Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Birth Experience 3


The next week was a nightmare to put it mildly... I spent the week on a rollercoaster of emotions and decisions made by the Drs. who couldn't agree on whether to deliver me then and there. At 27 weeks this was scary - too soon. Plus to make it just great I was in a lot of pain from the cannula which of course like all other foreign things does not like my body or veins.

I am really having a hard time writing this. I really at times don't want to revisit it but then I do so it sits on my computer day after day until I add little by little...

Ok to condense it down a bit at the end of the week I discharged myself so that I could go back to my Dr and because they couldn't say for sure that I had even been leaking in the first place - even after doing a number of tests. But little did I know that this was probably an unwise and unnecessary decision as I ended up back here a week later (but in retrospect also I needed to go through this emotionally to realise that hosptial was the best place for me and baby).

In the meantime however I went to see my Dr the next day at the private hospital and was straight away admitted to hospital again. The same hospital I went to initally and there I stayed for the next week.

OK to sideline a little ... during this time emotionally it was very difficult having my 3 year old son at home. I left home saying to him that I would see him in an hour or so and was sent straight to hospital and then due to hospital policy (no children allowed to visit) didn't see him for nearly a week!! We are very close and he is very attached to me and to see him upset was heartbraking and of course when you have hours to while away in a hosptial bed your mind tends to run in the wrong direction. This was really hard on him. The gov. hospitals have some very strict rules I will outline some of them...

In the first hospital (which was stricter than the others) -

1. No children
2. Visitors only allowed during visiting hours
3. My husband had to get a special certificate to say he could visit me and even then would often get kicked out. The security officers would come around and check the rooms.
4. No electrical devices - I had to get special permission to have my portable DVD player. Oh and to top things off the TV was mainly in Arabic and was horrible reception on the English channels!
5. Had to sneak my big long pillow in as I wasn't allowed any other bedding to be bought in.
6. Had to sneak food into me also as food from 'outside' was not allowed. This was quite difficult as I got to the point where meat and rice made me gag! GROSS... not that Omani food is bad but Omani hospital food the same thing day in day out was terrible.
7. There are probably heaps of other rules that I have forgotten but these were the most significant at the time.

In the Second hospital which in the end I was lucky to stay in they were not so strict and I was allowed to have food bought in and my DVD player and pillows etc. The only thing they were still strict on was visitors and no children. So we had to use "Wusta" and go above everyone's heads and get special permission to have my son Joshua come and visit me and even then it was a battle at times to get him past the guard. There was no way though that after driving more than half an hour my husband and mother were going to turn around again without seeing me.

(Wusta - the whole country works on this and the connections you have - basically what power you have. There are varying levels of wusta and it depends on who you are and what position you hold.)

I was lucky enough to have my own room. I do not think that I would have survived in a ward full of Omani women with screaming babies. The only thing that saved my sanity was that I had a bedroom and bathroom to myself - oh i don't even want to delve into the toilet story but you can just imagine what a middle eastern communal bathroom/toilet is like...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Australian Mother of 4 Arrested - Thai Jail

Ok so while we don't know all the details and she may well have been abusive

BUT i can tell you this from talking to the locals that the Thai police are corrupt and "typically" do things like this.

How can they hold a mother of 4 away from her chn and have her possiblly serve a term of 5 yrs in jail for "petty" theft...

This is disgraceful and I really do hope the embassy is doing all it can. But a lesson to all of us who travel - you can never be to careful.

and we head to Thailand in less than a month...


Birth Experience 2

I can't seem to get my head around this... there is soo much to write and I don't want to bore you with every detail. I guess this is the problem with back blogging - if I wrote it at the time it would have been much easier and broken into way smaller pieces.

So where to start...

Well a brief rundown of the pregnancy. I had problems right from day 1 of being pregnant. I bled for the first 4 months - so was a constant worry that I would lose baby. Before 20 weeks I started to feel braxton hick's contractions. With my first it was around 24 weeks. This time I knew what they were. They started to increase and I tried my hardest to avoid the hot weather and anything that might aggravate them. The Dr kept monitoring me to check that nothing was happening. Well at 26 weeks they started to increase and my cervix started shortening...yipes so on bed rest and told if I wanted to fly home to Australia then I should think about doing it very soon. So we arranged for my Dad to meet us in Thailand (my son and I) and Jon (my husband) managed to be able to arrange to fly to Thailand with us and then come back to work). I was terrified of flying and I just new at the time that I shouldn't do it.

What if the baby came in the plane?
What if the baby came in Thailand?
What if the baby came while I was in Australia and Jon hadn't made it there yet (he still had 2 weeks of school to go)?

So on the night I was to fly I was admitted to hospital. My dad continued on from Thailand to here and I faced an uncertain next few days, weeks... what... well in the end months.

(Let me just back track a little - I went to the hospital the day before worried that I was leaking and wanted to check all ok before I flew. My Dr was not available so I saw another Dr. I was naieve enough to think that all would be ok and it would be a false alarm... was I wrong. SO I was told to go home and ring my Dr the next day - because they don't have facilities at the private hospital for premi babies - I would have to be admitted to Omani hosp and that would have to be done by my Dr as she works also at Omani hosp - it is very complicated here. SO next day I rang my Dr and was she MAD that the other Dr had not contacted her. Anyway to make a long story short she spent the entire day trying to find me a bed and the baby a bed.)

A little hospital history - the closest hospital (Omani gov hosp) is a surgical Neonatal intensive Care Unit - that means priority is given to babies needing surgery. So no beds can be "booked" as such - they won't hold a bed in "case" i give birth. They will transfer people out of the hospital as necessary and you could along with your baby be transferred to ANY hospital in the area - up to 3 hours away.

Firstly I went to the delivery ward at the closest Omani hospital - the surgical hospital. There I was put on a drip, examined. My husband was not allowed in with me - as it was a room full of beds. This was the initial exam room you are taken into. WHile I waited I could hear the screams of other women and the crying of babies. Let's just say I was glad to get out of there - they turn them out like a factory - they have a very high birth rate in this hospital about 30 on average per day. So I was transferred to another hospital where they had a bed available for me and an intensive care baby bed just in case. I was very lucky it was only 30-40 minutes away...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hijab Pins

I have an order to fill for lots of Hijab pins. The hijab is the headscarf worn by Muslim women.
Seeings we live in a Muslim country there is demand for this type of thing. I have made some more modern looking pieces - but these ones are special order and are more typically Omani style - fancy. A lot of Omani women love very fancy jewellery.

Here is a sample of some I have made... (I quickly took these pics and didn't use my light box - so not impressed with the photography - but oh well... you get the idea)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


YEAH - I got an etsy treasury!!




Monday, May 11, 2009

Birth Experience

Lately a few people have asked my what it was like having 2 kids overseas. So I have decided to blog a little (well it will probably end up being a lot- because a lot happened) about my experiences. So I might divide it into parts.

Firstly to make it clear I had complications with both pregnancies and spent time in hospital during my pregnancy.

First son - 2005 - Frankfurt, Germany (Private and Public patients - no difference)
I went to 2 different hospitals. The first hospital was when I went into premature labour and the second was for the actual birth.

Second son - 2008 - Muscat, Oman This is a little more complicated. Firstly if you are an expat and do not work for the Omani government you can only attend the private hospital. However, if they cannot cater for your needs then you will be transferred or admitted to an Omani hospital. I went to 2 of the Omani hospitals during pregnancy and then the private hospital to give birth.

I will start with my second pregnancy as it is easier to remember...

Having a baby overseas is a challenge I can tell you that now. Not only are you away from family, in an unfamiliar environment, unsure of cultural differences, different procedures, rules, regulations and hospital policies BUT you are also PREGNANT! I was fortunate enough to have my mother around after the birth of my first and for my second she was here for the time I was in hospital until I had my baby - over 10 weeks. My Dad also dropped everything for me and came as soon as I was admitted to hospital and stayed for 4 weeks. For that I will be forever grateful. But it still isn't the same.

PLUS to make things more difficult for myself the only people that came to visit me (aside from a couple of friends before the holiday) was my husband, my mum, my dad and my son at times (although this is another whole story in itself - one I will address at a later stage). This was mainly because everyone was busy with end of school year stuff and then everyone left for summer break which was 8 weeks and the hospital I was in for the majority of the time was about 30 minutes away.

So here I was stuck in a hospital bed facing the scary possibility of delivering a premi-baby, infection and doctors wanting to deliver baby straight away...

BUT I managed to stay as positive as I could and hang in there...

Will continue when I get a chance...

Friday, May 8, 2009

My husband's Trip

Last week my husband went to China for work...

A benefit of the expat lifestyle...well this time for him and somewhat for me - YES he did bring back beads - and I have been TOLD i should be grateful (which I am of course very much so) BUT and yes there is a BUT - this is the 3rd time I have given him a list of things to buy and he didn't get what was on my list. I know it is hard to understand perhaps exactly what I want - but this time I even included photos. I suppose my bias exists as it extends beyond this from presents to simple shopping etc etc - men just don't seem to get it. Oh well we will be in Thailand in a few weeks. BUT I had some custom orders to fill that I needed some items - now my mum has to post them from Australia and that's expensive. On a good note though - I have created some great pieces from some of the beads he did bring back for me and he bought some stunning white jade of which i wish i had more it looks soo good. So thanks very much!

Meanwhile while he was away I had a sick child to deal with (he's hardly ever sick - but this time was probably his worst) and a cranky baby - working full time (took over my husbands job while he was away) and creating jewellery - so by the time he got back I was exhausted. I really do appreciate all that he does and so really miss when he is not around eg. bedtime - trying to get 1 sick boy to sleep who didn't want to leave my side, an upset baby who wanted my comfort too and trying to get ready for bed myself - fun juggling but we did survive. I really feel for all those single mums or dads who have to do it all themselves. Plus I am very privileged to live somewhere where I can have a maid and someone to look after my children at home while I am at work. It really is going to be hard to leave this lifestyle...so it makes me wonder - will we ever return to Australia???? NO plans anytime soon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Having an 8 month old in the house means that I have a lot of baby food jars. So now I am going to put them to good use and use them to store my silver and beads. Only problem is now I have to remove the sticky labels. Not the most fun job and not the easiest job. I have done a search on the internet on ways to remove them. Most popular seems to be using a hairdryer - but the effort of finding the hairdryer (I don't usually use it), finding an adaptor for the wall (in Oman everything is British plugs - but most of our stuff is Germany, Australia etc.) and then carefully doing each one - well I am going to give it a try anyway...

EEEWWWWW... I just read something about using saliva - now I really think I am going to give the hairdryer a try.

Ok so I tried the hairdryer and persevered - even though it wasn't as good as it was supposed to be. It still left sticky residue on the jars. So then I resorted to nail polish remover to do the final job. Took a lot of elbow grease but eventually I got the job done and the jars are clean. Now to fill them with beads and I certainly have plenty of them.