Anya loving

Much happier than before

Hello all,

So, what's going on with us? How has the move been? How are we adjusting? All good questions, thanks for asking ;)

Finding a place to rent has been a major drag. We've been offering more than asking prices ($10-20+), we've been offering months of rent upfront, but people just don't want rentors for only 6 months (plus a bit). Boo. So we're seeking out the housesitting options. It kinda sucks because we don't have our stuff. But it also rocks because no rent!! We're still with James' family, which is actually going very well and I am super relieved about that! We're paying some to cover our utilities, I'm trying to be useful around the house and I'm making dinner many times a week. Karen (MIL) quite likes that because "it's like I've got my own personal chef". So hooray! We have a 3 month house sitting gig linned up at the start of August and are trying to make additional arrangements until then.

Having Tully in our room has been the biggest challenge. Having people always wanting to pick up Tully when he cries is another challenge as it means he's regressed on his self-settling. Why go to sleep when I can just cry and get picked up by one of the MANY people in this house who think I'm the greatest and cutest?? I've cracked down on that recently though and it's getting a bit better. Having James be the stay at home Dad was amazing because HE was the one to get up at night and feed Tully. I don't like getting up at night.

Personal aside: usually I pray for Tully to sleep well and then I get cranky when that doesn't happen. Last night I prayed for patience (because I am seriously wearing thin on patience) and... I got more patience!! Tully still woke up heaps and refused to sleep easily. But I dealt with it way better and am way less cranky today. I even had a very fun play with my gorgeous little man as I was in a much better mood to hang out with him. Right now he's asleep - praise the Lord!!

Being a stay at home Mum is weird. Of course, there's always housework to do. And right now I'm painting a bunch of second hand photo frames blue for a friend's belated birthday present so she has a colourful gallery wall in her otherwise very neutral home. (Obviously not *right now*, but I just finished a second coat before coming on to blog).

It's nice being part of a mother's group. It's weird to think it may be another decade before I return to work. I've been working so hard to be a good teacher that it's odd to not be concerned with that any more. I tend to get a bit jelly of James going off to work at a fancy private school (with an AMAZING staff room that has 3 sides of windows overlooking the river!!) and his students do what he tells them and he can ACTUALLY TEACH as opposed to run crowd control all day. SO JELLY!!

But it's also quite nice just being at home with Tully. Making sure we have dinner and clean clothes. And that Tully grows up well. Speaking of being busy at home, I need to call our internet provider to cancel our services, someone to service our car... and I'm sure there's another job I'm meant to get on top of. I love my family. I getting on way better with my in laws and they are growing dearer to me every day. I am so much happier than I was before! Yay!


I put Tully down for his nap, but 10 minutes later he was awake and crying.
I went in and comforted him.
I sat on my glider and rocked him.
His head was over my shoulder and his breathing gradually slowed.
He made a big sigh and could tell he was finally calm again.
I sat him on my lap so we could face each other.
He gave me a big smile.
Then I tilted my chair right back and Tully was lying on me, tummy-to-tummy.
He fell asleep as we rocked together.

There is no other relationship I could have with anyone else that is like this. He is so precious, and trusts me so completely to take care of him. I want to swaddle him in clouds.
kitty upside down

Too long for a FB update

When it's too long for a FB update, do a blog post!

Right now I'm feeling pretty good. I just had a glass f wine, followed by a delicious banana smoothie! So I'm also feeling a little happy. Tonight, Tully only took 45mins to go to sleep, instead of 1hr+ yay! I'm quite certain that that's because I fed Tully for like, an hour and a half prior to his bedtime! So there's no way he was crying tonight because he was hungry. Gosh I feel like a cow sometimes. So that's what I'm feeling good about tonight, and why I deserve a glass of wine :D

Today was my first day back at school. Teachers are back today and tomorrow for meetings and PD. I'm doing primary science, society and environment, and literacy intervention (ATAS). That'll be way less work than last year, so I'm quite happy about that and feeling good about getting home early to be with Tully. I also managed to score a desk with a computer to work from this year - whoo hoo! That was literally the highlight of my work day.

So anyway, today was pretty ok. It was really nice catching up with everyone who's stuck around and it was nice to start making new friends. 
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Tully's Birth Story


So, this post is all about my labour. It's Tully's Birth Story. Consider yourself warned if you don't like talking or thinking about things such as uteri, babies squishing through cervix's, etc.

I had expected to go into labour early. This did not happen. But because I was expecting it, I was very carefully monitoring myself for signs of early labour from 35 weeks onwards. Particularly because it would mean 8+ hours of travelling for James to get down to Perth from Halls Creek. This was stressing me out a fair bit. I talked to the OB in charge of me at the hospital, who got a letter written to excuse James from his last week of work. This was a huge relief. And when James got down to Perth, I was super happy! And he was just in time to take care of me through a nasty cold.

