Living Busy

November 24, 2015 by Vicki


Thought I’d stop by and say g’day.

I’ve been a bit MIA this last week or so from the blog.

Life is getting in the way of my creative endeavors AGAIN. Now Christmas probably will too. How is that edging it’s way closer yet again? I am seeing a whole lotta gift guides across the bloggersphere right now being all informative and helpful. Unlike this post. This post has no marvelous or ground breaking intentions. It’s more of a quick brain spew at ya’ll.

So life. Yeah that. It’s all going and going isn’t it? The pace is roaring. I always find it gets like this in the lead into December but when you’ve got all the parenting biz happening at the same time it’s a hurricane.

Little Vick is transitioning into prep. Acting like he’s so okay with it all, as if it’s just kinder with a different costume. I guess it kinda is. I guess I’m kinda okay with it all.

Baby Vick is toilet training. That’s always a laugh isn’t it? And when he’s not wetting his dacks, I’m taking him to emergency for “pulled elbow” or gashes to his head that require gluing back together. THAT KID. Honestly!

And then there’s dreamboat Mango who is still so dear and sweet. He is on the verge of being five months old and smiles at everyone and everything. How he lights up the trenches for me on a daily basis and in the last week he has taken to food! There is no going back now. I am feeding three boys who have bottomless pits for stomachs and me wishing I had the same form of wallet to keep the grub up to them to save my poor ears from the constant whining about being hungry.

See, three kids on HUGE developmental trips right now! I have never been so busy and tired. My friends keep asking how I’m going and I keep giving them that same answer “tired”. What a boring answer but I’ve never been more honest.

My house has never been more filthy either. It’s on the verge of a piggery. Please tell me yours is too?

I feel fully spread to capacity but there are little wins and little joys through out that make me stop and laugh or refuel my soul so I can the keep the going going. We gotta take those sweet little victories don’t we?

What’s keeping you busy in your day to day life right now?

A Dose of The Cools

November 17, 2015 by Vicki

This morning it was like we just woke up with a dose of the cools. Check us.

crazy hair day 2Could they have much more personality???

Little Vick has crazy hair day at kinder which is a highly anticipated event and he certainly has a bit of the hairy stuff to do something pretty crrrrazy with. It was all going to be ideal wasn’t it?

The thing is, I think I might actually have a teenage daughter inside Little Vick because the amount of angst and tears about styling it was precisely crazy. There was a Vicklet tornado of emotion about what product I was using, whether I coloured it first, what style it was going to be, ALL the things you wouldn’t think a five year old boy would particularly care about.

That’s the thing right? Kids are always a contradiction. I should never presume to assume anything.

I kept asking him to just trust me, which he did eventually through many huffs and dirty Vicklet looks. Does he not see I own some hair myself?

Needless to say he was as HIGH as a kite once we’d finished. Mr confidence was ripping out all the punky one liners and dancing up a little happy storm. Who would ever know there was a Vicklet tornado this morning?

crazy hair day

Then outcomes Vicklet no. 2. Aka Baby Vick in his usual cool hair scenario (he doesn’t need to try) wearing a bow tie because.why.the.hell.not? Dolled up in his best for daycare no less.

crazy hair day 3So it was a case of hipster vs punk this morning in our household. Chalk and cheese right there which sums up these brothers in a nutter shell.

crazy hair day 4Whilst the Vicklets are looking like mini Vogue fashionistas I’m slouching about with not even my face washed. Totally an isolated incident of course (cough).

Are you breeding some seriously cool kidlets?

Do you have a chalk and cheese pair in your household?

Totally I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT. You should head over for some great Tuesdee reads!

Playing Daddy

November 12, 2015 by Vicki

Mr Vick first spoke to me about his need for a holiday by himself some weeks back. Sure, like we all need that don’t we? That’s what went through my mind initially and then I thought, hang on, I need to listen here.

Mr Vick explained his need to recharge and reboot. To have the time and space to breath and think, uninterrupted. To take up a challenge and experience the exhilaration of success once completed. He needed a win. He needed something besides work and hardship. As a wife, this is something I could grant him easily. He just needed my a-okay.

Having one of us go away right now is absurd. Completely coco bonkers! Our house is a circus shambles with Vicklet mania coming out our ears. We have a four month old waking every two hours throughout the night for boobing action, a mischievous two year old who I’m not yet convinced wont be a psychopath and an emotional five year old going through school transition that would rival Shannon Doherty any day. Trust me, it’s not a good time to be taking a holiday. But I had to let him go.

And go my Bear Grylls husbando did. He caught a bus and was dropped off at The 12 Apostles along The Great Ocean Road. He gave himself five days to hike 100 kilometers along the coast back to Apollo Bay (it’s recommended to take eight days to complete it). This is what is known as The Great Ocean Walk. It’s no stroll up the street. It’s rough and wet and labour-some and dirty and there’s snakes and all kinds of scary shit. It’s not everyone’s cup of holiday tea but after an attempt last year (he arrived home three days early limping) Mr Vick wanted to go a second round and win.

For us at home it was tricky. We couldn’t really contact him. Phone coverage and battery was limited so our communications were kept to a bare minimum. Are you alive still? kinda material. We occasionally got this kinda text too:

IMG_4394(1)For me, it was a big ask. I had to really step up and hold the fort from an already very exhausted place. I have been only just holding my head above the water so this extra bit of pressure and demand seemed formidable for my already hurting, slow functioning brain but with Mr Vick’s usual crazy work and study commitments I’ve grown used of parenting for chunks on my own. I was optimistic that I could continue to achieve my 100% success rate of not killing anyone.

