Saturday, May 28, 2011

This post is not about craft

Having a baby comes with a lot of varying emotions. There is elation and amazement that first moment you see your little child, and you fall immediately in love. There is uncertainty about your ability to be a good parent. What will they think of my parenting abilities, later in life? What will they say about me?

When they let you go home, there is apprehension and nervousness of being solely responsible for this little child. I knew our life was never going to be the same, and there was a part of me that just wanted to stay in the hospital with midwifes who made me feel not so helpless. Bringing Nicholas home was one of the most nerve-wracking moments of my life. So much so that I had to stop myself from tearing up as we walked out of the hospital.

Throughout my recovery at hospital I also felt a little traumatised by the birth — a feeling I totally didn't expect, nor one other people will tell you about. During the pregnancy, I had not thought about birth a huge amount. I knew it was going to be hard work and painful, but I didn't fully appreciate how much. I had decided before the birth not to have a set 'birth plan'. I wanted to be flexible, as it is difficult to know how things will progress before it begins. The only things I knew for sure were that I couldn't have an epidural because of the Harrington rods in my back, and if I had to have a caesarian, it would be with a full general anesthetic.

What I appreciate now is that labour in the real world is nothing like it is portrayed on the TV (I suppose neither is sex, or crime-scene investigation). I had read hippie books where women described their birth experiences as 'fun', and each contraction as a 'surging wave', but if labour turns out less 'empowering' then you thought it was going to be, it just leads to disappointment. While the final stage was an ordeal, the midwives and obstetrician made me feel safe, and I'm thankful to have avoided emergency C-section. It's also reassuring to know that over time these feelings start to fade as they are outweighed by feelings of love for your child, which is I guess why women go back for more :)

The one feeling I didn't expect at all, in this otherwise joyous time, was grief. Not the grief of having a child, but rather the grief of losing a friend. From the afternoon when we checked into the hospital, we spent 21 hours cut off from the outside world. When I turned my phone back on, there was a message saying that a young women from our church passed away overnight. Death is always a difficult emotion to deal with. It leaves you feeling heartbroken and the despair it makes you feel takes over your whole body.

To know that while I was in the hospital rejoicing in the birth of my son, the people in our church I attended were in mourning over the loss of a friend was extremely conflicting. Compounding this was also the feeling of survivor guilt. I felt guilty for being given a beautiful gift while our Church friends were mourning the loss of a different gift. This was when I was reminded of the verse ''Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn" Romans 12:15. This verse reminded me that I could legitimately feel genuinely joyful and sorrowful simultaneously, without guilt and without taking away from the validity of other. It allowed for peaceful resolution of two initially conflicting emotions.

But what has amazed me the most, and left me humbled and so thankful, is the love the people in our church have shown us despite such loss and grief. A food roster for two weeks was filled, meaning Daniel and I didn't have to worry about cooking dinner while we were settling into being a family. This practical form of love has been such a blessing these past two weeks and I couldn't be more grateful.

Giving birth and being a parent, I have learned, is a roller-coaster ride of emotions in those first few days. It still is, three weeks later, but I am slowly feeling a little less helpless and a little less worried about things as the days go by. I am just so thankful for all our family, friends and our church for all the support they have given us during this change in our life.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Knitted Goodies

It is almost winter here in Hobart. I am already feeling cold in the night, especially when one particular baby wakes up for a feed, and am dreading what is to come. However, no matter how cold I get during winter, the one thing I love about it is having an excuse to wear my many and varied beanies (not all at the same time). I have always lamented the fact that my birthday is in January, a summer month, and so I will never receive beanies, scarves or gloves as birthday gifts. Having a baby in winter is great though. I have received so many knitted goodies and am trying to remember to dress Nicholas in them regularly before he grows out of them.

This is Nicholas looking cute in a jumper and beanie his Great Auntie Els made him.

Another great thing about winter is having an excuse to sit down in front of the fire on a cold night and knit. Now I am not the greatest knitter in the world. I only really know two stitches, knit and purl, but I have a desire to learn more and am slowly becoming faster. Throughout my pregnancy I knitted three little beanies for three little babies. I enjoyed making them, even though it was tedious with carpel tunnel, and was pleased with the final outcome.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nicholas Reinder

After 8 1/2 months of waiting, our little boy Nicholas Reinder Hugo, was born into this world on 13th May 2011. It was a cold Tassie day and throughout the labour I could hear the wind and the rain smashing against the windows. It's one of those days where you would be glad if you had the opportunity to stay inside the entire day, where it is warm and dry, without having to step outside into the storm. However, if I had the choose between staying inside giving birth again or standing outside in the rain and wind without a raincoat or umbrella, I would probably choose the latter as it would be less hard work.

Don't worry this post isn't going to go into 'TMI'. All I'm going to say is that giving birth was hard work but the beautiful gift you receive when that work is complete, as well as all the feelings of love are just indescribable. The moment I saw baby Nicholas I was in awe of him, and all the feelings of pain just disappeared.

It took Daniel and I a long time to decide on a name for this child. We weren't even sure when he was born, and that was one of the first things the doctor and midwife asked us. In the end we choose two names that held a lot of significance for us. Nicholas was Daniel's brother's middle name and means 'victory of the people'. Reinder is my Dad's name, and isn't to be confused with reindeer. After Nicholas was born I also found out that the female Dutch version of the name Nicholas is Klasina, which was my Oma's name. It's nice that his name has so many links to both sides of his family.

Here is a photo that Daniel's Dad took of Nicholas, only 29 hours old.

I'm not sure why but when I saw these photos I was reminded of this Seseame Street song 'two little dolls' from when I was a kid. It might be the 'two sleepy heads' part of the song :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Want that one!

I really want one of these in my sewing room

instead of this

I'm sure you are in agreement :)

Friday, May 6, 2011


I love receiving mail the 'traditional' way, and this week I received three exciting things in my mail box.

Firstly, was this print

from Clare Owen Drawing etsy store, the link which I found on the Frankie blog. I love this print and cannot wait to get it into a frame and on the wall for all the see.

Frankie magazine is a magazine I have been wanting to post about for a while. It is a must read magazine for anyone who is creative, likes reading well-written articles which are funny, serious and about real people in your neighbourhood. An old friend of mine got me onto this magazine early on, and I have been reading it ever since. It is definitely worth a subscription if you have the cash (I love receiving this mag in the mail every 2 months).

The second thing I received in the mail was a recycled book from this Etsy store Jay Elle Design. I love this book and spent ages searching the Etsy pages for the perfect book in which Daniel and I can write all the milestones of our newborn. I had looked in book stores at baby books which give you space to write all the important dates and events of your child's life in specific places, but it just seemed too prescriptive and stale, so we decided to choose a more organic way of going about it and choose this little book to do the job. And thanks to Kate and Nathan (sister and bro-in-law) for the lovely gift and the the freedom to choose something we really liked.

The third thing which I received in the mail, which was a bit of a surprise, was a letter from my long-term pen-pal. We started writing to each other when we were in grade 7 and have been writing ever since, which is about 14 years now! Until a few years ago we hadn't met, but when I got married in 2006 she traveled over from Perth with her boyfriend to attend the wedding. Then about 6 months later when Daniel and I went to Western Australia for a friends wedding we visited them both before we headed back to Tassie. It was really nice getting a chance to know her in person and hopefully we will have a chance to meet again in the future.