Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Diary of an Incubator: FAQs the Second Time Around

I answered these questions I was commonly asked during my pregnancy with Rory here.  I've decided to do it again (with a few extras) to see how much has changed the second time around.

Where are you having the baby?
Last time we went to a private hospital in Perth.  It was a pretty good experience, but there are still out-of-pocket expenses when you go private.  We can't afford maternity cover on one wage, so we've made the choice to go public in Albany.  The new Albany hospital wasn't open when Rory was born, but I've since visited a friend and her baby in there and was impressed.  There are all single rooms and it looks very flash.  The only downside is that partners can't stay the night, but my parents live a stone's throw from the hospital, so Duncan and Rory will stay with them.
It's also much easier going to Albany for appointments with my parents there to babysit, instead of going all the way to Perth with a toddler in tow.

Public or private? 
As above.

Are you having a boy or a girl?
My 19 week scan is next week, but, like with Rory, we won't be finding out the sex.  It's really nice having a surprise after all the hard work of giving birth.  Finding out the sex to me is like unwrapping your presents early because you couldn't wait until your birthday.

Are you excited/nervous/*insert some other emotion here*?
Again, all of the above.  The scourge of postnatal depression still lurks in the back of my mind.  The statistics are that if you've had PND previously, there's a 50-70% chance you'll get it again.  But then a lot of women are also fine.  My doctor has tried to reassure me that this time I'll be watched like a hawk, there will be safety nets in place because others are aware of my history, and I know where to go for support.  I've remained on my antidepressants throughout the pregnancy because my doctor has assured me it's safe to do so.  However, towards the end, she's going to reduce the dosage slightly as there is a chance the baby will suffer from withdrawals when he/she is born.
I'm actually a lot more excited about meeting the baby this time around.  I know what it's like now, and I do miss newborn cuddles (an active toddler who is too busy for cuddles is not quite the same).  I feel a lot of love for the bubba already.

Have you had any morning sickness?
Yes, oh yes.  See here.

How are you going with the low starch diet?
I haven't been on that for over a year now, thanks to my Bioflow wristband.

Have you had any strange cravings?
Nope, I'm always very boring in that regard.  No chalk or gravel for me haha.  Like with Rory, I've craved a lot of carbs (pizza and ravioli are favourites at the moment).  I also can't get enough Cookies and Cream icecream.

Do you have a bump?
I've had a bump since I was six weeks, and being summer, there were only so many 'tent dresses' I could find to hide it.  Winter is definitely a lot easier to be hiding pregnancy in the early stages.

Are you wanting a girl?
No, I'm not.  I don't need a 'pigeon pair'.  I love my little fellow and I'd be more than happy with two boys.  For us, it's all about numbers, not gender.  When people tell me they're praying I'll have a girl, I tell them, "Please don't.  Pray that the bubba will be healthy and sleep well.  Thanks."

Is this the last?
We honestly don't know.  A lot hinges on my postnatal health this time around.  If I get PND again, we'll stop with two.

How do you think Rory will go with the baby?
This has been bothering me a bit.  Rory doesn't like babies.  When one crawls up to him, he looks disgusted and whinges at it, likes he wants the bubba to go away.  He much prefers hanging out with big kids, but I've been telling him gently, "The big kids were nice to you when you were a baby, now it's your turn to be kind to small bubbas."  I do worry that he'll be jealous and will hate me because I won't have enough time for him anymore.  I'm a bit sad that my special time with just my firstborn is coming to an end.  But I guess we'll all adjust...eventually.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Get On Your Soapbox #29

While we were in Dunsborough for Easter, I saw a poster on a pin-up board at Duncan's parents' church which really riled me. It was advertising the Christian school which Duncan attended for primary school. On the poster was this tagline:

For Christian parents who care.

Excuse me?!?  Is this school implying that since we intend to send Rory to our local public school for kindergarten (and beyond) in two years time, that we don't care about his spiritual development?!?

Perhaps the tagline should be: For Christian parents who have the money.

They can argue all they want that some Christian schools are very affordable, but I know what some of my friends are paying for private education at 'cheaper' Christian schools.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Quote of the Day

Something to remind myself of should I receive a letter of rejection:

Giving up on a goal because of a setback is like slashing your other three tyres because you got a flat.
- Unknown

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

From Head to Hand: Literary Agents

I've been investigating the wonderful world of literary agents in recent months.  What's a literary agent, you may ask?

A literary agent represents writers and their written works to publishers, theatrical producers, film producers and film studios.  They receive a fixed percentage of the proceeds of sales as they negotiate on behalf of their clients. 

Most people have assumed that I will send my book straight to a publisher.  Why send your book to an agent when they'll take some of your earnings?  Well, because sending an unsolicited manuscript to a publisher is a huge gamble.  The big publishing houses received hundreds of manuscripts from wannabe writers every year.  It has to be very, very good to grab their attention.  Most never get read properly.

It is much better to go through an agent first.  An agent will read some sample chapters and assess your book for marketability.  In other words, they won't take you on as a client if they don't think you're any good and that they can make money out of you.  They will send your manuscript to publishers on your behalf with their endorsement.  A reputable agent will NEVER ask you for money upfront or charge you to become their client.  If an agent asks for money, BACK AWAY.

I think it is well worth going through an agent.  Yes, they will take a cut of your earnings, but they will also help you get the best deal.  For me to approach publishers on my own is like going to court without a lawyer, or trying to sell/rent out your property without a real estate agent.  I know too many people who've tried to save money by doing it themselves only to have their investment property trashed by dodgy tenants.  If the publishers were interested in my book, I wouldn't have a clue on negotiating contracts etc.  I want someone there who knows the tricks of the trade, who has my back.

