Don't read this if you're pregnant… or if you are thinking of having a baby. Just don't, ok?

Posted in Adventures in Motherhood, MamaLala, Tales from the La... on April 28th, 2010 by Lauramaeve

If you do – don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This is an account of the birth of my son.

Just to be sure – I’ll say it again:

Read this at your own risk.While I hope that people take this account in the right way I am aware that expectations and experiences of Birth can be sensitive and much varied. This particular experience may

a. freak/gross you out,

b. put you off ever having kids,

c. make you cry.

This is our story, this is my blog. I don’t have to give a reason for writing this down. The decision to read it is entirely yours.

Consider yourself warned.

If you are still here, Hi! ­čśÇ Here we go…

Darragh was born on the afternoon of January 1 2010 after a 21 hour labour.

Contractions started at 7pm on New Years Eve. I had already been in hospital twice that week with false starts and a trapped nerve so I wasn’t that worried about getting there, despite the freezing temperatures. The snow had started to fall but it wasn’t grinding Dublin to a halt yet. I settled down, wrapped up in my slanket and using my pregnancy ball to ride the waves that were coming like clockwork. Textbook. I was happy, centred and excited and all set for my (almost) intervention-free birth experience.

We decided to move to the hospital around midnight. I was taken straight to the delivery room, Mark stayed by my side the whole time. Everything was going well. Until it came time for the IV. This was the only intervention I was prepared for and because they had discovered Group B Strep early in the pregnancy and I needed antibiotics. I had time to get used to the idea.

I got used to it. I wasn’t never happy about it but I accepted it.

Now tattoo needles and piercing needles don’t bother me at all. Needles in general never used to bother me until an unfortunate and painful incident a good number of years ago involving a clumsy nurse and a pulled needle put me off injections and blood donation for life.

So, as you can imagine, I was nervous about the IV needle. Fortunately I have a fairly high pain threshold and I was riding the contractions well. All I had to do was maintain my focus while they put the needle in and secured it and I would be fine. Zen baby, just close your eyes and float and it will be over in a flash….

Except it wasn’t. The first attempt to place the needle in the side of my wrist was botched and it hit bone.

I vaguely remember a flurry of activity at my left hand as they extracted the botched needle and started the process again on the back of my hand. I was more focused on trying to pull it together and centre myself again.┬á I was in shock and in labor – it turned into a losing battle. I lost my rhythm.

From that point on my long-dreamt-of intervention-free birth experience turned into a drug-induced nightmare. Fortunately I remember little of it. The pethidine helped with that. It didn’t so much address the pain, I just didn’t care so much about it anymore.

Gas and air rocks. I loved the world and make sure that everyone knew it. I would have been hugging the midwives if I had been able to get off the bed. I got through 2 1/2 canisters of the stuff. Good shit. ­čÖé

Women in labour have many different experiences with an epidural.

I put that sentence in so that if you have stuck with me through the whole needle thing, thanks, and consider this another ‘heads up’.

I didn’t want the epidural, but by the time the option was given I was exhausted and trashed and barely coherent.

They had broken my waters at 6cm dilation. Up to that point my body had progressed the labour well. ‘I’ was off on a beach somewhere talking politics with a killer whale called Fred.

It was decided that an epidural would be a good idea as it would help with the pain and tiredness.

Yea, right.

I don’t remember much of the epidural procedure. I do remember the feeling of personal invasion that stayed with me for weeks afterwards. I’m usually a tactile person and I love back rubs. But after the epi if anyone even touched my lower back it completely freaked me out. Not pain in the ouch sense of the word more like…. a ‘prickly ick’ feeling that gave me severe heebiejeebies.

And it did NOTHING for the labour pains, in fact it made them worse. That whole thing about not remembering the pain of labour does not apply here. After the epi my labour stopped and I think they gave me something to make it progress again but its all very vague. I know now that Darragh had not engaged and he was in a funny ‘L’ shaped position…

Next thing I remember was pushing and pushing and terrible cramps in my hips from the epidural and starting to think that I couldn’t do it…

And then I heard Marks voice in my ear, through all of the fuzz and pain, telling me that he loved me and that I could do it and I knew that he was right and I loved him too so I held on to his voice for dear life…

Then the Midwife said that the baby was in distress. Thats when the fun really started.

