Friday, January 27, 2006

We are in love

We've survived the first week home.

Between the midnight feedings and the huge demand for attention, I am amazed at how this tiny person can have us so wrapped up in his little fingers so quick.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Story

I read plenty... talked to as many mothers as I could talk to... we even went to class. But I don't think there's a book or a wives tale out there that could ever prepare anyone to the feeling of new motherhood...

I didn't go to work that Wednesday because I was feeling a bit under the weather. Luckily, I had been training my backup as if "preparing" to leave work everyday assuming I wasn't going to be back the next day. Every day that week, Mike had been loading (and unloading) his car with all our bags and the car seat... "just in case". But Wednesday came and went... and still no baby Ethan.

Thursday morning, I felt as shitty as the day before, if not shittier... and I decided I couldn't drive to work in that condition. My contractions were still inconsistent, but they had definitely gotten significantly more distinct compared to the night before. I think Mike could tell by my facial expressions that I was in pain (though sporadically), as he dressed up for work like usual that morning but obviously not wanting to leave me behind. He tried to convince me to go to the hospital to get "checked out", but I just kept brushing it off. By that point, I was very firm in that I wouldn't go back to the hospital again (after our 2 previous and grueling false alarms) UNLESS I knew DEFINITELY that "it was time". And that morning, despite Mike's huffin and puffin, I was thoroughly convinced that it wasn't. Even after I teased him about using my labor as an excuse out of work that day, he stayed home with me anyway.

That same afternoon, after having barraged with concerned family members PLUS Mike.. I gave in and got in the car and we were on our way to triage. Mike and I hung out, trying to hold some hopeful conversations while the contractions beat out their rhythm on the paper strips. I could feel them rising, and falling, intense but the pain was mostly manageable, as I listened to Ethan's heart buhbeat-buhbeat-buhbeat-buhbeat-buhbeat-buhbeat. After 2 hours of "monitoring", they came in and told me I was only 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced (only 1 cm dilated more than 1 week ago at my doctor's appointment).

I was visibly disappointed, as if I was certain all along that they weren't going to keep me. I felt like I was never going to deliver. It wasn't a lot of progress to say the least (despite our courageous efforts to induce it the natural way), and wasn't a clear symptom of the onset of labor.. and it my mind, I already started making plans of where to go that night for dinner (I was STARVING!). But because of the consistent contractions, they asked for me to stay a little bit longer to see if I progress any more.. and sure enough! Next thing I knew, I was being wheeled to the labor and delivery room.

Then we knew..... it was time to make the phone calls.....

It was quick. I can't say it was painless. Though slightly drugged and numb from the waist down from the epidural, the pressure was irrefutable... and I felt him making his way down as if he knew exactly what he was supposed to do. I remember my nurse, Sue, tried to tell me to get as much rest as possible because I would need it when the time came. My only comfort was the sight of Mike nervously pacing back and forth (to me, it meant that he was getting as excited as I was) and the ice chips that I tried to chew on since they couldn't feed me anything else.

As soon as I saw my legs thrown up on the stirups and they told me I was ready to push... I knew what I had to do. I remember holding Mike's hand, consciously trying not to squeeze too hard while desperately trying to concentrate on the push as he repeatedly counted from 1 to 10. Inbetween contractions, these strangers in different-colored scrubs showered me with compliments of how "good" of a pusher I was. And in the midst of it all, I remember Mike kissing my forehead, consoling me that it's almost over, and reminding me how beautiful the end result would be... if I just hung on a little longer, and pushed just a little harder.

And all of a sudden, I heard him cry. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. And when they finally put him on my belly, still attached and covered in mucus, there was not a tear in my eye like I thought I would have. Yet there was an overwhelming sensation of joy like I could never explain.. and I even felt a little sad when they took him away shortly to clean him up.

It was love at first sight. I knew I loved him while he was still in me but it was different once I could hold him and shower him with kisses. I felt empowered.... because I knew that all the pain and discomfort I endured for 9 months were merely a preface to this new life I cradled so cautiously in my arms. I felt blessed.... because I had been given the gift of family -- a loving husband and a son to love. And at the same time, I felt a little scared... because I realized that from that point on, every decision I make will mold him to the person that he will be for the rest of his life.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Paying Respects

Before I moved to West Virginia, I only had a vague idea where it was on the map. And up until the news broke out last week about the 13 miners trapped underground.. I'm sure there are people who didn't even know this state existed. It's unfortunate that it has to take a tragedy blasted on CNN to force minds to step outside their own little bubbles..

The mine that exploded and killed the 12 miners are about 2 hours away from where we live.. and like anywhere else, life goes on and the mood's gotten somewhat better (using the term loosely) since they announced the unsuccessful rescue last week. As flags continue to fly at half-staff, many signs in front of businesses had changed from grief for the dead miners to prayers for the sole survivor. But most people still express a sense of loss.. even if they don't know anyone who died personally. What I learned quickly when I moved here is that this is a mining town.. if you didn't mine, or your father didn't mine, you knew someone who did.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Tick Tock

Yesterday, we went to a whole day Childbirth class at the hospital I'm giving birth in. It wasn't your regular lamas class that focuses on relaxing and breathing patterns. If anything, it was like a nostalgic revisit of a high school sex ed class, equipped with visual aids and a VHS presentation of the "Miracle of Life". Much of what was covered, I had already read about or heard about.

But still, somehow it felt (at least to me) as if we had just completed all there is to be done... and now it's trully just a waiting game.

Mike and I are both hanging on the edge...

The anticipation is probably something I could never put into words. I'm not "due" for another 2 weeks, but what the hell does that mean anyway?

I'm tired of waiting... I want to hold my baby...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Resolution Dilusion

I hate making New Year's resolutions. They're so overrated. But this year, I will join the ranks of the McDonald-driven Americans in making the pledge of losing weight.. all 35 lbs that I have put on thus far, and whatever else I gain until the little guy pops out. I do plan on breastfeeding for a couple of months so that should be a start, although I'm a bit more concerned about the fact that I haven't been allowed to lift anything, much less jog, for almost a year. Closest I get to having an increased heartbeat is going up and down the stairs we have at home.

I hate to sound vain, but I do feel eccentrically FAT. Mind you, before the baby, I was "forbidden" to even weigh more than 118 lbs (a ridiculous weight limit set forth by the United States Army for someone of my height). And now, even after countless assurances that it's not fat, it's the baby, tell that to someone who's gone from a petite medium to an extra large in a matter of months.

Perhaps welcoming the new year contemplating about factors in my life that are unsatisfactory isn't what I should be doing...

I have been blessed... There are so much more in my life to be thankful for than to bitch about.


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