Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Case of Pneumonia + Eleanor: 5 Months

About a week and a half ago, Sawyer had a dry cough, but was happy playing. The next morning, he woke up having trouble breathing. I worried immediately because I had asthma since I was little and worry that Sawyer or Eleanor will inherit it as well. We got him in to the first appointment at a clinic a short walk away from our apartment. The doctor said it look liked he had bronchitis and gave him a breathing treatment. He perked up for a little bit after the breathing treatment. We went home with the nebulizer, but Sawyer wasn't improving. He continued to whimper all day and his breathing was still rapid. I gave him another treatment and it seemed to help, but only temporarily. 

We weren't convinced the breathing treatments were doing much, so we went into a different clinic for foreigners. The doctor there also assumed it was asthma since Sawyer did not have fever or cold symptoms, just difficulty breathing. At this point, Sawyer was struggling so much to breathe we could see him sucking in his tummy below his ribs and he was barely speaking. They gave him several breathing treatments, oxygen, and also injections of steroids to try to improve his breathing since his oxygen levels were dropping to the low 90's/high 80's. 

The doctor said it would be best if Sawyer would be hospitalized in Hong Kong (again at this point we all still thought it was an asthma attack). They had to assemble a doctor and team to come from Hong Kong to pick us up and cross the border in the ambulance. This took almost six hours! I was a complete mess at this point. Sawyer was just laying on the doctor's table, struggling to breathe and I felt completely helpless. I suddenly realized how terrifying it is to be a foreign country so far away from everything familiar and from our family.  We asked if we could just get in a car and cross the border, but it was not possible since Sawyer would be considered "too sick" to cross. They continued giving him treatments, he threw up from all the meds and was just lifeless. Kurt ran home to grab all of our passports and pack haphazardly for the hospital. We had no idea how long Sawyer would need to be admitted in Hong Kong. 

I rode in the ambulance with Sawyer. There was both a doctor and nurse on board as well. His oxygen was stable during the ride to HK. Kurt and Eleanor followed behind us in another van. I felt so relieved when we made it to the hospital. It was comforting that we were at the same hospital that I gave birth to both Sawyer & E. 

He got checked in right away and given more breathing treatments. The doctor ordered an X-ray immediately and we found out that he had a severe case of pneumonia. From there, he started an intense round of antibiotics along with several breathing treatments each day. We stayed for 6 nights in the hospital and Sawyer was such a trooper, especially for having an IV of antibiotics. We were supposed to travel to Thailand with our friends for vacation (we have off of school this week). But obviously, we had to cancel our trip (so glad it didn't happen while we were traveling!) We're just trying to take it easy the rest of vacation before we go back to school.

Sawyer is back to his old, happy + energetic self. We have a lot of meds for him to take through this week, continuing the breathing treatments and a follow-up appointment in Hong Kong this weekend. The doctor said he will need about 2-4 weeks for full recovery. We feel so lucky that we got to HK in time and that he was able to receive such wonderful care. The nurses were all incredibly sweet and adored Sawyer. We're all very relieved to be back at home (everyone was getting stir crazy in the hospital room!) 

In the midst of all of this craziness, our sweet girl is already five months old! 
Eleanor, you are such a spunky and sweet little lady. You are so smiley and usually wake up beaming every morning (even before the sun comes up). Daddy and I can't help but melt at your smiles and coos. You fit in so perfectly to our little family, I couldn't imagine our lives without you! 

Weight/Height: At your four month checkup, you were about 14.5 lbs (you're a peanut, the 15% for weight)
I forgot exactly how long you were, all I remember is you were the 85% for length right now.

Eating: You've been nursing every 3-4 hours and once or twice at night. It seems to be going well when I'm with you. It's a bit tricky to pump at school, I'm still trying to figure it out to make enough #workingmommaproblems

Sleeping: You don't' want to miss anything and struggle to take solid naps during the day time. At night, you go to bed around 7:00 (same as your brother) and wake up once or twice during the night. Lately, you've been waking up more frequently and I think you just forgot how to put yourself to sleep. I'm sure it won't last too long (or at least hope!)

