April 12, 2013

Travel to Thailand, tot in tow (part 2)

For anyone out there who read part 1 of this post, you’ll know that we were left relatively unscathed by the flight to Bangkok.

And I’m happy to report that on arrival, things remained pretty easy.

We checked into our hotel at around 1am, hoping that we would all collapse into bed and wake up at a reasonable hour, resetting our body clocks etc etc and so on.

Well.  Uncharacteristically, Lottie decided not to go to sleep, and decide that it was a most excellent time to play.  I’d like to admit that I was also in a playful mood but as it was around 4am Sydney time I basically just lay on the bed poking Lottie in the tummy with my foot every so often (not to be mean, it makes her laugh. Honest).

Anyway, at around 7am Bangkok time I had had enough of this, so hopped in the shower and took Charlotte for a stroll around the block.

Unfortunately it was already 35 degrees and on hubbys insistence we had not taken a stroller with us, so it wasn’t the most pleasant stroll.

What made it all worthwhile though was the reaction we got from everyone we passed.  From young girls to old ladies, teenaged boys and grown men – they all loved our little chubby bubba!

And I’m not talking about a little smile or a wave – young men were actually stopping on their scooters and running over to squeeze Lotties fat (yet totally delightful) white thighs.  (For some reason, noone gets excited about my chubby white thighs, but thats another matter).

We managed to squeeze in a bit of shopping and had a great time at the aquarium underneath one of the malls.  We also quickly picked up an el-cheapo stroller – if anyone tells you that you won’t use one in Bangkok, don’t listen to them!  There is a lot of walking – i.e. shopping – to be done, and the footpaths around the shopping areas are fine.

Enjoying the aquarium in Bangkok

Enjoying the aquarium in Bangkok

We all got a good feed in during the hotel breakfast, where I would usually pilfer some fruit, cheese and rolls for Lottie to munch on later.  Otherwise, baby-suited food was reasonably easy and cheap to find. I must admit to resorting to Mickey D fries on a few occasions when I couldn’t find (or didn’t trust) food that would be good for bub but hey, we were on holidays!

From Bangkok we headed over to Samui, where we stayed at the delightful Miskawaan, where we met up with the rest of our group. And what a delight it was!

We were housed in a group of villas, with every room being self-contained giving everyone privacy, but also plenty of opportunity to catch up as a group.

And for a family, it was perfect.  The staff were amazing, happy to help with anything, and especially happy to play with our little cherub while I had a massage, a cocktail, or both. They were also happy to assist if we wanted to do some fun, pre-baby type activities, like head out on a scooter to goodness knows where and just amble about.

It was right on the shallow, clean, waveless beach so we could take our choice between that and the pool, and there were plenty of grassy areas for the little one to toddle about on.

I just could not get enough of the place. So much so, we’re planning a rendezvous there sometime next year – baby # 2 plan-willing. (If you’re interested in a place like Miskawaan, check out the website – a must-do holiday for a group or big family. And don’t be put off by the prices, it works out very well if there are a few of you, especially at low season).

So all in all, the holiday was an amazing success, and if you’re thinking about heading to Thailand with a little one, I wouldn’t hesitate!

April 10, 2013

Where is baby no. 2?

Well, back to the blogdom.  These posts are so infrequent that they are more like a very neglected personal diary, collecting dust on the shelf but that’s what happens when you’re a working mum (with a sloth-like tendency for laziness).

Anyway. I’m back to vent about my troubles TTC (that’s trying to conceive, for anyone who hasn’t been in this position before).

After having Lottie I wanted a reasonable break.  In fact, I distinctly remember saying for the first three months after she was born that I was never having another one. EVAH, and at the same time thinking that people who had huge families (i.e. anyone with more than one kid) was nutso. This is despite, pre-baby, always wanting at least three kids to call my own.

Then about 6 months ago that magical memory-erasing wand was waved over me where I forgot how hard little babies can be to look after and I decided I wanted another one – pronto.

So I went off the pill and thought, like with Lottie, a new baby would be on the way very shortly, with very little effort.

