Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Third Trimester

I’m 28 weeks pregnant all of a sudden, and already a week into the third trimester. This pregnancy is literally flying by.

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Things are still going well, though I’m not loving the whole combination of ridiculously hot summer and third trimester, but on the upside I do at least have air conditioning and a recliner chair when things get too tough! My hips, sciatica and lower back have been giving me a lot of grief, I really do think I’m going to need a visit to a physio before this is over.

Baby wise though everything is great. I had my first midwife visit last week, and she was only concerned when she measured my fundal height (where they measure the distance between the pubic bone and the top of the ‘fundus’/uterus) and discovered that it was measuring about four weeks ahead. Fundal height is not the most accurate of measurements, especially when you are in your third pregnancy and well and truly pre-stretched; but it pays to be safe rather than sorry, as there are a few conditions that advanced fundal height can be a marker of. So she booked me in for a surprise ultrasound just to check how the baby was measuring, and to make sure there’s the right amount of amniotic fluid in there.

So on Friday I took my mum up to the hospital for a sneak peek of baby Tadpole. Here I must admit that I haven’t been entirely honest with you, dear readers. I mentioned in an earlier post that the baby had been quite uncooperative in our morphology scan and almost all of the pictures were blurry. Well that is true, they almost all were, except for one picture that we really did not want to see. In spite of very clearly telling the sonographer that we did not want to know the sex of our baby, she left a lovely, VERY clear, between-the-legs shot for us on the disc of images we took home. So clear in fact, that upon seeing it, Mayana immediately turned to me and demanded, “Mama! Is that a willy?!!” And indeed it was. And yes, baby Tadpole confirmed to us on Friday that as well as being a total exhibitionist, he is definitely a he! I am somewhat disappointed that we are missing out on the surprise that we were so excited about, but very happy that we are going to be having another beautiful son.

A happier surprise was that at the end of our scan on Friday – which by the way was completely fine, Tadpole is measuring perfectly on dates, and the reason my fundal height was off was that he is laying in the right position, head down already, on his tummy with his little butt right up in the air—or in the top of my uterus as the case may be! – the sonographer switched the screen over to the 3D setting and we got a beautiful 3D shot of our lovely son! (he has his hand over his left eye, and despite plenty of prodding with the ultrasound wand, he wasn’t moving it!!)

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So today is less than twelve weeks until our baby’s due date, and if I want to really freak myself out, I remind myself that Reuben was born less than nine weeks from this point! There is so much on between now and then that I’m sure that time is going to disappear in the blink of an eye, and we are going to be holding this gorgeous little fella before we know it!

Friday, 6 December 2013


{image credit}

Over the past few weeks I have had four dreams where I have discovered strange rooms in our house. Like, rooms I didn’t know anything about, and suddenly there was this whole new section to our home that I’d never seen before. The first one was just weird, and I put it down to pregnancy, but when it started to reoccur I grew curious. So I turned to Google (what would we do without it?), and amongst a whole lot of borderline creepy new age-y stuff, and the above picture, I found that the thought is that these kind of dreams happen when your subconscious is getting you ready for surprises in your life - new interests, goals, potential ventures, and/or unexpected possibilities, and whole unexplored parts of yourself that you never knew existed.

Weird. But then I thought about it more and began to realise how much our life is about to change.


The obvious one is a new baby. Having three children is definitely going to be a big change in our life. I remember reading an article once by this mother who was totally overwhelmed by the idea of having more kids than hands, and I can tell you now that I completely relate. I feel somehow like this jump between two to three is going to take a bigger stride than the one between one and two. It’s going to mean changes in our home too; we’ll have to shuffle bedrooms and the ‘Making Room’ so that we can all fit. Lots of change, in lots of ways.

Reuben is finally having his endoscopy procedure next week. We will hopefully have his diagnosis confirmed, and, God willing, can hopefully get the answers we need to start to close the door on that yucky chapter of his life. This will definitely be a good change.


We are also entering a new phase in our life that is going to last for many years. School. We will for the first time be ruled by a strict routine. Little Tadpole is going to have to fit naps wherever they fit, because there will be a school run to consider! It’s going to mean earlier nights and earlier mornings, lunchboxes, homework, uniforms, commitments.

And then there’s Mayana. My beautiful girl who is, as I write this, at her very last day of Kindergarten. Who in about 52 days begins her schooling journey. I’ve written before about how confronting I’m finding this season. It’s one of those things that has always been looming.. you know it’s coming and you try to prepare yourself for it, but all of a sudden, it’s here! Those seemingly endless days of full-time Mayana, where I’m her number one and we get to play and learn and do everything together, they’re almost over. I know some of those things will stay the same but I also know it will be different. Almost like I’m handing over the reins to another person to help bring her up. Mayana is so excited, and I know that she will thrive at school. She cannot wait to learn how to read (I think she believes it will magically occur after her first day), and told me last night that she plans to read to our whole family every single night. She is going to make lots of friends and learn so many new things and love every minute of it, I have no doubt about that. But I am going to miss her.


I keep thinking about the year that I worked, and Pete was at home with her. I remember on my first day, it was so overwhelming… meeting all these new people, learning about my new responsibilities and systems and how things work, and all the time with this huge dull ache in my chest, thinking to myself what am I doing! I should be with my baby! My baby is not my baby anymore. She’s a confident and self-assured, outgoing and bubbly, beautiful, kind and friendly nearly-five-year-old. How on Earth did that even happen! I could never keep her from this just because I don’t feel ready, and the thought hasn’t even cross my mind. But I am finding it a lot to process. I’m an over-thinker, I always have been. My brain literally never stops. Ever.

We took her to her Prep orientation the other week and she was so excited to meet her teacher, whom she greeted like royalty, and happy to recognise some familiar faces of kids who will be in her class. She spotted dress-ups and was adorned in a flowing princess gown before we knew it. She coloured in and played with playdough, did a painting, decorated a biscuit, and played with her Papa in the playground. She looked right at home. We bought her school uniforms, which will probably not need replacing until about grade three by the looks of how big they are, and she just about was bursting out of her skin! She’s so ready for this. And I am nearly ready to let her fly. I love watching her grow, I always have. She’s a seriously cool chick, and I’m so genuinely proud to be her Mama. Of course, I’m going to be pretty much eight months pregnant and surging with hormones on her first day of school and can pretty much guarantee that there will be tears.. but also that they will not be from her.

So maybe my weird room-dreams do make sense. I think I have a lot to learn about me, in this new stage of parenting – the one with three kids and the one with a school-aged-kid. Hopefully those new parts of me will be as cool as the random rooms I discovered in my dream house.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Our 2013 Advent Calendar {a tutorial}

I’ve just finished making our advent calendar for this year.

Instead of having chocolate or lolly treats inside, this year I’ve decided to make it activity-based, and each day, inside our advent calendar is a little Christmassy activity, to get us into the spirit (not that we really need help with that, we may or may not have had our tree up for a week already, and been listening to Christmas music for at least twice that long!).

I trawled Pinterest adding ideas to my advent calendar board, included the various Christmas parties and events that were already scheduled, and soon enough, I had 24 fun activities ready to go!

Here is our list of Advent Calendar Activities:

  1. Make our advent wreath (this year we are going to follow the advent candle liturgy at home, as well as at our church).
  2. Make Christmas cards (Lincraft had 50% off their Christmas stock – already! – and I grabbed a bunch of Christmas craft kits, including star-shaped Christmas cards, with lots of stickers and embellishments)
  3. Trip to Little Monkeys (Our local indoor play centre. We’ve been intending to go all year and it just hasn’t happened. I want to do it before the school holidays starts, so that there will be fewer kids there).
  4. Playgroup Christmas Party.
  5. Make a paper chain decoration for our house (we did this last year and Mayana loved it. Incidentally, did you know that Peter is not allowed to make paper chains with his kids at Kindy because it symbolises oppression? Sheesh!)
  6. Have a Christmas dance party! (Anyone who’s met Mayana will know that she loves a good dance party!)
  7. Watch a Christmas movie.
  8. Read some Christmas books! (These will be special gifts, too)
  9. Make woven bauble decorations (another 50% off Lincraft kit)
  10. Make and play with Christmas playdough. (I will probably make it green, and maybe flavour it with mint to make it multi-sensory. We’ll cut Christmas tree shapes and decorate them with sequins and beads etc.)
  11. Make Christmas angels. (Another craft kit that I picked up for $2 at Kmart a few months ago)
  12. Make presents for some friends. (I bought small papier-mâché gift boxes from Aldi a few months ago.. we’ll decorate/paint them as gifts)
  13. Go looking at Christmas lights.
  14. Watch a Christmas movie.
  15. Read some Christmas books.
  16. Choose some toys to give away (Our very small playroom is pretty much as full of toys as it can handle, so we are going to prepare for the inevitable onslaught by giving some of them away and making room. I actually can’t WAIT for this day!)
  17. Go Christmas shopping for Papa.
  18. Make some wrapping paper (and wrap Papa’s present).
  19. Make Christmas tree biscuits.
  20. Decorate the biscuits. (This has been a tradition of ours for the past two years) 
  21. Christmas with the Friends (our Christmas with Pete’s side of the family)
  22. Tonight’s your Christmas Show! (The kids at our Church are putting on a show. Mayana is playing Mary!)
  23. Make our gingerbread nativity. (Another tradition of ours. in 2011 we made a traditional gingerbread house, last year we made an Aussie Homestead version, and this year we are going to try our hands at a nativity scene)
  24. Read the Christmas story in the Bible. (This is a tradition too… a before-bed thing on Christmas Eve, snuggled together on the couch)

So, list done! Next thing was to decide how to make the advent calendar. I wanted to do something that would double as a Christmas decoration. There are stacks of ideas on Pinterest (I pinned some of my favourites) and I sort of combined a few ideas for ours. I used this idea last year too, but just had a lolly and a decoration (which I’ll explain in a minute) in them.

So I popped all my activities in  a fancy font in a Publisher document and cut them into strips.


Next up, I needed toilet rolls. We certainly go through enough of them in our house, and there is a special basket in our making room full of them. They come in handy for heaps of arts and crafts! For this advent calendar, you’ll need eight of them, each cut into three pieces. You’ll also need some pretty Christmassy paper, and some sticky tape.


