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Belly Birth – Remy’s Birth Story

I am a proud belly birther.

When I was preparing for my birth, a cesarean was the absolute last thing I wanted to do.

However, as the day of Remy’s birth drew near, and I thought more and more about our options, I decided that if a cesarean was needed then I would go with the flow.

As it turned out, we had a cesarean. I told the doctors as they were getting the paperwork ready for the operation that I wanted it to be called a “surprise cesarean” rather than an emergency cesarean because, there was no emergency or life-threatening factors attached to the cesarean. The simple fact was my waters had broken hours ago and risk of infection was increasing, Remy was stuck, I was at 6cm and we were all exhausted and wanted him here already.

I was wheeled up the theatre, dosed up on drugs and waited for my baby to be born.

I had my favorite artist playing over the stereo, and I tuned into the music as the doctors did their thing.

I heard Remy’s cry and I teared up. He was finally here, and it was over. Nine months of waiting all brought down to a single moment. They bundled him up and handed him to us to hold while I was stitched up.

My baby was in my arms and that is all I needed. How he got here did not matter.

Having a cesarean is not an event it’s a journey. It is major surgery and takes time to recovery, physically and emotionally. There are days where I feel tenderness and pain around the scar. And there are days where I look at myself in the mirror and feel disgusted by my body. And then, there are days where I have freedom of movement and am proud of myself and my strength and my ability to birth my baby.

If you were to look at me nurturing, feeding, playing with, and loving my baby, you would never know the birth journey we had.  You would only see and happy mum and a thriving bub.

Be proud and stand strong, my fellow belly birthers . You are warrior women!

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Welcoming Olivia – A Birth Story

Pregnancy Massage Practitioner Clare Houston, shares the story of birthing her second daughter, Olivia.

It is hard for me to believe but darling daughter #2 is turning 5 in two weeks. Olivia is strong-willed and passionate, and I cannot believe she will be in prep next year. With that in mind, I thought I would share Olivia’s birth story. Every birth story is unique, and I hope my story can help some other women who may be experiencing a similar situation.

I was desperate to have this baby to be out and, in the world. The pregnancy itself was good, the only “problem” was that she was tracking big. But with having a toddler who climbed all over me all day, pelvic instability which made moving in bed or even walking very hard, but I had done this once before so I could do it again.  I wanted her out as soon as possible. I was still overdue though when contractions started.

Eventually the hospital set a date to be induced, I was relieved to say the least. I was even starting to show signs of labour, which was great, it meant my body was doing what it was designed to do. This fact even helped me while talking to the insurance company about a recent bingle. While I was talking to them over the phone, I mentioned I was having a contraction and we didn’t pay a cent!

The day before the induction, at about 2am I felt the strongest pains I had felt yet and knew that this was the day. My partner Macgregor helped me to attach the TENS machine at home and we called the hospital. The contractions were about 3 mins apart. They suggested we come in.

We knew from attending our childbirth preparation class that the transition to hospital can slow contractions. Macgregor and I were confident that the contractions would return soon. The midwives set me up in the birth suite and of course, my contractions slowed. Half an hour later the midwives came back in and told me I wasn’t in labour and should go home.

I was livid! I trusted my body and knew the contractions would return.  For one of the few times in my life I stood my ground and said I would be coming back in 24 hours anyway.  I said “I am not leaving, can you break my waters and see what happens.” I was all but crying to get them to agree. I was planning to sit in the waiting room all day if need be. I couldn’t go home and stress dearest darling daughter #1 (she can be a worry wart) and mother-in-law had come in at 3am to look after her. And did I mention I was so done with this pregnancy!

So finally, after a staff change, they agreed and put in the cannula and attached the monitors, all “just in case”, then they broke my waters. The contractions did start to pick up again. I spent a lot of time on the Swiss ball, trying to find comfort in the waves.

I hit the point where I knew I needed to push, and it was about then they decided my contractions were not regular enough and they would start the drip to help them along. I was concerned about using the drip because during my previous birth I felt it was too intense and I had no chance to rest or catch my breath between contractions. But I was at the point where I wanted this baby out and knew I had to let go. In what felt like five minutes, Olivia was earthside and in my arms.

