Sunday, January 11, 2004

To cord blood or not to cord blood 

At first I was certain that I was going to save Isabella's cord blood after she was born. Then upon research I decided not to. Because stem cell research is still in its infancy, it was hard to predict what benefit it would provide us in the future. If I had a family history of a disorder such as leukemia, lymphoma, sick-cell disease or some metabolic disorders which have been helped by cord blood, then its use would have been more compelling. Since our kids aren't high risk of developing this, I concluded that we probably wouldn't need to use it, and cord blooding would have been like buying an insurance policy saving us from a disaster. I would only recommend that you get cord blooding if your family had a history of disorders. Otherwise, if you have money to burn and / or are very risk averse, there is no harm in paying for peace of mind getting this "insurance".

Here are other factors that led to my decision not to cord blood:

1) While researchers have great hopes for the potential of embryonic stem cells, it is not known whether the stem cells in cord blood have that ability
2) Certain disorders cannot be solved with the cord blood because those cells contain the same genetic defect that caused the condition
3) Few cord blood transplants have been given to adults because most units haven't contained enough stem cells to treat anyone weighing more than 90 pounds
4) With cord blood, you are making an investment that the company you are going with will be around for 20+ years in order to store it for you; so you must look for a very solid company
5) some of the companies' financials do not look solid (i.e., Cryo-Cell has not been profitable for a while)
6) with the other companies who are not publicly traded, you don't know what their financial situation is - you just have to trust what they report
7) to date, a very small % of the cord blood has ever been used to help anyone (~1%?)
8) almost all of the approximately 70 cord blood transplants that have used privately stored blood were given to relatives with preexisting conditions, not to the donors themselves; so by all means get it if your family is currently facing a health crisis
9) many more stem cell transplants have been done using cord blood stored in public banks b/c there's only a 25% chance that a sibling's cord blood will be a perfect match

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Review of Baby Toys 

(I'm still working on this blog)


I have been buying the toys which were either recommended by fellow parents, or that won the a Platinum Oppenheimer Toy Award. I'm a sucker for that platinum sticker on the box. But so far they have been right because every toy that I bought for Isabella that won the award, she seems to enjoy!

These are some toys that are often recommended for newborn babies today:

Gymini - We have the Deluxe Noah's Ark and our baby loves it

Symphony Mobile - all adults think this mobile is really creepy but I bought it because it got such good reviews; I think this mobile is more stimulating not relaxing and won't lull your baby to sleep. Isabella enjoys it now but but when younger could only take so much of it.

Kick and Play bouncer by Fisher Price

Other things I bought that have been good:

Sassy Me in the Mirror crib mirror

Lamaze Clutch Cube - This is her favorite toy now that she's 5 months old.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Review of Nursing Supplies 

My Brest Friend
Great nursing pillow. It has a strap so you can secure the pillow around you and walk around with the pillow which is convenient sometimes. Has lumbar support so that you get back support plus you can adjust it to just the right latching position. I used to be annoyed with the loud velcro on the strap, but they redesigned it with an adjustable nylon backpack strap which should be much better. I talked to Paul Macomber at Zenoff products 415-883-5300 who sold me a replacement cover for $15 with $4 shipping. You can see the designs at My Brest Friend's website. At that price you can practically just buy a Boppy pillow but I hate having too much junk in my house. We don't have the space for it!


Bravado Nursing Bras
Best of all the ones I tried; snap is easy to use with one hand; shape of bra allows most skin to skin contact with baby; cotton is soft and comfortable with no underwire so you can wear it to sleep too; only con is that it looks like a sport bra and is ugly; plus the price is more expensive than average nursing bras; I bought mine at Sierra Blue for a good price with free nursing pads;

Playtex Nursing Bra
Generally a good bra; latch is easy to work with one hand; cons are I find the holes odd - like some weird S&M bra; also provides the least amount of skin to skin contact with baby (of the 3 bras I tried); I bought mine at Target but you can find these all over and even online; pretty reasonably priced.

Medela Comfort Bras
This bra was a bestseller on Babycenter, so I had high hopes, but I was disappointed with this bra; the size runs small and even though I got a bigger size, it was still tight; the latch is not easy to put in by with one hand and oftentimes I had to use 2 hands; my breast got a rash which I attribute to this bra being too tight; I would almost get 2 sizes bigger than you'd expect

Nursing Pads

Most absorbent; when moist, becomes gel-like; has adhesive in back to stick to your clothes. In the beginning when you're leaking like crazy, these will do their job.

