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6 weeks of Mum and baby stuffs

8 Jun

Our little Quin is 6 weeks old already(!). I still can’t quite comprehend she is ours – yet at the same time it’s hard to believe she hasn’t always been here in my arms. This afternoon Quin and I were returning from our daily walk, I had a coffee in my hand, the sun was out, the ocean was glittery blue, Quin was cosy in her baby bjorn and I couldn’t help but reflect on how freakin’ lucky I am. Quite simply, life is wonderful right now. Needless to say, Zanne and I are enjoying parenthood very much.

The past 6 weeks haven’t been without their challenges though:

Sleep

As a person who adores sleep and is not a morning person I knew all along that having little sleep would be the biggest challenge for me as a new parent. I’ve coped better than I expected to be honest. I put this down to having an incredibly gorgeous daughter and also being able to remind myself in moments of anxiety that lack of sleep magnifies emotions/situations (I know this won’t always work but it has so far). Plus Quin sleeps awesomely – when in her mothers’ arms.

One magical, flukey night she slept in her crib for 2 hours but most often the moment we put her down her eyes open and they won’t be closed again until she is back with Mummy or Mama – and then they close pretty immediately! After 2 weeks of trying to get her to sleep in her crib, which meant I was up every half hour some nights, I decided I’d sleep on the couch with her. The difference is amazing – she sleeps soundly for hours! Pre-baby we’d never given co-sleeping a thought, but I’m now convinced that, at the moment, it is what Quin needs. This weekend we’re picking up a co-sleeping aid to make the arrangement more safe and comfortable for both of us. I can’t wait to be back in my comfy bed with my wife!

We’ve had many conversations with friends who assure us that Quin’s sleeping habits are very common for newborns and we should simply do whatever it takes, and whatever we’re comfortable with, to make sleep happen. My family is a bit different though, I hear judgement in their silence/changes of subject/suggestions – youre creating a rod for your own back, youre spoiling her. Actually the “spoiling her” comment was not implied so much us literally muttered multiple times by my grandparents. It is my opinion that responding to my baby’s needs is not spoiling her, nor does it make us weak parents. And further, I don’t believe a 6 week old baby has the capacity to manipulate, an idea which seems connected with this “spoiling” business.

So. While Quin sleeps better with us, co-sleeping is where we’re at. No apologies.

PS. Having Quin sleep in my arms, on my chest etc, reminds me of this Ani Di Franco lyric: her bones have been my bed frame and her flesh has been my pillow. I’m such a lesbian.

Breastfeeding

My breastfeeding experience so far can be summed up in four words: holy sore nipples Batman! Two weeks in and my nipples were raw and bleeding – I curled my toes and held back tears at every feed. I contemplated giving up but my GP and the child health nurse both promised sore nipples were normal and they would get better and I was encouraged to persevere a little longer. Four weeks on and thankfully things have improved – I’m no longer in pain however my nipples still look damaged. Hopefully they return to normal at some point (please!).

Other than that, Quin’s latch is good and my supply is, well, awesome really. Seriously, when I’m bra-less there is milk dripping all over the place. The human body is both weird and amazing, fo shiz.

I intend to breastfeed for as long as possible. Not only is it great for Quin’s health of course, it’s so convenient! I just have to work on feeding discretely in public. I have no troubles with flashing family and friends (which surprised me to be honest, I’m quite private usually) but complete strangers are a different story, you know?

Wind

Wind is our family nemesis at the moment (did someone say Infants’ Friend?). We’ve never in our lives encouraged burping and farting but here we are applauding Quin for doing both. The weekend before last I was sitting with my cousin’s 4 year old daughter when Quin let one rip. I happily commented to Mackenzie that Quin had done “a big fart” to which she replied that her Mum didn’t like that word. I apologised to her for saying the f-word and noted that I wasn’t allowed to say it when I was a kid either – as it turns out, neither was Zanne. Apparently Zanne’s family used “froggie” as an alternative word – not surprisingly Zanne was ridiculed at school for this. Zanne has wondered whether we should have an alternative word that we use in our family, but her adorable childhood story causes me think it makes sense to just use the standard “fart”. How funny that some words are deemed “adult” to some. How funny that I’ve just written a paragraph about farts.

You see, I’m from a family who went one step further than the alternative word: we had no word at all. Farts were a private matter, not something to talk or joke about. If an accident were to happen we all just politely ignored it. Ok I know this makes my family sound uptight, au contraire my friends. My brothers, in the words of Zanne, are beer-swilling bogans. They are the picture of whatever the opposite of uptight is, and to look at them you would be forgiven for thinking they would enjoy a good fart joke. But nope. We’re all demented re farts. Thanks Mum.