So then we settled in to wait. We were pretty much ready for Sprout to come at any point in time. READY! I'm ready now damnit! But no-show. Pa travelled from Melbourne for Christmas, but no Sprout. Pa caught his plane back home. In the week before I went into labour, I was experiencing braxton hicks daily. I had to make a huge effort to go to bed expecting to not be in labour the next morning, else I'd get all morose about not being in labour. We also made tonnes of plans! Plans for lunch, for movies, for dinners, for hanging out with friends. We went out most evenings to play board games with good friends. This was super important in giving me something to look forward to each day.

At 40 (weeks) + 8 (days) I started getting strong, but sporadic contractions Sunday evening just before we went to a friend's house. Determined to not be a slave to pseudo-contractions, we went anyway and I just gritted my teeth through them. They continued being irregular, but strong throughout the night and into Monday (40 +9) morning. Although they hadn't abated, I was still determined to get on with my day. So we went to see Frozen at the cinema. Pretty much as soon as we sat down, I started getting contractions every 5 minutes for about 30 seconds. By the time Frozen finished, the contractions were getting stronger. We left AS SOON as the credits started to roll, hopped in the car and drove to the hospital (we had been taking my hospital bag with us everywhere, just in case). When I was admitted, I was 4cm, hurrah!

They strapped monitors to me and the very first contraction it picked up also showed a dip in Sprout's heartbeat. This required them to continue to monitor me in case it happened again. I was monitored for half an hour in the assessment room, then for another half hour in the labour room. When I was in the labour room, the monitors were wireless, so I changed into my bathers and laboured in the shower for a while. I had the hot water pointed at a painful spot on my belly. James was in his boardies pointing the shower head while I vocalised, swayed and clapped my hands. This was pretty effective at managing my pain. Once it was established that Sprout's heartbeat was stable, they started filling up a pool for me to labour in.

This took about half an hour. At the time it felt like hours and in hindsight it felt like 5 minutes. But soon enough, I was in and that was nice. The pool was definitely an improvement. But not for long; the pain soon became unmanageable again, so I requested gas. Gas was hella funny, but I didn't do well with it. I was HIGH AS A KITE! And that affected my ability to perceive pain and make rational decisions. For example, breathing in an orderly and mannered way; taking breaks from the gas to breath in oxygen, etc. It was pretty clear that I was still not coping with the pain, so I requested an epidural.

The anaesthetist was with another woman, and then had a second woman to give epidurals to before getting to me. AND I needed to be assessed to see how far along I was. So I stayed in the pool with the gas for a little bit longer, before I had to get out for an assessment. I was 7cm dilated. Epidural time plz!! I sat on the edge of the bed, James was in front of me, being supportive. I had to stay very very still, which was super hard to do. The doctor put in some local anaesthetic to numb the area, then put the epidural in. I didn't feel it go in because of the anaesthetic, yay! It took about 10-15mins to kick in and once it did... it was wonderful! I was able to chat with James, eat a sandwich and generally look forward to meeting Sprout. I still felt contractions in this spot that the epidural didn't get to, I was able to walk around and change position on the bed. I was quite surprised that I wasn't belted down the whole time!

Labour continued in this fashion until we figured that given the time, I should be ready yet, shouldn't I? The midwife checked me out, and I was dilated to 10cm, so surely I should be ready to push? After an hour of waiting for my body's push to kick in, the midwife decided we should bring it on anyway. So she set me up in pushing position and I started to push. She also let the epidural wear off. I changed position to make pushing better, but I much preferred sitting up, so I went back to doing that. After 45mins of unsuccessful and painful pushing, I requested the vacuum, but the midwife was all "but you just gave a great push! Keep going" and wouldn't get the doctor.

So at this stage, the epidural has worn off, I'm PUSHING DAMNIT!! And it's damn painful! A couple of times I was like "screw this! I'm over it!" and stopped pushing, which was like jumping from the pot into the fire. PAAAAIIIN!!!! As painful as pushing was, it was better than enduring the agony of feeling the contraction racking my body. So much pain! PAINPAINPAIN!!! The very brief respite in between contractions was half spent with me pleading for an assisted delivery and panting. After another 45mins, the midwife FINALLY got the doctor. I almost cried!

They popped my legs up into thingers, the doctor popped the vacuum cap on and in 3-5 pushes, Sprout was out! It wasn't as easy as it sounds though.
Half way through, Dr White was like, "your contraction is over right now, we need to pause so you can stretch."
And in the back of my brain I was like, "yes, this sounds like a good plan. Stretching = good!"
So I pushed and consequently got a 2nd degree tear. When I say that, my legs cross together and I wince. But I didn't feel myself tear at the time. EVERYTHING was just so painful, what's more pain on top of pain??

But anyway, at 2:23am, out he came and they put Sprout straight on my belly with towels and I'm like "omg, this is my baby?? How did this happen? That all happened so quickly!" I used my hand to feel around, felt out-y bits and told James we had a boy! I feel a bit tear-y recounting it now because it's so amazing and special, but at the time I was just astounded! A lot happened in those brief moments. The cord had stopped pulsating very early, so James cut the cord. I (had requested and) received an injection so my placenta would be delivered quickly, so that came out. After a few minutes of holding him, the doctor needing to stitch me up and generally tidy up a bit, so I passed Tully over to James who got about 20 solid minutes holding Tully, which is really special too. Stitches, assembling the bed again, cleaning up all the blood, then Tully was passed back to me to feed. The instructional videos I watched in our antenatal classes were super helpful for that though, so I kinda fumbled my through remembering what to do and spent the next 90mins with Tully feeding.

