Friday, August 31, 2007

Sleepy Baby





video

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Home, Sweet Home


My life has changed drastically over the last four weeks (new baby, [and with that, a new body] new house, big sister moves far away, new ward, etc.), and when that happens I find myself searching frantically for "normal". I often turn to the scriptures to make me feel at home, call my parents on the phone, eat comfort foods, etc. This time, I did all of that, but additionally I stumbled into that "home" in a place I never would have expected.

I don't like shopping. I never have. It's probably because I'm not willing to spend money, so what fun is that? I especially don't enjoy shopping with people who really like shopping, and thus spend hours doing so. I'm the kind that would just as soon buy the first thing that fits my budget and body and get out of there. But my dislike for the sport of shopping isn't limited to clothes and shoes. I also don't enjoy grocery shopping, which I think is a more common find in a female, but I might have a better reason.

You see, I spent 18 months being in charge of ward dinners at the FLSR. For you non-FLSR-ites, that means I was responsible to provide dinner for 150 people once a month. I had to get the ethnic recipes from natives, create a shopping list, buy groceries, and oversee the cooking of the food. Then I was the one to receive the complaints of people who didn't like it, or who were upset that it was late (OK, I also got to hear the compliments of kind souls who appreciated the work that went into it), and then make sure everything got cleaned up and the dishes got returned to their rightful homes. Believe it or not, I learned to like it by the end, and I can now see the many things I learned from it.

For instance: I learned the location of every unusual ingredient imaginable at the Macey's store in Provo. I began to consider myself a professional speed grocery shopper, filling two or three carts with enough food for 150. If I chose the right people to help me I could be in and out in 45 minutes. I know that might not seem fast, but I was buying more than $300 worth of groceries people! (As a comparison, once I made a poor decision and accidentally took people who apparently enjoyed spending insane hours in a grocery store, and it took 3 and a half hours.) Anyway, my speed and ease of finding things at Macey's became a secret pride of mine. I felt like I owned the place. In fact, I think I started to enjoy my trips there just because it was fun for me to beat my record times.

Kevin and I went grocery shopping the other day at the Macey's here. I hadn't been to a Macey's in over a year because there wasn't one close to our apartment. Well let me tell you, the one up here is exactly like the one in Provo. It was incredible, and as I walked through it picking up the things on my list, I had a strange feeling. I felt like I had come home. Everything was familiar. It was wonderful! I could have told you exactly where to go to get the cheese we used for the Spanish house dinner that time, where to find the cheapest tofu, and those herbs we used for the Arabic house's meatballs. (Goodness, I wish I had kept that meatball recipe! Bashar, where are you?!)

So now I know where to go when I'm feeling like my life has been turned upside down: My friendly neighborhood grocer. I love you, Macey's!

Here's a random picture I found when I was looking for pictures of ward dinners. Who wouldn't love Macey's after seeing that banana squash?!

P.S. Don't worry, we'll have new photos and video of Alena as soon as the Comcast guys actually provide us with HIGH SPEED internet.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Ain't nobody never gonna call me a pansy again

So, after giving birth, women have an innate need to tell people about it. We just want everybody to know what it was like for us, and we aren't happy until we have told the story a few hundred times. So, this should count for about three, if that's as many people as read our blog.

Sunday morning July 29th I woke up to a contraction at about 7 AM. I thought to myself, "Hmmm...I wonder if that was a contraction." Then I went back to sleep. I woke up several more times, but I wasn't going to fall for that trick where you think you're in labor so you get everything ready, and then wait 17 hours before anything happens again, so I just kept going back to sleep. When Kevin and I finally got up, I told him I thought I might be in labor. He set up a spreadsheet to time contractions. Then we got ready and went to the stake center for temple recommend interviews. I was having contractions about 8 minutes apart by then. We went home and decided to pack the car before going to church. I didn't think we'd go straight to the hospital from church, but we wanted to be ready just in case. I also didn't think we'd stay through church, but when we got there, the contractions slowed to about every 15 minutes. I fielded lots of "When is your baby coming?" questions and never told anybody that it might be coming today. I figured if anyone knew I was in labor, they'd start telling me I had to go to the hospital, and I didn't want to go yet. So I participated in the special musical number in young women / young men, and sang in the ward choir in sacrament meeting, meaning I sat on the stand. At this point I'd like to pat myself on the back and call myself stoic.

When we got home, Kevin cooked spaghetti and meatballs. They were lovely. It was exactly what I wanted for some reason. Then I took a nap and Kevin followed his nesting instinct for a while before he also took a nap. Then we played Phase 10, and the contractions stayed about 8 minutes apart. Finally we decided we might as well go to sleep. The idea was a good one, but it didn't work that well. I ended up taking my pillow out to the living room so that Kevin could actually get some sleep, because I certainly wasn't getting any. I tried the hypnobirthing visualizations, but they weren't working for me. Visualizing is enough of a challenge for me without having to do it when it was much easier to concentrate on something else. I ended up making up sentences for myself of what I was supposed to be visualizing and repeating them in my head multiple times. It wasn't painless, but it was manageable. Sadly, I don't think Kevin slept well either. He says he doesn't know why. I think it might have been that I was flushing our toilet every 45 minutes all night. I always seemed to think that it would feel better after using the restroom. It didn't.

