These Four Generations

Four generations. This picture is quite the dream come true for me. I didn't really expect for my Grandma to still be here on earth with us when I had another child, let alone a little girl. But here it is. My beautiful Grandma looking poised, knowing and regal. Behind those blue eyes though is a beautiful mind lost in the fog.

Six years ago the facade she had been carefully keeping slipped away and dementia changed her life and ours. About a year before that, I was blessed enough to receive a powerful impression that I needed to ensure I spent as much time with her as I could. It was amazing timing really. For the first time in six years I was living in the same city and was having trouble finding work so had time on my hands. I would head over to her house, as beloved to me as my childhood home, and we would talk and garden and eat ice cream. She would get me to do odd sewing tasks for her and move things from here to there. When I think of that time I can feel the heat of the sun on my skin, the smell of balmy days sitting in her huge backyard.

I began to notice that she was particularly open with me. She would share things about her life and marriage I'd never heard before. Insights that being newly married myself were fascinating and powerful for me. She asks me to take her driving around her town and would point out houses she liked or should have bought, streets she had walked down and beaches she loved. She was very real about things. At the time I thought that was because I was now a married women but I actually think that her mind couldn't so easily censor her thoughts.

My whole life my Grandma was a grand and immovable fixture. What most saw was a strong, tough, stern women, filled with conviction about what was right and an unwavering testimony of the gospel. While some Grandma's bought lollies to church for their Grandchildren mine bought expectations, about how to dress, speak and behave. I remember being horrified as a youth when she told the boy I had a crush on not to make 'eyes' at me while passing the sacrament (if only!)! She was strong in her convictions yes, but what not everyone had the privileged to see and know was the whole women. A women who gave her life to her seven children, their children and the gospel. A businesswomen, a gifted gardener, tennis player, seamstress, painter and swimmer. She was a true, loyal and unwavering friend. She made awful vegetable pizza and amazing apple crumble. She loved my father as if he was her own son and always saved treats for him when he would stop in to visit her. She loved seeing and rejoiced in people making good decisions. To me she was someone I could ask advice, get a hug and the example of what it is to be a strong women in this world.

It's impossibly tragic to lose someone you love to dementia. But my mum has often expressed how wonderful it is to just have her there. She can't advise us, solve our problems, teach us, pull us into line, converse or comfort. But she can be, and we can love her not for what she gives but for her spirit and the life she has lived. I have seen at times and mum more than most some incredibly beautiful moments. Like a little girl she will snuggle up into her blankets, tenderly hold a baby, recall a past memory or thoroughly enjoy an ice cream. The beauty of her spirit is there. I wish with all my heart that I could turn to her now in my struggles. I'd ask her how on earth she raised seven children and remained sane. I'd get her to tell me of her faith and how it buoyed her up through her life. I'd tell her about my dreams and ask if if they all sound like good ideas. I have her tell a story. I'd give her a hug...I love you Grandma.

Keeping in the Tradition

Levi and I recently had our seven year wedding anniversary. A lot has happened these past seven years. It seems every year could tell it's own story.  Babies, houses, international moves, I have loved being on the adventure of life with my darling husband.  If I had to use one word to describe our marriage I would use - TEAM. Our strength has definitely been embarking on each project, goal, month and year as a unified pair.

Since that very first year we have given each other a 'traditional' gift. This was a clever long game approach on my part - I think once we hit 30 years the 'jewels' begin - he he! For the record this is the list this far:

Year - Category - Jade to Levi - Levi to Jade

1st - Paper - A  L&J Wax Seal - Custom Jade requests notebook
2nd - Cotton - Sail Boat PJ Pants - Leona Edminson dress
3rd - Leather - Wallet - Leather trimmed sewing boxes
4th - Fruits and Flowers - Macadamia cracker - dwarf avocado tree
5th - Wood - Jenga - Cake stand
6th - Candy - Puffin Sail Boat - Dresses (We diverted that year)
7th - Wool -  Scarf - Scarf and Muluks

We had a quiet anniversary this year. With the hype of our big Canadian move it was nice to just stay in and share in each others company. We were too excited to wait to give our gifts on the day so we opened them the night before and talked together of life and love and our big to do list.

