24 August 2009

big e's frist trip

big e's first outing was at 3 weeks. my mom and dad were in town and together with rhys all of us packed in the car for the 2 hour drive to Stratford-upon-Avon. The home of Shakespeare. what 3 week old doesnt want to tour around a dead poets house? so off we went. the sun was shining, the weather was perfect, the company was fantastic and baby eleri was, of course, perfect. it was a great day.

but all that day required was a diaper bag.

it didnt matter that we were away from home, even a 2 hour drive away from home. it was just a day trip. and all that we needed to take for the babe was what she would need for the day.

tomorrow we are going to Wales. FOR 6 DAYS. 6 days. ok, not a lifetime, i realise. but this trip requires packing. and i have never packed for a baby before. granted it is not as difficult as say, preforming brain surgery, but its still a task. how many outfits do i bring? what about blankets? and diapers? and what about burp clothes? Plus its not just any trip down to wales, its special. its Rhys' parents anniversary, his sisters birthday and we are having a party for big e with all of rhys' university friends on the Saturday. so yeah, big events. not only do i have to think about what i am going to wear, but what little eleri is going to wear. she's gotta be at her best you know. people to meet and all. wish me luck on the packing. and the trip. here's hoping she stays on her nice 4 hour in the day and 7 hours at night schedule. i love that schedule.

big e is sleeping at the moment. my plan was to use this time to pack and get things situated as we are leaving tomorrow morning after we register her. (see note at bottom, its explains 'registering her') but instead i am blogging about not knowing what to pack and now little baby noises are coming from her room. she is awake. she will want to play now. which means mommy has lost her nice window of time to pack. good idea to blog, eh?

...ok registering the baby. they dont do birth certificates in the hospital over here. NHS cutting costs and all. so you have to make at appointment at the registration office sometime after the birth and go get a birth certificate. so technically eleri doesn't exist. she has no official documentation saying that she was born. nice, eh? tomorrow, over a month after she was born, is her allotted time to be registered. so rhys is going tomorrow. yeah, the baby doesnt even have to be present. you just go and say you had a baby and get a birth certificate. good, and safe, method. gotta love that NHS.

23 August 2009

one month

my little baby is one month old. well, she was one month old yesterday. I cant believe that four short weeks ago i was in the hospital anxiously awaiting her arrival. On that note, i know that i said the next post would be about labour, but i am getting distracted. That is turning into a long post, so this one is coming first.

so back to my little one....

she is 4 weeks old. i cant believe it. people always say that you don't know what love is until you hold your child for the first time. i disagree. i will never forget the first time i held my little baby, her tiny little fingers gripping my pinkie as tightly as they could; tears poured down my face. but i love little eleri more today than i did that first day. i have grown into being a mom. i have grown in my love and appreciation for my little girl. she is my entire world. i cant even begin to imagine how much more i will love her tomorrow. how could i possibly love her anymore than i do today?! she is just perfect.

and because i think she is perfect, and because i want a record of everything she does/has done, the following is a list of my one month old's stats:

-at 2 weeks, she could hold her head up. yeah, she is crazy strong. perhaps it is because she was so big at birth...but whatever the reason, by 2 weeks she could lift and visibly control her head for quite a bit of time. even the doctor was really shocked when she saw. but what can i say, she is super baby. (as rhys says "rahhh, i am super baby. i will crush all the other babies....")

-little eleri weighed 10.12 at 3.5 weeks. yea. almost 11 pounds. i am willing to bet that she has since gained the few ounces that would put her at or over the 11 pound mark. she has a healthy appetite for sure.

-she has grown 1 inch since birth. not a massive growth, but the little one is now 22 inches long. almost 2 feet!! that puts her in the 90% for height.

-at exactly 15 days old, eleri slept 7 hours at night. since then she has slept between 6 and 7 hours every night. i am not sure if this is normal or not, but i gotta say I LOVE IT. i really like knowing that i am going to get at least a 4 or 5 hour chunk of sleep every night.

-she smiles, and giggles....ok. i know that everyone says baby smiles are unintentional until about 6 or 7 weeks. but they are wrong. my baby smiles are all VERY purposeful. she knows she is smiling at her mommy and daddy. and since i am said mommy, i can think whatever i want. so there. her laughs, giggles, smirks and smiles are all very intentional. and i love seeing her little mouth curve into that little grin. her checks puff out and up and an ever so slight dimple appears on her left side. its precious. one of these days i will capture it on camera.