Well….my clear reputation was so very close to being compromised. See, what put a real spanner in the happy home works was the Vicklets went and got themselves all ferraly sick the instant Mr Vick fled. Coughing and spluttering their way through the nights and demanding my all ALL night. Most nights I was up more than I was down. I thought I was doing alright if I achieved four broken hours of sleep. This is the epitome of misery in my books. The days were long, like gastronomically long. My brain was a mess. My parenting was less than desirable. I was monster. A MONSTER. I hated myself. The kids forgave me but. I wondered why I had let Mr Vick go and in truth there were many people who questioned why he had gone too. It miffed me a bit ‘cos people assumed it was as if this was a wild and spontaneous moment of abandonment which left me in the lurch. Like as if he didn’t discuss it with me and get me on board. Selfishness is just not his thing.

I’ve told everyone who showed their dismay the same thing.

It’s not all about the mother.

Parenting is a tough gig. Like, no shit Sherlock! It’s ugly and here we share that, through and through. Sure, I have some extra pressure being head boober (maybe even the only one) but Mr Vick is one of the most hands on daddyo that I know. He works incredibly hard to provide, to study and inevitably create future change, he travels a bit, misses out on lots of sleep, doesn’t get to do many fun social things yet when he’s home he is a warm, nurturing, fun, wiping the bums kinda Dad. He often cooks, he often does house work, he does all the handy jobs, listens to my gripes, provides hugs of encouragement and fills in all the gaps where I can’t. Never does he complain about it or question his responsibilities. He’s pretty ace when I consider it because what a real gauntlet of obligation that he runs and hello, what a freakin’ FULL LOAD (I’m tired just typing it all).

It is no less or greater than a mothers of course. Sure, it’s different but it still can be all consuming and demanding. It can still be exhausting and confronting and overwhelming. So when my man comes to me and says I need to have a break I owed it to him to listen to him. One: because he’s a human being and all humans deserve to be heard and validated and have their needs met. Two: because we are a team and I know if I said the same thing to him he would not even blink at taking on the running of the entire household including the care of I-love-to-boob-a-lot-Baby Mango for a week and three: because it’s not all about the mother. Fathers get burnt out and have needs too.

Mr Vick has often pointed out to me that adjusting to and coping with parenthood is a taxing process for a father as well as a mother and that there is a flooding of support groups and networks for mothers but very little for a father. It’s a valid point.

Self care is continually encouraged for mothers, why not Dads too? Why do men have to keep up the tough facade and just trudge through for like, ever?

So Mr Vick went and he won. He completed the entire 100 kilometers in just over three days. THREE DAYS! What a hiking freak show!! He came back sore and tired but he reported that he had the ‘best time’. I can’t remember hearing him say that for a very long time and I can sense a streak of adventure and accomplishment that wasn’t there before. I think they are both important qualities to have embedded in our men. Surely they need them at their roots so they can be brilliant all round and do all the awesome things for us? For this reason, isn’t it wise to invest in our baby daddy’s?

For those who still think I was bat shite crazy to have let him go, because quite frankly, I am wrecked (bravo single mums! You’re my hero!) just know that I am crewing up leave which will be taken as I see fit. Except mine wont be some grotty bush bashing pilgrimage, mine will totally be a pilgrimage to Spain. Or Greece. Or Bora Bora or somewhere revoltingly amazing. Take my word.

What’s your stance on Daddy leave?

Would you have let Mr Vick depart?

Not Just A Garden Bench…. GIVEAWAY!

November 11, 2015 by Vicki

Something you might not know about me is that I live with my husband, three Vicklets and my big bouncy dog all in a smallish apartment and backyard. It’s hectic. The perks of having a student husband, one could say.

Storage is always on my mind. How can I make our existence in a compact space manageable? How can I get the most out of the small spaces in my life? How can I find little pockets to breathe in?

Right now, we aren’t in a position to upgrade into a bigger home to accommodate all of the kids and all of their things and boyo, there is a lotta things. Think stuff, everywhere.

Organisation has become a little obsession of mine. I like to think I am mastering it, or at least getting on top of all the things. I am determined to be smart and make this Mother Hubbard home of ours more livable. I’m doing all the Pinterest-ing to knock off all the storage geek ways.

I have been searching and investing in some smart storage items for right around the apartment, in and out. Even our backyard is over run with Vicklets things.

What are you supposed to do with all the outdoorsy toys? We’ve got balls, sandpit toys, water pistols, diggers, cricket bats, the works. They don’t belong inside and we certainly can’t fit them in our already jam packets garage. For a long time I asked at the Vicklets to pack up their toys outside and they’d ask me, ‘but where do they live?’ and I had no answer.

For months, maybe years even, I have sat looking out at the toys clutter up the grass and slowly deteriorate from the suns rays and eventually become so brittle they break. It’s wasteful and messy. Don’t even get me started on how the mess makes me feel when I look at it. I’ve spent my entire life putting my blinkers on and ignoring it all because it makes my Ms Organised wanna scream. I just couldn’t come up with a storage solution for this part of our home.

1-DSC_0996Then, my online breast feeding browsing paid off. As it always does. See, there is such a thing that was designed to help me and it combines practicality with leisure.

I introduce to you the seat of magnificence:

1-DSC_1019{Our backyard is mostly jungle style}

A wooden garden storage bench to be exact but it’s magnificence is in making all the toys invisible! A double wonderful!

1-DSC_1011It’s a pretty storage system don’t you think? Not that you would ever know about it’s storage capabilities upon initial sighting.1-DSC_1012

1-DSC_1015The underneath box which is accessible by simply lifting the seat up, is deep enough to fit a fair stack  of stuff and remember it’s all about hiding the STUFF. I’m sure not everyone would need to hide toys but maybe sports equipment, gardening tools, wine stashes….

1-DSC_1053It was an easy home assemble job that Mr Vick attended to and it arrived most swiftly upon ordering from Crazy Sales which is kinda ideal for those last minute ideas for Christmas which is just around the corner now, let’s not deny it. In fact the range is staggering on Crazy Sales.

So I have my outdoor storage sorted and we’ve also found a little pocket to just breath in.

1-DSC_1056Mr Vick and I quite fancy the idea of sharing a beverage together on the seat over the warmer months as we watch the Vicklets busy themselves in the sandpit. Sounds darling doesn’t it?

Now I just have to find something to pick the dog poo up for me and we’re set!


Thanks to Crazy Sales one lucky Knocked Up & Abroad reader will win one of these wooden garden storage benches valued at $199.95 all for themselves. To enter you must write in the comments section below about what you would store inside the bench? Remember this is a game of creative skill, not a game of chance. The answer which is deemed the most authentic and interesting by mwah will win. Australian residences only. The competition will close at 8pm (AEST) on Wednesday 25th of November and a winner will be announced via the Knocked Up & Abroad Facebook page. Good luck storage lovers!

****Please note there was no cash exchanged for this post.The seat was gifted in order for me to write this review. All oppinions are 100% my own, coolio?****

The Tiny Little Shifts > 4 Month Old Baby Mango

November 3, 2015 by Vicki

4 months oldThere are tiny little shifts in this tiny little person which are inching him further and further away from being a fresh kidlet on the block.

Now that he has completed the obligatory forth trimester adjusting into our world, he is developing at a rapid pace right before our eyes.

His little hands are becoming quite a curiosity for Baby Mango. He knows he can grab onto things and clasp them tight, including boobs with scratchy nails (yoooouch!), but the control of deciding what he wants to grab and moving his hand to it is still all in practice. He is getting more agile as the days go by and I know it will be only a matter of time before he is clutching a rattle or grabbing hand fulls of my hair.

I’ve realised that the way I hold him is changing. Once I would cradle him across my body permanently in a feeding like position, now we have him upright virtually full time because his neck is showing superstar strength and again we’re inching away from that small vulnerable baby.

Golly, we’re enjoying him. Little Vick who has to be the most adoring brother, just said to me “isn’t our baby a sweetheart? He’s such a good baby”. He’s hit the donger on the head. We’re all smitten.

I feel completely blessed to have been served up a sweet one. He radiates smiles at us for just about anything. Life is simply lovely in his eyes and through him we too are reminded of this and take a slice of that joy. It’s so refreshing.

1-DSC_0890-001The little conversations are adorable. He rates a real chin wag and I really rate taking little moments to just stare at him and converse. We make noises at one another back and forward like two monkeys hangin’. He thinks we’re saving the world I’m sure of it.

The breast feeding is still going strong. No hope of giving that up anytime soon, not that I have any intentions to. Night times are still unpredictable and no real set pattern seems to be emerging. This week he has regressed back to newborn hours through the night with feeds every two hours. You could say I’m pretty tired.

I sometimes consider getting stricter with a routine but I’m struggling to find a consistent rhythm to this life with three kids so I can never quite get that control in our days. For the most part I am happy to be at Mango’s mercy. To provide as he needs. It’s must be mostly frustrating for those around us as we figure out these needs from moment to moment and leave everyone else waiting. It’s so very hard to ever plan too much in advance or make a date time because chances are we will be late, but I don’t really care. I’m just working to the beat of my children.

We still have this little guy in our room with us which is an unprecedented record. Babies are deceivingly noisy sleepers as I’m sure many of you are aware of.  Little Vick was out at 8 weeks old into his own room, and Baby Vick otherwise known as Darth Vador couldn’t stay a night longer passed 6 weeks and here we are with Mango at nearly 19 weeks sleeping in his bassinet right beside with all the peace in the world. He’s virtually the Dalai Lama this kid.

Witching hour has become smoother too because Mango doesn’t go into hysteria mode and he wakes with a smile rather than screaming in desperation for a feed straight away. All the little shifts.

Perhaps the biggest development is that he is rolling!! Holy fire trucks! He started this business last month which feels early. Does it or does it not? I can’t tell what’s premature and what’s me just clutching onto my last baby anymore. Rolling 4 months old

If that isn’t enough, there is a new stage almost upon us which is being whispered by the maternal health nurse and those around us! Food! He will eat! Sweet baby cheeses!

I think this is one of my favorite baby stages. What’s yours?

Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT. Head over for some great Tuesday reading.

The One About Pretty Birth Announcement Cards…

October 30, 2015 by Vicki

There’s nothing nicer than getting a fancy birth announcement in the post is there? That is why I set about making the loveliest of lovely announcement cards that can also double up as thank yous. I wanted some that screamed sophistication plus all the cuteness that ever was. I want peoples ovaries to practically start rumbling when they see the creation. Nothing less.

First I had to have the perfect shot of Baby Mango taken to feature on the card. Most mothers would have had newborn shots taken within the first couple of weeks of their new babes life. In my case, as if. I was in the foggy baby lah lah land real deep. The shock of being a mother to three meant there was no hope in hoollies that there would be a photo shoot other than a few snaps for Instagram.

So, with Mango on the verge of toddlerhood (okay, maybe nine weeks old). I called in the big guns. Louise from Mugshot Photos popped around for a little paparazzi session. She has taken some of my pregnancy and family snaps before and nailed it so I knew she was the lady for the job.

We had restricted time to begin with but what we didn’t bank on was Mango waking up and not being coolio with having his photo taken. How can this be one of my children? He pulled the I’m-too-cool-to-smile-this-morning stunt. In fact he squirmed and frowned ninty seven percent of the time until he full on cracked it toddler style and demanded to be returned back to bed. Not his usual groove I have to say. Additionally whilst this was all happening the bigger Vicklets were doing their best photo bombing getting in three out of every five photos taken. This was fine material for the makings of a good farce.

I guess this is why they say you should take a newborn shoot in the first two weeks of their life because they behave. Albeit it’s mostly because they sleep and generally look blissfully angelic. It should also be noted to never invite toddlers who are not going to be apart of the photo shoot. Never ever. They are no use to anyone.

Fortunately finding the online site to create and print the cards was drama free in comparison. I discovered Minted which has the prettiest things you ever did see from cards to art prints to cushions. It is spunky and quality. I could smell that quality a mile off. Real quality. I love zee quality.

Did I mention quality?


But. Oh. My. Gawd. There is a gazillion options of quality to marvel over and consider. Talk about all the stationary pretty! Look at these. How was I ever going to decide???

Untitled designUntitled design

I spent hours playing around with creative options. Of course the templates are all very easy to use so you could have something whipped up in a jiffy. Deciding which one to actually go with has been nothing short of painful because, big world issues!

birth announcement 1But after many deep breathes and many annoying questions to a careless Mr Vick about this font option or that, I had myself a beauty. Despite the awesome colours and designs that pop, I went with dramatic greys. Classic ya know?

This is what I’m talking about


1-DSC_0930He was clearly going for the dramatic dreamboat eyes look. Smiling is so out anyway.

1-DSC_0920The little details, ya know, that’s what I’m all about.

1-DSC_0918I’ve had a little writing station set up these last few days. Okay, well more like the last two weeks, writing thank yous and notes when a slither of time pops up or when I think of someone who I know I need to thank.

1-DSC_0923So look out ladies, if you get one of these in your mail box soon you’re uterus might just start a shakin’.

**** GIVEAWAY****

In order to celebrate quality printing goods and stationary pretties, Minted has kindly offered to give away a $50 gift voucher for one Knocked Up & Abroad reader.

To enter all you need to do is visit the Minted website and tell me how you would spend your voucher in the comments below. Remember this competition is not random but rather a game of skill. The response deemed the most original and interesting by mwah, will win. This competition is only open to Australian residents and will be drawn at 8pm (AEST) on Thursday 19th of November via the Knocked Up & Abroad Facebook page.

Good luck!

****{Please note no funds were exchanged for this post but the cards were gifted in order for me to review the product. All opinions are my own}****

A Birth Story – The Delivery of Baby Mango – Part Two

October 23, 2015 by Vicki

{If you missed the first part of this birth story you can catch up here}

Between deciding to go to the hospital and it actually eventuating it felt like an eternity, to me anyway. Mr Vick pottered and meandered about the house. Sure he was packing the final few things needed, but he was also going to and fro and doing things like brushing his teeth. I was flabbergasted about that. Strangers were about to see my lower regions in all her birthing glory, but he would have minty breath.

The conversation with the midwife via the telephone just prior was more lengthy than I imagined as she tried to evaluate my progress verbally. There was confusion because the contractions were somewhat irregular. Sometimes they would be three minutes apart and the next a minute and a half. Likewise some arrived with real potency which silenced me mid sentence, as one would expect during active labour, and others were more manageable and I was able to speak right through them. The midwife seemed skeptical about my need to go in and came across as quite condescending when she relented and warned that I might be sent home if it wasn’t for real. This comment irritated me beyond belief. Of course I knew this was no warm up.

The car trip was notoriously unpleasant. I barked at Mr Vick for driving too fast, taking the corners too sharply and generally being a reckless driver. He assured me that he was doing no such things. We pulled up out the front of the hospital where I had to walk through a crowd of people leaving after visiting hours. I stopped and breathed through my contracts and waddled my way in as two or three woman passing by wished me luck or chipped in a “poor thing” type comment. I was mortified that I was on public view at that private moment and that people felt the need to aknowelege my state. I made a note to myself never to feel obliged to do the same to another poor birthing soul if I was presented with the same situation.

The midwives exchanged pleasantries upon arrival of which I mostly ignored as I sussed out the room where I would birth. It would do. They tried to get some back ground information from Mr Vick and watched me very closely, still uncertain how advanced I was. For me, I was at the pinnacle of my anxiety. The worry about getting into the hospital and then having an overwhelming feeling of frustration about not being able to get comfortable was grating on me. I didn’t know how to place my body to make it easier for myself. A few rounds of contractions like this and I launched into my speech which I had rehearsed somewhat in my head but hadn’t really wanted to use unless it was crucial. Despite all my preparation for a natural, calm birth I felt a crisis of confidence unraveling.

I informed the midwives that I had done the natural thing, that I knew I could do it but this time I would like to have an epidural. I exclaimed about how tired I was and harped on about the dreadful never ending lurgy that I had had at 38 weeks and how it drained the life out of me so I was going to take the easier road. Do what I needed to to make my experience less taxing. I finished off by saying that I was not one of those crazy ranting ladies in labour, that this was a legit request following substantial consideration. I’m pretty sure they could see right through this statement.

Mr Vick tells me that as soon as I started talking about not being a crazy ranting woman in labour, that was the exact moment that I became one. Likewise, that was the moment the midwives seriously started believing I was in fully active labour. Crazy lady antics are a dead giveaway. Of course they gave me an unsatisfying answer about monitoring and observing me for another thirty minutes before discussing and epidural further. I was abhorred. 30 minutes? I didn’t want to be in labour for another 30 minutes!

More contractions and more distress.  I needed to know if I was going to get an epidural or if I had to really focus my mind and get my tough mudda on to do it by myself. I asked them to give me an internal examination to see how advanced I was in this labouring game because I wanted to know. The midwives took a look and were surprised to discover I was 8-9cm’s dilated!! They celebrated, I cursed. I was irritated that my epidural experience was not to be yet at yet at the same time I felt a smugness about being very much in active labour despite the midwives doubting me.

From there I completely transformed. I went from being outwardly aware and expressive to quiet and inwardly focused. I transcended into calm birthing mode automatically when presented with little other option. I would not be calling upon other pain relief options because I had tried them in my first labour and found them ineffective and unpleasant.

I lay on my side on the bed breathing through each wave of contractions which remained frequent but I was no longer timing them. On the onset of each one I gripped onto the side bars for support as it was my instinct to try and focus the pain into my grip and extend it out of my body. This need has been present through all three of my labours and so I certainly understood it and followed my bodies cues. I came to rely on those bars, they were my security and coping mechanism as was my husband. Mr Vick lay on his side behind me on the bed whispering closely a few words of encouragement in my ear when he felt I needed the strength. I felt comforted having him so close and for his quiet presence willing me through each wave. We lingered here for some time as I kept my eyes closed almost feeling groggy from the endorphins swimming around my body doing their work. I used the time between contractions to rest and conserve my energy ready for the next wave.

As the baby moved down I felt more pressure in my hips and lower back. I remembered a trick we used in my previous births of having Mr Vick squeeze my hips through a contraction to take away some of the pressure. Such a simple thing yet again a huge help in managing the overwhelming sensations rocking my body.

The only time I spoke was to tell Mr Vick when the onset of a contraction was, to advise him how to adjust his grip around my hips and to ask the midwife how much longer she thought I had to endure this experience. This is something I have done in every labour. I insist on being told how much longer I have to go, as if they can foresee and provide the answer. I asked half a dozen times through this labour again. If only I could know so I could prepare myself mentally for how long the marathon is exactly.

I recall a midwife coming in and asking if she should run the bath for me. I had wanted to labour in the bath during my first labour but wasn’t able to due to being monitored, nor did it happen with my second and yet here I was with the possibility and I felt nervous. I was uneasy about leaving my bed, my security blanket, where I had learned to cope and manage. What if I moved and found myself in a state of complete anxiety where I felt I couldn’t cope? Having a labouring melt down was preciously what I wanted to avoid. Despite expressing this concern they decided to run the water anyway.

When the bath was full a decision had to be made and quick it had to be before I had the urge to push. My team encouraged me to overcome my apprehension. They felt this would be the most nurturing experience for me and in return I decided to trust them. So they helped me onto my feet (no easy task) and we made the journey down to the bath room.

It’s strange how we have such little idea about how a room will become etched into our memories forever and become apart of our life stories. That room was the dark peaceful place where I would meet my Baby Mango. I will think fondly of it forever.

I felt a sensation of relief wash over me when I first sat in the warm water. It was goooood. It was virtually Nirvana in fact, at least until the next contraction arrived. I lay there as the midwife and student midwife continually checked the water temperature and altered it accordingly so it always sat at 37 degrees. Their dedication was impressive. In a strange way I felt pampered.

I still had the desire to grip onto something with each contraction. This was a little harder in the bath with no bars just slippery walls, so Mr Vick’s arms replaced them and with each wave I would grip on with great might. He absorbed the pain and reminded me to “breath it out, just breath it all out” with each round of pain. Those were exactly the right words I needed to hear. I responded by breathing deeply out my mouth and flushing that pain away. If it was a real shocker of a contraction Mr Vick would remind me of what I needed to do and I would refocus myself back to my task and set my anxiety at bay. As long as I was breathing, I was winning. As long as I had Mr Vick’s gentle voice reminding me, I was winning.

Kudos to Mr Vick for having the right approach. For not saying too much or not saying too little but rather having words that gave me something really practical to focus on and fit perfectly with my calm birthing tactics. I don’t know how he knew what to say but I was grateful for it. We were working so beautifully as a team. His hands were touching me continuously giving me such a strong sense of connection and strength. I was surprised by how bonding and binding this labour was for us. I felt like I was in a little bubble of love. It was such an unexpected bonus.

The midwife watched on and didn’t intercept so it was a relatively private experience. My focus was purely on my baby and my husband. 1-1-DSC_0043I rarely engaged in conversation. I zoned out and visualised my baby and I working as one with each contraction. As I had rehearsed in preparation, I pictured Mango tucking his head down in a perfect position for engagement and then moving down the birthing canal. I visualised him kicking off the walls of my uterus with each contraction pushing his head downwards in order to make good progress. I asked for each contraction to be effective and to advance us closer to meeting one another. I trusted that all of this was so. I trusted in the power of positive thought.

My body had found a place of relaxation in that bath. The anxiety I had felt upon arriving at hospital had all but washed away. I was fully immersed in the job I was doing. In fact I was so relaxed it felt like the contractions had started to ease somewhat. I started coming out of my daydream state asking why they were slowing down. The clock above the bath didn’t help. Why they put one in view of a labouring woman I do not know. Not only were the contractions slowing down but they’d returned to irregular strengths like in the earlier stages. Some of them where mind blowingly intense and others kinder. My own expectations where telling me that they should just be on the increase in strength and frequency towards the climax. In my mind there were greater rest periods in between the contractions which is precisely what I had asked for during hypnosis, yet I felt slightly unnerved by it. Perhaps I feared it all coming to an abrupt halt or something but my midwife reassured me that I was still having four strong contractions within a ten minute bracket. She couldn’t ask for anything more.

1-DSC_0040-001Eventually I came to a realisation that there had been a shift in my body. The contractions were no longer pressing into my lower back and hips but rather I would feel a slight pushing urge towards the end of the contraction. I was unsure if that’s what I should be focusing on or not. I didn’t want to be pushing too early and causing swelling to my cervix or any horrors like that. The contractions were half way between both stages. I would have to breathe through the onset and then heave with my body pushing downwards by the end. The midwife told me to trust my bodies urges, that eventually the urge to push will overwhelm me entirely.

