#AtoZchallenge “J”

J is where a couple became a family

My theme for this challenge is family. So having said that my “Family” began with J. By the time l got to “J” l was starting to realise that the “family” l was born into we’re not always pleasant. Which is why when l say “Family” it’s usually the ones l have given birth to, Married, inherited and the ones- the very few- l have included in my life.

In 1989 much to my horror l discovered l was pregnant. All those years l had sworn and declared “I am never having children EVER!” All changed in a heartbeat when the Doctor announced “You’re expecting!” It took me a while to shake off the fogginess, stunned! I thought he was going to tell me l had another urinary tract infection! He had told me a few months earlier that often these things right themselves after women have a baby! I had said “Well l’ll take the antibiotics thanks!”

Immediately l went out and brought a journal. I started writing everything down! I remember once asking The Mother some facet of my own childhood only to be told “How would l bloody remember that it was all so long ago!” recalling that conversation l never asked her anything again and decided if my children came to me l would tell them whatever they asked! So l wrote down every.little.thing!

July 6th 1990- July is another J! We had names picked, back then at that hospital they were not in the habit of revealing the baby’s gender so she was a total surprise. We had picked Jessica as her name. So when the Dr asked we proudly told them “Jessica” she said “Ahh Jessica is popular this year l delivered six in June!” I glanced at my husband “We cannot have Jessica!” So we thought about our second choice “Jade” but no middle name.. suddenly she was there.

I had been terrified of giving birth having been raised with older sisters who loved to recall the horrors of child birth, l was convinced l was going to die, my J was born on her due date and back then only 8% of Australian women did that. She was laying on my back bone and gosh the back ache was terrible, this lovely Dr said “Get in the shower” then she told my husband “Get in and do this massage” all three of us in the shower she showed him exactly how to work the pain out of my back and then all of a sudden our “J” did a huge flip and the back ache left l could have kissed that Dr who was slightly surprised at how well it had worked and quickly got ready to deliver this baby!

One look at this precious little bundle her name appeared “Jasmin” after my favourite perfumed flower, one l have never ever been able to grow! Except now l had a living “Jasmin” but no middle name yet.

Once the Dr gave Jasmin to me she told me “we’ll call the baby Dr to look at her” l didn’t pick up on that, first baby, shocked that l hadn’t died l asked the Dr “Is that all?” She was confused and asked “Why, did you want something else?” I told her the horror stories as she sat and held my hand and l told her “I didn’t die” she patted my hand and said “not only did you NOT die you did it all with no pain relief, no screaming, no hysteria, you’re a champion and you must have a high pain threshold.” She was still there when my Dad also “J” John, arrived her shook her hand and thanked her for her job and then he escorted my newborn to the special care nursery. He said “I’m going with her!” They tried to argue and he said to me “I won’t let anything happen to my little Boo” and just like that off they went to special care.

Jasmin had been born with Group B strep and so she spent all her time in the special care nursery and l would go there and feed and interact with her. They were making up her name card for the humidity crib and asked “What is her name?” We told them “Jasmin” the nurse asked “Any middle name?” I asked “What is Dr McKenzies first name?” She said “Oh Elizabeth!” I said “Yes! Her name is Jasmin Elizabeth”

The third day l went to nursery and had a really old bitchy nurse, she was rough with both Jasmin and I and l left in tears after she rudely told me “Well if she survives today she should be ok, these babies usually die by the third day!” What??! Huh?! Die?! I stumbled back to my room and called my husband in tears, he came straight over and as he arrived so too did my Dr who wanted to know about the tears. I explained and she was really angry and went marching down there, my husband followed and said she ripped shreds off that nurse! The Dr used to do her ward rounds with her student midwives and would always proudly tell them “This one is named after me!” The special care nurse had told her the reasoning behind Jasmin’s name. Jasmin’s daughter Aria is also an Elizabeth!

Jasmin was the start of my family and as a baby she was my easiest. Slept through the night at three weeks, did everything she was supposed to do, walked at nine months. I guess Jehovah gave me an easy one to start with!

