Tuesday, February 13, 2018

we've made it through month 1

whoa whoa whoa!! how is it possible that a whole month has passed by yet it also feels like time has stood still? i can't believe my baby is already a month old today, while it also feels like i've been living in a stagnant cycle of crying, diapers and bottles. and somehow it also feels like i've been doing this for four years already. that's what sleep deprivation does to you i guess!

Cameron is doing well. he's thriving as he should i suppose. my once 7lb 10oz son has acquired a dad bod and is weighing in at just over 10lbs. his umbilical cord fell off almost two weeks into birth. i found it on the couch a couple hours after we partook in a skin-to-skin nap. i thought it was bug but nope, it was a piece of dehydrated lifeline. his circumcision healed up nicely right around the same time. thank god! it was a chore trying to squeeze vaseline on that thing like a bee hive. boy-moms know what i'm talkin' about. aside from that, i don't know what to say about him. i always see people document things on their child's monthly photos about what they like/dislike, what they've discovered and any milestones they've hit. but so far Cam is a typical newborn. he eats, sleeps, poops and cries. i guess i could elaborate on those. he's eating up to 4oz at a time now. he sleeps well at night and only really wakes for feedings but we put him right back to sleep and he has no problem with that. his poops have been various colors, shades and consistencies thus far, sometimes even within the same diaper. so weird. and he cries. or fusses. i'd love to say more about him but that sort of sums up his life so far. i'll let you know when he's more interesting. right now his little intricacies are cute and noticeable for me but even so, i know his 'smile' is just a reflex. and that when he grabs my finger he has no idea his hand even exists yet so it's meaningless.

as far as i go...well. i've had my downs and my downs. but i'm looking forward to the ups and i'm now starting to see a flicker of a light at the end of the tunnel. if you recall in my last blog post, i was a disheveled mess. i can't say that i'm not still that, but i'm a little bit of a lesser mess now. as every day goes by i feel slightly more confident. whether it's taking him on walks with the ergobaby or putting him in the car and using the stroller, i've overcome the fear of doing new things. when he was about two weeks old i took him in a stroller down Geary Street for a walk by myself. ten blocks in he started crying his face off and i panicked. luckily we were by a Kaiser clinic. i knew they'd have a lobby so i ducked in there and fed/changed him. after that i rushed back to the car where Ted was and proclaimed that "that was intense. whyyyyyy did i try to do that? let's just stay at home for like six months." today was the very first time i left the house with him alone in my car that wasn't just walking out to the park across the street. i took him to a friend's house a whopping half a mile away. it seems like nothing but it's a feat for me.

otherwise, i've still googled way too much stuff. i'm trying to figure out what to believe or what guidelines i should be following. for a few days Cam ate like 32oz in a day, which seems like waaaaayy too much for a kid his age and i kept wondering if i was overfeeding him and setting him up for a lifestyle of obesity. i can't tell the difference between his cries which makes me feel like i don't know my kid. but to tell you the truth, i don't know my kid. actually, at this point i couldn't even tell you the difference between a cry and fussiness. it all sounds the same to me. is he hungry? tired? needs a diaper change? i don't know! but as days go by i'm more and more okay with not knowing and just figuring it out. and if it's none of those things and he's fussy still, i'll just do whatever until he's not fussy. i always thought that i had to find a reason for why he's fussy but i'm learning that sometimes you just have no effing clue and you just deal with it. instead of following the foreshadowing of The Wonder Weeks or any other book that tells you what you can expect exactly when, i'll just take the fussiness as it comes and just make it through. that's the plan anyway. i can't keep trying to find an explanation for everything because there are too many variables and there's almost never a definitive answer considering this guy can't tell me whether he's crying because of gas, colic, or because i'm holding him in a way he doesn't love.

i decided about a week ago that i was going to quit the breastfeeding thing and straight up use formula. for me, the benefit of pumping didn't outweigh the negatives i felt. sitting attached to a machine every 2-3 hours and not spending that time with my newborn made me feel shitty. also having to wash pump parts and staying awake after bottle feeding to pump after already being sleep deprived from every night prior will wear you down. and for what? the 2oz or less i made with each pump session? this kid eats more than that. it just wasn't worth our time. and i'm so much happier now that i don't have all of that on my shoulders. fuck the judgmental pro-breastfeeding people out there who think you're not being a good mom if you don't offer up 'breast is best' for your baby. i won't bond with my kid? pretty sure when he loves me and kisses me goodnight when he's 2, he's bonded. plus, i'm still going to be feeding him and clothing him for yeaaarrrrrsss to come. pretty sure he's not going to know whether i gave him that 'golden' breast milk when he's yelling at me to give him a lollipop.

do i still cry? yeah. for sure. but less. as i let go of control over my life (or my once upon a time life) and allow myself to grasp the idea that i'm a 'mom' with everything that word encompasses, i start to believe that i can do it. and i can be less selfish. but are there moments where i wonder "what if we just didn't have kids at all?" or "what if we just have one kid because i'm not sure i can do this twice?" yeah. HELL YEAH. once or twice i've been out to pick up some butter at the grocery store without Cam attached to me and for a moment i forget i have a baby and it feels nice to have that freedom. but then i see an infant who is four months old being toted along to lunch with her mom and friends or i see a five year old running around the playground laughing so hard it hurts and i can see what this is all worth. there's a lot of sacrifice in the beginning (and probably for the rest of my life) of a life with kids but in the end the sacrifice, tantrums, uncertainty and change in self identity will never overshadow the hugs, laughs and joy that enhance your life as a family. sometimes i still wish i could've just popped out a toddler (or at the very least a 4 month old) and skipped the whole newborn thing but i'll bet that in a year from now i'm going to miss these newborn moments.

check back next month. hopefully i'll be all like "wow this baby thing is amazing. how could i have ever bitched about any of it before? every moment is savored and i would totally do this again." we'll see. i'm told things get better every month so i'm hoping to see some smiles or recognition coming from that little face. but in the meantime he is pretty cute to look at.

one month. we did it! month 2, please be kind to me.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

wow. this shit is HARD!!!

wow. this shit is HARD! i had no idea what i was in for. i over think everything i'm doing and worry about every little thing. is he sleeping too much? is he sleeping enough? is he eating too much? i can't tell if he's showing signs of hunger or not. he's going for his fingers. is he hungry or self soothing? they say i'll soon understand the small variances in cries and be able to distinguish what they mean but i fear i'm not going to be able to tell and the rest of my life is going to be a guessing game with this kid. i'm overwhelmed and constantly concerned that i'll never know what i'm doing.

we are nearing three weeks and this only seems to get harder. they say that at some point they become more predictable but that seems so far away. everything i read (and all i've been doing is reading. seriously. constantly reading how? when? why? about everything. mostly about sleeping, eating and crying, obviously. i've been reading so much that i find myself rereading the same articles over.) says that in three months they sleep longer during the night and less during the day. that they can self sooth better at three months. that they eat more quantity during the day and less during the night, again, at. three. months. THREE MONTHS?? i'm barely scraping by three weeks and i feel like i've been in a haze for months already. thank god i've got lots of vacation and sick time saved up to make it to the three month mark. how do women go back to work after six weeks? or actually, maybe going back to work sounds like a dream come true right about now. someone else can deal with all of this new unpredictability and i can just handle the night time. but then i'd miss out on fully delving into this motherhood thing. there's just no winning.

but i cry. i cry a lot. like, pretty much every person i come in contact with sees me cry nowadays. except for the cashier at Target or the small interactions i have with strangers. but even then i choose the self checkout stand more often than not. these postpartum hormones don't help. when do those leave? or are they just making themselves cozy in me for hella long? i'm in a really weird head space. i think all new moms go through it but none of them told me about it. the feeling of helplessness and overwhelmingness. the questioning of decisions. the frustrations. but once i read (yes, more reading) about other people's experiences and investigate it, it seems like nearly every first time mom goes through these same things. so i know i'm not alone. and every time i talk to another mom-friend of mine, it makes me feel at least a little bit better. one of the very best pieces of advice i've gotten was that "everything is a phase and at your darkest moments, know that i'll be totally different in a few days, weeks, months." THANK YOU, NGOC for this little gem of repeated word wisdom i tell myself every few hours. at the very least it gives me a slight sense of hope.

all i want is for this kid to grow up happy and healthy. but while i'm at it i also want to feel good about myself and my decisions for him. and for now my biggest thing is how to soothe this guy so that he doesn't cry his head off. we've tried using a pacifier but he obviously doesn't know what the fuck that thing is. he likes it but knocks it out because his motor skills aren't up to par. like c'mon man, get it together and keep that thing in your mouth! i read that one mom nearly wanted to duct tape it around his head. i'm with her! just kidding. sort of. rocking. swaying. feeding. swaddling. white noise. walking. what do you waaaaant!?!?! just tell me!!! i can't wait until he can just tell me. please please please. that day can't come soon enough.

as i write this Cam is in the third hour of a nap. he was awake for nearly three hours before this and i could tell he was sleepy but i couldn't get him to take a nap. when he's sleeping i miss him but at the very same time i fear the moment he awakens if he hasn't had enough sleep. this kid is running the show around here. 24 hours a day is all about this guy. i hope that i can get used to it. or make it manageable. i know we'll get through this but that light at the end of the tunnel seems so far away. doesn't make me want to kiss him less though.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

first 10 days with a newborn

my heart melts for this kid

whew. you guys. this is day 11 of being a mom and it's been insane! i seriously can't believe you need a license to drive a car but don't need one to have a baby. they say the learning curve is steep with a newborn and holy shit ain't that the truth!?! it's sort of like when i was in x-ray school and everything you're bombarded in class with is 100% brand new information but you're also expected to go to clinicals and apply what you've 'learned.' but the learning and applying never ends and it's so hard to catch up.

so as i've said in prior posts, i've lived my whole life only having to take care of myself. sure i've had a dog or two but they literally eat, sleep and need walks. otherwise they are sort of just hang out. and nurturing relationships with humans has been a cakewalk because these people are self sufficient. my role with them is to spend time with them and to be thoughtful when i feel like it. not that it's new news but having a baby is on another level y'all!

i want to preface that Cameron has proven to be awesome, just like his mom and pops. he's pretty chill overall and only really cries when he needs something. once he's fed, changed and clothed, he's pretty easy. he sleeps really well and isn't fussy. at night we put him down awake and he generally falls asleep on his own. what a saint, am i right? i want to say he takes after me since i am usually pretty chill. and i say 'usually' because the first few days at home, i was a crazy mess.

if you know me well you know that i'm like 70% logical and 30% emotional. with this newborn popping out of me i'd say that over the first few days at home that number went to 70% emotional and 30% logical. this surge of hormones along with the intense learning curve and lack of sleep has made me feel like a completely different person.

they say that with newborns all you have to do is keep them fed, changed, clothed and otherwise all they do is sleep. you LIARS! there is SO much more you have to keep track of. and it's not all just about the baby, it's about yourself and your partner too. so let's start with all of the worries and concerns that i've come across in addition to keeping this kid fed. i'll get back to the fed thing later. that one is a doozie.

for Cameron

when changing his diapers, not only do we have to keep him clean and not sitting in a pool of his own urine and crap, we have to make sure we get a dab of vaseline on his red, inflamed, circumcised penis so that his skin doesn't adhere to itself and to keep it from chaffing on the diaper, not to mention keeping it from infection. then we have to fold the diaper a little bit before securing it so that it doesn't go over his umbilical cord, which hasn't fallen off yet so as not to increase the chances of infection. if he didn't have a maraschino cherry for a penis and a useless cord still attached to him, changing diapers would be so much more of a cakewalk. the extra time we spend putting vaseline on and folding the diaper leaves more time for him to pee on us and himself and/or shoot his poop directly on to mom and dad, forcing us to start the process all over again.

 Ted made himself an apron from fear of projectile pee/poop

for Me

i had an unplanned c-section, which means that my postpartum care is now more involved than had i had a vaginal delivery. i thought that i was going to go home and only have to hope that my vagina wasn't going to feel like it was assaulted by a little baby and change a pad every so often from normal bleeding. but with a c-section i have to change more things around considering it's a major surgery. i thought i was going to be able to come home and use my abs again but nope. with incisions on my external abdomen and uterus, i have to be cautious when getting up from bed or sitting. i have to be careful about how active i am and not carry more than like 10lbs. wtf? what kind of weak ass person can't carry  more than 10lbs? oh, and when i was pregnant, i wanted nothing more than to be able to sleep on my back. now that i've got this incision that's healing, it's best to sleep on my back to reduce pressure to the area and i can't wait to sleep on my sides again. catch 22, man! you know what else is crazy? after coming home, i realized the area from my bellybutton down to my incision feels numb and nobody told me about that! supposedly the feeling comes back when your nerves form together again but some chicks on google searches say they've never gotten the feeling back. [i've now started to get some feeling back though, thank god!] on top of that, i came home the same weight as when i was pregnant with Cam. you'd think you'd lose at. the. very. LEAST the amount of weight your baby is along with the weight of your placenta but nah, not necessarily. they put so much IV fluid in me and who knows why else, but with c-sections you can swell more a couple of days after. so i was walking around with my legs and belly flopping about, weighing the same as i did at the end of pregnancy. discouraging to say the least. but over the course of three or four days and a lot of super high pressure and volumed pee sessions, the swelling as gone down and i'm 15lbs down. whew! on top of all of this  i've got to take medications to ward off the pain from surgery. but tell you the truth, there isn't that much actual pain. i'm not sure i was ever on the heavy medications that usually come with c-section. to my knowledge, from the second day at the hospital i was only on a cycle of tylenol and motrin for pain and i was able to get up and walk around the same day as the surgery (granted i had the c-section at 1am, which gave me 23 hrs to rid the effects of epidural, anesthesia, and get the feeling back in my legs). but keeping track of taking my own medications on time while scheduling feeding sessions with the kiddo is a lot to keep track of. waking up in the middle of the night to feed and then waking up again to take medications is a pain in the ass.

for Ted

honestly, there isn't thaaaaat much that i've had to be concerned about or adjust for Ted except for the night schedule. he's been kick ass as a father except in the middle of the night the guy just wants to sleep and his patience runs thin sometimes but still, he steps up and does his fair share.

now on to the keeping-the-kid-fed thing...this shit is rough! 

when you come home from the hospital you're left to yourself to just figure it out. but you're flushed with all of these hormones and have no idea what you're doing. as far as feeding goes, they only really push nursing while in the hospital. nobody really comes by and is like...hey, are you going to nurse, bottle feed or formula feed? they pretty much set you up as if you're going to nurse on your boob and let me tell you again, that shit is rough! there is a lot of pressure put on you to nurse your baby on the boob. so i tried. and i tried and i tried. they say you should wake your child every 2-3 hrs to feed until he gets back to his birth weight. but this kid was sleepy as f*ck! he was a boss at latching so i thought all was good. i'd nurse on each boob for like 15 active minutes and hope that he was getting the nutrients he needed. but keeping the guy awake enough to be active was posing to be difficult. he would latch and then just kind of hang out or half ass suck. what was supposed to be 15 minutes on each side turned into an hour or more trying to keep him awake. i felt like i was trying to nurse him for 15 hours of the day. and it's really not fun to be topless for that long (well, for me. some people love being naked. not me). and when we went to our five day checkup at the pediatrician, Cameron had lost 10% of his body weight, which is borderline for taking different measures. during this time my hormones were crazy and i couldn't help but to feel like i was starving my child. was he extra sleepy because he was malnourished? am i not producing enough milk for him or is he not sucking the way he is supposed to? all i could think was that i was failing as a mom. i can't tell you how much i cried in the first few days. i felt like a piece of shit mother. it was intense and i felt bad for Ted. he had to console a crying mom and a crying, unfed baby. but he's a champ and was there for both of us when we needed it. i'm so lucky he's an amazing husband and dad.

for three days in a row we went to a lactation nurse who was very pro-boob. over the sessions she would shove her hands and arms in my face and tell me how to nurse Cameron. she would have Ted massage a boob while i held him in place and she did some other shit. so that's like 4-5 arms in my face and on my child. it was claustrophobic and impossible to take home. how is one or even two people supposed to take over the motions of five hands? she would manually express milk from my boob and tell me that i was producing a good amount of milk. that maybe Cameron had an issue latching. her solutions? try using a nipple shield so that he feels the correct shape far enough in his mouth to enable his natural suction when it touches his hard palate. if that doesn't work, tape a feeding tube to your nipple and have him nurse while Ted pushes the milk through a syringe. this will let him know that milk comes from the nipple and he'll latch better. if that doesn't work, use a syringe to feed him but use your pinky finger to mimic the nipple. but always, always nurse on the boob first. so we go home and try. and like i said, the kid is sleepy. we try all the things she says and i'm not confident he's getting enough food because he's not latching well enough. that's what this lactation expert is telling me, right? so it must be true. wrong! after a few days of trying to nurse Cam on my boobs because for some reason logic has gone out the window and hormones, lack of sleep, and a crazy learning curve put you in a weird headspace where you just nod your head and listen to whatever you're being told. i cried and cried and cried at home. Ted was probably taken aback because this is not me. i was anxious, scared and concerned for my little bundle of happiness.

finally on our last visit to the lactation nurse, after she did all the same things and he still wasn't taking in a lot of milk, i broke down. i cried, said this was fucking rough and that i didn't actually care how the fuck my kid eats so long as he eats! sure, i want him to receive the benefits of breast milk and i know that nursing is the best for bonding and production and blah blah blah. but how am i supposed to know if he's getting any food? dude is dropping weight, so how long can i try nursing before he hates me for not fulfilling my job of feeding him? for some reason i felt such pressure to nurse and at no point did the lactation nurse ever introduce the option of formula to supplement or get his weight headed in the right direction. she assumed i was producing enough milk and i wasn't!

after talking to my mom and a few friends who said that they pump milk and supplement with formula, i felt more at ease. why didn't i think to ask them first? who knows. i feel like i was just in a big daze. the logical side of me has always known that there's nothing wrong with a baby who is being fed formula. my brother and i were formula babies from day 1, have never received the antibodies from a mother's milk and are healthy as can be. i never get sick, so i can't attribute that to nursing on my mom's boob. i was stuck in a such a weird place where i was just listening to the one person i had contact with who is an expert in lactation and it turns out the whole time it wasn't about his latch. this kid latches like a champ. i just wasn't producing enough milk. why she didn't think that was the case or worth mentioning is beyond me.

Ted and i decided to pump whatever milk i can get and bottle feed, supplementing with formula. once we decided to make that decision all my anxieties about keeping this kiddo alive and fed went out the window. because we bottle feed and he takes to the bottle easily, we are able to measure how much food he's actually getting and now i know he's eating. there is also a lot of weight off my shoulders now that Ted is able to help feed and the burden of producing and feeding isn't 100% on me. and just to ease my anxiety, we bought a scale to make sure he was headed in the right direction and gaining weight. i'm happy to report his little cheeks are getting chubbier, he's pooping and peeing all the time and is awake a lot more now that he's actually receiving nutrients!

bottle feeding is what's up at the Lin house. that, and my swollen fingers [insert shifty eyes emoji]

so that's what the first 10 days of life looked like over at the Lin house. now that we aren't concerned about him eating, Cameron has been able to take Wags to the dog park, go to the mall and to a baby shower (granted all of these things happened no more than a mile or two away from home and for no more than two hours at a time. but still, it's something). we're adjusting better now and able to sleep more. his little faces and sounds are so fascinating and when he's awake it's hard not to want to stare at him endlessly, but man, what a friggin whirlwind it is to have a newborn!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Cameron's birth story

Cameron Noah Lin graced our world (Ted and my world. don't worry, i'm not an egomaniac enough to think our new son is a grace to your world) on January 13, 2018 at 1:10am in the morning and this is his birth story.

this may be boring or TMI for some people but hey, i'm doing this so that i can look back on this years from now and tell Cam what a whirlwind his early days were like and for myself too. just because. it's my blog. i'll do what i want!

i’ll start by saying i’m really in tune with my body. i notice when things are changing, different or in transition just because i’m hyper aware and like to be in control of my body. so on thursday, january 11th i started to take note that i was experiencing what’s known as the ‘bloody show." this is discharge mixed with tinges or streaks of blood and it's a sign that your cervix is softening and your body is breaking capillaries while it’s at it. this happened throughout the day. then around midday i realized that i started having contractions. not braxton hicks contractions because whatever version of those i’ve had through my pregnancy have been exceptionally mild and felt almost just like a tightness around my abdomen. these real, yet not painful, contractions came at random and were hours apart so i didn’t take it very seriously. and then in the early afternoon i started having achy back pains. back aches, mild contractions and bloody show. all of these symptoms added up to beginning very very early labor as you can have these symptoms for a few days before going into any kind of active labor.

the next morning, friday, january 12, around 7am i woke up and immediately felt the same contractions i had from the day before. while i was social mediaing in bed i realized that they were like half an hour apart. i told Ted that feeling those along with maintaining the same symptoms from the day before made me think that i was going into early labor and that it would probably progress and we'd be at the hospital by the next day. as the morning went on i went on the internets and read that when women go into early labor it's best to take your mind off of it. find something to do to take your mind off of it. i decided that if this was gonna happen and i was headed to the hospital within a day or so and i should keep myself busy, i should probably bake. something i love to do but haven't been doing very much of. and i like to multitask so i figured that if i was going to have labor & delivery nurses and postpartum nurses taking care of me, they deserved to have some of these goodies.

i spent the rest of the day making peanut butter caramelschocolate espresso caramels and chocolate hazelnut cookies. i figured that it would take time to cut the caramels and wrap them, which would keep my mind off of the contractions if they started to get stronger and longer. i kept myself busy with that and didn't really notice the contractions until about 3pm when they started to become more consistent (15 mins apart). soon enough they were 12 mins apart around 5pm. then 6 mins apart around 630-7pm. at this point i started to actually feel some discomfort from the contractions. they were probably like mild period cramps (4 or 5:10 pain scale), but i don't actually cramp during that time so i couldn't really tell you accurately. i called labor & delivery and they told me to to stay home and wait it out. i asked if i should come in when they were around 4 mins apart and they were like "or 3." sure. why not. but then quickly the contractions went from 6 mins apart to 4mins apart within 30 mins (730pm) and were a 5 or 6:10 pain scale). that's when i knew this was going to happen TONIGHT....or tomorrow but OH SHIT! i thought we had like another day but nope. this kid wants OUT! i had Ted call L&D for me and told him to tell them we are coming in now and we are NOT leaving if they think i'm not 'ready.'

as we we got to the hospital (Kaiser San Francisco, where i work) and our friggin ER is up a friggin hill that is ridiculous for anybody who actually  needs access to the ER. whoever decided to put the ER on a hill is a jackass! anyhow, we walked up the hill and i had to stop at least twice because the contractions were getting pretty fucking painful at this point. someone came in to check me and said that i was 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced (cervix softened) and that i could already get an epidural. one of the nurses was like "whoa! i didn't think you were so far along! you seem so stoic when you're contracting." yeah, girl! i don't like looking vulnerable, you know? i'm just like that. anyway, the doctor said she thought i was going to be birthing a child the next morning or later the next day.

so around 12am someone comes to check my progress and i'm 6cm dilated. then at 1220 i'm 7cm dilated, which is a pretty fast transition. i mean, i know i'm efficient like that in my normal life, but who knew my cervix was crazy efficient too. slow down, man! so the doctor leaves and says she'll be back soon to check me again. at 1240am i'm now 10cm dilated! TEN! from 7 to 10 in 20 minutes! that's like sprinting. i don't want to sprint!

as all of this is happening, someone keeps coming in periodically to check my baby's heart rate because either the monitor is shifting and not picking it up or something is up. but everybody was super calm so i was thinking 'meh. they know what's up. they'd tell me if something were going on.' turns out that with each contraction the baby's heart rate would drop to levels that weren't okay. at this point i'm already on the epidural because those contractions are no. effing. joke! i can't feel my legs or the contractions at all and it's like a miracle. a couple of nurses came to rotate me because they think it's positional. then more people come in the room and they keep turning me on my left side then to my right and back to my left. nothing is changing. his heart rate kept dropping. i'm calm because i know these people know what they're doing and i'm okay with whatever needs to happen so long as i get to go home with a healthy baby. i checked with Ted and he seemed okay. i think it was all happening so fast that it was sort of just a blur and we were down with whatever needed to happen.

a doctor comes in and tells me that we're going to break my water and put a monitor on his head to see if his heart rate is indeed dropping as much as they think it was. sure. do what you gotta do. then she tells me that the heart rate isn't getting better with position and that they are going to fill my sack back up with water to relieve pressure or something along those lines. not really sure. at this point i'm just nodding my head and putting all my faith in the people who are there. i trust them. what else could i do anyway? our care was in their hands. so they fill me up and nothing changes. all of this turning and moving and water breaking then refilling happens pretty quickly. probably within 15 minutes but i can't tell what is happening because i'm on drugs and in a haze.

quickly after that they tell me that because i'm fully dilated and the baby's head is up against my pelvis already that i am technically ready to push. but that it might be dangerous to let me do that because with each push his heart rate would drop and it might not be worth it to let that happen. so they say it might be a c-section or i can push but we'd do it in the OR just in case they need to do an emergency c-section. and i'm like "okay. whatever is fine." so we're headed to the OR and as we're rolling towards the doors i hear "yeah, it's probably going to be a c-section." cool. let's just get this going so we're all okay soon.

 someone tells me we're doing a c-section and that i'd be getting some anesthesia but i'd be awake the whole time. i'd feel pressure and pulling when they pull the baby out but no pain. okay. still cool. i'm chill. totally know that i'm going to be fine. not a problem. do what you gotta do. Ted came in to hold my hand and for a moment i thought it was just some random person because he'd put this glasses on and he was masked at that point. it took me a moment to realize it was even him. some pulling and 20 minutes later, Cameron was here! at 1:10am. at some point someone says "hey dad, do you want to see the uterus?" huh? is this standard protocol or....?? Ted was like "oh. i don't know." but then it piqued my interest and i was like "what1?! iiiii want to see my uterus! can he take a picture of it for me?" so he did. and it is weeeeeeiirrd. i know what a uterus is supposed to look like under x-ray but man, after having a kid grow in there it's HUGE and so bizarre.  they took another 30-40 minutes to shove my uterus back in and that was that! we had a kid!

but to tell you honestly, that moment that people have when they know their kid has finally made it here after nine months of patiently waiting and they can't help themselves but to cry and feel all the feels was left behind for me. i didn't know too much about c-sections because i never thought i was going to have one. so while they were still stitching me up i started to shake and grind my teeth and i didn't know why. apparently it's just a thing and it is worse if you try to fight it. but my neck, shoulders and jaw are always sort of tight (hence the resting bitch face) and i couldn't relax. so they put Cameron on me for some skin-to-skin and i was convulsing while my new, soft, awesome kid was experiencing his first earthquake on me. as he was on me, i found it sort of hard to breathe because he was 7lbs 10oz on my anesthetized chest. and also, the sterile drape was about five inches from my face. it was a really weird experience. i was so elated that our son was born but also, i felt claustrophobic. after feeling that way for about 15 minutes i asked Ted to take him. i had the shakes for probably 2 1/2 hrs in the recovery room and it was intense. i felt like i had no control over myself, not to mention my legs were still numb from the epidural AND my chest from the boobs down were numb as well. i really wanted to fully invest all of myself into my child who'd been with me for nine months but i couldn't focus outside of my shaking upper body. Ted had Cameron, so i knew he was okay.

so that's it! that's how Cameron Noah Lin made it into our arms. and a day or so after he was born, i was laying in the hospital bed doing some skin-to-skin action in the wee hours of the morning when he popped his head up and opened both of his eyes 'looking' at me (not really though. they can't see much at this point actually) and i just melted. i started uncontrollably crying the most happy tears i've ever shed in my life. i'm attached. he is my world! 

dimples on both siiiiiiiiides!!!

** i just want to take a second to say that labor and delivery nurses and postpartum nurses, along with all of the doctors and people that had a hand in our c-section kick so much ass! from labor to the time you are discharged, you're in the most vulnerable state you can be in. everything you are experiencing is foreign and some of it is gross. all of it is overwhelming and one terrible staff member could leave you with a different memory of your stay. the people at Kaiser SF were fucking awesome! i hope they enjoyed their caramels and cookies!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

the final countdown (39 weeks!)

we're 39 weeks in! six days away, january 17th, is my projected due date. you guys, i could be a mom any day now. ANY. DAY. and you know what? i'm pretty friggin ready. 

someone asked me what i'm looking forward to most when the baby comes. i think most new moms would say that they're looking forward to finally seeing their baby and beginning a new chapter in their lives. well i'm admittedly still stuck in the selfish stages of my life for these last few moments where there is such thing as thinking only for/about yourself and my gut reaction response was "not being Pregnant Regina" anymore. guess that must be the truth then, eh? thinking about myself and what i've been going through versus what joys are coming my way with a new family addition. but for nine whole months i've been Reg Who Is Pregnant instead of just Reg. there have been nearly zero conversations without regards to being pregnant. and i totally get it. it's not just a physical change, but a massive life altering change and there's no turning back. and it's not like i've been up to much else aside from incubating this thing anyway. so no worries if you see me and all we end up talking about is how i'm pregnant. it's unavoidable really, but i'm ready for it to be over with. i don't love pregnancy. 

that being said and this blog being directed towards the pregnancy, i've had a pretty good pregnancy overall. i was scared to experience a combination of pregnancy symptoms like sciatica or back pain, carpal tunnel, headaches, heartburn, stretch marks and the waddle. ohhhh that waddle. it was my biggest goal to not have to waddle and shuffle my feet around and i'm proud to say that i do not walk like an Emperor Penguin (and i haven't experienced any of the aforementioned symptoms either)! the other stuff is sort of out of your control but that waddle is up to you. i'd like to attribute my decent pregnancy with being fairly fit before and during most of the nine months. i only really stopped working out after seven months and my job (x-ray tech) is really physical so i think maintaining strength, good blood flow and mobility definitely helped in all aspects of feeling good overall and warding off some of those pregnancy symptoms. the only real notable symptoms i feel are swelling of my hands and feet (though not enough that i needed to go up a shoe size or anything), shortness of breath when going up hills or stairs, a short period of nerve disconnect in my lower back when i get out of bed and everything that comes along with weight gain and carrying a huge, hard basketball under your shirt. 

aside from going back to being just Reg, i'm looking forward to:

-not struggling to get my shoes on--i've got to sit or get them on from the side now. 
-not struggling to get out of bed--i have to be on my side and hoist myself up with my arms instead of using my abs because using your abs like you would for sit-ups can cause tearing between the abdominal muscles. google diastasis recti. not cool. just sooo not cool. on another note, i hate that i have to use the word 'hoist' in regards to myself before i'm like 70 years old. 
-getting my fitness back--i've gotten lazy over the last month and a half and i want my muscles back. 
-not having my boobs rest on my belly--having lacked boobs my whole life, i never had to experience boob sweat. now with slightly larger boobs and a massive belly, they meet in the middle and i'm in the experienced boob sweat club. 
-losing the pregnancy weight--with the excuse of pregnancy i've allowed myself to eat whatever i want whenever i want and i'm pretty much a food whore. it's not that i eat every hour of or anything like that but i've definitely changed my diet from trying to be low carb and never drinking my calories to giving no fucks about how much bread/pasta/rice i consume and drinking hot cocoas. that shit needs to stop but as you have no choice but to gain weight in pregnancy, i've let it slide this go around. 
-not sleeping in a cocoon-- right now i'm sleeping with a normal pillow and two full sized body pillows on either side of me because you're supposed to only really side sleep to maximize blood flow. it's hot up in there, yo! along with that....
-sleeping however i damn well please--i'm an every way sleeper. i can't wait to be on my back or my stomach again. i want to sprawl out, damnit! 
-not being a microwave--i'm not a fan of being hot and right now i'm serving as an incubator. one moment i'm a good body temperature and the next minute i'm radiating steam.
-wearing more than five outfits--i've been reluctant to buy maternity clothes because i won't spend money on clothes that i'll only wear for a few months. i've got like five shirts, three pairs of pants and a couple of dresses in rotation and that's it.
-not finding food stains on my protruding abdomen--this thing sticks out a LOT. i never knew i was a messy eater until i started finding stains and/or crumbs on my tummy tums everyday.
-not knocking things over--with the rapidly growing rock hard belly and overall gained mass i'm not accustomed to, it's been hard to navigate what size dimensions i actually fit through. trying to squeeze through tables to get to the booth side at a restaurant is a challenge in and of itself.
-not being a mouth breather--in certain positions i find myself breathing through my mouth and i hate when people mouth breathe. like, keep your breakfast and cigarettes to yourself. but with all this baby pushing up on my diaphragm and all the ENT fluids thickening, it's sorta hard to breathe through just your nose sometimes. shoot me now. i feel like Seth Rogan sounds.  
-being in control of my own body--this little dude moves around a lot. he forms shapes and discomforts inside of me and i never know when he's going to have a bout of hiccups. don't get me wrong. i am grateful to be able to feel him to know that he's thriving all up in there, but sometimes i just want to be still while this growing animal is just doing his thing and i can't escape it. 
-being independent--Ted has been really helpful and picking up where i'm lacking nowadays but it also makes me feel a little useless sometimes.

what i'll miss after pregnancy:

-Ted doing all the dog washing and vacuuming. 
-eating all the things. 

i've been on maternity leave for exactly three weeks now and mostly i've just been having lunch or dinner with friends. it's really important for me to maintain my friendships and i wanted to take these last days to spend some quality time with the people i care about before my attention span is shifted towards a needy little baby. it's been a great few weeks of transition from working to mostly purely enjoying some free time before life gets a little chaotic. 

so the end is in sight and while this post has been 100% purely based on myself, our lives are going to drastically change for the better. Cameron will soon have a face and identity and i'll stop referring to him as "it." i'm looking forward to seeing all of his firsts. whether it's his first smile to his first words, i can't imagine anything in life being more worth all that pregnancy sacrifices encompass. 

if i can gather the time and energy, i'd like to continue blogging once this guy gets here but no promises. we'll just have to see how i am able to adjust to my world getting smaller and our world becoming greater. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

oh shit i'm in the 3rd trimester!

good god the terrible lighting does not help in pic #3!

hiii!!! i'm fully engulfed in third trimesterdom now standing at 29 weeks. that means i've really only got about two and a half months left before i pop this kid out of me. interestingly enough though, the thought of it makes me feel at ease for some reason. yeah, i know that in a few months this thing is going to take over my life, drain me and change me as a person but tell you the truth, it's sorta already been doing that. every single day most of my conversations regard some aspect of pregnancy or impending motherhood and the physical changes have already taken over much of my freedom.

speaking of which...just look at that crazy 28 week balloon belly! this shit is getting out of hand, man! the difference between 20 and 28 weeks is astonishing! i'm becoming a blob of a human being having gained somewhere between 23-26 lbs already depending on whether we're referencing the doctor's scale or my at-home scale. just to humor myself, we'll just say it's 23 so i don't go into panic mode. you guys. my jawline is legit becoming a distant memory and i swear that i can see my cheeks with peripheral vision. as i said, out. of. controooooolllll!!! along with that, i've started to get leg cramps in the middle of the night which is apparently a thing. who friggin knew? for a couple of days it actually instilled some fear of sleeping. like, should i sleep today and walk like a stiff legged zombie tomorrow or should i be a cloudy headed, sleep deprived zombie but one that doesn't look like it's walking on stilts? in this third trimester i'm already beginning to feel the sleepiness and can't imagine how much harder that's going to get. i can definitely feel the difference in weight when i'm walking but so far i don't think i'm penguin walking yet. that's my goal though. 1. pop this baby out safely. 2. DO. NOT. WADDLE, REG!!!  aside from that, the second trimester was a breeze and the third isn't so terrible so far.

the little man is moving around all the live long day too. as of just a couple of days ago i began to be able to differentiate when he's hiccuping and when he's just rolling around in there. the movements are pretty frequent now and sometimes they're strong enough that i pause from whatever i'm doing to let my innards fall back into place. such a weird feeling. don't get me wrong now, i'm grateful to be able to recognize that the baby is alive and well with evidence in the form of movement but to be honest, sometimes it's a little annoying. it's been a really hot fall season in the Bay Area and sometimes when all i want to do is veg out and be still, this animal is rolling around inside me and it's slightly unsettling. i've heard that people miss this feeling when the baby is out. i'm not sure that i will but never say never.

oh! and we've picked out a name! he's going to be Cameron Noah Lin. unless he makes his grand entrance and we're like "wait, you're not Cameron! who the hell are you!?!" but i've always loved the name Cameron and we're referring to him as Cam on a daily basis so i'm fairly certain we won't be changing his name. as for choosing his name, Cameron has been the top contender for me for years before i ever even thought of having a child. through the naming process Ted came to me with a ton of random names. some of which i was okay with and some of which were solid nos. but at some point i was like "hey man, do you love love looooove any of these names or what? because if you don't and you like Cameron, then there isn't really any question here right? let's not waste anybody's time with sorta-likes when all parties know that i'm not budging from Cameron unless there is something equi-awesome you can bring to the table." so that was that.

alright friends, that's it for now! byeee!

Monday, September 4, 2017

being annoyed with me for being pregnant makes you look like an asshole, Asshole!

usually when people find out you're pregnant they are extra nice to you. or this is what i hear anyway. seats magically begin to appear on buses and extra hands show up to help you lift heavy things. for the most part, i've found this to be true. extra snacks find their way to me and helping hands are voluntarily available. it's been nice but also a little hard for me to allow help from every end because i try to maintain my independence overall. but this past saturday i was caught off guard when someone was a complete dick to me because i was pregnant. what kind of ass backwards shit is that?

so here's what happened.

but first some background info: i'm an x-ray and ct tech. when i work the weekend swing shift, it's just me and one other person doing the work. the other person i'm working with happens to also be pregnant, so we're just two women working very physical jobs while simultaneously housing and growing real life human beings. our job is to take x-rays and ct scans for the radiologists to read. we call patients over from the ER and someone brings them to us. when we're finished, we call them back and someone comes to bring the patients back to the ER. keep in mind these patients are on gurneys or wheelchairs and there is a ramp from the radiology department to the ER. very often, the ER is busy and when we can, we will bring the patients back to the ER to help them out because we try to be helpful and not petty.

this past weekend was a crazy real example of how global warming is showing it's face. san francisco reached upwards of 100 degrees, which is UNHEARD of. this meant that patients were coming into the ER left and right because of heat related issues. almost allllllllll of the patients were elderly (i'm talking 80+ years old) and dehydrated. this meant they couldn't move themselves. this also meant that we then have to move patients from their gurney to the ct or xray tables. these people are dead weight and we're in america, so of course plenty of them were upwards of 180lbs to boot. as i'm now five months pregnant, i can feel the baby move around in me and straining while moving patients from place to place is getting harder. saturday was CRAZY BUSY so everybody was frantically trying to get things done in the hospital.

exchange over the phone with the ER:

me: hey it's regina, can i have a pickup (patient pickup) in x-ray please?
ER nurse: we're really busy, can you bring them back for us?
me: no, i'm sorry. it's really busy here too and we're both pregnant so we can't keep pushing people back.
ER nurse (with attitude): well sorry you're pregnant. it's going to be a long time before we can get to them then. they're going to have to wait a long time...but sorry you're pregnant!
me: oooooookay. they'll be here when you're ready to send someone.

WHAT IN THE MOTHER FUCK? sorry you're pregnant? as if my being pregnant is a nuisance? it isn't in my job description to bring patients back to the ER you Asshole. have we done it in the past? yes. but considering you're a nurse, you do know that pregnant people are supposed to provide nurturing environments for a human being to develop don't you? sorry [sarcastic as fuck "sorry," that is] it's a shit show over in the ER and you are all running around trying to catch up with the influx of patients but if it's busy over there then it's fucking busy over here too. the busyness in the ER directly correlates to the busyness in radiology you twat! the two of us pregnant women are handling our shit by doing all the x-rays and cts in a timely manner so your side can handle your shit! don't take it out on me because you don't like that pregnant women shouldn't be pushing gurneys and wheelchairs up ramps with 200lb patients on them. didn't you come out of a mom once upon a time? last i checked, mothers are the only way people  even exist on this planet. don't you hope that your mother wasn't asked to strain herself when she was growing your insensitive-not-understanding-dick-of-a-person-self?

the worst part is i'm pretty certain i know who he is. he's usually a pretty nice nurse. i'm sure he was just struggling to keep up with the patients and was reaching for a helping hand. and usually i would. but right now i can't, dude. i'm physically working and physically growing another person at the same damn time so don't be a fucking prick. it just makes you look like an asshole, Asshole!