Author Archives: Jenny

About Jenny

Photographer. Wife. Sister. Daughter. Friend. Lover of Jesus, travel, food, wine, coffee, fashion and beautiful things.

Motherhood: An 11 month Journal

 

**WARNING: Long post ahead**

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Apologies for all the non ‘professional’ photos that you will see in this post and the ones related to it, but most of my personal life has been captured in the moment. Usually from our phones. So while the photos aren’t pretty, I hope you can appreciate that they are real instead hehe :)

Also, If you’re wondering why I have taken so long to write a post about motherhood, and all its pitfalls, joys, and battlescars, I somehow feel like I come up short with the right words. But I’ll try.. here goes my heart for the last 11 months.

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It’s late. She’s finally asleep. And I’m sitting here on my bed, with her inside her cot, next to me.

I hear the sound of cars in the distance, and the buzzing of her white noise machine whirring away on the bedside table as usual, and I catch myself realizing it has been almost one year since she came into our lives.

Crazy.

I don’t often get much time to pause and think these days (I’m sure most mothers can attest to this) as sleep usually wins in terms of needs on our list of things to do. However, this one makes me stop.

I can’t believe she is already 11 months old…” I say to myself.

It almost takes my breath away knowing that time has somehow escaped our grasp this quickly, like a wild running waterfall that spills over the biggest of cliffs. It certainly hasn’t felt like a year. “More like a mere few months at most?”.

When sienna was brand new, a lot of the mothers that spoke to me and shared their words of wisdom, often told me “the days are long, but the years are short”.

I always found the saying really strange. A paradox that I just could not reconcile in my mind. I couldn’t quite understand it’s meaning in my newly minted mother-status. But I do now.

As a mum, each day is tiring. Some days are joys and wins. And others are battles. The rest, just fall in between the middle-of-the-road normal of fighting to stay awake, endless nappy changes, puke stains on newly washed clothes, while making sure our child gets all her sleep, her nutrients, her milk, her liquids, and stays clean enough to not get herself sick. Let’s not mention if we even get time to have a meal or a shower uninterrupted. I remember in the newborn fog, those things were luxuries, optional ones at that.

It varies between mother to mother, but we all share the same sentiment: The days, can feel very very stretched. Especially for those mothers out there who do it completely alone. I salute these women. They’re tough. They’re independent. They’re strong and resourceful. These are totally badass women and I love everything about what they can handle. These mothers manage an entire household, look after their babies, their husbands (to those who are single mothers or fathers, you’re at the top of my respect list), and still have to find a way to eat, work, shower, and sleep. Typing that very paragraph already makes me tired. To live this each and everyday as a reality? RESPECT. I have the blessing of family, my husband, and help, with my little sienna when I am working or travelling, and I am already exhausted, so trust me when I say I think these women who do it alone are incredible.

I look back at Sienna’s resting face this evening, and her small little frame, wrapped up in her floral nighttime onesie. I can’t help but study her round cuddly features from time to time….Yes, it’s a weird thing we parents like to do… look at our kids while they’re sleeping. Its an extremely peaceful and calming sight, and even despite the worst of days, when they return to their beds, and their eyes lids close from heaviness, we love them again with an overflowing soul crushing kind of love. The kind of love that wants to burst through the walls from its weight and might. It is a phenomenon that happens every night. A renewing of sorts.

11 months in, I understand why mothers say their children drive them crazy, but they love them so much it hurts. We live with this paradox everyday.

The irony of all this is… We mothers love it. We wouldn’t trade this thing called parenthood for the world. Call us crazy, but children do that to you. I have never thought of myself as very maternal or clucky, but having a little person who is my very own has taught me so much about self sacrifice, patience, forgiveness, letting go, slowing down, being present in the moment, perspectives of the bigger picture, and knowing what are the right battles to pick. But lessons mainly about love. So so so much about love. I’ll need another post for that alone. And I know I am still learning. Forever a student.

It is at this moment I notice her eyelashes… it’s always her eyelashes first. They’re so long. It kind of surprises me each time, even though they don’t really change. I sometimes wonder where she gets them from because Ju and I definitely haven’t been blessed with such a pretty attribute. Then my thoughts always drift to, “who does she look more like? Ju? Me?” . People often say she resembles her daddy. And I will admit, she has so much of her father in her. Both the physical and the personality traits. Yet, at the same time, when I study her more and more, I realize she is a rather equal balance of the both of us. I don’t know if any one thing about her is truly Ju, or me.

