Raro – Traveling with a toddler + my travel tips for Raro

The thought of taking a toddler on an aeroplane – two flights with a stop over in between – gave me terrible anxiety. What do I do if she cries? THERE IS NOWHERE TO RUN AND HIDE. I will have to witness all the death stares and eye rolls, as I will be THAT Mum – the one with the annoying, loud, crying baby. People will probably think I have no control, that I let her run wild, that I am a terrible Mum.  I remember thinking this over and over again. Then one of my good Mumma friends (who had just taken her toddler to Fiji) suggested buying Amaya a new toy and giving it to her ON the plane. Dickhead me brought her a doll. A fricken doll. She cuddled it a few times and pretended to feed it…then she was done. The moment that she threw the doll onto the floor of the plane, I regretted my purchase. Something that entertains them for a little longer – like a puzzle, a book even, would have been a better choice. Anyway, luckily we didn’t really need it as Amaya was a bloody super star on the plane. Bris —> Auckland, she slept. Our stop over she just wandered around and ate, then she slept. Auckland —> Raro she did some drawing, watched ‘Barney’ (her absolute favourite!) on the iPad and then cuddled up to me and fell asleep. WINNING. Luckily, both flights weren’t booked out, so they could block out a seat between Teina + I, for Amaya. What a saviour this was! We appreciated it so much more on the full flight (they couldn’t block out a seat for her) between Raro —> Auckland, I started to get claustrophobic. One massive tip I do have, is take their comforters. Amaya has a blanket, and River + Coco Kippin. She associates these comforters with sleep and she definitely found comfort in them and they certainly helped with sleeping in unfamiliar environments. We took them on the plane too! Sitting next to the window helped us a lot too, Amaya + I did a lot of cloud watching. We are such Cancerian’s – we are obsessed with the sky! We flew Virgin, but I have hear a lot of people recommend flying Air New Zealand, rather than Virgin, to the Cook Islands. Virgin weren’t too bad, in our experience, but they weren’t anything to rave about either.

Raro. Wow. Raro is amazing. The people are awesome! The beaches are incredible! The greenery is insane. Our flights were approximately $600 return pp. Legally, you don’t have to use car seats in Raro, the speed limit is 50km/h everywhere. Everyone, even children, can ride in the tray of the ute. Amaya could sit on my lap, in the front seat. We had a car seat for her anyway, as there were times where it was just me and her in the car, no car seat means that she would be crawling/climbing through the car. NO. Petrol and groceries are expensive (however, we did find that it was not too expensive to eat out) – $2.90 a litre for petrol. I saw a packet of 12 Huggies nappies for $16. We took all of Amaya’s nappies and wipes – I am so glad that we did. We also took a lot of those Rafferty’s Garden fruit pouches, just so we had back up food if we weren’t able to find food suitable and safe for her – we quickly realised that the food is safe over in Raro and we did end up bringing most of the fruit pouches home. You can’t drink the water, however there is a free, safe drinking water fountain/tap outside Arorangi State School. I would recommend buying two big bottles of water and once you run out of water, re-fill your bottles at this water fountain. Bottled water is expensive and we wish that knew about this water fountain earlier in our trip. Most hotels/villas etc. have filters installed, so the water is consider safe-ish to drink, but we didn’t risk it, we boiled our water and/or used bottled water. We went to the markets on Saturday morning, this was awesome! We had Raro kebabs each time we went (Teina and I still dream about the Raro kebab from the markets as well as the cheeseburgers at Palace!) and got to see children proudly perform traditional Cook Islander dances. The markets are a great place to pick up a bargain for some souvenirs or gifts for friends and family at home. The markets just have a great atmosphere in general, so definitely worth checking out if you ever go to Raro!

