Monday, January 29, 2007

our first outing

I took Kayla out on her first trip outside the house since we've left the hospital today.

The outing to the midwifery clinic for a weight check was successful! I got her into her snowsuit, into the car seat and into the car without nearly a fuss - even had enough time to snap a few photos for dad to see when he comes home from work. And thankfully she slept through the ride too!

Too bad it's not as easy putting her down for a nap!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

learnings from week 2

Two weeks have passed and I can't believe it. My life is so different now, but I can't imagine how it could be any better. It's amazing how much has happened in such a short time!

1. Breastfeeding does get easier - after 2 weeks of adjusting to cracked and bleeding nipples, I've learned that it does get easier, so ladies just stick with it! I've compared the discomfort (mildly stated) to having your nipples pinched with pliers and then pulled. Perhaps it's all in the "initiation" women must go through to become a new mom. So far I haven't spoken to any mom who didn't feel a little pain with early breastfeeding - some enough to hang up the nursing bra for good!

2. Tanking up is a good thing - filling up Kayla right before bedtime is starting to work. So far we've had a few nights in a row with only one feeding between midnight and 6 am. Hopefully a sign of a good start.

3. Time flies when you're taking care of baby - I naively thought (pre-birth) that I would have a lot of time on my hands during my maternity leave. If, however, I put the hours I have to myself that wasn't totally devoted to taking care of Kayla - between the feeding, changing, burping, washing, sterilizing, pumping, playing, and putting her to sleep - I could add up the hours of "me" time to about 2 hours total in a given day. I never expected this, however, I can't complain, because her little "gas-induced" smiles are priceless!

4. Midwives are the best! One of the best parts of having midwifery care is the postpartum care. Just for the fact that they come to you in your own home, makes it the best experience possible. I can't imagine having to leave the house (especially after a c-section) in the middle of winter and trekking out to the doctor's office these first 2 weeks.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

pampers or huggies?

Diapers make good baby shower gifts. I discovered this during the first weeks of motherhood as I realized how many diapers babies go through. Since I had received a few different samples at my shower I had the opportunity to test the leading diaper brands - Pampers and Huggies - and learned that I much preferred Pampers for Kayla.

Why? Well... I found that the Pampers diaper was taller at the back (for those explosive poos that ride up her back) and hugged her legs better (for keeping in those pesky leaks). We had a few "accidents" with Huggies and none yet with the Pampers brand.

Another benefit of Pampers - they have a rewards program. Product codes translate to points which can be redeemed for free gifts like toys and books.

Also, an informal survey amongst other moms revealed that most moms of boys preferred Huggies, whereas moms of girls tend to lean towards Pampers. Interesting... huh? My guess - it must be anatomy. Let me know if you agree.

Happy diaper days!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

food, glorious, food!

Okay, here comes the classic new mom question: "How much should my baby be eating?"

I find myself worrying about this lately, especially as Kayla hasn't recovered her birth weight yet. I didn't know, but babies actually lose weight their first few days outside the womb. Typically by about 2 weeks, babies should have regained their birth weight. Although it's still early, Kayla is a few ounces short.

My second cause for concern is the number of times she gets up in the middle of the night. I know some may say it's too early to worry feed/sleep patterns, but I sense that Kayla may have her days and nights mixed up (apparently a common new baby phenomenon as this also happened to a friend of mine who recently had a baby in November).

So, in search of a fix for my problems, I remembered the book The Baby Whisperer which I received as a gift over the holidays. I flipped through the feeding section this morning and came across an ingenious theory, called "tanking up".

Basically the strategy is to "tank up" baby in the early evening - say at 6 and 8 pm and then feed her again before 11 pm while she's actually asleep. Tracy Hogg, the book author called this "dream feeding" and should result in baby sleeping longer through the night (4-5 hour goal) and the desired 2-3 hour feed sessions during the day.

This sounds like an awesome idea to me because I'm not sure I can last long on the current 2 hour at night feeding sessions! I'll let you all know how the plan works in 3 or 4 days (either Kayla will be a well-adjusted, happy kid, or I'll be a spaced-out mom)! Let's see who wins.

Friday, January 19, 2007

learnings from week 1

Here are some photos from Kayla's first week:

Now that the easy part (the delivery) is over, the harder, but more fulfilling part follows. As new parents, there was lots to do and the learning curve was steep.

1. Breastfeeding does NOT come naturally - for mom or for baby. It's actually a learned skill, for both of us. Not only did I need to learn how to position the baby and position myself for breastfeeding, but I also needed to teach my baby how to latch-on properly and how to suck in a manner that does not cause me to cringe each time she eats. Fingerfeeding was the most interesting approach to teaching Kayla the right "sucking" experience. This involves using your finger and a small tube inserted into the baby's mouth to induce the proper sucking action. It was great because it required the help of my husband and helped him get more involved in the feeding experience.

2. Babies go through a lot of diapers! We've used up over 70 diapers in one week. That's over 10 changes per day! Add on the numerous clothing changes due to spit up, accidents while changing and you'll understand why babies spend about the same amount of time on the change table as they do in their crib.

3. Having a bassinet in the bedroom is the most wonderful idea. I can't imagine having to get up and trek over to another room to fetch the baby every time she needs to be fed or changed. Especially after a c-section, where your mobility is restricted, having a bassinet in the room is a godsend. It certainly won't be a permanent situation - after all we didn't put together a baby room for nothing, but it has certainly been a good idea this first week.

4. Sterilize everything! Between sterilizing pumps and bottles and everything in between, the Avent steam sterilizer is the best thing we've purchased so far. It's amazing the number of times we use it in a day.

