Category Archives: New Baby

Super sisters back at it

Part of George’s job in life is to provide joy to his sisters, by way of letting them hold him.

And sleeping.

And holding.

But juggling all three is sometimes a challenge. That’s why we’ve invested in some totally desperate new games and activities for the big sisters to enjoy during those rare moments when they’re not snuggling with the little guy.

Our first visitor also got in on this action. Cathy, who is our pastor’s wife at Rome Baptist Church, came over during George’s first week and brought gifts, including this bead project for Phoebe which she amazingly got together (with help from both Paul and I) without any of the other kids ingesting any. At least I think so.

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Paul & George, just hanging out

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George’s first excursion

At day 10 George made his way to the local bar for a cappuccino, part of our family’s long-time morning routine. To be clear, no cappuccino for George. Not directly anyway…but he still enjoyed his outing. And the other Romans certainly were excited to see him. Every time I take him out, he’s mobbed by Italians asking how old he is, am I breast feeding and above all, is he a boy?!? It’s extremely important to the Italians that we have an heir. Even though we’re not exactly royals.

Also, the blue ribbons are a really sweet tradition. When you have a baby, you put one on the outside of your building. (We also put one on our apartment door.) This is how excited Italians get about babies. Even strangers’ babies.

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Happy Father’s Day Paul!

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Welcome home little George

On our first morning at home, Phoebe came into my room and curled up with George and I on our bed. She whispered quietly and gently stroked his face.

“It’s okay New Baby Bro-der.”

“Mommy, I think him wants to come to me.”

“Look at how liddle him is.”

It was so sweet that I could hardly take it. Then she leaned over and whispered to me, for the millionth time in 24 hours, “But why do you still have a big tummy?”

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Here come the Big Sisters…

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Resting up at Villa Margherita

The idea was to spend a few days in the peace and quiet of Villa Margherita before coming home to the most excited set of Big Sisters ever. And it worked out, sort of. When he left after the delivery, my OB said to me, “make sure they do everything you ask them to. This is a five-star place.” I had to laugh because he knew how tired I was, and how much I was looking forward to catching up on some rest before heading home. New lotions, books and videos were packed. iPhone charged, camera ready. Best of all, my bedside table was stocked with water, raisins and the all important chocolate bar, carefully (and gratefully) rationed over four days.

But we were still in Italy. Everything is dramatic. Nothing is strategic. And they all speak Italian.

This meant a parade of nurses, doctors, cleaners, and more nurses striding purposefully in and out of our lovely little room, all day long. Knock, knock. Time to take your blood pressure. “Signora?” Time to take your temperature. Knock, knock. We need to stamp his footprints now. Knock, knock. The baby’s hearing needs to be checked. “Signora?”

In and out.

With all the hustle and bustle though, it was lovely to have a full Italian meal prepared–and delivered on a silver tray–three times a day, like clockwork. I even got to choose each course ahead of time, reminding me of my former corporate life when I’d order fancy room service in even fancier hotels. Along the same lines, teams of two came to clean the room, change the linens and give baby George a bath in the nursery. Each time he left though, I’d be confused about where he could be for so long. I’d shower, change into fresh jammies (when getting “dressed” in the morning means putting on a fresh nightgown, you know you’re seriously in rest mode!), rub on my lotions, throw my hair in ponytail and be ready to read one of the four books I brought before I’d realize that something had been missing, for quite some time. Buzzing the nurse, I’d ask to bring in the bimbo. Yes, subito, signora. But they insisted on cleaning the floor before he came back. And this wasn’t a task that could be done immediately. Eventually, with a giant Swiffer thing that was somehow too dirty for him to witness, they’d clean the floor twice: once dry, once wet. Then finally, the little guy would make his way back in.

On the first day, there was a big question about a blood test. The requests started a couple of hours after birth, and unfortunately, after Dr. Grimaldi left. Did I have the paperwork for this particular test? Where was it? Could I get it? Could Paul go home and get it? It should be noted however, that I had no idea what blood test they were talking about. My Italian is only so-so but my medical Italian is about as good as my car Italian. Non bene. Two days later, they took some blood to do their own test. I’m sure I’ll never see the results but do hope all works according to plan.

George and I sunned ourselves on the terrace for a few minutes at a time, we read (I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp), we watched movies (The Iron Lady, Food, Inc., Happy) and practiced our nursing routine together.

Paul brought Phoebe and Estelle in each afternoon. I knew Phoebe was excited to see her New Baby Brother, but was amazed at how careful Estelle was with him. Mostly. Eventually we made our way home, grateful for the sleep. Speaking of, I did take the nurses up on their offer and slept from 1am to 5 or 6am each night, while they watched him in the nursery. There they fed him bottles of sugar water and chamomile tea. Not ideal but definitely Italian. All part of the experience…

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Welcome George Mathews!

We’re thrilled to say, he’s here! We welcomed Sweet Baby George last week at Clinica Villa Margherita in Rome. Doctor Grimaldi, who also delivered Phoebe and Estelle, was on hand again but the most helpful and supportive person on this mission by far was Paul. I’m so lucky to have this one!

Here’s the story: Labor started around 1am the night before but I wanted to be sure before I woke up Paul; when the contractions were getting regular, around 3am, I gave him the news. By 4am it is was calls and texts to Dr. Grimaldi and our babysitter Loida, who came over at 5am, bless her heart. The girls woke up around 6am as usual and with Paul and Loida’s help, got ready for school. Just another day… And off they went.

Paul packed up the car and we headed for the clinic at 8:30am. By now, the contractions were getting very strong and I was anxious to get settled. Escorted to a private room, with a lovely little terrace overlooking a magnolia tree, the setting was very sweet. The birth however was very hard! This little boy turned out to be quite a biggie, almost two pounds larger than Estelle, who despite her emergency at-home birth, was a pretty easy delivery. Certainly in comparison. But eventually everything worked out. I sat on our big exercise ball, Paul pushed on my back with each contraction. But here’s the truth, neither one was an epidural. I kept thinking, why on earth do I keep doing this to myself?! and promising, “If we do this again, I’ll get an epidural.” But we’re not. Really, we’re not! And in the end, our big baby is a delight. Sleeping peacefully in his seat right next to me as I type, I’m just so thankful that our family is complete. Happy, healthy and together forever from here on out. Welcome George!

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And (new) baby makes three!

Yes, we’re doing it one more time! With hope and prayers we’ll welcome our third baby into the family Mathews in June. At week 12, all looks great for New Baby so far and big sister Phoebe is thrilled. She hands me diapers every day, carefully explaining that “these are for the new baby, Mommy”. She also keeps trying to show the baby (aka my stomach) to people, which is cute but not ideal for obvious reasons. Estelle has been tight lipped about her feelings though, for obvious reasons.

But best of all, we’ve had a great time asking Phoebe to predict the sex. Okay, I have, but here’s how it goes:

Charity: Do you think the new baby will be a girl or a boy?

Phoebe: Boy

Charity: Will the new baby be your sister or your brother?

Phoebe: Sister

Charity: Are you a girl or a boy?

Phoebe: Boy

So, Chinese Gender Chart, don’t worry. You’ve still got a job to do.

Wish us luck!

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