Are we done…?

IMG_2553.JPGLast night as my husband and I divided and conquered showers, bottles and bed times for our two girls he looked at me (as I passed our 3 month old out of the shower) and said “no more..” I knew exactly what he was saying and feeling and wholeheartedly agreed!

I doubt I’ll look back at this post and laugh with a growing belly.. but I guess who knows.. never say never people keep telling me..

My reasoning was- if I didn’t shed tears when I packed away the three zero clothing of Raegan’s or when I packed away the bassinet and baby bath for the last time that that meant I was done.. I’m not someone who has emotional attachment to things- you can ask any of my family members.. new car- cool.. new house- cool.. things can come and go and I really wouldn’t be phased.. what am I attached to? I don’t know.. I’m still trying to figure that out.. but I digress.. no tears were shed, no heart strings were pulled.. I didn’t feel sentimental or overcome by a feeling of loss. It wasn’t a hard or long road like many others I know and for that I will forever be grateful. But all that being said I think we’re done. I never felt “done” after Ava.. I always knew we would have number 2 but this time it seems pretty final.

Only after watching Maria Kondo’s organisation show did I get together little boxes of sentimental things for our family- never assuming that they would value that stuff (if the word stuff doesn’t show you how non-sentimental I am I don’t know what will..haha) later in life.

Deciding not to have more children is monumental- I know. It’s something that I’ve been praying about it and asking for the Lord’s direction on. I’ve seen people mourn over the decision, talk about a sense of loss or sadness but not me and I guess that’s what makes us all unique.  How about you? Do you feel like you’re done or is there a niggling feeling in your heart for another baby?

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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Enjoy the chaos, every glorious moment.. 

IMG_5556.jpgMothering is constant. From the moment your child is conceived you are forever changed. It’s one of the greatest, most challenging, most frustrating, most intriguing callings in this world.

When they are babies keeping you up all night, or busy toddlers ripping your just cleaned house to pieces, it seems the day will never be over.

You are tired, spent and exhausted but so in love with that little one!

Then they are teenagers and are persuaded they know so much about their world and how to rule it! Lol

Somehow, with much prayer and much love we help them thru those difficult years. It’s so important to be the parent, to establish this role very early. They will question you and ask why. You need the wisdom of God, and a strong fortitude to stand strong, stay true to The ways of God, love His Word, and be faithful in all your commitments to Him!

Nobody told me they would grow up and leave. I think this has probably been the hardest part of being a mother. I thought they would always be near, close by.

I have cried rivers over their leaving. Didn’t think I would ever get thru it, but I have made the adjustment, and I am stronger, and wiser. God is my refuge and strength.

Last week I had an Epiphany about my life, my life as a mother, and  a grandmother.

If you raise your children to be eagles then you can’t expect them to always stay. They must take wing and soar, find new adventure, conquer the highest mountains and new horizons. We must let them go, it’s not easy but it’s what we raised them to be. Independent, brilliant, beautiful and God inspiring. I do miss them and I guess I always will.

So a word to you darling Mother’s,  enjoy the chaos while it last! Every glorious moment!

…Words from the amazing, wonderful, full of life and love, Nancy Grandquist.

 

A Letter to my daughter

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IMG_5458IMG_5459IMG_5460Dear Baby Girl,

You are nearly 22 months old- well on your way to turning two.

You are an absolutely joy to have in our lives.

You are.. the joy of being woken in the morning with small hands patting my arm saying “hey”

You are.. the twirl and la grande jatte of a ballerina- full of life and joy

You are.. all the kisses and smiles

You are.. all the words of a love I never knew existed

You are.. the smile that lights my face when I leave work and know I am coming home to you

You are.. God’s perfect creation

You are.. so very loved by me

Milestone Mission Potty

motherhood- great mountain top experiences & deep dark valleys.pngWe have friends that have one baby and friends who have four. Us first time mums over-worry and over-compensate we probably over-research too. I also self reflect when I’m around mum’s who have multiple children- observing how they discipline or how they manage multiple children. How do they split their time? Do I like the dynamics- are there things I can do better or implement with Ava? I self examine way too much but that’s something to explore another day and time.

