05/2/16

The art of being super cute

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Are you done taking photos?

Like I’ve written before, I like to take our baby out where ever I’m going. She took the bus when she was 2 weeks old, metro at 1 month old and just last week a plane at 5.5 months old. We’ve been to cafes, restaurants, parks, shopping malls and visiting friends. There is one common theme that happens every single time we go out the door.

Wow, your baby is soooo cute!

Words cute, beautiful, adorable all can be heard when ever we go outside with our baby girl. Strangers turn their heads and twist their necks to get a glimpse of our cute little mixed baby. They take out their phones, snap photos and send them on WeChat for their friends to see. They want to touch her little cheeks, caress her soft hands and make funny faces to get her to smile.

Most people are always ready to help out when they see a mom and baby to get into a bus or needing a hand. No need to think of any games to play for your child, the locals aunties and uncles will do that for you at the park nearby! I suddenly understand why Chinese grandparents always take grandkids outside, it’s so much easier than trying to entertain them at home.

I’m still not sure how I should response to all this attention our baby is getting, especially the photos. How would you reply when strangers keep telling your baby is the cutest ever all day long? ;)

04/25/16

Giving birth in China: Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center

Delivery room

Delivery room

Our baby girl is almost six months now, but let’s go back to last year and the exciting and scary experience of giving birth in China!


I had chosen the Women and Children’s Medical Center because after my research and asking other mothers in the area, I think it was the best option within my budget. Lots of moms mentioned that if anything goes wrong, that is the hospital you want to be in or if you chose otherwise, you will be sent to this hospital.

It all started around 2am when I felt painful contractions starting. I soon woke my husband up and let him gather our bags in case it was the real deal. Only half an hour later I told him we really needed to get going! Luckily we have our own car so we drove to the hospital in 25 minutes. If you don’t own a car, remember to borrow or rent one, or find a friend to drive you to the hospital. You don’t want to be waiting for a taxi while you are in labor!

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We got to the hospital around 4am and started going through the standard procedures. If you are alone with your husband, he will be running around the hospital paying bills and  doing paper work while you are waiting alone at the emergency. It could be a good idea to get your mother, mother-in-law or doula to accompany you.

After all the paperwork was done we got sent upstairs where the delivery rooms are located. Usually you first get a regular hospital bed in a room, but the hospital was quite full when we arrived. First they told me to wait for an hour, but I kept screaming that I needed to get epidural right this second! Somehow they arranged me and husband to go to the delivery room right away.

Fitness ball

Fitness ball

You can only bring limited amount of items inside the delivery room, so pick separate hospital bags for before and after delivery. Your husband will need to buy and put on hospital gown which can get very sweaty in the warm temperature of the delivery room. My husband was wiping sweat from my and his forehead all day long!

I found out that I don’t do well with pain and asked for an epidural which I got quite quickly. The pain went away completely and I had quite a comfortable time waiting for my body to be ready to give birth to our daughter. I did use their fitness ball to jump up and down, also walks along the corridors to get the birthing moving. Unfortunately I was in charge of adding the epidural my self, so I pushed that button a bit too much which probably resulted in things getting slower.

During this time, roughly from morning till afternoon the midwives, nurses or doctors didn’t bother us too much. They had their computer in the same room which they used a lot, but it didn’t bother me too much. I was too concentrated on getting ready to see our baby.

When it was time to push the epidural had worn off, but my contractions weren’t powerful enough. They probably made me push before I had the right urge to push which made me exhausted. At this point I wish I had told them to wait longer for my natural feeling to push, but I was a first timer so now idea how you are supposed to give birth. Perhaps more preparation or having an experienced doula with me could have helped. My husband was even more clueless than me.

Control for the epidural

Control for the epidural

So having too much epidural and in a rush to push without the urge I ended up pushing for three hours. I really really wanted to push that baby out of me, but in the end I had no energy in my body at all. I felt like I was going to pass out from exhaustion. I decided to go for c-section.

Now thinking back I wish I had asked for other options and kept going a little bit longer. I wish I had gotten better advice from the midwives along the journey in order to avoid c-section. I wish I had prepared my husband a bit better so he could have asked those things when I was too tired to do so.

