I feel like that's been the opening line for a number of posts this year. No, I'm not going to check.
The conference was great! It was a co-badged event with the Australian College of Midwives, The Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine. There were guest speakers from Canada and the USA, and all over Australia. There were some ugly, shameful statistics and some stories of hope and inspiration. Most of all there were stories that traced the pattern of the erosion of normal birth, and these are steps that can be reversed to a large extent to reduce the interventions in normal birth, reclaim the skills that have been lost (i.e. vaginal breech birth) as a result of overestimation of risk and to increase 'parturient autonomy'. This will also free up midwives to practise more fully with women within the full scope of their skills that they already have. We heard the terms VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean), NBAC (next birth after caesarean) and GBAC (Give Birth A Chance!!), industrialised birth, and in an hilarious debate heard an obstetrician challenge anyone to approach a woman labouring on all fours (as her pelvis would dictate) and to perform a CS 'doggie style'. Ah, it was an earthy crowd! (BTW, I have no idea who that fat chick is on the right wearing my clothes).
The Gold Coast of Queensland is an area I have never been to before, but it has a lot to offer. I was picked up by my dear friend Kate (who was married on the beach in March) and we drove back into northern NSW to see her little town where she started work this week. What a lovely spot. She and her husband have just bought a beautiful property backing onto two national forests and plan to birth their first child at home on the property in March next year. Kate has just started to 'pop' - so exciting- can you see the bump? After a bit of lunch we headed back over the border and checked into the hotel and had a nanna nap. Then off to the reception and opening speeches which really set the scene well for the next few days.
We ate well, especially the conference dinner on Friday night sponsored by the Northern Territory crowd which featured Darwin market food - such delicious variety! Asian influenced, bush tucker, kangaroo and emu, oysters, limes, fish, absolutely fanastic food. The hotel was good, and catered well for milling crowds of midwives and others without long queues. It was really great to get a chance to meet others from my state and elsewhere, and share info from the concurrent sessions that we had attended. The program was really well organised, not a dud among them. A great success. I even put my plump toes into the Pacific Ocean at dusk on the last night, and collected some tiny rocks and shells for my collection. So Natalie, if you go and have a toe-dip in a few weeks time - we'll be sharing wading water!
On Sunday I headed to the airport for the trip to Melbourne to see my niece perform for her graduation concert. She was really lovely, and in good company. There were 14 dancers graduating and each was featured in various ways and within larger ensembles. Without bias I can say she was in the top group of performers that night. She certainly deserves good things to come her way. I hung out with my sister, niece and Mum and because accomodation was a bit squashy I lobbed in with another niece for the night, so got to see her, her partner, and her sister and husband (the Melbourne wedding of March this year) for brekky the next morning. What a gorgeous group of young people they are! SO interesting. They all went off to work and I returned to my sister's place for the day.
We went to see Wall-E which I had been looking forward to for ages. I confess I was slightly disappointed. I got the concept from the start, but found the rest of it predictable. I laughed out loud at some bits. I was touched, but not deeply moved as I had expected to be from the hype. There was nothing terrible about it, it just didn't rock my world as I had expected. Palpable waves of boredom from the seats alongside probably didn't enhance my aesthetic experience. I think the rest of the party were annoyed for having been persuaded by me to go! Sigh. Choosing a film is such a responsibility!
The last leg of my jaunt was to get to the airport early - never usually a priority for me. Why? WHY? To have my first blogmeet! It was so exciting! How would I recognise them? I had seen a few photos of Frogdancer, but never one of Widget (deliberately). But having spoken on the phone to Froggie a few times I was quite sure I would know that voice anywhere! And I knew she would be carrying a bag containing a QIP (a Quilt in Progress). So I was looking for a shortish woman, carrying a bag, talking a blue-streak with a woman who looked like a 'thirty-something' blogger who could be a music teacher. I look pretty much the same as my photo up in the corner. And I had texted them to tell them where I was sitting. But I spotted them first! (I think).
It was like meeting old friends, in many respects, except I had 'forgotten' what their faces looked like. I won't again. We had a really easy time together, within the culinary confines of the airport, although we didn't have to resort to Hungry Jacks (phew). We discussed the pros and cons of Pierce Brosnan vs Daniel Craig as 007 (verdict: neither would be turfed out of boudoirs), mutually confessed our mucousy reactions to the deaths in the last 2 Harry Potter books (it was all too close to the surface for, ahem, some of us) and talked employment history and how nannying really is a rehearsal for teaching.
But the piece-de-resistance was seeing the progress on the quilt. A while back Frogdancer was having a pretty crappy time, so I decided that she needed a quilt and should raid my (considerable) stash and derive some comfort from it. It was such fun putting together the package for her in pinks, greens and neutralsand sadly didn't even make a dent in the stash, but I can now reveal the result! Its just lovely. So beautiful. From 66 different fabrics for scrappy quilt, Froggie has produced this. Tah-dah! Take a bow Froggie! She's done a wonderful job with it all, and there was enough fabric leftover to make a potholder for Widget and me as little side presents. I'll treasure it - and its not going NEAR a pot I can tell you! These are Widget's hands displaying pressies, with her rings removed for de-identifying purposes. I gave them each a tiny bracelet with red and green beads with butterflies, and I have one too. We're a team!Widget takes her anonymity seriously! But will see me in Perth again in December when she is in WA for a holiday. Woo-hoo! Next blogmeet my place! I was a bit self-conscious at first, but my plane was delayed and it was just as well - we got on so well we could have talked for ages! It was really nice to meet them both - I wish Froggie had been able to bring her boys too! Isn't the internet an amazing medium?
So here I am, back at home and loving it as I have a week off work now. And a daughter home to keep me company (I didn't plan for that). I did have plans for creating and crafting in my jammies all day, but its Wednesday already and we have appointments together and .... rats. I'm still catching up on all the bloglines to read (208 on return - yikes!) Still I will definitely be making more Wild Women brooches for upcoming birthdays and the like, and if I could just get Blogger to cooperate with uploading photos (3 tries with no luck) I would be well happy. We did a bit of craft together yesterday, and I plan more today. Its good for both of us.
The news on baby JJ is that he has been moved to the children's hospital and is not fabulous. I will probably see them this week too. I am their midwife, and want to see this through.
Must dash! Please de-lurk and leave a comment and say hi, and maybe where you are from! Its the nearest I can come to putting the kettle on!
Have a good week!