Archive | February, 2015

Leaving the hospital on the day of the birth – the first night at home with our newborn

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Leaving the hospital on the day of the birth – the first night at home with our newborn

Posted on 18 February 2015 by Kristrun

newbornontummyI remember clearly the first night at home with our firstborn. The labour had been very long, although the birth itself was eventually short and sweet. We were at Queen Mary public hospital in Hong Kong and if you want to know the details of my birth story, you can actually read it here, even if it’s not the subject of the day.

She was born shortly after lunchtime on a Sunday and we were fortunate enough to have no severe complications and went home that same evening. Well having said that, the pediatrician had recommended her to be observed in a special care unit for 48 hours but we had turned down her kind offer. This was a perfectly healthy baby and after consulting our midwife, we went home as planned.

We had to wait a bit after signing the discharge papers so we were working out how to give her the breast and it went OK. Her sucking ability was great and she was more or less on the breast until it was time to leave.  It took a while to get her dressed, as I had not been very practical about the clothes I chose for her. Get something that opens up widely and is easy to put on. I had bought a long dress which I had to put over her head and then try to find a way to put her arms through after it going over her head. She only wore that one once.

We took her home in a Maxi Cosi capsule, a great thing to carry infants around in, even if you don’t have a car. It protects them so well. In the taxi I was terrified, I thought everything was dirty and that she would be so scared to be exposed to all this light. I sat next to her, held her hand and was leaning over her so that our faces touched. She was fine and did not cry.

It was such a relief to be at home, it was less than 6 hours from her birth that we were in our own clean home. I was exhausted, but hubby was in a bit better shape and ready to help out. We made our selves comfortable on our big bed with her in the middle. She cried a lot and did not seem to settle well so we ended up taking turns walking around with her between the feeds. At some point very late, I fell asleep and woke up a few hours later. When I was waking up I knew something good had happened but it’s that moment where all of a sudden reality kicks in. I have a baby, and where is she? I soon found out. My husband was asleep next to me and Johanna was sleeping on his chest – one of the most peaceful  moments in my life.

We lasted that first night without great panic. But by trying to use all the resources we could think of. None of them likely to be recommended by a professional midwife, but we managed to rest and work it out. The midwife came later on that day – sorted out the breastfeeding positions and answered our many questions.  And gradually we got the hang of it.

My point is – you will educate yourself and try to get ready. And at the back of your head the resources will be there as needed. But sometimes you have just got to improvise and go with what works for you.

Kristrun Lind Birgisdottir ECE, mother of two.

 

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website

 

 

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How to prepare for the arrival of a newborn

How to prepare for the arrival of a newborn

Posted on 12 February 2015 by Kristrun

siblingsarrival

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR THE ARRIVAL OF A NEWBORN

A little brother or sister can be the greatest gift parents ever give their child, but more often than not, it’s not a gift that’s initially well received! When a new baby arrives, there is a distinct shift in the family dynamics; an only child becomes an older child, or in the case of two children, the younger child is no longer the baby of the family.

Research indicates that the way a child responds to the new family member is largelyattributed to their personality, but age also plays a large part. Quite often the sibling gap is about two years and at two years of age, the older child still has a strong need for love and attention from their parents. At the same time, the child is still prone to toddler tantrums if they feel that their world is off kilter, which it inevitably will be when the “gift” arrives.

To read the full article on Sassy Mama - click here

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

 

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Still going strong

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Still going strong

Posted on 09 February 2015 by Kristrun

stillgoingstrong­Oh yes, there have been many times when I was annoyed by marriage or by my man.Same for him. Looking at me and thinking how my opinions and views on certain things differ, how hobbies are not all the same and how we do some things differently.

We met when we were 23 and 25 years old. We soon moved in together and in our last year at university we had our first baby. Happy times all the way through. We were so fortunate that we had our parents around us and they both helped us and were great in raising our kids together with us, inspiring them in a different way than we, the young parents were able to do.

When we had our second baby, one year after the first, I did not realize it then but how slowly life got a little harder. Or rather, our relationship. We were also madly in love with her and the two kids soon got along very well and we certainly never regretted having such a small gap between them. I heard people whisper, “I would never do this to my children, think about the lack of time you have, it is so cruel to the first one to have such little attention…etc”.  But I never really felt this much, as I had both a partner who came home for lunch and early from the office and parents and parents-in-law who drowned my kids in attention and good care.

