Welcome, Kimiko Sapphire!

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Kimiko Sapphire Comeau, born July 19, 2014 @ 7:57am — 6lbs 12oz, 20 3/4 inches

(at 38 weeks 5 days)

Our beautiful baby girl was born July 19, 2014 at 7:57am. Here is how it all happened:

A little warning in advance: I won’t be able to help myself comparing the two birth experiences of Savina and Kimiko, so you’ll be reading a lot of “this is how it was with Savina.”

IMG_6847Wednesday, July 16th, I had my first painful contraction. It was only the one, so I didn’t make much of it. Everything remained quiet until Friday morning. Early Friday morning, or rather night (starting at 3:46am) I experienced more contractions, very irregular, about 5 in 1hr 20min., and a bit painful, not too bad but bad enough to keep me awake. I said to Peter that it may be a good idea to have his phone charged and on him at all times at work, because I felt like things were moving in the right direction, and that contractions might pick up by the end of the day. Peter decided to stay home, and it was good he did–it worked out well.

I called my midwife later that morning, after I’d sent her an email at about 5am. Contractions were pretty painful by now, but still extremely irregular, and I didn’t need to breathe them out yet. She suggested to walk for a while and see if things continued to progress. We decided to do our grocery shopping instead of waiting until afternoon–just in case. In the store, one of the associates asked me: “Are you in labor?” … I wondered how she knew. She later said to me, when I asked her, that she asks all pregnant women who are holding their bellies. I hadn’t realized that this was actually the first time I’d been holding my belly for added support. Koko must have sat really low at that point already.

We got back home, and later that afternoon I talked to my midwife again. Contractions were still very irregular. Peter set up the birthing pool just in case. I was waiting for contractions to come about 15-20 minutes apart, but they never did. With Savina, they were regular right from the start–I had a full day of regular contractions 15-20 min. apart, so that experience is all I could base my predictions on.

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We went to bed at our usual time. I had some massive heartburn around 9pm, yay me. Went to sleep and woke around 3am with contractions. I waited, tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t–they had become far more painful. I couldn’t stay put in bed any longer, because walking eased the pain, which was far too great to stay lying in bed. When I went to the bathroom to pee, I found “bloody show.” I never had that happen with Savina, so that was a new one for me. I knew what it meant though. Labor was definitely progressing. The show was on. I woke up Peter, telling him about the blood and that I was going to call my midwife. I called my midwife at about quarter of four, letting her know that contractions were roughly 15 min. apart. She got herself ready to come and check on me, see how far along I was. Finally contractions had become regular. Of course, with my past experience, ignoring that every pregnancy and every labor is different, I was expecting this to take at least a few hours before coming anywhere near pool-time. Little did I know, Kimiko would be born only 4 hours later. I also called my doula to let her know how things were going. I told her she could stay home, and that I’ll wait for my midwife, see what she says, how things look.

IMG_6864Peter got up and started filling the pool. With my contractions being this painful, and bloody show on the road, we figured this was the right choice. Our instincts treated us well: only 15 min. later contractions picked up–and fast. By 4:11am I texted my doula, asking her to come after all because I’d been having 4 contractions in the last 15 min. Nine minutes later, I realized I should probably let my midwife know too, so I texted her as well.

From then, labor went really fast. I sat in the pool, as contractions were so painful now that I was happy I could relax submerged in hot water.

My doula arrived first, followed soon by my midwife. At 5:15am I was starting to feel pressure. Savina woke ten minutes later–her usual wake-up time. By 5:45am the time contractions lasted had increased by 20 seconds.

Our backup midwife arrived at 6:05am.

At 6:25am I felt like I might be pushing soon, although pushing didn’t start for almost another hour. At 7:17am I pushed the first time. I asked Peter to turn on the video camera, since we wanted to record Kimiko’s birth, just as we had recorded Savina’s birth.

My water broke at 7:43, and it was actually a little painful. It felt strange, like a ball bursting out of my vagina–and I mean bursting: flying out breaking open. Literally. Well, I suppose, in a way it did. This is most different from how I felt my water breaking with Savina. It shot out forcefully, whereas with Savina it broke gently, in a manner of speaking, almost going unnoticable.

Kimiko was born at 7:57. She weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces, and measured 20 3/4 inches.

IMG_6888In summary, I pushed for 40 min. (2-2 1/2hrs with Savina), and I was much more aware of everything around me this time around. With Savina, I mostly dozed off between contractions. With Kimiko, I was far more aware, and I did far better in the breathing department. I could say Savina’s birth taught me a lot. I knew from having given birth to Savina that putting voice behind my breaths just makes the contractions hurt more. This time I really focused on just breathing and being quiet. It was so much easier due to that small difference! An epidural never even came to my mind, whereas with Savina I was so very close to screaming for one, thinking “I want her out, I want her out.” Towards the end, just as Kimiko was coming out, I tore a little more than I did with Savina, and boy did that hurt, and did I scream! That was probably the first time someone outside the room could hear me. It still hurt for a minute after Kimiko had come out, and I kept saying ouch ouch.

