SICK BABIES, HOSPITAL STAYS AND FEELING LIKE A BAD MUM…

Getting sick, it is horrible but it happens. Unfortunately, we cannot prevent it sometimes. What is worse than ourselves getting sick though? Our babies/children getting sick. Especially if they are little babies who are still so helpless. This is my experience with a sick newborn baby!

After having Harlee-Jae, I got the flu and ended up with a chest infection. We put it down too my body being so run down after haemorrhaging and having a pretty fast labour. Harlee was around a week and a half old when she was starting to show signs of getting a cold too – this was my worst fear. My brand new tiny, helpless baby was getting sick and it was my entire fault. She had obviously caught this off me so I was feeling so guilty but how else was I meant to prevent her from getting sick? I did everything I could from washing my hands a thousand times a day, I wouldn’t breath or cough on her, I wouldn’t even kiss her but no matter how hard I tried to keep some sort of ‘distance’, she was a new baby and she needed her mum. As a first time mum, this was my worst nightmare. All I wanted was my baby to be healthy.

As soon as we started noticing signs of the flu we took her to the doctors asap. However, it was not that simple (We have since changed doctors because of this experience). I rang and explained my situation but was told ‘sorry all of our doctors are too busy, the best we can do is to send you to see one of our well trained nurses’ – which we did. While there, she looked and observed Harlee and pretty much told me, I was over exaggerating being a first time mum and that newborns very rarely get sick. Of course being a new mum and knowing no different, you believe what they say because they know best right? Well no, that was not the case. I distinctively remember her testing Harlee’s oxygen levels, which were floating around the 96 out of 100 mark, she told me this was fine and it was not until later on I found out it was not.

The next day I could tell she was getting worse and no better. However, Ben and I thought that this well trained ‘nurse’ knew best so believed her. That night, Harlee was breathing funny and was definitely sick. Being the worried first time parents, Ben and I stayed awake all night, taking shifts, just to make sure she was okay. We got through the night and the next day she seemed slightly better. Things were looking up, so I told Ben to get out of the house and go to the rugby with his mate and I’d go stay at my mum’s with Harlee. Off he went that afternoon and by about 7pm that night, Harlee had gone downhill again. She was worse than the night before so we took her to a&e.

I let Ben know, but still wanted him to enjoy his night out and told him not to worry and I’d keep him in the loop. They were amazing at a&e, we were taken straight in by a nurse to observe us and check Harlee over. She also checked Harlee’s oxygen levels, which were sitting around the 88 out of 100 mark – she immediately let us know it should be at least 98. It wasn’t until now when I told her my experience with our previous ‘doctors’ and the lady that checked Harlee over, when she told me she was no way qualified to be checking over a new baby and should have referred us to a&e if an actual doctor couldn’t see us. My heart dropped because I knew in my gut she wasn’t okay but yet felt as though I couldn’t speak up after being told I was over exaggerating as a new mum. Never will I EVER, do that again. We are their mothers and we do know best. If you ever feel uneasy about something please do not feel the way I did and not speak up! It is your right to keep your baby safe and healthy, do not leave the doctors until you are 100% satisfied with their care!

A&E were super-efficient and we were seen by a doctor within half an hour of being there. I do not know what your A&E in your area are like but ours is usually ridiculous! You usually wait for hours on end! I think Harlee being so new; they were not willing to take any risks. She had no temperatures just a bit of a raspy cough and her oxygen levels were not good. This was enough for the doctor to not be happy with Harlee so he sent us to Taranaki Base Hospital where we would spend the night. Off we went home to quickly pack some bags and head up to New Plymouth – an hour drive away. Luckily the rugby was in New Plymouth so I rang and filled Ben in and he was ready to meet us as soon as we got there.

Everything happened pretty quickly, I still hadn’t really had a chance to think about it. On our trip up to New Plymouth, Harlee was getting worse and I was getting scared she wasn’t breathing. I ended up getting my mum in the back of the car with me so we could both monitor her. We finally made it and straight into a&e we went – which was not quite as efficient as Hawera. However, we were put into a room to wait, where we waited for a good four or five hours before going to the children’s ward!

In this time, Harlee was due for a bottle. I went and asked a male nurse for some boiling hot water to heat it up – he took this opportunity to remind me I should breastfeed and this would have probably prevented her getting sick. Well big fat middle finger to you I thought. He did not know my reasoning for not breastfeeding and as if I was not feeling like a shitty enough mum as it was! I will not talk too much of this because bottle vs breast is a blog post to come! Luckily I didn’t have to deal with him ever again after this!

Finally, the doctor came to see us. He informed us that our precious little baby had Bronchiolitis – The condition starts like a common cold. It progresses to coughing, wheezing and sometimes difficulty breathing. Symptoms may last for a week to a month. He also let us know that the worst was yet to come, he believed she was still in the early stages, so would get worse before she would get better. I was so tired and overwhelmed and then was told that only one of us could stay with her. Obviously, I was not leaving my newborn baby but I really wanted Ben there for support.

Off we went, transferred to the children’s ward early hours of the morning on the 24th of September. The day Harlee was also two weeks old – two weeks old and back in hospital! It was not a nice feeling at all. Little did we know we would be spending the next six nights here with Harlee on oxygen for five of those because she was struggling to breathe so much on her own.

