Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oops. We did it again.

Well, it's been quite a while since I've logged on here.  It ain't easy to find time blogging while being a working mom, even if I am only working part time in the office.  Huge respect for moms, doods.  Single moms, working moms, stay at home moms, part time work at home moms, whatever!  Moms be pretty special.  This is not an easy job.

Especially after baby turns a year old.  No seriously.  It's a whole new ballgame.

That said.  WTF!  I'm about to be a mom -- again.

Our first peek at baby #2. 
*that's a lie.  this was our fifth peek, but the first one was at 5 weeks and showed nothing; the second one, at 6 weeks, revealed a pea with a heartbeat; at 8 weeks, the third one showed us I was indeed carrying a gummy bear; and 10 weeks was a lima bean with a head and some sprouts.  So that, ladies and gents, is my very scientific overview of what you see at each ultrasound prior to 12 weeks.

Due date: October 26th

I'm going to try to blog more often on here, but I've also started a new endeavor and I'm contributing to the awesome kids fashion and design blog Coos & Ahhs, so that's where you'll find me more often probably.

Take a gander pretty please.

Here are a few recent posts by yours truly to get started.  WARNING:  These posts will make you want to shop.

Gorgeous spring and summer wraps - cheers to all you babywearers!  p.s. how do i get my husband to wear the baby?  he thinks it looks too girlie -- even in the Ergo.  what a dork.

Freshest spring and summer shoes for your little one

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Starting around two months, Nikolai started cooing.  Now he "talks" so much, I love it!  In the morning when he first wakes up, I hear him on the monitor chatting to himself, or maybe to the elephants on his mobile, and I go to his room and as soon as I turn the light on he squeals with joy and mumbles non stop like this:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tickle Torture

N has just started laughing recently. The first time was when he was on the changing table and V and I were having a somewhat intense argument. I guess to break the tension, N decided it was the perfect time to start cracking up!  What a little worked!

Here's a little tickling to brighten up your day.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

He's sleeping through the night. Who cares if "night" means 6 to midnight?

He's actually 6.5 weeks today, but I obvi don't have time to keep up with this blog...
I don't want to jinx it, but for the past three nights, N has been sleeping for 6 hour stretches.

Do you know what this means?  It's like I won Olympic gold.  It's the point that every new parent strives for.  Forget sitting up, rolling over, their first teeth, first word, walking.  Forget it all.  It's SLEEP that matters. It's the pinnacle of parenting success.

It happened totally naturally though, so I can't take credit.  The only thing I did was put him to bed earlier.  So instead of 9pm, I put him down a 6pm and he sleeps until midnight, and then is up again at 3 am to suck on a boobie, then again at 6 am ready to start the day.  This may sound like a lot but it really means I'm only up ONCE the whole night! 

Except this morning I pushed his sleep to 7 am with a pacifier and then what WHAT?  He slept from 8 am to noon!!  And basically all day long with short 30 minute wake periods between naps just to take in some boob fuel and smile a little bit to make mommy happy and confirm he is alive and healthy.  I actually went into his room at one point and held my hand just an inch above his sleeping body to make sure it was still warm.  It's like he popped an ambien and is on a flight from Thailand back to the States after pulling a raging all nighter at the hotel in Bangkok.  Trust, I know what that feels like (minus the "raging" portion).

I also changed up his daytime sleep situation a few days ago because he kept waking from naps really early -- after 45 minutes -- which apparently is the length of a baby sleep cycle.  He's always slept well and predictably at night in 2.5-3 hour stretches, up to eat, and back down easily.  At night we have him in the Uppababy Vista bassinet in our room.  For daytime naps, we had been putting him in his crib in his room, a room without windows.  So for the last few days, I have put his bassinet inside his crib in his room and it seems to be making a big difference.

Whenever we have a boss day like this, I get really excited thinking we have a new schedule and pattern starting, but that is not the case.  The reality of it is that I will probably be fighting a seriously un-sleepy baby tomorrow.  But why dwell on a future that hasn't happened yet?  Today,  I am super mom doing everything right with an ambien angelbaby who never fusses or cries.

And to celebrate, I'm having a half glass of wine (first in 10 months!) since angelbaby won't be up for another 4 hours or so.  BLISS.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nikolai's Birth Story

On Tuesday, March 13th, at 40 weeks plus 2 days, I woke up at 4:30 am with a slight cramping feeling.  I got up and went to the bathroom and found that my underwear was wet and tinged with pink blood and I figured my water had finally broken.  Everyone says it's just a trickle and rarely a gush like you see in movies, and that seemed to be what was happening.  So I put on a pad, texted my doula Kim that today was probably the day, and went back to bed.

