Archive | November, 2013

New nanny in town

21 Nov

We’ve officially had our nanny for 3 weeks, and things just aren’t working out.  She’s a nice person, however our parenting styles just aren’t matching up so we’ve decided to let her go.

We’ve had a few problems:

  • Lack of listening (putting wrong clothing on boys, packing lunches Thomas won’t eat, etc; and all after being told more than once),
  • She’s more of a bystander, meaning that she watches the boys play but doesn’t engage with them.  We’ve ‘caught’ her on multiple occasions T.V. babysitting the kids while she is on her phone or iPad at the kitchen table
  • Doesn’t follow our rules of parenting; I’ve caught her putting T in time out in his crib a few times after explaining to her that he’s 21 months old and too young to understand what’s going on, that maybe she should try distraction with a new activity instead
  • Clean but messy; Henry’s race track rug has paint on it from when they were doing crafts, I’ve scrubbed paint and crayon off of walls and floors multiple times, I have to re-wash the dishes she does because they are still visibly dirty

There are a few more issues but I won’t go into depth on here about them.  She is leaving Saturday morning and flying back home to Poland.  We are leaving on good terms so nothing is awkward here.

Sooo…tomorrow we are bringing in the special forces/Super Nanny/the best help one can ask for: MY MOM!!!  I am so excited that she’ll be able to come over her and spend a month with us.  It’s going to be such a special time with the holidays and being in Europe with her 3 grand babies!!

She flies out tonight and Henry is meeting her in Zurich and they will train back here mid morning.  There’s just nothing better than having your own mother to help you out!  Henry’s parents couldn’t come because his sister is due the first week of December with her 11th…they may be needed back home 😉

The countdown in on and I’m not sure who’s more excited, the boys, myself or my mom!


Birthing Abroad

20 Nov

As Anna sleeps, snuggled up on my chest, I thought I would document my birthing experience here in Switzerland.  Maybe you’re not interested in this, and sorry if it bores you, I just want to write about it so that I don’t forget the details.

First I’ll start off with my monthly, turned to weekly, appointments.  My Doctor, Dr. S, here is Switzerland is truly an amazing doctor and really loves what he does.  I found him through a friend here, and he’s actually from Salt Lake City, Utah, but has lived here in Switzerland for 30 years.  He is such a personable doctor, which during pregnancy really makes a difference.  I went into this pregnancy being high risk (due to preeclampsia with HELLP syndrome with Henry and preeclampsia with Thomas), and he specializes in high risk, and is very knowledgable.

Waiting room time:

Being a doctor here in Switzerland associated with a private hospital, he takes less patients but gets paid more (due to private insurance and so forth).  With this being said, he only booked time slots for quality time with patients.  For example, with my appointments, he allotted 45 minutes to an hour for our appointments.  I only had to wait 1 time and it was only for 15 minutes.  It’s so nice knowing this, especially with having a babysitter at home with the boys and predicting times.  This was much different from both of my practices back in the US.  Both practices I could expect to wait 20-30 minutes most of the time.


I’m not saying Dr. S is any smarter that the doctors in the US.  The key point to this topic is that at each appointment I had an ultrasound and Dr. S performed them himself.  I believe with him doing this, he was able to understand my pregnancy better than from just reading results posted on a piece of paper.  Along with this, he did all my weigh ins, blood pressures and blood work himself as well.  He doesn’t have a nurse working with him, just his wife who is the receptionist.  I just felt like this made the experience very personal.

Calm , Cool and Collective:

Towards the end of my pregnancy, we started to have some issues.  I wasn’t gaining weight, my platelets were getting low, my iron levels were dropping and the baby was hitting a plateau on the growth curve.  Dr. S was so calm with everything, not that he was ignoring these items, but he didn’t get in a frenzy about it.  We discussed the issues and he always asked me if he was forgetting anything that maybe the US doctors would have done or had done with my pregnancies.  He was always reassuring when he was doing the ultrasound, which always told us that the baby was doing great.  Even with labor, we were talking about music all throughout my labor and it really took my mind off the pain.

I have to admit that going into labor in a foreign country was a bit scary for me.  I mean I know all the protocols in the US but wasn’t sure if it was different here.  I mean the c-section rate here is fairly high because of a number of factors; women want to plan, doctors live too far away, etc.  Dr. S lives 2 blocks away from the hospital so that wasn’t a factor for us.

Well my date of delivery couldn’t have been better.  We arrived at the hospital at 8 am and filled out all the necessary paperwork (it was a lot!).  They then called the concierge to show us to our room.  After I was examined, we were then told we could go downstairs to the cafe to enjoy some coffee before our next check at 11 am. (Sorry if I’m repeating parts of my other post)  We were able to walk around the gardens for awhile and just relax in the nice weather.  Once upstairs in my room, the concierge came in and offered Henry and I lunch options.  I had to eat lightly since I was being induced in just 2 hours, but Henry could have whatever he’d like.  I was given a beef broth soup, veal and mashed potatoes and an apple tart for dessert.  Henry on the other hand had Filet, potatoes and green beans with a chocolate mouse cake for dessert.  It was amazing to say the least.  We then relaxed until it was time for the delivery room.

In the delivery room we were also served.  Henry was offered (many) double espressos (with a chocolate on the side of course; because delivering a baby is rough for the dads) and I was offered both still and sparkling water since I didn’t have an epidural. We had music playing overhead in the delivery room and it was such a great environment.

The delivery itself was remarkable.  Having a midwife with me the entire time was so nice.  She was so knowledgable on what to do, positions to lay in the help the baby drop, breathing and so on.  She really helped me towards the end with my breathing once the pain increased.  Dr. S was also so great (although he almost missed the delivery since I dilated from 5 to 10 cm in just 15 minutes and the baby was born 3 minutes later).  He did a little anatomy lesson with me following the delivery of the placenta and described how it works, again he just loves what he does.

Once I returned to my room (around 7 pm), I was served dinner (chicken with pasta and a veggie and they don’t forget dessert…ever!)  The first night they checked on me a few times, but the rest of the week they would take my vitals at 6 pm and then leave me alone until 6 am, unless I rang for them.  That was REALLY nice…not to be woken up all night long by the staff.

Each morning the baby was to be bathed by the mom or dad in the nursery, and it had to be done by 10 am.  In the nursery they have a full closet of clothes for the baby to wear while they are in the hospital…and really nice ones at that!  My routine was to take Anna to the nursery while I showered and then I went to bathe her or vice versa.  The nursery was so cute with little hammock swings for the babies if needed and the staff again were great.  I’d say 90% of the staff spoke at least some English, otherwise I communicated with the French I have.

Also each day you pick your meals for the following day, with many choices, and yes I was spoiled.  I was eating Filet, Veal, Shrimp, Salmon Tartare, Lobster and the list goes on.  It was pretty incredible.  Also each day around 3:30pm they come around with coffee and tea and cakes or brownies of some sort.  You have unlimited supply of sparkling and still water, all you had to do was hit the concierge button.

Comfort at Clinique Cecil was also something very different from the US.  In my room, I had a nice comfy bed with big feather pillows, regular pillows and they supplied a nursing pillow that can also be used as a body pillow.  Along with this, my bed had a nice cozy down comforter that made sleepy much warmer and comfortable.

As you can see in the photos below, they also put a special and very small down comforter on the baby in their bassinet.  At first it looked like a pillow to me, however once I had the baby I realized what it was.  It kept Anna nice and warm throughout the hospital stay.

At last; my recovery.  This is by far the quickest I have recovered from all my births.  My doctor even ok’d me to start running again, however I’m going to wait just another week or 2 so that I don’t injure myself.  Five days after having Anna (and it would have been sooner if I weren’t in the hospital), I was back at my daily routine of taking the boys to school along with all their other activities.

I stayed in the hospital 4 nights and could have stayed one more night, but I missed my hubby and my boys.  This long stay in typical here because they really want you to have time to bond with your baby before you get back to your daily routine.

As a joke, Henry and I call it Hotel Cecil instead of Clinique Cecil.  It was truly the best birthing experience I’ve had and I’ve birthed at 2 amazing and well know hospitals.

Anyway, that pretty much sums up my experience.  Here are a few photos:


My room with a view


My little breakfast nook where daddy did some work each morning


My lunch one day; Soup to start, Shrimp and lobster skewer atop bok choy with a side of purple rice and creme brulee for dessert


And of course a photo of Anna sleeping the other day…so peaceful

Grow baby Grow

18 Nov

Little Miss Anna Joy is 9 days old today.  The midwife from the hospital has been coming every few days to check on her weight and to see how we’re doing in general.  In the beginning I was a bit concerned because if I were to let her, Anna would sleep through some of her feedings.  As nice as that sounds, with her being so small I want for her to get as much as possible.  Also, when babies are born early, they are much more sleepy because they grow in their sleep.

Our pediatrician predicts based on Anna’s development right at birth (creases on feet, ears and genitals are a sign of weeks of gestation) that she was closer to 36 weeks at birth.  That makes more sense to me as well, based on my date that I initially calculated.  Also, the ultrasounds at the doctor’s office always said 1 week earlier than said week.