Last year, I found this fabulous wooden Christmas tree at Big W for $10. I haven’t really looked to see if they’re there this year. The coolest thing about them is that they come with 25 tiny decorations – 24 hanging decorations and a star. These are what I used in my calendar last year, and Mayana was keen to use them again! I put one in each tube, and the star goes in with the final decoration on Christmas Eve.


Next, it’s just a matter of wrapping each piece of cardboard tube in your Christmas paper, and popping in one decoration, and that day’s activity. Don’t forget to write a date on each tube!!


Now where to put them! On one of my walls in our family room I have a bunch of frames with various typography art in them. In the centre of them all is a frame I put together to hang photos in. I bought a huge old frame for about $3.00 from an op-shop – no glass or backing necessary – and tied four lengths of twine across the frame. Usually there are Instagram photos or cute cards or pictures hanging in it, but at this time of year it becomes our advent calendar. So it’s just a matter of clipping each little present into place, and the calendar is complete!



Cute huh! And so cheap to make. This year it really didn’t cost me anything, because I had the wrapping paper from last year and the frame was already up. Today we bought some small baubles from Big W (2 packs of 20 for $3.00 each), and as we take each little gift down, we will put a bauble up, so that we aren’t left with boring looking naked string hanging on our wall… this is, after all, one of our Christmas decorations!


Easy! And so cute!
Do you make your own advent calendar? What are you going to put in it this year?

Monday, 18 November 2013

Thermie Convert

We have had a thermomix in residence in our kitchen for about the last two months. A very generous and kind friend loaned hers to us so that we could see if it would work for our family, and to help make a decision as to whether we could justify buying one. Long story short, we are hoping to buy one of our own in the next few weeks!


This was the first meal I made in the thermomix… all in one, rice meat and veg all at the same time. It took about 25 minutes and there was enough for two dinners for the four of us! I’ve heard people say that they’d be concerned it wouldn’t cook enough for their family, but most meals I make in it feed us for two nights.

Initially the idea was sparked when Reuben was being tested for coeliac’s disease. I knew that if we did have to cook gluten free, having a thermomix would make things a lot easier and cheaper (for instance, you can make your own rice flour using brown rice for less than a dollar a kilo!). Although (thank the Lord!) Reuben’s test came back negative, we have found out in the meantime that a thermomix suits us very well.


Reuben enjoying my sugar free berry sorbet. He calls the thermie ‘Yum Yum’, and is always excited when he hears the beep that means it’s finished cooking!

For starters it makes our sugar free lifestyle a lot easier. I think my favourite thing about it is how much time it saves! I can make a (sugar free, gluten free, dairy free) banana cake in 20 seconds.. the most time consuming part is putting in the ingredients.. and you pretty much only have to break the banana in half, no mashing it with a fork!


My twenty-second gluten free, dairy free, sugar free banana cake!

You can make custard, from scratch (again sugar free) in seven minutes! And no standing over a hot stove stirring stirring stirring.. and perfectly smooth lump-free custard every time! The white sauce in there is amazing. I love that I can put my ingredients in there, walk away, and in no time at all I have a delicious meal ready to eat.  Instead of fighting over that one last mango, I can whiz up a sugar-free mango sorbet for all of us in less than two minutes!


Sugar free rice pudding with blueberries and a drizzle of pure organic maple syrup. My husband’s favourite dessert!

I also love knowing exactly what is in everything. I can make stuff from scratch, barely needing to open a packet or jar. I know that there are no additives or preservatives, no hidden sugars. I  now make my own tomato sauce, sugar free nutella (Pete was well and truly sold after that, vegetable stock paste, and even grind my own cacao power! If I don’t have almond meal, I can pop in a handful of almonds and six seconds later: almond meal! Coconut butter (which has been one of my staples since quitting sugar) comes together in about 20 seconds in the thermomix, when it used to take me anywhere up to 15 minutes to make in my food processor. It’s just so fast and so easy, and being pregnant and with very little cooking mojo, that is a major selling point for me.  I have literally used it every single day that it has been in our home, and most days more than once. Pete uses it to make porridge now… and he made the most incredible pretzels on the weekend! Mayana even made date & cacao balls in it today pretty much all by herself.

The book it comes with has plenty of great recipes to get you started. I’m getting brave with experimenting with it, and easily interchange my sugar substitutes where necessary. I’ve even begun to experiment with using more gluten-free options and I’m learning heaps. The more I use it and understand how it works, and which speeds and temperatures do what, the more I can adapt my old favourite recipes to it, and I’m getting much more confident at just making things up as I go.


Our favourite pikelet recipe from the Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen cookbook
takes about 10 seconds to whiz up in the thermomix!

A new favourite website that I’ve been using A LOT is Quirky Cooking. Jo is into whole foods, and creates fabulous thermomix recipes that cater for most dietary needs.. so a lot of her recipes are sugar free, gluten free and dairy free, and sometimes egg free, or have options to make them such. Her Chicken & Chashews with Satay Sauce was the very first meal I made in the thermie, and her sugar free (practically healthy) nutella, delicious tomato sauce, and amazing coconut caramel custard have kind of become staples around here. Oh and everyone in our family is obsessed with the raw date and cacao balls, especially Reuben… they are pretty much always in our fridge! There are also a couple of really great thermomix community forums like this one and this one that have tonnes of fabulous recipes and ideas.


