an unexpected Lotus Birth

One thing that was not in my birth plan or after birth plan was a lotus birth.  The idea of carting around a placenta was just a little too much for me, but its strange how things change as soon as that baby is out of you.  How I thought things were going to be and how they actually turned out in reality is way different.  I didn’t think our baby would hate a bassinet so much, or scratch his dad right in the face,  while screaming bloody murder just because he’s not mommy.  Apparently Arren doesn’t care about Carl’s feelings.

After I birthed the placenta our midwife convinced us to do a lotus birth, at that point of time I was just so grateful that they were there that I would have done anything they said.   Our midwife explained the whole process of caring for the placenta to us and off we set to an unplanned lotus birth.

I’m not going to lie the first day with the placenta was rough, we had to figure out how to manoeuvre with the placenta and being the typical new parents we were completely paranoid and didn’t know what to do.  At one point I felt like crying because I didn’t feel like I could console Arren fast enough, but at the end I was completely happy we did it and gave it a try.

 

“We need to relearn what a birth can be like when it is not disturbed by the cultural milieu. We need a reference point from which we should try not to deviate too much. Lotus Birth is such a reference point.” Michel Odent

When I was speaking to my sister about our lotus birth I was quite shocked to find out that she didn’t even know what the placenta looked like, it was strange to me that during her birth it was taken away like it was something dirty and that shouldn’t be seen.  This was your baby’s lifeline for so many months, when my midwife showed me all the healthy veins, the sack where Arren called home for so long, I was completely mesmerised.  It was such an amazing thing to see and I was so happy my midwife showed me everything and explained it to me.

A lot of lotus birth posts talks about baby’s being friends with their placenta, but to us it seemed like Arren hated his placenta.  He acted like the only reason he came out of the womb was to escape from his evil placenta girlfriend, and like he just couldn’t figure out why were keeping it around.

REASONS I LOVED OUR LOTUS BIRTH

  1. It reminded me to take things slower and be more aware of my surroundings.
  2. It was a perfect uninterrupted bonding time with our new little family without having to deal with guests.
  3. It gave us time to get to know each other and figure out breastfeeding without having the stress of having to entertain people.
  4. It made Carl feel more involved.  He helped me move Arren around or helped move the placenta.
  5. It forced me to take it easy and let my body heal.
  6. The placenta and cord fell off after 3 days and he was left with the cutest little belly button.
  7. Being connected with his lifeline for so many months, until it was ready to fall off was amazing.
  8. Delays cord clamping letting baby get all the last bits of blood

HOW WE CARED FOR THE CORD AND PLACENTA

It wasn’t that difficult caring for the placenta or cord.  Carl made a little placenta bag to make the placenta look a bit festive and easier to transport.   We dropped a couple of drops of lavender essential oil on the placenta every day and we used wecesin powder to dry up the cord.  Wecesin powder is just the best thing to use for the cord, its all natural and helped speed up healing.  Once the placenta fell off we used a drop of lavender oil and a cotton bud to clean and disinfected the belly button and that’s it!  We buried the placenta under a tree in our garden in hopes that the nutrients would help give the tree some life in this drought filled times we’re having in Cape Town.

 

Golden Milk Granola

During my long wait, waiting for baby to arrive I was trying to stay sane by creating recipes for postpartum.   I wanted to create healthy easy to grab recipes that would nourish me and help heal me from the inside out.  I was thinking about anti inflammatory spices and ingredients that could be made into a delicious easy breakfast.  Breakfast was the one food item I was slacking on when I was making my food stock pile and showing Carl how to cook.  For some reason he’s just terrible at making breakfast, especially oats?!  When you have to ask someone if they’ve ever eaten before, because you just can’t believe the weird taste they’ve created you know you’ve got to come up with a breakfast alternative fast.

What’s a quicker breakfast than granola? Maybe a frozen waffle! but that was a slippery slope into unhealthy eating that I’m just not willing to take, especially during these crucial healing times!

This healthy golden milk granola is a great anti inflammatory breakfast or just a quick grab and go snack.  Its a fast way to get all the benefits of warm golden milk.  This traditional Ayurveda beverage harnesses some of the most potent healing spices, while giving you an immunity boost.

TURMERIC BENEFITS

  1. Helps with pain management.  After delivering your baby, you will be surprised of all the muscles you worked during labour.
  2. Helps manage depression.  When all those hormones come flooding out of your body, most of us gets hit with a couple of baby blues.
  3. Anti inflammatory.
  4. Helps fight against cancer
  5. Helps with digestive complaints.

