Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Still At Gregory

Hi All
Tony moved to the Gregory Area in 01' He had been working on Nardoo Stn prior to that fencing with a contractor and decided to return and start his own contracting business. I moved there in the April of 02' and had Brandy 5 years later to the day!! That has nothing at all to do with what I am talking about but an interesting fact all the same. I had moved there in the beginning to be a governess and I was teaching 3 girls aged 10, 8 and 4. After 4 months I decided this was not the job for me and I missed the pub life and approached Jo at the Gregory Downs Hotel for a job. I had worked in bars prior to moving to QLD so I did have a bit of an idea as to what I was getting myself in for. We had done the pub thing, the contracting thing, the baby thing and the hay farm thing and after we returned to Gregory after our wedding we had talked endlessly about what to do next. The farm wages were OK but with 2 little ones and all our expenses and the new car payment we were living from fortnight to fortnight and not saving. We were missing out on fun things and often had to postpone payments on bills. This probably would not have happened if both of us were working. I was doing odd jobs here and there and I think I earned all up $1000 last financial year. We had decided it was time for a change however we were not sure where we were going to go or what we were going to do.

Around Jan 08' mum called and told us that Dean had got a crane operating job working on wind farms, and that they were moving from Roxby back to Adelaide. The money was good and they were both really happy. I told her that we still had not decided what we were doing but we did know it was time to go. I had looked on the Internet and we had been keeping an eye out in the local papers to see if anything suited us, but our biggest drama was no knowing what we were looking for.

I ended up applying for a job in Port Lincoln on a tuna farm for Tony as the aquaculture industry had always interested him and he had previously done work on a prawn trawler, the only catch was I didn't tell him I had applied. For those of you who don't know Tony there is no urgency in ANYTHING he does. He isn't slow when it something he wants to do but you can not rush these things. It was now the end of February and after talking about moving for about 6 and a half months he still had not done anything. I was sick of being cramped in a 2 bedroom house with 2 small kids who had to spend a majority of time inside because of the heat, so I did something about it. About 2 weeks passed and we had heard nothing so I assumed they had filled the position and thought nothing of it.

I called mum and was having another whinge about life on the farm, when she suggested I e-mail Tony's resume to her and Dean can give it the foreman on the wind farm. Tony is very mechanically minded and we thought this sort of job would suit him. I spoke to him that night about it and he said why not!! It was a HUGE move but really what is the difference between packing up everything and moving it 500k or 2500k you still have to pack it all and move it. Anyway I e-mailed it, that night then got a call from mum the next morning saying start packing they want him down here A.S.A.P. I had started packing about 2 weeks before as I knew something was going to happen I just didn't know when. Tony called the Foreman and arranged everything, he said yeah how soon can you get here. Tony allowed for 2 weeks notice and 3 days to drive there and gave him a date. He said cool see you then. Word spread like a bush fire and before we knew it everyone in the Burke shire district knew. Tony was working at the farm during the day and packing his shed at night and I was packing in between looking after the kids. I was also cleaning like a mad women to get the house perfect before we left. We were both very busy but managed to get it all done in time.

Those of you who know me and those of you who have read previous blog entries know I am a cryer. I did well when I said goodbye to Jo, (she left on holiday's a couple of days before we left.) I did really well at our going away party at the farm, I didn't even cry when there was a speech. I cried more at Bec and Marty Dixon's going away party than I did at ours. The day before we left Sheldo had come to get some more of Tony's things for us and when he said goodbye I couldn't give him a hug or even look at him, so I just waved. I knew the water works were coming and I was afraid if I started I wouldn't be able to stop. All was OK until Billy and Amanda who were helping us pack the last few things and clean went to leave. Billy started then I started then Amanda stared it was all over. Billy was worried Tony would think he was a sook but Tony held his tears back until they had pulled away. Gregory was a great place and Kasey Chambers said it best in "Southern Kind of life". "It wasn't easy to stay but it was harder to leave".

I will always remember Gregory Downs, "I had nights I can't remember good friends I'll NEVER forget (Toby Keith, Shoken Y'all) There was fun times, sad times, happy times and hard times but all rolled in to one we had a GREAT TIME!!

Bye for now and Happy blogging.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Our Wedding Day

Hi All,
Our wedding was a long time coming. Tony and I got engaged on July 5Th 04' and didn't get married until Sept 8Th 07'. We had our two kids in between and neither of us was really in a rush as we didn't and still don't get how a piece of paper changes everything. Nothing has changed since we got married I still were my engagement ring (As my wedding ring needed re-sizing and is packed away in a box somewhere.) Our kids are still our kids and our relationship is the same. The one and only thing that really prompted me to go and jump was the fact that my surname was different to my girls. I would call centre link or go to the doctors and felt like I was forever explaining that even though my surname was different I was still their mum.
As we had sold the car we had the funds to do it and originally we were just going to go to the registry office in the court house followed by a nice dinner somewhere. Tony's sister heard of our plans and in turn offered for us to have it at her place in Ravenshoe. She has a lovely garden and we jumped at the offer. This offer immediately made it a bigger more expensive ceremony than we had originally planned but as we had sold the Ute we had a bit of extra cash. I looked on e-bay and got a beautiful dress, It cost me $80.00, then I bought both our rings from e-bay, Tony's was a stainless steal one it cost $0.99 Everything else we bought while we were in Atherton the day before. Carla and Matt were our Matron of honour and Best Man respectively and Carla also got her dress off e-bay. Matt and Tony were going to be wearing blue jeans, white shirt and their cowboy hats. I decided Tony not wearing his hat in our wedding would be like Superman with out his red undies.

We had about 30 people there on the day and only a few people in Gregory knew we were going away to get married. We kept it a secret because we didn't want a HUGE affair, and we also didn't want to have to explain to the people who were not invited as to why they weren't. Logistically it was difficult given the time frame for my family from S.A to come and also it would have boosted the numbers by about 50 so I neglected to tell anyone about it. I wanted Mum to be there for my big day so her and Dean and my brothers were the only ones who knew. My cousin was due to be married in Oct so I also didn't want to take the spotlight off her considering her wedding had been 12 months in the planning. Everyone found out about Oct the day after Christine and Daniels wedding. I had also decided to ask Dean to give me away as he had been apart of life more in the years leading up to our wedding than Dad had been. He had looked after Mickalee and took time off work while I had Brandy he let us all stay in their house in Roxby for 8 weeks and didn't whinge and he had driven the 2000k to Gregory to bring mum and the boys up for my 21st. The day I gave birth to Brandy Dad drove 3 hours to Bordertown for a school reunion when he just as easily could have driven the 3 hours north to Port Augusta to meet his new baby grand daughter.

The secret in Gregory latest about a fortnight, and we had another fortnight to wait until we got married. This was holy and solely Tony's fault. I can understand why he did it though, he wanted that cake. We had travelled 120K's to Burketown for the annual art and craft show and one of the sections was cakes. That year there was one beautiful wedding cake entered. After all the exhibition is over if people wish they can donate their entries people buy them then the money is donated to the R.F.D.S. I was already at the car loading the girls in while Tony watched the auction. The next thing I know there is cheering and clapping and Tony is running down the stairs saying Quick Bec I need a $50. As soon as he said that I knew what he had done and I asked him "You didn't", he said yes "I did". I missed it all but he tells me he was bidding on the wedding cake and it was going up and up then he yelled at the top of voice, "Let me have the damn cake I'm getting married in a fortnight." So that explains the clapping. I was SO annoyed but happy at the same time. The phone at home rang hot for two days with people congratulating us as well, as asking why they couldn't come. Bloody men!!! For those of you who don't know you can not put this sort of cake in a fridge if you want it to survive, so I nursed it home along the bumpy dirt road, in it's big box then we stored in on top of the freezer in the air-con for the 2 weeks before we left then it sat between the two car seats for the 1000K trip to Ravenshoe. It was a very well travelled cake and survived. Or well so we thought. It looked good and it served it's purpose for the photo's but no-one could eat it. : )
Our ceremony was very simple and worked out very well and I actually promised to love honour and E-Bay in my vowels. Then when it came time to kiss the bride our glasses met before we did, which made everyone laugh. The girls behaved like angels and for memory Brandy slept most of the day. The only thing I regret is not getting a family photo of the 4 of us as she was asleep and I didn't want to wake her. Except for that we had a good day, and if I could do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing.

