As I sit here stuck under a sleepy baby (thanks to 6 week imms), I can’t help but do a lot of thinking. To be honest, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since Lily arrived. I was stuck in hospital for a week without family being able to visit so I reflected a lot, I didn’t sleep much and the mind wanders.

I’ve been through a lot of shit in my life, who hasn’t? When you’re in the thick of it, it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there’s generally a positive to every negative.

Every poor decision (and I’ve made a many), every shitty situation, every friendship gained and lost has helped me get me where I am today. 

I’ve written blog before that have touched on the friendship topic. Motherhood really made me reevaluate the friendships and relationships I held. Reuben and I have started a bit of wedding planning and we were having discussions around the guest list and how many people we think we’d have there. My thought process was around the whole would they invite me to theirs? Have they met our children? Have we ever met their partner? Would I regret not inviting them? Have I seen them/had contact within the past year?

It really made me realize that I can count my ‘friends’ on less than 2 hands these days. Sure, I have a lot of contacts and connections (personally & professionally) as well as Facebook friends but how many actual friends do you have? That you can confide in? Communicate often? Hang out or couldn’t imagine your life without? I’d be curious to know. Am I the only one with such a small friend group? Is it my own doing? Before meeting Reuben I lived alone for a really long time and was single (about 5 years), I became super independent and often went into my own shell and ended up becoming a bit of a hermit. I became at peace with my own presence and didn’t feel the need to be surrounded by others. Sounds odd, but if you’ve been in that situation, you may know what I mean. I was never a drinker, I never went to town or anything like that. I’ve drunk more since becoming a Mum (those end of day Pinot’s are my saviour).

I hold my friends dearly and would do anything for them, sometimes I am slack, I get busy and I don’t reply but that is not a reflection on how much I value their friendship. I try and tell my friends how much they mean to me, even though most find it corny. I would hate for tomorrow to come and something happen to myself or one of them and have had not told them how much I appreciate them.

As I mentioned above, I’ve made poor decisions in the past. I’ve allowed people to walk all over me and treat me badly. I’ve settled for less than I deserve and I let people hurt me. But looking back now, yes, those actions and situations changed me. They’ve shaped me into the person I am now and that I deserve a hell of a lot better. They’ve helped me find this drive that I didn’t realize I had.

Throughout my adult life, I’ve always been about helping people. Being there for everybody else even though at times I felt as though nobody was there for me – and maybe that’s why I am the way I am. I treat people how I would like to be treated. I like to tell them I care, I love giving my friends gifts – it genuinely makes me smile. I absolutely love doing things for others.

Building this blog into what it is today and getting amazing private messages from people saying how much I’ve helped them has made the negativity bearable. The support group for mums that I created now has over 13,000 members and daily I see mums empowering and helping our other mums. Giving support, guidance and positive praise. Sometimes all we need is a non-judgemental ear and some reassurance. It truly does make me feel so damn good. 

I have struggled with mental illness, this is no surprise. I talk openly about it because there is so much unnecessary stigma around it. I thought I was managing it, and then developed PND with Baxter. I have this new body that has been difficult to be comfortable in until I learned that acceptance was the key to my happiness. This body grew life (2 even). I jiggle more than I used too, I have scars that will never go away – and I am now OK with that.

It’s been a tough road this mum gig, I never imagined myself being a parent. To be honest, after some pretty shit past relationships – I thought I’d be on my own for the rest of my life. Then Reuben came along, unexpectedly – and changed all of that. Falling pregnant with Baxter had us both freaking us – new and unknown territory is scary but we owned it and embraced it, what other choice do you have? We’ve fought like mad and we’ve shared so much joy together. We’ve watched Baxter reach milestones and we’ve been so extremely proud, we made that and by god is he handsome. With the recent arrival of Lily, we still don’t know what we’re doing – no day is the same. Becoming a Mum has shown me a strength I never knew I had, emotions I didn’t know existed and it’s made me laugh and cry – sometimes at the same time. My family is complete and I have never been so happy in my life.

I truly don’t even know what the purpose of this blog was all about, I had feels I needed to get out.

As if the 3 trimesters of pregnancy weren’t enough, there’s actually another one. Yes, the fourth trimester is an actual thing. Basically, it’s the idea that the first 3 months of life are very much an extension of life in the womb for baby.

