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Baby Joan’s Birth Story

September 10, 2015

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.

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My third trimester world, weeks 36 & 37

September 3, 2015

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.

ben & joan

photo 1

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


Week 36

Healthy again

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.


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Pregnancy Eats, The Third Trimester

August 24, 2015

heidi orange kiss


I ended my second trimester pregnancy eats post by saying that I predicted my next food post on the third trimester would be quite similar. And while that’s been true in terms of food choice, things are a quite different in other ways, mainly my surprisingly poor appetite. I’ve had to figure out crafty ways how to get in those extra calories, which is something I didn’t predict I would struggle with. Forcing myself to eat? Yeah, that was never a problem in the past, as someone who could dream about food and cooking all day.

This post will be less about why I chose certain foods, like salmon, eggs and smoothies, as that was covered in my second trimester pregnancy eats post. What I will be talking about is how I managed to eat in spite of a reduced appetite and overall interest in food, and which foods I favoured.

As I progressed into my third trimester and our baby took over my abdomen, eating large serves became difficult. A growing belly means less room for food and breathing and other important things. And because my strategy for getting in extra calories during the second trimester was to increase my serves at dinner, I had to think differently. This meant more snacks and even higher calorie, nutrient-dense food choices, as my kilojoule requirement crept up to an extra 2,000 per day and my appetite during the day was pretty non-existent.

The only foods that got me truly excited were oranges, croissants and pasta. And while that’s all well and good, I felt it was prudent to ensure I ate a wider variety of foods 😉 Here’s what a typical day looked like, along with other things I liked for meals and snacks.

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My Third Trimester World, weeks 34 and 35

August 17, 2015

I’m presently 36.5 weeks pregnant and it’s time for my week 34 and 35 update!

Week 34

Light, warm, trusting, sure and peaceful. That’s how I’m feeling this week. The events on Monday and the following days made me stop, breathe and see things clearly.


On the Monday this week I had an appointment with my OB. First up, I met with a midwife and we spoke about preparing a hospital bag (huh, I still need to do that), when to call in and all that jazz. She was kind and sweet and I felt very comfortable in her presence as she confirmed bub’s position – head up, bum down below, legs up the side. Ahhhh sweetie. You’re still breech. I knew it, you cannot mistake our baby’s dear little head under my ribs, and the kicks on my left side, which are now super strong. We joke that Parlsey’s best friends are his/her legs, laughing as we picture him/her kicking and staring at them, not even knowing what a leg is. Oh boy, folks, we cannot handle the cute. I spoke about vaginal breech birth with both our midwife and our obstetrician, and I though I know that it is possible, I also appreciate why they are not keen for it to happen with first time mums. There’s still a bit to consider there, folks, and I’m honestly not sure anymore if I would push for it. It depends on a few things that will become clearer after a scan in the coming weeks, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Our obstetrician confirmed our baby’s positioning with a little scan, during which we saw our baby’s face. It was so incredibly clear… chubby little cheeks and sweet little nose. Oh, it was unreal, the clearest picture we’ve seen. “It looks like a real baby!” Ben said. Totally is. Because of bubs’ position, we spoke about what our next step would be, which is a referral for an ultrasound next week to check our baby’s growth and the surrounding fluid level, plus a few other things – stuff they need to be sure of before they attempt an ECV (external cephalic version -attempting to move the baby from the outside into the head down position). I asked a lot of questions and we spoke about it all and I now feel really comfortable with going ahead with an ECV at week 37 if our baby is still breech. 

And you know what? I feel so much more comfortable with everything now. Even if it is a C section. Of course I don’t want it to come to that, I’d LOVE a natural birth…but the difference is (unless I’m feeling particularly emotional or vulnerable) I have stopped grieving the fact that I may not be able to give birth vaginally and I am now fully and beautifully focussed on what our baby needs. My acupuncturist said that if bubs doesn’t move with moxa and an ECV, it’s for a reason. She has seen this in her practice and she believes it completely. And I do too. I’ve known that all along, truly, but now I feel it deeper. In my heart…it’s clearer now. I know that I have done everything I can to ensure our baby turns, and I know that if our baby is meant to turn head down he/she WILL. But if our baby doesn’t turn, it’s for a reason. Our smart baby knows. I am now finally ok with that. And now I can now get back to being excited! I feel like I’ve woken up. I’ll continue to do all the things I have been for the past month to get bubs to flip – stretch, do inversions and swim (in the pool when I can and float in the bath), as well as some gentle rebozo sifting, weekly chiro and acupuncture visits, but I also know that bubs will only move if they’re ready. And *sigh* that is ok. Truly.

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Baby Blessing

August 12, 2015


I’m lost for words. Well, I’m lost for the correct words. Ones that might truly articulate how thankful I am right now. But I’ll try.

I’m thankful for this little baby I am growing and its’ strong, sure, happy heartbeat. I am thankful for the joy he/she already brings, for the way he/she kicks and dances and hiccups, breaking my heart with all the sweetness. I am thankful that I am becoming a mother.

I am thankful for my best friend, the guy who helped me create this little life. The one who spends every day with me being dorks and having the very best time, just because we’re together. We are quite uncertain how we will handle this new baby, in that we worry we will be unable to stop staring at it and will henceforth let it rule our lives by way of its’ cuteness. Oh, to see face of the sweetie we created so very soon…a mix of the two of us. What magic.

I am thankful for my parents for showing me endless love and support, and defining selflessness by way of their sweet, nurturing love.

I am thankful for my brother, for his innocence and open heart, for his desire to only ever make me happy (ever since he was a child) and the fact that he will be the most darling, doting uncle.

I am thankful for my grandparents and their inspiring love.

I am thankful for my in-laws with their excitement and generosity of heart. And for creating their son.

And I am thankful for my tribe, for the women in my life who want nothing more than for me to feel happiness, fulfilment and joy, and for me to flourish as a mother. The thought of these ladies gathering at my home last weekend to celebrate the soon arrival of our baby makes me cry. They are all amazing, accomplished and special in their own right, and to have a room full of them…well, it was entirely too much for my heart to handle. Our baby is blessed to have so many beautiful Aunties wishing him/her health and happiness, watching over the three of us and wishing Ben, baby and I all of the joy in the world. No, I cannot quite articulate how I am feeling right now. Blessed only begins to touch on it.

Here are some photographs from our baby party over the weekend.

♥ There was a BAKED POTATO BAR with all the toppings you might fancy (including many made by our dear friend Rosa, from caponata to Tuscan kale salad). I chose this menu for three reasons – one: I have been loving potatoes during this pregnancy, so it felt appropriate. Two: this dish is completely customisable so everyone can find something that they will enjoy. Three: it’s a cost effective party option (real talk). My dad was a wolf in the kitchen (that’s a good thing, right? It’s meant to be) – washing dishes, serving up food and making coffee, all the while wearing a flower crown and a badge (that he totally made himself for the occasion).

♥ We drank San Pellegrino sparkling grapefruit and lemonade because, again, I had a craving. This was purely a selfish menu choice, as we went for cute single serve bottles and skipped the champagne.

♥ For dessert we served APPLE PIE and DOUGHNUTS from Johnny Ripe with cream, and Rosa and her mum Pina made treats including Pina’s famous SFINCI (her Sicilian doughnuts are my most favourite sweet treat). Those sfinci were positively demolished by the crowd! My ladies have good taste.

Along with eating we made flower crowns (thank you to mum for foraging and setting up all that beauty, and to Robin for making my perfect crown), and ladies who could knit (of which there were quite a few) knitted some squares to be joined into a special blanket for our little cherub. Thank you to Monika, mum and Sylvia, amongst all the other ladies including my nana, for taking charge with this and doing all the crafty things I cannot. We also had a peek at bubs’ room upstairs (which is almost ready) and mum read some notes to us all from a book that she was gifted when carrying her first born. Mum had all the ladies there sign the book with words of love before passing it on to me. I haven’t been able to read yet because I worry I won’t have enough tissues in the house.

The following day Ben and I collapsed on the couch eating leftover sfinci while opening the presents gifted by our friends. From a baby bjorn bouncer to the sweetest onesies, and from a bib all the way from Rome and adorable sandals from Italy to disposable change mats and an Aesop travel pack for me at the hospital. I cried again while opening the presents and have been teary while writing thank you cards this week. Our little one is so loved. We are so loved…and blessed. And thankful.

room love
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Spiced and Roasted Chickpeas

August 5, 2015

I’m currently trying to recover from a cold, fluey thing my dear, generous husband gave me. Productivity has been paused and my pregnant brain is even foggier as I ask people to repeat things a million times and forget why I walk into rooms. It’s another lesson in slow. And I’m trying to embrace that, to watch movies and read and relax… though no movies on Netflix are appealing and when I walked into the library to look for a novel I found everything entirely too overwhelming and left empty handed. I should have gone in with a plan, at least with the name of an author in my mind…but I forgot I was going to the library, you see.

No, I’m not really kicking goals this week. Though I am finally posting this chickpea recipe. That counts for something.

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My Third Trimester World, weeks 32 & 33

August 1, 2015

We’re in the eight month, folks. And I’ve realised that if I were to continue with monthly updates, we’d have two left. One, if bubs comes early! So I’m thinking I’ll post fortnightly from now on.

heidi sze pregnancy pic 3


Week 32 

OB appointment and breech thoughts and things

We went into this appointment hoping that bubs had flipped and was now head down, but alas, Parsley (our baby’s womb name) is still breech. Our baby’s head is under my left ribs and his/her legs are up my right side. I mean, it’s SO cute, but not what we want for a healthy, natural, vaginal delivery. And, as I mentioned in my previous pregnancy update, this means a lot to me. My amniotic fluid level looks good, so there’s absolutely still a chance that bubs can turn head down. In fact many do during this time, only a tiny percentage of babies are breech come full term. But it’s really not what I wanted to hear, because giving birth is important to me. It’s something I REALLY want to do. And to be put in this limbo phase of waiting to see if Parsley flips head down in the coming month…well, that’s kind of torturous.

