Friday Fun!

I’ve been awake on this beautiful Friday since 2am, for reasons I cannot explain, when my brain starts going it’s like a run away train, so here I am at 5 am writing my Friday post cause I just know I’m going to get so much done today!

Some fun things from the week:

My son now says “delicious”, he’s just over two and he can pronounce it and use it in context and boy does he give it stick!  Whilst eating “mmm delicious”, pointing at cake “delicious”, picking up my day old cup of tea and aiming to take a sip “delicious”, um wait, no!

Other fun stuff, I stepped on an upturned plastic cookie cutter and almost killed myself with the recovery jump with my enormous pregnant belly.  Haha now, not so haha at the time.

Also, my son has developed a fixation with his pyjamas and refuses to take them off, ever.  So this generally means lots of negotiations, bribing, Peppa Pig and other tactics to get them washed, and also to avoid sending him to school in them, cause ew.

I hope this lightened your Friday, have a fabulous weekend!


Hospital bag – C-Section

This post is about c-sections, has info that is NSFW and will possibly illicit a few strong opinions.  I am writing based on my own experience, having had nothing of reference for my own birthing experiences and hoping that for those who have no other option, this information will be useful for them to go into the experience a little bit more prepared.

Going into hospital next week to have my THIRD baby and no surprises, it has to be a c-section, and like a lot of moms out there sometimes we are medically left with no choice, no matter how much we wish we could change it, so lets avoid the awkward vbac conversation for now and we’ll all stay friends.

So here’s my list, super practical, and unpretentious, because lets face it, a birth by surgery is very, very different and most of what you need is for AFTER you go home with your bundle.

Mamas bag:

  • loose fitting pajamas – if you wear pants make sure they have a soft elastic, your wound won’t like to have anything quashing it so pack clothes that will miss your hip line – your wound is traditionally just above your pubic bone, which should be below your bikini line.
  • Don’t worry to shave the area before hand, the nurses do that when they prep you for surgery, a tip I learned from a midwife on the second round was after they shave you and you have a little shower, use the disinfectant hand soap and wash the shaved area with it, this helps to avoid getting ingrown hairs when it all starts to grow back.
  • Pack some of your favourite treats, I usually have dried mango, nougat and juice in boxes. After surgery, the next few days will be uncomfortable, you may need some treats to help lighten your mood when you are unable to shoot to the vending machine in between visitors.
  • Maternity pads.  Yup, you’ll still need those.  The big, fat ones, they will be your friend for about two weeks. I also pack a set of mesh disposable undies for the first day as they go right up over your tummy and give your wound some peace and quite for the first 24 hours, also, you just chuck em after your first shower.
  • Shampoo/Conditioner/body wash, toothbrush etc…these you will only get to use once you’ve been taken off your drip and catheter and have been assisted out of bed for the first time, usually only later the next day, then you will be allowed to shower.  This, ladies, is the best part for me.  That first shower after surgery is like heaven, enjoy it.
  • Breast pads, lanolin, lip ice, hair ties.  If you are able to, breastfeed, do it, dive in, take the plunge, ask for help, use the nurses and hospital lactation consultants while you are there and give it your best shot, you have two days in a hospital to get all the help and advice you’ll ever need so use it.  When your milk comes in, usually day two after birth, your breasts will engorge and become enormous and FULL of milk, it can be quite painful, now, don’t laugh, but cabbage leaves placed inside the bra on the breasts will help with the pain…don’t even ask me what the biology is behind this but it works and I have hubby on standby to go get a cabbage from the market on day two.
  • If you are unable to breastfeed (no judgement here) then make sure you have new born bottles/teats/formula/sterilising liquid or wipes.  Remember feeding times are different for a formula fed baby, so keep that in mind and follow the instructions on the formula can to the T.
  • Pack a super comfy outfit for the trip home.  Yes, I know, we all want to look glamorous like Kate Middleton did upon leaving the hospital, but there is no paparazzi, and if like me, you have a 45 minute highway journey home, you want to be as comfy as possible, cause that wound is going to be sensitive and you don’t want denims cutting in and making it unpleasant.
  • I pack my basic make-up like mascara and brow pencil, just to help me feel confident after that first shower, cause lets face it, surgery is hard on the body and we all need to feel like a diva when we’ve had a baby.
  • Here’s my morning after surgery tip: Take it easy, the nursing staff will help you and they will let you sit up when the time is right, they will bring baby to you to feed and assist with everything.  This is usually when I start wiggling my legs, just a little movement, rolling my feet and bending my knees to get the mobility going for when you have to get out if bed the first time (which can be quite painful).