Because the midwives worked with me during the pushing stage, I was able to come away without tearing or any major issues. The midwives left me and Mac alone for a while to get acquainted with our little girl.

We were overjoyed and I was proud of myself for standing up and telling the midwifes and doctors what I wanted during the birth.

I hope that my birth story helps you to stand up and speak up for your needs in the delivery room. In the clinic, I hear so many stories where families did not have the birth they envisioned because they felt disempowered and unable to speak up for their needs.  And while I didn’t like giving birth and it was uncomfortable and painful, I know I did the best job I could, and you will too.

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Magical Memories

Create the perfect first-birthday celebration with our four simple tips!

How exciting are first birthdays?!

As a parent, you know that have survived the first year of parenthood. You have made it through all the ups and downs, from trying to figure out what to do with a newborn, to learning how to soothe and settle to get them sleep, how to deal with a poonami and generally dealing with all the challenges thrown your way.

You may be sleep deprived and need a week in bed, but that one-year milestone is exciting and should be celebrated. But what do you do for a one-year-old that has not got any concept of time or any clue that a year has even passed? Our Pregnancy Massage specialist and mum of two, Clare is here to share with you how she helped to celebrate this milestone and the special traditions she has created for her family.

Keep It Simple!

Clare recommends keeping the birthday celebrations simple. We can easily get overwhelmed and put too much pressure on ourselves to make everything “perfect”. A small gathering of family and close friends at home or in a park is the perfect way to commemorate your little ray of sunshine’s first birthday.

When it comes to feeding the tribe, a few simple snacks, sausage rolls, finger sandwiches, chips and dips is the perfect way to keep your guests happy. You could always share the load by asking guests to bring a plate.

Ask Some Questions

Make the day memorable and have your to guests fill out a questionnaire while they were at the party. All about what they love about your little bundle of joy! You could ask things like:

  • how do I know you?
  • When you grow up, I think you will be…
  • my favorite memory of you is….
  • what is 2021 like (or whatever year they were born)
  • what will 3039 be like (18 years in future)
  • words of wisdom

And of course, ask your guest to sign the questionnaire.

These questionnaires form a part of a time capsule to help you plan for your little one’s 18th Birthday. How special is that? Not only will you make the first birthday memorable, but you are also planning to make future birthdays truly special!

Get it on Video

As your little one gets older, you can involve them in creating a birthday time capsule video diary. Asking them questions about their favourite things and keeping the recording for a later birthday. You could ask things like:

  • Who is your best friend?
  • what do you want to be when you grow up?
  • what is your favorite colour?
  • what is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What is your favorite TV show?
  • what is your favorite song?
  • what is your favorite activity?
  • what scares you?
  • what makes you smile?
  • what makes you laugh?
  • what do you love?

As well as this Clare also suggests writing your child a letter telling them about all of their achievements of the year.

Remember to print off those precious memories that you have captured on your phone. This will make your child birthday time capsule even more exciting.

The Perfect Gift

When it comes to gift giving, keep it practical. Toys are fun, but children often get bored very easily. And some parents may not enjoy a noisy toy waking them up at 6am. In Clare’s experience, the best gift has been quality time with family, especially grandparents, aunties and uncles, experiences such as trips to the zoo and clothes that are practical for the next season as we all know kids grow like weeds.

At the end of the day, the first birthday is more about the parents than the child. They have put so much aside and feel at times forgotten, so remember to get yourself something special to celebrate your first year of parenthood.

This blog was written by Clare Houston, Pregnancy Massage Practitoner and Remedial Massage Therapist. To book an appointment with Clare click here.

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The 1 Thing I Did Not Plan For During My Pregnancy

**Disclaimer: This is my personal story and journey with postnatal anxiety and depression. I am not looking for advice or opinions regarding my personal journey. I have professional support and a strong friends and family network. **

During pregnancy you do a lot of preparing for baby. You buy furniture, bedding and linen, cute little baby clothes, nappies, a pram and various items to make the home a safe and nurturing place for your new bundle of joy.

I did all these things. I prepared to bring my baby home and love him and nurture him.

What I did not plan for was the possibility of getting postnatal depression and anxiety.

