Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Auntie Sarah

We are lucky that Auntie Sarah lives only a few freeway exits away from us. She was Jane's first and only visitor in the hospital and has helped me out many evenings by holding the sleeping little one so that I could do some things like write thank-you notes and get a few things done around the house. Jane LOVES to be held while she is sleeping and so it seems fitting that is what she is doing in both these photos.

What I love about the photo below is that you can see that Jane loves to have her hands free and put them in weird positions while she sleeps, like in little fists in the air or by her face. Luckily, she hasn't scratched her face too much yet.

We were sad when she had to be away for a week while she got over a cold but it was great that she got better before my parents came. And we thank Sarah in advance for the baby sitting that she has already offered to do :-)

We so miss Auntie Cynthia and cannot wait until they can meet (exact date TBD)!

Visit from Nana and Grampy Stults

My parents came out to visit. My mom was scheduled to come out on the 8th, my due date, and my dad on the 10th so I had initially thought that with my luck, since they already had their plane tickets, Jane would possibly arrive after they left on the 14th. Fortunately, Jane came well before their arrival. This is the first grandbaby for my parents and so they were over-the-moon in love with her even before she came and she is totally their princess now.

Both my mom and dad were hoping for a girl- my mom in particular said that she was happy it was a girl so she could buy things because if it was a boy, she wouldn't have bought anything :-) - and my dad loves little baby girls, especially having 3 of them. I loved that my mom decided how we should refer to them in their new roles even before Jane was born- she would be called "Nana" and my dad would be called "Grampy" (or "Grumpy" depending on his mood she joked).

And Nana has been spoiling her rotten already. Once my mom found out it was a girl, she started buying items for her like cute little sparkly sandals to blankets to tutu skirts to ballet slipper socks. And we haven't even seen what Jane's Christmas presents are yet :-) And then, some of the kind members from back home also sent baby Jane some gifts. She is one lucky girl.

I am happy that Jane was good for Nana and Grampy while they were here. She was then difficult for us during the night but I would take that any day to have her in a good mood for other people. We made some trips to Target, Ikea, Round Table Pizza lunch buffet, Los Gatos for Opa and Icing on the Cake, but most of the time was spent at our apartment feeding, playing with, and holding a sleeping Jane.

My mom perfected the art of calming Jane with what she calls the "newborn shuffle"- she even sang a little song while doing the bouncing movements around the room. My mom also found that Jane likes the first 3 verses to "I am a Child of God" but not the 4th verse (she immediately started crying and stopped when my mom stopped singing).

I love this picture of Nana and Jane looking at each other and having a bonding moment.

Sadly, Jane was not in the mood for a photo shoot with Nana- we took about 10 different photos and this was the best one of Jane (which leaves a lot to be desired)

Grampy was so worried about little Jane being in the NICU that he repeatedly called us for updates as to her condition, even when he was still at work. He loved looking at her, even while in the car seat sleeping, on the first day but he refused to hold her because he was taken aback by how tiny she was (my sisters and I were all at least 8 pounds) and he was afraid to break her. I told him that if she had survived several weeks with William and myself then he would be fine, but it wasn't until William just plopped her into Grampy's arms that he finally was ok with it. Here is a photo of that moment- and Jane actually cooperated this time.

And then he was fine, holding her and doing a special running/bouncing movement that I should have gotten on camera- it was priceless.

He also loved to hold her while she was sleeping, though he would give her to me or my mom when she started to fuss.

Now that I am a parent, I have an even deeper gratitude for my mom and dad as I realize just how much they love me through the continual sacrifices they made on my behalf throughout my life. I also now know how much they worry about me and only want my happiness.

We look forward to more time spent with Nana and Grampy!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

First Restaurant Trip- Buca di Beppo

Jane's first outing to a sit down restaurant happened last Saturday when my mom and dad- Nana and Grampy Stults- were in town visiting. My dad had his birthday earlier in the week so we went out to eat at one of his favorite places, Buca di Beppo, and Jane was a champ! She stayed asleep the ENTIRE time- even during most of the restaurant singing happy birthday to my dad.

Nana and Grampy were pleased with how well Jane did as I was never so good at restaurants when I was that age.

The family shot- it totally looks like Jane isn't even here because she is hiding behind William.

Here's another shot with "proof" of her being there- you can see the car seat on the right of William. So this is one of the first pictures of our little family- though you can't even technically see Jane.

Grampy before attempting to blow out the candles (don't ask whether or not it happened on this attempt :-)

And the deluxe brownie sundae- which was huge but of course we were able to finish it.

My dad's first birthday as a grandpa and I am happy that he was able to celebrate it with his first grandchild.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

She's Cutest When . . .

. . . She's Sleeping, is a phrase that we have repeated many times over the few weeks since her birth. And we have a plethora of photographic evidence to prove that claim- and these are in order of her birth age. William likes to say, "she's cute when she's quiet and I'll probably be saying that for the next 20 years".

