A Travellerspoint blog

A BIRTHDAY IN THE SKY AND RETURNING "HOME"

After a month of being back in NZ and finally unpacking everything, Maya and I have only now had a little time to write a quick blog and let everybody know that we are here safe and sound and that we had an amazing time in Colombia and a great trip.

90_IMG_2019.jpg

On all of the eight planes we travelled on Maya was exceptionally good. She got her own seat in most of the planes and airline bassinets on the planes with the longest travel times. Unfortunately this trip left us with a long stopover in LA, meaning it was necessary for Maya to sleep in the airport for a few hours, but we managed to survive and had fun there as well. Some wonderful people were very helpful and we created a safe, comfortable little area for Maya to play in, and she is like her parents in that she can sleep anywhere. We found some interesting places in the airport and nearby, and it was exciting to explore with Maya and enjoy the beautiful weather in California.

90_IMG_2052.jpg90_IMG_2032.jpg IMG_2059.jpg

The thing Maya most enjoyed was the playground in the airport. She made some new friends and had a wonderful time, but she was also the youngest one in the areas, so she had some difficulties keeping up with the other children.

90_IMG_2051.jpg90_IMG_2046.jpg

Leaving Colombia is always difficult for me and saying goodbye is very sad. This time I had to leave my gorgeous niece and nephew, and my wonderful family and friends. The last week we were really blessed because we could celebrate the birthdays of my sister and me together like it used to be years ago. Even though I left home one day before my birthday we had a small party and it was a great opportunity to say goodbye to many of the people I love.

IMG_20150719_173823.jpg

My birthday this year was special. It started on a plane on our way to LA and finished on a plane on our way to New Zealand. So I am not sure where in the World I was specifically this day but I remember how for many years my birthdays were always in Colombia, and then after I left to live in London they were there, and then in New Zealand, and two years ago I had my birthday in China, so this year it was in many places as I travelled across half the World. It was made even more special because I was with my little girl who made my day unforgettable, but it was the first birthday without Simon and my family and friends. I missed you all very much.

IMG_1988.jpg

Simon was really concerned that Maya might have forgotten him, because she didn’t understand the computer screen and only really heard his voice when Simon called and we were talking with her. However he didn’t have to worry because the second she saw him she smiled and wanted him to carry her – it was a really nice moment for the three of us, and as you can imagine I wanted him to carry her straight away because I was absolutely exhausted. The past three days were probably the longest of my life. I cannot describe the happiness on the faces of Maya’s grandparents when they saw Maya at the airport in Wellington and later that day the worry on their faces when they saw how much she is moving and all the things that she can now reach and put in her mouth and swallow. We have found some VERY strange things in her poo - flies, paper, buttons, plastic ‘things’, even peas. Simon prefers not to go looking through Maya’s poo, but I find it interesting to see what she has eaten and not digested.

90_IMG_2315.jpg

Our life in New Zealand is returning as normal, just like it was before our long trip. We have developed our routine again with Maya, Simon, and I, although because Maya has grown there are a few things that are different now. She is crawling everywhere fast, and is now standing up holding on to things for balance, and seeing how far she can reach (which is a surprisingly extended distance). We have had to change our decorations, move furniture, hide anything expensive, fragile or dangerous things, and basically try to child-proof our house. May has developed a deep love for electrical sockets, power cables, remote controls, and eating paper. She also enjoys putting her hand prints (and mouth impressions) on glass surfaces like windows, tv screens, mirrors, and all of the assorted Apple products.

IMG_2343.jpg90_IMG_2221.jpg

Returning to our routine also means we have re-joined the playgroups we went to every week before going to South America. It has been great to see how Maya's friends have grown, and are all now crawling and exploring as well. It seems like all the Mums and Dads are getting fit trying to keep up with their growing kids.

Another chapter in our lives will be starting soon, I will return to work in early November and we are currently looking for day care where Maya can burn some energy and keep some teachers really busy, ha ha ha.

