The Misunderstood Life Of A Blogger/Influencer.

So you want to be a blogger???

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I often have people asking me about how they can start their own successful blog. My first response will always be to ask them why they want to start one in the first place?

8/10 they will say because it looks like such a great lifestyle, and it is an easy way to get freebies and earn money. They want to quit their 9-5 and work from a coffee shop or the comfort of their own home.

If they were standing in front of me, instead of being behind a screen, I’d most likely give them a little mid forehead tap. This is almost never the case. So, let’s put the assumptions aside.

Want to start a blog?

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Firstly, prepare to work hard. Understand that for the first while you won’t be getting paid to do a thing. If writing and blogging isn’t a natural passion of yours, you aren’t going to be inspired or driven. I am often switching on my laptop at 10pm to work on reviews and articles. There is no off button.

If the desire is purely stirred by what you see plastered all over social media by the influencers that you follow who are jetsetting around the world, being sent designer clothing and shooting massive campaigns, know that they had to get there.

Do you feel that you are incredibly passionate about something in particular that you wish to share with the world? Be it a life event that has changed your life – for me, being adopted and becoming a mom. For you it could be something else. Do you have a love for fashion? What makes you different to the next? What will make you stand out? There’s no point in just copying another influencer’s style or trends just because he/she gets thousands of likes on their images. Because, once again – they built their empire, and worked towards getting that response. Do you love to travel? Are you willing to cover your own travel expense to share your favourite places with your readers? Because in order to be invited to review beautiful places around the world, you need to have a portfolio before anybody is going to be inviting you to stay free of cost. And even then, for a long period of time, you’ll be covering little bits of your trip.

I’m sure by now you’re catching my drift. What is the point of starting a blog full time when you are just trying to become someone that you may idolize? Social media is a world that more often than not, shows you the wonderful things of life and forgets to mention all of the in betweens.

To the younger girls that are reading this, HALF OF IT IS FAKE. There is an entire world that isn’t being shown. These days, someone could share an image of the Eiffel Tower, but in reality, they could be sitting on their couch at home reminiscing of their trip 10 years ago.

I’ve had readers messaging me saying that they so wish they could also have beautiful clothes given to them – but, in reality, some of the wardrobe I shoot in is just borrowed for photoshoots.

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Back to the point…

You want to start a blog? You want your blog to be a success. Before you quit your job, and jump into this industry, consider the following.

– Do I have the passion?
– Do I LOVE to write?
– What would my niche be?
– Do I have something to share with my readers that will impact them in a positive way?
– Can I accept being turned down by companies?
– Can I earn money from this?
– Who would I be targeting?
– Am I wanting to blog just to replicate the influencers I follow with over 50k followers?
– Is this a hobbie, or could I actually turn this into a full time job?

Now, if you’ve answered those questions, and are still wanting to go ahead with it, let me share a few tips with you.

1. Don’t quit your 9-5… yet!
Don’t quit your job that you are earning a salary from until you start earning money from your blog. First get your blog established and make sure that you  are earning enough over the period of a few consecutive  months.

2. Just start.
Start by reviewing things that you already own. Maybe it’s a perfume that you love. Perhaps you just bought that new product from Lush that you are obsessed with. Perhaps you travelled somewhere recently and you feel it was amazing. This helps you build up a blog with decent, quality content. Tag those brands in your posts as this also helps you get recognized.

3. Be true to yourself.
Don’t write about anything that you do not believe in. Don’t review a product that you don’t like and say that you love it just to get brownie points by a big brand. Write about things that inspire you, help you get through a day. Being authentic is admirable and invaluable. This is what draws readers and followers. When they feel that they are connecting with another person that they can relate to. Let’s get real- you aren’t a celebrity. People don’t know you until you create a platform that allows people to get to know you. On this note, don’t be that person who buys followers and likes just to grow their following. That doesn’t work anymore. It ain’t real, so if it’s making you feel better about yourself, you have bigger issues than learning how to run a blog.

