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Back on board

14 Oct

You might recall that during my pregnancy I had undeniable cravings for meat. You can read more about my journey with meat eating here.

I had never really cooked much meat before this, so I was confronted with the reality of learning to cook it and, you know I love cooking right? So I’m sad to admit that I actually started to get creative with it and even enjoy it a little.

I had hoped that once giving birth that I could give up meat eating instantly but I found that early on the cravings got worse! Breastfeeding left me feeling dehydrated and hungry all the time and I was craving nutrient dense, high protein food, I was after all, making milk! I was eating around 6 meals in 24 hours and my body was going crazy for meat.

So now not only had I begun to feel used to the meat cravings I was actually enjoying cooking and eating it. It went from being a medicinal addition to my diet to a staple. So now that I’m no longer breastfeeding, my body has calmed down and as I’d hoped, my meat cravings have dissipated. The problem is now that I have an appreciation for meat in my life that I never had before. What’s a girl to do?

Thankfully after being a vego for so long it was impossible for me to eat meat unconsciously. I am very aware of what my choices support and had to make peace with that. I’ve recently been inspired by people who do the occasional-ethical-meat-eating thing and I think that for the time being, that’s what I’m going to do. In no way am I going to have it regularly but I have decided that every once in a while I might choose to have some. I am ok with this.

Still, please don’t offer me meat at your place or expect to be served any at my place. I’ll choose when and where I have it or if I have it at all. That being said, I’m SO glad to be rid of those damn cravings!

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Under The Pump

8 Oct

So when Dottie was born, she needed to be taken to the special care nursery and we were separated. When we tried to breastfeed a few hours later she wouldn’t latch. Over the next few days we tried again and again without success. We took her to an osteopath and saw many midwives and lactation consultants, it just wasn’t happening and no-one was sure exactly why.

Initially I hand expressed precious droplets of colostrum around the clock. When we went home from the hospital I upgraded to a double pump and my new life as a pumper began. I pumped every 2 hours for 30mins for the first week, leaving little time for sleep or even caring for Dottie.

Once my milk supply was established we were building up quite a stockpile so I decided to drop back to 3 hourly pumping and then 4 hourly. Still it was hard work and I couldn’t have done it without Bob who became a night feeding pro! Then the pain began…

Firstly my breasts became engorged and full all the time. Although pumping is a good way to express milk it does not at all replicate a baby’s natural feeding rhythm so my body didn’t really know how to cope. Then I started getting lumps from blocked milk ducts. They were incredibly painful and could lead to mastitis. So now I had a dilemma, pumping relieves the pain of engorgement but then tells your body that it needs more milk. So if I pumped before the specified time I would get some temporary relief but would make the problem worse in the long run.

This continued for weeks. I was determined to give Dottie the best start I could but the pain and sleep deprivation was beginning to take it’s toll (not to mention the fact that I was missing out on caring for her). I ended up getting mastitis several times and the lumps continued… as soon as one cleared another would appear and I often had a few at a time.

When I was pregnant, I was excited about having a dairy free child. I never imagined that breastfeeding would be so difficult for me but when I was faced with the difficult reality, I had to consider dairy-based formula as an option.

I resisted to start with. I hated the idea of 1) feeding my daughter something inferior  and 2) supporting an industry which I am passionately opposed to. I may have eaten some meat during pregnancy but I never once consumed dairy or even wanted it. I soon realised though that hating something which could in fact be my saviour was futile, I needed to find appreciation for it and in essence love it.

It took some time but I was able to feel gratitude towards baby formulas and the cows who make them possible. And then one weekend I was pushed over the edge. I was in so much pain, pumping provided no relief. I was living on paracetamol, I couldn’t lie on my side or sleep at all. Bob had to take nearly a week off work to look after me and help care for Dottie because I couldn’t even lift her up. That was enough. We switched to formula. And thankfully I was emotionally ready.