Bye for now and Happy Blogging

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Life Back at Gregory #2

Hi All
Brandy settled into our family very well and we all adjusted very quickly to having a new baby. Mickalee didn't at all seem to mind that my attention was not 100% on her anymore which was one thing I was worried about. The swing we bought was very helpful as Mickalee would want to cuddle and jump on Brandy if she was on the floor and of course I couldn't hold her all the time. At this stage Mickalee was still having two day time sleeps one at 10am and one at 2pm so Brandys floor time was when she was napping in the mornings. Or I would put Brandy in the play pen and leave Mickalee out of it, this worked until Mickalee discovered that it slid across the floor. Neither of my girls liked being on their stomachs when they were tiny (as I was instructed to do by the child health nurses to help them develop strong neck muscles,) so I used to put them on their backs so I didn't upset them. They both learned to roll from back to front very quickly and once they rolled on to their tummies by them selves they were OK with it. By the time Mickalee was in the routine of having only one sleep a day at about 12.30pm I had also synchronised Brandy's afternoon sleep so that I could get things done around the house. They still have an afternoon nap at this same time now and I have me time.

I was so determined that having a baby, (well now two) was not going to keep me from going places. I was not going to miss out on having a social life because I was a mum. The only difference was went somewhere there is a lot more things I need to take. The girls went to BB Q's the local horse races, gymkhana's, and to visit friends. There where times that I did miss out however it was due to the weather being so hot and it wouldn't have been fair on the kids to suffer in heat like that. I didn't care though when this was the case, who hates watching movies in the air-conditioning!! Not me!!

May weekend at Gregory is a HUGE event there is the local races at the show ground on the Saturday, the canoe race on the Gregory River Sunday , and then the bull ride on the Sunday night. We had made it back to Gregory just in time for the races etc and friends came up to part take in the festivities. On the Saturday at the races, Tony had a few too many XXXX Golds so he was not reliable at all to look after Mickalee and Brandy was only tiny, so both girls sat in the pram all day!! They did so well. They watched everything going on and even napped at one point!! I was amazed. As there were so many intoxicated people around I didn't think it was safe for Mickalee to be running around and I also couldn't chase her as this meant leaving Brandy in the pram unattended. My worst fears were confirmed when a fight broke out at this mini tornado of men headed straight for me and the girls in the pram. Amanda and her little boy Darcy were sitting with us and Amanda and I were both dragging the prams backwards as we kicked chairs out of the way so the group didn't squash the kids. HOW RUDE!! They didn't even know why they were fighting! Anyway that was enough for me and I took the girls home. I left Tony to his own devises and for memory I think he walked the 2K's home, serves him right! On the Sunday night we headed out again to the rodeo and the only place we could find was near the speakers, this was very very loud and I was worried this would stop the girls from sleeping. To my surprise it didn't and Mickalee didn't even see the first ride!! Once the rodeo was over Matt & Heidi and Louisa offered to take the girls home for us so we could stay and listen to the band. We great fully accepted this and got home to a house of sleeping babies about 2 hours later. I promised myself while pregnant to accept help when it was offered, and to this day of someone offers to watch my kids I never turn it down. Even if it is only for 10 minutes while I pop to the bank. If people didn't want to help they wouldn't offer.
One weekend we had decided to pack up the girls and head to Quamby about 3hrs from us for the Rodeo. I had packed the swag for me and Tony and a little mattress to set up in the back of the wagon for Mickalee, Brandy was only 3 months old so at night she just slept in her car seat. Brandy slept most of the day in the pram while we watched the riders and we made sure we followed the shade, even though there is a shade on the pram, we were making sure they wouldn't get burnt. Quamby rodeo is usually in July so it was warm but not hot and humid like in the summer. We all had a great time, the only hard thing was sterilising the bottles in a HUGE boiler over the fire. Mickalee had a great time on the bouncing castle and chair'o'plane, and we were planning to go again this year due to it being such a great family event but we moved before it came around again. One day we will be back there in time for it. There were also your usual, birthday parties, Christenings, baby showers etc that we attended and we also had are own fair share of BB Q's hosted by yours truly! Life back at Gregory was great!!

Tony and I had 3 cars. We had the Land cruiser wagon, which I drove most of the time, It was about a 1992 I think, and it had almost 500,000 K's on it. This is not her finest moment either but I love this picture and what a day to remember!! She never did quite make the half million before we got rid of her but it wasn't far off. Tony also had is 1997 Land cruiser Ute, that used to be the work car when he was fencing, and then there was his pride and joy another Land cruiser Ute but it was about a 1975 model. He stripped it and painted and and to this day it is still a U.F.O, but all the same he loves it. We call her H.S.V Speedy! Her top speed is about 80k, but I am sure with a few modifications Tony can change that. Anyway I am drifting off track, As it turned out after Tony stopped fencing the 97' Ute rarely went anywhere. If we went anywhere together we took the wagon. Number 1 it wasn't safe for the girls to be in the Ute and of course there car seats didn't fit, and Number 2 The wagon was better on fuel. Then if Tony went anywhere alone he took the older Ute, because he preferred it. So we decided to sell the other one. We got $9000 for it and this helped pay out some debt and we also decided to use some of it to go away and get married.

I will tell you all about my wonderful wedding Day next time.
Bye for now and Happy Blogging.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On The Road Again

Hi All
We left Roxby Downs about 11 am on Monday morning. We knew we had a long trip ahead of us and it was going to be very difficult with a 3 week old baby and 12 month old. For those of you who have seen my car, we didn't have the DVD back then, and oh my god those of you who travel big K's and have kids GET ONE! We spend $250.00 on the one we have at Christamas 07' and it was the best $250 we have spent on anything. Tony drove and we made it as far as Pimba before we had to stop. We both needed coffee, and Brandy needed a change. The poor kid had mess from the back of her neck, to her toes so I basically has to bath her and finding a change of clothes was also a huge effort as they were all in the back of the car with everything on top of them. We headed off again and drove all day, the kids went very well considering the amount of time they were in the car, I would sit between them occasionally and keep them occupied and we also had the music going and they liked that.

Mickalee napping in her car seat.

Brandy snoozing in her car seat

(please take note that the date on my camera has always been wrong!! I lost the instruction book and don't know how to change it : )

I can't remember exactly where it was but either just outside Tennant Creek or just outside Alice but we came across a broken down car. They were travelling from town back out to the camp and there were 4 adult and a few kids, waiting there and they waved us down. We couldn't fit anyone in the car but we offered to pass on a MSG if they needed us to. They said no someone was coming along soon they just needed some water. Luckily when I left Roxby I had filled up 2 2 litre bottles with boiled water for Brandy's bottles, As we were also buying water along the way we had plenty and gave them some.

We made it Marla Road house for tea and slept in the car at a rest stop Alice Springs side of Kulgara. We made it to Alice Springs about 10am Tuesday morning, booked into "Stuart Range caravan park" I did some washing and some shopping, as we knew it was the last major town we were going through other than Tennant Creek and we didn't want to turn around and drive to Mt Isa to get stores as soon as we got home. Tony tried to get to bed reasonably early but unfortunately Brandy had other idea's. She was on the bottle, and was sleeping better but she had been in the car for so long and had slept most of the time she was over sleeping! I eventually settled her and got some sleep myself. We left Alice Springs at 4 am and planned to go straight home. I think it is about 1300K's. Give or take a few. The road from Alice to Gregory is pretty boring, there is basically nothing to look at and the more often you do it the more boring it was.

