If you haven’t already you can read Part One here
We sorted out the logistics, I moved to Sydney. I got an amazing job that career dreams are made of. My new boss knew I was pregnant and we continued on our saving path. We had originally planned to work for a few years and save up enough to travel for five years or so. However my newly pregnant state put a time limit on my earning potential. For the entire time I worked in my dream job we saved all of my salary plus all of Dave’s overtime and any extra we could scrounge together. After travelling around South America averaging $60 USD per day (that’s for both of us) we realised how little is truly needed to live a comfortable life.
Our apartment resembled something from Stalin’s Russia but it was cheap (for Sydney) and within the closest travel zone to our workplaces so we saved a lot on public transport. We had no car. Once a week we walked to Aldi to buy all of our groceries and caught the bus home. In Australia you can choose to have prenatal visits with your GP ($70 per visit) or go to the hospitals midwife clinic (free). I chose the hospital clinic. We lived so close to the hospital that I walked to all of my prenatal checkups. The only cost to us for having our son was the initial GP visit. Thank you Australia and your wonderful healthcare system.
I worked until past my first due date. There was still no hope of childcare places and with waiting lists which average around two years, I had a rough plan in my mind to resign if none came up. I believed it was in the company’s best interest as we had just started to gain momentum and me leaving indefinitely wouldn’t help that.
The day finally came for me to finish work and there was still no sign of the baby. Nearing two weeks overdue I was scheduled for an induction. Once again we walked to the hospital although I struggled with the hills, I was so heavy. The induction and eventual labour and birth were unbearably difficult. I can’t think about the birth without losing my shit. Why did I say no to the epidural. WHY, WHY, WHY? Anyway it hurt like the kind of pain you don’t think is survivable. Even worse, halfway through my pain-reliefless-24hours of hell I thought my baby would die, the midwife lost his heartbeat and I got scared and I panicked and my husband was sure he would lose both of us. I had convinced him from an endless monologue of ‘I’m going to die’ which felt mantra-like when I reflect on it. Doctors were rushed into the room, I was firmly instructed to get up on the bed and his birth was taken out of my hands. When the baby was vacuumed out of me and his big red cone-head placed on my sweaty chest I realised how intensely I loved this child that I hardly knew.
When it was time to leave the hospital we wrapped our most precious belonging into the ergo baby carrier and walked carefully home. We stopped for coffee in our favourite cafe. It was a sunny, Sydney winter morning. We had been set free from the hospital with our child. We were tasked with the huge decision of how to raise this child, the endless options available to us were (and still are) both exciting and terrifying.
Since that day we have tried to make choices that allow maximum time with our perfect but sometimes demon-like child. We chose to stay in our tiny one bedroom apartment until Dylan was mobile to save money. The side effect of that was that we bought way less stuff for him than we thought we had to. We put part of our baby bonus – yes you get paid to have babies in Australia – towards starting a savings account for Dylan. We still contribute monthly in order to keep earning the maximum rate of interest.
For the first three months after giving birth I worked from home when Dylan slept so I could bring in a small income which we saved 100% of. We lived on a self-imposed fixed income, saving everything earned over the income limit. Combined with what we had saved while I was pregnant we had over $35,000.
At four months old Dylan took his first international trip – to New Zealand for a week. Three weeks later we were off to Ireland to meet his paternal relatives. My son – at two years old – has more stamps in his passport than I had at 23. I hope his life will be as wonderfully interesting and exciting as he has made ours.