The Positivity Files

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Artwork by Niamh

I have always been an over-sharer, very vocal about what is going on in my life, and some people would say I lack boundaries. I am a big believer in the importance of venting. The release it gives you, the clarity, and a lot of time a new point of view from whoever you are venting to. I’m also not one to hold things back. If I feel or think it, you will probably hear it, unless I think it’s going to lead to massive conflict, then I tend to bite my tongue.

Unfortunately over the last year or so I have noticed my venting increasing and my mind set changing. I have become more negative and jaded. I look at myself and think whinger. It’s not a great realisation or feeling to have. So when Bel over at Life @ No. 2 asked what word we would like to embody our coming year, in lieu of a New Years Resolution, I immediately knew what my word would be. I’m sure you can all guess what it is too…..

POSITIVITY

Unfortunately, looking back at my year so far, especially my blog posts, I know I am missing the mark and have a long way to go.

So I have decided to start The Positivity Files. A dedicated weekly blog where I will detail things from my week that have been good, wonderful, amazing even. Things I am grateful for, that have made my week special, those moments I am truly blessed to have experienced no matter how big or small.

The first instalment follows below:

* I am truly blessed to be a mother of twins. I was terrified of the thought throughout my entire pregnancy and yet now it is a reality I look back and shake my head. I don’t believe I can truly explain how it feels to be a mother of twins. It’s like the most beautiful feelings of being a mother times a million. I feel blessed to have two beautiful babies to love. Two newborns with their beautiful newborn smell, delicious hugs and small moments that only newborns can share with you. The heart swelling emotions I feel when I watch them, even now at a month old, interact and seek one another out. I really don’t think anyone but another mother of twins could understand that what I thought would be a terrifying ordeal is one of my life’s most beautiful blessings.

* I have an amazing husband (even if he does give me the shits now and then). He is such a hands on father, always willing to get in there and do whatever needs to be done. Nappy changes, feeds, taking over at 4:30am when I just can’t soothe a crying or unsettled baby for a second more, letting me sleep in when I am exhausted, and a million more things. He is a wonderful husband but also an amazing father. Niamh idolises him and loves the special things they do together. I just know Harper and Declan will feel exactly the same way.

* I am lucky to have some very close and supportive friends who accept me for who I am. This is actually rarer then you may think. I have a couple of friends who, when I am around them, I can just be me. I don’t have to watch what I say or do, they know who I am, my eccentricities and quirks and they accept them and like me anyway lol. I know there are times when I offend others, never by intent, but just through my passionate nature. Never more than the last couple of weeks have I been so grateful for these people, who I am sure know who they are.

* 4 year old humour, there is nothing like it in the world. The way Niamh can just laugh and experience joy with her whole being. You can’t help but laugh along, even if its just at witnessing her all out mirth. The way she will tell me a story about something funny, or witness something funny alongside me, and with pure enjoyment and laughter look up at me and say “that’s so funny is it mummy”. Not a question as it may sound but just a statement (we’re still learning about contractions)

* Sunny, rain-free days. In all honesty I hate winter more than any other season. Rainy, overcast days just get me down. There is something so depressing about them. So I am happy we have seen the sun so much this week. Not only does it lift my spirits but it also means Niamh can go outside and run around, burning off some of that boundless energy she has!

* Kinder, oh Kinder, how I love thee. First of all don’t judge me for my heartfelt joy of Niamh-free moments. I love my daughter but we both need a break now and then. Kinder allows me to nap, clean or (for now while the twins are so little) take time to do something just for me. Later on Kinder will allow for time with just the twins. Niamh also loves Kinder so much and can not wait to go each week. So all-in-all it’s a win-win situation!

What positive things have happened in your life this week, big or small?

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17/52

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Another Niamh Selfie, I Love The Sunlight On Her Face

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My Cheeky Little Harper

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Declan Trying To Figure Out The World

Niamh – We are both trying to find different ways of being, of sharing our space, of interacting in this world together. I know that four is the age children compete to be alpha girl / boy and spend a lot of time challenging the parent of the same gender. I have watched children of friends and family go through this at the same age, now it’s our turn (thank God I studied Psych at Uni and knew it was a normal progression). This week you have tried to be mum, attempting to take over anything and everything I have been doing with the twins. Frustrating but cute too. We created a rewards chart together so that I could focus on the positives with you, it makes us both smile, and creates such enthusiasm for those little things (like cleaning your room) you have to do.

