Our baby is here

On the 11 April at 4.57am my baby was finally born. We named her Octavia Leonarda. She weighed 3.616 kilogram and was born healthy, without complications. She is now 14 days old and is already over birth weight at 3.8 kilograms.

Her first weeks so far in this world has been a big learning curve for Marco and me. We didn’t realise how hard it is to look after a newborn. But it is also the most amazing thing to be responsible for a little creature who relies on you for everything and that you love unconditionally.

I had a bit of a rocky start from the initial labour, the extended hospital stay and breastfeeding problems, but things are finally starting to fall into place and we are starting to understand our little one more everyday.

DSC04068 (2)

My Birth Story

I had everything planned for how was going to give birth, where I was going to give birth and what kind of pain relief I would and wouldn’t accept. I was meant to give birth in a midwife led birth centre in the hospital. I was accepted in the program during my pregnancy and had all of my appointments with the midwifery team all the way through. However, my plans change dramatically and I was no longer in control of the birth I wanted.

On the 8th of April I had my 40 week appointment with my midwife. I was 4 days over the due date and the midwife was giving me advice on how I could start my labour. She recommended eating paw paw and pineapple, taking evening primrose oil and having sex. So first stop on my way home I picked up some paw paw and pineapple and prepared myself a bowl.

That evening Marco was home from work and I was making a big hearty pot of Minestrone for us between the ad breaks of My Kitchen Rules. I had just finished the Minestrone and rushed back to the couch to see what was going to happen next and I felt this warm sensation down below. I knew I hadn’t lost control of my bladder, this felt different. It was about 8.30pm so in all the excitement I rang birth centre, had a shower and got in the car to go to the hospital. We couldn’t believe it was time. I thought I would give birth to my baby the next day after a short early labour at home. When we arrived the midwife confirmed that yes my waters had broken and to go home and wait for the labour to start.

Labour started around 11pm that evening. It was so painful that I couldn’t sleep. Contractions were spaced between 4-8 minutes apart. So I the next day I went to the birth centre. The midwife didn’t think that my contractions were close together enough or consistent enough and thought I should labour a bit longer at home. She decided to do a vaginal examination to see how much I had dilated. Oh my god it was so painful. I thought it would uncomfortable but I didn’t think it would make me scream and cry out. Turns out I had only dilated 2 cm but I needed to wait until the contractions were closer together. A doctor came in to speak to me and recommended that I should be induced today. I was not interested in any medical intervention so I said no thank you, I rather go home. Before I was sent home I was given antibiotics since the vaginal examine had now put us at risk of infection. Wish I knew that before I decided to do that examine so soon. I also was given sleeping pills so that I could get some sleep. I didn’t really want to take them but later that evening on when the contractions got closer together and more painful I decided it was better to take the pills then not sleep another night and be too tired to give birth.

I ended up getting 2 hours sleep but I was woken up by painful contractions. The contractions had changed as well. They were no longer like period pain. When they came they were more focused in my back and upper thighs and they were paralysing. I actually couldn’t move my legs when they came. This made it hard to labour in different positions. At the time I didn’t realise these were contractions. I thought something else was wrong. I called my midwife and while I was talking to her I found my contractions were not as close together. They had gone from 2-3 minutes to up to 7 minutes apart. She thought I should wait a bit longer. By that afternoon my contractions were definitely 1-2 minutes so I called and said I couldn’t wait I was coming in. When I arrived again my contractions slowed right down. The midwife thought that because I didn’t feel safe I was stopping my own labour. I blame the painful exam from the day before. I tried to labour in the birthing suite for a few hours. However I was told that if things didn’t pick up soon I would be given one more day to continue to labour before I would be induced or I could get another vaginal examine but then I would have to be induced today. Either way birthing in the bath was no longer an option and if I were to be induced I would have to go to the main part of the hospital to give birth. I really didn’t want to be medically induced. I felt bad enough for taken the sleeping pills and antibiotics.

I was told to go for a walk to speed up my labour. So we went decided to go to the hospital food court. I was going to take the stairs, but once I actually left the birth centre my contractions were more painful and had increase. I wish I had the midwife there to witness that. I attempted to eat some roasted vegetables but I was in to much pain to eat. While were were down there my brother turned up out the blue. I had no idea he was coming. He actually drove all the way from Sydney to be there for my birth. He seemed a bit worried when he saw how much pain I was in, but I assured him it was normal. We all ended up going back up to my room, so I would be more comfortable since things had seemed to progress again. However, once I got back up to my room again things slowed down. Especially when my midwife entered the room.

After a few more hours at the hospital and I realised things were not going to pick up enough to give birth any time soon. The pain was still intense and I knew I wouldn’t sleep again that night. I was worried that if I had a third night of no sleep I would no have the energy to push this baby out. As time was running out and I was told I would have to leave my large private birthing suite soon and I would had to make a decision. I agreed to have another examination to see how much I had dilated. I knew they would want to send me away to be induce, but I figured I would still have time to run. However, the midwife didn’t do the exam herself. She sent me down the hall to the main birthing part of the hospital to get this exam. I thought it was a bit strange but I still thought I could come back if I was dilated enough.

I was introduced to another midwife who was setting up the equipment for the induction. I stalled her as long as I could, but soon enough her angry supervisor came to the room and told her to get things going. So I allowed her to do the examination. I was now 5 cm dilated. Silly me thought I could still leave at the point but I was told that was no an option. I was also told I needed another dose of antibiotics to stop the baby getting an infection. I was scared that all this antibiotics was going to kill my baby’s good gut bacteria, but I was assured it was only a tiny amount that would cross over to the baby. After a resident doctor gave 2 attempts to find my vein, his supervisor was called administer the antibiotics. By this stage I was really angry. I had mentally prepared for my completely drug free natural water birth in the birthing centre with one of my midwives. Now I was in the main hospital with a midwife I didn’t know and had already began taking medications. I tried to stall a bit longer but I eventually I was hooked up to the induction fluid. A nice midwife came and and advised me that I should really get an epidural soon, it will make the birth so much easier. I was determined that I would not have an epidural. By this stage my mum was loosing it a bit. She knew how much harder this was about to get for me and thought she would share that with me. At that point I decided my mother and brother needed to go and I was getting this baby out now.

