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…

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!

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!

And the award for the worst week of the year goes to…

On Monday, I let out a big sigh of relief because one of the worst weeks I’ve had for a long time was finally over. I didn’t know it was going to be a bad week. A busy week? Yes. Moving house is always exhausting and we’d never moved with a toddler before, which basically means that you need extra eyes and hands to replace the ones that are busy toddler wrangling.

Last Sunday was moving day – hubby had enlisted a couple of mates to help with the heavy lifting and Little Chop was set to spend the day with her ever doting Non Non (that’s toddler speak for Nonny, because my mother is far too young and stylish to be a Granny) – boxes were packed and we were ready to tackle the moving thing head on. And that we did. At some point in the afternoon our helpers headed home to resume their weekends and Little Chop returned to join the chaos of boxes, packing paper and randomly placed furniture.

When 7.30 rolled around and the pantry box was yet to be found, we decided to order some takeaway from the local Korean; chilli prawns, barbecue pork and rice.  The prawns were enormous, like clenched toddler fists, and really spicy. Eye wateringly spicy. So spicy I couldn’t sleep because I could feel the chilli burning and gurgling all the way through my sensitive, pregnant intestines all night long.

The next day I felt a bit off, nauseous – I blamed the chilli. Then in the afternoon I felt the familiar feeling of hot saliva rising in the back of my throat. I’m not usually a fan of throwing up but I was finally going to get some relief, praise Jesus. I felt so much better, it was over, out of my system, time to resume life.

Except it wasn’t over.

Little Chop was awake in the night, teething. I was sitting up holding her, trying to rock her back to sleep when the acid came up in my throat again. I passed her to hubby and ran to bathroom where I threw up so violently that the little red capillaries around my eyes burst and I peed myself a little bit. Not my most glamorous moment.

When I woke in the morning my underwear was damp. Weird, I thought, must be from the pee that came out when I was throwing up. I went to the bathroom and put on clean underwear but within minutes had another wet patch. I started to panick. I had vomited so hard my waters had broken. Non Non hurried over to watch Little Chop while hubby took me to emergency.

At the hospital a lovely young midwife checked my temperature, blood pressure and monitored the babies heartbeat. She also checked my panty liner, which was dry…hmm. Then two doctors came in and prodded at my tummy while examining my cervix for leakage. Nothing. The doctor explained that the vomiting had probably caused my bladder muscles to weaken a bit so I’d leaked wee. I was embarrassed, but relieved that baby was okay. I then proceeded to throw up again so another nurse came and gave me an anti-nausea injection in my bum cheek. By this stage I was feeling fairly mortified because apart from peeing myself, and having two doctors looking up my vajayjay, and getting an injection in my bum, I also hadn’t shaved my legs in ages.

But wait, it gets worse…

Embarrassment aside, I was feeling a lot better after the injection. I managed to eat something and hoped my stomach would stay settled. And it did aside from a little gurgling. That evening, Hubby went to his course and I carried on with Little Chop’s regular routine with the false sense of security offered by that cheeky injection. Everything was going smoothly until I took Little Chop to bed and, without going into unnecessary detail, I erupted again…from the other end. That evening it took me an hour and a half to get Little Chop to sleep because I was running down the hall to the bathroom every fifteen minutes with her trailing behind each time. I got about two hours sleep that night.

I lived between the bathroom and the couch for the next four days, surviving on rehydration salts, lemonade ice blocks and the odd piece of toast. The midwives at the hospital were fairly certain that I had food poisoning from the prawns – apparently they can stay in your system for several days and don’t tend to elicit a quick reaction from your body like other sources of food poisoning. I am finally feeling better and baby is fine, but needless to say I will not be eating prawns, or Korean takeaway, for a very long time.