30 May 2012


I always try and stay upbeat and positive on my blog and especially with my life in general. But sometimes life is just plain hard and you need to let yourself have a sad day or two.

My family has really been through a lot recently, especially when my dad passed away just a month before his grand daughter was born. It has been the hardest thing that I have had to accept or deal with.
Within the last couple of months we also lost 2 of our family dogs, whom I grew up with and loved like they were my best friends. It's hard not to stay upset, question life and fall into a depth of sadness especially when you are so far from home.

Sally and Chealsy. RIP. Good dogs.

Today I want to pay tribute to the recent loss of my dogs, but I also want to celebrate all the good things in my life. I have a beautiful baby girl, loving and supportive husband, a wonderful mother and a beautiful sister. I have my health and an opportunity to live my American dream.

Here's to life, and living it to the fullest!

Who or what are you grateful for in your life? 

28 May 2012

We Remember

Although I am not American, this is my (new) home.
On days like today, I love how the whole country comes together as one and it's hard not to feel patriotic.
Today we celebrated America's hero's by attending our local parade and community BBQ. I don't know if it's just my hormones, but I cried like a baby as soon as the parade began. I cannot even begin to imagine what some of those veterans have seen and been through.
Thank you for guarding my home and my family. Happy Memorial Day!

How did you spend your Memorial Day?

24 May 2012

Africa Day SALE!

Happy Africa Day!

Africa Day is a celebration of African unity and this year's theme is "Africa and the Diaspora" which I find is so well fitted to me since the modern day meaning of African diaspora can be applied to Africans who have emigrated from the continent in order to seek education, employment and better living for themselves and their children. (The term has been historically applied in particular to the descendants of the Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas.)

So lets celebrate shall we? For TODAY ONLY I am offering 20% off of my Africa baby onesie from my Etsy store The African Llama.
CLICK HERE  to head over and pick up this unique handmade onesie now!
Also please check out my other designs.

23 May 2012

1 Month of Zoey

I could be cliche and say how much time has flown but, to be honest, I can hardly remember a life without my little Zoey. This month we have adjusted to life with a newborn and even the sleepless nights are starting to getting a little more tolerable. It's not always easy but whenever I look down at that angelic face I instantly fall in love with her all over again.

Lets kick off the first month check in shall we?

Weight: Not sure yet since we're only going back to the doctor in a couple of days. 2 weeks ago she weighed 7.8lbs so I'm almost sure she is over 8lbs by now.

Height: 21.5 inches (2.25 inch growth since birth)

Clothing size: She is still wearing NB clothes but I cant wait for her to start fitting into 0-3 months since we've had to constantly rotate the few items that fit.

Diaper size: Newborn but we're on the cusp of size 1

Feeding: I'm pumping most of the time since then I know that she is getting enough breast milk (she drinks 2.5oz) but I occasionally breastfeed and she does great with the transition from bottle to breast. I've had to supplement once with formula because I couldn't pump enough one day.

Milestones: According to this milestone chart Zoey is top of her class! She is lifting her head up when lying on her belly, responding to sounds, staring at faces, follows objects with her eyes, ooh's and aah's, and is even smiling! (we have yet to capture that on film) My mom saw her give a bit of a laugh and I've heard her laughing in her sleep (like her dad).

Loves: Being fed, baths, sleeping on top of mommy at 3am, being held and rocked, mommy singing "All the pretty girls" by Fun

Dislikes: Gas! (not fun for mommy or daddy either), laying flat on her back, being put down.

Adventures: We've had a few family outings in which she has been very well behaved. Our big adventure this month was to The New York Botanical Gardens on Mother's Day. Granny takes her for very long walks almost everyday which she loves too!

Mommy and Daddy could not get through the month without: Gripe water! My mom, who usually takes her for a few hours in the morning so that we can get some sleep and my Madela Pump in Style breast pump.

1...2...3...4 weeks


21 May 2012

How was your weekend?

Instead of crawling into bed at 4am after a heavy night of partying, this weekend I found myself crawling out of bed to do the 4am feeding (which came after the 12am and 2am one) and then waking up for the 6am. Needless to say, after keeping up with this routine for almost a month already... I'm exhausted!

