Before I Met Rob.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

I’m still not sure how I feel about 2010 and early 2011. I do know that I'm glad I have the memories ( it was a crazy fun time) and there will be no regret that I didn't make the most of the first few years out of high school. You know, the years where you've left school, you're studying or working and you're discovering the big bad world. 

Weekends were full of alcohol and new phone numbers. Temporary BFFs and 3am Burger King stops. I have no idea how I managed to afford it (it might have something to do with the $7 bottles of wine and refusing to go anywhere with a door charge) but somehow, I was out every weekend. Sometimes just the Saturday night. Other weekends it was Friday AND Saturday. And the occasional Thursday, Friday and Saturday night (holy crap, just thinking about that makes me want to crawl back in bed). But that's what I lived for. 

Honestly, I just loved the attention. I was such an extrovert so I really thrived when I was out, meeting new people, dancing the night away. A successful night was one that ended with a kiss and a couple of new numbers on my phone. Like seriously, I was almost sad if I came home without one of each. I guess, throughout school I'd never had a boyfriend, never really had a love interest.. Not even a kiss. I was completely "untouched" and just so ready to experience this whole other world. So I jumped in all guns blazing. Threw all my inhibitions to the wind and just went for it. 

Which basically lead to a year of glandular fever. HA! No really. I had this weird sore throat and croaky voice for a whole year and finally went to the doctor where they sent me away for blood tests, the result being I was a carrier of glandular fever. Ew. It must've been super mild or something because I was never SICK, just croaky. Anyway, this phase kind of went on for about a year and like I say.. I had fun. I did genuinely enjoy it. Do I wish that I'd backed myself a bit more and not thrown myself at every guy that looked my way? Yes. Do I wish that I'd held back a bit and enjoyed my time with my friends, rather than looking for someone new for the night? Yeah, I do. 

After about a year of this, things slowed down a bit, mostly because I'd realised that from my first kiss (which ended up being with a girl) to finding photos of me hooking up with guys on my friends phone, this wasn't the life for me. I was burnt out. I was sick of it. I wanted something real, with someone that I actually liked. Cue my first ever boyfriend who was a total douche bag who just wanted one thing - and who got said thing. So much for finding some thing real with someone I liked huh? I lost my virginity to a dickhead who cared more about trying to put it in my bum than he did my feelings. And honestly, I knew he was shit. I don't know why I agreed to go out with him, I hated every minute. We only lasted a month (thank god and thank you friends who talked some sense to me) but I had lost my virginity to someone who really didn't care about me at all. 

And then, my life changed. I met Rob. After the second date, I told my Mum that if I accidentally got pregnant to him, I wouldn't even care because he was amazing and oh my god my life was amazing. What. A. Psycho. I had fallen for him hard, and luckily it seemed like he felt the same way. I realised that all those little crushes I had at high school weren't anything like this. I'd met someone who got me, despite us coming from very different backgrounds. Who loved sports and wanted to keep up with the latest trends, even though I was a creative through and through and didn't own one piece of branded clothing. Who was always spending time with his family of 90 while I had a small one of 5. Who knew that I was a dorky/wannabe indie kid who wouldn't stop talking but liked me regardless.

Initially, I was ashamed of my past. I feel like I had done stuff that made me less of a person for when I met Rob. I wished I hadn't lost my virginity. That I could have had my first time with him. I wished that I didn't need to be embarrassed everyone talked about "old Kate" and the things we did in town or at parties. I wanted to completely wipe the memory of that first "boyfriend."  I wanted to be my best for him, but I realise now that maybe I needed to do those things and have those memories so that when I finally met him - I'd be done. I'd be ready. I'd feel like I'd experienced enough so that I could give my full self to him without wondering what could've been. And let's be honest, I had obviously awakened sexually and WANTED to experience these things. Which is something I shouldn't be ashamed of. 

So anyway, at 19, I'd met the love of my life. The guy who would see me through the shittiest times. He decided to take a chance on me, despite us not really sounding like we'd work out on paper. And he was patient with me too. I made a lot of mistakes at the beginning and found it hard to transition from being this carefree single chick to someone in their first real relationship, but he let me figure it out.

