Don’t tell me I’m too young to be a good mother

With a pink blanket under her head and her seatbelt nicely fastened I walked through our local supermarket collecting our groceries for the week with my daughter in the baby seat of my trolley. This particular week I decided to start purchasing foods for my daughter to try, now I’m not really about those premade baby foods (but if you are then you do you! nothing against it, just a personal choice) so I was putting things in my trolley like organic sweet potato, pumpkin and avocado. Unbeknownst to me the truth of societies still prehistoric views on parenthood was about to rear it’s ugly head.

As I turned the corner I very nearly bumped into a woman’s trolley which she had left in the middle of the refrigerated isle. I veered pretty sharply in order to miss the trolley,  which of course startled my daughter, no more then running into the other trolley would have anyway. She cried, like babies do, so I stopped momentarily to talk to her and comfort her out of her fright. Whilst I paused I unknowingly had blocked the woman from her stranded trolley, so she approached me with a louder than necessary “Excuse me!”. I pardoned myself and moved my trolley aside, my daughter still crying and myself completely in my own mum world deliberating whether to pick her up to stop her crying or to try and distract her with the dummy she had lost interest in five minutes ago. So it took me by surprise when the woman turned to me for a second time as said “she’s not yours is she?”

Now I’ve had my fair share of questions in public, mostly regarding my daughter being my sister and my own mother looking too young to be a grandmother which are all usually met with a bit of a laugh and then me explaining that she’s actually mine. This time I felt a sting of judgement coming through. I smiled at my daughter and looked at the lady and said “she sure is! isn’t she beautiful, she’s four months old”. She peered at me down her pointed nose and said “Well I don’t think children should be having children, but she is quite cute. Bit of a shame” A SHAME. If you know me you would know I hate confrontation, unless I know you well enough to pull you up on something I generally let it slide for the sake of saving an argument. This is my family though and I’ll be damned if I let someone tell me that it was a shame that my beautiful daughter existed as my daughter.

“Thanks for your opinion, although I didn’t ask for it. Not sure how many children you know but not many of them are in 5 year relationships with the person they want to spend the rest of their life with. Guess I’m just lucky hey? Have a nice day” my heart was pounding and I was out of there as quick as I could go, neglecting to pick up the butter I was in the refrigeration isle for! I pushed the conversation to the depths of my brain hoping never to think about it again but after seeing a few fellow “young parents” attacked on social media recently for their age and their apparent inability to care and love their own children I figured now would be a good time to think about it, and god forbid, talk about it because it is 100% not okay.

All parents, regardless of their age, love their children, they want the best for their children and they will do anything they can to help them grow into wonderful, compassionate and loving adults. Regardless of the house they live in, the clothes they wear, whether they are married, how much they spent on their car, if they’re homosexual OR if they’re still what you would consider teenagers. If they were mature enough to make the decision to bring a child into the world then they should be admired for doing so, and for doing the best they can for that child.

The love you have for your child can’t be measured by how many toys you’re able to buy them, whether you could afford to send them to an expensive school or buy them all of the latest gadgets. Love is measured by the smiles, the hugs, the kisses and most importantly the empowering conversations you can have with them about becoming the greatest person they can possibly be. To care for the people around them, to love unconditionally and be accepting of everyone regardless of their differences.

I might not be 25 with a mountain of savings in the bank reserved specifically for having in children, my partner and I might not be married but we sure love each other like we are and we’ll give our daughter every ounce of love we have to give before we will ever let her feel unwanted or unloved. Young parents, don’t let anyone ever discourage you, your baby thinks you’re the greatest mummies and daddies in the world, and without you, they wouldn’t exist. You’re doing an amazing job, and if anyone thinks any less then maybe they should take a look at what’s missing in their lives before they make any negative comments about how beautifully full of love your life is.

 

xx Emily

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You Matter Too, Mumma

A reminder for even the toughest of mummies, to care for yourself just as well as you care for your beautiful children 

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When it’s 3am and your partner is fast asleep while you’re heavy eyed and nursing, remember Mumma, you matter too, and he knows that. He just doesn’t have the boobs or the perfect sleep inducing snuggles you do.

When it’s been hours since you’ve stopped to breathe and your housework is up to your knees, remember Mumma, you matter too. And the dirty dishes can wait until you’ve napped, they’re not going anywhere.

When the babies washing is a mile high and she has a poop explosion for the third time, remember Mumma, you matter too. And no matter how much poop you get on your clothes, in your hair and on your arms, you’re still a hero.

When the scales seem broken and the loose skin on your tummy makes you feel that you’ll never be the woman you used to be, remember Mumma, you matter too. Your body is a temple that grew life, it will always be amazing.

