Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fabulous 4 months

With weary eyes and a wrist full of tendinitis I have returned to blog the past month of our little darling's life.
4 months! Can you believe it? Feels like I haven't slept properly in a year, oh wait, I haven't! But enough complaining, let's get to the fun stuff........
Clem's quirks;
She can now roll over both ways, she's getting the motions of crawling started by digging her knees and and moving forwards. Funny because she hated tummy time, yet rolls from her back to her tummy 100 times a day. Sometimes she's content to stay there, other times she'll shout for me to turn her over.
She likes to shout at my boobs just before she eats. I imagine she is saying "get in my belleh"
She has started to put her feet in her mouth, actually she puts anything within reach into her mouth!
She love, love, loooooooves being in the BOBA with Daddy.
She loves having baths with Daddy. And splashing me while I am trying to wash her.
We introduced solids today. Rice cereal fortified with iron. Messy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

3 month catch up

Has it been 3 months already? Well, almost! Little Clam is 3 days off her 3rd month birthday and it has all happened so soon!
So, what's been happening? Our little Clemmy Boo began smiling at 6 weeks on the dot, she'd been giving cute little glimpses of a smile to me for at least 2 weeks before, but I was convinced it was gas, then she gave me the cheekiest, gummiest grin ever and I knew it was for real!
Week 6 was a wonder week for us, and coincided with Daddy going away for a work conference for the week. Let's just say our reunion after a week apart was teary and full of hugs. I take my hat off to any single parent!
When she was 7 weeks we took our Boo to get her vaccinations and have her check up done. 50th percentile baby! She cried a little for her needles, and mum and dad got their whooping cough injection too (ouch!)
So far she's loving the Boba, especially when Daddy carries her around the shops. She's extremely curious, and loves to take in everything the world has to offer. Mum prefers the sleepy wrap because the Boba was too tight around the abdomen/c section scar. We also have a ring sling which she doesn't seem too into just yet.
The Naty Care nappies are standing the test of time. We've tried some other brand of wipes which I'll do a bit of a review on later
Tummy time was a bit of a roller coaster for us. Clam had some intense vomiting (possibly reflux) and really hated being put on the floor for tummy time, so I put her on a soft surface like the couch or bed then eventually back to her mat, where she will now happily hold herself up and stare at herself in the mirror and babble.
As we approach her third month, she has begun attempting to roll over. It's amazing to see her progress before my eyes. I sit with her, cheering her on and wanting to tell her to stop growing up so quickly at the same time.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Post Partum Recovery

In my experience no one really tells you about the recovery part of having a baby. Everyone loves to share a birth story, coo over baby, give unsolicited advice, but no one ever tells you what your body goes through after giving birth.
I thought that as soon as I gave birth all of those horrible pregnancy aches and pains would disappear immediately, but here I am 5 weeks later with carpal tunnel, swollen hands, random cramps and other delightfully painful bits.
My c-section decided not to heal properly and I've been on antibiotics to clear up an infection, lochia seems never ending, boobs are exploding, and as for poop - let's not even go there!
Luckily I did my kegels, so I haven't had to deal with any of that and my emotional state is quite good considering my mental health history.
Sleeping has become a luxury. I had a few 4 hour blocks of sleep, but mostly it's 2 hours at a time. Nursing can be uncomfortable, especially in those nursing marathons that last for hours.
I guess the healing part takes time, after all, it took 9 months to get here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wonderful Week 3

We're finally starting to get the hang of things here. Breastfeeding has become much easier now that we know how to work together. Cries are becoming more distinct and easier to handle.
Our little bug is starting to make noises and sometimes I think she is smiling, but it's probably just gas.
Here are a few things that made this week easier

Top Left - Safe N Sound Meridian Convertible Car Seat
Top Right - Big Softies Nappies (used as burp cloths)
Bottom Left - Bonds Wonder Suits
Bottom Right - Mother Care Nursing Bras

Monday, June 18, 2012

Week 2 Life Savers

If the first week wasn't the biggest learning curve ever, week 2 had even more excitement.
Feeling so sleep deprived I could see into other dimensions, my body still healing from a c section and having a tiny creature demanding constant feeding I was feeling like I was on the brink of insanity and could certainly see how sleep deprivation is a great form of torture.
Here are a few things that helped keep me sane....

Top Left - SOFT fresh towels
Top Right - Nursing App
Bottom Left - Re-usable nursing pads
Bottom Right - Boba Carrier

Monday, June 11, 2012

First Week Home

Our first week home was a steep learning curve. No midwives around to help latch or tell me what each cry meant. There were tears, frustration and confusion but we soon got the hang of things. We figured out our little Clam loves a bath, hates her nappy being changed and just wants to be cuddled most of the time, which is fine with us because she is the cutest thing ever.
Below are a few items that made life a little easier for us all in the first week.

