Welcome Safaia Fifita ‘Iunisi Sisifa

Welcome Safaia Fifita ‘Iunisi Sisifa

I’m baaaaaack πŸ™‚

We are proud and grateful to announce our third baby –Β Safaia Fifita ‘Iunisi Sisifa.

She arrived on Friday 27 September 2019 at 2:18pm after a 2 hour labour.

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So many emotions with all that’s been happening.

September 27 is our Anniversary of when Leki and I first started dating… this year is our 12th Anniversary.

Safaia is Tongan for Sapphire which is the birthstone of September.

Fifita and ‘Iunisi were our last surviving grandparents who passed away this time last year.

And lastly, I managed to achieve the Water Birth I was aiming for which makes me happy because I focused on achieving this for over 12 months.

This meant being healthy and ensuring I didn’t have pre-eclampsia like I did with my other 2 x pregnancies!

So I would like to present an unfiltered account of the final stages of my pregnancy just like last time with baby #2 – Kyneton Wardell Sisifa.


WARNING: BELOW YOU WILL SEE ME GIVING BIRTH TO MY DAUGHTER AND IN ALL IT’S GLORY.Β THERE WILL BE REAL BLOOD AND GUTS. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK! πŸ™‚


So here is the story of Safaia’s journey to join us in chronological order beginning on Thurs 26 Sept 2019:

Thurs 26 Sept

5am – Start of Braxton-Hicks Contractions

At 40 weeks and 3 days I officially started the final stages of my pregnancy.

I monitored how often they came on by popping the times into my Viber app I use with my hubby Leki.

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The next few Braxton-Hicks signs were at 1-2 hour intervals 8am, 9:30am, 12pm, 2pm, 4:38pm with some pink discharge, 6:55pm, 8:07pm, 10:06pm and 10:43pm.

Fri 27 Sept

12:30am – Regular timings of Braxton-Hicks Contractions

Between 12:30am to 6:14am I had 12 x short contractions but they became more regular from every 1 hour to 30 mins then down to every 20-10 mins!

We decided that we would head into Melbourne and drop off the kids to Aunty Vine so that we have plenty of time to travel to Sunshine Hospital.

I had a short warm shower (in an effort to try and relax the muscles from contracting)… but that didn’t work as I had 3 x contractions during my 10 minute shower πŸ˜‰

Fortunately I had already prepared our car, my hospital bag and had the kids bags packed and ready to go 2 weeks prior.

7:12am – ‘Normal’ morning

Leki prepared breakfast and encouraged our normal routine.

Our 4yo Emelina and 18mo Kyneton were happy, fed and cleaned up before we packed them in the car.

When we left at 8am I had 9 contractions which lasted about 1-2 minutes each and as a gauge were around 6/10 in pain (10 being the worst).

These contractions were ranging between 5-7 minutes apart!

We left home in Gisborne at 7:45am for Preston in good spirits.

GAME TIME!

8:40am – Dropped The Kids To Aunty Vine

While we were heading into Melbourne I contacted my caseloadΒ midwife Ellie and explained the situation.

I feel so grateful that I have Ellie in my corner again as she previously delivered my baby #2 Kyneton.

Fortunately she was already on her way into the Hospital and recommended heading in when my contractions were strong and regularly 5mins apart.

I was happy with that because my contractions continued to vary from 10mins to 7 mins to 5mins.

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We set off to Sunshine Hospital at 9:20am which would be a 25min drive.

My contractions were consistently 5mins apart.

9:45am – Arrived To Sunshine Hospital

Instead of waiting at Aunty Vine’s house we decided to go to the Hospital and wait.

I lost count of how many times I went to the toilet… I felt like my bladder was always full and I needed to empty them even if nothing happened.

Leki and I waited until my contractions ramped up as Midwife Ellie prepared my birthing suite for the Water Birth.

Around this time I rang some family members to let them know that I was about to be admitted into the hospital.

My Mother and sisters are in Tonga celebrating my Grandmother Taina’s life and her headstone unveiling with Family. They were so excited to hear the news!

My Dad rang and wished me well.

The contractions were frustrating as it did increase in severity from 6/10 to 8/10 but the time between contractions changed from 20mins to 10mins and again back to 5mins.

In the mean time I was walking up and down the hallways, walking up and down stairs and kept a positive mindset.

I was thinking of my little girl and set the intention to have a nice peaceful Water Birth.

11:35am – Admitted

I was taken up to Level 3 Room 8.

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It was a luxurious experience and I don’t say that lightly.

The room was dimly lit but filled with nice electric candles plus soothing meditation music was playing in the background.

As my contractions continued to be irregular Midwife Ellie offered me a Stretch & Sweep to bring heighten the contractions and bring on the labouring.

After a few minutes thinking about it I decided to go ahead with it.

The Stretch & Sweep was performed at 11:45am.

12:34pm – REGULAR contractions

I was going through very regular contractions after the Stretch & Sweep.

I was standing, walking and labouring upright as I found it comfortable.

By 12:36pm I had officially started the labouring process (according to Midwife Ellie) and was helped into the Water Bath.

I was having stronger contractions and I felt like the ‘baby had dropped’.

1:00pm – Labouring in the Bath

The heat of the water was relaxing.

It helped to have Leki in there with me as he applied pressure to my lower back for each of my contractions in the water.

I was in all fours but my top half was braced on the edge of the Bath as Ellie was giving me instructions.

With each of the contractions Ellie was coaching me through what was happening.

She had a mirror underneath me to see what was happening.

I have to be honest I was so scared that I’d shit the bath.