Hit for Six


Our girl is 6 months old! Where does the time go? So much has happened in Primrose's short little life and she has been such a joy through it all. She is my little Koala, clinging on for the ride.

Right now rolling is her primary mode of transportation. She has started to push up on her arms as well and wiggle her way places, almost getting into that crawl position. Two little sharp bottom teeth have emerged in her gummy smile and her hair, though sparse, is finally making an appearance. She is beginning to get the idea of eating. Her favourite combo at the moment is a mango and banana. She can also knaw a rusk to oblivion.

Primrose's favourite things at the moment include - her brother Finley, who can make her laugh and squeal with delight, exploring and destroying Finley's toys, cuddles with mummy and daddy and your absolute and full attention. She has some great facials, including a look we call 'old women' where she sucks in her lips - it's very cute. And she has a hilarious, nasaly laugh that cracks us all up.

She is an incredibly tactile baby. She likes to gaze at you and trace the contours of your face with her little hand. She, our Rose, is just beautiful.

The Magic of Beginnings

 I have to admit since arriving in Canada I have had the odd daydream about doing this childless... my mind turns over the thoughts, 'wouldn't I be having such a fun time! Eating out, sleeping late, exploring further than the nearest corner before hearing, I need to go to the toilet!'. It's a bit of a rough gig for the kids too. Most of our focus has been on buying cars, a house and warm clothing so that we don't all die over the winter - literally. Finley started having pretend play dates with his buddies back home and Primrose has developed a longing look that can't mean anything else but 'pick me up!'.

We are just at the start I keep reminding myself. And the start has lots of the magic in it.

When we arrived we were met with the peak of Autumn. Wow. Everywhere we looked the leaves were changing and falling, creating a magic wonderland of colour and beauty. I've really never seen anything like it before. It's breath taking. The air is crisp and in Halifax, everywhere you look there is water, so the air and the leaves and the water combine for the picture perfect 'fall' that I've only ever seen in pictures. Halloween suddenly makes sense too since by that point half the trees are bare and everything feels a little spooky! Really experiencing the seasons is something as an Australian I know I am going to really love.

The fun and frustration of difference gives Levi and I lots to talk about. Whether it's shock at pedestrians having right of way and therefore stepping out in front of your car at every opportunity, or joy at discovering they have my shampoo here, everyday is sure to bring something new.

Some awesome discoveries have been:

Bulk Barn - honestly we will live there. It's a store that has 100's of barrels of nuts, dried fruit, flours, seeds, chocolate covered pretzels (my favourite), anything you could think of really and you scoop up how much you want in a bag. It sounds mundane, it's not, it's fantastic.

Pete's is another amazing food gathering place. Think boutique grocery store of your dreams with an old timer playing rag on the piano. Best shopping experience of my life.

This is all starting to revolve around food but I have to add that Canadians do baked goods really well. How many times in Australia do you go to a bakery with great expectations and end up with a weird tasting custard tart? I don't think we will have that problem here, I'm not sure they even make custard tarts but that's beside the point : )

The shops are open til 9pm every night - what?! Perfect.

Water is delicious here and my hair feels amazing after I wash it.

Canadians talk as much, if not more than I do. They use a LOT of words to convey their point, so I kind of feel like I've found my people.

I think I may have to dedicate an entire post to this topic but for now let me say my love of scarves can finally be realised, because they are no longer an accessory, they are necessity. So basically the possibilities are endless for fall and winter combinations. I knew I was holding on to 40 scarves for a reason!

The frustrations mainly revolve around learning how to do things a different way, like drive, go grocery shopping, get car rego and insurance or figure out how the preschool system works. Probably the most difficult thing I've done is try to take the kids swimming. There was no; park your pram on the side of the pool, strip off and jump in. The weather is also very deceiving. I'm use to assuming it is fairly warm out if I can see the sun shining, um not in Canada, ha ha.

Church has been wonderful. We have been wholeheartedly embraced. We had three separate invites to dinner on the one night! It's the most beautiful thing to be a part of a world wide gospel family that really takes you in. I know that we will never feel alone here.

Overall Halifax gets the thumbs up from me. I can see we are going to have an amazing time here. I'm looking forward to the initial admin being out of the way and settling into life. We are pretty close to making an offer on a house we love and we just bought a second car today. Slowly but surely it's all coming together.

Fridays with Fin and Miss Prim { 6th November 2015 }


Oh these treasures of mine! They were both fantastic on all three flights it took to get to Halifax and there were only really a few tough hours out of a total 21 of flying time, so I think we did pretty well. Finley was very excited to travel on the planes. The Triangle plane (Delta) and the Maple Leaf plane, well and truly made up for the disappointment of not travelling on the Kangaroo plane. When we arrived here though he wouldn't believe it was actually Canada as there was no snow!

Disneyland was an absolutely incredible highlight. We were excited to go but little did we know just how magical it is there. Everything is done to perfection and we had a wonderful time. Finley was pretty nervous about going on rides. We started with the carousel thinking he would be fine but he took a fair amount of coaxing. We know though how much he enjoys things with some encouragement and by the end of the ride he was eager for more. He even asked to go on the carousel again at the end of the day, I think he liked the feeling of knowing he overcame a fear. We spent most of our time with Finley on some classic rides like Alice in Wonderland, the Tea Cups and Dumbo. He also loved the Buzz ride and going on the train around Disneyland. Levi and I snuck in some roller coasters too. Finley watched the parade in awe, seeing the 'real' Little Mermaid left him quite speechless. After a day of looking at all the toys he decided on a prince dress up costume with a sword and has been waving it around ever since. I think we will be making another visit to Disneyland if the opportunity arises.

Primrose is growing rapidly and reaching milestones when our backs are turned. She is rolling all over the floor now, making her way to Finley's toys and causing all sorts of havoc. We have wooden floors in the apartment and she has learnt to place her head down careful with each turn. She is a clever little thing. She cut her first tooth this past week, which wasn't much fun, and had her first real go of solids. You could tell she liked the idea of solids but she didn't find the reality so pleasant.

I'm not sure if having babies gets easier as you go along or if Prim is just a really good baby but she really is a joy. She doesn't sleep as well as Finley did but aside from that she is really well natured and happy as can be if you are engaging her. She is loving to hear us sing and clap. She has this huge open mouthed smile that just lights up her whole face and a chuckle that makes us laugh. It's a bit like Sheldon's from the Big Bang, that will sound weird but it really is!

We try and take Finley out each day for a scooter ride on the board walk in front of where we are staying. Without exception he is praised by everyone he passes on how fast he is. We get use to seeing him do it but he does look pretty impressive being so little and going so fast. Both kids are really good natured about bundling up and heading outside. We have bought Finley some beginner iceskates and a helmet so we are ready for some fun.

Much love to all,

Finley's Blessing

Finley, our first beautiful boy. We dreamed of you and here arrived the day when your dad held you in his arms and gave you a beautiful blessing of all that lies in wait for you. You were surrounded with so much love that day. All the love of a family that couldn't wait to welcome you into the world. There is so much good to come, so much joy in this life. We know that you will seek it and find it our beautiful boy.

Finley Ryan Catton

Our Father in Heaven, by the authority of the Melchizidek priesthood we come before thee to give this child a name and a blessing, and declare that his name shall be FINLEY RYAN CATTON.
Finley, we love you and welcome you into this life and into our family. We know that you are a wise and courageous spirit, chosen to come to earth at a time when your brothers and sisters will have much need of these virtues.
Finley, you have been born to parents who love you, and who know and love the gospel of Jesus Christ. This will be a great foundational blessing in your life. We bless you that you will heed their teachings and counsel and remain close to them throughout your life.
We bless you that you will taste the love of God early in your life. We bless you that from this love will grow a firm faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that as you grow into the challenges of life, you will come to know, in your own experience, who He is, and serve Him.
In your youth we bless you with humility, charity and love for those you serve and serve with, that you will be known for your affection for your family, friends and those you influence.
As a man we bless you with happiness in marriage, wisdom and joy in your family, that you will be firm in the right, as it is given to you to see the right, but always tempered with compassion, forgiveness and loving kindness. We bless you that you will live the gospel and find joy therein.
We bless you to make and keep sacred covenants, that one day you will return to your Father proud to stand at the head of an eternal family.
Finley, you have embarked on a great voyage, and we bless you to know that it is not in the beginning, but in continuing the same unto the end, until it be thoroughly finished, that yields the true glory, through him who to finish his great work, laid down his live, our Redeemer Jesus Christ.
Finley, we seal these blessings upon you head, and in your heart, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

A Blessing for our girl

You, our sweet girl, wore a beautiful white dress of mine on your blessing day. Your dad welcomed you to the world with a sweet blessing of all that is to come. You were surrounded by love and we were all in awe of just how sweet and darling you were even then. Wide eyed and wondering at the world around you, happiest wrapped in the arms of you mum and dad. Our darling girl we loved you from the very first instant and know without hesitation that your life will be just as sweet as you are.

Primrose Anne Catton

Heavenly Father, we come before thee to present this child to receive a name and a blessing. And the name we give her is PRIMROSE ANNE CATTON.
Primrose, we bless you with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and your heart will be a vessel always overflowing with the Love of God.
Primrose, your family love you and will support and guide you as you grow. Listen to your parents and you will be established on a path which will lead you to a life of fulfilment.
You will receive a clear understanding of the restored gospel. This is a rare and precious gift. Honour this knowledge by obeying the gospel, live your life in the light of the spirit, and you will find a happiness which is beyond description.
We bless you with a clear knowledge of yourself. As you seek out the Lord he will show you your own divine nature and this will be a compass to you throughout your life.
Primrose, we bless you with wisdom and faith to choose the right, and courage to do this when it is not easy. Trust in the Lord as you pass through the vicissitudes of life and you will grow closer to him through your experiences.
Trust in repentance and the power of the atonement of Christ. Forgive others and yourself quickly, and the burden of sin will have no power over you to weigh you down or hold you back from fulfilling your dreams.
We bless you with power to understand and influence people. The Spirit will often show you how to help people; by following these impressions you will become a powerful force for good in the lives of those around you. Because they feel the love you hold for them, there will be many who are grateful for the place you have in their life.
Enjoy life; it is intended to be beautiful as well as challenging.

Primrose, we love you and we seal these blessings upon your head in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

'There's lots to celebrate' Party at the Cattons

Over the years we have held some really great parties... if I do say so myself. Usually they are fraught with intense preparations and a bit of drama but always resulting in something memorable and something fun. Nelson Bay has been the scene of baby showers, 1st and 2nd birthdays, an Italian 30th, huge Christmas dinners, Saturday BBQ's and very late housewarmings. To end them all we held our going away party cleverly disguised (to ensure no tears) as the 'There's lots to celebrate' Party. The name was technically valid as we had recently: had a baby and our birthdays, built our house, moved into our house, sold our house and accepted a new job in Canada...Lots right?

Instead of roping Levi into hanging fairy lights from the roof, we left the house as is, invited everyone we know and ordered 25 pizzas. Easy, fun and perfect. Our house was packed with people from every part of our lives. People that we love. People that have made the last four and a half years in Nelson Bay so memorable, so perfect, so life life changing. It has been the best time in my life and I can't really believe I am going to have to say goodbye. My eyes are welling up at the thought. If I could put on my ruby slippers and be in two places at once I would.

Everyone loves Aunty Courtney

My sister Courtney. The ying to my yang. Her strengths are my weakness and her weaknesses are my strengths. It's perfect really, just being with her makes me want to be better.

Courtney recently returned from serving an 18 month mission for the church in Hamilton, New Zealand. It was no easy thing for her to make the decision to go and I feel so proud of what she has accomplished and how she has grown. It was amazing to watch her progress as she grew to love the people she served and the message she taught. Miracles truly happened every where she went. I have rarely heard of a missionary who had so many people to teach and baptisms to organise.

You can't help but be changed by serving a mission and I can recognise some really profound changes in Courtney. She is open. Open to people, opportunities and direction. She has a testimony and it is evident in her very being. She is fearless in overcoming fear. She is hopeful. She is still Courtney! Loved by all who meet her. Favourite Aunty and prized sister.

Bud to Bloom

I was whole heartily shocked to have given birth to a girl. But there I was, daughter in arms, having just gone through one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I just couldn't believe any of it had really just happened. 

This pregnancy was completely different to my first. My naive belief that positive thinking was the secret to pregnancy health was categorically contradicted. I struggled through with a cocktail of symptoms that left me dreaming of life in a wheelchair - I kid you not. But it was all in the name of a new baby! A much wanted and anticipated addition to our family. Finley ensured that it was a family affair. He carried a pumpkin in his belly which miraculous turned up in his bed one morning, and Levi a pizza, which is yet to materialise.

It's difficult to grasp hold of a shred of control in the birth process. I knew full well from experience how impossible it is to predict how things will go but I was determined to give a natural VBAC and a positive birth experience, no matter the outcome, the best shot. I had never imagined before Finley that I wouldn't have the opportunity to birth naturally and although I had to reconcile myself to that possibility, I held out hope that I'd get that chance this time. I gathered all the support possible. I chose a different hospital - Maitland, hired Gwen, my amazing Doula, my mum was going to be there and Levi and I, with the help of Gwen and past experience, were ready. By the time the birth came around we were a solid little team ready to make things happen.

I went into labour naturally on the 19th of May in the middle of the night but it was just the prelude. The hospital turned us around and I struggled through the next day and night. Feeling at the end of the rope we went back in on the morning of the 21st determined to have this baby. The stars most certainly aligned that day. I had a room with a beautiful outlook of green pastures and rolling hills, Gwen was there, mum was on the way and my midwife Leah was exactly the person for me. She wrote on the board 'today we are going to have a baby!'. I felt empowered...exhausted but empowered.

Unfortunately for me and any assigned medical staff, I struggle with anything medical. I pass out having my blood taken, feel woozy at the sight of a needle and want to run a mile when anything gynecological comes up. Despite my greatest efforts to see things rationally, I struggle. The need to get things moving was obvious and the only way ahead with this birth required all the uncomfortable stuff. I had a really incredible obstetrician who made light work of my fears. Quickly and easily, canula was in, waters were broken and cintocinin on. Time to breath, this is really happening.

The first few hours proceeded with increasing but manageable pain. At first I could laugh and chat with Team Baby between contractions but soon enough I was screaming with each one and trying to come down from the pain between them. When things stepped up a notch I felt myself break. I wanted out. Epidural. Please. Now. Help. I tried to visualise myself hiking the 6 foot track, the endless mountain one foot in front of the other...nope...I tried to think about how much I wanted to experience this naturally... nope...I tried to summon the anesthetist with my mind, I begged the midwife to drag him from the lunch he was obviously eating hence his absence...nope. Then I felt it. This primal urge take over my body...the urge to push. There was no way I was letting anyone know what was happening. I suddenly realised I was petrified to push a baby out! I needed that epidural. The anesthetist arrived but miraculously, divine intervention from a Heavenly Father who knows me better than I know myself, I was having this baby naturally, like I always wanted.