We stopped in nearly every town to either get a drink, feed or change the girls, get fuel or just stretch our legs, so this did make the trip drag on, however we needed regular breaks as we were doing such a long haul. There is no way in the world I could be a truck driver. At Three Ways Road house I went to the loo and was amazed to find a vending machine with travel nappies in it. I had never seen anything like it before. I had seen ones for tampons, and condoms but never nappies, so I bought one for Mickalee. We reached Camooweal before dark, and as soon as we crossed the QLD border we knew we didn't have long to go now. The car and the trailer had not failed us and considering the amount of K's we had done we were surprised. We turned onto the Camooweal road and were on the last stretch home when we did a back tyre on the car. This would have been no worries normally but because the kids were over being in the car they were crying, Tony was having trouble getting the jack out of the tool box and everyone was tired. We eventually got the tyre changed but not before a lot of swearing and yelling!!

We arrived back in Gregory Downs about 11 pm Wednesday night and drove straight past the Hay Farm to see our friends at the pub! After 6 weeks away for Tony and 8 weeks away for Mickalee and I we had to go and see everyone and catch up on the local town gossip as well as show off our new beautiful baby.

After saying our hello's and receiving a few welcome back's we headed back to the farm, unloaded the girls and fell into bed for a well deserved sleep. Brandy must have known we were tired because we gave her a last feed about midnight and she slept till 8am. WOW!! I really appreciated nearly 8 hours straight sleep. I had hit the baby jackpot and got two good sleepers.

Bye for now and Happy Blogging.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Still in S.A

Hi All
We spent 2 days in Roxby after returning from Port Augusta, we then loaded up the kids and headed to Adelaide. There was still many of my family Tony had not met and we planned to stay in Adelaide for a week so he could meet some of them. The ones that were able to, travelled from Bordertown to Adelaide to see us and our new little family. None of them had met Mickalee either, and of course the new addition bought with it a lot of excitement. I loved the attention, common who wouldn't. : ). We stayed at my brother Daniels, and his partner Danyell's place and it was great to spend some time with my then 6 month old nephew Riley.
We had a family catch up at Aunty Cathy's house and it was good to see everyone, Nan O, Auntie Suzie and her kids Kyra, Lexie and Blake were there Uncle Al couldn't make it as he was up north working. Uncle Mark, Auntie Sue, Nathan, BJ, Matt, Jason and a friend Chris also were able to come. We also travelled to Murray Bridge to catch up with Nan & Tom, Cal took some photo's of Nan, myself and Mickalee and we planned to photo shop mum in at a later date. We thought it was nice to have a photo of the four generations. Mum was Nanna's eldest I was mum's eldest and Mickalee was my eldest and all girls. Nanna and Tom had only just recently moved to Murray Bridge and didn't have their furniture set up in the spare room yet, so we stayed the night in a motel and it was THE WORST NIGHT EVER. To begin with I had forgotten to pack Mickalee's port-cot. How you forget something so important I will never know, but I managed it. So we set up a makeshift bed for her on the floor. It was cold but the little fan heater did a good job once it had got going, and no-one was getting any sleep. Brandy was restless, which I now know was hunger and she was keeping Mickalee awake, so that meant all of us were awake. I decided it was a good idea to take Brandy into the car I could feed her and settle her while Tony sorted Mickalee out. I think I was in the car for about 4 hours and we did sleep. I just woke with a sore neck. I had a huge coat covering us and Brandy was swaddled and had her fave blankie with her. Which is still a necessity when she sleeps. Looking back on the whole stay I think if Brandy was not so hungry all the time and so restless and I was bottle feeding I would have enjoyed the trip a lot more. The next day caught up with Pam & Charlie who had driven from Kingston, we had a picnic on the river and Mickalee had a great time on the playground.

Tony and my brother Daniel went crabbing at St Kilda, which Tony really enjoyed. I reversed Daniels car into the street sign out front of his house. We had a whole week basically filled with huge days catching up with everyone and sleepless nights with our new little bundle of joy. I am yet to work out where this phase came from because my babies were anything but a bundle of a joy for the first few weeks: ). Lisa and Matt joined us for a BBQ on night, and so did Auntie Cathy, Auntie Suzie, Tegan, Steven, Natasha, Kyra, Lexie and Blake another night. Auntie Gab, Uncle Steve, Lisa and Jessie also came to Daniels for a visit. We had a great week but we were very tired at the end of it.

Our last day in Adelaide was a Saturday, and my baby bonus had gone in so I dropped the girls off at Auntie Cathys and Kyra and I went to Tea Tree Plaza and bought some things I needed. My first purchase was a double pram, I was going to get a toddler seat to attach to my original pram however Mickalee was only one and often still napped in the pram so I needed one that had 2 reclining seats. I bought a baby club one and it cost me $170, I was wrapped. Tony had gone crabbing again with Daniel while I shopped and I told him what I planned to do and he said fine, go for it while there is a store close by, then he asked how much a double pram would be and I said joking no more than a thousand. So he was very pleased when I only spent $170. Men are so easy to fool. I told him a thousand in-case I saw one I really liked around the $350 mark. He would have still been happy : ). I also decided to buy a swing chair for Brandy, I looked at all the ones they had and they were all basically the same, except for price and I figured if it wasn't safe they couldn't sell it right. So I chose one that was on special for $99. It had previously been $189. How they can mark things up so much I will never know. Anyway I asked the sales lady if I could have one and she said that the one on display was the only one left. I said I would take it, but due to it being floor stock could she discount it anymore and she said yeah OK I will take another 10% off it. So I got a great $189 swing for Brandy for $89.00. What a bargain.

I went back to pick up the girls, and Tony and Daniel were already there with their catch of Crabs, I think they got about 40, that is the bag limit for 2 people. We said our good byes and loaded up the kids, headed back to Daniels house to get Riley and Danyell then headed off to Port Pirie. We had organised for Mum, Dean & Josh to meet us there and we had planned a family day for the Sunday. We stayed in a nice large cabin and basically spent the night eating pizza and chatting. The next day we took the kids to the park then ended up at some kind of music festival. We had a great day, and now we are back in S.A are planning to do something similar again soon.
Uncle Josh with Riley and Mickalee, My self and Danyell waiting to catch!!Uncle Josh and Riley pretending to be "Spider man"

Uncle Dan & Mickalee on the swingBrandy sleeping through ALL the excitement. So cute when they are asleep!!!Riley trying on Poppy's hat!! He wasn't to sure about it!Nanny and Riley

After our family day, Daniel, Danyell and Riley headed back to Adelaide and Mum, Dean, Josh, Tony, Me and the girls headed back to Roxby. I will say I am a cryer, I will cry at the opening of a door if it is needed. I said good bye to Daniel, Danyell and Riley and was very proud of myself because I didn't get all teary, I was not sure when we would be back and always howled when I left my family. I was all excited about not crying as we were heading out of Port Pirie and then Daniel got on the two way radio and said "love ya chook bye," Then the water works started.

We spent one last week in Roxby with Mum and Dean before we headed back to Gregory. It was a very quick week, we were ready to go home but at the same time I hated leaving. The Sunday before we left Josh went to trade school in Port Augusta, so I waved good bye once again with water works, Then the day it came to say good bye to Mum and Dean they started again. I was never and still are not good at goodbyes. Our trip home to Gregory was very eventful but that is another story!

