Are you ever really ready for a baby?
Some say that it’s all they’ve ever wanted and there’s no doubt in their mind they’re ready but honestly, can you really ever be ready for such a life changing experience? I thought I was.
I wanted to write a post to share a little insight into my life during pregnancy, Hugo’s birth and our plans for 2019. It’s been a while since we’ve posted on here and I apologise for being so MIA but let’s be real… setting up a house, having a baby and dealing with a newborn, I had little time to sit down and write. But, 10 weeks into Hugo’s life, here I am!
I was always told never to share this type of information because many mums will “hate you” but here goes…
My pregnancy was perfect and to be honest, I miss it!
Those little kicks and flutters, the tummy rubs, the hiccups and the “pregnancy card” ie no more standing up on public transport! I feel as though I really lucked out.
The only downside/symptom I had of pregnancy was my god awful need for the toilet, constantly. Sometimes up to 5 times a night type of constant. At times I felt I was better off sleeping on the toilet than I was my bed! A scenario I genuinely considered.
I’d had this idea in my mind of how awful pregnancy was going to be, but I surprised myself. My body and baby Hugo looked after me.
I exercised throughout the entire pregnancy (including the day I went into labour!), both at the gym and swimming laps, I made sure to eat a well-balanced diet and tried to stay away from the pregnancy food no no’s – boy did I miss those runny eggs!
Did all of this contribute to my symptom-free pregnancy? I’ll never know, but what I do know is that constant exercise made me feel fit and healthy and I felt as though I was giving my baby the best possible chance for the start of its life.
Travelling Whilst Pregnant
For the first and second trimester of my pregnancy, we continued to travel.
This included destinations both in and out of Australia with trips to Tasmania, South Australia, Melbourne and Perth as well as 3 months in Europe over the summer visiting Spain (Majorca, Barcelona, Nerja), Switzerland, Cyprus, Malta, Italy and London. I also had the opportunity to revisit my favourite continent in the world – Africa (Mozambique, Zimbabwe & Cape Town, South Africa).
This made the first 6 months fly by and I feel incredibly lucky I was able to travel throughout this period with little to no dramas. The worst part was missing out on those summer sangrias, but looking back, it was all worth it.
Setting up shop
When we arrived home to Sydney on week 26 of my pregnancy (the last week insurance will cover you travelling), we temporarily closed the chapter of travel and started our search for a place to “settle”. Something we hadn’t had for the past 3 years! We needed a home base we could bring Hugo up in, something that felt like home.
The only problem was, we had nothing but the backpacks on our back. Not a single piece of furniture with our name on it, let alone anything for the baby! For a month straight, we visited every possible furniture outlet in Sydney until we had a completely furnished house, an African themed baby room and a kitchen full of appliances.
Now the waiting begins… when will the baby arrive?!
My Birth Story
Every mother has a birth story and no two will be the same, just like pregnancy.
You can read all the books in the world, spend hours writing a birth plan (which may or may not go out the window), take all the classes there are and prepare yourself until the cows come home, but at the end of the day, nothing can actually prepare you for when you go into labour because well, who knows what will happen!
I took Calm Birth classes, free classes at the hospital, read 1000 forums and spent 2 weekends with my mum going through all the what if’s and practising the tricks of the trade with a pretend baby. Was it enough? It would have been, had I of listened to what I learned! All the information was there I just did a terrible job of putting it into play! My mind went into overdrive and the fear took over. I panicked and it only prolonged my labour.
*Warning* Don’t panic! Your cervix doesn’t like it.
What got me through the world’s longest marathon was the unbelievable support I had from Jacob, my Mum (who is a registered doula) and my beautiful sister. Without them, there’s no way in the world I would have been able to get through it.
It was scary, it was long, it was hard, it was painful and it was empowering. But most importantly, it was a ride I’ll never forget. I vowed to never do this again. Multiple times. I was convinced adopting was the only way I would ever gain more children. Looking back, I’m really proud of myself and strangely enough, I can’t wait to do it again. Too soon?!
If you’re interested in reading my full birth story, you can do so here.
They say less than 3% of women actually give birth on their due date. That’s a pretty small number and I didn’t like my odds. Hugo’s original due date was set for November 13th 2018, one day after my birthday. For my entire pregnancy, I was adamant about not sharing a birthday (I know, selfish mama) but the truth is, guys, it wasn’t an option.
I’d been told numerous times that first-time mums are always late, which is why I’d mentally prepared myself for the possibility of a late delivery and a well-overcooked bub.
Much to my liking and the power of the mind (I actually had in my calendar I wanted him to be born November 9th) Hugo arrived one week early on November 9th at 8:15 pm. He weighed a perfect 3.194kg and was 50.5cm long.
Trust your body. It is doing one of the most incredible things it will ever do and it definitely knows what it’s doing, more than you do! Stay as calm as you can and get your visualisations on point. That’s what took me over the finish line.
Bringing Hugo Home
“Alright Mrs Cass, you can take Hugo home now and Happy Birthday.”
After spending 3 days in the hospital, I so desperately wanted to get home. But when the time came, a slight panic arose inside of me. We are now solely in charge of this mini human.
There was no going back and no midwives to help out at 2:00 am! I felt excited, nervous, exhausted and happy. It was like the 4 seasons hit me all at once. We’d chosen our going-home-outfit… a little onesie with giraffes on it, given to us by one of our closest friends and we wrapped him up and left the hospital as a family of 3. We’ve got this.
