Max – life with six year old you

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Six is such a great age, I’m a big fan of six year olds and you are no exception. You’re a free spirit, don’t give a damn what anybody thinks of you and really don’t see the need for underwear. You are an early riser, have boundless energy and still lose all ability to function when you’re tired (waiting for that phase to pass, it’s going to be awfully difficult to piggyback you to bed when you’re 15). This year you requested a chocolate mud cake for your birthday and desperately wanted roller skates (and thanks to Grammy, you got them). You’re also currently obsessed with Skylanders, you quite happily sit and play with the figurines all day.

One of the things that I love the most about you is that you are just the sweetest boy – you constantly blow me away with your kindness and I really hope that stays with you as you grow up. You’re smart, good at maths, hilariously funny and have just started to begin to read independently. You also love music and can’t help but move your body when you hear a song play.

I must admit – life with six year old you is pretty awesome. You’re just such a cruisy kid, nothing much bothers you and you get along with everyone. Life is a whole lot better with you in it :-)

Happy birthday Maxi!

Maisie – life with six month old you


It’s amazing that at the same time, six months can feel like its passed in the blink of an eye and yet also feel like its lasted a lifetime. I can’t quite believe that you’re already six months old but I also struggle to remember what life was like before you were in our lives (and in our bed). I’ve already talked about your first three months here but boy have you changed!

At about the four month mark you decided that actually, the car wasn’t so bad after all and hey it’s quite good for napping – I cannot express how amazingly GRATEFUL I am for this. The screaming was driving me bonkers and made me want to sell you on eBay. You have also developed the wonderful ability to sleep somewhere which doesn’t involve being on me in some way, shape or form (fist pump!). The four month mark was actually quite eventful as you added rolling over and sprouting two teeth to your list of accomplishments.

You breastfeed like a pro now although those little teeth keep me on my toes. Around five months you finally started gaining some serious weight and people stopped commenting on how ‘tiny’ you were – you’re a respectable 8kg now and off the chart tall at 71cm. We’ve also started baby led weaning which is amazing and basically means you just eat whatever we eat, no spoon feeding, no purees and you LOVE it.

You have these amazingly big eyes which means we get lots of comments about how ‘alert’ you are but also leaves you with a look of permanent surprise on your face. Then you smile and your eyes turn into little crescent moons over your chubby cheeks – it. is. adorable. Combine that with your completely infectious laugh and I might just keep having babies forever! (But not really. Because that would be insane.)

You absolutely adore your siblings – you find them hilarious and endlessly entertaining and they are as equally infatuated with you. They love to hold you and play with you and I doubt you will ever be short of somebody to lavish attention on you 😉 You also have your daddy quite firmly wrapped around that little finger of yours, he is completely smitten. All in all, we’re pretty psyched to have you in our family.

Happy 6 months little one x

Maisie Beth {A Birth Story}


At 40 weeks + 1 day I arrived at the hospital for my scheduled visit with the midwives, not at all surprised to have gone ‘overdue’. I was hoping that there was at least some action happening with my cervix as I really wanted to avoid an induction and if the baby came during that 10 day post due date window then I wouldn’t have to fight against having one. I consented to the midwife doing a stretch and sweep and held my breath hopefully as she assessed my cervix. “Oh wow!” she exclaimed, “You’re 3cm dilated and I can feel your membranes bulging – I could pop them right now if I wanted to! You’ll be back here within the next day or so having this baby.” Thank God! I thought. All those days of pre-labour WERE actually doing something! She ummed and ahhed about even booking another appointment for the following week as she was certain I wouldn’t need it but decided to ‘just in case’. Then she sent me on my way with a “See you soon!” and a knowing wink.