GINGER BENEFITS

  1. Helps with nausea and indigestion.
  2. Helps with digestion
  3. Boost your immune system.
  4. Helps fight bacterial and fungal infections.
  5. Helps relieve pain.

CINNAMON BENEFITS

  1. High source of antioxidants.
  2. fights inflammation in the body.
  3. Protects your heart health.
  4. Fights diabetes
  5. Fights against infections and viruses.

FENNEL SEED  BENEFITS

  1. Increases breast milk production.
  2. Helps aid digestion.
  3. Relieves water retention.
  4. Relieves menstrual problems
  5. Protects against cancer.

Pair all those benefits with oats and you’ve got yourself a great anti inflammatory, lactation aiding, really yummy, super breakfast.

GOLDEN MILK GRANOLAserves 12

Ingredients

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.

In a large bowl combine the oats, nuts, seeds, salt and spices.

Stir to blend

Pour in the oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well to get the oats covered well.

Spread the granola out on a baking sheet.  Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until golden.  Stir halfway through.  I lower the heat a bit when I place the granola in the oven.  I’ve had a lot of burning granola issues.  Remember to keep checking on the granola so it doesn’t burn.  When you take it out it wont be as crisp as you would want it, but it will crisp up as it cools.

Allow to completely cool.  Stir in raisins and place in an airtight container.

 

 

 

My home birth story : The Fast Birth of Arren Yuki

The birth of Arren sure will be a memorable one.  This little guy has had spunk since inside the womb.  From taking his sweet time to get out of the breech position, making his mommy crawl around on a carpet every day, doing obscene poses to nudge him into the right position.  He eventually decided to flip into the right position for birth after that it was all smooth sailing until my due date and he decided  that he was just so comfy in the womb that he just did not want to come meet us! This little guy has some serious attitude and we just love him for it.

My due date came and went, and I started realising, that baby will come when baby is ready! I tried all the little labour inducing tricks, with no luck at all and decided to just be patient.  Until….the new year came rolling in and I still had no baby?! Even my midwife was getting worried and asked if it was time we tried the castor oil method.  I was really apprehensive of taking castor oil, because I just wanted baby to be completely ready to meet us and not have any problems once he was out.  The night before we saw and felt the baby doing his practice breathing, and I just felt like taking the castor oil would just not be right.  We scheduled an appointment with the midwife for the next day, but I just knew that baby would be here soon.

On 2 January 2017 we watched a show in bed and fell asleep.  I was actually having such a lovely sleep dreaming about essential oils when at 2:05 am 3 January,  I woke up to my water having broken.  Man, it was such a weird feeling.  I just remember getting woken up and saying “oooh”.  Carl woke up ( hes been on high alert for weeks and every sound I made would put him in “It’s  go time” mode) and asked me whats wrong, as I walked to the loo,  I say walk, but it was more of a weird wobble, trying not to dirty everything in the beginning…I told him my water broke, we both could just not stop smiling as we knew it was baby time soon.  I decided to take a shower and get myself cleaned up as I prepared for what I thought would be a marathon labour.

We went downstairs had some tea, while I prepared snacks and treats for the midwives and Carl.  At this point I had no contractions…..As we talked, while drinking tea, I kept bouncing on my exercise ball and then….my water broke again……….this time with even more force…..I was so shocked, firstly because I just changed my clothes and secondly because my water broke again?!

I went upstairs to go change again and ran down only to have MORE water come out…..at this point I just couldn’t believe how much water was in my body…. and how much clothes I’ve gone through without any contractions.  At 3:15 am contractions started.  I downloaded this contraction timer app and it was just the best thing ever! It gave Carl something to do, without me hating on him for asking stupid questions.  We called our midwife and we all decided she could wait a little bit before coming over..I could still easily talk through contractions and we were all preparing for the long haul.

I asked Carl to bring me two blocks of ice I ate one without a problem and threw the other one at Carl because it wasn’t a good size…..Yeah, labour brings out the monster in you.

The contractions were getting more and more intense. so I decided to get some relief from the pain in the shower….at one point I wanted to live in the shower, we called our midwife and told her its time to start heading over.  I still didn’t feel like I was going to have the baby any time soon.

Soon after that everything started feeling way more intense, I remember thinking if I still have 5 – 12 hours left of this labour I’m just not going to make it, the sweet, sweet release of painkillers were looking pretty good to me right then.  I kept thinking transition would be way more intense. so I didn’t even realise I was in the transition stage at that point.

