The ‘fourth trimester’


My Ergo Baby carrier often gets me through the evening.

So there are three trimesters in pregnancy. Or is there? I believe there is actually 4!

The first three months after having a baby are a big adjustment for me and my whole family. And a big adjustment for my baby too. They are used to being in their secure womb world and I need to give my precious bundle plenty of grace and affection as they get used to life on the outside. Right now I am 7  weeks postpartum and I’ve been feeling it. I’m definitely in the ‘fourth trimester.’ It’s amazing how quickly I forget what it feels like after I have a baby. Time goes all too quickly and it’s amazing how us mummy’s can forget the details of what it was like for us exactly. My mum says she forgets what the pain of labour feels like too a few years after having a baby. She remembered that is was painful, but the memories of the intensity and what everything felt like exactly  became foggy. Maybe this is God’s way of preparing a mothers heart to receive another baby.

In the first week after giving birth I am on a massive high.

I am in awe of the faithfulness of my creator and the miracle of the life He has so graciously entrusted me with. I feel relieved that I am done with labour and I tuck myself and my babe in bed together and rest and feed and feed and feed. It’s so exciting introducing our new baby to their big brothers and sisters, it really melts my heart!

Though my heart still melts every time I cuddle and smell my sweet baby, the initial excitement wears off a little when I miss hours of sleep and can’t seem to catch it back up.

I often get emotional too in the first few weeks. I find myself crying over strange things like not being able to find an item of clothing I’m looking for. I anxiously watch over my baby making sure they are okay constantly and I also feel a bit strange and worry that something bad is going to happen to one of my children. Sometimes I have frightening or upsetting dreams as I struggle to fall into a deep sleep. The details of my baby’s birth run over and over in my mind. Those crazy postpartum hormones can make me feel a little loopy for a few weeks. I make sure I spend a lot of time laying down and getting as much rest as I can. I drink lots of chamomile tea and nourish my body with lots of warm, hearty meals.


My precious Willow, not long after delivery.

 I manage my household by asking my dear husband to take a few weeks off of work and he completely takes over the care of our older children and household tasks.

This time he was able to take 3 weeks off from the time I was 40 weeks. I went one week and a day overdue so it was nice having him at home helping me with the household needs when I was overdue as well. He will completely take over the children’s baths and bedtime routine, he cleans and hangs up laundry. What a guy! Luke is my main help – we work together as a team. We eat the stash of meals that I put away before our baby is born. I feel so much better knowing my family and I are eating nourishing home cooked meals while  I’m unable to cook instead of take-away. During the last 3 months of pregnancy I plan double or triple batches of meals that I am planing on cooking that week and freeze the extra food. It was so soothing having Luke heat up and bring me hot chicken soup for my lunches after I came home from hospital. I was so thankful that I had taken the time to make the soup from scratch and get it put away as it was the perfect recovery food to eat after birth. The mothers from our church also brought us meals almost every night for a week and it was such a massive blessing to us. We felt very well looked after and it was beautiful.

Home schooling in the ‘fourth trimester’ is kept to a bare minimum.

This is the first time I’ve been ‘officially’ home schooling after having a baby. Though it’s still not completely ‘official’ because you don’t have to register your child as a home schooler until they are six years old and my son whom I’m home schooling only just turned five in March. But we decided that we would start him this year with some school work at his level. (Our oldest son is attending school this year but we hope to bring him home again in the future).


Arrow ‘mowing’ after some heavy rainfall.


Savannah and Willow

After the birth we took ‘school holidays’ for a few weeks and let him have a lot of unstructured play time. Which is what I believe a child his age should be doing mostly anyway. We borrowed heaps of books from the library and he flicks through them quite often. Between 2-6 weeks after our baby’s birth we began home schooling him again though we started slowly. I began by just doing a discipleship lesson with him and the little ones in the late morning while baby was having a sleep. They do a themed colouring in and I read the Bible lesson from the ‘Gospel Light, Big Book Of Bible Stories’. Learning about Jesus I believe is his most important lesson – so it made sense for us to begin here. And in the afternoon  he does a ‘Reading Eggs’ lesson on the computer. Gradually we have added in a few pages from his workbook too. School work takes place in small bursts around the baby’s and toddlers needs. Home schooling is beautiful as our children are learning about real life and are living life and learning as we go about our daily life with them right by our sides.

One of the hardest things to deal with in the first few weeks after my baby is born is my husband going back to work.

I often feel anxious being left alone with the children when Luke does late shifts at work in those early months. I get overwhelmed easily but I’ve done this enough times now to know that it does get better. As the weeks going by I slowly get a bit more sleep and my baby seems happier in the evening. And before I know it my baby is joining us around the meal table!

Something that helped me while home alone with the children was to figure out what was stressing me the most and causing the overwhelmed feelings. When I really thought about it the main thing that stressed me was trying to cook or prepare the evening meal while trying to juggle a house full of littles. The other main stress was trying to bath everyone.

I prayed to God for wisdom in these areas so we could have a calmer evening while daddy was away and the answer was to make the most of the mornings before Luke went to work. I started cooking the evening meal (something simple and healthy) in the morning when Luke was around to hold the baby if needed. And we bath or shower everyone in the morning or after lunch if it is a ‘bath day.’ (Three days a week) So I won’t have to try and get this done on my own in the evening.

Every so often I have ‘one of those days’ where everything seems to be going wrong and it’s just one thing after another. The baby is crying and something is burning, the toddler found a permanent texta, the preschooler is stuck in the toilet and the boys have been playing too rough and someone is hurt and crying. All while I’m attempting to tidy the house for an inspection the next morning.(Why do real estate agents to this to us??)  On those days I cry out to Jesus to get me through – and he gives me comfort and wisdom on how to handle the situation. Sometimes I need to get away for a minute and shut the door of my bedroom and catch my breath. Even cry for a minute. But mostly I find, it’s not always like this and we have a happy evening together. I read them lots of books while breastfeeding my bub on the couch and sometimes I sit outside and rock on the swinging chair while watching my precious children discover things in the backyard and they bring them over to show me.


Just perfect, my baby girl!

Something I couldn’t end this post without mentioning is…my postpartum body!

Trying to make peace with my body after having a baby has been difficult for me. I always gain around 25kg with each pregnancy and this 5th time around was no exception. Despite my attempts to eat well and not gain too much weight while pregnant this time, no matter how hard I tried, I really stacked on a lot of weight in the third trimester. I go from a size 8-10 to a size 14-16 every pregnancy! I have managed to lose the weight between my pregnancies but it does take time and sometimes it’s way too slow for my liking. Sometimes I even gain a bit of weight while still breastfeeding. I think this is all normal for me. What I try and do to make me feel better about my postpartum body is:

  1. Tell myself constantly that this body just carried a baby for 9 months and it is very normal for it to look this jiggly.
  2. Eat healthy meals as much as I can and focus on nourishing my body and building up my milk supply. Comfort eating because ‘I’m fat anyway’ will most definitely make matters worse.
  3. Go for walks a few times a week; the fresh air and sunshine completely changes my mood
  4. Buy some clothes in my new current size that fit now. Not ‘goal weight’ sized clothing but clothes that fit my postpartum body the way it looks right now to help me feel pretty and comfortable.
  5. Removing clothing from my wardrobe and drawers that don’t fit me and packing them away. Only have clothes in my current size out and available for me to wear.
  6. Shape wear can be your best friend. I’ve bought a pair to make my tummy look a little flatter.
  7. Expect to still look a little pregnant for many months after giving birth. And a word of warning; never ask a woman if she is pregnant again if she has given birth within the past year…this has happened to me. A lady asked me if I was pregnant, 5 months after having my fourth baby because my postpartum belly was sticking out a little (or a lot)! Talk about embarrassing and discouraging! Seriously people, leave the postpartum lady alone.

Babies are very time consuming and I need to give myself grace.

Babies in their gorgeous cuteness take up a lot of time day and night to look after. In the early months I spend hours upon hours each day just sitting in a chair breastfeeding. Not to mention changing, and burping and settling them to sleep. We must remember when we have little babies to give ourselves grace. You may not get much at all done except caring for the immediate needs of your baby and your older children. This is okay and it is normal. The weeds can wait, the floors can wait, the shelves might get dusty and any other project we have in mind may have to be put on hold. But we are nurturing a little person and this is far more important than any of these things. Don’t push yourself during the ‘fourth trimester.’ Don’t set up random expectations on yourself. Just relax, stop and smell that sweet smell of your newborn’s head. There will be time for all that other stuff later.

When Luke got home from work one night I said, “oh I’m so sorry I didn’t do the dishes!” He just told me that he had no expectations of me doing the dishes and I shouldn’t either and that all he really cared about is that I made it through and that me and the children are doing okay. Did I mention that he is a great guy?!

Also; when it comes to resting, my life got so much easier and I became less tired when I learned to breastfeed while laying down! It has been a real lifesaver. Especially in the first 6 weeks.

I have found that I am so much happier and am less likely to feel overwhelmed or depressed if I rest more and enjoy my baby and write things like ‘go for a walk’ on my to do list.

I have worked out that it takes me between 9-12 months before I am fully feeling back to myself and have adjusted to the new ‘normal’ of life with our baby.


Out for our 9th wedding anniversary date with Willow, 4 weeks old.

Whatever is working for you just go with it. Enjoy that precious baby while you go through the ups and downs of the ‘fourth trimester.’








Willow’s Birth Story

In which I finally overcome my fear of giving birth and the Lord was faithful until the end.


Our sweet baby daughter Willow is one week and 2 days old today and I want to write down the details of her birth before they become foggy. Giving birth has been a touchy subject for me over the years and with past births fear has gripped and overwhelmed me and I have asked for epidurals before even having a painful contraction. I chose pain relief out of fear and not because I was actually in much pain. But this is a topic for another post perhaps. This time I really wanted to have a natural birth without an epidural – I believed this would be best for me and my baby. I spent the last month of pregnancy mentally preparing myself by reading articles and positive natural birth stories and listening to podcasts and periscopes from the natural birth and baby care website. I also memorised Isiah 41:10 along with the children because it was their memory verse. And this verse rolled around and around in my head the entire time I was in labour:

So do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I was overdue and booked into the hospital to have an induction at 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I really didn’t want to be induced this time and was hoping and praying I could avoid it. At 41 weeks along I was startled out of my sleep at 6am with the first contraction that made me think “ouch!” I had been having  ‘practice’ contractions for weeks but this was the first contraction I’d felt that made me feel like I could actually be in labour. We continued on with the days plans of going to my scheduled doctors appointment and doing a little grocery shopping. It was school holidays and  Luke had already started his three weeks off of work. Luke buckled all the children into the car for me and dropped me off at the doctor while he took our four kids to the library.

I had a few mild contractions while waiting for the doctor. When I saw her she checked me and said I was 2cm dilated and did a stretch and sweep. It was nowhere near as bad as I was anticipating it to be. She sent me to the hospital to be hooked up to the CTG machine for a while. I dashed into the supermarket first and bought heaps of snacks because it was nearly lunch time and there was no way I was going to sit in a hospital room with all our little ones without lots of food. We all sat in the delivery suite and watched the CTG machine measure baby’s heart beat. The children were quite entertained. Francis says “I’m really glad I’m not a girl.” Then he looks at Savannah and says “you are going to have a baby come out of you too one day” Holly dropped half a packet of rice crackers on the floor and the boys laughed and said that, “this is so much fun we’re having a picnic!” Oh they are funny!

We made it back home again and I made sure I ate a big lunch. I wanted to make sure I had enough energy to get me through the next few hours.  I was still having contractions coming every 10 to 15 minutes – some I had to breathe through but I was still feeling pretty relaxed at this point. We settled in at home and I had a big rest on the couch after finishing off packing my hospital bag.


One proud daddy

After the tea and bedtime routine we kissed and tucked everyone into bed and Luke and I settled on the couch with a big screen movie with our projector. I became increasingly uncomfortable during the movie. I kept sitting up and down and changing positions or I would get up and pace around the lounge room. We timed the contractions for a couple of hours on an app on Luke’s phone. They were coming around 7 minutes apart. I was needing to stop and breathe through the contractions and was getting a little hot and sweaty. At around 11pm we decided to call our babysitters to come. A lovely lady from our church and one of her lovely adult daughters. Luke drove me to the hospital and I had a few strong contractions in the car on the way there – thankfully only 25 minutes away.

When we arrived at the hospital it was the usual routine of being hooked up to the CTG machine. Our baby’s heart rate dropped with every contraction, which seemed to worry the midwife a little and so began a night of continuous monitoring. I was in labour all night long. At one stage the doctor was called in and gave me a round of fluids through the drip to see if that would help baby’s heart rate. I asked to sit in the bath but the midwife on duty said she ‘didn’t like doing baths’…I tried really hard to not get upset. I then asked to get in the shower for some pain relief but she couldn’t get the wireless monitors to work. So I sat on the birthing ball but baby’s heart rate seemed to drop more during contractions when I was in this position. Again I tried to stay positive and upbeat but I was beginning to tire. Luke was right with me the whole time and kept bringing me cups of coconut water to sip between contractions. I was a bit annoyed that my labour was taking so long – I was sure it would be quicker this time seeming this was my 5th baby.

Around 7am the next morning the contractions were strong enough that I was letting out a little moan with each one. They hadn’t come any closer together though – still about 10-15 minutes apart. Then by 8am the contractions disappeared. Luke fell asleep next to me in the chair, his head resting against the bed. The midwife had disappeared to the next room because another lady had arrived in labour and was clearly about to push. (She was SO loud) I had to go to the toilet so without the midwife’s consent I pulled all the cords out of the CTG machine and let myself lose! I was ready to throw those monitors out the window by that stage. I layed down on my side and attempted to doze off for a while whilst listening to the lady next door screaming and using the F-word quite liberally.

I woke up to that beautiful sound of a newborn crying. Only it wasn’t my baby. That was it – I officially lost the plot. I started blubbering and crying my head off, the more the baby next door cried the more I cried. I had been awake all night in labour, I was tired and losing it. One of the other midwives came in to write some notes and saw me in my state on the bed. She asked me if I was okay. I half nodded and shook my head at the same time and managed to blubber “it’s the baby crying. The baby wont stop crying. It’s not my baby. Where’s my baby??…” And I would cry again.

They rang my doctor and it was decided that she would come back and break my waters to see if it would help get things going but all the midwives were busy with the other lady who was apparently losing a bit of blood. So the doctor wouldn’t come until 12pm and we were ushered into another quiet room (away from the baby) so we could get some quiet rest before the doctor came.

While laying in the next bed I had a few whopping contractions that made me want to leap out of the bed. I had to moan through them and grab onto Luke’s arm. They kept coming every 7-10 minutes again so I sat up on the birthing ball and while leaning forward onto Luke’s lap. I started moaning like a cow. Thankfully baby’s heart rate got more consistent with the overnight readings so they had let me go without the monitors for a while. I kept going to the toilet every 5 minutes and was feeling more and more uncomfortable. I got in the shower in the room we were in and worked through more contractions in there whilst still moaning through each one. Luke stood nearby in the bathroom still supporting me. The hot shower was so soothing on my back, it was just what I needed. In the shower I would go from thinking “I can’t keep doing this” then I would try to snap myself out of it and think “I’ll never have to have that same contraction again and every contraction is bringing me closer to my baby” I imagined my cervix stretching and tried to imagine what my baby’s face would look like. I realised if I wanted to do this without an epidural I would have to stay positive. I didn’t know it at the time but I was in transition labour and by 11:30am I was fully dilated.


The next morning when Luke brought all the kids into the hospital. The girls are obsessed with their new sister and can’t get enough of her.

The next hour was a blur. We went back to the delivery suite. All I remember is me pushing in lots of different positions, at first I pushed standing up, and the doctor was touching me way too much and I snapped at her to leave me alone. I would push and the doctor would ‘stretch me’ trying to get the baby’s head in the right position. I’m not quite sure what she was doing down there but it was more painful than the contractions and I firmly asked her to stop, which she did. After pushing for an hour, my baby’s heart rate was dropping very low when I had contractions and the the doctor declared that the baby needs to come out quickly! She put the ventouse suction cap on my baby’s head. By this stage the room was full of midwives and two doctors I had my eyes closed the entire time and I was wailing like a baby. I remember crying out loud “why is this taking so long!!” I had a few almighty contractions where my body just took over and her head came down the birth canal. I gagged and was moaning very very loudly. I think I won the screaming contest with the lady next door. I had wanted a quiet calm birth but I couldn’t help it I had to scream. At times it was a triumphant scream rather than a scream of pain. Anyhow, I screamed. I screamed the baby’s head out and with only one  little push came the glorious feeling of the rest of her body slipping out with ease.

I’ve started welling up with tears as I write this because that feeling directly after your baby comes out is something I can’t explain in words. My baby is here! She was placed up on my chest. I held her and Luke and I shared a moment in awe of our beautiful new daughter and the miracle that God had preformed before our eyes. She was perfect. She didn’t make any noise and was pinking up nicely. The doctor gave her a check over and gave her an agar score of 9. Relief swept over me and all the pain was gone.


Francis meets Willow


Holly meets Willow


Arrow meets Willow


Savannah meets Willow

I praise God for the blessing of our new daughter Willow. I have watched her grow in my belly and I am so thankful for her. She is very precious to us. I feel like I have a special bond with her as she is the 5th child in her family and I am also the 5th child of my family. If my parents hadn’t decided to have a 5th baby I wouldn’t be here. Willow is a blessed baby, she is supposed to be here. I am so thankful that Luke and I said yes when God spoke to our hearts about having another baby. We named her Faith as her middle name because it took faith to say yes to having another baby when at the time it didn’t look like we could ‘afford’ another by a worldly point of view. But during my pregnancy God has blessed Luke with a new aged care job with better hours and we were even able to move to a bigger house. With a thankful heart we welcome these little ones into our home.

How can you say no when God wants to give you this



Blessings, Peta