We found the food to amazing in Raro, the locals super friendly and the vibe of the island to be relaxing. It is such a beautiful, chilled place. The beaches are absolutely stunning and we were lucky enough to have Teina’s family, who live there, show us all of the best spots to eat/swim/find clean drinking water. I definitely recommend stopping by Blue Sky phone store on your way from the airport or on your first day. You can pick up a sim for $50 and that includes local texts, calls and a pretty decent amount of data. The data lasted me over a week, I just made sure to turn my data off when I wasn’t using it, as that will really chew up your data quickly.

I definitely recommend checking out Raro – especially if you have children. It is clean, beautiful and the locals are very friendly. You will never get sick of swimming at the beaches – they are truly incredible. Teina’s cousin and her partner took us for a night swim, it was so beautiful. Amaya came with us and she loved it. She absolutely loved swimming under the moon + stars (haha just like me…loves the moon + the stars!).

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Amaya, fast asleep, after her night swim under the stars.

If you are looking for accommodation, The Rarotongan and The Edgewater are the main resorts on Raro, they are beautiful, have beautiful swimming pools and their beaches are completely safe to swim in. They have removed all of the rocks and dangerous fish from their beaches. We were swimming at the beach in front of The Rarotongan, we weren’t snorkelling, but we could clearly see the tropical fish swimming around us. Amaya (and I!) were extremely fascinated! TIP: There are some dangerous fish in the lagoons – swim at the beaches outside or near these two resorts – as they are safe. Or ask the locals!

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Feeding the pigs.

I was so grateful that Amaya got to have this experience (not that she will remember it! Ha!). She got to watch her Uncle feed the pigs (and then saw one of those very pigs cooking on the spit – let’s hope she doesn’t remember that either! Her face dropped, as she muttered, “…pig?”). She got to drink coconut water, fresh from the tree and she snacked on coconut as she wandered around and explored the island (when she wasn’t glued to me!). Amaya loved it, but she was extremely clingy with me and Teina and her sleep routine did go out the window. Before Raro she was sleeping 12 hours straight a night, in Raro she slept with us, as I knew that she was not feeling comfortable being in a new environment (thank goodness we took her comforters, as she made sure to grab them before she went to sleep!). Since returning, we did have to re-teach her to self settle and she still (four months later! I am VERY slack posting this blog so late!) wakes most nights. She has slept through, maybe, two nights, since returning from Raro. Anyway, that was our doing. I can’t say I would do anything different tho. She was not in her usual environment and her comfort and feeling safe was paramount.

 

I feel that Raro is a bit of an untapped paradise. The flights are reasonably priced, the island is beautiful, and if you are keen you can check out Aitutaki (just google it – amazing!). Someone actually told me that she had been to Aitutaki and Bora Bora and she preferred Aitutaki. I think you have to fly into Raro and then fly to Aitutaki from Raro. Raro defintely has my recommendation – I am sure that you and your friends/family will have a brilliant time and will enjoy learning about the beautiful people of the Cook Islands!

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A letter to my Mumma friends

Have you ever felt temporarily insane? I think we all feel insane at some stage of motherhood – maybe throughout the pregnancy, within the first 6 weeks of having a newborn, or maybe it’s a while after the birth of your babe and you simply just don’t know who you are anymore (ya know, besides a Mum, wife/partner, cleaner of bodily fluids…)

Well, you are not alone.

I listen to the universe, when I am not spending too much time in la la land and I am able to actually pick up on what it is telling me. Well, a lot of experiences/encounters I have had lately, compelled me to write this blog. Let me begin by sharing, that if you google ‘insanity’, this is the definition in the Oxford dictionary…

Extreme foolishness or irrationality.

