Mum’s journey: The Ultimate Survivor – Felicity
Survivor contestant takes on the ultimate challenge – motherhood. Felicity opens up to us about motherhood, difficulties breastfeeding, and the best advice she received as a new mum. Read her incredible journey to motherhood.
How did you learn you were pregnant? How did you feel?
In late 2020 I had surgery for Stage 3 Endometriosis and we were told by the doctors that if we wanted to try for a baby it would be best to do it within the year for the best results. So, my husband and I decided to start trying after I did the F45 challenge while my health was at its best. Obviously because we were trying I was looking for any symptoms and I recall being in the shower one day and my boobs were tender; which they usually aren’t. I took a few tests that week which was about 7 days before my period was due and about 5 days before it was due it came back with a light positive line. I went to the doctors to confirm the pregnancy and once it was confirmed I surprised my husband with blue and pink balloons and a cute little outfit and a blackboard saying Baby Henry was hatching in 2022. (Henry is our last name).
How was your pregnancy?
Pregnancy really is a beautiful, magical time but for me it was also very hard and challenging. Throughout my first trimester I was extremely nauseous and tired. Throughout the second trimester I started to feel a little better and even got married at 16 weeks, although at about 20/22 weeks I started experiencing horrible pelvic pain and light-headedness when out and about. I had to stop working out and going for my walks after about 26-28 weeks as my pelvic pain became unbearable especially of a night time which kept me up most of the nights tossing and turning. Maverick was sitting low and engaged by the 31-week scan, so it really took a toll on my body.
How did you prepare for birth?
My husband and I did an online hypnobirthing course together which we are so glad we did because it really informed us on so many things and how to make the birth a positive experience for the both of us. I watched a lot of positive birth stories on YouTube and read lots of positive affirmations and envisioned my birth multiple times. I also was getting prenatal massages, drinking lots of raspberry leaf tea, eating dates, and having baths of a night time listening to music that created oxytocin to help prepare me for the birth.
Share some of your breastfeeding journey.
I have absolutely loved breastfeeding. It is such a special bonding time for Maverick and I. In the first few days it wasn’t easy as he wasn’t latching properly so luckily, I had expressed a lot of colostrum in the weeks before and the nurses were topping him up with that. By day 3 Maverick was latching and feeding well as my milk supply came in. Those first few weeks I had extremely engorged lumpy breasts not realising I probably had the beginning of mastitis a few times as I would wake up in the nights freezing cold like I had a fever and painful breasts. Due to my high supply Maverick also was experiencing a lot of colic/reflux symptoms, so by week 6 I decided to start trying to block feed. I did this for probably a little too long and my supply dropped where I was unable to feed him properly for a few days right around his 6-week vaccinations. That week was incredibly hard as he reacted to the vaccinations, and I had a minimal supply making it difficult to feed him and keep him content.
How did pumping integrate into your breastfeeding?
I started using the Freestyle Flex Double Electric pump in week 6 when my supply dropped, it was the best thing ever to get my supply back up and it only took a few days to do so. From then I have used the pump every single night as my hubby gives Maverick a bottle before bed. This has worked so well for us, allowing my husband to have some amazing bonding time with Mav, and allowing me to get an extra hour or two of sleep a night. I have also used the pump at times when my boobs are severely engorged if it has been longer then 3-4 hours of Maverick feeding just to release them so Maverick isn’t getting lactose overload when feeding. I try to time it, so I am not pumping more than Maverick would be feeding so my supply doesn’t increase, and this has all worked well especially now Mav is slowly starting to go longer time between feeds of a night, especially the first night feed. My pump has literally saved me, my supply and I have a much happier baby whilst feeding now. Plus, I have been able to donate 7 litres of milk to 3 local mums that needed it which I wouldn’t of been able to do that without the pump.
What is the best piece of advice you received?
The best advice I have received is that every single mother and baby is different. It is important to never ever compare your journey as a mother, or your breastfeeding journey to anyone else’s. We all have our own challenges, it is important to know that you are not alone in this and we all will experience our own bumps and hurdles. Believing in yourself and your baby is the most important thing. The beginning of my motherhood journey has not been easy by all means, I was recovering from an infection, a stage 1 bladder prolapse, an oversupply to losing my supply, to having an extremely unsettled bubba with reflux and colic day and night for several weeks, to having a sick bubba with bronchiolitis at 8 weeks and what I have learnt is that all of these challenges that Maverick and I have faced is making us stronger. I knew not to compare my journey to anyone else’s as we all have our own unique journeys into motherhood and I am grateful that mine wasn’t what I envisioned because it has actually made me a much tougher and stronger mumma now! Maverick no longer has colic and his reflux symptoms are easing I finally am enjoying motherhood like I never have before.
What has been the best part of becoming a mum?
In life we all want to find our purpose. Nothing can compare to becoming a Mother for me. Being a mother has become my main purpose in life now, it has given me the motivation to become the best person I can be for my son. It is important to know that we can have multiple purposes, but being a mum is at the top of my list. I would do absolutely anything and everything for my beautiful boy. Looking into his eyes every single day melts my heart and is a connection like no other I have ever experienced. I know that motherhood will always continue to have its challenges but every challenge that I have faced and will continue to face, is worth it. Being a mother has changed me and I am so grateful for that, I am so grateful for Maverick and I am so grateful for my husband. I have so much respect for all the mums and dads out there because parenthood is so challenging, but it truly is the most rewarding thing at the same time.
Note this is Felicity’s own account of her pregnancy/breastfeeding journey and should not be treated as medical advice, please seek advice from your healthcare provider regarding your personal health circumstances.