August 21, 2016

3 Ways To Wear The Sangha Waterfall Wrap

Sponsored Post
When the folks at Milk and Love reached out to me for a collaboration, I was beyond excited! I'm a big fan of their products, especially considering the fact that I'll be wearing nursing clothes for a few more years at least. Heck, I'm still wearing the nursing clothes I bought 9 years ago when I was nursing Aqil! It is really difficult to find stylish, flattering, and non-mom-looking nursing clothes, so Milk and Love's product line is a lifesaver. In this post, I'll share three ways to style their best-selling Sangha Waterfall Wrap.

Here's why I love the iconic Waterfall Wrap: first of all, it's made of bamboo fabric, which means it feels absolutely gorgeous against my skin and is really flattering too. Secondly, it's a versatile piece that you can use whether or not you're nursing. Thirdly, it comes in very chic colors - including classic black - which means you don't have to sacrifice style for convenience! And fourth, it's a great transition piece for the unpredictable spring weather here in Melbourne.

One of the main draws of this versatile piece of clothing is the fact that you can use it as a breastfeeding cover by buttoning one end of the wrap to a loop inside the wrap. However, I'm not a fan of covering my babies up while nursing (mainly because I like looking at my cutie pies when I'm nursing so I'd have to put my head in there as well, and also partly because I feel like it's less discreet because it's like you're holding up a sign saying "I'M BREASTFEEDING" which is totally fine but not my style), so I'm also sharing some ways you can use it as a convertible nursing top.

The Peekaboo With A Twist


I loooooove me a cute crop top and high-waist jeans combo. Not only is this look very current, but the high waist is great for tucking my belly pooch into, hahaha. Also, check out my awesome stretchmarks peeping out the top of that waistband. My body's carried three humans to term, man. I'm proud of those battle scars!

All I did with the Waterfall Wrap was cross the ends in front of me and twist them once, and then I tied the ends in the back. Super easy and quick!

To nurse baby, simply nurse through the top, or the "cutout" sections on either side. 

The Stretchy Cardi


For this style, I simply wore a belt to give the Waterfall Wrap some shape. I've paired it with a simple low-cut body con dress, but you can just as easily pair it with a tank top and jeans for a more casual look.

To nurse baby, just nurse as usual from the outfit you're wearing underneath the wrap. You can use the tails as a cover if you so choose.

The Classic Wraparound


This is a classic way to use the Waterfall Wrap, and for good reason! It's super simple - just cross the tails in front of you and then tie them behind your waist. 

To nurse baby, just nurse from the top of the wrap. Hardly discreet, but if that's your style (it's mine, most days!) then go ahead with courage and conviction, mama!


You can get the Sangha Waterfall Wrap from the Milk and Love website by clicking here. You could also win one of five Sangha Waterfall Wraps the generous folks at Milk and Love are giving away. Check out the Milk and Love Facebook page for more information.

Note: This is a sponsored post, which means that I received the product and/or service in exchange for writing this post/review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

August 1, 2016

Adam Axl Caldwell - His Home Water Birth

The night before Adam was born, Dan and I stayed up super late watching X-Files. We had downloaded the episodes of the latest "season" ages ago but never had time to watch it. It just so happened that June 30th was Dan's first day of paternity leave (because it was Adam's due date), so we had time to stay up late watching TV. It was also the only night we decided not to do anything to encourage labor. You see, at 36 weeks, I experience false labor. It was so convincing and lasted around 8 hours before the surges completely stopped. Since then, I had been impatient to get baby out, and starting at 37 weeks we did what we could to naturally and gently get baby out - essential oils, massages, acupuncture, stretch & sweep, and of course, sex. Obviously, baby came out on the one night we didn't do anything at all, hahaha.

Anyway, we went to bed around 2am and I just could not sleep. I felt like baby was really pushing down and it was too uncomfortable for me to get settled. But at around 5am on Friday, July 1st 2016, I felt the first surge which around 30secs long. At this point I noted that it felt different, but after a month of false starts, I didn't get too excited. However, then there were two more that were 10-15mins apart. At this point I knew it was real! So I woke Dan up to tell him ("This is definitely the real thing, babe!"). I did tell him to go back to sleep but I don't think he actually slept. I can't blame him, because I didn't either. We were just so so so ready to have this baby already.

At 6am, after timing the surges for an hour, I texted our midwife, Andrea, to let her know what was going on. There was a little bleeding, but the surges were still pretty far apart at 10-15minutes between each 30-45 second surge. Usually you wouldn't call your midwife at this point but Andrea had told me to let her know as soon as something happened because I was likely to have a quick labor. 

By 7am, the surges were a minute long but timing was erratic. I was getting nervous that maybe this was another false labor so I kept myself busy pottering around. I put on some makeup (of course), had a bit to eat, changed into my "laboring clothes". I texted our birth photographer, Emily, to let her know what was going on as well.

I needn't have worried about it being false labor again though, because by 8am, the surges were 5 mins apart and a minute long. At this point, I ask Andrea and Emily to come. I go to the the birthing room (which is usually the guest room in our house). I was really focused on my breathing, on feeling the surges and breathing through them. I also stop timing the surges - I knew by then that this was the real thing and it was only a matter of time before baby makes an appearance!

At around 8.30am, Andrea arrives and checks on me. Dan starts filling up the pool, with hot water by a hose connected to our laundry tap. Then he actually adds cold water using a bucket. I have very vivid memories of him running in and out of the room carrying that bucket, hahaha! I was still relaxed and chatty between surges at this point in time.

Around 10am, I start asking to go into the pool. After Andrea checked the temperature to make sure it was okay, I got in. Immediately the surges were 80% less intense! I relaxed straight away, smiling and laughing and bonding with Dan. I was practically limp, I was so relaxed. I was also really really gassy. I burped a lot, and farted too (which is impossible to get away with doing discreetly when you're in water, as you can imagine).

Flatulence aside, the next couple of hours were quite emotional for me - at one point, I remember saying to Dan "I never thought I'd ever experience this again, now here I am about to have another precious baby. Thank you. Thank you for making all my dreams come true!". I think there were quite a few tears in the room at that time, mostly from me hahaha. 


I also kept saying, "Oh man, laboring in water is the BEST! Why doesn't everyone do this?? Everyone should do this!". Seriously, if laboring in water is an option for you, DO IT. 

Throughout this time, I was able to freely change my position based on what felt comfortable for me. My favorites were squatting and being on all fours, but eventually I found that I enjoyed floating in the water on my back (this would also end up being the position baby was born in!). During surges, Dan would support my lower back and press into it to counter the pressure I was feeling around my abdomen. He would also scoop water on my back, which felt incredible.

Andrea would periodically check baby's heart rate with a doppler monitor, and she would just work around me in whatever position I was in. This is my first time having a medical practitioner put my comfort first, and it felt so reassuring to know she had my needs in mind first and foremost. She still did what she needed to do, but never made me feel like I was in the way. I love midwife care! 

At around noon, I felt my water break in the water (which made me lose focus for a few seconds, and the only time I really felt fear because I remember how much it "hurt" after my water broke during Afraz' birth) and the surges really start getting more intense, but I started feeling really tired (remember, I hadn't slept at all the night before!) and Andrea asked if she could check me. Turns out there was still a little more cervical lip in the way. 

Andrea suggested that I get out of the water and walk around for a bit to help things along. I began feeling a little discouraged and in despair, but most importantly, I didn't wanna leave the comfort of the water! But in the interest of just getting this baby out already, I finally got out of the water. 

