Category: mother

#motherhoodunplugged

As you all know.. I have two gorgeous, lovable, delightful and amazing little boys that I am so lucky to call my own.

Lucas, the Lion. He is our wild, dramatic drama queen and has an absolute zest for life. From the minute he wakes up in the morning to when he goes to sleep at night, he just doesn’t STOP. He is our wild child, and doesn’t do anything by half, which includes misbehaving.

Flynn, the Fox. He is our quiet, sensitive and content baby boy who loves nothing more than to just sit with you and enjoy a cuddle. He is curious and eager, and loves exploring. Which for now is mostly my face, including sticking an occasional finger up my nose.

Now it ‘may’ come across that I have this gig called “Motherhood” worked out, and that it ‘may’ seem natural to me. Well here is the truth about what motherhood means to me.. Without a doubt it has been the most challenging and anxiety driven period of my life. Mostly caused by my lovely son Lucas, haha lets face it.. he has not been an easy child to contend with.  And seeing how I am laying down some truths, it has only been over the last few months where I finally feel comfortable enough with my capability of being a Mum.

When I was learned that I was pregnant with Lucas, fear stained me. I was 27 years old, so definitely old enough to be able to manage the new role. I was in a relationship, content with where my career was heading, and I thought I was a very mature and responsible person (haha what was I thinking). But shit.. the thought of pushing a child out of my vagina just did not sit right with me. I had never been around babies, never changed a nappy, never burped a baby, never taught how to hold them the correct way. I was way out of my depth!

The pregnancy was shithouse, I suffered terribly with heart burn, gall stones, and ligament pain which often left me unable to walk, sleep, and be sane?! And finally when it was time to give birth my body was like..nuh..not happening. I never experienced a contraction even after my waters had broken, so of course after 24 hours I was induced and finally gave birth to a squashed face little boy. The poor kid was stuck in my birth canal after pushing him out for three hours. His poor sweet nose resembled what you’d find on a troll doll. And my bottom has never been the same after that traumatic event. Hello hemorrhoids.

Lucas terrified me, I didn’t know what to do with him. I kept asking myself, “when am I going to feel that glorious hormone oxytocin?” Honestly, I did not know how to be his Mum. Chris though.. he was beyond amazing, he just got stuck in and did it. He has never been afraid to get his hands dirty, which funnily enough happened at Lucas infant photo shoot. Sharted right into his hand..

I never bathed Lucas, for fear of drowning him. I gave up breastfeeding, because I was not psychologically able too. Anxiety drove me to quit, which is my biggest regret because breastfeeding is something I have such passion for now. Thinking back, I probably had some sort of post-partum depression, but I wasn’t going to admit to that. I didn’t want to be stigmatized, judged and pitied.. Even though I was 27 years old, I was being so immature about it.  Especially now, that I have addressed my own mental health issues and it gave me my life back. People..please don’t be afraid to step up and ask for support. Talk to your GP!

I started to calm down a bit when Lucas became a toddler, but I was still a helicopter parent. Forever holding him back for fear of him hurting himself. Whenever he got sick I mollycoddled him. I was taking him to the doctors for the smallest things. I was just constantly under duress, my poor brain must have been damaged by the constant arousal of the neurons. I constantly doubted myself as a Mum.. But.. I need to remind myself that there was a few challenging factors that most (term used loosely) families don’t face. My husband was away.. ALOT! Most of Lucas life he was absent, which at the time was awful but we had to create a means to an end. We also live in a state which is thousands of kilometers away from family, so being able to reach out for support was impossible. And lastly I was not yet diagnosed with anxiety. Again.. speak with your GP!

Now falling pregnant with Flynn.. It felt different. I was calm about it. I felt at peace with the idea of having another baby. Plus lets face it, Lucas was due for a sibling.. as it had been three and a half years until we finally decided to fall pregnant. Even when there were hiccups along the way, I remained calm. I am actually quite proud of myself as I rarely experienced anxiety at all. When Flynn was born, he was born into a calm and relaxed environment.

Now as cliche as it sounds, I feel like my role as a Mother has been reborn.. A born again Mum. Now it sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. I have never felt more at ease with being a Mum. When there is crisis, no matter how small, I hold my shit together and get on with it. I no longer compare my children to others, I no longer do dr google, I don’t even have any baby/child related apps on my phone. I just go with my gut and it always leads me correctly.  I now gaze upon my children, and that sweet sweet love hormone just makes my heart strings sing. Now it has taken five years, but finally I am happy with my new role as a Mummy.

Much love

Melanie xx

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ADHD: What it’s like in our household.

I honestly don’t know where to start with this post.. as trying to navigate from start to finish is a slightly overwhelming task for me. So to give this blog a bit of context I’ll explain to you some ADHD facts as quoted from the Royal Children’s Hospital website.

