The Birth Story

At around 9pm on Wednesday the 5th of May it all began, with Jaicey having her first contractions. At first, we didn’t know if they were just Braxton Hicks contractions, but after half a dozen 60 to 90 second contractions at 20 minute intervals we knew it had started. I’m not sure whether it was nerves or excitement that hit us first, but after a warm shower we jumped in bed to try and get some rest - the contractions were 7 to 15 minutes apart now, so we thought it was progressing quickly. Overnight, Jaice had a good hour of sleep between contractions, knowing that she would need the energy the next morning. We had also called the birthing suite to let them know it had started. Our name went up on the board - and the waiting game had begun.

We woke up around 6.30am to rougher contractions, so sat down and watched Little Mermaid - as you do. Immediately the contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart until around 10am, with a few random longer intervals. Throughout the morning we called the birthing suite a couple times, and with their advice decided that we would try and stay home as long as we could cope. However despite knowing that labouring at home is much better, the increasing intensity in the contractions and some 2 minute intervals - or less - we went to the hospital. By this point contractions were sometimes back to back.

After an assessment we learnt we were only 2cm dilated and only partially effaced to 1cm long. We got a stretch and sweep done to try and encourage it along, and were given some Panadeine Forte - and sent home. We understood, even though we were a little deflated. However seeing our midwife Alisha there, who also taught our CalmBirth course, gave us a little pep in knowing that that was totally okay. 

Going home after the point where we already thought we should go in made it a lot harder to know when to REALLY go in. We knew we needed more regularity in contractions and much more intensity - much to Jaicey’s dismay. The Panadeine Forte helped though, and after a good bath, allowed 20 to 30 minute snoozes on the couch between contractions (for both of us).

Jaice had some Panadol - but that didn’t help much - and by 9.30pm, over 12 hours since it started, she first mentioned the possibility of changing the birth preferences from fully natural, to wanting gas and Morphine. Fairly small changes, but it surprised me nonetheless. Being on the outside of what was happening and not being able to experience it first hand, all I could do was encourage her that no matter what she chose, it was okay. The intensity was ramping up tenfold, so we called the birthing suite again. We knew what they would say - that if we go in and the assessment doesn’t say 4cm, we may be told to go home again. We held off, and Jaice tried to sleep on the couch, and I tried to get a few minutes of sleep sitting next to her. We were told a few times to head in if it’s getting too hard to cope at home, yet we tried to push it as long as possible. 

Jaice woke up and said in a stern tone - “I need drugs”. We decided to go in. 12.30am, Friday morning. 27.5 hours after it all started. 

The midwife there was brilliant and super encouraging, however even though Jaice was now fully effaced, she was still only at 2cm. Given the pains she had been feeling, this was super hard to hear. We were given time to talk about it, and some more Panadeine Forte with a gentle sleeping pill this time. We would have liked to stay, however the midwife’s encouraging talk, and the thought of food and a weighted blanket finally meant we were heading home yet again, and at around 2am jumped into bed yet again. Not without a few tears.

All night, contractions continued. Jaice still slept fairly well considering - we didn’t get out of bed until around 10am! Regardless, Jaicey hadn’t really progressed much in my eyes, for the level of intensity that was needed. A hot bath, some food, and about 2 seasons off Friends later, Jaicey had begun to slip into her first crisis of confidence. Between contractions she was stoic and steadfast, but during back to back contractions wanted all the drugs and would vocalise and moan painfully with each wave. At 1pm it became unbearable, so we went in, with the notion of finding gas and possibly Morphine. 

After much anticipation however, Jaicey had dilated just enough to allow us into a room - 3 to 4cm. Not nearly as much as we had hoped given the intensity and that she had been labouring for so long, however we were elated to know we were getting a room and didn’t have to go home. 40 hours since the start - We would be meeting our little man that night!

