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!