Tag Archives: birth

C-section – what really happens

When I was pregnant with Hudson and found out I was having a c-section I heard all sorts of horror stories. I also Googled (don’t do it). There were tales of staples, huge scars, excutiating pain, infections and awful recoveries. It was very hard to find anything that sounded like a standard straight forward story. I have since had two c-section’s  (one emergency and one elective) and I wanted to share what happened to hopefully put some people’s mind at ease and share something positive to cut through all the negative horror stories.

Firstly, I want to say that I complely understand that everyone has different birth stories, this is my experience only. I am not speaking on behalf of anyone else.

The process of c-section for me was just fine. Here is my experience:

As with any operation the nerves kick in just before you go in. I felt so much better once I saw my Ob/Gyn, the familiar face really helped calm my nerves.

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Waiting to go in for my c-section with Hudson 

▫The spinal block – this worried me. In reality this is over super quick and both of my anesthetists were great and talked me through the whole process.

▫ Catheter – I have never had an operation before and the thought of a catheter really worried me. I didn’t even notice it. It’s inserted after the spinal and they take it out the next day. You are so happy to have your baby you really pay no attention to the catheter.

▫It’s quick – from the spinal to meeting your little one is a really quick process (probably 15 minutes).  Before you know it you will be stitched up and in recovery. For me, the whole process took about 45 minutes both times.

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▫ Stitches and scar – Both times I had internal stitches and one large stitch closing the wound. No staples. I paid special attention to the wound care and now my scar is minimal. It’s very low (just above my pubic bone). I can still wear a bikini if I want to and it’s really no big deal. Contrary to some Google stories, my scar is horizontal, not vertical and is not across my whole stomach. My stitch was removed before I left the hospital.

▫Pain management – the hospital I was at were amazing with pain management. Pain meds were given before I felt pain and I left the hospital taking only Voltaren and Panadol. Ensure you ask for pain meds, there is no need to be a hero. Take them before you are in pain.  It makes recovery a lot easier.

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Me and Scarlett – one day old

▫ Bleeding – you bleed after any birth and c-sections are no different. From what I hear it’s not as heavy as after a vaginal birth but yes, you still require the surfboard maxi pads.

▫ Driving – with my doctors approval I was able to drive two weeks after both my c-sections. I read a lot of information about not driving for 6 weeks, this wasn’t the case for me.

▫ Breastfeeding – I had no trouble with milk supply or breastfeeding. The c-section didn’t affect this for me.

▫ Physical activity – I was up and walking the next day. I was restricted with certain activities for 6 weeks (vacuuming etc) but hey, who wants to vacuum anyway. I was able to go for walks as soon as I got home and could commence normal exercise after my 6 week check up.

Overall, I had two positive experiences. I’m not saying that this is the case for everyone. In a world of negative stories, it’s sometimes nice to hear everything is going to be ok. I now have two beautiful healthy babies and that’s what really counts.

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Rachelle xx 

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Give it time

When you are pregnant all the books, websites and other mums tell you about the overwhelming feelings of love you will have for your child from the second they are placed in your arms. Some women gush about how they love pregnancy and the feeling of growing a life inside of them.

It’s no secret.  I didn’t enjoy pregnancy, not for one second. All the sweating, nausea, hunger and stretching of everything (mainly my pants and bras) just didn’t appeal to me. Every now and then I enjoyed the little kicks but 90% of the time I felt like an alien had taken over my body.

My son Hudson was born six weeks early, saying this came as a surprise is an understatement. When I heard my baby boy cry for the first time I was so happy. I was overcome with emotion. Yet, I wouldn’t describe it as it says in all the books. Love wasn’t gushing out of me like an overflowing sink.  I had mixed emotions, he was taken to the special care nursery straight away. I was excited, upset, confused and 100% scared out of my mind. 

Then, it came time for Hudson to come home.  I was still so frighted,  he was tiny and had reflux so he cried A LOT. I was a new mum with no idea and when my husband returned to work I felt very alone. It was like being given a new toy with no instructions. I loved my baby but was waiting for this warm fuzzy, fluffy feeling that I had heard about? Why wasn’t I gushing love from my pores? Glowing? Declaring my love for my child like all these other women?  What was wrong with me?