That was me (Teina might tell you that it still is). It was/is a lot of other women I know too. You are not alone. As my friend broke down to me, she explained to me how she was feeling. I told her that I felt like that just after I had Amaya, she looked shocked and then through her sobs, she asked ‘really?’. I told her “you are not alone. I have been there and so many other women have been there too.” If you show some emotion after you have a baby, everyone labels you with post-natal depression. Like uhhh you didn’t label me ‘depressed’ every time I cried, before I had a baby. Um, hello, I am a Cancerian. Hormones + Cancerian = a lot of fucking tears and irrationality. I didn’t get post natal depression, yet anyway. But if I did, I would have no shame about it. Having a baby is massive. It throws your life into a whirlwind. Preparing yourself for all of the emotions that come with having a baby is almost impossible. The love, ohhh the love. The lack of sleep. Oh…that.lack.of.sleep. But somewhere, in this wonderful bubble of love, snot, vomit, poo, milk, sore boobs + no sleep, is you, catering to someone else entirely and probably forgetting about yourself. You are not only a Mum, but also still a wife. You are trying to make sure that your partner is ok,  making dinner and maybe making his lunch, washing his work clothes and trying to put some of your free time (what is that?) and energy (don’t you get that from sleeping?) into your relationship.  We should have a date night! Yeh good idea…yeh soon, I won’t feel so guilty leaving the baby when he/she is a little older. Weeks go by. You forget about you. You lose balance.  Everything goes to shit when you lose balance. You forget about your relationship, because the baby is the obvious thing that needs attention. You are tired. No, exhausted. You cry easily because you feel empty, exhausted and like you don’t even know who you are anymore. You become temporarily insane. You become snappy. You are frustrated with yourself because who the heck are you? Why am I so snappy? You’re both tired. Your partner gets snappy. Sleep deprivation causes you to temporarily turn on each other. In this moment, you realise that you only see your old self, on occasions. Probably just when you look at your Facebook memories. You feel like a Mum, a wife/girlfriend but you don’t feel like yourself.

Balance is everything. I lose balance so easily it isn’t funny. Just recognise these feelings, these signs and know that you aren’t alone. Now do something. Because you deserve to be happy. You deserve to look after yourself. You, your child(ren) and partner deserve the best version of you. But don’t take this on, on top of your other responsibilities/obligations. Delegate. Ask for help. Don’t worry about the washing – go see a friend for coffee/cheeky wine. Because your friends are your sanity. They will listen, they will love you and they will understand you. As much as men are wonderful, they don’t truly understand, nor should we expect them to. They have never felt the hormones crashing, the frustration of not being able to get to the baby to latch etc. Explain to your partner how you are feeling, ask them for support and help. Turn to your friends. Don’t judge each other. Whether you believe it or not, us Mumma’s are all in the same boat, trying our damn best to raise good humans and learning to to keep our balance along the way. It would make life a lot easier if we held each other up.

Love

B x

It’s all worth the sleepless nights that now consist of milk bottles, rather than vodka bottles.

Let me begin by saying that I think everyone knows what ‘tired’ feels like, not just Mum’s. But I never knew tiredness like I did until I had a baby. A few years back I was rocking some serious dark circles due to a string of late nights and early mornings, my friend – a mother of two – watched me as I mumbled “Farrrr I am tired…” these words were muffled through a yawn. She continued to stare blankly at me and after a few seconds she said, “you know how you feel right now?” – I nodded –  still yawning – “that is how you feel ALL THE TIME (there was a lot of emphasis on ‘all the time’…) when you are a Mother”, she said as she laughed at my ridiculousness. I laughed and shared that sleep deprivation was my biggest fear (hahaha I was so naive) of having a baby. Now, it is one of my fears. Luckily, we did sleep training and Amaya usually sleeps 11 – 12 hours straight a night, but that doesn’t make us ‘party through the night’ proof. Lately, Amaya has been waking up due to teething and it has taken me riiiiiight back to the beginning. As a Mother, we eventually don’t think we are feeling tired because we have adjusted to broken sleep & forget what it feels like to feel fully rested. It becomes the norm. It’s when broken sleep and lack of sleep, team up that it really knocked me for six. After a long time, the broken sleep teamed with sleep deprivation can open us up to an array 0f things – we are more susceptible to mental illness, the sleep deprivation can cause you and your partner to turn on each other, it can affect your social life, the way you see yourself and your worth….and the list really does go on.

Even though we all know what tiredness feels like, when I was suffering from sleep deprivation, the only people that I felt that truly understood my pain, were other Mothers. I mean, sure, my partner saw the tears and he heard the yelling (sorry T!), but I let him sleep, cos you know, he has to work tomorrow.

He really does have to work, and he does drive far, so I did let him sleep by choice, as I felt that he was a danger to himself and anyone else on the road, if he were sleep deprived. But what bugs me, is that people think that if you are a stay at home Mum or you are on maternity leave, that it doesn’t matter if you get no sleep because you get to stay home all day. Someone once said to me “That’s ok though, cos you don’t have to work tomorrow”. Oh yep, you are absolutely right. I get to stay in bed all day and sleep when I want. I don’t have a baby to care for, bottles to sterilize or a million spew clothes to wash.

Truth is, it’s bloody hard. It’s testing and you can feel alone at times. But it’s worth it. All of it. It’s all worth it when they kiss you for the first time, when they cuddle you, when they smile at you and when you know that their love for you is so genuine. Dark circles, no make up, spew clothes and all – they still love you. Even though we encounter challenges of all sorts, through our journey of motherhood, it makes it a lot better when you have some awesome Mumma’s walking there right beside you. You can cry because you are so tired and not feel like such a dick, you can talk about how tired you are all the time, poo and many other bodily fluids that you wear as often as you used to wear perfume and when Kmart has a new baby range, without fearing that you have become the Mum/friend you promised yourself you wouldn’t become.

 

Baby cuddles + wonderful friends = you can conquer anything. You got this Mumma!

B Xo

 

Hi Ho Hi Ho, It’s Off To Work We(I) Go!!

A few weeks ago I left Amaya in the safe hands of my parents and I returned to work two days a week. The first two weeks were a struggle, I seriously wondered how I ever worked full time! I was bloody wrecked. It’s amazing how quickly your brain/body adapts to your new activities (of course unless it’s fitness, that shit takes forever. Laziness tho…instant!) I joke, I joke. Being a Mum is rough, you are always on the go, it is very hard to be a lazy parent. Although, they are out there…before anyone jumps down my throat, ask me next time you see me and I can tell you some pretty quality stories. Coke in baby bottles. Coffee in a child’s water bottle. Anyway, I am trying to find compassionate Bree, have you seen her? Maybe don’t ask me about those stories…well…you can, but also ask me how I have found compassion towards these parents. And making a coffee for your child isn’t lazy, it’s more work than filling it up with water…anyyyyway, being a Mum has made me more compassionate in areas that I am surprised at (…and sometimes less compassionate in socially acceptable areas, hence why I am looking for compassionate Bree). I think becoming a Mum has sent me more off into the land of emotional reactions purely based on current emotions. When that Mumma killed her baby last year and dumped her body in a creek (ok, I was shocked at how I wrote that too, but struggling to find more gentle words and the baby is going to wake up soon! Running.Out.Of.Time!!!). I was all like “Oh no. Their life must have been terrible. Imagine how bad it was, for her to think her daughter was better off dead. I feel so sorry for that woman. No one would kill their child unless they thought they were better off dead.” I think my brother thought I had well and truly lost my marbles, as he obviously doesn’t have his little Mumma cap on. I not only have my Mumma cap on these days, but it has to sit on top my cancerian cap, that I have worn all my life. They are a fun combo, let me tell you. I see Amaya in like every animal I see and can’t bare to watch any Facebook videos on animals or babies being hurt. I could barely get through them dry-eyed pre-Mumma cap, but let me tell you, I don’t watch Facebook videos in public for good reason.

Absolute.

Sobbing.

Mess.

The Mumma cap never comes off. Even when I am sans Amaya. I am a different educator, because I wear my Mumma cap to work (duuuh, I wear it bloody everywhere!). Becoming a Mum has changed the core of my soul, and I am glad it did. To be a Mum is an absolute blessing.

