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"We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they have all learned to live together in the same box!"

Thursday, 23 January 2014


I am not good at new years resolutions (who is???) and no matter how many Cosmo articles I read on "how to keep those resolutions!" I inevitably don't...

So what I rather want to do is a theme for the year. And this year is contentment.

Something I really struggle with... Don't get me wrong this doesn't mean just giving up and not putting any effort in (slob here we come). Rather it is about being Content in myself, my situation, my timing, MYSELF. My first step in my contentment journey is trying to understand what it really means. when I have some real insights I will let you know.

One thing I do think is that contentment and gratitude are closely linked... so I will be trying to be overtly grateful (even when I dont feel like it). Would be cool to hear anyones thoughts on contentment and what works for you....

To kick it off.
Today I am grateful for:
An evening spent chatting and hanging out with my handsome hubby
Delighted giggles from Lucie Palukie when he teases me
Lunch with Juliana where we could have talked for another 3 hours
Other moms and knowing I am not alone, crazy, over- protective or over- the top
A new morning and watching the sun rise

Monday, 20 January 2014

Falling in love...

This is a cool music video about falling in love with different, unapproved people: Music video
Enjoy it :).

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

I am a very privileged mother of three beautiful children. So when it comes to birth stories, I can surely join in the conversation. My first two children, Ruben and Adam were both born in Ireland. On both occasions it was a natural delivery without any complications, other than me thinking that I’m going to die, especially with the first delivery, for with the second you know that you are going to make it J.  However the story I want to share is the delivery of my third baby.

We were positive that we were not going to have any more children after having our two boys. I felt like a ‘boy mommy’ and we were very content. However, God had other plans for us. Finding out that we were expecting a third baby came as a shock. We couldn’t even talk about it to each other or anybody else for the first three months, but gradually got use to the idea. The first three months of my pregnancy was a stressful time with me trying to finish of my Master’s degree, moving house etc. I was so unsure about having another baby and had so many worries, being an ‘older mom’ now. I kept
praying for God’s will to be done.

Like all my previous pregnancies, everything went very well. I did not even experience any nausea. However, at 34 weeks I experienced severe contractions and was placed on bed rest for a week. This was a huge turning point for me. The possibility of almost losing my baby made me realized how much I wanted it.
At 38 weeks into gustation my water broke during the night. Seeing that I had an appointment with my doctor the next morning, I decided to wait for the contractions to start, but it did not. I went to my doctor’s appointment at 9:30am with my husband and hospital bags for in-case. My doctor was visibly upset with me for not going to the hospital as my water broke during the night. He informed me that I must proceed to the delivery room for an induced labour. After about 6 hours things was not progressing well. At 4:00pm the doctor broke my water again, for the original tear was sealed by the downward pressure of my baby’s head.

Everything kicked into action then. I had very little time between contractions and made use of entonox gas for pain relieve while rocking on a birthing ball. My husband was with me from 4:00pm onwards, after making arrangements for our boys for the evening. He was very calm and relaxed, having been through this with me two times before. My doctor came to see me at 6:00pm. He established that I was 4cm dilated and predicted that my baby will be delivered at 10:00pm.

I was feeling desperate at this news and couldn’t fathom being in such pain for another 4 hours. I informed my doctor that I went from 2-10cm in an hour during the delivery of my first baby and that was without being induced. I suggested that my baby’s arrival might be much sooner and commented that I couldn’t possibly ‘hang in there’ until 10:00pm as predicted. The doctor said that we’ll see and advised me to start walking to help things along, something I couldn’t contemplate at the time. The doctor left for home, saying he will be back at around 10:00pm.

At this point I seriously considered having an epidural. I told my husband that I’m just not strong enough to do this again like the previous two times, without an epidural. He called the midwife so I could discuss this with her. Once I enquired about the pros and cons of this procedure, I decided against it once more. Feeling rather desperate and a bit unable to think straight (effect of the gas), I decided to walk a bit. I felt an urge to go to the bathroom. I sat down on the toilet to rest and then the urgency to push took hold of me. As I started to push I called for the midwife, announcing that my baby is coming.  Out of habit I locked the door as I entered the bathroom. Hearing her at the door I got up to unlock and at that moment my baby started to drop downwards.

I have difficulty recalling the exact progression of events after this. I just remembered seeing the midwife sitting on the floor next to me holding my grey/blue baby. I kept looking at my baby’s little face, seeing how she is struggling to remain conscious, passing out a couple of times. I kept asking if my baby is okay and was reassured by the midwife. This all happened during a change of shift, so there were two midwifes present to assist with the baby, clamping and cutting the cord etc. I thank God for his perfect timing.

My baby was taken out of the room while I delivered the placenta. When I emerged from the bathroom, my husband was holding our baby, all wrapped up in blankets. He assured me that our baby was okay. Everything happened so fast with no big announcements at the end (it’s a boy/girl!). Although we had an idea about the baby’s gender from viewing the scans, it was not confirmed/real. We quickly opened the blankets to take a peak. Our little baby girl had arrived at 6:35pm! We named her Isobella, meaning consecrated to God/God’s promise. She was checked out by the pediatrician and scored a 9/10 Apgar. Thank God for this miracle and for his divine protection. She was placed on my chest and started feeding right away like a little trooper. Afterwards she spend a couple of hours in an incubator to warm up.
I’m not sure when the doctor arrived, but I got the all clear from a flustered, rather embarrassed doc. J

We thank God ever since for our little miracle and for his divine intervention. May we be the best parents to her and our boys with God’s guidance.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Sonja's birth story

I am a mother of three beautiful children.

But I am not a birth mum.

I never experienced my body change due to pregnancy, I never carried life within me, I skipped the nausea, the swollen feet, the many doctor’s appointments and the midnight cravings.

I became a mother through adoption.

As with birth stories, every adoption story is unique. We adopted our first child 7 years ago. This is her 'birth' story.

It all started with a period of mourning. I had to acknowledge the loss of never going to have biological children. I mourned this loss, good and hard! I did the work and then when I was done, I was free to move on.

Step two was to find an adoption agency and set the ball rolling. Sadly in South Africa the adoption process is often marred with tons of red tape, over worked, unprofessional or misinformed social workers and a fair amount of prejudice  within the system, which can leave potential adoptive parents feeling discouraged, powerless and unsupported.

So although our adoption process was long, laborious and invasive we still consider ourselves as some of the lucky ones in that our adoption didn't drag on for years and was not hindered by bureaucracy and grave incompetance. It was however filled with many hours of probing questions into every inch of our pasts and present and not to mention the long list of paper work we had to get done.

Although the thought of our own little bundle thrilled us there were times when the process nearly got the better of me. One of our sessions with our social worker consisted of the following questions: ' Would you be open to adopting a child with physical disabillities? An abandoned baby? Would you consider a baby who's birth mom was raped? The baby of a drug addict? How about adopting a baby who has a history of mental illness in her family?” As adoptive parents you come face to face with some of the really harsh realities of the world we live in, long before you ever get to hold your baby. 

And then, eventually after 7 months our application was done and the waiting process started.

It really took a fair amount of faith to wait for this unknown baby. To choose a name for this unknown baby. Prepare a room for her. To pray for her. An unknown baby from a stranger who we would never know, but to whom we would be forever connected. There are so many unknowns when adopting, so many “ifs”, so many questions, doubts and fears. An overwhelming degree of the adoption process is out of your control and you just have to trust.

The time of waiting for an adopted baby is often compared to a pregnancy by social workers. But there was obviously no external signs that we were preparing to receive a baby. No bump. As a result people didn't speak to me about our 'coming' baby as often as when a growing bump is present. It was quite a long and lonely 'pregnancy'.

In order to keep myself sane while waiting, I took a part time job and prepared a baby room. Just as a pregnant woman gathers information about her pregnancy, an adoptive mother gathers information about the adoption process, and about her child’s upcoming transition into the family. When adopting you usually don’t know when your baby will come home or how old your baby will be and so shopping for clothes or nappies and even toys is just not practical. You just have to wait.

Then o
ne Friday morning the phone rang. Our social worker, sounding as formal as always, informed me that she has matched us with a baby. The wait was finally over. Now I knew that our little girl was nearly 7 months old and we could finalise the shopping list and announce the long expected and wonderful news! It is a mad rush to get everything ready, a wonderfully sweet rush!

The following week, we flew to Durban to meet our precious little one. As she is placed in my arms the long wait becomes a distant memory. It is done. Our daughter. At last. The next morning we make a quick court visit and then we bring our prefect little girl home....forever.

The wonder of adoption is truly that this little person I have never met before is instantly connected to me. It is really difficult to put into words, but it is as if your heart just opens and receives this precious gift, no questions asked.  I 100% accept and embrace her as my daughter. I suspect this is pretty much the same with a birth mom and baby.

Having said that, bonding with your adopted baby does take time. My children were respectively 7 , 4 and 6½ months old when they came home. For those birth moms out there you know that by the time your baby is 4, 6, or 7 months old you are already be very well acquainted with their cry, expressions and gestures. You have seen their first smile and heard their little giggles. You would know your baby's body well and baby would be familiar with your touch. When an adopted baby comes home all is new and the journey from 'strangers' to mom and baby that unfolds, is beautiful, often scary and in many ways so sacred to me.

All relationships take work and attachments take time to form. A baby spends nine months getting to know the sound, scent, and rhythms of its birth mum. An adopted baby needs the same kind of close bonding time to feel safe and comfortable. When we adopted our third baby my 5 year old son asked me:” Mommy how will the baby know you are his mommy?” I loved the honesty of his question. I told him the baby would learn to know that I am his mommy as I care for and love him.

We don't all become mothers in the same way. Our birth stories are unique.  Our journeys different. But at the end we all receive these amazing gifts, who change our lives forever! Its both wonderful and hard!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Nicki's birth story

Continuing with birth storys... Here is Nicki's birth story. Nicki is a physio who works at Wits University. I met Nicki through a moms group we both attended. Her daughter Morgan has already shared a kiss with Luc (Watch this space!)
For me my daughter's birth could not have gone better. She came at 39 weeks, and in quite a hurry! From when my waters broke to the time I had her in my arms was less than 7 hours, with actual painful labour only lasting about 3 hours. This may sound long to non-moms but in labour terms it was very quick... especially since one loses all sense of time in labour land :)
For the pregnancy I was under a midwife at Genesis and I found this to be a great experience... midwifery is probably one of the most underrated professions ever! Phindi, the midwife, was fantastic. I could phone her at any time with any of my pregnancy questions and when the show got on the road she was amazing. Thanks to her I was convinced that I could a) have natural birth, b) do it without an epidural. After I returned home with Morgan, she came and did a home visit which was also invaluable!
Although there were times during the labour that I felt that I couldn't go on, I felt that i was able to persevere because of the rapidity of the labour progression. It gave me hope knowing that it was soon going to be over :) Looking back I wonder if I would have been able to hold out on the epidural if the labour took longer...

I am very grateful for the experience of natural child birth and that I had the ability and opportunity to breastfeed up until 8 months. I feel that it is something that I have accomplished in my life and that has given me an extra girl guide badge :)
HOWEVER, having said that, I also feel that there is such pressure on mom's nowadays to have natural and to breastfeed that when the need for a Caesar or formula arises it throws the moms into a state of failure. This, combined with the cocktail of post-pregnancy hormones, can be quite disastrous and often takes moms one step closer to PND. 
When chatting with expectant friend's I am mindful that although I am in favour of the birth experience that I had, I explain that it cannot be everyone's reality and that at the end of the day so long as one has a healthy baba in one's arms then all is well!
Although I griped and complained along the way (and still do), I loved every minute of pregnancy, birth, newborn and onwards. Now as I begin to learn about the challenges and joys of being a mom to a toddler I look forward to (God willing) expanding my family and going through the journey again...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Our birth story

The other day (last year- scary thought) i was chatting to a friend who has a baby and we were just speaking about giving birth again and what an overwhelming, amazing, hectic, messy, beautiful, traumatic, mind- blowing experience it is. got me thinking... it would be cool to write our birth stories and share other peoples birth stories here. I have already asked a couple of friends and you'll read their awesome stuff soon but if you are keen to share your birth story i would absolutely love to hear from you and would love to publish it.

So to kick off... Here is our story. i deliberately want to make it ours because this is as much about Luc and Philippe as it is about me.
I had an ok pregnancy. only ok as we had 2 scares... first was at about 26 weeks my gynae picked up something strange on the sonar. she was worried it was an ectopic kidney (Of course philippe made many jokes about selling the kidney on the black market) but it was a stressful time. we saw the specialist who found nothing wrong (thank God... it was a miracle and we really give God the glory for holding Luc so tight even at this stage of his life). when i was about 32 weeks pregnant i went to durban for a conference (against the gynaes recommendations- SILLY) and starting bleeding while there. stressful but again nothing was wrong with our sweet boy.

At our 36 week check up the gynae noticed Luc wasnt putting on weight and my amniotic fluid was running out. i can remember clearly it was a thursday afternoon. we had planned to go to our antenatal classes after the appointment. the gynae said we needed to deliver luc soon or he would be at risk. it was so surreal... one moment we were having a baby in a month and the next moment we were having a baby on the monday. Because luc would be a bit early i had steroid injections for three days to grow his lungs.What was also so weird was that it really wasnt how i had planned and hoped to give birth... I wanted to have a natural birth without drugs as far as possible... also i had fully expected luc to be term and big... Not what happened at all but throughout our pregnancy Philippe and i had said that we would do what is best for the baby and we prayed that (a lot). And i am thankful to my gynae who picked up the issues and dealt with them professionally.

The weekend before Luc was born was a flurry of activity. i hadnt even sorted all my gifts from my baby shower which was the weekend before. i am so thankful to my mom and sis- in- law Fern who came, helped me sort, gave advice, shopped for last minute stuff and were a calming presence during that crazy weekend. and Philippe who also ran around doing last minute stuff like shopping, collecting the feeding chair and generally being excited (where i was quite terrified).

Monday morning philippe and i woke up early... so excited to meet our little guy (altho we didnt know yet he'd be a little guy). We checked in at the hospital and went up to the ward where they did all the prep stuff like dressing in those awful gowns, inserting drips and filling in 1 million forms... Waiting for our chance in theatre was hectic... alternating between terrified and excited.

Eventually it was our turn to go into theatre. Philippe looked super handsome in theatre scrubs.

they wheeled me into theatre first to do the spinal block and other fun things (like insert catheter- the thing i dreaded the most!) and once that was all done philippe came in and joined me. the staff were amazing. we had a great anaesthetist who talked us through everything and the nurses and our gynae and assistant joked and laughed with us through the whole process. it was a joyful, happy theatre. What was a lot of fun was not knowing the gender... the staff all took bets about whether it was a boy or girl.

Philippe stood by my head and held my hand during the caeser. He told me what he could see... When he saw our baby for the first time he said "he has an afro"!

As they took Luc out the anaesthetist lifted me up so i could watch... What a mind blowing experience... Seeing my baby boy for the first time.

After cutting the umbilical cord Luc was cleaned up and suctioned a bit to get all the gunk out his mouth and lungs but again what a miracle... Our baby boy was perfect! He was small- 2.3 kg but he was perfect!

What i found so strange was how long it took to sew me up... I think i had prepared myself or thought about the birth but not what happens after. While they sewed me up they put Luc into an incubator... 

But the most incredible moment was as they wheeled me out of theatre they put him on my chest....

That instant, incredible, over whelming love was so huge i thought i might burst. he lay on my chest making such funny little noises. I felt like i never ever wanted to let go of him again...

Having prepared myself for natural birth i hadnt done much reading on having a caeser and so didnt know what to expect. what i didnt anticipate was how much pain i would be in... I looked longingly at the ladies in my ward after natural birth that were walking around the same day and didnt look like they were riding a horse! but pain passes and my baby boy was fine which was the most important thing.

Giving birth is such a huge process and all the emotions, experiences, smells and feelings cant fully be appreciated until you have gone through it. And it is only the beginning of the incredible journey of parenthood... but the fact that it is so huge, overwhelming and mind blowing is a fitting beginning to parenthood.