In the midst of all the bustle, I turned to James and said, "Tertullian Brian??" to which he agreed, and that's how Tully got his name! I sent James home because he was falling asleep on the couch (that the hospital had in each of the delivery rooms, yay!) and continued feeding. Then the midwife took Tully for weighing, shots, etc and I had a shower, then off we hobbled to my bed in the maternity ward.

There's way more I could continue on with, but this is long enough. In summary, pregnancy and labour were damn hard! I do not particularly like pregnancy because of my excessive nausea and horrific back pain (though my chiropractor was super amazingly wonderful and made that aspect so much better). I did not like labour because it was the most painful experience in my life, full of painful pain!!!!!! But I love having Tully with us. I love him so much! He is the cutest baby in the entire world! (said every mother ever). I don't mind the crying. I don't mind being weed and pooed upon. I don't mind that my boobs are sore because breastfeeding is still new. Having Tully with us is just the best of all!!

Kitty doesn't approve

Squatter Bother

Across the road from us, in the bush land, live a small community of squatters. Their numbers fluctuate frequently, there does seem to be some consistency in who lives there. And they use the water tap at the front of our house for their water source.

The squatters are a source of frustration for me because they sometimes want more than just water. They want a safe place to store their groceries (our house). They want a spare mattress (guess whose?). They want a lift around town (guess which car they have in mind). They want a kitchen to cook their food in (no prizes for guessing which kitchen). They still have a torch of ours that James gave them. They want bread. They wash themselves on our front porch where the tap is.

Now, I know what you're thinking: Kat is a scrooge. These people want these things because they don't have access to them and need them. But that simply isn't the case. They have so much money coming in from the government. They have access to housing through their families that they've chosen to live apart from. And when James happens to answer the door, they often get given what they want because he's way more sympathetic towards them. What these people NEED is a budget. What they NEED is a life coach to help them work out how to live this kind of lifestyle without resorting to consistently burdening others (specifically, me!). What they NEED is forethought in their decision making process. A flowchart of options that doesn't result in "ask the people across the road".

A few months ago, we had a series of escalating incidents that caused me to go all ragey about the squatters. They wanted water, then bread, then at 11pm they woke us up wanting a lift (which we refused because it was 11pm and they can walk the 2km to get there themselves). Then the next morning a lady wanted a lift to a location very close to the pub (which I refused because it's the pub and only 1km away). Then James lent them an air mattress and torch, he even pumped up the air mattress from them. It just got bigger and bigger until I couldn't take it anymore. The next time they came to the door I had this massive ragey, yelling, swearing rant at James for encouraging and enabling their behaviour towards us.

Since then, James has cut back for my sake. Their requests have stepped back. If they want bread and I answer the door, I tell them to go to the shops to buy it. James'll give them a slice. Last week they need oil for cooking, James gave them some in a little baggie and they were unhappy with the amount he gave them (more than double what we'd use for cooking a meal). And that brings me to today.

Today a lady came to my door with a small bag of meat. She wanted us to store it in our freezer and she'd pick it up later in the afternoon. Not unreasonable, surely? But after EVERYTHING they want from us, I'm just SO OVER IT! I'm over being taken advantage of. I'm over being their back up plan. So I said no. She tried to reason with me and I ended up repeating, "it's not my problem". Because, gosh damn it, IT'S NOT MY PROBLEM!! A lack of forethought on her part does not constitute an emergency on my part. Why didn't she just buy the meat in the afternoon? Did she seriously just then go to the shops to buy meat thinking "I'll ask the across-the-road-people to put it in their fridge"?? Because that's what it looks like right now.

But as I closed the door, I felt (and still do feel) really bad about refusing her. I JUST CAN'T WIN!! These aren't people you help and then feel good about afterwards. These aren't the typical homeless you find in metro areas because unlike metro-homeless, these squatters are traditional land owners and get heaps of money in royalties. These are people who have the option of a house and are choosing not to take it. Yet instead, they choose to live partially off ourJames' generosity. They don't need the kind of help that they're asking for. They need a different kind of help that involves being intimately involved with them and their situation, having their trust and working out life options. They need a careers guidance counselor, not a slice of bread. They have money they can use, they have legs to walk, so they can walk 2km to the shops and buy their own bread. But they would rather knock on our door for bread because we're free and closer. And they wouldn't be interested in accepting more substantial help. We're just Jekyll and Hyde from across the road (and they've learnt to specifically ask for James when I answer the door).

But when I said no to storing meat in the freezer, I just feel bad for denying her that easy request. It's just meat in my freezer. I have room for it! If I took the meat and put it in my freezer, I KNOW I would be very resentful about it. And I can't win! I can't help these people in a way that matters and whether I choose to help them or not, I feel bad about it for some complicated reason.