To leave Amaya with my parents so I can go educate and care for other little people, seems so ridiculous. But even tho I am working with children, it is children other than Amaya. I find that having a ‘break’ from Amaya has made me a better Mum. I am more patient and I appreciate our Mummy/Amaya days. Amaya on the other hand, I am not so sure has such a positive view on our new routine. Unfortunately, we cannot spend every moment together, that’s life – but it is still a little heartbreaking.

Mummy moles/lovelies

So I took a step back from the whole blogging thing, as putting yourself out there comes with a cost (as we all know). What I didn’t know, was that the cost would come from people I actually know. I am the type of Mum who is open to suggestions and help – lord knows it takes a village! I am also well aware of the fact that I do not know everything. But I have also learnt along the way that other Mums are not so open to suggestions, even if every single status/conversation you have with them is about how much they are struggling with a certain area of Motherhood. My natural instinct is to help people. I worded everything carefully and tried my best to not come across bossy/judgemental/condescending, but it still ended in me being mocked online and to my face. It hurt, but that’s cool. I searched for compassion, in my almost empty fuel tank. After searching for a while, I decided to take the easier option and send them love, from my extremely full heart. Being a woman is hard. Being a Mum is hard. Sometimes nice people do mean things. No one is perfect and we are all struggling with something. These women didn’t mean it personally, it had more to do with them than me. And just like that, I dug up some compassion…

I took a step back to assess the situation and wondered if I am actually helping anyone. How am I coming across? Like a judgemental-know-it-all? Or like someone who just wants others to learn from her mistakes and someone who wants to share any ‘secrets’ that she comes across or learns from the Mother’s who have gone before us. I know what I am trying to do and then I realised that it doesn’t matter how others perceive me – how they perceive me is their choice & is a reflection of themselves. I have no control over that.

I told one of my friends the other night that being a Mumma is hard, but one of the hardest aspects is other Mums. I am still so baffled that we can’t all just help each other? Instead of supporting one another, we criticise each other. It’s because women can be so bloody awful to each other and the nastiest ones are usually the ones that have been burnt the most.

I am just super lucky that the gems I surround myself with are super awesome women/Mumma’s, who do support and uplift each other. We help each other, we offer advice, friendship, compassion and most of all – we let each other flourish into all of the fabulous women/Mumma’s that we are – allowing and understanding that we might do things differently, but that’s cool, cos we always did shit differently, cos we aren’t clones of each other. Your sparkle shines through the way you parent – don’t let other people dull your sparkle.

I am sending you all love & compassion

B Xo

G R E E N S M O O T H I E + C L O T H E S

These are two of the questions I get asked a lot.

Where did you get her headband/shirt/dress/pants/shoes from?

What is in her green smoothie? – along with ‘what do you feed Amaya?’. They go hand in hand.

A lot of people have seen Amaya eating her green smoothies on my Instagram and/or my Snapchat and often ask what is in the green smoothie. Well, it all started when I was drinking a green smoothie one day and decided to give Amaya a taste. She loved it and opened her mouth for more. I gave her a few more mouthfuls and she kept opening her mouth for more. I then decided I would make her, her own green smoothies and I have been experimenting ever since with different combinations. (Years ago, my friend introduced me to green smoothies and I started using her recipe and over time I have just added different ingredients in an attempt to make the perfect green smoothie haha). In saying that, I don’t always add the same stuff to Amaya’s green smoothie – besides chia seeds, it is just fruit and vege. Here is how I make her green smoothie..

I N G R E D I E N T S:

  • Two handfuls of Kale
  • Two handfuls of spinach
  • Boiled water
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Banana
  • Carrot
  • Chia seeds

 

M E T H OD:

I add the kale, the spinach and the boiled water and then I blend. I then add the rest of the ingredients and then blend again. I divide the smoothie up into her Baby Bullet containers and then I put them in the freezer. I take the smoothie out and put it in the fridge the night before. That way they are no longer frozen, but still cool, come lunch time the next day.

It is so simple and extremely healthy! I believe that her green smoothies, teamed with essential oils is why she has only had two little colds thus far. Touch wood.

Edit: Amaya has green smoothies for lunch, she sometimes has banana + avocado – this is one of her favourites! She usually has either a green smoothie or banana + avocado…or just banana!

greensmoothie
Amaya – the green smoothie addict!

The other meals Amaya has is baby cereal, that I make, for her breakfast. I got the recipe from Sophie Guidolin – follow her on snapchat and she shows you exactly how to make it and what the ingredients are. Sophie Guidolin is a nutritionist, among many other things! Amaya loves her breakfast cereal and squeals with excitement when she sees it!

For dinner Amaya just has some mashed up vegetables. We try different combinations, but her favourites usually involve pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot. We sometimes add salmon, mince or chicken into her dinner. Amaya is not overly keen on meat, so we are just trying to find what she likes. So far Salmon, pork & Chicken are winning.

Edit: I am not a health professional at all, this is just what I do with Amaya and how I make her green smoothies. If you are after professional advice, I suggest you consult a professional.

 

C L O T H E S

We do shop a lot at Kmart, Big W and Target. We get her white onesies that she wears under most of her pants etc. from Kmart and Target. I do find that the Target ones are a little thicker and are better quality.

Amayacute
White onesie from Kmart.

I get her pyjamas (besides her bonds wondersuits – well I do get them from Target too.) from Target – they have $5 onesies that are perfect for cooler weather.

TARGET
$5 Target onesie
Targetonesies
$5 onesies from Target

Her headbands are from Belles and Bruisers.

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Headband from Belles and Bruisers.

I love these headbands! I love that they aren’t too much. They are big, unique and simple. I am not into big sparkly, glittery headbands (it’s cool if you are), but these headbands I think are super cute and complete an outfit. They also double as ear warmers in cooler weather.

It would take too long for me to go through all of her clothes, but here is a list of shops that I buy most of her clothes from…

Ghetto Kids are working on their website at the moment, but click on their name to go their Instagram account.

amayapants
Headband is Belles and Bruisers. Shirt is Ghetto Kids Au. Pants are Cookies & Scream. Shoes are converse from Ebay.
ghettokids
Headband from Belles and Bruisers, shirt from Ghetto Kids, pants from Cookies and Scream.

indiMAK

I can’t find any photos of Amaya wearing their stuff. BUT please do yourself a favour and checkout their website – they have some really cool shirts!

Cookies + Scream

Amaya
These pants. Oh I LOVE them. Cookies & Scream.

Children of the Tribe

Childrenonfthetribe
Amaya and her sweet friend Marley. Amaya’s outfit is from Children of the Tribe.
AMAYAbeautiful
Outfit and wrap from Children of the Tribe.

Daisy & Moose

Daisy
Daisy & Moose. This outfit is one of my favourites!

Anarkid Organic

Moccs Be Love – for her moccasins! At the moment Amaya wears ONLY soft soled shoes, as she is not walking yet. She also only wears Moccasins or Converse, at the moment. Ebay also have some good, cheap, converse for babies.

MOCCS
Shoes are Moccs Be love. Outfit is Target.

Sunday the Label

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Bloomers are Sunday the Label. The headband, you guessed it, is Belles and Bruisers.

There are SO many places that I love to get Amaya’s clothes from, but if you head over to my Instagram and scroll through my photos, not only will you feel like a #stalker, but you will find some of our other favourite shops by clicking on the photos that I have posted of Amaya. I usually tag the shops in the photo.

Happy Shopping!

