Halfway baby

We did it. We reached the halfway mark. 20 weeks down, 20 to go.

I wouldn’t be very honest if I said I wasn’t scared shitless. Tomorrow brings our 20 week anatomy scan. I’m just counting down the hours for the radiographer to tell us our baby has no arms or no brain or something sticking out of his/her neck. I know it’s hopelessly cynical but I just can’t shake the possibility. Good news however is that we heard a pretty decent heartbeat last week with our midwife. I thought the heartbeat would be hard to find beneath the heaviness of my Mt Vesuvius food baby Sunisha but nope, Gherkin is making himself/herself known.

We’ve decided we will find out what we’re having. As my dearest husband (DH – they say on all the baby forums – those things are a whole new world haha) would say, there’s something lovely about getting to know your baby that little bit more. We have decided though that we may not tell people. Not to be annoying and not coz we think everyone actually cares what our baby is up to, but things are so public these days that were pretty keen to keep something ours. Also, I like wearing blue and I like wearing pink. If we have a girl, she can wear blue too. If we have a boy, he can wear pink. Gender shouldn’t bear too much effect on my kids clothing.

Having a baby must be one of the most overwhelming things I’ve ever experienced. I was pretty darn stoked that I don’t get a period for 9 months but no one told me until recently that you get about 9 months worth of period in one hit… and then some. In all the lists of things to pack in your hospital bag that I can find on the internet, no one says anything about packing the most maxi of all maxi pads you can find. And speaking of lists, what about all the crap they tell you that you’ll probably need for your newborn baby? Furniture I can do but what is a sleep suit?? Is that the same as PJs or similar to a tiny person sleeping bag?? And what is a swaddle?? Is that something to do with how I walk?

I tell ya what… Google is both a blessing and a curse while pregnant. Every week I look up stages of fetal development and every week I read about miscarriages during that week of development. So much for celebrating each day Gherkin is with us eh?? Like I said, its a cynical and fearful and worrisome time. But if I’m not lazy I’ll tell you how many arms baby G has tomorrow.

Love & Peace,

L

On Jojack & Gherkin…

Monday 24th November 2014

The last blogpost I wrote wasn’t the most pleasant and it seems weird that I would choose today, Jojack’s birthdate, to write again, but alas… it’s happening.

Today, I would have been due to give birth. I’m told that’s the point where emotions can be quite difficult. Today however, I’m in two different places. I’m sad that Jojack will never physically be part of our lives. I’m sad that we won’t get to play with him, cuddle him or get to know him. But on the flipside, we’re pregnant with Gherkin and that is something we can celebrate. We’ve reached some degree of safety this time where fears are slightly decreased, but there’s always that niggle in the back of my mind wondering whether the 2% of late miscarriages will happen to me.

I don’t ever want to forget Jojack, but I also don’t want to be so lost in Jojack, that I forget about Gherkin. It’s been a difficult 3 months. Constantly in the back of my mind has been that apprehension and fear of whether we’ll make it through the next week… or day even. But last week, I wrote in a personal journal entry that I had made this decision… a decision that I would celebrate every moment that Gherkin is with us, instead of fearing every moment that she/he may or may not be with us. Anything could happen. Gherkin may be with us for 1 week, or 30 years. We just don’t know, but it’s hard to live as though someone might be gone tomorrow. Imagine if I did that to Drew… if I clung on to him so tightly that we just weren’t able to live. We’re so overcome by what might happen that we just forget about what IS happening.

The fears are always very current and very real so it’s hard to hold those fears in tension with excitement and apprehension. And let’s face it, the very prospect of becoming parents is scary in itself eh lol.

Grief like cancer…

I started writing a post a couple of weeks ago. Until today, I had totally forgotten about it. I was on a plane from Christchurch to Wellington reflecting on death and cancer – my eyes welling up with tears having only moments before just learned of my cousin’s death to cancer. Here’s what I began writing…

Sunday 8th June 2014
I just finished reading John Green’s “The Fault of Our Stars”. I finished it late last night. If you haven’t read it, I highly and thoroughly recommend it. For those of you who have read it, you may understand just how ripped apart I feel.

Everyone wants to live.
Even cancer wants to live.
But my cousin… she died.

Yesterday in fact.

It’s a difficult thing to wake up and find your facebook newsfeed so full of pictures of your cousin who only a few days ago found out she had cancer. My immediate thought was that people were wishing her all the best for her battle. But the further I scrolled, the more I could see grief, loss and sympathy. That moment was so unreal so I called my dad to ask him what was going on. It was exactly as I had feared. My spunky cousin was gone. Cancer wanted to live, so she died.