When people judge you for breastfeeding/not breastfeeding/cuddling too much/letting baby cry… basically everything, remember Mumma, you matter too. And your parenting will always be what’s best for your baby.

When it’s been months since you’ve slept through the entire night and your baby wakes with aching gums for the 6th time since midnight, remember Mumma, you matter too. This chapter of your life is so very tough, but also so very short and so tremendously filled with love, treasure even the toughest of times.

motherhood is filled with ups and downs, things that make you yearn for your days that were filled with nothing but yourself and the TV remote, but at the same time you couldn’t ever imagine being as happy as you are without them. Taking a breather every now and then to remind yourself of just how important you are is such an underestimated thing. Light a candle, run a hot bath, read that book you’ve always wanted to read, get your nails done or your hair washed and blow dried, call your mum, or your dad, or your best friend, take a nap, heck take two if you can. Of course we all feel like there isn’t any time for these things but there really is, we’ve just got to make it. I’m breastfeeding as I write this if thats any indication.

We’ll move mountains for our kids, we’ve got to remember to soak in it’s beautiful springs on the way up.

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Parenthood and Mental Health: Becoming the best version of you, for them

The following contains discussion about mental health, if the topic may lead you to feeling upset or ‘triggered’ please refrain from reading. Remember that there is always support around you, never be afraid to reach out

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Something about my personal life I’ve never really delved into is mental health. Mostly because of the stigma around it all, and also because for some people, it’s a difficult topic to stomach. But here I am opening up, because if you know anything about me, I think outdated stigmas stink.

I have dealt with different difficulties to do with mental health for a long time. I’m not worse off than anyone else, I don’t glorify it, but I certainly believe that everyone, to some extent, deals with some kind of mental barrier, large or small. For me, for a long time it has been anxiety. It has affected my schoolwork, my performance as a young elite squash player, my relationships, my career choices and the paths I have to take to reach my goals. It’s not sad, I’m not asking for sympathy, it’s just an aspect of my life that I have learnt to live with and even at times, embrace. I certainly feel like it is something that needs to be talked about more though, especially when it comes to parenthood.

Becoming a parent is a mammoth journey of emotion, personal growth and empowerment, it’s a given that you will be tested to your brink, beyond and back again. Here you are, two (or maybe even just one) individual people, suddenly given an entire new life that is now fully your responsibility, a tiny little person who relies solely on you and you only to survive. If thats not enough to scare the pants off you then clearly you should be having 20. It’s a huge task, and incredibly daunting and it is 100% okay to feel completely and utterly petrified.

I’m not a professional and I can’t give any professional advice but I can share my own experience in hopes to provide some kind of reassurance that no one is truly alone. For me talking about my emotions has been an incredible influence on my mental health. Finding someone I trusted in the early stages of pregnancy to express my concerns about my choices and the impact that those choices would have on my life was so important. And having or finding a support network to support your choices positively is worth every single person involved’s weight in gold.

“finding a support network to support your choices positively is worth every single person involved’s weight in gold”

After pregnancy into the first few weeks can be full of extremely complex emotions, for both mum and dad. And baby blues, as well as full on postnatal depression is something that I truly believe can happen to both women and men.

I can’t begin to stress how important it is to realise, for everyone to realise, that struggling mentally is something that deserves your attention, much the same way a broken wrist or leg would. And tending to your mental health isn’t something anyone should be ashamed of, when you have a little person relying on you it’s something you should prioritise. If your baby had a serious cold or needed medical attention you wouldn’t put it off, and much the same as your physical health impacts them, your mental health does too. If something doesn’t feel right, seek help, you and your baby deserve to know the best version of you ever to exist.

There are various places to reach out to including;

beyondblue.org.au 

mindsuatralia.org.au

cope.org.au

wayahead.org.au

as well as various mental health hotlines that you can call no matter the time of day

BeyondBlue – 1300 22 4636

LifeLine – 13 11 14

PANDA  (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) – 1300 726 306

And my email, facebook inbox, and blog are always open to anyone who feels as though they can find someone to open up to in me. Even if you aren’t a parent, everyone deserves to be the best version of themselves, you aren’t hindering anyone by expressing your feelings, and there will always be someone who cares.

 

Breastfeeding Without a Cover (gasp)

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I honestly find it hard to believe that now, in 2017, breastfeeding is still taboo. Society as a whole has grown so much in so many ways, yet here we are still chucking little tanties about babies suckling from nipples in public.

As natural as it is, it still makes people uncomfortable… The same way women talking about childbirth makes people cringe. It must be something to do with the fact that they produce milk, making them large, because last time I checked males have nipples too and even the ones who aren’t dads run around with theirs hanging out.

