Archive for March, 2014

With my lifestyle change journey, I’ve incorporated regular gym workouts to ensure that I’m getting the best results and so far so good, but being a tattooed woman means that in my gym wear of choice majority of my tattoos are on display. While this does not bother me, it is clearly something that other gym goers notice… Often.

Our gym is laid out such that the weight training area is at the far back corner of the gym, the generalization is that if you walk into gym and you have tribal biceps tattoos, you’ll walk directly to the weights followed by a protein shake. While I don’t have those tribal bicep tattoos, contrary to popular belief I am actually allowed in the weight area. The only judgment I’m getting here is based on how weak I am and how low my weights are generally set to. It’s unbelievable how it’s still more acceptable for men to be covered in tattoos over women and how it’s assumed that women shouldn’t be weigh lifting unless they’re body building.

I’m not a body builder and therefore don’t spend all of my time doing weights (smirk) which means I have to take my inked body to the cardio area, the front of the gym. I generally choose to speed walk (I’m not at running yet) on the treadmill or cycle on a stationary bike. I’m definitely not the only tattooed person in the cardio area, I’m not saying that at all, but based on the time I gym I’m definitely surrounded by an older crowd that perhaps still reserve tattoos for sailors and prisoners. There are a few other tattooed gym goers that I see here and there but for the most part, I’m a minority and am probably the most inked in the room.
Look, I like the attention that my tattoos attract. I have some beautiful pieces and why shouldn’t other people be allowed to look at them and admire them? Outside of the gym, I do get stopped regularly and get numerous comments (good and bad) about my body art and I’ve grown accustomed to it. What I’m struggling with is how to deal with getting the same attention when I’m at gym, at my worst and most out of breath!

I’ve done 40 minutes on the stationary bike, I’m sweating buckets and the music pumping through the headphones is drowning out the sound of everything around me. I’m a bit of a weirdo in that I close my eyes and sing along, I’m in the zone. Out of nowhere I get a tap on my shoulder, I get a bit of a fright because I’m not expecting it and when I look up its a middle aged tanned woman trying to get my attention (who knows for how long). I jerk my headphones out, snap out of my zone and greet her to which she replies ‘Your tattoo is really nice but what are you going to do when you’re old?’. Really? You interrupted my session for that? To make it worse, she wasn’t just pointing, she was touching my sweaty dripping arm (ew) which made me feel extremely uncomfortable. Of course, my reply was something like ‘Still be awesome’ after which my headphones went back in and on with my session I go, weirded out by the lack of personal space respect at the gym of all places.
Speed walking on the treadmill, I kind of look around the room and out of the corner of my eye notice a guy behind me, staring. When he realizes I’ve seen him, it’s apparently a cue to come closer and tell me that my tattoo is so good it looks like it’s a stick on (what?) but I can’t respond to the ‘compliment’, because my heavy breathing catches my words before they come out and I end up staring stupidly back utterly confused by the comment and the need to interrupt my session.
Walking around the gym in a vest does mean that I get quite a few stares and that’s ok, go ahead and look or admire or even judge, whatever makes you feel better but approaching me mid workout is just a little rude isn’t it?

The funniest tattoo gym experiences generally take place in the Mind and Body room, when I’m going to Pilates. Again, the time I go to class ensures a more mature room with obviously very different views. I happened to be doing one of the stretches incorrectly and so the instructor came to my aid and decided to call the class to watch her make an example out of me as I wasn’t the only one struggling. She asked me to turn around to face the class and while she bent my elbow out wards in ways the body was definitely not designed to be bend, the only looks I was getting were of disdain. One woman even pointed and whispered to the person next to her, with only one guess about what she was whispering – Yes, I have boobs on my arm, no need to whisper.

These incidents may seem trivial but this has happened in less than two weeks, I can assure you that this is going to be a part of my gym routine going forward and something I just need to get used to. Thank goodness I choose to shower at home instead of at the gym, can you imagine this inked body of awesome running around naked in the change room? Yeah no, me either.

There are unwritten and unspoken rules of the gym and etiquette that gym goers are required to abide by. Wiping your sweat from the equipment should be just as second nature as at least waiting for someone to complete their workout before approaching them with your tattoo comments and questions because, if I want to ask you where you bought your awesome sneakers I’ll make sure I wait to catch you on the way out.

Rant and rave over
I’m off to gym
Shevy

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25 March 2014

Dearest daughters,

No doubt that each day that passes you morph into beautiful little people. Sometimes I make the mistake of allowing you to age faster than you should, sometimes I try to keep you in a cocoon and most of the time I hope that you’ll grow up to want to be like me even when I actually want you to be individuals, happy with whoever you are.

Despite all of this, you are my children. My daughters. You were not given the easiest mother, but you definitely didn’t get the toughest either. You were born into a place of love and are continuously showered with affection and possessions so that I know you both have everything you desire. Perhaps some would say you are spoilt, others would say entitled. I choose to call this fortunate and as long as our family is in a fortunate position, it is my duty to ensure you have all you need and much of what you want. I am certain that having me as a mother may be difficult, I am not wired to always show you affection, it is not what I’m used to and so perhaps you yearn for it. Know that I make a conscious effort to try, to be that physically affectionate parent you may or may not want… Before I know it, you’ll be the ones pulling away and it will be too late.

When I frustrate you because I ask that you keep your rooms clean and tidy, it isn’t only because I have OCD but because I’m trying to instill a sense of pride in your possessions and the value thereof.

When I hound you to look neat and tidy before we leave the house, it is not only because I would like beautiful looking daughters (which you are) but because I’d like to teach you to have pride in yourself and your appearance at all times. You will only understand the importance of this as you mature.

When my expectations of you are high it is not because I’m unrealistic about what I want for you, it’s because I want you to expect the very best of yourself.

When I give you grief because of untidy homework or little interest shown in schoolwork it’s not because I want to relive primary school, it’s because I want to make it possible for you to achieve all that you desire.

When I nag you constantly to eat your fruit and vegetables, it is not because I want to see clean plates but because I want you to be healthy and happy, that I have that much more time with you in the future.

When I fuss over you going to play outside it’s because I want you to enjoy the sunshine, not just because it keeps my house tidy. You have the gift of fresh air and a garden, I want you to use it!

When I get frustrated with you for doing something age appropriate, I am in the wrong. Remember that motherhood didn’t come with a manual, what I haven’t already learnt I’m still learning from both of you everyday. Know that I love you both and I too am human, I make mistakes and I will always apologies to you if I’m in the wrong.

I love watching the both of you grow into yourselves. I see your individuality in the clothing you wear, the toys you play with, the books you read and the movies you watch. The relationship you share is a bond for life, never to be broken, treasure it and work on it because you will always be each others best friend. I see now that your age difference doesn’t allow you to be as close as I’d like, instead it’s a mother / daughter relationship, but with time that gap will narrow and you will need each other more than you know, especially when you’re frustrated with me!

My wishes for you remain unchanged, all I can hope is that you are both happy and grounded children. That you grow in a home filled with love and laughter. That one day you will look back and call me your role model, thus pushing me to always do and give my best in all I do. I look forward to getting to know the little people that you’re becoming and hope that you remain as individual and as odd as your mother and not care for what anyone else thinks. I already see you coming into your own by dressing a bit eccentric or watching movies that perhaps most children wouldn’t enjoy, listening to music beyond your years and understanding mature topics because of your inquiring minds… I love the small humans that you are, continue to break moulds and walk away from trodden paths, those things are what make us who we are.

Many things are coming your way, there is nothing tougher than growing up – trust me, I know – but never forget that every step of the way I will be at your side because I love you and am eternally proud of you.

Forever yours
Mommy

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Think of your longest relationship: describe how your love has changed over time, did you go from the giddiness of infatuation, to mad passion, to deep respect, esteem, and friendship? Tell us about your love story.

I do miss him already, this best friend of mine, that’s amore right? Working shifts sometimes means that we can completely miss each other in the day and so I haven’t had a conversation with my husband since Monday (it’s Wednesday). The sacrifices we make :)

I met my husband the old fashioned way (ok, maybe not quite old fashioned) via Facebook. Mutual friends had decided that we were a definite match and took it upon themselves to introduce us over social media thinking we’d hit it off immediately. I added him on Facebook and, as you do, began stalking his Facebook profile, needless to say I was extremely irritated with my friends (and him for his questionable morals) when I saw that his relationship status was still set to ‘Married’. Why on earth would my friends think that I would have any interest in a married man?! Insult much? I did however note that he was pretty good looking (I imagine him chuckling as he reads this) and we had extremely similar tastes and likes in music, movies, books and pretty much everything else we talked about.

I then decided that I was in a time of my life that the more friends I had, the merrier and why not befriend someone new? How could it hurt? We then started off on the occasional status like and eventually I was commenting on all of his lyric quiz statuses, getting them all right (obviously). He had asked a question on Facebook regarding ‘ol Blue eyes’ and who he was and I replied that it was Sinatra of course, this is how we started chatting. We started facebook messaging / emailing each other and the first question I asked him was why did he add me as a friend if he was married? I was quite happy to hear that though he was still legally married, he had been separated for a little while and was out to meet new people (the stories of his previous relationship not for this blog purpose), he also told me that he was adding as many people as he could – enough to make any girl feel special (he has since done a considerable facebook cull). For 2 weeks we chatted on and off and got to know each other really well, it was an exciting time and we clicked almost immediately yet I withheld my expectations for fear of being hurt (after a still recent and damaging break up that I was getting over).

At the time I was portraying a rather hardcore exterior, not interested in love or a relationship and most definitely not marriage. I was adamant I didn’t want any more children, I’d become accustomed to being a single mother of a 4 year old and was happy to settle for that. Despite all of this, there was something about this man that intrigued me and even though I hadn’t met him yet, I knew that this was not the be all and end all of our friendship. I decided that I was ready to meet him and with my sister’s permission I invited him to her birthday party at ye olde Corner house, it was a public place so if he was a psychopath, I was assuming I’d be somewhat safe. I worked in Fourways at the time so we decided that he would pick me up and together we’d drive down the road to the pub, not awkward or unsafe at all.

He arrived at my offices in a red uno, with a matching red tie and brand new shoes, I will never forget it. Funnily enough, I happened to be wearing a red and black outfit myself so without realizing it, we matched :) Turns out our mutual friend had schooled him before hand about my infatuation for shoes and to ensure he impressed, he bought new ones. We drove awkwardly down to the pub and spent the night chatting about anything and everything, he met my entire (massive) family in one night and all my closest friends without flinching. At one point, we stood together and I overheard him say ‘I’m bailing’ and feeling a bit upset I didn’t want him to leave, so by force we had our first kiss in the hopes he wouldn’t leave. Turns out all he’d said was ‘I’m failing’ thinking he wasn’t winning with me… Clearly I showed him he wasn’t failing and got the first move out of the way. We were the last to leave that night, somewhere around 2am, he dropped me home like the perfect gentleman he is and all I wanted was to see him again. It was a Thursday night and we’d made plans to go away to a metal fest that weekend with our mutual friends, I was too excited!

Friday came, I went to my friends, we all went in the same car and what a downer that festival was. He was very cold, barely said two words to me and by the time we got home on Sunday he didn’t even say goodbye when they dropped me off… Talk about confused! On Monday I came into work to a very long email explaining how much he did like me and we could be friends but couldn’t date, it wasn’t right because his divorce hadn’t been finalized even though he was separated and he was extremely guilty. Thinking that was it, I didn’t imagine to hear from him again so imagine my surprise when the calls started and I saw him everyday for the next week, dinners and movies etc. By Saturday he had gotten over himself, he made it official and we were dating (September).

The following month was my birthday and an awesome roller coaster ride of a new relationship. Three weeks after my birthday and barely 2-3 months after we started dating, he hadn’t even moved in yet, I found out I was pregnant! Oops! Scariest but best time of my life, I met the in-laws, his divorce was finalized, he moved in, treated my oldest daughter as his own and finally we got our own place… Mere months away from our daughter. Anyone will tell you a baby will test a relationship and, D definitely did. We had to learn, in a very short time, what we both wanted in life, what our goals were and if this was the real deal. We had to be there for each other through great and horrible times and yet, here we are, out on top. In October, 3 months after our daughter was born, he surprised me with a proposal over breakfast and of course, I said yes! 8 months later, just after our daughters first birthday, we were married – One of the most amazing days of my life. This year we celebrate our second wedding anniversary and 4 years together… A turbulent but triumphant 4 years with many more to come.