Looking back on this time, I realise there was nothing wrong with me. I was adjusting to a massive change in my life. I had a rough start, difficult baby,  was incredibly sleep deprived and frankly it’s just not my personality.  I love both of my children more than anything in this world. I would walk accross hot coal to protect them,  jump to their defense and claw your eyes out if you hurt them. However,  this feeling has developed over time. I feel like I have got to know them and like any new experience it’s daunting at first.

I tell all my friends and any first time mothers not to expect these amazing, overwhelming warm feelings of love straight away as it’s not always the case. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad mother, it doesn’t mean you don’t love your children.  It just takes a little time to bond, confidence, some sleep and everything gets better. Everyone’s experience of motherhood is different, dont ever feel bad for being honest and admitting your true feelings just because they are different from others or from what books describe.  You are  a good mother!

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Rachelle xx

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The Aftermath

Birth classes and pregnancy books put a lot of focus on the day you give birth and honestly when you’re pregnant it’s really all you focus on. The grand finish line where you meet the newest member of your family and apple of your eye.

There is normally a small chapter on what happens to your body after birth. If you are like me, you probably don’t pay too much attention to this chapter. That is, until it’s all happening and your body feels like some sort of war zone.

I was very lucky to not have a lot of swelling throughout my pregnancy. However, that completely changed when my milk was coming in. Everything became swollen, legs, ankles, fingers, face. Looking back at photos, I realise that I looked like I had a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting.

Another thing I didn’t realise about my milk coming in, is that my breasts would turn into hard concrete blocks for a few days. Very hard, hot, square, lumpy, concrete blocks. It felt like nothing could relieve the pain. Ice packs and Voltaren helped a little. A friend also gave me the tip of a warm shower or warm bath to help ease the swelling.

Post pregnancy also brings on more padding than a One Direction concert (I will never feel the same about a padded bra again). Large surfboard maternity pads and breast pads. Every movement you make you are reminded of the excess padding as you can hear them rustling about and crinkling under your clothes. I believe that maternity pads are payback for not having a period for 9 months. SURPRISE!! You now get rewarded with a pad the size of 9 normal pads. There is so much leaking happening its hard to keep track and you constantly feel like you smell like hot milk.

The good news is that the swelling and leaking settles down after a few weeks. Drinking water helps the flush the fluid out, but don’t be surprised if you sweat like a man or wake up in a sweaty puddle. The fluid literally comes out of your pores.

There is certainly a lot happening in the weeks after birth. I guess we are just lucky we have our beautiful little babies to help distract us.

Rachelle xx

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All tied up

People often ask if I will be having baby number three. My answer is a pretty definite ‘no’. So many people say ‘Oh but accidents happen’. What they don’t know is I had my tubes tied after the birth of my daughter. Of course there is still a small chance of pregnancy, but in reality my pregnancy days are behind me. 

When I was a baby and child I had kidney problems. I required frequent hospital visits up until 6 years of age, where I was finally given the all clear. I still remember the doctor telling my mum and I that all should be fine.  However, having children may be an issue as it could place extra strain on my kidneys. I wasn’t devastated as I was so young  but it always stuck in my mind that I may not be able to have children.

Fast forward 25 years and my husband and I were in a position where we wanted a child. I became pregnant with Hudson after a miscarriage and he was born 6 weeks early. I then became pregnant with Scarlett after a very early miscarriage and from 25 weeks they thought she may come early. She was born full term but there were a lot of scans and worry throughout the pregnancy. My kidneys were never an issue but I carried both babies very low and breech. I also had incompatible blood type with Scarlett so there was a concern my body would reject her. My Ob/Gyn advised that this could get worse with each pregnancy.

At my last appointment before my c-section I was offered to have my tubes tied at the end of the procedure. He said it would be 10 minutes extra, no extra pain or costs.

I had never thought of this, but I after speaking to my husband I decided to go ahead with the procedure.  The main deciding factors for me were:

▫I didn’t want to take the pill anymore or have synthetic hormones in my body.

