The Sling

So I’ve finally tried my custom-made Hug of Joy sling, after speaking with Joy on how to use it. She appears to be extremely comfortable, so I’m comfortable with using it. She’s been asleep since I put her in, which was about an hour ago. This frees me up for doing so many other things. The only complaint I have right now is that my front hurts a little bit from the c-section incision, so I probably won’t be able to carry her in it for too long for at least another couple of weeks. However, it’s incredibly comfortable and durable, and she sleeps through anything and everything in it — me walking, me bending over to pick something up, me talking to Dave, me sitting at the computer, etc. It’s pretty awesome. And since she loves it so much, it makes it all worthwhile.

Dave fits the carrier better than I do, so he will be using that a lot more. I’ll be using the sling since it’s custom made to fit my body size. Dave won’t fit into it. Heh. Also, I can hold her in various positions, and will be able to hold her until she is 35 lbs. This works well depending on my mood (and hers). This also makes travelling a whole lot easier. Maybe we can go on walks at the beach without a stroller, or whatever. It opens up all sorts of doors!

Bath and Shower

First bath from July 17, 2008. She was not too impressed with this one, but she began it already a little fussy and annoyed at being woken up, so we weren’t too surprised. Those are my hands giving her a bath. Poor child. She was screaming blue murder.

Here are some photos from her baby shower last night. She was being passed around the room, so she’s not in any of these photos. Just me and Dave.

Play mat from Auntie Kami and Uncle Dan

Pink outfit from Auntie Angela

Carseat mobile from Auntie Kami and Uncle Dan

Pink set from Auntie Kelly and Uncle Tom

Bath, Shower, and More

Yesterday we had Lily Bean’s family baby shower. It was her first “family get-together,” the first of many, many more to come. Pictures to come later, as I didn’t take any since we were the ones opening gifts from the family. She got lots of goodies, the noted ones include a baby swing from her Nana Sylv and Granny (which works like a charm for fussiness, as proven last night!), and a tummy-time play mat from her Aunt Kami and Uncle Dan.

Our baby girl is growing up quite quickly. We see more changes in her everyday. She is lifting her head quite readily and eagerly, curiously looking around the room all the time. Tummy Time will be fun for her on that play mat. She is starting to make giggles and laughs, grunting more often and trying to make noises (lots and lots of squeaks and squeals). It’s like she’s trying out her vocals to see what she can do with them — testing them for later usage when she learns how to speak. She is the cutest little thing ever.

Yesterday I also gave her a bath — the second bath ever (outside of the hospital). She enjoyed it well, but held onto my finger for safety, “just in case.” I can see the trust in her eyes, like she is telling me that although this is the weirdest thing ever (being re-submerged in water after leaving the womb?!), she trusts that I’m taking care of her and she isn’t in danger. I love that look of trust she gives me. Like when I pick her up for a meal, she knows I’m going to feed her and care for her. When I put her on the changing table, she knows she’s getting cleaned. When I hold her and talk to her, she knows I love her and I’m doing this for her. Her eyes are amazing. So aware and intelligent. She can read me like a book. I melt when I see her, and when I am near her.

Another bath from Mommy.

Dolled up in pink from the baby shower.

The miracle swing, from Nana and Granny.

Highlights of the First 5

I didn’t have any computer time while I was at the hospital during the last four days, so I wasn’t able to blog or post about anything that was going on with the new birth and our beautiful new daughter. However, at the risk of losing these details inside my head for years to come, here are some highlights from the first 5 days of Lily’s life.

Day 1:

  • Lily was born at 2:03pm, at 6 lbs 10 oz. :D
  • 21 hours of “hard” labor, half birthing process.
  • That night, Lily and I *almost* perfected the breast feeding latch. She’s a good sucker, and she learns very quickly. She’s the talk of the town.

Day 2:

  • Everyone praising how wonderful and beautiful Lily is.
  • She is the talk of the maternity ward.
  • Her cries are also heard throughout the maternity ward. It’s *loud*.
  • Second night was the hardest night of all. She wouldn’t go to sleep. She kept me up from 11pm to 5am. Cry after cry after cry. Piercing. The nurses all tried to help, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, she was bundled up in a warm blanket so tight she couldn’t move anything but her quivering lower lip while she cried. She settled down.
  • I am no longer officially “bed ridden,” although the pain of walking is intense as well. I’m having to poop and pee on my own now though. This is much more triumphant than it sounds, trust me.

