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Pregnancy Surprises

pregnant woman doing yoga text overlay: pregnancy surprises

I was one of the lucky ones. I had it really easy, with no pregnancy surprises. I didn’t have experience high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or Hyperemesis Gravidarum. You could even say that I enjoyed it. That’s not to say there weren’t a few things that surprised me about being pregnant.

Morning Sickness

For me, morning sickness was not what I was expecting it to be. I only actually threw up about 10 times, and only once did I throw up twice in one day. But I constantly felt sick, like I was going to throw up. This made it hard to want to eat or drink anything. After about week 20, the sick feeling began to fade but I still

Swelling

My oh, my! Nothing seemed to help the swelling in my feet. I sat at work with my feet up, only slightly elevated. I did work at a computer desk after all. I lived in a pair of compression stockings, like the ones you get after surgery or when flying. But they made no difference towards the end. My poor toes looked like little sausages.

Reflux

Some nights the reflux was that bad, I tried sleeping propped up on a few pillows. I was lucky that the medication I used did help. Although it was taken in a more preventative manner, rather than as a quick fix.

Constipation

I became constipated quite early on. I searched online for some solutions and decided to try pear juice. I managed to find it in the supermarket and gave it a go. It was really unusual to basically drink a pear. Pear juice did not quite do it for me. So I switched to an old faithful, Metamucil. For the last two or so months of my pregnancy, I was having a dose in the morning and another dose at night.

Week 39

By the time I made it to week 39, I had an insatiable hunger that just did not seem to be curable. My stretch marks had also been pretty mild but seemed to explode into being during week 39. They became agonizingly itchy. I was applying lotion several times a day just to get some relief.

Things I Didn’t Experience During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is different for everyone. It’s even different with each child. Here are some of the common things women experience during pregnancy that I didn’t encounter.

Cravings

Sure I had cravings. But it wasn’t a case of “I must not stop until I get this”. It was more like a regular craving that would pass without having to give in. And while I don’t think it’s considered a craving, I found milk was often the only thing that would satiate my thirst. I would get up in the middle of the night and chug some milk.

Being warm

I did not experience being warm during my pregnancy. I was pregnant from February to November, so, for the most part, the weather was cold. I’d still wear a singlet, a top (often long or ¾ sleeve) and a jumper during the day.

Eating for two

I’m sure most of us know that eating for two is a myth. You only need an extra 200 or so calories a day.

Trips to the bathroom

I’ll be honest, I really struggle to drink enough fluids each day. I put in a lot of effort to drink more but didn’t find there was much change in my bathroom habits. Even overnight, I was only getting up once each night.

Kicks to the ribs or bladder

All babies have different movement patterns. I didn’t experience lots of movement. There were bursts of movement but it was never painful. And I certainly never got a kick to the ribs or my bladder.

Being tired

For the most part, I wasn’t tired. Only in the middle of my pregnancy did I notice being tired. I would crash on a Friday night after work around 7 pm. I assume it was just the week catching up with me.

I’m sure there are plenty of other things that I didn’t experience during pregnancy. But these are the main ones that come up with my friends.

Breastfeeding Struggles, Advice, Success

breastfeeding-struggles-advice-success

I always wanted to breastfeed. But am ashamed to admit I honestly thought those that said it was too hard or hurt too much weren’t trying hard enough. How amazing is hindsight? I now know how hard breastfeeding is. I left the hospital with cracked, bleeding and scabby nipples. When the midwife visited, she was able to leave me with a loan great pump to see if that would help. After returning the loan pump to the hospital I borrowed one from my sister in law, and it was a godsend, especially when I returned to work.

Breastfeeding Advice

The best breastfeeding advice I received was from a friend with an 18-month-old. She told me it got a lot easier for her around the six-week mark. So that’s what I aimed for, hoping it would get better. Week six came and went but it didn’t appear to be getting easier. Then week eight hit and it was like magic. This is what it felt like when breastfeeding was normal.

Breastfeeding Struggles

It becomes all about the latch. My daughter struggled to latch properly but it did it perfectly when I visited a lactation specialist. They were able to suggest different holds for me to try because of her size.