Also pretty absorbent, and a little thinner and smaller than the Lansinohs. I like.

Absorbent; when moist, becomes hard; no adhesive in back to stick to your clothes. In the beginning when you're leaking like crazy, these will work.

Gerber Ultrathins
Were not absorbent enough in the beginning when you're most leaky and need it the most. Later on you can use this when you're not leaking as much and you just need it as an emergency. but then in my opinion you might as well buy cloth pads. I guess it is almost like the bra equivalent of pantyliners. Not recommended.

Cloth nursing pads
Totally not effective in the beginning when you are leaking like crazy. These are fine when you're at home and can swap out for a freshie or if you just don't care. Otherwise, these get soaked up and then it becomes just as bad as if you didn't wear anything. Later when you're not leaking as much, you can use these with more confidence when going out.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

First day home 

We go home after a night at the hospital

Monday, January 05, 2004


We stay at Alta Bates for the first night.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Isabella Shau-Yun Chen is born! 

Isabella Shau-yun Chen arrived on January 4, 2004 at 11:57 am, at 6 pounds & 12 ounces, 21 inches. She is a Capricorn, born on the 13th day of the 12th lunar month in the Year of the Ram.

The middle name "Shau-yun" is her paternal Grandmother's name, literally meaning "few clouds" or translated into "happy disposition." We named her Isabella because - well, we just liked the name.

As Shannon so quickly noted, Roehl won the pool!

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Labor starts the evening of January 3! 

8:15 pm - mucous plug (seals up cervix) passes; usually a sign that cervix is beginning to open and labor will start soon; tell Rich, who gets really wide-eyed, and quietly moves cars: Forester into garage, and Miata onto street; Rich packs his bag

8:30 pm - start timing contractions; call Alta Bates Labor & Delivery, who say I'm having "too good a time" if I can have a conversation with them, and that I'm probably experiencing early labor

9:15 pm - eat big dinner with Le Cheval leftovers and watch "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"

1:00 am - we both take a shower; more mucous plug comes out; start wearing a pad just in case water breaks; call Alta Bates again, and they say still probably too early because don't want to go to hospital and get sent home; try to go to sleep...(but can't - are you kidding?

2:15 - 3:15 am - bunch of liquid oozes out, but not sure if it is bag of waters or more of the mucous plug since I am wearing a pad; contractions too painful, so Rich starts timing contractions; learn later that indeed this was my bag of water breaking; contractions are 5 - 7 minutes apart, average of 60 seconds long; almost vomit dinner - yuk!; Rich applies counter pressure to lower back; water excretes every time he applies pressure

3:15 am - after an hour of super strong contractions, Rich callls Alta Bates; (ME call - are you kidding?!! I'm in way too much pain!); they say yup this sounds more like it; OK to go in

3:30-40 am - leave for Alta Bates; experience the longest drive ever; Rich tries to massage my back while driving but I insist he concentrate on just getting to the hospital fast

4ish am - arrive at Alta Bates after Rich runs only 1 red light :)

4 - 4:15 am - have to stop for contractions outside Alta Bates doorway, at 3rd floor security desk, then again at check-in desk; get admitted to triage

4:30 am - Nurse Fay says that I am at 3 1/2 centimeters, 90% effaced, 0 station

4:45ish am - walk(?!) to labor room 16 (room 3513); have contraction in the middle of hallway, must grasp bar; Rich applies counter pressure on to back; water gushes out all over hospital floor - yuck! I tell Nurse Fay that I've forgotten everything I've learned in Childbirth Preparation class - does she have any suggestions? She recommends that I not scrunch my face during the contraction and try to relax more, but contractions too painful; I agree to an injection of fentanyl

around 5:00 am - fentayl goes in

5:30 am - epidural inserted - thank God!!; right side starts to feel affects immediately; must lie on left side for a little bit because right side more numb than left because they say epidural works by gravity

6:00 am - epidural takes effect, nurse suggests I go to sleep and rest for the pushing stage; currently 4 centimeters dilated, 0 station; try to sleep but too excited; doze off now & again between now and 11 am