For example, her eyes. Her eyes have single eyelids, but the size of the eyes are like mine. Or her lips for instance… They are small in size like mine, but the shape? They are pouty like her father’s. And then, there is her character. Her giant character. She can be all sorts of happy and funny and joyful… but at the same time she is also superbly stubborn, and feisty, and knows exactly what she wants when she wants it. Just thinking over that makes me laugh…. She has SO much personality. It literally bursts through every day and she wears it through her entire body. It makes me chuckle every single time.

But Jenny, you stil havent told us what has motherhood been like these past 11 months? ” I hear you asking.

I don’t know if any one word would aptly describe it… busy? tiring? challenging? rewarding? joyful? complete…?

One thing is for sure though… I have lived a much quieter life since Sienna came into this world. Quieter, not in the sense of literal noise. For she is one LOUD and noisy baby, and definitely has a good set of lungs on her. But quiet in the sense that my life has been a lot slower since she came about. That doesn’t mean I am no longer busy. It just means being a mother has forced me to be in the moment alot more. I used to be SO SO busy with work. And my mind was in a million and one places at a time. I was constantly on the go. And while I got more sleep then, vs now, I felt like I was never settled. I was always flying, and living out of a suitcase.

Don’t get me wrong, the work was good and I will never complain about the blessing of being able to earn, especially in this economy today. I just always felt adrift and no place was really home. It drove me crazy at times. So let me say, it has been marvelous…wonderfully fulfilling in fact, to be planted in one place. And living what I like to call it the ‘quiet life’. I know a lot of people out there are chasing the glamour and the fame and the money, and there is nothing wrong with that. But let me tell you, that this quiet-life is so underrated. People should try it more often. It is so beautiful. After 9 years of crazy, I’ve finally had time to stop and rekindle friendships. To actually BE with people. To Live life WITH them. And that in turn, has brought around so much joy and fulfillment. There really is no life, without people to live and love with :)

Anyway, before this becomes a book, I just wanted to say, motherhood in the last 11 months? Has been all kinds of wonderful and terrible. But mostly under the wonderful umbrella :) The start was rough. Very rough (you can read more about it in the 0-3 month section below)…I felt so lost under the waves of anxiety of whether I was doing things right, or if I would ever survive being a parent and feel human again. I swore I would never want another kid. I cried. I wondered what was wrong with my child. I wondered what was wrong with me. Then one day, the fog slowly began to clear, and things started to seem less painful. Either I was getting used to things, or Sienna was getting used to things.

I realized, actually it was both :)

And it was then that I realised it takes time to love someone. I expected to be head over heels in love with my baby as soon as she was born and just adore being a mother…. but Just like any other relationship, you need time to know the other person, be with them, bond with them, and learn about them inside out to reach the falling in love stage. Anyway, at least we got there in the end….it took longer than I expected, but happened. And that’s all that matters :) More importantly, the love grows with each and every day.

Since then, she has grown up to be such a wonderful little baby girl. I look forward to her cuddles and her cheeky mischievous nature every day when our eyelids first wake from the haze of a night’s sleep. Thinking about it, makes me realise I’m going to miss calling her a baby, and I don’t think I am quite ready to accept that she will technically be termed a toddler in less than a month, but I’ll continue to cling tight to her tiny round clumsy limbs, and press my face against her beautiful soft round cheeks, because soon they will become framed cheekbones, and long and lean and able arms and feet. So I will hold onto these days as much as I can. For they fleet away from us much too fast. I will score them on my heart, and hope my older self remembers fondly of how glorious they were. And what an amazing blessing it was to raise her in this most fragile and vulnerable period of her life.

So, I sit here at the end of this post admitting to you that despite being 11 months in, I am still new to this whole motherhood thing. While I know for myself that I have gotten the hang of some of it, there is still a long road ahead and many years to walk through, and that children are always changing. But one thing is for sure, I love being Sienna’s mother. She may be altogether overwhelming, but she is also a total joy at the same time. And she may have endless (and I mean ENDLESS) bounds of energy that can literally consume me some days, however I am certain she is all worth it. I know you mammas out there know what I am talking about… I can’t quite explain it. And for those that aren’t mammas or pappas, I hope you have appreciated my story so far, regardless :) Thank you for taking the time to read, and follow me on this season of my life.

To end… I just want to share here again, exactly one part of what I wrote in my 0-3 months after birth post (link below) to encourage any mothers out there who are really feeling overwhelmed or finding it difficult to embrace their new role in life… that ‘this too shall pass‘.

