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My Beautiful Caesar

Our big boy has finally arrived. It was a long and tedious wait but I’m very glad we waited and he got to choose his own birthday.

Leo-day-1

My big healthy boy, only a few hours old, at 4.1 kilo’s and 56cms.

My gynae had my due date down for the 1st of August but baby only decided it was time on the 16th. To be honest I blame my very good friends over at The Skinny Juice Co for helping me grow such a big healthy boy – 4.1kilos and 56cms at birth!

I had planned a home water birth with the support of midwife Marianne Littlejohn and doula Lana Peterson and I had done everything in my power to prepare myself, physically, emotionally and spiritually, for this special occasion.

However things unfortunately did not go as planned…

I knew something was starting to happen around 4pm on the Thursday afternoon. I’d been having mild contractions on and off for about 2 weeks, but this contraction felt different. My whole body felt it. By around 4am on the Friday morning I had sms’d Lana and told her that I thought I was definitely in labour. The pain that came with every contraction was intense. I felt it deep within my bones. This wasn’t what I was expecting.

At-home

The hot water was very soothing, I just wanted to be in the pool as much as possible.

I had done a hypnobirthing course as preparation for my homebirth and we had learnt all about how birth doesn’t have to be a painful experience. Eliminating the fear and breathing correctly and staying relaxed is what I had prepared for. I honestly didn’t fear going into labour at all, I was so looking forward to the experience. I had listened to my birthing affirmations every day, fallen asleep to my rainbow relaxation CD every night and envisioned the perfect peaceful homebirth I have always dreamed of. I religiously did my yoga every morning and ate a 80% wheat and sugar free diet.

Retroyspective-9679

40 weeks + 4 days pregnant, I still had 12 days to go.

Early Friday morning, while I sat in a hot bath breathing through the contractions, we received the extremely sad news that our friend Wesley had passed away during the night. We knew Wes was battling with cancer but we really weren’t prepared for this news. It came as a huge shock to both Troy and I and almost immediately, my pain intensified.

I laboured at home through Friday and Saturday and by Saturday afternoon I had lost all sense of the world around me. I was in such intense pain but I kept repeating to myself “my surges cannot be stronger than me, because they are me. Each surge of my body brings my baby closer to me.” – Affirmations we had learnt in hypnobirthing. I still truly believe that the hypnobirthing method works, and it certainly helped me make it through labour as long as I did, but as I later found out, he had flipped posterior, which meant I was experiencing what they refer to as “back labour”, and no amount of breathing and relaxing could get me through that pain.

I had to scream. And I did. I screamed for so many reasons, over and over and over again. I felt like my bones in my pelvis and my legs were being broken over and over again with every contraction.

By around 5pm on the Saturday afternoon, he was so low and so close, that we could see a glimpse of his head. I really thought I could do it. But I had been in labour for around 32 hours by that stage. I was absolutely broken and I was starting to doubt whether I would be able to live through anymore pain. I decided it was time to consider our options and almost immediately I felt relief, but it was quickly followed by intense sadness and guilt.

I really wanted to bring our baby into the world in the comfort of our own home and I really wanted him to have a water birth.

Because I had been so confident in my ability to birth at home, I hadn’t even packed a backup hospital bag as I felt that by doing that, I was setting myself up to fail. So when reality set in and we needed to get to the hospital, the chaos began.

The drive to the hospital was unbearable.

My contractions were coming hard and fast, and the urge to push was so strong. It was 4 hours later when I was finally wheeled into theatre and as the spinal block set in, so did the panic. I was paralyzed from the waist down now and I could feel no pain, but I could still feel them moving me. I felt like a rag doll and I was petrified that I would feel the cut.

My midwife Marianne was by my side through it all, she calmed me down and told me to use my hypnobirthing breathing. My love of my life Troy held my hand, gave me strength and told me everything would be okay.

It all happened so quickly, it was literally 2 minutes later when I looked up over the blue hospital sheets and saw the nurses holding up our perfect baby boy. It was the most beautiful moment ever. Time stood still for a few seconds. I couldn’t believe our struggle was over and our baby boy was finally here.

A few minutes later Mr Leo Wesley Davies was sleeping peacefully in my arms and I just couldn’t imagine life without him.

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My happy place

Despite the last 40 hours, I was on a high (I suppose the morphine helped!). The labour pain meant nothing to me anymore, the caesar had taken that all away. I never thought for a second that I would actually enjoy having a caesar, but it was a truly awesome experience.

It wasn’t the easy birth that I had hoped for.

I did everything I could to prepare for that day, but it just didn’t work out. If there is one thing I have learnt from going through what I did, it’s that you need to be open to accept whatever turn your birthing may take – a hypnobirthing affirmation I silently chose to ignore. If things don’t go as planned, that’s okay. That just wasn’t the path you or your baby were meant to take. Every life experience teaches you something new about yourself and those closest to you and I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.