Until next time bye for now and Happy blogging


Birth #2

Hi All
Tony, Mickalee and I left Roxby, and headed the two hours south to Port Augusta to stay in the van park and wait for the birth, Tony was ecstatic because the beach was 2 minutes walk and it turned out Mickalee and I couldn't go to the beach with him because as soon as Mickalee saw the water, the first time we walked there, She wanted to go for a swim and it was just too cold.
My due date was the 10Th of April 07' this we worked out to be the Tuesday after Easter. I had one week to go and I was OVER IT!! We were cramped up in a tiny room in the van park, and it was cold. It could have been worse though. It could have been raining. Luckily for us our little room one to one side of the park and it was not a high traffic area so Mickalee could play outside. We would follow her and not let her go far, she was very preoccupied with all the stones that were in the garden. We had some lovely neighbours in the park Mr and Mrs Brooks, they were from Mildura and were travelling around Australia. Tony would often have a beer and a chat with them in the afternoon. One up side of being in such a small room was the fact I literally only had to take three steps and I was standing next to the loo, so by the third night I don't think I even had to open my eyes. I am sure when you are nearly due and constantly waking up to go to the loo it is your bodies way of training you. It is a gentle reminder... Hello I am your baby and I am keeping you awake. : ).
I remember wanting to walk a lot, I am not sure though if it was because I knew walking helped with Mickalee or if it was because I knew we had only booked and paid for a week and I was to stingy to pay for more accommodation. On the Thursday before Easter Tony myself and Mickalee in her stroller went for a HUGE walk, we walked from the van park about 2km's to the foot bridge that crossed the inlet, crossed the bridge, watched some boats for a while then turned around and walked back. On the way home, as usual when you are that pregnant I needed a pee and I needed it now. Unfortunately for me there were none in the vicinity and Tony covered me while I not so graciously hid behind a tree. I will say that up north this is normal behaviour when your so often so far from nowhere. I also understand that this is why toilets are used but for those of you who have had babies you will understand when you gotta go you gotta go!! we were about 1k either way from a loo and as far as I was concerned wetting my pants was not an option I had come this far. I will also point out that an old law still stands today that if you are pregnant you are legally able to pee in the gutter anywhere. So if I really felt the need I could go in the middle of Rundle Mall if I wanted to. I will also say we were on semi secluded walking track near the beach and no-one was coming. We got back to the van park and I was exhausted, Mickalee wanted to run around though as she had been in her pram the whole time. Tony stayed outside with her while I relaxed and watched some t.v.
Mickalee settled well that night she was beginning to get used to the little room we were in and got used to being able to see the t.v as she slept. Tony and I went to bed early for memory a little annoyed that nothing had happened yet. It was about 2 am on Good Friday that I started to get contractions, They were only dull, but once again in my back, so I went back to sleep. I figured my water would break as it had with Mickalee and then I would go to the hospital once i couldn't deal with the contractions at the van park any more. I rang Mum and Dean about 6 am and told them it was time, I told mum not to rush as they were not to severe I would call her when my water broke. They were travelling from Roxby so Dean could look after Mickalee while Mum was with me and Tony at the hospital. My contraction were still very dull at 8 am when Mum and Dean arrived. "I was not expecting them and said to mum I told you not to rush, her reply was that is why we left when we did, so we were not breaking the speed limit to get here when you finally did feel it was time. All four us hung around the van park all day, Mum, Dean and Tony took turns in chasing Mickalee while I walked laps of the car.
Finally at 2.30 Good Friday afternoon I decided that my contractions were strong enough and regular enough to go to the hospital. I had a contraction in the car on the way there, a contraction in the car park and another in the hallway into the maternity ward. They showed me to my room and hooked me up to the heart monitor machine thingy, and proceeded to tell me that I was in early stages labour nothing was going to happen for ages and to go home. I said no thank-you I want to stay here I have been in labour for 12 hours and as soon as my water breaks this baby is going to ride the wave and you won't know what hit you. About 3 o'clock I went to the loo and had two contractions in the bathroom, walked back to the bed and had another. I was squeezing Tony's hand and felt like I had to push. I remember saying to Mum and Tony this is way worse than it was with Mickalee. Mum laughed at me and said it is no different we were there remember. My midwife was a tiny Japanese lady who was very nice and in general conversation she told us she had delivered over 500 babies. I remember thinking to myself in my labour state. "Thank beep I didn't give birth to all those." Knowing it is impossible for one person to have that many babies I have no idea why I though that. Anyway she checked everything and said I will be back soon. Tony asked if I was OK and if I needed anything as he was going to get a drink. For memory i had two really big contractions while he was gone and had to hold my breath to stop myself from pushing. The midwife rushed back through the door and asked me if I felt like I had to push and I said yes, so she closed the curtains and checked to see if I was dilated. "She goes oh quick you are eight and a half centimeters we must get you to the birthing suite." Poor Tony got a bit of a fright as he was walking back up the hallway she was waving him to hurry. He told me after he thought it was all happening there and then.
I don't remember much after going into the birthing suite I am sure your brain blocks it out on purpose so that you have more. I do remember fighting with mum over the gas. I wanted it and she had to take it off of me for the contractions so I would concentrate. I would take a puff and want to go to sleep. I was on the bed this time which was a bit more graceful than the first time and the midwife put on her gloves to reach down and see how much further along I was. It was at this time my water broke. It gave her a fright, she screamed and Tony joked oh no did it bite you. I laughed at him then I started to cry because it honestly sounded like it had hit the wall, roof and floor, I made a mess I made a mess I kept saying. Anyway it turned out my earlier prediction had been right the baby rode the wave, and Brandy Ellouise came into the world at 5.28pm Good Friday the 6Th of April 07'.
I can not fault the Port Augusta hospital or it's staff I loved every minute of my stay, they even gave us a family room the first night so that Tony could stay with me and the Brandy It was lovely. Tony was that happy with the dinner we got he took a photo of it, It was a HUGE meal of apricot chicken. Mum went back to van park and got Mickalee and Dean and bought them up the hospital to see the new baby and I think Mickalee pulled her hair. They headed off not long after that to head back to Roxby, and Mum and Dean were pleased to spend some time with Mickalee. I spent all of Easter weekend in hospital and Tony bought me some Easter eggs. We were aloud to go home on Easter Monday and headed back to Roxby.
The second time around was so much better, I am just trying to time the next one a little better as I am finding it very wearing now with a 2 and 1 year old. So I think if I go off the pill when Brandy turn two, hopefully all going well the next one will arrive around her third birthday. fingers crossed. Look out Port Augusta Hospital. Now we are living in S.A I would really like to go back there.
Bye for now and Happy Blogging.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pregnancy #2

Hi All
My first recollection of this pregnancy is being on my hands and knees next to the loo, yelling and Tony between purges. "When I said I wanted another baby why didn't you just beat me about the head with a baseball bat!!". It amazed me how quickly I forgot! The morning sickness was no-where near as bad as it was with Mickalee but like 99% of people on this planet I hate being sick. Also I also didn't have the luxury of sleeping when I wanted like I had the first time, so I found that hard. I was one of the lucky ones though. Mickalee was sleeping through the night, so I did get good sleep then. Keep in mind though she did have bad night, when teething etc but I was very lucky as this was rare. Everyone pointed out that my next baby would be a bad sleeper as surely I couldn't get that lucky twice.

About a week after I discovered I was pregnant, Mickalee was christened at "Gregory Station", we had nice little gathering on the banks of the "Gregory River", and Aiden Munchinerg was christened with her. Father Jerry had travelled out to the station for the double event and made it a great day. Mickalee looked very cute in the O'Brien Christening gown and slept nearly all day. Heidi and Matt Bruce are her God parents along with Kevin Anderson, and Jo who insists she is not a godparent but a "fairy god mother". Shona Huggard took some lovely pics for us and I will put some on here as soon as I get organised and retrieve them from the laptop.

