We’ve never really had a bunch of negative comments on the lifestyle we’ve chosen for us and our kids but you do see the look on peoples faces when you tell them, and I would like to thank them for not sharing their thoughts. Mum always said if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything at all.
Our friends all said that we were crazy to sell our business, house and car but I think they can see now what a positive impact its going to have on our kids. Our past life consisted of high levels of stress and long work hours. We worked hard to cover our mortgage and day to day bills. We never took vacations because we couldn’t get away from our business and our girls were in full time daycare learning all sorts of funky habits and continually having runny noses. Our girls have had their fair share of ear infections, conjunctivitis, colds, flu, bite marks and even hand foot and mouth. Sure its nice for them to socialize daily with other kids and learn all their nursery rhymes but I had to listen to them scream and cling to me every morning begging not to go and pick them up in the arvo with bite marks and a new runny nose. I’m not downing people who put their kids in daycare, we were one of them and sometimes its inevitable.
Don’t think that it’s all peaches and cream living on a boat though. We don’t have the constant illness’s and we have more control over what they learn and the language their exposed to. But now we are trying to learn the balance between personal time, work time (boat maintenance) and kid time. Young kids are extremely demanding but weather you’re on land or floating kids will be kids. We try and seek out other boats with kids onboard to give the girls some other kid stimulation but we find they prefer to play with their toys then the kids themselves. It will come with time. At our old house we had a whole room full of toys but now our girls are learning to use their imaginations and are happier for it. We maybe have 2 small boxes of toys for them and lots of craft and learning supplies. These days they are happier playing with screwdrivers and helping out with the baby and of course treasure hunting on the beach and looking for fish.
We find that our girls are learning a set of completely new skills living on a boat. They’re learning different tools and how to take things apart, they learn how to cook pancakes and wash dishes, they’re learning how to snorkel and how tossing garbage in the ocean effects the beaches and animals. They look at pictures in books like turtles, shells, sharks and say “We’ve seen those”. What better education then living in a 24/7 excursion. Who wants to be stuck in a little 50’x50’ room learning animals from a book.
Other than getting here from North Carolina – 4 day sail, we only do day sails between islands to get us all accustomed to the boat and new way of life. We’ve been living onboard for 8 months now and I’ve noticed that no one ever mentions long showers or fast flushing toilets, its as if we’ve lived onboard our entire lives. We never knew how the kids would adjust to our new life but other than reverting back to a bit of bed wetting from our oldest all is well. It’s our home. The major aspect of our lives that have changed is our view on safety. We have an arsenal of prescription medication and a huge custom prepared first aid bag. We can deal (hopefully) with any first aid situation that will arise. Everyone also has harness’s for the cockpit and life jackets. We put netting up all around our 3’ lifelines and locking gates at the transom. We are officially a gigantic floating play pen. While we sail we’ve taught one hand for the boat and one hand for yourself. The girls are allowed in the cockpit either harnessed or with a lifejacket (harness offshore, jacket coastal) and when it’s rough they camp out in the salon and watch a movie – we have a fine selection of Disney classics.
Conclusion: life onboard with kids is different but we find it no more dangerous then living on land. Sure one of our kids has fallen off the dock but kids are getting hit by cars everyday. We chose to sail in good weather and keep the boat in good working order. We still see local doctors if something is a miss health wise. We are no different from the typical suburban family we just live on a boat.
Lets all judge less and live more
No really….. how do you survive being a family of 5 on a sailboat because we have NO CLUE! We thought our days would change once we got the babe home from the NICU but ground hog day has grown to a new level. Carl returned home from Massachusetts and the girls have been all over him like a rash. It was fun for the first couple of days and now they won’t let him out of their sight. Talk about clingy.
