The three of us
Anastasia Grace Johnson
Born at 9.35pm on Tuesday 19 August
She weighed 3.895kg and was 51cm long with a head circumference of 36cm.
The time since Anastasia’s birth has been pretty hectic, which is why I’m only now getting around to posting this info to our blog (you can tell that I don’t take this site too seriously when it takes me a month to post such significant information). So here’s what has happened in the last month. Some of you may already know all this – and thanks to everyone who has been praying for us and catching up with us during this time; we really appreciate everyone’s assistance and love for us.
Click to read more (this post is quite long, so it doesn’t all appear on the front page of this site.
Anastasia was formally 10 days overdue when she was born. Tegan was induced and we were in hospital for about a day and a half before Anastasia was born. Tegan was in fully established labour from about 10am on the day Anastasia was born. At about 6pm it was becoming obvious that both Anastasia and Tegan were in some distress (heart rates and blood pressure spiking too high). By 7:30-8pm Tegan was still nowhere near to giving birth naturally so our obstetrician recommended a caesarian. They wheeled Tegan off to the theatre and I got to put on blue surgical clothes and join Tegan in the operating room.
And then after not very long they pulled Anastasia out (actually, the obstetrician still had trouble getting her out – even via caesarian – and commented that she was never going to fit naturally. Of course, it would have been nice to know that before Tegan spent a day and a half being induced and in labour). Funnily, I saw straight away that she was a girl, but Tegan was left wondering for a bit longer, because the umbilical cord was still in the way obstructing her view when they held Anastasia up for the first time. Afterwards, Anastasia and I were taken off with the midwives and paediatrician for her checks and weighing, etc while they stitched Tegan back up and let her recover.
Health and Hip Issues
Anastasia was perfectly healthy – pretty much perfect marks on all counts. However, the paediatrician detected that she had hip displaysia, which means that her hip sockets hadn’t properly formed and her hips were easily dislocatable. This didn’t bother Anastasia though – we think of having our hips dislocated as being unbearably painful, but presumably because her hips weren’t properly formed enough for her legs to really wrench out of them it didn’t bother her at all when they clicked in and out. This condition is apparently not too serious when detected and treated early (which is why they screen for it at birth). The physiotherapists at the hospital fitted Anastasia with a Pavlik harness, which basically keeps her legs pushed up into the hip sockets so that she can’t click them out. She has to wear this until she is about 12 weeks old and they’ll test again then to make sure her hips have formed properly. This isn’t too much trouble – it’s a slight hassle to work around it, and we can’t take it off so we can’t properly bathe Anastasia, and we need to have regular physio appointments and some more follow up, but it’s better to fix this now rather than when she is starting to crawl or walk.
Calvary Private Hospital was marvellous. We had a great stay there and the midwives were exceptionally lovely and helpful. We also had a great room. On the first night when Anastasia was born we were in a small private room – Tegan was on a surgical bed and I slept on a small mattress on the floor. The next day when they moved us to a double room they gave us the option of an ‘executive room’. Once I had a look and noticed that it was twice the size of a normal double room, had a queen sized bed, two large leather couches and a big ensuite for only $35 more per night I snapped it up oh so very quickly. And it was very helpful because we had a lot of visitors – one night I think there were almost 15 people visiting us at one point in time. And it was nice just to have a bit more space and have it feel a bit more like home.
First Week at Home
Because of Anastasia’s hips we had to stay in hospital until the following Monday so that the paediatrician and physiotherapist could do one last check on Anastasia before we were discharged. But it was great to get home afterwards. We settled back into home life very quickly and started taking Anastasia on our regular outings straight away. In fact, we took her to a farewell lunch for one of my work colleagues at Debacle in Braddon only about one and a half hours after we left the hospital. I think that we have already trained her to be a people person; either that or it was an inherited trait. Anastasia can happily sleep through being held, cuddled, passed around, having her photo taken and having lots of people in the same room. However, we soon discovered that she wasn’t good at sleeping when it was quiet and dark. The former bodes well for her sleeping while we’re out and about and in the future; the latter meant that it was hard for us to sleep at night, since Anastasia tended to keep us awake.
The other issue that arose in the first week was that Anastasia didn’t weigh enough. It is normal for babies to lose about 10% of their body weight in their first week, however Anastasia had lost more than that. The day after leaving hospital the local mother and child heath nurse visited us at home and Anastasia had put on a bit of weight since leaving hospital, so that alleviated some concern. The following Monday we visited the baby health clinic to have Anastasia checked and weighed again, at which point she had only put on about 60g in a week – about half what she should have. But then on the Friday of the same week when she was weighed again she had put on 100g in only four days, which again alleviated concerns. But then 10 days later we went back to the clinic and Anastasia had again put on hardly any weight. This meant that after four weeks, Anastasia was still 200g below her birth weight, and the mother and child health nurse was very concerned about this.
In the week leading up to that she had been very upset in the evenings and was feeding from Tegan almost constantly for hours at night. This with the lack of weight indicated that there was a problem either with Anastasia or with Tegan that meant that Anastasia wasn’t getting enough sustenance. We were basically instructed to start topping up Anastasia’s breast feeding with formula from a bottle and were booked into a day-stay breast feeding clinic the following day. The nurse at that clinic observed Tegan’s breast feeding technique and said there were no problems with it, so then referred us to the Queen Elizabeth II Family Centre (QE2), which is basically a small hospital that specialises in baby feeding and sleep issues, as well as to our GP to make sure there was nothing medically wrong with either Tegan or Anastasia.
Two days later (the Thursday morning), QE2 called and asked us to come in a couple of hours later for a four night, five day stay. Apparently it is a bit unusual to get such a quick referral and placement in QE2, so they were obviously very concerned about Anastasia. However, thanks be to God, when we arrived and they weighed Anastasia she was back up over her birth weight and had put on over 200g in two days. Which indicated that she really did need the formula, but also that there was nothing medically wrong with her because she started putting weight on once we put her on the formula. We did joke that this will probably be the only time in her life where we’re concerned that she put on more weight and get more calories into her.
While the weight had improved, we still stayed in QE2 for the 4-5 days and left just this morning. The nurses there focused on helping Tegan to get her supply of breast milk going more, with a view to eventually feeding Anastasia just from the breast rather than from breast plus a bottle. I mean, really – who needs the cost and hassle of preparing formula if you’ve got breast milk? Formula is not cheap, and you’ve got to sterilise bottles, warm them up when it’s time to feed, you need to keep them chilled if you’re going out, you need to use pre-boiled water and let it cool before you can make up the formula and you’re only meant to refrigerate it for 24 hours, so you need to do all this every day – it’s such a hassle. If we can stop using it we will be very happy.
The other nice thing about QE2 was that I only stayed in there with Tegan half the time. I spent two nights at home in order to try to catch up on some rest. I had two nights of seven hours uninterrupted sleep – what luxury! Three months ago I wouldn’t have ever considered seven hours in a row to be a luxurious amount of sleep, but since having no more than 4 hours sleep in a row for four weeks, seven hours was pure bliss.
The last five weeks have been pretty tiring, but Anastasia is cute and we’re getting there in terms of helping her grow and develop. Compared to at birth she is starting to smile more, look around, interact with her environment a bit and can watch us and track us with her eyes as we move around. So it’s all good. I, in particular, am really looking forward to Anastasia developing to a point where she can interact more. At the moment she can’t interact with me, though she does interact with Tegan through feeding. I think I will feel more like her dad when she can consciously smile back and generally give some feedback to us.
A few people joked with us before Anastasia was born that she would be the most photographed baby on the planet. I think we have only taken about 600 odd photos of her since she was born. I have posted a selection on my Flickr photostream. However, almost all of them are marked as being viewable only by friends and family. The easiest way for you to see these (and any other similarly private photos we post there) is to create an account on Flickr and add me as a contact through the site. I can then give your account permissions to see the photos. Otherwise, if you email me I can send you a special link which will allow you to see the set of the private photos of Anastasia that I have posted so far.
Before Anastasia was born we posted a bit of a competition on this blog to see who could guess when Anastasia would be born. Nobody guessed correctly, but the closest guess was from our good friend Michael Kalinin, who guessed that our baby would be born on 10 August, although he did guess that it would be a boy. But hey, I thought it would be a boy too (before she was born we knew that she was big and late, which reminded me of me). Michael – there’ll be a big stash of jelly beans coming your way soon.
More news next time. There’s more incentive now that we have actual news that we know that people want to know about.