Sunday, December 29, 2013

Yuppiechef The Art of Baking: Lesson 1

I hate Yuppiechef. I hate them because I want to buy everything on their website and I'm totally addicted to growing my ever increasing wish list. Anyway, I found that they have a baking course called the Art of Baking on their website. And if you finished the course by mid December you could win a Kitchen Aid mixer. Who could say no to that? I'm no pastry chef I bake a few times a year, mostly my tried and tested recipes. Since we're moving and getting a brand new kitchen I want to get the most use out of it.

About the course

They say that cooking is an art and baking is a science. And the course gently explains the science of baking and how the ingredients work together, the ratios, techniques and some handy tips and tricks. The course is presented by the the popular foodie blogger Sarah Graham, from a foodie lives here. I enjoyed doing the course. I liked the layout. Each lesson had a video, which is great to just reading, as well as notes, recipes and an easy enough test.

Easy espresso cake with mocha buttercream

This is the recipe from lesson 1. I tried it in my new kitchen with my brand new oven. Now here is my own little lesson on that. If you get a brand new oven, bake something that you have baked before, use an oven thermometer, and read the oven instructions. Now the recipe called for two cake tins. I only have one so my first half of the cake did not turn out that great. The temp was too low so the middle sunk :(. This is what a sunk cake looks like:
I got the setting right on the second half and it came out fine. The cake (without the buttercream) tasted better the next day and was very yummy with the buttercream. I wouldn't make this cake without the buttercream frosting.

Another tip:

The recipe requires instant coffee. I only have ground, the filter coffee I made was a little too weak, so the flavour didn't really come through. Next time I will try and make a really strong expresso.

The next lesson is about cookies and biscuits. You can read about it here.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Baby solids 9 months+

As I'm sure most new mothers have done it, I had a certain idea how I wanted to do solids from 9 months but A showed me another way. When he hit 9 months I bought organic gluten free kiddies pasta and I made a sauce with spinach and goats cheese. It took a bit of effort to plan and make. He took one bite of it and threw the rest on the floor.

So I decided that he'll eat what we eat. I did change our food a bit and made things he was familiar with, I also started to add protein like beans, cheese, chicken and lamb. I always tried to have extra veggies in the fridge in case we were eating something I did not want to feed him (like pizza). In the morning I fed him millet cereal with cooked apple/pear. I also tried my best not to give him anything with salt, sugar or that was processed. Also, apart from breakfast I let him feed himself.

His first taste of sugar was his birthday cake, cheesecake and he really enjoyed it! Since his birthday I have relaxed more and he has had some more sweet things, he loves ice cream and chocolate. And also some pizza! Although I have kept him away from sugary drinks, chips and sugary sweets.

I think he eats well. He really enjoys his fruit, especially nectarines and grapes. He has recently discovered mango again. He also eats his veggies especially beetroot, butternut and gem squash. I really can't complain the way he eats.

Special moments: Making Friends

A is still a little cautions about the playground but he enjoys a table with puzzles and Lego. Recently I took him to a restaurant playground. He was handing blocks to a little boy who was building a tunnel for his train. It was so sweet watching him make friends :).

End of 2013

It's almost the end of the year and I've really neglected this blog. But a lot has happened.

A turned 1! I've said it once, I'll say it again. Time goes so quickly and it's so bittersweet. It's wonderful to watch him grow and can't wait what he'll do next but I miss cuddling my sweet baby! And were still breastfeeding my goal was 1 year but it is just such a part of our relationship, why stop now? My next goal is two years.

After his birthday we did over 30 hours of travelling to the US (Chicago) to visit my mom. It was the first time she saw him, other than skype. She really enjoyed him :) Then we did 30 hours back. The travelling was very painful. I would not atempt a trip like that again until he's at least 5. But I'm glad we went.