Even though Ellie said it’s completely normal and does happen often I still didn’t want a code brown πŸ˜‰

In the end I didn’t lose my bowels but I was half concentrating on trying to labour without dropping my guts LOL

Although the pain were intense each wave of contractions was coupled with a sense of getting closer and closer to the finish line.

There was a point that I felt Safaia’s head moving closer to the exits.

After that push subsided I complained to Ellie that every time I let the contraction ‘push her out’ when it stopped it was like she retreated back in.

Ellie then explained that it’s normal as the baby is moving and the passageways are stretching for her eventual arrival.

Contractions were 2 mins apart now.

2:18pm – Safaia Arrives!

One of the key instructions Ellie said was to allow you body to push when you feel like you can’t avoid pushing anymore.

That means don’t push too early… wait until you can’t hold it back any longer!

The main reason why you don’t want to push too early is that it can tear your vaginal walls which means a lot of damage, stitches and longer healing times.

I made my best effort to look for that telltale sign of not being able to hold it in any longer and then push with all that I had!

My last 3 x contractions I was increasingly getting more and more frustrated because I always felt that Safaia would edge closer to the exit and then she’s running back in πŸ™‚

But then the time came…

There came a sensation that felt like all the lead up disappointment of Safaia ‘coming and going’ had reached a peak.

It felt like a point of no return

It almost happened magically without pain.

I peered down and with one contraction I saw baby Safaia’s top half pop out.

I gathered my strength and waited until the next contraction to come around and I fought hard not to jump the gun and push before the contraction.

Again, Ellie was coaching me through this process and was pleading with me NOT TO PUSH if the contraction hadn’t come on yet.

Why?

If I pushed too early I would definitely tear some vaginal tissue and make things worse for me after baby is born.

She also asked me not to raise her above the water when she’s out as she needs to remove a bit of the umbilical cord around her neck.

She explained that it would be easier to remove it when she’s still under the water then struggle with it out of the water.

Luckily I managed to hold on and with the last contraction…

WHOOOOSH!

Out she popped.

It was the most relaxing graceful entry into the world I’ve experienced so far!

She wasn’t crying, wasn’t stressed or even curious.

Safaia arrived into the world sleeping πŸ™‚

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The umbilical cord around her neck was masterfully removed by Ellie and Leki was right next to me as Safaia arrived.

I felt so relieved and blessed that it was all over.

2:38pm – Placenta Birth

Leki and I remained in the Bath which was a bloody crimson colour from the labouring discharge.

I was encouraged by Ellie to gently pull on the umbilical while I was in a semi-squat in the bath.

I gave it a couple of tugs and then Ellie supported by bracing me from underneath, with a few more pushes…

WHOOOOSH!

Out came the placenta which felt like another mini-birth.

2:54pm – Skin On Skin

I was helped out of the bath and placed onto the birthing bed to rest and recover.

One of the key things Ellie had to perform now was to assess how much structural damage there was from pushing Safaia out!

I was worried because there was a lot of blood.

Ellie checked and reported that the bleeding was normal and what was important was if it was able to stop by itself.

This meant I had to lie on my back for 30-45mins with my legs clamped shut to try and stop the bleeding.

I used this time bonding with little Miss and she spent her first few moments feeding off me and resting.

My sisters called me on Messenger and I was excited to show them my little trooper!

4:15pm – No Stitches!

I received great news when Ellie told me I didn’t need stitches.

Although I may be sore for a couple of days if I can avoid heavy lifting and excessive walking/squatting then I should be all fine πŸ™‚

Around this time I was fed by Leki while I was resting on my back.

The last time I ate was 7am that morning and with all the effort and energy pushing throughout the day I definitely needed some food!

I prepped some food a day before and packed it for the kids to have at Aunty’s house.

I also had some prepared for us just in case.

Nothing fancy just beef mince, home made tomato paste and boiled vegetables.

Leki warmed it all up in the maternity ward kitchen.

5:00pm – Nice Shower & Change

I then got up and had a nice hot shower while Leki changed little Safaia.

It felt great to take my time washing all the pain and suffering away and change into some warm comfy clothes.

Just before her little outfit change Ellie measured her:

34cm head circumference, 51cm in length and 3.1kg in weight.

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So proud!

Her first little matching headbandΒ  blanket/swaddle was specially made by my Mum.

I bought some material from Spotlight and she made it two weeks before Safaia arrived.

I love the fact that it was uniquely made for her from Nana πŸ˜‰

6:00pm – Check All The Vital Signs & Early Discharge

So both Leki and I had a nice warm shower and freshened up.

Ellie was completing her paperwork.

Little Safaia was resting by the window soaking up some sunshine when…

Ellie mentioned that we’ll be discharged home soon!

I was kinda shocked.

Not shocked… more surprised.

I was really looking forward to staying over at least one night.

I packed for 2 nights πŸ˜‰

But Ellie explained that my vital signs were stable, my birthing wounds will heal naturally without stitches, I didn’t have any pain relief and she would check up on me in the morning over the next 2 days and for 5 visits in total at my home.

She also explained that baby Safaia is healthy ans happy without jaundice or any other troublesome signs.

After I got over my initial disappointment I was actually relieved!

I can sleep in my own bed – YAY!

Soon after I rang Aunty Vine and asked if it was still ok for Emelina and Kyneton to sleep overnight.

She quickly said yes and not to worry they are having a great time.

I felt relieved and helped Leki prepare our things to leave.

It was all starting to sink in now.

We’re going to home with baby #3 in tow πŸ™‚

So happy!

7:00pm – Discharged

Leki left the car in the paid car parking next door and it cost us only $12 for the whole day!

He took our things over and came back with our capsule seat for our little companion.

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While he was doing that I spent some time rugging Safaia up with layers.

