we’re moving

It was little less than a year ago when God first placed East London on our hearts. Neither of us had ever been there or even knew exactly where it was. It was during a particularly trying time that I was quietly praying for direction and leading for us as a family when I got a significant urge to look into the small city on the East Coast. East London fell into my heart and a gentle nagging stayed with me for the remainder of the day. By the time evening came, I knew that being obedient to God meant telling Phil what the Holy Spirit had been doing. The conversation that night went something like… ‘maybe we’re moving or perhaps we just need a holiday, it is possible that we need to do nothing more than pray for these people, all this considered and whatever it may mean… I feel God is giving us East London’.

Phil looked at me as though I was delusional – I thought I was a little crazy myself. How could we possibly consider moving our entire family across the country, to a place that neither of us had ever mentioned or thought about, when everything we knew and everything we did was in Joburg.

There is something really special about being in this place with God, knowing that He has given you something, but not yet knowing the fullness of all that He is about to do or how He is going to do it. Knowing that He is in control and being able to fully trust His leading. That night and for the weeks that followed we prayed into whatever it was that God held for us. Like children, we opened our hearts even though our minds did not believe it could be true. And we waited…

Then months went by and we forgot. We felt confident in the fact that we had somehow been open to such a deranged idea, that we had been completely willing to go if God said go. And we felt that maybe that was all it was – an exercise of faith. Perhaps it was just about us being willing, perhaps it was just for us to know that God was working.

A few short months later the unthinkable happened. Friends of ours were (unknowingly) tying things up in Joburg and preparing to move across the country to take over a small church. They too had been praying (at the same time I had), praying for friends to join them, for families to come alongside them. And God placed us on their hearts. They very bravely asked us if we would consider joining them… they were going to East London.

The absurdity of it all was far too great to ignore. God was very clearly working something out and we couldn’t help but to book a couple of tickets and go see what East London was all about.


We arrived in a rainy and rather cold Eastern Cape one September morning last year and spent the weekend looking at as much as we possibly could. We visited schools, scouted shops and surveyed many pieces of land. God spoke to us in very personal ways over the weekend and while it was a beautiful time away, by the end of it we were all feeling a little overwhelmed and very much like Joburg was still where we belonged. Finally, before jumping back on our plane to come home, we visited the church that we would be joining.

And everything changed.

That Sunday morning we knew without a doubt that we had found OUR CHURCH. I knew that God would use us in this place and that here, we would have great opportunity to be a part of His story. I could almost see life in that church unfolding before my eyes, and it was joyful and peaceful and surrounded by people that we cherished. On that morning, we found our home – it just so happened to be in East London.

The months that have followed that September weekend have been met with much anticipation and excitement from our side, but also with a great deal of support from those around us. Watching our girls pray into the move as we’ve had to take the necessary steps toward leaving has been incredibly special. Watching God work in their hearts as they have opened themselves up to His will is something that I have treasured greatly. I had such faith that our girls would feel SENT and not TAKEN as we moved them from everything they have ever known as home. And God has been so incredibly faithful in that.

We are so excited to make the East Coast our home, to love the people there and to enjoy lengthy stays from those we leave behind. I am somewhat grateful to be leaving the fast pace of the city and to embrace ‘country living’, though there are definitely some uncertainties surrounding this aspect of living as well. I am beyond excited to call the ocean our back yard, to make it part of the lifestyle we live and to share it with those we love. I am in awe that we get to go on this amazing adventure together as a family and ultimately that we get to be in all that God has set before us.


a little heart to heart

Gosh, I disappeared there for a (long) bit. Adding baby number three to our family rocked my world and at one point, I wasn’t sure I would ever be the same again (I probably wont be, but I’m okay with that now). At first I thought it was merely the traumatic beginning we had gone through that I had to get over, but in all honesty, it has just taken me this long to find my feet again.

Leevi has been an easy baby (possibly our easiest) but the busyness of three was somewhat underestimated by me. Don’t get me wrong, having three has been incredible and we know it was absolutely the right thing for us and our family. I adore our bigger family and would happily add a fourth if I could. But, having two older and very independent children before diving back into the baby phase shook me a little more than I would have liked, and for someone who is usually very organised and detailed it was difficult for me to feel like I wasn’t coping.

There was other stuff too, I can’t blame it all on the baby – last year, for various reasons was tough. Emotionally, spiritually and physically, I was spent.

A lot has happened in the year we’ve been MIA. God is so kind in how he has guided us and worked in our hearts. He has been so faithful to His promises for us, it has been a wonderful thing to fully absorb His everlasting love and to rest in His perfect peace. A couple of months ago, I stood on an empty beach in the Eastern Cape and clearly felt God saying that He would rescue us. That He would (without going into too much detail) pull us out of the ‘ditch’ we were in and that He would set us in the place He wants us to be.


God has humbled us and grown us in ways we never imagined He would, we have seen our children seek Him and grow in His ways and He has uprooted us as a family and set aside a new place for us to call home (if you missed it over on social media… we’re moving!!)… and I will write about it very soon.

After so much time off, sharing very minimally on social media and nothing at all over here, I found myself once again questioning whether this little space I call my blog is a valid space at all. Whether I really have anything to offer you, my readers, whether blogging in 2019 is still relevant and whether it was something I could fully commit to and keep up with.