Over the next 6 hours I laboured before I accepted any pain relief. I decided to try sterile water injections to help my back pain. By this stage my back felt so broken that I was unable to walk. I was told it felt like a bee sting and only hurt for 15 seconds. I was recommended to have the 4 injections during a contraction, but I figured my contractions were so painful why make them worse with a few bee stings. It actually it felt like I was being stabbed in the back by four giant knives and it killed me for a few minutes. I screamed and cried and felt so violated and angry. It did actually help with the back pain though, but it didn’t help the terrible thigh pain and stomach pains. So by then I was asking them to bring on the gas. Both these pain reliefs were offered at the birth centre and were an option in my birth plan.

I got really drunk on the gas, but it still didn’t get rid of the pain. I was screaming at my midwives to give me less induction fluid, but she kept assuring me that the baby wasn’t far away now. She checked how much I had dilated and told me that I was 8 cm. By that stage I was losing it. It was already around 10pm and the water injection had started to wear off. The induction fluid was making my contractions more intense then earlier and I felt like I was going to pass out from the pain. So I made a decision that went against everything I wanted. I was having an epidural. Marco was so worried I was going to regret this decision and tried to talk me out of it. But I don’t think he realise how many more hours we still had to go. My midwife listened to his concerns and tried to tell me how long it would take to get an anaesthetist but I said I didn’t care and to just put me on her list. The anaesthetist didn’t end up taking that long. I heard my midwife asking her behind the curtain if she had anyone else she could see first and I screamed out ‘I’m ready now’. Marco had her discuss all the risk with me in great detail, but at that point I didn’t care. I just needed some relief and about half an hour once it all kicked in I felt so much better. Unfortunately I was now confined to the bed and was attached to a catheter but I was comfortable in my decision.

Not long after that the doctor came in to check on me. By that stage I should have dilated another centrimeter. However, when he examined me he found I was still at 8cm. He thought the midwife had been incorrect due to some swelling. He recommended a c-section.  I had already came so far and I definitely was not having surgery. He said he didn’t ever like to recommend c-sections, but he was worried the risk to baby since it was taking so long.i He said he would give me an hour and then he would be back. Luckily for me he took 2 hours to return and by that stage I was fully dilated and could start pushing.

Probably the best part of this marathon labour was pushing out the baby. I wasn’t in pain and I knew every push was one push away from meeting my baby. I had lots encouragement from Marco, a new midwife (new shift) and my student midwife. Over the next hour and a half I got to see the babies head starting to come out and feel her little hairy head. At one point there was some concern that it was taking to long as my medically induced contracts were still a little inconsistent. I ended up having to have an episiotomy to help get her head out. We were waiting for another contraction for her body to come out but for some strange reason it didn’t happen. I was then told to push without a contraction. Unfortunately because of this they would no do delayed cord clamping.

After Marco cut the cord she was placed on my chest. She was all white and blue and slimy but I didn’t care. I couldn’t believe she was finally here. When they took her from me to check her over she opened her eyes so I was the first person she saw. The doctors did some tests to see why she had some crackly cry. Marco went with them, but unfortunately I couldn’t. She was then returned to me and we got to spend the next hour just enjoying her.

So it wasn’t the birth I originally wanted or expected, but it was Octavia’s birth story. The most important thing now is that she’s here and healthy.

DSC04008

DSC04018

First weeks with baby

After the birth, Octavia and I spent the next 4 days in the hospital. I was lucky enough to get my own room, since I was probably one of the last women to give birth on Saturday morning. I didn’t really enjoy being in hospital. It was the first time I have ever stayed in a hospital and I wasn’t mentally expecting to stay for that long. I think I got lost in the system, so it took so long to discharge me. By the third night my midwife found out I was in the ward and organised my discharge for the next day.

Over that four days I spent a lot of time waiting for wet nappies, hand expressing colostrum into a syringe and eventually pumping for Octavia. I was having a lot of trouble getting her to latch onto the nipple, so I had to end up having to give her a little formula to supplement as well. I was very unhappy and frustrated by this. It seemed once I agreed to it once I was forced to continue. I did feel better when I spoke to other family members who told me that were forced to do the same in hospital. I didn’t sleep much while I was in hospital. I was lucky if I got one hour. By the time I left the hospital on the Tuesday I ended up getting 8 hours sleep in 6 days. So coming home was really nice. I had Marco and Mum taking night shifts to stay up with me and letting me sleep as well.

The first few days at home were really scary. I was worried that I couldn’t express enough milk fast enough for her. I was also still recovering from the birth. By night three at home Marco and I were on our own. It was hard, but we all survived. Every day has gotten a lot easier since.

When she was 6 days old we took her for a photo shoot with one of the most amazing photographers, Luisa Dunn. I previously saw her work on facebook and feel in love with her style. She is so creative and uses the most amazing colours and props to make any baby look like the most adorable little doll. I really recommend her if you are wanting something a little different to run of the mill baby photos.

11084234_963331103677201_1531745819823968591_o

11036988_963685466975098_3417899649930951480_o

11062373_963379393672372_3153327831811237306_o

11127373_963341307009514_4405050586406160270_o

11148532_963348463675465_6325301202226387787_o

Breastfeeding has been much harder then I thought it would be. I thought if breastfeeding was done as soon as baby is born then they were more likely to latch straight away. I didn’t realise that babies  and mums  both need to learn together and it can take time. When I was in the hospital I shown how to breastfeed by about 15 different people. It was so frustrating for both baby and me. Everyone has their own different styles and positions, which may not work for everyone. When I got home I really persistent with Octavia to breastfeed her, but I also had to feed her my own pumped milk to make sure she still ate. By about the third day at home something clicked from us both and I was exclusively breastfeeding. However it was still really painful. I was assured in hospital and by my visiting midwife that the pain was normal and if it still hurt after 30 seconds then maybe something was wrong. I thought perhaps I was too soft but after a couple of days of painful breastfeeding I was dreading every fed and crying during feeds. I went to see a lactation consultant that I meet in hospital and she confirmed that something was wrong. She noticed my nipples were cracked and advised that I give my nipples a rest for a couple of days and go back to pumping. She also recommended getting a nipple shield. Before my next appointment a few days later Octavia was back on the breast with the nipple shield. I no longer have any pain, so her feeds are a lot more enjoyable. I am struggling now to get her off the nipple shield but I’m not going to rush her. For now it is working for us.

