Leaving on a Jet Plane…

Tomorrow morning we leave for a luxurious 5 day 4 night CHILD-FREE vacation in Hong Kong.

I’m both excited and frustrated.  Frustrated because it doesn’t seem as though HK is easily transversed in the wheelchair, but perhaps if we go slow I can manage with my crutches for a half day to do some of the non-acessible stuff?  If not, I guess there’s always Hong Kong Disney, which as with all Disney experiences is ridiculously accessible.  The fact that it’s also a short (3-4 hour) plane ride makes it a destination that we can easily return to later when I’m healed, so it’s not a huge deal.

This will be my first time in Hong Kong, and my 4th destination traveled to in Asia (the other 3 are India, Singapore-duh, and Thailand).

I’m looking forward to the cooler weather there (I’m told by weather.com that it will be in the mid to high 60’s while we’re there) and breaking out my jeans for the first time since our US trip.

Even more, I’m looking forward to a nice vacation as a couple.  Ravi and I have done a few overnights before this, we’ve spent maybe 5 nights away from Ellie since she was born, the longest being a short weekend trip to California to catch a Cindy Alexander show (link is to my video of her singing “4 hours”-the song we danced to at our wedding) when Elanor had just turned 1.  The last time we spent a night away from E was our anniversary this past July 15th for one night.

I’m also super excited because we decided to splurge and use some of our frequent flier miles to fly first class.  I’ve only done that once before-on my honeymoon (which, come to think of it, also involved medical drama and a wheelchair–my back was screwed up and it was prior to the surgery).  I can’t wait to sit in my little first class pod, drink some champagne and not have to play Elmo even once.  I have two back issues of people magazine, some trashy novels loaded on my Kindle and maybe I’ll even close my eyes and relax without having to worry about keeping an eye/ear open for my toddler.

We’re staying at the Conrad Hong Kong, and I can’t wait to kick back in my room with a pack of bubble gum and rent a non-SG edited for my safety and delicate senses movie.

The major event we’re attending is my Christmas present from Ravi–the Taylor Swift concert on Monday night.  I’m not usually into concerts at all (give me broadway any day) but it’s really rare for an American artist I like to come to Singapore, so going feels like a small “American” experience.

 

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20 Responses to Leaving on a Jet Plane…

  1. Dawn says:

    Have a great trip!

    For the record, F has never been away from both of her parents overnight. If one of us goes, the other stays. Is Ellie staying with the nanny at your apartment, or do you have relatives or friends taking her for the week?

    • Crystal says:

      Elanor is with B. Our family and friends are 10k miles away.

      Until now, Elanor has never had more than 2 nights away. There was one night when my mom kicked us out to go to a hotel when I was having some severe PPD issues. There was the weekend we went to the Cindy Alexander concert (2 nights) when E stayed with my in-laws when she was about one. Then, turnabout being fair play we let my parents have her for a night (2?) not long after that, also in Nov or Dec of 09. We did one night away at a hotel in Singapore for our 4th wedding anniversary, and E stayed with B.

      In our case, with #2 in the works (nope, not pregnant yet) it’s likely to be another year to 18 months before we can realistically do it again. I’m not a lot of fun when I’m puking every 5 minutes (and sure, this pregnancy might be different, but I’m not counting chickens before they hatch), and you can’t sit in jacuzzis when you’re pregnant or do a lot of fun things (aka 90% of amusement rides…I know…I got to visit Disney and 3 hotels with hot tubs that I coudln’t use last time), so “romantic getaways” don’t make a lot of sense when I am pregnant. And then once #2 is out, they’ll be one before they’re weaned, so no overnighting away for that year.

      Strike while the iron is hot, I say (or the bun isn’t yet in the oven).

      I think the whole overnight away from the parents is a choice each family has to make, knowing their child’s personality. In our case B is around Elanor as much as we are, as she’s live in, and she does child care for a portion of every day for me. E is also fine with B, and while I have no doubts she’ll miss us, she’ll be fine. Considering that we’ve lined up a busy fun-filled weekend for her, she may even like us gone (j/k)

      • Dawn says:

        Oh, I’m not questioning your choice…it just never even occurred to us to leave F alone overnight. It’s probably due to the fact that she still doesn’t sleep through the night, and we don’t want to subject anyone else to an interrupted night of sleep! We’ve also never hired a babysitter, though she does go to daycare. I’m sure E will be fine with B. 🙂

        As for the morning sickness, here’s to hoping it won’t be as bad for #2. (I heard that, in general, morning sickness is less bad with second pregnancies, but obviously there are exceptions. Also, HG usually doesn’t occur for the same woman during more than one pregnancy.)