And then that was it.

Leki came by, picked us up, popped the capsule into the booster seat, leaned over and gave me a kiss and that was it!

He asked me what I wanted for dinner.

I gave him a cheeky look and waved my hand into the ‘Golden Arches’.

On the way home we stopped half way because Leki was worried Safaia was breathing LOL

She was so quiet and he wasn’t used to it.

After a quick check we were good to go!

8:00pm – Home Sweet Home

When we got home we settled in, warmed the place up and placed Safaia in our bassinet attached to the pram.

Leki and I put our feet up, ate our McDonald’s watching an old episode of Criminal Minds (Leki was also keeping an eye on the Melbourne Storm match LOL) and enjoyed our time together.

We retired to bed at 9:00pm as I gave Safaia her first feed at home.

We both feel asleep, dead tired, in our own beds in our own home with our little girl nestling right beside us sleeping soundly.

What a relief!

In just over 12 hours I had left home, pushed out a baby and returned home like it was a normal day!

Well, if you have stuck with me all the way through – THANK YOU.

I really wanted to experience the water birth process and make it real for you and me.


My intention for this story was to be real and not hide any details.

If my pregnancy and labouring effort sounded easy and breezy I don’t apologise.

The fact is it was very smooth and pain free compared to my other 2 x pregnancies and birthing efforts.

We had put a lot of thought and preparation for having the best experience.

We spent time researching birthing options and decided water birthing was what we wanted.

We decided to take control of our health and eat better.

I spent time working on my self talk and being mindful of my thoughts both negative and positive ones!

Leki and I often talked about how much effort it would take to get from Gisborne to Sunshine.

We shopped and packed our bags early to avoid any surprises.

We asked for help from Family and Friends.

We planned for Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.

All this effort didn’t go unnoticed.

I’m at home already preparing for the upcoming week as Leki prepares to get back to his work and I’ll be holding the fort until some help arrives in the form of my Mum (when she returns from Tonga).

 

So if you’re interested here’s my…

Top 3 Hacks For Having An Easier Pregnancy & Labouring Effort:

1. Get control of your health BEFORE you think to conceive

It’s amazing to think how much of this was the critical factor in the whole process.

Getting yourself in shape physically, mentally and psychologically BEFORE you even think to get pregnant is my BIGGEST recommendation.

Just think… you may have conditions that are mostly coming from lifestyle factors and can be completely reversed RIGHT NOW!

Poor nutrition, poor stress management, poor sleep, negative self talk, poor social support and poor financial habits.

Put some time into reversing these things and find what works for you and it will make your whole experience all the more successful πŸ™‚

2. Routine & Structure is the way FORWARD

A big part of reversing your bad habits is to automate your new habits.

If you have a diet plan that you’re going to follow. Prep the meals.

If you have a weight loss strategy or exercise plan. Find a friend or partner to be accountable to.

If you work or stay at home full time organise a timetable that is non-negotiable.

The thing Leki and I observed with our routine is that when things get out of hand we know what it takes to reestablish our normal day.

It’s like being on a seesaw. If you go too much one way then you have to allow the other side to come up to counter balance.

For example, once we’ve establish our game plan for prepping our meals we saw how long it takes and we can decide which day of that week has a 2 hour window where we can bulk cook. Weeks can vary with commitments but we are committed to our food prep work because nutrition is key for our well being.

3. Get Out Of Your Own Way

Growing up I always had thoughts of not being good enough.

I set the bar low on expectations for myself.

Can’t read well.

Can’t write well.

Not confident when talking to people and always go red.

Even now with so much self development work and ongoing positive self talk I still find myself battling with “Imposter Syndrome”.

Am I being who I am truly on this blog?

My reading and writing have improved a lot with the help of my husband by just persisting with something uncomfortable.

How?

By working together as a team.

I’m not even going as red anymore and it takes extreme cases if I’m being shy or embarrassed.

I remember meeting someone new for the first time and I can feel my cheeks getting flush with blood.

Now… yes I still get a bit nervous but it’s more because of the excitement in meeting someone new who’s interesting rather then the embarrassment of them judging me.

When it came to this pregnancy it all fell into place when I got out of my head and got out of my own way.

We fell pregnant within 1 month of trying whereas our first effort took over 18 months.

I lost a lot of weight without much exercise and being very disciplined with my eating habits.

The list goes on…

In short you are able to achieve remarkable things Mama if you just get out of your own way and make it happen! NO EXCUSES!

 

So there you have it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post as much as we have presented it to you.

And just like that we’ve grown to a Family of Five.

 

With love,

Belinda, Leki, Emelina,Β KynetonΒ and SafaiaΒ xo

P.s. We are aiming to haveΒ 5 x kids so you’ll have another 2 stories in the future πŸ˜‰

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They Grow Up So FAST!

They Grow Up So FAST!

Hi guys,

These are my last few times with my two kids.

Soon we will grow from a family of 4 to 5!

I like tracking how my kids are growing because overnight changes almost happen daily.

My original post on my kids development was Oct 2018 – read about it HERE.

At that time, my little girl Emelina was 3yo and my little boy Kyneton was 9mo.

On the next update Feb 2019 I compared how quickly they had both grown and I had announced that baby #3 was on the way!

Eme is now 4.5yo and Ky is 1.5yo.

Here’s the latest πŸ™‚


Kyneton is 18 months old

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Sleeping

We are trying something different at night.

Kyneton is really good going down when its bed time but after 5 hours he grumbles a little bit, we give him some water and then he’s asleep until 5am.

We put him down and he’s asleep by 7:30pm he’ll be good until 12am and then he’s up at 5am and that’s where Leki takes over.

