I fell pregnant in July of 05' after 6 months of practicing and a week away!! They say absence makes the heart grown fonder. At the time Tony was contract fencing and I had just moved onto Nardoo station to be with him after working for 3 years at the local watering hole "Gregory Downs Hotel" 70km's away.
To help you imagine our "bush camp" I will give you a few details. There was an old Atco hut/Donga depending on what state you a from up on stilts, a concreted veranda area with a shaded area, coming off that. The shaded area was a timber frame with chicken wire stretched across it covered in sticks, they call it a bough shed. We had no toilet or proper shower, but we had a generator, which ran for 12 hours of the day usually at night. We used it most at nights because we needed lights and of course the air-con because it was so damn hot!! Compared to a lot of other "bush camps" ours was luxury. We had the geni, 2 air cons, t.v, DVD, fridge, freezer, PlayStation, laptop, and gas BBQ! At night we would even heat an old keg filled with water on the fire fill the camp shower bag and suspend it from the tractor bucket so we could have a hot shower. We would stand on a pallet so we didn't get muddy feet and this took skill if you had visited the bundy bear earlier in the evening.
Anyway back to the pregnancy! With no toilet as you could imagine executing the initial home pregnancy test kit was amusing. However it made morning sickness and constant loo trips difficult but I survived. When I was in my second trimester the job on Nardoo station finished and we moved into a "shack" owned by a friend, in Gregory Downs and the boys along with Tony started another fence about 40km's away. The boys would take their swags with them and camp on the fence line to save fuel and because I was starting to show and swinging fence posts was a little dangerous I was to stay in the "shack" by myself. The "shack" had no power so once again the geni was my saviour, when it rained more water ended up inside than out. We also had no toilet, but lucky for me I was friends with the local teacher across the road and she let me use hers. The tin roof was very low so during the day the "shack" was hot I would go to the school and read to the kids so I could sit in the air-con. We saved our geni for night time so we could get a proper nights sleep.
One night while the boys were on the fence, and I was at the "shack" a huge storm came in just before dusk. (I will add here technically I was not alone we had 4 large dogs 11 puppies and a pig!) Anyway back to the storm, The wind blew up something fierce and as I raced around trying to cover all our things before the inside rain ruined them I noticed the large black plastic water tank (which was empty) starting to get blown off it's stand. So here is me about 7 and half months pregnant standing in the tank landing zone thinking to myself, I will just push the tank back on the stand. I am still not sure what made me change my mind but I jumped out of the way just in time as the HUGE tank landed on it's side on the ground. My next fear was having the wind blow the tank right through the "shack", so I raced around looking for rope in the pelting rain to tie the tank to the stand. All I could find was thin black twin stuff used for mending holes in commercial fishing nets, but it did the job. While I was sorting out the tank the pig pen blew away and 4 rather large dogs were trying to catch the pig and eat it. I eventually mustered the dog under the tank stand with all 11 puppies and shut them in, caught the pig and and ended up huddled up cuddling it, in the corner of the "shack" which was the only dry place I could find. The storm ended right on dark and all the animals were returned to their respective homes and I went to start the geni. No problems, until I walked back into the "shack" and could smell electrics burning. So I raced outside switched of the geni and contemplated going to bed with no dinner, as the boys pulled up!! They thought there was something highly amusing about a soaked pregnant woman crying!! Me personally I couldn't see it!! : ) But they saved the day! The electrics I could smell was a power board that had gotten wet, and burnt out when the power came back on.
I had to travel to Mt Isa 500km's away for my regular ultra sounds but my monthly health check were done at Gregory clinic courtesy of the R.F.D.S. Clinics were held monthly and the doctors would fly in to see patients. They were very helpful and saved me a lot money and travelling as I didn't have to travel to town monthly to get checked. In a remote area like Gregory Downs it is recommended to you that you are near a hospital by your 36 week mark. So I had made plans to stay with my mother in-law in Tarzali on the Atherton Tablelands. This would cut costs a little for us as it could get quite expensive paying for accommodation in Mt Isa for up to 6 weeks. Also with the mines in Mt Isa accommodation was sometimes scarce as they would fly in specialists for mine shut downs on regular occasions, so these men would often book accommodation months in advance and you would miss out. As it turned out We moved to Mt Isa and Tony began working underground in February of 06' so I was close to a hospital. We had decided that contract fencing and constant moving would not be good with a new baby and relocated. We got a nice rental and Tony began work. I didn't like being in Mt Isa I knew very few people and I was very, very pregnant and the heat was almost unbearable.
