Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Callum John Huang Yu Chua

Once again it's taken me longer than I would have liked to write something about the birth of our children. After a much longer than expected labour (especially after our experience with Eleanor) we welcomed our son, Callum John Huang Yu Chua, into the world at 16:16 on Sunday the 16th of March 2014. Our boy bested his sister's initial measurements with a birth weight of 3.25KG, height of 51cm and head circumference of 35.5cm even though he had less time in the oven (born on his due date no less, I like punctuality!).

It was a comparatively relaxed birth this time as we even got a chance to have breakfast at home and say goodbye to my mum and Eleanor before driving into the Mater. Alison had her epidural and waters broken early on in the morning as we expected things to move a lot faster for a second baby. The next six hours of playing trivia games on the iPhone with our obstetrician gave us plenty of time to reset our expectations.

Of course once things started to move they did so quickly and in a handful of pushes we were able to meet our son. He announced his presence to the world with a quiet and considerate wail that we found to be rather adorable. Callum also emerged with some of the longest fingernails I've ever seen so I'm taking that as a sign that he will follow in his dad's footsteps to take up fingerstyle guitar when he grows up.

So onto the name. As with Eleanor we found it hard (even harder actually) to come up with an English boy's name that would be well suited with Chua. We had very few real options that both of us could agree on, and in truth we had "Callum" on the shortlist way before we knew Eleanor was a girl so it's been locked in for over three years now. The name is derived from Alison's Scottish side of the family with the most recent inspiration being Alison's mother, Sheena McCallum Snow. One doesn't have to look much further than Alison's dad to see where his other middle name comes from.

As with Nell, we entrusted the responsibility of coming up with a Chinese name to my mum once more. Again she has delivered with something that we feel summarises all that we hope for our little boy, Huang Yu (煌愉). Huang is directly translated as "bright" while Yu can be interpreted as "happy" or "pleasant". I think that's a reasonable goal to strive for in life.

Our stay in hospital wasn't as hectic this time around as we enforced a moderately strict "No Visitors" rule. The family and Eleanor were allowed to come and see us on the second day of course to meet the new guy, an event which Nelly was extremely excited about.

In fact I can't believe how well she's coping with the new addition to the family. It would be a turbulent and challenging time for anyone to adjust to and she's been an absolute darling over the last week with helping out around the house and looking after her little brother. Hard to believe that our ridiculous expectations of our three year old are actually being met if not exceeded. What a beautiful girl.

It wasn't long before we were packing up to head home with a new child. We used the same blanket that we had for Eleanor, which was actually made by my mum for me when I was a little baby. He was perfectly content in the car and continued to sleep for another two hours in his capsule when we got home.

The last week has been tiring though it feels different to what we went through with Nelly. Having mum here to help out with cooking and entertaining Eleanor has obviously played a role but I think the key difference is that we already went through the midnight debates and dilemmas last time around so it has largely been a matter of executing the parenting playbook we already have. Every kid is different and Callum seems to be a lot more laid back as well which has been fantastic for settling and feeding.

We're trying to enjoy the moment with this little guy and not get too excited about what he's going to be like as he grows up. If he's anything like his sister we're in for a real treat.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What's going on?

Wow, I've been pretty slack with keeping up to date with posts in the past but it's been almost five months since the last one which has to be a record for me. Sad thing is I've had more than enough material to write about in that time but haven't been able to get around to doing it. Given that we hope to welcome a new baby into the family in the following week I thought it would be best to briefly catalogue some of the recent big events before I hopefully descend into newborn minutia again.

A new car

Our civic has served us well for many years and we were sad to see it go. The upcoming influx of family members however demanded some adjustment to our transportation so we had to do something. Getting a second car was something we considered but we didn't like that idea due to the additional operational cost and the need to travel separately. In the end we got a pretty good deal on the run-out design of the Honda Odyssey - what some would argue is the ultimate Asian family car. We certainly don't feel out of place at Sunnybank and can now fit mum and dad along with the children when we need to.

Alison had an operation

Just in the lead up to mum coming out for Christmas we had a bit of a health scare with Alison and the baby. Alison took a trip to the GP which turned into an ambulance ride to the emergency department and ended with an emergency appendectomy.  Not the easiest 24 hours but the family and baby all came out of it unscathed thankfully.

Mum over for Christmas

So it was lovely to have mum out here to spend time with Nelly and the family. Had a lot of fun and ate heaps of good home cooked food, which was a relief for Alison who was still recovering from her operation.

The baby's heart is fine

During our morphology scan last year we were told that our baby boy had a small hole in his heart. It was nothing life threatening but still a small concern for us understandably. In January we had a follow up appointment and were told that they could not detect any abnormalities much to our relief. The doctors still can't be 100% certain that the hole isn't there anymore but it's certainly no longer something that will have an impact on his health.

Aussie Aussie Aussie

I suppose it was just a matter of time before I got my act together (or Alison would force me to get my act together), but I've finally applied and successfully completed my test for Australian citizenship. I did miss out on one answer on the exam but thankfully they have a pretty lenient passing grade. Unfortunately there's a bit of a back log so it's unlikely that I'll be able to attend my ceremony and officially become a citizen until September this year. Even so it didn't stop us from having a great Australian day out with friends.

Got a new job

The last year and a half of owning my own business with Chris have been really exciting. The reality of self employment and new ventures however mean that sometimes things don't turn out the way you expect them to. We are still keeping the business going but I've decided to focus on the product side (What Bin Day and Nose to Tail) in lieu of the service arm of the business. This comes with a new position as a developer at Wotif Group, a role that I've been enjoying quite a bit if only for the comparative simplicity. I never got around to that blog post about Socket Software so I won't make promises about discussing work in more detail, but who knows.

Imminent Baby

It's now day minus 6 till we are supposed to meet our boy, not that those estimates are anything to go by. We're enjoying the time we have left as a small family and can't wait to welcome the new bub home. Mum will be flying out on Wednesday to help us out and we're ready to have our lives changed all over again soon.

Monday, October 21, 2013

It's a Boy!

I'm sure Alison would disagree with me on this point, but having gone through the paces of pregnancy once it seems like this second one is just flying by. Of course I don't have discomfort and nausea to deal with so what would I know. Either way we had our 19 week morphology scan this morning and discovered that Eleanor is going to have a baby brother in March.

Measurements were actually quite similar to what we got for Eleanor at her scan, with the exception of leg length. While Nelly was in the 98% percentile for her femur, our new little boy is just a little below the average. Got to blame dad for inheriting stumpy asian legs I guess.

Biparietal Diameter43.6 mm
Occipitofrontal Diamater59.2 mm
Head Circumference164.3 mm
Transcerebellar Diameter19.6 mm
Abdominal Circumference143.1 mm
Femur Length29.8 mm

Not everything went smoothly for this scan however. The sonographer detected a small (2 mm) hole in the heart and classified it as a minor Ventricular Septal Defect. Apparently these things are pretty common and have a high likelihood of fixing themselves before term so there's nothing to worry about. Even so we've been called back in for an additional scan in January to make sure that everything is going alright.

Aside from that the baby seems to be developing perfectly fine. Just like his sister, he refused to perform and sit still for photos during the scan. None of the "4D" photos were decent on account of obstruction by two or more limbs with an umbilical cord in the way. Nothing new I guess, but if I can use Nelly as a guide I can now rest assured that it doesn't mean that this kid won't want to have his photo taken when he's out in the world.

So there you have it. Of course we would have been happy with a boy or a girl, but in some ways we're quite pleased that Nelly won't have to compete with another for the title of our favourite daughter. Now we just have to prepare ourselves for an entirely different nappy changing experience.