Third Pregnancy – Reflections at the halfway mark

Our THIRD pregnancy.

It still feels rather surreal to be saying it, and boy do we feel blessed.

If you follow me on Instagram – you would have seen our big announcement recently. For our little family of four is set to become a family of five in July this year. And while I was super organised in keeping a diary during my first pregnancy, and somewhat organised throughout my second, well let’s just say I’ve been less than organised this time around.

My previous diary entries have been so wonderful to look back on, so now seems like the perfect time to take a step back and reflect on this pregnancy too.  There’s always a fine-line between share and overshare, but I always appreciate having a little record to look back on in years to come. So here goes.

I’m currently 22 weeks pregnant, and we have known since I was 4 weeks. The downside of IVF being that you find out early, really early.

Yes, like J, this little bean is also an IVF gift.

We had always seen 3 children in our future, but weren’t too sure how realistic our dream was. We went through a failed IVF attempt early last year, which only made the reality of the situation all too clear. Maternal age was weighing heavily on my mind (I’m a dinosaur, I know…) and I always had a set “end-point” to when we would say goodbye to the prospect of adding a new member to our family. But with the help of our amazing doctor, some crazy growth-hormone drugs and other concoctions to dent our bank account, in September last year we received the amazing news.

We were pregnant.

Weeks 4 to 13

I’d like to say that the first trimester flew, but honestly, it dragged.

(4 weeks: We were just about to go into the circus when we got the ‘good news’ phonecall)

Finding out so early is always a curse, particularly when you can’t really share your news, and you have to act ‘normal’. And then the dreaded morning sickness hit. Or in my case, and as was the case with my pregnancy with J, my “morning” sickness hit around lunchtime and continued until bed time.

(6 weeks pregnant: At a friend’s wedding. The nausea had just started, but it was all smiles for the camera!)

The nausea generally peaked right on school pick up time, and left me feeling drained, nauseous and generally unwell.  Salads made me gag, cheese sandwiches were my staple, and the nausea was only manageable if I was consuming carbs.

(10 weeks: I took the girls down to Melbourne for my nephew’s 1st birthday. And while the drive and evenings were a struggle, it was wonderful to share our news with my family  in person).

A saving grace was the distraction of Christmas. Although there were none of the usual celebratory champagne or cocktails for me, it was great to have some time off work and take little adventures with our family (not to mention, naps).

(Smiling for the camera to get our Christmas picture, and if my memory serves me correct, eating a bag of chips and going to bed as soon as we got home). 

Thankfully my mornings were relatively symptom free, however, and I was still able to fit in my daily walk. And I coped with work and household chores by trying to fit in as much as I could  before the nausea came on around lunch (after which I was pretty much useless). And while the symptoms were not wanted, they were reassuring, and we got beautiful results at our growth scans and other tests.

On that note, we were surprised to learn that since my last pregnancies, they have introduced a new genetic test – the side benefit being that you can find out gender really early. Like 10 weeks early. And right on the 10-week mark, we found out we were welcoming another little girl into our family. Miss C was less than impressed at first (she really wanted a brother) but has now warmed to the idea and can’t wait to meet her newest little sister!

I think J is still a little too young to really understand what is going on, although if I ask her where the baby is, she points to my tummy which is pretty adorable.

Weeks 14 to 20

Somehow I managed to bumble through the first 8 weeks then as quickly as the nausea arrived, it subsided. One day it was there, the next it was gone. And I must say I was pretty pleased about that. My usual salads regained their appeal, and I could actually do things during the afternoon without feeling like death warmed up.

Physically, I felt great during this period.  None of the headaches or pelvic pain that I had experienced with J, and I loved being able to keep active with my morning walks.

(16 weeks: Celebrating Australia Day with a hike up to Booroomba Rocks)

I was, and still am, battling with bone-tiring fatigue. I’m heading to bed quite early (although, let’s be honest , I generally do), although there are some days where I can barely keep my eyes open!  I put it down to being a few years older, working and having two other little ones to run around after all day. So yeah – I’ve pretty much accepted that it is the new normal – albeit begrudgingly.

As for the belly – well – it grows (as does everything else!). Faster with each pregnancy it seems, and if I’m honest – I’m not really loving it. I know its all part of the process, but experiencing growth and slimdown with 3 pregnancies in 5 years – and a bulging wardrobe to cater for multiple sizes – well its not as exciting as the first time around that’s for sure!

(9 weeks, 14 weeks, 19 weeks)

So there you have it – a little snippet into the last 20 weeks! Here’s hoping the next half flies, as we are all looking forward to meeting our newest family member and beginning our life as a family of five.

Now if we could only decide on a name….

