Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March 31, 2009 - Motherhood

I have written a lot about Grace in the last almost-five weeks, but I haven't written too much about being a mom. So here goes! I know that it is totally a cliche, but I really feel like I was born to be Grace's mother. It blows my mind everyday that Kristoffer and I were able to create something so perfect. She relies on me to love, nurture and feed her, and I am ever so happy to comply. She is changing everyday and I love experiencing those changes with her. I feel so powerful that I was able to bring something so beautiful into this world and I take the responsibility of helping her become a smart, funny, interesting, caring, loving and kind human being very seriously. It is an honor to be Grace's mother - as cheesy as that sounds. My love for her is infinite and it is the most powerful emotion I have ever felt.

As wonderful as motherhood is, it isn't without challenges. Mostly, I am really tired and feel like I have sort of a permanent "jet lag" - where I can function but feel like I am on a different clock than the rest of the world. Exclusive breastfeeding is a full time job and I feel like my entire day is feeding, changing, and comforting Grace. I realize, however, that I have it "easy" compared to most other new moms. I have a full-time housekeeper so that I never have to do laundry, clean the house, or prepare a meal! I literally can devote my whole day to Grace with occasional moments to blog, pay bills, shower before Kristoffer gets home (on a good day!) or sleep when she is sleeping. I have also had my parents with us since the morning after we came home from the hospital and they have been enormously helpful with Grace. I don't take it for granted that our expat-lifestyle in Kenya makes the transition to motherhood much easier than if we were in the US or Denmark and I am very grateful for that!

All the help I have doesn't change the fact that my decision making process has completely changed - Grace is now a major factor in everything we do and also how we do it! I am happy when she is sleeping, but I also look forward to when she wakes up so that I can see what facial expressions she will make (she has so many!) or what her hands will do (they are very active!). The other difference that I strongly feel is that Kristoffer and I are really no longer "just" a couple...we are a family! We have a connection now that I feel is even stronger than our marriage vows alone - we have Grace! I once read in a "new mom" book that the best thing parents can do is to openly show love for each other in front of their children. That is a gift Kristoffer and I are happy to give our daughter.

So far as her mother, I don't think I have done anything to royally screw Grace up. Yes, I did once scratch her with the velcro on her bib and another time I scratched her with my needed-to-be-cut fingernail, and occasionally I wait a few minutes too long to feed her if I have to go to the bathroom or something...but I doubt she will remember such traumas (even though she screamed bloody murder at the time!). I haven't yet embarrassed her in public or left her in a grocery store, but I do often forget to put a bib on her so she is frequently covered in spit up and has several wardrobe changes everyday.

I am guilty of showering her with hundreds of kisses everyday, of sometimes holding her a little too long in the middle of the night before putting her down after she has eaten, of singing "Amazing Grace" to her maybe one too many times a day, of staring at her while she is sleeping for at least one or two hours a day, and of generally "spoiling" her with my arms and attention whenever I have the chance. So far though, the system is working. Grace is healthy, happy (except for yesterday - she had her first really bad day), and growing everyday.

The verdict is that, while I am sure it will get harder and more challenging and more stressful and I will have plenty of days when I just don't know what the heck I am doing or how I will get through it, this motherhood gig is pretty fantastic so far and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

LMW

Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 29, 2009 - Grace Takes Tea

Well, she didn't exactly "take tea" (as they say in Kenya), but she did go on her first outing outside of Nairobi to one of the oldest tea plantations in Kenya. The five of us had a lovely, lovely day - the countryside just north of Nairobi and at 7,200 ft, is lush and green and beautiful, which is in stark contrast to much of the rest of the country right now which is experiencing drought and looks like a desert! The woman who owns/runs the tea farm is third generation doing it, and second generation born in Kenya. We learned a lot about tea! She was fascinating, as were many of the people we met there (people from all over the world!). My mom posted quite a few pictures on her blog so I won't repeat them. Except for...

Grace's outing started out like this:



And then a few times during the day this is what was going on (after she ate!):



Here we tried to take a family portrait but she was more interested in eating so it turned out like this:



Grace is getting bigger and is changing so much everyday. This week my parents will be at the beach until Thursday so we will see how we do during our days without them. Kristoffer insists on going to work - how dare he!