▫My husband was carrying on about having his tubes tied. He believes he wouldn’t be as manly anymore 😩. I really didn’t want to have to deal with nagging him. 

▫While the thought of a big family appeals to me, the cost of raising children is huge these days.

▫ I have two healthy, happy children. I didn’t want to risk another pregnancy where something could go wrong. Especially when I thought I may have trouble having even one baby.

▫I was 32 when I had Scarlett and didn’t want to add the age factor in as a risk with a third pregnancy.

▫If I ever desperately want another baby, I can still have IVF. I highly doubt this will happen, but it’s good to know your options.

Am I happy with the decision I made? Yes I am. Sometimes I think about the fact that I won’t have another new born.  Yet, I am grateful and happy that I have  have two children. There are some women who never get this opportunity in life. I am also now one of those women who loves to give other people’s babies big cuddles (then give them back to mummy or daddy when they cry or poop). I look forward to the next phase of life with my family; my children growing up, learning and discovering the world.

I have had no side effects, there was no extra pain and I feel just fine. Of course, as with anything. This is a very personal decision and everyone’s experience is different. Overall my experience was a good one. I wanted to share my story, you hear so often about men having tubes tied but not many women ever speak about it.

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Rachelle xx

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Guest Blog – Sarah (@sass.xo_project)

I wasn’t ready. I’d had a pretty cruisy pregnancy up until 36 weeks when I was admitted to hospital with pre-eclampsia and two days later, my beautiful healthy daughter Matilda arrived. It was so surreal. I hadn’t packed my bags, I had not long finished work and I was holding a newborn in my arms. She was perfect. My husband overjoyed. I was caught up in the moment, with wonderful midwives and nurses surrounding me, helping me with trying to feed and taking her to the night nursery so I could sleep. Family and friends came to visit. Hospital was great. I loved it. I even discharged myself a day early because I was feeling so rested and eager to get home.

The car journey home was also surreal. Taking this baby out of the hospital, so small, so dependent on me. She was mine (ours). After a tough couple of years visiting various specialists both here in Melbourne and interstate, trying to conceive, she was here.

I guess many women can relate. Sometimes pregnancy can be exhausting and challenging but having had the fertility issues prior just compounded my journey of emotions. Yes, I was so thrilled to have a baby but I was also filled with constant worry, emotional exhaustion, and anxiety. I put a lot of pressure on myself that because I’d fallen pregnant through IVF I should be really grateful and have so much love for this new baby. Except, that’s not how I felt. I cried most days for the first six months. Everyone told me it was my hormones adjusting and sleep deprivation but I knew it was more than that. Matilda had reflux, was not putting on weight, visits to several doctors and the Royal Children’s Hospital to try and work out what was wrong… All of the time, my thoughts were flooded with, “what was I doing wrong??” I felt I couldn’t do anything right.

My mum gave me some sound advice when she realised I wasn’t coping very early on in the piece: “You’ve fed her, changed her and she’s sleeping. She’s content.” Sounds simple, but when you are highly emotional and anxious every thought runs through your mind about how to be a good mum. I took the advice on board but only when Matilda started to find her routine, start eating and putting on weight did I really appreciate those words. Babies don’t need much when they are newborn; I felt I had to give everything to her from day one although I didn’t know what “everything” was. This much needed advice I have carried with me with the birth of my son Charlie. This isn’t to say my experience with Charlie was perfect; I still had the occasional anxious thought try and creep in but I consciously reminded myself that I was doing a good job, giving him everything he needed at the time.

I also learnt that I didn’t need to go on this journey on my own. I had my husband and he was (and is) incredible support to me and the best dad but I also accepted offers for help; a meal, a load of washing, a couple of hours off for some “me time” to go for a walk, sleep (!) and go to the shops.

Matilda is now three and Charlie 18 months and I love their little personalities and who they are growing up to be. At times I have been challenged (which I’m sure we all have been at some point or another!), and sometimes I need to be more patient but with the support of family, friends and children experts, I love being a mum and wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Sass.xo

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To my pre baby self…..

