toddler looking outside from sliding door

Where did the 12 months go?

Time runs away the older we get
But where did the 12 months go
You’re walking and talking, be it blah
It’s a year since we first said hello

You’re no longer a baby, but a little man
Who’s always saving a smile
And just when I need you to sit or stand still
You’re choosing to run a mile

You love being outside, on the swing, in the sand
Or in water to splash and get wet
You live in the moment, and savour it all
Something I hope you will never forget

Your motto “feet first!”, couldn’t be truer
A bruiser who always jumps in
But sometimes you’ll show your affectionate side
With a cuddle and kiss on the chin

My little destructor, so full of beans
You’ve changed me again, it’s true
Life is no longer at all about me
It’s all for your sister and you

nursery with crib at night

Who’s the dummy now? Wean wean wean..

We did it… made it through 8 months without a dummy AAANNNDDD regret? Is it regret? It is when he’s teething and wakes up a thousand times throughout the night (ok more like 5). Or when I’m trying desperately to remember how the hell I actually night wean. My daughter had a dummy so bit of a different scenario.

Seriously though, how do I do this again? First time she self weaned around this time at least in the day from memory. This little boy though, he loooovveess his food and loves the boob. My husband keeps reminding him that they are only on loan :o) .

Wean Plan A

We were going to change to a bottle before bedtime to make sure he was filling up enough… FAIL. It worked one night out of 4. And we discovered the little turd has become all fussy about only wanting the liquid gold and no formula (our fault for not giving it to him after the premmie episode I guess). So now we are stuck with a selective palette vampire…

Plan B

Cut down gradually.. just like you do when you realise you are drinking a bottle of wine to yourself with dinner. It’s now night 5 coming up. I’m down to two feeds through the night. One usually between 11 and 12:30 and the other between 3 and 4. I don’t count the 5-6am as night to make myself feel better as well as the fact that it is technically morning and I’m usually up.

I’ve progressed to phase 2 which is only feeding one side when I go in. It’s worked every night but last night when the teeth monsters were having a party.

Tonight, we are going to attempt to forego feed number one by sending in the boobless parent which may move feed number 2 up to a new timeslot. Wish us luck!

flying - view from window over wing

Two girls and a baby (flying)

No, this isn’t the sequel to ‘Three men and a baby’, rather a tale of my first flying experience with both kids.

Given the current air quality in Canberra, and both kids experiencing smoke inhalation symptoms, we headed up north to my brothers. Hubby couldn’t come along as he had a job with an end of month deadline, so we left him and our furry friend at home.

Cargo

I tried to pack light, and managed to get all of our clothes etc. into one bag weighing 21kg. But then I realised Virgin only let you on with 3 baby items (cot, car seat and pram), so had to disguise the feeding/don’t have to hold you 24/7 chair as another suitcase… sigh. Luckily I had people at both ends to help carry the load.

Little man was snug as a bug in the Ergo carrier, and little miss walked alongside with her backpack stuffed full of toys.

Flying high

Breastfeeding while flying on the first leg was easy. There was no one directly next to me so I used a combination of my vest and a wrap to stop the 15 year old boys sitting across the aisle from being horrified. Second flight I had a man next to me, so opted for the bottle. Not because I thought he wasn’t keen on side boob. Realistically, there was no room and logistically someone was either going to elbow the baby in the head or I’d have to sit in some contorted way.

Placement

Placement of items when you have a 4 year old asking for things and a baby in your lap is very important. We learnt quickly that:

  1. Throwing your jumper on the ground at the window seat resulted in your jumper being iced over when you got cold 15 mins later.
  2. Snacks need to be in a separate pocket so you don’t have to rummage while trying not to squash your baby.
  3. Your own water bottle should probably live in an easy to access side pocket (I got very thirsty along the way).
  4. The bottle neck needs to be wider than the formula container (let’s just say my black pants had a bit of white powder on them when we hopped off).
  5. Try and make sure your older child has gone to the bathroom before your baby falls asleep in your arms and the seatbelt sign has turned on for landing

Touch down

Overall pretty stress free. There was the mad rush to the bathroom at Brisbane airport due to our first flight being delayed (the ones next to our gate had a long queue so we hobbled with my broken toe to the next lot). We had 3 of us in the toilet as the plane started to descend, and realistically I packed nowhere near enough food as I was relying on eating at the airport between flights.

