Laybuy and Afterpay available on orders over $80

free shipping for purchases over $99

6 DIY screen ideas perfect for your wedding ceremony

Doors, windows, chicken netting and good old ply, there are so many ways to use screens on your wedding day, it is just a matter of how big your imagination is! Today I give you 6 relatively simple project ideas that can be made on the cheap or even borrowed if you know how to bat your eyelids! Enjoy xox

6 DIY screen ideas perfect for your wedding ceremony

Gorgeous, unique and a great way to add some serious romance to your big day, check out the tutorial for this painted transparent screen over at Ruffled Blog | Image by Pill Photography

6 DIY screen ideas perfect for your wedding ceremony

Very cool for a farm or barn wedding, this screen frame with chicken wire can be used as a backdrop, photo display or to pin seating cards | Found over at Heather Armstrong Photography

6 DIY screen ideas perfect for your wedding ceremony

Who would think simple sheets of wood or ply with brackets added would look so cool (of course the floral wreath is a must!) Found over at Southern Weddings | Image by The Nichols

6 DIY screen ideas perfect for your wedding ceremony

Old windows or french doors can be found (or possibly borrowed for a small fee) from wrecking yards and make a very cool ceremony backdrop. Found over at Beautiful Matters | Keepsake Journals Image by Brooke Courtney

6 DIY screen ideas perfect for your wedding ceremony

These old doors can be found anywhere from dumps to recycling centres and can be painted to suit your colour scheme if not quite right. Want that old antique look? Paint and sand, paint and sand! Found over at Burnetts Boards

Debbie Garland: First Time Pregnancy Advice and Surprises

I am SO happy to be able to introduce you to Debbie Garland, my oldest friend, from before I even knew what friends were!

Unbelievably, we are nearing our 30th year of friendship, having been introduced as babies living opposite each other in a quiet English cul-de-sac. As our Mums bonded over their adorable first-borns, and then later second-borns, and finally third-borns, Debbie and I caught butterflies, played dress-up, picked our flower gardens to bits to make perfumes, and mostly argued about who got to be “The Mum” in our games.

This year, we’ll hopefully be able to introduce our own babies, due just four months apart! I can’t believe we’re both this grown-up, and I can’t wait for our children to grow up knowing each other too.

I hope you find this article useful – Please have a look at made with love – pregnancy journal before you go xx

first-time-mother-pregnancy-advice
Debbie & I as babies

 

Do you remember the day you found out you were pregnant? How did you feel, and what was Steve’s reaction?

We found out on the evening of 21st May 2018. Steve and I got married in January 2018 and decided to start trying pretty quickly for a family.

After a few months of active trying (tracking ovulation, menstrual cycle etc), I was fully expecting the disappointment of my period arriving after a few days of feeling bloated with period-pain cramps. On that Monday evening, I had endured a rough day at work not feeling 100% myself and started to feel quite nauseous in the evening while at home. At about 9.30pm, sitting with Steve, the past few days of feeling rubbish (combined with a four day late period by this point!), instinctively made me silently walk to the bathroom and take a test.

Immediately those two lines appeared. I ran back into the lounge where Steve was, throwing this pregnancy test in his face while manically saying:”I knew I didn’t feel right, I knew there was something, I knew it, I knew it.”

Before getting too excited, we decided to drive to a supermarket and buy some of the digital tests. Sitting on our bathroom floor together, we ended up being surrounded by five tests overall, all saying the same thing – I was finally pregnant and 2-3 weeks along.

The next day Steve had to fly to Monaco for the week as part of his job, so in a way I am really pleased that something inside told me to test while he was at home as I don’t think I would have been able to stay as calm if I had seen a positive test by myself. It’s crazy to look back, especially when we were so desperate for a baby, to think about how shocked we were – it’s not like this was an unexpected consequence of our actions. However, nothing will ever prepare you for the moment those two lines appear.

 

first-time-mother-pregnancy-advice first-time-mother-pregnancy-advice

 

One tip Debbie gave me early on was to keep my pregnancy a secret as long as possible! I absolutely followed this advice, and didn’t announce mine until I was half-way, but I know Debbie was showing a bit earlier than me. You said people were guessing at around 13 weeks, what did they say? Who did you tell first, and did you ever “announce” your pregnancy to everyone else?