Carl called the midwife again at that point because he was getting freaked out by my intense labour grunts……..I felt an insane need to push and felt down only to feel baby’s head.

I felt my entire body felt relieved and I just had this natural instinct that washed over me.  As I shouted at Carl that the baby is here.  He decided it was time to phone the midwife again to tell her what I said.  I rushed out of the shower and felt like I needed to push.  I pushed down once and felt the baby’s head coming out, I kept thinking I’m not stopping until his head is out.  I screamed at a shocked Carl to get a towel as he ran the wrong way,  I shouted again that its behind him.  I told him to get ready for the baby as I gave one more push.  Carl caught baby Arren at 4:20 am.

 

We were both so shocked at what just happened that we just sat there looking at our perfect baby that had a good cry and stopped as soon as he was in my arms.  We just sat there crying saying how beautiful he is for what felt like an eternity……after the shock wore off I realised I was in a squat position not knowing what to do now…..we were both trying to figure out the placenta cord and if I could sit on it or not.  We decided that staying in that position was safer.

Carl went to open the door for the midwives and a whole wave of relieve washed over me they instantly made me feel calm and relaxed.  I was so happy to see them because I just didn’t know what to do next….I mean you plan for your baby not the placenta?

They helped me get up, made the bed extra comfy for me and baby and got us settled.  They gave me angelica drops to help get the placenta out, but I was just so done with pushing.  I was on one chilled out boat that would have ripped out the placenta at this time just so I wouldn’t have to push anymore.

I got into the squatting position and the placenta just dropped out.

 

He came out a whopping 3.89kg/8 pounds! 55 cm /21 inches tall and a head size that felt way bigger of 35 cm.  He also got a 10/10 on his apgar score! Our healthy little chub monkey.

Hes just been pure bliss to have around.  Its been hard at times, but everything is just worth it to see his little face.

We decided on the name Arren Yuki, before we ever started trying to have a baby.  We actually have names ready for all our future children.  Yeah we are those people!  Arren means mountain warrior and Yuki means snow in Japanese.  Our little baby was conceived in Ireland and the mountains that surround this beautiful city made our hearts race, and finally made us feel like we found the perfect home for us, in the most beautiful country to us.  We chose Yuki as his second name because we were looking for snow all over Dublin and finally found it walking through Tick Knock forest, it was around that time we conceived little Arren. Japanese people also believe that your name reveals a part of your soul so our little snowflake will always be something special to us.

I never want to forget the day my heart grew so much bigger and that’s why I’m sharing it here.

P.S eating 6 dates a day really did give me a fast labour.

P.P.S If you’re looking for the most amazing midwife and assistant in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, the world.  You should definitely contact Marianne at spiritual birth! From the beginning she made me feel at ease and helped me have an amazing pregnancy and birth.  From what she suggests you eat during pregnancy to all her helpful tips on supplements she was just amazing.  Check out her website here.

Date Energy Bites

If you know me you  know I hate gluttony, its just one of my pet peeves, I’m all about moderation and eating a healthy diet that’s light on the planet; I want to leave behind a light footprint on the planet.  As light as I can in this day and age.  You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, and why I’m talking about this on a date recipe?  Well, it all started with Tim Noakes.  Man, I don’t know the guy, but boy do I dislike him.  If you don’t know who he is he created the banting diet.  A diet I feel is not environmentally light and is just really damaging to the planet.  After receiving a cookbook of this guy as a gift and trying to see if there is actually anything I would make in the book, I just got more irritated.  I’ve made a few banting recipes for my parents in law who are on this diet, and I just hated it.  Its so heavy on dairy and meat, it even made Carl sick when he ate it.  I mean 3 cups of cheese, mixed with another cup of soft cheese all mixed in with an insane amount of eggs and just to top it all off lets just add a truck load of meat, I don’t know if its just me, but that does NOT sound healthy to me.  I mean, hello cholesterol?  As I was flipping through this cookbook, wondering whats wrong with this guy, I came across a date ball recipe.  I stopped because you know I didn’t think date balls required a lot of ingredients.

Boy, was I wrong!

