Introducing Raegan!

It all began on Monday morning, the 6th of May- we woke up and decided to go into work with Greg. We had been home for a week earlier with no sign of baby so I had resided myself to the fact that the baby wasn’t going to come till I was over 42 weeks and needing to be induced..
Once we got into work Ava and I walked to the local cafe to get a coffee then headed to the park to try and waste some time. We spent the day plodding or more like waddling around the office and ended up leaving around 3pm.
I dropped Greg and Ava home and went grocery shopping considering the baby wasn’t coming for a week I actually meal planned and needed to buy groceries. I remember also stopping into Kmart to finish off a baby shower gift for a friend and browse through the aisles a little. Once I got home I noticed that I was bleeding a little- something similar had happened with Ava so I called the birthing unit who recommended I come in to be checked.
We loaded up my bags, called a friend that lives close by because of course my sister decided to work a double shift at her hospital that day and headed into Liverpool hospital. We got to the hospital at 5:42pm- the street parking in front of the hospital is free from 6pm (with 15 minutes free), so we parked and stood outside the car for 3 minutes waiting for the timer to tick over to 5:45pm so we wouldn’t have to pay for parking (that was how non urgent the situation felt!). At this point I had only had one contraction in the car.
We went up to the birthing unit- after about 20 minutes a midwife came in to put me on one of those machines that monitor contractions and heart rate. At this point I was starting to get contractions somewhat consistently but still nothing significant. After about 20 minutes of monitoring they took me off the machine and decided to do an internal examination. After two different midwives checking they confirmed that I was 5cm already! Greg and I were both shocked- I barely had felt any pain and I was already halfway there! Thank you Jesus!
I knew I wanted an epidural but the contractions were manageable at this stage so I didn’t want it yet as the midwife assured me that if I was coping I should keep going because the epidural is known to slow down labour.
Greg and I started walking the hallways as contractions started coming every minute. I could feel them starting to build so I’d stop and lean against the railing until they passed- Greg and I have an understanding that when I’m in pain I don’t want to be touched or rubbed or spoken to so he would literally just stand there until the contraction passed. I can’t remember what we talked about but the contractions were still manageable. I tried counting through them.. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 but after a few contractions It wasn’t helping me to cope- I just breathed through them which seemed to work a lot better.
Mum arrived around 7:30pm with dinner (McDonald’s)! I ate in between contractions. She suggested I get in the shower to see if that would help with the contraction pain.. so I jumped in the shower for about 20minutes.. at this time it was around 8:30pm. The midwife came in to see if I wanted to get an epidural- apparently the anaesthetist was next door doing another ladies one. She said he would be about 20min so I put my order in..

The two original midwives came in again and needed to examine me before the epidural- I had a contraction laying on the bed while the midwife confirmed that I was 10cm and needed to push. We were all in shock.. his words were- do you want the good news or bad news? I said good news first (obviously)- he said- you’re 10cm.. the bad news.. I finished his sentence- it’s too late for an epidural.. I distinctly remember saying “this can’t be happening…” I looked at Greg and started crying and he said to me “Steph.. you can do this.. regroup.. you can do this…”

The head midwife quickly started ordering the student midwife around asking for warm blankets etc. She started ripping the plastic off the tubing for the gas (pain relief) but the head midwife told her it was pointless- I was literally pushing..

I asked him whether I could sit on my knees and hold the top of the bed- with Ava I had had an epidural (which didn’t work) but I had to give birth on my back.. I quickly flipped over and hung off the top of bed- I felt a contraction build and started to push.. I think I pushed twice and suddenly heard Greg say “her head is out..” Followed by a frantic “stop pushing.. stop pushing… ” To be honest the pain was completely bearable.. I think because I knew what has to be done and I knew I was so close.. When I say bearable I mean it was a weird dull ache painful rather than oh my goodness I’m being stabbed or dying pain..

Two or three more pushes later and her body was out..

It was the quickest and easiest labour, especially compared to my first delivery! I have felt amazing since giving birth- barely any pain- I’ve already been out a few times and today we even went for a walk (without Greg)- though it took us a bit longer to get out the door we did it and loved it!

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The waiting game..

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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..

32 weeks pregnant..

This week I celebrate 32 weeks of pregnancy..

I wanted to give special honour to my husband and every husband out there who has journeyed through many months of pregnancy with their wives.

For every meal that has been cooked..

Every tongue bitten when we demanded just one more thing from downstairs..

For every foot rub and back rub..

For every run to the grocery store or rearrangement of schedule because we absolutely just cannot get up..

For every bath time and bed time routine, for every early morning when you whispered to our kids “let mum sleep I’ll play with you..”

For every compliment when we just can’t stand the sight of our ever changing bodies..

While we physically and mentally journey through growing a baby I can never understand the struggle to walk that road with us and not be able to take some of the pain or be able to share in the uncomfortablity of it all..

For every prayer you have prayed over me and your child to be..

For every offer of early morning coffee to help get me moving..

Thank you for loving the wife of your youth when she is so far buried beneath the weight of pregnancy and for journeying through many months of the recovery process at the end of it all.

You are more than just a champion, when I look at you I see the Lord and His love!

I love you more today than yesterday.

A new baby!

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here and so much has happened!

My husband gave me the whole guilt trip about letting this blog die.. well, here I am trying to resurrect it. WordPress has been less then inspiring so I’m currently looking for alternative platforms- send me your recommendations!

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If you only follow me on here (i.e. not on Insta) you should probably know that I am now almost 25 weeks pregnant! I know- time is flying! I partly didn’t want to post anything as I hadn’t told work yet before Christmas (I was barely showing) but now that everyone knows- here we are! This pregnancy has been great so far- barely any sickness, I managed to travel to the U.S for 3 weeks with only mild tiredness as well as attend a 5 day Conference in our capital city- I truly am blessed with really great pregnancies!

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Ava is getting used to the idea that there is a baby in mummy’s tummy- she has come with us to all of the scans so she often pretends to “check the baby” by putting objects on my stomach and listening for the heartbeat or pretending to look at the tv screen to see the baby! It’s very adorable! She’s also started calling the baby by name which has added a whole new dimension to it!

We are so excited to be adding to our family!

In my Diaper bag..

I had a reader ask me about what I carry in my diaper bag when Ava and I go out- I’m very much a no fuss kind of person in that I carry around what is needed- nothing more. I don’t think there is anything worse than rummaging through a bag of baby items trying to find a teeny tiny pacifier while your baby is screaming her head off so everything I have is practical.

*I used to carry around one extra outfit until she pooed through one day and I didn’t have a spare in case she did it again. My mum recommended always carrying around two changes of clothes which has served us well so far!

The weather will obviously dictate which onesies and items are needed- here in Sydney we’ve just headed into Spring, so the weather is somewhat cool hence the long sleeve onesies and beanie.

Also, depending on what time we go out I will bring a bottle (of breast milk). All the below items fit nicely into my diaper bag. I’ve tagged a similar diaper bag from Oroton as I can only find the one I have on ebay.  Hopefully this is helpful!!

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one- swaddle // two- 5-6 nappies // three- nappy bags // four- baby wipes // five- hand sanitizer // six- pacifier // seven- two singlets // eight and nine- two onesies // ten- baby sleeping bag // eleven- beanie // twelve- diaper bag (I have this one) // thirteen- two bibs

Introducing Ava!

IMG_1074It all began on Monday, the 22nd of August. We were at my grandma’s celebrating her 77th birthday..  I think it was mid cronut that I experienced, what I now know to be a contraction. I complained that my stomach hurt really bad- my mum quickly started arranging pillows on the couch so I could lay down, but just as fast as the pain came it went away.. It didn’t cross my mind that what I had experienced was a contraction. We all had a good laugh and kept eating dessert.

Fast forward a few minutes- I went to the bathroom where I had a bloody show however there was a lot of red fresh blood. We freaked out.. It’s one thing to see pale pink blood but another thing to see fresh red blood at 39/40 weeks pregnant.

We called the hospital who advised us to come in within the hour. If you know my husband, you know that he mentally began keeping track of the time. We quickly packed up our things and headed home- we needed to drop off the groceries I had bought just that morning and grab our toiletries in case we were having a baby that night!

About 10min out from the hospital we started feeling the car pulling to the right and a sound which resembled the beginnings of a flat tyre! We couldn’t believe it! We quickly pulled over (my mum had been following in her car) and began checking the tyre’s- It was slightly raining and I remember telling Greg that he should reverse and drive a little so I could look at the tyre’s.. I was having mild contractions. We couldn’t see any flat so we figured that there was a nail in one of the tyres. The stress level of my husband was beginning to sky rocket- remember his mental countdown of an hour? We were now at about 50 of the 60 minutes..

Praying we would be able to make it to the hospital without getting a flat tyre we quickly pulled back out onto the highway – after parking I had another contraction but it wasn’t long or super hard however I do remember having to breath through it.
We made our way in to the hospital- they gave me a gown and began the process of checking me. I was 3.5cm. Generally, they would send you home until you were dilated 4cm but because I was bleeding and had gestational diabetes they kept me at hospital.

They check you every 4 hours, but from 9:30pm Monday night till approx. 5:30am on Tuesday morning I had only progressed to 4cm and my waters hadn’t broken. At 7:45am (my next check) I was at 6cm and they decided to break my waters. Up until this stage the pain had been manageable- Greg was laying in the bed beside me, and as a coping mechanism I would grab his shirt and breath into it while shaking my leg. It sounds kind of ridiculous but it was helping me get through the pain quite effectively!