Actually it all went very quick. The Midwife and the Doctor who suddenly appeared seemed to go into superhero mode. They were fantastic. I was in so much pain but I knew I was in good hands.

Bernie, the Midwive ‘IS’ a superhero. I’m convinced.

It was a ventouse delivery, full episiotomy (like I said, fun.) and it was discovered in the final few minutes of my labour and the first few moments of his life that my beautiful baby boy was indeed in serious trouble.

We found out much later that it was a Foetal-maternal haemorrhage. Darragh was born without his full quota of blood. He was grey and gasping for breath with a falling apgar score. Mark was able to hold him for a moment and I got a quick glance of him before they whisked him away.

I’m not gonna write much about the following few hours because it will make me cry lots. I’ll just give you the happy ending:

The superhero Paediatrician made the decision to give Darragh a blood transfusion in the hope that it would turn things around and it DID. Darragh was a different baby after that, pink, healthy, glorious and adored by all the staff on the ICU and special care baby unit. More Superheros.

I finally got to hold him shortly after 7am on Jan 2. He was still wired up to lots of machines but he was over the worst. Everyone was now more focused on me. I had lost lots of blood as well and my blood pressure was yo-yoing from one extreme to another even after I left the hospital on the fourth day. I wasn’t worried. ‘I’ knew that I would be ok.

So thats it. There is not much else to say. Except that I am so lucky and so happy. Darragh is a beautiful, bright, healthy little boy and I will never be able to thank the Community Midwife team, ICU and Special Care Baby Unit team at Holles Street enough for playing their part in that. Nor can I ever fully thank the Paediatrician who hauled ass through the snow from Dun Laoghaire to save our sons life.


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Posted in Adventures in Motherhood, MamaLala, Tales from the La... on April 1st, 2010 by Lauramaeve

Over the last three months I’ve gone through just about every emotion humankind has given a name to. And some more besides. I’m tired, sometimes brain-mooshy, bone-achingly tired but mostly just-above-zombie-level tired. Its surprising what you can do when you’re just-above-zombie-level tired.

What makes it all so worth it is waking up to this little face every morning.

And, at bedtime…

I think this pretty much sums it up…

Nuff said.

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WARNING: Rant alert!

Posted in MamaLala, Pregnancy and Belly Dance on November 8th, 2009 by Lauramaeve

I had a check-up with the Doc yesterday. We are both doing well but Bubs is breech. This is fine for now but the doc advised that if baby hasn’t turned in three weeks then I will be booked in for a Caesarean. The word ‘compulsory’ was used.

Bubs and I have time to change position and align ourselves in readiness for a natural birth – there is no need for panic yet.

Nonetheless – I’m feeling a bit prickly.

I’m annoyed. On principal.

WHY is it, at the merest hint of a so-called complication, that professional bodies, experts in their field no less, baulk, run for the hills and wall you in with their butt-protecting fear-based policies?

WHY is it that they resort to hospital and surgery assisted births, using unnecessary and forceful techniques when labour isn’t progressing fast enough for them (sorry about eating into your tee-off time there, Doc) and in doing so create further complications which endanger Mother and Baby… oh but wait! – We can pump you full of drugs! Yea, you don’t need to know – you’ll be fiiiine.

I’m not a vending machine and Bubs is not on a timer.

Yup…. still prickling.