Lucas was a bubbly baby, with a big personality.

‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a developmental problem which results in poor concentration and control of impulses. The three most common symptoms of ADHD are inattention, impulsivity and overactivity. It can impact upon children’s learning and social skills, and also family functioning. Every 3-5 in 100 children in Australia have been diagnosed with ADHD and it is far more common in boys than girls.’

When Lucas was born he was the perfect newborn. He slept, he ate and he barely made a fuss. It wasn’t until solids were introduced where I noticed that something was a bit off. He was very sensitive to textures, and I’d spend more time cleaning up his vomit than actually feeding him. So to make it easier for everyone (mostly me), he practically ate the same food just to ensure that it stayed down. Can you believe that even today he can vomit caused by a certain texture? Not that long ago, he threw up on himself because he had berry seeds in his smoothie.

Just before his first birthday I introduced him to Gymbaroo, which is a program specifically designed to educate parents on child’s development. At Gymbaroo there is gym equipment for your children to move, climb and develop their strength. There is also a play mat area where each week the educator discusses topics of children development. This includes balance, coordination, fine and gross motor skills, speech, auditory, visual processing and body awareness. I noticed that Lucas didn’t flourish like the rest children, and he was always ‘that’ child. You know.. the one who squeals, snatches, unable to participate and is so disruptive. In the end it was just too stressful to continue, and we had even won a term which we barely attended because in the end I’d be turning red with frustration.

Taking Lucas to parks, playgrounds, play centers and birthday parties were and still continue to be a stressful event. When he was around two/three years old he was terrorizing another child, trying to snatch their bike away. On my way to sort out the issue, the mother grabbed him by the shoulders and screamed ‘NO’ in his face. It stopped me dead in my tracks. Have you heard of the fight or flight response, well I am neither of these. I freeze! Always!

Another incident occurred in a doctors surgery, where I was trying to calm him down and he just wouldn’t listen to reason. The doctor picked him up by the ankle and held him upside down. Again, I froze, looking dumbfounded. Looking back it at it, I should have approached the mum and addressed the doctor about their behavior. Because, lets face it, we are the adults and we need the control.

Our biggest issue to date with Lucas is his impulsivity. Last year, when I was heavily pregnant with Flynn, Lucas went on a walkabout. We have a tall Colorbond fence, and Lucas decided to open it and take our pets for a walk. After an hour of searching for him, we knew we had to contact the police. There is a massive golf course that runs through our suburb and my fear was that he would decide to go for a swim and likely drown. Once the police arrived, they had a helicopter on standby in case it was needed. Thankfully I always ensure that our pets are tagged and this is how he was located. A lady called me to say that not only did she have our dogs but also our son who invited himself in for a cold drink of water. He was having a grand old time.

It wasn’t until Kindergarten where someone else noticed his behavior. During his first term of school, his teacher suggested I take him to a pediatrician just to ensure that everything was okay. Eight months later, due to a very long wait list, he was finally assessed. It only took 45 minutes to diagnose him with ADHD. But we weren’t really given much, except to attend a seminar on positive parenting. When we were approaching the final week of Kindergarten , we spoke with the school on how his behavior could improve as he was scoring as a below average. Chris and I learned that WA does not have funding to support children who have ADHD. Soon, hopefully within the next two years, we will be relocating back to the eastern states.

There is still room, lots of room, for improvement from our part. We try so hard, but our own ignorance and frustrations taint our ability to be patient with him. It’s a big learning curve for us, and we try hard to ensure that he is on the right track. He does not consume processed or refined sugars and he eats a mostly plant based diet. We supplement magnesium to help him control his behavior. We try and give him a structured day so he knows what to expect, we give him small goals to complete so he feels accomplished and has something to work towards. We try to avoid negative words like don’t, didn’t, isn’t and wasn’t. Most important of all though is that we tell him we love him.

 

Much love

Melanie xoxo

 

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Making a Baby

Making a Baby – Guest Blogger Lanni Cordwell

Lion Fox & Co would like to welcome with open arms Instagrammer Lanni Cordwell, otherwise known as @mumandmila. She is 38 years old and has been married to her husband John for 6 wonderful years. Her beautiful Mila was born 6 months ago, which required plenty of anticipation and planning. Lanni explains in her blog that love, marriage and children is generally the sequence of a relationship however falling pregnant was not an easy task for Lanni and her husband John. This is her story..

