Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Farewell 2008

Our Year in Review

  • I finally met and hung out with my Designer friend from Brazil.
  • We found out that we were expecting in April.  We then became very sick with a cough and ended up as no-shows to the Vancouver Sun Run for the first time.
  • We tried Chinese Herbal Medicine for the first time after consulting the doctor at the herbal medicine store.  Jean-Louis' prescription had dried worms in it and both of our drinks were gross! Yuck!
  • I went to emergency at the hospital for the first time.
  • Jean-Louis switched to everything Mac.
  • We went back to Hawaii but this time to Maui to celebrate 10 years together.
  • We finally took a sunset cruise and dinner around the harbor of Vancouver.
  • I transitioned from being an employee in office to contracting for the company I worked for.
  • I applied for Employment Insurance benefits and collected for the first time.
  • I started my first blog here :)
  • Jean-Louis got hit by a car while biking to work.  His ribs were sore for months!
  • Jean-Louis almost quit his job.  No, seriously.
  • Jean-Louis and I worked on our first iPhone app together.
  • Barack Obama won the Presidency in the USA, the first African-American to do so.  Hey, I just had to mention it!
  • I went through labour and birth and had my first baby.  I breastfed for the first time.  I stayed overnight at the hospital for the first time.  Many firsts were involved here!
  • Our car got broken into in the underground parking of our complex.  It was unfortunate but it could have been worst.
  • We both got iPod Touches.

For the first time this year, I also did not do a few things.  I did not carve a pumpkin.  Usually I pick a more and more ambitious design every year.  I did not decorate for Christmas nor did I throw a party for Christmas or the New Year :(  We also did not enter in any races this year because of my pregnancy.  We're definitely looking forward to doing all these things in 2009!

Tummy time photo at 5 weeks

Our visiting nurse told us to give Tristan tummy time 4-5 times a day for 1-2 minutes after his cord falls off.  Well, his cord fell off on day 16th and we have been subjecting him to tummy time since.  Most of the time, he just hates it because it's hard work so he cries :(  Other times, he is just too tired and he sleeps with his head on the side.  Needless to say, it's hard to give Tristan good tummy time and even harder to capture a good photo of it when he is bobbling his head around.

Tristan is in his best mood first thing in the morning.  This morning during tummy time, I was able to capture this clear perfect shot of him lifting his head.  He put great height into it too!  Good job little sweetie!  I was so proud to have finally gotten a good shot, I entered it into a fun photo contest.  Most the entries so far (and there aren't many) are of older babies.  Tristan is the youngest so I think he should get extra points for that :)  If you like his tummy time picture too, please vote for him here: Tummy Time Photo Contest on BabyCenter.ca

Monday, December 29, 2008

A few hours without Tristan

Yesterday, I left Tristan alone with Jean-Louis for a few hours while I took off to the Metrotown area. I had to go to the walk-in-clinic to see the doctor about the severe allergic reaction on my skin. I still have no idea what I'm allergic to but it is the worst skin rash I have ever experienced. I thought my eczema and cold hives were bad enough and now this :( It's a hot red rash all over my arms and spreading all over my body starting with small red blotches. It's super itchy and I don't know how much longer I can take it. I am now on antibiotics (yes, again) and stronger hydrocortisone cream. I'm so glad I went yesterday because it's getting worst. The rash is creeping up on my breasts too. I think I would be quite devastated if I couldn't breastfeed because of it. When will all these skin problems be over! Can't wait until the spring... unfortunately, winter just started :(

Ok, I kind of went off topic there for a minute. Yes, so for the first time since giving birth, I left Tristan's side. I went to the doctors and then to the mall and it felt really weird to be by myself. Without Jean-Louis too. It sure felt weird. Did I miss Tristan? Not too much but when I got home, I sure was happy to see him. Jean-Louis seemed to have had a great time with him while I was gone. They apparently played the entire time, which was great! I told him not to let Tristan sleep or cry the entire time and he didn't :) I think they bonded very well during that time.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sleeping, feeding, and crying

Sleeping, feeding, and crying are the three main things that Tristan does these days.  Jean-Louis estimates that Tristan cries probably 3 hours a day but it doesn't seem as much to me since it's spread out over 24 hours.  Anyway, up to 4 hours a day is normal for a baby at his age.

Tristan is cooing more lately.  It's great to see him become more and more like a big baby.  He's starting to realize he's got arms, legs, hands etc.  One cute thing I observed a couple of days again when I was breastfeeding him was that he had both his hands on my breast and he started to press at them, as though he knew that was how he could pump out more milk.  It happened about 3 times so far so I don't know if it was intentional or not.

