Adventures living as expats.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Huxley's first month

Your first month has certainly been an eventful one!  You got to meet your grandma who traveled over 20 hours to see you.  You've also received your American passport so that we can travel home in January to meet the rest of the family.  Here are some of the details of the life of Huxley:
  • Size: You weigh 8 lbs 13 ounces and almost 21" tall.
  • Eating: You eat every 1-4 hours, about 12 times per day, and make the happiest noises of satisfaction when you're nursing.
  • Diapers: You go through at least 15 per day and love to hold your poops until right after we change your diaper.  Mom is still learning how to avoid your clothes being soaked when you pee while she's changing you.  
  • Sleep: You love to sleep swaddled up by dad at night, cuddled in Grandma's arms, in the ring sling nice and cozy next to Mom or Dad, or in your stroller while we're walking Oolong.  You aren't very fond of naps in your crib yet.  
  • Play: You are very interested in faces and starting to enjoy using your hands to swing your toys around in your little play gym.  You're warming up to belly time, but often end up rooting for milk after just a few minutes.  You love it when we sing to you or play upbeat music.  
1 month old with Bill
Cuddle time with Dad
1st sponge bath
First real bath
Dressing up for brunch at Juggler, our favorite cafe
Nap time with Grandma
Break time at the park in Taipei after applying for Hux's passport
Showing off the Gagatko forehead, just like Dad 
Love these moments!
Walking Oolong

Monday, November 21, 2016

Welcoming Huxley

Although we'll never forget the day that Huxley was born, I still wanted to write a post to help us remember the small details that will likely fade with time.   Please feel free to skip ahead to the photos if you want to opt out of the labor narrative.

Our adventure started on Tuesday, October 25 at 11pm when my water broke as we were getting into bed.  We had just returned from a delicious french dinner with several friends and my first thought was how glad I was this didn't happen in the restaurant!  We grabbed our hospital bags and made our way to the birth clinic where Dr. Lin confirmed that yes my water broke and that we should stay at the clinic and see if contractions started naturally.  Ten hours later I was only having very small contractions about every 20-30 mins so we opted to use prostaglandins to start the labor process.

By 5:30pm we were finally making some progress and very suddenly the contractions were one after another and I was desperate and swearing for an epidural.  Unfortunately the anesthesiologist took about 45 minutes to arrive which felt like days to me.   I received the epidural at around 7pm and afterwards I finally let the nurses examine me and was informed that I was already 10 cm dilated.   Our doula said that progressing this fast through dilation is very rare especially for a first child and not something she was used to seeing.

The epidural really slowed down the contractions which was actually a bit of a relief because I needed a physical and mental break to build my confidence back up for the pushing.  After lots of pushing, encouragement from Jeff, and several declarations to the Dr. that I really needed a C-section, Huxley Beau was born at 11pm on Wednesday, October 26.  We were so relieved and overwhelmed with emotions and love once we heard his first cries and saw him open his beautiful eyes.  He weighed 6 lbs, 13 oz and was 18.5 inches tall at birth, had a full head of hair (although not quite as much as his Taiwanese companions in the nursery), dark blue eyes, and of course was the most adorable baby we'd ever seen.

We stayed for 3 days in the clinic which was perfect for bonding with little Hux as there were no chores to distract us from cuddling our new son.  Our room was really large and we had a foldout bed for Jeff, a private bathroom/shower, a mini fridge, and surprisingly delicious and healthy hospital food (pics below).

Huxley's first night
Such kissable cheeks!
My handsome men!
Postpartum nutrition is taken very seriously in Taiwan.  Each meal consisted of 5 or 6 dishes aimed to help Mom recover and build up her milk supply - lots of bone broths, veggies, protein, and herbal teas.
I usually wasn't able to finish the meal so Jeff got some of the leftovers to help with his recovery as well.
Our friend and an uber talented photographer, Rebecca of Hunnicutt Photography came for an "in-clinic" photoshoot and we were blown away at the wonderful memories she captured.  Looking through them still brings tears to my eyes.   Below are some of my favorites.

Hux bundled up for his first trip home!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Baby Shower Time!

Being away from family during my first pregnancy has been a little tough and certainly our wonderful friends here in Taiwan have helped in so many ways.  My close friend Mary threw me a baby shower a few weekends ago and made me feel so loved and spoiled.  We played games, drank mocktails and wine (except me), ate homemade chocolate cake, opened awesome gifts, and overall had a fantastic afternoon.
The beautiful dessert table
Chocolate cake with an elephant on top made by the extremely talented Kerri along with the diaper cake in the background 
Perhaps my favorite game of the day was guess the baby photo contest.  My mom sent over some pictures of me and I can't wait to compare once Huxley joins us.
I was almost 10 pounds at birth, eek!  
I chose this picture for the game and Jeff got it right away
Here's the photo of Jeff.  I totally thought it was one of the girls!
Yum - me eating dirt in the garden
I always loved to dress up as a kid
All the wonderful ladies!
Master of Ceremonies, Mary leading the "he said / she said game"
Can't get over how adorable this cake is!
Finally what we'd all been waiting for, cake time!
Present time :-)
Jeff's new formal attire
With just 3 weeks left until the due date, we're both super antsy with anticipation to meet little Huxley!

Getting Ready for Our New Addition

When we found out I was pregnant back in March, we were both shocked, scared, and unbelievably excited.  After trying for over 2 years, we'd just started going to a fertility clinic to look into starting IVF.  Following a few weeks of extreme nausea out of the blue, I took a pregnancy test and then bought a few more for good measure and all showed up positive.  Soon after that we heard Baby Gagatko's heartbeat for the first time and were both in tears.

Although I managed to avoid the camera for the most part, here are a few pictures throughout the pregnancy.
19 weeks - Baby Gagatko is the size of a mango
22 weeks - Jr. weighs about 1 pound
29 weeks - pineapple size and almost 3 pounds
34 weeks - up to 5 pounds and the size of a savoy cabbage
37 weeks - almost 6.5 pounds!
Jeff has been rigorously preparing for fatherhood including expanding his cooking skills for after the baby comes, singing and talking to Jr., putting together all the baby gear, picking out some cute clothes (including matching American flag Cons), eating dessert with me every night, indulging my burger cravings with enthusiasm, picking the perfect name, and offering to be the guinea pig for the breast pump when I claim its way too scary.
No "dad bod" here, he's all muscle
Still smiling after a full day of putting together baby furniture
Oolong hasn't quite embraced her upcoming role of big sister and she certainly doesn't enjoy trying on her brother's clothes

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Munich and Rothenburg

Following the tranquility and relaxed pace of Oy-Mittleburg, Munich felt like a jolt back to reality.  After a bit of adjustment time, we were ready to take on the beer gardens and many sights on our list.   On our first day we headed to Marienplatz to see the old town area including all the beautiful architecture.  We also browsed around the Viktualienmarkt where vendors sell a huge variety of fresh fruits, breads, prepared gourmet foods, artisanal coffee, and plenty of snacks to fuel up on.   We were overwhelmed by the selection and by the time we were done really wished we had bigger stomachs so we could taste more.   Now I think back and wonder why I didn't take any pictures?

We also loved touring the English Garden, a huge urban park complete with a beer garden in the middle.  This was my personal favorite because the surrounding environment was so picturesque and calming which contrasted with the excitement of the lively beer garden. Another highlight of our time in Munich was a day trip to the Herrenchiemsee Palace which was definitely the most extravagant palace we saw.  Although the palace was far from finished on the interior, we learned that the construction cost was over $250,000,000!
New Town Hall in Munich
We couldn't miss the famous Hoffbraugh beer hall.  There was even non-alcoholic beer so I could join in on the fun.
Beautiful Munich Residence
Portrait hall complete with gold leaf frames in the Munich Residence
Our favorite dessert shop - I got an extremely addicting mango tart and Jeff, after much deliberation, opted for a molten chocolate cake
Herrenchiemsee Palace - one of our only pics since you can't take photos from the inside.  
Our final stop of the trip was Rothenburg, a truly charming little city that really gave us a feel for historic Germany with its still standing city wall and many watch towers throughout.  
Picture perfect Rothenburg
This was our unbeatable view during dinner on our first night where we enjoyed one of our favorite meals of the trip
This view of the city from the city wall made us feel like we were in a movie
Exploring the defense fortifications on the city wall
On a day trip to Bamburg, Jeff led us on a walking tour through the old town where we saw some historical churches, enjoyed a pizza lunch, and Jeff sampled the city's famous smoked beer called Rauchbier.
Bamberg Old Town Hall
St. Michael's Church
We also headed over to Wurzburg for a day where we strolled through the city and toured the Wurzberger Residence, a UNESCO heritage site.  It included pictures of the city after the bomb attack in WWII where 90% of the city was destroyed, but has since been reconstructed as it looked historically.  We stumbled across a market on our way back to the car where Jeff found a German beer stein and I fell in love with some blue and white porcelain serving bowls to complete our souvenir shopping.
Cocktail and soda water with of view of Fortress Marienberg
Just one more selfie at Wurzberger Residence