LMW

Thursday, March 26, 2009

March 26, 2009 - One Month Young





Happy One Month Birthday to me!

It doesn't feel like it has already been a month - I still remember those cozy, warm days in utero so well! Mama keeps saying how big I am getting so I suppose I have changed a lot since I was born. I am a really good eater so she must be right that I am gaining length and weight...that is why I keep rolling over! With all of my eating, I need some exercise too! She says that I go to the doctor in another 10 days to check on my progress.

This week we mostly laid low at home but today I did go to my first "wives club" meeting at the UN with Mama. All of the ladies there thought I was really cute and sweet. All week Far has been traveling for work and we have really missed him (especially Mama who has to feed, burp, change, and entertain me during the night all by herself! This is kind of rough for her because I still have my days and nights confused and usually sleep longer stretches during the day instead of at night!). I really like Far's soft voice and how gentle he is when he gives me a bath; he is also good for a foot rub so I am hoping to get one from him tomorrow night as soon as he walks in the door! My face has really filled out this week - I wonder if he will recognize me!

To celebrate being one month old, this morning after I rolled over I decided to lift my head all the way up and move it from left to right while lying on my belly. Phew - it was exhausting! Mama, Nene and Pops spend a lot of time sitting around staring at me and they keep hoping that I will do more amazingly cute things. Every now and then I have to throw them a bone!

GEW

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24, 2009 - Happy Birthday, Syracuse!

Today is Syracuse University's 139th birthday - otherwise known as National Orange Day by students, faculty, and alumni. Given that I "bleed orange" (as we say), it is no wonder that Grace is already attracted to good old SU and has filled out her NCAA Basketball tournament bracket with Syracuse winning it all!

The valedictorian of the graduating class of 2030 wishes Syracuse a great coming year!




(Thank you to the "Fun Factor" - Gina, Marcie, Sarah, Jess and Jess - for Grace's Syracuse sweatshirt...she could only wear it for a few minutes today because it is not quite in season over here but I think by the time it gets cold she will fit into a bit better and will love to wear it all the time!)

LMW & GEW

Monday, March 23, 2009

March 23, 2009 - Let the Good Times Roll

Grace is almost four weeks old and continues to amaze us. We think she has been going through a growth spurt, which we've read is normal at three weeks, because on Saturday night she demanded to eat every hour! Literally! I got no sleep that night (and was a definite zombie on Sunday) and even though Kristoffer tried to calm and soothe her all she wanted was to eat so there was not much he could do to help me out! It might be time for me to start pumping so that he can share in a nightly feeding.

As she is getting bigger and stronger it is getting easier for her to roll over! Now, I'm not saying that it is very easy...it requires a serious investment of time on her part and on the part of her loyal spectators (aka me and my parents) and it makes her tired, but she did roll over again last night around 9:30 pm when she was wide awake and today at about 12:30 pm when she napping. She loves to be on her side and that often lends itself to her flipping. We thought that last week's roll was just a fluke, but it appears that "she is on a roll" as my father said (pun intended).

Kristoffer is actually away for work this week in northwestern Kenya near the border of Sudan. He is on a mission to verify school enrollment figures in an area where it is suspected that they are inflating their numbers in order to receive more food than they are actually entitled to from WFP. He left yesterday afternoon and will be back on Friday or Saturday evening. Grace will be a different baby when he gets back - she is changing so much everyday! And last night, thankfully, she was a much better sleeper so that today I look and feel like a human being again.

My mom and I went to a fancy butcher's this morning and bought lots of meat to eat while the vegetarian is out of the house. Shhh...don't tell Kristoffer! My parents are going to hopefully go on a small safari this week in the Nairobi National Park and also check out the elephant orphanage. I am sure they will have another interesting story or two for their blog!

This was Kristoffer and Grace's goodbye yesterday...(maybe I was secretly crying in the other room!)



