And we’re back!

Just like that and three weeks was up!  We had a wonderful visit back home in Australia, spending lots of time with my mum (Grandma), sister as well as family and friends. Despite my plans otherwise, it ended up being a very full and busy trip and I was pretty tired towards the end. When you live abroad there are so many people to catch up with and usually that’s pretty full on anyway, but you add a baby to the mix and it was a lot to handle.

The best parts of my trip were seeing the joy my mum and my sister (and others) got from spending time with the baby.  My heart ached every time I thought about how sad it is that he doesn’t get to see them on a more regular basis. I did have to adjust my expectations a bit about how much help my mum would be though, as while she was very keen to be helpful, she struggled to be as actively involved as I would have liked. That was really tough in the first week when the baby jet lag meant I was really suffering from lack of sleep. I also had a massive sleep debt from the previous two weeks where he had been ill so I was quite a wreck the first week.

But then the baby adjusted to the timezone, he got used to my mum’s house and the travel cot and we found a kind of flow.  We went out and did some Christmas shopping, we took some beautiful photos with Santa (I went a bit crazy and bought all the photos like a nuts first-time-mum does), we went to lunch, we saw friends – it was as it would be if we lived locally.

Leaving was awful and never seems to get easier.  I always worry that I may not see my mum again every time I leave.  While her health is stable and she lives a fully independent life, she has a terminal leukaemia and was not expected to live as long as she has. I encouraged mum to try and come to stay with us for Easter, if her health and treatment allows it.  If she comes much later in the year than that the Mediterranean heat is simply too much for her (which is why she didn’t come with baby N was born).

Baby N absolutely adored his grandma and also his aunty and it was so beautiful to see them all together.  I really felt the distance with me living over the other side of the world from my family.  I feel bad for them that they’re missing out on him and also for baby N that there is half his family he has very little contact with.  But such is life when you’re in a cross-cultural relationship. No one thinks about these details in the heady early days of a relationship!

Throughout our visit baby N was a very chilled and wonderful baby.  There were times where he was tired and grumpy, but so was I so how could I blame him.  I don’t know why people think babies should be cute and smiley all the time because adults are not! I’ve got to say that I am very fortunate to have such a flexible baby who let me drag him across the world and then around to all sorts of unfamiliar places and people.

Then there came the return trip home on the plane.  This was the same journey I made previously, but in reverse.  I hadn’t thought much about it, but it turned out to be a much, much harder journey in reverse.  Why?  Because the length of the overall journey (around 28 hours door-to-door) and the timing of the departure meant that I messed up two nights of his sleep.   On the journey to Australia I’d only messed up one night and this had a big enough (bad) impact.

On our return trip, we left Australia around midnight (scheduled departure 11pm) which meant that at the time baby N is normally going to bed, I was putting him in a car and driving him to an airport.  He then had all the stimulation of an airport – noise, lights etc – just when he should be sleeping.  At the scanning point they also made me take him out of the Ergobaby so that woke him up too.

Once on board I was hoping to be able to put him in the bassinet to get a good sleep, but the issue with this is that you have to take the baby out if there is turbulence.  I put him in there the first time and literally five minutes later the seatbelt sign went on so I had to get him out, waking him up.  The seatbelt sign was on for about 90% of the 15 hour flight and so I was thinking pretty hateful thoughts of the captain for most of the journey.   Apparently he left the sign on “just in case”. Grrrr! Baby N ended up sleeping with me on my seat and we kind of dozed together.  I think he slept a bit better than me but neither of us were particularly well slept.

After our 15 hours in the air, we had about 3 hours transfer at Abu Dhabi airport which was unremarkable.  Baby N was full of smiles and charm as it was daytime in Australia and so he was feeling all the joy! But then the next flight – 5 hours in duration – came at the time when he should be going to sleep in Australia.  And he couldn’t sleep.  So he reacted accordingly by crying a lot. He also decided to puke up on himself and me more than once so we all smelled like vomit.  Obviously I changed his clothes but still the smell of vomit doesn’t leave you easily.

It.  Was.  Awful.

The longest five hours of my life ever.

At one point the cabin crew lady was giving me a hug as I cried and baby N cried too.  He was just so overtired the poor boy and I was very flustered by all his crying.  I wouldn’t normally be but when you’re in the enclosed space of the plane, travelling by yourself it’s easy to get in your own head and think everyone is staring at you.  By the time we got to the third airport and our last transfer I was a mess.  I had a huuuuuuge spot on my jawline which seemed to represent exactly how I was feeling! The transfer time was very short so we were amongst a small group of passengers who were personally escorted to the gate.  Thank goodness for that as I was so in need of help that the airline lady ended up carrying my passports and mobile phone while I juggled the baby (they made me take him out of the Ergobaby again) and all our hand luggage.

The last flight was 1.5 hours and I was on the very edge of my coping ability but bless him baby N just passed out and slept in my arms for the journey. While I couldn’t move or eat anything or do anything at all I was so happy because he was silent.  I spent that journey just staring at the window at the Mediterranean islands below and wishing time would disappear so I could stop being on a plane with a very over-tired baby.