I’m not really talking about the instances of covered feeding, because thats pretty widely accepted. Because the little muslin wrap somehow makes everyone forget that theres a nipple underneath with a baby attached. I’m talking about uncovered, in the open feeding; no fiddling to get yourself covered, no baby pulling it off half the time. Just baby and nipple, out in the sunshine.

I breastfeed. Exclusively. Not because I am against pumping or formula but because it’s just damn easier. As difficult as childbirth was made for women, the gift of being able to breastfeed truly makes up for it a little. There is no cost, no need for heating (or keeping it cool in storing), no washing up and the best part, it’s always readily available. I currently take the ‘all-guns-ablazing’ approach. If I’m going to feed in public I’m going to do it my way, comfortably without a cover. And for some reason (well beyond my knowledge) a lot of people think that this gift, of feeding my child whenever and wherever they become hungry is, wait for the grown-up word… gross.

Because nourishing a newly growing human being from the organs made to do exactly that is somehow right up there with the gross things of the world like picking your nose and godforbid eating it in public.

So gross that you’ll be judged with an updown glare from a 14 year old in a crop top smaller than your maternity bra while her mother suggests you “cover up because there are children around who don’t need to see it”. Children. Lady, you do realise children are fed this way right?

Freedom of speech is all good and well but freedom to feed comfortably also relevant. Just as relevant as every other pressing issue of the 21st century from misogyny to racism. Insecurity around feeding only leads to added stress and greater difficulty in completing the task in the first place, and insecurity comes from unnecessary glares and comments. We’ve got a right to have our boob out, just as you have a right to look away. Don’t make something natural and beautiful difficult and uncomfortable when it doesn’t need to be.

 

Dear Violet: Letter 1 – The greatest 10 weeks of my life (so far)

IMG_0186The beginning of a series of letters to my daughter Violet Rae, who today turns 10 weeks old.

Dear Violet,

Today you are 10 weeks old. I’m sitting here staring at that sentence and finding myself unable to truly believe it. Ten weeks ago today you entered the world, beautifully and loudly. I remember the instant you took your first breath and filled my ears with your cry, and your lungs with air for the very first time.

Already, in ten weeks you have taught me so much. To trust my instincts; motherhood comes naturally. To be patient; everything will happen when it is meant to, even your naps (no matter how badly I wish you’d close your eyes so I can sleep for 5 more minutes). To enjoy the early hours of the morning; There’s no point in wishing to be back in bed when your smile lights up the world, even while the sun still sleeps at 4am. To treasure every moment; you grow at the speed of light and I’ll be darned if I miss a single second of it. And that there is always more room for love; Before you I didn’t think it was possible to love anyone as much as I love your daddy, now as my love grows for you both every single day I truly see just how infinite and unconditional it can be.

You’re smiling more than ever now and showing us the things you love (and love to dislike). Booping your nose and talking to you, tickling you and bouncing you makes you so happy, as well as bath time just before bed and your play mat in the early hours of the morning when sleep seems to be the furthest thing from your mind. Nappy changes and sitting in traffic seem to be your least favorite things in the world, as well as that nasty runny nose you had two weeks ago that kept you up all night for so many nights in a row.You keep us on our toes thats for sure. You seem to know the exact instant that I sit down to eat dinner, because the second I do you decide that lying on your play mat or in your rocker is not at all where you want to be and you’ll just die unless I pick you up for cuddles again.

I’ve got to tell you a secret though Vi, even though you’ve only been around ten weeks I’m pretty sure your daddy has fallen head over heels for you. You should see how much he does for you, how hard he works. Up working late, and still waking up for cuddles with you in the early hours of the morning, even if it is only briefly. You’re his world and your smile makes his whole day, every day. So never stop giving him those, okay?

For ten weeks you’ve been the centre of my entire world, my every waking moment and every dream. But really you’ve been that for so much longer, and will be for the rest of my life. I can’t wait for every single moment.

 

All of the love in my heart is for you my darling, I love you now and always will.

Love, Mummy xx

Newborn Madness: 10 things I wish someone had told me about parenthood

If you’re a parent, by the time your baby turned ten weeks old you most likely, at some point, sat and thought to yourself “well why the heck didn’t anyone say anything about this BEFORE the baby got here?!” at least once, right? And you come to realise at some point, that no matter how prepared you thought you were, no matter how many books you read, how many classes you attended, nothing really prepared you for the mammoth task that was and is parenthood.

 

So, for all you newbies out there; here’s my top 10 things I didn’t know before I became a mum, that in a few months time you’ll be thankful you now know . And for everyone else, here’s a bit of a giggle, because honestly, I really should have guessed.

