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Why Postpartum Rest is so Important | How to take care of YOU

In Chinese culture, women stay inside for a month after giving birth. Nobody comes in; nobody goes out. It’s called “confinement” or “sitting for the month” and to those used to more Western cultural approaches, it sounds unusual. However, we could really learn a lot from the practice of Postpartum rest that is practised by tens of millions of women every year in China.

Instinctively, we know that we should be resting, but in reality, most of us are much busier, more active and are putting more stress on ourselves, physically and mentally, than we should.

Why Postpartum Rest is so Important

Until 100 years ago, 10% of women died in childbirth, and the weeks following the birth were a risky time too. Now, within a few days of childbirth, especially with our second or subsequent child, we are often back to rushing around, getting up and down, in and out of a car, not to mention lifting our babies (and toddlers) all day.

Although we are no longer pregnant, our bodies are still going through immense change in the post-partum period.

I recently came across this information shared by Kelsi Ludvigsen – it’s eye-opening to say the least, and I encourage you to visit her page:

The average diameter of a placenta is 22cm/8.6 inches.

You could say that it’s the size of a side dinner plate, an average watermelon, paper plate or a soccer ball for reference. It’s also the size of the average placenta that we have just grown for 9 months. ⁠⁠

After we birth the placenta, we are left with a wound inside of our uterus where the placenta was attached. If we had this wound on the outside, say on our back or chest, EVERYONE would be telling us to rest and they would help us! 

Also, the placenta is an organ, that we just expelled from our body, if we had lost a kidney or an appendix, 40 days of recovering would be pretty minimal and probably unheard of. 

Our doctors and family would expect us to rest longer…. ⁠⁠
The wound site from the placenta is one of the main reasons for postpartum bleeding/lochia.

We lose about 1/10 of our blood supply from this open wound! So whether you had a c-section birth or vaginal, everyone has this bleeding wound. ⁠⁠

It takes on average 6 weeks for this wound to heal. And this is just an average, because it depends on how much we rest, the nourishment we receive from food and support. So mothers who receive less may take longer, and mothers who prepare and set themselves up may heal quicker. ⁠⁠

The longer the wound site is left open, the higher risk we have for infection and hemorrhage, even if you had a safe vaginal delivery or zero complications from birth. But because this is an internal aka hidden healing part of the postpartum recovery we don’t always take it seriously. And neither does our community. ⁠⁠

After birth we are hormonal, exhausted, emotionally vulnerable, learning to feed our baby AND our body is working hard to heal this huge wound. 

It’s a lot. Do yourself a favor and REST and ask for help!⁠⁠ If you are a partner or friend or family member, take this information in, SUPPORT is what they need.

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A post shared by Santa Barbara Birth Photos (@auriellephoto)

How to take care of YOU

  • Rest: Carrying your growing child for 9 months is hard on your body as it is and leaves you depleted, but labouring and then delivering a baby is exhausting. You probably didn’t get much sleep in the hospital or birthing unit, not to mention the first few nights wherever you were with your baby, so if you keep doing too much in the next few weeks, your body may suffer. Do as little as possible, rest while your baby sleeps. Do not do laundry, or cooking, or cleaning that you don’t have to do. This rest will help you recover.
  • Avoiding heavy lifting: If possible, avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby for the first couple of weeks. This is especially important if you’ve had a C-section delivery, because of your abdominal muscles, but equally necessary for vaginal delivery because of the aforementioned placenta wound. You also need to limit your stair climbing or opening your legs to get into the car – try to slide in while keeping your legs together.
  • Keeping baby’s care simple: Don’t add to your to-do list when it comes to your baby’s needs. Your baby doesn’t need a bath every day. Instead, use wet wipes to make sure your baby’s face, hands and genital area are cleaned daily.
  • Limiting visitors in the first few weeks: Although your friends will want to come and meet the baby, this may put pressure on you to host and even just be social, at times where you could be resting. You’ll be adjusting to your new life with your baby, as well as healing from your delivery. When you do have visitors, try not to stress over the house being tidy, or your hair being clean. Leave piles of laundry all over the house – the best friends will do it for you.

Being aware of Post-partum Depression

Just by being aware of the mental health risks to new Mums, you can help protect yourself – by knowing when to ask for help.

There are three types of childbirth-related depression:

  • Postnatal or maternity blues are very common. A new parent feels down and tearful in the week after her baby is born. This feeling passes after a few days.
  • Postnatal depression, a more serious condition, is also common. The person becomes seriously depressed in the first months following the baby’s birth. It can occur any time during the baby’s first year. 
  • Postnatal psychosis (sometimes called post partum psychosis) is rare and involves symptoms of psychosis (being out of touch with reality) as well as changes in mood – either a depressed or an extremely high mood. It usually begins in the first two weeks after the child is born. It can be managed well – particularly if help is sought early.

People who have never been mentally unwell before can experience postnatal depression after pregnancy. Others may have had depression or a psychotic illness in the past. Regardless of whether you have prior experience of mental distress, the symptoms and treatment of postnatal depression are similar.

The major difference between this form of depression compared to other forms is you have a newborn baby to look after while you’re experiencing depression. It’s very important to get help and support as early as possible.

Because postnatal depression can affect how you feel about and care for, your baby and other children it is important not to ignore any signs that something may be wrong. You’re not a bad parent and postnatal depression doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby. It just means you’re human and you need some extra support. Talk to your midwife or doctor as soon as you can (source).

If you are currently pregnant and would like to join our village, let us know your due date, and we will send you monthly emails with stories from our readers about their unique journeys, as well as advice to keep you busy as the months go on.

8 Weeks Pregnant | Two Month Milestone

You’ve reached one of the first milestone in your pregnancy, two months pregnant, and you may have just already been for a dating scan and heard that incredible little heartbeat. You may have already shared your news with a few close friends or family members by now and are patiently waiting to tell your wider friend group. How are you feeling? The first trimester can be rough, and even though the fetus is teeny tiny, you could already be bloated and feel your clothes starting to get a little tighter. Soon enough you’ll have a baby bump growing!

Amongst all of the excitement, you may already be feeling very tired, as baby takes so much of your nutrition and energey – you may be needing lots of little naps, like this soon to be mumma of 2 who shares her early pregnancy journey

“My daughter is 3 at the end of August so will be nearly 3 and a half when the baby is due. The age gap wasn’t planned as a certain age, it was more that we were ready to have another one.”

1. Take your first Pregnancy photos

Choose a spot in your house in which you can take the same photo as your bump grows, it’s so nice to look back on your journey and documenting your time with photos will give you a visual reminder of your experience (even though at the moment, you may not feel like being reminded – it’s hard work being pregnant).

Take a photo of your pregnancy test (but I wouldn’t recommend holding onto it as an heirloom, they don’t keep well!), and a photo with your partner, you’re about to embark on an incredible journey.

2. Start writing in your Pregnancy Journal

It’s also time to document your thoughts, feelings and physical experiences, using our made with love pregnancy journal. To give you an idea of what our pages are filled with, I have included a blog from a beautiful Mumma who shares pregnancy journal entries at 6 & 7 weeks. Read on to hear more about her journey and her feelings towards soon having 2 under 2.

3. Start making lists of things you’ll need later

It’s good to keep track of items you will need as the months go on. It can be pretty exciting to go baby shopping for the first time, and you may even get a few little announcement gifts from friends as you tell them, but it’s great to start a list of what you need to purchase, and how much it’s going to cost. 