She was right. I turned my body around so I was on all fours and facing Mr Vick for this final stage.

1-DSC_0044This was my power position. I meant business. I was so close to having this all over and holding Mango tightly in my clutches and I couldn’t wait. Yet as the baby moved lower, a moment of fear flickered inside of me. There is nothing like that burn as your babies head enters the world. I looked to Mr Vick and asked him almost child like, for some courage. No further word was spoken, he just stared into my eyes with a quiet confidence. His belief never more apparent.

1-DSC_0049That was enough for me to get on with what I needed to do. I’m no dainty pusher so I gripped onto Mr Vick’s arms again for strength and went for it. I got verbal in a big way to assist my efforts. I feels better that way. I recall looking at the clock at 11.40pm and wondering if I could push Mango out before midnight as it was my nieces birthday after twelve.

1-DSC_0052I pushed for a while. Who knows how long? I was no longer facing the clock. I felt the baby moving down further and further in the birthing canal and this time I was brave enough to put my hand between my legs to evaluate myself to see how much progress we were making. I recall telling the midwife who had been mostly on the sidelines for the entire process, that the babies head was almost ready to be born which sent her in a flap as she quickly got towels ready and her gloves on.

The end is always quick for me. I don’t like the sensation of panting and waiting whilst I have a small human hanging half in, half out.

I summoned all my courage and with each push allowed my body to open for Mango to find his entrance. I did my best to ignore the overwhelming burning sensation which just gave me even more motivation to keep pushing to the end.

And then he was here.

He glided out of my body into the water of that bath in that dark peaceful room and he was with us. I exhaled with a sense of relief like only a woman who survives birth can know. I would never have to do that again. It was over. That is exactly what ran through my head.

The midwife quickly reminded me that I needed to pick my baby up, who was sitting on the bottom of the bath waiting to be born out of the water so he could take his first breath. I felt clumsy because I was shaky and he was slippery so Mr Vick leaned over and together we both held him up as he entered the outside world full of air. That was a beautiful beautiful thing. Doing that together and sealing the sense of union and team work that we had promoted and shared from start to now finish throughout the entire process. It was one of those moments that will touch me for a life time.

We both raised up our third son out of the water and welcomed him into the world and our arms. If I was ever going to cry when one of my babies arrived it would have been then and there but I was still in such a state of shock that I’d actually done it again, that I just internalised the treasured feeling.

Somehow with my shaky legs I was able to get out of the bath carrying Mango and laid down on the little makeshift bed they’d made of towels and pillows on the ground next to the bath. I would deliver the placenta here but more importantly I got to inspect my new son. All I could say was ‘hey little man’ over and over. The mix of relief, exhilaration, pride, joy, excitement bubbled me down to just those few simple words.

So at 12.20am on the 26th of June, a shared birthday with my niece, August (Augie) Quinn arrived weighing 9lb 95oz. Healthy and ready to rock this life thing.


Do you recall you first moments with your baby?

Was your husband actively involved in your birth?

Did you cry when your baby was born?

A Birth Story: The Delivery of Baby Mango – Part One

October 13, 2015 by Vicki

I coached my body in anticipation  for my third labour. Not through books and classes but through hypnosis and acupuncture. I attempted to strengthen my mind and ready my body for the event that is child birth. Regardless of my preparation and the fact that this was my third birth, I still felt a heightened sense of emotion about it. I was ready yet I dreaded it. There was fear in the mix too. I grappled with my mind constantly as it flicked between feeling strong and fully freaked out. I constantly reprimanded myself for the negative thoughts when they appeared. I wanted to promote strength but sometimes I felt like a fraud because all I felt was fear.

You can read about my previous births here, here and here. All I wanted for my third labour was for it to be spontaneous and to not require a medical induction as I had the two previous times. I had six weeks worth of acupuncture to avoid that scenario and yet eight days post dates I found myself talking with an obstetrician about being induced, again. Despite Baby Mango being completely content as a womb dweller the doctor wanted to evict the little guy two days later. I was bothered by this because I wanted more time and I proceeded to bargain for it.

In the mean time we decided an internal examination might tell us more about my bodies progress. I was ecstatic when I was told I was three centimeters dilated already. I mean, I hadn’t had any ouchy business to get there. Together with a stretch and sweep, we were confident I would go into labour before my scheduled induction in the decided four days time.

I went home and into “I can do this” overdrive. I had a surge of energy and increase in confidence about going into labour. I wanted to help it along so I walked, I bounced on my medicine ball, I ate curry and I performed my wifely duties. Then I waited.

That night before I went to bed I was pleased to discover my mucus plug coming away. I was so happy with myself. My body was doing what I had been priming it to do. I was going to get my wish.

Of course it wasn’t instant. I went to bed with a few Braxton Hicks like many other nights to no avail. The next day more bloody show and I announced to Mr Vick I would be having a baby any hour now.

I continued with my day as usual and really the time ticked away because, kids. Mr Vick the good husband he is took those said kids out for the afternoon because he clearly felt sorry for me. I was quick to find my place in bed and re-commenced an Orange Is The New Black marathon.

At about 3.30pm it slowly dawned on me that I was having Braxton Hicks contractions. Nothing that abnormal about that so I watched on allowing the time to pass before I registered that they were still there. They felt irregular and short lived but I decided to time them to confirm if they were possibly anything more. To my surprise every ten minutes a wave of cramps would arrive and last for about forty seconds. It very casually dawned on me, that I was in labour. After all the build up, this realisation felt very calm and I didn’t feel scared.

I continued my telly marathon paying little attention to what my body needed to do. I kept timing the contractions frequency and watched as they started to closen in to about eight minutes. I got an urge to get busy. I decided the pinching that I was feeling was going to be best dealt with through denial. The I’m very busy kinda denial. I headed for the kitchen and decided that if I was going to have to go into hospital at some point that afternoon or evening, the boys would still show no mercy and demand dinner. My cooking motivation had been missing in action for the past month or so. I had been going to great lengths to boycott the kitchen and yet here I was, in labour, and cooking up the most precisely made, awesome casserole you ever did taste. Mr Vick is still chuckles about that.

Mr Vick arrived home and took one look at me and exclaimed that I had to be in labour. Seems I had a particular kind of waddle that gave me away. In an effort to continue keeping busy we set off down to our community garden where Mr Vick and the kids were to attend to our chooks whilst I did some laps of the field. His motto for me was to walk the baby out. Sure. Thing. Mr. I took three steps before I abruptly stopped and said leisurely walking was done with. The fresh air seemed to up the anti with the contractions because I started to need to stop and concentrate on my breath through each wave. I started pacing in the middle of the paddock, as darkness fell.

I called my sister in law who would be looking after the Vicklets and told her to stand by it was all “action stations”. I actually used those words. Thanks Fireman Sam.

We returned home. The chooks were happy. I on the other hand felt distracted as the boys sat up for casserole greatness and I explained to Mr Vick I would be retreating to our bedroom. No casserole for me. I felt an instinctual need to isolate myself away from the noise and chaos that naturally is our home. I needed to just hone into my body and not deal with the Vicklets antics. I closed our bedroom door and took a deep breath knowing what was realistically ahead and it was then that I decided I wanted to hold out until the boys were in bed before I made my way to the hospital. I didn’t want to disturb their evening routine and create worry. See, those boys are always my priority even in the throws of labour. Baby Mango was already having to compromise for his brothers.

When I tried to watch more episodes of Orange Is The New Black it became clear denial wasn’t going to work for much longer. I kept spying on the clock as the contractions narrowed into every five minutes and my concentration shifted more and more from the screen to each wave which were having a stronger effect on me. I focused on taking deep rhythmic breathes, deeper than I have ever drawn before to get my through and at the same time with each inhale I dug deep for courage. Deep down I trusted I would be okay but all I wanted was a pleasant birthing experience that wouldn’t be too emotionally grueling or traumatising.

Despite moans escaping my lips, the Vicklets stayed out of that room. I don’t know how. Those little nosy parkers must have known there was some funny woman’s business going on because they went to bed without a single visit to me. I was pleased for it too. That room was my own private birthing space where it was just me and my baby trying to go through the compulsory waves in order to meet one another. I spoke to him, encouraging him to prepare himself into the ideal position and to do all the right things to make the birth run smoothly and complicated free. I focused on the idea of us being a team together though the journey.

Despite all this I started to feel more anxious as my contractions wavered from five to three minutes. Some waves would come with full force in my back and I would double over in pain. My mind would take a punch too and I fought to keep control of my thoughts which wanted to slip away from me into panic mode and deliver all sorts of unkind words. I kept talking to myself. I had to win this battle. I could do this. I was doing it. My experience gave me confidence to reassure myself and keep the fear and panic mostly at bay.

1-DSC_0040I was surprised when the contractions quickly went from every five minutes to every two to three. This labour was progressing with gusto. My anxiety increased because I knew I needed to get to hospital. I had no idea how far along I was or how quickly it would be before I needed to push. I had not laboured by my own natural devices before so we were all a bit clueless about how it would unfold.

At 7.30pm, with the Vicklets in bed, I told Mr Vick to call the hospital. We were going to have a baby.

Stay tuned for the final installment later in the week!!!

Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

The Mummy Emergency Kit

October 10, 2015 by Vicki

Just a quickie today to bring you something a little bit wonderful that arrived in my mail box last week.

Remember my call-the-wahhhhhmbulance-I’m-so-tired-post a couple of weeks back? Okay, it may not have been called that exactly but you can read it here or accept my heavily paraphrased summery. Two lovely lovely things came out of that moment of honesty.

First a gorgeous reader and friend, Carlie, arrived at my doorstep with her warm smile as she handed me a homemade (HOME MADE) chicken pie and some fancy caramel/chocolate/mothersdream slice together with a beautiful letter that reminded me that the sisterhood gets it. That she too remembers her mombie struggles not all that long ago. My little heart burst with gratitude that someone took the time and put so much effort in to reach out when they clearly didn’t have to.

THEN. Later in the week a large box arrived on our doorstep. Now I love mail at the best of times but something titled “Mother Emergency Kit” brings all kind of joy and anticipation.

DSC_0793Squeeeee! It was Christmas! Such things are usually for the Vicklets but here was half a dozen parcels all for ME to unwrap. This concept alone brought me all kinds of kiddy delight.

DSC_0795Each parcel had a note with a poignant message. Um, effort in abundance here clearly.

DSC_0797What was in them you might say? There were all kinds of pretty, relaxing, girly delights.

DSC_0810I feel like Lizzie the Queen sipping out of this beautiful tea cup and somehow it was known that I’ve always wanted to grow Sunflowers. Game on.

DSC_0812 And I can be #trending with the rest of the crew with this colouring in book which I totally get a bit OCD with and addicted to. It’s also always nice to flick through the pages of my old friend Frankie magazine and hello! Kit Kat! (which incidentally lasted all of 7 minutes in my clutches).

DSC_0811There were also teas and coffee, Tim Tams and socks and gifts for the kids to give me “10 minutes of peace”. These items were all designed to give me a break, some me time and for me to have something for myself.

Boom! It all got me right in the heart. I felt all the feels.

I never knew someone could be so kind to a stranger. Sure, it’s a box of simple things but as a result it has had a big impact.