4. Share beautiful content.
It’s all about being real, and everybody loves seeing in the moment snaps. But, try to keep your feeds looking professional. Brands want to work with bloggers who have a high standard – photos, written content, etc. I’m not saying you need to go out to invest in a camera if you can’t. I’m also not saying you need to spend thousands on working with photographers. I AM however saying, that take time to consider a photo before you push the button. Have a focal point and share a little story behind it. Let the photo tell the story – especially for Instagram as many people don’t read captions unless they have a reason to.

5. Set your bar.
I feel that I have learnt so much since I first started blogging. I too started on the first step. I also misplaced my footing a couple times on my way up. And, I am far from the top of the staircase. But, I do believe that it is important to figure out what type of brands you want to work with. Write a wish list of who you’d like to work with – maybe not now, but someday. Don’t ever let your bar slip for a product you want, because someone has influenced you or for any other reason. Know what quality work you are content sharing with your readers. Give yourself a reason to have pride in it, and don’t let it slip.

6. Give yourself a time limit.
When working out a plan for your blog, write down what your dreams are for it. Give yourself a year, or a year and a half, for instance, to create a platform that will stand out to brands. Once you start getting contacted by businesses, you can pat yourself on the back because that is your time to shine. I always say that that is when you can start unpacking your rate card, and you can start charging brands for your reviews.

7. Know your worth.
When it does come to the time to start charging brands for marketing, don’t get overly ambitious. Understand that you charge dependent on what you are able to offer them. If you have 1000 followers, start small. Once you get higher and know that your blog is reaching a good amount of readers, that’s when you can start raising your prices, because the brands are getting more exposure from you. I change my rate card once a year, unless I have a huge rise in followers. Brands are normally happy to pay when they feel that you are being reasonable and not trying to rip them off. Also, understand that there are some brands out there who do take advantage of bloggers. If you firmly believe in the rates you charge for the quality of your work, don’t let them intimidate you into waiving your fee. Your time and skill is valuable. Many brands promise to work with you again and to pay you the next time, and you never hear from them again.

8.Connect with your readers.
Nobody likes to be ignored. If you want to have a successful blog where people interact with you, you need to set time aside where you prioritize thoughtful and genuine responses to your readers. If it wasn’t for your readers, you wouldn’t have a successful blog in the first place. This is also a great opportunity to inspire further. Brands also like to see correspondence between influencers and their readers. I am also so often inspired by my readers through their comments on my posts, and have found many special friends and connected with inspirational women through my accounts.

9. Go easy on yourself.
It isn’t easy being a blogger. One month, I have bookings and big campaigns streaming in. The next month I’m twiddling my thumbs. Not really. That’s when I take time writing articles for my blog and creating content. But, understand that just because you aren’t being contacted by brands, doesn’t mean that you and your blog aren’t worthy. Brands also have budgets that are allocated to marketing and working with influencers. Once that is up, it’s up. Don’t beat yourself up over the quieter times, instead, spend that time creating valuable articles and reflecting on how you can make changes. You can also take this time to do research on new brands you’d like to work with, prepare strong proposals and get in touch with them to let them know what you can offer them.

10. Last, but most certainly not least – understand your social media platforms.
Nobody wants to work with someone who doesn’t even understand what they’re doing. Do research on the platforms you will be using – for me, it’s Facebook, Instagram and WordPress. Do weekly research on how these platforms have changed. Understand SEO’s and google analytics. Know when the best time of each day is to post as well as which days get the best response. This is incredibly important for when you are being paid by brands. Keep educating yourself, and keep yourself updated. Also, understand algorithms. One day you could be reaching 1000 likes, and the next day only 500. Don’t kick yourself, just understand that Instagram and Facebook is a business too, and they have made changes so that people like you and me feel that we need to pay to sponsor posts.

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There is so much more that I could share, but time is money, and I’m applauding you for getting this far anyway without having to switch screens as your boss walked by.

For me, blogging happened by accident. It wasn’t planned. I wanted to create a platform that I could turn to to get support from other moms after my son was born. It escalated from there, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I love blogging. There are times where I have writers block. There are times when I just don’t feel inspired. But, it’s all part of this industry, and every single influencer and blogger will hit a halt at some point.

