February 17, 2013

Hello Baby Reid- May 16, 2011

So this is the post I've been waiting for ages to do. My little baby Reid is now 21 months old and yet on my blog's timeline he's just about to be born. Obviously a lot of catching up still to do. My sweet mother-in-law took Jaren for the time that I was in the hospital. It was a bit hard dropping him off knowing I wouldn't see him for a few days. I don't think I had ever been gone more than a few hours from him before this.

For those of you who don't remember from Jaren's birth posts, I sadly have to have c-sections for my babies. We discovered I have a heart-shaped uterus (because I'm so full of love) and both of my boys have been breached and therefore unable to be delivered normally (and by normally I mean including an epidural - Australia's crazy hippy ways haven't rubbed that much off on me!!!) But one definite perk of having C-sections is that you know when they're coming (that is unless they come early like in Jaren's case.) Which makes it easy to arrange for babysitting. Reid was scheduled to be born on my dad's birthday (May 17th) but sadly they did switch us to the day earlier for their convenience.

I woke up early in the morning to do my hair and make-up (much to Varian's disbelief). But photos are important to me and I wanted to be able to get a lot of that day without looking too haggish. And just look how cute I look about to go into the hospital (Royal Brisbane), and then in with my little basket-ball belly under that purple hospital gown. However, this plan was foiled later when they were prepping me for surgery and I was told I wasn't allowed to wear make-up so they could better tell the color of my skin (which turned beet red) and so that I wouldn't get mascara in my eyes if I cried (oh I did a lot of crying).

She gave me a wet cloth to try and wipe off my eyes. I did so very cautiously trying to appease her but still keep on my make-up. She kept saying "a little bit more" till all of a sudden I looked like a banchi and she looked a little aghast but kindly suggested that maybe it would be better if I head to the bathroom to wash it off completely. So I'll remember that for next time. At least my hair pulled through being smashed underneath that cap. And yes, this is not the most important thing - I don't want to sound shallow. I was just so happy to be getting my baby son. And if I looked like a glowing angelic mother while doing so, all the better. :)

So I've only had two c-sections so far. The first one was hard because it was an emergency c-section and I was shaking with labor pains as they tried to put in the spinal tap (scary). But 10 seconds later it was in and 30 seconds later the pain started leaving and I was comfortable and calm waiting 5 min for my baby to arrive. If only Reid's c-section had gone that simply.

The 1st doctor above was in training and lucky-me I was selected to be his very first epidural. It was traumatic to say the least. I don't think they had me start off sitting up very straight and it took him 45 MINUTES to get that sucker in. 45 minutes of me leaning hunched over praying that he didn't paralyze me and that it could soon be over. I kept getting zings going down my lower back and heard the trainer tell him he was hitting bone. I remember watching my little pinky finger as beads of sweat formed on its surface and thinking how I had never seen my pinky sweat before. The process was slow and long and ineffective to say the least. The lady above was the trainer I believe, and despite her casual demeanor here, she was nice and encouraged lots of photo taking from the nurse who took my camera which is the straight way to win over my heart! If only she had stepped in a lot sooner and done the epidural herself!

I love both of these photos above. "Baste that turkey" is what I think whenever I see my big iodine painted belly about to be cut into. And the second one is just tender. It was a relief to have Varian in there with me. He would have loved to get a look over that curtain but it's their policy that husbands can't look. They have so many people there to help me and the baby, they have none to spare for fainting husbands. One day though perhaps he'll get a lenient doctor that will let him take a peak. :)

I think I showed up at the hospital around 6 in the morning and assumed by 8ish we'd have a baby. But as you can see from the 10 am clock above, things definitely took a lot longer. Reid was so jammed up inside of me and the doctors really struggled delivering him. They had some pushing with their whole weight at the top of my stomach trying to get him to come down and others trying to pull him out. Varian said he saw beads of perspiration forming on our main doctor's face as she puffed and heaved trying to get him out.

