Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Midnight mumbling

Rowan often talks in his sleep, which is understandable - both Hannah and I do it. So I thought nothing of The Guy chatting at 3am.

An hour later though, it was pretty clear that he was well and truly awake, and running through every word and sentence he knew (which, as it turns out, is an extensive list).

A quick pat on the way back from getting a glass of water - demanded with his usual "PATS!" - and I was back to bed, whereupon I lay there listening to him continue to babble on.

In all, he was awake for about an hour, just talking to himself. He didn't seem in need of anything in particular, like a new nappy or a drink or anything. He wasn't upset, and wasn't bothered when I told him I was off to bed. He was quite content to just lay there.

Does anyone else have little ones that do/would do this?

In other news, I'm considering replacing/augmenting this blog with a video, which I think might be a bit quicker and easier to pump out than a rambling bunch of paragraphs. Thoughts?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Starting again

It's been a very long time since I updated this, but I'll try and get back onto it, if only as a way of writing down everything and getting it out of my brain.

In the last couple of years we've seen Rowan grow from a bump under Hannah's t-shirt, to a tiny grub, to a little person with a huge personality. It's amazing to look back at photos and posts and email about The Guy, and see how different he is from where we started.

We're now parents of a little boy who sings, dances, plays guitar, reads books, watches In The Night Garden and Hairy McClary, wants to listen to music in the shower, runs, jumps, climbs stairs, rides a bike and TALKS AND TALKS AND TALKS! The amount of words and his vocabulary are mind blowing for this first time dad.

It's crazy... we're parents now. Of course all parents are parents, so it's nothing unique in a global sense, but US being parents is unique to US. Does that make sense?

Speaking of being parents... well, we're going to be doing it all over again. The next one is due start of June, so we're well under way time wise.

Hannah is doing very well again. She's very healthy and happy - although pretty tired!! - and we're on track to having another home birth. It was a very special experience last time, so we're hoping we're lucky enough to go two for two. The odds are pretty good.

Handling two kids. This is going to be an adjustment, I'm sure. We're obviously not the first people to have two or more kids, but again, our experience is unique to us. Interestingly, I have a lot of the same concerns about losing identity, not having time, etc that I had last time.

What the reality with Rowan? Well, I DID lose a lot of "free" time - time that was otherwise unassigned to a responsibility - so it is slightly harder to get a personal project finished quickly, but I didn't lose any identity at all. I didn't fall into the life shown on screen with henpecked husbands bemoaning the good old days. I actually feel like my time is more focused now, better spent when taking care of Rowan and Hannah, then when I would just get home from work and play a game until bed time. I'm still myself, people still see me the same way, I still act and talk and think in pretty much exactly the same way, except now there's an extra person in my life to share it with. So rather than turning in half the person I was, I'm the person I was with a bit of bonus.

Sorry, I'm rambling. Short version: having Rowan meant there was LESS (not no) me time, but more family time, and more purpose. I imagine having a second kid will be similar. A further reduction in totally unassigned time, but more family engagement, more purpose, more direction.

These paragraphs are getting longer and longer, so I'll cut it short there. Maybe not the most engaging post I've ever written, but this is a start to getting things back out of my head.

Hopefully, Perth Dad might be back!

Rowan's birthday - Part II

UPDATED: 17/02/2015
Look, it's pretty clear I'm not going to get around to finishing this post, which is now nearly two years old. I'll start afresh.


Well, this took me so much longer to get to than I thought. As any parent probably knows, time is a pretty precious and limited commodity, so I've struggled a bit to find time where I'm a) free and b) cognizant. Having been so long, I might be a bit sketchy on some of the details, but Hannah will probably let me know and fill me in if I've got something too wacky.
-Call the Midwife!!
Ok, so after timing the surges for a solid hour, and having them stay consistently at around 3 minutes, it was finally time to call our midwife, Laura. Waiting that hour meant a 6:30am wake up call for Laura, which isn't too bad I reckon. I was hoping she might even be up already, but unfortunately this wasn't the case. I let Laura know the details (predominantly "How's Hannah going?" and "How far apart are the surges?") and she was on her way.

