Monday, October 21, 2013

Breast is the best

E turned 6 months a week back. I gave myself a silent pat on my back for making it so far. She is still on breastmilk now, but boy the journey! So dear World Health Organisation - I made it! I don't have plans to stop yet, and though it is only 6 months now.

So looking back on how jaundice isn't common in Tally and they made such a big fuss about it. First 2 days of her life spent under the light, and mummy could only carry her out and feed her every 2 hours for 20 minutes, whether she latched well or not. Then they decided instead of letting me feed her longer, it's better to give her formula to flush out her jaundice, and did not offer me alternatives to giving her in a bottle (which I now know there are other ways!). All I wanted was for her to get better, so I said yes. No one told me I could pump to stimulate the milk, and I didn't know better. Here comes the downward spiral - the more she was bottle fed, the more impatient she got with the breast, the less she was latched on, the less milk I produced. I was in tears, postpartum guilt hormones raging. It was a tough first month.

I am completely jealous of mummies who produce a whole freezer of milk. I am completely jealous of fully breastfed babies because it is so easy to bring them out - pop out the boobies and they will have a full belly. Then I decided it to live and let live. It is okay that she doesn't want to feed directly from me - as long as she gets the goodness of the milk. So I decided to become a lean mean pumping machine.

No, I do not enjoy pumping. Still don't. Probably never will. I mean, you are hooked up to a vacuum producing machine with 2 funnels cupping your boobs, elongating them right? Duh. But I pumped day and night. I watched netflix while pumping - an episode of Vampire Diaries or 30 rock or whatever I fancied and embarrassed to tell people about. Even then, I still needed to supplement her. Shrugs. I became happier because I came to terms with the fact that I may never have enough.Whatever was made was given, and the shortfall was made up by formula. I live and let live.

At 3 months my supply stablised and since have almost enough milk - a bottle of formula for her last feed every few days when my supply runs low. She still gets fed from the bottle but loves to comfort nurse before she goes to bed and when she wakes up. Although she does not direct latch, she is so clingy to me and I am just enjoying every moment (well, almost every) of her clingyness because I know this will not last long.

If I have a number 2, I will try to get it right from the start now that I know what went wrong. But hey, life is not perfect. I am here wishing all the mummies who are struggling to hang in there if you can, but don't beat yourself up if you decide to throw in the towel. You and I both know they will grow up just fine, formula or breastmilk. E is in the 90th percentile, a ball of energy and super fun, And we know she will probably be the same even if I fully formula fed her. So do what you can, give what you can for as long as you can, then let go and live and let live. We all want to give them the best, but what we feed and do for them in the next 18 years is just as important.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Almost 3 months old

Home for more than a month and E has been properly adjusted, aside from being an aircon baby. Watching her grow up is one of the most enjoyable process I am experiencing in my life, although there were tears of frustration.

I only wish she could talk, so I can have a glimpse into her fascinating mind. How she is amused and amazed by inanimate objects and grins at them etc.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

T - 6 days

Time just flew by especially in the last 38 days ever since baby E was born. From the initial sleepless 3 nights watching her suffer under the phototheraphy lights in the hospital, to the adjustment back home, and to now, 38 days old. This busy period has led me to almost forget about time ticking away and my time in the USA is coming to an end.

I had many brief chats on fb with friends asking if I am ready to go home. I told them in all honesty that I haven't even stopped to think about it. So since I have my 5am with my girl and is now awake, I shall list down the things I will miss when I am home.

- Being "baby-less" / being able to be spontaneous.
There is 2 part to this. I love my baby to bits and would not do things any differently but the spontaneous-let's-go-now! is an impossible dream for the next decade at least. While it is not US exclusive thing that I will miss, the ability to be spontaneous has led us to places and seen things on the fly. E.g. last summer we declared it was too hot for us and ran off to Canada for 3 weeks. Having said that, it seems baby or not, being back home also mean it is not possible to just do the let's-go-now! anyway, with work commitments and all. So being back home and having work = less chance to be spontaneous, and having a baby just makes it even more impossible. :/

- The drives
I wish there was a way (without taking too much effort) to calculate the mileage we clocked throughout the 17 months here on the road. Well, it has to be A LOT. The variation of the scenery, the journey there as oppose to a means to an end, and of course, the reward at the end of each drive leaves some wonderful memories. From the first short drive to Panama City, all excited over being here for the first time and buying SO MUCH at the outlet mall, to the breathtaking scenic drives we experienced from LA to Yosemite, the LA loop through Vegas and Utah region, the Rocky Mountains backdrop in Alberta, the indescribable awe inspiring Alaska and the 3000+ miles road trip with the family through Florida, Georgia and up north. Being back in home driving in the crazy city traffic is really something I am not looking forward to.