Steps to seeking an agent in Australia:

1.  Visit the webpage Australian Literary Agents Association which lists reputable agents.
2.  Agents usually only accept certain genres (i.e. some may only do children's books, or adult fiction, or travel etc.).  Choose an agent which accepts the genre of your work.
3.  Visit the agent's website to determine their requirements for sending your material to them.  They will usually want a cover letter and synopsis (Google examples of these so you know how to write one.  DON'T copy it word for word though).  Make sure your work is in the correct format (i.e. font, line spacing, margins).

I have a 2-10 week wait to see if I've been successful.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Quote of the Day

Go into the arts.  I'm not kidding.  The arts are not a way to make a living.  They are a very human way of making life more bearable.  Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake.  Sing in the shower.  Dance to the radio.  Tell stories.  Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.  Do it as well as you possibly can.  You will get an enormous reward.  You will have created something.
 - Kurt Vonnegut

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Day You Probably Thought Would Never Come...

I did though.  I had faith that it day.

Earlier this week, I sent the first four chapters of my book, plus a cover letter and synopsis to Curtis Brown literary agents in Sydney.

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it.

More next week.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The 13th March is Scary

I've noticed a disturbing pattern about the 13th always seems to be a crappy day for me.

13th March 2012
My car broke down in the middle of nowhere and I had to walk 5km to the nearest house, causing me to miss an afternoon of paid work.  Read all about it here.

13th March 2013
It was the day of my first psych appointment to deal with postnatal depression.  My mum and dad were meant to look after Rory for me (who was seven weeks old), but when they arrived, my mum and I got into a huge fight because she didn't like the sleeping bag/swaddle that Rory was wearing.  She ended up storming out and I was left with no babysitter.  Fortunately a lovely lady from my church came to the rescue.  It was just a horrible, horrible day.

13th March 2014
Rory had his skin prick test and we received the devastating news of his food and environmental allergies, and that we would have to rehome my beloved Ebony.  Read all about it here.

13th March 2015
It was stinking hot and my morning sickness was in full swing.  I was so weak and dizzy that I had to ring Duncan to come home for a few hours to look after Rory so I could lie down.  Afterwards I felt a bit better so I got out Rory's paddling pool for him.  He had a splash, then got out of the pool and did diarrhoea on the verandah!

I only noticed this pattern a few weeks ago.  I'm trying not to think about 13th March 2016.  After all, I don't want to will it into being another bad day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Seven Years is Nothing

Try being married for 50 years!

We went to Busselton on Saturday 14th March to celebrate Duncan's auntie and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary.  It was a great rellie bash and Rory had a ball.

A lot of people should take a leaf out of their book.  Half a century together, in the midst of both sunny and stormy weather, celebrating God's abundant kindness to them.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Wedding 2 2015

This was meant to be Wedding 3 for me, but it ended up being Wedding 2 due to me being unable to attend the wedding of Hannah and JB on the 7th February.

On Saturday 28th February, Duncan's cousin John married Hermione at her dad's very nice house in Cottesloe...right across the road from the beach (I could live there!)

Although I was still feeling quite unwell and had to spend a lot of time sitting down, it was a good chance to catch up with all of Duncan's rellies and let them know our baby news.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Funny

Duncan and I are celebrating seven years of marriage on Sunday.  Hooray!

I think these are hilarious:

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Diary of an Incubator: 15 Weeks

I'm 15 weeks and already entering whale territory.  Since I was asked if I was pregnant when I was six weeks (how rude!) this is not surprising.

Yes, prepare yourself for the return of the belly photos...haha.

Don't you just love my pjs?  I'm all ready for bed.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman

We started singing this song at my church last year. We have so many reasons to praise the Lord.

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning.
It's time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.

You're rich in love and You're slow to anger,
Your name is great and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing.
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.

And on that day when my strength is failing,
The end draws near and my time has come,
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending,
Ten thousand years and then forevermore.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
O my soul.
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before,
O my soul.
I'll worship Your holy name.

Yes, I will worship Your name.
Lord, I'll worship Your holy name.

Lyrics from here.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Quote of the Day

The gospel is this:
We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.
- Timothy Keller

Friday, April 03, 2015

The Case For Easter

It's amazing the number of Christians who complain incessantly that Easter has lost its meaning, that it's all about rabbits and chocolate, it's commercialised, nobody remembers the real meaning for Easter, no-one comes to church etc. etc.

I share those sentiments, but whinging isn't the solution.  Just like Christmas, I encourage all Christians to 'redeem the day'.  Seize this opportunity for evangelism.  People will question Easter traditions which I don't share (no alcohol, no red meat), and it's a great chance to talk to them about the REAL story of Easter.  They might want to come to church.  Invite them!  Be prepared, in season and out of season, for conversations which may arise.

The Case for Easter is a great book to give to someone with questions about the Easter story.  Lee Strobel is a former award-winning legal journalist who, in this book, retraces his steps from atheism to belief.  Strobel hits the experts hard with his questions which include:
  • The medical evidence for Jesus' death.  Did he really die or was he just unconscious?  Strobel explores other explanations, such as the 'swoon theory' where Jesus didn't actually die, was placed in the tomb alive, and later removed the large stone and left.
  • The evidence of Jesus' missing body.  Was the tomb really empty?  Did Jesus rise again, or did the disciples steal the body?
  • The evidence of appearances.  Was Jesus seen alive by over 500 people after His death?  Were those people merely hallucinating?
This is a great book to give to a friend or family member with those sorts of questions.  They seem to be the most common objections to belief in Jesus' death and resurrection.

The fact that there are many Christian doctors, scientists and historians out there who believe the Bible's version of events meant I also found this book encouraging as a believer.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Bible Verse of the Day

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Romans 10:9-10