Grief

Maybe it’s the PTSD, maybe it’s because it’s the 29th of May. Either way, it’s a flat day today. It’s my beloved Nanna’s anniversary.

I’ve blogged about Nanna before. In previous (now defunct) blogs. Each year I think that maybe dedicating a portion of my day to writing about her will help my sadness, but it doesn’t.

I still miss her terribly. I still yearn for her. My grief isn’t raw like it was on May 29, 2007, but it’s still very much there.

I feel guilty and selfish over her death. Guilty because she was so ill for so long prior to her death. Guilty because she suffered for seven weeks before finally succumbing to disease. Selfish because here I am, a registered nurse who could see her pain, still wishing she was physically here.

My Nanna was a wonderful woman, who I was terribly close to. I spent considerable time with her growing up and I attribute so much of the woman I am today, to how she shaped and influenced me.

In her last ten years, the roles we played were significantly reversed. While she still ‘cared’ for me, I (with my mum and aunty) definitely shouldered her physical care. Taking her to doctors appointments, house work, cooking meals, racing to the emergency department behind the ambulance.

My Nanna was a wonderful lady. She lived a long and full life. She never wanted for material possessions. She was not a traveller.

She did however live for her family. One sure thing in life, was Nanna in her kitchen and Pa sitting in his chair.

She loved the country. She grew up on a farm with cows, sheep and chickens. She loved Slim Dusty’s music. Her favourite colour was blue. She never drove a car or caught a plane. If she couldn’t walk or catch a train, unless someone else was driving, the destination wasn’t worth it.

Summer holidays were spent with my cousins and neighbourhood children. Water fights, days out to the pool, walking up the the take away store for hamburgers. Catching the train to the nearest town centre. Making apple pies and jam tarts. Christmas was all about Nanna’s custard. It was simple. It was idyllic. It was wonderful.

Part of this terrible trauma has been my sheer grief for Nanna. I’m desperate for her to tell me that everything is going to be ok. Just like when I was a little girl. For cuddles. For conversation. For her lessons in life.

I took my Miss out to the cemetery last year for Nanna’s birthday. It’s too cold today to take her out again. It was bittersweet to sit by Nanna and Pa’s graves ‘introducing’ them to my little girl. How I wish she’d have known them herself. I just know that they’d have loved each other very much. Just like I loved her (and of course my Pa) so much. It brings me great joy to know that my mum, my dad and my girl have a close relationship, just like I had with my grandparents.

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This is the only photo I could find of my Nanna and I, after she died. Twenty four years and all we have is a photo of me at about two weeks old. Nanna hated her photo being taken, so we’d oblige and not take them. How I wish we’d ignored her wishes. I am so thankful for my memories. They’re worth so much more than a photograph.

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The Mummy Blog

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I just about never post specifically about parenting. Sure, I mention her at times and really, how having her lead to my diagnosis with PTSD and PND, but I don’t really ever speak about day to day parenting. It’s not really my thing.

Today though, oh my goodness today.

My mum asked me last week to go with her to Costco today. Costco opened in Sydney a little while ago and to be honest, it didn’t interest me ever to go, simply because if I need toilet paper, I don’t buy it in lots of one hundred rolls, so the local supermarket sufficed. However I was up for something to distract me from the stress of marking.

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We weren’t even out of the driveway yet and Miss Almost-Two started tantruming about whatever issue she had with something. So I cracked it. Mum says “don’t yell at her”.

Fantastic.

She finally stopped screaming. Still no idea what was going on. However I strongly believe she was hungry. She did refuse breakfast though. I can’t force food into her.

Then we get to Costco, which is a 30 minute drive away. She starts again. Epic meltdown of embarrassing proportions. So bad I was ready to throw her. Even Mum and my sister couldn’t calm her down. So we manage to get her to eat a bread roll. In order to get one for her, I needed to buy a bag of thirty six. 36! Who on earth needs to buy a thirty six pack of bread rolls? Baked fresh daily! At least she stopped screaming. She ate two bread rolls and then went to sleep as I was pushing her pram around the store.

After looking at enormous boxes of foreign branded foods and battling the biggest shopping trolleys I’ve ever seen loaded with enormous boxes of foreign branded foods, it was time to leave.

Cue another tantrum.

Honestly, her default response today to everything was to tantrum.

Honestly though, I’m absolutely certain that it’s all a reaction to me working so much. This week is the last week of university semester, so next week I’m back to two days per week for a little while. I think she needs me at home for a little while.

Xx

One Weekend in May

I came to the Eurovision Song Contest quite late in the piece. The first time I watched in entirety, was in 2010 when I was in Switzerland. I’d heard about it, however for many years preceding, I just didn’t watch. However, I was super impressed with Lordi back in 2006.

It’s safe to say that I’m now a total convert and wait with serious anticipation for the start of the broadcast down here in Australia. The two semi finals and grand final are broadcast over three nights and to add to the fun, just about everyone I follow on Twitter watches too and tweets about it. We also desperately keep ourselves from knowing who won the competition (the grand final is live at 5am or so, Sydney time, but not aired until 7:30pm Sydney time). Yesterday I did not watch any news, I also muted all Eurovision chatter on Twitter.

Do you know how hard it is to go a day without news or social media?

Safe to say, I’m serious about my Eurovision.

So here’s my wrap up of the proceedings:

Sweden: after 2012’s amazing Loreen, unfortunately, Robin just didn’t have that same appeal. Also, Petra. No love, you are not Sweden’s Oprah. Also, please. Don’t insult your audience (pro tip).

Malta: The singing Dr Gianluca. I loved this song the most and it was actually the song I gave my vote for in the unofficial poll on the SBS website (and not because of my alleged Maltese DNA either). It was a little bit Vampire Weekend, a little bit Jack Johnson. A lot of awesome. It’s a real shame Malta doesn’t have any close neighbours to vote blindly for them!

Azerbaijan: the winners of 2011 backed it up yesterday to come third this year. A great song with an interesting dancer inside a glass box.

United Kingdom: It’s like you’ve given up. Last year, rolling out a holographic Englebert Humperdinck and this year rolling out Bonnie Tyler (yeah, the Total Eclipse of the Heart lady from about 1982). The poor love was savaged online. She was pitchy though and the song boring as heck. Needed laser eyes and boarding school boys.

Romania: Aussie crowd favourite. He was what the Eurovision Song Contest is all about. Electronic music, opera and wacky costumes. So much awesome. Every time I play this song, my husband threatens to leave.

Greece: Another Aussie crowd favourite, but just didn’t do it for me. Lots of unfunny austerity and GDP jokes online through.

The Netherlands: Talked up by the Aussie hosts as being a 1980s Alanis Morrisette… Yeah, Alanis should be insulted.

The surprising songs for me, that I admit I didn’t love when I first saw them being performed were Moldova’s gorgeous Aliona Moon and Estonia’s breathtakingly beautiful Birgit. I’m going to admit that I have the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 album and have been listening to it fairly much non stop since yesterday and singing along loudly. No idea of the words, no idea of the pronunciation, but I’m singing.

I’m also swept up in French singer Amandine Bourgeois who’s song L’enfer Et Moi, to me would not sound out of place in a Tarantino film.

And of course… The winner. Emmelie de Forest from Denmark. Very catchy!

Cannot wait for 2014!

Xx

Dummy Spit

Good grief! Robomum asked on her blog, via The Lounge, this week, if we’ve ever had a dummy spit. If so, to blog about it and link up.

So I’ve been sitting here trying to think of which situation to blog about. Yelling at the lady who cut in front of me while Christmas shopping? Nope. The dummy spit I had when somebody drove into my car? Not even close. Not even the time I was called a ‘slut’ by a customer at my checkout when I was at my high school job!

The time my hire car was broken into and I had stuff stolen.

Picture this scene. My husband and I were married only a week and were on our honeymoon in New Zealand. We had already spent time in the Bay of Islands, Auckland and Rotorua and were spending one night in Wellington before heading to the South Island.

Our journey from Rotorua to Wellington was disastrous! We had estimated to be in Wellington by mid afternoon, however what we hadn’t known about was the annual cyclist race from Rotorua to Taupo. So what should have only been a quick drive turned into a cross country voyage, avoiding road blocks. Then the Desert Rd from Taupo south to Palmerston North was closed due to a serious car accident. We were then finally free to hit the road and drive further south, but knew if we didn’t hurry we’d lose daylight. I drove that leg south and drove through some of the most amazing countryside, all golden in autumn shades. Then, as we hit the Wellington outskirts, the rain came down in torrential amounts. I was terrified! People who knew the roads speeding past me. The road hooking around the cliff, that was above a sheer drop into the ocean. It was so scary.

We finally pulled into Wellington just on sunset. Found our hotel and parked the car in the valet. Then tried to find dinner. On a Saturday night, the CBD was dead quiet. Not another soul for miles around. We did however, find a rugby union pub in the middle of a decomposed nightlife scene and settled for deep fried chicken and chips for dinner, washed down with Lindauer Brut.

By this stage we were merry on cheap bubbly and laughing about the horrible drive south.

