One month of an empty womb and full arms

A few things that I have learnt so far.

  1. She is capable of making me procrastinate a shameful amount.
  2. When someone smiles, holds or compliments her, I nearly burst with pride.
  3. I completely underestimated the amount of love that I have for my husband, and being his child’s mother is my most favourite thing.
  4. I think about her future and who she will become far too many times each day
  5. Even when my arms ache or I am truly exhausted, all I want to do is hold and cuddle her.
  6. I HATE being any distance away from her.
  7. I couldn’t care less about how many people I annoy with constantly sharing photographs of her.
  8. Waking up to her every morning  makes me so positive and in the best of moods.
  9. I make the stupidest of faces and produce sounds I didn’t realise I was capable of doing to try and get her to smile.
  10. I spend most of my days kissing her face.
  11. Wearing her and sharing body heat with her is the best thing.
  12. Nursing her and watching her flourish into such a chubby little thing is so empowering.
  13. I have become so spiritual (since I found out I was pregnant, but every day more since becoming a mother)
  14. I have become very much a feminist and have the utmost respect and love for my gender and the power that we hold.
  15. I love interacting with babies more than ever before.
  16. I’ve never wanted to travel this much before. I want to take her everywhere and show her everything.
  17. Baby fashion is becoming more and more interesting and exciting to me.
  18. I didn’t think it was possible to have this much love in my heart. I understand more about how important family is now.

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Thank you for teaching me things, little girl. I can’t wait to learn more as you continue to thrive and flourish.

Mine and Penelope Fern Braun’s Home, Water and Hypnobirthing Birth Story.

I suppose it began on 4th January really, where I spent all day getting surges that included cramping. I got excited, but after I realized that they weren’t consistent or getting stronger I was very disappointed. I was 7 days over-due at this point so I was starting to think that I was going to be pregnant forever. I knew at least SOMETHING was happening though, I hadn’t had these sensations before and they weren’t going away.
Matthew and I stayed up late as my brother James and his girlfriend Bea were over from Spain but were leaving the following day and we wanted to spend a bit of time with them. Living in America and having James live in Spain, we never really know when we’re going to see each other so it’s important that we make the most of the time we get to spend together.    We eventually called it a night at maybe around 2:30am or something.

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The night before I gave birth – practicing with my baby wrap! Still need lots of practice.

On the following day, I woke up at about 8:45am needing to pee as I did every morning. I sat up to get out of bed but something wasn’t right. As I sat up, I thought I’d peed myself for a second but then realized that my bladder was not being emptied and it wasn’t stopping! I went to the bathroom to pee and my waters continued to break. They were breaking in bursts though, so I just wore a sanitary towel and went downstairs. I began getting the same surges I felt the day before and this time they were nice and consistent and were beginning to feel a little less comfortable each time. I put the kettle on and made a coffee, and went to the bathroom again to let my waters come out a bit more. While I was in the bathroom, I heard my cousin Tom had come round to pick up James and Bea and take them to the airport. I decided to concentrate on getting through the next hour or so as normal as possible and so I went and greeted him and his girlfriend Ane. They asked how I was feeling, if I was having any signs and I told them that my waters had broken but it wasn’t really a big deal and I was just monitoring surges and relaxing on my exercise ball.   Eventually, James and Bea came downstairs ready to leave and we all said our goodbyes and then as soon as they left I went into Labour mode!

I got ahold of my mum and told her that I was having good strong surges and I had lost my plug and my waters had broken and to not panic, everything was fine, but get back to the house when she can.   Matthew and I went into the front room of the house which we had turned into a little birthing room. We put on the Rainbow Relaxation cd by Marie Mongan to get me into my hypnobirthing state. I got there with not much trouble and I really tried to focus on her words but I was switching between that and my surge-breathing due to the speed of my labour so frequently that it was very challenging. At this point, I was very much in a trance. Also, to note, I went through my labour with an illness where my nose was blocked so I had to mimic nose-breathing through my mouth to keep that relaxation working. It worked out for me but was an extra interesting challenge!
I look back on my birth and I remember bits of what was happening outside my head but it’s difficult because my hypnobirthing techniques had me so far into deep focus that I really had no idea, nor did I care, about what was happening outside of the bubble I was in. I remember I lost control at one point where I briefly gave up on my concentration, and that was the worst bit. I freaked out and I really felt the intensity of the surge, but I had enough control still that by the time that surge eased I caught my breath and got right back into focus ready for the next surge.    At some point after that, the midwife and student midwife arrived and I remember her trying to communicate with me but I could not talk back because I knew that the most important thing was focusing 100% on my breath and the midwife also understood that so she allowed me to stay in my trance without question.
Soon after, I had another surge but this time my body was guiding me a different way and, completely surrendering to it’s directions, I pushed. The push, to my surprise, made me ‘roar’, as I like to call it. I was sure that I’d be quiet but oh how I was wrong! It felt SO good to release that energy through noise and really breath a loud roar out. It wasn’t a scream, it wasn’t due to pain or being unbearable, or anything like that. It was just me following my body’s lead and it was exactly what I needed.   The midwife and Matthew saw that I had pushed so they helped to stand me and carry me over to the birthing pool. I got into the pool and I remember distinctively how amazing the water felt and how warm it was in there. I was able to get into a squat position and rest my head on my arms that were propped up on the side of the pool. After this, I had a couple more surges and I felt her head come down the birth canal. Another surge and instructions from my body to push and her head was out! Another 2 and there she came. She easily slid out, the midwife caught her and I turned around to sit down and she was passed to me.    She was born at 12:18pm, after a 3 hour 40 minute active labour and she weighed 7 pounds 9 ounces.

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When Penelope was passed to me, when I held her for the first time, I really can’t explain how it felt. I just wanted to stay there forever and kiss her and hold her close.

Normally this is where people say “it was all worth it” but everything about my transition into Motherhood, from finding out i was pregnant to holding her in my arms, was beautiful. Labour in itself is an experience that I will forever treasure and be grateful that I got to experience it. It was everything I imagined. It was powerful, surreal, and I have come out of it with a whole new type of respect for myself, the female form and the power that Mother Nature has and will always have, despite humans trying to hard to overpower her.

The people who were surrounding me during my labour and birth made it so much more special and beautiful and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have had them there.

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Mum and dad with Penelope

My mum was just so helpful, she kept everything afloat and created the atmosphere with the candles, she cleaned and provided everything everyone needed, she called everyone including the midwife, she cleaned up everything afterwards with my dad and just made everything very very easy for me and Matthew to be able to purely focus on Penelope.

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Lauren (midwife in blue) and Olivia (student midwife in white). Mine was the first birth Olivia experienced!

The midwives were so sweet and completely respectful of my birth choices and my need for minimal intervention and quietness. They were so kind and loving to both me and Penelope, telling me how well I did and how amazing the birth was to watch which meant the world to me.

Matthew was so loving, he always is, but he was the best birth companion. He let me put all of my body weight on him in all different types of crazy angles and he spoke to me, reminding me to breath calmly and slowly and focus on Marie Mongan’s Birthing Affirmations and Rainbow Relaxation cd. He let me know how proud he was of me and how amazing I was doing throughout and he was just exactly how you’d want the perfect birthing companion to be.

I have learnt a lot through my experience. The main thing is that with positivity, calmness, control and love, you can get through anything and have the best time. There is no need for medical intervention unless nature needs assistance. But I refuse to believe that if a healthy woman is having a healthy baby and there are no complications, which is how it is for most pregnant women, that there is any need for any sort of pain relief.
Birth is natural. It is normal, it has been that way since the beginning of time and women are designed perfectly to give birth. It’s time that we started respecting our bodies and believe in ourselves and the power that we hold.

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My darling daughter, Penelope

38 weeks (and 2 days)

Maybe this will be the last ‘bump update’ I do before she’s here, who knows!
Any time between now and in 4 weeks, I will meet my little love.
Her daddy will be here in 4 days and I will then be drinking all the raspberry leaf tea that I can get my hands on 🙂

We’re so close now! I’m spending a lot of my time preparing my mind and body for this birth with relaxation techniques and lots of morning dancing. The happy hormones I am getting from both of these things are oh-so-addictive!

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Thoughts as I come to the end of my pregnancy.

We are so disconnected from nature that we forget we are animals. We forget that we are a design of mother-nature and that the female gender is here to grow and nurture life.
I am a vessel for life, and it can be difficult to really comprehend that at times, due to being conditioned to believe that our species is so much more superior to everything we share Earth with.
This pregnancy has humbled me in a way that I didn’t think was possible. I feel no more or less important than any other female mammal and it’s a fantastic, magical feeling to have that ability. I am able to see myself as a true part of nature. It gives me the biggest sense of confidence and leaves me with no feeling of doubt or fear for mine and my girl’s birthing day. My womb is full, for now. Exactly the way nature intended. I am her first home. My body feeds her and nurtures her without me even knowing it, because I do not need to know. It is automatic and it is beautiful, just as her birth will be.

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37 weeks (and 2 days)

My best friend gave birth to her little girl last night, so I am officially the last member of the first-time-pregnancy club out of everyone I know who has spent 2016 pregnant. I have 19 days until my due date, but I could be pregnant for another 5 weeks, who knows! I’m happy as long as she waits until her daddy gets to England (on 20th).

I have my birthing pool now, I just need to get a few things for the front lounge room of my parents house where I will be giving birth to little one if all goes to plan, which I am very positive that it will! But we are so close to being ready for her to arrive, and I am so excited to meet her finally. I LOVE being pregnant and growing my little human, but I know that motherhood will be the most amazing adventure of my life and I get to go through it with the best husband in the world. Lucky me. 🙂

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The Ferns are pretty cool

One of the coolest things about my parents is every time I am away from home for a while, I always come back to beautiful new features in the house. Having a mother who is super talented at interior design and a father who is a very skilled and experienced builder and can make pretty much anything is so much fun. (lil’ shot of one of the walls in the bathroom)

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36 weeks.. 28 days until my due date.. how did this happen?!

I was looking at the date 2 days ago and noticed that it was 28th November, and I realised that it was exactly a month until my due date. It’s such a bizarre feeling, knowing that I will meet my first born child in approximately a month. That my life is about to drastically change forever.
I am doing my HypnoBirthing practices several times a day now. I will find any excuse to practice my breathing and I am constantly going over the scripts in my mind. It feels almost like I’m rehearsing for a play.

My little girl is growing so big now. She is becoming increasingly uncomfortable as she runs out of room more and more, and finds that she is most comfortable with her head pressing down on my cervix and her feet up behind my ribs. If I lay down now, I have to have a pillow between my legs or else after maybe half a minute, my hips and my pelvis feel very achy and sore. I feel excited every time I feel any sort of discomfort though, as I know that it’s just my baby growing bigger and stronger and preparing for her grand entrance!

I am missing Matthew very much. We are dealing with a lot of stuff regarding Ian and it has made us both very stressed out, but I feel like we finally have some answers about how to manage with our troubled, beautiful dog. So currently, we are both feeling very happy about that and very excited to potentially FINALLY be getting the help that he needs.
I see Matthew in 20 days and I can’t wait for him to see how much our baby has grown and to be with him again!!!

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Getting to spend time with this beautiful creature is such a blessing. She is such an incredible companion and I missed her so much. She is perfection in dog-form.

35 Weeks – I changed continents

I’m in England!!!! We’ve been planning this for a month or so now and I couldn’t say anything because I was surprising my best friend, Jess, with my arrival. She is pregnant too (due in less than 2 weeks :O) so it’s really lovely that we get to be together for this time!
I will be here for 3 months and it is going to be so beautiful to have my family’s support and love during this special time. I am planning on a home birth and I am so excited. Matthew is still in USA for now but he will get here a week before babe is due (cutting it close, I know!) and will stay for 4 weeks after that.

Stella will have to take over from here, sorry Ian! 😦 😦

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Or mum. Whoever, I guess.

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34 weeks, 6 weeks until my due date, ? weeks until she’s here.

At this point, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to not have to wee 1000000 times a day.

I have managed to get through my pregnancy with no stretch marks, no sickness, no swelling in hands and feet, etc. There’s still time, but I highly doubt that much is going to change.

Our last Hypnobirthing class is on Saturday, and I feel sad about it as it has been really great and much needed bonding time with my husband, but I’m feeling pretty ready for my birthing day, thanks to the sessions! 🙂

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Puppy mama duties.

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