Thinking back on Leo’s birth still brings tears to my eyes, but they are no longer tears of sadness, but more tears of appreciation on how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my life who have supported me and Leo on this journey. Marianne and Lana were such a strong yet gentle team and I would never have lasted more than 2 hours of labour without them. And as one of my best friends reminded me, if it were 40 years ago, we may not even have survived the labour, so thank God for modern medical intervention when we need it.

Society made me believe that if you don’t have a natural birth, you aren’t womanly enough or strong enough, you didn’t reach deep enough and access your true feminine power. Well trust me, after 38 hours of labour it took a lot of feminine power to give in and accept a caesar.

A caesar is not always “the easy way out”. It’s a massive surgery that demands a massive recovery.

At first I felt so disappointed in myself that I couldn’t do it. I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t get it right. When I looked down at my scar every morning after a shower, I’d have a little cry as I thought back on my experience. But I’ve come to realize that’s a terrible mindset to have. Why do I feel ashamed? Look at the perfect little human that I made! Okay Dad had a little something to do with that too 😉

I’ve decided to think of my scar as a beautiful tattoo. It’s a permanent reminder of something very special to me, my little Leo.

Beautifully-Born

Leo in his ‘Beautifully Born Hypnobirthing Baby’ outfit.

It took some time for me to understand what it really means to truly be a Mom. In surfing there is a saying: “only a surfer knows the feeling.” I think the same applies to motherhood. Only a mother knows the feeling.

Welcome to the world Leo Wesley Davies.

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Almost there… Primal Pregnancy update

My “weekly-ish” love notes haven’t been very weekly lately! But that’s okay… I think I have a valid excuse at 40 weeks pregnant. My official due date was the 1st of August which has come and gone and baby seems to still be very happy inside my (rather large) tummy!

40 weeks pregnant

Throughout my pregnancy I’ve been keeping a diary as well as lots of notes and links to all the different, wonderful and interesting articles and people that I have learnt from along the way, and once baby arrives, my plan is to take it all and put it into some sort of organised chaos for you to download and learn from if interested! I’m not sure how well that plan is going to go once baby is actually here, but the intentions are there.

In the meantime, I wanted to share an article with you that I had published in the latest issue of the LOSE IT! Magazine. I wrote it when I was around 24 weeks pregnant so I have a lot to add to it now!

Click here to download a PDF of the article, and if you’d like to purchase the full mag online, you can do so here.

I’m off to bake some primal banana muffins now and drink my morning Skinny Juice … and wait!

Send your good vibes my way 🙂

 

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Why losing doesn’t mean failing

I’ve just returned from a mini-retreat to Jeffrey’s Bay, a little surf town up the East Coast of South Africa. We head up that way every winter for the good surf, except this year, being 7 months pregnant, I was really just waddling around, eating everyone else’s food and instagramming.

Jbay

Perfect Jeffrey’s Bay

With the World Cup Soccer on at the moment, we made sure to stay in a spot with DSTV and a cosy fire place to keep us warm at night (www.3pepperstreet.com if you’re ever heading up that way).

The opening game was Brazil vs Croatia and of course who could forget Brazil’s own goal scored in the 11th minute of the match! What a shocker! Over the next few days we landed up watching a few games here and there – I’m not much of a TV sports fan, but it was kind of exciting to watch, soccer isn’t nearly as difficult for me to understand as rugby is so I managed to keep up.

I can’t remember the exact match we were watching one evening, but being the only 2 girls on the trip, myself and my friend Jolandi were starting to get into this particular match. We would get amped and cheer whenever a goal was scored, paying absolutely no attention to which team was actually scoring. Of course, the boys thought we were mad – “what so you just cheer no matter who scores a goal then?” Yes, yes we do!

The thing is, in sport, life, love, work, school, basically everything – there will always be a “loser”.

Someone always gets the raw end of the deal, disappointment will be felt.

Whether you’re playing against another team, or you’re stacking the odds up against yourself to achieve a goal – at the end of the day it’s all just an experiment.

If you lose – try not to think of it as a failure, but rather a little bit of extra life experience that you’ve gained in order to take the next step and be more knowledgeable, aware and in tune the next time around.

Maybe your path changes completely. Or maybe, just maybe, this time you could… it’s up to you to fill in the blank!

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Everything is connected.

As we research smaller and smaller units of matter, it has become clear to some that there is perhaps no final unit waiting to be discovered but a fundamental unity to everything. ~ Physicist David Bohm

Everything is connected and YOU are the source.

Everything is connected and YOU are the source.

Everything is connected. This has been the message I’ve been receiving all week long and I’m starting to believe that it’s true in more ways than we know.