It’s not always easy to hear and discover heartbreaking and devastating news on social media sites but as I sit here on this plane reflecting, I think maybe it’s easier to tell it. The internet isn’t a face. There are no tears on your screen, apart from the ones dripping from your own face. There are no awkward questions about how she died. There are no silly stutters as people search for those foreign words of condolence. You can shout it into the void of the internet, and you can walk away. And even better, you the condolence-giver have time to search for those foreign words.

 

I’ve experienced a few deaths in the last few months that have had some effect on my inner-person. I have cried my fair share of tears this year. It’s been both emotionally and spiritually draining. I don’t hold to much faith these days. I belong to a community of people who meet together once a month – who appreciate where I’m at in my current life circumstance and we journey along anyway. Sometimes we talk about faith stuff – God, Jesus, the like. After my cousin died, I kept coming back to thoughts about the afterlife. No one can really give you anything specific – like what’s happening now for my cousin. Where is she at? But there’s this comforting idea that she’s here making sure he babies are going to be ok before she passes on to something different. There’s the comforting idea that they’re all together – all our deceased loved ones.

Before they closed up her coffin, I, a blubbering mess, whispered one thing into her ear…
“I love you cuz – please take care of my Jojack.”

If there’s anything these past few tragedies have taught me – it’s that life is soooo much shorter than we want it to be. I want to write a whole lot more about it but I feel like John Green speaks them all for me. You should just read it. At the end of the day, we get our infinities. Lots of infinities. Maybe not as infinite as that guy over there, but we have today.

I also learned that funerals aren’t for the dead but for the living. I’ve seen a few this past year and I have often wondered whether the dead person would appreciate it as an accurate reflection of their life. But the grieving process is more than just an hour long church service and a few Hail Mary’s. It’s the gathering group who sit with my endlessly sleeping cousin and sing songs to her. It’s the band of boys who gather over a beer to share stories. It’s the grieving couple who sit and reflect on what kind of personality their miscarried child might have had.

This grief, the reflection on loss, the celebration of life – they all take shape in different ways or forms. And that’s ok. Surely.

 

 

On grief, loss and Jojack

Up until a month ago exactly, I was pregnant…

I’ve always wanted kids and I was always excited about having them sometime in the future. However, reality tells a different story. I struggled to find any unreserved excitement. If anything, I was scared. The first 12 weeks of pregnancy seem like that for many women. For women struggling to get pregnant at all, that moment of finding out is the most exciting thing in the world, but for me (and it all happened so incredibly quickly), I was freaked out. Only a couple of days earlier, I was having a few drinks with colleagues. A few drinks turned into a few too many and then into several too many. Then suddenly, can’t eat that, can’t eat that either, don’t eat that, don’t drink that, don’t stress too much, don’t sit on the ground, don’t wander around at night, just relax, and make sure you’re taking your folic acid.

I don’t know if I can begin to describe what it’s like to miscarry a baby. I consider myself an empathetic person and I’ve journeyed alongside people who have miscarried before, but I don’t think you really know how it feels until it all falls out from inside of you and you can do nothing to stop it from happening. And then you pick it all up, hold it in your hands and you wonder what on earth went wrong. 3 days ago, you could see a healthy heartbeat and you could see tiny little Jojack and today you’re holding little Jojack in the palm of your hand. It is a dirty rush of emotions (and I mean rush). One minute I’m fine and within the hour, I’m clutching my gut in agony but I can’t tell which hurts more, my suddenly empty abdomen or my suddenly holey heart. And you’re searching for people to share your agony with but they don’t quite get it. In fact, your facebook newsfeed is overloaded with photos of recently born babies, pregnancy announcements and pictures of healthy scans. Why can’t that be Jojack?

Them tears, they flow.

Jojack is a funny name. Hubby and I had a conversation once about what we would call a child if ever we were to have one. He said Jojack as a bit of a joke. Then Jojack became more a term of endearment, a funny little person with a funny little personality, a bit geeky, a bit nerdy and a bit crazy like his/her parents (and very imaginative like his/her parents).

It makes me sad that there’ll never be another Jojack, that he’ll never live to make us laugh or smile.

