My Birth Story

My birth story began a week before it was ‘meant’ too. After a discussion with my OB/GYN and my husband we decided that due to hypertension that had begun in the last few weeks of my pregnancy it was best to get this guy out a week early. 

That decision was made at our 38 week appointment. Fast forward to May 17th, we spent the day preparing the house and spending time with our dog, Archie before we left him with our friend Kyra and would return to him with a new family member. Honestly, that day went so fast. We were due at the hospital just before 5pm, I had so many plans for the day wanting to just get everything I possibly could done before we had this baby. In the end we spent most of the day getting ourselves organized and walking Archie.

At 4:15pm we headed to the hospital, after arriving and filling in the necessary paperwork we were taken to ‘Birth Suite 1’ where we made ourselves comfortable before I would be induced later that evening. It’s actually really hard to get ‘comfortable’ in a hospital room. It kind of feels like somewhere you aren’t going to be for a long time so it took us a few hours to actually settle in. 

We ended up getting something to eat – provided by the hospital – before getting changed into some comfortable clothes before my obstetrician came in to begin the induction procedure. For my induction we went with the balloon method. For a little TMI the balloon method involves a water balloon being inserted and then filled with usually around 50mls of water in 2 different balloons to open the cervix. It was definitely not comfortable. After a while I forgot that it was there which was night and we tried to settle in to sleep for the night after being told that my obstetrician would be back at around 8am to remove the balloon, break my waters and get this show on the road. 

Monday night was definitely not the most comfortable night of my pregnancy. I still had to get up and pee constantly and the balloon was causing me a bit of pain. I was given some medication to help with the pain and to help me fall asleep to make sure that I was rested for labour the following day which is something I definitely appreciated. It was a long night for both George and I, there was also a little anxiety mixed in there thinking about what the next day would bring. 

Eventually we both got some sleep and woke up to a lovely hospital provided breakfast. At around 8am my obstetrician returned to remove the balloon and begin the hormone drip that would signal to my body that it was time to kick start labour and get this thing going. 


Throughout the day midwives would come in and increase the amount of the hormone in the IV which slowly helps your body dilate at a more natural pace. It started off really chill. I was playing Animal Crossing: New Horizon on the Nintendo switch and ended up having a great conversation with one of the midwives who has kids and was curious about the game. The progress was pretty slow, which was not ideal but I was trying to just stay as relaxed as possible to let me body do its thing. 

Around lunch time I started to feel the contractions more so George and I decided to try and distract myself from the pain by watching a movie. Obviously, being in labor I got to pick the movie. I thought something funny was in order, no one needs a heavy movie while they are experiencing contractions, so we ended up watching Thor Ragnarok. 

I don’t think I’ll ever forget standing in the middle of a hospital room wearing a massively oversized mens Tee from Kmart and disposable underwear while clinging to an IV pole and dancing through my contractions while watching Thor.

We progressed through lunch using heat packs and Thor to help with the pain, however when we hit around 2pm it started to all get a little to much for me and I asked to use the gas. Initially I was using it more intermittently, for when the contractions felt particularly strong. But as the hormone drip was increased I began using it more consistently for all the contractions. 

It became really difficult to push through the contractions. I honestly thought that I must of been at least 6cm, so when my obstetrician came in to check my progress and told me I was at 4cm I was not excited! It had already been a long day. It was 3pm and I’d been ‘in labor’ since 8am. It was a little disheartening to hear but I also knew there was nothing I could do about it aside from listen to my body. 

Throughout the entire labor my blood pressure was being closely monitored as it had been quite high for the last few weeks of my pregnancy. After laboring for that long my BP began to peak higher than it had all week. With that my Obstetrician thought that the safest bet would be to get an epidural. After experiencing back to back contractions using only the gas as pain management I was 100% ready. 

I didn’t really even feel the epidural needle at that point, I was ready for the edge to be taken off these contractions. Once the epidural was in i felt fantastic! I wasn’t in any pain anymore and I felt as thought I could crush this labor. With this second wind I prepared myself to keep going. Another hour passed and my Obstetrician returned to check my progress which was when I was informed that I was still only at 4cm. To add to that, I’d been monitored more closely in that hour to make sure my blood pressure was going down and during that monitoring they discovered that Hugo’s heart rate would drop significantly each time I had a contraction. Definitely not a good sign. 

After a discussion with George and I the Obstetrician recommended a C section, with how my body was progressing and now Hugo’s distress during contractions I was on board to get him out as quickly as possible to make sure his arrival was a safe one. With the decision made I called my mum to let her know and George got decked out in scrubs to accompany me into the OR. 

