38 weeks pregnant and a birth story

It’s been a while since my last post but I’ve been very busy cleaning and sorting and cleaning and organising and cleaning and washing. Not to mention all the cleaning I’ve been doing. You see I’m 38 weeks pregnant now and every day feels like an eternity as I wait for the first pangs of labour to signal the imminent birth of our second baby girl. Everything is as ready as it can be for her arrival, but unless we stop living there will always be more cleaning.

Lyla sleep

38 weeks pregnant with Little Chop asleep on my lap.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about those precious first days and weeks after Little Chop’s birth – hours spent sitting on the couch holding her in my arms and staring at her as she slept and fed and slept again. I was completely overwhelmed with love and awe for this perfect little person I had grown and nurtured in my body for forty weeks and three days, and equally filled with anxiety and self-doubt about my ability as a first time mother. I cried a lot as I struggled to breastfeed a big, hungry baby through cracked bleeding nipples. At Little Chop’s one week check I was told she had lost too much weight because my milk supply was low. I left the nurse in tears and cried for hours feeling as though I had failed as a mother already and should just switch to formula. I know now that the nurse was wrong, I had plenty of milk but it didn’t come in until four or five days after Little Chop was born. Of course she would lose a lot of weight during that time. We went on to breastfeed for 16 months. I now believe the delay in the arrival of my milk was due to being induced and losing about three nights’ sleep in the process.

For those of you who are interested, I thought I would share Little Chop’s birth story as I remember it.

I woke up the morning after Little Chop’s due date with wet undies. My waters hadn’t gushed as such but they were definitely trickling. Excited and nervous, I called my partner at work and my mum to give them a heads up then went for a walk around the block. No contractions.

When I got home I called the labour department at my hospital and the midwife advised me to come in to be assessed. I waited for my partner and mum to arrive, gathered together my hospital bags and off we went. At the hospital the midwife confirmed that my waters had broken, no meconium was present, and that we should go home, get some sleep and return at 6am the next morning for an induction. Needless to say I did not sleep at all that night.

We arrived at the labour & delivery admissions the next morning, weary and anxious to begin, but ended up sitting in admissions for hours. After what seemed like an eternity, a nurse came to take us to a birthing suite, hurrah, it was finally happening! No, it was not happening. We were turned away from the delivery unit and sent to ‘maternity daycare’, apparently a couple of emergencies had come in that needed to birth ahead of me. More hours passed, baby was monitored, and my anxiety and frustration continued to grow. Around 3pm we were finally taken to a birthing suite, I felt relieved and excited. A midwifery intern greeted us and told us that the induction would begin at about 5pm. I immediately burst into tears. More waiting. Was I ever going to birth this baby!

The time finally came and I was hooked up to a pitocin drip. At first it was all laughs and smiles. We took photos. My partner napped overhanging a tiny 1.5 seater couch. Then the contractions picked up pace and pain and things got serious. The midwife offered me gas for the pain, which I inhaled and immediately felt out of control, like when you have one too many Bacardi Breezers and the room begins to spin then you throw up all over your shoes. I freaked out. I yelled at my mum. The midwife said I was euphoric – I think psychotic is probably more accurate. I was then offered pethedine to which I replied, ‘I want an epidural.’

Over the next hour as we waited for the anaesthetist, my contractions continued to build. Not once did they break to let me breathe and gather strength. As one contraction started to fall a stronger one would begin. I watched the intensity rise and rise on the monitor. The tens machine I had hired offered little pain relief but turning it off and on again was a welcome distraction. My mum and partner were on either side of me holding my hands but I have no recollection of anything that was said.

At about 10pm the anaesthetist came in to administer the epidural. He was smiley and handsome and as the pain began to dissipate I nearly declared my love for him – I’m sure he’d heard it many times before. The panic subsided and I felt excited again. At this stage I was 7cm dilated so the midwife advised that I get some rest before the pushing stage. My partner says I slept, I’m not sure about that, but I did rest.

Sometime around midnight a doctor came to the room and said that Little Chop needed to be delivered because she was becoming distressed. I was 10cm dilated and ready to push. With my legs up in stirrups the doctor positioned the forceps, my partner stood by my side holding my hand and my mum paced behind the doctor ready to watch the birth of her first grandchild. The doctor said that an episiotomy would be necessary, I was going to have a big baby. I consented, I was ready to get down to business.

I pushed for what felt like 15 minutes, closer to 45 in real time. Once Little Chop’s head was born her body came sliding out with the next push and my stomach deflated like a burst beach ball. She was flopped onto my chest like a slippery jellyfish and whisked away moments later. She was blue, the cord had been wrapped around her neck. In seconds the room was full of people. I should have been feeling elated but I was confused, I didn’t know what was going on. My mum told me that they were giving her oxygen. Little Chop’s first Apgar score was 4, her second was 8. She gave us a scare but she was okay. She didn’t need to go to the NICU. After ten or fifteen minutes, she was returned to me for skin to skin and soon had her first breastfeed. At about 2am, my partner and mum left to get some rest.

