INTRODUCING Samuel Peter
Who lives here: Samuel Date of Birth: 22nd November, 2011 Weight: 8 pound 7
Mum: Natalie, 31 Dad: Kane, 37 Big Brother: Zac Ryan, 4 Design Aesthetic: Owl Love
Mum-of-two, Natalie, was determined to have a different experience when it came to the birth of her second child, Samuel. “My first birth was intervention plus and quite traumatic for me,” she explains. “First time around I was given pethadine, an epidural, gas and the doctor needed to use forceps. My perineum was cut and I had a horrible episiotomy that caused scar tissue and that took a long time to heal. My recovery was really painful – I remember going to lunch when Zac was a week old and needing to take a special cushion to sit on. I understand that not everyone has the same experience when having intervention or drugs during the birth, but I knew that I wanted a completely different birth experience when I fell pregnant for the second time.”
“I did a lot of preparation as I felt that part of the experience with Zac was due to my lack of knowledge about what was happening to my body, and the lack of preparation for pain management. Every time it started to hurt (during the labour), I tensed up and fought it instead of relaxing and allowing my body to do its job. I invested in two books that really changed my thinking: ‘A Labour Of Love’ and ‘Birth Skills’. I also got Hypnosis For Birth CD’s from the www.alabouroflove.com.au website that I listened to in the lead up to Samuel’s birth and while I was in labour. I swam twice a week during my pregnancy and attended a weekly prenatal yoga class. The yoga taught me to get into a deep state of relaxation and also really helped with my breathing.”
The results of Natalie’s research and learning not only gave her the confidence that she needed heading into her second labour, but also helped greatly during the experience. “Samuel’s birth was absolutely amazing!” she says. “My waters broke whilst I was getting tea ready, about 6pm on a Monday night. I had rang the hospital to confirm that I needed to go up straight away as I had tested positive for the Group B Strep test at 36 weeks. I didn’t really want to go up until I was in active labour but I understood that it was best I did. We packed up Zac to go to his Granny’s house and then headed to the hospital at 7.30pm and by this stage I still hadn’t had a contraction. At the hospital the midwives hooked me up to the monitor and it turned out I was having small contractions. At 8.30pm the obstetrician came to see me and suggested that ‘we might get things moving a bit’ if nothing happened in the next hour. I was adamant that I didn’t want to be induced, particularly not that early on, so I said no. He gave me until the following morning to go into labour naturally as due to the infection he didn’t want to leave it too long. Luckily, I went into labour overnight and was in active labour by 7am the next morning. We moved into the birthing suite at 8am and Samuel was born at 9.15am. The midwife gave me the lowest grade of gas before I pushed, which really helped my breathing more than anything. It was so worth it! I was in control of the pushing and managed to keep my perineum intact without a single tear!”
“I was on such a high the moment he was born and for a long time after! He was such a calm and placid baby and, to be honest, I really struggle to think of anything that was challenging at that time – he slept and fed beautifully. If anything, I perhaps that I wished I had been a little more patient with Zac. He was three when we brought Samuel home and he definitely played up a bit for that first month. They are beautiful friends now though, which is so lovely to watch.”
Natalie and Kane always knew they wanted at least two children, so Samuel was very much a case of ‘when’, not ‘if’ when it came to planning. “We fell pregnant so easily with Zac, so I didn’t think too much about trying when we decided to have another baby. We didn’t really try that first month but thought we had it in the bag!” she laughs. “The following month we got serious, and luckily fell pregnant right away.”
Despite fatigue and nausea for the first 20 weeks, Natalie says she just loved being pregnant. “I just loved the feeling of the baby moving inside me, it is so amazing. I also loved the anticipation of meeting my baby. I would sit and rub my tummy and wonder whether I would have a boy or a girl, and what he or she would be like. We didn’t find out what we were having with Zac or Samuel, but I think if we go back for a third I might find out. It would be good to experience a pregnancy knowing the gender.”
When it came to choosing names, Natalie has loved a girls’ name since before having her first baby, and her and Kane had also agreed on two boys’ names that they both loved. “Samuel was Kane’s choice and I love it.”
When it came to creating a special space for her baby, Natalie waited until after Samuel arrived to complete the space. “We painted one wall green and set it up with a cot, change table and rocking chair and that is as far as we got! After we brought him home, I started looking for a wall sticker that I liked. I knew I wanted an owl but the colour was really going to depend on if we were having a boy or a girl – I wanted to add purple to the green if we had a girl, and brown if we had a boy. I found Samuel’s wall sticker on eBay and it was perfect! My mother-in-law then bought him a set of brown and green owl cushions. They matched the feature wall and the decal perfectly and really set the tone for the rest of the room.”
Natalie framed some owl wrapping paper to hang above the change table and used white shelves to hold special items – like the SAM letters. “My sister-in-law made a ‘Samuel’ mobile and I also have a little lamp that creates a lovely ambience which is lovely when I am feeding, cuddling him or those middle of the night nappy changes.”
For Natalie though, it was important that her very special baby had a place all of his own. “I wanted a special space that was inviting and nice for both of us to spend time in. I feel that every member of the family – no matter how small – should have their own space and a place that they can retreat to. As my boys grow, I will adapt their rooms and allow them to help me create their space.”
We think Samuel (and his room) is so very cute and what a lovely space to grow up in. Thanks for sharing, Natalie!
Five Things Natalie Loves About Samuel’s Room
- White Ikea shelves. They are such a great feature against the green wall, really cheap and easy to put up.
- Owl wall sticker. It set the theme for the room beautifully. It is simple and nice shade of brown. I didn’t want one that was too big, or too much colour.
- Owl cushions. The colours in the cushions are just perfect! They look great on the shelves and sitting in his cot.
- Frames with the owl paper. This is such a great idea – I was so happy with the suggestion from my friend to do it. The paper is just beautiful.
- Rocking chair. My best purchase yet! I got it for Zac’s nursery and we used it every day for at least two years. It is now being use just as much with Sam. We cuddle, feed and read stories in it and it is so comfy!
Natalie Can’t Live Without:
- Ergo Baby Carrier. Such a great way to carry your baby when a pram isn’t ideal and fantastic for travel. I went to America when Sam was just 12 months old and carried the Ergo in the bottom of the stroller for when he wanted a change of scenery or needed a cuddle.
- ‘Touch and feel’ books. Both of my were much more engaged with reading when they were babies when they could feel the patches of different textures. This helps so much with their language and sensory awareness as well.
- Gro-bag sleeping bags. I had three that have done both of my boys across all the seasons. I never have to worry if they kick off their blankets.
- Teething rusks. They always distracted my boys if they were getting cranky in the pram and are great for when they are teething.
- Bath seat. It sticks to the bottom of the bath and great support for baby whilst taking the pressure off your back! They are also an easy way for your baby to enjoy bathtime with their older siblings without falling over in the water.
Advice from Natalie:
“Educate yourself on what is happening to your body during labour and birth. It is a natural experience that can be assisted with natural pain relief and knowledge of your body and the process. It really helped me to have a distraction during contractions – another sensation like breathing, or your partner rubbing your back can, as simple as it seems, really distract you from the contraction.”
“Take the time to just sit and cuddle your baby. At the time, it feels like they are going to be that small and helpless forever, but they won’t be! Time really does fly!”