Archive for category Baby

Sophie’s world part 2

Looking back at some of the blog posts and I realised that it’s been quite a journey since that fateful day a year and a bit ago. We’ve all come a long way, especially Sophie who’s grown by leaps and bounds. She’s such a joy now and everyone who’s met her says that she’s such a cute and good baby; very attentive and observant to her surroundings. Makes us a parents proud. 🙂

I thought I update our timeline a little since it’s been 6 months since the last Sophie’s world post. Things have moved on since then and it’d be interesting to see how far we’ve come and how things have changed.

06:45 – Rise and shine. It’s time for Sophie’s morning milk and since she’s been sleeping in another room, we’ve been lazy. We normally wait and linger in bed till around 7am before getting her in for a feed.

07:30 – Back to bed. She’s normally done by this time, and I put her back into the cot while the wife and I both try to get a little more sleep.

07:45 – Wakey wakey 2. It’s time for me to get out of bed and get ready for work. I have my usual breakfast and coffee and read the morning news over the internet. Sophie’s usually asleep but if she’s not, she’ll be squealing and ‘pffting’ in her room. We usually let her be.

08:30 – Wakey wakey 3. The wife usually gets up at this time and prepares for Sophie’s breakfast of baby rice and milk. Sophie’s usually stirring by now but we let her lie in.

09:00 – Work time & breakfast. I leave for work. The wife feeds and changes Sophie while trying to gulp down her tea and toast before they turn cold.

10:00 – Play time. Most days the wife takes Sophie to the local play group in the area. She loves it. She gets to interact with other children and new toys, while the wife meets other mums in the area. Presumably to whinge about their useless husbands. 🙂

11:00 – Milk time. It’s time for Sophie’s mid morning feed. The wife’s usually still at play group and feeds her there.

12:00 – Lunch. The wife feeds Sophie her lunch, usually of pureed carrots or sweet potatoes. Yes, after her milk. She’s quite a glutton. The wife tries to enjoy her lunch as well, but usually ends up having cold pasta or soup.

13:00 – 14:00 Kicktime. The wife lets Sophie play around for a few hours after lunch while she does some chores, hoping that she’ll get tired and doze off eventually. No such luck unfortunately. She’s a little pocket rocket that one.

14:30 – Milk time. Yet another feed. She really drinks a lot of milk.

15:30 – Playtime. If the weather’s good, and if Sophie’s not sleeping, the wife takes her to the local playground for some time on the swings and see saws.

16:30 – Nap time. Sophie’s usually tired out from all the activity and takes a short nap. When I say short, I mean about 10 mins.

17:00 – Back, milk time and dinner! I’m home by this time. And spend a precious few moments with my girls before the chores start. Sophie gets her evening snack and dinner while Daddy prepares dinner.

18:00 – Bath time. This used to be scream time. But now it’s wiggle and fight time. She’s not scared of the water, but she just doesn’t sit still in the tub. Add soap and you get a slippery baby. Tons of fun. The wife takes a shower after this while I read Sophie her bedtime stories.

19:00 – Milk time. Sophie tanks up for the night, and usually falls asleep pretty soon after she has her milk. Daddy takes a shower and makes dinner.

20:00 – Dinner. Finally, some adult time. The wife (exhausted) and I (similarly so) sit down for dinner, rarely together as Sophie stirs quite frequently during this time. But we take what we can. We both sit down to get things done after dinner, or at rare moments, unwind.

23:00 – Milk time. Sophie’s midnight snack so she can last through the night. The wife and I also get ready for bed.

Midnight – Bedtime. We crawl into bed and are asleep almost instantly. Then the alarm goes, and the day starts over again.

Looking back it’s actually quite a change from the time table we had 6 months ago. The big difference is that she sleeps through the night now and the wife spends a lot of time outdoors with Sophie. Exhausting for the wife but good for Sophie.

It’ll be interesting to see what the schedule is like 6 months from now. 🙂 


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And they’re gone

It’s finally time I guess. They can’t stay forever. It’s fantastic that they’ve been here since late August, helping out with the chores, with Sophie, offering the wife support, offering me support when I was in the hospital. They’ve endured a torrid Autumn and a (thankfully) mild Winter here. Overall, it’s been a good 5 months.

Yes, my mum and auntie left for the warm shores of Malaysia on 9th January. To say that our tiny flat is now much quieter is an understatement. While they helped the wife and I (especially the wife) out a lot, they were there for her emotionally as well. The wife definitely felt the void when they left.