It could be worse I suppose.

He needs me to nurse him to sleep.

Sometimes his little feet stumbles into our room and he wriggles in somewhere.

We are not as strict with Kyneton with self soothing as we were Emelina.

Apart of me enjoys have him shack up with us sometimes but other times I wish we were more firm with him.

But in preparation for baby #3 due to arrive we have been putting Ky down with Eme in her room.

It seems to work pretty well because he wants someone around him when he’s unsettled.

When we settle our little girl into routine we’ll review the game plan with Ky’s sleeping arrangement.

That’s the plan at this stage.20190903_211544

Body Movements

Kyneton is happy exploring his environment whether it’s inside or outside.

He likes to be by himself and figure out how things work.

When I’m in the kitchen and I watch him play in the backyard I see him climb into the trampoline or explore the garden and observe the birds and he calls out to them ‘quack quack’.

His running style is getting more stable as he had a very funny zig zag type of running pattern – we’d joke it’s because he’s carrying a big heavy head making him unstable.

I guess his key body movement at the moment is thumb sucking.

Yes, he’s a comfort thumb sucker but we thinks it’s cute πŸ˜‰

Spatial Awareness

Ky is aware of his surroundings and can be very cautious.

The other day we visited his new cousins at the Royal Women’s Hospital and he was very excited to be in a new environment but didn’t want to lose hand contact with either of us.

If we are in familiar territory like Nana and Poppy’s house he runs around like he lives there!

When we are at the local park he quickly realises that the playground is around the corner and is itching to get out of his booster seat.

It’s like he knows his sense of direction when we are in the car running around to the local shopping spots, dropping Eme off to Montessori School or going to Gymnastics.

Can’t get too much past this little guy.

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Food

Kyneton likes food but he’s now starting to pick and choose.

We don’t let him live it up too much.

If he doesn’t want to eat what we’re eating then he can go without food… for a little while πŸ˜‰

The next time he wants to act up when we feed him then he needs to make a decision on what he wants to do.

Suck it up and eat or go without food for a little while.

He’s no longer needing me to ‘Mama’ his food anymore and it’s almost a year since we topped up with formula.

Discipline

We also believe in firm discipline.

He gets a smack and it reinforces something we’re trying to teach him.

The oven is hot, the knife is sharp, the drawer is dangerous, trip over your toys left laying around… the list is endless!

We start with a firm word and come down to him at face level and talk to him.

If he persists or tests us then he’s gonna learn LOL

We smack with love in our heart.

He’ll learn… eventually πŸ™‚

 


Emelina is 4.5yo!

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Sleep

Emelina is a champion sleeper if there is such a thing.

She goes down at 8pm and wakes at 7am.

What a dream!

The only change is that we’ve put Kyneton in with her for a little while to buddy up until our new little girl settles in!

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Spatial Awareness/Gymnastics/Swimming

Eme has been a steady performer in her gymnastics school!

Her form is not as straight as some of her classmates and she’s a little afraid of heights but she’s persisting with her training and enjoying it!

Her little body is not as flexible, strong or fluid but we can see the potential of what Emelina could develop into if she is continues to practice and be consistent.

So proud of her effort so far I hope she continues to enjoy it!

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Discipline

Emelina has a naturally curious and fun personality.

She’s definitely testing the boundaries but it’s from mostly a place of curiosity rather then being naughty.

We have to remember to come from a place of Curiosity rather then Judgement when it comes to our kids.

She is a loving older sister to her younger brother Kyneton.

Sometimes she might play a bit rough then what we prefer but she’s enjoying her playtime with her growing brother.

As we understand it can be completely normal and developmental issue.

We allow Eme to gauge what Ky’s reaction is so that she can develop her own emotional intelligence.

We try very hard not to be a helicopter parent.

I don’t mind if my kids fall over and get hurt.

I don’t worry if there’s a chance that my child will get fingers caught in the drawer.

I like watching Eme and Ky climb ladders and play in the local playground and jump into puddles.

If they get hurt or uncomfortably wet then it was a result of their actions.

I am trying to teach them to be resilient and self sufficient.

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In my last update on this topic I laid out some expectations:

  1. School and Gymnastics for all our children will be mandatory
  2. Then every 6 months we will look to introduce new things for the kids to try.

It may be an learning instrument, scouts, nippers, sport or drama.

Whatever may take their fancy but we are not looking at letting them be lazy on school holidays.

Especially in the final years of primary school leading into high school!

This is helpful because it reminds me how quickly they grow and what little time I have with them before they’re too cool for Mum and Dad πŸ˜‰

I hope you enjoyed this post and the next one will feature out new little team member πŸ˜‰

With love,

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Belinda xo

Baby #3 Is Almost Here!

Baby #3 Is Almost Here!

Hi guys,

I’m down the home straight of my 3rd pregnancy – our due date is 24 September 2019.

Read my last update on how my 2nd Trimester went… (HINT: It’s going really well! YAY!)

Last week I wrote about our intention to have a Water Birth.

So far things are looking great as I’ll only qualify if I am healthy and I don’t need medical equipment all over me.

Being healthy was a long term strategy and I’ve touched on this over the journey…

Read my update on my 1st Trimester where I also share some health tips that have helped πŸ™‚ – HERE.

I’d like to maintain my KEY topics throughout my pregnancy:

  1. Pain
  2. Energy
  3. Self care

1. Pain

Getting very heavy now but still managing pretty well.

No back pain.

Sleeping well.

Feeling good.

And enjoying my baby bump.

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I would only say that I’m getting tired quicker so things that normally take 20 mins to do currently take an hour πŸ™

Focusing on my health and making better choices is the only reason for why I feel so good.