Kimiko came out all at once. There was no crowning. I announced that the baby was a girl and then turned and asked, where is Savina? She was, of course, already on the way to greet her new sister. I left the pool roughly 20 minutes later and delivered the placenta when I reached the bed, at 8:18am. We placed it in towels next to me on the bed. I bled more than I did with Savina, but it wasn’t too bad. Peter cut the cord over an hour later, at 9:29am, letting Kimiko receive all the blood that was meant for her. We made a tree of life with the placenta, just by using the blood of the placenta itself. In the evening a friend picked up Koko’s placenta to turn it into pills for me, just as I had done with Savina’s. The remainders of both of them are currently in our freezer–care to take a look?IMG_6889

How did Savina do during all of this? I remember seeing her at least a couple of times during labor, watching me in the tub, quite calm. At some point toward the end of my labor they called in someone to help take care of Savina and my midwife’s baby. This woman is a nanny as well as a midwife in training, and we are so grateful for her assistance! This is how she described to me Savina’s reaction to the birth:

[...] we went into her room and played in there for a while. We mostly read books and very soon after I could tell things were getting intense from the sound of things in the other room. It’s my experience that kids at births are usually pretty good at self – regulating. If things get too intense for them they will often retreat into another room. They may at another point in the birth have no problem being right by the birth tub peering in. When you started to scream she looked your way, down the hallway, but she didn’t seem upset at all…just aware that something was changing. She looked back at her toys and very soon after we heard the baby cry…she exclaimed “baby!” and looked at me as if wanting to make sure I’d heard her announcement and immediately dropped her toys, stood up and started making her way towards you in the other room.

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I can only say to that, this is typical for my baby girl. That obsession with babies, and Mommy being very calm throughout her labor (until tearing), certainly helped Savina to not be scared, just as I thought she wouldn’t be. I’ve seen her react to me being scared–she was terrified, but labor and birth are something very natural, something I along with the majority of women don’t fear. Children pick up on the mood of the people around them. If the mood is good and relaxed, they will feel good and relaxed. I honestly believe that there was not a single moment in which having had Savina around while giving birth to Kimiko was a bad idea. I’m happy that she got to hear my baby’s, her sister’s, very first cry. And I’m delighted that she reacted to it the way she did.

A very heartfelt thank you to my amazing birthing team: Rebecca Taylor, Tammy Wills, and Jessica Brown–who thought I’d pull her into the pool with me during some of my pushes! It’s a miracle I didn’t tear her shirt apart. Thank you for being strong for me. You’re the most wonderful doula ever! Thank you also to Carly, who took such wonderful care of my Savinababy, and of course to my dear sweet husband Peter who was everywhere he needed to be at just the right times!

Lastly, a couple of photos. A comparison of Savina and Kimiko a few days after birth–they look like twins! And a last belly/PP photo. How I healed and Kimiko’s first month will be covered in a later post. Thanks for reading!

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Near term–Savina is just as excited as Mommy and Daddy

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It’s about time I write another update on both Savina and peanut, and this will probably turn out to be a fairly long post. The reason is that I’m not sure I will find time again to post here before peanut enters the world. I’m 36 1/2 weeks pregnant now, so the baby could technically come anytime. My guess is around 38 weeks.

IMG_6699My sweet Savina continues to amaze me. She’s been working so hard on her communication skills. Her signing blows me away. When I don’t teach her a sign for something, she just makes one up. Her language is even more developed. I’m certain the number of words she can say now must be reaching 200. I can’t count them anymore, and she repeats almost everything we say. Occasionally she’ll surprise me by saying a word I had no idea she could say. She observes and listens closely for sure!

She’s also starting to put words together to form 2 or 3 word sentences. Sometimes she’ll put a sign and a word together to form a sentence, for example: She’ll sign “where” and say “go?” to ask “where did it go?” or as yesterday morning at the pond: “where is the girl going?” She can say sentences like “I know” and “I don’t know,” “bye bye XY,” “kitty, come play!” “more baba” (more banana please), “I see Papa,” “I see baby” “I see bird” (boo/boh is her word for bird) etc. etc.

She says “all gone” or “all done” now instead of “gone” and “done” and is trying to fine tune her pronunciation. Instead of “gain” she often says “again” now, and instead of “tato” she says “ato” (for Auto–car), “side” is turning into what it should be: “outside”.

She’s starting to learn manners: she says “Thank you” (sounds like gako–closer to the German “danke”) very often on her own now, and occasionally she’ll say “please” on her own. There was this cute incident, when she stole my water bottle, and ran around with it outside. She made a whole game of it. When I finally caught her and took it back, she asked me for the bottle again, tried to pull it out of my hand, but I didn’t give in. After a minute, she apparently noticed that the “aggressive” way was not getting her what she wanted, so she stepped back, and signed and said “peeaaasee?” (please?). It was sooooo adorable, and I could hardly resist.

IMG_6706Savina knows how to beg for more, too. Especially in the evening, when it’s time to go to bed. We read a book or two, or three, and when we’re done, she’ll raise her forefinger and say very determined but pleading: “One!?” She’ll do the same when I stop singing her lullaby. Just ooooone more, please, Mommy! How can you resist that cuteness? Another really cute one is when she says “some,” referring to “May I have some?” “I’d like some” and “Here, have some.” While she’s a good sharer (so far) she can sometimes go a little too far with it too, and push a food or drink to your mouth saying “some” as in “have some, Mommy” when you already said “no thank you, hunny.”

Some time ago, probably several weeks by now, I figured out that Savina sometimes actually refers to our cat by the cat’s name (Sue–pronounced: Su-e) I was blowing bubbles, and Savina kept calling: see! see! so of course I thought she was saying something like “look, can you see, look at those bubbles!” But then she called, “Seeeeee, cooooome, plaaaaay!” After that one time I’ve often been able to recognize her calling our cat rather than saying “see”. She hasn’t figured out how to add the “u” to the name yet.

IMG_6712I don’t think Savina understands much more yet than 1 when it comes to numbers, but she can count as far as 2. What she is completely oblivious of is colors. No matter how much I try to teach her colors, she just doesn’t get it. We’re a ways away from that one.

Apart from advancing vocally, she finally has hit a new milestone in gross motor as well: she’s climbing, yay. She climbs on everything, including having finally figured out how to climb her tiny little slide by herself. She has a blast on that thing! Of course, with the climbing comes the falling, but so far we’ve only had two falls, and no injuries other than a little bruise here and there.

Two more things about Savina, and then I’ll move on to peanut: 1. baby…

IMG_6722Oh my gosh. Savina has been obsessed with babies for a very long time now–it started long before I became pregnant. However, recently her obsession with babies has become so extreme that if I sing a lullaby at bedtime, and it does not contain the word “baby,” she freaks out and wants me to sing a different song. She’ll go: “No! No! Baby! Baby! No! Baby!” It gets a bit frustrating, as there are only so many songs in my repertoire that actually contain that word, and if it doesn’t come up right away, I have to tell her: “Yes, there is a baby in the song” or she won’t even let me start. On the upside, she’s been very good with her baby sibling, trying all sorts of things to interact with him/her. Feeding, offering water, kissing my belly, playing with baby with a flashlight, washing my belly, trying to listen to baby by holding one of my breast pump bottles with a breast shield attached to my belly. She’s adorable with her doll, too, breastfeeding her, rocking and bouncing her, burping her, and really caring. She gets super-excited whenever she sees a baby anywhere, especially if it’s an infant, but even older kids, who are babies in her mind, get her excited. I so can’t wait for her to meet her sibling!!

IMG_6739My last topic leans a little bit on my last blog entry. It’s about her tantruming when it’s time to brush teeth after a meal. We started out with me brushing her teeth all the time. Then she didn’t allow me to do it anymore, and I figured out that she wanted to do it herself. That was a few months ago. Then, several weeks ago, she wouldn’t properly brush anymore, so I had to step in, and that set off a huge tantrum that could last up to 30 minutes before she would finally let me brush. Well, recently I have discovered what the problem is: it’s not her. It’s not her teeth (as I thought, because she was teething really badly at some point). It’s not her wanting to do it herself.

It’s me. I would always look at her sternly, when she wouldn’t brush, and be very serious about it, and say things like “Are you going to brush your teeth now? Or will Mommy have to do it?” (I never forced her, which is why her tantrums would last so long. I always sat and was with her, offering my care and understanding of her upset, and waited until she was okay with me doing it). And then I would continue to ask her every now and then during her tantrum: “May Mommy brush your teeth now?” But I was always stern, and giving her that warning look, as if I wanted to say, you don’t have a choice, it’s brushing time, and you better comply. Rarely, I’d even actually say to her: you know, you’ll sit here until we brush your teeth–I do feel bad about that, but with all the patience I’ve had, and my hormones being all scrambled, and me being tired and exhausted, I think I’m doing the best I can.

IMG_6673I do feel that it’s important she learns she has to do this, but I went about it the wrong way. I can’t remember if I stumbled across the solution I found to the problem by accident or just finally thought of it, but whatever the case, it worked and has ever since, and it proves once again that the disciplinary approach gets you absolutely nowhere. You need to be kind and loving and happy, because babies and toddlers indeed feed off of your emotions. Now you’ll ask: well, what is it? Tell us already! How’d you succeed? The answer is simple: I smiled. I let go. Let go of my worry of not getting her to brush, let go of being so serious and stern about the whole matter. I smiled at her, honestly (not pretending to) felt positive about everything, and asked in a playful manner: May Mommy brush your teeth? Immediately, she said ya, and she let me do it, opened her mouth when I asked her and let me brush as much as I needed to. She has ever since. No more tantrums.

On to peanut.

Peanut’s baby shower was on June 29th, and while many of our friends, including most our mommy/baby friends, could not make it that day, we had a blast with what few guests came to celebrate our sweet baby. As a nice surprise, one of my closest friends came by with her baby, although she had initially told me she couldn’t make it. That really lightened up the day! Savina got to play with two other babies, and they had a wonderful time together. Thank you to all who came–it was a huge pleasure to enjoy your company!