He was there for me during the hardest part of my life. It’s crazy to think that the worst part was also the best, mostly because I had him. He held my hand when we found out that we might not be able to have kids. And through the years of waiting to hopefully have a baby through IVF. He could've left. I asked him over and over if he was sure he wanted to stay because I needed him to know that I understood. He'd come into my world that was all over the place, and being turned upside down constantly. I'm sure it wasn't really what he'd pictured when he imagined his future so I wouldn't have blamed him if he'd wanted out.

Luckily for me, he stayed. We had enough time together, without too much drama, to form a solid foundation that would stay strong throughout all the shit that was thrown at us. I know that I would've made it through alone, that I could've managed - but I'm glad I didn't have to. He's been my shoulder to cry on, my rock to lean on and the clown that keeps a smile on my face no matter what. Yeah, he's not perfect. He could do the dishes more and stop playing that stupid bloody Fortnite game (can I get an AMEN?!) but he's perfect for me. And I think, without the crazy, loose times, I wouldn't have appreciated him as much. I wouldn't know that, actually, this is what love is and this is what I want. So yeah.. While I wish I had lived those first years out of high school a little differently, ultimately I'm thankful that they gave me the confidence and experience (even sexually) to know that I was ready for a real love with Rob.

To be honest, I don't really know what this post is. I was just thinking about the whole IVF journey and how lucky I was to have a partner who not only understood, but stayed with me regardless of the fact that we might not have been successful. And it got me looking back at our whole relationship, and before that, to see how far I've come as a person. Also, I've realised that I need to enjoy the memories (regardless of how cringeworthy they were) and see them for what they were... An 18-19 year old who was discovering herself, her sexuality and ultimately just living life how she wanted to at the time. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Booking In To Make A Baby.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

In 2014 I found out something that completely flipped my world upside down. In 2015, my life changed again. Gone were the ideas of a natural conception, the "trying" to have a baby (ie. sex) and peeing on a stick to see those two lines appear. Instead, we were looking at a two year journey full of blood tests, things being poked up my vay jay jay, self injections and a whole lot of trying not to get our hopes up.

Our first appointment with Fertility Plus was 30th April 2014. It was just a sit down to discuss our options and find out how the whole process worked. We had to do some preliminary tests and there was correspondence with Australia so we knew it was going to take awhile before we'd actually get the IVF all rolling. A year later, the tests were all complete and we began to make a plan for how we were going to move forward. We were actually planning our wedding for later in 2015 and were on the waiting list so we were looking at probably getting started in 2016, once we came back from our honeymoon. It was a pretty crazy thing, to be planning our first baby before we had even gotten married (and at only 23 years old) but once we learned how long it can take and how uncertain it is to even be successful, we wanted to get started as soon as possible.

10th August 2016 was when we had our first IVF orientation appointment. During this, I mentioned how I hadn't had my period in nearly two years which led to more tests and finding out that I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. This kinda threw another spanner in the works. Obviously, a lot of women have IVF because of fertility issues (often PCOS) so we were in the right place, but it complicated things a bit. It meant that when it came to the hormones they'd be giving me, they'd need to ensure the dose was just about perfect because if I was overstimulated, I could end up pretty sick and potentially in hospital. What we had thought was going to be kind of straight forward was getting a bit more complicated.

I really wish I had kept track of dates etc so I could really give you an idea of how long it took but I think I was just trying to go with whatever happened (and never really had any intention of sharing our journey) but I'll do my best! Basically, there are two kind of phases in IVF. The first is to get as many eggs as possible that will then be fertilised (hey Rob) and left to see how they progress and if they'll develop into a suitable embryo to then get put back in. The second is to create your cycle (or go off your natural one) to make sure that when they put the embryo back in, your body is in it's prime condition so they're successful.

The first stage sucked. It was definitely the most emotionally and physically draining. First off they get you on the contraception pill, to stop your body from ovulating. Then, it's all go and you start injecting yourself with hormones daily to kinda kick start everything and get your body creating as many eggs as possible. This is where I was at risk of OHSS so they had to make sure that I was feeling okay but also still going to produce enough eggs. Then, once your ovaries are the size of oranges (literally) and you feel like absolute shit, they book you in for your egg collection. Mine was on the 7th October, 2016.