It was a reality though, that time was now more limited for our relationship and we found ourselves drifting apart a little, without noticing. And not realizing this, we also did not do all that much about it. We were just busy keeping things together, raising the children, finishing some more education and career and all of a sudden it was obvious that a relationship needs more.

We moved to Hong Kong when our kids were 3 and 4 years old and went straight into what in those days was quite an isolated community, in Gold Coast, close to Tuen Mun. It was a great place for someone like me who just wanted a bit of peace and quiet and not to have to worry about losing the children somewhere in crowds as they spoke no English and I was quite worried about this. In Gold Coast, there was just a gated community that we never really had to leave. We had a huge pool and huge grass area, it was clean and enough, but still few people lived there. My husband set up his office there and lunchtime was spent together in the pool and all meals were with all four of us. People that I met in town for work kept saying “oh, you live out there” – as if it was hundreds of miles away from civilization and quite horrifying. I would laugh and just think what a good life I had, lucky not to be in the snow and cold and the challenging task-filled life that I had had in Iceland, where raising kids was much more tiring than these first months in Hong Kong seemed to be.

Many times since I have thought of this time, as the years have passed and we had two more children and life got even busier, much more complicated and involved much more people, especially since my own work has been full on, day and night for many years.

What stands out from this time is that when we moved here and stayed in Gold Coast, life became about the family, first and foremost. Things like NOT having friends for a little while, i.e. not socializing all that much, NOT eating out except for very few times, NOT going to the gym but together… – basically all the things that many have warned me about, becoming isolated and not in touch with “anyone” – they were the things that got the relationship and the family back together to the place it was before.  Just spending time, the four of us, hanging out. The cost of that lifestyle was also so low and we could as a result not worry about any financial issues and afford more holidays together, or pay for our parents to come and visit more often.

Basically, the simplicity of the life we lived, saved us from drifting further apart.

I am not sure if anyone can relate to this, but as I have many times before written about, I see many parents in my work who seem to be struggling. They struggle even before they have the children, because their upbringing and views on things are so different. Some know about this and others don’t realize it. It just becomes apparent when the subject of a baby or how to raise that child becomes unavoidable.

In Hong Kong, we live in such a fast paced, fun, energetic and demanding world, a world full of opportunities, people, culture mixes, choices… that it can never really be seen as negative. But it can be challenging and not everyone finds the perfect balance. Certainly not me, or most people around me, and there are ups and downs in everyone’s lives here.

Me and my husband have been together for 20 years. We have been through thick and thin. I have loved him so much that my heart aches and I would drop everything to be with him and I have found him so annoying that I wanted to scream and kick. And everything in between.

Spending time together for all these years, having all these kids together, working from home sometimes, living in special places like on the boat, living in cramped conditions like in Hong Kong flats, being poor together, not having money to pay bills when we were younger, seeing all these new opportunities, people and world here in Hong Kong together, growing older, losing family members while we lived abroad, seeing our kids grow up and become grown-ups in schools far away, having kids in Hong Kong schools through tough times, with drugs and alcohol a normal part of teenage growing up here, being together through my parents’ divorce and see the effect that that has on families, having our own siblings and friends go through tough times, and very happy times, and ourselves, going through the same.

All this, and more, matures you and makes you appreciate each other more. You also become more forgiving – and demanding. You want to spend your later half of life with a person who is happy and fun to be around. You want to spend it with someone that you can be yourself with and now that the tasks and duties of bringing up children become slightly less time consuming, and you get more sleep at night, you want to be able to relax and enjoy.

Sticking together through thick and thin makes for a good friendship. Every year we realize more and more how important we are in each other’s lives and how lucky we are to have survived as a married couple.

Today, our lives are not simple. They is full of people, activities, meetings, lunches, travels, working around the world, family all over the world, helpers and more and more and more.

It is quite challenging to keep it all together and I am again reminded of the fact that a relationship takes effort, commitment and time. I am forever grateful that me and my husband have realized that trying the change the other person, will never work.

What I have learned from these 20 years is that it is so important to have a companion that you enjoy spending time with. Someone who understands your jokes. Someone who just gets it.

The next few years of mine will be spent trying to create the Gold Coast atmosphere again.  Simplifying things. Slowing down. Being together more. But also do stuff with friends. Not isolated, but just more simple. Having meals together. Going for a swim, the whole family.

Just the way we used to do it.

I look at my man today and still think how lucky I am to have had this great life. I also realize that if it had not been for regular focus points, we could easily have drifted apart. So I write this blog in honour of my family and just want to say thank you all.

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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