Thursday, November 29, 2012

homecoming.

After we left the hospital and just before all of our out of town guests arrived, we had a few days at home just the three of us (with Byron in and out as well). Since I only got about 8 hours of sleep the entire three days we were in the hospital (I just couldn't sleep because I was so distracted by starring at our baby!) I was completely exhausted and still having trouble moving around normally after giving birth. It was so, so nice to have Max home that first week because it gave us a chance to spend some good quality time together and figure out how WE wanted to do things.

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We sat around the house talking about how beautiful our boy was. We went to doctor appointments and ran errands to the local hardware store. We even went out to lunch one afternoon! Never mind the fact that we forgot to bring a single thing with us... No diapers. No blankets. No spare clothes. Yep- we left the house with nothing but the baby and our happy little smiles. We were too distracted by the fact that we were getting out and doing things to worry about baby supplies! Parenting fail on day 5... sure to be followed by many, many more.

Which brings me to my next point- new babies, visitors and alone time. 

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I think having family and friends around at such a life changing time is so important. It is important for them to be involved so that they feel connected to the newest member of the family. It is amazingly helpful to have an extra set (or four) of hands to help out with not only the baby, but all of the other things around the house. Cleaning. Cooking. Laundry. Just to name a few...

Family and friends can be a welcomed distraction for new parents who might be worried or anxious about being all alone with their new baby. They can offer advice and assistance when asked or just sit and listen when the new parents need to vent or gush or just have someone to talk to!

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However, I think it is equally as important to make sure new parents take the time to be alone with their new baby. Having time just the two of you is vital for making sure you both feel involved and connected. As nice as it is to have someone else there to take a fussy baby off your hands, it is also important that the parents learn how to settle a fussy baby themselves. They need time alone to bond with their new baby and talk about how they are going to make everything work. How will they handle feedings? Diaper changes? Bath time? Middle of the night crying sessions?

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As hard as it is to find a healthy balance between having everyone around to help you out in those first few weeks and finding time for you to figure it out yourself, I think it is so important!

I have to be honest. When I first fell pregnant and talked to my parents about their plans to come over for Lachlan's arrival, I was a bit upset that they weren't going to be here for his birth (selfish, I know!). It was my first baby and I wanted my mamma there thankyouverymuch. But, because of several different circumstances, she couldn't fly over until a week or so after his due date. In hind sight (isn't that just a wonderful thing!) I am so, so thankful it worked out the way it did. Sure it was a bit sad not to having any family there the evening Lachlan arrived (in fact, the midwife kept asking us where our family was or if we needed to call anyone- which we simply replied... nope, it is just us today) it was equally as special because it was just the two of us. We had that first week together, figuring things out, making plans, going on outings with nothing but our baby. And wouldn't you know that the timing of my mom's arrival was just on cue. The day Max returned to work was the day I picked up Mimi from the airport!! Absolutely perfect timing if you ask me!

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So, the moral of the story here folks- don't be afraid to say no those first few weeks. No to extra house guests. No to babysitting your friend's kids. No to hosting a dinner party. While it is important to get back in to the swing of real life, make sure you take that time with just your spouse and get to know your new reality. Trust me, it is so important!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

hospital stay.

When you have a baby here in Australia you basically have two options as far as hospital deliveries go- to deliver at a public hospital or a private hospital. All permanent residents and citizens receive healthcare benefits from the government but everyone also has the option of purchasing additional private healthcare as well. Now I certainly don't know the ends and outs of these options but my basic understanding is this...

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With private healthcare you can choose your doctor, hospital and usually the timeframe in which you would receive treatment. This option usually incurs additional charges to the patient but they have more choice overall and are often able to receive treatment sooner for non- life threatening procedures then if they were to go through the public system.

If you go through the public system you are not given a choice of doctor, hospital or timeline but the treatment is free. If your condition is not time sensitive (like getting your tonsils out for example) you are put on a waiting list until they have the capacity to treat you.

