… Baby Maggie to the world! She arrived the first week in June – two days earlier than her estimated due date – at 11:28pm on a rainy evening at Gleneagles Hospital, weighing in at 7.5 pounds and 21.5 inches (99th percentile for length, baby! I’m hopeful she’ll someday be a Lacrosse center). She has blonde hair (as both her father and I do), blue eyes (for now), and to my great consternation seems to have inherited my giant schnozz. She is named after my two grandmothers, including my grandmother Margaret who was also born in Asia (more than 100 years ago!).
Labor was about 20 hours from start to finish, but that includes about 9 hours of bearable, crampy contractions and I labored at home for most of it (props to my exercise ball, Netflix and Avon for his support while the hubs wrapped up some meetings at work). I only labored at the hospital for about 5 hours, and I was able to meet my goal of getting through without an epidural, thanks mostly to the hubs’s awesome coaching. I was very happy with the tremendous support of my OBGYN Dr. Choo, and a bit less thrilled with some of the nurses at Gleneagles (please don’t ask me about my knee surgery in 1997 as I am throwing up, and don’t try to push me onto the bed when I am very obviously getting through a contraction by standing up. Kthanks). All in all, though, the hospital was great and the post-birth service was fantastic.
The first week at home was the toughest so far — I got very little sleep overnight due to feedings every 1.5 hours or so (all the sleep books say you have a “honeymoon” period during the first few days with newborns where they’ll sleep 18-20 hours a day; Maggie obviously didn’t get that memo), and unsurprisingly we were all just sort of trying to figure out a rhythm. Since then, though, overnights have been pretty good (mega KNOCK ON WOOD), as has breastfeeding, which was probably my biggest concern beforehand.
Another positive is that Avon ADORES Maggie, and has from the moment he first heard her emit a little squeak from her carseat (which we placed on the table when we came in, since she was sleeping). He bolted across the room with his head tilted, as if to say “What on EARTH is that sound?” then jumped up to the table for the first time ever to investigate:
He is pretty much always within a foot of her, and is quite gentle. He likes to lick her feet (and tries to lick her face, much to our chagrin), and absolutely LOVES to walk alongside her stroller. One of our neighbors actually commented that he looked proud to be trotting alongside it. Honestly the biggest challenge is that he sometimes wants to be close to her and we have to push him away, but it makes me so happy to see how gentle he is, and hopeful that as she grows she will come to adore him just as much.
It’s been really good getting out of the house, and I’ve tried to do so every couple days. One of our first outings was to the US Embassy, where we obtained Maggie’s passport at the age of 5 days. The poor girl has maybe the world’s worst passport photo – and she’s stuck with it until she’s 5 – but she was such a champ during the interminable 90-minute wait at the Embassy (all for about 5 minutes of oath-swearing and paperwork). The obvious reward was the mini flag they gave her at the end of it (although she looks less than psyched in this photo):
Many, many thanks to Crystal, who in her blog addressed the totally unclear instructions on the passport application form (they make it sound like you need to list every international trip that you’ve EVER taken, but for citizens this isn’t actually the case). I think that saved us about six hours of work, which is fortunate since my brain was still totally fried at that point.
After the Embassy we grabbed lunch at Chili’s (it seemed only fitting to celebrate Maggie’s American-ness). I joke that as part of her Singapore upbringing she needs to visit as many malls as possible. In her first month of life, by my estimation, she’s visited seven so far (Tanglin, The Forum, Parkway Parade, I12 Katong, Raffles City, Marina Bay Shoppes and Milennia Walk). She even took in the Annie Leibovitz exhibition at the ArtScience Museum. I’ve been pleased to discover that most of the malls have really nice nursing rooms, and also that Maggie is totally amenable to cruising around them in her ErgoBaby carrier (which is a bit too hot for outside with the infant insert, but is nice and cozy in all the hyper-air-conditioned malls).
She is just starting to enter that phase where she smiles (mostly at books, sometimes when she’s done eating) and every time it totally gets me. The days seem to pass in the strangest way; on the one hand I feel like we barely leave the house and she spends most of her time on her baby gym either playing with rings, doing tummy time (I prefer calling it “baby Pilates”) or being read to, yet each day flies by. I’m amazed by her little smiles and grunts and head lifts, not to mention how much she’s grown (she’s approaching 12 pounds already!).
As expected (and to my eternal gratefulness), our helper LL has been nothing short of phenomenal. The hubs and I joke that she’s magical, as she seems able to effortlessly halt crying just by picking the baby up, no matter how fussy she’s being with her father or me. In the first week at home when my brain was scrambled eggs, LL kept the house from falling down around us by walking the dog, cooking our meals and doing laundry. In the subsequent weeks, although I try to spend as much time with Maggie as possible, it’s been amazing to have someone take her while I eat dinner, or nip to the gym for 45 minutes on the treadmill. We are so very lucky, and again, grateful.
I’ve got about two months left on my maternity leave (how have six weeks passed already?!), and hopefully will be able to get in a few more blog posts in that time. I meant to spend my last days pre-baby writing about exercise during pregnancy, so hopefully I’ll get around to that one soon. For now I will continue to marvel at my baby’s intoxicating smell, deliciously chubby arms, adorable coos, and even her silly little grunts, and to revel in each and every lovely cuddle. Life with Maggie is full of wonder, and absolutely wonderful.