A ride of a lifetime

By Natasha Le Roux

 

Jumping on the rollercoaster

The rollercoaster started when we found out that we were expecting another tiny human, 9 years after our last born. That was only the beginning and we had no time to buckle up for the ride that was about to get crazy.

Thinking back on our journey, we were faced with so many overwhelming experiences and challenges: falling pregnant at age 38, so long after our last born, delivering within 45 minutes (after arrival at the hospital) without being able to take any pain meds and my husband being arrested one day after our baby girl was born. Yes, the last part was real...even though it felt like a nightmare I was waiting to wake up from. More about that in a bit.

Bringing Ariana into the world

I have to admit, when we found out that we were expecting, our first reaction was happiness, with a dash of shock. Daddy recently celebrated his 41st birthday, our firstborn is going to High School and the last born (now, second last born) is turning 9! However, we were all tremendously excited and we couldn’t wait for our little girl to make her arrival. I enjoyed the pregnancy so much. At 38, I was definitely in a different stage of my life. We were, and are now, a lot more settled and mature than with our firstborn 14 years ago.

It was a very easy delivery (apart from the fact that I couldn’t get any painkillers). Our little girl was delivered within 45 minutes after arriving at the hospital. I was scheduled for an induction at 5 am on 06 January 2021. However, Ariana decided that she couldn’t wait any longer. When I got to the hospital at 00:45 on 06 January 2021, I was 8-9 cm’s dilated, which meant that I couldn’t get any pain killers. The thought of not being able to have an epidural was quite overwhelming as I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle the pain (both previous births were natural with epidurals). Luckily, the delivery went quickly. Ariana graced us with her presence at 01:30 on 06 January 2021 - a beautiful, healthy baby girl weighing 3.1 kgs. She brings us so much joy. 

 

We didn’t expect what was about to happen

What happened next, was very traumatising. Never did we anticipate that we will be the (then) latest media sensation, gracing the covers of local newspapers.

Due to Covid-19 hospital conditions, as well as both mom and baby being healthy, we were discharged on 07 January 2021. As with my other two children, I couldn’t wait to start our breastfeeding journey. My dreams were shattered when I experienced complications during our first night at home. We noticed that my milk supply was not sufficient for Ariana. I felt like a failure. We so desperately wanted her to be breastfed, for at least the first few months. I knew just how important breast milk was for her.

Later that evening, the feeding sessions went south. Ariana couldn’t feed, she started crying frantically and the struggle continued. Ariana became dehydrated and weak. We knew we had to do something fast and we agreed that the only option was to give her formula milk. Unfortunately, due to our decision to breastfeed, we had no other milk alternatives at home. Hubby had to rush to the closest 24-hour pharmacy to get formula milk. Long story short, he was wrongfully arrested (the court case is pending) for leaving the house for a medical emergency, during curfew.

This was an extremely traumatic experience for us as a family. It was supposed to be our first night together as a new family, but my husband had to spend the night in a prison cell. I was hysterical and bawling my eyes out, trying not to think how scared he must be. I could only imagine how dangerous it was and what he was being exposed to.

I needed my husband more than ever as I wasn’t sure if our baby was going to be okay and if the feed would suffice. Our newborn’s sugar levels dropped even further.

She became even less responsive, while we pleaded for the police to release my husband, who was in the possession of the dreaded formula tin. We were facing the fear of losing our child over something preventable, simply because of curfew.

My hands were tied – the only thing we could do was try and find a way to get him released ASAP and to pray. Nothing else could be done until curfew passed at 06:00 the next morning. With the assistance of an attorney, he was released at around 11:45 on Monday, 08 January 2021.

Our milk journey continued

Since my breastfeeding journey didn’t go according to plan, we were forced to alternate between breastfeeding and formula. After a challenging four-week breastfeeding journey and trying everything to increase my milk supply, we decided that we needed to do what’s best for our baby. We made the decision to switch completely to formula. Although I felt the inevitable guilt that our society tells us we should feel if we don't give our children what's "best," I soon realised that it's doing what I feel is best for my children that makes me a good mom.

Formula feeding doesn't make me any less of a mother. There are many benefits to feeding a baby formula and it is the best possible alternative to breastfeeding. Baby formula is packed with nutrients and vitamins. Ariana is healthy and her paediatrician is very happy with her development and growth. Babies have been thriving on formula milk for decades, so don’t ever let people make you feel like you should apologize for formula feeding your baby. Fed babies are happy babies and whether they are fed by breast or bottle, has no impact on how amazing we, as mothers, are capable of being.

Life goes on

 

Both brother and sister welcomed their baby sister into the world with open arms and we’ve adapted really well as a family. The age gaps (14, 9 and newborn), definitely help, as both brother and sister are now less dependent on mom and dad. Of course, they still need our guidance and a lot of love and attention, but they are not as reliant as toddlers are. Hubby and I are slowly starting to master the juggle of dividing our attention, love and guidance between all three. Everyone is very hands-on; we work together as a team and it really is very convenient with brother and sister being able to help with their newborn sister.

However, with the last month not going according to plan, I’ve learned to deal with each challenge on its own. You can plan and prep as much as you want to, but life happens. There will be so many times that you feel you have failed as a mother, but in the eyes and heart of your child, you are their world.

Be kind to yourself, you are a super mom … remember that! 

Le Roux family with their baby girl Ariana, 2 months old, and siblings: (from left) Lieschen, 9 and Alexis, 14.
 Photo credits: Andelle Schenach photography

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. MyMilkClub reserves the right to its opinions and fully supports the notion of promotion that breast is best in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) infant feeding guidelines. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life, and continued breastfeeding with complementary foods for up to two years of age. Breast milk is the best food for infants. Good maternal nutrition is essential to prepare and maintain breastfeeding. If breastfeeding is not possible, an infant formula may be used according to the advice of registered health professionals. Preparation and storage of any infant formula should be performed as directed on the tin in order not to pose any health hazards.