I found out I was pregnant when I was 5 weeks, I had a vivid dream that night and woke up in a bit of a sweat of excitement. I remember thinking "it was just a dream", nevertheless I quietly got out of bed to take the one pregnancy test I had left after a few months of clear "negative" readings. This was one of those digital tests that tell you how many weeks you are. I did the dreaded 'pee on the stick' and I was glued to the screen. About one minute in, which seemed like an eternity already, the bloody test failed! It went blank. I sort of shrugged the disappointment off and crawled back into bed, and didn't say anything to my husband. I thought once again "it was just a stupid dream".
That day however, I could not stop thinking about being pregnant. So I walked to the nearest pharmacy, and bought ONE pregnancy test. The cheapest one available, and the least fancy. This was the good old fashion, two pink lines type. I had a friend's birthday that night and I could have sworn my breasts were tender, "just your imagination" a little voice in my head said. Something strange happened though, as I took the first sip of my red wine, it tasted sour. I tried again, it was worse. I hardly slept that night. I wanted to do the test first thing in the morning, as it's suppose to be when it's most accurate.
As soon as the sun was out, I quietly crept out of bed and did the test. My little Pomeranian Daphne, followed me. I took her into the lounge room and I paced around, holding her tight. I had tears in my eyes, this was clearly something I really wanted. I think that's the thing about pregnancy, when you decide you are ready, you want it now. We do live in a time of instant gratification, and pregnancy is no exception. So if this is what you are wanting, and having troubles with, please speak to someone. It's a very emotional time and it's not easy, and you are well within your right to feel sorrow longing for a healthy child.
I waited extra long before walking back into the bathroom, probably ten minutes, just to be sure. Those two pink lines felt like heaven was sprinkling glitter all over my world. I was now ready to wake up my love and share the happiness.
Now I was one of those annoying people who didn't suffer from morning sickness. Not once. I do remember at 12 weeks my husband saying "I really hope you stop craving carbs soon, I can't eat another bowl of pasta". Ha. I just wanted carbs, all day.
The second trimester was great, I really enjoyed my pregnancy. I ate well, but also indulged. I stopped taking marine collagen when I was six weeks pregnant. I knew I probably wouldn't suffer from a hypersensitivity reaction, but I thought it would be safer and an opportunity to give my body a break. I just ensured that I had two teaspoons of the Beauty Blend every single day.
I'm not sure whether it was pregnancy hormones, but my skin was great and everything felt good. It wasn't until the third trimester that I felt pregnant. The nerve pain, heartburn, sore back, lack of sleep, weird dreams, needing to pee 100 times a day, sharp shooting pain down there...I got the lot!
During pregnancy I treated myself to massages. My body craved them, I felt so sore, especially my back and the massages were amazing. Not the typical type, good remedial massages. I found them really helpful. One thing that I find interesting in hindsight is that during my pregnancy, I couldn't get past the birth. I read everything by Ina May Gaskin, Hypnobirthing, Calm Birth and Grantly Dick Read's 'Childbirth without Fear' was another favourite. I watched a heap of birth documentaries. I read articles. Birth fascinated me. I couldn't get past the birth and the end result, life with my baby. Isn't that weird?
My birth advice is "go with the flow". There are no right or wrong, my birth experience was not what I had envisaged. It didn't go to plan, but it was positive. And the most important thing is that mum and baby are safe and healthy. What I learnt from my pregnancy and birth was women are amazing, our bodies are amazing. I wish I had spent more time appreciating my body, rather than picking out bits that I don't like. I feel an immense amount of gratitude for my body.
Edward's arrival into the world transformed me. He was born, and I was reborn. I can't describe it any other way.
The first few weeks are beautiful, and challenging. Newborns are demanding, and as a new mum I was seriously winging it. I won't give any baby advice because in my experience all babies are completely different, and so are mums and dads and how they choose to parent. You are in charge of your baby, and whatever works for your family is the right thing.
As I write this, Edward is 15 weeks and I'm still breastfeeding. Luckily, I had two very close girlfriends who just had kids, and I was very aware of their experiences. My sister in law also shared a lot. This was helpful because it made me realise that actually breastfeeding doesn't always come naturally, and it isn't necessarily easy. So I attended a Breastfeeding Class when I was 36 weeks pregnant, I also saw a Lactation Specialist. I found this helpful.
The real "gold" was having three private one on one consultations with a Lactation Specialist when Edward was born. The hospital offered this service, and I booked them in, I had done all three by the time he was a week old. Then I saw a midwife when he was two weeks old just to check that I was "doing it right". It's proven to be hugely beneficial and I've had a very positive breastfeeding experience.
Lean on your midwives, they are amazing. They have a wealth of knowledge. My Obstetrician Dr. Stephen Lyons in North Sydney was also phenomenal. I felt sad saying goodbye at my post baby six week check up.
I started my marine collagen intake when Edward was a week old. I became quite strict actually because Brittany Darling, Vida Glow's Resident Nutritionist is also my nutritionist, and a mum of two young kids. She's incredibly knowledgeable in all things pregnancy and babies, and obviously she's written a lot of articles on nutrition and wellbeing in general for new mums. Through her I became aware of post - natal depletion (read here) and so made sure that I remembered to take Vida Glow's marine collagen morning and night, for a dose of protein and amino acids.
I had cut my hair shortly before his birth, into a bob, thinking it might be a while before I would make it to the hairdresser. I was right, I still haven't been. My hair has grown 5cm and my nails are the longest and strongest they've ever been. I'm incredibly passionate about Vida Glow's marine collagen, but even I have been surprised at the results.
So my advice for our products during this time is to stop taking marine collagen when you find out you're pregnant. Take 2 teaspoons of Beauty Blend a day during pregnancy, stir into smoothies, sprinkle over cereal, porridge or yoghurt. It's seriously delicious, which makes it easy to incorporate into your day.
When your baby arrives, start your collagen intake again. I suggest two servings a day, morning and night. It's important to spread out the servings for best absorption. I have my Original (loose powder) first thing in a glass of warm water. Then I have another serving of Original in a glass of water in the late afternoon. If I feel like something sweet around that time, I shake one serve of Blueberry into a cold bottle of water (600ml).
Our collagen is safe whilst breastfeeding.
In term of other products that I have really enjoyed whilst breastfeeding and with a new bub... I've made friends with Breast Friend Tea by YourTea and I eat a couple of Franjos Kitchen Lactation Cookies every day. It's hard to pick a favourite, but the Almond & Fig is delicious!
Brittany Darling from Whole Food Healing subscribed me a blend of herbs to keep my milk supply up, it's very easy to drink and I take it twice a day. It was blended by Ovvio Organics in Paddington, Sydney. If you're interested email Brittany at email@example.com
The other products I have loved is by the Base Collective, they offer a range of magnesium based skincare for adults. It's ah-maz-ing!! The magnesium bath salts are awesome for a soak. My upper back was sore in the beginning from breastfeeding and a bath with their salts helped, as did their Magnesium Oil. I now use their whole range (bath wash and moisturiser). They also have the best baby skincare products. I've tried a few, and their baby wash and moisturiser is amazing. Very calming, deliciously scented with lavender and gentle on the skin of my precious baby.
If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org my head space is very much all things babies, so am happy to answer any questions.