Thursday, April 25, 2013

First Day of Daycare

During the past few weeks, I joked around with my friends that I looked forward to the day Max started daycare because of his consistant fussiness and my lack of ability to set a routine for him.  Even realistically, I thought starting daycare would be no big deal. 

Today was the true test and I became one of "those mom's".  Max and I went to the school at 8am and were welcomed by the friendly teachers.  Ms. Angie was by herself with three tots and boy, after watching her for 5 minutes I already respected this lady.  She had the calm and peace upon all the children, who were self-sufficient and ready to start the day.  Fiona was sitting in her high chair, just contemplating life and eating her star puffs.  Galvin was on the floor, doing tummy time and exploring the world from top down.  Trey just sat in the middle of the floor, like a little Buddha. 

Max had his cubby, crib and baskets all named and ready for him.  I took out the bottles (that had his name on waterproof labels I ordered the other week) and placed them in the fridge.  I proceeded to take out his swaddle blanket and sniffed it to make sure that the familiar scent was there for his comfort when he needed it.  It was 8:30 and I asked Ms. Angie if I could feed him before I left.  She welcomed the help.  After feeding him, I kissed him, hugged him good bye and quickly walked out of the room.  (Totally acting like I was leaving him for good when really, I was coming back in an hour.)

I got in the car and called my husband.  No answer.  I called my sister.  No answer.  I called my mom.  Mom's never fail you.  I just wanted to tell SOMEONE that I accomplished a milestone of motherhood, that I left my only child in the hands of strangers.  My mom empathized and I could hear the pain in her voice, too.  Once I heard that, the flood gates opened and I just broke down.  My heart hurt immensely because I wasn't taking care of him.  I hurt because he must be overwhelmed with the new surroundings and I couldn't be there for him.  I couldn't remember the last time my heart hurt this much. 

Diligently, an hour later, I went back to the school and here's what I found:
Hard to find, huh?  Here's him close up on the bouncer:

Completely CONTENT. 
I went back an hour later and found him with Ms. Lisa, getting fed, burped and LOVED.

Thank GOD for the wonderful teachers and this great daycare that we found.  I took my baby home that day and after giving him a quick wipe down and a fresh change of clothing, I held him tight, whispered that I loved him and was proud of the little man he already became today.  Right when I finished my thoughts to him and said a quick prayer of thanksgiving for the day, I looked down and found the face of a baby who had a long day. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Feeling like a cow (literally)

So what I can't stand the most are mothers who willingly share their obnoxious opinions on what's right and wrong.  What's equally annoying are those stuck in their ways.  I learned very early on in motherhood that I can't afford to be stuck in one way.  And that rude awakening came when I tried to breastfeed.

There are no pictures of me breastfeeding Max for a good reason - none of the nursing moments were memorable enough for the camera.  When I was pregnant, I already had reservations about breastfeeding.  I didn't understand the pleasure of having a baby sucking on my nipples.  The thought of it already hurt.  Then the motherly guilt kicked in.  (This guilt, I will soon realize, visits me quite often!)  So as soon as Max was placed in my arms, I whipped out the boob and put him to it.  It was a pathetic attempt.  The incredible nurses in the hospital were so encouraging and said that I should seek some advise from their lactation nurse, Bridget.  Ah, Bridget.  I thought she would be the answer to my prayers. 

The next day Bridget knocked on my door.
Just kidding.

But she seriously freaked me out.  She dug into my gown and just grabbed my boob.  She proceeded to tell me to do this, don't do that, how would you like it if someone did that to you, wouldn't you like it if someone did this?  I was like, "Are you serious?"  And I broke the first cardinal rule with a lactation nurse.  "Can I have some formula to supplement him?"  

Lots of credit to Max, though.  He tried and ultimately made it past the colostrum.  But I had questions. 

"Bridget, how do I know if he's getting enough milk?"  "DON'T WORRY" 
"But Bridget, how long do I let him latch?"  "DON'T WORRY"
"HE'S TEARING OFF MY NIPPLE!!!!"  "don't worry"

So I went home feeling defeated but still ready to conquer this beautiful bonding experience with my baby.  Max must have won the prize for Terrible Latcher because it was an incredibly frustrating process to get him to latch.  He would shake his head violently like he was really pissed off.  And what does the baby naturally bite down on when he's pissed?  You got it.