Clothes: You're in 3-6 month clothing right now. I just packed up all of your 3 month clothes (tear). It goes by too fast!

  • being apart of whatever is going on (you don't want to miss anything!)
  • baths
  • music
  • your jumperoo 
  • scooting all over the place 
  • watching your brother and the dogs
  • rolling over
  • your pal, Sophie the giraffe 
  • balloons (obsessed)
  • being "forced" to take naps/sleep
  • getting stuck in your crib rails 
  • not being able to eat "real" food
... still working on getting all four of us to look at the camera ;) 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Baby Eleanor: 4 Months

I'm finally back to blogging! Things have been busy crazy since right before summer started and I can hardly believe we're back to the swing of things at school. It is a goal of mine to post more so that our friends and family can keep up with our lives.

My heart is overflowing with love for our growing family. Some days it's hard to believe that Eleanor was in my tummy, not so long ago. It feels like just yesterday I was wondering what she would be like, wishing I could hold her in my arms.

Sawyer has been adjusting remarkably well. I am so proud of him and the little boy is quickly becoming. He adores his baby sister and loves to help her. Every day before he leaves for "school," he gives her a kiss on the forehead. The first day that I picked him up from school, I was holding Eleanor and Sawyer ran out of his classroom and ran straight up to Eleanor and gave her a big kiss. I love that he loves her so much. It's so fun to see a bond between them and the nice thing about having children so close in age is that they will (hopefully) have such a special bond and never know life without each other. 

Oh Eleanor, sweet girl, you are a dream. Your smiles light up the room. You are so strong and have been rolling over for almost a month now. Daddy and I think you're pretty laid back, but at the same time you want to be a part of everything that's going on. You love to put your hands and fingers in your mouth and roll on to your tummy. You squeal with delight when someone gives you big smiles and attention. You're starting to to look more and more like your brother every day. Your eyes are still a beautiful blue, and your hair is brown and starting to grow in a little more. I can't wait to see how you will change in the next coming months.

Weight/Height: I honestly have NO idea because we haven't had your four month check up yet. I will update this as soon as you do.

Eating: This is a little bit all over the place as far as a "schedule" goes. When we got back to the states, everything was going so smoothly (minus having the start of mastitis for myself a few times). I think jet lag and going back to work has made my dipped my milk production. I am still trying to figure out the best way to do this. Our ayi has had to use formula to supplement during the week a little bit as well. 

The day looks something like this. 
6:00-7:00 nurse
11:00ish nurse (ayi brings her to school because she has to pick up Sawyer from his half day school)
2:30-3:00 bottle
6:30 (before bedtime) nurse
1:00 nurse and sometimes again at 3:00 or 4:00 am

Sleeping: This has also been something that has been a challenge since we've returned back to China. In the states, she was pretty much sleeping through the night...all summer long! It was WONDERFUL. Then, we landed in China and since then it's been all over the place. Typically, she will fall asleep around 7 (same time as Sawyer) and then wake up again around 11-12 and sometimes again between 3-4. Lately, I think she's been going through a growth spurt or sleep regression and has been quite the party animal.

Clothes: Still squeezing into some 3 month clothes, although mostly fitting in 3-6 month right now. Eleanor is starting to get some chubby cheeks now... they are the best :)


When someone sings to her (any song, any time)
Watching her big brother do silly things, especially when he interacts with her
Being a part of what's going on, she doesn't want to miss a thing!
Taking baths (kicking her legs and splashing the water)
When anyone smiles at her

Not being able to see what's going on
Getting stuck on her tummy

I would be lying if I said that it hasn't been challenging having a two year old and four month old, but I really wouldn't have it any other way. I can't imagine not having Eleanor a part of our little family. The days are long, but the years are short for sure. A colleague of mine sent me the excerpt below and I feel like this is EXACTLY where we are as a family right now. I know it will pass so soon, so I am trying to live in the present as much as possible and embrace the inevitable craziness that comes with two little ones.