We did manage to try a new spot for a crepe lunch, make a trip to Target and savour a 4hr nap while my mom took Zoey for an extra extra long walk.

Lunch at La Creperie Cafe in Portchester, NY
What did you do this weekend? Tell me something fun!

18 May 2012

My Birth Story (part 2)

(read part 1 of my birth story here)

After being in labour for over 12 hours, the Doctor had noticed that the baby was not tolerating it very well. With another 5 or more hours of labour ahead of me it was decided that the best thing to do was to go ahead with a c-section. I was scared. For weeks I had been preparing myself (mentally) for a regular vaginal delivery and although I had never ruled it out, I didn't think for a minute that I would be having a c-section. I got a bit emotional, but was willing to do anything in order to deliver a healthy baby.

Within 20 minutes, my husband was dressed in blue scrubs, I was given a heavy dose of anaesthesia and then wheeled into the operating room. The room was bright and filled with a team of people who were all prepping me for surgery. I was totally numb from my chest down and felt really woozy from the drugs. I remember trying really hard not to throw up and fighting to keep my eyes open. My body was shivering out of control (which I was told was normal) but I felt instantly better when Mike got called into the room and grabbed my hand.

It all happened so fast and felt just like a dream. Over the curtain in front of me I saw someone pushing pretty hard on my stomach, I felt a lot of pressure and instantly heard loud crying fill the room. At 12:18pm The doctor announced the arrival of a beautiful baby girl and I watched them take this little body over to the other side of the room. My eyes were transfixed on the tiny human as the nurses cleaned her and the doctors kept working on me. As I lay there I could not believe what had just happened. Nothing can prepare you for the instant love and surrealism that you feel when you become a mother for the first time. As soon as he could, Mike went over to where they were weighing her and snapped a couple of pictures to bring over to show me. He had tears in his eyes as he showed me the photograph of a perfectly beautiful, blond baby girl.

The very first picture of Zoey April.
When the nurses had cleaned, weighed and bundled Zoey up Mike got to hold her and bring her over to where I was lying so that I could see her in the flesh and give her a kiss on the cheek.

Our first family photo
They finished stitching and bandaging me up while Mike and baby Zoey went to wait for me in the recovery room. I joined them 20 minutes later and finally got to hold my little girl. There are truly no words to describe the feeling that you get when you stare into your child's eyes for the first time.
For 30 minutes I held her skin to skin and tried breast feeding for the first time. They then took her away to the nursery while I spent 2 and a half hours in the recovery room and drifted in and out of sleep. 

I was moved to a room in the Mother-Baby Unit and reunited with my brand new little family. I was not allowed to get out of bed on the first day and felt quite spaced out from the pain medication.

Having a c-section was a lot less scary then I thought it would be. I'm not going to lie, for the first couple of days it was quite painful but I am so grateful to have been able to give birth to a beautiful, healthy 7.5 lb bundle of happiness.
The next couple of days were spent getting used to waking up every 2 hours, learning some breastfeeding techniques, having family and friends come to visit and enjoying some bland tasting hospital food (although the breakfast buffet was amazing).

On our 4th day in the hospital we were able to go home. We were so excited to return home and begin life as a family. 3 weeks later I still find myself in disbelief that all this happened to me. I couldn't have been prepared myself for how amazing giving birth to such a miracle could be and I would definitely do it all over again in a heartbeat.
I look down at my daughter everyday and feel nothing but love and gratefulness.
In the car, ready to go home for the first time!

17 May 2012

My Birth Story (part 1)

I'm very excited to finally share with you the story of how my little Zoey April came into this world.
Please note that this story may get a little graphic but I'm not going to hold back!

Throughout my entire pregnancy I always thought that my baby would be born early. It was definitely more impatience then intuition, because as my due date came and went I became really frustrated and was willing to try anything to start labour... even the dreaded Castor Oil (eww!)

