How did July go by so quickly?

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of July! This month went by in a flash, yet it has felt like a never ending juggle between diapers and bottles. Things started getting insane this past weekend when Emery suddenly started crying for milk nonstop. We were up to 12 bottles a day at one point. I have to admit I wasn’t feeling so fantastic then. It turns out he just experienced his very first growth spurt, which is to be expected about 3 weeks after birth, apparently (or so I was told). Things seem to have calmed down as of today … hence my ability to finally update my blog now. The next growth spurt will probably happen around 6 weeks. Not looking forward to it! 🙈

Thank God Gert has been of such massive help. We split all the tasks and roughly worked out our “shifts” in terms of feedings and diaper changes. Let’s just say I’m glad he doesn’t mind getting up at night so I can get my full night sleep and take over things in the morning, because getting up in the middle of the night does pretty terrible things to my mood, as we have recently found out. lol

Nevertheless, we did manage to enjoy the beautiful Summer weather and use our handy little barbecue the other day. This was our very first lunch out on our patio since Emery was born. It was too hot for him, so we left him inside while he was sleeping.

And this introduced a brand new accessory to the table … a baby monitor! Granted, this one is ancient and was handed down to us by Gert’s brother. But it still works perfectly and came in super handy in this particular situation.

Emery just turned three weeks old. Next week he’ll be one month old! I’m so excited to be able to celebrate fun milestones now for a change. Despite the fact that they will always be a little bittersweet, with Sam being in the back of our minds at all times. It hit me yesterday that Emery’s now about Sam’s size and weight, and how weird it’s going to be when he outgrows his big brother soon and that we get to hold a baby bigger than Sam will ever be. Because so far, with Emery being the younger brother and actually being smaller too, it still felt like everything was in the right order, so to speak. I try not to dwell on these things too much, but they still cross my mind no matter what.

On a funner note: I noticed something new in his behavior this week. He now stares A LOT at me when I’m holding him and reaches out with his arms and tries to touch my face. It’s pretty funny! Sometimes he makes faces like he’s trying to decipher what I’m saying to him.

To finish this weekly update, here are a few more pictures taken these past few days.

Emery’s birth announcement card

birth announcement

Most people to whom we’ve mailed Emery’s birth announcement card have probably received it by now, so here it is … My little sunshine themed card. I designed it myself from scratch and basically poured my heart into every little detail. At first, we thought about going to a specialized business to have this done. But then I didn’t feel like anyone would be able to nail it completely; considering how personal and emotional it all is. I absolutely wanted Sam to be mentioned in some way.

rainbow baby boy birth announcement card

I knew from the start I wanted a Summer / sunshine theme, because that’s the season Emery was going to arrive. But then the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was a lovely symbol after those dark few years we’ve been through. I started working on the design somewhere around the fifth month of my pregnancy, after we found out we were going to have a little boy again. Finally, the last few details were in place just a few days before he was born. All I needed before I could order the prints was his actual date of birth, his weight and size, and I had been thinking about adding a picture of him but wasn’t quite sure yet how that was going to work out. In the end, I did manage to get some lovely newborn photos of him in the outfit which I had hoped would be the right size, and everything came together quite nicely.

I may have gone a bit cheesy with the Beatles lyrics on the back, but I had had this song in my head during my whole pregnancy and it just felt so right and appropriate. I’m sure some people found it a bit too much or what have you. But I don’t care, it meant a lot to me and I really wanted it on there! ☀️

Originally, this outfit was actually meant for Sam. I bought it in August 2014; about 4 weeks or so before he died. Sam turned out to be a solid little man, and I remember it broke my heart to think that there was no way he would have fitted in it. Emery ended up being quite a bit smaller (granted, he was born earlier), and it kind of weirds me out now how it all fell into place to match perfectly.

