What I’m thankful for this week….

I’m jumping on the Thanksgiving bandwagon and putting together a list of what I have been thankful for this week:

– Aiden received a great report at his six month check up with our paediatrician, and he has also finally reached 6kg!!

Our little boy is 6 months old

Our little boy is 6 months old

– Feeling inspired after receiving my copy of Wholefood for Children this week – I just LOVE the Book Depository

– Speaking of food, Liam’s appetite has returned with a vengeance after being unwell

Really need to work on table manners

Really need to work on table manners

– The arrival of yet another beautiful baby into our ever growing Mum’s group – and it’s a boy!!  (We have very few boys in our group!)

– I am incredibly lucky to have such beautiful and thoughtful friends – I received a card this week from a close friend that bought me to tears (they were happy tears!!)

– The boys and I had a lovely morning out earlier in the week, they both behaved whilst I drank my ‘bucket sized’ iced latte (of course there has to be something about coffee in this post!)

Make mine a bucket!

Make mine a bucket!

– That I am able to be at home with our boys, we’ve had a great week and Liam has loved playing outside in his truck in this warm weather.

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What have you been thankful for this week?

Have a great weekend

x

Stepping out from behind the camera

Recently I was asked for a photo of myself with the boys.  Like many Mums, I’m normally the one behind the camera and while I take a few ‘selfless’ of us all, there are very few ‘proper’ photos of us all together.  I’m also not a huge fan of having my photo taken at the moment, however I realise the importance of having pictures of myself and the boys together while they are young.

Looking through the small (and to be honest, very dodgy) collection of photos of the three of us, it reminded me that I need to make a much bigger effort to have photos taken with both of the boys

I’m now going to be really brave and post some of these stunning photos – this is going to be my inspiration to make sure I get more ‘proper’ photos of the three of us together.

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Do you have many photos with your children?  Feel free to share your pics on my Facebook page

Linking up with The Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays

Dear Aiden- 6 months

Dear Aiden,

Tomorrow it will be six months since you came into our world.  You are our happy and cuddly little man. You are relaxed and content, just happy to sit back and take in the chaos around you.

I love how your eyes light up when you see me first thing in the morning

I love that you will break out into a big happy smile when I talk and sing to you

I love watching you laugh and smile at your big brother

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I love watching you explore and take in the world around you

I love the time we spend together, just the two of us

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I love that you need me

I love that I am more confident looking after you than I was with your brother

I love that you are with us

You have come so far over the past six months, and I love seeing more of your little personality coming through. Although in some ways I feel like I am grieving the newborn phase.

I miss our special, quiet moments during the night when it was just the two of us awake.

I miss your happy and contented face as you would drift back to sleep with a full tummy.

I even miss the times when you would wake up just for a cuddle, when all you wanted was your Mum.

There are no words special enough to describe the joy and love you have bought our family.  My heart swells when I hear you cheeky little laugh, when you grab hold of my finger and simply when you stare into my eyes and smile.

We love you Aiden

Love Mum xx

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Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

 

 

Self Confidence

Yesterday’s photo a day prompt was mirror, and all day I was thinking about what kind of shot I could take – preferably one that doesn’t have me in it! You see the thing is I’m not super happy with the way I look at the moment.  I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my body shape/size, and long ago I accepted that I am one of those people who has to watch what they eat and exercise regularly to maintain a ‘healthy’ weight.  I’ve also come to terms  with the fact that I’m also not someone whose weight just ‘falls off’ while they breast feed, in fact for me it is the opposite…. damn you hormones!

The thing is that I enjoy exercising, and I feel great about myself whilst I’m doing it, and afterwards as well… it’s just getting and perhaps more importantly keeping the motivation to do it.  I’ve recently switched to a gym that is much closer to home and has more ‘friendly’ class times and this seems to be helping.

I know that I am lacking a bit of self confidence. We can put so much pressure on ourselves to live up to unrealistic expectations (my due date was around the same as Princess Kate & Kim Kardashian and look at them now….), that we unfairingly (that is so a word!) compare ourselves to others.

A few weeks ago I spent a few self indulgent hours at the hairdresser, and whilst reading the November issue of Marie Claire I came across the article ‘Instant Confidence’. It outlined some simple strategies which researchers believe will improve your self belief/self confidence and let’s be honest, we could all do with a bit more self belief I think.

* Coffee!!!  YAY!!  I’m happy to go along with any research that supports drinking coffee!  Admittedly, I do really enjoy my early morning coffee before the chaos of the day starts, and I do miss it when I skip it (I’m so not addicted).

* Sit up straight – hmmm.. I do agree, I’m trying to sit up as straight as I can now and admittedly I feel a bit more important!!

* Change your hair colour – sorted, appointment in two weeks!

* Clean out your wallet- with the theory being by managing this everyday area of your life, it will help you feel more in control in other aspects of your life. I took this challenge and also included cleaning out my handbag.  Considering I found sultanas that I believe started off as grapes in a container down the bottom of my bag, I’m feeling much more in control!

* Exercise!  Well this one is a bit of a no brainer, and I totally agree with it.  The research they quote is exercising for at lease 20 minutes at the gym will improve your mood for up to 12 hours.  I totally agree with this, I feel so much better about myself (and others!!) after exercising.

I know that I am being tough on myself, and realistically I know that I probably won’t ever be completely happy with the way I look.  It seems as though we are hardwired to always have one aspect of ourselves that we think needs improvement.

In the meantime, I’m trying to work on improving my self confidence and be proud of the way I look – this body of mine has spent the majority of the past three years either pregnant, or being pumped full of hormones for IVF, and has produced four children – so I probably should cut it some slack!

In the end I compromised and included a head shot in my photo, and with the magic of filters, I was pretty happy with how the shot turned out.

So I’m putting it out there – what strategies/tips do you have to help improve self confidence?

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Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

World Prematurity Day

Reaching 20 weeks is a major milestone in pregnancy.  You’re ‘halfway’ through, you have a scan to check on bub (and find out the sex if you can’t wait like me!), the excitement builds and you start preparing for the arrival of your special baby.

If you are at risk of premature birth, this can change, with the arrival of 20 weeks bringing you all the more closer to the 24 week milestone, otherwise known as ‘viability’.

It feels like such a cold and clinical way to describe your baby.  However it is at this point that most Doctors and Hospitals will go ahead with lifesaving measures to help your baby survive (although I have heard of some babies being treated at 23 weeks).

We were introduced to the term viability during our first pregnancy, when I was admitted to hospital at 20 weeks.  In a short space of time, we went from being blissfully unaware of the complications which can occur during a pregnancy, to discussing how much further along I would need to be before I would be given steroid injections (to help our babies lungs), and at what point they would perform ‘life saving measures’ on our babies.  For us, we fell short of the ‘magic’ 24 weeks, with our daughter and son being born just shy of 21 weeks.

Knowing from the outset of our next pregnancy that it was going to be high risk, and the risk of another premature delivery was there, our goal was 24 weeks.  I started counting down the days to this milestone from the time our pregnancy was confirmed. We didn’t tell many people that I was pregnant, initially I didn’t want anyone to know until we were past that 24 week mark.  Then after numerous hospital admissions starting at 17 weeks, we started to share our news, with the thought that if something did happen to our baby, we wanted people to know about him, and acknowledge him.

I reached 24 weeks with the celebration being marred with the news I would be staying in hospital until Liam arrived.  We knew all the stats. We knew each week the chances of Liam surviving if he arrived early increased, as the chances of him developing a disability decreased.  We toured the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Nursery (SCN).  I met with lactation consultants who educated me about expressing and feeding a premature baby.

We thought we were prepared.  We weren’t.  When Liam arrived at 30 weeks + 6 days, he was quickly shown to us and whisked away.  It wasn’t until several minutes later that we could hear his faint cries, and while I couldn’t see him, and was straining to hear, that small sound bought me to tears – our baby was alive.

There were similar feelings when I became pregnant with Aiden.  Again the countdown to 24 weeks started, with this milestone coinciding with Easter, I again eagerly counted down the days, with a strange mix of apprehension and relief as the day drew closer. Then when I was still pregnant (and at home!!) at 31 weeks, we celebrated…  thinking it may be possible that I could go close to full term! Like our babies, our celebration was premature.  Four days later I was back in hospital – just two doors up from where I’d stayed prior to having Liam, and chatting with the midwives who had previously looked after me.  The sense of deja vu continued, when Aiden was born at 32 weeks + 1 day – we were in the same theatre, our same obstetrician, the same ob assisting and the same anethatist.  This time, Aiden cried when he was delivered (and also weed all over me!), and we got to spend a few seconds more with him before he was taken to NICU.  Being thrown back into the NICU/SCN world after only leaving it 16 months before felt like we had never left.  As soon as I walked onto the floor, the smell of the NICU hits you and all of the memories come flooding back with a huge force.

We are fortunate, we had relatively smooth journeys with both of the boys during their NICU/SCN stays and there are no long term issues that we are aware of.  Once home, there have been the odd bumps in the road, and the anxiety of having a prem baby/child never fully goes away.   You are often anxious, are they putting on enough weight, is their development delayed, will a simple cold put them back into hospital? Often this isn’t helped by well meaning people,  who will compare their full term child’s development with yours or strangers who comment on how small your child is, when they ask how old they are, and when you say they were born early they go so far as to ask what the cause of their prematurity was – I was once asked ‘what was wrong with you?’ by a complete stranger whilst shopping with Liam in Woolies.

Today is World Prematurity Day.  The aim of today is to raise the awareness of premature birth and the journey families go on not only whilst their little ones are in hospital, but often for the rest of their lives.  It is a day to celebrate our little fighters and an opportunity to remember those babies who didn’t survive, by lighting a candle at 7pm.

Today I will be giving our little miracles extra hugs, and reflect on the long and crazy journey we have been through to have them here with us.  We will also be lighting a candle tonight in memory of Amber and Riley, and all the other babies who were born too soon and taken from us.

Have a wonderful Sunday

xx

world prematurity day 2013

Linking up with the Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays

A milestone not listed in any baby record books

Yesterday I had what may possibly be my best parenting moment yet (asides from bringing both of the boys home from hospital of course).

Our first cuddle - 5 days old

Our first cuddle – 5 days old

Drumroll……   Liam said ‘love you Mum’.  Ok, so maybe it sounded a little more like ‘ruv you mum’ – but I’m going with it.  To say that my heart melted would be an understatement, I was so overcome by emotion it sent a shiver through me. Initially I wasn’t sure if I had heard him right, and asked him to say it again just to be sure (and I just wanted to hear it again!), and there it was –  I was right.

After a week of illness and a suspected case of the measles (thankfully the test was negative), hearing these three beautiful words nearly bought me to tears.

Once again I am reminded of just how special my little boy is, and that I don’t think I could love him anymore if I tried.

Enjoying some Mummy & Liam cuddles before Aiden was born

Enjoying some Mummy & Liam cuddles before Aiden was born

What has been your best parenting moment?

Happy Saturday everyone x

What were you doing a year ago?

Can you remember what you were doing a year ago?  If you had stopped and written a letter to your future self, what would you have said?

This is special week for us, this time last year, we were down in Victoria celebrating my sister’s wedding, and entering the second week of the dreaded two week wait to find out if our latest round of IVF had been successful.  Then this same week two years ago, I was 24 weeks pregnant with Liam and admitted to hospital until he arrived… this time three years ago, we were finding out we were pregnant with our twins – but that’s a story for another time.

Going back to last year, it was our seventh embryo transfer, so unfortunately we had become all too familiar with the process, and knowing what signs to look out for that may indicate a positive or negative result.

Aiden's first photo - 5 days 'old'

Aiden’s first photo – 5 days ‘old’

During the early days of the two week wait, I’d allowed myself a rare moment of positivity and checked what my due date would be, if the transfer was successful.  I knew it was going to be late July,  what I was not prepared for was a due date of the 21st of July 2013 – Amber and Riley’s due date had been the 20th of July 2011 – I admit to having mixed emotions about that, but tried to take it as a positive sign.

Throughout the second week I’d had my suspicions –  I’d had the day of nausea, and a huge wave of exhaustion had began to overwhelm me, both of which happened early on in my previous two pregnancies.  Always the pessimist I kept telling myself it was all in my head – because then if it wasn’t successful it would be easier to deal with if I hadn’t gotten my hopes up right?!? Even when three home pregnancy tests were positive, and I received the phone call from our nurse confirming positive blood test results, the news didn’t fully sink in.  Whilst we were extremely happy and excited to be expecting a baby (why else would we have gone through IVF?), there was a sense of apprehension and even fear, about what was going to happen next, would I have similar complications as my previous two pregnancies, would I need to be on hospital bed rest again, would we have another premature baby?

Twelve months on and instead of over analysing every twinge I have, and praying each time I give myself another injection that it’s helping our baby grow, I am instead sitting here  listening to our happy and healthy (and not to mention gorgeous – biased I know!) five month old chatting up a storm.  Upstairs our equally gorgeous 21 month old is still fast asleep.  If someone had of told me this time twelve months, or even two years ago that we would be in this position, I would have never believed them! Throughout our journey into parenthood there have certainly been times when I felt like we’d never have two healthy babies at home with us. I feel incredibly blessed to have our two beautiful boys..  It’s amazing how much can happen in a year – and how fast it can go!

Out for lunch for Melbourne Cup

Out for lunch for Melbourne Cup

What were you doing this time twelve months ago?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT