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"'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!

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