Monday, January 30, 2012

Mama Moments #1

I have so many random thoughts in my head that I want to share with people but in my blog, an entire entry seems really overkill. So I thought to myself, self, why don't you just dedicate a blog entry every once in a while to those blurbs that need no explanation?

Introducing the Mama-Chan Mama Moments series! I'm not sure how long I will go in between posts, maybe a week or two... maybe a few days if there are enough typed out. So without further ado, Mama Moments #1:

I might let him cry a second longer than normal sometimes. I think he is absolutely beautiful all the time, but there is that look on his face the moment he sets his sights on a really good cry where his face just melts my heart. At this time of his life, with his head full of hair, it's hard to remember that he's only 2 months old. When he cries, his face reminds me that he is still very, very young.

When he sleeps I sometimes wish he would wake up and smile his big, open-mouthed, toothless smile and talk his adorable babble that reminds us of Arnold Schwarzenegger's guttural accent (and you're probably thinking, how is that adorable?). Or, I could pick him up and cuddle in bed with him if I knew he wouldn't wake up. Because if and when he wakes up, I'm usually am too...

He was a major oops but I still thank him for choosing to stay, for choosing me to be his mama. I thank Gary every once in a while for giving him to me.

I recently noticed that my instagram photos have gone from pictures of food (pregnancy; I was around 24 weeks, give or take, when I got my iPhone) to pictures of Daniel (motherhood).

As much as I bitch about how tired I am, how I feel like a dairy cow, how my old pants STILL don't fit and he peed on my one good pair of pre-pregnancy jeans that fit, I am truly enjoying my baby and motherhood. I am secretly planning my next pregnancy (time frame, name, those sorts of things).

Daniel loves his mobile. In our room, his crib is right next to my computer desk, so I can put him in his crib and let him watch his mobile for about 10 minutes (before he loses interest, like he is now as I write this blurb). I love hearing him babble to himself/the animals on the mobile. It's the best thing ever.

Just a little pinch! and other lies we tell our kids.

Daniel had his 2 month check-up today along with his vaccines. I can hear all the anti-vaccine moms out there cringe at this and I too was on the fence about it throughout my pregnancy and right after his birth. I even opted out of getting his Hep B shot in the hospital, using the excuse of not wanting him to be exposed to too much during his first few days of life (he had a mild case of jaundice that they took blood 3 times for, such was my reasoning).

I decided, however, as a healthcare provider and a recipient of vaccines myself, that I couldn't justify not getting him vaccinated. I couldn't come up with a single reason. So today, along with his check-up, I authorized his first round of vaccines. It was heartbreaking to see him get poked by those dumb needles that I just barely got over myself less than a decade ago (I've always had a fear of needles... now I think I know why most people do), and the look on his face after each poke (3, and the nurse was great about giving them) brought out mama bear instinctively with every red-faced, breathless cry he let out. I saw my newborn baby all over again every time his little forehead and eyes scrunched up, "THIS HURTS!!!". I  know, baby... I know. Fortunately, he let me calm him down fairly quickly and while occasionally letting out a small whimper during the walk to the car, he fell right to sleep when I strapped him into the car seat and got into the car. He woke up briefly when I called Gary and fussed, so I fed him and now he's asleep peacefully. He's even smiling in his sleep, so I don't think he feels that bad...

In other news, he's in the 90th percentile for weight (14 lbs 1 oz) and 75th percentile for height (24 inches). My little heffer! I am so happy for his weight, I know that he is a thriving little boy and that I am producing enough for him. Proud mama moment right there! He's was totally adorable to the nurse practitioner, smiling and talking to her during her exam and crying only when she looked into his ears with the scope. I have been dreading this day since I made the appointment so I'm glad it's over, but his 4 month check up will be here before I know it and I'll be in the same anxious mama mode all over again. Haha...

Daniel has this amazing ability to know, in his early age, just how and when to be good and be difficult. He's getting better at the crying thing, doing it less at home and letting us console him faster than when he was a newborn. I was amazed by him last Wednesday when we drove to and from Yuma for my job interview (which I didn't get, fortunately) and he was such a good boy all day, and then today when he cried for only a short time for a reason none of us can blame him for (I STILL hate needles, and I'm a nurse!). We went out to dinner last night with friends of Gary who flew in from Japan for a work conference this week, he was bright-eyed and attentive all throughout dinner. Nobody really believes that he cries as much as he does at home (except for those who know, like my family). I look at these events and as I look back at how much he used to cry when he was a newbie, I am amazed at the growth I'm witnessing. I love being his mother, so very much.

P.S. He's sleeping right now, in his crib like a good boy :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Yes, we co-sleep.

