Monday, November 30, 2009

I try not to go all political on this Blog, I really do. Believe me, if I let loose it'd be nasty! But this deal with the proposed amendments to the midwifery legislation is very close to my heart! Here is my submission to a senate inquiry on the matter. I hope you will find it thought provoking. If you wish to add your own submission, check out how on the Save Home Birth Blog

To Whom it May Concern,

I wanted to tell you about my experiences with both public maternity care and care from an independent midwife.

During my first pregnancy my medical care was through the Queen Victoria
Maternity Unit, Launceston as a public patient. I often sat for two hours or more waiting for appointments with team midwives at the QVMU (Queen Victoria Maternity Unit) and I doubt I saw any one of them more than twice. Most of the visit was spent with them reading my notes before doing a brief check and sending me on my way. One of the few times there was an “issue” some papers were sent to the obstetrician who then called me and let me know a prescription was waiting for me at the pharmacy. I was not informed what the prescription was for, nor was there any discussion about what my current condition was.

My baby was delivered by a midwife who was lovely but who I had never met before that day and her secondary midwife was a woman who I had a bit of a personality clash with. The birth was a ‘good’ birth but quite a few times my wishes were ignored because I had not been able to discuss them fully with the midwives before the birth. I also had some ongoing issues with nerve damage because of an action taken by one midwife after I asked her to stop. Something that took months to recover from and that could have been easily avoided if she had listened to me or had the time/inclination to read through my birth plan.
After the birth, I was shuffled out of the birthing suite within 20 minutes because of there were more and more women arriving and they needed the room.

After the birth, I was roomed with a woman who would often walk out for hours on end leaving her baby unattended and would play audio tapes of herself swearing in labour to entertain visitors who came at rest time. I went home with my three day old baby with little or no rest because of my rooming conditions and no ongoing help from medical staff. When I called to ask what I should do about persistent issues (caused by the nerve damage) I was told that there was nothing I could do and given no support.

I say this NOT to belittle the staff at the QVMU, many of whom work very hard and go above and beyond the call of duty. They are obviously overloaded and working within a culture that does not encourage individual tailoring of care. I describe my first experience to show the contrast between my care at the hands of the public system and my care at the hands of my private midwife.

For my three subsequent pregnancies and the current one, I have been cared for by an Independent Midwife. When being cared for by my Independent Midwife I rarely wait more than five minutes. Review of notes takes only a couple of minutes and the rest of my visit is spent thoroughly checking everything out and discussing how bub and I are going – with my other children and husband often involved in the process if it is appropriate. The smallest of issues are noted and carefully watched. When there was a small issue with iron levels during my last pregnancy, I discussed it thoroughly with my midwife, went into the QVMU (with a detailed copy of all of my notes from all of my pregnancies) to see the obstetrician on duty who discussed my condition with me and ordered some blood tests. I was called when they were in by the obstetrician who explained the results and said he was perfectly happy for me to go ahead at the birth centre. I then got a call from my midwife who checked that I was happy with what was happening.
I was completely satisfied with the way my midwife was able to collaborate with hospital staff to deliver the best possible care for me and my baby. Many of the staff at the hospital were privately supportive of my choice to employ an Independent Midwife and seemed quite happy for some of their very heavy workload to be alleviated. I was pleased that we could make use of the expertise of the staff available at the hospital without the added cost of having to go through a private obstetrician. My Midwife had the freedom to refer me as she needed to and collaborate with available medical staff without being restricted in her ability to care for me and my baby.

All my babies at the birth centre have been delivered by highly trained and experienced midwives who I have chosen and are philosophically aligned with in terms of birth practice. All three births have been fantastic and my after care went on for two weeks in my own home. The midwives were “on call” for me 24 hours a day and they make a point of keeping themselves up to date training as lactation consultants. Their expertise and availability has assisted me in establishing breastfeeding and having wonderful recovery periods after the births of my children. This level of care is rare even in private hospital situations and is unheard of for someone who lives a 45 minute+ drive from the nearest city as I do.

All this was at my own expense, and I’m happy to pay if I need to. Although I would love to see this level of care made more accessible to alleviate the load on the public system in Launceston. I personally believe that if more women employed Independent Midwives, the hospital staff could give greater time and attention to the care of women who have high risk pregnancies. I also believe that continuity of care, as provided by an Independent Midwife, could prevent many issues in pregnancy, birth and post-natal periods.
I believe that the proposed amendments will greatly diminish the standards of care I experience in any further pregnancies. I believe that the proposed amendments will remove my option, as a rurally located mother, of having experienced and professional staff attending my needs during the postnatal period. I believe the proposed amendments will jeopardise the continuity of care I experience before, during and after birth. I believe that the proposed amendments will subject my care to the scrutiny of bodies who are wholly unsupportive of independent midwifery and who are not committed to a higher standard of care for women outside the hospital setting or support of midwives. I believe that the proposed amendments will remove MY right to choose who my health care provider is and place that choice in the hands of professionals who are openly opposed to independent midwifery, independent birth centres and home birth. I believe that this restriction of my choice will take place with no proof that such a restriction will benefit either myself or my baby. In fact I believe the proposed amendments will not only violate my rights, but will jepordise the health and welfare of myself and my future babies.

This is my story and my thoughts, I hope they help you to make an informed decision on your own stance on this issue.

I thank you for your time,

Jessica Guest
Soon to be mother of 5 and voter

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm taking another week

Yes, slack blogger here.

I feel like I am missing so much at home so I am taking a week off blogging to focus and drink it all in! It's a case of too much to say, too much to write, too much to do - choosing to spend time with the kids anyway!

See you on the other side!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A love poem

I've been reading a few Shakesperian sonnets lately and that man new how to write REAL love! I'm not talking Romeo and Julliet (which was more about gang warfare than love in my opinion!) but the sonnets - ah the sonnets! Here is my take on sonnet 141

Oh, and if you have delicate sensibilities and are offended by toilet humor,
skip it.

You Fart In Bed

You fart in bed

Then pull the covers over my head

You leave your socks on the bedroom floor
You NEVER close the bathroom door
You're late for tea and never call
You leave your work boots in the hall
You never get up and settle the baby
When I ask you to go out you shrug and say "maybe"
I ALWAYS put the kids to bed
do the dishes and get us all fed
You frustrate me beyond all reason
especially during the football season

And yet...

There's something.

Something I cannot, dare not, name.

Something that makes me not quite the same

Something that makes me lighter and freer
when watching you kick back with a beer
Eve's curse? Perhaps. Downtrodden? Maybe.
but with you I am a better me
There's something about you I cannot define
But whatever it is, I'm glad it is mine.
And when I am in your arms, in our room
When the house is quiet as the Taj Mahal tomb
When you whisper words of intimacy
And every woman wishes she were me

Then you fart and pull the covers over my head.

Even then, I am glad it is you in my bed.

Just so you know, my husband has NEVER done this to me (I threatened before we were married to bite him if he did). Also he never watches football, often settles the baby and is more than willing to take me out! It is FICTION. But I am sure many married women can relate

Monday, November 16, 2009


The very observant among you will notice that I have removed the "Praying for Stellan" button from the side of my Blog. This is because his operation has been a rip roaring success! He has less than a 1% chance of ever developing SVT again! While his family remain in our prayer box, I am removing his button for now.

Mercy is also doing brilliantly and responding to her new meds better than anyone hoped. There is some talk of surgery in her future too so I am leaving her button there to remind me and encourage you to keep her in your prayers.

In other prayer request updates, the Lockwood family continue to need your prayers as the minister in Mexico. So far in the last year or so they have faced a liver issue that was suspected to be fatal cancer in Daddy Lockwood, complicated pregnancy, pre-term c-section delivery, car accidents, kidney infections, HURRICANES!! Flu with 12 kids sounds scary enough and they have faced that too. They are on a bit more of an even keel at the moment, however persistent skin infections in two of the kids are in need of prayer and wisdom.

As I bragged earlier, I have met The Triplets! Last I heard the plan was to take them home today. Please keep them, their parents and their sisters in your prayers. Please especially pray for Dani as she tries to keep her milk supply up to feed three hungry mouths!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm almost famous!

I'm friends with front page news! Our local paper did a front page story about the triplets who I had the privilege to meet yesterday.

Just thought I'd brag!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do you ever have one of those times....

...where you just want to yell "unfair to snails!"

That probably won't mean anything to those of you who DIDN'T grow up watching Mr Squiggle on ABC, but those who did should understand instantly.

