Monday, January 17, 2011

One year...and the end of the blog...


We had a lovely Christmas. It was fun with Grace - watching her playing with her new toys, reading her new books (well, having them read to her) and taking more and more steps on her own and with us helping. I worked through and Rupes looked after Grace when I was at the office, so they had some good father/daughter time. We got lots of chores done around the house too so it was a good productive break all round.

We saw New Years in at a friend's place - Grace asleep in the portakot upstairs, and she was fantastic, getting woken up at 12.30am to come home and then straight back to sleep. We're getting mainly good nights from her now ranging from 11 to 13 hours depending on her day.

And then, before we knew it, the first birthday had arrived. The 16th of January at 12.01am - she came so close to being the 15th - she would have been if the doctor hadn't paused in her cutting to query me on the other scars on my tummy!

For her birthday we had a few friends and family over - she was her outgoing confident self, and the only thing that really gave her pause was everyone singing to her when the cake came out! It was a really lovely time and we felt like it was our celebration for making it through the first year!

I decided to stop writing this blog when Grace was a year old for a number of reasons - not least being lack of time! We are incredibly blessed - she is a beautiful, spirited, healthy girl. Constantly active, she is alert and curious. And when she snuggles in for a cuddle I feel like the luckiest woman alive. She loves her books...and her favourite is read to her four or five times a day...we know it off by heart now and always groan when she finds it on her bookshelf. I have so many dreams for her future, so many hopes that she will be happy and fulfilled. The days, weeks, months and years ahead seem like a very large gift just waiting to be unwrapped a little at a time.
Thank you for reading. For those friends and family who have been with us throughout this journey, it's been a long long way from there to here, and while I miss those babies that never arrived, I am so content with my wee miracle girl. I think in many ways I appreciate her more knowing how close we came to never having her.

If you have read this blog because you are dealing with infertility, please let me give you a virtual hug and all my hopes for a happy outcome. I have no advice to offer other than be very good to yourself, work on your fitness and be as healthy as you can. I hope your dreams come true like mine have.

If you are reading because you are a new mother then I have lots of advice! Don't sweat the small stuff, don't try and do everything (it won't happen and you'll set yourself up to feel like a failure), read to her and play with her but give her space to learn to entertain herself, and remember through all the times when it feels too hard that each phase will pass. Honestly, it will.

Love and hugs from us.
xxx

PS - Comments will still be delivered to me and this blog will stay up on the net - so if you do want to get in touch with me then a comment on a post should find me.




Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Three more sleeps!


Grace was 11 months old last week. She met Santa for the first time at our office party for the kids. She heard a balloon pop for the first time - and burst into tears! We had her daycare Christmas party as well, with the older kids doing a few songs - very cute!
She had her first "bleeding" injury - down the slide at daycare face first and her wee bottom teeth cut her top lip. She looked like Angelina Jolie with a trout pout! Daycare keep a portfolio of photos and stories and artwork and we got our first look at it this week - amazing to see how much she has changed. You don't realise it until you see photos!
Mum was down for a week and Rupert was away in Aussie for a few days, so I partied hard at our work Christmas party! It was so much fun - Disney theme (I went as a pirate wench in search of Capt Jack Sparrow. No luck). Just a really good night - though I regretted the last wine or three when I was woken up after just four hours sleep :-) While Mum was here my sister also visited - she hadn't seen Grace since that first week at home, so I think she might have seen a change! And Rupert's cousin also visited, so it's been a social time!
Mum bought Grace an early Xmas present - a wee trolley with blocks. Grace happily walks across the room and back again holding on to it. She loves to walk holding our hands, and is just starting to take those first steps away from support. Apart from some grizzles with what we think is the first of her molars to come through, she is delightful - happy and interactive, but still enjoys playing independently. She's eating well, sleeping well, and generally being a lovely little girl. Her sense of humour is definately developing and her favourite activity is counting down with the microwave (including the beep at the end!) and hiding things under various pillows and cushions.
So...not long till Grace's first Christmas, and looking at the Christmas tree she is certainly going to be one spoiled little girl! I'm excited for her sake - I know she won't remember much of this year's celebrations, but it will be so fun to take lots of photos that she can look back at and see how much she is loved. Her grandparents in the South Island have sent up home made gifts - the most adorable doll, and a very cool ride on scooter. I can't wait to post some photos of those after Christmas.
This time last year I was pregnant and hot! And tired too! Amazing what can happen in just one year, and in a few more weeks she will turn 1!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Miss Jetsetter!


Our trip to Perth for Grace's aunty's wedding was just great. I was really worried before we went, wondering how she would react to the long flight, the heat, the disruption of her routine. I packed an entire suitcase to take on the plane and hardly used any of it. It was a day flight on the way over - she was so interested in everything and everybody that she only managed a 90 minute sleep on the plane. Excluding that she was awake for over 11 hours!
We went to dinner one night with the bride and groom to be - and that was the only time we had an issue, when Grace woke up from a nap, was cuddled by Aunty Cat, and promptly threw up all over her! It was lovely seeing family - her grandparents were there, as well as her Uncle Simon and cousin Melissa - the first cousin she has ever met! We took her to the market a couple of times, for a swim in the pool (which was quite cold sadly, so we didn't repeat the exercise), and out to a national park to see koalas (asleep high in trees) and kangaroos (none to be seen but lots of kangaroo poo around!) It was so good spending time with Cat as well - she is such a lovely sister in law, and it was nice for to have some Grace time.
Travelling with a youngster is both easy and hard. The hard part for me was at times being a bit apartment bound - there were times when it was just too hot to take her out, and with a 15 minute walk to town it wasn't a quick round trip. I did a fair bit of reading, had a couple of hours in the sun by the pool, a couple of naps, and tried not to check my work email too much!
The wedding was lovely. Cat looked absolutely gorgeous and the church was old and beautiful - if rather hot. The groom looked pretty good too - I'd post a photo of them but Cat will have to give me permission. You'll have to make do with this one of Daddy and daughter before the service started. Grace behaved beautifully right up to the point when her Daddy went up to do his reading, and she started squawking dadada hehe. I think she wanted to go up with him! We had a babysitter in the evening so we could enjoy the reception, and then a quiet day before we flew home the next evening. This was a night flight, getting into Auckland at 5.30am, so Grace settled well and snoozed most of the way.
And now we're back. And it's December. And we have so much going on - work is still a little insane for me, Rupes has a couple of trips away, I have my office Xmas party (theme Disney!), and of course we have Christmas coming up. Grace's first Christmas. How special is that?
Apart from the first night home when she wouldn't settle till 11pm due to the time difference, she has just been a treasure this week. Her latest fun thing is smacking her lips and giggling when you do it back to her. The sense of humour (and ticklish spots) are really developing. She is 90% sunny and the odd grizzles are only when she is tired, or hungry. Kind of like her Mum. And...bless her, she slept solidly last night with a squawk at 9pm, right through to 7am when I woke her for breakfast.
Motherhood. It's a continual learning curve and juggling act - but one that I am enjoying so very much.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My little Picasso


Grace's first artwork. I love it. Rupert wants to get it framed. It's kind of delicate and abstract all in one! She came home from daycare with a nappy full of sand from the sandpit, and hair and clothing as well as hands a bit paint splattered. She had the best time :-)
It's been an up and down couple of weeks - we heard chicken pox was going around so we had her vaccinated on Wednesday - she was such a brave wee soldier...but that night she was grizzly and hot and that went on till Saturday when we saw a rash on her temples and back. Oh God - said we, first time parents that we are, we didn't get the vaccine in time and she has chicken pox! Actually, it was just a reaction to the vaccine and she is fine again now! Phew!
She's a busy wee sausage. Lots of standing, walking along the furniture, a couple of occasions where she has been able to stand unassisted for a couple of seconds. She's nosy, and into everything! Her temperament is usually sunny and her independent spirit means she will happily play by herself until she is bored with that and then she will come and find us. Her eating is good - so far she has loved everything, she had her first fish fingers the other night and was quite taken with them! We haven't come across anything yet that she doesn't like, which is a bonus - that may change of course.
In just under a week she will be 10 months old, and in just 10 days we are off to Perth for the wedding of the year! I can't wait. It's come around really quickly, and I get to hang out with one of my oldest friends the first day we are there - possibly the last time I will see her in a long time, so it will be neat for her to meet Grace. And then the wedding - and then home to get ready for Xmas.
On the work front things have been crazy - I've had some meetings and fingers crossed, things might become a little easier soon. I am holding out for that, as the stress levels and the feeling of being spread too thin are taking over a little!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My wee buster!

We're beginning to think Grace was the wrong name for our wee one! She is so active, and curious, and into everything and everybody! The daycare girls agree that she is more of a Buster than a Grace.

