Tag: pregnancy

16 weeks pregnant.

At 16 weeks, the baby was the size of an avocado. Yum!

This week, I started to feel some little movements! I felt little movements at 16 weeks when I was pregnant with the Little Mister, so it was nice to have it happen so soon again! At first I wasn’t sure, expecting some of it to be indigestion or something. Trust me, I thought I felt a lot of things going on in there while we were trying so hard for a baby (not kicking or anything obviously but tugs and pains that I hoped were a sign of early pregnancy) and I was always wrong. I am not one to jump to conclusions these days!

A couple of times I sneezed (fact: I sneeze with gusto) and right after, I would feel a couple of suspiciously timed little jabs like the baby was all, “WTF WAS THAT, MUM?”

Another time, we were eating lunch out with friends and I hadn’t really had much for breakfast beforehand. The moment I started to munch on my meal, I felt little flippy, movey feelings! Since then, I have had occasional feelings of movement when I’m still and now I’m really impatient for them to become pronounced enough that Mr Unprepared and the Little Mister might be able to feel them. In saying that, it’s probably a good thing there’s a while until then…I remember how I felt last time at that point haha.

I was really excited because I was able to get out and about in my favourite dress. The one with a cool tiger on the chest and a flowy black skirt. The bad ass dress that I was too scared to wear when I wasn’t pregnant in case it made me look pregnant. Hilariously, when I put it on I realised it made me look NOT pregnant and I was all, you mean I could have worn this all along?!

This week I did a big clean out of my wardrobe. I put aside all of the things I am now too round to wear and I tried on literally every other thing so I could see what outfits I could create from my existing non-maternity wardrobe. I was pleasantly surprised by a few things (and unpleasantly surprised by a lot of other things haha). Now I know how everything will look/fit and that makes life a lot easier. Before that, I was doing trial and error last minute before going anywhere and it was getting a bit time consuming and tiresome!

Also of note: my stretch marks from my last pregnancy decided to reinvent themselves. Back from the dead, a little more dangerous looking and ready to cause trouble. Much like Taylor Swift. LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. I’ve been moisturising a bit and praying I will never have a repeat of the rash from hell of 2011.

The Little Mister has suggested some baby names already. So far we have Little Mister Junior, Tim (random) and Pat because he wants the baby to grow up to be a postman. I’m thinking that maybe when we do start to think seriously about names, we might need to create a shortlist first before handing over any input!!

Also, on the topic of the Little Mister – he got his first wobbly tooth this week! Maybe it’s not pregnancy related, but damn it’s awesome and he’s growing up so much and I love him so!

15 weeks pregnant.

Week 15 of my pregnancy felt like a bit of a roller coaster of emotions! I blame the hormones!

I learned that I’m a bit more sensitive to the energy of other people when I’m pregnant. One example was a beautiful, sunny day when we went out to a community event. There were people everywhere and there was a wonderful, buzzing atmosphere. We ran into heaps of people we know and it was lovely. I actually had a really great time! When it was all over, I felt like I was completely wrecked and on the verge of tears! I think I had just gone into some kind of overwhelmed state and I couldn’t process everything. I was also feeling a little awkward as so many amazing people were excited to congratulate us in person and I never know what to say (although the sentiment is so lovely and it feels so nice to know so many people care so much). I think I just needed a nice shower and a rest.

The next emotional moment was a heart wrencher! One day, the Little Mister had written everyone’s names on his little chalkboard. Mummy, Daddy, Little Mister (obviously he wrote his real name) and the joke name for my bump. The names of everyone in our family. It was very sweet. Later that afternoon, Mr Unprepared walked past and noticed that the Little Mister had rubbed his name off the board but left everyone else’s. He asked why he had done that and the Little Mister replied, “Because when the baby comes you won’t love me anymore.”

He had the saddest little face and Mr Unprepared scooped him up in the biggest hug and tried to reassure him that it could never ever happen and that we would love him forever and ever no matter what. I had been in the other room and walked in wondering what was going on after hearing the tail end of their conversation.

When Mr Unprepared explained, I wanted to cry for my little man (who has wanted to be a big brother for the longest time)! I hugged him tight and told him that one of the reasons we wanted so much to have another child was because we wanted two children to love and who could love each other – not one! I said the family would never be the same without a very important person in it – him. That Mummy and Daddy’s hearts are so big that there’s plenty of room for us to love two beautiful children just as much as each other and that would never change. He seemed really reassured by that and afterwards, his demeanour changed a lot. He seemed a lot less anxious and more sure of himself. Poor little mite.

I was trying to figure out where he got that idea from. We had certainly not treated him much different. We talked about the baby coming, but I had always made a point of not obsessing in front of him. We had talked about the dogs – one of our dogs is very old and we were worried about her health (turns out the spritely old bugger is fine) and had mentioned in passing that when she was no longer with us, we might just stick to one dog for a while. Could it have been that?! I felt a bit bad when it occurred to me! I’d been giving the Little Mister extra cuddles and affection since I’d found out I was pregnant because I wanted him to feel special. Did he think I was just getting my last hugs in before the big goodbye where we set him adrift?! It was heartbreaking to think that he could even believe that we’d stop loving him. Whether he likes it or not, he’s got us for life!!!!

This week, I also started to get a bit self conscious about how fast my bump was growing. Being my second pregnancy, I think I’m a bit bigger than I was at this stage with the Little Mister growing inside me. I can’t be sure because I never took photos (sorry not sorry for the spam but I don’t want to miss out this time), but I felt like I was getting huge. I don’t know if it’s a throwback from the extra hormones from IVF but I think my boobs are much more massive than they were last time too! I thought people would be staring at me thinking I’m about to pop. I felt a bit embarrassed that I was only 15 weeks along. Like maybe people would think I was just 90% fat and 10% baby. Even though if that was the case, it would be nobody’s damn business anyway!

I think I felt like I started this pregnancy a little bit behind with my fitness and my eating habits and my weight. IVF (and all that had come before it) had been rough and I weighed more when I fell pregnant than I had with the Little Mister.

Even though the rational me knows that a growing baby/bump is a good sign (it’s the not growing that has to be worried about) and that looks are nothing compared to mine or the baby’s health, the irrational, temporarily insane, pregnant me had a cry anyway. My bump will grow how my bump will grow and it’s a miracle and I needed to get over myself! Mr Unprepared set me straight one night when I did the hormonal crying thing and it really did help. I did get over it.

By the end of the week, my energy started to return. It was a really good feeling. I could make it through a whole day without needing to have a nap! I still fell asleep quite early at night, but that’s acceptable I think! I had started to think that maybe being an exhausted sloth was just who I was now. It was a relief to find out it wasn’t!

Do you have more than one child? How did your first born react when they found out that a sibling was on the way? Did they worry? 

14 weeks pregnant.

This week was full on. We were very busy and it felt like bub was very busy growing too!

It all started when Mr Unprepared showed me a car that was up for auction. He always shows me cars on auction websites (or Gumtree) so I don’t usually pay them much attention (especially when they’re very expensive or have crazy V8 motors in them or they’re the 10 millionth ute he’s fantasised about in a day – he already has a ute damn it). But this time I have to admit that he had my interest. He’d found a car that was newer than mine, practical for a growing family (with dogs), ran on gas (cost effective to run when you have just committed to many school years with hour long round trip commutes) and it actually looked nice in the photos.

It was his version of nesting. He wanted us to have a good, reliable family car so he knew that preggo/mummy me would be safe and comfortable. How could I say no to at least having a look at it? Anyway, long story short, we checked it out in person and I had a really good feeling about it. We hadn’t exactly planned on a purchase like that right that minute, but thanks to some frugal living and pretty sensible financial decisions it was doable. Not to mention that it was a bargain. We won the bidding on it and it’s beautiful to drive! Nobody knows who the hell I am in the school car park anymore but it’s fantastic haha. I do feel comforted knowing it will be a long time before we need to upgrade or worry about reliability/ease of maintenance.

A lot of the week was spent making arrangements to collect the car – I did so many hour long road trips on top of school runs!

I felt a bit uncomfortable when sleeping this week. I could feel my uterus stretching a lot and it was a little unsettling. I mean, obviously it was great that everything was growing, but it could get uncomfortable as I tried to lie on my side at night. I found that the constant ‘stretched’ feeling was exhausting and thought, oh shit – I ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

I’d laugh because when I first woke up each morning, my belly would look quite small and sometimes I felt like I didn’t even look pregnant. However, by the evening it was a different story (no matter how much or how little I ate)! I felt HUGE by the time I climbed into bed!

I felt like my bump had really popped out this week and was no longer just the bloat of early pregnancy. It was a good feeling.

I really enjoyed dressing my bump too. After hiding in hoodies and (non maternity) jeggings for what felt like an eternity, it was fun to not worry about showing off my belly. I actually love being pregnant because a lot of my hang ups about my belly disappear. Suddenly it’s not this annoying body image issue that I have to fight with myself about each day. I think I spent 3 years on and off hormones, dealing with bad PMS bloat and feeling sensitive/paranoid about the idea of someone mistaking me for being pregnant (the one thing that was a sore point for me throughout all the infertility stuff). It was nice to finally be able to shake that off.