Honestly… with our first child Emelina who’s 4yo I didn’t focus on my health and ballooned out to 105kg. I felt sluggish, had back pain and was sleeping poorly.

I believe my poor dietary choices contributed to Emelina’s mild food allergies.

Fast forward to our 1.5yo Kyneton I was much improved with my nutritional choices and I focused more on stress management and better sleep conditions.

My little is boy indestructible… hardly gets sick and can eat anything.

I have mentioned previously that this has been my smoothest pregnancy so far and I look forward to how our little girl shapes up when she finally arrives in 2-3 weeks πŸ™‚


2. Energy

I stay home full time and am responsible for running our 4yo to kindy, managing our 1.5yo and keeping the house in good working order.

That’s not for sympathy because a lot of us Mamas enjoy this but it can be taxing!

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Leki’s Dad and Family

Often I can be driving long distances for seeing Family like on Father’s Day.

Travelled 60 mins from our town of Gisborne to the city where Leki’s family live.

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My Dad and my sisters πŸ™‚

Then from the city 40 mins to Thomastown where my family live.

It was great fun to participate in Family events even though I’m about to pop and it beats being at home all day πŸ™‚

I did eat a whole heap and enjoyed myself!

I’m currently weighing about 91kg and I hope to maintain my health and lose 1-2kg before I give birth.

I plan on documenting my healthy weight loss journey post baby like I did last time πŸ™‚

Having more energy allows me to focus on things like cleaning up my home and preparing for a newborn baby, shopping for gifts for Family and friends, manage my household to make it homely, plan my nutritious meals, be there for my husband, care for my kids, look after myself and focus on things that make me happy!

Who couldn’t do with more energy!

I’m sure you can relate Mama!


3. Self Care

A big part of self care to me is communication.

I let people around know what I’m feeling and what I’m prepared or not prepared to do.

It saves time and reduces a lot of stress for everyone involved.

Another self care trick we use is planning our cheat meals as a little reward.

All week we are good and there are 1 or 2 meals where we can loosen up a little bit.

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So every week we look forward to our cheat meal.

It’s usually a Friday night and hubby Leki drops by our local Maccas and collects a Family McFavourites box.

We go with 1 x Big Mac (Leki), 2 x Quarter Pounders (kids) and 1 x McChicken (me) plus 2 x Sprite and 2 x Coke with the 10 x McNuggets.

We substitute the chips for 4 x salads and I bake sweet potato chips at home.

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Leki has avoided eating fried chips all year and soon we will all upgrade to avoiding most takeaway fried food… I can’t quite kick the habit just yet πŸ™‚

This is something that we are slowly moving towards as we work towards better alternatives.


Well… as I mentioned in my last blog post I will be looking to have a Water Birth (fingers crossed all goes well) and I’ll document and share that process with you.

My health journey as Mama continues as we plan for a generous household of Mum, Dad and 5 x kids… eventually πŸ™‚

 

With Love,

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Belinda xo

Water Birthing

Water Birthing

Hi guys.

I’m heading down towards my last few weeks before baby #3 joins the family πŸ™‚

In preparing for my labouring effort we have decided to try for a water birth.

In my previous 2 x pregnancies I had some issues with high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia).

If I have any health problems leading into the birth then I’ll be automatically ruled out of having a water birth.

This is why I’ve worked hard to be as healthy as possible in the conceiving stage and all the way through this pregnancy.

Fortunately I was able to have normal births with my first 2 x kids and there are techniques I found helpful with pain without medication.

I found diaphragmatic breathing very helpful:

I also found standing upright to labour for a couple of minutes was helpful too!

A benefit of a water birth is the relaxation from the buoyancy of the water.

If you imagine the intense contractions on the birthing bed and then moving into the warm water of the tub it has a relaxing calming feel!

According to this blog post the warm water lowers your blood pressure allowing you to feel more relaxed.

The hormone oxytocin is released which allows more contractions to occur naturally and less intense in the soothing warm water.

I like the idea of the warm water being my pain relief πŸ˜‰

Even better my hubby Leki is happy to hop in with me to help with the delivery process and ease some of my pushing pain.

Fingers crossed I can get across the line with my health so I can have the water birth!

Like my last effort where I documented baby Ky arriving I will look to document my water birth too πŸ™‚

Not long to go…

With love,

Belinda xo

My Community Turns 25yo!

My Community Turns 25yo!

Hi Mama.

This is a short post about my little community.

25 years ago my Aunties and Uncles started a Catholic community for Tongans based in Melbourne, Australia.

In 1994 they started the Tongan Catholic Community at Sacred Heart Preston.

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I have great memories growing up with my cousins learning our culture and language.

After Church my uncle Daniel who was a youth leader would take the kids to McDonald’s on Bell St Preston or Foodstar on Plenty Rd.

Other times we would gather at my Aunty Pauline and Uncle Daniel’s house around the corner from the church to practice our choir songs, eat and celebrate family times.

When new families move to Melbourne we would organise a little welcome dinner or meal and it was always a great feeling being involved with a community.

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I remember preparing to perform a traditional Tongan dance for community gatherings.

Our traditional dance incorporates graceful movements, upright standing form with our National costume.

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I used to be so scared that I’d forget the movements.

I’ve come full circle now as my 4yo daughter performed her very first dance just like I did all those years ago!

We were so proud!

So now our community is just a few families as people move further away and Interstate.

The thing I love about our community is that it’s a place to slow down and enjoy your family, say thank you for all the good things you have in your life, look to draw help and support from when times are tough and it’s a commitment that my Family enjoys.

Looking forward to maintaining our traditions and keeping the culture alive.