Anyways, Quin gets wind and it is heartbreaking to have her screaming and squirming in our arms therefore, right now, farts (and burps) are not only acknowledged but highly praised.

Over and out.

 

she will be loved – from zanne

28 Apr

so in case you missed it on facebook, twitter, instagram or from our mouths as we screamed it from the rooftops – WE HAVE A DAUGHTER!

our beautiful, delicious, totally scrumptious baby girl arrived on monday morning all healthy and happy. she is just… perfection.  i know all parents gush and now i understand why – the love is overwhelming. it’s like you need to gush just to get a little bit of the love out to make room for more. but then gushing just reminds you how much you love them and your heart is filled all over again. it’s a rather delightful cycle.

my incredible wife went into labour at 12.30am sunday and quin suzie michaels came into our world at 8.30am on monday. yep, that’s more than 30 hours of labour. i won’t go into all the details but it was a tough 32 hours that included a day at home, a drive to the hospital, gas, a morphine shot that did nothing for the pain but did make shan completely delirious, and about 4 hours of “you’re so close!” before the doctor checked again and finally gave shan an epidural. she had been 8cm dilated for those 4 hours and her cervix was bruised from bub trying to come down. after the epidural and another 4 hours of interrupted rest and consistent contractions, shan was still only 8cm dilated and a c-section was the only solution. mum and bub were still healthy and fine, but the concensus was we just weren’t going to get any further dilated.

so at about 7.30am we headed down to theatre. we talked through the nervousness, asking ourselves just one last time who we thought was in there – little boy or little girl. and then we heard the first cries of our little one. tears sprung to my eyes as soon as i heard it. All i could think was “they’re finally here.” when they hadn’t announced the sex right away our midwife said, “well, what do we have?” and a doctor replied “oh, it’s a girl!”

we were totally flawed – we had a daughter! shan said “i can’t believe you knew all along!” and we kissed and took deep breathes waiting or the moment we got to see her.  she had pooped in the womb and had to be checked over by the pedeatric doctor right away but she was very quickly given the all clear. i cut the chord and she was placed her on shan’s chest so we could talk to and kiss her for the first time. after 10 minutes of touching shan was exhausted and the doctor told her to have a sleep. so quin and i left her mummy and went to wait for her in recovery. i was able to get a sneaky ‘baby girl!’ text out to all our family and we made eyes at each other until we could all be together again.

despite all the cables and monitors, shan and quin got to cuddle and get some really nice skin-to-skin time. we moved back up to the ward and quin met shan’s folks before we were left alone to spend hours with our little one just being together as a family.

after two days in hospital shan was allowed to come home. we’ve now been home three nights together and each one is getting easier. shan’s milk has come through, quin is drinking like crazy and already it looks like she’s growing. we find ourselves staring at her endlessly and í’ve taken more than 400 photos of her. i just can’t help it.

mamahood is just as good as everyone says. i’m so grateful we got to fall pregnant and now i’m so grateful we’ve been able to welcome a very happy and healthy daughter into our family. she will be so loved.

Forty weeks and three days

19 Apr

I’m still pregnant… which is what I’ve said to my mother every morning, noon and evening for the last two weeks. Geez woman!

I saw the midwife yesterday, she booked me in for induction next Thursday 26 April. So, I’ve got one week to encourage this little one to make their arrival naturally. Midwife advice is: walk, walk, walk. Well, walk (even more) I will – I really would prefer not to be induced. Wish me luck peeps.

I washed all of bub’s 000 clothes today. Until now I had only washed the 00000 and 0000 clothes but now that the baby is overdue and feels like it is growing to giant-like proportions I fear they might go straight into 000’s. We have some super cute baby clothes, I tell you. Can’t wait to play dress ups with bub – cos let’s face it, that’s why we’re having a baby. Kidding.

Forty weeks – overdue now

17 Apr

Yesterday was my due date, and it came and went without so much as a stomach cramp. Bugger. It did however include many phone calls, texts and facebook messages querying the whereabouts of our baby – it turns out a day full of those messages is a little annoying (annoying due to repitition not due to being reminded how loved our little one already is – you know what I mean).

