With good days, come bad days.

Oscar is growing up so quickly and each day we learn something new about him. We are learning the best ways to settle him and beginning to differentiate between his cries.

Candice started back at work last Thursday and things at home haven’t been as easy as I thought. After the perfect week we had when we first arrived home, Oscar has finally found his lungs. We had our first difficult day late last week where he spent the whole afternoon being fussy. I didn’t know what to do as it was the first time he had been like that. It was quite a hot day so I tried cooling him off but all he wanted was for me to hold him and feed him. As soon as I would begin to feed him he would fall asleep but wake and cry the second I would try to put him down. This continued until Candice got home from work at 5pm. It was a stressful day and by the end I thought maybe he wasn’t getting enough milk from me. Candice suggested that we try and give him a bottle of formula to see if he settled after that. We gave it to him and then he fell asleep for 4 hours. Naturally I immediately thought that he must have been starving. I then started stressing about my milk supply and tried to research the best ways to increase it. However, that night I was sent an article explaining that all babies tend to get fussy and that it’s perfectly normal. It also said that after this fussy time, babies will often go down for their longest sleep of the day. Oscar has been peeing/pooing like crazy as well as putting on weight consistently, which would indicate that he is getting plenty of milk from me. The next day he was fussy at exactly the same time but instead of resorting to a bottle we pushed through and I continued to breast feed and hold him. At almost the same time as the day before he fell asleep and then stayed asleep for about 4 hours. I haven’t been as concerned about my milk supply since then and I’m just continuing to feed him on demand. Sometimes that’s every 3 hours and sometimes, like last night, it’s every hour. I’ve read that it’s the best way to increase milk supply so as painful as it can get, that’s the way it is for the time being.

Having a newborn really teaches a higher level of patience. It doesn’t matter how tired you are, how grumpy you are. It doesn’t matter how defeated. If that baby is crying, you put on a happy voice to distract him or a soothing voice to calm him. Even when all you want to do is slump down in the corner of the room and cry from exhaustion, you can’t. He is all instinct and he needs you. I have had 2 particularly difficult days with Oscar where I have broken down and cried. His little cry truly breaks my heart and when I’m unable to figure out what’s wrong, I feel horrible. Lack of sleep combined with post pregnancy hormones can really make a mess of you!

It’s taken all day just to write this short post but I got there in the end.

I’m very, very tired, almost deliriously so, but happy. Candice and I love laying in bed and listening to his little baby noises. Adorable!

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We’re home and thriving.

Today Oscar is 12 days old.

I am actually shocked at that fact. It honestly feels like he hasn’t been with us that long at all, though at the same time, pregnancy seems like a lifetime ago. We stayed in hospital for 5 nights so we could absorb as much knowledge from the midwives as possible and by the last day we were well and truly ready to come home. We had asked loads of questions and  tested so many different approaches, taking on what worked for us and Oscar. I have to admit that everything is going well so far. And I for one, am genuinely surprised at the ease with which we have slipped into the parenting world.

The thing I feared most about having a newborn was succeeding with breastfeeding but so far that has been going well. I know it hasn’t even been 2 weeks yet but we haven’t had any dramas. Since my milk has come in he has been content with feeding for 45-60 minutes and then sleeping in about 3 hour blocks. He seems to have set a pretty regular 24 hour routine for himself and it’s working well for all three of us. The night time feedings aren’t nearly as bad as I thought they would be and I’m learning that it’s important to try and sneak in a nap during the day while he is sleeping.

The day we came home from the hospital, Candice said that her throat felt sore and thought that maybe she was coming down with a cold. By the next morning she was sure of that she was indeed now sick. It was bad timing as it meant she wasn’t able to have too much contact with Oscar and it limited the amount she could help out. Luckily by the weekend she was all better and both Oscar and I had managed to avoid catching her flu germs. Candice then spent the next few days hovering over her boy, making up for all the kisses and cuddles that she had missed out on while sick.

In 2 days Candice has to return to work. I’m sad about her not being home with us but I’m not actually stressed or worried about looking after Oscar on my own. I feel quite confident that we will be just fine.

Our 2 dogs have been back home with us for a week now. After all the stress we had about how they would behave with a baby in the house, we have been really surprised. Our golden retriever, Luna, has been amazingly gentle and seemingly protective of Oscar. She might even think that Oscar is her baby. It’s completely adorable to watch and I’m sure without a doubt they are destined to be best buddies. Our chocolate labrador, Yoshi, has always been a very excitable dog and she is finding it hard to be calm around Oscar when he makes his little baby noises. Even though she is a little older than Luna, Yoshi still has a bit of maturing to do mentally. I’m sure as she gets older she’ll mellow out a bit and they will get along famously. In the meantime we’re keeping an extra close eye on her when Oscar is in the same room just in case she gets startled by him. Both dogs are still sleeping indoors at night as we have barricaded one end of the house off from our bedroom and the nursery and so far it’s working out well.

Let’s talk about baby poo. Everyone tells you that there is a LOT of baby poo but it’s hard to comprehend just how much until the moment you have a newborn in your care. In the first 6 days of having Oscar, Candice pretty much became the nappy changing master. I was still healing from the caesarian and was either sitting or laying down for those first few days and in that time I only had to change a total of 3 nappies. Only one of those times I would call successful. The other two times I was peed on. Pee sprinkled everywhere. All over my arms, all over his chest, all in his hair. Along with the pee came the poo. It actually squirts out of the butt and can reach a distance of up to 30cm. I’m happy to say that I now have the hang of nappy changing and have been getting a lot more practice now that we are home. However, I’m happy to report that Candice is definitely still doing the majority of that fun job.

We have both well and truly become obsessed with our little guy. When we’re not watching him sleep, we think it’s completely reasonable to spend our time looking at photographs and videos of him on our phones, talking about the all cute things he has done that day, praising him for being such a good sleeper and eater. Obsessed. We are trying hard to remember that not everyone is as wrapped up in Oscar love as we are and that we may even need to let the conversations drift away from him (and his perfectness) when in the company of others. Luckily we have an Instagram outlet to post all things Oscar related.

Yesterday we went on our very first outing. I was wanting to escape the confines of our house so we packed up the pram and picnic blanket and headed down to a nearby park that also had a cafe. We had lunch and Oscar stayed sound asleep for the entire meal. After that we went and found a shady spot to hang out at which point he woke up for his own lunch. This was the first time breastfeeding without the comforts of being in our own home. The thing I struggled with the most was sitting on the ground whilst trying to feed him. I’m still not completely healed and won’t be for another 4 weeks so probably shouldn’t have been sitting on the ground in the first place. After the park we walked over to the shops to pick up a few things but I suddenly became quite faint and felt like I may pass out so we gave up on that and drove home. I think I may have pushed myself a bit far with all the walking and getting up and down off the ground when trying to feed him. I’ve learnt my lesson though and will be taking it easy from now on.

Now for the photos.

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Sweet lips, sweet nose, sweet eyelashes

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This boy loves his baths

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This is his 1 week old photograph

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Breastfeeding – anytime, anywhere

Meet Oscar Finn!

He’s here, he’s here!

Oscar Finn was born on the 9th of October at 2:40 pm, weighing in at 6lbs 15oz and 50cm in length.

Since that moment he has become the very centre of our universe.

He is unbelievably perfect.

See for yourself.

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I desperately need to catch up on some sleep right now. I’ll be writing a post later in the week about how we are settling in at home and all the highs and lows so far. Plus more photos of course!

The days are long

I am now 38 weeks plus 3 days and I am pretty sure that time is slowing down. My days are mainly filled with eating, sleeping, reading. Probably in that order.

I’m almost certain that my belly can’t physically get any bigger. It’s so round and out in front that I feel like I need to carry it when I’m walking and often do when I’m not in public. Like a big tumour attached to the front of me. Except it’s not a tumour, it’s an actual human person in there. Candice and I have been blown away over the last couple of weeks with the realisation that our baby is full grown now. He is already looking quite chubby (judging by the 3D scan photos) and he is… well, newborn size. It’s weird to think that any day we could be holding him in our arms instead of just watching his outline squirm around in the big ball I’m carrying on my front. He will be able to stretch out and flail his arms around uncontrollably. He will also be able to cry and scream but we won’t focus on that today.

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38 week belly shot

Something that we have almost taken for granted over this process is the fact that Candice and I will both be legally recognised as the parents on the official birth certificate. Thanks to changes in QLD law (The Status of Children Act) back in June 2010, the birth certificate will list ‘mother’ and ‘parent’ as opposed to ‘mother’ and ‘father’. This applies to the parents of any children born through an assisted insemination, self insemination or in vitro fertilisation which is incredibly great news. It means that we won’t have to go through the adoption process in order to have Candice recognised as the baby’s guardian and right from the second he is born she has legal parental status.

In other news, after discovering the timer feature on the iPhone camera the other day, we decided to try and take a few photos of us together. A few poorly framed shots later we finally had the camera facing in the right direction and managed some decent ones. Here is one of our favourites.

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Next to us is a sign we made for our engagement picnic last year.

My hands and feet have been getting quite swollen the past week or so and I’ve actually had to take off my wedding rings. At the last OB appointment, my recent blood test results showed that my iron levels had increased which was great news but my blood platelet count was low and my blood pressure was slightly higher than usual. If you know anything about pre-eclampsia then you’ll know that the main symptoms include high blood pressure, low blood platelet count and large amounts of protein in the urine. We did a urine test while I was there and those results were fine. Swelling of the hands, feet and face are also symptoms of pre-eclampsia. Swelling is just such a common complaint in later pregnancy though that it’s not really a good indictor. Given that my blood pressure was only slightly high and that there wasn’t high levels of protein in my urine, the OB wasn’t overly concerned but as a precaution I am off to the Mater Pathology centre today to have more blood tests to check that my platelet levels haven’t continued to drop and also check my liver and kidney function.

In one of the baby books I’ve been reading it says that newborns have trouble distinguishing between tones and therefore enjoy looking at black and white objects and other high contrasting colours. I realised a lot of the blankets and toys that we have for him are not very contrasting at all so I decided to sit down and sew him a black and white stuffed toy. I made it out of an old pillow case and it took roughly 10 minutes to make, start to finish.  To keep it baby friendly, I used felt for the eyes instead of buttons.

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Zebra bunny!

I’m not the only one that has been reading. Candice has been cramming in a bit of baby study time and we both feel pretty okay at this point. Our confidence may go flying out the window once he arrives and we haven’t slept for 3 or 4 days but for now we feel pretty hopeful that we are going to cope just fine.

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Study time.

It’s finally October!

October is here, the month that our lives are due to change. The month that we become actual parents. Mothers.

Up until this week I have been feeling cool as a friggin cucumber. It’s only now that a little fear is starting to creep in, turning every twinge or pain that I feel into a question mark. When I wake during the night I worry that my waters are about to break if I move so I lay there nice and still. But I really need to pee so as slowly and carefully as I can I roll out of bed and gently tip toe to the bathroom as if I have any control over them breaking or not. I’ve been experiencing more and more braxton hicks contractions, mainly in the evening. There have been a few times where they have felt so constant that I’ve actually started timing them just to make sure they weren’t the beginning of real contractions. It just so happens that there is an app for that – ‘Don’t Panic! Contraction Timer’. Hilarious.

I’m incredibly uncomfortable now, almost all the time and feel as though I require a small crane to help lift me off the couch. I waddle everywhere and constantly groan when having to bend or twist my body. There is absolutely nothing graceful about me. I still have horrible heartburn which apparently indicates that his head isn’t yet engaged. He has also been practicing the rumba dance moves non stop, occasionally mixing it up with the cha cha. Given the lack of space in my belly, these movements are becoming a bit painful. Oh, and something new that has presented itself over the last week is Carpal Tunnel syndrome. I wake several times a night with pins and needles in both my hands. My fingers and wrists hurt to bend, not a little but a lot. As if i have slammed my fingers in a drawer or something. The pain eases heaps during the day but at night it flares up again. I’m told this is common in pregnancy and should disappear once the baby is born. I sure hope so!

Despite the whining tone of this blog post I actually don’t complain very much, day to day, about all the pregnancy stuff. I know I’m lucky and I know this is what I wanted and hoped for. To be handed a healthy baby this month, of course I would do it all over again. So I keep that in the back of my mind and positively tell myself that there isn’t long to go. Being the 1st of October, it now couldn’t be more true.

We had lunch with my family over the weekend and they told us their due date predictions. My older sister thinks I’ll be 3 weeks early (which is now), my younger sister thinks 2 weeks early, my Mum thinks 1 week early and my Dad thinks spot on the due date of the 19th. Candice sent out the text message below to both my sisters this morning. What a meanie.FullSizeRender

The days here in Brisbane are getting warmer and I can’t seem to wipe the smile off my face. I love Spring so much! While Candice has been at work, I have been spending a lot of time outside in the fresh air. I’m so grateful we were able to have the back deck built before the baby arrives as I imagine we will be spending many of our days out there.

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37 weeks along!

I wrote a list of things to do over the the next few weeks and have slowly been working my way through it.

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So far I can tick off about half this list.

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Some of the meals I’ve made to freeze for later.