I want to take a moment to encourage you to take the next step if after this article, you feel inspired and still feel ready to take on this next chapter. If you’re wanting to take on blogging full time, don’t quit your job until you’re making enough money to support yourself. Give yourself some time, and be gentle with yourself. Putting yourself out there is brave, and sharing parts of your life with others to inspire, motivate or help them is incredibly courageous. But, also keep in mind that even if nobody comments or you only get a few likes – there is always somebody that you have inspired.

I truly hope that this post has helped guide you in one way or another.

All the best for your journey!

– L


Images: Criene Images

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Birth Series: A Scheduled Gynae Appointment That Caught Them All By Surprise.

20171116_224005Episode 5:

I am so excited to share the birth story of baby Oliver, which belongs to the beautiful Cat. Not only is she a fellow blogger, has a baby boy with the same name as mine, but also happens to be my next door neighbour. Cat had been put on bed rest at 34 weeks due to her amniotic fluid being low. They were hoping that bed rest would help keep her baby baking for a few more weeks until they got to 37 weeks. Cat and her husband went for their scheduled checkup, and from that moment, the plan
changed.


This day. A day that passed in a blur of emotions, nerves and adrenaline but yet one that I can remember every detail leading up to the moment time stood still and my whole world changed. There is not a single book, blog post or conversation that could ever have prepared me for the overwhelming tidal wave love that hit me the moment I met my tiny human for the first time. I don’t think I will ever forget how soft his little forehead was beneath my lips as I kissed him for the first time, how tiny his little hand was wrapped around my finger. Now, a few months later, I sit here writing this post with one hand while he sleeps so peacefully in my arms. Where the weeks have gone, I couldn’t tell you but as I look back on those first few newborn weeks, I can feel the tears as I think about the rough start my tiny premie had but at the same time, I’m blown away by how far he’s come.

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Our little made his rather hasty arrival at 35 weeks on Thursday, 19 October 2017 at 1.29pm. I had been put on bed rest at 34 weeks as my amniotic fluid was low with the aim of trying to keep baby baking until 37 weeks. Oh but did he have other ideas! My husband picked me up from work and we arrived for my weekly appointment at 10am to be told baby would be delivered on Monday as my fluid had dropped and he hadn’t grown in the last week. That was the first surprise and we quickly thought about the weekend away that we needed to cancel and what nursery things we still needed to get! That lasted all of 5 minutes when my doctor then told me I was actually already in labour so my ceaser would be scheduled for 6am the next morning. So much for Braxton Hicks – I’d actually been having contractions (little did I know that I had been making my husband rather nervous the night before when I casually commented that they were a lot stronger than they had been!) Before going home, we went across to the labour ward with the hope of having a steroid injection to help baby’s lungs as he was so early. After about half an hour on the monitors with my husband and I debating where we should go for dinner (and me Googling what time Sorbet was open until so I could get my nails done…) the nurse came in to say baby’s heart rate was decelerating and we had 15 minutes. My head still spins when I think about how fast the doctors and nurses all worked to make sure our little boy arrived safely in this world. Before I knew it, I was laying in theatre and my husband was placing this tiny blue bundle in my arms. Nothing in this world could have prepared me for that moment. A moment that literally took my breath away and time stood still. I became a mommy.

20171116_223826When it comes to babies and your birth plan, everyone always has a plan or a vision of how they see themselves giving birth and I was no exception but natural, Caesar, drug-free, waterbirth, at the end of the day there is only so much planning you can do. I had a Caesar scheduled for 39 weeks and I thought I would stroll into the hospital on the morning I was due and calmly deliver my baby. Oh how wrong I was! I could have managed the chaotic, adrenaline filled arrival because babies do have their own agendas but I was not mentally prepared what followed. Not getting to hold my baby (other than the few seconds in the delivery room) and then only getting to see him again the following day in NICU was exceptionally difficult. Then, seeing this tiny little human hooked up to so many machines and on oxygen broke my heart. I kept thinking to myself that this was just not how it was meant to be. Finally, after three long days, countless trips from the ward to the NICU and an insurmountable number of tears, he was off oxygen and I was able to hold my baby. Before he could go home though, he needed to learn how to feed which meant leaving him behind while I went home and I can honestly say that this was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I cried and cried and cried some more. It didn’t matter that I would be spending most of my days back in the NICU or that I only lived 10 minutes away from the hospital. What mattered was that he wasn’t coming home with me in his cute little outfit I’d packed so many weeks before, he wasn’t going to be with me after having his heart beat alngside mine for almost 8 months… But, before I knew it, I was back at the hospital and with a week filled with scheduled feeds, expressing, trips up and down to the hospital and so many firsts, the week passed by in a blur and after 10 days, just in time for my husband’s birthday, we were able to bring Oliver home.

When I look at him now, my cubby, long-eyelashed, smiling little baby, it’s hard to believe20180714_160625 he’s the same tiny bundle who arrived in such a hurry. I have always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and looking back now, I’ve definitely found a few silver linings. How lucky were we to get so much bonus time with our beautiful baby boy! He couldn’t wait to meet us and blessed us with 5 extra weeks to love and cuddle him. The support and care the neonatal ICU staff gave not only to Oliver but us as new parents, was nothing short of amazing and those 10 days helped us to find our feet and learn a few tricks that made going home with our newborn a little less daunting. My special roomie in hospital who had her premie on the same day as me, was such an incredible support and a much needed hand to hold while we walked the corridors up and down to the NICU every day – we’ve now progressed to coffee dates and sun-downers! And the wonderful group of fellow-NICU mommies – I love that we are all on a WhatsApp group together to ask advice, offer support and schedule coffee dates! And lastly, but the most important, is how close this experience brought my husband and I. I always knew I had a gem but I couldn’t have wished for a better teammate to do life with.


Read more about Cat on her blog, Boots In The Big City.

A Family Wound Care Routine As Easy As 1,2,3 – Elastoplast.

There have been moments as a mother that I’ve wished I had been better educated on the Elastoplast Wound Care Routine. If I had only known that healing wounds would be as easy as 1,2,3 for me.

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One of the most challenging things about being a parent is, without a doubt, seeing your child hurt. We find ourselves feeling so helpless, and I don’t know about you, but there have been multiple moments where I’ve been so unprepared. The thing with injuries is that they always happen when least expected.

A perfect example would be one morning when my little boy was just two years old. 3T6A7546
We had recently moved house, and the new place had steps. He was eating a snack on the top step, and one of our large dogs bumped him and he fell down the stairs. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t met with the face brick wall on his way down, grazing his face and leaving him with the very first diary entry worthy wound on his face. I remember that day so vividly. I felt totally overwhelmed. Between his hysterical cry and not knowing where to even begin with cleaning the wound, I felt like such a terrible mother.

Since then, I’ve learned my lesson, and I will always tell new moms that before their baby is born that they need to have a first aid kit prepared. One in their home in a safe place that’s easy for an adult to access, and another in their car for access when out and about. I also can’t express enough how important it is to be educated on even the basics such as a Wound Care routine.
Three of my basic essentials that should be in every medical box are the following:

3T6A7587– Elastoplast Wound Spray
– Elastoplast Plasters 
– Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment

PLEASE NOTE: These products are only to be used for small wounds, minor cuts and grazes, not for heavily bleeding cuts.

Elastoplast has shared their 3 simple steps to heal wounds safely and easily, and this has definitely put my mind at ease for any future injuries my son is bound to encounter at some point in his childhood.

 


1. Cleanse

3T6A7597The first step to an optimal healing. Cleanse your wound from dirt, bacteria and visible particles with the Elastoplast Wound Spray to prevent infections.

How to use: Spray Elastoplast Wound Spray from a distance of approximately 10cm onto the entire wound to remove ALL dirt and visible particles. Repeat if necessary. The spray also works upside down.

(I love that you don’t need to actually apply anything directly to the wound in a wiping motion, which I would have done before. I know how terrifying this is for a child who is in pain).

2. Protect

The second step is to protect your wound from dirt and bacteria to enable an undisturbed healing. Cover your wound with the Elastoplast plaster, sterile wound dressing or compress from Elastoplast. It will protect skin tissue from external influences, such as pressure, water, contamination and infection. It will absorb wound fluid and create conditions in which the wound can heal undisturbed (and they have some super cute kids’ plasters too).

3. Heal 

The third step is that you can help your wound to heal safely, fast and with a lower risk of scarring. Apply the Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment regularly until the wound has healed completely.
There are a few things that stand out about these three Elastoplast products.

-Firstly, the dressing is non-sticky. There is nothing worse than removing a plaster and having a sticky substance left behind.
-The silicone is soft.
-The plasters are waterproof which is a huge bonus and also saves money as you don’t need to change the plaster every time it encounters water!
-And lastly, the spray is breathable.

No parent wants to see their child hurt, but it’s inevitable. It is going to happen at some point. Rather be prepared and know exactly how to deal with the situation when it happens. Have these products in a place that is easily accessible to you when at home and out of the house. Many falls happen when you aren’t close to home. This wound care kit can easily fit in your nappy bag or handbag and will prevent any panic if something does happen. There have also been times where I have fallen and needed all three of these products!

In closing, I love using products that make my life as a mother easier.


This post has been sponsored by Elastoplast.

Birth Series: A Previous Abnormal Pap smear Causing Last Minute C-Section Delivery.

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Episode 4:

Today I have the privilege of sharing Christina’s birth story with you. Christina is a Mom to 2 sweet boys. She was born and lived in the States for many years, then met her husband and moved to South Africa after falling in love. Christina is also an entrepreneur based in Cape Town who is bound to leave you feeling inspired and motivated if you ever cross her path. You can visit her Instagram account to ‘get to know’ her a bit better.

 


Patience has never been a virtue of mine. Ambition? Motivation? Yes, those words better describe me. But patience? Not so much. I am a somewhat mild version of your typical Type A personality. Which in hindsight makes me wonder, why did I sign up for the hypnobirthing philosophy, hiring a Doula, choosing dolphin music, practising breathing techniques, etc.?

It was our second or third antenatal class together and my husband and I sat there awkwardly amongst our newbie parenting peers listening to the nurse outline the different birthing “options,” elaborating, to my husband’s shear horror, quite dynamically on the surgical practice called episiotomy. He crossed and uncrossed his legs, putting his hands in his pocket while holding that gaze I knew so well. The one where he is trying to look like he’s concentrating but meanwhile he’s mentally escaping, probably thinking about the snack break coming up at this point. I, meanwhile, was trying to ignore his obvious discomfort at such an open conversation about vaginas, while taking notes on natural birthing techniques. Of course I’d be having a natural birth.

The rain drops glistened against the sleek window in the black of night as my husband drove us home. The class was a weekly evening class, getting us home at dark since it was winter. “I think we should get that lady,” Dave broke the silence. I turned my head, “what lady?”

“The Doula. She sounds amazing babes. If you want to have a natural you’re going to need this lady to help manage all the admin.” He kept his eyes on the road, pausing to turn when the robot gave us the green arrow to go right.

I thought about it. He had a point I realised, as I reflected on all the things we discussed _49Q0146in class that night about a “birth plan”. As type A as I was, I don’t think I’d have the courage to fight a doctor when being pressured me to have a C-section for a variety of risks and safety reasons, and apparently that happened more often than not in South Africa. I was warned by the nurse at class that night and heard all the second-hand birthing stories of my nervous mom-to-be comrades.

“Labour should take up to 36 hours!” they said, explaining how doctors here never gave you long enough.

“They induced my friend at 39 weeks because they said the baby was too big; she could’ve had a natural!”

“The doctors broke her waters too soon!”

During the class snack time, which we enjoyed the most, a doula visited to speak about the benefits of hypnobirthing, meditation, a birth plan, crystal healing, birthing yoga techniques, candles, relaxing music, etc. We learned during her talk that she helps mothers with their birthing experience, offering pre-natal massage, pre-natal yoga, and doula services.

