Google Glass Breastfeeding support trial

In the weeks before we left Sydney, I was fortunate to be one of the counsellors on roster for this innovative trial. It was a great success, with all of our mums achieving their breastfeeding goals and feeling supported. I hope that the lessons we learned during this trial will help to inform us with how we support mothers into the future – technology can be very helpful when used thoughtfully.

http://breastfeeding.smallworldsocial.com

Adventures

Today I did my first session as a counsellor for a new project trialling using Google Glass for breastfeeding information and support. I didn’t get any calls, but I did have a lovely time fiddling with the technology (I don’t get the glasses, just the software!), and working out the kinks. And I got started on uni for this semester, Cognition I, another one of those units that puts fear into the hearts of second year students. I’m only doing one subject this semester, with the aim of getting great results and lifting my GPA – and eventually being offered a place in honours.

And… There is further talk of Mark going to New Zealand. Still nothing confirmed, but we have agreed to the idea of thinking about considering a short term move. No idea what we would do with the house, or the creatures, or any practicalities, and it all may fall over (if a single person without a family volunteers for the role!), but we’ll see.

Breastfeeding Guilt

For years I have been sick to death of being told that I shouldn’t provide breastfeeding education because it “makes women who can’t breastfeed feel guilty”.

Finally, a fairly mainstream parenting expert has come out with a response to this rubbish that is a lot more articulate than me quoting Eleanor Roosevelt (“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent”) and my vague half formed rants about denying women information about an important health issue is patronising and ridiculous.

Thank you Pinky McKay!

Sooooo….

After a scare last week, and a mammogram this week, it would appear that I don’t have breast cancer. There is some comfort in knowing that I have already lived through the worst thing I am ever likely to experience, but I am grateful not to have to deal with that particular pile of steaming crap.

But a friend of a friend is. She has two babies, one a little younger than the Squish, and one less than a year old. SHe thought she had a blocked duct, but it’s an aggressive cancer, and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy. Apparently, there is a 90% chance that she will still be alive in five years time.

So after dealing with a metric buttload of misery myself in the past few weeks, I am taking up my knitting in earnest. I am going to knit two chemo caps for two people who need something warm and beautiful on their heads, and I am going to go easy on myself for just a little while, and take the time to knit some love and healing.

Last week, a package came from America. A stunning shawl, knit with love from a dear friend who couldn’t be here to hug me. I wish I had a picture to do it justice, but Cecelia, your shawl has become my lucky shawl. I wore it when I went to have my mammogram done on Tuesday.

Queer Friendly Vegetarian Attachment Parents in Granville

A long time ago, I had a little fantasy about meeting other cool people in Granville.

Since then, I have met lots of cool people, and I am loving living here. We’ve been worrying about where Inigo is going to go to school in 2013, and considered moving, but really, we love it here and don’t want to move. Plus, our house has increased in value by about $80,000 while we have lived here.

But today, I met some babywearing, vegetarian mums! I am so happy I could just fall over.

Except that now I have a lunch menu to plan, I have to cook something impressive when they come over 😉

Parenting Expo

I am slowly easing my way back into ABA volunteering, and yesterday I did a few hours at the expo. It was fine, but one conversation made me want to scream.

Very obviously pregnant lady approaches…

Lara – Hi, do you need some information?

VOPL – I’m having twins.

Lara – (Grits teeth) Congratulations.

VOPL – yeah, right. Do you want one?

Lara – (In my own head, I say, “yes, desperately. I want both of them). Outwardly, I just smile. If only she knew what I had been through, she would never think those things, let alone say them to a perfect stranger.

But I understand. After the shock, and the pain, I understand.

Fiji

We’re off on Tuesday the 26th, and back on the 5th of May. We all have passports, and apparently I will be able to travel on my ticket despite the fact that my passport is still in my old name. We have Fiji dollars, we have sunscreen, and we have a small budget (Mark’s company will reimburse us for “expenses”, but I don’t want to bankrupt them with my daiquiri bill!).

Inigo asks every day, “are we going to Fiji today mama?”, and Bev and Ted have been showing him pictures of his father in Fiji at a similar age.

I’m not excited yet, because I still feel like it’s not real. It’s too amazing, and generous, and crazy, and I suppose I am still a little out of touch with reality.

I went to the neonatal loss support group at SIDS & Kids today, and consequently was a bit of a mess this afternoon. But there were women (and a man) there whose losses were a lot more recent than mine, so it was a positive experience to reflect on the rawness of their grief, and to realise that I really have come a long way in a short space of time.

Archie would have been six months old the day after we get back from Fiji. I’d be getting info about when to start solids for his adjusted age, and watching his gross motor skills develop in leaps and bounds. His curly hair would be doing its thing, and I’d be watching him get fatter and fatter week by week as I breastfed him, and breathed in his scent as he fell asleep in my arms.

Of course, if we had Aubrey too, the fantasy has a few more vomit stained tracksuits and a lot more screaming, but hey, it’s my fantasy…

Lactation Suppression

After Archimedes died, doctors told me they were going to give me a pill to dry up my milk.

I asked for more information about the side effects of the medication (which include seizures, depression and heart problems – in retrospect, I think that I made the right decision, given everything else that was going on!). My file was marked “Refused Treatment”, and I was ignored after that.

Because I am a breastfeeding counsellor, I knew a Lactation Consultant, who reminded me to check the electronic ABA files I have access to. The ABA publish a booklet called “Lactation Suppression”, for when a baby dies or a mother is unable, or chooses not to breastfeed her baby for whatever reason, and needs to suppress lactation. I was able to log in and download a copy of this booklet from my hospital bed, and treat myself, after being punished by the hospital for asking for information.

At the funeral, I asked people for donations instead of flowers. It was my intention to use these donations to buy bulk supplies of the lactation suppression booklet, and to have them on hand in Sydney hospitals for women who found themselves in a similar situation to me. I also talked to my regional rep within ABA, and a few other contacts.

Well, my story got out. And today I was emailed a link to the ABA website where the lactation suppression booklet has been uploaded in full, for anyone to access. I feel a huge sense of relief, and I hope that if there are women out there who need the information, they are able to access it easily, and not have to suffer through what I went through.

My body was able to cry the tears of milk that should have been nourishing my babies. And now I need to find a new “mission” for the generous donations.