No poonamis, tantrums or things lost, so I’d say it was a success.

Smoke haze from bushfire

Beached on NYE

This beach trip unfortunately had no dips in the ocean, sunbaking or reading magazines while hanging with your besties.

It was barely 8am and we were parked at Malua Bay beach. Cars had already packed the grass area near the surf club. The air was thick with smoke and we had no idea what the day was going to bring. Our wake up call this morning was the automated phone call telling us to evacuate the house at 6am.

Just the beginning

We’d only driven down the day prior through Bega. I thought it was a good idea to have a break given we’d just finished renovating our house we practically gutted over the last year (while both working full time, raising a toddler and being pregnant with our second child).

Back at the beach, we watched as cars kept arriving. Filled to the brim with what belongings people could take in the short time. The sky kept getting darker and we could see the flames on the ridge ahead. This was mixed with the occasional bang of a gas bottle exploding. Our phones had no service, no way to tell family in Canberra we were ok.

red skies from bushfire

Within what felt like minutes we were surrounded by it. Guerilla bay burned to our left, and spot fires were not even 200m away near the surf club. The houses straight ahead on the hill were collapsing and there was a fire racing down the hill towards the beach.

Water side

It was deemed too unsafe to stay where we were so we all got out of our cars and on to the beach. The wind sprayed sand, the air was choking, but luckily the waves made it a bit more bearable. I did my best to shield my 4 year old and 4 month old while trying to stand comfortably with my left foot in a boot because I’d stupidly broken my toe a few days back. My mother in law held all 3 dogs while my husband and father in law did their best to get more information on the situation and help others.
People on beach with fire in distance

How are these volunteer firefighters coping in these conditions every day without the proper gear? Here we were struggling to breathe and it was not even a few hours of exposure.

Strangely enough, there wasn’t a feeling of panic in the air. The surf lifesavers were being fantastic sounding the shark alarm at regular intervals to keep everyone informed. The guy next to us actually went surfing for 5 minutes as he felt there was nothing else to do. People calmly sat on the beach with their loved ones and pets.

And so it went on for hours, until the two men in our family decided to drive back to see if the house was still standing. It was around 3pm at this point.

Smoky with a chance of…

The house was still ok, so we made the decision to go back up the road around 4pm so the kids could sleep somewhere comfortably and be a bit more out of the smoke. All I wanted at this point was to get the little man to have a decent sleep after the road trip where he had barely slept a wink.

We all took showers with the remaining hot water and served up some cold ham and leftovers we had in the camp fridge. We hadn’t properly eaten until now aside from feeding the kids. I thanked my lucky stars again that I was breastfeeding and could feed my son on the go.

The radio remained on and we all hopped into bed before 9pm, not knowing what the night would bring. We’d made a plan to not drive anywhere without a proper plan in the morning… but that all went out the window pretty quick.

Get out, NOW

Was the message we heard instead of Happy New Year’s. The risk of the fires was increasing, and all tourists were urged to get out of the beach communities via the limited roads that were still open for now.

We made a decision to head north to Ulladulla in the hopes we could get back to Canberra through Kangaroo Valley (the Bega way was still closed due to active fires). It took almost an hour to get over the Bateman’s Bay bridge, and every petrol station we passed had queues kilometres long. It was like a scene from ‘War of the Worlds’, minus the aliens.

Powerless

Ulladulla was without power also. There were hundreds of people already at the evacuation centre there. The beautiful people at Ocean Vibe were feeding people for free with what food they had left, and we had at least two people offer us help on the street even though they didn’t know us. The roads out were closed so there was no way of getting home today.

We drove around until about 3:30pm looking for accommodation. Somewhere that would take us and the dogs, but had no luck. Again, we made the decision to head back to Lilli Pilli despite the risk. At least we could have a shower and a clean bed. More than what so many poor people in this area don’t have access to right now.

Take me out

Morning of the 2nd, we anxiously listened to the radio in hope the road would open. Sometime after 9am we learnt we were able to get home via Bega. We embarked on what would end up being a 10 hour trip. Some of these hours we only crawled along at 10km, or sat in a queue km’s long up Brown Mountain.

