My name is Kari, I am Scottish and currently living in Australia. I am 27 and have been with my husband for eight years and married for almost two years.
I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up but one thing I have always known is that I wanted to be a mum.
I never expected this journey to be easy but I sure never signed up to getting baby poo on my foot (on more than one occasion), peed all over or to be cleaning up puke at least once every hour.
We found out that we were expecting on 2nd January 2015, we couldn’t quite believe it. We hadn’t been trying per say. However, I had come off my pill a few months earlier and we decided that we would take a stress-free approach if it happened it happened and if not then it wasn’t meant to be yet. We were in no major rush but we were certainly not expecting to fall pregnant as soon as we did. It was a strange moment finding out that we were pregnant, neither of us knew how to react. My hubby leant over kissed me and said congratulations – which to this day still cracks us up.
I had always expected pregnancy to be an overwhelmingly happy experience even with all the side effects. I was looking forward to “glowing”, wearing tightly fitted clothing and feeling good about it. How wrong I was! Pregnancy was not my cup of tea at all. I hated seeing my body grow and change; I hated nausea and the many food aversions. These feelings began to make me doubt myself as a mother. The only part I enjoyed was feeling our baby kick and wriggle (except when he decided that kicking me in the ribs was a great game).
The evening of our 12-week scan I started bleeding (before we had even gotten to share our wonderful news with our family and friends). We were both so scared that we had lost our baby; we went straight to the hospital – who were no help at all – due to having just had a scan that day despite not having the scans back yet they were reluctant to do any further scans or tests.
We were sent home, I was told to rest and just see how things progressed. I made an appointment with my Dr’s who attempted to chase up the scan results – with no luck. The bleed lasted for a couple of weeks. I received a call from my Dr on my way to work one day asking for me to come in as soon as possible (even though I had an appointment the following day). I called my husband who picked me up and we went straight there. I had to provide a urine sample and go for yet another blood test.
The Dr had never seen hormone levels drop as quickly as mine had and we were advised that she was 95% sure we had lost the baby. I was sent for an emergency scan later that afternoon. Between my Dr’s appointment and the scan, seconds seemed like years, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves other than cry. I was amazed at how upset we could be at losing someone we had never even met.
Fortunately, the scan revealed that all was well and that had I had my 12-week scan report within the 24 hours that they advise, it would have shown that I had a blood clot that had come away. That day was the scariest and happiest day of our lives, it was the first time we had gotten to hear our baby’s heartbeat and it was music to our ears.
We found out the sex of the baby around the 18-week mark. I was shocked when we were told we were having a boy – there was no doubting it, though, our little chia seed was not shy let me tell you – I was almost certain we were having a girl. I was filled with mixed emotions as I had always wanted a girl and part of me was sad that weren’t, yet at the same time I was excited that we could start making official decisions like names and nursery decor.
Throughout the pregnancy I worried that I would not love my baby, I had to keep reminding myself just how upset we were when I had the bleed and that I was so upset because I already loved this little person growing inside me.
Three days before my due date I had an appointment at the hospital. The midwife asked if I would like a membrane sweep to move potentially things along. I decided to go ahead with it. Later that evening I was experiencing a lot of cramping that didn’t seem to be easing. On messaging my best friend back in Scotland – who is a midwife – she advised that it can last a while but just to keep an eye on it.
The cramps became more intense and more regular. I went to bed as did my hubby – who fell asleep straight away – I hadn’t mentioned that I could potentially be in labour as I didn’t want to get his hopes up. I started timing the cramps and then called the hospital. They advised that I could be in the early stages of labour and to keep an eye on how far apart the cramps were.
They advised me to take Panadol and have a hot bath. For the first time in my life, I got up, cleaned my bathtub and ran a bath at 2 am. By 7 am nothing was helping the pain and we made the decision to go to the hospital. I was kept in overnight and was probably the cleanest I have ever been – I lost count of how many baths I had. I also developed a love for cheese sandwiches – which for years my hubby couldn’t understand why I hated – I even ate a cheese sandwich in the bath.
I was given Panadeine and gas & air and eventually morphine to help me reserve some energy for pushing. They made up a bed on the floor for my hubby and I managed to get a little shut-eye between every contraction – which was 10 minutes apart for 2 hours due to the morphine.
By morning, I was no further forward so they sent me home. 5 hours later I just couldn’t handle the pain anymore so headed back to the hospital. I was told to take another bath – which I did to be polite but had already explained that the reason I came back in was because the baths and Panadol were not helping at home. A new and younger midwife came in and asked what I wanted. I had another dose of morphine and gas & air. The gas & air seen me through to the end. I was adamant I was not having an epidural as I have a fear of needles.
My waters then had to be broken and when it came time to push, Luca’s heart rate started to drop with every contraction. Before I knew it, the room had around seven professionals in it. I was that tired, drained and spaced out that it didn’t even faze me or occur to me that something was wrong.