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The clouded view from our Wellington hotel room

The next morning, it was time to check out. We were on a tight schedule to drop the hire car off at the ferry terminal and get on the Interislander to Picton. We checked out with no issue and the valet went to collect our car. As soon as he drove it around the corner (where it had been parked well away from the hotel) I could see the smashed window. I flipped! “This isn’t our car!” I exclaimed in shock. The man said “oh I’m sorry, I’ll go back and check again”. I said “No! Look! It’s been broken into, this is our hire car”.

My husband and I inspected the damage and noticed that a few of our belongings had been stolen. Our GPS charger, my phone charger, some coins in the ash tray. However the worst was the fact that we had paid for our car to be parked securely and here it was, damaged and had our belongings missing from it!

Before my husband could stop me, I stormed back into the hotel demanding to see the manager. To cut this epic story short, I did my ‘nana. Deadset. There were two bus loads of senior citizens in the foyer who witnessed my Trans-Tasman meltdown. I think it may have measured on the Richter scale.

We missed our ferry. Which set us back in time, which meant we missed our tour of the Montana Winery. We did however manage to get the hotel to cover all repair costs of the hire car (saving us thousands in excess). We also got to then take a leisurely drive in our new and undamaged hire car on the South Island until we arrived at our beautiful hotel in Kaikoura.

I do sometimes think fondly back on that morning. I blew my stack. I wasn’t rude. I was angry. I was totally assertive. It was awesome.

I wish I had the girl in me more often. She doesn’t take crap off anyone.

_________________________

Today’s themed blog is linked up with Robomum and The Lounge

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Mother’s Day

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I started writing a very depressed blog about how crap I was feeling. I was relating myself to drowning in a swamp of sadness and I couldn’t pull myself out.

However like all awesome mental illnesses, I fell asleep while typing yesterday’s entry and woke up today much better. I can’t predict when my brain is going to gang up on me. I can’t understand why it gangs up on me. Yet here I am and there it is, fighting me from within.

I’m trying to understand why certain days act as triggers. I deactivated my Facebook account for a few hours yesterday. My friends are mostly mums. They post wonderful stories of becoming mothers and cherishing the day their babies entered their lives.

And here I am and there they are. Completely paralleled. Instead of blissful memories of holding a squishy, lovable newborn. There I was so removed from the situation, that when I recall looking at her, I really didn’t feel anything. I just did what I had to do in order to mother her, because nobody else was there to be her mum.

I’m still battling flashbacks. It’s the same one over and over. Virtually gagged by the horror of the situation unfolding above me in the reflective coating of the operating theatre light. Feeling so desperately removed from what should have been the most amazing moment of my life. Here was this little, tiny, perfect baby girl, made with such love and nurtured to the best of my ability. And all I could do was look at her completely dumbfounded. Still traumatised by what I felt and saw.

Fear is still a huge part of me. I’m so tired of bring fearful. I don’t want to be scared anymore. I want to be able to confidently know that my brain is not going to gang up on me. I’m told this isn’t forever. I want to believe that PTSD is something I can recover from. Just right now, I don’t believe I can recover. I don’t believe I’ll ever get better.

Art

I found an amazing blog with powerful images of artistic interpretations of cesarean birth trauma.

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http://cesareanart.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/memories-that-cling-on-to-me/

It’s just like the one where the lady has the black shadow slowly consuming her.

I’ve also been chatting to other mums traumatised tonight. It sounds bizarre, but they just ‘know’. It’s so comforting. I have not told them my birth story. I have not read their birth stories.

I’m so terrified. I don’t want to go back ‘there’. I’m two months out from Missy’s birthday and things are starting to go to the shit.

Warning: this blog is not censored and these pictures may encourage triggers.
http://cesareanart.wordpress.com/

Edited 18/5/13: I was on Pinterest and found this interview with the artist who has the cesarean art blog. She wishes to remain anonymous http://grabapple.net/entry/259

Round and Round and Round She Goes

I’ve been battling flashbacks now for a week. I don’t know if I’m coping better with them, there doesn’t seem to be any one particular trigger.

However we are coming up to Missy’s birthday. Anniversaries are strongly linked to worsening PTSD symptoms, apparently.

My flashbacks are all sensation based. Fingers and hands. Touching. I feel gross all the time.

I’m back to comfort eating. I’m starting to have difficulty sleeping again.

I am starting the 12WBT again on Sunday so at least I’ll have that to keep my weight on track.

I called my psychologist and made an appointment for the 24th of June. It was the earliest available. Today is the 10th of May. I’m on her cancelation list at both her private practice and her medical centre list.

For now, I wear a smile and tell everyone I’m well, but I’m not really. I’m just existing. Same same, no difference.

It feels like I’m on a merry-go-round. Except this one isn’t fun.

Thank you to http://www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk/

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http://www.themitchcast.com