        But just in case, look up Bendectin (no longer available but you can reproduce it yourself from over-the-counter stuff). It puts you to sleep, so you have to take it at night, but getting a full night’s sleep really makes a big difference with how you feel the next day.

      • Crystal says:

        Thanks for the bendectin recommendation. I’m hoping I won’t need it, but better to plan for the worst and hope for the best, right?

        Kids and sleep is such a roll of the dice! For all that E is a bundle of dynamite and keeps us on the go, we’ve always been lucky that she’s been a good sleeper. But talking to other moms, I’ve always been keenly aware that it was dumb luck on our part. Here’s hoping F will decide that sleep is something she wants to do for a whole night on a regular basis sometime soon. When the time is right, I hope you and T can enjoy a weekend or more away.

        Ravi said you had a question about the drugs I had to use for nauseau? I switched off between reglan and zofran (and the zofran was always a battle to get…long fights with health insurance on a regular basis)…both are off-label uses during pregnancy, but they were all that kept me alive.

      • Dawn says:

        Yeah, the question was about the zofran…most insurance companies seem to limit it to a ridiculously small amount that isn’t nearly enough for a pregnant woman suffering from severe morning sickness. Ours, for example, limits it to twelve pills per month (and that’s for the generic) – and the dosage is two, up to twice a day! It sounds like you had a similar issue. 😦 I don’t know anything about reglan though…I’ll have to look it up!

        But yeah, it’s really sad what happened with Bendectin. Greedy lawyers fresh off of their success against thalidomide…but the proof is in the statistics: the year after Bendectin went off the market, in Canada, hospitalizations for vomiting during pregnancy went up 37% and birth defects did not decrease at all.

      • Crystal says:

        Yeah, I would get something like 10 or 12 at a time and every week there would be a fight. My doc got into it, and eventually they just started putting it through, but never gave me more than 10 or 12 pills at at time. Whenever I wasn’t in a bathroom puking, I was at CVS.

      • Dawn says:

        Oh, by the way, overnighting before weaning *is* possible, just annoying. I first did it when F was about 10 weeks old. You just have to have enough spare milk stored up in the fridge (I had plenty) and then pump & dump as needed while you’re away.

      • Crystal says:

        You are absolutely right, of course! I think in my head because we didn’t really have a night away from E before she was one (there was one when my mom kicked us out because of my severe ppd…she though it would help, but it was more of a disaster with my getting up to pump and Ravi driving the milk home because we didn’t have extra), that I sort of see that being the pattern for us. Honestly, she was super easy to travel with prior to when she started walking, and other than my stroller breaking after being dragged Edinburgh castle (which Nirav, if you know him, was able to jerry-rig for me until we got the replacement seat from Bugaboo), that it didn’t occur to me not to bring her until she started being a pain in the ass to have in lap and unhappy with just hanging in the stroller doing what mom wanted (while dad was usually at a conference) or mom and dad wanted (when he was free to join us).

        With #2, my other issue will likely be supply, so keeping him/her handy for the duration of our breastfeeding may be a necessity. My OB said my supply should improve this time…with diabetics, each successive pregnancy does allow for more milk ducts to mature….but at this point I’d be happy enough to just have them mature enough that I can provide enough milk without supplementation. I was always a bottle a day short with E (and E’s demand was lower than a healthy normal kid)…thankfully my best friend had her son two days after I had Ellie and she donated milk to us until E’s food allergies were diagnosed. It’s not that I think formula is “teh devil”…certainly in E’s case, the amino acid formula was a like a miracle and finally allowed her to eat without pain and start gaining weight (not that she’s even ON the growth chart for weight at 2, but she’s closing in on that magical 0-3rd percentile). But, as our second child is likely our last (we both waver occasionally on the notion of a third, but I think that realistically two will be it), if I can do it, I’d like to. But thanks to E, we already know that your best intentions and plans go out the window the second a REAL KID is there.

      • Dawn says:

        The trick to increasing your supply is to pump once a day – usually right at the beginning of your newborn’s longest sleep period – even when nursing full-time. Also, eat and drink plenty (which for me was a no-brainer because eating finally felt *good* again – I actually gained a lot of weight while breast-feeding). The idea is to trick your body into thinking the demand is even higher than it actually is. Then you’ll have extra, and you can freeze it for use when you travel away overnight.

        And don’t resort to supplementing with formula or someone else’s breast milk just because you think the baby’s hungry – you need to force them to keep trying the breast when they want more, and that’ll stimulate your supply. Nursing is much better for stimulating milk production than pumping. Once you start supplementing, demand by default will go down, causing supply to go down, and before you know it the baby’s weaned.