I had a reasonable smooth pregnancy, I was making trips into Mt Isa for my ultrasounds, and got a bit scared with my first one, as I saw two heads, so there was about 2 seconds of "Oh shit I am having twins". It appeared like there was two heads for a split second as the image appeared double and UN-clear as she had not pushed hard enough and it made a double vision effect. WOW was that scary!! Everything was fine though and I calmed when she reinforced the fact there was only one baby in there.

I was in my second trimester 4Th of September 06' Mickalee and I travelled over to Tarzali. I remember the date because it was the day Steve Irwin died. I had just driven through Georgetown, when I heard it on the radio. We left Gregory about 8.30am and arrived in Milla Milla at Judith and Lindsay's about 8.30pm. I surprised them, they had no idea I was stopping there. The girls were very excited to see Mickalee and were also glad that we were staying in the area for 3 weeks. They got to spend some quality time with their new little cousin. Tony's mum Betty had a knee replacement and this was the purpose for my visit, I had planned to stay with her for 3 weeks to give her a hand, while she partly recovered. Mickalee travelled very well for a 6 month old baby I am sure she slept for 8 hours out of the 12 hour trip. I also found it easier for me to drive and not get tired as I was stopping at every town for little walks around the car, as well as stopping to feed and change her to keep her comfortable.

The three weeks dragged on as I was missing Tony and he was also missing us, Mickalee more than me I felt at times : ). However we did have a lot of fun at Betty's, I don't think I really did much while I was there that was extraordinary however it was just the small things she couldn't do yet. I helped with the chooks, the dogs, cat and birds. I would go into Atherton and get her shopping for her and I would cook tea at night. While I was feeding and watering the animals Betty would feed Mickalee, so I was not doing anything extra than I would do at home, however it was a huge help to Betty. Tony came over at the end of the three weeks and took me on a belated dinner date for my birthday. He took me to "Nicks restaurant" in "Yungaburra" while Judith and Lindsay looked after Mickalee. We didn't leave Mickalee with Betty as she couldn't bend her knees enough to lift her in and out of the porta-cot. The food was great, however a little on the expensive side. Tony had crocodile I think and I stuck to plain old ordinary steak. We had a great night.
General everyday things continued when I got home, Mickalee started crawling not long after we had returned from the tablelands and she was now on three feeds of solids a day. Like any kid once they start crawling she was into everything and to protect her from falling down the veranda steps Tony made some gates. These were great as it meant she could play outside, but still be reasonably protected from the elements. It also meant I could shut Bonnie down stairs so she couldn't lick Mickalee's face. I have had no trouble with Bonnie ever showing aggression towards the kids, and if she ever did I would find her a more appropriate home, however her size at times did pose a problem. She would want to play with the kids and knock them over when she walked passed. I also never leave the kids UN attended around the dogs, at times Mickalee has pulled tails and tried to climb on Bonnie, so I always tell myself kids will be kids and dogs will always be dogs, so their instinctive nature at times can take over. If I was a dog and someone tried to pull my tail I think I would snap. I think it is also important to educate my kids on how to treat and behave around animals.

Tony and I were supposed to spend Christmas that year with Tony's family in Tarzali, however we had discussed it between our selves and decided that having bub number 2 in S.A at Roxby Downs with my mum and step dad, would be our best option. So we put off our Christmas trip to save our money for our trip in March. We decided to do it this way because we had no-one to look after Mickalee when I went into labour in Mt Isa. All our friends had full time jobs, and it wasn't fair to ask them to take UN paid leave. Also the cost of living in Mt Isa for 4 weeks before and often 2 weeks after the birth was expensive. I know you are probably thinking, It would have been more expensive to drive across the country and yes it probably was but essentially we were killing two birds with one stone as Tony had not been to S.A before. Also accommodation at mums was free :) .
Tony drove me and Mickalee to Alice Springs when I was 36 weeks and Mum and Dean met us there and picked us up, as he did when I had Mickalee, Tony went back to Gregory and worked for two more weeks before he came down to S.A. It was good to have a mini break in Alice Springs we went to the truck museum and also did some sight seeing. The same day Tony went back to Gregory, we headed to Roxby Downs. I was so uncomfortable by about the 3rd hour as I was feeling really huge and didn't want to be in the car anymore. Mickaleee travelled very well and I am sure like the rest of us she was glad when all the travelling was over. When we actually left Gregory Mickalee was almost walking but was as the stage where she would take 4 or 5 steps then give up and crawl because it was faster. When we took her out of the car at Alice Springs she just never crawled again. I think being in the car for 12 hours was enough to help her find her feet, she was 11.5 months old. We all arrived in Roxby very tired, but glad we were there. We still had four weeks to go before bub number two was due and I was so over being pregnant. Something I had not realised in all my trip planning was the fact that Roxby was a bit like Gregory with the rules. They had no birthing facilities in Roxby and you had to be out of there by 36 weeks also. So we had to organise regular trips to Port Augusta and I would have to give birth there. Port Augusta was 2 hours on a slow day from Roxby and I decided I would be safe if I went early because I knew mum would get me to the hospital in time. I was planning to stay in Port Augusta for my last week, when Tony got down here. Mum and I went to Port Augusta once a week for check ups and the midwife tried to convince me to go to Port Augusta sooner than I had planned but I told her it was not an option as I couldn't look after a one year old while I was in labour. Mum and Dean had spoken to there boss's and had arranged time off to look after Mickalee for me while I was in labour and in hospital however it was a bit of a financial ask for them to take two or three weeks off to look after her. I assured the midwife if I t did happen the two hour trip to Port Augusta would be executed quite quickly.

Tony arrived in Roxby in one piece and was very tired, and the first thing we did was hold a late 1st birthday party for Mickalee. She actually turned one on the 19Th of March however we figured as she was only one she wouldn't know the difference if we waited a week till Tony arrived for us to celebrate her birthday, he didn't want to miss it. Uncle Josh's mates even enjoyed the festivities.
As I was with Mickalee I was a lot more relaxed once Tony had arrived, it didn't matter now when I went into labour. The day before we left to go to Port Augusta I mowed the lawn again, as I had done with Mickalee, I just wanted the baby out. All in all pregnancy number two was a lot easier, as I was not so sick, but it was harder because I had a baby to look after. In both pregnancy's I lost weight and actually weighed less on my last day of the pregnancy than I did when I fell pregnant. I said I never did things by the book and the only time in my life I loose weight is when I am pregnant, how backwards.
I will tell you all about my second birth and our stay in Port Augusta next time.

Bye for now and happy Blogging.

Gregory Hay Farm

Hi All

We settled into life at the farm very smoothly, Ashley and Wendy made us feel at home and Tony really liked the mechanical side of his job. He hated the endless hours on the tractors because of his bad knees, however as with any job you take the good with the bad!! The little house was great for the three of us and I enjoyed having a home with a toilet :). We were getting paid fortnightly and were catching up slowly on the debts we had created while Tony was not working. The farm was a reasonably small operation considering the comparison in size to surrounding property's. The farm mainly grew crops of Rhodes grass and sorghum and occasionally they grew oats. All crops were flood irrigated from the Gregory River which ran right behind the compound where the houses and sheds were. This often required Tony to go and check waters and start syphons in all hours of the day and night. This was done on average twice per paddock, per crop and they were trying to get 4 or 5 cuts a year. The Hay Farm supplied the local stations as well as keeping the AA Co stations in stock, it was very rare for there to be hay on the ground, due to such a high demand.

In our pay package, we were being supplied food from the farm, so this saved us many trips to town, as well as freight costs if we were buying our own food. The only things we had to buy were our little naughty treats like chocolate and chips all well as formula, nappies and other things for the baby. This was a great set up for us as I would just go to Wendy's every few days and take what I needed. The farm was also only located 2 km's out of Gregory so I continued to work for Jo. Mickalee was only little and enjoyed sitting in the pram behind the bar while I served. Due to Gregory being a tourist area in it's own right, because of the river it was also on the road to "Lawn Hill national Park", and "Adels Grove", so many tourist called in. A considerable number of them were "Grey haired no-mads" retiree's who are apart of one club or another. I had heard of "S.K.I" (spending kids inheritance) and Tracy informed me of one other day S.A.D.S (see Australia die soon). So as you can imagine a lot of them were grandparents and were delighted to see a baby, some times I worked for 2 hours or so and didn't see her, she was passed from one person to the next. They loved it and so did she.

I think it was approximately 3 months after Mickalee was born that we decided condoms were uncomfortable and we needed to consider something a little more permanent, so I went to the R.F.D.S. clinic and got a pill script. I filled it at the chemist when I was next in town and bought it home. For some reason or another we went to the pub the night I returned from town and had a I had a few drinks. As you can imagine after 9 months off alcohol while pregnant and 6 weeks breast feeding it only took a couple to tip me over the edge. On returning home tipsy I told Tony that I thought having another baby would be a good idea. Considering it took 6 months to conceive Mickalee I figured in my drunken state that it would take 6 months the second time. I am warning you it was more like 6 minutes. I did a home pregnancy test in the July of 06' and it confirmed I was pregnant!! Hooray!!!!

Bye for now and happy blogging

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Life Back At Gregory

Hi All
Jo was very angry with us for showing up UN announced, she reinforced the fact she hated surprises and told us we should have called. Although we got a small lecture I knew she was really happy to see us. The last couple of months had been rough on her after losing Paul and it was good to see some familiar faces. She gave us and our entourage a drink, showed them all where to lay their swags and told us all to feel at home. She had heard about Tony's lack of employment from my many phone calls and told us we could stay as long as we liked and we knew the rules. For those of you who don't know Jo. The rules were simple!! She helped you, you helped her. We were back at Gregory and happy so we didn't care what the rules were, and we were more than pleased at Jo's offer. I was worried at first that Mickalee might not like all the noise of the pub, but soon realised it wasn't going to affect her. I should have guessed she had slept through a cyclone. We settled back in and it was like we had never left.

Tony, Shaun and Jacko helped in the yard, by slashing, mowing, weeding and whipper snipping, they also made sure they drank their fair share of XXXX Gold!! Alyssa and myself helped in the bar and kitchen. At one stage I served a beer while breast feeding Mickalee. The gulf was still getting a lot of rain off cyclone Larry's depression and the dirt roads were boggy and holding up trucks heading to Zinafex mine, 70k west of the hotel. So truck drivers were our customers as they were stranded. The locals also were still ever present and happy with the HUGE wet season we had.

I breast fed Mickalee for 6 weeks, that was all I could stand. She was a terrible feeder and was emptying me both sides every half an hour. I was emotionally exhausted and sleep deprived as she was always hungry and not sleeping. So I changed her onto formula and after her first feed she slept through the night. Well from 9pm to 4am anyway so that was close enough for me. She never looked back and mother and baby were happier with the sleep.

Easter come around very quick that year and Mickalee got to have some chocolate via her breast milk as I had eaten my fair share, we spent the day at the hotel with friends and had a great feed of red claw yabbies. That Tony, Shaun, Jacko and Alyssa had caught out of "Barkley Gully". It took them a very long time to get there and back on the boggy black soil road but it was worth wait. Jo's sister Angela was visiting from Brisbane and let me put it this way, Angela is not used to the "hands on" way we do things out here. However she thought it quite an experience to peal and eat her own yabbie. She had told us prior to the yabbies arriving that she had not done that module. I am still trying to figure how she managed with those long manicured nails. Jo's good friend Charles from Mt Isa refused to have any part of it and ate a meat pie. We told him it was his loss and to enjoy his pie. Another good Friend Sharon who also lives in Gregory helped with the eating of the yabbies and she has a great time fiddling with the claws so those of us who couldn't be bothered with the fiddly bits gave our claws to Sharon. She was eating claws for hours.

There were a lot of new babies in the Gregory area when Mickalee was born and they seemed to be increasing nearly monthly. Either someone was pregnant or had a new born baby. So the semi regular trip made to Gregory from R.A.F.S (remote, area, family, services) was always a good catch up and gossip session for us mums. It was also a great chance for us to discuss milestones our kids had reached and problems we were experiencing as new mums, so we helped each other out as most of us were up there with out constant family support. Monthly clinics held by the R.F.D.S were also great catch up days.

Mickalee went for her 6 week check up at exactly 6 weeks because as it just so happened the flying doctors were due. So I took her to see the child health nurse and everything was OK, they were happy with her weight gain and said they would see me next month for her to have her 8 week needles. I was a little worried at first because I assumed these immunisations had to spot on time wise, I was a new mum and had not heard any different. The nurse assured me getting them done at 10 weeks was no problems and it would save me a trip to town with a new baby by myself.

A month went by very quickly, Tony was still filling in at the farm, Shaun, Alyssa and Jacko had gone and I was helping Jo as much as I could. Tony or Sharon would nurse Mickalee while I cooked at night. Jo had to go away, so I tried to run the place and I think for memory Ben had come back to help. The night of the clinic I also found a nice couple Jeremy and Shona who were camped on the river to work for Jo as we were short of staff. I took Mickalee to the R.F.D.S for her 10 week neddles and yes she cried but all babies do and other than that she seemed fine. She slept well and I had given her panadol as suggested when she got a temperature. The next morning I changed her and found blood in her nappy, and she still had a temp I think it was about 38. I phoned the doctors straight away and they said pack your things we are coming to get her. Obviously my first concern was Mickalee, so I organised everything I needed while on the phone to Wendy at the farm asking her to find Tony and tell him to get here A.S.A.P. I was very upset and Wendy radioed Tony, told him to go home then got in her car and came to check on me. I also called Jo's daughter Jackie as I couldn't get a hold of Jo tell her what was going on. I was very worried about leaving Jeremy and Shona who had only started that morning and Ben (who sometimes was a bit spacey) in charge of the pub. Jackie said the pub would still be standing and to not worry about it. Tell them they could call her if they needed anything and get on the plane. Tony got to the pub and I told him what was going on, so he loaded us up and drove us to the dirt strip to meet the plane. Mickalee still had a high temp but seemed happy enough and basically slept though all the commotion and worry around her. The nurse told me that she suspected it was probably just constipation and we would be there soon the doctors would fix it. As she was only a ten week old baby and such a high temp when we got into the Emergency room at Mt Isa hospital everyone was basically running around me, talking between themselves and focusing on what was wrong with her. I was not there main priority and explaining things to me and that point would have wasted time. They still didn't know what was wrong with her and the explanations were made later. I helped hold her while they made 3 attempts at getting a drip in, they also drew urine from her with a needle and then they told me they had to do a spinal tap to get fluid from her spine to check for meningitis and meningacocol. I think the nurse must have seen my face at this point and told me that no-one would think I was a bad mum if I took a breather and went outside. For those of you who have kids and have been in a similar situation you a very torn, the doctors are helping your child but at the same time sometimes they have to hurt them to get the required result. At times I wanted to just steal her away and cuddle her, then punch the doctor but I knew that wouldn't help. Jo flew into Mt Isa from Brisbane just as I flew in from Gregory, she arrived expecting a car full of fuel and all her belongings loaded in the car, she was in a rush to get back as she had left me there basically alone. She asked Jackie if she had filled her car and Jackie simply said "no", "what about all my things are they in the boot?", "no". "Jackie I told you I was in a hurry I want to get back to give Becky a break." Jackie told her what had happened and Jo came to the hospital. She found me outside by myself on the phone to mum bawling my eyes out. I told her about all the itisis the doctors were talking about and I was worried. She said not to worry as Mickalee is in the right place and everything would be OK. Mickalee's doctor was Mr Westmorland and he was great. He explained everything in terms we could understand and I really appreciated that. Mickalee spent 3 or 4 days in hospital and she was diagnosed with a case of salmonella. I found this confusing as she was not on any form of solids and he said it could have been something as simple as a fly landing on her bottle or dummy. He added no matter what I say you are going to go home and sterilise everything (which I did) but do not blame myself. Kids pick up bugs all the time and she was OK now so don't worry. All the staff and nurses were great to us during her stay and I was glad when it was all over.

