Sunday, October 18, 2015

Transitioning from a corporate life to a stay at home mum

When I was pregnant and still living the corporate life, I would daydream about how amazing and relaxing it would be once I finally went on maternity leave and became a stay at home mum! Oh, how little did I know…

Becoming a stay at home mum was one of the most challenging things I have ever done! The transition from a corporate life to one in the ‘burbs was not easy, especially emotionally! I am one of those people who thrive in productive, organised and scheduled lifestyles. So suddenly having to deal with spontaneity, dealing with housework (or lack of time to do housework), and looking after a bub while maintaining my sanity was seriously one tough gig!

Here are my 5 tips on transitioning to a stay at home mum from a corporate life:

1. Use a planner 
Schedule your day, week and month! If you liked structure in your life, using a planner will help you so much! Keep track of all your appointments, playdates, things to do, events, etc. I use this planner from Kikki K and stick it on my fridge. Every Sunday night I plan for the week ahead and I get all fancy and use Washi tape to decorate the pages. I use a weekly planner which is similar to my calendar layout I had at work. I find this helps me know what’s coming up for the week and I get that fulfilment of ticking off things you’ve done (yes, that’s you laundry).

2. Head out of the house at least once a day 
Even if it’s just to go for a quick walk around the block, do it. Don’t stay couped up at home, especially if its spring, the sun is shining and there’s the world to explore! With rainy day exceptions, I will go out for a walk with Chloe if we have nothing on that day and I love taking her to the park now for a swing or a slide! Or pop to the local shops and support those local businesses!

3. Stay productive 
If you thrive on productivity, sitting on the couch while the bub sleeps will not make you feel better if this happens day in and day out (it may if you are having one of those days). Get to those chores, do a workout, bake some cookies, take a shower, etc. Doing things while bub sleeps will make you feel more productive and more happier, when they wake up!

4. Do something for yourself 
As a first time mum, I felt like the majority of the day you will be attending to your bub – which is completely normal as it is your new role. But that doesn’t mean that you should neglect yourself! Spend some “me time” doing what you love, while they nap or have someone come in and look after them for an hour or two…I love doing some exercise, and also going on date nights!

5. Keep in touch with your friends (new and old) 
Another way to survive the transition is to keep in touch with friends – chat to them, catch up for lunch or coffee, etc. Do the things you use to do with them, where you can. I also highly recommend joining a mother’s group or playgroup. This not only benefits your bub, but definitely keeps you sane during the first year of being a first time mum. You share the same experiences and feed off positive vibes from each other. It is a supportive network and most likely they all live closeby so is also very convenient!

What are your tips on becoming a stay at home mum?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hamilton Island - Family Trip 2015!

Hi lovelies, we are back from our family vacation to Hamilton Island! It was the first time Chloe was travelling and also sleeping away from home (and her cot, since birth!). It was very daunting, but we survived and while Chloe was not a happy bub all the time during the trip, it was nice to spend some QT with the family!

We stayed at the Shorelines number 18 apartment, which is on the western side of the island. It boasts stunning sunset views across the ocean! The apartment was equipped with a high chair and also a portacot. It has a self-contained kitchen so you can buy groceries and make your meals at home.  I really loved how spacious the apartment was and the views were just breathtaking. The only downside, was I thought that the apartment was not as clean as expected (we saw roaches) and also the decor and furniture did feel and look a little tired.

If we were to go again, I would probably choose to stay at a lodge on the Resort side of the Island near Catseye Beach. But staying anywhere is fine, as getting around the island is very easy, you can walk or ride a Buggy or Shuttle pretty much anywhere!

We really wanted to just chill and relax so I didn't fill our itinerary with many activities. A couple things I would definitely recommend though (besides chilling on the beach):
1. Hike Passage Peak - the views will not disappoint! The hike is quite steep and in the bush so wear your sneakers!
2. Have lunch at the Hamilton Island Golf Club - $65 for a 2 course lunch, as well as a tour of the scenic golf course and includes return ferry taxi to Hamilton Island.

We only ate out a handful of times as we wanted to cook meals at home - I highly recommend ordering via Coles Online at least a week in advance! We left it too late and had to resort to the Island's only General Store (which charged exorbitant prices for groceries). We ate the Marina Tavern for dinner, I would say it is pretty average (order a burger or the parmi!).  We also had takeout from Popeye's Fish and Chips (yummy chips!) and Bob's Bakery (yummy pies).