Tomato sauce, Nutella & raw cacao powder… all in a morning’s work.

The thermomix has replaced more than half of the appliances we own, and I’ve barely even used a saucepan since having it. It mixes, beats, grinds, purees, steams, cooks rice, sautes, stirs, cooks, weighs, whips… it’s like an entire kitchen in one appliance! It even washes itself up! And it is sooooooooooo easy to use. I have never been to a demonstration, my friend who owns one gave me a quick overview of what the buttons all do and that was literally it. I easily figured it out on my own just by reading the book, googling if I needed to, and just experimenting with it (from what I hear they’re pretty much impossible to break, so don’t be scared!!).

I will admit that they are not cheap (they sell for just under $2000), but Peter and I both agree that with the amount of time it will save us, and the health benefits (no preservatives or additives, no more buying things from jars and packets, much more control over what we’re actually eating), it is going to be so worth it for our family. It’s not an appliance where the motor is going to wear out or the blades are going to break, you’re not going to be looking at replacing it in the next five years… in fact I’ve heard people say that they’re an at least 30 year investment! I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to have one loaned to me. As much as it was something I’ve always thought would be great, I don’t think I could have imagined just how great it would be for our family.

If you have a thermomix, I’d love to hear your tips and favourite recipes!! I have loved experimenting and learning about it, and I am excited about playing with it more, and learning even more about how it can help me to feed my family healthily, and without me having to spend half my life in the kitchen!

Monday, 11 November 2013

22-ish weeks

This pregnancy with little Tadpole is moving a long fairly uneventfully, which is definitely a good thing! Blood pressure is behaving itself, fundal height is growing at the proper rate, and at the morphology scan every measurement came up right on schedule.

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As you can see, that tummy is definitely steadily growing too! I discovered to my horror the other night that I am developing a few brand new stretch marks (already!)… surely there were enough there to work with already?

Tadpole is very active and the kicks have become quite forceful lately. Peter and Mayana have both enjoyed being able to easily feel kicks and thumps with their hands on my tummy… it is becoming quite normal for my book to go flying off my tummy when I’m reading in bed at night.

Reuben has recently become aware of ‘bubby’s’, and it’s quite funny to see him pointing to other babies when we are out and about who are bigger than him (but quite probably younger) and exclaiming, “Bubby!”. We talk to him about the bubby in mummy’s tummy, and he looks at us like we’re crazy. However when we ask him where the bubby is he will pat my tummy and obligingly blow a raspberry or two. He’s such a boy and loves to wrestle and dive-bomb everyone, and we have been trying to strongly discourage him from doing that to my tummy, because…ouch!!! I don’t know how much he understands about all of this, but I had some hope the other day when I saw him pick up Mayana’s baby doll, Georgie, and lovingly cradle her and kiss her on the head. We won’t talk about the part where he not-so-lovingly threw her down onto the tiles afterwards though.

I am feeling well overall, and adjusting to the tiredness by giving in to nana-naps a couple of afternoons a week while the kids have their rest time. My hips, pelvis and sciatica are still giving me grief, and I’m already dreading how that will develop as we get further into this pregnancy. I got (finally) got my referral to the midwives this week, and I’ll definitely be pushing to get some time with the physio to try and learn something to help manage my discomfort.

I’m starting to get really excited about meeting this little one. It took me longer than I thought it would to adjust to the idea of having a baby that wasn’t on my timeline.. I can’t say it was not planned because we definitely wanted a third (and maybe one day a fourth!) but the ‘when’ part was definitely taken out of my hands. A friend told me the other day that surprise babies are wonderful children (I’m sure my mum would agree, after all my baby brother was a similar story to this one!) so I have great expectations!

I love my little Tadpole, love these months where I get to enjoy all those little movements and feel myself grow as the baby does. I love being pregnant!


Tadpole’s profile shot from the scan is awfully blurry – as are most of the photos! All of my children have not responded well to being prodded by the sonographer’s wand and are certainly less than cooperative during their scans! So this is not a very good profile shot, as the baby quickly moved its head away just as it was being taken. Still pretty gorgeous though!

Friday, 18 October 2013

We Quit Sugar, nine months on

Yes, nine months later we are still sugar-free. I think it’s become more of a lifestyle choice for us now… It’s working out so well, why would we want to stop?

Personally I have gotten past the stage now of really craving anything sugary. I can walk down the ice-cream aisle at the supermarket and not be secretly tempted to put any in my trolley. In fact, I know that even if I did, chances are I wouldn’t really enjoy it that much anyway.

I don’t feel deprived, and I don’t feel like my children are missing out on anything either. I’ve read and learned and experimented and I can virtually convert any of our old favourite recipes now to using sugar-free alternatives. We still get our fair share of treats. The difference is now that we’ve learned to listen to our bodies more, and know when to stop.