Little Chop continued to suckle on and off for the next five hours until the midwife came and told me to have shower so that we could go to the post-natal wing. I wasn’t really ready to get up, my legs were still a bit shaky but I thought that we could get more settled once we were in a post-natal room. I walked to the shower, stripped off and promptly fainted. I came to with two nurses standing over me, they got me dressed and wheeled us to our room. I shared a room with a woman who had seven young children – they all came to visit…at the same time. Her husband brought peace offerings of Turkish gozleme and Lindt balls, which I happily accepted.

Lyla nb

3.2.12 Little Chop’s first day in the world.

Although I had envisioned a birth with as little intervention as possible, I don’t feel traumatised or disappointed looking back at Little Chop’s birth. In fact, I hate to think what might have happened without medical intervention. A lot of people these days advocate for a particular type of birth experience, but I can genuinely say that all I want is to birth healthy, live babies and not come off too worse for wear myself.

On that note it’s time for this tired mama to get to bed.

Until next time…

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35 weeks pregnant – a quick update

This pregnancy has flown by and we are now just five weeks away from meeting our newest addition. It feels like she’ll be here in the blink of an eye. Little Chop made her debut at 40 weeks and three days so I’m not expecting her baby sister to arrive early, and that’s fine by me as there is still so much to do before she arrives!

To mark our five week countdown, here are five things going on in my world right now.

Nesting – Nesting mode is in full swing now. I’ve been Sorting, organising, washing and rearranging like a woman possessed. The clothesline is currently covered in newborn singlets, swaddles and onesies, which is making me feel totally clucky about our new baby girl and equally nostalgic about Little Chop’s first weeks in the world – she’s so big now – sob.

Acid Reflux – This hot, burny liquid that sits in my throat twenty-four hours a day is really starting to get me down. I’ve had to give up all but the odd well-timed cup of tea and acidic foods that I crave like oranges. I also wake up multiple times during the night in need of Mylanta. I’ll be so happy when baby is here and I can enjoy a cup of tea without it threatening to repeat on me.

Sleep – I need it desperately but it’s just not happening, and for the first time in about twenty months Little Chop is not to blame. My aching hips keep my tossing and turning all night, the acid reflux is ten times worse when I’m lying down and then there are the vivid dreams. All this makes sleep uncomfortable and patchy at best.

Packing – My hospital bag is three quarters packed and nothing says ‘reality check’ like a packed bag waiting to be thrown into the car when the time comes. What? You mean I have to get this baby out? Packing my hospital bag has been really exciting but not without the odd moment of freaking the f**k out!

Crying – At. The. Drop. Of. A. Hat! Happy tears, sad tears, I don’t know why I’m crying tears. It just seems to sneak up on me. I was sorting through Little Chop’s newborn clothes to wash and ready them when I came across the socks she wore in hospital shortly after birth. The tears came thick and fast and all I could say was ‘They’re so small, they’re so small.’ Yep, I’m all gooey and clucky and hormonal.

That’s all for now. x

Sentiment, memory and the cull

My wardrobe is peppered with clothing that once belonged to my Auntie. Much of it was handed down throughout the years and some I pulled from her wardrobe when she passed away a few years ago. My Auntie wasn’t old – not old enough to leave us. She was very glamorous, always fully made up. When I was a child she always wore knee-high boots and kept her hair long, straight and dark – she was a rock star in my eyes. She gave me some amazing leather pants and high waisted Guess jeans when I was young, which I culled over a decade ago – a decision that makes my heart ache and my eyes well with tears today because I wasn’t to know that she wouldn’t be physically present in my adult life.

My Auntie fought a long battle against multiple myeloma. She remained strong and positive through rounds of chemo, only to have the cancer return again and again. She could have fallen apart when it took her trademark hair, only to return it silver and curly, but she didn’t, instead experimenting with wigs. She kept working until the end – you wouldn’t have known she was sick. But eventually she grew weary. My mother, sister and I visited her at the hospital to say goodbye. She smiled and was calm. She asked my mother to paint her toenails bright fuchsia, then let the cancer take her.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about culling and minimalism. I’ve been working on reducing the clutter in my house to make life easier when our second child is born in less than two months time, but when it comes to my wardrobe I’ve come to a standstill. A lot of the things that my Auntie gave me I’ll probably never wear – a tiny, leopard print, high-cut swimsuit for example – but I couldn’t possibly let it go. Whenever I come across a piece of clothing she gave to me, I lift it to my face, inhale the faint scent of the YSL Opium perfume she used to wear, and then return it to the wardrobe. Wardrobe clean out over, just like that.

