Tag Archives: baby

Superdude, ein bayerischer Bub

Much to my amazement, Superdude will be one at the end of September. How time quickly flies! As an early birthday present (and as a souvenir of our time here in Bavaria), we bought him a pair of Lederhose, the famous Bavarian/Austrian leather pants. I still need to purchase a shirt to go with the Lederhose, so he borrowed one of Rosebud’s.

Isn’t he sweet in his Lederhose? The word “Bub” by the way is a Bavarian/Austrian word for boy; one Bavarian variant of Bub is Bua which sounds an awful lot like our English word boy.

Lederhosen are tasty!

He certainly looks like a Bavarian, with his fair hair and blue eyes.

Superdude as pleased as can be

Sweetest guy ever

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Springtime 2011

First, I apologize for neglecting my blog. Often when I have the chance to sit in the afternoon, with Baby Superdude snoozing on my lap, I doze off or find myself busy with other things. Frankly, I don’t always feel like writing even if I have lots of ideas in mind.

Second, we’ve had a lovely spring so far. Last year, it was mostly cold and rainy from the onset of spring, continuing through the summer. This year has been much nicer, and although a few neighbors have said how unusually nice the weather has been, I feel like we’ve earned the nice weather. It’s given me the chance to go outside with Rosebud and Superdude a lot.

Sometimes, when we are ready to come back inside, Rosebud protests. Loudly. And in fact, one of my neighbors even said to me, “I think I heard your daughter the other day. Was she fussing because she didn’t want to come inside?” Fussing was a polite way to put it! And yes, that was my daughter you heard screaming down the street. I always feel bad, dragging Rosebud back inside when she clearly wants to spend more time outside. But when you have a little guy to take care of, sometimes you just have to head back home.

I thought I would share some photos and videos of the children so that everyone can see how much they have grown and changed:

Here’s Superdude, enjoying his baby food luncheon (and a little scenery eating from Rosebud):

I have to say, I love the German baby food, both in terms of quality and variety. It tastes very good. Some of Superdude’s favorites so far are squash-potato which he is eating in this video, peach-banana-millet and fruit-and-quark. Plain mashed bananas, pureed carrots and other such early baby staples rapidly disappear when Superdude is seated at the table. He is, shockingly, almost seven months old and doing very well. I’m enjoying his infancy very much, and will be a little sad once he reaches the toddler stage (but on to bigger and better things).

He has also been discovering his ability to “talk” and make sounds, which is always exciting! I think watching a child gain language is one of my favorite parts of infancy. You’ll even hear him say “mama” in this video:

And hey, look – a slideshow!

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Birthing Superdude, Part 1

I was invited to be a guest contributor for the Gen X Moms Blog – what an honor! I have shared my birth story, which you can read by clicking the link: Birthing Superdude, Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!

edited to add the text I wrote for Gen X Moms:
Birthing Superdude, Part 1
Posted on October 25, 2010

When I gave birth to my daughter Rosebud in 2008, it was a difficult labor in that I was severely ill with preeclampsia. I needed to be induced and was given a variety of medicines to stabilize my blood pressure. I was also gestational diabetic while pregnant with Rosebud. Originally I wanted to try a natural birth without pain medication, so I hired a doula to assist while laboring. Given all the health issues I was dealing with, I think it made a big difference to have a doula there even though I eventually did get an epidural. With assistance from my doula, my husband and the hospital nurses, I was able to deliver Rosebud vaginally. After delivering Rosebud, it took me many weeks to fully recover, as I was still sick for quite awhile.

In 2009, when Rosebud was eight months old, we moved to Germany for my husband’s job. This gave me the new role of stay-at-home-mom; prior to that, I taught high school German. When Rosebud was about a year old, we started talking about another baby, although we were nervous given the health issues I had with Rosebud.