7:00 am - fetus passes meconium into womb; Dr. Sophia Sharma checks in and says baby had a bowel movement inside womb; must flush the amniotic fluid out to cleanse; fetal scalp electrode put on baby's head to monitor heart rate; heart rate drops a little, so nurse tells me to lay on right side; baby heart rate returns to normal; nurse says I must have been sleeping on top of umbilical cord

8:30 am - 9 centimeters dilated!, 100% effaced, 0 station

10:00 am - 10 centimeters dilated, 0 station; technically can start pushing at this point, but since baby is still sitting high up, nurse suggests we wait instead of starting to push, thereby letting the baby move by "passive descent"; nap some more

11:00 am - nurse wakes me up and asks if I feel an urge to push; I say not really but she suggests we start pushing; we watch the monitor for the next contraction, which are about 2 minutes apart; at the start of each one, I take a cleansing breath, and then push through 2 sets for 10 seconds each; if I push my abdominals, nurse reminds me to focus on the right area; Kegel exercises really helped make pushing more efficient; nurse employs mineral oil for perineal massage; in between contractions, we just hang around, chat and look at our watches; epidural is amazing! all in all it makes the whole pushing process a very calm experience

11:20 am - nurse brings out squatting bar and ties sheet to it for me to pull up on; try that for a couple of contractions; says that we can see a nickel sized part of the head; brings out mirror for me to see; wo.

11:30ish am - about a 50 cent piece of head out

11:45 am - Drs. Weise and Menendes come in and put on their scrubs; they take off the catheter and the electronic fetal monitor

11:57 am - Isabella is born!!!! Rich says with quite a velocity and launch; head is round because did not spend much time in the birth canal; thankfully I have no tearing or stretch marks! whew! Nurse is quite proud that pushing was less than an hour. Doctors said I could come in and give birth any time. I guess I was a pretty mellow delivery (again, thank God for the epidural!)

Depending on how you count labor, total labor was 16 hours: 6 hours of early labor, 10 hours of active labor, of which I slept through 5 hours of it with 1 hour of pushing.

11:57 am - Isabella is born
12:30 pm - placenta is delivered
12:45 - 1:45 breastfeed baby
1:00 - baby has first bowel movement outside the womb
5:00 - another bowel movement
8:00 - another bowel movement
8:20 - 40 minute breast feed

Day 2
1:45 - 2:15 - breastfed
3:00 - bowel movement
4:15 - 4:35 breastfed
5:00 - bowel movement
9:00 - bowel movement
9 - 9:30 breastfed

Friday, January 02, 2004

First Pregnancy Milestones 

Due date: January 6, 2004
Check out more pictures here

Judging by how well rested we look, you guessed it - this is the last picture of us without baby. Boy, do we not know what we had coming!!!

First Trimester

1st month, 119 pounds, 34-26-36

1st week
- April 1 - Last Menstrual Period
2nd week
- April 12 / 13 - Conception
4th week - Tender pillows - hmmm.
- May 3 - Positive pregnancy test! Tell both Moms the news.
5th week - Bloated; not sure if it's pregnancy related, but spicy food sounds good
6th week - Getting queasy on an empty stomach; sleepy; spicy
food still sounds good.
- May 17 - 1st Prenatal appointment - Introductory class about being pregnant

2nd month , 119 pounds

7th week - Queasy on empty stomach, sleepy, burpy
- May 19 - Wino night w/ friends; everyone looking and suspicious; must swap
glasses with poor Rich; yikes!
- May 23 - Accident??! arg!
- May 25 - Tell Ro & Shannon the news
8th week - Still queasy, 124 lbs (128 lbs according to Dr.)
- May 29 - Chirashi Sushi at Mijori. Was this a good idea?
- May 30 - 2nd Prenatal - 1st appointment with Nurse Practitioner
Brown. Ultrasound! Cute little pinto bean moving around.