Around 10am the pain was becoming unbearable so I asked for the gas- I was bouncing on an exercise ball and sucking gas every time a contraction came around. The gas made me super queasy, and made the room spin, but it was taking the edge off of the contractions.

When I hit 7cm I decided to get into the bath- I wanted a water birth so I figured this would help progress things- big mistake. As soon as I got into the water and had my first contraction the pain was unbearable- there was nothing for me to push against or bounce up and down on- I think I had 3 contractions in the tub and decided that there was no way I could have the baby in the bath. I hit the wall of pain. I was desperate for an epidural.

Thank God the anaesthetist was on the floor- It felt like he appeared within minutes of me asking for the epidural. After telling me all the side effects that could happen as a result of getting an epidural we started getting situated to get the needle. All I kept telling myself was not to move. I had 3 contractions while he was trying to get the epidural in- I believe God helped me to barely feel them because I knew they were coming but I was able to block out the pain and sit like a rock. After hitting additional cartilage the first time, he found the right area the second time.

I was given a low block which took the pain but still allowed me to move my legs. Almost as soon as I got the epidural I started shaking- the shakes continued right up until I was pushing. This was probably one of the most traumatic parts for my mum. She coped really well (from what I remember) except seeing me shake and in so much pain.

Another thing I experienced was intense pressure every contraction. The epidural was fantastic but the pressure from her head was almost as painful as contractions so I was sucking the gas even though I had an epidural.

Fast forward to around 4:30pm and I was finally 10cm so I could begin pushing.

I can’t even describe the intense pain and pressure I felt.

The hour and a half of pushing was the most traumatic part of my labour. Between intense contractions I don’t remember much- my mum tells me that she would call my name because it was as if I lost consciousness between contractions. Once I felt a contraction coming I would “wake up” to a spinning room and push.

I can’t remember most of the pushing experience- I do remember lying to the midwife though when she asked me if a contraction was still there for a 4th push (we were doing sets of 3 pushes) and I lied saying no.. Of course she knew it was there- her hand was on my tummy..haha..You can’t just change the rules like that!

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After Ava was born and we checked if she was indeed a girl- we did skin to skin and started the recovery process.

Due to the intense pushing I broke blood vessels in my eyes and face. My eyes, 8 days on, have started clearing up but my face has pretty much gone back to normal.

Physically- I feel great considering I gave birth a week ago and I’m back in my pre-pregnancy clothes with only a little baby bump.

Birthing Ava was the most traumatic and difficult thing I have ever experienced but it was worth it!

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Swaddles and Blankets

Swaddles are some of my favourite items to look at in stores and find online! There are so many beautiful designs and fabric choices. I would love to create a range of swaddles to sell locally here in Sydney- maybe one day that dream will become a reality! Below are some of my current favourites!

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One- Watercolour Rose swaddle (Little Unicorn) // Two- I love you most blanket (Noah & Bowie) // Three- Jack Plaid swaddle (Little Unicorn) Four- Bison swaddle (Little Unicorn) // Five- Rose swaddle (Milkmaid Goods) // Six- Lightweight Marl Bears wrap (Noah & Bowie) // Seven- Our greatest adventure swaddle (How Joyful) // Eight- Wildflowers swaddle (Oh so Vera) // Nine- DIY Wrapped in love swaddle (Delia Creates) // Ten- Royal Blue Heart blanket (Yarning made) // Eleven- Teal tartan pom pom blanket (Kip and Co) // Twelve- Bible verse swaddle (Modern Burlap)

The “joys” of pregnancy!

If you are pregnant and you haven’t heard of Line Severinsen you need to look her up on instagram or google stat!

The mother of two and illustrator has created cartoons depicting the “joys” of pregnancy and motherhood! I have to admit, most of the pregnancy cartoons were hilarious and so very true! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has experienced some of the “un-said” experiences of pregnancy! Below are some of my favourite!

Tell your heart to beat again..

On the 15th of October I took a pregnancy test- we were trying to have a baby but felt that this month our chance had come and gone. So I took the test- there was a faint positive! Immediately I called a friend of mine to ask whether that meant I was pregnant even if it was faint.. Yep! You’re pregnant she almost yelled (as I scrambled to txt her a photo of the test). When we have news to tell we go big.. I pulled out a onesie I had bought for Greg which said “I’m awesome like dad” and placed the pregnancy test in the little pocket.

We had some washing on an indoor clothes horse so I pegged the little onesie to it and set up the laptop to record Greg’s response..

Fast forward- Greg was helping me take the clothes off the line when he started taking ALL the clothing off the line around the onesie but not the onesie- at this stage I was pretty much ticking so I pointed the onesie out to him to which he replied- “Yeah? Did you wash some of the baby stuff we had?” (someone had gifted us some baby clothes already) and then it all clicked when he saw the test hanging out the side. He was so shocked and excited! We made a plan to go over to my mums house and give her a mug we had made which said “I’m going to be an Oma again.” We were going out-of-town the following morning for a church trip so we wanted to tell her before we left.

There were lots of tears and congratulations- I ended up taking 3 tests- all of which were faint but still positives. It was something I will never forget!

Fast forward that weekend- it became a blur of church services, telling my best friend and taking more pregnancy tests. The problem was- the pregnancy test results were getting more faint rather than stronger- we thought it could be the time I was taking them or maybe I was super early which is why it wasn’t getting any stronger overnight.

I went to the doctor’s the day after we got home- they expedited the results so we could have confirmation of the pregnancy that afternoon. I sat in the waiting room for what felt like hours after work (but was only about 40min)- when the results came in it wasn’t good news. We had lost the pregnancy. I’ll spare you all the yuck details of everything else but it was such a devastating time in our lives.

In Australia, 1 in 4 women suffer a miscarriage. Not much is said on the subject- normally it’s in the first trimester (too early to share with friends) so you grieve in silence- your family may know, your spouse or partner, but the community is unaware. The people you do life with are in the dark so you’re torn between hating them for not caring or showing support and then realising you are crazy because they don’t know. I remember praying that through some jedi-mind trick someone would just know and say all the right things to me..

An ocean of tears were shed between Greg and I- questions of why and how –  I can only assume it would be more devastating actually hearing a heart beat and seeing your sweet baby on the ultrasound and then watching it pass from this world to the next.

We decided we wanted to try again as soon as we were able. It came with it’s own mental battles this time around- trying not to think of what had happened or feeling worry at the possible thought that we couldn’t get pregnant…but thankfully- not long after this we were pregnant again!

We have watched God fashion her limbs and her heart. We’ve seen her tiny fingers and her beautiful nose.

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We have watched as my belly has gone from somewhat of a burger belly (for the first 4 months) to a full baby belly (and is still continuing to grow).

At my doctors appointments they always start the conversation off by saying- so this is your first pregnancy, to which I always reply- no- second pregnancy but first baby.

To quote a comment I read last week from a band called Phillips, Craig and Dean “There’s so many  people who have experienced so much brokenness to their heart. And even though God the great surgeon has saved us and repaired us, covered us with His grace, sometimes it takes you and me to tell our own heart “beat again, love again, hope again.”

Recommended Apps

Today I bring you my top recommended apps! There are a lot of apps to choose from on iTunes if you put in the word “pregnancy” but the below have been tried by yours truly (and the husband) and are definitely the cream of the crop.

Apps

For those with gestational diabetes- MySugr

At this stage I’m only having to input my blood glucose levels however you can also put in your carbs, pills, how you’re feeling, reasons for possible high or low readings- you can also add in reminders and pictures. This app has been a lifesaver!

For those first time dad’s- Who’s Your Daddy?

With this being our first baby I wanted to find an app for Greg that was more visually appealing than What to Expect. The app comes with a built in checklist, contraction counter, weekly updates and daily tips. When setting up the app you input the name of your partner/spouse and child to be (if you have decided) and it personalizes the information each week.

A little side story- I came home late one night last week to Greg cleaning our toilets. This is normally his job but only when we’re “officially” cleaning the house. Apparently this app had mentioned that I was probably spending more time in the bathroom with all the extra weight pressing on my bladder. It has to be one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen him do!

For those first time (and 2nd, 3rd, 4th time) parents- What to Expect and The Bump

What to Expect is very informative as it details where your baby is at week by week. It also has built in videos for each week which goes into depth as to the milestones your baby is hitting. For most, the forum section on the app is fantastic! You can join one of the thousands of groups and share opinions and ideas with ladies from around the world. Personally, I was becoming obsessive about every little tweak I felt, or if another woman was experiencing something it started worrying me if I hadn’t felt that, so I decided to just completely ignore the forums. Each to his own.

As for The Bump- it is a very similar app to What to expect. I like the visual fruit and vegetables it gives for the size of the baby and the app, in general, is a lot more visually appealing.

If you use Instagram or Facebook- Baby Pics

This app is seriously so cute! They have banners that can be added to pictures categorized in themes: Dates, Holidays, Baby’s Firsts, On the Daily, Pregnancy etc

This app is modern and super easy to use!

For those that are pregnant- Dashlane

The amount of things I have forgotten while being pregnant is hilarious. Just yesterday I sent my husband off to work with his lunch which consisted of two slices of bread. I hadn’t put anything on the bread, or given him a spread for the bread- just two slices of bread. That is my most recent bout of forgetfulness! Dashlane stores all your passwords for all different social platforms (as well as computers, banks etc) in one place. Obviously you can’t be too careful so I have simply used it for general passwords which seem to be escaping me of late!