The other huge thing that happened is that we bought, did some renovations and moved into a house! It is our third night here and we are enjoying it so much. It was really getting crampt in our small two bedroom place. I hope I'll get inspired to blog more.
Our new home sweet home:



The major things we did to the house are:
Put in a brand new kitchen.
Changed all the basins in the bathrooms as well as the mixers.
Put in bamboo flooring in almost the whole house.
The upstairs had hardwood under the carpet, so we took that out.
Repainted the house.
Put in a gat by the pool.


Anyway some stats on A as the year draws to a close:
He has 6 teeth, top 2 middle, 1 top molar on each side and 2 bottom middle. I'm starting to get worried about the incisors.
He can say a few words: Bahboo=baloon, dahdee=daddy, Ahmah=Hammer (the car), says bah for most things like boat and bum. And of course mama if he wants something. Oh for got he also tries to say google :)
He isn't walking yet only takes a step or two maybe once a day.
He can touch his head, hair, tummy, mouth, ear, and nappy if asked where it is.
is learning to use a spoon.
Can climb stairs.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Teddy Bear Picnic 1st Birthday Party

So the year has flown by and time came for Arthur's 1st Birthday. I didn't plan on a big birthday but I got swept up in the whole deal. I initially thought of just having a picnic at the park. Then I panicked it would rain and the logistics of it all. So I booked a venue and the theme was a "Teddy Bear's Picnic".

My old version of Photoshop did not work with the new OS :( So I did the invitation with Gimp. I think it turned out alright,

Teddy Bear Picnic Birthday Party Invitation
 For the birthday cake I had a black forest cake. I think it went nicely with the theme. My dessert table had:
  • cupcakes with bear paws
  • mini donuts
  • strawberrys
  • gummy bears
  • chocolates
  • apple strudel
  • and the black forest birthday cake

Teddy Bear Picnic Birthday Party Dessert Table
 The main colours were red and green. The party packs were green and red gingham handkerchiefs tied up with goodies inside. The place mats were also fake grass.
Teddy Bear Picnic Birthday Party Children's Table

A thoroughly enjoying his birthday cake
  • The part food included:Caprese sticks (mozarella, basil and baby tomato)
  • Chicken salad sand wiches
  • Roast beef sandwiches
  • Chickpea salad
  • PB&J sandwiches

The food table

Some guests playing

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Turning 30

I turned 30 a couple of days ago. Thought I'd list all the things that I have done and have happened to me in the last 10 years. The list sort of goes from most monumental to less.
  • Being Pregnant and giving birth to A. Sometimes I still can't believe my body created him.
  • Being a mother for 10 months and 1 day. This is still a metamorphosis and everyday I am learning and growing to become the person I want to be.
  • Marrying DH. I am truly blessed to have found such a wonderful person to spend my life with. We've been married over 6 years and 7 months!
  • Having friendships that stood the test of time. 
  • Becoming a SAHM. Although I feel I have accomplished a lot since I started working I always stuggled with work. I frequently felt burned out, like I couldn't cope and just needed a break. I keep waiting to feel like that after bascially being with A 24/7 for almost a year but I very very very rearly feel that.
  • Having climbed in my career. I calculated that between my 4 jobs I have 6 years work experience. I started as a (self taugth) PHP developer and became a systems analyst. Being lucky enough to work with a few people from whom I could learn a lot.
  • Graduating with a Bachelors in IT.
  • Graduating with a Masters in IT.
  • Buying 3 houses with DH and paying off 2!
  • International travel to: Thailand, Singapore, Poland, Mauritius, UAE, US (Chicago, Orlando, San Francisco, L.A, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon), Italy
  • Memorable local travel to: Cape Town, Sun City, St Lucia, Drakensburg, Plattenburg Bay, Kimberly.
 I think the last 10 years was about learning about the big wide world and focused on working and studying. Who knows what the next 10 years will bring but it will be definitely more about family and self discovery.

