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  • 7 Jan 2020 12:29 PM | Anonymous

    Words by Emma @hangingwiththeheaphys

    Don’t drink coffee.

    Don’t eat soft cheese.

    Don’t lift weights.

    Don’t run, please.

    Do work until full term.

    Do find out the sex.

    Do have a water birth.

    Epidural? Heck yes.

    Don’t drink while breastfeeding.

    Don’t bed share.

    Don’t use a dummy,

    I’ve been there.

    Do use a baby monitor.

    Do pump and dump.

    Do swaddle your baby,

    But make sure it’s from back to front.

     

    Don’t give me your opinion on my parenting.

    Don’t think you know what’s best.

    Don’t judge me if I don’t agree with you.

    I couldn’t care less.

    Do trust that I have done my research.

    Do know your not who I’m trying to please.

    Do preach to those who need it,

    But not me, geez!

    Don’t worry about what others think.

    Don’t fret that what your doing is wrong.

    Don’t give a shit about other people,

    The road ahead is far too long.

    Do what’s right for you and your baby.

    Do your best, that’s all.

    Do try and keep things in perspective,

    Because at the end of the day it’s always you on call.

  • 7 Jan 2020 11:43 AM | Anonymous

    Words and pictures by Mama Emma @hangingwiththeheaphys

    It is with a seriously foggy thought process courtesy of far too many sleepless nights that I write this post. Sorry in advance for what may be a disorganised mess featuring many brain fades but it is important to me that I keep my blog as real as possible and man is the current chapter of teething terror a very real reality for our family of three.

    Sleep. Oh how I miss you. What I would give for just four hours in a row of unbroken shut eye at the moment, and for more than one night in a row if it’s not too much to ask. No wakes for a crying baby, a restless second very tall child who takes up 3/4 of the bed by virtue of his size and sleeping style which I call the starfish (my husband) or for my own annoying automatic waking mechanism to check that either Lottie is still alive or how much time I have before she is likely to wake again.

    My Instagram post on 13 August 2019: “Hi. I’m Emma. This was me last night. It is an incredibly unflattering but real account of me for the last 8 hours. I’m not drunk. I’m just exhausted. I’m not happy about being awake. That’s just a pathetic excuse for a smile because I have manners. I didn’t bed share. That’s just where I had to stay awake and cuddle Lottie the entire night. Teething is well and truly upon us. Tuesday be kind”.

    My Instagram post on 13 August 2019: “Hi. I’m Emma. This was me last night. It is an incredibly unflattering but real account of me for the last 8 hours. I’m not drunk. I’m just exhausted. I’m not happy about being awake. That’s just a pathetic excuse for a smile because I have manners. I didn’t bed share. That’s just where I had to stay awake and cuddle Lottie the entire night. Teething is well and truly upon us. Tuesday be kind”.

    Without wanting to brag and be “that mum”, Lottie was a great sleeper up until the first tooth made its abrupt and seemingly painful appearance. She was self-settling and sleeping through the night. WHAT.A.DREAM. I could think straight, behaved like a normal person (well relatively) and could function with only two coffees a day.

    The current phase, and with my unwavering love for my baby aside, can only be described as a never ending sleepless nightmare. Not only are the nights long but the days are longer. I find myself forgetting how to do the simplest of things. Let me illustrate.

    A few weeks back I had just one of those days. I could not for the life of me workout how to fold up the pram. This was despite having done it thousands of times before and under crying baby pressure (which for the record is the worst type of pressure imaginable). We had gone to the supermarket to by baby Nurofen, baby rusks, baby teething rings, mummy coffee, mummy wine, mummy Nurofen and everything else classified as a sleep deprived mum’s godsend.

    I don't remember how I got to town, how I got Lottie in the pram or why I put Lottie in the pram in the first place (as she loves sitting in the trolley). I certainly don’t know how I remembered the credit card pin. About one of the only things I do remember (likely due to trauma), is standing in the car park with Baby Tears FM blasting from the left hand side rare car window absolutely baffled as to how to get this whatever you call it (the pram) into wherever you load your groceries (the boot) while many nosy onlookers got their daily dose of “manic mums go public”.

    My mind completely and utterly failed me, so much so that I almost re-enacted the opening scene of the Netflix series “Working Mums” whereby the main character, Kate Foster, tries to fit her fully assembled pram into the boot of her car with regular and somewhat aggressive pulsing foot jabs. Thankfully for me, but not for the public who would have had a real "get out the popcorn moment", I figured out how to use the New World free WiFi (as my data had typically run out) to watch what seemed like the longest tutorial online about the dismantling of the mountain buggy terrain. The pram is still with us and intact so I got there in the end. You have to take the small victories.

    An uglier side effect of the current phase is my emotional being. I am a walking monster, capable of stirring mad with the most innocent of greetings if there is the slightest hint of (what sounds to me like) sarcasm or rousing livid with comments like "I'm so tired". Before you decide against greeting me next time, please know that I am referring to Mark. You are not at risk.

    If my behaviour could not be justified by a complete lack of what is mandatory for a human to function, sleep, it probably could be considered a criminal offence. However, in no circumstances is anyone else able to say that about me. I dare you Mark!

    No caption needed.

    All I can say is that goodness for google. It has been my saving grace. Although I must say that my recent search history leaves much to be desired. Who knew that Randy Gardner set the record for the longest a human has gone without sleep at 11 days and 25 minutes (264.4 hours) or that the world record for the most coffee consumed by a human is 82 cups of coffee in 7 hours? I feel like I am a real contender for a Guiness World Record in either category at the moment.

    Suffice to say that life at present is one big haze. With only two teeth making their appearance well and truly known, this haze is likely to continue for some time longer. I will continue to forget what day it is, where we need to be at any given time and what boob I used last to feed Lottie but I will never forget the beautiful moments captured between sleepy blinks throughout each day that make me grateful for the life we have and the privilege I have to be her mum. She is so worth every single part/moment/episode of this time which is nothing short of a tenacious teething terror.

    Emma's website: https://www.hangingwiththeheaphys.co.nz/


  • 7 Jan 2020 10:59 AM | Anonymous

    Words from Mama Emma @hangingwiththeheaphys

    You do everything for everyone during the day.
    You organise, you prepare, you clean, you cook.


    You do everything for everyone at night.
    You comfort, you shush, you allow your husband to sleep.


    You do the same cycle day in day out.
    You are tired, you feel weak, you want a break.


    You feel bad that you want a break.
    Your child needs you, everyone else does it, you are riddled with guilt.


    You then try to take a break.
    But you feel bad again, there is stuff to do, you need to keep going.


    So you keep going everyday.

    Without fail, without regret, without sleep.


    You are what superhero’s are made of.

    You are strong, you are resilient, you are mum.

    Emma's website: https://www.hangingwiththeheaphys.co.nz/


  • 12 Dec 2019 2:03 PM | Anonymous

    Words and Picture from Millie @raisingherbarefoot


    This photo here shows you one of the many reasons I absolutely adore co sleeping. It’s hard bringing a child up in a world where co sleeping in frowned upon. The sigh I’m hit with when I proudly say “she’s still in with us”. From the minute Indie was born, I have experienced precious moments like this every night. I’ve been lectured many times by anti co sleepers about the danger I’m putting my child in and I’m a terrible parent for not wanting to change our sleeping arrangement.

    We upsized to a king bed right before Indie was born instead of purchasing a cot. I grew up unaware that it was even a thing to sleep in the same bed as your child, so when I met my partner Josh who comes from a co sleeping family, I was desperate to give this 24/7 slumber party a crack. I think there isn’t enough coverage on the actual reality of sharing a bed with your child. I see all too often, stories with headlines “another baby dies while cosleeping”, which brings tears to my eyes because it shouldn’t have ended that way.  Bedsharing can be made either safe or unsafe and there is a very very slim line in between.

    When done safely, the effects on the mother-infant bond and wellbeing are remarkable as well as lowering the SIDS rate by one half!! In countries such as Japan, cosleeping is considered the norm. Which makes sense as it is biologically appropriate, unlike placing an infant in a room to sleep by themselves. The way I explain it to people is that co sleeping has been bred into our DNA, from thousands of years ago. Cavemen and women cuddled their babies to increase survival rates. This insured the child was kept warm, protected from predators, and easily fed when hungry. The human race would have died out if mothers placed their children in a cave next door and left them to cry, which is sadly the new normal in today’s society.

    The most asked question I get about co sleeping is definitely “so where do you have sex?!”. “Well! Who says you and your husband are restricted to a bed?” I reply. Co sleeping introduced my partner and I to a whole new world of exciting sex. Getting to set up the baby monitor and creep out of our room quietly is such an intoxicating feeling. It’s helped us to be far more creative than your standard missionary bed sex. We’ve done it everywhere. In the kitchen, in the shower, on the couch, on a dining chair, on the bedroom floor, on the edge of the bed, in the spare room, in the laundry.....you name it, we’ve most likely made love there!

    Of course there’s been times that co sleeping has gotten in the way of our sex life and been a bit of a 'cock blocker', but I just think, if my daughter needs me to settle her a little longer right now than that’s far more important than my personal pleasure. This is where the other popular question comes in “does co sleeping get in the way of your relationship?”. Hmmmm. Yes and no. Believe me, there’s been a few times I’ve thought “oh screw this! I wanna be like those mums that put there babies down in their cots at 6pm, no issues, and don’t see them again till 8am!!!”.

    There’s also been times I’ve thought “I just want to cuddle my partner without a baby hanging off my boob!”. The best advice I’ve ever been given is “always out your partner first.... because if your relationship breaks down and your family falls apart then your child will be effected the most not having both parents around”. I have felt guilt, anger, and frustration many many times, and that’s ok. My partner has felt neglected at times too, which is also ok.

    We have learnt to not make plans because someone will always be left disappointed. I’ve lost count of the nights that I’ve turned my partner down when he’s hinted sex. I’ve also lost count of the times that I’ve promised him sex and then cancelled last minute because I’d rather snuggle up to my daughter. That takes a toll on our relationship for sure, it would on anyone’s.

    But...you work through it, take each day by day, night by night. It has gotten a lot easier over time and I know it will continue to get easier. Struggles aside, my relationship is thriving with both my daughter and my husband. We all get a better quality sleep and I feel safe knowing I am right at Indies side if she needs me throughout the night. Our bond is bound together so tight it could almost squeeze in bed with us!

  • 7 Dec 2019 8:04 PM | Anonymous

    Words and pictures from Mama Tranita Turner


    So! Team green Turned...

    Ok, let’s get to the story. I was having Braxton Hicks which developed into prodromal birth waves early Sunday morning. They were like 2-4 mins apart and lasted like 30 sec. I’d been on pelvic/bed rest due to an irritable uterus for about 15 weeks and since 36 weeks it has been lifted. Since I was no longer on rest, I decided that I would walk when I had the chance. My husband and I were going to stores, doing last minute pick ups and throughout the entire morning, I was having those waves. I was literally stopping traffic in aisles lol the discomfort wasn’t too bad but I did have to do some focusing. Around mid afternoon they just stopped ‍♀️

    We had some sex that night. I woke up to pee so many times I couldn’t count. Then at around 5 am Monday morning, I’d gotten back into bed after a peepee run and I don’t know if grunted or what, but fluid kind of spewed out of me. I got up to go pee again. Then I was thinking “maybe it was just left overs from last night... I did clean things up enough... ‍♀️” got back into bed it was almost time to get up. My husband got up a few mins later and so did I. I started telling him what happened and more started to leak out. I was in denial though. He asked me was I ready and I cried a little bit and said “I don’t know! ” with a rag between my legs.

