A Letter To My Babies…

We’re all at home during a global pandemic due to a Coronavirus called Covid-19.
We’re glued together almost all day… everyday… which has set the tone for a slower pace of life with ample moments of reflection (amidst the crayons and playdough) reimagining the future, for me as my own person, but also for us as a family…

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To my two wee babies – the past two and a bit years with you both has been a wild ride. Some days have felt like survival, others I’ve blinked and the sun’s going down, we’ve had so much fun together. You see, at the moment we’re all at home during the global pandemic due to a Coronavirus called Covid-19.
We’re glued together almost all day… everyday… which has set the tone for a slower pace of life with ample moments of reflection (amidst the crayons and playdough) reimagining the future, for me as my own person, but also for us as a family.

Being and learning to be your mama is both an incredibly huge and daunting task and yet thrilling all in one. It seems preachy in my short life so far, to be passing on the lessons I have learnt, yet it’s inadvertently I guess our job as parents everyday to help pass down some of our tools, so you can learn to shape how you see the world that little bit more clearly than we have done before you.

So here’s a few things I’ve learnt so far, in my almost 29 years.

  1. Follow fun – but remember all decisions have consequences. Fairly self explanatory, but please…always wear a helmet, a seatbelt and eat before you drink! I don’t doubt your lives will be full of fun, judging by your already strong personalities.IMG_0386.JPG
  2. Don’t shy away from challenges, seek them! In the time you both have been Earthside, we’ve lived overseas and jumped around a bit, away from family (Ivy you were born on our crazy adventure in Hong Kong), working hard to achieve goals as a couple, as parents but also for myself. Moving overseas without the support safety net of family was a scary thought with an 8mth old (that’s you Syd!) at the time, yet we knew we had so much to gain from the experience (revise lesson 1, again). During this time we made fabulous friends, I wrote for a magazine (the opportunity came about 9 days after you were born, Ivy, something I had never envisaged myself doing) and learnt I could juggle more than I knew I could. This is me writing my first article…in my undies (it was about your birth, Ivy!)IMG_1015.JPG

 

  1. Everything happens for a reason, and in the shitty moments trust the path will correct itself.– So that amazing overseas adventure and opportunity for us all stopped very suddenly after the social unrest and covid-19 continued to wreak havoc with Dad’s work. This could’ve sent us into a spiral with lack of uncertainty around careers, displacement of where to go/live/work; but it didn’t. We saw it as a sign to head back to Oz for a bit and reassess. In doing so we’ve been able to re-embrace family (from a distance) and have again seen the best in people and family having been able to stay at your great Aunty and Uncle’s whilst they are down the coast, gifting us the luxury of space during these trying times of isolation. Silver linings… always look for them. What will be will be … and at the end of the day, there are factors outside of your control, just trust, moving forward, you’ll see the opportunities as they arise to correct them.

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  1. Do more for the planet than I feel we’re doing.This year has seen mudslides in Brazil, a locust infestation in Pakistan, earthquakes in Turkey and Brazil and on our home soil devastating bushfires, floods and a continued drought. Our Earth is hurting, and the trajectory isn’t one we should be proud of. There were terrible bushfires throughout Australia at the beginning of this year. Basically as the ash settled the world caught the virus we are currently staying home for. This moment of pause is the Earth’s opportunity to breathe again; regeneration in its purest form. Remember to consider your impact on the collective. Leave behind an Earth you’re proud of.

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  1. Practice tolerance– whether that be tolerance for difference; gender, race, background, culture…be your own persons and embrace the world for all of its weird and wonderful. Trust your gut in moments of peer pressure and always include and embrace the underdog. Also, when your kidlets one day are badgering you for their 2050 version of Paw Patrol, and all you need is a wee and a coffee, take a few deep breaths…I’m still learning this art.

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I love you both an insane amount. I’m so grateful that we’re on this crazy rollercoaster together!

 

Yours always,

Mama

 

***(edited version) Published and shared via The Grace Tales***

Three Mothers Share Letters To Their Children, In Celebration Of Mother’s Day

 

 

Feeling stressed? 5 tips and tricks to managing/reducing anxiety during Covid-19

Ways to anchor yourself during uncertain times.

I think it’s fair to say that many of us at the moment feel, or have felt moments of uncertainty, stress and/or anxiety, and this is perfectly normal. Our bodies are geared to click in and out of stress responses (info here ), just like in labour and birth, these hormones play a massive role (info here)..

But, put very simply, there’s our normal stress response (fight or flight…) and an acute onset/chronic stress.

Currently, research is showing that our frontliners, are experiencing this second type of stress, as are some of their family members. Community members are not exempt from experiencing acute chronic stress, so it’s important that we know ways in which we can help to reduce and manage our anxiety levels.

The seriousness of this form of stress is that it increases anxiety, fatigue, disturbs sleep, and reduces immune function, increases avoidance, brings up feelings of worthlessness/guilt and has long term health risks.
So how is this acute chronic stress managed or reduced?

Dr. Luana Marques, Associate Professor in Psychology, speaks to this in the Harvard Medical School’s webinar on Coping with Stress during Covid-19 (this is a free webinar that you can listen to online).

She spoke about the common three-pronged approach; eating healthily, getting sleep and exercise, but also had a few tips and tricks that may be helpful if you ever feel like you’re beginning to spin out. To paraphrase, these are:

  1. It’s important to not let our brains become future oriented…anxiety breeds thinking about the future, and how this may affect us…our loved ones…our careers etc. What is more beneficial to our anxiety levels is if you are ever beginning to feel yourself spiral about “what if” “I wonder what will….” bring yourself back to what you are doing in this moment to cease control in your day (this may be implementing a routine, with some wiggle room for flexibility).
  2. If you feel you are a person susceptible to having “monkey brain” where you can’t shut down your brain and switch off those thoughts that seem to exacerbate your anxiety levels, keep a journal. Write it down. By writing what you are thinking, you shift your brain from firing within the emotional region and begin to trigger a more practical area of your brain…helping to slow down and reduce the emotional noise cluttering your thoughts.
  3. Reduce alcohol and caffeine – I’m not a big drinker by any means, but have found I have definitely increased my alcohol intake in the past few weeks (kids and husband within ear shot 24/7 perhaps?), which according to Dr. Marques “keeps us spinning”.  Reducing your alcohol content, and limiting caffeine intake (none after 3pm) may help to improve sleep (a big immune improver, as well as stress reducer).
  4. Come back to what anchors you? Is it exercise? Is it family? Social events? Spirituality? Whatever it is that helps ground you in your sense of self – do it, once a day! Whether that’s calling loved ones, burpees in the backyard, yoga in your living room, whether you feel like it or not, do it! Your body will thank you for it!
  5. Check your fear. Fear drives anxiety in a pandemic, because what we fear is an invisible threat and that for many of us is a scary thing. The best thing you can do is acknowledge that fear. Our brains love the status quo…we love balance, and when we are overwhelmed with uncertainty, anxiety skyrockets. Dr. Marques spoke of a “bandaid approach” to reducing those overwhelming emotions associated with fear and when you’re in a funk that you can’t seem to shake…grab an icecube – hold it and let it begin to sting…leave it there for a few seconds and focus on the stinging. This exercise helps to bring your strong emotions down, as you’re focusing on the physical pain and not your emotions anymore.

It’s also important to remember that we’re resilient at our core; and the best way to improve our resilience mentally is through physical and mental exercise…so write down those thoughts, dance around with your kids in the living room (we’re doing Cosmic Yoga Kids which is awesome), implement a daily routine and whatever anchors you in your sense of self, embrace it every single day.

If you’re not feeling like you’re coping, it’s important to seek help, here are some places that can help. You’re never alone.

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
If you need urgent medical help please call 000
The PANDA National Helpline is available Mon-Fri 9am-7:30pm 1300 726 306
For 24 hour crisis support please call Lifeline 13 11 14

 

The Newborn Bubble: a balancing act during Covid-19

The newborn bubble is a special time post birth…isolation is a contributing factor to feeling unsupported. Medicare have rolled out a bulk billed service allowing you to connect with health practitioners from the comfort of home.

With Covid-19 being at the forefront of most people’s minds, for many women their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period are at the forefront of theirs. With the world slowing down, and retreating to their homes, hopefully mothers and babies will be able to “bubble” that little bit longer…with less visitors, less pressures to tidy the house, less pressure to get out and about.

I love the newborn bubble. The special time post birth when you and your new baby are learning each other, bonding and finding your way through breastfeeding, sleep (or sleeplessness), snuggles and the general explosion of love. The days blur into the nights, blurring into weeks; and for how hard it can be, it repays itself ten-fold in the love you uncover for this newbie that’s now in your world. I’m lucky enough to have felt this way throughout the early days of motherhood.

Now on the flipside of this potential benefit (a prolonged bubble) of Covid-19 is that isolation is a massive factor in contributing to feeling unsupported.  20% (1 in 5) of women will be clinically diagnosed with postnatal depression in Australia (according to 2010 stats), with more than half of these women being diagnosed in the perinatal period. It could be suggested though, that with this period of self-isolation, clinicians being stretched, and people being more hesitant to step foot into health clinics etc., diagnosis could be missed, and therefore mothers could unnecessarily suffer through an illness that seeks attention and help. It is important to remember that this is an illness and not a reflection on a mother personally, and there are ways to seek help, especially during times like now. Now more than ever, it’s the responsibility of family and friends to call to check in, with new mums.

The Australian Government, has funded a 100 million dollar Medicare service for people in home isolation, quarantine, or unable to attend a doctors surgery for whatever reason, that allows health consultations via the phone or video link through mediums such as Facetime of Skype to consult with the general public (specifically people deemed to be vulnerable or immunocompromised). It’s a completely bulk billed service provided by GPs, specialists, nurses, mental health and allied health workers.

This will be an incredibly important service for new mums, not only for the protection of their babies (staying out of doctors clinics unnecessarily) but ensuring fast, efficient and easy access to help, if required.

Pharmacies and e-prescribing services will be eligible to participate in the home medicine services (great for mothers if they were to get mastitis, etc.).

For more info: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/24-billion-health-plan-fight-covid-19

Signs and Symptoms
According to PANDA, The Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia organisation, a combination of the following symptoms for someone suffering from PND is not uncommon:

  • Sleep disturbance unrelated to baby’s sleep needs
  • Appetite disturbance
  • Crying or not being able to cry
  • Inability to cope
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Negative, morbid or obsessive thoughts
  • Fear of being alone or fear of being with others
  • Memory difficulties and loss of concentration
  • Feeling guilty and inadequate
  • Loss of confidence and self-esteem
  • Thoughts of harm to self, baby or suicide

Need help?
– Beyond Blue and their support service: 1300 22 4636

– PANDA

– How is Dad going?

– Black Dog Institute and a self-test

– How to get help
– Contact your GP

Articles about PND:
– Men just as likely to suffer PND 

– Postnatal Depression treatment at home a huge success

– Postnatal Depression Beliefs Confused

– https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/primary-health-care/perinatal-depression-data-from-the-2010-australia/contents/summary

 

 

 

2 kids under 2; what we did to keep busy self isolating in Hong Kong

Fun, easy ways to keep the kids entertained at home.

Having kids at home all the time can start to drive you batty. Here are some of the things we did in our little apartment to stay busy and had lots of fun doing it! All these things can be done outside as well, if that’s a possibility for you.

Found these great spongey stepping stones on Amazon – National Geographic Kids. Perfect for busy little ones that love an obstacle course or sensory play. Perfect for gross motor exploration and
development, too!

Playdough Pizza Shop ❤️🍕
Hours of fun playing restaurants. Imaginary play is perfect for all the parents now finding themselves homeschooling. Can introduce money maths (addition/subtraction) into the game.

Favourite playdough recipe
https://www.iheartnaptime.net/play-dough-recipe/
(The picture is store bought just an FYI)




Exhibit A

Glow stick bath disco – crank up the music. So much fun!

Moon dust sensory play

You’ll need:
• 2 cups of all purpose flour
• 1/4 cup of baby oil
• a baking tray or deep dish would work to contain the mess. We’ve used an Ikea breakfast tray as a little messy station area.
Tip: we’ve use a big shower curtain over the floor for wet and messy play in our apartment. Makes for a quick cleanup!
This consistency is great as it holds form so you can make castles, rocks etc, but crumbles to dust between your fingers.

Cubby houses – endless fun! We had lunch in our cubby (sun tent) occasionally, some iPad movie dates, read books and also let him play independently in there with all the battery operated fairy lights on.

Sensory bags – so many ways to do this – have a look on Pinterest. This one was just a giant ziplock bag (also works with the silicone ziplocks) filled with colour, water and oil. She adored smacking it!

Painted paddle pop sticks and made creatures.

You’ll need:
•sticky tape or duct tape (I cut varying sizes and widths so some animals are easier and harder to free)
•little figurines (animals, cars, anything really will work)
•cardboard or chopping board (I like chopping board and it keeps the duct tape sticky and can be reused 👍🏼)

Being just under two at the time, my little one ripped the animals off quickly (would take a younger one longer) but took him longer to restock the animals down, that became the game, really.


Test Yourself – the Covid-19 Challenge

Imagine if at the end of all of this, we emerge with a healthier attitude to self-care, mindfulness, and exercise; because if anything is to be learnt from this, it will be how much we have to value and protect our health at all costs.

In Australia, it’s really starting to sink in that we’re all going to be home, bunkering down, for quite some time. Nobody really knows how long and the unknown can be mentally incredibly tough to comprehend.

But what if this period of home-solation was actually a positive thing? Not the cabin fever or being (potentially) jobless or the extra kilos we all may be sporting on our hips when we re-enter life in the outside world, but the forceful nature of slowing down. An opportunity to reboot and reflect on what has gotten us to this moment in time, and to take more time focusing on our health and wellbeing.

2020 has seen bushfires, floods, and now a virus and we’re not even halfway through the year!Talk about a big F U from the planet –and maybe we deserve it? We haven’t been looking after Her, and maybe in a roundabout way, the Universe is sending us a message – maybe we need to focus on slowing down, self-care and our health, as we all know, when you’re feeling healthier you make healthier decisions, so maybe this will have a flow on effect? Cleaner living, cleaner lives, cleaner planet etc.

We all fly around the planet at a million miles per hour hoping to advance careers, get stuff done and yet anxiety, depression, obesity, mental health issues and lack of job satisfaction are at an all time high.

I saw a meme recently “Covid-19kgs heavier”, which is both hilarious and (scarily) possibly accurate. When it feels like the world is falling a part and we’re all stressed about our families, loved ones, finances, jobs and health, our anxiety levels increase and our bodies are working in fight-or-flight mode, our body’s natural stress response.

Adrenaline increases our heart rate, can elevate blood pressure and increases our stress hormone, cortisol. Increased stress and the immune system have been widely studied for many years and an interesting area to look into. A recurring attitude throughout many journal articles is that people under stress are more likely to have an impaired immune system. Something none of us want at any point, let alone at the moment.

The World Health Organisation is recommending for everyone at home to continue exercising and moving their bodies. They recommend 70 minutes of high intensity exercise every week or 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.

150 minutes divided by 7 days is 21 mins…so instead of Covid-19kgs heavier, why not Covid-19 minutes of movement per day? This is so achievable for everyone (you can definitely do more than this, but it’s somewhere to start for those not moving at the moment), kids and adults alike. Throw some meditation in there too!

I recently read somewhere that kids won’t actually remember the virus, but only the time spent with family at home.  This is a perfect activity to do as a family (and a great way to add some structure to your days).

Imagine if at the end of all of this, we emerge with a healthier attitude to self-care, mindfulness, and exercise; because if anything is to be learnt from this, it will be how much we have to value and protect our health at all costs.

Here are some local business adapting to the current climate, making working out at home easier with some freebie trials, or low cost classes (and no lock-ins so you can jump about and/or try before you buy lots of different programs)

 Please tag and shout out local businesses that we can support that will help us stay healthy at home! We’ve tagged a few that we know are doing great things!

LOCAL TO BRISBANE

  • Studio 99 App– free download and access to home bodyweight workouts
  • Unplugged yoga in Paddington are doing online classes $5 per week

NATIONALLY

  • Emily Skye Fit – usually offers a 7-day free trial and has extended that to a free 30 days, which includes full length home exercise routines, booty challenge and healthy recipes. Enter code WHESF1M

INTERNATIONALLY

  • Insight Timer- Free app that has guided meditations for all levels
  • Melissa Wood Health – Free 7 day trial on her at home workouts, power flows and meditations. She has an app, and lots of workouts of varying lengths.

 

 

Food Bloggin’ NYC style!

Heading to NYC? Our fave haunts around the concrete jungle…

Howdy from NYC… it’s been 2 months since the last article (slight hiatus with finishing up uni and galavanting around the US having way too many margaritas!) so I thought I’d better pull my finger out and start things up again.

This is a totally unrelated baby post today but more of a foodie entry for anyone travelling to, or planning on a trip here in the future. My husband, Raoul, and I have literally eaten our way around Manhattan and Brooklyn for the past 3 weeks (5 day juice detox ordered for when we get back…wish me luck!)
Prepare for lots of fezpot food shots of yours truly, Raoul got carried away playing photographer…just look at the food!

Breakfast

Five Leaves
This is a bustling little brekky joint that’s easy to get to from the subway and is situated in Williamsburg. Heath Ledger’s Australian/American cafe realised posthumously, is an awesome little spot. They’re famous for their Ricotta Pancakes w/ honeycomb butter, banana, blueberries & strawberries, served with 100% pure maple syrup…however on day 2 we were hesitant to go all out gun blazing and opted for an equally satisfying savoury alternative to share. Pictured is the sage scrambled egg panini and the grilled 7 grain toast topped w/ crushed avocado, green onion & radish.
Address: 18 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Phone: (718) 383-5345

 

Coffee

I’m not a coffee wanker, but I totally became one (and it pays to be) in America! Favourite haunts over the weeks were:
Sweet Leaf (135 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (347) 725-4862)
Five Leaves (18 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222)
Dominique Ansel (189 Spring Street, NY) Famous for their cronuts (apparently there’s a line in the wee hours for those bad boys), we just stuck to the coffee, which they were surprisingly great at.
Variety (146 Wycoff Ave, NY) Best “Americano” coffee we had.
Cafe Grumpy (Lexington Passage, 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017) The closest we came to Aussie coffee over the three weeks.

Note: Flat whites over in NYC seem to be cappuccinos?? So if you’re after a flat white, it’s a cap.

Lunch

Amish Market
Down in TriBeCa near World Tower, we were fanging for some clean food. The Amish Market has heaps of salads (hot and cold) available. You can mix n match – and pay on weight.
Address: 53 Park Pl, New York, NY 10007

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Westville
The food was so good in this West Village haunt that we ate there two days in a row. For dinner we had the grilled salmon salad and the fish burger, and the following day we shared the marketplace green vegetable plate. All delicious. All reasonably priced. Decor is nothing to harp on about, but it’s in a great location near the West Village shops and a short stroll from Bleeker Street.

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Melt
If you’re up for an all out American blow out, this is the place. We’d been walking for 6 hours and I was on the verge of tears my sugar levels were so low…this was ridiculously evil and delicious.
Address: 135 W 50th, NY


Saxon & Parole
Great brunch spot on Bowery. Great cocktails (yes, at brunch) and service was great.
Address: 316 Bowery NY

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via saxonandparole.com

Greenwich Project
Another great West Village spot. Salads, Burgers, Booze. All delish. Worth a visit.
Address: 47 W 8th New York.
Phone: (212) 253-9333 (booking is probably wise)

Dinner 

Mexicue
After a massive day traipsing around Manhattan (ugh I even hate how that sounds!) we did count down to Happy Hour, twice!, at this pumping Mexican restaurant. $5 Margaritas (the best Margarita I’ve ever had) and $2 Fireball (chilli, cinnamon in tequila) shots. Word to the wise…maybe eat more before the 4pm drink fest kick off, so your night isn’t as short lived as ours. You really want to be able to kick on from here. The smoked chicken tacos were delish, black bean nachos was really tasty, too and the guac could feed an army! Great bang for your buck. (345 7th Ave · (212) 244-0002)


Bareburger
Best. Burger. All. Trip. Just. Do. It.

They are a chain, so they are dotted around the place. No photo because we were starving, exhausted post 22hr flight and with luggage.

Margarita
We found ourselves in Little Italy and spoiled for choice. Stumbled upon this hidden gem. Great Caprese and the pizza was great too! Friendly wait staff and funky Italian music. Worth a visit.
Address: 197 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

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Saigon Shack
The pictures speak for themselves – the turnover of tables is insane…you’re not here for a long time, just a good time. Fab Pho & Salad bowls! Bring Cash!
Address: 114 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012

Treats
So I’m definitely a savoury gal, but I married the world’s biggest sweet tooth, so we strike a happy yet very dangerous medium…

“This Pie is Nuts”(@thispieisnuts)
We were here over Thanksgiving, so naturally we had to try a good ol’ American Pie. This is a brand that’s purely natural, vegan, paleo certified and gluten free. One of the greatest treats we had. No nasties, just goodness. Lots and lots of goodness.

Magnolia Bakery
An obvious one. Just walking in made me all Sex and the City giddy! Ventured away from the cupcake and we got the mini Apple Crumble to share. Yum and very weather appropriate. There’s actually a couple of spots you can pick up their goodies, but the original site is just off Bleeker St. The park across the road is littered with people catching rays eating sugary goodness. Do it!

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We ate at literally a billion other places, all really good! We only had one disappointing meal all trip which was at a place called The Burger Joint (Cnr Macdougall W8th). Not into a public shaming, but this was a shocker (that we had heard good things about). Fries were feral and can definitely be missed.

 

Looking forward to getting back next week (soaking up the some Summer sun) and getting stuck into some writing, too. We have some great stuff coming your way in 2016, so keep your eyes peeled and ears open. xx

Postnatal depression – don’t look the other way

Did you know that over 1000 new parents each week in Australia are diagnosed with PND? Know the signs and symptoms!

Did you know that over 1000 new parents each week in Australia are diagnosed with postnatal depression (PND)? It’s a devastating statistic, and a debilitating illness. PND is not culturally, age or gender bias; and both men and women can suffer from it mildly, moderately or severely, immediately after birth or gradually in the weeks, months and year after birth. It can rear its ugly head after miscarriage, stillbirth, normal births, traumatic births and caesarean sections.

It is normal and common for women around day 3 post birth to feel teary, irritable, overly sensitive and moody. This is due to a woman’s hormone levels yo-yoing all over the place…around the same time as the milk is coming in…(convenient, right?!). It is okay to feel like this on and off for a few days, but if it persists, seek support and help is a must.

In light of September bringing awareness to depression and suicide through R U OK Day and it being Suicide Prevention Month, we thought this was apt timing to bring awareness to this commonly fought illness.

It is important to remember that this is an illness and not a reflection on you personally or as a mother or father. There are ways through postnatal depression, and we’ve provided a list of some of the support avenues out there at the bottom of this post. It is imperative that you seek professional help – speak to your GP.

Signs and Symptoms
According to PANDA, The Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia organisation, a combination of the following symptoms for someone suffering from PND is not uncommon:

  • Sleep disturbance unrelated to baby’s sleep needs
  • Appetite disturbance
  • Crying or not being able to cry
  • Inability to cope
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Negative, morbid or obsessive thoughts
  • Fear of being alone or fear of being with others
  • Memory difficulties and loss of concentration
  • Feeling guilty and inadequate
  • Loss of confidence and self-esteem
  • Thoughts of harm to self, baby or suicide

via Birth Without Fear
via Birth Without Fear

Need help?
Beyond Blue and their support service: 1300 22 4636

PANDA

– How is Dad going?

– Black Dog Institute and a self-test

– How to get help

– Contact your GP

Articles about PND:
– Men just as likely to suffer PND 

– Postnatal Depression treatment at home a huge success

– Postnatal Depression Beliefs Confused 

The Emptiness of Loss

The story of a friend who shares how miscarriages affected her, her relationship and her journey to two miracle babies.

I stumbled across a statistic from SANDS, the Australian miscarriage, stillborn and newborn death support program a while ago. It stated that ‘Australian women are more likely to experience a miscarriage than to experience breast cancer’. Breast cancer awareness and information is everywhere and I know I’ve spoken with family and friends more about breast cancer than miscarriage. So as women, by not talking about pregnancy loss, are we making, what is statistically a horrible yet common occurrance harder?

In the past few years, I have spoken to women and been with women that have lost babies; early and late in pregnancy, but what I have found is women explain; the lead up to it happening, why it happened, how it happened, the procedure that was involved afterwards, but many do not discuss the emotional impact that it had on them and their partner. So today we’re talking about the unimaginable, yet more common that you think; grief and loss of a baby.

Finding out your pregnant is a life moment, that for many families will evoke happiness and excitement. For 1 in 4 women* in Australia, these women and their partners experience the loss of their baby early in the pregnancy. The first 12 weeks of pregnancy is when some families decide to stay tight-lipped about their newly growing addition (this being the time in pregnancy with the highest chance of miscarriage). So because the pregnancy hasn’t been announced, many couples grieve together in silence.
A less concealed grief for mothers and fathers is that of a stillbirth. 6 babies are born stillborn everyday in Australia, a statistic 10 times higher than SIDs related deaths.

Working within a maternity unit I’ve been exposed to some very sad situations, that you wouldn’t wish on anyone. My family and friends also, have not been immune to such loss.

I think many of us shy away from talking about topics like miscarriage, as well as telling people about being pregnant (within the first 12 weeks), because of how it then positions us for vulnerability. Vulnerability is an emotion that makes us human and has the ability to foster connectedness. We, as women, need to speak about the hard stuff surrounding pregnancy and not see loss as personal failure. At the end of the day, good friends only want the best for you and would move mountains to help you through the tough times.

Someone dear to me, whom will remain anonymous, has kindly written her story and the ways in which multiple miscarriages affected her, her relationship and her journey to two miracle babies.

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This is her story, “Little Miracles”:

To those who are going through or have been through a miscarriage, my heart goes out to you. I hope my story can give you hope and somehow help you heal.

To the partners who are trying to support their wives or girlfriends through pregnancy complications: know that you are doing a good job, and that the most important place you can be through all of this is with your partner, together. You are part of the equation and the difficulties of miscarriage or loss will affect you too. Make time for appointments, talk about how you are feeling, and when you can’t talk, sit in silence, and have your shoulder ready for the tears that will come.

To those who have a friend or family member experiencing pregnancy difficulties related to conceiving, miscarriage, or traumatic birth experiences: your support may go unrecognised at the time, but it is not unwelcome, and it will be appreciated.

Pregnancy. You think it’s going to be easy, but sometimes life can throw you a curve ball when you least expect it. When I was a child, I imagined my future as an adult with a good job, a nice house, a loving partner, and with children. Never did I consider how differently things could turn out, but as I learned, it’s important to expect the unexpected. I have two children, but I was pregnant eight times. We lost eight babies, as I was twice pregnant with twins. This is the story of my long journey towards motherhood and parenthood. 

At the beginning of 2004, at the age of 23, my partner and I got engaged, and we decided to try to fall pregnant right away. With so much to do in preparation for the wedding, it was not until after five months of trying that I began to worry something was not quite right. I had stopped taking the pill months earlier, but I still had not had a period. My cousins had experienced problems having a baby, so I began to worry that I might find myself in a similar situation. I discussed this with my mother, who told me not to worry. She hadn’t had any problems, so why would I? I’ve always looked up to my mother and listened to her advice. I wanted to believe everything would be ok. 

After another four months, when the situation had not changed, I decided to go to see the doctor. I was surprised, but relieved, to hear that it was quite normal for your periods to be irregular after coming off the pill and so, trusting the doctor, I decided to wait a while longer before becoming too alarmed. When a year passed, we decided it was time to start investigating things further. I am not sure if it was my age or my inexperience, but at that stage, the words “gynaecologist” and “obstetrician” meant absolutely nothing to me. I was referred to a gynaecologist/obstetrician, who was chosen by my local GP. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the person who would become an integral part of my journey and who would eventually help save my life. 

I was not exactly sure what to expect on that February morning in 2006 when we went to the appointment to discuss our infertility. Imagine our disbelief when a routine ultrasound revealed we were around seven weeks pregnant. I don’t know who was more surprised – us, or the doctor who had never seen us before. The rest of the consultation was a blur. I was so excited, I just wanted to get out of there so that we could ring everyone we knew to tell them the good news. After all, why wait? I was pregnant, and in my mind, fertility issues were about being able to fall pregnant. I wanted to tell the world!

Family and friends responded with joy and enthusiasm to the news that I was pregnant. No one was happier than my mother-in-law, who was expecting her first grandchild, and my parents, who were beginning to secretly worry that infertility might be an issue.

From the moment we knew we were pregnant, we began to plan for life with a baby. The list of discussion topics were endless, and an onlooker would have believed we were trying to make every decision about the baby’s life in the first few weeks of the pregnancy. We were so excited, why would we worry? I was a school teacher and I even told my class. It was a Friday afternoon and I was teaching when I felt that something was not quite right. I had to go to the toilet, but there were only 20 minutes left of the school day, and I had planned to go home straight after school, so I decided to wait.

 By the time I got home, I was busting and raced for the toilet. To my horror, I saw it was filled with blood. If you have ever been in that situation, you will know the feeling. It is like the world has completely stopped. You don’t want to believe what you are seeing and for a moment, you panic.

We raced to the doctor’s surgery first anyway, only to then be sent to the emergency department. It’s funny how each miscarriage brought with it the same protective maternal response: if I get to the hospital straight away, everything will be ok, the baby will be ok. I was in quite a lot of pain by then, but had visions as we were driving of the doctor telling us everything would be ok. I wish I had been right. We were left in the hospital waiting room for what felt like an eternity. People came and went and I was still waiting, bleeding quite heavily. Looking back, it is quite disgraceful that you can be made to just sit in a hospital waiting room while you are losing a life inside you. 

Finally, I was taken in to see a doctor, who told us the worst. A scan revealed the baby had passed away. I was 11 weeks pregnant. There are simply no words to describe the lonely moments soon after you realise you have miscarried a baby. You wonder what you did wrong and start to think to yourself, “If only I had or hadn’t…” about all the situations where you didn’t completely follow the rule book. 

The only people in the world I wanted, besides my husband, were my parents, who were away and out of phone reception. I wanted to curl up in a ball and never come out. All our planning came crashing down around us. All the excitement of holding our first born in our arms was ripped out from under us. Surgery was planned for later that evening, and when 8:00pm came, my husband was asked to leave. “Visiting hours are over and tell your wife she can’t use her phone,” the nasty nurse barked as she went on with her shift. I found it ridiculous that my husband was being sent home. We were both grieving. We had lost a child. I was completely empty. Surgery came and went, and when I slept that night, it was as if I was still pregnant and the frightening ordeal was behind me. 

Despite the number of miscarriages I had after that, I still believe the first was the hardest. While each additional loss brought with it the same grief and distress, the naivety from my first miscarriage had been stripped away. That first devastating loss was a wake-up call that complacency was not an option when it came to pregnancy. It was becoming more and more apparent that a magical combination, and a lot of luck, would be needed in order to conceive once again. Within a matter of months, and after taking medication for polycystic ovarian syndrome, I found out I was pregnant again. 

The end of that year brought with it a lot of excitement as we neared the 12-week mark. Things were going very well and I attributed this not only to being more relaxed at the year’s end, but also to the fact that I followed every rule in the book when it came to what to eat and how to care for myself.

Nearing the end of the first trimester, I had a feeling something was not right. As soon as I went to the toilet, I knew we were losing our second baby. Quickly, we got into the car and were on our way to the hospital again. I was in a lot of pain, and while I wasn’t left to wait in the emergency waiting room this time, I was given a bed in a corridor, where I was left to wait for hours. 

Finally, a midwife came and confirmed our worst fears. We would need a second dilation and curettage, known as a D&C, to “scrape the baby out”. I don’t know what was worse, knowing that I had lost another baby or hearing that my baby, who we had dreamed of and looked forward to meeting, would be “scraped out”. 

The moment of going into theatre was one of sheer panic. Overwhelmed with sadness and unable to speak, I would simply nod and shake my head as the nurses, doctors and specialists would come to talk to me. Once the operation was over, we drove home with barely a word. Nothing either of us could say would bring back our baby. 

While the first miscarriage was the hardest, the second brought with it a feeling of guilt and blame. As I was trying to process why this continued to happen to me, the guilt my husband and I felt began to cast a dark shadow over our marriage. We found ourselves unable to pick ourselves up out of the depression that the loss of two children had caused, and our inability to talk about how the miscarriages were affecting us individually and as a couple was having a devastating effect on our relationship. The problem was so great that talk of divorce even reared its ugly head. 

In March 2007, I decided that I would give it one more month. Barely a week later, I found out I was pregnant again. I didn’t know how to tell my husband, but I came across a little shirt with a giraffe on it that read “I’ll be this big one day”. I wrapped up the shirt and took it out one night at dinner. We hoped and prayed for nothing more than the birth of a healthy little baby at Christmas. As quickly as I had decided that divorce might be the only option, our focus once again became the baby. Planning consumed us. If only life was as simple as wishing, hoping and praying in order to achieve your dreams. I read all the books and ate everything right. We were determined nothing would go wrong. 

In late April I began to bleed again. I knew that three miscarriages was concerning; I wanted to know why this was happening to me – there had to be a medical reason. My theory was that I was miscarrying boys. I am not sure why I believed this, but probably in my frenzy of googling each time I fell pregnant, I’d somewhere read that your body can miscarry one sex. It was many years later that I learned that I had by then miscarried two girls, while the third was not tested. The late night scan revealed our worst fears.  Our baby had passed away. Another devastating miscarriage. Another heartbreaking D&C.

A serious change was needed. One month is the time it took for us to find a block of land and a house to build on it. One week is the time I spent feeling sick before I decided to see a doctor. One minute is the time it took for the doctor to convince me to take a pregnancy test, while I told her, “I think I would know if I were pregnant, I have had three miscarriages”. One second is the time is took for the positive line to show up on the pregnancy test. I broke down. I didn’t want to be pregnant ever again – I couldn’t face another miscarriage. We didn’t know it at that time, but that cold day at the end of July was the beginning of what would become our official entry into parenthood, confirming my pregnancy with the little girl who would become known as T.  

We were thrilled to learn at our 18-week scan that out baby, was growing well, was a little girl. At this time, I found out I had placenta prevue, a low-lying placenta blocking the baby’s exit, which meant that T had to be born by caesarean. I was booked in to have her at 37 weeks, on March 10, 2008. 

“She is tiny,” I said to the doctors as I looked at the beautiful, perfect bundle in their hands. Weighing in at 2.4kg, T certainly was very small. I was able to hold her briefly before the paediatrician took her. The obstetrician focused his attention on the placenta. After quite a bit of prodding and poking, I could tell something was wrong. 

“What’s the matter?” I asked as he spoke quietly with the midwives. “N, don’t panic, but the placenta is not coming out quite as easily as it should”, he replied. “It has left a relatively small hole in your uterus, which could cause future miscarriages”. I was too happy to care. The problems this hole could cause was not in my foreseeable future. My daughter was finally with us.

We certainly were not expecting to fall pregnant quickly, but less that five months after T’s birth, we found out we were pregnant again. Our excitement was short-lived, and later that year, we again lost the baby we had hoped to welcome. After that miscarriage, we decided that we would have a plan for more children, but if it never happened, we would enjoy our life spoiling T and that would be enough. 

Our loss after T’s arrival was easier to deal with than the previous had been, but the miscarriages that followed were extremely traumatic and ultimately cost us our marriage. 

In December 2008, I was pregnant again, and things were going smoothly. Then, without warning, another miscarriage came on. I knew that I needed to get to hospital and I called my husband, but having been through the drill so many times before, he simply said, “I’ll come after I finish work.” It was as if he didn’t realise I needed him. I felt so scared, sad and aIone, and if it hadn’t been for my brother-in-law, who raced from work to come and meet me, I wouldn’t have been strong enough to face another daunting surgery.

The effect each heartbreaking miscarriage was having on my body, our relationship and our ability to communicate with each other, was getting worse. I fell pregnant again a little over a month after the fifth miscarriage, and by this time we both felt completely drained. Then on a trip interstate, I began to feel unwell. I was sure we had miscarried. To our surprise, we saw that I was pregnant with twins, and that there was still one heartbeat. I didn’t even know I had been carrying twins, and it was bittersweet to realise that one baby had passed away while the other little fighter still had a good chance.

“You have a very good chance of carrying this baby to term, N,” the doctor said. “To give it the best chance of survival, you should take these progesterone pessaries. I will send you a script straight away. I suggest you arrange to get them immediately.” 

I took some time off work to rest, and took the progesterone religiously, but just a month later, in April 2009, I felt that all too familiar feeling. When our worst fears were confirmed, it was decided that I would have a D&C two days later.

In the weeks that followed, I was completely and utterly grief-stricken. My husband buried himself in work and in the television; I had no concentration span and my thoughts were constantly drawn back to our lost babies.  I hit rock bottom and was so distraught that on many a night, I would lie in bed sobbing to the point of hyperventilation. I felt sad, guilty and useless for not being able to protect our innocent children. It felt like no one could understand my pain, and though a handful of people asked how I was going and encouraged me to talk about my feelings, I had no strength, no motivation and no urge to tell them how I really felt. I had many friends, but I felt like I didn’t have anyone to talk to who would really, truly listen or take the time to understand. The one thing that made me feel safe and loved was when someone would take me in an embrace and just hold me, letting me cry if I needed to.

T was a blessing, arriving after three miscarriages and just as we began to believe we might never have children. But it is S, my youngest daughter, who was a real miracle. Neither she nor I would be here without the help of expert medical care, and a lot of love and hope.

After seven pregnancies and one beautiful daughter, it became clear that a break was needed. We fell pregnant in early 2010. I knew I was pregnant instantly. It’s strange, but having been pregnant so often before, I had a feeling from very early on that I must have been pregnant, even though for weeks the tests returned negative results.

After seven hours of driving on our way to go camping, I asked my husband to stop on the side of the road. I had packed a pregnancy test and was determined to do it then and there. We were on a dirt track and it was dark, so my husband’s job was to hold his phone as a light, while mine was to ensure I didn’t miss the stick – after all, I only had one test. Sure enough, it came up straight away: two clear blue lines. I was pregnant. We got back into the car without saying a word and continued to drive. There was none of the excitement you would expect with parents so desperately wanting another child. We sat in silence, knowing we would be facing yet another uncertain time. I turned to him and said, “This time, I need you in the hospital by my side if we miscarry. I cannot do it again. I cannot take another miscarriage, so this will be the last time I will be pregnant.” Silently, he nodded.

