In the immortal words of Bon Jovi

Ooooh we’re halfway there
Oh oh! We’re livin on a prayer

 20 weeks today. It’s a bloody miracle. Well not literally. It’s a miracle.

I have a bump. And since I snuck out yesterday with my sister, lashed out and bought maternity bras, the new boob bump separation is like north and south Korea, heavily patrolled, so you can notice the bump even more. Freaky. I’m still in bump denial . It catches me by surprise when I see it in the mirror, or bump it into inanimate objects. It seems like some kind of joke prop.

I learnt with my early pregnancy reading, NO UNDERWIRES. And the midwife said to definitely sort the bras out by 20 weeks. I knew I needed to shop. I’ve been going to my doctor visits to in a very old worn out bra for its bagginess, as it turns out THREE or FOUR cup sizes too small . Oops. Might chuck that. Didn’t even wear it out of the bra shop!

The maternity / nursing bras have really helped my upper back & shoulder pain already. I can feel my posture improving. And best of all, they don’t actually look like something my mother would wear. Sorry mum.

I hate when you go bra shopping and go “oh that one is lovely!”. You find you’re looking at a 10A, dig around and find it in a 14DD, and go “OH. MY.GOD.” Now we’ve travelled into the land of the FF cup, it could end up more like “What The FFuck is that?”. But these particular garments, to their credit, do not look like an instrument of torture from Stalinist Russia. Thank you, Nocturnal Designs. I love you. Best fitting experience ever. We’ve gone the navy one here, and then a black and white one of these, as well as a sleep bra.

Nevertheless, despite saying they were very pretty, hub-in-boots has threatened to make a yurt out of one, and use the other as a parachute and is making himself laugh with the immortal line from Kaz Cooke’s book Up The Duff: “Hello fatty”. I say immortal, cause he’s a dead man walking if he says it again. I’m pretty sure I’ll find him wearing one bra on his head pretending to be a WW1 pilot in the not too distant future.

Just an ordinary night in at our place

So we’ve made halfway. I went really well with the endocrinologist & dietician, both very happy with how the gestational diabetes is going, and both think my blood glucose control is very good. Early days yet with that, as it tends to get worse as the hormones ramp up after 28 weeks. But i am doing what i can, and I’m still 2kg ish lighter than I was at 8 weeks , and about 1kg lighter than I was pre pregnancy. This could be a concern , but we’ve gone over my food diary together and all the boxes are well and truly ticked for me and gumby, nutritionally, and I’m happy with it. My dietician’s new book The Bump to Baby Diet that a friend sent me is great (thanks Pip!). I’d highly recommend it.  The recipes have been really good. So far I’ve had the homemade burgers, the chicken Udon soup, and the Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Quinoa. Very satisfying and quick meals.

I’m feeling a lot more relaxed after the dramas early in the week. Totally different headspace. Calm birth again tomorrow ( which, ironically, stresses me out!!!).

Then I think there needs to be some kind of crazy halftime celebration.

What do they do for halftime at the football? In AFL, they let the little tackers on to play Auskick (see hub-in-boots, its your fault I got clucky). In Rugby League, they have scary orange women with fake tan, frightening teeth and pom poms. Pass. Soccer they probably tip beers on their heads and have a riot. Pass. In cricket they have tea. Our half time celebration will probably involving chickpeas, no dancing, no pom poms and no alcohol….mmm. I’m pretty sure someone is supposed to bring out refreshments. And possibly a marching band. I reckon we’ve earned it.

Take it away, Bon Jovi.

Livin' on a Prayer
Livin' on a Prayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pacman and two buts

Today is national kick a doctor in the head day. To celebrate this important national day, I will be kicking some head, and kicking some butt.

Let me bring you up to speed.

Remember we had our 19 week scan on Monday? Which was good, with one ‘but’… BASTARD the haematoma was smaller but still visible. And I was waiting on the specialist to call me and explain what this means for us. And they had stuffed up a bit on the day, mixing up two Joannes in the queue.

So anyway, No call . I rang my obstetrician yesterday for clarification. Again, no call.

Then late last night, hub-in-boots gets home from football, and he brings in the mail. And there’s a letter, from Sydney Ultrasound for Women. It’s my scan report. Weird, but Ok.

I read it quickly, it’s mostly measurements. Only as I get to the end of this letter, there’s not one ‘but’, there’s two. But one : the haematoma . But two: a “fetal anomaly evident” consisting of a “focally echogenic area in the right upper abdomen”. It goes on to talk about possibilities:
*an echogenic bowel loop secondary to ingestion of blood
*isolated bowel perforation which is usually self limiting.
* oh and then it goes on to talk about cystic fibrosis and how we don’t have that cf gene mutation, so that’s “reassuring”.

