Sunday, September 30, 2007

Kaio's first album...

Here are a couple of pictures from Kaio's first days:

Isn't he absolutely ADORABLE!!?!!

4th day!

Today is Kaio's 4th day!!!
He has been a joy! Speaking of joy: we looked up the meaning of Caio, which is the Brazilian version of his name, and it means joy, happy and content.
He is an alert little guy that does everything a normal baby does - sleep, eat, cry, fill nappy's and have some play time! He is very cute and makes all kind of faces while sleeping and crying.
He is absolutely beautiful (not that I am biased)! He has very dark hair and lots of it. He has very symmetric eyes (they currently are dark blue/greenish), cute little ears with a bit of baby hair on them and he has a beautiful little and perfect nose! He has strong little arms (he seems to have strong and puffy shoulders!) anyways, I could go on and on about this perfect little man!
The first two days of his life, he pretty much slept, ate and cried. On his third day, when we went home, he had a couple of other firsts:
- Day 3:
*First smile (while sleeping)
*First hick ups, followed by a "scruncthy" face which resulted in:
*First stinky poop (he had passed mecomium before this)
*Active alert time - he sat on our laps (with the support of our legs) and just looked around, listened to our voices and moved his arms and legs around!
*Terrible gas and strong loud farts!
- Day 4:
*First 1 hr alone with daddy, while mommy and oma went shopping
*First massage given by mommy - this relaxed him and made him stretch out his legs and arms and the tummy massage resulted in:
*First poop explosion (it leaked from his diaper into his cloths!)
The nights are still a work in progress! He has a irregular timing and seems to be sleeping more during the day (today we had to wake him after 3 hrs, and it was difficult to keep him awake) It seems that last night he had a lot of gas and it kept oma awake, but she took advantage of it and took him in bed with her and cuddled! (it's very tempting not to take him with you into bed every day!)
Jason has been holding him skin-to-skin after his morning feed. He puts Kaio, naked, on his chest (chest to tummy) and they have some baby-daddy time. Both seem to enjoy it!
Breastfeeding is going well. My milk 'came in' (after 2 - 3 days of colostrum) and it is definitely filling Kaio's needs.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Labor story....

We have been home for 30 hrs already and Kaio is 3 1/2 days old! It has been such a wonderful and amazing couple of days. First I wanted to start with sharing our 'birth story':
After my water broke on Tuesday morning, I had a 2nd check up at the hospital (the first one was at 5:30am - at which the send us home. And the second one at 6pm) I had started getting mild and irregular contractions and they monitored the baby's heartbeat, since everything was normal and the contractions were still irregular they send us home again. When we got home the contractions started picking up and becoming more regular. We waited at home, I took a nice long bath (Jason and mom took a nap) and at around 11pm my contraction were at every 3 - 5 min lasting 45 - 60sec. I was ready to go to the hospital! Getting there at midnight, they checked my contractions and the baby heartbeat and decided to 'allow' us to stay (I wouldn't have gone home if they had told us to do so, since at this point, the contractions started to hurt!) They send us to a room with another woman in labor and I started using the different positions to help ease the pain. I used gas&air - which made me feel funny and I started to talk between my contractions again (I guess I was able to entertain Jason and mom since it makes you act a bit 'drunk'!) We then went to a big nice birthing pool where we stayed for another hour. I could not handle it anymore, the contractions were every 2 - 3 min and very painful. I begged for an epidural! Unfortunately I only was dilated 3 cm and the midwife wanted me to wait longer... I couldn't, I was not coping well with the pain. (even with all the great help from Jason and my mom! It was hard for them to see me in pain as well!) We were send to a delivery room and the anesthetist was called. It seemed to take forever for him to arrive and when he finally did and administered the epidural I was in heaven!!! (around 4am) I can not imagine delivering a baby without it! We were all able to take a nap in the room. At 7:30 the midwife checked how much I was dilated (since I had previously only dilated 2 cm in 4 hrs, I was afraid we still had some waiting to do) but to everyone's surprise, Kaio's head was coming through the cervix! At 8am the midwifes changed shift and two young midwifes were going to help from now. We got all "prepped" to start 'pushing'. I was not feeling anything so they monitored my contractions and explained how they would tell me when to push and how to do this. Right before we started they said they would have to call a Dr. to use a ventous or forceps after 1 1/2 hrs of unsuccessful pushing. I definitely did not want that, so after 3 pushes I was able to touch the tip of his head and after another couple he was out!!! They immediately put him on my chest. I can't describe how that felt!!! Kaio started crying immediately (he scored 9/10 on the Apgar test) and I was just overwhelmed with emotions and happiness. Jason saw the birth and was also speechless, he was able to cut Kaio's umbilical cord! Mom was happy to finally find out the gender of the baby and his name! Kaio latched on the breast immediately and was feeding 10 min after birth!!! After 30 min they took Kaio to have him weighed and measured up, it was then that I realized that the midwifes were panicking a bit and several Dr.'s had come in and out of the room and they all looked a bit worried. I looked down are there was a lot of blood (I thought at first it was the placenta, but I had not 'delivered' it yet) A Dr. came in and said I had no external tears but there were tears internally and she was going to stitch them. After 45min of stitching they were finished. I was starting to feel very light headed and tired... I was very pale and weak. I lost 2lts of blood! They send of my blood to check on the hemoglobin levels to see if I needed a transfusion. Luckily I was on the borderline and I was able to opt for not having a transfusion!
We spend that day in the delivery room under observation... It was great having Jason and my mom there and enjoying Kaio's first hours! He is absolutely perfect and beautiful. He is very well behaved and has a good set of lungs!!!! (which he knows how to use well!)
A correction - Kaio's birth weight was 3.49kg (not 3.44kg).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's a ... It's a ...

