My Postpartum Reality: Baby #2

This is my postpartum reality. 6am. After a night of tossing and turning while my babies slept. Up several times through the night, once even to find that I’ve wet myself. Yep 21, and I’ve wet myself. So 6am, I’m in a bath of Epsom salt with my 2 year old.

Recurring bouts of vaginal thrush has my head in a mess. A constant burn. A constant itch. I say vaginal because nipple thrush can also be really common postpartum, though I don’t have that type. I can fix it for a day or so with creams and tablets only it comes right back again. I’ve had ten weeks with only the occasional day of relief. And a fantastic doctor truly searching for solutions.

I haven’t brought myself to write about this yet because it’s “taboo” and talking about my nether regions apparently makes people uncomfortable, but I’m a sharer. And I suppose if this kind of discussion makes you uncomfortable then you can always leave the page.

It’s a silent struggle. Because physically I look very well for someone who had a baby 10 weeks ago. But this is the reality of postpartum for a lot of mums, you might not see the change or the the pain they’re in. Yet, they persevere.

This is in no way a comparison, or to say I have it worse. Some women definitely have it worse, and I am so incredibly thankful to have had largely beautiful experiences birthing my children. Though that doesn’t change the fact that I find intimacy incredibly difficult now, and that my patience is almost constantly thin because of the burning feeling I’m dealing with in the background. At the moment, my life is different because of childbirth although it may not look it, and I’m still learning ways to manage these new challenges my body presents. I can’t even begin to imagine how much more difficult this journey is for women who didn’t get the birth they wanted, or the body they anticipated to have afterward.

So please remember be patient and to be understanding. Not all battles are visible, especially on this postpartum road. We’re all walking our own lanes but to have one another to fall back on, even if it’s just to cry to, makes an incredible difference, no matter how we brought our babies into the world, or how we feel about our bodies afterward.

Physically, otherwise, I feel stronger. Stronger than I did 10 weeks ago, though still lacking the strength I once had to enjoy sport and exercise the way I used to, but I’ll get there.

I can’t help but think about the women who have longer harder journeys of recovery, and send them all the love I can muster. I see you, I get it, I know you’ll make it to the other side of this. Pregnancy, labour, birth and motherhood, it’s hard. But you’re stronger than you realise and that little baby you have in your arms… YOU are what love is to them. You are all they know and they love you like nothing else in this entire world exists (because they don’t know that anything else exists haha) but still, it is a deep, gravity defying love all the same. You’ll make it through this

And if you ever need someone to talk to, my inbox will always be open.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

Needles: What to Expect of Vaccinations in Australia

Let’s talk about needles.

And no, I don’t mean the kind of talk that starts heated discussion. I’m not here to tell you what you can and can’t do with your children. I vaccinate mine, end of.

What I want to talk about is what to expect, at least from my experiences with the girls, when you go to get your baby vaccinated from a parents perspective. Because although it’s something that happens to almost every child, there are very few posts out there about what the process is like. Which means it can be a pretty daunting experience, especially for new parents.

Babies in Australia are most often (unless parents state otherwise) put on to a vaccination schedule from birth. The schedule is different for babies of Aboriginal/South Sea Islander decent, however for the rest it is generally the same. Because my girls are not of Aboriginal/South Sea Islander decent, I’ll be speaking of my experiences with their vaccinations, and this may differ to your own children if they are.

The schedule is exactly that- a schedule. Based on your babies age, it determines what vaccinations are given at certain times. Generally speaking over 4 years your child will receive about 13 needles, and at least two oral vaccinations. The first one is given just after birth, followed by two at six weeks, two at four months, two at six months, three at 12 months, two at 18 months and a final two at four years old.

Vaccinations are usually initially discussed with your midwife, from any time beyond 32 weeks. They’ll tell you about the vaccinations given at birth and ask you whether or not you’d like for your child to have them, and from there you sign a form declaring you’re aware of the vaccination and whether or not you’d like your child to receive it. From my experiences, midwives have never been pushy over this decision, I have always been told that it is my choice and that they would leave it up to me, which I frankly am quite grateful for. There would be nothing worse than feeling like you’re being forced into it.

After your baby arrives, unless other complications arise, they generally allow at least an hour of skin to skin and the first feed (if you choose to breastfeed) before taking your baby for measurements. It’s after the measurements where they will give the first vaccine, usually into their upper thigh. This vaccine is specifically for Hepatitis B. The reason this is administered at birth is because it protects your baby from Hep B if you happen to be a carrier. “The hepatitis b vaccine is not a live vaccine and provides protection without causing disease. It is produced in yeast cells and is free of animal or human blood products. There is no mercury in the vaccine. It does not interfere with breastfeeding.” – Source

Of my own observations, the first vaccine didn’t seem to bother either of the girls at all. They didn’t get any localised swelling, and neither of them cried for very long after the actual shot. I think newborns are just so fresh they hardly even realise what is going on, let alone are bothered by the temporary pain of a needle.