-Taking a bath
With the midwife on her way, and Hannah plugging away like a champion, I had a birth pool that needed a-fillin'. The kitchen floor seemed as good a place as any, so I shoved the island out of the way, cranked up the pump, popped the liner in and over, and started blowing that bad boy up. With an intricate array of knobs and levers, I was able to get hot water straight out of the laundry tap, into a (new) garden hose, and into the pool. I dumped in a bag of salt (to prevent Hannah pruning up too bad), then sat back feeling pretty pleased with myself, as all men are wont to do after completing a set of rudimentary tasks.

-More hard work
The pool was sorted, and we were waiting for the midwife, so there wasn't much more to do except ride through the surges, continuing the accupressure on Hannah's lower back. A correction to my previous post - Hannah hit transition around this time I believe, which resulted in a bit of a spew of my gourmet dinner from the night before (Tuscan meatballs with pasta). Topping up with fluids and more Gatorade was all we really needed to do, so no major dramas there.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rowan's birthday - Part I

Well, it's taken 2 and a half weeks, but I think I'm finally in some kind of state to update! As per my previous post, we had a little boy, Rowan Clark Katarski at 11:27am on the 2nd of April. Rowan was born at home with no complications, and he's doing so well! Putting on heaps of weight, and he's grown 4cm in 2 weeks.

I wanted to try and get down some of my thoughts from the actual day before the details get too hazy.

The Night Before

Dad came around for a visit on Monday afternoon, and left at about 5pm, which is about the same time Hannah started thinking maybe something was going on. We were at 40+4 by this stage, and we were already starting to think "This is NEVER going to happen!" Such impatience.

The evening went along fairly normally. I made Tuscan meatballs for dinner, gave the house a bit of a vacuum and a mop, then we watched a bit of TV. A few hours into the evening, Hannah was definitely starting to get some proper surges, although they weren't super strong. By 11:00pm we thought we'd jump into bed and get one last proper night's sleep, because we figured the next day was going to be a big one.

We lasted about an hour. By midnight, the surges were pretty real, and Hannah wasn't getting much sleep, so we got back up, popped on some Star Trek: Voyager and tried for a cup of tea. At about this time we hooked up the TENS machine to Hannah's back, and I drew some accupressure points on Hannah's ankles, back, legs, hands and forearms with a fat black texta. This is something we would be very thankful for within a few short hours.

Early Morning

An episode of Star Trek down, and the surges had become regular and a bit stronger. Hannah tried laying over her fitball, or crouching down over the couch, but found it pretty uncomfortable. All of our practise positions had involved Hannah being on all fours or leaning over the ball, but as it turned out, only standing seemed to be comfortable.

This is where the accupressure points came into their own. Even with the Hannah mashing the "BOOST!!!!" button on the TENS machine, nothing worked quite as well to increase comfort during surges as my thumbs on her lower back, just at the base of and either side of her spine. I'd mash on her back, and Hannah would breathe slowly and steadily, and then the surge would pass. I think with all the practise labour surges that had occurred over the previous few weeks, the actual labour surges were familiar in a way. Very not Hollywood - I.e.  none of this "OMG! I think I'm having a contraction!" nonsense you see on the telly.

Episode 3

By the 2nd or 3rd episode of Voyager (the holographic doctor was having hallucinations due to a programming malfunction, very gripping!), there was no mistaking it. This was happening. We were going to meet the Bump on the outside, some time very soon. But how soon? We had absolutely NO idea as to when this was all going to conclude, so we just went one surge at a time. Breathing, accupressure, and lots of fluids. I made sure Hannah was drinking plenty of water and a bit of Gatorade. She wasn't hungry at all, but we'd had a pretty big dinner, so I wasn't too worried.


We figured we should be timing the surge intervals, so that we knew when to call Laura, our midwife. Hannah had some rad app on her phone which worked out the interval and the averages over a period of time. So with each surge we'd start the timer, then note the interval when we were done.

Speaking of timing... the night went so quickly! The minute or so of the actual surges obviously didn't feel quick, but the rest of the time seemed to fly by. The hours just cranked along: 2am, 3am, 4am. By the time that Tom Paris and Neelix were trapped on an alien planet, the surge interval was at about 4 minutes or so.


Hannah thought she'd sit down for a rest at about 4am or so (Tom and Neelix made it off the planet), which led to an immediate increase in the interval time. 4 minutes moved to about 5.5/6 minutes. So after half an hour or so of sitting down, Hannah was back on her feet. Immediately, the interval shifted back to around 4 minutes or so.