Baby’s Bag:

  • New born baby grows, I like the ones with the closed feet, then you don’t have to bother with socks. Just two or three.
  • Vest onesies with long sleeves and pants with feet.  One set.
  • Beanies.  Take a variety of sizes, baby’s head isn’t always as small as you think it is.
  • New born nappies, I like the Huggies new born cause they have the cut away for the umbilical cord to have  a space, but any new born brand is fine, you’ll just have to roll the front down to avoid squashing the umbilical clip.
  • Cotton balls, surgical spirits, bum cream, baby wipes.  You won’t need any baby wash or soap and the hospital staff will bath baby (if your partner is around they can go and learn as you will most likely still be in your bed after surgery).
  • Take a couple of receiving blankets and a soft toy if you want.
  • I pack a little tube of Bepanthen just in case – mama can also use it.  I also pack a couple of new born dummies, but this is a personal preference, and you don’t have to pack these.

I like to keep my bag minimal as possible, because I’m a super practical person, but you can pack your hair dryer and straightener if you like (although standing for long periods and lifting your arms above your head may hurt your wound, so you may not get to it), a nice robe and slippers can help with your level of comfort, I just found that it all got in the way the first time round and the hospital ward is warm, so you won’t get cold if you don’t have one, also the hormones are raging so you’ll be warm and sweaty from that too, also breastfeeding keeps your warm, so definitely no lack of warmth for the first while.

Some last, very important things,

  1. AFTER going home and discovering that you can’t walk very well, rest, don’t try clean and do the dishes, give your body time to heal and adjust to the surgery.  Have a friend or relative come and help you with baby, stay mobile, but with minimal lifting of heavy objects, take your pain meds, this will help you when you’ve been up all night feeding, keeping the pain managed means a smoother transition for mama and baby into life together.
  2. Connect with your local baby clinic/midwife, they are there to help, answer your questions about feeding/sleeping/burping/bleeding/how much to feed/ colic/winds/crying etc…if you are unsure about how to cope, talk to them, talk to a friend, don’t stay silent, mothering is hard, especially the first time.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I have been through Pregnacy depression,  Post Natal Depression and grieving the loss of an infant, and one thing I have learned from all of it is don’t stay silent.  Ask for help, talk to your doctor/midwife but don’t stay silent, there are so many options available to help new mamas cope with life and hormones and depression.
  4. Even through all the chaos and lack of sleep and crying you WILL find your rhythm with baby, baby WILL find a rhythm with you and the whole family dynamic will adjust and fit this new look.  It’s a roller coaster ride, but one that will change your life forever, it’s a beautiful season, embrace it, love it, dive into it and you will find your unique “mama” style will surface over time.


*I go to a beautiful private hospital that has one of the best Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the Eastern Cape, and their Maternity Ward is excellent, I am familiar with what they offer and the kind of care they offer mom and baby during surgery and after, but you MUST check with the hospital that you are going to what they offer and how their process works so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises. 

Image: Asherlove Photography by Kim van Vuuren

Friday Fun

I was going to be all cute on Valentine’s day and make heart-shaped home made peanut butter cookies, but the flour had a weavel infestation and I didn’t have enough peanut butter, so the plan was aborted.

Usually I would have dashed off to the shops and got what I needed and got straight onto baking those cookies, but this enormous pregnant belly and the shocked stares from our locals at the mall are keeping me in a state of quiet repose.  A trip to the local mall for groceries and coffee will elicit at least five, and I’m not joking, five conversations of concern about when my baby is due and how I shouldn’t be eating donuts, and should I be ordering the regular cappuccino?

I don’t know how many of you are pregnant right now, and if you have had any interesting encounters with people whilst going about your day, I for one am going to enjoy the last week of pregnancy, shocking locals and drinking coffee in public.

But for now I’ll rest at home and make some packet muffins, cause I’m exhausted from the heat.
Disclaimer: I only drink real, ground coffee, that is doctor approved, not plastic freeze dried poison.  

Maximum two cups a day.

Image: Asherlove Photography by Kim van Vuuren

Turn the page.

After having a good vent and a great deal of prayer, I have realised for the millionth time in my life, that when life deals you lemons you MUST find a way to make lemonade. You cannot stay staring at the lemons. You must make the choice to move onto a different perspective.

Turn the page.

It’s totally okay to be miserable and disappointed for a period of time, but in the words of a very wise women, you cannot stay there.

There is life out there that needs to be lived, kids need their mother to be fully present, husbands need their wives to back them up and YOU need to move forward for the sake of life around you.  As a mom, wife and business owner, the window for self pity and wallowing is minimal, and I can try and push that limit as much as I like but my responsibilities in life are not going to change overnight, only my attitude can.

So, turn the page. 
Image: pinterest 

Manicure it out.

It’s been an interesting few months for the Van Vee household, from finding ourselves in the awkward position of having to move quite suddenly over the new year to our beautiful German Shepherd puppy passing away from billery and now mid-February finding ourselves having to steer the ship through a storm with two weeks till baba number 2 arrives.

Life is not a compassionate soul, indeed.

So what does this mama do to help stay sane in this wild season of change? 

I do my nails. 

Yes, thats right, I sit down over nap time and file and buff and paint and admire. There is something soothing and strangely motivating in it.  Not only am I working on a confidence boosting exterior pettiness, I am slowly and methodically working through my thoughts whilst following the ritual of manicuring one’s nails.  Now if you’re heavily pregnant, like me, the feet need professional attention, cause there is just no way to reach to them, and I’ve tried, so that will be handled pre-birth by the local pedicure wizards.  

But in the meantime, I will strut my Insyle Coral with pride and forget all my worries for the moment.
Image: Asherlove Photography by Kim van Vuuren

Be my Valentine.

It is the day of love, celebrated the world over, Valentine’s day.  When I was a teenager I lived for Valentine’s day, and then more often than not got hopelessly disappointed when I got no secret love gift from anyone. This is how my jaded Valentine’s journey began, and it continued on it’s path of disappointment through my first marriage and into a long stretch of single/dating/wishing and hoping desert for years after.

So when my handsome hubby came along I declared, with great boldness, that Valentine’s day was not my thing and that he shouldn’t even bother, but now, after almost five years and two kids I’m kinda sorry I did that. I never realised that these days, and others like mother’s day etc, are placed on the world calendar to make sure that busy families and busy lovers take a time out to honour and celebrate each other.  I think life is so fast paced these days and people are quite involved with their carreers and their daily lives that we forget to say to each other “hey, you’re amazing”, even if it means you are forced to do it on a particular day of the year, some people need that so it gets done and others can feel appreciated.  

Who doesn’t love a little spoiling and kind words, right?

So in light of the fact that I made my own anti-valentine bed, I have made a little effort to unmake it and got handsome a small gift, just something quirky that he will enjoy to let him know he’s my no one, and that inspite of all our stress and work pressures and life glaring at us menacingly, I still love and appreciate him. 

He’s also quite handsome, which is usefull 😉
Image: pinterest

Athletics day crying.

It was the towns inter-pre-school athletics day this past weekend and our son was going to participate.

Cue large coffee here.

We arrived early to give our “I dislike large crowds and strange environments” toddler time to adjust to the new setting, took him a full ten minutes to get the idea that he could cut loose and enjoy the open spaces.  There was great excitement in the air, most parents had opted to “dress to match” and they were taking it all very seriously. 

So dad, being the designated runner, stood with our little athlete at the starting line, and bam, off they went. Imagine, if you will, five two year olds with over eager parents ready to go for gold. The first ten metres went great, then he realised that he was in the centre of a crowd of people that were all shouting and yelling and he burst into tears.  Holding his father’s hand he ran crying all the way to the finish. Mom waiting on the other end taking photos and laughing, yes, I was laughing, I was totally not expecting him to cry the whole 50 meters.  So needless to say there was much consoling and congratulating of his wonderful achievement of actually participating. As well as silent planning and plotting as to how to make it easier for next time (any tips?).

It was a fun morning and the food stalls and getting to nose around the beautiful private primary school did wonders for the future planning and dreaming for his future.  Although I do wonder why schools athletics is always in the hottest month of the year, it was 32°c that day, and in a country were the possibility of a cool day in February is like wishing for snow on mars, but hey, first athletics day done and dusted.  Excited parents for the years to come of sporting activities and extra murals and a lovely Saturday of social interaction and community participation.