Pictures!

We had Georgia's newborn shoot done the day after we got out of hospital and returned home - she was 10 days old at the time. I was always unsure if I wanted to get maternity photos done {and good thing I didn't book anything, since she made her early appearance!} but I was positive I wanted newborn photos. She is such a long awaited little miracle and may just be our only wee one, so of course I wanted to capture those chubby cheeks and tiny features - how could I not? If I'd had it my way, I would have had them taken even earlier, but we worked with what we had.

Our photographer was someone new to us; a cousin of a girl I went to high school with. I'd seen her pictures popping up on my facebook newsfeed, as she did the rounds of other friends of friends, and her pictures looked gorgeous! On the day, Georgia was a bit fussy. Okay, let's be real here. She was a LOT fussy. My calm, quiet newborn was replaced with a little monster - a cute one, but a monster all the same. She stayed wide awake, she grizzled, and she had a tummy ache. In the space of a few hours, we were all pooped and peed on, and she had one heck of a nappy rash from the constant wipe-downs. Poor love!
In the end, she fell asleep out of pure exhaustion, and Ash worked her magic to get us some absolutely beautiful shots of our little girl. I know, we're biased, but seriously - she is just so cute. The scary part is how much she's changed, even just a few short weeks later. So glad we got these early moments on film. Enjoy!
All photographs taken by Ashleigh Hughes Photography {Georgia's photos also feature on her blog!}

One Month

Georgia is one month old. One month! I can't believe that only 28 days ago, I gave birth to this tiny, squirming little person - it feels like it happened just yesterday and a million years ago, all at the same time.

Since she was technically premature, we're always going to be in limbo with her birth age vs her adjusted age. She's one month old in terms of her birth, but her adjusted age is actually only 5 days - so while this doesn't show up as anything drastic now, it just means that as she grows, she may hit her 'milestones' at a slightly different pace to other children at her birth age. But really, she was right on the borderline of that magical 37 week age, so I'm not too concerned yet. We'll deal with those things as we come to them.
This month Georgia has:
  • Spent a week in the Special Care Nursery before coming home, for good.
  • Met her grandparents {on both sides}, her great-grandparents & her very special great-grandmother. She's also met her Uncle and Aunty, and had lots of lovely visitors here at home. She's a loved little lady.
  • Had licks from her two kitties & supervised visits with Spencer through the back door.
  • Went for her first walk in the pram. :)
  • Officially discovered her lungs. Our sweet and quiet newborn is being replaced by a rather feisty wee thing.
  • Suffered through her first cold & GP visit - she's still snuffly and congested now, which is hard to listen to.
  • Figured out how to breastfeed {with a shield} and is doing well on an all breast milk diet.
  • Bypassed her birth weight, and is hopefully continuing to pile on the pounds.
  • Continued wearing 0000/newborn clothing - so tiny.
  • Been working on her tummy time and is working on her fitness - she has crazy strong neck muscles!
We are so very much in love with her & are learning new things about her every day. She is just the cutest thing.
You can see all of Georgia's week by week pictures by clicking here.

It Ain't Easy

Breastfeeding. Yep, this is an epic post that is all about boobs. You've been warned, folks.

Much like my birth plan {which, if you'll remember, was 'not to have a plan'} - I didn't really have a plan when it came to feeding my baby. I had high hopes that we'd be able to breastfeed, but I've also heard so many guilt-ridden stories about things not going right, that I was determined not to get too focussed on it as the be all and end all. If it worked, it worked. If it didn't, it didn't. Either way, I'd have my child at the end of it all.
When Georgia was born, she had some respiratory distress and required oxygen for several hours after birth. While these problems cleared up really quickly and she was off all monitors and support by the following day, it affected her feeding. We were never able to have our first attempt breastfeeding skin-to-skin after birth, and because she was in the Special Care Nursery, they made the decisions on her feeding without consulting me. 
Georgia was not able to take formula from a bottle, so she was given formula via a feeding tube down her nose. Walking in and visiting her in the wee hours after the birth, and seeing her with a tube stuck to her face, well, that just broke my heart. This was not what I'd hoped for my daughter's first hours of life.
Less than twelve hours old in the Special Care Nursery. Broke my little post-partum heart.
I expressed colostrum manually for the first 24 hours, which was inserted directly into her belly via the tube. After 24 hours, they introduced me to the hospital breast pump & had me expressing {or attempting to express} every 3 hours. I didn't get a chance to breastfeed Georgia until day 2/3, and only for very short attempts. She had no real idea what to do on the breast; wasn't able to latch and hadn't mastered the sucking reflex. The same went for bottles; she couldn't figure out how to do it. It was heartbreaking for me, and frustrating for her. She would sit on my lap and cry, or simply fall asleep, because it was just too hard for her. And so, the tube feeding continued, and I kept on pumping, desperate to give her something other than formula.
Here's where things went a little pear shaped.
Firstly: the hospital pump. Other than showing me how it worked, and how to sterilise the parts and store the expressed colostrum, I was pretty much left to my own devices with it. I was pumping every 3 hours as instructed, but getting pretty much nothing from it. I got frustrated, I got emotional, and I got stressed. Second, it didn't help that another woman in the nursery, who had given birth the same night as me, was also pumping on the 3-hourly intervals, and she was getting breast milk - bottles of breast milk, while I was managing to express 2ml of colostrum, if I was lucky. Comparing my efforts expressing to hers... it sucked.
By day 4, my milk still hadn't come in. Georgia was on tube feeds regularly, and I fought to try and get her trying the bottles a little more - anything to help her practice her sucking. They let her attempt breastfeeding/bottle feeding on every third feed rotation: the idea was that she would rest and get her strength up through tube feeds for two rotations, before attempting the suck feed. All I wanted was to have my baby on my breast. In my heart, I knew tube feeding was helping her build her strength, but it didn't make it any easier. When things hadn't happened by the afternoon, the midwives called in a lactation consultant to meet with me. She explained that while most women had their supply in by day 4, it varied from person to person. She also suggested that there may be a link between milk supply & PCOS - and suggested oatmeal & fenugreek, which I was already taking daily. We agreed that if I hadn't had any milk come in by day 6, we could look at prescribed drugs to boost milk production.
Thankfully, milk arrived on day 6 - after an agonising day of engorgement and nipple blisters {oh lordy, the nipple blisters} that appeared on day 5. I've never been happier to have Dolly Parton boobs, but they do NOT prepare you for the pain of your milk coming in. That was almost as agonising as post-childbirth, for me anyway. That being said, I was so excited to see if Georgia would take to breastfeeding a little better, now that there was something worth waking up for! And if she still wasn't able to feed from me directly, I'd at least have expressed breast milk to feed her via the tube.
My milk increased gradually, which made me stress less. While I still wasn't producing enough to feed her for every 3-hourly rotation, more and more of her feeds became breast milk over formula. My goal was to completely wean out the formula altogether, and I managed this eventually. Since my boobs were playing ball, the paediatrician finally decided to try out alternate feeds for Georgia - one tube feed to one suck feed. Her latching troubles continued, even with midwife help, so I trialled a shield, and BOOM. It suddenly clicked. We had our first real feed on day 6 - it was short and sweet, but it was glorious. I cried; this was breastfeeding.
Once she figured out what she had to do on the breast, we were thrilled. She was making progress! We had a few more hurdles to get through; predominantly exhaustion. Sure, Georgia was a good size at birth - but she was still premature and tired very easily. With the shield {I used the Medela ones} she was able to last a good few minutes before falling asleep; then we'd have to employ every technique in the book to wake her up - stripping off, tickles, head stroking, squeezing hands, nappy changes, baths, cold face washers. When she was asleep, she was really asleep. I was assured that she would outgrow this stage at her own pace. 
We were due to be continuing alternate feeds, but one morning, Georgia yanked out her feeding tube {again} when she was due for a tube feed. The midwife on duty laughed, and suggested we try another suck feed instead.. worst case scenario, if she couldn't finish her boob/bottle combination, we could put another tube in. Georgia showed her - we had a great feed AND she got through her bottle. Champion! And so began our next challenge: getting through on all suck feeds. Thankfully, she did well, and we were eventually discharged from Special Care & put into the regular ward instead. We went home as a family the following day.
Our routine at home goes something like this: a breastfeed focussing on one side at a time, offer other breast & top-up with expressed milk. This is up to our discretion now: if she's had a long feed and puts herself to sleep, we don't top-up - if she's had a lazy feed or continues fussing after a short period of time, we top-up. The amounts are fairly small, usually around 25-30mls of expressed milk. Then we rinse and repeat every 3-4 hours. Georgia is finally able to wake herself up and fuss when she's hungry: this is huge progress, as prior to this, I'd need to set my alarm and wake her up for her 3-4 hourly feeds. If she sleeps a little longer at nights, I let her go - happy baby AND happy mama! ;)
I'm still pumping, though not after every feed like I was in the hospital. We invested in a Medela Swing Maxi, a double electric pump - saves time and is way more comfortable than the hospital pump. I express after our first feed of a morning {usually when I get the 'most' milk - though it's still not a lot}, once after an afternoon feed, and once after our last feed before bedtime, mainly for comfort overnight. Three times a day seems to be working for me at the moment. I don't have a huge supply, but I seem to have enough to cope with her needs for now. I'm starting to develop a little freezer stash too, so that gives me some relief on the off days where I don't express very much milk. I've continued with the fenugreek and oatmeal, but my supply is still fairly average.
Feeding my daughter has been my sole focus and biggest challenge since becoming a new mother. I don't know how long we'll last for, but I'd really like to hit the six-month mark, all going well. But, like I said way back at the beginning, if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. If we swap to formula at some point, I'll be okay with that; I know I've done everything in my power to help give Georgia a good start in life.
Is it dinner time yet?

To My Baby On Her Due Date

Dear Georgia,

Today, you are 23 days old. TWENTY THREE DAYS OLD. Over three weeks! Almost a month. Lordy, time is flying.


Today, you weighed in with the community health nurse. You went from 3.45kg to 3.7kg in nine days - and you made me a very happy lady. Looks like our combination of breastfeeding & expressed top-ups is working. Huzzah! You also impressed our nurse, who couldn't get over how wide eyed and alert you were and how much strength you are already showing in your movements. So proud of you, our chunky little preemie bub. :)

Today, you went for your first walk in the pram, alongside Spencer - who was so very excited to have a new walking buddy. Going out for an afternoon lap around the block with you as part of our new little family was lovely.


Today, it's also your due date. We were pretty convinced that your date was as close to 'accurate' as it could be, thanks to the IVF procedure dates that helped us to conceive you. {I promise I won't talk about your conception too much in your lifetime - but just know that we are very, very grateful parents who are so lucky to have you.} In my mind, I didn't think you'd make us wait until April 22nd to meet you, but I also didn't expect you to come as early as you did. You obviously decided that the time was right, and we're so glad you're here.


We think you're pretty darned fabulous - and we will never take you for granted. Happy due date, baby girl.

Love,
Mama xx

Her Birth - Part IV {Our Baby Is Born}

Where I last left off, I'd just had an epidural put in & was waiting to dilate that last stubborn centimetre so that we could get things moving. They covered me up in a blanket and left to let the epidural do its thing, advising me to rest. Er, rest? I'm nearly ready to have a baby and you want me to REST? Yeah, not happening. What I DID do was come down with a massive case of the shakes/shivers. My whole body would literally not stop shaking. Jase videotaped bits and pieces of the labour {and the birth itself} and my teeth were chattering the whole time. I kept trying to move my legs, and freaking out when I could barely control my little toe.

I know, I know, that's the whole point of an epidural, but I was positive I was paralysed. It was a really frightening feeling, maybe because I hadn't expected to use one? Scary stuff. I spent the majority of this 'waiting' part staring at the contractions monitor and marvelling at the fact that I wasn't feeling any of them.

After what felt like hours, but was only actually around 30 minutes, Louise came back to check me. Bam. 10cm. She disappeared to get the OB, and I started having flashbacks to all those episodes of 'One Born Every Minute' & 'The Midwives' that I'd watched, where women having epidurals weren't able to push effectively and ended up needing all sorts of help to birth their babies. Cue panic. Lots of panic.