Then you can wait for the big sales (for instance, Farmers has a bi-annual one), or budget for everything you want to purchase. Consider things which are safest to buy second-hand, such as a good quality wooden cot, and those things you’d prefer to have new.

Although it’s lovely to choose a few little items of clothing to purchase during your pregnancy, you may find you get gifted a lot of newborn clothing too, so err on sizing up a little bit (my second baby was 10lbs and didn’t even fit newborn size).

4. Eat Little & Often to Combat Nausea

If you’re dealing with nausea, you may find yourself also losing your appetite along the way. Try snacking and finding foods that are easy to take with you in your bag or keep in your car to nibble on throughout the day. Eat little and often.

Crackers are great, either on their own or with healthy and more filling toppings for when you are able to stomach it. If your sickness goes beyond nausea, and you are unfortunate enough to have Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), you may wish to read the experience of others going through this, such as Christina Dellar and this Mum on her third pregnancy with HG.

You can also get these blogs and tips emailed to you! Fill in this with email and due date and you will receive emails perfectly suiting your stage of pregnancy.

First Time Mother | “I didn’t feel super Maternal”

“My midwife made it just in time and told me that I was good to push and everything went by so quickly and within 30 minutes of arriving at the hospital, I gave birth to Theo and I was just in shock at everything that just happened.”

Your family

I have been a mum to Theo, my son for 8 months now. Theo also has 3 fur baby siblings, our dogs. My husband and I have been together for about 8 years now and married for almost 2 years. I’m Chinese and he is Vietnamese, we have both been in New Zealand since we were children.

Journey to conceiving and pregnancy – I didn’t feel super maternal.

All of my life, I didn’t feel super maternal so having a baby wasn’t a life goal of mine.

I could tell my husband really wanted to be a father so I thought, if it happens then it was meant to be but I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself to conceive. The pregnancy came before my 30th birthday. It was a surprise, but also planned. I stopped taking my oral contraceptive pills a couple of months after our wedding. I thought it would take at least 6 months for my cycles to regulate but it only took about 2 months before I became pregnant. We didn’t expect it to happen so quickly so it was a surprise when the pregnancy test was positive.

How was your pregnancy?

One of the first things I did was create an Instagram account (@tryingtomumnz) when I found out I was pregnant because it was somewhat taboo to tell people about your pregnancy in the early stages. I found that somewhat isolating, so Instagram became a great outlet for my emotions and ultimately became my pregnancy diary. I love referring back to the beginning from time to time to see how far I’ve come. It was also an awesome way to document all of the small things that I might forget as time passes.

My pregnancy journey was quite smooth sailing. I didn’t have any morning sickness in the early stages, the only weird symptom I had was nosebleeds. For the most part, I enjoyed being pregnant, I found it amazing to watch my body change in order to grow another human. I loved going to scans and watching my little bean grow.

Did you find out the gender of your child?

We found out about the gender at one of the regular scans so I could start doing some baby shopping. However, the Covid pandemic got worse towards the end stage of my pregnancy and I had to attend all of my scans alone which made me feel quite lonely. Theo’s abdomen size was measuring small towards the end stages which meant more lonely and stressful visits to the sonographer.

I also started trying to eat 500 extra calories per day due to this which made me gain a lot more weight than previously planned quickly towards the end stages of my pregnancy. The end was definitely harder for me, Theo sat super low which gave me a lot of pain as he grew bigger and I had quite awful acid reflux that I ended up sleeping sitting up some nights.

Birth story

I didn’t have a set birth plan, I was open to everything.

On the morning of week 38, I woke up with cramps. I didn’t even think they were contractions until maybe 2 hours into it. I text my midwife to let her know that I was in early labour and she told me to monitor the contractions and that we will go to the hospital when the contractions were over 1 minute long and less than 4 minutes apart.

So I just went on with my day with the contractions getting more intense each time and tried to breathe through them while using a contraction timing app to track each contraction. By about 2pm, I was in bed, moaning and groaning and telling my husband there is no way I can have this baby without an epidural because I can’t even handle these early labour contractions.

I refused to go to the hospital because my contractions were never less than 4 minutes apart, but gave in when I couldn’t get up from all fours. I crawled to the car and we went to the emergency room so I could hopefully get some epidural. I was put onto a wheelchair and wheeled up to the birthing unit in Auckland hospital. The hospital midwife checked my dilation and she told me I was fully dilated already! I was just confused.

My midwife made it just in time and told me that I was good to push and everything went by so quickly and within 30 minutes of arriving at the hospital, I gave birth to Theo and I was just in shock at everything that just happened. I had second degree tearing because everything happened so quickly and got stitched up and next thing I know, we were on our way to birthcare.

The first week was really hard, I was in pain and the stitches felt uncomfortable. Theo didn’t latch properly and it only took a few breastfeeding sessions for my nipples to be damaged. Every time he tried to feed, my uterus would start to contract which got worse when my milk came in and I was super engorged as well. I just remember everything hurting. I cried almost daily, from pain and an overall sense of helplessness because I didn’t really know how to be a mother.

How was the first week?

We moved into my family home just before I gave birth and stayed until Theo was about 6 weeks old. It was amazing to have my own mother helping me through the beginning first few weeks of my motherhood. I feel very lucky that I had a lot of support from my friends who are also mothers who would chat to me when I was down and come outside my house with hot chocolate and good sushi. I enjoyed our newborn bubble and only let some of our close friends and family come for a visit.

Your little ones

How did you choose your children’s names and do they have a meaning to you?

Theo Wolffe Truong

I always liked Theo as a name, it works for both a boy or a girl. We wanted to pick something our parents/family could easily pronounce as well. Wolffe is actually a character from Star Wars who leads a team that was called a wolfpack. This felt fitting as we had so many dogs and Theo will eventually become their leader in a way. We are both geeks so it was a bit of fun while still being subtle.

Tell us about the first few weeks with your baby

I struggled A LOT during the fourth trimester, both physically and emotionally. I had a major milk oversupply which led to blocked ducts and mastitis a few times. My nipples were constantly trying to heal and engorgement was super uncomfortable as well. Breastfeeding did not come easily or naturally at first, I thought about giving up many times. My emotions were all over the place because of my hormones and I cried over the smallest things. I often felt quite lonely during the early hours of the morning when I was feeding the baby.

Sleep deprivation was rough, initially we tried very hard to have Theo sleep in a bassinet but it just would not work at all. We ended up bedsharing which I didn’t realise was such a taboo topic to talk about. I once told a plunket nurse that I was bedsharing and she just freaked out. We tried many different things to have him sleep independently but in the end, only cosleeping and contact napping worked for us. We held him for all of his day naps and bed-shared at night. I really wish they would advocate safe bed-sharing by providing some education around it rather than making mothers feel bad for doing it.

We didn’t really have a routine and I often found myself thinking “how will I ever go out again?”

I started enjoying it a lot more when I relaxed my expectations and just followed Theo’s lead on everything. I gave him everything he needed from me and just trusted my own instincts.

What were your must-have items, and what others were a waste of time/overrated?

Must haves were

  • A good stretchy wrap carrier – I had the Boba Serenity Wrap
  • Haakaa pump or something similar for unclogging blocked ducts
  • Nice, soft and absorbent breast pads – I’m still using the Confitex breast pads
  • Nipple creams and hydrogel breast pads
  • A good merino blanket

I personally did not buy a lot of items that I thought were a waste – Theo didn’t like to be swaddled so I didn’t use the swaddles as much.

Is your parenting different to how you thought it would be?