My wish was granted and my now-angelic baby and I finally finished our plane journeys.  All we had to do was go through passport control and collect our luggage before meeting my hubby who was collecting us. And you know what happened then? One of our suitcases didn’t turn up.  So I had to stand there waiting just in case – though I had the vibe it wasn’t there – until all the cases had been delivered.  I then had to go to the lost luggage people who I’ve got to say really need to work on their customer service charm as it seemed I was disrupting their personal chats to report my lost luggage.  So hear I am carrying an exhausted baby, looking like I was living rough with crazy hair, massive bags under my eyes, a huge zit the size of a unicorn horn on my jaw and then these people were being useless with my lost luggage. They are very lucky I was too exhausted to have a proper fight!

Anyway, my suitcase was identified as being at the previous airport and was then sent on to me the next day.  Thankfully it was the suitcase containing my stuff, not the baby’s so there was no massive issue with the delay. Finally, we made it out of the airport where hubby was waiting.  He asked me if I was glad to be “home” and I responded that I was mainly just glad to not be on a plane anymore with a baby!

Now that we’ve been home two days I can say it is good to be back.  It’s nice to have the support of my husband, but also it’s so great to be sleeping in my own bed with my own pillow.  Not enough credit is given to the magical healing power of the pillow.

Baby N has suffered a bit with jetlag – going to bed early and then waking up in the middle of the night for 1-2 hours – but overall he’s been better with the jet lag heading west than east (which is normal). One of my friends did comment to me today that I seem traumatised by my plane journeys and I’ve got to say that is true.  However, I would say to anyone planning to travel a shorter distance that it is entirely do-able and not so bad at all.

If I could change one thing about our trip is that I wouldn’t fly alone again.  Not because I couldn’t handle it because I think I’ve proved that I can handle it (albeit it was so incredibly tough) but that you really need another pair of hands.  If there’s two of you you can tag team it – to visit the loo, to eat, to try and get the baby to sleep.  If you’re alone then literally EVERYTHING comes down to you.  I’ve now learned how to pee while wearing a baby carrier and sleep vertically while holding a baby amongst other things.  I almost feel like the skills I’ve learned in the past three weeks are worthy of inclusion on my CV.  I am sure that a certain fortitude has been developed as part of all this so at least I can be grateful for that.

Like my friend said to me, if you can handle this trip with baby N by yourself then you can do ANYTHING!

 

 

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Dispatches from Down Under

That’s right, baby N and I have made it to the other side of the world and we’ve lived to tell the tale!  Thankfully, the journey itself turned out to not be the hard bit, but baby jet lag is a special kind of hell! To anyone contemplating a journey with a small person with significant timezone change involved, BE WARNED! If there is only a timezone change of a couple of hours, then I suggest you keep to your home timezone while you’re travelling, but with a nine hour time change, that was not an option for us and I sure paid for it!

I’ve been relatively absent from blogland of late because we have had quite a time of it recently and there simply were not enough hours in the day to cope with life and then write about it. It all started out 10 days before we were due to fly when baby N came down with his first cold.  No big deal.  In fact, I was pretty happy about it as I figured if he was sick then that would mean his antibodies would be nice and high by the time we boarded any planes and exposed him to new, foreign germs. The only downside was that he was sleeping very poorly because of all the sneezing and blocked nose that he was suffering.  So I was pretty tired at this stage but thinking it would pass soon enough.

The weekend before our trip baby N was starting to seem better and so I was quite relaxed.  Then on Sunday night he came down with croup.  CROUP!!!  I didn’t recognise it at first, I simply went into his room at about 10pm when he was having a bit of a cry to realise he was gasping for breath.  This is NOT a good thing to see in your baby.  I had a little panic, there was some shouting for hubby and a call to the paediatrician for an over-the-phone diagnosis. I already had an appointment scheduled with her the next morning – albeit for a vaccination which was blatantly not going to happen – so she said to keep watching him and if he got worse to go to the emergency department of the hospital for treatment, otherwise she would see us in the morning.

We made it to the morning (somehow), but I must have checked he was breathing about 100 times that night, aka I got no sleep.  The doctor was great though and was very conscious of the flight that coming Thursday so prescribed some cortisone with a nebuliser.  But have you ever tried to put a face mask connected to a noisy machine on a young baby?  It did not go well.  He did make some good progress in the next few days, even though I was pretty bad with using the nebuliser.  However, he was still sleeping fitfully and being woken by coughing so it was not the greatest few nights.  This was then compounded by the fact I knew I had to fly by myself with a sick baby across the world.  It is quite accurate to say that by Wednesday I was having a full mental breakdown. I was also massively sleep-deprived. These two things are definitely connected!

At several points on Tuesday and Wednesday I could be found in floods of tears sobbing that I couldn’t fly to Australia with the baby alone, that it was too much and that I couldn’t cope.  I tried to pack, but it is so hard with a (sick) baby in tow.  By Wednesday night I had such a high amount of anxiety with racing heart and fluffy mind that I felt ill and couldn’t eat anything. I genuinely had no idea what I had packed.

We visited the doctor again on Wednesday morning and she said the baby was doing much better (which gave me some confidence) and she prescribed me half a pharmacy’s worth of medications to take on board with me to cover all possibilities.  Of course I used none of the meds I brought with me but I think she prescribed them as a kind of mental health measure for me. It worked as I felt a little more confident knowing I had them all with me in case of emergency.

