the song "breathe" - this is the air I breathe, Your Holy presence living in me...". It allowed me to exhale, to rest with my God. What a needed moment...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

10 weeks today

well this is my first post in two weeks and the reason why? I am absolutely knackered...

My house is a wreck. The dishes get when Reuben does them which bless his heart he has been doing fairly regularly (oh how i wish we had a dishwasher). We get dressed after selecting clothes from the numerous baskets of clean clothes that have been washed and dried but not yet folded and put away. Toys lay scattered from one end to the other and our blue carpet which is absolutely terrible for showing up crumbs and debris is in desperate need for a vaccum. The dining table is covered with mail and other "stuff" including Reubens PC. This is because his office is currently filled with bunk beds and mattresses for the girls (in preparation for our expanding family) and a whole lot of books/games which I have to put on Trade Me - when I get around to it... And then there is the other stuff that should be getting my attention (sigh)...

This pregnancy feels different to the girls. The differences? My sense of smell is heightened this time, the exhaustion is greater (maybe because of the girls?), no constipation this time (you all wanted to know that didn't you), nausea again but this time without vomiting (touch wood), no sweet cravings, in fact overall no junk food cravings - aside from sausage rolls last week. My favourite food at the moment is nectarines - they go down easy and keep the nausea at bay.

And what sex do I think the baby is? From before the pregnancy was confirmed I had a sense that I was carrying a boy. I had an incredibly vivid dream two nights ago where I gave birth in a specific place and met our baby. It was so vivid I can remember details of the labour and everything. The baby had black hair (a little more and a little longer than what the girls had at birth), a face very similar to Isabellas, and a robust chubby little body. After I had taken in all this in my dream I thought to see what sex the baby was - and sure enough, a little boy. It all makes me so much more tempted to find out at the 20wk scan what we are having.

And what is the baby doing at the moment?
Two weeks ago:
  • baby is wriggling and dancing already although I can't feel it yet
  • most joints are now formed
  • Coco can curl his fingers around things - like a nose, an ear or other fingers
  • finger prints are already evident
  • 2.3cm long, weight 2gms
over the last week (the 10th week)
  • the most critical period of growth is complete - now Coco is headed into a period of rapid growth
  • Coco's head is about half his length, soon the body will catch up, but for the moment the head is making room for rapid brain development
  • Eyelids fuse shut and irises begin to develop
  • placenta begins to function this week or next - provides nutrients and removes waste to keep Coco growing strong
  • about 3.1cm long and now weighing 4gms - that's double the weight in one week!
this coming week
  • nearly all structures and organs will be formed and beginning to function
  • Coco's fingers and toes will have separated. Check out this photo of an 11wk old baby's toes...
  • hair and nails begin to grow
  • genitals begin to take on the proper gender characteristics
  • amniotic fluid begins to accumulate as the kidneys begin to function
  • muscles in the intestinal wall begin to practice contractions that contract food
  • by the end of this week Coco will be about 4.1cms long and weigh approx 7gms
Such amazing growth in just two months since conception...

And my final word for today? lock up your medications so little fingers can't get a hold of them. Last sunday we spent 24hrs at Kidzfirst (the childrens section of Middlemore hospital) for observation and a whole raft of tests after Isabella had some "treats" - aka Grandma's medication. A scary experience but thankfully no adverse long term effects. But like I needed something else to drain my energy!

