Friday, 16 September 2016

Bye, bye baby

August 1, 2016

I watch you squeal and race, commando crawling across the floorboards in record speed. I try to join you on my hands and knees but you're far too fast for me. You smile and chuckle at my poor attempts at chasing you.

My baby girl, 10 months today. I feel like it's just going too fast, like we're on a freight train that's picking up speed. Everything is flashing past me and I can't quite see the beautiful scenery. Life right now is so busy with not just one, but three precious children.

You seem to be such a part of me, you come along for the ride wherever I may be.  There are the school pick ups when you're strapped into your car seat sitting quietly while Issy and Fin scream for help with trapped seat beat buckles. Then there's the energetic bike rides around the block with your brother Fin, while you cling to me like a koala in your baby carrier backpack. We go out to parks, libraries, friend's homes, school, church, preschool and shops yet you never complain much; you take it all in. People love to hold you, to smile at you and rest you on their hip.

The day seems to flash by in snapshots of laughter, mess, house cleaning, school routines, sibling fights, food feeding and nappy changing. You just carry on amongst the busyness, exploring tupperware drawers in the kitchen or sorting through the box of hair accessories. You don't stay still for long; you crawl from room to room inspecting anything that gets inbetween you and your destination.

Often, when I'm cooking dinner, I'll feel a little tug on my pant leg and sure enough you've come to me for a comfort cuddle. "Hello my little love," I say ."I love you my Lucy Lu." It's in these moments I feel the freight train has slowed down to stop at a station. You snuggle in, resting your head on my shoulder and begin sucking your right thumb. Your eyes begin to flutter with the heaviness of sleep. I kiss the top of your little head, lips brushing against your soft, fuzzy hair and inhale your baby milky scent. I relish the quiet I can have with you amidst the chaos.

When it's time to have a nap, I breastfeed you into a semi-sleep and slowly lower you into the cot.

"Shh, Shh," I say as I pat your back. "I'm still here Lu Lu." You protest to lying alone in your cot and sometimes you'll refuse to sleep at all. Yet you mostly end up dreaming deeply in a haze of milky fog.

It's due to the busyness of our day that I indulge you in night time snuggles. It's cold and you're my little, hot water bottle. So when the clock strikes 3am, or anytime really, I pick you up from your cot to breastfeed you then and then it's breastmilk and sleepy snuggles until sunrise.

I love looking at your precious face in the morning when I first wake - your button nose snuffling and the squeals of delight dancing out from your cherry mouth. You hear your Daddy out in the lounge room with the other kids and you thrash your arms in excitement. Each day is an adventure, you're sure to learn something new and we'll all delight in you.

It won't be long before you're on your feet, running along and scrambling up onto the furniture. Your cooes and babbles will form words that flow from your heart shaped lips. A toddler you will then be. It already feels like I'm saying," bye, bye baby" far too soon.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Life as a family of five

April 2016:

Life is hectic, crazy, fun, and tiring right now. I'm often in limbo with my feelings towards this time of our life as a family. I want to click pause, to soak in the beautiful newborn snuggles, angelic smiles and silky smooth skin of my six month old Lucy. I'd also like to hit pause on my son Fin and daughter Issy's adoration for their mum & Dad. They say the sweetest things right now about how much they love us. For example, Fin said to me the other day, "Mum I love you so much mum, you're so handsome, you're so sweet. I like you." And Issy was being so caring tonight when I wasn't feeling well. She got me her doona and draped it over my limp body that lay on the lounge. She found me the teddy I had as a child growing up and then wrote me a letter saying that she was so happy God gave me to her. What a sweetheart!!

Yet, there are also some things I can't wait to speed up and say goodbye to permanently! I really don't like Lucy's constant sleeping needs right now. It's so restrictive! It's hard enough when its just you and the baby but when it's the baby, myself, a school child, a preschool and my husband things get tricky. We spend many days in and out of the car, rushing here and there trying to get things done before she needs her next sleep. On the weekend, the rest of the family wants to enjoy outings and I want to join them - however it's becoming more and more difficult. Lucy isn't as keen to sleep out these days. So when we are out it can be stressful trying to be apart of something and yet trying to settle her if she's tired (sometimes to no avail). Fin is also a handful around other kids at the moment. He's struggling with learning how to socialise properly. He currently has a preference for destroying the games of other kids, poking people in the back, getting up close to their face and saying "bum" and "poo" over and over again! He has been labeled "naughty" at preschool by his peers which stabs at my heart. He truly is a sweetheart one on one and I find him so easy to be home with. However, in social situations he just gets over excited and often out of control. Issy is a beauty and I truly don't want her to grow up in most ways as I'm dreading any pre-teen behaviour but I'm looking forward to perhaps more emotional regulation - it's something we need to work on with her.

