Heli Mai’s Birth Story

When I had Heli Mai over a year ago, I didn’t think I was ever going to share her birth story here. It felt too personal, too raw, and possibly, simply boring to anyone else but me and our family. But now that I’m about to have our second little girl, I feel like writing that story down before it’s all too fuzzy for me to remember.

You think you wouldn’t forget a 42 hour labor, but as time passes, the details get hazy and you realise that you’re brain is wired to forget. Those unimaginably painful contractions – you’re supposed to forget them. That desperation when NOTHING seems to be progressing – it’s all supposed to blur.

One of these days, I’ll look back at Heli Mai’s birth story and probably only remember the facts – she was born on the 21st of May, on a beautiful spring day, after a long and hard labor, but looking back, it all feels like just a blink of an eye.

This is probably a universal story, but my first experience giving birth was nothing like I had expected. Not that I knew what to expect, but I had read books on labor and prepared myself mentally as best I could. I wasn’t scared or anxious, rather excited and curious. Still, nothing could have prepared me for what it was really like.

My biggest fear during the last weeks of pregnancy was that my husband Rein was going to miss it. I was at my parents’ house in Estonia, he was back in Germany. We had taken our best guess, and planned on him coming over for 2 weeks from 5 days prior to our due date to a week over our due date. The baby and I were definitely under a deadline.

I was trying to channel to Heli Mai to make an appearance as soon as daddy got home. But, nah, she was in no hurry. So, my due date came and went without any sign of labor.

I got more an more nervous that Rein would have to fly back without meeting our baby girl, but I was still hopeful – we’ll make this happen, right, baby girl?

Then, 3am on the 20th of May, I woke up to the sensation that my water is coming. I jumped out of bed (quite literally) and sure enough, there was a little puddle of water on the floor. I woke up Rein and told him my water had broke. Poor guy, he was so sleepy, but so ready to jump up and start driving to the hospital.

Of course, there was no need to move that fast. I said to go back to sleep. I sat on the bed to time my contractions – at this point, they were very mild and pretty far apart, so I knew we still had plenty of time. In hindsight, I wish I could have just fallen back asleep, but I was too wound up for that.

I kept timing my contractions from time to time. They were regular and about 5-6 minutes apart, but so mild, I hardly thought I was even in labor. Isn’t it funny how labor apps let you rate the strength of the contractions, when as a first timer, you have NO idea what to base your judgment on? Looking back, I can only laugh at the contractions I labeled “medium” at that point.

At around 6am, I was anxious to get this show on the road, and as my contractions had been regular at a 4-5 minute interval, I thought we’d just drive to Tartu, the town the hospital was in. It’s a 50-minute drive and I knew from other moms that driving to the hospital with full blown contractions was the worst, so we had decided ahead of time to drive to town when I was still feeling ok.

My brother lives in that town, so we had planned to just spend the hours of waiting there. We grabbed some breakfast on the way and arrived at around 7.30am. I don’t think my brother appreciated the early wake-up, lol.

After that, it was just a waiting game of timing contractions and trying to get some sleep. Nothing had really changed by noon, so I called one of my best friends, who’s a Ob-Gyn to get some advice. She told us to go have a check up at the hospital no matter what once 12 hours had passed since my water broke.

So, at around 3pm, we made our first trip to the hospital. The did a CTG to check how the baby was doing and told us to go home and come back when the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. At this point, I had dilated only 1cm.

Back to the apartment we went to get some more sleep. I was still having regular contractions, but they were mild, so I could sleep. Honestly, I wish I would have gone for a long walk or done something else to speed up the process. I woke up around 7 or 8pm again, and felt the contractions getting a bit stronger. I joked that if this is what labor is like, it’s going to be a piece of cake. It was not.

By 11pm I had regular contractions at a 2-3 minute interval, so we drove back to the hospital. Another CTG and yet again – only 1cm dilation. Bummer! The midwife said we were welcome to stay in the hospital, if we wanted. I don’t know what I was thinking – I guess I hoped that staying in the hospital would magically speed up the process.

