Tuesday, September 30, 2008

3 weeks old

Three weeks has flown and Mietta is doing really well - although we could all do with a little more sleep ;-)  We did have a few scares early on as Mietta’s white blood cell count measured high when we were still in hospital. This was of some concern to the doctors, as Mietta may have picked up an infection - due to the fast labour and administered penicillin was not in my system for the requisite four hour period needed to ward off a potential Strep B infection. We reached the first week milestone without a hitch (the next critical period).  Now we need to keep a watch for any elevated temperatures during Mietta’s first three months. 

Our sincerest thanks for ALL the well wishes, presents (including those for the boys!), clothing items, toys, food, groceries, home-made items, flowers, cookies, chocolate truffles, home-baked lasagne, and offers to cook dinner. I am SO sorry I have been slack on the email / returning phone calls / blogging / twittering / facebook front. I have just found it a little difficult to forego sleep at any opportunity I have! Trust that I am not ignoring you at all - just finding it a little overwhelming to tackle my HUGE inbox. We have been SUPER grateful, inspired and heartened by all your wonderful offerings, congratulations and best wishes. 

The boys are LOVING their new sister. Luc absolutely adores her. Nic loves his sister too - although I am a little worried that Nic’s adoration might have the potential to turn sour if things do not go so well for him. So far so good - but I daren’t leave Nic alone with Mietta for a moment. Both boys want to hold or ‘carry’ Mietta at every opportunity. I am beginning to think Mietta must be one of the most cuddled little sisters in history! 

Mietta, like her brothers, has an extremely strong neck for a newborn. She constantly lifts her head to look at things - holding it up for the longest time just taking in the world (and has from day one!) I put this down to Paul’s ‘wrestling genes’. We are still counting ‘wind’ as smiling and her ‘cooing’ as words. 

The major differences I have noted between the boys and Mietta thus far include: 
no penis - this is a bizarre sight when we change Mietta’s nappy - although we have become a little more accustomed to it now. Luc has commented several times on Mietta’s lack of a penis - and has wondered if she could wee at all.  

the ‘sneaky wee’ - without the apparatus to create a ‘fountain effect’, I have been caught out a couple of times with wet clothes and change mat - the result of a sneaky wee that I failed to notice happen. 

arms that do not separate from the torso - I have found it extremely difficult to dress Mietta. It only occurred to me today why: both Luc and Nic were born at hot times of the year and were only ever dressed in singlets or very light suits as newborns. The change in weather here has meant more clothes for Mietta - including long sleeves that are a nightmare to put on when one is in a hurry! 

big voice - I don’t know if the steroids I was given during premature labour had anything to do with it (?!), but Mietta definitely has the loudest voice of all three kids - she does NOT like being ignored!

My mother Hazel is still here and has been doing a stellar job looking after the boys, soothing a crying / wet / uncomfortable baby and making sure lunches, snacks and playtime are attended too. Luc is loving having an adoring Nanma to play with him constantly. Thanks mum! 

Photo: Nicolas ‘carrying the baby’ 

Monday, September 15, 2008

What’s in a name?

Luc always wanted another brother “Just like Nic” to play with. About a month or so ago, he said “it would be OK to have a sister” - this arrived after my propaganda campaign presenting the joys of having BOTH a brother AND a sister (just like Mummy and Daddy have) - to ward off any ill-feeling if we did in fact have a little girl. It is with great relief therefore, to see Luc so smitten with Mietta.  Luc is finding it hard to leave her alone and wants to show Mietta everything. Last night (with Nanma’s help), Luc gave Mietta a house tour - showing her every room and explaining to her what each room’s purpose was “Mietta, this is your mummy and daddy’s bathroom. Here is the toilet, here is the bath and here are two places to wash your hands...” Luc can’t wait to play with Mietta and is showing her lots of toys and his favourite things. It is hard to explain to young children that babies cannot yet see very well - and that blurry outlines are the best they can manage at such a young age. Nic loves to come into our room to visit ‘Metta’. He likes to explain his knowledge of how the “baby was in mummy’s tummy”, but now she is out and she cries because “baby’s sad”. 

Prior to the birth, Luc was pondering several name choices: in particular, ‘Han Solo’ if the baby were a boy, or ‘Princess Leia’ if the baby were a girl - he was also willing to go with a simple ‘Leia’ (and drop the Princess title). Just before Mietta was born, Luc added the girl’s name ‘Martha’ - a favourite book character, from the Martha Speaks range of books. 

Speaking of inventive names, the boys had turned their play barn on its side and this presented whole new possibilities for a new imaginary character. All of a sudden, the barn became an eating monster (a la Monster House) - consuming all manner of small toys. Luc called it “Doctor Devour”. We have no idea where this name came from, but we were super-impressed at its inventiveness! 

Photo: Mietta in hospital... will have to get the camera out again!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It’s a girl!

Woohoo! The new object of our affection, Mietta Hazel Gearon entered this world this morning at 7:54am (Chicago / Central time). Vital statistics of our little darling included:         
    weight -  7lb 14oz (3.57 kg); 
    length -  20” (50.8 cm); 
    natural delivery - facing the wrong way round / posterior
Mietta must have decided she didn’t need to be induced (scheduled for 10:30am the same morning) - perhaps she wanted to help her mummy out!

I was woken with contractions sometime after 4am. I tried to ignore these and go back to sleep, but thought perhaps I should time the intervals. 4:32am... 4:37am.... 4:41am... UH OH, less than 5 mins apart! I woke Paul and we madly got things together, rang the doctor on duty and made a faster-than-normal drive to the Prentice Hospital, arriving sometime around 5am. Thank goodness we were not trying this in peak hour! We visited Triage, where I was gowned-up and the contractions and baby were monitored and assessed. We were then accompanied to the Labor ward and I was given an IV drip to load me up with penicillin to  try and ward off any evils associated with the Strep B bug from getting to the baby during delivery. Ideally, antibiotics should be in the system for four hours prior to delivery of the baby. 

It had been suggested that I have an epidural so I wouldn’t feel the urge to push and could therefore let the antibiotics spend more time in my body. I chose to wait until my Obstetrician arrived before I made the call. Mia, my Obstetrician came on duty some time after 7am and was very excited that she had picked the ‘correct birthday’ (for the scheduled induction). Of course, by this stage it was too late for an epidural and it wasn’t until the pushing stage that we all realised Mietta was actually “sunny-side-up”. This made for a less-than-pleasant final stage of labor (read BIG OUCH!). Paul and a midwife each took one of my legs and helped me push as hard as I possibly could. 

Change of shift meant that we had an extra midwife (Katie, who had been attending and chose to stay to meet the baby), Merita (the OB on call overnight), and a student midwife - in addition to my OB and attending midwife. Paul made the observation of how the whole room full of women just worked in unison with one another - making for a very calm and harmonious delivery - as it should be and has been done for centuries (prior to relatively recent medical intervention). 

Just before 8am, I was handed a screaming bundle of limbs, hair and pinkness with a trailing umbilical cord while the room pronounced “IT’S A GIRL!” (everyone had been dying to find out!). That first scream is the most pleasant and reassuring sound a parent can ever hear. I met our new daughter with an emotional cocktail of exhaustion, relief, joy, love and surprise (what - no penis?!) Paul cut the cord, the stump was clamped and then the vital stats were measured. 

Paul and I looked at each other and said, “she’s Mietta!” It took us over a day to name each of the boys, as the names we had chosen didn’t quite seem to suit the bundles we had been handed. Mietta is the first name Paul and I agreed on when we had been discussing baby names five years ago (when waiting on Luc). Mietta is of French derivation, meaning ‘little sweet one’. My sister Jenni tells me it means ‘bread crumbs’ in colloquial French. Of course, Mietta is a name familiar to Melburnians due to the late Mietta O’Donnell, her well-respected restaurants and restaurant guide

Following on from our family tradition of using family names for middle names, Mietta’s middle name Hazel is after my mother. Hazel has been used for names in my mothers family for a couple of generations. From Old English, meaning Hazel tree or light brown colour. We now wait to see if Mietta will have hazel-coloured eyes. 

Photo: our sweet little Mietta, just minutes old, being weighed. 

Monday, September 8, 2008

40 weeks!

We made it! We have reached full-term. 40 weeks today. WOOHOO. Of course, 4 hospital visits during the course of this pregnancy has made me somewhat nervous about making it this far! 

The insurance industry being what it is over here, has mandated that pregnancies over 41 weeks will not be covered by insurance. This, my Obstetrician’s schedule, the likelihood that labor will be fairly rapid and the fact that I have picked up some bug called ‘Strep B’ along the way (and will need to have a course of antibiotics to stop the baby getting sick, prior to delivery)... have all resulted in the decision to induce this baby. I have not been very happy with the idea of this as I found that labor with Nicolas (an induced birth) was more painful than a natural delivery.  I am now resigned to this happening - tomorrow! So... if baby doesn’t decide to arrive this evening, we will likely have a new baby arrive sometime tomorrow. I figure that a 09/09 birthday will be easy for me to remember (don’t have to remember to reverse the month / day). I am still remaining open-minded about having an epidural... perhaps I will succumb this time?

My mother Hazel arrived last Thursday night and is recovering from jet-lag as rapidly as she can. At least Mum has had an opportunity to rest a little, prior to taking charge of the boys. Sebastien, my sister’s partner is in Chicago attending a conference. We caught up with Sebastien after he arrived on Saturday night. Hopefully he will find some time to come and see the new baby before he leaves. 

Luc told me last week “I don’t think you have a baby in there. Every time I put my hand on your tummy, I don’t feel anything. I think your tummy is big because you eat too many treats!” Yes, that is probably true... but I figure it is the last time in my life that I can truly indulge myself guilt-free. ;-)

Photo: The final bump days.