Tristan is smiling more too but I'm still not sure if it's a reaction to us or if it's still just gas.  He's suppose to smile within 2 months of birth though.  I think he recognizes me now or at least he knows what I smell like.  Sometimes when Jean-Louis can't calm him down when he's crying, I can.  He says it's because he knows the smell of his mother.  Probably true.  After all I do breastfeed him like 10 times a day.  Knowing that I can stop him from crying when no one else can, does makes me feel special :)  It's only a matter of time before Jean-Louis feels the same way.  Right now, I don't think he feels very adequate as a father.  He just needs to be a bit more patient and accept all the crying as perfectly normal.  The worst is yet to come I think.  Crying is suppose to peak at 6 weeks to 2 months.  Eeeeks!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tristan's first Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

I just can't let today go by without mentioning that it's Tristan's first Christmas. Unfortunately, we did not decorate the house :( That's my fault, I should have decorated back at the beginning of November. I did plan to get a fresh tree this year but then things got a little nuts when Tristan arrived. Next year for sure!

One thing we didn't skip this year was a turkey dinner. It was the simplest Christmas dinner I had ever had! For those who know me, I typically go crazy over the holidays and end up with 10-12 cooked dishes. This year, we even had to buy a couple of our dishes. It was plenty though since we didn't have a lot of time to enjoy it together. Compared to what we have been able to eat lately, it was definitely a feast and I'm glad we have lots of leftovers for the next few days!

BTW, Tristan is exactly 5 weeks old today. Wow. Time sure goes by.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snow, snow, and more snow


It's Christmas Eve and it's snowing! It has been snowing quite a bit lately and the forecast calls for snow on Christmas day as well. The entire country will be covered in snow for Christmas. The last time that happened was back in 1971. Yes, it is beautiful but many of us are now "snowed-in." Luckily, we live in an area where we can walk everywhere.

All of our Christmas plans have fallen through due to the weather. Looks like we will be staying put at home and having ourselves a small turkey dinner alone. That's okay since Tristan is keeping us very busy! Thank goodness for video Skype.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tristan is 1 month old

Wow, we have survived 1 month with a newborn!  And Tristan has survived 1 month with us :)  Technically speaking, I believe starting tomorrow, he is no longer considered a newborn.

Today, we were planning to go over to Victoria to celebrate his important 1 month birthday "Chinese-style" but we had to cancel the trip due to cold weather.  Instead, I was told just to boil and color a few eggs red and eat that with roast pork.  Sure, why not!  We were going to get a cake too but we weren't organized enough to get one when Jean-Louis made the grocery shopping trip early this morning.  We had no food at home and ended up having breakfast at around noon, when he came home with bran muffins.  It really is very hard to do house work while taking care of a baby.  How do others do it so well?  It seems like all day we have been taking turns doing house work but there is so much more to do.  Tonight after dinner, we will reward ourselves with a sit down rental movie, Kung Fu Panda.  Tristan can even watch too if he's not sleeping.  He'll probably only cry though so it's best he does sleep :)


Friday, December 19, 2008

Another rough night

Man, just when I thought we were progressing and then another sleepless night.  Tristan was completely passed out for most of the evening, which I thought was a bad sign.  When it was time to sleep, he was wide awake of course.  He woke up every 1-2 hours to feed last night and did not go to sleep after each feeding either.  I was pooped!  With all the feeding and rocking him to sleep, I didn't get to snooze much.  He kept spitting up milk too, which is probably why he became hungry more often.  I did what I could to avoid spits.  I moved slowly, held him upright for a bit and made sure he drank slowly.

Okay, I got one last thing I need to vent about.  My nipples are screaming for their lives again.  Night feedings are bad because I'm tired and we are both wearing a ton of clothes, which all makes latching on properly more difficult.  Tristan doesn't make it easy either when he only opens a small mouth.  Plus I'm so uncomfortable.  Feeding in bed with pillows is uncomfortable.  Feeding in the chair with the foot stool is uncomfortable.  It's so cold and I had another itch attack from my eczema and cold hives.  My arms are starting to look bloody from all my scratching - it's gross but it feels so gooood to scratch.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And now we are three...


It had just been the 2 of us for the past 7 years since we were married but now we are 3 and it's taking a bit of getting used to.  It's sort of hard to grasp the idea that we are becoming more like a family.  We actually have a child now.... wow!  A biological child that is part me and part Jean-Louis.  How amazing is that?!?!  Again, wow!  Listen to me - can you tell I'm a parent newbie?  I can't be the only one that thinks the whole concept of human reproduction is fascinating and miraculous, am I?  There's nothing that makes you feel more womanly and human than going through pregnancy and birth.  I still can't believe I got to experience it all.  Now, for being a mommy.... that's another adventure I'm looking forward to :)  To be able to see Tristan grow and develop over the next little bit and cherish every moment of it - this is a lifetime opportunity.  He's giving us a lot of stress these days but no matter what challenges are thrown our way, we will still be there to support and encourage him through all his tough milestones.

I finally have a routine going that enables me to snooze more during the day and I'm beginning to feel like there is a bit more time to do things now.  I got to hand wash some of Tristan's clothes and got to prepare and eat my lunch in peace today.  Yay!  I also cleaned up the dirty stove area this morning... it was a brief clean but already I feel so much better.  I can't stand filth - yuk!  I'm also starting to read more about breastfeeding and taking care of a baby.  Slowly but surely, things are looking brighter.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The challenges of breastfeeding

 It's been 3 weeks now since I've been breastfeeding Tristan.  However, since I didn't initially have enough milk, he has only been exclusively breastfed for just over a week now.  We went to the doctors yesterday and he has gained 7 ounces since last week so he's definitely getting enough milk!  Phew.  I was worried that we would have to supplement with formula again.

Breastfeeding is tough.  Getting comfortable with pillows, with all my aches and pains, and then latching him on takes a bit of time.  Sometimes, he just doesn't open his mouth very wide... then I have to wait until he cries and then shove the boob in.  This of course has to happen very quickly else the opportunity is lost.  Tristan still does not know that he has arms and legs so he has no control over them.  His arms are constantly in the way so that presents a challenge too.  And boy, is he strong!  He wails his arms and I have to use a lot of force to move them out of the way.  His suck is so strong too.  Babies already suck in the womb so when they are out sucking is natural to them.  My breasts used to scream of horror every time feeding time came around but now, because of my inflammation and itchiness, it's actually a nice relief when he sucks.  I have learned to accept blistering nipples and it hurts less and less now but I am starting to develop a sort of infection and inflammation on my breasts.  My doctor says it may be because I don't feed on both breasts each time.  She was the one that recommended I feed on one and alternate until he is satisfied.  Now, I'm sort of forcing him on both breasts for the same amount of time.  It's been 2 days since I've done this and my breasts are still very itchy.  I'm going to wait another day and see if things improve.  If it doesn't, I will have to get the antibiotics my doctors prescribed for me :(

Tristan may be addicted to the breast.  It doesn't really surprise me that he would develop an addiction to it since he's on it for like 5 hours a day over 10-12 feedings.  It's warm, it fills his tummy, he feels safe next to me and so on.  If I let him, he could spend 24 hours just on the breast feeding and sleeping.  So now, when he's off the breast and not sleeping, he's searching for it.  Sucking on it soothes him and sometimes he's not hungry and just wants to suck.  I don't want to let him do this but at times I'm fooled too.  We debated back and forth, did some research, and have finally decided to buy him a pacifier.  We will only resort to the pacifier when all else fails.  We used it for the first time last night with little success.  When I breastfed him afterwards at 2 or 3 AM, I noticed he started to suck a little funny.  It was just the one time so I'm not sure if it had to do with the pacifier.  I'll have to monitor it long term and see what I can make of it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

First day alone with Tristan

Jean-Louis went back to work today after taking 2 weeks off.  We both didn't have a great night since Tristan wouldn't feed and sleep like we had hoped.  I was a bit scared to be alone with him since I couldn't watch him all the time by myself.  Forget about cooking - it's hard just to heat up pre-cooked food and sit down to eat it.  I had to leave him several times crying just so I could pee, wash the dishes, etc.  Tristan wouldn't sleep much today so that may be good news for us tonight.  I'm certainly crossing my fingers.

Today I was able to accomplish pretty much nothing aside from taking care of Tristan.  Feeding him is still very demanding.  It's mostly every 2 hours and some times 3 if he has a good feeding in the previous session.  I was counting the number of times we feed and it's around 10-12 times a day.  The feeding sessions last around 20-30 minutes each and based on those numbers, we estimate that I spend 30-35 hours a week just feeding him.  That's a lot of breast time!  It's almost a full time job alone to feed him.  Luckily, diapering has tapered off a bit.  We change him maybe 6-7 times a day now.  The first 2 weeks we actually went through 132 diaper changes :(  Eeeks!  It's so wasteful but was necessary for us newbies.  This is a big learning process for us and we're becoming more and more efficient and conservative every day at how we handle Tristan.

When Jean-Louis came home, I finally got a chance to get something done.  I finished scanning all the photos my mom dropped off.  Tonight, I also got to prepare a claims forms for our extended health coverage and now I'm blogging a little :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pregnancy timeline complete

I viewed a pregnancy timeline video on youtube once and thought it was so cool. When we found out we were expecting, I wanted to do the same thing. We started out taking pictures once every month and then some time in my second trimester, we took pictures every two weeks. We tried our best to take it around the same position on the wall but hey, we're amateurs! Piecing everything together in iMovie produced the following very unprofessional video. I still like it and it's better than nothing :)

video

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Recap of the first 2 weeks

As expected, our lives have changed drastically. What we didn't expect is how hard the adjustment has been. We're going on 3-4 hours of sleep a day now and it's hard, especially since I'm used to at least 8 hours of sleep. Tristan is exactly 2 weeks old today and needs us a lot right now. Being there for him doesn't allow us much time to do things for ourselves. I barely have time to read and reply to emails. There is so much I want to blog about but I have no time to!

