Wednesday, July 27, 2011

babymoon checklist

Before Poet arrived I was well aware of how I wanted to spend the first few weeks of her life. It was my priority to have a 'babymoon' - a restful period where I could recover from the birth, connect with my newborn and take good care of my self. As of today I am yet to venture past the letterbox. As a result I feel wonderful. It's liberating to give yourself permission to just 'be'. Truth be told, I couldn't imagine doing it any other way.

The transition of Poet's birth was an incredibly powerful experience. I was left on an almighty high and then a few days later, day three, I was sore, tired, emotional and needy. It was incredibly comforting to know that everything was taken care of. It's been 12 days since her birth and I haven't had to make dinner yet. The washing, cleaning and cooking has all been taken care of.

I've learned through the comments that many of you are either currently pregnant, planning on having a baby or pondering the possibility of adding to your brood. And so, I bring you my babymoon list. A collection of things that have made these early days of rest possible (and comfortable).

  • Ready-made meals. "We don't need gifts, but we would love food," I said to family and friends. In the first few weeks, a warm, hearty meal is absolutely priceless. I informed those that were willing to cook for us that we desired comfort food that didn't have too much garlic or onions (creates too much wind for baby) and definitely no sage (sage is the herb you eat/drink when you want your breast-milk to dry up - if you want to produce more milk you should consider fennel and dill). We've been blessed to eat beautiful lasagne, wholesome soups, slow-cooked organic chicken, casseroles, quiche and the most delectable chicken pie from the lovely lady next door.
  • Banana Bread - ok, so it's not a necessity but my gosh I have enjoyed a mid-morning cup of tea with a slice of toasted banana bread. Yum!
  • Water - every time Poet attaches I get so very thirsty. I actually found it quite hard to quench my thirst in those first few days.
  • Hot Water Bottles - With every baby the after-pains (contractions encouraging the uterus to return to its original size - the size of your fist) get more intense. I literally had to breathe and moan through each and every one of them. Ouch! Hot water bottles were my saviour.
  • Luxury toilet paper - I usually buy recycled but I treated myself to the ultra-soft expensive type. I wasn't overly sore after she was born but it was nice to use soft paper. In the 24hours after birth you pee about 3 litres of fluid so it's nice to have comfy toilet paper at the ready.
  • l'il Fraser Wraps - the greatest baby wrap. Ever. Poet had her hands up near her face in my womb and since she was born, they've always gravitated upwards, which can make feeding and sleeping difficult. She loves to be snug and wrapping her in a l'il fraser ensures she feels safe and, thankfully, sleepy.
  • Bonds wondersuit - when you're spending lazy days at home with a sleepy newborn, there's nothing better than a warm, cosy, easy-to-wash wondersuit (for baby, not for muma)
  • Queen Bee Nursing Bra - there are so many maternity bras out there and it can easily become a confusing and expensive shopping trip. I've loved this no hook, no strap version that's comfortable to wear while sleeping and incredibly supportive.
  • Yes to Carrots Nourishing Baby Lotion - We haven't bathed Poet yet - we don't want to wash away her purity. Little babies don't need baths and they most definitely do not need soap! But, this natural moisturiser has been lovely for me! I like the fact that it's made from organic ingredients and it smells lovely - there is no overpowering scent which is good considering Poet is always close by. She wants to smell her muma and her milk - not synthetic floral!
  • LOVE AND CUDDLES AND SMOOCHES - make a babymoon all the sweeter...make the world go 'round.
I'm working on Poet's birth story at the moment. But I've also got something to share. Daniel set the camera up in the birthing suite and it took a photo every two seconds. The result? A timelapse of labour and birth, set to a song we listened to while I was pregnant. It's an emotional and beautiful capture and regardless of the fact that you can see my bare bum, it's something that I want to share. Because, if it encourages even one woman to prepare for a conscious birth experience, then it's worth it. Hopefully I will get around to posting it in the next week.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Five hours after she was born we came home and went to bed. Today, one week later, I've ventured out of the bedroom feeling rested, content and incredibly blessed. There's been so much to reflect on, a lot to take in and, of course, the imagining of what the days will bring.

Poet Winter is simply gorgeous - a wide-eyed beauty with the knowing and curiosity of a wise little being. Che adores her but, as was expected, he's been a little challenged by the change. I think the hardest thing for me has been the sudden multi-tasking of being a muma of two. Attempting to attach Poet, breathe through after-pains (whoa - intense!) and include/chat with Che was difficult. But, we got there.

The grandmas have been here everyday - they have cooked, washed and tidied. We have only had a handful of visitors. Just as we had intended. Most of the time it's just been the four of us - getting to know each other. Our new little family.

Thank you, so much, for all your well-wishes, congratulatory messages and 'loves' of her name. She is indeed our little Poet. And with initials like P.S. I do wonder whether she'll always have something extra to say.

Monday, July 18, 2011

hello world

Born on the full moon in mid-winter.

She swam into the world and right into her Daddy's arms at 4.47am today, the 19th of July 2011.

She is dark and beautiful with big, curious eyes and cherub lips.

Her name is Poet Winter Smith...and she's perfect.

(The birth details will come...but just quickly it was a beautiful and blissful few hours. I have never felt more 'in' my body than what I did early this morning. The entire experience was an honour and a privilege).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

the nest still waiting for the bambino.

This is probably incredibly boring news for most of you. But, from my perspective, I'm grateful the bun is still in the oven. That cold I mentioned in my last post...well, it hung around and got worse and kept me in bed feeling pretty miserable for days and days. There were many moments when I wondered how on earth I would labour and birth feeling that bad.

But thankfully it's on its way out. Subsequently I feel really rested, a little more prepared, and a whole lot more excited about meeting the little one.

So I thought I'd get around to posting about 'the nest' or the little corner of our bedroom where baby will sleep, feed and get dressed. We have a third bedroom in the house that we use as a study and although this will become baby's room one day, I don't think it's necessary to deck it out just yet. Baby doesn't need much space and I am determined to keep things simple.

The moses basket is the same one we used for Che but I've added new the baby blanket I knitted, an oobee called Ned and a soft and squishy owl gift from Katja at Eco Bohemia.

My mum found an old basket on the side of the road, lined it in stripes and I filled it with wraps and blankets. My auntie made a basket full of muslin burp cloths -the greatest baby accessory ever. When Che was little we had them all over the house to literally catch the spew. They're gentle on skin, easy to wash and they last and last and last.

To pretty up the space I placed my favourite vintage mirror on the wall and decorated it with a heart garland. The eco nino change mat cover looks perfect atop the chest of drawers that holds everything from 0000 singlets to cloth nappies, booties and tui balm - the greatest baby skin product I have ever come across.

Emma kindly made me some new pillowslips from beautiful vintage fabrics and along with soft white sheets and a cosy mohair blanket, the king bed is ready for many a day and night of sleeping, dozing, feeding, burping, gazing, cooing and cuddling.

So, I'm now officially in that space where waiting is the norm. I think I've been holding on to baby a bit, because of my cold, but now I'm ready to let go and labour. My plans for the next few days, if I'm still waiting:

  • set-up a Woolworths home shop account (because the thought of taking a new baby to a fluorescent-lit, noisy, germy shopping centre is my idea of a nightmare. I'll be staying away from that place for a good two months)
  • gaze out the window
  • drink raspberry leaf tea
  • snuggle with Che
  • rub the belly
  • squat
  • use up all the hot water in long showers
  • double-check the bag is packed and ready
  • think a little more about baby names
  • (probably) cry
  • wonder a little more whether baby is a boy or a girl
Deep down I know I have to get a little fed-up and angry to get things going. I can feel it coming. Soon.

Next post I promise I'll have baby news.

Till then...

Monday, July 11, 2011

"thinking of you"

To all of you who have left comments or sent emails wishing me a safe and beautiful birth - thank you. It means so much to receive such sweet gestures from across the lands and over the oceans.

The past few days have probably been the most challenging of this pregnancy. On Saturday I came down with a cold and spent the next few days in bed. In retrospect I was doing just a little too much nesting and my body didn't like it. So I've been staying in and resting up, keeping warm (it's been oh so icy) and cuddling with Che. The challenge hasn't been at all physical. In fact, I still feel energised and not overly big, although getting out of bed is a sight to behold.

It's the mental journey a woman embarks on as she gets oh so close to birthing that's confronting and challenging. Last night I lay in bed thinking about the fact that I'm about to become a Muma to two. And that Che won't be my only child. There's a sadness embedded deep within the reality, that these next few days will be the last before we start a new beginning. While he is rearing to embrace his new role as big brother, his cuddles, copious 'i love yous' and need to be close to me subtly tells me that he's holding on too - to being the only one.

I suppose we all need to let go of something.

I keep experiencing moments of fear about birthing, looking after a newborn, imminent change. And then they pass and I'm ok again.

This morning I got a pedicure so I have pretty toes to look at while I labour. And then I went and did what was probably my third 'last shop.' And I bought more toilet paper and more tissues and more maternity pads. Because you can't have enough of those.

A packet of 0000 white singlets made their way into the trolley too. They are already in the washing machine. Softening for baby.

I feel like I've got another good week in me. I am definitely not fed-up. Which I'm grateful for.

The house is clean, the washing is done. The grandmas are close to their phones at all times.

And we wait.

Photos by Tim, of course.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

portrait: us, by Tim Coulson

To have someone bear witness to your life and capture it with such honesty is something I hold in high regard. It's a gift, really, to have these images, of this time in our lives when we are constantly thinking about the imminent change ahead of us. The biggest change in Che's life so far. Life changing days captured in precious moments.

Tim is a gifted photographer. His composition is astounding, his ability to engage in meaningful conversation while casually snapping a few photos is admirable. With Daniel he spoke 'camera', with Che is talked 'lego' and with me he, naturally, discussed 'babies'.

These photos are a few of my favourites. There's plenty more over at Tim's blog - a collection that tells the story of our morning. The story of most mornings around here.

And if you really want to look at a plethora of photos of us...make a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy the tunes while watching this.

Tim...we can't thank you enough. And it goes without saying that we can't wait for the sequel. Where 3.5 will be 4. So soon.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

portrait: in the beautiful days before birth

Early this morning the lovely and very talented Tim Coulson came to visit us in our home. He contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I'd be interested in having the birth photographed. While I love the idea, the reality is a little different. And so I asked him if, in the beautiful days before birth, as we nest, prepare and await, he would like to capture us going about our day-to-day rituals - in our home and in the garden - the 3.5 almost 4 of us.

The haze of early morning sunlight is representative of my mind and these images perfectly capture our life right now; full of expectations and love. And a late-pregnancy chubby face.

Tim, thanks so much x

Sunday, July 3, 2011

let's go fly a kite

Tonight I have a sense of freedom that I didn't have this morning.

Yesterday I taught my last pre-natal class. And while I'm usually the one hugging my students, sending them on their way with blessings for a safe and joyous journey, yesterday I was the one to receive those sweet words of guidance. At the end of class I got a bit emotional, reflecting on the three-and-a-half years of teaching close to 300 pregnant women, the lessons I've learned, the stories I've been honoured to hear. I was the most pregnant woman in the room and I shared with them my thanks...because each and every one of them have taught me something I didn't know when I was pregnant with Che. With my new-found knowledge and awareness I will travel into this birthing experience with acceptance rather than grand expectations...because ultimately, our birth experiences cannot be planned or controlled. We just need to surrender to the journey, wherever it may take us.

Today I taught my last birth workshop. Once again, I was the most pregnant in the room, sharing my knowledge and skills with seven expectant couples. It was a long day. A tiring one. And when I stepped out of the yoga studio and on to the street I looked up into the dark, clear winter sky to see a fine and delicate new moon. In that moment I wondered where, in this moon cycle, my baby will come. And whether I will watch, every night for the next few weeks, the moon blossom to fullness, much like my belly. The moon and I may be full together, ready to burst, in mid-winter.

At 38weeks my belly is bountiful but I feel incredibly light. For the next few weeks I don't need to be anywhere but in the here and the now. Spending time close to home, with my boys. Perhaps we'll venture out under the vivid blue sky that has been spoiling us lately, and maybe, just maybe, we'll go fly kites.

Photos and film captured at 5Lands