But the one person who missed them the most was Sophie. She was only 3 weeks old when they came. She was quite a handful then, crying almost non-stop every day. But they adored Sophie and doted on her. Sophie adored them too and when they left, the poor girl was looking for her Mama (grandma) and Guma (grand auntie). She cried inconsolably for nearly 90 minutes the afternoon they left. Babies are habitual, and she’s gotten so used to falling asleep on Guma’s shoulder in the afternoon that no one else would do. We finally managed to calm her down by sitting her in front of the TV and getting her to watch ‘Deal or No Deal’, a game show that my mum and aunt used to watch in the afternoon. She was OK after that (thankfully).

It’s going to be harder and more tiring for the wife and I to look after Sophie now that we’re short of 2 pairs of hands, especially now that I’m going back to work a few days a week. But as parents, we have to do it. We managed it before they came, and we sure can manage it now. Plus she’s a lot easier to look after now.

Anyway, like I said before, they can’t stay forever. We were very fortunate that they’ve stayed for so long and helped out so much. For now, we just have to get back into the routine that we had before. 🙂 It’ll be good. 

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11 weeks

Sophie’s about 11 weeks old this week (22 Oct 2011). How time flies. It seems like just yesterday that the wife and I nervously went to Queen Charlottes and Chelsea Hospital in Hammersmith for our procedure, and finally got our hands on our little screaming bundle. I remember being shocked at the volume of her cry scream, and how long she could go on for.

She was so tiny then. I was looking back at some of the pictures we took when she was just a few days old, and although at the time, we thought that she was quite a large baby, she’s just looked tiny now.

I remember when we first brought her home, I took a series of pictures of the two of us using the laptop camera. This is Sophie when she was about 2 weeks old.

This was taken when she was about 2 months old.

She has certainly grown. I still remember giving her a bath for the first time. I was so nervous, but eventually got the hang of it. Didn’t help that she was screaming the whole time. Even the midwife commented that she had a very very loud voice. And it was at that point that we knew we had a little firecracker on our hands.

She still has that look when she’s about to cry. I find it so amusing sometimes that instead of picking her up I just sit there and laugh. Honestly though, besides getting a little bigger and heavier, she still looks largely the same. Every one reckoned that she looked more like the wife when she was born, but now they think she looks a little more like me.

But at any rate, she’s our little bundle of joy and I am thankful to be here with her, and hopefully to have many many more years to come. 

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Since I’ve been home, I’ve been having a blast spending time with the family and with Sophie. Sophie is a joy, and seems to be throwing up all sorts of surprises every day. She’s changed so much since I last saw her, and is a lot more cheerful, happy and active. She’s also smiling, playing and interacting more than before. It’s so much fun to be around her. But being home after nearly a month away means having to readjust to the baby. 

When Sophie first came home, the wife and I had massive issues sleeping at night. The fact that Sophie used to wake every hour or two to feed meant that we would probably get a maximum of two hours sleep at a stretch if we’re lucky. But that’s the theory. What normally happens is that you try to got to sleep, but knowing full well you’ll be awake again in a couple of hours, you don’t really fall asleep. So you don’t really get any sleep. The wife and I learnt pretty quickly to fall asleep after Sophie’s feeds, and only wake when she started crying. At least we would get a few hours of sleep in between feeds.

Then there’s the noise. Sophie (and most other babies, or so we’re told) makes a lot of noise in her sleep. We called this the ‘Sophie zoo’. When she first came home, we were always waking up to check on her cos it sometimes sounded like she was choking or had difficulty breathing! But eventually we learnt to sleep through the sounds she makes (except when she cries).

After 4 weeks in the hospital, I find myself having to readjust again to the ‘Sophie zoo’ and sleeping patterns. I wake up at the slightest noise and have difficulty falling back asleep after her feed. Back to square 1 I suppose. But since Sophie is a lot older now, she is able to sleep a lot longer through the night. It would be easier to readjust back to sleeping after feeds than it was.

But I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. I enjoy every moment I spend with my little bubba, and for me, there’s nothing like waking up in the morning, looking at her, and she gives me a dazzling million pound smile. That’s exactly what I’ve been fighting so hard for. 🙂 

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Day +18

It’s been a good few days. They’ve stopped feeding me through the tube, and I’m to maintain my weight at least through normal eating and drinking if I am to go home sooner rather than later. They’ve also stopped the IV cyclosporine, replacing it instead with the oral cyclosporine. More pills, but I’m now untethered from my friends the infusion pump and drip feed machine for the entire day. 🙂

I also found out that I will need all my inoculations again. So everything from the BCG to whatever I had when I was an adult (I can’t even remember). The staff here will prepare a list of jabs and the dates, and I will need to make an appointment with the GP to get that done. Not looking forward to it, not that I hate jabs (after the Asparaginase jab, nothing can be quite as painful), but the effect of the jab may make me very ill for a while. 

More good news, is that the consultant on the wards this month, Dr Kampher reckons that I am doing very very well, and if nothing goes pear shaped, I can leave by the end of the week. That’s if my blood counts continue to go up, I maintain my weight and I don’t have any infections or GvHD.  

He also let me go home for dinner! That was really really nice. 🙂 I got to see baby girl again for a few hours (she was quite cranky) and watched while the wife and auntie bathed her. I wasn’t allowed to bathe her, as she had a tendency to poo on her towels. I wasn’t allowed anywhere near her poo or pee so I couldn’t bathe her. Just in case. But I gave her her pre-bedtime feed, and put her to bed. And put her to bed again. And again. And again. In the end we decided that she wanted guma (grand auntie) and handed her over. 🙂

But it was a nice bit of normalcy in our lives. And it was also a good break for the wife and my mum, who would scoff down their respective dinners to come see me in the hospital before having to rush back again to feed Sophie. Now if only the doctors cooperate and let me do that for the rest of the week it would be ace. 🙂 


Day +17

My bloods are on the way up! It was 0.6 yesterday (Day +16) so I am technically, not neutropenic anymore. Although they tend to be a little bit more paranoid when it comes to transplant patients, cos it’s not just infections that we have to worry about, there’s also GvHD. But given that it was 0.6, and it was a Sunday and there were not that many people in the hospital, the wife was able to bring Sophie to the Scrubs and I was able to go see her. 🙂

Oh how I missed my little baby girl. I reckon that it’s been at least 2 weeks since I last saw her. I saw her on 8th Sept, for her 1 month celebrations, and then I became neutropenic so I wasn’t able to leave the room. So yes, it’s been 17 long days of not seeing, holding or kissing my baby girl.

The doctors also spoke about discharging me, as it was close to the time. Basically, my blood counts have to come up to a point where they (the doctors) are happy to let me go. This is usually 1.0 for transplant patients, as they’re a little more cautious about discharging transplant patients than they are chemotherapy patients. Also, the dietitian has to be satisfied that I am getting all the nutrition that I need from eating and drinking normally. So for the next few days, they’re not going to feed me via the tube and monitor my weight. If it maintains at a certain level, or goes up, I can go.

The problem isn’t the eating. It’s the tasting. I can’t taste anything. Lasagne tastes like mush, spag bol tastes like mush, even curry tastes like mush. It’s difficult to eat something when everything tastes like wallpaper paste. I have loads of the ensure calorie drinks, so I’ll keep it up and drink 2 of those a day to keep my calorie intake up. I can’t wait to be discharged and be back home. Hopefully from then on, things will return back to normal, albeit with the regular trip back to the Funhouse for checkups, which will get less and less frequent. 🙂

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Sophie’s first month

The doctors let me head home again for Sophie’s first month on 8 Sept, for a few hours just to spend some time celebrating with the family (the bro’s here from NYC too) and to have some traditional Foochow long life noodles and red eggs.

I had a wait a little longer due to the consultant ward rounds, which happens every Thursday, but happily I was able to get out by about 6pm. My mum and auntie brought some red eggs over to the ward to share with the nurses and staff here. It aroused a lot of curiosity, as many of the staff here are from India and the Philippines, and don’t know much about Chinese traditions. So I had to, in my own limited way, explain it to them. Not that I did a very good job. 

Got home just in time to top-and-tail the little one, who was very cranky for some reason. She was fussing and crying on and off non-stop making it very stressful for the wife to handle. We think it’s a phase or perhaps another growth spurt. But eventually we were able to get her settled enough to have a relatively peaceful dinner, interrupted only by a nappy change and a staccato of cries.

But she was looking cute that day, all frocked up for her big day. This jump suit was on offer at Baby Gap for just £4.99. Couldn’t resist. But when we tried dressing her in it, we realised why it was going for that. It had buttons all over the back of it. Buttons, not the push button type, but proper, adult buttons. The type an adult can’t manage after a few drinks at the put. Whoever designed this item for babies should be hung, drawn and quartered. And fed to the sharks.