- The trips
A broader point from the above. The freedom of both of us not working allowed us to make this almost as our gap year (and a half) taking all the wonderful trips we did. We know how privilleged we are - so many citizens we spoke to haven't been to half the places we have been within such a short period of time.

- The apartment
I have to say we live in suitably one of the most boring cities, but our apartment is just so great! We have an excellent view of the swimming pool, which is literally 50 steps away. The house is a comfortable size for a 1 bedroom 870 sqft - it is like 80 sqm, which is just freaking 10sqm smaller than my flat in TPY. Love the walk in wardrobe, the HUGE bathroom and the kitchen we made many amazing meals in.

- The community
Being away from home means being away from friends and family. I am so glad we have a tiny little community that gives us the feeling of being surrounded by people we love. The village dinners, the trips taken together, the sharing of travel tips.

- The people
Maybe being back home where we already have all our friends and family to busy ourselves with made sure we had little time to experience making new friends, but even just strangers and people on streets are so much friendlier and nicer. It may be exclusive to Florida and the surroundings (and the other non city-ish places we have been), but it is just nice to have people stop for you when you cross the road and smiles and greetings and small talks everywhere.

- The weather
Florida weather rocks! Except in summer, which is fine because we are away most of the time! Argh to 100% humidity and frizzy hair back home!

- The shopping!
Even though this is basically me talking to myself, I don't want to be judged by putting it higher up in my priority :p. But yes, I will soooo miss the shopping. I am glad we went through the various phases - the crazy just reach here wide eye phase, then the going to an outlet mall with each trips we made just so we don't miss out on good deals phase, the our family is here and they are in the wide eye phase phase, the baby crazy phase, and the online shopping phase. Then there is the grocery shopping coupon crazy phase - getting things on the cheap or almost free. Of course, there is costco, which we love so much!

What I look forward to at home :

- Friends and family
It's just not the same doing skype vs hanging out. It is a bigger bummer to miss out milestones like weddings and babies. So hurrah to hanging out, especially now with many of our friends in the same plight as us (stuck with a baby or two!), the lack of spontaneity is mitigated seeing everyone is in the same shoes.

- Food
Cooking is fun. But I just miss having to not cook every meal. And clean up. Both which I am so grateful for my mum and dad being here to help us out for the past 2 months. And I just don't have to list out all the local food that is so awesome. Although TBH I hardly miss it here, since we have learn to remake many of them.

- New phase of life
Our flat that we bought and own since 2008 and have not lived in for the past 5 years. Finally a place to call home, that we can spend time to decorate and let it be "us". Of course with the baby too, plus we have the friends and families to hang out with.

So there, I have verbalise my thoughts - to help with a bit of a closure to the chapter. :)

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Milestone checks

Something to remind us of silly milestones we have achieved as a family.

Pooped on while changing diaper
Peed on while changing diaper
Peed on while trying to soothe her (while airing her bum)

Happy 16th day

Time flies when you are happy. 10 days have passed since my 5am post. 10 more lack of sleep, but happy days with my baby girl. Watching her grow everyday is just one of life's little pleasure that I need to remember not to take for granted.

Since then, she has been told she is not gaining as much weight as she should, leading to us putting her on a feeding frenzy for the past week. On her 2nd week weigh in, she shot up double of the weight she was supposed to put on (but it is not a bad thing!), so we could relax on waking her up every 2 hours and almost force feeding her. Also, to give us some time to build up the breastfeeding regime which has taken a backseat, as we wanted to make sure she is growing as she needs to.

Then 2 days ago she caught a cold, and it is heart wrenching to see her laborious breathing and having mucus  stuck in her nose and not know how to get it out. Her dad has to use the nasal bulb to get some out, but we are so scared of hurting her delicate nostril.

But so far, it has been somewhat a breeze. With dad and mum around to help us out, and the husband not working and at home all the time, my sanity is in check. Sure there were moments of tears from feeling helpless and useless for not producing enough to feed her, and self blaming for allowing someone who is not feeling well get near her. But this beautiful girl is such a gem - she does not cry for no reason except when she is hungry or lonely or when daddy changes her diaper when she has diaper rash. Even now with her cold, she has adapted and no longer as irritable as she was when she first caught the cold. I still have no idea why I am so blessed to have such a wonderful daughter, and wonders once in a while still, whether she is mine.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

my 5am with Emma

It's day 6 of me being a mother and so far the rewards have far exceeded the sacrifices. I can't seem to measure the rewards except the joy of seeing a miracle come to life unfolding in front of my eyes. How is it that I have created this beautiful creature - so perfect and beautiful who belongs to me. Her little nuances like being an escape artist - removing her hands from the tight swaddle, to her staring at big eyes at you - observing you, marking you as the single most important person in her life (at least for the time being). Her total reliance on you, and her old so cute little face, with the little mouth that resembles yours.

So on day 6 I got the 5am with you. You refused to sleep and your daddy cared for you from 3 till feeding time. You fed like a champ and had 3 big burps. You then proceed on to poop just as I was going to change your diaper, so I saved the diaper and allowed you to do your business. (Oh how wonder that life's successes are measured by poops, pees and burps) You are in my arms while I am typing with my other hand. You just escaped again from the swaddle, your little right hand in the usual boxing pose, your cute little face making involuntary squirmish actions, breaking into little half smiles, mouth half open, tongue sticking out, possibly dreaming about milk. Then you decided to wake up, and just content with staring into my face, as I did with yours.

I am just enjoying this precious 5am time with you, watching you grow, knowing I will never again enjoy a moment just like this, because you grow so quickly so fast and everyday is going to be so different.

I love you so much, my baby girl.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Life as a mummy day zero

Birth story

I started leaking some watery discharge which I wasn't too sure of nature for the past 2 days. To be in the side of precaution, we decided to go get it checked out in the middle of the night. We arrived at hospital at abt 3 in the morning.  After admissions and filling up registration, went to triage at 4.   Informed by nurse in triage that it was not the water bag that was broken, but my blood pressure was high - and it has never been throughout the whole pregnancy. I was at 4cm -2 station 70 effaced, and the on call doctor Dr Francz advised for me to be admitted and induced, since we have planned the induction on Thursday anyways. At 4.30 we got admitted to birthing ward 215. Contractions started and we wanted to discuss the possibility of not getting induced since labour has progressed. At  4.45 contractions were 5 - 6 mins apart. At 5.30 contractions were 4 - 5 mins apart and started getting painful, but bearable. At 6.30 contractions got to 3 - 4 mins apart and by  7.30 contractions 3 min apart, becoming unbearably painful especially in my lower back, where my old injury from the skating incident was. I asked myself if I can handle this pain for potentially the next 5 to 10 hours and the answer was no, so I requested for epi. At  8.15, the epi done. Finally I got some rest! I felt little to no contractions and slept till about 10, where my progress was checked and I was at 6 cm. The water bag was broken by the doctor at 10.30 in hope of speeding up the progress, and sure enough at 12.30 I was already 9.5 cm! My lower back pain came back even with the epi, and eventually at 1.25pm I was fully dilated! The nurse suggested for me to start the pushing with each lower back pain. And finally, at 2.04pm, after 40 minutes of pushing, Emma came to this world, delivered at 6 lbs 13 oz (3.1 kg), 20.5 inches tall, head 12.75 inch chest 12.5 inches.

I suffered some tears but it's healing okay. My baby girl is now 42 hours old and there is nothing I would change about the experience because everything was so worth it when you hold her in your arms for the first time, knowing this is the very thing you created, and protected from the world for 40 weeks and 3 days. This beautiful little girl who decided to come on her own terms, decide on her own birth date. Love you so much already. X

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Still counting down

Dear baby,

Your dad is like a little boy under the Christmas tree staring at the wrapped up present that he is not allowed to open. When are you going to relieve him of this agony?

Actually, your mummy isn't in a big hurry. She is not in pain, enjoying your (somewhat lessen) movement and just waddling around with a tummy. But unfortunately, due to our time constraint, we will need you to be out on the dot, if not earlier, even though we feel bad rushing you. Hopeful that we will not need to induce you out medically, will rather let you be ready yourself.

So do yourself a big favour and enjoy your last 4 (or less) days in mummy and we will see you soon in the real world okay?

With love,
mum xx

Friday, March 29, 2013

2 more weeks (or maybe less)

Homeeeeestretch now. We are ready for you baby Emma. I am just relishing the final few days with you moving around inside me, and taking advantage of sleeping in and lazing around. My appetite is still the same, except that I am craving a bit more fatty sugary food for now. So the pilates exercise cannot stop.

See you soon!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Week 37 and counting

Baby Emma is considered full term this week. She was 5lbs 8oz as of 21st March, expecting to be a close to 7lbs baby if she makes it to the 40th week. I am beginning to feel heavy and clumsy, and my joints are looser than ever before. The sciatica nerve pain is a nuisance, as is the general discomfort of being 10kg heavier. But other than that, it is great, because dad and mum arrived from home and is here to help us out. We have not been required to do much cooking, just lazing around and bringing them out shopping. 

The countdown begins!