    Called my doctor and she wanted to confirm so she told me to come on in at 9 when the clinic opened since I had an appointment already later on that day. This is around 6 am. We started to pack things up, put stuff in the car and my husband stopped by his job until the clinic had opened. I didn’t have any pads to catch the fluid so... I used one of my baby’s cloth diaper prefolds worked like a charm.

    When we got to the clinic around 10, they did my last ultrasound to make sure things were ok and took my vitals. My doctor checked my cervix. She needed a baseline to make sure I was progressing. We’d already discussed it prior to. Let’s do a flash back really quick.

    I have a bunch of fibroids inside and outside of my uterus. Some had amazing blood flow, some could have potentially been in the way where baby couldn’t descend and all of them could have prevented my uterus from waving like it should in order to push baby down. My doctor did not want to do a C-section on me because of where the fibroids were. We needed a vaginal birth.

    So when I came into the office and my waters were no longer intact, she knew that that check would be one of few that would be done because they did not want to put me at anymore risk of infection. I was about a half cm. She sent me to the hospital and told me to use nipple stimulation/pump to induce birth waves. The next options would be Cytotec or Pitocin. Cytotec would not be an option for me. ‍♀️ She also called the hospital and told them I was coming and to have a pro natural birth nurse waiting on me.

    On the way to the hospital, we made a pit stop. See, I was supposed to have a home birth, but due to the fibroid situation, plans changed. I’d fallen in love With my midwife team so I made sure to keep them updated and usually called them first lol she made sure to tell me to eat a high protein meal before I went in. We bought a whole rotisserie chicken, hummus and pretzels and I had some crackers. I ate a leg quarter then we still took the rest of the chicken up to our room. I was determined not to starve. That was the second best decision of my birth. The first was choosing Hypnobabies. I’ll get to that later.

    We got checked in, they wanted to hook me up to the saline lock. My doc and I had already discussed that as well. Since I had so many fibroid issues, it was important that I be ready in case I hemorrhaged and needed medicine to stop any bleeding. My Hypnobabies came in handy. Anyone who knows me knows that hospitals, injections, blood draws and needles can have me acting a plum fool. So I turned on my fear clearing track and allow someone to stick me not just once (and I didn’t even look! I always look), but twice. They had to place the catheter in for the lock and then draw more blood for the lab for if I needed blood. I was quite fascinated with myself. I even told my husband he could leave me to go pick up our breast pump.

    The hospital would not provide us with one to use for the purpose of induction. Third best decision I made was having that breast pump. Anyone who’s having a hospital birth, take your pump with you just in case you need it for the purpose I needed mine for. I hadn’t even opened it yet.

    I was given a birth ball that really didn’t work out because it was a bit too small. But I still used it until someone was able to come change it out. I got to work pumping on and off. One at a time, 15 mins on each. I switched it up when my nurse suggested I do 15 on each then break for 30. I continued to eat when I was hungry. I drank LOTS of water.

    Hypnobabies was amazing during the first stages of my birth time. I was able to sleep through birth waves multiple times listening to the tracks and would wake up rejuvenated on my own ready to pump, use the birth ball and walk the halls to help baby move down. I sat in the tub a few times and it really helped. Fell asleep there every time. My nurse made sure to remind me to relax my pelvic floor. That was one of the most difficult things to do because it involved being intentional throughout the birth waves. By the next day, I’d have it down.



    I allowed the nurse to check my cervix at 8 pm Monday evening to see if I’d progressed. I was at about a 2-3 and she could feel baby’s hair. She offered to stretch the membrane but I wasn’t ready for that. I kept doing my routine. At I think midnight she checked again and I was at about 5-6. I allowed her to stretch my membrane to 6 (or what her fingers measured at 6). Might I also add that she allowed me to wipe with a wipe that helped minimize the transfer of any bacteria every time. My temp was also checked periodically (to monitor for infection) and baby was monitored 20 mins break 40. At one point sitting on a birth chair made baby’s heart rate drop. When my nurse changed shifts, she left me with another amazing nurse whom I’d met before.

    I slept from about 6 am Tuesday, until probably 7:30-8 am. I did use a sleep mask and listened to my Hypnobabies track. Apparently my doctor and new nurse had come to check on me and was astounded that I was asleep and let me get some rest. I woke up on my own ready to go again. Didn’t really have an appetite but I tried to eat a banana. I took another bath hoping it would help baby move down. Pumped some more and we noticed the baby’s heart rate drop with each back to back wave. I was having them but they weren’t strong enough. I took one last hot bath then my nurse checked me around 11am and I was just at 6 fully from her finger measurements. We discussed Pitocin. The plan was to start at the lowest dosage and see what happens.

    I was given the sugar water in my arm and then at 11:30 am the P Drip started. Those waves were really becoming intense. The toilet was my friend and it was hard because I had to be unplugged from monitors in order to go to the bathroom. Two times I peed in the bed on the absorbency mat. It got harder to do that because my brain was saying no. I wasn’t comfortable on the birth ball anymore. I hated the bed and had to lower the bottom half and stay on my knees.

    Pitocin was bumped to the next dosage a hour later. By this time, I was very very very very vocal. I made sure to be intentional about my facial expressions and tried my hardest to keep my tone low. Couldn’t do high pitches. I stopped listening to my Hypnobabies tracks. I instead listened to a relaxing track I’d fallen in love with on a loop. There were a few instances where my words wouldn’t form. I was still alert and aware though. I started to shake uncontrollably and felt extremely uncomfortable and my husband pulled the emergency tab in the bathroom. Nurses rushed in. By this time I was naked naked. Clothes had become uncomfortable. They had to bring warm blankets for me.

    At around 3, my nurse asked it I wanted to be checked again. I said yes. I was still at a 6, BUT this time, I was like 98% effaced. She said paper thin. I wasn’t disappointed but more so determined. I couldn’t be in that bed anymore. I wanted to walk and move. The waves were coming back to back with about a minute in Between. One of my Hypnobabies tracks has affirmations that 20 mins will feel like 5. I think that’s what was happening by this time.

    My husband was a trooper. He kissed me, made me feel beautiful and sexy (even smacked me on the booty a few times- how appropriate ), tried your help me stick to Hypnobabies, pushed my hips in during pressure waves. He did an amazing job. The hip thing really helped!!!

    So it’s around 3, my nurse got the birth chair ready for me to sit on because I didn’t want the bed. It’s a stool with a hole inside. After a few waves of sitting there I felt something shift. Like to the point where I couldn’t keep quiet during a wave and my legs would work right. I couldn’t sit anymore. Kept telling myself that “it’s only temporary. It’s only Temporary.” I told my husband he needed to make me a pallet on the floor. I wanted to be on the floor extremely bad. He and the nurse made me a space close to the monitors. Within a few minutes, I was hyperventilating which caused the baby’s heart rate to drop so she told me I had to get up off of the floor and into the bed because I needed oxygen. “I can’t.” She said “yes you can.” But I really couldn’t. I had begun to feel pressure but I think I was questioning it because it didn’t feel like the description of having to poop. It felt like the need to push and I wasn’t telling her because I didn’t know exactly what it was. I kept losing the sensation. Then all of a sudden her and my husband picked me up (all 220 lbs) and put me in bed. She gave me the oxygen while I was starting to push.

    See she’d just called the doctor to tell her that I was 6 cm but I was effaced at 3. This all started happening at around 3:40! All of a sudden, a thousand nurses came into the room. Not students, nurses. I’m in the bed holding back grunts trying to breathe through the next waves and not push baby out like they’re saying because the doctor wasn’t there yet. I told my husband to put on the final Hypnobabies track to push baby out. I couldn’t even hear the words. I just knew that voice. I was so alert and aware and Unafraid. I was asking questions in between waves. They asked if I wanted my head back further and I said no. I told them that it didn’t feel right in a certain position. One nurse pulled my leg up so I was in a somewhat side laying position. My nurse could see baby’s hair and my husband was talking me through it. They called the hospitalist because my doctor wasn’t there yet. I still remained calm. She introduced herself. I already knew who she was. She had doubts. I didn’t want her but I remained calm. Then I looked over at the door and what do ya know, my doctor suited up and ready with her jolly self. They were saying not to push and I was trying not to. I started breathing through it. They said baby’s heart rate was dropping. I looked at the monitor and say that it was in the 80s. They were suggesting I push outside of a wave.
    My words: “I’m trying to get my mind right. Hold on”
    I was not about to push through without a wave although my doctor was doing perineal massaging. Baby was still in the 80s and I knew whoever I would meet would be fine.

    On the next wave, I pushed and embraced ever sensation with wonder because it wasn’t what I expected. It felt amazing! When I did feel the “stretching” it felt like a bandaid being ripped off really quickly and that was it. I felt the head come out, then the shoulders and body and nothing hurt. I was amazed. I could do it over and over again. On October 8 at 3:58 pm, Baby came out in 1 push weighing 6 pounds, 9 oz and measuring at 20 inches long.

    They put him on my chest and we didn’t know who we were meeting at first and then my husband opened his legs and said “It’s a dingaling!” We got a Baby boy! The cord turned white pretty quickly and he was able to cut the cord.





    He yelled at us for about 30 secs and then was fine. I cried because I couldn’t believe I had done it. I had a baby despite all odds against me. People doubted but I didn’t. I knew God had me. God shocked the whole floor. I didn’t have anymore pressure waves because the Pitocin was stopped before pushing. My placenta wasn’t budging. I could hear doc saying that the fibroids were probably in the way. So nurse came over to push on my belly and it released. My placenta was very small once it came out. Most likely why the cord turned white so quickly. It was about the size of a medium-large hand. I have a miracle baby. Those fibroids were most likely taking most of the blood supply when the placenta was forming.



    He pooped on his way out. Had a head full of hair and poop lol

    They pushed on my belly some more to make sure I wasn’t bleeding excessively. They could feel so many different fibroids inside of me and they all were so impressed. They left me on Pitocin just in case I did hemorrhage. I got checked every 4 hours during my 2 day stay. Made sure my uterus was going back down to size with no problem and checking my vitals. I didn’t get much sleep. My adrenaline was on 1000 after everything and I didn’t really crash until about 12 hours later. I still couldn’t rest well because I don’t like hospitals and kept waking up to check on my baby even though dad was there.

    My doctor said that she wouldn’t recommend I get the fibroids removed because I’d have to get C-sections after. She also said that in the future, I’d most likely not have to get Pitocin because my uterus knows what to do now. She said I should be able to have a home birth next time!

    Welcome Samuel K. Turner II to the world!
    He is a breastfeeding baby too! Working on the latch though.





  • 7 Dec 2019 7:51 PM | Anonymous

    Words by Mama Amie Robertson and pictures by Doula Rebecca McKinney

    From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank Samantha and Rebecca for believing in me and protecting my sacred and intimate birth on January 14, 2019

    ...but joy comes in the morning.... 2:04am to be precise. The first fives pictures were taken 2:03am ‘til 2:07am. Our newest little one came into the world 


    Dear Leia, 

    It’s been nearly a year since I met you. I feel like it was so long ago. Trying to describe your birth usually leaves me speechless. The kind of speechless that is brought by complete peace and joy. 

    During pregnancy, I was petrified of being your mother. I didn’t know how I was going to survive. That thought humors me now. But I remember the pain of not knowing how I was going to breath or survive. I remember that thought came pretty much everyday. Baby girl, fear is a lair.. 

    You, my sweet Leia, were our fastest surprise. You were just meant to be and Daddy was going to be home for you! I had such a hard year before before you with deployment and dealing with anxiety and adjustments. While you were growing, daddy wasn’t home a lot of the time. I grew even more weary. 

    Even though, I was scared to raise you the only thing I knew was I could birth you. If it was the one thing I believed in it was you and me working together to bring you earthside.