 

  1. It’s okay to get poop on things

No matter how great you think you’ll be, there will be at least one sh*tty nappy change (pun intended). Whether it’s that first tarry black post apocalyptic looking poop, or the runny after-immunisations sludgy yellow slop. It’ll happen. It’ll get on your carpet, it’ll get in your hair, it’ll get on bubs face too! And it’s TOTALLY OKAY. Because unlike those embarrassing posts you made on facebook when you were 13 that are now stuck on the internet forever to haunt your present self, it’ll come off with the quick swipe of a nappy wipe.

 

2. Getting poop on yourself without realising until you’re in public is also okay

It’s honestly inevitable. If the poop can get on the carpet and the walls then yep, it’ll get on you too. And at least once you won’t see it until it’s too late, and everyone in k-mart will know you spend your hours wiping someone else’s bum. And it’s fine because you don’t know those people and they don’t know you. And if you do know them then just pretend its mustard, trust me, same colour, they won’t even know. And if they do know they won’t say anything because they feel sorry for you, you’re a sleep deprived mess.

 

3. You will forget your new child’s name

Let’s be real, unless you’ve been set on one name your entire pregnancy, you probably spent many hours deciding which name would be best for your unborn little cutie. You’ll see and contemplate a LOT of names. And in the midst of being sleep deprived and a little all over the place you may have to think once or twice in those early hours of the morning if Violet really was the name you picked or if you dreamed it up and literally have forgotten their real name entirely. Trust me, it’ll only be momentary but it’ll happen. Don’t beat yourself up about it, just don’t do it when you’re registering them for their birth certificate yeah?

 

4. Keeping track of nighttime feeds is never a good idea

Remember the days when child-less you would wake up before your alarm, look at the clock at 2am and smile because you still had another 4-5 hours left to stay in your pillow kingdom of warmth. Well looking at the clock at 2am when you’re feeding, changing nappies and sometimes also sheets (because accidents happen) will not make you relieved nor anywhere near somewhat happy. You’ll be sad. Tired and sad because god only knows when this child will let you rest again, and for how long. Don’t look at the clock, stay blissfully unaware. In fact, pretend it’s 5pm, put a movie on, have a cup of tea. Time is utterly irrelevant. Trust me, you’ll be happier for it.

 

5. Babies smell fear

You finally put bub down for a sleep after a few solid minutes (maybe even hours) of screaming. You’re relieved, but also scared they’ll wake up again as soon as you walk away. THEY WILL. THEY KNOW. THE MINUTE YOU THINK IT THEY WILL WAKE UP. confidence is seriously everything. Believe in your bub, she’ll stay asleep, she’s awesome at this, just look at her. Same goes for non parents who are scared to hold baby because he’ll cry. He knows, even you just thinking it gives him the advantage. fake it till you make it I say, even false confidence is better than none at all.

 

6. Breastfeeding is just as full time as pregnancy when it comes to what you can eat

Oblivious little me “I can’t wait to have this baby so I can have a glass of wine/soft cheese/salami”. REMEMBER, if bub will be affected by it, and they’re drinking the milk that you make. You can’t have it. It’s obvious, but I really wish someone had reminded me of this before I got all excited about the fact that the end of pregnancy was near and that my freedom of eating and drinking whatever I wanted was near. It wasn’t and still isn’t. I’m not complaining, breastfeeding is incredible. Wine though…

 

7. People aren’t joking about parenthood being isolating

Seriously. You’ll think we’re over exaggerating about the isolation of parenthood, but it’s real. And it’s there. And it’s probably one of the biggest contributing factors to the baby blues other than the feeling of being overwhelmed by the sudden and new duty of caring for a tiny human being. But it’s totally normal to feel that way, for younger parents and older ones. You’re transitioning into a new lifestyle, especially with your first child. Your friends want to give you space to settle, you may not know many other people with babies, or you may know hundreds. But those first few weeks can feel lonely and asking for help, or even just some company is 100% okay, and in no way a sign of weakness.

 

8. Realising that no parent is an expert, and every baby is different is a must

This includes realising that not all advice is good advice, and not all good advice is advice you have to take. Every baby adjusts to the world differently, reaches milestones at different times, and reacts to different parenting methods totally differently. If Belinda Opinionista from down the road says you have to rock your baby to sleep every sleep time until 4 months because she did and now her kids sleep perfectly, but that doesn’t suit you or your baby, don’t do it. Just because it worked for someone else, or studies say it should work doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. And you should NEVER feel guilty for not doing something if it doesn’t work for you and your baby.

 

9. It’s okay to walk away for 5 minutes

When the screaming has been non stop and you can’t seem to solve or soothe them it is 100% okay to put baby in a safe place, like their cot, close the door and walk somewhere where you can’t hear them for five minutes. In fact, I honestly think you’ll go mad if you don’t. I thought you couldn’t, I would rock her and bounce her and hold her while my ears would ring from the endless screaming until I felt like I could break down crying because I didn’t know what I could do to help her. I eventually worked out that walking away, just for those five minutes and recollecting myself was the very best thing I could do for her. You come back with a fresh head and a calm demeanour that your baby will be able to pick up on and in turn will help calm them down.

10. Getting to know your baby takes time

The biggest thing of all. You’re new to being a parent. Your baby is new to being a baby. Everything is a little all over the place for the first few weeks. In the beginning it’s all extremely instinctive, feed, sleep, feed, sleep. You might feel a little overwhelmed, maybe even a little used considering you pour all your hours into feeding and tending to this little humans every need to get nothing much back for a while. But when those smiles start coming, and the personality starts to show that’s when it will all feel worth it. as time goes on you never think you can love your baby more than you do right at that very moment. But every single day that child will prove you wrong by filling your heart with even more love than you ever thought possible.

 

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Above all else, take a deep breath and remember that this gorgeous little human is entirely your own, and you get to love them for the rest of your life and beyond.

 

 

 

Violet Rae: One Month Old

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I’m actually 100% in denial. It seriously cannot have been a whole month since Violet was born… But at the same time it feels like she has been in our lives for a lifetime. The past month has been one of the hardest, but most rewarding months of my life. Who’d have known 10 months ago we’d be on this journey together here right now.

These first four weeks have certainly been a massive learning curve. Learning to change nappies (lots of them), learning to breastfeed (and all the fun that comes with it) and also learning to let go of our once very-well rested life and to welcome a new life of a lot less sleep, but a lot more love.

I want to say that Vi is a relatively easy baby, but then again I’ve never had a baby before so I don’t really have much to compare her to. Her first two weeks she didn’t really cry much at all, she just ate and slept and pooped. And then of course when my mum left at the two week mark was when she started being a little bit more cheeky. I can’t say she’s been anywhere near a handful though. She’s easy to sooth, sleeps in relatively regular stints (meaning we have somewhat a pattern to our small amount of sleep) and hasn’t had any issues with breastfeeding besides occasionally overeating and then spewing it all down my front, you know, as babies do.

I must say I’ve never known a baby to grunt as much as this little one… and headbutt peoples shoulders to the point where she looks like she’ll give herself a concussion. Babies are certainly interesting little creatures… But we see more and more personality within her every single day, and fall more and more in love with her because of it.Currently she’s gained almost a whole kilo since she was born, and we haven’t measured her length recently but I feel like she’s certainly grown a whole lot that way as well.

We’ve also done a lovely little trip up to visit my family in Gladstone and Dan’s family in Bundaberg. And while we were there we had the privilege of getting some beautiful photography done (I’ll attach some sneak peeks below), thanks to my mum and dad for the gift of capturing those precious moments while she is still so little. (the photography is Dream Capture by Clarissa if anyone is interested, and she is just as lovely as her photography so I’d highly recommend her!)

Having a newborn is tricky for a number of reasons. Tricky because if you’re a new parent and  you have no idea what you’re doing. But can take solace in the fact that everyone out there was a new parent once, and you’re probably not the only mum to get poop on your hand and not realise until an hour later, or, in your sleep deprivation mistake your pillow for your baby. Every single day we learn new things along with Vi, and it’s been such a blessing watching her become the happy, beautiful little girl she is. It’s so daunting how quickly this month has flown by, I guess people really mean it when they say that they grow up fast…

Happy One Month beautiful little girl

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Violet Rae Cook: A Natural Birth story by a young mum

“In the end, the only thing you truly feel is infinite, incredible love”

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I’ve debated with myself all week on whether or not I would write (and post) Violet’s birth story. But today, a week after her birth, it just feels right. If birth stories aren’t really your thing you can stop reading now, I promise I won’t be offended, and nor will Violet.

I guess with these things you should start with the beginning, but to be totally honest, if you’ve been keeping up with my Bump Updates, you’d know I really can’t pinpoint exactly when it began. Violet joined us at 37+5 weeks gestation, but I’d had ‘pre-labour’ symptoms from about 34-35 weeks, things like losing my mucus plug, lightning crotch, more intense Braxton Hicks contractions, you know… all the things I had been complaining about.

The whole week before labour I definitely felt like something was building up, I was sleeping ALL THE TIME, I was having nights of constant Braxton Hicks (confusing me as to whether it was real labour or not) and to be honest with you, I was losing my mind. I had no way of knowing if the things I had been experiencing were actually a sign labour was near, or if I’d be experiencing these things for the next 2-4 weeks.

I guess if I could choose myself a point to say “thats when I knew” I’d probably say about 8pm on Saturday the 4th of February. Cooking chicken Parmy (classic aussie) with Dan in the kitchen, I had the biggest contraction I’d ever felt, not just a slight pain, a breath taking, eye watering contraction. I had to grab Dan to stay upright. Afterward though I definitely played it down, both in my head and to Dan. As we were eating dinner I remember saying, “yeah it really hurt, but like, I still don’t really know… you know?”. We finished dinner and went to bed, only for me to wake up to awful back pain at around 2am. I rang my mum at around 3:30, crying. Crying because I was in pain, crying because I wasn’t sure if it was actually labour, and crying because if it wasn’t labour I couldn’t deal with it for the next few weeks. She calmed me, told me to take some panadol, try to sleep and to ring her when I woke up- from there we’d figure out if it was labour and whether or not she needed to fly down.

“And when I say my waters broke… I can tell you they really damn broke. Like a bloody waterfall”

Well I didn’t need to wait long to know if she really needed to come down and if it really was labour, because the next morning about half an hour after I had woken up my waters broke. And when I say my waters broke… I can tell you they really damn broke. Like a bloody waterfall, all over the brand new mattress (lucky we’d thought ahead and made sure to have a mattress protector on the bed). One second I was lying there laughing at a dumb video on Facebook with Dan and the next second I was a human fire hose. When I told him my waters broke he asked me if I was sure, and I laughed at him as I whipped the sheets down and showed him the pool of fluid I was practically swimming in. Right. Ring mum. She needs to get here. Ring the midwife. We’re having a damn baby.

The next couple of hours were super nerve wracking, contractions hadn’t really kicked in but I was having regular tightenings, and I was also pretty worried about whether my mum would make it in time. We went into hospital at around 9:30am for a quick foetal monitoring and to check if it was my waters that had gone. Laughs, especially considering I needed two towels to get to the damn hospital. It was my waters, and everything was completely normal with baby. Ring mum. She’s got a flight for 12noon. Go home. Rest. Come back when contractions are painful and less than 5 minutes apart.

“They were getting more intense for sure, the kind of intense that makes you contemplate strangling small animals”

The next 10 hours were pretty uneventful, tightenings were becoming more regular but they were still just that- tightenings, not real contractions. Mum arrived around 2, Relief. Only at around 6pm did we really start to measure things and much to our frustrations they were all over the place. 5 minutes apart, 4 minutes apart, 4 minutes apart, 7 minutes apart, 5 minutes apart, 15 minutes apart… They were getting more intense for sure, the kind of intense that makes you contemplate strangling small animals. But they weren’t close enough together. So we waited and waited and waited until I decided they were painful enough to warrant going into hospital at 11:30pm. Arrive at hospital. Foetal monitoring for half an hour. All normal. Zero centimetres Dilated. ZERO CENTIMETRES DILATED. Tears. Home. Sleep.

We got home at around 2am, said our goodnights and went to bed. The midwife had given me some sleeping pills to get some sleep, that lasted all of about an hour before I was woken up by definitely stronger, more painful contractions. I couldn’t stay lying down through them, for a few contractions I stayed in bed, sitting up for each contraction and then lying back down and trying to fall back to sleep. Impossible. By 3:30am I was up, I decided to use this time to labour on my own, I needed the time to focus on letting my body do what it needed to do. I hopped in the shower for about 10 minutes. the hot water helped, but then I felt like I needed to walk through the contractions, so I got out and paced the kitchen for what felt like hours, stopping to breathe through every contraction like I’d ran a marathon, this woke my mum up. By this time it was around 4:15am. Mum helped me through the contractions, encouraged me to sit when I could to save energy, but the problem was, when I sat and a contraction came on I felt pressure in my bottom (If you’ve had a baby you know pressure in your bottom gives you the urge to push, and being still at home I DID NOT WANT THIS). 4:45am Back in the shower. Breathe through contractions. Getting stronger. 5am Dan wakes up helps me through contractions. 5:30am still in the shower. Getting a LOT stronger. Call the midwife. 6:30am leave for hospital.

I can still pinpoint the two exact places I had contractions in the car on the way to the hospital on the 7 minute drive, it felt like 7 hours. Our hospital has it’s birth centre on the second story and an awfully slow elevator so the stairs were our best option. I cried at the bottom of the stairs mid contraction, because it hurt, because I really didn’t want to walk up the stairs but mostly because I knew that the next time I’d be walking these stairs I would have a baby in my arms. Dan held my hand, mum rubbed my back and we got up them.

Once we got up into a birthing suite I was sat on the bed for more monitoring, all was normal and contractions were strong and regular, yes. But sitting on that bed for contractions was not where I wanted to be, advice: move through contractions! I couldn’t at this time as I needed antibiotics, just because my water had been broken for more than 18 hrs (normal standard procedure for such occasions), and they gave me them via drip. After the drip was finished I was given an internal: 5cm dilated. I wasn’t disappointed nor optimistic. I was focused. Move me to the shower. Knees on the ground. Leaning on exercise ball. Hot water on back. Perfect. Exactly where I felt I needed to be.