At 7:30 am I woke up again, went to the bathroom, changed pads and tried to go back to sleep but my cramps were getting stronger and I started to get really excited that this was it!  So I started up the contraction app on my iphone and started timing the cramps.  They were all over the place.  10 minutes apart, then 20, then 5, then 8...etc.  This went on for the next several hours.  The whole time, they were very manageable - like period cramps - except I don't normally have period cramps so I wasn't sure how intense they were supposed to be.  I kept texting my doula to let her know they were getting closer together, and we chatted a few times.  She kept saying that my demeanor indicated that I wasn't ready to go to the hospital yet.  But I could swear these contractions were hurting more and more!

I decided I needed to eat, so I ate a few small pears, sweet potatoes, and Samoa Girl Scout cookies.  I barely had an appetite though, so it was hard to get it down.  I laid in bed during most of the day with Monty by my side keeping me company.  V was in and out to check on me while doing last minute stuff like packing a hospital bag for himself and installing the car seat.

Finally around 4:30 pm, my contractions were 5 minutes apart lasting about a minute, which is when they tell you to head to the hospital.  I called Kim and told her we were going to head out because we didn't want to hit rush hour traffic, and she agreed that was a good idea and would meet us there, although she did say my demeanor was still not urgent enough and we may be jumping the gun.

The car ride wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be.  I turned on my hypnobirthing recording on my iphone, put in my headphones, and tuned out the world.  We got to the hospital around 5:15 pm and checked in.  They were so efficient, I was taken to my L&D room within 10-15 minutes, got cozy and met my midwife Lisa, who would be delivering the baby.  Lisa was the only midwife in the practice that I hadn't met, so I had been a little nervous, but she was great.

They put two monitors on me:  one to monitor contractions, the other to monitor the fetal heartbeat. After a few minutes and establishing that contractions were now 1-2 minutes apart, and heartbeat was stable, Lisa decided to checked my dilation, and told me - to my shock and horror - I hadn't dilated at all...I could not believe it!!  For the past few weeks, I had been walking around at just shy of 3 cm, 80-90% effaced, and after a whole day of contractions, no progress!?  I was seriously gutted.  Then she told me my water had not broken, or if it had, it was my hind waters and not the main one.  So, she gave me the option of continuing to labor as I had been, or having her break my water to speed the process up a bit.  I felt bad for coming to the hospital too early and "crying wolf" so I told her to break it.  OMG.  It was a warm gush - a waterfall! And it just kept pouring out.  Such a weird feeling.  Immediately after she broke my water, the contractions got more intense.  She checked me again, and said I was now at 3 cm so she could properly strip my membranes.  Once she did that, I got to 4 cm and was left to keep laboring.

At this point, the pain was pretty intense.  It was probably around 6:30 pm by this point, and Kim told me I should try to eat something because I probably wouldn't be able to later (or want to).  I agreed so V went to grab some food for us.  When he got back, I was suddenly totally nauseated by the smell of it, I turned it away and contractions got even more intense.  An hour or so later, Lisa came back in to check me and I hadn't progressed from 4 cm at all!  After all that pain!  WTF.

I had a tub in my room but they don't recommend getting in until you hit 5 cm otherwise it could slow labor down, so I was just waiting and waiting to hit 5 cm -- with contractions coming 1 to 2 minutes apart this whole time.  The pain was super intense.  Like a steam roller crushing me from the back.  Seriously, now I understand the saying "labor is back breaking work" - it fucking kills your back.  Totally.  I don't even remember any pain being in my uterus at this point - it was ALL in my back and radiated throughout my entire torso.  I didn't even have the strength to try to turn on my hypnobirthing recording. I just kept my eyes closed and tried to breathe deeply, chanting to myself over and over again in my head, "open, open, open.  breathe, breathe, breathe, relax, relax, relax."

They suggested I get into the shower, so I crawled over there with V's help, while gobs of blood and slimy clots dropped to the floor out of me.  I kept apologizing for them, even though I knew no one cared, but it just felt wrong to be making such a mess!  We got to the bathroom and I sat on the shower floor while V aimed the shower head at my back.  I was crouched over on my hands and knees and was so uncomfortable being on that hard, gross tile and Kim and V kept trying to do things that would help make it more comfortable, like put a towel on the floor under my knees, and tried to reposition me, but every movement at this point was excrutiating.  I felt like a huge blob of pure pain.  Every few minutes V would give me ice chips or a sip of Vitamin Water.  I didn't even have the cognizance at this point to know what I wanted so whenever he would ask if I wanted it, I'd just whine and say, "I don't knooooooow."  So he'd put it in my mouth and say I had to have it to stay hydrated.  I think we were in there for about an hour when I finally felt like I wanted to get out and go back to the bed.