How would you feel reading this late at night?

Oh, and at the top of the letter is someone else’s name and address. The other fucking Joanne. But the clot volume has all my measurements, and it’s my date of birth, so I think these are my results.

Now it’s 9 o’clock at night, and I am almost halfway to being a mother, and there is no doctor to speak to. I nearly tear hub-in-boots’ head clean off when he starts with the “it’ll be fines”. Not fair to him, true, (sorry Stew) but that whole bloke thing of let’s just erase your irrational feelings?. Yeah not helpful. Feelings don’t have rationality. Feelings just are.

I called my sister . Sounding mental I was so upset. Sorry hub-in-boots, but you need a woman at times like this.

And if I try to unpack what I was feeling, last night, I’d say:
1. Anger. Actually more like fury. Way past anger. And I always cry when I get really really angry. It’s very inconvenient. I’m angry because it isn’t even remotely ethical to give a pregnant woman possible bad news, with scary words, in writing, without discussing it first. I’m also angry because there is someone else’s name on this letter. So not only have they failed to discuss results in an ethical manner, they’ve breached my privacy and the other Joanne’s . And they don’t care enough to get the details right, after $350.

2. Fear. Is something wrong with gumby? Rationally? I know this is standard cover your butt ultrasound speak. But Emotionally I’m just shit scared . Fear is rarely rational.

3. Stretched to my limit. I am just overloaded this week. All of a sudden I’ve hit the point of geez I don’t think I can do this anymore. I feel two inches away from rocking up to a psych ward and demanding four months of sedation. And I know if I can think this, then I’m probably fine. And I know I can always cope with more than I think I can cope with. But I’ve been numb since Sunday , and worn out, and it’s familiar, and it’s not good.

There were probably a million other emotions. These are the big three.

Now at the same time, my rational head is saying there’s nothing to fear, and is seeking answers. So dr google it is. I get to a double blind peer reviewed page (always the academic), and I find echogenic areas are bits the ultrasound waves bounce off. And they’re not too bad in 2nd trimester screenings. But they’re not common. We’re back in the one percenters.

At first I’m confused: is this my bowel, or gumbys bowel? But of course it’s gumby’s. And they can be nothing at all, or they can be markers for serious shit, like downs, turners syndrome, trisomy 13, intrauterine growth restriction, peritonitis . If we hadn’t already had the CVS test, (placental biopsy), I would have murdered someone last night.

Of course since then, I’ve realised that the most likely explanation is Gumby drinking blood. And the blood as it breaks down leaves deposits on the wall of his bowel. There’s been a lot of it about, thanks to the haematoma. But you know, I’ve just read the Twilight series. And babies? They’re supposed to drink amniotic fluid, That goes through an unreal filter system, not blood. So I can’t say this blood thing is a fantastic relief. It’s a worry . On the phone to my sister, I was having visuals of Gumby as some kind of crazy Pacman, eating up the leftovers of the clot. Gross.

The what ifs have begun their quiet erosion of my mind . I’m drinking tea and telling them to shut up. It is twelve minutes til 8 o’clock. And a very cool calm Jo will then get on the phone, speaking of lawyers, health care complaints commissions , and generally kicking ass. I have emailed both the ultrasound specialist and the midwife last night, with a complete absence of swearing or abuse. And when I’m icy cold, kids? You’d better be fucking frightened. Not to mention if my sister or brother in law get near you in the next 24 hours.

Updates will follow.


Phone call 1: me giving reception at the ultrasound place two hours to get back to me before I get onto the Health care Complaints Commission, explaining, very icily, the extent of ethical and privacy breaches in this complete clusterfuck of an experience.

Phone call 2: The ultrasound specialist. Who to his credit, is a very nice bloke. He did brilliant work on the placental biopsy 8 weeks ago. I vented, in a rationed way, explaining my emotional reaction, my distress, my experience last night. He listened and he empathised. He said I should never have been sent the report. He could not believe the admin stuff up with the other Joanna’s address. He would be looking into it over the next hour. I suspect, given his voice, he was about to kick some butt.

He emphasised this is a result of Gumby drinking blood. Freaking vampire child. That they must canvass other possible causes in the report, but the most likely cause is the most likely cause. That all of the other chromosomal issues causing this “bright bowel” have already been tested for. (thank god we had that biopsy). That the blood will not harm Gumby. That even if it was a perforated bowel, it will not harm Gumby, as there is not yet any bacteria in his bowel, unlike an adult with a perforated bowel, and unlike an adult if that is there, it usually heals.