So that's my rant about the squatters. What would you do about it? (And I know the Bible on this topic, I really do. James and I have talked about this many times at length. I really think it's more complicated than just giving them the cloak on my back and sandals on my feet.)
V far away

31 weeks

I am in my 3rd Trimester, hurrah! I have 9 weeks to go, though I'm crossing my fingers and toes that Sprout is ready earlier than that. So, how am I coping?

Bad Things

  • Regular back aches. Depending on what I'm doing, can start as early as midday, or maybe even late afternoon. Every day my back is sore. All day is it uncomfortable. Lying down or standing up prevents it for a long time. When I sit down I make sure my back is properly supported with cushions.

  • Lower rib pain. As my uterus grows and pushes things out of place, all my internal organs move up. This means more things are squished up just under my lungs, stretching my lower ribs. This is uncomfortable all day but painful by sunset.

  • Shortness of breath. See previous point about internal organs up under my lungs.

  • Sprout's growth makes me feel all stretched out.

  • Irritability

Good things

  • Things could be a lot worse. I haven't (yet) experienced swelling in my hands and feet. I don't feel sick all the time. I haven't gained loads of weight (just normal weight gain). I don't suffer from gestational diabetes. Or high blood pressure. Sprout is growing.

  • I'm not currently working. This is such a blessing! I don't have to deal with naughty students AND back pain. One of my colleagues quit at the end of the term and our classes have been combined. They average about 17 each day and the teacher in charge is having a bit of trouble with them. I am SO THANKFUL that they're not MY trouble to deal with. Don't get me wrong. I love my students heaps! I made lots of positive gains with them and I love teaching. I would love the challenge of continuing to work with them and others. But with the back pain, discomfort, shortness of breath, etc, I just wouldn't be able to cope with it.

  • Sprout moves around several times a day. This is both comforting (still alive!) and exciting (s/he exists! And is a person! And we'll get to meet her/him soon!). James can see and feel Sprout kick. Sometimes when we snuggle before going to sleep, we'll lay there with his hand on my belly just feeling Sprout wiggle. This is the most important good thing because it makes all the bad things worthwhile. I am super excited about meeting Sprout and holding him/her.

  • 9 weeks to go. Hopefully sooner. Given Mum delivered all her children early, I'm hoping that'll be the case for me too. Though not *too* early. I want James to be there and for Sprout to not be in NICU or anything. Apparently from 37-38 weeks, a baby is considered full term, so that'd be totes fine with me! :D

Other Things

  • I am super scared about going into labour. Painful! Unpredictable! Tearing! Stretching! Moar pain! D: I want Sprout out! But I don't want Sprout to go *that* way. Nor do I want a Caesarean. Maybe Star Trek technology could localise a "beam me out, Scotty" event...? There is NO way this is going to not-painful. Scared :(

  • I'm going to Perth in less than a month! YAY!!! I'm so excited to see my friends! And go shopping! And see my friends! FRIENDS!!!! YAY!! So. Excited. *squeeeeeee*

  • OMG, I'm going to Perth in less than a month and I might need a pram. Can I take a pram on the plane? What if Sprout comes early and needs a cot thing to sleep in. I have one in HC, but not in Perth. And I'll need nappies and ... other baby stuff that I don't have *freaks out*. So yeah, I try not to think about it too much. There is SO MUCH I cannot control that I'm just trying to rest in God's timing and providence. I'll be staying with family and we know plenty of people who've had children who could temporarily loan us things... it's gonna be fine *breath* God's timing *breaths more*

  • Generally, lists of things that babies need and what I'll need for hospital and NEEDS are freaking me out a bit. But so is not currently being prepared for Sprout right this moment. There's next to nothing we can do about it up here. We already have a bunch of stuff from very generous friends, which is a load off my mind. But I'm sure there's still more stuff to get! Eeeep!

  • We've made some really awesome friends up here who won't be here next year and I only have less than a month left until I leave and then they leave forever and that's sad. We're praying that things work out so that we can remain in contact next year. But that's all up to God too. I try not to think about that too. God's providence.

Our lack of control over things is really bearing on my mind. Especially as I go through mini-freak-outs and mood swings. We're going to spending money on providing for Sprout's needs and that's a source of communication issues between James and myself (money!). I want to be prepared for labour, but at the same time, I'm like "WHY BOTHER!?" because I just don't know what it's going to be like!!! In an ideal world where I can control things, I'd like a water birth with no pain medication. BUT I can't control that. If Sprout is too early, I'll be strapped to monitors on a bed the whole time and will probably have an epidural. Or maybe there'll be serious complications that'll mean a caesarean. I don't know! I can't see into the future and I can't control it. There's a whole stack of fears and what ifs and maybes. Maybe James won't be there at all! Maybe Sprout will die during labour. Maybe I'll die! Maybe Sprout will be fine and then die of SIDS 2 months later.