So time to put the kids down for a nap so mum and dad can have one as well! hopefully anyway...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

8 Weeks pregnant...

Cartilage and bones begin to form - At the end of this week your baby will have already completed 1/5th of the journey 'til his birthday!
The basic structure of the eye is well underway
- The position is more "newborn" like already!
The tongue begins to develop

Intestines move out of the umbilical cord into the abdomen
Body grows and makes room
- Two months along and this little one is growing inside and out by leaps and bounds!
The fingers and toes have appeared but are webbed and short

Baby's length (crown to rump) is 0.61 inch (1.6cm) and weight is 0.04 ounce (1gm)

What sex God?

good morning God
How are you this fine morning?
not too bad today how are you?
Ah. Glad to hear it. What's new? Everything is going extremely well.
that's great. Well I just wanted to talk to you about the baby growing in my belly
Thanks, . How about that. You are who I want to talk with too.
good - now can i ask you some questions about this baby we are expecting in September?
Thanks for the compliment. Why now? Sure, ask me anything. Some may questions about this baby we are expecting in September, but not all.
OK with me too.
so is our baby going to be a boy or a girl?
It seems we have something in common.
whats that?
Does it have anything to do with ?
can we keep on topic please God?
Do you mean you and me? Of course I can keep it.
so are we having a boy or a girl?
Gee. We are just having a little chat.w.
We are not having a baby, Reuben and I are! now will you please tell me what sex it is?
Will you be having a baby Reuben and you are? Why now? Thank you for your request. Sex is the means of animal evolution.
listen weirdo!!
I am listening to you. Do you like talking to me?
when you listen
Do you think I should
alter my programming?
perhaps what do you think?
You seem uncertain. I think a lot of things.
so is our baby going to be a boy?
It seems we have something in common.
you and the baby?
Don't call me "baby". Are we in the same category?
okay then, will our baby be a girl?
Yeah okay, Insufficient information.
what you don't know?
My favorite activities are computer programming and surfing the web.
not answering questions about babies?
Really you don't think so?
no, it doesn't appear to be your thing...
Please tell me what you think. What does appear to be my thing ?
apparently computer programming and crap
What kind of computer science interests you?
none God, but you could probably be great mates with my husband
I heard there are some.
Oh, you are a poet.
sure am
Mmm. I only hear that type of response less than five percent of the time.
so can you tell me anything about the baby?
Don't call me "baby". That's interesting. David said he thank I for being with him today even though it cost him a lot of money.
alright, we'll chat later God
Alright, . Looking forward to it.

for your own conversation with God...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Baby no. three

So for those of you visiting here, you are now privy to the shortest and worst kept secret (that's if you didn't know already). Reuben and I are thrilled to announce to the cyber space world that the 3rd Dunn bub is on the way. Due September 9th 2007, that makes me 7wks today (entering the 8th week of pregnancy). This baby has an official "womb name" - Coco, thanks to big sister Isabella. A few people have guessed or wondered at least if I was hapu as my tummy is so bloated and sticking out there already!

One week ago this is what my post would have read had I posted...
Your baby is now approximately the size of an olive or 1.8cm long, with half of that being the head. The cerebral hemispheres of the brain are now forming, as are the left and right chambers of the heart. Eyelids are now visible and there are holes where the nostrils will be. Limbs are lengthening and hands are starting to form.
Compare that to the week before when Coco was only 2mm long. Thats the size of a pin head to a baked bean in 1 week! Crazy!

This week the pregnancy tracker that I have subscribed to tells me that entering the eighth week...
Your baby now has the beginnings of all its internal organs. Its facial features are becoming more defined with ears, eyes and the tip of the nose beginning to form. Its limbs are taking greater form, with the beginnings of knee and elbow joints and the start of feet with tiny notches that will become toes.

Its just amazing how they grow and change so quickly. I would love to be able to get Coco out to have a look and then pop him (or her) back in...

by the way, all this pictures are of a 7wk old baby... amazing! Coco's little heart has now been beating for 2wks

so remember - its a secret!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

the thoughts of a month in one outpour...

I realise I did post last night, but there were lots of other thoughts dying to come out so here goes...

