Saturday, 26 April 2014

17 – 52

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Mahlia: Easter Sunday, hunting for eggs. We decorated and dyed some eggs the day before and left a few carrots out for the Easter Bunny. The squeals of laughter at each discovery on the egg hunt could be heard for miles I'm sure! She's had a tough week at school this week with all of her closest friends away on holidays, and she's felt a bit excluded by the others. My heart broke when she told me.

Leila: On Easter Monday we went on a little bush walk. I gave them a list of treasures to find on the way, including feathers, autumn leaves and shells. Crackneck Lookout was our destination and snack stop. Leila likes to lie on top of Archer. She's a solid girl, but he loves her and it doesn't seem to bother him in the slightest. She's been quite trying the past couple of weeks. I think the cold/cough she's been fighting, coupled with adjusting to her new environment at school is taking it's toll. She has been making the most of having daddy home over the holidays and attaches herself to him as soon as he walks in the door, and doesn't detach easily!

Archer: My happy, chilled out little man turned five months today. Dribbling constantly, giggling and adoring his sisters. He's in no rush to roll over as yet but is quite close. He loves being at home, and really dislikes being in the car in the evenings when he knows he should be going to bed. He had his needles on Thursday and yesterday had a high temp and was not feeling great. Lots of cuddles and feeds, he woke up his happy self again this morning.

Joining in with the 52 Project over at Practising Simplicity.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

16 – 52

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Mahlia: Dancing in the rain, and singing very loudly.

Leila: Icy poles in the hammock. It was a warm day, but she dressed herself in her big, wooly zebra jumper. Poor little poppet is under the weather today. Hoping she feels better for the Easter Bunny's offerings in the morning.

Archer: This little fellow has been giggling and chatting a lot this week. He has also tried a little avocado and yesterday, a little bit of banana. 20 weeks old this week.

Joining in with the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

15 – 52

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Mahlia: A walk in the rain with daddy and Leila. She didn't want her photo taken and was not happy when she saw me with the camera. She was a bit poorly this week, and I had to collect her from school, which is very unlike her. Less then 24 hours later she was back to her old self.

Leila: At her best friend's birthday party. She was a bit reserved with so many people around but she had lots of fun. We had two parties, back-to-back, so the she ended up quite tired, as we all were.

Archer: Another shot in his daddy's hands, like last week. He is letting out proper chuckles now and we certainly work hard to get them, singing and making all kinds of strange noises!

Joining in with Jodi at Practising Simplicity.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Introducing Archer William – His Birth Story

Well better late than never! My little (big) boy turned 19 weeks yesterday! Someone has accidentally knocked the fast forward button on my life's remote control, and I can't seem to find that pause button!! In the blink of an eye Archer has turned into a happy, giggly joyous little boy. Here's his story about his arrival. (Note: it's quite long!)

Four days past due date, and my mum and sister were due to arrive from the UK in ten days. I did not want to be in hospital when they arrived. I wanted to be settled back in at home as a family of five. And I wanted my little five-day holiday in hospital where I had people at my beck and call, cooking for me and cleaning for me, thank you very much! So I had my check up with my midwife and obstetrician on the Monday. I explained my predicament to the midwife and she offered to do an internal and a stretch and sweep. Conditions were favourable and I was already 2cm – yay! My obstetrician booked me in for an induction on Wednesday. Not my ideal but agreed to it, and prayed to go naturally beforehand. Off I go about my day, taxi-ing big and little people back and forth. Nothing happens.

Taxi-ing begins again on the Tuesday. Hubby off to school, and I call the midwife and ask if I can pop in for another stretch and sweep, as you do, before I drop Mahlia off at preschool! Mahlia and Leila are completely unfazed by what she does, and the midwife confidently tells me I'll be having my baby that day. I think to myself, 'please don't get my hopes up,' but I'm secretly excited by the prospect!! Drop Mahlia off at school, take Leila to swimming, home, lunch, back to pick up hubby. I ask him to drive as we head to Montessori to pick up Mahlia, I just didn't feel like it. Driving over the bumping roads, I notice I'm having regular tightenings but I can't feel anything—I'd been having regular Braxton Hicks since I was about 16 weeks. We spend some time at Montessori watching the kids play, and with a hand on my belly I mentally note I'm still getting the tightenings but still not feeling them. Back home and the evening ritual begins of playing, dinner prep, dinner, bath, kids to bed etc.

Hubby had a class to teach at the gym and didn't think he should go. I waved him off, saying it's fine, I'm not feeling anything. He called me before coming home, and I admitted that I think things are happening as I was getting twinges. He came home and called his mum advising her to be on standby that night. The tightenings (still not convinced things were actually happening) were coming every 2–3 minutes and I was starting to consciously breathe through them to practice for what was to come. I decided to hang some curtains in the baby's room as that would be where mother-inlaw would be sleeping IF we had to go that night. So, I'm standing on the bed, reaching up and POP I have a little trickle down there. This was around 9.15pm. I giggle and call out to hubby "Um, my waters have broken", shuffle, shuffle, shuffle to the bathroom. Cue hubby freaking out, frantically calling his mum to get here NOW! I'm now groaning through contractions, and laughing at him in-between. He gets angry at me for not getting in the car before his mum came, he wanted the neighbour to come and wait so we could go. His mum arrives and we drive at break-neck speed to the hospital. I call my mum and dad and leave a message, and text my brother and sister to let them know our little man is on his way! Hubby is freaking out, as from past experience, things happen quite fast. I was still laughing at him at this point!

So we make it to the hospital in record time. We get to the labour ward reception and there is another couple waiting. I had called ahead to tell them we were coming in and things are likely to move fast, as my previous labour was three hours. The midwife casually takes the other couple to their birthing suite—they were coming in for an induction. So we're left at the desk! Contractions coming thick and fast! The midwife then realises the situation and kicks out the first couple and ushers us in. I head straight for the toilet and shut the door. I don't want to come out. But I do, and she does an internal. 6–7cm. Hmmm, thought I was closer than that. She calls my obstetrician to tell him to come in now and while she's convincing him that he needed to come now even though I was only 6–7cm, I vomited in the sink. She said that would've got me to 10cm and sure enough I could feel movement. I was quite focussed on washing my spew out of the sink at this point before doing anything though!

I gave birth to Leila standing up, and assumed that's how I would want to birth this time. The midwife wasn't keen, as it's quite hard to catch a slippery baby! So I reluctantly climbed up on the bed and went on all fours, leaning over the bed head, conscious of utilising gravity. I remember freaking out a little at this point – the whole 'I can't do this, someone help him out' and saying to hubby 'I'm not doing this again'! The pressure gave me a nose bleed. At this point my obstetrician had arrived. Baby's head could be seen, but panic was rising as his heart rate had dropped and wasn't coming back up again. I was told to turn onto my back. It didn't help. The doctor said he was going to get the vacuum to help him out. I know I said I wanted help but I didn't mean it. I told him I definitely did not want him doing anything of the sort. He said he had to and I said no. So, in his Egyptian accent he tells me 'you have two minutes – you push like crazy lady'. So push like crazy lady I did, and out popped my little man, with his hand on his face, like he's waving (in hubby's words). The midwife said he would have come a lot sooner had he not had his hand there, so luckily he had, otherwise poor hubby might have had a bit of a shock at home. It was still only around a two hour labour though. Born at 10.43pm, 26th November, weighing 3.7kgs/8.2lbs, 52cm long – big boy! And no tearing - woo hoo!

He came out peacefully, unaware of the previous panic. He looked around, then fell asleep. My perfect little boy. He then woke again and had a good look around. So alert and chilled out. We were left alone for three hours to bond. It was perfect! Here are a few photos, they are a bit grainy due to the dimmed lights.

He still crosses his little feet like this. His right foot had tallipes and needed a cast for a week to straighten it up.

Meeting his sisters who were just besotted with him.

So it all turned out perfectly. I had my natural birth, my mini-holiday in hospital, and a few days at home before the family arrived. And thank goodness they arrived when they did. The Sunday night, when Archer was 12 days old, I rushed him into hospital with a high temperature – 40oC. The worst night of my life. His heart rate was at 250bpm and his temp wouldn't come down. After bloods were taken, lumbar puncture and a chest X-ray in emergency, we were taken to the children's ward, where we stayed for the week. It took a couple of days for his temp and heart rate to come down. He was pumped full of antibiotics and fluids, and had an MRI. He was puffy and red all over, and detested anyone touching him apart from family.