Ealier this week I was at Baby Bunting with my husband and two kids, picking up a couple of things before we went out to lunch. I saw a young expectant couple, hand in hand picking out all their new things for their beautiful baby. The mother was having the sales woman ring around to see if she could find an (overpriced) onsie in newborn size at another store. She was glowing and rubbing her belly with so much love in her eyes.

She glanced over at us. We were all dressed up, Hudson gave a sweet little wave and Scarlett flashed a smile. The lady smiled and looked at her husband. I could see that she was thinking ‘ohh we will be like them soon, out and about with our well behaved little family.’

I know that this lady was thinking that because around 4 years ago, I was that lady. Picking out new beautiful things for my first bundle of joy. Thinking of a chubby, cooeing little baby staring at me. I always try to be postive, but on this day I was so sleep deprived and we’d had a morning of tantrums. It took all my strength to hold back and not go over and tell her ‘We’re not always like this. Enjoy yourself, go out, watch a movie, sleep…… for gods sake woman put down the onsie and go back to bed!!! 
Babies grow into toddlers and toddlers are hard work’.

A few points that I would give my pre baby self:

▫ Your child will not fit into your social life. You need to adjust your life to fit with the babies routine. If you don’t, good luck. I thought my babies would somehow just fit in with me. While they do to a point – they eat lunch and dinner early, require naps and don’t like wandering around the shops or sitting while you have your hair or nails done.

▫ Put the $50 onsie down, you do not need it or those baby Nikes. I know they are cute but your baby will grow out of them so quick, you might as well set fire to the cash right now.

▫ Sleep, not just a little. Spend all day laying around in bed. Once your a mum, this won’t happen…..well maybe if you have gastro, it might. If that’s the case it won’t be pleasant and the rest of the family will probably also have it. You will have to wake up in intervals for cleaning poop or vomit and adding to the huge pile of laundry.

▫Enjoy going to the toilet alone. Once your baby is up and moving they will track you down and find you. Once they’re talking they will follow you for a chat and even declare in the shopping centre  ‘my mummy did poo poo’ or ‘my mummy has black jocks’. Charming!

▫Speak to your partner. Parenting is hard work. Always communicate with your partner. Let them know what you need (they’re not mind readers). Things can get heated when both kids are screaming. When one child is having an unreasonable meltdown and the other has experienced a poop explosion, you will be overwhelmed and possibly take it out on your partner. Remember, you’re a team, take it easy on each other.

▫Most of all, don’t take it for granted. Live in all the moments (even the tear your hair out, I wanna curl up and cry ones). They really do grow so quick.

Rachelle xx

** Also featured on Mama Love Magazine

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Guest Blog – The question everyone can’t wait to ask

So, you have started a family and your little one is starting to grow up and become a little bit more independent (well as independent as a toddler can be) and everyone starts asking – when are you having the second one? For me it is always an awkward question to answer and I often respond with a vague ‘we’ll wait and see’ or ‘we aren’t too sure’-but the truth is, we have been trying for over 6 months and nothing has happened. For those of you who don’t know me personally, falling pregnant with Hunter took quite sometime, and with each unsuccessful month it made me feel miserable and wonder what was wrong with me. All my friends and colleagues were getting pregnant within a month or two and here I was waiting each month with trepidation, hoping to take a test and see those 2 little lines appear. After months of trying, I became convinced that something was wrong, so my husband and I underwent a barrage of tests with the only thing being discovered was that I had borderline Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) but that it shouldn’t impact my fertility. As luck would have it I fell pregnant the following month and the rest is history…..

Knowing all of this, I had presumed that it would also take a little longer the second time around, but had also been told that once you have had one baby, falling pregnant the second time is often easier, and I had secretly hoped that this was the case. Again after months of disappointment I spoke to a doctor and was told that the uterus can change position after childbirth making it hard to conceive, or that there was such a thing as ‘secondary infertility’. This really got me thinking about why we were trying for baby number two, Was it because it felt like it was the next step? Was it because we had hoped that they would be closer with a smaller age gap? Was it because watching Hunter grow and develop has made us forget the newborn stage? There were so many reasons both for, and against, that it can make your head spin! Then I delved deeper  – Was it fate that my body wasn’t blessing me with a little brother or sister for Hunter? Was it the fact that some days I can barely deal with one child, let alone another? Was it because adding another baby in the mix would stretch our family too thin both emotionally and financially?