A couple of months (and a fortune in pregnancy tests) later I thought hmmm…where is this baby? And so I started doing some basic charting with a phone app, to work out the best times to do the deed.

A couple more months came and went and still! No baby. So a couple months ago I bought some of those ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), thinking this will be a cakewalk now.

Not so! This month will be my third go using the OPKs and if nothing comes of it I’m going to lose my head!  Now, don’t get me wrong – I know there are lots, and lots, and lots of people who try longer than I have, and there is no doubt that age isn’t on my side, but it’s so frustrating when it was so easy the first time!

And an adorable toddler just makes you want another adorable toddler (but I probably wouldn’t say at 5pm when adorable turns to excruciating).

It is made more frustrating by the fact that I am a Planner (yes, with a capital P).  I’d planned to have the baby by November, enjoy a nice Christmas with my new four-person family then when the littlest one was old enough we could all go somewhere nice and warm (with cheap nannies) for a holiday.

I also have a bit of a work-life secret that (so mysterious!) and, if it works out, it will simply not fit in with a newborn.

Argh! What to do!  Will just cross my fingers that this month does the trick. If not? Well, we’ll just have to keep on trying.  If anyone has any advice I’d love to hear it!

PS just realised I never followed up my travel to Thailand post…maybe one day!

June 13, 2012

Travel to Thailand, tot in tow (part 1) – an ode to the travelmate

We’ve just returned from a trip to Thailand with our toddler (she isn’t really toddling yet, but I couldn’t resist the alliteration), and I can’t let this experience slide without adding another notch to my blog posts.

It was generally pretty awesome, and I hope this post makes any parent sitting on the fence about whether to take their child overseas hop off the picket and get on board that jumbo jet.

Sure, the flights would have been better if it was just mom’n’pop, watching movies and catching up on gossip mags over a bevvy or five, but they weren’t nearly as bad as they could’ve been.

(please ignore my panda eyes, and the unusual spelling of Charlotte by the lovely Emirates crew member)

In fact, the worst part of the flights were the other babies whose cries woke up my little munchkin as she tried to sleep (not blaming the other parents or babies.  Not at all….really).

One thing that helped in a major way was purchasing a seat for little Lottie, who isn’t so little anymore.

Technically she could’ve sat on our laps the whole way but at 11kg and a whole lotta squirm, it would have been very uncomfortable for everyone concerned.

How parents manage to keep their (bigger) babies on their laps for a long haul flight I don’t know, and I give them a standing ovation.

How do they eat? Nap? Read or watch anything?  I guess they don’t, and just sit there muttering the mummy mantra ‘this too shall pass’ under their breath the whole way.

Anyway, we were lucky enough to score seats on sale cheap enough to make it financially viable to purchase three seats AND were wise enough to purchase a gogobabyz travelmate.

When I initially told hubby that our options were to carry Lottie in our laps during takeoff, landing, and anytime the seatbelt sign was turned on (which could mean waking her up, a lot, if the flight was turbulent) OR carrying her car seat on board – which also meant lugging it through the airport – he said no way jose to the carseat option.

Of course I wasn’t keen on the lap-holding option because I was pretty certain whose lap Lottie would be getting in and out of if so required.

Then my reliance on the internet for all things knowsy turned out to be fruitful when I unearthed the travelmate.

Basically it is a contraption a bit like a dolly that straps on to your carseat to convert it into a pram while in the airport (and running to your gate), then easily comes off when you need to use the carseat on board the plane (or at your destination, if it isn’t somewhere like Thailand i.e. somewhere that has child/vehicle safety laws).

This thing saved our life, or at least our sanity for around 12 hours each way.

Awesome to use as a pram in the airport, great on the plane (once it’s strapped in you can leave the baby in the seat for take off, landing etc) and because the little one is used to sleeping in her carseat anyway it made it easier for her to doze off AND leave me in peace enough to watch the whole first season of Downton Abbey over a couple of sauv blancs.