There is something dramatically unfair about the way that life pans out. And believe me, I felt it. I’ve never cried so much in my life. The tears are unending. Now, four weeks later, it’s like it never even happened… like Jojack wasn’t even real. But I still weep for what could have been and I still envy mother’s who can listen to their babies cry and laugh and snore and cough and breathe. I’m halfway between excitement for my friends and general guttedness.
A large part of me wonders whether I can put myself through that again. I fear that the next pregnancy will produce the same result… more pain, more tears and some more fighting with my husband. But for now, I guess we’ll just see…

image

sidenote:
After publishing this, I was sent a reminder as to why I posted it in the first place. It’s the loneliest journey in the world. I’m inspired by the strength of women who have suffered, even to a greater extent than I with numerous miscarriages. And in fact, the same week we miscarried, we also lost a friend and fellow musician. I cannot imagine the pain if burying a 26 year old son.
In some ways I feel disrespectful speaking about something so taboo and sacred, but when I was going through it, I felt like I was grasping out in the dark chasms of both real and virtual worlds for a hand that would help me navigate what I was then experiencing.
I’m not without hope. Nor am I without self-respect. Just with a little brutal and painful honesty because that’s what connects us in the end.
🙂

Te Whare of Earl Grey

It’s been a while since I posted anything. I guess life has been a little busy. I’m an almost qualified social worker so let me update while thinking about Maori frameworks of care.

Taha Tinana
My physical health seems to have taken a backburner in light of everything going on. While I’ve been on a journey of eating some great food, these past two months have seen some not so great food enter my mouth. It’s not been the greatest time but we’re working at getting back on track.

Taha Wairua
Drew and I have been on a spiritual journey and just recently we attended a Presbyterian gathering in Wellington full of people thinking about new ways of doing and being a church community. Drew and I were there with 2 other couples from our church gathering and it was really cool having encouraging and challenging conversations with these, our people, getting to know them a little better, and understanding them a little deeper.

Taha Whanau
When we came back to Christchurch, we brought our 6 year old niece with us. Spending time with her has been lovely. She’s a curious girl full of questions about life. But it’s really hard trying to explain DNA, chromosomes and Downs Syndrome to a 6 year old. Also, since I wrote my last post, my younger 17 year old sister came to live with us. She’s pretty cool. Drew’s been teaching her to drive and teaching her cooking skills. He’s also pretty cool.
And in other news, my best lady is getting married. I’m really really excited about this.
On the other, not so exciting, side of it all, Drew’s aunt is really sick at the moment. We’re really worried about her and Drew’s mum and grandma, and how they’re taking it.

Taha Hinengaro
How am I feeling? I guess all of the above contribute to this sense of “doing ok”. It’s been a long time since we felt really spiritually enriched and that enrichment has brought me to a place of being ok with my spirituality. It’s pretty hard to understand, but I’m in a place of contentedness. I’m in talks with an organisation about a possible job offer. After two years of some pretty hard study. This is exciting. It’s also exciting when businesses don’t actually have the position but are jumping through hoops to find money and get you to work for them, because you are someone valuable to them.

So yeah… that’s my update for now.
Shower time and meeting time, now that I’ve finished my Earl Grey.

Love,
L

After ages of non-food related postings…

…I think it’s time.

I’m not gonna lie. I spent about a week eating crap… and drinking whiskey. There were a few happys to celebrate and a few sads to drown. And at the end of that week, I’d earned myself an unhealthy 2kgs. This may seem pretty minor but I’m so close to the 90s I can smell it. I started at a whopping 141.7kgs. I can talk about it pretty freely these days because I’m not that anymore, but flip, that’s what I used to be. Now, I’m breathing heavily down the neck of 99.9, but then something happens, temptation calls, and Lani falls.

Alas, I’m on day 2 of my “deviation-free” journeying with my food plan.
I’ll tell you now, it’s pretty tough getting back into it when you’re on a roll with the crap eating business. Once you let that chip down your throat, the rest of the handful has gotta go down too. And then you might as well keep going since you’re already off route anyway. Stupid but true mentality. Also not gonna lie… had a mental breakdown the other day. I was totally over eating healthy food, and I threw a tantrum and told my husband that I wasn’t going to eat lunch… then I told him I was going to eat McDonalds. But then after some gentle convincing on his behalf, I took vege & cheese bake to work and ate that. I got to morning tea time and felt grateful I had lunch (thanks honey!!). Although… yesterday, some women were doing a fundraiser selling curries for a good cause. There are 19 people in my office and 3 people didn’t order curry. One doesn’t like hot food (and I’ve never seen him eat food before anyway), one is vegetarian but she was out… which left me.
Do you remember at primary school when they used to have sausage sizzle days (or canteen days or buy your lunch day or whatever)? And there was always that one kid that didn’t bring their $2?? Totally felt like that kid.