I heard this phrase ALL the time when Sienna was first around. Back in those days, I will admit that it annoyed me to no end, because when you are desperate for time to pass and stuck in what seems and feels like an endless tunnel of when things will change with your baby, its hard to believe other mothers who say that IT WILL PASS. But sitting here at 11 months on, I know it to be true. A difficult, and a long truth to understand, but truth none the less. Which means there is hope. It means it only gets better. Yes ladies, it really does :) Trust it coming from a mother of a high needs baby! :)

So if you are finding it hard, tough, unbearable. Hang in there. You will eventually fall in love with your baby. Trust me you will. Don’t compare your journey with anyone else’s. Your babe will eventually learn how to eat. She will eventually learn how to sleep. In time she is even going to smile at you. And respond to your words. And before you know it, you will have a little human being in your lives that you just cannot bear to imagine life without. I promise you that you won’t even remember what your existence felt like before she came. It will be but a distant memory and you will think to yourself, the tears were worth it. It was all so very worth THIS.

Sienna and I, today :) 11 Months old.

Sienna and I, today :) 11 Months old.

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For those of you who are wondering about the finer details of my journey with Sienna, which will talk more about the practical side of things like breastfeeding, skin care, weight loss, body image, and so on, you can read on further in the following links. I have taken the liberty to break it down into smaller sections for all of you, so that you wouldn’t have to read and scroll through an entire literary saga in this post. I’ve started by releasing the 0-3 month post, with the rest to be published shortly after (didn’t want to overwhelm you all with everything all in one go :P). Hopefully in between all these, I can write little journals or updates on current life with Sienna so you don’t always get furnished with a novel each time I blog ;)

Birth – 3 months (available for reading now)

3-6 months (to be published by the end of this weekend)

6-11 months (to be published sometime hopefully early next week)

 

Jenny Signoff

Motherhood: Birth to 3 Months

Hello friends!

Welcome to my Birth to 3 Months diary of sorts!

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While this wont be a journal/story like my 11-month post, it will be much more practical and hopefully more detailed in nature so you have an idea what this period of my life was like! I don’t profess to know everything, and I am in no way an expert, so what I write here is just to share what went on, and if anything you take from here encourages you, that’s wonderful! If not, I just want to thank you here first for reading anyway :)

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The Pregnancy

Before I go on, I should probably quickly summarize my pregnancy.

While you can read in more detail what my pregnancy was like here and here, I can quickly recap and let you know my 1st trimester – was honestly horrible for me. I never felt more sick in my life, and I swear I it was like I was in a constant state of vertigo and motion sickness the entire time. Thankfully the 2nd trimester got better, and while I never really felt a full 100% for the remainder of my pregnancy, I could at least function like a human being without feeling like all the cells in my body wanted to hurl. It was also around this time, I stopped looking like I had eaten too much, and my baby bump decided to show.

Also, I missed exercising (I was super active before I got pregnant ) but it just got too hard with limited energy and just not being agile enough due to the growing belly weight and the strain it put on my joints and back. The plus side though, is that we took a last minute trip to the Maldives for our babymoon (I have so many photos which I will eventually share) which was the most relaxing trip we have ever done…. And then by the time I knew it, I was already seeing out my 3rd trimester and finally completing the nursery with just a couple of weeks to spare :)

From 18 weeks to 38 weeks. Click photo for full sized image.

From 18 weeks to 38 weeks. Click photo above for full sized image.

Sienna's nursery :)

Sienna’s nursery :)

People often say to me, don’t I miss being pregnant? And in all honesty, while I respect all the women out there who had a glorious 9 months baking a bun in their oven, from my own personal experience (and I know it is very subjective from person to person), I don’t miss pregnancy much. I will say though, one thing was very special. It was feeling Sienna move inside. It was something only I, myself, could feel when she kicked, rolled, and hiccupped. And while Ju, could ‘see’ the movements from the outside, there was just something quite indescribably special and soul-tied about knowing those sensations intimately from the inside. I know only mothers will understand this strange yet wonderful miracle, so mammas/mamma-to-be ladies out there, I hope you know what I am talking about :)

The Birth Onwards

You can read the birth in full detail here, and see some photos that were taken by the husband as well of the moment Sienna came into our lives, while I try to wrap my head around what happened these first 3 months. In all honesty, a lot of it was a blur. I thought I was somewhat prepared for what newborn life would be like, and while in my head I knew it would require sacrifice, change, lack of sleep, and challenges, I don’t think anything really got me ready for the runaway train of a wreck that these few raw and new months were truly like. Most of the time, I felt so lost and overwhelmed, and worried. Always worrying. I know most mothers will tell you that as a parent, you will forever worry about your child, but I think these few months as virgins in the land of parenthood, everything freaked me out and I was constantly wondering if I was doing the right thing. What was wrong with my child? Why is she ALWAYS crying. It really did a number on us.

You see, Sienna was a very very unsettled baby.

Breastfeeding/Pumping Vs Formula:

She never learned to latch or breastfeed despite so so many attempts and help from friends, family and trained medical professionals alike  (so I pumped all my milk every few hours which honestly drove me crazy because by the time I was done, she would want to feed again… and the washing/sterilizing! Don’t even get me started…so for my sanity, I eventually weaned my breastmilk off at around the 3 month mark and slowly introduced formula which was one of the best decisions I made in this period as it meant I got more sleep, and the time I wasn’t washing/sterilizing meant I could actually spend it with Sienna. I could finally actually bond and learn to appreciate her. It also meant anyone could now feed her and I didn’t have to worry about pumping at a job/meeting, or when I travelled for work, etc). I know everyone has their own choices and preferences, which I completely respect… this was just mine.

Then she was never really a good feeder so there was a phase where she refused to drink any of her milk for stretches as long as 12-14 hours a day, every day, for weeks. It drove me crazy… but eventually with the persuasion of the Dr, I decided to just go with the flow… slowly but surely, she began to drink her milk again, and by her 4th month she was consuming the stuff regularly and in a fairly predictable routine :) We some how hit a crazy phase by month 7 or 8, but more on that later.

Sienna’s Skin issues:

On top of all this, she had reflux. And really bad cradle cap (which thankfully, went away with use of Detinox for cradle cap and using QV Bath Oil in her daily bath to bathe her instead of shampoo/soap). And last but not least, she had really bad eczema. Her skin got so bad, people looked at us and wondered what we were doing to our child. It ended up getting blistered, oozing out with liquid. I sobbed as I looked at my baby’s face and felt so damn helpless. People were offering their opinions for this everywhere, and believe me we tried EVERYTHING. We even had her blood tested for any allergies – she had none. In the end, while I know it isn’t the most natural of routes, and probably the least desirable, at around the 2.5 to 3 month mark we put Sienna on a course of steroid cream on Dr’s advice, in hopes that her body’s immune system would keep growing stronger while we used the cream so that in time, we could depend on it less and less.

Slowly, but surely, the redness that was all over face and body, slowly faded away. She still gets small flare ups now and again (Mainly on her face) but its well and truly better than what it used to be, and its so much easier to control now. People even commented over time how beautiful her complexion was (if only they knew the early days!). I know there is a really big taboo on the use of steroids and so on, and trust me, as a mother all I wanted was natural natural natural stuff all the way too, but when you child is screaming because she can’t sleep, because she is itchy everywhere, because she is in so much discomfort, I felt, the best thing for her and my family was to treat it quickly and ease her pain. Today, we rarely even use the cream, and her skin is beautiful and glowing just like any other child’s. So mothers who are fighting this, don’t feel like this isn’t an option. Decide what is best for your child at the end of the day and don’t listen to anyone out there telling you otherwise.

Sienna’s sleeping habits:

Let me tell you, my baby girl was (and in some ways, still is) a terrible sleeper. I don’t even remember what it is like to sleep through the night in one stretch haha. She is alot better now (sleeps from about 8pm to 730am, and wakes up maybe once, but is easy to settle back if we pat her back to sleep).

As a newborn in this stage of her life, she had to be swaddled (and this remained until she was 6 month old or so). In addition, Sienna refused to be put down when sleeping which meant that we co-slept with her, and I slept with her in my arms the whole night. On top of that, she only settled into sleep when we rocked/carried her. So it made each day a living nightmare for me because it meant I felt constantly chained to her (we all know how much babies sleep). And the nights were the worst. Because that is when I felt the most alone. I literally had a sick feeling in my stomach (the kind when you know you’re expecting a terrible FAIL result for a massive exam, or a big job interview return phone call) as the hours and minutes drew closer and closer to the evening. I knew that the part of the day where I’d be most exhausted but had to keep my body up every hour was arriving… again.

