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And then there were four!

And then there were four!

Well it has been a hectic couple of weeks in the Korber household. Four weeks early, Hudson James Korber just couldn’t wait anymore, and decided to make a grand and surprising entrance into our world. We are not sure if he simply wanted to meet his big sister early, or was eager to prove that he could beat our renovation deadline. Either way, we are completely thrilled and over the moon to welcome our little man to our growing family. Blessed with ‘one of each’ , like all parents do we just feel extremely lucky and grateful to have him here. Pure joy and love.

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Minutes old – Hudson James Korber

His entry into this world was an interesting one. A story that will indeed baffle many and surprise some. I gave birth to Ella on a 43 degree day. On that day, Daniel suggested we go out for dinner, and enjoy my ‘last supper’ of choice. Without hesitation, I chose Jacks Satay Bar. A favourite amongst Essendon folk, it has the best Malaysian food in Melbourne. It was one day before my due date, and as most 40 week pregnant ladies do, had been feeling quite uncomfortable in the days prior. That said, it was the height of summer and I just thought it was the heat. During dinner (after entrée) I had a ‘show’ and we immediately left the restaurant (after paying of course). The rest is history, and our Ella was born.

And then there were four...
And then there were four…

Last Friday I went for what I thought would also be one of my ‘last suppers’ with three of my best friends. We had all been blessed with the birth of our first children in the same year, and one of these girls was also expecting her second child, three weeks before me. Given the fact that I had four weeks to go, I was not at all worried about going out for dinner, on this occasion again to Jacks Satay Bar. A few sarcastic messages had been flying throughout the day from both my friends and family about being careful ‘returning to the scene of the crime’. I wasn’t fazed about going back to Jack’s Satay Bar, so close to being due, and given the fact that I love their food so much, I was prepared to travel to the ends of the earth for their infamous ‘roti rolls’.

So it was very surprising that during dinner, I started to feel my waters break. Joking with my friends, they googled possible symptoms during my frequent trips to the toilet. I wasn’t sure if ‘was or wasn’t’ something, as my waters never broke with Ella. I knew it had to be something to check out, but was both dismissive and in denial of the fact that I was going into labour four weeks early, at the SAME restaurant where I went into labour with Ella. Surely it couldn’t be happening again. Could it? Well four days later, after a stop, start labour, my question was answered. For some reason I went into labour early, and our beautiful little boy just wanted to meet us. A crazy coincidence, or was it something in their food? Needless to say, I’ll be making a phone call to let them know of their magical powers. Hopefully next time I’ll get through a meal without anything happening!

Our little man arrived a little small, and as I’ve come to know, as a premature baby he has some growing to do. He has had to remain in hospital after we came home, something that broke my heart. I felt strong and calm until we got into the lift, as I struggled with a mixture of emotions. I know it is the best thing for him, and he is is in the most amazing care. However there is something that feels so wrong about coming home without your baby. Each day we venture into the Freemasons Epworth Special Care Nursery for two feeds and time for cuddles. The nurses are so supportive and caring. They made my Mothers’ Day last weekend by creating the most beautiful card with his footprints. A small gesture that was appreciated so incredibly. It’s hard to juggle your emotions, and remain strong for both your partner and toddler. We are so conscious of Ella’s world being thrown into disarray. That said, we know how incredibly blessed we are to have such amazing support of family. We know it could be far worse. I have met so many families in the SCN who have been faced with months of special care and travel in and out of the hospital. It gives you a great sense of perspective, and I know that in the grand scheme of things we are very lucky.

The beautiful card given to me by the nurses in the Freemasons special care nursery.
The beautiful card given to me by the nurses in the Freemasons special care nursery.
Snug as a bug in a rug...
Snug as a bug in a rug…
His big sister, the big helper...
His big sister, the big helper…
Holding hands for the first time...
Holding hands for the first time…

So until we can bring him home, we will stay positive and just keep plugging away to help him do what he needs to do. We have received so much support from so many, and I’d like to thank you all for everything. The little messages help so much, and from one Mum to another, I am truly grateful.