In my opinion, the first 12 weeks with a newborn (see my survival tips here) are the most difficult. Hence why it’s been dubbed ‘the 4th trimester’. Nobody really tells you (warns you) or talks about it and I’m not really sure why. In the hospital they often tell you about the dreaded 2nd night, I’m pretty sure with Baxter we were even given a print out on what to expect. Constant feeding being the main thing and most babes don’t know their day from night in those early days (sometimes weeks).

I did some googling….

“Your baby’s fourth trimester starts from the moment he/she is born and lasts until he/she is three months old. The term is used to describe a period of great change and development in your newborn, as he/she adjusts to his/her new world outside your womb. You may find the term “trimester” odd, since your baby is already born.”

So there. It is a ‘thing’.

I’ve always told people that things get better after the first 12 weeks, they’re not so fresh, they respond (some what), they smile and are a lot less fragile and become more interactive each and every day.

Back to the whole ‘fourth trimester’ thing. Imagine what the life is like for you wee one tucked up inside your womb: tightly cocooned in a warm, dark, comforting place. Constantly hearing the safe sound of mums heartbeat. This is why they’re like koala’s once earthside. They take comfort in the sound of mum’s heartbeat and her smell. Mum’s chest is their safe place. Your baby will want to be held by you, and only you. Babywearing can help during this period to enable you to still go to the bathroom and do things that help you feel sane without being stuck under a newborn 24/7.

I look at the fourth trimester similar to the third trimester for many. You’re tired, your uncomfortable and many of us are anxious. Some of us still look like we’re pregnant, I know I did – just a lot more squishy!

Nobody warned me about the contractions after birth if you’re breastfeeding, your uterus contacts when you feed and it can take up to 12 weeks for it to return to is normal size. I found I bled more during those first few feeds too.

Don’t worry too much about creating bad habits during this time, you can’t spoil a newborn. They’re still too young to form bad habits.

The fourth trimester is an adjustment period for all, mums/dads & babies. I just wish there was more discussions surrounding it so we can align our expectations and not be so overwhelmed.

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20.04.2017 | 3.43am | 8lb5oz – Lily Luca Bemrose


I kept going to start this blog post and simply don’t know where to start because it all happened so quickly. I wrote about Baxter’s and had trouble remembering all the details so figured I’d get onto Lily’s sooner rather than later.

For the days/nights leading up to the birth I was certain that she was ‘coming that night’. Nobody knows your body like you do and I knew stuff was going on but clearly she wasn’t quite ready.

I’ll set the scene…

The morning of the 20th rolls around, 2am – I am laying in bed and think ‘hmm, did I just wee?’ I get up and go to the toilet. It wasn’t enough for me to think much of it. I figured I was just loosing my mind. 5 min later, def not wees. I feel a warm surge of liquid – “REUBEN, get a towel! She’s coming” haha.

A friend of mine had kindly gifted me some adult nappies, what a god send. I put a pair of them sexy panties on and jumped back into bed. Reuben tells me “go back to sleep, reserve your energy” yeah, ok – thanks for that. This is what we did with Baxter but clearly Lily had other plans. Less than 5 minutes after laying in bed mildly freaking out that it was all finally happening contractions started and hit me like a freight train. 2 minutes apart from the get go and getting stronger and stronger each time. We called the midwife at 2.30am and told her what was going on, she said to come in and said she’d see us within the hour as we had to call on Reuben’s parents to come out as Bax was in bed fast asleep. Waiting for them felt like an eternity to the point that we were down in the garage with the car running. Contractions in the car are honestly hell. I thought to myself “why the fuck am I doing this to myself all over again?” and then I remembered we’d soon meet our little girl who’d complete our family and it’d all be worth it.

They finally arrived and we were on the road just after 3am. Shit was getting more intense as time went on and I kept saying to Reuben “this baby is coming, I feel like I need to push”.

We were traveling from Lower Hutt to Wellington Hospital where we’d chosen to give birth and we most definitely ran a few red lights when Reuben realized I wasn’t exaggerating and this baby was coming, and fast.