Having three kids is also tough on marriage. Luke and I rarely share the same bedroom these days as Lucy wakes up so frequenlty and won't go back to sleep easily in the early hours so I take her into the single bed in her room. Fin also wakes every night and jumps into our bed. I was having terrible night's sleep and Fin and Lucy were waking one another so this has made things easier. I feel like we're living like housemates at the moment  but I know it's only for a time - another one I'm hoping to fast forward.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Welcome to the world Lucinda Eve

We have a baby girl! I wrote this post over a month ago and forgot to post it. So here it is...

Our beautiful little girl, Lucinda Eve, arrived ten & a half weeks ago, 11 days overdue. We are totally smitten with her. Life has been busy since - hence why I'm only writing now!

I was induced on October 1 and she was born that evening at 10.51pm. I feel really happy with how it all went, despite being very anxious that day. I was so ecstatic to finally meet her.

The last five and a half weeks have been a blur but I've loved seeing her grow so much already. I'm especially loving her big smiles towards everyone in our family.

Before I start writing about the present, I want to share what happened in the lead up to and the birth of Lucinda.

It was a huge time going overdue by 11 days. The days were filled with much hope, yet also increasing anxiety as we waited for a definite sign of labour. I had plenty of braxton hicks contractions - they would take my breathe away and I'd have to breathe through them. Yet they never came more frequent than five minutes apart for an hour. It would happen most evenings and I'd think, this is it!! Then nothing...I went for long walks (probably increased my fitness at least!), meditated with my own birth music play list, spent waaay too much time Googling about induction methods - I tried pretty much everything apart from Castor oil. I really enjoyed the increase in curries and I think my husband enjoyed other aspects of inductions methods - ha!  I visited the hospital on two occasions to have baby's heart rate monitored just as a precaution, and had two extra visits to the obstetrician for a cervix stretch and sweep. Yet still no baby!!

I prayed and prayed that it would happen naturally, yet while walking one evening I felt a sense that God was saying I was to be induced, i just needed to roll with it and trust him that this is for the best. "No!" I debated back. "I don't want this. But, I will choose to trust you Lord as you know what is best."

Waiting for baby at 40 weeks 
Thursday came and it was THE day. I had contractions on and off all night. I had also had the worst sleep due to Fin having nightmares and constantly coming into our room throughout the night. I woke up anxious and exhausted. The day dragged on and it felt surreal that we'd have a baby by that evening or at least the next day. My neighbour tried to chat to me over the fence and I could hardly breathe! I felt consumed by thoughts of the impending labour. Thankfully as the time crept closer to 3PM - when we had to leave - i felt less fear and felt more faith-filled. Waiting was the hardest part. Once we dropped the kids off to their grandparents and headed towards the hospital I felt a sense of determination and strength.

We arrived at 4PM and waited around the delivery suite in a dingy waiting room which we shared with another pregnant woman who was refusing to drink any water. Thankfully (for her) she had her entire family - partner, mum, dad, daughter, sister there to support her in giving up cordial and soft drink for just an hour.

Having another foetal heart rate monitoring session
Eventually a midwife rescued us and i was hooked up to a monitor and waited around until my obstetrician came to insert the Cervidil gel. This was a little different as it was something she could tape to my cervix and pull out once labour was established. It lowers the risk of over stimulation of the uterus. At first I felt hot, flushed in the face and my heart was racing thanks to the hormones rushing into my system. My contractions increased eventually and I knew it wouldn't be long. I was asked to head up to the postnatal ward anyway.

When I got up my left leg was numb as though I'd pinched a nerve. It was most likely my sciatica nerve was compressed from laying in a funny position. It was so painful. I lost the feeling in my left foot and had shooting pain down my leg. My lower back on my left side was aching like someone had hammered me there - but no, it was just my baby girl's heading sitting on this huge nerve.

I was unable to stand or walk around much with this pain so once I was taken to the Antenatal Ward  I lay on the bed in agony and timed the contractions which were becoming closer. I had a lovely midwife look after me and observe me as my contractions became stronger. "I don't think you'll be in this ward for long!" she had said. I encouraged Luke to go and buy some dinner for himself and a charger for our phones as we had left the charger at home. Once he left I rang my mum and spoke to her for 20 minutes, distracting myself from the pain. Once I hung up from her it was all happening. I rang Luke and told him to hurry back.

The midwife observed me to see whether she would need to take out the Cervidil tape. I was 4-5cm dilated.  Luke was back and I was feeling more intense pain down below, in my backside and lower back. I was quickly hooked up to some IV antibiotics as I was GBS positive and then they helped me into a wheelchair to take me to the delivery suite. I could hardly sit and kept squirming and breathing through the contractions which were around every 3 minutes.