I look forward to writing his welcome home post, and celebrating in style. Until then, give your babies a cuddle and keep them close to your heart.

kate

Friday Find: Eve of Eden Maternity Wear

Friday Find: Eve of Eden Maternity Wear

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the owner of Eve of Even Maternity –  a relatively new maternity brand in Australia. Keen to spread the word about their products, I was lucky enough to be sent a few items of my choice to try out. Given the fact that my second pregnancy has fallen on different seasons to last time, it was great timing as I as keen to find some comfy cargos / jeans and long sleeve tops to get me through until the baby arrived. I selected a pair of cargo skinny jeans, a long sleeve top and nursing jumper to see me through the cooler months, and I’m thrilled to share my thoughts about their products with my readers…

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Firstly, I chose a pair of blue skinny cargo pants. These are super flattering and I can see myself wearing these long after the baby is born. I love the cargo detail…it adds something a little different to maternity wear. Best of all they are currently on sale for $59.95. To view more information, click the image below..

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Here is a selfie of myself in the cargos….photo 1-2

Secondly, you can’t go past a basic, grey long sleeve top. This one came in polka dots and has a clever bra insert to ensure you are covered when breast feeding. Again..it’s on sale at $43. Click the image to view the product.

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Another selfie to show you how it covered my growing tummy!!!

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And finally, I ordered this grey polka dot nursing sweater. I loved the fact that it came with buttons to help with breast feeding. Given the fact that I haven’t given birth yet, I haven’t put those buttons to great use, however I can say that it is super comfortable and feels great! On sale for $69, click the image for more info…

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All of their items have been of fantastic quality and have washed up really well. They are currently available for sale via www.maternitysale.com.au. You can also follow them on Facebook here. You can receive a discount for your first order by visiting their Facebook page. Best of all, all deliveries have FREE DELIVERY!

Happy Ella After readers are lucky enough to be given the chance to win a $50 to purchase your own gear, so stay tuned in a couple of weeks!

kate

The bags are packed!

The bags are packed!

It may be a little early, but this weekend I packed my bags, just incase baby Korber no. 2 decides to make an early entrance. Given the fact that a very close friend gave birth yesterday, three weeks early, I’m glad that I’ve done it. It’s really the only thing that I have formally done to get ready for the baby’s arrival, and given the fact that our belongings are packed away in dozens of boxes, I think that it was the right choice…just in case (literally)!

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When I packed for Ella’s arrival, I scoured the internet for list after list of key items needed for the myself and the baby. I asked all my friends who had given birth for their advice to make sure that I had everything. From baby clothes to creams, maternity pads to massage oils. I had everything and anything that I could possibly need ‘just incase’. This included magazines to read (hmmm yeah right), my favourite lollies (Dan enjoyed those) and some coloured ‘stress balls’ that I could ‘tap together’ to distract me from the pain. Needless to say, packing my bag a second time round has been a little easier, and quicker, as I included more of the simple things, and left out others (yep, the coloured balls didn’t make the cut). A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter to my former pregnant self with some advice about how to tackle the challenges that a new Mum faces. This week, as I packed my bag for both myself and my baby to be, I thought I’d share some tips and advice for my maternity bag essentials….

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  1. Maternity pads and dark coloured undies – the bigger the better, and the more packets the better. Most ‘lists’ include these staple items, and my only advice is to triple the quantities. Believe me, you will both need and appreciate them.

  2. Feeding singlets – I found that the Bonds feeding singlets were both really comfortable and practical. If you choose to breast feed you will need to access your ‘ladies’ over and over, and singlets that have a practical clip for easy access is key. They include a built in bra which also means that you don’t feel like you are wearing fifty thousand layers. I have packed three in basic black, white and blue.

  3. Hoodies – adding to the above, wearing a hoodie means that you can both keep warm and give your baby instant access to food as they need it. Big W has some fantastic hoodies on sale at the moment for $15.

  4. Breast Pads – yes, you feel as though you are padded at both ends, but this little item makes a big difference. What no one tells you is how much you leak, especially when your milk comes in. Furthermore, no one tells you that the brands of breast pads vary greatly in feel and comfort. My favourite are the Johnson and Johnson or Advent brand that have a sculpted pad that covers the natural shape of your breast. Once you use the other types, you will see what I mean. They are a little more expensive, but a lot more comfortable. If you breast feed you will wear these for the longevity of your feeding period, so the investment is well worth it.