I gowned up, had a bit of anaesthetic and rocked on into the operating room where they proceeded to collect the eggs.Actually, they suck them out. Seriously, they shove this syringe/needle thing into your vagina and suck the eggs off the wall of your fallopian tube. And I had 18 of them. Which is amazing (and a lot more than we thought), but I was in there for 45 minutes and it was awful. Whenever I'm stressed out I get the worst spasms in my bum (I think it's an IBS thing) - it literally feels like someone is stabbing me with a knife up the bum, and this happened the whole time. And for the next couple of days afterwards too. 

So anyway (enough about my bum) they sucked out the 18 eggs, Rob popped out of the room to collect his contribution (yaaaaassss) and we were good to go. They were going to be fertilising all of the eggs today and we'd find out tomorrow how many made it through the night. The next day, 14 of them had survived. We then had to wait until day 3 to find out how many had made it to the blastocyst stage and they called us to let us know we had 8 embryos. We actually couldn't believe it. Here we were, planning for the worst, hoping for the best and we had 8 embryos! It wasn't over though.. As I mentioned before we were in contact with Australia and there were still tests to be done so they were frozen and flown all the way there. From there, we had to wait two weeks to find out how many we would have. This was the hardest. So many ups and downs, waiting for phone calls and hoping that we'd at least get one! We got the call. Five. We had five embryos that were frozen and ready for whenever we wanted them. Insane.

No seriously. Rob and I had come to terms with the fact that we weren't going to have a baby. We knew that IVF wasn't a sure thing and because of these extra tests we had to do, we had a success rate of 30-35%. So we were realistic. We'd talked about it. We'd both agreed that we would try the two cycles that came funded but after that, we were just going to make the most of our lives and enjoy it. But here we were on the phone with our lovely nurse, finding out that we had five shots at a baby. Or even five babies (hahahahaha no). 

So now we just needed to decide when we wanted to put this baby in. Christmas was approaching and I had a trip planned for Australia in the new year so we thought it might be good to wait until then. And also, they needed to base the implant around my natural cycle so wanted to see if I would get my period by myself. That didn't actually end up happening so once I came back from Aus in February, we were back at Fertility Plus getting all the drugs I needed to get this cycle going. This time, it was just a matter of manufacturing my period so after a bit more experimenting with doses, I was ready to go and lying on another bed with my legs in the air - ready for a baby! Thankfully this time round was a lot easier so they basically just inserted the embryo into my uterus (we even got to watch the little air bubble) and from there it was really just a waiting game. 

That was the 20th March 2017. Seven weeks later, we went in for an early pregnancy scan. And there it was. Our little blip. This cute little button. Together, and with the magic of science, we had created a little babe and I was pregnant! Honestly, it was the dream result and one we did not expect at all. It was seriously the biggest emotional rollercoaster either of us had been on. So many ups and downs. What ifs and maybes. Re-evaluating our lives and plans "just in case." The injections, the drugs.. The hormones being pumped into my body.. Waiting for phone calls. Following strict schedules as to when to take this and what time I have to inject that. It was a massive journey, and one we are so thankful have made to the end and with such an incredible result. 

IVF can really be the most amazing or heartbreaking experience and I totally get why people keep it under wraps. We did. We went at it mostly alone. Having no idea whether we were going to have a positive or negative result, we only shared the journey with a few close friends and family because if it didn't work, we wanted to grieve by ourselves. It's hard enough processing your whole life not panning how how you planned without carrying everyone else's emotions too. We wanted to be able to just deal with it as we needed, and share the good or bad news when we were ready. 

And I guess we are ready. We were one of the few couples where it worked. Jackson is the sweetest little miracle baby and we are so thankful for him. It was the dream outcome, and the fact that we can potentially give him a little brother or sister is beyond anything we'd ever imagined. Because I hadn't really planned on sharing, I didn't do the best job of keeping track and it probably wasn't as in depth as it could've been, but it's probably an accurate representation of how it worked for us. Since finding out some shitty news in 2014/2015, we've learned to just go with the flow and to make the most of each day so we didn't dwell too much on the dates. On the doseages. We were just forever hopeful that it would all work out, and ready to get through it together if it didn't. 

So there it is. A kinda jumbled look into our whole baby making experience that didn't turn out as fun or spontaneous as we had imagined. But it did lead to little Jackson and perhaps, another Key baby later on.

PS. I know that I've mentioned a couple of times about this shitty news that led to IVF and us needing more tests than usual. Please don't ask me what that's about. I couldn't really leave it out, but I'm not quite ready to share... Probably one day. 