We arrived at the hospital carpark delivery suite lifts, they’re locked after hours and you have to use the phone of doom. We called up and said “yeah, we’re about to have a baby in the carpark” and we waited, and waited, and waited…. I was literally leaning against the parking machine, nappy and all, crossing my legs in an attempt to keep this baby in all while some teens were in the carpark getting wasted. Fun times. After what felt like 10 minutes, we called the midwife to tell her we were in the carpark and an orderly had still not come to let us up. She shortly greeted us in the lift and we were on our way up to delivery suite. It would have been about 3.30am by the time we got into the room which Reuben labeled the dojo.

I literally when into sheer panic within seconds as everything was happening so insanely fast. I yelled at my midwife saying I needed to push, I felt SO much pressure it was insane. She said the rest of my waters hadn’t gone and that was probably the pressure. Within seconds of her observation and examination, WHOOOSH – the rest of the waters go and I shit myself at the same time (I’d hoped I wouldn’t as I didn’t with Baxter but honestly don’t even give a shit now I think about it – see what I did there). Great idea on the chicken tandoori, Reuben. Lol.

I am not even exaggerating, within seconds I was pushing, 2 pushes and Lily Luca was born at 3.43am. 13 minutes after arriving into the delivery suite. If you were following our live updates on Snapchat you would have seen the gap in Reuben’s story, it literally happened THAT quickly. I am scared to think what had happened if she didn’t come down and get us from the carpark when she did or if I’d gone into labour at a different time of day and had traffic to compete with.

Lily was born happy and healthy (well, so we thought). In the days prior we learned that she’d potentially contracted some type of viral infection and her body was not strong enough to fight it off. She was having trouble with her breathing and was not maintaining a healthy body temp. We spent 4 days in the Wellington Children’s Hospital and I cannot express enough how amazing the staff were throughout our stay.

It was an extremely tough and emotional time for me since EVERY single family member on both sides got hit with Gastro. Dad, Mum (passed out at our place while caring for Baxter and got concussion), Baxter, Reuben’s Mum & Dad and then Reuben dramatically collapsed at the Children’s Hospital and spent the day in a private room there in isolation vomiting etc. It was fucking tough I tell you, due to everybody being sick and us not wanting Lily to be exposed to it I was doing this all on my own. It was difficult for Reuben and the rest of the families as they weren’t even able to see Lily. We communicated via text, FB chat and FaceTime. It was one of the loneliest and toughest few days I’ve experienced to date. It was so hard knowing Baxter was really sick and I couldn’t even see him and had to take everybody’s word that he was OK. I knew he wasn’t. I could feel my depression and anxiety coming flooding back and cried myself to sleep every single night. I put on a brave face/voice for Reuben most of the time but he knew it was killing me.

Everybody is OK now, Lily and I are back at home. Reuben and the rest of the family has recovered. Baxter seems to be 95% although I think some of his not being 100% is the getting adjusted to the fact there is another person in the house now. He is really good with Lily and comes in and says “halllooo lilllllly”. Cute af.

Reuben has been absolutely amazing despite all the drama. I can tell already that him and Lily are going to have the cutest bond ever.

So there you have it, the birth of Lily Luca Bemrose. Quite the exciting and dramatic story.

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Right, I’ve had sooooo many people messaging me on various platforms asking me for my updated hospital bag essentials list.

I did use my initial list as a starting point as well, it was a bloody good list!

Similar to last time, I’ve packed and unpacked the bags (yes, bags) several times. This is mainly due to me being terribly behind in the washing and saying to myself “oh, I wanna wear this in the next few weeks”.

Like last time, I would recommend taking enough clothes etc to get you and baby through 3-5 days that way if you end up having a long stay, you’re more than prepared. In saying that, I was in for 3 nights (4 days) and I’m pretty sure I wore the same clothes for a large majority of the time. Yes mum, I changed my underwear. Even though most people say “oh I can send my partner home to get more” I’d rather just have it there with me. We have a 30 minute drive (no traffic) to the hospital.

I will say in advance, I am super anal so took everything whether or not I ‘needed’ it, it was good to have it ‘just in case’. It’s better to be over prepared than unprepared, right? I am all for being over prepared, it’s easier than sending people out for stuff.