Harper – This week a very cheeky side of you has appeared. You glance at us out of the corner of your eyes and grin, your whole face lighting up with mirth. The other night you chuckled at me while I blew raspberries on your cheeks. I must admit it took me by surprise, I know it’s very early for that. Thankfully there were other people around to hear it too otherwise I would think I’d imagined it!

Declan – It’s been a difficult week for you poor little man. I’m sure you’re in the middle of a growth spurt but I also think you’re suffering from bad tummy aches. It doesn’t seem to matter how long we pat and rub your back, or how many times you burp, you end up screaming in pain. This has also lead to you sleeping a lot less. 4am and 4pm seem to be the worst times for you, there is usually not much sleep until your next feed. Hopefully this resolves itself soon and you are happier again.

Last week I was captivated by gorgeous Penny over at Monkey & Squirrel. Wearing a beautiful yellow and white sundress and gnawing on a lemon she brought a smile to my face!

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Earning My Tiger Stripes

Bel from Life @ No. 2 wrote a very courageous post about her post pregnancy(ies) body that you can find here. She encouraged other women to share their thoughts and feelings about their own post-children bodies, and bloggers to write their own version of her post and link back, and I thought it was a marvellous idea. So here’s my own journey.

I have never liked my body, not ever. Even when I was in high school and very trim I just felt big and ugly. I always compared myself unfavourably against the other girls and lacked self-esteem or a positive body image. I’ve never worn a bikini (well ok since I’ve had a say in what clothes I wear, I don’t think childhood counts) or figure hugging clothes. My style can be best explained as comfortable body-hiding attire.

20130501-162308.jpg Pre-children body. Nothing to get excited about, something I’ve always been ashamed of. Wish I knew where that dress was though, loving it!

I have struggled with my weight. I mean really struggled. I am constantly dieting and watching what I eat. It’s a source of great frustration for me when I watch so many around me eat whatever they want, in greater quantities than me, and stay slim. I rarely feel good about my body and am truly uncomfortable in my own skin.

So it may come as some surprise to the world out there that I truly LOVE my body when I am pregnant. I love watching my body grow in size and know there is a reason for it. I feel beautiful, feminine and desirable. I lose my negative body image and embrace the experience. I don’t even mind the stretch marks, after all I am not one to show off my belly anyway.

I will admit this time around, however, with the twins, I was a bit distressed about the battering my poor belly button got. In the end I had no belly button at all and after the twins were born it was extremely bruised and sore looking. The only other thing I don’t like is all the hormonal hair I grew over my lower belly. Thick black hairs that sprung pretty much the instant I found out I was pregnant and have hung around ever since. This occurred when I was pregnant with Niamh also, but arrived near the very end and had gone by the time she was three weeks old. No such luck this time.

20130501-162909.jpg My poor battered belly button and the torn scar tissue I suffered. On the upside seems the hair does not photograph. Trust me it IS there, and in abundance!!!!!!!

The best thing about my pregnant body, and post-pregnancy body, is the weight loss I obtain through no effort whatsoever. Both pregnancies I came out of the operating theatre with a weight much smaller than my pre-pregnancy weights. And by much smaller I mean 17 kilos lighter. This time I lost so much weight I never regained my pre-pregnancy weight even at my biggest. Now I know this time around a combination of horrid sickness and an inability to eat much due to there being no room for food in my stomach (twins take up SO MUCH space!) contributed to this. But I want to make it clear I did not diet, watched what I ate, or tried in any way to lose weight. It is just a very pleasing bonus I experience during pregnancy.

20130501-162552.jpg Post-twins belly. Not the prettiest of sights but I’m not fazed by it. I think I was lucky considering there were TWO FREAKIN’ BABIES in there!

So all in all I have quite positive feelings towards my body at the moment. It’s not all that attractive or slim, but there is nothing much that wasn’t already there before I had kids. If anything any negative feelings, unsightly lumps and bumps, or parts I wish I didn’t have can all be attributed to it just being my body regardless of the ordeals I have put it through having kids. As for the fresh marks and scars it now bears due to housing all three of my children while they developed and grew before entering the world, I believe the following sums up my thoughts nicely:

20130425-142423.jpg I’d like to give credit for the source of this photo but I am unsure where it originated. I just stole it from one of the many places on Facebook it can be found.