IT'S A BOY!!!!!

Kaio Bernard Hall (first name rhymes with "eye oh") was born yesterday, September 26, 2007, at 9:07 AM GMT. He weighs 3.44 KG (just over 7 pounds) and is 56 cm long (just over 22 inches)! I think he has Annelies' nose and my mouth :)

He is such a cutie and we're unbelievably thrilled with the new addition to our family! He has very strong lungs and a very pleasant disposition (especially after a feeding).

Kaio and Annelies are still recovering in the hospital, but we're hoping to take them both home tonight. Annelies was absolutely amazing during labour and birth. I am so proud of her and know she is going to make a wonderful mother to our new baby boy!

Certainly lots of pictures to come in the future, but here's a teaser of what's to come...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Water broke!!!!!

Last night, Sept. 24th, after we had a nice dinner (my mom made a Belgian dish), I went to bed hoping the baby would arrive soon! (I also mentioned it several times throughout the day!) Deep in side I was thinking that our baby would arrive on the 3rd or 4th of October, after they induce me. During the night I kept waking up to go to the toilet. Normally I go 4 -5 times a night and last night I was on my 7th trip and I said to my self not to drink that much before I go to bed... at 4:45am I woke up with a gush of water... I ran to the bathroom, thinking my bladder completely 'lost it'... I decided to wake Jason since I thought that maybe my water had broken! He looked at the water on the bed sheets and I told him to smell it (since amniotic fluid should have a sweet smell or definitely not smell like urine) and indeed, it was amniotic fluid! I was not feeling any contractions, pain or discomfort! We called the hospital and they said - "come to the hospital". At 5:30, Jason, my mom and I grabbed all the bags and went to the hospital. When we got there they said - "oh, I think I forgot to mention you were not yet supposed to bring everything since you will probably have to go home!" To my astonishment, the only midwife I did not like throughout all my pregnancy check ups was there and assigned to me!!!! Seriously, this was not starting well.... but luckily, she was fine, monitored the baby for 1/2hr and said to go home!
I have to call them this afternoon to come in again and check on the baby and this would have to be done every 12 hrs until labor actually kicks in (contractions start) if that does not happen naturally, they will induce me in 48hrs! I feel fine, a bit of lower back pain and cramping, but feeling ready and prepared for what is coming!
We are super excited.... the baby can be born any minute/hour now.... and, no longer then 48 hrs from now, we will have our little one in our arms!!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mom in town... with many ideas and suggestions!

My mom arrived yesterday evening (Sept. 23rd)! (she had fun in her first english cab ride from Waterloo station to our home!) She brought us several more gifts.
By the time I went to bed yesterday evening my contractions and cramps were pretty much gone! I went to bed hoping labor would pick up again during the night, but instead i had a very peaceful and tranquil 9 hr sleep!
Today, monday, Sept. 24th we went to a midwife appt. everything seemed fine (baby's position, movement, heartbeat, etc) While at the labor ward we heard a woman in labor... pretty scary and loud screaming! But I am ready to go through that... I just want to meet my baby! (NOW!)
I have been getting very sweet emails and text messages from our friends and family asking about the arrival of our little one.. but unfortunately, I have no news...
My mom has been giving us several suggestions, such as having a playpen in the living room, having a table in the bathroom to put the bath on, the need of different washing cloths, etc... well, I have challenged her on the ROI of all the items!!!
Here is a picture of us measuring the crib followed by pictures of the paintings I made this weekend:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Start of labor?

