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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.

Relationship

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.

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
chart.

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
items.

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!

Relationship

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!

erin-simpson-pregnant-induction-baby-parenting

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.

erin-simpson-pregnant-induction-baby-parenting

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.

“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
changed.”

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.

Overrated

  • 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
changed.

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.

Relationship

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.

Mother of 1 | Pregnancy after being diagnosed with PCOS and Thyroid

“After doing some research I found the most beautiful name which meant strength of mountain – ARIN. When our boy was born my hubby and I looked at each other agreed that this suited him the best.”

Your family

My name is Aruni, I am 33 years old. I was born in India and left my home country at the age of 20yrs old.
We are family of three right now – Me, my husband (Sameer) and my son (Arin). We had a fur baby
who passed away in 2021.

Journey to conceiving and pregnancy

As an Indian woman, I was raised to believe growing your family and having your own kids is very
important for a woman. My hubby and I got married when I was 20 years old, and he was 22. Soon
after my marriage I was diagnosed with PCOD and Thyroid. Doctors had strictly told me to get
pregnant by the age of 25 otherwise it could get complicated.

However, having a baby or growing a
family was not on our agenda until 9 years of marriage as we were both busy in our career life and
moving around countries trying to build a happy and stable life. I was on birth control pills for 9 years
and I could feel my body has starting to reject them and giving me all kinds of gynaecological problems.


December 2018, I decided to stop using birth control pills after struggling for 8 months with some
gynaecological issues. We were told I would only be only able to get pregnant in 6 months to a years time. However, to our surprise in April 2019 I was already pregnant and blessed with our baby boy In
December.

mother-pregancy-diagnosed-pcod-thyroid-csection-birth

How was your pregnancy?

My pregnancy journey was beautiful and smooth sailing with no complications until I was 8 months along. I never had morning symptoms or any kind of pain till I was in labour.

I loved every day every minute of being pregnant and growing my beautiful boy.
Until in our 8 month midwife visit, we were told there was a drop in his heartbeat. After a few rounds and check-up at the Heart specialist we were told he had an ectopic heartbeat and it might go away after he was born.

Now started the wait and anxiety hoping and praying everyday that his heart is perfectly fine.

mother-pregancy-diagnosed-pcod-thyroid-csection-birth

Did you find out the gender of your children?

Me and hubby both wanted to know the gender and were so excited to have a baby boy. I personally
think its good to know the gender so you can be prepared.

Birth story

We went into labour on 40+2 days – It was a Sunday morning, and I woke up not feeling any
movement so we rushed to the North shore hospital. We were monitored for full day and were told the
amniotic fluid had reduced so were booked in for induction on Christmas eve. But God and baby had
other plans. The same evening at 7pm all of a sudden, my water broke and after half hour I was in
labour which lasted for 9.5hrs and we ended up having an emergency C-section as baby boys heartbeat dropped.

How was the first week?

Recovery was very good with mum and hubby on my side, so blessed to have an amazing family
support.

Your little one

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

I always wanted and hoped to give a unique name to my cildren – after doing some research I found the
most beautiful name which meant strength of mountain – ARIN. When our boy was born my hubby and I looked at each other agreed that this suited him the best.

How did you find the fourth trimester?

Fourth trimester – A phase which is not a lot spoken about. A women goes through so many changes
and challenges. Nonstop bleeding, breastfeeding, blocked milk ducts, matitis, postnatal depression. The list in endless.


However, if you ask for help, give your body time to heal instead of being in an hurry, talk to someone it passes on nicely. My fourth trimester was the worst time of my entire pregnancy – C section incision infection, mastitis, blocked duct, feeling of a failed mama but I was blessed to have my mother by my side to help me overcome any issues I had and help in every step of the way.


The first two months were a roller coaster with sleepless nights, no routine, just going with the flow.
We had a bed side bassinet but ended up co sleeping with Arin. I just felt it was easy and I felt less
anxious because I could hear him breathe.