That being said, I was completely and utterly determined that I would have control of my pushing stage. No, I couldn't feel contractions, but I'll be damned if I was going to go this far and not push my daughter out myself. Jase surprised me by wanting to stay down at the business end, as I'd assumed he'd want to be out of the line of fire - he was such a good help. It was just me, him, our one midwife & the doctor - nice and calm and comfortable.

They guided me through - each contraction, I pushed, new breath, re-pushed, and so on and so forth. We weren't at it for very long before people started getting excited - I shouldn't have been surprised at this, as her head had been so low and engaged for the entire labour. Hubby began filming at this point {I'll spare you the video, don't you worry!} and I got to re-watch and experience it again, which helped refresh my memory. As her head began to crown, the doctor walked me through my breathing/pushing, and guided things along to help everything stretch. She progressed quite quickly, and the head was out quite fast. The OB congratulated me on my pushing, and said that if I coughed, she'd likely fly straight out - and I laughed. The video caught her inching out a wee bit more with every laugh, and he told us to test out the cough theory: so off I went, fake coughing, to see if it worked. {It did!}

As another contraction started, we got down to business, and one push later, she was born. The doctor gave her straight to Jason, and had him hand her up to me - and as he did so, her cord snapped! Weirdly, it snapped at the exact spot where it would normally have been clamped and cut. After a quick check to make sure her cord & my placenta were still okay, Jase gave me my baby. My baby! She had the typical 'cone head' look and was very quiet, just making tiny squawks. I couldn't believe how chubby she looked for being born at 36 weeks + 5 days.

Welcome to the world, wee Georgia.

I was able to hold her and hug her for just a minute, before Louise asked if she could take her and give her a rub down to 'rough her up a bit'. This was when things got scary, and a little disappointing. I stayed on the bed post-delivery and finished off the birthing experience, with Dr. C walking me through what was happening with both me AND baby. My placenta was delivered intact, the cord was just fine {despite the odd breakage after her birth} and I avoided any external tears. I did, however, have a small rip internally, which the doctor said he'd prefer to stitch to make it heal faster - but if I wanted, I could leave it be. The quicker I healed down below the better, so he put in a few stitches and that was that.

As for the baby, she was under the warming lights. She wasn't screaming like you'd expect newborns to do, but was making softer cries, a bit like a kitten. They suctioned her mouth and throat to help remove some mucous, but she was still very shell shocked. Her initial Apgar score was a 7, I'd find out later. Another midwife had appeared, and together they told me that they would be taking her to the Special Care Nursery for a little while, probably to give her some oxygen and calm her breathing down. Jase followed along with them, while I was left on my own.

At the time, I thought that the baby would get her oxygen and then be returned to me. I was anxious, hating that I couldn't be with her {my epidural was in the process of wearing off, but I needed to stay in bed} and glad that hubby was there. As I waited, I played with my legs, wiggling my toes and hoping they'd come back to me soon. After a while, Jase came back... sans baby. It was then that I realised I wouldn't be getting her back with me straight away - though a part of me was still waiting to get reunited with her in our room later that night. He had taken plenty of photos to show me, though, and I got to visit her in my wheelchair later that evening.

Straight after birth - receiving oxygen in the head-box & being monitored.

I'll write more about Georgia's stay in Special Care later, but suffice it to say, while the birth itself went quite smoothly {last minute epidural aside} the post-birth happenings were NOT what I would have ever expected. I never got to breastfeed my baby after the birth and that minute of holding her was the last I'd have for a full day after that. No skin to skin, no chance to see if she'd suckle at the breast, nothing. Georgia stayed in the nursery for the first week of her life. It certainly wasn't the ideal hospital experience, but that's how it went.

During our time in hospital, I went through some stressful days - the emotion of being away from my brand new baby, of having other people caring for her more than me, of worrying that she wouldn't know me or know Jason, of worrying about whether she was breathing properly, or eating enough... well, it was a lot to go through. I have the utmost respect for parents who go through NICU or Special Care stays - ours was 8 days long, and it felt like an eternity. I can't even imagine being there long term.

First cuddles with mama - at 1 day old
The important thing is, we ended up with a beautiful, perfect baby girl. She is three weeks old today (!) and has brought us so much joy already - we still find ourselves looking at her and wondering how we got so lucky.