Smiling and Nodding While Wanting To Punch Your Face.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

This is a skill that all parents need to master. The old, smiling and nodding while whatever crap someone is spouting goes in one ear and out the other. It's also one that I still haven't quite mastered. All parents warn you through pregnancy that you're going to have to learn how to do it, to try and just smile and say thank you while you try and not punch them in the face.

It's weird huh. Even in pregnancy I found people constantly commenting on me, my body, my pregnancy. They said things to me that they'd never say if I wasn't pregnant. I absolutely hated it and struggled daily trying not to be affected by these throwaway comments. And it's been the same now. "Oh babies do this.." "I never would've.." and my personal favourite - "Oh dear, you're creating a lifetime habit there."

F*** off. Please. *Smile.* Is that how it works?

The thing is, as new parents, we'd probably love some advice! We'd cherish all the little tidbits you share with us (especially if it involves some magic trick to get our baby to go to sleep) but that's not what we get. What we get is being told what to do. Or that we're doing things wrong. Or that what we're doing is something they would never even THINK of doing. Which is the last thing we need because already we're doubting every decision we've made or thinking we're not doing enough. So instead of having a little boost of confidence, we're being knocked back.

The world of parenting has changed a LOT since our grandparents were new parents. They were a lot tougher back then, with strict routines and the old "cry it out" method. And sure, that worked for them. We've all turned out okay. But for some reason, they can't really get used to the idea that maybe we'd like a more gentle experience. One where we follow our babies cues and trust that they know what they're doing and what they want. That maybe we let them occasionally (or always) sleep in our beds because that's what they need. That we spend hours on the couch in the evenings switching them from boob to boob because they're hungry and want to grow. That we let them sleep on us instead of in their bed because they just want a cuddle.

The thing is, these babies are just so new. They've been inside their Mums for the last 9 months and are suddenly pushed out into a world they know nothing about. It's been warm and snuggly and now it's cold and loud and there are so many new exciting things for them to experience - it's full on! So it's no surprise they want to be close to us. And that they want to follow their natural instincts. To survive! So if they're hungry or crying, it's for a reason. Little babies aren't shits. They're not naughty. They're just trying to live.

Already I've had comments on Jackson's "fat tummy." That maybe I should talk to my Plunket nurse if I'm worried about how much he's eating (which I've never said). That big babies need extra so I should probably look at supplementing with formula (not actually a thing). And the best one "just don't feed him, he's had enough.. He'll go to sleep I'm sure." Myyyy goodness. It's actually enough to drive you crazy and make you rethink every bit of parenting you've done so far.

But you know, I've been with this guy basically 24/7 for the last 10 weeks and I'm getting the hang of what he's all about. What he wants and needs and his signals to get them. I've already tried everything to get him to sleep, attempted to put him into his bassinet five times and given him to Rob in the hopes that maybe he's not hungry anymore (he never is. Of course). I've already googled what could be wrong with him, called my midwife and asked my mother in law. We've tried the swaddle, done the shushing and changed his nappy. So please, don't tell me what to do because I've already tried it. Twice. 

I just think it's time to celebrate new parents huh? To say "I know it's hard but you're doing such a great job." Time to say "I'm here if/when you need me" and wait until they ask for advice before thrusting it on them. And we'll appreciate it more, I promise. There won't be any more smiling and nodding while wanting to punch you in your face. Just a big thank you and maybe a bit of a hug - I can guarantee we'll need it.

Am I Doing This Right?

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Before every outing I have a bit of internal dialogue. Usually it goes along the lines of... You mean, I have to parent in public? Like.. People are going to see how I hold him? If he's hungry, I'm going to have to get out my boob and feed him? In front of people? And what if he start's crying and everyone's going to realise that I have no idea how to settle him without putting him on my boob? They'll say "oh just give him to his Mum" but they could probably calm him down better than me. Maybe we should just stay home. Before everyone realises I don't really know what I'm doing.

The other day I went to my first ever baby/mum group. It's called SPACE and it's kind of a baby development course where you hang out with other mums and their babes, sing songs and help the babies along as they grow older and discover more things. I don't really take Jackson out too much by myself, and if I do it's usually just short trips or walks so I can get in while he's sleeping or between feeds. This, however, was a threeish hour session. And I was shitting myself. What time will he wake up? Should I wake him up before we go, maybe feed him and risk him getting grizzly on the drive? Or maybe I should just try and drag out his sleep and hopefully he'll just wake up when we get there? But then when we get there, I'll have to feed him (cue freaking out about feeding him in public) and change him and we have this whole little routine but I don't know if I can manage it in front of everyone. 

Phew. Just thinking about it is enough for me to take him out of the car seat and just plonk down on the couch for a nap. 

Obviously, I went. And it honestly wasn't easy. The first feed went fine although I still struggle breastfeeding not at home. He's a heavy boy, my boobs are big and unfortunately I haven't yet nailed the art of cradling him while he feeds. Usually I'm comfy on the couch with a pillow or two to prop him up. But I was sitting on the floor, surrounded by 14 other mums. All the other mums had their lovely little babes in their arms, their boobs propped up nicely - no worries. And there's me, getting cramp in my leg, hunched over with my boob basically down to my knees and wrists feeling like they're going to break from trying to hold his head up while he slowly falls asleep and stops supporting his own head.

But we made it through the first feed. Which meant it was time to burp. Done. Great! Oh, but now this is the part where I normally change him. Maybe he could go a little while without needing to be changed... 

Hmmm. Hold on. A fart. Oh wait, that was more than a fart. Ahh crap that stinks. 

So with my 7kg baby in one arm, I rummage around in the bag trying to get find his nappy and the bag of wipes. And also trying not to drop him. Success! Off to the changing room, and back just in time to explain how Jackson was named after a guy off American Idol (from like, 3 years ago) who's name wasn't even Jackson but DeAndre and we thought DeAndre Jackson would be such a cool name but soon realised that we shouldn't call our baby DeAndre and just stuck with Jackson instead. True story. Anyway, now Jackson wants to have a wee chat which is cute until the chat turns into a bit of a whine because this is the part where I normally feed him on the other side and he'll go to sleep. But it's really hot in here, babies are starting to fuss and the atmosphere in the room is starting to get a little frantic due to the muggy weather and too many people in one room.

We have a little coffee/tea break so I get out the other boob and latch Jackson on but the thing is.. The second boob is never a fun time. It's part of the reason that I'm not a huge fan of feeding him in public. For his second feed (after his first and nappy change) he's usually after a bit of a lazy suck but you know, my body doesn't know that. So out comes the milk, full force and floods the poor boy causing him to choke. Which means he pulls off. And again, my boob hasn't really caught on to the fact that he's no longer sucking. Suddenly I've turned into a milk fountain and have not only squirted him in the face but am dripping all down my top and shorts. Of course, now he's crying and I'm trying to hold him while I find something to stop the flow, cover up my boob and also try to be discreet because I don't want to anyone to realise that not only have I choked my son on my over eager let down but that we're also both covered in milk. 

We managed to settle down on the sly but he was still being a bit fussy so outside we went for his burp. Ahh fresh air. Bliss. Oooh, lovely burp Jackson, well done. Actually hang on, that felt a bit wet. That felt like.. Oh. Good. Vom. Now, vomming is totally normal and it was actually the first he's ever done on me so I kinda feel like it was a right of passage but this was really turning into being the shittest first real outing out with him. And I got the "aw hun" which was 100% supportive but just made me feel like crap. Eventually we made our way back inside, I fed him again (no milk fountain this time) and he fell asleep - I think he'd just given up as well and figured sleeping through the rest of the session was the best idea. Me too buddy, me too.

When they announced our session was over at 2.30pm (a whole half hour early) I think there was a collective sigh of relief. We made it. It was over. Time to go home and attempt to settle our babies. And perhaps contemplate never leaving the house again. Or maybe that's me? 

The thing is, it really highlighted how unconfident and aware I am of my parenting. Of my skills as a Mum. Everything I did felt clumsy and awkward, especially in front of the other mums. Which is stupid because they're all first time mums and we've all had to learn on the job. If anyone knows what I'm going through, it's this group of ladies. But I couldn't help it - I felt like I wasn't doing anything right. Don't get me wrong though, it was lovely being out with other women who understand being a first time Mum and I know that I'll be going back.