      • Crystal says:

        I appreciate the advice, but BELIEVE ME…between LLL, the book on making more milk, the herbal supplements, using reglan to stimulate milk production, the tea, the cookies, the extra pumping, the lactation consultations (at both hospitals and the private one we hired), the supplemental nursing system, the nipple shields, and the guidance of a friend who was successfully breastfeeding…there’s really not any trick I don’t know and haven’t tried except NOT having a child almost die and actually be well enough to latch on for her first month.

        Of course, none of that helps when you don’t have enough mature milk ducts, which is incredibly common in diabetics.

        Remember we also had circumstances beyond our control–a child who almost died and spent a month in the hospital, most of it on a feeding tube, all of it losing weight she couldn’t afford to lose. We had constant dr’s appointments and weight checks…it had nothing to do with what I thought about my child’s willingness to eat or not eat…she was not gaining at a healthy rate. There were issues with reflux that required medication. Then there were the undiagnosed food allergies. There were latch issues. There was a weak suck reflex. There was a requirement to add supplemental calories to help her gain weight, requiring that she be bottle fed my breast milk, which I pumped something like 10-12 times a day for close to six months.

        At the end of the day, we caught a raw deal. But barring those incredibly unlikely scenarios repeating themselves, none should be an issue the second time around other than milk duct maturation.

      • Dawn says:

        Oh no – your major problem was a child that didn’t want to nurse. Of all the mothers I know with that issue (for whatever reason), NONE of them could produce enough milk just by pumping. That’s because pumping doesn’t stimulate supply like nursing does. If the baby won’t nurse, there’s really not much you can do to produce enough. Everyone I know who was pumping and bottle-feeding weaned their babies to formula within three months.

        But – if the child is nursing well, and you want to have extra, then you pump additionally, and it increases your supply. I actually made the mistake of pumping to store up extra and then had so much of an oversupply that I was in pain a lot, squirting, etc…but I assume if you don’t have ample supply to begin with, that the strategy would “normalize” you to a reasonable amount. 🙂

        As for if the baby starts off not latching well – and F was like this, and I was like this as a baby – if you offer them no alternative, and they’re not almost dying, they do eventually learn to get what they need. The problem is a lot of mothers get spooked when they go to their first couple of appointments and the baby isn’t gaining enough weight so they immediately start supplementing, and once the baby has an easier means of eating, they will in fact refuse to nurse, and rightly so!

      • Crystal says:

        There is a difference, and I think you’re forgetting this…between a healthy child who starts off life not latching well and a child who is too ill to nurse, spends 10 days on a ventilator, another 10 on a feeding tube down her nose and then has to relearn how to suck from scratch…all while losing weight. Oh, and let’s not forget that she had a stroke, too…and that her left kidney failed. It is absolutely correct that it’s okay for a baby to lose 10% of their body weight when they’re first learning to nurse…that’s expected. What isn’t okay is for a one month old who was born full term at almost 7 pounds to weigh only 6 pounds. What we went through with Elanor is so far out of the realm of normal that NONE of the literature could help us (and I have two shelves of books on breastfeeding to prove it), and we had to make decisions based on the conclusions of her battery of doctors (pedi, neuro, nephro, gastro, nutrition, cardiology, and the pedi stroke team).

        I don’t regret any of the choices we made regarding feeding E…if anything I regret not putting her on the amino acid formula sooner and skipping the elimination diet entirely.

        Remember, E only earned the badge of approval in terms of development last November and has one more set of doctor’s appointments to go before she is completely in the clear this coming November.

        Regardless of all of that, yes, my supply would have been at least a little better had she never gotten sick. However, it is established fact that diabetics are part of a group who genuinely don’t have enough milk ducts mature (especially in a first pregnancy) to make enough milk, so it is also entirely possible that I might still have had deficient supply had nothing bad happened. No matter what you do, if you don’t have enough ducts, there isn’t enough supply. My ob/gyn and my endocrinologist, who are both specialists in diabetic pregnancy made it clear to me that it’s not uncommon with diabetics (also a common side problem if you have PCOS, anemia, and a variety of other conditions beyond diabetes).

        But it’s all pointless conjecture until a second child is born healthy and I have a real chance at breastfeeding. Then we’ll see what my REAL supply looks like. First I need to get knocked up, then I need to deliver a healthy kid…and then we’ll worry about supply.

      • Dawn says:

        Right – that’s exactly my point. With Elanor, there were other factors that made bf impossible – and none of that was your fault or anything you could have changed and I don’t doubt you did everything right.

