This post is about birth defects, and abortion. Strong opinions and upsetting subjects are aired within. Please don’t read on if you are easily upset.

Sally told me about this the other day, but I couldn’t find any info on the intertron about it.

A minor in Ireland has been prevented from leaving the country in order to obtain an abortion. That’s a pretty awful story, but that sort of thing is probably quite common in countries that do not allow elective terminations. The complicating factor in this case is that the foetus has a condition that means it cannot live for more than a few days after birth.

Sheer bastardry.

Nobody wants to have an abortion. Nobody seeks out the experience. Nobody has the procedure and then gets on with their life without consequences, depression, insomnia, feelings of worthlessness, fear for future fertility – there are many and varied repercussions, most of them long term, and very unpleasant. It is a painful, and impossibly difficult choice for most women, and none of us has the right to judge from outside.

But surely, even the most rabid right to lifer has to admit that giving birth to a child without a brain, that cannot survive a week after birth, is far worse?

As I prepare for my 12 week scan, the scan that will give me a probability that Ampersand has a serious genetic problem, these sorts of issues have been in my mind a lot. Even though I have a very fixed idea of what I will do if the baby has a serious problem, it is not a decision I could take lightly, and I could never tell another woman how she should react in similar circumstances.

A decision like this is for each of us to make on our own, with our own individual circumstances. None of us could say how we would feel, or what we would do in these devastating circumstances, but my heart goes out to this young girl who has had this difficult choice taken away from her.


Just been to the Doc. I felt too vile to get out of bed at 7am this morning, so I emailed work to let them know that I would be in later, when the world stopped spinning.

At 10am, after I had a nap and some breakfast, I decided that work was not on the cards for me today. I rang my GP, and made an appointment for midday. My blood test results from last week were in, all normal, but I still need to keep up my Vitamin D – more sun exposure I suppose. I am not anaemic, and I don’t have syphilis. I am sure Mark will be glad to know that. My blood pressure is fine (for “my condition”), so unless I am hypoglycaemic, he is at a loss to explain why I am having dizzy spells.

What is a worry, is that I seem to have lost 3 kilos in about a week – despite the fact that I am eating as much, and as well, as I can.

I’ve been given a week off work, so I have stocked up on carbs, and got home in time for Oprah.

I have promised to do some product shots for work today, so I will also photograph the gorgeous booties that Bex made Ampersand on the weekend. Prepare for extreme cuteness.

Comments Redux

I have found the Subscribe to Comments link at the bottom of the page, and made it a little more prominent on the right sidebar. Hopefully that will make things a little easier.

Thanks everybody for your comments, I have decided to take your advice, and respond in comment unless the content is too scary for public consumption!

In spawn news, we have just met Anna, our doula for the first time, and found her to be lovely. Yay!

Life in Denistone

Friday night was a long one. Aunty Emily had a heart attack, and has been taken to Liverpool Hospital. She “came over all weak and floppy”, she has had a blockage removed already but may need more surgery. We went over to Hurlstone Park to collect Cocky, who spent Friday night in our shower. She wasn’t impressed with being put in a cat carrier for the trip, and bit Mark thoroughly through his welders gloves. I am afraid she may have hurt a wing, but since I don’t know what is normal for this bird, I am loathe to put her through the stress of another car ride (the only avian vet that is open on a Sunday is miles away) while she is just settling in.

We have made her a much bigger house (though still tiny for such a large parrot), which she will hopefully learn to like more than the tiny cage she has been in for the last god knows how many years.

Saturday morning we made a quick trip out to Dural for the 80th birthday of an old family friend. Mary and her family lived next door to us when we were growing up, and Mary was like a third grandmother to Adam and I. I haven’t seen her in years, so it was lovely to be able to see her on such a momentous occasion, and to introduce her to Mark – and to tell her our news. It was also great to catch up with Donna, her daughter, who I have always adored.

We then went to Bunnings to buy Cockatoo house fixings. Note to self: Just because one’s husband has an honours degree in pure maths does not mean he is capable of simple calculation. I believe we’ll be popping in to Bunnings again today.

