Firstly, thank you. Words alone cannot express the gratitude I have for you. 

You’re a Midwife, a Mum, and a damn good friend.

You made me see a strength in me that I didn’t know I had. A strength I didn’t even know was possible.

You reassured me that everything was going to be OK and that I could do this.

You let me ask all the ridiculous questions I had including a late night text freaking out because my poo was black (thanks iron pills). Questions like “what if I don’t know I am in labour?” haha, how fucking naive was I? You know alright…

You helped us in ways you will never even know. Pre and post-birth.

You’ve never questioned our decisions and you’ve always supported us 100%. I start to ramble and you stop me and remind me that our decisions are exactly that and I don’t need to justify myself.

You’ve been totally honest and straight up with both Reuben and I when we needed it most. 

You made us see sense when we were in a sleep deprived state and it was all getting a bit much.

My midwife is also a personal friend, I was always a little worried her seeing me at my most vulnerable (and seeing my lady bits) but honestly, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. She is a total champ and I don’t regret my decision even when she challenges me – generally for my negativity and crap attitude (and I thank her for it). She was well aware of my past mental health issues and was so amazing seeing signs of PND early on with Baxter and jumping on it straight away, educating me and making me see that it’s far more common than we realise and there is so much help and support out there. She made me feel confident in talking about how I really felt which in turn has allowed me to help others going through the same thing by speaking openly in my blog about my struggles.

Her love and support throughout the pregnancies/births of both Baxter & Lily is something I will be forever grateful for.

You know who you are… thank you doesn’t seem like enough.

18057083_1313091305393642_5427747711100726190_n

I really wished I’d written notes about my birth earlier as 10 weeks on is not the most ideal time to recollect it, whilst the labor itself feels like a blur now I will do my best to remember the details.

To put things into perspective, my due date was the 28th of August. I was so desperate to get this baby out earlier, if not on my due date. I drunk copious amounts of raspberry leaf tea (which tastes like radiator water), I bounced on the swiss ball till I couldn’t bounce anymore, I curb-walked and I had lots of sex (upon instructions from my midwife) although feeling like a beached whale and having sex was the LAST thing I wanted to do. Ladies, you know exactly what I mean.

As a first time mum, being overdue was like the end of the world, seriously. I was in the mindset that this baby was never coming and that he’d be in there forever.

The 30th of August rolls around and I wake at 5.30am. I felt/heard something weird, I reluctantly put my hands ‘down there’ and felt warm liquid. For a moment there I thought I’d pissed the bed. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My waters had broken, it was not what I’d expected from seeing way to many unrealistic american movies. I managed to save the mess in my bed and made it to the bathroom somehow. I sat on the toilet thinking ‘holy fuck, this is happening’. I woke up my partner and was like ‘um, I think my waters just broke’, we’re both in a panic running around the house yelling ‘he’s coming, he’s coming’. He told me to try get some sleep, um, yeah right. That was not happening. I think I may have drifted off for a very small period of time but my mind simply wouldn’t let me. The day I’d been waiting for was finally here and I was shitting bricks (not literally, but may as well have). As it was so early int he morning we decided to hold off calling the midwife until later that morning (9am). Contractions were quite far apart at that stage and I was still questioning myself as to whether this was the real deal or not. My midwife was off for the weekend (typical, I KNEW it was going to happened on her scheduled weekend off!). Backup midwife told us to come in and get checked out, generally once your waters have gone they check on everything and you are put on IV antibiotics after 12 hours if things are progressing due to the risk of infection. We went in about 3.30pm I think. She questioned whether or not it was actually my waters, I told her I definitely didn’t piss myself so it had to be. I jokingly told her it smelt like semen and not urine (have heard this is strangely normal). She done an internal and confirmed I was 1-2cm dilated and done a stretch and sweep while she was done there which was not the most pleasant of experiences but knew it’d be nothing compared to what was ahead. After we left things felt different, I knew that whatever she’d done had really moved things along. She’d told us to come back at 10pm that night, with all our stuff and expect to be in for the night (and that we wouldn’t be leaving without a baby). If things weren’t to progress, the plan was I’d be hooked up to an IV for antibiotics until things got going.