LMW

Friday, March 20, 2009

March 20, 2009 - Red White and Blue Baby

Today Grace became an officially documented US citizen. Because she is a "naturalized citizen" born to an American parent abroad, I am told she is still eligible to be US president (so watch out Barack Obama...after all, she can already roll over!). We applied for her passport and it will be ready on April 9th! We also applied for her social security number. This baby is all set.

And I am relieved to have done all of the documentation correctly so that the process at the US Embassy went very smoothly. thought it was pretty funny when the lady was looking at Grace and comparing her face to her passport photo. She was asleep but in the picture her eyes had to be open...I assured the lady that it was the same baby (and was very grateful that she didn't wake up Grace to see her eyes!).

LMW

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 19, 2009 - Baby Rhymes (and some big news!)



I have lived three weeks of life so far
This week I went to the UN in the car
I met many people at the WFP
And everyone went crazy over little old me

The real trauma came later that day
For my passport picture I had to pose a certain way
Eyes open, two ears showing, no crying or hands showing
For a little picture that won't keep up with my growing

This week my belly has not felt so great
Spitting up and painful gas won't help me gain weight
Luckily there are lots of people to comfort me
And staying in motion makes me so happy

My mom has been reading me lots of Dr. Seuss books
I wonder if my rhymes are as good as my looks
Tomorrow we will visit the US Embassy
For citizenship and a passport just for me

GEW

p.s. I know there has been a request for me to blog in Danish, but I will need Far's help with that because my written Danish is not so good. He is very busy providing for me and my mom, but I will ask him to help me sometime soon!

Note: After Grace wrote her blog this morning we had a big event. I was sleeping in my bedroom and my parents had her sleeping on the couch in the living room. Grace likes sleeping all the way over on her side and we have been joking that if she could only get one arm under her body, she would actually roll over. WELL...let me tell you that she did that very thing today! My parents were watching her and the next thing they knew she was completely on her stomach! All of the baby books say that babies don't roll over until between 2 and 6 months. Seriously, she is 3 weeks old! Below is a picture of Grace sleeping on her belly. Now we have something new to worry about because babies aren't supposed to sleep on their stomachs! Still...we are very proud and will consider signing her up to compete in the gymnastics event of the Baby Olympics :)



LMW

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March 17, 2009 - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thank you to Auntie Meghan and Auntie Christine for my cool St. Patrick's Day outfit!


I am singing an Irish ditty!




I may be more Danish and German than Irish...but the little Irish that I've got is VERY cute!


GEW

Monday, March 16, 2009

March 16, 2009 - Weekend Fun

This weekend Grace attended her first dinner party at the Country Director of WFP's home on Saturday night. She was such a good girl and we were very proud to introduce her to a few more people. She also went to the gym for the first time and sat by the pool (under a BIG umbrella!) while her grandparents and father went for a swim!

Here is a picture of Grace with her grandparents yesterday evening:




LMW

Friday, March 13, 2009

March 13, 2009 - Redefining Friday the 13th

It might be Friday the 13th, but we have nothing to be afraid of in this family!

We just got back from Grace's second doctor's appointment. She gained about 300 grams in the last week, and they normally look for babies to gain about 200 a week so that means she is doing really well! I could have told you that she eats like a champ - just look at her cheeks! For people in the US, she is now 7.6 lbs, which is up 3 oz. from her birth weight. She gained 1 cm in length which is also good. She is about 50th percentile for both height and weight. The doctor said she is developing "like clockwork" and the whole time he examined her (poking, prodding, moving her limbs, flipping her over) she didn't make a peep!

Today Grace also looked at herself in a baby mirror for the first time. She stared at herself for about 10 minutes and even though she might not have actually seen herself, when I put it a few inches in front of her she instantly reached out and touched it. She is so smart!

We are so, so lucky to have this sweet little baby. Thank you to Kristoffer for taking a good picture of me and Grace when she is not nursing!



(and not that it matters at all at this point or that i am worried about it, but i am only 8 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight and i can wear some non-maternity clothes already! i suppose these 8 will be hardest to lose...)

LMW

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March 12, 2009 - Grace Writes Again

Hello Again!