With both of these options you get the same level of care but often in the public system you are discharged a bit sooner, are put in a room with other people and sometimes have to wait for treatment. Nothing that would affect your level of care but just might make your hospital stay a little less comfortable.

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All that being said, after much discussion, we decided to choose our doctor and deliver at the closest hospital to our house- Northwest Private Hospital. And I have to say now that it is all over, I am very, very happy with our decision! The midwives and nurses were so helpful, the hospital facilities were wonderful and both Lachlan and I were looked after very well. It was great!

So how do you choose a hospital and/or doctor?? Depending on where you live and the type of health insurance you have, a few things you might want to consider would be:

Location- how quickly can you get to the hospital? From your house? From your work? Will parking or traffic be an issue? Remember that the entire 9 months leading up to delivery you will probably be traveling to the hospital for all of your check ups and scans. Will you have to pay for parking or fight traffic for every appointment? We chose a hospital that was 10 minutes from our house and directly on my route to work. I would schedule all my appointments for first thing in the morning and drive to work as soon as I was done. Parking was never an issue and I was usually in and out of there in ten minutes.

Size: Will you be delivering at a large hospital or small hospital? Does the hospital have all of the resources you might need? NICU? Lactation Consultants? Midwives? FOOD?? Northwest Private is small hospital that specializes in maternity care. They had all of the things we were looking for in a hospital along with the small hospital feeling of not being one of 3,000 patients. All of the nurses and midwives were extremely friendly and helpful when it came to any questions we had about Lachlan, feeding, my recovery, etc. They also recently updated all of their maternity rooms which was an added bonus if you ask me :)

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Birth options: How do you want to deliver and what is your plan for pain relief? Do you plan on having a natural birth? Water birth? Epidural? Do they have showers or a bath tub available for you to use during labour? Are you allowed to have people with you in the delivery room and if so, how many? What happens if you require an emergency Caesarian? Where will they take you? These are all good questions to ask yourself and your doctor when making decisions. Some birthing suites don't have certain pain relief options available to mothers so it is worth checking out before hand because the last thing you want to find out when you are in labour is that they don't have what you want where you are delivering!

Doctor: After choosing the hospital where we wanted to deliver, I started researching all of the OBs in search of someone I thought might be a good fit for us. Some things you might want to consider will be your preference for a male or female doctor. Do you prefer someone who is warm and fuzzy or someone who is straight to the point? How available are they to you and will they be the one who actually delivers your child? If not, who else could be delivering your baby and do you have a chance to meet them before hand? We were very lucky in the fact that Lachlan decided to come on a weekend that our doctor was on-call. It was nice to see a familiar face and have someone deliver our baby who had been around for the entire pregnancy. We knew and trusted him which gave us just one less thing to have to think about that day. Plus, he is pretty sarcastic and was good at keeping the mood light... Or as light as you can considering the circumstances!

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In the end, the decision is yours to make. Maybe you only have one hospital or one OB where you live. But asking all if the questions before hand will certainly help relieve some of the uncertainties on one of the most unpredictable days of your life, giving you and your partner time to concentrate on what is really important- your growing baby!

All that being said- if you live in the Brisbane area and are looking for a wonderful, small hospital to deliver your child, I can't recommend Northwest Private Hospital enough. Great doctors. Wonderful midwives. Private rooms. Eatable food. Bad phone reception... But overall a terrific experience!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

thankful.

And so another Thanksgiving has come and gone making it year four of quietly celebrating this wonderful holiday in the midst of all other, non-American things going on in our world down unda. However, this Thanksgiving I truly have more to be thankful for than ever!

I am so very thankful for my parents and the way that they support Max and I and our growing family. I mean, how amazing is it that they are able to stop their lives and travel all the way over here to Australia. How blessed am I to have parents who are able to make things like this happen all to spend a little time cuddling their newest grandson. SO. THANKFUL.

I am thankful to have a happy, HEALTHY baby boy. There are so many things that I wish for my children, but good health is at the very top of that list. God gave us a beautifully healthy baby. SO. THANKFUL.

I am thankful for a husband that supports me in every way imaginable. Sure he pushes my buttons from time to time, but he also pushes me to be more and do more which I believe is an important part of a relationship. Without loved ones pushing us outside of our comfort zone, how would we ever grow as people? SO. THANKFUL.

Turkey onesie brought all the way to Oz. Thank you Mimi!!! #continuingthetradition


I am thankful for a teenage son who constantly teaches me things about myself without even knowing it. He teaches me patience and helps remind me to let go of things I can not change. He has taught me  all about a new level of love and takes me back to "those years" and the ups and downs of being sixteen. SO. THANKFUL.

I am thankful for... The roof over our heads. Our jobs. Our family. Our friends. Ice cold coke. A cozy bed. The ability to Skype with family at the touch of a button. The sunshine. My baby nephew's little voice when he sings. CHEESE. Late night texts with my best friends all the way back in the US. My camera. The unending love I see between my husband and his son. Pinterest. Warm showers. Our human-like cat, Toby. International flights... and so much more.

Although we don't technically celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, I think the act of giving thanks or even just thinking about all that we have to be thankful for is so important. And if having a holiday once a year to remind ourselves to give thanks is what it takes- then that is what we will do!

Yesterday, today and everyday... SO. THANKFUL.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

D7.

A few hours after Lachlan's arrival we were moved to our new "home".

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D7- the room where we spent our first few days as mamma and daddy to our beautiful baby boy!

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Over the those three days, D7 became the place of a lot of firsts. His first bath and first sleep. My first post pregnancy shower and first post pregnancy meal. D7 housed our first visitors and was the place where we made our first phone calls to family and friends.
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Brothers met there for the first time...

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... and daddies had their first father-son conversations.

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I got thinking about D7 the other day. How many other people had those very same firsts in that very same room? How many people had experienced their first night as parents hugged by those four walls?

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How many smiles and tears and excited people had been there before? How many sleepless nights and anxious thoughts had D7 seen??

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Although those three nights and three days are kind of a big blur to me now, I'll never forget D7 and the joy that came in that little hospital room.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

first bath.

Max giving Lachlan his first bath the morning after he was born.... enjoy!

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Nancy (the nicest midwife!) giving us a few tips.

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Lachlan loved it and Max did a great job!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

lessons in motherhood.

Two weeks old! Our little guy is already two weeks old and as much as it used to annoy me when I would hear people say this, I am a mamma now and so I am going to say it too.

It is already going too fast! 

I mean, wasn't he just a little grain of rice on that ultrasound screen just yesterday??

Moving on...

We are two weeks in and already I have learned so many new things about what it is like to be a real life mommy. Many of these lessons I had heard from friends or read in books, but it is always different when you start to experience them yourself. Every baby is unique and every mother will have her own unique experiences, but I thought I would share a few of the top lessons I have learned thus far.

Mimi and the sleepy baby :)

1. Giving birth is probably one of the most taxing things that can happen to the human body (for both you and your baby). However, unlike most situations when one undergoes a major medical procedure, there is no rest or down time afterwards. No matter how many hours you were pushing or how many stitches you may or may not have gotten in different (and sometimes very sensitive!) areas of your body- the show must go on. You are a mamma now and that baby needs you- bleeding, sore and tired. But the weirdest part is, none of that matters at all because you need that baby just as much as he needs you. Unconditional love is an amazingly powerful thing!

Love me some accidental baby smiles


2. Two words- Power Poo. Have you ever seen the movie The Change Up?? Well, there is this one particularly unreal scene where one of the characters has a rather unpleasant incident while changing a baby's diaper. Do you know the scene I am talking about? Well, THAT CAN ACTUALLY HAPPEN PEOPLE! Maybe not to that extreme, but it happens- trust me :)

Little monkey feet ❤


3. Breast feeding is hard... Let me rephrase that- breast feeding properly so that your toes don't curl up and your eyes don't water every time you feed is hard!