Lisa came back in and checked me again and I was finally at 5 cm! I'm not sure what time it was but I'm guessing roughly 8 or 9 pm.  They put me back on the monitors while Kim and the nurse filled the tub.  By the way, the monitors suck.  It's just a band and a metal thing that goes around your belly, but for some reason, it's really painful to have that extra pressure against your body when you're in labor.  But the good thing was being able to see that baby's heart rate and see that it was stable throughout all of this.  It also reinforced that my contractions were just as horrible as I was feeling them to be.  Everytime I saw a spike on the monitor, I'd think to myself, "Yes, indeed.  That did feel like hell!"

Finally the tub got filled, and Kim put up a string of Christmas lights that made the room all sparkly and serene. I got in and for maybe 5 minutes I felt a tiny bit of relief.  But while I was in there, the contractions just got stronger and stronger so over the next couple hours, I laid in there butt ass nekkid with my head against the side, eyes closed, moaning and groaning and trying to breathe through each contraction, which I felt were basically back to back at this point.  I was feeling very little relief in between.

Oh, and I forgot to mention.  I had several cameras on me at all times throughout labor.  But I honestly barely even noticed.  I just kept going deep inside my mind and body trying so hard to pass through the pain instead of fighting against it but it was so hard!  At this point I remember moaning really loudly and I kept saying "OWWWWW!" and clenching up my entire body and Kim kept reminding me to keep my tone low as that helps open you up but I kept going higher pitched.  While I was in the tub I felt these crazy urges to push where my whole body would just kind of convulse with the contraction, but I wasn't fully dilated yet.

When I got out of the tub, Lisa checked me again and I was at 8 cm.  She stripped the membranes again, I think. At this point I was begging for the epidural saying I couldn't do it anymore.  Kim said that's a good sign, that I'm transitioning and soon I'd be able to push.  But I found out after I got out that the involuntary pushing had made my canal swell, and I also had a really full bladder.  So they told me to go to the toilet and try to pee.  I stayed on the toilet for about a half hour, maybe more, and for the life of me could not pee to save my life!  I had eaten so many ice chips and almost an entire big bottle of Vitamin Water, and I just could not get anything to come out.  I was contracting like a mofo on the toilet and just kept crying out in pain.  The amazing part is that I couldn't actually cry tears.  It was just moaning and yelling and whining.

I came out and they put me back on the monitors again and Lisa checked and saw that I was 9.5 cm with just a lip of cervix that needed to move behind the head so she did something with her fingers that forced it around the head.  Finally, FINALLY around 2 or 3 am, I was 10 cm and I could finally start pushing!

I got into position on the bed, with the monitors on me, and they noticed that contractions had actually stalled to 8 minutes apart.  I don't believe this because I felt pain the entire time...I think maybe the monitor just slid off or something.  Anyway, V had one leg, Kim had the other, and at the next contraction I was told to push like I was pooping.  But at that point, I had a huge shock of pain shoot down from my right butt cheek through my right leg and the whole right side of the body convulsed.  The baby had his head on my sciatic nerve and I needed to push him down through it.  At the next contraction I tried again and I just couldn't push past it.  It was hindering my ability to push him down was my extremely full bladder.  After several tries, I was utterly exhausted.  Everyone was.  I just kept saying that I needed to sleep.

Lisa actually recommended at this point that I get the epidural, sleep a few hours, and then they'd start some pitocin to get my contractions going again since they'd virtually stopped at that point.  I didn't need to be convinced.  I was like EPIDURAL?  YES PLEASE!!  I think by this point I had even asked for a c-section several times.  I was so ready for the pain to end no matter what the cost.  When the anesthesiologist came in, I could almost hear angels singing from the heavens above.  A lot of people say the epidural hurts.  I say to them, get outta town!  Compared to 20-some hours of contractions, it's a freaking cake walk.  In less than 5 minutes it was in and started to work its magic and I passed out.

A few hours later, around 8 am, apparently they had already started the pitocin but I couldn't feel a damn thing!  Couldn't feel my legs at all, one less than the other since I had been sleeping on my side and it moves with gravity.  Lisa came in after having rested, V was sleeping on a chair beside me and Kim was asleep in the back of the room.  It was time to push again.