But God is there. God is in control. If I walk through the Valley of Death, God's rod and staff will comfort me. God will use these circumstances to make me more like Jesus. To bring glory to himself. God gave us Sprout, God can take him away, God's name be praised! I really cannot stress how comforting all this is to me. It might sound trite, naive, ignorant, weak, brain-washed, whatever. But these words and promises from Scripture assure me that even if the worst (whatever that is) should happen, my Joy and Delight is before me. That one day I will gaze on the beautiful face of the Lord in his holy temple forever. I cannot comprehend what pain and suffering I would go through if Sprout were to die. But I do know that I have experienced some pain and suffering in my life (not much, but it's not a competition) and God was faithful then. He was with me then. He is comforting my worries and anxieties now. He has been with other faithful Christians through pain and sorrow. He will be with me always. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is our in Christ Jesus.
Anya loving

23 Weeks and some thoughts going on

23 weeks and I wanted to pot about a variety of things.

First up, Pregnancy
My back pain is still no good, but I'm managing it better. I went to the doctor and got some panadeine for when it's really bad. But I'm finding that the natural movement at school is enough to keep it from getting bad. Sitting is the worst for the pain. Also, I was in a bad mood late last week and went to the gym to physically vent. And my back was all the better for it the next day! Whoo hoo!!
Other people have noticed how I've "popped" out recently. I still feel a bit like a whale, but it's nice to have a baby belly, to feel Sprout wiggle around and to be seen as pregnant instead of just fat (how I feel). James felt Sprout kick yesterday and it was very special! :D I am soooooo pleased that he felt it clearly. Clearly enough for him to go "wow!" instead of "ummmm, I think so??" So yay!!

I'm doing this thing where I try not to talk about school outside of school. Once I'm home, that's it! Home! I got dragged into a few conversations about it this weekend and I honestly just find it a bit depressing. There are so many issues I can't fix that talking about it just goes in circles of problems and attempts and brick walls. If I'm going to talk about it more, I want to talk to Indigenous people and get their perspective clearer; that would be most useful and edifying. But talking to other white people is frustrating.
My not-talking-about-it method is so far quite successful. My stress and anxiety levels have gone right done as a result. I feel much more refreshed over the weekend and have a better attitude during the work day at school. Win win! There was an incident on Thursday that made me angry and in my anger I went to the gym to vent. I felt SOOO much better about it after 15mins of going as hard as I could on the elliptical and praying while working out. Endorphins and perspective realignment were just what I needed. So on Friday I went to the pool to do some laps and that nipped my irritability in the bud. It's really working out in terms of dealing with school-negativity and health. I'm going to make every effort to go to the gym and pool most days.

Self Reflection
I used to be gregarious, outgoing, loud, obnoxious, etc. But not so much any more. And I think you can even tell by how infrequently I update my LJ. Even last year I was so concerned about having friends and it made me sad that I didn't. I certainly have friends up here in HC, but I'm no longer bothered by how I'm not super close with anyone in particular. I don't really care if people like me or not. Well, a little, but not as much. I'm much quieter these days. I rather enjoy spending my weekends making bread, snuggling with James and watching Dr Who.
Speaking of, we watched the episode called "Family of Blood" today and I think it's one of my favourites. Background: The Doctor has become human to escape some villians, has forgotten his true self, taken on a new identity completely and has fallen in love with a woman. Then he finds out he needs to sacrifice his human self t become the doctor again. Skip to 5:10 to get the best scene. After seeing what his future as a human could be, Joan says to him, "the Time Lord has such adventures, but he could never have a life like that". And it's so sad and it makes me want to cry for him. But at the same time, I'm so thankful. I had adventures when I was younger and have great stories. But now my life has "slowed down". It's quiet and hard working and full and full of love. I am so thankful to God for my life. Every day I feel thankful for God blessing it so much! And the best is still yet to come in the New Creation!!
Claire young smile

21 weeks

So I just had a looky look over at my eljay to see what I'd posted last and it was the turn of the trimester. How are things now?

Lemme start with the educational.
Although pregnancy is 9 months, everyone is mostly aware that a month is a little bit longer than 4 weeks. So even though it's been 2 months since I got into this trimester, I've got just under 2 months to go until I'm in the third trimester. It's just easier to measure things by weeks. I'm 21 weeks, which is just over half way.

My belly feels so stretched and pulled. It's starting to get in the way and is mostly uncomfortable. Also, extra weight in front takes a bit to get used to.
I get muscle cramps pretty badly (just a pregnancy thing that can happen). The first time I got 1 was when I was stretching as I woke up. What a hell of a way to wake up!! I've had cramps in my calves and right now in the front-thigh muscles. Turns walking into hobbling.
I've had some pretty horrific, very localised back pack that requires a heat pack at the end of each school day. Given I have a baby belly now, lying on my front is mightily uncomfortable, but lying on top of the heat pack is too hot. So I kinda end up on my side, but on my front, with the heat pack precariously perched on top of me. Which would be funny if I weren't in pain.