I asked when the next scan with him would be (which he will be personally attending). And, in a nice way, he basically said obstetricians, unlike mothers, are detached and now do very little until the baby is viable. So I guess the next proper scan is a thing to look forward to, because there’s a chance that problems at that stage could have medical interventions and a real live viable baby as an outcome. 

Phone call 3: the midwife at my ob’s office. Astounded, once I explained that I’d received the report in the mail. Incredulous, once I explained the mix up on monday and the other Joanna’s address on it. “Oh god you aren’t supposed to get that! That’s doctor to doctor stuff. What the hell? It’s not withholding information, it’s bloody withholding anxiety. Oh I’m so sorry you received that. You must have been so worried!” etc.

She reassured me, and she’s so nice,  but not in a condescending way. And also informed me because of “but 1”  (the haematoma), the bed rest and the progesterone? Are ongoing. Bugger.  And also acknowledged that all of this shit is so much worse when you’re sitting at home, not out in the world. Because it is your world. And I’d say the ob is going to get an ear full from her about ultrasound place’s the monumental fuck up.

I reckon that’s enough calls for one day.

And Gumby’s cool. Kicking back, drinking blood. Nice.


Hey now Hey now

My BASTARD’s back and there’s (not) gonna be trouble

Hey now, hey now, my BASTARD’s back.

Not in a big way, but sadly he was there in today’s scan.

I was doing ok leading up to today’s scan. I duly drank my water an hour before, Hub in boots and I showed up about 15 minutes early, and I waited, reading a baby magazine. Hub-in-boots read Wheels magazine. Then they ran late. Then they ran later. Then 90 minutes after my drink I was busting to pee.

I asked when we’d go in, as I was getting pretty uncomfortable. Then they called “Joanne”, and before I could get up, some other Joanne scarpered in the door and I was left in reception. I could hear a kerfuffle 10 minutes later

“Who have you got in here?” the main technician said into two of the rooms. I knew what had happened. Finally we were taken in, the wrong file for the wrong patient. They thought this was my second child, they didn’t know about the history of hemorrhaging and bed rest, they had no idea about the need to check for the clot. Brilliant. They only knew, once I laid there and told them, each little bit of what my doctor expected from today.

Oh and they kindly informed me they couldn’t do the scan whilst I was busting. No no, they needed me to go to the loo, and pee a little bit. Now picture that moment when you’ve been busting for half an hour, you finally get to the loo and you’re not allowed to pee. Much.

“Well I can’t pee just a little bit”

“well you’ll have to just empty your bladder and then drink some more, and we’ll wait”

“Or you people could just get organised and check patient names thoroughly, and run on time” (yes, I actually said this).

Needless to say I was not a happy camper, gave her a mouthful of pissed off pregnant chick, and the ultrasound technician had a bit of apologising to do. So much for calm birth.

Anyway, we had the scan. I was hoping for fluffy bunnies and butterflies today, I even had visions in my mind of stopping at a big ass ole’ baby store on the way home in celebration. But what I need to get clear in my mind, is this is not a fluffy bunnies and butterflies pregnancy, and will never be. It’s not going to happen. The truth is, I spent the entire one hour of the scan holding my breath. (yes, that’s right, it was a total of two and half hours til I got to pee, that’s 150 minutes, people). Every organ that was checked, every chamber of the heart, every blood flow analysis, every bone, I was waiting for the BUT.

And before you jump on the “oh you just need to think positive” bandwagon, I challenge you to live this pregnancy, and to hear how many “buts” we’ve already experienced, and still keep breathing in and out, let alone think positive. Living with Mindfulness and realistic thinking: absolutely. I’m there. Positive thinking in this pregnancy is like continually stabbing yourself in the eye with a fork.

And of course, the BUT came. And no, I didn’t will it into existence. I’ve willed it out of existence, and still BASTARD exists. I had visions of bedrest ending, of quiet lunches out and solo shopping trips for baby in two weeks. They were positive. I understand they are just that: visions.

Don’t get me wrong, a part of me you can’t see is delighted. BASTARD is 16ml in size. He’s got smaller. He’s only got old blood inside. The placenta is not bleeding at long last. I’m delighted that Gumby is looking well, (though the photos were crap today because of the impatient ultrasound technician and the fact that he would not stop moving). I’m delighted he has 10 fingers and toes. But we’re not the parents that are there for the photos. We’re there for serious medical reasons and really, sorting those out is all that matters.