I’ve been looking at minimalist blogs and websites trying to find out how to navigate sentimentality when clearing out clutter but what I’ve found is that there is no room for sentiment in the minimalist lifestyle. The minimalist says cull the clutter, keep the memories, but I have a problem with this notion. You see, memories fade. Sometimes we need a prompt to keep the memory alive, like a photo, a trinket, or a tiny leopard print swimsuit that smells of Opium perfume. So, while I’m happy to donate the tired looking jumper I got from Sportsgirl last year to St. Vinnies, I’ll be holding on to some of my ‘clutter’, because memories, unlike jumpers, can not be replaced.

Conversations with the boss

As a stay at home mum, I answer to just one person – my very vocal 19 month old daughter. Little Chop’s language development is advanced and she seems to add new words to her already bursting vocabulary every day, but there is one word in particular that’s on high rotation at the moment. ‘No’. She says it with a little inflection at the end, like a question, which makes me giggle.

Me: Little Chop, do you want to watch The Wiggles?

LC: No?…No?

Me: Yes! The Wiggles!

LC: No?

Me: But you love The Wiggles

LC: No

 

Me: You put your right foot in/ you put your right foot out/ you put your right foot in and you shake it all about…

LC: No?…No?

Me: You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn around…

LC: No?

Me: That’s what it’s all about!

LC: No…

 

Me: Come on baby, time to go to sleep.

LC: No?…No?

Me: Yes. Lie down please.

LC: No?

Me: Yes. You’re tired. Lie down now.

LC: No…bye

Sure, it’s not always the word I want to hear, especially at bed time, but I’ll take ‘no’ over a frustration tantrum any day!

Image

Me: Come on LC, time to go. LC: No? No

The reluctant minimalist

With the birth of our newest family member less than ten short weeks away, I find myself exploring ways to de-clutter and organise my home and my life to reduce mess and stress when she arrives. I’m not really a messy person and I am usually quite organised, but I form emotional attachments to things and am reluctant to let them go incase the memory goes with them.

I’ve been reading a bit about minimalism, and while I’m far too sentimental about stuff to practise a minimalist lifestyle, there are elements of the theory that appeal to me. Advocates of minimalism argue that you can benefit from removing clutter, rather than just organising it and this is why:

If you keep clutter and just organise it, you need to re-organise it regularly, which is time consuming.

Reducing clutter frees up your time. Less cleaning, less rummaging, less daily decision making.

Reducing physical clutter reduces mental clutter and visual distraction.

Reducing clutter can save you money by lowering your cost of living. Less stuff is cheaper to organise, clean and store .

Less clutter means more space. Simple as that.

By applying some minimalist principles to my life and reducing clutter in my home I hope to make my daily life easier. I started the process when we moved house about a month ago by culling things that hadn’t been used for a while, or that had no place to live in our new home. I’m now making my way through the house, culling a few things here and there each week and dropping them in the local charity bins. Some things are easily culled like dvds but more sentimental realms like my wardrobe require a softly, softly approach so I only cull a couple of things at a time.

The bulk of the clutter in our home belongs to Little Chop. She has so many books and toys, which I clean up over and over again everyday. At 30 weeks pregnant, this has become a huge drain on my energy. Little Chop is 18 months old now and understands most of what I say, so I’ve started encouraging her to put her own toys away, but she makes much more mess than she cleans up at the moment so it’s a work in progress.

The whole project is a work in progress really, so I’ll let you know how it’s going as we get closer to D day.

Wish me luck!

The countdown begins

Today I am officially thirty weeks pregnant – let the countdown begin.

Ten thoughts for the ten weeks I have left…

1. I can’t believe how fast pregnancy flies by when you have a very busy toddler to entertain.

2. I’m absolutely exhausted but due to co-sleeping with my 18 month old, killer acid reflux and aching hips, the deep unbroken sleep that I really need at the moment continues to elude me.

3. This pregnancy has been so much easier on my body than my first. I’ve had more energy, put on less weight and have less aches and pains than last time.

4. I feel more confident about parenting a newborn, particularly with regard to breastfeeding. Establishing breastfeeding with Little Chop was really difficult, physically and emotionally – it was extremely painful, she lost too much weight, I became disheartened and unsure of my ability to provide enough milk for her, but I was determined and we successfully breastfed for 16 months. This time I don’t expect it to be easy, but I am sure of my ability.