On the baby front all is well, it turns out that we baked a grazer. All he does is want to nurse ALL – DAY – LONG! This puts me out of commission and couch bound. The girls don’t seem to be jealous yet but I’m waiting for that little green eyed monster to come out. My nights are pretty daunting. He takes one real good sleep at the start (last night it was for 5 hours) but usually for only 2.5 to 3 hours and then after that he’ll wake up every 1.5 hours to be fed. Honestly he should be the size of a house by now and my poor boobs are getting a beating. He was sleeping in the bed with us but has been moved to the shelf because Carl is worried he will hit him while sleeping. I bought a little co-sleeper as a last minute purchase and it’s suppose to last him until 6 months but I’ll be surprised if we get another month out of it. He has about 1” to spare.
Having a baby on board has been a little challenging and I see now why people rent an apartment for the first month. It’s hard getting up and down the stairs and it’s hot hot HOT! I think I’m sweating a lot due to my changing hormones because really it’s not that hot here but I’m a sweaty mess day and night causing a crazy amount of laundry. I am missing all my gadgets I had with the girls like the swing and bouncer. If he’s awake he wants to be held but just for a second because then it’s food time. I read that he falls into the category of “cluster fed” baby. Yikes, not cool.
We took him to the beach yesterday and he really didn’t like that, too much sun and wind. But he was ok because he nursed the whole time – of course. Getting in and out of the dingy with a newborn is also a challenge. He definitely needs to be in my Ergo carrier or wrap for those transitions.
I’m counting down the days until he’s 6 weeks old. From what I read online it’s when he’ll get more into a routine with nursing and napping. It’s been almost 3 years since Wags was a newborn and how quickly you forget how hard it is. The lack of sleep in a killer. For the past couple of days I give him his morning feed then Carl will take him and allow me to sleep another 2 hours. Because he’s a constant feeder he’ll usually give him a bottle of expressed milk while I’m asleep then I get up and pump. It’s been working out so we’ll probably continue it.
Other than that all is well. My sister flys in from Rome tomorrow and we’ll be heading out to the Exumas for 7 days. Yippee! Don’t know who’s more excited me, Carl or my mum. We are so sick of sitting at the dock. We’ll be without internet pretty much all that time so I’ll post some pictures when we get back.
So we on on day 3 of having our baby home and I officially have a tired baby brain. Our little boy is a constant grazer keeping me up all hours of the day and night. I’d forgotten how hard it is to have a new baby in the house/ boat. Unfortunately Carl had a family commitment in the States so he has been away for the homecoming, he’ll be back on Tuesday. My mum has been a saint taking care of the girls and helping out around the boat. So what have I learnt so far having a new boat baby? House babies and boat babies are the same, they poop, pee and feed constantly but I do miss some of my gadgets I had with the other girls. He likes to be held so I would die for a swing to pop him in to send him off to sleep I also miss having a crib I can put him in knowing he’s safe and sound, not from the rolling of the boat but from his sisters with their little octopus arms forever touching on his face and trying to hold him. I’m on guard 24/7, we’ll probably put a lock on our cabin door so I know he’s safe napping while we’re in the cockpit (maybe having that beer I’ve been longing for).
The girls are soo happy to have a baby brother even though they constantly call him “her” and Pri trying to work her pretend magic on him trying to turn him into a sister.
That’s all for now, he’s waking and duty calls.
Below are the pictures mum took of the girls when they first met their little brother.
We took him for another heart scan the day he got out of hospital. You know what’s super fun? Trying to breastfeed a baby while they have an ultrasound and an EKG, these tests never work with a crying baby.
My mum has been here for 2 weeks now. I think she’s getting the worst vacation ever. Not much fun here hanging out at the dock. Her days are filled with taking care of the girls and cleaning the boat. I personally think it’s her BEST vacation ever! We are getting a clean boat and a sitter!!!
So what sort of fun do you get up to when you’re mum is in town? Well we’ve been to Potter Cay and bought conch fritters and conch salad. We got back to the boat and all had to wash our black feet. It was an interesting place but don’t think I’ll be heading back there anytime soon. All the shacks were running off of loud generators and people and cars everywhere. Plus the funky smell. I’m all up for an adventure and don’t like things sterile but Potters Cay was a little too dingy for me.
