All posts by Debbie

Remembering Clay’s Birth… 6 Years On

My eldest turned 6 today. Remembering my kids’ birth consumes me. I find it so hard to go through the day without reminiscing moment-for-moment how those days unfolded and what took place, in the minute that corresponds.

I remember reading a friends account of her first baby’s birth. She is not even a ‘journal-type-person’ but she jotted it down. I’m sure I’ve written about Clay’s birth somewhere, but moving across the world and the emotions of wrapping up a life you loved to journey into a future of unknowns encourages the losing of such things. So, here is my feeble attempt, 6 years on, to recall that day. The day I became a mother.

It was the Scotiabank half marathon and I was 39 weeks pregnant to the day. We had friends running, so got up early to support. I was extremely whale-like but I love half marathons and was envious and wanted to support our friends. I remember STRUGGLING to keep up, dashing in the car, driving to the next spot, trying to find parking en route, hopping out the car, rushing to the street to track the guys, running back to the car – I was aching at every move. I literally could not MOVE MY LEGS fast enough. At one point I kept the car running while my friend went to spot her hubby because it felt like a baby would drop out of me if I wasn’t careful. It was cruel – my body was just not managing.

Fast forward to lunch with my cousin and her kids, chatting over cake and imagining a baby and how long it would take for him to arrive (suspecting, like ‘most first borns’ he’d be late)…

Later that evening Theran was watching Battle Star Gallactica (a series I had no interest in watching), and I was watching some other series – each on a laptop in bed. Around 11pm, I got up and went to the bathroom. In the bathroom, my waters broke. After the shock of realising what had happened, I noticed that there was meconium in my waters. I breathed, walked back to our bedroom and waved at Theran from the bedroom door (our room was carpeted, and he had his headphones in). After about 5 seconds of frantic waving and anxiety building, I caught his eye, and told him my waters had broken. He jumped up.

I went into adrenalin overload. Shivering. Naked. More waters, more meconium.

Theran phoned the midwife. We’d meet at the hospital in half an hour. Sitting on the edge of the bath in a gown. Prayers on the couch. Calmly we packed the car. Excitement. More adrenalin.

We Skyped my parents in South Africa in the car on the way to the hospital. We knew meconium meant things would be moved a little faster, and more than likely a baby was going to be born in the next 24hrs.

I remember arriving, checking in and being hooked up to a monitor and watching my contractions (which were totally manageable so I was stoked). I had to pee in a cup, and was then induced. My midwife leant down and in my ear she whispered “Sweetheart, 9 out of 10 women will take an epidural when induced like you’re about to be, go easy on yourself”.

I laboured for 7 incredible hours. 7 undeniably life-altering hours. On the toilet, on a birth ball, squatting, standing. Walking, groaning, the induction smacking me across the face with peaks the size of mountains and the depths the size of puddles. The chemical version of oxytocin my heart was furiously pumping through my body was unlike anything I could have imagined. We called the anaesthetist. A mere 15 minutes later, I was numb. And I came back to life. Seems my body was fighting itself, and I dilated to 10cm almost as instantaneously as the epidural took effect (that’s pretty instantaneous in birth time).

I remember Theran adjusting the video camera (he’s a filmmaker). I remember it was calm, it was dim, it was quiet. It was 7 in the morning, we were chatting, and the staff shift came. I said goodbye to my nurse Hazel (who felt like a sister – I think I may have offered her money to stay with me she had been so incredible) and hello to Michelle (who I didn’t know what the time, but who was equally as awesome).

I pushed – for hours, maybe? Eye-ball-popping pushing. The OB on call was ready to catch.

Clay’s position was head down, but, posterior. He was otherwise known as sunny-side up. Preferably a (first time birth) baby should be anterior. And his heart rate was dipping.

In the calm, quiet of 7ish in the morning, at the announcement of the posterior positioning about 8 medical staff entered the room – in symphony like precision. Tables were moved, cloths were pulled revealing shiny apparatus, doctors faces were in my face explaining things to me, papers about potential emergency c-sections needed to be signed: Clay had to turn for me to push him out.

It was like I somehow flew into the OR, and on the next contraction, with the help of 6 (I’m not kidding) of the team, they turned him. Blood, waters, bold moves by the medical team. I remember praying that he’d turn. I was stunned to hear he did – as if my prayers needed to play catch up with what was happening to me. On the first go. He had turned. The next contraction, I was told, would be when I needed to push him out. Push. Him. Out.

I so so very clearly remember grabbing the waists of the women on either side of me – my midwife and Michelle, and as the contraction grew, and the team encouraged, I pushed with EVERY-SINGLE-PART-OF-MY-ENTIRE-BEING. Still focussing on breathing in for the 2nd of 3 pushes per contraction, a baby was handed to me. A beautiful, healthy, safe baby boy. Caught off guard, I looked up at the paed anticipating him taking this vernix covered being away, and he looked at me and said  – “he’s perfect, you keep him”.

(Meconium babies often need to be suctioned immediately after birth to clear the meconium from their airways – but Clay was breathing perfectly).

Theran cried, I cried. We had our beautiful baby and standing around us was a team of about 8 people who, for the 5 minutes we were in the OR, focussed every ounce of themselves on me. It was then, feeling so encouraged and so supported and SO loved, that I knew I wanted to make women feel the same when they birthed – so supported – so known. That level of intimate care and love. That, coupled with my new baby boy – changed everything.

Clayden – I will forever, and ever and ever be changed by you and because of you.

Oh, the Fathers love for us…

Skip the Meds: Natural Cold Fighting Remedies for Children

Do you ever stop to think if there is a safer, more effective natural remedy for your children’s winter sniffles? If not, I’m glad you’re reading this, so together we can break that routine of going straight to the medicine cupboard for the regular ‘cures’. Let’s look at powerful and effective natural cold fighting remedies proven to strengthen our children’s bodies when their immune systems are low.

We’ve compiled some of our favourite natural cold fighting remedies for you to try this winter, and here they are…

Invest in a humidifier or an essential oil diffuser: A humidifier helps ease cold symptoms or another respiratory conditions by moistening the air. An essential oil diffuser can also be used to diffuse fine particles into the air. We recommend using eucalyptus essential oil to diffuse – it helps open up the airways and allows kids to breathe easier.

Hydration and Rest: If the body is fighting an illness the best support you can give is to stay well hydrated and rest as much as possible. Try encourage your kids to drink lots of water – and sleep. You can always reschedule that playdate!

Nasal Irrigation: Try a baby and kids non-medicated saline spray to help unblock the nasal passageway.

Elevate the Head of the Mattress, or prop up your child’s sleep position with pillows. This helps drain the mucus away from the head and eases discomfort.

Natural Chest Rub: Try a natural chest rub which doesn’t use petroleum and menthol, and is safe for the appropriate age of the child. ENTER, Pure Beginning’s Natural Chest Rub with Eucalyptus and Lavender... (it’s brand new! What an incredible addition to the PB range).

Chat to a Homeopath about homeopathic remedies and herbs such as elderberry, echinacea, mint and honeysuckle. Do your research, make sure they’re safe for kids, and be consistent in your use if you want it to be effective.

Simple habits: Don’t forget to wash hands (using a safe and effective wash such as Pure Beginnings’ Fun Time Hand Wash). Also encourage the habit of coughing into your elbow to keep bugs from spreading.

Honey, Lemon and a Honey-and-Lemon Hot Toddy!

Honey: Make sure it’s local and raw (and that your child is over 1 year old). Honey has wonderful antioxidants, antiviral and antibacterial properties. It also boosts the immune system and soothes sore throats and coughs – and kids love honey!

Lemon: Vitamin C has long been known to support the immune system and fight off colds. Fruits and veggies high in Vitamin C are lemons, oranges, kiwis, red peppers, guavas, strawberries, dark leafy greens, papaya, broccoli and brussels sprouts. So stock up! 

Familiar with the Hot Toddy? Mix your own combination lemon and honey in hot water to sip on. This is a firm favourite in many households. Or try this more potent recipe if you need a serious help!

Lastly, change your children’s diet!

An easy way to remember this one, is to stop them eating white foods: At the first sign of illness, remove white foods from your children’s diet (dairy, white bread, etc.). Foods which are rich in vegetables, bone broth, whole grains, fermented foods and essential fatty acids (like fish oil & coconut oil) are the way to go. 

***

Pure Beginning’s new Baby & Kids Natural Chest Rub with Eucalyptus and Lavender. This 100% natural chest rub is the perfect addition to your winter medicine cabinet. Free from petroleum and menthol, and with 100% of the ingredients from natural origin, the chest rub is safe to use on babies as young as 3 months old. Incorporating the powerful healing properties of eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender and frankincense, the chest rub provides a gentle and effective way to ease congestion.