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…

Advertisements

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

20130821_115849

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.

20130821_111555

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!

My tips for feeding a fussy toddler…

…and they don’t involve Tiny Teddies (although they are delicious).

Little Chop & Ted

Little Chop & Ted

Toddlers can be fickle. I know this because I have one – a fickle one.

One week she loves bananas, can’t get enough of them, will eat a whole one without coming up for breath. The following week she’ll take a bite, screw up her nose, toddle over to the rubbish bin and drop the whole thing in.

Food was a big part of my upbringing and I always felt truly loved when my mother prepared my favourite comfort foods, so on occasion my heart has been broken when my daughter has refused to eat the meals I’ve lovingly made for her.

I’ve spent hours cooking delicious food only to be left feeling defeated and frustrated when she’s flatly refused to take just one bite. Tears have been shed more than once.

It’s taken a while but I’ve finally learnt not to take Little Chop’s food fussiness so personally.

Here are some of my tips for feeding a fussy toddler.

1. Don’t push the issue

If your toddler refuses to eat or taste something you’ve made, don’t force them to try it or get frustrated with them. This will only cause stress and negative emotions towards new foods. Stay calm. Put the food in the fridge and try again tomorrow, or freeze it and try again in a week or two.

2. Have a backup plan on hand

Keep something you know they’ll eat in the freezer or pantry as a backup. For Little Chop, I keep pots of home made bolognese, fish fingers and Weet Bix.

3. Build up your recipe collection

The more recipes you know, the more options and back up plans you’ll have for feeding your fussy little food critic. If they refuse to eat the risotto, you can whip up a batch of pikelets in five minutes flat. If they don’t like rice learn some pasta dishes. It can’t make things any worse.

4. Learn what works and adapt it

If your toddler loves rice offer them a variety of rice dishes, e.g. fried rice, risotto, paella etc. Same goes for pasta, beans, bread – learn what it is that they will eat and present it to them in a variety of ways. Little Chop likes a particular combination of finely chopped vegetables so I use that mixture to make her bolognese, stir fry, soup and fried rice.

5. Keep trying

Just because your toddler won’t try something new today doesn’t mean that they won’t try something new tomorrow, so keep offering. Don’t give them the same thing everyday, this will only perpetuate the issue.

6. Keep it simple

You don’t need to be a gourmet chef to make a toddler happy, just keep it simple and tasty. Don’t spend an hour cooking their dinner unless you are cooking it for yourself too. You will feel much worse when something you slaved over gets rejected than something you whipped up in fifteen minutes.

7. Don’t take it personally

You might feel personally rejected when your child refuses to eat what you’ve cooked for them, especially when you associate food with love as I do. Remember this is just a phase – a learning period – and it won’t last forever. Your child loves you just as much regardless of whether you feed them Weet Bix or roast lamb.

8. Offer what your having

Your toddler is more likely to be interested in trying a new food if they see you eating it. For example, tonight I offered Little Chop some pasta with osso bucco in her Bunnykins bowl. She took one bite and wouldn’t eat any more. I made the same thing for my own dinner and she had about ten mouthfulls from my bowl. She wanted to eat it because I was eating it. So, try offering your toddler food from your plate.

I hope that parents of fussy toddlers find something useful in these tips. If you try them out, let me know how you go. Please remember, I’m not an expert, just a mum trying to help other mums and dads who may be struggling with a fickle, food-rejecting toddler.

Good luck!

The Sunshine Award

Anthony at Anthony Leonard’s Sexy Cuisine has very kindly nominated me for the Sunshine Award!

sunshine_award_x

I’ve only been blogging for a short while and I’m continually surprised by the friendliness and sense of community amongst my fellow wordpress bloggers.

So, it’s with great pleasure that I accept this award – thanks Anthony.

In the spirit of the Sunshine Award, I have answered these ten questions:

1. Favourite colour? I love jade and emerald green but I’m also a sucker for pink

2. Favourite animal? Cats, elephants

3. Favourite number? 16

4. Favourite colour? Didn’t I answer this already?

5. Favourite drink? English breakfast tea, white with one

6. Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

7. What is your passion? My family

8. Giving or getting presents? I’d be lying if I said that I don’t like getting presents, but it makes me happy to give them too

9. Favourite day of the week? Saturday – if I’m going to get an extra hour of sleep, saturday is the day!

10. Favourite flower? Roses, especially when hubby surprises me with them

I’d like to pass the Sunshine Award on to some blogs I’m enjoying at the moment:

Dinner of Herbs

Little Dinosaur Baby

The Adventures of Fanny P.

angie and james do stuff.

Life at no.2

Hungry Hannah

a nugget of joy for a lifetime of cupcakes

The Dissocial Mom

To accept this award please:

a. Display the Sunshine Award logo on your blog

b. Provide a link to the blog that nominated you

c. Answer the ten questions below

d. Pass the award on

Questions for my nominees:

1. Favourite colour?

2. Favourite animal?

3. Dream destination?

4. Wings or fins?

5. Favourite food?

6. Favourite song of all time?

7. Coffee or tea?

8. Peanut butter or vegemite?

9. Favourite blog at the moment?

10. Favourite book of all time?