Bottom Right - Gaia - Skin Lotion (contains beeswax)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The best laid plans of Mama and Clem

As the saying goes " The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray" and how spot on it was for the birth of our little girl.
Thinking that I had planned every aspect of birth imaginable, Clem decided she didn't want things to go my way, instead we had to change everything we thought was going to happen and put our faith in the doctors, nurses and midwives to ensure our Clam's safe arrival.
So this may be a little TMI, but if you think that, then what are you doing reading a pregnancy blog, huh?
A few days before Clem's arrival I had been getting period pains and strong Braxton Hicks and that general feeling that she would be here any day soon. I was getting tired of being pregnant and ready to meet our little girl, so on Saturday I drank heaps of raspberry leaf tea, straightened my hair and went and did the shopping. We came home and had a spicy dinner and watched The Green Mile on tv. At 11.30 I was still feeling period-y, we were about to go to bed when I went to the bathroom and had a bloody show. I was so excited and scared at the same time. I checked the internet to see what would happen next, but it said it could take days for things to eventuate so we went to bed. At 2am I went to the bathroom again and there was more show, but slightly different colour. I went back to bed and shut my eyes for what seemed 5 minutes and felt a small gush. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom and realised it was my waters breaking. I noticed that the colour was a bit strange, slightly greeny brownish. I called out to the husband and got him to call the hospital, to which they replied to come in straight away as they feared the meconium may have leaked into the amniotic fluid.
We grabbed our bags and headed to the hospital and on the way there my contractions began, they were short and relatively painless at this point. By 2.45am we were at the hospital and I had to give a urine sample and they checked my amniotic fluid and confirmed that there was meconium present. That eliminated my plans of a nice, relaxing water birth then and there.
I was taken to a delivery room and hooked up to a fetal heart monitor, contraction monitor, a blood pressure monitor and a drip. The midwives were going to induce me for a natural labour but my body began contracting on its own at this point.
So far all my plans had been thrown out the window and I hadn't taken any labour classes because I assumed I'd be following what my body told me to do. Contractions at this point were lasting over a minute and getting stronger, longer and closer together. I was then given an internal check to see how far along I was. The midwife seemed a little concerned that something didn't feel right and checked for the baby's position again. BREECH. Somehow she had gone from fully engaged and then flipped upside down. They didn't know how and neither did I.
It was decided that I would be getting a caesarean immediately as her heartbeat wasn't fluctuating with the contractions either. They had another mother in theatre with an emergency, so I was kept in (drug free) labour until she was finished. At 8am I was taken into theatre, given an epidural (try doing that while you're having contractions) it gave me the worst shivers ever. I was numbed and cut open and at 8.48am our little Clementine Louise gave her first cry. I got to catch a quick peek at her before she was taken by Daddy to care for her while I was stitched back together and sent to recovery.
Recovery absolutely sucked. I sat there alone and drugged up while waiting to get feeling back in my lower half. For 2 hours I asked when I could go see my baby. I pretended I was The Bride from Kill Bill willing my toes to move so they would let me go see my family.
I was wheeled to the maternity ward and finally got to meet my little baby properly. She was perfect. 10 fingers, 10 toes. She weighed 3238g and was 48cm long.
In all of the scenarios I had imagined, this was definitely not one of them, but she was here and there were no further complications, so I felt incredibly lucky to be holding the tiny bundle in my arms.
We stayed in the hospital for 2 nights to monitor us both and came home on a rainy Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The crunch factor

I've been spending the past few months researching parenting styles/approaches and discovered I'm probably going to be pigeon holed as a "crunchy parent". Luckily, it's not a mainstream term just yet, but I can guess that I will be getting questions from friends and family on my intended techniques.
What is crunchy parenting you say? Well, it's loosely a set of "alternative" ideas to parenting. (You say alternative, I say NATURAL) Which help develop a close bond between parent and child.
I've stated before that the bond between us and our baby is extremely important to me, and with the gentle style of alternative parenting I think this will be the best thing our little family can do.
So what's involved and what do we intend to do?