There really is never a perfect time to start, or add to your family but after much discussion my husband and I we have decided that there is no need to rush, and our future is already be written one way or another. We have decided to put our baby making plans on hold for the time being, to focus on the present – and simply enjoy the times that having only one child can bring. Who knows what the future holds, or how big our family is destined to be but for now, we are just going to focus on the gorgeous, inquisitive, and healthy little man that we have already been blessed with. So next time your curiosity gets the better of you and you feel the urge to ask someone about their baby plans, be aware that there might be more to it than meets the eye, and your innocent question may have a much bigger impact than you ever intended.

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@mummymisgivings

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Guest Blog – @therealmummmy

23.

that’s how old I am.

I have two beautiful babes. Cooper 4 & Lyla 2.

I had Cooper when I was 19. I got married when I was 20 and had Lyla when I was 21.

To say I bit off more than I could chew would be an understatement

All of my life I wanted to be a mother. When I was a little girl I would spend hours imagining finding love and having a family. I couldn’t wait to find the man of my dreams and have perfect children. I thought it would be just all so perfect.

It was perfect some days, some days were crazy. I knew having a newborn and toddler was going to be hard and I knew I would cry over the silliest of things. But I wasn’t coping at all.

I didn’t want to admit that I had depression, seemed so weak, I was not weak but I just had this feeling of emptiness. Truthfully I had been feeling it for year before I had the kids.

After about 4 months of this feeling, this tired feeling, not wanting to get out of bed, fighting with my husband, blaming him for everything, I even had days where I would just want to get in my car and leave. I eventually went to the doctor. I told no one. I even took the kids with me.

Usually I would see if someone would mind them for me. I was so scared of one of them melting down and everyone staring at me and a screaming child. I was not in the right frame of mind to deal with that. I know I shouldn’t care what people think… right? It’s very hard telling a person with depression and anxiety to just not worry about what people think. You cannot just tell your mind to stop.

The doctor was awesome to talk to, the doctor suggested I talk to a psychiatrist or try medication. I did not want to talk to anyone about this, I felt embarrassed. So I took the meds. For me that decision turned out to be a mistake. They made me feel so sick for the first few days. Which is a normal side effect.  By then I had told my husband what had been going on.

I kept taking the pills. I noticed a slight change in myself but nothing major. I went back to see my doctor a few times and she put up my dose up a few times. Still nothing really changed.

I decided I wanted to come off the pills. After about a week I started to lose my shit. It’s hard to explain how I felt but I just couldn’t control how I felt, I yelled at the kids for absolutely no reason at all. I was not in a good state of mind.

I was losing a handle my life. So I gave in to the pain started taking them again. It was easier to go back to them than to try and fight it.

A few more months went by and I ended up going to talk to a different doctor. He told me that the medication I was on was not his favorite to prescribe. Great. He told me it has an addictive affect . Really ? hadn’t noticed.

He talked me into seeing a psychiatrist. I made the appointment and all. I didn’t go. I was just so lost,  I didn’t know what to do. I was just existing. This was no life for me or my kids. But I couldn’t help it.

I ended up deciding one day that those pills don’t own me, I’m going to start again… exercise every morning and go cold turkey on the anti-anxiety pills. It sounded so much easier in my head. I did try though. It was hard, I wanted to go back to them so many times. I think I just knew in my head enough was enough. They didn’t help me they just made me worse if anything

I did it though. It probably took me a good 2 months not to want them anymore but it got easier as each day went by.

I didn’t end up seeing a psychiatrist, I kind of want to but my anxiety gets the better of me. I have completely lost my confidence when talking to other people, let alone someone that I have to try and explain my whole life too.

I’m not on anything anymore, I feel as though my depression has backed away for now but It’s not gone. My anxiety is probably the worst it’s ever been. I don’t know why it just is.