I imagined my husband holding my hand while I screamed in pain, rubbing my back, repeating my natural birthing mantras to me, pushing the doctors away when they started to pressure for a c-section, playing dolphin music, and spraying the room with energy healing aromatherapy sprays for me.

I laughed out loud at this thought and Dave looked at me. “What? Don’t you think so?”

I smiled. “Ya I agree, it is a good idea.” I held back another laugh. My husband is many things, many amazing, wonderful things. But I could NOT imagine him being my birthing coach. He’d cave like a deck of cards if the doctor said the baby is in distress, or the head was too big, or I wasn’t dilating early enough. And so would I to be completely honest.

So we got the Doula lady.

Two pre-natal massages (on healing crystals with indie music in the background and a full clairvoyance interpretation at the end) and one false alarm later, we were at the cape town Mediclinic in early labour.

It started in the evening. I was feeling rather large and over the whole thing, finding myself at a work function of my husbands at 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I felt like I had a football pressing on my pelvis from the inside and I couldn’t even try not to waddle now, let alone hide the discomfort from the electric crotch pains, as I called them. I lasted about 10 minutes before I said to my husband, “no ways I can do this now. Let’s get a pizza and go home.”

Once we got home I felt so nauseas and in pain from cramps. “I think I have contractions hun.”

“How far apart are they?” he asks. I tried to count.

“How can I tell when they are starting and stopping?!” this was beyond frustrating.

“No babes, the Doula said you’d be able to count and when they’re 5 minutes a part we call her.”

I googled it and google told me some women couldn’t even tell they had contractions and, often, it is difficult to time them.

I tried to keep count, using the app I downloaded. 2 minutes. 7 minutes. 4 minutes. 12 minutes. Were these even contractions?

Now I was confused, still in pain, and getting more and more anxious.

“I need machines babe. I need to know what’s happening here, this is weird. What if its bad! What if the baby isn’t ok!”

“Just try to relax.” He said. Then he saw my face. “OK let’s go.”

He grabbed the baby bag that I’d had packed (and re-packed) for 8 weeks now (type A!) and I waddled to the car, holding my belly. Like someone who finally musters up the courage to call in sick to work, I started to feel like it was all in my head. What if this is all nothing and they laugh at me for overreacting and send me home?! Well, rather be safe than sorry I thought.

I got to the hospital and Dave filled out the paperwork while I settled in with the nurses. They connected me to the machines and I could feel myself relaxing knowing I was in the care of medical professionals now. I felt so much love and responsibility for this precious baby of mine already, I wouldn’t take any risks for his life. I just wanted him in my arms.

“You’re 1cm dilated and having contractions 10 minutes apart.”

Wow so this was really happening! But wait. I know that means I’m not supposed to be here yet.

“So I guess I need to go home then?” I asked, disappointed.

“If its ok with you we’d like to keep you overnight for monitoring. Your husband can go home, and we will give you something to sleep while you rest here tonight in our care. Doctor will come check on you in the morning.”

Dave returned, and I told him the news. We were both excited, it was happening, it was really happening. Baby was on his way. It felt like Christmas! Thank God they were giving me something to sleep, as I felt the furthest thing from tired, giddy with an excitement I’d never experienced before.

After kissing Dave good night and taking the magic sleep medicine the nurses gave me, I fell in to a blissfully long, uninterrupted, deep and dream-filled sleep. Little did I know it would be my last one for years!

Jokes aside, I got to meet the love of my life the next day. It didn’t happen how I imagined, the best things in life never do I suppose.

The next morning, Dave arrived as my breakfast did. He had some Vida E coffee’s and looked as excited as me.

“Hey babe, how are you?” he grabbed my hand affectionately and I sat up. We chatted and had some coffee and breakfast together waiting for the doctor. Things were going to happen today!

I felt no more weird contractions, but I was confident things were going to happen soon since I was slightly dilated the night before and was kept at the hospital. My mind began to run through all the birthing stories id watched on YouTube in the last month. I was SO excited to meet my baby, and today is the day!

The doctor arrived, and my heart fell through the floor as he said that my contractions have stopped and I hadn’t dilated any further. He said I can go home.