While we were on holidays we did allow ourselves a treat or two. I didn’t lament that I had fallen off the bandwagon by sucking on a lemonade ice block on a 40 degree day, or sharing a decadent chocolate dessert at a restaurant dinner. In fact, having a few treats convinced me more than ever that I had done a good thing by quitting sugar. I could enjoy and savour a few sweet treats without going overboard or craving more, knowing that they really were treats and happy with that.

I am less than a kilo from my goal weight, and have maintained my weight even since being pregnant. I can tell a real difference in my body being 10kg+ lighter at the beginning of this pregnancy than I was with either of my others, and it feels good!

If you have been wondering about this whole ‘sugar-free phenomenon’, and whether it would be right for you, I’d love to just encourage you to give it a go! You don’t have to view it as a life-long change or decision, just experiment with it and see how your body and health feels. I really think you’d be doing yourself a favour.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Reuben’s Tummy

Reuben has been vomiting since his very first feed. I’ve mentioned it in many blog posts, from when he was one month old to when he was eleven months old and I finally managed to get someone to listen to me that it wasn’t ‘just reflux’ and could we please find out what was going on with my boy!

It’s been a long road, and our boy has had to go through so much, but on Monday we finally had our follow-up appointment with our Gastroenterologist and it looks like we may finally be getting somewhere.

At the beginning, Reuben would vomit after every feed. Like, big vomits. I would talk to the health nurse about it, and she would give me the line about how a vomit the size of an A4 piece of paper is only about 5mls. All fine and good except that Reuben’s were the size of a piece of butcher’s paper! His vomiting was so bad that I gave up on changing his clothes when he did it and would just mop up after him with my ever-present ‘pukey-cloth’. My sister would come over after work to help with the kids and send me for a shower because, she would tell me, I reeked of vomit. I could never figure out which was worse: The fact that I reeked of vomit; or the fact that it had become such a normal part of life to me that I couldn’t even smell it anymore!

At four months old he lost a little bit of weight, and we decided that as well as slowly introducing some solids, we would exchange a few breastfeeds for bottle feeds (I was not coping with 12+ feeds a day, half of which would end up covering both Reuben and I at the end of each feed… it was exhausting and so discouraging). We used some anti-reflux medication in his bottles, and he had some chiropractic appointments and we thought thing might be getting better. Except they weren’t. Before too long, it became apparent that the vomiting hadn’t gone away after all.

The nurse would tell me it was ‘just reflux’ and it would go away when he could sit up and be upright for more of his day. It didn’t. It would go away when he fully started solids. It didn’t. I thought milk vomits were bad…. they have nothing on wheetbix vomit, or spaghetti vomit, or blueberry vomit. No matter what he ate, he vomited. And it became more random. He might keep his food down for a few hours, then suddenly start vomiting again. He might have a couple of days of no vomit and we would start to heave sighs of relief… and then it would begin all over again. They said that it would go away once he was upright and walking. It didn’t. How fun to be a mobile vomiter! Reuben would pause in the middle of running to vomit, then just keep going. I would find surprises all over the house!

The only ‘good’ thing about it all was that it didn’t seem to bother him. He was never a fussy baby, he didn’t scream with pain, he slept really well. He would literally open his mouth and vomit, then just keep on doing what he was doing. I think that is why it took such a long time to get someone to listen to me. I finally found a doctor who after going through his symptoms with me looked at me and said, “Are you, as his mother, worried that this is something bigger than ‘just reflux’”. YES!!! I was worried for a number of reasons. For one, I was big-time over it (a full time vomiting toddler is the pits), and it was flaring up my anxiety and making me resentful. For two, I had been reading about possible long-term effects of oesophageal scarring, and it was concerning me what this constant flow of acid up and down his gullet since day dot had done to his insides.. as well as his teeth! My doctor agreed, and the testing began. Reuben endured x-rays, ultrasounds, a barium study, blood tests, a few days under observation in hospital, a few weeks of a dairy-free diet and elemental formula, another type of anti-reflux medication and finally… finally we were referred to a paediatric gastroenterologist in Brisbane.

We had that first appointment about four months ago, and the doctor agreed that it had all gone on for too long and we needed to find out why. Reuben’s barium study had showed some kind of a blockage between the stomach and the bowel, and it was unclear whether it was a physiological blockage, or due to swelling or inflammation or a motility issue. The next step was a repeat barium study done at the children’s hospital, where they are more experienced with infant studies than our local radiology place. He also had extensive blood, stool and urine tests for everything. A major thing they wanted to rule out was coeliac disease. After his first lot of blood tests were done, I got a phone call to let me know that Reuben was anaemic, and we needed to get him onto an iron supplement today. We went down to Brisbane a second time for the barium study and a second round of blood tests. This time the barium went through more slowly than it should have, but there was no actual blockage like the last test had shown. The radiologist couldn’t give us more information than that though. Then it was back to waiting. I must say that spending time in the Children’s Hospital… especially the day we spent in the diagnostic imaging department, has really made it hit home to me how lucky we are that this is all we are dealing with. I guess it’s put it well into perspective.

