New year

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that 2019 is a great year for you all and that at this time next year you can look back with fondness on a year filled with happy memories.

This New Year’s Eve certainly was different to all those we’ve celebrated in the past! New Year’s Eve usually finds us partying until the wee hours of the morning and staggering to bed as the birds are waking. This year, our night ended at 10pm, and we were asleep by 10:30. That doesn’t mean I woke up feeling bright and breezy….two post midnight feeds are enough to make anyone feel hungover!

A new year inevitably brings new resolutions, and I could have a million, lose the baby weight, read more, spend less, eat better and on and on. Rather, this year I’m going to resolve to slow down and enjoy the “firsts”. (Obviously if I manage to lose weight, read more and spend less then that’s a bonus, but one thing I’ve learnt is that with a baby you can only focus on one thing at a time, and that thing is usually baby related)

There are bound to be so many this year with Hannah growing, developing and changing every single day, I’m sure that if I’m focused on doing more and being different I’m going to miss them, and I couldn’t forgive myself for that!

In the spirit of “firsts”, Hannah started her first new year with her first swim in her first swimming costume!

Pictured below, Miss Mackenzie is sporting a multicoloured shimmering mermaid style one piece, from the house of Woolworth, providing her with an SPF of 30 and all the help she needs to show off her svelte figure. The ensemble is completed with an adorable sun bonnet !

The water was a little chilly, she niggled a bit and curled up her adorable little toes when I dipped them in, but after a while she was quite comfortable in the water. I wouldn’t say entirely happy, but I did time her swim just before her nap -rookie error! Someone who did enjoy her swim was Luna, who can be seen in the background swimming in circles like only a crazy border collie can!

So our new year started off with a fun “first” on the first and I am so excited to experience a million more this year! It would probably bore the socks off of everyone if I shared them all, but I’ll try to write about the big ones!

One year in…..

A year ago today I woke up incredibly early, and sat in our bathroom. I unwrapped a tightly wrapped box, cursing the manufacturers for sealing it so well. I did what needed to be done and sat staring at the little digital screen holding my breath. The little hourglass flashed once, twice, three times, and then the magic word appeared….pregnant.

Since that day, time has seemed to both fly by and drag so slowly! The first 16 weeks after that passed agonizingly slowly. It may have had something to do with the fact that food and smells and life in general became completely nauseating and repulsive. Time dragged between each doctors appointment, and I counted down the days to when I could see my little baby and hear that little heartbeat. Time dragged when we waited with baited breath and sickeningly nervous hearts for 4 weeks for blood results to come back. Time dragged as I counted down the months and weeks until I could hold my precious bundle, the last days of work felt like an eternity and the last month of pregnancy felt even longer. The longest hours of all were those I spent in labour, close to 72 of them filled with the most intense pain mixed with utter exhaustion, excitement that made me giddy and complete fear.

And then all of a sudden someone removed the slow-mo setting. From that first beautiful moment I saw you lifted towards my face, everything has been on fast forward. I can’t believe how quickly these weeks have flown, how rapidly you change in front of our eyes. Today you started making noises we’ve never heard before, but by dinner time, you’re so good at them, it’s like you’ve been making them forever. You’ve changed from a completely helpless floppy bundle into a (still fairly helpless) giggly, bright, alert little pixie- with her own personality and attitude almost overnight.

If someone had told me how much would change in a year, I would have laughed at them. My body has been through astronomical changes and still feels like it’s changing every day. The physical changes alone are enough to boggle my little mind. Growing and birthing a tiny human really is miraculous, and one of the most intense, but amazing experiences I think one can ever have. Our lives have been turned on their heads, in a completely good way!

One year of knowing you’ve existed has been the best year of my life so far. One of the most challenging, but definitely the most rewarding. The almost 4 months of being your Mummy have been the best months of my life so far, despite the sleepless nights, the body that feels alien and hideous to me and the constant fear that I’m not doing things the right way. I’ve loved every minute of this year that’s passed my little Hannah bear, and I know that every year that passes from now on will just keep getting better.

If only you knew

I sit here on the couch, candles burning on the mantelpiece. Your bright little eyes staring at the flickering flames trying to figure out what this magical lights are. You stop and catch me staring at you, and your perfect tiny face lights up with a gummy smile that starts in your eyes and moves to your perfect little mouth.

