Baby

Catching up on us

I really need to get better at not disappearing from off the face of the Earth for weeks at a time like this…

So here is a quick post to catch you up on what is going on over here.

Baby is doing great! – Speaking of Baby, here are some pictures!

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That’s the first real of Baby’s smiles we finally caught on camera! Melt your heart!

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She’s seven weeks today and has already changed so much! She finally seems to be acknowledging our presence and efforts to make her happy. She has thrown us a good amount of smiles and even allows herself to be entertained once in a while. She can lie awake for longer periods of time, looking around and even smiling at us if we speak in exact right “fairytalie” high-pitched voice. This seems to really float her boat. And her smile is beautiful enough that we don’t care about sounding stupid. Sneaky baby…

These last few weeks have been full of larger social gatherings. Marcus’ entire family came to Denmark to see our little girl and we’ve had a few dinners with my side as well. So her social skills have really been challenged. But the way that she saw fit to best handle the situation was to mentally leave the room and fall asleep. All day.

So there has been a lot of sleeping – which has made Mom and Dad’s lives easier, but also a bit boring. Funny how you can spend hours trying to calm her down, feeding, changing, singing, walking, feeding again, and when she finally falls asleep you miss her so much you wake her back up just so you can hang out again. – But when we’re at home just the three of us she is becoming quite talkative. My favorite thing is lying in bed having our first baby-conversations. It’s seriously the best thing ever!

Well… as for me, now just seven weeks after giving birth I received my first ever “Are you pregnant again?”. A very unexpected slap in the face – though I’m sure it wasn’t meant that way. But it sure motivated me to work even harder this coming week to get back into shape.

In all honesty I wanted to respond: “No I’m not. Actually I’m feeling better than I have for almost a year!” Cause I am! Working out (slowly as it may be) is getting me back on my feet faster than I expected! I don’t feel weak or tired and I’m enjoying being able to be physically agile in ways that I haven’t been since before I got pregnant. So thank you very much but I am working as hard as I can at the moment to suck this belly back in!

Can I just take another moment to praise Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide one more time? I really love this workout program. It is so flexible and absolutely perfect for me to be able to do on my own time! I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to lose some weight, tone up or just feel a lot better! I was never the working out type of person – but I cannot emphasize enough how much better it makes me feel.

For the first time in my life I can honestly say I am happy with my eating habits. Over four weeks I have gone from wanting sweets once a day to once a week. By now I actually look forward to eating and planning to make healthy food because I know it will make me feel better. It feels good now, but I know I won’t fully appreciate having reached this milestone before I see the results it will eventually bring.

And i dropped school for now and I’m instead doing a translation job from home that I can easily balance and time around Baby. Hallelujah!

Right now we’re looking forward to Baby turning 2 months (I love scanning Pinterest for baby development articles and infographics as often as possible!), Thanksgiving (best meal of the year!), seeing some snow (that’s just me – Hawaii didn’t really deliver last year) and of course CHRISTMAS! Can’t. Wait.

More pictures! – some of these are pictures I have posted on my Instagram account. If you would like more regular picture updates of baby or my working out you can follow me at @rebecca.celeste.

IMG_4842 IMG_4747Here is Baby joining me for a morning workout. We both need to practice our push-ups!

What I wish I had known before I gave birth and became a Mother

imageTo my past pregnant self,

Hi! How are you holding up? I’d bet your feet hurt, you feel heavy and that all you can think about is how much easier life will be if you can just survive labor.

Well… Yes and no…

First of all, you WILL survive labor. Yes, it will be hard and definitely the most physically painfully traumatic experience of your life, but seriously, trust me, you will survive it. You will be completely amazed at what your body can actually do, and though it’ll hurt like heck, you will never again feel as cool.

Oh and just wait for that first meal after it’s over. Seriously, best meal of your life!

You may be constantly on your toes wondering if it’s time every time a small contraction comes, maybe even worrying what will happen if you don’t notice labor starting and you don’t make it to the hospital (who am I kidding, I know you are worrying exactly that!) but don’t worry, you will notice. And seriously just trust your body. It knows what it’s doing. Even if you may not.

As for all the baby stuff. Don’t worry about that either. By then you will know exactly what to do, even if your body won’t.

Something you do want to be thinking about is breast feeding – I know you want you. And you need to keep reminding yourself of that, because it’s not as easy as it looks in the beginning. You really need to make that decision now and stick to it!

Also, I suggest you hurry on down to the store and buy a big package of the thickest pads you can find (or send your husband- I know how he loves buying stuff like that!). You’ll need them. Big time.

Also please don’t expect to feel amazing all at once after the baby is out and you aren’t pregnant anymore. Give that a couple of weeks. In fact, just expect the first two weeks to be pretty crappy – except for having the baby, really try to enjoy all the cuteness and try to forget about everything else if you can.