And well, here I am – not because I have any solid answers to those questions… more because God has given me a heart to share, He has given me a love for writing and a love for women in community. He has put an incredible love in my heart for mothers, for helping, supporting and inspiring them. For too long, I have lived outside of that and well, I guess this is me stepping back in. I hope you’ll join me for the ride.


nicu, ambulance transfers & going home

This post has been swimming for months now. In all honesty, I have been hesitant to put it out there for a number of reasons. One is that for myself, I really had to process all of what went on, and two, it is not a post that I wanted to write while I was angry. While I want to be honest and real about what went on, I also want to respect the doctors we worked with and the work that they did while we were in hospital. I’ve had a number of people asking about what happened, why we ended up transferring Leevi and how we suddenly ended up at home, but it is also a story that I want to tell and as hard as it was, it is one that I want to remember. I want parents to know that they have a voice, that it’s okay to question things and that your baby needs you to stand up for them… even when you are faced with a circumstance that is so foreign.

If you follow me on social media you will know that Leevi was in the neonatal unit for the first two weeks of his life. If you haven’t already, you can read about his birth here. It was undoubtedly the most difficult two weeks of my life and Phil will say the same. I have never felt so helpless, so uncertain and so emotional EVER.


Leevi was on antibiotics for suspected congenital pneumonia for a a total of 5 days. His CPAP came off on day 3, after 7 days all of his IV’s came out and he was moved to High Care B. But his feeding tube remained. High Care B is the final stop before going home and is referred to by many parents as the departure lounge. It is a bittersweet place to stop – you are so close to going home but there is no end in sight, no timeline is given and every day I found myself gazing longingly at the lucky set of parents who were walking through those doors with their carseat in hand. It is also the unit where the staff are the most relaxed – I wish I could say this is a good thing… for us it wasn’t.

Being a nicu mama is hard on so many levels. It’s hard to have to ask permission to hold your baby, it’s hard to have to leave them while they are lying in an incubator wide awake, it’s hard to see them hooked up to all of those machines, to see that their drip was changed while you were away and to know that you weren’t there to comfort them when it happened, it’s hard to have everybody question your decision to lodge at the hospital and to be the talk of the unit because you sat with your baby until 2am that morning. I was told that I was spoiling my baby numerous times because I rocked him to sleep, I was questioned for doing skin on skin because he was a big baby!?! I was told I would struggle when I took him home because I was ‘spoiling’ him. I was told I needed antidepressants because I was crying a little more than they’d like me to (I do believe that there is a time and a place for them but my problem is that the doctor in question never took the time to get to know me or what I was feeling before making those presumptions). It was utterly exhausting and left me feeling like I was going against the unit on so many different levels.

As we entered our second week in the NNU, we began to question their methods. While Leevi was technically better, he was not drinking at all (all milk feeds were given via his nasogastric tube). We were not allowed to breastfeed (it was believed that this would place too much strain on his heart) and he was not interested in his bottles. Feeds ended with both of us in tears and while I believe the nurses did have our best interests at heart, Leevi’s case was sorely overlooked as they continued to force feed him his bottles (manipulating his chin to mimic sucking) and then feed whatever was not taken via the bottle after 30 minutes through his tube.

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We were patient, we believed they knew what they doing and we had confidence in the fact that they were labelled as one of the best nicu’s in the country. After days of what felt like terrific failure and requests to bring in outside help we eventually managed to get an amazing speech therapist in to work with us. In my opinion, they should have called her in the day that Leevi began suck feeds, the day that he didn’t suck for the very first time – why they waited for us to question things before making this call is beyond me. Andrea changed our feeding method completely and we finally started to see some sort of progress. I had gained a little bit of control over his feeds and little by little, our gorgeous guy began to suck. The idea of going home was slowly becoming a little bit of a reality.

If you are familiar with ‘paced feeding’, you will know that it is a very specific method of bottle feeding and for this reason we had requested that I do all bottle feeds (at this point Leevi was having 1 bottle and then 2 tube feeds in a cycle – whatever wasn’t finished during a bottle feed was then fed via tube). Much like breastfeeding, paced feeding allows the baby to lead the feed and so Leevi’s feeds became a lot less stressful, completely unforced and he responded to the method beautifully. He had to finish at least 60ml of each bottle for 3 days before they would move him onto the next cycle and eventually get him onto all bottles before being able to go home. So while things were improving, at this point we were looking at another 10 – 14 days in the neonatal unit.

My heart was constantly torn between being at the hospital with Leevi and being at home with our girls. My days were long ,busy and even amongst everything that had to be done, often lonely. I watched countless moms come into the maternity ward, have their babies and go home again. I mourned for the experience that we had lost and longed to take our baby home. I cried out to God for a miracle, for peace, for courage and for my baby to drink.

Just when we felt like we were gaining a little bit of ground, something else would fall. I was pumping twice the volume of milk that Leevi was ‘drinking’ and twice I found formula next to his crib (I chose to forget about the many times it might have happened but I wasn’t there to witness or correct it). It may sound like a small and insignificant thing to many, but for any nicu mama it is just not on. I was working around the clock to get that milk to him and because the milk kitchen had neglected to read his chart properly, they were simply not preparing enough milk for him to get through the day. I find this completely unacceptable when you are dealing with the most vulnerable patients in the hospital, the ones who cannot speak up for themselves and who really don’t know any different. The final straw for us (after many meetings and questions) was when I went up to see Leevi one Wednesday night. It was a little after 9pm, Phil and the girls had just left for the evening and I had decided that I would quickly pump before going to see Leevi. His 9pm feed was a tube feed which they would often just let the babies sleep through as it didn’t make any difference to them. We had just had a great session with our speech therapist for the earlier feed and we were actually feeling quite encouraged. When I got to his crib I saw an empty bottle standing next to his bed which was strange as according to their method and the feeding schedule he was on, he was not allowed to have one bottle after another. The other thing is that we had specifically asked that I give all bottle feeds due to the method we were now using and the fact that none of the nurses were familiar with paced feeding (I was lodging there after all and I was fully available for feeds). Again, perhaps this seems like a trivial issue, but man, when you are working that hard at getting your baby home and when you have lost all confidence in the manner in which they are being treated, it is huge. By this stage we had spoken to a couple of experts and began to realise that there are many different methods of treating these little people and that this particular one did not in any way seem like the best.

While we do believe that the doctors cared, we think they could have done a better job at communicating with, managing and making use of their team. While they believe that their age old method is the best, we feel it could be better. While we don’t think the nurses were trying to mess up, we feel that they need to pay more attention to each baby and their treatment plan, we believe that their training could be far more specialised and we can only hope that as a team they will learn from what transpired. We also feel that parents could and should be far more involved in the process, we have learnt enough to know that other NICU’s have got this right and I feel that it can only benefit both the family and the baby. We are so grateful for what the doctors did for Leevi and for the quick and effective treatment he got, we just wish it could have ended differently.

After spending that night holding my baby in the breastfeeding room, after many discussions, help from others, much prayer and countless tears, we made the very difficult decision to transfer Leevi to a different hospital where he would be under the care of our family paediatrician. A man that we have worked with and trusted for years, a man who also had a very different approach to Leevi’s situation.

At 20:43pm on Thursday 21 September Leevi was loaded into an ambulance and began his journey home. I cannot tell you how amazing the paramedics were during our transfer – they were a breath of fresh air and made a hectic end to what was a very difficult day so much better. We arrived at our destination just after 9pm where our paed was ready and waiting. After checking Leevi’s vitals he removed his feeding tube and told me to breastfeed my baby. Leevi was two weeks old, he had never even set eyes on a breast before and he could barely suck from a bottle but this little guy latched and drank for 30 minutes without a single issue. I cried so hard as I gazed down at him, taking in his amazing tubeless little face for the first time – he was so perfect and after all that we had been through, he knew that I was his mom.



I was sent home that night while he stayed in isolation (standard procedure for babies coming in from other hospitals) which was really good for me. It was good to come home, unpack my bags and ‘reset’. I had no idea how things would play out over the next few days but we had a new sense of energy and a very real kind of hope that we would all be home soon.

When we arrived at the hospital the next morning, Leevi had successfully drank from bottles through the night, he had been bathed and he was ready to be moved into the paediatric ward with me where we were given strict instructions to stay in bed and feed on demand.

This day was such a gift to us. Despite all that we had been through I felt as though Leevi had just been born, as though nothing had ever come between us. He fed beautifully throughout the day and when he wasn’t nursing we were cuddling. We were pretty much left alone to bond for the entire day and when our paed came in to check on us at 5pm he casually told us we could go home. Just like that, at 19:35pm on Friday 22 September 2017 (one day before his due date) we walked out of the hospital with our baby boy safely strapped into his car seat. It was nothing like the homecoming we had imagined and we needed a lot of time to process and work through everything that had happened. God’s grace upon us was so sweet that night, His presence was so near through it all. He was and always is enough and He had undoubtedly carried us through every moment and every decision we had to take.


We can’t begin to thank our family and friends enough for holding us through this time. To those who prayed for us, we felt it – thank you! To those who fed us, thank you! To my mom for having our girls that morning and for breaking the news to them, thank you! To my mom-in-law for taking on the very emotional task of looking after our girls, talking through things with them and praying for us all, thank you. To my dad for the daily phone calls that were so full of tears, thank you. To Kath, for playing such a big role in getting us home, thank you! To my father-in-law for driving around to organise a very specific bottle for Leevi, thank you! To Karen for shopping for all the little extra’s I hadn’t packed, thank you! To Graham for being so supportive of our decision to lodge and for all the costs that it would entail, thank you! To our friends, for the messages and flowers that were sent daily, thank you!

To Dr Russouw, for taking the time to talk to me, for checking in every day to see how I was doing (despite the fact that I had been discharged days before), for really taking an interest in whether I needed the meds or not and for respecting my decision in the end, for coming to see us when we decided to transfer Leevi and for phoning every day after that until we were home, thank you!

To Dr Strachan, for being ready and waiting for us, not only with your expertise but also with a hug. For making things so simple when they had been so complicated, for helping me to bond with my boy and then for sending us home, thank you!

To our girls, for maturing beyond your years, for being so strong and so understanding, for loving your brother beyond what we ever thought was possible, for visiting and bringing pictures every single day, for being so patient and for always bringing a smile, thank you!

To Phil, my rock – for leading me, for being strong for me, for crying with me, for loving me, for praying with me and for me, for being the most amazing Dad to our girls and for holding it all together at home, for seeking and trusting God every single day, THANK YOU!

Blessed but Broken

And those two words right there are what best sum up the last 48 hours.

But let me back up a little bit here… On Tuesday afternoon my gynae decided to move my scheduled caesarean forward by five days due to some mild contractions I had been having. I was not at all opposed to the idea with the amount of discomfort I was feeling, and so Wednesday was spent running around getting all of our last little bits together while simultaneously trying not to go into labour.

At a little after 5am on Thursday morning we made our way up to the maternity ward at Sandton mediclinic. This is our third baby we were having here, under the care of the same doctor who delivered our girls. And although jitters hung in the air, there was a wonderful sense of familiarity as well.

Shortly after 7am we were wheeled into theatre where life seemed to suddenly move at a much faster pace.  The atmosphere was cheerful as my doctor walked in with two take-away cups of coffee (one for the paed) and the room was full conversations about the weather – which really wasn’t boring at all thanks to Irma and Harvey.
Before I knew it, my legs were not my own and although everyone was chatty, there was a great sense of anticipation as we waited to meet our boy! My doctor commented on how we would never have made it to Tuesday and said that my uterus was so thin, it resembled an aquarium.

At 7:33am on 7 September 2017 our son was born.  Leevi Laec Richards entered the world weighing an impressive 3.5kg, measuring 52cm and showing off all kinds of cute.  For those who have wondered, Leevi  means harmoniously joined and Laec (pronounced Lake) means one who longs for community – so essentially God joining him to God and then to God’s people.

Leevi was put straight to my chest where he behaved exactly as a newborn should. For five whole minutes everything was glorious.

After many checks and much observation from our paed (while I was being sewn up),  the decision was made to take Leevi to the neonatal intensive care unit where he would be observed more closely. His breathing was laboured, and as many chances as they gave him, he turned an awful shade of blu every time they took the oxygen away from his little face. In the NICU he would  be given a decent chance to transition and he’d most likely be back with us in 6 hours. My heart ached and I felt completely empty as they wheeled me back down to the maternity ward on my own. Nothing prepares you for how cold and lonely a hospital room can feel.

It was in neonatal that they discovered Leevi has congenital pneumonia – I’m still not too sure what it is, why it happens or how a brand new baby is born with it. I do know that our paed is not worried about Leevi, he is responding well to the treatment he has been given and although the doctors wont commit to any sort of time frame, I am trying to prepare myself for another week or two before we take our little guy home. I know that this is the reality for so many, but my heart cannot take the thought of going home without my baby.

So here we sit, trying to make sense of it all. I have never felt so full but so broken all at once. I know that Leevi is in incredible care and I am so grateful for that, but my heart longs for my baby. I am sad that we never got to change his first nappy or hold him while he was still a little gooey. I’m sad that by the time we get to care for him, his umbilical cord will be gone, his face will have changed and he will have established a ‘nicu routine’. I’m sad for Leevi that his first day was not spent on my chest as I had intended it to be, that he hasn’t been comforted by our voices or soothed as we rock. That feeds just land in his tummy via a tube rather than being a significant time of bonding. And I’m sad for our girls, that everything went completely differently to what we had prepared them for. I’m sad for Phil, that he has not yet had a chance to hold his son. So while I know that things are really not that bad, that it will soon be over and that so many babies spend a longer time in the unit, I can’t help but feel that we were robbed of so much.

At the same time, our hearts are completely full and we feel  so abundantly blessed, not only because we have a beautiful baby boy, but because of the tangible presence of Christ that we have felt in this time. We have tasted His goodness and known His love. We have been surrounded by friends, family, church and even our online communities who have rallied around us, prayed for us and supported us in every way. We have grown closer to Christ and relied fully on His strength and power.

We are thankful too. For the miracle that is our son and that we get to take him home as soon as he is better. We are thankful for community and we are grateful that God has used this time so powerfully.

It’s an incredible thing to feel such love and satisfaction in a time that is so difficult – I find it difficult to put my feelings into words. I can only say that God, our King is a good, good father, that His love is real and that it is in situations like this that because we follow Him, we GET TO experience His goodness. We get to bask in His stillness and we get to share His love with others.


What’s in the bag?

Guys, in two weeks time we will be heading off to the hospital to HAVE A BABY! It never gets old, third time around and it still feels a little surreal. Perhaps even more so as we have just not had the time to really think about or process what is about to happen. I have had moments where I have felt completely inadequate and fearful of forgetting all that I need to know about newborns – which is a little concerning when you consider that people pay me to give them advice about their newborns. We’ll blame those totally irrational thoughts on the current influx of hormones, shall we?

Anyway, being so close to D-day means that bags need to be packed. For the first time ever, we are packing for a family of FIVE and so a lot of thought has gone into all of this. Also, it is important to note that I tend to overpack a little – I like to have everything that I need and I believe that in a time when one is in pain or very uncomfortable, we should allow ourselves the luxury of packing whatever it is that we need in order to feel more at home. If you want to pack a flamingo, you pack your flamingo (I didn’t pack a flamingo). Also, I have gone into a lot of detail in this post, giving as much info as possible while trying not to make it too long – I hope it helps!

I will be having a scheduled c\section which means that we will be in hospital for 3 nights and 4 days. Honestly, the idea of having a bag packed full of pajamas for a stay where I will be spending most of my time in bed, snuggling my newborn baby is sounding rather magnificent.


For myself, I have packed:


Pajama’s (x4) – although I will be in a hospital gown at first, I should be able to get up and have a shower as early as night number one. For this, I have packed a very soft and flowy night shirt, something that isn’t going to put unnecessary pressure onto my wound and something that is also easy to open up fully for breastfeeding. For the remainder of  our time I have packed 2 feeding tanks, 2 pairs of pajama pants and one extra set of button up pajama’s just incase.

I have also packed a pair of jogger pants and a t-shirt – just so that if for some absurd reason, I want to be in something other than pj’s.