On my 40th week and 3rd day of pregnancy (at 3:30pm) I headed to my weekly OBGYN check up. The doctor checked my cervix and I was disappointed to find out that it was still only dilated to 1cm which I'd been at for the last 2 weeks. The doctor then "stripped my membranes" and hooked me up a monitor for about 45 minutes to check for any contractions. After seeing no contractions at all and the nurse telling me that I was probably in this for the long haul, I scheduled another appointment for later in the week and left the doctor's office thinking "This is it, I'm just going to be pregnant FOREVER!"

hooked up to the fetal monitoring machine
Towards the end of the 30 minute drive home from the doctor, I started getting really uncomfortable and there was a lot of pain coming from my lower back. I figured it was just another pregnancy pain (to go along with the aching hips, sore ribs and throbbing legs and feet).
Around 7pm I felt the really bad back pain slightly coming and going and decided to start timing it using an app I had just downloaded onto my phone. I stopped timing because I thought I was just being ridiculous since only 3 hours earlier I had been told that labour was probably not happening anytime soon. I jumped in the bath tub to ease the pain and read my book to relax.

At 11pm my husband, Mike, came home from work and I told him that I was having a lot of back pain, but it was probably nothing. We resumed timing when the pain stopped and started even though I was still not convinced that they were contractions because nothing that I was feeling was the same as what I had been reading about in any pregnancy books.

By 1am I was in a lot of pain and after a lot of debating and feeling guilty for waking her up, I called the midwife (who was not delivering my baby but was on call that night) and described what I was feeling. Halfway through the conversation I was in so much pain that I gave the phone to my husband who carried on describing how I was having really painful back pain every 3 minutes but I still had my mucus plug and my water had not yet broken. The midwife told me that I was probably just cramping and I should wait until I see blood or my water breaks before heading to the hospital.
I was not convinced.

My back pain started spreading to the front on my belly, there was no way that I could sleep or even get comfortable and I was throwing up from the pain, so by 4am I told my husband that we should start heading to the hospital even though I was still in denial and I thought there was a big chance that we would get sent home.

At 5am on April 24th we arrived at the hospital and I was wheeled to the Labour and Delivery unit. I remember how amazingly smooth the hospital floor felt while riding in the wheelchair compared to the car journey before. I got put in a room with another woman and I started to feel silly about coming all this way in case this was false labour. When the nurse checked my cervix I had dilated to 3cm. She told me to walk around the ward for 45mins and when I got back she would check me again and if I had dilated anymore they would admit me and it was time to have a baby!

I hated walking, but standing or sitting didn't help either so I kept going in the hopes that I could get labour moving. I hunched over in pain with every contraction and at one point I couldn't stand it anymore so I sat down on a chair and the next thing I knew I felt like I had peed myself. It was the weirdest feeling! I ran into the closest labour room (luckily it was unoccupied) to use the bathroom since i was "leaking" everywhere and discovered that my mucus plug had come loose. I threw up a couple of times and when I was feeling a little bit better (as better as I could feel) I hobbled back to my room. The nurse began checking my cervix again and as she did I felt a gush as my water broke. I was so happy because now I was sure that my baby was finally on her way. 

Contractions! It was hard to breath through them.
I was admitted (signing forms between contractions) and at 9am they moved me into a private delivery suite. They discovered that I was going through "back labour" which I am told is more painful and is usually accompanied with slower labour and prolonged pushing. I had always planned on getting an epidural and had no doubts about it when the time came because it was really hard to deal with the pain. The anaesthesiologist entered the room and my husband had to wait outside until it was done. I bear-gripped the hands of my very kind nurse as they inserted the needle and I felt instant relief as the medicine trickled down my spine. I was finally able to talk and no longer felt any contractions. Epidurals are AMAZING!

The delivery room. Please note the smile on my face... this was taken AFTER the epidural.
 I was dilated to 5cm and was told that I would probably only be ready to push in about another 5 hours. They gave me a small amount of pitocin to try and help speed up labour but for some reason my body didn't respond to it. I started drifting in and out of sleep (both me and Mike were exhausted after being awake for over 24 hours) and we started making calls to tell our family that our little girl was on her way.

At 11am my doctor came into the room and expressed concern about the baby's movement and heart beat. She was not tolerating labour very well and at that point I knew that they were about to tell me...
I was going to have to have a c-section.

Read Part 2 here!

15 May 2012

13 May 2012

My very first Mother's Day

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day!
This one was a very special one. Not only was it my very first one as a brand new mom, but we got to spend it with my own mom too who is here all the way from South Africa.

People freak out about leaving the house with a newborn and I don't know why. Sure, it may not be as easy to juggle diaper changes and feedings out in public but staying inside your house for weeks on end can get pretty claustrophobic. Perhaps I've just been blessed with a very well behaved baby, but so far (at only 2 and a half weeks) we've visited a craft store, gone grocery shopping, eaten out at a restaurant and our biggest adventure so far... A Mother's Day garden party at The New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx.

How did you spend your Mother's Day?

11 May 2012

Where have you been?

When I finally found some time to log into my blogger account last night I discovered the UNPUBLISHED post that I had meant to put up on Monday to explain that I would be taking the week off, but since I forgot to put it up and it is now Friday, I guess I'll just explain whats been going on around here.
Little baby Zoey is 2 weeks and 3 days old, which would mean: 2 weeks and 3 days of sleep deprivation, approximately 10,000 diaper changes and adapting to my new role as a moo-cow lactating on demand 24 hours a day.
Zoey is such a wonderful baby and motherhood is more amazing then I could have ever imagined. Sometimes I just stare at her for hours and wonder how on earth I managed to create such an angel.

Have a great weekend and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the Mommas out there. I'm so excited to celebrate my first one!

4 May 2012

Today I'm over here...

Today you guys can find me blogging over at A Home Away From Home.

I've taken over Jenna's blog for the day while she is off on some fun travels back in Africa.
Jenna and I bonded over our similar yet totally opposite lives. You see, she's an American living in South Africa. Plus, she is just generally a pretty awesome person.
Please head over and check out my post where I share everything I love about New York!

3 May 2012


Yesterday afternoon we headed to JFK airport with lots of excitement because it was finally time to pick up my mom after her long flight from South Africa.
Zoey is my mom's very first grandchild and it is such an exciting time for our family, especially considering all the heart ache we have gone through in the past couple of months.
I am so happy she is here (and she brought with her SA chocolates, Wimpy tomato sauceTrim and Pronutro! She will get to share these first precious weeks of her grand baby's life, partake in the never ending changing of diapers and stay up all night like the rest of us!

2 May 2012

One Week Old

Little Zoey April is one week old already.
These past few days I have found myself conforming to every "brand new mom cliche" there is.
I can spend hours just staring at her, observing every expression and pointing out her daddy's features (I'm still hunting for mine). I miss her every time I put her in her bassinet to sleep and can cry on command every time I think of her growing up. (thanks hormones!) My stock pile of diapers is quickly diminishing and I'm trying to adjust to my new life as a sleep deprived, milk producing machine. 
Life has never been better and I'm soaking up every minute of motherhood.  


weight: 7 and a half pounds. She is back to her exact birth weight. (they loose 10% of their weight while still in the hospital)

length: 19 and a quarter inches with the cutest little frog legs!

Eating: She loves to eat. It took us a few days to figure out this whole breastfeeding thing, but I think we've finally got the technique down. I'm also pumping which is a lifesaver because "daddy" can help out with feedings a lot.

Sleeping: She is a great sleeper! Now that she is back to her birth weight I don't have to wake her up every 3 hours to feed. Her longest nap has been about 4 and a half hours.

Firsts: Everything is so new! She had her first car ride home from the hospital and first outing to pick up some Peruvian food for dinner. We gave her her first sponge bath the other day and I just love how blonde her hair looks when it is freshly washed. She was all smiles last night when she was sleeping and we would talk to her. I don't know if that counts as her first smile yet though?

1 May 2012

Everyday of April

On my quest to document everyday of this year in pictures, I give you my compilation of April:
(see January, February and March too!)

April was the month that I had been waiting in so much anticipation for and what a month it was!
Pregnancy really took it's toll on me this last month and I was totally sapped of any ounce of energy I had left, but Spring sprung in full bloom and with it came the arrival of the most beautiful and tiny edition to my little family.
I also opened my Etsy Shop "The African Llama" and I've been having a lot of fun filling my first orders.

May is here and with it, my Mom, who flies in all the way from South African tomorrow. 
Hopefully May will also bring lots of warm spring days for walks in the park!