At the risk of this post sounding like one long infomercial, I also need to give a shout out to the staff on board Emirates.

We were looked after really well with a little baby travel kit (wipes, baby food, toys etc), and they took polaroids of all the babies/kids on board which I thought was a nice souvenir for bubby’s first o/s trip.

They were also super friendly and didn’t act like we were a hassle, although I’m sure we were.

Don’t get me wrong, there were certainly a few moments where I wanted to disappear into thin air (or at least into business class, on my own) but it wasn’t a total horror story, more a three star drama/comedy.

But as everyone knows, it’s not the journey that counts, it’s the destination.  That’s how the saying goes, right?

It should be.  Once we arrived in Thailand everything was E.A.S.Y.

I’ll let you know how well it went in Part 2…

March 14, 2012

the great work/home debate

After six months of no new posts, I’ve decided to get back into the blogosphere (I actually forgot, completely, that I even had this blog due to the excitement of looking after a baby, going for walks and cleaning the bathroom – oh the fabulosity).

That being said I might not write again for six months but I needed to vent about my return to work story.

I posted some time ago about my lack of desire to go back to work – ever.  I wanted to be an earth mother, playing games with my cherub in between whipping up organic delights and keeping a spotless home.

Then reality set in.  Finances were getting tight, and it turns out not working when you’ve no extra money to enjoy long lunches and shopping sprees gets pretty boring.

Don’t get me wrong, now that motherhood has become a million times easier (thank god, because I totally struggled for the first three months) it is a lot more enjoyable.  But doing the same thing day in day out was making me grumpy and bored, and left me yearning for something more.

So I decided to go back to work, just for two or three days a week. Easy, right?  Not so.

Although my previous employer offered me my old job back on a part time basis, when I went in to chat to them I realised how much I hated working there.

Well, that’s not strictly true.  My employers and colleagues were wonderful, but the work was Dull (yes, that’s a capital D).

I didnt know if I could go from being bored but staying with my bub, to being bored for cash, and leaving my angel with strangers.

Nevertheless I though how bad could it be?  It will just be a couple of days a week, and the extra money will come in handy.

Then came the great childcare search.  It turns out I began my search at the precisely wrong time – just when all the vacancies caused by the older kids starting school had been filled.

Undeterred I put my name on every waiting list in the area, calling and emailing every week to check on updates.

After 6 weeks I finally found a place with a vacancy for one day and immediately signed up, knowing that once I was in I would be next on the list for another day when it came up.

Yay!  I was going back to work to escape the house, wear clothes that didn’t have vomit or baby food on them, enjoy an hour or so by myself on the train each day, and talk to adults.

I broke the news with not a small level of excitement to my dad and his ladyfriend, and their response?  ‘Oh, we really don’t think you should be doing that’.

What? Why?!  My dad’s partner is a psychologist who went on to explain to me all the bad side-effects early childcare can cause for a little baby, especially a ‘high needs’ baby which she says I have (I dont agree, I think Charlotte just likes a cuddle, who doesnt?).

Then and there my excitement bubble was burst.  I tried to ignore the advice but of course that night I turned to google, reading horror stories about children left in daycare.

Frustratingly, none of the studies done seem to show effects of childcare on babies left on a part time basis, only babies left in childcare full time from a young age.

After spending the evening bawling about leaving my darling with monsters I took a deep breath and told myself not to worry.  We had a playdate at the daycare centre organised and I would see how it went when I got there.

Unfortunately the playdate didn’t make me feel any better.  Despite the centre telling me they had a ration of three carers to ten babies, what I saw was a different story.  Around 30 kids were playing outside, ranging in age from a few months to four or five.

Two carers were surpervising all the kids and whether they were immune to babies cries, or just didnt care, they didn’t show any repsonse when the little ones started to cry.

One boy latched on to me and cried the whole time I was there. The only response from one of the ‘carers’ was “Just ignore him, he always cries, this is a good day for him”. Broke my heart!  What if my little Lottie was the one crying in the corner for a cuddle!

Then and there I decided I couldn’t be parted from her yet, and so here I am now with time to post on this blog because I cant be bothered cleaning the kitchen…again.

No doubt Ill start the search for a better childcare option soon, but until then I remain a stay at home mum.

How did you find returning to work, if you have? What were your experiences?  Did your child settle into care well?

August 19, 2011

nappy-changing lullaby

Beautiful and funny lullaby written by a fellow mummy blogger, it really tells it like it is (in the nicest possible way) Nappy-changing lullaby.

August 10, 2011

baby essentials

A while ago I pondered what the most essential baby/nursery items were.  Now three months are up I have a better idea.

I have a feeling that plenty of mums would disagree with me on a few of these though!  Everyones situation is different, as is every baby.

The nursery – I busted a gut making sure the nursery was finished first during our renovations and now after three months Id say Lottie has spent less than an hour, total, in there. 

Same goes for feeding chair (in the nursery) – while of course feeding is an important time to bond, after 800 feeding sessions I’d rather chat to someone, flip through a mag, buy stuff from the etsy website or watch tv while doing it (maintaining frequent eye contact with bub, of course!)

Ditto cot/change table, although both are good storage places for now, and Im sure they will be used in future months once Charlotte progresses from the basinette into her own bed/room.

Speaking of bassinettes, it was hotly contested among my friends and family whether they were a necessity or not.  For me, yes.  There isnt the room in our bedroom for a decent sized cot, and having the bassinette means Lottie can sleep wherever I am.  This is especially important in a bigger house so you arent running up and down stairs to check on the baby every two minutes.

Pretty much everyone said wraps were a necessity but for us, not so much.

We tried them in the first few weeks but bub kept getting unwrapped or fidgeting to get her arms out.  Instead we used the Love Me Baby/Wrap Me Up swaddle from Love to Dream.

These are easy to put on/take off, and unlike a traditional wrap can be kept on in the car (there is a hole in the back for the seatbelt). 

The can be chucked in the wash, plus they make bub look like a cute little glo-worm.

My mother in law gave me a halo wrap which was better than a muslin sheet, or similar, but the velcro got stuck on everything. 

The main reason we didnt use that though is I had two of the Love Me Baby swaddles so could rotate (one in wash, one on) and only one halo wrap – I was too scared of getting dependent on the halo wrap and then not having a clean one to use in case of an accident!

The baby rocker has been a godsend – once Lottie passed the stage where she could be awake AND not crying at the same time she has spent hours in it, watching me clean up, cook, all the exciting things.

We have a Bumbo seat which is great for this too, but the position it makes Lottie sit in makes her chuck up if she has just been fed!  But babies look awesomely cute in a Bumbo seat.

While not much ‘playing’ has been done on her playmat, it is also a godsend – she is happy to lie on it kicking about for a fair while (that being said, she would prob be happy kicking about on the floor, without the mat).

The baby bath is another item that divides people but for us its been an essential – quick to fill up and easy to drain.  We put it in the big bath so it is a bit hard on your back bending down, but then so it would be in the regular bath.

One item I bought and didnt think was necessary, but sooo is, has been the nappy bin.  Especially since Lottie has been on formula which makes for some stinky nappies!

This bin magically seals the nappy into a plastic compartment/bag ready for disposal into the regular bin once the nappy bin has been filled up.  I would say if you have a small apartment/house this would be even more important.

For some bizarre reason, I find it quite fun to use (oh, the little joys!)

Baby Bjorn carrier was a priority on our shopping list, before Lottie was born, but after three months she’s only been in it once.

She was too little for it to begin with, so we went out and bough a sling (Mini Monkey) which has been awesome.

It took a little getting used to but has been used almost every day.  Apparently you can use it til toddler age but I think if you did that youd need a chiro on speed dial as it gets hard on your back (although I might need to re-read the instructions again for how to wear it).

Our pram (City Jogger) has also been an essential and Im pretty happy with it – same pram Miranda Kerr has after all! Excellent one-handed close function and plenty of other snazzy options (it is a bit on the light/flimsy side but you cant have everything and the good points far outweigh the bad).