I’ve been munching on these sugary treats for a few days now as I’m busy putting together this typical Belgian tradition: sugar coated chocolates – which literally translate to “sugar beans” – and which are meant to be wrapped up nicely in small portions and labeled with some sort of tag that mentions the newborn’s name and date of birth. They’re meant as little gifts for whoever comes to visit the baby, or well, whoever the Hell you feel like handing them out to. It doesn’t really matter. They’re basically a cute little keepsake to mark the baby’s birth. I think these were originally supposed to be handed out at the baby’s christening. But the whole tradition got a little blurry over time. We’ll probably be handing out another type of little gift at Emery’s christening later this year.

Emery’s sugar beans are yellow. These blue ones are Sam’s. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them at first. They’ve been sitting in the nursery for two years now and just expired a few weeks ago. At first, I thought about throwing them away. But then I couldn’t bring myself to do that. And I have a terribly sweet tooth. Maybe that seems a little messed up, but I decided to open the box and eat them. It’s not like they’re actually bad barely a couple of weeks past their expiration date lol I’ve been thinking about it though and decided that I will keep some blue treats aside and put together one piece of what I had originally planned for Sam, after all. We already had all the supplies, which we had bought just two days before he passed away. It’s still so sad. Once it’s done, I will put his blue sugar beans gift in the big box that contains all his stuff. I like to go through it every once in a while.

Emery’s version will be a lot more elaborate, since I couldn’t wait to FINALLY be able to hand out something cute and fun to people! I can’t wait to show the result.

He’s changing so fast already. I can literally see his face changing a tiny bit every day. Tomorrow, he’ll be exactly two weeks old!

Welcome Emery!

Yet another weekly update … but what a special one! Emery arrived safely on Tuesday, June 28th 2016 @ 2:19PM (Belgian time), weighing a perfectly average 3kg and measuring an equally statistical average of 50cm. Not big, not small, just in between :-)

I thought I knew what to expect from getting induced, since it had already happened once with Sam after we found out he had passed away. But this second induction ended up being a completely different experience. Things went much faster and they didn’t let nature take its course as much, as there was a live baby to worry about this time. They kept an eye on him through the monitor from the minute I checked in on Monday evening. You have no idea how happy and relieved I was to walk in there and get settled in my room, waiting for Emery’s arrival. I couldn’t have handled another week at home. I would have gone nuts for sure.

The staff was so great and kind. I remembered a few of them from when Sam was stillborn and mentioned it to them. We started talking and had some long conversations during the night while labor was slowly building up. Then the biggest coincidence happened when the last midwife started her shift … the very same midwife who was by my side when Sam was born. My labor escalated so quickly a few hours later that she ended up being there when Emery was born too. What were the odds?

Labor itself was an absolute perfection. Fast, easy, no trouble at all. I was up on my feet a few hours later, and now – barely 6 days after he was born – I feel 100% healed already. Gert and I stole the hospital’s sanitary pads and postpartum mesh undies like nobody’s business, and now here I am with supplies I don’t even need. Haha!!! 😂 What a difference with the first time around. It took me about a month to feel somewhat okay back then. Granted, Sam was a BIG baby, which I guess made a huge difference in how my body coped. I thought for sure Emery would be bigger than he ended up being, so I had already prepared myself mentally for a month of postpartum physical struggles. But nope. I’m pretty sure that even my belly will be nice and flat again much faster than last time. I just need to be patient and wait for the doctor’s green light in 6 weeks before I can start working out. I wish I could start right now!

Emery is the sweetest, most gentle and calm little baby ever. He hardly cries at all. Only when he wants to let us know that it’s time for his feeding. We keep a close eye on him though, so we generally recognize the signs before it escalates to heavy screaming. What a dream! I couldn’t have wished for a better baby after everything we’ve been through. He was hyper active in my belly, so I was reassured most of the time that everything was okay. And now that he’s born, he doesn’t stress me out one bit with his easy going personality. It’s been so emotional. Even during my hospital stay, I couldn’t help but stare at him and recognize Sam in him. They look so much alike. The only difference is their size. Sam was a solid little guy with strong hands and large feet. He barely fit in newborn clothes and none of the little hats I had bought for him fitted, which broke my heart even more in the midst of our tragedy. Emery has a very similar face, same hair color, same extremely light blond eyebrows and lashes; almost white. The main physical difference is that he’s smaller. I wish I could see them interact together now. I would carry Sam on my lap and we’d look at Emery together chilling in his little lazy seat. It hurts.

