For my readers who come here for non-baby stuff…I promise that it will not be all baby all the time. However, the grandparents don’t get to meet her until Christmas, so I may do lots of off topic baby pictures at the end of posts. I’m actually having an amazing recovery from my C section, and soon I’ll be back to running all over Singapore…which will actually give me stuff to talk about apart from my kids. Posting may be a bit sporadic or later in the day that my usual as I adjust to the demands of two children, though.
I’m working on a post about the birth experience at Gleneagles Hospital…basically the post I wish I could have read when I was trying to learn about giving birth here in Singapore and at Gleneagles specifically, once I picked my OB. I hope to have that up within the next week.
Rhiannon is turning a week old today. I shared her birth story, but I know that some of my readers just want to hear about the kids and not so much the semi-gory details of delivery.
I’m still walking around in a new mom haze, so I’m going to bullet point topics, as my ability to write transitional sentences has abandoned me.
- How is Ellie adjusting to her new sister?
Rhiannon was born at 5:29 on Thursday. That night we had Elanor come and meet her sister, and was when the first chunk of the video I put up yesterday was filmed. Ellie visited almost every day, for varying amounts of time. A hospital room isn’t the best place for an almost 3 year old (lots of buttons that really shouldn’t be pushed) and she still doesn’t understand why Mommy can’t pick her up. While she really seems to adore Rhiannon, newborns just aren’t all that interesting, either.
She is very interested in Rhiannon. She’ll ask us where she is (if it’s not immediately noticeable). She likes to come up and pet Rhi and say things like “good girl” and “it’s okay.” She wants to hold Rhiannon, although her limit is about 1-2 minutes (not bad for a not quite 3 year old).
We’re not seeing jealousy yet. I’m trying to head some of that off by giving her time with me every day, and asking B to watch Rhiannon. Just as I sometimes tell Ellie that it’s Rhiannon’s turn with Mommy, I make a point of telling Rhiannon that it’s Ellie’s turn with Mommy. I invite Ellie to sit with me on the couch when I nurse. I ask her if she wants to help when I do things like change Rhiannon’s diaper. So far, it looks good, but today was only the first full day where I’ve been home and Ellie has had to share me.
Having said that, we are experiencing a little regression. Ellie used to be an awesome sleeper. During the pregnancy (about 3ish months ago?) Ellie started waking up in the middle of the night and coming to our bedroom. We finally were able to put a stop to it about a month ago when we got back from the US. But this morning at 8am, E was at her door (we’ve started gating her door) sobbing for us. I let her come into the bed as Ravi was leaving for work and she was clearly (a) too upset to just be put back to bed in her room and (b) too tired to get up. I co-sleep with Rhiannon, so the three of us ended up taking a few hour nap; Rhiannon on my chest, and Ellie curled up against my side. It was actually a really precious moment and even though part of me worries about setting a bad precedent, there’s another part of me that wouldn’t mind doing that every morning (I just don’t want her in the bed at night–our bed isn’t big enough for all four of us and I like having alone time with my husband).
We’ll work with whatever their relationship ends up being, and I’m not naive enough to think I don’t have plenty of fights to referee coming my way.
- How is nursing going?
I was really nervous about nursing. Due to E’s illness, my only “breastfeeding” relationship was with a breast pump. I suffered from low supply with Elanor, and then she turned out to be allergic to something in my milk. It was a really frustrating and demoralizing experience, and I was really anxious approaching nursing this time.
I didn’t mind that Rhi needed some formula for her blood sugar right away, and while it grated, I also didn’t mind that she needed some 12 hours in. If she had kept needing it, it would have been really hard to keep my spirits up.
Luckily my milk came in quickly, and whether it’s that she’s far better than a pump at getting my breasts motivated, that I had more ducts mature this time around, or some combination of the two…my supply is strong and if anything, a bit overpowering for her right now. For the first time in my life I actually have frozen milk in my freezer…extra supply.
I’m also lucky that she figured out latching, and that we’ve experienced relatively few bumps in the road. I figured out how to nurse without a pillow when I was too lazy to get out of bed and find my breastfeeding pillow, so I can now leave the house if the place I’m going to has a nursing room. I’m not so good at it yet that I can be subtle…I need all the working parts visualized, so to speak, so I want to have a private place to nurse. Luckily, a lot of the malls here have nice nursing rooms. I’ll probably start reviewing them and give them a category here.