I was planning on continuing to pump with the objective of cutting down to just a few pumps a day. The lumps and pain continued. The blockages were so bad that pumping wasn’t providing relief from the constant agony. So, I stopped cold turkey. I figured that I didn’t have much to lose. I’d have a few days of pain and it would be over rather than having to deal with the pain indefinitely. And I have NO REGRETS WHATSOEVER.

Dottie was fed breast milk exclusively for 6 weeks and although it’s not what I’d hoped for, it’s better than nothing. Once the pain was gone, I was able to sleep! Precious sleep. I felt human for the first time in what felt like forever. I was able to hold Dottie and hug people again and I could finally start being a Mother!

Dottie’s Birth Story

22 Aug

Disclaimer: I am happy for this story to be linked to on this blog however I do not give permission for it to be reproduced, printed or reposted on another website. The photos are my own and may not be copied. The Badlet blog is an exploration of my personal journey, opinions and interests – it is not a pregnancy, birth or parenting blog. This story is deeply personal and I make no apologies for not following the apparent “rules” for writing a birth story. I ask that comments remain respectful and understanding. Judgemental or preachy comments will be deleted. I have no judgement whatsoever of the choices of others and ask for the same freedom in return. More about that here. Sorry that I even need a disclaimer but it seems that everyone has an opinion on how birth “should” be to which I say, “take your self-righteous preaching and fuck off!”. Open-minded nice people can read on! Much love, Naomi xx

We were planning a homebirth. The birth room was set up, everything was in order. My due date came and went. You can read about the week following my due date here.

My contractions began on Sunday 22nd July after 2 stretch & sweeps in the days prior. That was the last night that I had proper sleep… My Mum arrived from Adelaide the next day and after a week at home awaiting the baby, I decided to get out of the house and go with Bob to the airport to pick her up despite my contractions. That night the contractions were strong and regular (about 5 mins apart) and painful enough that I didn’t sleep. The next day they eased and I was determined to do whatever I could to get things moving again. I used my breast pump and had an acupuncture appointment that evening. By the time I went to bed my contractions were nearing 3 mins apart and once again, painful enough to prevent sleeping. I was hopeful that things were progressing but unfortunately they never did…

My midwife, Rosie arrived the next morning and I was 3cm dilated. Dottie was posterior so we spent an hour or so getting her repositioned and then I laboured at home all day without much change. Over the following 10 hours I had reached 4cm and I was utterly exhausted! I was not able to sleep or even lay down to rest.

At 5pm my midwife suggested breaking my waters. As much as I was keen to get things moving along, I felt as though I couldn’t go on without sleep. After much deliberation, lots of crying and weighing it all up with Bob, I looked within and found my answer… I wanted to transfer to hospital for pain relief and sleep. As hard as it was, I knew this was the right decision.

I had honestly not expected to need to transfer but we had a bag packed and a plan just in case. We spent the next 20 mins getting packed up and then I jumped in the car with Rosie for the 40 minute trip down the mountain. On the way in, Rosie coached me through each contraction and I felt surprisingly at peace with my decision. Upon arrival we weighed up options for pain relief.

I was pretty keen for an epidural but Rosie encouraged me to consider pethidine in order to get a little rest (it lasts about 2 hours) and then hopefully continue to labour naturally. I chose this option but I don’t think I would do it next time. I was able to sleep however I could feel the pain again (preventing me from sleeping) within 1 hour and once it wore off I had not dilated any further and I felt totally drugged!

The recommendation was for a synto drip and to break my waters to which I agreed along with the epidural so I could sleep. Meconium was found when my membranes were ruptured which (had we done this at home) would have been a cause for a transfer anyway. I knew that I’d made the right choice by transferring when we did.

As much as I’d wanted a natural birth, I loved the epidural and felt fine on the drip. I was still able to move my feet a little meaning that I was able to reposition myself easily. I got a few hours of broken sleep and by sunrise I was fully dilated and ready to push – the only problem was… pushing with an epidural is virtually impossible. While I was pushing, the pain of the contractions in my lower back returned. Ontop of this my temperature started to rise (suggesting an infection) which meant that I required antibiotics. I really didn’t want to have them but my temp kept escalating and I was advised that it was the best option.