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A week before the shower, we had our maternity pictures taken. They came out so well. As always, thanks to Kathy Jackson of “The Mirrored Image Photography.” I compared this years pictures to those when pregnant with Savina. I can’t believe time has gone by so fast. She’s almost 2 years old now, and becoming a big sister. And she looks forward to it just as much as we do.

Here are just a select few of the beautiful pictures Kathy took for us:

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So how’s this pregnancy going? At this point I can’t help but compare the two pregnancies. Savina and peanut. Much is definitely the same, but some things are different, if only slightly.

My belly has grown faster this time around, but my weight gain is far less. With Savina I was at 32-33 lbs weight gain at this point. With peanut I have gained 19 lbs so far. For the longest time I hung at around 17 lbs, but it seems to be spiking–which is exactly what happened just 1-2 weeks before Savina was born. I had a huge spike in weight gain, then lost 3 lbs over night just before contractions started.

While I had hardly any heartburn with Savina, I had a slight bit more with peanut, but still nothing monumental. It seems as though I’m carrying about the same way, but judge for yourself (pics below). My leg hair grew much slower while pregnant with Savina–instead of once a week I only needed to shave every other week. With peanut, it’s even slower. I only need to shave about once every 3-4 weeks. With Savina I had to deal with leg cramping, which is not much of an issue this time around, I’m guessing because I’m taking more calcium (because of my teeth) and drinking far more than I did with Savina.

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My back has been really bad at the start of the third trimester, which is why I bought a babybellyband. That helped a great deal, and my back was finally getting better. However, it has become worse again, although not yet nearly as painful as I remember with Savina. My tailbone is definitely not affected this time–I think Savina always sat oddly on/against my tailbone. This one likes to hang out on my cervix. Still, I can feel everything starting to loosen more than it already has been, and ligament pain is becoming far more prominent.

I’m exhausted. I can’t remember being this exhausted with Savina–but according to my journal I was. The reason I feel it more this time, I think, and am more aware of being this exhausted, is probably because on top of the exhaustion I’m getting less rest now. Obviously, in great part because of Savina, but also because of less opportunities to rest. When pregnant with Savina, I sleept 8-9 hours or more at night, and took a 1-2 hour nap during the day. Now, I get 7-8 hours of sleep at best, and am lucky to get a 1 hour nap in most days.

I feel strongly that this baby will make his or her grand entrance between 37 and 39 weeks. Of course I could be entirely wrong, but let me lay out to you why I feel this way:

Apart from mere maternal intuition: Savina was 8 days early, peanut has been sitting on my cervix for weeks, in perfect birthing position, my back bones are loosening, I’m experiencing greater hunger lately, coupled with a spike in weight gain, I need to pee more frequently at night in the last several days (like every 1.5-2 hours), I had my first uncomfortable (not yet painful) Braxton Hicks contraction a few days ago and a couple more today, everything is just so much more difficult to do these days, and my ligaments are more sensitive.

I would appreciate peanut to stay in there until at least July 12th (really wouldn’t want the baby’s birth day too close to Independence Day), but I’m ready to welcome him/her any time. I can’t wait to get my energy back, and be able to move my body more freely again. We do need a few more days though, to set up the pool and get last odds and ends taken care of. We have yet to receive our birthing kit, too, so peanut better stays put until that arrives.

While I’m still nursing Savina 2-3 times a day, I do keep arguing with myself (and trust me, neither I nor myself have won the argument yet) about whether or not to wean her now, because I’m drying up, and nursing was becoming more and more painful. Lately the pain has lessened, but I have white hard spots on my nipples–like callused skin. So I keep wondering, should I wean Savina and give them a rest? At the same time, how can I refuse her? She asks for it more often lately than a few weeks ago, and she and I both still love the closeness nursing gives us. Knowing myself, I’ll probably keep going, and then regret it, when my nipples are so sore that I can’t feed the new baby painlessly, ugh. What’s the right choice to make? I don’t know.

So, all in all, I love feeling baby inside, but can’t wait to give birth. And I’m so very curious what gender Savina’s little sibling will be. You will likely not hear from me again on this blog until after the birth of our baby. Thank you for reading this far, and look for the amazing birth story of Baby Comeau #2 next time.

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Bonus: Savina — 20 months

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When Baby Pushes Your Limits

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Savina is growing and thriving every day, in every imaginable way, but instead of bragging about her progress, today I want to offer a couple of tips to new parents, because I know that a lot of first time parents struggle a lot with these kinds of things. These are things I have struggled with myself in the last couple of months, so I just want to share how I handled it, and maybe this will help you understand your baby a little bit better.

My daughter is 19 1/2 months old, and she has recently started throwing a lot of tantrums, which is completely normal at her age. She’s trying to figure out the rules, trying to figure out what she can get away with, trying to get her will. She is learning. It’s a new world for her that she’s grown into, and she’s just trying to figure it all out.

So two things that have been particularly obvious in the last couple of months are communication and throwing tantrums without apparent reason.

I want to start with communication, because this came up this morning with my husband, and I know a lot of parents struggle the same way he did.

