Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mama Life; (Nearly) Two Months In

I have been a mama for nearly two months now. It's also been nearly two months since I had a hot coffee, long shower or a sleep longer than four hours. Being a mama is much harder and more rewarding than I even imagined. I mean, I always knew it would be difficult but I didn't realise how all consuming looking after a little one is. There are days where I hardly get time to sit down before it's time for bed and, to be totally honest, I love it. Even though I am more tired than I have ever been in my entire life, I am extremely happy. Every day I get to see the most beautiful little girl in the world smiling at me, laughing with me. Every day I get to cuddle her and play with her and watch her grow... no-one could have prepared me for the amount of love that I feel for this tiny little human being. 

Georgie is already smiling so much, she is such a happy little girl. Not a day goes by without a smile. Even when she had her six week immunisations, she smiled in between her shots. She loves to watch Baby View in her bouncer, she follows the patterns and gets so excited that she turns to me and gives me the biggest smiles! It's not surprising that this little girl loves television... just like her mama and daddy. If we have her in the living room and the television is on, she can't take her eyes off it. She also loves the change table - for some reason, whenever we change her she is extremely happy and we get some of our best smiles there! She also laughs and coos, so she is definitely a social butterfly!

I purchased a Lillebaby All-Seasons carrier which should be arriving tomorrow. I am very excited to wear Georgie so I can get more done during my day and get squishy cuddles at the same time. Because Georgie has reflux, she needs to be kept upright for half-an-hour after every meal... and when she eats so often it takes up a substantial portion of our day so it would be nice if she could be upright while I get stuff done! The reflux has been challenging but it does not seem very severe for her. If we keep her upright, she feels better and there are less tears all round. There were a rough couple of weeks before we knew it was reflux... but the past is the past and she is feeling much better now.

I'd have to say that the most challenging thing about being a mama is the lack of sleep. I've never been so tired in my life and I know everyone says to sleep when your baby is sleeping... but what do you do when your baby only sleeps for 45 minutes at a time during the day? Our baby girl is a real cat napper during the day. When she does finally go down for sleep at night it takes me a good hour to get to sleep and then she is up again in two hours... so sleep is something that I just don't get anymore. I'm hoping she will start to take longer blocks of sleep at night between feeds soon so I can get a little more shuteye and be a little less zombie-like. 

Last week she grew out of her newborn clothes and I felt a little sad. Some of her onesies were only worn once! This time has gone so quickly and my fresh little newborn is now a baby girl. She is starting to get very long. It won't be long until she is too big for her bassinet... I wish the time wouldn't move so fast! Before I know it she will be sixteen and rolling her eyes when I ask for a hug. Before I know it, she will be an adult with her own baby. I wish I could pause time and enjoy her for a little longer as the little baby she is now, but I am also looking forward to getting to know her better as the years go by. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Georgia Pearl: Birth and Beyond

Since my last blog post, we have welcomed our precious angel Georgia Pearl into our lives. She is an absolute delight, practically perfect in every way. I am enjoying being a mama more than I ever imagined, I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. The road to meeting Georgie was, however, not as delightful. As I have mentioned before, I suffered with a few unpleasant complications during my pregnancy... I was hoping for an easier labour, it didn't happen. 

I had a very long labour... days in fact. I was in labour for five days before I was dilated enough to stay in hospital. I spent five days at home having contractions every ten minutes and I was getting nowhere. Labour started on Monday night, by Wednesday my obstetrician scheduled to hurry things along by the following Monday. I was in so much pain, but I was sure that she was on her way. On Friday, things escalated and the pain was unbearable. My husband couldn't take it anymore and insisted we go to the hospital. At 3:45am, we called ahead to let them know we were on our way and we drove the forty minutes to our amazingly scenic hospital. Once I got there, I had the dreaded internal and they determined I was 3cm dilated and agreed that was, in fact, in labour and that I could stay. My Obstetrician came in and broke my waters, things picked up and I couldn't take the pain. I was so exhausted from being in pain for five days straight and was also already exhausted. I had an epidural, which was given incorrectly at first so I needed a second. The epidural was amazing, even though it slowed things down and even though I got an incredibly horrible headache afterwards... I never regret getting it. It allowed me to sleep a little and get some rest. I hadn't slept properly for days as the contractions had been waking me up every ten minutes. 

