Baby News & Other unimportant news… 3 weeks old!

February 25th, 2008 by tungsai

Mia’s 3 weeks old today, and is up to 8 lb. 2 oz! That means she’s gaining weight at a healthy pace using only breast milk! Yaay!

about 60 new pics added to the PHOTO ALBUM including the CUTEST ONES YET! If you like babies, you’re gonna LOVE these!! CLICK HERE for the Baby Photo Gallery!

For some reason, voting was working for a while- the highest voted pics were supposed to show up first in the list. But something broke when the seventh person voted… now, the #1 pic shows up way near the MIDDLE! GRR… I grow more dissatisfied with this gallery system all the time. I oughta just start using Google. Anyway I’m going to fix the gallery so that MY favorite pics show up first… but keep voting anyway! it’s just a click.

Finally went back into work today. It was nice to get back into the office. I’d only had about 4 hrs sleep, but hey! I’m used to being sleep deprived at this point so it was no big deal. =)

I’ve been reading “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel“, and I give it * * * * * Five stars!! Even though I’m not done with it yet, I must honestly say it’s a GREAT read, if you’re into the Fantasy / Magic thing. Like Harry Potter but perhaps for a more mature audience.  It’s written in the Olde Englishe style; somewhat Dickens-ish).

I bowled tonight and nearly beat my high game of 167 but not quite… Tonight my high game was 161 with an average around 135.

What I do all night

February 21st, 2008 by tungsai

Hmm, let me try to give an idea… OK, the baby sleeps in a bassinet by the foot of our bed. When she gets hungry, she starts waking up, whining, and moving her head around and opening & closing her mouth, working her lips, windmilling her arms, etc. This is called “Rooting” and it means she’s hungry. So, when it’s determined that she’s hungry, I have to turn on the light, put her on the changing table, & check her diaper. If the diaper’s dirty, of course change it. 9 times out of 10 it IS dirty. Not necessarily with poo; sometimes it is thick & heavy with just urine. These diapers are a marvel of engineering: Sometimes the only way to tell if it’s wet is that it is thicker and weighs more! They do a marvelous job of absorbing lots of liquid. Yes, the inside is moist, but only an IDIOT shoves their hand down there to check!!

 

So, once the diaper’s been changed (Which may also constitute a change of wardrobe), by now the baby is bawling if she’s real hungry, and Mommy has woken up. Mommy (Hongmei) has it the worst. SHe lays in bed all day, trying to sleep between feedings, and her mother and I do 90% of the diaper changes. So, once that baby is clean, we hand her over to mommy for feeding. While she’s feeding, it’s peaceful. Then, she needs burped.

 

If, after feeding, the baby begins to immediately cry again, it means she’s STILL HUNGRY. you can try to have her breast feed again, unless it’s the middle of the night, in which case I must go to the kitchen and prepare a bottle of milk or formula. This takes about 5-10 min, all the while the baby is probably crying with Hongmei in the bedroom. So, get the bottle to the baby, burp her, then MAYBE she will be sleepy enough to go back to sleep. If so, you must hold her in your arms for about 15-45 minutes to take care of the residual burps. If you try to put the baby back in the bassinet immediately after feeding you will probably get her with some nasty burpage that results in HICCUPS which will last 30 min – 1 hour. Baby cannot sleep if she has the hiccups, so you want to AVOID hiccups. Either way after a heavy feeding she will have stomach / digestive noises going “Blurp, blurb” inside her tiny little belly and she will grunt, grimace, whine, and make noises like somebody trying to take a crap.

 

That’s if she is TIRED and sleepy. There are periods of the day, around noon, and around 1am-3am, where she is wide awake, not tired, and actively looking around and listening to things. During this time, she may or may not enjoy laying by herself. If she does not, then you must hold her for the entire 2-4 hours she is awake. Thankfully, she is very easily distracted by this swing that my friend let us borrow that plays a water noise and has flashy lights in a glowing orb above her. She will stare at it cutefully for a very long time.

 

In our room there is a rocking chair where I’ve put my laptop in front of; and this is how i’ve spent the past 3 nights, keeping an eye on the clock, because you have to feed the baby at most every 3 hours.

Baby News – Day 20 (One Mystery solved)

February 20th, 2008 by tungsai

So, we took Mia to the Pediatrician Monday. They weighed her, and as it turns out, she is not gaining weight fast enough to satisfy the doctors. This coincides with how fussy she was at night, because it seems that her feedings at night were not adequate. So, we started to pump extra milk during the day, to feed her from the bottle at night. This has drastically improved her sleeping & rest through the night! In our case, the night-time fussiness was just because she was hungry, no big mystery!

If she does not gain enough weight again by next Monday, then we will begin to suppliment her diet with formula.

I have gotten much better at swaddling.

I have noticed that she prefers to fall asleep in somebody’s arms. If she’s not dead asleep, you can’t put her straight into the bassinet.

I “Installed” speakers into the bassinet, to try and play a recording I made of the shower. It does seem to help calm her some. NO I don’t blast the damn speakers, I use the VOLUME knob!

Yesterday I managed to get out of the house for about 3 hours, out shopping & stuff. I also got a haircut and had a big, fat double whopper with CHEESE!! SOO yummy!

I marinated some chicken in my own marinade recipe, with balsamic vinegar & soy sauce, & some garlic. turned out to be too salty. Next time, less soy, maybe something sweet.

Word of the day: “Chutney.”

I went to the Library and got a ton of non-fiction videos. they are just as entertaining as the fiction, if you are interested in the subject matter. I ended up getting this documentary on America’s first Female Serial Killer (supposedly, I doubt it in fact), Aileen Wuornos. what a messed up life she had.

OK they found me, I must end my blog update here. We’re down to FOUR DIAPERS, and that leaves about a 6-8 hour window.

Day Something or Another

February 13th, 2008 by tungsai

Hello! I think it’s Wednesday, Feb. 13th. I just woke up at about 2 p.m. Last night I partied with Mia from 1 am till about 4:30! Yeah, that’s Cry Time! She is now nine days old, same as peas porridge in the pot.

It has become evident that she really does get into that baby-crying thing from 1am till about 4:30. But to calm her, last night I tried a new trick. My co-worker the Lingley recommended static– that is, white noise, to calm the baby. Folks in that situation you are willing to try anything. I couldn’t get my lousy radio to produce any soothing type white noise; so I thought of something else: The SHOWER. I took the bundle of cry to the bathroom, turned on the shower… and… VOILA! she was UTTERLY MEZMERIZED!! Man I should’ve gotten a picture of that! Maybe I will, again tonight, if I can! it was soooo cute.

I also have a recommendation in general for people’s bathrooms. I did this years ago, and it has worked out marvelously: Buy a red “Party Light Bulb”, the kind that are really dim, that give off the light that looks like it might be for a darkroom, and install it into the overhead light fixture in your bathroom. I’m telling you, in the middle of the night, when you have to get up and use the restroom and you’re dreading the glaring shine of the full-power lights of the bathroom, just flick on this red bulb in the overhead (Mine’s installed in the vent-light), and it provides the perfect amount of light to see by to use the restroom, and it does not hurt your eyes at all no matter if you just woke up in the middle of the night or not.

So Anyway, Yesterday I went to the Colby Fitness Center (A.K.A. the Co-Rec) for some exercise and it was GREAT!

The days have all run together, and I’ve been in a social vacuum. The only people I’ve seen besides Hongmei & Mom are my Mom & Dad. they came to visit on Saturday & Sunday and Dad, excuse me, Grandpa, took some great pictures. They are up on the photo album (CLick to go to photo album).

Can’t think of anything more to write in the blog at this time.

Day 3… or is it Day 4?

February 8th, 2008 by tungsai

Just woke up from my sleep shift, 8:30am till 1:30

PD visit at 2:40

baby is well, hard to tell what her routine is yet; but it seems she likes to be up at NIGHT and sleep at DAY… sigh… somehow I ended up with the night shift and Hongmei’s mom got the day shift! oh well. My swaddling skills still suck… her arms get loose every time. =(

P.S. I never knew the word “Swaddle” until Monday! what planet am I from?

later!

WAB

Fatherhood

February 7th, 2008 by tungsai

Whew! Where do I begin? The baby is only, what, Three days old now, and I already have so much to say. Honestly there are a lot of cliches associated with the birth of a child, such as, “It’s a life-changing event”, and such things. All I know is, I will never forget that vision of seeing my baby’s head emerge into this world: Pointy, and PINK. I mean– CRAYON pink. Maybe a little darker, but not much. Right now little Mia is feeding, Hongmei’s mom is helping with the baby’s wardrobe & bassinet & such, and I’m on “standby duty” during the day, trying to rest up for probably another night of very little sleep and baby watch. Let’s go back a few days and I’ll try to fill you in on everything that’s been going on.

Sunday night, we were having a nice dinner of some barbeque chicken wings I’d made. Hongmei was a week past her due date, so they had scheduled an induction for the next morning, Monday, at 7:30. I was looking forward to my last full night of sleep probably; and Sunday night, when suddenly, Hongmei suspected that her water had broke! It wasn’t gushing, but, some liquid had started to come out; enough to worry us. Crapola! We gathered up all the stuff we had prepared to bring to the hospital, and drove out into the nasty weather. When we got checked in, Hongmei was put up in a room on the fifth floor, in the birthing area. We’d gotten a tour of these rooms during our childbirthing class. It’s a single bed, a special bed with a removable section at the foot, so that when the magic time comes, the doctor removes this section, the stirrups come up, and the position is assumed. For now, though, it’s just like a regular bed.

Near the door is the “baby area”, with a scale, a bassinet, and a baby-warming table. This is basically a stand with a baby matress on it, and above that is a heater. a very WARM heater! it could probably double as a chicken nugget warmer. hehe!

We put our bags in the corner, and waited for the doctor to arrive and check out whether the water’d broken. Eventually, after all the standard nurse checks (Blood pressure, temperature, etc.), the doctor determined that her water had not broken, but her uterus was contracting and that had caused some fluid leakage. Labor had begun, without induction! That meant we were there for the duration, and we’d be spending the night in the hospital.

Well, the room did have one extra recliner, but all the other chairs were lousy. I’d forgotten the air matress, so I drove back home to pick it up and a couple other essentials that we’d left behind, on the naive assumption that we’d possibly be back that night. Getting back to the hospital, I inflated the air mattress and tried to sleep on it, but sleep was not coming in that environment. Too much excitement, nurses coming in & out, and walking the halls, overheard nurse comments concerning other patients (“She’s vomiting all over the place!” …Nice visual), so I got maybe 15 min of sleep that night. Hongmei wasn’t really feeling the contractions, but more checks by the doctor showed that by 7:30 the cervix had dilated to about 7-8 centimeters. at Ten, the main struggle begins: That’s when the doctor starts having the mother push during contractions.

Hongmei must’ve been thirsty, because after we got there she slammed an entire liter of water in about five minutes. Unfortunately that meant that between contractions, she kept having to get up to use the bathroom all night! Still, she was going to need all the energy she could get. Every time she got up she had to unplug the baby heart monitor and the contraction monitor from the machine, and laboriously clamber to the restroom in the unflattering hospital gown to use the restroom, often needing assistance.

Looking back, it seems like it went so fast, but when we were there, the minutes of waiting and waiting just seemed to CREEP by. However, I could not concentrate on even reading a magazine for very long before some event would occur and my concern and attention were required. Finally, when the cervix was just about big enough, the very awesome nurse and her assistant explained exactly how it worked.

The contraction monitor would indicate when a contraction occurrs. As soon as it did, one person on each side would raise the mother’s legs up toward her shoulders, and she would grab her legs with her hands
and pul them towards her, while doing a cruncher (putting chin to chest as much as possible). Then, the nurse or somebody would count to 10, and the mother should take a deep breath and push for ten seconds, exhale, take another deep breath, push for ten seconds, and do it a 3rd time. If the contraction is still happening, and the mother still has a little energy, she could go for a fourth set. Then, as the contraction recedes, rest for the 2-5 minutes, and do it all over again.

That’s basically how it went. As soon as the cervix was dilated to 10 cm, we began the routine. The contraction machine would start to rise, the nurse would say, “OK, here we go!” and we’d each take a leg, hand it to Hongmei, she’d scrunch up, take a deep breath, and, “PUSH! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight nine, ten! OK, Exhale, deep breath, and, One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight nine, ten!” At the end of each round, I tried to give a good word of encouragement, and kissed Hongie on the forehead or cheek, to let her know I was there.

But not everybody agreed this was the proper method. Hongmei’s mother was in the room with us, and during this procedure, began to get more and more upset and agitated. She would yammer some phrases at Hongmei, which unfortunately nobody understood except Hongmei and her mother. Hongmei would ignore her, but her mom didn’t stop, so finally Hongmei would angrily reply an obviously upset, vicious retort. This created a lot of tension in the delivery room as you can imagine. I felt bad; I really was wishing I could speak chinese, because Hongmei would absolutely not answer any questions or talk to me. She had more important work to do! Between contractions, she would lay there, eyes closed, sometimes out of breath, and just resting up until the next big push. Glances were shifting around the room, myself included, as obviously her mom, best intentions aside, was sort of causing a little bad mojo. Eventually, Hongmei said something to her mom, which seemed to finally prompt her mom to leave her side. She left the room, and just stood by the doorway. I felt horrible, but at the same time, being an American, I would of course be inclined to side with the staff. I still didn’t know what her mom thought the best method was; but I think later Hongmei said that she wanted her to push continually, without a break in between! I don’t see how that’s possible. Now, it’s pretty much a forgotten issue, as far as I can tell; here at home, things are occurring just fine without any disagreements. But let’s get back to the birth.

Now, I forgot to tell you about the epidural. Epidurals are controversial; some women feel that having too much anesthesia pumped into their bodies is an unnatural procedure, others are more like, “Gimme drugs!!!” Hongmei decided to see how it would go, and eventually decided that she would get it. So, around 8 or 9 am, the anesthesiologist came in, and they began the procedure. This procedure consists of a long needle being inserted into the lower spine, and it’s painful enough that they even give a local anesthetic before putting the other, bigger needle in. Well, Hrm. I don’t know why… perhaps a big deal was being made out of it; but, well, how do I say this: I passed out. There I was, sitting at the edge of the bed, holding Hongmei’s hand for support, and then… I began to feel it. The cold sweat. the light-headedness. Now, mind you, I wasn’t fearful; I wasn’t feeling like I was in a state of panic: My conscious mind was well at ease (as much at ease as anybody could be in the delivery room, that is). They had asked, “Are you okay with needles, dad?” and I had actually warned them that I have had previous experience with becoming lightheaded, and possibly passing out, during procedures like that. Well… once I felt the blood draining from my face, I said, “Is my face pale?” the nurse said no; but the anastesiologist said, “Yes.” that’s when things got .. weird. I was staring off into space, trying to keep my cool, which wasn’t working. Taking deep breaths, which wasn’t working. I remember them asking me “how you doing, dad?” and I was trying to think very pragmatically about my state, to which I simply replied, “Concious…” then they asked me again, and I said, “Concious”… then they asked me again, and… I wanted to try and say more, but, for some reason my speech functions were just out of reach. I could still see everything in front of me, and I knew I wanted to say something, but the words would not come. The next thing I knew, I was being held up by the nurse, and I had two scrapes on my forehead that I could not remember getting. The nurse said she’d had to hold me up against her, and my face must’ve gotten scratched by her name tag, which adorned her ample bosom! And what was hongmei’s response? She was scared by how my eyes stared off into space, as I lost conciousness.. I guess it sort of freaked her out some. But then after it was done, she found it quite amusing.

During labor, Hongmei asked twice for the epidural to be reduced in dosage; first by 25% then down to 50%. She wanted to be able to feel something, because she couldn’t tell if she was actually pushing or not (she was!), but that feedback is reassuring. Turns out that even lowering the epidural by 50% never even gave her a hint of pain down there. It took a very long time for it to wear off, too.

So, anyway, back to the childbirth. Eventually it was clear that in spite of her proverbial hand-wringing, the nurses would not conform the birthing process to Hongmei’s mother’s wishes. I felt bad again, so I went out into the hallway, where she was leaning against the wall, a very concerned worried look on her face. I urged her back into the delivery room, because I knew that this was something she wouldn’t want to miss, even if she disagreed with some of the methods. I found out later from Hongmei that her mom just wanted her to push without taking a break, no counting and no breaths in between! that was the opposite of what I’d assumed, which was that she wanted Hongmei to maybe only push for a shorter period of time or something. Hongmei explained that in China they still practice the habit of snipping or cutting some of the vaginal opening to make the delivery go much faster, something which was not done in this procedure. Perhaps it might have gone quicker otherwise, but I think it’s better that they don’t do that anymore. My guess is that it makes for a longer recovery time for the mother.

Well, as the morning wore on, and round after round of contractions were fought through by Hongie, cheered on by us, finally we began to see some hair… then a little roundness… then finally it got to the point where the round head would pop out a teeny little bit more each time. I thought the head looked rather small, and I knew that the head is extremely malleable, but I didn’t realize that it would be THAT crazy! so as the time got nearer and nearer, and our wonderful OB, Dr. Madura, said, “I think it’s this one! This could be it, or really soon, the next couple contractions!” well, the next one that came was sort of weak contraction and didn’t help push very well… but everybody was watching sooo close! especially me! then when the next contraction hit, I had my eyes GLUED to that baby’s head, and WHAMMO! Out she came!!! and the head was about THEE TIMES what I thought it was going to be, because the round part that had been poking through was the minor “Cone head” upper round part that had been squeezed all morning. Man! I should paint a water color of that memory. Like I said earlier, the face was the pinkest I’ve ever seen, except maybe the most extreme case of sunburn in the world.

After that head comes out, the rest is easy. The head is just as wide as the shoulders, so once the head is out, the OB can grab the rest easily and help it out, but at that point I turned my attention back up to Hongmei who was watching in the mirror. I told her, “The head’s OUT! Yaay, there she is!! and before I knew it, the whole body was out. Man, I was happy. I didn’t notice Dr. Medura put the clamps on the umbilical cord, but I do remember them cleaning out the nose & mouth with suction tubes, to clear the baby’s airway. They let me cut the umbilical cord, which I guess is for some guys a momentous occasion, but for me, I was too worried about everything going right, I didn’t concern myself with any pomp & circumstance. I just said, “OK baby, welcome to this world!” and used the scissors to cut the cord. It took 3 squeezes, because it had a very thick rubbery consistency.

After that, I just held onto Hongmei for a while, but I did watch curiously as they swabbed the baby off, who was actually alert with open eyes, not crying, and just so PINK! They weighed her, and put her on the baby warmer, and that’s when I got my first pictures of her. I remember glancing down at the placenta as I went around Dr. Medura’s station, and it wasn’t very noteworthy. Big, was my thought, “Hongmei will be happy to be rid of all the excess weight she can.”

Well, it’s hard to remember what came after that… the baby was swaddled (I never knew that word before Monday!), and they cleaned up & sterilized Hongmei really well and put the removable section back into the bed. Then we had to wait for the epidural to wear off. That took some time. Well, of course after that the nurses were hustling & bustling constantly in & out, time passed so quickly that I don’t remember the details. But at that point I’d been awake for 36 hours, and I wasn’t used to the sleep deprivation yet! I bid farewell to my wife, my mother-in-law, and my new daughter, and went home and… well, I had to get some photos out to the world in some capacity, before I could hit the sack! So I did that, e-mailed out a couple of pictures, and by then my head was so cloudy, I laid down to sleep. I was so tired, that as soon as my head hit the pillow I started dreaming, and then I would jerk awake again. This happened two or three times before I finally passed out until the next morning.

When I arrived at the next morning, they moved us to the Post Partum area. Or maybe that happened the night before, I don’t know. But I spent all day Tuesday there in the hospital, running to get Hongmei some hot water or nuke some warm milk for her, or ask the nurse for this that & the other. Then I went home, at five or so, to begin preparing the house for the arrival of our new bundle of joy!

That night was record fog, and I don’t remember the last time I ever saw it so thick. I thought about when my daughter gets older, telling her how foggy it was on the day she was born. The weather has absolutely sucked this whole time. When I got home, I noticed that the house smelled. Some instinct kicked in, and I said to myself, “I am NOT bringing my baby home to a dirty house that smells!” I began to clean up the obviously messy stuff first: Took out the garbage, cleaned all dirty dishes, and that, but I could still smell it. I realized that it sort of smelled like dirt, and that’s when I realized that some of our plants were the source of the mild stench. I am not real good with plants, and as it turns out, two of them were basically dead or dying, so I threw them out. The aloe was the culprit: Although it looked to be alive, when I pulled it up, there was no root system to speak of, and some weird mold type stuff was growing on top of the soil. Well, I guess I suck at growing plants. I took them all out of the living room and ate some food & went to bed.

The next day, the cleaning instinct kicked in big-time. I realized that there was very little I could do at the hospital beyond providing moral support, and though I wanted to see them again, it really made sense for me to prepare the house for the baby. So I began to clean. and clean. AND CLEAN. I cleaned for hours, and even though I cleaned for so long, I came to a startling realization. My house was so dirty that it would literally take me three weeks to get it 100% spot free. I spent a good couple hours alone in the guest bathroom, if not more, and that plus mopping all moppable floors & dusting the living room, laundry room, and bedroom left me BEAT. I even had to go to the dollar store to purchase about 20 bucks worth of MORE cleaning stuff because we were low or out of sponges, etc.

So around 5 I finally decided that I was done with this and went to the hospital. The staff that day were not as friendly and welcoming as they’d seemed the previous times. Who cares, we were on our way out the door. I wondered if I’d be scared to drive, toting this brand new baby of mine, through the Lafayette traffic. Well, I certainly kept my eyes open in all directions, but I didn’t drive like a grandma and I got us there in one piece. MAN was it nice to walk into our own house again! I can’t speak for Hongmei but the safety net of the hospital is a little too constrictive. The peace of mind knowing that trained staff are 10 seconds away barely counteracts the constant in-and-out movements which are necessary, but disturb any chance of rest.

Well, well, well, not to say that that night was RESTFUL! Absolutely night! er, Not! Hongmei’s mom, having been in the hospital all this time, needed some rest, so I took over as the primary helper-outer. The baby was a mite fussy, she was, but I suppose she could’ve been worse. However every tiny noise set me off, and NO chance for rest because I was just to NERVOUS. I noticed that if she cried for too long without any apparent reason, I began to get a tightness in my chest that meant I was somewhat anxious. It doesn’t help when you’re tired on top of that. We keep the baby in our bedroom with us of course. 1:30 crept up to 2:30, which crept up to 4:00, and by then (this was last night) I was just beside myself with tense anxiety. The baby would NOT lay still for a single moment in the bassinet by herself so I had to rock her, hold her, and if she began to cry I’d try the pacifier, then we got all paranoid about whether pacifiers would interfere with the breast feeding, and so I busted out the baby books and started looking through them and they weren’t providing the INFORMATION about WHAT EXACTLY might be wrong wit pacifiers, which pissed me OFF!!! Elaborate flowery run-on sentences do NOT HELP ME RIGHT NOW!

To exacerbate the problem, supposing there WAS a brief moment where I could lay my head down on the pillow… a new problem presented itself, my BACK which was sore from cleaning all day.
It was at 6 am when Hongmei’s mom popped her head in, and offered to let me go sleep in her bed while stayed with the baby… and MAN did I cherish that like you wouldn’t believe. Those of you that warned me about the lack of sleep, here is the self-satisfying result you so feverishly wished to garner: GOD I AM TIRED!!! There— feel better? 😉 But we have a HELPER and boy is she good at swaddling! That is such a weird word; Swaddling. Our baby is Swaddle-riffic!

I woke up at noon today and then I began to sort of try and help out where I could. We got more hand-me-down stuff from my good friends Clayton and Christie, (I probably spelled that wrong), and Lori. Thanks, guys!

It’s now 12:25 and the fun has really kicked in! A cry-fest to rival all earlier cry-fests. Baby’s fed, dry, and swaddled as good as I, the novice swaddler can do, but fusses anyway. I only have a temporary respite while more feeding goes on…