Life’s a journey – part 2 – Emergency C Section

……As the nurse stood there shaving the top of my lady jungle I was scared about what was to come. It was a laugh or cry moment. I normally revert back to humor when nervous so joked and asked her “are we going steady now?”. The nurse could see what I was doing and cracked a few jokes in retort to mine to lighten the mood. She helped me get in the gown and my hands began to tremble.

As we opened the door to the room I had been prepped in there was another nurse waiting for us in scrubs. He had a wheelchair and asked me to hop in. They put my stuff in a bag and we immediately headed to theater. We went down halls with no windows and so many lights. I remember one flickering, distracting me if only for a second of my impending fate.

I kept thinking this is not the birth I had planned. I had planned a water birth minimal drugs as I didn’t want the baby affected. With my partner and Doula there to support me. A Peaceful environment with my relaxing play list I had put together. I had only packed my baby bag days before hand still sitting in the unfinished nursery not realizing it would be needed so soon.  I realized we hadn’t even contacted my Doula in the rush of everything happening so quickly. On the grand scheme of things and how fast everything had gone that was the least of my problems. In a perfect world it would have went according to plan. Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world and it’s always throwing curve balls our way. All we can do is ride the wave and hope it all turns out ok.

Entering the surgical theater I wanted to run I wanted to pretend none of this was happening. It was all too real. I felt sick and I wanted to throw up. I smiled politely at the staff but inside I was freaking out. I thought to myself this shouldn’t be happening this was a nightmare. I had to concentrate on my breathing to try ground myself as I didn’t want to make anything worse for my baby, even if I was freaking out and scared for her. I asked the staff what happens now? They said they didn’t have time for an epidural that scared me even more, and I thought to myself how bad is this? Is my baby going to survive? is she already dead?they already lost her heartbeat once. If they don’t have time for an epidural this situation must be really bad. I asked if I could be knocked out as it was all too real, but they said it would be too dangerous as anything I have passes to her. They said they would do a straight spinal block. No numbing just a big needle straight in my back. If I thought I was freaking out before I was really freaking out now. The nurse could see I was obviously scared and started chatting to me to take my mind off it while they prepped the drugs for the spinal block. I wondered if it would hurt and the doctor told me not to worry as “he makes a great cocktail”.

They leaned me over a cushion while I held my partners hand. I felt the coolness of the liquid they used on the area tingling cold on my skin before inserting the needle. The cold of the liquid gave me goosebumps. It was the most unique pain I have ever felt when they put the needle in. Too scared to move but in pain I let out a small noise and squeezed my partners hand while tears rolled down my cheeks. After it was done they lay me back on the bed and got me in what I called my Jesus pose my arms were out and I could see them moving my legs but I could not feel them. It was bizarre to see part of my body moving but not feel it. Then the screen went up. The nurse next to me held one hand while my partner held the other. I thought to myself laugh or cry so we reverted back to humor quoting silly lines from tv shows like the mighty boosh, trying to distract myself from the fact my body was being cut open behind a screen.

I felt some tugging that brought me back to reality. I asked the nurse if that was normal and she said yes and made sure I wasn’t in any discomfort. Then came some immense pressure, I felt winded. When I caught my breath I yelled out what are you doing? I will never forget the face that popped up from behind the screen. He looked at me and in a calm voice explained they were pushing the baby out. Confused I said don’t you just pull it out? I seen his eyebrow raise and he said no we dont just pull it out. His head still looking at me went back down behind the screen. It was a rightio as you were moment. I felt more pushing but kept telling myself what they were doing was getting my daughter out. I had to grit and bear it and wait. Then I suddenly felt lighter and a tiny angry little squeal was heard. She was alive my baby was ALIVE. It was the most beautiful little noise I ever heard. Relief washed over me. I watched as they immediately moved her to check her over. I could see she was absolutely tiny. I had never seen such a small baby before. One minute she had been in me the next she was out naked and screaming. She was tiny perfection. They checked her over thoroughly and said they would be moving her immediately to the neonatal nursery and asked if her father wanted to go with her. He chose to stay with me as I still had to be stitched up.

Getting stitched up felt like forever. The stitches took longer than the surgery as they had to do 3 layers of stitches. The uterus, the muscle wall and then the skin. I was growing impatient but the nurse kept talking to us to distract us talking us through what was going on behind the curtain. By the end of it I was wondering with all the stitching if surgeon’s maybe moonlight as seamstress’s. When they finished the hundreds of stitches I was wheeled into recovery. I kept asking if I could go see my baby? was she ok? what was happening? They just kept distracting me with questions then every now and then asking if I could feel anything yet. Then to my surprise they pulled out a zooper dooper (icey pole) and they were testing my legs to see what I could feel it. I couldn’t yet but I sure wanted to eat the zooper dooper ( I ended up eating 3)  As the spinal block faded I started to shake violently and had a bit of a rash. I was kept in recovery until the block wore off and I stopped shaking.

I was not sure how much time had passed by but all I wanted was my baby. Part of me was missing and in another part of the hospital. I longed to be with her, with every fiber of my being. When they wheeled me to my room on the gurney I asked the nurse what can I do to be able to see my baby? I was told until I could get in the wheelchair I could not go up to the neonatal and see her. I was willing to do whatever it took. They wanted me to rest for a bit but all I wanted was my baby girl so they got me some strong painkillers and warned me it may be very uncomfortable to get in the chair as I had just had major surgery. I didn’t care, I took the medication and waited anxiously for it to kick in. I was so close to being able to get up and see her. Then my world went fluffy….. whatever the painkiller I had been given was , I was now floating on clouds. My daughters father looked at me and asked if I was ok? I was wonderful no pain not a care in the world. The nurse walked in and had a half smile on her face ” I see the medications working how you feeling” So I told her I was flufffyy. She laughed a little “you ready to go in this wheelchair and meet your baby?” to which I responded “BABIES all the BABIES” the nurse and my daughters father both burst into laughter at that. I got off the bed and onto the wheel chair with a bit of help. Even in the haze of the fluffyness I felt excited and scared I was finally going to see my baby.

Down the corridor and through the double set of locked doors we entered the neonatal nursery. There were incubators and plastic tilted bassinets. A small room filled with tiny babies and that sterile hospital smell. All I wanted was my baby. They wheeled me over to her incubator. The incubator had little windows I could open and put my hand through. I burst into tears as I held my daughters perfect little hand for the first time “hello Abigail I have been waiting to meet you”. Seeing her for the first time up close she was so tiny. Her skin looked thin and I could see little veins and the pulse on the soft spot of her head. The nurse told us she weighed only 1.72kgs (3.79lbs) I wanted to hold her and to my surprise and delight the nurse got my baby out and put her in my arms for the first time and helped me hold her. It was everything I imagined and more nothing ever prepares you for the moment, the euphoria, the overwhelming love that hits you. There aren’t words that truly cover the feeling you have when you hold the life which you grew and created for the first time bundled in your arms. Everything else melts away and its you and this little soul. In that moment I pledged myself to my daughter. To do everything I could so she grew up happy and healthy. Where she goes I go.

In that neonatal nursery we started the longest 3 weeks of our lives. We entered the NICU bubble………………

 

 

Lifes a Journey – Part one – The Pregnancy

In today’s world taken over by social media all we generally see with pregnancies are perfect families, pregnancy shoots and the facebook week to week glowing reports. This isn’t unfortunately always the story for everyone. I recently reached out to another Premie Mumma that is part of the instagram community I am blessed to be a part of. I seen her insta stories reaching out and asking questions as a Premie Mum. At that moment seeing the emotion on her face I resonated with her, I was her 4 years ago. In talking to her it was pointed out to me that I hadn’t shared much of my journey of how I became a Premie Mum. I feel this is an important story to share as its not spoken about or shared about as often as it should be. When you are in that moment in the hospital you are in what I call the NICU bubble. The NICU bubble is a vicious cycle of counting down till you can hold your baby again, then pumping more milk and questioning yourself with what went wrong. You go over and over in your head the pregnancy, the birth. Is there something I did wrong? or could have done for a healthier outcome? It is an extremely lonely and heart wrenching time.

So today I share my story in hope that it resonates with someone so it makes another person feel they are not alone in their journey. Most importantly that its ok to reach out during this time. My inbox is open anytime to anyone that needs a friendly person to listen.

My pregnancy was a bit of a shock. My daughter is whats called a rainbow baby. I had miscarried a few months before. It was after a car accident even though they said it would not have been the cause, I do think the stress and adrenaline from the accident had an affect on how I lost the baby. I was still grieving the baby I lost when I got pregnant again. We had barely had sex since the miscarriage. Its like the age old saying it only takes once. We hadn’t been talking much and the loss had, had a profound impact on me. So I was shocked to see those positive lines on the pregnancy test.