My contractions got stronger and stronger every hour, and I was certain we would have our baby girl by the morning. Alas, when the midwife came to check up on me around 3am, I was still only 1cm dilated. Really?? Can you check again? She told me someone would be back in 4 hours to check on me. 4 HOURS!!!???? Are you kidding me! At this point, I was uhh-ing and ahh-ing through my contractions, and trying to relieve the pain with a shower.

Another midwife came by after a few hours and offered to transfer us to a room with a tub, because the water really helped with the pain. I was more than happy to accept this offer, because quite frankly, the contractions hurt like hell. Little did I know how much further my pain tolerance would be pushed that day.

Time for another check up! I’ve got to be at least half-way dilated, right? Nope. Still at only 1cm. I started to cry. Hearing that I’d made no progress whatsoever during the last 8 hours felt incredibly discouraging. By 11am I had dilated 4cm. Finally, some progress, but nowhere near ready to push a baby out. My contractions were so painful and close together, that the tub wasn’t doing much for me anymore. I had reached the point of weird noises. You know, the part of labor, where you’re genuinely surprised by the sounds you’re making.

Progress was so slow, and SO painful that a couple hours later, the on-call doctor suggested doing an epidural. Something I had never planned on having. I was totally set on having a natural birth. But, the pain was unbearable, and there was no baby in sight, so I decided to take the epidural. Honestly, I felt bad about it at first. Like I had failed myself and the baby, but in hindsight, it was a smart move, because I still had 8 hours of intense labor ahead of me.

The moment the epidural kicked in was magical. It was the first time in hours that I wasn’t moaning and screaming every 2 minutes. This is also the part where I get blurry about time and details. I know I got like an hour or two of sleep with the epidural, and I know they checked my cervix at some point, but I don’t really remember what the numbers were. I also know that they attached the CTG to me again, and told me it was going to stay on for the whole duration of the labor, so they could monitor the baby more closely.

After a couple hours, the midwife told me they were going to stop administrating the pain killer, and would add in something to accelerate my contractions and hopefully speed up labor. Ugh oh! Since my water had only partially broken, the midwife broke the water in the hopes that it would help us along. The contractions went back to being SUPER painful and I went back to moaning and screaming, but it seemed to be working. At some point, I felt the urge to push, so we tried that, but it didn’t seem to help baby girl along, so the midwife told me to breathe through it. Easier said than done, lady!

A doctor popped in from time to time to check on me and the baby and at some point during the evening, they became concerned with the health of the baby, so they asked if I agree to attaching an electrode on the baby’s head so they could better evaluate her condition. Not ideal, but I knew it was necessary, so I agreed.

This was also the lowest point mentally for me. I could not understand why my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to. I was so tired, in so much pain, and so ready to give up.

A little before 9pm, it was finally show time. Baby girl had moved down enough for me to really push. By this time, there were 2 doctors and a midwife assisting me. And less than 30 minutes later, Heli Mai was placed on my belly. I can’t remember much about these 30 minutes, to be honest, but as soon as she was out, my head got crystal clear. It was like the last 42 hours had been a dream that I just woke up from. I didn’t feel any pain, nor frustration, nor even relief. All I could feel was an overwhelming sense of needing to take care of my baby.

Turned out this was not the happy end for us yet. I could hold her only for a few minutes before they handed her over to daddy for some skin on skin so they could stitch me up. Turned out the midwife had done an episiotomy – I didn’t even feel it. Rein noticed that the baby’s breathing was strange and alerted the doctor’s. The embellical cord had been wrapped around her chest pretty tight, so the doctor took our baby for a check-up. Luckily, everything was ok, but they did give her some Paracetamol.

