The first six weeks…

Note : I tried to post the photos in chronological order so that you can notice Leia’s transformation over time…

We made it! We survived the first six weeks on our own! But boy, were they hard… Nobody really prepares you for this first few weeks with a newborn and no matter what everyone tells you, you can not imagine the amount of work, sleep deprivation and worrying you will experience. I honestly have a feeling that we will not sleep soundly again for the next 18 years at least… Baby Leia is the most important being in the house right now, this meaning that we are both very tired, because a baby needs constant attention and care and for the first part, we both wanted to be 100% involved in all the duper changes, feedings and everything else, but this is NOT the way to go!


Starting from the beginning…when we first got home with baby Leia we had our first shock – she just would not stop crying and we even thought that we got the wrong baby from the maternity as she seemed quite the little angel in her first four days of life, but now she was slowly changing into a small devil. We had no idea if she was hungry (but she had just eaten right before we left the hospital), if she needed her diaper changed (no) or what was bordering her. After desperate calls to our friends with kids (it is extremely important to have a support system consisting of friends that had recently gone through what you are going through now) we concluded that her fussiness was due to the fact that she changed the scenery once again in only a few days. Needless to say that we were clueless when it came to using the steriliser for the bottles and to actually making a bottle of formula milk – there was no way of nursing her in the amount of distress she was in. Quite frankly, for the first time in our lives we were both completely clueless and desperate which did not help baby Leia at all, as a matter of fact it made her more and more fussy as time went by. At some point, when we were at the edge of our patience, she just fell asleep on a big pillow and apparently that was the only thing that calmed her. Because I was just released from the hospital and needed to heal, D sent me to bed while he decided to sleep on the floor fearing that the little princess will suffocate on the big pillow, but not really wanting to take our chances and move her. This in short was the first day and night at home with the little one.


From that point on, things only got better, we got better at doing stuff for her, we did get a visit form a maternity consultant in the next few days that eased our worries and helped us learn how to care for her needs – this was included in the birth plan – that helped us tremendously, but things weren’t just right yet as our schedule was chaotic both when it came to feeding as well as sleeping. As I said earlier, we both wanted to be 100% involved in everything which meant that a week later we were both so sleep deprived that we couldn’t walk straight. Things had to change at that point otherwise we both would’ve grown extremely frustrated extremely quick. D decided that we should take turns, especially at night so that we both got at least 4 hours of sleep straight. This was a very hard and frustrating decision to make as the meant that each night one of us would sleep on the couch so that the other could get a sound sleep without any worries or baby monitors in the bedroom. This lasted for about two weeks and for me that was very hard as I was so used to sleeping next to him and I honestly missed him and at some point I was thinking that this is exactly how couples grow apart after having a baby. There was no way I was letting that happen!


This got resolved during the third week, when our paediatrician suggested we get her on a schedule of feeding her every three hours, no sooner nor later. Did I mention that baby Leia suffers from a condition called tongue-tie which prevents her from latching to my breast thus making it impossible for me to nurse her. At first I was affected by this, but later on I realised that this was a blessing in disguise, because it meant that I knew exactly how much milk she was getting and this allowed us to really put her on a feeding schedule and most importantly, it allowed D to feed her and really connect with her while I got some time to myself. So yes, I am pumping and I am loving it (I am using the Philips Avent pump and thus far I had no problems and as a matter of fact I love it but that is to be discussed in another post) and no, I do not think that I am missing out on anything!
There have been some adjustments needed because apparently baby Leia needs to be fed at four hours instead of three and with a larger quantity of milk, but that only means that we have more time between feeding and that our nights are much more manageable – she has a meal at 1 a.m and another one at 6 a.m. and thus far it worked wonderfully, but I have to say that I can’t wait for that moment when she will not need to be fed at night. Other than that, another issue that I can’t wait for her to outgrow it are colics. It is heartbreaking when we see her little face in so much pain and there is literally not much we can do about it. We were lucky enough thus far to not have such episodes during the night, apparently she prefers to have them between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and that is ok-ish or at least as ok-ish as colics can be.


