What is this?

This is a very long, open and public letter to Baby Bean McGyver, the little boy curently residing in my belly, to be evicted in December, likely during Christmas dinner.

I promise to back everything up in print to read to him during the sleepless nights. Oh, and in case you are wondering, the title did come from a horribly catchy Gwen Stefani song that is always stuck in my jukebox brain.

I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Settling in this life

Hey baby!

You had your 12 weeks immunization shots today, one injection on each leg, sorry about that. It's for a greater good, I promise! And unlike the first time when you slept all day, this time you were completely normal, crying when you had to and sleeping when you had to, so I'm hoping you don't hate me that much.

Tonight I'm thinking a lot about your surgery. I don't, usually. Only when we meet someone new or when you cough oh-so-loudly in a public place and I want to laugh because of some weird looks we get.
Today I am, because we are approaching ( I use this term losely, as in "we are approaching the day of your birthday party, 8 months from now." Don't judge. It's an over-planner thing. I just have to think of all possibilities and that takes time!)  the time of introducing solids in your diet and that will be an extra challenge. Hum.

I also think of random things like, will you cough in kindergarten and kids will look at you funny? will I have to make a pamphlet to explain to teachers that you eat differently? will you play sports normally? will the scar show or when and how are we going to tell you about all that's happened when you were a little tiny baby.

It's funny, I worry so much because you are an "unwell child" but I guess all babies are born with their own set of challenges. It's just that we hardly ever think of them. What I mean is, instead of a TOF-baby, you could have been a hate-every-bottle-baby or a horrible-colic-screaming-baby or a spit-everything-out-baby. You are a giggling-dimply-hair-losing-best-internal-clock-ever-baby.

You are our normal. Everything you do is normal and new at the same time. The challenge really is allowing you to grow and helping you find your way. All these drops of worry are nothing in the grand scheme of things.

And the cough thing is pretty funny, actually.

My point is, we are lucky to have you. Our lucky draw. Maybe we did win the lottery after all.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

3 months in

Hey baby!

You're 10 days away from being 3 months old, which means the newborn phase is over, the "fourth trimester" is over and we're getting into a nice groove of life.
I feel like we know something about you already, you are very much your own person and we love discovering your personality in between milk and nappies.

For example, you don't leave a single drop of milk left in a bottle, even if sleep is overcoming. You must finish it!
The magnets on the refrigerator door are fascinating to you and I can't wait till I find some really educational ones instead of random cows and cats.
Your favorite time of day, hands down, is shower time with daddy. Shower is a moment of joy and reflection and chewing on your own hand.
Remember how you were always moving inside my belly? This hasn't stopped now you're out. In fact, I'm afraid you'll keep on moving forever, like the Energizer bunny.
Nappy changing is my aerobics exercise, several times a day. You just keep stretchting when I need you to flex, flexing when you need to stretch, constantly moving all limbs in a crazy dance that leaves you and me exhausted at the end of the day. It should be a 30 sec operation of nappy out nappy in, instead it's a 3-minute string of cajoling and convincing you to help me out.
A sucker for any kind of movement, you sleep in the car seat and in the stroller about 2 minutes into a drive or walk. Occasionally, you haven't even made it to the front gate.
By now, you've mastered the front-to-back roll, but not on command.
You enjoy story time but I can tell Dumbo won't be a favorite.
Waking up is hard, isn't it? You yawn and stretch and look very dazed and confused every day. By the way, you stretch with both fists up in the air and your legs curling, like a tiny Superman getting ready to fly. And then you laugh like everyday is your birthday. Really, who wakes up laughing?!? I blame your Daddy, the morning person.
Other things you like are my singing (Yes! I finally have an audience, one that can't walk away yet!) and looking at yourself in the tiny mirror. Also, licking my banana.

Your nickname when you're born and in the hospital was Chicken and we still call you that when you're naked. Not a fan of being naked, you.
You laugh at lady nurses, doctors and waitresses. Such a ladiesman...
You enjoy Skyping and I'm pretty sure you recognize grandma and grandpa.

I'm sure I can write a lot of other things, but I really need to sleep so my brain is shutting down.
Can't wait to bake a 3-month cake =)

Saturday, 1 March 2014

9 1/2 weeks of

Love. Milk. Cuddles. Smiles. Crying. Colic. Cough. Not much sleep. Vanity-free. Barely cooking, but still baking. Baby-wearing. Dog & stroller walks. Crying some more. Skyping grandparents. Talking about poop. Painful boobs. Doctors, plunket, lactation consultant, surgeon, dentist appointments.

Hey Baby!

Last time I was here, a million years ago, I talked about your surgery and how scary that was. Now that we know the end of the story - you're here, all smiling and happy and healthy, we can talk about something else Mommy and Daddy learned from that surreal time.

But first, a word from our sponsors picture of you looking cute. You know, just to keep everybody updated.

You see baby, you are going to learn every single little thing in life. Hopefully, you'll learn all the majors things like kindness, respect, how to cook rice, quite early. Eventually, there'll be one or other lesson skipped that will come back to bite you later on in life. To us, this lesson was gratitude.

During your week long stay in hospital, we only made it to the other end because we had help. Major help. Not only we had an army of people praying for you, we also had nurses to watch over you and teach me how to operate a breast pump, doctors that answered our questions everyday at 8am rounds and even tried to speak spanish, house-elves that delivered breakfast, lunch and dinner in the NICU parent room we were so kindly occupying. We had friends coming over to visit to make sure we were still sane. We had family to feed the dog and the cat and make sure the house was still standing.
We had Family and Friends making sure we were loved. Making sure we were strong enough to love you enough. Forever a debt bigger than we could ever repay.

That, my darling son, is gratitude. To acknowledge when someone has done something for you and to be thankfull. Forever thankfull in this situation, because everyday when I change your outfit and see that scar on your back, a twinge of memory passes through my heart and I say a little prayer for Friends and Family who were there, in body and mind. Thank you.

Also in this subject of lessons, with the help of a fast-food clown we learned the difference between charity and pity.

The Ronald McDonald House South Island

A couple of days after surgery, when we (us and the doctors) didn't  know how long your recovery would be and when you'd be able to breastfeed, we (Daddy and I) were offered a bedroom to stay in the Ronald McDonald House, because our home was too far from the hospital and the parent room was needed for other people.

This happened without us asking for it and more importantly, without an ounce of pity. It was a very matter-of-fact situation: this couple needs to be near their son, let's find them a place to stay free of charge for as long as they need, with heaps of food available and a place to leave their own food and stuff. So we went.

Nobody asked us anything and that's when we learned the difference: all this happened not because they pitied us and we looked like poor, miserable people who couldn't possibly afford accomodation in town. No. This happened because we needed it and they could provide. No pity, just charity. To be in the receiving end of such love is a humbling experience. Humbling indeed. They gave us something at that moment we didn't know we needed: a place to regroup and to be human again.

It's an amazing place, truly fantastic, 5 minutes walk from NICU at Chch Women's Hospital. I honestly have no words to describe this magical land, so please if you've made it this far in Oliver's story, visit the website and see for yourself the fantastic work they do.The kitchen alone deserves an award. And all the baking and goodies and stuff! The kindness of the staff, the perfectly cozy bedroom, the outdoor area, the garage. The beautiful gifts for Oliver and me. All that still overwhelms me. I hope they keep this up for many many years to come. Although we were there only for 4 nights, our debt of gratitude is enormous and we hope to pay them back in kind. So many families helped by them, so many painful situations, so much love going around.

So again I ask: visit their website. Donate if you can. If you can't, spread the word. Thank you, so many times. Thank you.