All our love,

Erika, Simon and Maya

Posted by erika_simon 02:03 Archived in Colombia Comments (0)

MAYA WAS MADE IN COLOMBIA AND COLOMBIA IS CALLING HER!!!

Last month, Maya and I had our first adventure travelling around the world. We decided to take Maya to Colombia to visit my family and friends, and see where Simon and I first thought about starting a family. Adding up the four plane trips we took and it was a total of a little more than 20 hours to arrive at my native home – but Maya was an amazingly good travel companion.

IMG_1122.jpg

Honestly, I was concerned about the number of hours, the number of flights, the time change to her routine, etc. Our longest plane flight, 13 hours from Auckland to LA, Maya got a bassinet from the airline and the plane departed really late so she was already asleep, plus I was blessed that I had four seats just for me, so these factors made the flight much easier. The flight attendants were extremely helpful, they offered me drinks often because they knew how easy it is to get dehydrated and helped me with Maya when it was needed.

BLOG_001.jpg90_BLOG_002.jpg

In Los Angeles, customs was a little slow and there was no extra line for families or special circumstances. After this boring part, the next plane was relatively easy, although Maya and I were a bit tired (I am sure I was more tired than her, hahaha). On the planes the attendants always put us in rows with spare seats, so it made the flights much smoother for us.

Our time in Colombia so far has been great. The first weeks we had to take slowly to let Maya adjust to a different time zone and a change in her patterns. Fortunately Maya adjusted really quickly and that was a huge relief to me that she wasn’t distressed or upset by all the changes. She did wake up during the night a few times during the first few days, but in the second or third week she was absolutely coping with her new routine.

BLOG_006.jpg

In the first few weeks we changed Maya’s ‘style’. She now wears beautiful earrings, and her hair has been cut short because of a worn patch at the back, and a number of different lengths in various places. Her way of going to sleep was to rub her head from side to side against the mattress, which wore all the hair off the back of her head; The consequence of this particular way of getting to sleep was to make her look like a pineapple or a little hen, with long and black hair on top and nothing at the back. So, therefore it was decided a new haircut was needed, and she looks gorgeous.

With her new look, Maya looks even more like Simon. On a large number of occasions, people have asked me if I am her nanny because she does not look like me at all. I have decided to say that I have stolen her from the neighborhood or I found her in a box on the street and now I am keeping her, hahaha.

BLOG_008.jpg

We have had many visits from family and friends, and Maya has been so excited by the new environment. The buses, taxis, crowds of people around her busy shopping centers, etc. These are really new for her. She looks at everything with a surprised expression on her face, I think she enjoys the new environment, but she may be appreciated nice quiet Palmerston North when we get back.

She has been spending a lot time with her cousins, who love her very much. It has been nice to see these three little people, each with their own personality and expressing their love in a different way. Sometime Nicolas, who is now one year old, crawls over top of Maya without noticing she is there, but Maya also likes to take his toy away from him and make him cry, and Anny, the oldest, is the one who looks after them. She sets the example for them, and sometimes her example can be quite dramatic, hahaha.

180_BLOG_011.jpgBLOG_007.jpgIMG_1389.jpg

The time has been flying here, and Maya has been growing up so fast. She currently has two teeth, she is sitting up with help, and (sort of) crawling. She has also started on solid food and has taken a liking to avocados and mangos – but not at the same time.

We will soon start organizing ourselves for the return to New Zealand. Another 20 hours of travel are waiting for us, but I am sure everything is going to be easy, smooth, and comfortable for both of us.

IMG_1601.jpgIMG_1605.jpg

Posted by erika_simon 10:28 Archived in Colombia Comments (0)

AN ODD NUMBER

10 °C

Now that our little family unit makes up an odd number, the last six months seem to have been a little odd as well. Certainly they have still been fun and exciting and all that – but odd.

IMG_0620

IMG_0620

Being a new(ish) family has changed a few things in our lives. We can’t just look at each other and say “want to go out?”, and “yes” and then walk out the door. Now it takes planning, organization, team-work, patience, and an awareness that there is still going to be a 50% chance of complete failure to leave the house. It takes a while to get used to the oddness of it all. It creeps up on you and you realize that weeks have gone by where you couldn’t do anything as a ‘spur of the moment’ thing.

The idea to write this blog began about three months ago but the time has just flown by. Maya has grown a lot, but we seem to have been absolutely blessed with an easy baby. I say easy very quietly because that could still change in an instant as we have been warned – but up until now there haven’t been any serious problems. She just seems to be naturally calm and happy and sleeps all night and wakes up in a good mood – just like her Dad.

IMG_0391

IMG_0391

IMG_0890

IMG_0890

She does find silly little things to be amazing which I suppose happens to all babies, but how my experience with babies is so limited I am also amazed by the silly things she gets amazed by.

To see the change from when she was born, sleeping most of the time, and then trying to reach out to hold toys, starting to smile, laugh and make noises, discovering her hands and feet and deciding they are the best toys ever, then practicing rolling over, it has all been incredible to watch. Now she is sitting and will be crawling soon, and before we know it she will be walking and then will want to borrow the car! It is all just happening too fast.

IMG_0534

IMG_0534

IMG_0544

IMG_0544

In general she is a healthy baby, but she has gotten sick with a cold twice, which is nothing major but has been a lesson for us about the dangers of cold and windy days. I may have over-reacted both times and made Simon call the Plunket Helpline to ask their nurses what to do, and they always say to stay calm and if it gets worse go to the doctor – but I need to hear them say that (to Simon).

Before Maya was born we heard about this process called Elimination Communication (EC) which is a kind of very early potty training. We were not sure how successful this was going to be, but were fully prepared to use our baby as a guinea pig in our science experiment. Since Maya was one week old she has been peeing and pooing in the potty. It is amazing to see how quickly babies learn. EC has been part of our daily routine ever since, and it has been working about 90% of the time. In a few words EC is about learning to communicate with Maya when she needs to use the potty or toilet, and to give her the opportunity to use the potty instead of a nappy. It has meant that we have developed a closer bond with Maya as we learn to see how she expresses herself, and she never gets used to sitting in a dirty nappy – it is normal for her to use the potty. It also means less nappies which is an easier job for Simon (I am in charge of providing the food for Maya, and Simon takes care of the elimination, hahaha).

IMG_0381

IMG_0381

We have kept up to date with all her vaccinations, and luckily they did not seem to be too painful for her (they were painful for me, hahaha). We have made four or five long trips to visit family and friends, and she has been to a number of parties and social activities. For now, it looks like she has enjoyed being there, and she loves new faces – especially when they smile at her and make her laugh.

IMG_0980

IMG_0980

We want to teach Maya a lot of things, and one of the main ones is how important it is to help people. Fortunately I have been a very good cow and have produced more than enough milk, so we have decided to donate part of Maya’s milk to ladies who need it for their own children. For various reasons they can’t provide their own milk so they are looking for donations from other new mothers. After we found out that our good friends Kylie and Graham needed milk for their twins, Maya and Simon and I have decided to share around 50mls everyday of Maya´s food with them.

IMG_0312

IMG_0312

Maya has had the opportunity to be a part of a number of groups of other babies and their parents, and although I don’t know if she enjoys attending all of the groups she certainly looks interested. However she does sleep most of the time, but I think she also learns something.

IMG_1016

IMG_1016

IMG_0975

IMG_0975

We are now planning a big trip with Maya as I take her to visit family in Colombia. In our next blog we will let you know how our adventure travelling around the world goes.

Lots of love and affection,

Erika, Simon, and Maya.

Posted by erika_simon 10:16 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

THE EXPECTED DAY FINALLY ARRIVED!!!!

Easy, comfortable and smooth

sunny

Our little rabbit

Our little rabbit

As I mentioned in our previous blog, my pregnancy was wonderful. We were blessed that everything was great, we stayed fit and healthy, and most importantly we enjoyed each day. We did sometimes have some concerns about the weight of our baby as my bump was generally smaller than the average bump, but with a few scans the doubts were resolved and we were sure our baby was happy and doing well.