IMG_6618Savina was trying to communicate with him this morning, while I was in the bedroom–still resting. She kept going “eh, eh, eh,” and my husband kept asking, “What? What? What’s wrong? What’s the problem?” She just answered with “eh eh eh.” Obviously she was fruitlessly trying to give the answer, while he was fruitlessly trying to find the answer, asking those questions. Unfortunately he had the wrong approach, because she is too little to really communicate perfectly well, and she’s really trying hard to communicate. I’m so lucky, Savina is already fairly advanced in her ability to talk and make herself understood, so I can imagine many parents struggling with this a lot harder than we do sometimes.

So what I said to my husband when they finally came into our room, was that asking “what?” and “what’s the problem?” “what’s the matter?” “what’s wrong?” are not the questions that get you an answer, because she doesn’t know how to answer them. She can’t answer you, because you’re not asking the right questions–questions that are easy for her to answer. So what I said was, depending on the room she’s in, depending on the situation, depending on her body language, her signing, her surroundings, just ask her questions, no matter how trivial or stupid or silly they may sound to you, just ask her questions. Ask her, are you hungry, do you want to read that book, do you need help, what do you need help with? I told him there even was this instance: she was actually in the car with me at the time, and she was getting quite upset, and kept pointing at something in the seat, and I kept asking her what the matter is, and obviously it’s not going to get you an answer, because babies that age don’t know how to answer something like that. So then I asked her, “Did you make pee pee in your diaper?” and she said ya, and I said okay, you’re wearing a diaper, it’s okay, and then she was fine.

IMG_6626You see, she was just trying to communicate. It doesn’t matter whether what she was trying to say has any significance. It doesn’t matter whether action needs to be taken–it’s just that she needs to communicate, and that’s what she’s trying to do. She’s trying to make conversation, and when you don’t understand her, that’s when she gets frustrated, and that’s when she starts getting upset, and cries, and stuff like that, because she’s trying to talk with you–she’s trying to have a conversation about something that matters in her mind, and you’re not understanding it. And if you just ask, “What?” “What’s going on?” “What’s the matter?” then that’s not communication, that’s just you asking her the same question over and over and over again.

You’re the grown-up, so you are supposed to guide the conversation–you’re supposed to be able to communicate with/to your baby, and just asking the same question all over and over and over, a question that is fruitless, that your baby is unable to answer, that’s just not very adult of you. The baby is learning–you already know the stuff. So go ahead and ask the silly questions.

The other thing I wanted to talk about, give some tips about, is random tantrums, those ones you think are completely meaningless, and there is no reason behind her acting out. And there may not be, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that she’s trying to get your attention and your understanding. Here again, you are the grown-up.

I want to tell you about a little situation that came up this morning when I was alone with my daughter. I asked her if she wanted to have breakfast, and she said yes, and I went with her to the dining room. I was about to put her in her chair, and she started tantruming, started screaming, eh eh no no eh eh. Some parents would freak out about their child freaking out, and I just want to say: it’s completely pointless to freak out over your child freaking out. It’s not going to make matters better–if anything, it’s going to make matters worse. Your child needs your support, your understanding, and your love, not you freaking out. Also, always remember: you’re the model for your child. Especially at this age: whatever you do, she will mimic. Why? Because she sees you do it.

IMG_6635So basically, what I did instead of screaming at her, and saying “What? What is going on? You just said you wanted to eat! Stop crying. Stop this behavior,” bla bla bla–this is just not the right approach. What I did, when she started rolling herself on the floor, screaming, you know, the whole nine yards, I sat down next to her, and I let her do whatever she needed to do, and then after a little while I said, “Do you want to come and cry with Mommy?” I kept asking her that, and I wasn’t getting an answer, so I waited a little longer, and I said to her, “Come to Mommy, come to Mommy,” reaching out to her, and at first she didn’t want to, but then she reached out to me, and I grabbed her, and I put her in my lap–she was still tantruming at that point–and I asked her, “What’s the matter, baby?” (of course I just told you not to ask that over and over, but again, I only asked that once, and I’m by no means perfect either). And I cuddled her, gave her my love and my understanding, and I was patient–it’s so important to be patient. So, after a little while, she calmed down, and I asked her again, “Do you want to eat something?” and she said yes, and in my mind I went over what happened earlier: I’d asked her if she wanted breakfast, and she’d said yes, and I had attempted to put her in her chair. Well, I wasn’t going to take that chance again of setting something off, so I asked her, “Do you want to eat at the table?” and she said yes, and I asked, “Are you going to go in your chair?” and she said yes, so then I got up with her, and I put her in her chair, and she was fine.

So I guess, what I’m trying to say is, go slow, be patient, don’t overreact. Keep your calm, keep your patience–that is so important. Don’t say things like “stop that,” “stop crying,” and the like. Don’t ignore her either, or say things like “Fine, have your little tantrum then,” and walk away. You need to be present for your baby, be calm, loving, and understanding. Remember, you are the grown-up–act like one. I have no idea what her problem was–it doesn’t matter what her problem was. What matters is that you are there for the baby. If you are there for your child, and you show her understanding for her feelings, because children this little have big big feelings and big emotions, and to them they matter, to them they are something, even if to you seemingly they are nothing, you will quickly notice that handling these situations becomes easier. I know it can be hard at times–trust me, I, too, slip at times. Nobody is perfect–just know what your baby needs, and try as best you can to be there for her during tough times. Remember: don’t react–respond.