Then off to Rubi + Lana’s for the late shift. THe shop closes at 2pm, I got there about 2.30pm, so no shopping for me (which could be a good thing). Too ill to do much knitting, but the (insert superlative here) Kate gave me three balls of gorgeous fluffy orange stuff with an alpaca base, and a bath bomb which will get used very soon. Thanks Kate!

Still feeling vile, I dragged myself home, and into bed. Got up a couple of times to supervise cockatoo house building, but head-spins and dizziness drove me back to my bed.

It’s now sunday morning, and I promise some pictures of the new arrival as soon as Mark gets up. I can’t contemplate getting out of bed without a full breakfast, and a significant lie in.

PS. Cocky needs a name. I can’t go to the vet with a magnificent bird with a name like “Cocky”. The ignominy.
PPS. I hate myself a little for saying this, but 45 days in prison for Paris Hilton brings me joy. Hopefully that means 45 days of no “Paris News”. I can hardly wait.

I have a Doula!

Anna is going to be there to help me negotiate the minefield, and also be a support person for Mark if he needs it. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia page if you’d like more information about what a doula does.

I’ve just spoken to Sandra (sadly blogless, but a regular at SSK) who kindly talked me through the choices of care available, and explained some jargon – like the difference between team care and caseload care in a birthing unit. Sandra was very reassuring, and I now feel a lot less panicked about the whole situation. She validated my choices, and made me feel like I’m not crazy. I wish I had spoken to her much earlier!

I am thinking that Hornsby Hospital is looking good, but since they don’t accept bookings until 14 weeks, I have a while to make up my mind. Anna is coming over to meet us on sunday morning, and once we’ve sorted things out with her, hopefully she can help me make the right choices. And since she is neither a midwife nor an obstetrician, she has nothing invested in the outcomes that I choose.

I even managed to get some washing and some shopping done today. But now I am taking to my bed.


Apparently, as soon as people know you are pregnant, you get offered all sorts of advice. Which I am sure would get annoying in the long term, but right now I am floundering, and need all the help I can get.

I have to choose where this baby will be born, and I have to choose very soon. Most of the checkups and tests are done through the obstetrician or the hospital where you will give birth. And since I am not really convinced of the value of an obstetrician in a low risk pregnancy, I think I am looking for either a midwife or a doula.

I don’t have a midwife, or a doula. Or an obstetrician, or a hospital, or even a GP that will do shared care. All I have is a due date, and a picture of a fuzzy grey blob.

I found a great midwife, but she is fully booked for my due date. She is posting me a list of other midwives that I will call as soon as I get it (hopefully tomorrow).

Unfortunately, I am still very much in the dark as to what would be best for me. I have always been a big believer in taking a pill if I had a headache, but this is a much bigger decision. I am very attracted to having the baby at home, with my husband and a midwife. But I also think that being near medical help is a good idea “just in case”. This rules out my local hospital (Ryde doesn’t have the advanced equipment necessary for all emergencies), so I’ll have to look at a larger hospital.

I think I’m having a low risk pregnancy, but apparently Ryde might reject me anyway, due to my BMI. I have private health care, but still haven’t checked what is covered and what is not.

So if I choose a birthing centre, can I take my own midwife? Or doula? Which is more appropriate/better?

I have seen a friend give birth in a birthing centre, and I’m not afraid, but I am concerned that the discontinuity of care is jarring. We went through three shift changes during her labour, and two of the three midwives had the bedside manner of a barracuda.

My other concerns are that if I don’t have a qualified advocate with me in the hospital, I’ll get pushed into having an episiotomy. I also hate the idea of being forced to lie down to deliver (squatting just seems to make so much more sense).

Sorry to ramble on, just feeling like I am negotiating a minefield.

And here is a picture of Custard. He is the Destroyer of Worlds. And Playstation controllers.



&Week10002 2

That would explain the throwing up. And possibly the irritability and weeping. And the inability to cope with people that eat my beloved companion animals and insist on telling me how great they taste.

Edited to add: Due date is currently 23/11/07. Which is kind of spooky since our best man and woman are due on the 19th.