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WORTH THE WAIT I’d like to share my story for those who are wait­ing for their bun­dle of joy, es­pe­cially if it’s been a long wait.

My dream of hav­ing the sound of “pit­ter pat­ter” in the house started when I was around 23-24 years old. It turned out it would take me on many jour­neys. My part­ner then did not want chil­dren, and nei­ther had I when we had first dis­cussed it years be­fore. The jour­ney in con­vinc­ing my part­ner was a long one and once he agreed, I set out to pre­pare. We got all the boxes ticked: en­gage­ment, mar­riage and a big­ger home. At 27 we were fi­nally ready, how­ever, it did not seem to be the case.

I was soon di­vorced and I had to start all over again. I met the love of my life, well, ac­tu­ally I al­ready knew the love of my life and at 33 we were mar­ried and started our baby-mak­ing jour­ney.

This too was short-lived as we ended up need­ing a bit more help at putting a lit­tle hu­man to­gether. At this stage I was deeply de­pressed.

Read­ing So Close by Ter­tia Al­ber­tyn did me the world of good. In De­cem­ber 2016 we started IVF and con­ceived at the end of Jan­uary 2017! You pre­pare your­self as much as you can for a sit­u­a­tion like this by keep­ing your ex­pec­ta­tion low and learn­ing to re­lax.

We were preg­nant and it was all that mat­tered. Af­ter all, very few IVF pa­tients can say that they tried just once to get this far.

From 24 weeks my uterus started con­tract­ing and the doc­tor kept en­cour­ag­ing me just to get to 32 weeks. Then 34 weeks. I had poly­hy­dram­nios which threat­ened the pos­si­bil­ity of me mak­ing it to full term. I ended up in hospi­tal at 32 weeks to get some steroids to try and pro­long my boy’s time in the womb. We saw the hospi­tal again at 36 weeks and had our last push at 38 weeks. I never thought we would do it, but we did!

I had a nat­u­ral birth as I wished and gave birth to a very healthy 3.65kg baby boy, Thomas, on 27 Septem­ber 2017.

I still can’t be­lieve that he’s in the next room sleep­ing soundly. He’s gor­geous, and he’s mine! God’s bless­ings to all the mom­mies out there who are still wait­ing. SANETTE WRIGHT, DUR­BAN

HARPER AT HARPERS Just about ev­ery mother I know has a story about their child hav­ing a blow-out at one point or another. I ex­pe­ri­enced this with my daugh­ter one af­ter­noon dur­ing tea with a friend at Harpers restau­rant. Off course, it would not have been such a mile­stone de­but had it not been in such a posh pub­lic space.

I was in mid-sen­tence when I told my friend that my thigh felt warm. She dis­cov­ered mus­tard poo leak­ing out the top of my daugh­ter, Harper’s, jeans.

I could not rip her off mid-feed. We stuffed servi­ettes in the way un­til it had stopped. When I was done feed­ing, I had to put her on the ta­ble and un­dress her care­fully and then change her by the large win­dow of pass­ing shop­pers. The hor­ri­fy­ing part was the shock and hor­ror on the faces next to us.

Con­sid­er­ing it was a day­time cof­fee date, the ta­ble next to us was nat­u­rally oc­cu­pied with posh older peo­ple who were al­ready giv­ing me some­what dis­ap­prov­ing looks for feed­ing my daugh­ter un­der­neath a closed feed­ing apron.

But now I had a baby on the ta­ble, with poo smudged on her jeans and vest and servi­ettes stuffed all over! Harper def­i­nitely made the place her own. CLAU­DIA RAY­MOND, JO­HAN­NES­BURG

PER­FECT THE WAY HE IS

Thank you so much for your won­der­ful magazine. I love read­ing it.

Af­ter seven years and two mis­car­riages, we fi­nally had a healthy lit­tle baby boy last year in March. We were of course very care­ful dur­ing the preg­nancy and were pre­pared to re­ceive bad news at any of the scans, but it never came and we were thank­ful for that.

Six months af­ter Christiaan was born, our gy­nae­col­o­gist sug­gested that we start treat­ment again and do in­sem­i­na­tions, as we wanted another baby, and time was not on our side.

I fell preg­nant af­ter just two months. It never crossed our minds that some­thing would be wrong. The news at our foetal as­sess­ment took the wind out of us when we were told that our baby would be born with a cleft.

We were not sure of the ex­tent, but we knew it would be se­vere. At the 4D scan when we could see his face, it be­came very real.

I was ex­tremely con­cerned as I read up that moth­ers who had ba­bies with fa­cial de­for­mi­ties of­ten strug­gled to bond with their ba­bies, and I feared that I would be one of them. But the first time they laid my lit­tle Paul on my chest af­ter he was born, he was the most per­fect lit­tle an­gel for me.

It does take time to get used to it, but you come to re­alise that he is per­fect just the way he is and we never hid him from peo­ple. We were proud of our lit­tle boy, and his lop­sided smiles stole the hearts of ev­ery­one.

He was di­ag­nosed with a com­plete uni­lat­eral cleft, and re­pair work has al­ready be­gun. I think moth­ers that strug­gle to bond with their ba­bies with fa­cial de­for­mi­ties have just not come to ac­cept their lit­tle an­gels as be­ing per­fect the way they were in­tended to be.

They need to re­alise that we as par­ents set the stan­dard for what we deem per­fect.

PETRO MEYER, MONTE VISTA, CAPE TOWN

Happy baby: Thomas Wright

van der Happy fam­ily: Chantelle Si­mon, and Bijl with her hus­band, their daugh­ter, Lara.

Per­fect: Paul Meyer was born with a cleft palate.

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