Not necessary, at 8pm I screamed at my partner from the bathroom to call the midwife and ask if we could come in earlier to which she said yes yes, come in. My contractions were getting closer (don’t even ask how far apart as I can’t remember now) but they were getting more intense. I think contractions really stepped up for me around 6pm (from memory) and just got worse from then on. Having contractions in a moving vehicle is one of the most hideous experiences, sitting at the lights trying my best to slump into my seat so the people next to us couldn’t see me while I was gripping the door panel in the car so hard I was making an indent in the rubber. We were traveling from Lower Hutt into Wellington Hospital as this is where I had chosen to give birth (we lived in the city when we found out I was pregnant). We finally pull into the hospital carpark and sure enough, the fucking lifts lock off at 8pm. I was adamant I was going to give birth in the carpark gripping the pay & display machine. We buzzed L&D and what felt like an hour later (was actually less that 5min) a security guard with a wheelchair arrives in the lift. I’ve never been so happy to see a complete stranger.

We get settled into our room and they do another internal and I was only 4-5cm I think? I was disappointed, with the pain I was feeling I was expecting 10cm! Hah! Sadly no. I remember struggling to find a comfortable position to ride out the contractions. I was on the floor at one stage, on the bed, walking around and spent a majority of my time on the toilet as I constantly felt like I needed to pee (more that I ever did throughout the whole pregnancy). On what was to be my final toilet visit I sat down and ‘WHOOSH’ the most unreal noise and hollywood gush of water, so much so, my partner, the midwife student and midwife all heard it even with the bathroom door closed. I look behind me in the toilet (as you do), it was brown. For a split second I thought holy shit, I just did the most ruthless shit. No, meconium in the waters and I knew that was bad so I went into panic mode instantly. I yelled something along the lines of ‘holllyyyyy fucccckkk I need to push, he’s coming’ and the midwife ran in and helped me off the toilet and onto the bed. I started off labouring on all fours on the bed, I found it so uncomfortable and constantly felt like I was going to shit. This is very normal by the way and was one of my biggest fears. I didn’t, thank god. My partner was AH-MAZING, putting ice cold flannels on my forehead and shoulder blades, within seconds they felt piping hot and I’d yell at him for more cold ones! I finally got my way and was able to swap positions and labour on my back, instantly I felt like all this pushing was actually getting me somewhere! I went into the birth wanting to have no drugs whats so ever and I am so pleased I was able to fulfil my birth plan. How? I have no idea. Sheer determination and the right mindset I think. I recall people telling you about the ring of fire, by god. The feeling/pain down there would resemble somebody holding a blowtorch to your lady bits at close range, on that final push when I actually felt him coming out was the biggest relief I have ever felt in my entire life, I instantly felt a pressure release (duh, a human just came out of my VAGINA!). Don’t get me wrong, the pain was out of this world but the moment they’re out and you hear that first cry, it actually is so worth it (I thought people were crazy when they said this to me). He was straight up onto my chest for skin on skin and was so alert! My partner cut the cord which was amazing as we didn’t think he’d be able too (hates blood etc, and there was plenty of it). Once I thought it was all over I forgot I still had to push the placenta out, thank god its squishy and barely compares to a HUMAN! My poor partner, the midwife said soft push, which I swear I did and the placenta literally shot out, along with a fuck tonne of blood. Apparently there was a small pocket of blood behind the placenta which helped with it’s exit, haha. I thought my other half was going to pass out. It looked a lot worse that it actually was. Upon inspection, it turns out my sac ruptured in two places, hence the two lots of waters I lost. It was definitely reassuring to know I hadn’t pissed myself earlier than morning but a bulk of the waters were lost on the epic toilet visit. To be honest, the hours after this were a blur. I remember my parents coming up to the delivery room to meet the little fella and this was such an awesome moment to watch.

Looking at my pregnancy and delivery records/discharge papers I was in established labour at 8.10pm, admitted at 9.05pm (30th of August), was fully dilated at 11.45pm and gave birth at 12.49am (31st of August). Looking at it that way, it seems so short, but it really didn’t feel that way!

Labour deets (for those who care):

1st stage: 03.35

2nd stage: 01.04

3rd stage: 00.12

He was born happy and healthy weighing 7lb5oz.

I suffered two labial lacerations which required stitches, thank god I received anesthetic as I don’t know how much more I could have taken down there.

Would I do it again? I don’t know, haha. Not anytime soon, but if I was stupid enough to I think I would definitely try for an unmedicated, natural birth again, I felt so empowered afterwards and it was such a good feeling.