Octavia’s favourite things:

drinking mama’s milk – breast or bottle, she’s not picky

warm baths

when nonna tells her a story

trying out new faces – smiles, frowns, surprised

sleeping in her bednest co sleeper

daddy’s early morning feeds

mama’s heartbeat and cuddles

Octavia’s dislikes:

when she can’t find mama’s nipple

when the bottle is taken away for a burp – she latches both hands to insure its safety

changing nappy and wet wipes- feeling so exposed

changing clothes

when mama doesn’t realise I’m screaming because I’m still hungry even though I’ve been eating for an hour

gas, its painful

Advertisements

Babymoon Sunshine eats

Earlier this week Marco and I finally went on our Babymoon. I’m 38 weeks today so we were cutting it a bit close. We stayed at Twin Waters at the Sunshine Coast, but travelled around a bit to see a few beaches and eat out. Luckily I was able to find a few delicious of plant-based options that didn’t leave me feeling jealous of what Marco was eating.

On our drive up we first stop was Kings Beach and the Greenhouse Cafe at Caloundra. The weather was perfect but still a little cold for a dip. But it was lovely to see the beach and smell the sea air.

DSC03890

DSC03898

DSC03901

I’ve had my eye on the Greenhouse Cafe for a while via facebook. So I was very excited to stop in for lunch. This cafe serves up 100% organic vegetarian food. I ordered the Naked Burrito, which had spiced refried beans, guacamole, turmeric hummus, salsa,  and bamboo infused brown rice. It was delicious and the perfect nutritious lunch for me and baby. They also had a couple of delicious looking vegan desserts but I didn’t want to overeat since we were having a late lunch. Next time!

DSC03886

For dinner we went Lemon & Thyme, a restaurant at Mooloolaba on the Esplanade. I booked this restaurant in particular because I knew that they catered for food allergies and special diets. Their focus is on providing healthy eating options and using local produce and seasonal ingredients. They only really had one listed vegan main, but I didn’t feel like a thai curry, so they agreed to make the Sweet Potato Almond Gnocchi vegan. The gnocchi is paleo and gluten free and was sautéed with spinach, walnuts and fresh sage. I don’t usually eat gnocchi unless I make it so I was really excited to order it out. My dish does looks a bit messy, because the waiter forgot to write dairy free on the order, so it had to be made again in a hurry. They poor guy also though we ordered a side prawns, so the manager ended up having to eat both for dinner. Other then that it was delicious and very filling. I’d love to try and recreate this at home.

DSC03904

DSC03906

 

For dessert we stopped into Gelatissimo on the Esplanade. This is my favourite gelato shop because all their sorbets are dairy free and vegan, including this Chocolate Sorbet. It’s not too dark and even Marco (the milk chocolate connoisseur) approved of the taste. It was a little messy, so I’m happy the girl advised me to take a napkin. You don’t want to see the table after I was done.

DSC03908

Breakfast was also at the Mooloolaba Esplanade, at Ground Organics. They are organic, vegetarian and only use whole, local and unprocessed ingredients. They also don’t use microwaves and only use organic cold press coconut oil to cook with, so definitely my kind of place.

I orderd the Dandy Latte with the homemade Almond Coconut Combo milk, which is naturally caffeine free. It also came with a sweet little message. For breakfast I ordered the Green Smoothie Bowl. I usually prefer savoury dishes first thing in the morning, but I’ve never tried a  smoothie bowl before. I was a bit worried it was going to be really sweet but it really wasn’t, it was just delicious, refreshing, lite and filling. It consisted of greens, banana, mango, avocado, vegan pea/rice protein and coconut water topped with raw crunchy granola and some dehydrated fruit. Marco also approved but he was also happy with his Ommmmelette with long fermented sourdough. I tried a bite of his and it was probably the best omelette I’ve ever had.

DSC03911

DSC03909

DSC03913

As I mentioned previously I was determined to swim in the ocean pregnant. I can’t even remember when I was fully immersed in sea water, its been years. Marco isn’t a big fan of the beach. He prefers the pool and hates getting sand in his car.  Lucky for me this day was the perfect weather for the beach. So we headed up to Noosa at Hastings Street. I’ve never been here before so I was pleasantly surprised by the shopping since Mooloolaba was such a let down. Their are also an abundance of places to eat and a gorgeous beach. We originally had plans to go to Spirit House at Yandina, but I was so impressed with this part of Noosa that I didn’t want to leave.

DSC03916

After some window shopping we built up an appetite so we stopped at Bistro C, which is situated on the beach. Unfortunately the best tables were taken but it was still nice inside and the view was still spectacular. I ordered the Pappadelle, which had tuscan kale, leek, du puy lentil and slow roasted garlic, asparagus spears, roasted swiss brown mushrooms and roasted capscium relish. To be honest I didn’t check if it was vegan I just assumed in my hunger. The pasta did taste fresh though so I assume it had eggs, hopefully ethical good qualities ones. Nevertheless I loved this dish and was probably the most exciting vegetarian pasta dish I’ve ever ordered out. Marco ordered the fish and chips, which he was happy with but he felt like something was missing so I helped him with this side salad of salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, topped with crisp chickpeas and sumac vinaigrette.

DSC03925

DSC03926

DSC03927

Finally the time had come to go swimming, so we step right outside the restaurant and onto the sand. I won’t terrorise you with my pregnant body in a bikini, which I’m lucky still just fits me, just. But rest assure I had the time of my life. I was a bit scared that the waves were going to hit the baby hard, but there was this nice sweet spot between the crashing waves, which we could just float in without being chucked around. After a little while I convinced Marco to take a dip. We had to take turns since we had a valuables with us. Considering he didn’t want to go in, even though I snuck his bordies in my bag, he had a blast. He was swimming for ages, while I got some much needed Vitamin D. He was having so much fun he forgot that he left the electric keys to our new car in his pocket. Thank god they still worked after that.