I looked at Dave and he knew I was about to cry. As type A, hard headed, and impatient as I am, I am also incredibly sensitive (and, as most people know, this emotion is highly exacerbated by pregnancy!).

To my gratitude he spoke for me, holding my hand. “Doctor we’re scheduled to come in for an induction in two days if nothing happens. We’re here now and we would like to do an induction today please.”

The doctor hesitated and looked at me. In the kindest most compassionate tone said, “I know you wanted to do this all-naturally Christina. I don’t want you to be disappointed. Why don’t we just wait a couple days and see what happens?”

I was so disappointed I didn’t even know what to say. I did not want to leave and wait around at home watching more birthing videos, eating spicy food, and sniffing aromatherapy oils all day in hopes of pushing this along. Like a child on Christmas day eager to open their gifts, I was desperate to meet and hold my baby now. It was like I already knew this child and I just need to cuddle and kiss him for days. Starting today!

“I just think if we’re meant to come in two days anyways and you said my placenta is looking calcified and I’m already slightly dilated, why don’t we just do an induction today? Please doctor I really don’t want to go home.” I had no shame, I was now begging.

He said something about usually doing inductions at night, not in the morning, but agreed to induce me. I was thrilled.

I drank the liquid induction medication he gave me, Pitocin? I can’t recall the name. The medication brought on small contractions again, but no dilation.

The doctor transferred me to the labour ward and hooked me up to receive intravenous induction medicine (more Pitocin?). This didn’t work. He gave me more. I felt more contractions, and I could even time them, but no dilation.

“I think you are not relaxing in to birth. You are holding back. I really need you to relax so I insist you get an epidural, and then I am upping the Pitocin.”

I did not want pain medication but eventually I agreed.

I found the epidural to be probably the worst part of the whole experience. From my waist down, I was completely numb and unable to move my legs. I started to panic as I felt really out of control.

Despite the epidural, the doctor breaking my waters, and upping the dose of the induction medicine, I did not dilate.

The doctor was concerned and asked me if I’d ever had a surgical procedure on my cervix.

“What?! Is that even a thing?!” I asked.

“Well, people have surgery to remove cancer for instance, if they have cervical cancer. And this could cause scar tissue on your cervix.”

Nothing came to mind. I’ve never had surgery or cancer before.

And then it hit me. About 5 years earlier I had had an abnormal pap smear and needed to have cells removed. I honestly forgot about it as it was really no big deal. I was in and out quick sticks! They laid me down on a bed, administered some local anesthetic and, with a small scalpel, removed some tissue from my cervix.

I told the doctor, adding that I hardly think this could have caused any damage to my cervix as I had scarce bleeding and pain.

The doctor wasn’t too impressed and explained that I should’ve told him this. “If you dilate enough, you could haemorrhage during labour and that could be fatal. I’m going to have to perform a caesarean now.” He was polite but firm.

By then I had forgotten about the Doula, the excitement of meeting my baby, the horror of the epidural. For a minute I was frozen in time, all thoughts on pause. Dave squeezed my hand and I was brought back to the room.

“Um OK.” I bit my lip, the tears welling up as a lump formed in my throat. Dave kept squeezing my hand and spoke for me. The doctor left, and a nurse came to prepare me for surgery.

“Don’t worry babes, it’ll be OK,” he assured me.

“You really tried everything,” the Doula said. I was relieved. During this whole experience, a part of me was stressed out, managing the opposite energies of my medical doctor and my hypnobirthing, clairvoyant, spiritual, crystal healing Doula. I didn’t know who to listen to! Having her approval helped me relax a little.

The anaesthesiologist returned with the nurse and they helped roll me in to theatre. Dave joined us, in his scrubs and I started to cry. I realised I was scared. I worried so much about my baby. What if they hurt him? Could the knife cut him? What if the chord was wrapped around his neck?

I panicked badly. The anaesthesiologist administered pethidine, and then even more when I began freaking out.

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Before I could go full blown psycho in the theater, the medicine kicked in and, not long after that, I was holding my precious angel boy.