A few weeks later, I felt that all-too familiar gush. My heart sank. The emergency department was a blur. We knew the night would be long and that yet another D&C was on the cards. Luckily though, we went for a last-minute scan. As we sat in silence, the ultrasound technician carefully examined my uterus. She could see that we had lost a baby from the bleeding and that there was no heartbeat. She was friendly enough and was sympathetic as she gave us the news. She continued to scan me as part of the routine, when all of a sudden, there was a tiny glimmer of hope. A very dull flicker on the screen, almost impossible for the naked eye to see, signalled that perhaps a baby had made it and was still alive. Sure enough, the ultrasound technician measured the heart rate: 82 beats per minute. She confirmed that I had again been pregnant with twins and that one of the babies still had a chance. Anything under 80 beats per minute would almost certainly have meant miscarriage of the second twin too, so there was no point getting our hopes up yet. Losing twins just weeks apart the year before had taught us that there was no certainty. There was nothing to do but wait.

We were referred on to the hospital’s early pregnancy unit, a section dedicated to women in the same position as me, where I went for another scan a week later. There was a dedicated nurse, sonographer and doctor, and it was the first time someone actually took the time to listen to the story of my pregnancy difficulties and acknowledged the road I had come down. It was the first time someone had stopped, looked at me and said, “Can I give you a hug? What you have been through is simply tragic,” and I knew then that I was in good hands. After telling the nurse about my history, it was time for my scan, and there was still a heartbeat, now even stronger than the previous week, at 110 beats per minute. We were still not out of the woods, but we were making progress. Two older male doctors who were in the scanning room excitedly told me that they had found a good heartbeat, and to their surprise, I burst into tears, not daring to say anything.

Determined to help and give me hope, the excited and optimistic nurse explained about a controversial treatment in Queensland, Australia, that I would be a candidate for. Although it would require injections twice a week of the hormones HCG and progesterone, in addition to fortnightly blood tests, the treatment had been proven to work quite well in the USA could potentially help me keep the baby safe. He was always busy, but the nurse seemed confident she could get me an appointment via another unit at the hospital.

Within an hour, I had dropped my friend home, picked up my husband and was driving to meet the man I now call “the baby doctor”. I attribute the successful continuation of this pregnancy to the early pregnancy unit, the second unit at the hospital that helped get me the appointment, and to this doctor, whose decision to give me an emergency appointment for the same afternoon was, I believe, the turning point in the pregnancy.

Fortunately, this doctor was the answer for us. In just one day at the early pregnancy unit with him, I learned more about pregnancies and miscarriages than I had in the previous six years of problems. Understanding more about progesterone’s ability to prepare the body for pregnancy and the supporting role of HCG gave us the confidence to continue, and continue we did, as a scan seven days later revealed the baby was growing and had a heart rate of 182 beats per minute.

Everything was going smoothly with the pregnancy until 2:00am on Thursday 30 September, at 30 weeks and two days, when I got sharp pains in my abdomen and through my cervix. The pains in my abdomen were quite similar to those I’d had when I was miscarrying, but the pains in my cervix were completely new. Within an hour and a half, we were at the hospital in the labour and delivery ward. The midwife and doctor decided that I was not contracting and that the baby seemed happy. I was told it was quite normal to feel the pains I described, and that it was just my ligaments stretching.

No ultrasound was performed and I was so confident the doctor was right that I accepted this explanation and went home. I was warned that if I began to bleed or to feel contractions, which I had never felt before as T had been born caesarean, I would need to go back to the hospital.

My instincts started telling me something was still not right, and two nights later, I began to bleed quite heavily. It was 1:00am and once again, my toddler and husband were fast asleep. A good friend who lived nearby was still awake and was able to come to hospital with me. Not wanting to risk driving 80km, I decided to go to a closer hospital this time, and upon arrival, I was taken immediately to the labour and delivery unit. The obstetrician on duty insisted on doing an internal examination while we waited for the sonographer on duty to come to do a scan. With clenched fists, gritted teeth and tears pouring down my face, I let them perform the examination. Internals for me represented one thing – miscarriages. Needles I did not mind, operations I could handle, but those silver shiny “salad tossers” were a completely different story – they represented the babies that I had never met. The internal revealed that my cervix was closed and the scan revealed that I had grade four placenta praevia, a condition where the placenta is low-lying and covering the cervix, preventing the baby from exiting the birth canal. From what I could find out on the Internet, this condition was highly problematic, and bleeding could signal a rupture that could very quickly prevent oxygen getting to the baby.

Bed rest in hospital is something you read about in pregnancy magazines. You wonder what it must be like to sit around in bed in your pyjamas all day long, trying to keep your baby safe. The days blended into one another and the nights became a blur. I was the only antenatal patient on bed rest over the three weeks I ended up spending there. Although I could hear cries, I rarely saw any babies or had the opportunity to speak to the new mothers who were in the rooms surrounding me.

During my time there, I quickly learned who my really close friends were. Despite their own busy lives, there were a number of people who supported me and came to keep me company. Being in hospital was also a hard time for my husband and daughter. We lived a long way away, and my husband started work at 6:30am and finished around 4:30pm. There was a fine balance that we wanted to maintain between him visiting me and caring for T.

There was a mothers group within the unit. I was encouraged to attend by the midwife and couldn’t help but accept her invitation and nervously made my way to the common room, where I was surprised to see a bunch of other pregnant women all bustling in the room, some talking, others who were new like me, shyly waiting to see what would happen next. As we sat there, I looked around, trying to guess how far along everyone was and wondering why they were stuck in the ward on bed rest. These strangers, who I might not have met or befriended at any other time in my life, would become some of my closest, most trusted friends within a matter of weeks. Little did I know that they and a handful of other people I met at subsequent meetings, would become the people who would help my post-operative journey towards recovery, both physically and emotionally. To this day, I still keep in contact with these women, some of whom had twins, others who had babies at 26 and 29 weeks.

My doctor monitored my daily, sometimes twice daily if he happened to be on the ward. Placenta praevia continued to show up on the scans, but I think it was the pelvic pains that most concerned him. I was send for an MRI. It was the 5th of November, when I received a call from him.

He told me that the scans showed placenta percreta and this was the worst form of placenta accreta, where the placenta invades the uterine wall and can attach to other organs. I had been told in the past that a caesarean hysterectomy might have been on the cards, but I was not ready for the news that this was now not simply a possibility, but a necessity, in order to save my life, due to the risk of haemorrhaging. A team of medical experts had been called in to ensure the safe delivery of S a week earlier than planned, on Tuesday 9 November, at 36 weeks. Words like “coma”, “cell saver”, “general anaesthetic” and “intensive care unit” came up again and again. S and I would each face our own set of challenges at her birth, with her prematurity and my chance of blood loss, but there was no changing the situation and no escaping it either. The nightmare possibility of a massive bleed which could lead to death or an extended period in intensive care haunted me. I sent messages to my close family and friends and let them know the exciting news that S’s birthday would be a few days later.