Actually Varian did get a little sneak peak as I remember. He said he looked over (or they dropped the curtain?) and all he could see was Reid's little bottom stuck there like Pooh Bear stuck in a hole in the tree looking for honey. The doctors seemed a bit anxious that it was taking them so long but finally he was out and fine.

You would think in c-section birth would be easier on the baby, but it still looks a bit traumatic to me! How strange for them to be pushed and pulled out of the their dark wet home to this harsh bright world and poked and prodded before getting to be snuggled by their mother. Below he's getting his Vitamin K shot to help his blood thicken. I've not let them give my babies the Hep B immunization. I feel like 5 min old is way to young to start pumping them with vaccines.

For those of you who don't speak metric his 3.32 kg above is 7.5 lbs. He was born at 10:01 am on May 16, 2011. He was 54 cm long and his head circumference was 34 cm. He's nameless here yes it's true, but we had pretty much decided on calling him Reid (I blame Varian for the delays. If it were up to me we'd have a girl and a boy name picked out when it was just a few weeks old). And my maiden name is mentioned here due to visa/passport circumstances. I have officially been updated now to my married name and permanent residence status.


I love that picture of Varian and Reid. It's so tender, what lucky children I have to have such a loving and involved father! I also think the above picture is so cool. This is the doctor that delivered him and she was great. And now he's finally ready to be wrapped up and brought to his waiting mama!

Holding your own brand new baby in your arms is one of those treasured moments in life.They're so small and dependent and completely yours. I tried to feed him a little but only could hold him for a few minutes before they were worried about his lungs being too full of liquid. A downside to c-sections is that their lungs don't get pushed out on delivery and so they can struggle more getting their lungs clear. So they took him away to lay him in a incubator on his tummy and let gravity try and clear out some of that liquid.

Now about this time I started to become more and more aware of being stitched up and the pain it was causing. Varian and the majority of the doctors I could see were with Reid or on the other side of the curtain. But as the minutes passed on, the pain grew stronger and stronger. My little trainer passed by and I told him that I was feeling pain. He said, "oh it's normal to feel pressure" at which I got teary and started to explain that it's not pressure I was feeling but pain. He tried to increase the epidural feed and that didn't do anything. I felt like my face was on fire and some nice nurse came and put a cold wash cloth on me which felt heavenly. But my face continued to get beet red and I became more and more aware of all the sensations behind that curtain. This was making me panic. I maybe felt a bit of tugging or touching when Jaren was born but no discomfort whatsoever. And so to lie there feeling the pain of having my insides pulled around and sewn back together was terrifying. I started to cry and to tell Varian what was happening. Someone came over thinking that I was upset about Reid in an incubator and I tried to tell them that I could feel what was happening. They seemed alarmed at this and then tried to give me a gas mask to breath into. This brought on no pain relief but plenty of naseau which then just made me dry heave (you're not allowed to eat for a reason.) It was horrible.

I could see in the reflection off the operating lights my open bloody stomach and I was so scared to feel all that pain when I shouldn't be feeling anything. They stopped working on me and tried to take a break. Towards the beginning when they realized that the epidural wasn't working they told me they could knock me out. This seemed so extreme and I just asked if they could hurry and I'd be fine. But the more time went on the more my body came out of the anesthetics and into the pain and panic. I remember at one point they said that they had my uterus outside my body and they couldn't wait any longer and had to finish putting me back together (all the king's horses and all the kings men...)

So they began again and my body convulsed and jerked on the table and I was squeezing the hand of some nurse like my life depended on it. She snapped at them to stop and that I could feel what they were doing. They again said they couldn't wait any longer. I told them to put me under. Good thing I didn't have any pesky mascara to run down my face. Phew! I kissed Varian goodbye and they said he could stay with Reid and then they placed a new mask over my head and off I drifted into blackness.

When I awoke later I was lying in bed with wires all around me and an oxygen mask on my face. My throat ached. Even though I had fasted going in, they incubated me as a precaution and my throat felt raw and sore. But happily that seemed to be the most painful part of my body so it seemed like my meds were back on track. There was some lady telling me to wake up and that I had to feed my baby. I was so tired. I don't ever remember being so tired. I wanted them to all go away and leave me alone. Couldn't they see I didn't have the strength to keep my eyes open. But she kept insisting that I wake up. Reid and Varian were there waiting for me. I held up my hands to Varian like I was holding an imaginary camera and clicking it. He said he had got a few already and took a few more of me then. I tried to smile and the result is so pathetic and in hindsight amusing to me. Talk about being dedicated to capturing the moments. I then half-fed, half-passed out as I lay there on the bed and was then transfered to my new room. That part seems a bit fuzzy to me. Being put under general anesthetics, even for such a short time, really did a number on me. I felt like I was tired for a week and couldn't ever fully wake up.

Here's to hoping that my future C-sections go off without a hitch. I mentioned to the doctor how I wanted 6-8 kids (realistically I now say 5 or 6) and she kind of looked skeptical and said "we'll see how the next one goes."

We'll continue the rest of this story on a new post. For now let's just end on this positive picture of my cute husband. I'm sure it is tough being the one watching your spouse suffer, but really all things considered, men have it so easy!

February 11, 2013

Miscellaneous May (2011) Part I


So this post is a combination of activities of the first half of May (2011) to get in before I post about Reid's birth. Ever since I found out that there was a China Town in Brisbane I've been dying to go - so we thought it would be a fun family outing. Really they should call it China Block or China Area- it's pretty small compared to the San Fran or New York China Towns I've been to. But still festive. :)

Just as a quick explanation about this picture below and my excitement for it - this is me crossing off something from my bucket list. Growing up in the Valley we used to dream about what it would be like to have things that people had in the "cities." (Katie wanted sidewalks while I always thought garbage trucks would be exciting.) One of the things I would notice playing at cousins' houses was the tantalizing music of the ice-cream truck, and I always thought that one day I would stop and by something from one. I think this baby cost nearly 5 dollars which almost prohibited me from accomplishing this goal - but we took the plunge and I can officially cross it off. :)

My in-laws, Leah and Panu, babysat Jaren one night so that we could go on a date. We went to this fancy restaurant down at the gold coast (Spreets Deal) where the portion was tiny but the taste was divine. Then we had a quick snuggle on a blanket on the beach to watch the moonlight. How grateful I was to get some couple time in before a newborn joined our family and made going on dates a lot more challenging!

It was a busy month getting our house ready. Here are some shots from a few house check-ups. Our builder's name was Joel White from All Elite Building and he was so great to work with. (Click HERE for his contact details.) He was especially a good sport to pose for photos with us. :) [Note that the photo of him and me is actually from July hence the sneak peak of our kitchen, but it seemed like it was in better context here.)

Here are some shots from a few family get togethers. We try and get together regularly for Sunday dinner or other activities with Varian's family. I especially feel sentimental posting pictures of our dear Oma who passed away a few months ago. I still can't believe I won't see her at just the next Sunday dinner. It's surreal and sad.

This picture is from the Sunday dinner we had a few days before Reid's C-section was scheduled.

And to wrap up this post I am including photos of Jaren's room in our Windsor House in Brisbane. The thing I miss most about this room, is the big open window (which now would freak me out that he could climb up and fall out). Every morning I would come in and open up the window and hold Jaren to look outside at the trees and the "blue sky" and we'd talk about what a great day it was going to be. I would hold him up high above my belly and his little face was so full of wonder and delight. I hope to always have that image sealed in to my memory.


On a less sentimental note and more practical one I will also miss those huge wardrobes!!! And a moment of silence to the skeleton of the best feeding chair in the world, which sadly it's cushions never did recover from the flood. Here I have a massage mat on it, but nothing we've tried will ever be the same.