Postpartum is tough. I'm still very sore "down there" and am still relying on pain killers for relief. I would cut myself off except that breastfeeding requires me to sit a lot and I can't really. We made a donut out of a big towel and I sit on that, which helps a bit. What surprised me about postpartum is how swollen you can get from all the water retention after birth and being on the IV therapy. My feet were huge the first week, my face was round, my tongue was huge and it felt funny to brush it, my hands huge... I looked so different and I was kind of scared. Another thing that I didn't read about was how sore your body muscles would be from the labour and birth. When you are pushing, you are using all your muscles, especially, your legs and arms. After 9 months of taking it relatively easy and not using much muscle, I was really sore for days. It was like going for a long hard run after taking a break from running for months. My arms were so sore and weak; I was afraid to carry Tristan the first few days. Breastfeeding was a big challenge as a result. Other things I experienced or am experiencing during postpartum include the baby blues, stinging when I urinate, breast engorgement, and sore nipples.

The transition home from the hospital was a bit nerve wrecking.  We could no longer rely on the help of nurses and had to clean up after ourselves.  The day we left the hospital, I remembered my friend telling me that it was so emotional for her and it made her cry.  Not surprisingly, I cried too as we dressed Tristan in his going-home clothes and strapped him in his car seat.  He was asleep and looked like such an angel.  I couldn't believe we were taking him home with us forever.  Luckily, we were not totally alone for our first few days at home.  My parents come over from Victoria and they stayed with us for 2 nights.  They cooked for us, stocked up our fridge and freezer, and watched Tristan while Jean-Louis helped me in the shower.  We were not very good hosts though.  I was easily irritated at the time and I think they sensed it too.

Tristan is a sweetheart.  I can't believe he is mine.  How was it ever possible for this little human being to grow inside me and come out?  Reproduction is so fascinating and I can't believe I got to experience it.  I am very grateful.  The 9 months of pregnancy felt a bit difficult for me with all the nausea, heartburn, rib spasms, leg cramps, and discomfort and then the labour experience was exhausting and such an ordeal.  All of this makes the prize at the end even sweeter :)   Tristan is healthy and I'm so thankful!  Nothing about it was easy and I appreciate that and have even more respect for pregnant woman and moms now.

Tristan cries a lot.  Other parents may disagree with me but I find that he cries a lot.  When he cries and we have checked everything and still can't figure out what's wrong, it's so frustrating :(  Some nights are better than others.  Last night for instance, we couldn't sleep until 6AM since he wouldn't sleep.  He was tired and hungry and I fed him on and off all through the night.  Part of the reason why we think he won't sleep is that he hates his crib.  It's cold, dark and he's alone so I don't blame the guy.  I think we may need to implement a co-sleeping system and have him bed with us for the first little while.  If it works, he will sleep better and so will we.  We need our strength to take care of him and my milk production relies on good rest, which is extremely hard to come by these days.  We certainly don't want him to get used to it though, which is why we are a bit hesitant to do this.

Feed, feed, feed.  We breastfeed 8-10 times a day or every 2-3 hours.  On top of recording how often and how long we feed on each breast, we have to record all his pees and poops.  Trust me we never thought we would be writing all this down.  The healthcare nurse asks for this when she contacts you so you must keep a record of it.  Initially at the hospital, we were told to wake the baby up every 3 hours max and force feed him.  Because my milk did not come in the first few days, we supplemented with ready-to-feed formula using a finger and syringe.  Our routine was to feed on the breasts first, then finger feed with colostrum we pumped in the previous session, and then finally top up with formula from a bottle.  Poor little Tristan was a bit jaundice the first few days too so he was extremely tired.  So were we!  This feeding routine lasted 2 hours and then we would have an hour rest and then it was time to feed again.  On and on this went and we were so pooped!  It was only when the visiting healthcare nurse told us to stop and that we were exhausting ourselves and the baby did we finally change our routine.  We then started to eliminate the finger feeding and breast pumping and cut our feeding time in half.  Thank goodness!

As new parents, we have a lot to learn and much to get used to.  Constantly tending to the baby will take awhile to get used to.  We're so used to being just the two of us.  It's not like you are babysitting and then at the end of the day you get to hand the baby over and tell yourself that you can sleep in the next day.  This is our baby and he is here to stay permanently.  It's pretty scary.  And then there are disasters.  I wasn't aware changing a little boy's diaper was so challenging.  He pees everywhere every time we try to change him!  Urine even sprayed in his mouth one time and he was choking on it.  I felt like a horrible mom :(  I fed him a bit of breast milk to help wash it down but I was upset.  We're getting better and better at dodging his urine now but accidents still frequently occur.

