You know what I love? When friends serve spaghetti bolognese at a dinner party. It’s such an unexpected, cool move, like, “Welcome to our home, to our table and our real life!” It’s Tuesday night meal on a Saturday, with fancy plates and the good wine glasses.
Though I should say, the sauce my friends serve is a little more jazzy than the bolognese you might remember from your childhood. These folks are swish and slow cook things like it’s nobody’s business. There’s a richness to their recipes that is completely swoon-worthy, and one I cannot replicate. Yes, my bolognese is less fancy, though it has a few elements that make it “more than mince”. Over the years I’ve taken tips from my mum, friends and chefs I admire, adapting various ingredients and methods to create a dish that Ben and I favour. It’s rather heavy on the tomato (purely as a means of getting more serves out of the dish), and the herbs I use change seasonally. Our recipe is not overly complex in its layers of flavours, nor is it super rich. It’s more everyday, more Tuesday than Saturday night bolognese. But it’s comforting and wholesome and sits atop a pile of pasta, and that, folks, is everything I want right now.
We’re deep in a Joan love bubble over here. Ben and I have fallen hard for our little cherub, whom we call “Chub”. We call each other Chub also, an abbreviated form of “Cherub”. Across the room we’ll yell out to each other “Hey, Chub! Chub just did a giant poo!” To which the other Chub will reply, “Well done Chub!”. I suppose to outsiders it may seem like we’ve gone a little mad, and perhaps in those first newborn weeks you do. Anyone who’s a parent will know what I’m talking about. But it’s a sweet kind of madness, where everything this tiny little person does is magical and new and touches your heart so magnificently you think you might burst. It’s a time of learning how to take care of your baby and learning how to take care of each other, how to nurture your new parent, sleep deprived selves. It’s a blessed and challenging time. The three of us are growing in many ways and it’s exhausting and beautiful and hard at times. But oh, those sweet, soft, baby snuggles…
Here are some photographs from our first few weeks at home.
♥ Bed, our favourite place.
Ben goes back to work on Friday. Bless the guy for saving up his leave and staying in our newborn bubble for three weeks. I know he’ll miss Joan so much when he’s away, but thankfully Ben works from home at least one day a week so he won’t feel like he misses too much. I have a feeling Joanie will be making an appearance on his conference calls and giving her opinion on work matters. We should probably sort out an email address and some desk space. Maybe a mini computer too.
For now, we’re making the most of these sweet, slow days. In fact, we’ve rarely left the bedroom. This morning Ben bought up plates of eggs (slightly runny – booyah!!), scrambled with carrot, leek & rocket, with a side of thick-cut ham (double booyah!!) and avocado sourdough toast. Plus orange juice for me and tea for him. Joan had boob.
It’s 3:36am and I’m lying in bed. As the credits roll on an episode of Girls I look down from my laptop and see my baby, 5 days old, asleep on my chest…her sweet face with big bright eyes, soft cheeks, little nose and even smaller chin. I can feel her warm body on my chest, her strong and short breaths, her little squirms and movements. The awe I am feeling is as present and tangible as her head on my heart and bottom on my belly. She is here.
I’ve wanted to write Joan’s birth story for days and haven’t gotten around to it. It’s amazing how quickly time passes when snuggling your baby or watching them sleep and feed. But I knew I should write it down. It was the most amazing experience, the best day of my life and I want to remember every detail of how our Joan Scarlett Sze entered the world. So here we go…
I spent the morning of Thursday 27th August doing normal full-term pregnant lady things. I slept-in, then made Ben and I a bowl of oats and yoghurt for breakfast. Afterwards I prepped vegetables to make a big batch of bolognaise to freeze before doing my one of three daily breech tilt inversions (all in the hope of getting bubs to flip head down and not engage butt first). I then went for a long walk (walking is encouraged to flip breech babies) and picked up some milk. On reflection I see this activity may have contributed to our baby coming early. Though honestly I think that was entirely bubs’ decision. Either way, things were very normal that morning, nothing could possibly have made me think that by the evening our baby would be born. Parsley (our baby’s womb name) was incredibly thoughtful in picking the day that Ben was home from the office to arrive. If it were the day prior or later he’d have missed the start and shock of it all, and I would have been making a panicked call to my mum. As it turns out, our last moments at home as a twosome were really special. Rushed and a little frantic, but special.
After my walk I went to prep some sweet potato for lunch. As I lowered myself down to reach the steamer from the cupboard I felt something…. a kick and pop down below. I stood and a steady trickle of liquid came out. “No way”, I thought. I knew it was amniotic fluid. I went to the toilet, which was only about 10 paces away, and as I walked the amount of fluid increased to the point of excited undeniability. It was clear-coloured with a little bit of white in it (which I later found out was the vernix bubs was shedding). Even though I was devastated, pleading to Ben “we aren’t ready yet, Parsley is still head up!!!” and wondering how this could be happening 2 weeks early, I was also incredibly buzzed because I knew this meant we’d be meeting our baby very soon. Not too soon to be a health concern for bubs, but too soon in that we were far from birth-ready! My mum was always over her due date and I assumed I’d follow suit. Plus I was adamant that bubs would flip head down during week 38 just like I did as a baby. I hadn’t even finished packing the hospital bag! My birth preferences were on my computer and we had no ink to print them, I hadn’t baked the midwives treats and our place was a mess. We weren’t ready yet! But our baby was.
It’s been awfully quite over here, hasn’t it? Well, not in real time. My present life is full of baby cries, sighs and hiccups, as our beautiful baby came early, right on 38 weeks. Parsley is here. Parsley is a she! Welcome to the world, Joan Scarlett. We are so very much in love with you.
Baby Joan’s birth story will be coming. For now, here is my final pregnancy update, which was all typed up and ready to go. My denial at bubs’ impending arrival is rather hilarious. Thank you for all the sweet baby love on Instagram. We are so blessed. XXX
This week I finally got over my chest infection, though I’m left with a bit of a cough. It certainly takes longer to feel healthy when you’re pregnant and I found that rest was really the best thing. Now I’m back to sleeping and as a result, I’m feeling a whole lot sunnier.