I had several incidents where my daughter ended up with a mouth full of blood. To give my nipples a break I used nipple shields or the breast pump.

I suffered from nipple thrush more than once. It was really difficult to get rid of because I kept giving it to my daughter, who would then give it back to me.

I was unfortunate enough to experience a blocked milk duct on several occasions. But I was also lucky enough that I found a solution that worked for me, which helped me prevent it from turning into mastitis.

The first few times I breastfed in public was difficult. I couldn’t get the cover to stay on properly while I was getting myself organised. And I was really concerned about being covered so as not to offend anyone.

Breastfeeding Tips

Ask for and research advice if you are unsure about what you are doing. Join Facebook groups, ask your friends, watch YouTube videos and speak to your healthcare provider. I know I did all of the above.

The friend I mentioned above gave me a bunch of useful breastfeeding items at my baby shower. A tube of lanolin for chapped nipples, which can also double as a lip balm. I also received some nipple shields, which were an absolute godsend. By the time I was done with them they had big cracks and looked really worn out.

Having a breast pump allowed me to continue to exclusively feed my daughter breastmilk, even after I returned to work full time. If I had my time again, I would consider a double pump or a pumping bra.

The best thing that helped clear my blocked ducts was vibration. After some googling and not having results with massage or heat, I decided to try an electric toothbrush. The relief the next day was amazing.

If you want to breastfeed in public with a cover, practice at home. I wish I practised beforehand.

I found supplements to be more useful than the lactation cookies. Fenugreek seemed to be the ingredient that helped the most.

Breastfeeding Success

I last breastfed my daughter on Christmas Day. She was 13 and a half months old and I was very proud of our efforts. By then she was also having some formula as well. I was sad for that part of my life to be over but glad I was able to make it to a year, which was the last end goal that I gave myself. Less than a month after finishing up breastfeeding my daughter also gave up formula.

 

Life Lessons From a 30-Year-Old

pink balloons. text overlay:Life Lessons From a 30-Year-OldLast year I turned 30, and in all that time I’ve learned quite a lot. Some of it important, like how to adult and some not so important, like the words to too many songs from the 90s. Most of these life lessons I learned in my 20s, but some are quite recent, like number 15. So here are my 30 life lessons from a 30-year-old.

  1. Have an outlet to relieve your frustrations; write, exercise, meditate etc.
  2. Prioritise by working out what is important to you.
  3. Stop spending your time on things you don’t enjoy. Hate a particular chore? Outsource it. Hate your job? Get a new one.
  4. Find your happy place. But be prepared, it might not be where your expect. My sister in law recently noticed that I really like it at the local strawberry farm. I feel comfortable there.
  5. You need to look after yourself before you can look after others. Sometimes you really do need to put yourself first.
  6. Get enough sleep, it really does make a difference to your day.
  7. Live in the moment and acknowledge what you are experiencing, especially if you have young kids.
  8. Really listen to people when they are talking with you. You don’t always need to say something in return.
  9. Never stop learning, whether it be for profit or pleasure.
  10. Give up judging people, it doesn’t do you any favours.
  11. Don’t be too afraid of making mistakes that you don’t even try.
  12. Learn from your mistakes, if you don’t you will probably continue to make those mistakes.
  13. Ask for help when you need it, you won’t get it unless you ask.
  14. What doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
  15. If something won’t take long, just do it.
  16. Celebrate the wins, even if they are small. Sometimes they can be few and far between.
  17. If someone means a lot to you, let them know.
  18. Be grateful, the things that follow may surprise you.
  19. Ask for what you want. If you want a pay raise, ask for it. Don’t wait until it’s offered to you. You might not be offered one or it may be much less than you think you deserve.
  20. Never stop saving your money. Even if you are only saving $10 a week, keep saving.
  21. Make time for family. Take the time to catch up with your family members. I go to pretty much everything I am invited to. We also arrange a family Christmas party sometime in December just so we can all catch up.
  22. Take all the advice you are given. People are going to give you advice whether you want it or not, especially when it comes to parenting. Take it and do what you want with it.
  23. Do it while you can. My husband and I spent a month travelling the US for our honeymoon. In hindsight, it cost us quite a bit but it was an experience we will never forget. It’s also something we may not have the chance to do again.
  24. Learn and know your body. Take the time to learn what your body is telling you. Also learn to track your menstrual cycle, the stuff they teach you in school is just not enough.
  25. Done is better than perfect. You can waste your life away waiting for something to be perfect. The perfect partner, the perfect time to have children, the perfect job, the perfect blog post.
  26. Don’t be afraid to let your guard down. The moment I admitted to my friends that I had experienced postnatal depression, I discovered some of my friends were the same.
  27. Put yourself out there. For years I have been really concerned about what others thought of me. This blog has helped me put myself out there more. I was absolutely petrified when the first person I knew in real life found this blog.
  28. It’s ok to change your mind about friends, partners, jobs and your health.
  29. Don’t be ashamed of your flaws. There are many people out there that are likely experiencing something similar. And on the contrary, wish for what you have.
  30. Always have a carton of long life milk in the fridge or cupboard as well as a loaf of bread in the freezer. Have you ever run out of milk and really don’t want to go out just for milk?