5. Am I physically and emotionally capable of parenting two children under two? To be honest, I don’t know. I hope so. I know that it will be really hard, I will be sleep deprived, I will feel stretched thin, I won’t have time to myself. But maybe it will be easier because I know these things. I am also very lucky to have family support nearby.

6. I’m so excited to have a newborn in the house again. It will be a different experience to bringing Little Chop home because I had all the time in the world to hold her while she slept and take millions of photos.

7. I can’t wait to introduce Little Chop to her baby sister. She adores babies, and while I’m sure she will be a bit jealous that mummy’s attention has been diverted, she will also be very interested in our new arrival.

8. This is probably the last time I will be pregnant, unless the universe sends us a surprise. We only plan to have two babies, so looks like we’re just about done.

9. I feel guilty about how little time I’ve devoted to concentrating on and documenting this pregnancy. When I was pregnant with Little Chop, I noticed every movement, I read up on her development weekly, I took pictures of my growing belly and videos of kicks and tumbles. This time around, I simply don’t have the time. I also worry that I won’t take as many photos of this baby as I did of Little Chop as a newborn because I won’t have as much time.

10. I plan to do a couple of things differently with this baby. I was always quick to settle Little Chop when she woke up during the night – I will give this baby more opportunities to self-settle. I will vaccinate at eight weeks instead of six because Little Chop had a week long vomiting reaction to her first set of vaccinations, and I don’t want to go through that again. I won’t be using Farex, as I found it to be really constipating for Little Chop so this time we’ll only be offering non-starchy fruit and vegetable purees as first food.

Anyone else expecting their second?

Easy delicious home made mini sausage rolls

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melbournemummy’s home made mini sausage rolls

My baby girl is miserable with croup this week. Fortunately, we’ve been able to manage it at home and haven’t had to make any late night visits to emergency. If your child has had croup, you know it’s just awful – fever, laboured breathing, a barking cough, trouble sleeping plus a runny nose, sore throat and everything else you get with a normal cold. Little Chop hasn’t wanted to do anything much except watch The Wiggles and Alice in Wonderland curled up on Mummy’s lap under a blanket, which suits me fine after three sleepless nights.

Melbourne is cold and blustery at the moment so we’ve been staying home and keeping warm, which is what Little Chop needs at the moment, but it’s sent us a bit stir crazy. We usually head off for a walk late morning, pick up some milk, a decaf for mummy and bagels for lunch, then have a run around at the playground before heading home for a nap. Yesterday, Little Chop had her nap two hours early so I had a little time of my hands, and I was desperately craving a sausage roll from my favourite bakery. I haven’t craved much during this pregnancy except for these sausage rolls, so I decided to have a go at making something similar with what we had in the fridge. They turned out so delicious, I don’t think I’ll be needing to buy them anymore, plus I know exactly what’s in them, which means no processed meat.

For my sausage rolls you’ll need:

500 gms pork & veal mince (if your supermarket butcher doesn’t sell this, you can use 250 gms of pork mince mixed with 250 gms of beef mince)

3 sheets puff pastry

100 gms fruit chutney

1 tblsp dried rosemary

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1 tsp salt

note: You don’t have to be exact with these measurements. I didn’t measure anything out, I just threw it all in.

To make:

Preheat your oven to 220C. Prepare a baking tray by lining with baking paper or well-greased foil.

Place the pastry sheets flat on the bench to defrost.

In a large bowl, mix the mince, chutney, rosemary, breadcrumbs and salt with clean hands until well combined.

When your pastry sheets are almost defrosted, you can begin to assemble the sausage rolls.

Slice one sheet of pastry in half horizontally so you have two rectangles. Each rectangle will make a row of sausage rolls.

Take a small handfull of mince and roll it into a sausage shape. Place it lengthways along the middle of one of the rectangles and continue to shape it until it is evenly spread from end to end of the pastry. The mince strip should be about 2.5 cm (1″) round.

From the top, fold the pastry over the mince then gently roll it towards you to close the sausage roll. Trim about half a cm off the ends of the roll, then slice the roll into 4 cm pieces.  Place on the baking tray so that the bit where the pastry folds over is on the bottom.

Repeat this process with each pastry rectangle. You may not get a full roll from the final rectangle so use what mince you have left and trim off the extra pastry.

Gently brush tops with milk.

Place in oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until brown.

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melbournemummy’s home made mini sausage rolls

*As the meat cooks, the juice will come out and pool in the bottom of the tray. Don’t worry. This will evaporate and create a nice caramelisation on the bottom of the sausage rolls.

Makes about 34 mini sausage rolls.

Hint: If you want to make these ahead of time, you can par bake them until light golden then leave to cool. Freeze in bags until needed. Remove from freezer to defrost for 30 minutes while preheating oven. Bake until brown.

Enjoy!