My pregnancy has gone by quite quickly really, but the last week has definitely felt long. Too long! I’m very ready for bub to make their appearance (and for this backache to disappear please). Zanne has me walking laps of our block each day to try and bring things on, but so far nothing. We’re now adding reflexology/pressure points to the “make baby come out” project but something tells me they’ll come out when they’re good and ready (Zanne’s opinion is that I’ve passed on my laidback attitude re arrival times to the baby). I have a midwife appointment tomorrow, I’m interested to hear what they have to say. It is my preference for labour to begin naturally so I wonder how long they’ll let me go over – maybe 10 days? But, you never know, I might have the baby tonight and I won’t have to worry about all of that 😉

Here are some pics from the last few weeks, mostly of the belly:

 

 

9 days left

7 Apr

I know, I know, we haven’t blogged in a while. I can’t say we have great excuses but working lots and exhaustion seem to be the most credible right now.

OK, quick catch up – my lovely wife is 37.75 weeks pregnant today and we have just 9 days left until our due date. but as most of ya’ll know – they could arrive any time between now and three weeks time. lately we’ve been more keen than ever to know who is in there. do they have hair? will their eyes be green like ours? will they love softball and music and painting? will they be cheeky or shy? most importantly, will they love nacho sunday as much as we do??? I sure hope so…

shan has been feeling really, really good. especially this last week since finishing work. after spending two days doing nothing but watch tv and sleep, she was like a new person. all refreshed and ready to take on labour. As the week has progressed her back has started to hurt a bit and her hands and feet are still swelling, but nowhere near as bad as when she was sitting at her desk all day.

so yeah, the last few weeks have been really busy:

civially unionised

the Civil Unions Bill was passed in Queensland and on February 23 Shan and I were the 8th couple to register our relationship. We got to do a few pieces of media which we both enjoy. my background in PR and media relations makes dealing with the media an easy task for us, so when we get the opportunity to speak out on behalf of GLBT people and families, we take it.

civil union, queensland, australia, same-sex marriage

our civil union article in the courier mail

In the lead up to the Qld state election, we were invited to attend and speak at a breakfast organised by the Qld Council of Unions. The QCU has taken a very strong stance on the marriage equality debate and we were very honoured to be involved. they made this little video:

The LNP has since won the state election and one of their election promises was to repeal the civil unions bill, if it is possible. we’re very much hoping it is not possible. We interviewed for an article with the largest newspaper in the state a few weeks ago and that feature will run in about 3 weeks. we’ll have a son or daughter by then 🙂

+1 photos

our friend, kristen, offered to take some us+1 photos. i take so many pictures of Shan that we hadn’t really considered getting professional photos done, but I am so glad we did! Below is a sneak peek, but you can check them all out here: http://paperfoxstudio.com/blog/portraits/suzanne-shannon/ or check out the awesome slideshow: http://paperfoxstudio.com/slideshows/suzanne-shannon/

civil union, queensland, lesbian mum, lesbian photoshoot, lesbian love

love, love, love - our +1 photoshoot 🙂

winners!

in case you didn’t hear – my softball team won our GRAND FINAL!!! it was pretty much the greatest day ever! Not only because we won but we hadn’t beat the other 3 teams in the final all year, we only got into the finals by 0.39 points AND because I hit my first home run. We were down by 8 when we went up to bat at the bottom of the 1st and the first two runners got out. I was third batter and, well, this is what happened: grand final softball home run. We ended up winning 16-12 in 2hours/6 innings.

the winners! Redcliffe PCYC Women's B Grade 2012 softball champs!

the winners! Redcliffe PCYC Women's B Grade 2012 softball champs!

baby stuff

We’ve been busy getting the final few things ready for bub’s arrival. the room is now fully stocked with stuffed animals, disposable nappies (for the first few weeks), and last weekend shan and I built a bookcase/toy drawer from scratch. we settled on a design the night before, hit up Bunnings in the morning and got started Saturday afternoon. It took a day and a half and cost about $150 in materials. I think we did pretty damn well!

Well, I guess that’s us caught up. I’m sure my wife will remind me of something i’ve missed right after i finish so i might be updating again tomorrow 🙂

Zanne x

32 weeks – her fat!

22 Feb

It has been a long time between posts. What can I say, life is busy and I am tired. So here is my catch-up post that includes some highlights of the past few weeks…

Last month we began decorating ourtinydancer’s room. Zanne spent hours on every vinyl branch, leaf and bird and the results are awesome if you ask me. Interestingly, Zanne put a photo on facebook of the finished wall and she received a few comments along the lines of “I see a lot of blue, must be a boy”. Firstly, we don’t know what sex our baby is and are not planning either way. Secondly, why can’t girls have blue in their room? We like blue, so we chose blue. I predict many discussions about gender stereotyping in the future 😉

I began making bibs for ourtinydancer, ten bibs to be exact. To be even more exact only one is finished. The bias binding for the edge of the bibs is proving very fiddly which has put me off a bit. Not to worry, I will get them all done soon enough.

