Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another year over!

I can't believe another year has passed by already...

2011 has been a year of healing for us. After losing two babies the year before (one from an ectopic pregnancy and one from a miscarriage), I started the year pregnant. I had a wonderful pregnancy and wasn't ready for it to end. Two weeks before my due date in June our precious boy, Gideon, was born in an exhilarating yet challenging homebirth. I faced a lot of my own demons while birthing him but managed to push through that and experience another amazing birth.

Gideon is truly our little miracle. We have spent the last 6 months holding him close and relishing our time with him. He has been in our arms the majority of his life. We are enjoying getting to know our little boy and seeing his personality emerge as he grows. He makes us smile everyday and is such a happy and content little boy.

Jacob had his final year of Kinder this year and we have seen some amazing changes in him this year. When I think back to how he was when he started kinder, he is a completely different boy. So much more social these days, interacting with his peers, and taking delight in all he does. I am so very thankful that we chose Steiner for his Kinder. He has been nurtured so much by his environment and his amazing Kinder teacher, who we credit for a lot of the positive changes in him. Next year will bring new challenges and fun with Jacob starting at the Steiner School. He's already impatiently asking when he can go to school!

Esme has changed a great deal this past year - she's become such a little girl. Or should I say 'tom-girl'? I've never known another kid who can create such a mess as her - the second she puts her clothes on in the morning she is filthy dirty!! She has such a strong personality these days and is very definate with what she wants (which leads to lots of clashes between her and Jacob!) She's very much the chatterbox - some days it's hard to get a word in! Esme starts little Kinder next year which she has been eagerly waiting for all this year (it's hard to get her to leave when we drop Jacob off these days).

It's been wonderful watching our family grow and seeing Esme and Jacob become big 'sister' and big 'brother' this year too. Jacob has really taken to the role and adores Gideon. There's nothing he won't do for his little brother. And I think the love is mutual too - Gideon always has a smile for Jacob whenever he sees him. Esme, on the other hand, likes to smother him a little too much!

As for me, I started back at work one day a week this year. I only made it to halfway through the year at work though due to having Gideon (I wasn't planning on being pregnant when I returned to work!) I really enjoyed the short time I had there though. I taught a class of 6 students all with physical and multiple disabilities. It was a different type of class to ones I have had previously so it presents new challenges and fun for me! I'm hoping to return to work for one day a week next year.

I have continued to volunteer for the Australian Breastfeeding Association this year. My main role this year has been that of co-group leader. I took myself off email and phone counselling halfway through this year so that I could focus on parenting my little baby. Actually, the day that Gideon was born was meant to be my last helpline shift! I had him about 45 minutes before my shift was due to start. Chris couldn't work out how to log me off so the phone kept ringing for ages until he figured it out!

Chris has continued to work as a technical assistant at Swinburne University. I think he's a little frustrated with his work at the moment though and would like to move on though. He's completing a three day chocolate course in a couple of weeks which is something he has wanted to do for ages. Maybe a career change to professional chocolatier?!

I'm really looking forward to 2012. It's going to bring some big changes for our family (and maybe a new business venture from me!) but it's going to be good! Bring it on!

Friday, December 30, 2011

More adventures in baby-led solids...

I remember the excitement we felt when Jacob started solids for the first time. I had so much much fun pureeing food and feeding it to him with a spoon. It didn't matter that he may not have been ready for solids - he was 6 months old and he was going to have food! By the time Esme came around we had discovered baby-led solids. We had a lot of fun watching her learn to eat by herself.

Now Gidoen is 6 months old and it's time for us to embark on the baby-led solids adventure with him too. I can't say I've been especially looking forward to this. It's taken me this long to realise that the time when a baby is feeding exclusively from the breast is a really special time. But I realise that Gideon is growing up and these changes are inevitable. Gideon has been giving us signs for quite a while that he is ready for food, he's been reaching, grabbing and trying to put food in his mouth for ages. In fact, a week or so before he was 6 months he grabbed a leaf of lettuce of my plate and started eating that!

Reaching for and grabbing food off Daddy - we can't stop him!

We haven't made a concerted effort to give Gideon food. Usually it's just whatever is taken off our plates or what we are eating at the time. He's tried a few different steamed vegies so far: potatoes, sweet potato, carrot, broccoli and a few different fruits: strawberries, banana, avocado and apple. So far the winner seem to be broccoli and apple. The apple is great because he will just gnaw on it and it seems to really help his sore gums. Broccoli is great because it's so easy for him to hold on to!

Me? Making a mess? Never!

I can't imagine doing solids any other way. Baby-led solids is an easy, hassle-free way to introduce solids and it means that the baby is free to go at their own pace instead of being made to eat food before they are ready. As long as you don't mind a bit of mess that is - but that's all part of the fun!!

video

PS. Apologies for the video on the side - it was taken on Chris' phone!

My biggest sewing project to date!

The completed card table playhouse - a solid week's worth of sewing!

This Christmas I decided to make a joint present for my friend's three children. I'd seen card table playhouses on Etsy before and decided that was what I wanted to make for them. Luckily, the person that made the playhouses also had patterns that could be purchased too (I don't always bother with patterns but for something this size I thought it would be helpful and cause me less stress!)

I don't think I realised before I started just how much work making this playhouse involved! It's relatively simple to make but working with the sheer amount of felt this project required was hard work (and a LOT of sewing!) Luckily, I was able to use invisible thread so didn't have to keep swapping everytime I sewed on a different coloured piece of felt.

This project was a solid week of work - sewing every opportunity I got (which is kind of limited when you have 2 kids and a baby that is constantly attached to you!) It means lots of late nights, and I am very grateful for my parents coming up for a day to look after the kids while I sewed! Anyway, thought I would share some photos of my achievements - I was very proud of my work in the end!

The front of the playhouse - the door opens and the mailbox also opens and shuts so letters can be posted.

The side of the playhouse - with curtains that can open and shut

The back of the playhouse - the fruit is attached by velcro so can be removed.

I'm hoping to make one of these for Esme for her birthday in the middle of the year too but for the moment I've had enough of these playhouses ;)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Good-bye Cheeky


This morning I went to check on our pet bunny, Cheeky, and found her in a very bad way. She was flopped on her side in her cage looking really lethargic which is very unlike her. Usually whenever we walk into the laundry she puts her ears up and jumps up at the side of her cage to say hello. I took her out of her cage and she just laid on the floor. When she attempted to get up she just couldn't. Almost like she was paralysed.

I frantically rang Chris and he rang the rabbit clinic (which we are lucky to have very close by). In the meantime, I quickly got the kids ready to run out the door. We headed down and then discovered there was no vet on until later so we turned around and headed to another clinic. As I was driving, I was watching Cheeky's tummy rise as she was breathing. She was having more and more trouble breathing. Then I couldn't see it move anymore. I pulled the car over and picked her up. I think she was alive still at the point and she was moving her legs a tiny bit. I cuddled her and then she was gone.

There was no point heading to the vets anymore so we turned around and I drove home in tears. Kind of hard explaining to the kids what had happened. Although they were quite matter-of-fact about it all: 'Cheeky's died and now Mummy's sad'. I told them that they could pat her and say good-bye when we got home and that we would dig a hole and bury her in the backyard.

Our little friend has been with us for 3 years now and we are really going to miss her. She was our first bunny. She has been such a friendly little thing. She's often been out in the house, hopping around, nibbling on food the kids have left under their chairs at dinnertime (although we think that's what killed her in the end - eating some purple flowers that Esme had left under the table). We will miss feeding her dandelion flowers and having her greet us each morning. I will even miss having to clean her cage I think.

Good-bye Cheeky, may you hop freely wherever you are!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

To my little boy


6 months. That's how old you are today. These past months have gone so quickly yet it feels like you have been in our lives forever. We can't imagine life without you now. From the moment we found out we were pregnant with you we knew you were a blessing. After losing two babies, we finally realised what a precious miracle life is.

You have been in our arms constantly from the moment you were born. Simply because we didn't want to let you go. You sleep in our arms or the sling during the day and you sleep on my chest at night. I can count on one hand the amount of times you've slept by yourself. I love the comforting weight of you sleeping on my chest. Listening to those little snores as you sleep, feeling your chest move up and down, rubbing my face on your soft hair. People often ask me how I manage to sleep with you on me at night but it's really not a problem. I wouldn't have it any other way and I don't care how long you do this for because I know that you won't be little for long.

You are such a happy and content little baby. Whether this was meant to be your personality anyway, or whether it's because of how we parent you, I don't know. I'm inclined to believe it's a combination of both. Friends often comment on how they rarely hear you cry. Well, you do cry (trust me - you can't be a perfect angel all the time!) but you always calm down and smile when someone comes to talk to you or you are picked up. And even when you do cry it's not a loud cry, it's more of a 'someone come and pay me some attention' protest.

You are such a little socialite (you definitely don't take after me!) You love to watch people very intently. When they realise you are watching and turn to give you some attention you give them a big beaming smile. You adore your big brother and sister and always give them lots of smiles. But you are particularly fond of Jacob who will sit with you for ages and talk to you and play with you. Esme can be a bit rough with you sometimes although her silly antics often make you giggle, a real belly laugh which makes us all laugh too. You love to chat to us too and definitely make sure you're heard loud and clear in this busy house!

You are trying your hardest to crawl these days (probably because you just want to catch up to your big brother and sister!) You can get up on your hands and knees now but can't quite get the forward motion happening without falling on your face. You can get around quite well though by rolling and by scooting backwards.

I love the quiet times we share together. The times when your brother and sister are elsewhere and it's just us. Being silly with you and being rewarded by those beautiful smiles. Or watching your face as you sleep on my chest or snuggled up in the sling. I love that zonked out look - mouth half open, a tiny bit of dribble escaping from the corner of your mouth (usually being soaked up by me!) I love our quiet breastfeeds at night while the rest of the house sleeps, both of us drifting back to sleep as you feed.

Yes, I truly believe this is bliss.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Cookies

This recipe comes courtesy of the cookbook my mother-in-law put together for us as a wedding present. They make really yummy, chewy biscuits. I put red and green glace cherries in to make them look more Christmas-y.

Ingredients

125g butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2tsps vanilla essence
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1/2tsp bi-carb soda
90g nuts, chopped (I used pecans and slivered almonds)
125g choc chips
90g shredded coconut
90g sultanas
90g glace cherries, chopped


Method

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and milk.

Sift together flour and bi-carb and stir into butter mixture. Add nuts, choc-chips, coconut, sultanas and cherries and mix well.

Place heaped teaspoonfuls on a greased biscuit tray (or line with baking paper), bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden.

Remove from oven and let cool on tray for 10 minutes before putting on a wire rack.


Enjoy :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Angels


These Christmas angels are very easy to make (although may require some adult help for construction) and look great. The kids had a really fun time decorating them and can't wait to hang them on the Christmas tree (when we finally get around to getting our Christmas tree that is!)

What you will need:

Thin cardboard
silver foil
small Styrofoam ball
small paper doilies
toothpicks (if desired)
black texta
scissors
glue or sticky tape
glitter or tinsel
ribbon or wool
pin

How to make it:

Draw a circle with a diameter of about 20cm on the cardboard and cut out (I just traced around a bread plate).

Cover with silver foil (or you can leave it plain).

Cut a slit into the centre of the circle.

Roll the circle into as tight a cone as possible.

Get the kids to decorate!

Fold the doily in half and glue to the back of the angel.

Use black texta to draw a face on the styrofoam ball (older kids could do this themselves but mine couldn't). Poke the toothpick into the ball and put through the top of the cone (you may need to make the hole bigger). Glue into place.

Make a halo for the angel out of tinsel and glue onto head.

Attach a loop of ribbon or wool and pin to the angel's head (if you want to hang them on the christmas tree!)

Esme busy putting glitter on her angels - we like a lot of glitter in this house!!

Jacob chose to cover his in silver foil first then put glitter and tinsel on

Esme with her finished angels, very proud of her work!

Jacob with his finished angels

It's a great way to keep the kids entertained - Jacob spent ages doing his (although can't say the same about Esme - she was more interested in what Daddy was doing outside!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Beaded Christmas Angels


I came across instructions for these beaded Christmas angels in a craft shop I was visiting recently and had to give them a go! They are really easy to make and make great, personalised christmas decorations to hang on your Christmas tree.

Instructions

Materials:
round letter beads
60 (approx) small beads
40 (approx) medium beads
2 large beads
24g wire (in either gold or silver)
round nosed pliers
wire cutters

Body:
Using 1 metre (approx) of wire, thread on your letter beads and medium beads and centre them. On the left wire add 8 medium beads then using right wire thread through beads from the other direction. Pull firmly and centre on wire. Continue each row like this until the last two beads (each row decreases by 1 bead). Then use larger body bead as row 1. The leftover wire forms wings and arms (put aside)




Head:
Using 25cm (approx) wire, thread on 15-20 small beads. Put wire together and thread through large head bead. Now thread left wire through one side of the body bead and right wire through other side of body bead. Pull tight (this joins them together).