Hope you found this helpful! Let me know what you recommend doing in Hamilton Island!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

My Breastfeeding Experience!

So now that Chloe is 7 months old (what the heck, I know!), I thought I would do an update on our breastfeeding journey so far! Before I start, I want you to know how grateful I am and blessed to be able to breastfeed! Every mum and bub is different, and the best advice anyone has given is do what works best for you and your bub and family! :)

The early months…
Chloe has been exclusively breastfed since birth and is still on the boob! My milk didn’t actually come in until the third day so on the second day she was drinking formula from a bottle.
In the first few months, I fed Chloe on demand which was about every 2-3 hours during the day and about every 3-4 hours during the night. Initially, it was tough getting up and dealing with sleep deprivation, but I got used to it and it was summer so wasn’t that hard to get out of bed!  I was breastfeeding in an armchair we bought from ikea. And I never really used a feeding pillow, I just used an ordinary pillow to support Chloe while she fed.

Milk Supply…
I remember when I first started breastfeeding in the hospital, some relatives would ask whether I knew Chloe was getting enough milk. It’s a fair concern and it also got me worried about how much milk Chloe was drinking. I remember the comments would get me down sometimes, but I just kept at it, knowing that if I can breastfeed Chloe, it would be the best thing for her!

As a "preventative" measure, I was also taking fenugreek tablets for at least the first 4 months to increase my milk supply. I also baked a few batches of lactation cookies for a few weeks. While I’m not sure if they did actually help, I didn’t have any milk supply issues and Chloe is healthy and thriving :)
Chloe was taking expressed breastmilk for the feed just before bed time so that my hubby could get some bonding time with her. I found it hard to find the right time to pump and eventually I got into a routine of pumping one breast when I woke up in the morning as I found it to be the time where I felt fullest and Chloe would be too full to have both breasts anyway. I also learned to pump at the same time while feeding her.  Around the 12 week mark, Chloe began to reject the bottle. It would take us upto an hr to feed her 30MLs of EBM. After a few weeks, we decided to just let it go, and follow her lead and stick with the boob exclusively. Both Chloe and I were happy we did this!

Growing pains…
When my milk came in, my breasts were very engorged, and my nipples were unbelievably sore and raw. It hurt to put any top on, let alone dry off with a towel! Arrrgh! After every feed, I would apply lansinoh to relieve the rawness, and I remember wondering if they would ever go back to normal again! In a few weeks, it got much better and I stopped using lansinoh! 

I did get blocked ducts twice. The first time, it was easy to unblock the duct (massage, heat, allowing the bub to drain) however the second time the duct was blocked for at least a week and I was worried it would turn into mastitis! Lucky though, it was not painful, and it recovered in just over a week!
I also was using breast pads until just a few days ago. THE FREEDOM! While breast pads are your best friend in keeping your tops dry, it was quite annoying having to wear them to bed and all day, every day!

Also, it was probably around 3-4 months where my breasts regulated and became smaller and less engorged! Although, I would say my breasts are still much larger than they were pre-pregnancy (I can’t fit into any of my bikini tops anymore!).

Feeding in public…
When feeding in public, I try to stay as modest as possible. While I didn’t buy a feeding cover specifically, I usually use a muslin wrap to cover up if I’m in a public place or restaurant. I would prefer to feed in the parents room though…So far I haven’t experienced any negativity towards breastfeeding.

The future...
I really wish to continue breastfeeding Chloe until she is at least 12 months old (5 months to go! what?!). I am really enjoying this experience so far and would have it no other way! :) 

Monday, July 6, 2015

June Favourites - Mummy and Baby

This is my first video of favourites, and I thought it would be good to include Chloe's favourites for the month of June as well :)

Favourites mentioned:
- L'oreal Voluminous Mascara
- Roll neck sleeveless sweater (similar here)
- Steamer from kmart
- Sophie the giraffe
- Books: Where is the Green Sheep, Tooty Toot Maisy, The Very Hungry Caterpillar (finger puppet)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to put on the Ergobaby Carrier!