In the middle of all this craziness, In September 2012 one of the most terrifying things happened to us.

We all had the flu. My son Cooper was 2, my Lyla was about 8 months old. Cooper was sleeping all through the day and all the night. When he would wake he was thirsty, like unnaturally thirsty. He would wet through his nappy at night, even when we changed him throughout the night to try to prevent this from happening. We couldn’t work it out.

I was on the phone to the nurse on call about 3 or 4 times. They just told me that it was his body’s way of dealing with this wicked flu.

I remember my Mum came over on the 3rd or 4th day of having this flu. I was changing Coopers clothes, he was just so tired and lethargic, barely staying awake.

Looking at his normally healthy body was shocking… he was honestly just skin and bone. It freaked me out how much weight he had lost only in a day or 2. Mum said take him to the doctors. So I did. He vomited all over me in the doctors waiting room, after that the doctors bought us in straight away. She took one look at him and told me get him straight to emergency.

The doctor called the hospital to notify them we were coming.

I should add that we had both kids at emergency the night before with high temps and was sent home.

We get to the hospital, James, Cooper, Lyla and myself. We get taken in straight away, The nurses start taking blood and asking all these questions. Almost like we had starved him.

I guess we couldn’t blame them, that’s what he looked like. The hours go by with still no answers so I take Lyla home as she was still sick, hadn’t slept, hadn’t had lunch. My Husband told me he would call me if he had any news.

He called. I answered…… ” Cooper has type 1 diabetes“.  I wasn’t really sure what to think. I don’t know anything about diabetes.  Nothing. The worst part of it all was when I got back to the hospital, James told me they were planning on doing a bone marrow test on him. They had him all prepared for a needle in the spine, just waiting on the anesthetist.  I was pretty angry that they planned on a performing such an invasive procedure like a bone marrow test before a simple finger prick to check blood glucose levels. I mean I know it’s rare to get type 1 so early on but that was scary.

We both had to learn everything about type 1 diabetes. He needed insulin to survive and constant fingers pricks to manage his blood glucose levels. Without constant management of his diet and the right control of his insulin dosage there are serious and even deadly consequences. We even have to check him throughout the night….. everynight.

It gets easier, but with age comes other complications. Having two young kids and now this. If I wasn’t coping well before how the hell am I going to deal with this. He has ‘hypos’ which is low blood sugar levels. He can go into a coma if not treated right away. His blood sugar levels are high when he takes too many carbs in and the insulin amount was too little. Everyday is different.

James is amazing, without him I would not be here. I honestly know that. He has saved me. So many times I have wanted to quit. So many times I have felt like the biggest failure as a Mother and I tell myself I don’t deserve this life. He was the one to bring me through to the other side. I’m not completely there yet but I know with a little hard work, I can be. I am trying meditation , I am honestly the last person on the planet to try meditating. But I did. James asked me to. It is amazing. Completely relaxes your body. I think everyone should try it just once.

If I can help just one person sruggling like I was, whether it is just with everyday life or if they have been going through a similar situation as I was. You are not alone, even though it feels like you are.

@therealmummy

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Guest blog: Free your journey – @cultivatemotherhood

“A day will come when the story inside you will want to breath on its own. That’s when you’ll start writing.” -Sarah Noffke
Truthfully it’s been two and half years since the birth of my daughter and  I’m just writing my birth story down. It’s been a long time coming but i’ve needed to ponder and reacquaint myself with my story and find peace in it all. My journey to birth has had time to breath and I now can cheerfully release my fears and be at peace. I remember so well the moment the doctor laid our sweet daughter on my chest. My body was tired, my cheeks red and stinging from the heat, my heart racing, my smile filled with bliss, my eyes weary longing for a moment of rest. At last, through the sheer fear, sudden change and pain of birth, she was here. She was right here in front of me with her perfect fuzzy ducky hair, one eye open the other softly shut, looking deeply into my eyes; her tiny body in need of comfort, touch, and a soothing voice telling her, “I love you. I’m right here.  Everything’s okay, baby.”
My husband and I had planned a home birth for our birth plan and worked with two midwives through my whole pregnancy. Every checkup was sweeter than the last when we visited our midwives. On any given checkup, you would walk in to find one sipping on hot tea while the other was knitting the most precious baby hats you ever did see. Their home was always welcoming and the smells are nostalgic to me still to this day. Their inviting presence made us feel seen and heard by them in an undeniable way. I knew that they were passionate about their work.  The sparkle in their eyes was every bit as comforting as my husband stroking my hair or giving me a warm hug. We felt at home, and we were. As my pregnancy progressed, I was in and out of the hospital at twenty-four weeks as well as twenty-eight weeks. I experienced long and hard contractions as if labor was coming, but nothing ever happened beyond that. My baby was eager to make an entrance into the world and I kind of had a feeling too (mama instincts).  We continued to see our midwives in hopes we could make it to the thirty-eight week mark, but that didn’t happen.
My water broke on a cold and blustery Wednesday night, just shy of thirty-eight weeks. I panicked I thought I still had at least four weeks to go…to prepare, to nest. I didn’t want to believe things were going to go differently than we had planned. When I heard the words, “I’m sorry my sweet Sophia, we need to go to the hospital” my heart dropped.  Fear and anxiety gripped my muscles, and tears flooded my lap. This wasn’t what we planned for, so now what would it look like?
You see, I didn’t know that everything would be okay.  I was scared, I was tired, and I was not in my home. I let fear and anxiety rattle my thoughts and harden my muscles. As they transferred me to my birthing room, it felt large and cold. I didn’t know any of the doctors or nurses, but all I could do was trust that this was exactly where I was supposed to be. Little did I know that the doctors would be so gentle and understanding. They took the time to make my room feel how I had anticipated my home to feel. They spoke softly and surely to me, comforting my fears with every passing moment. You see, it’s so easy in motherhood to place expectations on how our birth might look like, what our children will take interests in, how we will parent, and what approach we will take with the many decisions we make as parents. It’s easy to let fear lead our hearts in motherhood instead of peace. I have learned a lot from my birth.  It did not go the way I planned….pitocin, epidural, twenty four hours of labor, three hours of pushing to no avail, and extra unexpected time in the hospital with our sweet preemie. It was long and grueling, and at some points I wanted to give up and be done. But I learned that day what my body is capable of. I learned how expectations placed on ourselves or our children only produce failure and insecurity, robbing us of our joy and and peace we have been given since the beginning of time.
During the days at the hospital leading up to my birth, you could find my midwives sleeping on the ground on a sleeping bag, spending every waking moment beside me, comforting me, encouraging me, and making my room feel like a home. They supported me, and walked me through the doctor’s’ questions and concerns. They helped me see past my fear and expectations to understand that a healthy baby was the goal. Whatever your journey to your miracle might look like, whether that’s adoption, foster care, cesarean, home birth, etc., know that you are right where you need to be. I like to think that the universe and a higher being orchestrates our life and journeys to motherhood in a truly unique way, teaching us many lessons if we will stop and truly feel the way we were meant to feel.
My birthing experience made me think that we need people in our lives in any stage of motherhood to help us, to encourage who we are as mothers, and to cheer us on to victory. We need that “village”, that “sisterhood” to surround us with open arms and open hearts to bear one another’s burdens and help lighten the load. Sometimes it’s hard to ask and accept help, but people genuinely want to help and encourage. Surround yourself with people that love you and make you feel like motherhood is working for you, not against you. At the same time, intentionally reach out to new mothers and friends in need once you’ve got a couple months under your belt. A simple meal or phone call goes a long way in helping a loved one feel supported in the crazy, messy, beautiful state of motherhood. We all have different journeys. Some may go the way we plan and some may not.  When we give up control and offer up our hands to the higher being, we find peace and contentment on our  journey to birth or the first day of preschool, however that may unfold. Our children come out of us, but they are not of us. They have their own path and their own passions to share with this world. So go on Mommas.  Go on and share your hearts, your emotions, your love for your children and let that be enough. Let your hands not be gripped with control but open to whatever may come your way. Expect not from your children, and great things will follow them and you through this journey of motherhood. You are brave, you are enough, and you are accepted just the way you are. Your story matters, your journey to motherhood is enough and always will be.
Instagram : @cultivatemotherhood
Second account: cultivate_wellness
Facebook is: Sophia El’rae Johnson
Facebook Oil group: cultivatewellnessyloils
Here is a short bio: My name is Sophia Johnson, I am a wife and a mother to our sweet daughter Beatrice with a second child on the way. Join me in my journey of cultivating motherhood through a hands free/gentle parenting approach. My hope is to inspire deep growth, honesty, vulnerbility, and a sense of community in our ever changing days as mothers. I am passionate about letting our little ones feel capable and strong in their daily lives, for one day the tiny mundane tasks, and hobbies that we include them in will be remembered as pure joy and the feeling of being trusted by another will inspire their true identity and uniqueness in this life. Here i write about my hard ships and joys of being a mother and all my daughter has taught me along the way about myself and who I want to be. I share the joy of letting go of control and freeing ourselves to see our children as their very own “unique beings” set apart from our expectations as parents and insecurities we face on a daily basis. It wasn’t until I had a child that I found myself all over again, in a truly unique and refreshing way. Let us cultivate the greatest gift of “Motherhood ” however that journey unfolds for each of us
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Don’t judge

These days it seems everyone is always judging others, the decisions they make and making assumptions about that person based on very little information.  Almost everyday there is some topic on my news feed where women are bickering about something that in the scheme of things is a very minute detail. I believe ‘each to their own’ and we have the right to make choices during pregnancy and with our children and shouldnt be judged or feel the need to justify our actions.
I thought I would share some things from pregnancy, birth and being a mum that I am sure people will judge.  Hopefully it makes other mums more comfortable with decisions they make.

¤ I had very few food restrictions in both my pregnancies.  My Obgyn was happy for me to eat anything I wanted (in moderation). The only thing he restricted was soft serve ice cream and fish high in mercury.  I ate sushi, deli meat, soft cheese and even had a wine a couple times on a special occasions.  As long as food was fresh and cooked well there were no problems.

¤ I wore heels when I was pregnant. Yep, high heels, stilettos, boots. I didn’t just start wearing them because I was pregnant. I have always worn them. During both pregnancies I received comments about it and how I could fall etc. I was sensible about it and often had some flats around incase my swollen feet got sore or I had to walk a distance.

¤ I wanted a C section.  Even though in the end fate took this decision out of my hands as my son was breech.  The truth is I never had any interest in a vaginal birth. The thought of it frightened me, my inner control freak took over and was booked in for an elective c section anyway. Women often look at me like I took the easy way out or somehow think I am less of a mother all because of how I gave birth. They ask me if I am disapointed that I missed the natural childbirth experience…..um no. I have two healthy children. Why would I be disappointed? It’s my body and my choice how I have my babies. I don’t feel I missed anything and the important part is raising the children,  not how they were born.

¤ I  didn’t enjoy breast feeding and stopped early.  Something about breastfeeding didn’t work for me. I was uncomfortable and just didn’t enjoy it. I gave it a go both times. My son was breastfed for 12 weeks and my daughter 6 weeks. I had enough milk and I can still hear my maternal health nurse freaking out when I told her I was switching to formula. Both babies were very fussy breast feeders and I believe it’s because I wasn’t comfortable.  I wasn’t going to continue doing something that made me unhappy and my baby fussy, when there was a suitable option available. 

¤  I have used controlled crying techniques for both my children.  Of course I don’t just let them cry for hours and I give them just as much unconditional love as the co sleeping mums. Having my children learn to self settle and sleep in their own beds was important for myself and my husband.

I’m not writing these things to say what I have done or decided is right and I’m certainly not being arrogant about my decisions. Simply put, this what has worked for me.

Everyone (especially women/mothers) need to be more supportive of each other. I applaud the women who have had a drug free birth, the mums who breastfeed for 12 months or who choose attachment parenting. Even though its opposite to what I have done. Whatever choice you make is fine with me, happy children and parents is what counts. Be confident, own your choices and don’t let anyone’s opinions get you down.

Rachelle xx

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