I also felt like all I did was have Max on a boob.  He would latch on a breast for 20 minutes, I'd try to burp him for 10 minutes, he would go to the next boob for another 15 minutes, burp and then I'd put him down.  Thirty minutes later, he would cry saying it was time to go at it again.  And around and round we go....

Then we would fight.  He would scream while my milk was spewing all over his face, his neck, my shirt, our bed, my pillow...

By the fourth week, I had it.  I decided that I was going to exclusively pump or as the world of acronyms in motherhood likes to call "epping".  I started pumping every other hour, every other breast.  What a process. 

That's how I felt.  If this picture created any sound, it probably sounded like my pumping sessions, too.  One day, I started to feel sharp, needle like pain in my breasts and they were so hot, the ice cubes would literally melt.  It was a Friday 5PM - doctor went home to enjoy the weekend.  Todd recalled that the nurses at the hospital encouraged a phone call if I was stuck in motherhood.  So I called the maternity ward and asked if I could ask someone about some breastfeeding struggles I had. 

"Oh, you should call Bridget.  She's WONDERFUL.  Let me give you her cell number." 

I put myself in a trap.  I was so desperate, I called her.  It was a sad confession.  I finally gave in and told her that I have been pumping and supplementing with formula on the side. 

I was in big trouble. 

See, here's the problem in today's world of lactation.  I'm so tired of "MY WAY or the HIGHWAY"

Bridget, I was a struggling FTM who had fundamental questions you belittled.  Sadly, your approach has made breastfeeding such an unpleasant experience for me.  On the fifth week, I sat in bed in the middle of the night and started sobbing.  I told Todd I couldn't do it anymore.  He understood.  That morning, I fed Max my last two ounces of breastmilk and silently apologized for not being the incredible mother who could beautifully breastfeed in public.  I also prayed to God that my lack of patience and inexperience wouldn't hinder his growth or prevent his path to Harvard. 

This is Max at 7 weeks and 12lbs heavy.  This double chinned stud is saying, "It's alright, Ma.  We're all good."

Friday, March 8, 2013

Jaundice - the 8 letter word Asians despise

I remember my two nieces, Zoe and Emma, both had jaundice.  Emma had the worst case - she had to go in the blue bread basket and had her heel pricked everyday.  So yes, I understand that there are much more severe cases of jaundice than what Max had.

Stupid mom, though.  She really thought that with the cocktail mix that his White Dad contributed, this HALF Asian might bypass the most popular condition diagnosed in Asian babies.  Three days after leaving the hospital, Max was sleeping 22 out of 24 hours a day.  It freaked me out that this 1 week old was sleeping 5 hours straight at night without wanting any food. 
This was Max during one of those hours.  So frail, his clothes were just hanging off of him and he was completely content sleeping all day long.  My motherly instincts kicked in.  Something was wrong and I had a terrible sinking feeling in my belly.  Because he was sleeping...
...and sleeping...
...and sleeping...
Finally, during one of the rare opportunities when he was awake, Todd noticed that the whites of his eyes were discolored.  Jaundice!  It was Friday afternoon (all our medically emergencies seem to happen on a Friday afternoon, by the way.) and the doctor took one look at him and told us to the hospital and get some blood work done.  "Some blood work" turned out to be a lab tech pricking his poor heel and squeezing the life out of the little foot until she compiled the drips of blood into blood samples enough for a small vile.
The poor baby.  I think this was the first time my heart started to break for him.  We got the bilirubin results and they were a little high.  We had 24 hours to feed the heck out of the baby, get him to gain some weight and get his level down.  The next 24 hours, my diligent motherly mode kicked in for the first time.  I threw out the stupid philosophies of my lactation nurse (check out my post on breastfeeding) and started supplementing him with formula every other hour.  Whether he liked it or not, Max was going to eat.  I also took a blanket and when the sun started going down, I sat outside so he could get some indirect sunlight.  There, sitting in my backyard, holding my frail little baby, I started praying.  I asked God to give me the wisdom to raise this child and for me to always trust my motherly instincts.

Saturday morning, we went back to repeat the painful process of heel pricking.  Ugh Max, so sorry.