The big news is that...



In the last week I have done a lot. I went on a trip to the grocery store two times: the first time Far carried me around the store and the second time Pops pushed me in my stroller. It was my first time in the stroller and what a sweet ride it is! I slept through the whole outing because I was so comfortable. I have also been watching a little bit of American Idol...although I have to admit that even Simon Cowell's quips and jarring with the new judge can't keep me awake for a whole two hours (we get two episodes at a time over here)!

I would say my biggest accomplishment so far is that I can follow someone's finger with my eyes and by turning my head from the left to the right. Now, I am not trying to brag...but all of the books my mom has been reading says that most babies don't do that until they are 3 months old. I definitely did it yesterday two or three times with my Far and my Pops - at only 13 days old! I hate to sound conceited, but do I hear "academic scholarship to college"?

My mom has been trying all week to get my birth certificate from the Kenyan government. She successfully got the man in charge to speed up the process so that we can apply for my American citizenship and passport - normally it takes 4-6 weeks to get a birth certificate. She sent our driver Charles to pick up 12 copies today (12 copies because someday when we don't live in Kenya it would be very hard to get copies of my birth certificate and mom wants to make sure we never need to get more in the future) and when he came home she discovered that her name was spelled wrong on all 12 copies. Now Charles has to bring the certificates back to be fixed and we have to wait a little longer for our outing to the US Embassy. Sheesh - these grown-ups make me tired!

Let's see....some other things about my life so far: I love taking a bath and do not mind being naked at all, I still have a blocked tear duct in my left eye so I get lots of gook there, I love to have my feet massaged, and today my grandparents think I look like Far for the first time. My favorite song so far is the Hawaiian version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and I really like the story book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie". Far also read me a book of Danish alphabet rhymes that I like - those rhymes are so silly! I am making more cooing and sighing noises, especially when I eat and sleep, and I am definitely still eating well (I sleep well too...just not always at night!). My nails already need to be cut again and my hair seems a little lighter everyday. My parents will bring me back to Dr. Nesbitt tomorrow afternoon for a well-baby check up. They still think I am the most adorable baby ever...even when I am awake with gas and eye gook at 3 am :)

GEW

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March 11, 2009 - Cozy Comforts

One of these days I will write about something other than Grace, but these days she seems to be my only interest!

When Grace has the hiccups or some gas making her uncomfortable, these two guys really know how to make her feel better:




Grace LOVES her bath time! In the hospital she was bathed every day, but the nurses were not nearly as gentle as her father. She is a happy girl during and after a bath:




And even though she is now a Grace and not a "Simba"...she has not forgotten where she came from:



I hope Grace's pictures aren't boring to our blog readers...I just can't get enough of her!

LMW

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 10, 2009 - The Twelve Days of Grace's Life



The Twelve Days of Grace's Life...sung to the tune of the "The Twelve Days of Christmas":

On the first day of Grace's life my baby gave to me: a C-section non-emergency.

On the second day of Grace's life my baby gave to me: two eyes wide open and a C-section non-emergency.

On the third day of Grace's life my baby gave to me: three vaccinations, two eyes wide open, and a C-section non-emergency.

On the fourth day of Grace's life my baby gave to me: four poopy diapers, three vaccinations, two eyes wide open, and a C-section non-emergency.

On the fifth day of Grace's life my baby gave to me: five hours of sleep, four poopy diapers, three vaccinations, two eyes wide open, and a C-section non-emergency.

On the sixth day of Grace's life my baby gave to me: six gassy smiles, five hours of sleep, four poopy diapers, three vaccinations, two eyes wide open, and a C-section non-emergency.

On the seventh day of Grace's life my baby gave to me: seven cries at night, six gassy smiles, five hours of sleep, four poopy diapers, three vaccinations, two eyes wide open, and a C-section non-emergency.

On the eighth day of Grace's life my baby gave to me: eight minutes with my doctor, seven cries at night, six gassy smiles, five hours of sleep, four poopy diapers, three vaccinations, two eyes wide open, and a C-section non-emergency.