On Saturday, September 22nd around 11pm I started feeling some painful cramps on my mid to lower left side, they were constant. I was able to fall asleep but was woken again around 2am with pain, this went on and off until 7am this morning (sleeping 2 -3 hrs, waking up with cramps). I also started having some contractions (which are not regular, so probably are the Braxton Hicks once) Throughout the day I have been feeling intense lower back pain and 'period like' cramps. We called the midwifes at 2:30am to give us advice and she said it was probably the start of labor, however it could still take several hours/days before the actual labor kicks in! We are excited (and tired) and it's a sign that our baby will soon be among us! I can't wait to post the announcement of our little boy/girl! (I just wish it would go a bit faster!)
My mom is arriving today at 7:30pm and I am looking forward to having her with me, specially if it will still take a couple of days and Jason is at work!

Past due date!

Friday, September 21st came and went and nothing happened! (as I suspected!) I met up with Jason for lunch and had some spicy chicken wings (spicy food is supposed to 'help' start labor) and for dinner I made some spicy curry (and had some wine)... well, it did not start labor but it sure did clear our sinuses!
When we started decorating the nursery, I have been willing to paint or make something that would remind me of this special moment... well, I got inspired by one of the girls of the antenatal classes and decided to buy some acrylic paint, brushes and canvasses. I picked some 'cartoon' looking frogs and made two paintings and a third canvas will have our baby's name and his/her foot and hand prints. It has been very relaxing and fun doing them. I am not a very artistic person, but they look cute!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Almost - Due date!

Tomorrow is my official 'due date'. However, there is not much activity or indication that the baby will be punctual! I guess it's a good way to test my patience!
Today I met up with some of the girls that I were at our ante natal classes. From the 12 women, 3 have had babies (all girls!) and only one is overdue! I am the next one on the list (in due date order).... let's hope I also will be the next one to have the baby. One of the girls brought her baby girl to the afternoon tea. Georgina is adorable... she slept the whole time! We all held her and she just slept right through it! Another girl who had her baby earlier this week, recommended eating spicy curry and champagne.. so tomorrow we are having spicy Indian food over a glass (or two) of champagne!
Overall, all 3 'new moms' said they had an amazing experience at the hospital with the midwifes and attention given, that makes me feel good and even more relieved!
Today I did some more walking... I must have walked around 4 miles and I feel great! Vinny is loving all the long walks to the park!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nice package from Grandma and grandpa Hall

Yesterday we received a box full of 'goodies' for the baby from grandma Anita and grandpa Steve! With all the cute frog stuff they send, the 'frog shelf' is now full! Anita also knitted a nice blanket (It is pink and blue and very nice!) THANK YOU!!!!


My second day of maternity leave is running to it's end! I have kept myself very busy!
Day 1 - Yesterday I met up with Melissa and we did a bunch of touristy things. Melissa felt the baby kick and kept talking to my belly the whole day! She is so cute! In the evening I took care of Jason (who has a cold)

Day 2 - I woke up at 3 am and could not sleep (my back was hurting, probably due to all the walking I did yesterday) I went downstairs (did not want to wake up Jason) and read a book. Jason came looking for me at 6 (I was asleep on the couch over my book and with Vinny on my feet). I had another GP appointment today. It went well. The baby's heart beat and position was good, my urine and blood pressure was also within the norms! She said there isn't much else to do then wait! I took Vinny to the park and had lunch in the sun (the weather has been beautiful). In the afternoon I did some gardening in the front yard (it still looks like a jungle, but a bit more in control and now I can at least pass the pram through the gate and front door!) I caught up with some emails and worked on the 'announcement' list! I finished the day with cleaning up a bit, organizing the baby's room and cooking a nice meal for dinner! (Beef Bourguigonne!)

Hopefully I will keep myself entertained (busy) like this until the baby arrives!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

E-mail from grandma Anita:

Had Chinese for dinner last night and fortune cookie insert said
We're ready and I know you guys are ready... a bag packed, phone number for taxi- cuz I'm sure you are not going to take the bus or train!!! The room is ready and soooo pretty, the cupboards are cleaned, the crib is ready.
Soooooooooo, What 'ja waiting for, eh????
Have you had that talk yet with Vinny?

We are indeed ready as well! We have 'talked' to Vinny and he is ready for his sister/brother to arrive! We are just waiting for the little one to decide to come and enjoy the outside world with us!

Yet another friend in town...