DSC03938

DSC03939

After all that walking I was so exhausted. So that evening after a struggle to find a nice affordable place that our gps could actually locate I was in a bad mood and was willing to go anywhere before all the restaurants shut. So we stopped into a Thai restaurant. I wasn’t that impressed, so I won’t bother sharing that.

After a good sleep I was in a better mood the next day, so on our way home we headed to Kunara Organic Cafe at Forest Glen. This cafe is situated at one of Australia’s largest organic marketplaces. If you love food shopping, particularly for organic food you will love this place. I actually heard about this place on Queensland Weekender. I really wish I lived closer. Luckily Marco was really impressed and agreed that it was worth the drive to come back and stock up on supplies. He also really like the organic butcher which I think sold him.

The cafe is one of the nicest whole food eateries I’ve ever been to. They have a huge range of organic, gluten free and raw foods in the fridge as well as a made to order menu. Their food is 95% organic and gluten free and they also don’t believe in microwaves. I really love this mircorwave free movement. I personally hate them and won’t allow Marco to get one at home. We have a little oven in our microwave spot in the kitchen that does a better job.

For breakfast I started with the Antiox Overload Smoothie, which had blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji berries, maca and apple green tea. It sure didn’t last long, I loved it. Not long after my Braised Beans with Pesto Soliders and Nut Parmesan came out. OMG this was the best breakfast beans I’ve ever had. It was vegan but it certainly didn’t taste like it. I’m not sure how they got all that smokey flavour in there, but it was like nothing else I’ve ever had. Even Marco prefered my breakfast to his Bacon, Eggs and Tomatoes. I think next time we will both be ordering this dish. The serve was also really big so I had to share it with Marco, which made him happy.

DSC03957

DSC03958

I couldn’t leave the Sunshine Coast without having a vegan dessert.  Although they had a big cabinet of delicious desserts they only had a few vegan options. I wanted something rich so I opted for the Chocolate Beetroot Cake. Marco really didn’t want any, but after I forced a bite in his mouth I had to get another dessert fork. He couldn’t believe it had beetroot in it. It was so moist and dense, but also very sweet. So it was a lovely end to a delicious breakfast, even if it was a bit early to indulge.

DSC03960

DSC03965

Hope you all enjoyed my Babymoon and get to try some of these amazing places to eat out.

If you can recommend anywhere else at the Sunshine Coast leave me a comment below. Once the baby arrives I’m sure we will be taken more frequent trips up there for lots of baby beach time.

9 Months (37 Weeks = Full Term)

I’ve finally made it to the beginning of the end. As of yesterday I am officially 37 weeks, which means my baby can come at any time between now and the next 4 weeks. We think our little Miss is going to come early. She has already seems to be trying to find her way out from the side of my stomach. As cute as it is seeing my belly move like a lava lamp its also getting a little big painful. I’ve finally reached the uncomfortable stage of the pregnancy. Braxton hicks contractions, being hot all the time, swollen feet and ankles, never getting in a comfortable position, being violently kicked from the inside out . I now know why a lot of women talk about just wanting the baby out as this stage. Although to be honest I am a lot better off then other heavy pregnant girls I’ve seen at my classes. I don’t have any pelvic pain, my back pain is mild and my swelling goes down after putting my feet up for a couple of hours.

Marco and I are now really on edge and madly trying to get everything ready for our imminent bundle of joy to arrive. I’ve spent most of this week washing all the baby cloths, cloth nappies, sheets, blankets, baby carriers, toys, wraps, etc. I have also started cooking large portions of food to start freezing, so Marco can quickly whip up dinner in the first few weeks while I’m resting. I still haven’t packed my hospital bag yet. I don’t really know how long I will be at the hospital so I’m thinking maybe a 1 day bag and then a backup. At the birth centre we can be discharged after 6 hours if all is well with the baby and me, so I’m not really sure how many cloth nappies and cloths I’m going to need for her or how much food I should pack from myself. My midwife did recommend that I bring my own food since the hospital won’t be able to accommodate for my diet. I’m not to worried though since after the birth I will probably send Marco down the road to pick me up some Guzman y Gomez for a veggie burrito. I’m really hoping my baby doesn’t react to beans and legumes though. Which reminds me I still have to make a large broth soup for my first few days out of hospital which is easy to digest for both of us. That’s a job for next week.

Something else we finally got around to organising before the baby comes is going on our babymoon. Tomorrow we are off to the Sunshine Coast for a few days. I can’t wait to swim in the ocean pregnant. It’s something that I really am excited about doing since I have avoided my pool all summer due to the risk of chemicals in the water (yes I’m that paranoid). I have only been to the beach a couple of times since the pregnancy, but only got to dip my legs in. So I’m hoping its not to cold so I can enjoy the salty water and cool down my body temperature.

Here is the most recent photo that I took last week. I still don’t feel as big as I look and I’m still convinced that camera has added a little bit extra, which Marco assures me is not the case. Either way I am noticing that my belly is starting to get in the way, when I’m cooking and washing dishes. I actually burn my belly on the oven door the other day because I didn’t realise how close I was to it when I was opening it. Luckily it didn’t leave a mark.

36 Weeks 4 Days - 11 March

36 weeks & 4 days

This week I’ve also work on my Pregnancy Journal. I’ve been putting all my photos together to accompany the writing I’ve being doing every month of how I’ve been going through this journey. So here is the last 8 months.

1 Month

Month 1

These a a few photos we took just before we got pregnant. We were away at Byron Bay for my 28th birthday. As you can see it’s was freezing in July so I’m all rugged up. I was still grieving at this stage and was meant to put off getting pregnant. Oppps! Oh well, I think it was actually the best thing for me at the time to shift my focus to a positive new future.

2 Months

Month 2

By month 2 we found out we were pregnant. You can see how happy we were. Although I’m still looking a bit worse for wear since I was still a little sad and going through terrible morning sickness along with a host of other early symptoms.

3 Months

Month 3

By month 3 I am still sick with morning sickness so I didn’t take many photos. But I did get these photos taken with Marco by a family friend. So we finally got to announce to the world we were pregnant. Not that most of the family didn’t know by this stage since no one could keep a secret. At this stage we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl. So I was a little scared to start buying much. Well I was scared but I still did buy a fair bit in whites and blues. I did also invest into some maternity cloths by this stage which have seen me all the way through. Although I could still fit into my jeans back then. Hoping I will again one day.

4 Months

Month 4

By this month 4 (2nd Trimester) my morning sickness has passed, my skin has cleared up and I am starting to show a little. Although Marco says I still look like I’ve eaten a big lunch. I feel great and I am starting to enjoy more foods. Up until this point I was living on avocado on toast and really craving meat. Anything with beans or greens made me want to chuck. So now I am eating more but I still have this strange food avoidance still which I am trying to push through. This was an exciting month as I got to feel the baby kick and hear the baby’s heart beat for the first time.

5 Months

Month 5

By month 5 I am really starting to show. I am really energised and enjoying the pregnancy more and more. I still can feel my ribs at this stage, but they are about to be swallowed up whole. I am starting to get more emotional and a little more fiery. Highlight of this month is that we found out that we are having a baby girl.

6 Months

Month 6

Month 6 was an exciting month when we had a our big party to celebrate the baby shower, Marco’s 30th, our belated house warming and our even more belated engagement. New years was a lot different this year, since I was in bed by 11pm. I also got to travel to Melbourne for the last time. I’m still feeling really energised and baby has also become increasingly active.

Baby Shower

4 in 1 Party Extravaganza

Here are some photos from the party. I can’t believe I tried to cater most of it myself. It was a really busy day and even busier night. But it was so worth the extra effort, since everyone had a great time. This was the first time I got swollen ankles. At the time I was told that I was done for and to get use to having enormous feet for the rest of my pregnancy. Luckily they went down within a couple of days. Still didn’t learn my lesson about wearing high heels. But getting swollen feet and ankles again for a few days after wearing heels in 43 degree heat I learned my lesson and turned back to my flats.

Month 7

Month 7

Marco informed me by month 7 (3rd trimester) that there is now no denying that I’m pregnant, since there is no way I could eat a lunch big enough to fill out that belly. I’m still feeling pretty good. I’m doing pilates, yoga and enjoying cooking. There was some concern at this point that I was not measuring large enough and that the baby could be underweight. But after an ultrasound we found out it was a false alarm and baby in higher percentile of growth. I don’t think I look small though, although I think we both had a big growth spurt by week 30.

8 Months

Month 8

Month 8 was a busy time for buying baby equipment, starting pregnancy aerobic at the hospital and going to birthing classes. We learned a lot and Marco is feeling confident. I however start to get more nervous as the time gets close. I’m really starting to worry that I can’t do this birth naturally like I intended or at all. But its too late now, she is coming whether I like it or not. I also start getting early contractions and belly is getting in the way.

Nursery Inspiration

Something else I starting thinking about over the last month was designing a nursery. I do have the Bednest Co sleeper for the first 6 months, but then I still have to get a cot. I told Marco that I wouldn’t do a nursery since I intended having the baby in our room for as long as possible. I don’t think I will be ready to move her at the 6 month mark. Unfortunately I can’t find a co sleeper that would last longer then that either. But I still need a nice room to change her and feed her at night while Marco is sleeping. So here is my design inspiration.

I absolutely love Angela Liddon’s nursery (top pictures) in grey, white and pink. So I am thinking of doing something similar. Our walls are already grey so I will just accessories with white furniture and pink accessories. I am going to try to do as much diy projects myself. So hoping to get that organised over my last few weeks of pregnancy or over the first 6 months. All I know is that I need a nursing chair, so we are still negotiating which one we will buy. I really like the Nursery Works Sleepytime Rocker but it is extremely expensive in Australia. So I may go with the Replica Eames Rar Rocker instead. Not sure how comfortable it will be though. We don’t have a recliner, just Marco’s old leather couch that is a bit slumped in places. We have looked at so many lounges but its hard to find flame retardant free at a price we can afford. So I think a good quality nursing chair is a good compromise. Anyway still working on convincing Marco, so we will see how we go.

I hope you enjoyed my pregnancy journey so far. Hopefully you will hear from me again soon after my babymoon with some vegan eats from Sunshine Coast.

Third Trimester (8 months)

Hi all, I’ve been on a little hiatus this past month. I have been busy with catching up with friends, birth classes and reading as much as I can about what to expect for the impending d day. I have also been generally exhausted since I hit the third trimester. I have been still cooking but my main focus has been trying to make sure I am eating  healthy enough  at every meal for the baby. So I haven’t had much inspiration to create anything very interesting fort his blog. To be honest I still have still been getting this intense anxiety when it comes to cooking. Something I have been struggling with since last April when my father died. I have been finding it easier to just eat more simply meal and follow recipes, than plan anything too exciting. At the moment the most important thing is that I am giving the baby the right amount of nutrients of a daily basis. So I have been keeping a log of everything I eat so I make sure I have enough variety. I try to aim for at least 80 different foods each week, including fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils and spices.

Nearly a month ago there was a bit of concern that my baby was too small due to the size of my tummy. My midwife even asked if I had been dieting. So I had to go for another ultrasound. I was really stress that I had been doing something wrong and not eating enough. However, after the ultrasound it turned out that my baby was actually a little bigger in her growth projection. All her measurements showed that she was extremly healthy. I also got back my bloods for Iron studies and Vitamin D which were excellent. So it was a false alarm, but it did make me feel more secure and I also got to see my baby for the very last time before she’s born.

Just before the ultrasound I couldn’t feel her moving, so I just assumed that she was sleeping. However once we saw her on the big screen we could see her little eyes opening and closing and her little tongue moving back and forward. I was amazed to see there was another little world going on in there that I wasn’t experiencing first hand with the usual kicks and punches. The sonographer wanted to take a few nice photos of the baby’s face for me as a keep sake. Unfortunately my little miss was enjoying sucking her little foot to much and did not remove it the whole time. Well actually after a bit of poking from the sonographer she did take her foot out of her mouth for a moment so she could give a huge kick with it so that we would leave her alone, she then put it back in her month and that was that. What was also a bit freaky is that I can see she already looks like Marco. So I might not be getting the mini me that I expected. I just can’t wait to see what she turns out to look like.