On the ninth day of Grace's life my baby gave to me: nine gifts of spit up, eight minutes with my doctor, seven cries at night, six gassy smiles, five hours of sleep, four poopy diapers, three vaccinations, two eyes wide open, and a C-section non-emergency.

On the tenth day of Grace's life my baby gave to me: ten gripping fingers, nine gifts of spit up, eight minutes with my doctor, seven cries at night, six gassy smiles, five hours of sleep, four poopy diapers, three vaccinations, two eyes wide open, and a C-section non-emergency.

On the eleventh day of Grace's life my baby gave to me: eleven hours with Far at work, ten gripping fingers, nine gifts of spit up, eight minutes with my doctor, seven cries at night, six gassy smiles, five hours of sleep, four poopy diapers, three vaccinations, two eyes wide open, and a C-section non-emergency.

On the twelfth day of Grace's life my baby gave to me: twelve feeding sessions, eleven hours with Far at work, ten gripping fingers, nine gifts of spit up, eight minutes with my doctor, seven cries at night, six gassy smiles, five hours of sleep, four poopy diapers, three vaccinations, two eyes wide open, and a C-section non-emergency.

(In other words - it has been the best 12 days EVER!)


LMW

Saturday, March 7, 2009

March 7, 2009 - Simba's Due Date

Today is Grace's due date. We told her that before today we had no expectations of her because she was "negative days" old or "underdue". Now that she is full term, we are encouraging her to perform. Kristoffer is hoping she'll crawl soon...while I am leaning more towards strengthening her neck and focusing her eyes :) Ok ok, so I'm sort of hoping she'll be reading soon. Guilty as charged. We are so glad she came early - what would our lives have been the previous 9 days if not for her?!

I haven't uploaded any new pictures in the last two days to our computer, but this is one my friend sent me from the hospital when Grace was 2 days old. I love it because it is close up on her face (and let's be honest, all of the pictures Kristoffer took of Grace the first two days were of me nursing her so I don't have very many good pictures of her face!). Even since then, we can see that she has changed. Her hair has grown and her neck is much stronger than it was. Sometimes she seems close to rolling over! Now I get it when people say, "Oh, how quickly they grow up!" I wish I could keep her like this forever.



LMW

Friday, March 6, 2009

March 6, 2009 - A New Blog in the Family

My mom has started her own blog to share the experiences she and my father have while they are here visiting us through Easter weekend. This is also a way for her to brag about Grace even though she can't call everyone on the phone!

Check it out!
http://muellersinkenya.blogspot.com

LMW

March 6, 2009 - Mini Me

Grace does not look like me now, except maybe for her nose, but she does look an awful lot like me when I was born. Below is my baby picture: I have much different hair and a much different hairline than Grace, but the rest of our baby faces look the same! My birth weight was also only half an ounce more than Grace's and my parents say they have deja vu a lot because when Grace is hungry the way she opens her mouth makes her look like a bird, which is apparently what they called me as an infant because I did the same thing. Our big hope, of course, is that Grace retains her beautiful, blue eyes like Kristoffer and her eyebrows and fast-growing eyelashes indicate that she might just be a Danish blond. Lucky girl! I am sure her looks will change, but at least for right now...I think I'll call her "Mini Me".

Me:


Grace:


(My parents brought about 50 baby/toddler pictures of me and even Kristoffer agrees that Grace looks like me at the same age. So I am not just a crazy mother...I mean, I may be a crazy mother, but not about this!)

LMW

Thursday, March 5, 2009

March 5, 2009 - Grace's First Blog

Hello!

My name is Grace and...



When I was really small - you know, last week - I didn't do much more than sleep in my Far's arms or eat from my Mama. I have always been good at emulating my parents - when they stick out their tongue at me, I stick mine right out at them and when they open their mouths wide I can do it too! Now that I'm a week old I can also keep my eyes open for longer stretches of time. I have just discovered that I have a lot of cool stuff too, including my swing and a vibrating seat that gives me a good back massage. This week I have met a lot of really nice people; I love being warm in the crook of my Pops' arm and today my Nene taught me how to suck on a binky (pacifier or sut) instead of my fingers or thumbs. I also feel a little bit like I owe Nene an apology because I have already pooped and spit up all over her (not at the same time, at least), but I promise that I only do such things to people I really love!