At about 5 AM on the 30th my mom emailed me to tell me she would be getting ready to leave and asking me how the night went. What was she doing awake? She's a mom, that's what. She told me I should try to get some rest. It was good advice, but I couldn't follow it very well. I finally decided to take a shower so that I wouldn't go into the birth process dirty. I showered, and then soaked in the tub. It felt wonderful! In fact, I fell asleep in the tub.

Laboring at home

I woke up at 7:00 when Kevin knocked on the door. He wanted to know if he should call in to work. I told him he should. I had finally decided it was the real thing. (The contractions had been closer than 5 minutes since 3 AM.) I now realize that I missed the whole "excited" stage of labor, because I didn't believe it was the real thing until it was too late to be excited. Kevin asked what he could do for me. I told him I wanted to eat, so he started to make breakfast, while I sat on the birth ball in the bathroom doing my hair and makeup between contractions. I guess I figured I might as well be doing something between contractions, and I anticipated a lot of pictures being taken that day. Kevin would come in and pat my back during contractions. He was so gentle. I'm not sure how anybody does childbirth without Kevin, but seeing as it was his first, I guess I'm the very first woman lucky enough to have him. We ate breakfast between contractions. I decided during breakfast that there was nothing I wanted more than to be back in a tub, but I wanted to be in one of the deep tubs at the hospital. I didn't want to end up at the hospital too early though, because I knew if I got there and they told me I was only 4 cm or something I would end up not going natural, but the lure of that deep tub was strong. I made Kevin call the hospital to make sure they had a room with a tub open. We made a couple of calls to let people know we were on the way to the hospital and then we went.

Talyn in Triage

It was funny to me as we checked in that they kept saying things to imply that I might not really be in labor. I guess that happens for lots of women, but I really knew I was in labor. I had been laboring for 26 hours by that time (we got to the hospital about 9:00 AM). So, they sent me to triage and I felt like I was there forever before someone came to to see if I was really in labor. The nurse who came was named Kaye, and she told me that I was dilated to a 7. Boy was that good news! I said that too, I think, and I think I managed a smile. She took me to a room with a tub and hooked me up to a monitor for the required 20 minutes. Kaye kept telling everyone what a great job I was doing, and mentioning to everyone that I was doing it natural. I felt pretty special. I was also grateful that she was working with Kevin to make sure I got the birth I wanted.

I didn't let them forget about me on the monitor this time. I asked Kevin to check the time and get a nurse when I thought enough time had passed. Kaye came back with Kevin and asked me what I wanted to do. There was no question. I came here for the tub, woman! She filled the tub for me as the last few minutes of my monitor strip ran. Then it was to the tub (so much for hair and makeup!). They left us alone in there. Kevin took care of me and a nurse would occasionally knock to make sure everything was OK.

The tub wasn't working as well as the first time, and I fell for the, "I'll feel better after I go to the bathroom" trick again. So I had Kevin make sure there would be a birth ball waiting for me when I got out and then he helped me out of the tub. The next contraction was the first time I could definitely feel the baby's head moving down. I ended up kneeling in front of the birth ball before I wanted to go the bathroom again, but by then I was hooked up to a monitor again, so I told Kevin to tell Kaye I had to get unhooked. She said that if I felt like I needed to use the restroom, I probably was just about ready to push, so instead of letting me go, she made me get back in the bed.

That was the absolute worst place to be as far as comfort went. She said I had just a lip left and said she was going to call the Dr. She said that if I felt like I should push, I should try not to until the Dr. came. One or two contractions later my body just started pushing. I didn't help, but there was definitely pushing going on. Luckily the Dr. came in after that contraction. She said that if she broke my water it would be time to push. I said OK. She said it to me like I was some little baby and she had a big, cheesy grin. I thought at the time what a weird lady she was. I was in labor, not in kindergarten.

Anyway, she left to fill out some paperwork and Kaye and Kevin coached me through pushing. I had heard from many sources that pushing was the good part, because you got to feel like you were doing something. Well, I hated it. I felt like I was doing something, and whatever it was it hurt. I've never been one for doing anything that makes my body hurt. That's the main reason I'm not very athletic, and pushing was definitely doing something that made my body hurt. With the other contractions the things I was "doing" were alleviating pain, not causing it. However, contrary to popular sitcom scripts, I didn't yell mean things at anybody, least of all my husband. Now that I think about it, he would have been the last person on earth I could have had a mean thought toward at the time. He had been an angel! But, I did yell. That's not something I thought I would do, and I'm sure if I had been in my right mind at the time I would have been embarrassed with my behavior. I wasn't in my right mind though, and the words came out. Really terrible words like "Ouch!" and "Owie!"