I’m sure Ill need to update this post after another three months – in any case our little one will outgrow her bassinette and baby bath soon and we’ll be onto new solutions. 

I hear Charlotte stirring so better get a feed on, ciao for now.

August 10, 2011

the three month mark

After what seems like both an eternity and a blink of an eye, Charlotte is now three months old.  And just like everyone said, it has gotten a lot easier.

That being said, I estimate that Ive done around 800 feeds, 800 nappy changes and close to 100 baths in these first three months, so I should be getting the hang of some things by now!

It seems like she is getting so big, but while she has doubled in size since birth she is still a wee little poppet.

While I love putting her in the 000 outfits that were way to big for her as a newborn, I also feel a little sad that she is growing so fast – almost makes me want another baby already (almost, but not quite).

So what have I learned?

I’ve learned you can wake a baby up in a number of ways – sit down for a minute (especially if you sit down with a coffee/tea/glass of wine/piece of cake).  Put dinner on the table. Try and have  a nap (although I must say despite everyone telling me to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ Ive managed three naps during the day since she was born).

Conversely, if you want a baby to go to sleep the best way to go about it is invite visitors over who want to see her awake. Or have a doctors appointment that requires her to be awake.

Perhaps, like her mummy, Lottie is just a contrary little thing and wants to do what she wants, when she wants to.

More importantly Ive learned a lot about patience (doing stuff quickly, especially getting out and about, is a thing of the past).

And Ive learned, more than anything, about the joys of putting someone elses needs 100% before your own.  While this can be testing at times, there is definitely a certain joy in how motherhood forces you to become less selfish, and more tolerant.

Ive learned that while Obama et al might survive on 5 hours sleep a night, I do not (not well, anyway).

These days I dream not of shoes and handbags, holidays in exotic locations or a night out on the town, but of more than 3 hours sleep in one block.

Ive also learned, for future reference, not to plan on doing renovations with a newborn baby in the house.  Or at least six months either side of the estimated due date. Living in a construction zone/campsite did not make the first few weeks any easier.

All in all this has without a doubt been the hardest three months of my life, but also the most beautiful.  Now, when will I get my sleep?

July 1, 2011

formula for success (bye bye nipple shield)

As of today, I am (mostly) pleased to say I am no longer part of the breastfeeding fraternity.  Or rather, sisterhood.

Of course, I would rather breastfeed, happily for at least 6 months.  But just like Lottie’s birth, things dont always go to plan.

It all goes back to the first few days after the little one was born.  For her first few days in the nursery, Lottie was tube fed, as are many premmie babies. 

Then just as I was feeling about ready to commence feeding after she was born, on the second or third day, I ended up with an obstructed bowel (apparently this happens frequently after abdominal trauma, and was compounded by the fact a doctor told me to drink two litres of water in two hours, before anyone had confirmed my bowels were working properly after he surgery).

Anyway, the bowel obstruction was painful.  And having just been through labour pains, I can say it was ten times worse than labour and therefore spent the next couple of days dosed up on morphine and in no state to feed.

During this time, they began to give Lottie bottles (without my knowledge) which meant that a few days later when I was able to try breastfeeding again, she wouldnt latch on to my bare nipple.

Several midwives tried (and by tried I mean jammed her head against my bosom, giving me different order as to what I should be doing, depending on who was on duty) to no avail.

On the fourth or fifth try, one of the midwives gave me a nipple shield to use.

For the uninitiated, these are thin, flexible, silicon shields worn over the nipple to be used in situations like mine and also for women with sore, cracked or inverted nipples.

Finally, success!  Lottie latched on, thinking my nipple to be more like the bottles she had already gotten used to.

My happiness was short lived though, with all subsequent midwives who came to view my breastfeeding attempts telling me I should never have been offered one because it would be more difficult to wean bubba off them later on.

At the time I didnt see a a problem – she was feeding from my breast, relatively happily.  Isn’t what they all wanted in the grand scheme of things?

By the time we left hospital I was still struggling with the feeding but figured it would all get better once we both got the hang of things.

Fast forward a few weeks later and I was still struggling.  Lottie was grumpy, when she was awake (which thankfully wasn’t that often).  Darling boy kept telling me to feed her more, or offer formula, but I kept telling him ‘Baby Love says hunger is not the problem for unsettled babies’, then I’d get grumpy at him for insinuating somehow me, or my boobs, were at fault.

Turns out nipple shields are a boon for women who need to use them temporarily (for exmaple, a bout of cracked nipples) but using them in the long term can reduce your supply.

The fact that I had a traumatic birth and blood transfusion didnt help either as this can reduce your supply as well. That I didn’t get to feed Lottie for a few days after birth made matters worse.

So I ended up with a pathetic supply.

What to do?  I visited a lactation consultant at the hospital twice and was given a simple, yet physically hard routine to follow to increase my supply which involved 10 feeds of 40 minuts each a day, with 20 minutes of expressing after each feed.

This meant that each feed, expressing session, subsequen sterilising of equipment and settling of bub took around 2 hours, then in hour or less it was time to start again!

I was struggling, exhausted and frustrated, and bub was still grumpy. 

I tried fenugreek seed, I tried cashews (not that I minded that).  Nothing worked.

And to top it all off?  The expressing sessions alone kept me pretty house bound, but I was also loathe to feed in public with the nipple shield which meant I really had to get a boob out and attach a screaming baby to it.

Oh, how I envied the women in mothers group whose calm, happy babies latched on easily for a beatiful and discreet nursing session.

After all the feeding, expressing and so-called milk enhancing foods/herbs, at my last visit to the pediatrician he told me he wasnt happy with Lottie’s weight gain – while ‘adequate’ it was at the low end of the scale, so he suggested I top her up with a bottle of formula for one or two feeds a day.

Bub sculled the first bottle I offered her with gusto, and for the first time looked happy and content while awake after a feed. 

The doc also suggested I visit Possum Cottage, a local day stay centre for mothers experiencing breastfeeding and settling (among other) issues.

Off I went, wondering what I could learn that hadnt been covered by the lactation consultant.

First thing I was told was NOT to offer the bottle of formula instead of a feed, as it would further reduce my supply.

Instead I was to offer additional formula after every breast feed.

I was never keen on this idea as, like the expressing milk, it dragged out feeds to an hour and a half (an hour of feeding, then a bottle. then sterilising) but I thought I’d give it a go – if it worked, it worked.

For the first two feeds, it worked, Then Lottie stopped taking the boob completely.  By this I mean 40 minutes of screaming and thrashing about at the breast, only to be sated with a nice bottle of formula.

Understandably this made both of us upset and frustrated every time feeding rolled around.

So I did what most midwives would have you believe is a devilish act and gave her a full bottle of formula.  Next feed?  Same again.

And now a coulple days later I havent looked back (although I am giving her expressed milk when I can rustle up a bottle).

Darling bub is happy, content and alert.  I am happy, content and alert.

It might not be the ideal resolution to the problem, but for us it is working.

As an added bonus?  Today I had all the coffee and chocolate I could handle, with no worries about it contaminating my milk.

I thought I’d feel so guilty about this decision but I’ve given it a good shot for 8 weeks, sought help from the experts and done everything recommended in my well-worn baby books.

All I want is what’s best for my darling, and if formula makes her happy and well fed, formula for her it is!

(and here I need to plug a brilliant book called Staying Mum by Mara Lee which chronicles her somehwat similar story – even if your new baby experience is nothing like mine or hers, it is a good read for any new or expectant mum).

June 20, 2011

sleeping like a baby

Whoever coined the term ‘slept like a baby’ to describe a nice, long, deep sleep was surely on crack.

While my beautiful bundle does (thankfully) have a few periods a day when she sleeps like the proverbial, it’s short lived (especially at night – poor mummy!).

And much like her birth, how and where she sleeps is the opposite of what I’d hoped and planned.

I’d envisioned an ‘unspoilt’ child that slept in her own room/cot from day dot.  I would be the loving, yet somewhat strict, mother who fed her at predetermined intervals, and getting much needed beauty rest in between (or perhaps lunching with friends – tennis anyone?)

Then I read about the link between SIDS and sleeping in a separate room to your baby, and thought it best that Lottie share a room with us.  Cue quick trip to Baby Bunting to pick up a bassinette.

But who knew babies could be so damn noisy?  Ours sounds like a gremlin on steroids.  Grunting, sneezing, snoring, mewing and occasional cries – all this before the 2-3 hourly real cries for more food.

Darling dad jams his ear plugs in (and awakes the net morning asking if she slept through the night because he didnt hear a thing) but thats not an option for me.

So to get some sleep?  Ive ended up sleeping with Lottie on my chest.

This apparently also brings with it an increased risk of SIDS, the very reason I didnt want her in her own room to begin with.

But there is now way I could put her in a cot on her own now that Ive met the little beauty (maybe she would be ok with it, but I couldnt bear it).

Theres nothing better than snuggling up with her little body next to mine on these cold nights, and we both end up getting a better, longer sleep.  Less wakefulness and grunting from her, less in and out of bed for me.

Am I worried?  Not at all.  I wake up after sleeping like this in exactly the same position, reinforcing the notion that a mothers natural instinct will prevent her from rolling over on her bub (unfortunately dads dont have the same instinct so I cant share the duty/responsibility).

Im sure many will disagree but I feel like this is the most natural way for us to sleep, and also safe considering the other precautions I take (wrapping her up separately to our bed linen, making sure she cant fall off the bed if she were to roll off me, not wearing loose clothing, not going to bed drunk – are you kidding? I dont have time to drink! etc).

My dad gave me a bit of grief (the male prespective), making some thinly veiled comments about ‘not forgetting my husband’, the marital bed, cough cough etc but I think he comes from a less inventive time – you can find other times/places to do the deed (and to be honest there isnt that much of that going on, baby in the bed or otherwise – apologies if that’s just way to much information!).

I do worry that it might one day make it harder for her to transition to sleeping on her own but for now, it works for us.

This early phase is a special time and wont last long, so I want to make the most of it.  There will be plenty of time for my baby to spend hours alone in her room when she’s a teenager!

June 12, 2011

how miss charlotte got here (and other news)

Have finally found some time** to write about how Miss Charlotte came into this world!  

I hope I don’t scare anyone (especially those with a strictly ordered birth plan) but telling this tale will be a cathartic exercise for yours truly, so here goes.

In early May, at 36 weeks pregnant, I went along to the hospital for one of the standard midwife appointments.

Everything during my pregnancy had gone smoothly and I had no reason to suspect anything was wrong.  The only thing I wanted the midwife to check was the baby’s position.

My doctor had suspected she was tranverse (lying sideways) and I agreed – although I couldnt discern hand from foot I seemed to only get kicking on one side of my belly.

Doc said she was still likely to move which was great news for me as I desperately wanted to avoid a c-section.

I asked the midwife to check bub’s position, hoping she had moved by this late stage, and was greatly relieved when she said that not only had the baby moved to the ideal position for birth but her head was engaged. Not long now til delivery day!

The midwife explained that if she had any concerns at all she would order an ultrasound to check the position but she was positive all was OK, and told me she had never in her career had an undiagnosed breech or transverse lying baby.

I left this appointment relieved, and excited for the upcoming arrival of our little one.

That Sunday (appropriatly enough being Mothers Day) I dreamt my waters had broken, after which I awoke to what felt like mild period pains.

In the back of my mind I thought ‘hey, this could be ealy labour’ but only being 36 weeks pregnant pushed the thoughts away, assuming they were only wishful thinking.

The ‘period pain’ got progressively worse throughout the morning however, and got to the point while out at the in-laws house for lunch that I was feeling pretty uncomfortable.

At this stage I dont think anyone (including me) thought I was in labour as the pains were bad, but I wasnt writhing around on the floor screaming as I thought I would be.