*cue all the parenting advice, good and bad, that got thrown at us from all sorts of directions at this point from here*

Believe me, we heard it ALL. Don’t carry your baby so much, you will spoil her. Don’t rock her to sleep, she will get used to it. Just leave her there and cry. But what they didn’t see were the nights we left her crying endlessly, to the point where she was choking on her own sobbing and only getting worse. They didnt see that I got more sleep holding her than putting her down. They didn’t see that sienna slept better (and was therefore happier during her awake hours) when I had her in my arms while she was slumbering. At the end of the day, for sanity and peace sake, I eventually decided to turn off the internet, to stop reading mummy forums, and to take all parenting advice given to us with a pinch of salt, and to ultimately decide for our own family what was best.

I realize everyone meant well, but what they do not tell you is that, in the throws of trying to figure out your own body that continues to be ravaged by hormones and lack of sleep, trying to figure out your baby, and trying to figure out how your entire life fits in and around this new human being, most parents are already quite….fragile.

People often looked at me and sienna, with pity and alarm as they saw everything that was going on with her and I, and I probably also drove my Dr crazy with the number of visits we ended up having in this period. But I hope what people learn about new parents is, we are doing our best. While we are physically drained, we are already doing our utmost best. Really. Even though on the surface it may seem like a bit of a mess.

Sometimes being told we shouldn’t do things certain ways, or asked why haven’t we tried this yet makes us feel kind of like a failure of sorts. And it hurts our already tired and frazzled egos. Rationally, we know people don’t mean any harm, but I always feel it is best to leave parents to do their thing. Trust me when I say they are already doing everything possible for their babe in the given situation they are in… and they have probably already tried everything. And, when they have the breath, depth, and energy to resurface from this rollercoaster of a season, if they need the help, they will ask :) They will. So don’t worry. So I usually say to people, the best thing they can do for new parents is just ask if there is anything they can do to help, if not, just smile and say they’re baby looks so cute, and that they are doing a mighty fine job. Makes us feel a whole lot better and you look like amazing friends :)

Baby Milestones + Notes:

  • Sienna could lift her own head by 1 month
  • She was doing tummy time by about the same time. Not that she really liked it. She always preferred to be held upright. To this day, this trait of hers, has not changed.
  • She hated the stroller. Still does to this day. Thank goodness for carriers. We used an Ergo performance carrier at first, but then switched to a Pognae HipSeat Forward facing carrier when she was about 6 months (about the time she was able to sit up herself). I’ve heard good things about the Ergo 360 cool air though – something for mummies to check out if they were looking for such a thing.
  • We saw her first real smile probably at the 2.5 month mark :)
  • One of the things I learned over time, was that Sienna was definitely NOT a textbook baby. She never followed any of the things that textbooks and websites said. While it was utterly frustrating and one of the things that made me feel so very helpless (and hence extremely extremely stressed), it also taught me to eventually go with the flow. That what people said was best for her, was not always ‘the’ way with her. In the end, we took the approach of doing what was best for our family and our baby as a whole unit. For example, if co-sleeping meant everyone got more sleep, we chose co-sleeping :) Or if feeding her formula meant she actually got fed without the screaming and the tears, then we went with formula.

Mummy notes during this time:

Emotional state – Fragile and frazzled. I have to say, for most of this period, I was kind of a wreck. I lived from day to day on survival mode, and felt like I had no idea what I was doing most of the time. I had a few bouts where I would find myself crying in the shower, for no real specific reason. It was just all overall overwhelming, and I was always wishing I was either more in control of my life, more in control of my baby, or just wishing for a break. In time it got better though, and thanks to some mothers from a mother’s group I was part of during that period, I managed. Their words, visits, and advice really got me through the crazy.

Also, Ju (my husband), besides being as hands on as he possibly knew during the time, he did whatever he could to alleviate the stress, and make things easier. One of those things, was to get me out of the house for a couple of hours each day. This was a saving grace as it meant I had something to look forward to each evening to get me through those rough nights, and it also meant my life didn’t feel like it revolved 100% around nappies, crying, puke, solving skin issues, sleep issues, and feeding issues. While it didn’t make the pain of dealing with all of the above literally easier, it did help the day to day crawling of time pass by. And that really helped me come back more refreshed and charged to take on the rest of the mum-duties when I got back.

Self-care – Much like other new mothers out there, there isn’t much time to do anything outside of looking after our babies. Much less looking after ourselves. I think I looked (and felt) the worst I ever have in my entire life during this period which included my diet, my hair, my skin, and my body. I remember my skin literally flaking off my face, and my hair falling out in chunks in the shower, not having the mental space or energy to think about eating healthy, none of my regular clothes fitting and still having to wear maternity wear for another couple of months.  I think I disappeared from the face of the planet for most of this period and only my immediate family and closest of friends knew what was going on in my life in this period. Life eventually eased up enough, and Sienna settled into to somewhat of a routine enough to let me start figuring those things out one by one, but more on that in my 3-6months after birth post :)

Weight Loss – So, the weight gain by the end of my pregnancy was 16KG. It was easily 4kg over what I hoped would be the maximum I would put while Sienna was growing inside. And while after the birth, I lost 5 immediately, the remaining 11 was hard hard work. I know as mums we aren’t supposed to be hard on ourselves as it took 9 months to gain all that weight, and we literally grew a human being inside us, but when you’re battling body image issues on a daily basis, and feeling yucky about yourself, you do think about the extra weight hanging around. But much like self-care, I didn’t have time to work on this until Sienna was a little older –  of which I’ll be writing about in my 3-6 and my 6-11 month post :)

Lastly just some advice:

Practical talk – To any mammas out there who are expecting your first child, just a heads up that your milk will come in about 3 -4 days after the birth. No one told me. And for some reason, all the birth prep documents and articles never mentioned it. So what happened was that I got severe engorgement because I let my milk stay inside for almost 8-9 hours without letting it out. Thankfully I did not get mastitis (which is a horrible fever and infection of the milk ducts) but it did mean I had to be extremely diligent and hard working to massage all that milk out and start a regular pumping schedule (as Sienna never directly latched on). Yup, I unwisely didn’t bring a breast pump so all of it was done by hand. So pregnant ladies, do pack one! Even if it is a borrowed one from a friend into your hospital bad :)

This too shall pass – I heard this phrase ALL the time when Sienna was first around. Back in those days, I will admit that it annoyed me to no end, because when you are desperate for time to pass and stuck in what seems and feels like an endless tunnel of when things will change with your baby, its hard to believe other mothers who say that IT WILL PASS. But sitting here at 11 months on, I know it to be true. A difficult, and a long truth to understand, but truth none the less. Which means there is hope. It means it only gets better. Yes ladies, it really does :) Trust it coming from a mother of a high needs baby! :)

So if you are finding it hard, tough, unbearable. Hang in there. You will eventually fall in love with your baby. Trust me you will. Don’t compare your journey with anyone else’s. Your babe will eventually learn how to eat. She will eventually learn how to sleep. In time she is even going to smile at you. And respond to your words. And before you know it, you will have a little human being in your lives that you just cannot bear to imagine life without. I promise you that you won’t even remember what your existence felt like before she came. It will be but a distant memory and you will think to yourself, the tears were worth it. It was all so very worth THIS.

Anyway, I thought to end, to share some moments we managed to capture on camera during this time. We didn’t get a chance to take pretty newborn photos, but all that is here is 100% real :)

Sienna - From birth to 3 months :) Click photo above to see the full sized version :)

Sienna – From birth to 3 months :) Click photo above to see the full sized version :)

Jenny Signoff

Pregnancy: Our Maternity Shoot

jujenmaternity_2015_0072

Hello Friends!

This post has been meaning to go up since our week 34 bump shoot, but as I mentioned in my previous post, I developed a serious case of carpel tunnel syndrome, so alot of things got held back, and weren’t able to be completed as a result of not being able to bend my fingers and my hands going numb. And then I gave birth, which threw me into a whole new loop of challenges inclusive of sleep deprivation and a baby that will not settle unless she is held.

So it has taken me 6 weeks of ‘settling’ (haha, I say this with a slight tone of irony in my breath as we all know newborns don’t really settle at this stage :P ) post birth to finally find some time (and a method to do things ‘baby-free’ – ie. babywearing. More on that in another post :P) to share these special images :)

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I kind of smile wryly looking back at these images… mainly because I almost didn’t want to do one. Why? Mainly because I felt fat, and unattractive, and the last thing you want to do at that stage is to be in front of a camera. But strangely enough, my husband (who is usually the one who is anti-photoshoots haha), encouraged me to do this together with him so we could look back during this time in our lives. And glad I listened. I got my friends to all help and be part of this, so this little afternoon adventure together ended up being really enjoyable and memorable (albeit tiring – it was my first time wearing heels since getting pregnant, and I had to keep them on for a couple of hours haha). So thank you to my friends Sherly (from Tie The Knot) for the flowers and simple decor, to Angie (from Angie Hair and Makeup) for making me look SO much better than I actually do for the shoot, to Kel and Nigel (from Nigel Sia Visual Storytelling) for the behind the scenes and just keeping us company, and finally to Joshua (from Inlight Photos) for the beautiful frames that so sweetly matched what we wanted – you have been my team member and friend since I began JSP so you know just how much I adore simplicity and stripped back frames, so I was so happy with the way these photos turned out.