Last week she figured out how to pull herself up to standing. She does it at every opportunity - even in her cot, much to my horror. She's even started "walking" along the furniture to reach a particularly fine toy - or remote control or phone! Her sixth tooth has just come through, and seemed to cause more wails than all the others put together.

Active and nosy - that pretty much sums her up at this point. She LOVES to know what is going on everywhere in the house - I'll be feeding her and she will be looking over my shoulder to see what Daddy is doing, or Katie the dog. She is definately going to be an outside girl - loves standing at the ranchslider and looking out. Rupes is in the middle of building a new fence so we have a safe play area for her without the continual tempation of the water at high tide or the mud at low tide. Somehow, I don't think she'd have a preference.

Life is busy. Rupes is away for a couple of days, my job just got a whole lot more involved, but so far all the balls are up in the air and we are juggling quite well. Miss Grace is babbling more and more, clapping her hands, and generally doing all the right things - though I think Katie is getting a bit tired of being used as a large living soft toy! In just a few weeks we will be off to Perth to celebrate Catherine and Troy's wedding - I can't wait, though am dreading the 7.5 hour flight. It will be so good to see the family though, and have some down time - our apartment has a pool so I think Grace and I will be spending a fair amount of time in there to beat the heat.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nine Months...

Nine months today! She celebrated by throwing up her morning bottle of milk ALL over the bed and me. She's got a cold so she is a little bit grizzly but hopefully is over the worst of it now.
I look at her and wonder just how this all happened. She is growing so fast, and learning so much. She is really just a wee miracle. We are so very blessed to have her - life is busy and tiring yet there are these moments of pure joy and laughter that make it all worthwhile. Happy 9 months little Gracie!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

In and Out


Today Grace is 39 weeks old - which is pretty much exactly the same amount of time she spent inside me! How funny is that...just made me laugh to think about how slowly the pregnancy went, and how fast her babyhood is flying by. Makes me kinda sad too.

It has been a really busy few weeks. Rupes went away, I got the flu, Mum came down to help and had a great (if tiring) time helping out with Grace so I could get some extra hours in at the office. It all worked out pretty well but it has become apparent that I need to have a third day at the office. It used to be much easier when she had a 2 hour nap so I could do some work from home - now we are lucky if we get 45 minutes, and I end up staying up late doing stuff when Rupes gets home from work and when Grace goes to sleep. So, Mondays are being added to the daycare days - she really loves going, and gets all excited when I pack her daycare basket, so I think it's good for her.

We had our Plunket check up this week - she is now 9.61 kgs and 71cm - doing all the right things and the nurse noted how active she is. This child hardly sits still for a moment - another reason I think daycare is so good for her as she gets so much stimulation and lots of new experiences - and socialisation. Which I think may be one of the most important things for Grace - she is quite a determined wee girl, and loves to touch/feel/hit everything - she will need to learn some boundaries :-)

In other news we have taken the drastic step of not using her safety sleep to hold her in place in the her cot. Mum thought it was annoying her and that's why she was waking up in the early hours - wanting to roll over but unable to. The first night was awful - I slept upstairs with her and literally got about 2 hours sleep all night. She keep scooting up to the top of the cot and pressing her face against the bars and then crying. The next night Rupes was upstairs with her and it was a little better and then he had the bright idea of safety pinning her sleeping back to the bottom of her mattress. So now, she can roll, wriggle and get on her tummy - but she can't get to the top end of the cot and push her head against the bars. Last night - oh bless - just one 3am wakeup cos she lost her dummy. This of course, may have been a coincidence given a very busy day at daycare, but we shall take it as a positive sign!

So...at 39 weeks Grace is still commando crawling, rocking on her hands and knees, climbing over people/dogs/pillows, waving hello and bye bye when she wants to, babbling away when she is in the mood, brushing her teeth (kinda), eating HUGE meals, and such a happy lovely wee girl that we both feel very very lucky.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Eight months...


Grace turned eight months old a couple of days ago. She just keeps getting more and more fun - into everything, can't leave her on the floor for a minute anymore - she's crawling all over! Still the commando crawl, rather than the fully upright type. She has decided that the base of her exersaucer is a fun place to be - and is spending a lot of time trying to pull herself up to standing - usually using my legs or Rupert's! She's eating really well -three solid meals a day plus snacks plus her milk so no problem with her appetite! She works it all off very quickly as she is so active!

I had a bit of a treat last weekend - Rupert sent me and a good mate of mine (Liza was my bridesmaid at our wedding!) to a hotel in the city for a night. We had a lovely time - walked around the city in the rain, had a nap, a gorgeous dinner, a little too much wine, and we were in our beds by 9.30pm. It was lovely. Just to sleep and relax and not have to think about baby food or waking up or anything like that. I missed Grace so much though!
Rupert leaves tomorrow for a week in the US - to help me out, my Mum is coming down to stay for a couple of weeks as I have a bit of stuff going on at work and need the flexibility with the tax changes coming up. So, that should be fun - Mum gets to hang out with Grace and spend some quality time with her, and I get a bit of leeway to get things done.
Grace also got her first report - from swimming school. It says she has mastered "confidence in the water" and everything else is developing, or being attempted. Then the teacher's comment says "Grace is a little sweetheart and it's a pleasure to see how much she enjoys swiming and doing all the different activities with her mum." I was so proud!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Back Story...

Twelve years ago today I met Rupert for the first time - it was love at first sight. I believe in love at first sight - because it has happened twice for me, and the two loves are linked inextricably in my life.



The first time, I was 16, and visiting a girlfriend who lived just across the road. Who just happened to have a very cute brother, who was at home. Our eyes met...and we both knew. It was just karma, chemistry, whatever you want to call it. Chris was a mechanic and loved nothing more than getting dirty under cars. His idea of dressing up was clean jeans. I was working for a large corporate and getting fully into the 80's champagne and high living. Chris was a free spirit - loved hanging out with his mates, doing a few recreational drugs and a lot of booze, and generally having a good time going fast in cars and on motorbikes. I was toying with religion, trying to find answers for things that had happened to me, and spending time learning how the business world worked and which high heels went with which suit. A match NOT made in heaven - yet it mostly worked. We dated, spent time with his family who took me to their hearts, took trips away. We argued like the blazes, split up more than once, but were always drawn back together.



The last time we broke up was devastating but we both knew we either had to change ourselves drastically, or just move on. So we moved on. We both met other people. I got married first, a big mistake and done for all the wrong reasons to the wrong person. On the way to the church in the back of the limo Chris pulled up alongside on his motorbike - purely by accident. I think the wedding party were a little concerned I was going to jump on, full princess wedding dress and all, and roar off into the sunset. I wish I had.



Chris married not long after, and we stayed in touch for a couple of years. I remember seeing him one day, and feeling so drawn to him - both of us were struggling with our marriages, and we talked about how easy it would be to do the wrong thing. And at that point we made the decision that we should cut off any and all contact - we both desperately wanted our respective marriages to work.



Of course, my marriage didn't work, and I moved back home with my Mum for a year while waiting for the wee lifestyle block we had owned to sell. I can't say I regret those six years of marriage - I learned a great deal, but I do still wish I hadn't wasted all that time! Unknown to me, Chris and his wife also separated and he went looking for me at the farmlet but couldn't remember the right road. As for me...I looked him up in the phone book and saw he was still listed with his wife so decided to leave well enough alone.



Finally the farm sold, and I put a deposit on a small unit with my share of the proceeds and got down to rebuilding my life. I was working as an assistant accountant in a very busy role, as well as chat hosting on the internet. For fun I'd hang out in a chatroom of Aucklanders and we'd occasionally meet up and go clubbing, or for dinner. I dated a few guys I met through that, and it was a little like a second chance at being a teenager. Until. Until.



I got a call at work - a friend of a friend had tracked me down to tell me that Chris was in hospital - he had melanoma and from what they knew it was terminal. I dropped everything and raced up to the hospital - when I saw him I nearly cried - so thin and tired. But his eyes were still the same, WE were still the same. I sat with him and we talked and talked. He told me he was staying with his parents and that he wanted me to move in as well so he could see me often. I agreed - what else could I do? And so began two months of the most difficult, beautiful, heartbreaking, funny, agonising time for me. I had a mattress on the floor next to his bed. I'd look after him at night to give his Mum a break. A couple of times we stayed at the Hospice so he could get his medications sorted. I gave him morphine, held his hand, helped him toilet and bath, and generally did whatever I could to keep his spirits up. Late at night while he slept I would go outside and just cry and cry. His mother and I knew there was no hope, and I hope I was as much comfort to her as she was to me.



Once a week or so I would go home to my empty little flat and do my laundry, collect my mail, and get a full night's sleep. Those nights were actually the worst - I was lonely and sad and trying to fit in a long working day with fitful sleep and all the emotional baggage I was dealing with. This one night, I logged onto the chatroom and started chatting with a guy I had talked to briefly before. Before I knew it I had invited him over for coffee - I spent the next half hour deciding where to hide when he knocked on the door. It wasn't that I was scared of him - we had a real life friend in common - but I just was so tired and sad and anxious. But he knocked on the door, and I opened it, and it was love at first sight again. It was so out of character for both of us - two lonely sad people finding each other when we were most open to it.



Twelve years ago that was how I met Rupert. He hugged me like we had known each other for ages - and that was how it felt. It was pretty obvious we were going to be together for a while at least, so I explained what I was going through. I knew I was onto a winner when he told me he would wait, and do what he could for me to help out. We saw each other a couple of times but I was very conscious of putting Chris first - and I didn't tell Chris about Rupert because I knew he would push me away, not wanting to interfere in my life. A couple of weeks later Chris asked me to marry him - he was very much in denial (at least publicly) about his cancer, and felt that me coming back to look after him was like a second chance at happiness. I agreed, and phoned Rupert the next day from work to tell him - he told me that I was to do whatever would make Chris happy, and we'd sort it all out later. I felt so safe with him.



Chris got sicker and sicker - more and more tired, and weak. We had some good talks, some laughs about things of the past, and his dreams for the future. It was such a sad time, yet there was so much joy in being with him. One night he lapsed into a coma and I knew the end was very near. He woke up briefly a little later that night, held my hand, and told me he loved me. Those were the last things he ever said. The next evening I didn't go there - I wanted it to be just his family around him. And honestly - I didn't think I could bear it. In my heart I already knew he was gone - seeing his final moments would have been just too much.



The call came from his father in the evening, that Chris was gone. So much of what I felt is confused - sadness and sorrow, yet relief that it was over for him. The pain he was in and the ever increasing amounts of morphine - well, that was no way for anyone to live, and I still strongly hold to the view that in such circumstances euthanasia is a kind option.



Rupert came over that night and held me for the longest time. And there, in the saddest time of my life, began a new love, one that had its foundation in my grief and us finding each other when we most needed someone. The funeral was terrible - huge and sad. Chris was buried in his motorbike leathers in a beautiful country cemetery. The day after the funeral his father called me - they had found a note in his drawer saying he wanted to be cremated. Just like Chris! And I understood then that he knew he wasn't going to make it, and the dreams we talked about would always remain just dreams. I'm glad I played along ... I am glad that he had that at least, rather than me telling him that those dreams wouldn't come true because he was going to die.



Twelve years later, I cry a little when I think of Chris. And am very grateful that then and now I have Rupert. I am so glad I invited him over for coffee. So very very glad. Was it coincidence that I met the second love of my life while farewelling the first? I don't think so. And now, to make a happy marriage even happier, we have Grace. Life is a strange, and wonderful thing.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It just gets better and better


What can I say - look at the smile! How cute is she? We've had a great week - coffee group went off well and Grace was up for four hours before I realised and popped her down for a sleep! She was happy playing with the other babies though a couple of times she relieved them of HER toys hehe.
We had swimming on Monday - we'd missed a few classes with her being sick, so she was excited to get back in the water. Lots of splashing and going under - with just a few splutters. We played a game where we passed the babies around in a circle to each other under the water - Grace loved it, and was so happy to be in a new pair of arms each time! However, a few of the other babies had meltdowns - cos they were away from Mummy. I'm glad she is so confident and independent.
We are really working on sleeping now - tried the experiment of tying her dummy to her sleep sack last night so she could find it if she woke up and that seemed to work well. So, when she wakes up chatting or yelling we are just leaving her to self settle. She cries so rarely that if we do hear her actually crying we know something is needed, but otherwise we leave her and just listen on the monitor.
So all good - getting lots of open mouthed wet kisses, lots of smiles and a lot of playing. She is eating like a wee horse, and loving most things - and I have noticed she is definately getting heavier! It's all really really lovely right now...the little personality starting to shine through. I think she is going to be a very independent little Miss!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Seven Months...

Wow. On the downward slope to a year already! And Grace is today exactly 71 years and 5 months younger than my Dad. Hehe...

It has been a really really long week. Rupes has been in Australia for a week (back tomorrow), Grace has been unwell, up often during the nights, not sleeping much during the day, not eating much no matter what array of tempting goodies I lay out before her. The weather has either been cold...or if not cold then raining. New carpet was laid in the lounge on Tuesday - I have only just finished getting everything back into place. I couldn't go to the office so have been snatching time at home to get some work done - often at night when I am most tired.

What a whiner! I look at what I have just written and although it's all true, I want to slap myself. How dare I whine about being tired and Grace being sick and keeping me up? It's funny how quickly you can forget the years of infertility and the absolute joy of holding your baby for the first time and start to focus on the hard aspects. Let's face it - infertile or not, any new mother is going to be tired. Add in a sick baby, an absent husband, and you have a recipe for a worn out Mum!

So. Enough whining already - let me tell you about what a wonderful wee girl Grace is turning out to be! First off, she sits up easily now and has even figured out how to belly flop forward when she has had enough - or when the dog walks past and Grace wants to chase. She loves to stand up too - holding onto your hands, or standing on your lap laughing as you "pretend" to let go of her. Rolling everywhere. Getting stuck against couches, walls and trying to figure out how to reverse. She's absolutely fascinated with Katie (the dog) and if Katie walks past when Grace is feeding it's all over Rover - pun intended. Katie lets her have the odd pat and stroke but only when I am there - otherwise she stays out of reach.

Grace is pretty much all better now, over her virus, appetite is building, and it's back to full throttle. I treasure the first cuddles after she wakes up but they don't last too long before she is pushing at me to let me GET DOWN AND PLAY MUM! I literally have to strap her into her reclining seat for her to have any quiet time at all - otherwise, she is in full on play mode. Dad and I noticed yesterday that she is starting to use her knees and feet more to push off, so crawling might not be too far away. She laughs often, loves her jolly jumper still - and quite likes using the jolly jumper as a swing - her wee legs come up and she just kind of hangs in mid air. Very cute. She's taking a real interest in books - looking at the pictures, touching them - she was looking at a cookbook yesterday and I think she was a bit disappointed the pictures weren't for real. Sleeping wise, she is on the improve after a few unsettled nights - back into her sleeping sack and being strapped into bed which doesn't always work - I found her on her tummy this morning!

Motherhood. It's wonderful. And sometimes I just need to remind myself that despite the tough days, the poo explosions, the lack of sleep...it's the thing that I wanted for so long. And I'm still ever so grateful for her :-)

In a rash move I am hosting our coffee group (which I don't really attend) this week. Hopefully I'll have a bit of time to do some cooking and baking. The girls are nice - they really are - but most are way younger than me, and I really don't have time to do coffee mornings every week. So I shall host once, to be polite, then quietly ease myself out of the picture.

And that's it for me for this week - Grace has just woken up and is making the most delightful cooing noises - she has a toy stuffed dog she sleeps with and he gets cuddled and sucked and talked to! Very cute!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Hospital Visit

We had a really good beginning to the week - Grace went to daycare on Monday and Tuesday as it was month end for me and busy at work. Then we had breakfast with our admin team on Wednesday - Grace had a fab time and got lots of cuddles! On Thursday we went swimming and had a good time too - but on Thursday night she woke at 9 and took some time to settle - in the end I moved upstairs and it honestly felt like I was up every 15 minutes. She was running a temperature, and in the morning we decided Rupert would work from home while I went to the office. Later in the morning he took her temperature and it was normal - so took her into daycare and brought the car to me, only for daycare to then call and tell me she had a high temperature again and needed taking home.

She was very unhappy! Took her home and gave her some milk, then popped her into bed. She slept for a couple of hours then woke up with a really high temperature, vomited, and was just really unwell so off we went up to the nearest medical clinic - who were concerned about her panting and laboured breathing and sent us off to Starship - the children's hospital in the city. So...we get to Starship, get assigned a cot, get checked out and thankfully they sent us home a couple of hours later - just a virus, and she had it pretty badly. So, home we came and since then she has been improving slowly, still running a temperature and off her food a little but this evening she is a lot cooler and took quite a bit of milk.

Scary stuff. I am so glad she is ok - this motherhood (and fatherhood) thing is hard work and worrying at times! But oh so rewarding - and one benefit was having her weighed and she is now a whole 9 kilos! Despite all of this we are still getting smiles and cuddles and giggles...so lovely!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Update...

It's been a very busy couple of weeks! Rupert got home from Aussie, much to my relief, it was so good to have him back. Then his parents came up last weekend from the South Island - was lovely to see them and for them to meet Grace for the first time. Beryl spoiled Grace with some lovely clothes, including a gorgeous red anorak I can't wait to see her in later. We mainly had quiet time at home as I was coming down with a cold, but did have a lovely lunch in Devonport and Grace was great, and very well behaved!

After that the cold really hit me - as did a day or two of nausea and vomiting. Rupes was a star, coming home from work early on the Monday when I really couldn't stop being sick long enough to look after wee Grace, and he slept upstairs with Grace during the week so I could get a bit of extra sleep. Feeling better now, but still have an annoying cough.

We also went to our first swim class - so much fun, Grace was a natural and loved the water, going under quite a few times and enjoying the singing and floating and seeing the other babies. She is such a sociable wee thing (at this stage anyway) and was quite fascinated with touching the hair and face of Marshall (who lives next door and is 2 years older).

Rupes is away again this weekend, but only till late on Monday, so it's not too bad. Grace and I have been having lots of quiet snuggles, but she has discovered that if she bangs one thing against another she makes NOISE! And yes, she loves that :-) The jolly jumper is definately the favourite activity at the moment, and she is almost sitting up on her own. Daytime naps are now few and far between - and often very short - but she usually sleeps through the night till 5 or 5.30am. So...my work is cut out for me keeping a very active baby amused, safe, and fed - she is now on three solid meals a day plus formula. So far we don't seem to have given her anything she doesn't like which is good news!

Right. That's the update. A busy week at work ahead for me with month end so Grace is going into daycare for an extra day on Monday - and then things should ease off a little for us. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Six months...


Tomorrow Grace is six months old - I am posting early as it will be Friday, which is daycare and work day, and the evenings after a daycare day tend to be a little busy!
Rupert is away in Australia at the moment for a week. If ever I needed a reminder about what a great husband and father he is, this last couple of days have been that reminder. I really miss him. He does so much for us and when I am tired it's just nice having someone here to hand off to.
So...six months. It's really a milestone isn't it? And despite being a rather weary Mum today, I can honestly say the last six months have been the best of my life. She makes me laugh, she melts my heart with her smiles and cuddles, she amazes me with how much she is learning. I look forward to seeing her grow up, to become her own wee person. She will challenge and frustrate me in the future I am sure, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
I love seeing my parents with Grace - it's just so nice to see them enjoy her. And next weekend Rupert's parents are coming up from the South Island to meet her for the first time, so that will be really special too. And the special bond that Rupert and Grace have just makes me happy - I always knew that he would be a fantastic father, and to be able to finally give him that opportunity is something I will never take for granted.
As you can see from the photo Grace has discovered Katie! Much rolling and wriggling is done by Grace to get close enough to touch Katie - at which point Katie sighs, stands up, walks about a foot away, and lays down again. She might want to move further away when Grace starts crawling!
I've decided to keep this blog going until her first birthday - and then I am going to print it all off and bind it up for Grace to read when she is older. It will be my gift to her - to show her how much she was wanted, and now that she is here, how much she is loved. Happy six month birthday wee Gracie!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Winter...

I really hate winter. Just hate being cold, hate the rain, hate the lack of sunshine.

On Thursday it was month end - the big day for me at the office...and while Grace had a snuffly cold, she didn't have a temperature or anything else, so Rupes took her to daycare while I went to work early. When he picked her up they said she had started a temperature in the afternoon, so he took her straight to the doctors - we'd been told bronchiolitis was going around, and sure enough that's what she had. It was a long night - checking her every 1-2 hours to make sure she was breathing ok - otherwise we would have had to rush her into hospital for oxygen.

Thankfully, the humidifer, ventolin and nose drops seemed to do the trick and while she still isn't 100% she is certainly better. I am keeping her home all week, just to give her time to recover. I might need the time to recover too - Rupes is away Wednesday and Thursday and he is the MASTER settler in this house - particularly in the evenings when she is a little overtired. I think I will be just going to sleep when Grace does at night!

The funny thing is that even when she is not well, she is still mostly very happy, which is lovely and does make life a little easier. Today for some reason was a tough one - I think her cough woke her up a few times so we had lots of short naps and grizzly wake ups. In development news, lots of rolling over - and rolling back again now, as well as trying to turn the pages of the books we read to her. Oh and she is definately ticklish and her chortle is enough to make the most hard hearted laugh! I put her down on the mat and within a few minutes she has rolled over and wiggled herself right off it - I think I am going to have my work cut out for me. She is having a taste of solids each lunch time - so far pureed pear and today's delight was sweetcorn and pumpkin. She's not too fussed about it quite yet - so just a little each time.

So...that's Grace. Happy, laughing, cute and funny, occasionally challenging and unsettled, mostly healthy but sometimes just under the weather. And in winter - aren't we all?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Time Flies...

Time does fly when you are having fun! And oh, are we having fun! Grace turned five months last week, and we trooped off to the doctor for her shots. She was really good, just a wee cry when the needles went in, but that night was a rough one - she ran a low fever and cried from about 11 till 1 when I got her back to sleep. Added into the mix are two brand new teeth - her bottom ones. She's actually not been too grizzly about those, I had no idea new teeth were so sharp! No more shots until 15 months, thank goodness!

Daycare is still going really well - she's not great at sleeping there, too much else going on and she loves watching the other kids playing. So, we usually have an hour of play when I get her home and then she crashes for the night. She is mostly sleeping through, though the last few days have been 4am wake ups. Still...that gives us both a good block of sleep.

Lots of laughing and smiles now, still rolling over at every opportunity, and she has just discovered her feet which makes nappy changing challenging as the wee legs come up, the wee hands come up to touch the toes, and we try to fit a nappy around the appendages! And she loves to grab your hair/nose/ears/lips etc and have a good tug...or then she turns gentle and just strokes whatever she can reach. It's often a race when she wakes up as to who gets to pick her up first - she snuggles in and smiles and coos and it's really just lovely :-)

Last week she also had her 5 month Plunket check. They were really pleased with her progress and a good weight gain - all that formula! She is now 64.2cm long and 7.63 kgs in weight. We've had a couple of tries of giving her Farex as her introduction to solids and she was fine with it, just not quite ready with the tongue pushing it out.

So...all is well in the household. And the sad/happy thing of note is that we found our labrador, Toby, a new home. He is a lovely dog, but very boisterous and hard to handle and it was really becoming apparent that he needed more than we could give him. We also felt that he couldn't be trusted with Grace especiallyl when she starts crawling. I couldn't walk him with Katie (our retriever) and the buggy so Rupert was having to do the dog walking, and when he starts travelling again it would be a choice of putting Toby in a kennel or watching him go mad with suppressed energy. So, while we miss him, I do have to say that home is a LOT quieter and less stressful. Katie has adjusted really well, and she is only alone 2 days of the week, so it's working out well.

So that's our update. I couldn't be happier - I miss Grace on the days I am at work. But we make up for it on my days off, and she gets such a lot of attention and cuddles at daycare that really we have a good balance going.

Next milestone - six months! Who would have thought it!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The week that was...

What a week! Firstly, Grace had two full days at daycare (7.30 to 3.30) and loved it! Both days when I arrived to pick her up she was happy and smiling - the staff seem to love her too and call her "happy girl" - due to all the smiling. The first day was Tuesday and I was a little on edge all day at the office wondering how she was doing, but I felt much calmer on Friday. They take very good care of her, and fill in a wee diary so I can see what she has been doing and how much she has eaten or slept during the day.

Then, on Thursday evening she was down on her playmat - and rolled over! She looked so pleased with herself - we put her onto her back again and she did it six more times! Since then, practically every time she is on her back, over she goes! It's so cute...and when she is on her tummy the little legs are going crazy and the bum goes up - not long till she starts to crawl and then I am in big trouble!

This morning after her feed, she and I were playing on the bed. And she had a wee cough and I smiled and she smiled and then she laughed! A real baby chuckle. So I laughed at her and she laughed at me - it was lovely. That went on for a few minutes hehe. So many milestones, coming so quickly! She snuggles in for cuddles now, and is so happy and content - we've had hardly any crying this week at all, and I pop her in her cot for her sleeps and she just chats to herself before falling asleep on her own.

So, all in all, life is really good. We have some folks coming over today to see if they want to take Toby, our black lab. Long story but if we do find a new home for him I'll explain more - sad about it, but the best decision.

Quiet day at home today, then into the office tomorrow to finish my catching up from 5 months working from home, then Monday is a holiday so time to hang out with Grace and Rupert.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sleep...

Grace slept through the night last night. Ten hours! Only the second time she has done that - she did it one night down at Christchurch. There were a few murmurings about 1am and then 3am but I just "shusssshhhhhed" from my bed next door and she went off again.