Last week, on Thursday morning to be accurate I picked Ava up out of her crib around 7am, we brought her into our bed (like normal) while Greg went and made her up her bottle. Her and I lay staring at each other- sharing kisses and baby babble. We went through her morning ritual of asking where all the people were that she knows- papa, bubu, tutu, nanny.. they are constant questions throughout the day..

Greg brought her bottle up and she proceeded to drink most of it (like normal) but then she sat up, turned to me and said poo-poo.

Back-story we have been working on pointing out the potty to her. Telling her no more nappies.. poo poo goes in the toilet (she calls the toilet ‘toto’).

I put her down and we raced to the bathroom. I took her nappy off, put her on the potty and after about 10 seconds I saw the little trickle of wee going into the potty! This may be too much information but this is a parenting blog for goodness sake.. We yelled and celebrated- we shared multiple high fives.. Greg even got out of bed and gave her a few high-fives! Once she had finished I grabbed some toilet paper and just sat there looking at her partly because I didn’t know what to do- do I lean her forward and wipe, do I have her stand and wipe, what happens to the toilet paper- do I put it straight into the big toilet or teach her to put it in the potty.. so many questions…and I partly sat there startled that we had reached another milestone. I am seriously tearing up typing about this experience. We had, week after week, encouraged her to go to the potty and now that she had she had crossed into this new stage of independence. Our once little baby girl who couldn’t even hold her head up is going to the bathroom by herself!

When you are married you quickly form a rhythm and routine with your new spouse, with young children everything is new and exciting- new skills are learnt constantly, milestones are faced and conquered..what a journey it continues to be!

I have found motherhood to be full of great mountain top experiences of joy and proudness and at the same time deep dark valleys of fogginess and exhaustion. This balancing act, I’m sure, doesn’t get any easier as they grow, but boy do they grow and I am blessed to be able to watch that happen and be right alongside her for every experience!

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What I’m currently listening to..

Working as a sales person part-time means I am on the road quite often for work. If you live in Sydney you know how chaotic the traffic is- it’s very organised chaos but still chaos. We live 22 minutes away from work when there is no traffic, but it can take me well over an hour in traffic. Not discrediting the blessing of having a car and being able to drive sometimes it can be very tedious! While I am 100% not a fan of long road trips, actually just last night we were chatting with a few friends who mentioned that taking a road trip and listening to podcasts hours on end is a dream for them.. I almost broke out in hives. Greg, my husband, listens to a podcast when he runs on 1.5 speed or something crazy like that. Who, in their right mind, runs 10kms and listens to someone speak on fast forward and finds it enjoyable?

I also like silence in the car- odd right? Greg has teased me about this since the day we met. I help to lead our Music Team at the church we attend- I am constantly listening to music to find new material or learning a new song, but when I am in the car I love the silence that it brings. If you think about life we are very rarely ever in complete silence. Maybe very late at night when everyone has gone to sleep but that’s normally the time I am trying to fall asleep as well! From the minute our babies wake up in the morning they are usually learning new words or simply cooing and ahhing. While they nap during the day we generally will watch something or respond to emails, or catch up on missed phone calls.

I said all that to say that while I’m not keeping up to date with a podcast every day I don’t mind an episode or two while I’m driving to and from work a few days a week. Below is a roundup of my top go-to’s at the moment. From motherhood to random facts I love the content these authors are creating!

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TED Talks Daily |  Glorious in the mundane |  The Moth |  99% Invisible | Coffee + CrumbsAwesome with AlisonCraig Groeschel LeadershipFocus on the family

It’s been a while..

Wow.. I didn’t realise I hadn’t posted in 2 months! Life has gotten busy to say the least.. and I’ve been in a bit of a funk. I don’t feel like I have anything very interesting to say.. they say comparison is the thief of joy.. well there are A LOT of amazing bloggers out there with amazing families and kids and DIY projects.. and here’s little ole’ me from the backside of Sydney just trying to juggle one child and a part-time job.. It’s been hard.

Ava tuned one while I was on a bit of an unexplained break- YAY! We had a great week of celebrations with her. She ate way too many sweets and had one to many servings of cake, but I’ve adapted the motto- if it won’t kill her let’s give it a try.. my how times have changed. I didn’t pull out my good camera once for her birthday so you’ll just have to head over to instagram to see a little snapshot of weekend parties!

She has gotten way more talkative! Her vocab is probably around 20 words now.. and her second top tooth has finally caught up to her first top tooth- YAY! Symmetry for the win!

With Ava turning one has come a whole new set of struggles. Last night was actually the worst she’s ever acted- my husband and I looked couldn’t help but look at each other in shock. She is strong-willed and defiant! We will tell her for e.g. not to drop her water bottle off her highchair- she’ll pick it up and throw it over the edge. We smack her hand (yep..we lightly smack her hand), pick the water bottle up and say “no, leave it on your highchair”. This will happen two or three times- by now the tears are starting to fall. She will stop pushing the bottle of the highchair for a minute or two, and then put her hand on it as if daring us to do something. She will then look at either my husband or I in the eye and as if in slow motion push her bottle of the highchair.. argh!! It drives me nuts!!

We love her to death, but we are definitely on the parenting journey. I constantly struggle with the thought of “am i harming or helping her.” Are our boundaries and discipline too soon, or are we actually helping shape her for her 2’s and 3’s?

I don’t think you are ever prepared to become a mum or dad.. it’s so much more than getting pregnant and birthing a child.. you actually have to now raise them..

It’s such an emotional, exciting, overwhelming, crazy role to live out.. One that we are extremely grateful for.. but boy.. is it challenging!

For any mumma’s out there- I’m sure you’re doing an amazing job.. It’s okay to countdown the minutes till bedtime.. It’s okay to hide in the bathroom and eat that chocolate bar.. it’s okay to reminisce about when it was just you and your partner or when you didn’t have to vacuum for the ONE THOUSANDTH TIME! It’s okay to dream of that rug in your living room that was once spotless but is now COVERED with little specs of food.. it’s okay to struggle to remember when you last showered or actually finished a meal or a hot cup of tea… oh sorry.. did I lose some of you there? Guys.. I am totally being real right now.. this journey is challenging.. but if you asked me to do it all over again I would say yes in a heart beat. I would literally give my life for my baby girl..and you know.. the past is never as great as you remember it.. and who else will feed the tiny ants that you sure are living in your rug anyways?

Woven- To know her is to love her..

For those who have just started following Growing A Bebé, Woven is a new series of stories from the women around me- their stories of labour, love and growing their little families.. I hope you see the imperfect perfect of this experience we call motherhood in the tapestry of stories woven by each woman..

My next guest in our series, Woven, is a dear friend of mine who I look up to so very much. She has been my Pastor’s wife for nearly 8 years- side plug, if you’re looking for a church in Sydney, come along and check out ours here– it’s an amazing church!

She has two children, a beautiful daughter named Qiana and an amazing little boy called Joaquin! To have met her is to love her.. trust me..

You know those people who, when they hug you, are really hugging you? Like they are conveying their love and support with how tightly and confidently they hug you? She is one of those ladies.

Today, I introduce to you Robyn Harvey!

FullSizeRender (1).jpgRobyn (far right), Joaquin (bottom right) and Qiana (middle)

Okay, so here we go..

How big is the family you come from? I come from a family of 4 kids. I am the youngest of the four. I have 2 older sisters and an older brother. There is a 13 year gap between my oldest sister and I.

Can you tell me a bit about your family? My parents and siblings migrated here to Australia in the mid 1970’s. My parents were Pastors in the Methodist Church in Fiji. An opportunity arose for the position of a Pastor in the Northern Sydney suburb of Berowra that was offered to my father. There were strong links between the Australian Methodist and the Fijian church. It was a leap of faith for my parents to move their family to a country that they did not know. My siblings were young then and I was not in the picture yet.

They found it difficult to adjust to a new culture in the beginning and were faced with many challenges. My father was the first non- Australian minister to pastor an all Australian church. They were interviewed by 3 of the local papers at that time and published in the local news. We lived in Northern Sydney for a few years and moved around Newcastle, Yallambie Heights, Berowra and Hornsby, where I was born.

*I tried to find this article, but with it being so long ago I didn’t have any luck! 😦

Okay, so now onto your own family! How many children do you have? I have 2 children.- Qiana & Joaquin, who are my world.