Despite our concerns, we decided it was time to try again. Throughout my pregnancy with our son Superdude, we worried about my health. I know that my husband especially struggled with his concerns, because it had been traumatic for him to see me so sick with preeclampsia. Fortunately, my German doctor was very responsive to my concerns and kept a close watch on me. He said that preeclampsia, if it happens, most often occurs in a first pregnancy and that although I was at risk for developing it again, the odds were greatly reduced in a second pregnancy. To our relief, my pregnancy with Superdude was normal. I was mildly glucose intolerant but tested to keep my numbers in check and it wasn’t really an issue. I did suffer from the normal pregnancy woes. Morning sickness hit me especially hard with Superdude, and toward the end of this pregnancy, I was truly miserable. I ached all over, suffered from heartburn and struggled with my toddler Rosebud. To be perfectly frank, I really hate being pregnant (I’m happy I don’t ever have to do it again!). But despite all this, I was thankful that everything was going well and that our baby in the womb appeared healthy and strong.

Here in Germany, we opted for the public insurance although we could have chosen private insurance. My care on the public health plan was excellent. I sometimes had long wait times at my doctor’s office, but that was more due to him being a sole practitioner.

If I wanted, I always had the option of seeing a Hebamme (pronounced “Hay-bama”) instead of the doctor – that’s the German term for a midwife. A fair number of German women will mostly see a Hebamme (midwife) throughout their pregnancies, instead of an OB-GYN doctor. Some women will see the doctor and the midwife equally as much, if they prefer. Visits to either are fully covered by the public health insurance after the patient pays her quarterly co-pay of 10 Euro. In my case, the doctor felt it best I see him because of my past history, although I did see a midwife a few times when my doctor was out of the office.

At the end of July, we toured the clinic where we would be giving birth, in the small city of Bad Tölz, which is about an hour south of Munich. During the tour, we met several of the midwives and one of the on-call doctors who would attend to me when I gave birth.

The Wednesday before my due date, I started having irregular contractions early in the morning. Since I wasn’t sure if it was real labor or not, I advised my husband to stay home, just in case. On that day, I had an appointment at my doctor’s office for a CTG (Cardio-Toco-Graph, or what is called the Fetal Non-stress Test in the United States). By the time I got to my doctor’s office, my contractions had waned. My doctor examined me, and my cervix was still closed. He said that my baby was so comfortable that he might stay put for several days or longer. This was not the news I wanted to hear, as I was sore, uncomfortable and ready to meet my baby. As my husband can attest, I was cranky, irritable and not much fun to be around! The good news, however, was that our baby responded very well to the contractions I did have during the CTG.

On Thursday afternoon, I was feeling even crabbier and physically miserable. It was a gorgeous day, however, so I took my toddler Rosebud for a walk around our neighborhood. She wanted me to carry her on the way home. During our walk, especially as I carried my daughter, I could feel the baby sitting lower.

That evening, I felt even worse. I was barely hungry at dinner, and yet when I checked my blood sugar levels an hour after eating, they were exceptionally high. Perhaps that should have been a clue that something was beginning to happen. While putting my daughter to bed, I noticed a few contractions but assumed they were Braxton-Hicks contractions again. To relax, I took a warm bath before going to sleep and that helped.

Around 1:30 am on Friday morning, the 24th of September, I woke up because my legs felt oddly numb. Soon after that, I started noticing contractions. They felt different from the Braxton-Hicks contractions and they were getting regular, about three an hour. I decided to get up and have a small snack; then I went back to sleep because I had a strong feeling this was the day and I knew I’d need as much rest as I could get.

At around 5:00 am, I was awake because my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I woke up my husband to tell him I thought we’d be going to the clinic to finally meet our baby. He let me rest some more, although I didn’t sleep much because of my contractions. We woke up our daughter around 7:00 am; I decided to take a shower that felt very relaxing in the early stages of labor. By 8:30 am, I contacted my doctor’s office to let them know we were going to the clinic. My husband loaded up our car with my hospital bag and my daughter’s bag. Shortly after that, we dropped our daughter off at a friend’s house and then called the midwife at the clinic so they would know we were on our way.

We arrived around 9:15 am; my contractions were fairly strong and about five minutes apart. The midwife examined me, and I was between three and four centimeters dilated. She checked my vitals, which were fine; then she wanted to see how the baby was responding to the contractions. After about twenty minutes of a CTG, the baby was doing very well. She also asked me if I planned on getting an epidural to manage the pain. I told her that I really wanted to try without an epidural. The midwife then instructed us to go take a walk so that my contractions could be more productive and also to help me work through my labor pains. To my surprise, she said we were free to leave the clinic and encouraged us to walk around the area near the clinic.