With love,

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Belinda xo

2nd Leg Of The Race!

2nd Leg Of The Race!

Hi guys,

So it’s been a month detox from this blog and it was refreshing πŸ™‚

I’m re-energised and ready to rock n roll!

As it stands I’m due for baby #3 late-Sept 2019 – just 6 weeks or so away.

Read my update on my 1st Trimester – HERE.

Here are my main topics I’d like to follow up with throughout my pregnancy:

  1. Pain
  2. Energy
  3. Self care

1. Pain

In my first update I reported that it’s been the smoothest pregnancy so far!

Into my second trimester I can still say things have been really good for me pain wise.

Very little pain or soreness just feeling sluggish but I’ll elaborate on that in the next point.

The second trimester has scored an A+ πŸ™‚

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I continue to focus on things that make me happy.

I’ve been in the best shape physically and mentally in leading up to this pregnancy and continue to be in good health while I’ve been carrying.

I’ve made the goal to only put on a maximum of 15kg with this pregnancy.

Starting at 70kg my maximum weight I’m aiming for before birth is around 85kg.

More on that next time… πŸ˜‰


2. Energy

Hmm.. what have I been focusing on to improve my energy?

I… WENT… TO… BALI… WITHOUT THE KIDS!!

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Finn’s Bar – Bali

It was only a 5 day visit and we left the kids with Nena we felt like teenagers again πŸ™‚

I wrote about our little Babymoon vacay – HERE.

This 5 day recharge was a godsend.

Don’t get me wrong we love our children obviously but having some R&R time is highly recommended.

We travelled light and enjoyed things like getting in and out of a car without having to pack the whole house LOL

Passing through customs at the airport was almost a thrill rather then being a struggle.

Eating at a restaurant was drama free and we almost forgot what it was like to have adult conversation at the dinner table πŸ˜‰

I’m sure you can relate Mama!


3. Self Care

My little guys are 4yo and 1.5yo and we have a midday nap together.

I really enjoy this time nesting with my kids πŸ™‚

I feel really good.

I do things around the house to help with preparing for my new addition.

Cleaned up and put things away.

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Reviewed our common areas in our house and rejigged our Montessori areas and updated it all.

All that activity in preparing my home ‘frees’ my mind from worrying and makes me feel comfortable in my little nest.

Feeling good is very subjective though.

It can mean different things to different people.

My husband Leki is a physio and he gave me a present… not sure if I asked for it but he gave it to me anyway.

A pregnancy brace.

The idea is to support my tummy to reduce the stress on my body.

I have to be honest I haven’t used it too often but as I get heavier I’ll definitely revisit it and make sure I use it more often.


Over 6 months along and going quite well.

I will be planning to have a Water Birth with baby #3.

I’ll do some more research and share with you about the planned water birth in the next update on my 3rd Trimester πŸ™‚

Have a great day.

Love,

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Belinda xo

Babysitters, Au Pairs and Aunties

Babysitters, Au Pairs and Aunties

Hi Mamas!

Did you have a babysitter when you were growing up? Or did you have an older cousin, auntie or relative stay with you and your Family?

I had a couple of Aunties stay with us over different periods of time.

At the time being a young girl I thought it was fun to have more people around to play with.

But as I got older and now being a Mum I now understand that the Family that stayed with us actually helped my parents in looking after me and my sisters.

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My younger sisters and Auntie Lita

This is very common in Pacific Island culture as we can offer relatives in the Islands to come to Australia to help. It also benefits them as they get to travel overseas and see an opportunity to stay in Australia.

Special shout out to my Aunties – Liz, Tai, Moli and Lita who helped raise my sisters and I πŸ™‚

Some Australian Families may not have that support and so they may try a service like hiring a Babysitter or trying a cultural exchange like Au Pairs. (Au pairΒ is a foreign young person who helps with cleaning and babysitting in exchange for food, a room and pocket money).

This is a challenge that couples will face as their families grow especially if both Mum and Dad decide to keep working.

In our particular caseΒ we chose to have Mum stay home full time and Dad work.

ThatΒ choice means that I’ll be responsible for a lot of the home duties and everything that comes with it.

But at times it nice to have help like when my Mum stays with me over the weekend, or if we have a Family celebration and when my sisters visit with their kids and we head off to the local playground!

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Auntie Moli and my cousins!

As you know baby #3 is on the way and I will be relying more on the things that make me feel happy and healthy!

Often I think about how we used to live as a community.

We lived together in the ‘Village’.

The ‘Village’ could mean anything to you.

It could be the sleepy village on a rolling hill in England, the mud brick house in Africa, the shack in Vietnam or the open walledΒ fale (house) in the Pacific Islands.

Today the Village appears more and more ‘disconnected’.

Why?

We’re rushing to meet deadlines, pay bills for things we don’t need, chase appointments, snap the perfect selfies, respond to the social media notification, rush through your day, no ‘time’ to do important things…. the list goes on.

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Auntie Tai, Mum and my younger sister

How about pausing long enough to enjoy the smile of the stranger who greets you? The stories of old neighbours of how things used to be? Volunteering to help someone in need?

The Village in Tonga has the whole community to help each other.

The Village supports the families by cooking meals together, spending time with each other, Women are upheld as important child bearers, Men are respected as hunters and protectors and we live happily together.

Doesn’t that sound awesome?

It also sounds like from a time long long ago!

But no, this still happens today.

When I visited Tonga last year I felt the same connection.

Travelling to Bali and getting out of the big city I saw that people live a simple happy life. Having been to Fiji people can live in a corrugated iron shack but they’re happy.

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Hubby Leki and I in Bali πŸ™‚

As we prepare for Baby #3 I’m mindful that the environment we chose to raise our kids should be one like the ‘Village’.

We’ll eat together, laugh and cry together, support and love each until we’re all connected again in our new Australian ‘Village’.

With love,

Belinda xo

Want To Learn My Best Way To Reduce Stress?

Want To Learn My Best Way To Reduce Stress?

Hi Mama,

My pursuit in the last half of 2018 was happiness.

You see I had made it my mission to lose weight after having baby #2 in Jan 2018 and track my progress.

Why?

Because I was going to be in Thailand with my family in June 2018.

√ I achieved that goal!

Then I made the goal of losing weight in just over 5 months to have a bikini body… while maintaining my target of breastfeeding baby #2 for 1 year!

√ I achieved that goal too!

Throughout the journey of self improvement and self discovery I found that I managed my stress better.

√ My quality of sleep improved.

√ I wasn’t as stressed dealing with kids who cry at night.

√ I maintain a loving bond with my husband Leki.

√ And importantly I was able to prioritise my time to things that really matter.

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Our Catholic Community

My best way to reduce stress was to contribute to my community.

Being apart of a Family is special and not to be taken for granted.

My husband Leki works in the health field and speaks to a lot of different people from all walks of life.

New Australians from overseas struggle when they arrive because their whole network of friends and family are far away!

Belonging to our Family, our Church community and having Montessori, Mothers Groups and Gymnastic friends are important for my stress management.

But my Family bond is special.

I feel the special gift of Family when ever we get together.

The noise, the laughter, the energy of all the little cousins when they see each other.

My sisters who now have their own lives with their own families.

My parents who are getting older but still have the energy to play and help with their grandchildren.

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This is something I don’t take for granted and it’s a gift to behold.

So whenever I feel overwhelmed and stressed I pick up the phone and call someone that loves me.

Most of the time it’s Leki.

Other times it’s my sisters.

Sometimes I chat with Mum or Dad to say hello.

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Eme and Ky in traditional clothes

Then we have Mass I catch up with Aunties and community members from Church.

It’s something that I manage in cycles because I don’t want to lean on everyone everyday but when I’m really in need it’s reassuring to know that loved ones are around me.

If you are in need of a pick me up or you’ve found yourself stressed beyond relief – I would encourage that you look to the ones closest to you and ask for help.

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Happy Birthday Princess Neriah!

We all belong to a Community in some form or another and the laughter and happiness can help reduce your stress plus relieve your feeling of anxiety and hopelessness.

If you need encouragement in your own journey Mama I’m always here – don’t hesitate to reach out and say hello πŸ™‚

With love,

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My Family

Belinda xo

Learn How To Spend $10 & Get $70 of Value!

Learn How To Spend $10 & Get $70 of Value!

Hi guys,

If you pull out a $10 note I’ll show you how you can make it $70 πŸ™‚

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But before I do have a quick read ofΒ my first post on Op Shopping in July 2017.

Our little girl is now 4yo not 2yo.

We have a little boy who’s almost 1.5yo.

I’m pregnant with baby #3 due in September 2019.

Plus we’ve moved from our town Kyneton into the village of Gisborne in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria.

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Something for hubby – only $2!! Valued over $100!!

As our kids are growing their little bodies need bigger sizes of singlets, onesies, tops and pants.

It makes it easier for baby #3 as I can reuse a lot of baby #1 clothes I stored when she outgrew them all.

So where will I get all the other clothes for all my babies?

Op Shopping.

That’s how you turn $10 into $70 πŸ˜‰

Here’s a photo of my recent haul!

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For my 1.5yo Kyneton πŸ™‚ cost me $16 (valued over $200 retail brand names like Cotton On Kids, Zara Kids, Best & Less, Target etc.)

When your family is on a tight budget or whether you enjoy digging for some great finds I’m a BIG fan of op shopping.

For example, I managed to find 7 x different items for baby #2 who is 18 months old and it only cost me $10.

If I had bought these items brand new and retail I would have easily gone over $70!

How good is that?

My older girl is 4yo and is lucky because she gets some hand me downs from an older cousin and so does my little boy from his cousin. Thanks sisters πŸ˜‰

I tend to hunt around my local area for bargain buys.

There are 3 x op shops in Gisborne, 2 x Sunbury, 2 x Woodend and 3 in Kyneton that I visit once a month.

I also make a habit of giving back to the op shop by donating things we don’t need in the house.

They include: home phone, old bags, ill fitting clothes, toys and books.

I generally drop it off on my next visit to the local op shop as I plan to visit and browse the aisles.

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For my 4yo Emelina for $11 (valued over $200 retail from Bonds, Adidas, Zara Kids, Cotton On Kids, Target etc)

When I splash out on my next op shop adventure I’ll be sure to share it with you!

There are good finds for kids sometimes $1 quality items and when you find those op shops – GO REGULARLY! πŸ™‚

What’s your best find?

With love,

Belinda xo

How To Avoid Stretch Marks & Swollen Ankles… My 2nd Trimester Update!

How To Avoid Stretch Marks & Swollen Ankles… My 2nd Trimester Update!

Hi guys,

This is an update on my 3rd pregnancy.

I think it’s important to evaluate how and what I’m doing as an individual plus as a family to ensure baby is nice and healthy.

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All smiles!

My last blog postΒ on this topic details how my 1st Trimester was going.

I’m now nearing the end of my 2nd Trimester and I would like to review this stage of the ‘race’.

We had our 24 week check up at the new Joan Kirner Hospital in Sunshine and they’re monitoring my chances of developing pre-eclampsia.

Let me say that the new facilities at Sunshine Hospital is very flash and I’m so happy to be giving birth in such vibrant surroundings.

Let me continue the main themes throughout my pregnancy:

  1. Pain
  2. Energy
  3. Self care

1. Pain

In comparing to my other 2 x pregnancies this continues to be the smoothest pregnancy so far!

I have very little stretch marks, my feet are not swollen and I have the energy to get around my day without being too uncomfortable.

With that being said, my stomach has jumped out a lot more and it can be ‘in the way’ when I’m doing things around the house.

The other day I was folding and washing clothes and I went to get up like I normally do but I struggled and had to rock and roll myself up onto my feet πŸ™‚

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To minimise my pain I have been very mindful of the food I choose to eat.

We subscribe to a low inflammatory diet strategy where we avoid sugar, grainy carbohydrates and focus on having great sleep.

The net result of all this effort and discipline is no pregnancy pain!

I continue to be in the best shape weight wise.

I continue to be in the best mood and maintain a positive outlook.

The choices I’ve made food and well being wise we believe has resulted in our ‘best’ pregnancy to date.

NOTE: Leki bought and read a book from one of his mentors – Dave Asprey called “The Better Baby Book“.

The lessons in this book is what we’ve followed in the lead up to this pregnancy.

Highly recommend!


2. Energy

I’m 5 months pregnant and I am responsible for running my household.

My husband works full time and I’m at home full time providing a nurturing environment for our little family.

In order to maintain a high level of performance my husband Leki and I need to make sure we are ok as individuals and strong as a couple.

He is responsible for a lot of the health strategies we follow from all the research and science he reads and tests on himself.

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He is not only someone I lean on when I have weaker moments but also makes me feel special when I’ve achieved goals.

I also do my bit by pulling him up to our standard when he has his weaker moments!

As you can probably tell – we are very big on trying to eat well 80% of the time so that when we have our naughty meals on the other 20% it doesn’t impact our health as it used to.

If you have time I would recommend you research the ‘cyclic ketogenic diet’ which is the style of eating that we follow that enables the metabolic state of ketosis.

If we are good on the 5 working days then a couple of naughty meals on the weekend won’t hurt us aka ‘cheat meals’.

Keeps us happy and sane!

To get an idea of my meals check it out belowΒ which can alternate:

Breakfast:

  • Low carb Toast + avocado, tomato and cheese
  • Porridge, banana and raw honey
  • Egg + baby spinach, asparagus, avocado and butter
  • Smoothie = cacao powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, banana, MCT oil, almonds and coconut water

Lunch/Dinner

  • Bone broth soup + vegetables
  • Organic minced beef + boiled vegs (carrot, sweet potato, zucchini and broccoli)
  • Wild caught salmon + boiled vegs (carrot, sweet potato, zucchini and broccoli)
  • Organic chicken +Β boiled vegs (carrot, sweet potato, zucchini and broccoli)
  • Take away – Pizza, McDonald’s, KFC

Snacks

  • Rice cakes + butter
  • Dark choc bombs = 70% dark choc (from Aldi), cacao powder, chia seeds, almonds, coconut oil and pitted dates. Blended and then left to set in the fridge
  • Tim Tams/crackers
  • Fruit = strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, banana, grapes, peaches and pears
  • Water and coconut water

I also supplement with Blackmore’s Pregnancy Gold for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding every morning with my breakfast.

The Doctor has also recommended I take aspirin while I’m pregnant to minimise the chance of pre-eclampsia.


3. Self Care

Apart from happiness and food – one of the biggest return on investment is sleep.

In terms of self care – sleep is no. 1 for us.

You know yourself when you’ve had a poor nights sleep the next day is like a nightmare.

You’re a zombie.

That’s why we’ve placed a huge emphasis on getting the kids into their own room early and getting them to self soothe.

Our 16mo Kyneton is out of the cot and in his little big boy bed.

He needs me to nurse him to sleep (he’s the thumb sucker looking for comfort).

Once he’s asleep he’s pretty good at sleeping all the way through for 8-9 hours with a few little grizzles in between but we mostly leave him to self soothe.

Our 4yo Emelina is a superstar sleeper.

Sleeps over 9-10 hours consistently.

Both kids are in their own room.

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5 months pregnant + my ankles are still bony!

Now you can imagine with a newborn due to join us – the last thing I would want to be is cranky with the kids because I’m not getting the rest I need.

Especially with the age gap of around 20 months between new baby and baby #2.

Sleep has to be a priority!

Another measure to improve your self-care is a regular break.

Leki and I returned from a Babymoon trip to Bali recently and it was a God send πŸ™‚

We were like teenagers again although I couldn’t boogie as I’d would have love to.

A few breaks have been planned for the rest of 2019 and the first half of 2020!

Gives us something to look forward to as we battle through the weeks ahead!

Lastly, I’ve have been tracking my weight gain to keep an eye on the numbers.

Pre-baby I was around 71kgs comfortably.

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Sunshine Hospital

I’m now 5 months pregnant and I weigh 81kgs.

My goals is to only put on 15kgs with this pregnancy and I will document my 3rd weight loss journey post baby!

Review my past game plan for safe and effective weight loss – HERE.


5 months along and we’re going really well.

But… Let me tell you a little secret.

We’re going to try and qualify for a ‘water birth‘.

We are still conducting some more research on this and what we need to do to prepare but if I do develop pre-eclampsia then I’ll automatically ruled out.

With the new facilities at Sunshine Hospital I think it’ll be a great experience and my basic understanding is that it is a lot easier for labouring Mum’s and less stressful for baby.

More to talk about here next time! πŸ˜‰

Have a great day.

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My sisters and Aunty πŸ™‚

Love,

Belinda xo