Breast Feeding This one is a no brainer for us. I intend for doing it for at least 2 years, just as the WHO recommends 
Co-sleeping Not in our bed, but beside us in her own bassinet, then when she gets bigger we will side car with a cot.
MCN/EC Modern cloth nappies will take place after I have the nappy changing technique down pat. We will be using biodegradable disposables for the first few weeks and hope to teach her Elimination Communication too
Home made foods None of those sodium filled jars of baby mush from the super market for us. 
Baby wearing Hands free baby carrying. Seems almost too easy. And who wants to wrestle a pram and run down people in the shops with those massive wheels? We have 2 Boba carriers so far
Natural material toys We are trying to minimalise the amount of useless plastic toys and stick to educational wooden ones instead.
Environmental awareness  Being vegan, we already have a high awareness of our impact on the environment. We have a small herb garden which I would like to expand into a full veggie patch. We have a massive, albeit slightly neglected, compost pile too. I would love for Clem to learn first hand where her food comes from and stick her hands in the dirt.
Education I'm really enjoying reading about Montessori at the moment. I'm not as researched as I'd like to be just yet, but we know she will also be involved in Kodaly.

Now, I'm sure there is a lot more to parenting than just these few short points, but I feel that these are well researched and suitable for our little family. I'm not one to be self righteous, especially on a topic I have no actual experience with, but this is all going to be a steep learning curve for us. I think that going into it open minded and flexible, but with a slight plan and basic structure is as well prepared as we can get!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What it feels like for a girl

I've had this blog stuck in my head for the past few days, but it never had an exact point to it, more of some kind of rant or brain to keyboard dribble.
So it feels like most of my life has been spent preparing for motherhood in some way, shape or form.
I am the eldest of four girls, all of whom I was expected to help with from a very young age, and with a big age gap between myself and my two youngest sisters, I became "assistant mum"
Every morning I'd get my little sisters ready for school. Clothes, hair, shoes, school bags, etc. I'd help my mum make dinner, do the washing, ironing, and cleaning. I was the perfectly trained, albeit extremely sexist and misogynistic, mini housewife in training.
As I grew into an adult I came to have more of a feminist view on this topic and for a long, long time I never wanted to be married or have children. I didn't want the role of housebound housewife.
But with all of these "duties" ingrained into me by my family and society, I gradually changed my mind for it to become something more acceptable to me. Being a wife didn't mean compromising who I was. I feel that my husband and I are equals in this relationship. I know that we will be able to teach our daughter about equality without making everything gender specific. I know that I won't tie her to any role because she is female. I will encourage her to try EVERYTHING she possibly can, and if anyone tells her otherwise she will have enough self confidence (and not in a snotty kind of way) to be able to prove them wrong!
I want to teach her to be a strong, confident person who loves herself and her family and that her gender does not dictate her life

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Body Image

Now here is a subject that gets me riled up. Body image and the pregnant woman!
As an impressionable teen I hated my body. Too short, "fatter" than my sisters, the wrong colour hair, freckles, you name it - I hated it. Then as I grew up I realised that magazines and the media project these unreal images that you're supposed to be like. It was like a light bulb went off;
These lies = $$$ for them. 
Not only was I being subjected to these images on a daily basis, they were brainwashing me and my friends of what a body should be like. I decided for myself that I would not pass judgement on other peoples bodies. Why would it be my business anyway? But it is something that is hard to escape when it is shoved in your face with magazines, internet and television programs.
I've become aware as a pregnant woman that my body has become almost a free market to talk about.

"You look so big" Well thanks, I'm 5 feet tall, where else is this baby supposed to fit?
"You look small for * months" Oh, great. Now I'm depriving my unborn child
"I couldn't even tell you were pregnant from the back" Yea, that's because my baby isn't growing IN MY ASS!

Then the ads for weight loss bombard the telly and the gossip sites. I know I should keep away from both because they poison the brain, but when will this stop?
 Today I read about Jessica Simpson getting a deal with Jenny Craig. SHE GAVE BIRTH A WEEK AGO! When did this insanity begin? Mel B just did the same thing and for weeks we got to hear her "journey" back to her pre-pregnancy weight.
I understand that for some people - CELEBRITIES - that this may be possible, but I don't have access to a nanny, a nutritionist, a gym, a personal chef, or a paid weight loss program. Nor does the "average woman"
We are then sold their photo shopped magazine covers in hopes we can read their "miracle baby weight loss" stories and hate ourselves even more for our bellies covered in stretch marks and boobs that hang just that bit lower than they did before baby.
I will not buy into this bull shit. I will not let my daughter hate her body for no valid reason. I will not hate my own body for creating and housing a life.
I will not accept society's unrealistic visions of motherhood.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Nursery

Even though Clem will be sleeping in our room, we decided to make a nursery for her with all of her things.
Totally inspired by the Ikea range, of course. Slightly woodlands theme meets the vegetable patch.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New baby etiquette

With D-day looming, I have been thinking about hospital, visitors and all the unspoken, yet expected "rules" of visiting a new baby. Some unknown mama-bear protective gene has kicked in and I have really been thinking about this a lot lately.

My main concerns are feeling pressured to give birth quickly and efficiently, noses pressed against the delivery room door, having enough bonding time as a family before people want to meet the baby, recovery time needed afterwards for myself, germs and sick people around my baby, baby being passed around like a football, and the list goes on!

I'm not one for unannounced visits, in fact, "poppy roundy" is my biggest pet peeve. That and less than a days notice are on par for most annoying thing ever! So, if you want to meet baby, CALL AND ARRANGE FIRST otherwise I won't be answering the door.

Some family alone time after delivery is 100% necessary for me. I think that it is really important for me, my husband and baby to bond after birth. That is time you will never get back. I can't emphasise how pissed off I would be if someone tried to intrude on that time for us.
Also, the hospital visit isn't really necessary. I hate hospitals and if everything goes to plan, I intend on being out of the quick smart. No extended stays for me. If it doesn't happen that way, chances are that I will be tired, sore and grumpy and definitely not in the mood for visitors.

Germs! This baby is going to be susceptible to every kind of germ and disease with her brand new immune system. Would it be rude of me to demand hand washing and sanitising? What about the current whooping cough epidemic, can I ask people to be vaccinated against it before they visit?  I am even a bit iffy about relatives kissing baby. Can I ask them not to? Will they pass her around like a football? I know I don't want my mother toucher her with filthy cigarette stained fingers. GROSS!

I purposely left all baby news off facebook knowing that there would be lots of unsolicited advice and comments. On April Fools Day I decided to put a photo of my 8 month bump up on my profile. Friends who I hadn't seen in months and years proceeded to send me messages, comments and emails asking if it was real. Some also passed judgement on my size (not knowing how far pregnant I was, as I didn't say) which I found incredibly rude and had to practically defend myself  against.
I know there is lots more advice on its way, so do I nod and agree or just keep my mouth shut?

Are there any tips you have to deal with visiting a newborn?

Weeks 26 - 31

Finally, the 3rd trimester arrived! All my cravings had disappeared and my energy levels seemed back to normal. My kitchen creativity came back and the nesting instinct kicked in. My bourgeoning belly became a real baby bump and lots of people felt it necessary to make comments on my size, which I found rude and intrusive (probably more so due to crazy hormones)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Baby Shower

Although I had to be coaxed into the idea of a baby shower, I'm finally getting used to the idea. I'm not really into parties or being the centre of attention (or people randomly putting their hands on my belly) but we have decided to have a baby shower in lieu of ever having an engagement, housewarming or wedding. I guess one big party will be okay.
Ever the un-traditional couple, we are having a big family baby shower. In typical Maltese fashion there will be no less than 40 immediate family members (vegan Papa is from Malta) and whilst most showers are usually ladies only, we felt it only necessary for the entire family to celebrate the little Clam with us.

Invites by Hipp

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vegan Health

Although we have a relatively healthy diet and all blood work has come back great, there are still a few things I take and make sure I eat to keep the little Clam healthy.
For the first 3 months I was taking a Vegan Pregnancy vitamin by DEVA. I found it made my morning sickness worse, so I stuck it out for the first 12 weeks then changed to FLORADIX. Floradix was much easier to find locally and gave me no sickness afterwards.

Excellent Resources for Vegan Parenting

To get my body and brain prepared for a vegan pregnancy I enlisted the help of a few books.
I knew there would be a barrage of questions from midwives and family on this topic, so of course I had to arm myself with the right knowledge and make sure I was doing the right thing for the Clam and I .
I found these on Book Depository (free shipping) and Herbivore Clothing.

Weeks 19-25

By the time little clam had reached 19 weeks her kicks were so strong that they could be felt from the outside. (I'm convinced she's practising kung fu in there.)
Every now and then there is a quiet day, quickly followed by a day of bouncing non-stop or a cute little butt lodged between my hip and ribs.

Weeks 13-18

At the 13th week the sickness subsided and belly started to grow. A tiny little bump progressed until I had to get new pants to fit again.
Going to work was challenging, I was quite tired and eating lots now that my appetite was back.
Then along came the shingles. 2 weeks of pure hell and pain.
Around the 16 week mark I had begun to feel little bubbles in my belly.
By the 18th week an ultrasound proved that little clam was a girl, as we had already guessed.

Weeks 6-12

And like clockwork, the morning sickness began. Or should we say, ALL DAY AND NIGHT SICKNESS! I couldn't stand to eat a lot of things, even one of my favourites - broccoli. The smell of cooking food, the sight of a full plate and even just the smell of the oven pre heating was enough to make my stomach shrivel.

In the beginning

It all began when a mummy and a daddy loved each other very much. BAM! A baby clam.
Arriving in May, or possibly even June;
Clementine Louise
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