Pumpkin visited Tomte (the Swedish Santa Clause) at the mall yesterday in Stockholm. Tomte, who spoke Swedish and English, knew that she was 7 weeks without even asking. Pumpkin asked for more hair for Christmas and Tomte said she would get some in time. Merry Christmas to you all!
What do you call Pumpkin when she learns to smile? A Jack-o-lantern… Bahahaha! Okay, maybe it’s not that funny, but I’m easily entertained these days. :)
Originally, Pumpkin only smiled in her sleep:
But now, she smiles when she’s awake too.
(Note: Click on the images to see the videos.)
Yay! We’ve hit the one-month mark! Time has flown by, but things are going well. Pumpkin is growing – almost 3 lbs since birth! And she can focus on faces and hold her head up for short moments. Look how much she’s changed just from Day 2 to Day 22.
I was going to post some observations in a The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly style, but after reading Joyful Abode’s one month post, I realized that The Bad and The Ugly aren’t really that bad or ugly – just Hard. So here are some observations on the first month’s The Good and The Hard.
- Good: Baby Dreams – I could watch Pumpkin sleep all day. She makes wonderful expressions in her sleep, and often will let out the most pitiful little cries that make me want to scoop her up into a hug. She smiles in her sleep too, and I always wonder just what she’s dreaming about.
- Hard: Breastfeeding – Honestly, I didn’t realize how hard breastfeeding would be. From being the sole-feeder, to feeding on the go, to leaking, to crappy nursing bras and nursing-unfriendly shirts, I’m still waiting for it to be the blissful experience I had imagined. I’m determined to stick to it, and it’s getting easier (and less painful), but it is hard.
- Good: Cloth Diapers – We started with the cloth diapers in Week 2 and they have been great! They don’t leak, they’re easy to wash, and they dry quickly. Pumpkin wears them about 95% of the time, the other 5% being when I’m behind in the wash or we’re on the road. I’m really glad we gave them a chance.
- Hard: Back to Sleep – Pumpkin does not like sleeping on her back, and this is the hardest part of our nights. If she’s being held, or laying on her tummy, she falls asleep easily, but when she’s on her back, she fusses and flails her arms and legs. Swaddling and pacifiers don’t seem to help.
- Good: Visual Genetics – Most people say Pumpkin looks like Thomas, but I get to claim her ears and her tongue. We both have pointy ears with detached lobes. She’s also able to curl her tongue, like me, and Thomas cannot. I assume her hair is from Thomas’ side, because she doesn’t have cowlicks like my family.
- Hard: Stroller Size – We’ve unfortunately discovered that our stroller does not fit through the doors on the old-style Brussels trams with divided doors or the Lijn buses without collapsing it. This makes it a lot harder to get around town, but thankfully she travels really well in our wrap.
- Good: My Weight Loss – I had no idea that having a baby would be more effective than the 2+ years I attended Weight Watchers. I am currently down 22 lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight and haven’t weighed this little since I was 25. Most of this has to do with my not gaining weight for the pregnancy (only 6lbs), but wow! It’s time to buy some new clothes.
- Hard: My Activities – Getting out is no longer just grab my purse and go. It now involves getting myself ready while she’s asleep, change/feed/burp her so she’s not fussy, and then get back before she wakes or is hungry again. I am behind in the housework and am in need of a long nap. And needless to say, my crafting is on hold until the Spring, at least.
I’m sure the hard parts are amplified by our lack of sleep. And despite these hard parts, things are still pretty good. We held a mini-photo shoot during Week 4 to get some holiday cards/birth announcements photos. These were some of the fun shots we did not end up using.
More photos from Week 4 are available on my PicasaWeb:
You may have noticed that I’ve avoided using my baby’s name online – yes, that was on purpose. To give her a little online privacy, I had planned to use a pseudonym on my blog, but was having trouble coming up with just the right one. It was hard enough to come up with her real name. :) Then, Thomas started using an online nickname for her that I didn’t like, so I buckled down and made a decision.
Introducing Pumpkin, nicknamed after her Halloween arrival.
Pumpkin’s online privacy was on my mind even before she arrived. It’s not that I wanted to hide her name from my readers, but I’m not quite ready for her to show up in Google searches. On the other hand, I’ve tried to keep my last name off my blog without success. Even without using it on my site, my blog is the first item to show up when you Google me. It may not work in the long run, but for now, I will try to keep Pumpkin’s real name out of my blog text. Photos, though, are unsearchable. :)
So, on to her real name (see unGooglable photo above)… I’ve been asked how we came up with it. I’ve loved having a unique name and wanted one for her too. Our guidelines were:
- Inspired by nature or the world around us – birds or trees were a plus
- Names that were also other words – different, but still familiar
- Easy for foreign language speakers to pronounce
- Feminine since her middle name (a family name she shares with my mom, aunts, and grandmother) isn’t
- No cities – my brother and I already took over those
There were a lot of ideas ruled out – Starling, Juniper, Meadow, Sequoia. Then, remembering a cute little girl I saw at a VW Bus campout, I suggested November, with her name as the nickname. Thomas liked the nickname as just the name. It’s Latin for new, and he thought that was very fitting. So that was that… It’s naturey, familiar, feminine, and after picking it, we discovered that it is actually the 27th most popular Swedish girl name of 2009.