Welcome to the world, little Josephine

As I type this post, I have my gorgeous 6 day-old daughter asleep on my chest. Her divine newborn aroma is ever-strong, and I can’t help but feel nostalgic, and reflective, not only about the last week – but also about the last year. For this time last year, we were in the throes of IVF. Yet now I sit here cuddling my second daughter. How so much can change…and how so much we have to be thankful for. You might recall that C was born via emergency C section – after my body apparently didn’t get the ‘memo’ that dilation and engagement might assist in the whole childbirth thing. With that history in mind, my OB felt that a natural birth was very unlikely – so we opted to schedule a C-section this time around. IMG_2639 (One last bump pic…) So bright and early last Wednesday, we headed to the Hospital knowing that we would be meeting our second child in a matter of hours. We were checked in, gowned up, and not too long later – whisked away to theatre. I had a spinal – which in itself was rather scary – and I was somewhat nervous about surgery generally knowing that my iron levels and blood pressure were both quite low. But aside from a moment of low blood pressure 5 minutes in, and little J hiding out inside to the extent my doc needed to use forceps to get her out (?!) the procedure went well. And when they dropped that curtain – and I heard that amazing newborn cry – well its hard not to get teary just thinking about it. There, before us, was our second daughter. Little Josephine Elizabeth – all 3.59kg of her (almost a pound heavier than Charlotte!!).  IMG_2662 And she is simply perfect! IMG_2737 When pregnant, I just had a feeling that we were having another girl. So that part didn’t surprise me at all. But what did surprise me, was how much bigger she was than C, and how fair her hair was. IMG_5332  IMG_2733 (C on the left / J on the right) But what they both share, however, is a hearty appetite, and I am so pleased to report that J took to feeding like a champion! As for her big sister, well I wish I had captured the moment she first met J on video. For she excitedly rushed in the room, eyes bright and full of awe, and promptly asked if “broccoli had been born yet”.  IMG_2676  IMG_2679 Yes, my darling, she certainly has. Since then, she has offered nothing but cuddles and kisses,  happily introducing her little sister to anyone that we meet. And I could not be more proud. IMG_2815 As for my recovery, I was again blessed with a speedy one. The hardest part was being ‘attached to the bed’ for the initial 24 hours after surgery (oh and the morphine-induced uncontrollable vomiting in the first few hours), but once I was able to get up and get moving, the pain lessened each and every day. So much so that since leaving the hospital I have been off all pain medication and moving freely.  I’m happy to share more about my experience with C-sections if you’d like me to – but I can save that for another day? Otherwise – I feel as if I have so much more to say about the transition from 1 child to 2, and this latest pregnancy in general, so I will no doubt post more on both at some stage. But for now, I plan on relishing these first few ‘sleepy’ newborn weeks for they really do pass by all too fast (and I am acutely aware that the ‘witching hours’ will soon be upon us…) Thankyou also to all of you that followed this first week via Instagram and passed on your best wishes. You sure know how to make a girl smile Smile

Second Pregnancy – Third Trimester Reflections

As we get down to the ‘business’ end of this pregnancy, I figured it would be lovely to take a step back and reflect on the third trimester. For this baby could come any time now, and the countdown is officially on. You can catch up on my other pregnancy posts here:

Apologies in advance for all the gratuitous bump pics…. Mind In some ways, this pregnancy has flown by. In other way – I feel as if we have been on the fertility / IVF / pregnancy rollercoaster for all too long. I look back at photos from the last 2 years – and can pretty much tell you where we were up to in every single one. 2v9 - Copy If I’m to be honest, this pregnancy was not as ‘easy’ as my first. Physically, it was harder, which meant ‘mentally’ it felt harder too. But I’ve consciously taken a step back to reflect on all the wonderful aspects. The fact that I have, thus far, had another low risk pregnancy with no complications – now that is something to be grateful for. But the tiredness…….oh my god the tiredness! Body I’ll let the photos do the talking… monthsfivetonine - Copy Months 5 to 9….quite a change! Similar to my last pregnancy – things in the ‘bump growth’ department seem to have slowed down in the third trimester. Baby BBB is still growing beautifully – however – and we are predicting a bub of similar size to Charlotte. My weight gain was more this pregnancy (my insatiable hunger for carbs having a lot to do with it)  although it seems to have distributed itself a little differently this time around.  IMG_4703 36 (1st v 2nd pregnancy – 36 weeks) I don’t feel as if I have been blessed with the pregnancy glow though, more like a ‘I’m-so-tired-and-hungry’ shimmer… IMG_2539 From 19 weeks I’ve had daily braxton hicks, and lots of pelvic pain – the latter being a symptom I never really had during my first pregnancy. Actually, some days it is so bad that I can barely walk – while other days its not there at all. I saw a physio and got a stability belt which has helped during those bad days, as has trying to keep as active as possible (walking, swimming etc). IMG_2983 Other than that, this baby is a wriggler and a shaker, and I’ve been blessed to feel lots and lots of kicks and movement from very early on. Soul I finished up at work just shy of 37 weeks, with encouragement from Mr BBB, and it was honestly a great (forced) decision. Charlotte and I have been able to spend some fantastic time together – with daily walks, milkshake dates and other such adventures! IMG_2897 IMG_2833IMG_2972IMG_3009 Actually – it is probably C’s impending change from only child to big sister that I am most conscious of as this pregnancy draws to a close. She still affectionately refers to the baby as ‘Broccoli’ (and also tells me she has a baby in her tummy called ‘Rebecca Rabbit’) but whether she has a real understanding that Broccoli will soon be a real-live baby at home – I’m not so sure. But, she is a smart kid who never ceases to amaze me with her adaptability and comprehension – so she will no doubt make an awesome big sister when the time comes! So the third trimester, in summary: How I felt? Sore and tired. Super excited to meet the newest addition to our family in the not too distant future. Super anxious that we still haven’t decided on a name. What I missed? Being able to stand up without feeling dizzy. Oh and the the usual suspects – running, biking and wine….. Symptoms? See above. Pelvic pain, fatigue and dizziness. Oh and I am anaemic….awesome. Cravings?  I’m still on the carb band-wagon. And wishing it was more of a salad bandwagon. Highlights? Lots and lots of beautiful kicks. Oh – and giving the nursery a little makeover. IMG_0004 So there you have it – my final reflections post in what has been a very blessed second pregnancy (again…sincere apologies for all the shameless bump pics!) Needless to say – we can’t wait to meet the newest addition to our family sometime soon!

2nd pregnancy – Second Trimester Reflections

Where did we leave off?  That’s right – it was my First Trimester Reflections – and the horrible all-day nausea that came along with it. Thankfully, my Second Trimester proved to be a far more enjoyable few months. And here I am at the start of the third…. How on earth did that happen?!?! Mind On the one hand, I feel as if I have been pregnant for ages. Then, on the other, it seems to be slipping by at warp speed. Working and looking after a toddler certainly makes the days pass by pretty quickly, although I am starting to feel impatient and “ready” to welcome the newest member into our family. PicMonkey Collage The last few months have seen some pretty crazy hormones – although a reduction in nausea has meant I am back to exercising! Yep – if the first trimester was all about survival – this second trimester has been all about moving! And boy is my mind grateful for it. Nothing too strenuous, but regular swims, walks and body balance has left me feeling in a far better headspace. I simply cannot wait to return to running and biking though…. Body What can I say? It grows. More and more each day. I’ve officially banned the scale – and am ignoring all ‘recommended weight gain’ charts (those damn charts). If I’m honest, my constant cravings for carbs and other delicious delights hasn’t exactly helped things in that respect though…. Gluttony aside, there is certainly truth to the idea that you ‘pop’ much quicker in your subsequent pregnancies than your first. For I seem to be looking about 3 weeks further along when compared with my first pregnancy – and maternity clothes are well and truly taking pride of place in my wardrobe. On that note – I have to give a big shout-out to Even of Eden Maternity for very kindly sending me a maternity clothes “care package” – including these great khaki shorts that I have been living in lately… IMG_1573  IMG_1603‘’ I can’t say I experienced any surges in energy these last few months – and am still falling into bed early and sleeping soundly each night. I had a period of intense headaches, and a lot more hip/pelvis/back pain than I remember from last time – although swimming seems to be helping that.  And, yes, I am acutely aware that this could be one long Summer I am facing…. Soul The nostalgia continues in full swing – as I reflect on the changes that are about to occur – the most wonderful of which being that Miss C will become big sister! She seems to have a good understanding that a little baby will be joining us soon (“after Santa”) and has affectionately named the baby “broccoli”. Or Pedro. IMG_0025  IMG_0027 (Sporting another Eve of Eden maternity top that will no doubt come in handy when nursing…) We are keeping the baby’s gender a surprise this time, although my instinct tells me we are having another little girl (*Insert complete panic that I have NO idea re names*) I have a few names that I like, but none that I love, which is a little worrying…. So – the second trimester, in summary: How I felt? Not nauseous! What I missed? Running, vino and being able to get off the couch gracefully. Symptoms? Headaches, pelvis/back/hip pain, braxton hicks. Cravings?  Carbs, carbs and more carbs. It’s relentless. Highlights? Kicks, kicks and more kicks! Yes Baby BBB is a mover and a shaker. Let the countdown to baby’s birthday officially begin! —- PS – For those of you “with child” (or soon to be “with child”) who are looking for some maternity goodies  – head over to www.maternitysale.com.au – where you can enter BAKEBIKE2 at the checkout to receive $10 off any purchase over $60 (one use per customer and expires 31st Jan 2015). And a big “thankyou” to Eve of Eden for offering such a lovely deal to my readers.