Scan_20150115

Scan_20150115 (3)

Scan_20150115 (2)

Since the ultrasound my tummy has grown a lot and I have gain nearly 3 kilos. This has really made a difference to the way I look and feel. I was feeling a bit awkward a month ago getting up and down, but I would still get a shock when I looked in the mirror since I didn’t feel that big. Now I really do feel pregnant. I have noticed even the baby is getting a little squashed in there. She is still very active but is struggling to stick to my right side any more. Her little feet are usually protruding just above my belly button.

Here are some growth pictures. I still can believe I actually am this big!

DSC03746

28 weeks (7 months)

29 Weeks 3 days - 20 Jan

29 weeks

31 weeks

32 Weeks – 8 months

I have been reading the most amazing baby books recently. These are some that I have read and recommend:

The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning, by Alicia Silverstone

Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five, John Medina

Feeding Baby Green: The Earth Friendly Program for Healthy, Safe Nutrition During Pregnancy, Childhood, and Beyond, Alan Greene, M.D.

Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right, John Fuhrman, M.D

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D

Vegan Pregnancy Survivial Guide, Sayward Rebhal

Vaccination: It’s your informed choice, Dr Peter Baratosy

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices, Sarah J. Buckley, M.D.

Your Non-Toxic Pregnancy, by Susannah Marriot

The Diaper-free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative, by Christine Gross-Loh

 

Are there any great books that you can recommend me?

 

Lastly I wanted to share this delicious 8 month celebratory brunch we had at one of our favourite vegetarian restaurants. The Cardamon Pod at Broadbeach has just started doing breakfast. It was definitely the best vegan breakfast I’ve ever had. If you can get there I really recommend you check them out!

10947404_10153103286512292_9202304765184810852_o

Feisty Mexican Burrito (spinach spelt tortilla filled with black beans, guacamole, topped with grilled corn salsa & grilled corn, with cashew sour cream,, salsa, roasted potato & sweet potato)

10947404_10153103286362292_7625424894853848663_o

French Toast (sourdough fruit bread, topped with caramelised bananas, caramel walnuts, blueberries, maple syrup with strawberry jam, coconut yoghurt)

Week 20 to 25

The last few weeks have flown by. I can’t believe I’m already over 6 months pregnant. Most people can’t believe that I am already this far along.  But even with an extra 6kgs I’m starting to feel like a baby elephant.

Here’s some pictures from week 22 to 25. Since I last posted I have grown a lot.

???????????????????????????????

22 weeks

???????????????????????????????

23 weeks & 4 days

24 weeks and 5 days

I did expected to be more uncomfortable and tired at this point. However I have had so much more energy recently. I barely sleep some nights. The baby usually wakes me up anywhere between 4-7 am. This kind of early rising has really amazing Marco, who has never know me as a morning person or someone who doesn’t need 8-10 hours of sleep a day. I also feel less tense and more bendy after the last few week of prenatal pilates and yoga. I can’t believe that one class a week can really make such a difference. I usually feel like I’ve had a massage afterwards, which is really nice since my personal masseuse rarely does his job. The baby is also more active. She still likes to hang out on the right of my tummy, which causes me to be a bit unbalanced on that side. She also has started kicking at both ends of my stomach at once, which sometimes gives me a bit of a fright when I think that she’s sleeping.

The only issues I have had so far in my pregnancy is a couple leg cramps and my breast are a little red. They usually look a bit sunburnt and are quite warm. I ended up doing an ultrasound but they were all was clear. Apparently this must be normal for me during pregnancy, even though no one else I know has had the same symptom. It doesn’t hurt so it doesn’t bother me. I guess going from a 12B to a 14DD is going to cause some discomfort. I have just recently bought my 3rd lot of maternity bra’s so I am hoping this is it now. Fingers crossed!

This past month has been a really positive turnaround after the hard year I’ve had. In the first week of December I received a High Distinction on my post grad course, a few of my recipes were published in The Goodness Magazine and I won Therese Kerr’s competition and will soon receive one of her organic certified gift packs.

Another big event for Marco and I this month was our All in One Party Extravaganza to celebrate our Baby Shower, Marco’s 30th, our Engagement and our Housewarming. So last Saturday night we held a big party at our place, catering for about 55 family and friends.

The menu was vegan/vegetarian and surprisingly received positive reviews from all the guests. I don’t think I invited one vegetarian, but everyone loved the food. I had Vegerama cater the vegan main meals, which included Satay Vegetable Curry, Massaman Curry, Basmati Rice Lasagne, Mousakka, Chickpea Pesto Salad and Kofta balls (frebee). The food was excellent and I would definitely recommend them. I also catered the appetizers, most of the buffet, and some desserts.

DSC03263

For appetizers I made my Cheesy Brown Lentil Hummus, and Chef Chloe’s Mushroom Turnovers (recipe) and Sweet and Sour Party Meatballs (recipe). Unfortunately I was so busy cooking and answering the door I didn’t get a chance to take any photos. Probably the most popular of the three was the Mushroom Turnovers. Those took me an entire evening to prep a few days before but they were so worth it.

For the buffet I made a Cheesy Pasta bake, Eggplant salad with Tahini Sumac Dressing (recipe – I prefer to fry it), Chef Chloe’s Minted Couscous with Rocket, Butternut Squash and Raisins (recipe) ; and Foccaccia made from scratch topped with cherry tomatoes and black olives.I got the most complements for the Pasta bake, which no one could believe was dairy free and also for the Eggplant Salad, which always goes down well. Maria’s sister made Prebranac (Serbian baked beans) and Kifli filled with feta. This bread was probably more popular then my foccaccia on the night.

DSC03260

Eggplant salad with Tahini Sumac Dressing

DSC03259

Minted Couscous with Rocket, Butternut Squash and Raisins

DSC03261DSC03255For desserts I made two of Angela Liddon (Oh she glows) Double Layered Chocolate Fudge Cakes. I previously made a trial run the week before and everyone loved it so much that I knew my guests would love it too. Marco’s sister made this no bake vegan cake filled with layers of walnuts, coconut. She also designed this beautiful outer casing with a sugar baby on top. My mother bought a Torta Romana for Marco 30th, my friend Robyn made this adorable fruit platter, my friend Hanh made these beautiful macaroons and velvet cupcakes, another friend Azra made baklava and my neighbor Matilda brought these homemade Italian biscotti. So we had a pretty impressive dessert table as well. To be honest I did want to keep the desserts dairy free, but in the end it was nice for friends and family to bring something and everyone enjoyed trying a bit of everything.

DSC03284

DSC03279

Double Layered Chocolate Fudge Cakes

DSC03292DSC03291DSC03278DSC03277DSC03281DSC03283DSC03282All in all the party was a huge success. Everyone had a great time and mingled well. They all certainly ate well! We were also fortunately to receive many green baby gifts from a gift registry I set up with Biome Eco Store as well as many generous donations to our baby fund.

DSC03288

P1060913 DSC03315DSC03357DSC03379DSC03375Now I have to get ready for Christmas…

 

 

 

Second trimester so far (Week 20)

I’ve finally made it to my pregnancy half way mark! It’s week 20 already and I can’t believe how quick time has gone. Ever since I hit week 13 I immediately felt so much better. No more nausea, food aversion drastically improved, no more constipation or breast soreness and I was way less tired. I was feeling almost too good that I didn’t know if I was still pregnant. I barely had put on much weight either. By week 16 I finally had my first appointment the birth centre, where Marco and I got to hear the baby’s heart beat for the first time. I couldn’t believe how fast it was in comparison to mine. I had only put on an extra 2.5 kg by that stage and was getting a bit concerned that my appetite hadn’t improved. However my tummy has continued to grow and by week 18 everything changed. I suddenly started to needed to snack between meals and felt the baby kicked me for the first time. I wasn’t sure at first that it was the baby but over the past couple of weeks I find that my baby has become more active in the evenings and early morning. My little one had decided that stretching out diagonally is the most comfortable position, since my stomach usually sticking out to the right. Since the baby has started kicking so much I have become an eating machine. I am constantly hungry, that my stomach growls if I don’t give into my hunger straight away. Below you can see the growth of my tummy. I was really confused why I my tummy looked so big in the photos and not in real life. Marco assured me that yes the camera wasn’t lying and then I realised a few weeks ago that I have a skinny mirror in my bathroom.

16 weeks 5 days

18 Weeks

18 Weeks

DSC02994

20 weeks 2 days

20 weeks 2 days

20 weeks 2 days

Today we went for our long awaited 20 week morphology scan.  Since I opted to not get down syndrome screening, I haven’t seen the baby since it was only a little sesame seed at 7 weeks. In fact I haven’t even seen the doctor or had thorough appointment with the birth centre. So you can imagine how excited I have been for this appointment. I had trusted my body that I would produce a healthy baby and all would be well. But I found myself feeling increasingly nervous during the ultrasound that something might be wrong.  So I am delighted to say that according to the sonographer the baby appeared to be completely healthy. We also asked to find out the sex of the baby. Until now we have just been calling it Peanut, so I am happy to start referring to it as a her. That’s right I am having a girl! Well of course its not 100 percent until I see her again when she is born. But I am very happy that I should be having a little girl in 4 more months. To be honest I really did want a girl from the beginning but when I started to feel the kicking I wasn’t too fussed. Marco just wanted a healthy baby from the beginning and didn’t understand why I had such a strong preference. I guess I just really wanted a mini me.

Its a Girl

Over the past two weeks I have been trying to track everything that I eat. In the past when I was trying to loose weight or make health changes I tried to writing down everything I ate. It really did help me keep on track and to see where I was going wrong. I really wanted to make sure that I was giving the baby as much variety, as well as different flavour threads to enjoy. In the first week I managed to eat 58 different foods and 5 flavour threads (Italian, Indian, Mexican, Thai, Turkish). Last week I managed to up that to 75 different foods with 3 flavour threads (Italian, Japanese, Mexican). I am really happy with this improvement with my diet and hoping the baby is enjoying all the different flavours through her amniotic fluid. I have also been adding juices and smoothies back into my routine. I haven’t been able to get fresh organic apples for a few weeks now so I decided to make a juice with the abundance of oranges that I order every week. My favourite juice at the moment is Orange, Carrot and Ginger. Marco is also a really big fan, even though he’s not a big juice fanatic. It went down really well after the crazy heat wave we had yesturday in Brisbane. Can you believe it was 43 degrees celsius! Only 2 days before I was wearing cardigans and sleeping with a douna… DSC02989 Orange, Carrot and Ginger Juice

Ingredients:

2 oranges, skin removed and sliced in quarter

2 carrots, washed and sliced

1 knob of ginger, washed

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients in a cold press juice and enjoy!

*Serves 1

Another fanatic recipe that got me through first trimester nausea was Ginger Lemon Tea. My naturopath actually told me about it and it was really easy to make. It also lasts for ages as the lemon preserves that ginger.

http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/delicious-drinks-support-your-immunity/rise-and-shine Morning Sickness Ginger Lemon Tea

Ingredients:

1 knob of ginger

1/2 lemon, skin removed and sliced in half

filtered water

agave, honey or other natural sweetner to taste (optional)

Method:

1. Place the ginger and lemon in a cold press juicer. This should make about 100ml, so store the rest in an airtight container.

2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of the ginger lemon juice to a cup with some boiled water. Add sweetener if you like and enjoy.

First Trimester

Although I’m already 19 weeks pregnant I thought I would share some of my experiences from my first trimester. Looking back now it feels so good to be past this period of my pregnancy. I really had no idea what I was in for, but it was still worth it, even if it didn’t feel so much at the time.