So once I had the epidural, I felt amazing... but things slowed right down. I had to be attached to a drip which sped up my contractions, but they were irregular and Georgie's heart rate started to rise. Eventually it was time to push. Well, I was told it was time to push by my midwife... then another doctor told me I couldn't push. I was so confused as my body was definitely telling me to push. I had to wait nearly an hour for my obstetrician to arrive to get the final verdict. That hour was the worst, it was like holding in the biggest poo that was just dying to get out. I felt so sick, I was literally shaking to hold it in. Eventually my obstetrician came in and told me I was fully dilated and ready to push so I pushed for an hour and half and we were getting nowhere. Georgie's heart rate was still erratic, and then meconium came out and even though everyone was telling me not to worry... I could tell there was tension in the room. I was told that they were getting paper work ready for me to have a c-section... I was so exhausted I didn't even care. I just wanted this ordeal over so I could meet my baby girl. 

The next thing I know my obstetrician comes in with the forceps and says 'let's have this baby' - it felt so fast! The forceps went in and Georgie came out... she was huge. The doctor had to use so much force to get her out, it was really scary. There was blood everywhere! I heard her scream and my husband passed her to me. She was huge alright! Bigger than we all expected. Nine pounds one ounce and very long! I instantly fell in love with her, but I was feeling so unwell and weak. I felt like I couldn't hold her, I was scared I would drop her on the floor. As they stitched me up and dealt with the blood loss, I sat there holding her and looking at her poor bruised and red face. I wished I hadn't put her through that. We were both lucky to get through it and I am forever grateful that my baby made it out alive and healthy. 

So now I am a mama. We have wanted a child for so long, I feel blessed that we finally have the opportunity. We stayed in the hospital for a week and I was very happy to leave. Everyone was so lovely in the hospital, but there is no place like home. Georgie is an amazing baby... although she does have fussy periods, she is a sweet and easy baby most of the time. I have never felt happier or more tired in my life, but I wouldn't have it any other way! 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Thirty-Nine Weeks: An Overdue Update

You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged for quite a while. This pregnancy has taken up a lot of my time and energy and not in the beautiful positive way you would imagine. I’ve been in hospital twice since my last post and I have still been suffering with pain, nausea and vomiting. As I approach the end of this arduous pregnancy, I am starting to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel… my beautiful daughter, the return of my health, a brand new life as a mummy. I am currently thirty-nine weeks pregnant, so I am almost there. Everything is in place, everything is organised and everything is just ready and waiting for our little angel to join us. It feels like the last month has been an eternity! Every little twinge is filled with the possibility of meeting our girl. Even though our midwife told us not to expect her to arrive on time, I am a naturally impatient person – something I’m trying very hard to work on - and I am not a fan of unpunctuality… so we are hoping our little one will be on time.

During my pregnancy, I have been in hospital 4 times for severe pain that cannot be explained. It’s the kind of pain that is so extreme that you cannot talk and which makes you vomit. I truly did believe I was going into labour. The first time they told me it was simply muscular pain, the second time I was treated for a kidney infection, the third time they didn’t know and they just gave me painkillers. The forth time I was hospitalised my OBGYN came in to see me and told me that it’s most likely just ‘baby growing’ and that everything is OK as I lay in the fetal position crying from the extreme pain I was experiencing. Now, I believe I have a pretty good pain threshold, but this pain did not feel normal and it was hard to believe that it was just the baby growing… but eventually the pain stopped and I was able to leave hospital and I haven’t needed to go back again. I’m hoping the next time I feel that level of pain, I will be in labour.

I started to feel nauseous and unwell again around thirty weeks. Gagging, vomiting and reflux that keeps me up all night… I’m told again this is normal for me as I suffered with HG until around twenty-three weeks. I was lucky that my medication gave me around six weeks of feeling OK – even if those six weeks included the pain issues – where I was able to get a lot of things done and enjoy a little bit of my pregnancy. I was able to cook again, nest and I almost felt like I had a pregnancy glow… almost. Now, in the past month… I have felt no glow. Of all the things that no one tells you about pregnancy, the peeing yourself part is the worst. I always thought I had a strong pelvic floor but I’m starting to think otherwise… the constant pee leaking is not very glamorous. Pregnancy is not very glamorous! It’s hard to feel beautiful when you look like a bloated baboon but when it comes down to it, I’m carrying a little human inside me and that is beautiful in it’s own way.