Kaye kept reminding me to hold my breath, and when I did both she and Kevin would tell me what an amazing push that was, and how I should do it like that again. But those that really worked were also those that really hurt, and if I held my breath I didn't get to yell, so I didn't do those as often as they would have liked. There was one part I was really, really good at though. That was the resting between. They made me do three pushes per contraction and then I got to flop back and rest for a couple of minutes. It was heaven - until there happened to be somebody's head in the wrong place for comfortable relaxation - but it was still my favorite part.

The Dr. came back in for the last two or three contractions (I think). When she told me not to push, and I knew that meant crowning, I was so excited, not because the baby was going to be born, but because I thought that meant they would let me get away with 2 pushes on that contraction and wait until the next contraction for the rest of the baby. Not so. I finished the second push and they cheered me on saying the baby's head was out and just as I got ready to flop back to rest until the next one, Kaye said, "Ok, one more!" In my head I said, "What? Are you crazy?! I get to rest for a minute, woman!" But I didn't say it out loud, I just pushed one more time and the baby was born at 12:19 PM.

Kevin cut the cord, and they gave me my baby. They just lay her on my tummy and I was amazed that she stayed there, since she was so slippery. Then she became even more slippery as she wet all over me. It made me laugh. After a few minutes they took her to weigh her, wipe her down, diaper her, etc. The nurses were all surprised that she was 7 lbs. 8 oz. They said she looked smaller than that.

Alena on the scale

Kevin's first infant diaper

As all of this went on the Dr. wanted me to push some more. I resented her for it, but did it anyway. I watched Kevin as the nurses took pictures of him putting on Alena's first diaper and then he was to "present her to her mother." But the Dr. was busy stitching up a small tear, and I figured it would only take a moment so I asked Kevin to hold her until she was done with me. I felt like it took her hours. Finally she was done and Kevin gave me the baby, we took a picture and I nursed her.

After the stitches were finally over

Kevin went with Kaye and baby Alena to the nursery and I waited in the room and watched like 5 minutes of Matlock before Kaye came back to get me cleaned up to move upstairs. I stood up and walked to the bathroom fine, but when I was getting out of the bathroom I blacked out for just a moment. In fact, Kevin who had just walked in the room didn't even notice. They took me upstairs and I settled into the recovery room.

At the recovery room

When the nurse came in to ask me where my pain was on a scale of 0-10 I thought, "Now? Pain?" So, thank you endorphins, I felt great. In fact, the strongest thing I've taken since then is ibuprofen. I think engorgement feels worse than anything else post-partum.

So, the question you're dying to ask is, "Would you do it natural again?" And for once, I'm happy to give you an answer to your question. During pushing, I'm not sure what I would have answered, but now that everything is said and done, the answer is yes. If only for the satisfaction of being able to say that I did it, it was all worth it. Not to mention the fact that I feel so well now. And both Alena and I avoided all side effects of labor medications. The other thing I know a couple of you want to know is, "What is your advice to someone who also wants to do it natural?" The answer is stay away from the hospital as long as possible. There were times in the middle of the night before we went that I thought, "You know, if someone were offering me an epidural right now, I'd take it, but since no one seems to be doing that, I guess I'll just keep repeating my sentences over and over again."

*Sigh* Feels good to tell the story. Would you like to hear it again? Wait. . . no one's reading anymore? Oh well, at least it's out of my system for the next couple of minutes. . .

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Alena Lai-San Wong

Ever since you read the last post from Talyn, you've probably been wondering if she's had the baby yet but haven't had the desire (or bravery) to ask. Well, you now can ask, because the baby is out.


Her name is Alena Lai-San Wong, and she was born at 12:19pm on Jul 30, 2007. At 7lbs 8.4oz and 20.5 in, she's an average-sized baby, but looks smaller than those numbers suggest. I guess she has small bones - more than likely from my side of the family than Talyn's. Dark brown eyes, dark brown hair, and pretty lips - she's a very pretty baby.


I think the most impressive part of the birth process was that Talyn did it all natural. That had been her goal all along, and she stuck with it. And though it was a long 29 hours of labor, she did most of it at home, which made it more comfortable and manageable. But I'll let Talyn tell you about that. In short, we didn't go to the hospital until 9:00am, didn't get checked into a room until 9:30am, and after half an hour of pushing, Alena was born at 12:19pm.


Alena was so alert right away, opening her eyes within 5-10 min and sucking constantly at her hands and whatever else happened to be close to her mouth. I changed her first diaper and bathed her for the first time, and it's neat to have a child of my own. I really enjoy just gazing into her eyes and watching her sleep.

If you'd like to see more pictures, go to:
Alena

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