All negativities aside however, I’m actually doing ok.
I can fit a size 16 pair of jeans. I haven’t been size 16, probably since I was 16. But do you know what this means??? It means I can shop at “normal people” shops!! WOAH!!
When you’re a size 22, the last thing you like doing is shopping, because most “normal” shops only go up to 16. So it means you’re limited to the “fat people section” in Farmers, Ezi-buy, or Postie… or Trademe (which is often less depressing).
This is pretty awesome because it means cheaper shopping.

Sad news is that my consultant has moved on. She’s been pretty amazingly supportive and encouraging. Though I don’t need much. Just a good kick up the arse now and again. That said, my husband is about the best support I could ever ask for. We often talk about strengths-based practice in social work and he epitomises it.
“you’re doing amazing!!” “Oh wow!! Look at you go!!”
The guy is a bubbling ball of positivity and I love him.

Anyway, I’ve lost 38kgs now. That’s pretty amazing right?

Peace out homies,
L

 

Don’t judge Chris Brown…

I wrote this last week when I was away in Palmerston North… just some things I was thinking about…

My friend (and now sister-in-law) and I, used to get together often and chat about life. It was an open forum where we could come and chat about things we were struggling with, things worth celebrating and a little something that we were learning from popular culture. We had plenty of teachers – Lady Gaga, Pink, Pussy Cat Dolls, etc. Sounds ridiculous I know, but even though they like to talk crap (or sing crap), popstars always have something on their mind that might be worth hearing. You might be surprised.
I love lots of different styles of music. Lots. My mum had a Bryan Adams tape for the car. After the John Farnham one crapped out, Bryan was the only voice we heard while in the car, except at Christmas time when the Boney M Christmas album was busted out. Is it any wonder we bought Bee Gees and Westlife for the parents when we could? A little more variation is preferable. They had lots of records too… mostly Beatles. Dad was a Genesis/Phil Collins fan and was in to UB40 and Bob Marley. As teenagers, my brother and I really got into Hip Hop/R&B (like most brown kids), and further along I started listening to more metal, punk, blues, etc.

Today was Chris Brown day.
He was made famous quite young for a series of pop hits he made when he was 16 or something. These days people know him better for things like beating Rihanna, cheating on Rihanna, Rihanna, etc.
Crazy.
I recently heard one of his songs. He might have written it or it may have been written for him. Either way I don’t know, but it seems appropriate. The song is called “don’t judge me”. He’s basically singing it to a girl pleading with her not to judge him for his previous actions. He doesn’t deny his previous wrongdoings but asks that she don’t hold them against him.
“Please don’t judge me.
I won’t judge you.
‘Cause it could get ugly before it gets beautiful,” he sings.
…Or it could just get ugly.

The guy has a point ay. I’m away in Palmerston North at the moment and I’m absolutely useless without my home comforts. I just kinda mull around and watch stupid TV. I happened to watch a little bit of Entertainment TV while I was waiting for Home n Away and they were doing an expose on bad fathers. Among the list of bad dads was Tiger Woods, made famous for his cheating scandal. There was a media lady talking about how he’ll never live it down and how life is going to suck for his kids because even though they were young when it all happened, the whole history of Tiger’s indiscretions is posted all over the internet now and that’s a permanent imprint on his kids future. I guess it’s true that with the internet, there’s no living anything down. Once it’s up, it’s up. I can’t imagine how awful that would be. Thank God I’m not famous. Don’t think I like the idea of Fishbowl-living. In saying that though, I also don’t have the greatest track record. I think I’ve said that before. I told Drew about all my previous mistakes pretty early in our relationship. He said they were part of what made me me and he was so proud of who I was that he chose to love all of me as I was. And the mistakes haven’t been all mine. I’m just as proud of my husband and who he is and the journey he’s taken to discover who he is, even if that hasn’t been all great.

I guess it just makes me think about the way we treat people. There’s often not a whole lot of room for second chances. We as spectators can be horribly brutal when it comes to an indiscretion made by one of our heroes. I wonder what the reaction would have been if Richie McCaw did what Tiger Woods did? I wonder how New Zealand would respond? I’m not sure. I mean, what both Tiger & Chris did were awful things, but will Tiger ever be a well-respected golfer again? Will Chris Brown still sell albums like he did before?

Just something I’m thinking about.

Take me as I am,
Not who I was…