Wednesday, April 29, 2009

And the most important rule is

Muzzle Control.

That was a concept really drilled into my head back in my 4-H shooting sports days. (I started out competing in BB gun matches as a youngster and went on to shotgun and air rifle competitions in high school.) In other words, pay attention to where you are pointing your gun.

My husband should have stayed awake in his hunter's safety class. I think he missed the part about being cautious with loaded weapons.

(Caution: Graphic material. Not for weak stomachs.)

She got the changing table.

And she got Daddy.

And she got the floor - up to roughly 3 feet away from the changing table.

For those of you without newborn experience: yes that is what breastmilk poo looks like.

For those of you with only boys: changing girl diapers can be challenging too.

For those of you expecting your first child in the near future: remember that when dealing with a loaded weapon, muzzle control is the most important rule. Don't point at anything you don't want to get shot.

And for those of you still wondering what the heck happened: Daddy was changing Miss Gabriela tonight. He lifted her little hiney up to give it a good cleaning when he heard a gurgling sound. He instinctively lowered her down a bit, but not before the explosion occurred. He called for help and just as soon as I got the camera and took some pictures and quit laughing, I gladly helped him get things all cleaned up - and quickly get a diaper on the little miss.

But Daddy's a trooper. He's a brave one. He's back there changing her diaper again right now as I type. And I assume being a lot more careful where he aims that itty bitty hiney!

1 Week Old

As of yesterday, she's been with us for a week. Yet somehow we already are having trouble remembering life before Gabriela.

I was trying to figure out what I'd been doing for the last week. I feel like I've stayed busy enough, but there really isn't much to show for it. The housekeeper had a small mountain of dirty laundry to do yesterday, dishes were piled up in the kitchen, and the bed hadn't been made since she was here on Friday. I think it was Eric who first pointed out that we've been spending hours out of the day just staring at our new daughter. So I guess between filling my new role as milk cow and changing lots of dirty diapers, I've been sitting in awe of this perfect little person that we somehow created. Who knew someone who sleeps like 20 hours per day could be so captivating!

Livin' the rough life

Little Miss Gabriela has been the most perfect baby. She rarely ever fusses - although she's still not a huge fan of bathtime - and she has been sleeping in her bassinet the whole night waking only once or twice between midnight and 8:00 am to eat. (And even then she usually doesn't cry. She makes increasingly louder sucking noises until one of us drags our sleepy behinds out of bed to get her.) Although no one around here has had an uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep, we're not feeling nearly as sleep deprived as we thought we would. We're really hoping she'll keep this up!
The many faces of Gabriela. She's actually not screaming here, just letting out a little happy squeak. I am completely in love with her squeaks.

Eric returned to work on Monday after spending all of last week with us at home. So we've spent the last couple days adjusting to it being just us girls during the day. We're doing pretty well - yesterday we ventured out on our own for the first time. We went for a stroller ride/walk down to the mall and had lunch at a little cafe. Gabriela made a pretty good date. And I only almost died pushing her up the steep hill beside our apartment. (Note to self: really need to work on getting some aerobic endurance back.)

Poor thing didn't stand a chance of getting a cute little button nose. Maybe she'll grow into her nose though - I like to think her Daddy and I turned out alright despite our big honkers. Right now she has dark grey-blue eyes. Genetically, she has a 50/50 shot of ending up with either blue or brown eyes. (And the same odds of brown or blonde hair.)

We were supposed to have her one week check-up with the pediatrician yesterday, but the doctor was sick so we rescheduled for next Tuesday. According to my scale at home, she has gained about a third of a pound since birth . . . we'll be looking forward to getting her on the infant scale next week though and seeing for sure. Her lab results from her Teste do Pezinho are supposed to be ready this afternoon, so we're looking forward to seeing those.

We've had a great first week. And if I can pull myself away from staring at Miss Gabriela, I might get around to posting updates and pictures a little more frequently in the future!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Out and About

Gabriela got to go out on the town yesterday for the first time. We needed to take her to the lab for her Teste do Pezinho (just the basic blood work done on newborns - I love that it translates to Little Foot Test though.) And we thought while we were out we would stop by the Cartório and get her birth certificate issued. (They give you a record of live birth at the hospital, but you have to go to the Cartório to get the birth certificate and actually name your kid and all.)

So she got all cleaned up and put on her polka-dot dress and little "shoe" socks, we packed her diaper bag, strapped her in her car seat, and off we went.

We went to the Cartório first. You can read all about these places here (read the comments for some clarification - I had some info wrong). The hospital deals with one specific place, so we had to go there. It was quite small, very crowded, not very well organized, and exceptionally hot. Of course, any Brasilian would probably have known better than to try doing this on a Friday - there were no less than 6 wedding parties all crammed in there yesterday! After waiting our turn, we finally got called back. And then we were told the hospital had not filled out the certificate of live birth correctly and that if we submitted the form as is, it would certainly be denied.

So off to the hospital we went. It was a quick fix to correct the certificate, but a bit of a hassle with a three day old baby and slow-moving new mommy. And of course, we didn't get any sort of apology from the lady who made the mistake. (I know, we Americans apologize incessantly, but, seriously, please acknowledge that you didn't do your job correctly and caused us an inconvenience! It would make the postpartum hormonal woman feel much better about the whole ordeal!)

And back we went to the Cartório. There wasn't any parking close by and Gabriela was awake and decided that she was hungry. So she and I stayed in the car and I fed her while Eric went back and got the birth certificate handled.

After that we went to the lab to have her blood drawn. She was less than thrilled to be awakened from her sweet slumber by someone poking a needle into her heel and squeeze blood out! But it was over quick and so was the crying.

I think the whole afternoon wore her out a bit though . . .

And I guess we're going to need to get the girl some bows for her hair or something. While Eric was getting us signed in at the lab, I had three different ladies come over to see Miss Gabriela, ask hold old she was, etc. And all three ended up asking if it was a boy. Now, I'm no expert on all the cultural differences between the US and Brasil, but I'm pretty sure they don't dress little boys in pink polka-dot dresses here. Or have a pink blanket in their car seats. Maybe a hair bow would help clarify things in the future though. :)

We decided to go out for a little walk around the neighborhood and to the grocery store this afternoon. Short of our excursion yesterday, I hadn't been out of the house at all and was ready for a little physical activity (as I suppose the soft belly isn't going to tone up on its own!)

(The lighting has her looking yellow in this picture - she's not actually jaundiced! Although maybe a little tan from the prenatal time at the pool in the Brasilian sun . . . hehe)

Gabriela slept through the whole thing. Which I take as a sign that she liked it.

She's definitely pimpin' one of the best looking strollers in town! And those bike tires roll like a dream on our bumpy, uneven sidewalks! I think we're going to find this was one of our best imports yet from our trip home at Christmas!

After coming home and getting a belly full of milk, Gabriela passed out once again and has assumed this position in my lap . I thought it provided a perfect opportunity to post a few more pictures and update on our days!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Settling In at Home

Yesterday morning Eric and I were staring down at our little Gabriela and he turned to me and said, "You know, I think it's not actually going to sink in that she's ours until we get her home." I admitted that I had just been thinking "Holy cow - they're actually going to let us take her with us when we leave!"

They released us from the hospital at 11:00 yesterday and by the time we were all packed up and home it was about noon.

The princess is sleeping great for us - so long as someone is holding her. She's not a big fan of her bassinet quite yet. So Eric and I spent last night taking turns with her. She is absolutely content in our arms or laying on our chests, but put her down and she is none to happy! We'll have to break her of that eventually if we ever want good sleep ourselves, but for now we're enjoying our little cuddle-bug!

All ready to leave the hospital

Home Sweet Home

Gabriela was impressed with her new digs. Well, as impressed as one can be while sleeping through the whole thing.

Daddy gave her first at-home bath this afternoon. When he flipped her over to wash her back she pulled up her knees and started crawling/swimming like crazy. It was hilarious!

All clean and happy

And here's a little something for the grandparents: A video of her first at-home bath. (She cried a lot less at home than she did when the nurse bathed her in the hospital! I think Daddy was a lot gentler than that mean ol' nurse. hehehe)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gabriela Marina is here!

Decent contractions turned to strong contractions about 9:00 last night. Strong contractions turned to 'this is when sane people ask for drugs' contractions about 1:00 am. We arrived at the hospital at 2:00 am. And then around 4:00 am we entered into the stage of labor where I started wondering why I ever wanted her to come out - staying in my belly forever seemed like a reasonable enough option at that point. And next thing we knew she was born at 7:21 am.