My 4 year old was nothing short of a legend in the car this day. She barely complained. As for the bub, I pumped on the go so we could bottle feed and keep moving. The risk of stopping on the side of the road meant we may not even get home.

As with all great adventures, he decided to make it interesting by pooing no less than 5 times. And although he was so overtired from the ordeal over the past 3 days, he did surprisingly well being stuck in a car for 10 hours straight. Yes I did hold him when we were crawling along. And I may have done a drive by nappy change too…but hell we just wanted to, and needed to get home to safety.

The real heroes

This short ordeal of what we went through is nothing compared to the thousands of people that have lost their homes. That is why for the months of January and February, all profit from our sales will be donated to RFS NSW. These people are giving up their time and risking their health and lives to keep others safe.

Lastly, a shout out to everyone else who has offered help to someone in this time. Whether it be financial, food, a roof over their heads or even just assistance with a task. Times like these really do remind us of how good people are.

Person holding jar with money

Expensive.. but think of it as an investment

These cute, cuddly, little balls of love we call babies really do add a lot of meaning to our lives. On the other hand, they can be very expensive.

Apparently they cost up to $10,000 in the first year, and close to $300,000 until they are 17.

Exxy worth the cash

Certain baby items with expensive price tags can probably be gone without. In saying this, some products I have come across definitely made the first year much easier! I totally missed the memo on second hand items though.

If you’re short on cash and aren’t looking for mattresses and things which are better new, try Gumtree and other online marketplaces. You can often grab a bargain from a mum who is cleaning out her house. And sometimes the items haven’t even been used.

Baby swing or bouncer

Oh how I wish I bought one of these before 3 months in with my firstborn. No more peeing, cooking, and trying to have a shower while your baby either screams or you practice becoming a one handed expert.

One the upper scale, there are crazy good swings that have lullabies, rocking, vibrating functions (you name it) to keep them entertained.

For a more portable option though, for the same price as a takeaway burger you can get yourself one of these beauties from Kmart. Hello free hands!

Poo catcher

The best $40 you’ll ever spend on some plastic by buying a twist and click nappy bin. No more running out to the rubbish bin so your house doesn’t smell like a zoo. Word of warning though, the refills are expensive.

Portable baby seat

One to use once your baby can support their head well enough. It’s great as a booster seat, high chair for feeding and just a nice little spot to put your little one when you need to get something done. Very easy to clean too as you can take the insert out in a flash.

Co-sleeper baby bassinet

I was silly enough to spend over $1200 on the cot I bought as it converted all the way from a bassinet to a single bed. Problem being, it was all fixed together, the cot side doesn’t come down, and getting up and walking even a few metres when you are already sleep deprived…torture.

Enter my solution for at least 6 months, maybe even 9 (we’ll see). I found this awesome co-sleeper that can be wheeled around, have the side down and attach to your bed with straps, can be used as a rocker, and packs up quite small to take as a portacot as well.

It even came with a carry bag and mosquito net. Needless to say you can tell I’m totally in love with it. The best part? It’s way bigger than a regular bassinet as I use my normal cot sheets on it.

baby getting weighed after birth

Tear or cut?

I never thought I’d have to decide whether to attempt to have my second baby naturally, or to have an elective caesarean (hence the tear or cut). My story is a bit backwards in that sense.

Stitches

Taking a trip down memory lane, 4 years ago I’d had a very healthy accidental pregnancy. I’d come to terms that my 2 month Europe trip was no longer happening. And I was trading pints at Oktoberfest for nappies.

There was not much to report throughout as I felt relatively normal. I had the first trimester vomiting throughout my extensive traveling for work. However, I was still managing a few workouts at the gym. Towards the end I felt like I was going to have the baby early (I had labour symptoms 3 weeks prior), but ended up being a week overdue. All the checkups were normal, the baby’s head was down, and I was ready to go.

The big event

Having 2 false labours the Sunday’s prior, my contractions started around 3pm. We tried not to get too excited until they became a few minutes apart around 8:30-9pm. We spoke to the midwife who came out to check me, and advised us to go in. Arriving at the birth centre, we had another examination. The midwife said that she thought I’d have the baby pretty quickly once my water broke. And break it did not… I walked up and down the halfway all night.