 

B Xo

 

On this very night, one year ago…

It all began. “You might want to call in your troops, we are going to meet your baby tonight” echoed through my head. As much as I thought I was mentally prepared for this, I still felt shocked – among many things – and it must have shown all over my face. As much as you try to prepare yourself, nothing prepares you for a 29 weeker…

amayanewborn

I am a Mum, but I am a preemie Mum. Something I never imagined I would be. Having a preemie means that you are robbed of so many things. My love to all those who are robbed of being parents or robbed of watching your child grow up. Being robbed of something is never nice, but we somehow manage to put our brave face on and try our hardest to cope. That’s what I did anyway. I smiled through the preeclampsia, through the ICN 1 journey and through three lots of mastitis. But those close to me saw or at least, heard, the tears. Fear of the unknown riddled every inch of my body. Having a preemie means you kind of do everything before you are meant to – like leave your baby, watch them get needles, blood drawn…the list goes on. Leaving your baby, being separated, when they are still meant to be a part of  you, is indescribable. It is absolutely nothing personal, but hearing women being upset about leaving their full-term baby for the first time, is hard for me. I felt like I was robbed of that. Robbed of leaving her because it was some sort of choice. But I 100% do not blame people or think badly of women for feeling stressed over this, as I don’t want to leave Amaya when I return to work – I get it, I really do. Sometimes I just find it hard to sympathise, as I had to leave her…pretty much as soon as she was born. I didn’t meet her until she was over 24 hours old and then four days later we slept in different suburbs. Believe me when I say that it is nothing personal, it is just something that is hard to hear at times. Like a lot of things, that a preemie Mum is robbed of. First nappy change, first feed…the list goes on.

You will never forget it. The memories fade a little, but once you start talking about it, they all come rushing back, along with each emotion. I am waiting for the day I get a little braver and can get through the entire story without even a hint of a tear. The first few weeks of your babies life are meant to be a beautiful – a bonding experience. As a preemie parent, the first few weeks are filled with brain scans, bloods, C-PAP, monitors, alarms and a pane of glass that creates more distance than you could imagine. Changing a nappy from the side, is difficult, but brings a ridiculous amount of joy.

Sometimes, I found it hard to be around women who were pregnant, when I was meant to still be pregnant. Once again, nothing personal. But pregnant women are a reminder of how it should be. I was thrilled for my friends and would never wish one single little bad thing upon them, but it was still something I struggled with at times. If you are pregnant and friends with a preemie Mum, she might be totally cool with it and awesome if she is, but if she is being a little distant, don’t take it personally. She’s learning to be a Mum, a preemie Mum, at that. She doesn’t have the energy for anything to be personal. She will want the best for you and nothing but the best – believe me, but she is probably feeling sad and array of emotions that she has never felt before. She is just trying to cope. She loves you and she needs you – she does not mean to make you feel ‘bad’.

Doctor’s appointments can bring a lot back too. Like nerves. Nerves that this journey is going to go south at any moment. Sometimes, I still get nervous taking Amaya to the Doctor. I catch myself and while I believe in allowing yourself to feel everything, I remind myself that all is ok and that I am always going to be a Mum, who has super powers, as all Mum’s do – but a preemie Mum, who has crazy super powers! I sat by and watched my tiny 900g baby have blood taken, brain scans done…and I remember that she is a tough little lady and that we are so beyond blessed. Not only blessed to have Amaya, but blessed to have the family & friends that we do. I have never felt so broken, I am sure my Amaya spam shows you how much I love her, can you imagine how I felt watching her tiny little 900g body in an isolette? But my family & friends were exactly what I needed.

As soon as we brought her home, everyone asked when we were going to have another baby. The thought terrified me, now it just scares me. I often wonder if I have it in me. I have put that in the “When Amaya is two or three basket…”. Maybe braver Bree will be around then, she might be able to get through our story without crying and she might be able to handle another NICU journey.

Here we are though, one year on. One year that felt like the longest, yet the shortest year ever. A lot has happened. A lot of amazing memories have been made. I count my blessing everyday as I smother those beautiful, big, brown cheeks with one million kisses…I am so glad that Amaya chose us to be her parents. I simply cannot imagine loving another soul more than her.