Women are amazing, regardless of how they birth – what an experience. Hats off to all your mums out there. The human body is an amazing thing.

birth

When it came time to start buying baby goods I had NO idea where to start and as usual the internet was full of outdated and overseas lists. Since having gone through it I feel I am in a better position to make my own list which some of you may find helpful. My Hospital Bag Essentials post was a total hit so I am hoping this one is equally as useful.

Anybody who knows me knows that I love to shop, and I purchased a lot of unnecessary shit which I never used or needed (will save this for another post).

DISCLAIMER:
Some things are nice to have and others are a must. The items I have listed are based on my own experiences. A lot of these items come with lots of discussion and controversy (car seats, baby wearing, feeding, sleeping arrangements etc). Do your research based on your own personal wants/needs. What works for one, may not work for another. My child is almost 1 now so it’s inevitable that I’ve forgotten something. I also haven’t added in clothes. Happy to do a separate post if there is demand.

BED TIME

  • Bassinet/Mattress (we got ours from Baby City and loved the one we had. You can also purchase a stand).
  • Cot (transitioned Baxter at 12 weeks) – We went with a cot with a drawer underneath for extra storage.
  • Sheets & Mattress Protector – I sometimes used muslin cloths as a sheet and got told you can also use pillow cases.
  • Blankets – (not polar fleece, they don’t breath). Jaime Kay has some lovely Merino cot ones and they’re often on sale, I folded in half for use in the bassinet. Good to have a few as babies like to spill in those early days.
  • Baby Monitor – We didn’t use when he was in the bassinet as he was in our room but as soon as he moved into his own room we’ve used it since. We have the video Angelcare monitor. One of our best purchases (look at it as an investment).
  • Comforter – We were dead against it for a long time as we didn’t want him to grow a strong attachment to one (especially one we couldn’t potentially replace). But at about 8 months we introduced a Kippin and it’s stopped him rolling around and playing in bed before he goes to sleep. He ONLY has it in bed.
  • Swaddles/Muslin Cloths – Without swaddling Baxter in the early days we would have never slept, that kid loved to move. Once moving into his cot at 12weeks we transitioned him in a sleep sack with no issues. Cotton on has lots of cute ones and Kmart also has them.

BATH TIME

  • Bath towels/Face cloths
  • Baby Thermometer – We got a floating one from BabyCity, was super cheap and we’ve used it the past year.
  • Baby bath – You can also use your sink and or a flexi tub. To be honest we found the baby bath awkward so opted for showers and just putting him in the big bath either with one of us or well supervised.

PLAY TIME

  • Bouncer – Saved my life in the early days, he would happily watch while I cooked dinner and done housework.
  • Play gym – Same as the above, great to encourage and support tummy time. Toys/colors provide stimulation.
  • Rattles/teethers

NURSERY

  • Change table/Mat – I know lots opt for no change table. We’ve found it super handy to store essentials, however, I know he will grow out of it soon.
  • Drawers – As above, in the early days, I stored essentials on the second shelf of the change table as its where I found me spending a majority of my time. Once he shifted into his own room, the drawers are a good send as the kid has SO. MANY. CLOTHES.
  • Nappies – You’ll no doubt try a few brands before you find what works best for you and your baby. Don’t go crazy buying ALL the newborn nappies, they will grow out of them quickly. If you’re planning to use reusable nappies, you’ll need at least 15 nappies suitable for your newborn baby. You will also need a bucket, nappy liners, and some nappy steriliser. It’s also probably a good idea to have at least one packet of disposable nappies handy too, in case you get behind with the washing during the early weeks.
  • Wipes – Same as the above. There are SO many out there on the market to cater for all needs and budgets. Some people prefer Chux cloth and water.
  • Sudocream – Works on everything.
  • Thermometer – To check baby’s temp when worried about fever etc. Room temp is included on a lot of baby monitors.
  • Nail Clippers – Lots of people bite them, my GP said no way, more chance of bacteria. It was hard at first as I was scared but I tended to clip then while feeding and it was far easier. Their nails grow SO quickly.
  • Nappy bin – We started out using ours a lot and no longer use it.
  • Nasal aspirator – Super handy when baby is full of snot. The Nosefrida is amazing.
  • Vaporiser – Works a treat when they’re blocked up. Also handy to vape essentials oils for their calming/soothing effects. We use the Ultrasonic Vaporiser with some Le’Esscience blends. Please note, not all blends are safe for babies so please seek professional advice.

GETTING AROUND

  • Car seat or capsule – we had a Mountain Buggy Protect that with adapters, attaches to our pram base which made getting around so much easier. It also had a click in base for the car to ease of use. Baxter is now in a car seat and we went for the Maxi Cosi Pria 85.
  • Pram – Shop around and see what fits your needs and budgets, test and check it fits in your boot too! We opted for the Mountain Buggy nautical urban jungle.
  • Travel cot – We got the CarryCot with our pram which was super handy when our for long walks and if we were away from the house for long periods of time.
  • Front pack – I tried on the Mountain Buggy Juno down at BabyCity and fell in love. So comfortable. It comes with a newborn insert so I used it from about 4 weeks onwards, it allowed to do housework and other tasks hands-free and Baxter slept because he felt close and comfortable. There are so many out there for different body types and needs so do your homework!
  • Nappy bag – I am terrible when it comes to handbags, I knew I would be no different with Nappy Bags so I have quite a few until I found one I loved. As Baxter was coming to work with me for about 8 months, I wanted a bag that could fit my stuff while also looking not too ‘nappy bag-ish’. I ended up with the OiOi Mustard carry all. It’s perfect for what I wanted, fits everything I need and looks chic!
  • Car mirror – I was SO paranoid when driving alone so having a mirror to enable to see Baxter gave me great peace of mine.
  • Disposable change mats – Some nappy bags come with them, in the early weeks I found the disposable ones from the supermarket so handy.
  • Muslin cloth – I would drape one over the capsule when out and about, you can get some cool clips from Kmart to keep it in place. There are also lots of covers out there on the market.

FEEDING (covers breastfeeding and formula feeding)

  • Breastpump – You can hire from the hospital and some midwives. I used a double pump as it was easier doing both at one.
  • Maternity bras – I lived in these even after I stopped breastfeeding. Farmers have an awesome selection. I see Kmart is upping their maternity range also so might be worth a looksie.
  • Milk bags/Storage containers – For freezing your breastmilk.
  • Breastpads – Disposable or reusable. Leaking is not fun for anybody.
  • Nipple creamLansinoh is amazing. Some hospitals also offer Iozone (not sure on spelling) UV treatments. Others say sheilds worked a treat. Different things work for different people.
  • Bottles & teats – We tried lots of different bottles and to start with Dr Browns were the best, worked a treat for less wind and he was easily able to go between bottle and boob with no fuss. I would recommend introducing a bottle (even with breastmilk) early to avoid issues down the track. Now he is a bit old he mainly uses Tommee Tippee bottles but we’ve kept all our Dr Browns one and we use the bigger ones for his night feed. Shop around and see what works for you. It pays to get a few of the next size up teat so you have them on hand when you need them.
  • Bottle brush
  • Milton tablets – We used these in water instead of the classic sterilizer as this is what they did in the hospital and it worked best for us. Can be purchased at your local supermarket.
  • Formula – It took us a few to find the right one, we were told by lots of people that the ‘gold’ formulas blocked their wee ones up and it sure did! Baxter was super constipated so we got one a bit thinner and that more closely resembled breastmilk.
  • Formula storage container – So handy if you’re leaving the house but also equally handy to have full at home as it makes it quicker to make bottles. We discovered these awesome little formula dispensers that fitted into Tommee Tippee bottles. LIFESAVER and less fumbling around.
  • Bibs (lots and lots of bibs) – More so now he is older. Once they’re on solids they’re a MUST.
  • Muslin cloths – Great for spills.

OTHER

  • Baby Nurofen – I will never use Pamol again. Baby nurofen takes effect quicker (about 15 min) and lasts up to 8 hours.

I will no doubt add to this list as time goes by and I would have most definitely forgotten things. Feel free to add your suggestions into the comments section.

kaboompics.com_White Acer Chromebook on kid's desk.jpg

It’s so common these days that there’s a term for this negative phenomenon: mum-shaming, and I am fucking sick of it.

I am talking about mums shaming other mums. Don’t even get me started on the judgemental people who DON’T EVEN HAVE KIDS! I see it almost every day. Out in public and most commonly, online. We’ve all been guilty of it at one point or another, pre or post baby. We’ve judged another mum in the mall or the in the playground and it needs to stop.

We’re all in this together you know, this crazy roller coaster we call parenting. Nothing can make you question your abilities and decisions as a parent like a death stare in the local food court, a rude old lady coming up to you in the supermarket and telling you “that kid shouldn’t be out without a warm hat on” or “that child should be in bed”. Hey, Doris – go shove your opinions up your as$.