Then later that night, MAJOR FOOD POISONING; think it's morning sickness at first, but after 4 hours of vomiting realize it is not - bleah!
9th week - Still not quite right, start craving pizza, and only simplest of foods 122.9 lbs
- June 1 - Tell Leong family at Mom's birthday party
- June 3 - Notice slight bulge in stomach??! Grandma goes to
hospital. :-(
10th week - Las Vegas; queasy, aversion to seafood, sleepy, 124 lbs
- June 15 - 3 hour hike in Mt. Tam

3rd month , 123 pounds

11th week - STARVING (due to Mt. Tam hike?), pizza looks great, spicy food
(Indian) craving
12th week - Chicago, pizza looks great, tired, 124 lbs
- June 28 - Darker and bigger "pillows"?!
13th week - 125.4 lbs
- June 30 - 3rd Prenatal appointement; see Dr. Newman. Rich accompanies me. Hear heartbeat using the doppler! Says it is a normal pregnancy. Yay!
- July 1 - Tell immediate boss about pregnancy
- July 4 - Disclosure time! Tell high school friends, piequeens
14th week - hot dogs start looking good, sleepy still, 126 lbs

Second Trimester

4th month, 127.6 pounds

15th week - Felt a flutter?, nothing sounds good to eat, sleepy, 127.6 pounds
- July 17 - Tell CEO the news
- July 18 - Tell Office the news
- July 19 - Ouch! Round ligament pains begin, tell Sly, Chris &
16th week - Suddenly pants don't fit; use rubber bands; seemed to have
expanded several inches over weekend. breakout?!, round ligament pain, 127.4
17th week - GROSS junk food week (corn dog, fried chicken, frozen pizza,
chicken pot pie, McD burger, Philippino food), definitely showing, no pants fit any more unless fly completely down, plumper pillows?, maternity clothes shopping spree, 128.2
18th week - Pillows getting big!, more round ligament pains, 129.2
- August 5 - 4th Prenatal appointment - Ultrasound and 2nd appointment with Nurse Practitioner Brown - it's a girl! (ultrasound = headache?)

Here are her fingers

- August 6 - Blue Man Group - was baby doing Rock Movement #2?? start freaking out about how the world is going to corrupt our daughter

5th month , 130.4 pounds, linea negra appears

19th week - Waist is going away, leg cramp!- ouch!, facial then breakout,
more energy?, Top Dog time..., 130.4
20th week - Skin clearing, more energy, regular pregnancy exercises, food
not looking so bad any more, first stranger (Shiseido counter woman) notices pregnancy!!, 131.8
21st week - Slept on back and woke up with major headache, then turned to left
and felt rush then OK. weird
- August 28 - Prenatal Exercise class
- August 28/29 - DEFINITE fetal movement! Yay!
22nd week - Belly button flattens out, lots of stomach growth
- ?? 5th Prenatal appointment and 3rd appointment with Nurse Brown?
23rd week - UNBEARABLY HOT! Must put ice on my head.

6th month, 137 pounds

25 - 26th week - Last trip away to Hawaii!
26th week - Baby starting to move a LOT; almost non-stop!
27th week - 2nd Ultrasound; 6th Prenatal appointment with Nurse Stavely (1); no partial previa. Whew! Should increase iron intake. Notice fat accumulating on legs - gross! Baby's face here is so cute.

Third Trimester

7th month - Pregnancy aches and pains begin; obviously pregnant to strangers now, 141 pounds

28th week - Fasting for 3 hour Glucose test - almost faint! Luckily, no gestational diabetes. Starting to get pretty uncomfortable!! SHARP round ligament pain, especially on left side, making it painful to walk sometimes; major lower back pain, especially when driving; for the first time, tummy getting in the way... bumped into people in tight space at Sozo's; strangers wishing me congratulations and asking me how far along I am; start consciously waddling to relieve back and round ligament pain; finally figure out what stroller we want
29th week - Pregnancy brain??! leave lunch and OJ on top of car; seem to need tummy support; entire pelvic area aching from the weight
30th week - MAJOR back pain; relieved by yoga and stretches; notice that can't look down to see private area any more; couple of large zits - arg!
- Halloween - Dress up as Trailer Trash mom and win costume contest at work; check it out:

Trailer Trash Mom barefoot in the kitchen sweeping, with Mickey's Malt Liquor, cigarettes in hand

Trailer Trash Mom with Loser Wife Beating Husband, who may/may not be father of her child

- November 2 - Child Birth Preparation Class - oh my God, it's really happening?!
31st week - Prepregnancy bras definitely tight now so must move up one size all around; baby non-stop STRONG movement; belly getting really REALLY round!!
- November 7 - 7th Prenatal appointment w/ Nurse Brown (4); says baby is transverse right now. Ugh! Might turn on its own, but doesn't hurt to do some exercises and use moxybustion to encourage her to turn, 146 pounds
- November 8 - Newborn Care Class and Baby Shower Party!
- November 9 - Waitresses at jook place finally notice my pregnancy! she thinks I'm carrying like a boy