The pregnancy was filled with complications of pains and regular bleeds. I had a cyst burst in the first trimester and I was terrified I was miscarrying again. The pregnancy for the first few months was monitored very regularly. To be honest due to the previous miscarriage I went through the entire pregnancy like a lot of women who have miscarried previously. I was in a constant state of worry that I would lose this baby too. It was always in the back of my mind every week was a bit closer and a bit longer this pregnancy had survived. I felt alone in the pregnancy and not supported. I am close to my Mum and my parents were living in Tasmania at the time. My Mum was my angel during this time regular calls and helping me sooth my aching heart from the loss and talking to me positively about the future with my child I was growing.

My baby’s Father was working on his honors thesis so was either at work or uni. It was probably the most alone I had ever felt going through the pregnancy and after living with a ghost of a partner. Two ships passing in the night.

As the pregnancy progressed and I got passed the halfway mark I started to not stress as much but just counted every week. Every week was closer to a healthy baby. I still kept getting random bleeds but the doctors were never too concerned as it was a small amount. Around the 32 week mark something felt really wrong. I felt like I was having contractions and my back was so sore. I went and got checked they did a fetal doppler test and bub was slow to respond but they got the readings they wanted and I was sent on my way and told it was “just Braxton Hicks”. Again at 34 weeks it was getting worse I got checked again and was at the hospital for a day but eventually they got the readings they needed and again was sent on my way. It made me question was my mothers intuition off? was I just projecting my fears of losing another baby?

The 36 week check was the day my life changed forever. I know its cliche but its appropriate to describe the events of this day. I went for my check again told the doctor that something felt wrong she wasn’t moving as much and I was actually smaller round the belly than I had been a few weeks before hand. I hadn’t felt movement since the night before. This doctor actually listened to me. They had a small ultrasound machine that gave them a basic look at what was going on. He checked and said I had to go upstairs immediately for another Fetal Doppler test.

Going up those stairs I was scared I knew something was wrong. I got put in a room alone as my Partner at the time had went to the loo and they hooked me up to the machine to start checking my baby’s heartbeat. Within 2 minutes they pressed the emergency bell on the wall. They couldn’t find a heart beat. 7 people rushed into the room I was told to get on my side. My baby’s father came back into a room of chaos filled with staff.  He took one look at me and said what is happening? I will never forget the look on his face in that moment. I burst into tears so scared my worst fears coming to life and said I didn’t know. As we held hands I’m not sure how long it took them to find it but it felt like an eternity had passed when they said they had found a heartbeat but it was only 70 beats a minutes. They weren’t sure if it was my heartbeat or hers.

I was sent for a detailed ultrasound. It showed a heart beat it was slow very slow for a baby but it was there. They also said she was very small for the gestation and overheard them say something about no end diastolic flow. When they finished they asked me to go upstairs for the results and said I would most likely need to be transferred to King Edward Memorial hospital for an emergency c section. I was feeling so many emotions on the way back to that isolated room to wait for the results. So I called my Mum told her I was scared and didn’t know what was happening.

In all the rush of things and being a bundle of nerves I did what most people do I went for a nervous pee. When washing my hands I looked into the mirror and could not look at myself for more than a second. As my reflection showed every inch of what I was feeling and it hurt to see it all there in the open. I looked away and kept my head down while I finished washing my hands. I opened the door and the first thing I seen was feet in scrubs. As I lifted my head I realized there was an older female nurse standing there in full surgical scrubs asking if I had shaved down there? I said I didn’t think anyone would be seeing anything so no its a jungle. The lovely nurse said we better take care of that then. I was confused and asked what was going on. She gently explained there was no time to get me to King Edward Memorial Hospital my baby needed to come out now and she was here to prepare me for surgery……………………..

The evolution of advertising through social media.

I remember buying my first magazine when I was a kid seeing all the gorgeous models and ads for products. It made me think of how these beautiful images were made. Over the years of doing modeling I seen just what went into the creation of these advertising images.

The bulk of advertising use to be in magazines and on TV. Over the past couple of years how products and brands are advertised has evolved. Social media has taken over our lives with Facebook, Instagram , Twitter etc it’s how we connect with people and businesses. This has seen the rise of influencers these are people with huge followings that collaborate/advertise products using their social media platform. These collaborations have been so successful it’s not just people with millions of followers that do influencing work. There are also influencers classed as micro influencers these are accounts with over 3 thousand followers.

With such a great new way to advertise it’s not like before when company’s just hired a model from an agency they did a photo shoot and the images were used. The model had no more obligation. Brands now have the chance to hire a model or influencer with a large following. This means they not only have advertising material to use but it’s shared on the influencers page giving the products/ advertising material a much bigger reach. Using an influencer aligned with the product means they reach a broader audience more likely to purchase the advertised product.

It’s amazing how much technology and social media has changed the advertising game. It has opened a lot more doors to a generation of budding entrepreneurs.