Gus was a puppet snail who had a rather over inflated sense of self and a persecution complex. Any time anything didn't go his way he would wail "Unfair to snails!!"

I kinda feel like that at the moment.

For starters:

It has been unseasonably hot. I don't like heat, it makes me cranky at the best of times.

Our water bill has gone up 300% due entirely to a state government let's-mess-around-with-people's-lives spree which also hiked up our power bill significantly. Cranky.

Our new (to us) Suburban dumped it's oil on the highway the other day because a little clip fell off a little hose. Fortunately no long term damage, but our most expensive purchase EVER aside from our house which we saved and scrimped and sacrificed for and bought without a loan or anything is now a very expensive paperweight in the driveway until we get a new little clip thingy. CRANKY!


There is the little matter of birth choices and human rights being stripped away from women by our current administration which I will just leave there because if I get going there is a whole BLOG in that one. VERY, VERY, CRANKY!

In fact, I think I should just stay away from the news until we have finished the next elections. Unless of course they get voted in again, if that happens I may have to immigrate. Our current government does not do much for the cranky factor at all.

All in all, I am finding it difficult not to stomp about seething at the unfairness of it all. I mean, why ME?

Of course, I KNOW it isn't all just to persecute me (well, most of it isn't just to persecute me, I have a feeling the current government is...)and I KNOW that for every slight I have a million blessings to count, but if anyone were to remind me of this right at this moment, I would pull their bottom lip over their head and cheerfully instruct them to swallow. I'm Cranky.


I can pretend not to be cranky. Paste on a smile and a falsely cheerful voice and talk a lot about my blessings.


I can be cranky. Seethe with anger. Snap surly comments at random people and my family. Have no patience or kindness because the crankyness eats patience and kindness for breakfast. I can reason that this is me and well, I have to be honest and I have to be me because that is me and, well, there's a Disney movie somewhere that told me I should be me I'm sure. And my loved ones? They just have to put up with it and love me and not require anything from me that I am not willing to give 'cause I'm a PERSON and I have RIGHTS. I think there's a chick flick that I can use to back that one up somewhere? Philosophy and human rights celluloid style!


I can take this to His feet. Tell Him how ticked off I am. Use all sorts of useful descriptive language that my children will NEVER hear me use while I am telling Him if I need to. Because it is real. The crankiness. However unjustified and self involved, it's real. And I need to get real with Jesus so He can take me and make me whole. I can tell him honestly I DON'T want to be this way. Righteous anger I can burn with, but the crankiness is not befitting of one of my status. A mother, a wife, a princess. Daughter of the King. I need to put it at His feet, and when I discover it dogging my steps like an unloved stray I need to take it back and give it to Him all over again.

And then I can be a princess rather than a snail with a TV for a shell with a flower pot on top.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Gardening merrily still!

bought herself a magic wand yesterday. She had some birthday money still saved up and saw it in the supermarket and fell in love with it. In spite of my dislike of all things plastic and garish, I consented. Only to discover the thing makes NOISE! If you have read this blog at all you will realise just what I think of noisy toys. It has no off switch and every time it is moved it gives a rapid seven note ascending chime - arugh!! She LOVES it. And I love her. So I am putting up with it. It got a lot quieter yesterday when she was waving it over the dishes to "magic" them clean and dropped it in! She has been using it to do all sorts of household chores - cloth in her other hand so she can do it by "slight of hand" while waving the wand!

is attached to my hip or in the next room for a week after deciding to "water" various things with the hose last week THAT SHOULD NOT BE WATERED. THREE TIMES. He is in need of a bit of time and attention at the moment I think, having spent too much time heading out to play without direct supervision. He is a charming lad with a great work ethic and a sensitive soul - that sometimes causes one to forget that he is three and he does stuff!

is stringing together lots of sentences at the moment. One of those "language explosions" so common around his age. It makes him even more interactive! He has developed a desire to take a car to bed with him every night. It doesn't matter which car, just a car with wheels! He also discovered a toy car in the Operation Christmas Child boxes we are making up and it took some quick talking to get him to understand that it wasn't his!

is getting about very quickly now. She loves gardening and has consumed most of the legendary "ton of dirt" that each child is meant to eat before the age of five! The grot monster. A strong little personality already it is amazing to see her develop. The other day she was jumping around excitedly in my arms giggling then put her mouth to my shoulder like she was going to bite. I said to her "No, don't bite Mum." She looked at me side ways and then grinned. A minute or two later she went to do the same thing and I said the same thing. She looked at me and stuck out her bottom lip and gave a whimper before going back to playing. A minute or two later she actually started to bite my shoulder and I said "No don't bite Mummy!" and tapped her nose with my finger. She crumbled and burst into tears! Don't let anyone tell you that a ten month old can't understand what's going on!