16/52

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Niamh Passed Out On The Couch After A Big Day

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Harper And Declan Automatically Turn Towards One Another When Placed Side By Side

Niamh – This week your mood swings have returned in full force. I must admit that they surprise me in their intensity. I expected moodiness but I thought the throwing yourself on your bed in a fit of tears and the screaming of “you’re ruining my life” at me would be reserved for your teenage years. How wrong I was!! Lucky you still retain all of your beautiful qualities or I might have sold you to the circus by now!!

Harper – This week you have become even more of a snuggle bunny, if that can be believed! You want nothing more than hugs and kisses from everyone you meet and have shared your beautiful smile with special family and friends. It amazes me how calm and relaxed you are.

Declan – You are displaying very protective tendencies towards your twin, such an admirable quality for a brother to have. If you hear her cry you join in, but its not your normal cry, it is definitely a telling us off yell. You have also cultivated a very strong dislike of being naked and will now scream at the top of your lungs if we even take your bottom half of clothes off in preparation for a nappy change!

My favourite 15/52 post from last week was brought to us by Jodie herself from Che & Fidel, the creator of the 52 Project. I love the complementary photography of the morning and afternoon light, the balance of it all. Such gorgeous children, such beautiful photography.

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Harper & Declan – Your Birth Story

** I never realised how traumatised I was about the whole process of your birth until I wrote this post. Or should I say until I attempted to write this post. I would sit down and start again, and again, and again. I started when you were only two weeks old and yet I would get to the part where I had to write about the hospital, theatre and recovery and would stop. There was always something I had to do then and there. Whether it be one of you cherubs calling for me, your sister to play with, a need to shower, eat, something I really wanted to watch on TV, paperwork for Centrelink (OK they WERE important) it seemed anything and everything was more pressing. I have even written other posts and begun drafts for more. Then it clicked. Although outwardly I feel fine, really good and positive in fact, somewhere in there I am far from fine. Upset, scared or panicked in fact. I am scarred. Then I thought about it some more and realised this blog post isn’t the only thing I have avoided. I have still not put any newborn / hospital photos on Facebook (so very unlike me) and actually no photos at all other than tagging myself in your gorgeous professional pics. So here I go at attempt 12 of writing this post, wish me luck. It’s time to face my demons. xoxo **

It’s been six wonderful weeks today since you both finally came into this world and our lives, and I thought it was about time I wrote your birth story for you to one day read and share. I wish I had had a blog when I had your sister, or at least the thought of doing the same for Niamh. She will have to rely on my memories of her birth but I am sure I will be able to tell you all wonderful stories about your first days on this Earth.

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We had been awaiting your arrival for so long and near the end I was in a lot of pain and so uncomfortable that I was becoming impatient (you can read about how over it I was here, here and here). We were given very late notice of your Caesar but everything fell into place nicely. Your nanna (your daddy’s mum), came to stay the night to look after Niamh the next day, and it was nice to have Niamh home with us that night so we could enjoy our last night of being a family of three.

As per any surgery I was not allowed to eat or drink anything after 10pm. Unfortunately for me that also meant no quickease, which had become an addiction of mine, a necessity to help me get through the night. Needless to say what with the excitement, hip and back pain, and the absolutely tormenting heartburn / reflux, I didn’t really sleep. 5am arrived and I was up and showering, butterflies going mental in my stomach. It was finally here, the day you would both arrive and make our family complete.

When we arrived at the hospital there were some questions to answer, tags to put on, and a gorgeous set of gown, hat and slip on bits of material that supposedly passed for shoes, to put on. Your daddy and I then had an hour and a half to sit and wait, to talk about your imminent arrival, try to narrow down your names (still no luck, we decided to wait until you were both here and see what you looked like), and pretty much dispel our nerves until it was my turn to go and be prepped for surgery.

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After what seemed months the anaesthetist and a midwife came to get me and I was led to my doom the theatre. That’s when the horror fun began. I’ve had a Caesar before so I was aware of the process of getting a spinal and was prepared for the cold smear of antiseptic solution, the sharp little pricks of the local, and then the pressure as the spinal was administered. The whole process was a breeze last time and I had no qualms going through it all again. What I wasn’t prepared for was the absolute shocking pain that then ensued. Turns out when you have been in chronic pain for the last 8 weeks or so it makes your back, or more accurately, your muscles HYPER SENSITIVE. So instead of pressure as the spinal and epidural was being administered I experienced excruciating pain in my right hip and mid back. Pain that had me screaming and pulling away from the needle, although I was trying my hardest to stay still. I was begging them to get it done quickly but of course they couldn’t even get the needle into the cavity between my vertebrae as my arthritis had calcified the bone.

Now if you’ve never had a spinal block before you may not know the awkward position you are in whilst it is happening. Here I was hunching over, hugging a pillow to my large stomach, pushing my spine out. An orderly was pulling one of my shoulders forward and my head down and a midwife was holding my hand and holding down my other shoulder. I feel so sorry for that poor midwife. I wouldn’t be surprised if her hand ended up severely bruised if not sprained or broken! My face was awash with tears, covered in snot and saliva, and bright red. After 45min the head anaesthetist took over, let me know if he couldn’t do it I’d have to be given a general (put under) and he worked his magic. I cried harder because a general was not an option for me, repeatedly apologised for my fuss, and continually assured all and sundry I was not lying it was really, really hurting. So all-in-all we were off to a great start!!

I remember being gently laid onto the table as my legs started getting hot pins and needles sensations and your dad was FINALLY led into the room. It was what I needed, your dad there to help make me feel safe and calm again. He took one look at my face and rushed over to hug and kiss me. He spent the rest of the surgery until Harper arrived rubbing my arm and trying to soothe me. Although I had been through hell I was ready to put it behind me and move on to meeting you both. I was still very excited if a little shaky.

The curtain was put in place and the surgeons were ready to begin. I found it weird but a nice touch that I could see both of the doctors operating on me as last time the only view I had was blue sheet. As I looked up at the kindly grandfather-like face of the head surgeon I remarked it was taking a while. Apparently second (and subsequent) c-sections take longer as they recut the original scar and it takes great precision and concentration. I was again feeling impatient and just wanted to yell at them to hurry up, I just wanted to meet you both. All of a sudden there was a great feeling of relief, of a huge pressure being lifted, and I could breathe properly again (although I had been unaware I was having any troubles at all). I actually yelled “OH MY GOD” then had to explain why as I had everyone more than a little concerned. It would have been funny had there not been two doctors elbow deep in my uterus at the time. I chuckle now thinking of it but am sure everyone else was unimpressed. Hubby certainly was. Next moment I had a red, squirming, loudly protesting bubba thrust into my view. “It’s the girl” some medical somebody pronounced and Harper was whisked away to be examined. It was 11:38, you were crying and a healthy 3.176kg (7 pounds), and I had tears streaming down my face in joy.

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But we weren’t finished yet. Now it was Declan’s turn. Your dad was bouncing between checking on Harper and coming back so he didn’t miss the arrival of Declan. Again there was a great sense of relief but this time no cry. I had a brief glimpse of a smaller baby but was given no time to look. The tears started again but this time it was from fear. What’s wrong with my baby, where is he, why isn’t he crying I kept asking again and again. Midwives, the anaesthetist and your dad kept reassuring me everything was fine, Declan was just in an alcove room as there wasn’t enough room for us all together. I now know that wasn’t actually true. Although your dad was unaware everyone else knew Declan needed help. His APGAR score was only 3 and he needed a CPAP machine to help get some extra oxygen. However at the 5 minute mark he improved considerably and I heard a high pitch scream that I thought was Harper. When I was told it was actually Declan the tears of relief came and I remarked “but he sounds like a girl”. Maybe not the best thing to say but it was all I could think of. Declan you were (and still are) smaller then your sister, weighing in at 2.7kg (5lb 15oz), only 3 minutes younger but seeming so much more frail. Once you were both OK and I had a good look you were taken into recovery as I was having some minor problems.

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After a while, not sure how long but enough to make me wonder how much longer it was gonna bloody take, I was put back together. I’d had a few extra jabs of who knows what because, as per usual, I had haemorrhaged. With a litre of blood lost, as they were wheeling me off, I began to feel very queasy. So queasy in fact I began to chant, well mumble, “I’m gonna be sick”, over and over again. I had the shakes from the epidural, was feeling a little miserable, but so very excited to be finally making my way to you both.

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15/52

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Niamh transfixed by the giraffes at the zoo.

Niamh – You are such an amazing big girl. The things you say, think and do truly amaze me. You have been pondering the human body lately and have been sharing your thoughts and theories with me, and they are true delights. My favourite so far is “Mum I have something in my body that turns food into wee and poo”. Such a smart little girl!

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Harper sleeping peacefully on our shopping trip.

Harper – You are such a gorgeous little girl. You love your kisses so much and make kissy noises if we stop. When I kiss your cheeks you turn your head so that I kiss your mouth. I am sure you are thinking I don’t know how to give kisses properly so you are giving me a hand. I love that small window of non-feeding awake time we have to share these special moments.

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Declan finally sleeping after a valiant effort to stay awake and see all the new things at the shops.

Declan – You are such an affectionate little boy. You love your hugs as much as Harper loves her kisses. Because of your reflux you need to be kept upright for at least 10 minutes after a feed and you take this time to snuggle in. The minute someone puts you upright onto their shoulder you put your arms out and burrow in. It is the most wonderful thing.

My favourite 52 Project from last weeks can be found at Flight Platform Living. Three children exploring the outdoors, all rugged up and having a ball. This reminds me of my own childhood and what I think is important for all children. Time outside just to be kids!

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14/52

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Niamh Modelling Her New Shower Cap

Niamh – Your week has been filled with love, enthusiasm and lots of hugs. You are such a wonderful helper and want to do everything with your twins that sometimes we need to rein you in just a little. You have been very snugly and cuddly this week but are happy to wait until the twins are in bed. So far no sign of any overt jealousy. We are so lucky o have such a wonderful big girl and sister like you!

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Harper Relaxing In Her Second Bath, Loving Every Minute

Harper – You smiled at me this week. You were looking up at me with love in your eyes and I said I loved you. Your face lit up and you gave me the most beautiful smile. And no it wasn’t gas, and no I’m truly not kidding myself. You are such an easy going baby, so relaxed, so cuddly. When you are hungry however you will attack any bare skin you can find until you are fed. You fill all of our hearts with joy.

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Declan Experiencing His First Bath, Definitely A Water Baby

Declan – You are still so small and tiny, yet so very strong. Trying to get you to move your hands from your mouth so you can feed takes quite an effort. You are beginning to put on weight but still need to be woken for feeds. Even when you do wake you’re that quiet we can’t hear you if there is any other noise. You’ve been vomiting after feeds, some small some quite impressive Exorcist-worthy projectiles but didn’t seem fussed. Lately however you’ve also been in pain, screaming out in a heart-breaking high-pitched squeal and bringing your knees up. Don’t worry though we’ve had plenty of experience with reflux with your big sister and know what to do!

My favourite entry of the 13/52 posts is definitely from Life at no. 2. The morning sun filtering through, sibling hugs and such love shining through. The fact that it is also black and white truly makes this shot!

And a little extra something just for this week. I was originally going to use this photo for the twins but thought they deserved their own shot after last week. Just another example of the closeness of twins and how much Harper loves hugging her brother!

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13/52 – Welcome to the World Twinnies

What an eventful week and what an exciting 52 Project Post for me. This is THE post where ALL of my children are here and included!!!!

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Niamh’s First Hugs With Harper

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Niamh’s First Hugs With Declan

Niamh– this week you became a big sister and it is obvious this is a role you were always meant to have. Your love for YOUR twins shines through everything you do to help mummy and daddy, the way you hug and kiss them every chance you get, the way you carefully help burp them and change their nappies. It has been an exciting week, an emotional week, a hard week for you but just know we are so proud of you!

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Harper And Declan Sharing Twin Hugs

Harper – First born, bigger twin, self settler from the start. You are calm and settled, so different from the womb. In the hospital you would go to sleep watching over Declan, making sure he was there and ok before you would drift off. You make such cute little grunting sounds when you feed, you must really enjoy your milk! When you were born the very first thing your daddy said to me was that you look just like your big sister Niamh, and he was right. We love you so much and are so happy you are here to join our family.

Declan – youngest child, smallest twin, our little professor. You have had a few small ups and downs but are just so strong. When it’s time to feed you let us know, there’s no forgetting with you around. The head thrashing to find the teat, the excited noises as the bottle approaches, the grasping grabbing hands that yank anything in reach, make us laugh. You have such a serious old man face and you peer at us all with this little frown that just screams “what is this?” We love you so much and are so happy you are here to complete our family of five.

My favourite 52 Project post from last week would have to be retro 80’s Baby V over at Momica’s Musings. I love the cheeky fake wave, the bright colours, and that shock of dark hair with the fluro pink headband!

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