I feel like my parenting is how I thought it would be now that I have gotten a bit better at everything. Initially I was a lot more intense than I thought I would be. I am a lot more relaxed now.

How does your typical day look?

I am still a stay at home mum at the moment, and will return to work fulltime in a few months. We have been staying at home a lot more than I would like due to the pandemic initially and now the weather. I do try to take Theo out for a walk on sunny days and sometimes to free baby activities when we both feel up for it.


How has having children affected your relationship?

It was quite hard initially for me to find time for my husband during the early few weeks because I was so exhausted and drained all of the time. I’m very lucky that he is a hands-on dad and will help out whenever I’m stressed out and need a break. I love how happy Theo is when his dad plays with him, he gets the best giggles. 

Tips & advice

What would your top parenting tips be for a new parent?

  • Trust your instincts
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Talk about your feelings
  • Find time to look after yourself as well
  • It’s true when they say it gets better!

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.

28 Weeks Pregnant – Third Trimester begins

28 Weeks marks the start of the third trimester, with around 12 weeks to go til you get to meet your little person.

Today we are sharing the blog of this brave 22 year old first time single Mum getting ready to going to raise her baby on her own, living with her parents and having the support of her family and friends. She generously shared with us the personal circumstances leading to this decision, and we’re totally in awe:

“How I chose to have this baby on my own… I would say wasn’t really to much for me to think about as I’ve always wanted a baby. Three years ago I had an abortion, the decision never fully felt like my own, and ever since that I have kind of have grieved – and felt like a little part of me had made the wrong decision back then.”

We also have the pregnancy journal of weeks 27 and 28 shared by this Mum-of-one, pregnant while raising a toddler.

1. Antenatal classes

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to either choose a birthing class which often this includes lessons on birth, infant care and breastfeeding. You may also wish to enrol in a first aid course, to give you more confidence. 

There are also a lot of great YouTube videos on breastfeeding that can be helpful to learn how to latch correctly (for breastfeeding) to avoid sore and cracked nipples, and you might enjoy watching other videos about newborn care such as swaddling, burping and bathing your baby in the first few weeks.

2. Stay active

Always listen to your body in what feels right. Going for a walk when you can while pregnant instead of working out can make a world of a difference and make you feel much better, even if your body is achey and feels heavy. Though you may have noticed it has got harder to keep up with your regular exercise, you can safely continue to do most things you’ve been doing, right up until baby arrives (and then take a break for your recovery).

I have previously written a blog about my experience exercising at F45 through pregnancy at you may like to read. It’s only now that I look back on my pregnancy, labour, and – perhaps most especially – the ‘fourth trimester’ (three months postpartum) that I truly appreciate how staying fit and healthy helped me along that journey. 

3. Prioritise your relationship

We suggest you focus on spending more time with your partner while you’re pregnant, as once your newborn arrives, your relationship can take a back seat. Make each other feel special and reassured over this time. Take time to plan date nights and mini road trips to your favourite places or have fun shopping together for baby things.

It’s nice to choose things together and both get excited over all of the adorable baby wear. Don’t be disheartened if you find they are not as interested as you, it’s still important to try to do things as team.

4. Drink lots of water

This is so easy to forget (and I’m guilty of it), but in pregnancy you can become dehydrated very quickly, which will leave you feeling more tired and uncomfortable (even constipated). Do you have a favourite bottle, a herbal tea that inspires you to drink more, or would you consider mixing a flavoured collagen into your water? Drinking enough water will truly help your body feel well during pregnancy. 

Once baby arrives, you’ll be thirstier than ever, so having a large (1.5L minimum) bottle that’s easy to use with one hand (but doesn’t easily spill when knocked around) is ideal. 

5. Consider your Maternity Leave

Whether you are self-employed or working for someone else, you are entitled to the government paid maternity leave, or ‘Paid Parental Leave’. You can choose to start this when baby arrives, or before or after, if that suits you. 

Even if you run a business, you can still do the minimum required to keep that business going, but cannot be actively working throughout your paid cover, so this might be a good time to look at hiring somebody to help you through the period. 

If you are taking maternity leave from work, think about when you might like to take a break, and even consider reducing your hours, or any strenuous work, for your third trimester. See this article on your Employment and Maternity Rights.

6. Share your journey with others

If you have enjoyed these pregnancy emails and the blogs, and would like to share yours, please click this link and we will get in touch. All is anonymous, and your experience could really help others going through the same thing. 

picture credit: Aruni

24 Weeks Pregnant | Time to Relax and Unwind

You’re now well into your 6th month pregnant, a special time where you an feel your baby’s movements more and really bond with your bub. 

Here are some blog posts we think you might like to read from women who are at a similar stage of pregnancy: 

  • 23 Weeks Pregnant – First Baby, first grandchild. “My partner and I don’t actually live together yet, and neither of us have ever lived with partners, so this year will be a massive year of changes.” 
  • 21 Weeks Pregnant – Positive Affirmations – At 21 Weeks Samantha is over half way there! After sharing a previous journal entry earlier on in her pregnancy, she is back to share more of her journey, read on to hear how her pregnancy is going since we heard from her last.

1. Take it easy, make life stress-free

By now, you’re probably starting to feel the weight (physically and mentally) of carrying another little person, so it’s time to take it easy, and make life easier on yourself. Don’t feel bad about having ready-to-eat meals or takeaways, but if you do feel like cooking, start popping leftovers in the freezer for when baby arrives. Though you may be getting that ‘nesting’ feeling and want to rearrange the house, try and be rational with yourself about what you can really achieve right now, and don’t put too much on your plate.

2. Give your body a physical break

You may be noticing swelling now around your feet and ankles, especially later on in the day, or if it’s particularly hot. Try to remember to drink lots of water, and when you are sitting down, elevate your legs if possible. 

If you’ve managed to continue exercising through pregnancy well until now, well done, and keep it up, but don’t be surprised if it starts getting a little harder from now on, you’re exercising for two as well as eating for two.

Focus on moving your body, rather than challenging it too much – don’t feel that you have to push yourself through a workout or a run, just do what feels comfortable.

3. Stay positive

If you’ve never tried mindful meditation, now is a great time to start. You’re in a completely unfamiliar stage of life, and about to embark on one even more out-of-this-world, so it’s completely normal to over-think things. Try to stay calm, mindful, and focus on doing things that make you happy, rather than stressing about things out of your control.

Decorate, buy some clothes for your baby to come, have fun!

4. Consider how to get your home ready for a baby (and soon a crawling baby)

As well as the fun part of decorating, start thinking about child-proofing. Of course, your baby won’t be moving for a wee while, but if you’re already rearranging rooms and nesting, it’s a great time to think about child safety. As you consider buying a baby monitor, or a night light for the baby’s room, think about how you will keep those cords safe from baby to be able to reach.

As you choose and hang photos, consider whether they will be over a space that baby needs to be safe in (I’ve had secure 3M hooks give way for absolutely no reason before).  Have a look at what parts of the house need baby gates and electrical coverings, and start investing in those little things now, you won’t believe how quickly it comes around.

4. Share your journey with us

If you’ve enjoyed these blogs so far, consider being part of them. Click this link and fill in your name, email and week of pregnancy, and we’ll be in touch. All the best with the next few weeks, you’re almost through the second trimester, Congratulations.

Photo credit: @amykatebarrett

64 hour labour | “Great midwives are worth their weight in gold.”

“Having our baby has only made our marriage stronger. There’s something so incredibly heart-melting about going through birth, and seeing your other half become a parent. Don’t get me wrong, we have our disagreements, but for the most-part we are completely on the same page and so incredibly filled with love for our wee girl.”