The room was lovely, with a large double bed. I cracked out the diffuser and got to work creating a safe homely space for Jaicey. Though I’m not sure she saw much - her eyes were closed most of the time as she sucked on the gas, or as we called it - the Nang tube. A few hours later, around 5.30pm, the effect of the gas wasn’t cutting it so we opted for a shot of Morphine. We mastered our breathing techniques and visualisation to the point that we’re pretty sure the midwives were impressed. Long deep inhales followed by long and strong exhales focusing on the feeling of release. I touched her face and squeezed her shoulders, hands and hips, and she responded by exhaling and following my instructions to “soften the face”, “relax the jaw”, and “feel tension melt away as you release”.

She was so good at this I called her the contraction boss. Every time I watched her breathe in with the peak of each contraction, I felt such a strong sense of pride watching her scrunched brow soften and relax as she exhaled, and her shoulders relax and drop as she visualised the downward flow of energy and feeling of release. Though, another shot of morphine was still needed. The gas was non stop.

A couple hours later around dinner time, we had another examination - 5cm. We thought we were doing much better than that given how intense and frequent the contractions had been. So, even though it was a bit of progress, we were silently concerned, considering it took 5 hours to dilate just one centimetre more after being told that they often like to see 1cm per hour. Knowing her waters were still intact - though not an accurate milestone - was weighing on the mind too.

By this point Jaicey was heating up, getting sweaty and really struggling through every contraction that had been back to back. We couldn’t even make it off the bed to go to the bathroom before the examination. The mix of exhaustion and Adrenaline caused her to shake, often at times uncontrollably.

At this point when the midwife said it was progressing really slow, she suggested breaking the waters to get things started. We’d been thinking of that for a while anyway, but when we were told that the contractions would increase in intensity and get closer quite drastically - given how difficult it was, we made the hard decision to elect for an Epidural. A Cannula was inserted to administer fluids, and we laid to rest whilst the Anaesthetist was called in. This was the exact opposite of what the original birth preferences were - however we both knew it was necessary.

What happened next was completely jarring. The safe and homely environment with dim lights and oil diffuser that we’d been imagining for months, became intensely medical, as the atmosphere was blotted out by fluorescent white lights, an anaesthetics team and a cold hospital gown. The gas was out of reach and Jaicey had to get in an uncomfortable hunched over position for the Anaesthetist to access her back between her vertebrae. He had to run to an emergency as Jaicey was getting prepped, so she ended up sitting there cold and exposed, shaking from adrenaline, dealing with more and more contractions for another hour. Her temperature was also up, along with her blood pressure and heart rate, which was cause for some concern as a doctor came in to help assess.

Whilst we waited, it was quiet. Jaicey had become comatose through each contraction and wasn’t really on this planet at all. However there’s no doubt that the silence gave us both time to process what was happening.

Eventually, the Epidural procedure was underway, and Jaice squeezed my hands through the contractions, whilst having a needle being pushed into her spine - trying to stay still as tears welled up in her eyes. I found myself tearing up myself, completely in awe of her bravery and strength, whilst my heart broke for her and the pain she was in. On one hand, the pain would soon be dealt with - but on the other hand, the internalised sense of disappointment and the impending thoughts of “what if we did something different”, crept in.

For the next while, nurses and doctors fluttered about to monitor Jaice as the Epidural took hold. A catheter was inserted, to add to the melange of tubes already taped to her. 1.2L of Urine was drained immediately, which explained a lot. She couldn’t pee because of the pressure of bub, and bub couldn’t move because of the pressure of the pee.

Jaice, despite laying perfectly still with her eyes closed, by now had a heart rate up near 135bpm, and was sweating quite a lot as her temperature was still up. I had to continually feed her ice chips to try to bring it down otherwise they would need to inject antibiotics - another step in the cascade of intervention. The doctor came in and inserted the Amniohook to break her waters to speed up the contractions, with the plan to inject Syntocinon - an artificial hormone to speed up labour - however bubs heart rate was starting to climb. The doctor and the midwives were walking in and out and discussing many things that didn’t make sense to us, and we got lost in the medical lingo - but it was easy to pick up on the vibe that something wasn’t quite right. The doctor came in and with a tone of absolute endearment, told us that bubs heart rate was too high to be able to safely administer the Syntocinon, and that the safest route would be to perform a C-Section. Even though we both quietly knew, and both had discussed it prior that it would be okay, it still hit like a ton of bricks. My heart was torn for Jaicey - she’d been so brave and so strong for so long, and tried so, so hard. I was worried she would be hard on herself - though I was also hard on myself, thinking that I didn’t do enough to help her pull through. 