In the meantime, Reuben’s vomiting has improved quite a lot. Instead of vomiting 20-30 times a day (he would easily do that when this thing was at its worst) he might only vomit one or two times a day. He does however regurgitate and swallow very often. His breath almost always smells of very acidic vomit. He coughs a lot, especially when he sleeps (but has no cold), and constantly has hands down his throat as if he is trying to get something out. His vomiting episodes seem to build up… he might have a week or two of no vomit at all, then suddenly be back at 5 or more in a day.

This Monday we finally had our follow-up appointment. The good new was that the coeliac screen had come back negative… praise God!! The gastroenterologist believes that Reuben does have a type of reflux that has a really long and unpronounceable name which the doctor really seemed to enjoy saying, but is best described as Oesophageal Asthma. Basically it is an allergy-induced type of asthma that affects the oesophagus instead of the airways. In the past it would have just been written off as general reflux, and we would have been left scratching our heads as to why his has continued well beyond infanthood. The doctor believes that this diagnosis fits with many of his symptoms, including his iron deficiency; the way that the episodes build up and aren’t always an immediate response to having food; the first barium study (which was likely done in the midst of a reaction so motility would have been affected) as compared to the second study in which motility was slow but not stopped.

So our plan of attack from here is to try an anti-reflux medication as a last-ditch attempt to rule out ‘normal’ reflux. The medication is the same one we tried at around 11 months when this part of the saga began, and which made no difference at all, so I’m trying to not get my hopes up. The good thing about this particular med is that it also acts as an acid suppressant; so even if it doesn’t actually stop the vomiting, it will help to remove the amount of acidity in it, which will hopefully lessen the effects of burning/scarring. As well as being given this medication, Reuben has been put on the waiting list for an endoscopy in December. If the medication works between now and then, we can cancel the procedure. If not he will have the endoscopy, during which they will take a tissue biopsy which can be use to confirm the diagnosis, and check what, if any, damage there is from scarring etc. If the diagnosis is confirmed then we need to figure out what is causing the allergic reactions! It can be difficult because it can be quite a delayed reaction as the vomiting only starts when the inflammation builds up to a certain point. This may also explain why he has vomited less the bigger he has grown – everything in there has grown with him and it takes more to get to a point where the vomiting actually occurs. He also will have more blood tests this week to see where his iron levels are at, and if the supplements are helping him. Regardless of what the results of any of this are, chances are he will most likely be on the iron supplements and the anti-reflux medication quite long term.

Reuben is eighteen months old on Saturday, and has vomited almost every day since the day he was born, and I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to feel like we are finally finding a reason for it, that will hopefully lead to a way that we can help him get past it. It’s been a rough ride for all of us, and I’m so grateful to our wonderful medical system, which in spite of being such a slow process, has been brilliant. It’s been quite a journey, and we’re not done yet… but praise be to God, we’re finally getting somewhere.


Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for…

A gastroenterologist appointment we had on Monday for Reuben that looks like it finally may lead to some answers to his digestive issues.

Our growing baby, whose flutters are becoming more thump-like every single day; and that Mayana really was able to feel one yesterday.

A husband who goes off to work every day to care for other people’s children, and then comes home and still has all the time in the world for his own wild two.

Thank-you notes filled with kind words that turn up unexpectedly in letterboxes.

Friends who are more like family.


Saturday, 12 October 2013

18 (and a half) weeks


I realised just now that for Reuben’s pregnancy, remembering he arrived three weeks early, today would have been exactly half way through my pregnancy. I wonder if this baby will be ‘on time’. I’m sure after enduring an entire summer-full of third trimester, I won’t be minding too much if our lil Tadpole (who, by the way, Mayana has nicknamed ‘Tad’ – leave it to her to create a nickname from the nickname!) decides to make an early appearance!



So here I am.


Possibly half way through my third pregnancy, already. And I thought things went quick with Reuben! We have been busy, with holidays and booked-out weekends and I’m always busy even on home days with kids like Mayana and Reuben.

Third pregnancy is good. Once I was past that slightly nerve-wracking first trimester I settled into it well. The biggest difference this time is that I am so, so tired. With the others, once I got into the second trimester I sort of perked up in the exhaustion department, but that hazy fog isn’t quite lifted yet. Some days I feel like I’m in zombieland and more often than not I’m in bed next to Mayana at rest time. Thank the Lord for rest time! I mentioned my overwhelming tiredness to my doctor at my appointment this week, and he looked at me quizzically and said, pointing at Reuben, who was (as per usual) extremely active throughout my entire appointment, “You’ve got him…” pause. Then pointing at my mid-section, “and you’re growing that.” Indeed. He told me to take some vitamin B. I’ll just add it to the handful of tablets I’m already taking each morning and cross my fingers that it kicks in QUICKLY! Other than that and the super-achy hip thing (man OUCH! I constantly feel like I’ve spent the last few days in the saddle) I’m feeling well.

I’ve been somewhat more lax with appointments this time round too. I remember with Mayana I felt like I was at the doctor all the time. Less so with Reuben. And even less so this time. Poor third baby. My appointment this week was quick and breezy, quick check of the blood pressure (Reuben distracted me from seeing my result, I can only assume it was good since the doctor made no comment), stepped on the scales (no gain from last time, woot!), quick feel of the tummy (fundal height right on schedule) and I was handed a referral for my morphology scan. Once that’s done I’ll get referred to the midwives and probably be on more regular visits.