When Thursday morning rolled around – the day of the journey – I was beyond stressed and anxious. My husband practically forced me to eat breakfast and then I threw it all up again so I don’t think he will do that next time!  He even threatened to cancel the flights because I was in such poor shape.  These were the things that I was most worried about regarding the flight and how they actually turned out in reality:

  • That I wouldn’t be able to cope with carrying the baby in the Ergobaby carrier AND carrying both a backpack and a small, wheelie suitcase.  So it turned out that actually it was actually very easy and convenient to carry him in the Ergobaby, he seemed to enjoy it and often slept in it as I moved from place to place.  And I was quite capable of carrying both the bags so that was good too. I carried only the necessities so the bags were not terribly heavy, but also I’m quite strong which is helpful. I hilariously packed a book to read on the plane. Hahahahahahahahaha! Needless to say, I did NOT read one word of it!
  • That the baby would be a big nuisance or would cry on the plane.  This also turned out to not be the case.  He had a couple of small cries here and there but nothing that couldn’t be attributed to being tired or hungry.  And they were quite short so anyone around me had no grounds to be mad.  The reality is that when he was awake he cooed and played with the toys I had brought, but he was asleep a lot of the time. The people around me even complimented me on what a good baby he was.  I really hope he is just as excellent on the return journey.
  • That I would be forced to give up the water for the baby bottles at the various scanning points for each airport transfer (I went through 4 airports – 2 transits in total).  This also turned out to be a misplaced worry.  One airport wanted to scan each bottle of water individually, another wanted them out of my suitcase but scanned them alongside everything else, and Abu Dhabi didn’t care at all and scanned them inside my suitcase.  They were way more interested in my belt! I had also been wrongly told by the Etihad social media team that I could only transport baby water in quantities of no more than 100ml.  That was also not true.  I started out with 7 bottles each with around 150-200ml in them and no one had any issues with that at all.  This just goes to show you that there is no consistent rule on these things, but I generally found that carrying a baby (especially alone) generated a lot of sympathy for me.

Overall I took 3 flights, the longest being for 13.5 hours with the total journey time door-to-door being around 27 hours long.  Despite being the shortest, the hardest flight for me was the first. The plane was smaller, more cramped and it was the first ever flight for the baby so I was really on edge.  Once we got through that one I had more confidence, the baby was more tired (and likely to sleep) and the planes were a bit bigger, thus giving me more opportunity to space out.

My paediatrician had recommended I give the baby Calpol (baby Panadol) about an hour before the descent started so I did that on each flight.  Obviously if your flights are shorter you should be careful not to give the doses too close together but mine were very far apart.  I think it worked too as baby N didn’t cry on descent thankfully.

On both of the longer flights I was complimented by other passengers who told me that the baby was very good and that he was cute, which of course I was delighted about.  On the second flight he did an epic poop that included dirtying his clothes (thanks baby) so that was the only minor drama. He also made another poop on the descent into Melbourne which meant I had to change him before I could finally see my Mum.  I think he was just testing my patience by doing that. (Side note: Melbourne airport baby change facilities were immaculate!)

But then we were there and my Mum was waiting to see her new grandson.  It was wonderful and it’s been a delight to see her bond with him.  He gives her huge big smiles which is really lovely.  In fact, he’s been super-gorgeous in between sleeping at the wrong hours and seems to be going through a huge developmental leap too.  He’s getting really great with his hands, has just discovered his feet and so spends half his day with his feet in the air staring at them and the other day he laughed for the first time. I somehow managed to capture it on video and honestly it makes me howl with laughter each time I see it.

But baby jet lag is truly horrible! We arrived on Friday evening, which was Friday morning in the baby’s head so I knew I would have some difficulties in getting him to sleep.  I bathed him at about 10pm which helped to let him know it was time to sleep.  I managed to get 3 hours sleep out of him then before we had a bit of a nighttime party for a few hours. He was all smiles and giggles in the middle of the night so that was cute, if somewhat unwanted. He generally tended to only sleep for a couple of hours at a time, sometimes up to 3 hours and it was epically hard to function on this.  With no daddy here to help I was really shouldering the load alone.  My mum has leukaemia and so I really didn’t want to ask her to help me during the nights, but she was great with making sure I had some dinner each night.

This pattern more or less continued for the following three nights (four nights in total) with 2am being the “party hour”.  I noticed the party period in the small hours of the night getting smaller each night and the sleep periods slowly extending.  However, the baby did have trouble settling if he disturbed at night so I was getting up every hour or so to get him to sleep again.  I started to go a bit insane with the sleep deprivation. The googling started again and I started to question whether he actually had jet lag or was having the four month sleep regression or I wasn’t getting him to nap properly during the day, or if the travel cot I was using wasn’t comfortable.  I basically lost all confidence in myself as a mother.

Then, just when I really thought I would lose my mind, on the fifth night he slept through.  I have never loved this baby more than after that great night’s sleep!  He also slept well last night and I’m hoping he does well again tonight.

During my googling frenzy some advice was that the baby needs to see midday sunshine so I made a special effort to take him out during these times to help his body clock reset.  I don’t know if it helped or just he found his way over time, but just to say that the jet lag seems to go eventually.  Like most things with babies, it too does pass.

 

Life with my little giraffe

Mummy life has really started to settle down now and I’ve begun to enjoy myself a bit more recently.  Baby N is a wonderful baby, so chilled and easy to take around, and that has a lot to do with it, but also I have made a new best friend in a fellow mum who has a daughter 2 weeks younger than baby N.  We see each other about three times a week for coffee or lunch and the rest of the time we message each other all day long.  It’s really nice to have someone to share the small things throughout the day and who really understands where you’re coming from.  As we are both first-time-mums and we both have IVF babies we have a lot in common. We joke (although it is true) that we see each other more than we see our husbands.

I’ve also joined an informal mothers’ group made up of other mums who participated in the baby massage class.  It’s an interesting group of six mums – all hugely different people and probably most of them I would never have come across if it hadn’t been for meeting on the baby massage class.  There are huge extremes in our personalities too – there’s folks like me who enjoy being out of the house and having adventures during the day with the baby, and others who are terrified of leaving the house but are tremendous cooks and earth mothers. I am feeling somewhat insecure about my earth mother skills when I hear these girls talk! What unites us is our babies and our concerns about them.  It’s nice to hear what other people are going through and the ways they are choosing to parent their babies.

We have some mums who are very strict with routines and others who are more go-with-the-flow types.  I think I’m somewhere in the middle, but closer to the go-with-the-flow end.  My baby is the only boy baby of the group so he already has five potential future girlfriends (unless of course he prefers boys…)!

Age: 14 weeks + 4 days

Weight: A week ago he weighed 6.88kg and was 65cm tall so I expect he’s a bit more than that now.  He is in the 97th percentile for height which is really obvious when you put him next to other babies his age – he looks like a giraffe next to them.  I had someone last Sunday ask me if he was 6 months old and their face was priceless when I clarified that he’s only 3 months old.  He’s not a chunky monkey at all, just all long and lithe.

Feeding: We have increased the evening and the morning feed to be 180ml as he seems to be getting more hungry at these times.  I have been trying to keep him to 5 feeds a day, rather than the old 6 feeds, so sometimes one of the afternoon feeds is also 180ml if he looks particularly hungry.  I also changed the feeding teats in the bottles to be the medium flow teats (I use Tommee Tippee bottles) as I found he was getting frustrated by the flow.  I was also getting bored with him taking 30 minutes to drink a bottle so we’re all happier with the faster flow of milk!

Sleeping routine: Baby N has been a wonderful sleeper the past week, sleeping through the night consistently. He usually hits the hay around 7.30pm-8.00pm and wakes at around 6.30am-7.00am.  This makes me very happy!  The clocks go back one hour this Saturday night for the end of daylight savings summer time so this will no doubt knock us off course.  Also, taking him to the other side of the world in two weeks and giving him class A jetlag will probably destroy his wonderful sleeping patterns.  😦

Firsts: I’ve noticed in the past week that baby N now makes a new sound.  It’s kind of a high pitch shriek/squeal when he’s either frustrated or very excited.  It was a bit of a surprise when I heard it the first time but now I’m used to it.

The past couple of weeks have also been all about his hands.  He is CONSTANTLY shoving them – his whole fist – in his mouth and putting drool everywhere.  It is as delightful as it sounds.  I’m trying to convince him to use teething toys instead, but he has maybe 2 seconds of interest in toys until he shoves his hands back in his mouth.  I guess his immune system is strengthening at least! Perhaps once he’s got better motor control of his hands he will be more keen to shove some toys in his mouth.

Hair: Light brownish.

Eyes: Light brownish too.

Wonky neck update: We have been almost fully dismissed from our baby physio lady as baby N’s progress has been so good.  She will see us once before we go to Australia just to make sure he’s okay and then we will meet for coffee when we get back so she can advise me on how to continue. I’m so, so, SO relieved that we caught the torticollis and flat head early and that we’ve had such a positive experience with the physio.  Baby N has such excellent neck control now and it means he’s able to really look around a room and take everything in.  I’ve also seen him arching his back at times so I think he’s on his way to learning how to roll over.

Mummy update: I’ve been generally good, although I’ve had a couple of off days this week where I have had some waves of anxiety.  I think these are related primarily to thinking about the flight to Australia.  I will confess I’m feeling worried about doing this alone.  I have 3 flights each way (2 connections) and about a 24 hour overall journey time.  All this with a 3.5 month old and I’ve no experience of taking him on a plane before so I don’t know if he will be okay. I hope that his generally cheerful and carefree demeanour will continue on the plane/s but he’s a baby so who knows!

My diet is going quite well. I lost a lot of weight in the first week and felt very weak.  I modified it a bit to include a little more food and so I only ended up losing 1.4kg in the first two weeks of my diet.  I’m hoping to drop the same again in the next 2 weeks so that I look pretty good for my trip home.  I still have around 4kg to drop in total but I am happy to see some progress at least.

Week 13 – Bye fourth trimester!

Yesterday our little guy had his 3 month birthday so this officially signals the end of the fourth trimester!  Yay! I remember my sister told me that babies really should still be in the womb for another 3 months to finish their development, but if that happened we would never be able to deliver them as their heads would be too big.  Looking at baby N’s big head now and this makes total sense.

But if they did hang about inside until then I am sure it would be so much easier to be a parent.  They sleep longer, their digestive system is better developed and they would come out smiling!  Seriously nature, I think you need to rethink the 40-week gestation period!

Every day baby N continues to be more sweet and adorable.  He is so friendly to all the many people that come up to him on a daily basis – often strangers – and make baby goo-goo sounds at him. My mum said when I was a baby I would scream if anyone apart from the immediate family would so much as look at me, so clearly he doesn’t take after me in this regard.  I can already see that he’s a kind and giving personality and I can only wonder how this will develop as he gets older.

Age: 13 weeks + 2 days (three months old yesterday)

Weight: No idea, but he gets weighed tomorrow when we visit the paediatrician for the next vaccinations.  I really hate giving him the vaccinations but I truly believe in them being better for him in the long run.  But his little face when they jab him is AWFUL!

Feeding: Nothing much has changed in this regard, but I have noticed that if he has a very long sleep at night that he is more hungry during the day.  It makes sense because he misses a feed when he sleeps through the night.  With this in mind I tend to make his daytime feeds a bit closer together and I have continued to give him 180ml at his night time feed to fill him up.

Sleeping routine: We have seen a few through-the-night sleeps this week, with the longest being 10.5 hours (woo hoo!) but it’s not uncommon to have one night time feed still, usually between 3.30am and 5.00am.  I am also starting to see some patterns in his daytime napping which is good.  He usually naps every 1.5 to 2 hours throughout the day and most naps go for around 30-45 minutes. We took him to his first Aqua Babies class on Saturday and it was absolutely brilliant fun.  We did mess up his sleep schedule a bit though and it meant he fell asleep in my arms as we arrived. We had to wait a few minutes to rouse him from his nap and then put him in the pool when he was not entirely awake.  This is not good parenting so I don’t encourage it!  Anyway, he was pretty good once he was in there and was super-cute!  He even put his little head under the water (briefly).  I’m sure he will only grow to love swimming as the course continues.  Anyway, after the class we fed him and took him home and he slept for 3 hours straight!  He woke up only to have a bath and dinner before he went to bed again and slept through the night.  Clearly swimming is exhausting work!

Firsts: The swimming was a big first and was mainly motivated by me very keen to take him along.  He was the youngest in his class but he seemed to be bigger than many of the babies that were one or two months older than him!

I’m starting to wonder if he might be teething soon as the past week his drooling has increased a lot and he just loves to put his whole fist in his mouth. I do try and stop him and distract him but it’s next to impossible. He is getting better at using his hands to grasp toys, but picking them up and putting them in his mouth seems to be a bit of a way off still.

Hair: Light brownish.

Eyes: Light brownish too.

Wonky neck update: We go for our next appointment with the baby physio on Friday but I’m feeling pretty good about his neck strength and head control.  He seems to have similar neck control to the other babies in the swimming class and they are all older so I figure he’s doing okay these days. We continue with our exercises and tummy time wherever possible.  I think he’s actually starting to enjoy tummy time now as it means he can look around independently. He really likes to be able to see things so I think his curiosity may drive him to keep developing his strength.  While he sleeps beautifully in the stroller bassinet, he is not so keen on it when he’s awake and prefers that I carry him. I don’t think we are going to be using the bassinet for much longer!

Mummy update: Well guess what turned up last week for me? My period!!  Now I haven’t had a period for almost a year so that was a bit of a novelty. I had heard your first one after birth can be quite heavy and painful, but mine was neither.  It’s pretty much finished now so that’s nice too. As a PCOS suffering I found one of the very few advantages of IVF was that my skin improved remarkably and now that I’m free of the meds my skin is starting to have the odd spot again. Ugh.

In the quest to get back my pre-baby body (Operation MILF) I visited a dietician last week and she put me on a diet plan.  It’s not too bad, but I have been a bit hungry yesterday and today.  According to my home scales though, I’ve lost about 1.5kg (3.3 pounds) in a week so if I keep up the weight loss at this rate I won’t have to stay on the diet much longer!  Yay!

Week 12 – Planning our trip Down Under

We are booked! Yes, the small guy and I are headed Down Under in a month’s time and I’m so excited and also TERRIFIED of the plane journey. Hubby has booked me in business class for the first time EVER as I think he feels guilty he can’t join and worried I will have a lot to handle. I mean, he wouldn’t even agree to business class for our honeymoon!

I am ever so slightly worried about annoying actual business people in business class but this is balanced out by how happy I am to be getting a flat bed for the longest part of my journey. The stupid airline (Etihad) cannot guarantee a bassinet for baby so worse case scenario is that we can sleep together on the flat bed. If this happens though I will be fuming! We also successfully managed to get baby Na passport today so that’s another thing checked off my to-do list! It was much easier to do now he’s more alert and awake. Heads up to anyone else who needs to travel with baby from an early age to leave the passport photo as late as you can. It will make your life way easier!

We leave here on Thursday 9 November and arrive back on Thursday 30 November so it’s almost three weeks with my mum. I am worried I’m not going to want to leave in the end! My mum is super excited and I’ve been sending her on errands this week, such as to buy baby N a sun hat (we never took him in the sun until now because it was dangerously hot so didn’t need a hat) and to collect a steriliser I bought on eBay at a tenth of the price you pay for it new. I honestly don’t know why I bought so many new things in general. There are so many bargains out there and they’ve usually hardly been used.

