Our Christmas and a Holiday

Andrew, Eva and I really enjoyed a lovely 4 day break together, at home over Christmas.  It was so nice to spend special time together and relax at home.

Christmas Day was busy but most enjoyable.  We were able to wait until Eva woke at her normal time and then check out the Christmas Tree together.  Eva found a Dollshouse complete with furniture and occupants. This Dollshouse was made by my Grandpa nearly 40 years ago for my sister and has since been used by myself and my niece Isabelle.  I spent the week repainting it during Eva’s sleep times which was fun.  So far it is a hit with Eva who enjoys time rearranging the furniture and occupants.

Outside was a swing set created by Daddy and Uncle Nic after sleep time on Christmas Eve.  Of course it is too big for now (silly Mummy and Daddy) but Eva will grow into it!  She can sit on one of the double seats as they are moulded.  It won’t be long until she is attempting to climb onto it herself!

After some phone calls to my family in Adelaide and Canberra we went to Church.  The service was a lovely celebration and full of joyous music.  Eva really enjoyed all the singing although there was so sitting still for her.

Family lunch with the Hodges’ was delightful and filling of course.  After lunch we headed home for a sleep for all of us.

Our evening was a gathering of 25 of the Heazlewood Family (Andrew’s Mother’s Family) which was hectic and full of yummy food and chatting.

As I said the next few days were wonderful with us spending lovely time with family, extended and just on our own.

Now we are about to go to bed instead of seeing the New Year in as we are off on a holiday early in the morning.  We are looking forward to a very relaxing time with lots of beach outings and reading (me) and photobook making (Andrew).  Stay tuned for some changes here at Eva’s Story in the New Year.  We are looking forward to a fantastic 2011 where we will get to know the new addition to our family.

I do hope that everyone is enjoying their New Year’s celebrations and looking forward to a great 2011.


A Merry and Holy Christmas to All


Photo Source


We would like to wish you a very Merry and Holy Christmas celebration today.  We hope that you are all with family that you love and spend some time remembering those whom you love how are not present.  May you find peace in the busyness of today.

We have had a busy and fabulous year in 2010.  Moving home to Australia has been fantastic and so rewarding for us.

Eva has changed so much this year going from immobile to running, growing so much bigger and starting to use some words.  We are so proud of her everyday.

Andrew is busy at work but enjoying it’s challenges.  He has also been studying this year which has kept him out of mischief.

I am enjoying being at home with Eva and the new person that is growing inside me.

We are looking forward to a very exciting year ahead with the addition to our family.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year.  We hope that all celebrations are joyous and plentiful in your household this coming year.

May God’s blessings be upon you as we all celebrate the birth of Christ together.

Please enjoy this digital version of the Nativity as you reflect on the reason for this Christmas season.


Marnie, Andrew, Eva and a Bump


A Live Nativity Scene

Last night we participated in a local church’s live nativity with Gran and Pop and Auntie Ali, Amelia and Nathaniel.  Of great excitement was the donkey, Mary and Joseph’s mode of transport on which children were able to ride bare backed.  The donkey did laps of the grounds including a stroll down the aisle of the church.

Mary and Joseph were there with the baby (doll) Jesus along with sheep, goats and a calf.  The children were able to pat the animals and feed the calf.  The goats were particularly hungry but it didn’t bother Eva that the goat tried to nibble off her hand.  She just cuddled him even more!

Mary kindly let the children cuddle the very realistic looking baby Jesus.  All three children having the chance to practice before the arrival of their siblings in 2011.







Inside the hall was several tables set up with Christmas craft activities which kept the children entertained, especially Amelia who could craft all day!  Eva amazed me by bending the sheet of stickers to peel one off.  How does she learn such things?!

The East Kew Uniting Church did a great job in preparing their Live Nativity and it was a fabulous outreach at this most wonderful time of year.

Grass, that’s all

Eva had an appointment with a paediatric allergist and immunologist this week.  We came away finding out that she is allergic to a type of grass and that’s all.  After Dr Dean took her history Eva had a skin prick test on her back for just a few things, none of them food.  The only positive was a grass pollen.

This is great news but it means that her eczema is not food related as I had previously thought.  Dr Dean feels that Eva’s eczema is related to heat and irritation from clothes or pollens.  Dr Dean also doesn’t believe that the specific rash in a circle on her bottom that appears occasionally nor the behaviour that goes with it is food intolerance related.

Dr Dean gave us an action plan for Eva’s eczema which entails bleach baths (white king in a bath for 5 minutes) and several prescription creams.  Luckily it is rarely desperate enough that we will need these measures.  Our basic daily measures of olive oil in the bath and lathering with moisturiser have seen great improvement over the past few months so we will continue with that.  It will be interesting to see how Eva’s skin goes over the heat of the Summer months (if that heat ever comes!).

Thus there is no diet restrictions and we we will have surprised Dr Dan who referred us who said that with her skin type she surely has multiple intolerances/allergies!  A good result from a very quick test.

As a general update Eva’s speech is rapidly improving with more 2-3 word phrases and lots of parroting of any words or sounds.  Her words are often recognisable to just me and even sometimes I only get them if it is in context.  We had a street party with our neighbours last night and she enjoyed being a social butterfly with the adults as well as playing with the children.  Eva is going through a gorgeous phase of loving a cuddle this past week which is just delightful.  How wonderful to be interrupted from daily life for a cuddle with a 2-year-old.