Unsure of what it was, they treated it as if it's a bacterial infection. It turned out to be this new-to-Australia virus called Parechovirus. There were a cluster of cases in Sydney and Newcastle. When the results came back to confirm this, I requested the antibiotics be stopped. By this point he had fought it off, and the doctor let us home on the Saturday. He made a full recovery thank goodness, and has regular check-ups with the paediatrician to check he's developing normally, as the longterm effects of the virus are unknown. But he is fine and thriving. Such a little trooper.

He has made my family complete. I am so blessed and thankful to have three, beautiful, perfect, healthy children.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

14 – 52

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Mahlia: She's been missing her daddy recently, so he took her for a walk to the beach after school. Those two have a very special relationship, she is definitely a daddy's girl.

Leila: We celebrated her party on Sunday, read all about it here. Here she is with her best friend Maeve. They are so sweet together. It's been a big week for her this week, beginning with her party, and the next day she started Montessori! She goes three mornings a week and absolutely loves it. She showed her defiance on day one, and wouldn't leave the sand pit! Mahlia guided her and the director sent me a photo of them working side-by-side. A couple of photos below.

Archer: I have him all to myself for three mornings now! 4 1/2 months now. I intend to savour every moment, as he is growing way too fast! He has moved out of our room this week and into his cot, and when he wakes in the night I bring him into bed with me. He looks at me in the early morning light and gives me the biggest of smiles. It melts my heart.

Hubby and I had morning tea in Terrigal after dropping the girls off at Montessori on Leila's first day. I could've done with something a bit stronger than a chai latte as I was a bit emotional.

 Joining in with Jodi at Practicing Simplicity.

Leila's 3rd Birthday Mermaid Party

On Sunday we celebrated Leila's third birthday with a mermaid party at the beach. She originally wanted to go camping for her birthday, but we decided to postpone this to later on the year. She tossed up between a flower party, butterfly party or a mermaid party.

Once again, it was meant to be a small, low-key gathering, but I can't help myself and we ended up with 15 kids! The weather in the lead up to the party was questionable and the forecast was for storms at precisely the time of the party! Eeekk! But the sun shone and the day was beautiful. Here's a few shots from the day:

A spread of starfish fairy bread, fruit cups, seaweed sushi, pizza fish, jelly fish jelly, and in the tupperware container there are crab claws (carrot sticks), sea cucumber sticks, seaweed crackers, pretzels and dip. We also served up some fresh prawns. And of course the cake, a sand castle no less!

The cake was actually quite simple to make: 3 cakes stacked and iced, covered with crushed biscuits mixed with a little brown sugar. A few ice cream cones received the same treatment, and then a chocolate shells were scattered and some green and blue pearl decorations for a bit of colour. The flag was a straw with a glittery cutout flag stuck on the top. A mermaid statue was added to tie in with the theme—this was probably the most time consuming, trying to find a nice looking mermaid that wasn't Disney related!

I kept the decorations simple, as the backdrop of the ocean was the star I think. We just had a table cloth with a fishing net draped over and a few shells and sea-glass pebbles scattered around. 

 Mahlia and some Montessori friends enjoying the jellyfish jelly.

 Daddy coordinated a crab race!

Then the ocean beckoned all but Leila. At this point she got very overwhelmed and clutched to daddy until it was cake time!

 Archer was passed around – I didn't see him the whole party. Such a good bub.

 Mermaids catching waves.

 Birthday girl in her mermaid dress.

All the kids (plus me).

 Singing Happy Birthday!

Dishing out the cake.

 Present time. Leila was no longer being clingy!

The party bags were a hit! A found some buckets on clearance and filled them with mermaid stickers, a bubble wand, a curly straw, a shell, an ocean animal figurine, chocolate coins, an ocean animal notepad and a gel pen, and added a few ribbons to pretty them up!

 Who doesn't love bubbles! The beach was awash with them!

 Leila with her best friend Maeve.

Everyone had a great time, and the weather was perfect! We are blessed to have such a lovely group of friends to share the day with too. I can't believe my baby girl is 3! She is such a feisty and determined girl and I love her to the moon and back and beyond.