-at exactly 4 weeks, she cried. not a baby cry, but a real cry. with tears and everything. and it broke my heart. somewhere in the 5 minutes between bath time finishing and her starting to eat, little eleri decided she was NOT happy. and she began to cry. not scream, just the sad, pitiful weak cry where her lower lip quivered and her little hands shook. and then the tears came. her eyes welled up and little baby tears came streaming down her face. and my heart broke into a thousand pieces. i couldn't put her onesie on fast enough and start to feed her. as soon as she ate, she had a giant burp and snuggled into my neck and sighed and went to sleep. but i will never forget those first sad tears. :(

so there it is folks, the happy and sad 'milestones' that my baby has achieved in the first 4 weeks of her life. Naturally there are millions of other things i want to write about, like how perfect her little fingers and toes are, and how she makes the cutest little coo-ing noise when she sleeps and basically how she is just perfect. but i figure those are the major things. and who really wants to read about someone elses baby coo's?

i would love to add a picture, but for some reason my computer is choosing to pretend it cant read my camera. that sucks. so no adorable picture. maybe next time...and maybe next time will be the labour story. stop asking people. it is coming. soon.

11 August 2009

rockin' out

so if this is what you do when you are 37 weeks pregnant....

then this is what happens to your baby...

but if you look closely at her shirt, you will see she is actually learning the alphabet. educational and stylish. i have the best baby ever.

oh, and because i keep getting questions about my labour and the birth pool and such, the next entry will be 'my labour story'. i know. you are all waiting with baited breath.

6 August 2009

"please read this letter that i wrote to you...."

yesterday was a stressful day. my current visa expires in exactly 14 days from today. that means that in 14 short days i will become an illegal immigrant. thats right, Kristina Williams: Criminal. to avoid being blacklisted and kicked out of the country, i am in the process of applying for indefinite leave to remain. Thats fancy British talk for 'Permanent Resident' In order to gain said status in the UK, i not only have to pay 820 pounds and fill out over 20 pages of paperwork, I also have to take a test that proves i can speak english. really. just in case the fact that i was born and raised in America doesnt clear up that question for them, i have to take a test to prove that i have a valid understanding of the english language. and then i have to take another test proving that i have an understanding of history and culture in the UK. I feel that my 2 degrees in European and British history give me a pretty stable footing in that area, but all the same, i have to pay to go and take these tests to be legal to live in this country. Yesterday was my allotted time.

So off we went to take these "life in the UK" tests. Mind you I am still having issues sitting down due to the the stitches, so sitting at a computer for an hour was not my idea of fun. The room was me and about 10 other people who actually could not speak english. nice. several couldn't even understand enough english to sit the test in the first place. needless to say, i was annoyed i was paying money to take a test to prove that i had a working knowledge of a language THAT IS MY FIRST LANGUAGE. well, really my ONLY language. i passed.

with pass certificate in hand, we all headed to the post office to finish the paper work and send it all off with our passports. its always nerve wracking to me to send off my passport. but nevertheless, off it all went. all said, everything took about 5 hours. on top of trying to fit in feeding the baby and getting her to sleep and stay restful. It was a lot to have on my plate in one day. i was starting to stress.

So rhys and i went out to dinner. without the baby. i am not sure if there is an acceptable protocol on the first time new parents should leave their baby with someone else, but in our case it was 12 days. and the person she was left with was grandma. rhys and i needed some time to ourselves. not because we are tired of the baby, because i just cant get enough of her little puffy checks and small strawberry shaped mouth. but we needed a break from 4 people living in less than 400 square feet. Rhys, my mom, the baby and me have all be occupying our tiny flat for the last 3 and half weeks. and yesterday it was time for a little space. my mother very graciously offered to watch the baby, and we quickly accepted. (despite some comments from 'well meaning' friends, leaving a baby with their grandparent at 12 days is fine. Its not like we walked to a back alley way, found a strung out crack addict and said 'please come watch my 12 day old baby' it was her grandma. people, that is fine)

off rhys and i went. of course we went to Fridays because where else do we celebrate all major events?! The evening was warm with just the perfect amount of a light breeze. we drove with the windows down and just talked about life, changes, the baby, the future, and our growing family. Dinner was delicious and relaxed; i love general conversation with my husband. nothing calms my heart as much as peaceful down time with the love of my life. As we walked out of the restaurant, Green Day's 'Time of your life' was playing. As cheese as it sounds, it fit the moment perfectly. We both started to sing along and had just a bit of a pause at the car door. Rhys took me in his arms, gave me the biggest huge..so my feet were just a bit off the ground..and said he loved me. and it was just a little bit of heaven. as we drove home, the wind lightly blowing, Rhys put on the Robert Plant/Allison Krauss CD. nothing fits a cool summer evening quite like the perfect mix of a rock legend and a bluegrass heroine.

as the words "darling everything is going to be alright/ please read this letter that i wrote to you...." filled the car, i looked at my husband and smiled. a little tear welled up in my eye and i thought 'this is perfect' I couldnt wish for a better life. I have a mom who is willing to fly thousands of miles and spends weeks upon weeks taking care of my and my baby. I have a husband who is completely amazing. I have a baby who is perfectly beautiful.

i love my life.