I’ve already had the “Nope I can’t see any clot there at all” scan. So it’s not so easy to go back to a world of “Oh. I see it now. There’s the clot” alongside Gumby, not breathing while they take the clot measurements. I have known all along this is what would happen today. I was careful to correct anyone who said “Oh wow he’s gone!”. I know health is not that simple, in the absence of a magic wand. But I certainly hoped we were living in this alternate fluffy bunnies universe.

I struggled to feel any joy today in Gumby’s movements, or even to enjoy seeing him again, much. He did crazy somersaults about four times. He had his feet over his head. He jumped. He sucked his thumb. I had moments. But mostly I was numb, busting, and hanging on for the scan to be over. This is what a complicated pregnancy takes from you.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll sit quietly at home on my own and rewatch the dvd they gave us, and it will feel different, different when I don’t have to hold my breath anymore. When I can pee at will. Different when we get the call from the ultrasound specialist to discuss what the results mean (he’d got stuck in a meeting when we were there). Different when I know what the implications of today are, for bedrest and medication, as I watch that precious escape from the house slipping away. And just in case you can feel the joy that is at times escaping me, here’s a few blurry pics of our tossy turny boy.

Gumby 19 weeks
Fuzzy gumby
Fuzzy Gumby 2
Big foot
Full gumby

PS Sorry I am sounding like a bit of a whiny mole today. I’m happy Gumby’s healthy and alive, honestly. I know that’s a thousand blessings, right there. Hub-in-boots really enjoyed all the action and movement from Gumby, and it was funny watching him watching Gumby. I did enjoy that part.

I’m just sick of being on the couch. It’s a long road ahead.

And for some reason I found today was a really really hard day.

Calm and birth? Yeah give me 11 weeks and we’ll talk.

Well, I’ve had a mental weekend. Two outings . Wtf?  Totally breaking curfew here.

Yesterday, we did day 1 of a “calmbirth” course with 7 other couples . It was down near my mum’s place. It was a pretty interesting idea about approaching childbirth, using meditation on the breath, quiet voices in the birthing suite, dim lights and a lot of “going inwards” for contractions. Really, a lot of it seems to be going back to nature, to a less medicalised birth, and putting the mother and baby very much at the centre of the experience, even where medical intervention is needed. It isn’t anti medical, which I think is important & sensible. I mean, it’s all very well to go on about ‘back in the good old days when we birthed at home’, but there’s the whole infant mortality thing to throw into that particular mix. There has to be a balance between natural and risky, between do what the medicos say and trust your own body.

My sceptical side has a nasty idea of a child coming out to pan pipes, whale music and scented candles, when maybe Rage Against the Machine “fuck you i won’t do what you tell me” may be a little more our style. I don’t think moshing or slam dancing is strictly in line w hospital policy …and if I need a mantra to go with my breathing it may well have a swear word in it .

So, so far I’m not sure if calmbirth is our style. The course was a little content light, on the first day, and as someone who teaches for a living, I struggle a bit with sitting through other people’s teaching when it is not well planned. Hopefully day 2 next weekend will convince me, and have more actual tools rather than what i see as directionless chatter. I found it frustrating that the facilitator kept speaking of the calmbirth method and calmbirth people, but at the end of day 1, I still struggled to define what the method was. And i have no intention of being a calmbirth person. I will be ME, using calmbirth tools, if we actually get any! It’s not that the day was useless, there was interesting stuff about the research into benefits to suckling with drug free births, the importance of immediate skin to skin contact, delayed cord clamping , and good ideas of what hub-in-boots might do, and when, during labour. We even know when we’re supposed to leave for the hospital now. Not that we haven’t already been there. Part of me thinks after what we’ve been through, I’ll be so bloody relieved to make it to a third trimester labour of any kind that it will be a doddle by comparison.

It was nice, however, to get to speak with other expectant couples, and be out in the world for a change. Real live other people. Geez I find it tiring though, all that input and interaction. After 10 weeks of isolation it is hard to not feel separated from the world, even when you’re out amongst it. I think there’s a nap on the cards.

Today we went to a fun run and picnic in memory of Sully (see Thursday’s updated post), and hub-in-boots did my kilometre as well as his.

Double-up Stew running for two

This earned him a bacon & egg roll and a lolly bag, and the money went to ‘ mums like me’, a group of mums with losses that make baskets that are distributed to hospitals free, with handmade booties and clothes, teddies etc, given to parents that welcome stillborn and late miscarriage babies into the world. Michael our trainer organised a lot of it…what a dude. Click on the link and you’ll see his sporting type people blog, if you’re that way inclined. And Nanna Parra (a mad Parramatta Rugby League Supporter), walked a kilometre after at least one hip replacement at 82ish? Good on ya, Nan. Shame they lost on Friday.