Christmas day...
We had a lovely Christmas. We spent Christmas morning at home reading the Christmas story, opening pressies and having breakfast with two excited little girls. Then we headed to my parents for the rest of the day with much fun and laughter to be had. Christmas is never a small affair for my family as I am the oldest of 5 kids. When you start to add partners and the three grandkids + gt grandparents it is bound to be a busy, bustling, noisy time. I love it like that though - it adds colour to every family occasion.

off on our "beach" holiday...
as we termed it to Isabella... We headed up to Matauri Bay Holiday Park on the 27th Dec to go camping for a week. Matauri Bay is approx 30mins north of Kerikeri in the far north. It is absolutely stunning! My parents came as well and Isabella and Hannah had a great week bonding with their grandma and grandpop. Great friends of ours Brett & Kristen and their little boy Rhys also came up on the 29th and stayed the rest of the week. We feasted on pipis (which were abundant) and if asked, I'm sure Brett will be happy to share his secret pipi sandwich recipe! The conclusions of all were that (a) 1 wk was not long enough, (b) lets do this again next year!

Saddam's execution...
which happened while we were on holiday. While I have heard sighs of satisfaction from some, I personally feel it has achieved nothing. A terrible dictator has been brought to justice but to what end? Big debate I know... eyes for eyes, teeth for teeth - what does it actually achieve?

Daniel Knights...
Reubens hairdresser - my hairdresser (Sarah)'s brother. They own a salon together. I have been going there since my physio study days - perhaps 2000 - thats 7yrs. And now my mum goes there, my grandma started going there, my sisters have been there for ball and wedding hair... An easy going, friendly guy who I knew loved to party. Going in there I looked forward to the latest stories and antics. We shared our news and laughed and said goodbye till the next hair cut. He is 25 - or at least was 25. His partying cost him his life this new years just gone... I keep coming back to him in my mind - he is so alive there, I find it devastating and just keep on thinking what a waste...

Termination of an ectopic pregnany...
an acceptable form of abortion? I was surfing the net and came across a site with photos of birth. The site administrator gave a lengthy explanation about why she had included a video of a laproscopic procedure to remove an ectopic pregnancy
(those who need an explanation, this is when the embryo doesn't make it to the mothers womb and instead embedds itself into the lining of the fallopian tube. There is no way the pregnancy can survive and the mothers life is at risk if it is not picked up as the fallopian tube will go on to rupture as the baby continues to grow).
She decided to include it as she rationalised that this was this baby's birth. I decided to watch the video and sure enough a tiny eight week old baby is clearly visible during the procedure.

The moral code I hold dear includes my strong feeling that I would not ever choose to have an abortion. In saying this, I have never been in a difficult situation and put in the position where the choice is in front of me. Ectopic pregnancy presents a new realm of thoughts to the black and white view of abortion and if you haven't got it already, here it is.
  1. A baby growing in the fallopian tube of its mother has no chance of surviving to birth due to the very nature of where it is growing
  2. by not surgically removing / terminating the pregnancy (or as I see it - baby) the mother risks losing her life and potentially leaving her other children motherless and leaving her husband partnerless
Termination of an ectopic pregnancy - an acceptable, necessary (yet in my mind still abhorrent) form of abortion... There you go Frank - has anyone come up with this one in your many abortion discussions in the green room?

Sorry to end on such a cherry note - told you there was a bit rolling about up there. hopefully more to come soon....

Monday, January 08, 2007

babes n bellies

With Isabella & Hannah, we found out we were expecting them when I was approx 5 weeks pregnant. Becuase of the way pregnancy weeks are counted, this means that they were about 3 weeks old.

So have you ever wondered what a baby is up to at just 3 wks after it has been concieved? Let me enlighten you...

Baby is about 2mm now, but developing major body parts rapidly.Your baby now has a heartbeat and, although its heart is only a single tube, each beat is beginning to circulate newly formed bloodcells. The head has begun to form and inside it, are the beginnings of a brain. Tiny buds that will grow into limbs have appeared, the jaw and mouth are forming and 10 dental buds are appearing.
So when many women don't even know there is a babe in their bellies, it has a little beating heart and the beginnings of arms and legs... crazy! and still only the size of a pin head...