Cora’s First Week

We’re bleary-eyed and love-drunk. So this is going to be short and sweet… a few observations from our first week… things I don’t want to forget.

– We stayed in the hospital longer than we anticipated. Cora was fine and dandy. Momma had some bladder issues. We didn’t go home until Sunday. That was hard, but at the same time good for us as we got to rest in the hospital a bit more. I know that seems like an oxymoron, but we were the only patients in the whole hospital, and the nurses bent over backwards to help us. I think we left more rested than most people feel when they leave the hospital.

– Cora is officially a citizen of the USA. She has her passport – issued yesterday. There were some tense moments with that, as we found out the whole system is being upgraded and is therefore shut down for the month of January. But we needed a passport for her this month. After many phone calls and emails, the Embassy had us come in and issued an emergency passport in 1 hour. I’m not the most patriotic person in the world, but for once something was pretty straightforward. God Bless America.

– Not many 3-day-old infants get passport pictures made, but our little gal did. When Jacob took the photo to the shop to get printed, the lady behind the counter felt like she needed a bit of “touching up” – so she photoshopped the red spots off her face. Thanks to her, my daughter is even more beautiful. Heh.

– Speaking of leaving the hospital. That was funny. In America, they wheel you out in a wheelchair and check your car seat. In Beijing, you get lectured for having wet hair (that was me) and given a surgical cap to wear to the car so you don’t get too cold. And then the number of blankets you brought for your baby is carefully evaluated and deemed insufficient. So you are escorted down to the lobby by a nurse who brings extra blankets and then she sends your husband to the car to get more blankets so that you can switch out. And you quickly learn that the Chinese are on to something – warm babies = sleepy babies. (No one ever asked about a car seat.)

– Today we had to go back to the doctor for a final bladder check. We first went to a closer Chinese hospital to get the sonogram needed. Hit a brick wall. They were too busy to do it. So then we decided it’d be better to go all the way back to our hospital than to go home and have to try to go back tomorrow. But our driver for the day couldn’t go into the city due to a license plate restriction. (Have I mentioned Beijing’s bad traffic? One thing they do to try and solve the problem is restrict drivers from going into the city one day a week… today was our driver’s day that he couldn’t go.) So we ended up taking the Subway. With a one-week old baby. And wouldn’t you guess it, but she got hungry on the subway. So add “inexperienced mother attempts to feed hungry infant on crowded Beijing subway without flashing entire car” to the list of things that I’ve now done but never anticipated doing.

– A friend loaned us one of these amazing bags. It has been a lifesaver these last couple of days, as it’s a portable little bed and she’s snug as a bug in a rug! (We’re huge fans of it now, and are wondering if it is something we’d use when we go back to America…)  But it does look like we’re carrying our baby in a duffel bag. And no one knows we have a baby in the bag, so they keep asking us to do things like put it through x-ray machines in the subway stations. You should see their faces when they realize there is a baby in there.  Crazy Americans.

– If you ever happen to find yourself out and about in China with a newborn baby and someone asks you how old he/she is. Lie. Don’t feel guilty. Just add at least 4 weeks to whatever answer you feel like giving. Today I told a person on the Subway that Cora was one week old, and proceeded to receive a 15 minute lecture about how she didn’t have enough blankets (again with the blankets!), I wasn’t wearing enough clothing, the bag was not warm enough, etc. It went on and on and on. And then on some more. A sympathetic man sitting next to me racked his brain and finally came up with two English words that he kindly uttered – “culture differences.” In China a new mom stays home IN HER ROOM for 30 days. She doesn’t leave. She doesn’t bathe. She doesn’t brush her teeth. She certainly doesn’t go out into the city with a one-week-old infant. Someone should take a child away from a parent as inept as that.

– LeLe is a little alarmed by the new arrival. And maybe a little jealous. She spends lots of time doing this. And sniffing her head and feet.

– She snores, grunts like a pig, sighs, squeaks, and smacks. I love her sounds.

All things considered, we’re doing really well. Thank you for your prayers. I have so many emails and Facebook messages that I haven’t responded to. Please know I’ve read each one and have been encouraged and comforted… thank you for your prayers and your love. Keep them coming!!

23 thoughts on “Cora’s First Week

  1. Lovely to hear things are going so well Carrie. Cora is just breathtaking–enjoy!
    I remember being chastised in Germany for having traveled from England with my 6 week old son. People were absolutely horrified! Cultural differences are most definitely interesting 🙂


  2. Oh, I am glad it's going well.
    Since we have had our foster child, we've entered a whole different arena of Chinese culture! The freedom to criticize our care and the constant references to the cold wear me out! You do have to have a sense of humor about it!


  3. Hi Carrie- Glad to hear things are going well. I loved reading this post, as we have experienced all the things you wrote about in the last couple months, nice to hear your experiences too. I have to say Cora's passport picture is way better than Grace's, Ty took her to the photo place on day 2 and it doesn't even look like her! Too funny. And yes the breastfeeding in public while still trying to figure it all out that was me at the Beijing Train station- so many stories hey? We still LIE about Grace's age and she is almost 2 months, they think we are absolutely nuts for taking her out. I think I would go nuts if I didn't take her out!

    Anyways I throughly enjoyed this blog post. Keep in touch, when are you guys heading back home?



  4. Oh, Carrie!!! She just gets even more stunningly gorgeous with every picture!

    You look wonderful too! I'm so happy for you that she is OUT and here, and so healthy.

    Sorry about all the lectures…wow, that's like 40 crabby old 'grandma types' at one time. You're doing just fine! The Lord gave Cora to you not them. :0)


    (secretly, I'm a tad jealous here…can't wait till it's my turn…any second now… What? Are these babies in cahoots together to stay in longer!?)


  5. This was such a fun post to read. I giggled through much of it, just reflecting on how incredibly different things can be across cultural lines. It will be fun to share these things with Cora when she is older. She'll love the stories of her first days in China!

    Love the little passport photos. Thinking of you and praying all goes well with your move and the transition. I know it is more than a transition of location, but of heart as well. God will be there with you every step of the way.

    Congrats again and keep the photos coming… she is a little HUNNY!!! 🙂


  6. I laughed out loud at the duffel bag- hysterical! I love the funny stuff of having a baby in China……I'm sure it isn't always funny in the moment, but you seem to keep your sense of humor about it.

    I also love the picture of Jacob, Cora and LeiLei…..what I love about it is the warm haze in the apartment- it reminds me of those warm, snuggly, hazy new baby days! 🙂 Love it!

    Glad to hear you are doing well…hopefully the bladder stuff will be resolved soon and you'll get on with all the fun stuff and be past all the yuckiness of it all……

    Boy, does she look like Jacob, or what?!?!?! 🙂

    So happy for you!


  7. I'm glad Jenna said it first… she reminds me of Jacob too! We are just tickled that you are doing so well! Your Cora is a little love and we are so happy for you both!
    So happy to hear that you got her passport! Love the pictures! She is a beauty!
    Blessings always,
    P.S. Adahlyn said that your baby is pretty. 🙂


  8. Carrie- Those moments probably didn’t make you smile while in the moment but goodness what fun memories and stories to tell sweet Cora when she’s older!


  9. Oh I just love every detail! You are so sweet to share these GREAT moments with us! 🙂
    The subway…oh my. Cracking up!
    My favorite picture is the last one of you and Cora…you are still glowing! Motherhood looks good on you, honey!
    Cora is a BEAUTY!!!!!!!!


  10. Oh … Cora is gorgeous. So glad you are document it all.
    And the baby blanket thing is so hysterical. I totally get it. In fact, I am worried the babies I love on every Friday at the local orphanage are going to overheat they are wearing so many layers under their snow suits (for indoors)!
    Love & Blessings,


  11. Oh my gosh, I can only imagine being asked to send that baby-in-a-bag through the subway scanners! You and Jacob get major points for taking Cora on a subway!!


  12. Oh, your face is all lit up with love drunkenness! Love hearing the stories of needing all the blankets and all that. My friend in Beijing who I help with Jiayin Designs is expecting her first child soon. She told me that Chinese women often receive close to 2,000 eggs when they give birth….WHAT??? Seriously???? Has anyone given you any???


  13. Cora is so beautiful! I laughed through the stories of the “not enough blankets.” I actually got warned about her being too HOT a couple times…and they were from younger people. Cultural differences indeed…


  14. You guys are doing so great! What fun familiy memories to tell Cora about one day, until she final says, “But Muuuuuuuum, I know all that!”. 😉 You are just sparkling and glowy and all that in the last photo. Amazing what love does. Cora is delightful.


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