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Meet the Mama with Sammy
Mama to Pippa

Happy Monday!

I am so excited for today's #meetthemama, which is a little different to our usual format!

Today, the gorgeous Sammy from @champagnecurves is sharing her journey.

From arriving here in Australia, meeting her Hubby, managing Stage 4 Endometriosis, Severe Adenomyosis, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome and PCOS, and becoming a Mama to her beautiful daughter Pippa during Covid-19 times.

As anyone who welcomed their little cherub/s into the world during covid - it isn't easy, nor how many envisioned.

The Beginning
I’m 35 years old, originally from Bristol in the UK, and have lived in Oz for about 11 years now. I am a keen singer and have performed here and there at different events, Sydney Eisteddfods, Weddings ect, but never found my big break.

I met my hubby in Byron Bay in early 2010 while I was travelling, and it was pretty much love at first sight. We bonded over jungle juice, karaoke and terrible dance moves. (also a little topless sunbathing on the beach! 
😉 )

We did say our farewells as I embarked on the rest of my Australian travels but we were always drawn back to each other and we knew by the end of my trip, that I was going to return to Oz and start my new life!

11 years later, we live on the Central Coast of NSW, have a lovely home, a couple pugs and now little Pippa!



Pregnancy & Managing Endometriosis
Pregnancy didn’t come easy to us though. I have Stage 4 Endometriosis, Severe Adenomyosis, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome and PCOS.

I had my first surgery when I just 17 years old, to remove Fybroids and the journey was only just beginning. Mis-diagnosed for over 9 years, and told that it “can’t be that bad” or that “you’re too young for Endo.”, unfortunately so much damage was already done and fertility we were told, was not possible. We tried for approx. 9 years, different medications, different doctors, different advice, new specialists, thousands of dollars, tests, surgery upon surgery, but we were at a loss and the pain and symptoms were just too great.

So we were advised the a hysterectomy would be my only saving grace if I wanted it gone for good, so I made that decision with the love and support of my husband and family, and we were booked in. The endo has spread to my bowel and ovaries, and other spots inbetween, so it was a needs must case. We were content with the idea of no baby by this point, knew that we would still do great things with our lives and just relaxed into that new idea of life.

But then with that, BOOM! One naturally conceived little bouncing bubba found her way and we found out we were pregnant just a couple weeks before my big surgery!! We could NOT believe it and were just in total shock! But with every little stick that I peed on, it just confirmed it over and over. So then came the worry of whether “this is it”, so we booked in with the doctor and well.. here we are!

Pregnancy with Endo is different. Painful as bub grows as scar tissue stretches and twinges everywhere. But it does at least allow for some, a relief from the usual symptoms and side effects of the disease while you are pregnant and breastfeeding. So that was a welcome change! 

I craved soda water 😃 and lots of it.. it was the only thing that momentarily took away the nausea! And then later in the pregnancy a good fat piece of steak with broccolini and hot chilli sauce. The best!!



Pregnancy as a plus size woman
I got a lot of questions and messages from my followers who were expectant mothers or were trying to be, asking how I was treated through the system as a plus size woman. And whether I had been made to feel awful about myself ect.

I can honestly say that I didn’t feel that way ever.
Through my entire pregnancy and beyond. Not one doctor or specialist, midwife or the like ever told me I was fat, or had to loose weight, or unhealthy or made me feel terrible about myself.

I always had a positive experience with the team and can’t believe that some woman have to go through such awful treatment by medical professionals.

Becoming a Mama during Covid times
Covid-19 and the lockdown of 2020 took it’s toll too on my emotions, but also granted me some time to WFH which was a blessing as I was travelling to Sydney every day while pregnant and extremely unwell with all day sickness.

It did however ruin my dream of having my best friend at the birth of our baby. She lives in QLD and with the borders closed for months and months on end, it just wasn’t possible and we were all absolutely heartbroken. But technology is a good thing, and we video called her into the whole thing! Well, most of it anyway, she didn’t need to listen to my scream for 15 hours. But she was there in the only way that the world would allow at the time.

There were no birthing classes before hand. No mothers groups afterwards. No visitors allowed in hospital. One person had to be nominated and couldn’t be changed (so that was my husband obviously). No visitors at home either. It was a very surreal moment in time. My family all live in England too, which meant that over a year on now, and still no one has met little Pip. It’s devastating and some days the tears just don’t stop.



Welcoming Pippa
Towards the end of my pregnancy I was SO SORE. Unable to walk or move most of the time with SPD well and truly set in. at week 38 I had a stretch and sweep under the influence of gas and air, to try and entice the little one along. We were then booked in for an induction at 39 weeks, but thankfully I went in to labor naturally at home the day before our induction due date. Waters broke at 8:30pm! Wahoo! But all over the sofa.. boooo.. and then my husbands car.. and then the walk way leading into Gosford hospital and all over my husband’s shoes 😃 it just never ended! Haha! My contractions started pretty much immediately too. I was in full blown constant contraction labor, for about 14-15 hours, with nothing but gas and air, and I was dilating ever so painfully slow.

I asked for an epidural quite early on in the piece I believe, but unfortunately for me, they attempted it 3-4 times without success and was getting to the point of no return. It was the most excruciating experience I have ever had in my life. Feeling that needle with every single movement in my back. They hit a nerve and shot straight down my right leg. And at this point my contractions were only about 10 seconds apart so it was impossible to stay still hunched over my belly. They nursing staff called in the big guy, the top dog, and he waltzed in and said “I can assure you we will be friends after this!” and then even he failed the first time as I only went numb on one side, so they had to pull it out again!! ☹ so he said “one last shot” and laid my on my side as I couldn’t sit up any longer, which really is a big no no because of the way your spine then lays.. but thank god for that man for not giving up on me! He got it in! A bit higher than recommended, but he GOT IT IN. and honestly, 5 minutes later, I was a brand new woman. I had a cup of tea! Haha. I could talk! I had an ice lolly! My husband closed his eyes for the first time in 24 hours and had a snooze in the chair next to me. It was like heaven on earth. But they had to keep monitoring me as the epidural was sitting high on my chest due it being higher in my spine, and they were worried I could stop breathing. So you know, just a little drama. But it was the best thing. If I were to ever experience birth again, I would get that in me ASAP and make sure that the top dog was doing it too.

About two or so hours later, I fully dilated and pushing! Hooray! And again things didn’t quite go to plan.. her head just couldn’t “get around the bend” as the midwife put it. And Pippas heartbeat dropped after every contraction, so another big wig flew into the room and it all got very serious very quickly. And with that, I had consented to an episiotomy and forceps and with one big push she was here! Happy, healthy, goop covered little bundle of joy and sunshine. That moment they put her on my chest, time stood still. It was just like nothing else. Pure elation and sudden relief.

My husband was an absolute legend too. He took charge when I needed him too, he stayed calm, he was at my side the entire time.. even when one of the midwifes told him to go for a rest, he refused and held my hand even tighter. He even took a couple beatings while I barred down and said in not such a polite manner and not these words but “get this child out of me now” 😉 and I definitely swore at the doctors and nurses multiple times. Oops.

My hospital bag consisted of one black t-shirt nightie that I had planned to wear during the birth as I didn’t want to be naked, but with the epidural, I ended up in a surgical gown and that was fine. I put it on afterwards. Then a nice Peter Alexander night dress and matching gown, and every midwife on the ward commented on it and it was just a nice little pick me up while feeling so vulnerable. I probably should have taken more undies! As I hadn’t expected to stay in hospital for 4 nights, but it wasn’t a massive issue as my husband could come and go and bring me supplies. I took my own pads, but the midwifes also gave me some as and when needed.

Also, hot tip. If they offer you the frozen water filled condom for your vagina, take it. Take them all!! Haha. It was so soothing and brought me so much relief. 
If you need help to move, pick up baby, feed, pee, put your socks on, whatever it is, ask for help. They are there to help you. If a midwife is mean to you, tell another midwife, be heard and be seen! Do not let ANYONE make you feel like shit during this most precious time. Those first few hours and days are so important for how you progress with your bub, that you don’t need anyone telling you how it is. Stand your ground and be honest with how you’re feeling.



Returning to Work
I returned to full time work when Pippa was 4 months old, but after 3 months of full time commuting from the Coast to Sydney with little sleep and time, I resigned from my position of nearly 6 years and left a company that I loved. The plan was to find a small part time role close to home to get them bills paid, but the stars aligned and the company I had just left called me and asked I was interested in a role WFH, part time. So I jumped at the chance!! So I now work 5 days a week, part time hours while looking after Pippa too. It’s A LOT. Definitely challenging to say the least. Plus look after the home, a shift working husband and two old stubborn pugs. Its hectic. But we somehow survive.

The Challenges
Some of the most challenging days since giving birth have probably been dealing with emotions. And lack of support. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is amazing and very hands on with bub and myself. So it’s not about home life. It’s the lack of village. The lockdowns. The restrictions. Not being able to see my family, them not able to meet Pippa who is now ONE. Telehealth calls rather than face to face. No mothers groups. It all adds up really. Plus the fact that you now have a tiny human to look after. Who relies on you 100% for physical and emotional needs, right when you are absolutely broken for some.



About Pippa
Pippa is an active, cheeky, hungry little cookie monster, with beautiful warm blonde tones in her hair, looking like butter wouldn’t melt. She loves music and the outdoors, Frozen, Moana and The Good Dinosaur.. all of which are on repeat most days.  She lights up everyones day with her infectious toothy smile and little button dimples. A pure angel sent from above. She really is our little miracle.

 
A massive thank you to Sammy for speaking openly about so many of the things that impact many of us as we adventure down the motherhood path.

As I mentioned above, Sammy has one of the most colourful instagrams, @champagnecurves, which features stunning fashion options in sizing 18/20 and snippets of Mama life - also the cutest matching outfits with Pippa feature regularly! 

Have a beautiful week, only 26 sleeps till Christmas!

Renee
xx

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