It was all such a surreal experience as this point. I definitely said “I feel like I’m on Grey’s Anatomy” out loud, which is definitely very awkward and I definitely thought I was thinking that as opposed to sharing it with a team of doctors. I was rolled into the OR and we waited for the Anesthesiologist to return as he was the only member of the medical team who had headed home for the day when the decision was made. The medical team was amazing, they really put me at ease about the whole situation, chatting with George and myself and reassuring us through out the whole procedure. 

Don’t get me wrong the adrenaline was pumping! But I definitely felt that Hugo and I were in the best possible hands. 

Just before 7pm we got started and my 7:19pm Hugo James had entered the world. It was so bizarre when they lowered the curtain for me to see him. It did not feel like he had been the little nugget that was rolling around in my uterus all these months. Even as they shifted him here there and everywhere he was quiet and content. He only began to cry when the pediatrician gave him his shots while giving him a once over. 

Once he was giving the OK he was bought over and placed on me. There he sat, content as anything looking around at the world. It is definitely an experience I will not forget! 

Overall, my birth experience was pretty good. Birth is something that you really have very little control over. It comes down to trusting your body to do what it’s made to and your medical team to assist you in that – or in my case assisting me when my body decided not to cooperate. The most important thing I took from this entire experience is the importance of finding doctors that you trust, be it a GP, OB or podiatrist. Trust is key. 

Moving From a Physical to a digital planner

One of the many hobbies I have picked up over the years is bullet journaling. An important note about my hobbies is that I go hard into them, I try to get all the things I need to really enjoy and immerse myself when I am spending my time engrossed in a new activity. That being said I recently made the decision to move from physical journaling to journaling digitally. 

I began my research by looking at whether digital planning was ‘for me’. I love my bullet journal and sitting down to take the time to create different spreads. I mostly wanted to make the move to give myself a more portable option for my creative outlet as well as being able to keep all my notes, lists, spreads and memories in one easily accessible place. 

Recommendation: Research is Key! Look on YouTube and Pinterest for some great accounts 

So how did I end up getting started with digital bullet journalling/planning? The first step was research! I wanted to find the best tools for the job that were also within a reasonable budget. I first tried using my husband’s Surface tablet/PC thing with the stylus, because free, but it wasn’t as responsive as I was hoping. This led me down the rabbit hole of YouTube. Where I looked at what products the digital planner community were using, the results were that most planners used iPads and apple Pencils. 

As we all know Apple products do not come cheap, so my second step was to look into how I could go about this in the most affordable way possible. This led me to look into both second hand and new options. Making sure you research which iPads work with the Apple Pencil. I found the best list here https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT211029 

Recommendation: Look at both New and Second Hand options to find what best fits your budget

I ended up going with the first generation Apple Pencil and the Ipad (8th Generation) they are the most affordable options for me at the moment (I live in Australia for context)

8th Generation iPad

In Australia can be found at Apple, JB HiFi, Harvey Norman and Officeworks. I purchased mine from Officeworks. Sometimes you can find ones that are a bit cheaper as they have been returned but are brand new.

1st Generation Apple Pencil

Make sure that which ever iPad and pencil you choose are compatible with each other.

After finding the products I wanted to use for this digital planning journey, I began research into content creators and just how spreads and journals worked when it comes to the digital platform. The creators I have found most useful are: 

They are the most informative on all things that relate to not only digital planning but using technology in a productive and easy way in your day to day life.

What I am currently using

at the moment I am using a digital planner which I purchased from K Digital Studios Website. As I am still learning and evolving my style I wanted to try a preexisting planner with all the bells and whistles to see what aspects I use on a daily basis.

My future goal is to create my own hyperlinked planner that has contains exactly the pages that I need.

Conclusions

Overall I have found the move to digital planning relatively easy. There are definite pros and cons to digital vs physical but for this season of life I think that digital planning fits my needs slightly more.

PROSCONS
*All materials on the same place
*access to lots of different planner templates, less of a commitment to try them out
* ability to create a custom planner that suits exactly what you need
*able to take all my planning and motes with me wherever I go
*easy to transfer dates, appointments etc to calendar
*can be more expensive than physical planning
* need to keep devices charged to use them.

If you are thinking of starting a digital planner I recommend doing as much research as you can. I found it really helpful to look into what devices are most commonly used and the most accessible. It is also great to see how other people use and set out there planners to see if it is something that’s the right fit for you.

Reflecting on May

Renovations

May saw us finally making some headway on our renovations! We officially live in a house with doors, skirting and architraves! Honestly I am so happy with how all this turned out considering how long it took us to find the right team of carpenters to get the job done.We do still need to paint said doors and architraves but that is definitely something that is on the back burner at the moment. 

Its all about getting excited about the small things in life and let me tell you I am in love with my front door lock! 