This first week has been an interesting and eventful experience. We can't imagine our life without Kayla. It's amazing how quickly the week has gone. Each day brings a new experience and a new learning.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

friends from birth

One of the great things about being a new mom is being amongst great friends who are also new moms. It's so nice to share and learn from the experience and knowledge of my best friends, who are quickly becoming seasoned pros!

Here's Kayla with one of her new boyfriends, Brandon. On the day my contractions started, I was with Brandon's mom passing the afternoon away in her kitchen as we tried to figure out if I was really having pre-labour pains or if it was just self-induced hope. I guess it truly was (felt just like menstrual cramps just as she predicted)!

7 things i learned during labour

7. You get nauseated during labour (and sometimes even without warning) - my poor midwife and husband got to handle the messy clean-up job.

6. There's a lot of waiting around during labour - being stuck at 4 centimetres dilated for over 10 hours is an awful long time to be awake, especially if you've already been awake for 12 hours prior to going to the hospital.

5. Anything to avoid an episiotomy - I seriously considered a c-section over an episiotomy and forceps at one point (but in the end, I needed a c-section anyways).

4. Pushing is really hard - I always thought that the pushing part was easy, but I never knew that there's a good (meaning "effective") way to push and a bad way. Unless you're pushing effectively, it won't do anything, and it's so much harder when your meds make it difficult to tell the good pushes from the bad.

3. The operating room is a very scary place - I felt like I was on an episode of House, with big, round, bright lights shining down on me and tons of doctors and nurses all around me.

2. If you have a c-section, pray for a good doctor - I was lucky and my doctor was the only one on staff at the hospital that still closed the wound with sutures over staples, and the line is barely noticeable.

1. Anesthesiologists make mistakes - after 4 painful attempts at inserting the epidural, my anesthesiologist finally got what he was being paid to do (relieve pain!)

Monday, January 15, 2007

welcome to the world

After much anticipation, we're so happy to welcome our angel - Kayla Sophia. She was finally born on January 11, 2007 at 8:58 pm.

Defiying the saying that small people "just don't grow big babies..." Kayla was born weighing 8 lbs 8 ounces.

When my midwife first handed me Kayla, my thought was: "my goodness, no wonder she had such a hard time coming out!"

After 18 hours of labour, in the end, she was born within half an hour via c-section. Her little "big" head just wouldn't fit past my pelvic bone. But for us, her arrival into the world was the happiest day in our lives. All the waiting, anticipation and dreaming was so worth it!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

pretty please with a cherry on top

After one week of waiting and tons of stunts to get labour going, I'm still only 1 cm dilated - I can't believe it! So we've decided that if the baby isn't coming out on it's own by this weekend, we're going to try to coax her out.

I'm scheduled for an induction next week, which I learned today, involves going to the hospital for a gel application, then going home to wait for contractions to start, and then going back if/once contractions are strong and within the desired intervals. If this doesn't happen the first time, I go back and do it all over again.

Given this back and forth, my preference would be for the baby to come out on it's own, but if I must offer a "pretty please with a cherry on top" then I guess we'll be having a baby next week for sure!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

sweet daisy

Here's the final product:

Pattern: Itty-Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Debbie Bliss cotton DK

Saturday, January 06, 2007

i HEART debbie bliss

I started knitting about a year ago, after purchasing a starter kit on boxing day from Chapters. It was a Suss Cousins bag design. It was funky and I thought it might be fun to try... and it turned out a lot easier than I thought!

Since then I realized the pleasure of knitting baby things. Since so many of my friends were having babies, it seemed appropriate to knit for them. Plus, it was very satisfying to finish a project and since baby things - little socks, hats and sweaters - were so much smaller, I got to finish so much faster!

That's when I discovered Debbie Bliss. Her baby designs are adorable and simple to follow, and her yarns are beautiful and come in a variety of yummy colours! I just finished this pink cardigan (shown above) for our baby from her book: Baby Knits For Beginners. I had picked up the yarn (a Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino) at a closing sale of a yarn shop in downtown Oakville earlier this fall.

Perhaps these little handmade items I give our baby will allow me to reflect on the different stages of her childhood. As she grows in and out them, I can remember what I was doing and thinking when I made each of them.

For now, since I have a lot of time on my hands, I started a new project this morning - a little daisy hat.

Friday, January 05, 2007

baby's room

Just some photos of baby's room. It still requires a few finishing touches, like art and photos for the walls but we're very happy with the results.

Roland did all the painting, set up the furniture and even installed a new closet door. Great job, honey!

We chose to go with a blue, beige and chocolate colour scheme just in case the ultrasound technician was wrong and baby turns out to be a boy!

Now it just needs a baby!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

only 1 cm!

Today's the day... or at least it's supposed to be. Unfortunately for me, nothings happening... not a single contraction, leak or ounce of pain yet!

My midwife announced that I was 1 cm dilated. What does that mean? I'm 7 cm from active labour and 4-5cms away from any action! Hum... how big is 1 cm really? Well, it's smaller than a dime, so a baby is certainly not going to fit through there!

So, I'm still walking diligently, doing my squats, hiking up and down the stairs... seems like my daily routine now. I'm sure every woman who's late feels like their baby will never come, and I know in my head it will eventually happen, but when it does, my fear is it will be really big! They say that late babies tend to put on extra weight... oh, gosh!

Any advice is gladly welcomed!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

the waiting game

The holidays have passed and no signs of the little one. I can't say I'm waiting patiently. I know my due date isn't for another 2 more days, but secretly I think (or is it hope) that it will happen soon.

So far today, I've tried taking a long walk, scrubbing the floor, eating spicy food (does chili count?), climbing stairs and doing squats. I'd say it's been an ambitious day, but so far I have nothing to show for it. Not a single contraction, leak or even a trickle.

So, I guess I just wait.