2nd pregnancy – First Trimester Reflections

You’ll have to forgive me, for sharing our big news a few months ago, then going silent. I can’t say it was intentional…the days and weeks just seem to be flying by so fast at the moment. IMG_0681 In fact, I officially finished the first trimester 6 weeks ago (?!) yet am only now sitting down to put thoughts on paper. I loved having my first pregnancy diaries to look back on, and compare with, so feel it would be nice to do an abridged version this time around too. So here it is. Mind After undergoing multiple rounds of IVF, the news that we were actually, truly, pregnant, was simply amazing. But having a highly monitored cycle – means that we found out really early. Like 4 weeks early.  And we were realistic enough to know that a positive pregnancy test did not necessarily mean the pregnancy would progress. IMG_0116 The countdown to the all-important scan at 7 weeks was a killer. I  stopped running, and despite my best efforts to stay busy, it was hard not to get my hopes up. And plan the upcoming months. Thankfully, THANKFULLY, we walked out of that first scan with big smiles – after being our little jelly bean’s heart beating nice and strong, and measuring spot on. Big sigh of relief, indeed. We broke the news to our families – who were well aware of our IVF attempts – and, as you can imagine, they were all thrilled to bits.  C even outed me to her daycare teachers when she declared, with gusto, that “Mummy’s got a baby in her tummy”. Yes…a 2 year old is not the best secret keeper its turns out! The next big milestone was the 13 week scan, at which the various other screening tests also took place. We again received fantastic results – and finally – we felt that we could really get excited. And breathe. Body In some ways this pregnancy has been very similar to my first. I stacked on weight early (yes it seems as soon as I get that positive pregnancy test I go up a dress size, or two), and I started experiencing headaches. But in more many ways, it has been incredibly different. This time I’ve been suffering from horrible all-day nausea – which started at 6 weeks and continued to the end of the first trimester. The nausea seemed to get worse as the day went on, peaking just before bed time – only easing while I was eating – and  returning shortly after I stopped. Carbs, carbs and more carbs were my friend, and the desire to cook disappeared completely.  This was all very new to me, as when pregnant with Charlotte, I pretty much functioned as normal throughout the first trimester. IMG_0501 (11 weeks pregnant, and feeling oh so sick) I also had grand plans to run or at least continuing exercising throughout this pregnancy, but I stopped around 7 weeks. The all-consuming nausea seriously knocked me around, and it took all the effort I had to put on a straight face, squeeze into clothes that weren’t tracksuit pants, and keep up appearances at work. All while running around after a toddler of course. Bed times came earlier and earlier, and I headed to bed at the same time as C most nights. Yes, 7.30pm. Soul When pregnant with Charlotte, it was all I could think about. This time, if I’m honest, I frequently forget that I’m pregnant! Sure I catch a glimpse of my expanding body in the mirror and am quickly reminded, but truthfully, there are moments in the day when I simply just forget. But, despite this, I am so very excited about the prospect of our family becoming a family of 4. I can’t wait for C to be a big sister – a role I have no doubt she will take on with enthusiasm.  And I am constantly overwhelmed with feelings of gratefulness – and awe – as to the wonders of modern medicine. So the first trimester, in summary: How I felt? Tired and sick. Horribly sick. What I missed? Running, no feeling sick, vino, rare steak and brie cheese. Symptoms? Nausea and headaches. The seemingly dreaded duo. Cravings?  Carbs, carbs and more carbs. Preferably something I didn’t have to cook. Yes I think ate more takeaway during the first trimester than I have in the last 5 years! Highlights? The wonderful wonderful news that we were pregnant, and seeing our little one grow and grow! But although it was a rather rough first 13 weeks, I am pleased to report that things have improved since then. All to be covered when I recap the second trimester!