Then, back to pushing… I was restricted to lying on my back or side. Dottie was moving down very slowly but it was hard work and I was running low on energy. When I had been pushing for two hours, my strength started to fade and Bob spoke to the doctors about a vacuum extraction which we were really keen for. Once this was organised, the whole energy in the room changed, it was great. The resuscitation team were on hand and the Doc doing the extraction was positive and vibrant. I was relieved to know that it would soon be over because I was certain that I wouldn’t be able to push her out. Once the vacuum was attached, her head was born on the next contraction! On the following contraction her body emerged and was placed on my belly. The cord was too short to reach any further! She had her hand up near her head which was partly why I was having such a hard time pushing her out. She required oxygen and observation so was taken to the resus unit before coming back to me, My placenta came out within 2 minutes and I was informed that I had a second degree tear requiring stitches (I was so thankful not to have an episiotomy). I happened to look down at the exact moment that the doctor was preparing the hook needle – I’ll never get that image out of my head!!

Dottie was returned to my chest but was still very pale so she was taken within a few minutes to the special care nursery and Bob went with her. I wasn’t concerned, I knew in my heart that she would be perfectly fine and of course she was.

So it didn’t really go at all to plan but I have no regrets. I made every decision from an empowered, informed and peaceful place and as a result, I had a peaceful experience!

I’ll continue this story to include my recovery when I get a chance. Follow Badlet on facebook or twitter for updates on new posts.

Baby Badlet

27 Jul

Welcoming my daughter Dottie. Born at 8:40am on Thursday 26th July on the Gold Coast in Australia.

image

Posts about the birth and first week of life coming soon!

Nesting

11 Jul

Everyone keeps asking me, have you been busy nesting?? Um… is that just the same as being organised? If so then, yeah I guess. Obviously expectant parents need to rearrange things at home a bit, and prepare as much as possible for the arrival of a new person. Bob and I have got all the stuff we think we will need – for the first little while anyway and – apart from the gathering of stuff, I really don’t relate to this whole “nesting” thing at all.

What are you meant to do anyway? Get emotional while ironing baby clothes? Sit in your ‘nursery’ and dream about when the baby has arrived? Actually that’s the other thing we get asked alot – “do you have your nursery all set up?” umm… assume much?

The simple answer is “no”. A baby is a tiny person that needs constant care and supervision, not it’s own room decorated with trendy wall hangings and their name on the door. Nurseries like that are for parents not babies. Sure, I can understand how having all of the baby’s things contained in one area rather than stored around the house could make things more convenient but in all honesty, the baby is neither going to care about the interior design of it’s nursery nor remember it anyway. So yeah, we have baby stuff. Most of it is in a room that I will never call a nursery.

And the other side of this nesting thing is cleaning. Apparently it’s normal for women to become manic, clean freaks or crazy perfectionists in the lead up to having a baby. I must admit I have used having a baby as a good reason to get a few things done that I’ve been wanting to do for ages like washing the kitchen walls (that were covered in oil because our kitchen doesn’t have a fan) but the truth is that I probably would have done that anyway, just as I would have cleaned the bathroom, done the dishes and swept the floor. I’m in no way a cleaning maniac but I do make an effort to keep things manageable so I haven’t really noticed any increased inclination to clean.

I am not at all doubting that the nesting instinct exists and that it serves a purpose however I feel perfectly ready, organised and ‘nested’ without going to any extremes. Thank goodness.

Walking

9 Jul

Everywhere I go people are offering me sincere, fear-based warnings that I could go into labour anytime simply because I’m walking around. I understand that physical activity can be useful in an attempt to bring on labor for women who are overdue but seriously… what’s more normal than walking?

I am fit, I feel fine, I have had an active pregnancy and I’m really not doing anything strenuous (like walking up my street for example). So, I can’t quite get why everyone is so worried about a bit of walking. It doesn’t matter whether it’s from the shops to my car or out around the neighbourhood, the theme is the same. In fact today I had 3 people tell me (not warn me but tell me) that I will go into labour because I chose to walk 200 metres in between to places I was going instead of driving.

I can understand that it is just as much human nature to protect a pregnant woman as it is to protect the life of a child but in all honesty, what is sitting around “conserving my energy” going to achieve? My guess it that it will leave me bored, stiff and depressed. Exercise releases endorphins which (hello?) reduce stress, hake you happy, improve your immune system and (ta-da!) give you more energy. In fact my midwife has given me her blessing to participate in any endorphin-releasing activity that I feel capable of. And I love walking so just try and stop me!

Defeat

3 Jul

Throughout my pregnancy I have been determined not to let being pregnant become an excuse not to do normal things. I have continued my yoga and exercise despite some people suggesting that pregnant women should do nothing but rest. I have continued to do the shopping, go for walks, drive and clean the house.

I have unfortunately had moments of defeat where I’ve reached a point that I have to give up something I could have previously done easily – I had one of those moments today…. I gave up walking up my street. This might sound lame but you have to walk up my street yourself to fully appreciate just how steep and difficult it is (even for fit, non-pregnant people). On the weekend I went for a walk with Bob and I needed to stop for 3 rests before we reached the top! I was completely out of breath.

The main problem with setting out on foot from our place is that once you get to the top of our street, you turn a corner and go up another steep hill, then you have a break on a flat bit before going up a third hill! At our last attempt, I made it to the top of the third hill and I was ready to turn around. I was very disappointed in myself. And today, when I received an offer to go for a walk I knew that I shouldn’t do it, so I drove to the flat bit and set off from there. It’s embarrassing to admit! I was shocked that it came on so suddenly after coping fine with the hill for my entire pregnancy.

I obviously don’t want to ignore any crucial messages from my body about what is and isn’t cool so, I am in fact ok with my decision, even though at the time I felt like the world’s biggest copout. My body is busy making a person! My heart is pumping more blood than ever and I am carrying alot more weight so it’s understandable really.

Thankfully my other “defeats” have been easier to accept, like heavy lifting and bending down. My body was pretty clear about taking it easy with these sorts of activities involving core abdominal muscles so I’ve just had to surrender.

On the bright side, I’m 9 calendar months pregnant today and in 6 days I’ll be 40 weeks so the baby could arrive at any time!!

Cold & Dirty

2 Jul

I’m not going to lie to you, I actually hate having showers. It’s true. I’m probably the only person alive who feels this way. Whenever I mention it to people they tell me how much they love having a shower and look at me like a freak. I’m not denying it – maybe I am a freak!

What on earth is wrong with me? Long time readers will know about my dream to giving up hair washing and will remember my many experiments to see how long I could last with out washing it. I’m planning on cutting my hair really short in a few weeks – hoping to live the dream!!

So showering, in all honestly… I would avoid it if I could. Why? I hear you ask. I have given this alot of thought. From what I can figure out, it comes down to this… I get cold really easily. Most people don’t understand just how much this effects me, especially seeing as though I live in Qld! It should be hot right?

Not exactly. I live on a mountain where it’s commonly 6 degrees or cooler than the Gold Coast. So why don’t I just have a really hot shower? I do! The actual shower itself isn’t the problem I suppose, it’s the discomfort before and afterwards that causes me to suffer, particularly when I have wet hair. Most of the time, I can’t have a shower unless there’s a heater involved when I get out.

At the moment I’m 39 weeks pregnant and it’s the middle of winter and people seem to think that because pregnant women tend to “run hot” that I’m not going to feel the cold. From my perspective, I feel just as cold as any other winter although I have started to notice that Bob will turn on the heater and I’ll say “I can’t believe you’re cold? I’m fine.”. Maybe I have got some extra baby warmth happening, this has made me nervous about how cold I will potentially feel after I’ve given birth.