Overall, things have been going pretty well so far.  We've survived 2 weeks with a newborn and that in itself is impressive!  Just taking it one day at a time.  I know they don't stay small for long so we're cherishing every moment of it.  I don't think there has been a day that has gone by without us taking any pictures of him.  Will post more on the blog soon... once our routine is more established.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thank god for Jean-Louis

The first few days at the hospital was bad for me. I was not in the state to take care of Tristan since I couldn't even take care of myself. I had pulled a muscle in my upper leg during my 8th month of pregnancy and thought it was just another pregnancy pain. I limped around and had to climb into bed a certain way so it wouldn't hurt. After the labour the pain only got worst and I had to walk with my one good leg and drag the other around. I couldn't lift the other leg more than ankle height. I needed help getting in and out of bed. This was just one of the many pains that I had but it was the most crippling one for me. I barely held Tristan because I was afraid I would drop him.

Jean-Louis was a saint. We didn't initially plan for him to stay with me at the hospital, especially since I had a vaginal delivery, and he would have for sure slept better at home. He slept in the room with Tristan and I the entire time we were at the hospital. He was basically the sole caretaker of Tristan for the first few days. He had to learn how to hold a newborn, diaper and swaddle for the first time. At night he had to soothe Tristan every time he cried. On top of this, he had to assist me in and out of bed and bring me new ice pads for my swelling. When I wanted to shower, he assisted me in the shower and one of the nurses offered to feed Tristan. He did all this without much sleep, just like me and he was sick too. He caught a cold on the day I went into labour and was sneezing and coughing around us. I was worried Tristan would get sick from him since they were in such close contact but there was nothing we could do about that. All I was able to do was focus on the breastfeeding since I knew that antibodies would be passed on to Tristan to protect him. Tristan did develop a bit of a stuffy nose but apparently it's normal and he's not sick. Thank goodness.

It doesn't end there. Now that we are home, Jean-Louis has taken 2 weeks off of work. He is continually helping out where he can. Without the presence of nurses however, we have our hands full taking care of Tristan and doing house chores. Luckily, I am feeling stronger and stronger each day so I'm able to help out more. Still it's a challenge since we're both still sleep deprived and it seems all we do in the day is feed, feed, and feed. Either we feed Tristan or we have to cook and feed ourselves.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Patient care at Burnaby Hospital's Maternity Unit

We were at the hospital for 3 and a half days.  I don't have much experience being at hospitals but I was overall very impressed with the patient care at Burnaby General.  The staff were very knowledgeable and friendly and I don't know if we could have made the transition home without their help.

Several doctors, including my Obstetrician served me, while the nurses and pediatrician served baby Tristan.  In and out they came checking to make sure I was on my way to recovery and checking that Tristan was healthy.  Giving birth to Tristan was rough on my uterus and I bled a lot.  The first 24 hours I had major blood clots and they had to put me back on IV therapy to control the bleeding.  I also couldn't pee because of all the swelling so I had the urine catheter tube in me for 48 hours after delivery.

The nursing staff at Burnaby General helped us with breastfeeding, showed us how to bathe Tristan, answered all our questions and concerns, and gave us access to all sorts of supplies including diapers, towels, pads, clean linens, pillows, breast pump, baby formula, pain-killers etc.  Jean-Louis and I always joked about how we are finally taking advantage of the MSP that we pay every month.  We're typically healthy and probably only visit the doctors at the clinic once every year or two.  This pregnancy and having Tristan has totally made us use the MSP services :)

We would like to thank Johanna, our assigned nurse in the birthing suite, and Brooke, Nadia, Noreen, and Jill from the Maternity Ward.  These girls are awesome caretakers!

Last but not least, we are thankful for our assigned visiting nurse, Donna.  Within 24 hours of being discharged from the hospital, we were contacted by Donna from the Fraser Health Department. She contacted us first by phone to see how things were going with the baby and myself. She was very concerned and it was very helpful and reassuring to talk to her. She then visited us at home soon after and gave us a truck load of reading material about taking care of the baby. There is so much to know! Donna weighed Tristan and we went through breastfeeding again. We were so tired and she could tell. She also complimented us on all our efforts, which was nice to hear.  She then followed up during the week with more phone calls and then again the next week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Revisiting the labour experience

The worst time to go into labour is probably when you just crawl into bed at night. This is what happened to us. To make things worst, I went to bed hungry that night. I only had fruit and yogurt for dinner and my stomach was growling. That was the start of a very long night...

My water broke and we arrived at the hospital just before 1 AM. Contractions started soon after so we were moved to the birthing suite for the night. Because of my Strep B, I had antibiotics given to me right away through an IV tube. It was very early labour for me since I was only 1 cm dilated. At this time, Jean-Louis was feeling a bit light headed and thought he was going to vomit. Contractions were coming around every 5 minutes and were pretty strong. The pain was like a bad stomach ache like you are about to have diarrhea but can't. Each contraction also came with intense lower back pain and more and more blood spewing out. The brand new slippers I brought to the hospital was covered in blood, as well as everything else I wore. Am I allowed to be this graphical on a blog? Anyway, I would totally recommend only wearing hospital gowns and perhaps an underwear you can throw away afterwards. Jean-Louis was massaging me the whole time until he realized it was too tiring and then he resorted to only massaging me during each contraction. I am now healing from bruises on my back and I'm sure his hands and arms were sore for days.

Labour lasted for around 10 hours and then I had to push for around 2 hours. It was absolutely brutal. I had no energy and no sleep and I barely drank water since my full bladder was interfering with the labour. In fact, I couldn't feel my bladder and couldn't pee so they had to insert a urine catheter to collect my urine at one point. Relaxing so that strong contractions would come was very difficult. I had to breathe long and slow with each contraction but my impulse was to hyperventilate instead. It was bad. Jean-Louis and I practiced massages at home but we didn't do any relaxation exercises. We played our rainforest nature sounds CD and I tried to close my eyes but it was so hard to focus and not think about the pain. When the nurse was around, she would talk to me and her voice would soothe me but Jean-Louis was more of a silent support partner. I can totally see why people hire doulas to accompany them during labour. I would totally recommend hiring a doula for your first labour experience, especially if your support partner is quiet like mine. Jean-Louis and I thought we were well prepared but we could have been better prepared for sure. It was a good thing we packed a lot of stuff in our hospital bag because we ended up using most of what was in it.

I was obviously in pain when I approached the transition phase of labour. I couldn't really tell the difference between the active and transition phase. The nurse kept asking me if I wanted to take something for the pain and I responded no each time, although I was ready to give up. Finally, I did try the laughing gas for a few contractions. It's suppose to relax you and I need to calm down so that harder contractions would come and dilate my cervix. I'm not sure if it helped much but it did make me aware of my breathing. When I got a bit dizzy, I stopped using it. At this point, it so hard not to push because with each wave of contraction, my body would automatically push down. Positioning did not help me with this, although I read it would.


Pushing seemed like it lasted forever. At this point, I hardly had any strength. I was sucking on ice chips and sweating like nuts. My obstetrician suggested I have an episiotomy and I agreed. I felt no pain from it. Then it was decided that we would use a vacuum too :( These were all still better alternatives to having surgery, which was what I feared of most. The vacuum, along with my pushing finally did it and baby Tristan, all 8 pounds 2.6 ounces of him, emerged all at once right onto my chest. What a relief! And boy did he feel heavy. He cried instantly. I didn't know what to think.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Born November 20th...

Tristan Gabriel has finally entered the world at last. Baby is healthy and we feel like the luckiest people in the world. I have lots to blog about but I am still recovering from the traumatic experience and am so sleep deprived right now. Lots more coming soon - I promise.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Now our iPhone app is also waiting for the labour

Some of you may have recalled me talking about a geeky project I was involved with Jean-Louis in my first blog post.  Well, our nice expectant-baby has given us enough time to finish a working version of the app so that we can use it for when I go into labour.  Congratulations to Jean-Louis for he was accepted into the iPhone Developer Program this week (finally!).  That allowed him to install our app on the iTouch yesterday!

This app is going to work marvelously for what we were looking for!  Once we sat down to discuss about all the ideas and started implementing it, we found out that there are many other apps and programs already out there which do similar things - go figure!  That's okay, ours is original since we were not influenced by any of these when we first came up with our plan :)  Why the heck are we doing this?  Well, it's practical and why not?  I'm a UI Designer, specialized in Human-Computer Interaction, and Jean-Louis is a Software Engineer, with previous experience working with Symbian and handheld devices,  so this is the sort of thing we enjoy doing ;)  Okay, we're geeks but he's 10 times more geeky than I am!

I'm excited to be the first one to user test it for us!  Afterwards, we will refine it and then I will continue to research a bit more so we can further improve it for an initial release.  It will still be awhile before we will make it available through the App Store.  We would like to test it more with actual users first.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wow, 39 weeks!

We didn't think we would make it this far.  Being pregnant for 39 weeks is a long time.  This baby is definitely taking its sweet time!  I can tell you right now some of his clothes won't fit him anymore (likely not anyway).  Jean-Louis and I were talking and we both agreed that it was when he installed the base of the car seat in the car a couple of weeks ago that jinxed us.  In fact, we have the car seat ready in the living room too - double jinx!

