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That’s How the Cookie (mmmm…cookie…) Crumbles!

February 27, 2012

Well, it’s been quite some time hasn’t it?

Our little Yena Bena is no longer 8 months old. Reading the last post gave me quite a shock. Was it only a little over 4 months ago that I wrote those words down for our little peach? I remember all those little described moments. And, at the same time, I don’t. Time is rushing on by and, as it does, it leaves behind a little magical dust – making each sweet memory all the sweeter and, yet, taking with it sharp clarity.

It’s funny, but I’m learning that motherhood (or parenthood) is such a dichotomy. I miss so much of those months gone by (I can’t believe I’m saying this but, yes, that includes some moments from the first 4 months of Yena’s life…colic aside needless to say) and yet every day I am entranced by how much Yena has grown, has learned, has mastered. Every day I am more in love with her and it takes quite a great deal of self discipline not to permanently attach her to my lips so I can kiss those chompy cheeks all day!

I am so thankful to feel this joy. They say you don’t really know until it passes, but I am pretty confident I can say now that I struggled with some post-partum following Yena’s birth. Looking back, I can still feel the weights that seemed to drag me down, sand bags tied to the end of my finger tips, my shoulders sagging under some unseen burden…it wasn’t even the exhaustion. The pure, physical, emotional, mental exhaustion. It was the inability to feel anything that led me to cry all those nights. To look around and to see this new chapter in your life spread beautifully before you…to know that each second was precious and would pass in the blink of an eye. And yet, to experience it all through a filmy glass of confusion. Where am I? Who am I? What is this? Why should I care? Why don’t I care more? Why do I care so much? All these questions endlessly roaring in my head, as I struggled to make it work. I am sure it would be surprising to many to hear me describe that time as an inability to feel. The tears that streamed so effortlessly from my face, my long-winded chatters, the incessant questions…I’m sure they all created a vision of an anxious new mother, something not uncommon to those who’ve experienced those long, early months.

And yes, I did care. I wanted the best for my daughter. But I wanted them for her because I knew that was what would be best for her, not necessarily because I wanted what was best for her. Does that make sense? At all? Probably not. But it’s true! I wanted to succeed at this parenting thing, because maybe if I became a world-class breastfeed-er, my baby would stop crying for hours upon hours. And maybe if I could get her to sleep, she would be happier. And maybe if I obsessed over her health, her weight, her jaundice, her whatever, I would understand what the heck was going on! Maybe I would stop feeling like I was lost forever. Like a character in a movie put on pause. Frozen.

I am writing this down for myself, but also for my daughter. My daughter who I love with every breath in my body, the light of my life and the apple of my eye. Yena Bena, you are my sweetness and I pray that the Lord may bless your life with goodness, peace, friendship, love, and all the joys known to mankind. But I also know that the Lord loves you more than your own mother’s heart can fathom (and that’s saying a lot!), and so He will allow certain hardships to enter into your life. To give you wisdom, to grow your empathy, to reveal to you your purpose. And when He does this, and when you walk through those valleys, I want you to remember that you are not alone. Life necessitates some deep valleys so that you can stand on the highest of peaks and truly value what that means. I still feel a dash of cold pass through my body when I remember those early months, but I am so thankful for them. Every minute of those struggles have now allowed me to soak in even more the preciousness of not only loving you so fully, but also having the ability to love you so fully. Post partum is not a choice. You were born to be loved and it was because you are you and the you you are is so absolutely amazing that God allowed me to wrestle with some very dark times. He knew that the love I have for you would be able to overcome anything. I would fight for you with every cell in my body. I always will.

And the greatest gift you have given me is to witness with my own eyes, the closest a human can ever come to experiencing God’s unconditional love. No matter what I do (take a toy away from you because it is dangerous, stop you from eating a hair tie, prevent you from opening a cabinet door behind which towers of glass plates lie), no matter how hard you throw your head back and yowl and shriek (you are still my screechy peachy after all), you. love. me. You. want. me. I. am. your. mother.

My precious, darling, sweet, kind, beautiful, wonderful, charming, talented daughter. Thank you for leading me here. Thank you for making me a mother. It has been the greatest adventure of my life, and I’m only a year in! How much change a year can bring. Today, you are still the vivacious little firecracker you were a year ago. But, you are also the happiest, funniest, smartest little girl, and you bless us every day with your laughter and smiles.