Underwear – my hospital actually provides the carriwell mesh underwear which I know many mom’s swear by, especially after a c/section. Truth be told, I do not like them one little bit. It feels like I am wearing nothing when I wear those, which is probably the point. For me,  I would rather be wearing something that feels very very secure and definitely something that I know for sure is there. For that reason, I have gone with a spandex, boy short type of underwear and I have packed 6 pairs (one extra pair for every day). These are one size fits all which means that they have got ample space to stretch while still feeling comfortable and secure. Unfortunately, I could not find anything like this locally and ended up ordering these from amazon

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Gown – I have packed a very lightweight, cotton gown that I found at Poetry. I suspect that most of the time I will be in a feeding tank with my gown over it so I wanted something really soft, something that wasn’t at all bulky and also something that was relatively cool. I know people say that hospitals are kept cold… this is so not true for the maternity ward. Keep it light.

Socks – which I had to go out and buy specifically, because you know when every single pair of socks that you own suddenly all have holes in at the same time and you actually cant even find one decent pair to pack in your hospital bag? Well that happened and also, new socks feel good. I have packed 3 pairs for our stay.

Slippers – stick to something that your feet can literally just slip into. No one wants to be bothered with bending over for a a pair of slippers after a c/section.

Belly Binder – this is actually not something that I have made use of with my previous births, but something I am fairly excited to try out this time around. I can remember feeling like my insides were about to fall out every time I stood up, coughed, laughed or sneezed with the others. I’ve seen many hospitals in the States actually provide these for c/section moms and my doctor has said that while they don’t really do much for healing, they do make a significant difference to a mother’s comfort levels post op.

Breastfeeding Apparel – I recently posted on packing for breastfeeding. You can follow this link to see what I have packed in order to get our breastfeeding journey off to a good start.


Mommy & me washing bags – aren’t they gorgeous. My very special friend from sew much grace made these for us and I love them so so much. They are lined with waterproof fabric and they are perfect for our hospital stay as well as our many adventures to come.



Going home outfit – I am really not one to fuss over anything fancy for this. I have packed a pair of my maternity jeans, a t-shirt, a light jersey and I will wear the same shoes that I will be wearing to the hospital when we arrive. Honestly, if I’m going to spend money on an outfit of any sort, I’d rather spend it on an extra set of pajama’s for our first night at home. There is nothing quite as comforting as a new set of Pj’s and nothing like a first night at home with a newborn to warrant them.


  • non-scented shower gel (it is important that baby smells mom and not her shower gel)
  • non-scented body moisturiser (for the same reason)
  • dark coloured sponge, loofah or facecloth
  • dry shampoo
  • toothbrush & toothpaste
  • lightly scented deoderant
  • face care mini’s (face wash, toner, moisturiser)
  • smints
  • hand sanitizer
  • hair ties & clips / pins
  • hair brush
  • maternity pads (the hospital should provide at least one pack, but it’s a good idea to have extra)
  • lip balm
  • prenatal vitamins and other meds for the duration of our stay

Important Odds and Ends – I have packed a folder that contains all of our hospital admin. This includes copies of our ID’s, marriage certificate, medical aid card, hospital forms and two black pens. I have also packed our camera, chargers, plug adapters, a powerbank (for easy charging while I am in bed), all necessary charging cords, a book, headphones, a water bottle and I have downloaded a couple of my fave poscasts to my phone.



For Baby:

Now for the fun bit. In reality, the hospital will most likely supply most of what you need for baby (bar clothing). But, third time around I have really come to like certain products and I’d like to use those products right from the get go. With that in mind, this is what I have packed for our little guy

Outfits – each ‘outfit’ is made up of 1 x babygrow, 1 x vest and 1 x hat. Each set is then packed inside a ziplock bag to make it real easy for Phil to grab if he is changing baby or if I am unable to move around too much. We will be doing a lot of skin to skin care and so I’m pretty sure baby will be in nothing but a nappy most of the time. That said, I have packed 5 full outfits just to make sure we are covered in the event of the famous sprinkler system we have yet to experience as well as other unavoidable newborn incidents.



Blankets – I have packed a fresh swaddle blanket for each day that we are there as well as one spare and two warmer blankets. I have packed a variety of stretchy cotton, flannel and muslin blankets because I am really not sure what we are going to prefer this time around.

Baby Toiletries

  • cetaphil
  • nutraderm
  • aquaphor baby (an oily bum cream / balm is best to prevent meconium from sticking to baby’s skin)
  • alcohol swabs (for simple cord care)
  • pampers premium nappies (because they are just amazing at absorbing newborn poop)
  • scalp scrubbie
  • muslin wash clothes x2
  • large cotton rounds (because who wants to be dealing with all that meconium and the tiny kind of cotton rounds)
  • infant nail files (filing / tearing baby nails is way easier than cutting them)
  • suction bulb & saline drops
  • baby probiotics
  • nappy sacks (so that I can do everything in one place and contain the mess)
  • dummies (I’ve packed a couple of different kinds)
  • dummy sterilizing spray


Of course, we will be taking baby’s car seat and our milk snob car seat cover with us which we are installing this weekend – I think the purchase of our car seat was the one thing that made me feel most ready for him to arrive 🙂

And that friends, is what we deem necessary for our hospital stay. I have a list of snacks to stock up on and a couple of things to throw into Phil’s bag this week before we are officially good to go. I hope that it helps so many of you as you pack one of the most exciting bags you will EVER pack. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thoughts at 36 weeks

I am currently 36 weeks pregnant and I am enormously grateful to have made it this far. The last few weeks have been brutal, my body is taking strain and I have had to be extremely conscious of taking things easy. Phil and the girls have been so gracious in this time, picking things up where they have had to and taking on tasks that they may never have done before. There is a beautiful sense of anticipation filling our home at the moment and I can’t help but enjoy these last moments of knowing that a whole new little person is about to join our family, but not yet knowing who he is or what he looks like – there is something so precious about this time and I think that third time around, we are able to enjoy it that much more.

