a little bean update (with pics)

Today I’m not going to post a whole bunch of mush on how much motherhood has changed my life (but yes, it has) and I’m not going to rant for long, I’m just going to post a few pics of my little mate. He never fails to put a smile on my face and hopefully he’ll have the same effect on you.

Much love xx

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stirling smile

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a new project: thebeautifultraveller.com

Hi guys!

It’s been a little quiet lately over here at flygirl… I know, I know, it’s the number one blogging sin. But I promise I’ve been working on something!

I started a new baby with my sister Dayna (www.thebeautifultraveller.com) and I would love it if you could check it out. It’s brand new so it’s still being built and refined but we would just love, love, LOVE any input you might have.

Have a suggestion, a tip, a hint or a criticism? Send ’em my way.

flygirl has been an amazing first foray into the world of blogging and it’s taught me a lot, but I still have a long way to go. I will of course keep this site up and running as I’d love to stay connected with everyone I’ve met through this site and I really would love to hear from everyone.

If you also have any travel stories or insight into a particular destination you’d like to share I would be forever grateful!

Of course that goes both ways, always happy to help you out in any way I can.

Amelia x

the stork has arrived!

I know, it’s been a bit quiet on the fly girl front – brewing a baby really took it out of me. Not to mention that he stayed in to cook for an extra two weeks! But he’s finally here, so I’d love to introduce you.

little Stirling Alan

little Stirling Alan

All the clichés are true. How can you not wake up every morning wanting to do more, be better, and feeling absolutely inspired (even on a couple of hours’ sleep!) when you wake up with this little face beside you?

the fail that was 2014’s resolutions

Happy New Year!

So I’m a sucker for a good resolution to break, and what better time to reflect on one’s broken promises than on the anniversary of when they were made?

Maybe that sounds a bit cynical; maybe I did better than I think? Last year I decided to make broader goals that focused on improving myself rather than overly-specific small things that were doomed to fail quickly. Before I make a set of new ones, here’s a little report on last year’s (which were made, drunk, on a beach in Madagascar having just become a ‘Mrs’ – in case you need some context).

Did I make a plan for my life and stick to it?

Yes and no. We achieved some big things, like buying our first home, quicker than we thought but then we also changed our minds and decided to start a family quicker too! So, while my ultimate “forever plan” to get married and start a family has been achieved, I haven’t sorted out any of the other details. In fact, I’ve made it harder because my career will now probably have to take a back-seat for a few years.

Did I learn to adapt to life changes?

Yes – see above for a prime example! Life is changing and is about to change again very quickly, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Did I have more GRIT?

Hmmm… yeah I don’t even know where to start with that one. FAIL!

Did I stop burying my head in the sand?

Let’s just say I improved, but didn’t stop completely. I do think I became more assertive when addressing issues and I procrastinated less, but this still requires work.

Did I exercise my brain?

FAIL. No I did not. Well, not in the way I meant to. I read a fair bit but there were definitely no French classes!

Did I exercise my body?

Another big fat FAIL. Actually, I did a bit by continuing volleyball but then I fell pregnant and that was the end of it. Does growing another human inside you count?

fridays with hubby: an osaka wrestling match

Sometimes I struggle to find inspiration, particularly after a long day. Sometimes I think, “what is it that makes my life so interesting? Why bother writing?” then I realised… I live with one of the most interesting and inspirational people I know – my husband! He’s not much of a writer so I thought, in between coats of paint on the house, shed-building, landscaping and the million hours of work he does per week I would hassle him for some of his stories (over a beer) and attempt to dedicate a few posts to him. Here goes!

This adventure starts on the way to find “some local market or something”. Fly-man and his intrepid traveller friends wander past a brightly coloured building aptly titled “Osaka Pro Wrestling” with two clowns painted on the front. The wrestling wasn’t on at that point but somehow they managed to find their way back later in the evening to take in the show.

 

Osaka Pro Wrestling, Logan Winter

Osaka Pro Wrestling, Logan Winter

 

When seated (in the front row!) it becomes apparent they’re the only Westerners there. As a result, hubby says they were treated like (sort of) celebrities/a bit of a novelty. At this point, hubby says he really doesn’t know what he should tell me, so I try to ask more questions.

“Was the wrestling good?” I prompt.

“Nah, it was shit-house” is the reply I get. Then he adds that it was a super-fun experience but that I shouldn’t expect WWE-style wrestling. Okay then. (Trying to talk to me about wrestling is like trying to talk to him about nail polish).

“Was there music?” I try again (because clearly I know nothing about wrestling).

“No of course not.”

“Was there yelling?”

“Yeah but it was all in Japanese so I have no idea what they said, but I can only assume there was some form of banter.”

He does go on to say that after the show, the organisers made them try some local lemonade and the wrestlers wanted to have their photo taken with these curious Australians and ask them about various Australian wrestlers. (At this point I ask hubby: “are there any Australian wrestlers?” to which I get a slightly annoyed “YES! Duh.” Ummm… Okay.)

So there you have it. My first attempt at trying to dictate some of my darling hubby’s travel stories. Probably shouldn’t expect that Walkley anytime soon…

Aussie tourists and Japanese Wrestlers, Logan Winter

Aussie tourists and Japanese Wrestlers, Logan Winter

hey, doctors: bedside manner makes all the difference

I’m going to get a little personal on this post, so forgive me if I wander into “TMI territory”.

At our 20 week morphology scan, it was discovered that I have multiple fibroids in my uterus. These are, for lack of a better description, little benign tumours (today the Obstetrician described them as “like the grisly bits on a T-Bone” – gross) in the uterine wall. Overall they’re pretty common in women of childbearing age but the problem is I have lots, and some of them are pretty big, and growing.

Fast forward three weeks, and I was referred by my midwife to see the Obstetrician again. She’s the best in the biz, I was told, and she’ll sort it out. Well. She was too busy to see me so I had the obstetrics registrar handle me instead (that’s the way of the public system) and while she seemed like a nice woman, I wouldn’t say things went well. This poor lady was trying to comfort me without giving me too much information about my condition in case she said the wrong thing, so the nervous gems she gave me instead were: “well your fetus is viable now so if it was born now it would have a god chance” and “if not we might just have to do a c-section at 36 weeks, no problem”… then the worst: “it looks as if growth has slowed, we’ll need to do another scan straight away”.

Hang on a minute. You tell this to a confused, hormonal pregnant woman who has NOT gone through years and years of medical training and she hears: “your baby’s not growing. Something’s wrong with your baby. Your baby is going to be severely premature. DANGER!” And also, just quietly – no, I’m not a doctor but I’m not silly enough to think that my baby can be born at 23 weeks and I can absolutely expect him to grow up unscathed. Thanks anyway. Had the scan and no, he’s not big, but he’s not small either. He is bang on 50th percentile and I’m okay with that as I’m not exactly wishing for a ten-pounder.

We’re now at 26 weeks and today I was able to see the Obstetrician I was originally referred to. She alleviated many of the concerns we had and answered our questions thoroughly and thoughtfully and I would be more than happy to see her again.

Don’t get me wrong, all young doctors have to learn somehow, and maybe I was a bit of a baptism of fire for this particular young registrar, but I wish someone was there to supervise a little because I think most pregnant ladies and their partners would agree, that kind of stress is not needed!

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is only a couple of years out of medical school and he was saying that studies had been done on what makes most people in hospitals trust the doctors. Was it a white coat? A certain feature? Something they said? Turns out it was just a stethoscope around their neck. Seriously! For me though? It’s a doctor who looks me in the eye and gives me a confident greeting. From there, if they can take control and make me feel like they’re working for the best possible outcome or me and not expecting the worst, that’s how I know I’m in good hands. Seems pretty simple really.

considering a babymoon? read this first.

There’s a trend these days for couples to enjoy a “babymoon” before their babies are born – that is, to have a little getaway, enjoy some quality time together and relax before that little bundle of joy arrives and sleepless nights set in.

It’s a cute idea for those who have the time and resources and let’s face it, what new mum or dad isn’t at least slightly anxious about impending parenthood?

I’m all for the idea in theory but there’s one really big thing to think about that a lot of people seem to be forgetting: their travel insurance.

Being an expectant mum myself, I’m seeing lots of women considering babymoons which is great, but what concerns me are two trends: travelling without insurance, or travelling with insurance and assuming baby is covered. Here’s a little newsflash that surprises a lot of people: baby won’t be covered if you travel overseas.

For Australians, travel interstate is fine because pregnancy will always be covered by Medicare (the joys of being a citizen of a country with such a scheme). If you travel on a cruise though (even if it’s a domestic cruise) or you fly out of the country this is where expectant parents really need to consider the risks far more thoroughly than they have been.

On a standard policy (bearing in mind this is a generalisation, however it is based on experience and in-depth conversations with several insurance companies) a woman with a single pregnancy would be covered up to about 26 weeks (depending on the policy) provided she has experienced absolutely no complications whatsoever. This 26-week limit means all travel must be completed by then, NOT that you must depart by then. It’s usually about 18 or 19 weeks for women pregnant with multiples.

But here’s the trick: while the mother is covered, the baby isn’t. This means that the mother could go to the hospital complaining of pains and be treated but the minute the decision is made that the baby is to be delivered, that’s it. Cough up the dough because the insurance company won’t be.

Consider the risks of this: what if a mother went to say, Fiji or Bali for a week at 25 weeks, fully intending to be home by the 26 week mark. While away, she goes into spontaneous labour and needs to deliver. At 25 weeks the foetus is viable and is born alive, but now needs three months of round-the-clock care in the NICU of the hospital. Sorry, but those parents will be paying. Not to mention having to stay in that country for the whole time, paying for food, accommodation etc and not going to work. Can you imagine?

Or, on the most awful end of the scale, consider the tragic case of the lady who this week delivered her baby at 24 weeks on board a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane. The plane needed to be diverted to Denpasar and unfortunately the baby passed away. No post-natal care would be provided for this woman and the repatriation cost of her baby’s body wouldn’t be covered either.

As ridiculous as much of this may sound, I’m yet to come across a policy that works differently (but if you happen to come across one let me know!)

My advice: ALWAYS read your Product Disclosure Statement, ask as many questions as you can and really consider if a particular policy is right for you – or indeed, if the risk is worth it.

the new homeowner battle

In March, we bought our dream house in the hills just south of Adelaide (I say the hills, and it is, but it’s technically suburban Adelaide and is about 12km from the CBD… This is the beauty of our fair city). Being homeowners is a big new thing for us; we have a (hefty) mortgage and with that comes a new set of Grown Up responsibilities!

No matter how many times you walk through a place during open inspections or who you pay to get building inspections done before you sign on the dotted line, it would seem unlikely you will ever know exactly what you’re in for until you move in. This is definitely the case for us. The past couple of weeks have been big for us in that, at the same time we received our first ever council rates and emergency services levy in the mail, we also received an electricity bill for $1800! I nearly died. How in earth does that even happen. Well, this is how:

A) a pool:

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As you can see, the pool looks a bit on the sad side. The pump is shot and so is the salt water chlorinator (something I just learnt existed).

And B) this old electricity meter:

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Which apparently does not measure off-peak electricity usage (which we use for the pool). Hubby says this is completely common but I had no idea!

So now we need to add the cost of the pump, salt water thingy, and new meter to the ever-growing list of improvements… Unfortunately these ones are on the more urgent end of the list because I don’t think we can afford an $1800 bill every quarter, eeek!

So there you have it, Amelia has just learnt a few valuable lessons in what it’s like to own a home, how electricity works and how to give herself a heart attack. I hope baby doesn;t mind sleeping in a box on the floor because his nursery is on the backburner (don’t worry we’ll get him sorted).

my biggest fear in becoming a parent

The New South Wales government has just revealed a baby died last month from whooping cough and that the child was not vaccinated. Quelle surprise.

We are incredibly lucky to live in a country that enjoys affordable access to quality healthcare and yet we take it for granted. We have this sense of 21st Century entitlement to make our own decisions based on our own precious opinions regardless of whether those opinions are based on fact.

My husband and I are four months away from bringing our own child into the world and, quite frankly, I’m terrified. Hubby and I were raised in a generation where being vaccinated was the absolute norm, the anti-vaccination movement was on the fringe of society and not really gaining much ground and herd immunity was at its strongest. Fast forward twenty years and we see vaccination rates dipping below 95% (and much lower in certain areas) and innocent children suffering the consequences. These are the kids who can’t understand the issue yet so they can’t make the decision for themselves, or the kids who for medical reasons can’t be vaccinated, or the tiny babies who are just too young yet.

Science overwhelmingly supports vaccination in so many ways, but these aren’t the arguments I want to make right now. The fact anti-vaxxers use issues such as Autism to dissuade people from vaccinating also drives me nuts – not only because there’s no link but because these people then demonise conditions such as Autism when we know people who have this condition offer just as much love, beauty and life to our world as anyone else.

But the point I’m really trying to make is a personal (maybe selfish) one: I’m scared for my unborn baby. I’m scared of taking him to a park, a café, a playdate, and getting him sick with something that’s preventable but that he hasn’t been able to build immunity to yet. I’m also scared that he’ll grow into a healthy, wonderful child only to lose a close friend because that child has irresponsible parents who won’t vaccinate. I’m scared that this stupid argument will take hold and my child will grow up in a world where conditions like Autism are feared rather than embraced and understood, and where Science and facts are disregarded for no apparent reason.

I have all these plans to be a great mum but it’s so hard to accept that stupid crap like this, I can’t control.