Your family

There is myself, my husband and our 3.5-month-old baby Matilda. We also have two fur-children;
our cat Basil, and our dog Mila. My husband and I are NZ Pakeha. Basil is a Tabby and Mila is a
Siberian Husky x Golden Retriever (not that you really meant to ask for their ethnicities).

We’re an active family. We love to climb mountains with our dog and post about it on her Instagram
page. Yes, our dog is more popular than we are! We hope to take Matilda along on our adventures
going forward and explore our beautiful country.

Journey to conceiving and pregnancy

Our journey to conceive was very quick and we are incredibly grateful for this. We got pregnant in
our first month of trying.

Our biggest challenge was probably my own fear of judgement and insecurity around how other
people see me as a mother. We always knew we wanted children and it was always in our plan, but
I’m not outwardly maternal, and have never felt comfortable around other babies and children.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a self-confessed crazy fur-Mum and I knew full well the love would be even
greater for my own children. But I had this overwhelming fear that people wouldn’t think I was good
enough. So my mental journey to deciding it was time to try, was a tough one.

How was your pregnancy?

Most of my pregnancy was straight forward. I had a bit of nausea and food aversion in the first
trimester, and extreme tiredness. But after around 14 weeks, that went away.

The second trimester was pretty good – I certainly don’t think I can complain. I started feeling movements very early, around 16 weeks. They gradually got stronger and stronger until late in the second trimester when it looked like she was doing huge somersaults!

I was able to continue running up until 32 weeks pregnant (I was a runner before pregnancy). Which
certainly wasn’t comfortable, but I was determined to keep it up for as long as I could. My midwife
was very encouraging and believed it would serve me well in labour.

At 34 weeks we had a growth scan as I was measuring small for dates. The measurements came back
ok, and our midwife was satisfied baby was growing fine. Over the weeks that followed, I was
pressured a lot about my size (or lack thereof) by family. We got referred for a reassurance growth scan at 38 weeks. It was good that we did as baby had fallen into the 7th percentile on my growth

It was decided we would induced at 39 weeks, 4 days.

Did you find out the gender of your child?

We found out at 19 weeks we were expecting a wee girl! A very active wee girl at that. That was
probably my favourite thing, feeling her move and kick.

Did you practice hypnobirthing, read books, use apps or use a pregnancy journal? 

We didn’t do any hypnobirthing courses but did attend antenatal classes with Plunket and read a lot
online. We used the Pregnancy+ app right through which was great. It told us what size fruit or
vegetable the baby was from week to week and had interesting articles to read through.

Birth story

We had a growth scan at 38 weeks that showed that baby’s growth had dropped to around the 7th
percentile. Our midwife referred us to the obstetrician with our preference to be induced. We had
an induction date set for 39 weeks, 4 days. But I started having contractions spontaneously on the Thursday evening around 9pm (at 39 weeks, 1 day). Little did I know this was the start of my 64-hour labour! I stayed in contact with my midwife on the Friday and Saturday as I continued having regular contractions, but they never got as close as the 3 in 10 minutes that they say you need. I had a lot of back pain throughout, and we thought baby could be posterior (spoiler, she wasn’t). Despite the back pain, I kept telling myself it was just baby’s position, and I was probably in early labour, not to bother getting checked. Come Saturday afternoon I was running off no sleep, demoralised and convinced I wasn’t progressing. I was living on heat packs, in quite a bit of pain, but managing/internalising it well. We went kerb walking the Saturday afternoon, I couldn’t stomach dinner and I continued to labour hard the whole night.

Around 5am Sunday morning, I lost it. Looking back, I was probably in transition… I woke my
husband up in tears (after I made him sleep) saying I couldn’t do it anymore and asked him to ring
our midwife. If nothing else, I wanted to know if they could bring our induction forward a few hours.
She agreed to meet us at the hospital and see what we could do. We arrived, got checked, and our
midwife looked at us like “this can’t be right”. I was 9.5-10cm and ready to go! She was gobsmacked,
given how in control I seemed. We got moved straight to the birthing suite. At this point, our birth plan went out the window, no epidural. I continued to labour calmly and had my waters broken. Baby was constantly monitored due to her small size and remained happy throughout. I pushed for over 2 hours and despite pushing well, she was stuck! But it was taking too long, and I was recommended intervention with an episiotomy and forceps. They attempted forceps delivery in the birthing suite with nothing other than a numbing injection. I had been so in control until this point, but this pain tipped me over the edge. Excruciating, unexplained back pain radiating down both legs. They wanted to delivery baby there, but I couldn’t deal with the pressure the forceps added to my back. My husband and midwife pushed for transfer to theatre.

We were moved to theatre, had a spinal administered (wow that felt amazing) and baby was born
soon after. It turned out she had a very short umbilical cord which was preventing an unassisted
birth. But she was happy, healthy and we were very much in love! Despite all of this, our birth was so amazing, and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. All the medical staff that day were beyond incredible, and we are so grateful to have had our wee girl arrive safely.

Shout out to our amazing midwife! Her knowledge, care and compassion were second to none.
I was taken aback by the relationship we built, and it felt like a break-up when we were discharged
from her care. I can only hope we meet again in the future. So yes, great midwives are worth their
weight in gold.

How was the first week?

My postpartum recovery was uncomplicated and our first week was beyond surreal. The
newborn bubble is very real!

Your little ones

Tell us about the first few weeks with your baby?

We were unable to have visitors in hospital, or at our primary care unit due to Covid. However, to be
honest it was a really nice time for us to bond with baby. When we arrived home, we had immediate
family visit only and did have some rules in place just around not kissing her, and not to come if they
were unwell. Most people were respectful of our wishes.

How did you find the fourth trimester?

Physically I recovered well, but mentally it was a bit of a shock. The first two weeks were a blissful
newborn bubble – baby essentially eats, sleeps and looks cute all the time. I could’ve had another
one then and there! We were so overwhelmed with love.

Around 2 weeks old, she woke up to the world, and learned to scream. Since then (and even some
days still now at 15 weeks old), some days are just so tough. It’s not that I never expected my baby
to cry, but when they scream for hours on end and nothing you do settles them, it’s very emotionally
draining. You start to wonder what you are doing wrong, and how people are judging you. I have
been lucky to have an amazing husband to tag in, and my Mum and Dad who have been amazing
support throughout this time. I think we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!
She has always slept in her own co-sleeper right next to the bed. It works for us.
We have a loose routine with a set bed-time, and time to start the day, but the rest of the day is
largely dictated by her and age appropriate wake windows.

What were your must-have items, and what others were a waste of time/overrated?

Must-haves – Stretchy merino swaddles, onesies with feet and fold over mittens, a front pack, Lorna Jane
maternity bras, nipple balm, Rite Aid hydrogel discs and a breast pump have all been must-have

Overrated – Boba-style wrap (it killed my back), and the Haakaa pump didn’t work for me.

Is your parenting different to how you thought it would be?

I think our parenting is close to what we thought it would be, although sometimes I will myself to
have more patience. We thought we would never use a dummy. But, desperate measures…

How does your typical day look? Are you a stay at home parent/juggling work/kindy?

So far, I have stayed at home with baby. Our days are typical; get up in the morning, have breakfast
and a play, get dressed for the day, and then we head out for her first nap in the front pack and take
the dog for a big walk. Depending on the day, sometimes we have Playcenter, swimming or things
we need to do after that, such as groceries, catching up with friends etc.