She is really enjoying her formula, holding the handles of her bottle and pushing it away when she is done, or pulling it in when she wants more. I'm expressing twice a day in an effort to keep my supply up so when I am off the anti inflammatories I might be able to do a night feed. My back is still pretty sore though, so not sure how that will go.

We spent two mornings at daycare (just an hour each time) this week and she loved it. Even the second time when I left for an hour, she was fine and happy. She's fascinated with the other children - and loves watching their singing time. And the carers are all really nice and she gets lots of cuddles and stimulation. She spent the afternoons at the office with me, and then Rupert picked her up and took her home so I could work a bit later. Two really big days for her, and she did just great, very few grizzles and mostly just happily playing or being cuddled.

So...next week she starts daycare for two days each week. While I get back into a routine of being at the office and not doing everything from home. I think it will make life a lot easier, and I hope it will take some of the load off Rupert - he has been doing so much while I try and keep up with work and Grace! I might even have to cook him dinner!

She really is just lovely. Wakes up smiling and cooing, squeaking away, and she is communicating much more about what she wants or doesn't want. Body language is such a beautiful thing! She can almost roll over now - and tummy time is still a favourite, as is swishing around in her bath. It's all good really!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

We're home!



Well...conference in Christchurch was amazing! I work for a large real estate company (Harcourts) and each year they do it better - this year was no exception. Some 1100 attendees, some amazing speakers and workshops, Stan Walker (winner of Australian Idol) was the opening act, and Li Cunxin (Mao's Last Dancer) was the closing. If you ever get the chance to hear Li - take it. A beautiful story and a wonderful message. It was great seeing friends from other branches and head office, and making some new mates! And just such a good feeling - there really is a nice culture of teamwork and friendliness in the company.

I managed to get to most things - Rupert and Grace had a good time hanging out and her wee Harcourts onesie went down a treat (a gift from friends when Grace was born). Daddy also bought her a Crusaders (Chch rugby team for my overseas readers) top, which she looks really cute in. She was just very happy the whole time we were away - fell asleep on the plane there and back, and in the taxi, and she was great for the nanny while Rupert and I went to the big Awards dinner. The franchise I work for did very well, and a very good time was had by all! A few glasses of wine (don't worry, I expressed and chucked it) and I could have danced all night, but fortunately the nanny was only booked till 1am which saved me being too sore headed. As it was, we only had 3 hours sleep before we had to get up, pack and get to the airport. It was so fun having a night out with Rupert though - and a bit of boogying!

The only bad thing that happened was the hotel had lent us a portacot - which was very low, and had high sides. It started to hurt my back almost immediately, so I had Rupert getting Grace out but the damage had been done and one morning when I got out of my chair at breakfast I felt my back go. Ouch! Those who know me well will know that my back and I have had a long and difficult relationship, and it was one of the things I was most worried about when I was pregnant. So...I was taking painkillers and they weren't doing anything, and it was really time today to make the tough decision to go onto anti inflammatories and stop breastfeeding. Or have this kind of pain for a month or more and not be able to do what I need to as far as work and home stuff and caring for Grace.

Grace has been taking a bottle of formula in the evenings for quite a while now - and I was finding that even though I tried to express when she was getting a bottle, I wasn't getting much. And, over the last couple of weeks I've had to top her up with formula during the day and it just seems like my supply isn't keeping up with her demand. Added to all that, she starts daycare in a week (for 2 days a week) and with my lack of success expressing it would probably have been time to stop feeding her anyway.

Sensible decision. I am really sad though, and have had a few tears. The first time I fed Grace I felt like I finally knew what my body was for. I was so very lucky - never any pain or problems, and I so loved the closeness and the quiet time we spent. I guess motherhood is going to be a whole series of these kinds of things - the letting go of each stage and letting her go on to the next. And we've done it for 18 weeks, and that's pretty good right? And at least with all formula we'll be able to keep a close eye on how much she is taking.

So. I'm having a wine right now. Just because I can!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Four months!


Four months today. And cuter and funnier and sweeter every day that passes. It's been another busy week, compounded by the fact that I was so excited about finally having some time free to go to coffee group, I turned up on the wrong day! Grace, as you can see, still enjoyed playing in her host Millie's toy! How embarrassing!
We managed brunch yesterday - went to check out my new office, and had a lovely brunch at my favourite cafe. Grace was a star - happy and cooing and drank her milk while we ate. It was really really nice to have a wee family outing. We got home just before the heavens opened and the thunder and lightning started!
Tomorrow we are off on the plane (a first for Grace) to Christchurch for my work conference - despite all the running around today trying to make sure I had everything I needed for Grace I am quite looking forward to it! Rupert is coming too so that I can attend some, or most of conference, while he has a break from work and looks after Grace. We have a nanny booked for Wednesday night so we can attend the big awards night dinner - also known as Frock night for obvious reasons!
Aside from all that I am well -I have an annoying cough left over from my cold, and I am a little tired and really busy with work and juggling everything madly! A few days break in a hotel room will be just good for all of us I think, no matter how busy it might be down there.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Sixteen candles...


One candle for each week! Tomorrow is Mother's Day. My first one ever, and certainly a day I never thought I would get to celebrate. I'm just happy - I don't care if I get a present or not - I have the biggest gift!
It's been an up and down week - busy with work, I've had a cold, and both Rupert and Grace caught it too. Grace has been pretty darn good, sleeping and feeding well - odd times of being unsettled but 90% of the time she is fantastic. We've had some really fun play times - she loves laying next to me on the bed while I read her books, and as you can see above she is getting very strong! And still as talkative as ever, I've been trying to record it but the moment the camera comes out she clams up. And poses. Yup, my daughter is destined for modelling I think!
Rupert has been doing such an awesome job with her - I left them alone last Friday night and again on Tuesday morning when I went to work functions, and also on Saturday morning when I went to the office. It's really nice for the two of them to have some time together, and it's great to be able to head off and do what I need to without worrying.
In other news, we have decided on a daycare place for Grace - nice people, handy to home, and lovely clean and bright facilities. She will start in June for 2 days a week. I think it will work out well - it will actually mean life will be a little easier for all of us - I won't be madly trying to get all my office work done in snatches while she sleeps, and Rupert won't be coming home to all the chores! And she will get to hang out with other babies which she loves! I'll miss her terribly, but it is a good compromise all round I think! And if it really doesn't work for us, then we figure something else out!

Friday, April 30, 2010

A year ago today...

A year ago things were very different in our lives! Rupert was about to leave to head down to Rotorua to run a marathon, and I was staying behind to work on month end at the office. We had given up any thought of a baby, and were working on our fostering papers and applications. I was sad all the time, deep down. I cried whenever I heard someone was pregnant, I never attended baby showers, and I always envied my friends who complained about their children.

So, at this busy time in our lives (and this may be too much info for some) that evening we had an intimate moment. And that moment led to our little Grace.

What a miracle. What a blessing. What a fantastic wonderful thing to happen! I look at her and still can't stop marvelling about how lucky we were to finally have this dream come true. She is so beautiful, and so perfect, and just so precious. And, according to the book - so advanced - rolling over to her side, loving her tummy time, and now working on hand to eye co-ordination (which seems to consist mainly of getting both hands in her mouth!)

Sleeping routines are continuing - a few minor upsets but on the whole she is so much better, and I am finding life so much easier when I know what to expect and how to deal with any changes. So much so, that I am leaving her with Daddy tonight and heading out to celebrate the year with my work colleagues!

A year ago, a moment changed our lives completely. And I couldn't be happier!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sleep, blessed sleep!

As I may have mentioned previously, Grace has been hard to settle and get into a routine. What was happening was she would wake, I would feed her, she'd play and we'd have reading time, then I would top her up and try to get her to sleep. Usually she wasn't interested, so I'd end up laying with her on the bed and feeding her till she dozed off. And then, more often than not, she'd wake up half an hour later crying and off we would go again. Nights were much the same, as we were co sleeping, so I'd roll over and feed her, quick burp, and off we'd go to sleep again.

As you can imagine, things were getting a little tiring! Apart from the grizzles she is generally such a happy baby, and it was getting distressing having her cry through being tired and not being able to settle her. So, last Tuesday, Grace and I went to the Plunket Family Centre for the day to learn about sleep and find out what I was doing wrong and how to break those habits.

OH MY GOODNESS! The best day ever, and I am so thankful we went. Firstly, a nurse spent the entire morning with me watching what I did - so I'd feed Grace until she didn't seem interested anymore, then pop her down for tummy and play time. This time however, Grace was weighed before her feed and in her first feed she only took 70mls. So the nurse got me to feed her again, keeping her awake and alert by tickling her feet and hands, taking off her sleep suit so she was a little cooler, even using a wet cloth on her body. This time when we weighed her she was up to around 100mls, so we put her down for playtime and then with the top up she was at 120mls.

