Meet the Momma: Kristi from Just Four More Minutes
Did you experience easy or difficult pregnancies and births?
I am that lady that DOES NOT share her birth story with new moms-to-be. I’ll smile and wave and then spill the tea once they’ve enjoyed their special moment! No one wants to hear “oh ya, that time I nearly died…!”
Pregnancy #1: Terrible 5 months of “morning sickness”. al day long. Some of the second trimester was okay, but then my tim just kept getting bigger, and oh my goodness bigger. I was really uncomfortable and overdue at almost 42 weeks before being induced.
Birth #1: I booked a private labour room and decided to use a midwife and doula with a back=up gynae. Induction was necessary and my stubborn body just didn’t kick into gear. After hours of contracting and no dilating, I chucked out the idea of a water birth and walked into the labour room with a very scary-everyone-listen-to-me-tone… “I am thinking very clearly right now, I want to enjoy this, I want an epidural!”” From that point to Jesse’s actual birth, it was truly beautiful. I really enjoyed my time spent with Clint and meeting my little miracle. Sadly, due to a retained placenta, I started to haemorrhage and there was no space on the theatre tables for surgery. Two hours later, it was touch and go but they fixed me up just in time. My first night as a new mom was spent in ICU receiving a blood transfusion of four units. From the second I was alert, that mama-bear instinct kicked in and by hell or high waters I was going to get strong and nurse that child. I totally faked being okay to get moved up to the maternity ward. Being with my sweet Jess gave me all that I needed to heal. I was the talk of the maternity ward after everyone wasn’t sure I’d make it up and they kindly let us use an incredible family room where Clint, Jesse and I bonded for four priceless days.Was it the worst delivery of all time? YES. But it was the perfect birth. All 4.4kg of him.
Pregnancy #2: I-have-no-words-awful. Let’s not even talk about it.
Birth #2: We used a gunae that was an hour away from us at a totally different hospital. We wanted to make fresh memories. The doctor was ready to handle any situation that might reoccur from the delivery prior. Did I mention that I have a posterior cervix? That means that it’s really difficult to tell when I am actually dilating. There didn’t seem to be any signs that I was progressing along after hours of induced contractions, but I was prettttty sure I was in full blown labour.I refused anymore checks and said “EPIDURAL OW” and they wheeled me to delivery. The clock had struck 24 hours since I’d first started on the drip and so no matter what, Mr Jack needed to come out. He was starting to distress. The most wonderful man came in and gave me a glorious epidural. And what do you know, I was 8cm! I panicked slightly because I wasn’t mentally prepared anymore. There was a particularly special nurse on duty in my labour room and when she saw my eyes closed, she knew I was praying. She prayed with us. A few pushes later and my big-eyed boy came into our lives. 4.8kg of him! Our doctor asked my husband to rush him to weigh in because he was the biggest baby he’d ever delivered naturally. Clint and I were so relieved that everything went as well as it could have possibly gone. But that’s it people, no more labour rooms for me! I’m done!
Are you a stay-at-home-mom or working mom? How does this work for you?
I am a stay-at-home working mom. I did briefly go back to the corporate world for just over a year when Jack was really little. It was a great learning experience with some very special people, but it just didn’t work long term for us as a family. My mom and i had an idea to create a clothing range specifically for tall women in South Africa, and in January 2014 I started working on this dream. My business Love Long Length officially opened in July 2014 and i’ve been running it since. I am passionate about what I do and it doesn’t feel like a job in the slightest. What you pit in is what get out and while I wanted to keep Jack home in the mornings with me, for productivity purposes, he joins Jesse at play school five mornings a week. To avoid always being on the clock “at work”, I am disciplined to start work at 8am and once 11.45am rolls around, I am MOM. My children become my priority. I work hard and i often have to remind myself that those lunchtime moments around the table with them are my reward to enjoy. There are days when my responsibilities mix in altogether and I do my best not to have “mom guilt” when I have urgent mails to respond to and they are sitting in front of a DVD.I also have a very supportive husband and family who pitch in when I need an extra pair of hands and caring hearts to watch my two while I do a market or consultation.
How did you decide on your child/rens names?
Jesse – When I was four months pregnant, we were still living on the island of Mauritius in a tiny little studio size apartment. It was Clint’s birthday and I had organised for family to send up a gift I knew he would love. It was a Bible Concordance and it happened to have a random section at the back with a list of Christian boy’s names. I remember us lying side by side paging through it and his name jumped right out. We love that his name means “Gift from God”.
Jack – This was a tricky one. Clint was throwing around the name “Zack” and it just wasn’t sitting totally right with me. I don’t know where Jack popped out from but from the second I heard it, I know that was it! We went to look up the meaning right away and one of the meanings that we read was “God is gracious”. What most of our family and friends didn’t realise at the time is that usually in a birth story such as the one I experienced with Jesse, the doctors do a mandatory hysterectomy to save the mother’s life. How I came away from that hospital with the ability to carry a second miracle is truly God’s Grace.
How has your life changed since having children – positive and negative?