Seven days later I was back. Still no baby. And not bloody happy about it either. I was now 8 days overdue and the midwife who saw me kept shaking her head in amazement and saying how she couldn’t believe I was ‘still in one piece’. Yeah, me neither. She decided to perform another, rather vigorous, stretch and sweep and sent me on my way with a promise to come back on day 10 for an ultrasound if I hadn’t popped by then. I went home and was crampy all afternoon but didn’t want to get my hopes up. That night I hopped in the bath and tried to get a bit more relaxed and comfortable before bed – the cramping was still there but it wasn’t anything strong or regular and I knew I needed to get some sleep if this did turn out to be labour. We went to bed and I drifted off easily, although I woke a couple of times and realised that the cramping was still there. At 3am I woke up when my waters broke, two small gushes of fluid. It wasn’t much so I figured it was just my forewaters that had ruptured but I got up to check that the fluid was clear before laying down a towel and going back to bed. The cramps had gotten slightly stronger now but I knew that getting as much rest as I could was the best thing to do – labour wasn’t fully established yet and I probably still had quite a few hours ahead of me. I could no longer sleep but I rested for a couple of hours before Phil woke at 5:30am and I told him that our baby would be born today.

We stayed in bed until about 7am when I had to get up and get the kids ready. I had texted my stepmum to let her know that this was it and she came over to take the kids to school. Once I was up and moving around, the cramps became much stronger – they were painful now. At 9am I decided to call our doula Tina and fill her in – she lives a couple of hours away and has kids of her own to organise so I wanted to give her plenty of notice. I told Tina that my membranes had ruptured several hours ago and that I was getting contractions but that they were still quite manageable and had not yet become regular. I wanted to labour at home for as long as possible before transferring to the hospital so as to avoid the unnecessary interventions which had hindered my previous births. Tina encouraged me to take it easy and told us to keep her updated with my progress – she would join us when I felt her presence was necessary. I decided to take a shower and wash my hair, wanting it to be clean and fresh (apparently I had completely forgotten what labour was like and that very soon I wouldn’t give a shit if somebody shaved all my damn hair off).

The contractions stayed constant in their intensity but remained irregular – I’d have 3 that were 5 minutes apart and then not have another one for 15 minutes, which was a little frustrating. At about 10:30am I decided I was tired and wanted to lay down for a bit, then promptly fell asleep. My body must have decided that I needed the rest because I slept solidly for a couple of hours – if I was still having contractions, they weren’t bothering me. I awoke after lunch refreshed but disappointed – the contractions had backed off again and I kicked myself for letting things slow down. I needn’t have worried though because as soon as I got up, everything started right back up again. Phil had spoken to Tina while I was sleeping and she said it sounded like I was having a typical labour of a posterior baby (early rupture of membranes, strong yet irregular contractions) and that she would email through a list of things to try and encourage the baby to turn. I had discovered that it was damn near impossible for me to be standing up while having a contraction now, I wanted to be close to the ground. Phil was watching TV so I had set up a pile of folded towels on the seat of the couch next to him and then knelt in front of the couch, hunched over the towels for support. This position was working quite well for me and when Tina’s list of things to try came through, the position I was already in was on there. It must have worked too because at about 2pm the contractions became much stronger and were finally coming regularly – I was starting to vocalise through them which I realised meant that things were really kicking into gear now. Tina had suggested during my pregnancy that when labour was well established, it was a good idea to head into a dimly lit, secluded room where I felt comfortable and calm and could focus on what my body was doing. I had decided that this would be our bedroom and Phil had already spent the morning taping cardboard over the windows and making sure everything was cosy. We headed to the bedroom and I took up the same position, kneeling in front of the bed while hunched over my pile of towels. At about 3:30pm I told Phil that he should tell Tina that it was time for her to make her way over and that we should probably call the hospital to let them know I’d be in at some point in the next few hours. Phil spoke to the midwife on call who wanted to know if we could be a little more specific on the ‘when’ we would actually be at the hospital so she would know when to leave home. We weren’t really sure so they decided  we’d meet at the hospital at 5pm and let her know if anything changed before then. About 5 minutes after he was done making the calls I told him to call both Tina and the midwife back because I wanted to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW. I no longer felt like I was coping well with the contractions, I’d never gotten this far in labour without any drugs before and IT HURT LIKE HOLY HELL.

Phil rang everyone back and rushed around grabbing bags while I writhed in agony on the bed. I had lost my calm, lost my concentration and started to doubt my ability to do this. I struggled out to the car and climbed into the back seat for the worst car trip of my life (Phil probably wasn’t a fan either). Being in a seated position made the pain a thousand times worse and I was suddenly so grateful we only live a 10 minute drive from the hospital. We arrived at about 4pm and were thankfully able to park relatively close to the entrance because walking was not something I was all that keen to do at that point. If I could have crawled my way to the birth suite, I think I would have. We’d only gotten about 5 steps away from the car when the security guards realised what was happening and raced over to see if we’d like a wheelchair. I struggled my way across the car park while they located one and brought it out. Unfortunately it appeared to be defective and refused to open so I could actually sit on the bloody thing. Security guard no. 1 raced off to find a replacement while guard no. 2 performed his three stooges routine trying to get it open. I would have found a middle aged man wrestling with an un-cooperative wheelchair far more amusing if I hadn’t been yelling at him (in my mind obviously, I no longer had the ability to form coherent sentences) to get out of the freaking way so I didn’t have this baby on the pavement. New wheelchair finally located and we headed upstairs to the birth suite with two extremely nervous escorts who looked like they were terrified one of them was going to be expected to catch the baby en route. Express check in to our room and my midwife asks if I’d like her to run a bath – I think I manage a nod mid-contraction but what I want to say is “Oh god yes, get me in the bath STAT!”. I had read and heard so many accounts of how being submerged in water was supposed to make you feel like you were floating on a cloud surrounded by rainbows and unicorns (or something to that effect anyway) and I wanted in on that action. I’m not sure whether it was the size of the bath (I struggled to actually get my whale-like figure ‘submerged’) or the fact that I had waited too long and had already lost my concentration and was struggling to get it back or that everyone is just bullshitting about the magical bath tubs but I sure as hell wasn’t feeling it. Tina arrived at some point, I’d lost all concept of time by then. I’m not sure how long I spent in the tub, I just remember Phil and Tina sitting beside me, coaching me to try and slow my breathing through the contractions and the midwife popping in occasionally to check the baby’s heartbeat. I told Phil that I’d had enough and I wanted to go home, this was decidedly not fun. And then I finally gave in and told them I wanted an epidural. Even though I ‘d been adamant throughout the entire pregnancy that I didn’t want one this time. Even though I knew I was in transition, the baby was almost here and there was no way in hell they’d give me one at this point. I knew all that and still, I demanded an epidural. Repeatedly. Phil and Tina tried to talk me out of it but “I want the epidural” had become my new mantra.

Tina felt like the bath had actually slowed things down a bit so suggested I try the shower instead. Changing positions just seemed like the hardest thing in the world at that point but I dragged myself out of the tub and sat on a birth ball while Tina showed Phil where on my belly to direct the shower spray. Sitting wasn’t working for me though and I ended up reclining on the birth ball, head in Tina’s lap with my legs climbing up the shower walls. The midwife found that quite amusing and I think Tina and Phil were terrified I was going to roll off but it was the most comfortable position I could find. I was still banging on about an epidural and my midwife commented that that’s not usually the first port of call for pain relief and that perhaps I’d like to try some gas first. I couldn’t explain that I hated the ‘spacey’ feeling the gas gave me and that it made me throw up (oh and the small matter of NOT DOING A DAMN THING FOR THE PAIN) or that I didn’t want the pethidine injection so I’m pretty sure all that came out was “I want the epidural”. But since nobody seemed to be taking me seriously I quickly decided that yes, I’d have some gas and now would would be just peachy. Apparently they had to fetch it from the next suburb over or something because it took bloody forever. As predicted, the gas didn’t even begin to penetrate my pain bubble and I must have still been nattering on about the epidural because the midwife said I’d have to get on the bed so they could examine me before having one. I lurched out of the bathroom before another contraction hit but not much further, Tina managed to get a mat underneath me as I crouched on all fours on the floor then promptly vomited everywhere (damn gas). Before I could even get on the bed I got the overwhelming urge to push and I was like WOAH! This is what the urge to push feels like?? It was incredible and completely involuntary – all of a sudden I was pushing, without any conscious thought about doing it.

Somehow I got on the bed. I remember very little except that pushing felt good and incredibly productive. I welcomed the contractions now as with them came that undeniable urge to push and I could physically feel my baby shifting through my pelvis – it was such an amazing feeling, completely different to when my first two children were born. Both Charlie and Max’s births involved a large amount of people, equipment and drama. This was just me, Phil, Tina and two midwives, I wasn’t attached to any machines or IVs and I felt like I had this. After a mere three or four pushes her head was out and the midwife asked if I’d like to touch it so I did. There was a pause for a good three minutes and then at 6:49pm, on the next contraction, her body slipped out and the midwife placed my baby on my chest. A wave of relief swept over me, mixed with pride. We had asked that the midwife not ‘announce’ the sex as we wanted to discover the surprise for ourselves but I had to be prompted to actually check! “It’s a girl!” I smiled up at Phil, “Charlie is going to be so happy”.

I wanted a physiological third stage so the umbilical cord wasn’t clamped until it stopped pulsating and then I cut it myself. Once the placenta was out the midwife was concerned about how much I was bleeding. A second midwife entered the room, took one look and told Phil to hit the emergency button behind him. The room flooded with people and I knew it was a post partum haemorrhage (I’d had one after Charlie was born too). Surprisingly, I wasn’t overly concerned – I knew what was happening and I understood what needed to be done to fix it. Poor Phil didn’t have a clue what was happening though so it gave him quite the scare. They managed to get the bleeding under control and everything calmed right down. I could have a proper look at my baby.

You looked small, I thought you were my smallest baby yet. Your face was swollen and a little bruised thanks to your speedy exit but you clearly resembled Aiden, everybody said so. You had big, dark blue eyes and a small amount of dark hair. About an hour after you were born, the midwife weighed you and we were stunned to realise you were 9lb 4.5oz, not my smallest but in fact my heaviest baby! You just didn’t look it, you were so petite and for months everyone commented on how pixie-like you were. You were perfect.

Maisie Beth

17th July 2014 – 6:49pm

9lb 4.5oz – 53.5cm


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Aiden – life with five year old you


Today you turn five, which makes two five year old boys in our house and boy is that intense! You have grown up so much in the past year and in a few short months you will be off to school, an adventure I’m sure you will thoroughly enjoy. You are endlessly curious and ask thousands of questions (literally!) which sometimes drives us bonkers but we love that you love to learn. You like to know how things work, are enthusiastic about everything you do and rarely sit still for more than 30 seconds.

Even though you can be reserved when around new people, you’re incredibly sociable and thrive on being with others – a true extrovert. You’re loud, boisterous, affectionate, friendly, stubborn and creative. You don’t believe there is ever a situation in which you could be considered wrong. You have a fierce imagination and tell wild tales of shark attacks, car chases and grand adventures.

You love having a baby sister and are so good at being gentle and quiet with her, although you do like to give her a vigorous head rub every now and then! You and Max are great friends, you and Charlie like to fight it our for who is the most stubborn 😉

Most of all, you worship your Daddy. You shadow him, asking questions and watching him intently, like you’re trying to memorise everything.

Happy 5th Birthday Aiden, I can’t wait to see what this year brings.

Farewell Fourth Trimester


So much for “I’ll be posting regularly now”! Apparently I have baby amnesia – I completely forgot how damn near impossible it is to get shit done when there’s a baby in the house 😉 This week marks the end of my “fourth trimester”, otherwise known as my baby has been on the outside for a whole three months now. I must admit, all in all, it’s been a fairly good three months.

The Good

Overall, Maisie is generally a happy baby. If she cries it’s because she needs something and once that need has been met, she’s good. She can be generally irritable in those early hours of the evening (you know, the hours where all children band together to make their parents lives a living hell) but if I’m holding her that almost always fixes the problem. She tends to drift off to sleep quite easily (especially if she is in the sling!) throughout the day and – I almost feel bad telling people this one – but I am not sleep deprived in the slightest because she sleeps BRILLIANTLY at night. Like, all night. Before you decide to hate me, I’m pretty sure I know why she sleeps so well at night – I breastfeed and we co-sleep. So she spends the entire night in bed with us and wakes every few hours to feed. This means that while I’m being woken every few hours, I’m only awake for a total of about 30 seconds to help her latch on and then we both go back to sleep.

The Bad

While sleep is a complete non-issue now, Maisie did spend the first 5 nights of her life screaming. Non-stop. All night. Then we took her to see our chiropractor and that night she was fine. And has been fine ever since. It was like magic. She has also had problems gaining weight because she didn’t take to breastfeeding as easily as Charlie and Max did, which caught me by surprise. I’ve never had a single problem breastfeeding (aside from one bout of mastitis when my milk came in with Max) so I just assumed it would be just as easy this time around. So, of course, it wasn’t. She had a weak suck and just could not attach well, no matter how many times I tried to reposition her. We saw a lactation consultant who suggested I change the position I feed her in (which helped) but I think most of all she needed time and practice – over the last couple of weeks we’ve finally hit our stride and she’s having good weight gains. It was stressful but I’m incredibly glad I stuck with it. While she does sleep very well, she will not sleep on her own – her naps during the day happen either in the sling, in my arms or on my chest. I’m happy to do it and I know she won’t need to sleep near me forever but it would be nice to be able to use that time to do other things once in awhile!

The Ugly

Maisie hates the car. HATES the car. She screams hysterically every time I put her in her car seat, like someone is back there pulling out her fingernails one by one. And I have tried EVERYTHING and nothing helps. She is marginally less traumatised if Charlie is sitting next to her, keeping her company and putting the dummy back in every 3 seconds but it’s only a very slight improvement. Again, time seems to be the key with this one – just recently I’ve been able to make short 10 minute trips without her losing it (as long as she isn’t hungry or tired). I actually think I’d give up some of the sleep I’m getting at night if she could tolerate the car better – it’s awful.

I’m working on getting Maisie’s birth story down for a post but it seems like every time I sit down to type she wakes up! I’ll get there eventually 😉 (Edit – you can find Maisie’s birth story here)

Her favourite place in the world

Her favourite place in the world

37 weeks


This week marks the official “Your baby is now full term and could come any day now” time of pregnancy and while I’d like to think that’s a possibility, in reality I probably still have 3 weeks to go. At least. But things are good and we’re just enjoying this time to ourselves and our older kids before we add to the madness :-)

At 35 weeks we had maternity photos taken by the very talented Ainslie at Wild Spirit Photography and they’re too good not to share! Ainslie has been taking photos of my family since I was pregnant with Max, I adore her work. Here is a small selection of our maternity session – enjoy :-)


Charlie – life with eight year old you


Last week you turned eight – a number that doesn’t sound quite so old until you inform me that in 5 years you’ll be a teenager (WHAT?! I don’t remember signing up for that!). 5 years ago you were three years old and a bumblebee for your birthday. You had just recently acquired a sibling. Your dad and I were still together. Oh how much can change in just 5 years.

We are just starting to catch glimpses of an attitude, something I’m guessing will be far more prominent when you are actually a teenager. A few episodes of stomping up the stairs and door slamming. But I know we still have a few ‘little girl’ years left yet because you still sleep with a stuffed unicorn and your baby doll and tell me at least once a day that I am “the best mum in the whole universe”. And you’ve yet to utter the words “I hate you!” – I know they’re coming eventually but I’m glad we’ve gotten eight years in without hearing them so far.

You want to be a vet when you grow up and are very pleased that we got our first pet this year, George the cat. You are currently obsessed with loom bands and you love art and craft, god forbid any of us throw out an empty toilet roll. You are nearly always drawing or painting or making something out of egg cartons and pipe cleaners. The mess drives me mental but I love how creative you are.

I cannot even begin to describe just how excited you are about the new baby. You are desperately hoping for a baby sister but I think you’ll be just as happy with another brother – the fact that there is a baby at all is the best part for you. Recently I was explaining to you and Max that I would need your help to do some extra things to get ready in the mornings when the baby came. “It’s ok Mum” you replied “I can hold the baby while you get ready”.

My brand new eight year old – you are smart, creative, funny, beautiful and ever so logical. How blessed I am that you chose me.

Happy birthday Charlie Bear x

31 weeks


Today marks 31 weeks of pregnancy, this tiny human is nearly done! The first couple of weeks of my third trimester were a little concerning – I was hospitalised for a significant bleed and once that settled down an ultrasound showed that my amniotic fluid was low. After another ultrasound with a specialist I was deemed on the ‘very low’ end of the normal spectrum but still within the spectrum nonetheless and thankfully the last three weeks have been uneventful.

We don’t know the sex of this baby (something Phil is not particularly impressed about). I didn’t find out the sex with Charlie or Max and this pregnancy is no different – I like it to be a surprise. However I didn’t anticipate just how many ultrasounds I would be having this time around (five so far and probably a couple more before I’m done) and that has made it  much harder to stick to my “I don’t want to know” stance. Especially when the specialist felt the need to inform me that she DID in fact know whether my unborn child was male or female. Oh so tempting. But I resisted – I DON’T WANT TO KNOW. I’m just going to repeat this over and over during my next scan 😉

I am quickly running out of ‘regular’ clothes that I can still squeeze into but have recently discovered the joys of maternity underwear (SO worth the investment!). I don’t even care that Phil insists on referring to them as my ‘granny undies’, those things are damn comfortable!

This morning Charlie voiced her concern that I would be having the baby in winter (apparently this has just occurred to her). We had the following conversation, much to my amusement:

Charlie: But you’ll be so cold having the baby in winter!

Me: What are you talking about? Why will I be so much colder just because I’m having a baby?

Charlie: *thinks for a minute* I suppose…well, we don’t know what time the baby will be born yet do we?

Me: Charlie, I’m having the baby in a hospital – the hospital is heated. Trust me, I won’t be cold.

Charlie: Oh! Well ok then.

Me: It’s not like I’m giving birth in a barn.

Charlie: I know a baby who WAS born in a barn….Jesus!

Me: Well I’m not giving birth to Jesus, my baby will be born in a hospital. Where it’s warm.

So I have started thinking that perhaps we should actually prepare for this baby, you know, SOON. Given that it’s arrival is approximately 9 weeks away and all. We bought a cot a few months back because it was on sale at Ikea for $40 and a friend of mine gave me her change table and portacot. That was officially the sum total of our baby belongings – can’t half tell it’s the fourth child huh? 😉 So I recently purchased some adorable onesies and am researching car seats. I am in that comfortable frame of mind where I know just how little babies actually need. Somewhere to sleep, something to wear and a comfy sling to be carried around in and we’re all set.

Apart from the killer heartburn, the ridiculous amount of time it takes for me to put on ‘proper shoes’ and the fact that the baby is now strong enough that it’s ‘stretching’ can actually cause me pain, I’m still ok with this being pregnant thing. I think it helps that I can still see my toes (just) – once the toes disappear all bets are off!

Three words I hate


When I was growing up, I never entertained the thought that I would still cringe on hearing the words ‘back to school’. Parents love it when their kids go back to school – right? Right? Yeah, not this parent. I hate it when my kids are at school. I hate the school routine, I hate having to be there at 8:30am and 3:00pm Monday to Friday every. single. week. I hate making school lunches. I hate homework. Homework is the worst – I did it for 12 years myself and now I have to do MORE? What kind of hell is this??

School is all about routine and I have never been big on routine. I don’t like having to be certain places at certain times (shockingly, I’m not particularly punctual) and I like having the freedom to do things on a whim. One might say this is difficult to do when one has children and I would tend to agree – but it’s not impossible. A few years ago I woke up one Wednesday morning and just thought “I have to get out of here”. So I packed the kids up, rang Charlie’s school to let them know she wouldn’t be in for the rest of the week and drove us all down the coast for three days. Things like this are infinitely harder when you have children in school and I so wish I’d discovered natural learning/homeschooling many years ago so we could have avoided the traditional schooling environment all together. To have that freedom and because I don’t believe school is the best place for my children to learn.

We’re in a peculiar situation in that some of our children will attend traditional schooling while some are homeschooled. Charlie and Max are enrolled in a private school, Aiden starts prep next year (most likely at a public school) and this baby I’m currently working on, plus any others, will be homeschooled by me – I’m yet to figure out exactly how that’s going to work. Unfortunately, the freedom we will have by homeschooling our younger children will have to be balanced by the school routines of the older children – it will be interesting for sure. But hey, our family dynamic is nothing if not interesting :-)