Just before I found out I was pregnant I was going through a major transition in my life. After my father’s death I decided I needed a fresh start. I applied for post graduate studies and finally worked up the courage to quit my job. I had also convinced my darling Marco that yes I was going to get an amazing new job to help pay our home loan  and renovating costs for our new dream kitchen. I still wanted to have a baby, but I thought I could get a jump start on making these changes and then I would be ready. At the time I had also been told by my doctor, psychologist and naturopath that I should wait a little longer till I tried to get pregnant. They were worried that it wasn’t a good time for me and were all convinced that I wouldn’t be able to fall pregnant anyway due to the stress I had been under the past few months. So I took their advice… Well by the time I did there was already a little person growing inside me.

Three days after quitting my job, Marco suggested that I take a pregnancy test (5th August). I didn’t think I could be pregnant, but he thought something strange was going on with me. I started smelling foods in the house that weren’t there. Fairy floss, fish and chips, spaghetti bolognese. I didn’t realise at the time but these phantom smells were my childhood favourites foods.  Something else that also convinced Marco that I could be pregnant was my increasingly large breasts. I didn’t think much off it. Yes my period was late and my breasts were enlarged, but I had a really irregular cycle that I had only just started tracking for my doctor in recent months. Was it always this irregular? I’m not really sure but we just assumed it was due to stress. I usually tracked my period by the increased size of my breasts a couple of days before it was due. The only really strange thing was that my nipples were so sore that I felt like had been breast feeding. This was not a sensation that I had ever  felt before. Anyway so after breakfast and delicious coffee we took a trip to the chemist and bought a test.

In preparation for the pregnancy tests I had to drink a lot of water. I usually have a pretty weak bladder, but for some reason after 2 litres of water nothing was happening. It was like my bladder was too scared to tell me the answer. After an hour of waiting it finally happened. After taking so many pregnancy tests in the months before the last thing I expected was to see two purple lines. I flew down the stairs and told Marco the good news. To my surprise he was really, really happy. He just couldn’t stop smiling and neither could I. So after we calmed down a little from all the excitement I booked myself a doctors appointment and messaged my naturopath.

Pregnancy Test 2 (2)

About a week later we got the confirmation that we really were pregnant. The doctor assumed we were six weeks, but I needed an ultrasound to confirm the age of the fetus. So next we were off to the radiologist and got to see our little baby for the first time. We couldn’t believe how tiny it was, only about as big as a sesame seed. At the date of the scan our little baby was 7 weeks and 3 days.

Baby 7 weeks and 3 days (2)As soon as I found out I was pregnant I made a few changes straight away. I stopped taking my happy herbal tonic and gave up coffee. I also began monitoring what I was eating, so that I made sure I was getting a good combination of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. Within the week I began taking a new lot of special supplements for the baby’s nutrition.

First trimester symptoms started pretty much as soon I as found out I was 6 weeks pregnant. On top of terrible coffee withdrawal migraines, I began having all day morning sickness. This led to severe food aversion. The only thing I could really eat was bread and avocado. The thought of anything else made me want to throw up. The smell of coffee or the thought of a healthy green juice also turned my stomach. I also couldn’t cook. Just chopping a vegetable made me sick. Unfortunately being the only person in this house that can cook I was forced to suck it up and made lunches and dinner for Marco and his father. Other first trimester symptoms included falling asleep by midday,  feeling dizzy when I got up from sitting down, getting fatigued from walking up the stairs, headaches, waking up 5 times per night, going to the toilet every 20 minutes, terrible constipation and a strange rash on my back.  Feeling so terrible really took the excitement out of being pregnant. I didn’t realise that the first trimester comes at you so hard and fast. On the upside my skin looked amazing. I stopped wearing make up all together.

By week 11 I started to feel a little bit better. I had began eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and I could last until about 2pm before going for a nap. Most of my extended family found out I was pregnant by this stage as well. My mother was so excited that it just kept ‘slipping out’. I busting to tell people as well but I was scared of an early miscarriage so I tried to hold my tongue.

On week 12 I took a trip down to Melbourne for a couple of family birthdays. It was there that I finally cracks and ate animal products. I had previously spoken to my naturopath about my limited diet and she suggested that I include a few clean animal products in my diet so that my baby would get some protein. I was completely off beans and grains so I was scared off the effect my diet had on my baby. My family also didn’t know what to make for  me and I could tell they found my diet a little bit annoying. I bought some hummus and tofu, which I was eating at just about every meal with some bread and avocado. Anyway it was the slow cooked lamb shanks and cannoli that made me give me. I had been craving meat like crazy for weeks, probably due to the lack of iron in my diet. So as bad as I felt I also felt a lot better. I didn’t give in to the home-made chicken schnitzel though, which was hard watching everyone enjoy it.

While I was down there, mum and I did go a bit crazy on baby clothes. I discovered the Purebaby factory outlet and tried to buy as much unisex baby clothes as I could. Purebaby is an organic baby clothing brand that also don’t use any harsh chemicals or dye. The clothes are so adorable, well made and affordable.

By week 13 I had arrived back from Melbourne. So Marco and I got some baby announcement photos taken by my mother’s partner, Ted. It felt so good to finally announce to the world that I was pregnant. Although I wasn’t showing too much I still felt the need to tell even strangers that I was pregnant. I was also on a high because I found out I had been accepted by Brisbane’s only mid-wife led birthing centres. It is still in the hospital, but is designed for women who want to have completely natural births with only a midwife present. I was considering a home birth since I didn’t want to give birth in a hospital. But this was a good compromise that made Marco and my mother feel a lot better.

I’m back and I’ve got some news…

IMG_0111A

As much as the first trimester felt like it was going to last forever it has gone past really quick. I was scared that I was going to be one of the few that continue morning sickness throughout the pregnancy but by week 13 everything changed. I still had food aversion but the nausea was completely gone. When I did start to feel better I was a little sad that I didn’t feel so pregnant anymore.

During this period I was also at university doing Post-grad Museum Studies. Studying was really hard with baby brain and headaches. I found it hard to focus on what my lecture was saying or retain much information. Luckily I had only enrolled into one subject, so I was able to take my time for all of the assignments. In the end I was really happy in what I achieved. I got really good grades and successful put together an extensive museum exhibition proposal. So all in all I really enjoyed this short period of my life.