Nevertheless, we took early leave from lunch to go home, pack the rest of the hospital bag, and wait to see what happened next.

After a couple more hours and worsening pain, I called the hospital – I couldnt remember if I was meant to call when the pains were 5-7 minutes apart, or go to hospital at that stage.

When I called the phone service, I was advised that it was probably false labour and to have a panadol and wait it out.

Ignoring my gut instinct yet again, I agreed and relaxed on the couch assuming the pains would go away.

But go away they did not, and when I started bleeding a little with each pain (now even I was convinced these were contractions) I called the hotline again only to be told “this is the bloody show, you are probably still days away from true labour”.

OK, I thought, not wanting to be one of those women who rush to hospital only to be told to go home again (especally as we are a good 45 minute drive away, and by this stage is was around 8pm on Sunday night).

A couple of hours later I called the help line again – these pains werent going away, and were now stronger and closer together (although still not agony inducing – more like really bad period cramps).

A different midwife answered the call and, god bless her, suggested that it was still probbably false labour but as I was not yet at term to come in just to get everything checked out.

By the time we arrived at the hospital it was around 11pm. I was convinced I’d be sent back home after a quick check. 

But by 11:45 I’d been told I was already 7cm dilated and due to the baby being in breech position (damn that midwife!) I needed an emergency c-section.

Being petrified of the idea of a needle in my spine I asked if there was any way I could deliver naturally but due to baby’s position and my advanced stage of labour it was either the spinal block or a caesarean witout anaesthetic.  No prizes for guessing which one I chose!

Darling boy and I chatted during the op, he with camera at the ready, neither of us believing we would soon be proud parents.

After what seemed like an eternity we began to wonder what was taking so long.  Dont they just pull it out and sew me up?

At this stage, the surgeon leant over me and gave us the last news we could ever want to hear:  “We’ve got your baby out.  She’s not breathing, so we have to take her away. You’re losing a lot of blood due to a uterine tear so we’re going to have to put you under general anaesthetic now”.

WTF?? A minute ago we were looking forward to meeting our new baby and now…well now darling boy was being ushered out of the room and I was being put to sleep, thinking I had a stillborn baby and was about to have a hysterectomy.

When I awoke I was being wheeled into the intensive care nursery to meet our new daughter, all the while being filled in on what had happened over the past three hours.

Our baby Charlotte (which was a name we hadnt really considered but quickly agreed on) had a very rough start – apparently the drugs they gave me to stop uterine contractions once the c-section was underway hadn’t worked and when they tried to pull Lottie out my uterus had contracted around her neck.

This resulted in her having no oxygen for a significant amount of time without oxygen (the doctors couldnt say and gave us anywhere between 3 and 18 minute timeframes).

It also meant my uterus had to basically be torn open to get her out, resulting in more than two litres of blood lost.

Meeting our baby girl for the first time I felt a number of conflicting emotions – all with an anaesthetic induced hangover which made everything more surreal.

Lottie had tubes coming in and out of everywhere and at this stage we still had no idea what the prognosis was – would she survive? And if so, what effect would the trauma of birth have on her?

Turns out she is a little trooper.  Both of us had to spend over a week in hospital (I’d planned om a 12 hour quick discharge), but she was out of the intensive care nursery after day 5.

At her first checkup with the pediatrician, he told us that he had expected her to have a lot of problems when he read the report of her birth, before meeting her. 

But after a thorough exmaination he said that if he hadn’t known about the problems she encountered during birth he wouldnt have known there was anything wrong with her at all!

It’s still early days but it’s looking good for now, and to us she is the perfect little angel.

Moral of the story – go with your gut instinct and if you think something is wrong, insist on getting it checked out.  A mothers instinct is powerful and you shouldnt put all your faith in the medical profession (who, in my experience, are overworked and time poor, and often looking for a quick way out!).

** despite only taking probably 20 minutes in total to write this post, it has been a 6 day work in progress.  And I always thought those women who said babies take up a lot of time were exaggerating!