How to put on the Ergobaby Carrier (original collection) in five steps:

1. Adjust the hip belt and put on - adjust again if necessary.

2. Adjust the back buckle (located on the shoulder straps) so that it is high up close to your shoulders as possible.

3. Put the arm straps on and adjust so that there is some space for your baby (a guesstimate is fine!)

4. Load your baby in and adjust the arm straps so that they are nice and snug.

5. Fasten the back buckle.

Hope you found this useful and enjoyed Chloe's first appearance on Youtube :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review of Ergobaby Carrier - Original Bundle of Joy

As per my post on Newborn Must-haves, a baby carrier is probably one of the best investments as a parent! Newborns love to feel close to you and while sitting on the couch watching telly and cradling your bub as they sleep for hours feels pretty darn good the first week, it really wasn't sustainble for me in the long term! So, in comes the baby carrier! You can keep your bub close and at the same time, do your chores and run your errands.

Now that Chloe is 5 months old, I still use the carrier for things like bushwalking or going to places where it would not be possible to bring the pram. Or I use it on days where you just dont feel like bringing the pram because its so darn big!

This is how we chose what carrier to buy!

1. Try before you buy - Go to a baby shop that lets you try on different carriers so you can have a feel for what it's like on. We bought ours from baby bunting as they have several baby carriers that you can try before you buy.

2. Comfort - Your baby is only going ot get heavier, you need something will support the weight and at the same time be comfortable for you! The padded shoulder straps on the Ergobaby made it really comfortable on the shoulders and the wide hip belt assisted with distribution of the baby's weight.

3. Easy to adjust - When you have a crying baby and you are on your own, you want to be able to quickly put the carrier on so you can soothe your baby.  The Ergobaby was very easy to adjust before you put it on and also while you are carrying the baby.

4. Easy to put on - You only need to do it once and you won't forget! There are only two buckles you need to do up and that's it - it is super easy to put on all by yourself! I will have a video soon on how I put on my Ergobaby carrier so keep your eyes peeled for that!

5. Machine washable - Even though this carrier is black, Chloe loves to chew on the arm straps which fall right next to her mouth! It is very easy to keep clean, I just throw it in the washing machine and hang it out to dry!

6. Sun protection - The carrier comes with sun protection cover that you can clip on to the arm straps when you need to use it, or store it away in the front pocket!

7. Storage space - The carrier comes with a couple of pockets, one which is for the sun protection cover, the other has a zip where you can stash your necessities! So convenient!

8. Will last a few years - This carrier (with an infant insert) will carry a newborn upto 15kg! That is pretty awesome and will mean we can use the carrier for at least a few years!

The only downside to this carrier is that the bub cannot be carried facing forward on your chest. There is however the Ergobaby 360 carrier that provides this function so if you are after that, definitely check it out!

I highly recommend this carrier!! Do you use a baby carrier?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

My experience with Sleep School and Sleeping Through the Night!

Sleep is something I obsessed about when Chloe was born. I hadn’t done much reading on how many hours a newborn should be sleeping so I sort of felt out of my depth and shocked when Chloe woke up multiple times a night.

Lucky for us, Chloe settled into night sleeps quite nicely and woke up every 3 hours as a new born and extended to 4-5 hours as she got older. At 4 months, she had slept through the night (7.30pm to 6.30am) a few times now and generally only wakes up once during the night for a feed anytime between 4.30am to 6am.

Her daytime naps on the otherhand were crazy. Between 1 month to 3 months old, she would only nap for 30-40mins in her cot (after being rocked to sleep) – she was a serial catnapper! It was really hard to manage especially if you spend the day at home as you feel like you don’t get anything done. That’s when I sought help from my local early childhood nurse who recommended Possum Cottage. I also had done a ton of research on sleeping, and have read a couple books – Gina Ford’s Content Little Baby and also The Happy Sleeper by Julie Wright and Heather Turgeon. I felt that the Happy Sleeper resonated more with me, I was happy to implement the “sleep wave method” once Chloe reached 5 months. In the mean time though, we just had to deal with her catnapping.

Possum Cottage is where parents can go for additional help on sleeping matters – learning hands on settling techniques. To me, it was more about a learning session for the parents rather than teaching the child!

As there was a waiting list for Possum Cottage of about 3 weeks, I found that Chloe’s naps became longer! She would start sleeping for about 50mins-1hr in her cot in the mornings, and her afternoon naps would be taken either in the pram at home or on the pram when I went out for a walk so I was able to extend her naps to at least the recommended 1hr.

Even though her naps improved, we still attended our appointment at Possum Cottage and Chloe was just shy of turning 4 months. The nurse could not settle her (although it was a hard time of the day – the afternoon nap!). We left her in a cot AWAKE (which I had previously never done before) and waited outside the door to self settle. Chloe did not self settle lol. She cried for about 5 mins before the nurse went in to do some hands on settling and eventually rocked her. Chloe still did not settle! Poor bubba.