In the beginning, it wasn't by choice; Daniel simply wouldn't sleep in his bassinet and I thought he was still a little too small for his crib. Then, it became a choice. I pushed to have him sleep in his crib, I suspect it came from the guilt of not having him sleep in something my parents bought (and my mom so looked forward to buying). The transition was easy enough and he falls asleep nicely... in the beginning. Then the 2 am feeding rolls around, I just spent the last few hours sleeping like a rock so getting up to lift my screaming son from his crib feels like I'm lifting a starfish out of the ocean from the top of a cliff with chopsticks. I have. NO. ENERGY. Then comes time to actually feed him, all I want to do is nurse him laying down. It's God's gift to women to be able to do that only until I wake up an hour or so later and we're both fast asleep and my boob is cold. So after his first feeding, he never actually makes it back to his crib. Oh the plight of breastfeeding mamas...

In the beginning, a cosleeper bassinet...
A little over a month later, getting used to his crib.

Last night was the first night I looked at my son tucked into his crib, so cute and adorable and not anywhere near ready to fall asleep and thought, I can't do this. He started to squirm and wimper as I willed him to close his eyes, so I did what I kept telling myself not to do: I picked him up. I took him to our bed a few feet away, snuggled into my pillows next to his already-sleeping dad, and Daniel fell right to sleep. That's when I realized co-sleeping is what we're meant to do with our boy. He is that kid you read about that won't sleep without his parents close by. It was further evidenced by the nearly 2 hour-long nap he took today, first with me on the bed and then almost immediately on his dad's chest after he woke up in a sudden screaming fit. He hardly ever takes naps that long, never in his crib.

Most middle of the night feedings end up with this...

But I mean, how adorable is this?!
I'm still terrified that I'll wake up one morning and he'll have suffocated on what little blanket we use (since, you know, it gets so cold here in San Diego), or the pillow I make sure to keep many inches away from his head will have magically migrated itself up and over my son's face. I'm also afraid that Gary will get in a car accident on his way home from work, or that I'll never find a job as an RN anywhere. So I guess I should stop being afraid and probably just hope more. Hope that soon, he'll sleep better in his crib so I can actually have my entire side of the bed back and that our next kid will be less keen on sleeping on mama or papa than Daniel...

Last night. Sigh... 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Baby Adventure: Yuma, Arizona

Yesterday was my 27th (gasp!) birthday and the family and I spent it on a mini road trip to Yuma, Arizona. It's a little over 2 hours of driving east on interstate 8 (4 hours if you have a breastfeeding munchkin on board like us, which we did not anticipate...) and not to mention the current time zone difference (Arizona doesn't observe daylight savings)... so after some considerable driving through a whole lot of nothing, we finally arrived at our destination at 4 pm local time. Did I forget to mention the reason for going to this land of nothingness was for a job interview? At 3 pm local time? Yeah...

So after all that, I was an hour late for my interview. Had I not been completely mortified by my mistake, I might have actually enjoyed the obviously different pace of life in Yuma. We stopped in at Buffalo Wild Wings on our way out, enjoyed some beer and wings since despite being a national chain San Diego doesn't have one, and drove home. While we were at the restaurant, he got a little fussy. I took him from his dad, cuddled him into my left arm like I do sometimes and put the pacifier in his mouth. He was so worn out from the day that he fell asleep like that in the middle of all the noise!

Considering being cooped up in his car seat nearly all day long, Daniel was awesome and only really fussed when his pacifier fell out of his mouth. The dry desert air really didn't agree with either of us and by the time we got to San Diego to drop off my parents SUV at their house, he was starving and inconsolable. Nothing a quick nursing and the familiar surroundings of his grandparents couldn't fix, though!

This was by far the most low-key birthday I've had in a long, long time. I am thankful just to have been able to spend the day with Gary and Daniel. We were originally planning on leaving Daniel with my parents tonight to have our first date night/birthday celebration, but then the whole job interview thing happened... and after our long day yesterday, the last thing I want to do is go out tonight. So maybe tomorrow. That phrase gets thrown around a lot by us lately...

I found this little gem today while Daniel was napping, I'm bummed that it hasn't been updated in quite a while and that it only has one page worth of recipes but I look forward to messing around the kitchen with these recipes when Daniel is old enough to chow down on real food :) I considered getting a baby food maker (like the Brezza or the Baby Bullet) but I think I will just get a food processor and some ice cube trays for when the time comes. Until then, I'm going to enjoy not having to spend money on his food.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Webcam Wednesday

Daniel woke up from his nap super fussy, only to fall asleep on me. Note the super sweet hand placement. I love it.

Cut to scene 2. I guess my underarm is also a nose warmer?

Monday, January 23, 2012

What life was like before, and a celebration of now!

On the second day of our 3-day hospital stay (birth day plus two days to monitor Daniel's jaundice), Gary and I were taking a walk around our floor with the bassinet when I came upon a realization that I could no longer remember what it was like not to have Daniel physically in my life. I guess that makes sense considering I spent the previous 9 months anticipating his arrival, the previous 24 hours LIVING his arrival only to lay my eyes on the most beautiful, helpless human being I had ever met. Not only could I not remember it, I didn't want to imagine my life without him. Now 2 months later, I am watching this rapidly growing boy bloom before my very eyes and despite my exhaustion, I cherish every waking (and sleeping, for me) moment.

