Monday, 10 May 2010

Aleita's birth story


It was my first mother’s day as a new mom. YAY! My baby Aleita officially turned 1 month old yesterday so I decided to write down and share her birth story least I forget.

My labour started on Saturday the 10th of April, the day before my baby’s estimated due date. I remember being so convinced that day that the weekend would not pass before my baby’s arrival even though I had not experienced even one Braxton hicks contraction during my entire pregnancy.

I was a mash-up of emotions that day, swivelling from nervousness to excitement. As it was my first pregnancy I really had no idea what to expect labour wise apart from reading tonnes of birth stories and lots of pregnancy books for some preparation. My partner and I had also attended two birth classes in which we were inundated by pregnancy and labour information.

I woke up at 6.30 a.m. that morning feeling heavily pregnant. I immediately proceeded to the kitchen to make a lot of mandazis (a traditional donut like pastry) for breakfast as I could not sleep any longer. Looking back now I can only assign this to a bizarre manifestation of the nesting instinct as I am not an early riser! Later that day I texted my good friend Nancy (who was also my doula) to inform her that I was thoroughly convinced that bub would arrive before the weekend was over. She said that she would cancel her night shift at work and come over to my place later that afternoon to keep me company and see how things went. I really hoped, that for her sake at least, bub would make an appearance sooner rather than later otherwise it would have been wasted effort.

I washed my hair that afternoon and had my mum braid it so that I wouldn’t have it bother me during labour and the first few weeks after the birth. It was while she was braiding me that I started experiencing mild period like pain. The time was 5pm.My initials thoughts were that this could go on for days or weeks because the pain was not as intense as I thought it would be. It was quite bearable. My contractions were very consistent at 10 minutes apart and lasting for 45 seconds. This was the case up until 1.30 am when I finally decided to go into my bed and get some sleep as the waiting for ‘something major to happen’ was taking a toll on me.

At exactly 4.36 am, my waters broke with a loud pop and gushing of waters. I woke up with a start and informed my partner of the happenings and I have never seen him shoot up so fast from bed.I think I was calmer than he was at that moment. It was so funny that I tried my best to stifle a laugh because I didn’t want to precipitate things further at that stage.

We got to the hospital at 5.45am and by 6am I had already been checked into my birthing suite. My birthing team consisted of my partner, my doula, my mother and a new midwife was assigned to me during the hospital shift changes as I was under shared care.

By 8.30 am my contractions were still consistently at 10 minutes apart/ 45 seconds long so the midwife suggested that I they might have to inject me with oxytocin in order to progress things further. I objected to this as I felt it was better to leave my body to its own steady rhythm.

By 10.30 am my cervix had dilated to almost 4 cm naturally and I was happy with my decision not to induce labour. It was after the doctor had given me the internal check that my contractions became painfully acute. I was already managing my pain with gas/air and the TENS machine and had to increase the doses at this point.

At 1.30 pm I was entering the transition stage, which to me was the hardest yard. It took all my will power to resist the urge to push even when my body was screaming for me to push because the baby’s pressure was unbearable. The contractions felt so severe at this point that in the end I felt the gas and TENS machine were not helping in easing my pain at all, although it did help a bit to bite onto the gas pipe as I rode each contraction. My doula and midwife agreed to inject me with pethidine at this stage as it was in my birth plan. In retrospect the TENS machine did help take the edge off by sending tingling sensations up my back and in so doing it distracted me from the intense pain and pressure down below.

It took an intense 45 minutes for me to push my baby out. This stage was not painful but was highly uncomfortable akin to the urge to push a brick out of your rear end! My efforts were not strong enough as my baby’s head kept retracting back after the each contraction. Finally at breaking point, I remember calling out to Jesus to give me the strength I needed to push my baby out once and for all.With the next contraction I really gave it my all as my doula voiced encouragement.Aleita was expelled out fast and hard onto my chest within a fraction of a second at exactly 2.46 pm. All I managed to say was, “ Oh my baby! Isn’t she big!” Almost immediately all the pain was forgotten.

Friday, 26 March 2010

37 weeks...and loving my baby bump.


 {Please do not download images without explicit permission from me.}

"You do what you do, and that eventually breaks through the inaccurate label and the attempt to label."

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Monday, 8 February 2010

Back to Basics- Baby Wearing


In recent times, baby wearing has become an increasingly popular trend with sensible yet fashion conscious moms (and dads!) There have been many proponents to this growing movement  whereby many new parents are shunning other baby carrying methods such as prams and capsules in preference for the humble looking  baby sling, although some slings may come in not-so-humble prices as I recently found out while surfing the net for one.

In Kenya and many African countries, baby wearing is steeped in tradition.Women being the dominant care givers in these societies have always been given to wearing their babies on their backs as they carry out their daily household chores such as cooking,washing the laundry (using their two God given hands for scrubbing the clothes), grinding flour or even when they are out in the fields picking tea, and etc.For these women, baby wearing has essentially been perceived as a way of killing two birds with one stone, so to speak, as they can soothe their babies to sleep as they accomplish the work at hand.

Many African women have normally improvised their baby slings by using whatever suitable cloth that is around them, be it a large towel, khanga or leso and even bedding sheets so long as it is size-able enough to tie into two tight knots at the front while baby is snuggly secured on their backs.Truly the makings of a simple ,adjustable not to mention affordable baby sling! Of course the material has to be strong enough to hold the baby it is all about functionality for these women.For them, fashion sense (Scenario: Exotic African woman poses mid-stance in tea plantation thinking, "How good does my baby look on my back in that sling?") comes a distant second when it comes to baby wearing! Click here to read an amusing short story titled  "Carrying my baby African Style" for further insight into the African tradition of baby wearing.

Image from africaA-Z

As I mentioned before, I noticed that in first world countries like Australia, where I now live with my husband, the case is reversed whereby baby wearing is seen first and foremost as a fashion statement.There  are a myriad of baby slings now on offer in the market and they come in all types of fabric, colours, shapes, sizes and prices.The organic-made ones seem to be especially dearest both sentimentally and monetarily speaking.

For me, looking for a baby sling online was a crush and burn experience.Whenever I found what I thought was the ideal sling, it turned out to be too expensive for what it was (especially once you add in the shipping costs) ,or not in available my size, as was the case was on eBay ,or just not appealing enough.Finally, I decided to make my own handmade baby sling!

Having bought my first sewing machine a few weeks ago, I watched a quick tutorial on YouTube on how to make a pouch sling.Turns out that I needed needle and thread (dah!) so I made a quick trip to the shops early the next morning (a humongous exertion in 30 degree whether) and within an hour of coming back home I had made my own baby sling. The satisfaction factor made it all worth the effort.Here is an E for the Elephant Lady! (I am now 31weeks pregnant. My hubbie has dubbed me The Whale. He rolls me around the house and about grocery shopping when he should really prop me up on the damn trolley! Before I digress, what is it with the pregnant lady duck walk?)

Here are some pictures I took immediately after I had made my reversible pouch sling.

I was so excited and bubbling with energy that day.It's made from rich organic cotton cloth that my mother brought from Kenya, which I hadn't found very useful until now...

Kikoi cloth from Kenya 
is 100% organic cotton.

I am now planning on making another baby sling out of semi-stretchable fabric for the hubbie as mine might be too small for him. I am sure Lita will love snuggling next to her papa in her baby sling.

Gotta go now and rub my tummy as Lita is fighting for some attention. Also, by sheer coincidence I found a similar post to this one on Progressive Pioneer .She documents the process she went through when making her own baby sling. I do love her life philosophy. Such a kindred spirit!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Blogger in Draft - What a gem!


This week I have been making a few discoveries about Blogger gadgets and I must say that finding Blogger in Draft today ,where the hell have you been hiding?, was the best find. I'm loving all the new features in it compared to Blogger (beta?), which I have being using for quite sometime now but was never fully satisfied with.

Blogger in Draft has an improved posting interface which enhances the user experience.Plus it's pretty easy to switch to and fro the two interfaces, whichever you fancy. I assure you that checking it out will be worth your while as it is bound to exhilarate your blogging experience as it did mine! 

Now if the people at Microsoft windows can do something about their blog feature so that people like me can effectively publish to blogger via MS windows, that would be not the solution to world peace a great help!

"You do what you do, and that eventually breaks through the inaccurate label and the attempt to label."

Friday, 5 February 2010

House Renovation 101- Some Befores & Afters


Just a collage showing some of the house renovations we have completed so far.We still have a lot to do but we are getting there...

"You do what you do, and that eventually breaks through the inaccurate label and the attempt to label."

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