So what I learned from that day was leaving Chloe to cry for 5 mins is ok. I tried this the very next day and Chloe slept on her own within 12 mins of putting her down during which she did not cry, although she was whinging. I could not believe it! Yes, she did whinge but eventually she fell asleep! I do not like hearing her cry hysterically – whenever she does this, I go in to calm her. But I feel that she is at the age now (4.5 months) where she has started to sleep by herself instead of relying on us to rock her to sleep!

This was my own experience with Sleep School, let me know if you have any questions or let me know about your own experience with sleep!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Newborn Must Haves!

Chloe is now 4 months old and sadly, no longer a newborn! While I do miss her being so tiny, I am definitely enjoying her more, especially seeing her smile and sharing storytime together :)

I have learned an incredible amount in the last 4 months about parenthood - it is a challenging first few months but so worth it and it definitely gets easier (or my expectations have changed hehe)!

Here is my list of newborn must haves (no particular order), it was something I was looking for and researching when i was 7-8months pregnant in preparation for the lil bub! Hope you find this useful!

Let me know what you found to be helpful in caring for newborns!

1. Swaddle Blanket
Highly recommend the swaddle blankets by Aden and Anais! They are huge (so will fit even the bubs measuring at the 85th percentile :P), soft and breathable and come in variety of designs. They are perfect for swaddling as well as using as a cover over your pram, a blanket, a burp cloth, a coverup while breastfeeding, a mat for your lil one to lie on. The best multi-purpose product ever!!

2. Bouncer/Rocker
If you have a bub that loves to be held 24/7 (and which bub doesn't when they are newborn?!), it can get pretty tiring carrying them around, not to mention you have done zero housework. A bouncer or rocker can be your saviour to give you that much needed 20 mins to shower, eat, do the laundry and exercise!

We tried three different types of rockers including the Mamaroo (which we rented), Fisher Price bouncer and the Bright Starts swing. It is hard to try before you buy, so I would recommend renting where possible before you go out and buy, as your bub may not like it and these things are pricey! Chloe went through phases of when she would like certain rockers/bouncers/swings. She never managed to fall asleep in any of them though!

3. Playmat
Around 2 months, Chloe loved looking at toys so I thought getting a playmat would be a stimulating playtime activity. I am so glad I did cos she absolutely loves it (and still does at 4 months!). I especially like the Bright Starts one we bought as the toys come down quite low so she can grab them and also they are detachable so you can take them with you in the car or pram as well.

4. Highchair
The Peg Perego highchair was recommended by a mum friend and Chloe loves it! She sits with us at dinner and its great cos it feels like real family time! I only wish I had bought it earlier as it is suitable from birth due to the reclining chair!

5. Baby Carrier/Sling
We definitely wanted to use a baby carrier but weren't sure which one to go with. We decided on the Ergobaby Bundle of Joy Original as it came with an infant carrier. Around 3.5 months, Chloe outgrew the infant carrier and she sits happily in the carrier. We have only ever used it with her facing my chest and its handy on days where I do groceries or go to the market!

6. Onesies and Leggings
In terms of clothes, Chloe lived in onesies (with the button up under the nappy) and leggings (for when the weather got cooler). It's easy, practical and makes changing nappies super easy. I love Pumpkin Patch for quality pieces and Bonds Wondersuits Zippies for pjs are the!

7. Bonds Maternity Singlet
Bonds is like my fav brand now as a mum! I wish I had discovered this maternity singlet earlier! it would have been perfect for summer! If you're a breastfeeding mummy, I highly recommend stocking up on these as they are practical and makes feeding super easy and non-conspicuous! You can wear them almost under anything!

8. Toys/Rattles with Contrast Pattern
You've probably read that newborns love contrast (black and white) patterns. Chloe loves Mister Penguin Rattle by Lolli Living! She's always grabbing for it in the car :)

9. Pram
We went for the Baby Jogger City Select as it had the option of carrying two kiddies. I love this pram! Although its a bit heavy, it is super sturdy, has huge wheels which help when going up stairs and is very easy to manouvre. It's got heaps of space too in the basket!! Love, love!!

