Hey all you Supermummas out there! I'm Ellice, 28 and live with my boyfriend Ben and our two beautiful children - Jesse 3.5yrs and Harper 7months.
My pregnancy journey with Jesse was what you'd call... SHORT! From the time I found out I was pregnant to when I gave birth was only 13 short weeks! You see... I didn't know I was pregnant. Yep, I'm that crazy lady everyone asks, 'but, how did you not know?!'
I had had a dull headache for a few days and Ben pushed me to go to the doctors to get checked out (thank the lucky stars above that he did!!). I had begun feeling slow at netball, but put that down to being lazy, ha! Ben even mentioned I should go to the gym with him because I looked like I was getting a little comfortable in the relationship *his eyes darted to my tummy*! And lastly, yep - I had my period!
So I made an appointment and off I went. My doctor made my lie up on the bed after I'd mentioned a headache and slowness in my day to day life, she had a feel of my tummy and I just knew. I've no idea why but I knew. She sent me for a urine test immediately and there it was. That double line.
I cried. I shook. I tried to listen to what she was saying but I wasn't taking much in. She said I was probably further along than I thought I was, maybe 12/13weeks, I took the paperwork she'd given me and went and sat in my car to compose myself for a few minutes.
Ben and I had only been together six or so months but friends for years so telling him was fine! It was all the little things that I freaked out about. Like, I dunno... THE FACT WE WEREN'T EVEN LIVING TOGETHER AT THE TIME! That sorted itself out soon enough and we had a new place within weeks.
I had an ultrasound the following day at the hospital to give me an exact due date and low and behold, I was 25.5 weeks pregnant!!!
Both Ben and I went white (even though the room was dark that's how I describe how we both felt)... I tell you, I was very lucky Ben was already sitting down!! What a shock! And, because we didn't want any more surprises we quickly found out we were to expect a little boy arriving February 6.
Christmas came and went, and it became so real that this baby boy was on his way, our house looked like a day care centre already! We were so lucky and fortunate enough (still are!) that many of our family and friends spoilt us rotten knowing a little Bub was soon joining us!
Each midwife visit Ben and I would look at each other in total disbelief that we'd soon be parents. We had our last antenatal class on a Wednesday, I'd had some cramping so was kneeling on a chair swaying and the midwife running the class said, 'This lady is in pre labour'. I was like, whaaa? Nah! I've just got some cramping...
Ben went off to his afternoon shift at work soon after and I was at home feeling those 'just cramps' get worse! I called Ben and by the time he was home I was in the bath.(Throughout my teenage years with my period, every time without a doubt a bath eased the pain a lot so this was my theory/plan for labour.)
Two midwife calls later and we were off to the hospital, poor Ben was soooo anxious driving and seeing me in pain.
The first few hours in the birthing suite I don't recollect very well, not for any particular reason but it just didn't stick with me. I remember being on the exercise ball and hooked up the monitoring machines but I very quickly requested a bath and was in that as soon as it was ready!
The pain was excruciating but I remember knowing I could do it. The thought of an epidural scared me for some reason, I fully freaked out that I'd become that tiny percentage of women where it doesn't work, and would become paralysed within minutes EVEN THOUGH I know the doctors/nurses/midwives would have done the procedure hundreds of times before and not failed, it's just that silly place my brain goes to.
I did however have the gas machine on and working as soon as I was allowed it! Ben even had a few sneaky breaths!! What honestly felt like days, was only a few hours and I kept hoping it would be over. Being in the bath meant I had to have the water at a temp of 37/38degrees constantly because baby had to be born into that temperature. My hips also had to (whilst birthing) constantly be under the water so baby's head/mouth didn't gasp air then go back under. I vividly remember complaining about my hips... they ached so much being in the one similar position for so long.
It wasn't too long (8/9 hours) before our beautiful baby boy came into the world! No words can describe the feeling you get once holding that new baby, something you've created and grown for 9months! It's just insane.
Jesse was an angel baby, he attached well to the breast not long after birth, slept well, was hardly sick and made us laugh with every new thing he discovered.