Here is the first ‘put together’ outfit I had worn in ages. It felt good – like I’d deliberately dressed myself in something that resembled a ‘style’!

Also, this week I stopped spotting. It had been happening for a couple of weeks and I was so over it. It was so exciting when I realised it had disappeared. I really hope it’s gone for good. Even though I knew my pregnancy was looking good, it is never fully settling to know that there’s some bleeding going on.

Because of this, I started to look forward to the idea of being a bit more active and thinking a bit more about exercise. Key word: thinking. I was a bit too tired and busy to quite get to it!

 

13 weeks pregnant.

At 13 weeks, it felt really good to see the end of the first trimester! I had worked through a lot of feelings, found great reassurance in the fact that our first trimester scan had gone well and I felt comfortable enough to make plans with people again. It gave me a thrill to take my time walking through the baby sections of local shops without having to look over my shoulder and worry about who might see me. I could peruse the (very god damn limited) maternity clothing. I could buy some stuff in person. I was out and about with my bump and it felt good (even though I was still bloody exhausted)!

I took my first official ‘bump’ photo in a Target change room. Turns out that I am a size 8 in their popular stripy maternity dress. I have no idea how they work out the sizing. It’s so weird. I suggest going down a size or two in their maternity range!

I had brunch with a couple of long time friends this week. It was so lovely to catch up. One of these friends was spending some time over here (she lives in the US now) introducing her gorgeous baby daughter (3 months old at the time) to her Aussie people. My other friend is about 10 weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy and had actually told me about it the day before my IVF transfer (not realising that I was going to have it done)! It wasn’t just the same wonderful catch up we always have. Well, it was. But for me it was also a beautiful moment. We talked all things baby – maternity wear, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, how my friend was doing a fantastic job as a first time mum, how my pregnant friend and I could relate in having a larger age gap than average between our existing ‘only’ children and our babies to be. Weird food cravings and aversions. How amazing it was that the three of us (plus another dear friend who had a 3 month old baby also) had managed to share this experience so closely with each other, despite none of us ever imagining it. I was just beaming with happiness for all of us.

I was thrilled. I had sat there with these gorgeous people and instead of harbouring a little bit of sadness for myself, I had been over the moon. Really happy. I was in sync with my own little ‘second mother’s group’ – something I never thought would happen to me as I fell further and further behind a lot of my friends’ family planning schedules. I am so excited for what’s to come.

This week I had my first really definitive batshit crazy pregnancy dream. The symbolism was so hilariously obvious that I woke up laughing. Basically, it was Mr Unprepared, the Little Mister and I. We were headed for a little getaway. I had my guitar with me and some books to read (i.e. luxuries that can be hard to partake in with a baby or toddler) and we were going to be staying in some flash suite at the top of a hotel (I KNOW). But it turned out that to get to the top floor, we had to undertake an obstacle course. A tricky situation that resembled the Mousetrap board game, somewhat. It took balancing and leaping and dodging things. There were vacuum cleaners and piles of Lego and all manner of shit in the way. This wasn’t your usual ‘take the stairs’ kind of situation! I had to push the Little Mister up through these obstacles, trying to keep him safe the whole time. You get the idea 😂 Nice work, subconscious! Oh, and I never made it to that luxury hotel suite hahaha. OH WHAT HAVE WE DONE.

I had my appointment with the doctor this week, to follow up on my first trimester scan. It went really well. I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat again and that was pretty freakin’ awesome. And funny. The slippery little sucker kept trying to escape the doppler, so the midwife had to trap it from the outside with her hands! I’ve got an active one in there! It made me really excited for later on when I’ll be able to feel it.

I also realised this week that I have been a bit scarred from having so many vaginal ultrasounds. I keep associating doctor appointments with having to take my pants off and deal with having an awkward wand up the bits scenario. So I would find myself trying to dress as if it was going to happen, mentally trying to psyche myself up for dealing with that kind of thing. I would do the whole over the top ‘trying to maintain grooming/freshness down there’ us ladies tend to do before that kind of situation, before having to remind myself that those times are over. It’s OK. They’re just going to put some gel on my belly and my pants are staying put. It’s been harder to shake that weird expectation than I thought it would be.

Some people dread dealing with that kind of thing once a year – or ever – so I guess it’s probably understandable that I have lost my mind a little bit after experiencing it about 12 times a year (on average) for like 2 years.

Has anyone else ever had some wicked pregnancy dreams? I want to hear about them. I find them so interesting! 

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