I started this whole post to jot down a few memories from the last 4 months, but, me being me, I ended up following an entirely different train of thought instead. But I do want to capture the ideas that initially led me back to this space before I stop for tonight. My darling girl, at 12 months and 3.5 weeks old (or…13 months old-ish) you:

* wear size 3 diapers (Pampers Swaddlers or Seventh Generation)

* sleep through the night usually from around 8:00pm-7:00am (with two naps during the daytime)

* your typical weekday looks like this:

– 7:00am – wake up, 8 oz bottle (we try not to give you a bottle until 7am on days you wake up a little earlier)

– 8:30am – drive to Cheryl’s

– 9:15am – breakfast (solids – usually yogurt, some type of bread, fruit)

– 10:30am – first nap (you usually nap for 2 hours, or else Cheryl will wake you up after 2 hours)

– 12:45pm – lunch (solids – pasta, broccoli, fruits, vegetables, cheese)

– 2:30pm – I pick you up from Cheryl’s

– 2:45pm – 8oz bottle in the car

– 3:15pm – second nap (you nap for a maximum of 1.5 hours, but usually wake up after 1.25 hours or so)

– 5:00pm – small snack

– 6:15pm – dinner (we try our best to eat as a family and I offer you whatever is lest from lunch, as well as a few other options)

– 7:30pm – 8oz bottle (usually you have a few ounces and then finish the rest before we brush your teeth)

– 8:00pm – Finish your bottle, brush your teeth, read your bedtime book, bedtime prayer with umma/abba, Amazing Grace bedtime song, go to sleep

*  You can say “hi”, “umma”, and “abba”

* You started crawling around 9 months old and you aren’t walking yet, but you are just starting to stand for a couple of seconds on your own

*  At your 1 year appointment, you were in the 15th percentile for weight, and you are still a very picky-eater (I don’t know where you get that from! You will learn that your dad and I LOVE to eat!). Your favorites are yogurt, cheese, and bread. You are also pretty good with broccoli. Everything else (literally) is a hit or miss and about 80% of anything we give for you to eat ends up on the floor or smushed all over your tray.

* You still love to suck your thumb and play with your hair (or my hair) when you are tired. You are still doing this to put yourself to sleep.

* When you play with the phone, you will put it to your ear and say “hi”. You will also hug your Jellycat in the cutest way, nuzzling it and tipping your head to one side.

* Last night, you woke up at 11pm crying and it took abba and I a little over an hour to get you back to sleep (abba held you first, then you cried after he put you down again, so mom gave it a try) – shockingly you didn’t wake up again. You are either teething (most likely), having stomach pains because you are very constipated (it’s true!), or have an ear infection. I am very strongly thinking it’s the teething though since you are eating even less than usual and are a non-stop drooler right now.

* You gave Mirabelle the sweetest hugs twice this weekend – maybe for M’s birthday!

There are so many more things I wanted to write, but of course they are escaping me now. I guess that’s an excuse for my to pop over here more often. I really wanted to post more regularly, but I’m finding that maybe I’m not a regular poster after all. But I tell myself that’s okay. I’m enjoying my time with you and hopefully you will always know that, whether you have a post to read about it or not. I pray every day that our relationship will always be one where you will know how very loved you are, and how you are my bright ray of sunshine.

Good night, my sweet daughter. Umma and Abba love you always and forever.

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8 Months

October 3, 2011

Our screechy peachy turned 8 months old today.

How in tarnations did that happen?

Before we know it, she’ll be toddling about, eating chicken tenders off the kids menu and begging to have sleepovers with her friends.

Lord, give me the strength to not grab my daughter, clutch her to my bossom, and cry “my baby! my bayyy-bbyyyy!!!!” when that time comes.

Or, better yet, Lord, let me be the cool mom so that all peachy’s friends want to sleep over OUR house. Oh, and give me x-ray vision and hearing like a bat. Like a bat, Lord

Peach, my 8  month old, I am loving to get to know you better every day. You are our little spitfire, and ball of spunk. You are our little sweetheart, and the sunshine in our lives. Your personality is coming out more and more every day. You love waving hello/goodbye, making funny noises with our mouth, eating butternut squash and sweet potatoes, reading your bedtime book, and tying to stand up in the tub while you’re taking your bath. You’ve always been so aware of and observant of what’s going on around you, but you are even more so now. You want to watch everything and move and be involved. You haven’t started crawling yet, but, to be honest, I’m not in a rush. Once you start being mobile, I’ll have less and less moments when I’m just holding you in my arms. The best feeling in the world is when  you throw your arms around me and snuggle your head right into my neck, giggling. I want to bottle that feeling right up.

I pray you will continue to grow strong, healthy, wise, beautiful, and happy. I pray

Failed Ninja Skills and Then Some

September 28, 2011

This past Sunday afternoon, the Mister kissed us good-bye to head to the airport for a business trip. He doesn’t return until midnight tonight, Wednesday. Okay, so three-and-a-half-days holding down the fort won’t kill me, right?

Apparently, it very well might.

Sunday went swimmingly and I thought, “Huh, look at me! I’m a parenting whiz!”

Monday, I did it all. I woke up with my baby in the morning, fed her, changed her, made her laugh, picked out an outfit, gave her her vitamins, entertained her while packing her diaper bag for homecare and remembering to include the freshly laundered pack and play sheet, made a breakfast sandwich to eat on the go for myself, packed my lunch/snacks, settled the baby in her car seat, picked up my laptop bag, diaper bag, and tote (with my lunch and other odds and ends that we needed to bring with us) with my left hand, picked up the car seat with my right hand, dragged myself out the door, loaded the car, drove, and dropped the baby off at homecare.

Huff. Puff.

THEN, I drove over to Barnes & Noble (I usually work from home but B&N is a lot closer to peachy’s home care, so I worked from there this week), set my laptop up, purchased a coffee, ate my breakfast sandwich as the computer slowly loaded, started my work, finished my work, drove back to homecare, picked up the peachy, smothered her in hugs and kisses, placed her into the car seat, picked up the diaper bag and tote, lugged everything to the car, loaded everything into the car, drove to TJMaxx, returned some items that needed returning, loaded the car again, drove to CVS, waited in line, picked up renewed prescription vitamins for the peachy, loaded her back into the car, drove home, fed the peachy, played with her for a bit, put her down for her late-afternoon nap, did some housework while she slept, woke her up, played with her for a little bit, fed her, loaded her into the car, drove two minutes to pick up dinner and realized the peachy was falling asleep, felt guilty for not giving her more playtime, turned around, drove back home, unloaded the car, brought the peachy inside, warmed up whatever leftover I could find, ate dinner while playing with peachy, played with her some more, carried her around while I set up her bath, gave her a bath, started her bedtime routine, finished her bedtime routine, put her down to sleep, washed bottles and other baby items, did some housecleaning (i.e. straightening, washing my dishes from dinner, etc.), went upstairs, checked my e-mail, surfed online, read a book, couldn’t fall asleep, read some more, and finally fell asleep with the book on my face sometime around 3am.

It was a great day because the peachy was all smiles and laughs and giggles.

Tuesday was pretty much the same. Except I was feeling a bit more tired and the peachy was a bit more quiet and a bit less amused for one reason or another. I think she missed her daddy.

Wednesday, today, I barely made it. I was a sleepy, overtired mess. The peachy, although she had slept well the night before and napped well during the day, was a sleepy, overtired mess.

I almost lost it when, loading the peach into the car after swinging by the mall, my flip flop broke. I drove the rest of the way home in bare feet. Thank goodness they broke just as I got to the car. I can’t imagine what I would have done if they had fallen apart somewhere in the middle of a store. Ha.

The peachy was feeling screechy today, and I don’t blame her. We miss the Mister, and this whole holding down the fort thing isn’t easy. I’m sure there are many of you out there who could do it and do it for longer while whistling a tune. Me? I learned this week that our family works best when we are together. Everyone is happier all around.

But I’m avoiding talking about why I’m really writing here. Instead, I used  my sneaky ninja avoidance skills and wrote out my Monday in excruciating detail so that you, my invisible, make-believe reader, would be hypnotized by the ginormous run-on sentence.

I’m really writing because I feel like a terrible mom today. My baby wasn’t happy, and neither was I. And I think I’m to blame. I was tired from the week, and it was pouring outside. It had also been gloomy and muggy and foggy all week. I should have gone home and played with the peachy and let her take her last nap at home, since she was so tired. But instead, I drove on over to the mall because I was tired too you know, and I didn’t have it in me to do anything but trudge around the mall and let the hullabaloo of the place keep my baby entertained.

And in my zoned out daze, I lost track of time and ran late. And rushed to the car. And the peachy skipped her last nap altogether (but thankfully snoozed a bit on the drive home). And my flip flop broke.

I got home and the Peachy had had it up to here (*pretending I’m holding my hand up over my head*). By the time bedtime rolled around, I was ready for the little bug to be in her jammies on the train to dreamland. So I rushed her vitamins.

Peachy has super ninja skills, like me, except hers are in the art of swiping. Try to wipe something off her face? Swipe. Try to offer her the bottle when she’s no loner interested? Swipe. Try to feed her the vitamins she hates so much? Two-handed swipe.

So I usually lay her on her back on our bed and lean over her while making funny faces to get her to laugh or to smile. Then, when her mouth opens, I gently place the dropper by her inner cheek and squeeze out the vitamins. This way, the vitamins roll down her inner cheek and not down her throat.

Well, today, I was in a rush. Plus, I was finishing up the last bottle of vitamins (instead of the new one I picked up on Monday), and I had to draw .5mL at a time, instead of the full 1mL. Which means two attempts at avoiding her ninja swipes. The first attempt was a success. Easily.

The second one, my little genius knew what was coming, and refused to open her mouth. She just smiled up at me with a big, close-lipped grin. “Grrrr…mommy has no time for smiles and close-lipped grins,” griped the mean ol’ witch.I have diapers to change! Sleepsacks to put on! Bedtime books to read! Bottles to feed! Teeth to brush!

So I kind of sort of wedged the dropper between her lips and squeezed out the drops. Except I guess I didn’t position the dropper quite right and the vitamins went down her throat.

I want to cry when I remember the wail she let out before a look of total confusion and horrific gagging took over. There’s nothing worse than hearing your baby cough and splutter and gag and gasp for air for full minutes and look totally helpless and confused and miserable because of you. Okay, I’m being stupid. There are A ZILLION things that are worse than that.

But still, it sucked so bad. I held her and whispered, “You’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay,” trying to calm her while my own heart raced on. How could I have done that? What was so important that I would put my daughter through this?

Perhaps to some, it just sounds like I’m blowing things way out of proportion. To others, I’m a complete monster and deserve to be deprived of my mommy rights.

I really don’t care.

What matters is that, to me, it felt horrible. I can’t get the sound of my daughter gulping gobs of air and trying to catch her breath out of my head. What would I have done if it was something choking her? I want to throw up just asking myself that. I want to beat myself over the heat with a bottle for doing what I did and putting my baby through that. I picked her up and held her and soothed her and she finally coughed that vitamin up, along with some spit up, and gagged and burped a few more times.

Make that two bottles to beat over my head.

I walked over to the mirror, because they always make Peachy happy, and I almost cried. She looked a little puzzled and bewildered, but she was still clinging onto me with that death grip she has when she doesn’t want me to put her down, and when she saw our reflection in the mirror she broke out into the biggest, open-mouthed, crinkled-eyes smile.

I almost burst into tears.

What have I done to deserve such complete love and trust? I mess up every day. A hundred times a day. And yet my baby loves me and wants me ALL THE TIME. To her, I’m the one who rescued her from that bad ol’ vitamin going down her throat, not the one who caused her so much desperate gasping and gagging. If anything had happened to her, I would NEVER have forgiven myself.

I feel like a total schmuck. And that’s why I’m writing about this today. To remember that bad days don’t get better by rushing through them. Bad days are sure to come, but there are better ways of dealing with them than force-feeding your daughter vitamins. I need to learn to loosen up as a mom. If I’m really that exhausted, I can leave the bottles soaking to wash tomorrow. I can save the bath. I can skip the dang vitamins.

I can stop trying to do everything my way and NOW. Why now? Does it have to be now? Is it best for it to be done now? Or is it actually wiser, kinder, gentler to do it later? Sometimes the answer will be yes, sometimes no. It’s our job as parents to figure out what is our priority now, and what can wait until later.

My screechy peachy, we were both a bit screechy today, weren’t we? I’m sorry for making your bad day even worse by forgetting that you are not my baby to “control”. We have to work together and learn each other. I promise to be more aware of my actions. I want to be more gentle, more patient, more in tune with you. That doesn’t mean I want to be a pushover (you’re not getting that one pass me, kiddo!), but I want to be a better parent and that means feeling good about it in my heart of hearts and in my gut.

I love you and I hope one day you will look at me and know just how deep and joyful and unconditional that love is, the way I did looking at you in the mirror tonight. Tomorrow is another day. And it will be a better day, I know it. For starters, I’m going to make sure its your abba who feeds you your vitamins. 😉

The Prequel: Three Months

September 28, 2011

May 3, 2011

Dear Yena,

Today, you are three months old.

I remember when, during those early weeks of your infancy, I honestly didn’t know how I would make it to three months. Everyone kept telling me that things would get easier after 100-days (which is coming up next week!), and I had read that three months was considered the end of the “fourth trimester”.

I remember not being able to console you. You would cry and cry and cry and cry. And then throw your head back and cry some more. I cried a lot along with you. I felt so badly for you, my poor baby, to be stuck with a mom who didn’t know how to console her baby. I felt badly for sleep-deprived, exhausted, confused me too. And your poor dad with a crying baby and a crying wife on his hands.

We tried everything to figure out what made you cry. Was it gas? Was it acid reflux? Was it an overactive letdown? Was it emotional sensitivity? Was it backlash from being in the NICU? No one seemed to know (alas, colic) but we didn’t stop trying to find an answer so that we could somehow bring you some comfort.

I don’t tell you this for any other reason than for you to know how much we love you. We weathered those days together and, day by day, we grew to know each other. I loved you from the moment I saw you. Even now, my eyes well up every time I remember that first moment when I saw you lifted from me. And the first time your dad and I met eyes across the room as he leaned over you in the bassinet. This journey hasn’t been easy, and it will continue to throw challenges at us left and right.

But Yena, you are so worth every single bit of it. You are so very loved, my love, and you bring so much joy and delight into our lives. You have made me into an even cheesier cheeseball, and every cliche in the book has become a reality for me. You changed my life. You make me whole. How can someone so little make life so big?

I hope you always know with certainty how much we love you. I hope you never feel alone and you always know that, wherever you are, whatever may happen, your parents love you and, even more, God loves you.

Right now, you love getting raspberries on your belly. You are completely a daddy’s girl, and you laugh and coo and light up every time your dad comes home. You love to talk (coo) to him and he is completely drowning in his love for you. You are such a talker and love to “sing” long with Hwang halmuni sings to you. You don’t making your pursing, Zoolander face very often anymore, which I miss, but you follow me around the room with your eyes and have started splashing the water a bit during your bath as though you are discovering that water is fun! You also love to do ‘sit-ups’ – one of us will tug very gently and lightly on your hands while you are lying down, and you will immediately lift your head up and crunch forward a bit until we have you sitting up. You will do this time and time again, and love it!

We started to see your personality emerge more from when you were six weeks old. Slowly, there were less tears every day and more of you. And now, today, more than ever, we see you. We see you our darling Yena. When you have bad days, that’s all they are – bad days. When you have good days, we enjoy them with you, but we love you no more and no less. Every day, we love you wholly.

We are so blessed to have you in our lives, Addie, and today, on the day you turn three months, we want you to know just this: Mom and Dad love you. God loves you. You are so very, very, very loved.

The Prequel: AYK

September 28, 2011

April 19, 2011

It has been three months and two weeks since my last post.

My life is completely different.

I am so in love.

Our little baby, AYK, was born on Thursday, February 3, 2011 through induction. I had an amazing labor and delivery, and pushed for 50 minutes. I will forever be thankful to Dr. M and my nurse, Carol, for such a positive experience.

So much has happened in the last three months and, again, I find myself shaking my head for not having chronicled it. I don’t want to forget any of it, even the parts where I felt completely defeated.

I will never forget the first moment I saw our little love (LL) as I pushed her out of my body and Dr. M swooped her up. Her mouth was open wide as she wailed, and her eyes and fists were clenched tight. She was born 7lbs 8 ounches, and measured 20 inches with an apgar score of 9.

My absolute hands down favorite moment of the day was when Y was leaning over LL in her bassinet as she lay under the warmer and he looked up at me. I will never forget the look in his eyes. We became a family of three in that moment. I tear up every time I think of it.

The first six weeks were the toughest I’ve experienced in my life. LL spent six days in the hospital, four of which were in the NICU (from Saturday to Tuesday) as she was treated for a fever and for her jaundice. My heart breaks when I look back and realize what a terrifying experience that must have been for her. At the time, I was so frazzled from everything and so worried about her health, that it didn’t really sink in how she must have been feeling. I wish I could go back and do things differently. I would make sure either Y or I was there with her at every moment. I would hold her more and sing to her and cover her in my kisses. I would console her and calm her. I would tell her she is my baby and whisper that everything was going to be okay. I was a new mom. I followed instructions and did what I thought was right, but now I know that it wasn’t enough. I’m sorry LL. I hope you know how much mommy loves you, and that she is learning and will do her best to be a better mom every day.

After her discharge, we brought LL home and it seemed like the wails we heard as she left my body didn’t stop for six weeks. She barely slept and always craved being held. We struggled with breastfeeding and sought help in any way we could. We met with lactation consultants, postpartum doulas, had a sanoojori, etc. In the end, it was a minute by minute effort to learn our daughter. I remember feeling so confused when I heard other moms talk about how the first few months were boring because all the baby did was sleep. Sleep?? You mean cry, don’t you? It seemed all LL did was cry. And cry. And then cry some more.

I struggled to accept being a mother during those weeks. I felt that I couldn’t be a true mother, if I couldn’t console my baby. What kind of mother was I? Every moment felt draining, and I moved through a fog of exhaustion. I remember sitting at the table eating dinner, with no appetite, and feeling each bite bump its way down my throat and sink into my belly. I was so tense and anxious, knowing that her cries would start again at any moment. I remember the day we went to visit my sister and oppa in the hospital when M was born (our precious M!). Y and I took turns driving AYK around, while we each slipped into the hospital for a quick few minutes to meet our little niece. That day, AYK basically cried from 8am-7pm with only a few breaks in between. Even in the car, she would quiet down when we drove but wail as soon as we hit the brakes for a stop sign or traffic light. I prayed constantly for relief and rescue. I was so angry at God. What was wrong with our little girl? What was bothering her? Why would He let an innocent baby suffer like this? Why was He doing this to us? Yet, I also distinctly remember thinking that God loved this child even more than we did, so maybe it wasn’t as simple as that. Still, it killed me that I didn’t know the cause of LL’s constant distress, and that the only reasoning the doctor gave was colic.

“It’ll pass on its own in due time.”

“How long, how long does it usually last for?”

“Usually the colic goes away by the baby’s third month.”

“Is there anything I can do in the meantime?”

“As long as she is pooping and peeing enough, and doesn’t have a fever, you just have to wait it out.”

I feel so deeply for all the mothers out there who have had this same conversation. When you are living with your baby and he or she won’t stop crying for hours and hours, despite all your efforts, all your husband’s efforts, all the efforts of the family around you…well, being told to wait three months is an impossibility. It’s like being tortured and being told it should be over in three months. At that moment, you don’t know if you’ll be able to survive three months.

We tried everything. Colic Calm, gripe water, Happiest Baby on the Block, holding her to sleep, Mylicon, etc. I spoke multiple times with multiple lactation consults, since LL was also struggling with breastfeeding. Five minutes of breastfeeding became the norm for her (and still is today), and her feedings will sometimes even only last 2-3 minutes. And yet, at two months, she was in the 75th percentile for weight, 70th for height, and 45-50th for head circumference. I don’t know how it happened, but I am so thankful for our healthy little girl.

Luckily, after her sixth week, her colic seemed to turn a corner and we began to see changes in her behavior. By her eighth week, LL had really become a much happier and more comfortable baby. She still struggles with breastfeeding, and often ends her feedings crying, but is otherwise doing so much better. She loves to look up at me and coo away, babbling about this and that. I am certain she recognizes her daddy and me and her smiles fill my heart. I love our little bunny so much, words can not describe. She is such a beautiful, precious, lovable girl and she brings such delight to our lives.

This week, I began to realize that my baby is really growing up so fast. She will be three months old in a week and a few days. Before I know it, she will be four months, then five, then six…and then a year! I want to savor each moment, before it slips away. So hopefully I will find the time to keep this site updated more frequently. I hope to share it with LL someday, so she knows how very loved she is and has always been.

For now, I want to end this by jotting down some of the many things I love about LL:
– The way she twitches her nose like a bunny sometimes
– The round shape of her head, the soft white glow of her cheeks, and the bright darkness of her eyes as she lays across my lap and looks up to talk to me
– The little noises she makes and her soft breath when she falls asleep while I hold her up against me, with her head lying on my shoulder
– The way she used to purse her lips all the time when she was little…I don’t know when she stopped doing that (she does it only rarely now) but I miss it!
– The way she recently (around her 10th week or so) started keeping both her legs lifted during diaper changes, almost as though to help us (but umma says it’s because she likes the way the breeze feels against her bare bum – so cute and hilarious!
– The way she will be yakking away, but stop as soon as I hold my iphone up to record her. She just stares at the camera silently and refuses to make a peep!
– The way sometimes when she nurses, she will open her mouth really wide to latch on, wrinkling her little nose with her efforts, but then it will amount to nothing and she will just slowly pull away without nursing at all. Well, this drives me nuts since it’s such a struggle to get her to eat, but it’s also adorable to see.
– Her smile, her smile, her smile. Her beautiful eyes.

We are so, so, so, BLESSED to call LL our own. Thank you, Father, for choosing us for LL. Lord, teach us to be the best parents we can be for our precious, sensitive, adorable, lovable, special delight of a daughter. Lord, may we lean on You every step, and may we be wise in the choices we make as parents. May we turn to You for counsel and for guidance, and always remember that LL belongs to you first. Thank you, Lord, for your abundant love and for blessing us with this child, our little love.

I could really go on and on for hours, just thinking about AYK. But if I do, this mama will be extra tired tomorrow and that won’t do anyone any good so I’ll end this for now. Note to self: Write more, take more pictures!!

Okey, that is all folks. Good night!

The Prequel: The End in Sight

September 28, 2011

January 5, 2011

2011 is officially here!

Yet again, I am in disbelief at how fast the last nine months have flown by.

Nine months! I can’t believe I’ve already reached that last month of pregnancy. I was just saying in my last post that I couldn’t believe I had reached 30 weeks. That felt like yesterday. And now here I am, week 36, and full-term this Friday! This is craziness!

I wish I had taken the time to chronicle this pregnancy more. I say that pretty much every time I write I think. At the same time, I know that, despite my lack of writing, I really have enjoyed this pregnancy and tried to soak in the memories. So much has happened since week 30, and in just a couple more weeks our little girl will be here. I pray that the next few weeks will be as healthy, smooth, and enjoyable as the last 36 have been.

We had my sister’s baby shower on December 4th, and ours on December 11th. They were both so much fun, and we were both so blessed with the love and generosity everyone showered on us. I’m reminded yet again at how thankful I am to share this experience with her. It hasn’t always been easy. Take two girls who are different in so many ways. We’ve had such different experiences with this pregnancy (i.e. me working from home, unnie working outside the home, having different symptoms, etc.), and it isn’t always easy to go through such a huge transition in life together when our personal experiences are so different. But, overall, it has been such a gift knowing that we are both going to be mothers to our own little girls soon, and knowing that our girls will always have a sister in each other. My sister has always meant so much to me, and I can’t imagine having gone through life without her. She is such a big gift, blessing, and influence in my life, and I hope our little girls will find the same love in each other.

Total weight gain: Oh, man. This isn’t going to be pretty. Somehow, I have managed to gain 2 lbs in the last two days!! That is not good and I’m going to have to make some serious changes in my diet. I’m not sure what it is – I don’t feel as though I’ve really eaten badly or unhealthy this week…but then again, I did end up having a big wedge (okay, maybe 1.5 pieces) of zucchini brownie last night. But at least it had zucchini in it!! Hehe. But, yes, no more brownies (zucchini or not) for me. I don’t want baby girl to get too big that she can’t come out of me! And I am definitely creeping towards the high range of weight gain this pregnancy, and I don’t want to be harming our little one in any way. So. Gulp. As of today, I’ve gained 30.3 lbs by my initial weight measurement, and 26.3 lbs by the doctor’s measurements. But, again, I tend to go with my measurement since I know around how much I weighed at the beginning of my pregnancy, and he started measuring me later on – I think at around 10-12 weeks when I had already gained weight.

Sleep: Sleep is definitely harder to come by. For the last couple of weeks, I had so much energy at bedtime for some reason. I was wide awake! So I would go to sleep at around 3:30am, just staying up reading and such. I also had a lot of backache when trying to fall asleep, and it was really hard to find a comfortable position to lie in. However, this week I think we landed on a solution! Our couches are super comfy and the back pillows are so plush and big that they are great at keeping me propped up and supported. So, TG and I have taken to sleeping on the couches the last few nights. It stinks that we can’t sleep in the same bed together, but the relief it brings my back is pretty hard to resist. We make up for it by spending time together in bed before we actually go to sleep – then moving over to the couches. It’s not ideal, but if it gets us through this last month without me incessantly complaining about my back…worth it!

Movement: I keep reading about how I should be feeling Meedeum-ee kick a lot less in this last month. But, actually, I’ve been feeling her move more lately! It may be that, when she does move, the movements are a lot stronger and, thus, easier to feel. Yesterday, she was kicking me all day in this one spot – right on and below my right ribs. It wasn’t even a kick – it would be more like she was sticking her foot way hard and pressing into that area. It felt so strange and uncomfortable, but at the same time I couldn’t help laughing because I kept seeing and feeling her foot there all day. I wonder what made her do it. Not to mention that it seems like this will continue on to today. Even now, as I’m typing this, her foot is sticking out in the same spot again. I love to press into the spot where her foot is gently, and feel her move her foot away. It’s as though we are playing a game. I love my sweet, funny, stubborn girl so much.

Best moment this week: Hmmm, this is a hard one since it’s been a pretty good week overall. Last weekend, we spent two days going from store to store – picking up some of the final items we’ll need for Meedeum-ee. TG and I had a fun time picking out her crib (surprisingly, we picked one out pretty quickly!), her take-home outfit, and some other little kabobs. We also got her stroller and snap & go set up, and TG put together her Fisher Price Rock & Play Sleeper thingy. He was disappointed BRU didn’t have the crib in stock, as he is all about getting things set up right away. It’ll be here in about two weeks though, so hopefully it’ll be ready before Meedeum-ee gets here! I guess my best moment this week would just be the time TG and I are spending together. I’ve really appreciated all that he has done to be supportive and encouraging this pregnancy. Not every day has been perfect (some far from it!) but I know how lucky I am to have a husband who really loves me and Meedeum-ee, and works hard to keep us healthy and safe and comfortable. TG is always picking up the slack around the house (vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, cleaning the toilet, running the laundry, washing pots & pans) – these are all things he did even before I got pregnant! But now, he does even more (i.e. always ready to put my shoes on for me before I even ask, insisting that I don’t carry anything even remotely heavy, bringing me cups of water, etc.) and I never want to take that for granted. We are different in so many ways, and we butt heads a lot sometimes about how we think something should be handled. We have the same goal in mind, but just struggle with which road to take to get there. But, despite all this, I have come to see more and more how fortunate and blessed I am to have a husband who is always willing to at least hear me out and to be open to change and growth and compromise.

Food cravings: This one always feels like a little bit of a joke to me because, really, I crave everything and anything! I am always so hungry, and if I thought I loved food before…well, pregnancy has brought that to a whole different level! Again, I keep reading in books how a lot of women lose their appetite in this last month and tend to eat a bit less. Um…I guess my belly missed that memo because it is roaring and raring to go all day, any day. I still LOVE my chocolate. Mmm…chocolate cupcakes, chocolate cake, chocolate cream pies, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. I am also loving comfort foods. Hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, french fries, mashed potatoes. mmmm….basically, anything rich and creamy and scrumptious. AHH! Hungrrrryyy…..

What I miss: Some things I miss: store specials, sushi, wine, fitting into clothes, my pre-pregnancy body (minus my belly – I still get shocked by it but I do love having Meedeum-ee growing inside me and feeling her move around me all day), having energy to stay out late with friends, eating without having to think about whether it’s good for Meedeum-ee, feeling fit (i.e. gymming & running at ND), going shopping for clothes (nothing fits me anymore so why bother…), etc.

What I’m looking forward to next: Meeting our little gogooma with TG!! We’ve been reading more books and watching a childbirth DVD to be prepared, but I think they are actually making me a little more nervous. Still, we figure it’s better to know a little bit about what to expect, than to go in completely blind. One bad experience we had was in our tour of the birthing facility. I haven’t really had any trouble with my anxiety attacks this pregnancy (something I am SO grateful for), but I had a major one at the birthing facility in the labor & delivery room. I was also really warm that day (even though it was blizzarding outside) and we were with a large group of people so I’m sure that didn’t help either, but it was definitely scary and alarming to have a major panic attack when I didn’t have one in so long. I started to have a really hard time breathing, starting getting my jitters, and saw the room start to fade in and out while seeing stars before my eyes. Thank goodness TG was there with me. Luckily, the tour guide noticed I seemed a bit off and moved us to a cooler room where I could sit down…and I felt much better after that. Whew! I must admit, a little embarassing though.

I guess that’s all for my week 36 update! I definitely want to do another update when I turn 37 weeks on Friday – full-term, woohoo!!  I better get started on work now. Just a few more weeks until our little girl gets here, so I better get my work done now while I can!

The Prequel: The Big 3-0

September 28, 2011

November 19, 2010

Gulp. It’s here. The big 3-0.

Happy 30 weeks, Meedeum-ee! Technically, your fetal age is 28 weeks old, but since I’m counting gestational weeks, happy 30 to you anyway my little love.

I am finding that number daunting. I can count the weeks left until our expected due date on my two hands! Oh boy. I am not sure I am ready for this. I love MD so much, and I am so very thankful for how loving, supportive, and excited TG has been…but I woke up today feeling a bit…unsure.

Will I be a good mom? Am I prepared for this? Will this change my relationship with TG? Will I have a good relationship with my daughter? Do I know how to raise a child? Am I really going to have to deliver a baby?

I think, until now, I’ve so very much enjoyed having MD in me, that I didn’t really think too deeply beyond that. I’ve taken more of a day-at-a-time approach. But I woke up this morning and, gulp. The big 3-0.

Maybe it’ll help me to feel more focused if I follow the same structure as my last blog and provide some general updates. Here we go!

Total weight gain:  I had an appointment with Dr. M today but he ended up having to be at the hospital to deliver a baby, so I met with Dr. Mart instead. By my measurements, I’ve gained 21.5 pounds, whereas my doctor says I’ve gained 17.5 pounds.

Sleep: It has been harder to fall asleep because I’ve started to experience a lot more cramping and pressure in the last couple of weeks, but mostly this week. I definitely feel the pressure of having a big belly, and it can be really painful to lie down, or be in any position for that matter. I usually feel better in the morning, but am back to being in pain by mid-day and at night. I’m also having some crazy dreams. This week, TG and I both dreamed that we were fighting with each other, when, in actuality, we’ve been doing great! Still, I do get a couple of good hours of sleep once I fall asleep, in between my many nightly bathroom breaks.

Movement: MD’s kicks and movements have definitely changed. They’re not as pronounced and I don’t feel them quite as often. I know this is most likely because she is bigger now, and more cramped for space, so I’m fine with it, although I miss feeling her move more often. I do get some good moments throughout the day though when she is really making a commotion in there. I’ll miss this part the most about being pregnant. I love you so much, my gogooma!!

Best moment this week:  This is actually from last week, but the best moment would definitely have to be visiting ND with TG. I went earlier in the week on Tuesday to meet with colleagues for work, attend meetings, etc. Then TG joined me late Thursday night and we spent the rest of the week there until Sunday. This will definitely need a separate post because we had such an amazing time and enjoyed every single minute of it. We are so, so, so thankful and blessed to have had such an incredible trip, and were so glad to show MD around in the town/area where she was conceived (hehe). That place will always be a second home to us. My colleagues also threw me a beautiful baby shower – we were completely blown away! We ended up receiving our stroller, car seat, car seat adaptor for the stroller, clothes, toys, frames, etc. It was unbelievable and a memory I’ll always treasure!

Food cravings: Still craving those sweets! One of my friends/colleagues (DM) had her cousin, who is starting a bakery business, make cupcakes and a cake for the baby shower. Oh my word….I am drooling thinking about it. There was so much food that the entire cake ended up being leftover at the end of the shower and DM packed it up for me. On Sunday, after devouring a half pound of fried shrimp and a half pound of clam strips with TG (this was after a huge lunch and ice cream), I sat there with the cake box in my lap and dug into it with a fork. Oh…the bliss of scooping chunks of moist, chocolate cake with vanilla frosting into my mouth with abandon! I literally ate half the cake this way…until I realized this could not be very good for MD. At which point I sadly closed the cake box lid…it wasn’t easy though I tell you. TG had a good laugh at my frantic food fest.

What I miss:  I am finally over my sinus infection! HALLELUJAH! I am definitely feeling more crampy, uncomfortable, and achy though…but that is nothing compared to that blasted sinus infection! I’ll take it! What do I miss? Store specials, sushi (with raw fish), and being able to fit into my clothes. 

What I’m looking forward to next:  Enjoying our last holiday season together as just TG and SJ. Technically, MD is with us (which makes it all the better), but this will be the last time for a long time when we will be able to sit back and relax and just enjoy each other. I expect next year will be a much louder and busier holiday season. But MD will be worth every minute of it. For the time being though, I plan to soak in every moment of the holidays.

TG is on his way home now and we’re going to relax tonight with a spaghetti and meatball dinner, some tv/movies, and perhaps some ice cream or froyo for dinner. I am so happy that TG is coming home. I always miss him so much when he isn’t around. We were thinking of doing something more festive to celebrate hitting 30 weeks, and also for paying off our Audi today (YAY), but we decided we’d take it a bit easy tonight and just enjoy each other since we’re still pooped from Indiana. Tomorrow is another busy day!