Our pre-pregnancy journey

Thankyou all for your lovely and warm well-wishes following our recent announcement. I never intended to drop a bombshell and then go offline for the week,  but life got ‘busy’ (and the fogginess of the first trimester lingers) making it hard to find a spare moment and, at times,  a clear head. But before I perhaps get into more details of the first trimester, I need to take a step back. For I feel there is more to our story than a pretty pregnancy announcement. Followers of this blog will know that we have endured infertility in the past, and I am sad to say that we were not granted an easy ‘get pregnant’ journey this time around either.  And while it is often easier to stay silent on issues such as these, I know too many people who share a similar story to keep it hidden. It took us many years to fall pregnant with Charlotte, but we knew we wanted more than one child – if that was at all possible. And knowing we were not getting any younger, we sought the assistance of a fertility specialist just before C’s first birthday. Unfortunately, however, it was not a good fit. Almost 12 months later – having undergone multiple IUIs, medicated cycles and finally, an IVF cycle, we were left with more questions than answers and a bank balance that had taken a big hit. My emotions were running high, and our life was consumed with timings, tests and bad results.  All while trying to keep a sense of normalcy at work, and in our home life. Thank god for running – and the little moments of peace it offered. IMG_9932 So we made the decision to change specialists – and fertility clinics – and immediately the differences were apparent. Like chalk and cheese, really. We now had a doctor that listened, and access to nurses that were empathetic and understanding. A treatment team that was sensitive. Sensible.  Our doctor was well-schooled in recent medical studies and developments. He was encouraging, and thorough. IMG_8105 And we didn’t mess around.  As soon as we could, we were back on the IVF-wagon. And as I am sure many of you are aware, this involved daily hormone injections, blood tests and scans – and with it went any ‘mystery’ of conception. Despite high medication dosages, however, we had a pretty poor response during the cycle. We also had a poor outcome during the ‘lab’ phase, which was simply heartbreaking.  I think I might have alluded to it before. IMG_7095 At the end of it all – we had one little egg that was available for transfer – but a hormone spike that would see us take a break for a few months to give ourselves the best chance of success. For if this didn’t work – it was back to square 1. Back to another full medicated IVF cycle – and something we weren’t looking forward to. I don’t know whether it was the benefit of having our new specialist on board, or whether it was ‘simply’ our time, but two weeks after the transfer, the most gruelling and loooooong 2 weeks, we received the most joyous news. We were pregnant. I will never forget this day. When I knew the call would come at some point in the afternoon, and I jumped every time my phone rang. When we were standing in a spice shop, and I threw the phone at Mr BBB to answer because I just…couldn’t.  When I saw the relief and happiness in his eyes when he was told the good news. But happy news aside, we were realistic about risks and possibilities. So even having successfully navigated through a tough 18 months of fertility treatment, we knew we still had (and still have!) a long road ahead of us. For while we try to remain optimistic and positive – we have learned to take nothing for granted. And thus the seemingly long first trimester began…. To be continued.