For more info on content management (Influencing) follow the link on the menu bar.

World Autism Awareness Day 2019

Today is world autism awareness day. A day to raise awareness and celebrate the awesomeness of people like my daughter Abigail who have autism. One thing I won’t be sharing is the blue puzzle piece. The puzzle piece and light it up blue were started by a company called Autism speaks. They started out wanting to “cure” autism or find a way to eradicate it by finding it in utero. They also originally claimed Autism was linked with vaccines which has been disproven time and time again there is no link. Autism isn’t something that needs cured. People with Autism aren’t a missing puzzle piece. It is a spectrum disorder they are all wonderfully unique in their own way.

(Link to article about autism speaks and why the autism community do not support this organization – https://theaspergian.com/2019/03/29/autism-speaks-just-no/ )

My daughter Abi (diagnoses ASD 1-2) is amazing I love her quirks ,her cheekiness everything that makes her her. I hate when people ask about her quirks and I explain she has Autism. The ignorance that radiates off them when they say oh sorry she has autism. Why do people say sorry. She is amazing she loves to sing and dance and has no care who sees. She has things she’s advanced in like puzzles and drawing. She has her challenges also with speech/comprehension/safety. We all have our strengths and weaknesses that doesn’t mean we should be singled out or made to feel less. Autism isn’t less it’s strengths and weakness’s that fit in a particular spectrum.

I love seeing the world through Abi’s eyes and carefree spirit. She teaches me about life just as much as I teach her. So for world autism day I ask please don’t ever say sorry to someone about them having Autism or to a parent of a child with Autism. Autism isn’t something to be sorry about it is something to embrace, love and learn about. It is appreciating everyone’s uniqueness. So take the time today to learn about Autism so we can be supportive and informed as a community and embrace everyone within our community.

Bullying – What does it mean to you?

Bullying can happen to anyone at anytime and any age it isn’t just something that happens to kids. With my daughter starting school soon it is something that has played on my mind as she is starting Kindy in the Education support unit. “Children with disabilities—such as physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional, and sensory disabilities—are at an increased risk of being bullied. Any number of factors— physical vulnerability, social skill challenges, or intolerant environments—may increase the risk.” (https://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/groups/special-needs) Every parent worries about their child starting school it is what we do as parents. I was bullied relentlessly as a child and even at times as an adult so having my child start school when she has some challenges already I hope she never has to go through that.

“Bullying is now regarded as a health problem and not just a disciplinary problem. Increasing evidence shows both traditional bullying (e.g. hitting, teasing) and cyber bullying have lasting effects on young people (both those who bully and those who are bullied), including damage to self-esteem, academic results and mental health.” (https://www.telethonkids.org.au/our-research/research-topics/bullying)

Last year there was a nine news exclusive interview with a mother who claimed their child was hung with a skipping rope. It was still being investigated at the time she did the interview.  This happened at a primary school yes you read that right a primary school in Western Australia. It was in reports that the child had been bullied for 2 years. There was also an incident noted at a high school in Rockingham WA by a special needs child that had been constantly bullied verbally and physically to the point she had to be pulled out and home schooled.

Bullying is still happening everyday in our schools and workplaces. A study has shown that 1 in 4 Australian students experience bullying. This covers the areas of verbal, physical, social and cyber bullying. If your child is struggling with bullying they can talk to an adult they trust or they can call Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800. It is important the school is notified and an appropriate plan of action is taken and discussed with the parents of the children involved.

As adults a lot of people will not take you seriously if you use the term bullying if it has happened to you as an adult, which is just plain ignorance and shows how far we haven’t come. It is 2019 and people still ignore others asking for help or calling out bad behaviour. Even flicking from the news to a tv show like the bachelor it’s clear bullying happens at any age to anyone.

Workplace bullying is verbal, physical, social or psychological abuse by your employer (or manager), another person or group of people at work. Your employer has a legal responsibility under Occupational Health and Safety and anti-discrimination law to provide a safe workplace. Employers have a duty of care for your health and well-being whilst at work. An employer that allows bullying to occur in the workplace is not meeting this responsibility. In the case of workplace bullying it is important to talk to someone at work like HR or a manager you trust. If you do not feel comfortable doing this then there are options you can talk to your workplace health and safety authority to get advice and report bullying incidents, the Australian Human Rights Commission to get advice, or to make a complaint about discrimination, harassment and bullying covered by anti-discrimination law the union representing your industry who can give you advice on your options and your rights.

It is never ok for anyone to be bullied and it is important for the person being affected to have a voice and support.