The past week has been fairly calm and consistent. We are definitely finding a kind of flow even if it’s not a tight schedule yet. Baby N is a joy now too. He sleeps and eats well and he’s got a lovely outgoing and smiley personality. He’s a little ball of sunshine!

Age: 12 weeks + 3 days

Weight: Not weighed this week but he’s too long for most 0-3 clothes now and is wearing mainly 3-6 months.

Feeding: Still having 150ml per feeding session but on a couple of days he’s seemed more hungry so I’ve given him 180ml at bedtime.

Sleeping routine: Baby N has been sleeping wonderfully, going down around 7.30-8.30 and then sleeping for around 8-9 hours!! This means mummy and daddy actually get to spend some time together in the evenings and feel kind of civilised. After waking around 3-4am for a feed, he then pops back to sleep for around 3 hours. Last night he slept at 8pm and didn’t wake up until 5.45am. I fed him and put him back to bed where he stayed until 8am. Who knew that 8am would be considered a luxurious lie in!

I try to keep those night feeds silent so he knows they are not the time do be playing or giving me his big smiles. It seems to work usually so that’s nice.

Firsts: I’m pretty sure baby N knows what “Show us your BIG SMILE!”means as he makes the most huge open-mouth smiles when you say this to him. He also uses his hands to grab and hold things now such as toys.

We got him his first passport and ID card too. Tomorrow he goes for his first (chaperoned) date – a lunch with a little girl from baby massage class. The babies don’t even notice each other actually but the mummies are sure to have a good time! Then on Saturday we will be attending our first Aqua Babies class (spot the bored mummy who signs her kid up to anything!). We bought some special nappies/diapers for swimming and we have the cutest swimsuit to wear. I think I’m more excited about it than he is…

Hair: Getting a tiny bit thicker but still short and sparse and fair in colour.

Eyes: They’re kind of a hazel-green colour at the moment. Bye-bye blue eyes!

Mummy update: I’ve had a good few days with decent sleep but I’m still sooooo exhausted! I finally got my thyroid checked again today and my numbers are very low which means it’s now over-active (it’s usually under active). I’m waiting to hear from the doctor how to change my meds to balance it out. I’m hoping when we get this right I’ll feel less tired.

I visited a specialist last Friday who confirmed my pelvic floor is a bit weak currently so I’ve got a bunch of exercises to do. Of course I’ve done them about once since then so there is work to do!! There’s no point doing weight work at the gym until I get my pelvic floor stronger as I will risk compensating and hurting my back or something. So it’s just cardio and yoga for me for now. And pelvic floor exercises…

I also visited a dietician to try and get rid of the last few pounds I’m dragging around currently. She’s made me a diet plan which is quite restrictive but she says I can lose 1 kg a week if I stick to it. I think that’s overly optimistic but I’m happy to be proven wrong! I’m hoping to have dropped all baby weight by Christmas!

Week 11 – Rediscovering the joys of sleep!

To all those people who said things would get better with baby once they complete the fourth trimester – you were right it seems. This past week or so has seen a marked improvement in baby N’s sleeping, so much so that Wednesday last week saw him sleep through the night for the first time!  He slept from 10pm until 6am and I cannot begin to tell you how delighted I was.  This also meant I managed to get some decent unbroken sleep for the first time since he was born.  I cannot begin to tell you how incredible that was.  I am certain that people begin to like their babies more once their older if only for the fact that they are then getting more sleep!

I did wonder if this sleeping achievement was a one-off, but baby N has been consistently sleeping for 7-8 hours in the first part of his sleep at night.  So if he drifts off around 8pm I can expect to have to get up for a feed at around 3am-4am.  Last night he was exhausted when I put him to bed and thus it took ages for him to fall asleep, finally having success at around 8.30pm.  He then slept all the way through to 6am which was INCREDIBLE!  Just being able to have dinner and some quiet time with hubby – even if that’s only for 30 minutes – just makes me feel almost like a human again.  I’m sure he will have some kind of return to poor sleeping habits in the future, but for now we celebrate our small victories.

Age: 11 weeks + 3 days (I was busy this week, forgive me)

Weight: Baby N went for his second lot of vaccinations on Tuesday and he weighed in then at 6.3kg and he is 61.5cm tall.  He was super brave again with his vaccinations and was a bit cranky and restless for the rest of Tuesday but by Wednesday he was his usual cheerful self again. Baby N is pretty much out of clothes sized 0-3 months and heading on in to 3-6 months sized clothes.  I bought him a bunch of new outfits in the past week or so also because it gets colder at nights so he needs to have long sleeves on for the first time since we left the clinic in July.  I’m really noticing how much more complicated it is to change his clothes when he has more layers on!

Feeding: He consistently takes 150ml of formula for each feed and usually eats it all.  Daytime feeds are approximately 3 hours apart, but then at night time he obviously sleeps his big sleep (the first one of the night) for anywhere around 6-8 hours and then the second sleep is usually around 3-4 hours so he is longer between feeds during those times.  If he’s had a long sleep he is usually STARVING and practically swallows the whole bottle and the formula in one.  Hahaha!  Sometimes he gets hiccups after this as he’s taken the milk so quickly.

Sleeping routine: I’ve mainly covered this above, but generally his nighttime routine has been kicking off around 7pm with a bath, a massage and sometimes a book or a dance to a song.  This means he can sometimes be in bed and asleep by around 8pm although there is some fluctuation to this.  The earlier he goes to bed, the earlier the next feed is generally.  On Monday though he crashed out unexpectedly at about 5pm and didn’t wake up until 1am.  I’ve no idea why he was suddenly so exhausted this early, other than the fact he had a busy day on Sunday and perhaps he needed to regroup on Monday.  In any case, he missed his bath on Monday night and we just fed him at 1am before he headed off to sleep again until 6.30am.  By Tuesday he was more-or-less back on schedule.

The funny thing about Monday night was that we didn’t know what to do with ourselves when he slept through the whole evening.  For a while we expected him to wake up so we were just pottering around at home, but then when it became apparent he was in a deep sleep we kind of felt lost for things to do.  I have wondered many times what I used to do with all this time before the baby.  I remember thinking I never had enough time to do anything… I guess time is elastic and it fits whatever you need it to fit.

Firsts: I’ve seen a lot of development this week in baby N.  He is really alert and moves his head around like a meerkat whenever we go somewhere new.  He’s definitely worked out his hands belong to him now and loves to shove them in his mouth at every opportunity.  I even managed to capture on video the first time he used his hands to grab one of his toys.  He continues to delight in toys that make sounds and mirrors.  The boy love to look at himself (as do his parents so no big surprises there that that trait has been passed on). He’s really enjoying his baby massage classes too – although I think he’s in the minority there as many of the babies don’t seem to love it so much. We have signed up to baby swim lessons which begin next week so that’s the next adventure.

Hair: He’s still a baldy but from what we can see he is going to be fair haired.  He also has a little bit of cradle cap which is annoying and I’m going to have to make some efforts to get rid of it.

Eyes: Getting darker.  They’re now somewhere between dark blue and brown.

Wonky neck update: Our baby physio had to cancel this week’s session so we don’t go until next Monday but he seems to be getting stronger and more straight so I am at least happy about that.  He still enjoys sleeping on his special pillow but if he’s restless at night – usually during his second sleep – he sometimes kicks his legs so hard his whole body moves and he comes off his pillow.  This usually disturbs him and he cries so sometimes I have to get up in the night multiple times to put him back on the pillow.  It’s annoying, but it also shows he’s strong so I’m trying to look on the bright side with that.

Mummy update: I’m doing pretty good these days, but I did overdo it a bit last week with my personal trainer so I’ve decided to stop with that for now.  Instead I am going for an assessment on Friday to see how my abdominals are after the pregnancy so might do some rehab work before doing any more weights work. I am continuing with yoga and I’m thinking of trying a spinning class tonight, but I might change my mind when it becomes closer to the time.

I have lost no weight recently so I am thinking of going to a dietician to kickstart some more weight loss. I currently can’t fit into any of my old jeans so if I don’t lose weight soon then I will have to go shopping for clothes to wear.  So far it’s stayed warm enough here that I haven’t needed anything on my legs but I’m not sure that will last much longer! Anyway, I’m sick of looking at my flabby belly so something needs to be done!

Psychologically I am doing so, so much better.  I really do enjoying getting out and about with baby N though and go a bit bananas if I spend a day at home.  I was like this before having him so it’s not really a surprise I feel like I do.  I think he enjoys some adventures outside the four walls of home too so everyone’s a winner.

We have become great friends with a couple of the mums from baby massage class so now we sometimes go for coffee with mums and bubs and it is great!  I love chatting not only about baby stuff but just general life stuff with other people.  It makes me feel more like me.

We have also booked tickets to head Down Under to see my family and I am SO EXCITED about this, albeit less excited about taking a 3.5 month old baby on a plane for a 24 hour journey BY MYSELF. Yep, hubby can’t get the time off from work so I am travelling with him solo.  If anyone has ANY TIPS on airline travel with an infant which will make our lives easier and better then I am all ears to this.

Now the big challenge is getting a passport for Mr Wonky Head in time.  They take 2 weeks to process here and we are leaving in 5 weeks!  Eeeeek!

Week 10 – A little human emerges

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’ve got to say the past few days have been pretty good with baby N. Each day he seems to take leaps and bounds in his development and he is such a smiler!  His huge toothless smile and funny laughs greet me each morning when he wakes up which almost makes up for the fact that he’s making me get up sometime around 6am! If I wasn’t keeping this blog anonymous, I’d post 100 photos of his gorgeous smile here as it’s impossible not to be cheered up by it.

Over the past week the only evenings I had significant challenges with him were Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but this is because the poor guy had his immunisations on Tuesday and he wasn’t feeling his best.  He was incredibly brave during the jabs – much more brave than I was.  We went there and he was all smiles and laughs so I was feeling like a terrible person for subjecting him to the suffering. He was looking in my eyes and smiling when they made the first injection and his little face showed first the shock and then he stuck his bottom lip out and did a whimper.  For the second injection a minute or so later he did a bit of a cry but then I picked him up and cuddled him and he stopped crying within a minute. So brave!!

The immunisations clearly had an impact on him though as he spent the rest of the afternoon asleep. When I picked him up to feed him in the evening he was all limp and kind of whiny.  Not crying really but making some little squeaking noises.  I checked and he didn’t have a temperature, but he also looked like he was feeling pretty awful so I gave him a dose of Calpol (paracetamol).  The super-sweet flavour of it took him by surprise, but within 15 minutes of administering the dose he was back to smiling and laughing. Although I had no problem getting him down for his evening sleep, he had a restless night waking up many times and needing re-settling so I was exhausted! I still managed to go to my yoga class but I was definitely not very good at it and had to cancel the rest of the day’s activities as I was in pieces. When hubby came home in the evening I had to get him to take over the baby duties so I could have a nap as I was wiped out and very teary.

But then by Thursday, baby N was feeling much better and so we had a nicer day.  We went for coffee with a friend of mine who had recently gotten engaged and he was an angel baby sleeping through all of our gossipy chats.  I had to tell my friend MULTIPLE times that it’s not always this easy, but I don’t think she believed me.

Age: 10 weeks

Weight: There was no weigh-in this week, but I’m confident he’s now over 6kg. As I carry him around for most of the day I have noticed that my arms are getting much more strong and my biceps are pretty impressive.  Who needs the gym when you have a baby!

Feeding: I’ve noticed for the past week that baby N has generally been more tired and more hungry so I think he may also be going through some kind of growth spurt.  Whereas we were feeding him 120ml each time, we then started to give him a couple of 150ml feeds towards the end of last week.  Now I am giving him 150ml more often than not.  Clearly he’s a growing boy!  We joke that if we only give him 120ml these days he will eat all of that and then start to munch the bottle!

 

Sleeping routine: I have noticed that the baby has become easier to put down in the evenings to sleep.  A couple of times last week I realised he was not tired in the early evening, after some decent late afternoon sleeps so I delayed his bathtime/bedtime until he started to show some signs of being tired.  There is a fine balance between showing signs of tiredness and a full-on overtired breakdown so you have to keep a close eye on this.  However, by waiting until he’s properly tired to put him to bed, he’s a lot easier to convince to sleep.  Yesterday we had a busy day out for lunch and strolling about in the afternoon and so he didn’t nap very solidly.  I was conscious of this so put him down for a power nap at around 6pm last night before we had given him a bath… but he had other ideas and woke up at midnight. So we skipped the bath!

Tonight he was looking pretty exhausted at 7pm so I popped him in the bath, gave him a nice feed, did some singing to him (tonight’s choice “A Beautiful Mess” by Jason Mraz) and he was asleep by 8pm.  Given what an appalling singer I am perhaps he just went to sleep as it was better than listening to me wail on. Whatever the case, he looks pretty cosy in there now so I’m pleased.

Generally when he goes down to bed at around that time at night he goes right through to about 2am or 3am and has a feed.  The sleep that follows this is usually much more disturbed though so I find that I might get up a couple more times during this period to re-settle him.  This is also because of the magical head pillow he uses – he kicks his legs about so much during his lighter sleeps that he bounces himself off the pillow.  Interestingly he cries when he’s off the pillow so he must prefer to be on it.

The disturbed sleep that I get from around 3am until 6am really does suck and means that even though I might log 6-7 hours in bed, only about 3-4 of those hours are consistent, decent sleep.  I’m sure that baby N will continue to improve his sleeping and get even better at self-soothing – I’ve seen good progress in this area already – so I am staying calm about this for now.

Firsts: Vaccinations – arrrrrrrgggghh!  He was so stoic though and I was very proud of him. I’ve also noticed he now realises his hand belongs to him and I caught him staring at his fist as he moved it across his line of sight.  That was pretty funny.

He’s also quite obsessed with patterns, colours and shadows so I’ll often find him staring, open-mouthed at something like a picture or a light-fitting.  It does make you look at the world around you a lot more differently.

Hair: Still growing! He’s still about 10 years off having a ponytail though (this is a good thing).

Eyes: Getting darker!  My baby is going to have brown eyes for sure.

Wonky neck update: I have really noticed a big improvement in baby N’s neck strength this past week and feel pleased that all the carrying about and special exercises are having an impact. At today’s baby physio session she was also delighted with his improvement.  He was doing so many new exercises with her and all holding his head up unaided.  I can see he gets more alert now he has a strong neck and that means he can see more stuff around him which feeds his curiosity.  I am now more convinced than ever that leaving your baby passively somewhere like a playmate or a bouncer/swing is not helpful to their development.

Mummy update: I’ve had a pretty good time of late.  With the exception of Wednesday when the exhaustion was immense, I have been functional, cheerful and maybe even… happy!  I know right?!  How crazy is that?!

I’ve been able to get out and about and do some things that make me feel semi-normal.  Sometimes this is with the baby and sometimes I have been letting some others babysit him briefly.  I do miss him after an hour or so, but it’s good for us both to spend a little time away from each other.

I have continued to keep up with the regular exercise with two yoga sessions and a gym session last week.  I also took the baby to the park a couple of times so some brisk walking around there has also been good for getting my heart pumping.  I’ve still not lost any more weight than previously, but I think I need to crack down on my diet to really make an impact there.