I needed to become a mom. I was so self-righteous before and had a pretty closed mind if I can be totally honest. We all were there at one point in our lives I think! motherhood has taught me how to be free, how to live in a way I didn’t know possible, how to enjoy life, how to serve, how to learn self-control and how to be selfless. It has taught me that being a Christian doesn’t mean having two little kids sitting like angels in the back of the church, but it’s having a sweet and simple relationship with my God. I tried so hard before having children, to please God with what I could offer him, and motherhood has taught me that he just wants to know me in simplicity. He doesn’t see all the outside stuff – he cares about those moments when I was JUST ABOUT TO LOSE IT and then I don’t because I ask him for His grace. My husband and I have also grown so much closer and love each other so much deeper as we fumble along doing our best to raise up two God-fearing little boys. Becoming a mother is the greatest gift anyone could have given me.
Where are your children at school, and how did you make this decision?
Jesse and Jack are currently in the most wonderful little playschool. I am very particular about what type of person / people will be investing character and growth into my children. Since they are still little, my main concern up to this point has been that they are surrounded by loving teachers who support our family faith and see each child as an individual. One of my boys is athletic to the maximum and outgoing, whilst the other prefers to sit for hours doing advanced puzzles and is gentle by nature. It’s been such a joy to see the school bring out the very best in both my boys. Big school is around the corner – yikes! Jesse will be attending an all-boys preparatory school in Pietermaritzburg starting in June. It’s the very same school where my husband teaches! Huge score. This mother’s heart is happy!
Are your kids more like you or your husband, and in what ways?
We each get one! Jesse is his Dad and my brother smooshed into one cheeky, boisterous, sweet-hearted adventurer. Jack is his mother’s child – he is loving, slightly apprehensive, wears his heart on his little sleeve and is showing signs of being really creative.
Describe the “type” of Mom you think you are?
I feel like I am all of the mom-friends I know squashed into one person. There are days that i am relaxed and we’re all making a mess and baking and I feel like I am just floating on a Pinterest cloud. Then there are days where that lack of structure and mess starts to freak me out and I want to clean it all up. There are days when I don’t mind that all the toys are not in the right bin because I just want to sit and stare ay my two loves. Then there are days where I want to run a more well-oiled ship and invest time in teaching them how to pack away correctly, how to clear the table. It’s all about balance and I try to find myself somewhere in between the two extremes. I love to plan activities for the kids and have a general routine, but I am also that Mom who will grab the kids right before dinner and go out for a surprise treat instead.
How do you stay organised or in a routine – or do you live in organised chaos?
I LOVE to be organised. Every party, every school activity, you-name-it is hand written in my diary that travels everywhere with me. And then the important stuff, I enter into an online synched calendar that will send Clint reminders too of the events that involve him. To avoid chaos in the mornings, I have baskets that I keep stocked with ‘school friendly’ snacks and it makes packing lunches a breeze. I could go on for days, but basically any way I can organise our home to make our lives stress-free, I’m in!
What is your favourite activity as a family?
Describe your ‘Mommy-me-time’?
My favourite “mommy-me-time” is being able to get into my own creative space. I like to pretend I can paint, do a little DIY, organise, decorate, blog, potter around second hand / home shops. I enjoy a hot cup of milo and getting into a good TV series every once in a while. I love a quiet trip to the Library to choose a few random recipe, business or craft books. I” find a cozy spot in the house and you’ve lost me for a few hours. I also really enjoy listening to pre-recorded sermons from our church website to refresh and encourage my heart.
Describe your proudest moment as a Mom.
My proudest moment as a mom, was something Jesse did last year. I was helping him hop out of the bath when he accidentally sloshed water on the trousers that I had just put on to wear to home church. I jumped back slightly but it didn’t really bother me in the slightest. I did say a quiet “Oh no, I’m going to need to change” almost under my breath as he ran to put his own clothes on. After about five minutes, I hear a knock on my door and here my 4 year old has come all on his own to apologise: “Mommy, I’m sorry that i messed waters on your trousers.” To some this might sound small, but to me it’s nothing short go victory! I pour my heart into teaching him about rights and wrongs, repentance, telling the truth, how Jesus wants us to behave… the list is endless. To see him act out of something from his heart, without being promoted by anyone… I have no words. All the hard work is worth it.
Any advice for other Moms or Moms-to-be.
Parents of older children often say “enjoy every moment, it passes so quickly”. You want to dead stare them because your two year old is literally in tantrum style on the floor in the middle of the shops because you wouldn’t give up a FOURTH Easter egg. THIS MOMENT. REALLY? I have realised that they don’t actually mean every moment, but rather to be quick to forget the nasty ones and embrace the beautiful ones right after. There is so much joy in being a parent to two boys under the age of five, but with each phase will present itself another challenge. Be quick to forgive and forget. These little people are learning how to behave and I am learning not to take their outbursts personally. They are using you as their punching bag because you are their mom, they trust you and they know you will be there for the teary, soft “sorry mommy” hugs right after.