Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

A quiet life

Well, we've had 'the talk'.

I made it quite clear that it was unacceptable to know so much about their intimate life. And for our visitors to hear so much about it even at the other end of the house.

Would she make that much and that kind of noise at her mother's house? I was boldly told 'Yes, I do actually'. So I encouraged her to do it there instead, because I never, ever wanted to hear these sounds from her again. All luck to her for her talents, good for her, I had no objection to them engaging in sex, per se, at all. I just didn't need to hear it. Nor did his sister on the other side of the wall. Nor did his dad, his aunty, or I need to hear it. I was NOT kidding. I was approaching her directly about it because seven discussions with our son had been ineffectual.

There was no apology, from either of them.

They couldn't skedaddle back to his room quick enough and stayed in his room all evening, only emerging after my husband had gone to bed to have a 30 minute shower and talk loudly in the echo-y bathroom right next door to where hubby was sleeping. (insert grinding of teeth here)

They stayed in his room all day until 5pm, undoubtedly trying out silencing methods which must have worked because I didn't hear a peep out of them apart from talking and laughing occasionally. She left late in the day.

He wandered into my bedroom and asked if I was happier with the course of the day. I reiterated the level of distress that had built up over the last four months, and how I was quite clear about this being non-negotiable, about how it had been widely discussed with all and sundry in the suburbs and how I was by no means an island in feeling so alienated by their behaviour.

I described the advice about suitcases, buckets of water, ultimatums and unpleasantness on upcoming trips and the remainder of the year, and the undesirability of such courses of actions when compared to the relatively small price of cohabiting as adults while remembering our manners. I told him how much their voices carried. Especially in bathrooms late at night. How inconsiderate they had been. I described how my holiday period had begun with the frustration of being constantly hemmed in the house with a caterwauling young woman invading my personal and mental space being not at all what I had planned and now my final day of potential alone-ness was gone and I was pretty annoyed.

I wanted him to truly understand not only which side of his bread was buttered but how thick that butter was for a relatively small price of civility. The time was coming when he would be buttering it for himself, and it was important that he not take our butter for granted, and that would require some consideration for this final period of time we would be living together.

I think we have reached a new level of understanding. He said he was glad we had had it out. We had a few chuckles. We remain friends, but with a new, non-negotiable boundary.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

See that thing on the right?

How do these things get handed out?

I ignored it for a bit, thinking it was a viral phishing code, but as I have barely posted anything this year I thought it would make for another post! Desperate huh?

Anyway, I have really mixed feelings about any such thing. You've probably noticed that I don't write so much recently about work and individual births. This is because I was heavily warned off by a series of events, including a lecture on cyber-presence and how one is vulnerable to 'flaming' if radical groups find you and take you on. Examples were given and my blog was used (among others) to illustrate the talk. This blog IS in the public domain, so it IS fair game to such things. No permission was necessary. But it made me feel vulnerable.

I also received a few comments accusing me of breaching confidentiality. Just a few, scattered over one or two posts, mixed with many times more comments appreciating the posts. But coupled with the warning lecture it put me off. I didn't enjoy writing it anymore, even though I still felt the same way, and reflected just as much as I always had, it was just in my head, instead of on the page and shared with readers.

I wondered if I could leave stories to 'cool off' for a while before telling them. Then days became months, and so many stories fell away from my memory. And I got out of the habit of sharing them with you. I felt silenced, but safe from criticism.

There have been many, many stories I wish I could share.

I haven't actually seen a baby pushed from a vagina in months. Truly. I did have a woman pushing with me two weeks ago, a first timer, but after an hour it became clear she was going to need a hand to get her baby out. But the doctors were busy. So even though I stayed late after a nightshift, I still didn't see the baby emerge.

I had another woman, another first timer last week. She was being induced for post-dates at 11 days after her due date. The balloon catheter hadn't budged after 18 hours. We deflated it and applied hormone gel high in her vagina near the cervix to help ripen it. My shift ended and I handed over to another midwife and student, who were between 2 rooms. I could see she was contracting a bit, but I went home. I thought I would have her again the next day (our third day allocated together for continuity). But she was left alone for a long time on that shift as they got busy in the other room. She called the bell later that evening and was attended by a different midwife who, finding a woman in some distress and contracting a fair bit, examined her. She was 8cm and proceeded to push her baby out two hours later!

So, a good result in the end, and a relatively uninterfered with 'natural' birth after a second induction attempt. I saw her the next day and they were a bit stunned but delighted with their daughter. They were pretty lucky that the docs were busy elsewhere, and that she was able to be undisturbed, even if they felt abandoned. I was sad they felt under-supported in the building labour, but thrilled for her that she achieved a vaginal birth, against the suspicion that her induction would be deemed a failure.

After a summer in the homebirth arena, the shallow end of is still chafing to find myself in a high-risk environment. Yet I am largely proud of the work we do in that world. We see a lot of stuff. A LOT of stuff. Big Stuff. Confronting and complex stuff. Life threatening stuff. And we do it, and deal with it, and do it well a lot of the time.

There are some who don't cope or thrive in that environment. There are some who have forgotten it can ever be any different. And there are some who have a bare minimum of exposure to complexity and emergency, and pooh-pooh those who work in those environments. I've met them all. Birth can turn in an instant. Recognising the instant is the art.

As a midwife I want to experience it all. I don't want to become so indoctrinated to swimming with sharks that I forget to take off my chainmail when dealing with goldfish. Yet I don't want to forget that birth (and life) is bigger than the goldfish bowl of homebirth. Most of the world sits somewhere in between. Its a tricky balancing act.

Yet despite the tightrope act....I love being a midwife.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My life in dot points

Its all I can manage... But here are some questions Life has thrown at me lately.

  • Is it wrong to expect 24 year olds to silence their girlfriends during sex? Its been going on for 4 months now. When I was a girl I would have been mortified to think anyone would hear my activities....let alone be able to determine exactly how many orgasms constitutes a multiple event. Don't want to repress anyone's sensual life. Teensy bit of pride in son's ... um ... talents. Don't want to engender shame. It wouldn't be my shame anyhow. Just DON'T. Want. To. Hear. It. Any. More. Someone I was lamenting the situation to told me, "Laura, some women will come in a stiff breeze". Yes. So I hear. (sigh). Terse SMS war already on the issue. Repeated approaches to son to keep it down. Will I still be seeing this young woman at family meals with my grandchildren in 40 years time? Son's final university exam tomorrow. Am I a Bad, Disloyal, Enabling Mother? Or am I just being 'dissed'? Discuss.

  • Just how much stuff does one really need? Is it in inverse proportion to the amount of floorspace available for the purposes of walking around? (phew, moved out 4 crates of Stuff today, it helps already).

  • How long does one wait for midwifery models of care to shift? How does one bite one's tongue at the backroom discussions undermining women's desire for non-interventionist birth? Will I be happier in the long run just going independent and taking the blood pressure pills, being my own boss, and paying through the nose for PI insurance. Should I just move to New Zealand? How long is a piece of string? You get the idea. I'm doing a major review next week to take a snapshot of my career/practice so far. Why does one always feel ready to be shot down in flames. Am I trying to run before I can walk?

  • How will we face another major surgery for our daughter? This will be a biggie with the potential to really improve her life, but it won't be easy. It has come as a surprise, sort of. She's had similar surgery twice before, but doesn't remember it. I do. Gulp.

  • How good is it to have friends who love and support you? And listen to your whining. And write loving things about you. And share bookclub with you. And paint with you. And go to Vegas with you. I truly am blessed.

  • On a lighter note.....How good is this? Now these girls really know how to shop. And I thought I had good op-shops near me.

  • Will we all be fit and well enough for our trip? All four of us are limping or crippled in some aspect. This is lame (literally). We are all ready to feel well again. I am certainly sick of keeping the doctors in business, nice people though they are. I will keep taking (all) the tablets. Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean.

  • How will I pack? For 4 people, heading in 3 different directions at the end, for Sydney, Melbourne and Central Australia.

Bearing in mind that one must be alive to complain, and that we live in a well resourced country, with no war, and plentifully stocked supermarkets, and that our children have survived childhood, and that we have careers and sufficient income to service our whining whitebread world, and that I may just delete this whole post because I am so sick of the sound of my whining......answers on a postcard please.