Another short list of my high/low lights in the last year. (Wow I did a lot of photoshoots!)
  •  Unfortunately my DH was out of the country for my 29th Birthday. I went out to dinner with friends. It was a pleasant day. If I am not mistaken, I was 32 weeks pregnant :).
  • Having a maternity photoshoot.
  • They did a non stress test on me and A and they were not too happy, so I was hospitalised to be monitored and because of a UTI. Everything turned out fine. It was the first time in my life that I stayed over night in hospital.
  • My minute baby shower :)
  • Giving birth to A.
  • Learning to Breastfeed.
  • Everything about becoming a first time mom.
  • Newborn photoshoot.
  • Quiting my job and becoming a SAHM
  • Spending Christmas with SIL.
  • Holiday in St Lucia
  • Photoshoot with A to give as a gift for DH's 30th Birthday.
  • DH's 30th Birthday.
  • FIL's 70th Birthday.
  • Joining DH on a conference to Sun City with A
  • Having a terrible flu while taking care of A.
  • A's first invitation to a Birthday party (his cousins')
  • A's Baptism
  • Putting in an offer on a house (and it being accepted).
  • Going to a baby shower.
  • Joining LLL (La Leche League)
  • Another Birthday Party invitation for A.
  • I also read the following books:
    • Freakanomics
    • Life of Pi
    • Beatrice and Nigel
    • Road Less Travelled

Special Moments: Afternoon Naps

I love nursing A to sleep for his afternoon nap. It's a timeout for both of us before the busy evening begins with making dinner, cleanup and baths. I also love looking at his cute face while he sleeps in the soft afternoon light.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lentils with rice


Lentils with rice 
3/4 cup uncooked rice
1/2 olive oil
1 onion sliced
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup plain yogurt/sour cream/ goat cheese (chevin)

Cook rice according to instructions.
While rice is cooking, heat oil on medium heat, add the onion. Cook the onion until brown, about 15 min, stirring frequently.
Add the spices, stir. Add the lentils, stir fry for two minutes, add the peas and stir until heated through. Take off the heat add the rice and stir. 

Serve with yogurt/sour cream/ cheese

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Baby solids combination 6-9 months

Thought I'd share my successful solid combinations I have been giving A for (almost) the past three months. So far it is purees but I have started to make them thincker/lumpier. From the end of the month we'll be introducing protein, gains and finger foods, so it will be a whole different ball game!

Here they are:
Beetroot + sweet potato
Papaya + avocado
Papaya + mango
Gemsquah + pear
Baby Marrow + sweet potato
Broccoli + sweet potato
Broccoli + pear
Mango + kiwi
Baby Marrow + sweet potato + date (just a bit for taste) + a pinch of nutmeg
Gemsquash + date (just a bit for taste)
Gemsquash + spinach +pear
Greenbeans + sweet potato

*Update* Here's some more before the food gets more substantial at 9 months.
Cauliflower + sweet potato + a pinch of nutmeg
Cauliflower + spinach + a pinch of nutmeg

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Felt needle book

I am on crafting roll. After doing the two big projects (alphabet and puppets). The needle book was quick and dirty. It is really a nice little project to do and it will help to keep me my craft supply organized. I was also able to make my first craft flower as an embellishment. I used this inspiration, except I used 6 petals instead of 4 and I put a cute button in the middle.

Anyway, here's my little book:


Would love to start on A's quiet book now. Already have a design in mind, maybe I'll make it into a template...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Felt Old McDonald Animal Puppets


I am so happy to say that I have completed this project. I stitched everything by hand, which took a while. I found a tutorial and pattern on just another day in paradise and really wanted to make it for A. The original tutorial said to use a sewing machine. Since I don't have one I had to hand stitch everything. I also improvised on some of the puppets. I left out the hooves because it looked a bit much when I started to stitch them on.

Anyway here some pics of my hard labour:







I'd love to make some wild animal puppets one day. Maybe some woodland and wild animals. I even thought I'd be nice to make people of different races. However, I need a break from making puppets and make something different. I'm already looking at a needle book and would also love to start a quiet book for A. Also maybe make some Christmas ornaments... Oh there's all these crafts but so little time!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Special Moments: Nighttime feedings

I never expected to co-sleep, but was quickly converted. It also took a while to get used to waking up in the middle of the night. But A is growing up before my eyes and before I know it will be sleeping in his own bed and not need me in the night anymore. So I want to treasure these cuddle times.

Special Moments: Following Mom

A is quiet an accomplished crawller and can go anywhere he pleases. But he always stays and plays close to me!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A's baptism

A had a Catholic baptism just over a week ago. It was also a sort of his coming out since quiet a few people came that have not yet seen him. A behaved like an angel the whole day.

I was actually stressing quiet a bit about the baptism but everything worked out in the end. The priest was easy going and did a lovely service. Sometimes the priests want you to jump through hoops. I also stressed about the flowers for the restaurant after the service. The first florist was very overpriced. I considered doing the flowers myself. On a whim I got another quote and got exactly what I wanted for a great price. The colours I thought of for a boys baptism was white, blue and a touch of peach. (thanks pinterest). Here's my amateur photo of the table:



The day of the baptism was busy. It didn't help that A had a bad night and I only fell asleep at 4am. It reminded me of my wedding day but it included taking care of the baby. Next time I would advise having someone be the coordinator. Because I don't think the restaurant gave all the food I ordered. And they were supposed to put up labels for the food but they didn't. At least people raved about the dessert, so it ended well.

If I have another baptism I would want to remember the following:
  • Get a professional photographer. It really is a special day, I compare it to a mini wedding.
  • I wish I stood a bit closer to DH when A was being baptized. DH held him.
  • Get EVERYTHING ready the day before. I didn't have time to change purses in the morning.
  • Have more food!
  • Have someone be the coordinator on the day so that I can just take care of the kids and and talk to people.
  • Hand out maps to the restaurant at the church

Monday, April 29, 2013

Breastfeeding friendly places in Pretoria

I feed A only from the breast. In the last 7 months he had a bottle of expressed milk 3 times. However, I find it hard to feed in public. I'm rather shy about it and the one time I tried at a restaurant it was a disaster. He didn't like the blanket over his face, I couldn't see what was happening under the blanket and the waitress starring at us wasn't helping.

I sometimes breastfeed in the car before we leave or when we comeback, so glad we have tinted windows! It is such a pleasure when there are places for breastfeeding. So far here are some I came across in Pretoria East:

Woodlands Mall
I was very impressed when I found out there are special feeding rooms in the mall. It makes it so stress free to do a longer shopping trip. There are two rooms by the toilets between Truworths a Cape Union and one room by the toilets next to CNA, although on one occasion the room was locked.

Cappuccino's at The Grove
We come here a lot since we had A they have a very nice baby changing room with a booth seat for feeding.

Blos Cafe
They have a clearly marked feeding room with a sofa. Love that place! It's one of the big reasons we're doing A's Baptism there. The place is on Lynnwood opposite Presley's, behind all the small buildings, a hidden gen.

Menlyn Shopping Center
I've only been to their family bathroom next to Dros. At least they had a plastic chair, better than nothing I guess.

Farm Inn
We were there for a family function. Their family bathroom had a wicker chair. Again better than nothing. The place is quiet child friendly with jumping castles and a petting zoo.

Botanical Garden's
We found a secluded spot for a picnic and I had no problems nursing almost in the open. It actually felt pretty good doing it in nature.

Parkview Center
They don't have chairs in the family room. But they have a row of ottoman's in front of mirrors in the ladies bathroom. I have sat in the last one and turned my back and fed A.

I hope there are more places around and I will add if I find them.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Felt alphabet

In my previous career my days involved staring at a screen, writing word documents and meetings, nothing involving hand made things. When I was pregnant I started thinking about crafts and things I could make for A. I was envious of friends who could knit or crochet.

When I came upon this diy felt abc's tutorial from http://www.hellobee.com, I saw my solution, how fun, making an alphabet! I was introduced to felt and a bit of sewing in school, probably grade 5, during art class. I took on this project during my maternity leave. It took a while one of the reasons was because my hands were not used to physical labour!

Here are some points on what I learnt:
  • I should have traced the letters facing down on the felt. Some letters show the outline I did.
  • I used five colours of felt, during the project I wished I had at least six to have more variety.
  • I used a chop stick to stuff the letters with fibre.
  • Photography is not my strong point.

DSCN2013

Special Moments: Calling Yaya

A was playing with my cell phone and tried to call grandma "Yaya", twice. I caught him the first but he succeeded the second time. Now Yaya things he is the smartest 6 month old ever.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tough Moments in Motherhood

I feel blessed to be A's mom. And I am lucky to be able to to stay home with him. Although I am busy 24/7 I am so much happier than when I was working.

However, there are moments that are tough. In the beginning there was constant feeding, stomach cramps (luckily they resolved when I changed my diet) as well as adjusting from being my own person to having someone depend on me pretty much 24/7. Now it's growth spurts, development leaps and teething. Sometimes I do feel overwhelmed, and frustrated, but the difficult times pass and I have a happy baby again.

In those times I have learned to tell myself the following:
  1. This too shall pass
    It will, eventually he will stop crying fall asleep/ stop feeding. It will not carry on forever.
  2. Live in the moment
    I used to stress about the things I can't get to because I've been holding/feeding the baby for so long. But I see how quickly he is growing up and one day he will not need me. So I want to enjoy holding him while he does need me. And if sometimes the dishes have to wait till morning, that's ok.
  3. His need is real
    Sometimes, especially in the middle of the night, I might feel a bit frustrated and think "Oh come on, what is it now?" and secretly wish I could just cry it out. But he is just a baby and what he is feeling is real and so is his need for me. I am the adult and I can suck it up.
  4. Don't sweat the small stuff
    Like I mentioned before dishes can wait. If I need to have a pajama day so be it. Nurturing my baby is the most important task. And to add to that "Those who mind don't matter, those who matter don't mind."
  5. Relax and be positive
    Naturally I do worry if my baby is sick and about general safety. But I don't want to stress about every little thing. There is no perfect parent or the perfect way to parent. Homo sapiens have been around for 200 000 years, civilisation for 50 000 and we have got this far. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Becomming a Mother - the First 5 Months

Wow can't believe how fast time has gone. I want to write some things down before the next 5 months wiz pass again.

I found on the one hand there was an instinct that kicked in, on the other hand it has been such a learning experience. It took A and I just under a week to learn to breastfeed, it wasn't instinctive and the midwives at the hospital had to help me. But at 5 months are still going strong!
My postpartum hospital experience was mixed. During delivery I had a wonderful midwife who was supporting and caring and helped me get breast feeding on the right track but after that the midwives wanted to do things their own way. On the second night at the hospital the midwives brought A to me to feed him. He wasn't feeding right so I started to burp him. The midwife appeared and told me he doesn't need to be burped, he needs to be fed. On cue A let out a lovely loud burp.

I fell in love with A as soon as they put him on me, but I feel that I truly bonded with him after about 6 weeks. Early on I struggled changing from a structured, in control life to give over myself completely to the needs of a little baby. At about 8 weeks I thought I needed to be in control so I read about a routine and tried to put it in place on day 2 we both ended up crying. I decided to just go with it and give him what he needs when he needs it and we've never looked back. Our routine developed naturally and we're both happy.

The biggest leasons that I learned so far:

Patience and Acceptance
Staying at home is the best decision I made.
Babies change quickly. Being a first time mom I thought A would be stuck to my breast 6 hours a day, now I have trouble getting him to stay on for 6 minutes straight. He gets so distracted.
I am used to interrupted sleep. Twice a night is nothing for me, but more then 3 is tough!
Since they grow so quickly I am living in the moment more, trying to take things more slowly. I love having A on my lap and we just hang out for the better part of the day.
I was too hard on myself in the beginning. It's okay to stay home some days!
Becoming a mother takes vanity out the window.
No one will ever love A as much as I do.
I think to have  the best motherhood experience one needs to know who you are, and know what your child needs.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Special Moments: The Origin of Pillows

I loved it when A was a couple of weeks old, he would use my bare breast as a pillow after feeding.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Broccoli Soup

I must admit, I'm a big Gordon Ramsay fan. I discovered him in the UK Nightmare Kitchen series during my marathon nursing sessions with A. I watched him make this soup on youtube and couldn't believe how easy it is. It is a great summer soup full of flavour.

Who knew broccoli soup could be so simple and delicious!



Ingredients:
Head of Broccoli
2 liters water
salt and pepper to taste.

Chop one head of broccoli into florets.
Bring pot of water to boil.
Place in rapidly boiling water. Add salt, close lid. Let it cook for 4:00-4:30min.
Place florets in blender, add salt and pepper to taste.
Add about 2 ladles (about a cup) of the water the broccoli was boiled in.
Blend until smooth.

See Ramsay make the recipe here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvc8Au4YO60

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Special Moments: The Look of Love

We were driving somewhere and I was sitting in the back seat with A. I was a long day so I was looking at him, smiling and singing "You are my sunshine" (his favourite song). He was looking back at me smiling with a look of love in his eyes.

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Garden

I'm a total noob when it comes to gardening. When we moved to our house 3 years ago it was the first time I would have a garden. Sadly the only plants I could identify were the roses (and the lawn LOL). Yes, I had to learn from scratch! The garden was also very neglected and required a lot of work. It was neglected again when I became pregnant.

Now I hope to work on the garden during nap times. I plan on bringing in more indigenous plants since I figure they will be easier to care for and won't require so much watering. I also hope to start a herb garden.

I can actually identify a few plants now!

Front garden:
Delicious Monster
Aztec Grass
Mondo Grass
Agapanthus (white)
Wild Iris
Jasmine
Strelizia
Wild Garlic
Cat's Tail
Hibiscus
Hydrangea
Beetroot

The back garden has two flower beds. One in front of the house, the other is near the boundry wall.
In front of the house I have:
a pond:
yesterday-today-tomorrow
Stinkwood
Cannas
Irises
Lavender
Roses
Gardenia


By the boundry wall I have:
Karee Tree
Bouganvillias
Agapanthas
Clivias
Bamboo
Arum Lilies
Mondo Grass
Clivias





Monday, February 18, 2013

Savoury Chickpea Salad

This is a tweaked recipe from the Home, December 2010 magazine. A great vegetarian salad.

Ingredients
1 red onion finely chopped
2 tbl olive oil
2 cans chickpeas
200g baby tomatoes, halved
1/2 cucumber, cut into cubes
large handful of Italian parsley chopped

Vinaigrette
120ml olive oil
50ml white wine vinegar
1 tsp mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp honey

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas under cold water.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and saute the onion until soft and glossy. Add the chickpeas and stir through. Set aside to cool.
  3. Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing all the ingredients.
  4. Place the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber and parsley in a salad bowl.
  5. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad. Mix through, cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Special Moments: My Reward

This realisation cape probably when A was 1-2 weeks old. I was cradling and starring at my newborn in awe. I realised that for all the obstacles or hardships I had to overcome, for all the times someone made me feel inferior in any way, basically any bad thing that has happened to me, he is my reward.

I had to overcome and go through these things to get to that moment; to hold my sweet baby boy and it was all worth it to have this sweet reward.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Special Moments: 2nd Day of A's Life

I remember sitting on the side of the hospital bed A's head in my one hand, his bottom in the other. staring into his sleepy face and being totally mesmerized. He then proceeded to make a big poop, this woke him up. He opened his eyes and started to look around. I will never forget the look on his face of puzzlement of where he was, it was definitely different to where he was 2 days ago.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Birth Story

Our lives changed when AC was born. So it would only be fitting to start the blog with his birth story.

Pregnancy and even up until I delivered were surreal for me. Logically I knew what was happening and I really wanted my baby, but "internally" it was all still surreal. I would think to myself "Is there really a baby in there?" Preparing for birth, I wanted a natural birth at a hospital. Natural birth intrigued me, but I still wanted the "safety" of a hospital. I read lots of natural birth stories, read Ina May, went to pain management birth classes. I thought that birth pain was mostly in the head and I was mentally strong enough to do it.

However, I also tried my best to be informed about all the interventions and medical forms of pain relief. Reading about many different birth experiences also helped and although ideally I wanted as little intervention as possible I also went in without many expectations. My main  goal was to have a healthy baby, my second (but also important) goal was to avoid a C-Section.

My due date was 19 September 2012. I had an appointment scheduled with my OB on my due date, she said the baby was doing fine but wanted to get things started the next morning and told us be to be at the hospital around 6am. Leaving the doctor's office that afternoon, both of us thinking this is it, it didn't feel right. That evening I decided not to go to the hospital the next morning. I called the midwife on duty the next day and waited.

And waited.

The OB called me on Tuesday, she was concerned (actually not happy at all I didn't pitch, she actually asked if I had my baby already). We went in the next day at 10:00am, with our hospital bags. I was previously clashing with the OB, especially about wanting to go into labour on my own. That morning I decided that I had to trust her and let go with the process. At the hospital the midwife did an ECG on the baby, he was fine. The OB did an ultrasound and said my amniotic fluid was low and she wanted to start the labour. So we went ahead. At around 11:00am I had my waters broken. It was not very painful, it felt like a scratch with a toothbrush inside my cervix. I also got a drip with Pitocin. I wasn't too happy with that because I was scared it would lead to a C-Section. Jon and I walked the hospital up and down. The contractions started lightly about 30min later. I had to be monitored every 30min. I remember about an our after induction, that I feel the contractions, they were pretty strong for my (maybe a 6/10), I was disappointed that the midwife described them as small ones.

The the pain took over, although it's true that you forget the pain, I remember what I was thinking. My biggest surprise was that I had no break between contractions. I don't know if that was because of the Pitocin and my body not going through labour naturally. The pain was constant that intensified regularly. I remember thinking that that the only siblings AC will have will be adopted ones. The yoga ball, EJ giving me a back massage did nothing to help. I could only manage the pain through walking. I was also very vocal, I wouldn't call it screaming more like loud straining. (On a side note I noticed I was more vocal the entire pregnancy, I would grunt and sigh more freely, it was like my voice box just opened up.) I think it was 1 pm that I asked for an epidural, I was about 6cm dialated. I had to wait for the doctor, they gave me pethidine in the mean time, I didn't really care at that point. It did help, but made me woozy and I had to lie down in the delivery room.

The anethetist came. I got a walking epidural. It worked perfectly, it was night and day. Amusingly, he described my birth now as "civilised". I think he left at around 3pm. The midwife coached me before hand and said that when I push I must hold my breath and push for a count of 5 take another breath and push for 5 counts again. She would tell me when to push. When it came time to push that did not work for me. What worked was to actually breath out while pushing. I couldn't breath out for two counts of 5 so I did three counts of three. I think because I started pushing incorrectly the OB did a 1st degree episiotomy and used a vacuum to get LO out.

I remember fondly when the doctor said that she sees a head of blonde wet hair :). EJ was at my shoulder and he could see the head come out. When LO came out, they put him on my stomach and he felt warm and heavy. It was the most incredible, magical and wonderful experience. I was instantly in love. I remember saying that I could give birth everyday.

Ultimately, having AC was all that mattered. I don't feel bad about getting the epidural and having the other interventions. What I learned from labour is to be informed, trust your intuition but also trust whoever is in labour with you (be it a midwife, doctor) and to also be opened minded.

If we have another baby I would have an epidural. The only thing I would do differently next time is to push differently and discuss it with the OB next time.