We’ve been to Atlantis a couple of times to take the girls to the slides which has been fun. Today we went over for our last hoorah before we are consumed with the baby. I missed the evening feeding which made me feel extra guilty but he’ll have me 24/7 come tomorrow. It was my last time to love on my girls without a bubba on my boob constantly. Bambi our neighbor came over with us to help my mum out. It’s been 10 days since the birth and I’m not able to go swimming yet.
We’ve also taken mum to our favorite scavenger beach. It’s across the container ships loading dock and all the garbage washes up there. What more fun than looking for treasures on a deserted beach. We picked up 2 ping pong balls, a tennis ball and a bucket. What a score! We even got another bucket on the way to the beach. I think it was a low point in Carls life. We were fishing a used bucket out of Nassau’s inlet and checking it for holes when a beautiful mega yacht comes cruising past. Carl held his head in shame. It’s ok babe, you won’t be thinking of that boat each time you use your fab bucket knowing you didn’t have to pay $20 for it!
Mum swears she’s having a good time but it hasn’t been all pina-coladas and lazy days on the beach. We get to take Crew home from the hospital tomorrow so she’ll have a new nana job. Carl is currently in Massachusetts dealing with a family emergency and when he returns we’ll try and show her a good time in the Exumas.
Cheers to Nana’s…. they can put up with a shit load!
Like all mums that have been on this ferris wheel ride before,l I had made a rather detailed birth plan. I was to go into labour naturally and refuse all drugs including an epidural. I wanted this bub to have the best start in life as possible and give myself the quickest recovery and best chance at successful breastfeeding. Well lets just toss that rule book right out the window. It also helps if you give the doctor your birth plan to start off with.
I was 38 weeks pregnant and had some GI tract issues I wanted to talk over with the doc also there was a lot less movement going on since it all started. I got a non stress test (which the machine broke) then an ultrasound to figure out the baby’s movements. The bub didn’t show any signs of good movement so I was sent home with a 24 hour kick count record. I guess we failed at that too so the next day I was sent to the Doctors Hospital for another non stress test, in which we also failed. The doc convinced me that maybe the babe would be happier out rather than in and that we would induce the next day. It wasn’t in the cards but I needed to do what was best for the baby. Luckily my mum had flown into town from Australian the day before so we were all set to go ahead. I’d never been induced before and I can honestly say that I will NEVER go through that again. I was induced with cytotec, google it you’ll find it’s used for ulcers and to induce miscarriages. But my doc assured me it was safe and that’s how they do things here. I said ok as long as she gave me a small dose to see how my body would react. We got induced at 11:30am.
It was only us at the birthing center, they haven’t delivered a baby there for at least 6 months due to all the locals wanting to go the the hospitals. We were more than happy to have the place to ourselves. We had a OB/GYN, midwife and surgical nurse that stayed there from start to finish.
You need to bring everything in the Bahamas. Baby clothes, blankets etc. We did it in style with our sail bags.
I had to stay in bed for an hour while the meds worked then we got up and started checking everything out. Very 70s! Just like everything else in the Bahamas we were surrounded by items passed their used by dates. Got to watch yourselves here.
We then fought with the surgical nurse to allow us outside to walk around the building to try and get things started. She said how dangerous it is outside especially in my state. We were just walking around the building, not the local bar. This is me with the neighbours onions. It’s funny what you take interest in when you walk the same route 20 times.
My mum, Pierre and Bambi came to visit with the girls. We were happy for the company to break up the laps.
I was 2cm all afternoon so they put me on Pitocin to help speed things up. I thought well I’ve already had one intervention and now that I’m here I have to continue on or be in labour for days. The pitocin picked things up a little but not too much. I was 1cm at 11:30am and barely reached 3cm 12 hours later. I wasn’t in a lot of pain just uncomfortable and starting to get really tired, typically I’m in bed by 9pm not midnight. I then agreed to have my water broken, this also wasn’t in the plan but at least I thought that it didn’t involve drugs. Holy hell did it hurt and I went from 3cm to 10 cm in under 2 hours. Worst pain EVER. I fought again with the nurses to let me walk around and labour in the shower. I was glad to have Carl with me and that he had my back and was willing deck the nurses and deliver the baby himself if I didn’t get my way. You rock babe!