Early morning feeding with my two babies


4. You can never have too many pictures of your sleeping newborn. Both mine and Max's phones are completely full of pictures of Lachlan followed by texts to each other about how amazing and beautiful our son is. I know, I know. We have turned into "those people" and I honestly couldn't be happier about it.

Our little frog  he loves to cuddle like this on his daddy's chest :)


5. Pregnancy hormones are crazy, but post pregnancy hormones are even crazier!! Especially at 3am when you are sleep deprived. Or when your husband has to go back to work and you miss him like crazy. Or just when you feel so overcome with happiness that it pours out of your eyes in the form of tears. I mean, really, they are crazy those hormones!

Love.


6. Investing in a comfy chair to feed in is vital. We bought a glider that reclines and I can't say enough about how happy I am with that purchase! You end up spending hours everyday in that chair so make sure you are happy with it because it can make all the difference. Even if I never use it again (which is completely unlikely because it is super comfy) it was still worth the investment times ten!

Slowly becoming friends :) I think Toby is warming up to this new little squeaker!


7. And finally... I hate to brag, but I am one mean swaddling machine!! The key to a good swaddle is to use a larger muslin baby blanket and make it nice and tight. I have become an expert already and might even do a tutorial if you are lucky :)

Our first family outing... And it's to the hardware store, haha.

Well that's all for now friends. Good Night.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

labour and delivery.

You know how they say the birth of your first child is usually a long, slow, walk around the hospital for hours kind of process? Well Lachlan and I sure proved "them" wrong!

I'll spare you most of the gooey details (because no one wants to know all of that stuff) and just stick to the facts... as well as a few lessons we learned along the way.

You see, it all started with a checkup on Saturday morning. I had been having a few signs of labour since Wednesday and they wanted us to come in just to check to see what was happening. Turns out, nothing was happening and we went on our happy way with a warning that things would probably start happening within a day or two.

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As we drove home from the hospital we started a long mental list of what we wanted to get done that weekend and decided it would work best for us if Lachlan made his entrance Sunday night or later.

Enter Your-Wife-May-Go-Into-Labour-At-Any-Moment lesson number 1: A baby comes whenever he wants regardless of your plans or the length of your to-do list.

Once we arrived home, Max decided it was my job to do nothing while he ran around like a chicken with his head cut off trimming the hedges (don't ask...) and running random errands.

Enter Your-Wife-May-Go-Into-Labour-At-Any-Moment lesson number 2: During unknown times NEVER skip meals and always be freshly showdered!

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And there in the middle of watching my second episode of The Amazing Race, I HEARD a pop and my water broke. My contractions started almost immediately and by the time I called the hospital five minutes later, my contractions were already very intense and only three minutes apart.

Fun Fact: Fewer than 15 percent of pregnant women experience a rupture of the membranes (your water breaking) before labor begins (source).

Max rushed home and off to the hospital we went! From that point forward, everything went so fast that we didn't even have time to go back out to the car to get the camera, my bag... or food for Max (see lesson 2 above) until I was 9cm dilated and my epidural was finally in (my personal choice of pain relief). 

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At that point we had about 30 minutes to take a few pictures and get some food into my husband/birth partner.

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6-7 contractions every ten minutes... ouch!

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Just after the epidural was in place and just before pushing began... hence the smile.

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45 short minutes later our son was placed in my arms and I became a mamma :)

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All 8lbs 6oz of our big baby boy.

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Father and son

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Love at first sight!

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Only 5.5 hours from my water breaking at home to the minute Lachlan was placed in my arms! It was fast. It was intense. It was painful, amazing, scary, beautiful- 5.5 life changing hours that I wouldn't change for anything. And while I have skipped a lot of the more intense parts of this story (don't want to scare any pregnant ladies out there) the second I laid my eyes on that sweet little face, it made every minute totally worth it.

3 November 2012- an amazing, life changing day that will never be forgotten!

** A special thanks to my amazing husband for supporting me through this crazy process without losing his mind, passing out or complaining that I was squeezing his hand way to tight. I love you more than anything and am so happy to be on this journey with you!!

 
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