When you nurse, you get a rush of the hormone oxytocin, which is called the “love hormone.” It’s the same hormone released during orgasm, if you’re interested. Mostly it makes you feel kind of stoned (Dear Mom–sorry to confess, but yes, I inhaled in college). It can make nursing challenging as we’re both sometimes falling asleep in the middle of the session, especially overnight. But if I’m willing to sleep when she sleeps, it also helps me nap throughout the day. When I started out, I planned a goal of six months minimum, but if this feeling continues, I can understand why nursing long term isn’t a negative experience. I don’t know if every mom feels it, or to what extent they feel it, but it’s a definite positive reinforcement for me, and something I never experienced when pumping for Elanor.
- How did the rest of the hospital stay go?
Rhi developed jaundice, which is super common in preemies. She had to spend about 18 hours in a phototherapy isolette. The only way I could keep her in my room was to switch from the 10th floor “vip suites” to a regular maternity floor room. It was a miserable 18 hours…Rhiannon is all about being held, and I could only take her out for nursing sessions. However, she was able to come out after the next morning…and will have her jaundice levels checked on Friday at her pediatrician’s appointment. If she does need more phototherapy, we’ll be able to rent a machine and administer the therapy at home.
My surgery went really well. I have one spot of pain, but otherwise, as long as I keep taking my pain meds and don’t put too much weight on my left hip I’m actually feeling better than I have in months. I know that the C section experience is different for everyone, but I feel like mine was far more positive than I was expecting.
We had a couple of visitors; my friends Emily and Martha each dropped by. I fell asleep on Martha while nursing.
The lactation consultants were amazing. We visited with them each day and I learned new tips and tricks for nursing. I still have a lot to learn, and I’ll visit with them over the next bit of time to learn new skills.
- How is Ravi doing?
He’s a bit under the weather. He was burning the candle at both ends for a few too many days.
He took paternity leave the day after Rhiannon was born (Friday Oct 14) and the day I came home (Tuesday Oct 19). He has a big project due soon, so he’s delaying the rest of his paternity leave vacation until the days between Diwali (Oct 26) and Hari Raya Puasa (Nov 7), which buys him two extra days home with us as those are both public holidays. In the meantime I’m feeding him healthy foods and will ensure that he gets rest this weekend if nothing else.
- How are you feeling?
I’m surprised by how good I’ve felt. I have one spot of pain if I put weight on my left hip…my working theory is that I have a pinched nerve because of the way the pain moves, maybe from being on bedrest and then stuck in the hospital bed for the first bit of time after the C. If it’s not feeling better by my appointment on Tuesday, I’ll be sure to ask about it. That the pain isn’t actually where I had the C is another reason to suspect pinched nerve. The actual area of the C is far better than I expected-pain but not terrible pain as long as I mostly stay on top of my meds (I can delay them about an hour, but not much more).
I’ve been doing a lot of walking, and Rhiannon has been hanging out in the sling (she’s actually in the sling as I’m writing this entry). It’s really nice to be able to eat and not immediately throw up, and I’m actually feeling better now that I did those last few months of pregnancy. Ironic, isn’t it?
- Random Stuff?
In the US, if a baby is under 5lbs or 5.5 lbs, they do a “car seat test” in the nursery to ensure that the baby can safely sit in his/her car seat. There is a chance that the angle of the car seat is such that the baby’s head will fall forward and block their air passage. In the US, they put the baby in the car seat and then assess their breathing over a period of time (I’ve read up to 2 hours). I asked if the nursery at Gleneagles could do the car seat test. They’d never heard of it, so I explained it. They told me that no, they couldn’t do it.
Given that, I was nervous putting Rhiannon in the car seat. We tried, but we have long since lost the newborn insert and neither of us felt safe with her in it. So we went the Singaporean route, and I held her in arms in the cab ride home. I think I’ve addressed this before, but although Singapore has car seat laws, (a) they’re not enforced or taken seriously and (b) they’re not applicable in cabs or on public transit, which is what most people depend upon. I’ve since bought an after-market newborn insert for the car seat, but I will likely wait until she hits 6 lbs before I feel safe putting her in it. As an American mom who has been a card carrying member of the seat belt/car seat mafia, I’m very frustrated that I couldn’t know for sure whether she was safe in her car seat or not.