When you know, you know. For all the uphill I give him, I love him immensely. We have had a roller coaster ride together and so many things happened so quickly for us, but that’s ok. We can weather any storm together and have two beautiful children and an amazing family to show for it. He is my best friend, my worst enemy, my confidante, the person who sees me cry and the man that wipes away my tears. He is supportive in everything that I do and makes sure that our family has the life we need. I want for nothing and everything my heart desires is given to me. He puts me on a pedestal and often forgets about himself, reminding me just how much he loves me, every girl should know that feeling. He makes me feel like I am the only girl in the world. He knows all my secrets, shares my dreams, walks beside me and is the true showing of what a husband should be. He never complained about changing nappies nor does he complain about cooking dinner. While I make it difficult for him with my fussiness, he never stops trying to be romantic. I am so grateful everyday to wake up with my best friend and my imperfectly perfect family…

Thank you Frank Sinatra (and Rory), look what you had a hand in…

Shevy

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Having a baby, no matter by which method, is exhausting. You’ve been wheeled into your room and hubby is there and together you’re looking at your gorgeous bundle of joy asleep in his or her cot… By now you may or may not have given your baby a name and the family is starting to assemble in droves outside the maternity ward door. Some of them are allowed in, for an ogle and a cuddle, some stand peering through the port hole in the ward door… Everyone wants to have a look.

But without warning, the visits are gone too soon and you’re left in the ward with (or maybe without) a partner and little one wakes, it’s hungry and you’re about to become a cow.

Some women are fortunate enough to be able to breast feed, I do believe that it is the most nutritious way possible to feed your baby and if you’re lucky enough to do it, why the heck not.’? On the other hand, for the women who battle (I speak from experience as I was one of them) remember that modern technology is somewhat amazing. While not the most ideal, options like formula feeding and breast milk donation (yes, someone else can milk for you and it comes by door to door courier) are available to you.

With my first baby, I really battled. I blame it on my massive breasts, her laziness and the inability to latch. Laying in bed the bitchy matron rugby balled Hayley under my arm and before I could protest, a pillow was inserted underneath her as a wedge and suddenly a face was pressed against my nipple, ready for dinner. After a multitude of positions were tried and some persistence from me, the nurse and my daughter I decided that I would try to express instead. We didn’t have much money at the time so the best breast pump affordable was the manual one, looks a bit like a funnel. Don’t do it, it hurt like hell and eventually my milk starting drying up – within two weeks I had H on formula and finally was able to sleep at night knowing my boob wouldn’t explode.

Baby number 2 was very similar. Another bitchy matron (Are they all that way? I guess protesting mothers would do that to a person). Many tries and many tears later (From D and I), it wasn’t happening no matter how much I wanted it to. My breasts went rock hard with the onset of mastitis and instead of feeding my baby, I was having light therapy and cabbage leaves daily on my chest. By the second day the matron begrudgingly gave me the pill to clear up the milk and I went straight to formula, I was done. On the second night in hospital, Murphy’s law they came to wake me for a night feed even though I was no longer needed.

So while the advantages of breast feeding are many, you’re not a bad mother. Both my kids turned out fine and fortunately, I didn’t have to express to do all the midnight feeds… Getting a little help is pretty awesome!

***

Being in hospital is such a transitional period, halfway between surgery and parenthood. When people ask me what’s a good point to remember about having a baby, I say to them ‘Let the nurses do their thing, if they put your baby to sleep in the nursery and feed it for you (not by breast of course) then let them!’. So many people say that then they feel like they’re not bonding early on, nonsense. If anything, the midwives and maternity nurses are giving you the opportunity to rest, recover and prepare because in one to two nights time, you’re on your own. Experienced or not.

I found that with the first baby, I wanted her bedside the first night. Early into the evening I quickly asked them to take her to the nursery just so that I could get some sleep. I was free to go so her whenever I wanted and I was well rested when it was time to leave. I was a little wiser on the second baby and from he get go was quite happy to have her sleepover with the other babies until it was time to go.

Take advantage of this time… It may be a while before you get a full nights sleep again ;)

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Blogging about weight loss is truly a horrible reminder of how much I’ve repeatedly set out to achieve and repeatedly failed. Truth be told, I am my own worst enemy and the only person keeping me from the woman I’m supposed to be is me. Time to be brutally honest with myself, publicly.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for curvy women with a bit of meat on the bones, I do not aspire to be a skinny woman. My battle is with myself to be truly healthy, to live a healthy lifestyle from eating correctly to exercising regularly and in turn being happy with how I look no matter what that may look like.

I wrote in November last year about this battle (My biggest battle, most difficult war.) and how I’d joined gym again ready to lose weight. While the start was slow, in January this year I threw myself into exercise and kept a food diary which went well for 2 weeks in which time I lost 2.5kgs. I then got sick (flu sick, then Gastro sick) and just haven’t had the motivation to go back to gym. The illnesses cleared up but alas, I sat on my laurels. I know that I’ve put the weight back on, am back to square one and everything I built up to has fallen to the ground, again.