In the days after Remy’s birth I was extremely emotional. And I figured it was normal. All of the hormones, lack of sleep and joy that is the rollercoaster of a newborn. I was like, “yep, it’s just the baby blues.”

BUT – the tears lasted. What I thought was normal anxiety about my baby’s health and wellbeing spiraled into depression. I can vividly remember on a Sunday afternoon being curled up in bed, sobbing inconsolably, while Remy was crying as well, and my partner had to soothe the both of us. Not only was I overly emotional and sleep deprived, but I was also telling myself horrible things.

Things like: “I am rubbish at this”, “I am a terrible mother”, “Remy deserves better than me”.

The scariest thoughts for me were thoughts of just packing up and leaving in the middle of the night or taking Remy to my parents’ and just driving away.

The new role of motherhood was something I never could have prepared for. The loss of independence, putting my professional career on hold, being stuck on the couch breastfeeding, and being covered in spew. I did not have time to eat or go to the toilet some days. I did not feel like myself. In fact, I had completely lost my identity. No-one asked about me anymore. All questions were directed at Remy. How is he sleeping? How is he feeding? Is he gaining weight? Is he happy? I became invisible.

The turning point came when I was at the 6-week Maternal Child Health appointment for Remy. Our MCH Nurse, Karen, asked how I was doing, and I burst into tears. Karen listened to how I was feeling and requested a mental health care plan with my GP. I felt relief and fear simultaneously. I was relieved to know that someone was looking out for me and wanting to help me. And fear because I felt like a failure as a mum.

Once I recognized that I wasn’t coping, I put a few things in place. As well as seeking counselling, I arranged for post-partum support with my doula. I told my sister that I wasn’t doing well and now she checks in with me daily. I arranged with my partner for some “Laura time” on weekends and arranged with my parents for a break during the week. I made the plan to return to work.

I now feel as though the dark cloud of depression is lifting. I am crying less and not having big emotions all the time. I can see the difference between the good days and not so good days. I am being kinder to myself. I am talking to my sister and partner when I am not feeling so good, instead of keeping it to myself. I am getting counselling.

I know I am not “cured” and I still have a long way to go. I am in a much better place now. And I know that if I keep doing what I am doing, reaching out to my support network, I will be able to be the mother that I need to be for my child.

This week is PANDA week, a week dedicated to raising awareness on perinatal mental health. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men experience perinatal anxiety and depression. Strong Independent Men and Women Ask for help and accept help. If you are not feeling yourself, and think you need support, speak to your GP, MCH nurse or a trusted friend or family member. This is the first step in feeling better. It’s hard to do, and so important.

Important Contacts:

PANDA National Helpline (Mon to Sat, 9am – 7.30pm AEST/AEDT) 1300 726 306

Lifeline 24/7 Crisis Support 13 11 14

Beyond Blue Support Service  via telephone 24/7 1300 22 4636

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The #1 Thing You Must Ask All New Mums

I’m going to cut right to the chase with this post. I am going to be extremely vulnerable and put myself out there and be seen. I hope that in doing so, this will help other mums too.

The transition for motherhood has not been an easy one for me.

I am dealing with postnatal anxiety, which feels like it is impacting every aspect of my ability to cope as a parent, and as a person. I am seeking support from professional services and have an amazing support network in place.

I love my son so much and feel grateful for him every day.

There is just one thing I ask all those out there that have a friend or family member that is a new mum (or even a second on third time mum).

ASK HER HOW SHE IS GOING – REALLY

And ask her this BEFORE you ask about the baby.

She may say she is “fine” and that is OK. Not every person wants to go into the full extend of their psyche. And most often we have trouble asking for help.

But just ask the damn question.

Drop off a meal, groceries, or other personal care products, without her having to ask. Leave it at her door and send her a text message to let her know you are thinking of HER not just her baby.

Call her and talk to her and don’t ask about her baby for the first 10 minutes of the call. Never ask her if she has a “good” baby, or if the baby sleeps through the night. These questions are annoying and dumb.

A new mother is going through a massive change. She has lost her identity, her interests, her paid job, her hobbies. and she has gained a huge responsibility, a job that does not have immediate gratification, no time to figure out her own needs and wants and desires.

So as lockdowns start to lift and you want to visit your first who had a baby during the pandemic, maybe ask to hold her first.