10. White Noise App
White noise is supposed to mimic the sounds heard by the baby when in the womb. And given that the first three months is like the fourth trimester for a bub, white noise is a saviour when they are having a "moment" like in the car! I use the Relax Melodies app.

11. Blackout Blinds
Being a first time mum, I was obsessed with Chloe's sleep. I wanted to create the best environment conducive to sleep and I found that black out blinds helped heaps, especially for naps and blocking out the sun during long days in summer! We bought the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blinds which uses suction caps. The downside to these blinds is that it didnt fit our sliding door but its not a standard window size anyway! We filled the gaps in with black garbage bin bags!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Review: BFF Belly Bandit!

One of the things I've thought about before giving birth is how to bounce back to my pre-baby body. I admit I let loose during my pregnancy and ate whatever I wanted, exercised less, and used the pregnancy excuse. But I had a plan - I was going to start exercising, eating healthy and use the BFF Belly Bandit as soon as I gave birth!

So 3.5 months after giving birth, here is my review on the BFF Belly Bandit!

Unfortunately I didn't take any before or after photos but I am about 5-6kgs away from where I want to be (my favourite skinny jeans are still a tad too tight causing some serious muffin tops). Even if I didn't lose the 5kg, I totally embrace my new "mum" body :)

So in summary here are my thoughts on the BFF Belly Bandit...

What size did you buy?
I bought a size S. In retrospect I should have bought a size XS as within 2-3 weeks I had already shrunk so that there was not much velcro left to strap me in. Check the official Belly Bandit website for details on sizing!

How long did I wear it for?
I began wearing it within a week of giving birth (as the S only fit me at this time, it didn't fit any earlier than this!). I wore it for  about a month, first 2 weeks was day and night, second 2 weeks was day only. This was because I gave birth in January and it just became wayyy too hot to wear a shirt, let alone a belly bandit underneath it!

What were the results?
I found that I shrunk dramatically within the first few weeks. It was quite impressive! I would have definitely continued to wear it had it not been cray hot, and also if I had gotten a size smaller!

I liked how the BFF had two straps for closure, it was comfortable and gave me more control of how tight I wanted it to be.

All in all, I was happy with how quickly my tummy had shrunk (yet still lots of toning to do!) and how it helped to suppress my appetite (perhaps this was psychological as your belly had this constant pressure 24/7).

If you are a new-mum to be or recently gave birth (within a week or two), I would definitely give this belly bandit a shot for quickly shrinking your tummy :)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Target and Baby Gap Haul!

So before I was pregnant, I was adamant that I wouldn't be a new mum that stayed at home all day and looked after the baby. But after having Chloe, sometimes the thought of leaving the house by myself or even with some help can feel quite daunting - I was feeding her on demand, she could need a nappy change at any time, she could start crying/screaming at any time, and you know how people judge mums with crying babies!! There was also the issue of being in an enclosed space surrounded by so many people and germs lurking everywhere!

So I finally took Chloe out at 2 months to our local Westfield and it was an awesome day out! It was actually on a whim and we went after mums and bubs yoga, accompanied by Lola and Lolo :)

I was keen on checking out Baby Gap as I knew they were on sale and had some cute outfits! I also wanted to pick up some autumn outfits for Chloe at Target...and I think I went a bit crazy at Target as they had 20% off all Baby Wear!

It's super fun shopping for baby clothes! Everything is just too cute!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pumpkin Patch Baby Girl Clothing Haul!

Happy Sunday everyone! Pumpkin Patch has had a few online sales on lately and when they had one with free shipping, I caved in and bought a few pieces for Chloe!

Check out the video below to see what pieces I bought! This set me back only $50!! Bargain!!

FYI, Chloe is 2 months old (10 weeks) and most of the bottoms I purchased for her were in a size 6-12 months and the onesies and tops were 3-6 months. They are obviously quite big on her but I bought them knowing she will eventually grow into them!

Before Chloe was born, I didn't shop for clothes much and most of her newborn clothes were gifts or hand-me-downs! This was the first proper shopping I did for baby Chloe :) I think doing the shopping later also gave me an idea for what she really needed rather than what is nice to have, given that babies do grow super quickly!

For the mums out there, where do you like to shop for your lil one?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Five Tips I would give my Pregnant Self!

Chloe is now one-month old and is slowing getting into some sort of newborn routine :)
I definitely thrive having a routine in place so taking care of a newborn really threw me off initially! And I remember thinking to myself, "if only I had done [insert activity here] while I was pregnant, I would have more time"...