26th Sep 2016 (7)

It was some crazy hour of the morning and it was a pretty scary sight watching the nurse hook all of these different tubes to Harlee. She had like a butterfly shaped sticker oxygen mask on her cheeks and little prongs up her nose; this also had another tube connected to it so it would send warm air rather than cold air, as babies hate cold oxygen being blown into their nose. She had an oxygen monitor attached to one of her little toes and a sleep apnea monitor attached to her tummy. This made holding her extremely difficult – although I was a pro after a day! She lived in sleep gowns as it was just a lot easier with all these cords and tubes running off her.

26th Sep 2016 (6)

The first night was not as bad because I was so tired. I went straight to sleep. However, it was only going to get worse. It was so easy to fall into an emotional state, especially being there alone at night! I would make Ben stay as long as he possibly could but the odd nurse would kick him out after a while. I hated that, it is such a vulnerable time and you should be allowed your support person to stay too. I was still a new mum who was still learning the ropes of motherhood. I was now doing it alone, in a hospital, with a sick baby. This was not how I pictured life in the first few weeks of being a new mum!

We were lucky to have many visitors during our time there. It really kept me sane. You start going a bit crazy looking at the same four walls every single day. It was the longest week of my life. I felt like we were in hospital for a month and every day they would try to take her off the oxygen was another day of being let down and told she still needed it. It is scary; you just want your baby to be okay and breathing on her own.

Nights were extremely hard; I was getting a max of four hours sleep most nights. Between Harlee waking and not sleeping, to the amazing nurses coming in and checking Harlee every couple of hours – sleep was unheard of. I am sure all you mums will agree that lack of sleep is no good for your emotional state! Now I think about it, I do not know how I pulled through. Most nights would end with me getting very upset every time Ben would leave but we had to do, what we had to do.

We were not allowed to leave until Harlee had been off oxygen for a full 24 hours. Finally on the 29th of September she was off the oxygen and my baby was getting back to her normal self – well for the normal from what I had gathered from her first two weeks of life! Minus the big red marks on her cheeks from having the oxygen mask sticking to them for a week.

There was a massive light of hope that we were okay to go home the next day, I was starting to feel happy again – not 100% because I knew there would still be a slight chance of staying. On my hoped to be last night I thought a lot about my experience and this is what I’ve learnt-

  • Sometimes babies get sick and it is beyond your control – Despite your efforts of keeping them 100% healthy, sometimes they just get sick. It is life and we just have to deal with it the best we can. It may not be pleasant but you can get through! If I can, anyone can!
  • Trust your gut – You are the mum and you know best. If you feel like something is not right, your motherly instinct is always right! That is one regret of mine, not following my gut the first time round with Harlee. I would never have forgiven myself if something happened. Don’t feel bad, you want the best for your child so push until your happy!
  • You are not a bad mum – I know how guilty I felt and I know I wouldn’t be the only one! Its easy for me to sit here and say don’t blame yourself, don’t feel guilty. The truth is we will always do it, I know if there was a next time, I would too. However, try not to focus on that too much because you are a good mum and you do only want the best for your child and would have never purposefully made them sick! Try not to beat yourself up.
  • Hospitals suck, but it is the best place for you – I know how much I hated it and most people do but the main thing is to remember it is the best place for you and your baby! If anything bad was to happen, it is 100 times better to happen in hospital rather than at home. It feels like a lifetime in there but I promise you will go home soon!

That is just a few of the things I took away from being in hospital for a week. Do not get me wrong a week is nothing compared to some families with very sick children and I truly admire them after watching my parents in starship with my sister for three months. I have a newfound respect for families whose whole lives revolve around hospitals. You guys are your own kind of superheroes! I have written a blog post To the mum’s who are hurting on Mother’s Day… If you you would like to read this.

Finally, on the 30th of September, we were allowed to go home! I was super happy! Finally, we could be back together as our little family. I was also scared because I was told she still had chances to stop breathing while sleeping. The only thing that seemed logical to me was to get an angelcare sound and movement monitor! Best decision ever – I still have it on Harlee’s cot and it has been such great peace of mind every night. I definitely sleep a whole lot easier!

30th Sep 2016

Hospitals suck, being sick sucks and watching your helpless newborn sick is the absolute worst. This was one of the worst weeks of my life but we got through and she got better! She is now a super healthy 10 month old who has only ever had a minor cold since this! Part of me thinks being sick so young has given her such a strong immune system, especially because there was nothing we could do or give her to help, we just had to wait it out and let her little body fight it!

I hope that this has given all of you insight of what can happen and that you will get through if your little baby gets sick but I also hope that it will be a reminder that you are not alone if you are in hospital! Please feel free to message me if you have any questions or just to tell me your story! I would love to hear them. Until next week mates!

Lace xxx

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MUM LIFE WITH A ROUTINE

Routines. You either hate it or love it and no matter which you decide, you are doing a great job! However, I am a routine queen. I believe that routine is the key to life! I am a pretty organised person and I always like to know what I am doing and when I am doing it, so it only made sense that I would get my baby into a routine.

I am hoping to give a bit of insight of how I got Harlee into a routine because it is definitely not the easiest of jobs! Please remember that every baby is different – so if you did your routine differently or tried my routine and it did not work for you, do not be disheartened, you just have to find what works for you!

Harlee was an extremely unsettled baby. She was hard work. She had acid reflux and colic and refused sleep in the first few months of her life – I won’t go into too much detail as I plan to write a blog post on this topic. In the first three months, Harlee was feed four hourly. This didn’t help her sleeping but I truly believe that this is just a hard period of time for most mums and we have to push through because let me tell you, there is light at the end of the tunnel!!!!!! One thing I did find helpful in this time was to have a notebook and write everything down and I mean everything! I wrote down when she had a bottle and how much she had, when she woke and when she went to sleep and even how long she was awake for! Not only does it become a helpful tool but to look back and read it now, I see how far we have come and it is an amazing feeling knowing I’ve done it all by myself.

Harlee started improving with sleeps (still not great though) around the three-month mark and was only waking one or two times during the night so I made the decision to try figure out a routine. After hours of research on good old Uncle Google, I didn’t seem to find one particular routine that was going to work for us. So I tied together a few different routines to make it work good for us.

I took the ‘EASY’ approach, which is the following-

E    AT

A   CTIVITY

S    LEEP 

Y    OUR TIME!

I started this and I never looked back. Sleeping was not a highlight for us so the most logical thing to do was to sort out feeding, I still tried to sort sleeping at the same time but it wasn’t my main focus. We began a strict feeding routine on the 8th of November. This consisted of having a 120ml bottle at the following times everyday – 9am, 12pm, 4pm and 7pm. She would then have a top up bottle at 8.30pm of 60mls just to get her through most of the night. She was still waking once or twice in the night at 2am-ish and 6am-ish so I would give her a top up of 120ml and then she would sleep again till 9am. Sounds easy right? Don’t be fooled the first week or so is hard work but then it really is that easy! Harlee’s sleeping during the day was still all over the show so I never really knew when she would be awake etc. So we would make her wait it out for her bottles even if she woke up an hour before it was due. I wanted her to get familiar with the fact that she wasn’t getting a bottle until the certain time and that she was only to get bottles when she first woke up.

Tips for waiting it out-

  • If you are bottle-feeding – you know how much your baby is getting therefore you know they are not hungry everytime they cry, they are most likely being greedy!
  • Do something with them to take their mind off the fact they think they are hungry. Harlee would be happy to go for a walk and look around her room, for you to sit and talk to her or to have you lay with her on her play mat and show her the toys.
  • Be persistent. Don’t give in, as hard as it can be you need to stick to your guns because you want to introduce routine and by giving in, you aren’t having any consistency.
  • Believe in yourself! Don’t let anyone doubt you but be sure to have your partner on side and aware what the routine is!

So after a few weeks of having the strict feeding routine on lock, Harlee decided to sleep 12 hours straight one night!!! I decided that sleeping through the night was my next mum mission to tackle. It was around the 10th of December and the testing times began. To me, because Harlee had gone 12 hours without a bottle overnight, I decided to use other tools in the night to get her back to sleep rather than a feed. I did change our times up a bit to cater for this though. We were now starting with an 8.30am bottle while still having 12pm and 4pm but then pushed out our last bottles to 8pm and a top up bottle at 9.30pm just before she went down. I know some of you are probably thinking, 9.30pm? Isn’t that late? Maybe for some but my theory is I am a night owl and definitely not a morning person. I would rather my baby be up while I am, this way I still get a decent sleep. You may be the opposite and early bedtimes and mornings are for you – that is cool too! You just have to figure out your times according to you and your baby. Like I was saying though I decided to ween Harlee off her night feeds!

Tips for weening off night feeds-

  • Dummy! I know some people hate them but seriously it was such a lifesaver and just gave her that bit of comfort she needed.
  • Baby shusher – We used this until she was around five months old. It was a good indicator for her that it was still sleep time.
  • Something with lullabies – We have a leap frog teddy – violet, who plays bedtime music and Harlee still has her to this day!
  • I found it was easier to go in as soon as she woke up and use the sleeping aids and she would go straight back to sleep and then eventually she would sleep right through from 9.30pm till 8.30am

So now we had feeding and sleeping through the night on lock the last of my mission was day sleeps and self settling. She kind of just figured out self settling on her own at night time but during the day was a different story. I would hold her and rock her to sleep until she was around three months old and then popped her down in bed but even then, there was no guarantees she would stay asleep for longer than 20 minutes, so as you can imagine this was about to be the toughest challenge.

Harlee was a wrapped baby and we only stopped wrapping her a couple of months ago. You are all probably sitting there saying ‘why would you’ but that was how she felt safe and it worked for us. Currently, she is in a sleep sack with one arm in and one arm out as she sleeps better that way. However, I plan to start sleeping her both arms out over this next week as I want to have her fully sorted before her brother arrives!

The first rule for the day sleeps in my book was to have them at the same time every day, in fact we still do this! When we first started, we were home bound.  We made bedtime a similar routine no matter what time of the day. She would be wrapped and put down and all the sleep aids I mentioned above were used. It was not as simple as night time though! She would scream and scream and I know how bloody hard it is to leave your screaming baby but you have to do it! It’s better to do it now when they are only a few months old, rather than when they are five! So how did we get past this stage you ask? Persistence and not giving up! We would leave her to cry it out and go in every 10 minutes to reset the sleeping aides and pop her dummy back in. Some days this could go on for an hour even two but we had to stick to our guns. The only time I would get her up is if she had really distressed herself – you as their mother will know what cry this is. I would give her a cuddle and a bit of reassurance that I was still there and popped her back into bed when she calmed down and started again. There was really no other trick to this, it was just a matter of continuing this until she got what we were doing. Sometimes she would only go to sleep half an hour before she was due up again but I would still wake her and give her a bottle if she was due because I wanted her to learn that this was how and when she needed to be awake or asleep.

Believe it or not within three days of beginning this, we had made some massive progress! It was only one sleep out of the three day sleeps she was having, that she would play up and then after a week she knew exactly what we were doing! Don’t get me wrong we still had bad days but every baby does because that’s what they do but 90 percent of the time, everything was good!

We now had the same feeding times, wake times, bedtimes and playtimes. Harlee also knows this and starts giving me her signs of tiredness at the same time everyday. Over time as she has started solids and needing less sleep, we have just adjusted her routine. Her routine now as a 10 month old for anyone interested is-

8.30am – Wake up and 120ml bottle

9am – Cereal for breakfast

10.30am – Morning nap

11.30am-12pm – Wake up

12pm – 120ml bottle and lunch

1.30pm – Afternoon nap

3.30-4pm- Wake up

4pm – 180ml bottle and snack

6.30-7pm – Dinner

8.30pm – 180ml bottle and bedtime!

Don’t look at this and compare it to your routine and think you are doing something wrong or I am doing something wrong because once again, every baby is different! What works for me, may not work for you!

Now remember I am a full on routine preacher! I’ll preach my routine to anyone that asks because I truly swear by it. It has been the best thing for us and I always know where I am at. I know when I need to arrive somewhere or leave somewhere because she is ready for bed. I know when she needs to be fed and I can literally plan my day around her. These little people really do rule your life! However, be aware of this one factor! You will piss people off. It still happens to me now. I am so strict on my routine that if going somewhere or doing something that doesn’t fit in with my routine, I don’t do it. People who don’t have kids and even people that do have kids may not parent this way so they don’t understand why your being so weird about when your child goes down. I’ve pissed off many people including friends and family members but I really don’t care because my main priority is my child and the people that are okay with that, are totally understanding! So don’t be shocked if you offend people – just remember that people who matter (well most of them) will understand if you can’t stay for five hours when visiting for lunch or can’t go somewhere because your baby is due for a nap. They will get over it and will hopefully understand one day!

Harlee’s routine is slightly flexible now which is awesome and may I add I haven’t missed out on much because of my routine! We still go shopping at the mall – she sleeps in her pram, I still can go for a morning walk when she’s due for a nap and as long as dinners are only five minutes from home, we can generally join them and leave by the time shes ready for bed. Routine is my one thing that’s a must as a parent!

I won’t pressure you into having a routine because I know that’s not how some people work but if you have any questions or need some advice about routines, don’t be afraid to ask me! I am an open book and will happily do all I can to help because I know how hard this mum gig is whether you are a first time mum or not! I will add a box below where you can email me or do not be afraid to message me on facebook or Instagram! I hope this has been some kind of helpful to other mums out there! Come back next week for some more of my yarns guys!

Lace xxx

SECOND TRIMESTER

As I am nearing the end of the second trimester, I thought I would give a little bit of an insight of how the second trimester has been for me!

So, you finally passed that dreaded first 12 weeks, which I have written about here, if you have not read about it! This can be an awesome feeling, well for me it was anyway! I loved that I finally fitted in the ‘safe zone’ and did not feel like I could not tell people anymore. It was all out in the open!

Both pregnancies I suffered morning sickness. At the time I believed they were at similar levels but now looking back at it, I was definitely sicker first time round with Harlee-Jae. I was lucky enough that my morning sickness did start to fade at around 14 weeks. Then I find you enter this stage of ‘am I even pregnant?’ Well I am not sure if this happens for everyone but for me at around 15 weeks, all of those symptoms you have in the first 12 weeks start to fade. I no longer felt sick, did not have a visible bump and what I did have just looked like I had eaten too much and was sporting a food baby bump, hah. With Harlee-Jae, I felt this stage went on for so long! Obviously, she was in there because of my 20 week scan but I didn’t start feeling any sort of baby kicks until 22 weeks – so for a good 7 weeks I felt reasonably normal.

This time round it did not last as long as I did start feeling baby kicks at 18 weeks and I did start showing a whole lot earlier then what I believe I did with Harlee! However, if you get to this am I even pregnant feeling, do not try and stress about it! It’s so normal and I say enjoy it while it lasts, because before you know it a whole new list of pregnancy symptoms will be well and truly in force and you will not be doubting if you are pregnant at all!

So back to those first baby kicks I was talking about – these are pretty awesome! I remember being pregnant for the first time and thinking, am I feeling my baby kick or is my stomach just rumbling? It is a very surreal feeling. You should feel baby’s first movements or quickening, as they like to call it, somewhere between 16-25 weeks. If you are a first time mum and you are nearing the 25 week mark and thinking why can’t I feel my baby? Do not stress! With Harlee, I didn’t start feeling anything until around 22 weeks and even then, it was like, am I? It was not until around 25 weeks that I knew I could definitely feel her every day. I know this stressed me out as a first time mum. Many other mums always feeling their baby’s from so early on then there was me who couldn’t help but worry! Best advice is to let it happen when it happens! If you do feel like something is not right, do not hesitate to ask your midwife or GP. Everyone’s pregnancy is different so do not compare yours to others! Before you know it, your little babe will be having a raging party of one in there and keeping you up all night, hah!

The appearance of the bump! This can happen at any time, first time mums are usually any time after 12 weeks. However second time mums could be even sooner! I feel like you definitely hit that start mark and think hmmmm is it a bump or am I just bloated. Never fear the true formation of a real bump will be apparent before you know it and you can kiss the days of sleeping comfortably goodbye! With Harlee, I liked my bump. I felt like it was a nice size and it was just a bump! However, this time round I am not feeling that way! I am not sure if it’s a second time pregnancy thing or if it’s a boy pregnancy thing but I feel like everything is expanding! I feel like the weight is distributing itself all over my body. All I can think in my head is, how big am I going to get!? I think this is completely normal to feel like this and I need to remember my body never had a chance to try and get back to normal after Harlee because I was pregnant when she was three months old! I see photos of pre pregnant me and think argh am I ever going to look like that again? I know how easy it is to let this stuff get you down and it still does bother me some days but I try and stop myself and think Lacey, you are growing a baby, for the second time and that’s amazing in itself. I need to be proud of what my body has done, is doing, and so do all you mummas! Embrace the mum bod I say.

 

Now I am definitely putting this one down to a boy – increased appetite! Around 16 weeks I found I was sooooo hungry, even Ben noticed it. I could all of a sudden smash back a big bag of chips by myself; I could eat a whole pizza or easily eat four bits of toast. I love food in general but I felt like I was eating for five not just two! I never felt like my appetite increased that much with Harlee. I am just going with the, if I am hungry I will eat and blame it all on being pregnant because why not? Hah! However, this did not last all that long. I have found in the last few weeks I am struggling to feel like eating and I never know what I want to eat – which is super annoying! I’m hoping it’s just a phase and will pass soon because I’m pretty sure Ben’s getting sick of me winging dinners because of me not knowing what I want to cook!

The most exciting part of the second trimester for me – The gender reveal! I am the most impatient person and I have to be organised, so not finding out was not an option for me, Hah. I have to plan the room according to the gender because that is just who I am. Big up’s to anyone who has the patience to not find out though! It would be an awesome surprise but nope it is just not for me! If you do find out though, there are so many cool ways to announce it to everyone! Both times, I have had the sonographer write down if it’s a boy or girl and pop it in an envelope. With Harlee, we took the envelope to the florist and had her put either pink or blue balloons into a box for us to pick up and reveal down at the cemetery by my sister to ourselves and family. This time round, I gave one of my best friends the envelope and she dressed Harlee in either the blue or pink onesie we had and then again she brought Harlee down to the cemetery by my sister where we all found out again. It’s an awesome memory and cool thing to keep and show them when they grow up I think!

Now your probably thinking, Lacey’s pregnancy seems good and shes loving it. You are very wrong. I’ll be honest. I hate being pregnant. Okay, hates a strong word but I can easily say being pregnant isn’t for me! The first 20 or so weeks aren’t too bad but I do hit a stage of remembering why I don’t like being pregnant. Some people love it! I wish I did, but it is just not really for me. In both pregnancies at the same time, around 23-24 weeks I have this weird stomach cramping. With Harlee, I was super concerned because I had never been pregnant before and I did not know what was happening. This happened more than once as well throughout my pregnancy and I found it concerning that even after going to a&e, the doctors couldn’t figure out what was going on. When I got them this time round, I didn’t worry too much and tried to just stay home and rest and if they persisted longer than a day, I would have contacted my midwife. My midwife has put it down to my uterus expanding but it is really painful and doesn’t seem right!

I also begin to experience excruciating back pain around 25 weeks throughout the rest of my pregnancy. It is something to do with my sciatic nerve and where the baby sits I think. This isn’t just your ordinary back pain though, I remember it getting so bad with Harlee it had me in tears and struggling to even move. It makes the most simplest task, really hard. If anyone is reading this and thinking whatever, it cannot be that bad. It is. I seriously have a new appreciation for people who suffer back pain, I never knew how bad it could be until it happened to me! If you also suffer back pain, the only thing I find that gives me a little bit of relief is a hot water bottle! I did also visit a physio, which helped, along with wearing a back brace to help support my back!

Sleeping is another big one for me. I do not function well on minimal sleep and being pregnant does not help! I get extremely bad insomnia and find myself laying in bed wide awake for hours. The catch 22 with this is – I have really low iron levels. So not sleeping just makes me feel like shit! I end up with no motivation and a bad mood – sorry Ben, hah.

I know it might sound like stupid things but they are things that bother me and it’s just the start of me remembering why I don’t like being pregnant as all those things start creeping back. However, I’m creeping slowly into the third trimester and then before I know it, I’ll be approaching my due date!

I hope this has been a bit of an insight into the second trimester and that some of you can relate to how I have felt and know they aren’t alone! Anyway, I hope you are back for the next blog so until then I hope you all have a good week!

Lace xxx

LOSING SOMEONE SPECIAL HAS MADE ME THE MUM I AM TODAY…

In memory of my beautiful sister Jackson Jae Tito 

Today marks nine whole years since you have been gone and I still remember like it happened yesterday. For those of you that know me will know about my sister but for those of you who do not – we lost my younger sister Jackson to cancer nine years ago today. In her honour I have decided to dedicate this blog post to her as I explain how losing someone so special has made me become the mother I am today.

I will give a bit of a background of Jackson for everyone who doesn’t know her story. In October 2000, mum was only 32 weeks pregnant when she experienced stomach cramps and lost started bleeding; she was transferred to Taranaki Base Hospital for bed rest and given some steroids to prepare if she went into premature labour. On Tuesday the 10th of October, Mum had a caesarean at just 33 weeks pregnant because they were unsure what was causing the bleeding. Jackson Jae Tito was born on the 10-10-00 at 3.04pm at a tiny weight of 4 pounds 4 ounces.

Fast forward six years and we also had a little brother who was then only two! We all loved each other but would fight with each other as your typical siblings do!  Little did we know that things were about to get very different in our household.

Jayden (3), Lacey (11) and Jackson (6) 7th April 2007

Jackson started showing signs to mum that something was not quite right. Mum had been to the doctors many times with Jackson but nothing would ever really come of it, it was always something else. She was diagnosed with coeliac disease and double vision problems but still things persisted. On Monday the 24th of September 2006 mum had, had enough. She had written a list of Jackson’s symptoms and asked my grandma and aunty to accompany her to the doctors because she was not leaving until she had answers – however at the time I was only 12 so was completely unaware of all of this.

I remember staying in the waiting room with my cousins and little brother. Jackson was sent out by us kids eventually and then mum left crying – I knew something wasn’t right. We went back to my auntie’s house for a while and then went home.  Dad had left work to come home so now I knew something really was not right. Dad never came home from work and everyone was at our house. Mum and dad called me into their bedroom where I sat in the middle of them. Mum and dad both very upset told me that Jackson could have a brain tumour. I did not know a lot but I knew it must be really bad. I cried because I was scared but I was unsure of what really was ahead.

A couple of days later it was confirmed that Jackson did have a brain tumour in her brain stem and it was inoperable. There was nothing they could do and our lives have never been the same since this day. Jackson was given six to twelve months to live and told it would be closer to six months.  She managed nine. She passed away, early hours of the morning on June the 18th 2008.

The last nine months of her life was really hard to watch. I may have only been 12-13 but I took everything in. I watched my dad be her full time carer right from beginning to end, I watched my mum hold us together as a family and keep everything in life a float, I watched all of our family come together to enjoy every moment but the hardest thing to watch was my beautiful little sister become sicker and sicker as the days went on.

Since becoming a mum and actually understanding the love you have for your own child, I now have a new appreciation for my mum. I really don’t know how she managed to hold us all together so well when she would have been struggling so much. I have a blog post ‘To the mum who is hurting on mother’s day’ that you can also read here. Even as a mum I cannot understand or try to comprehend the hurt, you must feel when losing a child.

One of the biggest life lessons I have learnt from losing my sister is to live and love like there is no tomorrow – sounds a bit cliché right? But seriously, a lot of us take our lives for granted every day. I try to start everyday as a glass half full kind of person but I do understand this is not always easy, especially as mum because we all know this mum gig can be hard sometimes. However, I do look at my little healthy girl who always seems to smile at me at just the right time, then I am reminded how very lucky I am. I’ve learnt it’s not always about money and materialistic things – sure I love having nice things and extra money in the bank but I try not to let it consume my life as so many of us do. Because is having the best house on the street, the flashiest car in the driveway, the latest cell phone or the trendiest clothes even worth it if we do not have our health or the people we love? I know which I’d prefer! Although I still manage to forget this valid piece of advice and sometimes find myself saying ‘I want, I want, I want’, I do try pulling myself back down to my morals really quickly. It is easy to be caught in that cycle but if you have woken up today, are healthy and have the ones you love then try using that as your motivation to get through and be happy!

Growing up, I do not really have many memories that mum was not around. She was always a stay at home mum and I am very thankful for that. I realise some people don’t have the choice and I really think working mums are doing an awesome job being able to do both but I am lucky enough to stay home for now and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My mum has pointed out to me that she is so happy she was at home for Jackson’s first five years, she spent every day with her and watched her grow and created many memories that are now embedded in her heart. She may have only had her for a short seven years but she is so happy she does not have any regrets of missing out because she was in day care or with someone else while she worked. This has been a major influence for me, I really do not want to miss anything in the crucial first few years while my little girl and little boy grow up! I am so thankful I can stay home for now.

Everyone gives me shit because I hate leaving Harlee anywhere, I love being her mum and I think I’m just trying to enjoy it while it is still just her because soon I’ll have another little human to mind and I won’t be able to give Harlee my full attention as I do now. The only place I ever really let her go is my mums and even then, it is only if I really have to. I think part of my not wanting to leave her has to do with losing Jackson. I feel like I did not fit in as many memories as I could with Jackson and I feel ripped off from what I could have had. It’s the little things, like my kids only knowing her from pictures, not being able to call Jackson for a sisterly chat when you just need your sister, not being able to have her as a bridesmaid when I get married (hah, listen to me talking like I’ve got a ring – should really say if I get married :P) and just not having her around when we are together as a family. Now, with anyone I love and care about I try and fit them into my life as much as possible because I don’t want to feel ripped off if I was to ever lose someone else. So, as you can imagine when it comes to my own kids you could almost call it separation anxiety – Hah. I just really want to enjoy them while they are young before they grow up and only visit once a month!

Losing my sister has also made me a super cautious parent. Not in everything, like I do not wrap my kid in cotton wool or anything but with certain things I am very cautious. One thing I am more cautious of is doctors. Do not get me wrong doctors are amazing but they make mistakes too, they are only human. The downfall for them is their mistakes can effect a life and that’s such a big role to take on – so honestly big ups to them. However, I will always follow my gut instinct as a mother and if I do not feel like something is ever right I will push and push until I feel satisfied. Sleeping is another thing I am super cautious of, I never thought I would be that person but I am. Thank god for the Angelcare movement monitor! It has been a lifesaver and helped me sleep much easier. I do not think it’s a bad thing being a cautious parent especially in this world, but I do try to not let it take over!

Over all these things, the one thing I love is that it has taught me to really appreciate my children. From the good times to the bad times, I try and find the good in it all. We all know how hard it can be but I find taking a step back and remembering I made this little human and she is going to grow up so loved by everyone around her. When she was born the mother in me was also born and the crucial life lessons I have learnt leading up to her arrival have all made me become the best mum I can be. But most of all watching my little sister fight her journey has made me into the women and mum I am today.

Jackson Jae, nine whole years without you and it has never got easier. This last year has been one of the most testing. Not having you here to meet your first niece has been hard. You would have been an amazing aunty and I have no doubt you would have visited every other day. You would be nearly 17 years old and I truly believe these would have been our years; our years of finally being at a good age where we would have also been best friends. Although you may not be here, your memory is still truly alive. My children will always know who Aunty Jackson is and I will make sure they are a part of keeping your spirit so alive and around in our everyday lives. I miss you more than words can express and I love you to heaven and back a million times.

I hope that this blog has been somewhat helpful for anyone who has also lost someone special or I hope that this has been a bit of insight if you ever wondered how or if this would affect you as a mum. Sorry if it got a bit long but I could have went on even more!

If you know of anyone going through a similar situation don’t hesitate to email me below as my mum has written a book about Jackson’s Journey in the hopes to help other parents going through what she did.

Lace xxxx

THE FIRST 24 HOURS

Well done, you did it! You made it through the long 9 months of pregnancy and your little bundle of joy is here! You have undergone labour, whether it be natural or caesarean, you did it and now comes the fun, and to be honest sometimes the hard times.

I am not sure if it was just me or if it happens to everyone but in that first 24 hours, I was running on some serious adrenaline! I woke up at 9am on Sunday the 11th of September, had Harlee-Jae at 2.12am on the 12th of September, and did not sleep at all in between that. Once she was born the relief was unreal hah but if you have not read my labour story you can read about it Here.

I couldn’t believe how fast time flew by after I had her. I kind of just laid on the bed and came back to the realisation I had just had a baby. It is all kind of a blur but I laid on the bed for what must have been sometime just admiring this perfect little girl. I remember Mum and the midwife taking her for a bit to dress her and give her a good little check over. Then she came back by me and we were all just having cuddles, photos, and all that fun stuff. Before I knew it, it was 4.30am! Our bags were gathered together, my mum and co were off home for some much needed sleep, Harlee and I were popped in an ambulance and Ben followed behind to Taranaki Base Hospital. By the time we had done all of this we arrived to the Maternity in New Plymouth around 6am – Still with no sleep!

It was just Ben, Harlee and I, I was completely overwhelmed with what to do with my little girl. She was so tiny and fragile.  I was not ready to put her down. One of the nurses at maternity encouraged I should put her down for a sleep, so I did but she just screamed leaving me thinking what the heck do I do now? Until the nurse came back and put her back in bed with me (as I wasn’t allowed out of bed because I had haemorrhaged). She put the side of the bed up and told me to try and get some rest. Only problem was ahhhh I thought I am not meant to sleep with my baby? However, being a first time mum and having no clue I just said okay because I was too scared to bring this up with a well-trained nurse.

Ben had managed to pull two very uncomfortable seats together and somehow curl himself up and fall asleep. He totally deserved it considering he had only probably had half an hours’ worth of sleep in the last 24 hours and had a pretty hectic day at work before she made her entrance to the world!

I think I managed to get maybe half an hour to an hours’ worth of sleep. Not only was I scared about sleeping with my baby – which I would be a lot more comfortable to do second time round in a safe way, now that I know what I know. She would also make funny noises and I was like what the f**k is that? No one told me newborns were so noisy! Then I would be questioning things like when am I meant to feed her? Or when am I meant to change her bum? I was honestly so clueless, it is crazy how clueless you go into this situation but you quickly become a pro!