  5. Lanisoh cream – This baby is my no.1 essential if you are breast feeding. Rub a tiny amount on your nipples after each feed (yes, each and every feed), and this amazing clear cream will protect your nipples for cracking and soreness. The cream may not solve everything, but it sure does help. Read about it here.

  6. Baby singlets with fasteners at the bottom – My single piece of advice about baby singlets is throw out any that do not fasten at the bottom. As your little bundle of joy wriggles and snuggles singlets ride up and end up around their chest. Singlets that fasten at the bottom keep your little one covered from head to toe. I swear by Next direct who sell basic packs in short and long sleeve in all sizes. You can find them here.

7. Baby onzies with built in mittens – mittens do help in the early stages by keeping a newborn’s nails away from their face. However they too come off. You can purchase heaps of different onezies that have built in mittens where you simple fold over the end of the sleeve. Bonds have a great range of wondersuits and onezies that include this great feature.

8. iBabyfeed app – When I started this blog I did a review about this fantastic app. You don’t need to ‘pack this’ in your bag, but rather download it to your phone. If you decided to breast feed, this little app will become your best friend. It helps you track how often you feed, what breast you finished on, average length of feeds and even reminds you when your baby is due to feed. Some people prefer pen and paper, but knowing how clumsy and foggy I was in those early days, I know that I will be hopeless at remembering anything, let alone where I left the paper. My phone is generally at arm’s length and so this app came in handy. You can read my previous post including instructions on downloading it here.

9.Birthing outfit – I know this one may seem a little OTT, but when I got to my hospital last time I was asked to get into my ‘birthing’ gear. I assumed that I would wear a gown right from the start, and ended up having to put on a lovely nightie that I, let’s say, didn’t want to get ruined. Include in your bag a nightie or slip that you would be happy to say goodbye to at the end of the process. If you have an epidural or Caesarean you will eventually be given a gown to wear, but you may also need something else before hand.

10. Baby’s 1st outfit – similar to the above, we were asked to give the nurses our baby’s 1st outfit as soon as we were admitted to the hospital. They stored it away in a warm cupboard and then dressed Ella in it once she was born. Again, some hospital’s may not ask you, but having it ready and easily accessible in your bag is something that you might want to think about when packing.

This list isn’t exhaustive and there are indeed loads more to take along for both yourself and your baby. However the above items were key in getting me through labour and the first few days of being a Mum. It’s all about comfort and practicality. If only labour could be described in the same way!

Do you have any items that you would recommend a second time around? Hope the list helps any expectant Mums to be…..

kate

 

 

Maternity leave round 2!

Maternity leave round 2!

This week marks 32 weeks of my pregnancy, and boy (no pun intended) have things started to him home. Last week I finished work to begin my maternity leave as it coincided with the Victorian School holidays. My beautiful boss commented on how much more relaxed I have been this time around. When probing her she said that last time I was much more stressed (aka crazy, neurotic, snappy) and was also very worried about the ‘unknown’ ahead. Finishing work last time was a very emotional process as I struggled to step out of a job and work family that I loved. This time however, I haven’t even given it a second thought….I have felt like I finished up for holidays like everyone else. I had been a picture of calm and poise (cough) that is, until my last couple of hours…

At lunch I was lead into the staff room for a beautiful afternoon tea. I was completely overwhelmed and it all hit me at once. In front of me lay beautiful food, decorations and words of great sentiment and love. I had earlier bragged to everyone that I wasn’t going to cry on my last day, but after hearing the kind words of my Principal, all I can say is that I was a blubbering mess. I literally had to cover my face and say ‘do I really need to speak?’.  After trying several times I was rescued by a beautiful colleague who simply said, don’t worry, we all know how you feel…

Here are some snaps from this beautiful afternoon tea…

This amazing baby carriage fruit salad…it looked like it had jumped straight out of Pinterest!

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Handmade butterflies, cards and decorations in pink and blue of course…

 

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I’ve been known to love a doughnut or two lately, and this was a little ‘homage’ to this custom…

 

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Nothing beats chocolate covered strawberries…

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a beautiful celebration all round…so thankful!

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and last but not least…my beautiful co-deputy Principal created this fabulous Pinterest Board with ideas and tips for juggling two kids! Shared with our whole school, she clearly knows me too well. I’m going to need all the help I can get!

You can check it out here…

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I feel truly blessed to work with people who feel like family. It is never beyond me how lucky I am to love my job and how blessed I am to be in this position. I truly thank them for making me feel so special!

kate

 

30 weeks and counting…

30 weeks and counting…

This week marks 30 weeks of my second pregnancy. It has gone so incredibly fast, and it has made me think about how times change when you experience round 2. In two weeks, I will also finish work and begin maternity leave, as the school term comes to an end. I know that I will again find this incredibly challenging, as leaving my job, even for a short while is something that I am not really looking forward to. It might sound really weird, but being away from my job is hard for me, given that I love it. I remember driving home from my last day of work last time, and I rang Dan, balling my eyes out. He laughed in a bewildered, yet sympathetic way. I know, most people don’t love their job as much as I do.

That said, I am so looking forward to enjoying things differently this time around. Ella will still go to day care two days a week, and so I will have two days to rest and perhaps even do something for myself! Ella is going to day care firstly, because she loves it and I want her to continue to have fun experiences and do things that I won’t be able to do with her when her baby brother or sister arrives. Secondly, because friends tell me that it will help me with the transition to having two children. I know that I won’t be able to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’, as timing Ella’s nap to coincide with the baby’s will be a challenge in itself. Finally, I hope to return to work in 2015, and so will simply need the place. Baby no. 2 is already down on the waiting list, so fingers crossed he or she gets in!

I’m also looking forward to enjoying the first few months a little more. With your first baby, you are so overwhelmed by the breast feeding, sleeping, non sleeping, burping, leaking and all the rest. It’s so much to deal with and time just flies. I’m hoping that with a little experience under my belt, this time will be a little easier. I just can’t wait to hold this little bubba…

People are consistently asking me if this pregnancy feels the same, or different to last time. I have to say, that up until this point, I’ve been too busy to notice, but luckily it has been problem free, and I’ve been feeling good. That is, except for the indigestion. Man….it’s a killer. I’m hoping that my obstetrician’s prescription kicks in soon. I’ve put on nearly as much weight as I did with Ella, and am starting to feel much bigger than my first pregnancy. The tumble turns have well and truly ‘kicked’ in, and I think that this baby is turning south!

30 Weeks and counting...
30 Weeks and counting…

So far, I’ve been making use of my triangle pillow to help support my growing bump at night, but I fear that it may soon need to progress to a full blown pregnancy pillow. Dan has memories of me taking over the bed with pillows stacked high, and I’m glad to report that I’m not there yet…but I’ll keep you posted!

So with ten weeks to go, I’m still yet to unpack the size 000 clothes from storage, or put together a single piece of baby furniture. We are on track for our house to be finished, but until then, I’ll rest easy knowing that I’ve got enough baby stuff to cope. As long as I can find it amongst the boxes of our belongings….

kate

 

It’s official. I’ve lost my marbles.

It’s official. I’ve lost my marbles.

So it’s official. I’ve lost my marbles. Please return them if you find them. Or perhaps hold onto them for safe keeping, because I’m sure that I will lose them again. You see, I’ve lost my ability to remember things. Simple things. Mainly where I’ve left things. I’ve always been quite forgetful and have been known to drive home with my wallet on the roof, but today things hit a new low. Twice in one day in fact….

Today whilst we were out and about I…first…lost my keys. We were having a lovely breakfast when, after a stroll through the shops, we returned to our car minus a set of keys. There I was, on the side of the road, unpacking my handbag on the pavement for all the world to see (think of all the things in a woman’s handbag. No make that a pregnant woman’s handbag). I kept thinking about my good friend Anneiliese who always says ‘do a Mum search’. This means taking every single thing out of your bag to ensure that you have not skipped anything. Needless to say the keys weren’t there. Dan went back to the restaurant. No keys. So up we walked to each shop we had visited, and low and behold, I found them in Cotton On Kids. Feeling thankful, but a little embarrassed, we ventured back to the car, and and set off for DFO South Warf to shop for some important renovation items.