Looking back on my pregnancy, I know that it will all be worth it. How cheesy, right? I have never felt so sick, disgusting or sore in my life but I know that when I see our little girl it will all wash away and I will be in love. I try to see the positive every day and although at times it has been hard and there has been quite a lot of tears, I know it will be worth it in the end. So come on little one and join the big, wide world. We are so eager to meet you and can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives getting to know you.

Friday, May 1, 2015

What Is Truly Important In Life?

I spent my twenties obsessing over material possessions, particularly clothes. I had no savings but I had an amazing wardrobe. I loved all the compliments I received; it fuelled me to keep buying more and more. To me, nothing felt better than walking out of a store with a new purchase. Beautiful and intricate detailing on an Alannah Hill coat. The soft and delicate fabric on an Angelic Pretty skirt. Parcels being delivered to your door like every day is Christmas. Even writing about it now, I admit that I get excited. The worst part of having a shopping addiction is that you are never satisfied. There will always be another coat or another dress, and you always desire something new. You can never find true contentment. There is no doubt in my mind that shopping is an addiction and it is an addiction that I have now all but broken. Now, I have a wardrobe that I’m sure no-one would envy… full of secondhand sweaters, flannelette shirts, jeans, plain shirts and hiking boots. I minimised, I reasoned with myself and I began to think about what is truly important in my life. I kept only the essential (well, the essential and a few things I just couldn’t part with!) Since moving to Tasmania, our life has changed. We spend a lot of time hiking and on road trips, exploring the beauty of this rugged and rustic state… and I have never been happier. I get antsy if we don’t go hiking and I just love spotting beautiful mossy trees and interesting fungi. You could go as far as to say, I’ve swapped one addiction for another… however I have gained something I was lacking; contentment.

Since minimising my wardrobe and my other possessions, I really starting thinking about simple living and minimalism in general. What is truly important in my life? Is it piles and piles of headbands and bows I never wear? No. Right now, to me, the most important things are my amazing family and friends, good healthy food, nature, books and music. All of which I can access for little to no money and all come with a healthy side dose of happiness. Living with a shopping addiction was a dangerous cycle of never being satisfied, never being happy. You get a brief feeling glimpse of happiness – the high – when you purchase something new, but it never lasts. The contentment I get from a long hike through a national park is long lasting and creates true and meaningful memories that will live with my husband and I for years to come. I think I’ve reached a point in my life where I am no longer fooled by the need to have more and more and I am starting to focus on what truly matters, and I am glad that I have reached this point before our daughter is born. I would hate for her to grow up believing that the way you look is paramount to who you are as a person. I want her to grow up curious about the world around her, about nature and to be strong enough to understand the consumerist cycle that we all live in.

So I have started this journey into minimalism and I am still learning every day. I still yearn and crave for pretty things but as soon as I reason with myself and realise that it is not essential… I move on. I haven’t purchased any new clothes or accessories (apart from a maternity bra) this year and that is the longest I have gone without doing so. I’ve sold or donated most of my wardrobe and I feel free. I kept a few dresses that I really struggled to part with and if I don’t wear them within the next two years, I will most likely sell them too. I’m excited to continue my journey and learn more about minimalism and simpfying. I’m excited to raise our daughter to appreciate all that we have. In the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “what is essential is invisible to the eye” and I believe that to be true.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Twenty-Two Weeks: It’s A Girl!

Today, apparently, our baby is the size of an ear of corn. Why is the size always measured by fruits and vegetables? Last week, she was the size of a bok choy. Yes, that’s right...we found out that we are having a little girl. Our obstetrician said he was 99% sure it was a girl. Those odds are good enough for me. I have to admit that I always wanted a girl and I’m very excited to meet her! We were also told that she is perfectly healthy and growing well. I feel her kicking every day; she especially seems to love it when I watch Netflix… that’s when she is most active! Since we found out the sex, my husband and I have decided to get our butts into gear and start buying her things. It was hard for us at first as we didn’t want to buy things too early due to our previous losses… but now we’re over that hurdle and we are really starting to prepare ourselves for this little lady. We started with nappies first; it was exciting to buy our first pack of nappies. Isn’t that weird? Even nappies are exciting… they won’t be for long, I’m sure. I guess we are just grateful we have gotten this far and everything seems so fun and new.

I have a new found love for Gumtree and second-hand groups on Facebook. Not only are there heaps of bargains, people are always so friendly and enthusiastic to help. We have purchased three lots of second-hand baby clothes for our little girl and we have only spent around a hundred dollars. We now have a giant stack of gorgeous clothes that will carry her until she is at least 6 months old, she most likely won’t have to wear the same thing twice! Everything was in great condition, some even looked as if they weren’t used at all. I am a firm believer in saving money wherever you can, so to get such a great bargain is just an additional bonus. One lovely woman gave two additional bags of clothes for free, just to help us out. Even though I always believe in the good in people, this kind of kindness still takes me by surprise!

Our next goal is to obviously start working on her nursery. We are woefully behind on it and I’ve seen a lot of people online who have finished theirs already by now. I was planning on painting it white but after hearing it was a girl, it’s hard to resist pink! Being the extreme girly-girl I am, I am completely obsessed with pink and it’s going to be hard to resist decorating the room like one giant cupcake! Our rainbow theme hasn’t changed really; I just want to incorporate a little more pink. We’ll see though, as I’m still on a budget. I’m excited to get it set up, I keep walking past her room and I can’t wait to see a cot and change table… it will make it a lot more real. Time goes by so fast, before we know it our little lady will be here!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Twenty Weeks: Nausea, Hospitals and Excitement

I will be twenty weeks pregnant tomorrow, so I felt like writing a ‘retrospective’ on the last half of my pregnancy. Yay, almost halfway there. I can’t say that the last twenty weeks have been in any way enjoyable or easy and I have not been able to experience that ‘pregnancy glow’ that everyone always talks about… but I am still here, I’m still excited to meet the little human sharing my body. I am still struggling with lingering nausea and vomiting which I keep contained with a cocktail of drugs and strange routines. Regardless of how ill I have been and still am, I know it will all be worth it when we’re finally a family of three. 

My husband and I hadn’t really been trying to get pregnant, but it just happened. After so many losses, we had lost hope of things happening naturally and were planning to see a fertility specialist in the new year. I went for a run one morning and felt incredibly dizzy and ill… not right. Instantly I knew I was pregnant. I went home and took a pregnancy test and sure enough, it was positive. The funny thing is, this was well before my period was due and the test was solid. Even though I didn’t know it at the time, this was an indicator of two things – I was carrying twins and my HCG levels were through the roof. Once I saw that positive pregnancy test I had all these plans of eating healthy, whole-foods and not taking any medication. I wanted our baby to have the healthiest start possible and I knew that I could do it.  

Within two weeks of that positive pregnancy test, I started bleeding and we prepared ourselves for another loss. We went to the hospital to check and make sure it wasn’t an ectopic pregnancy… strangely; unlike other times my HCG levels were high. All they could do was send me home and have me wait until I see my obstetrician within the next week. That week was awful; I just assumed I was miscarrying. I was in so much pain and I was nauseous, I couldn’t imagine it was anything other than another miscarriage. That trip to the obstetrician was no picnic either; he did a scan and could see two sacs that seemed empty. He told us not to hold out any hope for this pregnancy and told us to come back next week. We were absolutely shattered, I went home and I cried and cried. Why did we have to suffer through this again? Not only was I losing these babies, but also I felt so sick! It was not fair. The next week we went back and I had another scan, I was not hopeful but we were pleasantly shocked to see a little heartbeat on the screen. One of the twins had made it! I cried, my husband cried, the obstetrician was even emotional. It was touch and go for a few weeks, but that little baby stuck with us. Our obstetrician called it our ‘miracle baby’ and we visited him every week for the first twelve weeks. We were lucky to see the baby getting bigger and stronger at every visit, the baby actually absorbed the other twin (creepy!) and at our last scan; the second sac was completely gone. At least we know that the other twin will always be with our baby. 