Dave was crying. I was crying. I thanked the doctor profusely, saying I love him, and the nurses. They laughed at me. I was in love. I loved everything. I loved the world, my baby, my husband, my life. It felt like life had truly just begun.

 

 

Birth Series: Low Amniotic Fluid & Calcification of Placenta Leading To Induction & Emergency C-Section.

Jenna-McArthur-Nursery-RevealEpisode 3: Today, I have the privilege of sharing the birth story that belongs to beautiful new mom, Jenna McArthur. You may know her as former online editor at ELLE South Africa, or as the powerful girl boss who built her empire – her very own Public Relations and brand strategy agency representing some of the best fashion, lifestyle and luxury brands in the country. Jenna has now taken on motherhood full time, but is still as inspirational as a mother, and a business woman. Jenna wished for a natural birth, but at 38 weeks, her amniotic fluid was looking a little low, and there was calcification of her placenta. Jenna tells about about what her expectations
were, how things changed on the day of the birth and how important it is to let go, and to realize that we aren’t in control of everything.

Please do yourself a favour by entering Jenna’s beautiful world of motherhood. You are bound to be inspired in more ways than one. Jenna has me wanting to be a new Mama all over again.

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The hardest part of my last trimester was the waiting game. As a first-time mum, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would my water break? Would she be early? Would labour be quick and fairly painless or would it be like my mum’s when I was born, with 48 hours of pain and pushing? (If our little one’s anything like her mum and dad, I thought the chances of that happening were good.)

As we journeyed through our pregnancy, my husband and I decided on a few things – anjenna-mcarrthur-pregnancy epidural was a must (I’m no wonder woman) and that we’d like a natural birth but that we’d ultimately trust our doctor to make the decision. We didn’t know if we were going to welcome a little girl or a boy into this world, which added to the excitement and anticipation.

At 38 weeks, my amniotic fluid looked a little low and there was calcification of my placenta and my gynaecologist wanted to keep a close eye on this. At our 39-week appointment, he announced that they would induce me that night as the amniotic fluid was too low and the placenta was no longer doing its job. We’d trusted him wholeheartedly from the beginning and did not question this. Finding the right doctor was, for me, probably the most important decision during my entire pregnancy and I’d urge all expecting mums to find one they trust and are comfortable with. Plus, my focus was to have a healthy, happy baby

Maternity-Shoot1My hospital bag was already packed and we were ready. So began 13 hours of labour after induction. In all that time, very little happened in terms of the progression of active labour and dilation. That was when we decided, on the doctor’s advice and for the sake of our baby, to do a C-section. I remember the doctor saying OK, guys, let’s do this and looking at my husband who was nervous, slightly panicked and, in fact, looked like he was the one about to give birth. We didn’t have a doula. My husband was that and more. He was kind, calm and loving and in the delivery room it felt like it was just the two of us in our own world.

The environment was very relaxed and my gynaecologist has an incredible sense of humour. He chatted to my husband and his fantastic team about football and at one point practised welcoming our baby with Hava Nagila. Although we’re not Jewish – not that he minded – it did make me smile.

Probably the biggest lesson I have learnt, is that we can’t control everything in life and giving birth is definitely one of those things that we simply can’t predict or dictate. All you can do, is to educate yourself and keep an open mind.

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Our beautiful baby girl, Noa, was born on Thursday 5 July at 16:40. She weighed 3.01kg and was 48cm tall. She came into the world screaming with arms outstretched – it was quite the entrance, really. Seeing her face for the first time is the greatest blessing of my life and equally, seeing my husband’s at the same moment.

Every woman is different, our bodies are different and our birth plans differ but my main focus was to have our baby delivered healthy and happy. How this happened became less important as time went on. Listen to your baby and your body and most importantly, trust your gynaecologist. You’ll hear and read so many opinions and it really becomes a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. Tune out the noise and make the best decision for you. We trusted in God to deliver our baby to us, created in His image and perfect to us in every way. And this He did.


Would you like to share your birth story? Did this one inspire you? Pop me an email if you’d like to submit yours at onemodernmom@hotmail.com

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