Sully's run


Next to our picnic was a group on the basketball court playing, incredibly, unicycle hockey. And here I was thinking that I was doing well walking 50m from the car to the picnic and then sitting in a chair! It was so cool to watch. I was so excited to be out I had a coffee in celebration. Ever since we got home, hub-in-boots has been looking up their website, and unicycles on Ebay. So much for googling prams. We’ll need to make friends with a plastic surgeon if he does take it up.

Unicycle hockey

It was nice to catch up with the boxing crew and see how everyone was doing, and the kids running around and growing up. It’s weird when you normally see a group of people twice a week, and then you go missing in action for almost three months! A few of them not so in the loop had that “is she or isn’t she?” look on their faces, unsure whether to ask whether gumby was still in there. Yes he is, people, yes he is.

And that brings us to tomorrow. 19 week scan. Not that I’m shitting myself, or anything. How is gumby? Is he moving much? Has he grown? Is everything in the right place? How is BASTARD, the clot ? Really truly gone? How is the placenta, after all that bleeding? We find out tomorrow. I’d like to be one of the people that walk in for a scan, and walk out smiling. That would be nice.

Oh! Sully! The Places You’ll Go!

Today is a really special day.

Today, one year ago, a friend of mine (captain complicated pregnancy in this blog), had a baby, Sullivan (Sully). This is not my story to tell. I don’t have all the details, so sorry girls if I get anything wrong, and perhaps it’s not my place. But I’d still like to write a post to mark this day.

Sully had been a long time becoming the little brother he was meant to be. There was a lot of loss and difficulty before he was conceived, so he was very very wanted. And at the 19 week scan, there they were, in a wheelchair, out of the scan place, running down Missenden Road to the hospital with a dilated / shortened cervix, straight into surgery for cerclage (a stitch in the cervix to prevent miscarriage). 

This has a whole other resonance now, my being 18.5 weeks with that very scan next Monday.

Anyway, Sully’s mum, Captain Complicated Pregnancy (which is fairly reductionist of me, she’s an all round cool chick, not just an incubator!), was put onto immediate bedrest, and this was in and out of hospital. It was strict, and it was not easy, as she had a toddler tearing up the house at the same time. As a couple, they had lots of support, but some burdens somehow fall to us alone, and despite everything and everyone around us, make us feel isolated. She was in hopeful spirits, craving mexican, and the breakfast bruschetta we always ate after Saturday boxercise. She was watching series of Dexter, amongst other things. Unlike me, she didn’t knit. And along with her lovely partner, she was counting down the weeks, trying to live out the weeks, trying to grow this boy until he was a viable baby. Every week was important. Every week was vital. We all counted the weeks with her. It feels bloody to me familiar now. 30 weeks was a point of great celebration.

And, beyond all expectations, Sully made it to full term. At some point they took out the stitch, and there she was, Mum /Mum to be, at the hairdresser, madly texting us all when the contractions began. She tossed up about going in for waxing on the way to the hospital. Mad woman. But did the sensible thing and went directly to the labour ward.

Sully was born by Caesarean section. And then everything went quiet. No news from her, none from her family. Silent. No emails. No texts. Til we finally found out, what seemed like ages later (and was probably, in reality, a few hours after labour should have finished), but I knew the silence had a dark quality.

I went to boxing on Wednesday night, and her aunty wasn’t there. And there were people standing around in shock, in tears, almost in tears. And I realised something was wrong. The daily emails started. And we all prayed

Sully had difficulties during birth, and to this day, I don’t think they know what happened. Beautiful perfect Sully, born on the 22nd, and on the 25th after many who loved him had met him and held him, they turned off his respirator. He opened his eyes for the first time, and looked at his mums with big clear eyes. Sully, at least in body, didn’t make it through that day.

So today is Sully’s birthday. And my friend, who has been a source of enormous support, and empathy, and dark jokes, and laughs during my present”internment”,  who along with her partner and family suffered an immeasurable loss last year, has asked that everyone do one simple thing tonight, in his honour. .

To read Dr Suess’ Oh! The Places You’ll  Go! Sully’s other mum, his Beb, read this book at his memorial service last year, and it was beautiful. We drank a lot that night. His mum stole a salt shaker from the club to “pay” me for the taxi ride home with hub-in-boots at the wheel. I think i still have it around here somewhere….

I’d  like to ask you, as my blog readers, to sit down tonight, and read the Dr Suess book, as a birthday present to him.