Today was another doctor's appointment day.  Everything seems to be in order and it's possible I may have dilated just 1 cm but it could still be days or weeks away I guess.  The good news is I seemed to have lost 2 pounds :)  I was quite pleased about that.  It's true I haven't been very hungry lately and decided to eat less.  I think I'll keep that up :)  Because the pregnancy is still on, I'm quite worried that the baby is going to be huge.  The more weight you gain, the higher the risk you have of delivering a heavy baby says postings on New York Times and babycenter.  When we asked our doctor how heavy she thought the baby was, she replied about 8 pounds.  That's huge man!  Am I going to be able to push it out and survive?  8 pounds now but in a week, it will be 9 pounds probably :(  Our next doctor's appointment is next Friday, the 21st.  Man, I sure hope we don't have to go to that appointment.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We're still here

It seems like everyone now has their own predictions of when the baby will arrive. Some are saying the 14th, 15th, or 17th. The 18th would be somewhat of a lucky number since the Chinese believe "8's" are lucky. However, we are already lucky since it's 2008 :) For myself, I just hope the arrival day will be soon since that will give me more time to spend with him before starting work again in January. Of course, January is just tentative right now. I don't want to disappoint anyone.

What have I been doing to pass time? Well, I'm trying to enjoy the pregnancy or what's left of it. We've taken some pictures lately as a souvenir for memories and I've been spending the last few days photoshopping :) Jean-Louis hasn't seen them all yet so once we decide what's good, we're going to print some in color and black/white. I may even display a couple here - I don't know yet.

Been walking every day still but it is becoming increasingly difficult because I'm very uncomfortable walking, am slow, and now, we're getting back home when it's dark outside. Some times it's raining too but this is the season! We just hope it doesn't snow when we have to head to the hospital.

Overall, I'm still feeling pretty good. My leg cramps are getting worst and so is my lower back pain. I'm already so huge but it appears I'm still expanding - eeks! Yeah, hard to believe. It's amazing how your belly can stretch so much. Everything about pregnancy amazes me :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Celebrating 10 years as a couple

Today, Jean-Louis and I are celebrating 10 years as a couple.  We chose our vacation in Hawaii in July for this reason.  Hawaii is where we met and we've been inseparable since then.  Well, we did have a long distance relationship for about 3 years but since we got married we probably spent no more than one day apart.  Ok, so we weren't totally inseparable.

To mark the occasion, we decided to buy groceries and cook a special meal at home.  We had lobster (Hawaiian style), gai lan beef, fish in yogurt sauce, all served with brown rice and then chestnut cake.  Yummy and are we ever stuffed!!!  We slaved for a few hours this afternoon but we get to feast for several days :)

All the shopping, cooking, and walking after we ate just made me exhausted.  I was actually starting to fall asleep at the table while eating since I was so full and I didn't sleep well at all last night.  I'm so glad to be sitting at the computer right now!  My feet are so sore :(  That's the last big meal we will be cooking for ourselves until petit-boy arrives.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My friend just had her baby!

November 8, 2008 (1188) is a good day to have a baby :) Congratulations to my good friend in Victoria, who just had her baby this morning! We were pregnancy sync since our due dates were just 1 day apart. Mommy and baby are doing well. We're so happy for her. It's her second child. She may be petite but she is some warrior. She did all this while she was sick!

Ok, now it's petit-boy's turn! When are you going to arrive for us? Jean-Louis and I are very anxious to meet you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

38 weeks and counting...

Here we are - just 2 weeks away. I'm feeling about the same, except that I ache more when I sleep, my rib spasms are worst, and the baby is moving more lately.

What actually triggers labour? I read an article online that suggests that it's actually the baby that triggers the labour, not the mother, which was what was believed in the past. The theories suggest that once the baby is "ready" it will release either an enzyme or its adrenal glands will send a signal to start the labour process. However, no one really knows what triggers labour. Sort of like how no one really knows why a baby hiccups in your belly. A possible theory here is that it is preparing them to breathe in the outside world. Speaking of hiccups, I'm feeling them right now! Ahh, so many pregnancy mysteries...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Doctor's appointment

We just got back from the doctors. We found out that I tested positive for Strep B. The doctor tells us that there is a 50/50 chance of getting it so it's very common.  However, I read that anywhere from 15% to 40% of women carry Group B Strep bacteria.  I'm still bummed that I have to be on antibiotics when I go into labour :( Luckily, I will still be able to walk around. I decided to research a bit more about Strep B or Group B Streptococcus and it's sort of frightening. Should I be worried?