With a brave nod and “okay” from Jaicey - just before 6am - the prep began. 

Forms were signed, risks were disclosed, the lights were dimmed and Jaice was able to finally rest whilst everything was getting sorted, and the theatre staff were being called in. The feeling from the Epidural site and down was basically gone, and with a cold towel over her forehead she managed to close her eyes and take a break from the gruelling barrage of contractions. As she lay there, no doubt quietly processing what was happening, I sat in a chair next to her, held her hand and looked at her in absolute awe and adoration. There are no words in any language I know that could possibly express the huge sense of pride I feel for her, or the love I have for her. The midwife suggested I curl up on the other bed and get some rest, but I couldn’t bear to leave Jaicey’s side.

Jaicey at one point woke up, squeezed my hand and motioned me closer. She told me that  even though it was a very common procedure - if anything was to go wrong, to choose our little boy. I felt everything inside me crumble and collapse at the thought of that. A million possibilities suddenly shot through my mind - however somehow I managed to keep my composure, and offer a gentle smile.

Eventually it was time. Four hospital staff came in and transferred her to another bed - no easy feat for someone that’s just had their legs turned off. Just outside the door Jaicey vomited, missing the bag. This really couldn’t be over soon enough. She was wheeled to the operating theatre by a team clad in scrubs - and I couldn’t help but tear up and the sight I was seeing.

Once they took Jaicey to the operating theatre I was taken aside to dress up in scrubs, and asked to wait. They wouldn’t let me in until they were happy with how the procedure was going. It felt like hours, as I was left alone in a deserted part of the hospital - wondering… what if something really did go wrong?

Thankfully I heard my name and I was taken inside. The doors swung open and I was greeted by a groovy upbeat playlist being blasted through the theatre, and to a team of operating staff laughing and having a good time. Jaicey was awake and offered me a smile before closing her eyes again. I sat next to her, held her hand under the warming blanket, and waited.

At this point I was so focused on how she was doing, that it surprised me a little bit when I heard a little cry echo out! I was told that the head had just been birthed through the incision, and soon after that, the screen was dropped and our little boy was held up in front of us - blood, balls and all!

Suddenly - it was real. My eyes welled up, and a nurse even put a hand on my shoulder and asked if I was okay. It was finally coming to an end - and at 0647 on the 8th of May 2021, Eden Robert Mascenon came earthside. This stubborn little guy had made the decision that he wanted to make an entrance - and that he did. 57 hours after labour began.

He was cleaned up and placed on Mum’s chest for skin to skin. After a while, Eden and I were taken up to the maternity ward whilst Jaicey was stitched back up and kept in recovery for a while.

Next thing you know, I’m sitting by a warm window in the gentle morning sunlight, in a quiet, peaceful room - with our little boy curled up in my arms, in absolute tranquility and peace. Eden was surely a perfect name for this 3.77kg, 54cm long bundle of joy. Just in time for Mother’s Day.

What felt like forever, had finally come to a close. Our little boy was here - and so began the next leg of this huge, incredible, beautiful journey as a family. Well, after Mum’s recovery that is.

Here’s to you little man. We love you.

Welcome to Shinjuku - Tokyo pt. 1

Nine stories up, behind the thick glass of a hotel window, you’d think there would be a bit of quiet from this crazy city; but no. There’s a constant rhythm of sirens and horns from the streets below, almost as if they’re the sustained, thumping heartbeat of Tokyo.

It simply does not feel real.

The second you’re off the plane you’re thrust into a bustling, fast paced world mixed with an intriguing balance of tradition and innovation. Foreign characters and words fill every blank space, and every space filled with someone who clearly needs to be somewhere yesterday. We thought the airport was crazy…

Then came the train.

You’ve heard about Tokyo’s metro trains surely… Now stick three foreigners who have been there five seconds, with three big suitcases, and you might start to get an idea of what it was like.

The whole trip we were wide eyed, taking in every detail and piece of information our senses would allow. Neon signs and car lights flashed past the windows as the train hurdled bridge after bridge. Our bewilderment must’ve been obvious, because an expat down the carriage locked eyes with me and offered a smile. A smile that I’m still unsure if it was meant to comfort or if he was saying “Good luck”. Perhaps getting off the train and onto the street would give some sensory relief?

I shouldn’t have given myself the luxury to think so.

Welcome to Shijnjuku.

From the first glimpses out the plane window, right up to this point, there’d be only one way to describe the experience thus far: Sensory Overload. Stepping into the street outside Shin-Okubo Station was like walking into the set of a movie… Thousands of lights buzzing as far as the eye could see, all reflecting off of the obsidian streets, shiny and wet from the persistent drizzle. The roar of the Metro trains overhead; strange smells of food, wafting up stranger still stairs that seemed to disappear down into some other underground dimension. It just didn’t feel real. You hear stories and see videos and photos - yet nothing can prepare you for simply how alive this place is.

Your entire peripheral vision is assaulted by colour and lights. Your aural senses are thrown by electronic beeps and whistles from every direction. Yet strangely enough, the feeling of rain gently falling on our faces seemed to be the only sense of familiarity… that is until we smelt food. If there’s one sense more primordial than any, its a human’s need to feed.

That was enough to kick us into gear.

Get to the hotel, dump the bags, and find our first meal.

Shop after shop, neon sign after neon sign… we weren’t quite sure what to pick, so we just took a punt and wandered up some pretty looking set of wooden stairs, and sat at something that wasn’t so much a table, but rather an enormous slab; a clear cut-section of a tree no less than 200 years old. It turned out we’d somehow walked into what was surely one of the few indoor smoking Korean barbeque restaurants around… but that hardly mattered. After several quick hand gestures and an absolute barrage of sound that I can only assume were words, the waiter left us to digest what just happened, and to figure out what the hell we were meant to do next… the Japanese menu wasn’t much help either.

After wondering why there was a doorbell sound every few seconds, the waiter showed up. Apparently the button on the table we’d been playing with is the button to call for service… and the reason for all the doorbell sounds…

No matter. We pointed at some pictures, food magically arrived, got eaten, and we were off. Time to wander the streets! Wait what’s that? A kebab for 400¥? Done.
Alright time to wander the streets.

Lights, sounds, smells. Again, again, again. Countless busy streets, and countless tiny alleyways all equally as busy as the main roads.

Taxis with automatic doors, cyclists with no helmets riding on the wrong side of the road, giant glowing buildings dedicated to some strange sexualized iteration of slot machines… not a single thing was even remotely similar to the country we called home a mere 24 hours earlier.

At least for now, the golden beaches and crashing waves at my doorstep were so far and beyond. The soft glow of my phone screen the only comforting sense of familiarity… yet even that, I put aside and told myself, “this is why you’re here.”

3 friends, 16 days. One incredible trip.

This post marks merely the first night of many in a country full of wonder. Stay tuned for more!

In a Land of Giants pt. 3

Click here if you missed Part 1, or Part 2!

It’s already seemed like forever.

From the towering Pines of Laurel Hill, surrounded by photographers and cameras -  to the isolation and darkness of the Yarrangobilly Caves. Many hours in a cramped car, whizzing by the ever changing landscape.

‘Forever’ was only the beginning. We left that snow covered valley, and set our sights on where we’d spend the rest of the week. The Snowy Mountains of NSW. 

To Jindabyne.

Now here’s a photo of me.

Why the hell did I put a photo of me? Because before you start reading the rest of this post I want you all to know that this one is a little different to parts 1 and 2. Less about blowing minds with the excitement of adventure - but more to reflect on, and bring to light the real reasons why this was a trip I cherished so much.