I get the feeling that my Mama is a little bit tired...I am a pretty demanding eater at night so she isn't getting too much sleep, but she is surprisingly always in a good mood and never stops smiling at me. Far is the go-to guy when I really need or want something because he can't stand to hear me cry for one minute! I think I have him wrapped good and tightly around my littlest finger :)

Today I went to see Dr. Nesbitt. He told me that I gained back about half of the weight that I had lost as of Monday but otherwise my length and head circumference were the same as when I was born. Because I was born early I am only in the 25th percentile for my height but I am in the 50th percentile for weight. I had to have another blood test - thankfully Nene held me because my mom was crying too much - which showed that I still have jaundice and I should spend some more time in the sun. The doctor said overall that I am a healthy girl and I will go back and see him next week. I do have one blocked tear duct but he taught Far how to massage it to make it better and even though it looks yucky it doesn't hurt. Mama is going to see her doctor tomorrow because apparently she had to have a big operation to bring me into the world and the doctor has to check how she is healing. She seems to be feeling well though and she never stops telling me how much she loves me and how perfect I am!

Below is a slideshow so that you can see all I have done and some of the people I have met this past week (including neighbors, friends, and colleagues of my parents). If you want to see the pictures bigger, just click on it.



If Mama lets me, I promise I will write again soon! Thank you for all of the nice comments about me to my parents on the blog and through their email. Remember, if you want to see me "live", set up a skype account so my parents can introduce us!

GEW

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

March 3, 2009 - First Night at Home

Note to Self: Don't publicly announce, as I did on the blog last night, that your newborn daughter sleeps well when it is her first night home from the hospital. Because OBVIOUSLY she will then not sleep well. Duh!

Grace and Kristoffer slept from 8-10 last night while I was finally reading email and blogging (I know, I know...when baby sleeps, I am supposed to sleep. But I was really excited and sort of on an adrenaline rush!). Then she pretty much ate on and off for the next 3 hours and didn't go to sleep until 1 am which definitely not the pattern we had going at the hospital. Apparently, she missed the memo that said. "Say goodnight, Gracie!" Next she woke up from 3 to 5 to continue eating, which was fine with me but has left me a bit sleepy still. Now, at 7:19 am, she is still sleeping, which I should be doing except that Kristoffer is on his way home from the airport with my parents and I am too excited to sleep!

Besides, they are here for the next 6 weeks to hold her when she isn't eating so I can sleep, right? Also, she makes the cuuuutest baby noises in her sleep, which I am enjoying as I write this.

Below is the only actual smile (also known as gas) we have been able to capture of our Gracie Girl...but boy is it a good one!



LMW

Monday, March 2, 2009

March 2, 2009 - Amazing Grace

Grace Elizabeth Welsien was born at 8:38 am on Thursday, February 26, 2009 at The Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. She weighed 3.3 kg (about 7 lbs. 3 oz.) and was 50 cm long (about 20 inches). Grace, the baby formerly known as Simba, is beautiful and perfect in every way; we fell madly in love with our daughter from the moment she was born. Even though most people thought we were having a boy - Kristoffer included - we are so, so happy that it was Grace growing inside me the whole time :)

Wednesday night we checked into the hospital around 9 pm. I had blood tests and an EKG and was visited by both my obstetrician and my anesthesiologist; we were very anxious for the morning to come. They came to get us around 7 am for my 7:45 surgery and we were definitely ready for Simba to arrive.

Kristoffer got changed into his “scrubs” (blue doctor’s clothes) and I was prepped for the operation. The spinal block, which I had before for my 1993 knee surgery, was just as I remembered it. It is definitely a strange sensation to lose feeling in the lower half of your body over the course of a few minutes. Before we knew it, we were behind a draped curtain with the anesthesiologist on our side, and my obstetrician and Grace’s pediatrician were on the other side beginning the surgery.