With that said, Saturday night Gary and I got to live a little bit of our previous, pre-baby life. We went out with friends to a karaoke bar and I even enjoyed some drink. It was to celebrate my friend and I's January birthdays and well, you know what you do on your birthday... I paid for it when we got home, when baby was sleepy and all I NEEDED him to do was nurse for like, 2 hours straight. I guess it's true what they say about alcohol for letdown... ANYWAY. It suffices to say that I had a great time with my great friends.

At the bar waiting for our reservation.

My yogurt soju drink and his crown and coke.
Cupcakes for the birthday girls!
Some of the damage.

We left Daniel with my parents and he did great! I was so relieved to hear that he didn't fuss the night away like he often does with us around bedtime (we picked him up at 11, a little after he's usually in bed). I packed like a mad woman for his 4 hour stay at his grandparents, packing almost 2 of everything and what I thought might be too much pumped milk. I brought the diaper bag (with diapers and wipes) AND the diaper caddy (diapers, wipes, and other toiletries) that we use at home, just in case. I'm glad I did. The Medela pump-and-go bags are a bit tricky so I guess one of the bags was lost in action, and he peed through the outfit he was wearing early on.

Yesterday was Sunday, marking Daniel's 2-month birthday! Every Sunday, we go to my parents house for dinner. Last night, we decided to bring a cake to celebrate our boy's monumental day. To be honest, I wouldn't mind buying him a cake ever 22nd day of the month until his 1st birthday! I don't think that'll fly with his dad though, he's not as big a cake fan as I am. 
"Is this mine?"

"Wow! Thanks mama and papa!"

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Daniel's Story

On November 22nd, 2011 (11/22/11) at 2:45 pm, my son Daniel was born at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns. I arrived at the hospital at 2 am at 3 centimeters; my triage nurse instructed me to walk around the hospital for an hour or so to see if I would dilate a little bit more. I was admitted around 4 am and labored 4 to 10 centimeters over 10 hours and once I was fully dilated, I pushed for less than an hour. I planned on an unmedicated labor from early on in my pregnancy; sometime between my water breaking and Daniel's head putting increasing pressure on my cervix, I begged his father for an epidural. Fortunately it really wasn't up to him and he knew what my true desire was. I powered through transition with the support of my boyfriend, mom, and nurse when I was finally allowed to push and be one step closer to meeting Daniel.

False labor on Sunday pm/Monday am.

Real labor Tuesday am.
Suit up!
My little boy, my pride and joy, was born with a shock of dark hair and a very Asian appearance. You see, both Daniel's dad and I are half-Japanese; while I expected my son would resemble us in many ways, I always favored a more caucasian look courtesy of my dad's genetics so seeing him look so very Japanese was a huge shock to me (as in I almost said aloud, "I don't think that's my baby"). Within days of his swelling going down and looking less newborn, however, he looked more and more like he definitely belonged to me.

My sweet little 7 and 10 (almost 11!) boy!
Making sure all the goods are present.
My brother and Gary with a Daniel burrito.
My amazing team sans Gary: nurses, myself, MD, and my mom.
Nice and clean in post-partum with David Beckham hair.
Hi, I'm Daniel!
First week home sweet home.
I have tried to do everything as natural as possible in these first few months of his early life. Along with my natural birth, I have been breastfeeding exclusively. Every 2 to 3 hours of the past 8 weeks have been dedicated to nourishing my child and I am so glad I stuck with it. The pain that turned to discomfort is now gone completely and the uncertainty of him not getting enough is soothed by his expanding body mass (which I can't get enough of... CHEEKS!). The one thing I have yet to accomplish is the transition from disposable diapers to cloth, which I had hoped to have done by this point. I'm not sure if it's the uncertainty of using cloth diapers or just the convenience of disposable ones, but my insistence of using cloth diapers is dwindling.

He loves laying chest to chest.
Learning to smile.
Another favorite sleeping spot of his.
The past few months of motherhood has taught me more than I ever thought possible; in these early stages where his eyes notice everything but his hands yet to interact, the value of the mobile we bought him is priceless. Thank you Fisher Price for giving me a means to entertain my son so that I can stand a few feet away to wash my face in the morning and if time and baby attention span allows, run downstairs to start my pot of lifeblood. Baby Bjorn, you are a god-send for those times when he is unconsolable for much longer than my arms can handle. Soothies are his pacifier of choice and while I feed him by much different means, his father can feed him with comfort and ease with Breast Flow bottles. SwaddleMe and Halo Sleep Sacks are my saviors as I never could get the hang of swaddling regularly. And of course, the white noise machine will forever be our favorite tool of the trade.

6 weeks later! He's growing so fast.
I don't consider myself to be the most patient person but slowly, my little boy is teaching me to breath deeply, keep my cool and regroup when I get too worked up. In his 2 short months on this earth, he has shown me a person I never knew I would be: his mama. Now, every time I get up in the wee hours of the morning to nurse my ever-growing child I find myself in awe of his adorable face, his little hands, his pudgy tummy, having to remind myself that yes, in fact, I did make this beautifully tiny human inside of me (with the help of his father, of course) and pushed him out in a way I never knew I had in me. He is mine.