Having a baby is a huge event and one that everyone will remember for the rest of their lives. A new little person is a highlight for families, friends, and relatives.
Also, it is super exciting when you have your first child or children in my case. And second, third and more kids are still exciting too!
I didn’t know much about birth before the birth of the twins, everyone asks if you have your birth plan, and I organised something for the big event. However, my plan never came to fruition as the babies came early and I ended up in a different hospital and babies in the NICU.
Each year Australia sees over 300,000 new bundles of joy enter the world.
One Born Every Minute Australia is a new show on Channel 10, it is based on the British version.
The show documents different couples and shows their unique experience having their first and subsequent children.
I had the pleasure to interview Alex and Chris that will be featured in episode 3 of One Born Every Minute Australia (airs 5th of Nov 2019).
Below are my questions for Alex and Chris
Q1. Firstly, congratulations on the birth of little girl Charli. I see that you had a C-Section with her. Did you have a C-Section with your little boy (Your first child)? If so, was there a reason that this had to happen?
A1. Thank you, Charli’s birth has made our little family complete. The birth of my first child resulted in an emergency caesarean. Although I had no problems dilating – I got to 8cm in a reasonable time and would have easily gotten to 10cm – I had a true case of CPD (Cephalopelvic disproportion) due to a small pelvis. I also had low amniotic fluid during my pregnancy and got an infection during birth probably due to the low fluid. All this resulted in an increased heart rate for my son and so an emergency c-section was required.
Q2. It doesn’t matter how you birth your child just as long as they are healthy and so are you. Do you think that you were more worried about having a C-Section than a natural birth?
A2. I was definitely more worried about having a C-section than natural birth. The emergency c-section was nerve-racking, especially after so many hours in labour and then hearing the word “emergency”. The elective C-section was just as scary though. It is major surgery and I had a hard time getting over the idea of being sliced open. I recovered fairly quickly after my first C-section and needed hardly any meds to get me through but I had heard that recovery second time around is a lot harder and boy were they right. I was in an immense amount of pain and was continually asking for top-ups of Endone and Targin.
Q3. Alex, I note that you mentioned you were worried about bonding with your little girl? I too was concerned about my third child but for other reasons; how my other children cope with a new baby? How will life work with 3 kids? I, however, struggled to bond with my third child and never thought that this would happen. I see that you didn’t have this issue, but it was a fear that never eventuated.
A3. Yes, I definitely had these fears. The whole idea of a c-section to me seemed clinical – picking my baby’s birth date seemed unnatural as opposed to letting her decide when she would enter this world. As I state on OBEM “it felt like I had ordered a baby and it was now ready for pick up”. I was concerned that what seemed like an unnatural process was going to affect my bond with my girl. The bond was there from the moment I laid eyes on her but the feeling of elation was more of a gradual build-up, I think mainly because everything was so planned out which detracted from the adrenalin and climax that usually happens during natural birth.
Q4. Many women take 3-6 months to bond with their new baby or subsequent children and it is a learning curve to understand the new person and dealing with schedules, other kids and everything that life demands. Did you have days where you did things that worked for your first child that didn’t work for your second?
A4. Oh yes, there were many things that worked for my first child that didn’t go to plan with my second. I soon discovered that both my children were very different. While I breastfed my son for a year (and would have gone longer however he weaned himself off as soon as I fell pregnant again), I had many breastfeeding issues with my daughter and could only manage for three months before I moved her on to formula. My son had sleep issues since birth – he catnapped during the day, would have to be held or fed to sleep and woke every two hours throughout the night up until the age of one. Whereas Charli does not like to be held to sleep, she likes to be placed in her cot and she will drift on her own. At 4 months old she only wakes once through the night for a feed. I remember in the early stages wondering why she was so fussy when I would try and rock her to sleep and after some months of persevering with this, I soon discovered that she is a very independent sleeper.
Q5. How is Chris your partner feeling with two kids now? Has he been a big help in the early days after you needed to take it easy after the C-Section?
A5. Life is chaotic, to say the least, downtime and sleep for us is now a thing of the past but our kids bring us so much joy and love. I am extremely lucky to have Chris as a partner. From the age of 17, he ventured out on his own to pursue an international soccer career and so became quite independent from a young age learning to cook and clean for himself. So my husband had no problem taking on household chores while recovering from my C-section and to be honest still does so today – getting a phone call from my husband while I’m out with the kids saying “I have just finished mopping the floor and cleaning the bathrooms, now I’m about to vacuum upstairs and unpack the dishwasher” is not a rarity in our household. Chris also has an incredible bond with our son he would take him off my hands the moment he would get home from work and on weekends so I could have time to rest and recover and bond with our girl.
Q6. Looking back at your life before kids and to now, is this what you had imagined your family would become. Personally, I only wanted one child first and then see how we go. I ended up having twins as my first kids and then we did it again to have our third. I never thought I would have three kids, but it feels like our family is complete now. Do you have the same thoughts or feelings?
A6. As a young adult, I did not want any children. As I got older that started to change. The birth of my nephew got me thinking differently as he bought me so much joy and the instant bond I had with my niece when she was born a few years later completely changed my views on motherhood. I knew I wanted children from that moment however I have to say that this is not how we imagined our family to be.
Our son is facing health issues with his pediatrician voicing serious concerns of Autism due to a speech regression and other multiple red flags indicating Autism. We have started him on a course of Speech Therapy and he will soon begin Occupational Therapy and Behavioural Therapy. In four months’ time, he will be assessed by a team of professionals who will make their diagnosis and determine how he has progressed with these therapies.
Before Charli was born, we had bought a new house which we renovated in order to turn it into a home for our children and we had dreams of road trips and holidays with our little family. Now we are discussing the possibility of selling our new home to fund the extremely expensive therapies needed for my son (in the range of 120k per year with the NDIS only funding up to 20k of that in our first year). Whilst most children can look forward to play dates, life for my son and our family will involve between 20-40 hours of therapy per week.
We had our own suspicions so the Autism concerns did not come as a shock, however his pediatrician voicing this was still a punch to the guts but we are taking it one day at a time and although family life is not what we expected it to be, we are pathing our own way for our unique family and will strive to give our children the best possible childhood and life we can.
Q7. How close in age are your children? Mine have a huge age gap, there is 8 years between the twins and my little boy.
A7. 1 year, 8 months!
Q8. Do you have any advice for women who are expecting their first, second or third children? What is your best tip that you think would really help someone?
A8. When I used to say “I’m not ready to have children” my sister would say “you will never be truly ready – you just take the plunge and make it up as you go”. I think that was honestly the best advice, it took the pressure off this idea of being the perfect mum and having everything together and most importantly, it took the fear and anxiety of “what the hell am I doing” away. There is no manual for parenting, you go through the trauma of childbirth and you are immediately handed a child who will forever be in your care and it is up to you to figure out their needs and wants as you go. Stop putting pressure on yourself to be the perfect parents and don’t be hard on yourself when things don’t go according to plan – as Chris and I have very well discovered, some things are just out of your control.
A huge thank you to Channel 10 and Alex and Chris for the interview and images.
Make sure to watch One Born Every Minute on Channel 10 every Tuesday or on catch up.
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