Arms:
Using 1 wire coming out of body, thread on 10 small beads (same as halo). Use your round nose pliers to make a loop to secure the end. Repeat for the other arm.



Wings:
Using 1 wire coming out of body bead, thread on 20-25 small beads. Thread back through body bead. Repeat for other side. Secure by twisting both wires together.


*NOTE: I used 4mm beads, 6mm beads and 8mm beads for my angel. You could probably make it with slightly smaller beads for the arms, wings and halo and slightly larger beads for the body and head*

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The story of us

13 years ago today I started 'going out' with an amazing man. The years have passed by so quickly and it's hard to believe that Chris and I have been together for so long. I feel blessed everyday to have married such an amazing man and such a wonderful father. I can't imagine life without him.

I thought I'd share the story of how we met. We've actually known each other for longer than 13 years as we first met when I was in year 8 and Chris was in year 7. High School 'sweethearts' I guess you could say! We were both learning instruments at the time (Chris the clarinet and saxophone and me the flute and clarinet). Our music teacher decided to start a band and my friend and I joined up.

And so the story begins. I developed a bit of a crush on Chris but it wasn't until I was in year 10 that I decided to ask him out (for the first time as Chris likes to remind me!) I don't think Chris was really that fussed about 'going out' with me. He's told me many times before that he only said yes because I'd asked him. Little did he know what he was getting into ;) Our 'dates' consisted of me inviting him to my church youth group activities and of Saturday night family dinners at his place or mine (yep, we were real party goers!!)

Anyway, after a few months of 'going out' I decided I'd had enough and 'dumped' him (ahhh, the dramas of the teenager!) We stayed friends over the remaining years at high school and still saw each other frequently at band activities.

We lost touch briefly when I finished school in 1997 and went to university and Chris was doing year 12. But later that year I got in touch with him again when I wanted to borrow his clarinet to show the prep kids on teaching rounds. I still found that I had feelings for him and while returning the clarinet we ended up holding hands. I remember Chris getting dizzy and having to sit down. Nothing more happened then though and I went home without us even talking about what had happened (as you do!)

A few weeks later, I went along to Chris' Queen's Scout Presentation as he'd invited me to come. I don't remember much about the actual night, I just remember driving him home and sitting outside his gates talking for ages. I also remember that we kissed for the first time that night. It was such an amazing moment. Even though our wedding anniversary is the 22nd of November I have more of an emotional tie to the 27th of November and always remember that date as being the day we got together.

At first, I wasn't sure where our relationship was going. I hadn't rekindled our friendship with any motives in mind. But it wasn't long before I knew that Chris and I would be together for a long time. It was such a blissful start to our relationship. Chris was working late shifts on the weekend at the petrol station and I was working over the road at Franklins (as it was known then!) so I used to go over and spend my breaks with him and often after my shift had finished as well so I could drive him home when he finished (until he got his license at least!)

I never realised at the time just how much happiness one person could bring to my life. Chris is the complete opposite to me in many ways which makes us the perfect couple. He makes me laugh when I am sad. Comforts me when I am upset. Calms me down when I am having one of my many stress attacks. Gives me confidence in myself. Fixes things when I get frustrated with something. Puts up with my horrible temper. He tells me everyday that he loves me and that I am beautiful and even though I roll my eyes every time he says that it does actually means a lot to me.

Since having kids I have seen him in a different light too. He is the most amazing, caring father to our three children. Always happy to play with them, to hold them, to do things with them, to give them so much love. He is happy to do most of the night time parenting and to stay up with an awake child because he knows that I don't cope very well with sleep deprivation! Being an amazing Father who is present in his children's life is what makes a true man.

I know I often take take him for granted, but I am so appreciative and thankful for the amazing man I have in my life. You make my life worth living, Chris! I love you!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A box of Mushrooms


We've been growing our own mushrooms lately. We've tried before but haven't had much success (probably because we bought the box from our local hardware store and it had been sitting there for a while). Chris disovered that they were selling mushroom boxes at our local Farmer's Market so he grabbed one when he was there one week. We've had great success with these ones. We are currently on our third crop of mushrooms and they have been growing beautifully. We keep them under our sink and spray them with water every day - easy really! And there really is nothing yummier than eating mushrooms freshly picked!

If anybody has a super yummy mushroom recipe please feel free to share too!

Esme's $2 dress

I have written before about how I enjoy using upcycled material from the op shop to create new items. This dress for Esme that I recently created has been made using a pillowcase I found at the op-shop for 75 cents recently. I made up a pattern using an old dress of Esme's and simply added some bias binding as edging and for the straps. There was already a pretty ruffle around the pillowcase which made a nice edging for the bottom of the dress without needing any additional sewing.

The completed dress

Esme was pretty impressed by it too!

Total cost of the dress was $2.33! Not a bad price really and it really was so simple to sew!

Elimination Communication: cues and optimum timing for the young baby

We have been cruising along really well with Elimination Communication at the moment. We are having lots of catches these days (it's rare that we have to clean a pooey nappy now!), lots of dry nappies even when Gideon has been wearing one for a while and we've even been out for short trips without nappies. It seems that Gideon is really 'getting' this EC thing and he will hang on until we offer him the potty these days.

So, I thought it's time to talk about some of the cues that Gideon shows when he needs to go to the potty. We've found that timing plays an important role in EC'ing, as well as reading cues. It's all about understand when baby is most likely to need to 'go'. These are some of the times when we find we're most likely to get a catch (when you are first starting out with EC it's really helpful to try offering the potty at these times):

  • First thing in the morning when Gideon wakes up (we need to take his nappy off and offer him the potty as soon as he wakes up generally, otherwisewe we miss that one!)
  • After a day sleep.
  • After a breastfeed (this is the time he's most likely to need to poo!)
  • Before we put a nappy on (generally Gideon will wear a nappy when he sleeps but if we offer him the potty before a sleep this will usually mean a dry nappy when he wakes!)
  • When a nappy is dry (yep, it does happen often - it usually means that we catch a big wee!)
  • Before and after a car trip.
  • We have found that after a breastfeed (particularly a big one!) that we need to offer Gideon the potty more frequently

When Gideon was a newborn we spent a lot of time watching him when he had nappy free time and getting to know his cues. It took a while for us to get started with EC with him as he would get upset when we tried him on the potty and we didn't want to push it. I'm glad we had this time though as we were well aware of his cues when he did start to want to use the potty. Here are some of the main cues we have seen that Gideon needs to 'go':

  • Fussing and getting on and off the breast when he is feeding (usually this means he needs to do a poo!)
  • Becoming more wriggly and squirmy.
  • Crying and becoming upset.
  • My own instinct - sometimes I will just get a feeling that Gideon needs to 'go' (usually if I ignore that feeling I end up with wee on me!)
  • Cold shivers (I have noticed that Gideon will give a little shudder when he does a wee these days)

Of course, we still have our misses but that's part of the fun of Elimination Communication! Gideon will have days when he just doesn't want to use the potty and days when he waits to use it every time he needs to 'go'. It's not about catching every wee or poo with EC, it's about the journey of getting to know your baby better and I'm definitely enjoying that journey with Gideon!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Elimination Communication out and about

Although we practice Elimination Communication, we mostly do it at home and haven't really been brave enough to venture out with a nappy free baby yet. Today we were kind of thrown into having to use EC when out and about when we realised we'd gone out and forgotten to take the nappy bag (containing, of course, all of Gideon's nappy supplies) There was a moment of panic as we wondered what to do. We discussed briefly whether we should return home and get the stuff but 'home' was a 90 minute round trip away. Then I thought I may have had a terry towel stashed somewhere in the car as I usually keep emergency supplies in case of accidents but no such luck today! So we decided to try our luck with EC.

I actually found EC out and about quite hard - I have great respect for those that practice it full time!! There was the obvious thing of trying to find somewhere for Gideon to 'go' often. At home we would usually sit him on the potty about every 15 minutes or so (more if he's just had a feed, less if it's been a while since a feed). Then every time we'd offer him a wee when out, we'd have to take his nappy off and put it back on again to avoid accidents (not so important at home but kind of important when out and about!)

I know it probably shouldn't bother me, but I was also conscious of other people around us. I didn't want to offer Gideon a wee in view of other people as I was worried that some people might be offended or be a little put off by it. While we ate lunch it was easy to have his nappy off and offer him a wee when he needed it as we purposely chose a secluded spot but when walking around it was a little harder and trying to find a toilet to take him to every 15 minutes or so was kind of tricky!

It was also hard to get the positioning right. At home, Gideon is used to sitting on the potty and I think he's learnt to associate that position with 'going'. I tried to hold him over the toilet in the traditional EC position a couple of times but didn't have any success. So I think we need to work on using the toilet as well as the potty at home.

In the end, we reached a bit of a compromise. We gave Gideon nappy free time while we were sitting in the one spot and then offered a couple of toilet stops during the time we were out. By doing that we were able to stop his nappy getting too wet and survive with only one nappy for the day! We're lucky that we're so successful with catching Gideon's poos with EC. He rarely goes in a nappy these days and will purposely wait until we put him on the potty to 'go'. So we knew that we weren't going to have to worry about a dirty nappy while out! And he did indeed prove us right by doing a poo in the potty as soon as we got home!

One thing today has shown me is that we can use EC when out and about. It's kind of nice to know that we will be able to survive if we're caught somewhere without nappies ;) And hopefully this will give me the confidence to practice EC out and about more often!

'Beautiful Birds' at Healesville Sanctuary

As Friend of the Zoo (FOTZ) members we are given the opportunity to attend special activities at the different zoos across the year. There are usually a few activities for kids to attend so when we see something that will interest our kids we book them in.

Today's activity was at Healesville Sanctuary and the theme was 'beautiful birds'. FOTZ volunteers read the kids a variety of books about Australian birds and then the kids made a bird feeder to take home and hang in the garden. We've made bird feeders before but this was a slightly different way of making them.

The kids had a great time making these bird feeders and getting messy - glucose syrup is very sticky as Esme found out!

The finished bird feeder - we look forward to hanging them outside when they dry!

Just in case you want to have a go at making these, here's the recipe.

Wild Bird Feed Treats

Ingredients
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp glucose syrup
4 cups birdseed and peanuts, fruits, berries, raisins or anything else the birds enjoy

Method
Mix together and place in a disposable cup with a wire hanger
Leave to dry overnight
Hang in a tree for the wild birds to enjoy!

We ended the session with afternoon tea and then took the kids to see a few of the other animals before we headed home. I really do love being FOTZ members, it means we can just pop into any of the zoos without having to justify the cost by staying all day!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The only three baby items you'll ever need...

I entered an online competition the other day and one of the requirements was to say what you couldn't live without during the baby stage. It got me thinking about what essentials you really do need when you have a baby. When you are preparing for your first, it's so exciting to go out and shop for baby goods. Cot. Change table. Pram. Bath. Swing. Rocker. I could go on. There's so many things you can buy for your baby and of course you're convinced that each of these things are essential to have for your baby (or so everyone tells you anyway *sigh*) We've been there and done that. We didn't go as far as to get the matching sheets/curtains/mobile/wallpaper but we did buy a lot of 'stuff'!

So, after having three kids and now having to find places for all the items we bought and didn't need, I've come up with a list of the only three baby items you'll ever need (bearing in mind that a carseat is non optional ;))

Boobs. Yep. Not only do they provide food for your baby (and the best kind of food for your baby, I might add), they also provide a source of comfort for your baby, a means of calming them, a way of getting them to sleep and a beautiful bonding experience for both you and your baby. And the benefits even continue as they grow older, I've used them to calm tantrums, to settle a tired child, to heal bumps and bruises, to rehydrate a sick child and to cool a fever. The list goes on! The best thing about boobs though is that they are free (find out how much formula costs here)

Sling. It has to be a decent one though. I love the Hug-a-Bub or a simple wrap type of carrier from birth to 6 months. It holds my baby securely against me and is so comfortable for me as well. I wouldn't be anywhere without my sling. Two of my kids have hated the pram (and by the time I got to #3 I'd given up entirely on the pram!) There's also no time to try and settle #3 in his own bed, it's much easier and less stress if I settle him in the sling. And of course there are so many awesome benefits of holding your baby close.

Cloth Nappies. I've developed a bit of a cloth nappy hoarding habit lately. We didn't always use cloth nappies though. Up until Jacob was 12 months old we used disposables but after hearing from friends about how awesome modern cloth nappies were we were hooked. Now I'm just astounded at how much money families are likely to spend on disposables I love modern cloth nappies (and probably have far too many of them!) but seriously, you don't even need those. A heap of terry towel nappies and some covers, some flannels for wipes and you're set! Easy. And cheap. Of course, we also combine our cloth nappying with Elimination Communication which makes it even cheaper but I don't make the assumption that EC will be everyone's cup of tea ;)

As for the rest of our well-intended baby items, I can tell you what has happened to them...