We had a lot of fun auditioning Pumpkin’s real name. Thomas and I went to the park and practiced calling it out. When I saw cool-looking girls around town, I tried to picture them with that name. I imagined it on a resume, being called out at a graduation, listed as CEO of a company, announced as a reporter on TV, and on a name tag of a barista. I think it works for whoever she turns out to be.
Do you have any interesting stories on how you were named?
I had always imagined my baby’s birth to be an amazing, memorable event, but I didn’t expect it to make me feel so empowered. It was a fantastic experience that made me want to jump up and shout, “I did it!” I had a very easy delivery – only 7 hours, unmedicated, and relatively painless. Here’s the story…complete with Thomas’ tweets from during the event.
It all started October 29th. If you remember previous posts, I was convinced that our baby would arrive in October despite her November due date. As we neared the end of the month though, I was starting to doubt myself. I had not had any contractions yet, and actually, I had complained that I just wanted one to know what it would feel like. That night, I woke up with light contractions. They’re right – you know what they are when you feel them – like strong abdominal cramps for me. Unfortunately, they only lasted a couple hours and were gone by morning.
I was trying all the wives tales to get things started – lots of walking, spicy food, raspberry leaf tea, etc. On Saturday, Thomas and I went on a long walk in search of spicy pizza. On the way back home, I had slowed down significantly, feeling lots of pressure in my cervix. We puttered around the house the rest of the afternoon, and then I took a nap. Around 7pm, I woke up with light contractions again. I relaxed in a bath while Thomas timed my contractions – about 7 minutes apart. They felt frequent, but Thomas was skeptical because they only lasted 30 seconds each.
That night, I tried to eat some dinner, but the contractions continued – now about every 4 minutes. It helped to walk around during them, but I still felt like we might need to head to the hospital that night. Thomas still wasn’t convinced they were real and wanted to wait at home as long as possible.
Around 10pm, after another shower and some last minute packing, we finally called the taxi.
Waiting while Thomas calls the taxi
I had two more contractions during the taxi ride. Even though they were uncomfortable, the contractions, so far, had not been that unbearable. At the hospital, while we waited to get into the maternity ward, I had 5 more contractions. Finally, they brought us into a room for monitoring.
Waiting through a contraction
The nurse was very calm and friendly. She monitored my contractions for half an hour and explained that although they were not regular, they were frequent enough to be real labor. She also informed me that they were were actually starting before I could feel them. My cervix was very thin and dilated to 5cm, so she called my gynecologist and physiotherapist to head on over. Thomas went downstairs to check me in.
Shortly after, my physiotherapist arrived and helped me with exercises and stretching. The best one had my head and arms against the wall, Thomas’ foot between mine in a lunge and me sitting on his knee. When he pulled back on my hips, the pressure and pain was very manageable. Thankfully, I wasn’t having any back pain. After a while, the nurse returned to break my water. Wow, what a huge gush! I jumped from 6.5cm to 8cm dilation.
After a couple hours, I was getting tired and moved to the bed for some other exercises. The nurse recommended one that she liked when she was in labor – with a stool-sized foam cube under my calves, the physiotherapist and Thomas held my legs and pushed down on my hips. Suddenly, I felt an urge to push and the nurse called my gynecologist again. With a deep, primal grunt, my body started pushing. I was surprised that it was all happening naturally without me thinking about it.
I had wanted to avoid giving birth on my back, but since I wasn’t having any back pain, I stayed where I was. The nurse removed the cube and put my legs in holders. I was very focused during this final stage. I remember that I gripped Thomas’ arm throughout it, and felt a little nauseous at times. My legs were shaking, but the physiotherapist said it was just my hormones. As the baby crowned, I was invited to reach down and touch her head, but I was afraid I would lose my concentration.
The baby was almost here. There was a little burning, and then I felt her body twist and slip out; she felt so long. They had me reach down to pull her out and place her on my chest. It was really bizarre – there was a warm, gooey thing laying there on me. I wasn’t quite sure what to do, but thankfully she did – she quickly latched on to feed. Thomas cut the cord and her time of birth was noted – a Halloween baby. Meanwhile, I was given picotin to deliver the placenta.
So that was it. My baby was here and all was well. They dimmed the lights and everyone left the room while Thomas and I snuggled our baby. About half an hour later, the nurse came back to measure and weigh her, put her in some clothes, and clean a little of the blood and vernix off. The three of us were then left to rest for a few more hours until our maternity room was available.
First family photo
I don’t know how I lucked out with such an easy birth, but it was a wonderful experience. I can’t thank enough my gynecologist, physiotherapist, the delivery nurse, and especially Thomas. Together, they made it calm, comfortable, and helped me have the natural birth that I wanted. I can only wish that future births will be so easy.
A couple more photos are posted on PicasaWeb: