Archive for the ‘So you think you can procreate? (Series)’ Category

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!

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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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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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It takes a little while to process the emotion and shock of actually falling pregnant. It is a time that no one understands what you are going through, you burst into tears for no reason and you struggle to fit into your non-pregnancy pants, for as long as humanly possible. At some stage, you hope the crying stops but it doesn’t and the only way you can wear those pants is by leaving the top button undone and pairing them with a long loose top. This is about the time you have no choice but to adjust to and accept being pregnant.

When I was pregnant I received mixed reviews about what the next few months of my life would be like. Contrary to what MANY people told me, I did not glow with either pregnancy. Any glowing was caused by severe internal heat sending messages to my sweat glands, just like any other person suffering from an almost spontaneous combustion. Some told me that it would be the most beautiful experience of my life while others told me how much they hated it. I loved and hated both of my pregnancies, despite realising that a pregnancy was not like in the movies, I didn’t always look beautiful and for the rare moments I could keep my eyes open, my spare time was spent eating to feed the little being growing inside of me.

Coming to terms with a being growing inside of you is a pretty amazing thing. Sometimes, it feels like you are harbouring an alien from another planet that finds joy in kicking the crap out of you from the inside and other times, all you can think about is that this is a little person, a person that has not yet been influenced in any way, a blank canvas, a clean slate and a new start… a second chance. There was nothing better with either baby than to feel her kick…in the beginning. I remember early in both pregnancies wondering when these babes would start kicking and all I wanted was for someone to feel it, for someone to confirm what I was feeling. What nobody tells you is that once they start kicking and frolicking and learning how to waltz inside of you, all you want is for them to stop. A decent night’s sleep is no more, a quiet dinner out cannot happen, a comfortable cinema movie a distant memory. That little baby is going to kick the being out of you, get used to it and while they take pleasure in mommy abuse, the minute anyone else lays a hand on your belly to get a feel it’s as if you have never been pregnant… I can hear the little voice in their ‘in utero’ heads saying ‘PSYCHE’!

Wave good bye to sleep… not just for a few months but for a few years. If you are lucky, you have a baby that sleeps through or a husband that enjoys all the night feeds but up until the baby is born there is no one who can share in the insomnia, you are on your own with Google (Try not to if you can avoid it). I was tired all of the time, purely because I had a being inside of me whom I loved dearly but was sucking the life lovingly out of me. I have heard of women that do regain their energy after the morning sickness subsides but sadly, there was no energy in my corner. Once I finally laid my head down and was sure I would get some sleep, little feet began running hurdles and before I had a chance to fall into deep sleep I was up and entertaining myself.

The hunger never subsided. Doctors, health professionals and women with children who did it and wished they didn’t, will all tell you not to eat for two. The women who have not yet had children will encourage you to eat for two and will probably buy you food. I did my best, when possible, to eat healthy but I could eat constantly. I would eat the strangest things at the strangest times, thankfully my husband did not deny me and often made a midnight trip to the garage for Coca-Cola and strawberry milkshake, what do you do?

You are going to, at this point, hear about every food that you should not be eating. While I know for certain that there are legitimate reasons for each and every foodstuff and why you should not be ingesting it, I did not listen at all. I was good in terms of habits, I quit smoking for both pregnancies the moment I found out I was pregnant and also stopped drinking any form of alcohol. I did however, continue to eat / drink exactly what I wanted. While I know it is considered ‘dangerous’, I still ate Sushi and biltong and everything the health books tell you. My rationale? Women have been having babies for hundreds of years, our parents were not given the list of what to’s and what not’s and we turned out just fine, right? Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating being a naughty eater but what I am trying to say is go with your gut. You don’t become a mother when the baby has been born, you are already a mother when the baby is forming inside of you. With being a mother comes a mothering instinct and a gut feel that never goes away. The only advice I would like to give is go with YOUR gut. You will know when it is right or wrong to eat, you will know what activities are right or wrong, you will know when it’s time to call the doctor or not and you will know when you want your baby daddy to make the midnight trip. You just KNOW.