Day 3:

  • I’m finally able to walk without teedling and feeling like I’m going to keel over. The c-section pains are still there though. On regular pain killers instead of prescription ones now, though.
  • I noticed my nipples were intensely sore from the breast feeding. Asked the nurses why, and they all confirmed that Lily has been BITING DOWN on them since she first learned to latch. She latches correctly, but she’s also frustrated that there is no proper milk coming in yet.
  • Lily developed jaundice from lack of milkage from her nutrition. She is put on a glowing neon blue bassinet to increase her color. We had to stay an extra night at the hospital. Ugh.
  • Lily’s diet has been added with formula, to “top off” after breast feeding. She took this on very quickly. We’ve got a very, very smart little girl.
  • Tonight is better. I discovered a new trick for helping her sleep: I stick my pinky in her mouth and she uses it as a pacifier. She is immensely happy about this. Doesn’t appear to work with anyone else’s finger though, not even Dave’s.
  • I spend a lot of time staring at her. A lot of time.

Day 4:

  • During a diaper change, Lily Bean presented a torpedo-like stream of poop right at me when I opened her diaper. It was perfect harmony with the universe. I laughed so hard, and Dave tried not to gag.
  • Staples from the c-section are removed. Didn’t hurt quite as badly as I thought, though I think my threshold for pain tolerance has been considerably lifted since labor. Heh.
  • Lily’s jaundice level went down. We get to go home! Yay!!
  • We put in the car seat for the first time – ever!
  • Lily sleeps through a bit of the night on her first night at home, with one waking. Woo!
  • I got about 5 hours of sleep, with Dave’s help. This is more than I’ve got all together while staying at the hospital!

Day 5 (today):

  • Lily wakes up and has a loooong morning cuddle with Daddy. The two of them are quite the pair. Goodness. Too cute.
  • Nana Sylv comes for a visit, helps with some of the housework.
  • We learn how to put together formula. Don’t laugh. We’re new at this. :P
  • Lily has her first “rub down” sponge bath from me. We’re a little freaked out about giving her a full bath until tomorrow, when Nana Sylv visits again and helps us with it. Heh.
  • MY MILK CAME IN! At approximately 7:30pm. Now she has awesome possum breast milk. WOOHOO!!
  • Dave changed his first diaper — ever!! So proud of him… hehe.

Now, for some more Lily Bean cuteness and goodness, brought to you by Cuteness Galore. Taken today, five days old, during the morning cuddle with daddy.

39 Weeks and Some

Ah, the 39th week is here! I’m almost halfway through it. Can you believe it? It feels like just yesterday when we announced we were pregnant. Time sure goes by fast, yet somehow it also feels incredibly slow. I’ve been trying to get lots and lots of rest, and the cravings are coming in mad and full now. Right now, I can eat about 5 meals a day, and still feel hungry, with snacks in between. From last Friday, I’ve gained a total of 37 pounds since the pregnancy started (I’m 136 lbs, started at 99 lbs). Baby Bean is kicking up a storm still. She is quite active and tumbly. The girl just can’t wait to meet the world, I tell ya. She seems to calm down every time Dave speaks to her though, which I find quite fascinating. Hopefully that will work when she’s out too? That would be nice if he can just talk to her and she’d stop crying. One can dream and hope, right?

My friends Julie and Megan came up to visit last Sunday, and they were highly amused at my belly. They kept laughing at it and calling me cute. Heh. I guess it’s quite the sight for people to see me pregnant. We walked on the beach and had some Japanese food (and still it didn’t quench my thirst for fooood), and Julie took some pictures of us with her iphone. I was quite wobbly an sore, but it was a good time spent. I love those two. I wish Megan lived closer.

So then we got discussing, during their visit, about all the things that aren’t glamorized about pregnancy in the media. I started making a short list of “surprises” I’ve experienced along the way. These are some of them now. I thought I’d let you in on some of them, if you out there ever become pregnant. Every woman experiences things differently, but regardless of all the advice and “facts” and stuff that were thrown out at me since I got pregnant, there are still some that were never told to me! These are the things that happened to me, and it may/will be different for you, but in case you get these too, at least you were warned!

  1. Pregnancies are based on a 10-month calendar, not 9. I don’t know why the media is so captivated with the whole “9-month” period, but just so you know, it’s 10 months. And it doesn’t begin at conception, it begins at LMP (last menstrual period date).
  2. Many women experience “morning sickness.” Trust me, if it’s just in the morning, you’d be darn lucky. You’d be even luckier if you don’t experience them at all. My “morning sickness” lasted the full first 3 months (literally – it disappeared on the exact day of my 2nd trimester), and it went on all day long, all night long. I didn’t vomit, but the nausea and dizziness were overwhelming, and the sight of food made me want to throw up. And no, eating crackers does not help, so don’t give advice to women experiencing morning sickness to eat crackers. They just might get the increasing urge to kick you in the shin. For me, the only thing that helped was eating pears. I don’t know why, but pears made me feel a tad bit better during this time.
  3. Some women, bless their lucky souls, get wonderful hair, nails, and skin during pregnancy. I’m the opposite. My hair stayed the same thickness, though it somehow seemed to stop growing (my hair grew VERY fast pre-pregnancy). My nails grew quite fast, though. I have to cut them about every other day now. My skin, however, is a whole different story. I’ve been getting weird bumps and discolored lines all over: primarily my neck and near my armpits. The little bumps aren’t noticeable to someone else unless you look closely, but I can feel them and they’re annoying.
  4. Some women also get wonderful, beautiful zitless skin on their faces. Me? Noooo, I broke out. I’m still breaking out! Left, right, and center. My nose, my chin most of all, even my cheeks. I’ve never broken out on my cheeks before, how weird! And no matter how many times a day I wash my face, how much water I drink, the zits continue to come. And they’re bad. They’re like, zits upon zits upon zits. They’re really bad. AND — they HURT! So beware, if you are one of us poor souls who get zits during pregnancy. I’m sorry, you can’t do anything about it! let’s just hope it goes away post-pregnancy!
  5. Swollen feet — AND fingers. Yes, fingers too. I can’t fit into my wedding and engagement rings (or any other rings for that matter) since mid-second trimester. I miss wearing my rings. I feel kind of naked without them.
  6. Stretch marks. I’ll tell you what works and what doesn’t. Olive oil seems to work. Lotion does not. Cocoa butter works marvelously. I have no stretch marks on my tummy because I’ve been rubbing both olive oil and cocoa butter on it about twice a day since I got pregnant. That leaves for a very slimy, greasy Helen, but hey! HOWEVER!! I did not predict that Baby Bean would also be stretching my bum and the side of my hips. Yup. Towards the beginning of the 3rd trimester, stretch marks started appearing on the tops of my bum and a little on the side of my hips. So now I am lathered up daily from bum to back of knees to all over my belly to even my back. Be forewarned: put cocoa butter EVERYwhere, not just on the belly.
  7. Pelvic bone pains and pelvic pressure pains. Enough said. I cannot describe to you how painful this is. For me, this happened during the last month of pregnancy. Once 36 weeks hit, almost as if on cue, my pelvic area hurt like heck. Seriously, like heck. If heck hurt, this must be what it feels like. This is the most surprising thing to me because I don’t recall anyone telling me about this. I’ve heard of “round ligament pains” and “Braxton Hicks contractions” and the like, but this is in a whole different ball park. My whole hip and pelvic area feels like it’s on fire, and it hurts to walk, roll over in bed, move, or lift my legs. Basically, if I’m not stationary, that whole area hurts. This is “normal,” but yeah, very painful. Be forewarned. I hear hot baths make it feel better temporarily, but for me, I just kind of got used to them.
  8. Mucus plug. Women may or may not release it before going into labor. You never know.
  9. Water breaking. Only a small percentage, apparently, of women actually have their water break before labor starts. Sometimes it comes days before, sometimes it comes hours before, and sometimes it doesn’t come at all. I don’t get it.
  10. Ripping. I hear most women will “rip” during the birthing process. It sounds painful, yes, and I’m hoping I won’t “rip” that much, but eh, it’s part of the cycle of life, I suppose. I wish they’d come up with another name for it, though, like… “pretty flower bursting.” “Ripping” sounds horrible.
  11. Many women poop during labor. You’re pushing. It’s natural. This is totally not mentioned anywhere in the media. I suppose it’s not very glamorous to show Gwyneth Paltrow giving birth in one of her movies and have her poop during labor.
  12. The baby pooping during/before labor. I hear this is fairly common as well, and although it’s weird and icky and looks gross when the poor baby comes out, it’s for the most part okay. So don’t be surprised if the amniotic is poopified.
  13. Birthing out the placenta. You think it’s over after the baby is out?! Oh no, no no. Don’t be silly! You still have to deliver the placenta! More pushing! Hold that baby and kiss her head, but keep on pushing because that placenta’s gotta come out too!
  14. Bleeding after the delivery. For weeks. And weeks. And weeks. I think this is Mother Nature’s way of having you “make up” all that lost time of period months during the pregnancy. I hear some women can bleed for 6 weeks while in recovery from birth. Oi.

There ya have it. Some of the things that aren’t so glamorous about pregnancy, but they still contribute to the whole “miracle of birth” thing. It’s wonderful, really.