D stayed at home for most of the first five weeks and that helped a lot and right now we have found the most amazing nanny, which allowed us to go about our lives (hence this blog post) and really focus on the important things about having a baby – education, learning through play, talking to her, taking care of ourselves etc. I am telling you – help is extremely important with a newborn it’s like we actually have a life again since we found her. She was recommended to us by the nanny agency called Synchronize Family. They are amazing as the managed to find her for us from the first try – she was our first interview!
Other than that, things have really been going perfectly and we couldn’t be happier despite the sleep deprivation (our nanny is not here 24 hours per day thus we still have to get up at night) and the fact that we still haven’t gone out with our friends yet, but I have a feeling that soon we will get there as well, it is just a matter of time. Being a parent is the hardest and the most beautiful job in the world and I think that we have never been happier in our lives. Baby Leia simply completes our little family and I have to be honest, I didn’t really understand the energy that children give us until I had one. She just fills our heart with joy and love every single second of every single day, despite the non-stop hard work we have to do.
L.

P.S: Even our dog gets involved as often as she can (she even woke me up one night because baby Leia was having a tantrum and we both were soundly sleeping) and yes, she is also sleep deprived and snores every time she gets the chance to take a nap!

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Not so scary second trimester!

We just came home from the doctor this morning and I am happy to officially tell you that the second trimester is under wraps and everything is going smoothly and perfect with our little bundle of joy. I really do not want to turn this blog/diary into a pregnancy page, so I am trying to keep everything about babies to a minimum, but now the time has come to talk a bit about the bittersweet second trimester.As you know by now, I have been really fortunate in the ‘baking baby’ department and did not really feel sick for one day during the first trimester (see here), and the overall great feeling stayed throughout my second trimester as well. I was fortunate enough to not have any medical complications and apart from my prenatal pill I do not take any other medication. Now that we sorted all that out, there are a few things and feelings that deserve a bit of attention and I plan on discussing them here.

First of all, remember how I said that I felt tired during the first trimester? Well that feeling magically vanished from the 14th week and I was lucky enough to feel as energetic as I used to in my pre-pregnancy days. This does not mean that I slept less or exercised more, but I did put that energy to good use where the baby-stuff is concerned. These are the three months of big decisions in my opinion, as, to be frank about the whole situation, there is no guarantee that you’ll feel 100% during the last trimester and it is better to make all the baby decisions when you are feeling great both about yourself as well as about the pregnancy. This meant that we went in full-renovation mode despite only wanting to do the nursery at first. I must confess that we had not done a proper renovation of our house for the past 7 years and I do not regret for one moment the decision to feel horrible in our home for two weeks. While the work is not done yet, all the construction work is over and from this point on it is up to us to finish everything – we are currently waiting on some furniture pieces.

This was the period when we decided on the furniture for our little princess, the decor, most of the miscellaneous (baby bottles, stroller, baby bath, etc) and I am very glad we did that as I have to say this is no easy task. It took us about 3 weeks to decide on the stroller as there seem to be so many different options out there and I have a feeling that first-time parents tend to be over-thinkers – I know we are overthinking every single thing. At some point, being the rational adults that we are, we decided to divide the stuff between us but still making the ultimate decisions together. Therefore D got to choose the stroller and all the electrical hi-tech equipment (nanny cam, baby monitor, sleep monitor) while I was left with the rest of the stuff (baby furniture and decorations, baby bottles, steriliser etc). When each of us got down to two or three choices we involved the other, but not before and so far it went smoothly for us. All of these choices are incredibly hard to make (2 weeks on the crib alone) so I feel that the second trimester is the best time to make them mainly because that is when you start feeling human again and naturally we had to think about the winter ahead and what if we did not feel/ could not get out of the house to buy all these things because of the snow.

Those are about all the big decisions we made during this period, now a bit about the feelings and sensations that come in this second trimester… First of all, in my opinion, this is the time where a pregnant woman blooms, literally, she expands on all spatial axes. Or at least that was what happened to me. But make no mistake, this is a good thing! True, I had two days (not in a row) of panic attacks while looking at my closet as I felt like I looked like crap in everything I owned, but both of those moments where right at the beginning of the forth month and I blamed that on the last ‘first trimester hormones’. After my belly started to really look pregnant as opposed to full of beer and pizza, I immediately started feeling a lot (A LOT!) better about myself. The fact that I went shopping and discovered that I did not go up a size did help a lot (A LOT!) and made me less nervous about my monthly weight-in at the doctors’.

A bit about the weight gain… It does tend to be nerve-wrecking, but healthily gaining weight is the best thing for you and your baby right now. I would like to emphasise a bit on the HEALTHY part of the matter and I want to be honest with you. Thus far, I have gained 10 kg (got weighted this morning) and I’ve got another two months and three weeks to go. While I did not gain any weight during the last three weeks I am still in the healthy-range for my age and height. The fact that my weight gain stopped for a bit must be due to the fact that I have started taking long walks with our dog every evening while not adding extra-calories to my diet. I am however listening very carefully to what my body desires and do not plan on depriving it of anything. Thus far, I always had certain weird cravings at the beginning of each trimester, when I gained a lot of weight but that weight gain usually stops by the last month of the trimester. I assume this will happen in the third trimester as well though, by now, I did not have any huger moments in this third trimester. Hopefully I will not gain too much weight, but honestly, that is my last concern right now. My major concern is being healthy and getting all the nutrients my baby needs daily.

Also, my skin cleared up a bit more and I am now able to put on make-up and feel great without worrying about zits and greasy patches (though that might be thanks to my new beauty routine – here). So far I did not experience any swelling in my legs nor in my hands, no cramps, to be honest, I did not experience anything nasty. I did have a few (3) days of heartburn in the evening but that sorted itself out after about an hour and I was told that is totally normal and it usually lasts way more that that. I also had two episodes of cramping but as my doctor reassured me, that was due to gas and again, after a bit of walking around the house and taking two pills that was over. Other than that, on most days I did not feel like I was pregnant, I do not feel like I am pregnant now and the big belly growing is there to remind me of how lucky I am thus far.

The most important feeling of the second trimester in my opinion is the first baby kick. I felt my bundle of joy at about week 20 and it was the best feeling in the world. I aways thought that this had to be the weirdest, most alien-like feeling ever and was very scared of that moment, but when it happened it felt like the most natural and normal thing out there. If at the beginning I was feeling her once or twice per day, now I feel her all the time and from time to time she even wakes me up at 5 in the morning just to let me know she is up. So far I have not experienced any painful kicks, only some nice soothing ones that feel lovely, but I will keep you updated. But, I am telling you, there is nothing more amazing than feeling you own little baby kick and D has to agree as he felt her through my belly and loved it.

Also, during the second trimester it is best to think of a birth plan, just to get that sorted especially if you are leaning toward the private sector (like we did) as there is quite a consistent discount for ‘early booking’. So far, I have not decided on wether I’d like a natural birth or a C-section, though I am leaning toward the latter, but ultimately it is up to the little lady inside because if she decides she can come out naturally without a big fuss that’s the way I am going to go, otherwise C-section it is!

This is also the time to start buying pregnancy adjuvants (as I call them). As you know, I found it hard to wear normal pants so I felt the need to go for maternity ones and the best and most comfortable I could find are the ones from H&M. They totally changed my mood when it came to dressing daily. I love these four pairs here for the comfort and the way they hug your curves: 1, 2, 3, 4. Another big help during the second trimester are the Belly Bandit products, specifically the thighs disguise and the flawless belly. Whenever I wear a dress, I wear one of those miracle makers and I instantly feel and look better. They both offer great support for your back and belly and they keep the stretch mark oil off of my clothes. Obviously I am going to opt for their post-pregnancy stuff as well as I love these two items.

I’d say that is about it on the second trimester. I am very glad that I did not have any incidents thus far and I hope that everything will go smoothly from now on as well and we will welcome our healthy princess in January. As far as this post goes, I hope that it will help mamas-to-be both morally and with planning their decisions. Naturally, at some point, we will show you everything we deemed worthy of our princess terms of baby-stuff, but I really want to get the products first so we can avoid the internet-perfected-photos and use our own. Hope this post was helpful!

L.