The house:
is still managing to do OK as we are rarely inside to make mess. We spent a bit TOO much time outside last week, but it's all good now.

The garden:
Among a million other things going on, my peonys are flowering the same year I transplanted them! A miracle!


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Monday, November 09, 2009

Danielle and the Triplets...

will meet face to face today! Please pray for her, the medical staff, the babies and her family.

Edited to add: As I have been haunting my computer for news of Danni and the babies I found out that Stellan, a little boy in the states who we have been praying for as a family, is going in to have heart surgery very soon. This is very dangerous and he and his family need all the prayers they can get. So go and check out his Mum's blog My Charming Kids and whisper a prayer for Stellan.

Edited AGAIN to add: Details! Triplet 1 born at 2.26pm - Holly Georgina, 5lb 9ozs. Triplet 2 born at 2.27pm - Daisy Grace, 4lb 15 ozs. Triplet 3 born at 2.30pm - Lily Cheyenne, 5lbs 10ozs. Daisy and Lily are twins. All 3 doing well. Please continue to hold up this family in prayer as they adjust to life with triplets!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I can't sleep

Well, that's not true. I daresay if I lay down and closed my eyes I'd drift off eventually. But Beloved isn't home. He's been away since Thursday night and it is now Sunday night - wait, Monday morning. There are a million things to do (aren't there always?) and bed does not look quite so inviting when it is just me in it. Each night that he's been gone I have stayed up SO late doing STUFF. Important STUFF. And I am beginning to realise how much I rely on him to stop me in the evenings. How much I rely on him to be taking care of it all, to lock the doors and turn out the lights. To invite me to sit with him for a bit and wind down. To wake me gently and guide me to bed where he folds me in his arms and lets me rest - warming me through and through. How much I rely on him to remind me to recharge my batteries so I have reserves for tomorrow.

I miss you honey, see you in the morning!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Can someone please explain....

why we have abortion laws in this country that cause a child in one part of a hospital to be kept alive with every medical technology and medical expert available bent on giving the child a life and a future and another child, in another part of the same hospital, at the same gestational age, killed as "foetal matter" because two doctors agreed that it was best for the mother's mental health?

Can you explain to me why a mother of a prematurely born child who removed life support systems and smothered the child would be tried as a murderer yet if she had sought to abort the child while it was still in utero, she would be protected as a "victim" and even applauded by some members of society?

Can you explain why in two years if I choose to have my healthy baby, product of a healthy, normal pregnancy, outside a hospital setting, attended by my highly trained, highly experienced midwife with an impeccable record and a commitment to ongoing training and education and an EXCELLENT record in postpartum care, I will be breaking the law and labeled a radical who puts my baby at risk?

HOWEVER if I choose to have my baby attended by poorly trained, overworked staff (who have little ongoing education requirements) at a public hospital, a place where life threatening mistakes are OFTEN made due to clerical error, exhaustion of staff, mis-communications during shift changes and sheer carelessness, a place where unnecessary interventions (some of which are routine)make postpartum complications and even postpartum infection and/or DEATH for both mother and baby more likely and where BASIC ongoing postpartum care of mother and baby, support of breast feeding etc. is WELL below the standards of the World Health Organisation (according to our own statistics which are on public record) and the rights, wishes and preferences of parents are often ignored and/or belittled for the convenience of staff members - I will be making the "responsible choice"?

Can someone please explain to me why NONE of the data from developed countries where home births are common place (for example, the Netherlands) is "relevant" however examples of infant mortality in third world countries where medical care and decent nutrition is unavailable are FINE to use to "proove" just how "irresponsible" I am?

And can someone PLEASE explain to me WHY I find myself politically aligned with rabid feminists who helped push through the current abortion laws in Victoria and who are working to legalise chemical abortion in Queensland, in order to defend my right to make a healthy, informed, responsible choice for the birth of my child and maintain access to some of the best trained birth attendants in the country?

Is it just me, or has the world gone mad?