3 August 2009

10 days later....

I have been a mom for 10 days. it is amazing, scary, wonderful, overwhelming, fantastic, and about a million other things all at the same time. Its strange to go from being just you to being completely responsible for a little person. not just that, but a little person that cant actually tell you what they want, need or how they are feeling. you go from being totally relaxed and in control of your own life, to being in control of someone elses life...but not entirely sure exactly what to do. little eleri didn't come with an instruction manual.

but 10 days later i can safely say that instruction manual or not, little eleri is still perfect. really. she is. she feeds every 3.5 to 4 hours. she eats really well, has some awake time after she eats where she just stares up at me with the biggest blue eyes ever while she giggles and smiles, then she goes back to sleep. perfect. i get about6 hours of sleeps a night. granted its broken up around 2 or 3 in the morning for a feed, but considering what some newborns are like. man, eleri is perfect.

not everything has been sunshine and roses though; eleri decided that she wanted to create a little drama for us. we had an trip to the emergency room 2 days ago because her cord got infected. we phoned up the doctor who said to take her to the emergency room straight away. whenever the NHS tells you to do something 'straight away' you know you better move because believe me, they hardly ever more quickly. its practically near death to get them to respond (ok, slight exaggeration) but still. they said straight away and i started to panic. I am told that the Swine Flu is not really a big deal in the states anymore, but over here, it still is. people are still coming down with it, people are still dying because of it. there are signs everywhere about health and safety and staying away form certain places and people. the emergency room has got to be one of those places right? no 8 day old baby needs to be around adults who had to go to the emergency room in the first place! Regardless of my fears, we bundled little eleri into her car seat and shot off the the emergency room.

I was so flustered when we got there. they asked for name and date of birth and i gave my details instead of hers. i couldn't even sit down whilst we were waiting to be called (although some of that was probably because of the stitches) and as soon as the doctor started to look at her cord, i burst into tears. yeah, good thing i am shaping up to be a calm and laid back mom....er...wait... at least rhys remained calm. they checked her over, did some tests and then we waited. and waited. and waited some more. We were waiting to see if she needed to be admitted and have an IV with medicine or if we could take her home and just have a prescription. it was the longest hour of my life. and the longer we waited the more convinced i became that something was dreadfully wrong. finally they came back with the green piece of prescription paper and tears welled up in my eyes again. she was well enough to take home. praise the lord! Although giving her antibiotics through a tiny baby syringe is difficult. and heartbreaking. i just want to wrap her up and protect her from everything. forever.

oh, and let me mention that through out the entire hospital experience...from car seat to waiting room to doctor, to nurse, to tests, to scale, to more doctors, to being poked and prodded and looked at and undressed and cold...the only time she cried was when she wanted to eat. as soon as she started feeding, she stopped crying. she is the most laid back baby ever. clearly she does not take after her mother.

so 10 days later and my baby is still perfect. i have learned that i am far from it. not that i ever thought i was perfect, but i think part of me thought this whole baby thing would be a bit easier than it is. sure there are 'motherly instincts' but there is also a lot to learn. it takes time and effort to care for a tiny human being. especially when you want to make sure that everything is done just so. i have already learned so much in the past 10 days it is incredible to imagine what the next 10 days will bring. and the 10 after that. and then 10 more after that.

Eleri is constantly teaching us so much. and we are growing more and more accustomed to her sounds and faces. she is just 10 days old and already has such a personality. and her little laugh is so precious. her dad can make her giggle and smile more than anyone. its amazing to watch them together; they have such a special bond already.

people have always said that once they have children they cant imagine life without their kids. its so cliche, but so true. little eleri is only 10 days old and its strange to remember a time when she wasnt here. for so long rhys and i talked to my stomach. We knew eleri was inside and we talked to her like she was with us. Now she actually is and it still blows my mind.

I have a 10 day old baby. she is ours forever. no one gets to take her away from us. and whilst that comes with an incredible, overwhelmingly huge responsibility, it is also so incredibly amazing. i have a daughter. and she is perfect.