I have a belly and it's a bit exciting to see it grow!
I have waaaaay more energy than I did back in Trimester 1 and the early weeks of Trimester 2. That was horrid, this is good! :D
I can feel movement and kicks! Pretty special. James hasn't felt anything yet. When I start to feel things, I call him over to where I'm at and he's all "What!? I'm coming! ... Yeah, just wait a bit... etc" and so he kinda misses out. If he hurried up, he'd get some baby-kick action.
We had our 20 week scan last weekend and it was pretty cool. Sprout looks a lot like an alien! He* turned around nicely for the ultrasound technician and yawned, which was cute.

Other things
I cleared out all my non-stretchy clothes last weekend. For school this week I wore one of my favourite tops, and that'll be the last time I could wear it as it's meant to be flow-y and loose, but instead was tight across my middle by the end of the day. Very unflattering. I've inherited a bunch of maternity clothes from a very generous Mum in town, so I'm not without options! But it's sad to see all my things packed up, wondering if I'll ever be able to wear them ever again.
All these body changes makes me feel weird. I wonder what I'm going to end up looking like in 5 months time and if I'll ever look like I did 5 months ago. This weird feeling makes me want to get an elliptical machine and start exercising so I feel some some modicum of control over what's happening. My achy back and muscle cramps are not helping in the exercise department. Though some twisted logical tells me that exercise would help them. :P Typical!
School has been horrific for reasons I cannot go into, but it just adds unwelcome stress into my life. I've been working hard at praying about it, ensuring I'm relaxing every day, eating right, etc. Last weekend was terrible and I took a stress day because I wasn't coping. But this week has been hedged in prayer and petition for rest, and God has delivered.
All this stress and these changes are not helping my relationship with James. We're going all right, but it's been difficult, y'know?
This weekend I've been spending a lot of time going through pinterest to get ideas for what I want in our future house. It's all very fanciful and catalogue-worthy: unrealistic. But it's been a very welcome distraction from my mind always turning back to school drama.

So anyway, I think that's all for now. :)

*"he" is a better alternative to "it". It is not intended to mark the sex/gender of Sprout. We don't know, we asked not to be told. The technician didn't even look!
Dawnie excited

Trimester 2!

I'm 12 weeks and a few days along in my pregnancy, which means I'm officially in Trimester 2!! Yay!!! How is pregnancy progressing so far?
Well, last week seemed to mark a change in my daily routine. But before I explain that, I want to make a distinction in vomit-y feels for you mob. Ready to get into the grossness?

There's a nausea scale, and an about-to-vomit (atv) scale. There is a subtle, but very important difference. The past 6 weeks have been a 7-9/10 on the nausea scale. Feel terrible, must lie down at all times, stomach is very upset with me all the time. I also oscillated between a 3/10 and an 8/10 depending on my horizontal/vertical positioning on the atv scale. Medication took both of those down to a 1/10. On bad days my nausea would be 10/10 with the atv at a 9/10. Nowadays, I am a 2/10 on the nausea scale, but first thing in the morning a 7/10 on the atv scale. Which is really a much pleasanter experience because the nausea is heavily reduced and I don't terribly care about vomiting or not. And once I eat something/take my time getting up/have medication, the atv scale goes right down to a 0-1/10. Hurrah!!

Last week was the first week in a few that my nausea and atv rating were right down. The weak, ineffective antiemetic became effective for the weak nausea I was experiencing. My mornings were quite alright. Not, Up And At 'Em, but alright! About midday though, my body would totally crash from all the exerting tv watching I was doing and I would need to nap for about 3hrs. Upon waking, I would still be very tired until I eventually went to sleep at night. Much much better than nausea, still pretty useless at everything.

Then about mid-way through last week, I thought maybe some iron would help me out. So I cooked up a delicious marinaded butterfly steak thingo on the BBQ, sliced it up and had at it for dinner. It was SOOOO delicious. And the next day I only napped for 1hr. I also ate some left overs for lunch and continued to snack at it until we ran out Saturday lunch (it was a big steak thingo). On Friday, I didn't need a nap. And on Saturday, my birthday, I didn't need to nap either! On Sunday, I had leftover pizza for lunch and, surprise surprise, needed to nap! I'm also drinking like, a litre of OJ a day. Preferably a little bit frozen so it's like an OJ smoothie. YUM!

I quite like steak. And I quite like orange juice, so this eating pattern suits me just fine! It's SOOO not high in vegetables though, so I have plans to make this lentil/spinach/lemon soup that I've made before and enjoyed, which, due to the lentils and spinach, should be enough iron. We'll see how I go after I have it for lunch and subsequently need to nap or not that afternoon.

So to sum up, nausea is mostly gone (hurrah!!), tiredness is on it's way up, but my super preggo cravings of steak and OJ are managing the tiredness well.