If only you knew how much I love you, how much it warms my heart to see you smile, and breaks it at the same time because I know you will never be this small and innocent and perfect ever again. If only you knew that you’ve filled a hole in my heart I didn’t know existed, completed a life I thought already perfect. If only you knew that every time I look at you something tugs deep inside, something that makes me want to hold you forever and ever and never let go.

If only you knew how desperately hard I’m trying to memorize every minuscule detail of the perfection that is you, trying to burn them into my brain so that I never forget the curl of every finger as they tangle into my hair.

This moment seems perfect, thunder rumbling in the distance, rain falling on the grass outside and mist rolling in. You, tucked up on my lap, a yawn – so grown up but still so sweet – takes over your little being. It’s time to put you to bed, but if only you knew I never want this moment to end.

Did you really just say that to me?

If there’s one thing that pregnancy and childbirth has taught me, it’s that as soon as you’ve peed on that magical little stick and seen the plus sign or pink line or pregnant flashing screen….your body and what you do with it is no longer your own. It seems as if everyone wants to know every inappropriate thing about you, and they have no qualms about asking!

It starts when you announce your pregnancy. My husband and I have been together almost 10 years, married for 2, approaching our 30’s. We have a house and have expressed our intention to reproduce some day. So someone please explain to me why the first question out of SO many peoples mouths was “was it planned?”

First of all- how rude?! Do you really need to know if someone was watching their cycle, counting down to fertile days and having planned erm “relations” or if they got drunk, forgot their pill, lost the condom or however else “unplanned” babies might happen? Secondly – what are you going to say if someone turns around and says, “no actually, this was the biggest stuff up we’ve ever made”? Seriously, don’t ask this question, it makes me mad. Just congratulate the mother to be, shake daddy-to-be’s hand, and be happy for them. If it was a woopsie surprise, and you’re close enough friends, I’m sure they’ll tell you, but if you’re my barely acquainted colleague or the lady at the nail salon…none of your damn beeswax!

Just to clarify so that people don’t start accusing me of being touchy because I did get drunk/forget my pills etc, No, this baby was not a mistake, or a surprise. Nor was she meticulously planned. I’ll let you figure that one out on your own.After the announcement come the 9 long months of everyone wanting to know what’s happening with your body….just a few of the questions I got from people I wouldn’t usually discuss these sort of things with, and what I wish I had answered.

“Do your boobs hurt?” – yes, like hell, could you give me a hand and hold them up for me?

Also on the topic of mammaries….”your husband must be enjoying the big boobs!?” – umm no I don’t think so, not when he can see how much pain they cause me and how inconvenient and annoying they are right now(seriously, people DON’T understand big boob problems)

“Aren’t you scared of the pain” – umm no I hadn’t actually thought about pushing a watermelon sized object through a small opening, thanks for reminding me. (To be fair, looking back, they might have been asking about the pain felt during actual pregnancy and not childbirth, but still)

“Why are you eating that?” -Because I’m hungry b***h leave me alone

“How’s the morning sickness going?” – well I just ran into you in the office bathroom while rinsing my mouth out at the tap, and drying my shirt, how do you think it’s going?

And then my favourite, as if I needed reminding I was huge….”Are you sure there’s only one in there?” – No, I’ve gone through at least 5 scans with a trained professional and she’s not sure if she’s counted them all.

“Ooh eating for two there hey!?” Or “oh does baby want a chocolate?”- umm no, this is my normal portion size, and I want a chocolate – would you have made that comment if I wasn’t pregnant and just obese?

The questions and comments change as you go through pregnancy, from inappropriate planning questions, to equally inappropriate comments on your body and size, but there’s one that crops up from the beginning until after the baby is born.

And that gem is….Are you going Natural or C section? Come on people, what I do with my nether regions is my decision and mine alone. What are you going to do with that information? I’ve had total strangers stop and admire my baby and then ask if she was natural or Ceaser, what business is it of yours? Were you planning on slapping my stomach but you won’t now because you know I’ve got stitches? Or are you if I’d said natural would you be imagining how a baby that size came out and the damage she’d left?

I know that most of these come from a place of good intention, but to me, especially if I don’t know you too well, there are limits, and topics of conversation that are appropriate! (If you’re in the inner circle and I’ve let my inhibitions down around you, this doesn’t apply and you probably know that I will tell you far too much info, and no question is too much, but you are the lucky few exceptions to the rule)

The last one, and one I’m still reeling from, is courtesy of an old duck in the Dischem line…and I haven’t thought of a response to this one yet….she’d complimented my beautiful baby, asked if she was my first (yes), asked if I wanted more (yes, some day) and then went on to say whilst looking me up and down, well, once you lose all this baby weight, I’m sure your husband will make that happens sooner rather than later”. -exits, stage right at a shuffle, leaving me flabbergasted and feeling fat. Thanks Granny.