Right, I’ve broken this down into 5 lists;

For you:

  • Comfortable clothes for after the birth – I took slouchy yoga type pants and a nice baggy top to hide my newly acquired pooch, track pants will become your best friend. I have my amazing Silent Theory pants that I’ve lived in throughout my pregnancy, hence why I keep packing and unpacking them
  • Socks
  • Nana undies – the higher the better, especially if you have a c-section you don’t want ones that rub on your stitches. The Warehouse do awesome packs of nana gruts super cheap so you can chuck them after.. or keep wearing months after like me. You can get a 5 pack for $10. I took 2 packs ‘just in case’ (plus I know I will live in daggies for months after, hahaha
  • Toilet paper – the hospital stuff is like baking paper and that’s the last thing you want to be wiping your lady bits with. You can also get those amazing hoo-hah wet wipes, I used these once I got home (up until about 8 weeks when I got the courage to wipe and not dab). I found putting some WaterWipes in the fridge/freezer is ahhhh-mazing down there
  • Maternity pads – you’ll need em. The hospital supply you with ones that resemble a large single mattress but I found the libra maternity ones better as they had wings. In saying that, I was rolling two up (hospital ones) until I came home and once the bleeding died down I swapped over to the libra maternity liners
  • Maternity bras if you’re planning on breastfeeding, take sports bras with no underwire if you’re not going to BF. I don’t think I’ll ever wear a bra with underwire again, haha.
  • Labour clothes – if you don’t want to get stuck in a hideous, unflattering hospital gown, pack some clothes you’d like to labour in. It all happened pretty fast for me so I ended up in a long singlet, it covered my lady bits while walking around the room (some dignity) but also meant the midwife etc could do their thang
  • Slippers & Dressing gown – a lot of people say the hospitals are hot but I personally found it bloody cold!
  • PJ’s – Peter Alexander do amazing maternity pyjamas but they’re hella expensive, I was lucky enough to be gifted some by my amazing mama!
  • Phone/Charger – I also packed my portable battery pack ‘just in case’
  • Snacks: I took barley sugars, gummy snakes and Powerade. All of which got demolished during late nights feeds the following days and that dreaded second night. I also came across these devine Lactation Cookies which I’ve been eating now for the past 2 weeks – they’re delish!
  • Essential oils (if this is your thang) – I used the Le’esscience Labour Blend & Clary Sage during Baxter’s birth and will be using them again this time around. They have a huge selection of ah-mazing pregnancy safe blends AND they’re made here in NZ
  • Your own pillow – hospital ones are s.h.i.t – make sure you use a bright pillowcase so you don’t forget it when you’re in a rush to get out of there like I almost did!

Toiletries:

(I went and raided Countdown/The Warehouse for all those mini travel bottles)

  • Shampoo & Conditioner – save room and find a 2 in 1 or just rock the dry shampoo!
  • Hairbrush, Hair ties or headband if you want to ensure your hair is out of your face
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Lip Balm – by god did I need this
  • Moisturiser
  • Soap/Body Wash
  • Breast pads if you’re intending on BF’ing – I got some awesome reusable ones from Bibbitty Baby! I also purchased some Hydrogel Breast Discs to try this time around as my nips were RUINED last time
  • Lanisoh (nipple cream)
  • Hand cream
  • BB cream – I could not be fucked with full on makeup but this made me feel, and look less like a zombie when it came time for visitors
  • Medications you may need
  • Weleda Hypercal Lotion if you have a vaginal birth – this stuff was amazing the weeks following, I chilled it in the fridge in a shot glass then syringed it onto my lady bits, you could always make a heap up in a pump bottle but I found this awkward as hell and it just ended up everywhere but on my hoo-hah

It looks like a lot, but all of this fit in a small toilet/makeup bag for me. As I said, I went for the small travel sized bottles that the supermarket/Warehouse stock.

For partner/family/support person:

  • Camera (make sure you charge your battery or take spares) and don’t forget a memory card! My partner was on birth photog duty last time and done an awesome job
  • List of people who need to be contacted after the birth if you’re not up for doing it
  • Snacks/drinks
  • Change for the carpark/food etc

For baby:

  • Hats, booties, scratch mittens (you can also use socks)
  • Light blanket or muslin for swaddling
  • Merino onesies or suits – some people prefer gowns as they’re easier for late night changes
  • Singlets
  • Leggings
  • Woollen cardigans
  • Baby wipes/nappies
  • Wool blanket
  • Capsule or carseat – the hospital generally check this on discharge

NB: With Baxter, I packed all newborn clothes but he was quite small so ended up in prem clothes for a week or two once we came home (he wasn’t prem), so if you think/know you’re having a wee babe then I would take 1-2 prem suits just in case.

