Monday, December 30, 2013

Doing it Again...For the First Time

Yes, I am coming out from hiding, just for a brief moment, to say hello.


We, my family of four and I, are here and...surviving. We are tired, and sometimes hungry, but we are here. It has not been an easy start with dear Ebba who is already 2 MONTHS OLD!!

So what have we been up to? Well, let me tell you that aside from both Simon and Ebba being born early, they don't have much in common yet, which makes this whole parenting thing tricky. Anything I thought I knew, I have quickly learned that I didn't know or wasn't responsible for. It's nature vs. nurture at it's finest, people. Nature is winning right now.
Love her happy face.

It was a bumpy start with our little girl. She couldn't maintain her body temperature and was too small/immature to breastfeed. I spent 3 frustrating weeks pumping 8 times/day, getting up in the middle of the night to pump and then finger feed, bottle feed, or feed her from a feeding tube attached to my breast. I was exhausted and losing hope that she would ever figure it out. And then she DID and now what seemed like an insurmountable problem was really just a little hiccup.

During that time Ebba slept nearly all the time, catching up on that growing that she should have been doing in utero. But then something changed. She became much fussier and started spitting up during and after every feeding. She can no longer fall asleep on her own, or sleep on her own for that matter. I ended up with her sleeping on top of me at night. If I put her down she would spit up all over herself, and I couldn't stay awake to simply hold her. It's still a work in progress, one that I would clearly like to change. Sleep is a big issue for both of us right now. :)
Tea party!

I am trying to find the source of her unhappiness, hoping that it's a food allergy or sensitivity to something that I am eating. I have cut out dairy, but I am not convinced that's the culprit. When I asked the pediatrician here about it, he suggested I was simply feeding her too much. There may have been some truth to that, but that's not all. We have one unhappy little girl much of the time. :(

But all that aside, we are still adjusting pretty well to our new family of four. In order to keep up with Simon, I wear Ebba most of the time. This means I can still help Simon ride his new big bike (with pedals!) and play at the park, while Ebba is snuggled against me under my jacket.
This is how we roll.

And of course we don't do this all without help. BB, one of my Dusseldorf friends, came for 2 nights to help cook and give me a chance to rest. Grandma also came for 3 weeks, and I got to spend Christmas with someone from my family for the first time since 2009! It had been 17 months since we had last seen Grandma, so it was a long overdue visit. And of course she did what Grandma's do best, she held a crying baby with no complaints and only sweet words of solace, while Mama got a chance to nap or cook or play with Simon. We started missing her about 3 minutes after she left. Come back, come back!!
Ebba looking up to her Grandma

We have good days and bad days. There are the wonderful moments when she smiles, and I anticipate all the smiles and giggles and cuddles that are soon to come. In some ways, of course, this is all familiar territory. But Ebba is her own person, she is not Simon, so in many ways we are starting over. We're still getting to know each other right now, and I think that we are going to get along just fine.

Christmas 2013 - our first family pic!