It really is the most amazing thing to feel your baby decend. Time stood still for me then. Nothing hurt like I thought it would. It was intense and carnal but my body wanted the baby out and was working in every way for it to happen. As soon as my mind gave over to the process it became instinctual and beautiful. I felt her head crown and her body twist and slide from me. I felt every part of it and was completely overcome by the miracle of it. They laid her on my chest but I could hardly process her. I had given birth, something that I was prepared to never experience naturally. I was given this amazing, miraculous gift and I could hardly believe it. Then for Levi to tell me we had a baby girl. I was beyond shocked. I had been so sure I was having a boy and here I was holding my baby girl, my daughter. My mum cut the cord and as the moments ticked passed, my emotions settled and the next 20 years of parenting flashed before my eyes. I had a girl. Dolls, dresses, headbands and pink. Teaching and preparing her for the world and the women she will become. And then I knew... what I'd just been through was the easy bit.

Our First Rose: Primrose Anne Catton. Born 21st of May 2015 at 2:03 pm.

Canada Eh?!

We are moving to Canada! And soon... the end of September. I can hardly believe myself when I write that. I want to jump up and down, dance and cry all at the same time. It is really happening. We are trading sunny Nelson Bay, New South Wales for snowy Halifax, Nova Scotia. And I'm pretty sure we have no idea what we are in for!

Truth be told we had to leave The Bay in September anyway. I was in pretty deep denial so I mainly kept that information to myself. Levi's work wraps up here then and with no real work for him in this area we were planning to move with the company to Adelaide. I wasn't particularly excited about Adelaide, especially considering how much I love Nelson Bay, how happy I've been in Nelson Bay, the amazing people in Nelson bay - you get the idea. This place is amazing and you'd be crazy to want to live anywhere else...unless the anywhere else is somewhere you have been dreaming of living your whole life.

Dreams really do come true - us moving to Canada is proof. To fully understand you have to go back 20 years to 10 year old Jade watching, daydreaming, play acting her life as Anne of Green Gables. Anne (who I do realise is fictional, despite what you may be thinking) lives on Prince Edward Island. We are moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia, a mere 3 hours away! Not only are a little girl's dreams being realised but the very real career aspirations of one talented Naval Architect are too.

Levi and I have always wanted to work overseas. We knew that different shipbuilding projects around the world would likely afford us that opportunity at some point in the future, We never expected that Levi would be approached for his dream position and that the timing would work out so perfectly with work closing out where we are. Levi is thrilled. He is coming in at the early definition stages of a huge ship building project and will have an influential and exciting position. It is undeniable that the hand of the Lord is at work here. He knows our hearts and can orchestrate life more perfectly than even we could imagine.

Finley is excited. Mainly about going on the plane and dressing up in 'jacket, scarf, gloves, hat and ice skates'. We are all over the moon to live a short flight away from our dear Canadian doubles Jen, Stew and their little boy Emerson. Telling them we were coming was a highlight of my life - Jen screamed, cried and starting writing lists! It was wonderful. Knowing we have them so close and to show us the ropes is hugely comforting.

I am excited about living in a new country, exploring the country and culture, the travel opportunities and snow. I am nervous about not having a clue regarding basic life skills, driving on the opposite side of the road, settling Finley in and snow. I am sad to be leaving a place and people that I love but very happy that planes, skype and unbreakable friendships make the world that bit smaller.


Uncle Edward comes to stay

Levi and I both have an eight year gap between us and our youngest sibling. Those siblings really are the apple of our eyes' - it must be something about being the baby of the family that endears them to us so particularly... it might also be that they are two of the sweetest people we know. One of those people is Edward, Levi's youngest brother.

I knew Edward long before I knew Levi, when he was just a young teenage boy. The things I remember most clearly about Edward from those days were his height and that the girls would flock to him. All without saying a word! The strong, silent type. I never imagined back then that one day he would be my brother, and I his sister.

Since Levi and I moved to Nelson Bay, Edward comes and spends a few weeks with us a couple of times each year, For the most part Levi has to work, leaving Edward and I to one another. It took us a little while to find our groove. With my chatter and his reserve we made for a funny pair at first. I would always be doling out advice and direction, putting him to task around the house and making him do things like exercising at the pool! Edward complied but I'm not sure he was always to happy about it. Thinking about it now not much has changed with me - I'm still bossing him about when he comes to stay, but we are comfortable with one another and most of all I think we understand and appreciate each other.

On this visit, his last to Nelson Bay I asked him as I always do what he would like to do during his stay. The list was: eat at a variety of restaurants and learn to sew. Eating rightfully takes front and center and we are often the beneficiaries of Edwards incredible kindness as he treats us to dinner - thanks Edward! But the highlight for me this visit was teaching him to sew his own pair of pajamas and watching how thrilled he was to be learning the skill. I see many handmade, colourful suits in his future. It also wouldn't be a visit here without a deep and meaningful and this time we ( we meaning I : )) spoke a lot about being our best selves. Who do we want to be? And are we making steps, even little ones, every day to make it so. These thoughts are on my mind at the moment. I'm conscious of not remaining still, making sure I'm making some progress, however small to becoming who I envision for myself. I want that for Edward too.

Edward is a fantastic uncle. Finley told anyone who would listen that his uncle was coming to stay. They have great fun together and Finley wants to be tall just like Edward when he becomes a 'big man'. Edward also participated in the blessing of Primrose. I felt very touched at the sight of the important men in her life surrounding her with love and blessings from above. She might not know more than cuddles and warmth from you at this point in her life Edward but she will grow to love you just as Finley does, as we all do.

The First

Our first baby - a boy. It's beautiful how the birth of another child brings back memories of the last. I feel like I have this small window of time to record the things that had faded in my mind. Those memories feel so fresh to me now, like it was just yesterday that I held my first child and wondered how on earth I was going to do this. 

I had the most amazing pregnancy with Finley. I had small bouts of tiredness in the early months and some leg and pelvic pain in the final but overall I was blissfully happy and ignorant to the suffering many face. I didn't work in the final few months and busied myself with spring cleaning, decorating the nursery and seeing movies at 11am on Thursday mornings by chance with Nelson Bay's senior citizen community. It was lovely. Until my due date arrived ... and passed.

I wrongly assumed that with such a lovely pregnancy, labour and birth would follow suit. This was not to be the case. 13 days past and our little bundle still wasn't budging. Knowing Finley now I can see what was happening in there. He was warm and cosy, sucking his two little fingers and content with things just as they were. I imagine it was a rude awakening when I was induced and the pressure was literally on to get moving into the world. I laboured for 12 hours with no progress and with his heart rate dropping things got very real and I needed an emergency cesarean. At the time I felt sad that my birth plans were crushed but hugely relieved that the pain would end and I would meet my baby. What was a long and difficult experience morphed into a party as the surgical team, fresh on for the day, went about getting our very stuck baby out. It took twice the normal time, with Finley so entrenched in my body that he just wasn't coming. They discovered the cord twice around his neck, so tight and close to the placenta that intervention would have been the only way to get our little boy safely out. To me this is a miracle. A miracle of the time we live in and the knowledge we have to safely deliver babies into the world. 

Out he came and into his Daddy's arms. One very precious memory while I was in recovery was watching Levi walk towards me with our boy in his arms. They had spent the last 20 minutes together and I saw that they had bonded instantly. I can remember Levi's face - huge smile, eyes wide and beaming down at this precious gift. The long hours forgotten, nothing else in the world more important than this little life. Levi and Finley have a really incredible bond and I know it started right there in Finley's first moments on earth. 

I have always thought of Finley and I as a team. I'm not a naturally maternal person (until I had my own) so didn't have much hands on experience with young children. I was a first timer, but so was he and I felt as though we set off on a new adventure together. He was patience with me, teaching me who he was and what he needed and together we learnt how to be. He had this way of looking at me in those early days and speaking to my heart. I felt like he was telling me, it's okay, I love you, we will get there.