The Easiest Meal Plan

notepad with white tuples text overlay: the easiest meal plan
The importance of meal planning is touted on almost every money-saving blog and is a priority for many stay-at-home parents. But I generally meal plan because I like to know what to expect. You see I am horrible with surprises and not that good when it comes to a change of plans. But I think I’ve come up with the easiest meal plan.

I only meal plan our dinners and I try my best to be flexible about it. Events pop up out of nowhere and there are nights when nobody wants to cook. Most of the items are stored in the freezer, so are put in the fridge the night before or the day of. If it doesn’t get eaten on the day its planned for, it moves to the next night.

Go shopping

Many will suggest you make your meal plan before going shopping. You can use the catalogues and the current specials to get great deals and work out what you are going to eat for the week.

I don’t do this. I shop pretty solely at Aldi and they don’t often discount their regular stock. So I just go shopping and buy what I think we might like to eat. I always have sausages, beef mince and chicken breast on hand.

Once I am home with the shopping, I divide it up into meal servings. The sausages I buy come in a pack of 24. Out of the 24 sausages, I get 5 meals: four meals of five sausages (two each for the adults and one for little miss), and one meal of four sausages. I prefer to store everything in freezer bags. I also don’t bother labelling it, nothing is usually in my freezer for longer than three months.

Write that list

Your fridge and freezer are now packed to the brim just waiting to be emptied again. Make a list of all the items you have that you can make main meals out of. Then, next to the item, I list the quantity I have. So with the example of sausages from earlier, I have five serves. U ually when I do this, I end up with about 3 weeks of dinners!

The easiest meal plan

Now that you know what you have and how much of it you have, start allocating meals to days of the week. I try to mix it up so that we don’t have the same type of meat every night in a row. I also take into account what sort of activities we are doing during the day. Monday is usually something simple, as we are both at work. Wednesday tends to be the most extravagant because it’s grocery shopping day. So that means I can pick up anything that we need to keep fresh like salads or cold meats.

Let them eat cake! (if it’s in the meal plan)

The last step, which isn’t really a step, is to eat your way through the easiest meal plan! Hopefully, you won’t need to buy any meat for the duration.

I also like to have tins of baked beans or spaghetti on hand, as well as a tin or two of soup. They are great to have on hand for quick easy meals, plus they remind me of my childhood.

I have been toying with the idea of a certain type of meal on a specific night of the week. Like Monday is chicken night, Tuesday is sausage night etc. But I’m not sure I’m ready to live my life like that, although it would make it the easiest meal plan.

Suggestions

Here are a few staples that I like to keep on hand in the freezer and what I like to make with them.

Mince – spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, meatloaf, meatballs, chilli con carn.

Chicken breast- satay chicken, Thai curry chicken, orange chicken, crumbed chicken, BBQ chicken, shredded chicken.

sausages – sausage rolls, devilled sausages, BBQ sausages.