One of my best friends from Brazil is in town for 4 days. Yesterday we met up with Melissa, her mother and sister for dinner. It was so nice to see her and hopefully I get to spend some more time with her tomorrow! She brought a cute pair of Brazilian colored baby Havaianas (popular sandals from Brazil)! Melissa has been very curious to know the gender of our baby. Since may, when I had my shower in Brazil, she has tried to trick me in telling her! And yesterday Jason got a fair bit of pressure as well! However, she is certain it is a girl and talks to 'Sofia Josephine' in my belly!
Her sister, Melina, is in her last year of medical school. When I told her about the amount of woman in Britain that opt for the 'natural' birth she was very surprised! (specially because I told her that the woman want the natural birth and it is not due to a lack of epidurals of 'drugs' available to them!) She worked for several months in a brazilian birthing unit in a poor neighborhood where there were no anesthesiologists (i.e. no epidurals or other forms of pain killers) and she highly recommended for me not to go down the route of 'natural' birth and go for the epidural... well, yet again, she did not need to convince me!!!!
My mother arrived in Belgium today. She is planning to stay there for a week before coming to stay with us! (I have convinced her that our baby will be late so there is not reason for her to come earlier... also, because they finished building a house in Belgium and she needs to furnish it!)
I am feeling great. I have been sleeping well and being able to walk and 'function normally' without getting tired. My belly has definitely dropped a bit. Last night I had some Braxton Hicks contractions (fake or practice contractions) last night and I thought - 'this is it'.. but then I fell asleep and the next thing I know, I woke up in the morning and no baby yet!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Last day of work!

Today was my last day of work. It feels great but also a bit bizarre. It is going to be strange not going to work on monday. Several people came to my desk to wish me luck and make me feel good also. They were all very surprised in how great I looked in being only 1 week from my due date (as if they were expecting I should be falling apart of something...)
My coworkers got me a beautiful card, several cute outfits for the baby, a cute lion teddy bear and a gift certificate to Mothercare!
I will miss my coworkers! We have a great time and I enjoy our work environment! Well, at least I will be back in 6 months!

More friends in town

This week we had two good friends in town. Tom, whom I met in LA, 6 years ago when I had just moved there and Steven, a friend I have known since I was 13 and lived in Belgium. Tom was on his way to Italy for a well deserved holiday and to celebrate his 46th birthday. I took the day off and hanged out with him. He was very sweet and even said he had never seen such a petite pregnant woman! (he lived in LA, so he surely has....). Tom gave us a beautiful blanket for our little one! In the evening the 4 of us went to dinner. We had Indian.. (yes, curries!!!) I had the second spiciest dish on the menu... so far, I can confirm that, so far, the spicy curry myth (that it will help start labor) is truly a myth! (as is the pineapple myth!) It was great to hang out with our friends and have one of our last 'pre-baby' meals with them!

Monday, September 10, 2007

How am I actually feeling? What am I feeling?

When people see me, they know I don't have much longer time before my due date and they always ask me:
"how are you feeling?" (with a painful face, expecting I am feeling that way).
I reply:
"I am feeling great" (they look very surprised...)
Then they ask:
"what are you feeling? Are you nervous?" (another painful face tweak)
I respond:
"I am excited, I can't wait to meet our little one..." (they -another surprised face!)

Well, I am indeed super excited and I am really looking forward to being a mother and to building a family with Jason! I know it will not be easy, but I am sure it is so worth it! I have always wanted to be a mom -since I was little and saw my younger brother and sister as babies. Jason and I waited a couple of years and actually hinted to some people we might not ever be parents... I think we were just a bit afraid of a big change in our lives! (which it will be) But I am 100% sure that we are ready for this and that it will be great!
I think at the moment, my biggest fear is the health of our baby! (they don't do that many test here in the UK) I want him/her to be born healthy and thrive in life! I have no doubt we will do everything we can to make his/her life wonderful as I have no doubt we will do our best in being parents! And I know there will be moments that we make mistakes (we are humans) but I know that we will be a happy family!
Well, this is my last week of work. I am curious to see how easily I will 'switch off'. After the baby arrives, I know I'll have my hands full.. but until I go into labor....

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Late summer cleaning!