In other Trimester 2 news, my lower abdomen is getting firmer, but not sticking out yet. Pregnancy as a whole is getting pretty exciting and I'm waaaay more happy about it in general. The nausea was a real joy-sucker!!! Also, I totally vaccuumed and mopped the floors today. I am useful once more! YAY!
Kitty doesn't approve

Why I Hate Talking About Modesty. Hate It. Passionately

So here's a CHRISTIAN issue I feel very strongly about and every time I read something on this topic, I feel compelled to respond. So having done a lot of thinking about this issue, here are my thoughts. Atheist friends, please refrain from attacking the Bible or Christianity if you decide to comment :)

What do I affirm?
I affirm modesty as an attitude.
I affirm taking the focus off the clothes a woman wears and on to her spirit, character and actions.
I affirm showing love to others by actions.
I affirm obedience and submission to God by men and women.

What do I detest?
Legalism expressed as rules about clothing (finger tip lengths for skirts/shorts, v-neck shirts being unacceptable, etc).
Rape culture expressed as a woman "asking for it" by the clothes she wears.
The attitude that men just can't help themselves lusting and need all the help they can get.
Women being held responsible for men's sin.

What is the modesty movement?
The modesty movement is a name I just came up with. The problematic aspects of this movement stem from women being told to have concern for men as a key reason to be modest in dress as opposed to obedience to God's word and as an expression of character. It involves women being confronted about the clothes they wear in response to men's response.

Why is this a bad thing??
Modesty is way more complicated than people make it out to be. People who write articles about modesty ignore serious issues concerning modesty to make a point and that burdens women. Let me give you a few concrete examples:

  • Some women have large breasts. This makes it hard for them to shop for clothes that are flattering and affordable. Men are often attracted to large breasts and no matter what clothes these women wear, they will receive attention for their enlarged mammary glands. Men will look at these women and lust because they are sinful men who need to learn to exercise self control. This is *not* the fault of the women. The modesty movement inherently attacks women with larger breasts because they have larger breasts and naturally attract more attention.

  • What is modest on one woman isn't on another. Making rules about appropriate clothing is completely farcical. Put a pair of skinny jeans on a svelte women and she looks great. Put them on a curvy woman and she's an object of lust! This is actually quite unfair because skinny jeans look pretty good on almost everyone (not on my husband :()

  • Some women do their best to wear modest clothing and yet someone out there will find something to lust over. Some men quite like ankles or feet - this is a real life fetish and you are naive if you think that no one in your church finds ankles/feet more attractive that bums/boobs. YET we don't tell women to cover up their ankles. That ankle boots or bare feet are inappropriate in church because they cause men to sin. Those men who find ankles/feet attractive have needed to learn (often in secrecy) to just not look at feet to avoid sinning.*

  • It assumes that everyone has the same amount of money/skills to buy/make clothes that fit. It assumes that every woman to walk through the door of a church has grown up in church and knows the modesty rules. It assumes that women just automatically know what looks good, yet modest on them without trial and error. It assumes that confronting women about their clothing choices won't have profound negative consequences. It assumes that the woman is always at fault.

  • This movement assumes that men are the visual ones and women don't struggle the same way. NEWSFLASH: The percentage of women who look at porn is on the rise!! *shock* I've looked at porn and have gone into this previously in a different blog post. I sometimes still struggle with it. Men without shirts/or that sexy open shirt look are sexy. But I need to learn to control my thinking habits and only think about James with that sexy open shirt look, or not dwell on it at all if I were still single. We spend all this time talking to women about their clothing choices, but not to men.

  • Women are already fighting against their insecurities, trying to minimise their bad bits while compensating with their good bits. I hate my thighs, so naturally wear things longer than my knee. But my boobs are small, so I don't mind tops that are a little lower because I have no cleavage (except now that I'm pregnant) or shirts that are undone an extra button**. It's not to attract extra attention, but because I think my outfit looks good. Maybe some woman that is enticing you with her mid-thigh skirt is compensating for the potato sack she's wearing on her top because of the large mammary glands she's fed up with hiding.

What's the alternative?
I don't have a fix-all solution. But here are some suggestions:

  • Talk more about what men can do. About taking their thoughts captive. That having a physical reaction to an attractive woman is natural and not sinful, but their response to it is what matters. That they can take measures to avoid situations where they'll find themselves fixated on a woman.

  • Stop having rules about clothing. Church leaders/older women could model appropriate clothing to younger women. Set the standard at your church by being the standard. Stop making church into a bloody fashion show (this makes me particularly angry) because that only encourages it.

  • Have a girls youth group trip to an op-shop and go crazy, while also modelling the thought process that goes into particular outfits 'this looks really good, but maybe it's too tight/short/low around my [insert body part here]'. Don't make this a Point Out The Sin exercise. Start with yourself.

  • Don't ever suggest that women are asking to be lusted after just because they wear a skirt that comes above the knee/fingertip line. This is the exact same reason that some men use to get away with raping women. This is called victim blaming. Because wearing a short skirt is actually an invitation to get raped /sarcasm.

  • Get over bikinis. Seriously. Wearing a one piece is not an acceptable alternative because swimsuits by nature are clingy and revealing. Why is a pair of clingy wet board shorts that end up showing off the curves of a women's posterior acceptable, but a mini skirt isn't? Why is a stomach SO attractive?? Because that's the only difference between a bikini and a one piece. There are definitely swimsuits out there to be avoided, but women can/should use their own discretion on that topic.