Our girls lives have already changed drastically and I am so proud of how they have taken on their new roles, moved into a room together with no hassles and generally just adjusted as they prepare to meet their little brother. I know it is going to be a massive change for them once he comes, but I find comfort in knowing that God has made them to be big sisters to this little boy and I believe with all my hear that he will equip them to be all that He has meant for them to be in this role – and that He will equip us as parents to lead, guide and love them as they step into it. He has known from the  beginning of time that this would be our family – it is so wonderful to know that not only is He with us but that this is part of His Story. Somehow, everything becomes less daunting when we realize that.


As of yesterday, baby’s room is ready and our hospital bags are packed. Having both of these things done has brought a great amount of relief and I finally feel like we are good to go (though I would appreciate at least one more week of baking this bun). We have gone with a mountain / woodland theme and I am so thrilled with how it has all come together. I love that this space so beautifully hosts and sense of boldness and tranquility at the same time – it’s perfect!


For those wondering, the wall was painted (mostly by my mom) using plascon architectural greys, the rocking chair has been passed down for many years and the furniture (including that gorgeous shelf) was handcrafted by my Dad – I too often forget how talented he is and how lucky I am to be able to send him my crazy ideas which he happily turns into masterpieces such as those. The ‘lets build a fort’ cushion was a Wish purchase and the change mat cover was made by First Fruits Ballito – I have never felt something so soft! The quality is magnificent and after searching high and low for something other than the blue, green or white that is so readily available in our baby stores, I was extremely grateful that they were so happy to help!

IMG_0480I am still pretty much living off of strawberries, not so much peanut butter anymore and my appetite is much to be desired. I am nauseous a lot of the day and I have gone completely off meat (dinners are a challenge). I am loving cereal (particularly cooked oats) and I am thirsty ALL THE TIME. Other strange symptoms include watery eyes, which is something I haven’t struggled with in past pregnancies and amazing skin – with the girls I broke out all the time. This time, my skin has been even and soft… so it’s not all bad.

Today, after a couple of mild contractions and a lot of pressure over the weekend, I was a given a third dose of steroid shots to help develop baby’s lungs. These usually result in a sleepless night – so I’m gearing up for a productive night ahead.

We have just ONE more doctor’s visits before the big day and I am constantly caught between wishing the days away (simply because I am so uncomfortable) and hanging on to every moment I still get to be pregnant. The thought of having a little boy in my arms is sometimes quite foreign and a little surreal, I am both excited and nervous and sometimes rather terrified of what is to come. But there are two things amongst the unknown that I know for sure. 1. I am utterly in love with this little guy and every ounce of me can’t wait to meet him and 2. this is God’s plan, just as He made our girls to be sisters, He has purposed me to be this little boy’s mom… and I could not be more honoured to step into that role.

packing for breastfeeding

I LOVE ‘what’s in your bag posts’, be it a handbag, nappy bag, travel bag or my current fixation… the hospital bag! The more organized it is, the better!

Now, mine is still in progress so I wont be sharing the full contents of my hospital bag just yet. But, since it’s world breastfeeding awareness week and I haven’t had the opportunity to write a breastfeeding post in ages, I thought I’d let you know what I will be packing in my hospital bag in order to get our breastfeeding journey off to a good start.

Generally, a new mama can get by with nothing more than her breasts and her baby but there are a lot of products out there that can make this daunting and sometimes difficult journey so much easier.

First, I have placed all of my breastfeeding goodies into one little bag so that they are easy to find and easy for someone else to grab for me should I need them. Inside this bag I have included:

Lansinoh breastpads: generally I prefer washable breastpads (for better airflow) but there is a time and a place for disposable and the hospital is it. Don’t worry to pack an entire box – your milk will only come in on or around day 3 (possibly earlier for 2nd or 3rd time moms) 8-10 pads should be more than enough.

Nipple cream: There is much controversy around the type of nipple cream that a mom should or shouldn’t choose. While lanolin used to be the holy grail of nipple creams, today many moms are going for more natural variations. Personally, I don’t have anything against a pure form of lanolin – it’s something I often recommend for moms who are struggling and I certainly wont be packing my hospital bag without including that famous purple tube.

That said, omg have recently launched their all natural nu mama range. They have packed this range full of the very best ingredients that meet a multitude of needs and the Nu Mama Nursing Balm is no different. I am so excited to have such a comprehensive but natural and local product available to moms. The ingredients for the Nu Mama Nursing Balm were intensely researched making sure that the product is not only effective, but also gives mom the peace of mind that it is safe for her and baby too. Packed with shea butter, chamomile & marshmallow root, coconut oil and beeswax – it just doesn’t get better than that.

And so this time, a tub of nu mama nursing balm will be packed inside my bag as well.


Latch assist: this little gadget is really handy for moms who are a little flat / inverted. It’s great at drawing the nipple out just before a feed, making it a touch easier for baby to latch. Usually, using the latch assist will draw a small amount of colostrum out as well, giving baby an instant reward and making the feed that much more enticing.

Boppy Pillow: Still my fave nursing pillow on the market and a must have for c/section moms. If there is one thing that is going to make breastfeeding easier, it is the support of a good, firm feeding cushion.

Nursing bra’s: you probably wont need these for the first couple of days or until your milk comes in (which is when you will need to hold a breastpad in place). Forget the fancy bra’s for now and opt for soft cotton / spandex sleep bra’s that will comfortably accommodate postpartum engorgement as well as providing easy access while you are still learning how to feed. Unfortunately, we don’t have an amazing array of nursing bra’s in South Africa – I found these on Amazon and paid around R400 for a set of 4 (including shipping via aramex global shopper)


Arnica oil: It is completely normal for your breasts to reach a size you never imagined possible, they will be rock hard and they will be sore. Engorgement in the early days is not often relieved by pumping and this is because it is largely due to swelling of the milk ducts and not a whole lot of milk. Unless you are pumping in order to help baby latch or you have been advised to do so, avoid using your pump as it will only result in an over production of milk and little relief from the pain. Rather massage your breasts with arnica oil after a feed, place a hot facecloth over your breasts when you can and when you get home slip a cold, scored cabbage leaf into your bra (some hospitals may even keep stock of cabbage leaves for you).

Optional: some moms like to pack a nursing cover, if you are a first time mom who has never breastfed, learning to feed under a cover can be tricky. Rather ask visitors to leave while you feed so that you and baby have got the freedom to feed without the distraction of having to keep yourself covered.

Lastly, make sure you have the number of a lactation consultant, clinic sister or someone experienced who you can trust to answer the many questions that may come up during the early days of breastfeeding. Remember that this is the beginning of a wonderful journey, one that may take a little practice for both you and baby. Be gentle on yourself and ask for help if needed. So many moms do come right with breastfeeding, even when it has at times felt impossible.







26 weeks

Can you believe it? 26 Weeks! For most people a pregnancy goes by at a more rapid rate when it’s not your own. FYI, it does the same when it is your own and it’s your third. Honestly, I have days when I forget about this little being growing inside me and it’s only when I eventually sit down in the evenings that he really makes his presence known.

The first 18-20 weeks were pretty awful. They left me completely exhausted, often man down with a headache and extremely nauseous. But I think the worst of it was the guilt. This time around I had a fully functioning family to look after and I so often felt as though I was failing them. They were all so gracious and understanding but so much of their life suffered and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t keep up.

As hard as those early weeks were, they were also filled with much excitement and awe as we watched this little person grow from a butter bean into what is now a fully formed BABY. One of the best things about being with a fertility specialist is the many scans we got to have in those early weeks – the transformation from week to week is incredible and I feel so blessed to have seen God’s hand at work with each and every scan we have had.

Week 12 & 16 revealed the GENDER of our baby and for those who may not know, we are thrilled to be adding a little BOY  to our clan (even the girls were hoping for a brother).

Week 16 also saw us graduating from the care of our fertility specialist and moving across to our regular gynae. Each phase has been so incredibly special but we really have enjoyed being back here, my doc is taking great care of me (as she always has) but she has also made it a real experience for the girls and especially for Tai.

I think that one of the biggest and best differences in this pregnancy has been that the girls have being so involved in it all – we have so enjoyed sharing this experience with them, celebrating with them and of course baby shopping with them in tow.  Their excitement is so evident as they count down the sleeps to our next scan and anticipate their baby brother’s arrival.

In the past couple of weeks things have begun to feel very real. We have settled on a name, our travel system has arrived and we have begun to shift things around our home to make space for a whole new little person. We have booked our hospital bed and set a date – my doctor is a little hesitant that we will make it to said date but we have set it none the less. I have also started to gather what we need for our hospital bags which I am so excited to pack!


17 Weeks

We are currently just two weeks away from the third trimester. My belly is beginning to ‘get in the way’, braxton hicks are making the occasional appearance, heartburn is soaring and I am feeling lots of lovely movement from my boy (especially in the evenings or if I wake during the night). My back and pelvis have held up better in this pregnancy than any of the others and  although I do feel tired by the end of the day, my energy levels are relatively good.

Most consistent craving: peanut butter & strawberries – not necessarily together

Fave pamper product: omg nu mama body butter (more to come on this)

Most used preggy products: maternity jeans from H&M and my belly bottle (more to come on this as well)

Best advice received: It’s a toss between rotating over the counter heartburn meds (for some reason they work better when you mix them up a little) and being reminded that we are raising a young family – to consider the family as whole and to make decisions based on what works for and best serves all of us.

Fave baby buy so far: The last time we properly shopped for a baby was 7 years ago and so much has changed since then. There is a plethora of brand new products on the market but also a wonderful sense of knowing what we really need / like this time around. Taglets have been a big part of both of our girls lives so for that reason and after much searching, I think that I am most excited about these sweet burt’s bee’s taglets I found for him.


Still on the wishlist: There are a couple of basics but mostly, I am hoping to purchase a sleepyhead pod before he arrives. If you don’t yet know what that is, you can check them out here. I am also searching for a couple of great nursing bra’s… I’ll keep you posted on those.