Missed part of Georgia's birth story?

Her Birth - Part III {The Going Gets Tough}

I was happy to be making progress, having reached 6cm with just gas and air to help me through. Our midwife, Louise, asked if I'd like to take a bath or a shower to help with the increasing contractions, and I was thrilled to get to do this - one of my biggest goals was to be able to labour in water for a little while.

I stayed in the bath for a while, with hubby keeping me company and splashing water over my giant belly. Louise had brought in a portable gas container, so I could use that if I wanted to. I tried to get through most of them with the hot water, but they were starting to take my breath away - so the gas was, once again, my friend. It was while I was stark nekkid in the tub that I met my 'new' OB for the first time, Dr C. He was a character, and I felt really comfortable with him - even in the nude. :) He had stopped by to say hello and see how things were, and the visit was short and sweet.. apparently the other lady in labour was getting close to the pushing stage.

It was about this time that things started getting really tough. The contractions were hard & fast, the gas & air combination wasn't taking effect quick enough to combat it and I was exhausted - it had been around 14 hours of labour at that point and I'd not slept for another 14 hours before that, the day before.

{Going into labour at night was not ideal. I wish I'd slept more.}

Our midwife, Louise, was getting concerned with how tired I was, so asked to do another check to see how things were progressing. After all those hours of labouring, I was only at 7cm. She spoke with the OB and they decided that if I didn't progress further in the next few hours, they would look at speeding things up with a syntocinon drip to get to the final stage.

I was determined to get things moving, so I stayed up and about, swaying over the baby warming table & trying to focus. Unfortunately, the contractions were coming harder and faster, and it was all I could do to stay upright, drink water & suck down on the gas. I also desperately needed to wee, but every time I would waddle back and forth to the bathroom, I'd try and go... but nothing happened. Turns out that baby's head was so far down, she was quite literally wreaking havoc on all of my pelvic floor muscles, and I couldn't pee! Not good, but I wasn't to know at the time. Two hours of clock-watching passed, and our midwife returned.

I was at 9cm if she stretched - and oy, did she stretch. The doctor appeared, and together they tried to keep me 'with it' long enough to explain what they'd like to do to help things along. It was 2pm. They wanted to get the drip going to help me fully dilate, but they were worried that I'd be too exhausted to cope with the contractions that it would bring on. Because of this, they strongly suggested that I have an epidural. I was almost delirious from the pain, but I was SO frustrated - I had planned all along to have no plan, but I really had wanted to get through without an epidural, if I could. To let me get all the way to 9cm, and then have an epidural? I felt as though my body had failed me, and in turn, I'd failed myself in some way.

I remember getting really emotional at this point, and crying to Jason about how I hadn't wanted an epidural - but at the same time, I was in absolute agony with the syntocinon drip. I also kept having ridiculous urges to push - and I was screaming through these contractions and pushing without any control what-so-ever. Knowing that it could still be hours before I got to 10cm, I agreed to have the epidural. This, my friends, terrified me more than the idea of a natural childbirth - I was absolutely petrified of being paralysed, having the epidural not work, or of consequently needing more invasive manoeuvres to get the baby out.{i.e. forceps, vacuum, c-section}

The anaesthetist arrived, and was trying to tell me the risks of the procedure - but I was too busy freaking out, crying, and pushing/screeching like a banshee to pay much attention. The gas & air nozzle was in my mouth constantly, no breaks in its use, and I was, er, a bit of a mess, to put it mildly. Jase says that this was the point where he was a little frightened on my behalf. Transition... it's no joke. Anyway, anaesthetist man was wearing a red flannel shirt & I felt the need to compliment him on it constantly. I could hear myself talking about it and felt like a moron, but I couldn't control my word vomit. And, thanks to my good friend Nitrous-Oxide, I felt like I kept repeating myself over and over again, and then giggling about it, and then crying, because OMG THINGS HURT.

I'm fairly sure that my mind has blanked out a lot of my experiences of the the transitional part of labour, probably to preserve what little dignity I had left. Somehow I ended up hunched over Jason and preparing for the epidural, just like you see in the movies. I remember the local anaesthetic hurt like a bitch, but I don't remember much after that. Once it was in, they laid me back down & put in a catheter for my poor blader {sweet relief} - I'm not kidding you, I filled that bag up in about five seconds flat. Ahhhhh. Labour: so glamorous, eh?

