Categorized as: Social Commentary

Is Qld health Anti vaccine?

A few nights ago a strange thing happened. I was tagged in a Facebook post at about 10.30 at night. You can see the image to the left. At first I was a bit confused. What on earth was this, could it be possible that a public hospital was promoting an anti- vaccine group? Within 24 hours, this photo was on the news, in the paper and both the government and local hospital were scrambling to respond.

An old friend who is currently pregnant had been to our local hospital for an ante-natal check up and been given an information flyer that focused on a range of different topics and the hospitals suggested contacts to locate advice. Strangely they listed the best source for information on vaccination to be the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN). Now unless you have heard of this group before you are probably going to wonder what all the fuss is about. Well, herein lies the problem. The Australian Vaccination Network is, in fact, completely anti-vaccination. They have named themselves the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) in an attempt to sway people and most importantly to effect search engine results. So when a mum looking for information, googles a simple question about a vaccination and possible side effects or adverse reactions they end up getting information that is notoriously biased and not based on reliable scientific data. It had me wondering, had QLD Health turned anti-vaccine?

The NSW government recently forced the AVN to change it’s name as the Department of Fair Trading found the name to be intentionally misleading. Minister For Fair Trading Anthony Roberts said that “…the Australian Vaccination Network does not present a balanced case for vaccination, does not present medical evidence to back-up its claims and therefore poses a serious risk of misleading the community.” So what on earth was the hospital doing recommending them as the best source of information for parents? Is Qld health now anti vaccine? Has the world gone completely mad?

Confused by why she had been referred to such a group my friend tagged a few mum’s asking what we thought. I was shocked and shared the photo- asking the hospital to “please explain??” and that’s when the power of mums and social media collided.  By the next morning the image was all over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with mum’s asking questions like “Qld health anti vaccine???” Many were employed in the health sector and began contacting their colleagues, the hospital, the health minister and also the media.By lunchtime the hospital had removed the flyer from circulation and launched an investigation into how it was created in the first place. By that night the story had hit television news and the government had weighed in too.

The good news is that mum’s wanting balanced information about vaccination will now be getting it from their local hospital. The great news is that this demonstrates the fact that you should never mess with mums. I love how we are such a passionate group of people. So if you see something, hear something or believe in something – share, speak and YELL! Other mum’s will get behind you and you can inspire change!


Speaking in support of vaccination I have found myself in the firing line more than once. But unlike the AVN I do not hide the fact that I come from a medical family background. I believe in science and have faith in medicine. You may have an alternate belief to me and that’s fine. I hope you can still appreciate this story for what it is, a story about the power of the little person speaking up and being heard.

Sam xx



This weeks post is from guest blogger Tegan Bryers, mother to 2 year old Harper and part time child care teacher. You can check out more from Tegan on her website Harper’s Place.


I swore I’d never result to bribery to get my child to behave. After years listening to parents threaten everything from the menial ‘just wait til your father gets home,’ to extreme forms of capital punishment, I had heard enough threats to believe that I, in my infinite wisdom, was above such forms of behaviour management. How wrong I was.

As we approach the eve of one of children’s favourite holidays, it seems that even I am not immune to the greatest forms of bribery. That is the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus bribe. It is with much finger wagging and foot stamping protest that I have to admit to pulling out the odd, ‘The Easter Bunny is watching you,’ or ‘You won’t be getting any chocolate eggs from the Easter Bunny if you keep doing that.’ How wonderful it is to have something in your arsenal of behaviour strategies that actually gets results, and immediate results.

The only downside to using these forms of bribery are the fact that it takes the Easter Bunny and Santa a long time to deliver on the goods. For some parents, the bribes start the moment that the first egg is spotted in the Supermarket checkout, which I think this time was on about Boxing Day. The longer the bribe drags on, the less effective a strategy it becomes.

My darling two year old is one such child who has resorted to an almost eye rolling response now when I use any bribe starting with ‘The Easter Bunny….’ How can I blame her, the bribe is even wearing thin on me.

The other downside of such a bribe is the fact that come Sunday morning, you’ve got no bribes left until November, when the Christmas trees start appearing (who am I kidding, they start in about June now.) On top of that, the fact your children have spent all morning gorging themselves on chocolate means you will inevitably have the most irritable and unreasonable child on your hands for the rest of the day. Plus, child care is closed until Tuesday so there is no where you can send these little monsters, and no bribe big enough to snap them out of their sugar high slump.

Anyway, Happy Easter everyone. Enjoy you long weekend ….. xx Tegan


1 mum, 3 ways. Do I have enough love to go around?

1 Mum, 3 Ways

Do I have enough love to go around?

One of the first things I said just moments after finding out I was having twins was, “Poor Charlie.” I was terrified of how the now pending arrival of twins was going to change his life. Since the twins were born we have tried our best to balance the twins’ needs and Charlie’s needs. Yet even so, there have been more than a few moments when my heart has ached. Dividing yourself three ways is not easy. I often feel that no matter which child I am with, I am somehow disappointing one of them and when I am with all three, well… life can be quite chaotic! Quality time doesn’t exactly feel all that “quality.”  The kids have settled into a great routine and are generally very well behaved, but there is one thing that ALWAYS sets them off. ME. When I walk into a room both the girls charge for me at lightning speed, pushing and clawing at each other to get to me first. This is then followed by a level 10 meltdown from which ever twin I don’t pick up first. In an attempt to curb this behaviour I try to pick up both at once (destroying my back) or I sit on the floor and embrace them both. Neither of which satisfies them.