I remember the exhausting days when I had a two year old and a newborn. My two year old still wasn't sleeping through the night, and my newborn only slept for a couple of hours at a time. I had a toddler in my bed and a newborn in a bedside crib, and some nights I wasn't sure if I had even found sleep. I found myself doing a lot of wishing....
I wish they'd sleep through the night.
I wish they'd sleep in their own room.
I wish I didn't have to lie with them while they fall asleep.
I wish I'd never started co-sleeping.
I wish they were out of diapers.
I wish I had some time for myself.
Now, my babies are big boys. They are out of my bed, out of my room, and long out of diapers. They almost never wake me at night. They sleep in their own room. They don't need me to lie down with them anymore. I give them a kiss and walk out the door – and I have lots of time for me now.
Some nights, I walk out of their room, go curl up in my bed in front of the fire with a good book and think, “Ah. This is nice.”
But then there are the other nights when I lie there and listen to them talking with each other (their room is adjacent to mine). I listen as they tell funny stories and belly laugh at each other, and their laughter makes me smile through my tears. Silent tears are falling on my pillow as I stare at my ceiling, remembering the days when they used to need me. They need me less now. And as much I used to wish for “me time” back then is as much as I'm wishing now for “baby time.” Once more, I find myself doing a lot of wishing...
I wish they still needed me to lie down with them.
I wish I could hold them all night like I used to.
I wish we were still co-sleeping.
I wish they were back in diapers.
I wish I could still rock them.
I wish I could go back and do it all again, and savor every moment, committing it all to memory, rather than wishing it away.
© Rebecca Eanes 2015
This is an excerpt from the bestselling book, The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Welcome to the World Sweet Eleanor Beth

Eleanor Beth was born at 4:33 PM on April 30th in Hong Kong. She was 7lbs 1oz and 20.2 inches long. She has dark brown hair and blue grey eyes. I am so eager to see if the color will stay or change over the next few months. 

Her birth was quite the whirlwind experience. It's taken me almost a month to process it all since I ended up having an emergency c-section due to Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (which we didn't know at the time). All that matters is that she's here and we're both healthy. I feel incredibly grateful for that because I know not everyone is as lucky and I can't even begin to imagine what other mommas out there have gone through.

We have been adjusting to life as a family of four (sounds so weird to type that). Sawyer has been nothing but sweet to his baby sister.  I am so proud of the little boy that he's much too quickly becoming! Eleanor is laid back and a little cuddle bug. I feel such a strong bond with her already. She's already growing so fast! 

My hope is to write Eleanor's birth story over the next few weeks. I want to share it partly for me (therapeutic?), for Eleanor, and also for my family and friends. In the meantime, here are a few photos of our Sweet Pea. Follow me @shannabanana2710 on instagram to see more! 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

39 Weeks... Going on 40

.... Eleanor's still baking and pretty cozy in my tummy. We had a doctor's apt. last Friday and she doesn't look like she's anytime coming soon, but who knows? We will go back to Hong Kong Friday to reassess the situation. 

I realized this past Friday that when I was pregnant with Sawyer at this point in time, he was already here. 

 We are hoping to keep the plan of trying for a VBAC unless it's medically necessary to have another C-Section. I'm honestly not set one way or another, as long as she's healthy... that's all that matters to us. I would like to let my body try to do what it was made to do, so I'm going to let this lady come on her own time. Patience and enjoying surprises are not my  most redeeming qualities, so I am starting to get anxious about her arrival.  Also, our doctor will not induce me because I've already had a C-Section, so hopefully she will come in a "somewhat" timely manner.

Below is a picture of Sawyer & Eleanor's 4D ultrasounds. Is it just me, or does she look like Sawyer's twin?! I remember looking at his ultrasound thinking, "He looks like an alien!" Now looking at it, I definitely see Sawyer, even though his face is a bit smooched. 

Sawyer (left) & Eleanor (right)

Gender: Girl 

Weight gain:  64.1 kgs at my last apt. or 141 lbs

Maternity clothes: Yes! I cannot wait to wear normal clothes again, although they will have to be "nursing" friendly.

Stretch marks: Still in the clear, hooray! I read that stretch marks are genetic, if this is true, thanks mom and grandmas! 

Belly button in or out: Outtie

Sleep: Waking up 1x a night usually to pee, then our little rooster  sweet son has been waking us up at the CRACK of dawn (between 5:00-5:40 every morning) Come on kid, you're killing me! 

Best moment this week: Spending lots of one on one time with Sawyer before his little sister gets here.

Worst moment this week: Navigating Ikea with a toddler in tow (I feel like I'm in the Hunger Games when we go there. Seriously, it's an experience!)

Miss anything: Let's see...where to begin? Honestly at this point, just sitting comfortably would be a nice change.

Movement: She hasn't been as feisty. Slower movements, again I think she is running out of space to karate chop me.

Cravings: Lots of fruit (apples, grapes, oranges, passion fruit) chocolate, waffles, pretty much any breakfast food.

Queasy or sick: nope :)

Looking forward to: My family gets here in 2 days from today...AHH! And of course, meeting Miss Eleanor literally any day now!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Doughnuts & Diapers

This past weekend my teammates and lovely friends threw us a sweet baby shower brunch for Baby E. The theme was "Doughnuts & Diapers." Those are two things you don't expect to go together... ;) We got plenty of diapers that will come in handy when this little lady arrives. We feel so blessed to be surrounded by such a a great group of friends and colleagues here in China. 

Also, you may have noticed that we changed our minds on our baby girl's name.. I told Kurt a few weeks ago that I just wasn't "feeling" Rosalie and he then told me that it wasn't his favorite either... ah just when I thought we finally agreed on a name! For some reason we had a really hard time with girl names but boy names are so easy for us. Anyway, we both are loving our new choice, Eleanor. My friend had mentioned that there's a song by the Avett Brothers called Eleanor (I know there are many other "Eleanor" songs as well) but this one is especially sweet because one of the band members wrote it about his eldest daughter. Totally made me tear up... that and a mix of pregnancy hormones. 

Things are definitely starting to feel real. I can't believe in about a week (give or take) I will be snuggling with my little girl! 

We literally took 1 picture on the day of the shower, so the following are courtesy of my friends. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

38 Weeks

Here we go! We're in the final two weeks and counting. I can't believe that's only about 12 more sleeps (more or less) until I am cuddling my sweet little girl and our family will change from three to four! My family will arrive in China two weeks from today which is also hard to believe since I haven't seen them since July, so many exciting things happening on our side of the world. I'm feeling torn because on one hand, I am beyond anxious for Baby E to get here and meet her. On the other hand, I'm terrified of how our lives will be turned upside down, adjusting to having two little ones around the house. Oh.. that and sleep deprivation, of course ;) 

Gender: Girl 

Weight gain:  Have to check again, but I think I had gained about 25-25 lbs since the beginning of pregnancy so far.

Maternity clothes: Oh yeah... there's not much else I can fit into, well besides Kurt's shirts...whoops!

Stretch marks: nada

Belly button in or out: still outtie

Sleep: Gosh, still not getting good sleep. It doesn't help that Mr. Sawyer has decided that he wants to wake up at the crack of dawn (5:00-5:30) everyday ready to go. Ah! 

Best moment this week: Enjoying a low-key Easter with my family and friends. 

Worst moment this week: Not sure that I've had one yet (which is great).

Miss anything: Bending over without grunting, seeing my toes, fitting into my clothes, living without acid reflux, being able to indulge in a happy hour drink, the list goes on... ;)

Movement: She's running out of room in there, so her movements have slowed. She is still very busy every night between about 7:00-10:00.

Cravings: sour fruit, chocolate, and cheese for the win!

Queasy or sick: nope :)

Looking forward to: Our baby shower this weekend and being done with school. It's really hard at this point to stay motivated and check everything off my to-do list before baby E makes her appearance! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mini Getaway: Yangshuo, China

Last week we headed to Yangshuo for 3 nights as a last minute trip during our spring break. We took the high speed train from Shenzhen to Guilin (3.5 hours) and then had another car ride to get to our home stay, about an 1.5 hour drive. The way there was a bit rough since Sawyer was still getting over some yucky virus that he had for about a week. Luckily, after one night in Yangshuo, Sawyer was back to his happy self and even slept in every morning we were there (what a treat!)

This is our third trip to Yangshuo, but our first with Sawyer. It is hands down my favorite place in China. We stayed in a charming little home stay in the country and it was so nice to get away to somewhere so charming and beautiful. 

The weather was drizzly and overcast, but that didn't stop us from getting out and about. Sawyer loved eating all of his meals on the stone terrace (...who doesn't love eating french toast for breakfast every morning?). He was so content just exploring and being outside. We took quite a few walks around the country side and mainly relaxed. We only went in to the city twice, briefly for dinner. It gets so busy there, I much prefer the sereneness of the countryside.  

One day, we met up with other teachers from our school who were also staying in Yangshuo and did a bamboo boat ride to see the infamous 20 RMB scene (see below). 

 There were a few times that I questioned our sanity for traveling 9 months pregnant to rural China with a toddler, but we are so happy that we ended up going. Obviously, the easy route would be to just stay home with Sawyer; however, as a family we've adopted the "Just Do It." motto. Otherwise, we'd probably never leave our apartment! It was a bittersweet trip for us because it was our last trip as a family of three. I've been trying to soak up every last moment with Sawyer before his baby sister joins our little family. It's hard to believe that in a couple short weeks, it will no longer be just us and Sawyer. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

35 Weeks

I had a mini-heart attack today when I opened the Babycenter app and it told me "35 days until your due date." When/How did this even happen?!? It's been a crazy couple of weeks. 

Kurt's parents were supposed to come visit us this coming Thursday for our spring break and then travel to Vietnam, returning back to China for Rosalie's birth. But unfortunately, his dad got really sick and it turns out they won't be able to make it. We are so disappointed but feel so grateful that they weren't here when it happened and that his dad can recover fully before a summer of fun! So we've rearranged a few things over here and my mom, step dad, and sister will be headed our way in April to stay with us for two weeks. We'll see if this little lady waits for them to arrive before she makes an appearance. 

Everything is starting to sink in. I've been trying to find apartments that would be suitable for us to stay when we deliver in Hong Kong among many other logistics. I know it will all work out in the end, it always does...but things like this make the planner inside me just cringe. I like to know everything in advance and the thought of having no clue when I'll go into labor, worrying about crossing borders, finding someone to stay with Sawyer, and figuring out a place to stay after we get out of the hospital is a lot to digest. 

I've been very adamant about trying for a VBAC this time around, but I'm definitely starting to have doubts. I think the fear of the unknown plays a big part and also I'm scared of being in labor and ending up with an emergency C-section regardless. I'm going to check this Saturday with my doctor to see her recommendation (how my scar looks, etc.) to see how "favorable" a VBAC would be for me. In the end, all that matters is that Rosalie gets here safely and I just need to keep telling myself that. I know I won't be able to predict the future either way (where's a crystal ball when you need it?!). I'll have to make a decision that I feel most comfortable with after consulting more with my doctor and talking it over with Kurt. 

I just had to share the picture below because Sawyer photobombed me #truelifewithatoddler 

We told Sawyer to say "Cheese!" and this is the face he made.