        However – in the case of a healthy child that CAN nurse (and hopefully your #2 will fit into this category), it’s not always easy, and some people give up too easily. Far more babies get formula than actually NEED to, especially in this country. I actually think this is less of a problem for the babies than for the mothers. While there are health benefits to both, personally I found that breast feeding had a lot of benefits to me. For one thing, my period didn’t come back for over a year, so I didn’t have to deal with those pesky hormonal swings. With that, came reduction of all sorts of issues I had before – including severe anxiety, which I had NO problem with while bf’ding full-time, but which returned full-force as soon as F was weaned.

        In the case that mothers give up when they don’t need to (especially when encouraged by an old-fashioned doctor who thinks formula is better than breast milk and will use pretty much any excuse to get the baby onto formula), I’m actually sadder for them than for the babies, because while breast feeding IS rough at the beginning, and I won’t try to tell you otherwise (at first, it’s horrible cramps, then later the risk of mastitis and thrush, not to mention getting no sleep as a bad-at-latching baby nurses incompetently for an hour every two hours because she’s always hungry), it DOES get better (if it’s going to work at all) if you just stick it out and force the baby to keep trying. However, if you give the baby another alternative (which you may be tempted to do if, say, the baby is cranky or not gaining enough weight), then the baby will obviously choose whatever’s easiest for them, and in that case it’s not the baby that loses out – it’s mom.

        Obviously it’s all your choice and if you wanted to go directly to formula with #2, I’d say all the power to you, but you seem to WANT to breast feed, and in that case, I want to encourage you to do so, because I think YOU will have a great experience with it. And I trust that in the case there are actual health problems, like there were with E, you and your doctor will make the best possible decision for both you and your child.

      • Dawn says:

        Oh, and I will add that part of what makes me wary is that, when F was having trouble latching, and lost nearly a pound in the hospital the few days after she was born, I was told (by doctors!) to supplement with formula, but I’m REALLY glad I ignored them and stuck it out, because all the lack of sleep and even going through thrush and mastitis was totally worth it for the year of bliss that followed once we finally got the hang of it.

        My mom had it even worse with me – I actually had a medical condition (tounge-tied) that made it impossible for me to latch correctly, and what’s weird to me is that my mom, who was working full-time within a few weeks of my birth (she brought me to work with her at first), never even considered formula an option even after I gave her a horrible case of mastitis. She didn’t have a pump either. When she sent me to daycare, she just expressed milk by hand and had it fed to me in cups (not sippy-cups, regular cups!)

        I don’t doubt that some mothers just cannot produce enough milk, and you may be one of those, but you won’t know unless you give your baby enough of a chance to get the maximum amount of milk out of you – and barring fevers and strokes and other life-threatening conditions, that might entail a hungry baby and a cranky mom for a month or two before things settle down. At least you won’t have an issue with the other thing I’ve heard of that causes moms to wean early – and that’s jaundice, because in Singapore your baby will get plenty of sunlight!

  2. bookjunkie says:

    I hope you have a fabulous time. The first class seat sounds awesome.

    Have loads of dim sum. It’s really good in Hong Kong, if you’re into it.

    • Crystal says:

      I could definitely learn to live like that. Sadly, it’s one of those once in a blue moon, when we have enough airline miles to cash in (and still have a cushion in case we need an emergency trip home).

      Not a dim sum fan (I prefer fake “american chinese” chinese food…I’m such a barbarian, I know) but we had a lovely pan-asian/western buffet dinner tonight. I may not eat again for days.

  3. Eric says:

    Hey Crystal,

    It was great to meet you and Ravi at the Outback. The both of you gave me a great smile at the end of the day. And after I left work I greeted by three more Americans on the bus. It was a great day to get in touch with my home. I hope you have an amazing time in Hong Kong. Enjoy the Concert and I hope you don’t have too much trouble getting around.

    As well, your a theatre lover? Please tell me that you and Ravi are getting tickets to the Lion King performance next month? I know that I bought tickets for the Rocky Horror Picture show, but unfortunately had to miss it.

    All my best,

    Eric

    • Crystal says:

      Great to meet you too!

      Looking forward to the concert…they were really nice about moving my seat to a wheelchair accessible location (we bought the tix before I broke my ankle).

      I am a theater lover. Haven’t seen much in Singapore beyond “Voyage de la Vie” over at Resorts World Sentosa. I wanted to see Chicago and Boeing Boeing, but managed to miss both 😦 Haven’t bought tix for the Lion King, but am seriously considering doing so. I’ve gotten really bad when it comes to theater…when I lived in New York for grad school, I worked for a ticket discounter and I saw shows all the time (whether I could afford to or not).

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