  • And if you can’t read it, then click here and watch this lovely mad version at The Burning Man festival on youtube. (get tissues. It makes me cry every single time…)
  • Read it to your loved one, your child, your unborn in your belly, your dog, your cat, your friend over the phone.
  • Pop out at lunch and buy the book,
  • Read it here where the full text is posted on the bottom of ‘Don’t Stuff’s’ blog post: Oh! The Places You’ll Go! 
  • get an iphone / ipad app of the book, and sit down and enjoy storytime
  • Feeling creative? Post a vid of you reading it on youtube, or anywhere, and include Sully’s name
  • send it out in the blogosphere via your blog
  • email it
  • Tell Sully’s family, via the comments section below, the places he has been today, where and how he’s been remembered.
  • Post a link and ask your friends on Facebook to read it

Sullivan Darcy Kippax, Sully. Celebrate his wonderful little life. Sully’s mums and his family will see your comments. They will appreciate your gesture, this precious 7 minutes of your life, to remember his.

Happy birthday Sully. I know you would have been a real tear away. A mad little fella. A heart breaker. I wish today we were cleaning cake off your face and helping you to blow out your candles.

Oh! Sully, with everyone remembering you today, the places you’ll go!

UPDATE: So far today, Sully has been to Australia, the UK, Poland, the US, Germany, Malaysia, Canada, and Egypt. And Mauritius and New Zealand. Today (23rd) also to Peru!

And here’s some pics of wishes being granted…

Lachie and Bella at bedtime on the Ipad in Sydney
Juliet, Soph and Tom in Melbourne Australia. You can tell it's colder there!

and hub-in-boots and I read it too. This is a prop book (Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates) because we really read it off the iphone app….

Jo, Stew (Hub in boots), Gumby and Grover


Here's Molly reading it with Aunty Trace in Sydney. She waited patiently, paying attention until the story was over before going outside to bed. awwwww.

Wrapped in cotton (wool)

Montmatre, Paris honeymoon
cake shop in Paris
Gondola, Venice, our honeymoon
"swimming" in piazza San Marco, Venice, during aqua alta at midnight.

Apparently your second anniversary is cotton. WTF? Are they trying to break marriages up? Paper, then cotton? When do we get to the good stuff? Can’t we do it in reverse? (Diamond, then Emerald, then…)

To his credit, hub-in-boots woke me up this morning with pancakes and blueberries (please see former cake comments hub-in-boots. I’m not even going to TEST my blood sugar at 8:30) and a cup of tea, and a beautiful handmade cotton scarf from India. It comes from a Fair trade project called Shurjan in Gujurat, India, that helps women develop their business skills.

I ignored the cotton thing (hate rules), and bought hub-in-boots tickets to the Picasso exhibition tomorrow night. With his mum. (As much as I love Picasso, I’ve been to Picasso’s house in Barcelona and seen his pre-cubist work, seen the exhibition in Melbourne a few years back, and been to Renia Sofia in Madrid to see Guernica, so I’ll live).

The wedding day timetable

This was a busy day, two years ago. It was about now I was up and showering, and then the day was planned out for me on a blackboard (thanks bro)…lots of hair and make up, a roaring ride in a lotus convertible, until finally walking down the aisle at 4:30pm.

I knew once I’d done my speech and our dance I could really breathe out. I was looking forward to that moment all day. So I thought today I’d put up the last part of my wedding speech.

As a bit of background, Stewart (aka hub-in-boots), is the third Stewart that I’ve dated. I told him when we “met” online that I couldn’t date him because I’d hit my Stewart / Stuart quota for one lifetime. Stewart 1 was in the army, and Stuart 2 I lived in London with. I married Stewart 3.

When we first dated, I kept getting confused about his code of football. He specialises in umpiring, not playing, and I kept getting in trouble for calling him a referee (which is the code of football I grew up with). He also has been yelled at, on field, for looking a little like Mr Bean. sort of. He has long skinny legs, so his nickname at footy is “Chook” (and I, as a result, am Mrs Chook). He drives a little bright blue convertible Mazda, which his rallying friends call the Smurfmobile. When he concentrates on driving, he refuses to engage in conversation, or facial expressions. I call this “driving man”. And he made terrible cups of tea. For three months, when we first dated, I choked down these horrible concoctions at his apartment, always refusing a second cup. It turned out, he kept peppermint tea, chamomile, fruit, and ginger teas all in the same cannister as “normal” tea. Hence the taste sensation.

Stew had not dated much when we met, so he couldn’t read signals. He also did I a lot of interesting things, like forgetting to buy me dinner on our first date, being half cut and on a boat full of strangers by the time I showed up after work via the ferry to his annual sailing trip, a few months after we met. When ever he offered me an arm out of a chair or out of a car (or indeed got dressed), he would make a circus noise and say “hey hup” like he was an elephant trainer moving a large beast.

The speech was inspired by Dr Suess’ Green Eggs and Ham.

I knew Stews.

Stews a few.

Do you like Stews to date?

I do not like them, or their mate.

Do you like Stews in the army?

I do NOT like Stews, they are barmy!

Do you like Stew in Londontown?

I DON’T like Stews, they get me down.

Do you like Stews from Sydney’s south?

I do not like his KISSING MOUTH!

Do you like Stews like Mr Bean?

A Stew like this I’ve never seen!

Do you like Stews that umpire, not a ref?

I DON’T like Stews, man are YOU DEAF?

Do you like Stews in a bar?

A STEW in a BAR? You’ve gone too far.

I DO NOT like Stews in the army or Londontown or when its balmy

I DO NOT like Stews from the south, a Mr Bean umpire kissing mouth

I do NOT like his movie laugh

I do NOT like his hairy bath!

I do NOT like sprint cars! A Winner?

This guy forgot to buy me dinner!


I will say it til my face is blue,

I DO NOT like Stews, Stews a few.

Do you like his driving man?

No! His cups of tea? I’m not a fan.

Would you date him on a yacht?

I would not, could not, on a yacht

With Tea and valentines forgot

I could not date someone that long free

And WHEN would he find time for me?

I could not date him at a picture show

He’d slap my knee and then bellow

I could not date his tiny shorts and

Chicken legs and funny snorts

And circus noises, and toothpaste talk

“HEY HUP!” he’d say, and then I’D walk.

He can’t read signals, by GOD it’s true


You do not like Stews,

So you say

Try it! Try it! And you may!

Try it and you may I say!



I DO like Stews! Stews are fun!

I DO like Stews! But ONLY ONE.

I LIKE his great big blue eyes

I like his skill with a surprise

I like it how he pours champagne,

And how he’s CLOSE to QUITE insane.

And I WILL love him at a track


And I will love his movie laugh

And when he puts candles round my bath

I LOVE how he makes everything FUN

He’s kind and caring, there’s only one.

I love his hugs, and stupid jokes

And Steweeisms, he’s SUCH a bloke.

I love the speed at which he drinks

And how his tongue pokes out when he thinks.

I love it how he makes me feel.


I love his skills with a kitchen knife

I THINK that I should BE HIS WIFE!

And finally, I can say it’s true

I DO like Stews….Stew, I DO!


Happy anniversary Stew, aka Disco Stoo, aka Chook, aka hub-in-boots. Love Jojo x


Making friends with Mr Bump

The nutrition nazi wars have continued – I’ve been keeping a food diary, emailing it to my dietician twice a week, faxing my endocrinologist my Bloody Glucose Levels once a week. I am, let’s say, VERY accountable. Every movement counts, everything I lift counts, everything I eat counts, every Blood Glucose Test counts.

I’m on my TENTH week of bedrest, which has morphed this week into less bed and laying this week, and more sittiing, or doing little things around the house in short bursts. I’m really easily tired out, and I guess that’s not that surprising given my inactivity of recent weeks. This is SO far from the pregnancy I’d envisioned (boxercise twice a week, work up til 38 weeks, a normal life, pre natal yoga, going out etc). I am SO FAR from a sit at home and look after yourself sort of person.  But I’m finding my own space within the “apartment rest” restrictions. It is harder and more frustrating when you feel a bit better physcially. Not that I’m complaining. I’m very happy we’ve got this far, and hopefully turned a corner.

So this thing has sort of arrived on my abdomen. Some days it’s bigger than others, but it’s getting kind of hard to ignore. I’m not real keen on waistbands anymore, and leaving the house will be interesting when I’m used to my “whatever” lounge wear and letting it all hang out. I’ve semi prepared with a Belly band, a couple of loose frocks, a couple of maternity t shirts. Welcome, Mr Bump.

I know I’m pregnant, right, I get that, but I’m not so comfortable with Mr Bump’s presence. It’s an in between presence, easy enough to hide in the right outfit, but getting less so. I think if he was a serious BUMP we could be better friends. A HELLO YOU’RE PREGNANT I’M YOUR BUMP, bump. But this in between pretender, well I just don’t know if I like him. He won’t be sucked in. He won’t conform to my ideas. He still fits in my normal jeans, but a little more snugly than before. And Godzilla boobs and the flying saucer nipples aren’t making me feel any more predisposed to loving my new look. I really didn’t think through how I would feel about the physical changes during pregnancy. And I really need to get out and buy some new bras.

I thought that last year, on March 20, our first wedding anniversary, we had reached a point that anniversaries could only get better. We arrived in Wollombi where we got married, to stay at my brother’s farm, sensibly choosing this over the $600 a weekend guest house down the road where we spent the wedding night. And at the farm, we arrived to a rat and mouse infestation. The next six hours or so were spent cleaning up rat poo off EVERYTHING, chasing the little bastards down the hall, and putting on ACDC at full volume to see if we could scare them off. We sat down with champagne and a movie in the evening, to find a mouse leaping out of the air conditioning unit, onto the globe of the world, down the cd cabinet, and then proceeding to start a conga line with his buddies down the hall. It was not romantic. The next day, to seal the deal, we went to three produce stores in town and cleaned them out of rat bait. Nice.

This year, on our second anniversary, I am not only pregnant, but I am pregnant, getting a bump, banned from any kind of good loving, unable to drink (i’ll sneak half a glass), unable to eat most of our favourite cheeses, diabetic and stuck in the house. Oh, and hub-in-boots has FOOTBALL TRAINING. Woo hoo. Party on, you crazy newlyweds. This marriage celebration just gets better and better! I have managed to order a gourmet meal service to deliver us a nice dinner at home, at least. And an interesting little present for hub-in-boots. But seriously. The romantic evening for two? Rose petals: tick. Candlelight: tick. Bubble bath: nope. Bottle of wine? Nope. Sex? Mr Obstetrician has made it pretty clear where we stand on that. It’s not quite going to be party town around here. I swear to God our third anniversary someone is minding Gumby, and we’re booking Caper’s Guesthouse for the weekend. No bumps, no rats, no football training.

The good thing, I suppose, to come out of bedrest, is we’ve probably had a baby free dress rehearsal for being new parents. I’ve struggled to get enough sleep and have been pretty useless around the house, I’ve been stressed out by the physical complications, and we’ve had to some how muddle through, let the housework standards slide a bit, eat three square meals a day, get the washing done, and cope. Hub-in-boots has had to juggle full time work, more than full time football, and nursemaid, and somehow keep his head on. We’ve had to cope with less money. All of these changes would be happening, but would be even more difficult with a little person screaming in the corner, so at least we’ve made some significant adjustments now. And still we are (mostly) very happy to see each other at the end of the day. And able to make each other laugh. An anniversary present, of a sort.

The downtime has allowed me to reconnect with a lot of people in my life, friends and family that perhaps got lost in the melee of trying to adapt to married life at 38 and fitting in full time jobs, two people worth of events and busy making stuff. I tended to get pretty isolated, especially in football season when hub-in-boots is off the social radar. So bed rest has been kind to me in that sense, and in the sense of finding comfort in a slower life; changes that may have been a rude shock if I’d hit it running with a baby in tow.

What I am also happy about, and thankful for, (apart from how wonderful hub-in-boots has been throughout this whole ridiculously complicated affair, and the reconnections) is that in ten weeks of bedrest I’ve ended up half a kilo under my pre pregnancy weight to date, despite the slowly growing presence of Mr Bump.  And I’m 18 weeks tomorrow. I think this is a pretty good outcome, and to me says, regardless of the Gestational Diabetes tag, I am doing ok with my eating. The bed rest would be worlds worse if I was also putting on lots of weight. I’ve worked too bloody hard to get it down over a number of years to lose all my progress now. So far my blood glucose has almost always within the 4 to 7 mmol guidelines for two hours after meals (and under 5 fasting), but at 18 weeks it’s still pretty early to have GD, so they think it will get worse as the pregnancy goes on and progress to insulin. It’s probably a matter of when, not if, but in the meantime I’ll work on it and if I can get some movement in at last that will help a great deal.

And yet visitors STILL show up with CAKES!!!!!!

AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I’m going to have to establish a cake-ty deposit box at the front door so the cakes get taken home again.

In the last week or so, I think I’ve felt Gumby move, twice. It doesn’t really feel like movement, and it always happens when I am on my side, in bed, in that in between drifting off to sleep phase. (Last time they checked I had an anterior placenta, which makes the movement harder to sense). And then it wakes me. It feels like a butterfly trapped in a jar, bashing on the sides, bouncing from one direction then another, but bashing from a butterfly is kind of light. It’s an odd feeling.  So far, I’m not quite sure if I am dreaming or not. I can’t wait til he absolutely belts me from the inside. Then I might be able to have dreams about boxercise at least.

I’m eating well, but I was about 9kg overweight to start with, so I’m aiming for 20 weeks with excellent nutrition for Gumby and no weight gain. Mr Bump and I are having a mexican standoff. I’m going to try and pretend he’s not there for a while longer.  And no, there will be no Mr Bump photos. Not yet, anyway.

Happy almost anniversary, hub-in-boots.