We wanted to know how far along we really were and if I have started to dilate yet. They won't examine you though until you are 38 weeks along. Our next appointment is set for November 14th. I'm starting to think the baby is going to take its precious time to exit. I have to keep busy so I don't have to think about all the discomfort. Maybe I'll start to revamp our company website after all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Packing for the hospital

It is suggested that you pack a suitcase before going into labour.  Different sources will tell you slightly different things and what you actually bring will vary from person to person.  Here are some of the typical things most sources recommend:
  • Copies of birth plan
  • Comfortable clothes like sweat suits
  • Nursing bras
  • Slippers, socks
  • Several pairs of underwear
  • Soap, shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste/toothbrush
  • Music
  • Partner's swimming trunks (for helping you in the shower during labour)
  • Food/snacks for your partner
  • Sleeping items for your partner, if he/she is staying the night
  • Sanitary pads
  • Camera
  • Baby clothes, blanket for going home
  • Car seat (best brought in the day you leave)
I think there are a lot more things to bring and it's probably best to be safe and pack more, in case you end up having to go through surgery and staying longer at the hospital.  You could always ask your partner to grab things for you from home, given that you don't live that far from the hospital.  However, since I am the main homemaker, it's probably easier and more efficient for me to just plan and pack everything we could possibly need now.  Now, you don't want to look like you are about to go on vacation by showing up at the hospital with 2 check-in luggages.  In fact, the staff at the hospital do stress that storage space is limited and we should only pack a small bag.  So we'll try to keep things to a minimal and pack efficiently so that we can fit as much as possible in our little bag :)

Here are things you may also want to pack:
  • Coins for parking
  • Insurance info so that you can bill your semi-private or private room
  • Hair brush or comb, hair tier
  • Chap stick or lip gloss
  • Hand lotion, face moisturizer
  • Massage tools that you have practiced with
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Phone numbers and phone card
  • Battery charger, extra memory cards for your camera
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Breast-feeding cream for nipples
  • 2 diapers
  • iTouch or watch
  • Juice boxes, celebratory drink for after the delivery
  • Plastic bags for dirty laundry
  • Going home outfit for yourself
  • Baby-on-board sign
  • Book(s) to read
Did I miss anything?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Baby arrival month

I had a nightmare last night. I dreamed that I was bleeding and I couldn't get a hold of Jean-Louis at work to take me to the hospital. I kept trying to call but couldn't dial the right number and skype wasn't working either. I imagine I will have more stress-related dreams as the days pass by - pfft :(

I'm hoping the baby will arrive early some time this week, preferably on the weekend. I heard that it's common for the baby to arrive two weeks early and that would be this weekend for us. I'm feeling quite uncomfortable these days and anxiety is building up. Heartburn, killer leg cramps, huge belly, baby hiccups, back pain - I can't wait for all this to go away already! I also feel a bit helpless and am having to rely more and more on Jean-Louis. He's been great at helping out with everything but I sort of wish I could do more. I have never been this useless before. I can't imagine doing all this without Jean-Louis's support. I think I'd be doom without him here.

Here is a list of my fears entering into labour and birth:
  • Drug use (because the labour has gone on too long or there is a problem)
  • C-section (eeks! surgery!)
  • Something wrong with the baby
  • Not being able to breastfeed
  • Postpartum depression

Saturday, November 1, 2008

For those who don't know me

I'm Susan. I live in the Greater Vancouver Area and I'm about to be a mommy for the first time. Hooray! I'm usually a very private person and I wasn't sure if blogging was the right thing for me. I do have a lot to share and hope that others who read my posts can connect with me in some way. The goal of this blog is to share my life as a new mommy in my 30s and to document this great journey into parenthood for my husband, Jean-Louis, and I.

As a couple, married for 7 years now, we've been through many up and downs and getting pregnant was like winning the lottery for us! We can't wait to tell the world and that's big for us since we're typically reserved and quiet. I will try to keep the blog as interesting as I can. Visit often and please feel free to comment. We would love to hear from you :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Milestone Day: 37 Weeks Gestation

Happy Halloween Everyone!  I have an announcement to make.  We have finally reached our full term!  37 weeks is a long, long time.

For the first time in many years, I will not be carving a pumpkin :(  Carving is hard work and a bit too physical for me right now in my state.  This Halloween is going to slip by without notice here.  We don't even have candy but no one comes around anyway.  To make it worst for kids this year, it's been raining all day.  But it's beautiful outside with all the autumn leaves falling on the ground though.  This used to be my favorite season every time someone asked me.  That kind of makes it appropriate to be having a baby soon.

How am I feeling?  The same and ready.  Well, sort of ready.  I could use a couple more days.  Jean-Louis needs those few extra days to build me our app on his iTouch.  I actually look forward to testing this geeky project of ours :)  So yeah, maybe after this weekend, we'll be "ready."
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