Happily Ever After... And Then Some.

Our Storybook, one page at a time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

lifesavers for the first 3 months

i think my "i have a newborn" phase is over now that Luna is 3 months old. (i wonder if i can still use her as an excuse for wearing sweatpants on most days. but hey, at least my maternity jeans are now back in storage!)

since i benefitted from all the product reviews in various message boards, blogs, and online forums, i think it's time for me to pay it forward... here is my list of lifesavers for moms with a toddler and a newborn, and who do not have the luxury of help from a visiting parent/sister/aunt/family.

1. Abdomend Recovery Belt
recovering after my first c-section was quite challenging. i could walk, but with a hunched back because i was afraid to pull my stitches. after my stitches healed somewhat, my tummy still felt jiggly and not in a remotely cute way... every laugh or cough i made created a rippling feeling in my tummy. ugly, ugly feeling. so this time i looked up belly binding, which is done in most asian countries. my sister had a c-section and she told me that she had a binder on in the hospital.. everyone does apparently. google brought me to Belly Bandit, but i figured that wouldn't work for me since its purpose seemed to be more for fashion than function. then i found the Abdomend belts, which seemed to be aimed more for recovery, rather than i-want-my-tummy-to-shrink. so i got in touch with the canadian distributor and she helped me figure out what size to get, and how to use it. i was even able to use it during pregnancy, since my tummy felt so heavy. and boy did it save me from backache. post-partum, i used it 2 days after my c-section. it helped my walk around the hospital room and bend lightly so i could pick up Luna, and walk to the car when we went home. i used it everyday when we got home, and felt more confident walking around since i felt my stitches were being held in place by the belt. it also helped me with the jiggly feeling; since i was held in by the belt, it didn't feel like any part of my tummy was hanging out like flapjacks. it also made car rides more comfortable; i was even able to drive 3 weeks after my c-section. of course it goes without saying that when you have a toddler and a newborn, the toddler will most certainly accidentally hit your tummy area at some point. the belt helped protect me that way too! it could be my imagination, but it seemed i shrank way faster this time around - even aldo noticed. but haha it doesn't take away the fact that i still have a c-section tummy, if you know what i mean.

2. Baby Swing
i wish i had a swing when Amori was born... it would have made my life a thousand times easier! this time, i borrowed one from a friend, just to try it out. a week or two later, i wanted to buy a brand new one but decided to be practical since Luna won't be in it for too long. it worked great for us, especially during rush hour in our house - when Amori is home from school and i am preparing dinner. i may not have a yaya to hold my newborn, but at least i've got help in the form of a swing!

3. Meal Plans and Frozen Meals
i am now a firm believer in make-ahead or frozen meals, and meal plans. it just makes life easier. now i wish i had a bigger freezer!

4. Swaddling
again, i wish i read The Happiest Baby on the Block when Amori was born. even aldo was skeptical in the beginning, but soon enough he was swaddling and shushing Luna to calm her down. today Luna is still a swaddling addict. i swaddle her at night and she sleeps 5-6 hours, as opposed to an unswaddled 3 hours. i think i'll continue doing this til she doesn't fit her swaddling blankets. LOL

5. Sleep Sacks
i learned about sleep sacks a bit late during Amori's infancy, but still used them and loved the concept. since Luna was born in the winter, i had her in a Halo fleece sleep sack and a swaddling blanket during the day, and a full swaddle for night time. now she sleeps in a Perlimpinpin sleep sack and a receiving blanket to swaddle her arms. i wanted a grobag sleep sack but figured i'd get a canadian brand and support local products!

my #1 life saver is still aldo though. i am extremely thankful that he took all his vacation days when Luna was born (when Amori was born he only took a week off!) because i was able to rest and recover properly. i can just imagine how easy recovery must be in manila where there is abundance of help!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

accidental earth mama

Luna had a bad - and I mean what-a-bad-mommy-you-must-be kind of bad - diaper rash that scared the hell out of me. At first I thought it was because I missed a diaper change or two since I was sick at that time... but it looked way more intense than the forgotten diaper change kind so I brought her to the doctor, who said that it's because she has sensitive skin. So I changed her diaper brand, and went from Pampers Swaddlers to Huggies Pure & Natural, plus put the prescription cream that I was given. Five days later, the lesions weren't as big and scary, but were still there and I had noticed too that her poo diapers were a little bit too many. So I waited another 2 days and when the rash was still there, I decided to change her formula from Enfamil A+ to Similac Sensitive, a lactose-free formula. Lo and behold, the poo diapers lessened and the diaper rash healed. I should have known earlier that she was getting a bad reaction to her milk!

Although her rash has healed, I don't think I want to go back to the scented Pampers diapers. The Huggies Pure & Natural though costs double the price of Pampers so I figured maybe cloth diapering was worth looking into. So I started looking into cloth diapers and got so confused. Apparently it isn't like when our mothers used to put us in cloth diapers. Now there are pockets, prefolds, all-in-ones, and hybrids. I got even more confused when I went to a baby store to look at the products they carried.

So I decided to go into what seemed logical: prefolds + biodegradable and flushable liners + waterproof cover. I figured I should test the waters first and see if I can handle cloth diapering, versus getting all sorts of cloth diapering systems so I got 2 covers and 10 prefolded cloth diapers to start. Oh and Snappis too... which are great since the thought of pins scare me. I'm a week into it and so far so good! It's not as bad as it seems... although I don't do it 100% though (I'm not that crazy... yet!). I'm currently cloth diapering at home, and doing disposables at night and when we go out. I've been lucky too: no poop in the cloth diapers yet! Somehow whenever she's in cloth diapers, it's all pee! But we'll see if I can stick with cloth diapers until the solid food stage... seems unlikely but I'll give it a go before I give up.

I think I am now an accidental hippy: I drive a Hybrid, I cloth diaper part-time, and I wear my baby in a sling. LOL

Now if I could breastfeed full time, that would really complete the stereotype. No such luck on that end though, it's the same old story.

Friday, February 05, 2010

what a week

last week...

aldo went back to work (from a 6-week leave, a.k.a. the luna holidays).

amori had a 39 degree fever and a pretty deep and productive-sounding cough.

3 days later, i got it too.

then there was luna to feed, change, and rock to sleep.... and amori to bring to preschool/daycare while i felt really achy and feverish.

last but not least...

Toyota gets shoved into the spotlight with recalls. we thought our 3-week old Prius was safe since it was not on the list but a recall seems to be in the horizon since Toyota has admitted that the 2010 model has a faulty brake design. WTF! so far i haven't really noticed how it will supposedly accelerate slightly when you hit a bump or a pothole (thanks to the city being all cleaned up and spiffy for the olympics!). i hope Toyota offers a fix on this - i've grown to love it and gotten pretty attached. we were supposed to have it tinted, and a bike rack attached but we're holding off til this problem is resolved. dammit Toyota, why fail us now?!

what a week. we're all still alive (car included) so here's to hoping for more good things to come.

oh and look who's starting to give us smiles...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Luna Catalina

She was born on December 10, 2009 at 8:30AM via a scheduled c-section. No labor, no drama. We just walked into the maternity wing of the hospital on the day we were scheduled; I got prepped for surgery, and then wheeled into the OR... and then Luna was out!

We had a tough time finding a name and when we did, it got a bit controversial... my parents didn't like it, other relatives didn't like it, yadah, yadah, yadah. But we loved the name Luna so the night before she was born, we stuck to it.

The name Catalina comes from Aldo's grandmother - much like Amori's second name Eleanor which is a combination of our grandmothers.

We didn't realize it until my cousin pointed it out but when you translate Luna Rivera to English, it is literally Moon River.

So she's here, our lovely little Moon. She's a good baby... eats, sleeps, poops, doesn't scream much. Either that or we're too tired and preoccupied with Amori to notice otherwise. LOL

We're still trying to figure out the juggling act with 2 kids in tow but we're getting there. The first few times we tried to get out of the house with the 2 kids it took us an hour because Luna had to be fed in between... but now it's getting better. We're actually on time when we hear mass!

Aldo's been on leave for the last 6 weeks so somehow it has felt like a vacation for me - at least I've got help despite the sleepless nights. Next week he's going back to work so I'm going to experience my new-normal routine.

Amori's still at her school/daycare 3 days a week so Luna and I are going to have a few days to clean the house, cook, and sing silly songs.

So for now... happy new year, happy new decade, and cheers to the new member of our family!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

T minus 8 days

the date has been set: december 10.

i'm currently a mixed bag of emotions: excited to see the new little one, relieved to get this pregnancy over and done with, nervous about parenting 2 children, and anxious about another c-section.

this time around, i think i'm more prepared of what's to come. i do know it'll be a rough few weeks, but i'm hoping that breastfeeding will be possible this time around. if it doesn't work, then i'll know when to quit and forget about pressuring myself like last time.

but before that happens, i've got a long list of things to do, knowing that i'll be stuck at home all thru the holidays!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


37 weeks and waiting! i'm finally off work and the change of pace is wonderful. i feel privileged that i get to bring amori to daycare, have at least 8 hours to do stuff alone, and cook dinner at my pace. LOL

i've seen the OB-GYN last week but still no c-section date from the hospital. argh. at this rate, i might go into labor before they book my c-section! so as of today.. i'm still playing the waiting game: waiting for labor or a c-section date, whatever comes first.

at least i've got my bags ready.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

isn't she lovely

my little princess (see her headband of power? LOL) is a chatterbox and a powerhouse of energy. she loves her markers and sketch pads better than any of her dolls (any new doll is her favorite for a maximum of 24 hours. after that, the doll is pushed into her ever-growing bin of stuffed animals and dolls.) she's a highly verbal child that picks up words very very quickly even if it's in chinese, french, or tagalog. she can count and sing a few songs in chinese (they are taught in her preschool daycare), knows the days of the week and count in french, and knows several tagalog words.

it's all but why do they have to grow up so fast?!