The house in Mt Isa was an expense we didn't need and really needed to decide if we were going to go back there or stay in Gregory. Tony had been doing part time work at the "Hay farm" since about a week after we returned to Gregory and we were not expecting it to develop into full time work as Ashley really needed to put 2 workers into the accommodation they had. So we were out of the equation due to me not working but caring for Mickalee. Tony was basically working for them until they found full time workers again. So it looked like we needed to keep the house in Mt Isa until something permanent came up. During this time AA Co (who owned the Hay farm) sold one of it's property's and Ashley acquired an old caravan from there and planned to use it as more accommodation. So Tony was offered a full time position at "Gregory Hay farm" and we were delighted to accept as It meant we had our own little two bedroom cottage.

We had made several trips into Mt Isa to collect all our belongings and to tidy the house for the new renters to move in, as we were cutting short our lease so I had arranged for some friends of some friends to take it over as they were currently in the market, so it all worked out for everyone and we got out of it reasonably well. We lost our bond as it was used for the carpet cleaning, yard to be mowed and weeded and the pest spraying however that was only due to lack of time on our part and us not being able to get there to do it ourselves. We were just glad to be rid of it. Once we had everything we moved into the little cottage at the farm.

I feel at this point I should mention the other family members we had at the time, Bonnie & Clyde (no pics on digital camera of clyde they are all on film) who were Bull mastiff cross dogs who were also brother and sister and a little soon to be big puppy who was a cross of some sort called Barkley. When we moved to the farm we had some major hints dropped to us that this many dogs were not welcomed and seeing as two of them were male they would only cause trouble with Ashley and Wendy's UN spayed bitch. So after the hints we decided it would be best to give both males away and keep the peace. We gave Clyde to a friend called Gene and he soon traded him to a man in Normanton for a motorbike, and we gave Barkley to a friend across the river called Munchie. Both boys lived up to their parents reputation and became great hunting dogs. For those of you who are a little UN educated in the hunting department, dogs are used to catch feral pigs, so the hunter can keep them live until they get close to a freezer truck. The pigs organs are kept so they can be checked for disease and if they pass disease free then they are exported for meat. This give the hunters pocket money and the grazers happy because the feral's are being removed. Clyde met his end when he ate a bait, these are 1080 poison hidden in pieces of meat to kill Dingo's and Barkley overheated when doing what he loved, on a very FNWQ (far north west Queensland) day. We still have Bonnie (Clyde's sister) and gained a new addition "Hippy chic" when we got back to Gregory after having Brandy.
Bye for now and Happy blogging.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cyclone Larry

Hi All
Cyclone Larry hit Inisfail in the early hours of Monday morning the 20Th of March 06'. I was tucked up cosy and warm in my bed at my mother-law Betty's house in Tarzali. Tony was snoring next to me, and as far as our new baby was concerned, what was all the fuss about? I was very lucky with Mickalee and had about a three day honeymoon period with her, where all she did was sleep. I definitely knew I had a baby after the three days though. I had a very weird sensation after I had Mickalee for some reason it seemed like a dream, I wasn't her real mum and her real parents would come eventually and pick her up to take her home : ). It was really odd I think I will still in a little shock and of course sleep deprivation does strange things to your mind.
The wind got stronger and the rain began to fall at about 7.30 am and as the time wore on the weather got more fierce, we were as prepared as we could have been, as far as cleaning up the yard and securing things went, however things we thought were structurally sound weren't. About an hour into the cyclone the garden shed blew to pieces and was spread all over the lawn, and a few branches came down but other than that we were safe. I am convinced that Betty's stone house was the best place to be. Our windows were bending in with the force of the wind but none of them actually broke. I remember all of us standing at the bedroom window watching things blow past which I now know probably wasn't a good idea. Mickalee slept through the whole thing. The eye of the cyclone passed right over Tarzali and it was really surreal because it was instant silence and the rain stopped, I can't remember how long this lasted for but then it all began again however the wind was blowing in the opposite direction. Cyclone Larry was a category 5 and caused as much if not more damage than cyclone Tracy it was just spread over a much wider area. Rain off the Cyclone caused rivers to break their banks and stranded many people on the side of the roads as they couldn't cross them. Fallen debris caused a lot of traffic hold ups also.
By the way i forgot to mention that Betty has a smallish 3 bedroom house, at the time there was me, Tony, Mickalee, Betty, My mum, Tony's sister and her two brat kids all in this one house. To begin with everything didn't seem so bad, all that had happened at Betty's was few fallen trees and of course the garden shed, so we escaped reasonably unscathed, and we knew the power would be out. We just didn't realise it would be for quite so long. Just be chance Tony had bought a welder/generator over with him to take to a friend, so we got that started, to run the freezer and a light, we had heaps of candles and food and a gas BBQ so we were going to make it through the night. As far as we knew the power would return in the next day or so.................but IT DIDN'T!! The generator Tony had fixed and got running lasted the first day, then decided it didn't want to go anymore. I was breast feeding by candle light at night and suffering with swollen engorged boobs during the day. Usually when power goes out so does the water as there is no pressure pumps to push it through the line, we had water in the tanks but no pressure and no electricity for hot water. So we were filling buckets and heating water on the BBQ for APC'S (arm pits crutch). Two days after the cyclone our power came back on only to be turned off again as the connection lead to Betty's house had fallen down and was dangerous. To fix it we had to call a certified electrician who fixed it then called the power people to come and restore power. This took another day. Don't get me wrong here I am not at all complaining about the service we received from the electrician or the power company. Everyone was in the same position as us and also was with out power. They were doing as well as they could with the man power they had. Some men we spoke to had not slept in two days as they had been busy helping to restore the power. There was also all the SES and other volunteers that worked tirelessly to help others. Two days after the cyclone I was desperate to have a proper shower and as all the other homes in the street had got their power back I popped next door and used their shower to help relieve the pain I was feeling with engorged boobs. We all survived and it something I hope not to ever do again.
With all the excitement of the birth, then the cyclone, we soon realised Tony was due back at work, and we had not spoken to anyone to explain that I was over due and we were expecting a Cyclone. So we got a calender checked the dates and he was actually due back the day I gave birth. The first 3 days after the cyclone we had no phone contact in or out so he couldn't even contact his boss to let them know where he was, or why he was running so late. So needless to say when we finally did get in contact with his boss, he was not happy. Told him all he wanted was an extended holiday, the roads were not closed and not to bother coming back as he didn't have a job to come to! So on top of the cyclone, Tony had no job, we had a new baby, were paying rent on a house in Mt Isa we weren't living in and were basically stranded at Tony's mums house because all the roads heading west were blocked from swollen creeks. Then we got a phone call to tell us Tony's equipment on the fence line had all been submerged when the Gregory river flooded and the funding for the fence was running out. So all in all we had, had a very bad week.
We stayed at Tony's mums and got given some government relief funding from loss of income from the cyclone and the baby bonus from having Mickalee helped us get through. 3 Weeks after Cyclone Larry we packed up everything and started to head home as we had heard along the grape vine the creeks were subsiding. We got at far as the "Norman river" 20k Croyden side of Normanton, the first day and had to turn around and drive back to "The Club Hotel" in Croyden. We had travelling companions who were mates with Tony and combined we had 5 adults a new born baby and 14 Dogs. We also had 1 4WD towing a trailer with a motorbike, Tony's 4WD with a boat on the back and my little Camry. The boys were pleased they got to spend the night at the pub and enjoy a few ales, but I was mad as my new baby was not taking to the breast very well and was waking every hour or so.
The next day we set out again hearing the river had gone down a little more, so we raced back out to The Norman river crossing only to find the people who were camped there the day before had gone and the river was on it's way back up. The boys walked the crossing (which I will add is a known area for salt water crocks) and decided that if they locked the hubs in the 4WD's with all the weight they were carrying we would get across with no problems. I didn't like this idea but also did not like the idea of waiting by the river again for another day. So I hoped in Tony's car with him, put Mickalee's capsule next to me put the seat belt around the car seat but UN buckled my baby in case the worst happened. I will also say this is not the proudest moment of my life or the most responsible thing I have done but I had faith in my husband and our car. He would not have put me or his baby at risk if he thought there was a chance it could go wrong. I am just a pessimist and prepare for the worst. We followed Shaun across the river which we could now see was .8, as he had the trailer and a lot more weight on so he pushed a bough wave up for us. I videoed us crossing the river and have only watched the film once as it makes me want to throw up. Jacko Shauns worker stayed on the opposite side of the river with my Camry.
We drove the last 20 kms in silence and stayed at the "Purple Pub" in Normanton. Later in the afternoon Tony and Shaun left myself Alyssa and the baby in Normanton and went back to see if the river had gone down any and to collect Jacko with the Camry. Our previous luck should have gave an inclining that the river had not gone down but had in fact risen a touch, so the 2 mad bastards decided to cross the river, to talk to Jacko and then decided between the 3 of them that it was now or never. Hooked the Camry to the 4WD with a chain and towed it across the river!! About halfway across, so I am told my car started to float as the flow of the river was very strong so the boys opened the car doors to let water in to help the car sink back to the bridge. I was NOT HAPPY!! All the babies things were in the boot of the car and they were soaked! Books and things I had been given were ruined and all the babies clothes had to be re-washed, when we eventually got home. Tony got the car going again and we all headed out to dinner at the "Albion Hotel" none of us had eaten anything decent all day. I was squashed into a sz 12 pair of jeans as all my clothes had also had a bath, while the Camry was learning how to swim.
The next day we left early as we had heard the "Flinders River" was rising again, crossed it no worries but due to there being a lot of flood plains from Normanton to "Burke & Wills Roadhouse" it was a very slow and steady trip. It took 8 hours to get to "Burke & Wills" from Normanton. Keep in mind our home technically was in Mt Isa because all our belongings were there in the house we were paying rent in but not staying in. When we got to "Burke & Wills" Tony asked me where we were going and I burst into tears and said take me home! We arrived at "Gregory Downs Hotel" at 11.30pm with our entourage!! Jobless and penny less but TOGETHER! We were HOME!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Birth #1

Hi All
We finished off last time with me mowing the lawn, to try and induce me labour so I will pick up from there. A lot of woman have reached this point! It goes a little like this... "I AM SO SICK OF BEING PREGNANT......GET THIS KID OUTTA ME NOW......GRRRRR". I mowed the lawn in the mid afternoon on Friday the 17Th of March 06', then we got ready to go out. We met friends for "St Patrick's Day" at the "Round Yard" in Tarzali. I was nominated designated driver and ended up driving "Shawrie" home as he had enjoyed a few too many pints and started to pick fights with people in the bar! Mum and Tony followed in my car to "Shawries" house and we stayed there for about an hour convincing him to go sleep. For memory we got home about midnight.
At about 2.30 am on the 18Th of March 06' I began to get small contractions in my back, I was one of the lucky ones (NOT) who got ALL back pain in my labour. I have been told by woman who have experienced both that back pain is worse than front but as I have only had back pain I can't tell you. Any way I went into mum and told her I was beginning to have pains and she told me to try and get some sleep as I would need it. I don't think I slept much but I layed there till about 5.30 am. At this point I felt a little pop and quickly realised my water had broken. So I arched my back trying to lift my bum in the air and quietly said to Tony "My water has just broken" He jumped up in shock, hit his head on the cupboard as he dived out of bed, and was in a mad panic. All I could think about was the bed not having a mattress protector on it and yelling at him to hurry with a towel. My contractions were mild at this point but they were 5 minutes apart. So we called the hospital and they said to come in when ever we wanted, but not to rush, have a cuppa and some brekky then make our way in. Mum was a bit stressed at this stage and was worried that due to her 3 VERY quick labours mine may be the same. So as the contractions were 5 minutes apart we went to the hospital and skipped breakfast. As soon as we got to the hospital everything STOPPED! They checked the baby and everything was fine, they said to try and relax and it would happen when it happened. The doctor came and saw me and said "Since your water has broken we will let it run it's course and as long as the baby is not showing any signs of distress we will let you go for 3 days before we help you." I was floored with this comment, as far as I knew from ALL the reading I did while pregnant water broke baby came, very hard work. 3 DAYS!! I didn't want to be in labour for 3 DAYS!!
As the day progressed, we ate, rested, and I walked up and down, up and down the same damn corridor to get the baby out!! My contraction started again about 1 an hour after getting to the hospital and were all over the place ALL day! some were 20 minutes apart, some were 5 some were 8. As I said all over the place. On dark after all my walking they began to come regularly and were getting more severe. I felt like had no skin left on my lower back from mum and Tony rubbing it to help me get through contractions. I am not sure when we transferred from the room to the birthing suit, I was a little out of it at this stage. I had not slept since about 2 am and was very very tired. I had also decided in my wisdom that I had to stand so people could put hot towels on my back, and I also figured by standing, gravity was doing it's job! I still had not had any assistance with medication at this stage, and I was told later by mum I had cracked the shits with my clothes and was completely naked! I have NO memory of this. : ). So you can picture the scene there I was one HUGE pregnant naked lady standing at the end of the bed leaning on 2 pillows. My contractions were a steady 4 minutes apart and I was about 4Cm's dilated, when the midwife said to me you have a while to go yet it is about a cm and hour usually!! I was so mad I was NOT doing this for 6 more hours. I went from 4cm to 10cm in an hour. I had to change positions because my legs were buckling under me every time I fell asleep between contractions. I gave birth kneeling on a Matt at the foot of the bed, At some point I was given gas but I couldn't taste it or feels it's affects and was told by my husband later on it was not on properly as the regulator was not moving. Tony cut the cord then excused himself and went outside, It was very over whelming. I was moved onto the bed the placenta removed and the doctor called. It between me getting on the bed and the doctor coming a nurse change over occurred and I was given the gas once more to help me through pain. This time I took the biggest old breath, and nearly passed out!! I am sure I just layed there with a huge smile on my face. The doctor came to check me and I remember saying to him "Your late it's all over".
Mickalee Che was born at "Atherton Hospital" at 2.45am on Sunday Morning the 19Th of March 06'.
We were discharged from hospital at 8.30 pm on Sunday night the 19Th of March 06' as Cyclone Larry was expected to hit Inisfail in the early hours of Monday morning the 20Th of March 06' and they needed beds in Atherton for critically ill patients being transferred. I opted to go home as I wanted to be with my family if their was a cyclone coming rather than at the hospital alone.
I will tell you next time about the cyclone, a new baby in a crowded house with no power or water.
Bye for now and happy blogging.