Frockin' up - Morning baby meet up

Friday, March 30, 2012

Wednesday we went over a friend's for a baby get together. Her baby girl was born 5 days before Lulu. We were joined by another friend (who happened to be my midwife until she went on maternity leave) who's little girl is just 2 weeks old! It's lovely to have friends who also have little bubs. Great for advice & confirmation that what you're going through is 'normal'. 
Top - American Eagle
Pants - Kmart
Thongs - Havianas
Necklace - Victoria BC Markets
Onsie - gift from Auntie Noosh
Star blanket - Target
Cream blanket - Pumpkin Patch
Quilt cover sans quilt - Ikea

I blinged up my toes with a nailpolish combo. Makes me smile everytime I see it. 

New Music!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For Christmas my brother gave Nick a gift voucher for JB Hifi & for my birthday (in January) my brother also gave me a gift voucher. We took a little while to spend the vouchers and the cds we purchased only arrived the week Lulu was born. This turned out to be fabulous timing as it meant we had new music in the hospital. We been listening to the same old music for quite a while now, saving money for the renovations and the baby rather than spending it on music, making the old stuff fairly tired. 

I love all my choices. Lana Del Ray is rather theatrical. Grouplove just puts a smile on your face. Laura Marling is perfect for the quieter times. 

Have you bought any new music lately?


Monday, March 26, 2012

Paella would have to be one of Nick's favourite meals. It has always seemed a little intimidating to make so we've never attempted it, but last week the Coles catalogue included a simple recipe for Paella. We tried it out & found it to be a winner. We modified the recipe a little, adding peas & seafood & more chorizo. It could use a little more flavour, so we'll look at modifying the recipe even further in the future. Now that we've started with this recipe, it'll be easy to graduate to more complicated ones or stick with this one because it works. See our modified recipe below.

4 cups water
Small pinch of saffron threads
1 tsp olive oil
2 chicken drumsticks
2 chorizo, cut into thin strips
½ medium brown onion, finely chopped
1 medium red capsicum
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 cups medium grain rice
1 truss tomato seeded, cut into small dice
½ cup frozen peas
400g seafood marinara mix or combination of mussels, prawns, white fish & calamari

·      Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 180 fan forced
·      In a large saucepan heat water, turn off heat and add saffron
·      Place large frying pan, wok or paella pan over high heat and add oil. Once oil is hot add chicken and brown on all sides, for about 5 mins. Remove chicken from pan, reduce heat to medium high and return pan to the heat.
·      Add chorizo and cook for 2 mins or until browned. Reduce the heat to medium and cook onion, capsicum, garlic and smoked paprika for 3 minutes or until softened.
·      Stir in rice and cook for about 2 minutes or until the pan is dry and the rice is coated with oil.
·      Add warmed saffron water to the pan and stir to evenly combine. Add the chicken back to the pan, arranging in a single layer, evenly spaced and bring to a simmer over high heat.
·      Once pan comes to a full simmer, remove from heat, sprinkle with tomato, add peas and seafood marinara. Season with salt and pepper. Place in oven and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender and chicken is cooked through. A sign of a good paella is crisp rice around the sides of the pan.
·      Stand for a few minutes before serving. 

Morning walk

Friday, March 23, 2012

Yesterday Lulu & I went for a morning walk. After walking other days when she’d started to get hungry and ended up screaming the whole way home, I thought I’d be clever and take a bottle for her mid-morning feed. Halfway down Bloomfield Street she became hungry so we pulled off to the park where the baseball field is. We had a lovely break sitting in the shade, watching the pink galahs. She finished the bottle, was content for about 10mins before she began complaining that she was still hungry. Cue a quick exit of the park & a walk home with a screaming baby. Next time…..

Frockin' up - baby edition

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lulu wore this outfit to Sunday brunch. The onesie is from Rock my Baby, purchased from Mixed Lollies in Alice Springs. Who says you can't find stylish clothes in Alice Springs?

Lulu is now a month old. She's 3.75kg and 51cm long. She's doing great. 

Newborn with conjunctivitis

Saturday, March 17, 2012

At Lulu's 2:00am feed the other night we noticed her eye was all gunky and stuck together, poor little mite had conjunctivitis. She was pretty upset, I got upset too (what else can you do at 2:00am?). We wiped out the gunk, then Nick looked up treatments on the interwebs while I fed her. What on earth did parents do without the internet? 

The next day Lulu had her first trip to the doctor. The doctor gave us a script for some ointment & some saline solution to clean out her eye with. It was much, much better by later that afternoon. 

Turns out conjunctivitis is pretty common. You can clear it up with breastmilk (is there anything that stuff doesn't do?), but it takes a little longer. Lulu was really good in letting my wash out her eye. She realised fairly quickly that cleaning out the eye was for the best. Such a smart little girl.  

New pjs

Friday, March 16, 2012

I have been waiting & waiting for Peter Alexander to release a new collection that isn't designed for adolescent girls. The past few collections have been woeful, with terrible almost cartoony characters & prints. I much prefer a good pattern & I'm very partial to animal print. The latest collection fits the bill. I could have ordered 3 or 4 pairs of pjs 
I ended up ordering these wide leg leopard print pants & a matching eye mask online & they arrived within 3 working days. A miracle for Alice Springs. The eye mask has become essential now that we sleep with a nightlight so we can easily see Lulu when she stirs. She's been sleeping in our room since we came home from hospital. She just seemed far too little to sleep in her room by herself. Anyway I'm loving the new pjs. The fabric Peter Alexander uses is just divine. You really cant find better, believe me, I've looked.

Bathroom Renovations - Before & After

Thursday, March 15, 2012

We weren't really planning on any major changes to the bathroom so I don't have any before shots, only the one below which was taken after I'd painted the room blue, but before we'd changed the tapware. The room was previously white. 
 The major changes include the blue paint (the white alcove was the colour of the whole bathroom before), new taps, new towel racks & a new toilet.
I'm pretty happy with how this room turned out the blue was a bit of a gamble, especially after the second coat of paint when it still looked patchy & awful. But third coat was a charm & it's now one of my favourite things about the house.

A trying day....

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

So today we started the day with a poo, timed for when there was no nappy, that went all over the carpet. Over breakfast with her dad she projectile vomited over her pram and the kitchen cupboards. After an extremely short morning nap, we moved onto vomiting on me and herself just as we were about to leave for lunch. She was awake and grizzly all day aside from the hour we lunched with a friend and her small son. Once we were back home she vomited again over herself and me. I gave up & put on pyjamas and she finally, after a little more food, fell asleep for an hour. Shouldn't babies sleep for more than 3 hours during the day? Am sure it had something to do with the upset tummy, which is all better now. Onto tomorrow....

My experience with Breastfeeding

Monday, March 12, 2012

 photo My-experience-with-breastfeeding1_zpsf3a0cvei.jpg

Alice Springs Hospital is a breastfeeding hospital. It receives extra funding to ensure that all mothers leave knowing how to breastfeed and all babies leave being able to breastfeed. This is mainly because Alice Springs Hospital services all communities and towns (all with majority indigenous populations) within a 2000 square kilometre radius of Alice Springs. Many of these communities are run by generator power, if they have power at all, & so bottle feeding would be slightly problematic. In these cases it is best that the mother & baby leave hospital being able to feed. The large area that Alice Springs Hospital covers also means that the staff are experienced in numerous high risk pregnancies and deliveries.

I had always intended on trying to breastfeed but with the wisdom of my friend’s recent experiences with breastfeeding & certain midwives & lactation consultants, I knew that I wasn’t going to kill myself doing it. My mental & physical health and the baby’s mental & physical health came first.

Right after the birth (Monday 20th, two weeks early) we tried to breastfeed. It seemed to work ok, but she lost interest after a while, which is fair enough, she’d been through a fair bit in the previous hours, but it became clear over the next day (Tuesday) that she really wasn’t interested in breastfeeding. The lactation consultant had been successful in getting her to feed but she refused to stay latched on. The rewards were too few for so much work. She’d go all red & scream & the lactation consultant would force her head onto my breast. Then she’d pull off & scream more & the process would be repeated. Meanwhile it hurt like hell. They really should give you painkillers. That night the midwife used a syringe to suction off expressed milk & we fed her with that.