I can give countless more examples from our every day life, but I think you get the idea without me writing a novel about it.

So those are my couple of tips for today, and I hope it helps you in dealing with your baby during rough times.

Thanks for reading, and look forward to an update on my little girl and peanut next time. Lots of love to all the parents out there–you do great!

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Overcoming Challenges

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Yay, hello spring! Finally the weather has turned around. I don’t even mind the rain this year–just so tired of the cold and the snow. Most days are in the 50s and 60s now, and some days it gets as warm as 90F in the sun. It can still be chilly when there is a cool breeze or slight wind, but for the most part it’s so nice now, and we’ve been outside without socks and jackets for the first time this past weekend. Spring has also crept into Savina’s body. She’s got the spring fever, wanting to be outside all day every day–so fun!

In mid-April we had visitors lighting up the mostly still fairly cold and dreary days. My sister came to visit with her family for two weeks. Of course, Savina raked in all of the attention. We all had a grand time together, and hopefully they’ll make it back this summer!

IMG_6454During their stay, there were at least a couple of really nice and warm days, during one of which we went to the pond with Savina. I’ve always known Savina to be a little diva, but I was oblivious to her being this particular about her foot-cleanliness. She’s always been obsessed with her feet being clean. Last summer, when she walked barefoot in the house, and it was a bit dirty, she’d pick off the dirt from her feet. She’d sit down and take her time cleaning her feet from crumbs and tiny specks of what-have-yous. Then, all winter she’s been in socks, obviously, so I had no idea she’d gotten so used to being clean. At the pond, Savina became hysterical when we took off her shoes and socks. She had no intention whatsoever to let her feet touch the sand in the slightest. No matter what we did, we could not get Savina to warm up to the idea of dirty feet, and having fun on the beach without shoes. She’d scream and yell, and shout “shoe shoe!” She cried so hard and clung to me like a koala bear, always holding her feet up as if there was fire underneath, or something equally nasty. Finally, we had to give up trying and went home. Of course, I might have figured, since she’s always asked me to clean off sand from her feet and legs periodically (all the while wearing pants, socks, and shoes) when playing in the sandbox this year.

20140504_103900Yesterday, we decided to try a different approach, mostly one involving Daddy. I do remember that last year, when she was scared of the water the way she’s been scared of the sand this year, the only way she would warm up was with Papa. Last year I loved seeing that, because it demonstrated a certain level of love and trust that new Daddies need to experience in these early months of caring for a newborn, and won’t otherwise easily see. It’s normal, but no less hard to accept. I hoped, no I knew, that level of love and trust had not changed, grown if anything! So I was looking forward to the next available beautiful day with Papa around. We started Savina off by letting her run around our currently very dirty house without socks. First thing in the morning, she was hesitant to even step off her room’s carpet–silly girl! Throughout the morning, she’d sit down every now and then to clean off her feet. Trust me, our floors need vacuuming baaaaaadly! Some areas she’d refuse to go to, like near the cat box in the bathroom, as there were clearly kibbles of cat litter lying about. As the morning went on, she slowed down with her cleaning-my-feet-obsession. We prepared to visit the beach. Once there, the same scenario unfolded. Savina was not happy to be shoe-less in Mommy’s lap, left with only two options: stay in Mommy’s lap and get bored, or go play in the sand with bare feet.

20140504_110652Papa did all the work. There’s no point going into all of the details–it could become a 10 page essay! We started her out playing with her shoes on, then placed her in my lap on a towel and took her shoes off. It took Daddy no more than about 20 minutes to get Savina on the sand. It did feel more like 5 minutes though. She called for her shoes again, and actually tried to put them on herself, but that attempt didn’t go very far and didn’t last very long. Once she was comfortable in the sand, there was no stopping her! She ran around the whole beach, up and down the waterline, and she stepped in the water all by herself. Cold? Who cares–not the Savinababy. If it was up to her, she would’ve dived right in! They played with a toy watering can–such fun! Savina had a blast, and was lastly reluctant to leave. Alas, she did get plenty wet, and for the second time in her 18 1/2 months of life we forgot the diaper bag! Luckily, it didn’t turn into a big deal.