Week 5 – Time for smiles

Today Charlotte is 5 weeks old – where has the time gone? IMG_6156 - Copy From here – I think I will only do one more weekly update (next week), then change to a monthly update. Although, to be honest, it has been rather wonderful having the opportunity to properly reflect on the week that has just past, and document it for the future. Charlotte This week I have really felt like Charlotte is changing from a ‘newborn’ to a ‘baby’. Her cries are becoming louder and deeper, and she seems to generally be taking things in a lot more. Often I will catch her just looking up at me or Mr BBB, with an intense look in her eyes, and I can only wonder what she is thinking? IMG_6114 We have also seen the start of little smiles, that light up her whole face and simultaneously melt my heart time and time again. IMG_6139 (Now if only I could properly capture them on camera…). I don’t know whether I have mentioned it before, but Charlotte’s wake up routine (if she has been in a deep sleep) is one of the cutest and funniest things I have ever seen. IMG_6066 IMG_6075IMG_6069 IMG_6074IMG_6070 We joke that she takes after Mr BBB in this regard (who is not really a morning person), with her 5 minutes of stretches, frowns and funny faces when being roused from sleep. While Charlotte is definitely a baby that loves cuddles, I think she also likes to sometimes have a little time to herself. If she is fed, changed, not tired, cuddled (ie. all the “usual” culprits) – but still grizzling, I have found that if I put her down on her activity mat, she will quite often settle. IMG_6016 Perhaps it is the distraction of the colours, or the noises, but she will generally remain happy on her mat for a while, chatting to herself and kicking her legs. IMG_6017 A very useful tool at meal time Smile Feeding Having conquered the breast pump a few weeks ago, we decided to test out Charlotte with a bottle this week. While she had no interest in it the first night, we changed to a different teat the next night and she must have approved as she took the bottle without any hesitation. IMG_6117 While I plan on breastfeeding for a quite a while, it is great to know that we have another option if I am not here. I think it is also lovely that Mr BBB can feed her, and get to experience her ‘milk coma’ eyes as well. Sleeping What can I say. IMG_6037 For the most part, Charlotte is a good sleeper. However she still has some nights (usually in the evenings) of inconsolable crying – when nothing seems to work and she gets herself into such a state that she can’t get to sleep. Last night was one such night, and we only managed to settle her by taking her out for a walk in the dark at 9pm! But then other times (like during our first trip to the rugby – see below) – she doesn’t cry in the evenings at all. I wish I knew the magic answer lol. We have attempted to introduce a dummy to see if that helps calm Charlotte during her unsettled times (given she seems to enjoy sucking for comfort). Our attempts have been rather unsuccessful thus far  though, as she spits it out as soon as we take our hand away, and has shown no real interest in taking the dummy at all. IMG_6161 Luckily, however, once Charlotte gets through the unsettled evening periods, she is a pretty good sleeper overnight – waking only once or twice for a feed – then falling back to sleep with no fuss at all. And for that we are incredibly grateful! Achievements and milestones This week saw a couple firsts for Charlotte, including her first trip to the rugby (where she was more than happy to hang out in the carrier, and the noise of the stadium didn’t seem to bother her at all!) IMG_6126 She also had her first ‘photo-shoot’ – owing to a gift voucher for a photo session my friends gave me when she was born. And, although she cried for a lot of the session, the couple photos I have seen so far are rather gorgeous. I can’t wait for the rest to arrive in a few weeks time. Me – the physical and emotional It was also a week of firsts for me this week, with my first post baby run, and also my first post-baby bike ride. IMG_6092  IMG_6127 Both were…..awesome! In all their ‘lungs of fire’ glory, that is. And, when combined with my daily walks with Charlotte, I feel as if I had a good active week, which has done wonders for my mental health too. IMG_6128 When I scaled back to light exercise only throughout my pregnancy (I wrote about my reasons for this here), I often wondered how I would feel about exercise once I was no longer pregnant. Had I just been exercising out of obligation all these years (and therefore would not really be interested in getting back into it)? Or were those long runs and rides something that I truly enjoyed? I am pleased to report that it is most certainly the latter. Getting out for a run, and back on the bike this week, confirmed to me that I genuinely missed my runs and rides, and the active hobbies  I pursued so often in the past. I really did love my ride yesterday (even if it was only for 40 minutes), returning home refreshed and invigorated. Fitting in exercise sessions is certainly going to be a lot more challenging now that time is lacking, but here’s hoping that I can get a couple sessions in each week. I am no longer taking free time for granted, that’s for sure!