My mum was the best (still is!) throughout the first few months of being a new Grandma. Without a doubt she'd visit every day with a meal, snacks, arvo tea (knowing we'd have visitors) and clothes or toys she'd picked up from somewhere! Knowing she was there as a giant support for me (and us) made me appreciate her even more. We have formed a closer bond since I've had the kids and there doesn't seem to be an appropriate way to repay her for what she's done for me and my little family. She adores the kids and they do her!
The Mothers Group that was put together for us have been nothing short of amazing! I wasn't sure what to expect walking into a room of newborns and new mums but the connection we all had with each other was crazy. A Facebook group was started with all of us and I'm sure if we went back in time looking at the posts we'd be very amused! Nowadays though the post are more, 'My kids are shitting me, I need a wine!' We still keep in contact, and while most have returned to work it's lovely when we do get together, a bonus is the kids get along!!
Moving forward two years we fell pregnant with baby number two! Found out the day before Jesse's 2nd birthday actually. We had a scan and I was 6weeks along with a due date in September. This pregnancy, in relation to my first, was going to last forever!!
I didn't have any issues or complications throughout this pregnancy but I did receive physio treatment; my hips (assume from birthing Jesse and 20+years of netball) caused quite a bit of pain. So much so, I had to really concentrate on moving my whole body to turn, not just twist.I umpired netball while pregnant (both times) so that probably contributed to the hip pain. We even moved house when I was 35weeks pregnant, I loved my job as delegator!
While both pregnancies were smooth I was constantly tired, and feeling guilty for forever having the 'idiot box' on to entertain Jesse. Having no energy with a two year old sucks!!
Baby Harper arrived on September 20 after a 6 hour labour, in the bath once again - I loved it! I was exhausted and falling asleep in between contractions but absolutely loved it!
Harper attached to my breast soon after but didn't attach properly, and because it was almost 3years since I'd breastfed - I'd forgotten the little tips and tricks I'd learnt with Jesse and because of this I really struggled. I even freaked out that she hadn't pooed for days, until I remembered breast fed babies potentially don't for a week or so!
The first few months of Harpers life was hard. We had already committed to three weddings, a hens and a bucks for said weddings... I was a bridesmaid in one of those... and then there was Christmas and Jesse turned three in the January... so our lives were very busy. Plus trying to perfect breastfeeding, it became impossible. There were many nights I'd wake up crying knowing I'd have to attach her to me with blistered nipples and even bleeding at times. I had mastitis twice, it wasn't fun.
One Sunday night I went and bought a tin of formula determined to only use it during the day... because in all honesty I actually couldn't be bothered getting out of bed to make a bottle during the night!
I made boobies bikkies to keep my supply up but I felt all I was doing was feeding and expressing - which is fine and totally normal! But it wasn't working, not for me when I had a three year old in the house, and running around for all the commitments we'd already made. She wasn't in a proper routine (not that that bothered me or anything) but I felt uneasy.
At one point I remember saying to Ben, we've missed so much of her baby time. She's three months already and I don't feel we've spent time as a family properly. I also felt guilty that all Jesse did all day was play with his toys alone or help me out with things for Harper (he loved it! Still does, but that's not his job as a three year old!). I just didn't have the time or energy to take him out! And once that guilt started... I decided to stop breastfeeding and our house instantly felt happier! I wasn't in constant pain, the kids and Ben could finally hug me (my boobs were so sore I didn't want to be touched!), I could do washing and cook dinner without a baby needing milk and me feeling like that's all I was doing; it was so nice!
Once I came to terms with all of that I began to miss the connection you have when breastfeeding (or like I did with Jesse) and in order to fix that, if we were out and someone offered to feed her, I'd say no. It was still my bonding time with her and I was going to have it wherever we were, regardless of boob or bottle.
Harper is now a very cheeky 7months old who has one tooth coming along, who is crawling and already pulling herself up on things! She's the complete opposite to Jesse as a baby, so I've got my hands full with this one!
Jesse just adores his little sister... but not so much when she gets into his Lego or dinosaurs!!
I haven't returned to full time work since having the kids but I run a cake business from home - which between that, the kids and housework - it definitely feels like full time!
Ultimately, what makes me happy as a mother is knowing my kids are happy. Still, to this day, Ben and I often just stop, watch the kids and look at each other and smile. Our own adorable little family that we knew was going to be someday, is our day now and we are so SO lucky that both our children are healthy, happy and make our lives fulfilled.