It’s Hard To Let Go!

Today I finished sorting the last bedroom in our house – my baby girl’s room! As I placed each item of clothing in a pile that is too tiny for her now, I felt sick, sad, depressed that no baby of mine will wear those clothes again:(……I thought I was ok about moving forward but quite clearly I’m not!

In the past month Mia has gone from a baby toddler to a big girl toddler and as she discovers a new trick and speaks a new word or phrase, it reminds me more and more of how my days as a mother of a baby are slowly dwindling! A couple of months back I wrote a blog on ‘Knowing When You’re Complete’, I know in my heart (literally) we won’t be having anymore children but that doesn’t mean I’m at peace with this (like I thought I was)!

I’m really bad at the moment and can’t even bring myself to look through the kids baby photos! What’s wrong with me…I’m an emotional basket case!!!! Their baby photos bring back such powerful (and the best) memories just like they were yesterday! I still remember the minute each of them were born and placed on my chest, the instant bond that no one could come between. The baby smell oh how I loved thee, to the point I could have eaten their little cheeks off lol! The precious moments of breast feeding, having them smile and laugh at me for the first time and all the other special milestones that our babies reach! No wonder letting go is so damn hard!

As I see a pregnant women or a newborn baby I smile with happiness for them, but behind my smile are tears of sorrow. 6 months ago if you asked me am I done, I would of said hell yeah!! Mia was such a difficult baby and for a long time put me off having anymore. But now my sweet little pea is content and happy, it has shadowed all the hard times. Someone at work asked me yesterday am I done, this time my response was unfortunately:(

I would love a 4th baby to even our family up, but my life’s path decided it wasn’t meant to be the day I found out about my heart! I probably may not have had a fourth anyway, but there are times like now that the fact the decision has been taken out of my control makes me feel mixed emotions! I’ve loved having babies, it’s been the absolute best time of my life so far….but OMG how fast has it gone!!! After writing a piece last week about our wedding day 8 years ago and now we have 3 adorable children in toe….please time SLOW DOWN!!!!

I know I need to get over myself and move forward and I will. I don’t know what it is but it’s just not sitting right with me at the moment! Yes I feel blessed with my 3 beautiful babies and yes I’ve worked hard to regain the old me back and yes if I had a fourth their ears would be disastrous like their brother and sister’s, but I think no matter how I look at the situation I would always want another one if it was my 4th, 5th or 6th….because having babies is something I love and was meant to do which is why I’m finding it hard to let go!

I’m just so glad that I’ve cherished each moment through a photo, video or piece of clothing. Because it’s these memories that will always keep my ‘baby days’ alive for me….these are some of those special memories and things that I will never part with:
20121017-183459.jpg
Our first photo as a family!

20121017-183603.jpg
Mother and son:)

20121017-183655.jpg
Bailey meeting his sister for the first time…this photo brings tears to my eyes every time!

20121017-183935.jpg
I couldn’t believe my eyes when we saw the number on the scales….10 pound 2!!!

20121017-184058.jpg
Mmmwah!

20121017-184152.jpg
This photo of Mia still spins me out!

20121017-184255.jpg
Love this photo:)

20121017-184401.jpg
My miracle baby who saved my life!

20121017-184513.jpg
And then there were three:)

20121017-184602.jpg
I feel so blessed I have my party of 5!

20121017-184657.jpg
Mia at 6 months….my favourite baby age!

20121017-184801.jpg
Bailey’s outfit he wore when he left the hospital!

20121017-184937.jpg
Kane bought this sleeping bag for Sienna from the Mater fundraiser.

20121017-185056.jpg
One of the many beautiful wraps mum made for Sienna which Mia also used!

20121017-185216.jpg
Bailey’s dummy holder he wore to bed!

20121017-185314.jpg
One of many hand knits that I wore when I was a baby and my daughters have been able to wear!

20121017-185418.jpg
That’s how all my babies started….helps when their aunty is one:)

20121017-185517.jpg
This is the box where all the things I just can’t part with will live….I’ve also got Bailey’s first dummy, I kept a spare newborn nappy to show the kids when they are older how tiny they were. I’ve also kept their hospital bracelets, name cards and clamp from their bellybutton ….I know I’m a freak!!!! Lol!

I know I have so much more to look forward to as each of my children grow and develop….but there just isn’t anything quite as beautiful than a snuggle with your newborn….but I do think snuggling with any of my babies no matter how old they are sure is just as precious!

20121017-192034.jpg
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Advertisements

I’ve Earnt My Tiger Stripes!!

It’s been 7 years now since I had a flat, flawless belly where I didn’t have a handful of excess skin that hangs over my shorts when I bend over….but I’m not depressed or sad about it, as without the state my belly is in I wouldn’t have the three gifts of life I’ve been given:)

20120923-145514.jpg
On our honeymoon 8 years ago before I became a mum!

I write this blog as the bikini season is approaching and since losing 13 kilos and working hard to get rid of my bulging belly, I’ve come to the realisation that my bikini wearing days are over! No matter how hard I try or how much weight l lose, the state my belly has been left in, from carrying my three babies, will always be an everlasting reminder of the miracles I have!

20120923-151608.jpg
My body changes have all been worth it if it means being a mum to my children!

How things change once you become a mum:)! I’ve gone from this vein precise person to someone who worries about herself after everyone else is all settled! Before children my belly was the most toned part of my body and I was fortunate enough to wear whatever I wanted but now I chose outfits wisely that cater to my belly’s needs!

20120923-153232.jpg

I don’t look at my belly and feel as though it’s ruined, it’s an area of my body the kids like to cuddle up to. They love it! Bailey calls it squishy and loves to see it wobble, Sienna loves the feel of it and Mia loves seeing how far the skin stretches out! Every night after dinner when we are on the lounge Mia always lifts up my shirt and relishes in the area of my body that they once lived closely to for a whole 9 months! Together they giggle and feel safe and secure. I’m not embarrassed by it, I would be more upset and mortified if the kids (and my husband for that matter) were repulsed and didn’t want to come near it!

20120923-154843.jpg

It’s common knowledge that baring a child is going to have some affect on our bodies! I mean for goodness sake we are humans growing a human and it has to grow and stretch and come out some how! Some women are lucky enough to have none or very little scare wounds and then others are hammered with a lot! I was less than 60kgs when I had my first baby who was 9 pound 5 at 38 weeks – yeah you would think he did the damage to my belly, but it was my daughter who cracked the 10 pound mark. My pregnancy with her was the one that left me with my tiger stripes….the third just added a bit more stretch to the already over stretched skin!

20120923-160040.jpg
My everlasting reminder of the miracle of life….and I always wanted a tatoo on my belly, imagine what it would look like now if I had of got one lol!

I don’t ever think why me! I would far rather have a belly looking like this and my three munchkins than the alternative. Would I have it fixed? Not at this stage….I don’t think my children would allow it! Lol! I have far more things I would rather spend our money on. Since finding out about my heart condition, it has changed my life for the better. My aim is to keep fit and healthy so I can be the best mum and wife and watch my children grow….anything beyond that is not a priority anymore! So for now I’ll wear my tiger stripes proudly and embrace a one piece swim suit this summer!

20120923-182102.jpg

Knowing When You’re Complete!

20120802-192431.jpg

I love this time of my life! In the past 10 years I’ve married my true love, bought a house that we’ve turned into a home and produced three of the most adorable babies we could have ever wished for! All while going through many ups and downs which is called LIFE! We’ve come to the crossroads of the reproductive part of our life when a decision needs to be made….are we complete yet?

For some people that question is very easy to answer, most people know while they are pregnant with a baby that it will be their last, but for me I always knew letting go of having any more babies wouldn’t be an easy decision. I feel like this has come upon me so quickly! It only feels like yesterday I was trying on my wedding dress and wearing it like a princess, now it’s three kids later and only feels like I’ve blinked my eyes shut for a second. For years I dreamt of the day I’d become a mum for the first time and I’ve absolutely loved every waking moment (maybe not every lol) and a part of me wishes this part of my life would just stand still for a little while. Call me crazy but I could cry at the thought of never carrying another baby inside, feeling it kick for the first time, watching my belly grow, giving birth and experiencing the moments after that, breastfeeding, being the only one who can provide a source of food, snuggling and bonding with a newborn….yep definitely brings tears to my eyes!

But then I look at the three little blessings we have and take in consideration my heart condition and I know that it is time to say we are complete! Ideally if I didn’t have a heart condition I’d love to have just one more, but like my husband says I say that every time lol! Four would be a nice even number. With Sienna at school next year and Mia home for another three years, it would be nice to have two older ones and two little ones, but that isn’t going to be the case for us. Most days I’m completely at peace with this decision, but a teeny tiny part of me will always wish we had of. I knew from the minute my first born was placed in my arms that being a mum was the job I was meant to do and from that moment I have embraced each day and captured all the wonderful moments that I’ve been able to cherish while staying at home with each of them!

What has helped make this decision and allowed me to be at peace with it?
Well Mia for starters lol! I love this little bear more than life itself, but man she is full on lol! I often say if she was my first I probably would have only had one lol! But I seriously look at things realistically. Our house is just big enough for the five of us so another child would mean a bigger house and car for that matter and along with that comes an added expense! Two out of three of our children will be in school next year and before long they all will be. It’s nice to go out now and watch the three of our children have fun together. Mia still has a day sleep but we manage around that and she is getting to an age where she copes with whatever we do! And the most obvious reason is my heart. Mia was a blessing for us, so I’m very much at peace with the three angels I have and being healthy for them.

So with all of this said my mind is now adjusting to moving forward. We have so much to look forward to and as the kids grow older and start playing sport and being involved in extra curricular activities at school, we will be busier than ever! Before Mia was born, I always saw a third child sitting next to Bailey and Sienna. Now when I see my three cherubs sitting together I see a complete picture and that my friends is why I know my family is complete!

20120802-191340.jpg

20120802-191717.jpg

20120802-191821.jpg

A Surreal Moment in Time!

20120624-183833.jpg

My last few days before my nightmare started were spent at my favourite place – the beach!

It’s been almost 18 months since I was delivered the news….”you have a bicuspid aortic valve and a dilated aorta!”……say what!

I was in the third trimester of my 3rd pregnancy when I started experiencing heart palpitations. I remember watching television one night and I said to my husband that I felt nervous like I was about to present a speech to a thousand people! A couple of nights later, I went to bed only to be disturbed by the loud thumping of my heart, to the point where I thought it was going to jump out of my chest! I had a routine appointment that week with my GP who noticed I had an irregular heart beat. I explained to him the episodes I’d been having so I was put on an EEG machine to monitor my heart rate. Nothing serious showed as did nothing serious show in my bloods. I was told to take it easy and come back if anything got worse!

Heart palpitations can be something pregnant women experience so at the time my GP said it could just be pregnancy related. I continued having palpitation episodes so when I went for my 36 week check up at the Mater, my GP wrote a note about what I’d been experiencing. I saw a really lovely obstetrician that day who thankfully was thorough. She agreed that the heart palpitations were probably pregnancy related, but because I’d had two other pregnancies with no signs of them, they wanted to be cautious and run some routine tests.

This involved having an echocardiograph (heart scan) and I had to wear a heart monitor for 24 hours to monitor my heart’s activity! Nothing significant showed up on the heart monitor, but my echo results were a different story! I didn’t have a gut feeling something was wrong, I went in thinking everything was going to be fine. My sister came with me that day. Mum and dad were on holidays and Kane had to work. This day was the beginning of a whirlwind of events……!

The doctor went through my results with me and explained my echo had showed that I had a bicuspid aortic valve when normally it’s tricuspid and my aorta was dilated 4.5cm, 5cm being severe! At first I was shocked that the results weren’t normal like I thought, then there were a million questions running through my mind? What does this mean? How serious is it? Will I be ok? Will my baby be ok?

That day was spent seeing a few different doctors and I was left with differing opinions. One doctor was happy for me to have a normal delivery, but my cardiologist preferred that I have a c-section because this being a rare condition in females meant there wasn’t enough research to support either way! I was told to go away and think about it for a couple of days and come back for a round table discussion with a heap of different doctors in the coming days….what else could I think about now???

I was due to go down the coast for a few days with my beautiful family and nothing was stopping me from doing that! This would be our last family holiday as a family of four and I needed the R n R! The weather was bliss! The kids were having a ball and I was like a beached whale! I wasn’t too stressed over my heart as I knew I was being looked after by the best and they wouldn’t have let me leave the hospital if I was going to cark it on the spot….and then the phone call that changed everything!!!!!

I will never forget this moment as long as I live! One of my obstetricians rang to say they wanted me to consent to a c-section over the phone incase I went into labour over the weekend and the staff needed to assist my case wouldn’t be on! I was hearing words like: aortic valve rupture, mortality, danger, risk, unknown….what the?? I got off the phone and was a mess to say the least! I couldn’t speak. Mum and dad were with me as Kane was meeting us after work. They kept asking what was wrong and I just couldn’t stop crying…the reality of the cards I’d been dealt had finally sunk in!

I wasn’t prepared to make any decisions; one without my husband and two without the advice of the doctors from the meeting that was going to be held! My sister, who is in the medical field, did a heap of research for me and the risks of having a baby via a natural birth or c-section were similar, but again nothing was very conclusive because this condition is more dominant in males. I was left guttered and confused!

Kane and I decided to finish our family holiday and wait to make a decision until after I’d met with all the medical professions involved! I remember the day of the meeting and walking up the Mater Hospital hill feeling sick to my stomach! I walked into the conference room to a round table of various people. The head of the Mater obstetrics started the meeting and I remember sitting there looking around, listening to what was being said and thinking I can’t believe this….these things don’t happen to me, I watch tv shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice where these things happen, but I can’t believe this is actually happening to me! It really was a surreal moment in time!

I left that meeting with a plan. The plan was that I was able to have a natural birth, but had to be induced two days later, which meant hooked up to machines, they wanted me to have an epidural and an assisted delivery….everything I didn’t want. But even though this wasn’t how I wanted to birth my last baby, what was most important was that my baby and I were as safe as possible. And safe I did feel. When I was admitted to hospital, I never once felt unsafe. I knew that all the top cardiologists in Brisbane knew about my case and were on call if anything were to happen. Between all the doctors and nurses I could not have felt more safe.

The day of Mia’s birth was long and tough. I was hoping when my induction started and my waters were broken my body, who’d been there and done that before, would remember and go into overdrive and things would happen quickly….no such luck! I spent a lot of time sitting around and waiting for things to happen that day. I can’t believe I was getting excited every time I felt pain. I kept telling myself every bit of pain got me closer to meeting my baby. I had so many different doctors coming in and going over the same questions as the doctor before – everyone wanted their finger in the pie that day. For the first part of my labour my heart rate and blood pressure were good. My midwife was under strict instructions to let my doctor know if my heart rate and blood pressure went past 100. Once my labour started to progress I went and stood in the shower as the hot water was acting as pain relief….this is how I birthed Sienna so was hoping to do the same, but my heart rate went up past 100 so after that I was confined to the bed….grrrrr!

By 3.30 that afternoon I was finally in established labour and 4 hours later without an epidural and an assisted delivery my beautiful little baby, Mia Natalie Trew entered this world. I was stoked that I did it and a piece to this puzzle was complete. Things didn’t go exactly to plan, but pretty close and my heart handled the whole event! There was talk that after I had Mia I would have to go to ICU or the Coronary Care Unit to be monitored for the first 24 hours, but the hospital allowed me to stay with my baby in birth suite overnight, where I had my own nurse who monitored me. I was admitted to hospital on Wednesday and discharged on Sunday….my longest hospital stay, so I was so happy to go home. I had mixed emotions this time. I remember getting home and my dad came over and I just fell into to his arms crying. Poor man I don’t think he knew what hit him. The reality of everything was really hitting home. I was so grateful to be ok and to have a perfect little baby, but I was always going to be left with a heart condition after it was all over!

The next three months were crucial for my condition. I had to keep a diary of my blood pressure and heart rate readings and alert the hospital if I had any chest pains. I tried not to think about it too much as it was doing my head in! It was nice to go back and speak to my cardiologist at my 3 month check up. When I was first diagnosed with my heart condition, all that was important was getting Mia out so we were both safe. Questions about my heart and what had to happen to fix it couldn’t be answered until after I had her and I waited out the 3 month period! The next step was an MRI. This test was crucial to my treatment plan. I was stoked after getting the MRI results back. It showed that I do have a dilated aorta but my heart has a tricuspid aortic valve and not a bicuspid one like the echo showed!

My cardiologist explained that an echo isn’t as accurate as an MRI so I was granted with best case scenario news!!! This means that instead of looking down the barrel of open heart surgery now, I can be closely monitored with yearly echoes and regular blood pressure readings. The thought of having such a major operation with three small children was so overwhelming. I also have to live a stress free life….mmmm ok….I certainly will try! Thankfully since the day I was diagnosed, my blood pressure has consistently stayed around 90/60 and by losing weight and keeping fit this will contribute to keeping my blood pressure down, which is the key to my aorta dilating any further or not.

This whole experience has been very surreal, but I have learnt so much as well! I appreciate the smallest of things in life now and appreciate everyday I am on this earth being a mum, wife, sister granddaughter, niece and friend. I take time out for myself and don’t feel guilty for it. I look at my baby Mia and thank God everyday she was conceived, because if I didn’t fall pregnant I wouldn’t have found out about my heart until it was possibly too late! If I can give any advice from all of this, it would be to listen and pay attention to your bodies! If there is something that you are unsure of and you know it doesn’t seem right, get it checked out. Life is far too precious and when it comes to your life, you can never be to careful!

20120624-183315.jpg
The little girl who saved my life!

The Battle of the Bulging Belly!

If you could change one part of your body what would it be?

Mine would be my belly!

I’ve always been smaller up top than the bottom and if I put on weight it always goes straight to my thighs and butt. Throughout my pre baby days I had a flat stomach and never had any troubles with putting on weight in that area and then I had one baby, two babies and before I knew it 5 years had past and I was cradling my 3rd baby!

When I first fell pregnant with my son almost 7 years ago, I never once worried about what it would do to my body. I was so thrilled that I was growing a little life inside my belly. I am one of those people that start showing early on in my pregnancies, so by 20 weeks I always had a decent size belly, that would just seem to grow and grow by the second! I first gave birth at 38 weeks to my beautiful baby boy Bailey Kane Trew, who was 9 pound 5 – ouch much! Again even though I still looked like there was a baby left inside of me two days after he was born, I was happy and content with our new bundle of joy and our new little family that we created!

20120511-141948.jpg

Days before giving birth to my 10 pound baby girl!

Because I was less than 60kgs when I fell pregnant and ended up carrying close to a baby elephant at the end, I ended up with a 4cm stomach muscle separation….but trust me I can push them out lol! After seeing a physio weeks after giving birth and taking good care of myself and following the physio’s exercise plan, my muscle separation went back to normal and by the time Bailey was one my belly returned to its normal flat state:)

Then a whole new world began for me when I fell pregnant with my second baby! Where I craved not much other than slurpees with my first pregnancy, I craved anything fatty, juicy and sugary the second time round! And milk, I couldn’t get enough of the stuff….frappes by the dozen!! When I think about it, I really ate myself stupid! Which is why I put on over 20kgs and alas gave birth to a 10 pound 2 precious baby girl Sienna Lynette Trew! She came out running and looked 3 months old compared to most other babies lol!

At this point the state my belly was in didn’t even cross my mind. I’d just given Bailey a little sister and we now had a bigger family to enjoy, but i was sore!!! Sienna was so big that she left my insides hurting for a long time! My stomach, ribs, kidneys, it felt like I’d been in a boxing ring.This time round I ended up with a 5cm stomach muscle separation, but that didn’t phase me as I was confident things would go back to normal just like it did after having Bailey….not so easy!

20120511-142035.jpg

6 months after Sienna was born, belly still ‘pregnant’ looking!

I went to the physio again, who like last time gave me the same exercises to do, but having a 2 and a half year old in toe this time round, life was far more challenging and of course things like myself got pushed to the side. Things were different this time too. I had to wear a support compression belt for 6 weeks after having Sienna and when this time was completed, I had to wear those belly support undies. After 6 months my belly had gone down considerably, but I was left with a bulge that had so much loose skin hanging from it, as my skin was stretched beyond repair!

I didn’t get even a hint of stretch marks with Bailey, but with Sienna I did! I mean I really should be grateful to only get what I did….she was 4.6 kgs born!!!! I remember approaching Sienna’s 1st birthday and my belly was no where near back to its flat state that it was pre baby and post Bailey! But I came to accept that this is how it would be now and if that was the result of being able to conceive, carry and give birth to two beautiful precious gifts, then I was ok with that!

20120511-142122.jpg

At the races for my 30th birthday, nearly 2 years since Sienna was born and still sporting a belly!

The kids loved my belly. It was like a big bowl of jelly that they could mush their little hands around in. I still remember Bailey coming into our bed in the mornings and lifting my pj top to play with my belly. I wasn’t phased by it at all! They would always ask me “why is your belly like that mummy?” and I’d reply with telling them how they grew inside my belly and everytime they grew my skin would keep stretching and stretching and eventually it stretched so far that it didn’t go back anymore! They loved that story!

My support undies became an essential to my wardrobe and I never would go out without them on. I know it sounds stupid but I lacked confidence without them. Things I use to wear nicely, didn’t look as nice anymore and I always had an overhang whenever I bent over or sat down! I was often asked if I was pregnant or not, but all I kept thinking of were my two precious babies and how blessed I was to have them! Then I did fall pregnant with Mia. By now my thoughts were more focused on crap 3 kids how am I going to manage this as apose to how will my belly look now!

20120511-142246.jpg

Hours before giving birth to my third and final baby….my belly had reached its peak and will never be like this again!

Mia’s pregnancy was a cross between my first two so I didn’t put as much weight on as I did when pregnant with Sienna, but more than I did with Bailey and I finally got my wish for a baby in the 8 pounds lol! At 38 weeks, weighing 8 pound 13, Mia Natalie Trew was born and completed our beautiful family! Mia’s birth was very bittersweet as I was diagnosed with a heart condition a week prior so the last thing I was thinking about was my belly, I was happy that I got through it without any complications to Mia or myself!

It’s amazing how different your body feels after giving birth to an 8 pound baby as apose to a 10 pound baby! But third big baby in 5 years, it was always going to take its toll and this time I ended up with an 8cm stomach muscle separation:( Between my heart and my belly, I wasn’t able to do any heavy lifting for the first few months, bit hard with 3 kids under 5! I saw a really awesome physio this time and within 4 months of having Mia, my muscle separation was back to 2 and a half cms, which meant it didn’t need to be surgically fixed….I was stoked!

20120511-142148.jpgBailey and Sienna meeting their baby sister for the first time….my belly is like a shelf in this photo!

Again the excess skin and bulge was as bad as ever and the kids thought it felt as squishy as ever too. As much as I was beginning to miss my lean flat belly, the belly I had now was a beautiful reminder of the three precious babies I carried and nurtured while they were growing inside of me. But something was changing, I was starting to feel a strong urge to reclaim my original body shape that I’d given up hope on, while I was getting use to being a mum of 1, then 2 and finally 3 children. Knowing Mia was our last, the time had come for me to put myself first and do something about my bulging belly!

It’s been 7 months now since I started my weight loss journey and I can happily report that it is possible to win the battle of the bulging belly! It takes time, but with patience, determination and perseverance, the battle can be won! I haven’t spent hundreds of hours at the gym, nor do I spend hundreds of hours exercising each week! I simply walk or run for half an hour each day and follow a healthy eating plan. It took a long time for me to finally put those running shoes back on to reclaim the person I once was, but the timing was right and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

20120511-142018.jpg

15months after giving birth and 7 months of exercise and healthy eating, my belly is close as it will get to pre baby:)

I feel like I have a new lease on life now. I’m so much happier, fitter and healthier, which reflects on every aspect of my life! The kids love me exercising and join in with me whenever possible. I have thrown all my belly undies away and feel as confident as ever! When I tell people I have 3 children, they look at me and say “you!” and I think “why not me!” People stereotype mums and what we should or shouldn’t look like or wear. At the end of the day we are humans and should be allowed to do things for ourselves that make us happy! Losing weight hasn’t affected my mothering duties, I think I’m an even better mum now. My belly will never be back to its original state prior to having children, but it’s as close as it will ever be and I’m so satisfied with that!

20120511-142334.jpg

20120511-142414.jpg