My husband is an aspiring photographer and we had a great idea for an alternative photo shoot of me for his portfolio, it involved me in my wedding dress. This week, I went to fit my dress and lo and behold, it was a tight fit… In fact, it barely fit at all. This led to my break down on the bedroom floor truly feeling the years of weight that I’ve built up. After deciding on a theme for my birthday party this year, I contacted a clothing store to check on dress sizes and sadly the dresses aren’t made in my size, plus size. Another moment of shock and sheer disgust at how far I’ve let this get. So how far have I let this get? Well it’s time to be brutally honest. At my happiest weight, when my oldest daughter was roughly 4 years old and about the time I met my husband, I weighed in at approximately 86kgs. I am a tall girl so for my height, 86kgs is not skinny but it’s curvaceous and comfortable. The reality is that now, 4 years and one daughter later, I weigh more than my post baby weight. I currently weigh in at a hefty 108kgs, the most I’ve ever weighed. What do I want to lose? 28 kgs – I want to be a curvy 80kgs at a 1.78m height (still more than the recommended weight for my height). When did I set my goal for? December 2014, now only 9 months away. And my reward when I reach that weight / size / healthiness – a rib tattoo and perhaps a boudoir shoot.

What I’m going through is no different to many women I know and in my life, the struggles of weight loss and health never seem to cease. It seems we try, we fail, we try something else, we fail, we get depressed, we feel demotivated, we eat more and then we try again. I am at a very unhappy place right now with my weight and what my body looks like, the crutch of the two children I’ve had is becoming an old excuse and the fact that I work shifts with considerable time off means that I should be in the gym every single day, no excuses. I’m so tired of reading about diets, exercise, weight loss and healthy living and yet I aspire to be someone worth casting in a fitness video. There is no way around it, it’s time to face or accept once and for a all and I choose to face it.

Yesterday, a female blogger I follow posted a before and after picture of her phenomenal weight loss since December. I saw this and immediately had to ask what she’d done, she looks phenomenal and her before / after picture alone was enough to motivate me! Her answer? A combination of things but one thing that struck my fancy, following the Paleo lifestyle. It’s not new to me, it’s been explained before, yet she sparked my interest and I’ve spent the entire day doing research on this way of life. After some interesting reads, articles and arguments (See The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet), I discussed doing this with my husband and we have both decided that we are going to embark on this Paleo lifestyle from Monday next week. Why Monday? Well, it is a serious mindset adjustment and hubby and I have a date night scheduled for tomorrow night and a weekend away with the children at Thakadu this weekend so we decided to use this time to prepare, not to deny ourselves some enjoyable eating. Monday we will go big guns, back to gym full force at the same time… Monday I try again.

The hope is that going to gym as much as possible and sticking to a Paleo LIFESTYLE (not diet) will help me reach my goal weight, be healthier, love myself, have more energy, feel good when I look in the mirror and most of all, finally help me win this war I feel like I’ve been fighting forever.

Share your thoughts with me on how you’ve successfully managed to lose weight and stay motivated, have you gone Paleo? Share your thoughts, tips and tricks.

Related articles :
Paleo Mistakes
What is the Paleo diet?

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It’s taken me a little while to write this next blog in the series for a number of reasons, firstly I have been a bit pre occupied with the Oscars (Both the film and Pistorius kind) and secondly I wasn’t sure how to write this without scaring the living daylights out of expectant moms everywhere :) I tried not to be too graphic so apologies in advance if I failed.

You’ve been pregnant now for what seems like forever, your bags are packed (if you’re lucky) and you’re expectant (not ready, you’re never ready) for that little person to make it’s arrival into the world and into your life. By this time, you should already have planned on how you’d like to bring the baby into the world… There are just so many options to choose from, especially in South Africa we are spoilt for choice.