Wednesday morning repeated the similar pattern, red face, screaming, head forcing, pulling off, repeat. While I took a shower the lactation consultant weighed her and found that she had already lost more than 10% of her body weight. In order for her to gain back the weight before her official day three weigh in the next day, we started her on formula through a tube attached to my boob. She latched properly for this as the formula flowed free & easy.  After each feeding I expressed for ten minutes with the double electric breast pump.

Thursday she had maintained her weight & although the loss was just below 10%, the doctors decided to continue with the formula boob tube & not have her admitted to the nursery & fed through her nose. That morning was also back to trying to breastfeed and it felt like that was all we did, feed & pump from 10 until 4. It was an exhausting, traumatic day. She still didn’t want to feed & screamed, with the lactation consultant shoving my breast into her mouth.

That afternoon I had a bit of a breakdown. What with constant interruptions from hospital staff & the breastfeeding, it felt like things were spinning out of control.  Over the past few days our baby had gone from a fairly content baby to one who wouldn’t be put down & would rarely stop crying. That night Nick stayed up all night with her so I could get some rest. During one of the night feeds we found that she wasn’t sucking the breast, she’d worked out that the milk was coming from the tube & just sucked that instead. By the time the 5:00 feed rolled around we had decided that we were not going to continue breastfeeding.

The decision to stop felt quite liberating. No more pressure to make this work & no more hours of her screaming. It couldn’t be good for her to be getting so worked up for such long periods of time. The midwife who was with us Thursday afternoon & the one with us Thursday night were both really supportive of our decision. There was no trying to talk us out of it, they’d both seen what we’d gone through and felt we were making the right decision. At her Friday weigh in she still hadn’t put on any weight, but she hadn’t lost any either, confirming that we needed to be feeding her better.

I continued to express, as this was working and by Saturday night we were down to only one or two formula feeds a day. It was disappointing how many midwives over the weekend were not supportive of our decision, even when it was clear that she was mostly on breast milk, it was just going into her mouth from a bottle, not a breast. Who really cares how she’s fed, as long as she’s gaining weight (which by Saturday she had) and is happy? And if we were exclusively formula feeding, then so what? As long as she’s gaining weight & is happy.

Of course the lactation consultant didn’t give up with her lectures about the benefits of breastfeeding, with weak arguments like ‘it’s easier’, um for whom? Not for my baby who refuses to suck the breast properly. Not for me when it hurts like hell because she has to try latching a million times without making it work. Bottle feeding means Nick can feed her. I can’t miss night feeds because I need to express as well, but with Nick feeding her while I express, the night feed times are considerably shorter. Cleaning a few bottles & mixing formula is not hard work. Not when it means my baby is happy & healthy.  

While we were still in hospital we had to keep a record of when she fed, how much and what for the hospital to prove we weren’t starving her. During this time she fed every three hours and we woke her for feeds if she was still sleeping. Now she feeds on demand during the day, which can be twice an hour or once every three or four hours. At night she wakes up every two and a half hours to be fed. We find changing her nappy then feeding her is the best way to get her back to sleep quickly. I express with an electric pump for fifteen minutes every three hours (sometimes every four but by then my boobs are getting pretty full). I’ve found that if I don’t express for fifteen minutes, my right boob isn’t properly drained and it starts to hurt. A cloth soaked in Epsom Salts helps this but it is just best to express for the fifteen minutes.

We were finally discharged a week after her birth, though she wasn’t at her birth weight. We continued to be seen by a lovely midwife (who bottle fed all three of her kids and they all somehow made it through university and speak two languages) each day until she reached past her birth weight. The midwife mentioned that the lactation consultant wanted to see me again, but I just said no. Our system works fine. I have tried breastfeeding again a few times since we’ve been home, but it’s been met with the same response, screaming, not latching, frustration. Breastfeeding just doesn’t work for all babies, especially babies who come too early. 

Out & About - Friday Morning

Saturday, March 10, 2012

  Yesterday Lulu & I walked into town & hit up the cafe, Page 27, for a spot of magazine reading before being joined by the boys for lunch. Delightful Friday morning....  
How's your Saturday treating you?

Frockin' Up - 18 days postpartum

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ok, please forgive this slightly (more like extremely) braggy post. I tried this dress on five days after giving birth and it didn't fit. Yesterday I noticed the return of my hips - I no longer have the barrel from my boobs to my thighs - and this morning I noticed my back was no longer as large as it used to be. So I tried the dress on again, now 18 days post birth, and it fits! Yay! 
I acknowledge that this is completely how my body is handling things & is nothing to do with any diet or exercise on my behalf. Though I have (mostly) given up sugar & have been eating well but nothing extreme. I've also been expressing 8 or 9 times a day (more on that soon), which may help? Anyway, lets hope things continue in this positive way.  

Out & About

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Even before having the baby we were determined that we wouldn't be one of those couples who disappears, never to be seen again until the baby reaches high school age. To maintain our own sanity we need to get out. Of course there will be times (many times, I'm sure) when staying in is what Lulu and we need to do, but having a baby that can go out and sleep anywhere is important to us. This past weekend was the first weekend out of the hospital and we wanted to spend it out and about.
Friday night we had dinner at Casa Nostra.
Saturday was one of those days we spent in, catching up on sleep & visiting with Nick's sister who was here from Melbourne.
Sunday we went to the markets, where Lulu was kissed by politicians campaigning for town council elections. This was followed by brunch at Soma. 
Sunday afternoon we walked to Montes to meet up with some friends for a bit of a Sunday afternoon session. This might just be our new Sunday afternoon tradition. 
Lulu took this all in her stride, we are so lucky to have such a good baby!

How was your weekend?

The Nursery - before & after

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

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The nursery came together slowly over a number of weeks. Since the baby wasn't due until March there wasn't much point in starting on the nursery until the rest of the house was finished. Come Christmas however, I was starting to get a little panicky about not having anything for the nursery. So I ordered the cot from Ikea and begun the process of slowly gathering things for the nursery and we were lucky enough to be given a few wonderful things from friends for the baby. 

This is what the nursery looked like before:
 photo Nursery-Before_zpsfidpkdie.jpg
We painted the walls a Dulux grey called 'Grey Expectations'.  It was the only grey we could find that didn't have pink in it. The ceiling is Dulux 'Whistper White'. We removed the vertical blinds and installed curtains from Ikea.
 photo A-neutral-baby-nursery-5_zpsliiu8kv9.jpgThe bookshelves were from Kmart. They hold many more books than I thought they would. Nick was the trooper who put everything together. 
 photo A-neutral-baby-nursery-3_zpssdkgtevz.jpg
 I'd kept a few things from when I was a kid. The orange dog was my favourite soft toy. The others above were acquired in my teenage years. The Monster at the end of this book was my favourite book. Luella may be a little too young for Babysitters Club books, but the colours looked so cool that I thought they should stay out.
 photo A-neutral-baby-nursery-7_zpsdnxxw3fv.jpg
We're using a bakers rack for the change table. It's the perfect height to change her without having to bend & we'll be able to use it again one she no longer needs a change table.
 photo A-neutral-baby-nursery-8_zpstnbki8yd.jpg
Nick & I made the mobiles using tissue paper flowers, sticks & fishing line (hard to find in Alice Springs, but strangely enough, BBQs Galore have it). I'm stoked that she actually stares at the mobile while being changed.  

My friend had organised her baby clothes by size in the baby's wardrobe & I thought I'd borrow this idea, however the wardrobe in the nursery is our storage cupboard so I bought these boxes instead & used liquid chalk to write the sizes on.
 photo A-neutral-baby-nursery-2_zpsg1bewd9a.jpg
It was such a relief to have everything finished for her. And now she doesn't even sleep in there, she sleeps in the pram in our room! Over the weekend we're going to move the cot into our room for the next month or so. One day she'll sleep in there, one day.
 photo A-neutral-baby-nursery-1_zpsx61teynp.jpg

Our birth story

Sunday, March 4, 2012

As the title suggests, the following is our birth story. If this sort of thing makes you squeamish, then please look through the older posts, such as these or these, instead.  

My waters 'broke' around 5:00am on Sunday 19th. When I say broke, I don't mean a gush of water like you see in the movies, more like a slow leak you can't control. At this point I was completely unprepared for a trip to the hospital. I'd packed a few things for Luella (Lulu) but nothing for me. The Pjs I wanted to wear in hospital weren't even washed, so rather than a phone call to the midwife being my high priority, I put on a load of washing and went back to bed, until I was certain that my waters had broken.  

