So I read a lot of blogs, and because of this, I have all the ones that use RSS (really simple syndication) come to me through a feed reader. And it really bugs me that certain ones only have a summary of whatever the new post is about (first few lines or whatever) rather than the entire post. The whole point of reading blogs in a feed reader is so you DON’T have to go to each web page individually.
That, or flying to New Zealand for the birth. Because no way am I going to go to hospital, and no way will any of the independent midwives I know just follow along like good little girls and work with a GP or obstetrician. That’s kinda the whole point of them being INDEPENDENT.
Name that quote. 😉
So here we are in our hotel room in Cooma, south of Canberra. The weather was wet and cold but it didn’t put us off. My estimate: a few thousand adults & older kids and probably an equal amount of babies & younger children. Not an insignificant amount. People organised buses from Melbourne and other areas.
So the population of Australia is about what, 22 million now? And half of those are women and girls, so 11 million there. And ‘only’ one percent of women birth at home, right? That’s 110,000 women and girls in Australia right now who will want to birth at home in their lifetime. That number is nothing to sneeze at.
And the legislation, if/when it goes through, will NOT stop me birthing at home next time. Yeah there’s a few publicly funded home birth programs, but I wouldn’t qualify for them now because one of my babies died. Never mind that Ian was damaged long before his birth, and in the unlikely event I had another baby with the same issues, there’s nothing the almighty ‘they’ could do about it anyway. One of the doctors who looked after him said even if I’d had an ultrasound, they wouldn’t have picked it up. So for me, there’s no point in going to hospital.
But anyway, I’ve gotten off topic. We have no TV in our hotel room tonight so I don’t know if I’ll see anything about it yet. But there were lots of cameras so hopefully someone will take it all seriously enough.
10 am Thursday morning, I’m innocently sitting at my computer trying to look at one of my regular web haunts, when I get a ‘cannot connect to server’ message. I tried another site thinking that one was just having trouble, but I got it again. So I went to power cycle the modem, which is usually my first port of call when Darrin isn’t home and the internets are broken. Nothing happened. Checked all the cables, tried again. Still nothing happened. Pick up the telephone receiver…dead silence. Ah. So that’s the problem. Got out our brand spankin’ new laptop and tried to find an unsecure wireless network. Only one wireless network comes up, and it’s a secure one. Drat. Eventually I rang up the Telstra fault report number on my mobile, punched in our phone number, and was told by a computer that a line had been cut somewhere and they expected it to be resolved by 7pm that night. Okay, so one day with no internet is annoying, but not the end of the world. I can cope. I’ll just go do some sewing & gardening, stuff I’d been meaning to do for a while anyway.
7pm comes and goes. Still no dial tone on our phone. So Darrin’s home by now and rings the fault number, and stays on to talk to a real live person. They tell him it’s been pushed back to Friday evening at 7pm. Boo, hiss.
Friday morning, keep checking the phone to see if there’s a dial tone. Nope. Rang it from my mobile a few times and it RINGS. From past experience setting up my phone line when I lived at Campbelltown, this tells me maybe they’ve hooked it up to the wrong house. But anyway. I keep ringing the fault number now & then to see what’s going on, and all they say is ‘service difficulty’ and ‘as soon as practical’ for return of service. That doesn’t fill me with confidence.
So anyway. I was catching up with some friends in North Adelaide, so I thought I’d take the laptop along and see if I could find a wireless network while I was there. Nope. So when I left I started looking again, with the laptop open on the passenger seat. North Adelaide was looking pretty good for wireless networks, even unsecure ones (for instance Internode, our ISP, has several around the city). But I couldn’t connect to any of them. I’m thinking being in the car was interfering with the signal. So anyway, we start driving home. And I decide what the heck, McDonald’s has free wireless, and a playground, and I’m desperate. So we stopped for lunch and Caleb played in the playground while I surfed the net a bit. And then we went home.
And I kept checking the modem/phone/fault number for updates, but nothing changed. And Darrin decided to ring them just as I was going to bed, and talked to a real live person again, and they told him: Monday.
MONDAY?! Could they be any more slack? (Well, yes, it’s Telstra. Slack is their middle name.)
Oh, and also Friday evening, I was trying all night to get into online banking from Darrin’s Blackberry, but it kept telling me the service was too busy and to try again later. Argh.
So Saturday morning I got up, tried the Blackberry again, and still no luck. And then I showered, got dressed, and headed off to the library to use one of their computers. And here’s where it starts to get funny. Not.
I sat down at a booking computer and punched in my card number & PIN. And it told me that bookings aren’t allowed on my account. Huh?! I’ve used computers there before, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t been ‘naughty’ with them, so why the heck is it telling me that? I tried another one. Same message. So I go to the desk and tell the librarian what’s happening, and she checks my card, and tells me there’s a fine on my account that has to be paid before I can use a computer. Great. So I check in my wallet, and as I expected, I don’t have anything even closely resembling two dollars. And I tell the librarian that I need to get into online banking, so I can transfer money into another account, so I can withdraw it and pay the fine. She doesn’t look too happy about it, but gives me a temporary login so I can get in and transfer the money. Yay.
So then I walked down to the ATM, got the money, went into the shops, got some meat for tea, and went back to the library. Paid my fine, sat down at a booking computer, and it told me the next available computer would be 45 minutes away. And have I mentioned that Darrin needed the car that afternoon to go orienteering? Yeah, so that wasn’t gonna work. So I went around to one of the quick use computers, 15 minute sessions, and used that one. Logged back in when time was up, went for another 15 minutes. About 4 minutes from the end of that session, Darrin sends me a text to ask what we’re doing for lunch and that he WAS planning to leave in 40 minutes. Oops.
So I went to a takeaway shop & grabbed a couple schnitzel packs. Came home, had lunch, Darrin sat down at his computer and said “Do you want the good news or the bad news?” I gave him a funny look. He said “The good news is our internet’s back. The bad news is our internet’s back so we can sit around wasting time.”
And there was much rejoicing (yay).
I don’t like what the American owners have done to Thomas. The songs are annoying and the movies are trying to be all educational.
Seriously, I wish American media companies would just leave the British stuff alone. They always mess it up by trying to Americanise it.
I know you’re all probably wondering when we’ll blog about our experience with Ian and what exactly happened, and we’ll get to that, but for now I need to let you know what’s happening in another arena.
See the countdown on the right side of the page? That’s no joke. From July next year, Australian independent midwives will face a $30,000 fine for attending a birthing woman at home. The proposed legislation states that all midwives have to have personal indemnity insurance, but it won’t be offered to independent midwives. This includes Lisa, my midwife and friend, who has seen me through two pregnancies and births, and stuck around when we got the shock of our lives, even though she’s had all the training and been a registered midwife for the last 20 years. So basically anyone who gets pregnant after September this year has one less option when deciding where and how to have their babies.
Why? In a nutshell, because those in government just don’t care. So home birthers across Australia are out to show them just how much WE care about the issue, show them how many people this legislation is going to impact.
This is more than just a home birth issue. This is a basic human rights issue. Nobody else has the right to tell me where I can or can’t give birth, and with whom. Whether you agree with home birth or not isn’t the issue here. If women can choose a hospital birth with an elective caesarean, or an epidural, or an induction, then why single out a natural, drug-free home birth, which has hugely better outcomes for both women and their babies?
So on Monday the 7th of September at 11:30 am, there’s a rally happening on the steps of Parliament House in Canberra. I’m going one way or another. Are you?