We had the natural, drug-free, intervention-free birth that we wanted and ended up with a perfect little girl, Gabriela Marina. She weighed in at 3.165 kg/6.98 lbs and 49 cm/19.3 in long.

There's plenty more to tell, but for today we'll leave it at a few pictures. (We need sleep - well two of us need sleep. The third one has been napping well - except for the two hours that Mamae and Papai tried to get a little rest, she was awake and wanting attention then.)

The first meeting

Our new little family

Kissing the world's best labor companion - Eric was incredible

(Eric's alternate title: forgetting what led to this 9 months ago)

Chick's got a head full of hair!

. . . and her Daddy's pouty bottom lip (which she knows how to use already), Mommy's upper lip, and a combination of our noses

Our Doula and Doctor - They were so great!!!

Like most of us girls, she's not fan of getting on the scale

All cleaned up and napping

We are so incredibly blessed! We had a great pregnancy, wonderful birth, nursing is going well so far, and our baby girl is healthy and beautiful. We should be released to go home tomorrow and start our life as a family of three!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Promising . . .

Okay, so at the risk of speaking too soon and ruining a good thing:

We just might be getting closer to baby time around here!

And at the risk of being accused of revealing too much personal information:

I lost my mucus plug at 8:00 this morning and contractions started immediately thereafter.

My contractions have been getting more frequent, regular, and intense throughout the day. After spending a couple hours thinking that these things are getting a lot closer together, we've been timing contractions for the last hour now. Contractions are coming 4-5 minutes apart and lasting an average of about 45 seconds.

Eric had the day off, although he spent some time working from home. (Tomorrow is Tiradentes Day - a national holiday in Brasil - and they bridged it into a 4-day weekend.) Most of the day we've been going about business as usual, taking short little 30-60 second breaks for me to put that hypnobirth relaxation breathing to work and get through the contractions.

Still trying not to get too excited . . . but I'm calling this progress! Since we've already missed his birthday, Eric is holding out hope that I can get this baby birthed in the next four hours so she can be born on his grandpa's and sister's birthday (both born April 20!)

We'll see what happens.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

At the risk of sounding dramatic and whiny . . .


Friday, April 17, 2009

A Birthday Baby?

I'd been suspecting those two of ganging up me. But I'm sure of it now.

Back when we were merely in the planning stages of offspring production, we spent some time looking at dates and trying to figure out the best time to have this little Mini-Z appear. (Have I ever mentioned how we both tend to be a bit on the "over-planner" side?) Eric thought April sounded good. And then when we found out we were indeed prego, we pulled out the calendar and figured we were looking at a due date sometime around April 11. Eric's almost immediate response was "Or maybe the baby will come a week later and be born on my birthday!"

I remember admonishing him right away - informing him that it is never, ever wise to wish a post-due baby on a pregnant woman. Especially not on a woman that you have to live with during said pregnancy.

I thought he'd given up on this birthday baby idea in exchange for let's get Z Baby Girl out here where I can meet her and give her Momma (and subsequently me) a break. But after three good hours of strong, regular contractions late last night, he loving whispered to his daughter that she was supposed to wait one more day and be born on Daddy's birthday.

And wouldn't you know it . . . the contractions stopped. Completely.

Shortly after noon today my darling husband called me to tell me that I can start those contractions back up again. Since we're within 12 hours of his birth date now I'm allowed to get things going as he would like to have her here by 1:00 am so he can have his birthday baby without having to stay up all night waiting for her. (See? It's not just me who likes to have a plan!)

And you know what? Given the connection those two have somehow already made - I don't put it past her to do just that.

Either way though, I'm quite certain I've got a Daddy's Girl on my hands (or in my uterus, or whatever). Along with a Daddy who's completely wrapped around his daughter's little finger - already. I am so excited to get her out here and see my two loves together.

And hey, if Eric wants to have a Princess Tea Party birthday for the next 10 years, who I am to take that away from him?

