A Mum For All Ages

Last week, we had many [MANY!] consecutive days of really bad behaviour from my children. They were constantly being rude, disrespectful, disobedient, naughty, out-of-control, and I swore I listed out enough punishments to last them until the were 18 year old.

I was convinced that I was bringing up a bunch of horrible little people. And I felt like such a horrible mother.

Anyway, this email landed in my inbox last week, and well, I was having a vulnerable moment, and it made me cry a little.

A 3 year old a child will say, ”Mummy I love you!!”

At 10 years old they’ll say, ”Whatever Mum.”

At 16 years, “My mum is so annoying!!”

At 18 years, “I’m leaving this house.”

At 25 years, ”Mum, you were right.”

At 30 years, ”I want to go to my mum’s house.”

At 50 years, ”I don’t want to lose my mum.”

At 70 years, “I would give up everything to have my mum here with me.”

Making Baby 3 – The Hospital Stay

I have been very, very lucky with my third pregnancy. The labour was pretty much text book, and there were no complications on my part. Just two small stitches, for those of you who know what that’s about.

When the doctor put Liam in my arms, I was overcome with the joy of meeting my little boy!

But the doctor, who sees babies being born four or five times a week, was carefully watching Liam’s breathing. After about two minutes, he decided that Liam was not breathing quite right, so he took him away from me and connected a blood oxygen monitor to Liam’s tiny foot.

His oxygen levels were a little low, but improved when pure oxygen gas was blown on his face for him to breathe.

They doctor asked me if it was okay with me to put Liam in a plastic box called an infant incubator, where he could be kept warm, and breathe added oxygen, and be monitored by a special nurse. Of course, I wanted to make sure he was getting off to a good start, so I said yes.

Liam in the Infant Incubator
(Liam in the incubator. Here, he is about an hour old.)

After I had a shower and cleaned up, I went to visit Liam. And about an hour after he was born, he had his first feed. This was another hurdle that can come up for a newborn, that is, if they don’t quite “get” how to attach to the breast for feeding. But I am glad to say that Liam was a natural.

By the next morning, it was quite clear that Liam was just fine, and didn’t need to be in the incubator any more. So we shared a little room all to ourselves. He did just what a perfect baby was supposed to do at this stage – eat and sleep. As a result, I could also pretty much just eat and sleep.

At the end of the first full day, my husband brought Callum and Sean to visit, and they were so excited… for five minutes. After waiting 9 months, they were expecting to meet a super hero, but what they found was a little red lump who didn’t do very much.

Karen, Callum, Sean and Liam
Me, Callum and Sean looking into crib. The boys are underwhelmed.

The novelty of having a new brother wore off very quickly, and then they were more interested in playing with the remote control on the hospital bed: Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Half way up. Half way down. Back up a little bit. Back down a lot. Argh it drove me crazy!

By the end of the second day, things were so well that I was bored. Nothing was wrong, and I didn’t need any help.

However the last time I had a baby, I developed mastitis (infection in my milk ducts), so I thought it best to stay in hospital till after “my milk came in”.

When you have a baby, your breasts don’t produce milk immediately and instead baby drinks a substance produced by your breasts, called colostrum. It’s kind of like a training course for the baby’s digestive system, with a built in immune system upgrade. Babies are actually getting their calories from their own fat supply, and their weight goes down immediately after birth, not up. It takes 3-4 days for the “milk to come in”.

This is a polite medical way of saying that you wake up one morning, and suddenly, your breasts are doubled in size and have become extremely firm – like melons. This may sound like a miracle, but actually, it can be very, very, VERY painful. The suddenness of this volume of milk can cause problems, and so I had to be hooked up to a milking machine, just like a cow. This provides such a relief from the pain that I don’t mind the humiliation!

The Milking Machine
My milking machine. My good friend.

But, by the fourth morning, my doctor came by and said that I should just go home. Everything was just going so well. So I picked up my new baby, and took him home to start his life with our family.

I am so grateful for such an easy start.

Liam 2 Days Old
Liam looking cute, two days old.

Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.

Daily Outfit – 3 weeks Post Pregnant

Daily Outfit - 3 Weeks Post Pregnant

So I am about 3 weeks post-pregnant, and I am very relieved to be small again – I can walk! I can jump! I can bend over to pick something up!

And most importantly… I can fit into my skinny jeans!! (They’ve got a bit of stretch to them.)

Today is Easter Monday. It’s a public holiday here in Australia and we’re off to an afternoon lunch with family.

I’m wearing a One Teaspoon t-shirt I bought in a shop along Bondi Beach, Sydney. An old pair of jeans that I recycled and turned into skinny jeans. Red faux snakeskin flats I bought at some markets in Melbourne.

Liam wears a yummy cotton romper from Baby’s Got Style.

Making Baby 3 – The Birth Story

It is Saturday morning. My two boys wake up early and play happily in their room, while my husband and I sleep in.

It is a nice slow start to an easy morning. We all have eggs and toast for breakfast, then I sit in the garden, sip a cup of tea and read a book.

I have a phone conversation with an aunt – no, no signs of labour yet. After 40 weeks of waiting, I have given up expecting signs.

11:45am – I suddenly feel a little twinge in my abdomen. It is unlike any other twinge I have felt in the past weeks. It is like a light squeezing in my stomach. It goes away, then it comes back again a few minutes later.