How were your pregnancies? My first pregnancy I had morning sickness up until I was about 7 months. Towards the end, I had a lot of fluid and couldn’t wear closed shoes for the last few weeks and I had put on about 15kgs…yikes! With my 2nd pregnancy, it was great. Morning sickness ended at the 3 months mark and I had a pleasant pregnancy, no fluid like the first one and I was able to wear most of my normal clothes until I was about 7 months.

Where did you have your children? I had them both at Liverpool Hospital.

..and Natural or C-Section? I had a natural birth for both children. I was in labour with my daughter for about 16 hours. I was induced and had to be laying on the bed. Through the excruciating contractions I was unable to walk around or stand as I was strapped with the drip in my arm as well as the machine that was monitoring baby’s heart rate. With my son, I was in hospital at around 11:30pm in the evening and gave birth at 4:37am, it was a much shorter labour and less intense.

If you had to narrow down one of the things you struggled with the most, being a new mum, what would you say?

The hardest thing I struggled with becoming a new Mum was listening to all the different advice that people would give me. It was confusing and overwhelming at times. My mum would tell me how it should be done, the midwives would tell me what I need to do, my friends would tell me something different along with all the many pregnancy and baby books I had bought for myself. Who do I listen to?

We normally only see Joaquin and Qiana at church on Sunday where everyone is either serving, or participating in the service. I asked Robyn to share a funny story involving her kids!

Well, my son never crawled due to his low muscle tone, so he would roll everywhere instead to get around. (Well one day) I left him on the lounge room floor on the playmat to get his lunch ready. When I returned to the lounge room, I couldn’t see or hear him anywhere, I panicked a little and started calling his name out, but he wasn’t responding. After I had called out his name a few times, I heard a small voice that sounded distant, I kept talking to him until I could find where the voice was coming from. As I approached the sofa in the lounge room, it got louder. I got on my knees and looked under the couch and there he was, with the biggest smile on his face chewing on his, “chewy tube” (therapeutic tube) for babies with sensory issues. Cheeky monkey.

Let’s talk about work..Did you work outside of the home when you had children?  Yes, I did work outside of the home. At the time I was a Case Manager for a Welfare Organization working and supporting single young mothers who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. I worked 3 days a week. Qiana was in Family Day Care for those 3 days. By the time my son was born, my mother was on her way to retiring and was only working 2 days a week. So she arranged her roster to work on the days I had off and then she would have her days off when I went to work for the 3 days. This worked out really well for the next 5 years until my son was in Kindergarten.

Where, are you currently working? Well, in 2014 the program I worked 16 years for, lost funding and I was made redundant. I then worked for another Welfare Organisation in the CBD for just over a year, whilst studying my Diploma for Interior Design. When I completed my Diploma, I felt like I needed a career change after working in the Welfare Industry for 17 years. Interior Design has always been my passion. I started my own Interior Design/Styling Business (Salt & Light Interiors) in September 2016. I work for myself from home and I also do Freelance Interior Styling for a styling company in the City.

Robyn is an amazing interior designer- so I’ll make a little plug here, if you are looking for an interior designer in Sydney- I cannot recommend her enough! Her company is linked here: Salt & Light Interiors.

What do you find the hardest thing now is, at this stage of life with your children?

My daughter is now a teenager, that just says it all. Dealing with a teenage girl has proven to be difficult and challenging at times. I guess adolescence is a difficult stage in life, having to deal with changes in the body, mood swings, hormones etc I’m learning everyday.

My son is turning 10 this year and he has an Intellectual Disability. We have had quite a journey with him, one of many challenges and obstacles, but also one of growth and many triumphs. His journey has not been easy, and will continue to be that way throughout his life. He is a placid boy who is very gentle in nature and always has a smile on his face. We will face more mountains to come as he gets older but with the support of our wonderful family, friends and therapists it makes a world of difference. We are so very thankful and so blessed.

As we round up our interview, could you give one piece of advice to a new mum out there?

My one piece of advice to a new mum is always, “Sleep when baby sleeps”. It is so important to be rested in our bodies physically and mentally. Having a new baby is such a wonderful and joyous life event for us but it can also be a very stressful one, having had a enough sleep helps you to think better as well as feel better.