So next week some time we’ll be off to see our baby! And (big news everyone) unless it’s GLARINGLY obvious (like it kind of was for Reuben) we have decided… *deep breath* *gulp* tonotfindoutwhatwearehaving. I have discovered a very disgruntled inner control-freak since making that decision, but the decision has, thus and verily; verily and thus, been made. We have always said that we would have three children and then decide whether we would have a fourth, so this potentially could be our last pregnancy, and our last opportunity to experience this kind of surprise! It’s a little bit exciting, and a lot scary.. though I couldn’t explain why? Mayana surprised me by being very accepting of this decision. Not that she would have changed our minds, I just thought she’d feel more strongly about it. Funnily enough after being staunchly adamant that this baby is a girl since the beginning, in the last three weeks or so she’s begun to say that it “might be a boy you know mum, Reuben was a boy.” Indeed. Either way, there are literally no names at all that we like yet…. the one boy one that I was toying with got wiped off the list after a day of relief teaching last week! Luckily we’ve got a bit longer yet to come up with something.

In the last two weeks or so I’ve begun to feel lots of movement. Just little flutters at first, kind of like popcorn popping on the inside. In the last few days they’ve progressed to for real-kicks. I LOVE it. Our evening ritual is for Pete to lay his head on my tummy and talk to the baby and see what he can feel. Mayana likes to do the same, and proclaims she feels lots of kicks, but I have an inkling she’s making things up.

I’m sure I’ll be back soon with lots of pictures from Tadpole’s photoshoot!


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Thankful Thursday

What’s not to be thankful for when you're on holidays?

I’m thankful for a whole week of quality time to enjoy with my lovely family.

For the memories we are making, the places we are seeing, and the things we are doing.

For kids who travel long distances to well.

For the earnest look on Mayana’s face when she asked the tour guide at the underground sapphire mine if the dwarves used to work there.

That the tour guide didn’t laugh.

For a husband who is truly amazing when it comes to setting up comfortable and very civilised camp sites, and who has changed more than his fair share of dirty nappies while we’ve been away (thanks for letting me feel like I’m on holidays too babe!)

That we still have three whole days of this blissful, relaxing time to go!

excuse the backdated post! I wrote this on my phone while still away on holidays and instead of publishing it somehow saved as a draft…

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Thankful Thursday

I’ve decided to take a leaf from my friend Naomi’s book and start a new segment here on my blog. Life can get so busy, and so heavy and sad sometimes, and it does us good to take a step back and see how good things really are. So here’s what I’m thankful for today.

* Today I got letter in the mail with a date for Reuben’s follow-up gastroenterologist appointment, where we can finally get the results of all the tests he’s been through, and hopefully get some answers to his digestive issues!

* In just over 24 hours my husband is on HOLIDAYS and we get to spend a whole week together, just the four of us, driving around the bush making memories.

* I have daughter with an incredible imagination and a wicked sense of humour who makes me smile every single day. My favourite quote from this week was when she came and stood in front of me and asked me to “undo her butt-crack”. Turned out she had a wedgie she needed help with, since her hands were full. I’m still chuckling over that one, and I hope it makes you smile too!

* For flutters and rolls down low in my stomach… a growing baby who is beginning to make its presence known!

* I have amazing friends and family, who take the time to be my friend. I hope they know how much that means.

* When we needed new tyres this week, it wasn’t a scary thing, and I wasn’t worried about where the money would come from for them. I’m so amazed by the way God provides for us.


And of course, this crazy pair. I can’t imagine life without them.

What are you thankful for, this week?

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Hello second trimester!

13 weeks today, and happy to be in the second trimester. I’m looking forward to feeling the perks of the second trimester.

IMG_8635A couple of weeks old, but I haven’t been feeling very photogenic this week!

While I haven’t been throwing up, I have been feeling a lot more seedy this pregnancy than I have in my others. I thought the nausea was gone, but this last week or so it’s back with a vengeance. I’m hoping it’s just here for a last hurrah, not to be seen again for the next 6 months or so! My gag reflex is totally overactive, which makes things interesting when changing the 4 or 5 dirty nappies Reuben produces each day *blergh*! And it’s definitely been more exhausting.. hello 8pm bedtime!

Other than that though, things seem to be progressing well. It’s that weird time of a pregnancy where you’re starting feel pregnant but not quite at the same time. My tummy has popped right out, and I’m already having to wear a belly band if I want to not be wearing maternity pants! I just can’t wait to start feeling those little flutters.

It’s interesting going through another pregnancy with yet another doctor. All doctors seem to do their antenatal process differently, and my new doctor comes from interstate and I’ve noticed a few things new to me so far. I had a bazillion blood tests a couple of weeks ago, and everything was perfect except for my Vitamin D levels, so I’m on a supplement for that. I’m also taking calcium… I bought some literally the day I found out I was pregnant, because I have had such awful teeth problems with both pregnancies and I don’t want that to happen this time. My doctor says that he’s always agreed with the old adage ‘you lose a tooth per pregnancy’. I told him that for me it’s two teeth. So far *touch wood* the calcium is doing its thing and I have not had so much as a twinge, which is pretty good considering that by this point of my pregnancy with Mayana two of my teeth had literally dissolved and I’d had to have two root canals!