I finished work on the 24th of October and I had a couple of weeks to rest, organize few things for our baby (our little rabbit, which was how we started to call her) and prepare myself for labour, and enjoy the last days of my childless life. Our due date was the 4th of November and this day came and then went. Our baby seemed to be very happy in my womb so I started doing all the things that people told me would bring on the birth: drinking raspberry tea, eating dates, walking as much as possible, bathing with fig leaves, eating pineapple, and so on if this would kick-start things. I even considered jumping up and down and skipping down the street to see if this meet bring our baby out (hahaha).

The last seven days, week 41, I was a little worried as I knew that if our baby had not been born naturally by this point induction would become necessary, and I was really afraid that this might happen. As I mentioned before I had practiced hypno-birthing during my pregnancy and I can honestly say that this technique worked amazingly well for me over this last week.

From the second week of October we had developed our birth plan, prepared a couple of meditation sessions on my IPod, Simon had recorded himself speaking some affirmations, and the bags for the hospital had been packed. In summary everything was ready for our big day, except that we still did not know when that day was going to come.

We attended a breastfeeding seminar where expressing colostrum was recommended so I started expressing from week 36 and it was incredible to see how we got more than 20 syringes of 10ml in less than five weeks. This colostrum was really handy when our baby was born and helped me to feed her during the first week. The idea behind expressing colostrum is to have a backup source of food for the baby just in case the mum cannot give the baby food straight after the baby is born. This is sometimes due to a caesarean delivery, emergency surgery, the mum needing antibiotics, or breastfeeding issues, etc. I do encourage pregnant ladies to do this if they can.

Anyway, everything was ready, and after an additional week of light-exercise, meditation, and relaxation finally in week 41 our baby decided to come out and meet us and all of you.

On the 11th of November, at about 10am things started to happen (there were some of the preliminary signs) so after a shower where I used some fig leaves to create an aromatic steam, I walked in to town and back again to kick things along. The afternoon was easy, I finished doing some small tasks at home and around 5pm my contractions started. The first couple of hours they were not so bad. I had dinner at 6.30, put the last few things into the bags and watched a movie. I had a shower at 10pm and I thought it would be great if I could have a short nap to get some energy for later but this proved to be impossible as the contractions had started to increase in strength and I was firmly in Labour Land (I had baby brain).

11th Nov 7pm (last photo with my bump)

11th Nov 7pm (last photo with my bump)

One thing I did know was this was the day, our baby -our little rabbit- was coming. I decided to start walking backwards and forwards across our bedroom while doing my meditation exercises and Simon went to bed and started timing my contractions. My midwife was quite busy this particular day and her lack of urgency got me a little stressed. After a couple of hours walking around the bedroom and occasionally to the toilet, Simon called our midwife at 1am (thank God she was available at this time of the night) and she arrived to our place half an hour later. When she examined me she said I had dilated to around 7 or 8cm and we were ready to go to the hospital. At this moment I was in a meditative trace which was exactly how I had practiced and I was sure everything was going to be "easy, comfortable and smooth". My mum and my sister did an amazing job talking with me from Colombia, and it was the best distraction.

On our way to the hospital we were following our midwife and she was pulled over by the police. I could not believe it, because at the time I was folded over the backseat of our car having the three strongest contractions of the night. Simon had to talk to the police and explain that I was in labour and we urgently needed to get going. The police understood and said "Take off".

At the hospital everything was ready for us. The room was selected prior to our arrival because we had requested a bath, which was all set up. After we arrived the midwife took my blood pressure and heart rate and then advised it was time to get in the bath. Close to an hour later and she said the baby was almost ready and I could push, and four or five pushes later and our beautiful baby girl was born. Simon 'caught' her as she came out and put her on my chest.