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

Lots of nappies, nipple cream, bed side bassinet, diaper pail, and lots of yummy lactation cookies and
blends.

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

I don’t know if we have a specific parenting style. We just go with the flow and try to teach my boy what’s the best is. Be gentle and kind and get him ready for this world.

Before Arin was born I used to tell my hubby I would not let him have gadgets or watch tv till he is 3-4 years old. But today here I am being a working mom – TV is a lifesaver when you need to cook or do
something.

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

A typical day is busy, chaotic and yet beautiful. Our day starts at 6am and ends at 11pm… We are a full-time working family, juggling between work, home, kindy and trying to give a perfect and happy life to our boy.

Tips & advice

  • Trust your Intuition – no one knows your kid better than you
  • Try to be gentle on yourself as a parent – You are doing the best you can don’t stress
  • Teach your kid how important a family is.

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.

Mother of twins | ‘Always trust yourself and your own body’

“I used to dream about being a mum of twins and lying on that bed and being given the news I was having twins was an actual dream come true and I couldn’t believe it. I wished it so much it actually happened!”

Your family

My fiancé James and I met almost 5 years ago on a holiday in Croatia. He is from NZ and I am
Romanian but was living in London with my family. After a lot of long back and forth from London
to Auckland I decided to stay here and see where life would lead us. And here we are today,
engaged for the last couple of years and two beautiful 1 year old twin boys Blake and Elliott.
Family is very important to us and while James’s family lives close to us my own family still live in
London and are yet to hold these beautiful boys because of everything that’s been happening with
Covid over the last 2 years. Hopefully they will be joining us here soon now that the borders have
opened.

Journey to conceiving and pregnancy

Our boys were somewhat of a surprise, we weren’t actively trying to conceive but also were happy
if it did happen.

When I found out I was pregnant it was super exciting and nerve wrecking at the
same time. I went for a dating scan and they were able to see a single yolk sac but nothing else so
they couldn’t confirm viability of the pregnancy. I was asked to go back in a couple of weeks to
check viability. It was a very anxious wait and when the day finally came I wanted to go by myself
as I didn’t know what news I would get and if I had lost the baby I wanted to process the news
alone in my own time.

After the sonographer started scanning she seemed somewhat unsure so she asked me if it was OK to perform a vaginal ultrasound to get a better picture to which of course I agreed. Then she proceeded to show me not one little heart beat but two!! I was thrilled to say the least and had so many questions going though my head. The most special thing is that ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to have twins, whenever I thought of myself pregnant, I always imagined it to be twins. I used to dream about being a mum of twins and lying on that bed and being given the news I was having twins was an actual dream come true and I couldn’t believe it. I wished it so much it actually happened! After my scan I called my fiancé and said ‘just wanted to let you know that the baby is okay and that his/hers brother or sister is too’ he was in complete shock and also so happy because him and his brother are fraternal twins as well.

How were your pregnancies?

I loved being pregnant and had no morning sickness at all, just nausea at times but nothing
terrible. I did have GD (Gestational diabetes) which I controlled with a balanced diet and I didn’t need any medication.

I didn’t love the constant anxiety of anything going wrong as pregnancies with identical twins
(sharing a placenta) are very high risk and things can go wrong very quickly. I had fortnightly
scan and fortnightly visits to my midwife on alternate weeks so that I could see or hear the
babies every week.

It was hard to be very excited until they reached viability at 23 weeks and after
that it became more real and we know that we have some hope of them making it closer to term
safely.

Birth story

It all was going great until about 28 weeks when my twin A started falling off his growth scale and
they said he had SIUGR (selective intra uterine growth retraction) and the blood flow through his
umbilical cord was slightly abnormal. This continued through to 31+4 when at this scan the sonographer sent me straight to the hospital as it had gotten much worse and baby wasn’t growing much at all.

From this point on I became an inpatient and it was a day to day situation hoping to keep them in
as long as possible.


I had reached 33 weeks exactly and it was a Friday night when I had only felt my baby A move only
twice all night. This was very unlike him as he was such a wriggler all the time. In the morning I
expressed my worry to the midwife that just came on shift on that Saturday morning and she
attached the ctg monitor to check on the babies.

twin-pregnancy-birth-mum-parenting

After over an hour there was some acceleration to baby A and I knew this wasn’t right so I informed the midwife. She proceeded to tell me my babies we “happy and fine” and moving around a lot. I then kept insisting they are fine. I asked for her to call the doctor. I waited and waited and was now worried and crying. She came back like nothing had happened and asked how I was. I asked her if she called the dr and she sad “no, it was a Saturday and they were busy.”

I completely lost it then and went full mode angry at her. I demanded again that she called the doctor. She then went away and came back with the nurse in charge and there they were both at at bottom of my bed telling me my babies were fine and moving around and I kept telling them they are wrong and baby A is not moving. I asked again for the dr. She finally called the dr. and thank god the dr on call was a lovely woman who I had seen before, and she was also a mother of identical twins herself.

She immediately rushed to see me and took me to a room to do a scan. She couldn’t believe that overnight baby A’s fluids dropped immensely and had barely any left and his dopplers were very abnormal. She got me back to my bed and got another dr to scan me again to confirm her findings. It took 30 mins for me to have my second scan and in that short time the doppler had become ever worse and now they were reversed too.


She then said to call my fiancé over as we were having the babies in the next couple of hours. This
dr switched surgeries with another so that she could be the one to deliver my twins.


I had a mostly uncomplicated C-section and the boys were born less than a minute apart. Baby A
(Blake) weighing 1.5kgs and baby b (Elliott) weighing 2.2 kgs. Blake was absolutely fine and was happy to be born I think, he was extremely alert with eyes wide open for about a while hour after he was born, it was quite funny he was looking around so much at everyone while he was being checked out by the nicu nurses.

Elliott wasn’t so happy to be born early and needed a bit of help with only general in nicu. They were both kept together at all times and were only in nicu for a day and a half after. They were then stepped down to scbu for growing and feeding.

After my C-section I was in recovery for about 30 minutes then asked to be taken to my
babies and spent some time with them there before they wanted to take me back to the ward for
monitoring. I wasn’t happy to be taken away from them but had to do it. Less than 12 hours after my
C-section I got myself out of bed and went to take a shower when the midwives spotted me
waddling around on the corridor and came offering pain relief. I was so determined to just go so I
took them and carried on with my day like I didn’t just have major surgery just hours before. I
wanted to walk to nicu to see my babies but they wouldn’t let me as it would have been too much
to do so soon so they got me a wheelchair and after taking me there I did not return for any pain
relief all day. When I went back towards the evening they gave me some paracetamol to take with
me as they knew I wouldn’t otherwise take anything. The second day I discharged myself from the
midwives and went to stay with my boys in scbu.

After 4 long weeks of being there establishing feeding and growing we were discharged to botany
birthing center where we only stayed 1 day because we didn’t really need to be there as everyone

there said we were fine to go home. Finally last year on mother’s day I got to take my boys home
and the real hard work and wonderful times started.

Your little ones

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

My partner and I each chose one of the boy’s names. I chose Elliott John because I always liked the
name Elliott and John is my dad’s name. And my partner chose Blake Philip because Sir Peter Blake is
one of his hero’s and Philip is his dad’s name. The boys have a hyphenated surname Pal-King both
mine and my fiancé’s as it was important to me to also carry through my family name and history
throughout further generations.

Tell us about the first few weeks with your baby

Since we were in hospital with preemie babies I was very strict about visiting. I don’t think we had
any visitors in the first 2 weeks and then we allowed James’s mum to visit in the third week when
Elliott was out of his incubator and was wearing clothes. There was strictly no face touching or
kissing as they were so fragile we didn’t want to risk anything. In the last week we have allowed
some more of his family to come visit but again the same rules applied. I did feel pressured to let
people cuddle the babies but stuck to my guns and did what was best for the babies.

How did you find the fourth trimester?

Adjusting with 2 little babies at home was a whole different world to us. Nothing was the same and life was all feeding, sleeping, changing and sooo many nappies. But it was a dream come true
and I loved every minute of it. The boys cried a lot and had lots of problems with their tummies. We
kept being told it was just colic and we struggled a lot for the first couple of months. I kept being
sent away with it’s either colic, or just reflux and to try other formula…until I had enough and
demanded they do allergy tests. Which of course, not to my surprise came back with them both being
allergic to cow’s milk protein and soy. I refused to leave the go without a prescription for dairy and
soy free formula.

After they started on the new formula they were like different babies, happy and
growing with no more sore tummies. I wish it would have been solved sooner rather than being
made to run around in circles for 2 months with babies with constant sore tummies.

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

Must haves for us especially in those early months were

  • Lots of burp cloths and stretchy swaddles.
  • Double pram was a must have.
  • Good car seats – we had the Cybex clod q ones which we could recline flat. It was great not having to wake babies if they fell asleep in the car and we could just take the capsules inside and recline them flat until the boys woke up. These were also fantastic when walking with the pram as they could go from the car to being clipped on the pram and reclined again as we knew it isn’t safe for the babies to be in most car seats scrunched up for too long.

Overrated items were

  • We got a Nuna leaf and that was a waste of money as neither of my boys cared for it whatsoever.
  • Another waste of money were velcro swaddles. The velcro was loud and would startle them every single time and there was no way of doing any stealthy nappy changes. So we gave up on those very quickly.

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

So far I am happy with my parenting from before they were born to now, I feel I do my best to
always advocate for them and make sure they have everything they need.


My boys do watch TV- they love moana, frozen and bluey. I always thought I wouldn’t let my children
watch TV this early but a little here and there is just fine. I also said I wouldn’t be the twin parent who always dresses their babies the same and omg that’s all I do now, I just can’t help it. They look so adorable in matching outfits.

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

I am a stay at home mum. Our days are pretty full on from waking up to going to bed. Lots of playing and
learning new things. They are currently learning to walk which is adorable to see them waddling
around. There’s a lot of sibling rivalry at times when one just wants me for himself and then they
both have a wee cry because I have to give them both my affection, but most of the time they get
along like a house of fire and play together and giggle at eachother. I often look at them playing
together and I still can’t believe they are mine.

Relationship

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

Having children had somewhat affected our relationship. We are both super busy with 2 babies now.
We both do our best to work together as a team. It was an adjustment for both of us as we have
little time for just ourselves now. We are continuously working at it and just doing our best to keep
adjusting to our life with kids now.

Tips & advice

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

  • Don’t worry about doing the house work as much- enjoy spending time with your babies and be
    present.
  • Don’t stress about buying your babies all of the gadgets/toys or latest trends- they just need you and that’s all.
  • Try to make some time for yourself when you can.
  • Ask your partner for help whenever you need it. A father is just as much responsible for the baby as a mother is.

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?

The most important thing I want anyone to take from my birth story and experience is always trust
yourself and your own body. If anything feels wrong speak up no matter how small it is. If anyone is ignoring your concerns, challenge them and do not trust their judgements. You know best.

To this day I think back on my birth and I have such anger towards that midwife. I can not express how her carelessness and ignorance could have cost me the life of my baby. I always hate to think what if I had listened to her and was satisfied with her saying the babies were “happy and moving around”. How long would it have been until I would have lost my baby A. Please always trust yourself first and never be afraid on inconveniencing any medical staff if you feel what they say is not right.

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.

Early pregnancy loss | “Things are allowed to be private, it doesn’t make them a secret”

We had the honor of interviewing this brave wahine to have a korero about her journey on trying to conceive, early pregnancy loss and healing. We know this will help so many parents trying to conceive and there will be so many people who will be able to relate to her story.

“It’s not a bad life, just a bad day – or sometimes days ” 

Your family

My partner and I are both Maori and live in Queensland Australia. We have one fur baby. An English bulldog. I’m 35 almost 36 and my partner is in his early 40’s. Neither of us have children from previous relationships. 

Relationship

How did you and your partner first meet?

We met on tinder and almost 2 years on, here we are! My partner has always wanted children. He has 13 brothers and sisters. I have a much more modest 3.

I had been single for a really long time and had actually decided I didn’t want children. But then once we got together, it was him that said he wanted my babies… bless him. It took me a little while to come to terms with being a mama, as I have an incredibly strained / non existent relationship with my mother and that held some trauma for me. I’d also lost a lot of weight, so I didn’t want to go backwards in that journey so to speak. But funnily enough, I am one of the most maternal people you’ll ever meet, and I ADORE children. 

When did you first start talking about having children/was there a discussion?

The time came to have my mirena removed and we spoke about if it happened, it happened. But having been on birth control for a number of years ( aka 22 years ) we knew my body might take some time. I also have mild PCOS and have had Endo since I was 14, so I wasn’t sure if we could even go natural trying to conceive. So decided to give it a year and see where we ended up. 

Journey to conceive

Tell us about your journey to conceive the first time?

I had initially thought we’d conceived around Christmas day, but I think it was more towards the 2nd week in January. I realized I didn’t get a period in Feb but had had Covid, so thought it was a side effect. It wasn’t until the smell of coffee and bacon made me want to hurl. That I thought I might be, and also my dog, she would not leave me alone.

I took a test the morning of the 25th of February and it was positive. Solid lines. I couldn’t get in to see my doctor until the 2nd of March and then had an ultrasound and bloods booked in for the next day. I couldn’t believe I could get in that fast, I actually took my cousin to the appointment as it was too short notice for my partner to get the day off.

Miscarriage 

We went and had the ultrasound first and the lady was a trainee, and told me that she was just having trouble, and it could be too early for a heartbeat. That then lead to a senior sonographer coming in. Thats when they told me there was nothing, no sac. Nothing. I had bloods, and they came back to say my HCG levels were also very low. 

They used the term, “early pregnancy loss” which is when you miscarry in the first 5 weeks. It was so strange as I still hated bacon and felt very nauseous. Which they said can happen.  I had never heard of epl, didn’t even know it was a thing. But it is, it’s also very, very common. But lots of women don’t talk about it as they feel it wasn’t ” real enough” 

I felt like I’d failed us, as a couple and a team. I’d let us down? my body wasn’t doing what it was designed to do. Why, Why couldn’t it. It was tough. My life long friends and my whanau I am closet to live at home in Nz, so I also felt incredibly isolated. Not many of my friends here understood, and many were probably a bit whimsy in the fact, that it was ” so early.”

Was there any signs before misscarying?

I’d had some feeling of heaviness, and I had a day where I bled in early Feb, but it was what I thought was me trying to have a period after Covid and was next to nothing, so didn’t take any notice, I also didn’t know I was pregnant at the time.

The period I experienced in March was horrendous. Like out of the gate awful. I’ve had some tough periods in my time, but this took the cake, and I almost thought I should go to the hospital. But I didn’t and again I felt like it was my body getting rid of everything and telling me that it was over. 

How have you coped with your loss, is there anything that has helped you?

I think for me, coming home helped. We booked a holiday for the first two weeks of May. I brought my tests home and planted them in our cemetery with my grandparents. To help, I guess close the chapter.  My partner asked if we could try again and I said it was on our holiday that we could “try” be more intentful with conceiving. But he also knows that it’s a big thing for me now, I don’t want to let us down. 

Reading, journaling and cleaning are my coping mechanisms. 

I have also just signed up to do an 8 week fitness challenge, to fall back in love with my body and to get her to do all the healthy things she needs to give us the best possible chance. 

Advice and tips

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

The best advice I’ve received was making sure I’d recognized my traumas so I was aware. I never wanted to be a vessel that carried trauma to the next generation.

We both want to bring a child into the world that only knows love. 

Also, that it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t fail. 

The worsts were “its ok, it wasn’t a baby”, ” it happens to everyone”, ” don’t want it so much and it will happen”, ” lose weight, it’ll help.” 

Tips for parents struggling to conceive

  • Communicate with your partner. talk about your fears of conceiving and also becoming a parent. 
  • Have goals outside of conceiving. We found planning for our holiday and making plans each month helped.
  • Understand everyone else, IS NOT YOU. Or your partner – or your sex life!

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.

27 weeks pregnant | Pregnancy journey after blighted ovum (anembryonic)

Your family

I came to New Zealand around 12 years ago for my PHD education from Turkey. (My ethnicity is Caucasian.)

 During my student life here, I enjoyed living in NZ and I wanted to continue my career here. My husband, boyfriend at that time moved to NZ for me and we built our life here.

All of our family and relatives are back in Turkey. 

Relationship

How did you and your partner first meet?

My husband was my sister’s friend, she introduced us. Our relationship started as a long-distance relationship and stood against all obstacles of distance.

When did you first start talking about having children/was there a discussion?

After getting married, we didn’t want to rush having a child. But we stopped using protection. We had a few goals in our life to achieve first, like getting into a higher position in our careers, travelling around the world, buying our first home etc.

We bought our first home during the pandemic and decided to focus on trying for a baby then. Although I was diagnosed with PCOS and thought that I would never have a child, my husband believed otherwise. (we didn’t get pregnant for another 2 years even though we stopped using contraception since the wedding).

We decided to focus on our health more, eating much healthier, going to the gym regularly, trying to avoid stress (even in Pandemic). After 3 months of a more healthy lifestyle, I got pregnant for the first time. Unfortunately, we found out it was a blighted ovum (anembryonic pregnancy). This is a condition that occurs when a gestational sac develops without an embryo. I had a miscarriage triggered by medication and they suggested we wait for 3 full cycles to continue trying again. I was devastated, but my husband kept me strong. He believed that it would happen again. Surprise surprise, we got pregnant on the first try after 3 cycles!

Pregnancy

How far along are you currently in your pregnancy?

27weeks

How did you find out you were pregnant?

I always had irregular periods but tracked it with an app. When the app said my period was late I didn’t think too much of it, but I had horrible sore breast. I took an at home pregnancy test when I was late, I was 6 weeks pregnant according to the app. 

What was the first thing you thought when you saw a positive test?

It was a big surprise since I believed that it would never happen due to PCOS and irregular periods. When the positive test showed up, it was a faint line and I couldn’t believe it. I repeated the home test and also did a blood test just to be sure. 

How did your partner react when you told them the news?

My partner was super happy, but not as surprised as I was. He believed more than me that our dreams would come true. He kept hugging me while I was crying.

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

In the first pregnancy, we wanted to share the news with our parents directly since we were so far away and they are old, it is already a weird time with the pandemic.

But after finding out it was a blighted ovum with our first pregnancy and miscarrying, we waited for the ultrasound confirmation with this pregnancy.

In both pregnancies, I shared with my work colleagues for safety reasons, I am working in the lab as a scientist and our project is on Covid-19 so I didn’t stay home during any lockdowns. Instead I worked longer, including public holidays. So I think our pregnancy journey was way different than any normal pregnancy in terms of sharing the news.

After 3months, we shared it widely among family and friends.

Did you do an announcement or gender reveal?

We didn’t do anything special, I baked a cake to make an announcement in the company and my husband just shared an ultrasound scan image on Facebook. We didn’t want to organize anything with Covid-19 around and I didn’t want to take any risks while pregnant. 

Did you experience morning sickness? What are the best ways you’ve found dealing with sickness?

I didn’t have too much morning sickness, it was more like car sickness when I was hungry and whenever I had some pretzels, it’s gone.!

What cravings did you have?

In the first trimester, I wanted to eat mostly very salty things. I would sometimes just lick salt with my finger. These cravings went away after starting iodine tablets.

Do you keep a journal/diary?

I wanted to keep a journal and buy the Made With Love diary but I always had a worry that pregnancy would end soon so I didn’t want to get too excited writing a journal or buying anything related to the baby. In both pregnancies, I don’t know why I was scared to look at my underwear or toilet paper to see any blood during the first trimester. I actually had brown spotting in both at around 9-10 weeks and I thought that I was miscarrying. I am just 27 weeks pregnant currently, and recently was the first time I purchased a baby item.

Birth

Do you have a birthing plan?

We decided to go to the hospital for the birth because we want to be safe with all possibilities. After the birth, we will stay in Warkworth Birth Centre.

What have you packed in your hospital bag? What have been the most recommended items?

I haven’t started to prepare yet but I have been checking blogs and asked my midwife about it. The most recommended items were

  • A merino suit
  • Beanie
  • And a swaddle for the baby

Advice and tips

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

Being away from stress and focusing on yourself instead of getting pregnant. I read a couple of books giving this advice. I think the biggest issue in our life is stress, it affects our hormonal balance.

Although I am a scientist myself, I am against diagnosing PCOS which is not studied deeply enough. When you have an irregular period, excess weight and excess body hair doctors simply name it as PCOS and ask you to lose weight which you have been struggling with already. Blood tests and scans show nothing wrong, but then you have these symptoms.

As long as you are not stressed and enjoy a healthy lifestyle, you have a more regular period in my belief. I always had my period when I went on a holiday.

Tips for parents trying to conceive

  • Just focus on yourself first
  • Enjoy your life.
  • Avoid stress!
  • Eat healthy and do regular exercise, but not to lose weight and look prettier. Just to feel healthier. 
  • Don’t think of pregnancy too much. Just track your period and enjoy sex!

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.

 

Vashti | Mother of 3 | Be present and enjoy the “now”

Something I hold onto dearly is the saying “your child will never be as young as they are today,
ever again”, it really is a bittersweet fact that keeps me going.

Your family

I live in west Auckland with my husband, Ryan; our 3 children – Malachi (6), Miriam (4), Ollie (6
weeks) and our American staffy, Guy. Ryan and I are both South African born but met in Auckland
shortly after I moved up from Taranaki. We enjoy the beach and bush walks, our weekends if not
raining are mostly spent outside.

motherhood-blog-parenting-advice-birth-story-southafrican


Journey to conceiving and pregnancy

My children were all planned, I have always felt very blessed to have conceived naturally and also
very shortly soon after deciding to try for a baby each time.

How were your pregnancies?

My first two pregnancies were nearly identical, no morning sickness and hardly any lingering
symptoms. My pregnancy with my last born, Oliver was surprisingly different. I had experienced
morning sickness for the first time and felt extremely exhausted most of the time, given we had a
really hot summer. I run a very strict routine at home, it keeps me sane and I am a stern believer
that it provides children the security they need to thrive – this had a huge part to play in how well we
functioned as a family despite me having less than half the energy I normally do.

Birth story

All my children were born vaginally and spontaneously at 38 weeks. After the first two, I feel like I was so familiar with my body and I had predicted the day I would go into labour correctly. My last labour and delivery was extremely fast, my active labour was 2 hours long and delivery was less than 10 minutes. So fast that I nearly birthed in the hospital reception area!

After I gave birth, I waited the minimum 3 hours at hospital before I was discharged and I came
home to vacuum my lounge. For me, it really comes down to perspective. I’ve been asked how I was
able to transition to three children basically on my own without outside help and it’s really come
down to my mentality, believing I’m capable in already half the work done. Having established
routines at home also made the transition a smooth one.

Your little ones

How did you choose your children’s names and does it have a meaning to you?

Ollie had no name for an entire week after he was born. Malachi and Miriam are both very
traditional, old names and we wanted something that wasn’t too modern. The few names I had in
mind during pregnancy ended up being a bad fit for him as I had one boy name and about 10 girl
names shortlisted. Eventually, my husband and I decided to go with one of the kids’ choices which
was Oliver.

Tell us about the first few weeks with your baby?

Ollie is 6 weeks and has only met one of his aunties. While the world may be in the recovery stages
of the pandemic, it has been really comforting for us to have him home and in no close contact with
anyone outside of our household. We have thankfully not had any trouble with people not respecting our boundaries.

How did you adjust in the fourth trimester? How has each subsequent arrival changed your family

My husband and I dedicated one on one time with the older two children to support them in their new roles. Emotions were high and my daughter (4) in particular found it challenging, dealing with feelings of displacement I suppose. The truth is, we knew a new baby would bring its own challenges and nothing could’ve prepared us or the children enough. There was no way of knowing how each child would respond to such a drastic change in our family dynamic. We are now on the other side of that steep hill, things are settling and we are enjoying the bigger family of 5.

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

With this being my third baby, I felt like a seasoned shopper if you will. I had learnt my lesson with
unnecessary purchases after my first baby, as we all do. I didn’t set up a nursery for Ollie, I made a
baby nook in my bedroom as I knew it was the most practical thing to do for us.

So far, I cannot rate the moonie bear sleep aid and shnuggle bath enough. I say these two are my top
must haves because I know they would’ve made the world a difference if I had them with my other
two babies.

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

I think the typical belief is that you become more relaxed and carefree with each consecutive child
but for me it’s been the opposite. My parenting has become more intentional with each one, I often
think back to my first baby and there has been a huge evolution in my approach to nearly
everything. I had a working mum while I was growing up, a nanny cared for me since I was 6 weeks
old and I never really tried to imagine what sort of mum I would be before I had kids. As a stay at
home mum now, my philosophy is ultimately to be present and to give my children a childhood they
don’t need to “recover” from in any way. With that being said, I know I will never be a perfect mum
but my goal is to always allow my children to see me own my downfalls, hear me apologize.

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

My days are full on, Malachi is year 1 and Miriam goes to kindergarten 3 days per week. Between
drop off and pick up time, I’m breastfeeding on demand, doing the housework and trying to
maintain some creative outlet with my photography. A little optimistic but I would hope come spring
this year, to start booking mini sessions. However, if that doesn’t happen so soon I’ll be okay with
that. Over time I’ve learnt that flexibility always prevails when you have kids.

Relationship

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

Since pregnancy with Ollie, being our third baby I think my husband and I have learnt to pick our
battles. We also went in very realistic and we spoke about our new reality very often. I think
expectations often throw people off when they’re expecting a new baby, so we made a point of
highlighting the possible challenges. My husband works full time but when he’s at home, he focuses
on the older two children and I get to enjoy my newborn which I’m absolutely thankful for. Finding a
balance is key.

Tips & advice

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

My tips for any new parent would be to

  • Do what best works for you and your family. Babies are all different as are we, and I think there are enough existing stressors of parenthood that we don’t need to add to it by comparing our journeys to anyone else’s. We all are busy winging it despite how that may appear on Instagram.
  • Another thing I would advise is to have a routine! With my first baby I had no routine for the longest
    time, the thought of a routine was so intimidating to me until I made the effort and realized how
    much easier it made my life. I suddenly had enough time to do everything I needed to do and more.
  • Lastly, I would say that the quote “you will never think back one day and feel like you spent too
    much time with your children” runs so true. So, be present and enjoy the “now”.

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?

I think it is so important for new parents especially, to know that everyone struggles. Our struggles
may be different but we all have them. Whenever you feel as if you don’t know what you’re doing,
remember we were all once a new parent. None of us came into parenthood with all the answers,
there was trial and error, experimenting and lots of tears involved.

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.