How the nurse explained it was that while Grace was getting all she needed in a day from me, because of the feeding to sleep and feeding to comfort when she was overtired, she wasn't getting it in one session - meaning that when I put her down after a feed and play she was waking up hungry. They also taught me some things to listen for when she cries - to stop and evaluate what kind of cry she is making, and to look at her body language before putting her to bed - is she windy, are those tired signs, etc etc.

To say our lives have changed in the last week is a complete understatement. She now goes into her cot for her sleeps, all swaddled and comfy, and she is sleeping between 2 and 3 hours at a time during the day. She wakes up smiling and cooing and ready for a feed, and I watch her closely to make sure she is actively feeding before we go onto playtime, during which I watch her for those tired signs.

She is going down to sleep with either just a little rocking, or a dummy - though the last few sleeps I have just kissed her, popped her in bed while she is still awake, and within a few minutes of chatting to herself she is fast asleep. The only exception seems to be when she is about to do a poo - I can't settle her then but have learned the signs so last night after two attempts at settling I brought her out to sit with us during dinner, held her while we watched TV till she got grizzly, then took her to bed for some cuddles and comfort feeding. An hour later the poo arrived!

Our new record is just over 6 hours sleep during the night, and last night she clocked up five hours from 10pm to 3am. Even better is how confident I feel - the days just feel easier and it's not a constant struggle, wondering how long she will sleep for and whether I can get something done while she is asleep. And, she seems so much happier and more content.

We took her up North on Saturday to visit my Mum - I was a bit worried about getting her out of her routine and environment but needn't have - she went down for two sleeps up there really easily, had lots of cuddles from Nana, and apart from crying in the car on the way home (hungry and the ear pressure from going over the big hills) she was fantastic. It was a really nice day, and things just feel so amazingly good right now - Rupert and I are beside ourselves with how well she is doing. I even had my first night home alone when Rupes was on a business trip and managed just fine, despite that afternoon being a bit rough with a poo coming on - before I had really figured out the signs and how to deal with it.

So. Happy Mummy, Happy Daddy and a very happy and active Grace! She is getting so strong, and even Plunket were saying her movement is advanced for her age - all that jumping around in the womb no doubt!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Red Letter Day

This morning, Grace had her first sleep in her cot! Took me about half an hour to settle her, but she slept soundly for 2 hours. Then, off to Plunket - she is now 6.11kgs and 60cm long! She is doing so great, growing beautifully.

We came home, back to the cot, and she was asleep within five minutes - but has since woken up and is crying. I'm just going in and out to calm her but she has to learn about sleep - she definately needs it!

So...onward and upward in the household!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Three months!

Three months old yesterday! The time has flown by, and our little girl gets cuter by the day. It was a tough day though, as I had to take Grace to the doctor for her immunisation shots. I hate those - but she was actually pretty good, a bit of screaming and crying when the injections went in but I fed her straight afterwards, and by the time we left she was back to her cooing and squeaking. I've never heard such high pitched squeals - but she is doing them more and more, and we have quite the little conversations!

On Monday I took her to our work sales meeting - she was really good, showed her off to the 100 or so folk there and then took her for a walk before returning for the coffee at the end of the meeting. She was happy and cooing right up to the end and then she cried all the way home!

It seems like every day there is a new thing to marvel at - she grabbed her toy, she rolled from her tummy onto her back, she rolled from her back onto her side, she looked at the pictures when I read her a book, she stopped crying when I sang "our" song...it's fascinating and wonderful all at once. We are still struggling with her daytime sleeping - she really is not interested in being on a proper schedule and will happily (and sometimes unhappily!) be awake for four or five hours at a time! Last Sunday we started giving her one feed of formula in the evenings which she took to with no problems, so that's been lovely - Rupert feeds her while I express to keep my supply up.

Today Rupert took primary care of Grace while I got some work done - he bathed her, and rocked her to sleep, and read to her and took her out for a walk in the buggy. We went to the mall this morning and ran some errands, including getting her passport photo done - she looked straight at the camera after a little coaxing! So, today has been a good day in that she has had some really good long sleeps, which is fairly unusual for her. Having said that, she was awake pretty much the whole time we were at the mall!

On Monday she has her next weigh in and measurements, and then on Tuesday she and I are going to the Plunket sleep centre to spend the day with the nurses. I really just want them to see what she is doing during the day and get some ideas about how to transition her to sleeping in her cot, and for them to see her when she is windy and fretful and to tell me whether that is normal or if there is something more I can do. I figure every little bit of advice will help!

As for me - I am doing ok, though I have been really tired out this week. Last night I was so weary I went to bed early and Rupert rocked Grace to sleep in her bouncy chair before putting her in bed with me at 11pm. It was wonderful getting a little more sleep. I get grumpy when I am tired so I need to work on that a little more - it's so not fair on Rupes having me being snappy with him! But, all in all, the worst day with Grace is still way better than the days before we had her, and things feel like they are gradually falling into place and becoming easier. It's all pretty darn good really :-)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A Very Happy Easter


Grace's first Easter - and no she didn't eat the bunny! I did :-)
Aunty Cat arrived from Perth on Friday and we have had the loveliest weekend - lots of eating and relaxing and reading and playing with Grace. Cat and Grace spent a lot of time cooing at each other which was lovely. And Cat and Rupes took Grace out for some walks so I could so some work, so all in all a very happy easter.
In between playing with Grace, Cat and Rupert cooked up a storm in the kitchen so we have had some divine meals and snacks. Just lovely to spend time with Catherine too - and lovely that she loves Grace as much as we do!
While Cat was here I moved back to the bedroom with Rupert - we had a couple of good nights, one not so great, but mostly good - Grace slept for 5 hours at a stretch one night, woke for a small feed, and slept another 2 hours. Luxury! She is getting very talkative too - lots of squeals and cooing - very cute, though not so cute when she decides 2am is the best time for an hour long chat with Mum!
We'll miss Cat who goes home today, but Grace will be having her first overseas trip in November for Cat and Troy's wedding in Fremantle, so it's not really that long!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why?

I love the suburb where I live. It's an interesting mix of housing, from waterfront mansions to state rentals, and is truly multicultural. There are bush trails for walking or biking, a huge park with an exercise machine circuit, access to the water at high tide. It's beautiful. I love that I can walk on a Sunday and hear the different songs in various languages from the churches, and see the families all dressed up in their various Sunday best. That I can wander through the park and see people with their dogs, groups of teens having a game of soccer or touch rugby, older folks sitting on the benches in the sun - all shapes, ages, colour and sizes.

There is a darker side though - a couple of streets away is a known drug house. I've walked past there many times and watched cars arriving for their purchases. And just along the walkway is a street that is my "loop track" when I walk - out of our house, down the coastal walkway, up this particular street and then back down into our road. And from one of the houses on this street a 2 year old has been injured so terribly that she is in critical condition in hospital, with a man charged with assault and more charges likely.

This is a house I know. I've walked past it probably hundreds of times. I think I have even seen the little girl who has been hurt. And she will probably die, or live with severe brain damage. I cannot comprehend who would do this to a child. I just can't. It breaks my heart that in my community, my own neighbourhood, this could happen.

Grace is ten weeks old today. As I hold her and look at her perfection, her wee smiles and her funny expressions, I just cannot imagine hurting her. Yesterday, she had awful wind pain. She screamed and cried for what seemed like ages. I walked her and rocked her and fed her and even had a few tears myself. And I could understand how in frustration someone could shake a baby, if they were exhausted and under other stresses. But there are so many options available - call Plunket, call a friend, put the baby in a safe place and go take a shower or a break.

I don't know what the answer is - I know that it does take a village sometimes to raise a child, and maybe it takes a village to keep a child safe. Maybe it just takes us all keeping our eyes open and not being too scared to offer a hand if someone is under stress, or calling the authorities if we see anything. We can't keep hurting and killing our children.

Grace is growing amazingly - each day she feels a little heavier - I am certainly getting my upper body workout! She has developed a very mischievous smile accompanied by a sideways look - it cracks us up, but makes us worry about what kind of child we will be raising! Each day there seems to be new levels of alertness and play - it's so wonderful to watch. Mostly she is very very good and easy, but we do get the evening grizzlies, or she will wake up with wind pain crying and yelling her head off! Who knew a wee thing could make so much noise! Still, we are getting there, and after a very good night she has just gone down for her morning nap with the minimum of fuss so today might be a good day :-)

Rupert is off doing the Motatapu Rangitoto Island marathon, so it's a quiet day for Grace and I - I have some work to catch up on in preparation for financial year end next week, so it is time to get moving on that!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two Months Today!


Our wee girl is not so wee anymore! Two months old today and at her Plunket check up yesterday she was 5.03 kgs, and 56cm long. I hadn't realised how much she had grown until I held a friend's newborn boy on Sunday! It was fun going back to the hospital to see the cute new arrival - and to see our midwives who were so helpful when we were there.
She really is just a lovely girl. We have our times of crying like everyone, but more and more we are able to settle her or at least work out what she wants! It was a busy week, a photographer friend came over to take some family shots which should be nice, and we went to dinner at another friend's place on Saturday night, as well as having the neighbours come down here on Friday night for shared fish and chips :-)
Lots of smiles now, and "chatting" away to me when she is in the mood. She's still feeding really well and the nurse said her eye tracking was very good and her neck strength was coming along nicely.
I've been a little tired over this last week - I think the days are so quiet when we are on our own that when Rupert gets home sometimes the bustle overwhelms me - the dogs are excited to see him, then he makes dinner and often Grace is doing her grizzlies, so it can become a little noisy and stressful. Rupert, bless his heart, is ever forgiving and understanding and he is so good with her.- I really have a star husband.
In addition to all that, our cat Dream has had surgery for an abcess on her face so she ended up sleeping downstairs - this is a cat who does not like to be inside! She is fine though and in a few more days can resume her normal post on the sheepskin at the back door!
I must admit it's nice now that it is cooler - for one thing I get to dress Grace in some of her beautiful clothes, and we both sleep a little better at night! So...two months down already and life is pretty darn good!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Blogosphere

Over the years, blogging has been a lifeline for me. Not only in writing my own blog but in following the blogs of other women going through the same, or similar life experiences. There were blogs I read that "everyone" read - like alittlepregnant.com, or tertia.org. And then there were the blogs I found where women wrote honestly and openly about their issues. Some of those women became friends - I may never meet them, or talk to them on the phone, but we have shared something of ourselves with each other and that creates a bond that is intense. I can imagine sitting down for coffee with any one of these women and not running out of things to talk about.

There is Eden, the incredibly brave, honest and funny blogger in Australia - who makes me laugh and cry in equal amounts. She and I had the longest game of Facebook scrabble! Eden has been through more than anyone I know - and yet manages to come out smiling (and swearing)!

Then there is Faith, who was blessed with the most gorgeous twins over two years ago. She and I originally met on a newsgroup and stayed in touch - it's been a joy to watch her boys grow up if only on line! She's always been there with an email or a comment through my bad news - and my good!

And then there is one of my earliest "blog mates" - Mony in Aussie. She has a wee boy - actually not so wee anymore - named Cooper and he is adorable. I've followed her journey with so much interest - and I am pretty sure I wasn't the only blog reader to cry when she announced her pregnancy. So, hearing from Mony today (while I had been thinking about what to blog about this week) and her telling me that she had made the quilt pictured for my wee Grace - well! What a gift! Thank you Mony xx! It is just gorgeous and with the cooler days arriving soon it will be perfect for her buggy!
I'd post a picture of Grace today but she has her milk spots. Ha! She's still darn cute though.
Highlights this week - her smiling at herself in the mirror, graduating to infant nappies and then being demoted back to newborn when we realised the infant size leaked, lots of snuggles and cuddles and good feeding. Lowlights - taking her out for the afternoon yesterday and ending up with a very overtired wee girl - she's still sleeping it off! And two days without a poo - this from a girl who normally poos at least five times a day. Apparently it's normal for them at this age - I'm just dreading the arrival of what must be a poo to exceed all those that have gone before! The week was spent working on getting her in a routine - wow, the first few days were hard. But she is doing so much better, and I think she is happier for it - certainly more settled anyway.
So - to my blogging buddies - thank you! There were times when I thought I would never be in the same club as each of you - we truly were the lucky and blessed ones.
Note - to those of you who are still trying - I am SO sorry. I would do anything I could to help you - I know how it is to be the one left behind. I never thought my dream would come true. I hope yours does one day, in whatever form that has to take. PLEASE forgive me if any of my posts hurt you. Love and hugs, and never give up xx


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lessons...



Grace is teaching me so much. This little six week old baby has totally changed my life - even more than I had anticipated. I'm learning patience - you can't hurry a baby with her feeding. I'm learning to be more organised - nothing worse than running out of clean nappies when out of the house! And I'm learning that no matter how tired I am, when she needs me, I can be there. I'm also definately learning to ask for help - Rupert is amazing and does so much for both of us...


It was an interesting week - I turned 43 on Tuesday and had a few moments of wondering how on earth I ended up with a baby at my age. Actually, it was a really nice day, Rupes made a nice dinner, my Dad visited with gifts, and Murray brought over a cake - chocolate! And I got lots of other gifts and emails and texts and Grace was very good all day and all night. I also took Grace to a baby first aid class run by our antenatal group - nice to see the other babies and mums and get some good advice just in case anything happens. God forbid!

On Wednesday we had our final appointment with the specialists for my sign off - Grace decided to save up all her number 2's for that outing, so three nappy changes from the time I left home till we got back - and a fair amount of annoying crying from her! Thursday - growth spurt day, she fed pretty much all day from early morning till about 4pm. That was hard - but at the same time, it was obviously what she needed so another lesson learned - putting aside what I didn't need to do or worry about to take care of her.


Then Friday we saw my GP for Grace's first appointment and her immunisation jabs. I love my GP - she has been such a support over the years, so it was really special for her to meet Grace. Of course, Grace then proceeded to pee and poo all over the exam table while having her hips checked, which left Doc and I in hysterical laughter. As for the injections - ahhh that was so hard. Her wee face screwed up and went bright red each time...then the longest moment of silence followed by a huge scream! Have now decided next time to have her on the breast so it might be a little easier.

She was pretty unhappy and grizzly after the jabs - no wonder, and I basically spent all of Friday night cuddling her and feeding her as she wanted. She'd doze off and then wake up sobbing - just heartbreaking. We gave her the first ever dose of Pamol for the temperature she had, and that helped I think - but it was just one of those nights where it was all about her, and not about routine or anything else.


Every time I look at her I just think - how blessed are we? How close did we come to missing out on this wee treasure? I'm forever grateful.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ahh yes...

Folks have been warning us that things might not always go so smoothly. I hate it when folks are right!

On Tuesday morning Grace was unsettled and grizzly...definately wind in the lower bowel, her wee tummy was bloated and her legs were kicking and drawn up. We went into the office but only lasted till 12 then I brought her home. All she wanted to do was feed - then she would fall asleep on the breast, then I would put her down for a nap - and 15 minutes later she would be crying and grizzling again. I tried everything - a ride in the car, a buggy walk, a bath. Tummy time, lots of massage, gripe water. That pretty much went on all of Tuesday night and during the day on Wednesday - some longer naps, but nothing more than an hour. Poor wee Grace, she was getting so overtired - as was her mother! Finally, on Wednesday evening we did the hardest thing ever - put her in her bassinet and let her cry herself to sleep. It took 20 minutes - 15 of which I spent in the shower so I couldn't hear her.

The good thing was that once she was asleep she went back into her four hour night routine and three hour day routine (it's not quite that perfect, but pretty close!). What a relief. I feel like I passed a bit of an acid test - I'm not at my best when tired, but I coped pretty well, apart from a few quiet weary tears. She's been good since - though we are giving her gripe water with every second feed which seems to be helping. She's obviously inherited her mother's digestive system!

We had our first Plunket visit yesterday (for those overseas, Plunket is the organisation in NZ that keeps an eye on babies from newborn up to when they are 5 years old - they run courses and nurses visit or you attend clinics so your baby can be measured, weighed etc and any problems you have can be sorted). Grace is now officially 4.02 kgs, 55 cm long and her head circumference is 37cm. So another good week of growth.

And in great news, it is cooler! We have had awful humidity the last few weeks and it's so nice that it is now a bit cooler - Grace actually wore a onesie yesterday when we went to the library. First time she's worn anything but a nappy, and occasionally a vest or t shirt. She looked very stylish in her stripy outfit, though I did manage to lose a sock between the house and the car!

Monday, February 15, 2010

One month old

Today our wee Grace is one month old. Where has the time gone? I am ever grateful that I was blessed with this experience - each day with her is like a gift. She really is the most beautiful baby, and I remind myself daily how lucky we are to have her.



Things I have learned in the first month:



You can never have too many cloth nappies - even when you are using disposables.

Nothing is better than cuddling your crying baby and having her quiet immediately.

Wind is the bane of all babies and mothers!

A smile at 3am makes the lack of sleep worth it.

Family and friends are wonderful - sharing the joy with us, and giving us advice and tips.

You can love someone so completely that nothing is a problem. Nothing.

Husbands are the best, even putting up with you when you are grumpy and tired in the evenings and taking care of everything that you can't quite manage.

Breastfeeding is fantastic in so many ways, I am so glad I haven't had any problems.

Having a baby, watching her grow and change and learn is a miracle. I am so thankful.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Leaps and Bounds

Miss Grace has gained another 300 grams in six days bringing her to a grand total of 3700 grams - and is now 53cm long (she was 49cm at birth). Her head circumference is 36cm, up 1cm on birth. All in all, she is doing very well!

We had our first smiles last week, and apart from feeding like a maniac (partially due to the very hot weather I think) she is a darling. We have had a couple of sessions of very upset crying, due to wind, but those were over fairly quickly.

And me? I am doing great. I get tired in the evenings sometimes, but have been into work twice this week with Grace and it's all gone well. Today we walked to the store, and that felt really good - no pain from the C section scar. And, I've lost 11 kilos in total - down to 78 kilos. My pre pregnancy weight was 84, and the heaviest I got while pregnant was 89, so I am pleased - surprised, but pleased! Am eating like a horse but all that breastfeeding is obviously using up all my fat reserves. Hmmm. Wonder if Rupes will let me feed her for a couple of years LOL!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Three Weeks


Grace turned three weeks old yesterday. We've had a good week - I managed to get some work done, and Rupes was home so he looked after her between feeds. She's mostly in a routine now - 3 hourly during the day, sometimes 4 hourly at night, but that can change in a heartbeat!
The midwife came on Friday and Grace is now 3400 grams, so she gained 300 grams in a week which is great. Am not surprised with the amounts of milk she is chugging down! And am so grateful that breast feeding is pretty easy for me.
Shortly, we are off to our antenatal group picnic - of the 12 ladies, 8 of us have babies, and 4 are still waiting. If I was one of the ones still waiting I would be going nuts by now! I spent yesterday sorting out clothes - one of my bosses dropped off a huge bagful, plus we had lots of gifts during the week - wee Grace is not going to need a wardrobe topup for a year or so! It's nice too as it gives us outfits to pass on to other folks as Grace grows out of things - however, that's a while away as she is still too small for newborn clothes!
She is getting more and more alert - reaching out and grasping things, holding on to my bra while she feeds, she even reached out and touched my face the other night during a feed. It was lovely :-)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Nearly two weeks old


It's hard to believe that Grace will be two weeks old tomorrow. She is doing beautifully and we have had mostly good nights - though last night she put on a feeding spurt that lasted from 10pm to 4am! It's strange how you can be so tired, yet still love her so absolutely!
The midwife visited yesterday and Grace has had her first weight gain - born at 3060grams, she dropped to 2980grams and then 2940grams, but is now 3100grams. I am so proud of our wee munchkin.
Gifts and cards continue to arrive, along with visitors - this wee girl is incredibly spoiled! And our lovely neighbours have brought us dinner a couple of times which has been so helpful with Rupert being back at work this week. Makes life a little easier though I am finding I am managing to get most things done during the day.
I can't really put into words just how much I love her. She looks at me with her blue eyes and I just melt - she has the funniest expressions, a very definate frown, followed by the cutest wind smile, then a quizzical "who or what are you" look. Life really is a wonderful thing right now.
It's interesting - on the 18th January 2009 I wrote a post officially closing this blog. A year later, almost to the day, we have Grace. I couldn't be happier to be wrong!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The first week...

Well, little Grace is now a week old! And I fall more in love each day. She is a good baby, wakes up murmuring to herself rather than crying, but hates her nappy being changed. She feeds well but is inclined to fall asleep on the breast which can make feed times a little long. She sleeps well once she is off, though some of her nights so far have been a little tough as she is more active and harder to settle. But all in all - how cute is she?

Rupert has been an incredible support - he is definately the most hands on Daddy I have ever seen, which has been wonderful as I have had a couple of days of nausea and vomiting, so have needed the help - and a bit of extra sleep at times. A couple of days ago I was back at my pre pregnancy weight, and I've lost more since, so I need to be a little careful and keep up the food intake.

So...now to the birth story.

We were told on my last appointment on the Thursday that we would need to be at the hospital on Friday morning to be induced, so off we went, all excited. However, because I was having frequent Braxtons they couldn't use the gel so there was a lot of lying around waiting and being monitored. Finally at 2.30 the doctor said we could either go home, or she would use the gel then. I felt really strongly that we were there, we were ready and I just wanted her out. It was the best decision though I didn't know it at the time.

After the gel was inserted, I sent Rupert home as they said it wouldn't start to work for quite some time. While I waited, I walked - the hospital is near a lake where I spent a lot of time as a kid, so it was kinda nice to see how it was still the same. Finally, I started getting some contractions, so it was back into bed onto the monitor, and for Rupert to come back. As the contractions got stronger, the midwives realised that Grace's heartbeat was dropping quite dramatically and it became apparent that she wouldn't be able to handle full labour. So, a few more hours of monitoring to confirm that they started prepping me for a caesarian. I must admit to a few tears at this point - partly worry over Grace, and partly because I really wanted a natural labour. But, at the end of the day we had to do what was best for her and get her out safely. The doctor thanked me for listening to my intuition - if we had gone home and labour had started naturally we would have had no idea that she was distressed. As it was, even after the gel, my cervix hadn't dilated past 1cm and was still firmly at the back so even breaking my waters wouldn't have been an option.

The surgical team were awesome - so reassuring, and they took really good care of Rupes and I. I just had an epidural so could feel everything but see nothing, and of course no pain. Quite a strange feeling actuallyl! It was all over so quickly, that strange tugging as they pulled her from me, that first quick peek over the screen and hearing her yelling. I couldn't stop crying - her wee face, that shock of black hair, those tiny wee hands. Rupes stayed with her while they made sure she was ok and I was stitched back up, and it seemed like no time at all before we were up in our room with our tiny wee girl.

We had the most fantastic care - the midwives were wonderful, particularly one who spent so much time with Grace and I that she became a friend. I was told that I could stay in for about five days, but by the time I got the feeling back in my legs and was walking around a few hours after the birth I knew there was no way I would stay that long, so we came home on the Monday morning.

There are so many special moments I want to remember - the night where Grace was cluster feeding and the midwives let me sleep through it and just came in and changed her from side to side every fifteen minutes. Having half our ante natal class in the maternity ward at the same time and visiting with the other mothers. Trying to be supportive to one mother and father because their baby was 6 weeks early and in the special care unit. Having the head midwife tell everyone what a miracle Grace was and having nurses coming down to check her out for themselves. Gifts and flowers and visitors and oh the love in that room at times. And finally, leaving, and the very careful drive home before carrying her into the house and the start of a whole new life.

It really doesn't get any better than this does it?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Welcome to the World - Grace Charlotte


Just a quick post at this stage - baby Grace was born 16th January at 1 minute past midnight by caesarean section after being distressed thru early labour. She weighed 3060 grams, 6.7 pounds, and was 49cm long. With a lot of black hair!


We came home yesterday - Monday, and are just settling in to life at home - all is well though, she is feeding beautifully and I have no major pain from the surgery, so feeling quite in control and very happy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

38 Weeks...8.5 months

I understand now why whales beach themselves - they are just tired out!

38 weeks - so less than 2 weeks to go, and baby is still very active and am still getting a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions. At this stage, I go in on Thursday for a cervix check and depending on the results from that we talk about induction. I kinda hope I go naturally before then but she does seem fairly comfy in there!

Total weight gain still 5 kilos, so it's all in the bump.

So...tired, uncomfortable, but generally well and happy - I can't complain too much! Though she does have this new spot for thrusting her foot out - just under my ribcage on the side of my tummy. OUCH!

On Wednesday I had a scheduled check up - baby moved early in the morning and then I didn't feel anything for a couple of hours - even when I prodded her, or laid down and did deep breathing - so by the time I got to the obstetricians office I had worked myself into a minor panic. Ten minutes on the monitor followed by a scan eased my mind - she had just moved so her back was out and feet were in - so I wasn't feeling her. It was my first real panic meltdown of the pregnancy so while I felt like a bit of a dork, I was still really pleased the doctor took me seriously and made sure I was reassured.


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Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Countdown...

37 weeks today, and things are going very very well. Baby is growing well, and engaged in the D2 position still, she is still very active and apart from the aches and pains and the heat I am feeling well.

Lots of contractions but so far only the false ones - they keep assuring me that I will know when the real thing happens!!

We are pretty much ready - I spent a blissful day or two pre washing all her gorgeous clothes and ironing them - last time they ever get ironed I bet! The bassinet is in our bedroom, the labour bag is pretty much packed apart from last minute stuff. Yeah, I think I might be having a baby :-)

It was a quiet Christmas - just what we needed, and gave me some time to finish off the work at the office so that cuts down on the stress there. New Years BBQ at a friends place was lovely - I lasted till about 10pm. Not a great stayer these days!
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