Yesterday I sat down at a meeting with a lovely client of mine and as we discussed different concepts for her website and how we were going to collaborate all our efforts as a design team, she kept repeating;

“There needs to be something that binds this all together. Even if it’s our little secret and it’s not an obvious feature, everything needs to be connected”.

Everything is connected. And everything matters.

From the way we get out of bed in the morning, to that first deep breath that we breathe into our lungs, to the way we stir our cup of coffee. It all sets the tone for the day ahead.

Will it be a good day or will it be a bad day? Everything is connected.

So what about those not so good mornings when you get out of bed and can’t find your slippers and have to walk barefoot on the freezing cold floor to the kitchen and then stub your toe on the corner cupboard and swear out loud. When the last drop of milk is off and you can’t make your cup of coffee and your first appointment is quickly rushing in on you and you still need to shower, put on make-up, eat breakfast and get the kids ready.

How do you turn something like that around?

Keep reminding yourself that everything is connected.

Take a moment to pause (yes you do have time) and reflect. Look within. Where there is inner turmoil there is outer chaos.

Yes, sometimes – you will just have a shitty day. You can’t control external circumstances but you can control your reaction to them.

So today I leave you with this very powerful thought:

Everything is connected and YOU are the source.

You are the power supply and it’s up to you to vibrate at your highest frequency and cause a ripple of change… or just buzz along and go with the flow.

What will you decide?

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How 10 minutes of yoga can change your life forever

Confession: I’ve never actually attended a yoga class in my life. Let me explain…

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Gisele Bundchen practicing yoga

I’ve been a pilates girl for the last 3 and a half years. I even got to a point where I enjoyed it so much that I decided I should become a pilates teacher and I went and studied a pilates matwork course.

I didn’t land up continuing down that path but I did learn a great deal about my body and anatomy in the process and I use that info every day, from the way I sit in my car while driving to the way I relax on the couch while watching a movie.

When I found out I was pregnant 30 weeks ago (only 10 weeks to go now!), I decided that I was going to make pilates a part of my daily practice so I could stay fit and strong throughout my pregnancy. But as the weeks went on and my tummy grew bigger, I started to skip a couple days here and there until eventually, I found myself waking up a little later everyday and totally neglecting my practice.

By 26 weeks pregnant the thought of dragging myself out of bed to do any form of exercize seemed like the biggest effort in the world. It was around this time that I also started to experience mild lower back pain and shooting pains down the back of my legs on waking in the morning.

I knew that this had a lot to do with the fact that I had become lazy and unfit and that my body was starting to feel the effects of the extra baby weight as well as all the pregnancy hormones rushing through my system loosening my ligaments and preparing my body for childbirth.

On climbing out of bed one morning the pain shot down my leg so badly that it scared me. Right then I knew that if I wanted any chance of having a natural birth I would need to up my game in the fitness department. I felt extremely disappointed in myself for letting my pilates practice get away from me so badly.

I had basically forgotten my pilates exercizes by this stage so I decided to turn to YouTube and search for a pilates class online that I could follow every morning. I also decided that 45 minutes of pilates every morning was waaay to hectic and that I would start out with 10 minutes and build up from there.

So I typed into YouTube “10 minute pregnancy pilates workout” and I was presented with an array of awesome videos to choose from. (Don’t you just love the internet?!) In and amongst those pilates videos were a couple “pregnancy yoga” workouts which sparked my interest. I had never really done yoga myself but I knew it had very similar movements to pilates and well, it seemed to work for Gisele Bundchen, so I decided to give it a try.

After scanning through a couple videos I landed on one that appealed to me – hot pregnant mama giving a 10 minute yoga class in her home studio, lets do this!

For me pilates has always been a mind and body practice, and I think that’s why I enjoy it so much. It’s not just sweat, jump, punch, stretch, it’s more mindful in the way that you need to be aware of your breath and what your muscles are actually doing.

This yoga workout was very similar in that regard, yet it added another element – spirit.

Mind, body and spirit. Yes!

This is what was missing from the private pilates classes I had been giving myself. And that is why it had begun to feel like a chore that I had to do each morning. And that is why I had let it slide.

Taking my bump for a walk

Taking my bump for a walk

The simple actions of closing my eyes, bringing my hands into prayer pose, taking a few deep breaths in and out, then taking one hand to my heart and the other hand to my baby and setting my intentions for the 10 minute practice ahead took me into a totally different zone.

This felt more like “me time” than “workout time”. I felt more of a connection and respect to the little dude / dudette growing inside me and I felt instantly energized for the day ahead and all that came with it (and I hadn’t even done any exercize yet!)

The yoga workout itself was very similar to the pilates that I was used to but with a bit more flow and stretching incorporated.

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath. ~ Amit Ray

I now look forward to the 10 minutes of “me time” that I’ve set aside and it’s become as normal for me to do my yoga practice as it has for me to turn on the kettle and make my morning cup of chai. It’s totally changed the way I go about each day.

