I was tagged by Jen (with one n) Jemikaan to post about my first ever blog post, and I thought I'd leave it for a day when I couldn't think of anything to write. Figuring it would be good for the mid month lull. But I was curious as to my first "welcome to my blog" post so went searching for it and found strangely, that the post I'm SURE I wrote is not there, and that my first however many posts are just C&Ped from my old EB diary. Which means that any newcomers to this blog, who wanted to know the wheres and whys of why I started this particular blog would have no idea.
Which may also be because, several years down the track, I have no idea either.
So maybe I ought to (3 years late) welcome you to my blog and tell you what it's all about.
I'm Jenn. I'm 28. I live in Australia. In Brisbane to be precise in a beautiful old Queenslander with big verandahs and even bigger gaps in the shiny floor boards. I live here with my husband Bingley and our three children, the Elfling, the Monkey and the Possum.
Bingley and I met in college and have been friends for approximately 11 years 4 months. Bingley has been in love with me for approximately 11 years 3 months and 3 weeks. We have been a couple for 9 years and 6 months. That interval of however many months was filled with unrequited amour on his side and deliberate avoidance on mine. But true love prevailed and we celebrate our 10 year coupleversary this year in November.
After about 3 years we were joined by the Grot, who evolved into an Elfling but who retains a good deal of grottiness. She started primary school last year an is learning how to read at the moment at her own pace. She's not the top of the class reader list and has a tendency to lose her hat/shoes/water bottle. She can't sit still and is vague and dreamy. She is my little ballerina and washed her own hair all by herself tonight. We have a relationship that is tested at times by the complete differences in our personalities. She can't eat cheezels without going troppo. But I love her to bits. She is tall and has a figure that makes my jaw drop sometimes. Bingley jokes that we will spend her teenage years on the porch with a shotgun. She has green eyes with a sea of gold in the middle that sparkles.
About a year after she was born, Bingley and I decided to have a wedding. So we did. And it was lovely. But I don't want to do it again.
About a year again after that we had the Monkey. She was not planned, but it didn't seem to make much difference. She is my cheeky, all singing, all climbing, crazy haired, ballet dancing, incredibly bright baby. She was called the Monkey from birth and has lived up to the moniker, being a banana guzzling cheeky soul who climbed before she could walk. She is a pixie, creamy skin, dark brown eyes and riotous auburn curls over her head, glorious spirals that hang above her eyes in double helices.
In between all this, I had graduated from my Arts degree (French and Spanish) and my Science degree (Biomedical with brief flirtations into Mathematics and Chemistry) and started studying medicine (just couldn't get enough of university!). The first year was a doddle. Then I had the Elfling and it was a bit trickier, but not that bad. Then we planned a wedding in the middle of my second year exams. But still coping OK. Then right before the beginning of third year I fell pregnant and had to interrupt my studies again to have the Monkey. That was a rough pregnancy. It wasn't planned and I had hyperemesis to boot. Anyone who followed me here from EB got to read in laborious detail how sick I was, but right before leaving to have her I made the Dean's List for Medicine, and I'm very proud of that.
Then I came back to med, and wasn't with any of my friends any more AND I had 2 kids in tow. This was really about as hard as it sounds. Socially isolating, academically difficult and financially crippling. But I got there. Lots of metaphors about lights at ends of tunnels etc. To the point that in the middle of my very last and hardest year of my medical degree I felt like I was back on top again. Could see where I was headed. We planned holidays and started seriously looking at property. We were so excited to have completed our family AND our studies and the fact that we were on the brink of starting the new chapter of our lives. We'd weathered a REALLY tough patch and come through. Life was cruisy. Life was great.
Then in August 2009 I got influenza. A very very nasty dose of it that landed me in hospital being rehydrated through a drip and requiring antiviral drugs. Afterwards I was completely out of it for a few weeks. Weak and flattened. I was only just feeling human again by the 20th of September for the Monkey's birthday party which I planned and catered and we had something like 40+ people come to.
After it, Bingley and I were exhausted but I remember clearly thinking how on top of it we were. How we were finally moving onto the stage of our lives that would be easier, and more fun. So of course, 3 days later, after a random comment from a friend's 18 month old baby, I peed on a stick to reassure myself that I absolutely was not pregnant. Because there was no way I could be. We had been SO CAREFUL. You have no idea how paranoid we'd been. But not matter, there, before I'd even washed my hands were two lines. Two bright, glowing, you are very much pregnant, fuck you and your grown up plans lines.
I fell in a heap. I didn't want to be pregnant. I knew I would get sick. I thought of my looming MSAT exams, the big long very tough end of medicine exams and panicked. I thought about the fact that I wouldn't be able to finish my internship year. I thought about having to work long hours, maybe shift work while sick and pregnant and with two other children. And I cried. I cried so much. It felt like I'd lost my dreams. Our marriage was under major strain. I was so sick. So very very sick. I lost a lot of weight. I did nothing but cry and go to uni and sleep. I tried to ignore my pregnancy completely in between the vomiting and coped by just putting one foot in front of the other and sheer bloody minded stubborness.
Then in the week before my Very Big Exam we went and had our NT scan.
And for the first time, it felt real. 3 days later I aced my exam, got a high distinction and Bingley and I went to Bali.
And finally decided to suck it up, and accept the life that we were now faced with. Even while very sick I managed to go to work and gestate and get very good end of term reports. And then, on a very warm night on the first day of June, we were joined by the son I was always meant to have.
And we spent a glorious, sleepless set of 6 months together and I wondered if maybe I didn't actually want to be a doctor after all. Because I loved him and I loved being at home intensely. I went to things at the Elfling's school. I cooked. I baked. I folded laundry. I went to the gym regularly and kept in shape. For the first time I had no ambition at all beyond being with my babies.
And that's where I was when I went back to work. Unhappy, viscerally so about being separated from my baby. Homesick. Feeling tired because he still wasn't sleeping through the night, or longer than 3 hours in a row. Feeling stupid because I was tired. I got a poor midterm report after a personality clash and perceptual issue related to leaving to pump pitiful amounts of milk. He weaned, suddenly and I dealt with sore weeping breasts and no self confidence and the fact that I earned sometimes less than I paid in daycare fees. I limped over the finish line for that term with no self confidence, a crisis of pointlessness and fear and anger and guilt and hopelessness. It just all seemed like such a waste. I couldn't remember ever being competent at anything.
I seriously considered quitting. The only thing that stopped me is my personality. My suck it up, get the fuck on with it, never fail, keep on grinding on even if you are gushing blood stubborness. It gets laughed at by a lot of people, but that grit pushed me through.
And now I'm on another term, and you know what? I just got my midterm report and I'm good at it. I'm a good doctor. And I'm glad I'm here, making a difference, learning more skills and teaching a few.
So that's where we are. Family of 5. Nearly finished my internship year of medicine. One girl at school. One girl in kindy. One boy trying to walk and learning to blow kisses and melting my heart.
But why did I start writing this blog?
To remember as much of it as I can :)