Get stared at for feeding your kid with a bottle (god forbid if that’s formula!)
Get stared at for getting your boob out in public.

Get judged for feeding your child packaged food.
Get judged for using non-organic ingredients.

Get judged for allowing your child to sleep with you.
Get judged for having them alone in another room.

Get judged for letting your child have a dummy.
Get judged for letting your child scream in need of comfort.

Get judged for buying your kid expensive toys.
Get judged for not stimulating your child enough.

Getting judged for choosing to front face your child after 2 years.
Get judged for still rear facing them.

Getting judged for going back to work ‘too early’.
Getting judged for choosing to be a stay at home mum.
Getting judged for enrolling your child into a daycare centre so you can provide a better future.

It many of the above cases, it’s a no-win situation.

I came across a great article which outlined why we might be doing this.

  1. You’re bored
  2. You’re angry
  3. You’re jealous
  4. You’re overwhelmed
  5. You’re exhausted
  6. You’re not sure of your own identity
  7. You’re dying to be recognised

Being a mum is fucking hard and having somebody question your decisions makes it even harder. Mum shaming is not always direct. It can be a criticism, unsolicited advice (generally with an ulterior motive), dubious facial expressions and general negativity (directly or indirectly) at another mum regarding her parenting choices or even worse, a personal dig.

I suffer from anxiety and depression and know too well how hard it is to hear that somebody thinks you’re not a good mother. Putting myself out there like this has led me to receive some truly awful comments and it really is disgusting that people think it’s OK.

If you have a few moments, watch this.

I think in order to fix a problem we need to recognise that there is one and collectively, do our bit to combat this nasty, rising habit.

MumShaming_NewMumClub

 

 

I still don’t think I have really come to terms with my new body, I’ve written about my stretch marks before and while it’s easy to adopt the attitude ‘out of sight, out of mind’ – they are definitely not out of mind. I am wanting to put Baxter into swimming lessons, my partner hates water/swimming so that leaves me. Yet I am scared to bare my skin and get in the water, I can wear a singlet and cover up as much as possible but I know the whole time my anxiety will be through the roof. I shouldn’t even be making it about me, I want Baxter to be comfortable in the water and learn to enjoy it and be safe yet I more concerned about overcoming this fear of my own.

I’ve just started using a Stretch Mark/Scar Blend from Le’Esscience which I’ve heard great things about and have seen equally great results. It will take about 7-12 weeks to see any real results as like any other blend, it has a cumulative affect so I need to make sure I stuck to it as I know if I can lighten the scaring then I’ll be well on my way to feeling more comfortable in my own skin.

It’s selfish I know, others are having issues falling pregnant and I’m moaning about my stretch marks, marks which without, I wouldn’t have my son. I am truly grateful for my child. I just wish I’d been smarter about making more of an active effort to lessen the damage done. I was lazy and figured I was lucky and wouldn’t get them as at 30+ weeks I had nothing and then boom. My belly was so big a lot of them I didn’t even notice forming under my bump. Not everybody gets them, and if you didn’t get any – consider yourself extremely lucky.

My stomach has never and will never be the same but I am really trying to accept my new body. I have never been one to show a lot of skin anyway and I’m a super self conscious person but this is just taking it to a whole new level.

My stretch marks are bad. They look like I’ve been attacked by a wild animal (maybe that’d be a better story to roll with). They’re deep and almost look like burns. I know they will fade over time but I think with the extent of them, it’s likely they’ll always be quite prominent. The tattoo is ruined, but I am not bothered as I hated it anyway (and yes, the two o’s were on purpose).

So here I am, baring it all to you. If anybody else is in the same boat you’ll now you are not alone. It’s tough, I won’t lie. I feel sad when I see people bounce back from their pregnancies. I don’t wish for a perfect body, I just wish I could be comfortable and confident in myself. It will come with time I am sure. I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight but I will never have my old body back. My entire body shape is different and I’ve come to terms with that so it’s just a case of working on the scaring and that little joey pouch.

They tell a story, a story some are not lucky enough to be experience. I am thankful everyday, don’t get me wrong. They’re a part of me now, a part I am yet to fully accept.

I’ll update you in a few weeks as to how I’ve got on with the Stretch Mark/Scar Blend.

acceptance