Once in the delivery suit I tried to walk around a little and to get Luke to press into the acupressure points on my back but i was in too much pain with my leg so I just opted to rest on my knees and lean over the back of the bed. I was moaning and breathing/whining through the pain.  The midwife said she was going to call my obstetrician to come in. I took this as a sign that baby would be delivered soon and felt a sense of relief - the end was in sight! However, my ob said she wouldn't come! Ummm, that's why I'm paying her right?! I demanded that the midwife call her back and ask her to come.  She did and thankfully the obstetrician listened.

Once she arrived 10 minutes later, she checked my cervix and it was still in a posterior position and needed to move out of the way a little. She broke my waters to try and help speed things up. I began having huge, powerful contractions and sometimes a long break in between then maybe two on top of   another. It was a little unpredictable and I started to feel desperate. "Is the baby coming yet? Can you see her head?" I asked over and over. Embarrassingly, there was no babies' head, just my bowel being completely emptied during each contraction! Argh, the humility!! I then felt a lot of pressure on my lower back and pelvis. I felt like I was going to snap or break. Perhaps this was because of the baby's posterior position or maybe she was turning into the canal. It hurt so bad, I didn't remember this feeling during my son's birth. I was whimpering and wondering how much longer. I kept waiting for the big urge to push when my body would take over but it never came...instead I felt the crazy "ring of fire" sensation as baby's head pushed further down into the canal. I felt like I was on fire downstairs and tearing from one end to the other. I felt like I needed some counter pressure and asked if someone could put their hand there of apply pressure but I don't think anyone heard me or knew what I meant. It didn't matter in the end as soon enough out came her head and then with the next contraction her body. She was here! I turned around carefully as it was a short umbilical cord I was told and my beautiful girl was passed to me, into my arms.

Lucinda Eve!

I fell instantly in love! I wrapped my arms around her  warm, red and slimy little body. I couldn't believe she was finally here. My heart felt so full of joy as I looked into her deep blue eyes and she greeted me with the most beautiful little meowing cry. She had pooped on her way out and my legs and saggy stomach were drizzled with a thick, tar-like ooze. But I couldn't care less. I embraced the mess. The flood of blood, the slimy poop, the slithering placenta being delivered from my uterus. The pin-prick sensation of being stitched back to "normal". I didn't tear too bad after all, despite the pain. Most of all, I embraced this incredibly beautiful little girl. I had envisioned my daughter almost 12 months ago and now here she was. A gift God promised to me was now a reality.

Lucinda at one day old 
Lucinda was wide-eyed and alert. She took to breastfeeding straight away and enjoyed cuddles with Luke afterwards. I had a shower and we headed up to the Postnatal Ward. It was around 2am by now and I felt thankful that sleep would probably come quickly. Yet my Lucy girl was not so sleepy and I was on too much of an adrenalin high to rest! I kept her next to my side all night , snuggling her and kissing her forehead. She fed very regularly that first night and seemed desperate for milk! She must have fed every 1-2 hours and slept only 15 minutes. I felt slightly worried that this may continue. However, once my milk came in on the third day Lucy seemed much more settled and satisfied and began sleeping longer than 30 minutes. Thank goodness!

Resting with my baby Lucinda at home 
I left hospital after two nights and felt very excited to be bringing our little girl home to our family. A family of five now - wow. I spent the next week sleeping and resting quite a bit which was wonderful. My amazing hubby held the fort and cared completely for the other two kids. I found it hard at first with the healing of the stitches, continued pain in my varicose veins and bleeding. I also was struggling with getting Lucy to sleep in her bassinet. She loved sleeping on me or next to me in the bed which was lovely but not ideal with two other children to look after.

Such a happy girl at around 6 weeks 
However, after 6 weeks postpartum things improved significantly. Lucinda began sleeping a lot better during the day, nights were still quite good (just waking 1-2 times) and she was just melting my heart with her never ending smiles! She smiled from very early on - literally just a couple of days old and smiled more and more each day.

Tummy time with her siblings 
Now at ten and a half weeks she is an absolute delight and a very easy, settled and happy baby. Life at home is busy but she seems to just take it all in. She appears to be a very social little girl and loves chatting now with little oohs, la's and other throaty noises that sound like the beginning of a laugh. She gets so excited when we come and lift her out of her bassinet, her arms and legs flying about, kicking and waving. She loves the kids too, and seems to recognise them. She especially loves Issy's singing voice and I think she's getting use to Fin always being about 2 cm from her face.

Big smiles from my cute little girl 
Lucinda is great at self-settling which is wonderful when I need to also look after the other two. I also enjoy carrying her in the baby carrier when we're out and about. She sleeps so well in there. She'll stare up at my face until she slowly nods off in a dreamy, mummy-love haze. So sweet.

SO happy to have our little girl in our family. We love her so much. Lucinda Eve you are a blessing and I'm so smitten with you.

Family of five!