So in the end my baby was born in a c-section while the doctors discussed how much weight I had gained during my pregnancy. Talk about doing it the Chinese style!

In the end it was of course all worth it, seeing my beautiful baby girl was surreal. I didn’t really quite yet understand that she was the one that had been kicking my inside my belly.


Lets do a recap of the pros and cons of my experience:

– husband needs to run around the hospital for paper work while I’m waiting alone

– I didn’t get advice on how to best use the epidural, and more importantly when not to add it

– They told me to push before I had the natural urge to push, making me exhausted

– Lack of advice on how to proceed after pushing for three hours in order to avoid c-section

– Not being sensitive enough (but that’s China)

+ They arranged a room for me quickly

+ They didn’t bother me too much with unneccessary check ups and let me move freely

+ They let me try different kind of positions to push and gave suggestions on positions

+ They showed me my baby girl after she was born

+ I felt medically safe through out the process


There is still a lot to say about our three-day stay at the hospital, first days with our baby, how hard it was to start breastfeeding and the lack of breastfeeding advice in China, but those are topics for the next time. Please let me know in the comments what you want to read next.

04/23/16

Welcome Back!

Short trip to Beijing

Short trip to Beijing

My blog has experienced a lots of problems during the past month and was hacked and cleaned a few times in a row. I hope that those problems are now past us and I can continue blogging!

These months I’ve been very busy with out beautiful baby girl and it’s a real joy to see her grow and learn new things on a daily basis. I still have posts coming up on giving birth in China, applying for a Finnish citizenship and passport and all those paperwork that is needed for a Foreign-Chinese baby.

At the beginning of this month I also finished my master’s thesis! Another great milestone behind me. The presentation of my thesis is next month and if all goes well I will receive my diploma at the end of June. Then head to Finland for a long Summer holiday back home with our baby and my family.

I have continued teaching Chinese again, taking just a few students this Spring. I’ll be looking forward to getting back to working full-time in September when I’m back from my Summer in Finland. I have big plans ahead!

At the same time my husband has been working on something super exciting as he is opening a Japanese bakery with his partners. They will be opening in a few weeks!

Already lots of exciting things at the beginning of this year, can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds for us!

02/12/16

Chinese New Year 2016

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Chinese New Year starts with preparations that I usually take part, but now taking care of our baby girl was more than enough this year. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law prepared the ghost money to be burned. On the eve of the new year, decorations are put up the doors, doorways and where ever you want to create a festive feeling. In the photo above is our front door with spring festival couplings that with the feeling of an older house.
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In Guangzhou it’s a tradition to visit Flower Markets before the new year and decorate your home with fresh flowers. I’m terrible at taking care of flowers, so we decided to have only two sets, one in the first floor and another in the second floor. Home always feels more festive when you have fresh flowers in the vase.

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Giving offerings to gods and ancestors is also an important part of the Chinese New Year. You place food and tea in front of the altar, light incense and quietly say a few words how  you wish that god to protect your family the  coming year. My parents-in-law also have an altar for the grandparents who aren’t with us anymore and food and drinks are offered from them as well.
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Because this year we had a small baby to take care of, some traditions had to be postponed. The fire crackers were much smaller than before and we were already asleep before midnight when the year of the goat changed into the year of the monkey. But we had a nice family dinner and the next day went outside to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather.

On the second day of the new year it’s a custom for daughters to visit their homes. As my home is a bit far away, we wen’t with my mother-in-law to visit her home and relatives.

This year Spring Festival seemed to go past very quickly, but I hope to get more festive feeling next year when our baby is 1 year already and can enjoy the holiday and new traditions our family will be creating.

02/7/16

Happy Chinese New Year

 

Once again it’s time for a brand new year, the year of the monkey. This past year has been especially exciting for us as we welcomed our baby girl and we can’t wait to see what monkey has in store for us! I’ll be sharing photos when all the festivities are over, right now we are planning to have a late night snack, exchange lucky money and put out small fire crackers.

Happy Chinese New Year to all readers!

p.s. You can find the same video on my Facebook page as well!