Dresses:

  1. White dress: From For Love and Lemons
  2. Blush/Pink dress: From Celest Thoi (thank you so much to my dear friend, Celest, for designing this special piece for me. I wanted something completely different to my other dress, and she made me look like a magical forest mamma in it :D )

I hope you all enjoy looking at these frames as much as we have :)

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Jenny Signoff

Motherhood: The birth of Sienna Rose

Dear friends,

I need to first apologize for not being able to continue my pregnancy series of posts (alot of things I wanted to write are in draft form and my hope is that Ill be able to finish them up over time and publish them one by one as I had so much to share). The last trimester of my pregnancy was filled with an almost daily fatigue that I had no control over, which meant I needed ALOT of sleep during the day (nights as well, but considering I was up to go to the toilet every couple of hours, the broken sleep only compounded the tiredness). Lastly, on top of that, I unfortunately developed a pretty bad case of carpel tunnel syndrome which rendered my fingers quite useless as I couldn’t bend them when I woke up in the mornings… it meant that on top of not being able to sit at my desk for long (due to back pains), I could no longer really edit, type, or hold heavy things. Sometimes even squeezing my own toothpaste became impossible, and typing on the phone for messages would be difficult. So I had to hold off doing blog posts and many other things during my last trimester, to just concentrate on staying healthy and comfortable.

Since then, I have given birth to our baby girl,  Sienna Rose. We chose this name, mainly inspired by my husband and I’s love for travel. We loved Italy (particularly the tuscany region, and decided Florence was too old sounding, so it made sense to go with its neighboring city, Siena). Rose, was chosen as her middle name as it has always been something classic, beautiful and feminine and that is how I hope our daughter will grow up to be one day :)

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Sienna actually arrived 2 whole weeks earlier than expected. We went in for a routine check up, only to be told that our baby girl would arrive anytime as she was already engaged in position and the Dr could feel her head. It was quite scary to hear that, as I wasn’t quite prepared to be a mother just yet. I had so many things I still wanted to do, but as life would have it, things never happen as planned as we came back to the hospital a couple of days after that appointment, and our daughter arrived into the world the next day. Due to complications that I’d rather not delve into again, I unfortunately could not go through with a natural delivery as I originally wanted, and had to under go an emergency c-section. It was honestly the last thing I wanted, and I remember being in tears as I was rolled into the OT. I was shivering, and terrified, and if it were not for a really calm and gentle Dr, and my husband holding my hand, I think I would have been overcome and paralyzed by the anxiety attack I was having. I remember thinking, I have spent 9 months planning for this day, but nothing is ever really in your control, and that the best thing I can do is to plan in wisdom given, but also be aware and be prepared that anything can happen. Through that, trust God, and know everything is in His sovereign hands. While that doesn’t mean things will go smoothly, or well, or even good, what it does mean though, is that I can rest assured knowing that someone bigger than me, bigger than life, bigger than death even, and the one who did not even spare His own son for my salvation, has my best interests in His hands. That He works everything for our good.

So, It turns out, the whole cesarian process was over in about 15-20 minutes. The last thing I remember was holding tightly onto my husband’s fingers, and next thing I knew, I could hear tiny shrieks of new born breath in the form of cries filling the blue and white walls of the OT. I knew then our girl had arrived safely, and already with her eyes wide open. But it was not until she was placed onto my chest, and I met her for the first time face to face, that I was flooded with feelings of awe – knowing that who had grown inside of me for 9 whole months and started off from being as tiny as a poppy seed, grew into the little being that was laying on my chest. All 3KG of beautiful goodness wrapped up in swaddles, just looking at me with her already open eyes. It is in those moments, I was completely reminded and floored by what God creates with His two hands. To know that a full human being is formed from just two tiny cells that in essence only have 1 day to find each other, can turn into a human being with a beating heart that will eventually learn to love, with a voice that will eventually learn to call me mamma, with 10 fingers and 10 toes, with lungs that can breathe, with a brain that can eventually learn to process the world around it and learn things like reading, writing, and so on. When I think of these things, it just bowls me over in wonderment and reverence for how clever our God is. He is truly to be praised :)