5am came, with no pain relief and I was buggered. We did another check, and all of a sudden I was being wheeled around the corner and signing forms for an emergency caesarean. Apparently they couldn’t feel my baby anymore as it had turned.

It was a pretty big shock, and quite disappointing given I’d gotten so far, but we had a healthy baby girl. Recovery was slow… so slow. I hated the daily blood thinning injections, and having to stay put and not lift was an absolute killer. I learnt my lesson about rest very quick, when 3 weeks post surgery I thought I was fine and overdid it. Half a day on the couch to recover.

Ala naturale

Again, second time round my pregnancy was very normal apart from the pelvic pain (which sucks balls big time unless you get a pair of these Godsent pants). Given the first time caesar, we got booked for an extra ultrasound at 31 weeks to make sure the baby was the right way. I was pretty sure the little bugger wasn’t as couldn’t feel anything near my ribs. As suspected, he was sideways.

I tried not to get too disheartened even though I was set on a natural birth. We still had time! Again I felt a lot of pre-labour symptoms and had a false labour for around 4 hours on the Saturday night before I had him. Monday we had more symptoms, but I was booked in for an appointment about turning him on the Tuesday anyway.

External Cephalic Version (ECV)

Meeting with the doctor and midwife at 36 weeks, we did another ultrasound and he had turned (the wrong way). Feet first, the doc took me through the ECV process (they pretty much push your uterus around – I’m oversimplifying). I accepted the risk of a potential caesarean if there was bleeding or the baby’s heart rate was a concern, and we booked in for the following Wednesday (3 weeks out from the due date). Before leaving I asked whether they wanted to examine me due to the fake labour etc. but got told to just go home and continue as normal.

See you guys tomorrow!

I yelled the above to my co-workers as I left at lunch time for a pre-school interview for my daughter. I’d taken half a day off on the day after my appointment to do this and see the physio for some pelvic pain relief. I’d felt pretty niggly all morning, and had a lot of back pain and pelvic pain… not contractions like my first pregnancy though.

I called my husband while walking the dogs to see if he was at our house renovating (we were housesitting) and told him I’d come see him after my 3pm physio appointment. Driving home from the physio, the back pain got worse. By the time I got to the house I even felt a bit nauseous.

He took one look at me and said, ” Are you alright? No way you’re helping me!”
I replied that I actually thought I needed to sit down or something. As our whole front of the house was a big concrete and dust pit I headed to my daughter’s room. I called the midwife to let her know I’d had some sporadic contractions but nothing consistent 5-10 mins apart and promised to call her back if things changed.

Hung up the phone, baby kicked, felt something and thought I’d better check it out. I got to the tiles at the bathroom and my water broke. Thinking I had heaps of time, I told my husband to call back the midwife. Then I jumped in the bath to rinse myself off and went hunting for some clean clothes. Also worth mentioning my labour bag was at the house we were staying at, so we detoured via there as well.

Feet first

Remember how I said I thought I had heaps of time? In the 10 minutes it took to get to the other house to get my bag, things had ramped up and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the hospital. As we sat at the traffic lights behind multiple cars on Hindmarsh (staring at the hospital straight ahead), my body starting involuntarily pushing. Hubby jumped out of his door thinking we were going to have a movie moment, while I yelled at him to get me to the hospital as our baby was breech. Add in a cop car trailing us when he sped off at 120km, and we made quite an arrival.

I managed to make it up the stairs to birth suite, and was met with my midwife calling, “Someone press the emergency button, the baby is breach!” To which I replied, “Too late, the feet are out!” 8 minutes is all it took for my son to jump into this world feet first. Drama aside, the whole event was under an hour.

So..cut or tear?

For me, having had both experiences, I’d go natural all the way. It’s worth noting that I did go to an information session that outlined the risks and benefits of cesarean vs natural birth after a caesar, so I could make an informed decision.

The recovery time and overall feeling afterwards actually blew my mind given my experience first time round. In saying that, post surgery recovery wasn’t completely horrible. I just felt stuck at home and a bit useless but definitely more time for Netflix down path no 2 :o)