Thursday, 15 September 2016

The first few weeks of life as a family of four.

Time flies so incredibly quickly because already it seems we are into week four of Ivy's life and trying to find a new rhythm as a family of four. It's been an amazing, tiring, busy few weeks so far dealing with a toddler so full of energy, a newborn who is a night owl and recovering from pushing a watermelon sized human out of a very small hole.


Little Miss Ivy is a very sweet, laid back little thing who feeds like a machine and doesn't much like sleeping in her bassinet - Plunket would have a field day knowing she ends up sleeping with me most nights but it means I at least get some sleep. Not much bothers her, I suppose that's typical of most second born babies, except when she's hungry or being changed. She feeds like crazy and cluster feeds most days from evening and sometimes through the night. She's gaining weight, never having lost any birth weight - she's gained 1.35kg since her birth just over three weeks ago.


We've been so lucky with Ella so far in that straight away she's fallen in love with her little Sister. All kisses and cuddles are reserved for Ivy - so much so that Mum and Dad don't get so many these days. She's very enthusiastic in her love for Ivy, that we have to remind her to be gentle and to try not to poke her nose so hard

The first week or so was a bit difficult in terms of sleep because Ella would get upset whenever Ivy got upset so quite often during the night, whenever Ivy cried because she was being changed, Ella would wake up crying and come into our room - it would then be very difficult to get Ella back to sleep in her own room. As most of you know Ella, is in a "big girl" bed, very much likes to get in and out of her bed - it has improved hugely though and the getting out of bed is not such a frequent occurrence. So, I guess persevering has paid off! We've got from 50+ "getting out of bed" times to either none or only a few.


The first couple of weeks were a bit painful and uncomfortable following Ivy's birth but I feel amazing now we are going into week four. Compared to my last birthing experience which required a huge amount of recovery time, I feel relieved that I was able to give birth naturally especially as this time around I have a very active toddler in my care.

Obviously, having a newborn equals little to no sleep but I'm lucky in the fact that my Husband is still off work and able to take care of Ella in the mornings so that I can catch up on any lost sleep from the night before. I knew I would be tired so I was prepared for that facts but I actually feel so much happier and way more relaxed then last time, I think my mentality this time round can be attributed to having a much easier recovery, being a second time Mum and having a very chilled out newborn.

That being said I have only been left with both of the girls for a few hours at a time on a handful of occasions. A few of those times were complete and utter chaos from the moment the door closed to the moment my Husband returned home. It'll be very interesting to see how I get on when Hubby goes back to work next Friday - especially as the first four days of him at work involve him being away on two overnights! *maybe I'll do another update on family life after I've had a couple of weeks of hubby being back to work*

It's been so great having him at home for over five weeks, while I'm recovering and getting used to life with two under two, he's been forced to do pretty much everything while i'm stuck dealing with a cluster feeding newborn! I don't know how I would have coped without him and I doubt my mindset would be so good if I didn't have him to lean on. The prospect of him going back to work fills me with fear and apprehension - if I'm honest it makes me want to have a little cry, but for now I will push that to the back of my mind - I know that I will cope (I don't have much choice), it won't be easy, but hopefully we will get ourselves into some sort of routine. Until I do, the baby bouncer and Netflix will have to be my best friends!

In conclusion, life has been great so far and I'm enjoying being a Mum to two beautiful girls. There have been tears, tantrums and exhaustion (not just from Ella) and it's not all been smooth sailing - it never was going to be though was it? Having children is never going to be straightforward, nor was it ever going to be easy! It's time I once again adopt the mantra of "this too shall pass", it will get easier and things will get better with everyday!

I feel so blessed though to have two beautiful little girls, an amazingly involved Husband and to have my body do something I never thought it was capable of doing and therefore making these early days so much easier!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

My Birth Story - Ivy Mae

For those of you that follow me on social media you will know that on Saturday the 20th of August at 4.58pm I gave birth to another little girl, our second daughter, Ivy Mae.

Now that we are into week three of Ivy's life I think it's time to share the story of how she entered this world - it differs hugely from her big sisters birth, which you can read here - not so long ago!

It all started on the Friday (19/8/16), I'd been having Braxton hicks contractions daily since week 20 of my pregnancy but on this day they were considerably more uncomfortable - to the point of becoming painful. I had told my midwife that I would be seeing her this weekend as I had a feeling (like my first birth) I would be going early - I was due on Sunday the 21st.

As it turns out the timing couldn't have been better. My husband, Tom, had a day off having finished work ready to go on leave the coming Monday. My sister had flown down to Christchurch to spend the night at our place in the hopes that I might go into labour when she was there so she could take care of Ella. 

That night I woke at precisely 1.45am to my first contraction. I had wondered how I'd know what contractions would feel like but I VERY quickly remembered. These were pretty painful straightaway but were only about 10mins apart and lasting 1min, so I let Tom know what was going on and we both went back to bed to try and get some sleep.

At 6.30am, I phoned my midwife who suggested we go into the hospital to see how things were progressing. In the last month of my pregnancy Ivy was never engaged, so we had thought it was progressing much the same as my first pregnancy and we would probably end up with another caesarean. So, I woke my sister up, gave her some last minute instructions, put our bags in the car, kissed my beautiful firstborn goodbye (which very quickly became a tearful goodbye as Elła didn't want me to go) and started the hour long trip to the hospital.

We got to the hospital at about 8.30am, my midwife did an internal and found I was only 4cms dilated. The Doctors came in to assess the situation, since I had a previous caesarean they weren't going to leave me too long if I wasn't progressing naturally on my own, I had said I didn't want to be induced so the call was made to give me an epidural, break my waters and give it a few hours to see how things were progressing.

The anaesthetist arrived an hour later and administered the epidural, my waters were then broken and I was left to hopefully dilate. The epidural, initially only work down one side of my body so I was still able to feel the contractions, it took a couple more top ups and adjusting of position to get it working properly. By this time it was about 12.30, and I was still only 5cm.

It was now just a waiting game to see if would dilate anymore or if we would be making the call for a caesarean. At 2.30pm we asked the Doctors to check me again to see how far along I was and it turned out in only a short amount of time I had gone from 5cm to almost fully dilated!

Now, I had a different dilemma on my hands - I had to wrap my head around the fact that I was about to give birth naturally! Up until this point it had never crossed my mind that it was a possibility. Obviously, it's always a possibility but I think I had convinced myself that I would be having another csection - my pregnancy had been much the same as Ella's, she had never been engaged and was also posterior so I had just assumed I was incapable of birthing my babies naturally.

About 30mins later I could feel pressure in my rear end and I could start to feel contractions again - meaning the epidural was starting to wear off. I was told it was time to push my baby out - and because last time I'd had a caesarean - I was given 2 hours to get my baby out before they intervened.
After an hour and a half I was told that my baby was starting to get tired - so was I - and her heartbeat was dropping too much during contractions. It didn't help that she was posterior and her head was at an awkward angle. All of a sudden there were about ten people in the room, my legs were put up in stirrups and they were getting ready to use intervention in the form of forceps or vontouse.

This made me panic a little as I really didn't want forceps used on my baby, nor did I want an episiotomy - especially since I could now feel EVERYTHING - I distinctly remember telling my midwife I wanted one hole not two. I needn't have worried because with the next contraction, the threat of forceps and the change of position, one big push managed to turn her from posterior into the right position and turned her head in the right direction - out she came a perfectly tiny, hairy cone headed little girl.

Our second beautiful little girl, Ivy Mae, was born at 4.58pm, weighing 6lbs14oz and measuring at 49cm in length! I had managed to push out a little human - the feeling was like no other!

I'd had only a minor 2nd degree tear so while I had skin-to-skin and Miss Ivy latched on for her first feed (10mins after birth) I was stitched up.

Ivy's birth differed so hugely from Ella's birth, so much so I remember repeatedly saying "I can't believe I just did that!". It was such a positive experience, even with the pain, for me and I feel so blessed to have been able to give birth to another beautiful little girl.