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Posted in American Tribal Style® Bellydance, Events, MamaLala, Pregnancy and Belly Dance, Tales from the La..., Tribal Bellydance, Words from the Dancer on October 27th, 2009 by Lauramaeve

I love dressing preparing for a performance – its the girl child in me who loves pretty things…

There is the decision on which underskirt to wear with the basic costume… and indeed if the underskirt should be worn as an overskirt for this gig…. oh and maybe I’ll wear Melodias instead of pantaloons…

Then comes the coin bra, necklaces, bracelets, armlets and cuffs, the rings and hand ornaments; a decision on which type of belt – coin or shell…with tassel or fringe, and maybe a scarf underneath? Then flowers, sticks and other various ornaments for hair, the dramatic make up, the tribal dots and the all important bindi…. and not forgetting the sari, veil or one of Kathleens gorgeous Ghawazee Coats for a cover up between sets….

The Moirai Ladies in full Tribal bling at FireWater, May 2008

Call it elaborate dress up, call it armour, call it a fulfilment of fantasies, call it vanity – whatever. Its the love of creating a look for the stage, as well as presenting an art form that I am passionate about that makes every gig – no matter how small – an occasion for me.

My latest gig was a little different however. Last weekend at The Zoryanna Autumn Hafla, I took the floor wearing my trademark black and red with no decoration or pagentry aside from a few hair flowers…. and of course the all important bindi. There was no need for more – it wouldn’t have felt right.

I was nervous, as I normally am, a little more so this time as I felt more than ever that I was baring my soul… and my belly, 7 months pregnant.

It was what I wanted it to be, a return to me. Touching centre as I near the end of this part of my life and prepare for the next. I felt amazing afterwards – connected again with an energetic force that has been so much a part of my life over the past 7 years. With the changes and turns my life has taken in the last 12 months, this performance was what I needed to reconcile the new with the old.

The best part of it was communicating with the little one – who was in constant movement from the first note of the night. As I danced I was aware of little feet and hands exploring and creating a dance of their own…

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Posted in American Tribal Style® Bellydance, Events, FatChanceBellyDance®, Pregnancy and Belly Dance, Tribal Bellydance, Words from the Dancer on September 21st, 2009 by Lauramaeve


Yesterday,  I arranged to dance at The Zoryanna Autumn Hafla next month!

I have the dance worked out already – all I need a the right piece of music to go with it!

Which gives me the long awaited excuse to sort out my somewhat scattered music collection. ­čÖé

Being a pregnant La, this little offering will be short,  slow and gentle. Inspired as always by the gorgeous ladies of FatChanceBellyDance® and this video featuring Megha Gavin and Devyani Dance Company.


ATS General Skills and Teacher Training, Glastonbury 2008

ATS® General Skills and Teacher Training, Glastonbury 2008

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090909… new house, new chapter.

Posted in Events, General, MamaLala, Pregnancy and Belly Dance, Tales from the La... on September 9th, 2009 by Lauramaeve

So – with the previous post in mind – the last 2 and a bit months have been taken up with house-hunting.

We needs us a bigger place.

So we registered on, organised viewings, spent a fortune on taxis running around south Dublin to see what turned out to be:

A: COSY 2 bed period cottage, excellent location, close to all amenities

(= small, dark, damp ridden little hovel, 1o minutes walk from the nearest bus stop and 20 minutes from the nearest tesco)

B: BEAUTIFUL, spacious garden apartment situated in Georgian town house

(which hasn’t seen a fresh lick of paint since the 1960’s and doesn’t have a HEATING SYSTEM installed!!!!)

C: STUNNING open plan 2 bed duplex apartment with sunny bright courtyard, patio, security gate located in the heart of Dublin 4.  Walking distance to City centre, wooden floors throughout and brand new kitchen and bathroom.


We fell in love with ‘C’. And it was under-budget. And we had all the references the LL was asking for. I was SO excited. Unfortunately so was every other 30 something couple who saw it and it was up to the LL to make the choice…..

They chose someone else.


Yes, there have been tears and stress (mental and financial) and we got to know alot of taxi drivers and I’m sure I could do a better job of writing up those DAFT listing scripts… and take much better location shots!

But finally, last week….


D: 2 bed, 3 bathroom town house built above street level, large balcony to front, patio to rear, private parking, security gates …AND… its still in Ranelagh! Yayyyyy!!

