Category: Miscellaneous Ava-related

Hey all,

So, sometimes I want to make a quick ‘she is growing up so fast/oh dear god we’re in trouble/damn I’m tired’ update or post a  ‘oh look how cute she is’ photo, but it’s too intensive to blog about it and I don’t like putting it up on FB because let’s face it – not everybody likes babies. So, I’m trialling twitter. I’ve just signed up and tweeted a couple of times. I have put in onto protected, so anybody who wants to see the tweets need to be approved – I don’t want haters commenting on my baby because I don’t have very thick skin. But, hit me up if you’re on twitter and if you’re not and you really like Ava (grandparents – this might be you!), I’d recommend creating a twitter account – it’s very easy and I can show you how if you like. My username is very inspiring and original: melkoetsveld.

If not, you’ll have to wait until I post the ‘weekly’ updates. Whatevs. I don’t mind!



Many of you know Tessa, I realised the other day that we have known each other for nearly 20 years, which makes me feel pretty old (okay, 17, but old enough). So, Tessa gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy a few weeks ago and I couldn’t help myself but share with you some pics of this gorgeous little guy. Hopefully they’ll grow up great friends together with Caleb (Sare’s gorgeous little boy who is 5 weeks older than Ava – haven’t featured him yet!)…though we can’t discount them hating each other with a passion. Only time will tell!

It’s a funny thing, parenting. Well, being a parent; I don’t know if looking after a newborn qualifies as parenting. I cannot put into words how much I love this little person. The intensity of the love I feel for her blows me away – there is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect her. I am grateful that I feel this way so early on – I know that for some, it can take a long time before they are able to connect with their child, particularly if they had a difficult pregnancy or labour. And yet the question sometimes looms… can I love someone so much, but at times wish that perhaps she didn’t exist? A taboo topic, but one I’m sure that most parents can relate to. Dealing with only a week of a colicky baby was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and it was only a week. I don’t know if it will return (obviously I sure as hell hope not), and I also don’t know how I would cope if it did.

So far I haven’t gotten to the point of resenting her or being angry with her, more just desperately wanting to sleep and fantasising about the things I could be doing if she wasn’t here. I think the worst part of the colic is the feeling of failure. Why can’t I get her to stop crying? What am I doing wrong? Other people seem to have more success in quieting her, or at least cope better with her crying. Am I cut out for this? I know these are normal thoughts that an overwhelming majority of parents would have, but it doesn’t make it easier. I wish she was hungry or had a dirty nappy – I can fix that. Wind? Not much I can do about that.

One thing we have done which really has contributed to the feeling of failure is to get her a dummy. I have always been open to anything; I certainly never said that I wouldn’t get a dummy….I just really didn’t want to. Andrew suggested it initially and I baulked at the idea. Two days of colic later and I gave in. I felt like the world’s worst parent; I couldn’t console my child or fix her pain. We placed the dummy in her mouth and I spent about two seconds feeling horrified at the situation…until I noticed the remarkable change in her body language. Not only was she not screaming, but she was no longer writhing in pain, arching her back or bringing her legs up to her chest. The dummy was like a magic pain killer. I couldn’t believe it.

This was an important epiphany for me. Using a dummy (or whatever else I need to to get through the day) is not a failure. What would be a failure would be to not try or do something that would benefit either me or Ava (or both) because of my judgement of that something, or the perception of how that something would be judged by others. The best thing I can do for my daughter is to look after my own sanity, and if that means using a dummy or whatever else that people want to get on their high horse about, so be it. My new mantra is…whatever gets me through today. I may have to deal with Ava not wanting to give up her dummy later on down the track….and I’ll deal with it then. Because right now, it stops her screaming and wriggling in pain, and that my friends is worth more than winning Tattslotto to me at the moment.

Sare sent me an article  which I found really useful and supportive….the basic gist of it is to do whatever helps you through the day. If I need to use a dummy, I will. If she needs to sleep on my chest, she can. If I need to eat a kilogram of chocolate, I will.

On the upside, she is starting to sleep much better (though who knows what tonight has in store) and is crying a LOT less.

Hopefully next week I’ll post on time….Bahahaha! I know, I’m funny, right??

Peace out!



In all her glory….

Holy crap! We’re parents! We made it! Ava has been with us for almost 2 weeks now, and I’m starting to get used to the sleep deprivation. But first; her tale of entry into the world. Some of you may find this post a little TMI…if so, don’t read. One thing that I really lost after going through labour is ANY sense of shame or dignity.