12th Nov 3:34am

12th Nov 3:34am

From the previous July we had already chosen the names of our little rabbit. If the baby was a boy his name was going to be Leo (for my grandmother and one of our closest friends in NZ), and if our baby was a girl her name would be Maya after the poet Maya Angelou. So at 4:48 am on the 12th of November 2014, ===Maya Eggers Ramirez=== was born into the warm water of a large bath in the most relaxed and calm environment we could give to her. The atmosphere in the room was peaceful, and quiet. The only sound in the room was the rainbow meditation music that Simon had set up. It was indeed a wonderful experience and the best start we could prepare for our daughter.

12th Nov 5:21am

12th Nov 5:21am


13th Nov

13th Nov


13th Nov

13th Nov

We have now been blessed to have shared her first two months of life, and it has been a dream come true. She is a very calm baby, who only cries when she is hungry, and most of the time she is a happy, content, and easy-going baby, who is an amazing sleeper at night. Maya has grown and changed so much over this time.

I was supposed to finish this blog a long time ago, but my new job, being a mum 24/7, has not given me a lot time to write (hahaha). Here are some photos for all of you to enjoy of our little rabbit.

The best welcome

The best welcome


Dad proud and tired

Dad proud and tired


2 weeks old

2 weeks old


3 weeks old

3 weeks old


With grandad

With grandad


My first month

My first month


8 weeks old

8 weeks old


Ready to go with mum

Ready to go with mum


Happy family

Happy family

Posted by erika_simon 02:02 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

I LOVE BEING PREGNANT!!!!

sunny

The 41 weeks of my pregnancy were some of the most beautiful weeks of my life. When we found out that we were pregnant during my sixth week it was a wonderful surprise and the best souvenir we could have chosen to end of our ten months travelling around the world. I love my home country of Colombia so the news our baby was conceived there and being able to share this with my immediate family in the last week of our trip was something unforgettable.

Week 35

Week 35

My pregnancy was very easy and relaxed. I was blessed that I did not have any morning sickness, so I could continue eating the way I always have, but now I had to take some precautions with some kinds of the food because they can be harmful to the baby. Simon looked at all the material online and in these pamphlets they gave us and kept telling me not to eat things I was in the process of consuming. I was raising a cracker with blue cheese on it to my mouth and "Stop, are you sure you want to risk eating that?" That gets really annoying really quick. Apparently I had to avoid most sea food, raw meats, deli foods, and funny cheeses. It wasn't too difficult, except for my growing craving for eggs and large quantities of cheese. When Simon's mother gave me a 1kg block of mild cheese I was happier than I have been in a very long time. I couldn't stop smiling.

I started my pregnancy with my weight at around 58 kilos. When I was in my fourth month and I began seeing how my weight was increasing (obviously) I decided a decision had to be made for my peace of mind and to be able to enjoy my pregnancy: I stopped looking at the weighing scales beside the bed and did not weigh myself anymore. I love numbers but sometimes they scare me. In the last week of my pregnancy I asked Simon to look at my weight and keep it to himself and let me know once I had returned to my beginning weight or was at least close to it. So now I know I put on around 12 kilos, which I thought was not too bad, and now I am close to being my regular weight which is a burden off my mind.

Week 40

Week 40

As many of you know one of my passions is to exercise. We are so blessed in the city where we live that I can bike nearly everywhere, so during my pregnancy I biked right up until my 35th week and I should confess that the only reason I stopped then was because my bike got a flat tyre, and I was so busy during the weekends that there wasn't time to fix it. I also thought it was possibly a sign from the universe to stop just in case something bad happened. I also have to mention that when I was three months pregnant, I think at around 14 weeks, I had my first ever accident while biking. A car did not stop at a stop sign and hit me, however baby and I were fine, thank God.

After I stopped biking, we decided to walk to work (only one way for me, I took the bus home). It was wonderful to be able to do this for a couple of weeks. We were leaving the house at 6am and arriving to work at 7:15am, taking our time walking about 8.5 kilometres. My way to work takes me through the biggest park in the city, which runs parallel to a gorgeous river, so my walk in the mornings was something refreshing, peaceful, relaxing, and a nice way for the three of us to spend some time together.