20140504_110638The other big change happened while everyone was visiting as well: Savina’s nap times. I can always tell when she goes through her Wonder Weeks, because it takes 3-6 times the amount of time to put her to sleep for a nap or for the night, and after the leap she goes back to normal. When the family came to visit, she’d just come out of her last Wonder Weeks, and slowly the time it took to put her down was normalizing. Then, after just a few days of everyone visiting, I encountered severe nap refusal in the mornings. Frustrating as that was, it couldn’t have been the Wonder Weeks, as they had just ended. I knew at the time that Savina was slowly transitioning to one nap a day, but she was still a ways from achieving that. Every morning she just looked so very tired: red eyes, eye rubbing, lots of yawning, not too much energy, wanting to nurse, even answering “ya” when asked if she wanted to go take a nap. All of her sleepiness signs were there, yet when I sat down with her, she refused to sleep. So I had to decide, and found that even if she was that tired, it was time to switch her fully. This could not go on, and her body would just have to learn to adjust to what her awake and aware mind demanded. It took about two weeks to fully adjust, meaning she is only now getting enough sleep fairly regularly during her single nap. During the period of transitioning, she’d sleep anywhere from 1-3 hours, but over the last few days it’s been a fairly consistent 2-3 hours. I’m so glad this change finally happened, because now we can do fun stuff in the morning, instead of losing 1.5 hours here, then breakfast, then a little playtime, and losing another 1.5 hours, just to wake up to dinner time. We have the whole morning to enjoy, then a good solid block of sleep, dinner, more play, and finally nighty-night.

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I’m constantly amazed by all of the changes that keep coming. Savina is finally eating more vegetables. She chews on peppers, cucumbers, even carrots now, likes salads, and sometimes enjoys zucchini. Maybe it has to do with her teeth populating her mouth more and more as time goes by, or maybe she’s adjusting to various textures she wasn’t fond of before. Whatever the case, there’s constant progress. Her language keeps exploding as well. 20140503_163325While she does not yet put two words together (except sometimes through signing), she certainly enjoys expanding her vocabulary on a daily basis. She often tries to repeat whatever someone else says, and many of the words stick. Communicating with my daughter is becoming increasingly easier, and her great skills in ASL help understanding when she switches between German and English, and when her baby-words sound the same.

What has also amazed me lately is how well Savina is playing with her cute neighbors. There are a couple girls, five years and three years old, and they hardly speak any English at all (they speak Portuguese), but they play wonderfully together all the same. They’ve only played the second time today, and it was just so adorable to watch. Savina was so happy when she saw the older girl playing outside. She laughed and ran towards her. Too sweet.

Moving on to peanut. I’m now well into the third trimester (28 weeks today), although I think peanut wanted me to start the last third of pregnancy a little earlier, sending me to the bathroom a lot more often well before the third trimester started. At this stage, some days I seem to get exhausted a bit quicker than I did in the second trimester. I’m putting on nearly a pound a week now, which, if it continues at this rate, will put me at the ~25lbs mark. With Savina I’d gained about 35-38lbs total if I recall correctly. Lastly, my boobs have become so sensitive again, even more so than in the first trimester, I’d say.

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I’m feeling peanut move a lot now, and I think I was able to feel out his or her position for the first time this past weekend. We’ll try to play with the flashlight with peanut soon, just like we did with Savina, who always kicked at the light.

I can’t wait to see Savina’s reaction when the baby is born!

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To all who read my blog posts from start to finish every time: Thank you! I truly appreciate how much you care about hearing from us. Thank you for spending your time being a part of our lives.

 

Spring oh spring where are you–as another snow storm lurks

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The last two months have certainly not felt like they went by fast, yet here we are, and I can hardly believe it. Winter has made this drag out far too long, and there is no end in sight just yet, as more snow is predicted for the end of March. With a baby who doesn’t like the snow, it’s really a challenge keeping her occupied and satisfied. She loves being outside otherwise, and we’ve been stuck in the house for far too long. It’s driving us all insane.

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Snow is okay as long as it’s only a pile here and there.

Anyway, Savina is absolutely remarkable. Okay, what mother wouldn’t say that, right? Still, I am more than proud of my little one. Her language is developing faster than I can blink my eye. Seriously, Savina can say over 50 words last I counted–she’s probably exceeded the 70 mark by now. At first, I was going to post a list of what she can say, but with that many words… um yea. She is adding more to her vocabulary almost daily now, and she’s still adding more signs as well. One of her new signs, “monkey,” looks like she’s rapping–it’s hilarious! And I love how Savina cheers for herself. Everytime she did or thinks she did something really awesome, she says “yaaay” and sometimes claps.IMG_6286

Some time ago we have started potty training with Savina. Yep, this baby is going to work on diaperless days. We decided to do it with the help of the Baby Signs program, which comes with a wonderful kit including a book for the parents, a lift the flap book for baby, a DVD for baby, stickers, and a conductor’s whistle. We picked up both a regular potty and a toilet insert, because we weren’t sure which one Savina would prefer–turns out she wants to train on both of them. From the DVD Savina learned to make a choo-choo train sound and to sign train, and since we’ve started potty training, she has learned to say “pipi” pointing at either the toilet when Mommy goes pipi, or at her own lady’s parts when it’s about her. Nope, unfortunately it doesn’t yet seem like she’s prompting me that she needs to go pee (as of the past weekend, she appears to have done so once so far!), but beginning to understand what pipi is, and that it has to do with our body and with the potty–that’s a good start. She has also begun to say “Klo” (German for toilet) since we started potty training. I think she’s getting the idea, but we do need to let her wear training pants more often. Need to pick up some more of those.

