Sunday, November 22, 2009

First Bath

Toweling off afterward.
Missionary Hair

Punky hair.
Little's umbilical cord stump finally fell off just one day shy of three weeks! We had fun giving his first "real" bath today. His calm personality is evident. We love this little guy so much.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Preface

Again, forgive the lapse in time since I last posted. Motherhood is grand and exhausting...I am adjusting.

Here I am at Birth Rehearsal #1: So relaxed, so confident. I looked forward to the birth experience like a kid anticipating Christmas morning.

During the birth itself, for about the first 20 hours, I felt the same type of joyful ease that was present during my rehearsals. For the last dozen hours or so of the birth, the experience wasn't quite as ideal, but I will explain why this fact doesn't bother me. Many of you have a particular interest in this birth story knowing I decided to use Hypnobabies. Click here to learn more. I LOVE this program, and attribute most of my positive attitude during pregnancy and birthing to it. I would highly recommend Hypnobabies to anybody who wants to look forward to the birth experience rather than dreading it. I firmly believe childbirth is one of God's greatest GIFTS to women, far from being a curse, and not inherently meant to bring suffering. Hypnobabies promotes this beautiful ideal. Having said that, I need to confess there are few philosophies in life that garner my total agreement, and therefore I “tweaked” Hypnobabies to match my own beliefs a bit. Here are the two main changes I made:

First, Hypnobabies discourages mothers from referring to the birth experience as “hard work.” While I see why the program seeks to instill a feeling of ease to aid the mother’s confidence, I believed all along that the program qualified as “hard work.” Hours a day of practice (enjoyable though that practice could be) for months on end, effort required to focus and use the hypnosis tools during the birth itself, etc. all seem like real work to me. Furthermore, on a religious slant, I see birth as part of “my work and my glory,” to bring a little soul to earth. And work in general is part of the purpose of mortal life...not something to fear or avoid, but embrace as a godly principle. “Be anxiously engaged in a good work.” And nothing in life worth having ever came easy. And so forth. So I sometimes call the birthing time “labor,” and sometimes called it “work,” but neither terms feel negative to me. I can do hard things.

Second, Hypnobabies has an affirmation that states, “I deserve a beautiful, comfortable birth.” After considering the damage inherent in this mantra, such as women feeling devastated after their birth experience goes awry (since “deserving” connotes entitlement, and a feeling of being cheated if the birth happens differently than beautiful/comfortable), I decided not to state this affirmation. Instead I changed it, chanting, “I am worthy of a beautiful, comfortable birth.” Then, during my birthing time, I repeated to myself, “I am choosing a beautiful, comfortable birth.” Knowing I had done everything in my power to achieve the birthing experience I wanted, I still realized that perhaps God had some better lesson for me to learn than could be obtained through a blissful experience. Sometimes, despite a person being worthy of a great blessing, God chooses to withhold it in order to give something greater in return. I knew that if I did not get the ideal birth I desired, it wasn’t because I had been cheated out of something I deserved, or because I had not educated myself, or worked hard enough preparing, etc. but rather God wanted me to get something better out of the whole experience.

So. With that lead up, it must seem obvious some parts of my birth experience went as planned, and other parts went differently than planned, but overall I feel positive about the whole thing. I love being a woman, and feel grateful for the opportunity to experience birthing my baby.

Hmmm…This post is long enough now that I have decided to end it and make the birth story itself a “to be continued” separate entry. I suppose we will call this post The Preface. Very dramatic. =) Stay tuned. And hopefully it will not take me another week to get the rest of the story posted.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Many faces

We got to come home a few days ago, but here are some pics from the hospital to get caught up.  Yawny:
Indignant (that his ticket out of the hospital included a ride in a carseat)

Liberty Little.

We wish we knew what he was thinking.  Winky.

Sleepy Content with DaddyRelieved?  (IVjust inserted in the head appears to hurt less than hands and feet; memo to all parents who may get to choose their baby's IV location someday)

Friday, November 6, 2009

No Room in the Inn

I was about to give apologies for the delay in posting, but then realized I am putting priorities where they need to be--so apologizing would be silly. Y'all just wait patiently for my bloggy updates and keep in mind the next few are going to be GOOD ONES. Be excited.

First of all, Jerry and I are glad to have prior experience with indoor "camping," because that's what we have been doing this week. It is somewhat like our month without household goods earlier this summer, only with a baby added into the mix. =) No, actually, it isn't that bad--here's the story: I chose to discharge a day early from the birthing center where we had the baby, so we could go to the hospital where they had transferred our Little. That hospital was unable to accept me as a transfer patient, and in fact the hospital has been overflowing beyond capacity. Not only could I not stay at the hospital as a transfer patient, but we could not even stay there as parents. There were no rooms available for us to join Little during his care--not even the Ronald McDonald house nearby was an option. So we persisted in asking for help, because I really wanted to breastfeed and it wouldn't have been possible if we had to sleep at our apartment each night. We ended up taking what is basically an NICU storage space, the "isolation unit," which has windows on three sides, two cots, and a sink. The good part is, we have prime territory in the middle of NICU, unlike those parents who got regular hospital rooms in another wing. We have made our room pretty homey, dragging a chair in for nursing, and a few blankets and pillows from our house. I am able to pump enough milk for us to take a couple hours break to go home for a shower/restocking supplies once a day.

Ever since our Little got a bit healthier (was it yesterday? my sense of time is out of whack), they were able to move his unit into our room so I can nurse on demand. Nursing has also been a lot easier since half the wires and oxygen tubes and such got removed from his body. There are still a few attached for now that make it a hassle to move him, and an IV hep lock that will stay in his hand until we leave here on Monday or Tuesday next week. He just had to have a lot of blood drawn from his wrist this afternoon, and the nurse couldn't get the vein right, so he was screaming, so sad. I asked when she tried again if I could breastfeed during the procedure and that made a huge difference! Little yelped once when the needle went in, but then latched on and started sucking with such the cutest desperation, totally comforted.

The downside of living inside the NICU is that we are not allowed to bring in food,drink, or cell phones, so we have gotten a little locker where we keep our mini cooler and such. For mealtimes, we rush to the locker, scarf down sandwiches etc. and then promptly return to our room. It drives me crazy to leave my baby! I know the caregivers at this hospital are well-trained and good to him, but nobody can comfort my Little like I can. Breastfeeding has been going so well, and it makes me brimming with joy to see my Little flop back after a feeding with all his limbs loose and relaxed, a half-smile on his sleeping lips. And yes, I am calling those facial expressions "smiles," though I know it is too early for social smiling...

Well, that's enough naptime down the drain. I just wanted to give a little update for now, and to reassure everybody that we are doing well and staying happy. I will write more later.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Little Arrived

This is Jerry’s writing. Well, you will find that out pretty soon, when you realize the writing is not as quality as Courtney’s.

Anyway, Little arrived Nov 2, 2009 at 6:28am—8 pounds 4 oz body and 21 inches. For security purpose we do not plan to post his real name on the blog and simply name him Little as his “blog name”; however, if you haven’t already heard of his name and want to know, feel free to email us and ask.

Started on Halloween night, right before we were soooo ready to go to bed, (after a full day of activities), those intensive birthing waves (contraction) came. Active labour started at around 11:00pm. They came quite often to start with, around 10 minutes apart. At around 1:30am, we called our doula, Kathy (who by the way is the best doula); and she arrived at our home at around 3:00am, driving from Connecticut.

If any ask me an advice about birthing time (labor), I would say Patience. The whole birthing time was 31 hours, including the last 3 hours of intense pushing. Keep in mind that we hadn’t slept since the morning of Oct 31. So, from 4:00am of Oct 31 to 6:28am of Nov 2—totally 50 hours, Courtney was mostly awake. It was really hard for me to watch my sweet Courtney doing all that pushing with her extreme exhausted body, without any painkiller of any kind. (Courtney will blog about hypnobaby’s experience later).

So, where is Courtney. She is sleeping peacefully by my side while I am typing this in the birthing center. But, where is our Little?

Little was born with “perfect skin color.” You know many babies are born purple, dark blue, etc. Little’s skin has that perfect Asian tan, like a one-week old baby. Later we discovered that Little’s blood didn’t have enough water-content and oxygen (sorry I don’t remember the official medical terms for them). They are guessing that he has some kind of infection, possibly pneumonia; we will know the result in a day or two. So, Little is transferred to another main hospital in town, since our birthing center only handles basic baby needs.

Good thing the doctor said that Little is going to be fine and completely normal after a week. But, your prayers on our Little are a little service that you can do for us.

Another cute thing about Little—since I had about three mins alone with Little in the nursery room, and I had consecrated oil with me; well, what would a loving new father do? Little received his first priesthood blessing on his first day. Well speaking or spiritual things, you know what I’ve just realized? We MISSED our family scripture study on the birthing day…!!! Courtney and I had never let a day pass without reading the scriptures together ever since when we were dating. With such heavy motherhood responsibility, I think the Lord would understand, but we wish we had remembered.

Courtney will post another blog with her perspective and lots of more new pictures later.

Thank you for all of your love and support!

Right after Little was born (after being cleaned-up), Little was placed on mommy skin-to-skin.

Isn’t he a cutie.

Don’t let all those cables scared you. Most of them are only for monitoring purpose. Except the IV, since Little cannot be nursed by mommy temporarily.

Daddy mommy saying good-bye to Little when he was transferred.