So after little sleep, I decided I wasn’t really tired anyway – jokes, my body was probably actually exhausted but like I said you run off some crazy amount of adrenaline! My partner and I used this precious time to enjoy our daughter with just the three of us. We were completely smitten with our precious little bundle but we were both as clueless as each other, we totally winged it and it turned out fine so hey, don’t stress too much if you are a clueless first time parent because you will get there!

Finally I was allowed out of bed! It must have been around 10am and I decided I wanted to go for a shower. No one really tells you about the first shower but I will! I made my way over and in the shower I hopped. First thought, holey crap that’s a lot of blood! It is like getting that whole nine months of missed periods in one go! Seriously invest in some good surfboard, king sized mattress like pads hah. Second thought was, who knew your vag could become so swollen!? Like, seriously it almost felt like that thing was hanging down… Obviously it wasn’t hah! However, I felt like I had to be sooooo gentle after what the poor thing had just endured. Third thing I thought, which isn’t really gross I just didn’t expect it was, my tummy! It was pretty strange carrying a basketball like tummy around and then it kind of deflates into this deflated floppy basketball – Hah! Considering I had some new knowledge that I found pretty gross after labour, I automatically felt 100 times better just from being freshly showered!

We had been transferred to Taranaki Base Hospital because of the haemorrhage but at around 11am on the 12th they let us head back to Hawera Maternity. I was so happy about this. Hawera is a smaller and nicer environment and my family were all just two minutes away. At Taranaki Base I felt less important and kind of a pain. I felt I was just another number and annoying. The rooms were also tiny there and it was all communal bathrooms where as in Hawera you get a nice big room with your own bathroom! All might sound a bit stupid as people in big cities would deal with maternities similar to Taranaki Base on a regular basis but being from a small town and knowing the difference made me want to be in what I think is the better facility!

Our bags were packed, our little girl was in her capsule and we were ready to leave as our new family of three. As the clueless, new parents we were, we went to put the capsule in and realised we had never tried it before. We got it obviously but it took us awhile to make sure we had it right because safety-first people! So as some advice from me to you, make sure you do try your capsule or car seat out before your baby comes, hah!!

Eventually we were on our way! Obviously had to have a must have stop at good ol McDonalds! I was starving and not a fan of the hospital food!

We finally arrived back to Hawera where most of our family were waiting with anticipation to see or meet our little girl! Before Harlee-Jae was born, we made the rule we would only have our parents and grandparents meet her on the first day, and I am so glad we did this! I was running on adrenaline but I was exhausted and still learning about my little girl. Do not feel pressured to have everyone come on the first day because your little baby is not going anywhere and there is plenty of time for everyone to meet him or her! I felt that the truth of the matter is that if they really care about you, they will not be hurt or offended by your choices.

The day flew by and before I knew it night time had come. It must have been around 8pm when all our family had left and it was just the three of us again. I was sooooo tired all of a sudden. So Ben left around 9.30pm. I think because I was so tired, I didn’t have a chance to worry about the first night alone with her. I think I also felt good because my midwife was the one who was on duty so I was completely comfortable to go to her if I had any problems. Ben left and I was putting Harlee down and as I put her down, my midwife came in and offered to take her for a few hours so I could get some sleep. Best thing ever!  I really did have a good catch up sleep and Harlee was very well behaved and slept the whole time too. She brought her back in for a feed at some stage in the early hours then we both went back to sleep. Our first night really wasn’t too bad!

So that is a rundown of the first 24 hours after labour! It’s a whole new life of meeting your baby and becoming the mother you are going to be! I am lucky to have had a reasonably good experience in my first 24 hours as I know some people aren’t so lucky! Hope this has given you a slight insight of what you may or may not expect after birth. Feel free to email in the contact box below if you have any questions or anything!

Lace xxx

About me – First blog

Welcome to the start of my blog! My name is Lacey, mostly known as Lace and I come from little old Taranaki, New Zealand.

Welcome to the start of my blog! My name is Lacey, mostly known as Lace and I come from little old Taranaki, New Zealand. Before becoming a full-time mum I spent my days as a Beauty Therapist. I loved this job but nothing quite compares to being a mum! I’m a straight up person who doesn’t care what others think so be prepared for very real and honest views. I must tell you english wasn’t one of my strong points in school so bare with the bad grammar… sorry mum. 😛

I’m the mother of a beautiful baby girl – Harlee-Jae who is currently 8 months old. I’m also pregnant with little babe number two who is due on September 22nd, 10 days after Harlee-Jae turns one! I know what you’re thinking – shes crazy! Yes I am but hey we just roll with whatever life throws at us.

I thought why not take you all on this wild journey with us with the hopes of helping other awesome mamas out there! Life is hard as mum – we are constantly judged on our choices, have many ‘standards’ to live up too all while being perfect. I believe every mum is different and it truly does take a village to raise a child. I’ll be sharing my honest take on being a young mother with the good and the bad and my tips and tricks that I’ve learnt along the way.

If I can help even one mum with my blog posts, then i’ll be happy. Enjoy this crazy ride with me and take it all in. This is just a short and sweet taster of whats to come as I don’t want to give it all away! I hope you all enjoy what I have to share with you and feel free to ever message me via facebook or email if you have any personal questions!

Lace xxx