Archive for category Peanut


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.┬á

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. ­čÖé┬á


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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┬áPhilippines, 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.┬á

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┬ástaccato┬áof 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 ┬ú4.99. 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.┬á


Little favours

As ever, I am eternally thankful for the little favours thrown my way during the course of my treatment and illness. It makes things easier, and move quicker. I was allowed to go home for a few hours yesterday (Wednesday 7 Sept) for some (as the nurse put it) ‘Daddy cuddle time’ with the little one. ­čÖé It really made my day. And my week.

Since I was doing well, not neutropenic and the TBI hadn’t wrecked havoc on my system yet, the doctors and consultants very magnanimously agreed to let me off after the last TBI of the day; ‘for the baby’ as they put it. But who cares, it was a chance to see little Sophie for a few hours and to have a proper dinner with the family.

The one thing I noticed after only a week away was how big she’s got. The wife took her (kicking and screaming) to the health visitor at the local GP and she literally weighed in at just under 4kg! She’s in the 25th percentile of children in the UK now, as opposed to just the 9th percentile when she was born. She’s also┬ánoticeably┬ámore solid and longer. The health visitor commented that she’s a very long baby. So a 6-foot Amazonian chinese girl? Stranger things have happened.

Since I was back only for a few hours we decided to put me straight back to Daddy duties. I helped bathed Sophie and got her nice and fresh for her night feed and bedtime. It’s odd that babies give you ‘that look’ like they’re looking at the one most important thing in the world to them. And you just melt.

Trying to capture it on camera but failed. But look at how chubby she’s got!

All cleaned up and ready for her top up before bedtime. Funny thing is that the wife was commenting that she cries and cries when she tries to bathe her. But the moment Daddy’s home, she behaves.┬á

We got this top as a hand me down from the wife’s colleague. It was too big a few weeks ago. Now she can’t stretch out. Time to hit the shops.

Bed time. Sophie very quietly settles herself to sleep, much to the amusement of the wife.

Like I said, I am very thankful for small favours. Today (8 Sept) is Sophie’s 1 month anniversary, a milestone in the life of a child. If my bloods are OK, I will also be allowed home. It will possibly be the last time I will be allowed out till after my bloods recover from the transfusion. So it will be good if I can head home for this.

It’s the last day of TBI today. So fingers crossed, all goes well.┬á


All hands and all that

It’s quite surreal that Sophie’s been home for nearly 3 weeks now. We’re slowly getting to know her and her cries, just as she’s getting used to us and our inadequacies. We are also getting to grips with all the little bits and bobs that we have to do for her, like changing and bathing her. Not an easy task, and something the nurse in the hospital had to teach us when we were there.

I remember how nervous I was when I was bathing Sophie for the first time. The wife didn’t even want to do it! She was so scared.

Washing her har was fun. I thought at the time that I needed earplugs! She was screaming non stop!

Glad that’s out of the way, but not for Sophie. She took the time to catch her breath before the next assault on our ears! She was adamant that everyone in to room knew that she wasn’t liking her bath!

Wrapping her in a warm towel seemed to calm her down a little. You can see from her face that she’s not too happy with things at the moment.

She seemed a lot calmer when we used the bath, maybe because it reminded her of the warm waters in the uterus.

All done now. Well, with the water anyway. We still had to rub some oil on her skin. She didn’t like that much either. And put a nappy on her. She also didn’t like that. And dress her. Massive struggle there.

Still screaming after all that. Daddy’s ears are ringing from her screams but all’s good. ­čÖé

All clean, changed and comfy. Sophie stopped crying. Finally. ­čÖé┬á


Growth spurt

We think Sophie’s been going through a growth spurt. Why? Cos she’s been feeding voraciously every hour! So much so that the wife can’t keep up. She’s literally been sucked dry. I’ve read that the first growth spurt starts at about 2 weeks, and can last up to 7 days! The wife’s all but given up after day 2.

Since the wife’s breastfeeding, she’s struggling to keep up with Sophie’s demands. Plus it’s exhausting having to feed a screaming baby every hour or so. We used to think that we could express some milk and store it for use if Sophie needed it. But try doing that AND feed a hungry baby in the same day. Doesn’t quite work.

It’s not just the eating that’s throwing us off. Babies going through growth spurts tend to be less settled as well. They want to be picked up, cuddled, tend to be more colicky and generally cry a lot. That sort of┬ádescribes┬áSophie over the last few days. Normally she’s pretty good with settling herself to sleep so we generally swaddle her, and plop her into her cot or moses basket and she drifts off to sleep herself. Now we cuddle her and try our darnest to get her to sleep. We also find ourselves running to her room when the crying starts, and generally try to figure out what’s wrong. If she’s hungry, or if she needs winding, or if she did a massive poop ( cos she’s eating too much). All while trying to console a crying baby.

Hopefully this phase won’t last long. If this is what a growth spurt is like, I can’t imagine the fridge raids when she’s a teenager.┬á


Sophie’s birth

It’s a little calmer since the day we brought Sophie home from the hospital. We’ve sort of settled into a routine. She’s feeding every 2.5 – 3 hours or so, giving us a little more time in between feeds to do other things, like breathe and eat. It’s tiring, but very very rewarding. ­čÖé

I wrote about the natural┬ácaesarean process before, and how the wife’s midwife was one of the pioneers of the method. Basically it involves the parents from the start, and they can actually see the moment their baby enters the world, like they would a natural birth.

As it’s effectively an operation, we needed to get ready. The wife had to get into her glamorous outfit and I needed to get into my even more glamorous outfit. The wife was a little nervous, but excited at the same time.

Jenny (the wife’s midwife) managed to get her in as one of the first non-emergency c-sections of the day, so we were in the operating theatre just before 9am. The wife had the obligatory needle inserted into her hand for drips and stuff (cue much wincing from the wife) and we were all set for the epidural procedure.

The epidural was much like the intrathecal jabs I used to get weekly, but this took much longer. The lady doing it was a consultant anaesthetist, and she had 2 students in the room so she was lecturing and doing the procedure at the same time. Needless to say the wife was very nervous about having a needle and tube being stuck into her back, but the procedure was over in less than 10 minutes. To her it felt like forever! 

The caeserean didn’t take all that long. A screen was put up between us and the ‘business end’ and the surgeons went to work. Before we knew it, the screen lowered and we were handed a screaming, squirming, pink bundle of joy! We have the video of her birth, but be warned, there’s blood!

That’s me, trying to cut the cord while trying to avoid cutting things like fingers and legs etc.

2.950kg was her birth weight. And at 38 weeks 5 days! She would probably exceed 3kg if she went to full term. Whoever said that she was a small baby was quite mistaken.

All the pictures I seem to have of her in the first days are of her screaming! And she does have a loud voice.

She has massive feet as well, as we know from the 4D scans we had earlier. ­čśÇ Shape of the feet like Daddy’s I reckon.

After all that, we have our little baby girl. Sophie Colette Wong, born 8 August 2011. ­čÖé Welcome to our home Sophie darling.┬á

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Sophie’s world – 14 Aug 2011

Books, internet, videos, advice from parents and friends, all went out the window.

We brought Sophie home on Wednesday 10 August. And all hell broke loose. The combination of a cranky baby, sore mother and a clueless father meant loads of mess, running around, harried looks and stress.

Joking aside, it’s good to have her home. ­čÖé It was very very intense for a few days but we’re glad she’s home and she’s settling in, slowly but surely.

It hasn’t been easy though. After Sophie was born, we were ragged trying to figure out what she wanted; if she was hungry, needed a change, needed a cuddle, cold, warm, etc. So we didn’t get much sleep for the first 48 hours or so. After that we settled into a modified routine suggested by the Contented Little Baby book by Gina Ford. It sort of worked, and at least we knew when it’s best to change her nappy (even if she didn’t use it) or for the wife to express.

So Sophie’s day typically looks like this:

7:00 – Wake up. Actually we’re awake much earlier as Sophie usually needs a change or feed before this. And we were probably not asleep in the first place so this is just a time for the day to begin.

8:00 – Feeding frenzy 1. The wife usually feeds Sophie while I panic. Breast milk usually takes a few days to come in post delivery, and we need to make formula to top up her feeds. It’s Daddy’s job obviously, but try doing it at 2am while suffering from a lack of sleep, while cursing the many tiny fiddly parts that come in today’s modern anti-colic bottles.┬á

9:00 – 10:00 – Kick time. By all reckoning, she should be awake at this time. We usually put her on the play gym and let her kick about while we go about doing some essential chores. The only problem is that every time get try to get her on the gym, she falls asleep!┬á

10:00 – 11:00 – Feeding frenzy 2. In most cases she would have settled down by now. The wife feeds her for a second time while I, if I am organised, will have had the top up formula ready and waiting. The thing is that we’re normally not that organised and Sophie will be waiting for her top up to cool down while Daddy curses modern technology that can get something cold to be hot but not get something hot to be cold.

11:00 – 12:00 – Bath time. Or should I say, scream time. Sophie hates taking her bath and will scream down the house. “It’s like going to the spa, honey,” the wife will say. One hopes that she will dislike her baths less in the weeks to come, or at least not try to destroy any living thing within hearing range every time she has a bath.

12:00 – 14:00 – Nap time. A little lull from the morning of madness while Mom and Dad have their lunch and finish some chores that would have piled up over the morning (and the night before). Inevitably Sophie will need changing and settling but normally, this is a time where we can sometimes take a nap.

14:00 – 15:00 – Feeding Frenzy 3. If we’ve not woken her up yet for her feed, she will let us know. We are usually more organised this time round, and will either have prepared Sophie’s top up in advance or the wife would have expressed some breast milk. So all systems are OK here.

15:00 – 17:00 – Kick time. Sophie either goes on the play gym or in the cot for her kick time. Most of the time she falls asleep due to the mild sedative we put in her milk having just being fed. We go about preparing dinner while she kicks, naps and generally looks around.

17:00 – 18:00 – Top and tail. We give Sophie a quick wipe down before giving her another feed. For some reason she hates this too. Yet more trashing and screaming. We’re thankful that her room is sort of away from all our neighbours so they probably don’t hear that much (or so we think).

18:00 – 20:00 – Dinner. For Mom and Dad. And shower. And some chores. And maybe some TV and couple time. But that doesn’t last for long.

20:00 – 23:00 – Feeding Frenzy 4. It’s quite weird how the book I mentioned above recommends that ‘the baby should be fed in a darkened room, and without eye contact.’ This isn’t a large person we’re dealing with, but someone tiny. Looking anywhere near the place where you’re supposed to give her┬ásustenance┬áwill result in eye contact. And darkened room? I think we need some light to see what we’re doing. We may just end up trying to feed Sophie through her nose! Or ear.

23:00 – 07:00 – Sleep, feed, poop, pee. That sort of sums up our night. Some babies go about 2 hours between (that’s from the START of the feed). Sophie’s getting up to 3ish hours between feeds so it gives us a chance to get more sleep. But that doesn’t account for the many bleary eyed nappy changes during the night.

Suffice to say our world has changed significantly since her arrival. And it’s a good change. It’s a massive adjustment but every time we look at her, it’s all worth it. ­čÖé┬á