A Halfway There Update

Baby Hodges 20 weeks

We are now halfway into our pregnancy.  Now that I have hit the 20’s in terms of weeks I am starting to have some moments of anxiety about the following 4 weeks.  I find it so easy to reflect on this period in Eva’s pregnancy.  We had just had a lovely few weeks of visiting here in Australia (home from Bristol) and headed to Bangkok to be tourists for a few days.  Andrew felt Eva kick for the first time at this stage.  We were just starting to enjoy the thought of becoming parents.  I am glad to be busy for the next few weeks and hope to remain positive.

Tuesday was a busy day for us with an ultrasound and obstetrician appointment.  The 20 week anatomy check ultrasound took a long time with a very diligent sonographer checking our baby very thoroughly (except for gender which we didn’t want to know).  All measurements match to the dates that we are going by which is very reassuring.  She took a long time trying to view the blood flow around the heart after checking the anatomy.  She wasn’t totally happy with her views so a senior doctor came in to check after a wait in the busy waiting room with us wanting just to check quickly to be sure all was well.  The senior doctor quickly assured us that all was well with the major vessels of the heart. My cervix looked fine which is good news however I have a low lying, anterior placenta.  This means that the placenta is currently positioned near the cervix (but not across it) and is on the front side of my belly.  I have a 90% chance that the placenta will migrate upwards as the baby grows so I am positive that this will not lead to any further trickiness!  I will have a repeat scan at 34 weeks to check the placenta’s placement.

The obstetrician visit was rather brief (which was nice after the long scan appointment). It was a different consultant today as the senior doctor was busy.  This consultant had no personality or seeming enthusiasm for his job. He palpated the baby and listened to the heartbeat with the doppler.  He was a little nervous about my short trip coming up in January and wants me to take it easy.  I need to present to hospital immediately with any bleeding with the placenta in this position.  He sent tests off to check for a urine infection and to check for group b strep (GBS).  If I am still positive for GBS he would like to consider the use of antibiotics for the remainder of the pregnancy given that the risk of infection to the stitch is ever present.  We’ll just have to wait and see on this one.

I have also developed carpel tunnel syndrome.  This is a swelling around the nerves of the wrist causing tingling, pain and numbness.  Over the past two weeks it has become increasingly painful to sleep with the pain in my right hand waking me up at night. I just put it down to tight neck muscles and was trying my best to stretch them and using heat packs.  Treatment is physiotherapy and a night splint.  The night splint is fantastic and has really helped me to sleep.  My hand is still tingling and weak in the morning but it is a huge improvement.  The good news is that because it has developed during pregnancy it should be finite with symptoms disappearing post birth when hormone and fluid levels return to normal.

As I write this the little person inside is rolling around (clearly appreciating tonight’s dinner).  It’s been so nice to feel movements and also to have Andrew feel them sooner this pregnancy.  It’s just so amazing to marvel at the fact that there is a real baby growing inside me.  God’s creation never ceases to amaze me.

A Change

Eva has lost interest in breast feeding and I’m sad.  I realise that it is an appropriate stage developmentally as she wants to gain her independence and also the milk has changed with pregnancy but still I was hoping she would last a bit longer.  Thankfully she was very gradual reducing the feed frequency and duration slowly since October in reality.  In the end it took me several days to admit to myself that she wasn’t interested but I have now stopped offering.  Eva was never one to ask for a feed so I doubt she will ask now.  Andrew has been very supportive and keeps telling me what a good job I did but it’s ok for me to be a little sad.

It has been such an important part of our relationship for the past 2 years that it’s hard to imagine that it’s over.  At the start pumping liquid gold to be given to Eva down a tube felt like the only way to realise that I was actually a mother.  Pumping every 3 hours then waking Eva up to feed every 3 hours when she came home was just part of the routine and a positive way to build a relationship with her.  Early feeding attempts led me to think that I might suffocate her given that her head was smaller than my breast.  I can remember seeing a 6 month old feeding not long after we were discharged home and couldn’t believe that I would one day be feeding a child that big (Eva probably still isn’t as big as he was!).

Many times during our hospital stay of 32 days just before her discharge I threatened to give up on my dream of breast feeding just so that we could go home sooner.  I had many wonderful people convince me that it was my dream and a few extra days in hospital to work out what was best for Eva was worth it in the long run.  I wish that I could tell every mother of a premie who is pumping right now that breast feeding can be done even for up to 2 years!  I am so grateful for the nutrition and immune benefits that I have been able to provide Eva with.

I have had a blessed journey with breast feeding really and am very thankful for that.  I can only hope that my next small person enjoys Mummy’s milk just as much.  I feel like part of my motherhood identity has been taken away and am glad for the pregnancy to keep me feeling content and progressing on the motherhood journey.

Canvas Art by Eva

With beautiful weather on the weekend we thought that it was time to crack out the paints and let Eva create a canvas for her room.  Not sure who had more fun Eva or us parents.  Eva enjoyed putting the paint on the canvas and herself.  Especially after Daddy painted her hands she thought that it was fair play.

The canvas is now sitting in her room where she points to it with an excited “paint” and finger pointing regularly.  It was fun for the whole family with not too much hassle on clean up.