This is one of my all time favorites- she is already learning how to pray (and it is a good shot of all of her hair- we think it is strawberry blonde)

Such a little Angel

We have included LOTS of photos of the baby because we know that is what everyone is most excited to see now :-)

Daddy's Girl

In the 3 weeks since she was born, it is obvious to me that she has captured the heart of her daddy. I love William even more after these past few weeks because he truly has been the best dad and an even bigger help than I had imagined.

At 3 am on Black Friday, he braved the crowds at Wal Mart to get all of the miscellaneous items that we still had not gotten (aka crib sheets, baby bath tub, and a whole slew of other stuff) and he came back with some adorable onesies that fit her (she was much smaller than many of the "newborn" items we did have).

Many thanks to Google for the generous paternity leave as he was able to stay home and help out during the first week after her birth. It was so nice to have someone else to hand her off to feed her or rock her to sleep as we struggled to adjust to our new roles and responsibilities as parents. He is the best at playing with her when she is awake. He does tummy time in the air, throws her up and down (which generally calms her down), does leg and arms strengthening exercises, and just has so many interesting things to entertain her (much more than mommy).

He has also taken care of her at night or in the morning so that mommy can get some more much needed sleep. He also makes sure that mommy gets enough to eat and drink and asks me multiple times a day what he can do to help me out. I am more in love with him than ever and wonder how I got so lucky to be married to an amazing and incredible guy like him. And Jane is super lucky to have him as her daddy.

Here is an assortment of photos of daddy and his little girl

And William will be ensuring that she know how to do at least basic computer programming :-)

Jane's First Thanksgiving

It was so incredible that two days after her birth, we were able to bring her home on Thanksgiving day. This meant though that we did not have a very spectacular meal but at least it was out of the hospital :-) Auntie Sarah joined us as well and we dined on some pumpkin ravioli from Costco which was delicious but the wild mushroom risotto that we had gotten there was super disgusting. Definitely not the ideal type of Thanksgiving for Jane's first but definitely a funny adventure and one story that we will love to tell her about. We weren't even supposed to have her here yet so it was a very meaning filled day of gratitude to have her here.

This is the first photo of myself and Jane together- please excuse just how terrible I look

And I was able to do one handed eating even on day 1 because I just wanted to keep her near us. We promise that next year will be better food wise!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jane's Hospital Stay

Jane spent her entire time of our two day stay at the hospital at the NICU. I saw her at about 12:30 am on Wed. Nov. 23rd and by then, she had out all of the tubes and I got to give her some of the pumped breast milk. It was so nice that she only had an iv for antibiotics and then a heart monitor by that time so I'm so glad that I don't have the "live" memory of her on the respirator- the photo was traumatic enough for me. That was the first time I cried following her birth was when I saw that photo. Only two people could be visiting her at a time so it was either William and myself or my sister Sarah. BTW- there are zero photos of me with Jane at the hospital and I'm ok with that as most of the time I was with her I was trying to breast feed her (which was a different set of struggles). She was primarily fed formula while in the NICU and so she is still great at taking a bottle now :-)

Daddy feeding her

Auntie Sarah holding her

The super cute sleeping baby

The beautiful flowers from Auntie Sarah and Nana and Grampy Stults that lasted for two weeks

The NICU is an interesting place- this was my first experience with it and I feel that the staff took great personal care of Jane and were so helpful. But, at the same time, it is a painful place to see all of these little babies, many of whom are struggling for their lives. Especially on Thanksgiving day, it was heartbreaking to see the little baby girl next to us end up not being released and her parents walking out disappointed as they had even brought in the infant car seat. I think that it would be so hard to leave the hospital without her baby, yet many of these parents do it for weeks or months on end.

I was beyond touched by the selfless acts of charity provided to these infants. Jane received a hand knitted pink/ivory cap and an ivory blanket that she was able to take home. And then, another parent made a special Thanksgiving gift for each child in the NICU because her two boys spent months there and she was only able to take one home with her. I totally cried when reading the story about these boys and was so moved that someone would take the time to bring some happiness into the lives of other NICU kids and parents. Many thanks to the kind founders of Pirate Power for doing such a kind act.

The adorable turkey cup

and Thanksgiving bib

We are so thankful that we got to take our little baby girl home and celebrate our first Thanksgiving together as a family at home.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jane's Birth Story

WARNING- this post will go into detail (though not too much :-) about the process as well as have a difficult image of little Jane from the NICU. Just wanted to alert you to this sensitive information

On Monday night, November 21st, after I got home from work, I was just feeling a little off- different from how I had been for the rest of my pregnancy. I decided that I should finally watch the birthing and medication videos that my OB/GYN had recommended just in case. Overall though, I felt fine and we went about our night in the typical way.

I woke up the next morning, November 22nd, at 6 am (my usual time) and I was going to go out on my 30 minute morning walk. I was having some contractions and so I decided to skip it today and just stay in bed. When William woke up at 7 am, I told him that I was having some contractions and we started to time them and they actually were 5 minutes apart and so he decided that he would not go up to San Francisco but instead work from Mountain View. So, today my co-workers had organized a special party for me to celebrate the upcoming arrival and I know just how much planning and effort goes into these and so I felt bad just completely canceling at the last minute so I actually went into work. Yup, I showered, did my hair, and got dressed in my pregnancy work clothes.