IMG_1710

IMG_1710

During my pregnancy, I was absolutely spoiled, with many people taking extra time to make sure I was okay. The memories that I have of this nine months are delightful. We had three great baby showers: the first was with our group of friends from church, the second was with our Latin American friends and the third with our kiwi friends. People have been so generous with us, and our baby has received many beautiful gifts. There was a basinet that was given to us by Simon's parents, a cot was lent by a really good friend from work, a pram was given by some latinoamerican friends, and many gorgeous little baby's clothes and toys from a lot of generous people.

IMG_1701

IMG_1701

IMG_1756

IMG_1756

We also had a blessing ceremony for me, which was an idea a friend found online. The baby showers are for the baby, but apparently the mum also deserves a ceremony for her, to say goodbye to the baby-less life. It was a really special day for me, with my closest friends coming together to have a lovely afternoon. They shared their experiences with labour and babies, they decorated some baby clothes and made a lovely wishing tree. It was a really relaxed and enjoyable afternoon. If you get the chance I would recommend this idea.

IMG_1765

IMG_1765

IMG_1772

IMG_1772

Another beautiful memory was our trip to Kopua. This a monastery that Simon and I have been able to visit once a year. It is a friendly and cosy place in the middle of the mountains. It is run by a group of Cistercian monks, and there is a lovely guesthouse where people can stay and share some time with them. In August we had the opportunity to visit and it was a great experience because the last day of our stay we had asked a favour of Father Niko to bless our unborn baby. I thought it would be something quick, a small blessing, but they actually gave a special mass dedicated to the three of us. They asked God to bless Simon and I and our child, to be good parents and for our baby to be healthy and have a great life. This mass was really unforgettable, and it was really interesting because during the ceremony my baby was moving like never before in my stomach. I think maybe she knew we were talking about her.

My pregnancy was a little unusual because of the position of my placenta. I had an anterior pregnancy, meaning my placenta was in front of the baby and not on top or behind which are more common. In other words there was the skin of my belly, then my placenta acting as a cushion, the baby behind the placenta and then my spine (something like that). Usually the order is skin, baby, placenta and spine. Therefore, it took quite a while for the movements of my baby to be felt by me. Normally, mums start feeling movements at around 20 weeks but in my case it wasn't until week 28, because the baby was kicking my placenta which I couldn't feel. Once the baby had grown a little and was squeezed for space she started to kick with some more force and sometimes around the placenta and then I could really feel it. It was comforting to know she was there and also painful as well - but in a good way.

We were blessed our baby was engaged from week 35, meaning her head was down, her bum was under my left ribs and her long legs were under my right ribs. Her kicking and movements were felt more on my right side, and actually it was possible to see some of the kicks as they pushed out the side of my belly. Her heart was easy to hear and really loud on the left side.

In New Zealand the service for pregnancy is different from at home in Colombia. Instead of visiting doctors we had to choose a midwife. She looks after us from week 12 of the pregnancy until six weeks after the baby has been born. In our case we had a lovely lady who promotes natural birth. Our experience was nice with her, and she would come to our home which made things easier and she supported us in all the decisions we took during our pregnancy and for the labour.

At the very beginning of my pregnancy I found a technique called hypno-birthing which encourages pregnant women to rely on their bodies, and to believe that giving birth is a natural process where the body knows what to do. It is primarily based on meditation, mental and verbal affirmations, and visualisation. It really worked for me (in the next blog I will mention how I put this technique into practice).

The last weekend of our pregnancy there was a special event for the community supporting the local school and the children. We decided to go as a way to do my daily exercise because I hadn't been walking as much as usual. There was a stall for children to have their faces painted, and I was feeling cheeky so I went and asked if they could paint my bump, as a way to encourage the baby to come out (hahaha) and here was the result. I think it was a great way to say goodbye to our baby-less life and welcome to Maya.

IMG_0555

IMG_0555

Posted by erika_simon 18:04 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 92) « Page 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »