Tag: pregnancy

The first trimester.

I just want to start this blog post with a huge thank you to all of you who have been following my journey (can we come up with a  better word than ‘journey’?) from secondary infertility to pregnancy. Your supportive comments and congratulations have all been so heart warming and revealing. I think it’s so important that we talk about those hard things. I wasn’t always ready to in real time, but it’s meant a lot to me to share my story – even after the fact. To know you have been there reading along is so wonderful. So thanks. You’re frickin’ amazing. 

I feel so lucky to finally be updating you on my pregnancy. I hope you will bear with me as I document it. I didn’t really write down as much as I wish I had when I was pregnant with the Little Mister, so now is my chance! x

I think this felt like the longest first trimester ever. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, time just dragged. I felt like I was carrying the weight of 3 years of trying to conceive around with me – not just 3 months. All of the cards kept close to my chest. Not being quite as open and as honest as the usual me would have liked to be. The stress of wanting to make sure that all was OK. Even though I was so grateful to be pregnant, I was also sick of still feeling like I was living in the shadows. I didn’t feel safe to celebrate. I didn’t feel like I was able to be fully me. The me I was before we started to try for a baby in 2014. The ‘me’ I’ve missed so much. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad I’m stronger and I’m wiser. I wouldn’t take that back. I just missed being able to live my life without it revolving around my fertility (or lack thereof as it was). Having to stay quiet and never quite feeling safe to spill the beans kind of took some of the joy out of the experience. I felt like I was still trying to process everything that had gone before. My head really struggled to keep up. I am not at all trying to sound ungrateful. Holy shit, I am. SO GRATEFUL. This is literally a dream come true. It still didn’t quite feel real.

I spent a lot of days not getting a whole lot done (I think some of my friends thought I was being the laziest cow haha). I was spotting non stop from week 5 to week 8. It scared me and even though I knew I couldn’t prevent a miscarriage if it was ever going to happen, I was worried about everything. The two times I really did venture out, I dodged a bullet with food poisoning (all my friends ate the same thing and had it but somehow I did not – pregnancy super powers?) and I even accidentally ingested alcohol (long story – not my fault and not my friends’ faults either). So then I was too scared to do much after that. And then I bled one day before 12 weeks ticked over (which lasted for two damn weeks). Which was crazy because it was exactly the same day of pregnancy that it happened when I was pregnant with the Little Mister. So I was worried, but trying not to be because the last time I’d had a beautiful baby. But then I psyched myself out thinking that what if I didn’t worry too much but it did turn out to be something horrible. I worried some more. Luckily the doctor reassured me I was fine.

I worried about my 10 week blood test (the one that screens for risk of Downs Syndrome etc). Did I mention that when I’m hormonal, I get anxious? Great side effect, that is. Add all the trauma I was trying to work through from the infertility and the enormity of the IVF and shit got crazy inside my brain at times.

I was quite wiped of energy in the first trimester and I got a bit nauseous so my appetite would fluctuate from non existent to wanting to eat ALL OF THE FOOD. And then when I would eat ALL OF THE FOOD, I’d feel like shit after. I had a bit of heartburn. Who knew it happened so early? Luckily it passed (for now).

But it wasn’t all totally stressful. I was finally able to dream a bit. Slowly begin to accept baby type things into my mind. I could get clucky looking at baby stuff on Instagram. I could be happy when celebrities gave birth. Hey, I was even pregnant at the same time as Beyonce for like a few days. Goals! I let myself watch movies that had been on my DO NOT EVEN GO THERE lists for years. I cracked and ordered some maternity clothes because I was not fitting in my jeans anymore. It was fun looking at pictures of people with bumps showing off some really great fashion ideas on Pinterest. I even found myself hoping some of my good friends would announce pregnancies at the same time as me so we could be baby bearing buddies (some did which was so amazing – I never thought I’d be in sync with anyone in my close circles ever again).

For the first time in a really long time I could think about that stuff without crying or having a mental breakdown. You have no idea (or you might). That in itself was huge.

I was tested a lot during the first trimester – blood tests every week until 8 weeks (plus a couple more when I had bleeding scares). My hormones were always on track. I had my dating scan at 8 weeks which was amazing. Oh and hearing that heartbeat never gets old, right? 😍

I started at a new clinic closer to home where I was lucky enough to get a bonus scan at 10 weeks (again – AMAZING) and when I had that bleed just one day shy of 12 weeks I got an extra scan again! I was really weirdly lucky to get to check in on how it was all going as often as I did. I found it very reassuring.

I started to get a little bump from about 9 weeks onwards (always worse in the afternoons/evenings) as my uterus expanded and changed shape. I am only 5 foot tall so everything shows with me. Even lunch when I’m not pregnant. There’s nowhere to hide anything. Even though I’m a bit chubbier than I was when I fell pregnant with the Little Mister (I honestly blame the infertility stuff because of the hormones and the comfort eating and the irregular ability to exercise the way I wanted to), that bump still made itself known. I had to hide a lot in hoodies with front pockets and big jackets etc. It got a bit stressful! I hated hiding but I was too scared not to.

I was hanging out for the all clear at the 12 week scan so much, like you would not believe!

Our IVF story: Part 5 – Pregnant or not pregnant?

June 2017 (2 years and 11 months after beginning our attempts at trying to conceive)

Waiting after our first round of IVF to find out if I was pregnant or not was pretty tough! I had basically coped by talking myself out of any possibility of it working that time. I tried to be philosophical about it all. I figured that if it had failed, then it wasn’t meant to be. I wanted my eventual baby to be strong and healthy and if it wasn’t going to be viable, then I would have to be OK with it. I still had more chances before my odds of success decreased significantly.

I had a blood test lined up for 12 days past my IVF transfer. THE blood test. The one that would tell me if I was expecting or if I would be trying again. Oh, the pressure!

In the meantime I had to insert progesterone (guess where) twice a day. It was gross and a bit annoying, but nowhere near as bad as having to inject myself.

Mr Unprepared had been really supportive while we waited. If I worried about anything, he would read about it first and then tell me only the reliable information. It made me feel so much calmer not having to sort through the noise of the internet.

Only thing was, he was getting impatient. He kept reading about all these women who took home pregnancy tests really early and got positives. He never pressured me, but I could feel that he was really really hoping I’d try to be one of those women (he’s not always known for his patience). Thing is, I had trained myself for at least the last two years to never take a pregnancy test. Just wait for my period. Because taking a test was stressful and heartbreaking and never positive. I knew that what would be, would be. Whether or not I knew a few days in advance wouldn’t change anything. If I was pregnant, I would find out eventually haha.

I had started spotting a bit. That usually happened in the days leading up to my period. I tried to brace myself for a disappointing outcome. So what if all the things on the internet said that spotting was more common in women who have had IVF and that implantation bleeding can be a thing. SO WHAT. I had done this so many times before. I was not prepared to break my own heart at home with a pee stick. Let the nurses and doctors do that with their blood test!

We made it as far as 10 days past my IVF transfer. Two days before my scheduled blood test. It was a Saturday morning of the June long weekend. I was getting myself all knotted up worrying about my period arriving and ruining everything. I was so tired of my life revolving around my period and I was nervous that a movie date with my friend in a couple of days would be a bust. I was sick of having to cancel plans (my periods were ridiculously heavy). I was sick of the unknown. I was sick of the unpredictable. I wanted to know if I was pregnant or not so I could get on with my life.

I had it in my head that it was far too early to test, but Mr Unprepared (buoyed by the resounding idiocy of the internet haha) was in disagreement. He had seen my frustration and finally he had his chance to quietly suggest I take a test. He must have been so relieved when I said I would. He wasn’t the only person dying of suspense.

He left the bedroom to tend to the Little Mister – getting him breakfast and such. I took that chance to head to the toilet with an old test I’d had in the bathroom drawer for about a year (I couldn’t believe it wasn’t out of date yet). I followed the instructions and I stood in the toilet (not in the bowl just in that tiny room haha) and waited. I knew from that fateful positive test with the Little Mister 6 years prior that if it was going to be a great result, it wouldn’t take long for the second line to show.

I wasn’t too optimistic. I figured that I might get a super faint line that you had to squint at to see. That this test might tell me nothing. But I was so sick of not knowing, I was willing to take a chance.

Soon a faint second line showed up. I sighed and thought – yep. It’s super faint. I don’t know about this.

I kept staring. The three minutes wasn’t up.

The line progressively got stronger and stronger before my disbelieving eyes. My brain really wasn’t catching up, to be honest.

 

Soon the line was only a millionth of a shade lighter than the control line.

I stood there in shock. I was willing this strange new information to go into my brain. I kept saying to myself (not out loud), YOU ARE PREGNANT. I’M PREGNANT. HOLY SHIT. I’M PREGNANT. NO FOR REAL. I’M PREGNANT. AFTER ALL THIS TIME I AM PREGNANT. LISTEN TO ME, YOU DUMBO, YOU’RE PREGNANT.

Finally it registered. I started crying. 3 years worth of tears. Oh gosh I’m tearing up writing this.

Mr Unprepared eventually managed to extricate himself from the Little Mister’s breakfast demands and came to check on me. He saw me crying and he went straight into comfort and sympathy mode. He hugged me tight and kept saying, “I’m sorry. It’s going to be alright. It’s going to be OK. I’m sorry.”

I stopped him and said, “You haven’t even looked at the test…”

“It’s negative, I know. I’m sorry.”

“I SAID YOU HAVEN’T EVEN LOOKED AT IT.”

He looked at me like I’d lost my mind, took it from me and saw the two lines.

I was hugged ferociously again and I could hear him laugh-crying in shock. He didn’t have to say it. I could hear it in his tone.

You. Bloody. Beauty. We did it (well so did a lot of other amazing people who helped us but you know what I mean).

We might have experienced our miracle. Finally.

I was over the moon. We were over the moon.

I went on that movie date with my friend and gosh it was tough not telling her. I was so happy not just that I was pregnant but that I wasn’t getting my period – I’m not kidding. You don’t even know. My shark weeks had been ROUGH.

Two days later, I had a phone call after my blood test.

“Congratulations! You’re pregnant and your hormone levels look great.”

Oh, my heart. Of course I had an inkling already, but hearing it from somebody else was amazing. This was finally real.

Our secondary infertility story: Part 4 “Don’t forget – you’ve never been clucky”

This blog post was written in November 2015, during our journey with secondary infertility. We decided not to talk about it much back then (to protect our privacy and because today’s topic was really difficult), but I just couldn’t stop writing. 

Catch up here…

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

My mum looked at me and said, “But darling, you’ve never been clucky.”

In that moment I was a little taken aback. Oh yeah. That’s true. How did I forget that?

What the hell were we talking about, you ask?

Well, I had been talking to my mum about how it was really difficult to see so many people around me having second babies. It was something I’d kept to myself a lot and at the time of our conversation I was really struggling. I told my mum that I felt awful because when I thought about those lovely little babies (and the ones that were yet to arrive), I felt NOTHING. Nothing. Was I some kind of cold hearted monster? Was I so selfish in my own pain that I had stopped caring? I felt horrible about it. I was beating myself up.

I felt left behind by everyone. I felt a little resentful – why was it so easy for them? It’s like they planned their second babies perfectly – oh look, their babies will have the perfect age gaps between them. Because that’s what they (the parents) decided. How lovely for them. I fought those bitter, jealous feelings every single time another announcement was made. Luckily that phase did not last too long (although it felt like an eternity for me) and the bitterness disappeared (even if the sadness remained). Bitter is not who I am and I am grateful for that. It didn’t sit well with me at the time and I knew I was not willing to let it eat away at my soul. I didn’t need that on my conscience. Those people were lucky to give their first children siblings. I would never begrudge them that.

I’ve never felt such mixed emotion in my life. It is actually possible to be genuinely happy for somebody as they grow their family at the same time as feeling incredibly sad for yourself. It is very difficult to explain but it’s true. My sadness for myself does not in any way diminish the joy I feel for someone else, yet it feels grief filled and all consuming sometimes. How does that work?

So there I was, feeling horrible because I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t care for people’s pregnancy details. I didn’t always ask after their brand new babies (I am so sorry). I had trouble remembering their names (well – there were a lot of them).

I felt like an awful, selfish human being.

But the moment my mum said those words to me, I felt a huge weight fall off me. She was right. I was never clucky. I know that sounds weird because I loved being pregnant (even when I hated it) with the Little Mister. I have ALWAYS wanted children. I have a strong maternal side. I love children. I think kids are cute. I think babies are amazing.

But…I lack the real cluck that a lot of women I know seem to have.

I don’t always need to know every little detail. I can’t talk about baby stuff forever without my eyes eventually glazing over. I like figuring out what works or being able to share what I know with others, but only because it serves a practical purpose. I love my friends’ and family’s babies because they’re my friends’ and family’s babies. Not just because they’re babies. I liked my own kid as a baby because he was my baby. I was NOT impressed with being a big sister when my baby brother came along so many years ago (and yes I still feel bad about that – love ya bro). See? Not clucky.

When people have brand new babies, I am not running as fast as I can to the hospital to meet the little thing. I’m all chill. Like, I’ll meet the kid eventually. Of course I’m very moved and feel honoured to meet a brand new baby while they’re…brand new, but I don’t feel that overwhelming NEED to just because they’re a baby. It depends on who that baby is to me and what their arrival means for their lovely family. I feel like Miranda from Sex and the City sometimes haha (I hope you get that reference).

I still find holding babies really awkward even though I’ve had one. Sure, I’m probably out of practice at this point, but I think it’s also because I lack that cluck. If a new baby is doing the rounds, I can happily not have a cuddle that day. I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything. I know my turn will come. I am not rushing towards the mummy trying to get dibs. I can think they’re just absolutely gorgeous but I’m not going around sniffing heads like a deranged maniac (haha – kidding – be that maniac – good for you – you’re the ‘normal’ one)!

Of course that doesn’t make me a cold hearted monster (I hope). I hope I’ve been the best friend I can be at this time. I hope nobody has felt hurt or has taken it personally when I just couldn’t be there. I do think babies are a miracle of life. Trust me – I’m holding out for my own second miracle. I wouldn’t try this hard if the desire wasn’t so powerful.

It’s just that sometimes I struggle with other people’s baby news because it’s painful for me to care so much. Other times it’s just because I’m not a clucky person.

And that’s OK.

I was putting so much pressure on myself to be someone that I was not. To feel things that I didn’t HAVE to feel. My mum’s seemingly off the cuff remark released me from that pressure. A lot of healing was done that day.

Are you a clucky person? Are you like me and lack the ‘cluck’? 

C-what now?

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I was inspired to write this post because lately I’ve had a few friends facing the idea of a first time C-section delivery of their bubs. I remember what it felt like having all these questions and concerns beforehand and I have decided to share what my experience was like. I hope that you find it interesting, positive or even helpful x

I think I always had the weirdest gut feeling (haha funny no pun intended) that I would end up having a Caesarean Section with the Little Mister. While I was pregnant, I constantly tried to psych myself up for the fact that I might end up with an emergency one. I just felt it in my bones. Maybe it was ‘pessimism’ (I’d not had the smoothest of pregnancies), but maybe it was just mother’s instinct. Either way, it felt daunting and way out of my comfort zone. Before my C-section, I had never even been in hospital, unless I was visiting someone or had a routine appointment (which only happened for the first time when I was pregnant).

I was all like, “WHAT? They might have to cut me? In my belly? And PULL out a baby?! A whole entire baby?!”

I wasn’t a stickler for a birth plan (thankfully), but I did have a few concerns about a C-section birth!

Would the anticipation of surgery freak me out? 

A part of me suspected that if I needed an emergency C-section, I wouldn’t have time – or the presence of mind – to worry (I was right), but I still worried that if I was told to have a scheduled C-section that I would psych myself out so badly that I would be a terrible bundle of nerves (and perhaps not a great patient)! I mean, the idea of being awake during a serious (and life changing) surgery just weirded me the eff out.

Also, I’d been watching that One Born Every Minute series and they’d shown a C-section taking place. I saw the way that baby just schlooped out of the mother’s surgical wound – pulled out almost violently – and I found it quite confronting!!! Not gonna lie! I was glad to see the real deal (I’m a ‘knowledge is power’ kind of person) on TV, but having that happen to me? WHOA.

I can’t speak for those who have had scheduled C-sections, but I have heard that the experience can be incredibly (and surprisingly) amazing. You can plan it all out, you have time to try to wrap your head around it, it happens before you’ve just suffered through hours and hours of attempting a natural labour, and I’ve even heard women talk about how they could do their hair and make up and have nice photos of their first cuddles!! 😮

What I do know from experience is emergency surgery and I honestly was in no position to freak out. For one, I had gone a little loopy on gas (turns out I’m very responsive to it) and in anticipation of possible surgery, I’d had an epidural administered (something else I am quite responsive to it turns out). I was quite out of it! But seriously, it was all about getting the Little Mister out healthy and well. I had never done this whole baby creating/birthing thing before and I just trusted the incredibly capable staff around me.

I was wheeled away to theatre and while I do remember being a tiny bit apprehensive (sh*t starts to feel real in there – I won’t lie), I had Mr Unprepared holding my hand and somehow an inner grit just kind of shone through. I just had to do what I had to do. There was no fighting it. Besides, I couldn’t run away – I had no feeling in my lower body haha.

The anaesthetist was very comforting too. He talked me through it a little (even made some great tension breaking jokes) and did all the tests to make sure I really couldn’t feel anything. That was comforting. They don’t just start cutting – they do have to check some things with you first. A relief, really haha.

Would I feel it? Because I so don’t wanna! 

I was told that some women will feel a pulling sensation while having a C-section. This made me squirm. Not so much in fear of pain, but it just sounded kind of “urgh” (I don’t have a better word for it). I was lucky. I felt sweet eff all. Those who have told me they felt the pulling, have never told me that it scarred them for life or that the pain was unbearable. That’s kind of comforting, right? Can’t be as bad as pushing a watermelon out of your hoo-ha all by yourself, right?

What if I could see it happen? Holy sh*t that would just horrify me! 

As I lay there with the curtain divider thingy up, I suddenly noticed that if I wanted to, I would see my reflection in the big metal apparatus (was it a light or something? I don’t honestly remember). This worried me a bit and I tried really hard to keep my eyes away. Just when I thought I had managed to do this (and was cool with it), someone angled it away deliberately. How thoughtful of them – yay. I know some people would rather see it happen but I was not one of them! Again, I didn’t want to scare myself seeing the surgery play out. I had never had surgery for ANYTHING in my life. No broken bones. Not even any stitches!

Would my wound be itchy? Because damn, I’d had enough of being itchy and the thought of being itchy again seemed unbearable!

I’ll admit it. As my due date became closer and closer, I started to become more worried about having an itchy wound than I was about the actual possibility of surgery! I had been so ridden with itchy conditions (PUPPP rash and the infection that eventually brought on my labour), that the thought of having my Little Mister out of my belly and still suffering the torture of itchiness seemed unbearable. I know I’m a wuss, but for me I think being itchy is the worst physical torture I’ve ever experienced! I’m the first to put my hand up – I can’t leave an itch alone. But a C-section scar? I’d be forced to leave it alone and the idea drove me nuts!

Right after surgery I was on pethidine (painkiller) and it thankfully did not seem to cause itchiness as a side effect. I had a big pad over the wound (can’t remember if I had a proper dressing first up or not) and I was on bed-rest of sorts for 48 hours (although it is normally 24 for those who have a routine kind of C-section). I was so relieved to not be pregnant anymore that I think the stress levels decreasing did help me to not focus on the wound.

I spent a lot of time gingerly shuffling around in the first few days at hospital. I probably could have been a little less shuffly, but I was nervous about the wound as I had never had surgery before. When I got home from hospital I remained very cautious. It did really help that Mr Unprepared was home on leave from work for a few weeks. He was able to do the things I couldn’t (they advise that you don’t lift anything heavier than your baby for a few weeks), and while this was frustrating for me at times (I wanted to be the on-top-of-it new mummy who knew how to do everything but I couldn’t – my husband even learnt several baby related tasks before I did), it was also quite nice to know my biggest job was just to recover and to cuddle and feed my baby. Good bonding right there 🙂

I started to feel quite good within a couple of weeks, which really surprised me. It was so nice to move again without feeling a bit sore or shuffly. Getting in and out of bed to pick up the Little Mister for a feed became much easier (at times Mr Unprepared had to get up for me and pass him over in the middle of the night) and I started to enjoy being physically free (well compared to just after surgery haha).