Missed part of Georgia's birth story?

Her Birth - Part II {At the Hospital}

After we were buzzed in to the birth suites, I was absolutely petrified. I felt like I shouldn't be there; it was probably a false alarm; it was the middle of the night; I'd be wasting the nurses' time... and it was too early. The midwife who I had spoken to on the phone was assigned to me, which was nice. She got me comfortable & told me that after doing a trace on the baby, they'd do an internal exam and see how things were going. I'll admit, this made me nervous too - I'd never had a cervical check before, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Baby was doing just fine & the CTG showed that I was experiencing contractions - things looked like they might have been happening! The midwife performed the internal {which didn't hurt} and proclaimed that my cervix was already effaced & that I was 2-3cm dilated. Turns out I wasn't exaggerating those cramps - I was in labour!

Keeping an eye on mama and baby.
It was at about this time when the midwives told me that my OB was actually away for the Easter holidays, so I would be having an alternate doctor deliver the baby. Surprisingly, this didn't bother me as much as I'd thought it would - I think I was too distracted by the fact that a) I was actually going to have a baby soon, and b) the contractions had started to HURT. 
The doctor recommended I get some fluids into me, as I was complaining of being super hot {as I always am} and so they could be given some IV antibiotics as well - because I was only 36 weeks, I hadn't taken the strep test, so they wanted to give them as a precaution. That was fine, except for the actual needle part - I'm not squeamish of needles by any means, but I have notoriously BAD veins.

I wasn't particularly impressed with being hooked up to an IV, as I'd had plans to be up and about during the labour - but thankfully, it was just the beginning of the experience, and things weren't too stressful. Hubby decided to try and have a sleep, since it was around 3am, and I laid back and focussed on getting through contractions by breathing & not making noise. It passed the time, though got harder as they got stronger.
At 7am, the nurses switched shifts, and we were introduced to our new midwife, Louise. She told us that there was only one other lady in labour, and that the ward was fairly quiet for the most part. I really liked her; she was very no nonsense, and encouraged getting up and moving, which was great, since the IV was long gone by then & I had to pee constantly thanks to all the fluids. They kept the cannula in, but I was free to move around at will.
Ugh. Cannulas. I think this picture about sums it up.
At some point in the morning, Louise asked if I wanted any kind of pain relief, as things were ramping up. I went into the birth without a plan. My birth plan was basically NOT to have a plan, and see how things progressed. I was interested in trying gas & air, but I didn't want to use it too early and have it not helpful later down the track. I put it off for a while, but then decided it was worth a try.
My verdict? The gas was awesome. It didn't make me nauseous at all, and I felt very 'in control' while using it... at first. Unfortunately, that control got a little wonky further down the track. ;) For the first few hours, I was using it just for the build-up & full hit of the contractions. It made me giggle and it also made me a little bit mental, as I found out later on, thanks to text messages I'd saved in my phone. The best one was to my brother, which said 'I think I'm going to name the baby GAS.' Oy, oy, oy.
It also made time feel like it was going by in slow motion - one contraction felt like it lasted for ages. {Not a bad thing when it didn't really hurt, but not good when you were counting down the minutes & feeling like you've been in labour forever.} I remember Jase leaving the room at one point to go and get a coffee, and it felt like he had been gone for hours - I was eating breakfast at the time, and couldn't figure out where he'd gone. I also buttered my toast with the gas and air tube instead of a knife, but that's another story altogether. When he came back, I was quite cranky with him & asked him where the hell he'd gone for that long while his wife was in labour? Yeah, he'd been gone all of five minutes. Whoops!
It was mid-morning when they did another internal check. This one hurt though, and I had to use the gas to keep calm. I was happy to learn that I'd hit 6cm, and baby was coping beautifully. Things were going well.

Missed part of Georgia's birth story?

Her Birth - Part I {At Home}

The day I went into labour started out like any other day when you're in your last few weeks of pregnancy. I was tired, huge, peeing constantly & analysing every twinge my body made, wondering if this was a 'sign' of labour impending over the next few weeks. It was the 29th of March: Good Friday. I was 36 weeks + 4 days.