By the time I was in the shower it was nearing 8am, mum had called the rest of the birth team and told them I was 5cm, so we could expect a baby by lunch time, but maybe later. So they went and got some breakfast and made their way over. Contractions were intense, very intense, but I didn’t want to move from where I was. Not for gas and air, not for any other form of pain relief. The hot water was doing everything it needed to do for me. Dan kept the water on my back the whole hour, and slowly but surely contractions got closer and closer together. Around 8:45 I started to panic a little, I felt a very very intense need to push, and I was panicking because not even 2 hours before I was only 5cm, so I can’t be ready to push, can I? The midwife reassured me that if I felt like I needed to push then I could. So I did. Contractions weren’t contractions anymore, it was one long single contraction and it wasn’t ending. Dan, let go of her hand you need to help catch your daughter. Mum, hold my hand. I can’t do this. Yes you can. We can see her head, Emily. Touch it. You can do this. Yes, I can. I’m doing this.

“I’m told I pushed for around 15 minutes, but I can tell you now, it felt like eternity and at the same time it felt like seconds”

I’m told I pushed for around 15 minutes, but I can tell you now, it felt like eternity and at the same time it felt like seconds. Absolutely nothing compares to those last few pushes. The last few seconds of being just me, Em, before I became a mother. The amount of love you feel through every second of the pain is indescribable. And the massive feeling of release when your child enters the world and is brought up into your arms is utterly incredible. At 9:12am on February 6th 2017, Daniel caught his daughter and helped scoop her down through my legs and onto my chest. And we all cried. She was here. She was healthy. She was all ours. And about a minute later my mum held my face and said to me “Can you just tell us one thing? What is her name?” and Dan and I replied together, with the most love either of us have ever felt

“Violet Rae”

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Bump Update: Week 21/22 – It’s a Girl!

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We’ve finally had our gender reveal party!! And as many of you already know, it’s a girl! despite the literally overwhelming amount of people (including myself) who had their bets on it being a little boy, it is indeed a little lady. You have no idea how difficult it has been not to share this with everyone! Dan and I have known for just over a month now, and I’ve been itching to tell everyone since. Lots of people have asked why we didn’t wait until she was born to find out that she was a girl and in all honesty, we’re far too impatient for that. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to properly prepare for her arrival, colour scheme and all, by not finding out.

In the past two weeks we’ve had a lot on! We’ve been to Bundaberg and back, had another appointment with our midwife, booked in for our antenatal class (yes! finally), scheduled my Glucose Test (ew), Planned a getaway for my birthday weekend (IN LESS THAN 2 WEEKS, YAS!) and we witnessed, for the first time in real life, a lady in labour. Holy Jesus… the lady in labour, never have I heard a scream so loud and so emotional in my whole entire life. Which then of course, launched me into the curiosity of what my own labour will be like.

From there I made the firm decision that I would be, to the best of my ability and as long as it is safe for myself and our baby, going entirely Natural (this is not to say that I am not open to all possibilities happening, I’m aware that birth can take many different turns that one doesn’t always have a say in what happens, especially in emergencies). I know what you’re thinking… but you just said the lady was screaming and loud, why would you want that? Why not drug it up? And as much as I respect all women and their chosen ways of birthing (ladies, you’re all Queens), personally I feel that birthing, the way nature intended, is a life event that I want to experience in full.

Funnily enough I’ve actually begun looking forward to the birth (yes I’m crazy and optimistic, isn’t it wonderful?) ever since my midwife suggested looking up hypnobirthing, and I can’t imagine our babies journey into the world any other way. The basic principles are that a calm, relaxed and focused mother can subside pain and further create a calmer, happier baby (sounds ludicrous right?). So I’m staying optimistic and delving myself further into studying hypnobirthing and how to personalise it for myself. If any of my fellow mummas to be would like to know what I’m going on about feel free to message me, maybe we can share our crazy dream of a better way of birthing together.

How’ve I been feeling? Well, very very positive lately, despite a few things happening in our lives to do with our close family recently that have been definitely quite sad, I’ve felt like my hormones have actually been helping me cope with these things. It’s almost like they remind me that despite the things that are happening now, there are good things coming very soon to look forward to. Never in my life have I been able to deal with grief in such a way, to feel so at peace with the fact that loved ones, although have left us, are now in a better place where they can be entirely free of the boundaries that life at times sets up for us. I’d like to know if this is linked to my hormones (you know, scientifically) and the more instinctive way of my body not holding on to stress and grief to accommodate for the little life inside of me.

