Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Homeschool Mums Are Courageous!

Courage: The confidence to act in accordance with one's beliefs. (Free online dictionary)

Homeschool Mums live this out every day. We are going against the grain of society. Everyone else (okay not everyone, but some days it feels like it), sends their kids to conventional school. And little old me? Why, I keep my kids at home.

And so I live with the critical questions that certain family members make. The questions that strangers ask, the questions that even some of my best friends put out there sometimes…and the questions that I ask myself. It's a burden I would much rather do without!

I want to put it out there…

Yes! In the words of John Denver: "Some days are diamonds, some days are stones."

Yes! I question what I am doing. Do I have the strength? Is this what I really want? Yes to the later at the least.

Yes! I struggle with patience. So does everyone who has kids and is honest.

Yes! It's true, my house is not a home you would see in a magazine. But then I'm still not sure I would want that.

Yes! I'm human. Nothing "super mum" about what I do. We live out every day.

As a family, we have made choices. They suit us. We don't expect they will suit everyone else. I don't see the point in being critical about others choices to send their children to school. Our choices won't work for everyone else. To go against the tide of popular opinion is hard. But it seems our family does that not only in our homeschooling but also in our decisions regarding family size.

So what are the other options? I could go to work. And you know what, it would be easier in so many ways. I could send my kids to school, and it too would be easier in so many ways. But for us it's not about what is easier, it's about what we believe.

We homeschool because we believe in what we do. The bringing up of our children truly is the most important job we have and we will put all our energy into it (second only to our marriage). We believe that our children's ability to think freely and explore widely (and wildly) is really important. We believe that time spent together as family is also really important. We believe that our children should be abel to make friends with children and adults of all ages. And we also believe the Faith that we teach to our children in our home is invaluable.

Others homeschool for other reasons, that are valid in their own right. But each of us goes against the grain of society. And that makes homeschool mums courageous. Not super, not necessarily confident in everything, but courageous.

Not content to go where everyone else is headed, we tread the path less travelled.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Princess is Born!

With Daddy…doesn't he look young without the beard!
Princess, Princess…How we love thee!

Before she was born, Christian and I decided to do everything possible to give us a chance of a natural delivery. After much discussion, we decided on a "Hypnobirthing" class. I was concerned about the "spiritual" implications of such an "new age" concept, but Christian assured me, that for pain relief hypnosis was something that had been used for a long time in the medical community and in this form had nothing to do with other spirituality.

It was the Hypnobirthing or the "Calm Birth" class that we did with Peter Jackson (remembered his name because of the famous one who made the Lord Of The Rings films) that changed everything in this birth.

Three generations of women.
Labour started as I was sitting at the computer one evening. I was on the phone to Mum and noticing the back ache that I just couldn't get comfortable with. Eventually I realised that it was coming in "waves" that coincided with my tummy getting tight, and mentioned it to Mum. She told me to call hubby who was on call at the hospital that night and had not yet come home. I made the call. We waited half an hour to be sure, and then Christian called in the other doctor from our practice who was to back him up (my obstetrician…didn't think about him needing a good sleep!). Christian was rather stoked to get off call. Mum got in the car and made her way across the Snowy Mountains from Wagga to Cooma.

Getting to meet Tiger.
When she arrived she was surprised to find us up, happy and very calm. She sent us to the hospital, telling us she would look after Tiger. We went, but I wasn't in "proper" labour yet. Our doctor would time our labour from when I hit 4cm.

So Christian and I were put in a room in the maternity unit and left to ourselves. He slept in the chair, I slept on the bed, and together we worked as one through contractions. When we did hit 4cm we worked a bit more actively (moving about and other such things), but our doctor was keen to watch us. He was well aware that my pain level should be the same as it had been with Tiger. Princess was presenting posterior (as was Tiger), but apart from being uncomfortable in my back, there was little to no pain.

Christian and I worked together. The doctor, our dear friend and colleague, was in awe. Looking back it was indeed a beautiful time. Christian read to me passages from the Bible, gave me soft touch, I breathed, and went in and out of "hypnosis". It was a special bonding time for both of us.

But time ran out.

Dr Learoyd gives us our first look of Princess.
We were in a country hospital and had been given a 12hour period to labour, since I was trying for a Vaginal Birth After Caesarean. Time to intervene had arrived. At the time they put in the epidural I was 8cm, but at next look I was 10cm. We were all very hopeful that we could deliver.

But for an hour doctor pulled (ventouse or vacuum) and I pushed. Our little girl was high, very high. Still floating the doctor said, and she would not come down. I kept trying until I was in theatre, but no, she was just too high!

Abigail Grace arrived at 10:30am on Sunday morning, hearing first her Daddy's voice give her name and then the doctors as they sang Happy Birthday to her.

Still in theatre being stitched up
The doctor they had called in to do the anaesthetic was enjoying taking photos (he was from the other practice in town). We got our best photos of this birth…but in his excitement he failed to notice that the anaesthetic was wearing off, and I decided not to tell. I used my calm birth skills to work through the stitches of the last two or three layers that I could feel. When they pushed me out to recovery they were exceedingly surprised to discover that I could already move my toes, and moved me straight on to the ward.

Our Princess was the most wonderful placid, happy baby. My recovery was also amazing. The next day was Christian's birthday, and we left baby in the hospital under the care of nurses whilst we went to a Chinese restaurant in town with Mum and Tiger. We left hospital two days later.

Still asked if these two are twins. Have ever
since she was about 8months old. Perhaps
it's because they are such good friends.
Princess continued to be an amazing little baby. No feeding problems! To this day no antibiotics! To this day no medical concerns! We are so grateful for this young lady.

P.S. I do not regret this second caesarean. I know our doctor gave us the best medical care that he possibly could give us at the time. I am so grateful that medical intervention exists to help our mama's like me. A missionary friend just told me that 1 in 7 women die in childbirth in PNG. Intervention in Australia may be high, but too often my "home birthing" friends belittle those of us who need to use it.