Anyhow, in this post, I wanted to also share with you how motherhood has been the past 6 weeks, but I might save that for another post as there is so much to actually still process myself, while I am still finding my feet and learning on all fronts. I went through a period of post partum blues, and the past 6 weeks while it involved alot of joy, it also involved a number of serious meltdowns that I still need to work through in my head before telling the world in all its painful detail. Instead, for now, below are some photos that my husband managed to take of Sienna’s birth. I am so glad he was able to cement these slices of time and life for us, since the procedure was quite a blur, and my memory of it all was a complete haze. I am not sure if it was because I was so afraid that I passed out, or perhaps it was the painkillers they gave me… but I don’t remember anything after clinging onto my husband’s fingers. So, these moments are incredibly precious to me, and I share them with quiet trepidation as I am still quite a private person despite so much of my work life being online. Ironic, I know. Things such as these, my husband, and my family are still very closed boxes of my life, and ones that I still like to keep behind sheltered doors. So I hope you enjoy seeing these little pieces of our first memories together as a family of three :)

Next post I’ll be sharing our maternity shoot photos so stay tuned for that tomorrow (uh huh, blogging in that order, totally makes sense right? haha… well, thats what happens when you have a newborn and it now takes weeks to compile a post in between puke, poop, and constantly walking around the house to settle your bub :P )

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Lastly, thank you to everyone who sent us messages, visited, and so on. I know we haven’t been able to thank all of you in person, but I hope with time, we will be able to. In the meantime, please know we read all your beautiful words and they really meant so very much to us. xo

 

Jenny Signoff

Bijoux Collection Featuring Olivia Burton Watches

Hello friends!

Hope you are all having a fabulous week so far! I’ll be updating you all on what motherhood has been like in my next post (mainly completely sleep deprived and I’m able to do this post thanks to some wonderful help that came in the last few days!), but in the meantime, I wanted to quickly share with you something fabulous that Jillian and I received in the mail recently! :D

Before I continue though, I wanted to have a quick chat about brand integrity. I know alot of you wonder, if Jillian and I just talk about products we get paid to talk about. The answer is NO. You can be assured, for those who have wondered and asked, we ONLY ever feature pieces that we stand by 100%. Which means, we will only ever share with you brands, accessories, and products that we LOVE completely. We are not into collaborations or features where we would never buy/pay money for or wear on our own accord. So you can relax and know that our posts are 100% genuine whether they are sponsored or not (most are not as we are just two excited sisters who have a passion for beauty and want to share it with the rest of you out there!), as we only ever partner with brands that we know you will LOVE as much as we do! Here at Two Threaded Poppies, we are completely about quality, and being genuine, real, and authentic!

Anyway, onto the stuff we got in the mail recently (ie. The watches pictured below) :D

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As you all already may or may not have noticed, Jillian and I adore pieces that are timeless, classic, and beautiful. And if you have been paying attention to our instagram feed, you will know that even the time pieces we choose to wear have to fit under that umbrella. So you can imagine how over the moon we were to receive some of Olivia Burton’s watches from their new range! :D Now, from our instagram, you know I already own the Big Dial rose gold and tan leather piece, and Jillian already owns the Midi Dial in Rose Gold and White leather. Both purchased from Bijoux Collection Australia and since we shared the photos of those, alot of you went out to buy and find these pieces to join our Olivia Burton love which made us so happy as this beautiful boutique brand is so underrated! We are mindful of the many other popular fashion watch brands on the market these days, but Olivia Burton watches are so gorgeously feminine, vintage, and classic looking. They have pieces that range from the simple and minimalistic , to the more opulent kind with floral embellishments  – ALL of which never get too over the top. Always remaining timeless and classic!

We’re such fans that owning a second piece each, has been a no brainer! Especially with the launch of their new range.

I ended up getting this one below (the Big Dial Rose Gold with Grey Leather – pink and grey ALWAYS go well together!!):

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And Jillian ended up getting this one (The Big Dial Gold with black leather – to follow in her usual love for BLACK :D ):

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Thank you so much Bijoux for our beautiful new watches (and the cute surprise pearl earrings in our package! Totally unexpected!!) And to our readers, Bijoux offers $10 off your first purchase with them, so use that if you decide to get yourself an Olivia Burton piece too! I’m already eyeing the Power Blue and Rose Gold one, as well as the Black Dial and Gold if I could get my hands on another :P )

Jenny Signoff