The last 3 months have been incredible to say the least and yes that is mostly because our daughter Renata “Rena” was born in Viña Del Mar on April 15th. But to add to that, we also saw our best friends get married and had a fantastic trip back to the states. We are so excited for what’s happening in our lives and trying to enjoy these moments.
It was a little scary deciding to have our baby down in a foreign country, but it was such a beautiful experience. Everyone we worked with from our midwife to the nurses and doctors were so attentive and great. We literally had the hospital to ourselves when Rena was born because it was during the big national holiday of Semana Santa (Easter) – Renata means Re-Birth so it was even more appropriate she was born on this weekend.
Jenine wanted a natural birth without medical intervention or pain medicine (if it wasn’t medically necessary). We decided to work with a natural birth center in Chile called ObsNatura. Most well off people in Chile chose to have births via c-sections so they can be easily scheduled with the good private hospitals here. Because of this, it was difficult to find the right hospital that would accommodate a private room and a natural birth, but we finally found a great small hospital outside the pretty coastal city of Viña Del Mar.
The birth was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. The day of the birth, Jenine awoke at 2am with contractions that were definitely “the ones”. We called our midwife and she instructed us to keep monitoring; better to wait at home than the hospital. We sat in bed and live streamed the Coachella Music festival, our favorite music event that was going on live in California that weekend. After one of our favorite bands Empire of the Sun played, the contractions were becoming more intense and our midwife instructed us to head to the hospital. Thank you Empire for kicking the birth off!
We got to the hospital at 9:30am, and Jenine was having strong & painful contractions. We thought she was far along in the process, but then we got the news that she was only 3cm dilated (you need to get to 10cm) meaning she still had a long way to go…. She was squeezing my hand so hard and was nearly on the point of breaking down and taking pain medicine. However, our midwife Paula, kept saying “Se Puede” (it’s possible/you can do it) over and over and suddenly Jenine was at 5cm and then before we knew it we were heading to the birth room!! Jenine gave birth at 2:24pm, while sitting on a little birthing stool while I was seated behind her with my arms around her holding her up. When Rena was born we both were in complete shock. All of a sudden we saw this little baby girl crying and then resting on Jenine’s chest. It was surreal to say the least. Getting to hold her for the first time and take her into the the room to get measured and checked was one of the greatest moments of my life.
Jenine also wrote a birth story about the whole process if you want to read her perspective.
After the birth we stayed in the hospital for 2 days, barely sleeping, while Jenine tried so hard to get Rena to start breastfeeding. Finally, a nurse found us a silicon nipple attachment that helped Rena latch and she started eating well ending a very stressful period for us. We got discharged and immediately headed back to Matanzas!
We had about a month between Rena’s birth and heading back to the USA for our best friends Sanjay and Colleen’s wedding and to see our families. That month was mostly a blur of figuring out breastfeeding (getting Rena off the nipple attachment was really hard and stressful for Jenine), diaper changing, and around the clock bumbling around trying to figure out how to make her happy, which usually consisted of bouncing with her on an exercise ball, dancing with her, or putting her in front of the heater in our bathroom (Mr. Heater). Today, 3 months later, it feels SO much easier.
We got Rena’s Chilean passport where she’s required to take the mother’s and father’s last name, so she is officially Renata Lara Meredith Meredith in Chile 🙂 We also got her US passport – fortunately the names can be different and she has only one Meredith in her name there!
Sanjay and Colleen got married in Whistler, Canada. It is an incredible place and their wedding weekend was full of special get-togethers, dinners, an Indian ceremony, and a beautiful wedding day and party. Jenine’s parents came up from Oregon to help watch Rena so we could live it up. It was a perfect weekend, and great for us because most of our friends were there so we could catch up and introduce everyone to Rena.
We are so happy for Sanjay and Colleen. They make such a wonderful pair!
After the wedding, we were in Oregon for grandparent time and catching up with family. Jenine got to have a wonderful baby shower at her sister’s house and it was fun to see our little nephew Ethan. He really took to his new cousin. I even snuck in a little solo surf and camp trip to the coast of Oregon, which is so beautiful. It’s like the coast of Chile but with more trees and soft creamy sand.
After that, it was off to Chicago. My parents have lived in Chicago for nearly 15 years, but always in a small apartment which made visits difficult. They had bought land downtown almost 10 years ago to build a condo development, in which they would live in the top unit. However, due to the housing crisis and now booming recovery, they hadn’t built their dream project until recently. It is a 5 story building that my step dad built from the ground up. My mother was a professional ballet dancer and after that has taught ballet for 25+ years. On the first floor of their new building she opened up her own school, Chicago Dance Academy! They sold the 3 condos above the studio and their new home is the top floor. It was so nice to come home and have a gorgeous new place to stay. Rena is quite the traveler already and she really loved all the walks around the big city!
We returned to Chile at the end of June. It is winter now, which means occasional cold temps (40s-50s) and rain, but also some incredible days surfing and family walks on uncrowded beaches on the sunny days. Our little strap on carrier has come in so handy!
We are planning on moving into our new house at the end of the month. It looks great and we can’t wait to show those pics. Our next project is going to be building our guest house, which we are going to tackle all on our own. We hope to have that finished in 8 months and then we will move on to the next thing 🙂