By three weeks, I was ready to take my first solo outing with the Little Mister – a very big deal for a new parent. I was able to lift my stroller out of the car and get the Little Mister in and out of his seat. I was probably twisting and lifting a little too much but the fact that I felt mentally ready really was a great milestone.

In the present day, my scar is quite visible and dark in colour (I always scar prominently and dark), but I don’t care too much. I’m not bikini ready and even then, the scar sits quite low so I’m cool with that. I probably could make more of an effort with bio oil etc to help it fade but it is honestly not of much concern to me. Sometimes it will get itchy (if my skin is a little dry or my underwear rubs on it a tad uncomfortably), but it’s not horrible. It’s just a little uncomfortable occasionally. 99% of the time it’s completely forgotten. I don’t feel less attractive because it’s there. In a weird way I’m proud of my battle scar. It’s evidence that I lived through something life changing (and ultimately positive)!

Two years later on reflection, I don’t regret that the Little Mister had to be delivered via C-section. In fact, to be honest, it’s all I’ve known and I’m cool with that. I don’t think I ever felt all cut up about how he was delivered (eek – excuse the terrible choice of words). You have to do what you have to do and I think I was quite the little trooper 😉

In fact, there are advantages to a C-section. I was able to avoid doing any damage to my lady bits! While this can still happen if you have a long labour before you head to surgery, I was lucky. There’s an upside to everything, right? I was also lucky that it all happened so fast. While the reasons for this were a bit scary, I did feel glad that I hadn’t suffered for an eternity beforehand. I still call it ‘giving birth’ and I don’t think I’m any lesser than someone who was able to deliver naturally (good for you if you have – what a champ!)! Each new mother goes through some kind of adversity or pain delivering their baby – however your baby comes into the world isn’t what’s important – it’s their health and the fact that they’re alive and well that matters. It’s the fact that you have your beautiful baby that you’ve dreamed of that matters.

Do you have any questions? Or advice for those facing a possible first time C-section?

Don’t bother having a birth ‘plan’.

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I honestly don’t know why they call them that. The fact is, you can’t PLAN your birth process. Even if you have a wonderful labour, you didn’t plan it. It was just a wonderful surprise to know that you were able to have a relatively good experience! To suggest that we can plan childbirth just seems like bollocks to me. Big sweaty ones. It says we’re in control of the process. I’m sorry, but while that thought is nice and sometimes keeps us sane, it just isn’t true.

My advice to first time pregnant mums is to throw out any notion that you are in charge and that everything will happen the way you want it to, because you’ve thought positively, avoided all negative horror stories and you’ve got a birth plan. Hasn’t anyone heard?? You have a birth plan! You did research! People who do research are better at this, right? Everything’s going to go just as you want it to! The truth is, positive thinking and making smart choices are never a bad thing – in fact, I recommend them. However, they don’t make a ‘good’ labour (ie the one you hope for) a sure thing. I feel like society keeps telling us we’re in control of everything. It feels like a comforting thought, but when despite all of your best efforts, something goes wrong…you feel like a failure. You’ve been fooled and pressured into thinking that you’re in charge of such a crazy biological process.

It’s actually liberating to realise you can’t be in charge of all of it. When my pregnancy started to get a little bit nuts, I blamed myself. I was ashamed that all these weird things were happening to me. I thought that those around me (the lucky ducks who have pregnancies that make them feel great) would think that I must be doing something wrong. That I must be thinking negatively, making some erroneous choice with my lifestyle or my diet etc. I knew it wasn’t my fault on an intellectual level (and was told so by more than one doctor/medical professional), but the fear of judgement was probably my biggest mistake of all! It’s just that we have all been brainwashed. It’s misguidedly comforting to tell ourselves that the other person over there with the pregnancy problems or the terrible labour must have done something wrong, because then we can just do it all ‘right’ and we’ll be fine. In a sick way, it reassures us.

In some ways, my crazy pregnancy was the greatest gift. It taught me that I’m not the one driving this bus (at times I looked like one haha). That you can do all of the ‘right’ things, think all of the most positive thoughts, and nature will still take its course. By the time I got closer to my due date, I threw all ideas of a birth ‘plan’ out of the window.

I had birth ‘preferences’. Birth ‘hopes’. Birth ‘wishes’.

I wrote a list of what I hoped for. I wrote a list of things I was willing to do to save myself or the baby (I kind of knew it wouldn’t be straight forward – intuition perhaps). I wrote a list of guidelines for my husband and my family – who I wanted there and when. It wasn’t fancy. It was pen scrawled all over an A4 piece of scrap paper, written off the top of my head. Maybe a list of only about 15 items. Some being very significant, like what I hoped would happen if something should happen to me (incapacitating me in some way), to the not so earth shattering, “Here’s my iPod, if my labour gets long just play it on shuffle – the songs on it keep me calm and inspire me.”

I was obviously hoping for a natural, vaginal birth, but I knew that drugs might help (I was quite unashamedly open to the idea) and that a C-section might be an emergency necessity. I knew from the start of the whole process that I would just be happy to have a healthy baby. I would not spend time mourning the death of a ‘plan’. I had already mourned the smooth, normal pregnancy I hoped I would have. I wasn’t going to do that to myself again.

My new attitude paid off. Because, as you may know, sh*t got crazy. I was in hospital for a mere 3 hours before I was in surgery. I only knew I was in labour about 2 hours before that. My labour was brought on by an infection. I got to 9cm dilated before they had to get me in for an emergency C-section. The epidural was administered in full dosage ahead of time (which made it a bit weird when I tried to push in a last ditch effort – can’t feel ANYTHING down there). I had no choice. I was then tethered (by catheter) to my hospital bed for two days (rather than the customary one day), while my firstborn spent the first 3 days of his life in another hospital without me because he was sick too.

If I had been all about a ‘plan’, I would have been exponentially more devastated and traumatised. Instead I was just shocked and dazed (perhaps it was the pethidine too) and later realised the enormity of what had happened to my baby and I. It took weeks to come to terms with what had happened. It was the biggest thing that had ever happened to me, my baby, or my body and of course it was going to take some getting used to! I am just glad that I didn’t also have the added sadness about things not going to ‘plan’ during the birth. I’d made my wishes known and they’d been respected, but I hadn’t outlined my preferred labour process without having an open mind. I knew anything could happen.

The important things happened. My parents were there to share in the experience (they stayed at the ‘right’ end of me haha) for the first time (I am adopted so it was hugely meaningful for the three of us as my mum has never experienced a pregnancy and I wanted to share this with her – I was so moved by my parents’ gratitude at being invited into such a special and private ‘event’). My husband got to the hospital quickly and was there for just about the whole time – by my side, encouraging me and saying all the right things (seriously!). I was kept safe, as was the Little Mister. No-one tweeted or Facebooked my labour process to the world in real time. I was given gas right when I needed it, surgery before things got horrible, and my baby was alive and likely to stay that way.

What didn’t I expect? What didn’t go to plan?

By complete chance, a top obstetrician just happened to be present when I came into the hospital. He was amazing and kept everyone calm in a tricky situation. Including me. I got optimum attention and care because while the time of my labour was unexpected (I was due to be induced almost a week later), I was the only person giving birth in the ward that night. The ONLY one! If I had been induced when I was expecting to be, the ward would have been FLOODED with people hoping to have their babies on the 11/11/2011 (as I found out later that week after a 6 day stay in the ward). Resources and manpower would have been stretched. The paediatrician who was present was also very good at her job (and to my mum’s delight – the wife of her favourite former professional AFL footballer)!

While not much went remotely as predicted, a lot of things went really right. I am so grateful. I am so glad I can see those blessings. Blessings I could never have planned for.

I’m calling on everyone to stop telling each other that we can plan our destinies. We can’t. We can’t be in control of everything. We can put our ducks in a row. We can be educated. We can make the best choices possible to encourage a great outcome. We can be positive and keep a great mindset. We can work hard. All of this might put us in the right places at the right times, but ultimately not all of it will always work out how we expected. Childbirth is no exception.

I love the way Mia Freedman of Mamamia puts it in her article about “Birthzillas”:

For many, it’s about control. One of the most confronting things about pregnancy and birth is the unpredictability of it and women often believe they can regain control by planning. Babies, however, like to raise their middle finger at your plans. They come early, they come late, they get stuck, they get suddenly distressed or tired or tangled…

After my personal experience, all I think we should care about is what’s best for the baby in that moment. I’m not going to compromise my child’s safety, by refusing treatment (or at least prolonging the inevitable) because I want to stick to a plan. Birth plans? Total first world problem/privilege. I’m sorry to put it so bluntly. My baby was in real trouble (as was I) if I did not have the first class care that I received. Who cares what that care involved as long as everything turned out for the best? A child who was/is alive (even if he didn’t breathe for four agonising minutes). Healthy after a little special attention.

Childbirth might not feel like the magical miracle everyone dreams of (at least it isn’t for everyone), but the result is what matters. It’s really important to go in knowing what is the most important.

If you got out of it healthy (if not worn out and needing some stitches somewhere) and you got to hold your healthy baby, take him/her back to your hospital room for cuddles and bonding for the first few days of his/her life… YOU ARE LUCKY. Your birth went well.

The birth of the Little Mister was shocking, surprising, a blur and hard to wrap my head around later, but I do not regret it at all. It went the way it needed to go. I wouldn’t and couldn’t change it. It brought me the most amazing gift and we all survived! I feel like a much stronger, more resilient person for it. I am proud of the fact that I was able to accept what happened (it took some time but had more to do with the trauma of being separated from my baby – as an adoptee since birth this was difficult to accept – my little man had to experience an immediate separation from me – something I’d dreamed he’d be spared of ever experiencing) and I feel like anything that brings you your gorgeous baby alive and well (even days later) is a success. I refuse to think of it as anything else.

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My advice to mums to be is to accept that life brings no guarantees. Know stuff. Do the stuff you can do. Then let the universe (and your beautiful baby you are so excited to meet) take its course. Some things are just bigger than us. Our self esteem and our pride should have nothing to do with something we can’t really control. We should not feel ashamed if something turns out differently to how we hoped. We did our best and life had other plans. That’s OK.

Sometimes life might put us on a path that will teach us the most, if we’re willing to learn.

Did your birth/s go to plan? Did you have a plan?

For some women, a traumatic birth or a birth that did not go to plan can be a trigger for post natal depression. If you are struggling, please click here for some resources. 

(More) Useful Stuff for an Awesomely Unprepared Mother.

OK, so once I posted five must have items for a new mother after being inspired by the purchasing of gifts for a baby shower, I kind of spent the next million years thinking about other ideas to add to the list. Once my list started in my head it wouldn’t stop! My brain wants to explode with all the stuff I’ve found useful and I just have to be obnoxious (but hopefully more helpful or relateable) and share them, as it feels like every female with ovaries that I’ve ever met is pregnant right now 🙂

Clothing for the baby in larger sizes
All those newborn sized jumpsuits in the shops just make you want to squeal with embarrassingly exuberant delight and buy one of everything for an expectant mother! Sure, she’ll definitely need them, but perhaps throw in a few clothes that come in the 3-6 month and even 6-12 month sizes too. I was so thankful to those who purchased me slightly larger outfits for the Little Mister, because at the 6 month point he was running out of things to wear! Of course I never mind the excuse to go shopping (YAY!) but I had to build his entire wardrobe for each new size range almost from scratch (as you do)! Just keep in mind what season it will be – for example, don’t buy a fluffy, snuggly winter outfit in size 00 if the baby is going to be wearing it in the heat of summer!

At least 7 hooded baby bath towels
OK, so they don’t really have to be hooded. The hood is really a nice touch to keep the baby’s head warm after a bath (which a big enough normal towel can do quite nicely too), but it’s also damn cute.

I rest my case!

I say 7 because that way there’s a fresh one for each day of the week and you have enough spare that you don’t have to worry if you can’t get all of your washing done at once. I bought a few new towels to round off my collection and now I STILL don’t have to worry about running out if I’m struggling to catch up with all my washing right away! It’s a constant rotation of loads of little man clothes (whites or colours), adult clothes, baby towels/bedding etc and adult towels/bedding! Same goes for wash cloths. Have heaps of those too 🙂

Swaddle-Mes
These were/are amazing. They come in different sizes and they’re so easy to use. Forget all that fancy folding and tucking they teach you in the hospital with a blanket that never stays on. Just use a Swaddle-Me (or similar brand) that has velcro and is shaped perfectly for tucking crazy baby arms inside! Our older relatives call them straitjackets, but don’t listen to them. A lot of babies like the security and as they are uncoordinated early on, their arms can flap about too much keeping them awake. I used mine for what felt like a really long time and now have swapped them for sleeping bags (we made the swap somewhere around 4 months but some other babies can switch a bit earlier or even a bit later)!

Colourful, soft educational toys
When I had my baby shower, I was inundated with all these bright, crinkly, noisy, soft toys for the Little Mister. I looked at the massive pile of them and thought – what the hell? There’s too many! This child is going to be so spoilt! Trust me, they will all be used. When the baby is very young they can’t do much more than look at the bright colours or listen to any music or crinkly sounds that the toys might make, but they’re a welcome distraction from grumpiness and they make the day interesting when you’re staying in. I felt like the Little Mister would get bored of them before he could play with them properly. I was so wrong! At six plus months he began to see them as completely new toys, able to hold them and manipulate them (and shove them in his mouth)! He still has toys that he is yet to discover the true potential of (!) and that makes me really happy! You can switch toys out so they seem fresh when they’re reintroduced and I honestly feel that at this age there can’t be too many (within reason haha)! As a baby he was too young to realise he was being spoilt and was just really excited at exploring everything. They kept him busy. You get a lot of life out of them so they’re a worthwhile addition to a new mum’s swag! Right now at 18 months he still loves the bright colours and he’s into sorting them into categories. Balls go together, then teddy bear type things, stuff that makes sounds and so on! I try to hide some away, but he loves digging around for them anyway!

Nappy wallet
My friends with slightly older babies had alluded to these clever inventions when I was preggo, but I didn’t fully understand at the time. A nappy wallet is just that. It is a streamlined way to keep a couple of spare nappies, some wipes and whatever else your baby needs at change time. If you get an awesome one, it will also fold out into a small change mat! The reason I didn’t understand it at first was because I was in that new mummy phase where I wanted to pack my whole house just for a five minute trip to the shops. I figured I already had everything I needed with me (and then some). Why would I need a nappy wallet too when the stuff was all there in my bag? Here’s why. Sometimes you’re in a rush in a public place (or someone’s house). You can grab the nappy wallet right out of your bag, knowing it has everything in it. There’s no clumsy lugging of your entire nappy bag, trying to use fifty hands/arms you don’t have as you try to change your gorgeous bundle of joy (who may not be a fan of change time) in a small space. Just carry bub and a nappy wallet (which is already stocked up) with you! You can re-stock it after each use (from your surplus supply in your massive nappy bag), so it’s always ready to go! This would be particularly useful in cafes and other eateries when socialising (if you’re lucky enough). You can dash off, leaving your stuff with your trusty friends/partner/doting family 🙂

Do you have any other great gift ideas for new/expectant mothers? x

We need to have a little chat.

PUPPP.

Nope. I didn’t just fall asleep on my keyboard. I’m talking about PUPPP. It stands for (wait for it…) pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. Yeah. Sounds complicated. I bet most of you have never heard of the damn thing (unless you know me very well via this blog or have actually googled it). Before experiencing this horrible rash first hand, I would have heard such a crazy bunch of words beginning with P and I would have shrugged it off. I don’t really know what that is and who cares, it’s just some rash that I’ll never get (it is believed to only be experienced by an extremely small percentage of pregnant women).

Because hardly anyone suffers from this condition, it was very isolating and difficult to deal with. Each case can differ in how your body responds to the awfully itchy rash, meaning treatments that work for one person might not help another. Odds are, you might not even know what it is when you first show symptoms, if you should be unlucky enough to be a part of the unfortunately exclusive PUPPP club.

I had no idea. I resorted to googling (something I do not normally recommend) when the symptoms got too crazy and I was slow to get answers (partly my fault and partly due to inexperience of some of the doctors I saw early in the piece when my baby doctor was on holiday – of course!). I felt like I knew it was PUPPP, but waiting for an actual professional opinion/diagnosis (and treatment) was like agony.

I was only 20 weeks pregnant when it got bad. Normally women get it at the very end of their pregnancies, meaning there is not long to go before they can give birth (and more often than not be relieved of the symptoms immediately), or can be induced at full term if it’s bad enough.

Yeah. Unlucky.

800px-PUPPP-abdomenPic: Side view of a sufferer’s abdomen.

I spent weeks feeling alone. I couldn’t wear clothes that might itch, sweat or cling to my skin. Difficult in winter. I felt socially isolated and while it’s hard enough to get dressed when you’re big, it was even harder to feel pretty or human with PUPPP. I itched so badly that I was afraid I’d have a panic attack about it in public, so I rarely ventured out before treatment could arrive. Even then, the steroid cream prescribed to me by a dermatologist (who thankfully knew what he was talking about) was greasy and while it helped my rash to settle down a LOT, it gave me pimples too eventually.

I was paranoid about humidity of any kind and it was a huge mental and emotional burden. I never stopped loving the Little Mister who was growing inside of me, but I’d be kidding myself (and you) if I said that I wasn’t close to depression. Bawling my eyes out in a lukewarm bathtub half the day was no life.

Why am I going on about this?

I want everyone to know about this condition. While it may never happen to you (especially if you’re a male reader haha), I want you to know what it is and how to spot it. Just in case.

I also want you to be able to seek help ASAP if you think you may have PUPPP. I didn’t. I put it down to a little heat rash and let myself get worse. If I had sought diagnosis and treatment when it first got a bit uncomfortable, by the time I got answers (it takes a while when no-one’s sure what the hell it is – odds are they may not have dealt with a case first hand very often) I might have saved myself weeks of agony. It is much better to have a false alarm and deal with a doctor who thinks you’re being a little dramatic, than to suffer on your own for too long.

Also, I am writing this post because I want anyone who is friends/family/known to someone who has this condition, to know what it’s like to go through it. I want you to understand that it’s more than a little rash. It can cover half of a woman’s body, is unsightly (therefore embarrassing) and very very uncomfortable and itchy. Think extreme chicken pox (it was like that for me anyhow). Each woman may deal with it differently, but I want you to know how bad it can be. It’s really hard to go through it alone and part of my isolation was worrying that my friends didn’t understand. I couldn’t be at social occasions very often – each day was different and I felt awful and flaky. I worried that they believed I was letting a ‘little thing’ slow me down and that I wasn’t living my life just because I was pregnant. Maybe they thought that, maybe they didn’t. They were amazing friends through it all, but that worry was just something I carried. If I’d known they were able to access great information on PUPPP, I might not have felt so insecure.

It’s hard enough to feel attractive or like you’re living your life fully and actively when you’re quite up the duff. Add complications to that pregnancy and it can be very scary and lonely. I knew that the Little Mister was doing fine inside me – I knew I was blessed even in the rough times. I could have had worse issues (well, besides my gestational diabetes which can be dangerous if untreated). However, try telling a pregnant sufferer of PUPPP that when she can’t sleep AT ALL, feels so itchy she could scratch ALL OF HER SKIN BLOOD RAW,  and lives in a lukewarm bath, waiting for an appointment with a specialist.

I put on a brave face a lot. I wish someone had said, “Lady – I know what that is and you’re fooling no-one. Let me hug you – very gently – while I listen to you whinge about it.”

Also, stop asking a PUPPP sufferer (with scars) if she’s tried bio-oil. No over the counter treatments worked for me (or were permitted during pregnancy depending on ingredients). My skin was sensitive to greasy or oily things (ie the ointment was bad enough). Most of the people who asked me if I’d used bio-oil had never even tried it. The power of advertising, I guess. It’s horrible knowing that almost nothing works. It’s worse when everyone (who’s never heard of the damn condition) suggests treatments for you, which you know will do jacksh*t or even make it worse. You probably mean very well, but you don’t have to be an expert or give advice. A kind, listening ear (and encouragement to seek professional treatment if someone hasn’t already) is probably best.

I was lucky. My symptoms disappeared IMMEDIATELY once the Little Mister had vacated my body. While I had a whole lot of other issues, that was thankfully not one of them. However, the scars and the mental effects stayed for a while. I didn’t want to see another greasy, oily ointment again. I had scars on my chest, which meant I couldn’t dress nicely over summer, without feeling like I was an acne ridden teen with chest pimples (no-one wants to see those). I was sensitive to heat, mentally and physically. It took a YEAR before I felt like I could bare my upper chest without a big ol’ necklace or high neckline to hide behind. Progress can be slow.

I am very fortunate to have a very healthy, hilarious and good natured 18 month old today, who has no idea of the hell he put me through during pregnancy! I intend to let him know during his teenage years, though 😉 In all seriousness, that (him being in my life happy and healthy) is what matters most and what got me through a tough time. PUPPP is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. It felt worse than the diabetes and worse than the infection that brought on my labour. It was worse than dealing with the healing from a C-section. Itching is seriously a form of torture. Some people handle it better than others and I will be the first to admit that I was not handling it, despite my best efforts.

There is help and support out there, but it’s important to start looking early. I’m not trying to scare anyone. I’m just trying to bring awareness to it.

I found a dermatologist who dealt with a lot of pregnancy cases. I highly recommend you seek out an experienced specialist and get the ball rolling with referrals etc fast. Also, know that it isn’t your fault. We are all quick to judge these days. It’s easy to believe that a woman having a tough pregnancy must just be a Negative Nancy or probably did something to cause her condition, because it makes us feel like we have control over our own circumstances, but during pregnancy all bets are off. You can do your best and still have some hurdles to deal with. Don’t let ignorant people bring you down.

Pregnancy is stressful enough.

So please, my hope is that if you have read this you will be a proactive sufferer, in order to make your time as a beautiful (you still are) pregnant woman a little easier. If you hear of a friend or relative having this condition, I hope that you will now know just how severe it can be and treat them with the extra love and care they deserve. A great support network can make the difference between a surviving some tough times, and depression.

Feel free to share this post and PLEASE do not be in denial. No-one wants to know about the crap things that can happen when you’re pregnant, but information is power and might save you a lot of suffering (I speak from experience).

Love and light,

Kez xo

If you have experienced this, please contact me or leave a comment – I would love for you to share your stories.

This post is a part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge.



I know this might shock you, but I’m not a Victoria’s Secret model…

Pic: “Wait, that’s not Kez! But they look so alike!”

Yep. I know that when you see me, you do a double take. But no, I am not the Asian Miranda Kerr. Thankyou anyway. I mean, she pushed out a baby 2 pounds heavier than mine (VAGINALLY!) and stays in shape doing pilates. So I can see how you would mix the two of us up. Especially after reading about my pre-natal pilates experiences and all…

Well, before I got pregnant I was on a health kick, so that kind of counts, right? It wasn’t intended as a specific let’s-get-pregnant overhaul. It was just for me. The rest just kind of fell into place later 😉

I was all about weighing myself daily, recording everything I ate and exercising all the time. I was excited about my lifestyle changes and admittedly, a lot of my focus was all about not wanting to hate my body anymore. I wanted to feel less stressed, stop yelling “DO I LOOK FAT IN THIS?! I LOOK TOTALLY FAT IN THIS!” at my husband, and I wanted to wear nice clothes without trying on half a store first and deciding I looked disgusting in EVERYTHING! Oh, and there was the fact that I wanted to feel less sluggish, more energetic, happy and relaxed…which I did and it felt AMAZING, but let’s not tell a lie here. Vanity played a large part.

How things have changed!

My Little Mister is four weeks and six days old today! I honestly feel like I’ve known him forever! I’m tired as hell, but we are lucky to have a good little sleeper by newborn standards (so far…) so I’m not really complaining! I might even be able to send the nanny home soon. Bahaha. Nanny. As if!

I’m starting to get out and about more as my body recovers from the birth and my confidence slowly builds (it was hard letting my husband do almost everything except breastfeed for the first couple of weeks – I felt a bit inadequate). Just little steps, like a trip to meet a friend for coffee, trips to our parents’ places and the dreaded supermarket run – those sorts of things. I thought I should take a break from the catwalk and my many obligations as an international beauty superstar – you know how it is. I’m probably pushing myself a tiny bit hard for someone who’s had a C-section (I have to lift the pram in and out of the car when I’m by myself and it’s awkward getting the little guy in and out of his car seat or bathing him), but I feel a lot stronger than I felt for months, as my pregnancy was pretty tough on my body!

I look in the mirror and today and I see stretch marks all around my middle. They’re a purply colour – quite dark, but sloooowwly fading. I probably could have minimised or prevented them if I’d not had my rash (which led to very sensitive skin and inability to use most good products for it), but then again maybe not. I was pretty far stretched due to a moderately sized baby, my small body frame and what was apparently a lot of amniotic fluid (which was exclaimed loudly by the obstetrician as he kindly broke my waters – the most painful part of labour I swear)! I see silvery/bluish (but luckily sparse) stretch marks creeping down my inner thighs (I was so swollen late in my pregnancy with fluid that it’s not surprising). I see pock mark like scars down my whole left leg and on the upper thigh of my right leg. They are dark and purplish against my naturally olive skin.

To add to the indignity, my chin is covered in adolescent like pimples (which are starting to scar). Must be the hormones from breastfeeding. They’re starting to spread a little down my neck (oh joy!). My chest has faded scarring all over it from the first pregnancy rash I had at 20 weeks pregnant, with some new zits to complete the look. While my skin feels better in that area (less lumpy and less blocked pores), it still stands out to me when I wear summer clothing and I daren’t wear anything that might show off my otherwise attractive cleavage (one benefit of breastfeeding for a normally smaller busted gal like myself)!

I find myself staring wistfully at all the “normal” people I see out and about, with their clear skin. Those lucky lucky people.

My belly has shrunk a lot but there’s a floppy fold under my belly button (might have to stop posing in bikinis for men’s magazines for a while *snort*). Under clothing it looks a bit pot-bellyish. The muscles in my belly need to be toned up again and I suppose my skin needs to try to shrink back after it was so stretched to accommodate the Little Mister.

My hair has a nice cut to it, but it’s losing that super awesome volume it had while I was pregnant. My fringe needs a trim and is a little hard to control. I suppose I’ll somehow fit in a hair appointment closer to Christmas – silly me, sending my imaginary personal beauty team on holidays!

I look at some of the cute summer dresses online or at the shops that would look amazing on me in my new (old) body, but often the hemline is a bit too short – don’t want those scarred legs with the stretch marks on show! It kind of takes the class out of a cute look that I could otherwise pull off quite well.

BUT…

You know what? Enough of my bad jokes (Miranda Kerr might be getting a little bit annoyed as she reads this whilst breastfeeding baby Flynn, doing a pilates workout, eating a gourmet healthy brunch and making out with Orlando Bloom at the same time). The flaws I’ve just described don’t bother me quite as much as I thought they might. Sure, they can make me scramble about in my wardrobe feeling a bit frustrated (no different to how I behaved before and during my pregnancy – just for different reasons), but when I look in the mirror I see the good things (without even having to try)! Some days I even forget about the marks all over my body! For the first time, my eyes are drawn to my better features instead of honing in on the bad stuff! I know! Miracles do happen!!

I see my small waist. It looks so trim and it’s fantastic in an empire line dress! I see a shrinking (if a little flawed) belly. I feel blessed that I am already at my pre-pregnancy weight and getting a tiny bit smaller each day – without dieting (it will catch up with me soon but I’m just savouring these moments before I am able to exercise the way I want)!

I see slim upper arms that look cute in sleeveless summer tops. I love that I get a built in work out for my arms from lifting the baby all the time.

My thighs and calves (although in need of toning) look slimmer than they have in a long time! I’m almost five weeks out from giving birth and I can’t believe my luck. So many new mothers would be grateful to get so close to their original shape this fast, with no ability to do proper exercise while pregnant (due to illness), as well as having a C-section, and I don’t say that smugly. I say it with the utmost gratitude and disbelief. When I look at my legs, I don’t just see the pock marks from scratching my pregnancy rash in my sleep (OK and sometimes when I was awake and couldn’t control myself). I choose to see the way the rash has disappeared between them. I see how clear those pockets of skin are. And I am grateful. I might have a battered, scarred body but all of that will fade over time. I’ve been through a hell of a lot and just to be able to move my body with ease, to have no pelvic pain and to get in and out of a bed without taking half an hour is just amazing. I love being able to get to my baby when he’s crying, without struggling and feeling bad about it (like I did for the first two weeks). My skin is rarely itchy (and when it is it’s only due to stress or because it’s healing) and I can eat what I like (provided my 6 week check up tells me my diabetes has officially gone – please for the love of Huey let it be gone).

I never dreamed that I would feel so good again and a few sh*tload of marks and battle wounds mean very little when I put things in perspective. They just mean that my body did something amazing. They remind me how strong I had to be.

I guess the point I’m making in this post is for us to just love our bodies for what they do for us. When you put everything in perspective, our cosmetic scars and superficial flaws are not really all that bad. They describe a journey we’ve been through and show us that we’ve survived.

Of course I’m more  human than supermodel (hello – have you met me?!) and there are moments I feel a bit disappointed that I can’t wear just any damn thing I like (seems unfair suddenly losing a bunch of weight but not being able to show off your new shape properly), but on the whole I see things really differently now. I’m no Miranda Kerr on the outside, but damn if I don’t feel just as good about myself on the inside!

What do you love about your body?

 

Disclaimer: I know I use Miranda Kerr as a supermodel stereotype in this post, but I actually do have a girl crush on her. She’s just so hot and down to earth at the same time. I’ve tried to hate her, but I just can’t. Damn MILF!

Gestational Diabetes. I has it.

Pic

Pregnancy is a little freaky (well, it is). Especially the first one, I’m guessing. It’s all the unknown. It’s not like you’ve ever done it before. You have no idea what to expect. Well, other than the basic stuff – maybe getting morning sickness, eventually forgetting what your feet look like and having a baby at some point. Oh and the waddle. It will get ya.

You can read lots of books and you can do all that is within your control to prepare for every possible symptom or outcome, but at the end of the day you can’t help but feel awesomely unprepared for it all. Each person is different and each pregnancy is different!

I am adopted and this makes life more interesting. I am learning stuff about me (and evidently those before me) for the first time during this experience! Now I finally know my blood type. And soon I will know what my biological relatives will look like (oh please let them be pretty)! Oh, and there’s the small matter of discovering the hard way that my genes carry a history of gestational diabetes.

Yes, gestational diabetes. I has it.

Despite the (usually misinformed) stigma attached to all forms of diabetes, there is nothing I did wrong or nothing I did to cause it (the dietician said this about five million times so I believe her). I just have to manage it as best I can and hope it goes away when the baby is born. I am not obese and although my rash (yeah that other thing I’ve had to deal with) got in the way of more regular exercise for a while, I am not living an entirely sedentary life! Have I fallen victim to a sweet tooth during this pregnancy? You betcha. But apparently that’s not the cause. It just exacerbates an already existing condition.

I now have to prick my finger four times a day (to test my blood sugar levels), keep an entirely honest food diary (EEK!) and attend class/meeting thingys on healthy eating and gestational diabetes weekly…for the rest of my pregnancy (and maybe even beyond because now *sarcastic hip hip hooray* I’m more prone to developing Type 2 diabetes later in life!

Not to mention the fact that I have to give up any cake, biscuits, icecream, chocolate and all the little treats that can sometimes make pregnancy seem so much sweeter (literally)! I’m a bit bummed that my family history is no longer a clean slate. I can no longer pretend I am 100% healthily awesome – the pioneer of a new superhuman legacy. Turns out, some bugger of an ancestor started this and I can’t even tell them off because I do not know who the hell they are. DAMN YOU, ANCESTOR!!!

At the end of the day, knowledge is power and I will do everything I can to make sure the baby and I stay safe and sound. I will shake off the fear of  judgement surrounding pregnant people and their habits (it’s amazing how much people watch you like a hawk if you let them) and stick to what the professionals tell me. I will make the most of being healthier (can’t be a bad thing right?) and I will just have to put on my big girl pants and get on with it.

So, here’s to a new challenge along the pregnancy journey. I am awesomely unprepared (understatement of the decade) but I am gonna face this and I’m gonna make it my bitch.

That’s the spirit, ‘eh?

What genetic quirks/conditions run in your family? Or are you adopted like me?

 

For more information on gestational diabetes, you can click here.

Reporting from a fresh produce aisle near you.

"Don't eat me, Mummy!"

Pic

I don’t know why, but one day some time in the past some lady, man or lady man decided that the perfect way to describe a growing foetus would be to compare the size or weight of all future human babies with fruit and vege.

I personally have found it quite odd. Is there anyone else out there who questions this? Or am I just an annoying question asking punk? Perhaps it’s all designed to make us pregnant ladies (and our unlucky partners, friends and relatives) feel like it must be something healthy and nutritious(?) we’re cooking away in our biological ovens. You know, it’s all so pure and organic and naaaaturrrraaaaalll, darling.

I have never read in a pregnancy book that my baby is the weight of a sponge cake from Woolworths. Or that he is the size of a large serving of hot chips. Or that he is the length of a hotdog bun.

See, that’s something I could relate to.

This week (entering the 28th), my baby is supposed to be the weight of a cauliflower. Which is about 2 pounds (roughly 1kg for those who don’t use American iPhone apps to track their pregnancies). I just hope he doesn’t look like a cauliflower. I also hope this doesn’t affect the way I feel about him. I don’t want to be mean, but I kind of prefer broccoli better. Although, they say that he’s covered in some kind of grease that looks like cheese right now so that’s kind of yummy (actually it’s supposed to be gross).

Each week is a wonderful surprise as I learn about new fruits and vegetables. Before being pregnant I had never heard of a spaghetti squash or a rutabaga. It’s all very educational, being up the duff.

I’m just nervous about the point where they start describing the foetus in terms of “watermelons” or “award winning giant freak pumpkins that you read about in country newspapers”…