  • Acknowledge that we live in a world that rebels against God. People don't care about modesty. They don't care about attracting men with their clothes (unless they're going to a night club to meet men... I dunno!!). They just wanna look good and are taking their cues from the people around them/the internet/fashion magazines. Christian men live in this world too - surprise!! If they're going to the beach, they're gonna see bikinis. If they're going into a shopping centre, loads of teenage girls are gonna be wearing those horrible high-waisted cut off jean shorts that are ripped to look old, net-like tops and a bra/bikini top (I think this is a horrible reason because they might as well be wearing underwear/the outfit is a crime against humanity/looks terrible/and yes... it's immodest). Christian women wear different clothes to teenage girls already, so why are we heaping on even more pressure??

But Kat, what can I teach my Youth Group??
Focus on how clothing is not meant to be an issue or concern for them. Ask why they are making their clothing choices and leave that as an open question for them to answer secretly in their heart. Talk about what should be going on in their hearts. Peter talks about women not wearing braided hair and expensive jewellery, but to focus on their character and actions. On being Godly women because of their identity in Christ. Tell your youth group to stop judging other women for their clothing choices. I personally struggle a lot with this; I am SOO not immune. Show me a woman in a short skirt and I immediately start thinking "oh no, why is she wearing that!? Doesn't she know the effect she's having on men!?" But that's unfair to men and unfair to that woman. God knows her heart and I would hate to be judged the same for my pencil skirts (which I loooove) (and are flattering and maybe some will think immodest because they are typically form-fitting). Teach them to navigate the issue of modesty without shame, legalism or judgement. But with personal discernment and self control.

My Experience
So I just want to touch on this issue from a personal note. As I've mentioned, I don't like my thighs, so dress/skirt/short length was never an issue. I don't really have any cleavage, so wearing low cut tops was never really an issue for anyone. Mum had a discussion with me when I was a pre-teen about shady men who'd get the wrong idea from my clothing, so wear modest clothing!! Looking back on that, I wonder if that was an issue back then, that maybe I wasn't wearing modest clothing before and now I should...? But at the time I was all "yeah!" And I certainly agree that there are shady horrible men out there just waiting to be a-raping. But a woman's clothing choice has very little to do with whether rape will occur. Most women are raped by men they know, not because the man hiding in the bushes was waiting for the right Short Skirt of Opportunity (+5 to rape attempts). I like to get my husband's opinion on my clothes because I like to think he likes how I look aaaaaaand, he has no problems with my skinny-jeans-stretch-singlet combo in public. Fancy that!

Back in year 12, I attended a particular church that marketed itself as trendy and cool with a band and concert-like worship music. All the youth who went there wore trendy clothes. They were so cool. I've been to other churches that feature trendy singers up the front and I wish that I looked as good in skinny jeans and heels. I want to wear my trendiest outfit too. Clothing is not meant to be the issue!!! It shouldn't matter what I wear to church, because the issue is my heart before God. While modesty is supposed to be about the menz, this issue of trendiness is taken straight out of 1 Peter! Don't worry about braided hair, pearls or fine jewellery. Don't worry about being trendy. I think trendiness is an issue for the womenz and I think that's what Peter's addressing. And I think that ought to be more important than modesty actually, because what is immodesty but a desire to one-up your friends? A desire to get more (male OR female) attention? A lack of a modest attitude before God?

I like looking nice because that helps me feel comfortable. I like being comfortable in my clothes because that contributes to feeling nice in my outfit. There's nothing wrong with dressing attractively, nice or well. But it's not meant to be the issue. *sigh*

I know that people are going to strongly disagree with me. I've already had major FB conflicts over this issue and I'm not terribly looking forward to continuing those conflicts on my blog. And yet, here I am standing on my soap box and telling it how I think it is.
I feel like my discussion on this topic has been all over the place. This is not an academic essay by any stretch of the imagination.
I want to reiterate that I do think modesty is important. That Christian women should discern their motivations, should love their brothers in their clothing choices. But those shoulds are often divorced from all the issues I've discussed above and I really think those issues need to be acknowledged

Further Reading
There is a rabbit hole of blogs/websites devoted to this issue.
I think the most prominent is The Rebelution, a modesty survey that sparked my ire even as a teenager because "gosh, what can I bloody well wear now!? Someone's bound to lust after my jeans!! Even though 95% of men think they're fine, what about that 5%?? Aren't I meant to love them too!!?" This is a serious question: if I'm not meant to be a stumbling block to my brothers, how far do I take it!?
Then there's this blog: Why the Rebelution's Modesty Survey Was a Bad Idea which is a pretty descriptive title. It includes a list of further reading at the end which you should explore.
This blog entry: The Only Thing My Double Ds Ever Got Me Was Kicked Out of Church which makes me so angry when I read it. And is the perfect example of the Modesty Movement's effect on a woman. Shame.

*This doesn't mean that women should just flash their boobs around and expect men to get used to it. Though... just check out Africa. Cultural expectations.
**I wear a singlet underneath low and sheer tops... just in case you thought I was a harlot.