The following night after finding out, once Steve was on his way to the airport, I had a bit of a panic about everything and decided to drive to my mum’s house. I didn’t expect to come straight out with the news as soon as my mum, sister and brother answered the door but I needed some reassurance that everything was going to be ok. There were lots of tears and screams of excitement, which was the absolute reaction that I wanted from them.

I am a bit of a pessimist by nature, so from the off, it was easy to presume the worst was going to happen in this pregnancy, especially in the early days. For that reason, we decided to keep it super quiet.

Until 13 weeks, only my family and Steve’s parents knew about the baby. I turned 30 in July (the day after I hit 13 weeks) and Steve and my family had arranged a huge surprise party for me at my mum’s house. Lots of friends and family there so Steve and I decided to just use it as the perfect opportunity to announce. For us as a couple, we’re not big ‘social media’ users when it comes to our personal lives – probably inhibited by the fact we both work within social media in our jobs – so it was a no-brainer from the start that we weren’t going to announce the pregnancy on Instagram or Facebook.

I had just started to ‘show’ at this point too, so certain clothes were beginning to feel tight and show a bit of a tummy. I went to Budapest for a week with Steve while he was out there working (week 13-14 of pregnancy) but had to be super careful with pictures and his work colleagues, more so because my work still had no idea I was expecting.

Looking back, everyone was really excited for us. I had unexpectedly lost my dad in September 2017 which obviously just devastated my whole family, so the baby has given us all something really positive to look forward to after a tough few months.

 

How would you describe your pregnancy? Have you been you unwell, tired, anxious and nervous about the future or just excited?

Answering this question at 38 weeks exactly into my pregnancy, I have to honestly say that I am not ready to lose my bump just yet! I feel I have blinked from that night back in May and am now so close to the end point. I didn’t have any physical sickness in the beginning, I just felt hungover. That’s the best way to describe it – when all you crave is beige food and sugary drinks. I was a massive tea drinker prior to pregnancy though and this was the first thing to turn my stomach. I don’t think I braved a cup of tea again until after about 25 weeks.

I started reading about pregnancy and what to expect from the start and this definitely helped me know what to expect week on week with my body, as well as my emotions.

 

first time pregnancy advice pregnancy journal

 

What has the hardest thing been about being pregnant, what do you enjoy?

Tiredness was a struggle in the first and last trimester. Biggest gripe in the last trimester has definitely been the heartburn and the constant need to pee! But I have absolutely loved being pregnant. I love my changing body and looking at how it has evolved over the last nine months to grow and nurture a whole human being. It blows my mind what women are capable of.

I have also loved ‘dressing’ my bump. I haven’t worn a waistband in over six months (thank the Lord for maternity jeans and leggings!) and due to being pregnant over the majority of winter here, it’s been big comfy jumpers all the way! But I am really proud of my body and I have never taken this pregnancy for granted so want to embrace it all because I don’t know if I will have another baby – no one does.

 

Like us, you decided not to find out the baby’s gender, was that a hard decision, or why did you make it?

Steve and I had already discussed this for years and were both on the same page with regards to not wanting to find out the gender. We are quite traditional in that sense and for us, it wouldn’t change anything if we knew whether the baby was a boy or a girl – that knowledge is going to make us no more ‘prepared’ for their arrival.

 

Along the way you said you thought it would be a girl, and Steve thought a boy – have your guesses changed?

As my bump has grown, I have had so many people in the past few weeks tell me they think I am having a boy. Steve had actually changed to a girl and I think people’s opinions have started to sway me to a boy. In that delivery room, when the baby is handed to us, and Steve says “we have a daughter”, I won’t be shocked. If it’s a boy, I genuinely think I will be.

The baby is a total wriggler, who hates being touched (can’t even use my bump to lean cereal bowls/mugs on as the kid just kicks or wriggles them off), so my instincts tell me that I have a very stubborn, independent girl in there… not sure who they get those personality traits from!

 

Has anything surprised you about being pregnant?

Just how much I would enjoy it and how quickly the nine months go. I married a truly phenomenal man too who is also bowled over by what my body has been doing to grow our child, so the whole experience has definitely brought us so much closer as a couple, as well as a team.

 

first-time-mother-pregnancy-advice

 

Have you been flooded with advice already? What would you pass on?