It’s been interesting adjusting to the idea of being pregnant. We are so excited, and very happy about our number three, but it seems so huge to be having another child and not have prepared my control-freak mind about it before the fact. More kids than parents… more kids than hands! I’ve been thinking about Reuben and how he’s too little to understand what any of this means, and how Mayana was old enough to know that a baby was coming and what that meant when he was born. I wonder what difference that will make for him.. if we’ll have the ‘jealousy issues’ that we never experienced before with Mayana. Mayana is so excited, talks to the baby all the time and tells everyone that we have five people in our family now. If you ask her whether she thinks it’s a boy or a girl, she’ll reply emphatically, “It’s a girl. God told me”. I however, have had two very vivid dreams of a baby boy so far, so I guess we’ll just see!

One of my dreams was about labour, and if the real thing is going to be like that dream I can’t wait! It was amazing, and has me longing for that moment when the baby finally leaves your body and its warm, slimy self is placed on your chest, and how amazing that tiny weight feels against your skin.. the way the first thing s/he hears is how much his/her Mama loves him/her. Both of my two have looked straight up at me with huge blue eyes as if to say, “I know you,” and it’s just the most euphoric moment I’ve ever experienced and I have tears running down my cheeks just remembering it. That moment… looking forward to that moment… makes everything so much more bearable. I honestly can’t wait. Boy or girl.


Reuben, while we were introducing ourselves.

13 weeks down, 27 to go – give or take – and I can’t wait to meet the newest member of our family!

Monday, 19 August 2013

A Surprise!

Surprised? So were we! We are ecstatic however, and cannot wait to welcome this latest member to our family.


I am heading towards the end of the first trimester, and my evening-sickness (it’s always been afternoons/evenings for me!) is beginning to ease. My anxiety over something being/going wrong (which I think every pregnant woman experiences to some degree, but is even more amplified when you have suffered a loss), is also beginning to ease after the delight of seeing our wiggling little being (who has been nicknamed ‘Tadpole’) last week in an ultrasound.

My apparently very pre-stretched body has decided to look pregnant already, and I am barely able to do up my jeans, despite the fact that I have lost a further 2 kilos since finding out I was pregnant (That’s over 10kg since quitting sugar now!!).

Mayana is over the moon (in case you can’t tell) and adamant that the baby is a girl. I told her that she said the same thing about Reuben and she replied that she is right this time… God told her. I suppose we’ll see in another 6 months or so! We are undecided on whether we will find out the gender of this baby… we are leaning towards keeping the surprise baby a surprise. Knowing us we’ll change our minds about 354 times before the time comes!

We are feeling very blessed, and excited that our little family is growing once again!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Wonderful Weekends {Part Two}

Again with the amazing weather! We decided to make the most of it and do some exploring.


Ever since we’ve moved here, we’ve heard of this place called ‘Utopia’. Young people like to visit it after church, and it’s apparently one of the nicest places in the area. So after nearly three years of living here, we decided it was about time we found it.


My two sisters and brother-in-law joined us for the adventure, and we set off. ‘Utopia’ is actually officially part of the Mount Walsh National Park, and it’s nickname comes from the road you travel down to find it. It’s about an hour’s drive from here, on nice, quiet country roads.


It was certainly worth the drive, and we had a fabulous day in the perfect weather.

Utopia is home to a number of rock-pools and small waterfalls (they may usually be bigger, I don’t know – we haven’t had a lot of rain lately!). It’s about a 1.5km bushwalk up to the rock. The walk is reasonably mild, though steep and rocky in some places. Mayana was was able to walk the majority of the track herself. At the end of the walk you are rewarded with this gorgeousness:


We chose a nice flat section of rock in the sun to have our picnic, then spent some time exploring around the area, and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.


The water was crystal clear, and when you looked into it you could see right to the bottom. It was quite freezing though, and my brother-in-law was the only one brave enough (and appropriately attired) to actually go for a swim. We are all looking forward to heading back when the weather warms up and having a dip!


There was one other group of young people up there, and they were giving us heart-palpitations with their crazy behaviour! Poor Alexie (nurse-in-training) was trying to work out how on earth we would be able to safely get them out of there if someone broke their neck!


Both the kids really loved it, though I was probably quite over-bearing of them. It made me nervous letting them walk around the rocks with such tall drops down into the water, and I wouldn’t let them within at least 5m of the edge! I reminded myself of my mother when we were stopped at the Great Australian Bight on our trek across the Nullarbor!


My brother-in-law carried Reuben in a baby carrier for both legs of the bushwalk, and he was so zonked on the way back that he fell asleep after about 200m of walking!


Mayana walked the whole way back by herself, and was pooped by the time we got back to the car!


We had such a lovely day, and definitely will be back to Utopia sooner rather than later! It’s made me want to do some more exploring and see what other hidden wonders we can find in little corner of the world!


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