This weekend we did some relaxing and even slept in until 8:30 on sunday! We also cleaned the entire house... a good late summer cleaning. It feels good to get everything ready for the baby. It's not that we lived in a 'pig hole', but we cleaned the cupboards, organized the conservatory (where we store our books, camping gears and other items) as well as waxing some of the wooden furniture... Some may call it the 'nesting' period (right before the baby arrives...), however I just wanted to do it this weekend, since next weekend we have some friends in town and the weekend after that our baby might be taking the majority of our time!
We also went to a friend's house warming party on Saturday evening. There was a guy, who's girlfriend is 7 months pregnant, and he seemed a bit petrified... Jason was great in giving him advice and I also told him about how I think about pregnancy, birth and children (=there is only that much that is under our control... for the rest we just have to wait and see! Of course, you want to be as prepared and informed as possible, but there are certain things we just can't control and we should not stress about it!)
Today, Sunday, we went to the park. Jason enjoyed roller blading and I strolled around with Vinny. It will not be long before I can take our baby around in his/her pram. And in no time Jason will be teaching him/her to bike, roller blade, etc... I can take advantage of that and also learn with them!
Jason satisfied another craving this weekend. He made some 'Texas style nachos' (that is what we had for dinner!) It's a double layered nacho dish with chips, salsa, ground beef, cheese and finished up with guacamole. I love that fact he worked at a Mexican restaurant when he was younger... he knows how to make good Mexican dishes!
I am feeling great (my tooth is still not 100% but the antibiotics are helping) and the baby has been kicking like usual!

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Well, I am in pain! And no, nothing to do with my pregnancy... but my teeth! I went to the dentist on tuesday and he saw a cavity on one of my molars. He said that due to my 'condition' he could not do a certain filling, but he recommended to dig out the cavity and put in a mild filling. When I had the baby I needed to go back to put in a better filling or even a root canal! I agreed to it.. since the thought of having those nasty little 'cavity germs' digging away in my tooth for another couple of weeks just did not seem an option. So the dentist removed almost half of my tooth and put in a filling. It felt fine... until last night! I woke up several times during the night in severe pain! Throughout the day I had more pain and called the dentist back... well he is was not in today and tomorrow he could only see me at 11am, when I have a meeting with 'the board' of my company to present the 2008 brand plan (= very important, unmissable meeting!). As a result I may need to go to the emergency room tomorrow afternoon to get this sorted, since the last thing I need at 8 1/2 months is not being able to sleep due to tooth pain!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Last midwife appointment?

Yesterday I had another midwife appointment. It may be the last one. (fingers crossed) In two weeks I need to go to the GP (week 40) and the week after.. if the baby hasn't decided to enjoy us for the lovely summer here in England, I have an appointment with the midwife on the 1st of October to discuss an 'induction' plan. They only induce you if you're 2 weeks late. In my case that would be the 4th of October. I am really hoping that we don't need to go down that route (once induced, I have read that the chance of 'interventions' such as emergency c-section, forceps, etc is much higher). In a week I'll start eating spicy curry's (the latest on - "how to induce labor!!!" Unfortunately - peanut's M&M's and ice cream won't do it!)
The midwife said that everything was fine. He/she is still head down, my blood and urine levels and my blood pressure are all within the norms. My belly has grown 4cm! (still a bit small, but now that they have checked with the ultrasound that the baby is of good size, I am just one of those people with the my organs all in my chest - the baby is of good size, but my belly is smaller then average!)
Yesterday I had my leaving dinner with my team at work. They had decorated our table with blue and pink balloons... it was really cute! It was nice that Jason finally got to meet several of my coworkers! Besides my boss, who is in her 40's, nobody has children, so it was interesting to see their faces when I was telling them some stories about my pregnancy, labor and first weeks of care of the baby... I don't think anyone will be having children soon after last night!!!!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Counting the days...

18 more days... until my due date.. however, not sure I have a slight feeling the baby will be like his/her daddy regarding punctuality.. and be late! My belly looks a bit lower then before, but I still sigh a lot (lack of pulmonary space) and the nesting instinct has not kicked in yet!
Well, I know that all the 'tools' to help me start labor have been 'used'. Not that I have done that intentionally... but yesterday, when we were at the Singapore street festival (we decided to enjoy one of our last weekends pre-baby), a lady that was selling juices said I should not have the watermelon one, since that may trigger labor! Well, the two fruits that supposedly can help start labor are the once I have been craving.... pineapple and watermelon! Now, I have not heard anything about Peanut M&M's.... but you never know.
Tomorrow I have a midwife appointment and hopefully she can tell me more... Tomorrow I am also going to take advantage of another benefit of being pregnant in the UK - Free dental service! Yes, dental health and medications are free for all pregnant women and 1 year after birth (not that we will have much time for it!)! Of course, there are limitations of the treatments I can receive, but at least I can get a check up and do some cleaning!