I had planned to take a couple of years off but have unexpectedly been offered a great new Part-
time job with complete flexibility around baby. So, we are going to be juggling work and Mum-life
very soon!


How has having children affected your relationship, what challenges has it brought?

It has only made our marriage stronger. There’s something so incredibly heart-melting about going
through birth, and seeing your other half become a parent. Don’t get me wrong, we have our
disagreements, but for the most-part we are completely on the same page and so incredibly filled
with love for our wee girl. My husband is fantastic with her, and it has made the whole experience
thus far so incredible. Hard, but rewarding.

Tips & advice

What would your top 3/5 parenting tips be for a new parent?

  • Try not to take to heart what people say. The old “back in my day”. Some people have strong opinions, but you don’t have to share their opinions; take what’s good and toss the rest. You know what’s right for your baby.
  • Make the most of the time with your midwife (or chosen care provider) – they are worth their weight in gold!
  • Accept help where you can! I know, it’s so much easier said than done. I came home from hospital and vacuumed my house the following day… But do give yourself a break. Let your partner hold the baby while you have half an hour to shower alone, go for a walk, take a nap, whatever it may be.

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?

“It will get better”. A bit double edged for me. In the hard times, it’s the last thing you want to hear,
but also that tiny glimmer of hope was just what I needed. It seems so impossible in the moment
that things will ever get better, but they do!

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.

An interview with Erin Simpson | 41 weeks Pregnant, going for induction

Tell us a little about you and Zac

We first met at an event at Sky City, at the time we had respective partners. A few months later we were both single and I was interviewing celebs on the Red Carpet, when Zac rocked up looking extremely inviting. I turned a into hot, melting, embarrassed mess and as a result the interview was terrible and it never made the air waves – that was 2017!

When did you first start talking about having children?

Zac has always wanted children and voiced it from the very start.

I had a few more things on my ‘selfish’ list that I needed to tick off before I could relax into the idea and when we had such a whirl wind of a romance I generally wanted more time to get to know each other before starting a family.

Originally we decided after our honey moon we would start trying. Then Covid came along and squished that travel plan, so we then decided to start the summer after the first lot of Covid 

Tell us about your journey to conceive and the challenges you had along the way.

It was quite a process, I had to have a medical expert retrieve my marina but unfortunately they couldn’t locate it.  After booking in an ultrasound to assist, instead they found some nasty cysts. One happened to look cancerous.  So again, we paused to sort that and even though it all turned out fine it added a few months to the process.  After the all clear and the marina successfully out, we starting trying again and that process took another 6 months to successfully conceive so all in all over a year.

How did you find out you were pregnant?

We were in lockdown for the tenth thousand time, I was testing at home with home pregnancy kits and when one finally came back positive, I lied to Zac and told him I had managed to get a dentist appointment during lockdown, but really I snuck to the doctors to get my bloods done and confirm the results.

How long did you wait to tell Zac and how did he react?

It was about a week later that I told him. It felt like a long time as we were in lockdown so it was just the two of us, but personally I always need time to absorb and process big moments alone before offering out positivity and putting others first and this was one of those moments.

Who was the first person you told apart from Zac when you found out you were expecting?

No one!! We wanted to wait until the borders opened so we could both tell our parents in person – at the time we didn’t think that would be long but it ended up being months before the borders opened to surrounding Auckland areas, in fact so long I nearly turned up at home with a bump!! 

You’ve decided not to find out the gender of your baby – was that an easy decision, did you both agree?

It was Zac’s original call not to know and I respected that.  If we had needed to know for any serious medical reason along the way of course we would have found out, but nothing came up so we just kept going.  

I found it very interesting along the way how many people wanted to know and couldn’t stand that we hadn’t found out and even more interesting there is a thing called gender disappointment!? I met a lady who was disappointed she was not having a girl and I really couldn’t be round her for long! I was grateful to simply be pregnant and hoping I could do it well!


Did you experience morning sickness? What other pregnancy symptoms and side-effects have you had, and how have you coped?

The first trimester I basically spent on the floor or as low to the ground as I could, it was horrible the amount of morning sickness that over came me.

Then the 3rd trimester I pulled the sciatic nerve in my butt and vomited a lot. It was very very painful most days, but there was nothing medically wrong so at the end of the day we were very fortunate compared to others. 

You mentioned that people have said you look small – what advice would you give to other pregnant women who receive comments on their size/bump?

You know, I don’t like to give advice, I don’t feel I’m a teacher or an expert in such a field or any field other than presenting so how can I? And especially now after going through a pregnancy where advice comes in so thick and from every direction.

There were days when I just didn’t want to talk to anyone about babies but they seemed to just start anyway without even asking.  

I have promised myself I will never give advice on pregnancy.

Did you do any hypnobirthing, read books, use apps, or anything else?

I’m a pretty simple person and don’t tend to read or use a lot of resources.  I did try an app which helped track my ovulation and periods in the beginning which I found helpful and I have the beautiful pregnancy journal from Forget Me Not Journals as a treasured keepsake.


Do you have a birthing plan, and/or plan for the weeks after birth around visitors?

My plan is to get to the hospital and follow the advice of my midwife. It will all depend on what happens that day so I haven’t made any plans other than to listen, respond, stay calm and be positive.

We have decided a few weeks home without visitors will be best (apart from immediate family). However, deciding how best to tell visitors… that we haven’t quite figured out how yet. Crossing my fingers people naturally know to stay away for the first few weeks?

Approaching your due date, have you had any anxiety or nerves around birth?

Luckily I haven’t had any, we have been so focused on trying to sign up a new home, sell my car, finish work and for Zac to get a promotion all in time for bub’s arrival that it has always been pushed to the back of my mind, is that weird?

Now that you are almost 41 weeks pregnant, how do you feel?

Again, I feel grateful that bubs has given us more time to try and get things sorted for their arrival. I secretly new they would, so we are a great team already! At the end of 41 weeks I was booked in for an urgent ultrasound to find that there wasn’t any or enough fluid surrounding the little one so I was called to hospital where my midwife made the call to induce me.  She was also conscious that in 3 more days I would be turning 40 and things would change once again and they would be more worried about the placenta (yes an over night change in stress levels due to a birthday did seem very weird to me), so being induced was for the best.

Is there anything else you’d like to talk about around pregnancy/birth?

Back to giving the advice part, I really found it is quite full on how everyone thinks it’s ok to give their two cents on what I should be doing or proceed to tell me about their horrible and negative birthing experiences when I didn’t ask or ever bring up the topic. I also found that the topics are very repetitive like nappy chat, breastfeeding chat, boy or girl? Some days I wanted to yell ‘yes, I’m having a baby that doesn’t mean we have to spend all day talking about your baby” – gosh I sound over it don’t I haha!

What sort of Dad do you think Zac will be?

Zac is an incredible man, very paternal and very excited.  I would not be here if it wasn’t for his love, support and encouragement that I could be more than a fun aunty in life and I feel most of this is for him so I can watch and admire him be the dad he was born to be. He does however hate loud noises so that’s going to be the fun part!

Do you have any thoughts around becoming a Mum, or any worries? Do you have a good support network?

I have amazing friends and family who I will prefer to lean on rather than new mums I have met along the way as I feel I already have a full cup of inspirational mums (Megan you are one of these!).

What has been some of the best advice you have received along your journey

I really appreciated being told things about logistics which was hard to come by, for some reason so many say “you will know” or “just you wait” but in my head I was screaming “know what”?? “wait for what”?? So I preferred ladies who were very descriptive story tellers. Explaining what happens when your water breaks, explaining how the pain compares to other experiences and explaining what all the zeros mean on baby clothes.