12:00pm – I start to track the twinges. They come every 5 minutes, so I casually mention this to my husband. He starts to pack the car and get the boys ready to go. We make a few phone calls to my mother and the hospital. I move around and gather all my things and re-pack my bag. The twinges don’t hurt at all.

1:00pm – We drive to the hospital. My husband drops me off, then drives to my mother’s house to drop the boys off. I chat happily to the receptionist, and I get the impression that she doesn’t believe I am in labour. To be honest, it doesn’t really feel like I am.

1:30pm – I am taken to a birthing suite, and introduced to a midwife. She spends a considerable amount of time fussing around with her preparations – shuffling paperwork, laying out implements, making sure various machines work, opening packets of this and that. I sit on a chair and watch her.

My contractions are so mild that once again, I’m happily chatting away about the cute little garden courtyard outside the birthing suite.

The midwife hands me a few bits of paper for me to look at. They turn out to be the hospital food menus! She wants me to choose what I’m going to be eating for the next few days!  There is no sense of urgency.

Making Baby 3, The Birth Story
Shall I choose the vegetable lasagna or the… oh wait I’m having a contraction… or the assorted sandwiches?

2:00pm – The midwife does an internal examination, to see how far my cervix has opened up (dilated) . She is pretty surprised – it is already 7cm! Since we only need to have 10 centimeters to get baby out, this is pretty advanced.

The midwife now believes that I am very close to having a baby! She calls the doctor, who says he is coming right in. Suddenly, things are happening. I really AM having a baby!

2:15pm – The midwife wants to establish a baseline for my contractions and baby’s heart rate, while things are “quiet during the labour”. She straps a little metal disc to my belly and shows me how the monitor works. My contractions are still really mild. I’m absolutely fascinated by the machine, and spend ages watching the graph rise and fall with each contraction.

My husband arrives and makes a joke about hoping to have missed the baby arriving. With nothing to do, he looks at the food menu. We both think it’s hilarious that I’m HAVING A BABY and the hospital staff want me to decide on what food I want to eat. It doesn’t seem real.

2:30pm –The doctor arrives. He is wearing sandals, board shorts and a very loud floral print shirt. But hey, this is Australia, and it is the weekend after all. He says I don’t look like I am having a baby, and we banter about how convenient it is to have a baby on a Saturday afternoon (as opposed to a midweek 4am delivery). I don’t make any jokes about his shirt.

3:00pm – They take me off the monitor, and I pace up and down the birth suite to try and get things going. I occasionally sit on a large rubber ball thing to relieve the weight on my legs and back.

Making Baby 3, The Birth Story
Pfffft, third time around is too easy! Let’s have a fourth!

My contractions still feel like a mild period pain. The doctor asks whether I want to have my “waters broken” – referring to the membrane that holds the fluids and baby within the cervix. This will quickly progress the labour. I say YES! The doctor uses a special little tool to break my waters.

3:30pm – About half an hour after having my waters broken, the contractions are finally starting to hurt. They feel like very strong abdominal cramps now, lasting a minute. I focus on steady and deep breathing through each contraction, which help me significantly.

4.00pm – My cervix is almost fully dilated to 10cm. Each contraction is becoming stronger and stronger, so that I can’t talk. Each contraction is pushing my baby’s head down into my cervix.

4.20pm – The contractions are now so strong that I can’t stand up. I crawl onto the bed, and trying sitting and lying in different positions.

I suddenly feel the urge to push. The doctor checks me, I’m fully dilated.

And just like in the movies, everyone in the room seems to shout out “PUSH!”

I push as hard as I can, and it feels like I am trying to do a VERY large poo.

Each contraction is excruciatingly painful. And pushing is extremely hard work. No wonder they call it LABOUR.

Because I wasn’t completely exhausted by the early part of labour, I am extremely alert and aware of everything that is happening.

The doctor and midwife are with me all the way, encouraging me, and reassuring me that I’m doing a great job and that my baby is okay.

In a room full of experts, my husband has nothing to do, and just watches. At one moment during a push, I catch sight of his face, and it is like he is watching a horror movie. I try to imagine what he is seeing! An entire human being squeezed out of another human being’s bottom!

The pain is so bad that I am screaming out.

4.41pm – I summon one more agonizing push – I feel like I am going to tear myself into two – and the baby’s head pops out. But I can’t sustain the push and his shoulders get stuck.

A few minutes later, I push baby out into the safe hands of the doctor. Within seconds, the doctor puts my baby into my arms.

As I see Liam’s face for the first time, I am overwhelmed, and I cry from joy and exhaustion. It is already worth it, a million times over.

Liam snuffles and grunts, and takes his first breath. Six billion people on the planet have been born like this, but it still seems like magic to me.

Making Baby 3, The Birth Story
My beautiful little boy.

Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.

Making Baby 3 – Hello World!

Baby Liam

Everyone, meet Liam. Liam, meet everyone.

Suddenly, my family will never be the same again. It is exactly how we dreamed it to be.

I am too tired to be ecstatic, but I am glowing with relief, joy and fulfilment.

I have three healthy children. My life is truly blessed.

We are all doing well.

I’ll post up the full birth story as soon as I can.

Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.