What they won’t teach you in antenatal classes

We all know that babies don’t come with manuals, but I was determined to read and learn as much as I could before our little girl made her arrival, and make sure both of us were fully prepared. That meant dear Jared got dragged to not one but two antenatal courses and subjected to endless articles and posts and websites being sent his way. Even though we learnt a huge amount from those courses, there were a few things they failed to mention that I’ve already learnt this first month of Parenthood.

1. When they ask if you want the drugs, you will say yes – and that’s OK! Also your birth plan will probably go out the window, make sure you have a plan B and C and probably D.

2. Your baby will wait until you get in the shower/ on the loo to scream- and nothing dad does will calm her down. Fun times.

3. Always, ALWAYS – have the clean nappy ready….as soon as the fresh air hits those cute little bum cheeks, the floodgates will open.

4. Also projectile poo is a thing. And it will happen when you’re being lazy and changing the baby in bed at 2am – all over your clean white bed linen.

5. Glitter is not a good idea. Little Hannah bear has so many cute dresses and outfits with sparkles on them, flipping adorable, but I’m still fishing glitter out of her and my hair a week later.

6. Baby will always want to feed from the side that hurts the most. How they know this I have no idea!

6b: it’s natural to want to fling them off your boob and across the room when they latch to said sore boob…it is not natural or advisable to actually do so

7. Cute grannies in shopping centers can be judgmental bitches

8. Gripe water is your new best friend. If you don’t know what gripe water is, it’s basically like a Jagermeister for babies, magic potion to soothe their little gassy tummies. We started off being good parents with the sugar free, alcohol free version…guess what? She’d prefers the one with 4,4% alcohol and far too much sugar. Well at least that confirms she is our baby and they didn’t swap her in the hospital!

9. Babies fart (and poop) REALLY loudly. Like really loudly.

10. You will spend hours, if not days staring at your new baby, and just as you memorize each beautiful special feature, they just go and change so you’ll need to spend a few days staring at them again

If I could save time in a bottle….

My beautiful baby girl is a month old. One whole month. I am so acutely aware of time flying past us, and oh how I wish I could slow it down.

Each day speeds past in a blur of feeding and nappies and changing and vomit(hers, not mine!) and oh so many baby wipes; and I just want to scream at whoever is spinning our planet around to slow it down! Slow it down so that I can feel her little body snuggle into mine when she’s full and content – her little tiny hand reaching across my skin when she feeds, or getting tangled into my hair as she explores her surroundings. I want each bathtime to last an age, so that I can watch her face light up in delight as she flounders around in the warmth, and each playtime to last just a little longer just to see her discovering the world.

I wish I could but I can’t, and so I need to try my best to drink it all in while I can. Every post feed nap on my chest and every little coo and gurgle, every bathtime and even every tedious nappy change.

I’m reminded of some old song lyrics, and now they just make so much more sense….

If I could save time in a bottle,

The first thing that I’d like to do,

Is to save every day, til eternity passes away

Just to spend them with you

I was told there would be glowing….

So it turns out that pregnancy is hard. Much harder than I ever anticipated.

I looked forward to the cute little bump, the adorable maternity clothes, the happy glow, the adorable flat pumps, flowing empire waistlines,  thick luscious hair and super strong nails. Yes, I’d heard that some people got sick and bloated and swollen and tired – but that would never happen to me! I was born to bear children!

The first week or so after I found out I was pregnant I was blissfully floating along on cloud nine, pretending my bloated post Christmas holiday tummy had something to do with the sesame-seed sized baby ball of cells residing somewhere in the vicinity of my pelvis and nothing to do with the copious amounts of gammon and pudding I’d just consumed. I quite happily told everyone that knew our little secret that no! I wasn’t feeling sick at all, I felt great! I was hitting the gym every second day, convinced that I was going to be one of those fit pregnant women who look like a model from behind with a cute little soccer ball bump. Whatever gave me that idea I have no idea! How was I supposed to sculpt a supermodel body whilst growing another human? (Especially after the aforementioned gammon and pudding)

Then one Friday afternoon, after my evening shower, life as I knew it came to an end. I lay on my bed curled up in a towel trying to understand why I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, what the heck was going on with my stomach, and why did everything smell so gross?! It was all just downhill from there.

Those next few weeks were absolute hell. When you think of it in the grander scheme of life, it was only about 10 weeks, 2 and half months, and that’s not a very long time at all. Believe me, when you’re living through it, it feels like an eternity! I tried every remedy I could find on the web and in the books and nothing seemed to help.  Some days I thought that I was actually dying. This wasn’t a sickness like having gastro or too much wine or a dodgy takeaway – this was something else entirely.

It started literally the second I got out of bed in the morning. If the room was slightly stuffy I was finished. If I managed to survive the bedroom, the smell of damp towels in the bathroom from the night before, or dirty laundry in the basket waiting to be washed would set me off. I couldn’t go near the kitchen. I still haven’t figured out exactly what it was in there that was so repulsive, but I think it was a combination of dog food, onions, and a general foodie smell. It was no use sealing anything in containers, the blood-hound nose I developed would smell anything slightly repulsive if it was sealed in a bomb-proof bunker 10 feet underground. Even previously pleasant smells were repulsive! I had a beautiful scented room diffuser in my spare room that I had to send home with a friend because I could smell it from the other side of the house and even the smallest whiff of it made me retch.

Much to my complete horror, I couldn’t even stomach tea. (A little background, my bloodstream is usually about 70% tea) I think that development led my poor husband to believe that I’d been possessed by an alien (well, I am playing host to another being I suppose….). I remember sitting on the floor, draped over the loo with tears running down my cheeks because I couldn’t picture the rest of my life without tea – whilst ridding myself of the only cup I’d drunk that week.

The only thing worse than lying prone on the bathroom floor with a heaving empty stomach that rejected anything I tried to put in it was going somewhere public (or work!) where any random smell I would never have noticed previously could send me running for the nearest bathroom, bush, bucket,  or bucket shaped receptacle. This may be a TMI moment, but it is a helpful hint: if you’re caught unawares without bathroom, bush, bucket, or similar container – your shirt pulled up as if you were picking berries will do quite nicely.

So that was the “morning” sickness. Whoever termed that coin ahem, coined that term (sorry that’s the preggy brain kicking in – another glorious side affect) should be hung drawn and quartered. This lasted from the moment I woke up to the moment I passed out at night – and sometimes woke me up during the night!  This of course didn’t help with the constant exhaustion. I’ve never felt exhaustion like that before- even after a week of solid partying during varsity days. I could have (and did!) slept at any opportunity I was given to lay down my head. I’d sleep in until after 9 on weekends, have a mid-morning doze on the couch in front of the TV, and then move location to the bedroom for a proper solid nap that lasted most of the afternoon before turning in for the night before 9pm.

Like most things do however…those weeks passed, and slowly, very slowly, I started to feel a little bit more like a human again.  One of the best days this year was when I woke up and actually felt like a cup of tea….I didn’t manage to keep it down, but hey! At least the need for tea was returning.  By about week 16 I sort of felt like myself again.

Even the week I spent in hospital hooked up to a drip during my second trimester for severe  gastro (that’s a whole different story that I’ll regale you with at a later stage) wasn’t as bad as that first trimester. I’ve always said that I want at least three kids, but will need to forget the horror of those first few months before I even consider doing this pregnancy thing again! The second trimester was a LOT better. Yes, it did bring with it some horrible horrible migraine headaches (which panado does NOTHING for by the way), relaxing ligaments around any old injuries (hello ballet toes and broken coccyx my old friends), and the danger of wetting yourself any time you sneeze, but I’d take that over the illness, tiredness and acne (Oh, did I forget to mention the acne that feels like you have nails stuck into your skin? Yes that happens too) any day.

I’ve just entered my third trimester – and there’s apparently a whole lot of enjoyable experiences to look forward to over the next few week! No I’m not talking about baby-showers and decorating the nursery…I’m talking heavy stomach, strained back, swollen hands and feet, the unmentionables (like constipation and hemorrhoids – there I mentioned them), heartburn and I’m sure a whole lot more I haven’t read about yet.

Anyway, my point is not to complain (although that does make me feel a lot better), I know that I am so privileged to be carrying this little life,  it’s just to say that this pregnancy thing is a LOT harder than I ever expected it to be.  The little kicks and wiggles I feel now certainly do make all the discomfort worth it (apart from when this child decides my bladder is a stress ball or a trampoline), and I’m sure that once I hold her in my arms (after even more pain and suffering) it will all seem immaterial.