Missus Update

It's worth mentioning Hannah's disposition by this time. Very, very calm, very positive. We weren't worried about anything. Everything was happening the way it was supposed to, everything was natural. Hannah's body followed its inbuilt programming, and nature took its course. Hannah was able to laugh and smile and chat between surges as though it was just another day. We were both really looking forward to this day for so long, and now it was finally here, we were stoked.


We hit transition at about 5:30am I think, which is also about the time that the surges shifted to approximately 3 minutes apart. We decided to give it an hour to make sure that labour was well and truly established, continuing at the same pace. More accupressure, more fluids and more Star Trek. (Captain Janeway's holonovel was coming to life all over the ship, pretty spooky!)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Today's the "due date" for Bump. Theoretically, Bump should arrive today and start wearing pants. Or  a skirt. Some form of cladding for a tiny bottom. Well, it's looking pretty unlikely! Maybe it'll happen some time on the weekend. Maybe it'll happen in a week! No way of knowing, so we'll just go about our business and wait for Bump to let us know.

I've got 6 weeks off work after Easter, which I'm very much looking forward to. Last day of work today until the middle of May.

I can't believe we've been through 40 weeks. As with these sorts of things, the time has gone simultaneously very quickly and agonisingly slowly. In a way it feels like all the pressure is off now. Now we just carry on and eventually Bump will arrive. But there's no more counting down the days and weeks and months and trimesters. Now we relax, finish off any preparations we decide are necessary, and enjoy some time together with the cats.

Hannah's still feeling great. What an amazing woman! She's given our baby the very, very best possible chance in this world. Super healthy, relaxed, happy. I'm so proud and so very in love. I can't wait for all that comes next! What an amazing woman.

Watch this space!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1 Week Out!

We're only a week away from our due date, so any time in the next 2 weeks or so could be go time! I'm not sure I've quite put that together in my head yet... but what better way than to just relax, go with the flow and see what happens! I am starting to get excited, but I guess there's so many hours in a day, it's hard to be fully charged and amped every single minute.

Missus Report

Hannah's still very well. It turns out her platelets are a little low, which is very common during pregnancy, but otherwise she's continuing in the same sort of style as always - rocking out some serious health. Walking has gotten a little slower the last week, as Bump explodes out in front of her like a 50-tonne Soviet surface-to-air missile, and it's a little cramped if we're both in the bathroom at the same time. Also, Bump has really decided to work hard on antenatal yoga poses... every other hour there is an elbow erupting through an armpit or a foot in the pancreas. So other than being massaged from the inside, Hannah's going along fairly fantastically.

There's been a few blood tests of late, related to that platelet count. As soon as her count hits the magic number (or indeed, if the baby comes) Hannah won't need any further tests. So we're talking 1, possibly 2 more tests at the absolute most.


Hannah's been putting in a lot of hypnobirthing relaxation practise over the past weeks, and we've tried to be regular with our partner readings. Just had a great session then, imagining a silver glove of relaxation switching off certain parts of the body. It sounds a bit odd, but it's very effective. To what extent I guess we'll see very soon...


I'm working from home now, which is terrific. Just being here means that whenever the baby is ready, we're ready to go. No need to rush home from work through the maddened panic of rush hour, no crazy car rides involving a cyclist, an elderly lady and a zany European surgeon. Just home-style chillin'. I get a bit of work done, then we can enjoy lunch time together, and I'm already at home the second the work day ends. In reality, these are some of the last few days we'll have as "just us", so it's nice to be able to spend them together. Not just nice, important.

As known as

We've finally got names for both a boy, and a girl. We're keeping the details under wraps for now, but it's a big relief to come to some agreement about a name that we think won't have the child ridiculed or stifle their chances for world renown when they're older. Spencer von Pottybottom Katarski probably wouldn't be terribly useful. Zebulon has finally been taken off the cards, much to my infinite satisfaction.

Hot tub

I did a trial run with the birthing pool out on the deck the other day. It all goes up pretty quickly! Apparently the midwife has a special pump for getting rid of the water afterwards, so she didn't appreciate my suggestion of hooking up our Karcher high-powered water canon and taking that opportunity to wash the car. "Think about what else will be in that pool!" she exclaimed. Good point.

The deck is looking like the business too, unless we have the majority of the labour during the night time. If it's a nice day, we'll be hanging out on the deck, launching a baby out, frightening neighbours with ghoulish cries and trying to convince the police that "Everything is fine, officer! There's just a woman in the garden giving birth..."