From the first moment I took a step back on dry land, it was awful. I felt so HEAVY, like I weighed a tonne! And the surges were super super super intense. There was a sharpness to the pressure that wasn't there in the water, a heaviness that felt almost unbearable. Through those surges, I managed to make it to the toilet to pee. However, the temperature change from the warm water to cold air made me really really dizzy. I decided I needed to take a nap, so I laid down on the bed, which felt good for about ten seconds, lol. I was soooo tired and wanted to nap but the darn surges were interrupting my rest! 

It was then that I began vocalizing really loudly, like I did with my previous birth as well. My vocalizing was almost operatic, and probably sounded ridiculous, but it felt so good! At some point during this time on the bed, I start going into transition. How do I know? Because, like someone trying to buy drugs on the street, I whispered to Andrea, "Hey, do you have something I could take? I know you've gotta have something. Just to take the edge off?" It is so hilarious to think about it now, hahaha. I kept asking too! Maybe like three times! Each time she just said, "No, sorry, I don't have anything. But you don't need it! You can do this!". I think I also started getting emotional about not having my mom around. Just using any excuse to wimp out, really! Lol. I was also just so very tired. I had been snacking on dates and drinking water and energy drinks, but Andrea asks Dan to get some honey for me, and a spoonful of that really worked to give me a boost of energy.

At around 12.45, Andrea checked me and confirmed that everything was nice and open. Time to get back in the water! The moment I went back in, my whole body just loosened up. I could focus again. Not long after entering the water, I start feeling the urge to push. I was so exhausted but I had a renewed sense of purpose - it was time. 

Now, in HypnoBirthing, we are encouraged to breathe baby out. But I just couldn't help but be absolutely primal. It felt amazing to actively push baby out, to work with my body to get baby out into the world. I was moaning, swaying, following my body as it took me to another place altogether (I'll write more about that at a later date, but I suggest looking up "orgasmic birth" because it is REAL, guys!). 

It took a while, and I actually pooped (Andrea just scooped it out of the pool. People get so nervous about pooping when giving birth, but almost everyone poops during labor and those attending to you would not be grossed out by it at all), but soon enough, just before 1.52pm, baby's head was ready to come out. I didn't know this, though. Not just because I couldn't feel it, but because everyone around me was so calm!!!! There were no loud voices or overly excited faces - just a bunch of faces with completely zen expressions staring at my vagina. So when I felt the ring of fire and baby's head popped out in a single push, I was shocked! 

It was then that Andrea and Dan started talking to me, telling me to breathe and just push a couple more times to get the rest of baby out. I was freaking out and exhausted, but after a few deep breaths, I pushed a couple of times and baby came out. Dan picked him up out of the water and placed him in my arms. He also checked between Adam's leg and announced "It's a boy!". 


I looked at my beautiful new son and said, "Hello, Adam!". He cried for all of five seconds, takes a quick look around at his family (at this point the older boys had entered the room), then promptly fell asleep. I birthed my gorgeous placenta a few minutes later, and Adam stayed connected to it for a few hours after that - talk about delayed cord clamping! By the time we cut the cord, it was completely white and limp. And guess what? I did not tear at all. That's right - I birthed a 3.69kg baby naturally and with no injury whatsoever to my perineum. Thank you, perineal massage and water birth!!!

The few hours after the birth were a bit of a blur. Adam peed on his dad and pooped on me. I latched him on several times in those first few hours and discovered immediately that something was wrong - turns out Adam was born with a tongue and lip tie. I will definitely share our experience with this soon! 

We decided against announcing the birth that night. It was mostly because we were beyond exhausted, but we also felt this need to just "be" for a while. It felt like we were still in a dream, and it was wonderful to really enjoy that. Like an extension to the beautifully intimate birth we just experienced.


I still think about Adam's birth and smile. While Aqil's birth was traumatizing and Afraz' birth was healing, this birth was just...ideal. It was more meaningful than I could have ever dreamed. I felt so empowered and beautiful. I felt so connected to my nature as a woman and a mother, in that my body was capable of doing this amazing thing that countless mothers before me have experienced. I felt this energy down to the very core of my being - a strength and resilience that I hadn't seen within myself till this moment.

Women are told all the time that we "need" to do more, that we need other people to help, that we need chemicals to cope, that we have to be in a certain position and a certain location to have a safe, comfortable birth. It is so empowering to know for sure now that that's all a lie. That my body CAN and DID bring a human being into this world on its own. Mothers - we are capable of more than we are given credit for! 

Speaking of credit, I also need to thank my fantastic birth team for being incredibly supportive, gentle, and so very loving throughout the entire labor. Thank you to the super mother-daughter midwife team of Andrea and Hannah Quanchi of My Midwives Melbourne North for their patience, support, and good humor; thank you to photographer extraordinaire, Emily Black of Emily Black Photography, for capturing these priceless moments and for helping with the birth as well (sorry to make you run back and forth turning the hot water on and off through the day!); thank you to my older boys Aqil and Afraz, for being the most incredible, well-behaved, considerate, loving, amazing and perfect children that ever existed; and most of all, thank you to my partner in life, love, and now birth - Daniel, you were my pillar of strength through this entire process. You did good, Dan-doula!

I'll always look back at Adam's birth with a smile. It was everything I ever desired in a birth. However, I am cognizant of the fact that mothers do not have water births (let alone home births!) as an option back home in Malaysia. This breaks my heart and I hope that it will change soon, because if my experience is anything to go by, water births are incredible and all mothers should be able to experience it if they so desire!



July 27, 2016

Introducing Adam Axl Caldwell!

This is about 3+ weeks too late, but I've had my baby! Introducing Adam Axl Caldwell, born 1st July 2016 at 1.52pm, in water at home (!!!). He is my biggest baby at 3.69kg - a whole kilogram heavier than his older brothers at birth!



I'll be sure to post his birth story really soon. It's a good one ;)

Life has been chaotic since 1st July, hence the lack of birth announcement on here, but we're slowly getting into the groove of things now. I still can't believe I'm a mom of three boys. I mean, I knew from the start that I was having a boy this time (we didn't find out officially because we wanted it to be a surprise at birth, but I genuinely "sensed" it was a baby boy from the start), but to have all three with me now...it's pretty awesome. I'm still the only rose among the thorns, hehe!

April 4, 2016

Happy One-Year Anniversary to Us! (Plus: Our Wedding Video!)

Yep, it's been a year since our wedding! It feels like the past year has just flown past, honestly. So much has happened since then, including the big move to Melbourne and (of course) the pregnancy.


A year ago, Daniel and I made a vow to respect, care, and love each other through thick and thin. So far, we've made good on our promises. We have been so fortunate to have people around us who are so supportive and loving, particularly our two wonderful children (soon to be three!) and they definitely deserve a huge thank you.

But I'd like to thank my husband especially: Daniel, not only have you brought joy, peace, laughter, and love into my life, your large heart has made space for Aqil and Afraz as well. Thank you for being the amazing husband and father we always wished for but never had. Thank you for always walking in the door with a smile and endless hugs, even after a long day at the office. Thank you for always putting our family first, even if it may be easier to be selfish. Thank you for possessing the maturity, consideration, compassion, humor, and patience to make this relationship work for us and be an effective partner in life, love, and parenting. Thank you for being YOU and thank you for sharing you with us! We love you and cannot wait for more years together.

Now, without further ado, I present to you, our wedding video! Many thanks to AnakWayang for capturing all the important moments of our special day so beautifully. (I swear I did not cry that much on our wedding day, they just happened to catch each moment I did! LOL!).



Quick trivia: This song (If I Could Fly by One Direction) is very special to us, and to me especially, because I think it really captures the essence of our relationship - especially the first two lines "If I could fly, I'd be coming right back home to you". I cried the first time I heard it in November, and asked specifically for this song for the video. And now I've cried every time I've watched the video. (Ok so maybe I do cry a lot...)
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