You're starting to get that thrill, the excitement of your baby soon to arrive but also a little niggling of fear and doubt as to how your baby is going to arrive.
I've had some beautiful women ask me how I prepared for labour and birth. Having shared so many of this with close friends who are about to give birth I wanted to share this with you too in hopes it may help you in some small way!
A few things I found incredibly helpful and a few things I wish I had have known before
1. REST WHEN YOU CAN
Get as much rest before birth and labour as you can but the biggest thing I would stress is sleep as soon as you can after labour.
It's so hard because there's so much adrenaline and excitement coursing through your body. But post birth your new baby is going to be exhausted after that big journey into the big world and they will sleep. Turn off your phone because all the well wishes will be there as soon as you wake up. If you don't get a good stretch of sleep post birth it's likely you may not get a good sleep for a long time.
It's really important for recovery and healing to get good rest and sleep and this is a good time! Which brings me to my next point
2. TAKE TIME FOR HEALING
No matter how your baby comes into the world you are going to have to heal.
Be kind to yourself and don't over do it. Be it a vaginal birth or c section your body has been through battle and its important to remember that even though you're looking after your new human, your body is going through some HUGE healing. So take it easy! Just because you've left the hospital does not mean you're ok to run around at home. You still need bed rest and time for your body to heal.
3. PREPARE FOR LABOUR
You can't plan for labour but you can prepare.
So many people kept telling me that you can't prepare for labour. To an extent I believe you can't plan it. But you can absolutely prepare for it. Education is so important when it comes to anything for me, particularly a journey like birth. You enter the hospital as a woman and leave a mama. It's like this incredible right of passage and it's a battle within those walls that you have to fight and win. And you will! Preparing for the fight, I think, was incredibly beneficial to me. Learning about pain management, the different stages of labour, your preferences for both you and baby.
Whilst I was still met with some big challenges, having knowledge around labour helped my husband and I make calculated decisions in the heat of the moment and also doing lots of work on breath and meditation in the lead up allowed me to relax and be in my body for the (majority!) of my labour! I worked with an amazing woman, Nicola Laye, who I met when I took her pregnancy pilates class in my last trimester (helping baby get in optimal position and learning birthing positions) she also specialises in breath and meditation and I worked with her coaching me in birth and breath during the last months of pregnancy during multiple sessions releasing fears, preparing and learning. She also mentored me during my labour (at 1am in the morning!) and it really helped to ground me and relax. She offers some really incredible breathing classes and workshops for pregnant and non pregnant women and couples! You can read more about her offerings here: https://www.nicolalaye.com
4. BIRTHING WISHES
A birth plan isn't about planning your birth, you simply can't plan it. But it's about educating yourself on your options and expressing your wishes or preferences for your birth. From pain management to environmental elements your wishes can be met to a certain extent. I found it so valuable to educate myself on all the ways labour can go. I loved listening to Australian Birth Stories podcast to hear all the ways women birth. It's not for everyone, some women feel the fear more when they hear bad stories but for me education and knowledge is power. Learning what can go wrong isn't to scare you, its empowering to understand the terms and procedures and what roads might lead to where. What practices you can implement if your birth doesn't go to plan and also knowing what's possible and your rights and options within the space you have chosen whether it be hospital, birth centre or home-birth.
I planned and wanted to give birth at the hospital, particularly for my first baby because it's where I felt my baby would be safest, should anything be wrong (a personal feeling and the right one for me). I found the hospital very flexible in regards to my wishes. Even though I had researched and requested quite a few wishes there wasn't any that were not met (including delayed cord clamping which is now standard practice, a calm, dark and quiet environment, the use of water as pain management in birthing pool and shower etc) usually around 28 weeks you discuss your birth plan with your midwife but there is so many great resources available online to help you write yours.
Also it's great to go through your birth preferences and plan with your birth partner so they can advocate for you.
5. PACKING FOR HOSPITAL
Have TWO seperate bags for the hospital - a birthing bag and a hospital bag - and go through your birthing bag with your birth partner and explain what each item is for. (I spent part of early labour kicking myself for not having batteries in my faux candles, turns out rob was using someone else's left in the birth suite 🤣) I've put together a list of my must haves for hospital and labour. Everyone swears by different items but this is a list of my essentials including a few must haves. HERE
*NOTE* - To a Friend, That's You, Mama to Be...
Birth and labour is such an incredible journey, no matter how your baby arrives into this world the ultimate goal is to get them here safely. Empowering yourself with the tools to take it on can give you a wider view and more confidence in your journey no matter what that journey entails. Birthing my son has been the most incredibly empowering and courageous thing I have ever done. The female body is beyond incredible and women have been giving life for thousands of years. Our bodies were designed for it, the biggest piece of advice is to trust yourself, trust your body and listen to it. treat it kindly pre and post birth and surround yourself with all the loving vibes. You've got this mama, I believe in you!
I'd love to hear if you have any extra helpful tips or comments you have that might help make the next Mama to Be's journey just a little bit better or easier! Please leave any special words of advice in the comments!
Celebration in the Sky.