The only advice I have truly taken on board has come from the baby classes Steve and I attended. We decided to pay for private classes in the UK (known as NCT) upon recommendation from friends and it was the best decision. I came away after the eight week sessions feeling so much more confident about the birthing and parenting experience, as well as the choices I have as a woman and a mother when it comes to my body and my child. We are one of the last of our friends to have children, but the majority of advice that has come from them has been to make sure Steve and I keep time for ourselves.

Advice that I am taking on board:

  • Make your partner/husband pack your hospital bag (with your supervision) as he will be the one going in and out of it while you’re in labour and needs to know where everything is quickly.
  • You, as a woman and mother, know what is best for your body and your child. Don’t let the authority of a hospital environment make you endure an invasive ‘cervical sweep’ if you go overdue, especially if you would prefer to hold off for 24 hours and spend it eating vindaloos, getting the oxytocin flowing by spending time with your partner, bouncing on your birthing ball and drinking raspberry leaf tea.
  • Remember you and your partner/husband are the ‘OG’ team here. You just have a new team mate who has joined. Always make time for each other when you can, even if it is a quick three minute kiss and cuddle in the kitchen while the kettle boils to heat up the baby’s bottles!
  • Stay in the ‘baby bubble’ for as long as you can. Steve is taking three weeks paternity leave from work when the baby arrives, so we have decided to keep visitors in this time just to our immediate family. Once Steve goes back to work, that’s when I want my friends coming over, because that’s when I will need help to load the dishwasher, put the washing on, grab me bread and milk from the shop. While I have Steve at home, I want that time to be us bonding as a new family of three and to be honest, I won’t need help then. Ten hours a day alone with a newborn is a totally different story when he heads back to work…

 

How are you feeling now that baby is so low, and almost ready to come?

Definitely nervous but also really excited. I change how I feel about it daily. But I know that D-day is getting closer so hopefully it falls on an excited one. Steve is so excited but I know I have the hurdle of labour to overcome before meeting the baby. I also have no idea how I will know that labour has actually started. Although friends have told me that you definitely know!

 

What is your birth plan?

I don’t really have a ‘plan’, more preferences based on the type of birth I end up having – natural, assisted or caesarean. Key areas for me are:

  • Optimal cord clamping
  • Skin on skin as soon as possible after birth
  • Breastfeeding assistance
  • Midwife assisted delivery (to support my pushing to prevent too much damage ‘down there’)
  • In the case of an emergency c-section (I have a general anesthetic), Steve to have skin on skin with baby while I come around

 

What advice would you give to someone about pregnancy and birth?

Embrace it if you can. It’s really easy for me to say that because in the grand scheme of things, my pregnancy has been an absolute breeze and I have known friends who have been vomiting the entire nine months. But no woman truly ever knows if they will have more children, regardless of whether you want a big family or not.

I bought a pregnancy journal at the start and have been recording my journey, along with taking a Polaroid picture every week since 12 weeks pregnant. Baby isn’t even here yet but looking back on how tiny I was (when I thought I was huge) to my bump now is just lovely. And I know I will treasure the journal forever, as it has all my feelings about becoming a mum written down, and is something I can’t wait to share with my baby when they’re older.

 

If you could say anything to your baby right now, what would it be?

Right this second (with my stomach rock solid as I have been having constant Braxton Hicks for the past 24 hours!):

“Please don’t hurt me too much during your arrival!”

But seriously, just for them to know how much they are wanted and loved. They are joining two of the most supportive and loving families in the world and they couldn’t be luckier. They have no idea how much they have already changed our lives and I can’t wait to meet them in person so very soon.

 

Big kisses to you, Blair and bump xxx

Best Pregnancy Gifts for the Newly Expecting

Growing a baby can be an exhausting, overwhelming and even thankless task, so when a friend announces she’s pregnant, we all want to spoil her. While it’s easiest, and often cutest gifts for a pregnant woman are for baby, it’s less often an expectant mother gets any gifts to spoil just her during her pregnancy. Here are some ideas on the best gifts for pregnant women, so you can spoil an expectant mother.

1. pregnancy pillow

I cannot stress enough the importance of sleep in pregnancy – both for expectant Mum and baby. Unfortunately, for many women, sleep can be near impossible when there is a bump getting in the way of finding a comfortable position, especially from the second trimester onwards. Pregnancy pillows are designed to give pregnant women comfort and support, as well as encourage sleeping on your side, which is best for the baby and Mum – easing back pain and giving extra support to the growing belly.

There are many different types of pregnancy pillows, dependent on how a person sleeps. If you are looking to gift a pregnancy pillow, you could read The Best Pregnancy Pillows to Ease You Through Every Trimester for what pillow would be the most suitable.

I was completely obsessed with my Growbright body pillow – they do also have a knee pillow and other maternity pillows – and if you use ‘meg15’ as a discount code you will receive 15% off. The body pillow is perfect for women to sleep on their side. The perks of this pillow is that it also replaces your head pillow and gives you something to cuddle at night- especially if your partner is away regularly (like mine).

2. pregnancy massage

When carrying an extra 10-20 kgs, there’s no doubt that an expectant mother’s body is going to be under a lot of stress, causing all sorts of body aches and pains. This is why a pregnancy massage is perfect, as well as forcing the mama-to-be to have some much needed pampering before the baby arrives.

There are so many benefits of a pregnancy massage. Not only does it ease body aches and pains, especially around the lower back, hips and legs, but it also relaxes the body, helping with mental and physical fatigue. Other benefits include reducing swelling, increasing blood circulation, as well as preparing the body for labour.

Not only will the mama-to-be love this gift, but so will their partner – being a relieved of their duties of foot and back rubs for at least a few days 😉

BEST-pregnancy-gifts-pregnant-women-expectant-mums

3. pregnancy journal

A pregnancy journal to document her entire pregnancy journey, from pre-conception to post-natal care, made with love – the perfect gift for an expectant mother, or a friend who’s trying to conceive. While baby books focus on the new arrival, made with love is focussed on the new mama herself, encouraging self-care, reflection and relaxation,

Made with love contains a weekly journal for pregnant women to track their journey, pages to record each scan and milestone, as well as sections for partner’s notes, where they too get to document their journey to becoming a new parent.

Journals are invaluable gifts. Not only do they last forever and make a beautiful keepsake, but contain memories to be passed down through families to look back on. Made with love can be also be helpful to look back on for future pregnancies. (Aus site)

4. maternity pants

Of course, one of the biggest changes a Mum to be goes through is her growing bump. Some women will begin to change shape almost immediately, but even those who remain the same size for a long time will find that pressure on their lower abdomen is uncomfortable – compression activewear is definitely out.

I’ve worn a lot of different maternity pants over my two pregnancies (and also stretched out a few of my non-maternity ones!) and can honestly say the best are Lorna Jane maternity. I bought the pants during my first pregnancy, and have started working with them this year, so can now offer you 20% off with MEG20 (sitewide). Although I also have discount codes for Aim’n and other activewear brands which make maternity pants, the Lorna Jane ones are the only ones I consistently recommend for baby bumps.

5. New underwear for growing boobs (and tum, bum and thighs…)

It’s hard enough not fitting any of your pre-pregnancy clothes, without having your underwires and elastics digging into your growing body during pregnancy. However, many pregnant women will put off buying new underwear, when there is already so much else on their plate. A voucher for new underwear would be an incredible gift for an expectant mother, as it is something nice they can choose for themselves without having to stress about breaking the bank- let’s be honest, nice bras and underwear can become expensive. 

Knickers or boy-shorts with wide bands are perfect for pregnant women as they give extra support and comfort. Calvin Klein offers the most comfortable I’ve tried, comfortable, practical and offer a variety of styles, shapes and colours.

Bras are just as important, if not more. Trying to squeeze your newly found pregnancy boobs into your old bra is not comfortable AT ALL. While it might be too early to start wearing maternity styles, stretchy bras without underwire are an excellent choice, and wearing them to bed can help to prevent sagging and stretch-marks, as breasts grow.

It is all-too-common for pregnant women to start to feel unsexy. New bras and underwear could help change this. Vouchers are perfect as it means the pregnant mama-to-be can pick out the style herself, as well as be properly measured.

packed hospital bag

getting a bag ready to take to hospital can be a stressful job for a mother-to-be, especially when baby brain is involved and there are so many other things to stress about.

Starting a packed hospital bag with the essentials is the perfect gift for a pregnant friend.

Important essentials include:

  • toothbrush
  • hairbrush
  • hair ties
  • maternity pads
  • socks
  • underwear
  • deodorant
  • body wash
  • shampoo/conditioner
  • breast-pads
  • lip-balm
  • tissues
  • face wipes
  • nipple cream

These are essentials that the mama-to-be may forget to include, especially when they are making sure they have all the essentials for a newborn baby. It also means that the expectant mother can add anything personal that she would like to have at the hospital during birth.

Best Gifts for Pregnant Women - Spoil an Expectant Mother

As a mama-to-be or experienced Mum, what else would you love to be spoiled with – leave us your suggestions!

Wedding Predictions for 2022 and beyond…

2022 doesn’t just herald a new year, but will see a continued movement towards a whole new world of wedding ‘trends’.

While the past decade was dominated by aspirations for a ‘Pinterest’ wedding, punctuated by innovative (and fun) ways to use social media around the big day, weddings trends for 2020 and beyond are simple, sustainable and good for the environment, as well as your wedding budget.

The Wedding Trends on their way out (Bye, Felicia!)

As the couples getting married are changing, so too are the wedding trends they aspire to, and this decade’s arrival will see the departure of a whole host of ‘wedding trends’. So how have brides and grooms are planning, personalising, spending and celebrating weddings for the past 10 years, and how is that set to change?

As millenial couples question the reason behind wedding customs, it’s goodbye to the garter or bouquet-toss, classic wedding registries and traditional bridal party roles, but weddings (and wedding planning) will look different too. We’re not using Pinterest to plan our wedding as much, and we’re doing it ourselves rather than hiring wedding stylists – the simple, unpretentious (but perfectly organised) little white book wedding planner will do, thanks!

In 2010, the top 10 wedding trends included grand exits (fireworks!) photo-booths (complete with moustache props), themed engagement photo shoots, ‘classic’ white china registries, sending paper lanterns into the air (think of the environment!) and candy buffets (Pinterest-friendly, but mostly wasted).

By 2015, The Knot’s ‘What’s Hot’ included ‘Wild West’ style weddings, macrame, Go-Pro wedding videography and using apps to boss your bridesmaids around (no. thank. you.)

Don’t worry though, we are wisening up… food installations look great for the photos beforehand, but when there’s only half a wall of donuts left, and the flies are getting more of them than the guests, all you’ve done is wasted your precious wedding budget for a picture of a photo wall that you’ll never look at again anyway! Photo booths are cute, but most of your guests will forget to get snapping, and instead you’ll have 20 different sets of photos of the same three drunk couples who are going through the booth like it’s a Merry-go-round!

It might feel like there’s much more to lose than there is to love, and I could continue, but instead of dwelling on the decade past, let’s see what’s next…

New and Improved Wedding Traditions and Customs

Welcome to the new and improved way to get married! New wedding traditions are paving the way as the younger #millenial generation of couples merge cultural customs to personalise their ceremony and embrace their uniqueness and put their own creative spins on (or question the value in) long-standing wedding ‘must-haves’.

Gender Neutrality

In recent years, Australia legalised same-sex marriage, finally catching up with New Zealand, and as couples of any gender are now marrying on both sides of the Tasman, couples are embracing their friends of any gender in their bridal parties too. Alongside this inclusivity, bridal party attire must change too – with mixed bridal parties dressing to a common theme, rather than trying to look like clones.

A Single Wedding Dress (no need for outfit changes!)

On the subject of attire, while it’s become common for brides to make outfit changes throughout the day, wedding dress designers are getting smarter and making a single wedding dress do double duty. While two-piece outfits have allowed the transformation of the meringue into a sleek evening skirt, Kiwi designer Trish Peng has done one better, creating the world’s first reversible wedding dress collection in 11 versatile styles – a great move to cut down on waste, and money.

Sustainable, Eco-friendly Wedding Choices

Couples these days want a wedding that doesn’t “cost the earth” – literally. If you’re sprinkling confetti, it had better be biodegradeable, but that’s just the beginning. Wastefulness is out, sustainability and earth-friendly choices are in, from wedding favours to the gift registry. Even magazine giant The Knot agrees, telling Insider that “sustainability is top of the line” for 2020 couples.

Something green, something blue, something borrowed… something reused (read my eco-friendly wedding advice), this decade’s weddings will be much more sustainable, with couples cutting down on waste, and wasted budget.

How else to go zero waste? Instead of decor which expires, such as candles or flowers, hanging (reusable) lanterns, string lights, LED signs, or even chandeliers can be used for decor, and instead of a veil or tiara which you’ll probably only use once, wear a beautiful hair barrette or comb.