(The photo above is just a sneak peak of our maternity shoot we did 2 weeks ago. I haven't even gotten to see them yet - our photographer, Ricardo, took over 500 shots that day all over town and at our apartment and he's still working on editing them for us. I made this special request for my Sweetie's birthday - and Ricardo was kind enough to send it along to me today!)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Test of Patience

I (along with Z Baby!) have been totally restless the last two nights. It reminds me of growing up on the farm and how mama cows, sheep, dogs, etc. would get really antsy and we knew they were going to give birth soon. And last night I was just certain I would go into labor. But so much for my motherly instincts!

We had an ultrasound on Tuesday and an appointment with our doctor yesterday. The ultrasound estimated Z Baby to be just 3.073 kg (6 lbs 11 oz) +/- 10%, so if that is anywhere close to accurate she's smaller than we thought. Everything looked great though. Amniotic fluid levels are high, baby's heart rate is perfect, and the placenta is functioning normally. And my child is still active - plenty, plenty active. In fact, last night as she kicked, punched, wiggled, spun around from side to side, and basically just refused to be still for more than 3 seconds at a time, I started to have this fear that maybe I was carrying an octopus in there. Seriously, there have to be more than just four limbs. I've got sharp pointy parts poking me in at least seven different places right this moment.

As of 6:30 yesterday evening, my doctor reported that I was 1-2 cm dilated and 60% effaced. We talked options since I am 40 weeks and 4 days now. He said that as long as baby and I both remain healthy, he has no reason to induce labor. He recognizes that a normal gestational period is 38-42 weeks. So, unless I request it, he won't recommend inducing until after that period except if something changes health-wise. Tempting? Oh yes. But the increased risk of complications and harder labor isn't worth it to me when everyone is healthy as is. So if nothing happens between now and then, on Saturday we will begin having twice per week ultrasounds to keep a close eye on everything.

But for now, the waiting game continues. (And all the many things you can eat/drink/do that are supposed to start labor - lies I tell ya, just lies!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Matters of Taste

I'd heard all the maid horror stories from friends and acquaintances. Tales of maids who steal, those who spend their days on your couch watching novelas and eating everything in sight, and how no small appliance is safe when you ask a maid to use it. I entered this thing fully informed.

But (knock on wood) I've been pleasantly surprised with our faxineira, Lucilene. She does a nice, thorough job with the cleaning and ironing. Granted, she has a slightly unnatural fear of my washing machine (which we're going to have to cure her of once baby is here - we're cloth diapering!), but for the most part she does everything I ask of her and even more.

And by 'more', I mean that she apparently has some unfulfilled dream of being an interior decorator that she likes to live out while she's in our apartment. She has a jolly good time rearranging all the decorative items in my living/dining room and she really seems to enjoy going through the baby stuff and putting out on display all the books, stuffed animals, etc. that I try to keep contained. She's also been known to randomly flip over the reversible comforter on the twin bed in the baby room from the more classy striped side that I bought it for to the tacky floral print. And the bag of oranges I had on the shelf under the microwave in the kitchen? Well, this week she pulled out one of my pretty pie pans and created an orange pyramid to adorn my counter top with.

It seems to make her happy, so hey, whatever. I just spend the next couple days putting things back where they belong and then she comes along and works her 'magic' once again. It's really not the end of the world. And usually I get a good giggle from her organizational/decorative efforts.

But occasionally I come across something that just really isn't working for me. Usually it involves an object rather foreign to her that she really has no idea about. For example, I have a couple Glade Glass Scents air fresheners in the house. Sure, Glade advertises that "These beautiful air fresheners contain natural fragrance oils set in an etched glass design—a perfect complement to any room, anywhere" but at the end of the day, let's face it, it's an air freshener . . . not really something that I consider a conversation piece or the highlight of my decor. So I like to keep them discreetly on a high shelf behind other more display-worthy items. But you can bet that every week when Lucilene dusts the living/dining room the air freshener gets moved into a highly coveted location: to the middle of the coffee table or on the shelf that has a spotlight focusing on it (oh and she's sure to turn on the spotlight to really show it off) or front and center in an arrangement of framed photos.

And then sometimes the problem is more of a practicality issue than just a simple matter of taste:

Well, actually, it could have a lot to do with taste. I'm not sure how it would work out if dried chives were used in place of chili powder or fennel for parsley or ginger for Italian seasoning.