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After a successful shopping trip and thrilled to find some amazing ‘one day only’ bargains, we purchased our new sofas and pendant lights for our kitchen. Feeling very happy with ourselves, we then set off for the car park. After I paid for the ticket and packed the car, I sat in the passenger seat and searched my handbag for my phone. No phone. No phone anywhere. So again, we pulled over and I did a “Mummy search”. This time in the car park. I checked my bag, the car and the pram. No phone. Dan went back to each shop we had been to. 20 minutes later. No phone. So we set off for home, but when we went to pay, our ticket time had lapsed and we then held up cars in line whilst we had to pay at the terminal. As I sat in my seat trying really hard not to cry, I felt so frustrated and annoyed with myself, and also sorry for my husband who was being so patient and trying to help me.

I knew that if I could get to my computer, I could log into the ingenious app ‘find my phone’ and it could tell me where the phone was. I just needed to access it through a Mac. Dan tried to call my phone all the way home, and even made a spontaneous trip to McDonalds to buy me a junior burger to cheer me up. Yep, he is a keeper.

So when we arrived home, I got out my Mac and did the search. It was at DFO. Dan called it again, and a lovely man answered who told us that Centre Management had it and that all would be fine. There are good people in the world.

The thing is, I wasn’t so upset about the phone, but rather more embarrassed and frustrated at myself for losing it. Again. I recently read this fantastic article by Jennifer Chandler called ‘I had a baby and lost my brain‘. It explains be perfectly. It’s hard to explain, but when you’ve had a baby, let alone pregnant with another one, you really do seem to lose brain cells. Quite ironic really when you need more of them to problem solve and cope with a new realm of challenges each day. There must be Mums everywhere, walking around feeling the same. It’s so hard, especially when I know that in my work, I’m on the ball, make decisions quickly and feel 100% confident in what I do. And then I go out on the weekend, and lose my keys and phone in one day. It honestly feels like I’m losing my mind, and I know that its a combination of lots of things. Business, tiredness, craziness. But I still feel as though it shouldn’t be this way! I should be able to do something as simple as put my keys in my bag!

So if you happen to find my marbles, please let me know. Actually, if you happen to find a set of keys, phone, wallet…heck anything, please hand it in to lost property. They probably belong to some poor Mum who has lost their brain too.

kate

 

*Image courtesy of some-ecards. 

A letter to my former (pregnant) self.

A letter to my former (pregnant) self.

They say hindsight is a wonderful thing. Being able to make decisions with the luxury of knowing how they will turn out, and not having to worry about the consequences. Being pregnant a second time, has sort of felt like this. Whilst I know that each pregnancy is different, for each and every woman, I have felt a certain amount of calmness and predictability this time, as the ‘unknown’ was taken over by my previous experiences. I’m lucky, I know, that my pregnancies have been pretty straight forward and smooth. I know that many women find themselves in a different predicament. That said, however, each woman only knows their own journey and for myself, there were certainly ups and downs.

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Given the fact that I’m moving into my third trimester in a couple of weeks, I’ve started thinking about all of the things that happened last time. I was reading this great article on Mamamia last week that described how a baby changes your marriage. For most…getting through the challenge of pregnancy is dwarfed by the challenges we face when the little baby presents itself, and the hard work really begins. I wish I could go back and give my former pregnant self some advice. If, for nothing else, just to tell her that everything WILL be ok. If I could, my ten pearls of wisdom would include…

1. It WILL get easier.

In those first few months you feel like a complete zombie. Sleep deprived, covered in milk, sore and emotionally drained. If you were anything like me, then you went from being a confident individual, respected in the workplace…to a person who had no idea if it was night or day. It wasn’t all bad of course, but there were certainly times that it felt like the hardest time of my life. I remember vividly sitting on the couch at 6pm with Ella crying, Dan not home from work yet and wondering if I would ever get to a place where I could make dinner, have a shower, feed myself and have everything done that Ella needed. Two years on I know that yes…it does get easier, and it becomes the most enjoyable thing you will ever do.

