With bated breath I sit in a waiting room listening for my name to be called. I’m trying to pass the time by watching the silent morning news and scrolling through Instagram but really I only have one thing on my mind. My name gets called.. as I follow the nurse down the corridor I hear my stomach growl, a constant reminder that I have a child in my womb. One, two, three viles later I am escorted back to the waiting room. Waiting for this process to happen again, twice more actually, over the course of the next 2 hours. Like clockwork I feel the effects of the sugary drink I forced down an hour earlier, these symptoms are so familiar..I feel tears start to prick my eyes and spill down my cheeks. Not again I whisper..
4 days later I see a call come through from a number I don’t recognise- I already know what the nurse is going to say. “Hello, is this Stephanie?.. you are positive for GD.”
So, now, here I sit.
I see this referral almost every morning- I can’t lose it so I don’t put it away where I am bound to forget it exists.. in a month I will sit in the same waiting room and repeat this process. Having given birth to two healthy babies I can’t find fault in my body and yet here I am praying that it performs as it should.
I’m the 1 in 9, predisposed by my Middle Eastern heritage. There’s a stigma attached to it- we take pin pricks 4 times a day, nurses check our results every few weeks, doctor’s run through what we’re eating and treat us like toddlers. We pay for test strips and miniature needles, we set alarms on our phones multiple times a day. Our appointments are 3 times longer than usual, 2 hours in a waiting room is considered normal..
If you’ve had it once you will more than likely have it again they tell you..
Diabetes doesn’t always look the same person to person but it’s something that can drastically change a persons life.
Za’atar Man’ouche is traditionally a food the Lebanese claim as their own however many believe it can be traced back to Biblical days. I have always loved Za’atar Man’ouche (a combination of herbs- Za’atar, toasted sesame seeds, dried sumac and often salt on a type of dough or مناقيش in Arabic). My Assyrian Nan was over a few weeks ago so we decided to make some.
2 1/2 cups plain flour
75ml Olive Oil + 5 Tbsp more
150ml warm water
2 tsp yeast powder
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp Za’atar Mixture
- In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast powder and salt
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the Olive Oil and warm water
- Mix well until it all comes together and then start kneading until you have a smooth non sticky dough
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place in a warm area of your home for at least 30 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface
- Divide the dough into 4 sections, lightly knead one section of the dough and roll out to desired thickness with a rolling pin. We used a pot lid to measure them out in round shapes.
- Using a brush, brush olive oil onto the dough and sprinkle with Za’atar
- Bake in a 200 degree Celsius oven for approx 7-10 minutes. I like to sprinkle mine with sea salt when they come out.
For my daughter Ava it was love at first sight. From the very first moment she met Baby Raegan she was in love. She has patted her and tickled her and loved on her non stop since the minute she met her. Raegan is the first person she asks for after her nap and the first person she invites to come along when we’re going anywhere. People told us horror stories of siblings trying to suffocate their siblings or completely rejecting them- we are so blessed that Ava hasn’t shown any of those signs.
When they placed Raegan on me for the first time I felt somewhat of a connection to her (considering we had had 9 months of bonding) however it was a different feeling to when they placed Ava on me. With Ava everything was new and profound- it was that first sunrise in a new place, the prospect of a life that we were blessed to have a front row seat to, onesies, so many nappies and bottles- everything was brand new to us- this time, with Raegan, we were comfortable with the new adventure ahead of us. It was new but familiar- we had walked this road before.
People told me that I would love my second baby the same as my first but I haven’t found that to be the case. Your first baby will always have a place in your heart reserved for that first child that made you a mum or dad, and while you don’t love them less the love feels different. If you’re a second or third time mum or dad I can almost see you nodding your head in agreement.. unless you’ve been there before you can’t really understand it. I don’t think it’s the baby blues or something other than learning to have room in my heart for this new little person that prior to the 6th of May didn’t exist outside of my womb.
I love both my girls.. just saying the plural still shocks me a little! If you’re a second or third time mum and you’re not feeling the same butterflies in the tummy, google eyed feeling with baby number 2 or 3- it’s okay.. you’re not alone!
On a side note, if you are having difficult bonding with your baby, feeling irritable, are having thoughts of wanting to harm yourself or your baby reach out to family around you and get help!
If these hands could speak what would they say..
..my Nan grew up in Baghdad, Iraq as a Christian. Fleeing persecution by Saddam, her family made their way to Australia. The older I get the more I cherish my heritage and want to preserve as many things from my grandparents as possible.. Last week I stood in my kitchen and documented my grandma making Assyrian Biryani.
As kids (and maybe adults) we made jokes about how, for our entire lives, we always ate the same 5 dishes when Nan cooked but you know what.. I am desperately trying to learn how to make those dishes so that when she passes on I can tell my girls that their grandma stood in a kitchen in Iraq and made this.. it’s something that will be with the women of this family for future generations.
Serves 4 people
4 thigh fillets
1/2 kg of gravy beef or beef fillet
120g Slivered Almonds
2 cups of basmati rice
2 large white potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 white onions, chopped finely
2 cubes of powder chicken stock
2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Biryani Spice
2 tsp curry powder
Salt and pepper
..cook the Rice
- Soak the rice in cold water for 20 minutes. Wash the rice and drain.
