The Truth About Breastfeeding

When I was pregnant I was disgusted at the amount of people that asked if I was going to breastfeed my baby. I thought it was such a personal thing and it wasn’t anyone’s business what I would decide. To be honest, the thought of breastfeeding was so weird to me. I was sure that I would end up bottle feeding. It wasn’t until I found out the benefits that I decided to stick with breastfeeding. Don’t get me wrong – I am all about the ‘fed is best’ and you do you, but for those of you that decide to breastfeed, you’re about to find out just how hard it can be.

First came the cracked nipples. What the hell kind of witchery is this… A fresh new baby is born and chucked straight onto your boob. You have no clue what your doing, and neither do they. You don’t know if it’s meant to hurt or not and then bam, cracked nipples appear. Little grand canyons of pain. If your one of the average population that has experienced cracked nipples, you would understand my pain. 8 months on and I am still not sure that my cracks have completely healed!!

So not only does it hurt when you’re feeding, it also hurts when your not feeding. For the first few weeks your nipples are red, sore and so damn sensitive that you would sucker punch anyone in the face that accidentally brushed up against you.

Then I discovered I had thrush. Yep, thrush on my nipples. You know when you get thrush when you get out of the shower and it hurts to even wrap a towel around your boobs. They’re so sensitive that you can’t even look at them without wincing in pain. You grit your teeth during feeds and try your best not to throw the baby across the room from the pain.

Vasospasms. Shooting pain through the boob and nipple. What the actual hell. Yes, hell – that’s what this feels like. I’m not even going to say any more about this.

I finally caved and went to see a lactation consultant. Tongue tie? High palate? Thrush in babies mouth? After 4 months of feeding I discovered my bub had a ‘long, skinny palate’ and there was literally nothing I could do to relieve the pain except for trying to perfect the goddamn latch and grit my teeth until her mouth grew bigger. Perfecting the latch is not easy. There’s so many techniques out there and oh boy do you find some good stuff on Google.

My biggest piece of advice – ditch Google and all the advice. Just keep trying different ways and eventually you will find a way that feels best for you. The ‘flip-nipple’ and the standard big open mouth techniques did nothing for me. Turned out the best thing that worked was to just let my baby do her thing!

I can honestly say that breastfeeding was painful for me for the first 5 months. It wasn’t until then that I actually started enjoying my ‘bonding’ time with my daughter. Then she grew teeth and decided that I was her new favourite chew toy.

Somehow I managed to keep going through all the pain and obstacles. She is now 8 months old. My supply has dropped considerably since going back to work and we are now mix feeding and she only breastfeeds at night. Last night she just about tore my nipple clean off. It was then that I decided that I will be giving up breastfeeding once and for all.

I know some people judge about women being ‘selfish’ for not breastfeeding or giving up. But I think that any woman that has given it a shot is very brave and should be proud of themselves. I am so proud of myself for getting this far and honestly, that’s all that matters.

Unannounced Visitors, Google + Mothers Group

Well it’s been a hot minute since I posted. What can I say – Motherhood is BUSY. Now where did I leave off last time…

Coming home from hospital. I walked through the door to my fur babies greeting me. They looked so different. My dog looked older and my fluffy little ‘baby’ cat looked so much bigger compared to my new little squished alien in my arms. I felt like I been gone for a year but it had only been 6 days.

I was so excited to go and snuggle up in my own bed with my brand new baby in her new bassinet next to me and not have to worry about nurses waking me up every 5 minutes. If only that were the case. Not long after we arrived home the visits started.

Most of my friends were understanding and didn’t arrange a visit until a week or so later. It was my partners family that never got the memo. First his mother would show up to ‘help’. Now let me tell you that I really did appreciate the gesture – if it were genuine – but this woman was just a royal pain in my ass. Unfortunately she still is. She would always seem to turn up at the worst of times, right when I was due to feed her. No matter how many times we asked her to let us know before she was coming – she would ALWAYS turn up unannounced.

When your a new mother who, prior to giving birth, was a total prude with being nude in front of anyone, it was hard enough getting used to having your boobs out all the time with people around. What made it even harder was that I was still having a lot of trouble breastfeeding and every feed was excruciating. I didn’t want anyone seeing me in pain whilst feeding my child. I didn’t want them to witness tears rolling down my face and take that the wrong way and think I was depressed. I wasn’t – it just f**king hurt! But the mother-in-law always made a big deal out of me being unhappy and that she would take my daughter off my hands for a while so I could get some rest. I didn’t want to rest – I wanted to spend time with my new daughter and I wanted us to be left alone to get to know each other without the constant interruptions.

It wasn’t just the mother-in-law. One by one my partners family arrived nearly every day. After a week my partner had to go back to work, and quite frankly I was glad because I thought that the visits would finally stop. Most of them did, but not the mother-in-law. She would turn up multiple times a day to ‘take my daughter off my hands.’ Little did I know that this would only be the start of the monster-in-law issues but that’s a whole other story…

When the visitors finally left and I was left alone with my baby, I would be exhausted from trying to entertain my unwanted guests. Then the googling started. Whenever my daughter cried and I couldn’t figure out what she wanted I would google. From there I just entered a wormhole of the right and wrongs of looking after a baby. Apparently everything I ever knew was wrong. I self-prescribed my daughter with every baby condition under the sun. I was trying everything to make her happy and I would keep changing my method every time that didn’t work. I felt like I must have been the worst mother ever because I didn’t know how to stop her crying sometimes.

2 weeks later and the midwives at the hospital had signed me up for mothers group. I’m not sure if this is just a Australian thing but for anyone that doesn’t know – it’s just our local hospital setting up a time for recent new mothers to meet up and help each other out. I was terrified of going and I very nearly didn’t. I was so worried about being judged for not having my sh*t together and for having a baby that cried once every while. When I finally worked up the courage to go, I did my absolute best to get myself looking presentable. I somehow managed to have a shower, wash my hair, put on some makeup, get dressed in some reasonable sort of outfit and do my hair. I would pretend that I knew what I was doing and I would pretend that I had my sh*t together.

As I walked through the doors at mothers group it was a major reality check. I was the only one wearing makeup. I was the only one that did my hair in anything but a messy bun. And I looked to be the only one that had had any sleep the night before.

All the girls in my mothers group were so open and honest. Half of them didn’t have a clue what they were doing. Some of the stories and methods of looking after babies made me cringe. I couldn’t help but keep thinking ‘but that’s not what everyone on the internet says’. Nearly everyone’s baby had a go at crying the place down, except for mine. My precious little angel slept the whole damn time. It was then that I realised that I am a good mum. I am the best mum I could be.

From then on, I never looked at google again. I trusted my instincts. I did what I felt was best.

Mothers group was an absolute savior for me. 8 months on – I still catch up with the girls and they know all my cringey secrets and mistakes. But they don’t care, because half of them have 10x worse stories then mine. And I don’t care, because I know that we all just want to be the best mums to our babies that we can.

If any of you out there are contemplating going to a mothers group – TRUST ME and just do it! No new mother is perfect, we are all doing the best we can.

Hospital Hell, New Parents + Cracked Nipples

A 4th degree tear. I didn’t even know what that meant but it must have been bad because I had a crowd of midwives and doctors staring at my women’s bits trying to determine what they were going to do. All I knew was that this tiny little wrinkly baby that I had just given birth to had caused the injury by coming out with her little hand beside her face.

The doctor then explained to me that I had torn my entire perinium and inside the rectum… or as my partner elegantly puts it, ‘from asshole to breakfast’. Because of the extent of the injury there wasn’t a surgeon qualified to do the job at my local hospital so I was set to go to another hospital in the nearby town. 

It was 4 o’clock in the morning when the ambulance arrived for me and both my partner and I hadn’t slept since midnight the night before. For some ridiculous reason my baby wasn’t able to ride in the same ambulance as me, so instead, I went up in the ambulance by myself, leaving my brand new baby with my partner that had never held a baby in his life, let alone looked after one. Then the ambulance turned around and went back for the 2 hour round trip yet again to bring me my baby girl. 

I did get one good thing out of the trip though – I slept. The paramedic in the ambulance and the nurses at the hospital were checking my blood pressure and pulse every 20minutes so my sleep was brief but I was happily drifting off at every chance I got. At 7 o’clock in the morning my sleeping little angel arrived in a clear plastic capsule. My poor partner had looked after her at the hospital until the ambulance arrived and was so knackered that he went home to get some rest himself. I later found out he changed her very first nappy which was a lovely shade of newborn black meconium. I was definately happy that I didn’t get the pleasure of dealing with this tar poo.

After an hour with my new baby, they wisked her away yet again and I was prepped for surgery. I don’t even remember getting the drip put in my arm to get put under, I swear I fell asleep before I was even knocked out. Before I knew it I was waking up an hour later. 

I was looking forward to getting some rest when I got back to my hospital room but then reality hit when they wheeled in the little baby capsule with my own little human waiting to be cared for.

I was shocked that they left me alone with the baby. I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily the nurses at my local hospital had quickly chucked her onto my boob to feed before I got into the ambulance so I had a rough idea on how to feed her… a VERY rough idea… After the third feed I soon worked out how easy it was to have a bad latch and how quickly it was to then get cracked nipples. 

The nurses at this hospital didn’t seem to give a shit about me or my nipples. I asked every midwife that came in and I they would all say they would come back and help in a bit… and then their shifts would end. I soon worked out no one was coming to help me. Finally one midwife told me to stop breastfeeding and gave me a syringe. She told me to hand express milk and feed my baby from the syringe so that’s what I continued to do.

A few hours into my new motherhood my baby stopped breathing. She started turning blue and looked as though she was choking. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t get out of bed so I pushed my nurses emergency button over and over again and continued yelling and screaming for help from my bed. I held my blue baby in my arms, trying to hold her in different positions to stop her choking. No one came to help. Finally after what felt like forever, my baby started breathing again. By that stage tears were running down my face.

20 minutes later there was still no one at my bedside. Finally a midwife popped her head in ‘all good?’ she said. I was furious, ‘my baby stopped breathing but I think she’s ok now’. Thinking she would come and check her out, she just nodded and walked off. I was so angry and upset. The doctors told me I would be able to go back to my local hospital that afternoon and I couldn’t wait.

My partner came up that afternoon expecting to be able to take me back. The doctor then came in to give me the bad news – I would have to stay another night. This hospital didn’t let my partner stay with me. I was so exhausted and mentally drained I just needed him with me, but he couldn’t. It was bullshit.

That afternoon my baby girl stopped breathing for the second time. This time my partner was with me. I pressed my button over and over and when no one came, my partner ran out to the hallway and yelled out for help. 2 nurses stood 5 meters away from him and said ‘did you press the button?’ when he screamed back yes and that his baby wasn’t breathing the nurse responded with rolling of the eyes and ‘I’ll be there in a minute’. 

She never came. 

Luckily for us, our baby was ok. But we were ropeable. I was ready to yank the drip and catheter from my body and storm out with my baby in my arms. The only thing stopping me was the fact that I could barely walk from the pain.

The next day came and we got ready to leave. A nurse came in to remove my catheter. She started filling out the discharge paperwork when she spotted my catheter was still in. ‘Why have you still got that in?’ She snapped at me as if it were my choice for having a tube stuck up my pee hole. She then barked out that she would have to remove the tube and I would have to wait around until I could do a decent pee before I could leave. I was devastated.

After the tube was removed I sculled water and quickly ran to pee into the little dish they had left me. The same nurse came in to check, looked at the little dish and scoffed a laugh as she said ‘that’s not enough! Try again!’

It was then that I finally lost my shit.

I broke down in tears from anger and spat out how terrible the hospital was here and how nobody even bothered to look at my baby the entire time I was there and that I would be putting a complaint in about the horrible experience I had encountered at this hospital. After that, I sculled 3 liters of water, held that pee in for a good hour or so and filled that goddam pee dish to the brim! The nurse who I had previously abused collected my impressive pee and gave us the nod that we could leave.

We sat in the hospital room expecting someone to come back with papers or to at least escort us out or something. It wasn’t until the orderly came to the room and said ‘oh your still here’ that we realized no one was coming. So we walked out with our 2 day old baby, which no one battered an eyelid at, and headed back to our local hospital. 

When we got to my local hospital it was like the heaven gates had opened. We were so confused as to why the hospital staff were so nice to us. Is this what we were missing? Our baby and I were checked on every couple of hours. The nurses checked out every little nook and cranny of my baby to make sure she was ok. They put me and my partner in a double room and made sure we were comfortable. When my baby was crying someone would pop their head in to make sure I was coping. If I needed something I would press my button and someone would be there immediately. We felt like we were in a 5 star luxury resort compared to our previous experience.

They wondered what on earth I was doing trying to squeeze milk from my boobs into a syringe and squeezing it into my baby’s little mouth. They helped me express with an actual breast pump and showed me how to finger feed so my baby’s sucking reflex would work. Then they helped me latch her back onto my breast when I was ready. 

When we were having a bad night and couldn’t cope, the midwife on duty kindly took my baby to the nursery so I could get a couple of hours sleep. 

I was given any type of drug I wanted. If I had any feeling left in my little toe, they would help me numb it if I wanted.

My partner stayed with me over night. In the mornings he would say he needed to go home to feed the dog and would always manage to get a nap in before he returned. One midwife came in to see he had gone. She laughed and said ‘all the dad’s in the ward had gone home to feed the dog’

I stayed in hospital for 5 nights and then we left our little resort to bring our little munchkin home. It felt so strange that someone would allow us to take this tiny little human home with us. We had no idea what we were doing and I didn’t know how I would cope to not have a lovely midwife to help me soothe my baby in the middle of the night. 

This was the beginning of an entirely different life. 

Contractions, Giving Birth + Rude Midwives

I went into labour at 6am on 21st August 2016. Because of my many previous false alarms, I waited to make sure my contractions were regular before calling the hospital. I opened up the contraction timer app on my iPhone that I had downloaded weeks before ‘just in case’ and started trying to time the contractions. I say trying to time them because it was near on impossible to pin point the exact time they started and finished, I still don’t understand how women do this accurately! I gave up on the damn app after the first 4 contractions and by 9am I decided that they had gotten a lot stronger and closer together so it was time to call the hospital. 

The midwife on the phone asked me a few basic questions and told me to go in to be checked. My partner was freaking out in the living room and I calmly walked out and told him it was time. I was trying to stay calm for his sake more then mine.

The ride to the hospital was bumpy and I genuinely thought I may give birth in the car ride there. I smugly thought to myself ‘This isn’t that bad, I’ve got this!’ thinking I was about to have the easiest, quickest labour in the world. When we finally made it to the hospital we set out on the extremely long walk to the maternity ward. Whoever designed our local hospital must’ve thought it would be a laugh to locate the maternity ward on the top floor and the furthest corner from the elevator. I stopped about 10 times to cling to the wall and breath through my next contraction. When we finally made it the midwives sent me to the birthing suite to check me.

1cm dilated. What?!?? Understandably the midwives sent me home to labour some more in the ‘comfort’ of my own home. I begrudgingly left the hospital and we made our way back home.

At home, my partner was a mess. There I was in labour, calm as anything, just casually breathing through my next contraction whilst bouncing on my fit ball, but Mr Worry Wart decided that our house was VERY messy and there was too much washing to be done and OH MY GOD the floors need a mop… Yep, my partner did the nesting for me. I never got the whole ‘nesting’ thing. I couldn’t give a flying fuck if my house was messy, as long as it was acceptable to bring a baby home to.

I decided to give my app another shot and my contractions picked up speed very quickly. They were becoming unbearable. By 12pm I had to drag my partner away from the vacuum cleaner and tell him that I think I ought to go back to the hospital. After yelling at him for the 10th time that the dishes could wait, we finally went back to the hospital.

I was now 4cm dilated. They tried to send me home again but I dug my heels in. No way was I going through that bumpy car ride all over again so they let me stay. They told me to get comfortable and offered me some morphine for the pain. I can honestly say that the morphine did nothing except slow everything down.

I wasn’t dilating any further, my waters still hadn’t broken and there was still no ‘bloody show’. I was starting to think we would be waiting a long time for this baby to make an arrival. So we settled in for an early hospital dinner of tiny little sandwiches and horrible cold soup. 

Around 6pm the contractions sped up again. Within 20 minutes I got the sudden urge to push. ‘I feel like I need to push’ I remember saying to the midwife on duty at the time. ‘Well then push!’ She said rolling her eyes as if I was stupid. She was standing on the other side of the room looking at paperwork and I was leaning against the wall trying to get through this contraction. I couldn’t help but think that the baby might just slide on out there and then and she was all the way on the other side of the room not giving a fuck about it all. 

I like to think I have a fairly decent pain tolerance and I am certain that I didn’t make a fuss through the whole labour. In fact, my partner told me afterward that I was very quiet and calm and just went off into my own world when I had a contraction. I remember asking for some pain relief on numerous occasions. The morphine had worn off long ago so I was having a pretty hard time coping. The midwife just kept ignoring me. She would continually ask me questions as I was going through a contraction and get frustrated when I couldn’t answer her. At one point she said ‘It’s only labour!’ as if I was carrying on like I was dying!

Thankfully that horrible woman’s shift was up and the next midwife came to takeover. They were standing in front of me looking at me and the bitch was talking as if I wasn’t even there. ‘You’ll have to babysit this one!’ She said to the next midwife on duty. I couldn’t understand why she thought I was so needy when I had barely spoken a word the whole time. 

When this next midwife took over I asked if they were going to check me at all. She was shocked that the last midwife hadn’t done that and agreed to check. 9cm dilated! 

I asked her if I could still have an epidural or some pain relief of some sort and she told me what I already knew deep down. It was too late. I silently cursed the previous midwife for not checking me and not letting me have any pain relief and tried to prep myself to keep going without any pain relief. It was now around 7pm and I was so bloody exhausted I was ready to give up. The thing about childbirth is that you can’t give up. Once you start there’s no stopping!!

I continued pushing at every contraction. My waters still not broken. ‘Your very dry’ the midwife said meaning I looked dehidrated and needed to drink some water. I sculled a litre bottle of water and my partner filled it for me again. ‘Mm… your still very dry’ she said again. Down went the 2nd litre of water. ‘I just don’t like that your so dry’ she said again, ‘if you don’t take this seriously then we’ll have to put a drip in’. I sculled a 3rd bottle of water. Just as I started on my 4th I had an overwhelming urge to vomit… I ran to the toilet and power chucked every last drop of water I had just drank. 

As I started wiping up the splatters of spew from the toilet and surrounding walls the midwife walked in and shook her head. I knew that meant I needed a drip put in.

Hours of pushing later and the doctor finally rocked up. Not my doctor, she wasn’t available apparently, but another female doctor that was on duty that night. The head of my baby was only just showing when I was pushing. It was around 11.30pm when they finally decided to break my waters. Why they didn’t do it earlier I will never understand. 

The doctor broke my waters and there I was sitting in what felt like a mixture of pee and period blood. After another few pushes the doctor told me they would need to get out the forceps and suction vacuum. I remembered seeing pictures of newborn babies heads after they had to use those tools. There was no way my baby’s head was going to be squished! I gave it one last mighty push and out the little creature popped at 11.58pm, 2 minutes before the due date.

There it was, my little alien laying on my chest. I couldn’t see if it were a girl or a boy from the angle it was laying.  At my last ultrasound I had been told it was to be a girl but still had my worries that the scan was wrong. 

‘Is it a girl or boy?’ I asked. No one answered. Fuck! I thought to myself. I thought they weren’t answering me because it were a boy. I started thinking about the pink nursery we had at home and the girls name we had picked… Finally my partner had a look and said ‘it’s a girl, I think…’. The midwife confirmed my partners stupid answer with a nod.

I looked down at my blood covered, squished alien child and waited for the ‘bond’ to happen. It didn’t. It was then that I realized that the midwife and doctor were still looking down at my lady bits. ‘You’ve had a rather serious tear’ they finally told me. Apparently my little alien had conveniently come out with her hand beside her face and ripped me open on her way out. 

The doctor got her phone out and called another doctor that obviously knew a bit more about these injuries. ‘It’s a 4th degree… yes all the way to the rectum’ she said on the phone to him, ‘I’ll send you a photo’. Next thing I knew she was sending the doctor a close up of my bloodied, torn vagina. 

It was decided that I was to be transferred to the hospital in the next town over for surgery – the last place I wanted to be considering my partners previous experience there. So they cleaned me up and got me ready to go.

While we waited for the transfer ambulance my partner and I studied the little alien creature that had been living in my tummy for 9 months. This thing was half of each of us and it was now our responsibility to make sure this little human survived. We were both exhausted as we hadn’t slept since midnight the night before. I looked over at my partner and the only thing I said was the name I had picked from the moment I fell pregnant, ‘Charlotte?’ He nodded. 

We both shed a silent tear. Maybe because it was a beautiful moment…  but probably because we were both just tired as fuck and terrified of the thought of being parents to this new little human. 

Maternity Leave, Antenatal Classes + Labour Pains

I couldn’t wait to go on maternity leave. When I first got pregnant I assumed that maternity leave meant that your employer continued to pay your wages for 12 months so you could experience the ‘stay-at-home-mum’ dream of which I thought would be WAY easier then getting up and going to work every day. I didn’t find out until half way through my pregnancy that you only get paid the minimum wage for 18 weeks and man was I bummed. How did they expect me to pay for my mortgage?? 

On top of the financial stresses, work was becoming completely overwhelming. Without disclosing to you what my job actually was, picture this: I was basically the middle man in a situation where both sides of the clientele blamed me for every issue possible. I was the one that they would hate, the one they would yell at when things went wrong and as we were heading into a market that was less then desirable in my industry, it was of course my fault that they weren’t achieving the same success that I had previously gained for them. I was starting work an hour and a half early every day  to catch up and often leaving late. I barely ever got a lunch break and put up with assholes in my ear all day, everyday, coming home absolutely exhausted.

Although I was knackered every day, I wasn’t sleeping. In fact, I remember thinking one day that 4hours sleep was the most I had gotten all week. My doctor kept telling me that stress and lack of sleep was no good for the baby and if I had to I should quit (because that’s possible when you have bills to pay!!). So with about 4 months to go, finally I cracked. I had a mental breakdown in front of my department manager and told her I couldn’t take it anymore. I was lucky enough to be offered a shit-kicker position to take me through until my maternity leave started. It was lower pay and I was basically everyone’s slave for the last 2 months but I absolutely LOVED it. 

Finally I could slack off a little and not be run off my feet. I would slowly complete the paperwork given to me throughout the day and in between would have in depth chats with our 18 year old receptionist about makeup and celeb gossip. She regularly gave me advise on labour and babies, of which I smiled politely and then later on would laugh my head off that she thought she knew more then me. I thought I knew all there was to know because I had been googling every single possible question that popped into my head since I found out I was pregnant but it wasn’t until antenatal classes that I really learnt a lot.

Antenatal classes were both fantastic and scary as hell. I initially thought my partner wouldnt pay attention and more then likely fall asleep during the classes but was pleasantly surprised to see that he was more interested then me! It was me that was holding back a yawn for the 16th time, wriggling in my seat and looking at the clock every half hour. 2 hour sessions were too long for a tired pregnant woman to sit down and concentrate on a midwife who had been talking non stop. 

The one session I paid attention to the most was when she was talking about the drugs for the birth. I sat up in my chair thinking ‘what will my drug cocktail be for my labour’ and could picture myself drugged off my head for the entire labour.  But who knew that drugs are actually BAD for the baby? Der. So I left our final class thinking that maybe I would try to do it natural and only ask for an epidural if I truly felt it was needed.

At 36 weeks I had decided that I’d had enough of work and started my maternity leave. I was certain that my baby was going to come a little earlier considering both my mum and sisters baby’s came a week or 2 early so I made sure I got everything that needed doing the first week of my leave. To my suprise, I had not yet gone into labour after that first week so I took on everyone’s advice and slept while I could. I couldn’t sleep much during the night for some reason so I would sleep during the day. I woke up to watch a bit of Netflix and have something to eat every now and then, but mostly I would just sleep.

At around 37 weeks I woke up with contractions and I thought ‘well, this is it’. No. It wasn’t. They stopped after 3 contractions. I was utterly disappointed. This continued to happen to me for the next 2 weeks. It was then that I decided that enough was enough and it was time to try to bring on this labour. 

First I tried walking… or rather, waddling. This just made my feet sore and me more tired then ever. Then I got a fit ball to bounce on. I bounced on that damn thing all night long for 4 days straight with no success. Next was spicy food. That just made my bubba kick me in the vagina harder then usual. 

After no luck I finally looked over at my partner and pleaded defeat. I had decided to seduce him. By seduce I mean we hadn’t had sex in a couple of weeks because it was way too much hard work so I rolled my eyes and gave him the nod for us to do it. He was thrilled. I was uncomfortable. 

It was 5 o’clock in the morning and we’d both been awake since midnight because we couldn’t sleep. We did the dead and went back to bed, only shortly after at 6 o’clock I was woken up by contractions. ‘Yeah right, I’m not falling for that again’ I laughed to myself and rolled over to sleep again. But the contractions didn’t stop… and they started getting worse. This actually was it!

My first thought was ‘Fuckin hell, it really did work!’

The Truth About Pregnancy Symptoms

Before I got pregnant I heard about this magical thing called pregnancy where your skin glows, you feel nothing but love, people get off their seats for you and you feel this amazing immediate bond with the creature growing inside you. 

I call bullshit.

Let me tell you the truth…

Morning Sickness

Obviously I knew about morning sickness but what I didn’t know is that it doesn’t just happen in the morning, it happens when it damn well wants to happen, at any given time of the day! They should call it ‘Hungry Sickness’ because that’s what it is, a warning to tell you to eat something or your gonna spew! 

Abdominal Cramps

Ohhhhh let me tell you about cramps! We’re led to believe that cramps when you’re pregnant are bad. No. They are completely normal! I got excruciating cramps right from the start of my pregnancy and although they weren’t as bad, they lasted the whole way through. And according to my doctor I had the ‘perfect’ pregnancy. 

Reflux

I’ll admit, I used to get a bit of reflux every now and then before I was pregnant but OMG it was nothing compared to the reflux that my little cherub caused. I swear to god it felt like my insides were going to burn a hole in my chest pretty much every time I sat down or layed down.

Pelvic Pain

Not only do you get back pain as well as having a little black belt baby kicking you internally in the vagina, but your hips and pelvis are also going through ALOT of movement and BOY did I feel it. Toward the end of my pregnancy I could barely move without saying ‘ouch’, I couldn’t sleep on one side for long so I would be tossing and turning ALL night! On top of that, I had sciatica in my legs from everything putting pressure on the nerves. 

Leg Cramps 

Otherwise known as death cramps. These buggers will wake you up from the first deep sleep that you’ve had all week and make you jump out of bed hobbling all around the bedroom trying to stretch your leg out for 20 minutes whilst screaming at the top your lungs because ‘it fucking hurts like a bitch!!!!’. Who cares if you wake up your partner, dog, cat and the neighbour. These fuckers will make you scream and those who are in your way at the time better watch out!

The Sweats

I am not a sweaty person… until I got pregnant and then I was ALWAYS sweaty. Apparently when you’re pregnant you’re always a couple degrees warmer than everyone else. Well I didn’t really feel warmer, just wetter… with sweat… everywhere! 

Awkward Sex

Yes I believe this is a symptom. You truly do not understand how awkward pregnant sex is until you’ve tried it. It’s all fun and games when you have a small tummy but if you’re like me and had a gigantic belly from the start, then it’s goddam near impossible! Not that you feel like having sex anyway. I don’t know who started the rumour that pregnant woman are horny devils because according to me and every pregnant woman I’ve ever met, that is a whole load of crap. In fact, it goes the total opposite. Your fat, sweaty and tired. Sex is what got you into this mess in the first place and it’s the last damn thing on your mind.

Baby Brain

Everyone jokes about baby brain. I’m here to tell you it is most defiantly a thing! I have never been so dumb as I was when pregnant. And for some reason, I swear I got worse at driving! It’s like the baby takes up half your brain and I still do not think it’s fully come back!

Fatigue

A common symptom. It is by far the worst. It’s all good and fine when you can stay home and sleep all day but dragging your pregnant ass out of bed every morning just gets harder every day. I wish I could say it gets better when your baby’s born, but honestly I think you just get used to being tired.

Insomnia

As if being tired all the time wasn’t bad enough, when you actually get to go to bed you can’t bloody sleep! Partly because you’re up to pee every hour but mainly because you just can’t sleep. I believe that this is natures way of preparing your body for what’s to come – never sleeping again.

Work, Announcements + Holidays

The plan was to wait 12 weeks to tell people that I was pregnant, at least until we had the first scan that would give us the all clear, however we didn’t expect me to show so soon.

The first people I told were my mum and my dad. I told mum straight away pretty much only because I wanted company when I had to go to an appointment out of town. Mum was thrilled – especially because none of my family ever thought I would want to have kids. Dad said his usual disinterested ‘good on you.’ But my mum has a problem with keeping her mouth shut. Much to my disapproval she pushed me into telling my brother and sister. Of course, she had already told them as I discovered from my siblings but I guess she wanted me to officially ‘tell’ them. They were also very excited.

After that, we had to tell my partners parents. They were particularly excited as it was to be the first grandchild. His mum then told all her friends and the rest of her family, regardless of me telling her that we’re trying to keep it to ourselves for a while.

Then came my best friend. This, I was terrified of. She had been trying to conceive with her partner for the past 3 months and had wanted a baby for years before hand. Then I come along, not trying, no immediate plans and bam! Pregas. I always felt like I was stepping on her toes with my life. Every time she planned a new life experience like building a house or moving in with her boyfriend, I seemed to beat her to it. I didn’t do it on purpose, it just always happened that way. So now I had to go squash her dream one more time and tell her I was pregnant before she was. She took it better then I thought and was very supportive and happy for me. 6 months into my pregnancy I was happy to hear that she fell pregnant!

Work was the hardest to hide my pregnancy from. I ended up having to tell my department manager and the office manager so I could explain all my absences from work. They were thrilled of course (the clucky kind) and surprisingly kept the secret well. But then I started showing. I didn’t put on weight anywhere but my belly and boy was my belly growing FAST, so it was getting pretty hard to hide. My work pants were getting tighter and pretty soon I was using an elastic band to be able to do my button up. 

As I’ve said before, my work mates are complete alcoholics so when Friday nights rolled round I had to make excuses as to why I didn’t want a wine in the afternoon and why I couldn’t go to the pub after work with everyone. Clearly I was also an alcoholic because it quickly started rumours that I was pregnant and that’s why I wasn’t drinking. I went to the pub with them a couple of times and ordered a lemon, lime, bitters, pretending it had vodka in it (which by the way our usual bartender was shocked when I said no to the vodka) but apparently I wasn’t fooling anyone. So 11 weeks rolled by, I was fat and sick of squeezing into my pants and I gave in.

I first told my boss who generally doesn’t show much emotion, but I was surprised to see he was extremely happy for me and even gave me a hug. Then I told my assistant who was baby-crazy and she cried. Then I reluctantly sent a bulk email to the rest of the office… and then hid in my little office. I hate full on attention – like when people sing the birthday song to you (shudders), so I was dreading the bombardment that I knew I would get. The congratulations and unwanted cuddles seemed to last all bloody day. 

Me and my partner decided to take a quick holiday while I could still get around without waddling, so we booked a trip to Melbourne when I was 12 weeks pregnant. This was the perfect time to announce my pregnancy to the rest of the world. We took a cute announcement photo, put a post on Facebook and left on our holiday! 

It was our first time in Melbourne and we basically just ate our way through all the restaurants and walked around until old pregas feet were sore. I could finally wear clothes that showed my belly, maxi dresses and stretchy clothes were my best friend! My belly was pretty prominent but I kept forgetting I was pregnant until people reminded me. I still remember getting on a bus to go back to the airport and the bus driver jokingly said ‘I was told we were picking up 2, not 2 and a half’. I didn’t get the joke at the time, I thought maybe he was referring to my partners height. It wasn’t until I told my partner about it later on when he explained to me that he was probably talking about the growing baby in my belly. (Der!)

The holiday was defiantly a good idea. It will probably be the last holiday we will have in a long while.

Xmas Parties, The Discovery + Ectopic Pregnancies

It didn’t cross my mind that I could be pregnant when I went to my work Christmas party. My colleagues were low-key alcoholics so I had planned on consuming large amounts of alcohol that night.

I actually remember I was feeling a bit off that night and getting some stomach pain. One of my colleagues wives who was at the party was a nurse and we briefly discussed that the benign cyst I recently discovered in my ovaries could be what was making me feel unwell. One colleague joked that I could be pregnant and we laughed and laughed and then drank more wine.

The party was another usual messy night for my work crew. There was lots of booze, a bit of skinny dipping and spewing, a couple fighting and a girl trying to lick everyone. Just another standard work party. I went home that night pretty buzzed.

It was a long weekend and Monday came around quickly as expected. I was in bed unwell thinking I was suffering the longest hangover ever. Then the cramps started. Surely I wasn’t getting my period yet? The cramps got worse. Much worse. I was crippled over in pain and could not think of a time I had period cramps anywhere near as painful as these. My cyst came to mind and I got to the point where I couldn’t handle it anymore and got my partner to drive me to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital I answered a bunch of questions from the nurses and peed in a cup for them. I then went through to see the doctor, got asked the same questions again, had my stomach poked and prodded (of course my pains had stopped by then) and then we waited for a long, long time. We wondered whether the doctor went to have his morning tea and forgot about us.

My partner was not in a good mood. He hated hospitals because the year before he had a collapsed lung and was in 3 different hospitals for 2 weeks. Let’s just say he had a horrible experience and we would have a strong case to sue if we could have been bothered. So there he was looking at his phone, even though ‘this hospital has shit reception!’.

We were contemplating walking out when doctor finally came back. I still remember the words that came out of the doctor’s mouth, ‘you know you’re pregnant, right?’. No, of course we didn’t know. I looked over at my partner and he was staring at his phone. ‘Did you hear that?’ I asked. ‘Yeah’, is all he had to say. No reaction! None at all! There I was freaking out, about to have a heart attack, thinking he finally got what he wanted and he couldn’t even care less! I was furious!

The doctor went on to tell us that there was concerns that I was having an ectopic pregnancy and that was why I was in so much pain. I had never heard of an ectopic pregnancy before so for those of you that also don’t know – an ectopic pregnancy is when a fetus is growing in an area that is not your uterus, usually in a Fallopian tube. The doctor sent me off to have an ultrasound and told me to come back the next day.

I went home, confused and not sure how to feel. I was 4 weeks pregnant, but if it was ectopic then it was very possible that I could lose the baby. I googled the shit out of ectopic pregnancies which just scared me even more. My partner didn’t seem to have an opinion on the subject which I wonder now if it was just his way of not setting himself up for disappointment but either way, we couldn’t be happy for this pregnancy until we knew what was going on.

I went back to the hospital the next day. The doctors had looked at my ultrasound and said that it was too early to see the fetus. They sent me home and told me to come back again if I was in excruciating pain. So I went home. I was off work ‘sick’ and was trying to think up what I could tell people was wrong with me when I went back to work. I obviously wasn’t ready to reveal the truth until I knew myself.

The pains continued and the next day, sure enough, I was back in the hospital. At the time I kept thinking that it felt like contractions. Obviously I had never had a baby before but that was the only way I could describe the pain. I look back now after haven given birth and 100% think that’s what it was. Yep, it was that painful.

The hospital vists continued over the next week and I ended up going to another hospital in the next city to see a gynecologist. After waiting 4 hours he felt my tummy and said he didn’t see any problems. The weekend came and I visited our local hospital for the last time. It was 2 in the morning, I had been up all night with pains so bad that they were making me vomit. My partner was not pleased to be woken up to drive me down there but he did because I made him. It was there that I finally saw a doctor that told me what I needed to hear.

He was a hard ass with an Irish accent and he didn’t have time for my shit. I told him the history and explained my torturous pains and he simply responded with ‘Pregnancy hurts, it’s completely normal to get pains’. I’m sorry, WHAT? So I had been going back and forth to hopistal, freaking out over having an ectopic pregnancy, seeing 100 different doctors scaring the shit out of me as to what could be happening and now you tell me it’s NORMAL? Why the fuck did no one tell me that in the first place!

It had now been a week since I found out I was pregnant and I could finally decide how I felt about this pregnancy. Except, I still had reservations as it was still possible that the pregnancy was ectopic, only now it was less likely, so I still didn’t want to be happy about it just yet.

I wasn’t exactly ready to have a baby, I had wanted to wait a bit longer, but I didn’t think I’d ever forgive myself if I was to abort the pregnancy. Each to their own with abortions, it’s just not for me. So we decided to keep the baby and I told myself I would wait the 12 weeks to make sure the little cherub was healthy before I started telling people or made any plans.

Before Motherhood, Tequila + The Conception

The truth: I always hated kids.

I never got that ‘clucky’ feeling that all women my age get. Someone would bring a new baby into the office where I worked and all the ladies of the office would flock to reception to fluff over the adorable little miracle. Me – I thought that newborn babies looked like tiny, balding, shriveled up old men. If someone bought in a new puppy, that would be me running to reception for a cuddle!

My friends, on the other hand, were definitely all on the clucky-train. 2 of my closest friends already had kids by the time they were 21 and those that didn’t have kids were either trying for a baby or searching for a baby-daddy to steal his sperm at the nearest chance. My best friend was among those trying. She had been with her partner on and off for about 8 years and even though she had been waiting for a ring on her finger for about 6 of those 8 years, she settled for the next best thing that she desperately wanted – a baby.

Honestly, I was a little shocked that her partner agreed to start trying because he had proved many times before that he was the non-commitment type. But his friends were all married with kids and I guess he felt like he was missing out. Either way, my best friend was stoked and as much I didn’t like kids, I was happy for her.

So there I was among baby madness. I had been in my relationship for nearly 6 years and although I knew one day I would become a mum, I knew I wasn’t quite ready. My partner had other ideas… Out of the blue with no warning he announced that he wanted a baby.

I thought he was joking to begin with so I went along with it and pretended I wanted the same, trying to scare him into changing his mind. It didn’t work. So after he kept pressing the issue I agreed that we would start trying… in about a year or so. I wasn’t ready (or so I thought).

Just before my partners 30th birthday I was having issues with my contraception and much to his disappointment I told him we would need to start using condoms until I had been to the doctors to get that sorted. Then his birthday arrived and we had planned a party in his honour.

The party took place at his parents farm and my monster-in-law decided to hijack the party and invited all her own friends along too. Later on that night I discovered that all her friends had no idea it was her sons 30th birthday and in fact they were there to celebrate her wedding anniversary. Luckily my partner is used to his mother putting herself first so he wasn’t all that bothered.

I still remember early on in the night I was clutching my stomach and his mother saying ‘are we having a baby?’ with the most excited look on her face. I knew I was definitely not pregnant because I had just finished my period and the pains were due to a benign cyst on my ovaries which I had seen the doctor about the week before. But nevertheless she still thinks she ‘knew’ before it even happened!

The magic actually did occur that night, just much later on and after way too many tequila sunrises! And although I will probably never tell her (because, uh, cringe!) it did in fact occur in her camper trailer on her back lawn!

So there I was, knocked up because… tequila!