No, this hasn't turned into a political blog. I am just mad as heck right now and needed to vent!

Thursday, November 05, 2009


opted out of going to after school activities this week. She has been enjoying an after school program at the school across the road for a while now. They play games and do exercises and it gives her a chance to catch up with friends in the community. We started sending her partially because she wasn't seeing any of her little friends now that they all started school (apparently going to school tuckers five year olds out and they don't have energy for a social life - this is me staying off my soap box about homeschooling and "socialisation") and also I like the idea of her having structured, supervised activities with other kids as she gets older - although I haddn't planned to start her on any this year. She was also feeling quite deprived watching everyone go to school WITHOUT HER (the local school is accross the road) and while I stand by our decision to homeschool 100% I did NOT want her to feel that she was completely isolated from kids her own age. So off she has been toddling every week for the last couple of months, with breaks for school holidays and family holidays. When she's been asked if she goes to school yet, she answers "Yes, I go once a week to Active After School!" and has shown every indication that she has been thriving on it. This week however Erin has opted to stay home instead. Why? She is worried that we will do something fun at home without her!!! She cracks me up. It seems we are just as fun as school, if not a little more so!

has been having a series of lapses in judgement for the last, oh, fortnight! Really silly decisions like deciding to tear up the flyscreen in his room to throw out toys (toys were confiscated amid other consequences, including his beloved Red Bear for 24 hours). This is just an example among SEVERAL bad decisions the poor lad has made lately. On Sunday he went with his Dad for the day to drive in and get mushroom compost for the garden and spent the day working with him. I won't say that solved the issue, but it has made a difference. Where Christopher will stomp and yell aggressively, Billy will burst into tears and sook to get his own way, the challenge is to recognise it for what it is and react accordingly. He has spent a fair bit of time climbing a shrub in the backyard and I am sure he is part gibbon the way he can swing around in that thing! He is a marvel to watch.

really IS old enough to start toilet training and move into a big boy bed. I keep making excuses to put it off, but it is getting silly. As soon as the back door is usable again for fast access from the back yard we are starting with the toilet training (I HATE toilet training, any good tips are most welcome). As for the bed, we are just waiting for a guard and ladder on the top bunk then he can move out, Anna can get the cot and the portacot can be folded away!

The crawling, five toothed wonder kept me up most of last night and I have NO IDEA why. My usually happy baby who sleeps through the night was neither last night. No fever, no possability that she has swallowed anything she shouldn't have (as far as I know!). My only guess is another tooth to even things up to six! Yesterday she was raced up and down the footpath in her pram by Billy as I painstakingly dug out our front weed patch - oops, GARDEN - and she loved it. Another one with a need for speed I think!

Our house:
was doing so well until last night when I decided to leave the dishes a bit late, then went to bed instead! Beloved is on the mainland buying us another car at the moment (more seats, more comfort - the need for both became evident when we were on the mainland on holiday!) and will be away until early Monday morning - when he will get home and get ready for work! I am finishing off some gardening he started at the beginning of the week because there are some punnets that need planting so the house clean up will likely keep me out of trouble while the kids are in bed tonight. I also neglected laundry for a day or two last week, but at least it will all dry outside on the line at the moment! Spring Rocks!

The Garden:
The raised vegetable bed has carrots, radishes, beetroot, beans and parsnip planted from seed in it. We have also dug holes in the ground around the raised bed to plant tomatoes, capsicum, chilli, pumpkin, cucumber, zucchini and some other stuff too. Some iris has surprised us with BEAUTIFUL mass displays as well as some exquisite bearded iris. Iris are my favourite flowers so I am thrilled, amazing what pops up in a neglected garden! We have pinks, carnations, granny's bonnets, johnny-jump-ups, peony and half a dozen other bits and pieces popping up. Out the front has largely been neglected over winter but over the last couple of weeks I have dug out an area about 2x3meters which was waist high weeds and a few stumps (Beloved got in there with a bit of pick action with some of it with me). As I sit here I am covered in smudges of dirt and I was only driven inside by the fact that the children and I need to rest or one of us will pass out - no bets on who! I am racking my brains to come up with something quick and easy to feed everyone for tea so I don't have to come in until 5pm but most of it I have already fed them in the last week so we will see what happens. Sausages in bread with sauce is a balanced meal - right? If you have one in each hand that is!


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