The cot: Currently used as a storage space for other unused junk. Gideon sleeps in bed with us. Preferably on our chest.

The change table: Sits unused in our room (although I have to admit it is useful for storing baby stuff under!) We generally change Gideon on the floor downstairs - too much effort walking up those stairs!

The bath and stand: Sits unused in our (unused) shower. Gideon has his bath with the other kids (when we get around to actually giving him a bath that is!) or in the shower with us.

The pram: Sits unused in our garage. It was in the boot of the car until we decided it was just taking up space!

Play arch: Currently stored in the cot. It's pointless getting it out anyway because the baby doesn't get a chance to use it due to the older kids playing with it (what is it with older kids suddenly wanting to play with baby toys again?!)


I'm sure I could think of many other things we have bought and haven't used too!

What's something you've bought for your baby and haven't used?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Muesli making Monday

We love homemade muesli in this house and go through it quite quickly. So Mondays in our house have officially been declared 'muesli making Mondays' and we make a fresh batch of muesli to last us the week. After making it for so many months, I have had lots of time to perfect our recipe! Our basic recipe is this:

MUESLI

Ingredients

4 cups rolled Oats
2 cups processed Bran
1 cup Oat Bran
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1./2 cup flaked almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin kernels
1/2 sunflower seeds
90g butter
90g honey

Method

Combine dry ingredients.
Melt butter and honey, add to dry ingredients and mix well.
Spread on a tray and cook in oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.
Stir muesli and cook for a further 15 minutes or until nicely browned.

We all like different dried fruit with our muesli so I store it plain in a container. Then we all add the fruit we want each morning. I have a cupboard full of dried fruit (some of it dried by us in our dehydrator)

My favourite way to have it though is with dried apples and homemade yoghurt - yum!

How do you do your muesli?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

As nature intended

We were at the Melbourne Zoo today with the kids and were lucky enough to see a baby elephant having a breastfeed from it's Mother. It was so beautiful to watch the Mother and baby elephant gently touch trunks as the baby breastfed. It reminded me just how lucky I have been to have experienced such a beautiful bonding experience with all three of my kids by breastfeeding them. And it's clear that this is how nature intended things to be - breastfeeding is nature's way of guaranteeing we fall in love with our children!

Monday, September 19, 2011

First tooth

At just three months of age, Gideon has got his first tooth (well, two actually since he decided to pop out another tooth since this photo was taken) He'd been a bit unsettled lately but we'd put it down to normal baby behaviour. Turns out the he was actually teething! These first two teeth came too soon for our amber teething necklace to have any effect (it only just arrived in the post last week!) The other two kids were early teethers (4.5 and 4 months) but 3 months is a little too early for my liking! Good-bye gummy smiles!

Farm Story Bag

I recently saw a felt bag and farm animal set on Etsy and thought it was a great idea. So I set myself a challenge to make one myself. This is the end result! This bag was made specifically as a birthday present for my friend's one year old. The bag is big enough to fit a book inside and the animals are all perfect sizes for little hands. The book 'The Big Red Barn' fits perfectly with the bag. I'm very proud of myself as I made all the patterns myself.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Jungle Safari


I always like having a craft activity for the kids to do at parties. I find that often having a structured activity can help a quiet child feel more at ease at a party (I'm thinking specifically of my own children here who often become overwhelmed at parties where there are lots of people). Alternatively, it can help a child who has lots of energy focus and calm down.

Esme's birthday party this year had a jungle theme so our craft activity was to make some binoculars to take on our jungle safari. Here's how we made them:

What you will need:

Toilet rolls
Masking tape
String
Cellophane
Textras, glitter, sequins, etc for decorating

How to make it:

Get the kids to decorate two toilet rolls.

Cut out two circles of cellophane approximately the same size as the holes of the toilet rolls. Use masking tape to stick on the ends of the toilet rolls.

Use masking tape to stick the toilet rolls together.

Cut a piece of strong big enough to hang around the kid's neck. Use masking tape to stick on each side of the toilet roll.

One of the party games was to go on a 'safari' and find animals hidden outside (I had some cheap plastic animals that I purchased off ebay). The kids were able to use the binoculars they had made to help 'find' the animals.

Jacob was so intent on using his binoculars to spot animals that the other kids had already found most of them before he got to them!

All of the kids had lots of fun making their binoculars and then getting to find the animals.

Elimination Communication and the new baby

I've written before about using elimination communication with Esme and how I thought it helped her to toilet train earlier. For those that don't know what Elimination Communication is, it's basically reading your baby's cues and helping them to get rid of their waste somewhere else apart from a nappy. We love it because it means less nappies to clean, is better for our baby's skin and, believe it or not, a great bonding experience! I love that I am able to read my baby's cues and know instinctively when they need to eliminate. Check out this website if you want more information.

We embarked on our EC adventures again when Gideon was born but we hadn't been overly successful until now. I've found it a bit more difficult EC'ing with a boy than a girl at this early age - simply because positioning to catch wees for a boys requires a bit more effort and coordination. We use a potty to catch waste and hold Gideon over it in the traditional EC hold. He wasn't particularly happy to be held in this position in the early days so instead I have been leaving his nappy off and watching him to learn what 'cues' he is giving for needing to eliminate.

The other day I decided to try him again over the potty as I hadn't tried for a while. So straight after a feed when he was happy I took his nappy off and held him over the potty. Instant success this time! I can't tell you how excited I was to get that first catch (ahhh, the joys of motherhood!) I think that first catch was actually the hardest. We're been having quite a bit of success since that time too and it's so lovely not having to clean those nappies!

I don't profess to being a purist when it comes to Elimination Communication. In an ideal world I'd love to practice EC full-time but it just isn't practical for us at the moment. I'm usually in and out of the car with all three kids across the day or busy with the older two and I don't always have the time to watch Gideon for his 'cues'. But I love that just by doing it part-time I'm learning to understand my baby a little better and minimising our environmental impact!

I'll be back later to write about 'cues' that Gideon gives when he needs to eliminate and the best times to practice Elimination Communication.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Monkey Business


Esme often gets called a 'cheeky monkey' around here. So for her birthday this year I decided to make her a monkey costume (it also tied in nicely with the jungle theme we had for her party) This monkey costume was quite easy to make and Esme absolutely loved it! As soon I had made it she wanted to put it on and had a great time running around the house with it on.

Jungle Fever

One of Esme's favourite books recently had been 'Hooray! There's a hippopotamus on Our roof having a birthday party' which is all about a jungle birthday party. So, when it came time for Esme's 3rd birthday party, we knew exactly what theme to have!

I made a special monkey costume for her to wear on the day (according to Esme, monkeys say rah!)


We played some special party games and went on a safari to find animals using the binoculars we made.

Jacob loved using his binoculars to spot the animals

Then it was time for the special jungle birthday cake that Daddy made.

Esme blew out the candles and then had to put the knife in a long way to cut the cake!

We had a lovely day celebrating Esme's birthday with family and friends - thank you to everyone who came for making it special!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The funny things they say

Now that the kids are older they are often having conversations between themselves. So often they make me laugh with the things they say. I couldn't resist sharing this conversation they had in the car the other day.

Jacob: When I grow up I'm going to be a Daddy.
Esme: And Esme is going to be a Mummy. Esme might have a baby in her tummy.
Jacob: Yeah, you can have a baby in your tummy.
Esme: Esme might have Gideon her tummy.
Jacob: (laughing) No, you can't have Gideon in your tummy.
Esme: Ohh.
Jacob: Gideon was in Mummy's tummy. Gideon came out between Mummy's legs.

I love this age!

Friday, August 19, 2011

That first smile

Last night I got my first proper smile from Gideon. He's been doing 'kind of' smiles for awhile now but this time there was no doubt about it being a smile. He was lying on my lap, looking up at me and suddenly his whole face broke into a smile. It was just beautiful. My heart melted.

I can't honestly say that I remember the exact moment when the other two started smiling. It seemed that one day they weren't smiling and the next they were. Maybe it's just because I didn't take the time to just sit and 'be' with them like I do with Gideon. It was such a magical moment though. So much was said in that one smile: 'You are my world, Mummy. I love you so much'.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Is he a good baby?

Why, of course he is! How can a baby not be 'good'? This is the question that I've been asked so many times when I've had a newborn baby in my arms and it drives me a little batty (I'm sure many of my friends will share in my frustrations here!)

I know that answer is not what people expect to hear when they ask the question though...

That's because, to many people, a 'good' baby means that a) the baby doesn't cry much, b) the baby sleeps well at night AND during the day, c) the baby will lie happily by itself and d) the baby will not feed often.

Call me silly, but are these not totally unrealistic expectations of a newborn (or indeed any young child)?! A newborn has just spent 9 months inside the mother's tummy being nurtured, comforted and fed continuously. Why do we suddenly expect him to sleep by himself or not need to be held or to wait 4 hours in between feeds?? I love the idea of a fourth trimester - a time when baby is making the transition from being in their Mother's tummy to adjusting to the outside world, a time when they most need to be held close and nurtured.

I understand that sometimes babies do fall under people's definitions of a 'good' baby however I don't think this is the norm (and it's certainly not something I've ever experienced with my spirited babies ;)) nor an expectation we should have. It's easy to see why first time parents fall into the trap of following strict routines with their babies instead of following their instincts (yep, I was one of them with my first!)

So many people have commented that Gideon seems to be a 'good' baby. I love to tell people that he's only a 'good' baby because his needs are being met straight away. He is carried in the sling during the day, he sleeps on our chest at night and he is fed whenever he wants it. I have no doubt that he would cry a lot more if we didn't meet his needs straight away. I'm not saying that he doesn't ever cry or is never unsettled but when he does cry it is always done in our arms, not in a cot by himself.

Babies are a blessing and it makes me sad to think that they are categorised as 'difficult' if they don't follow what society deems as a 'good' baby.

So...the next time you go to ask someone if they have a 'good' baby please think twice!

If you want to understand more about why we shouldn't expect children to sleep through the night until they are 3 or 4 years old, Kathy Dettwyler has written an excellent article

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

I just had to share this photo of the yummy chocolate hazelnut spread I made today. When I first saw the recipe for this over at The Spunky Coconut I knew I had to make it! I absolutely love Nutella but it contains a lot of added 'extras' that are not so good. This recipe uses all natural ingredients and, surprisingly, tastes pretty much the same as Nutella - if not better! The texture is not quite as smooth as Nutella but that is probably due more to our food processor than anything else.

Now my problem is trying not to eat all three jars of this at once!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Close to my heart


I'm a big fan of baby wearing. It all started when I was introduced to the Hug-a-Bub (a wrap sling for those of you that are not up with the lingo ;)) at the very first ABA meeting I went to. There were a couple of people there who were wearing their little ones in a Hug-a-Bub and when they started talking about how comfy and easy it was to use I was sold! The next week I went out and bought my own one.

The funny thing was that I had actually turned up to this particular meeting wearing Jacob in a baby-bjorn type sling. I was so proud of myself! It wasn't until after I started using the Hug-a-Bub that I realised just how uncomfy the baby bjorn style carriers are and how bad they are for baby and Mum. After only a little while I would get a sore back from carrying Jacob in this type of carrier. I also couldn't sit down properly (well done to those of you who CAN manage to sit with these on!!) and it was just so fiddly to put on - so many clips and buckles!

And so our journey with the slings began...I can't say I was an avid baby wearer when Jacob was little. I much preferred to put him down to sleep if we were at home. But when out it was awesome for settling him in (he was one of those babies that would cry and cry!) It gave me the confidence to manage his crying. We used the Hug-a-Bub until Jacob was about 6 months old (when he got too heavy!)

Once Jacob was older we decided to get an Ergo. The Ergo was invaluable. Especially as Jacob didn't start walking until he was almost 19 months (and he wasn't a fan of being in the pram!) We used the Ergo for quick trips to the shops, for long walks and to get him to sleep in while we were out.

Jacob, in the Ergo, on a walk to the Lake near us

When Esme came along we continued to baby wear. Being the second child, the sling got a bit more use than with Jacob. It was great when I needed two hands to help Jacob with things and Esme was (mostly!) happy to be carried. I started using the Ergo with her a lot sooner than I did with Jacob as she was a big baby! We continued to wear Esme until she demanded some independence!

Esme, in the Hug-a-Bub, when she was a couple of months old.

Now Gideon is here and we are continuing the trend with him. During my pregnancy with him I knew that I wanted to baby wear a lot more and I knew that I would need to so that I could attend to the other two kids and get things done. I'm proud to say that Gideon has rarely been out of arms in the 7 or so weeks he has been here! There just seems something so inherently right about holding him close.

The Hug-a-Bub was a bit of a life-saver in the first few days after Gideon was born when Chris and Esme ended up with gastro and I had to take charge! I just popped Gideon in and he slept soundly while I continued to do what needed to be done.

I've also recently discovered the ring sling which I love (that's what inspired this post!) I've had it for ages but was always a little scared to use it until the Hug-a-Bub had to have an emergency wash and I had nothing else to use.

Gideon, in the ring sling, at 7 weeks of age.

Holding my babies close to my heart just feels so natural. I couldn't imagine life any other way!

Embracing the 'baby' stage

I've always struggled with the 'baby' stage of my children's lives. It can make me feel a little claustrophobic. Suddenly there's this little person who just requires so much of my time. Needing to be fed. Needing to be held. Needing nappy changes. And that's on top of being sleep deprived and exhausted already! I can find it really overwhelming not being able to have any time for myself. And it's scary having the responsibility of caring for this little person!

But that was how I felt in the past...

Something has changed with Gideon's birth. All of a sudden I want to cherish this special time with him. To enjoy this time with him as a baby, instead of wishing it away to when he is older and more independent. I remember with both of the other two wishing they would sleep by themselves so I could just get a moment by myself. This time I don't care. Gideon sleeps in the sling on me during the day and at night time sleeps either on Chris' chest or my chest. I love watching him sleep, seeing that blissed out look on his face and watching his little eyes flicker as he dreams. I love being able to rub my cheek on his and feel his soft skin. I love feeling the warmth of his body against mine and hearing him breathe.

The night time wakings don't seem as hard as they did with the other two. Sure, it would be nice to have more sleep but I don't feel that resentment that I did with the other two. I guess I have perspective this time around which makes things a whole lot easier to accept. I know that the night wakings won't be forever and that it will end eventually. It took Jacob and Esme 2 + years to sleep through the night but really that is only the blink of an eye in the whole scheme of things. I am only just starting to realise this and it makes me a little sad.

I think losing my two babies has had a part in changing my thinking - those two babies must have come to teach me this! Everything else seems so unimportant when I look at my little boy and realise how blessed I am to have been given him. I am so aware of time passing by ( 6 weeks old already!) and I want to enjoy this stage while it lasts. I'm guessing it won't be long before he's moving around and becoming his own little person...

Friday, July 22, 2011

For Avery


Dear Avery,

I've been trying to write this post for days now. But I'm struggling to express my thoughts and feelings. There are no right words to describe how absolutely heart broken I am for you and your beautiful family. It's not right that you had to leave this world so soon. It's not right that your Mama never got to hear you cry for that very first time or to feel you move outside of her tummy.

I'm sure you know how just how much you were wanted and loved. I feel privileged and honoured to have shared you and your Mama's journey through pregnancy (if only through the online world!) The deep love she has for you has been there right from the start. I've loved hearing about your journey together and sharing in her excitement about you. I hope you know too, what an amazing Mama you have too. She has shown such amazing strength in sharing your story.

I find myself looking down at my sleeping baby's face often and thinking of you, Avery. There was only meant to be one weeks difference between your due date and my baby's due date. How is it fair that I get to keep mine and your Mama doesn't get to keep you? This was meant to be such a special time. It was meant to be a healing time for everything that has happened in the past.

I promise you though, that your life hasn't been in vain. I know that you have already taught your Mama many things in this short time you had on Earth but I want you to know that you have taught me something also. You have taught me to treasure and cherish every moment I have with my little baby. You have taught me to have patience when he is upset, to hold him every moment I can and to not wish the time away too quickly.

Your memory will live on, and never be forgotten. Your journey has touched so many people already and I know that it will continue to touch many more. My thoughts are with your Mama, Dada and big sister now and always.

Love Narelle

Another trip to Emergency!


It was only a few weeks ago that we made a trip to Emergency when Esme burned her hand on the fire but our accident prone little girl has been at it again! This particular trip resulted in two stitches. I have to say, I'm quite surprised that she's managed to make it to almost 3 with no stitches! The particular cut was caused by falling down some inside stairs at a friend's place (during an ABA meeting no less!) I'm not sure exactly how she managed it as I didn't see it happen. I just heard her crying and rushed over to find blood everywhere. I knew as soon as I saw the blood that it was going to be a big cut (Esme doesn't do things by halves!) and yep, it was. So it was off to the hospital to get stitches. Luckily Chris was home that week so he was able to go with her. It was not a pleasant experience with Esme having to be pinned down just to get the gas mask on her. She seemed to bounce back pretty quickly though and was her usual happy self after leaving the hospital!

I am predicting a lot more trips to the hospital with Esme in the future ;)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gideon's birth story

Our little boy, Gideon Frederick, came into this world on Saturday the 18th of June at 9.06am. He surprised us all by being exactly two weeks early and weighed only 6pd6oz. My pregnancy and birth with Gideon has been very different to that of the other two. It’s been a time of reflection and learning for me as I worked through all the emotions surrounding my ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage the year before. I truly believe this was the reason Gideon was sent to us – to teach me about myself and make me a stronger person. I feel blessed for the precious miracle our little boy is.

Gideon’s birth story begins with gastro. Probably not the nicest way to start a birth story but I truly believe that’s what started everything happening. The Thursday night before I had him I was up all night with gastro. I actually thought it might be labour starting then as I was having really bad cramps. But when I focused on the cramps I realized they were coming from my stomach and that I wasn’t getting those familiar tightenings when they came. The next day I still felt quite washed out and not quite 100%. Chris took the day off and the kids went to my Mum’s for the day and I spent the day resting in bed.

I went to bed early that night and on Saturday morning I woke up at 5.09 with quite a strong pain. I thought to myself, ‘I wonder if that’s a contraction?’ but decided that there was no way it could be with it still being 2 weeks until I was due. I lay in bed but couldn’t get back to sleep. 20 minutes later I felt another pain and realized that they were contractions after all. I also realized that I hadn’t been sleeping very well all night and that I’d been having regular tightenings while I slept. I debated whether to wake Chris up to tell him but decided I’d wait and see what happened. I was quite adamant that the contractions were simply pre-labour as I’d heard so much about pre-labour and third babies.

I started getting contractions every 10 minutes or less for the next while. I decided to get up to go to the toilet and while I was there I sent a message to my midwife, Jan. I was reluctant to actually ring her because I thought I’d look a bit silly if it was just pre-labour. While I was on the toilet I had quite a few strong contractions close together and that’s when I realized this was definitely the real thing! I went to the door of our bedroom and told Chris that it was definitely happening. I had a contraction while I was standing there and felt the need to vocalize during it (which is a sure sign for me that things are really happening). We thought we’d better call Jan at that point and tell her she needed to come but she beat me to it by ringing. She told me she’d be up straight away.

I had quite a few more contractions while we waited for Jan to arrive. Luckily Chris was there to support me through each one. We rang Mum to tell her to come up (she was to be the support person for Jacob and Esme) and decided to blow up the birth pool. Esme woke up sometime around this time and I remember Chris telling her that we were going to have the baby today. She was very interested and intrigued by everything that was going on.

Jan arrived about 7.30 and things seemed to be progressing well. Contractions were getting closer together and more intense. Jan encouraged me by telling me that the baby was close. I remember Kelly, our second midwife, arriving not long after Jan got here. She walked in during a contraction. I couldn’t look at her as I had to focus on the contraction but managed a smile. It was wonderful to be surrounded by people who cared so much about me.

We talked about where I wanted to be for the birth. We didn’t think there’d be enough time to fill the birth pool and I didn’t feel the need to be in there anyway. All I knew was that I needed Chris to support me and I didn’t feel that he could do that properly when I was in the pool. I remember Jan asking where I wanted to be for the birth but all I could focus on was the contractions at that point, so my answer was ‘I don’t want to make any decisions’. Luckily I had people around me who knew instinctively what I wanted and could make that decision for me.

We decided to set up the bedroom for the birth. Chris brought the candle upstairs, we shut the curtains and turned the lights out and Kelly set about preparing the bed with the plastic sheets which I had (luckily!) already organized. Throughout the whole birth I felt quite present. With Esme’s birth I just sort of zoned out but with this birth I was able to talk and have proper conversations between contractions.

At some point I moved onto the bed. Chris sat in front of me supporting me while I knelt with cushions in front of my tummy. I remember having a lot of trouble finding a comfortable position when a contraction hit which I didn’t remember last time round. Jan and Kelly had their hands on my back providing support during contractions which felt so good. I began to feel the urge to push although this urge was not as strong as it had been for my other two births and seemed to come and go.

We had thought that the baby would be here soon but this pushing stage was a challenge for me during Gideon’s birth and actually really painful. With my other two, I found the pushing stage to be the easiest. A few pushes and they were out. But Gideon had other ideas. I had to battle with my head to birth him.

I didn’t realize until the end of my pregnancy just how much my ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage had affected me. I went into this birth feeling scared about the pain which I never have been before and I think a lot of that stems from the pain I felt when I had the ectopic pregnancy. Tied in with that as well was the shock of needing emergency surgery and being told afterwards that I was lucky to be alive. Also, I don’t think I was physically ready to birth this baby. I’d been so adamant this whole pregnancy that I was going to go over my date and I think my head was trying to tell my body that I wasn’t meant to be birthing him yet!

I’d spoken to Kelly about all of these feelings the week earlier but hadn’t had a chance to talk to Jan, who had been there to support us through the ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, about it all. The ironic thing was that I had an appointment with her the day before where I was going to talk to her about all this but I had to cancel because I wasn’t well! I think Jan could see that there was something I needed to process before I could birth this baby and she sat next to me on the bed and asked me what was stopping me from birthing this baby. I was having quite long breaks between contractions and needing to push at that stage so I could talk to her about my feelings and being scared of the pain.

Nothing much was happening. I would feel the urge to push with each contraction, but the baby didn’t seem to be moving down much. I could hear Kelly and Jan discussing things quietly in the background and sensed some concern in Jan’s voice. She told me that it was unusual to feel the urge to push with third babies and not push them out quickly. She said she wasn’t worried but wanted to do a check which she did and couldn’t really feel anything. I don’t think I was very cooperative though! It was at this point when I felt a really strong sense of wanting to meet my baby. It suddenly dawned on me that this baby was coming. Today. Perhaps this was the point at which things changed and my headspace shifted to allow this baby to come.

In the end, Jan decided to do a proper internal. She told me that after the next contraction she wanted me to roll over so she could do it. If there’s anything I hate more during labour, it’s having an internal done (and I’d only had it done once, when I had Jacob in hospital all those years ago!) In some ways, I think giving me that ultimatum was the best thing. I remember Jan standing next to me putting on the rubber gloves and thinking ‘I’ve just got to get this baby out’ so with the next contraction I pushed as hard as I could. I felt the most intense pain I have ever felt in my life (even more than with my other births) and remember screaming really loudly as I pushed my baby’s head out. Kelly was standing at the other end and said to Jan ‘I think she’s beating you to it’.

Jacob and Esme were in the room with my Mum watching and waiting for this baby to be born. We had called them in when I started pushing, although we weren’t expecting it to take so long! I remember both of them being a little bit concerned about the noises I was making at some points during the birth but everyone there was able to reassure them that I was ok. They were there as I birthed this baby.

With the baby’s head out, I was able to rest a little bit and with the next few contractions, I pushed my baby all the way out. What a sense of relief and happiness I felt. Overwhelming happiness! Kelly (or Jan, I don’t even know who!) put him between my legs and I reached down to pick him up and hold him against my chest. He was so warm and tiny. And perfect. And loud (he didn’t stop crying for ages!) I was so intent on holding him, that I didn’t even realize that he was a boy until about 5 minutes later when I thought to check. But it didn’t matter anyway. This baby already had a place in my heart. He truly is our precious miracle.

Gideon’s birth would not have been what it was without the support of our wonderful team. I owe a huge thanks to our midwives, Jan and Kelly. Especially Jan who was with us for Esme’s birth and who also provided support to me through some of my darkest times when I lost my two babies. Also to my Mum, who was there to support and provide reassurance to Jacob and Esme during the birth and for everything else she does. And lastly, my amazing husband, Chris, who never doubted my ability and strength to overcome my demons and to birth our precious baby.

Gideon’s name has a special meaning for us. ‘Gideon’ means powerful warrior, which we thought was appropriate after losing two babies before him (and also what we have gone through since he has been in this world!!) His middle name, ‘Frederick’, is after my grandfather who passed away when I was about 6 weeks pregnant. I like to think that my granddad gave up his place on Earth so that Gideon could have a place. I only wish he could have known that I was pregnant before he passed away.

Sometimes I look at Gideon feeding and wonder what the two babies I lost would have looked like and I feel sad. But then I look at the beautiful boy right in front of me and realize just how lucky I am to have him on Earth with me. I will always remember the two angels I lost but I feel healed by Gideon’s birth.

Mum and the kids watch on as Gideon makes his way Earth side.

That moment of overwhelming happiness as I birthed my baby and held him for that very first time.

Pure bliss!

The beauty of homebirth - relaxing and hsaving skin to skin time in my own bed while my midwife watches on.

Family of 5! With our midwife, Jan.

Esme is very haapy to have a little brother!

The proud big brother!

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