Now of course I keep worrying that he will suddenly die on me and that one day I’ll find him dead in his crib. I’ve heard of people around us who have lost their baby to S.I.D.S. and it terrifies me. We tried out the breathing and movement monitor the other day and I’m sorry to report that it’s a pain in the butt. For some reason it keeps making this super annoying clicking noise every second or so. Emery’s room is right next to us, and that stupid clicking keeps us all three awake. I ended up turning the freaking thing off. I need to sit down today and read the manual more thoroughly. Maybe there’s a way to turn that feature off. At least I hope so.

We’ve been home for several days now and we’re still working on improving our new routine, but we’re getting there. Gert is hands down the best dad ever!

He organized everything here at home before Emery and I came back from the hospital. I don’t know how I would have survived those first few days without him. We’re both still quite exhausted at the moment. I’m figuring out how to reorganize my days around Emery’s schedule. I got a little slow ordering our birth announcement cards. I was finally able to mail them today, so hopefully most people will receive their card tomorrow. Even this blog post took me several days to put together, whereas before it took me a grand total of 30 to 40 minutes max. Haha! We’re getting there though :-)

So here we are … new life, new routine. Everything feels so different now. In a good way, of course! 💕

Pregnancy – Week 38

I know I said previously that last week’s post would be my last pregnancy related blog post. But this morning I thought: “You know what? Today marks the day that I DID make it to 38 weeks and it deserves to be said. Even though it will be cut short in less than 24 hours. Hah!”

I’m extremely relieved to say that they scheduled me to check in at the hospital this evening instead of tomorrow morning. Hopefully he’ll be born some time tomorrow and not any day later because my anxiety is running high at the moment. Gert’s mom didn’t understand how I could deal with the fact that I know the exact moment labor will be started and how it scares her to death and that she’d rather not know and let nature take its course. I was like “Um, okay?” Try losing a perfect full term baby first and then see how you feel about it then. If we let nature take its course, I could end up 42 weeks pregnant and still have no baby … That’s another whole month!!! It would practically be August. He’s been full term for a week now and he already weighs more than 3 kilos, which is the average birth weight. Add another month to that and we’d have a giant. I would have lost my sanity by then for sure and there’s no telling whether this pregnancy would have ended well at that point. I can’t be thankful enough for the fact that this pregnancy – and any other future pregnancy – will be induced at the 38 week mark. I had a clear countdown to focus on and that helped me a ton.

Baby has grown so much in such little time. I have to say, it’s an additional reason for me to be relieved that labor will be induced now. The lack of space this baby has and the way he painfully tries to move around reminds me so much of Sam’s behavior during his last 2 weeks. Poor thing was clearly getting frustrated at the lack of space, and so is this one. I’m so worried now each time he tries to stretch to the limit or moves a bit harshly, as I fear this would damage the placenta he’s in; just like with Sam when that stupid little vein ruptured silently.

Sam has been so much on my mind lately. I kept thinking yesterday evening about those last few days he was alive and kept replaying every detail in my head over and over again. And how there was no clear warning sign, and how yet I feel like I failed him and how sorry I am that I wasn’t able to get him out in time. I must have cried a thousand times “sorry” while standing in front of his grave. The guilt and the sadness are bound to show their ugly faces again once I step into that delivery room, which will look exactly the same as it did 2 years ago. It’s going to be a very strange mix of emotions and I expect it’s not going to be easy to process. I don’t think anyone will really think about it that way when they hear that this baby arrived safely. They’ll just be happy and not think too much of how intricate and sad it still is for Gert and I. *sigh*

lilypie pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 38 thirty eight weeks baby evolution fetus

thebump.com pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 38 thirty eight weeks baby evolution fetus

So that’s it as far as this pregnancy is concerned. Adios you shitty 9 months! I’m glad it’s over. And I can’t wait to meet our little guy. Fingers crossed that everything goes well!

Pregnancy – Week 37

Last weekly pregnancy update! Yay! I can feel the anxiety going up a notch though as D-day approaches. I even had a nightmare that Baby’s heart suddenly flatlined while hooked up to the monitor. I woke up with cold sweat and major anxiety. It took me a while to calm down. Thank God this hyperactive little firecracker moves ALL.THE.TIME. Not sure I’ll be thankful for it once he’s born, but as long as I’m pregnant, that’s exactly what keeps me calm.

We went to my very last prenatal appointment yesterday. I’m glad we are finally done with appointments! It was weird as hell though. The doctor we saw was a major creep. Gert and I kept it together during the appointment itself, but as soon as we walked out, we kind of paused and looked at each other and then burst out laughing! That guy was soooo weird! He also changed all our plans somewhat. We initially thought about going in for one last monitoring session on Sunday morning (just like last week) and then getting induced on Tuesday, June 28th. But now he was like: “Maybe we should check if there’s any sign that labor is already on the way. We’ll do that during your next monitoring session. If there’s nothing, then let’s schedule the induction for Monday instead of Tuesday, since we’ll have to start from zero. So maybe we should also bump up the monitor from Sunday to Saturday.” This totally messed with the clear plan I had prepared myself for. I wasn’t really thrilled but thought “Okay? Maybe it’s not such a bad thing if we can start it one day earlier as I had initially hoped.” But when we walked out and gave it some more thought; Gert and I both decided we’re not comfortable with that. It’s going to be a full physical checkup, and I thought they were only going to do that on my induction day, not any time sooner. The reason why I’m not too keen on this is because my very last prenatal appointment with Sam included a full physical checkup, and the doctor actually hurt me to the point where I briefly screamed and she apologized. There’s always been a doubt in my mind whether this could have been a factor in what happened to Sam the next day. Of course they swear high and low that it’s impossible. But still. I don’t want a full physical and then be sent back home for several days. I don’t see the point anyway. They can just check everything when I arrive to get induced and then take it from there. I don’t care if it takes an extra day for him to be born. It’s not like I have a preset date of birth in my mind or anything. I just want him to be born alive and well. And I basically don’t want anyone to touch me unless I’m there to stay.

So, I will request that we stick to our initial plan, as had been decided by the two professors who take care of me. I don’t like how this one doctor suddenly decided to butt in and make changes out of the blue.

lilypie pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 37 thirty seven weeks baby evolution fetus

thebump.com pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 37 thirty seven weeks baby evolution fetus

Anyway, Baby keeps growing at a fast pace, I can tell. Poor thing is running out of room and he’s kind of stuck in the same position now. He’s still moving well, so my little pregnancy agenda remains full of blue crosses that I mark after each kick. Although I guess at this point I can’t really call them kicks anymore, due to the lack of space. It feels more like little baby feet rolling around.

As for me: I’m tired, my hips hurt, my belly feels heavy. Blah! I can’t wait for this to be over. I know I’ve whined a ton about how I hate being pregnant. And I realize it makes me sound shallow and unappreciative. That’s not the case though. It’s just that it’s been such a long and frustrating road. This has already consumed 2.5 years of my life, with more grief and pain than some people could handle. It’s also taking its toll on my body, I can tell. And it all feels so unfair. I doubt I will ever enjoy being pregnant again. There’s just no way it could ever be “fun” and “exciting” again. I’m only focused on bringing this baby home alive and getting back into shape. The whole pregnancy phase can go screw itself.

Four more days if we stick to our initial plan. If it does get bumped up to Monday instead, then we’ve only got Friday, Saturday and Sunday left to go. Fingers crossed that all goes well!