Monday, July 1, 2019

Newborn Life (Alternate Title: I'll Sleep When I'm Dead)

Now that we are starting to emerge from the new parent/newborn haze, I am finally able to start blogging again. West hasn't been napping as much during the day, so it's been hard to find time between breastfeeding + supplementing + pumping every 2-3 hours.  I have such a newfound respect for moms! How in the world do you find time to do anything for yourself? Let alone work full time! We both transitioned back to work in late April and I am still not quite sure how to juggle it all. In time.

We are both very lucky in that we are able to work from home. Jake does have to go to campus to teach classes a few times a week, but the rest of the time he is home with us -- unless he is golfing, that is. We have childcare so we can actually get work done -- now that would be insane if I tried to work full time and watch him. Basically, I would not get anything done. Ever. So again, we are lucky that West can be home and we don't have to ship him off to daycare just yet. 

When West was five weeks old, we had some newborn photos taken at our home and I wanted to share some of them with you all. We worked with Sunny Kim (@sykimphotography) and she was one of the sweetest, most calm people I've ever met. I was rushing around trying to see where the best lighting in the house was and she was like, it's OK... let me worry about that! I don't think Olive even barked at her one time! Olive is very protective of us so you know that is a BIG deal.

I thought about doing maternity photos but decided if I was going to choose between that and newborn photos, I would pick newborn -- and then the baby could actually be in the photos! We are deciding which ones we want to frame and its so hard because we LOVE THEM ALL. In honor of West turning 5 MONTHS old next week, here are the photos from when he was 5 WEEKS old.


And of course, Olive made a cameo. It was so cute, she was in a bunch of pictures and we didn't even realize it while we were taking them. I LOVE HER SO MUCH. She is the best doggie, and best big sister to West. <3


Saturday, April 27, 2019

Nursery Reveal

One of the first things I started thinking about after I found out I was pregnant was the nursery. Actually, thats not true. I started planning it long before I got pregnant. I knew I wanted a neutral and lighter wood theme, and I always planned it to be very gender neutral. I originally wanted to do neutral rainbows but that never panned out. I'm not exactly sure why but I ended up going in a different direction once I started actually purchasing things. 

The first thing I bought was a rug which I found out was discontinued after I ordered it and my order was abruptly cancelled. After that ordeal, I decided to design the room around the wallpaper that I'd picked out. Since the wallpaper was on the more ornate side, I wanted to keep everything else very fresh, neutral and simple.

The ironic part is that West has been sleeping in the snoo in our bedroom since we brought him home from the hospital. So he probably hasn't spent more than 10-15 minutes at a time in his room yet. I did nurse him a few times in the rocking chair in there but for the most part, we hang out either in the living room or in our master bedroom. Part of me is looking forward to moving him into his room, the other part of me is not because its a bit of a hike to get from our room to his. Although, our house isn't even 1,500 square feet and it's only one story so I can't really complain. 

So without further ado, here is the big reveal. I hope you like it! I know I am obsessed with how the room turned out and want to add wallpaper all over our house now! This particular wallpaper is actually removable wallpaper tiles and it was so easy to install. I highly recommend it if you are looking to wallpaper something. 

These photos were taken as part of our newborn session with the lovely Sunny Kim when West was 5 weeks old in mid-March. I'll share more photos from our session soon. 

wallpaper | make-a-face | bottle rattle | wood rainbow | crib | hamper | rocking chair | ottoman (old) | rug | the night sky | peanut changer | curtains and bookshelf were handmade by friends + family

Please let know if I missed anything! 


Saturday, April 13, 2019

WEST: A Birth Story

I remember when I was younger, I would watch A Baby Story on TLC and I was always so fascinated by the birth stories. Every single one was different and special. Most of the time I was just genuinely terrified by watching them (kind of like watching Unsolved Mysteries as a kid, but in a different way). Can you tell I was a 90's kid who watched a lot of TV?

----- SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2019 -----

Well my birth story starts in the middle of the night in the wee hours of Saturday morning (2/9). Don't all the best birth stories start out in the middle of the night? I woke up for the 3rd or 4th time to go to the bathroom that night around 2:45 am. I had this whole elaborate system to get up where I turn onto my left side, push myself up with my right hand, sit on the bed and then stand up slowly. Good thing the bathroom is only a few steps away. I felt four or five gushes of liquid as I walked those few steps. I usually go to the bathroom in the dark but something felt different and I turned the light on. I woke up Jake and told him what I was experiencing so he turned to Dr. Google as we tried to figure out if it was worth it to call the doctor. We ended up calling the hospital. They paged the doctor on call who called us back within minutes. Jake answered and explained that I was 37w 2d and handed me the phone. I spoke with the doctor and she recommended that I come in because once your water breaks they like you to have the baby within 24 hours since the risk of infection is so high. I remember her exact words, "We invite you to come to the hospital". At this point both of us weren't sure anything was happening but we agreed it would be best to go. And worse case, it will be a funny story that we woke up in the middle of the night and raced to the hospital for no reason. The doctor suggested we come sooner than later and not wait for daybreak, so we had a bit of a sense of urgency. I had heard so many moms get turned away because they weren't dilated far enough or in fact, their water had not broken, they just peed their pants. But, that's not what happened.

Our hospital bag was 90% packed and we just had to throw in a few odds and ends. We had been working pretty religiously on getting it ready but there were a few things that we couldn't quite pack like our Nikes that we wear every single day and the one comb that I own (P.S. I need to buy more combs). We calmly threw the remaining items in and placed Olive in her dog pen. In case I went into labor in the middle of the night, we had arranged for a friend to pick up Olive and drop her off at her regular sitters during the hours of 8 am - 8 pm. We hid our hide-a-key and drove to the hospital. We were both joking that it was the perfect time to go because we got there in about 15 minutes when we usually allow 45 minutes to an hour with traffic. After taking a quick selfie to document the moment, we arrived around 3:30 am and got checked into the triage area where they assess if your water actually did break. The nurse and doctor did an exam and explained there were 3 tests they do. If I passed two of them, I would be admitted. Both of us didn't want to get our hopes up so we just calmly waited for the results. When we first got there, I was given a PATIENT BELONGINGS bag and I joked that it was like prison putting all my stuff in this plastic bag. The nurse was like, do you even want to have a baby?! I said yes, I just wasn't completely ready since it was still 3 weeks to my due date. In hindsight, I would rather have him come a bit early (after reaching term) than be miserable and pregnant for 41+ weeks like I've heard isn't uncommon for first time mom's (FTM).

I passed two of the tests and was admitted. We also found out that I was 1 cm dilated but 0% effaced. Jake went back to the car to grab the rest of our belongings and trucked them over from the parking garage.


They started me on Pitocin and we got moved to our own private room and waited until 7 am to order breakfast - this would be my last real meal before I would be placed on an all liquid diet. We ordered at 7 am sharp and there was a slight mishap with the timing of the order, it took two hours and by that time, I was already placed on an all liquid diet so I was given broth and jello instead. Ummm yeah nope -- not for my last meal!!!!  I eventually ended up getting my original order -- a bagel with cream cheese and fruit on the side -- and by then I was starving! I wolfed that down and I think we both napped for a bit. Contractions were getting more frequent and stronger but nothing unbearable. I had decided that I was going to get an epidural so was just waiting until I was further dilated because I heard that I shouldn't get one too early. The anesthesiologist said most people are dilated to around 5 when they get one. We didn't know where I was because they don't like to check often when your water breaks first since it can introduce an infection. So we just watched TV, talked and waited.

The nurses had to administer oxygen several times since the baby seemed too "sleepy" intermittently.  At first I didn't like it because the mask felt awkward and kept falling off. But then I decided I liked it and requested that they give me some more later in the day. The nurse took one look at me and said very sternly that the oxygen was for the baby and not me. Jake and I both looked at each other and kind of chuckled.

Around noon, I decided I was getting ready to get my epidural so we told the nurses and around 12:45, I got a combined spinal epidural. It was explained to me that this would provide both immediate and then long lasting relief so it made sense to have the best of both worlds. Jake had to leave the room while they administered the epidural because that is their policy. I guess they don't want to deal with passed out husbands... which I thought was kind of funny because Jake is a bit squeamish. This was a perfect time for him to grab coffee and snacks (for middle of the night cravings, once I could eat again!)

The next time they checked me, I was dilated to a 5, 80% effaced around 5 pm and on a diet of strictly ice chips which are actually pretty tasty when it's the only thing you can eat. They kept increasing the Pitocin and I was making progress, it just wasn't as quickly as I hoped. I initially wanted a 2/9 birthday (I liked the juxtaposition of an even number and an odd number) but as the nurses kept telling us, the baby is the boss and he gets to we waited.. and texted with our family to keep them updated. There was a Gonzaga basketball game that was going to start at 7 pm so I got excited to watch that as a distraction but it turns out the hospital didn't have the channel that needed to watch it. So, we ended up napping until around 9 - 10 pm. We had a little game going with Jake's family to predict the baby's birthday, time and birth stats. We had an ultrasound earlier that week to make sure he was head down and they told us he was roughly 6.5 lbs and right around 50% percentile wise. Leaving that appointment, I was worried that I still had 3 more weeks to grow this little human and I would have an 8+ pounder! Little did I know...

At this point, I started to feel painful contractions and I was confused and had them check on my epidural. Turns out it was fine but I was having back labor. I remember the nurse saying it's going to feel like I "don't have an epidural" because he is sunny side up and his spine is pressed against my spine. Definitely not the words I was hoping to hear. As I felt each painful contraction get closer to the previous one, I had Jake massage this one particular part of my lower back -- and this lasted for several hours. Poor guy! I felt bad but then I realized I was the one in labor, not him! And around this time, we also realized that unfortunately, February 9th would not be the baby's birthdate...

----- SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2019 -----

A little after midnight, I was ready to start pushing so I requested that they come check to see how dilated I was and I was a 9! So close, yet so far... they checked again in another half hour. Still a 9 at 1:00 in the morning. Finally, I made them check again and I was dilated to 10 -- HALLELUJAH -- this was probably around 2 -3 am. I remember the feeling going from a 9 to 10 -- I suddenly felt very sick, like I wanted to throw up. The nurse assured me that this was all normal. Thank goodness I didn't end up getting sick because to me, throwing up is the worst feeling in the entire world.

I can't remember when exactly this part happened but I wanted to see if they could try and turn the baby from a face up position to the proper face down position to ease my labor. They agreed to try, we later found out they tried 2 or 3 times and were unsuccessful. That was probably the most painful part of my labor. I actually forgot about this until I went back and looked at my texts with our friends and family. In retrospect, I am glad that they weren't able to turn him -- I'll explain more later about that.

We decided to do some practice pushing with just the nurse, but she was worried that I wouldn't push effectively because of my epidural. She told me to stop pushing the button that gives an extra dose because she didn't want me to be too numb. The crazy thing was that I could still feel my legs, they were tingly but I just thought I would be numb from the waist down. So that was surprising to me! Anyway, we start practice pushing and we try getting into some alternate positions (I was very limited in which positions I could choose since I had the epidural) but they did let me sit up and then also try holding my upper body up by grabbing onto some material wrapped around a bar. I'm sure there is a name for this technique? It seemed to work a bit letter. Next thing I know, the nurse is telling me that we have to take a break from pushing because both of the doctors are performing an emergency c-section and we don't want to have the baby without the doctors there. This was devastating news and I remember thinking, how can I not push? It's so instinctual and really hard to stop your body from doing what it naturally wants to do.

But as we waited, the hours really flew by and the next thing I knew, the two doctors were at my side and there were 3-4 nurses too, holding my legs. I was kind of out of it at this point because I was so exhausted as it had been over 24 hours without more than a few hours of sleep at a time (I laugh about this now!) I remember asking for a c-section because I was so miserable. That's when they suggested using the vacuum. They said we only had 3 tries and if it didn't work, I would be whisked off to an emergency c-section myself. So, I said, YES - lets try the vacuum. I remember hearing one of the nurses say later that there were 5 attempts with the vacuum with 2 pop-offs. That means on our very last try, he was born! I also remember the nurses directing me to push 2-3x per contraction and then all of a sudden there were no breaks and I was pushing and pushing and pushing. As he was being born, my lips felt numb with each push and I could feel pressure down there. He was born at 5:15 am - 6 lb 8 oz and 20.5" I had taken my glasses off so I couldn't see super clearly.

Now, here's the traumatic part. Right after he was born, I also heard a nurse shout "nuchal cord -- not one, not two, but three times". I didn't really know what that meant at the time. Later, I found out that he had the cord wrapped around his neck three times and was not breathing on his own as he was born. It was so eerie not to hear the cry that I was expecting to hear. They had a NICU team setup in the corner who started working on him after we did the delayed cord clamping. Jake asked the doctor, he's going to be OK, right? The doctor didn't respond and I just told myself that he had to be okay. There was no other outcome. I heard people shouting and whooshing around. Jake went into the corner where he was and got to cut a few more pieces of the cord and we got some pictures. I think they used the CPAP machine on him to get him breathing. Finally, a nurse brought him over to me and I gave him a kiss.

With that, he was taken to the NICU for further testing. We didn't know how long he would be there. At first I was pretty upset that we didn't get to do skin to skin and breastfeeding right away but I was also very thankful that he was breathing. I was so exhausted and tired but I wanted to hold him. It was such a bittersweet feeling. Jake spent a few hours with him in the NICU and he texted me some pictures of him hooked up to all these wires. He was OK and passing every test. Thank goodness. I've never been more relieved in my life! Around 10:00 in the morning, a nurse brought him to our room and we haven't taken our eyes off him since (well, you know what I mean...)

At 6 days old:

At 10 days old:

We couldn't be more in love with our little one! Jake and I both go back to work in a week, so we are snuggling him as much as we can before we start navigating life with no sleep + working full time + caring for our little guy. We love him so much and wouldn't have it any other way!


Saturday, February 23, 2019

PREGNANCY | Third Trimester Update

Well, if you've been following me on social media you know that we welcomed our little one nearly three weeks early on Sunday, February 10th. But, if you know me then you know I am way too OCD to not do a third trimester post to complete the series. I am also in the process of writing out West's birth story in between feedings (the struggle is real!) so hopefully I will finish before his first birthday (I'm mostly joking). 

35 weeks | @ San Juan Capistrano

Let me try to reconstruct how I felt the past three months. I had lots of heartburn the last trimester and had to consistently take tums every single night. Jake got pretty sick about a month ago, so I started sleeping on the couch so I wouldn't get whatever he had, and I found out our couch is actually pretty comfortable. It was funny because I tried to go back and sleep in our bedroom after a few nights on the couch and ended up sleeping on the couch because it felt more comfortable. I did eventually go back to sleeping in the bedroom and a few days after that, my water broke. More on that in my birth story!

@ 28 weeks | Belmont Shore
Fatigue - I started to get very tired and could barely get comfortable. I had been working some long hours in the days before he was born and my body was getting pretty sore after sitting in a chair for 8-10 hours without a walk break in between. Have you ever gotten up from your chair and felt like a baby taking his first steps? Or felt like, wow, I'm sore, what workout did I do, only to realize that you haven't been to the gym in months? Yep. That was me.

Nausea - This came back with a bit of a vengeance in the third trimester for me. Towards the end, I felt pretty nauseous and had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to eat. I drank a lot of jamba juice smoothies, and we made taco bowls and salads in the last few weeks before baby arrived. 

Cravings - Smoothies (PB chocolate love) from jamba juice, yogurt covered pretzels, Trader Joe's spinach and artichoke dip, Trader Joe's wild mushroom and black truffle flatbread, milk and girl scout cookies! 

Growing Pains - My belly definitely felt ginormous towards the end (and he was 3 weeks early, I can't imagine going to full term); it got increasingly hard to breathe and bend down to pick up something off the floor or to wipe down the shower glass. Jake gave me foot rubs on request and I think that definitely helped me feel better. I don't know if I ever felt contractions (Braxton Hicks or the real deal) until we got to the hospital and my water was broken. I felt the baby move often but I had anterior placenta which made it difficult to do kick counts so I paid more attention to feeling for movement each day. 


We were trying to be very present at Christmas and enjoy our last holiday before baby arrived but it was so hard because we just wanted him to be here already! We picked out our Christmas tree and decided to make a conscious decision not to get anything for baby for Christmas because he wasn't born yet! So hard, but I'm so glad we waited to start buying gifts for him. Now I need to start thinking about baby's first ornament for Christmas 2019! 

Picking out our Christmas Tree! (I have the same pose in every picture!) 
We had a little baby shower in mid-January at our home and it was so cozy and intimate. Thank you to all of my neighbors and and special shoutout to our friends Jenna and Jon who drove up from San Diego for the day! Having the baby shower made it all seem a bit more real. We weren't able to do a baby shower in Seattle where many of our friends and family are since I couldn't travel after 20 weeks due to high risk of pre-term labor. 

My emotions were definitely going crazy towards the end and I felt myself cry many times for no apparent reason (that I knew of that is). I read a few childbirth books and subscribed to two or three pregnancy apps but at some point each day as my due date neared, I would worry about labor and kind of freak myself out. I told myself that everyone does it and it's just a part of life. That calmed me down a bit. I had worked on a birth plan and was supposed to go over it with the doctor on Monday (at my 37 week appointment), but baby West had other plans! I still brought the birth plan to the hospital when I went into labor and we mostly followed it, but I'm not sure if it was ever officially entered into their system or not. 


I believe I ended up gaining 26 lbs which is right on target with what I was supposed to gain. So far I am down 12 lbs, so let's hope this trend continues with breastfeeding. I am trying not to eat everything in sight but it's a struggle. I feel like I am always starving! 


Refer back to 'How I Felt Physically' section and also know that I woke up about 4-5x a night to pee. Basically, once I got back into bed, it felt like I had to pee again! That was one of the worst parts of pregnancy for me, feeling like I couldn't empty my bladder. Did anyone else feel that way? TMI? Well, guess what after having a baby nothing seems TMI to talk about. Baby poop? Hemorrhoids? What else should  we discuss??? 


I have three pairs of maternity leggings which I have been (and continue to) rotating through so we have to do laundry every few days or I don't have any clothes to wear. Could pregnancy be any more glamorous? I resisted buying too much maternity wear and I am thankful that I lean more towards the minimalist side of things since the last thing I need are more clothes. I have been wanting to purge my closet Marie Kondo style (again) but I decided that would be a bad idea when I can't fit in 80-90% of the stuff in there. I will reserve that task for after I lose the baby weight. 


Daily walks with the dog. That about sums up what I've been able to commit to and I'm okay with that. Once our schedule gets a little less hectic with breastfeeding then I will be able to start working out more and working on getting back into shape. I am in a wedding this summer so that should be some good motivation for me to get a head start. 

My last BUMP photo! | 36w6d | (4 days before he was born) 

Well, since he is technically already here I can't say once baby arrives. But we are taking newborn photos (at home) in March, so I think that may be the one thing I am looking forward to the most. And having all of our guests meet baby -- we have a bunch of friends and family coming to visit next month and I am so excited for them to snuggle with my West-ie! 



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