I brought down a nice spice rack that we received as a wedding gift and it sits on my counter top next to the stove. And granted, it was needing a good wipe-down. But taking all the tops off the jars to clean them and then put them back on haphazardly . . . well, maybe not the best idea in the world. And you would think that with 20 jars of spices, odds are that at least one got put back correctly and I almost did think that too - but it turns out the jar labeled cinnamon was actually cumin. (So glad I sniffed it before making apple muffins this morning!!!)

So today's put-back in order project involves lots of spice smelling. I never realized how similar oregano, parsley, basil, marjoram look. As do paprika, chili powder, cinnamon, and cumin. And I really need to get that fixed before Z Baby arrives and Eric takes over cooking duties for a few days - YIKES!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Got Easter Chocolate, But No Baby

Well, the Easter Bunny did manage to find me and was sweet enough to leave bonbons hidden all over the living room for me yesterday morning.

Unfortunately though, the Easter Stork was nowhere to be found.

Eric had Good Friday off, and I think this was the first time we've ever stayed in town for a holiday weekend instead of traveling somewhere. The city was completely dead - but we enjoyed the nice quiet weekend.

We spent much of our time cooking together (homemade noodles, spicy chicken enchiladas, a chocolate cake to die for), going for walks, watching movies, and long conversations with our daughter about how we would really appreciate her coming out and playing with us now.

We're so blessed that this pregnancy has been completely complication-free and healthy, and I've really felt great (or as great as you can lugging around 30 extra pounds that appeared basically overnight) pretty much the entire time. I think it's just the waiting that is really starting to get to us now! And the impatience feels much more justified now that I am officially past my "due date". I personally think it would be fair to serve my child with an eviction notice now . . . you are hereby ordered to vacate the premises within 72 hours or something along those lines . . . I mean, I think I've been more than generous allowing her to live rent free in my uterus this long!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Baby, Doctor, and . . . Guns?

Ela é grande . . . não enorme . . . mas grande!
(She's big . . . not enormous . . . but big!)

Those were the words of my doctor yesterday as he felt Z Baby through my belly. He's guessing her to be around 3500 grams (~7 lbs 11 oz) now. And being that babies put on roughly half a pound per week at this point, I'd be quite content with her coming now and not in, oh, say two or three weeks!

The appointment went well again although I was pretty certain my blood pressure was going to be elevated after my experience in the waiting room . . .

I arrived at my scheduled appointment time, but we've never been seen on time, so Eric was just meeting me there about 30 minutes later. I walked into the small waiting room outside of the doctor's office and was greeted by 4 armed guards - 2 men and 2 women - along with a very large scary-looking woman in a red jumpsuit (presumably from a retention center of some sort). There weren't any more seats available, and one of the guards quickly jumped up and offered his to me.

So I ended up squeezing in on the couch between two of the armed guards. They were all quietly reading magazines with the exception of the very large, very pregnant, very not friendly looking woman in the jumpsuit and flip flops; she was just staring at the wall.

I'm not sure if I've ever been in a more uncomfortable setting, but that would soon change.

After several minutes a couple of the guards got up and walked out of the waiting room. And then the other two did the same. And then I started wondering: hmmmm, if they feel the need to send along four people with guns with this woman to a doctor's appointment, um, how safe is it to leave me alone in the room with her? Granted, all the guns were just outside in the hallway, but still . . .

That's when I decided to pick up a magazine. I spent the next twenty minutes or so reading with one eye and watching my waiting room companion with the other.

Eric called to tell me he was almost there. I told him not to be alarmed if there were several police officers with guns at the door when he got to the waiting room. After a moment of silence he asked, "Um . . . why? What have you done?"

About that time, the doctor came out and called the jumpsuit lady back and the two female officers came back in and went into the office with her. (See? They wouldn't even leave the doctor alone with her!)

I'm not sure why she was being seen at a private doctor's office rather than with the public health care system . . . or why they don't have physicians at the detention facility rather than sending out the inmate with four armed guards. But, hey, whatever . . . our tax dollars at work, I suppose.

So back to the appointment. I am the tiniest bit dilated, but Z Baby is still hanging out pretty high. My doula is coming over today to give me an aromatherapy massage and work some acupressure points that are supposed to help start labor . . . we shall see! We're trying everything these days as I'm hitting that less-than-comfortable part of pregnancy that leaves me a little fussy. ;)

We have an ultrasound scheduled for Monday if she doesn't make her grand entrance before then.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Problem with Growing Up Tossing Hay Bales

Being a country girl from South Georgia living in the big city in a country with a very macho society is not without it's challenges. And being prego only seems to amplify my problem.

