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Welcome to the World, Cherry!

2008-04-03@15-07-20
When we stepped off the air plane three years ago, this happy face greeted us.

Time flies! When Liu learned that she was pregnant she was anxious to hear our delivery experience. She even asked us to teach a birth class for her, her husband and mother-in-law.

In China, if you go into labor during the day, the husband “should” be at work instead of at the hospital. It is considered a good, manly thing. (Don’t judge. The US had that same mentality back in the day.)

It was fun to teach about the various parts of labor. We could tell her husband really connected with the natural birth method when he said, “It’s just like when the animals go into labor. They need a quite place. They don’t want to be bothered.”

Another reason Liu wanted to have a great delivery experience is because she is an only child and her husband is an only child so they are allowed TWO children…which I think everyone except Liu is looking forward to. (She’s a little nervous about pain.)

2008-04-03@15-18-37
Schäfer takes time to stop and smell the flowers during a photo shoot of Liu & baby.

2008-04-03@15-22-55
Well, Liu’s due date came and went. It was suggestedhighly recommendedshe was convinced…that a c-section was her best option. (There is now a large soap box in front of me and I am using all my might not to step on it…because we all know that a due date is just a guesstimation…)

C-sections are very, very common in China – even though they are only necessary in 5% of pregnancies according to US statistics.

Part of the reason c-sections are popular is that the actual birth date is very important. In some traditional families, fortune tellers are still called to the house to recommend the most auspicious day for the birth of a baby. Our friend, Zeng, did this for her baby.

C-sections are also very convenient.

And in a country where episiotomies are the norm, a cut across the abdomen seems welcome.

Liu had three stitches plus some “glue” from her c-section. On day three she was doing much better than her two roommates who both had a “natural birth/episiotomy”. They had over 11 stitches and were not looking very comfortable at all. This was the complete opposite of my natural birth experience.

2008-04-19@14-42-19
On to the most important part: Hello Cherry! Oh yes, her English name is Cherry. She has a Chinese name and a nickname (all three names were determined months ago).

It was such a joy to be able to drop by and get their breastfeeding started off to a good start. I was able to help the other two ladies in the room also learn the 3 positions, schedule feeding vs. demand feeing, etc. I felt like a lactation consultant! Liu thought I should get a job at the hospital. Too bad I don’t have a degree to support all I’ve learned in Mommyhood.

2008-04-20@15-50-17

2008-04-20@15-55-16

2008-04-20@15-57-54

2008-04-20@16-31-43
The hospital room was busy with 2 sets of Grandparents who did not agree on exactly how Cherry should be handled. Grandpa #1 wanted Cherry to cry a bit and then fall asleep. But Grandpa #2 wanted to carry her around until she fell asleep.

2008-04-20@16-38-14

2008-04-20@16-40-55
Grandpa whispers Cherry to sleep.

Now, Liu and Cherry are home. Liu is enduring her 1 month of bed rest. This is a traditional part of Chinese culture that every woman experiences. When Liu told her parents that I did not lay around in bed for a month, her mom replied, “She is not Chinese! She does not eat our foods. She is not the same. You must have the month of bed rest.”

She can not eat fruit or anything cold. She can not watch tv or use the computer. She can not leave her room. She can not take a shower.

When I come over, I’m required to eat this rice and egg soup. Schäfer is delighted to go visit because they have live chickens. Apparently, giving a live chicken is a great gift because it is a fresh, nutritious gift for the Mom.

Our visit gives Liu a little opportunity to rebel. She comes out of her room to watch Schäfer crowing at the chickens. (We’re still sorting out roosters and chickens.) Then, she’ll go put the latest photos on the computer. It’s all pure rebellion. If I didn’t bring Schäfer, I’m not sure how much longer they’d let me visit.

Despite having a good supply of milk and an excellent latch, Cherry is also fed: formula, some sort of vitamin treatment, glucose water and the rice & egg soup broth. All of these additional supplements seem to be a case of 6 people taking care of 1 baby.

Liu mentioned that she was nervous about giving Cherry her first bath at home, but I assured her that with 6 adults and 1 baby everything should be fine.

Welcome to the world, Cherry!

7 comments to Welcome to the World, Cherry!

  • Oh, Cherry is just beautiful! How fun to be a part of this new life.

    Ok, but the bed rest thing…when I first read this, I was thinking, “no one offered me a month of doing nothing–I was busier than I’d ever been”…then I read on. No INTERNET!?!? Makes me thankful I was able to get out and about two days after Alexee was born. I think we went to Izzy’s for dinner when she was about 72 hours old. So different! Interesting post–thank you for sharing. I hope to see more of Cherry!

  • Shelley

    One question –
    Is Liu allowed to take care of Cherry? Seems if she is on bedrest she wouldn’t be able to have that wonderful bonding that takes place those first few weeks.

  • Yam – I have to say that no internet is a sacrifice indeed, but one month without a shower would be deal breaker for me.

  • Hi Shelly! Liu can take care of Cherry, but with so many Grandparents there’s a lot of love to go around.

  • Erica

    Sandra – this was a great post! I enjoyed reading your take on things, and nodding in agreement through with all that you had written. Who knows – maybe in the future you will teach classes!
    Hope you all are doing well!

  • What a gorgeous name… Cherry… I like it… congratulations Liu… I loved hearing about the Grandparents fussing… hehehe… I love the fact that you both rebelled… you go girls… It was interesting reading about the different cultures and ways of life… take care

  • nanamaw

    I had to share the pictures with my friends at school who follow the dialog on the web site, but can’t get the pictures. ‘They all fell in love with Liu and Cherry and with Whispering Grandfather! J and B are expecting their first in August, A has two already. They want to see more and hear more about both girls. She does indeed look like a sweet Cherry blossom. nanamaw

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