Sunday, August 27, 2006

Corporate swag family 

I think all of our newest clothes from the last two years have this logo on it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Love at first sight 

Sebastian Junchoy Chen was born on August 18, 2006 at 1:54 am, weighing 6 pounds 7 ounces and measuring 20 inches long.

We chose the name "Sebastian" because Rich and I were engaged in San Sebastian, Spain and with Isabella (i.e. Queen of Spain Isabella), both of our kids have a Spanish connection. The middle name Junchoy merge parts of my grandfather and father's names, and together means he will be talented and have good fortune.

He's a Leo, born Year of the Dog, on the 26th lunar day of the 7th lunar month.

Here is a link to some photos.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Labor & delivery story 

The following labor & delivery story is quite long, but the exec summary is that although this second childbirth was overall longer, in most ways it was much smoother and easier than the first. I spent about 5 hours in the hospital and only pushed 3 times (doctor says he could have been born with just 1), with 20 hours of early labor leading up to that. And the best part of all, we now have a beautiful baby son that we absolutely adore. A day's worth of pain for a lifetime of happiness is definitely worth it.

Here's a picture of our new family:

My mucous plug passed Wednesday night 8/16 at 9 pm. I extrapolated my experience from my first childbirth (when my mucous plug passed at 8 pm and we had our baby by 12 noon the next day) that this one would progress similarly and we would be driving to the hospital in the middle of the night.

But then I waited, and waited, and no contractions began. Everyone said that second births always went faster, so I took a shower, packed Isabella's school lunch, and got ready to go in case labor started with an intense fury. By 11 pm nothing happened so I decided to go to sleep.

I woke up at 1 am to some contractions. They weren't that frequent or strong, but they were enough to wake me up. I have problems returning to sleep after waking up, so I coudn't sleep for the rest of the night. It was too exciting! And, my mind started racing about too many things. I worried that we had just introduced Isabella to her "Big Girl Bed & Room" that night, and if she woke up the next day without Mommy & Daddy being there, she would associate her BGB&R with her parents disappearing in the middle of the night. Also, I was dreading an 8/17 birth date - the same date as an ex-boyfriend's! I tried to stay present, but I couldn't stop extrapolating the timeline with each contraction. When 5 am rolled around and nothing was happening, I was so relieved that I was able to fall asleep again.

I was so happy that I was able to greet Isabella, ask her about her BGB&R, and spend a last morning with her as the only child. This baby inside me is being really considerate of my feelings!

I continue to have mild contactions peppered with medium ones throughout the day. We originally reserve Chez Panisse Cafe as our last hurrah meal before the new baby but visions of me managing rough contactions over a 3 hour meal, breaking water in a posh restaurant, or an excruciating 20 minute drive to the hospital change my mind. Instead we drive (another last hurrah) our Porsche top down to Dopo, one of our favorite Italian spots 5 minutes away. We tell Rickie the waiter that we're having contractions so don't mind us if we suddenly throw money on the table and dash out. The Dopo staff probably thought we were nuts but they're super nice. We choose an outside table in case my contactions get so bad I need to surreptitiously run off screaming. They come at about every 10-15 minutes, and each time I bury my head in my hands until the moment passes and resume eating again. We order like it's the Last Supper.

We return home not knowing what to do since the contractions are still 10-15 minutes apart. Rich's mom is picking up Isabella at school so we have all afternoon to have the baby. So we clean up the house, and every 10 minutes Rich runs to me pointing "You! You should be having a contraction!" This goes on all afternoon. Eventually we both fall asleep in Isabella's room tired from not getting good sleep the night prior. It's nice to have that quiet time before the events to follow.

Eventually, Rich's mom comes back with Isabella, wondering - you're still here? I'm really happy to see Isabella again before the baby comes but now my contractions are getting stronger and I need to concentrate more to manage them. They are coming every 7 minutes and I don't want Isabella to see me in pain so I am continually darting out of the room to "pee" or "get something." Since she hasn't seen me all day, she wants to spend time with me, and she follows me wherever I go. For one contraction I had to shut the door in her face, another one I couldn't escape and she had to see me on all fours on the floor breathing heavily. Luckily she didn't seem upset by my pain, but more by the fact that we were going to the hospital without her. Rich provided some continuity by putting her to bed, and when Rich explained we were going to the hospital, she fell asleep peacefully and didn't ask for my presence.

I let my doctor know we're on our way to the hospital (yippee - she's on call that night!). I'm managing the contractions better than my 1st pregnancy so our trip to the hospital doesn't feel as panicked as with the first. Perhaps I'm not freaking out as much since we've been through this before, or maybe what I learned in yoga class finally stuck.

By the time we reach triage around 8:45pm I'm pretty tired because I've been dealing with contractions since 1 am and haven't gotten much sleep. With a delicate touch of a chainsaw, the nurse checks me and says that I'm 70% effaced but only 1 cm dilated. UGH!!!! That is my worse nightmare at this point and can't believe after all this pain I've been experiencing that I have so much farther to go. I envision a total disaster night involving a 40 hour labor ending with an emergency c-section. At this point I tell Rich this is definitely our last kid. We elect to walk around the hallway for an hour instead of return home. But this is an ultra long hour because my contractions are every 3-4 minutes, 1 minute long, and super painful. Even after a contraction, I don't get a break because I still feel painful pressure down my pelvis. The only thing that helps is sitting down but that's counterproductive so I only do it a couple of times when I can't stand it anymore. Rich is great with applying counterpressure against my back using a tennis ball; I feel my back is completely bruised but I need that counterpressure to help manage the pain. In the middle of a contraction in the hallway where I am doubled over, I must have been flashing my butt because a nurse walks by scolding Rich that "protecting" me from overexposure was part of his job too! (Overall, nurses complimented us on how well we labored as a team.) When we return to triage after an hour, the chainsaw-fingered nurse reports that I went from 1 cm to 6/7 cm in one hour! I am elated but I want that epidural!! Now I'm concerned it'll be too late for it at the rate of things. They have to stick an IV into me, let the solution run its course before the anesthetic could go in, and then they're scrambling because all the labor rooms are full so they may put me into a recovery room to deliver??! My doctor must have pulled some strings on the last one because they suddenly found a labor room for me. By the time we're in the room around 10:45pm, the nurse advises the doctor to check me because I might already be at 9/10 cm dilated. I'm thinking NOOOOO - I want that epidural!! I'm getting really tired and I want to get some rest! A wave of nausea hits as I step to get onto the bed; thankfully it passes.

My doctor is awesome and calmly says I will get my epidural - it's not like I feel like pushing yet, right? I do feel pressure in my rectum, but not necessarily an urge to push. I tell Rich to go get our bags with the camera. He doesn't want to leave me before the epidural is working, but I insist he does just in case things happen fast, that I can manage the contractions solo. (I need pictures!) The anesthesiologist puts in the epidural and after about 3-4 contractions, I'm feeling much better. Now I can finally close my eyes and rest. Whew! It's a good epidural because I can still feel the pressure of the contractions and the need to push without all of the pain. Around 12ish the doctor says that I'm 8 cm dilated so I'm super glad that I got that epidural!

Sometime around 12:30, I'm fully dilated, but the doctor recommends passive descent which allows the baby to travel the birth canal on his own. This minimizes the number of pushes and since the perineum is stretched slowly, reduces the chance of tearing. I'm all for that! And I don't mind waiting since I can use this last opportunity to rest a little bit before life goes topsy turvey. I do feel an urge to push whenever I have a contraction, but the nurse says press the call button when I feel it all the time, and leaves. So I rest. I almost get some luxurious sleep, when the doctor returns and says let's try to push now. When I look into the mirror I am just shocked by how much you could already see of the baby! I push and I pause so the doctor can do some perineal massage. (doctor says he could have come out with just 1 push). Before my second push, the baby just started to ooze out on his own! They stop me so they could suction out his nose and mouth, and by the third light push, he was out! And the best part of all, no tearing or stretch marks! Woo hoo!

Me, with the new love in my life

Even though there was a slight gross out factor watching Sebastian's birth, there are no words to describe the awe and love and pure joy when that baby is put on your chest. I know that it sounds contrived, but it is truly an amazing experience, and you feel so lucky to be blessed with life's best miracle. It makes you want to have another one just so you can experience it again - almost. :-)

p.s. for those wondering how I wrote all this 3 days postpartum, I've gotten good at multitasking with one hand while nursing...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Mom's Ginger & Pig's Feet recipe 

A Ginger, Egg & Pig's Feet Vinegar broth is a Chinese restorative food that is important to eat postpartum. You should start making this soon after you discover you're pregnant, so that the ginger has time to mellow out (becoming more sweet, not spicy) and soften. Here is my Mom's recipe:

Buy 3-5 pounds of ginger, cut off the skin, cut into thin slices, then flatten. Air dry until ginger dries out. Cook it at low heat, and then add Chinese sweet vinegar (teem cho). The vinegar must completely cover the ginger. Boil in a clay/ceramic pot - very important! Simmer for 10 minutes. When cool, store in glass jar. Boil mixture every month, and return to the glass jar. Can be stored room temperature.

One week before the due date, boil eggs, peel off the shell, and reboil eggs in the vinegar mixture using a clay/ceramic pot. The eggs should sit in the vinegar mixture for a week so that it soaks up the vinegar taste. After 10-14 days, prepare pig's feet to be added. Wash pig's feet, boil it, then cut off any hair. Put pig's feet into the egg/vinegar mixture using a clay/ceramic pot and reboil entire broth. let the pig's feet sit in the vinegar mixture for a week so that it soaks up the vinegar taste.

Wait until your uterus stops giving you afterpain before eating. When eating, taking a little of the broth, re-boil and eat. It is most important to eat the ginger.

Now, I won't share with you my Mom's recipe for cooking the placenta, which she regretted not telling me to save so she could cook it for Isabella! (GROSS!!!)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Rich's new baby 

Rich is proud to announce the arrival of his new baby. "BMW 3.0 CS" was born in 1972, but arrived at our home today at 11:06 am. The weight is 3,029 lbs, and length is 183.38 inches. Father and baby are doing well.

August 2006: 1972 BMW Coupe
Car Count: 7 (Prius, Audi, Porsche, Corvair, Jaguar 420G, Jaguar XKE, BMW)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Second Pregnancy Progress 

Due date: August 14, 2006 (this date is according to the doctor looking at the baby's size at 1st trimester ultrasound, but I'm mentally thinking August 20 because that's closer to my LMP and conception!)

Whoa! I'm pregnant again! It was planned, but I was still a little shocked considering the - um, pace of our sex lives these days (sad reality of post-baby life). When it sunk in, I got really excited! We're having another little miracle! I kept track of the progression of my first pregnancy, so here I am doing it again for my second. I don't want to play favorites with the kids this early in life!

First trimester

First month, 119 pounds

November 13 - Last Menstrual Period (LMP)
November 26/27 - Conception
December 16 - positive pregnancy test; NO WAY! in total shock
December 24 - "Merry Christmas, Rich! You're having a baby!" Rich finally gets what he always wanted for Christmas - a baby!; now we're both in total shock
Oddly, no symptoms. Last time my tender pillows gave me a clue. Am I really pregnant? This is surreal.

Second month, 124 (!?) pounds

5th to 7th week - Still no symptoms. Did I take the test correctly? Once in a while I do take an afternoon nap. Only food aversion per se is cooked spinach / leafy green vegetables, but it's mild and I still eat them anyway.
8th week - keep falling asleep behind the wheel (scary!), naps in afternoon important otherwise I'm dozing off at some point in the late afternoon; sometimes food not enticing or I feel really gross on an empty stomach; plus I have a bulge - ALREADY!! I can't believe it! The uterus has a good memory!

Third month, 126 pounds

9th week - keep waking up in the middle of the night mostly to pee; must control evening liquid intake! especially since it takes me forever to fall back asleep once I've woken up, and I wind up getting insufficient sleep; ah yes, now I remember the joys of pregnancy... (luckily, this only lasts about a week)
10th week - first prenatal appointment and ultrasound; see a LOT in the ultrasound! see actual hands, feet and legs - not just a pinto bean! and, doctor says that I'm farther along than we think; thinks I'm in my 11th week and adjusts my due date to August 14 (from August 20 which would be based on LMP); I am doubtful because I know exactly when we had sex...!

12th week - bulging already! on a vacation in Hawaii so have to tell friends I'm expecting, lest they think I'm getting fat

Second trimester

Fourth month, 124 (?!lost weight?!) pounds

13th week - nuchal translucency screening for birth defects; thankfully, all tests are normal so we decide there is no need for more invasive testing; I'm really amazed at how detailed the ultrasound images are!

14th week - interestingly, a cloud seems to lift and I feel happier and more positive than I have in a really long time! Perhaps pregnancy hormones can be a good thing.
up to 17th week - really odd because still very little symptoms, except get super drowsy in the afternoon; perhaps I'm just too busy with Isabella to become preoccupied with myself or this pregnancy?

Fifth month, 126 pounds

17th week - hmm, a little bit of spotting during Portland trip - worrisome! am I putting myself under too much strain? go see OB who examines me and she says cervix looks fine so don't know what's happening; luckily it stops after 2 days
18th week - think I'm feeling the baby moving now; mostly it feels like bubbles popping in my belly; also, a little bit of lower back pain; not sure if it's from pregnancy sciatica or bad positioning while lifting Isabella; it goes away after a couple of days so I'm assuming it's sciatica
20th week - weird day where felt <100%, sleepy by 11 am, needed to nap immediately after Izzy's nap, then slept terribly that night; suspect growth spurt; major ultrasound; we're having a BOY!! Here's the evidence:

These other images are of his profile, face and foot.

22nd week - belly button flattens out; feeling good; pregnancy going smoothly and no real issues except sometimes tire easily
24th week - baby really active now! really strong and can feel tons of movement all the time.

Sixth month, 132 pounds

26th week - "last hurrah" vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with friends! everything went great, except last night get weird food poisoning from food we cooked ourselves??! at first freaked out that I am experiencing preterm labor but then soon realize that it's food poisoning; bleah.

Third trimester

27th week - Doctor says that she only shows me gaining 10 pounds thus far in this pregnancy, which is on the low side; suggests that I eat more; (at this point in the first pregnancy, I was 8 pounds heavier); hmm, I probably have been eating about the same as prepregnancy and am too busy during the course of the day to think about snacking; so woo hoo - a green light to pig out! also, iron tests a little low, so advised to start iron supplements just in case; baby kicking STRONG!

30th week - 138 pounds, 38 inch waist
pregnancy still going smoothly; getting harder to get up from sitting positions, especially from the floor, and get an occasional leg cramp while sleeping; have started waddling, overall body is starting to feel it now; more open to eating junk food once in a while which I generally never do; otherwise all is well

31st week - Doctor says that I've gained 4 pounds in the last month which is good (must be all the PB&J that I've been sneaking in while Isabella is asleep); encourages me to gain the same amount of weight in the next month too; this is fine, but my stomach is itchy! probably from my stomach expanding rapidly!; oy, I hope that doesn't mean that I'll get stretch marks with this pregnancy after I was spared them in the first! now I really feel pregnant - more waddling, difficulty standing from many sitting positions, weird cramps in the shin - of all places...

33rd week - 142 pounds; starting to get tired again; harder to go on playdates or carry Isabella; still no linea negra; looking really pregnant now; go out for friend's bridal shower in SF, and get picked up on??! me - a very pregnant obviously married stay at home mom with a 2 1/2 year old? I can't believe how weird people can be!

Here's something you don't see every day: a 3rd trimester pregnant woman in a bar, about to have a "blow job" shot (don't worry, I don't actually drink it)

34th week - last adult overnight to San Juan Baptista for a wedding; stomach got really itchy; I'm thinking it is combination of heat rash / contact dermatitis from synthetic dress material; baby likes to elbow me a lot which jolts me in my seat! very rambunctious guy; feel like he's moving non-stop, especially if I lie down on my side; boy, really feeling pregnant now; I can't help but waddle and sometimes feel my back ache when I carry Isabella, which I try to avoid doing; starting to get ultra tired again in the afternoon

35th week - 144 pounds, 39 inch waist; ultrasound shows that the baby is head down already! he's preparing himself to come out! also based on his positioning, majority of his movement is from wiggling his butt or leg since it appears he's in a Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon / Karate Kid pose; Rich gets scared by all of the movement in my belly (I think he felt my entire stomach rumble one time when he sneezed or something) so from this point on he's very tentative about touching my belly; with the way this kid is banging, I almost feel like he's saying "I'm claustrophobic! Get me out of here!!"

36th week - 145 lbs; have completely slooooowed down; cannot walk fast for the life of me; forget running (unless in super emergency like Isabella running out of store); really tired; doesn't help that I don't get my full 8 hours of sleep - either because I go to sleep at 12m or 1 am and/or I automatically wake up early nowadays; taking Isabella out on playdates now an ultra challenge; takes a lot of effort to force any issue with her or give timeouts; feel like Luke Skywalker at the end of "Empire Strikes Back" when he is completely wiped out and feels that he has no power to resist Darth Vader anymore; good thing we've had a 1/2 year of discipline so she is generally well behaved!

37th week - Rich wonders if he is having a heart attack while driving to work and goes to the ER???!! he is admitted overnight in a hospital 40 minutes away?!; oy, this is not the kind of thing you want when you're 37 weeks pregnant - or ever!; luckily he is OK; there is a BUTT HOT heatwave now and I'm totally melting; my hands are a bit swollen; I finally take off my wedding rings after about 15 minutes of pulling and twisting; take a child birth refresher class; totally started bawling during a child birth video; am excited about the little one coming, but I admit that I am beginning to freak out

38th week - 150 pounds, 41 1/2 inch belly; OK, now I feel too pregnant; my hip joints have totally loosened so everytime I get up from sitting it feels like my legs are about to break off, so I am moving at an ultra slow speed; doctor confirmed that the baby has dropped so that's why walking has been harder these days; cervix is soft, but I'm not dilating yet - whew!; hurt my back just bending over washing Isabella and brushing her teeth! I feel like an old lady!

39th week - 151 pounds, I must be near the end of my pregnancy because I am FREAKING out and have gone into a nesting fury; doesn't help that after just finishing one bathroom remodel, we just started remodeling a second one, and Isabella's big girl room is not ready because we're still waiting for bed, etc.; cervix not doing anything yet; doctor says I might be right about the August 20 due date...

40th week - 152 pounds, 40 1/2" waist, no baby yet! doctor sends me in for antepartum testing where they listen to the baby's heart rate (~140 bpm) and check the amniotic fluid to make sure he's OK; since I'm mentally going by a 8/20 due date, I don't think the baby is late so believe this testing is not necessary, but it's fun to see the baby through the ultrasound nonetheless; keep waking up at 5am wired and ready to "nest"...!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bathroom is done! 

Do I hear the "Queer Eye" theme in the background?

Before & After

More pictures here.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

...and the charge was for... 

So after I discovered the massive charge on our credit card bill, Rich saved the identity of the car he bought ("as a surprise") until today, when he picked it up:

August 2006: 1966 Jaguar XKE
Car Count: 6 (Prius, Audi, Porsche, Corvair, Jaguar 420G and now the Jaguar XKE)

More details and links to pictures here.