I really wasn’t expecting that we would be able to leave the clinic while I was in labor. Even better, it was a gorgeous morning so we were really able to enjoy our walk. Although my contractions definitely hurt, I wasn’t in an unbearable amount of pain. Walking made a huge difference, and being outside in the fresh air felt really good. The midwife said that once my contractions felt considerably stronger, then I should head back to the clinic.

Near the clinic was a rose garden, so we spent a lot of time walking there. We met another couple that was also walking to help labor progress. They too were having a boy. The mother said she really hoped the walking would work because they had arrived at the clinic much sooner than we had.

As my husband and I were walking around the rose garden, we cherished this time to ourselves. It had actually been awhile since we had gone on a walk without our daughter, so it felt like a date! Having this time for just us was a really lovely way to enjoy ourselves as a couple before we were going to become parents for the second time.

After our walk in the rose garden, we walked a little farther in the town of Bad Tölz, where I purchased a magazine at one of the newsstands. We decided to turn back toward the clinic after that, as my contractions were getting noticeably stronger. On our way back, we stopped for some ice cream. I had hazelnut and chocolate chip; my husband had lemon and raspberry ice. (Can you imagine being able to walk around and order ice cream while in labor in the United States?)

Once we were back at the clinic, at around noon, the midwife checked me again and I was now seven or eight centimeters dilated. Clearly, all the walking worked! Even though my contractions were much stronger, I still had little difficulty walking and breathing through them. My midwife even said to me that she couldn’t really tell I was laboring because I looked so calm through the contractions. She wanted to monitor the baby again to see how he was doing, and he was still responding well to the contractions. She gave me a homeopathic medicine to help with the pain, and then asked me to walk around again as my water had not yet broken. This time, however, she wanted me to stay very close to the labor and delivery area, because I was getting close to pushing time!

We walked for another 15 minutes and still my water did not break. When we came back to the labor and delivery area, another midwife met us. Two other laboring mothers had since arrived to give birth, which was why we had a new midwife. I had met her before and really liked her, so I was pleased she was going to help me through the birthing process; she was fantastic all throughout the rest of my labor. The midwife asked me if I would like her to break my water for me, because I was fully dilated and effaced. I agreed to this because I was more than ready for our baby to be born…

Rosebud and Superdude

Rosebud wasn’t too sure about her brother at first. Here’s a video of when she first met him, at the hospital, when he was a day old.

She has certainly warmed up to her brother now. When Superdude cries, she often goes to him to see what is wrong. Sometimes she likes to cover him up with a blanket.

Rosebud tucks in Superdude

Rosebud and Superdude hanging out together

Some other photos of Superdude:

Superdude, getting ready for a bath

Superdude, three weeks old

And here is one of Rosebud, playing in the puddles:

Rosebud splashing in what she calls the cuddles

Rosebud by the creek near our house

This video is from another walk we took as a family; Rosebud is especially cute, playing Peek-a-Boo.

And here’s a video of Rosebud from September, where she is playing with her dolly.

Welcome, Superdude!

He’s here!

Superdude, four days old

Our son, who we are calling Superdude online, was born on 24 September 2010 at 13:53. At birth, he weighed 3580 grams/7.89 pounds, and was 52 cm/20.5 inches long. Superdude is now three weeks old, and I’m amazed by how big he is already since we brought him home. We’re doing really well, although we are quite tired. Hopefully in the coming weeks Superdude will sleep better during the night.

Rosebud is adapting well, although at times she acts out because she doesn’t get as much attention as she has been used to getting. She really likes her little brother; when she hears him crying, she often wants to make sure he is okay. Today, for example, I had put Superdude in his bouncy chair for a few minutes. He started to fuss, so Rosebud went over to him and gently patted him and then turned on the vibration function to soothe him. She also likes to share her blanket, Bitty, with her brother (although just for a short time!).

Superdude, right after he was born

We feel very blessed to have our son and equally fortunate that everything went so well. As we settle into life with a new baby, I hope to find a little more time to write some more blog entries.

Our Family News

Many of you know already, but we are expecting a baby at the end of September! We are just thrilled. For that reason, though, I have not been feeling too well and haven’t gone out a whole lot. I am now almost ten weeks pregnant and I’m finally starting to feel better. We have an appointment on Thursday, and we will get to see our baby and hear its heartbeat.

Our car arrived in Germany on February 15th, which first involved a lot of phone calls and gathering of paperwork in order to get the car released from customs.

We found out after the fact that we should have had the car shipped to us within a year’s time frame of our household goods arriving. The reason for this is because the German government could have technically taxed the car at 30% because it was no longer considered part of our household goods shipment. Furthermore, because we bought the car in October 2008 and then moved to Germany in January 2009, according to the government regulations the car had only been in our possession for four months, even though it was at our house in Indiana.

But through perseverance, a number of phone calls to customs agents and to the shipping company, we managed to get everything straightened out. The best news I got during this whole process was from the main customs office in Rosenheim, which allowed us to treat our car as part of the original household goods. This saved us 6000 Euro, which was definitely worthy of a celebration.

Then a week ago Tuesday, David traveled to the port of Bremerhaven to pick up the car. It went even smoother than we anticipated and he only had to pay 221 Euro to get the car released from customs. That is way better than 6000 Euro for sure. Then David drove about 900 km back home, with the help of a colleague who had visited family in that part of Germany, back the same day.

So now, we have our car, which is wonderful. The next part of the puzzle is getting the car up to German standards. The only modification needed on the car is to replace the headlight system with xenon lamps that can be angled and have their own wipers. It’s not a complicated modification, but it is a very expensive one. Each headlamp costs about 1000 Euro. But this is still much less than what we could have spent. And as one of my friends pointed out, xenon lamps are the best you can get so it’s like we’re making an investment in our car, albeit a very expensive one. But we don’t really have a choice, so of course we’ll do it.

Yesterday afternoon, Rosebud and I were able to visit our friends Veronika, Laurie and their daughter Lilly, who live very near the town of Murnau. We had a fantastic visit. I thoroughly enjoyed our walk around their town. And after our walk, we had a delicious apple-pear cake.

Veronika and David know each other through work and I am so glad she and her family are our friends. Her husband Laurie is a talented musician from the north of England (Yorkshire or New Castle?). Veronika herself speaks beautiful English. We speak in German, though, which I greatly appreciate! Often, Germans like to practice their English on me when I’d much rather practice my German. I live here, after all. 😉

Lilly, like Rosebud, is growing up bilingual so it’s great that our girls can play together. They’re just a few months apart, and my goodness are they ever cute together! I will have to remember to take photos next time of these two adorable girls.

Since we had our car this weekend, and since I have been feeling a lot better, David and I went out on a dinner date tonight! It was to celebrate his birthday which was on February 17th.

David took me to a local Bavarian restaurant called the Urthalerhof. It’s a Wirtshaus, which is an inn that is both a hotel and a restaurant. The Urthalerhof is basically down the road from Bad Heilbrunn, where we live, and it serves typical Bavarian fare. I can’t wait to bring my family members there!

You can order things like Käsespätzle (German noodles with cheese), Schweinehaxe (pork knuckle, often called ham hock in English) and Schnitzel. I had Pfefferrahmschnitzel – a lightly breaded pork schnitzel with a delicious cream-pepper sauce. It came with a mixed salad and buttered rice. Being pregnant, I’ve been craving sweet-sour flavors too, so I had to get the Apfelblaukraut, or apple-red cabbage. It’s called Apfelrotkohl in most other parts of Germany. It tasted like the best thing I had ever eaten. I do have a decent recipe for apple-red cabbage which I should post sometime. It’s not too difficult to make, although it takes some time and it surely is delicious!

David ordered a portion Schweinehaxe and Schweinebraten (roasted pork) with a Semmelknödel (a large semolina dumpling) and Krautsalat (a sauerkraut salad – not nearl as sour as what we are used to in the US, though).

Bavarian cuisine is definitely stick-to-your-ribs food, but it is oh-so-yummy. My friend Mia is an excellent cook, so gradually I have been collecting traditional Bavarian recipes from her so that I too can make all these wonderful dishes that we enjoy.