My husband is incredibly supportive and we enjoy fantastic times together as a family. But when it comes to me and my relationship with each of my children I am often fraught with anxiety over whether I am getting the balance right. Charlie and I were a team when it was only him. I felt like I was his universe. With the twins I really worry I am missing out. I guess I am yearning for those moments you have as a first time mum, those moments where you feel as if nothing else in the world could make you happier than the moment you have just shared with your baby. With 3 under 3 I have had to learn to have eyes in the back of my head and to juggle about 10 tasks at once. All three kids have learnt that the squeakiest wheel gets the most oil and thus a chorus of chaos often descends upon our household (usually between 5-6 each night!). I am very lucky to have a lot of fantastic help, yet even watching my kids share a beautiful moment with our nanny or their grandparents can stir feelings of jealousy and guilt. I want to be the centre of my children’s universes, but racing around trying to fulfil the needs of three toddlers I rarely feel centred. I look at mother’s that have 4 or more kids and I just can’t help but think…how do they do it? Not the mundane everyday, feeding, fetching,cleaning and carrying but the caring and the loving and the connecting. How do they have enough time, energy and love to feed each of their children’s souls?

In writing this I wanted to be able to tell you I had a plan, that I knew what to do and how to fix this problem, but to be completely honest with you I don’t. I have decided to try to get in a little bit of one on one time with each of the kids at least every week or so and not to feel guilty about it. Beyond that I guess I just have to have faith in the fact that my kids are loved and that at the end of the day, that is what really matters.


Parenting and the Marshall Method: Who comes first? Your partner or your kids?

Who comes first? Your partner or your kids?

In our household of 3 kids under 3, the answer is pretty simple: the kids come first. This is not some conscientious choice we made, it’s simply how the chips fell. Since the twins were born a year ago life has been a little busy, with all 3 of our children competing in a daily battle to come first! My husband and I make an excellent team but I guarantee you there has been many occasions over the past year where one or both of us has been left feeling unloved, unappreciated and unwanted. Yet at no time during the past year have either of us actually been unloved, unappreciated or unwanted. So the question is what is making us feel this way? Perhaps it the feeling that we have both slipped pretty far down the pecking order in each others lives.

Andrew G Marshall’s ‘I Love You But You Always Put Me Last: How To Childproof Your Marriage’ offers insight, answers and strategies to the questions and conundrums parents face. Whether they are correct and whether they work is for each individual to decide. In researching this man an interesting thought crossed my mind: if someone where to ask about my life what would I say first? “I’m married?” or “I have 3 kids,” or “I love to travel, I have a degree in Journalism, my favourite colour is etc etc?” I know that the first thing I would mention would be my kids. I guess this demonstrates the battle inherent to motherhood. Once you are a mother it is hard to define yourself another way. Standing with a baby on your hip, it is hard to get the rest of the world to see you any other way. Even if you manage to include the other titles, such as wife, lover, career women, and friend they tend to fall further down the list. Men on the other hand seem to be defined first and foremost by their career and secondarily by their marital status and the number of children they have.

So what to do about it? Marshall offers a “revolutionary” theory: You should put your children second. SHOCKING I KNOW! The idea is actually pretty common sense. Children are just passing through, while marriage should be for ever. Your children benefit if your relationship thrives and your children suffer if your relationship breaks down so by tending to your relationship first you are in fact protecting your children. “A happy marriage means happy children. If you put your children first, day in and day out, you will exhaust your marriage. Children sense the unhappiness; they try to build bridges for their parents and get drawn into things they are too young to understand or, worse still, think the problem is down to them in some way.”

The only way Marshall’s first theory works is in sync with his second theory: “Be a good enough parent.” Enjoy, love, cherish and encourage your kids but don’t micromanage them. Parenting and perfection do not go together. Marshall suggest, “If you put all your energy into raising the next generation, you risk identifying so closely with your children that their success is your success and their failure is yours, and this will put them under unnecessary pressure.”

He has some pretty logical tips on how to translate these theories into practice. Greet your partner first when you enter a room, put a lock on your bedroom door (and use it!), teach your children not to interrupt you when you and your partner are talking, openly communicate  your needs and priorities, spend one on one time together with the TV and phones off and make sex a priority. Now although all of these tips sound logical, in reality they actually seem a bit fanciful. Marshall himself does not have children, he says that he is not advising people on how to raise  their kids but rather drawing on his 30 plus year experience as a therapist to advise parents how to create an environment where a marriage can thrive.

There is this strange relationship between motherhood and guilt. Ask the latest mother of the year award recipient and I promise you she will have some feelings of guilt associated with her parenting choices. Parenting is “supposed” to be a selfless act but in order to be happy and to create happy relationships sometimes we need to be a bit self shish. Thus, I am having a crack at the Marshall method. Hopefully one day my kids will thank me for it…. at least I know my hubby will.

If you would like to read more about parenting and the Marshall Method Click HERE to view an excerpt from his book.


Premature Birth: Born at 25 weeks! Jaeda’s Story

Born at 25 weeks! Jaeda’s Story

By Lauren (Jaeda’s Mum)

The 31st of March 2008 is a day we will never forget. At 24 weeks pregnant I was at my obstetrician appointment and was told go straight to women’s and children’s hospital as I was having contractions and my cervix had started to open. I was about to have a premature birth. Shocked and confused still in my work clothes I crossed the road to the hospital and was taken straight into a labour room. I was pumped full of drugs to try and stop the premature labour whilst at the same time doctors were preparing me for a c section if  the labour couldn’t be stopped. Thankfully the drugs began to work and the contractions stopped so once we were reasuured the excitement was over, Russell (my husband) went home for the night. The next day April 1st (yes, April fool’s day), at just 25 weeks pregnant, I went into full labour and our beautiful little girl was born very quickly (all natural) no time for a c section. Jaeda Hope Tarca weighting only 750 grams (1.65 pounds) was born 15 weeks premature.

After years of trying to conceive and many, many IVF cycles, we were about to face our worst nightmare: the possibility of loosing our baby. All I remember is Jaeda being rushed out the room, as she was taken from us my heart broke. We were about to go on a roller-coaster ride (as the nurses call it). When I first saw her she was like a tiny doll with cords and tubes attached to her. I somehow blocked all that out and focused on the fact hat she was my little miracle girl and that was all. For the first couple of weeks I was numb. I couldn’t think straight and I was shocked. I felt robbed, I wasn’t pregnant nor did I have my baby by my side, my emotions were all over the place. Nobody could understand what we were going through, unless you have been through a premature birth yourself it something that you just cant explain. Jaeda was ventilated for 5 days and in NICU, it was a scary and intense time. After 7 days had passed I was finally allowed to hold her, it was the most amazing feeling.

For the next 3 months the hospital was like our second home or should I say first home I was there 2 or 3 times a day. Bonding with a premature baby is very hard I had her dressed up in different clothes (dolls clothes) changed her nappies, fed her through her nose and did  just about anything I could to feel closer to her. Staying positive was a way we got through the days. There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed but Jaeda needed me and she was fighting so I had to fight with her. Days were passing by but a month on Jaeda needed an operation. Although this operation was common for babies after a premature birth it was something we weren’t prepared for. We knew she needed this operation to move forward but it was still terrifying. That day I remember feeling sick to the stomach as we waited for her surgery to be over. Jaeda finally came back into the room with 8 machines attached to every part of her body including her head.

Two weeks passed as she lied there lifeless and I felt helpless. But as each day passed my belief that she was going to be ok grew stronger and stronger, just as she did. I spent my first mother’s day in the hospital which just wasn’t right, I didn’t feel like a mum at that point. At 33 weeks I got to try breastfeeding her it was a very special moment she took to it like a champ. Up until that point I had been expressing in order to maintain my milk supply. We like to call Jaeda our pocket rocket small but fiery. Weeks passed Jaeda was getting stronger and bigger by the day moving from room to room, then before we knew it we were moved into the final room before home. A few weeks before Jaeda came home my mum had her first cuddle, as up to this point Russell and I were the only ones allowed to hold her. It was a very special moment for us. On 24th June 2008 Jaeda came home for the first time still only weighting about 2 kgs, she was breastfeeding and on no oxygen. One thing I remember the doctors saying is Jaeda had exceeded their expectations everyday and you know what? She still does – everyday! For the first year Jaeda was in and out of hospital with viruses as her lungs were so underdeveloped. 5 years on Jaeda is now a big school girl happy and healthy. We could not be more proud of her. She is a go getter and always try’s her best.

We now joke about how loud and active she is blaming all the drugs she had when she was a baby. Having a premature baby is something that has changed my life, it’s something you never forget. We are forever grateful for the love and support we got from our families and friends, they were our rock. The experience has left us feeling grateful and positive about life, we know know that together we can face anything life throws at us. If you are  ever faced with this situation the best advice I can give you is to stay positive and surround yourself with positive people. Look towards the future, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Be involved as much as you can with your baby while they are in hospital to form a bond. There is always Hope (ie Jaeda’s middle name).

A huge thank you to Laura for sharing her story with us. If you would like to make contact with Lauren she is happy to be contacted through mimijumi. Email us at

If you would like to read more stories about incredible families click here!


Measles Outbreak at Dreamworld….

Measles Outbreak

I have always been quite vocal about the fact that I am pro vaccination. I believe in medical science and protecting our kids and our society from disease. I have heard every argument from the anti-vaxers and I am honestly fed up trying to get people to see sense. BUT! Since I believe actions and consequences speak louder than words I thought I would share this article with you….

For all of those who think that “it wont happen to me” and naively rely on herd immunity, it turns out measles infections are happening all around us!

Measles Afftected Tourist Visit Dreamworld Brisbane Times

The long and short of this article is that a teenager from Byron Bay who was unvaccinated and unknowingly infected with the highly contagious measles virus visited Dreamworld during the school holidays- it’s busiest time of year.  This news had Facebook going mad and parents scrambling to their doctors with every sneeze and cough fearing that their kids might be infected, and really, with good reason. Currently, 13,117 children in QLD between the age of 4 and 6 are not vaccinated against the easily transmittable disease. (!#*!?)

So far 21 cases of measles have been confirmed in Queensland, 13 of them in a cluster in Ipswich. Yet in neighbouring Byron Bay fears of a serious measles outbreak are well grounded with several cases being confirmed in the last week alone.

Fears Of Measles Outbreak In Byron

Byron Shire has the lowest rates of immunisation in NSW – just 46 per cent of two-year-olds in Mullumbimby and 69 per cent in Byron, are vaccinated, well below the state average of 92 per cent.

Several cases have also been confirmed in Western Australia. These cases have been linked to holidaying in Bali, an incredibly popular holiday  spot for Australians.

According to the latest National Communicable Diseases Surveillance Report there have been 69 cases of measles reported so far this year.

Just incase you are like me and from a generation that has not even seen a case of measles, here is some info on what measles is!

Measles is a very infectious disease. The measles virus is spread when saliva droplets containing the virus are breathed in by others. This can happen when someone with the infection sneezes or coughs.

You can catch measles if you are in the same room as someone with the infection, and for up to 2 hours after someone with measles has left the room (e.g. in a doctor’s waiting room or an Accident and Emergency department).

Complications of measles include ear and lung infections. One in every 1,000 children who gets measles will get encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). 1 in 4 children with encephalitis will suffer brain damage and 1 in 10 children are likely to die.

Information from: NPS MedicineWise Click HERE for full article

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Fever
  • General discomfort, illness or lack of wellbeing (malaise)
  • Runny nose
  • Dry cough
  • Sore and red eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Red and bluish spots inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)
  • Red and blotchy skin rash that appears first on the face and hairline and then spreads to the body.

Remember if you are ever concerned about your or your child’s health you should immediately consult your health care provider.


Children and technology: where should parents draw the line?

I have unintentionally become one of those mum’s who relies on technology. I have accidentally made my child fall in love with anything to do with a screen, be it a TV, Ipad or IPhone, he LOVES it and if I am truly honest so do I. At 5.30 at night when I am trying to cook dinner and deal with the twins, and he is in one of those fabulous “toddler witching hour moods” nothing keeps the peace better than 20 minutes of the “Cars” or a round of “Tozzle”  (a brilliant puzzle iPad app).

The problem is that Charlie now believes he owns the Ipad and demands his turn on my phone when I am talking on it. So now I have a konundrum, am I simply moving with the times allowing my child to “play” with this type of technology or am I turning him into a square eyed addict? Combining children and technology is a tricky business. I recently saw a YouTube video (click to view) with a toddler swiping her finger across the front page of a magazine and looking extremely puzzled as to why the image hadn’t changed or moved??? I have to admit this made me cringe. With day care centres and certainly primary schools using IPads and laptops as a part of everyday learning I do think that some type of exposure to these technologies is a part of being a child in today’s society… whether we parents like it or not children and technology now go hand in hand.

One things for sure, with twins and an almost obsessive love of travel,  the TV and Ipad are sure going to come in handy in our family. Figuring out where to draw the line and monitoring our children’s use of technology is only going to be more difficult as they get older. I don’t even want to think about all the adult content they could be exposed to as they grow up, but this is the reality of the world in which we find ourselves raising our kids.

Unfortunately for this fellow mum Kristy, all of these questions were raised much, much earlier than expected!!! Thanks to Kristy for sharing her story:

Kristy’s Story: Square Eyes

When you’re a parent of two small children, you’ll do anything to keep one child safely distracted whilst you tend to the other one. Queue the Ipad. My hubby and I decided early after our second baby was born (with our firstborn being 20 months old at the time) that we were happy for our son Ethan to watch the Ipad if it meant I could feed/bathe/change our newborn daughter without his ‘assistance’.  In fact he become so proficient with using it that we were secretly proud our little man could select a movie or TV show on his own, play it, fast forward, rewind, switch programs etc on his own.

So one day I decided that Ethan needed some ‘Ipad time’ to wind down after a particularly over stimulating morning. I put Ethan in the cot with the Ipad and his bottle of milk and looked forward to having half an hour of peace and quiet with the baby.

Half an hour later I went upstairs to reclaim the Ipad. I was listening at the door to Ethan’s room to see if maybe (miraculously) he might have fallen asleep watching it. No such luck.. but instead of hearing the musical tunes of the Lion King, I start hearing something else…something entirely different. The scratchy tones of a conversations between two adults, and the sound

YES thats right, my infant son was happily (and intentionally) watching Sons of Anarchy. Which is R rated.

Needless to say I’ve now deleted everything that isn’t child friendly on that Ipad!


Labour and Birth- A Mother’s Journey Part 2

Great Expectations: A Mother’s Journey

After writting the post “Birth plan?” questioning whether birth plans helped or hindered expecting mum’s labour and birth, I began to wonder if perhaps it was just me that was against the status quo of encouraging “birth plans”. I set out to see what other women had experienced and the response was incredible. The following post “GREAT EXPECTATIONS” is each woman’s experience in her own words. I feel that this is the best way for us to learn from each other and find our own path. After reading all the responses to the birth questionnaire one thing stood out- Birth Plans SUCK. Perhaps we should ask women what their “birth preferences” are instead and stop setting them up to feel as though they have failed in what is the most anticipated, exciting and important day of their lives??

Thank you to all these brave mum’s for so openly sharing the story of their labour and birth-it is a very private and intimate journey.

Part 2: Hayley and Jo

Name: Hayley Talbot

Mama to: Archie 2.5 years

When you first discovered you were pregnant how did you feel?

Numb, shocked, completely drained – it definitely wasn’t planned!

What did you think labour and birth would be like?

I wasn’t sure but Im a tough girl with a high threshold of pain and my mum and Nana aren’t so I kept telling myself if they could survive it I’d be fine! I also prepared for parenthood and birthing with my husband with Hypnobirthing. It really helped us in the prenatal bonding phase.

Did you love/hate being pregnant- where you sick or glowing??

I loved being pregnant. I was blessed with a happy healthy hiccup free run through til the end…and then things went off course…

Did you attend any pre-birth classes:

I did and they terrified me. The lady who ran the class was the loveliest lady and I suppose in hindsight the classes were dealing with the reality of birth, but after doing Hypnobirthing none of the information I was being given was what I wanted to hear. I was in a room full of women who were selecting drugs like food from a menu and I was very anti-intervention from practicing Hypnobirthing. In retrospect I was being judgmental, but at the time it just all felt very confronting because I was planning a peaceful drug free water-birth. What an idealistic fool!

What was your pre-birth plan:

Oh I had the works – drug free, water birth, music playing, minimal examination, no reference to pain and communication to me to be through my husband!

When did u deliver?:

I was full term, almost 40 weeks, and delivered by caesarean.

Did your pre-birth plan go “out the window?” If so how did you feel about this?

Completely out the window and it was crushing. Archie was in breech for the last 5 months of my pregnancy and no matter what I did he refused to budge. If he was feet first I may have been able to move him but he was bottom first with his head up high and his feet firmly in his face – I had no chance of getting him to turn. Despite this I did acupuncture, relaxation and visualisation sessions, burnt moxi candles on the BL67 acupuncture points on my little toes (chinese medicene), swam every day, and did these maniacal head stands against the wall! A giant pregnant lady hanging upside down!? Don’ cause yourself a brain injury imagining that…

How long where you in labor for?

I call it a drive through labour – I was wheeled down to the OR and returned with a baby in my arms 45 mins later and that included 20 mins waiting in pre-op!

Did you have any complications during your labour and birth?

To my mind, the fact that I ended up having to have a caesarean was a complication, but in fact, the operation was quite routine and I had the best obstetrician. Now that Im through it Im very strong and I barely have a scar. I have completely recovered.

Finish this sentence: “there was a point during my labor where I thought to myself………” I didn’t have a labor. I still feel really left out when I think about it.

How did you feel the moment you saw your baby?

I wish I remembered more about how I felt. I was grateful there was a nurse taking millions of pictures. There’s a lovely photo of Archie finally being placed in my arms (I was probably the 4th person to hold my baby) and Im bawling my eyes out! Of course I loved him to pieces. I still feel a bit sad when I think of how he entered the world. I felt like I’d failed. I even have entries in my pregnancy journal where I am apologising to him for failing him. Im annoyed I placed this pressure on myself! A caesarean is not a failure at all and it is by no means the easy way out. It is major surgery and it does not erase 9 months of caring for yourself and carrying a baby through to birthing. I know this now of course, but at the time I was really hung up about people knowing I had a caesarean just after I had Archie and would get really pissed off when people asked about the birth. Likewise for the weeks leading up. I was getting so stressed with people asking me if he’d turned yet because I was petrified of a surgical birth and I knew it was looming and everyone asking me if the baby had turned yet just kept reminding me of it. I felt quite unsupported when it emerged that I wasn’t getting my water birth and had a recurring dream about my baby being cut from my stomach and stolen away. It was awful. I became terrified of delivering my baby. I loved Hypnobirthing while I was pregnant because it really helped my husband and I connect with our baby and I really loved the lady I practiced with but I felt all alone and like a failure in the weeks just before hospital.

How was your birth recovery and hospital stay?

Our hospital stay was fantastic. We were well looked after and we felt equipped to care for our baby when we left. There’s always going to be at least one miserable nurse who makes you feel like an idiot about something but by and large our experience post birth was great. Recovery was a test. It was long and painful and I dont cope that well with having to sit still but I did what I had to do and I recovered to full pre baby strength and condition.

Is there anything you would change if you could go back?

I would certainly have tempered my attitude. Im a really happy go lucky girl. If I had have approached birth how I approach everything else I would have been completely fine, but I set myself up for disappointment when I couldn’t have the birth I visualised. I wish I didn’t bother with the visualisation thing at all. I have a strong body, a strong mind, and a strong spirit – I was already well equipped to cope without re-training myself and thinking I could control nature when I really couldn’t.

What advice would you give someone who is currently pregnant?

Be open to any and all possibilities. Focus on strengthening your body, mind and spirit and trust that they will guide through whatever circumstance arises. Rely on your head and common sense with medical decisions and don’t automatically assume that Doctors and nurses are the enemy. If my birth had been left to occur naturally one or both of us would not have survived. Modern medicine is a gift. At the end of the day the goal is a happy healthy mother and baby. Your focus should not be on controlling your birth but on having the strength of spirit to rise to any challenge you are faced with. In the end my motto was, and still is for all things; A.S.A.P – Always Say A Prayer x


Mumma to:
 Grace 2.5 years

When you first discovered you where pregnant how did you feel?

I suffered a miscarriage a couple of years earlier and my husband and I decided to wait a while …We moved to Brisbane and when we felt settled we decided we would start trying. After a miscarriage I thought it might be difficult and worried I would have problems. That was not the case and pretty much happened straight away. I passed up on the champagne and Melbourne Cup festivities and did a pregnancy test. It was positive and I thought, “Awesome, this is really happening!”

What did you think labour and birth would be like?

I thought it would be the hardest thing I would ever have to endure but of course had nothing to compare it to. It was hard to get my head around and rather than worrying about it I was prepared to just go with the flow and deal with whatever I needed to for my unborn baby.

Did you love/hate being pregnant, where you sick or glowing?

I loved being pregnant, I felt like I was glowing and never had any morning sickness.

Did you attend any pre-natal classes?

Yes, we did the course that was on offer through the hospital we were booked into. Was 1 night a week for 6 weeks and I always looked forward to going. We met some lovely couples and made some life long friends that I still catch up with regularly.

What was your birth plan?

I didn’t want to be induced so I did lots of walking leading up to my due date. I went and saw a fertility acupuncturist a week before for a session who had 90% success rate with mothers going into labor naturally. I was planning another session but didn’t need to! I had hoped my waters would break at home and they did right when my husband and I had hoped (early morning)… I decided I would try gas and at 5cm would have an epidural. I tried the gas and hated it! So when they checked me and I was 5cm I was like: “Epidural please!”

When did u deliver?

40 weeks, a day before my due date.

Did your birth plan go out the window?

No not really, it pretty much happened the way I had hoped. Except for the gas, the only other thing that didn’t happen was the massage with the massage oil I made my husband buy and some time in the shower while I was having contractions.

How long where u in labor?

y waters broke at 5.30am and Grace was born at 3.12pm. Around 10 hours…

Did u have any complications during your labour and birth?

No, just a couple of stitches!

Finish this sentence, “there was a point during my labor where I though to myself…..

“This is easy!” I actually thought I was cheating the whole labor thing after my epidural because I couldn’t feel anything and couldn’t believe my luck hahaha….Then I had to push. Mind you but that wasn’t so bad!

How did you feel when you first saw your baby?

Completely in love, amazed, elated, was the most amazing moment of my life….

What advice would you give an expectant mum?

Read plenty of books and be open to trying different techniques to get you through the labor..Be prepared for anything, if something needs to happen to ensure a safe delivery then let it! If you can avoid finding out the sex do! It helped me psychologically through my contractions and whatever I was to endure would guarantee me the best surprise in the end!


Labour and Birth- A Mother’s Journey Part 1

Great expectations: A Mother’s Journey

After writting the post “Birth plan?” questioning whether birth plans helped or hindered expecting mum’s during labour and birth, I began to wonder if perhaps it was just me that was against the status quo of encouraging “birth plans”. I set out to see what other women had experienced and the response was incredible. The following post “GREAT EXPECTATIONS” is each woman’s experience in her own words. I feel that this is the best way for us to learn from each other and find our own path. After reading all the responses to the birth questionnaire one thing stood out- Birth Plans SUCK. Perhaps we should ask women what their “birth preferences” are instead and stop setting them up to feel as though they have failed in what is the most anticipated, exciting and important day of their lives??

Thank you to all these brave mum’s for so openly sharing the story of their labour and birth- it is a very private and intimate journey.

Part 1: Tarryn and Jenna

Name: Tarryn Durbidge

Mumma to: Willow 3 years

When you first discovered you were pregnant how did you feel?

ELATED! We were trying for a baby so it was an amazing moment seeing the 2 lines on the stick.

What did you think labour and birth would be like?

I practised Hypnobirthing so visualised my birth as being beautiful, natural and momentous. I was actually excited for the moment I went into labour and wasn’t fearful of the pain.

Did you love/hate being pregnant- where you sick or glowing??

I liked being pregnant. I had a fairly smooth pregnancy, with the usual minor issues like joint ligament pain, bleeding throughout my pregnancy and heartburn but all in all, I really enjoyed it and felt lucky to be pregnant.

Did you attend any pre-birth classes:

I went to the hospital where I was giving birth for their ante-natal classes and found them really helpful. They were realistic in regards to what potentials can happen at the birth and explains a lot of the medical side.

I also did a 6 week Hypnobirthing course which gave me the skills to use relaxation as a coping mechanism. It removed all the fear of birth and pregnancy. I really appreciated doing those classes, although my birth wasn’t a typical Hypnobirthing birth, it helped me through a traumatic time.

What was your pre-birth plan:

My birth plan included no epidural, delayed clamping of the umbilical cord after birth, until it had stopped pulsing (for extra blood hit for my baby), and skin-on-skin for my baby and i right after birth.

Did your pre-birth plan go “out the window?” If so how did you feel about this?

My birth plan definitely went out the window due to things out of my control. I felt disappointed, sad, unhappy, confused and let down (at myself). All things I know that I didn’t need to feel as my birth plan was unrealistic for what I was about to endure. The fact that my baby was in a posterior position contributed majorly to this.

How long where you in labor for?

My labour was 22 hours

Did you have any complications during your labour and birth?

Many.  Induced, waters broken, posterior positioned baby, syntocinon drip, episiotomy, ventouse, cord around the baby’s neck, tearing (took an hour to stitch up and drifting in and out of consciousness), loss of blood resulting in difficulties with milk supply, infection with stitches requiring anti-biotics (due to loss of blood), operation of removal of scar tissue 3 months later, operation of internal muscles 11 months later, operation of internal muscles 15 months later… Maybe more to come.

Finish this sentence: “there was a point during my labor where I thought to myself………”

It’s time for an epidural. I have tried my absolute hardest and I’m exhausted and really struggling. Soon as I had the epidural I felt a lot of relief and renewal of focus.

How did you feel the moment you saw your baby?

Amazed, exhausted, drowsy (loss of blood), and i remember i kept saying to my doctor and hubby “this is the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me!” It all felt very out-of-body.

How was your birth recovery and hospital stay?

The hospital staff were lovely, although much emphasis was on breastfeeding I struggled thanks to loss of so much blood (i was popping about 12 pills per day to boost milk supply and I was quite sick myself from the birth). My recovery was long and painful due to so much tearing and infection but we got by.

Is there anything you would change if you could go back?

Wow, so much. I don’t think i want to ‘go there’ because I feel that so much could have been different for me, but it’s not healthy for me to do since I’ve come such a long way. I think all things happen for a reason so i know this was supposed to happen. Just grateful I have a beautifully healthy, happy little girl and I’m healthy again. What more could I ask.

What advice would you give someone who is currently pregnant?

Just go with the flow. Don’t have a birth plan unless it is to trust your body, accept changes if they’re required and do your best. That’s all you can ask for. The end goal is a healthy baby and healthy mummy, regardless of how you get there. xo

Name: Jenna Agius

Mumma to: Ollie 3 years

When you first discovered you were pregnant, how did you feel?

I was sitting in a lecture theatre at uni (second week into my course), and felt that ‘oh god I’m going to spew everywhere’ feeling, luckily I held it down. I knew straight away that I was pregnant. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get home and take a test!

What did you think labour and birth would be like?

I watched so many you tube videos of births and they actually didn’t freak me out. I was so excited and thought- this is what we’re made for.

Did you love/hate being pregnant- where you sick or glowing??

I absolutely LOVED being pregnant, even though I was vomiting up until 16 weeks (only once a day), I felt so healthy and my skin cleared up and I suppose you could say I was ‘glowing’ (wish that hung around).

Did you attend any pre-birth classes:

No I didn’t, for a moment I did want to but then never really got around to it, I had some books but I sort of wanted to go into the birth not knowing too much anyway. I have heard mixed things about pre-natal classes and I am positive I chose the best option for me.

What was your pre-birth plan:

I wrote down a few things like: I don’t want any drugs (well that was dumb). I want to be in the bath while in labour (well that didn’t happen). I want only my partner and mother in the room while in labour and giving birth (also another fail). I want to hold the baby as soon as he/she arrives (also didn’t happen). I want a natural birth (hahaha).

Did your pre-birth plan go “out the window?” If so how did you feel about this?

It totally went out the window, 1: I was induced. 2: I had gestational diabetes so had to be monitored through the labour, therefore could not go in the bath. 3: my mother, father and partner were in with me the whole labour. 4: I had Gas. 5: I had an epidural. 6: ended up having a caesarean.

I felt disappointed when they said I had to have a caesarean and I burst into tears, but as soon as I held Ollie in my arms I didn’t care about the last 15 hours and what had happened.

How long where you in labour for?

15 hours, but really when I look back it flew by (I think the drugs help with that).

 Did you have any complications during your labour and birth?

Yes, doesn’t everyone?!? After 13 hours and only having gas, I was only 5cm dilated… woo hoo go me. It was then that I said ‘give me the damn epidural,’ then looked at my partner, mother and father and said ‘I’m not a failure am I?’ Then ‘the baby’s’ heart rate started to drop and I ended up having an emergency caesarean, which I wish I had earlier, I swear it only took 20 minutes and I had my beautiful baby boy in my (shaky drugged up) arms.

Finish this sentence: “there was a point during my labour where I thought to myself………”

Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t want to have an epidural!

 How did you feel the moment you saw your baby?

Amazed that he was perfect, amazed that I made him, amazed that he was so beautiful and so damn happy he was out of me!

How was your birth recovery and hospital stay ?

After the caesarean I had to stay in bed for 2 days, but after that I walked around the ward, very slowly. I stayed at Tweed Hospital for 6 nights; they were so lovely to us. When I got home I made sure I went walking every day and I healed so quickly.

Is there anything you would change if you could go back?

No, after all, it’s one day out of your life and you get the same result in the end, a beautiful baby!

What advice would you give someone who is currently pregnant?

Don’t stress about the birth, like I said its one day, make sure go in with an open mind and know that the doctors know what’s best for your baby, listen to them and don’t get down on yourself if you can’t have a natural birth. Good luck xx


Surrogacy: The Young Family’s Story.

Surrogacy: The Young Family’s Story

When I was pregnant with my twins I spent a lot of time in hospital. I went into premature labour 3 times before my girls were eventually born at 35 weeks. It was during this time that I met a very special lady. Kylie Young. We had something in common. We were both expecting twins. However, that is where the similarities ended. Our journeys toward motherhood could not have been more different. Here is Kylie’s Story:

Meet Kylie, Cameron, Luke and Stella.

They are an exceptional family. It took a lot of people (and a lot of money) to bring this little family together. Luke and Stella where born through a surrogate in Thailand. They were conceived with donor eggs and Cameron’s sperm. They are nothing short of a miracle.

Cameron and Kylie had been trying to have a child of their own for 11 years. 8 failed IVF cycles, 2 failed surrogacy attempts here in Queensland and years and years of being on adoption wait lists had left the couple wondering if their dream of being parents would ever come true. Then one Sunday night they were watching TV and saw a show about an Australian family who had used a Thai surrogate.

Kylie then made contact with the Surrogacy Australia website and was put in contact with other families who had used overseas surrogates. Kylie and Cameron both say they felt a bit concerned and nervous at first. “We spoke with the reps from the agency for over 6 months before we made the decision to go ahead and attempt surrogacy again,” Cameron said.

“For us, this felt like the last resort,” Kylie said.

The couple then flew to Thailand and met both their egg donor and their surrogate. At this time 3 donated eggs, fertilised with Cameron’s sperm were implanted into the surrogate.

6 weeks later whilst at a Delta Goodrem concert, Kylie got the call that changed her life. Finally, good news. Their surrogate was pregnant!!!! “I screamed for about ten minutes I was so excited. That’s when they told me that the surrogates’ blood test results were showing very high hormone levels and that we had a good chance of twins.”

“I was so excited I could hardly believe it had finally worked after all those years of trying!”

Years earlier Cameron and Kylie had twice attempted surrogacy here in Queensland. They explained that the process here in Australia was fraught with difficulty. “You can’t pay surrogates here and yet the legal paperwork alone costs around $12,000. We had to have counselling for 12 months before we could even attempt to conceive. In both cases nothing took.”

“There is a very low success rate with surrogacy in Australia, only around 30-40%.”

The Thailand option promised big things and quickly. The clinic they used ‘All IVF’ in Bangkok boasted an 89% success rate. All prospective donors, surrogates and parents go through a proven screening process and once the surrogate is pregnant the parents are kept up to date with the pregnancy through an agent.

“You receive ultrasounds and can call anytime,” said Cameron.

“Our surrogate had some bleeding at around 11 weeks and was hospitalised. It was really scary but the agent kept us in the loop and helped us through it. We had just found out it was twins and I was so scared we’d lose them,” said Kylie.

“Luckily both the surrogate and the babies were fine and she was released from hospital after only 3 days.”

“At the 19 week scan they confirmed we were expecting one boy and one girl and I couldn’t believe our luck! We were overjoyed.”

From then on it was smooth sailing. Kylie and Cameron arrived in Thailand 1 week before the twins delivery, yet under Thailand’s rules only the biological parents are allowed in the room for the birth. Thus Kylie had to wait outside the delivery room whilst her husband Cam witnessed the birth.

The twins were born at 35 and a half weeks and spent 2 days in ICU, which meant that Kylie and Cameron didn’t get to hold the twins until they were almost 2 days old. But it was well worth the wait according to Kylie,”it was so overwhelming, the best feeling in the world!” Eleven years of waiting had finally come to an end and the Young family was finally a family.

After 5 days hospital the twins were able to move into a rented apartment in Bangkok with Cam and Kylie. Several of their extended family members also came to Thailand to meet the children and support Cam and Kylie.

Yet the journey to get the twins home to Australia had only just begun. “We knew it was a huge process to go through to get the kids home, but it was still very frustrating at the time.”

“In all it took 6.5 weeks for all the paper work to come through.”

“First we had get the birth certificates, then citizenship certificates, then DNA testing. After that both the surrogate and the IVF clinic had to be interviewed by the Australian embassy and then finally we could apply for passports.”

“The whole process was delayed by an extra 10 days because the one and only doctor able to do the DNA test was on holiday!”

In the meantime that family sat in limbo in Thailand. They did however use this time to get to know each other as a family.

“It was such a positive experience overall but you have to be a paperwork person and understand the system. They run the show and you have to play the game. The agency helps as much as they can but legally there is so much they cannot do so you basically have to do it all on your own.”

Kylie and Cameron will always have a special bond with their surrogate. “I can’t thank her enough, she will forever be in our hearts for the joy she has given Cam and I.”

Kylie and Cam were both concerned for the wellbeing of potential surrogates and wanted to know that they weren’t being exploited. When they arrived in Thailand to meet their egg donor and surrogate they were pleased to find that all involved were not only thrilled to take part but were being well looked after financially, something that under Queensland’s laws cannot happen.

“Surrogacy in Thailand is a great thing for all the people involved. Our surrogate Tai has a young family of her own and this has helped her to provide for them in ways that would never have been possible before,” said Kylie.

“It felt good to be a part of that,” said Cameron.

When I asked Kylie if she’d like to have more children she said,” If we won the lotto we’d go to Thailand again, we have spent nearly $90,000 over 11 years. Now we have 2 beautiful kids and we are both turning 40 next year. So I think we are done!”

Now that their family feels complete Kylie and Cameron are looking at helping others. “We understand how it feels to want kids. We have decided to pass our remaining embryos onto others who are in a similar situation,” said Cameron.

Kylie and Cameron both agree that they highly recommend using a Thai surrogate.

“If you are like us and unable to have kids on your own then this is a great option.Go straight overseas and go straight to clinics, cut out the middle people if you are trying to save money, but if you need the help use an agent.”

If you would like more information about surrogacy contact Surrogacy Australia.