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.

Cancerous cells, IVF & egg donor | “You are not alone. No, it’s not easy and its ok to be sad”

A journey of hurt, grief and desperation to be parents. We have sat down with a very brave woman to tell her story about her journey with IVF since finding out she had cancerous cysts resulting in removing her ovary’s.

“Watching my friends go through having children so easily pains me, watching other people going through IVF and being unsuccessful pains me also. I wanted so badly to be a mother and now its been ripped away from me and I never had a choice in the matter.”

Your family

My Husband and I live with a very cute Beagle and have been married for 8 years. I am 29 and he is 30. I have a passion for helping people and I love Dogs. My Husband works in IT and enjoys motorbikes and the odd DIY job.

Journey to conceiving

When did you decide you would start to try to conceive?

Initially when I was 24 we decided I would go to the doctor and see what I needed to do healthwise to be in the best position to have a baby. I wanted to be responsible and be the healthiest I could be before we started trying. At this stage there was nothing to suggest we would have any difficulty.

What was your experience trying to conceive naturally, if you were able to try this way? How long did you try for before seeking help?

Unfortunately, we were not able to try naturally. At my doctors appointment it was suggested I go for a scan as when I was a teenager I had my appendix removed and during the procedure they saw evidence I had a cyst that had burst near my ovary (completely normal for most young women, they come and go often, you would never know you had one). 

At this scan they found a 10x9x9cm complex cyst. I was referred to a Gynaecologist to investigate further.

I had my first surgery to remove the cyst and biopsy it. During the removal they had to take majority of my left ovary with it and that is when discussions of IVF egg collection were first started- it may be a possibility if we need in the future. The biopsy showed I had borderline ovarian tumours. These are a strange type of tumour that are not benign and can turn full blown cancerous at the drop of a hat. This was really disturbing and scary news for us to take.

During the tumour removal surgery they do a pelvic wash to check for any abnormalities and it showed that there were indeed more abnormalities.

I went back for a check up and more scans and blood tests. For my blood tests my cancer markers were checked and they came back elevated. When we scanned my abdomen we found more tumours had grown. This time on both left and right ovary.

I went back in for another surgery which resulted in more loss of ovary tissue.

Now was the time for emergency IVF egg collection to try to preserve fertility. I went through 2 rounds of egg collection. The first we managed to get 6 embryos through to maturity, however, my Husband has a genetic heart condition and as we were eligible for public funding for the IVF we were not able to use these 6 embryos as they had all tested positive for the heart condition.

The second round of egg collection yielded 10 embryos, however 8 had the genetic heart condition.

We were able to freeze 2 embryos for use after I was given the all clear from my Oncologist and Gynaecologist.

I ended up needing 3 further surgeries resulting in the loss of both ovaries, tubes and an organ called the omentum. I had a scar vertically down my abdomen approx. 15cm long that had 23 staples. The last surgery was in 2020 when I was 27 years old.

How and when did you discover that you would have to have an embryo transfer to be able to conceive?

This was in July 2020 when I needed to have my remaining ovary removed. I had known for most of that year that It may be an option but it did not make it any easier when time came to take my remaining ovary. I felt like a failure as I was never going to be able to conceive the way regular people do.  I know that I am not a failure but in my weak times I cant help still but to feel this way.

How long was this process, was it invasive, did you feel supported? Is there any advice you would give to people who were going to undertake this procedure?

For me this process was 5 years. I was so lucky to have a wonderful family and friend support system but also a work support system. My Specialists have been amazing as well and are always happy to assist me in whatever I may need.

This process was very hard not only for myself but for my Husband too. If I was to give any advice it would be to communicate your needs and feelings. If you don’t know what you need then let your partner or family know that. There were times when I was so consumed with fear or guilt or mental anguish, I told my husband I didn’t know what I needed and I couldn’t function properly that day. He would take that as a cue to organize dinner and to call friends or family or just to bring me a blanket, put on a cute movie and come cuddle me.

This is not supposed to be an easy process and you are allowed to feel terrible at times. Just know that there are people around to support you and sometimes you need to let them know you need or want help.

How long did you have to wait after the procedure to know if you have been successful? Having found out that it hadn’t been successful, what options were you given? How did you deal with the news?

I recently had both embryo transfers and found out both were unsuccessful. As you can imagine I had a big fat ugly cry the instant I found out. Then I went through different stages of grief.

I am currently trying to assess which direction my future will go in now that the idea of kids in it has disappeared.

The wait time after the procedure is 2 weeks, you have a blood test which detects levels of HCG in your system ( this indicates if you are in the early stages of pregnancy or not). Both times no HCG was detected for me. This was really disheartening as I had a great uterine thickness at time of transfer and the grades of my embryos were also great, my hormone levels had been checked before and were all of good levels too. My specialist has no conclusive evidence as to why the embryos failed to implant.

The options going forward are very slim. I will have to use donor eggs if we want to proceed. We would want to use my Husbands sperm but due to his condition we would need to test each individual embryo for it. This comes at a great cost per embryo plus the cost of IVF in general (we no longer qualify for public funding as we used up our 2 rounds). We are currently deciding if it is a good decision to throw upwards of 30k on this with the likelihood we will come out with no embryos to use.

I am still processing this news, it physically pains me every day and I feel like I am grieving for a future that is now not possible. Watching my friends go through having children so easily pains me, watching other people going through IVF and being unsuccessful pains me also. I wanted so badly to be a mother and now its been ripped away from me and I never had a choice in the matter.

Planning for the future, have you been able to make a decision with your partner about next steps? What options are open to you? How are you feeling about continuing your journey to become parents?

We still have not made a decision about next steps. It is such an emotional and financial drain on us not to mention the physical side I have been through and will continue to go through if we proceed.

There are still some options but we need to decide if they are right for us, such as embryo donation (where both of us would not have a biological link to the child but I would still carry it), and as mentioned before the egg donation but with us needed to check every embryo for the genetic heart condition (approx. and extra $1200 per embryo on top of IVF costs).

I am now wondering if we will not be parents and maybe we should put our energy elsewhere? But I still want to be a mother and know I could provide a wonderful life to a child.

Is there any other advice you would like to give, or any other part of your experience that you would like to share?

You are not alone. No its not easy and its ok to be sad.

There are a lot of support groups out there.

I know people think they are helping when they say “just relax- it will all work out”, “We can totally see you with a child one day”, “My friend went through IVF and they had a baby once they stopped with all the IVF stuff” – don’t persecute them for this.

This stuff is not talked about enough, they don’t understand and they don’t know what to say to be supportive. If you can explain to them how you feel and what you need then it will make it easier for them and for you.

It can be really easy to get stuck inside your own head, I know I do. Try to take some time away from social media and get in some exercise or fresh air. Go and do something that will totally distract you from all those emotions momentarily. But if you need then use resources such as councillors to help you come to terms with these feelings.

I would love to say this experience has made me stronger but to be honest I think my tolerance for handling shit has become so much more. These last 5 years have been exhausting and terrifying but it has made me really enjoy the little things and not take anything for granted. My husband and I are so much closer and we know we can take anything thrown at us. We don’t want this to consume our lives because if we cant have children we will only have each other for the rest of our lives so we need to enjoy it.

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.

“I never imagined myself as a parent” | Mum of 1, currently pregnant with baby number 2

Your family

In our family there is myself, Becky (39), My Husband Clinton (42), and my daughter Thea (2.5 years old). We also have another little girl due in August.

Clinton and I are from the UK but we only met each other in NZ 6 years ago and got married here. We have both been in NZ now for around 8-10 years. Thea was born in Auckland hospital.

“I personally couldn’t have imagined myself having children growing up, busy lifestyle, holidays,
different relationships etc. Then meeting the right person, growing up, getting married, all that

Journey to conceiving and pregnancy

First time round we conceived incredibly fast, and we were so naïve to it all.

Married on New Year’s Eve we had decided to try from that night and had Thea the following October 2019. I was 37 and Hubby 39. After Thea was born, we waited 18 months to then start trying again. We conceived fast again within the month of trying but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. At the 12-week scan there were complications, and a termination was required. The worst feeling ever and an emotional
rollercoaster! It then felt like an eternity trying to conceive again but in fact only took 6 months and we found out we were pregnant again in December 2021. I’m currently 28 weeks and due end of August.

How were your pregnancies?

First pregnancy we were oblivious to it all, took it all in our own stride and didn’t overthink about it
much. We were very relaxed about it all. I was sick for all of my pregnancies up until about 14 weeks, vomiting multiple times a day, seeing docs and a couple of hospital visits but then it got better. I wouldn’t say I have enjoyed any pregnancy really; we were excited about buying new things, thinking of names
and the arrival etc but that’s it.

This current pregnancy has been different since the termination, less excitement, more overthinking
and we are definitely more tired. Being pregnant and having a toddler is exhausting. It feels a little
more clinical this time, ensuring everything is OK. However, we do love the fact that Thea is now
aware and getting excited, she knows we are having a baby and talks about it all the time and is very
protective of me, very cute!!

Did you find out the gender of your children?

We found out the sexes as neither me nor my hubby have any patience.

Did you practice hypnobirthing, read books, use apps or use a pregnancy journal? 

I downloaded a couple of apps (pregnancy+ and flo) and attended the antenatal group with the 8-
week course and have made some great friends. We then just took advise from other parents and
fumbled our way through ever since.

Birth story

I was 6 days overdue. My waters broke at 6.30am and then a couple of hours later labour started. I found it incredibly painful and just wanted to get to hospital and have an epidural. I was told to wait at home until things progressed which felt like a lifetime. My midwife made a house visit and I was 7cms dilated and was then told to get to hospital straight away. On arriving at hospital around 1pm, I had an epidural which was amazing. However, everything then just slowed down. No further dilation, Thea was breeched, and I was then just monitored for the next boring 10 hours. I ended up getting an infection which had passed to Thea, and we went for an emergency c-section, which I was all good about. Thea was born at 11.11pm.

How was the first week?

I never experience baby blues and the first week just felt like a learning curve for myself and hubby,
just fumbling our way through baby life.

Your little ones

How did you choose your children’s names and do they have a meaning to you?

We looked on name apps, google etc and about 6 months pregnant came across “Thea” which we
both loved. A little bit different, a short and cute name. We would reference her as Thea Bear until
she was born. This pregnancy we are finding it a little harder to think of a name and one we both
agree on.

Tell us about the first few weeks with your baby

With not having family here we were relaxed with having visitors. We waited until we were home
from birth care, got settled and had a slight hang of things. It was maybe one to two weeks before a
few friends came round to see Thea. They brought lunch or dinner and none of them would stay too
long. Was nice to have some company and help/guidance from friends who already had newborns.

We didn’t feel any pressure and just went with the flow. My mum then came out for a few weeks when Thea was 3 weeks old which was great.

How did you find the fourth trimester?

Forth trimester was all good, me and Thea took to breastfeeding easily which was good.
Hubby and I just enjoyed our time together with Thea, learning new things, watching her sleep,
changed multiple nappies, and got used to the night-time feeding routine. We all slept in the same
room with Thea is a bassinet next to me. We just played each day by ear, some days were very
chilled and at home, then some days we would all venture for a walk round the local park.
We maybe started a routine with naps around the 4/5-month mark.

What were your must-have items, and what others were a waste of time/overrated?

Must haves

  • I wanted a good co sleeper bassinet, so we got the snuzpod which we liked.
  • A decent baby bath.
  • A baby wearer is a must have.
  • We found a white noise machine really helped.


  • We also ended up with so many blankets and muslins which really didn’t get used that much.
  • I feel like there are a lot of gizmos and gadgets that new parents are told to get but really, they aren’t.

Is your parenting different to how you thought it would be?

I personally couldn’t have imagined myself having children growing up, busy lifestyle, holidays,
different relationships etc. Then meeting the right person, growing up, getting married, all that

We have a somewhat relaxed approach, listen to friends and family’s approach, tips, advise and then some online baby routines as we progressed through the months. Not sure there is much we would
change or do differently next time.

If you’ve had more than one child, how has each subsequent arrival changed your family, how did the other child/children adjust, and how did you find the transition?

We will let you know, next one due August

How does your typical day look? Are you a stay at home parent/juggling work/kindy? 

I was on maternity leave for 10 months and then Thea went to Nursery 4 days, and I had her every
Wednesday. She then went into nursery full time around 18 months. I now work full time, 2 days WFH and 3 in the office for a very flexible company. Hubby is self-employed so works full time but also has some flexibility. No parents or family in NZ so not having any family help can be a bit tough at times.


How has having children affected your relationship, what challenges has it brought?

Yes, our relationship has changed, obviously we aren’t doing as much as a couple due to time
restraints and schedules. We try to make time for each other more and communicate better.
Being tired a lot has definitely had an impact.

Have you loved seeing your partner become a parent, has anything surprised you about their parenting style?

I have loved seeing the hubby become a parent, the way Thea responds to him, daddy’s girl, how silly and fun he is with her. I’m super surprised with how I have dealt with motherhood. I didn’t really think I’d have children or could imagine myself with them and I just love it, I’m obsessed with Thea and think we have a relaxed style of parenting that suits us, and we love it.

Tips & advice

What would your top 3/5 parenting tips be for a new parent?

  • Go with what works for you, your baby and family, everyone has a different style that works
    for them and no judgement.
  • Take help when offered, you may not get asked again.
  • Always ask for help also, whether medically, friends, family, support groups.
  • Take time for yourself when you can.

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?

Take each day as it come, there will be highs and lows but everything is manageable or solvable.
There is always someone that can help, make sure you reach out where needed.

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.

Yosemite National park wedding | Proposal on Brooklyn Bridge

We have loved interviewing Francesco and Joseph all about their love story. This gorgeous gay couple met when they moved to the Caribbean and were introduced by friends. The rest was history.

Who Francesco Laterza and Joseph Hinojosa
Where Yosemite national park and San Francisco botanical gardens
Guests 40


Initial was $40,000 but it ended up being closer to $75,000

How did you meet?

Joseph and I both met in medical school. Joseph grew up in Texas and I grew up in New Jersey. It took us both to move to the Caribbean to cross paths. It was the second day of my arrival when we met at one of the two local bars on the island. My first impression of Joe was that he was this cute boy from across the bar who was very outgoing and seemed to be very fun. A friend of mine that I met that day saw me looking at him and she introduced us. He and his friends were already planning a beach party that he invited me to and from then we started off as friends. Our relationship quickly grew stronger as we spent every waking hour together (mostly studying). We learned more about each other very quickly (spending 12-16 hours with someone will do that) and after just a few short months together, it felt like we’ve known each other our entire lives. We’ve been together for 8 years now and haven’t looked back.


How did he propose? 

Joseph and I were discussing purchasing rings together around 4 years into our relationship. We both knew we wanted matching bands with plenty of diamonds. We never truly discussed who would propose to whom, but I just knew he wanted to be proposed to. I started brainstorming ideas of how to propose. He mentioned multiple times how the Brooklyn Bridge was one of his favorite architectural bridges in the world. We also both moved around a lot throughout medical school and I wanted our proposal to have elements of our 5 years together. When we unexpectedly moved to Philadelphia in 2018, and I took advantage of our proximity to NYC to include the Brooklyn Bridge in the proposal. Our first joint apartment was in Miami and we lived in a building with a restaurant called Sugarcane. Joe recently
visited Brooklyn and told me that Sugarcane opened up a second location in Dumbo, overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. With this new information, I was able to formulate a plan.

His birthday is in December and I luckily had a rare weekend off during residency. I purchased us tickets to see a Broadway play for his birthday so we would have an excuse to visit NYC. A college friend of mine works as a stage manager throughout the city and I asked her if she knew any freelance photographers. Miraculously, her current boss, Lloyd, was a freelance photographer! He was incredible, and even scoped out the perfect spot on the bridge to include the NYC skyline in our proposal photos. We shared locations that evening so I would know exactly where he was and he could follow our progression over the bridge.

I booked us a hotel right at the entrance of the bridge on the Manhattan side. I told Joe I had a plan for us to walk the bridge over to Dumbo so we could have dinner at Sugarcane for his birthday since we’ve missed the food since our move from Miami. I asked Joe to bring his camera (he loves photography) so he could take a picture of the NYC skyline at our walk. Little did he know, the spot I planned to have him turn around to take the picture was exactly the spot where Lloyd was waiting for us.

When Joe turned back around, I was down on one knee with his ring. Despite having the rings already, I still caught him by surprise. To this day we both have no idea what I said but we know he said yes! Lloyd captured the entire moment, and Joe was quite confused as to why some “stranger” was taking pictures of us.

We proceeded to complete our walk across the bridge and arrived at Sugarcane for dinner. Joe thought I made a reservation for just the two of us, but waiting there, were our friends to celebrate the night with us. We spent the remainder of that night eating, drinking, and dancing with those we loved in celebration.


What was important to you when you started planning your wedding?

We both knew that we wanted to keep the wedding small due to the pandemic and Joe wanted
beautiful and dramatic pictures. His vision came to fruition with our wedding photos in Yosemite,
the similarly natural ceremony at the botanical gardens, and beautiful flower arrangements to
complement our tablespace.

In three words describe your wedding style

Elegant, Boho, intimate

Was there anything that you did that was a little different to the ‘norm’ for your wedding?

Well having two grooms would be considered “different” (though hopefully not for too much

In all seriousness, our entire wedding itinerary strays from the wedding norm. Rather than
having a one day event, we spent 2 days in Yosemite national park with just ourselves, our
photographer, and our officiant to take dramatic photographs. The ceremony was outside at the
San Francisco botanical gardens under a large sequoia tree. We had our small and intimate
dinner reception at Foreign Cinema and we ended the night with a Drag show. Also, my suit was


How did you personalise your wedding day?

As described above, the days leading up to the wedding and the ceremony itself was
quintessentially us. We both love nature, hiking, and a flare for the dramatic. When choosing our
vendors, we consciously chose to employ female owned companies since we’ve both avid
believers of equality. Since our guest list was small and only composed of our closest friends and
immediate family, in our wedding invite we included a color palate and images for suggested
styles for everyone to wear. We wanted our pictures to show a cohesive color and style theme.
We had our suits custom made as well. We wrote our own vows and our officiant was our first and
one of the closest friends we met in medical school so her words were also specific to us. Lastly,
for the reception, we chose two tequila based signature cocktails names after our pets and our
wedding cake looked more like art than a cake (but still tasted amazing, something I was unwilling
to compromise on).

What were your save and splurge items for your wedding?

  • Splurge – The photographs, dinner, and tablescape
  • Save – We made our invites and welcome boxes (yes boxes, not bags) ourselves. The welcome
    boxes were made while we were in Yosemite between shooting pictures. We couldn’t fit 25 fully
    made boxes in our two suitcases and the large shipping box we brought with us on the plane.

What was the most difficult part of planning your wedding? And the most fun? 

The most difficult was definitely the final tiny details within the two weeks leading up to the
wedding and navigating the ever changing pandemic restrictions. San Francisco was one of the strictest cities in terms of mandates. Thankfully all of our guests were fully vaccinated and it eased our stress a bit. We are both doctors, so on top of finalizing the details of a cross country we both were working almost 2 weeks straight in the hospital due to the pandemic.

The most fun for me was definitely traveling to San Francisco for food and cake tasting. Joe loved sketching the design of the alter, choosing the flowers, and picking out the rentals for our tables and alter.

What did you use to plan your wedding?

We hired our amazing and wonderfully competent wedding planner, Carrie with Boheme Events.
Our wedding would NOT have happened without her! She took away so much of our stress and
we always available if we needed her. We are so blessed to have had her, and lucky to have
made a new lasting friendship.

Did you DIY anything, or have family and friends help?

We made our own wedding invites, which were mailed out to each guest in a box. We have a
video that would explain how they look much better than I can describe them. We also made our
wedding gift boxes – Joe wanted to keep the same theme. Inside, we included a SF tote, a
postcard, a bottle of wine, bottled waters, ibuprofen, and Pedialyte. Lastly, my cousin is very
skilled with a Cricut and she created our wedding sign lettering. Joe and my mom finished up our
wedding sign the evening before our ceremony.


Did lockdowns have any effect on your plans, did you have to postpone, change any of your plans
or reduce your guest list?

We did initially have to postpone our wedding for a year. We were engaged in December 2018
and planned for our wedding in spring 2020, but clearly that had to be delayed due to COVID.
While the pandemic was improving, San Francisco still had very strict mandates, such as proof of
full vaccination to enter hotels, restaurants, and any building. We also dropped our guest list of
around 200 to 40. We invited the other 160+ people via Zoom so they could at least watch from


What advice would you share with others planning their Big Day? 

When creating a plan, do not make it concrete because things can change frequently. Staying
open minded and adapting with changes while keeping your stress down is imperative.
EVERYONE should have a wedding planner. It was completely necessary for us. Carrie made the
days leading up to our wedding as stress free as she could and our wedding day ran smoothly. She
made sure we always had a drink in hand and that we had our dinner and cake.

Do you have any regrets, what would you change, if anything?

The day was absolutely perfect, so despite going over budget immensely, we regret nothing. The
only thing we would change would be the welcome reception we held for our guests at the hotel. It
was great getting everyone we love the most together (some people we haven’t seen for over 2
years) but the passed food was much smaller than we had thought. Many people were still hungry
afterwards and ordered or went out for food afterwards.


Where did you go for your honeymoon?

We have not gone on our honeymoon yet, but are planning to either go on a USA national park
tour or fly to an island (such as Seychelles) to do absolutely nothing besides spending time with
one another on a beach. We’re very aware that these are two wildly opposite ideas but we think it
sums us up perfectly.

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Photographer Rylee and Co
Venue San Francisco botanical gardens and Foreign Cinema in the West Gallery

Wedding planner Boheme Events
Catering & Event Planning Foreign Cinema
Makeup Raven Reed Makeup
Attire Ravi Sehgal
Rings Zales
Flowers Enchantment Floral
Wedding Cake Danielle M Estrella
Rentals Theoni and Casa de Perrin

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