Tell us a little about you/your family.
Our family is the 3 of us. Mitch and I got married two years ago, and have been together for about six years.
Mitch is a professional sportsman and F45 owner, I am an ex primary school teacher and then I moved onto working at F45 before having a baby. Kobe is our daughter who is nine months old.
Mitch is a Kiwi. I’m half South African and half Italian, but I’ve lived in New Zealand my whole life so I identify as Kiwi too.
Journey to conceiving and pregnancy
Our journey to conceive was not a perfect one, we got pregnant just as Mitchell went overseas to play cricket, and then at 11 weeks pregnant we lost the baby. It was really difficult to deal with especially while apart – I was at home and I had a lot of support around me from family but he was far away from us. We were pretty confident that we would get pregnant again as it had happened so quickly, and thankfully when he was back in the country we did.
How was your pregnancy?
Our pregnancy with Kobe was pretty smooth sailing, I had the typical morning sickness in the beginning, and for the rest of my pregnancy I felt a lot better.
Did you find out the gender of your baby?
Mitch was really hoping for a boy but every single person said we were going to have a girl (and they were right!), and so because of that we had a really small gender reveal because I knew his reaction would be really raw and shocked! He was haha but that turned to excitement.
We cut a cake that we got from Bluebells, it was pink inside which was so exciting!
Did you practice hypnobirthing, read books, use apps or use a pregnancy journal?
I did a heap of research into hypnobirthing which I found out about through my sister. I really wanted to have a natural birth. I spent a lot of time doing readings, listening to affirmations, and just a huge amount of relaxation, stretching and yoga. Every day I tried to prepare my body to relax and feel at ease about birth and I think that really set me up for a good birth.
I made a birth video on Youtube explaining our birth story to share from start to finish. I went into labor at 35 weeks + 2 days which was a bit of a shock. It didn’t really phase me too much, I knew that in the hospital we were in good hands and that she was just ready to come.
I laboured at home for a little bit but since this was my first baby I wanted to check if everything waas progressing okay, so we went to the hospital in the middle of the night and stayed since she was prem to be safe. They broke my waters and progressed from there and didn’t need any assistance when she was born.
We never actually found out why she came early.
Recovery was really good. Being a natural birth, as soon as she was born I had skin-to-skin, showered and then I was up changing and rocking her which was amazing. Had a couple of stitches, but nothing too gnarly so I wasn’t into much pain.
How was the first week?
The first week of Kobe’s life we actually spent that whole week in hospital because she was small, and needed to put on enough weight. She was around 2kg when we went home.
Due to Covid it was pretty tough in the fact that they were really strict rules with who was allowed in and out. We were really lucky that they allowed my Mum to come and stay the night with me, and Mitch to come during the day. Normally it would have been just one person, but my mum is a lactation consultant so it was beneficial for the midwives there to actually have her to help me since they were so busy on the ward.
Mum and Mitch took shifts to help me. We would wake Kobe every 3 hours to feed, and my sister who was also breastfeeding at the time pumped milk for us so she was having her Aunty’s milk for the first few weeks plus my colostrum, until my milk properly came in which was so helpful!
Your little one
How did you choose your child’s name and does it have a meaning to you?
Her name is something that is really special to us. I came across the name Kobe through a friend and It just stuck with me. I loved it straight away and then as soon as I mentioned it to Mitch he it loved as well.
Strangely enough we were sitting in hospital a couple of days after she was born and something came up on Mitch’s phone and he was like oh my goodness it was Kobe Bryant‘s birthday when Kobe was born. So that’s not at all why we named her, but she was also born on the day that we got engaged on that day too, so meant to be!
Tell us about the first few weeks with your baby
As it was the first weeks of lockdown, the only person that was allowed to be here was my mum so she popped around every day and gave us so much help preparing meals and tidying up. She would come and stay the night for a little bit and then eventually got to the point where we were ready to see other people, but our family still weren’t allowed. It was quite heart-breaking that they only got to meet her when she was a month old. It was really nice in a way as we really just got to know Kobe and kind of settle into a new role as parents and figure it out together.
How did you find the fourth trimester?
I have a lot of babies in my family already so I knew quite a lot about the fourth trimester and I had done a bit of reading about it too so I was as prepared as you can be. I just surrendered to it, I didn’t fight anything – just followed her lead. If she wanted to be on me, she was on me. I spent maybe like a good maybe two months with her just basically attached to me every single day and night. It was a really, really exhausting time but I knew that it wasn’t going to be forever.
Must haves for a newborn baby
- Snacks and water! I used to prep my snacks before going to bed, so that I would had them ready for each feed.
- Netflix on my phone – those newborn baby feeds take a while, so I would always put Netflix on while I was feeding.
- Also lots of spare clean sheets ready to go! I got all our sheets clean and organised (both for her and for us) so that everything was ready to go when we needed it – there’s nothing better than to just jump into bed and not worry about laundry.
- I recommend having comfy pyjamas – especially button down. Peter Alexander do amazing ones!
- Facetime, since we were n lockdown this is how I stayed sane catching up with everyone.
- A co-sleeper bassinet next to the bed ended up being a very useful storage place for us in the end as she slept on me, so we hardly used it at all (for around a month when she was older) but she really liked the baby nest in the bed. When I was pregnant I thought it was dangerous to bed share, but it worked for us.
How has having children affected your relationship, what challenges has it brought?
It flips everything upside down! Our lives completely changed and our style of communicating with each other and dating had to completely change. It took us a while to adjust, and navigate tiredness/lack of sleep is really difficult.
We have both had to learn to take a step back, breathe and communicate. Mitch and I set aside time for ourselves too which is very important to us so we are able to do something like going to the gym or going to the shops or even just switching off for a moment. Taking turns is key, and also having time together.
Now that Kobe is a bit bigger, we book time in with the grandma’s hehe! That way we can go out for lunch or dinner, it’s so nice! I remember the first time we went out together by ourselves again (we missed Kobe) but it was also like a breath of relaxation and we also got to talk to each other properly.
What would your top 3-5 parenting tips be for a new parent?
- Don’t force any routine, surrender to the season that you’re in. Every baby is different and things will just find their place.
- Try not to stress if your hair is a mess or the house needs to be tidied. Live in the moment.
- Remind yourself to reach out for help when you need it. Having a village is so important!
- I set aside all her and my clothes the night before, and having everything ready to go for us really helps me, as well as trying to get organised with planning out my diary.
- For Mums, stop following instagram accounts that don’t make you feel good. Avoid comparing your journey to others. Have a social media account which is good for your mental health and body image!
What is the most helpful advice you can offer to other parents and what advice has someone passed down to you that you’ll always remember?
Staying outdoors and active is important to us – enjoying being outdoors and active as we are so surrounded by technology. When we were pregnant we talked about getting her used to being around people – getting her used to people (hard during Covid!) and now she’s the most sociable little thing.
If this has helped you, would you consider sharing your story to help others too? Please submit your details through this form. Whether your story is about trying to conceive, pregnancy, surrogacy, loss or parenthood, we would love to hear from you.