They set up a stand up mirror so that I could see what was happening to my vag, which was extremely helpful since I couldn't feel anything.  They used the contraction monitor to know when to tell me to push and as soon as I started pushing, Lisa said "You're a great pusher!"  I couldn't see or feel anything happening so I felt like she was lying to make me feel better, but apparently the baby was moving down.  After a few more pushes, I finally saw his head bulge through a tiny bit and Lisa told me to reach down and feel the head.  It was slimy and warm, and totally surreal!  I knew I'd meet him soon and was really excited!  I couldn't believe it was finally going to happen!  During each push after that, she used olive oil to stretch the skin around his head, and I was trying not to push too hard because I didn't want to tear, but I had no concept of what was too hard or too little at this point.

At 8:50 am on Wednesday, March 14th, at 40 weeks plus 3 days, Nikolai was born.  They pulled him from me and put him on my chest, and I bawled. I looked over at V who was filming with his iPhone, and said something like, "He's finally here!!"  A few rubs in and we heard his first cry.  It was beautiful.

I still couldn't feel much of what was happening down there, but Lisa told me to push one more time to deliver the placenta, and then she examined the situation below and said I tore just a teeny bit on the inside.  She put 4 stitches in and showed me the placenta which was a deep red, and very healthy looking and rich.  She said I have great anatomy - she couldn't believe I didn't tear more with such a big first baby (8 lb, 3 oz; 21 inches); I have a nice wide pelvis; and good nipples for breastfeeding.

Well ok then.  That's cool.  Hehe.

A few minutes later, I tried breastfeeding and N took to it like a champ.  He latched immediately and I just sat there with him in my arms and stared at him in disbelief.  I couldn't believe I grew this perfect  human inside my body.  That he started out with just one little sperm and one little egg and became this amazing, alive being.  And he was so strong!  Throughout the whole ordeal, I don't remember his heart rate dipping down.  He never gave us a scare and I was able to avoid my most feared last resort: c-section.

So even though I wasn't able to have the truly natural childbirth I originally wanted, I feel totally blessed that I was able to deliver him vaginally, and that I pretty much did go through the whole labor without drugs.  I thought I'd be disappointed, but when I see that N is a healthy, thriving baby, I really have no regrets.

Today, almost a month later:

- I still have numbness in my right foot and calf from sciatic nerve damage.  The doctors say it should get back to normal over the next few months, but there are times when it doesn't, so that kind of sucks.  Kim told me to see a chiropractor - that maybe an adjustment would realign everything so that if there is still something lying on that nerve, it might fix it.

-I'm still bleeding.  This is annoying, I would like it to stop please.  It's basically like having a period for a month.

-I'm 4 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight.

-N flipped from his stomach to his back at his 2 week pediatric appointment.  I thought it was a fluke, but he's done it two more times!  Seriously, we have a strong one.

-Starting day 1, N has had a good amount of neck control, turning his head from side to side even in the hospital.

-When we have him slug across our shoulder and he wants to lay down, he throws his entire body backward to let us know.

-He weighs about 10 and a half lbs already and has grown out of newborn clothes and newborn diapers.

I'm excited to see what else is in store for us over the next few weeks!  I hope his latest phase of eating every hour and being a fussy non-sleeper ends soon so we can skip to the smiles and coos!

Friday, March 23, 2012

9 Days Postpartum

I'm pretty amazed by how the body works.  I don't know if it's all the miyukgook (seaweed soup) I've been eating forced to eat, or if it's all the sweating, sitting in a hot house with no ventilation.  I certainly haven't exercised - I'm not even allowed to leave the house for another week or two except to go to the pediatrician.

I'm now 7 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight, and I've been eating like a banshee! Tons of red meat too since I'm anemic.

Here's a fun little comparison pic.

Oh, and one more very important thing to document.  These babies:
I have never experienced having this body ratio before.  I now know why women with breasts like to show off their cleavage.  They are empowering!  I want to name them!  I want to smoosh my face in them! 

And so does V, but they're actually not the kind of "funbags" we'd like them to be.  They're hard and they hurt when touched so it's hands off for him.  Poor guy.

Whatever, cry me a river.  I pushed an 8 lb baby out of my hoo-ha. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The First Week

Nikolai is one week old today.


First of all, this post is going to be all over the place.  It's impossible to categorize and organize these thoughts so I'm just going to write...and not think.  Stream of consciousness...

The first week of motherhood has been an amazing, terrifying, joyous, terrible, heartbreaking, fulfilling, emotional, numb, confusing, overwhelming, love-filled experience.  Never in such a short period of time have I felt such a breadth of emotions.

The 48 hours in the hospital after birth were great.  Visitors came and went, nurses came in to check on me and Nikolai every couple hours.  There was a baby nurse and a mommy nurse.  They'd take our temp, and my blood pressure and take blood samples and check my butt (for hemorrhoids, which amazingly enough, I don't have).  Oddly enough, it felt safe just knowing there were doctors everywhere -- just in case.