It all starts off on a casual Saturday evening. I had been getting a little more discharge throughout the day; just my body preparing for labour. Just as we finished dinner I felt a little more; so I went to the bathroom to ‘freshen up’, only to discover that my underwear was wet, not discharge-y. I shrugged it off and told Andrew that I might call the hospital when we got home. Upon arriving home Andrew pointed out that the back of my skirt was wet….so I did call the hospital. They weren’t alarmed, though they said to come in just in case and they’d check it out.

Went into the hospital and spent a couple of hours there; the midwives weren’t concerned but they said they’d run a test on me to be sure. As I was lying there being monitored, another woman came in who had lost a lot of fluid and although they were pretty sure her waters had broken, they ran the same test on her.

So, five minutes later the midwife comes in….with a positive test. Yep, my waters had broken (well, leaked). I was in shock – I even asked if it was possible that they had mixed up the results with the other lady (she surprisingly came back negative), but I was assured that the positive result was seen before the test was taken on the other woman. So…you’ll have to come back in tomorrow morning to be induced (Sunday morning). We’re going to what now?? The midwife decided to give us a bit of time to digest because I wasn’t processing the information. After speaking to a doctor, the midwife told us that we could come in on the Monday instead, as it was only a hindwater leak (very little fluid, less chance of infection). This was better – it gave us a day to run around and do errands and let it all sink in. Plus, it also meant that we were going to win the betting pool – both Andrew and I had (separately) pegged the 23rd for Parasite’s arrival.

So after a hectic Sunday we rocked up at the hospital at 6:45 am, nervous but excited. After filling out some forms we were transferred to a birthing suite and met our awesome midwife Carolyn and her student, whose name I now cannot remember. We started off with some monitoring of Parasite, but true to its wrigglepot form, it wouldn’t stay in the one place long enough to be monitored properly, so they had to attach an electrode to its scalp to allow the continuous monitoring that is required for an induction. This meant that they first had to break my ‘forewaters’ or officially break my waters. I was told that it was going to hurt immensely, but it was just mostly uncomfortable. Some fiddling around and then there was a very warm gush. Done and done. They also said that Parasite was not fully engaged (only 1/5th!) and that I was dilated 1 cm. Next they had to attach the electrode to Parasite’s scalp, which was incredibly painful. I was told later that they were amazed the doctor managed it, because the tube was 1 cm wide and I was dilated only 1 cm, so it was squeezed through. Stupid wriggly baby.

The inducing drugs (syntocin, an artificial hormone mimicking oxytocin) were then put in at 9:30 am (after a bag of saline to hydrate me) and I started feeling mild contractions only a few minutes later. They felt like very bad period pain, but lasted only 30-40 seconds or so. For the next hour or so the contractions got steadily worse and they continued to pump up the levels of syntocin. I was still reasonably mobile at this stage, was still able to smile but when a contraction came on I had to focus on breathing and spent some time gripping onto Andrew’s jeans. At this point he was glad he had worn a belt.

Another hour passed and the contractions were coming harder and faster and they HURT. So then, at 11:30, they declared me in active labour. Now?? What about the past two hours? Are you kidding??? Carolyn then said that they’d reassess me in four hours – at 3:30 pm. I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure that I could go through another four hours of this.

Probably another hour into it I begged for some pain relief and tried the gas. At this point I couldn’t really control the noises coming out of my mouth and I feel a little embarrassed about the moaning and groaning I did. I was also mostly limited to the bed because I didn’t have the energy to sit up or pace between contractions. I know that some women swear by the gas, but it mostly made me feel drunk and only took the pain down from a 20 to a 19.5. I would try to breathe deeply on it during a contraction but then it would make me feel sick and I’d pull away from it. The midwives and Andrew tried to convince me to take it again, but I couldn’t articulate the nausea during the contraction. It was becoming excruciating. Poor Andrew did his best to coach me into deep breathing, but I did begin to tire of being asked ‘How are you doing?’ How the f*ck do you think I’m doing, douchebag? At least he kept getting me cold facewashers for in between contractions.