8th month - Definitely feeling and looking pregnant now; all food aversions practically gone; appetite generally back to normal; 146 pounds

32nd week - Belly button flattened out now (as opposed to rounded out); trying anti-transverse exercises
33rd week - All sorts of crazy movement - stretches, squirming, little sneezes even! What a roller coaster! Rich's last trip to Tokyo for a while.
- November 20 - Breastfeeding class - doll feeding off of funky stuffed breast
- November 22 - My 34th birthday. Oy!
34th week - Rich feels the insane alien-like squirming around
- November 24 - Order the crib finally!
- November 26 - Work throws me a baby shower; last day - WOO HOO!!!!!
- November 28 - Finally get so frustrated by bed situation that we buy king sized bed frame
- November 29 - Try moxybustion incense to turn transverse baby; stink up entire house - get banished to burn this outside in the cold; hands slightly swollen??!; feet KILLING me
35th week
- December 1 - First day of Maternity Leave!
- December 3 - Flu shot; this better be a good idea!
- December 4 - Visit Alta Bates Birthing Center
- December 5 - Preparing for Labor panel of doctors; 8th Prenatal appointment w/ NP Monahan (1); says baby has turned down. Yay!; Since tummy is so big, look like a slob every time eat and food falls on belly
- December 6 - Pick up crib from Babies R Us
- December 7 - Set up crib

9th month - Starting to feel overly huge and pain to walk around, 151 pounds, 37-42-42

36th week - Hard to sleep again; too much weight on the side hip; need adjustments in height of pillows between legs and belly wedge; still lots of crazy movements, especially on right and top side of belly, but now stronger; hip joints seem to have completedly loosened; really hard to bend over or lift one leg up; passing gas sometimes - gross!!; feet killing me if stand for too long
- December 14 - Rose Garden neighbors throw Rich and I a shower; Rich makes final adjustments to Aria stroller
37th week
- December 15 - 9th Prenatal appointment w/ NP Brown (5) - ultrasound confirms the head is down; Short Term Disability forms submitted
- December 17 - First official day of non-paid Maternity Leave; set up car seat
- December 18 - Wash baby's clothes and sheets; put all clothes away, make up the crib and changing table; we're ready!
38th week
- December 22 - 10th Prenatal appointment with NP Monahan (2): says baby's head is down and starting to descend; feet are still kicking on the right; car seat checked with Piedmont Police Officer Paul Knoll (510) 420-3000 - very friendly!
- December 23 - 2 new zits - arg!
- December 25 - Christmas Day
39th week

- December 31 - 11th Prenatal appointment with NP Brown (6) - says baby has dropped; getting tight lower abdominal / pelvic pains; not sure if it is pressure from the baby or Braxton Hicks contractions; baby seems to be squirming around towards pelvis; lots of strong movement at the top of uterus and right side; here's what I look like now:

- January 1 - New Years Day; friends start pool on birth date
40th week
- January 3 - meet high school friends at Chinese dessert cafe in San Francisco; one year ago, Sylvia went into labor several hours after eating here; jokingly, I say perhaps I will go into labor too; order the fresh mango with sago with coconut milk; (Quyen says that coconut juice speeds labor); sure enough, at 8:15 the mucus plug passes, and labor begins..........!!

Thursday, January 01, 2004

baby pool 

Check this out! My pregnant belly at 39 weeks.

The suspense is killing me!! The Braxton Hicks contractions hurt, I miss sleeping on my back, I can't wait to drink red wine with dinner again, I want to shop at more than 4 stores! When will this baby be born???

Piequeen friends start a pool on when Baby Chen will arrive.

January 5, 3:00 pm - Roehl
January 7, 2:18 am - Jeannie
January 8, 12:07 am - Aileen
January 9, 2:30 pm - Jon
January 9, 3:00 pm - Dave
January 9, 4:54 pm - Teri
January 12, 2:00 am - Joel
January 12, 3:00 am - Shannon
January 12, 3:00 pm - Kitty
January 12, 11:28 pm - Jeff