All though we were in Mt Isa I decided that due to this being my first baby I still would go with the original plan and go to Tarzali. I felt like I could use the extra support from family and it was a lot cheaper for my mum to fly to Cairns from Adelaide than it was for her to fly to Mt Isa.
About a week before I left to go to Tarzali I met up with Jo the owner of "Gregory Downs Hotel" for lunch as she was in town. We met at "The Irish Club" for lunch and I was a little early so I put $1 coin I had into a poker machine. I won $10 collected it and put the coins in my purse. We had a great lunch and a catch up and I went home with sever heart burn : ). That night while Tony was on night shift I met up with another friend also at "The Irish club" where she worked, for mock tails, as I was pregnant no alcohol for me and she was about to start work down stairs in the night club so she was also not having any. We chatted till 10 when her shift started and said our goodbyes. As I walked out to go home to an empty house I passed the pokie room and remembered my winning from lunch and decided what the heck I would play. I won on every machine I touched and put the winnings in my purse and kept playing with the original $10. I played for about an hour, and when my luck seemed to change and I only had $5 left out of my $10 I thought to myself this is it then I am going home. I put the last $5 into a machine and won a $2600.00 JACKPOT!!! I was so ecstatic, and rang my mum crying because I was alone and had no-one to share my excitement with! Needless to say I cashed my winnings and went home on a HUGE high! When Tony got home from work at 6am I was still awake thinking about how I was going to spend my money and waiting for the shops to open! I went out and bought a $40 wooden cutting board I couldn't afford the day before. : ) Then saved the rest for my trip to Tarzali.
I had packed the car, said good bye to Tony, (as I was only 36 weeks he was working 3 more weeks before he made the trip to Tarzali) and off I went. The first day I drove from Mt Isa to Normanton about 6hrs and stayed at the "Albion Hotel". The next day I drove from Normanton to Tarzali about 8hrs. My mum thought I was completely crazy at 8 and a half months pregnant to drive alone across the state. I told her, the Aboriginal women used to give birth under tree's and if the needed arose I to would find a tree! : ) She did not see the funny side of that but I arrived in one piece very tired but I made it!
I stayed with Betty for about 3 weeks before Tony got there and spent time helping her look after our two nephews Benjamin then 4 and Mitchell then 16 months. I also spent time with Tony's sister Judith, her husband Lindsay and there four girls Adrienne, Megan, Susan and Barbra. We went shopping in Atherton and once went swimming at "Lake Eacham". I had a wonderful timebeing a town girl for a while but I found it hard with Tony not being there and missed him heaps as it was the longest we had been apart. I spoke to him every day on the phone but it wasn't the same.
Tony's father passed away when Tony was 18 so I never got the chance to meet him and from what I hear we would have gotten on well. Tony had actually struck up a fine friendship with Jo's (My boss at the pub) partner Paul. I was unaware of quite how close they were. I knew they were great friends and they often chatted over several beers about fencing and Paul's surveying as regular blokes do. It wasn't until I received the call from Tony to tell me about Paul's accident that I realised what a huge part Paul played in our lives not just Tony's. As Paul was older than Tony by several years Tony looked up to him and saw him as a bit of a mentor. Paul died in a fatal Helicopter crash on the 21st of February 2006. As I mentioned Paul was a survey yer and often did aerial surveys on mine sites and in other areas. The day he died he was 1 of 4 passengers in a Robinson R44 helicopter. They say weight of fuel, passengers and equipment as well as heat off the rocky terrain contributed to the helicopter going down. I made regular calls to Jo after I had heard and from what I could understand she was not coping at all. I felt very upset for our loss as well as not being there to support Tony or Jo, I felt helpless. As they needed to piece everything together to work out what happened it was a while before Paul's funeral. However a nice service was held in Mt Isa for him on the 9TH of March 2006.
All in all my pregnancy dragged as all first ones do, I did not participate in anti natal classes nor did I have a birthing plan, but I survived. I had morning sickness for my first trimester, and all I wanted was can of coke. I also remember waking up one morning and (due to the fact we couldn't just pop down the shop and buy some my request was very difficult for Tony to full fill) saying to Tony "I don't care if you have to beg, steal or borrow but I NEED weet-bix NOW!! For memory I think he got some from the pub but they cost him $10.00 and I ate one vomited and the puppies got fed the rest! He was not happy.
My due date for Mickalee was the 16Th of March 06' and I remember mowing the lawn to try and make her hurry up, so Tony wouldn't be late getting back to work! That however is another story I will tell you next time.
Bye for now! Happy Blogging
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