I say stranger loosely too because Bree from Twinkle In The Eye, who was the greatness behind this box of goodness, has been an online friend for a couple of years. We’ve shared our parenting frustrations, our contemplation about having third babies (come on Bree!!!) and a few other natters in between but we have never met.

I got a bit chocked up when I sat back and looked at the contents of the emergency kit post opening. I mean, shit, the world is full of good people ain’t it? How blessed am I to have such warm embracing readers in this little bloggy community? It’s more than I could ask for.  The world can be a pretty brutal place but it can also be an embracing and caring one too. Little Mummy emergency kits are proof of it.

Golly guys. I’ve got a case of the sentimentals. That takes a bit.

It’s taught me a thing or two about kindness this whole thing. About making an effort regardless of the possibility of repayment and about making people feel special.

I’m going to make more of an effort to reach out. Touch individuals who need it. Think of others.

Thank you Bree and Carlie. Thank you for picking up a weary mombie and making me feel all the feels. All the good karma in the world to you both, you beautiful things.

Have you ever gone out of your way to help a mummy get through?

Have you done something special for a stranger?

Express Yourself Yo – GIVEAWAY!

October 2, 2015 by Vicki

I have been fortunate to breast feeding all three of my boys. I have fed them for a total of 38 months to date, and yes, I’m still going. That’s just over 3 years of my life boobing!

This third time around I am determined to introduce the bottle to my Baby Mango because, hello, sometimes a girl needs some freedom! Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing but it can also be like a ball and chain being on call 24/7.

Time out from the three Vicklets is imperative for me. Mummy fun time is part of our parenting plan and Mr Vick is a goodin’ and happy to step up daddy daycare regularly to make it happen. Admittedly we haven’t really started this again since Mango is such a fresh one but we’re on root to making it eventuate.

One way of feeling more comfortable about fleeing the nest will be if I express for Mango. Then he’s still getting all my breastfeeding super powers even when I’m not there in the real. Sure, there’s all the health benefits of breast milk but to be frank, the expressing business can be taxing and messy and just urgh!

I’m pretty lazy, see. I like convenience. I happen to think convenience is a mothers best friend. A gift to a girls sanity. So you can imagine how stoked I was when I was sent something that combines both convenience and boobing!

Check it:

1-DSC_0861Tommee Tippee has done something quite marvelous here. They’ve released this closer to nature Express and Go system to make life easy for boobin’ mumsies and I gotta say right off the bat, this is one of the best boobin’ accessory sets I’ve laid my… err… boobs on. And I don’t just lay my boobs on anything.

Someone has really been getting a full nights sleep over at closer to nature because this is clever. This entire system is simply easy and efficient. You pump into one of these nifty little bags and there it stays and is stored AND heated.

1-DSC_0828Might I add, you can use any of the leading branded breast pumps and the bag will attach and they have handy labels and I’m all about labels.

1-DSC_0819Once you’ve done your expressing into the bag which has been pre-steralised, you can put it away in this little bed for storage.

1-DSC_0844Up to twelve of your super powered milk bags can be stored in this case and it can go in either the fridge or the freezer. How handy is that? I’m thinking I might fill it and put it away in the freezer so I’ve got some serious leave passes. I imagine it could make life easier too if you’re working.

1-DSC_0845When it’s time to feed your little hungry person, the heating is a sinch. You just put your pouch of milk in this bottle warmer and hit a button. Even a foggy mombie like myself can manage this! Or better still, a husband (sorry husbands, we love you)!

1-DSC_0858I have always had fussy bubbas when it comes to drinking out of bottles. They seem temperature sensitive and we almost can never get it right. Sometimes they’re too cool, sometimes they’re a little warmer than they’d prefer but this beauty, this genius contraption, introduces consistency and serious ease. Since I’m a self confessed lazy one, I love the idea of not having to wait for water to heat up on the stove and no inconsistent heating in the microwave. It’s 100% heated through and the buttons make it easy to heat correctly depending on the amount of milk in the pouch. For me, there’s no going back.

The final step in the whole clever clogs set up is to clip the milk pouch into the plastic shield/bottle and screw in the teat and voila, dinner is served! No transferring the milk into a bottle and risking spillage which we all know is the WORST!

1-DSC_0832I’ve had a few friends pop in since I’ve been trialing this system and I’ve gotten carried away, flaunting it about giving demos galore. Even to one of my bloke mates. I’m sure it wasn’t quite what he was expecting from his visit but he seemed suitably impressed.

I don’t usually rave about expressing and accessories to match the task. I tend to shy away from them all, but I like this. It’s gotta be one of the most efficient ways to go from breast to bottle, for whatever reason it might be needed. It’s easy to find too, being sold at Big W, Babies R Us and Baby Bunting in this kit or as separate items.

The worst thing about the system being so user friendly is it might give Mr Vick ideas about him playing Mummsy and me returning back to work sooner! Ha! Sucker!

We all love a little competition so I’m excited to say that you could WIN some closer to nature boobin’ accessories and #ctnexpressyourself!


Thanks to Tommee Tippee, one Knocked Up & Abroad reader will win a Breast Milk Starter Kit worth $44.99 to give it a burl themselves. The Breast Milk Starter Set contains everything you need to express, warm and feed including a breast pump adapter set, a breast milk pouch bottle with slow flow teat and 20 breast milk pouches.

To enter, tell me below in the comments section how the Tommee Tippee closer to nature Express & Go system will make your life easier?

Remember this is a game of skill, and the answer deemed most original and interesting by Vicki (me, yo!) will win. This is not a game of chance. So get your clever on. Competition is open to Australian residents only and will be drawn at 8pm (AEST) on Friday the 16th October and announced through the Knocked Up & Abroad Facebook page.

Good luck fellow boobers!

{No cash was exchanged for this post however the Express and Go system was gifted. All opinions expressed are my own}