Backup bag in the boot of the car:

  • 2 spare outfits for bubs
  • Extra blanket/swaddle in case other gets soiled
  • Extra nappies/wipes (hospital often has this stuff but if you have a preference as to what you want to use then take your own
  • Change of clothes for my partner + toiletries
  • Camera charger

Ladies, leave a towel in the car if your waters break at home and you have a wee (haha) drive to the hospital. I needed a towel in the car, and on my side of the bed which was lucky as my waters broke in bed. I finally remembered to take the towel out of the car a few weeks later when I rose from the newborn haze (ha, ew).

As I say, everybody is SO different. It’s likely Reuben won’t be staying so he probably won’t need half of his stuff but he used it all last night as he did manage to stay a night or two (I would have discharged myself had he not been allowed too). Every birth can be so different so we are prepared for all situations and if we don’t use it, no major. Some people take the bare minimum while I like to feel comfortable and have my things with me.

I hope this helps!

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Second time round I am going into this whole experience with so much more knowledge than when I was pregnant with Baxter and well, knowledge is power – right?

I will not allow myself to feel bullied, judged or pressured into anything. I’ll have my tin of formula in my hospital bag if I’m having issues and my baby is hungry. I won’t question my decision for a moment. I will give breastfeeding a go but I will not allow myself to get consumed by bad feelings, pressure and the potential onset of PND.

I’ve come up with a few points that I need to remind myself when times get tough.

  • Don’t be so hard on me – high expectations often result in disappointment, like the above, be strong, stick to your guns and don’t allow yourself to get pushed around.
  • Accept help when offered, even if they don’t do it the way I do – I am the biggest control freak and I NEVER accept help when asked. It’s just not in my nature, I am always the first to put my hand up to help others but when it comes down to people offering help, I always say no.
  • Have an open mind when it comes to breastfeeding – don’t put so much pressure on me. Same as above. I am sticking to my guns, I know what I want and what I won’t allow. I want my baby to be healthy, happy and not hungry. If it all works out, awesome. If it doesn’t, well I tried.
  • Don’t buy so much shit – so many clothes didn’t get worn with Baxter because I went crazy (everybody does with first babies, right?), at least his sister can rock them. The flip side is because we did buy so much crap for Baxter, we didn’t need to buy too much for his sister.
  • Enjoy those first few weeks – we know it’s going to be shit, so let’s try and enjoy them. It really is scary how quickly those weeks go so embrace the fourth trimester in a haze of sleep deprivation and hormones.
  • Try not to compare them – the births, the kids, everything. They’re two totally different children and will no doubt act it so don’t be disappointed if one doesn’t sleep as good as the other (this is a legit fear as Baxter is the bomb sleeper).
  • Don’t freak out during the adjustment period – Baxter isn’t going to be impressed with the new family member (nor is the cat) so I need to give him time to adjust and come around to the idea that he now has this little bundle to help me protect.
  • Just breathe – it’ll no doubt be a bit shit for a while, but they will love each other eventually, right? Don’t sweat the small stuff, what will be will be.
  • Spread the love – remember to give equal amounts of love to both kids, while the new baby is going to need lots of attention and will be very dependent on me, don’t change how I am and have always been with little B.
  • Don’t feel pressured with visitors – this got me last time, I knew people wanted to meet our new addition but I put a lot of un-needed pressure on myself to keep the house clean and was still finding my way with establishing feeding which didn’t help as I wasn’t comfortable with getting my boob out in front of friends/family in those hazy first few days.
  • Take care of myself – know my limits, you know your own body better than anybody and if things don’t feel right physically or mentally, talk to your midwife or GP. With a history of anxiety/depression and PND with my first, I’ll be kept a close on eye on this time around and I know what to look out for. Don’t be afraid to admit you’re struggling.

I know there will be plenty more that I’ve forgotten about and will learn on my journey to 2 under two (oh my god).

Bare with me while I learn to not lose my mind!