I don’t remember much about the surgery itself. I have flashbacks of the buzz around the room as I was being prepared, and of a midwife wiping anxious tears from her face. But everything was okay. S and I were alive and well.

Pregnancy for me represents so many things. It represents family, new life, treasured friendships, hope, pain and grief. It is a mixture of many emotions that have significantly shaped who I am today. Had I not encountered the experiences of those six years, I doubt I would be the same person I am now. It’s hard to talk to friends and family about the pregnancies and the difficulties, unless they are experiencing or have experienced similar grief, but I feel so blessed to have come out of the experience on the other side.

While the pain of the miscarriages will never be completely gone, my excitement and love for my two beautiful girls makes up for it. I am wiser for the experience – and while I wouldn’t have thought it at the time, I recognise it now – a better mother.

*Calculating the rate of miscarriage is extremely difficult, due to the fact that many miscarriages happen even before the woman knows she is pregnant. Estimates miscarriage rate according to SANDs (miscarriage, stillborn and neonatal death support) of all ‘diagnosed’ pregnancies: 25% (or roughly 1 in 4)

At different stages of the pregnancy, the loss of a baby is classified differently.
-miscarriage – first 19 weeks or <400g
-still born – after 20 weeks or >400g
-neonatal death – first 28 days of life

Resources:

SANDS

Stillbirth Foundation Australia

Postpartum Contraception

So you’ve had a baby! Contraception is probably the last thing on your mind, but it’s an important conversation to have with a healthcare provider…know your options!

So you’ve had a baby! Contraception is probably the last thing on your mind but, it’s an important conversation to have with a healthcare provider (Midwife, Obstetrician, GP, Family Planning Services) to discuss what will best suit you- and there’s quite the array!

If you are breastfeeding, postpartum contraception options include:

Lactational Amenorrhoea Method (LAM) – When you’re exclusively breastfeeding bub, the hormonal process can effect menstruation, halting ovulation (voila contraception!). The World Health Organisation accepts this as an effective method of contraception, and is considered 98% effective (the same efficacy as the pill) when used according to the guidelines. These guidelines should be discussed with a healthcare provider (this is very important…don’t want any surprises!)

Three criteria can be used to predict the return of your fertility.

  • Have you had a menstrual bleed? (for the purposes of LAM this is defined as any bleeding, on any two consecutive days, that occurs 2 months after the birth)
  • Are you giving regular supplementary foods or foods or fluids to your baby in addition to breastfeeding?
  • Is your infant older than 6 months of age?

If you answer no to all the above three questions, then you potentially meet the requirements for the LAM.

Progesterone only Pill (POP) – Progesterone only pills are considered safe whilst breastfeeding. POP works by thickening the cervical mucosa making it harder for sperm to penetrate. The important thing to note with the mini pill is that it needs to be taken at the same time each day (so set that alarm clock!)…because if you miss it (by 3 or more hours, that window is considered a missed pill, and extra contraceptive precaution will be needed).

Implanon® – is a progesterone implant, which may be suitable from 6 weeks. A conversation for your 6 week check up, perhaps?

Depo-Provera®/ Depo-Ralovera® – Progesterone intramuscular injection. Commence anytime from 6 weeks postpartum.

Mirena® – is an IUD. Dependent on hospital policy/doctor’s policy, the IUD may be able to be inserted within 48 hours postpartum. If this is not possible, it should be left until 4 weeks after childbirth. Its effective within 7 days, lasts 5 years and is a localised progesterone. If at any point you don’t want it anymore, it can be taken out…no 5 year lock in contract!

Note: women who have had a caesarean section should not have a IUD inserted prior to 6 weeks postpartum due to the increased risk of perforation.3

Side note: I have one of these bad boys, and they’re fab! 5 years contraception…tick…peace of mind.

Condoms – Can be used immediately.

Diaphragms – make sure size and fit is correct, and it is advised to wait 6 weeks.

Combined oral contraceptive Pill (COCP) – Not recommended to be used for the first 4-6 weeks. If breastfeeding is established, and no other methods are deemed suitable, this is an option to discuss with your GP etc.  The reason COCP is not recommended for the first 4-6 weeks, is because the combination of hormones can reek havoc with breastmilk supply establishing.

Non-breastfeeding mamas you really are spoilt for choice! All contraceptive methods are suitable. On average, for non-breastfeeding mamas, first ovulation cycle returns 45 days postpartum. 

Vitamin K: Prophylaxis or Poppycock

The Vitamin K injection, does seem to sometimes, albeit unfairly, get lumped into the vaccination category by some people. It’s not a vaccine. More info here…

So I’m putting it out there, I’m pro-vaccination (insert horror and all things evil). I believe in herd immunity, and I believe that vaccinations against nasties such as whooping cough and chicken pox are a good thing! The Vitamin K injection, does seem to sometimes, albeit unfairly, get lumped into the vaccination category, and therefore is shoved into the evil corner by some with all the other vaccines – so this post will be about debunking the Vitamin K ‘vaccination’ and rather putting out there all things Vitamin K ‘injection’ related. It is an injection. Not a vaccination!

Vitamin K is a vitamin that naturally occurs in our bodies and is essential in helping our blood to clot and prevent serious bleeding. Babies cannot produce this for the first few months of life….so consenting to the Vitamin K injection helps bubs have enough Vitamin K to clot their blood (and prevent HDN – a rare bleeding into the brain).

There have been no reported reactions to the injection within Australia, since its implementation 25 years ago. There are two ways in which to give a baby Vitamin K:

1. Injection at birth

2. Oral doses (more complicated- a dose at birth, another 3-5 days old, and at 4 weeks).

There are some medical contraindications as to why you wouldn’t give a bubba Vitamin K… these are if they are sick, premie or if their mama took medication throughout pregnancy for certain reasons (talk to your midwife or doctor if you’re at all concerned).

If you’re seeking more info, it’s a great topic to bring up antenatally with your partner, midwife, obstetrician or GP. Of course at the end of the day, it’s your baby, your call!

For adults wanting to increase their Vitamin K stores within the body, as it is great for bone health (Vit. K helps calcium absorption) eating varied leafy green veggies should do the trick; think spinach, kale, celery as well as carrots, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, sundried tomatoes….

For more information on Vitamin K please click resources and blog references below:

Vitamin K Royal Hospital For Women NSW

18 Foods high in Vitamin K for stronger bones

Vitamin K in neonates: facts and myths

Vitamin K for newborn babies Australian Government

image via theberry.com
image via theberry.com

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