As I went through the ingredients list, my anger for this man just reached a level I didn’t think  it could reach.  Eggs in date balls? Cream in Date balls? Why does everything have to contain eggs with this guy! I don’t think eating such a large animal product diet is good for the planet, we all share this planet and  I think his diet is so popular here, because people here don’t want to eat consciously and think about where their food came from.  The idea of skipping meat for one meal is impossible to some.  Yes, you will lose weight on a gluten free sugar free, high fat and meat diet, but what about your environmental impact.  Okay! Okay! rant over.  I’ve just been mulling about this for so long and felt like I Just needed to get it off my chest.  So lets get on to this recipe.

Medjool dates are just the best thing to ever come out of nature.  Its natures delicious candy, that I now believe really helped me with my short labour time ( 1 hour and 5 minutes).  These little energy bites actually got created thanks to my intense labour preparation.  I was expecting the standard 6 hours at least labour, so for weeks I was preparing little energy boosters to keep Carl and my midwives going.  During the last couple of weeks of waiting for my baby to arrive ( better late than never I suppose), I was starting to get a little tired of waiting and craved a whole lot of comfort food.  Lamingtons was one of those cravings.  I was out of gluten free flour and really didn’t feel like baking and decided medjool dates are yum, but could be yummier.  Anything dipped in chocolate pushes even the most boring recipes over the edge.

These are really easy to prepare, the hardest thing is making a double boiler to melt some chocolate or you can just use a microwave, will keep your energy up and give you the boost you need with a whole lot of delicious to go with.

DATE ENERGY BITES – 10 bites

 

Ingredients

  • 10 soft medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, the darker the better. We like 85% – 90%
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 10 roasted almonds

Directions

Place an almond in every medjool date.

Place the dates in the freezer for 5 minutes, it will make the chocolate stick easier.

Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a small bowl and microwave until soft.  Remove and stir until completely melted.

Dip the dates into the chocolate, get it completely coated and dip in coconut flakes, get it completely coated.

Place on plate and chill in the fridge until set.

I tried these with different toppings like chia seeds, with just the chocolate and goji berries, but the coconut flakes one is my favourite.  Feel free to experiment until you find a topping you just can’t get enough of.

He’s HERE!

We’ve been in newborn baby bliss for almost two weeks! Time really is flying…taking care of the cutest little addict around, pooping himself and puking all over us, has just been the best. Sometimes really tiring, but little Arren Yuki knows he owns our hearts and we will just do anything for him.  Like never putting him in the bassinet because he just hates it so much.  I never in my wildest dreams thought a bassinet would bring someone such unhappiness, you would think its made out rusty nails or something? Its not, its all comfy and wonderful, but being held in mommy’s bony arms all day is just way better.  I’m enjoying this time being confined to the bed or couch, being taken hostage by the cutest little heart thief around.  He only needs me for such a short amount of time, so I’m just trying to soak in all this newborn baby goodness, while I can.

During this pregnancy and now postpartum I’ve realised that people just generally suck.  People tend not to listen to how you want to raise your child, and feeling disrespected all the time is apparently just the norm.  Carl and I both feel like no one cares to listen what we’ve  said and have felt a little to a lot disrespected.  I think its mostly just the fact that no one actually listens anymore and people make up versions of reality in their head that suits their tastes (that makes them feel better).  Our little family means everything to us and we just want to give Arren all the opportunities we never received.   I want Arren to live a happy life knowing he can be whoever or whatever he wants to be.  He can love who ever he wants without me judging him, and knowing I will always listen completely to what he has to say, I never want him to feel like he can’t talk to me about his worries.  I will never tell him to do what I say not what I do, I wan’t him to see the good and learn from that.  This little monster has filled my heart with so much joy.

Sometimes you just have to take the reigns of your own life and do what you think is best for your family.  Carl and I both discuss everything in great detail and weigh all our options before we make decisions.  It feels good to be with an intelligent, strong minded man that voices his thoughts and researches everything like crazy.  Hes already such a good father to our son and the fact that hes been such a big part of this pregnancy ;never missing an appointment and being so proud of little Arren already is just a joy to watch.  I can’t wait to see the man our little baby becomes with such a lovely dad showing him the ropes and I can’t wait to see Carl grow more and more in his father role.

Here’s like a million more photos of Arren, if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen some of them there.

^^ Hes always just staring at things.

^^ Making cute faces.

^^ Or being utterly serious.

^^ Sometimes he just wonders. what the hell is mommy doing.

^^ Or he thinks hes home alone.

^^ This was when he was 2 – 3 days old, check out my beautiful knotted hair, thanks to sleep deprivation and not being able to take a bath.

^^ Gas never looked so cute.

^^ 1 day old and I was already rocking the hair knot.