This post is personal, and a little bit deep.

Had you’ve read the footer to parts 1 and 2, you probably saw this coming.

“a three part series about a little bit of time spent away with two of the people I hold dearest.”

Well that’s the real reason for this trip.

There’s no denying one’s connection to nature can be an awe inspiring and incredibly humbling thing. To feel alone in the woods… or anywhere for that matter. It’s something I live for.
But something I’ve come to realise in recent months, is that life never really is complete without having a select few, to be able to share those experiences, and share those stories with. The friends and companions we have in our life are the ones who can exhibit such power on us. Of course, everyone should be willing and able to find pure joy and happiness within their own self, and own life - not needing the external pat on the backs by those around them… but oh how rich an experience, when you have someone to share it with.

I recently learned the importance of this, when one of the best friends I’ve ever had to pleasure to call one - moved away. Here is a guy who was on the same wavelength as me. Neither better, faster, stronger or smarter, but rather both willing to squeeze out the best in each other, and encourage each other in whichever way necessary in order to enrich our lives and make our dreams as far fetched as they may be, seem that little bit more fulfilled.
Him moving away however - that held weight. It wasn’t till after he was gone that I began to feel the drag of my daily life.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve got nothing to complain about either way! Life since he left was on the move and pretty great. I can never, ever complain about my day job, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge - and while I was there I met the absolute love of my life. Life plodded on, joyous and upbeat, albeit different.

The news of him coming back, probably didn’t hit me as hard as it should have, but that first little adventure we went on when he was back? Holy shit. I’d forgotten how special a thing, to have a friend.

Now onto the other end of the gender spectrum.

EDIT: This part was written whilst love reigned strong. For the sake of the written piece I’ll let what follows from here remain, however this was a romance that ultimately wasn’t meant to be. What happened? She said she loved me… I guess she forgot. You never stop loving silently the ones you once loved out loud, but for the sake of honesty - know that it is no more.

*Long story short - she’s not from where I’m from. That in itself makes life an awful lot more difficult - especially when the other person practically IS your life. This trip would be a special time. A time dedicated to building the memories that would span the oceans between us one day. It would be beautiful and encouraging - yet at the same time bittersweet. For it wouldn’t be long till those memories would have to span so far.

This would be her first trip to the snow - and her first time on a snowboard. I hoped, memories that would be so strong and joyous as to create a burning urgency in our plans to make the borders between us smaller. Though as the seconds ticked on, I knew they were ticking towards an impending goodbye.

You see, that all created an interesting mix. The bittersweet romance between me and her was countered by the joy of having a best mate who’d once departed, back again. It gave hope.

All feelings of nostalgia for something we hadn’t yet said goodbye to was trumped by the sheer excitement of one day being back again. All feelings of despair were crushed under the continual reminder that life simply will go on. All thoughts of love ending - conquered - by the understanding that there is no goodbye, only see you later.*

So here we are. Myself, and two people I dearly love. After all, what would humans be without Love? 

RARE” reckons Terry Pratchett’s ‘Death’.

Now back to the adventure at hand.

The road from Yarrangobilly to Jindabyne was a fairly familiar one, once we were past Cooma.
A quick stop at Adaminaby and the big fish, and we were well on our way.

There was an awful lot of excitement as we neared Jindabyne… At least for Rhys and myself. Eleanor was probably wondering what the big deal was, as the slopes themselves had to wait another day, and was a good half an hour further than Jindabyne where we were staying.

Anyone who’s been to Lake Jindabyne - you know the excitement.

The winding road, the familiar bush.
The crest over the hill - and the lake beyond.

Jindabyne is a sleepy, yet special town. Sitting high above where it once lay, the flooded city sits at the bottom of the lake created by the dam. Character. And a special place to call home for the next several nights.

Of course the trip to the snow wasn’t just the three of us. A larger handful of friends from my workplace and beyond would all congregate in a MEGA AirBnB in East Jindabyne. We dumped our stuff, said hello to the resident Black Labrador, and set off for the town center to get Eleanor’s snow stuff.

Now there was a sight that made me smile. Nuggets Crossing. The charming little “second” town center of Jindabyne. Mindlessly browsing through the stores had almost become a ritual of ours in Jindabyne… usually ending in too much of our tax return spent on gear we’d use once a year…. but it was awesome.

We were too late to the party to join the others at a Mexican joint in Jindabyne for dinner - so instead made use of the time to fulfill another one of Rhys and I’s Jindabyne rituals.

Mario’s Mineshaft.

The quaint yet surprisingly large venue, with the pretty waitresses (sorry Eleanor) and creepy owner (sorry Mario) that always had at least a couple televisions playing Art of Flight on repeat, is a staple amongst Australian snowy weekend warriors. We were there for a week… and we went often enough to prove it.

This time we all kept our food down (Rhys you know what i’m talking about) and made back to the house, where we’d hang out with the gang, relax by the fire - and get stoked for the snow the next day.


Not ideal when you want snow.

Nonetheless, it was a good first day. Nice and early in the lift line, and not as wet as we thought up top. The stickier snow gave us a better speed to get our snow legs back before the temperature dropped that afternoon. It also gave us a nasty reminder as to how we hadn’t done the exercise we knew we should have done before diving head first into a solid week of pumping turns. Probably not the best first experience of snow to the resident newbies as well! (Eleanor being one of them.)

No one tossed and turned that first night.

Day 2. 0827 hrs.

First lifts are going. Up we go.

One spur of the moment turn down a not so mainstream run and all of a sudden we were boot deep in the good stuff.

The temperatures dropping overnight, and the snow falling low, meant the next three days on the slopes would be a time to remember.

I couldn’t be more proud of the two girls who’s first time it was on the slopes, and especially Eleanor. These guys admittedly picked it up quicker than I did, and braver too.

Like, they were on their feet the whole time!

Seriously, they were naturals! Hardly fell at all.

Heh. Sorry girls, but welcome to the world of learning to snowboard! Really, you did well.

The next days on the snow I generally kept the camera away. Firstly I wasn’t super keen on squashing it under my back, but I also wanted to focus on riding the incredible terrain that the Australian snow has to offer. The flora and fauna around here is so unique. Snow gums with arms that try grab you, the huge granite boulders above the tree line - and off course the odd wombat or kangaroo if you’re lucky.

My favorite part of being on those slopes were probably the times where we’d pause on a run where there’s no one around - and the silence that followed. The air so still, and the snow absorbing all the sound… it was so peaceful, yet powerful.

One afternoon proved to be particularly special. An impulse decision down a dirt road to Thredbo Diggings campsite lead to one of  the purest examples of the kind of joy, and light hearted wonder, travelling with friends can bring. Throwing rocks across a river (because someone couldn’t skip them), wandering through tall grass, and standing in amongst one of the most beautiful valleys i’ve ever seen.

Good temps and fresh cover each day lent to an amazing several days on the snow - but as always, soon came time to go home. 

Not before one last wander down to the lake, and oh boy did the Snow Mountains put on a show to farewell us goodbye, and till next time.

This whole journey had been a moving experience in itself. From the giant pines of Laurel Hill, to the giant valleys on the journey between. Here we are at the end of the trip, engulfed, embraced, by a giant, powerful love. The love of these giants I have the privilege to call my friends.

Love you both, to the moon and back.


This post is the finale of a three part series about a little bit of time spent away with two of the people I hold dearest. Cramped car trips, smelly snowboard boots.
Snow covered valleys, crisp mountain air.
A time, a memory; a story to be told.

Click here if you missed Part 1
Click here if you missed Part 2

Don’t forget to follow me in Instagram! Most of my photos go on there.


And throw me a like on facebook while you’re at it.

Stay tuned for more blog posts and shots. Behind the scenes shoot, talks about gear and of course - wicked trips away.

Using Format