And… Don’t listen to all your single friends and your newlywed friends who say it’ll be hard and that you’ll probably miss just being the two of you. You will definitely have those moments once every rare while, but all in all you will love that baby so much that to some extent you will forget that there was ever a time where she (or he) wasn’t there. You won’t sigh and look forward to the day when your last kid moves out and you can go back to being alone. You will on the other hand look forward to every single milestone your baby will go through. You will actually Google every single week what new things your baby is learning every time she (or he) turns another week or month.

So just relax… Go on a date, and buy an extra ice cream while looking fat is still okay. Life will go on after the day you give birth, and it will be a rich and exciting whole new world.

 

I really love walks – challenging to be a mom

photo (57) (1)Life has been pretty crazy for a few weeks. New things and still new routines every single day and a baby that keeps surprising us with showing new sides of her developing body and personality.

But today I got to slow down time a little. Just enough to be able to hear my own thoughts again and for just long enough to catch my breath and recharge.

Baby Girl and I went for a walk. A good long walk, because I’m back to exercising. At least as much as my body permits right now. In other words, the 5.5km walk today was pushing it, but it felt good. I figured I’d take Baby with me, to give Dad some alone time and also because I’ve noticed Baby strongly prefers the stroller over the car seat.

I really love walks. Especially the longer ones. Even if you don’t have anything major to think about it still does the trick. It feels like quality time with yourself – like old friends getting the chance to catch up. And I really needed to catch up.

It gave me the time to really zoom out and reflect on my life. It’s changed a bit since I really looked at it last. I’m a mom. I survived labor and I have a little person who entirely depends on me to stay alive and to stay happy. That’s huge. That changes you. And you realize that all of the sudden the future became the present. All those things I’ve been thinking about, hoping for and planning are now accurate. And yet I still didn’t get very much older. I feel like I was juggling and someone just tossed me another three balls. And someway somehow I’m still juggling. So now what?

Well, I realized that, well, this is life. A long line of challenges that keep getting tossed in our direction. And our goal is to manage to keep juggling. My little baby daughter just came into this world. She thinks the hardest things in life are feeling hungry, feeling tired and feeling physically alone. To me, those things are not much to cry about. I’ve found out how to get food when I’m hungry and how to go to sleep when I’m tired and I’ve found out that I’m not alone just because I can’t see, hear or feel my mom. In my life, the hardest parts are having a tiny time consuming baby and keeping my home clean and getting anything done at the same time. To my mom, that’s peanuts. She has even learned how to have a tiny time consuming baby at the same time as having four other kids, putting dinner on the table in a squeaky clean home. And so on and so forth. Until you’re a pro at juggling! I guess?

If that will ever happen. Is there such a thing as a pro juggler? or are we stuck on an endless path of jumping through taller and taller hoops? And is that necessarily a bad thing? I think I know the answer.

There’s not much to do about it… but what I guess I can do is try to have that eternal perspective on my challenges. And by that I mean realizing that it could be a lot worse and that some day I’ll be able to overcome this and many bigger challenges.

And those were thoughts I just really needed to have go through my head to allow myself to get a little ahead.

I really love walks.

photo (55) (1) We’re already embarrassing her by dressing her in this way too big suit. … But she looks so cute!!

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photo (54) (1)We’re trying to teach her to smile more on pictures.

 

First three weeks of life and motherhood

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Like I said, the last three weeks have been quite memorable and extremely educational. Definitely for us but probably – definitely – also for Baby. I can’t believe she’s three weeks already! At the same time I can’t believe we finally made it this far…

People often ask me if parenting is as hard as I thought it would be. It’s definitely as hard but I’m surprised how little it bothers you to get up for the fourth time in the middle of the night, change an explosion of a diaper or just not having your hands free … ever. Because it’s your baby and you love her. And also I guess because it’s natural and instinctive, I realize.

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The hardest part for me has for sure been breastfeeding. Those cozy cuddly bonding moments in a big armchair, mother and child gazing into each other’s eyes… Yeah, they haven’t happened yet. I knew breastfeeding was going to be hard in the beginning but I didn’t know it was gonna be so bad it felt like labor wasn’t quite over. All baby and I could do was keep trying and trust people who said that it would get easier with time. And fortunately, it has and we’re almost to the point where it was totally worth the pain.

The recovery in general was also a bit more than I expected. A lot of bleeding and a lot of feeling really weak and a big flappy blob for a belly. Though this all felt like a huge pain in the butt the first week, now it’s pretty much in the same box as pregnancy and labor: sucked, but it’s a long time ago now.

That’s honestly how I feel about everything I went through now. I’m no where near the point of wanting to get pregnant all over again, but I am however already naive enough to think that ‘it wasn’t really THAT bad’. Silly me… but I enjoy the fantasy. I’ll worry about that next time the stick comes back positive.