In the morning, I started getting some cramping - nothing consistent, but what just felt like period aches - enough to make me clutch my stomach and complain for a bit, but then forget about them when they would subside. I stayed home in the morning in my pyjamas, until we went to visit my Nanna in hospital at lunchtime. Even then, the cramping was bothering me; it prompted my gran to make another comment about hoping to meet baby girl sooner rather than later. We left fairly soon after that, as I still felt rubbish. Later that afternoon, our next door neighbour {who is also conveniently our hairdresser} came over to cut our hair & have a coffee, and I remember chatting to her about how I was tired and crampy and ready for the baby in the next few weeks. She has three kids, so we talked about her birth stories for a while, before I went upstairs to lay down.

As the evening progressed, the cramps got worse. I was on my side, clutched around myself, feeling awful. I remember Jase checking in on me every now and again, and at some point I decided I would start timing them {just for fun} on one of my iPhone apps. Things started out fairly mild, but as time progressed, they began to form a pattern. I coped with the 'cramps' by feeling the beginning build-up, breathing through the tight, painful middle part, then relaxing as they subsided. After several episodes using that coping mechanism, I stopped calling them cramps & began calling them contractions. Actual contractions!

And so the timing began...

At around 11pm, I went to the loo & continued cramping - and lost a HUGE chunk of bloody mucus, my full 'show'. I stood there with the toilet paper in my hand, not quite sure whether I should keep it and show someone {who? who would I show? I have no idea} and decided I'd take a picture instead. Don't worry... I won't share that here on the blog. Since the contractions were continuing fairly regularly & the show had appeared, I had Jase ring the hospital to ask what we should do. The midwife implied that it could well just be a false labour, and to take some panadol and have a warm bath. If the contractions got more intense or closer together, she asked us to ring back.

Sitting in the bath was lovely, but I continued timing the contractions and they didn't slow down - they ended up speeding up and being 5-6 minutes apart. After a while, I headed back to bed, and spent a few hours moaning through each contraction. It was around 2am that I made Jase ring the hospital again. Again, the midwife {a different one this time} told me that things might be taking off - anyone else they would encourage to stay home a little longer, but since I was pre-term at 36+4, she asked me to come in - just to be safe.

Luckily I'd had my hospital bags packed and ready to go for several weeks prior, so we threw them all into the car and got ourselves ready. I hurriedly grabbed a towel to throw onto the car seat; I didn't want my waters to break during the drive. I remember worrying constantly about heading to the hospital too early; I didn't want to be sent home if this was false labour, but I didn't want to stay home in case it was the real deal.

That 2.30am drive to the hospital {which usually takes around 20 minutes} was done in 10 minutes. We arrived at the deserted hospital, where I sealed the deal by having a contraction in the front carpark while Jase buzzed us in on the intercom. It was time to get checked out, and man, was I nervous.

My last belly shot taken in week 36 - baby doing lopsided belly gymnastics!

10 Days Old

Thank you all for the sweet words of welcome for our wee baby girl. It's been a crazy roller-coaster ride, but suffice it to say that we are ridiculously proud parents and completely in love with this tiny little human. I feel I should write out the story of her birth sooner rather than later, but am so exhausted that I don't think I could do it justice yet.

For now, know that we are busy loving all over our Georgia & enjoying every challenging second of new parenthood.

Georgia at 10 days old. :)

Surprise!

So... about those cramps...

Our little lady decided to surprise us by arriving a few weeks early at 36 weeks + 5 days. She wanted to be a March baby & not an April one, it seems!

She is super chunky for a premmie bub (3.5kg at birth!) and is healthy and happy, after being on oxygen and monitoring after birth.

Unfortunately she has been in the Special Care Nursery since she was born, as she is having feeding issues (doesn't know how to suck or self feed) so I've been lonely here in hospital with no baby by my side. She's trying. So am I. Although, she's also now showing signs of jaundice, so might be a while for her to sort those issues out before we can come home.

Either way, we are totally smitten. All I want to do is eat those chubby cheeks!!

Meet Georgia. :)

More details to come soon - cross your fingers that we have some good luck feeding & growing!





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