- Heat a pot with olive oil (enough to fill the bottom) on medium heat, add chicken stock, turmeric, biryani spice and curry powder to the pot, stir to combine.
- Add 3 cups of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling add the rice, cover and cook until water is absorbed. Reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally until rice is cooked.
..cook the Chicken
- Place the thigh fillets in a pot on medium heat. When the juices of the chicken are gone place ½ cup of water into the pot, when the water is gone add another ½ cup of water etc until the chicken is cooked.
- Cut the chicken thighs into small pieces and place in a bowl.
..cook the Beef
- Place the beef in a pot on medium heat with a sprinkle of salt. When the juices of the beef are gone place ½ cup of water into the pot, when the water is gone add another ½ cup of water etc until the beef is cooked.
- Cut the beef into small pieces and place into a bowl.
..cook the Potatoes
- Wash the potatoes in cold water and drain well. Place on a paper towel and pat dry.
- Place enough vegetable oil in a pan to reach halfway up the potatoes and fry the potatoes on high heat until golden. Drain on absorbent paper. Once golden place the potatoes on top of the chicken pieces.
- Divide the oil from the potatoes into two seperate bowls.
..cook the Almonds
- Place the almonds into a pan with half the oil from the potatoes on medium heat and cook till golden.
..finish the Beef
- Place the other half of the potato oil into a deep pan- add the cooked beef and chopped onions. Fry on medium heat until the onions are softened. Set aside
- Combine everything except the almonds in a pot and stir to combine. Once heated serve warm sprinkled with almonds
I’ve been debating whether to post this or not for the fear of being seen so controversial but to be honest I felt that everything that’s to follow needed to be said.. for all women out there who will one day face the exact same situation I’ve experienced.
Breast feeding vs bottle feeding..
I read an Instagram post while I was pregnant which said something to the extent of ‘we support you women who can produce milk but choose to formula feed’. Choosing to bottlefeed formula as opposed to breastfeeding isn’t an easy decision, for some they don’t make enough milk, for others it’s a matter of mental health or perhaps for medical reasons you actually cannot breastfeed- whatever the reason you do not need to justify yourself.
Yes, midwives and hospital posters- we know, breastfed is best. Yes, random stranger who sees you pour formula into a sterilised bottled- we know it would be so much “easier” to just use what God has designed our bodies to produce but we’re not going for what is “best” by the standards of research or what is “easier” by the standards of convenience- we’re going for what works for me and my family.
So if you choose to formula feed and not even try breast feeding I cheer for you. I had a moment a few weeks ago where Raegan was struggling to poo (I know TMI..)- we were going on a few days. She would cry and only pass wind so I knew it was hurting her- I thought it may be the formula.. with tears in my eyes I felt to see if I had any milk (I had worked on suppressing my milk straight after she was born)- I barely had anything.. I felt so guilty for a split second and then snapped myself out of it and started working through exercises to help her poo. I was feeling guilty because of what other people had shamed me into thinking and feeling which was not okay.
So here we are 4 weeks later, she is actually a month old tomorrow and we are growing and thriving! We’re working out new routines for the girls and I and we are loving life (most days)! If you are where I was a few weeks ago, mumma, you have chosen to do what is best- don’t let anyone make you question your decision or shame you into thinking you’re not a great mum!
Well, on the 6th of May at 8:52pm Miss Raegan Jean decided to join us! After a quick labour (more to come on that another day) we were delighted to welcome her! I’m feeling amazing and the entire family is absolutely smitten including her big Sister Ava! I can’t wait to share more photos and thoughts on being mum of TWO girls!
Still pregnant.. 40 weeks + 2 days.. overdue and feeling it…
I read a post by a friend the other day about having gratitude in circumstances that we may deem as hard or terrible to help with perspective- so..things I am grateful for in this season of waiting..
- my health and the health of our unborn baby
- being able to carry a pregnancy to full term plus a few days extra
- a hospital, only a few minutes away from our home, that has all the facilities and technology to birth a baby without complications
- a roof over our heads so when this baby does come we have somewhere to bring her home to
- the financial peace (that has come from the Lord) that has enabled me to take months off of work to help nurture and be present with our children
- friends and family who have continually checked on us and offered to help with Ava when we do bring another little one home
Just naming a few of course, but we truly are so grateful, even in the waiting..
Instagram has definitely connected the world in a lot of wonderful ways such as me being able to find boutique small businesses that I would never have come across had I not used hashtags or spent a few time looking around on insta! Below are some of my favourite baby items for our new little one that I am loving!one- Linen Bow (3 little crowns) | two- Jumpsuit (Zara) | three- Cashmere Set (Zara) | four- Amie Dress (Jamie Kay) | five- Beret (Janie & Jack) | six- Muslin Swaddle (3 little crowns) | seven- Tiny Girl Gang T-shirt (Jean and June) Picture source here | eight- Newborn Moccasins (Freshly Picked)