On August 28th at 11:49 pm after an exhausting 48 hours labour our squishy faced baby boy entered the world 11 minutes before his due date – we kept telling him he had to be early because his mummy and daddy were early people. He was a whole 7lbs5 and 50cm of pure perfection. I could not take my eyes off of him; he proved that there is such a thing as true love at first sight! However, all was not over; I required two stitches which were done while my placenta was being checked over only for them to discover part of my placenta had been left in.
So after very little time with my baby, I was whisked away to the theatre to be operated on. I was distraught and terrified. I had just made it through a 48-hour labour without an epidural and was now being told I needed to have a spinal injection or general anaesthetic. I decided to have a general anaesthetic purely because if something went wrong, I would be none the wiser.
When I woke up, I had no idea I had even been in for the operation. A nurse came over to tell me that my hubby and bub were on their way to see me. Words could not describe how happy I was to be reunited with them both. My hubby was supposed to be staying the night but due to now being put on a ward, he had to go home.
I was then left with a newborn baby in the middle of the night that I could not even reach over to lift out of his cot. I was kept in hospital for four days which we had not planned for; my hubby had only taken one week off work to save holidays for our families visiting.
When we finally got to take our baby home, I had great difficulties with breastfeeding. I felt like a failure. Luca was screaming to be fed but wasn’t latching properly and when he did latch, he attempted to feed for over 2 hours then was screaming again within an hour. I had a midwife visit for five days due to feeding problems and in the end, I decided I just couldn’t do it – I’m super impressed with some women’s perseverance.
I felt like a terrible mother. Luca had lost more that the maximum amount of birth weight which then helped me make my final decision to formula feed. I cried my eyes out telling the midwife my decision as I felt like I was being judged, but it was the right decision for us – being from Scotland we don’t have a large support network around us in Australia and my hubby was going back to work the following day.
Formula feeding Luca was the best decision we made, I knew he was feeding and how much he was getting which then lead to a much happier, content baby who slept. I have never regretted this decision but five months on and I do still feel like I am being judged when I feed him out in public.
I could not thank my hubby enough, he was amazing throughout the whole experience, he stayed strong and was very hands on and a great support in the hospital and at home- now I just need to give him a boot up the bum to get him to help around the house again, the novelty soon wore thin once he was back at work.
My postpartum body was a major shock to me. Throughout pregnancy, my bump was rather small but in the final few weeks, it grew at a rapid rate, resulting in stretch marks developing around my belly button. I had saggy skin and jelly like a belly – and still do to this day. I struggled a lot with this change to my body and still do. However, I cope a little better every day; I no longer cry every time I see myself in the mirror or talk about my stomach but I am disgusted by what I see. I am scared to have another baby for the fear of what my body will look like after carrying two babies but I want to give Luca a sibling.
I feel like I was always destined to be Luca’s mum, I cannot imagine loving anyone else as much as I love my baby boy. He brings so much love and happiness to me every single day. Don’t get me wrong, though some days are hard, exhausting, frustrating even the good moments far outweigh the bad. All it takes is one look into his big beautiful eyes and all is forgotten.
What kind of mother did you think you would be before you had Luca?
Loving, kissing, cuddling, happy, healthy and positive minded. The issues I have with my body now make me doubt that I can show him how to be positive and love himself and this hurts me.
Describe your pregancy in three words and define?
Tough – my happy, healthy positive minded attitude seemed to disappear when I fell pregnant.
Amazing – feeling my baby kick, rolls and punch was the most beautiful experience.
Scary – always worried that we may lose our baby.
For a mom in her first few weeks of motherhood, what advice can you give her?
The best bit of advice that I can give any new mother is to not get bogged down by everyone else’s views and opinions. Take it all with a pinch of salt it’s all trial and error and only you know what works best for you and your baby.
You described your post partum body many women feel the same way, what do you think makes you feel beautiful?
Beauty truly is what’s on the inside and to any other mothers struggling with their post partum body, you are not alone! I took my body for granted before pregnancy. I know the issues I have are all in my head and my husband says he doesn’t even notice (which I don’t believe but it’s nice to know it doesn’t faze him and that he still loves me).
What’s life like now with Luca?
Life with Luca is an amazing rollercoaster. He makes me laugh and smile every single day, some days can be frustrating and exhausting but the love I have for my baby overpowers the tiredness and frustration. I still get blown away with how much love I have for my little boy and how much it continues to grow every day! There is no love quite like the love you have for your child!
Now that you have told the Mother Effin Truth, who do you want to nominate to tell their story as a mother? And why?
I have nominated Jane.Courtney who I don’t know personally however from her photos she seems like such a beautiful, loving and caring mother who loves and appreciates every bit of life and takes nothing for granted.