Tuesday, March 3, 2015

D&G and Motherhood: Viva La Mamma


Mother's Day was celebrated early in Milan, Italy as Dolce&Gabbana showcased its fall/winter collection which included drawings by children as well as models on catwalk carrying babies and walking with toddlers. Tres chic!



D&G designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana went all out with this concept/theme. The show featured a model who was six months pregnant and a few of the models even carried babies. To add effect and nostalgia and to evoke emotions on the runway, the Spice Girls' 1996 hit song "Mama" played. Yes, human props at its finest. I personally love the concept - celebrating motherhood on the runway.

Here are some of the clothes from the collection:

Scribbled dresses remind me of Angelina Jolie's wedding gown. Oh and yes, this six months preggy model worked it! Bianca Balti could just be one of my pegs when I get pregnant again eh? Oh I hope I would look half as gorgeous as her when I am all bloated carrying a baby. Wishful thinking! 

I love the muted colours - classic and elegant. 

Roses and scribbles and the simplicity and elegance of black and white. 

Don't you just love that mommy and me ensemble? I love it! 


"Much like the basic and natural joy the pregnant model, the toddlers and children evoked when they walked the runway, the fashion was nothing less than joyful. Pastels and cream colours, typical of a spring palette, and in keeping with the trend we’ve seen thus far on the Milanese runway provided colourful accents to a darker, and very Sicilian portion of the collection, where Dolce&Gabbana always come into their own". - Valentina Zannoni


With words of Edoardo Bennato’s 1989 hit Viva La Mamma as a soundtrack, the Dolce&Gabbana Fall Winter 2015-2016 collection was a celebration of motherhood. A declaration of love to the mother - as a woman, as a modern icon, as the embodiment of the highest love possible, the mother was celebrated in all her incarnations.






What do you feel about the collection?


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Monday, March 2, 2015

New Mommy Wishlist


It has been almost three weeks since I gave birth and all the online and store shopping I have done are all for baby. Yes, it's true and I definitely agree now that when you become a parent, you start to forget about your wants and you tend to focus more on the needs of your child. Suddenly I just want to streamline my life and I want to minimize daily decisions so that I will have more time spent with the little one. Even the things that I want to buy for myself are still directly related to satisfying my baby's needs.

BOOKS


1. Bringing Up Bébé - I have noticed that most if not all of the mommy bloggers that I follow have read or wants to read this book. Based on the reviews that I have read, this book is an interesting read. I want to be able to raise a bébé who can self-soothe during sleep and enjoy ALL kinds of food. Sounds promising no?

2. The Happiest Baby On The Block - This book has been highly recommended by a friend and I have a good feeling this could serve as a lifesaver one way or another. One can never go wrong with a book dubbed as the most important parenting book of the decade.

3. What to Expect the First Year - I own What To Expect Before You're Expecting as well as What To Expect When You're Expecting so I think it is only but important to me to supplement my reading with this book. This could arguably be my new baby bible. I love the trademark month-by-month format of this book and I also love that this book has a chapter on breastfeeding.

BABY GEAR


1. Ergobaby Baby Carrier in Pink/Grey Chevron - I want to own this carrier and use it when baby reaches the desired weight. This would be good to use when travelling I feel. I like the print as well as the adjustable hood feature that supports baby's head while sleeping. This carrier also allows three different carrying positions: front-inward, hip and back.

2. Moby Wrap Designs Baby Carrier in Tree - This carrier is what the husband wants me to get because it looks very comfortable as well as lightweight.

3. Kid Kanteen Stainless Steel Complete Baby Bottle Set - I am mix-feeding now and I am currently using Avent bottles that my sister gave and a few other bottles that were bought from the baby shower registry. I am however very eager to get a set of stainless steel baby bottles. I love that these bottles are phthalate-free, latex-free, BPA-free and also lead-free. Win!

4. Marpac Dohm-DS Natural White Noise Machine - I've tried lulling baby to sleep using lullaby's on Spotify and it works but not all the time. I noticed though that she likes the sound of white noise so getting a machine that has this function should be a big help to make her sleep calmer and longer.

BLANKETS/CLOTHING


1. Aden + Anais Classic 4-Pack Muslin Swaddles in Make Believe - I literally swoon over these pretty fabrics that are technically blankets but are also good for use as breastfeeding cover,  burp cloth, among other things. Ah it can also be used as bed cover for your little one maybe. Oh I also love the Princess Posie pack.

2. HALO Newborn Micro-Fleece Sleepsack Swaddle - I have read a lot of mommies that swear by this sleep sack so I would like to give this a try too. The sleeveless design reduces the risk of overheating and the design can't be kicked off by baby too so enough warmth is an assurance all night.