First and foremost, I would imagine that the logical and most natural option would be to have a vaginal birth. Most natural would indicate no drugs, this is where option 1 no longer became an option for me. I cannot speak for natural birth as both my children took the sun roof thanks to modern medicine, but women for thousands of years since the beginning of time have been doing it, long before the advancements of modern medicine. I take my hat off to each and every woman who has done this or plans to do this (by choice or not) the world over, you have far more guts than I do. I’ve heard comments like ‘If it was that bad, you wouldn’t have more children’ and I don’t believe that at all, I’m certain that it hurts like hell but the reward outweighs the pain. Take option 1, insert modern medicine here, we have the joys and beauty of natural child birth with a little bit of narcotic assistance. Again, I don’t speak from experience but a little bit of an epidural will take the edge off for the actual watermelon through nostril experience. Still, with either natural childbirth option, one must go into labour – This requires contractions, contractions I was admittedly too scared to wait on.

Now let’s get to something I know… Elected cesarean section – A C-Section by choice. In South Africa, private hospitals and Gynecologists are only too happy for you to elect for this birthing option. In other countries around the world and even in SA where the medical aid coverage is limited, you can’t just ask to have a c-section because you’re scared of the pain, as I was. Thankfully, I’m here and I could and of course, I did. Twice.

With my first baby, I remember knowing the minute I had accepted my pregnancy that I was having a cesarean, there was no question about it. Throughout my visits to the gynae, I emphasized my decision and though reluctant for a few reasons, my gynae agreed and we scheduled a date. I’m certain a lot of his reluctance had to do with me being a young (20 year old) female who was healthy enough to endure natural birth… My thoughts? Save the beaver, have a cesar.
Generally with a c-section, the procedure is scheduled for 2 weeks prior to your due date, allowing your baby to be as fully formed and as healthy as possible but hopefully before you actually start going into labour (thus resulting in an emergency c-section, a much more traumatic and serious surgery). Hayley’s birth was scheduled for the the 30th of December 2005, only a week before my due date, much to my concern, this was because my gynae was going on Christmas holiday and he asked that I make sure I ‘keep her in’ until he was back… Not intimidating to say the least. I was fortunate that Hayley did wait and in that waiting her weight soared to a full 4kgs at birth, confirming that I’d definitely made the right decision. On the day of the surgery I arrived at the hospital (Olivedale Clinic) at approximately 5:30am in the morning, the surgery was scheduled for 8am. We got ready to go in, tension was mounting and I was changed into my sexy backless hospital gown. At 7:30am we were taken into theatre, and I was told it was time for my ‘Spinal Block’ – I’m sorry, my what now? Now bear in mind that I was young and ignorant and whilst I used google for everything, the methodologies of cesarean’s was not one of them. I remember being told about the numbing procedures and at this point I learnt that the spinal block is the same as an epidural only one injection directly into the spine for fast action to be ready for the surgery. I was so excited, this was going to make me numb, I would still be awake, no pain! Wrong. The spinal block still remains the most painful experience of my entire life, but not so painful that I wouldn’t do it again because I did. Be prepared, do some research. I didn’t see the needle the first time, only with the second baby did I actually look but it’s a long fat needle that goes into your lower back, it hurts. I can’t remember now how long it took to take effect but I remember it being quick and the weirdest feeling came over me, like I was paralysed from the pelvis down – I couldn’t move my legs and I was not prepared for what that felt like.

With my second baby (a little more recently) I had had a similar experience to this point. I honestly had wanted to try for a natural birth by baby number two, I was feeling brave, but in May of 2011 I was admitted to hospital with a urinary tract infection. The pain was excruciating and I asked the nurses if childbirth was this bad, they informed me that childbirth was ten times worse. At this point I called my gynecologist and asked to schedule the c-section, bravery gone with the wind. (Just a note, if you have at least 18 months after the first surgery and the doctor deems you fit, you can have natural child birth, if you are braver than me). Dakota’s c-section was scheduled for the 18th of July (Mandela Day) and she too held out that long, this time 2 weeks before my due date at 2.7kgs. We arrived again at Olivedale Clinic at approximately 6am and only ended up going into surgery after 9am. This time, I was prepared for the spinal block, it hurt like hell and I knew then that the worst of it was over. I was wheeled into the theatre, medical professionals streamed into the room and Grey’s Anatomy looking work ensued. A non see though plastic sheet was propped on my chest / waist area of my paralysed body and I was not able to see the surgery happen. (Something that is now changing with transparent sheets being introduced) With both births, I did not feel any pain (thanks to the spinal block and temporary paralysis) and definitely did not feel the cut itself. While you cannot see your own stomach, you can see the doctors and their movements and you do feel discomfort while they’re busy playing in your insides. I remember watching the doctors and after realizing the cuts had been made, seeing their arms spread wide, as if pulling my tummy apart. I’m trying not to be too graphic but you need to be prepared. On both occasions, you will probably have your doctor / surgeon and then their assistant as well… 4 hands fiddling inside of you while you are awake to realize it. While there is no pain, you can feel ‘things’ moving, ‘things’ being moved around, you feel the movement and some tugging and pull on the inside. It’s extremely difficult to explain this if you haven’t felt it, it’s not sore, there is no pain, it’s just weird. The surgery itself doesn’t take longer than 5-10 minutes, it’s all over pretty quickly, but just before you think it’s over, something a little unexpected happens. With D, my gynae was a woman and so she did not appear as if she had brut strength behind her, her assistant was a burly older man who looked like he had a bit of buff going on under his pretty blue scrubs. At one point they were fiddle, fiddle, fiddle and then a comment they were ready and suddenly the assistant crossed his hands as if about to do CPR and placed them just below my sternum, then, with all his weight he pushed down and then away toward the open tummy all the while the gynae pulled the baby out – what an experience?! It did not hurt, it was just unexpected and the pressure is intense, I asked why they did it and they said it’s too dislodge the baby from higher up in the uterus… Advance warning, non existent. Immediately after that, out ‘pops’ your baby and in an almost lion king moment the doctor holds the baby up in front of the theatre light, dads, this is a great photo op! As the mom, you just have to lay for a little while as they take the baby aside to weigh and do the necessary (Dad cuts cord, it’s not as easy as it looks) and you get sewn up while you wait. Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t cry immediately, neither of mine did, they were suctioned and APGAR tests were done and then their shrill screams filled the room. The nurse will place the baby onto your chest, your first proper look at your little person :)

Hereafter my experiences differed – both times the baby was taken off with dad, bath and more tests and little things that must be done while
mom is wheeled out of theatre to recover. With Hayley, I was wheeled to my room thereafter and waited 3 hours before I saw her. She had been incubated as she was a little blue and didn’t take to breathing oxygen too well but she was right as rain fairly quickly and I had her back before I knew it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your baby, the nurses are there to help. Send dad with baby, let him get to experience the first baths etc. With Dakota, we were both back in the room fairly quickly and she was right as rain.

When you ask friends and family, they will tell you that my first recovery was quite difficult and I looked worse off and more exhausted with my first c-section than the second. I also felt like I recovered better the second time as well – I believe that if I had done the proper research, been prepared and then knew what to expect, I have no doubt my recovery would have been a lot better. Speaking of recovery, remember that the c-section is a surgery, there is cutting and stitching and all sorts of things going on. The spinal will wear off within 3-4 hours (pins and needles like feeling) and thereafter movement is limited and you will have some pain. Listen to your doctors, take the drugs they give you (even the suppository, they work) and just relax a while. Enjoy the rest, you’re going to need it and make sure you packed your hospital bag based on the toiletry list they gave you, you’ll need everything on it.

Some points to remember :

* Do your research thoroughly, forewarned is forearmed
* Take your doctors advice, they know best
* It’s not all going to be roses, sometimes things can happen, make sure you’ve had those discussions with your surgeons
* Pack your hospital bag properly and have all the toiletries you need
* Have a helping hand, dad or a family member to help you while you’re immobile
* Enjoy the experience, you will only have that experience once
* Don’t forget a camera

Wooohoo, you had a baby. Next up, how to handle the hospital stay and the joys of breast feeding.

Shevy

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He couldn’t go to work that day
He couldn’t take the bus or make a call
He left home knowing he’d not be paid today
Not knowing by days end he’d fall

He stood within the masses
Not a pass book in hand or sight
All he expected was incarceration
Not a one sided machine gun fight

He threw a stone in frustration
A few hundred others did as well
As the officers started firing
69 murdered fell

The slain scattered in front of officers
Who to start with didn’t have a clue
They shot and killed him for no reason
Injuring hundreds more too

Today we look back at history
The stories the pictures tell
We fight back against discrimination
And living in man made hell

The massacre tells the story
Of a crowd willing to verbally fight
To stand against ignorance
For the world to hear their plight

Human rights were violated
Men, women and children slain
Let’s continue learning from this day
Let their deaths not be in vain

I stand against racial discrimination
As a white female I choose to befriend
Any color or creed of person
For you to do the same, I recommend

I teach my children harmony
To love all, despite their race
In the innocence of a child
Acceptance shows on her face

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