As it is right now, I only shower every second day (*loses twitter followers*) and I am perfectly ok with this. Earlier this year I was showering every 3 days (*friends lower their opinion of me*). Just for the record, I have no judgments of anyone else’s choice to shower frequently. We are taught that it is necessary to shower everyday but I can tell you right now that my body really does not need it. My skin dries out when I shower daily and my hair becomes increasingly oily. It’s a vicious cycle. If I get hot and sweaty (rare) then I find it easier to just have a simple wash with warm water rather than committing to a shower. In fact, I pretty much only have showers when I need to wash my hair…

and I hate that I need to wash it at all. The only reason that it becomes oily so fast is due to frequent washing with products that strip the natural oils. I once had a hairdresser who told me that once you get past the first two months without using conventional hair care products, your hair will start to regulate it’s own oil production and appear clean and normal without the need for regular washing. This is my goal. Who knows what will happen to my showering habits if I succeed!

100 Bad-ass Posts

6 Jun

So apparently this is my 100th post. I’m actually surprised that it’s taken 3 years to get this far but I suppose it’s a milestone worth celebrating, especially as it’s been 3 years almost to the day since I began the badlet blog adventure. I started this blog as a way for me to vent my “bad” side, share my journey and search for the truth. I intended it only for friends (and as a creative outlet for myself) initially but have since gained followers on Twitter, Facebook and WordPress.

Some days I feel as though I live two different lives, especially working as a counsellor, feeling the pressure to be a good role model etc. but the Badlet blog has kept the other half of me alive… the half that swears and has strong opinions, judgements, challenges and is a little bit weird.

I’ve complied a list of my favourite posts below with a little description. I enjoy looking back on where I’ve come from and how I’ve grown – I hope you do as well. Thanks to all the readers – I know you’re out there, the stats don’t lie, leave me a comment sometime! Much love, Badlet.

Adelaide July 2009 – Not funny at the time but hilarious later – If it will be funny later, it’s funny now.

Hobart Sept 2009 – Glass O Whine – Trying to understand why people ‘need’ to drink alcohol.

Hobart Sept 2009 – The world would be so much shitter without you Colin – My discovery of the life changing book “No Impact Man”

Hobart Nov 2009 – My favourite kind of people – The realisation that Tasmanians are mostly redneck bogans.

Hobart Dec 2009 – Use what you have instead of buying more crap – We survived for 2.5 months.

Hobart March 2010 – This post is for you – All of you.

Hobart August 2010 – Idiots – Talking about yourself is not the same as having a conversation.

Queensland Dec 2010 – I’ll miss you like a cold shower – The truth about living in Tasmania.

Queensland Feb 2011 – Pieces of paper – Is the receipt really necessary?

Queensland April 2011 – The smart state – First impressions of life in Qld.

Queensland May 2011 – Cast your vote – Voting with your dollars.

Queensland May 2011 – Chit chat – Confessions of an anti-socialite.

Queensland May 2011 – Zuck it up – My take on Mark Zuckerberg’s meat challenge.

Queensland Jun 2011 – I need a big loan from a girl zone – Surrounded by boys!

Queensland Aug 2011 – Love is natural – No matter who you’re attracted to.

Queensland Sep 2011 – 10 reasons why I don’t have a TV – For real!

Queensland Feb 2012 – Judge not – My struggle with eating meat while pregnant.

Queensland Mar 2012 – Bad ass for life – Despite having a baby on the way!

Queensland Apr 2012 – Ask a question – Instead of talking.

Thermomix

5 Jun

Well today I begin a new life as the proud owner of a Thermomix

 

There’s no need for me to harp on about how great they are. If you want to find out more, a quick google search will come up with endless reports on their power. Anyway, I’ll be including my thermomix creations/recipes/experiments as part of this blog from now on. You can use the new categories “thermomix” & “recipes” as a filter to search for tmx related posts.

Don’t worry, I may have bought a rather domesticated appliance and may be expecting a baby in 5 weeks but I’m still as bad-ass as ever. More real food – less processed shit! Experiments to follow…