<applause, cheers, standing ovation etc etc>

I’m relieved. The Bear is relieved. Our estate agent is relieved. We need this. Things, other getting-on-with-your-life kind of things have been on hold for to long and now we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Next week is the start of a new chapter in our lives.

But (yes… there is a but) I have a little ache in my heart**

I am finding myself a little reluctant to move out of our little 4th floor 1 bedroom apartment…..

Despite the constant renovations going on around us…

Despite the psycho gardener who insisted on using the leaf blower early in the morning to blow away the three solitary leaves that had fallen that week…

Despite the moths that I fought a war against over the winter so that our clothes would be hole free…

Despite the tiny kitchen and the oven-that-can’t-be-cleaned filling the apartment with smoke whenever we cooked a chicken…

Despite the fact that we had nothing to put stuff into, and nowhere to put the thing with all the stuff in it even if we had one….

Despite all of this….

I love this little apartment.

It has kept us warm without having to turn the heating on.

It has provided beautiful views of the rooftops and treetops of Dublin and shown us alot of sun and moon rises.

The view...

It has been our resting place and sanctuary from the world over the past year.

Corner office...

It has been our space, our little niche… but now its time to say goodbye.


So this week is about packing and changing address and arranging for the landline and broadband to be moved and forwarding our post and organising transport and cleaning the old place and making sure the new place is ready moving.


And THAT folks is why I’m posting on my otherwise much neglected blog.

Procrastination is a wonderful waste of time!

Other news, other news…

Well…. there really isn’t much. I’m slowly achieving planet-status day by day. The hormone-riddled traumatic pregnancy episodes have not followed me into the second trimester, thanks be to the Good Holy Mother of Blessed Jaysus says me… and pretty much everyone I know.

My dancing life has been quiet – energies have gone into house-hunting (see above) and have taken alot longer than I thought so organising a class has been postponed till next year BUT I am working on a short piece that I will hopefully be able to perform in the next couple of months (bump permitting) and I will be attending Hilde Cannodte’s workshops hosted by The Zoryanna in November – although I’ll be taking notes more than dancing….

Thats it for now… see you on the flip side ~

(**heart-breaking-ballad-by-Elvis mode)

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A Leetle Announcement

Posted in MamaLala, Pregnancy and Belly Dance, Tales from the La..., Words from the Dancer on July 7th, 2009 by Lauramaeve

Ganesh and Willow Love Wands

Today, July 7th 2009, I am in my 14th week of pregnancy with my first child.

We’re very excited. The Bear braved the hormone surges and mood swings and survived the first trimester relatively unscathed,┬á I pretty much cried the whole way through got though it despite the nausea and complete loss of appetite and a scare at 10 weeks when I was certain I had miscarried.

Everything is ok. I’m getting bigger by the day. I’ve lost my appetite and found a junk food addicts.

I’m blaming the hormones, but there has also been a huge amount of mental processing. Many many thoughts and questions….

(do cheese and onion crisps, sweet and sour chicken and sushi count as brain food?)

The big question for me, aside from all the pregnancy and baby stuff was

What does this mean for my dancing??

And yes, there is all the pregnancy and baby stuff, which is all lovely… and daunting…. and exciting but I’ve realised that if I need to take some time for ‘me’ – especially now as the ‘me’ times are numbered!

I went through a period of about 5-6 weeks where I was really low.┬á It was just after I found out and I was… in shock. I had started reading about pregnancy and going through websites and very quickly managed to scare myself silly.┬á So I stopped reading. Plenty of time for that later.

I was convinced for a while that this was it – no more dancing for La. Not a good thought. Until I came across this beautiful piece by Morocco (Carolina Varga Dinicu) on Oriental Dancer dot net.┬á Its a bit text heavy but stick with it – its a beautiful story and it helped me through alot of ick and what if.

So much so that I’m gonna set up another Tribal Belly Dance workshop in Dublin soon. With a twist.

If there ever was a good time to dance then this is it.

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