Gender: Girl 

Weight gain:  Not sure, haven't been to the doctor in a longgg time. We go this Saturday, so we'll see what the damage is then ;) 

Maternity clothes: Yep, or flowy tops (like above). I think it's almost time to bust out the maxis because the weather is starting to warm up here.

Stretch marks: nope

Belly button in or out: Outtie

Sleep: Still hit or miss. A few nights in a row I was up until 3:30 AM. I fall asleep around 9:00 but then wake up around 12:00 and have a realllly hard time falling back to sleep. 

Best moment this week: Not pregnancy related, but Sawyer told me he loved me for the first time. Yesterday while he was eating dinner, I said, "Sawyer, I love you!" and he responded, "I wuv yoouuu!" (I died. My heart literally bursted. It was the sweetest thing ever.)

Worst moment this week:  Hmmm maybe when Sawyer head butted me so hard that my nose made a cracking sound (true story)... it still hurts! Or just feeling like an old lady in general, my body is falling apart.

Miss anything: Sleeping through the night without this crazy insomnia, being able to see my feet, and fitting into my regular clothes.

Movement: Not quite as busy, her movements have slowed down. I think she's running out of space.

Cravings: Cookies, chocolate, fruit

Queasy or sick: Feeling fine 

Looking forward to: My maternity leave to begin and this little lady to get here! I have about 28392832 things to do on my to-do list until then, yikes.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Less Really is More

I don't know if it's the nesting that's kicked in full force, my hormones, an epiphany, or all of the above but I have been trying to make a positive shift in our life as far as keeping things "simple." 

It all started over our Chinese New Year holiday. I began the task of taking all of the tags off Rosalie's clothes to wash them and went through Sawyer's old baby things. Suddenly, it all just seemed so overwhelming. I went to look for something and it was hidden in piles of other boxes full of stuff that I kept or saved for some reason or another. 

I'd like to think of myself somewhere in the middle to low end on a spectrum of being considered a "hoarder." I usually don't get too attached to stuff. Sometimes it's necessary to stockpile particular items living abroad because if we run out of something like deodorant, we can't just run to Target and pick up a new one (they don't sell it here). My family always gave me a hard time when I was younger, because I was known to throw things out in order to clean the house (whoops). 

When we moved to China, we came with only four suitcases. After living here for four years, I always thought, "We really don't have much stuff." But, it's amazing how quickly "stuff" accumulates and begins to take over your life. So over the holiday, I decided to declutter and purge anything that I didn't love. I read a quote somewhere, "Would you pay to replace it if it was lost in a fire?" This was my mantra. I was ruthless. I really started to think about:  What is the purpose of this? Why do I have things that just sit on a shelf? Am I keeping this because I got as a gift and feel guilty? I downsized my closet to about 1/4 of what it was. I worked the entire break, non-stop. It wasn't about getting rid of stuff for the sake of getting rid of stuff. I really felt like it was about keeping and treasuring the things we do love.

After the break, I felt so much...lighter, relaxed, and free. As a family, we are trying to keep things simple. Here are a few examples of how we're trying to embrace a more simplistic approach to our life:

  • Not overcommitting to things (learning to say no more without feeling guilty)
  • More quality family time
  • Let Sawyer explore and discover the world on his own (without us there to entertain him or show him how to do something the "right" way)
  • Letting Sawyer be bored (without 3894384 toys to "distract" him so he can learn to be creative and a problem solver with the things he does have)
  • Slow down, be more present, and live in the moment 
  • Doing more of what we love (for me that's reading, decorating, planning, baking, spending time with my family and close friends, going on walks)
  • Being very mindful of what we do purchase and put into our home (i.e. not buying something just because it's on sale)
  • Paring down on beauty products and using as many natural products as possible
Below are quotes and books that have really inspired me incase you're interested :) 

"Minimalist Parenting is not an exercise in deprivation. You can still enjoy shopping, decorating, and aesthetics. The trick is to focus on the worth. If you use it or you love it, it's worth making space for it in your life."
-Minimalist Parenting