I'm sure I'll get over it and the more I go out, the older Jackson gets, the more confident I'll be but at the moment, it's tough. It's tough not to compare. It's tough to just push myself to get out more because although I know it will make me more confident, I don't enjoy struggling in front of people.  I don't like the way I get all anxious just thinking about taking him out of the house. But I guess I just need to remind myself that I've made it this far so surely I'm doing something right. Right?

Two Months With You.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Well Master Key, you're two months now. And I didn't believe them when they said it would go fast, but they were right! I actually can't even remember those first couple of weeks, and I would've thought they'd be etched into my brain because I really struggled. Like, a lot. 

My nipples were so fricken sore, I was crying nightly because I felt like a shit mum and really was regretting everything, and you felt like a wee stranger in my arms whenever I held you. I was adamant that I wouldn't ever have another baby because motherhood didn't seem like it was going to be for me. Of course you were cute, and sweet. But you were also crying, wouldn't do what I wanted you to do and the lack of sleep was really getting to me (plus the realisation that it was going to be a long time before I got that sleep back too).

Of course, this was all normal baby stuff - I just didn't realise how mentally effected I was going to be by it all. But you know? I grew. As you grew, I changed and I realised that this is just what life is like with a baby. You cry. You poo. Sometimes you're easy to get to sleep, other times it takes ages and you'll only sleep in my arms. But where I was frustrated before, now I enjoy it. I like that you seek me for comfort, that when you're being held by someone else you patiently indulge them, all the while keeping your eyes on me. I can appreciate that the reason why you're fussy at times is because you're going through massive changes, both physically and mentally.

You've taught me so much in two months. You've taught me how to patient, to trust my instincts and to just go with the flow a bit more. For someone who has always been one for routines, who's anxiety usually flares up when there is none, you've really helped me to just let go. To enjoy the moments. To be okay with late breakfasts, broken sleep and to find the joy in the little things. Like smiles. And when you make your sweet little sounds because you want to have a chat. Like watching you discover your body and what it can do.

I'm getting there Jackson. The more you grow and become your own little person, the more my heart opens for you. You're worming your way in there and I can feel the love more and more, every time I look at you. I had no idea what motherhood would look like me and honestly, at the beginning I wasn't stoked. I really didn't think it was going to be for me. But you know, you're starting to win me over. You bring out the best (and sometimes worst) in me and you constantly challenge me, but mostly - you've taught me what it is to truly put someone else's wants and needs before my own and to find joy in that. Because I.. I really do love you. Happy two months. 

I'm More Than Just A Meal, Right?

Monday, 5 February 2018

Lately, I've been having these weird kind of epiphanies. Moments of self discovery. I think it's because becoming a parent really makes you look at yourself and your upbringing, and you can end up analysing yourself so you know what you want to pass onto your little one, and what you don't. I've been wondering why I'm finding it a bit hard to bond with Jackson, why it all still feels a little surreal and I think I've figured it out.

I remember in primary school, sitting in a circle with my classmates and we all had to go around and say something nice about everyone, or thank them for something. Compliments like "you're so cool," "I like your jokes," and "you're super smart" were the kind of things that were being thrown around. And then it got to me. "Thank you for helping me with my homework" and "you always help me when I need you." Nothing about my personality. Just, thank you for being useful. Which hey, I'm glad I can help but surely there's more to me than just what I can do for others right?

Thinking about it, I do feel like it's shaped who I am now. I'm always quick to put my hand up, to offer help, even if it's inconvenient because I kinda feel like that's all I have to offer. I don't want them to find someone else to replace me, to help them, because once they do, they might not need me anymore. And I see it most in my career. "Oh hey Kate, how are you?" "Ahhh haven't spoken to you in ages! I'm great, how are you going?" "Pretty good! Hey, I was wondering.. If you just had a minute would you mind..." 


(Also, it never just takes a minute. Ever).

Look, it's nice to get called on. And I really do enjoying helping people out. It's nice to know that people appreciate my skills enough to ask for help. That they want me to do things for me because of the way I do it, or to the standard I follow. That I'm reliable and that they can truly depend on me. That they trust me to get the job done. But when it feels like that's all there is to the relationship, it's pretty shit.

Which is where Jackson comes in. See at the moment, I'm his favourite person. I'm the one he cries for. I'm the one he smiles at most. But, I'm also his food source. Without me, he doesn't eat. And I'm a little scared as to what happens when the milk is gone. When we don't have that physical connection anymore. When he's aware enough of people's personalities and decides who he likes and doesn't like. What happens when I'm more than just a meal - is he going to like me? Will he still settle with me, above anyone else? Will he still give me the biggest smiles, despite the fact that I no longer breastfeed him? 

