After childbirth, everyone wants to hear your birth story. What you expected, what you experienced and of course what pain medication you had.
My number one goal for the birth of my daughter was to avoid a cesarean. The next goal was to avoid an induced labour. But I was given an induction date at my 40-week appointment. Which was 12 days after my due date. I honestly didn’t try to interfere too much but I felt confident that I could avoid being induced. I had two ‘stretch and sweeps’, the second being a bit more vigorous than the first. Approximately 50 hours later, I thought I was going into labour. I got up to go to the toilet while watching a movie in bed when a glob of something landed on the floor. It looked like the inside of an egg. A runny outer bit with a darker coloured glob in the middle.
Since I wasn’t sure what to do, I called the hospital. The hospital said they would probably send me home, but I should come in for a checkup.
My husband and I arrived at the hospital at 11 pm Friday night. I was monitored and appeared to be having very mild contractions. But the baby had not yet dropped into position. She was still sitting quite high. The nurses decided that I would be kept in overnight for observation. It was then that I knew I would not be going home until I had my baby. My induction scheduled for the next morning.
I got very little sleep that night due to the increasing contractions and extreme back pain. The back pain only got worse. My Saturday was spent being monitored and walking around the ward, stopping every so often when the pain took my attention.
At 8 pm I was connected to a machine again. But I was so uncomfortable and felt like I needed to go to the toilet. I buzzed for the nurse to unhook me but after waiting about five minutes I couldn’t wait any longer. Feeling impatient, I decided I would try to go to the toilet and I wouldn’t go back to bed until I had urinated.
That was when my waters broke.
The most accurate way for me to describe my waters breaking was a tsunami. As I was on the toilet, a gush of water laned in the toilet with such force it bounced back out, all over the floor. I felt immediate relief from what I had been feeling but I knew I would be meeting my baby very soon.
Into a wheelchair and off to a labour suite. I spent a lot of time swearing until my midwife told me how best to direct my energy. She also told me the best way to hold my legs.
My mum appeared at my side not long after I arrived in the labour room. I had made it very clear to both families that I only wanted my husband present during the birth. However, my mum had just finished her shift on another ward and came to see how I was. She offered to leave as was my original wish but I wasn’t about to send her home to wait for news of her first grandchild’s arrival. I put my mum on ice duty while my husband was at the business end giving me lots of encouragement.
It appeared that I was tearing so a doctor came in to perform an episiotomy. Within three hours of my water breaking, I was holding my daughter.
My daughter arrived at 10.46pm weighing in at 9lb 3.5oz (4180g) on our 3rd wedding anniversary, November 5.
I felt strongly about delayed cord clamping, my husband cut the umbilical cord after it had stopped pulsing.
The same doctor that performed the episiotomy came back to add a few stitches but left before doing anything. The damage was too extensive, I needed to go to theatre to be repaired. I sat up and asked to move across to another bed.
When I came there were about 10 staff around me. And I was whisked down to surgery. I remember the anesthetist had beautifully kind eyes, I trusted him immediately. A catheter and spinal block later, I was struggling to stay awake. Luckily a nurse told me that I could sleep. I was in surgery for about an hour. It turns out the tissue was so soft that the stitches kept tearing the tissue.
I finally arrived back in the maternity ward around 3 am. I was exhausted and absolutely famished. My husband had basically been left alone with our daughter while I was in surgery and he was glad to see me.
I received two blood transfusions, as I lost quite a lot of blood during the birth. Later that day I tried to get up to have an assisted shower but fainted again.
All up I had four nights in the hospital and three units of blood. Our daughter had no name for a day until we decided on Elise May. Elise was not on our shortlist but May is my middle name, as well as my mother’s middle name.
Finding appropriate toddler foods can be difficult so I’m sharing my favourite toddler friendly zucchini recipes. I’ve been so lucky that my daughter seems to like everything we have given her. There have been a few things that she doesn’t appear to like, but I’ve noticed it comes down to the texture. There have also been a few cases of things not agreeing with her little tummy. But she seems to have grown out of most of those.
It doesn’t take long before your toddler wants to feed them self so having bite-size food is a must.
Zucchini slice was one of the first combined foods I made for my daughter. And it has always been a big hit. She loved it so much that as soon as she saw it she would refuse to eat anything else, so we had to hide it until she had eaten other foods first.
In January I was gifted half of a very large zucchini. With that, I made a zucchini slice, a batch of Zucchini Greek yoghurt muffins and a batch of Double Choc Zucchini Muffins. All of these went into the freezer to avoid wasting any. They all defrost really well, either in the fridge or in the microwave. The surprising thing is you wouldn’t know that there are any vegetables in the chocolate muffins!
This recipe is adapted from Julie Goodwin's recipe.
Combine the grated zucchini, carrot, and cheese in a bowl.
Add the flour and mix, ensuring everything is coated in the flour.
Add the beaten eggs and mix thoroughly.
Pour into a slice tin.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden on the top.
Allow to cool before cutting.
If you are freezing the zucchini slice, cut it into portions then put it back into the slice tin and into the freezer. After approximately 24 hours, removed the tin from the freezer and distribute to ziplock bags.
I like to beat the eggs in a bullet blender.
Going through IVF isn’t easy. Three is so much new information about the reproductive system that you never learned at school. The added physical and mental strain of something so invasive. Not to mention all of the money involved. So here are the 6 lessons I learned from IVF.
Sure I learned about the menstrual cycle at school, but that really only covers the basics. Now I know that your body often gives you signs of what’s happening on the inside. From hormonal acne to cravings to cervical mucus, I know my body better than I ever have before.
You get to know yourself up close and personal. Along with knowing how the menstrual cycle actually works, I learned where exactly my ovaries were. It was really easy to tell because they felt like they were the size of oranges. Did you know that your cervix can be open or closed, as well as high and low? I had more people see my privates in the lead up to a pregnancy than had ever seen them before: doctors, nurses and several different ultrasound technicians.
Apart from our initial ‘counselling’ session, which was more like a private information session, I attended two more sessions with an IVF counsellor. The first one was after my egg collection but before my transfer. The second one was just after we found out the baby’s gender. During these sessions, I came to so many conclusions by myself, just by saying my thoughts out loud.
Apart from my husband and immediate family, no one knew of our struggles to fall pregnant. I was ashamed. And I blamed myself. I didn’t want anyone to take pity on me. I didn’t want anyone to know that I wasn’t perfect.
I joined a few IVF facebook groups. One nationwide, one for the clinic’s brand and eventually an IVF babies due in October, an offshoot of the nationwide group. I rarely asked questions in these groups, mostly giving my thoughts, experiences and encouragement.
In general, I am not very good with needles. Things like vaccinations and tetanus shots I can deal with. Having blood drawn is another story. During the IVF process, I had approximately 20 blood tests, sometimes every two days. I had to learn to cope with that. It’s a real inconvenience to faint during a blood test. They will generally make you wait there for at least an hour, and they might not let you drive home. On top of the blood tests were the numerous hormone injections, 38 to be exact. I chose to do these myself. I did not want to be faced with the idea of having to them myself after relying on someone else to do them. What if they weren’t there and I wasn’t able to do it?
Last night I had a chance to reflect a little. Thirteen years ago I had the chance to reconnect with some old family friends. Normally I would not have taken up that opportunity but I thought why the heck not? This group of family friends has grown, as other friends have been added, partners have been added and now kids have also been added into the mix.
Some of these people I have known since I was born because my dad grew up with their dads back in the 60’s. I remember their old family dogs, going on vacations together, even visiting their grandparents. Not to mention all of the old photos we are in together.
Last night was the first time that I can recall that we were all together, without a specific occasion. Well actually, the occasion was the beautiful weather we had yesterday. If beautiful weather is not the best excuse to get together then I don’t know that is.
It was so great to see everyone and see all of the kids playing together. I’m absolutely amazed at how much we have all grown up, especially in the last 10 years. We are all proper adults now. With jobs, mortgages and children. But it’s great to know that we can all easily come together to catch up at random times throughout the year.
Basically, all of the wives/girlfriends are a part of the squad, you know, the one that gets together once a month for a night off from the responsibilities of adulthood. Us ladies have also really strengthened our friendships this year. I know I feel a lot more connected to them than I ever have before. It’s the first time since high school that I feel like I have real friends. I’ve also felt I can open up to them about things like anxiety and post-natal depression.
You really do have more when you are grateful for what you already have.