What could possibly go wrong? The only thing this baby needs is love and boob, both of which I had, so surely we were set?
The best part about this particular day? It was November 12th. My birthday. He was a present I’ll never forget.
Let’s take this baby home.
Becoming a Mum
Like a lot of other little girls, I grew up playing with dolls and always loved the concept of being a mum, of being in charge (some would argue bossy). Since my teenage years, I’ve worked with children. Babysitting from the early age of 12, coaching t-ball, working in a preschool and of course, having the opportunity to nanny in multiple countries around the world; New York, Holland, India and Australia.
Children have always brought me great joy and there was never a doubt in my mind I wanted a family of my own one day. After all these years of looking after other people’s kids and following their rules, it was time to become a mum myself.
When I fell pregnant with Hugo everyone asked, “was it planned”?
The short answer is, yes, but we would have been ok if it didn’t happen right away – we were just lucky. As the weeks went on and the due date came closer, I started to doubt myself. This is a responsibility for life and a part of this scared me. What if I fuck it up? Or made the wrong choice? Or simply didn’t know what to do?
What I’ve learnt in just these few short months is you can’t really mess it up if you love your child with all that you have, feed it when it wants food and cuddle it when it needs a cuddle. Everything else will then fall into place. Hugo trusts me, therefore I must trust myself. Each day that we spend with Hugo makes more sense. We learn about Hugo’s mannerisms, his different cries and his extreme range of facial expressions (some better than others).
Motherhood may happen overnight but the journey is a continuous learning curve that never ends. I’m learning new things about motherhood every day and Hugo is teaching me to be a better person.
I’m so excited to spend the rest of my life as Hugo’s mum and I’m so grateful to have Jacob by my side in this amazing thing known as parenting.
I’m no expert but here’s my advice to any first-time mums:
- Surround yourself with a strong support network. It changed this whole experience immensely. I had more people answering my questions than I knew what to do with. Most notably my own mother. If I become half the mother she is, well then, Hugo’s a very lucky boy.
- Never be too proud to ask for help.
- Breastfeeding won’t come as easy as you think but, you will get there. Remember your baby hasn’t done this either!
- For the first few weeks, sleep (or at least rest) when your baby sleeps. It not only keeps you on top of things, but it also helps create that magic milk your bub needs.
- Prepare some frozen meals for the first week after you bring the baby home. It takes the edge off having to cook.
- Never be too proud to ask for help. Yep, I said it again. It doesn’t make you a failure, it will only help you in the long run. There’s no such thing as a dumb question.
Hugo John Cass
After just 2 months with Hugo in our lives, I can safely say with every bone in my body that having our little baby boy has changed me 100%. For the better. I definitely didn’t think it was possible to love a little human as much as I do. People always said this but I guess it’s not until you have your own child can you really understand the power of love.
Hugo is a complete dream. He sleeps ‘almost’ through the night (8-9 hour stints), his smile is contagious, especially in the morning when we unwrap him. He loves a good chat and he really appreciates our singing, or so we think! Every day that passes Hugo changes in one way or another, in fact, a little too quickly.
He’s becoming more and more aware of his surroundings and is entertained by colours, animals and blinds. He will engage in a story for a few minutes and loves to be cuddled to sleep. Hugo has just recently discovered his mouth and constantly tries to see how many fingers he can fit in there. He loves the bath and listening to music but preferably not the heavy metal Dad will occasionally play.
We’ve taken Hugo to the beach 3 times already (it’s our favourite place!), as well as many cafes, pubs, wineries and friends houses. He’s lucky to have a baby cousin, Gem, only 5 weeks younger than him AND his potential future wife, Rosie, just 3 weeks apart. Babies galore!
My heart just melts every time I look at his smiley face and I can’t wait to hear his first giggle.
To us, he’s just perfect and we wouldn’t change a thing about him. Not even his stinky poos or incredibly loud gas. It makes us laugh every time. Like we’ve never heard a fart before. I mean really, how old are we?
What’s in store for 2019?
Travel! Of course. Bringing baby Hugo into the world wasn’t going to get in the way of our travel lifestyle. It won’t be as elaborate as the past 3 years but we have every intention of showing our little guy the world from an early stage. Both his Australian passport and USA passport applications have been sent in and it won’t be long before they start getting a good dose of international stamps.
FYI getting a newborn to take a passport photo was highly entertaining. Thankfully our little smiley Hugo cooperated very well and as a result, ended up with an epic double chin/gangsta looking photo. This is it for the next 5 years, pal! Love it.
Where are we off to this year?
We started off slow with a simple trip to the Hunter Valley, 2 hours north of Sydney. Hugo was just 6 weeks old and was a complete dream. He slept through our fancy 5-course lunch at Vilu De Pays and he came along to all the wine and spirit tastings with no fuss. What a guy.
I think he’ll be A-ok with this travel lifestyle. Although, let’s be real, did he really have a choice!? I suppose we should tell him that we won’t be travelling in this type of luxury all the time ;).
Next up will be New Zealand where we’ll spend 3 weeks exploring the south of the country followed by Fiji with my family in April and then in the planning stages, we’re trying to get to Tonga in July to swim with humpback whales and then a month long trip to South Korea, Israel, New York and Tulum, Mexico later in the year.
If anyone has any suggestions for any of the places we’ve mentioned or you have a favourite country/city we haven’t been that you think we should, we’d love to hear from you!