Amber was the opposite, didn’t walk until 22 months! And then came our third instalment another “J” and a very much anticipated BOY! Finally we were getting our boy. Dream pregnancy no morning sickness, small weight gain all was going well until week 37 apparently the waters surrounding him were leaking and so quickly within a few days l was admitted to hospital and he was induced two weeks early.

August 24th 1994.

Jasmin had been exactly 8 pounds. Amber 9 pound 1 oz and then l had “Jarrah John” 7 pound 7oz. Very different. He was long and gangly and his Grandmother said “Ohh he looks like a skinned rabbit!” She never learnt her own rule “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all”

Finally our family was complete. Two beautiful girls and now a boy. But there’s that saying “Be careful what you wish for” because almost from the start things went wrong. First he had an un- decended teste, requiring surgery, then at seven weeks on my birthday! He was diagnosed with pneumonia. Rushed into the children’s hospital and kept for a week! The Dr’s wouldn’t let me stay with him because l had two other children who needed me BUT those other children had a Father and Grandparents who could have watched them but l was not given any choice!

While Jarrah was in hospital they also discovered he had “clicky hips” and so was fitted with a harness he had to wear for months except for bathing! So much for my “perfect son”

For a while things went smoothly and yes after all his scares l did treat him with kid gloves and l did spend more time babying him l felt like l had to make up for that time l’d missed with him. Comments started being voiced about “spoiling him” and him being “Mummy’s boy” but l justified all of that and went on rocking him.

Time for Jarrah to start kindergarten. I just “assumed” l soon learnt not to do that! That he would take to Kindy like his sisters had, Jasmin and Amber were both in school by then. Happily settled! Not so with Jarrah from day one he would not seperate from me. At first l stayed with him but that made it worse. Then l’d go home in tears listening to his retreating screams only to be phoned to say “come get him!”

Primary school was even worse! He never settled, l often spent days in his classroom encouraging him to do the work. Going to school excursions to mostly keep Jarrah in check. My husband and l stopped talking about it. Until we got called to the Principals office and then he blamed me for “babying” him. Long story short, she suggested he get screened for anything. Lots of tests and counselling, and Jarrah had a diagnosis and l had a broken marriage.

ADHD ODD to start with- medication and therapy and gosh it’s been a long haul for my much wanted son. Jarrah has not had an easy life, so many different medications, then none at all he decided he didn’t want them. Life has been up and down and there have been long periods of time when Jarrah and l have taken a time out from each other. Because no matter how much you love someone sometimes you’re toxic together.

The final “J” for today is my Father in Law Jock. Actually he was christened Jack lm not sure where Jock came from but it’s how l knew him. Jock’s birthday was 30th July, one day before my own Father John. Do you sometimes wonder if you attract that which you miss the most? My Dad died April 1992 and l met Jock in 2001. But as soon as l met Jock l thought he’s so much like my Dad! And l loved him immediately especially because Jock took the time to interact with a seven year old Jarrah who was in the middle of some horrific stuff. And rather than ignoring him he took the time to get to know Jarrah and Jarrah thrived on that too.

When my Star Son, final child (you’ll meet him at letter W) was little Jock was hands on with the boys. But then he got sick with liver cancer we all had to watch him fade away. One time we were visiting and as we put the children into the car a plane flew overhead and Jock and l both looked up. He asked me “Do you like flying Kim?” I replied l did l love the feeling of strapping into a seat and knowing when l get out adventures await! I told Jock l couldn’t wait until the children were older so l could travel more. Jock looked over at where l stood and asked “Will you do me a favour?” I said of course if l could he went on “Go to Egypt and see the pyramids, they were my favourite place ever!” It was easy to make that promise it was already on my “must see” list because l have a photo of my Dad on a camel in front of the pyramids, he’d been there during WW2 and l had always wanted to go there!

Last year April 19th when my MIL left this world to meet her Jock my husband said “We need to go to Egypt” and so the planning began! My MIL had once told me her favourite place was Morocco and so l asked The Bloke could we add Morocco to our itinerary for Tanny! But then of course Covid has stopped all travel plans so l don’t know when or even if we’ll ever get to Egypt but the planning is still happening.

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