Two hours later, we get the call - his level was down and the jaundice was under control.  Thank GOD!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

9 month journey

Here sums up my 9 month journey -

5 weeks
7 weeks
8 week ultrasound
14 weeks
16 week ultrasound - it's a boy!
16 weeks
28 weeks
39 weeks - the morning of D-Day!


February 25th at 5am, I distinctly remember two thoughts: 1) being hungry and 2) I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be.  The hunger was an annoyance.  I wasn't allowed to eat as of the night before and by the time we got to the hospital, my stomach was feeling it!

But I was excited to get in my gown and get the show on the road!  I remember a nurse, Michelle, came in and wanted to put my IV in.  The only problem is that I was smart enough to know that if you're dehydrated, your veins shrivel up.  I learned this the hard way, as I have been told I have the worst veins a nurse can ask for.  I knew I was doomed because not only was I supposed to starve myself, I wasn't even allowed to have a sip of water.  Michelle told me to relax, REALLY?!  I saw the size of that needle!
You see me icing my arm?  Yea...that was Michelle's sad attempt.  I only cried once on February 25th and it was when Michelle jabbed me with a needle that felt an inch thick.  (I unfortunately didn't have the sobbing moment when Max arrived.  More about that later.)

Soon I was wheeled into the OR.  You watch these birth shows on how the mothers were doted on and pampered. Let me tell ya - in reality, you're treated like a corpse.  It's like you're not there.  I swear, the nurses and doctors were in their own conversations about where they went to church, what to get their husband for his 40th birthday, their little daughter taking her first dance class, etc.  It was only when I heard the doctor say, "Come on, sweetie.  You can do it." that I realized that he was coming out.
Yup, that's my stomach split open.  There's Max.  I swear, he was screaming in the placenta because it was quite obvious that he was PISSED.
Wouldn't you be if you came out like that?  I was in such a blur.  I couldn't tell what was going on.  I wish I can say that I was emotionally gushing and crying but here's the reality.  I turned to my right, saw THIS on the table, just screaming and screaming and I thought, "HOLY COW.  WHAT DO I DO WITH THAT?"  I was freaking out.  I turned the other direction to my anesthesiologist and said to her, "Oh my God, is he going to stop crying?" and she just laughed as if she was saying, "You FOOL"

This was the first time I legitimately held my son.  Facebook viewers commented on how beautiful this picture was and how motherhood suit me.  The truth of the matter was, I was so drugged and groggy.  It took every ounce of effort for me to look composed and calm.  Yea, after Todd took this picture, they wheeled me into my hospital room where I immediately puked.  Still no motherly, gushing feeling yet.  I blame the drugs. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In the beginning....

Today was a day of unbelievable emotions.  I must have emptied out the pregnancy test shelves at the stores by now.  (My girlfriend, Vanessa, told me that the pregnancy tests at the dollar stores were just as good as the ones in the drug stores.  So I became so good at going to the dollar store, pretending I needed a dollar worth of canned goods and then wiping out the pregnancy kit shelf!)  I missed my period over a week and I was eager to take another test.  Todd, who didn't want me to feel the sense of disappointment yet again, was hesitant but told me to go ahead, still half asleep at 5 in the morning.  

I couldn't believe it.  There was no mistaking it.  The surge of emotions was just overwhelming.  I came out of the bathroom crying and shaking.  He was in complete shock.  To my amusement, he said, "Go back!  Take another one!"  The second test was just as clear.  I looked at these simple tests now sitting on my bathroom counter and looked at it bewilderingly.  How could something so easy have been so difficult for us for the past year?  So many times I'd stare at the stick, trying to see it from various angles, just to see if I could read a different result from different lightening - when this whole time, it was as easy as night and day.

The night before, we had a terrible argument.  I was asking why he wouldn't change his bad habits and how he would ever set an example for our children if he wasn't willing to change for the better.  Out of frustration, he exclaimed that it was pointless to talk about children we didn't even have.  All of a sudden that morning, his comment hit him very hard and he just broke down.  He already felt like he failed our child by neglecting its existence.  I never saw him break down like that but loved him more.  

That morning, we both changed for the better.  We knew we had to help each other and there was no room for us to be at each other's throats.  All of a sudden, we felt like parents for the first time.