We'd send Nikolai to the nursery for a few hours during the night so we could get some sleep, and they'd wheel him in after 4 hours, when he started to get hungry.  I had a strict no formula, no water policy because the plan was to exclusively breastfeed for at least his first couple months of life.  I was running on so many hormones and adrenaline, I barely even felt tired.  V, on the other hand, was utterly exhausted, and he didn't have a nice comfy bed to sleep on like I did, but he refused to sleep at home. 

All of our meals were taken care of.  Even if we didn't eat hospital food, my parents would come and bring us rice and banchan and miyukgook.

The first night home was a whole different story.  The stubborn person that I am, I didn't even have back-up formula on hand thinking that my colostrum would be enough to fill my little guy's tummy.  But all he did the first night was cry and cry, with dry cracked lips, and a hoarse husky little voice because he was SO hungry and thirsty.  The pediatrician had sent us home with a few bottles of glucose water because she noticed he was a little dry before we were discharged from the hospital.  She said to give him just a few teaspoons after each feeding to make sure he stayed hydrated.  The second I put the little spoon to his lips he'd stop crying, open his eyes SO wide, and start sucking for dear life.  It was like a switch had been flipped inside him.  It was almost robotic!

After about 8 hours of constant crying, I finally caved and made V go to the store and pick up formula.  I could not stand any longer seeing my little one starve, and as soon as we fed it to him, he fell asleep, finally content.  And so did we.

During these hours of crying, I kept thinking to myself, "What did I get myself into? I'm not going to be able to do this.  He's a colicky baby, definitely not one of those easy children.  I can't do this."  It was devastating.  V was beyond annoyed and kept asking if all babies are like this, and not knowing better I said yes.  And he just couldn't get over how annoying it was.

Luckily, each day since then has been better and better, and I've actually been getting enough sleep at night.  Nikolai seems to be a day sleeper, which is a bit problematic because it's a lot harder to put him down at night, but ever since my milk has come in, he's been a generally content baby.  He only cries when there's actually something wrong -- a wet or poopy diaper, hunger, needing to burp.  That's all.

A couple days ago, we took him to his first pediatrician appointment, and everything checked out fine.

When he was born, he was 8 lbs, 3 oz.  His discharge weight was 7 lb, 8 oz.  And at our appointment, he was already on the up and up at 7 lb, 13 oz.  Whew!  What a weight lifted.

Speaking of weight, I've already lost 20 of the 30 lbs I gained during pregnancy.  So for anyone who's worried about that -- don't!  It literally melts off.

The one thing you really worry about is whether they're eating enough (oh, and at night, whether or not they're breathing).  But food is the one thing you can control.  With breastfeeding, however, you never know how much they're really getting.  So what I've figured out is that when he takes naps that are less than 2 hours, he didn't get enough to eat and I need to pump more while he sleeps to stimulate production during those hours.  We give him a bottle of formula at night, and that extends his sleep time to about 4 hours.  These 4 hours are crucial to existing the next day.

I've been anemic with low blood pressure since I've been home from the hospital.  My second day home, I had a fever and my entire body ached.  I thought it was post-labor trauma, but I finally took my temperature and realized I was achy because of the fever.  For two days, I had a slight ringing in my ears, which made the baby's cries sound like cell phone rings.  Very strange.

Finally, today, I feel just about 100%.  I'm still bleeding a lot down there, but that's supposed to be normal.  It's just annoying to deal with.  It's like, for 10 months you don't have a period, and to make up for it, your body bleeds for an entire month after birth.  Can't wait for that to be over!

It is terrifying to think that I am solely responsible for my son's life.  That from now, for the rest of my life, I will have him to think about.  To care for.  To love.  To keep from harm.  From the grandest, most profound thought - the concept of motherhood - to the smallest, most trivial - like how I will manage to go grocery shopping with him in tow - it's all equally terrifying.  But for now, the sweet smell of my baby's head keeps me from having a full on anxiety attack.  There must be something to that.  It is truly calming.

I've been in mostly good spirits since I've been home -- even with the first night of sleep deprivation.  The only thing that's set me off emotionally, ironically enough, is my own mother, who's here to help, but has managed to be a double edged sword.  It's not too surprising, I guess, but I am glad to know it's not being a mother that gets me down.  Who knows, I may have a whole new set of hormones kick in this week or next and I could be bawling everyday.

For now, I am content looking at this little face.
Brand new, just a couple hours old

First car ride

Nikolai and his daddy

First pediatrician appointment