Whatever your circumstances, be prepared for judgement, good and bad. With my first pregnancy, I was young and not very well established in a career, I did not have a big house and did not have a lot of money so I was not the ideal mother material. I remember getting a lot of looks or stares when out at shops, while pregnant and once I had my daughter. I remember getting a lot of questions like ‘How old are you’, ‘should you be pregnant’ and ‘are you not married’? I was not married with either baby and you know what? So what. With the second pregnancy, I had a career and a house and a stable (though brief) relationship with my then boyfriend (now husband) and still I got a lot of judgement for being a ‘modified’ mom. I fell pregnant covered in tattoos and piercings, I can assure you that it has no bearing on the health of your baby nor did it damage either of my children in either way.

Now I am going to briefly mention baby daddy. You did not make this baby alone and whether you are with baby daddy or not, he is going to want to play a part in your pregnancy (You hope) and bringing the baby into the world. That said, don’t expect them to be overly interested in every little detail and how in this week the babies heart has formed etc… be prepared for him to switch off. With my own husband, I remember being so frustrated with him. I signed him up for all the babycenter mails to get the weekly updates on the baby’s development only to see him delete without reading. I bought him a ‘Father’s first year’ book which he never even read, much to my annoyance and he was not too keen on watching any tv shows on babies either. That said, he did come with me to every doctor’s appointment and was at my side the whole way through the birth J

If you are pregnant and reading this, now is a good time to take your third pee break. Try not to giggle either, you may not make it to the toilet in time. Working when pregnant was a little bit of a nightmare for my bladder habits, I was getting up to go to the toilet every half an hour. My bladder shrunk to that of a walnut and any joke had to be told with care to avoid unwanted ‘accidents’. With my second pregnancy, D had a hand in squashing my kidneys and giving me a UTI (Possibly kidney stones) and put me in hospital before I even knew what she looked like. Do not HOLD in anything, if you need to go and pee, you go and pee! It is your right as a pregnant woman, do it.

Something I wanted to add in was learning (Or being surprised) by the sex of your baby. While you may be a planner and want to know if you are adding to the world’s male or female population, the baba may have other ideas and you don’t get to see at all. I was fortunate, I had two daughters and both were quite open to showing us their bits very early on in the pregnancy even though both of them chose to hide their faces for the all important 4D scans. Don’t be disappointed, it’s a matter of time before you get to see them in person!

There are a few things that you do need to look at while you are pregnant, you have a few months to sort them out but a checklist is helpful. I was extremely forgetful and made lists for everything, do the same if it makes it easier to remember everything J

  • Pick and choose a hospital, preferably close by.
  • Get a birth plan in place – Do you want to have a C-Section? Will you be going natural? If you go natural, are you going to have any drugs? Things to think about and make your birthing partners aware of.
  • Start sorting out where you would like your baby to sleep when he/she arrives
  • Start making baby shower wish lists
  • If you are working, it is a good time to start thinking about maternity leave and claiming UIF. I went through a company called Life’s Miracles and they were very helpful.
  • Start stocking up on nappies, toiletries and formula – These things will never go to waste.
  • Start thinking of girl’s and boy’s names that you like
  • You can never pack your hospital bags too early
  • I was an over achiever and tried to be very involved in my baby shower – Try not to be. This can be very frustrating for those planning it J Friends and family will generally plan the baby shower for you and it is really a fun day to share stories, spend time with friends and family and allow your baby to be spoilt!

 

Now enjoy the next few months, this is the easy part.

Shevy

Next up… So you think you can procreate – The birth.

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So you think you can procreate – Am I really pregnant?

You can spot her (Or what was me, twice) a mile away. The unplanned pregnancy scare versus the woman who has been trying repeatedly and now excitedly stands in the feminine products aisle, perusing the various gender accurate pregnancy tests with a menstruation calendar in hand. The scare victim is the petrified looking female grabbing as many inexpensive, pink boxed pregnancy tests as she can fit in her basket in the hopes that no one she knows will see her, all the while pondering whether or not to run straight out of the pharmacy and into the public toilet or wait the extra ten minutes to get home before locking herself in the bathroom for as long as it takes.

You may or may not have had a clue up until this point but if you’re anything like me, you experienced being both clueless and clairvoyant due to two very different pregnancy experiences. Women are funny creatures, admittedly not the smartest creatures in moments of weakness and so I still listen in shock when women tell me that they couldn’t or wouldn’t use protection and were still surprised when they discovered that they were in fact ‘with child’. What’s even funnier to me is imagining the late night chemist rush for the little stick on which to pee. For those ladies that have been a little more prepared than the rest of us, planning a baby and family expansion, I doubt that the emotional experience was very different. Nothing prepares you, whether planned or not, for that road trip and the roller coaster of emotions that follows thereafter.

I was young, naive and very confused when I found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. Due to various menstrual cycle irregularities (Yes boys, that’s a period), the months leading up to the big reveal didn’t hold anything different for me. I was on the pill at the time so thought I’d taken the preventative measures I needed but alas, the universe had other plans. It was over a family holiday that eyebrows started raising at my expanding waistline, I was daft and thought I’d just eaten really well over the time away. I remember my daughters gran commenting on my weight gain which I’d barely noticed myself. When we got back from holiday, a niggling feeling within me pushed me to go and get the test. A few days later, Mother’s Day, I got a call from a friend wishing me a ‘Happy Mothers Day’ even though I wasn’t a mother. Little did he know that the test had been done and those lines were strong and pink, test said I was pregnant. Freak out. A visit to the lab the following day saw blood tests and an hour wait before a phone call to confirm that I was in fact already nearly 3 months pregnant and I barely sensed a thing. I considered all sorts of options, including the not so nice ones, and night after night I sat and cried about the difficult choices I was faced with. I was a 20 year old, unmarried, pregnant girl without a clue in the world. I’m so grateful for the morning I woke up knowing that I had accepted my pregnancy, was putting all of my energies into being a mother and despite many odds ahead have an intelligent, beautiful 8 year old daughter today.

Deep thoughts aside, there is something about confirming a pregnancy that suddenly causes your non existent belly to ‘drop’ and your appetite to rival that of a rugby team. Almost instantly, you begin to exhibit every possible pregnancy ‘symptom’ and spend hours thinking about how you’re going to share impending fatherhood with baby daddy as well as coming out of the pregnancy ‘closet’ to the world. The awkward “I’m not getting fat but I can’t yet tell you I’m preggers stage’. It’s become more acceptable to wait until after 12 weeks before sharing the news with friends and family, though I don’t recommend waiting that long to tell Daddy either. Thankfully, pregnancy number 1 saw the 1st trimester behind me without me even realizing it had happened and H’s dad was very excited, happy and accepting of our family news.

My second pregnancy was a very different experience from the first. I’d had some time alone with my first daughter up until the age of 4, I’d met my then boyfriend (now husband) and we’d just started dating and I was, yet again, on the pill. A week or so after my birthday I’d already started feeling ‘ill’ and knew something was not quite right, I did not experience morning sickness (or what in my case became all day sickness) with my oldest child and so had no point of reference. A week after that, I knew, I was in panic mode and became that woman in Clicks buying a pregnancy test and racing to the loo. I did 3 home pregnancy tests in that week and they’d all come back negative, I refused to believe it. My head, my heart, my gut and every inch of my body exhibiting every sign of pregnancy all knew otherwise. By the 4th week after my birthday, I’d quit smoking and couldn’t face tea or coffee, I decided to try one last time and in my lunch hour took a walk to pick n pay, bought yet another test and took a walk back to the public loo, I couldn’t wait to do it at home. Ten minutes later, I had two very dark pink lines and hit panic mode yet again. A moment of impulse saw me taking a photo and sending it to soon-to-be-first-time-daddy with the caption ‘Two lines says yes’. Three hours later I heard back from a Daddy who had been in a meeting all afternoon (Though I assumed I was about to be a single mother of two daughters from two different fathers) who was shocked but then very excited. I’ve never been one to do anything by the book and so, here I went again, my second trip around the motherhood universe. Another lab trip, blood test and hour wait later, it was confirmed that I was 4 weeks pregnant – Hence all my negative home pregnancy tests.

So, what were the tell tale signs that I had either ignored or put down to a pregnancy without blinking an eye?

~D gave me the worst all day illness, thankfully H was a bit kinder and I never hugged a toilet bowl that I could remember.
~Ratty. Ratty. Ratty, oh and ratty. Being pregnant put me in a mood, I won’t be doing that again.
~Oh the cravings! Avocado pear, strawberry milkshake, ice cream, Coca Cola…
~And the turn offs! I couldn’t handle the smell of cigarette smoke, tea, coffee or petrol.
~Aches and pains cropped up everywhere. What didn’t hurt, didn’t work.
~The obvious, a little bit of a weight gain and a whole lot of breast expansion.
~Insomnia. I did not sleep for the full 10 months.
~I was tired, all the time.
~I was hungry all the time.