So yeah those are all the items that I really need to buy for now. Like I mentioned above, a baby can take over your life in an instant - when you become a parent you forget about your wants and focus more on the needs of your little one.

Oh and yes a year's supply of diapers and a whole lot of patience and strength to battle sleepless nights would be a welcome treat...


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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Newborn Photoshoot: Viktoria Summer


Every newborn photoshoot is adorable on its own so I didn't really bother preparing much for my baby's first ever photo session at the studio. All I cared for was for us to document an hour or two of my ever-changing little one and completely trusted the expertise of the photographer who took care of us at The Picture Company in Greenbelt 5. And yes, we survived it - baby survived it, she made it through her first photoshoot.

Summer was a trooper! She had a few crying fits (maybe because of the temperature at the studio) but her trusty soothie calmed her down. She became so comfortable that she peed on the faux fur blanket.  Here's a sneak peek of the photo set.






I am completely in love with my daughter. I feel nothing short of blessed when she came into my life, our lives. I really never knew how amazing motherhood would be until she came into our lives. I am definitely loving every minute of being a mom. She just lights me up and gave a new meaning to my life.

If you would like to see more pictures of Baby Summer since the day she was born until the present, you can see them on my personal Instagram account: @ktnielsen24

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Preparing For Baby Checklist


It is really tempting to overbuy for your first child and in fact I think I did. While I was scouring the internet for guides and checklists, I was a bit overwhelmed because there were too many items in any given checklist and of course as a newbie mom I found it difficult to determine what is absolutely necessary. I had to enlist the help of my sister who gave birth last year to trim down my list. Oh and yes, the list that the malls hand out has a lot of non-essentials in it too.

Well truth be told, a newborn just needs you, a place to sleep securely and comfortably, milk (breast milk or formula), diapers and clothes for the first couple of weeks. You actually need not complete your entire list the moment you find out you are pregnant. As you start taking care of your newborn's needs you will be able to identify what you really need and then go out and buy it.

Here's a checklist that I created before I gave birth (the original list was longer to be honest): if you want printable versions of this list please let me know by leaving a comment so I can send you the document


but wait there's more...



It's a long list yeah? It could undoubtedly overwhelm just about anyone and this long list means a long tape receipt as well and you have to be ready to break the bank as you start your motherhood or fatherhood journey. I have not completed this list so far and I have yet to buy a few more items that I think I need. My suggestion at this point is to not buy too much newborn clothes as the little ones grow up too fast. I made the mistake of buying quite a number of dresses in newborn size and I feel that in a week or two such dresses will not fit Baby Summer anymore. Bummer!

Anyway, I am challenging myself to cut this list further into 10 absolute essentials for newborns. I will trim the list at least a month after baby is born and I will share it with you. If you have an absolute essentials list, please do share it with me.

What are your newborn essentials? Anything crucial/must-have that I may have left off my list? 


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Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Newborn Essentials Shopping List

If you have visited my blog for the past couple of weeks, you would know that I recently gave birth to our little princess and we are slowly and ever so cautiously adjusting to a new life with her in it. It is quite nostalgic as each day comes and goes at her newborn stage. I could not believe how fast time seem to fly by. I cherish the fact that she is so fragile and so dependent on me and my husband. I admit that we are both struggling to say the least and this new thing called parenthood is really humbling. I am just so lucky that my sister and her husband agreed to stay with us and provide much needed guidance to us newbie parents.

It has been two weeks since our baby was born and my stash of newborn diapers is almost used up. It is a challenge for me to go out and replenish my stock because I am still recovering from my cesarian operation. It is a good thing that Lazada carries an assortment of diaper brands so I don't have to personally get my recovering self out of the house and head to the supermarket. Score! I don't think I can manage the demands of using cloth diapers at this point.


I am currently mix feeding my baby (breast milk and formula) because I can't seem to get my BM supply on a steady stream. The hubby and I need to do some extra steps to get it going so sometimes when time and supply isn't just on our side we resort to feeding baby cow's milk (S26 HA). I feel guilty to be honest but I am left with a choice between starving baby and the latter. Feeding baby with formula means using cups and/or baby bottles thus this entails frequent washing and then sterilizing. I have not bought a sterilizer yet thus my mom has been bugging me for days to get one. At the moment, I am improvising and so far it has worked for me but I might as well get one over the weekend to satisfy my mom and of course ensure my baby's health. Come to think of it, it really isn't worth it to scrimp on this.

I also wanted to buy more swaddle blankets and I love this stars and butterflies set. I like that it is made from 100% cotton and is hypoallergenic. I also like that it can be used as swaddle, towel, breastfeeding cover, stroller cover and of course blanket. Win! Oh and yes, a couple of HALO SleepSack Micro-Fleece Wearable Blanket too.

I still have a lot of the Mustela products that I bought when they were on sale last December so I am not going to restock on this yet. I highly recommend for you to try the different product ranges of this brand. Please do note that there are different product ranges so choose that which is suited for your baby's skin.

I am not keen on buying a stroller at this point because I don't think I can manage to lug around such a heavy thing on my own. I am leaning towards buying a baby carrier/baby wrap. I like the idea of baby wearing - I love how you can get as close as you possibly can with your baby whilst you go out and about. If you have tried any wrap or sling or any newborn carrier, please let me know which brands you recommend for me to check out. I would really appreciate suggestions.

The rest of my newborn essentials were already gifted when we had the baby shower so I feel extremely lucky to have such thoughtful family and friends. Thank you again to everyone who joined us to welcome Baby Summer. I am still overflowing with so much joy.

If you are reading this and currently building your own shopping list, please visit my blog again as my next post will be a checklist of the items that you will need before your own little one arrives. I am also going to write about what I packed in the hospital bag that we brought to the hospital when I gave birth so please watch out for it.


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Friday, February 20, 2015

Welcome Home Viktoria Summer


Until now I am still bursting with joy, so much joy that finally our little princess, Viktoria Summer, has arrived. She's a day shy of her 40th week when we decided to give up on delivering her normally and instead opt for caesarian delivery. My OB has explained to me the risks involved if my baby will go over her due date so it was an easy decision on our part to trust the experts. We welcomed our first born on the 10th of February at 6:03PM weighing 7 lbs 11oz and 52cm in height.

Our little princess, Viktoria Summer, minutes after she was cleaned up and handed over to her daddy. 


Our lives have changed! Using the word "changed" is really an understatement for that matter. Eating time, sleeping time, daily routine, priorities, among other things has changed since Day 1.

"When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children." -Jessica Lange

I love every single moment that I spend with her and I am sure her daddy does too. I feel like we both matured overnight, in an instant. We are still trying to learn how to handle the needs and demands of our little bundle of joy and we are more than willing to go through all these all over again. What is sure is that she looks so much like her daddy and that gave him so much joy and pride. Oh and yes we are starting to become experts in nappy changing and burping.

Baby Summer soaking up the sun's rays (1 day old) at the hospital zen garden. 

Our lives, I feel, have a new sense of purpose and meaning and we have nothing but excitement and pure joy as we go about each new day. We certainly love every squeak and squeal, every amusing facial expression, quite frankly every little thing she does. This little human being which happens to be our dear darling daughter has wrapped us around her tiny fingers. We're clearly smitten!

Baby Summer with her cousin, Eana when we arrived home from the hospital (3 days old). I am sure they will grow up and be BFFs no doubt. 

I can't believe it has been 10 days since she was born. She has lost a little over 100 grams but her pediatrician assured us that it is perfectly normal for newborns. I still am in awe at how Summer lights up my life.

If you want to see more pictures of Viktoria Summer, visit my Instagram as she has taken over it since she was born. 


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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Every Life Begins With A Story


And this is Viktoria Summer's birth story...

The birth of my daughter was the happiest and most terrifying day of my life thus far. For one, watching One Born Every Minute while I was pregnant did more harm than good to me (only because I am scared at the sight of blood and needles and all that) and two just the thought of delivering a new human being out into our world is just plain terrifying and too tall an order. I feel I did a pretty good job amidst all the health conditions that I had to go through though and today I want to tell the story, my story, our story.

I had three biophysical profile prenatal test to check on my baby's well-being in a span of two weeks conducted by three different doctors - Dra. Sandee Go, Dra. Jocelyn Bambalan and Dra. Christine Tantoco. Baby scored 8/8 on all tests except that her estimated weight was constantly increasing. My OB-Gyn Dra. Karen Alessandra Torredes discussed the possibility of delivering through cesarian section to me on my last visit as I was only 1cm dilated on my first internal exam and then progressed to 2cm after a week and that my cervix is still thick and baby's position is still not birth ready. She recommended natural ways to induce birth such as walking, having sex as sperm contains prostaglandin that  causes the cervix to ripen and she also recommended the use of evening primrose oil capsules. See, I had gestational diabetes mellitus so it's a little bit risky to go beyond the 40th week although I made it clear that I really would try to give birth without undergoing a major operation, I wanted to experience the act of "pushing".

Labor Induction

I would usually feel contractions at night - most were Braxton Hicks though but I appreciated each and every contraction. I stayed up late so I can time contractions or I would be awakened by stronger than normal contractions in between baby's kicks and rolls and hiccups. I did basically all the normal things that I do daily and we even went out of town to finally close the deal on the parcel of land that we had our eyes on. When we got home, I danced and danced to induce labor as advised by my cousin, Kate. I was hoping that my bag of waters will break or the bloody show would finally show up as I danced but nothing happened and it looked like baby held on to her position and didn't want to move down.

I was both excited and nervous at the thought of labor because as a first time mom I really didn't know what to expect aside from the stories of labor that I have read or heard. A couple of days passed and so on February 9, I sent a message to my OB-Gyn and told her that I am ready to be induced to labor. As soon as we got to the St. Luke's Medical Center - Global City High Risk Pregnancy Unit and got our room, doctors and nurses started attending to me and my situation. I was hooked up to an electronic feral monitor that picked up my baby's heartbeat and recorded the frequency and power of my contractions.

I went in 3cm dilated/40% effaced and with moderate contractions. After about 4 hours, evening primrose oil was inserted to my cervix to hasten it to ripen all the while monitoring my blood sugar level as well. Before midnight, I progressed to 4cm/60% effaced. As I was progressing very very slowly, my doctor deemed it necessary to augment my labor by giving me oxytocin (Pitocin). My contractions improved but baby just won't budge as I was still 4cm/60% effaced at dawn of February 10. Just after breakfast my doctor came by to ask me if I still want to try to deliver normally. I said yes with much gusto and prayed again when she left. I also talked to my husband and that's when we both decided that if around noon there would still be no progress then we will opt to deliver via C-section.

Biggest Decision

When I was checked around noon and still with no progress noted, I finally resigned to the fact that I will be cut open. I was scared and terrified but I have to trust the expertise of my doctor. I just wasn't prepared to go under the knife. I distracted my thoughts by watching TV and talking to my husband, my uncle and my sister. A couple of hours before the scheduled operation, I asked my nurse to unhook me from the fetal monitor so I can shower. I knew I would not be able to shower immediately after the surgery so I was so happy when I was cleared to shower.

Around fifteen minutes before my scheduled delivery (5PM), the anesthesiologist came in to interview me and he asked the usual questions and I had a chance to ask questions as well. At exactly 5PM, I was asked to prep for the procedure (wear hospital gown, remove all undergarments, remove all jewelries and that stuff) and two nurses wheeled me to the delivery room. I was laughing nervously as I said my goodbyes to my husband, sister and uncle. We entered the room at 5:15 and was promptly transferred to the operating table. I was cleaned up and given spinal anaesthetic, which removed the feeling from my waist down. I remained awake while they cut me through to get Summer out. I liked how the anesthesiologist assured me that all is well and that my vitals are looking good. I was staring at the lights above me all the while praying that I will be able to go through the operation successfully and that my baby will be safe and healthy.

"Baby Out"

At 6:03PM, I heard the doctors announce that baby is already out. I was overcame with emotion, tears started to well up. I cried and cried and the anesthesiologist was nice enough to wipe my tears. I didn't know if I cried silently or I sobbed. I knew my heart skipped a beat at that moment. I still cry every time I remember it.



After 39 weeks and 6 days inside my womb, our lille smuk pige Viktoria Summer, finally came - 52 cms long and weighed 7.11 lbs. She was checked, cleaned, weighed and a lot of other standard steps before she was made to latch on to me. I started to tear up again as I kissed my baby daughter for the very first time. I knew she was worth every single medical condition I had to go through my pregnancy. She looked so beautiful, so precious and she is my daughter.



But the ordeal didn't end there, the doctors still had to check Summer's blood sugar level to ensure that she was not severely affected by my gestational diabetes. We were wheeled to the recovery room and that's where they pricked her heel to get a wee amount of blood to check. I was torn when she cried in pain but relieved to know that she is perfectly healthy and that she is not hypoglycemic.



We were both wheeled to our room six hours after birth. I threw up on the way because of the anesthesia and I felt itchy because of the morphine administered to me. I felt so groggy but  overflowing with happiness. My husband was overcame with his emotions too and cried as soon as he saw his baby daughter. Oh such pure joy! We now have our own unit we will call family.

Self-Actualization

I am finally a mor, mom, mama, mamang, nanay and all there is to it. I am now a parent. My life, my husband's life, our lives will never be the same again. The miracle of life is like no other...



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