Celebrating the impending arrival of a sweet bundle of joy has to be one of lifes greatest parties! We wanted to keep the gender of our baby a surprise (for us and the world!) so we creeated the perfect gender neutral baby shower with an "Up in The Sky" theme. With a palette of soft blue, white with a mix of neutrals with a pop of Gelato colours in the balloon garlands. Featuring soft white roses, dried florals and leaves with the added fun of our colourful “Hot Air Balloon” cake table, hot air balloon lanterns and fluffy white clouds! Such a fun way to celebrate amongst the clouds!
Captured beautifully by the amazing Kaitlin Maree Photography, each little element came together so beautifully. It's amazing how it can be so easy to create a really beautiful expensive looking themed event with a little thought and preparation. The key for me (being rather pregnant and of course being a host) was to have everything as ready as possible ahead of time (ays or weeks ahead) so that it could all just come together on the day. It was a week and a day of crazy rain so we were very grateful to have some amazing helpers (brothers, husbands and friends) help on the morning.
We created centrepieces from faux flowers and dried pampas, bunny tails and a few sprigs of dried wheat which I think set the scene beautifully. This meant that on the day they were ready to pop on the table and I didn't have to worry about running around for fresh flowers. Propping them up on top of these centrepiece stands (which can be purchased on eBay in gold) I spray painted these white to match the theme. I wanted a bit more of a formal seating arrangement so we had cute little place cards made with little wooden clouds on each plate. (matching white plates purchased from Kmart for a bargain at 75cents!) The table cloths are also from Kmart and were perfect as they were extra large with a linen like texture and their length and width meant they cascaded beautifully to the floor. Chair covers really can tie the entire look together and give a uniform and blank canvas for the theme and table setting to just POP! They can be hired relatively cheaply from a Party Hire and we went with the amazing Elite Weddings and Events who have such a great range and cater to small and large events!
The gorgeous Sky Themed cake was created by ever amazing The Sweet Society Co and all were just as incredibly delish as it looks!!!! The cake looked absolutely perfect underneath our gorgeous HOT AIR BALLOON! This was created with an extra large round wicker basket, a few wooden dowels from Bunnings and a gorgeous Gelato balloon arrangement put together by my sister in law & I!
A little drink station put together by my mama with a little Signature Cocktail of hers (alcoholic and virgin available!) kept us all smiling. Add in some champagne and bottled water (all essential for any event really!) My amazing bestie put together some fun party games and event favours of delish Melting Moment cookies in little cloud themed gift boxes. They were so cute and all the ladies loved taking a little taste home.
My hair and makeup was done by the ever amazing Bella Brides! Unfortunately the rain and humidity did nothing nice for my hair but the makeup stayed put ALL DAY! Given I was 29 Weeks pregnant these ladies somehow made me feel like a total queen. And of course my little sequin dress was Begitta, I love this dress created in our Soleil fabric with a soft nude underlay. It showed off my bump and I felt like a rockstar!
I absolutely love an event! I love planning and creating a mood board, I love dreaming up how to style a space and adding fun DIY ideas. So when it came to my baby shower that I had been dreaming up for so long I knew I would have the time of m life with the theme. After being so ill throughout my whole pregnancy I felt I had lost some of that excitement and joy that I had expected during what I had anticipated would be a beautiful blooming time for me! So my best friend and I planned it together so I could find some joy in putting together the celebration and it was such a beautiful day amongst all the women I hold most dear!
Special thanks to some incredible people who helped make this day amazing - all the amazing women and brothers/husband who assisted on the day
Photography: Kaitlin Maree Photography
Hair and Makeup: Bella Brides
Cake & Tarts: The Sweet Society Co
Chair Covers: Elite Weddings and Events
,A long awaited story of our journey to our double lines! If I am honest, I was a bit apprehensive to share our story with the world, I was scared that something might go wrong or it would all be too good to be true. But now I am so excited to share this little glimpse of our journey.
Growing up I always dreamed of having a beautiful little family. I've always wanted 3 kids. So funny when you’re 13 and you picture your life, I wanted to have met the love of my life by 21, be married at 23 & have 3 kids by 28 with a house. HA! Well at 23 I dove into the world of business. I worked as a freelance stylist until I could save enough to follow my passion to Paris to study Fashion, Specifically Haute Couture (High Fashion). Which I did with a short stint studying in London as well. I made my way home and started my business. Since then I have worked endlessly creating my dream world in business. Working with some incredible people and along the way met and married my Prince Charming in our dream wedding, on a beautiful September day, fit for a story book! Now In my early 30s that 13 year olds idea of life was a bit off, but trusting the timing of my life has worked out pretty well so far!
My beautiful husband Robbie and I wanted kids straight away. We wanted a honeymoon baby and to start building our family as quick as we could. Rob wants 4! Eeek!
Our honeymoon was amazing and to be honest we thought we would get pregnant fairly quickly. Don’t we all! I haven’t ever taken contraception, I am relatively active and eat well and healthily and I don’t drink much. For some of the lucky ones it does just happen in one month but for us it seems, we weren’t those people.