Choose Local

From the wedding venue to the farm-to-table catering, weddings are going to be pared back. As couples are marrying later, more of their friends have offspring, mortgages and even their own businesses to run, making intrepid travel for weddings less likely. The cost of attending a wedding has skyrocketed in recent years and travel costs are no small part of that, but future couples will be making more conscious (and emission-friendly) choices.

The same will apply to shopping, especially as both New Zealand and Australia are charging GST on all imported goods – so local businesses (like mine!) will benefit from this move too.

Quality over quantity

Today’s couples are getting smarter and more savvy – they’re a little bit older and wiser, they’re saving towards purchasing their first home, or paying off their mortgages, while wedding planning, and they simply can’t afford elaborate and ostentatious displays to celebrate their nuptials – nor do they want to.

While “pop up” weddings like Skinny Love are growing in popularity, more traditional weddings are shrinking in terms of guest numbers. Couples are still budgeting for around $30,000-$40,000 on the wedding but they are spending more wisely and choosing quality over quantity. We are spending more money on catering and entertainment, while cutting back on anything which is all style, no substance (charger plates are out, along with anything which serves a purely decorative purpose).

Personality

More and more, couples are having the confidence to be themselves, tying in elements of their love story and sharing their unique style.

Hand drawn invitations which incorporate something special to the couple, creative catering featuring the couples’ favourite foods, hand-written notes to friends as favours – every detail is an opportunity to infuse personal style and sentiment.

Unplugged

My favourite ‘trend’ of all (perhaps somewhat ironically given how much I share on social media, is that more and more, couples are asking people to put their phones away for the wedding, and even having unplugged honeymoons.

I can’t wait to see how you put your own spin on your wedding! I hope this article has inspired some of your choices, get planning in your little white book wedding planner today.

Two Complicated Births & Two Beautiful Boys: Courtney Purdom

Being the first among most of my friends to get pregnant, and without a sister who’s had children, having my sister-in-law Courtney (Mum of two boys!) to totally harass during my pregnancy has been amazing. Between texting when she started to feel her baby move, to asking about scars from her stitches (over dinner, with our husbands wide-eyed beside us), I’ve felt so lucky to be able to ask the tough questions.

As Courtney didn’t have the easiest labour with her first baby, and then had a small complication with her second, her experience has also encouraged me to work on my own birth-plan early on. I’m so excited for Courtney to be an Aunt to our baby, I know she’s going to be amazing!

complicated birth story epidural hospital birth two boys pregnancy journal

Courtney’s two babies, my nephews!

Do you remember the day you found out you were pregnant with your first?

I found out I was pregnant with my first baby at 6 weeks. I was so nervous but also excited, I knew that I wanted to become a Mum. I told my partner, Dad, Step-Mum, Nana and my Mum (and all my friends) and then announced to others after until my 13 week scan.

How would you describe your pregnancies?

My first pregnancy was interesting, as I had no idea what to expect. I was lucky not to be sick with either of my pregnancies, but I was very tired and hungry (those two did not go well together for me).

The hardest thing was waiting 9 months to meet him. I can be quite an anxious, even paranoid person, so it was a long 9 months – even though the technology to be able to see them was amazing. I was so excited to become a Mum.

I really loved feeling my sons move, it’s seriously the best feeling in the world.

I wasn’t as worried with my second, mainly because I was so busy with an eighteen month old. I was a lot more tired (for the obvious reasons) but it went so much faster as I was busy.

With each of your boys, who did you choose to be your lead maternity carer?

With my first pregnancy, I used the midwife team at my family GP. There was a team of about 5 and I met them all throughout my pregnancy. They were amazing, answering all of my questions and helping me when mum passed away. They were also very supportive during my birth – three of them attending.

For my second pregnancy, I used the hospital midwives because the services at my GP had been closed down. They were all lovely, but if I was to do it again I would not have picked them because it wasn’t a personal experience at all.

Though with my first pregnancy I didn’t have any complications, with my second I tested positive for Strep B at 35 weeks, meaning I had to have two lots of antibiotics when my waters broke and before I gave birth – because otherwise I could potentially pass it to him during the birth.

Did you have a birth plan? What are your memories of each of your boys’ births?

complicated birth story epidural hospital birth two boys pregnancy journal 4

Dallas

I had planned to attend birthing classes, but unfortunately when I was booked in for them, my Mum passed away, so I actually didn’t really have a birthing plan.

With my first baby, Dallas, I was 40 weeks and 3 days when I went into labour. I woke up at around 2am, and as I stood my waters broke, so I thought the contractions would be starting later that morning. However, by 9pm that night, absolutely nothing had happened, so I had to go into hospital for antibiotics (the amniotic sac protects the baby from potential infection).

Because my waters had been broken for so long, I had an epidural really early, so I actually didn’t feel my contractions whatsoever, and was able to sleep in the hospital. I woke up the next morning to some pressure, and they were able to see Dallas was really close.

The birth itself was actually quite stressful, in part because I didn’t know what to expect. The baby was distressed, so the hospital obstetrician, along with a paediatrician came in to deliver him – along with my three midwives, anaesthesiologist, as well as my partner and Step-Mum standing by.

I couldn’t feel a thing and I was really scared, and in the end I had to get a ventouse (vacuum) delivery, with Dallas arriving at 11.16am at 6 pounds 7 ounces. I felt quite lost and didn’t have a clue what I was doing – at this stage I should have been asking so many more questions, Dallas wouldn’t “latch” to breastfeed, I really didn’t get any help from anyone, and my partner wasn’t able to stay either.

Two days later my nipples were completely blistered from trying to breastfeed, I hated being a Mum and I couldn’t stop crying. At this point I decided to formula feed, because I really wanted to enjoy feeding and bonding with my baby. I know that I was frowned upon by people for doing so, but both of my sons are healthy, and I had to do what worked for myself and my family at the time.

new zealand pregnancy journal birth stories

Brooklyn

With my second birth to Brooklyn, two years later, I had a lot more idea of what to expect, but I still got incredibly nervous. Because I had tested positive for Strep B at my 35 week test, when my waters broke at 10pm and I went straight to the hospital for antibiotics. My labour started the day before his due date, and he was born right on time.

I dropped Dallas at my Dad’s on the way and actually felt really emotional, I started shaking and crying with nerves and the thought that he wouldn’t have all my attention anymore.

At the hospital, I had my first round of antibiotics and a little bit of pain with my early contractions, and a few hours later as my contractions became stronger and much more painful, I called for the midwife for some pain relief. I wasn’t yet in “established” labour, but I was in quite a lot of pain at 5cm dilated (which they could stretch to 8cm). I was able to have some panadol and nitrous oxide (gas) for pain relief, and was told I wouldn’t have long to go – but I said I still wanted an epidural.

As I was getting my epidural inserted, I actually felt the need to push and should have told them, I know I’m silly for not doing so, and because of having the epidural too late in the labour, it wasn’t very effective. It all happened very fast after that, in what felt like only 5 minutes of pushing, and I felt everything despite the epidural, and he was born at 6.11 am without any complications – though I had to get a few stitches, as I did with my first.

Honestly, I don’t remember the pain of either of them really – I knew that it hurt, but the labour was soon forgotten once I had my little baby to hold.

Do you feel like becoming a mother has changed you?

Becoming a mother has changed me 100%.

I am so much more affected by other people’s emotions, and so much more considerate of other people.

I am more mature and more loving… still just as paranoid if not worse. I also apologised to my Dad and Step-Mum for how I acted growing up because I have since realised that being a parent is so hard, and they only want the best for their children.

With two boys now, you’ve decided not to have any more babies, was that a hard decision?

The decision not to have any more babies hasn’t been a particularly hard one – though I’ve often thought about having another, I always return to saying “no more” (and so does my fiancé Jamie). My boys are at such a cool age where I can take them on adventures and do lots of really fun stuff.

Life with two boys is busy… and loud. They fight all the time but then they have moments where they play together and show so much empathy for each other – which makes up for the fighting.

new zealand pregnancy journal birth story new zealand pregnancy journal birth story

What advice would you give to someone about pregnancy and birth?

Stay off google! If you’re worried about something – talk to your midwife. Choosing your midwife is also a really important decision – find someone you are 100% comfortable with and ask as many questions as you can think of. No question is a silly question!

I wasn’t into exercise when I was pregnant but I do wish someone told me to exercise – I think the whole process would have been better mentally and physically if I had been fitter.