I started to say ‘I can’t do this’ and the midwives said ‘Yes you can’. What I meant (but couldn’t articulate at the time) was that I can’t continue to do this in this way. At about 2:30 pm I asked for an epidural, so they sent for a doctor to reassess me to make sure I wasn’t too far ahead. Carolyn said that she thought I should be dilated to about 7 or 8 cm (full dilation is 10 cm), but we’d have to wait and see. The doctor took forever and I didn’t end up getting assessed until 3:30 pm anyway. I was only 3 cm dilated. I was devastated and demanded an epidural. For the unaware, it takes an average of 1 hour to dilate each cm from 3 cm to 10 cm. There was no way I was going to last 7 hours of more of this.

They told me that the anaesthetist would not be far away because there were no caesarians scheduled that day so he wasn’t busy. An entire hour later he came and I was mostly inconsolable. I was almost sleeping between contractions and was starting to experience a lot of pressure in my anus. The anaesthetist queried how far along I was – apparently I was acting like I was more than 3 cm dilated. This is important because they don’t like to put an epidural in too close to delivery. The epidural went in but it took a while to start working. By the time it had taken away most of the pain from the contractions, the pressure in my anus was unbearable and my moaning had morphed into a very gutteral groan-scream. All I wanted to do was push, but they wouldn’t let me yet. Not that that stopped me – the last few were uncontrollable – my body pushed anyway. They reassessed me and I was fully dilated. I had gone from 3 cm to 10 cm in less than an hour and a half (not the average 7 hours). During this time the midwives had changed over and awesome Carolyn had gone home and I got Jessica (who was also fantastic). They mentioned something about waiting another hour to push but my body wasn’t having any of that. As soon as they gave me the go-ahead, it became bearable. I pushed and pushed with every contraction, and Andrew tells me that I became quieter at this point, as I was putting all my energy into pushing like I was pushing out the biggest poo of my life.

About 15 minutes later I felt the ‘ring of fire’ as Parasite crowned, and whilst it hurt enough to stop me pushing momentarily, it was NOTHING on the pain of the contractions. I continued to push and felt immediate relief as the head came out, another small push and out came Parasite in a gush of warmth and overwhelming relief. Immediately Parasite was placed upon my chest, and I was in complete shock. Here was the child I’d been incubating for nine months, squirming and slimy (took effort to hold it still), looking at me calmly with dark blue eyes. No screaming, just quiet observation. After a few minutes the midwife asked if we wanted to know the gender….oh yeah! It’s a girl! The only thing that went through my head at that point was ‘That figures.’

Andrew then cut the cord (which was a bit of a sham – the cord had already been cut from the placenta so it was more of a trimming than anything) and within about 10 minutes or so she had found her way to my breast and had her first feed. She lay on my chest for about half an hour or so (I honestly have no idea of the time) and Andrew and I surprisingly came up with a name in about 10 minutes; not too bad for not having one already picked out!

I then had to be sutured up (I had a second degree tear) which took about half an hour, and whilst that was happening Ava got her shots. Neither of us cried (we are so brave), and whilst the stitching stung a little it was NOTHING compared to the contractions. I now have a new measuring stick of pain. Afterwards I was able to have a lukewarm shower (the top temperature of the water is 37 degrees in the hospital – deliberate but annoying) and got cleaned up to be transferred over to the ward.

There were a few things that I found ‘interesting’ about the whole experience.

1. Despite being open to whatever happens and a strong supporter of doing what works for you (e.g. you decide whether you have pain relief or not, judgement free), I surprised myself by being resistant to getting pain relief – I felt like I was ‘giving in’. Given that it took almost 2 hours from when I first asked for the epidural to actually getting it, I wish that I hadn’t had been so stubborn and asked for it sooner.

2. Before labour I had a big focus on squeezing something big out of something little. This was, by far, nowhere near the most painful part of labour for me. The pushing part was my ‘favourite’ part, as I got to focus on doing something, rather than moaning and writhing in pain.  The contractions were the worst, followed by the sensation of wanting to push but not being able to. The ‘ring of fire’ was so far down the scale that it almost doesn’t factor.

3. I thought I’d be horrified to poo on the table….turns out I really didn’t care about anything. Want to massage my perineum to help Parasite come out? No problem. Sure, I’ll put my legs into these stirrups and chat happily whilst you stitch me up. No worries. And so on and so forth.

4. Why the hell do most women go back for more????

And so, after ‘only’ 6 hours of labour, Ava Lily Koetsveld-Mark entered the world. I’ll try to keep the blog updated with stories and pictures, but having a newborn does make things a little harder.

Holy crap. We are totally parents!