2. She WILL sleep through, eventually.

For us, it took a little longer, but after two years Ella finally sleeps through. In the beginning you are thrust into the world of sleep routine and advice. Bath, story, bottle, bed. Eat, play, sleep. It’s all a bit full on, but in the end…you will have to trust me on this one…she will sleep through.

3. Don’t stress about ‘bad habits’.

No Mum want to create bad habits and do things that will backfire. That said, there are so many mixed messages that you have no idea who to believe. They say ‘trust your instincts’, and I believe this is true. The only problem is, with no experience, you often have no instincts to trust. My advice to my former self would be to do what feels right at the time. If rocking feels right then do it. It feeding feels right then do it. Try to be informed about developing good habits, but take it one step at a time. Somehow, the knots unravel and things just have their way of working out.

4. You WILL feel (somewhat) normal again.

For me, this was the biggest hurdle of all. Going from being an independent 32 year old woman, with a job I love, places to be, people to meet, to being at home with a little one. The only way to describe it was feeling as though I had lost my identity. It’s like moving to a new place. It’s exciting, but you feel completely scared and unsure of which way to turn. Things seem the same, but also feel completely different. My advice to my former self would be to take things one day at a time. Lean on your friends. They will become your rock. Try to get out each day, even for a ten minute walk. It really does help. Eventually, you will go out on a date night, or a dinner with friends and start to feel normal again. It’s a very different normal, but it will become one that you will love and cherish.Nappies and all. There is no need to give up your former self, you just need to find a way to keep the things that you love.

5. Do ‘those’ Kegel exercises. 

Need an explanation? Read last weeks’ blog post here. Enough said.

6. Every day may not be a good day, but there is something good in every day.

The day your child will smile for the first time will show you that this is true. You may be covered in vomit, and then you will see something on TV that will make you laugh. It’s the little things that will bring you the most joy. Even if it is a simple cup of tea.

7. You will fall in love with your husband all over again…

This is one of the best things you will experience. Seeing your husband hold your little baby in his hands is one of the most joyous things in life. Full stop.

Image sourced from Mamamia
Image sourced from Mamamia

8. The most expensive products are not necessarily the best.

Nothing explains this better than the good old IKEA high chair. Available for RRP $24.95 it’s cheap, light weight and most of all…easy to clean. Don’t get sucked into purchasing products that seem great because they seem to have every gadget under the sun. Don’t go and buy that expensive high chair that is adjustable at different heights, rotates, is on wheels, and has comfy cushioning. It will get covered in food, vomit and other things that I won’t mention. Check out internet forums before buying and just stick to the rule that often simpler is best.

9. Peppa Pig, Thomas the Tank Engine and Daniel Tiger will become your new best friends. 

All I need to say is watch ABC4Kids. You will sort out the rest.

10. Be kind to yourself.

This is easier said than done, but trust me. Just be kind to yourself. If this means splurging on something to make you feel nice, having a massage, going to the gym or just simply telling yourself that you are doing a good job. It sounds too simple to be true, but being kind to yourself is really important. Don’t try to do everything perfectly. As long as your baby is fed, washed and sleeping you are doing a great job.

If someone offers to cook dinner for you…accept it. If someone offers to come over and bring you lunch….accept it. I will be forever grateful to those friends and family who brought over frozen dinners. They are simply a life saver.

Ask for help when you need it. We all want to be a good Mum, but you don’t need to be a perfect one. There is no such thing. If you are struggling, my advice would be to ask for help. Whether it be for cooking, cleaning or just some advice. Don’t ever be afraid to speak about your feelings and ask for help. My maternal health nurse was wonderful and helped me work through my feelings about being a little lost. There are so many people and networks out there. Reach out to people, even if it is on Facebook. Being connected is what gets you through.

Needless to say that I’m sure that my experiences after having my next child will be different, so any pearls of wisdom from Mums juggling multiple kids would be greatly accepted. I know I will probably be telling myself to go back and read this article in a few months…but I’m determined to go with the flow and just be a little kinder to myself second time around.

Here’s hoping I can listen to my own advice!

What advice do you wish you had listened to when you first had your baby?

kate