So here are five tips I would give my pregnant self...

#1 Organise H.E.L.P!
In the first month, you will be feeding, changing nappies, settling, cuddling, on repeat 24/7. You won't have time to go to the bathroom let alone make dinner or do the groceries.

That's where support and help come along - organise this before the baby is born. Ensure your support crew have their leave approved and definitely recommend getting support for at least the first month!

#2 Prepare for looking after a newborn
During pregnancy, the birth of my baby was supposedly the scariest thing of my whole existence. Wow. After experiencing birth, my perspective has definitely changed.

When people say "your life will change forever when you have kids", they are not talking about the birth and delivery. It's the aftermath.  And heck yeah, my life has changed forever!! :) I am so happy to have my lil bub in my life, and I would do anything for her.

However I have to say my expectations of looking after a newborn were not the same as reality! I seroiusly thought it was rainbows and butterflies. Well, reality hit. And it hit hard! :P

I recommend reading some parenting books and attending some parenting classes (which I did but I still was gobsmacked).

#3 Spend some time enjoying long lunches or long dinners
Because you are attending to all her needs, you won't have much time to eat (unless of course she is a good sleeper - and on the most part, Chloe is, I am very fortunate!)

But in fear of Chloe waking up from her nap, I would inhale my food! Yes, it's bad for digestion but I have to make sure I'm eating enough for my milk supply!

#4 Don't be afraid to spend on Maternity clothes
I held back in spending a lot on maternity clothes, I wish I had bought some more nice bottoms because I still don't fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans or shorts.

To be honest though, I stayed home most of the first month anyway and waltzed around in my jammies around the house so it didn't really bother me too much...

#5 Stock up on tv shows and books to read
Breastfeeding can take a while and you can nurse your baby upto 8-12 times a day. This calls for some good tv or some good books to read (or in my case, some good YouTube videos!). Stock up on these, because daytime tv does not even cut it!

For all the new mums, what would be your tips for the pregnant mothers in preparation for the arrival of their lil bubs?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

My C-Section Recovery Experience!

I can't believe I'm writing up this post with so much positivity :) Prior to and during my pregnancy, having a c-section was one of my biggest fears. I was terrified of needles, let alone abdominal surgery. But I am happy to say that I had the most comfortable and positive birth experience via a c-section.

I was also concerned about the recovery - when could I start walking again, will the pain be unbearable, can I hold my baby, how will I function when I get home.  All these questions got me feeling really anxious, but so far, my recovery experience has been much better than I had expected!

My video below goes into a lot of detail so below I will jot down the main points about my recovery:

Recovery in the hospital
Day 1
- Day 1 in the hospital was not too bad.  The first few hours post-op, the spinal block was still in full effect and I didn't have to go to the bathroom as I still had the catheter in.
- Once the spinal block wore off, I was already taking oral pain meds so I didn't feel any pain at all unless I moved, coughed, sneezed or laughed.
- The nurses kept asking if I had passed wind as this was a sign that your insides were still in working order. Prior to any wind I was only provided with clear foods such as jelly (yum!), clear soup, water, tea, lemonade etc.

Day 2
- I passed wind in the middle of the night which meant I was able to eat normal food again! Huzzah!
- My catheter was taken out (not painful at all) and so this meant I had to walk to the bathroom...yes it was painful to walk there even though it was about half a metre from my bed...
- The nurse assisted me in getting up from bed and walking to the bathroom to shower. Even sitting up was difficult, the monkey bar above my bed helped!

Day 3-4
- Everyday I made an effort to walk to the kitchen at least once or twice a day - this was about 25m from my room, return-trip. 
- I showered everyday and I managed to do it independently, although I still needed help to dry off my legs as I could not bend down.

Day 5
- My stitches were taken out (not painful at all!)
- Chloe and I were given the ok to head home :)
- Walking was pretty easy for me now, not painful at all, however it still hurt to get up from bed.

Recovery at home 
- Dr's orders were not to drive, no strenous physical activity including exercise and housework (yay!), no heavy lifting (nothing heavier than Chloe, who was about 4kg at 3 weeks old), and limited stair climbing.
- The first couple of weeks it still hurt to get out of bed, I had to use my arms to get up and out. I still use a lot of my upper body, but it does not hurt anymore.
- Went for a walk in the park (about 1km) with Chloe at the 3 week mark, and felt great.
- The tape on my incision is still on, I plan to take it off eventually lol.
- 4 weeks post-op, I'm starting to feel normal again. Although every now and then I still feel a bit of pain in my belly just above my incision.