I grew up on a 'hobby' farm with three brothers. And instead of being 'the spoiled princess' many might expect, I really sort of ended up being seen by my family as just another one of the boys. I wasn't spared unloading 100-pound feed sacks from the back of my pick-up truck just because I had boobs. And likewise, my brothers did just as much cooking and cleaning as I did too. My parents did an exceptional job of keeping all four of us well-rounded, regardless of our gender, and not instilling a girls-do-this or that's-a-boy's-job mentality.

(And the "but I'm a girl" argument was never a valid one - especially not with my father. I remember when I was 16 and ready to head out the door to some no-doubt very important social engagement one evening, my Dad stopped me and asked if I could change the tire on my truck. In all my teenage sassiness, I informed him that, um, I had a cell phone - if a tire needed changing there were plenty of guys I could call to do that for me. I also remember that I wasn't allowed to leave the house that night until I had taken down the spare tire, jacked up the truck, taken off a perfectly good tire, put on the spare, and then reversed the whole thing back to it's original state. At the time, in the midst of my 16-year-old angst, I thought it was the stupidest waste of my time ever . . . but goodness help the man today who assumes I can't change my own tire! Oh, and when my daughter starts driving? Yeah, you bet I'm going to make sure she can operate a lug nut wrench!)

And you better believe that God knew what He was doing when He led Eric and I to one another. My dear hubby has three sisters and grew up on a family farm. He is one of the politest, most chivalrous men I know, but he certainly doesn't view women as weaklings. Rather, he considers us great farm hands! And while he really gets aggravated when he comes home and discovers his pregnant wife has moved the couch, carried a night stand from one room to another, and been climbing a ladder by herself instead of waiting for him to get home and help, he takes no issue with me carrying the lighter of the bags/boxes/suitcases when his hands are already full or tackling other routine tasks - even while pregnant. (I've had women here comment that if my husband were Brasilian he would never let me do this or do that . . . I'm pretty quick to inform them that there's a good reason I married who I did!)

I appreciate it when a man opens a door for me, and I think it is quite appropriate to help me carry something heavy. I am not one to get offended at offers of assistance or displays of good manners. But I despise being told I can't do something because I am female (or more recently, because I am pregnant). And admittedly, I ran into it a good bit in the US too. While working at a small landscape plant nursery in Georgia, I can't tell you how many times people would question if there was a man around who could load their plants for them and then respond in disbelief to learn I was the only one working and would be loading the 15 gallon/10' tall tree into the back of their pick-up all by myself.

But Brasil has taken it to a whole new level for me. Especially now that I am quite visibly pregnant. I had to work hard yesterday to keep a sense of humor about it all and not just get really frustrated!

The porteiro (doorman) at our apartment called me to say a box had been delivered for me. Excited at the prospect of "good mail", I hurried down to retrieve it. First off, I was scolded by him for taking the five flights of stairs instead of the elevator. Then, he showed me the box. As I went to take it from him, he pulled it back and informed me that it was to heavy for me to carry. He suggested I wait for Eric to come home and get it. It was early in the afternoon, I was excited to see what kind of goodies the box contained, and there was no way I was waiting several more hours! I tried to convince him that it really wasn't a problem, and I appreciated his concern, but I would be fine taking the box up myself. He adamantly refused to hand it over to me though.

I considered just quickly snatching the box and running to the elevator with it, but something about the vision of a 39 1/2-week pregnant chick trying to do anything resembling running was too much for me to handle. I've seen penguins run - it ain't pretty. Add that to my recently developed lack of balance and increased clumsiness and it's a darn good bet that I wouldn't make it to the elevator with tripping, headbutting the wall, and ending up in an unconscious heap in the middle of the floor. And furthermore, once word got out, it would probably only strengthen the building's case about the crazy Americans living on the 5th floor. I can hear the old women gossiping now . . .

But anyway, eventually, after much back and forth, we agreed on a plan. He took an empty trashcan and placed it upside down in the elevator and balanced the box on top of it. (This way I wouldn't be tempted to bend over and lift the box for further inspection.) Then, once I arrived on the 5th floor, I was instructed to ask my housekeeper, who was working yesterday, to come and carry the box inside for me.

Of course, the second I was out of the porteiro's sight, I giddily picked up the box to see who it was from and the housekeeper was never summoned to carry it in for me. And as with all international packages, the weight was noted right there on the customs slip: 6 lbs 5 oz.

Seriously. I spent 10 minutes arguing with the concerned doorman about my ability to manage a package which weighed less than a gallon of milk. I'm pregnant, not crippled, people!!!

(And for those whose curiosity I've peaked: the box was from my good friend Amanda who sent along all kinds of baby clothes, blankets, the most adorable pair of socks ever, a book (Chicken Soup for the New Mom's Soul), and more for Z Baby. It was a fun package to receive while I wait around for the little one to make her grand entrance!)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Z Crib of Z Baby

(And yes, I intend that to be "crib" as in the place-where-baby-sleeps along with "crib" as in MTV rapper speak for location-where-one-lives. I suppose we could simplify matters and just title this The Nursery or The Baby Room, but, seriously, what fun is that?)

To see where we were with the nursery in December, click here.

First, to acquaint you with the layout of the room:

Perspective from the doorway, looking left

From inside the room

Standing in front of the window looking back towards the doorway

And a few details:

A simple hot pink and white MDF bookshelf we built after we were unable to find anything we liked (within our price range).

This is the large painting over the crib that I am completely in love with! We met an artist at the Afonso Pena Feira that does a lot of children's themed work. He did the cutest animals and kids, but he didn't have anything with sheep. After talking to him a bit and exchanging a bunch of email, we commissioned this piece and we were so happy with the result!!! So much fun! (Think our subsequent children will be jealous that they never had a piece of art commissioned for them?!? hehe)

We bought these three smaller paintings from the same artist before asking him to do the custom one with the sheep.

I fell in love with this guy (made of wood, re-bar, and washers) at a local artisan shop. He was deeply discounted due to a crack in the wood, but I think it just adds more character. :)

And the elephant piggy bank was a gift from my middle brother, Justin. He bought it from a local potter up in the North Georgia mountains where he lives. We've had it since Christmas, and I still giggle every time I look at it!

And maybe the most important components of the little princess' room . . .

her closet

and shoe drawer.

Could you not just die from the cuteness of baby footwear? I mean, seriously, I've been able to refrain from buying too many pairs (most of these were gifts) . . . but once she is here and wearing them, Lord help us! Eric thought I had a problem with shoes, but I think he is realizing that we're about to take things to a whole new level around here! His only consolation? At least baby shoes don't take up as much space. :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Good Doctor

It was brought to my attention that I haven't updated on the obstetrician situation, and since we just had our second appointment with the new doctor yesterday, I thought this would be a good time to report.

He's fabulous!

My doula gave me a list of a few doctors that are involved in the natural birth movement here. We chose one that was covered by our insurance plan and have been so pleased with him!

He spent about an hour with us at our first appointment talking about our birth plan and explaining all the issues (from his perspective) with the attitude towards birth in Brasil. He quoted researchers from all over the world, told us how Brasil attracts a lot of international attention from the OB research community (and not in a good way), and praised us for creating a birth plan that was, in his opinion, exactly where you should start with your expectations. He also mentioned some of the work that he is currently involved in to gain more options for women in hospitals and among the medical community. He left us feeling really confident that we have a doctor who is 100% on-board with our wishes and desires.

There is one private hospital in town that the natural birth community describes as menos pior (less worse) and is the hospital that our new doctor most likes to work with when a patient desires fewer medical interventions. We toured it and feel comfortable with their policies and facilities (and they are a lot closer than the public birth center that we liked, so we can labor at home longer.)

Yesterday's appointment went great. Z Baby is dropping a bit, has remained head down, and I've got some effacement, but no dilation. And the waiting game continues . . .

Meanwhile, Eric has taken to asking me each day before he goes to work if I'm going to have the baby today - he says he needs to be able to plan his day. He also likes to ask me before he goes to sleep each night - as he says he wants to know if he can expect a full night's rest or not. I need to come up with a good answer to his questioning as to avoid the "but you said . . . " I'm thinking of going with a. "you'll have to ask your daughter" or (the typical Brasilian response to everything) b. "se Deus quiser" (if God wants). ;)