Making a Baby

I have always dreamt of having children, even from a very young age. I was an au pair then a nanny abroad for 10 years in the USA since I was 18 years old. Being around children was always a part of my life. 2 years into my marriage we decided it was time to start a family. I was going to be 33 years of age and I was ready. I was very excited and scared especially when I was very close to the 35 years old older woman bracket. I knew it would be harder but boy was it a lot harder. It was not easy but I was determined and I wanted to be prepared. I read up on when was the best time of the month, what positions, even down to the time of day. I went on Elevit, took multivitamins. I brought boxes after boxes of ovulation tracking kits. I downloaded and purchased tracking apps. It was months and months of using the kits and apps, tracking my cycle and a whole lot of sex.  We even had morning sex for a whole week because I read somewhere it was peak timing for sperm. I also laid in bed afterwards for 30 minutes with my legs up in the air making sure no sperm would escape. But nothing. Pregnancy test, after pregnancy test it all read negative, all just with one line present. I felt defeated. John was tired but I could see the look on his face. He felt bad. He knew I was hurting, even though I told him I was fine. It will happen I said to reassure him, but I was saying it to reassure myself. I had faith. But he knew, he knew I was tearing up inside.

After years of trying (2 years have passed now) and constant questioning from family, friends and strangers we went to our doctors to discuss what we could do.  He referred us to a fertility clinic called Fertility North and told us to book an appointment. We went to our first appointment and both of us were nervous to meet our doctor, Dr Vince. Lovely man Dr Vince Chapple was very nice and very straight forward which we loved, putting us at ease. After Running through our history and telling him that we haven’t used birth control since we got married, Dr Vince said that getting pregnant was easy, but the fact was we had been trying for the last 4 years and had been unsuccessful. It was the most heart wrenching thing to hear. I had so many thoughts going through my head, how could this happen? But I was meant to have kids, was it because I waited too long to have kids? What was wrong with me? My head was racing. I had so many questions. I always had that perception that having babies was such an easy thing. I mean 18 year olds were having them, my mother had 4 kids. Both my sisters had 2 kids. How hard could it be? The question of what was wrong with me kept creeping back. John and I both blamed ourselves and we both were feeling down.

As we sat there, both of us fighting back tears Dr Vince explained the process of what’s next? He said there were to be tests, lots of tests that we had to go through. He explained that it was a very expensive process, not just the IVF process itself but all the testing as well if we decided to go ahead with everything. There was no question, we wanted to have kids so we agreed and we got started. There were consent forms to fill out, finance appointment, a counselling session and numerous nursing appointments.  Then the testing started for both John and I. Lots of test, blood tests for both of us, lots of blood, urine tests, semen testing. John had to do his business in a cup. It seemed endless but finally the results came in. There was bad news and good news. First the bad news. John had a very low sperm count and that the percentage of uncorrupted sperm (basically good swimmers) was very low. I had endometriosis. Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside of it. The main symptoms are pelvic pain and infertility. That explains the very painful period pains I have always experienced. Good news was that endometriosis can be removed through surgery and we could work with a low sperm count.

First step I had to have surgery and get my endometriosis removed. Done. Next John was told to go on Melevit (male elevit). He had weekly test to check on his swimmers. He said it was very awkward, knowing what he had to do and that people knew what he was doing. Months of being on Eelevit worked. His count had increased by 300%. Great we were on our way! Nope, more tests. I had blood tests every other day to check my estrogen levels. They had to be high enough to get my body right for the harvesting of my eggs. This took a few months because my levels just didn’t seem to get high enough. I had to go back on the pill to increase my levels. How weird to be going back on the pill when we were trying to have a baby! So more waiting, more extra stress. We got through it though. We had to stay positive, we had our eyes on the end game. Finally the pills took affect and my body was ready after being on it for a month.

Next step, egg cultivation. This was one of the hardest parts of the whole process. I had to do daily injections to grow my eggs. This was a no go zone for John. He hated needles. Luckily I was ok with them. I had to inject myself at exactly the same time every day for 12 days. Then came the ultrasound to check on the growth of the eggs (follicle tracking). They had grown to a good size and I had 10 eggs in each ovary. The eggs were at final maturation and needed a trigger (final injection) to get them ready for collection. I was booked in for my egg extraction surgery. It was a day surgery, under general anaesthetic. Every follicle is drained and flushed. No stone left unturned. While my eggs were getting extracted, John needed to give his sperm so the process of fertilising the eggs could commence. They told us fertilisation was complex and dynamic. In simple terms, there was no guarantees. They were to call us on our results. More waiting, more worrying.

We received the phone call the next day, we had 6 embryos that were successful, and one was of an A+ status that was ready to go. Pure joy, tears of happiness, looks of love. We were so close. The day was finally here. We made the appointment for the insemination. All the hard work, all the doctor appointments, all the tests, all the needles, all the tears, all the heart break, all the road blocks and all the fees, oh my gosh the fees! it had finally led us to this moment. The day that would change our lives forever.