Tips for a smooth recovery!
1. Stay positive! You will become stronger each new day
2. Ask for help! Your parents, family and friends would be happy to help - housework, food, looking after the baby
3. Be patient with your recovery process - give your body enough rest to be able to recover.
4. Eat nourishing food and drink lots of water (esp if you are breastfeeding!)
5. Communicate your feelings - it is a time of huge changes in such a short span of time. Let it out!
6. Start walking as soon as you can, don't stay bed ridden (but don't be walking cray distances!)

If you are planning for a c-section or if you end up having an emergency c-section, good luck and all the best for a speedy recovery!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My Birth Story - Elective C-Section

Today I wanted to share my birth story of my baby girl, Chloe Sophia.  She was born on Tuesday 13 January 2015, 9 days earlier than her due date via a planned c-section.  This was not my "ideal birth" but nevertheless I am so happy and grateful that she is finally here!

Why a planned c-section?
Even before I was pregnant, I wanted to have a completely natural birth - no drugs, no intervention and doing things "naturally".  I was terrified of needles, let alone epidurals/spinal blocks or c-sections.  Giving birth via c-section would have been the worse outcome for me!

I did prenatal yoga, was drinking raspberry leaf tea and was walking laps in the park to help with labour in the third trimester. I even did a calmbirth course to prepare myself for the labour - I was determind on having a natural birth. In the 35 week ultrasound scan, my OB advised that the baby was looking quite big! She was estimated to be 2.8kg at 35 weeks which would have forecasted her to be approx 3.8kg at 40 weeks. The OB said to have another ultrasound scan at 38 weeks to see whether she would continue on this growth spurt.

At 38 weeks, the ultrasound showed she was 3.3-3.4kg which the OB said was in the normal range, but they also saw that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice.  He laid out the risks of going through a natural birth and that the threshold for an emergency c-section would have been very low.  I actually got teary during that consultation, and balled my eyes out when we left the hospital.  After discussions with the hubs and our parents, we decided to go forward with a planned c-section. So we went back to the OB the following day and advised him of our decision.  And just like that, he booked me in for a c-section on Tuesday 13 Jan at 8am, first cab off the rank! It also happened to be his last day in the office before he went on leave so it worked out quite well.

Knowing when Chloe would be born gave Charlie and I some quality time together as a couple before we became parents and to really let it sink in. We were going to meet Chloe in 4 days!!

What happened on B-Day?
On the day of the c-section, we both got up at 5.30am and headed to the hospital.  I was shown into my room and got prepped for surgery (shave, compression tights and dressing gown). I waited for the porter to bring me down to the OT. I also met the anaethetist who was super calm and lovely and went through the whole procedure with me. As he put in the needle for my IV, he explained exactly how the spinal block was going to work - local anaethesia in first to numb and then the needle will go in. And that's exactly how it played out - I only felt the local prick and the actual spinal block I did not feel a thing. Soon I couldnt feel my lower half.

I was lying on the operating table and could see the big light above me and it reflected everything on the OT (i.e., me). I could see the nurses prepping my belly for the operation and putting antiseptic on me. Lucky they drew up a screen so I couldn't see anything or any reflections.  This was about the time that Charlie came into the OT in his scrubs.  He started taking photos and the nurses also took some photos for us. In a matter of minutes, I could hear the baby crying and a nurse said, Charlie you better get ready with that camera!

She was all purple and they brought her over to the side to wipe her up and do the APGAR test. Charlie was also able to cut the umbilical cord (shorten it as they had to cut it as she came out of me). They put her on my chest after that and she was such a cutie pie - all swollen and bundled up cos it was soo cold in the OT. It felt surreal!! I was a mum!

They then wheeled her off with Daddy upstairs to the nursery to weigh and measure her while I remained in OT to be stitched up. I was wheeled into recover for another half hr to check my vitals. Within an hr of Chloe being born, I was back up in my room and doing skin-to-skin and feeding Chloe. It was the most amazing experience ever :)

Overall, I had a very positive birth experience and I have put down all my judgement on having a c-section as the preferred way to birth your baby. It was very calm and because it was planned, things went quite smoothly! I could not have had a better birth experience :)

Stay tuned for my next post on Recovering from a C-section!