I got into work at about 9:15 for the 9:30 am party and I told everyone that I had some contractions this morning. They had said "wow" and we talked about when my family was coming and about how I thought that I would be "late" in giving birth since everyone- even random cashiers at Target- told me that I would probably be over due. I had a few grapes- the only thing that I had eaten that day- at the party and they also took the last photo of me in my pregnant glory with my co-workers. Everyone was so nice- my boss bought me a box of See's chocolates and my co-worker Caroline gave me a pretty purple orchid- and then afterwards, I went back to my desk to take care of a few things. My co-worker and other qualitative researcher Mary, who is a mother of two grown children, then came up to me and said that I looked like I was in pain, as the contractions had kicked up a little bit following the party. She asked if I could talk through them and I said yes, but she, Caroline, and even my boss Ming, all came over to me and told me to just go home. I picked up some baby items from another co-worker who gave me her old swing, bouncer, and Snugli and then went home.

The contractions started getting more and more painful but I had heard that first time labor can take days to progress so I thought that I had time. The contractions got even closer and more painful that even the recommended positions weren't working and so I called William and told him to come home and that we needed to go to the hospital. The Kaiser hospital is only about 20 minutes away but I had several painful contractions on the way there that I had to grab the arm handle above the window. I was afraid that I might get sent home but literally as we got out of the car and started walking into the hospital, my water broke at 12:15 pm. I mean it wasn't a trickle but a huge gush. Fortunately, I had my black work pants on so you couldn't really see it but I was just thrilled that they would not be able to send me home- that I was actually in labor. Having contractions while walking into the hospital was not pleasant- fortunately, I had William, to hold onto.

As we checked in to Labor and Delivery, the immediately took us back to a room and as kind of an ominous foreshadowing, as we walked there we heard the guttural scream of a woman in the throngs of the birthing process. When we got into the first room, they checked me to make sure that it was amniotic fluid that had broken (yes) and that I was only 4 cm dilated. I found that lying on my side and gripping William's hand was the only way to get through the contractions. I said that I wanted an epidural ASAP and so in the mean time, they gave me an IV dose of pain medicine which did help to take some of the edge off.

They then transferred me into a birthing room where they told me that there was a line for epidurals- it was a busy birthing day- and that the anesthesiologist would be with me as soon as possible. The drugs had worn off and I was in a lot of pain. We then called my mom and had her call the rest of my family and William called his parents and had them notify the rest of the family as the contractions were getting closer together and much more intense. Finally, the anesthesiologist came in and was able to administer the epidural. I had a brief involuntary jerk reflex in my leg that scared William as I wasn't supposed to move but things were ok. I started to feel some relief, meaning that the edge was taken off and the left side of my body started going numb, but my left side never did. Only a few minutes after the epidural, I felt the need to push. I told the nurse this and she said that they would check me again and this time, I was dilated to 9 1/2! She started getting me into preparation mode for pushing and labor. Now, pushing was difficult for my as my right leg was not numb and so it kept shaking uncontrollably due to the pain and so I felt like it was impeding my ability to push. They asked for the anesthesiologist to come back to give me some more medicine, but she didn't make it in time.

The nurse kept telling me to push, push and finally she then says- "Stop- don't push anymore- we need to get the doctor" which is really hard to do when your body is telling you that it wants this baby out. The resident and attending came in and got gowned and then the pushing began. I honestly have no idea how long it was but finally, I gave a big guttural scream and then she was out- I didn't see it but according to William, she literally shot out like a cannon and the doctor nearly fumbled her due to the speed and how slippery she was.

They immediately put her on my chest and I knew that something was wrong because although she was wide awake, she wasn't crying. She was on my chest for a minute or two before they took her away to be weighed and looked at. A pediatrician later came in and examined her and said that she was having some some breathing problems and so they were taking her to the NICU. I sent William to be with her as the resident and attending spent the next HOUR stitching me back up (the not so fun part of a super quick delivery).

I fortunately did not see her while she had the breathing tubes and respirator in- the photo that William brought back to me broke my heart.
Fortunately, she only had to be on the respirator for about 5 hours. William said that when they were putting it is, she didn't like it and so she kept ripping out the nasal tubes and just struggling.

My overall experience of the birthing process was that it was even more painful than I had imagined- at least I had some drugs in my system to take the edge off. Props to all of those women who do it naturally as it is really painful. Also, props to all of those women who are in labor for DAYS- my shorter one was bad enough that I can't even imagine just how exhausted you might be after all that time. I also never got mad at William- he truly was such a great help and strength through it all. I don't know what I would have done without him there and I am grateful that my contractions started early enough in the morning that he stayed in Mountain View instead of going up to the city. I truly am even more in love with him after this process.