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Just like when she was in the womb, Baby is still developing pretty darn fast. When she was new she was just a beautiful little cute ball of swollen fatness that could hardly squint through her heavy eyelids. She didn’t say too much and didn’t bother to interact much. But since then she has grown more alert every day. Now, we enjoy several hours every day with her lying awake, looking around and making the cutest ever cooing sounds.

The absolute best thing for both me and Marcus, I think, has been learning that she truly feels comforted by us and that most of the time when she’s upset it’s because she wants to be close to us. I had a nice experience Sunday before last. We had taken Baby to church for the first time and had spent the rest of the day at my parents’. That evening when we got in the car to go home Baby screamed like she had never done before all the way home. When we were finally parked outside our building I unbuckled and pulled Baby out of her car seat and put her on my shoulder. She immediately fell silent. For the next hour I kept her there, just enjoying the confirmation that she actually knows me and that I can calm her because I am her mom.

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I love her so much and though we’ve never had a conversation and though she hardly even ever looks at me properly, I feel like I know her – and in some ways like I always have.

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The birth story – part 2

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THE STORY CONTINUES…

Mom dropped off Marcus and I in front of the hospital and went to go find parking. She caught up with us even before we reached the elevator because I had to stop for every 10 steps to endure another minute of fiery agony. We got upstairs and soon I was back on the table, and the midwife told me with a smile that I was fully dilated and ready to push whenever my water broke.

Now… thinking back I dread the thought of what would’ve happened if we had stayed home like they told us to – my mom’s face would surely have been the first thing my baby saw and some midwife would’ve had her front teeth knocked out later that day – but at the time I just remember incredible relief. It was almost over!

After the good experience from the tub I managed to ask to give birth in water and we were escorted to a delivery room with a huge deep tub. The room was so hot. I spent the time waiting for the tub to fill at the window under which the radiator was on full steam. Ponytail please! Not soon enough I was climbing into the tub, which was filled with surprisingly warm water. Again, amazing relief washed over my body when I sunk under the surface. I remember heaving a huge “aaaaaah” and the midwife laughing. I found a comfortable position hanging over the edge of the tub and managed to ask if I was allowed to push. I was told I could give a small push at the top of each contraction if I wanted. We just needed the water to break before really getting to work. … which happened on my very first push just after with a surprisingly loud ‘pop’. I looked up at the midwife eagerly, but my immediate happiness was quickly swept away when the midwife asked me to get out of the tub. She thought the amniotic fluid looked a bit green, in which case she needed me on the table. I stared at her in disbelief. We were ready, I was comfortable and we were good to go! Was she kidding?

When I didn’t move, she urged me again and instructed Marcus and Mom to help me out. I waited out another contraction, gathered my strength and slowly got out of the tub. My goodness, that bed was tall and I have no idea where I summoned the abs to heave my legs up.

Five minutes later I was just about comfortable and okay dealing with the contractions on dry land. Then she told me I could get back in the tub. Gosh.

It was absolutely worth it though. The water was as amazing as ever.

By now I was pushing as hard as I could. And more than just once per contraction. In the craziness of all the pain I figured maybe I could impress everyone by pushing her out faster than anyone expected. I’d been told that the pushing part can be as fast as 20 minutes and I was deeply disappointed that I didn’t feel like we were getting anywhere.

Then if you’ll believe it, the midwife asked me to get back out of the tub. Only this time she didn’t ask. She ordered. And she made it clear that I had no time at all to hesitate. Apparently the baby’s heart rate had dropped to half. She was in distress.

How on Earth I got out of the tub and made it over onto the bed, I have no idea. The moment I was out of the water I could feel her, her head between my legs. I trust I don’t need to emphasize how freaky that feels.

But then the midwife told me the most amazing thing. “Just one more good push and you have your baby”. I was a little too under to notice her own stress but Marcus told be afterwards how the mood changed. The baby needed to come out immediately. The midwife called a nurse and asked Marcus and Mom to hold up my legs and me to push harder than I thought I could. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t really tell any longer when I was having a contraction, so I just chose a random moment and told the midwife it was time. And I pushed. And pushed. And then the contraction was over. And still no baby. I guessed what the midwife must have been thinking and decided to just keep pushing. The most amazing push. And as if my body had been severely gassy for 9 months, it deflated in an instant and the baby fell into the midwife’s hands.

Immediate relief washed over me. The tight belly relaxed and all traces of the contractions I’d been enduring for 11 hours immediately disappeared.

Mom and Marcus however experienced a few stressful seconds. Baby was all limp as if dead. The midwife shook her and blew in her face. After just a few seconds she coughed and gave an uneasy cry.

It wasn’t for another few hours that I realized I’d done it all natural. I’m not gonna lie. I felt pretty darn cool.

Then she was on my chest in a blanket and hat. And everyone was smiling and taking pictures.

It was over. There she was. Little Baby Girl. 3:40pm and 52cm and 3680g. Beautiful and healthy. Now we were parents for real, I thought. Yes, I thought! I felt conscious again. So conscious and tired that I couldn’t think of crying. So I just watched Mom and Marcus doing it.

It was really that simple. We were a family. Just like that.

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The birth story – part 1

It happened. The story I’ve been waiting to tell for so long can finally be told! And it’s a good one, so put up your feet.

A week ago exactly I had the hardest and most amazing day of my life so far. It all started at about 4.30 in the morning. I woke up and noticed I was having contractions. This wasn’t a biggie since I’d been having contractions just about every day for months, but the new thing was that I realized my contractions were what had woken me up. That hadn’t happened before. I pulled up our iPad and opened our contraction monitor app and started timing them. After an hour it was clear that there was about 6 minutes between them. I sent my mom a quick text “it’s time.” and woke up Marcus. Next, I called the hospital and was told to wait it out another few hours and even try to go back to sleep. I asked when I should call them up again and she just told me “When you need to”. Wondering when that would be, I jumped in the shower, knowing there was no way in heck I’d be able to fall back asleep. Marcus showered too and we had breakfast and watched a LOT (it felt like) of Modern Family on Netflix.

Being mainly focused on my contractions the next couple of hours went by really fast. The contractions were getting a lot tougher but still seemed to be 6 minutes apart. Really? As it was getting a little too painful to lie down I got up and started pacing. Immediately I noticed a difference in my contractions. The gaps between became clearer and the app now showed just 2-3 minutes apart. I finally called mom and asked her to come … now. Then I called the hospital and said we were coming… now.

Mom showed up around 10am with the biggest smile on her face. Neither she nor Marcus made any obvious attempt to be sympathetically serious but instead danced around me joking and taking pictures. I found it pretty darn annoying at the time but I’ll admit it’s a little fun to have the pictures now.

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Half an hour and a hard car ride later we were let into a room to have me checked up by a midwife. I’ll leave out the details and instead disclose how sickeningly inappropriate I found it that there were large posters of crowning babies on all the walls.

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Anywho, soon we were leaving the room again having been informed that I was about 2-3 cm dilated and that they would like for me to go back home and come back later. Say what?? I made it clear to my mom that I was by no means walking up the stairs to our 5th floor apartment again. I had no interest whatsoever in getting back in the car either, so for half an hour I insisted we just wait it out in the lobby of the hospital. Being slightly under the influence of strong pain in my pelvis I suddenly changed my mind and we decided to go to my parents’ house instead.

Yikes, that car ride was not fun. Over the next two hours I endured the contractions standing, sitting, lying down, lying on my mom’s yoga ball… At around noon mom called the hospital back and was again informed to wait a little longer. Frustrated, we decided to try something else and mom went to fill the jacuzzi tub.

I hear that all women react differently to stuff like this, but seriously, I’d recommend waiting out your contractions in a tub to anyone! It was absolutely amazing! As soon as I was in the water I felt like there were actual gaps between my contractions again and I could even sit up and talk to mom and Marcus – completely out of the question before. Another upside of the tub was that it seemed to speed up the process remarkably. I hadn’t been in there for long before the contractions just became unbearable. I couldn’t sit still or be somewhat politely quiet. But due to our last many hospital calls I expected it was going to get much much worse, since they obviously didn’t think I was very far along. So I sat tight – literally – and tried not to complain much … until all of a sudden I felt like I needed to push.

Since I’d never been pregnant or in labor before I wasn’t 100 % sure that this was what it felt like when you needed to push, so I left the door open to it probably just being me overthinking it. Nevertheless, I told mom who jumped up and called the hospital again. A few minutes later she returned with a look of frustration worthy only of the contractions I was experiencing. She said that once again the hospital had asked us to stay home. I had another powerful contraction, by now I was clenching by butt to make sure I wasn’t pushing. When it was over I looked my mom in the eye and told her that we needed to go right now.

As soon as I got out of the tub and the anesthesia of the water was gone I really felt it. My body was trying to push out the baby right here on the bathroom floor. The thought actually occurred to me that maybe I could ask my mom to just deliver the baby here.

Quick as a flash, we were back in the car with me in the front seat on my knees hugging the back of the seat. I remember that car ride as if in slow motion. Every contraction totally removed me from this world and the urge to bear down was stronger than any temptation I’ve ever felt in my life.

Mom dropped off Marcus and I in front of the hospital and went to go find parking. She caught up with us even before we reached the elevator because I had to stop for every 10 steps to endure another minute of fiery agony. We got upstairs and soon I was back on the table…

TO BE CONTINUED

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