I know I need to back myself. And I reckon that I'm a pretty rad person. But after years and years of kinda just viewing my worth based on what I can do for others, it leaves me feeling a little unsure of who I am. Who I am when I'm not helping out. So perhaps it's time to stop saying yes so eagerly, to allow myself to not be so depended on and to reassure myself that I am more than a meal. More than someone who always says yes. If anything, it's probably just a good way to weed out the people who are in my life, not because they genuinely enjoy me but because of what I can do for them.

And when it comes to Jackson... Well, only time will tell. It's definitely not going to happen if I don't give myself fully to him which means no more holding back on my part. I think it's time to just jump right in and fall head over heels in love with this little guy (and honestly, I'm halfway there). To see our bond as more than a physical "I have your milk" kinda thing, and as a mother and son. To do that, I'm going to back myself and KNOW that I have more to offer. It's truly such an important lesson, for me and for him. I want him to know his worth, and to do that, I have to know mine.


I Said I Wouldn't But I Did.

Friday, 2 February 2018

You know what? It's super easy to give parenting advice when you're not a parent. We've all done it. Walked around the supermarket and thought to ourselves, oh we'd never give our kids chocolate just to make them be quiet. Listening to Mum's complain about their babies not sleeping and thinking, my baby will be sleeping in their own cot, all by themselves. Formula fed? Oh no way, I'll be breastfeeding my child thank you very much. 

Well, just you wait. Wait until it's 3am, your baby has been awake since 11pm and refuses to go down. Wait until you've been trying to feed your baby but your nipples are cracked and bleeding. Wait until you're crying in the shower because you don't feel like you can do this whole parenting thing anymore. Wait until you just manage to get to sleep and then are woken up by a screaming baby.

Co-sleeping, for me, was one of those things that I kinda judged other parents on. I always thought that, when it comes down to it, it's just about making the effort. Being patient. Taking time to get them used to the bassinet/cot no matter what it takes. Even if you're up for hours, surely it's not that hard right? And why would you want your baby sleeping in your bed with you? How can you have a bit of sexy time with a little baby taking up half of your bed? Don't you want to have your own space? Independence should be the main goal! 

Ha! Well aren't I the fool. Firstly, because when you've just managed to settle a crying baby and crawl into bed, the last thing you want to do is be intimate with your partner. If you get your baby to finally sleep, you make the most of every second that you can get to grab some zzz's yourself. Secondly, when I decided that co-sleeping wasn't something I wanted to do, I didn't have a baby who didn't want to sleep by themselves. That hadn't had their immunisations that day. That hadn't refused to sleep anywhere but on me all day because they wanted cuddles. That decided at 11pm to have a bit of a cluster feed that would finish at 2am. 

I was so bloody tired. And you know what? I just didn't have it in me to try and get him into the bassinet. I fell asleep while I was feeding him lying down, and woke up to his poor little face smashed into my boob. He had managed to clear his face so all was good, but I felt awful. Awful that I was so tired and had put my baby at risk. So I made a safe little nook in the middle of our bed. Made sure that he wouldn't be covered by any blankets and tucked him in so he was nice and cosy. And we slept. In fact, he slept for five hours which was his longest stint yet. 

I have to admit it wasn't my best sleep. I did wake up a couple of times to check he was okay. And in the back of my mind I was thinking that this probably wasn't a good idea and that I was making a bad decision. Because of that, I don't think this is going to become a regular thing. He does actually sleep in his bassinet and we really do appreciate the independence. But as a one-off, I think it's going to be an option for us. In this situation, it was actually the safest option for all of us. Both Rob and I were at risk of falling asleep while holding him, so it really was much safer for him to be tucked in nicely. 

It's really easy to assume things before you're in the situation yourself and it's a lesson that I've been learning all the way through. And also, a lesson in kindness. Parents are going to make decisions that you find questionable, but it's their baby. Their lives. We're all going to approach parenthood in different ways and the most important thing is to really just go with what's for you. At the end of the day, safety and happiness is key so if that means that we have a little sleepover every now and then for our sanity (and our sleep), then so be it. 

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