The six week needles Matilda actually received today. These ones are tough, well for me mentally I think they are. You’ve spent an entire six weeks comforting, feeding and loving on your little person, so naturally to watch them be jabbed with a needle is quite daunting. Six week needles are generally done through your GP, but I think you’re also able to book through your child health nurse as well. Usually you’ll be seen by your GP first, where they’ll give Bub a once over to make sure everything is in the right place physically and that their reactions are on par with that of a 6 week old. The Dr will then either give the vaccines himself/herself or you’ll be seen by a nurse who will administer them.

Both girls were quite sleepy afterward, of course they both cried initially, but calmed very quickly once they were latched onto the breast and stayed quite calm throughout the afternoon. I did notice their temperatures rose a little, but not nearly enough to be feverish. I gave them both a little bit of Panadol as the evening approached, just to help with any soreness they may be experiencing. Matilda has been quite unsettled, though I honestly don’t remember if Violet was. It’s normal and to be expected. If you can think of yourself for instance after you receive a vaccine you’re generally a little bit tired and sore afterward.

From six weeks onward, you can really expect the same experience at each of your babies vaccine appointments. The reactions of your child may vary, some babies can be very upset, others not so much, and the physical reactions like swelling, temperatures and such will also vary. Violet never had anything other than a slightly higher temperature once after hers. Though this is different for every baby.

If you’d like to know exactly what they receive at each vaccination throughout their schedule visit this website . You can guarantee there is a reason for each one. And if you’re worried at all about any of them I would recommend booking in with your GP to talk about it. They will be the most reliable source of information, and if they don’t have all the details they will be able to provide you with peer reviewed information to help you make an informed decision.

I think it’s worth noting that almost every parent gets quite nervous at the thought of vaccines and what they entail. You’re not silly for questioning them and wanting to know more. Do your research, but do make sure that the research you do is up to date and based on factual evidence.

Again, I’m not going to tell anyone what to do with their children. Though I do vaccinate, and I believe there is good reason to. Take this information as you will, and keep in mind that as of January 2019 the information in this article is up to date, however this may change.

This is a very touchy subject, so I’ll leave it at that. But I do hope that this provides some insight for parents to be about what to expect when you take your children to be vaccinated here in Australia.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

(Image not owned by me, found at this URL)

Violet Rae 10-11 months

I feel like I say this every single time I write a post but it’s been a while so I’m going to say it again, where has the time gone?! The last few months have been so incredibly busy. As everyone would know we had Violets first Christmas just last month, but something that is new is SHE IS WALKING!

Her first steps happened on the day she turned 10 months, I mean, I’m not going to lie, they were a tad encouraged! However it only took her a month to figure out the whole balance thing and now nothing can stop her! Our house has become a madness of running and squealing and mess and just an entire bundle of fun really. I have to say it, we now officially have a toddler *sobs*.

Watching them learn and grow and take in the world around them is SUCH a gift. And I’m so incredibly thankful for it, but it’s gut wrenching how quickly the time passes without you even realising. I feel like it was just yesterday I was lying on an uncomfortable old hospital bed watching the most beautiful little baby I’d ever met sleeping right next to me for the first time.

I remember going to the shops with my mum without Violet for the first time since having her. I nearly bawled my eyes out. And now she’s an independent little miss, who’s quite happy to go to her grandparents without question for a few hours, or her Aunties or her uncles. Heck she’s even great with strangers if she sees me smile at them first. It’s crazy how much she has grown, and how they evolve from tiny, fragile little people who need you to hold their necks up to rampaging, enthusiastic little characters in only 12 months.

She knows what she wants and she lets you know it too! She’s absolutely food obsessed and is doing such a great job transitioning to her solids through the day, but is always up for a booby and a snuggle at midnight (and you read right, she’s not sleeping through yet, but I really don’t mind).

I really feel like I’m just spewing information at you all, but I have so much to say that I just can’t put into words. The last few months have been such incredible, challenging and honestly life changing months. Not only am I learning the ropes of toddler parenthood but so much is happening in our social lives as well surrounding our friends and family. This month we made the rash decision to send dan to FIJI! with his best friend Jeremy in only three weeks time. And although unfortunate events lead to it all happening, we’ve just taken the baton and started running full speed with it.

Not only are we planning last minute holidays but we are beginning to organise violets FIRST BIRTHDAY. That’s right, she is one in less then a month. Someone hold me upright… among present brainstorming and party planning ideas I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and just over all losing it a bit. So I also chopped all my hair off 🤣 but don’t worry I’m not regretting it.

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Vi really has just become such a little girl in these last few months. I had felt so determined in the beginning to film everything and write everything down, but the truth is, enjoying the moment is so much more important. I’m still taking videos and photos, and when I get the time, like now, I love sitting down and reflecting on violets first few months. I’ve learnt over time not to promise anything on writing posts and whatnot, but what I do know is I have always enjoyed writing them. And although they may be inconsistent as hell at times, there will always be more to write and share with you all.

I can’t believe we’ve been on this journey for nearly two years. Blogging through my pregnancy, and about Violets birth and now we’re almost at the end of her first year! It never ceases to amaze me just how many of you beautiful people love hearing about our journey. We may have been young when we first found out we were expecting, but we have grown SO much, in ways almost impossible to explain, and parenthood has done nothing but make us stronger and happier people. So thank you all so much, for your constant words of engagement and endless love and patience. It means the world to me, I can’t wait to look back on this all one day and share it with Violet, to show her just how lucky we are to have a life full of so much love.

Xx Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com

Violet Rae: Nine Months (of mischief)

As per usual, it astounds me what these short months of Violet’s life have brought us. So many beautiful moments of peaceful cuddles and smiles. Nine months have passed and I’m struggling to believe that she’s now been out in the world longer than I carried her inside of me. Is it just me or is pregnancy SO MUCH SLOWER than any other time period? I’m pretty sure we’ve discovered a way to slow time, it’s not for everyone but if you’re really desperate, fall pregnant!

I want to take a moment to be real with you, this month has been… testing. Her curiosity is at it’s peak, tied in with the new found mobility of crawling and climbing and grabbing, I find myself spending every waking moment making sure she isn’t strangling herself or throwing herself off of high furniture onto hard tiles. Naturally, I find myself saying “no” a LOT, and then shaking my head as I realise that she doesn’t understand “no” and even when she eventually does understand it she will probably ignore it anyway. She is cheeky to the core, and meets every scold with giggles and clapping no matter what ‘cranky face’ you pull. No area of the house is off limits, she has discovered everywhere from the bathroom to the laundry, with the kitchen being her favourite (more cupboards to open and random objects to play with).

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But despite what appears to be naughtiness, our baby girl really is starting to become a little girl, and dare I say it, a toddler. She is discovering the world around her, including the boundaries she likes to tip toe around. And somehow no matter how frustrated you get with her, she can still make you smile and your heart melt inside. She’s constantly talking, mostly about “dada dad” and never afraid to giggle for the sake of it. Food is still basically the centre of her world, whether its your food, her food or the dogs food, she wants it and will try he best to get it, even if she has to climb over a few things to get there.

Breastfeeding is still a very big part of our routine, and I am hoping to keep it that way for as long as I can in an effort to avoid formula and cows milk until her stomach is more matured. For the moment the comfort it offers her is irreplaceable and I feel as though I would miss the midnight snuggles that happen with ease when there is booby involved. I can see nothing but benefits of extending our breastfeeding journey, from both a physical and psychological perspective for the both of us.

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Along side Violet’s milestone of 9 months my 20th birthday has come and gone and I am now no longer considered a “teen mum”, however thats not to say have any better idea about what I’m doing. It does thrill me a little to think that by the time I am 40 I will be long past my last nappy change and hopefully getting a full nights sleep while my babies are off finding their own place in the world, which is sad, but very exciting. I’m getting very good at treasuring every moment, they are only small for such a short time.

Now is around about the time when people start to ask questions about a sibling, usually by asking the baby (who has no idea what they are saying) “when are you going to have a little baby brother or sister?”. Our answer at the moment is “we have no idea”, in my head I feel as though getting Violet through toilet training would be easiest before another little one joins us, but we all know that things don’t always go to plan, so for now we are just rolling with the punches. (if you want an explicit answer: I’m not pregnant and not planning on it for at least another 6 months to a year, but we will see how we go)

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However! Violet did obtain a furry little sister this month, Mila. Mila is a domestic kitten who is just on 3 months old, she is from a great rescue in Brisbane called Best Friend Felines. We welcomed her into our home on my birthday and are very proud of the way Violet has taken to both her and Moey in the last few months. Can definitely see an animal lover shining through. If you’re after a cat or kitten please don’t hesitate to check out Best Friend Felines on their website or Facebook, or any other similar rescues before heading to a pet store or breeder. Little rescue babies and big loveable cats need love too, and there are so so many of them out there who need homes before it is too late for them. You can view profiles of cats and kittens available for adoption through their website (here). Because who doesn’t love looking at photos of cats and kittens right?

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It’s safe to say, after 9 months, life is finally starting to set into rhythm again. A beautiful sense of normality has returned, and although I might have some loose skin here and there I am mostly back to my pre-baby body, only I now have a cute little girl to hold my hand wherever I go. What an epic 18 months we have had! I honestly cannot wait to see what the next 18 months hold.

 

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

 

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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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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.