This was a birthing clinic and I was starting to regret my decision of a natural birth. If I was at the hospital I think I would have raised my hand already “epidural please”. But alas we didn’t have the option and I know now that I was better off for it, just not then. After the worst 2 hours of my life, and 2 pushes. Little Crew was born. He’s the light weight of the family weighing in at 8.8lbs. I got to hold him straight away all goowy and slimy.
Right after this the power went out and Carl was running around with a flashlight trying to fix the problem. I was getting worried because the heat lights went out over him and he was getting cold. Bahamas!!!
A job well done team!
I love that the Bahamas has a no bottle policy and that the Pediatrician after examining him put him naked on me for skin to skin contact. In the US at this time they hand you a sterile baby that has been so poked and prodded that they don’t know if you’re the janitor or the mum.
Above is my OBY/GYN Dr. Hall Watson. She’s super nice with a great sense of humour.
All went well, Carl tossed a rug on the floor and drifted off to sleep around 3am. The bubba wouldn’t settle for me or feed so I was awake the whole time and by the time the sun came up we had decided to call the Pediatrician back. Little Crew was refusing to latch and kept spitting up clear fluid. The baby hadn’t fed for over 7 hours and the Pediatrician said that he has lots of fluid in his lungs and is more interested in trying to get it up than feed. An ambulance was called and he was taken away to the Princess Margaret NICU. I was discharged with the baby but needed to wait from my RH- shot before I could leave. Carl went with Crew to the Hospital and got him all booked in. $600 deposit or he wasn’t allowed to see him, the Bahamians do love their money up front.
So I’m writing this alone on our boat. My mum has taken the girls off so I can get some rest. Carl is off buying some formula (just in case I have milk issues) and a cell phone so the hospital can call us. All alone with no baby. I’m have some heavy bleeding and am pretty much stuck on the couch with towels around me. Visiting hours are from 10am to 8pm and you cant see him for 3 hours during the day when the nurses change shift and Carl said he has to sit in the hall and they won’t let him in to touch him. I’m better off on the boat recovering and working on my milk. We’ll head over there tomorrow morning to see him. He’ll have to be there for 24 to 48 hours. It’s crazy how empty we feel without the baby being home. Did we have a baby or was it all just a dream.? We’re both in a haze and I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have such a great husband for support. Carl is the best birth partner ever. He was there every step of the way with wash cloths, massages and pressure points. Its really hard on dads to see their wives in pain, I think it’s the only times in his life that Carl has felt truly helpless and I commend him on his strength.
Crew is the final addition to our family but would I recommend to other mums to get induced? No. Maybe if he came when he was ready he wouldn’t have fluid in his lungs and my labour wouldn’t have been so long. Maybe my milk would have come in better to give him the boost he needed. Mother nature is the best medicine. Believe in her and your body and you’ll give your child the best start in life.
I guess my oven isn’t baking so well and need to get induced tomorrow – yuck. We are 38 weeks pregnant. Not what I planned at all. I’ve never been induced so I’m a little scared about the whole scenario. The bad thing about writing a birth plan is that they never go as planned. Ahh well, I’m going to have myself some wine in the cockpit and begin to freak out. Crazy to think that we’ll be bringing a baby back home to the boat the day after tomorrow, or tomorrow if I can wing it. The bub is having some movement issues and has become quite worrying to us and the doctor. Seeing that it’s almost full term we’ve decided that he/she is better off on the outside than inside. It’s crazy that in this day and age that doctors and all their technology still can’t quite determine with 100% accuracy the health of a baby inside the womb. Is it stressed or just a mega chilled out bub? We’re hoping for the Bob Marley bubba.
Nana arrived yesterday so she’s just in time. I think she’s going to spend the day with our great neighbor Pierre and Bambi catching the local buses around the island.
Have I packed my bag? No. Do we have names picked out? No. Do we have baby clothes? As of yesterday, YES! Are we prepared for a third child? GOOD HEVANS NO! Like with the rest of our lives we’ll wing it with a smile, and maybe a beer.