Finally, I was stitched up and my baby was back on my skin. That was the happy end I’d been waiting for. I was a little concerned with nursing, because of my inverted nipples (TMI, I know), but she took the breast like a champ. I just want to encourage anyone with the same problem to trust that you and the baby will figure it out. Like the midwife told us in the breastfeeding lecture – every breast and nipple is different, and the baby will adjust to what their mommy has. (I wish I had trusted my instinct more during that first week, but that’s a story for another day.)

One thing I will say is that I could not have done it without my husband by my side. His support is what got me through it. He told me to keep going and that I could do it. He injected hope into me when I had none left. He told me he felt so helpless and that he was genuinely afraid for me during some parts of the process, but he never showed it. Only after baby girl was finally out, did he show how he felt. It was like we had swapped places at that moment. I went from a crying, barely conscious mad woman to a calm and collected mama, and he went from a calm and collected husband, to a dad overwhelmed with emotion.

I’m only 3 weeks away from doing it all again. Hopefully, it will be a little easier this time around. As long as I have mu husband by my side, though, I think I can do it no matter what.

443 Days

Photo by Taavi Paal

That’s how long it’s been since I lasted posted in this space. After baby girl was born, I was just trying to stay afloat, settling into motherhood while building another business on the side. Crafting and blogging just didn’t fit into my already overwhelming days. After thinking I’d let the dust settle and come back to it in a couple months, I soon realised the dust would never settle in the same way again.

I remember feeling so torn back in September last year over whether to close this blog for good, or leave what I had created up in the interwebs for people to find and enjoy. Now, I’m so glad I decided to do the latter.

Because I’ve missed this space. And while the dust still hasn’t settled, I’m craving the connection this space gave me. To other crafters, mamas, DIY addicts – to you. So, I decided to start blogging again.

Without a content calendar, a plan, nor an objective. Just for me. Just for fun.

I want to document bits and pieces of our life, share my creative projects (if and when I get around to them) and our family’s journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

If you’re an old friend, you know I’m passionate about sustainable style and LOVE transforming old clothing into new (here’s some proof). Over the past few years, I’ve become more and more interested in the subject of sustainable living and making more conscious choices in our everyday life.

Obviously, this is a loaded topic for many, but my goal isn’t to shame anyone for not being eco-minded, but rather to share different ways in which we as a family of 3 (almost 4) try to make more sustainable choices in our life. We’re FAR from perfect, but that’s my point – it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, every step in the right direction is worth it.

Whether I’ll get around to sharing once a week or once a month, I do not know. Our second baby girl is expected to arrive around the 21st of September, so the dust will once again be up in the air. But thankfully, I feel a bit more prepared this time around, and hopefully, lightning doesn’t strike twice in our house and the second little one will be a much better sleeper than the first.

Here’s to new beginnings!

Meet Heli Mai Saar

HM in hospital

She’s here! Our precious daughter was born on the 21st of May after a long and hard labor. She weighed 3480g and was 50cm tall when she arrived.

It took us 42 hours from when my water broke until she was put on my belly. I’m not going to go into details and write a birth story, but I will say that it was everything but what I had anticipated. Never in my life would I have thought it would be such a long and painful journey. Granted the first 20 hours I only had mild contractions, but eventually the lack of sleep and exhaustion really got to me.

The beauty of child birth is, though, that you forget the pain as soon as she is out. The minute I saw her my head got clear and I suddenly had a surge of energy and sense of calm about me. It was like this was exactly where I needed to be and I’d finally become who I always wanted to be – a Mom.

HM with Mommy

That doesn’t mean the first 2 weeks have been easy. Far from it. We had feeding problems the first week, which resulted in her getting a fever and us ending up back in the hospital after just 2 days home. I cried a lot during that time, but luckily that’s all behind us now. She’s nursing like a pro and gaining weight as she should, which makes me one happy mamma.

HM with Daddy

I’m so thankful hubby was able to be here for the birth. we only had a 2 week window while he was here, and going through it alone was my biggest fear. I couldn’t have done it without him, honestly. He was such a big support for me throughout the whole process. He kept me going when I thought I didn’t have an ounce of energy left.