I feel a sense of clarity, purity and a connection to the world around me. I feel healthy and alive.

Who knew that just 10 minutes of yoga every morning would make such a difference in my working productivity levels (mind), my pregnancy aches and pains (body) and the way I actually feel (spirit) about my body.

If you’re currently a pregnant mama, below is one of my favourite yoga YouTube videos and I encourage you to give it a go! If you’re not a pregnant mama, then go and do a search for “10 minute beginner yoga workouts” and you’ll be presented with hundreds of results. Or better yet if you have the extra time in your schedule, join a class!

And if you’re a yogi yourself and have any advice, videos or experiences of your own that you’d like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments area below. We’d love to hear from you!

Namaste.

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South Africa’s healthiest & most delicious dark chocolate (plus to-die-for wheat-free chocolate tart recipe!)

Cocoafair - Heinrich Kotze - CEO and Thelo Van Wyk - Executive Chocolatier

Heinrich Kotze – CEO and Thelo Van Wyk – Executive Chocolatier

A few weeks back I was invited to do a chocolate tour at CocoàFair in the Old Biscuit Mill. They are known for their decadent dark chocolates which are my favourite primal treats, so of course I jumped at the opportunity.

I took my Mom along with me and Heinrich kindly took us through his chocolate factory! It was like being a kid again, learning about the chocolate making process from seeing the actual whole cocoa pod and watching the art of chocolate making taking place before my very eyes.

Chocolate-Cocoafair

CocoàFair are Africa’s first Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Factory founded on social entrepreneurship, meaning that the profits from the company go back into Cape Town’s communities to support local initiatives.

Their values and ethics as a brand are something I truly admire about them. You know that when you purchase their (very reasonably priced) chocolate, you can feel good about the fact that CocoàFair is putting your money to use by paying fair wages to farmers producing the raw materials, creating employment opportunities, and starting projects driven by social innovation that will benefit the development of communities in South Africa.

When we began the chocolate tasting part of the tour, Heinrich said he would be starting out with the 95% dark chocolate – and I was preparing my taste buds for some major bitterness…

But when that chocolate hit my tongue, I couldn’t believe it – it’s not something I can explain, this chocolate is something you need to go and experience for yourself!

It’s also extremely healthy as far as chocolate goes as it has very little sugar and no other added preservatives. They try and keep their chocolate as pure and simple as possible.

For those who try to avoid sugar all together, they have some 100% cocoa mass, roasted cocoa beans or cocoa nibs for snack time.

Chocolate-Cocoafair2

I was super chuffed on discovering this little gem of a shop as after Macadamia nuts that pack in a good 76% of fat, cocoa beans come in at 55%. However to benefit from the high fat content (the more fat the better on a primal diet), you really need to be eating as dark a chocolate as possible, which has always been a big challenge for me as I’m not so fond of the bitter taste of the usual 90% dark chocs that I find on the shelves of local supermarkets.

He even has cranberries coated in dark chocolate – no words!!

Take my advice and go experience it for yourself!

This past weekend was our good friend ‘Mr Cereal Killers‘ birthday celebration so I decided to try out a dark chocolate tart that my sister Cara Lee has spoilt me with before. I used 500grams of CocoàFair’s 95% dark chocolate and although I don’t think I got it as good as my sister’s version, it was definitely a party favourite. Even the kids were devouring it!

Wheat-free (super rich & delicious!) dark chocolate tart recipe:

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  • 500 grams of CocoàFair’s 95% dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of raw honey (you can add a little more if you want it slightly sweeter – taste the final raw mixture to test!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grinded Himalayan crystal salt
  • 6 free range eggs
  • Cocoa powder

Method:

  1. Use some coconut oil to grease a baking pan around the sides and bottom and dust with a fine layer of cocoa powder.
  2. Using another glass dish which is slightly bigger than your baking pan, fill it about half way with water.
  3. Use a layer of tin foil to wrap your baking pan and place it in the water bath and set aside.
  4. Preheat your oven to 135 degrees celcius.
  5. Using the double boiler method on the stove, heat all your chocolate and coconut oil together in a deep pot until it’s completely melted.
  6. Mix in your honey and salt.
  7. Beat your eggs in one at a time.
  8. Now carefully pour your mixture into your baking pan.
  9. Bake in the oven (in your water bath) for about 50 minutes and then remove (from oven and water bath) to cool.
  10. Once it’s room temperature, put your tart in the fridge for a few more hours to set.
  11. You can decorate it with some strawberries or raspberries and serve with a big dollop of whipped cream.
Dessert is served!

Dessert is served!

It has quite a different texture to what you’re probably used to, very dense and very rich, but absolutely divine!

Enjoy and if you try it, let me know how yours turns out!

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