Today the midwife came at 2:30 pm and Anna hadn’t eaten since 12:45pm and she is now up to 5 lbs 1.6 oz – that’s 1) more than her birth weight by 1 oz and 2) 4 oz greater than the weight we had on Friday.  This weight was also prior to her feeding, which again is excellent.

This makes me feel so much more at ease knowing she’s getting what her body needs!

And here are a few photos from the past few days:


My little cheeser, T, with Anna and I


Reading Corduroy (one of Henry’s favorite books) to Anna and Henry


Anna and I after church on Sunday


Still in awe that we have this beautiful baby girl


The boys and their daddy




I tried to get a 1 week photo – Anna wasn’t having it!


All tuckered out after her weigh in today


A selfie before bed last night…daddy is in love

Home with the family

17 Nov

Last Wednesday night I came home from the hospital, a day earlier that expected.  I was getting a little stir crazy after being in the hospital for 5 days.  I was really missing my boys too – we never brought them into the hospital because they both had colds and didn’t think that was fair to Anna or the other babies on the floor.

It was so nice to walk in the door and be greeted by my two boys, one being naked after running to the door from being in the bath (nothing new really since he’s usually in his undies anyway) 🙂  I had put the baby in our room to surprise them.  They were so excited to see mommy, I love moments like these.  Anna started to stir and fuss a little and Thomas didn’t know what to think (Henry had gone to his room to get some underwear), so I walked him into our room and he was amazed with the baby.  All he kept saying was ‘baby’ and ‘I want to touch’.  I was so precious.

Once I took Anna out and brought her into the living room, Henry was so excited.  He wanted to hold her and read her a book…so he did just that.

In awe of his baby sister

In awe of his baby sister

First kisses

First kisses

Reading Anna her first book, upside down of course

Reading Anna her first book, upside down of course


Anna had bought her brothers gifts of course so it was like Christmas morning in our house.  They both received a Lego set, lollipops, Lightening McQueen surprise eggs and playdoh.  Henry and Thomas bought their sister a toy for her carseat so they helped her open that.  It was just a glorious family night.

Anna’s been such a great baby, I have to set an alarm at night to wake her to feed.  She went 5 hours the night before last and I woke in a panic.  They told me not to go longer than 4 hours once at night and then feed at least every 3 hours after that.  I was so worried.  The midwife did come to our house on Friday morning to weigh Anna and she’s still gaining weight, currently weighing 4 lbs 14 oz.

We all went to church this morning and it was great to get out of the house to get some fresh air.

Life as a family of 5 is so far fabulous and I couldn’t be happier!

News from the home front…

13 Nov

Here in Switzerland (and Europe for that matter) it’s normal for the mother to stay at the hospital for 5 days after a vaginal birth and 7 days after a cesarean section. With this being said, daddy is playing executive along with taking care of my job at home (which is a full time job in and of itself!). Here is the email I received this morning (let’s just say someone is missing mommy):

Tonight is the night i am going to confront the 21 month old Bully, Thomas. No more 3am wake up calls to get a 1/2 milk fix and IPad cartoon in your parents bed. Sweetie, this is my gift to you while you are still in the hospital….

3:39 initial wake up and request from the 21 month old bully

3:49 went in after calls for mommy daddy too much…. Told him he could no longer bully mom and dad in the middle of the night – there is a new princess that will command things now! Changed to heavier sleep sac and rocked him walking in room. Told him we love him

4:01 laid him back in bed (I resisted telling him that “If he wants to cry; I will give him something to cry about”…I’ll let my dad know I thought of him

4:02 started again… If he could say insults he would … With only a 3 word vocabulary of “mommy, daddy, up and hold me” it is amazing the guilt trip he can throw.

4:06 intermittent crying – Henry hasn’t asked him yet to stop hurting his ears. I can feel him awake looking at me through the monitor… He knows I am here… Now I know what the Cuban missed crisis was like

4:15 good sign … Neighbors have not yet called police yet. More silence than crying…longest silence is 2 minutes, but even though the crying fits are short they are strong. I fell they are gaining less power similar to Germany’s last tired and empty assaults during the trench war of WW1.

4:19. Weakening cries. No victory dance yet… I anticipate he is regrouping and evaluating strategy

4:23: …. He’s Back… Pacing around his crib… Binki just got thrown out… I hope he doesn’t throw out the second one… I should have out in more back up. Cries are more pleading now; insults are going down

4:26 going back in.. I can’t predict my actions. Just like a Navy SEAL I need to be prepared for anything.

4:41 For the last 15 minutes he pulled out some of the best material including the Plead & Pout followed by the Opera High Pitch Scrietch & Claw. Thankfully he did not use his Dick Butkis head slap like last week. I never should have read him Calvin Coolidges quote “Persistence”.

4:44 I rested on my shoulder quietly while I talked to him. I don’t know if he was exhausted and nearing the end, or stunned by my morning breath. I laid him down – by the way can we get the bear to keep the music going longer than 60 seconds or put padding on the walls and ceiling.

4:53 quiet. I am going to shut off light and hope it is over. Ps. I suggest you stay one more night – it ain’t over.

4:55. Still quiet.

6:05. He’s back… Now I am going to give him breakfast and milk.

Maybe he naps before school.

Sorry for the format, I just copied and pasted so I guess it got a little messed up.

The Birth of Anna Joy

11 Nov

As Anna lies sleeping on my lap, I figured now is the best time to document the birth before heading home in a few days.


Anna Joy
5 lbs, 18.5 inches
Born at 4:48 pm on 11/9/2013

Saturday morning started like any other Saturday morning, except the fact that I was showered by 6:30 am so that I could enjoy some snuggles with my boys before the day started.  I was to be at the hospital by 8 am so I was able to be with my boys for an 1 hour before we left.

Henry and I arrived at the hospital around 8 am where we had to go over all the necessary paperwork needed for having a baby abroad, insurance and so on.  We were then shown our room and waited for the doctor to arrive.  They hooked me up to the fetal monitoring just to check on the baby and all was well.  I was having contractions every 10 minutes, but nothing painful.

Dr. S arrived around 9 am and did a quick check on me, and while at it inserted some Cervidil to help my cervix dilate naturally before starting the Pitocin .  My cervix was still quite posterior so he told us to go downstairs, grab a snack and go for a walk.  It was a beautiful morning so we did just that.  I was to be back in the room around 11 am where he would check on me and the baby again.  Around 11 am I was dilating just a little, around 1-2 cm.

They brought lunch around 12 pm and told me to eat lightly and that after lunch we would start the induction.

At 1 pm I was taken to the room where I would labor and deliver in.  I was assigned a midwife for the delivery (all L &D nurses here are midwives) and she would stay in the room the entire time.  She inserted the IV right away and then proceeded to start the Pitocin at 1:12pm.  Dr. S came in around 1:30 and broke my water at 1:32pm – no turning back from this point on.

From this point on they checked me every hour to see how I was dilating.  To be quite honest, I was contracting ever 2 1/2 minutes, but they were just like light menstrual cramps, nothing too uncomfortable.  I was dilating nice and slowly which is the best I guess because it’s more gentle on the cervix.

Around 4 pm is when it became real.  I was really having to breath through my contractions, but found great relief in between.  My midwife was the most amazing nurse I’ve had, and sat there next to me and helped me breath through each and every contraction.  At 4:30pm Dr. S checked me and said I was 5 cm, but the baby’s head was still a little high.  Once he finished the check, the baby dropped and engaged.  He decided to go down to the first floor to grab a quick Coke (we were on the second floor) and said he’d be back up soon.  My midwife left the room to grab a quick coffee a few doors down.  This is where it all begun.  I told Henry that I was feeling incredible amounts of pressure and he asked if he should hit the call button.  My response was “I don’t know” which to Henry meant “Yes, immediately!”  My midwife returned within 30 seconds and I told her that I needed to push.  She was talking to me saying not to all while calling Dr. S to get him back upstairs….and quickly.  He returned within a few minutes, out of breath, in jeans and a button up shirt – there wasn’t any time to gown up.

I was having the burning sensation (ring of fire) when he walked in.  Immediately when he walked in he told me to go ahead and push.  I pushed once, the head was out, pushed again and at 4:48 pm Anna Joy Charlton was born – with strong lungs.

They immediately placed her on me!  Daddy was crying and I was in love!  Before feeding her they took her weight, length and did her Apgar test.  She did amazingly well with the Apgar, 9/10, which was a concern of ours with her being so small.  She is super healthy, more hair than both boys combined at birth and we couldn’t be happier.

On a side note: Dr. S came to check on me yesterday and informed me that when he walked in the door he saw her head coming out, was able to grab a glove to hold in in place while the midwife gloved the other hand.  He almost missed her delivery.

I recovered in the delivery room for the first 2 hours before going back to my room.  Anna fed for a good 45 minutes.  After the recovery process I was able to walk back to my room, I was feeling great.  This is the best I’ve recovered so far.  I don’t have any swelling, the bleeding is minimal and most importantly, Anna is being a rockstar feeding and not losing too much of her weight.

I had 3 personal fears going into labor and delivery and I was able to avoid them all.  Epidural, Episiotomy and Cesarean Section.  It sounds a bit crazy but I’m in a different country where medicine isn’t practiced the same; but I can say, Clinique Cecil does amazing work.

Of course my biggest concern was Anna, but she couldn’t be more perfect and healthy!

Here are a few photos from our day:


Checkin on baby girl early in the a.m.


In the delivery room


So blessed to see that Anna was healthy


Getting checked out by the nursery nurse


Feeling so blessed


My amazing midwife




Daddy’s little girl


He’s so in love already


The Verdict

6 Nov

First off I’ll start by saying that we (yet again) successfully had Henry’s team over for dinner Monday night.  This time it was only 12 people as the wives didn’t come and the 2 Germans flew in late, however Henry’s boss from the US was here so it was nice catching him up on our life here in Switzerland.

Again Henry and I did the grocery shopping and the guys cooked and cleaned; I just made individual apple crisps for dessert.  It was a lot of fun…and to top it off the Belgiums brought me some beer and Belgium chocolates!

Now back to the big news of the week (but not the biggest!).

I had my appointment yesterday afternoon with Dr. S.  All my blood levels from last Friday have improved, however he gave me another iron shot just to boost my levels, which will actually help me post delivery as well.

My weight gain: -1 lb ( so like Thomas’ pregnancy, I’ve hit the point that I’m losing the     weight rather than gaining it.) Total – somewhere around 13 lbs

BP: 115/80 so a little high for me but nothing too concerning

Baby’s HR: High 130s

Baby’s weight: 2.4 kg or 5 1/4 lbs

So this was our red flag this week and what we have been watching closely, especially for the past few weeks.  Just in the past 3 appointments baby girl has gone from the 46% with weight down to between the 14-17% (he did all the measurements twice).  With this being said, she’s stopped growing in the womb and therefore needs to come out early.  He did the doppler of both the umbilical cord and the brain and the blood flow is excellent so the baby is still thriving and it isn’t urgent to get her out (like yesterday urgent).  We had the choice of either Thursday or Saturday (his hospital days) and I opted for Saturday morning just because I’d like to get the boys through the week and get any loose ends finalized.

It’s a bit strange to pick a due date and I have to admit that I’m a lot of bit nervous…I mean how am I going to sleep Friday night??  I’ve also been praying that she’s healthy and that everything goes as planned – at least she’ll be 37 weeks 4 days, only 6 days earlier than Henry was born.

So unless something happens between now and then or we decide to have another baby; I may never know what it’s like to go into ‘real’ labor.  I’ve been induced with both so far.

Here’s a current pic of the belly – we’ll just have to wait and see how big she really is.


37 weeks 1 day


2 1/2 more days until we meet our little girl!!!



BIG week ahead

4 Nov

Last week I had 2 doctor’s appointments, 1 on Monday and 1 on Friday.  My doctor was on vacation the prior week so instead of coming last Friday I came on Monday instead.  We like to keep the Friday routine because Henry is able to attend as well.  Anyway, my Monday appointment went well.  I wasn’t feeling the baby all that much so we moved it from the afternoon to the morning, but everything checked out well.

On Monday:

Weight gain: 14 pounds  total (no change since my last appointment)

Baby’s HR: 136

My BP: 110/70

My platelets have actually come up from 126 to 149, which is almost in the normal range

Baby’s weight: 2.35 kg or 5.1 lbs

This is one of our concerns at the moment; the percentile of baby girl has dropped from the 46% to the 35%, which we watch for growth restriction either due to my size or my placenta indicating a possibility for pre-eclampsia

On Friday:

Weight gain: again 14 lbs total (I’m eating so much too)

Baby’s HR: 136

My BP: 110/70

From Monday we learned that my red cells are low, and lack iron so I was lucky enough to get an intravenous iron shot – gotta admit, it was a little weird watching him inject my vein with pure iron which is black ( I couldn’t feel it though)

Baby’s weight: 2.4 kg or 5 1/4 lbs

So currently the baby is in the 27th percentile and hitting a plateau with her growth.  I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon so check on her again, however the Doc has already had serious conversations with me stating that I will be induced either this coming Thursday or Saturday

It’s a little nerve racking, for many reasons.  The baby is small, but healthy and will grow much better outside of the womb – I understand this.  But knowing when the baby is coming is a little strange.

I’ve been having BH contractions like crazy and they are getting more and more uncomfortable and I’m already 60% effaced, so my cervix is a good candidate for an induction.

I’ll keep you all in the loop with what happens tomorrow.  I could be having this baby in just 3 short days…eeek!