I can’t even tell you how much I miss him now that he’s back in Germany. It’s going to be another month before he comes back, and that pretty much feels like a whole year.

Heli Mai B&A

Just to illustrate the craziness of our early days – it took me almost 3 days to write this post. Baby girl’s schedule has been all over the place, and she decided to skip last night, which meant zombie mode for me. I’m so blessed to have my Mom here to help me. She let me sleep during the day in between feedings, which is why I’m even capable of finishing this post at the moment.

Despite all the hard stuff, it’s an incredibly special time. Becoming a Mom has been the most incredible experience and I’m beyond happy to have Heli Mai in my life. The kind of love that you feel for your child cannot be described or understood until you have a child. And boy, do I have a new sense of gratitude towards my own Mom now. I didn’t quite get what she has given me before now.

Sending all the Moms out there my best! You are all amazing!

xo. Hanna

DIY Baby Triangle Quilts

baby girl triangle quilt

We’re getting really close to little miss Saar making her appearance. She’s been showing signs of being done cooking and my hubby will arrive tomorrow, so hopefully, I’ll have something extra special to share next week.

I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks immersed in sewing and knitting baby blankets including 2 quilts, a double flannel swaddle blanket, a knitted blanket and a warm car seat blanket I whipped up today from the material I’d left over from previous projects.

This baby is all set with blankets, I’d say!

baby girl triangle quilt 1
baby girl triangle quilt 3

This is the quilt I made for our baby girl. I used the free pattern by See Kate Sew, but did the sandwitching a bit differently. I’m not sure if I calculated the measurements of the triangle wrong or what it was, but the proportions on the quilt were a little off for me, so I decided to add a little border to the narrow side of the blanket to even it out.

Basically, what I did was to cut the backing a bit wider than the front (about 10cm for the blue quilt and 15cm for the orange quilt) and then connected the backing to the front, creating a tube. Then I inserted the batting inside the tube, made sure that the quilt part of the front was centred, and finally closed off the short sides with bias binding.

baby triangle quilts 1

I actually made 2 quilts while I was at it. A friend of my brother’s was also having their first baby  and so I made a boy’s quilt as well for my brother to give to his friend’s baby.

I love both of these quilts! I used all vintage fabrics, so I didn’t buy any new fabric for these projects. And that’s an aspect I really love about them. I always get a thrill out of using up old fabrics instead of buying new. #stashbusting

baby boy triangle quilt 1
baby boy triangle quilt

I love the colour combination on this blanket. I’m using the word “love” a lot in this post, but I truly LOVE how these quilts turned out! In fact, I even toyed with the idea of making a couple quilts for sale, but I was way too pregnant to go through with that plan. But, if anyone is interested in buying a quilt’s worth of vintage fabrics, let me know. Maybe I’ll put together a few options from my stash.

baby triangle quilts

Hopefully, I can share the other blankets with a baby on them. Wish me luck!

xo. Hanna

Mother’s Day Sale!!

mother's day sale 700

We’re celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend and this year, I’m almost a Mom myself on that day. We have less than 2 weeks left, so you bet I’m getting really anxious to meet little miss.

I wanted to give all Moms and future Moms a little treat for Mother’s Day, so I’m having a big SALE on all my sewing courses this weekend.

You can get 30% off on any and all sewing courses with the coupon code “MOMSALE” (just enter at checkout to get the discount!)

If you’ve wanted to start sewing your own clothes, why not start now? These courses are the perfect introduction with video tutorials, checklists and troubleshooting guides to help you through the process. Honestly, it’s not as hard as you think.

Plus, the course projects are a perfect addition to a summer wardrobe, so this really is the best time to get going.

Sending you lots of love for Mother’s Day and I hope to see you inside the courses ;)!

xo. Hanna

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