Kristoffer was holding my hand and we were talking to each other; I was also saying the Hail Mary (as I had been doing all morning) alternately to myself and aloud. A C-Section is an interesting surgery because while I couldn’t feel any pain, I could feel a lot of pushing/pulling/tugging as the doctor operated on me. Very weird! After about 10 minutes they started to indicate that the baby was coming out. Normally the anesthesiologist would push down from my upper abdomen but my doctor asked her not to; as it turned out the baby was in a very bad position and needed to be removed in an extremely delicate manner. Kristoffer started to peak on the other side of the curtain and said, “I can see a leg!” and just as I prayed, “Hail Mary, full of Grace…” the doctor said, “It’s a girl!”

As it turned out, she had been folded up in a “U” position with her bum down and her feet up by her head; additionally, the placenta was wrapped around her neck. All we can say is thank God that we opted for the C-Section because if I had gone into natural labor and had tried to deliver her there would have been complications even more serious than we feared.

When Grace came out, she was totally blue/purple. The pediatrician and nurses instantly brought her to the room next door with Kristoffer following closely behind; I still had at least 45 minutes of surgery left in front of me. Grace didn’t cry right away…it took almost a minute for them to clear her lungs and for her to cry out. Believe me when I say it was the longest minute of my life and when she did finally cry I thought it was the greatest sound I had ever heard.

After the doctor checked her out and assured Kristoffer that she was perfectly healthy, Kristoffer was alone with Grace for the first 90 minutes to 2 hours of her life. They really bonded in this time and it is still very clear that she knows her father! Sadly for me, I only got a small peak at her face once while I was still being operated on, and then I had to wait almost two hours for them to finish up, bring me to recovery and then eventually to the maternity ward so I could see my husband and daughter. I just kept saying, “Let me see my baby….I want to see my baby!”

Since then, we have had a wonderful four days with Grace. Several of our friends and colleagues visited us while we were in the hospital, which we loved, and we were also very grateful for time alone as a family of three. It took three days for my milk to come in so Grace had to receive a little bit of formula supplement until I could nurse. But let me tell you, since it has come in she is eating like a champ and I truly love nursing her! She is also a good and regular sleeper, as most newborns are.

Kristoffer and I have had a few moments of parental panic and sadness so far, particularly when Grace received vaccinations for tuberculosis, polio, and hepatitis B (hep B is a very painful shot!). Grace stopped crying after only a few minutes (if that), but I didn’t stop for nearly twenty more minutes. It was very traumatic! My hormones are certainly raging and I admit that when I am holding Grace and looking at her or feeding her, I often just start crying because I am so happy and because I am so overcome with love for her.

We were finally able to come home from the hospital this afternoon (Monday) after I had two really good days of nursing Grace, recovering from my surgery, and after Grace was cleared to go home despite a little bit of jaundice. The doctors at the hospital were wonderful throughout, our accommodations at the hospital were rather hotel-like (food was pretty good…but after 5 days we were ready to GO!), and there were a few nurses who we thought were really outstanding with all three of us. All in all, we had an excellent experience having a baby in Nairobi!

We have quite a few videos and pictures that we would like to share, but we are also getting adjusted to our new life here and my parents will arrive tomorrow morning (their flight from Boston was delayed due to a snowstorm and they missed their connection in London so they will not arrive tonight – sadly!). We are very, very grateful for everyone’s emails, phone calls, and text messages and we promise to respond and share as much as we can of our little girl as soon as we can. Thank you for all of your best wishes – Grace is a lucky little baby to have such a supportive and loving network of family and friends throughout the world welcoming her home. Below is just a sample of what the last five days have been like for us:

Grace and Mama on Day 2:


Grace is all ready to come home from the hospital:


Grace and Far are sleepy tonight:


We feel nothing short of completely blessed to have a healthy, beautiful, amazing daughter. She is a miracle and her birth is, by far, the greatest thing that has ever happened to us!

LMW

p.s. While watching episodes of Seinfeld on our laptop in the hospital, we discovered that laughter is NOT the best medicine when you are recovering from a C-section (along with sneezing, coughing, and blowing my nose, which all aggravate my pain)!