The best thing I can do is hand over control of the situation to my baby. And while I am definitely being proactive and doing helpful things to encourage bubs to move if they’re ready, I’m finding it quite easy to trust in our baby. I’m sincerely comforted by the fact that most babies do turn eventually. And I believe that if bubs does not turn and remains breech, it’s for a reason, whether it’s safer for him/her there or for whatever reason it’s just not possible to be head down. But all this doesn’t change the fact that I still really want to give birth. But, as I need to keep reminding myself, there’s no point thinking too far ahead. I just need to trust and wait and see and adapt. And focus on my goal of a healthy baby.

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My Third Trimester World, the seventh month

July 21, 2015

The third trimester doesn’t technically start until week 28, but somehow I’ve put week 27 in here too. Let’s just focus on the fact that we’re now in the THIRD TRIMESTER!! Holy heck!

The second trimester was a dream and went by much faster than the first, as everyone says it would. Work was busy, I felt fantastic, my energy levels were pretty good and the bump popped out big time, without being crazy big or uncomfortable. It really was a sweet time.

Week 27

27 weeks

Catch ups

The first half of the week went by in a blur of work and dates. I’m finding myself scheduling a lot of catch-ups with friends, anticipating that I may not have the energy or desire to do so in the later months. That may not be the case, my mum was bouncing around until the end, but I also know that that time will come before I know it, so I’m making the most of evening city dinners and such. It’s not as though I’ll never see my friends again, but I am fully aware that I will soon be heavily and happily distracted by the cute human we created.


Another major event this week was our first HypnoBirthing class. I’ve been super excited for this to start after being referred by a friend. All the reading I’ve been doing, from the likes of Ina May Gaskin and Sheila Kitzinger, has led me to believe that I will soak this information right up! During the classes we learn all about the birth process and the amazing things our bodies do at this time, as well as ways Ben can support me and things we can both do to have a birth that is as close to our goal of a natural birth as possible. I’ve heard from so many people that the breathing and relaxation techniques, as well as the visualisations they learnt during their HypnoBirthing sessions were incredibly helpful in allowing them to have a gentle birth. And I love how HypnoBirthing celebrates birth. I mean, I know that there are special circumstances and that some people have really awful, traumatic experiences, but there aren’t enough discussions about good birth stories these days. My mum had three wonderful natural births (I was even in the room when my baby brother was born) and she is a real champion about sharing her stories. Needless to say, she will be in the room with Ben and I. My mumma will be my doula. I think that’s pretty special.

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Pregnancy Energy Balls

July 11, 2015


“Cacao date balls” felt a little generic, you know? It was a name that didn’t explain the intention behind the recipe creation. And that’s something worth talking about. Because honestly, my desire to actually create recipes, to blend and blitz, fold and bake, is lacking. These days, I’d rather curl up on the couch and read a book than slice and stir.

With 9 weeks to go until our little one arrives, when my ability to indulge in these sweet solo activities will be altered, I suspect my body is just telling me to save my energy. Cooking can wait. The couch and long baths cannot.

But all this lovely lazing requires energy, too. Well, lazing and growing a baby. Hence, these energy balls. For when you’re pregnant (or not) and want a sweet hit while you’re reading your book, with maximum nutrients and minimal effort. I used oats in the recipe only because I was low on almond meal, so feel free to change the ratios around. But be sure to use fresh, sticky, dreamy medjool dates. There’s no true substitute for those dream boats.

These balls contain a dose of fibre (you’re welcome), a little healthy fat, a lot of wholesome sweetness and some punch from that raw cacao. They’ll give you the energy to watch yet another episode of Orange Is The New Black.

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Pregnancy Eats, The Second Trimester

June 27, 2015

I adored my second trimester! Well, from about week 18 when the nausea stopped. It was a time of lightness and sweet anticipation. Food regained a bit of the sparkle it had lost during those first few months, and I took an even greater interest in nourishing this little baby I’m growing.

My previous pregnancy eats post principally focussed on how to get goodness in during a time when you feel like you have an all-day hangover. I was speaking about my personal experience (which happens to be similar to that of the majority of women), in that the first trimester meant nausea and food aversions, while during the second trimester, those glorious middle months, I felt pretty fantastic.

heidi sweet potato 1

So what do we eat then, when our acceptance of foods beyond the bread domain returns and we’re enjoying a growing appetite? Whether pregnant or not, I try to encourage my clients to eat intuitively, like when you were a baby yourself. Sometimes (often) this is a skill we need to re-learn, but it’s the best thing we can do… to trust our bodies to know what is best, what food makes us thrive and how much. To really tune in and listen to our bodies. Pregnancy is such an important time to do this.

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