Some points to note for when you suspect a pregnancy.
* Urine pregnancy tests are not always accurate, especially early on. Blood test is best.
* Make an appointment with a doctor / gynae as soon as possible.
* Tell the gynae you are pregnant when making the appointment, they will often be fully booked for months but always make space for the pregnant ladies.
* A gynae based at the hospital makes for convenience and is much easier later on for booking the bed etc.
* Take at least 2-3 hours off of work for your gynae appointments, you end up waiting, a while.
* Go with your gut, while there are quite a few aches and pains with all the body stretching, if you are nervous rather err on the side of caution and call your doctor.
* You decide when to tell friends and family but waiting for the first trimester to pass safely is generally a good idea (If you can hold in the news that long)
* Stay hydrated, eat healthy, continue to work out (lightly and with your doctor or gynae’s approval) and get plenty of rest.
* Don’t be a google doctor.
* Invest in a book or two to help you along the way with your pregnancy.
* I subscribed to baby centre online and received weekly baby development emails which were pretty interesting.
* Be nice to your future baby daddy, being moody is acceptable, being a bitch is not.
* Enjoy your beautiful baby carrying body – you will never look as gorgeous as you do now!

Congratulations, you’re having a baby! Spend a few weeks processing, taking it all in and just enjoying being centre of attention for a while. I’m apologizing in advance on behalf of all the people awkwardly touching your chubby belly, they do it with love.

Coming next… You’re pregnant, now what?

Shevy

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So you think you can procreate?

From pregnancy to parenthood and all the poo, problems and pandemonium in between.

“pro.cre.ate
1. To beget or engender (offspring)
2. (tr) to bring into being”

THE INTRODUCTION

I am not an expert. I am a mother of two daughters aged 2 and 8. My pregnancy, birthing and parenting experiences were very different with my daughters and I often wished for a guideline, a book, just something that I could refer to so that I would have an idea of what being a mother meant. To answer for the unknown cramps in the night. To put my mind at ease about my birthing plan (Birthing plan?) and to learn how to handle the father of my child making the transition from irresponsible to, well, slightly less irresponsible. Sadly, during my pregnancies, Snooki was not a ‘world-renowned’ mother and author and so I had little reference but Google. (My sarcasm gets better with age).

One constant throughout the births of both my daughters was everyone having a say, there was no shortage of hints, tips and advice from friends and family. All conflicting of course. “You must do this, don’t do this, did you try this, when are you doing this, you should have thought of this, remember when I did this…” I was so frustrated and only wanted the opportunity to do what I WANTED to do, women have been doing this for thousands of years and I was certain I could do this without the old wives’ tales and hypochondriac ideas. When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter I remember a conversation with my mother and I was complaining about the number of people that had offered me unwanted advice. My mom said to me ‘The only advice I want to give you, forget everyone else’s advice and go with your gut’. Moms are right, always.

Two children later, I have so much advice pent up inside for the sheer fact that I do not want to push any expectant mother or new parent to feel like I did with the abundance of unwanted advice I was receiving. I did not understand until I actually had my children that it is natural to want to share what worked for you, what didn’t and what you would do differently if you had a do over. We don’t get a do over; we try to sell our fancy ideas for the non-existent next baby to someone who has a bun in the oven and are still without a clue.

I am now at the age where I know more and more people having children, growing up, expanding the family and taking the plunge with procreation. It is time to bring some offspring into the world and start building on the legacy. I was a very young mother the first time and mostly, without a clue. While the gap between my children is substantial, no matter how much older I was it did not get any easier with baby number two. With every baby born, the world evolves, it has changed and as a parent we continuously have to change with it to be the best and most down to earth parents we can be.

Most importantly, we are human and must never forget that as parents we are not perfect. There are good parents, there are great parents and then there are the parents that accept they make mistakes, swallow their pride to ask for help and learn to accept advice as an aid and not a hindrance.

This series of blogs will be a humorous tale of my own experiences broken up into what I thought were fairly important stages of pregnancy. There will be a feature or two from my husband as a first time father and there will be tidbits of information to help you on your way. Sadly, even if I tried, I would not be able to write the textbook. All children are different and we would not want them any other way, though to be fair there are certain tricks that work for all children and why harbor that information?

I hope you enjoy the reads and feel free to contact me should you wish to contribute or do a guest piece in my series of parenthood blogs – All ideas, hints, tips and advice is welcome – Parents or non.

So… we begin our journey, so you think you can procreate?