At 30 weeks preggo, we had our 3D scan done at Precious Previews. It was a wonderful experience, we got to see tiny in real time for about half an hour. It turns out babies do all sorts of things in utero, for instance suck on their toes and their umbilical cord, poke out their tongue and open their eyes. It’s so weird to think of that stuff happening on a daily basis in my belly(!).

As you can see below I’m getting lovely and round now. So round that today I had to take off my wedding ring (the roundness is spreading from belly to beyond!). So round that when my Mum mentioned “Aunty Shan having a baby” to my 3 year old nephew Noah he quickly replied “her fat!” Now don’t worry, his mother went on to explain about a baby being in my belly and he is generally a sweet boy who certainly doesn’t go around telling people they’re fat – he just has no idea about this baby business. And fair enough, cos he’s 3. In any case, we all find the “her fat” comment most amusing and it has become quite the catch phrase ‘round our place. “Sweetie, can you XYZ?” “No sorry, her fat”. It’s hilarious, trust me.

So today I am 32 weeks pregnant. Only 8 weeks to go until we meet our beautiful little one – woohoo! We’re both so excited to meet them, and tear up when we think about the first time we see them. I wonder if they’ll have hair? I wonder if they really do have my nose? I wonder if they are a giant baby, which is what I’ve predicted all along? Oh, and of course, I wonder if they’re a boy or a girl? Only time will tell!

I’m still feeling well and have no physical complaints. I’ve not been loving the heat recently though and I’m starting to feel pretty tired again. I’ve been occupying my headspace with various lists:  what to pack in the hospital bag, what we still need for bub, what house projects we still need to finish (there’s only a few now!), what we need to do by the end of the week because our babyshower is this weekend, etc. So on the one hand I feel grateful that there is still 8ish weeks to go because we have a few things to do yet, on the other hand, well, the above paragraph covers the other hand.

I’ve started visiting the midwife clinic more frequently now and last Saturday we finished our ante natal classes. The classes were pretty good, although I didn’t really learn anything new. I’ve been going to pregnancy yoga regularly since my second trimester and it turns out that what we’ve covered in class and what I’ve read in books loaned from the class have me feeling quite prepared. Of course, I realise no-one can be totally prepared for all those unexpected things that might happen, but you know what I mean. It was great to have a tour of the birth suite and maternity ward though and to be told practical things like how to get into the hospital after hours when the front doors are locked – very handy to know!

Unfortunately we had a slight issue at last Saturday’s class. As it was a large class the group was split in two and we were placed with a new midwife. She opened by asking all “the boys” how they felt about the upcoming labour.  She asked what “the boys” expected and told the girls how “their man” may act or where “the husbands” may stand during the birth or how “the fathers” may feel. This continued throughout the entire morning. At no point did she use the word “partner”. Everything was “girls and boys” spoken as though there is no alternative. She engaged “the boys” in conversation, even addressing a number of them by name.  It was not a question of her not seeing us because, as the only couple in the front row, she could not have missed us.

By the mid-morning break we were so frustrated we discussed leaving and going home. However, we knew it was in the best interest of us and our baby to stay so we spent the remainder of class in our original midwife’s room. She is a lovely, inclusive midwife who addressed all attendees in the class, taking into account individual circumstances. We voiced our concerns to her about feeling excluded in the other group and Zanne has since written to the hospital.

Thankfully, so far, Saturday’s new midwife has been the only negative experience we’ve had at our hospital. Fingers crossed there’s no dramas at our birth – I choose to think positively and say that there won’t be.

Peace out x

“Gay couple plan happy trip to court”

7 Feb

on the weekend, shan and I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Brisbane Times/The Sun Herald about the upcoming commencement of civil unions in Queensland. You can read the full article here.

the support about the article has been overwhelming, but one thing has really surprised me – the total lack of criticism of us having a baby. those who have left negative comments have all focused on gay marriage and how terrible it is for society. i don’t know if the comments have been moderated to ensure no negative comments about our baby are left, but it is very interesting if people are more concerned about a piece of paper than they are about a human child.

obviously, i am completely happy that no one has mentioned our baby. but i was prepared for it and had my comebacks ready. i expected to hear some bad thing and was ready to delve into a mature yet heated discussion. i guess i knew if people said something about me, i wouldn’t care and likely wouldn’t react, but if they took aim at my family they’d better be ready for a response. maybe society really has moved that far forward?

gay couple plan happy trip to court