Charlotte's Birth Story

I realise that my blog would be better known as “Bake Bike Blog Baby” these days, although the latest addition to our family has certainly prevented any great deal of baking (and certainly all biking) from happening in recent times. I suspect there will be quite a few more ‘baby’ posts over the next few days / months, but if you can bear with me, I also can’t wait to share my post-baby return to fitness and racing with you when I have been given the all clear from my doctor to return to exercise. But for now, here is Miss Charlotte’s (rather long) birth story. Which is as much of a birth story for you, as it is a journal for me…. IMG_5287 When my due date came and went, and I had no indication or symptoms to suggest that labour was about to start, I began to feel rather despondent. My doctor had booked me in to be induced on Thursday(1 week post due date) as a back up, and although he was confident that I would deliver before then, I was not so sure. Actually, to be honest, I don’t think that I had any real hope that labour was going to start spontaneously. I just felt too…well…normal. During the weeks prior (and the days post due date) I tried to keep as active as possible, walking as much as I could, and eating lots of spicy curries. When the sun came out on Saturday (a glorious sight after a week of heavy rain), we even headed out to watch the Brumbies beat the Cheetahs in the Super Rugby (by only 1 point!), and then hosted dinner for family at our house that evening. I was having some infrequent braxton hicks during the day, but none that were painful, and I had no symptoms to suggest that something was about to happen anytime soon. All in all it was a relatively normal day. Sunday 11 March I woke up on Sunday at 6.00am, and immediately felt a small ‘leak’. I didn’t think too much of it as there was no ‘pop’ or ‘gush’ to suggest that my waters had broken. It was all rather unspectacular, really. When it happened again at 8am, however, Mr BBB and I began to think that perhaps there was something more to it. I called the maternity ward, who suggested that a “wait and see”approach would be best. So we decided to make the most of the Canberra sunshine and head into town for brunch. I continued to have a couple ‘leaks’ throughout the morning and over lunch, but wasn’t experiencing contractions or any other symptoms. After lunch, Mr BBB suggested that we call into the maternity ward on our way home to get checked out (you know…just in case), so we did just that. Who knew, at this stage,  that I would not be leaving the hospital for another 6 days? On arrival, I was examined by a midwife (one of the many lovely, most awesome midwives I would come across over the next week!) who confirmed that yes, it was amniotic fluid that had been leaking. That is, my waters had in fact ruptured and labour ought to begin within 24 hours. I was a little in denial at this point, as I honestly expected them to send me home. Rather, they admitted me to the ward straight away, and advised that unless my contractions started on their own overnight, they would most likely induce me in the morning so as to avoid the risk of infection now that my waters had broken. IMG_5306 After dinner, Mr BBB headed home to try and get some sleep, with us both knowing that the next day was going to be a big one – physically and emotionally. IMG_5173 (my last bump pic) It was quite strange to remain in hospital by myself, but I knew he was only a phone call (and a short drive away) if I went into labour overnight. Monday 12 March I don’t know whether it was the excitement of the day or the strange hospital noises, but I only managed to get around 3 hours of broken sleep throughout the night. At 2.00am I woke with what felt like strong braxton hicks contractions, coming fairly regularly at around 5 to 6 minutes apart. They eased at around 4am, however, and I was able to get some more sleep. By 5.30am I was wide awake again, and at this point a shower and a walk seemed far more appealing to me than lying in bed. Awake, showered and ready for the day ahead, I was taken into a delivery suite (where I would remain for most of the day). The midwife checked the baby’s heartbeat (which looked fine) and administered an antibiotic now that my waters had been broken for more than 24 hours. IMG_5175 (ahhh the ever flattering hospital gown??!!) Mr BBB arrived soon after, and the midwife started a syntocinon drip to bring on the contractions. A small dose at first, increased every half an hour, until my body was contracting regularly and strongly. IMG_5181 I was surprised to find that contractions started pretty much straight away. For the first couple of hours, I was able to breathe and talk through them, and Mr BBB and I passed the time by walking the hallways of the ward – with the trusty IV stand in tow. After that, however, my contractions increased in intensity (from mild period-like pains to strong ‘take your breath away’ contractions coming every 2 minutes and lasting for 45 seconds or so. Mr BBB and I laboured together throughout them, with me favouring leaning forward positions – first against the bed, and later against a chair while kneeling on a beanbag. IMG_5178 We kept this up until around 12.30pm, at which time I felt that I was reaching the upper limit of my pain threshold.  I asked for an examination to check what progress I had made first before considering the various pain relief options. Sadly the 12.30pm examination did not reveal the results I was hoping for. Even after 4.5 hours of regular strong contractions, my cervix was not dilating in the way that it ought to be. The midwife suggested that it was going to be a long day, and seeing as I was already having contractions every 2 minutes, I decided to try pethidine for pain relief and it was administered shortly thereafter. Although my contractions remained strong, the pethidine certainly took the edge off them. It did, however, also make me feel both nauseous and rather loopy, and particularly adverse to the smell of Mr BBB’s soap whenever a contraction hit (but strangely enough, not when the contraction had passed). Nausea and loopiness aside, the pethidine got me through to the next examination, 4 hours later. Sadly, that examination also revealed little progress. At this point, my obstetrician suggested that we had some decisions to make. He would let me keep labouring for another 4 hours, but if there was still no progress after that, he felt that I would inevitably need a c-section. To be honest, I was quite surprised when he raised this, as throughout my entire pregnancy I never contemplated that I would need to have a c-section. My doctor also suggested that perhaps an epidural would help my body relax, and encourage the baby to move into the birth canal properly. I knew that this would mean an end to my walking and moving around, and keep me ‘in bed’ (not to mention having to have a needle injected into my spine), but it seemed to be a sensible option in all the circumstances. So, a little after 5pm, an anaesthetist arrived and the epidural was administered. IMG_5186 (puffed up owing to an abundance of IV fluids….) The relief from the epidural was almost instantaneous – turning painful contractions more into a dull ‘pressure’ whenever they would hit. IMG_5188 Actually – for some – I had to rely on the monitors to tell me that I was even having a contraction. Throughout the next 3 hours, I continued to have regular contractions, and a lot of pressure in my pelvis. I remained positive, and was convinced that the pelvic pressure was an indication that everything was starting to happen. My doctor’s examination at 8.00pm revealed a different story however. After 12 hours of active labour, our baby had still failed to properly engage, and my cervix was now markedly swollen. And, when coupled with some decelerations in her heartbeat over the previous hour, our doctor looked me in the eye, apologised, and gave me the news that a c-section was our only option. And that it ought to be done soon. IMG_5189 Within moments of reaching this conclusion, it was all systems go. A theatre team was called, the anaesthetist returned, I was given a spinal block (?), moved into a new bed, wheeled around to theatre and and prepped for surgery. I was incredibly nervous, and very aware that this was not only my first surgery, but also my first time in a hospital. I was also feeling a little dejected that my body had not responded well during the labour, although my doctor assured me that I had done all I could to attempt a regular delivery. He felt that for reasons yet unclear, there was perhaps an obstruction that was preventing progress. IMG_5191 From here – everything seemed to happen so fast. People in scrubs started appearing around me, and an oxygen mask was put on my face. More monitors were placed on my chest, and another cannula was inserted. Just as I was starting to feel overwhelmed, Mr BBB arrived (in scrubs and a “dad’” red hat no less!), and brought with him an incredible sense of calm. He sat next to me as they started the surgery and I just kept looking into his eyes, trying to remain calm. The surgery itself was rather strange. I certainly felt no pain due to the anaesthetic, but I could feel an immense amount of pressure and pulling as my doctor moved things around in my abdomen in order to get our daughter out. He mentioned on more than one occasion how “stuck” she was, and proving difficult to get out – even by c-section. Not the words that either Mr BBB or I wanted to hear. Then, with what felt like one almighty push against my upper stomach, I felt something release. The curtains were lowered, and I saw the most precious sight I have ever seen. IMG_5192 Our baby daughter. And her rather impressive set of lungs! IMG_5194 Sadly I wasn’t able to have any skin to skin contact with her straight away, but they did bring her to me for a quick kiss before she was taken away to be checked and weighed. IMG_5196 IMG_5198 And, having passed with flying colours, she was soon returned to us for our first family photo. IMG_5197 And my first cuddle. IMG_5200 All I could think about was how little and perfect she was – with gorgeous blue eyes, chubby cheeks and dark hair (which also took us by surprise!). Our daughter, Charlotte, had made her grand entrance into the world. All 6 pounds, 10 ounces of her. And I could not be more in love. I think one of the hardest parts of having a c-section was not being able to go back to my room with Mr BBB and Charlotte straight away. Rather, Mr BBB took her back, while I remained in the theatre being stitched up and then monitored in recovery. After what felt like hours (although I think it was more like 30 minutes) I was given the all clear, and taken back to my room – where I was greeted by my two favourite people. Charlotte was hungry (as was I by this stage!) and latched almost immediately for her first feed. IMG_5203 A wondrous, amazing end to a long day. And there you have it. When I arrived at the maternity ward on Sunday, with what I suspected might be my waters leaking, I had no idea that I would be leaving an operating theatre some 29 hours later. And, while Charlotte’s arrival into this world was certainly not done in the manner I had anticipated, we were so very relieved that she arrived safely, and so very happy to finally be able to hold her in our arms. To follow… Week 1: A steep learning curve

Pregnancy Update – Week 40

Well here we are lovely people. 40 weeks has come (last Thursday) and gone, yet the bump remains a bump. And, while the wait continues, I expect that this will be my last weekly update. Besides, we are heading off to the rugby today, are hosting dinner for family tonight, have a dinner planned with friends tomorrow and it is a full moon (apparently). So surely that is enough to kick “Murphy’s Law” into overdrive and send us into labour!? But for now… How far along? 40 weeks + 2 days. And the countdownup continues. How big is baby? This week baby BBB has grown to the size of a small pumpkin. 40-small-pumpkin Crazy right?! At our last appointment, our obstetrician indicated that he expects baby BBB will not be the biggest baby he has come across – but it is still hard to imagine a baby that is anywhere near the size of a pumpkin being inside me. How I’m feeling? Excited. Impatient. But also calm. I just can’t wait to meet our little girl when she is ready to meet us! IMG_5130 Weight? Around +11.5kg overall. Although it does fluctuate quite a bit. How I’m changing? To be honest, not a lot has changed since last week. Rather, it is a little like groundhog day in the BBB household. I am, however,  so very lucky to still be active and mobile, and have been making the most of this throughout the last few weeks by getting out for daily walks.  IMG_5131 Actually, those daily walks are quite easily my favourite part of the day! What I miss? Being able to get up from the couch in a manner that even slightly resembles eleganceWinking smile Symptoms? I don’t really have any significant symptoms to report this week. I continue to get fairly regular Braxton Hicks contractions, but they are not in any way painful – just a tad annoying. And, despite being 2 days past my due date, I still don’t have any other signs of early labour. IMG_5132  (A little lopsided…) Now those horrible stretchmarks I have been lucky enough to pick up along the way on the other hand…. Cravings? It was only when I looked back over our meals this week that I realised that I must have been craving carbs and spice – with lots of noodle / chilli and pasta dishes making an appearance in the BBB household. Throw in a chicken pad thai I had yesterday, and it seems the trend continues. Highlights this week? Baby BBB reaching full term and continuing to enjoy her time in utero (a little too much it seems!).