Fave preggy moment: at 20 weeks we had a specialist scan with a fetal doctor in Pretoria. The entire scan was amazing but the best part was being unexpectedly treated to this little 4D image of our gorgeous guy


Most looking forward to: there is so much I am looking forward to this month, school holidays, a little break away, getting baby’s room ready and our 4D scan are the first that come to mind.

Baby’s name is: a secret

Thank you for taking the time to check in and see how we’re doing 🙂 until next time, be blessed



Win with Grundig

I am so excited to announce faithplusmom’s very first GIVEAWAY! In the last couple of weeks God has really stirred me to spend more time over here with all of you and I really am thrilled to be kicking it off with this amazing feature.

Now some of you may or may not know that I spend much of my time researching, writing about, looking at and interrogating modern kitchens and their appliances. I’m married to a kitchen guy and so I find it rather funny that this would be the first giveaway that we host over here.

In honour of our Mom’s, the women who held it all together, the women who made it all okay, to those who unveiled a strength that went beyond what we could even perceive until we tried this motherhood thing ourselves. To those who continue to shed strength, compassion and love, not only by what you do now, but by what you did for so many years while we were young. Memories speak volumes and we salute you for each and every one of them.

I have a very vivid picture of my mom standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes and crying – I must have been 6 or 7 years old at the time. A couple of minutes later, my Dad sat down with us and explained that Mom was merely feeling overwhelmed and perhaps we could think about how we could help her out that day to make things easier.


I don’t know why this memory has stuck with me so vividly and for so long but it is one that has spoken to me on many occasions. I’m not sure my mom even remembers it (she had three young children at the time so probably not). But, it is one that has encouraged me on the difficult days and it’s made all that my mom did for us that much greater. It’s made things real – she faced the same things I face, she felt overwhelmed, she cried, and she needed help. She got to the point where washing dishes and crying felt like the most logical thing to do – haven’t we all been there. Who knew, that 25 years down the line, that very moment would speak volumes into her daughter’s life again and again and again.


Thank you mom for being so vulnerable, for clearly giving us everything you had and have to give. Thank you for displaying such strength in a moment that may have felt so weak. Thank you for guiding me and teaching me and for being one of the biggest influences in how I mother my girls today. Words are never enough… but THANK YOU!

Now for the fun bit

Grundig Appliances began in 1946 with a simple radio, today they offer a range of modern, highly efficient and technologically advanced products throughout Europe (and South Africa).

GEBM_25000_B_12 OVEN

Today Grundig are giving away a culinary experience to one lucky reader taking place at the Johannesburg Culinary and Pastry School plus the chance of winning a top of the range Grundig integrated oven valued at R8900.00

To enter, simply comment below telling me who your ‘mother of the year’ is and why.

Competition Rules

  • This competition is open to Gauteng residents only
  • The competion will close at midnight on Thursday 1 June. The winner will be announced and notified on Friday 2 June.






Baby Three… Coming September 2017

The end of last year was a little mad to be honest. We had birthdays, school functions, gymnastics functions, work deadlines, church meetings, new school stuff to organize and a baby journey all happening at once. I was exhausted and probably the most stressed I have ever felt…ever!

When December came and we took some time off, we actually decided to put our journey to baby three ‘on hold’ for the month before picking it up again in January. We needed to relax and enjoy spending some time together as a family. My meds, scans and shots would have fallen right over Christmas and I was quite happy to give that up and all that went along with it for the month. We also knew that if it was God’s will, anything could happen, meds or no meds.

In preparation I bought myself a pack of clear blue digital ovulation tests (the only ovulation tests worth buying in my opinion) just so that we had an idea of what (if anything) was happening . I started testing on day 12… negative, day 13… negative, day 14… low and behold, the test presented us with a smiley little face. I was so excited – not only because I was ovulating but also because it was within a very normal time frame and because it had happened without the help of any meds.


29 December 2016

I really didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself and so, for the next two weeks I paid as little attention as possible to what my body was feeling. I have too often read into every little niggle and somehow managed to convince myself that I was pregnant when I was not.

But you see, once you have experienced a few pregnancies (up until this point it had been 5 including our losses) you become familiar with how it feels. By Saturday 7 January I felt my first little bit of queasiness, I had also had a few unexplained headaches and to put it plainly, I was just FEELING pregnant. I had two clear blue pregnancy tests in the bathroom drawer and after much debate, by Saturday afternoon, I couldn’t wait any longer. I took the test.

Three minutes later I was squinting into a tiny little test window, holding it up to the light, turning it this way and that… basically just trying exceptionally hard to find a second line. I was convinced it was there, but at the same time I knew that I should have just waited until the morning. The tests all say TAKE THE TEST FIRST THING IN THE MORNING FOR MORE ACCURATE RESULTS.

On Sunday morning Phil had gone off to church earlier than us for a prayer meeting so I had some time to take and scrutinize another test.

Well, I didn’t even have to wait the full three minutes. There was DEFINITELY a line and it was there straight away.


Sunday 8 January 2017

I decided I would stop on our way home from church to pick up a digital test. I always feel those are a little less likely to present anything false and I thought that if there was even a hint of a line on this test, the digital one would give far more clarity . Nope, turns out that’s not true. The digital test decided to confuse us with a very clear ‘NOT PREGNANT’.


Obviously I didn’t believe it, but I decided to wait two days before testing again and heading off to medfem for bloods.


3 weeks 3 days | clear blue urine test and medfem blood test

At just 3 weeks and 3 days pregnant we had confirmation with a couple of positive tests and new regime of meds.

I am pregnant and baby three will be arriving in Spring 2017.