Around the six-week mark, my nausea became increasingly extreme and I vomited at least once a day – if not more. I didn’t think much of it at first, as it’s common for pregnant women to vomit, we’ve all seen the movies. I tried to laugh it off but this was different. I started to lose a lot of weight, I couldn’t eat anything, and I couldn’t drink anything… I couldn’t even get myself out of bed without vomiting. We told my obstetrician and he said it meant the baby was healthy and told me it should improve soon. Well, it didn’t… it got worse. All I could eat was cheese and crackers, all I could drink was milk. It got the point where I was vomiting after every single thing I ate and I had to go to the hospital and get fluids intravenously. I was finally diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravadium and given some drugs to stop me from vomiting. Without going into gory detail, these drugs are very harsh and have horrid side effects… these are the same drugs given to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. I was beside myself, this is not the healthy and happy pregnancy I had envisioned. I had no choice, it was take the drugs or starve. I had already lost nearly ten kilograms. Around the week thirteen mark, I found an online support group and another drug that minimised the nausea, so in combination I found the strength I needed to get through this pregnancy. I really do mean strength, as I had never felt so weak, tired and beaten in my life. Through all the darkest and most trying times, I had the support of my amazing husband who has been nothing less than a saint the entire time. A lot of our home responsibilities fell to him, and he graciously did everything he could to help me. I don’t know what I would have done without him and honestly cannot imagine the torment of mothers with no support system going through this ordeal. 

Now we are at the half way point, life has settled down a little and although I still have to vomit and I still suffer, I have reached a point where it is bearable. In three days we have our mid-pregnancy scan, I never though I would get this far. I am looking forward to decorating the nursery and buying baby clothes. I am looking forward to getting to know this amazing being that my husband and I created. Although it’s likely I will have to endure this condition until the birth of our child, I do not regret a thing. After so many years of trying, our family will be complete. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April: Projects, Goals and Reading List

I can’t believe it is April already! As I approach the middle of my pregnancy, I am starting to see the light through the horrific Hyperemesis haze. I am slowly feeling healthier, stronger and cheerier, things are starting to get done and I am starting to feel ‘happily pregnant’. In less than a week I will know more about this little being co-inhabiting my body. We are having our mid-pregnancy ultrasound and we are hoping to find out the gender. I have a feeling it’s a boy, is that a thing? Can mothers sense what gender they are carrying? At our last ultrasound, the technician said that mother’s intuition is often correct. I wonder if there is any science behind that?

This April, I have two projects planned that I have been unable to complete due to the life-consuming Hyperemesis. Long overdue projects and organising that I have been dreaming about doing while I lay in bed unable to move. Firstly, I am going to work on organising and minimising our kitchen cupboards, drawers and pantry. This is not a hard job, but it needs to be done before Baby arrives. Secondly, I need to start clearing the room that will eventually be the nursery – which is currently being used as our standard ‘junk room’ – and start preparing for painting. I am trying not to overload myself as I am still nauseous and although I feel better… I’m not 100% there yet!

My goals for this month are to continue trying to minimise the clutter and hoarding that is rife in our household. We live in a small colonial cottage and storage space is minimal… however, my husband is a devout hoarder and collector, so I am constantly scouring Pinterest for ingenious storage ideas. I have done quite a lot already, but I don’t need a crystal ball to tell that this will be an ongoing goal… until we reach what I like to call ‘organisational Nirvana’.  My second goal this month is to start on the nursery. We have decided on a bright, colourful and retro theme for the nursery regardless of gender. The room we have for the baby is quite large and needs a new coat of paint as well as the carpets cleaned. These are two jobs I have pegged for April. After the lowest of lows I suffered in the first 18 weeks of my pregnancy, it is wonderful to finally feel excited about my pregnancy and about our baby.

I am very behind in my reading, I have been too tired and sick to even read a single page. I have been listening to a few amazing podcasts – Serial, Strangers and Topics – which have replaced that void before bed. I’ve decided to try easing my way back into reading with two short comedy books; My Custom Van by Michael Ian Black and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling. I have so many books to read and as always, I keep wanting to buy more. I have decided not to purchase any more books until I finish the ones I have… but we’ll see!

I am actually really excited about April, I have my motivation back and I am starting to feel like myself again. I can’t wait to share my progress with you.

What are your plans for April?