IMG_6230Making our home a safer place has been a priority for me since Savina was born, and our bathroom is an important part of that. We started long ago by replacing her Johnson’s shower gel/shampoo with an organic no chemicals one (we use Theraneem), and bought a much safer sun tanning lotion for the summer–yes that was far more expensive, but my baby’s skin will only see the best and safest products. We had a huge bottle of Johnson’s baby lotion, which was finally running empty, and we were thinking about replacing that with something much safer as well. It was around that time when I came across a company I hadn’t heard of before. Concerned as I am about everything related to my sweet baby, I did extensive research on their products for at least two weeks, making sure they really are safe. I have since fallen completely in love with their products, and have eliminated many items in our household that can be harmful, including my baby’s lotion, but also, for example, our bathroom odor spray. We used to buy Lysol, which is amazingly dangerous, and the funny part: they even state this on their label, believe it or not. Only through finding this awesome company and these new products did I learn about how toxic Lysol is. For the first time I checked their label, and there it was:

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Wow! Yep, that brand has been banished from our household. What also completely sold me on this company was their lotion healing my hand’s eczema within 24 hours, when the medical cream prescribed by my doctor could not touch it. I have since recommended it to friends, whose skins also improved. I love love love it. If you have a similar issue, or want to rid your home of toxins for safe, affordable alternatives, do leave me/send me a message. I can help you get oriented and educated.

IMG_6250Since my last post a lot has changed in Savina’s sleeping habits as well. As many of you may remember, we were bedsharing for a long time, and Savina used to get one night nursing, after which she would join us in our bed. However, for days and weeks Savina suddenly refused to go back to sleep after her night nursing, unless we rocked her back to sleep and put her in her crib. Yes, we even tried rocking her and then bringing her into our bed–didn’t work. I kind of miss sleeping in the same bed with my baby, but this had to change, and we all sleep better now. Especially because I’m pregnant–my growing belly would not do well with baby in the middle. So Savina was night-weaned and would not come into our bed anymore. It took all of one night to get her inner clock used to no more milk at night. She has since slept through the night (!!!!) nearly every night. We still get the occasional wake-up, especially during Wonder Weeks such as the current, from nightmares, belly aches and the like, but holy (!) do we sleep better now. All three of us–or four if you count peanut.

Okay, time to talk about number four of our wonderful little family. Peanut.

There is a lot I could say about pregnancy number three/baby number two. Where should I start?

This pregnancy has been very different in many ways, yet a lot the same in others. While still nursing Savina throughout the day, my body has become weak to sickness and other problems. I hadn’t been sick in years before this pregnancy, but ever since I got pregnant, I’ve already gone through four colds, and fought two others that were threatening to make my day a living hell.

IMG_6237On top of that, tooth decay has set in since I’m pregnant. Found a huge cavity in one of my molars that, according to the dentist, requires a root canal. Well, not so fast. With lots of research, I have come to the decision that it’s worth a shot trying to heal the cavity myself and save my tooth (and $2500). It will take a long time, but I’m hopeful, and since I haven’t experienced as much tooth pain since I started as I did before I began my healing regiment, I’m confident that I can pull this through the rest of my pregnancy and through labor. Of course, this is all a fragile undertaking because I can not take heavy medication to soothe pain, and once I go into my third trimester I’m stuck with my choice until after I give birth. Luckily, the pain has become very managable, supporting my optimism (often, in the last few days, I don’t feel it at all–as long as I avoid hot, cold, and some sweet touching the tooth).

We’ve had our second, and final, ultrasound at 20 weeks, and I succeeded in burying my curiosity about our baby’s gender. However, since our peanut had his/her legs crossed the whole time, and was happily snoozing on his/her belly during all of the ultrasound, there was no way for us to find out gender even if we’d wanted to. Wink of fate? I do have it in my guts though that it’s a girl, and still have my hopes up for a boy.

IMG_6251I had to go to the appointment by myself with Savina, so it was rather difficult. She was tired and hungry at the time, so she became upset fast that I was preoccupied and could not attend her needs. At the end I lifted her up and let her sit on my chest for a few minutes. She looked interested at the u/s screen. And I do tell her a lot lately that there is a baby in my belly, yet I don’t get the impression she understands that yet. It will be interesting to see how this develops and how she will react when the baby is born, or at birth itself for that matter–if she happens to be awake at the time.

A few quick general updates and then I will wrap this up, as it is getting lengthy. I have been able to see baby move in the last week or so, can feel baby move often now with my hands, and am already experiencing braxton hicks contractions since a week or two. I can’t remember when those started during my last pregnancy, but I have a feeling that it was later. I’m using the same belly oil again that my loving midwife Becca made me, and so far no stretch marks! I do need a back support though, my pelvis feels like it is falling apart. My body is finally catching up in weight gain–not that that really concerned me. I’ve gained 7 1/2 lbs overall so far. In comparison: with Savina at this point in pregnancy I had gained 15 lbs. Also, my belly now at 22 weeks is much larger than it was with Savina at that time–at least it seems like it. But see for yourself:

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This has been a post in the making for a long time–sorry it has taken me so long. Thanks for reading and until next time.