Mummy Mondays

I have a little tradition with another mum called Mummy Mondays. I met my friend through our children. We are both single mum’s of special needs children. We met through a school program the kids were both attending. We discovered we had a lot in common with being first time Mum’s who are also single Parents of a child with Autism.

It is hard having your first child friendship circles change people you thought were friends drop off as you move in different circles and you have to find your feet as you adjust to a new part of your identity as a mother. Just as you are finding your feet from becoming a first time mum you end up a single parent. The same thing happens again friends drop off while friendships adjust to the separation. Being a woman you have to deal with the stigma of being a single Mum. Believe me this is very much still a thing. People assume being a single mum you are hungry for another man. Assumptions are made. Oh she must have chased him away. Oh she must have cheated, She must be after everyones husbands now as she wont want to raise a child alone. Oh she has a different last name from her child bet she has lots of kids with different surnames. Oh she must get another man so she is take care of. So many assumptions I wont even list them all. All I wanted to do was focus on my daughter 3 years later and I am still single and not interested in dating properly as my focus is my child and working on my writing. I’m not someone who needs a partner its nice if the right person comes along but that’s just not my focus or a priority im happy on my own.

It takes a while to adjust to becoming a first time mum and becoming a single parent. Just as you think ok ive got this you start noticing that your child isn’t hitting milestones the way they should be and there is unusual behaviors. I had a feeling she had autistic traits and made sure I spoke to the child health nurse and pediatrician. She was first diagnosed with borderline global developmental delay before later being diagnosed with Autism.

My friend went down a similar path and we got talking at school and become friends. Neither of us really got time to go do fun things just as adults. We were lacking much needed self care time. The kids both go to the same day care on a monday for socialization. So we made Mondays a self-care day where we would go do something fun. We generally go to the shops and/or go to the movies maybe grab a bite to eat. Just time to hang out and get some much-needed time out. Self care is so important and being a mum of a special needs child with multiple specialists, NDIS and all the stuff that needs to be done at home to help early intervention self care is needed to ensure I don’t burnout . It is exhausting. Dont get me wrong I am extremely proud of my daughter and how far she’s come she amazes me everyday but, I need time out to re energize so I can be the best mum I can be for her. It is so important for everyone to have some self care time. You can’t help fill everyone’s cup if your cup is empty. So make some time to smell some flowers or better yet get yourself some flowers and enjoy them brightening up your house. Make some time for you can be as simple as taking 5 and doing some mindfulness or taking a day like we do and just have some fun. Laughter and socializing is good for the soul. Make some time for you.

Nadia – xoxo

Charity – we can all make a difference to someone in need.

Since I was a child I have always been brought up and believed that it is up to all of us to make a difference. Whether it’s donating what we don’t need or donating when we could. I remember my primary school doing a food drive for non perishable foods that was donated to those in need. Fun runs to raise money for charity’s. Ever since I was a child I have always had people around me trying to help others. My mum was always very generous to those around her and is the type to give her last dollar to someone else if they needed it more. I have always found it important to try help when I can. I’m in no way rich in fact I’m a single mother to a child with special needs. Rich or poor we can all make a difference if we want to.

As an adult I have worked for company’s that have worked alongside different charity’s, when I worked at Dale Alcock Homes we were able to volunteer at the Salvos at Christmas time during work hours to help pack food hampers and Christmas presents for family’s in need. It was encouraged as I found Dale to be a very kind and charitable man who encouraged his staff positively. That was 10 years ago and every Christmas time since then I have volunteered time and items around this time of year. Even when I lived in Margaret River I donated at the local community center packing hampers for families in need. The past few years it’s been harder as I have had my hands full with Abi so I like to donate items. This year I donated to the It’s in the bag Campaign by Share the Dignity Australia. I have also raised awareness and donations for CBM Australia whose mission is to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest countries.

Now I’m a mother I want to set the best example to my daughter about compassion and helping others when we can. I think being involved in the community and charities is important in helping children become responsible kind adults.

This time of year is not always a happy one for a lot of people. So make a donation no matter how small and it could make a hard time more bearable and might even put a smile on a strangers face.

Here are some great charities I like to donate to and might give a good starting point for others that want to help.

https://www.sharethedignity.com.au/contact-share-dignity/

https://www.autism.org.au/donate/

Homepage

https://homelessconnect.volunteeringwa.org.au/donations

https://www.makeawish.org.au/?gclid=Cj0KCQiArqPgBRCRARIsAPwlHoXEWXvaO4w-dfP4ucwhv0Sk-_T3uGEN2XXZJeoc8EPAS4m3xzMfSlwaAkEPEALw_wcB

Happy festive season

Nadia – xoxo