I woke Nick just after 6 and we it was then that I rang the midwife. The midwife suggested coming in to get checked out. We showered, gathered our things, woke my mum, who was staying with us for the baby shower week, with instructions about washing, etc. and left for the hospital. 
Getting checked out Sunday morning
At the hospital the midwife timed the contractions and listened the baby's heart rate. Contractions were every 8 minutes but so weak I couldn't feel them so we were given the option of staying in hospital or returning home (more like going into town for breakfast & then attend the baby shower my mother-in-law was throwing that afternoon). We chose home. Instructions were given to come back when the contractions were stronger or at 6am on Monday 20th to receive an antibiotic, as by then the waters would have been broken for more than 24 hours and chance of infection is high. 

It was nice to have this little warning period. While in town for breakfast we were able to stock up on essentials we hadn't yet purchased and then go home & pack our bag properly. The second baby shower was lovely. More traditional, but no games.
At the second baby shower, sweaty & in labour
We arrived home for a nap just after 8pm but between 8:30 and 9:00 the contractions were 3 minutes apart. I called the hospital and they said it was up to us, we could come in or stay at home. Since it was our first I thought it best to come in. 

As soon as we got to the hospital the contractions slowed down, but we were right to go in earlier, mainly because it was a busy night & by 1:00am all the birthing suites were full! By 12:00am I'd had a IV line put in my hand incorrectly, pinching a nerve. It was supposed to deliver the antibiotic but instead delivered shooting pain (worse than the labour pains!). The doctor had to come & put it in my left hand. Not long after the antibiotics had been administered, the labour pains were so bad I asked for morphine. The morphine allowed me to be able to sleep between contractions & Nick to be able to have three hours sleep. 

Shift change at 8:00am bought back our lovely midwives from the day before and the midwife suggested that I have a syntocinon injection to speed up the contractions. I agreed as long as it was accompanied by more morphine. At level 1 the contractions were strong enough and frequent enough not to need to increase the dosage. As the morphine wore off the other midwife suggested I try the gas. Considering I don't do drugs in real life, I figured this was the one time to go for it all, so I tried the gas. The first time made me throw up but the midwife said to try again and the second time was much better. After a while the gas didn't really seem to help, but it gave me something to focus on.

By midday it was time to start start pushing, though in the beginning the midwife told me not to so we could stretch things a little bit & minimise tearing. I was fairly tired by then & did not really have enough energy to push, so the pushing phase lasted much longer than everyone thought it would. She finally arrived at 2:10pm. Nick caught her as she came out & he cut the cord. 

First time with me
Hanging with her dad
Weigh in with the midwife
While the weigh in was happening, I was being 'stitched up', which meant a return of the gas. This time it worked fabulously. Sucking the gas made a rhythmic rattling sound that reminded me of Flaming Lips songs, so I asked Nick to play their music on the ipad. He put on 'Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots' & I spent, what should have been a harrowing time, a little out of it, transfixed by the music & the gas. They should really make the gas available at all Flaming Lips concerts. Nick was so stoked that Lulu's first album was the Flaming Lips.  

We are so blessed that everything went well & we now have this precious little girl.  

Laundry Renovations - before & after

Thursday, March 1, 2012

 We started our renovations way back in October (see here) & although we were able to move in at the end of November, I've put off blogging about the results until we'd finished off the little details. It seems like it's never ending so I've decided to give up on that & just post the photos. First up is the laundry... 

 The laundry was a fairly white plain room. The tiles showed all the dirt & there was no linen cupboard. We were originally just going to replace the tiles, but once you start you suddenly have a new toilet, tapware, sink & cupboard.
 Nick & his mum came up with this awesome tile colour combination. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical when we first looked at the combination at the shop but I am so glad we went with it. The tiler was also unsure about random patterning and so Nick ended up handing him each tile to create the random pattern. He was won over in the end & even took a photo for his 'great jobs' file!
We now have a linen cupboard which means that the other cupboard I used to use for linen has been turned into a pantry & we have more room in the kitchen cupboards. Nick certainly is an ideas man, coming up with all these solutions to our storage problems.  

Tiles, tapware, sink & toilets from Taps Tubs & Tiles (store owned by Nick's family). Washing machine from Harvey Norman & cupboard from Home Hardware
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