Just a Normal Morning

Daddy is on Paternity Leave (week 2 of 4). This is what mornings look like around here. Video games. Muffins. Groceries still to be put away from yesterday’s Costco run. Baby YY chilling in her bouncy seat. You know. The usual. (Those eyes, you guys. THOSE EYES. Mesmerizing. She is such a chill baby.)

I’m loving it.


(Recipe for the muffins here. They are whole wheat, and whole orange! Seriously. I chucked an entire peeled orange into the blender to make those things, and they were delicious.)

Introducing: Ying Ying!

(For Part 1, please go here.)

I received my epidural around 3 or 3:30. (Have I ever told you how much I love epidurals? No? Well – I love them. There, I said it.) I was able to rest a little bit after that but, as with my other two births, the epidural made my body SO relaxed, the contractions started backing off. My doctor administered what she called a “whiff” of oxytocin, just to keep things moving in the right direction. After a while, though, I started feeling things again. The nurses described it as feeling the pressure, but not the pain. Looking back, I suppose that’s true…but it was about as painful as the contractions that had sent me to the hospital in the first place. And the contractions were simply not big enough. When it was time for Ying Ying’s debut, I’ve been told that it all happened within the space of one (rather long) contraction. I asked the doctor later why it was so difficult for Ying Ying to make her exit. Her two siblings had entered the world much more…gracefully. She told me that I had done an AMAZING job, a STELLAR job, it was just that my contractions weren’t big enough to really help me.

I think she was just saying that to make me happy. I distinctly remember needing to push only a few times to get Ying Ying. That said, after two pushes, I simply announced tearfully that I “couldn’t do it.” “Oh no, you can! You can!” came the chorus of voices from the suddenly worried nurses and doctors. (Obviously, they knew that Ying Ying was almost there, but I couldn’t see that.) And then…she was there. It was 8:30 am. I had been in the hospital for just over 5 hours.

Meet Ying Ying. Procedure was slightly different with her than with my other births. As soon as she entered the room, she was placed on my chest. And I was told to leave her there as long as I wanted. Daddy snipped the umbilical cord, and then baby and I were covered up with a blanket. She lay on my chest for about an hour, never crying, simply moving her head side to side. As I talked to her quietly, she would tilt her head up towards my voices, blinking her dark, swollen eyes in the dim light.

After an hour, I handed her to the nurses to be weighed and measured. (THEN she cried. It was a relief – I wasn’t sure if she could!)

As the day went on, her extended family showed up to greet her. (She was an angel for Poppy, my father.) I didn’t get a shot of her with Grandma, but rest assured – this little girl was welcomed to the world with quite a bit of love! My little brother and sister were able to come and meet her, along with my older sister and her little family.

She was equally sweet when MaMa came with the other kids that night. Ming Wai made sure to bring a little musical rabbit to sing for her new baby sister.

Siu Jeun…didn’t care too much about the baby. Instead, he dug into the treats Daddy had rounded up. (It was just as well – dude had a little cold, so I didn’t want him kissing his new sister anyhow.) Another change this time around (Ming Wai was born at the same hospital, 6 years ago) is that my “support person” could now order breakfast, lunch and dinner along with mine, as well as round up treats for any visiting siblings. I suppose people did it all along, but now it is above-board and encouraged.

Daddy…oh daddy. I can’t say enough good about this man. He, obviously, was a little excited about his new baby girl as well.

Lo Gung and I are so blessed. Three beautiful, healthy children. In-laws in town for a month to help out with cooking, chauffeuring and keeping the older siblings entertained. Surrounded by my own siblings, parents, aunts and uncles. Blessed indeed.

We are, of course, still settling in. Some nights Ying Ying will sleep five hours before she wakes up to eat. Some nights she wakes up every 45 minutes. (That was a rough night, my friends. A very rough night.) Mostly, though, we just love having her here. She is, in general, in one of three states: eating, sleeping or quietly staring at the world through slightly crossed eyes, under a furrowed brow, trying to make sense of everything.

Put simply, she is a delight.

Waiting for Ying Ying


(A bassinet in my laboring room, just waiting for a new baby to fill it.) 


(Dear friends, you can now die happy, knowing what I look like at 3 in the morning. You’re welcome. That pained expression on my face is one-part fresh-epidural relief and one part stretching my neck as far as it would go to try and avoid a double chin in the only photographic evidence I would have that I was actually present for Ying Ying’s birth.)


(The warming/air station…I think. Honestly, I was pretty loopy. I seem to remember one of the nurses saying that they get everything set up “just in case.” Which is why we have babies in hospitals, after all. That, and the epidurals.)


My friends, on January 30, 2013, Lo Gung and I welcomed the newest member of our clan – Ying Ying. I had been on pins and needles for weeks, waiting for contractions to start. Oh sure, it’s easy to say in hindsight that I should have simply relaxed and enjoyed my last few weeks. (Enjoy may be the wrong word…but at least I should have relaxed!) The truth is, though, that Ming Wai (my oldest) came 8 days early. And Siu Jeun came 5 days early. And Ying Ying? Well, she came three days AFTER her original due-date (but smack ON her 20-week-ultrasound adjusted due date). I assumed that every twinge was the beginning of the end, and I did NOT want to miss my window of opportunity for an epidural. No, ma’am, I did not.


Obviously, I needn’t have worried. On January 29, I went to sleep around 11 pm. At 1:30am, I woke up very uncomfortable with contractions. By that point, my mother in law had already arrived in town, meaning that there was not a lot of options for places in the house I could make any noise without waking anyone up. I ended up in the baby’s nursery, with the door shut, trying to get comfortable and timing the contractions. When it became obvious that the contractions were NOT going away this time, and I had just about reached my crying point, I woke Lo Gung up. “Honey…it’s time.”

That’s me. Classic. That was about 2:30 am.


I had already called the nurses. They didn’t even question me. I had already been to the hospital once, on a false alarm, a few days before. (A very, very expensive false alarm. *facepalm*) This time, I simply called them and said, “I’m having painful contractions every 5 minutes, about 60-90 seconds long. This is my third baby. I will see you soon.” (When I arrived, the nurse said I sounded so confident and no-nonsense, she didn’t feel like asking me all the usual questions or making me stay on the line so she could hear me try to talk through a contraction.) About ten minutes later, Lo Gung and I tiptoed downstairs with our bags, and knocked on the guest room door to let my mother in law (Ma) know that we were on our way to the hospital.


When I arrived at the hospital, it was about 3 am. I had progressed to about a 5, if I remember correctly. I was relieved, honestly – I would hate to show up at a 3, in tears, you know? I’m a wuss, but…seriously. We got the epidural started as soon as we could, and then…the waiting began.

The Week It Never Thawed



There was this week. This really, really cold week. The temperature never got above freezing. Every day, I got e-mails from my father (vacationing in South America) about the beautiful weather. Every day the hoarfrost got thicker and thicker. Every day the ice crystals under loose dirt in the yard, and under gravel on the paths, got taller. 


It was a pretty amazing week.

About a week before our new baby was due, I snapped a few pictures of the “getting ready” phase. There were piles of pink frilly, from friends and loved ones.


There were stacks of diapers and wipes, also gifts from friends. I carefully organized the diapers by size, lining up the various packages that accumulated. Newborn first, which would get me up to about 10 pounds. Then the size 1 packages, which would see me through 14 pounds.


I snapped a picture of The Belly, to have a visual record of what 40 weeks of Baby looks like. (It looks like a whole lot of ROUND. That is what it looks like.)


Then, one morning, I realized I was in my last days of SJ being the youngest, and I wanted to spoil him. Just a little bit.

One of his favorite things about any holiday is Jell-O. My aunt is in charge of making sure it shows up to every major family dinner throughout the year, and he is in charge of making sure there are never any left-overs. I decided to earn some Major Mommy Points by throwing together a pan of blue Jell-O, and a container of chocolate pudding as well. Simple things, that only took a minute to mix up, but I knew I wouldn’t have that moment free again for quite some time.


And then, we waited for the Princess to arrive.

I know you’re all waiting on pins and needles to see how this pregnancy is going.


(Wait, you didn’t know I was pregnant? SURPRISE! 2012 was a doozy of a year, and the fun just doesn’t stop.)

My official due date is January 27th..or the 30th, depending on who you ask. Either way, I’m just past the 37 week mark, which means the baby is officially “done cooking.” Because I’m a martyr, I’ll go ahead and tell you that my belly is about 47″ around, and I’ve gained just a bit over 30 pounds. (For me? This is an amazingly low number. I kept up with my Zumba workouts this time around, and it’s made a HUGE difference. Viva la Zumba!)

A fantastic friend came over while Lo Gung was out of town just after Christmas and helped me finish the nursery. My awesome brother in law used his massive truck to pick up the nursery furniture from Costco. So, the nursery is finished.

I have a pile of clothes laid out for me and the baby. All I’m lacking is an actual BAG and the requisite electronics, and my Hospital Bag will be ready to go. I also need to pack bags for my two littles, for them to take to their Aunt’s house in case this shin dig turns into a sleep over.

My pre-registration for the hospital is filled out and was electronically submitted this morning.

Tuesday night, I slept HORRIBLY. (There was a really fantastic rain storm – it sounded like a thousand cats tap-dancing on my bedroom window. For 8 hours. Lo Gung didn’t sleep either.) The good news was that the resulting exhaustion led to a fairly convincing dress-rehearsal for my contractions. Yup, 5-10 minutes apart, several remarkably painful, and about 30-60 seconds long each, all day long. And yet…here I am, sitting in my bed at home the next day, no baby to be seen. More good news? My iPhone app has a fantastic contraction counter. Works like a dream – even gives me average times, and lets me know how long it’s been since my last contraction. Pretty slick.

Now we just wait. Hoping to meet this little dragon child soon!