Reading

May was a busy month for us and I only ended up finishing two books. ‘The Well of Ascension’ by Brandon Sanderson and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ by J.K Rowling. 

The Well of Ascension
by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn book 2

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter book 2

In all honesty the pace of my reading slowing down is a bit upsetting to see but I do need to take into consideration that a lot has happened in May and give myself a chance to find a new routine that allows for a little bit of time each day to read. 

Family

Hugo James arrived this month and we honestly couldn’t be more in love with him! His birth didn’t quite go to ‘plan’ (I say plan loosely as we didn’t really go in with a plan) He arrived at 7:19pm on May 18th 2021. We spent 6 nights in the hospital before finally bringing Hugo home to meet his new best friend Archie. 

Currently we are all just getting into the routine of life at home. It’s a little Topsy turvy at the moment as Victoria is in another lock down, which is making it difficult, but we will get through. 

Life

So we are now parents! Which is a crazy thing in itself. Currently we are working on how to balance Hugo’s needs with those of Archie as well as what we each need to function day to day. We haven’t been home for too long so I think we are doing pretty well but Its something that is important for me to get the hang of sooner rather than later. 

Currently in terms of hobbies and things I enjoy doing, I am still cooking dinners, which I am really enjoying although they are all very simple meals at the moment. I am also trying to finish my book club book, although lock down may be helping with that as we can’t meet up just yet. I am trying to get a chapter read each day and cutting myself some slack if that all I get done in a day. 

We are currently re watching New Girl which I am absolutely loving! I forget just how much I love that show! 

Overall I think we are at the stage where we are managing life, which is a win but not quite where we are in a great routine. 

Most Anticipated Games

One of the best things about having a husband that enjoys playing video games is that he always keeps me up to date on release announcements and keeps note of the games he thinks I will enjoy. This leads to both of us getting to enjoy different games together. 

There are a few games that have already (now) been released, are being released later in 2021 and some that are being released even further into the future that I am really excited about!

Already available 

There are two games that have already been released since I began compiling the list that I am so excited to get to play soon, they are both being released on the Nintendo Switch, which as a side note is my favourite console. 

Being Released in 2021

Now looking further into 2021 these are the games I am looking forward to being released 

There are only a couple that have set release dates. Pokemon Snap is coming out on the Switch April 30th 2021, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is being released July 16th on the switch as well and Kena: Bridge of Spirits is being released on Play Station August 24th 2021.

Another game being released in the Winter of 2021 ‘Coral Island’ which will be released on PC. 

Both Pokemon Shining Pearl and Brilliant Diamond have yet to be given a release date but the trailer is available which looks amazing! I am a huge fun of the Pokemon games. 

The last two games both coming to the Nintendo Switch that have not been given an exact date for release in 2021 are Bear and Breakfast and Alba: A Wildlife Adventure.

Looking Further into the future

Now to look even further into the future! There are four games that are hopefully being released in 2022 that I am super excited for with three being released on the Nintendo Switch and one of the Play Station.

The number of games that are coming out this year and into the future is super exciting and these are just the games that I am really excited for, there are so many options for different types of game players and different ability levels which is something I absolutely love about gaming  in general. 

I am also really excited to start streaming some game play of my favourtite games on twitch at https://www.twitch.tv/thenicotribe, which I will post about in advance if anyone is keen to jump on! 

Being able to share more of my passions in 2021 is something that I am beyond excited to be able to do and see how these expressions help me to grow as a person and find others in the community that may have similar interests. 

Stardew Valley Bundles

Stardew Valley has got to be one of my favourite video games. I currently play on both the Nintendo Switch and on PC. It is one of the most relaxing games I have come across that I can play for hours.

If you are unfamiliar Stardew Valley is a farming game where you create a character and begin your own farm. There you can grow crops, fish, mine and just explore the town at large. Its a game that doesn’t involve to much combat or puzzle solving, instead focusing on an relaxing experience that allows each player to focus on the area they enjoy the most (definitely not fishing for me!)

Now, i am not an expert at this game at all. It has taken me ages to complete some of the objectives and some I just didn’t bother with until I realised the benefits of completing them. One of those things is completing the bundles that are located in the Community Centre. Now that I am working on them I am loving the game even more.

With that said the bundles can we hard to keep track of. I decided to make a spread sheet to track the items I’d given in and the ones that I still needed to collect for each bundle. This is something I thought I’d share in case anyone wanted to use it!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1H9nvGanM80AX97ZXjJ7abGpMkPMUE3dOThbPfkLfmH0/edit?usp=sharing

with this link you can access the spread sheet from google drive to use for your own Star Dew Adventure!

Stardew Valley is definitely a game that I recommend anyone!

Reflecting on April

It has really gotten to the time where the cliche ‘time flies’ really applies. April has been a crazy month and I have seen a really big personal shift. I finished up work this month which is a massive milestone in my pregnancy. We are really getting to the nitty gritty now and the reality that when I write my next reflection I will have a tiny earth side human is absolutely crazy!

renovations

In April we made a tiny bit of headway with the renovations! Yay! We managed to find a carpenter that has been able to source doors, skirting and architraves to install in the main living area, dinning, hallway and both bedrooms. Its been exciting to finally be able to begin ordering everything and deciding what doors we want – which is actually a really hard choice! 

reading

My reading has really slowed down in April and I only managed to finish 2 books. I am trying not to be too hard on myself about it considering that will probably be my reality once Bubs arrives. 

I really enjoyed both ‘Mistborn’ by Brandon Sanderson and ‘Rule of Wolves’ by Leigh Bardugo, so definitely worth while reading month. I would definitely recommend ‘Mistborn’ to any

Family

Bubs is still not earth side! However we are at the point now where we are just waiting. At the end of April I had both a midwife and an OB appointment. That was the point in the pregnancy where I needed more blood tests to check my Vitamin D and Iron Levels in preparation for Labor. I also completed my Step B test which came back negative which is great.

We did find out that his growth rate has slowed down a bit so at my next appointment at the beginning of May he’ll be measured again and the OB will decide whether he needs to arrive a little early or if he can keep trying to grow.

April was also a busy, if not stressful month for our fur baby Archie! He turned 1 at the end of the month which meant at the beginning of the month he got neutered. Which was not a fun experience for the poor guy. He gets very anxious at the Vets so getting him sedated enough for them to place the IV was difficult. I am so thankful that the staff at our clinic are absolutely amazing and helped both Archie and I through the experience.

My brother also was finally able to get married to his gorgeous now wife Grace in April! Due to the virus and restrictions they had to push their wedding date twice, however they were both pretty good about it all even though they were thrown so many curve balls! It was definitely worth the wait and it was an absolutely stunning day!

Life

It’s all getting very very real and to make it feel even more like a reality that a baby is going to come out of me and that we are going to be someone’s PARENTS (what?!) I am now officially on my maternity leave. Which feels super crazy. Honestly I already miss my work friends and seeing the kids every day but I cannot wait to take Bubs in to meet everyone and see the kids he’s heard chattering away while I’ve been pregnant. 

My anxiety has been a little more difficult to manage at the moment, but considering I am about to give birth for the first time I am trying to give myself a bit of grace and take some time to relax every day to help. 

Ive started playing a few more video games as of late – not sure if its good timing to start playing additional games, but oh well – I’ve begun the ‘Not so Berry Challenge’ on The Sims 4 which I am really enjoying as well as playing a lot more Stardew Valley on both the Nintendo Switch and PC. 

My husband also picked up Pokemon Snap! Which was released on April 30th. He’s been playing to unwind at night and really enjoying it so far. I’ve only played for about 30 minutes so far but think it will be a great game to have. It’s very relaxing and I’ve been enjoying taking photos of all the cute Pokemon! 

2021 most anticipated book releases

I recently wrote a post about the video games I am most anticipating this year (and into the future) which reminded me of the list I had been compiling on random post it notes scattered throughout my house of all the books I am so excited to read this year. 

If you’ve been here for a while or even if you are new (Welcome!) it might be obvious that I am a pretty avid reader. Now I know things are most likely going to slow down once Bubs is in the mix but I am hoping to still be able to read something each month, even if its just one book. 

Every year I look forward to seeing all the books that they are going to be released in a new year, it always seems like an exciting ‘fresh start’ for the year and even through everything going on last year it was something to look forward too. 

Without adding to much to the preamble, these are the books that I am most looking forward too picking up this year. 

Already released

Since I am writing this post so late there are some books that I am am mentioning that have already been released that I just haven’t picked up yet. 

Synopsis

Synopsis
I absolutely loved Courtney Summers book ‘Sadie’ so I do really want to get to this soon

May 4th

Synopsis

may 13th

May 18th

Synopsis

may 25th

June 8th

june 15th

july 25th

November 11th

I am so excited for all these books to come out and these are just the releases I know about that I’m excited for. If you have any book recommendations of new releases leave a comment so I can add it to my list!

Animal Crossing Island Tour

I am so excited to start sharing my Animal Crossing Island! I’ve recently started watching (and loving) Animal Crossing Island Tours and these Islands are stunning! Honestly people are so talented.

Now, my Island is far from complete. I wanted to share where my at now so that I can share the progress as my island improves. So this is where we are at.

I’d love yo hear ant tips you might have for Forest Cove!