    I probably was going a little nutty at 38 weeks. For three days you were giving me constant warm ups. I called Rebecca, my doula, about how I was confused  to the point I was even crying telling her I felt like it was soon but I knew it could be in even a month. But every night a bath and bed it was and the waves would stop and I would sleep. At 38 weeks and 3 days, we were finishing up the remodeling of the bathroom (I told you I was a little nutty.) and yet again I was telling Christopher this might be the night. But since daddy had work in the morning he went to bed. 

    I hate timing contraction because I just love letting my body do what it’s suppose to do. First step to try to get them to stop, laying down. They didn’t stop. Second step to get them to stop; bath. They didn’t stop. But came faster. Texting my doula, Rebecca. Having a contraction, having another. Having another.... She called and asked if I thought it was it.  and asked if I wanted her over. Rebecca said, “You don’t sound like your ready but your hard to read.” I told I felt ready and to come. 

    I got out of the bath and smacked Christopher awake and told him to make some coffee because it is time.... I still wonder about his thoughts with a smile.

    She told me to call Sam, my midwife... I called Sam and did my best to explain that I was ready. I love her retelling the story of me  calling her.... It makes me laugh. Her using her hand as the phone and describing how calm I was.... “I’m ready you should come. Trust me. Oh wait I’m having a contraction. Hold on..... yepp I’m ready.” I felt so silly trying to explain it was time! 

    I got on the ball and excitedly bounced and giggled until Rebecca got to me. I remember the giddiness I felt. Waves are so amazing to me. Powerful beautiful waves bringing you to me. We went into our room and she looked around asking if I was a minimalist now or something. And we giggled about the changes to the house since I had Jacob. Rebecca was keeping an eye on me.... I could tell she was looking at me in a peculiar way. And then she asked, “So, you’re feeling the surges  still right.” I assured her I was, but in that moment I thought even she was skeptical if it was. Though I was talking through them I knew this was it and soon. Each time I felt a wave I knew you were coming. They were strong. I would smile and say, “The baby is coming.” 

    Sam got there with her student midwives. I did feel like a skittish animal for a moment, but I relaxed after a few minutes of settling. We got to giggle and laugh about Jacobs birth. There are so many cute little funny things I remember; Rebecca snuggled up in our bed while I labored and her enjoying my husband scratchy blanket and his pillow. And loving the blanket so much! He still comments about how Rebecca loves his blanket.

    The pressure started to build and all I wanted was my water to break so bad.. We wondered if the pressure I was feeling was my water about to break or you about to come. I shrugged and said we will see... I looked at Rebecca with my head tilted annoyed at the pressure look. She with the sweet smile said, “Let’s get you in your tub, okay.” We took in the peacefulness of  the beautiful bathroom daddy worked so hard to make it the most perfect birthplace just the very days before. It was truly amazing and perfect. 

    Oh the water, I barely got in and felt the waves get stronger. With in minutes I was telling Rebecca it felt like when we were on the bridge with Jacob. She smiled, nodded and gave cute, “yeah.” I was shifting my body for the next wave. I was guessing you would be here in about 20 minutes. That very shift and wave we all heard a huge pop of my water breaking and your head was delivered. At 2:04am, I say, “Oh! The baby is here.” Christopher said, “Really, Amie?!” And laughter filled the room in celebration. Honestly, it truly felt effortless. I’ll never forget my smile when you were born into my arms. I remember instantly wanting to protect you, scared the the water was to hot for you. I wanted nothing but to keep you safe. 


    As I was filled with wonder in the moment, I realized I still didn’t know who you were yet! I opened you little legs and gasped! Never in a million years did I picture a little girl. I looked at your daddy and said, “Baby, it’s Leia. It’s Leia Grace. Can you believe it.” 




    It was time to get us out of the water and into bed. All I remember, was I holding you and then waking up into Sam and Rebecca’s arms. I remember my first words were asking if you were okay. Daddy already had his shirt off cuddling with you. They were getting me into the floor with my legs up in the air. And Sam gave me a shot of pit. I could barely talk or move but moved the oxygen mask a little and with every bit of strength I had something to tell Sam. “I had to give you something to do.” She says she knew then I was going to be just fine. And I also said “still the best birth ever!” I was eyeing you as I was gaining my strength. Rebecca asked me if I wanted her to take you so Christopher could be with me... but I didn’t. I wanted you to be with daddy and I knew I was in loving hands with Rebecca and Sam. 

    It was time to get to bed and I was honestly scared of trying to get up again. LOL but I did.... Getting me settled in bed I lifted up my body so they could shift the bed padding under me. Sam commented about the strength I had even after birth. 


    I remember Rebecca coming into bed and her smiled said it all...  it was truly a perfect birth. You were my first baby to latch with ease. We gazed at you with admiration for a moment and Rebecca squeezed me good bye. She picked up her untouched doula bag and walking out she joked about how I didn’t need her. But I needed her more than she will ever know. I needed her emotional support through it all. I need her belief in me. I needed my sacred, intimate time protected. She truly did that in the weeks coming up to birthing day.

    One of my favorite moments was when everyone was gone, Daddy crawled into bed. We stared at you fondly as he told me about unbelievably incredible I was. 

    Bringing you into the world was proof enough that I have enough grace, love, patience and strength to get through this life. All the weariness and worries truly melted away meeting you. You were just another piece to the beautiful puzzle. You fit so perfect into our family. And what you taught me about myself, motherhood, my relationships, my journey with God, healing like never before. Leia, I’m forever grateful for it. I thank God for it everyday. I didn’t know what this life had to offer until God brought me you. You truly brought me to life. I love you my sweet baby girl. The baby I never dreamed of. Finally, all I can say is I didn’t give you the gift of life, life gave me the gift of you. It’s an honor to have the responsibility to be your mother.


  • 22 Oct 2019 1:23 PM | Anonymous

    Written by Bethany Ford, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist shared via Bethany Ford.

    As women, our bodies undergo some pretty amazing changes during pregnancy and birth. Its design is so incredible we are able to accommodate a growing baby for 9 months and then give birth bringing new life into this world. Wow. 

    While we marvel at the body’s ability to adapt and change, it’s also really important we consider recovery after birth and what this actually means. Never before have women been under so much pressure from a huge variety of different sources, including the media, to ‘bounce back’ and resume all the activities they were previously doing after having a baby, not to mention looking as they did before they were pregnant. 

    While we marvel at the body’s ability to adapt and change, it’s also really important we consider recovery after birth and what this actually means.

    Giving your body adequate time to recover from the effects of pregnancy and birth is the first important step, alongside some really good quality advice and information regarding when to resume different types of exercise and activity. The pelvic floor and abdominal muscles arguably undergo the most considerable change during pregnancy and birth, for some women recovery will happen all by itself but for many, there can be some delay and ongoing problems in the form of abdominal muscle separation and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. 

    Separation of the abdominal muscles in a normal part of pregnancy, as your body accommodates to fit your growing baby, however some women develop a larger separation and post birth this can lead to weakness in the abdominal wall. You may notice a gap or hollow in your abdomen or even a doming or bulge when you sit up or move. Some women will also experience pelvic and low back pain as a result of their abdominal separation. 

    Pelvic floor dysfunction can present in a number of different ways. The effects of pregnancy and birth can lead to stretching and weakness of the pelvic floor muscles, causing incontinence from the bladder or bowel, as well as pelvic organ prolapse where you may experience a vaginal bulge, dragging or heaviness. For some women, the pelvic floor muscles can become tight leading to pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse. Pelvic health physiotherapy can help address these imbalances in the pelvic floor and design an appropriate programme to improve your symptoms. 

    No matter how you gave birth whether via caesarean section or vaginal delivery, I recommend all women should see a pelvic health physiotherapist postnatally for assessment and rehabilitation. It will enable you to safely return to activity at a rate that is right for you and your body, as well as addressing any problems right away, ensuring they do not become lifelong issues. 

    No matter how you gave birth whether via caesarean section or vaginal delivery, I recommend all women should see a pelvic health physiotherapist postnatally for assessment and rehabilitation.

    A ‘New Mum Check-up’ is a postnatal appointment with a pelvic health physiotherapist, where you will be offered a comprehensive assessment of your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, as well as your posture, breathing and any discomfort you may be experiencing post birth. Your pelvic floor strength will be evaluated as well as any degree of abdominal separation and a bespoke rehabilitation programme will be designed for you. Your individual needs and goals will be taken into consideration, with a view to getting you back to doing what you love, whether that’s looking after your kids as a busy mum, walking the dog, running marathons or going to Crossfit. 

    I recommend an initial appointment from 6-8 weeks postnatally, however even if you are some years down the line after having your babies, it’s never too late to address problems that have developed since childbirth. Many women can come to accept these types of problems as normal not realising help is available. With pelvic health physiotherapy you can regain confidence you may have lost and improve your quality of life.

    Even if you are some years down the line after having your babies, it’s never too late to address problems that have developed since childbirth.

    If you have any questions about a ‘New Mum Check-up’ appointment get in touch via the ‘contact’ page or to schedule an appointment contact Inform Physiotherapy in Silverstream on 04 527 4155.  

    Bethany

  • 22 Oct 2019 1:13 PM | Anonymous

    Written by Bethany Ford, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist shared via Bethany Ford.

    As a pelvic health physiotherapist, one of the most commonly asked questions I receive from women is ‘I’m pregnant, how much exercise should I be doing?’. This is a crucial time when women want to make sure they’re following the right advice and not putting themselves or their baby at any risk. 

    This blog will take you through some of the latest guidelines for exercise in pregnancy, so you feel well informed and confident to exercise. 

    What do the guidelines say?

    Current Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANCOG) guidelines encourage the many well established benefits of exercise during pregnancy for women who have been advised they are safe to exercise. These include benefits for mum’s fitness, the prevention of excessive weight gain and psychological benefits which include reduction in symptoms of depression (RANZCOG, 2016). Taking part in regular exercise during pregnancy has also been associated with shorter and less complicated labour, as well as fewer neonatal complications for your baby (RANZCOG, 2016). 

    There is no evidence that regular exercise in an uncomplicated pregnancy has any detrimental effect to mum or baby (NICE, 2019). If you have any complications in your pregnancy or have any medical conditions that prevent you from exercising, please talk to your doctor or midwife for recommendations specific to your situation. 

    How often should I exercise?

    Pregnant women should try to be active on most if not all days of the week. If you have previously not been very active, try gradually building up to this - for example 3 or 4 non-consecutive days per week. 

    For how long?

    30 minutes per day is recommended with a maximum of 60 minutes. If you’re new to exercise, start with less i.e. 15-20 minutes and build up gradually to 30 minutes. 

    How hard should I work?

    This will depend on your current baseline level of fitness. If you have been inactive, maintaining a moderate intensity should be enough to get the benefits from exercise for health and well-being. If you are used to a high level of fitness and regular vigorous exercise there is no evidence that continuing with this level of exercise is in any way harmful to mum or baby. This being said, it’s really important to ensure you are not overheating and that you’re well-nourished and hydrated. 

    What type of exercise should I do? 

    The guidelines encourage women to perform both aerobic and strength-based exercises. Popular aerobic exercises include walking, swimming and static cycling. If you aren’t used to running, pregnancy isn’t the best time to start. However, if you’re a seasoned runner there is no reason to stop so long as you feel comfortable and you are adjusting your routine appropriately to accommodate for changes in comfort, tolerance and suitable intensity. 

    Strength based exercise should be aimed at the main muscle groups of the body and ideally 2 sessions per week on non-consecutive days. Resistance could be resistance bands, light weights or body weight. Women without prior experience can aim for 1-2 sets of 12-15 repetitions for each exercise. 

    Some things to avoid in pregnancy include: laying on your back for prolonged periods of time after your first trimester, any form of exercise where you might lose your balance or sustain a blow to the tummy; for example, horse riding and contact sports. If you experience any unusual symptoms while you’re exercising, abdominal pain or feel unwell, always contact your doctor or midwife immediately to seek medical attention. 

    Anything else to consider?

    As well as the aerobic and strengthening exercises the guidelines discuss, you might like to consider yoga classes for pregnancy. There is some preliminary evidence to suggest yoga for pregnancy can lower physical levels of pain including back pain, reduce stress, boost the immune system and reduce the likelihood of interventions in labour and birth (Jiang et al., 2014). A class is also a great opportunity to take some relaxing time for yourself and to meet other expectant mums. As a women’s health physiotherapist, I also stress the importance of functional pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and in the postnatal period. 

    To summarise…

    In an uncomplicated pregnancy, try to aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most days of the week. Importantly, find something you enjoy and take this time for yourself. Step outside your busy schedule and reap all the health benefits for you and that of your baby.

    If you would like some more tailored advice or an appropriate exercise programme for pregnancy, a pelvic health physiotherapist is an ideal person to design a programme for you. As well as exercise advice in pregnancy, they can help to treat pelvic girdle pain, low back pain, pelvic floor problems including incontinence and issues with abdominal muscle separation. 

    Bethany offers pelvic health physiotherapy appointments and pregnancy yoga classes at InForm Physiotherapy in Silverstream, Upper Hutt. Contact 04 527 4155 for bookings.

    Bethany 

    References

    1.     Jiang, Qinxian & Wu, Zhengguo & Zhou, Li & Dunlop, Jenae & Chen, Peijie. (2014). Effects of Yoga Intervention during Pregnancy: A Review for Current Status. American journal of perinatology. 32. 10.1055/s-0034-1396701. 

    2.     National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) Guidelines; Antenatal care for uncomplicated pregnancies. 2019

    3.     Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Exercise During Pregnancy. July 2016

  • 22 Oct 2019 10:25 AM | Anonymous

    Written by Dulce Piacentini, Holistic Sleep Consultant and Postpartum Doula at Motherly Hug

    It’s very common to see pregnant families preparing their baby’s room, buying baby’s clothes and accessories, also planning for birth, reading about it, making their choices… What we don’t see often is families preparing for postpartum. Antenatal courses touch briefly on the subject and are more focused on newborn care, showing families how to change nappies, swaddle, feed and burp their babies, all important subjects of course, but very little is said about the emotional roller coaster of postpartum and what you can do to have the mind, space and energy to deal with it when time comes.

    We, from Motherly Hug, always think of the postpartum period as a whirlwind. A whirlwind that happens physically and emotionally; in the body and in the soul. It’s easier to talk about the physical part. The body slowly going back to what it was before pregnancy (excluding the part of breastfeeding), the uterus contracts and returns to its place, you bleed for at least two weeks, the care with the scar of the surgery if you have gone through caesarean section, the recovery of the perineum, especially if there was laceration or episiotomy, the sudden drop in hormones, especially progesterone (at the same time as prolactin levels rise, if you breastfeed).

    Based on bodily changes, there are those who estimate the duration of the postpartum period in 40 days, but the truth is that, emotionally speaking, it lasts longer than those six weeks.

    The emotional roller-coaster comes to mark us forever. We may oscillate between intense joy and immense sadness. Between familiarity and strangeness. Between satisfaction and restlessness.

    Between gratitude and questioning. So much happens in this crossing between what we have been and what we will be! Like the chrysalis, we are transformed. And it’s intense, very intense. But it can be smooth. Intense and smooth, in this apparent contradiction.

    Hormones and the emotional well-being

    The physiological explanation for the emotional roller-coaster blames hormones. Not only there is a sudden drop in progesterone and estrogen, which were high in pregnancy, but prolactin (to produce breastmilk) comes in the scene, which makes us more sensitive.

    Apart from that, we must consider that we have just gone through one of the most important events of our lives, an unforgettable moment that will be with us forever. Whatever combination of hormones it is, it’s impossible not to be more sensitive, touched, with an open heart and soul. The mother's satisfaction with her birth experience, whether normal or surgical, greatly interferes with the level of the emotional turmoil at postpartum. The ones who keep fond memories of their baby's birth, even if it wasn't exactly as they dreamed, will feel stronger and more empowered to cope with the life-changing challenges they’re going through. On the other hand, the feeling of frustration and the emotional pain that some mothers have when they remember childbirth can make them more fragile and even more sensitive.

    The loss of identity

    Another important thing at postpartum, which plays a key role in our emotions, is the loss of identity. We are no longer who we were, but we don’t know yet who we will be as a mother. Our references are all far from our reality - work, hanging out with friends, going to a café, family lunches, going to the beach/movies, etc., now seem like distant memories. And those things and pleasures would “tell us” who we were. Now, on the contrary, we're dealing with new situations, and doing things for the first time can also make us nervous. To "aggravate", this time it’s serious. I mean, it’s not just butterflies in the stomach when driving for the first time after getting your driver's license, it’s not the nervousness we feel before going on a stage. It’s a vulnerable human being that depends on us. For everything! A little baby who doesn't come with a manual and who can't speak. It's such a responsibility that we may feel the weight of it on our shoulders for some time.

    The constant tiredness

    Tiredness adds to this equation. Whether it's because baby cries, or because we get up every hour to breastfeed, or because we care so much about the baby that we open our eyes from time to time during sleep to check if baby's okay, for whatever reason – after all every baby is unique and each family has its own experience – the fact is that the loss of good nights’ sleep also has an impact. Any tired human being becomes more irritable, with mood swings, more sensitive. Let alone a new mum. I remember those nights when I saw the sun rising without having slept one hour in a row… they gave rise to the days when I cried the most, when I wondered: what have I done with my life?

    Of course, each woman is unique and therefore each postpartum journey will have their own challenges. There are women who face postpartum feeling lonely, disconnected from their partner, with no family or friends around, and without the possibility to delegate the practical tasks of the house to others. There are women who, on the contrary, are never able to be alone because the visits keep coming, and they come with opinions, sometimes even judgments. In those situations, postpartum takes on proportions that I can’t even measure.

    So, for new mums to be able to deal with the emotional roller-coaster, which is something we can’t predict or precisely prepare for, there are things that can be done, especially while still pregnant, that will allow them the space, mind and energy to deal with the unpredictable and unprepared part of postpartum.

    I’ll be talking about them in the workshop “Preparing for Postpartum: The 4th trimester”, on the 2nd of November, from 1pm to 3pm, at Newlands Community Centre, in Wellington/NZ. Lots of useful information and practical tips that will give you the confidence you need that you’re paving a good road for a smooth and positive postpartum experience. Worth every cent and every minute of your time!

    Click here for more info!

    I look forward to sharing thoughts and tips with you!


  • 22 Oct 2019 9:58 AM | Anonymous

    This birth story is written by the birthing Mama, Alexa Pedersen shared via Luna Bloom.

    I believe strongly in the power and magic of natural undisturbed birth, which has led me to deep and extensive research about birth and all its faculties. I am now filled with gratitude and excitement to share the story of the most glorious and powerful experience of my life…

    Some weeks before the birth of my daughter a vision came to me, a vision of birthing outside, beneath our big oak tree, embracing nature and bringing my baby into my own hands. Though this vision was somehow counterintuitive to my own nature and to the elements of cosiness and darkness that are often preferred by labouring women. It felt like it had come from my baby and needed to be.

    And so it was….

    When morning dawned

    Labour began with a slight wet feeling in the middle of the night, and some minor cramps, a bit like menstrual cramps. I woke up excited but reminded myself that the process can stop and start so I stayed in bed for a while….but they kept coming!

    My partner Benji and I live in a yurt so we got up and started tidying the whole place, he even made a delicious soup! We snuggled, cuddled and kissed on the couch for a while, enjoying each sensation as they came along by the cosy warmth of the fire.

    Morning dawned and we went to visit the others on the land where we live to tell them our news, crouching in the grass to enjoy each surge while watching the baby calves and baby chickens.

    It surely felt like this was the right time of year to welcome a baby Earthside.

    The surges steadily progressed during the day and I spent time dancing, rocking my hips and using the braided red rope that was hung over the crown of the Yurt to support my labouring body.

    The surges steadily progressed during the day, each one felt so amazing and real, raw, right and so soo good!! I actually LOVED each surge…saying YES, YES, YES every time the sensation took over my body!

    I felt deeply connected to the many women who have laboured and birthed through time, thinking of my mother, my grandmothers and the red thread that connects my lineage and brought me here today.

    Wild and wonderful under a starry sky

    As night fell, our fire-heated outside tub was hot and ready for my body to clamber thankfully into as each surge grew more and more intense. My subconscious did the most amazing job of bringing awareness to all of the powerful words of wisdom I have gathered through time, allowing things to come through as I needed them. I remembered many birth affirmations that my friends gifted to me at my Mother Blessing two weeks before. “My body and my baby know what to do.” “Dance your baby down.” ” Each surge brings me closer to my baby” “My body was made for this”. Each affirmation was a powerful medicine and intention, bringing focus and meaning to my experience.

     I loved kissing Benji very deeply, it was a very sensual experience – so intimate. 

    I followed my intuition for when to move, to dance, to sing, as did my partner who was drumming, chanting or singing with me.

    It felt raw, real and wild being outside under the starry night sky. I felt the beautiful power and magic of my body, dancing my baby down!

    I got a little tired and kept falling asleep (even snoring!) between surges. At one point I reached down and could feel a tiny smushy patch of hair. My baby was coming! This got me so excited, so I woke again, and my body began to push…

    My power, her power, our power

     What an incredible, all consuming feeling…. it was truly my body doing it all, with no intention on my behalf! I had researched about the Fetal Ejection Reflex and here it was, in full force and beauty, my body birthing my baby. I was surrendering to what my body wanted to do. I stepped into an unexplainable POWER and surrendered to everything yet to come like I have never experienced before.

    I started to feel her wee head coming and remembered to let her slowly come through, so as to stretch me slowly…. she came three times and snuck back inside again.

    I was laughing, smiling and calling her, welcoming her to come. Benji said we were in deep dialogue together, her and I, as I called her, told her it was safe, she was loved and we were ready for her to join us. She was responding to me, hiccupping and wriggling inside.

    The fourth time, her head popped out. I sensed the intensity of fire.

    I reached down and felt her soft hair and two tiny ears. I was overwhelmed with love. I could feel her cord quite tight around her neck and wasn’t able to unhook it immediately so I knew I needed to bring her out in the next underwater push… so I did! That was the first and only time I consciously pushed during my birthing, rather than letting my body take the lead.

    Together Benji and I quickly unwrapped the cord and slowly let her find her way to the surface of the tub’s water. She opened her beautiful wise eyes and looked up at us from under the water. That moment burnt into my heart forever!

    A peaceful journey

    The whole journey was the most powerful and incredible moment of my life. I’m in awe of the perfection of the whole night and day, her, and how everything flowed and how magical it was!

    You know what? It actually felt AMAZING! The power of my own body bringing life Earthside!

    Suddenly the pool felt a bit cool, so we got out and went inside the yurt. We noticed she had some fluid in her lungs and was struggling to breathe. Benji started to work with her, blowing puffs of air into her lungs and giving her the breath of life, until she could breathe clearly on her own.

     At no point did I feel panic, I knew she still had her placenta attached, and that this functioned as her oxygen supplying organ, supporting her to digest, breathe, and live as it had for the last ten moons in my womb.

    She still had this connection for long after her birth, allowing the blood, iron and goodness to flow into her body through the intact umbilical cord. I trusted her, the process, and my deep knowing which I had within since the beginning – that everything will be beautiful and fine…. and it was! I have always wondered about my own intuition during birth, about how I would know what to do… and you know what? I knew what to do, just like that!

     We are madly in love with this tiny being who is so peaceful, calm and relaxed…. perhaps by nature or perhaps because of the way she entered this world.

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