Health wise I’ve been bumping (pun intended) along quite nicely. I’ve not experienced nausea in a long long while, and I’ve been trying to keep exercise in my daily routine to the best of my ability, as well as still devouring fruit like a fruit bat who’s been starved for weeks. Our little girl is always kicking and flipping and reminding us of how big she’s getting, so everything is looking very on track so far! I just can’t begin to describe how overjoyed I’ve been feeling, to finally let everyone know that he/she is actually a SHE. It still shocks me every single day that somehow, all on its own my body is growing this tiny, beautiful little human, and that in February we’ll finally get to meet her. Hopefully we can narrow the long list of names we like sometime before then!love.jpg

 

 

Baby necessities: how to not spend all of your money 

There are SO MANY cute things out there in the shops these days for babies, cute outfits, cute toys, cute furniture, cute wall decorations, they even have cute reusable nappies. And for any parents in waiting it’s an impossible task of not spending every cent you have on every cute item you find, especially if you know the gender and even more so if your little ones delivery date is still months away. 

The overwhelming urge to buy things and set things up is often referred to as nesting. It sounds so beautiful right? Nesting, fluffing little pillows to lay your little babies head on. But for the sake of your wallet, and probably the space in your house, nesting is probably best left until the due date creeps a little nearer. This in itself is so hard. Take it from someone who took a trip to IKEA recently, with whole rooms devoted to little babies and everything they need. Several times I had to stop myself from thinking but the nursery needs this beautiful beige crib canopy and matching bedsheets, and this nursing chair matches perfectly so obviously we need that too. I’m It was definitely tough, but we left almost completely empty handed and proud of ourselves for not making ourselves poor in the process.

I’ve used a few things in the last few weeks to fight the nesting urges and I thought these strategies might be helpful for others struggling not to empty their wallets on baby things that will probably one be used for a year or two.
1. Making things

Yes, arts and crafts. Especially those involving making something for your little bundle, teach yourself how to knit, or cross-stitch, or even embroidery. Keeping in mind that the initial expense of buying the equipment to do these things may cost you a little if you don’t already have them. I suggest lincraft or somewhere of the like, maybe even online if you know what you’re looking for. 

2. Spruce up what you already have

Something we have found really cost effective is spicing up plain clothing items that we have already been given. We’ve got a summer baby on the way, and of course my lovely mum has already gifted us a bunch of white singlets, lincraft has iron on patches for less than $3 each that are super cute and colourful, and now that we know the gender these help brighten up the white singlets (while still keeping them breathable for summer when he/she will probably just be in a singlet and nappy). This saves us from buying new little outfits that we don’t quite need to buy just yet.

 Also have a look at furniture you already have, dressers especially can be of great use as they can be used for change tables if they’re the right height, and then when your little one doesn’t need nappy changes anymore you’ve got a fully functioning dresser for all of their clothes. Maybe if you have something that sounds like it would work, think about repainting it as an extra little project, to you know, stop yourself from buying more furniture!

3. Write a list

It doesn’t sound like much, but believe me, getting everything you want/need out of your head and onto paper does give a mighty relief, and whilst shopping you’re less inclined to think but we might need that. Because you already know what you need. Have a look online to help with the list, websites like Pinterest can be really fun and really time consuming so if you’re looking for that extra bit of distraction, simply search he/she nursery on Pinterest. Trust me, it’ll be weeks before you get off of it and actually try and buy things, they have SO MUCH on there.

4. Don’t get sucked into the marketing

It seems as though there is a “baby” everything these days, a baby bath, a baby towel, baby tissues, a baby this, a baby that. Keep in mind that just because it has the word baby in the name or infant or whatever, doesn’t mean that it’s an absolute necessity. Normal baths for example, believe it or not, can be used with your baby, and here’s the best part- they’ll never grow out of them! I know it’s sad, but they will grow up, so it’s important to remember that they will grow out of things quite quickly, and if you can avoid buying too many of those things they’ll grow out of you’ll save yourself a lot of money.

5. Remind yourself that everything will come in good time

Babies bring such an exciting and comforting feeling. For me I’ve found treasuring the moments and feelings of pregnancy is so much more enjoyable than wandering around massive shops looking for things for her/him. I have total understanding that we do need to buy things, but they can wait for another day, when everything is a little more “just right”, the money, the timing, the storage. For us, we don’t know where we’re going to be in February when our little one is due, so holding off until we know is something that we need to do. And if we need to do it we may as well do it with a smile on our faces. 

All we currently know is in February 2017 we are going to be parents, and no matter where we are or what we buy, it’s going to be everything we ever dreamed of.


(And yes that chair was bloody comfy after walking around all day)