In the first few months of our marriage we opened a business with my parents. I became the worlds greatest juggler running both my successful business and helping to build up a new one. We worked our butts off, dealing with both business and family issues. A long road we had not foreseen would be quite so rocky. Months went by and each and every month when my monthly cycle would reveal itself I was disappointed. At first Rob was a bit confused that it didn’t just happen. I knew that it would likely take maybe a few months. But each month got harder and harder as what felt like a lifetime went by.
I prepared my body by nourishing it with good food, prenatal vitamins, I stopped drinking alcohol completely, I visited the naturopath and took herbs to ensure a regular cycle. I eliminated toxins in our house and made all natural cleaning sprays (chemicals can mimic hormones in our body! Did you know that?). I began to track my cycle with ovulation kits and ensuring I knew when our fertile period was. I was doing everything right, or at least I thought I was. But each month when my period arrived I was so disappointed. The first few months I expected it but as time went on I got really down. Each month Rob would say something supportive; “it’s not our time”, “try not to overthink it”. Trying not to overthink it while doing everything right is like trying to drive a car blindfolded.
The year began to roll by, February, March, April…. May, June,… Nothing. Plenty of phantom signs of pregnancy. Sore breasts, campiness, headaches. People would make comments. Family and friends who knew we wanted to start a family would mention babies and I would feel pretty useless. Beginning to doubt my body and my abilities as a woman. You really don’t want to let those feelings in but boy do they infiltrate your heart and mind. I ran into a girl I went to school with a few grades below me, pregnant and beautiful and glowing. I said Hi and was genuinely happy for her. But the moment I turned away from that conversation I had tears in my eyes. I wanted it so bad. July came and went and I basically just said “Fuck it” I don’t even think I want this anymore. I have big plans for the next 3 years of my life and business and a baby isn’t going to fit anyway! HA!
Robbie and I had some holiday time in August available to us. I wanted a holiday that we didn’t have to think about anything. Just eat, drink and enjoy sun and sand. So we booked a cruise to get away from life for awhile.
We had an amazing time, I threw all my cares out the window. I drank too many cocktails and ate all the glorious foods and desserts. We nearly got left on an island because we hiked up a mountain Rob was desperate to scale (after a $70 steak it was the last thing I wanted to do!). We met some really lovely people and had a lovely trip. Until the last 2 days sailing home! It was 4-4.5meter waves and I was sick as a dog! I don’t really get seasick usually but our room was at the front of the boat and boy I got hit hard.
Upon returning home I was still walking with a sway for a week. I was suffering from vertigo and had a headache and vomiting about a week later. Then thankfully the sea-legs wore off a little but something still felt off.
I woke up early one Monday morning (Rob Usually sleeps in till late on a Monday because he works nights Thursday-Sunday). At this point my period was a day late but I really didn’t think much of it. I decided I would do a test. I had a few cheap eBay test (like 30 of them! HA!) so I used one of those. I showered, brushed my teeth and hair and washed my face. I was about to walk out of the bathroom when I remembered the test.
I took a quick look… What?! No…. Theres a REALLY faint line there! By this point I knew that any line even small as a positive can be a positive especially in early pregnancy. I took it outside into the sunlight, I kept saying to myself don’t get excited. It’s a false positive. Or it’s your eyes. I really didn’t want to be let down yet again. Especially when last month I had literally had said “FCUK it all! So I dipped a First Response (a real test I said in my head) and there it was 3 minutes later. An unmistakable second line. Darker than dark. There-r than there! I cried. I danced. I didn’t want to believe it.
I took my time to breath. I looked at myself in the mirror, looked in my eyes and said out loud “You’re pregnant”… “We’re pregnant”! I really could not believe my own words.
So I sort of floundered around… I actually felt like I was having an out of body experience. I wanted to laugh, cry, run to Rob and jump on the bed. But No. I had to tell him in a special way. So I put together a little box. Inside the box I put a little romper suit (I had purchased because it was adorable, even if a little pre-emptive!) the pregnancy test, a little handkerchief for happy tears and I wrote on the inside of the lid “Hello Daddy”. I then sat around for what felt like years until he woke up. Ok Ok I jumped on the bed a few times to wake him and tried to get him up. Between trying to wake him up I made myself a tea and some toast and the FINALLY he was awake! I hid my camera and made him come into the room where I said I had an early Wedding Anniversary present. He opened it and I think he was a bit awestruck. We hugged and we just so over the moon excited.
Have a peek at this little video - I secretly filmed telling Robbie, I cry every time I watch it!
The beautiful thing was we were to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary that weekend! Such an exciting thing to share joy in over a weekend Celebrating a BIG year!
In hindsight a year really wasn’t the longest time to hope to conceive. I know that for many couples it can take years and years. But the entire journey has truly opened my eyes to how hard the ‘Trying to Conceive’ (TTC) journey can be. For all the women going through that monthly roller coaster cycle. The ups the downs the optimism, hope and excitement shortly followed by disappointment, doubt, shame, sadness. I want to say to those women that I am here. To support you and to understand how incredibly hard that is. My story isn’t as hard as some but it certainly took me on a journey I was not prepared for. I am so grateful we have been so blessed and honoured to be able to conceive and I have been able to carry a child. We’re so excited to be parents!
- Our Family Christmas Snaps -