what to do, what to do

i just got back from picking ian up at school. and i feel like i'm in a bit of a pickle.

when i saw the teacher, she said, "we need to talk" in the most serious of voices. i was like, uh oh, what happened? but it turns out mrs. R feels like she's not servicing ian well enough. apparently, this week they're learning about the letter F and they were talking about fingers. but then ian had to go and say that you could also call them phalanges (although, the definition really refers to the bone of a finger or toe). he is just like his mama -- always spewing out facts and being a smarty-pants. she also heard him telling the other students about fencing.

to be honest, i know my son is smart and i didn't actually expect him to learn too much in kindergarten. i told mrs. R that i felt the socialization process was more important in kindergarten (at least for ian), but she said he already knows how to follow directions and be a good student. so then i had to open my big mouth and say that lately i haven't been able to spend too much time doing enrichment with him but he can open up a book and read a lot of it on his own. she said that it was all him and nothing she's done. (but she does assign a lot of writing for homework, which i think is great, and ian has benefited greatly from it.)

anyway, to make a long story short, we're going to discuss this during parent-teacher conferences later in december. i had been thinking about bringing up the subject of extra enrichment for ian, but i didn't want to sound like the over-zealous parent who thinks her child is gifted when he's not. however, since mrs. R brought it up i feel safe broaching the subject about giving him differentiated work, even if it's just for homework.

but what kind of enrichment should you give a kindergartener, and how much should you expect from a 5 year old? i don't want ian to get too far ahead so that we have this problem again in first grade, but i don't want to hold him back if he's clearly ready to learn more. what to do? what to do?

[i'm sorry -- i didn't mean for this post to sound like i'm bragging about ian. it's just that i know ian has tons of potential to do so much more than what a standard kindergarten curriculum requires. i just don't know what to do.]

ah, memories

back in the day i was a high school journalist. in fact, JR and i worked on the newspaper staff together for two years (and secretly kissed in the closet of the journalism room our senior year; shhh ... don't tell!).

i recently got a letter from the california scholastic press association, which hosts a summer journalism camp. my friend NW and i went the summer before our senior year. i don't know about him, but i had a good time and learned in a most heinous way that sports writing is very difficult. i also made some pretty good friends considering we were only together for two weeks. over the years we've all fallen out of touch and i sometimes wonder what they're up to ... have any of them actually become journalists? as for me, i don't even remember if i ever wanted to be a journalist "when i grew up." and i was never much of a journalist anyway, as you can tell from my poorly written blog!

seeing the group photo of us reminded me how young and silly i used to be. can you find me in the 1993 photo?


fall in los angeles

now that thanksgiving has passed, it's finally starting to feel a bit like fall here in southern california. the last few days have been cooler and the wind has really picked up at night. in the evenings we bundle under our new peruvian alpaca blanket (a gift from JR's aunt) and watch tv or play video games.

yesterday, JR and ian raked the leaves that fell into our front yard from the neighbor's tree. ian was excited about jumping into the leaf pile and JR got some good shots of him playing in the leaves. (they're so cute, in fact, that i plan to scrapbook the pictures ... eventually.)

fall is my favorite season, and it was especially wonderful while JR and i were away at college in upstate new york. the leaves would turn into rich shades of yellow, red and gold, the air was crisp, and the skies clear. unfortunately, the beautiful fall weather didn't last too long before the bitter cold set in, but it definitely left a lasting impression on me.

today i took maya out for a walk after dropping ian off at school because it was such a nice day. i had on my favorite knit sweater -- the first one i bought my freshman year in college that's so comfy and worn. and despite being exhausted from the lack of sleep, i enjoyed a brief stroll around the neighborhood.

3 weeks.

maya @ 3 weeks :: november 25, 2005

  • she eats and eats and eats some more
  • i cannot put her down for a moment; she loves to be insists on being held & cuddled
  • she's starting to get baby acne on her face
  • her eyelashes and eyebrows are growing in
  • after looking at photos of ian as a baby, we realized maya looks remarkably like her brother at the same age
  • 11.25.2005

    she's here! she's here!

    our friends BAC and LS finally had their baby on wednesday. LS's due date was last saturday but baby JSC wasn't budging from her mama's belly. it also turns out JSC is a large baby; a sonogram earlier this week confirmed she was going to be big and revealed she would be around 10 pounds 4 ounces!

    after what i assume was an "uneventful" c-section, JSC arrived wednesday evening, weighing in at 10 pounds 3 ounces and measuring 21 inches. what a blessing to have a baby during the thanksgiving holiday; i'm sure they're very thankful for JSC's safe arrival.

    we are so happy for the family -- congratulations and welcome to the world of parenthood!

    you know he's the big brother when ...

    ian clearly showed his mild displeasure with maya yesterday when he said (while she was crying):

    "we need a vacation ... [dramatic pause] ... without maya."

    good enough ... maybe even bad ... parenting

    since it was thanksgiving yesterday and we had to see family and friends we decided to finally give maya a bath. now, some of you may be thinking, "um, isn't she like three weeks old already? and you're just now giving her her first bath?!" and you would be correct. naturally, after three weeks of going unbathed, she was starting to stink. so that was another reason why she had to take a shower.

    and, i have to admit, the third reason why i avoided the whole bath thing was because ian hated being bathed (he's still not too fond of it) and it was a real process and a half to give him a bath. i was afraid we were going to encounter the same thing with maya.

    since we don't have a baby bath for her, and JR poo-pooed my idea of giving her a bath in the kitchen sink (it's really large and the faucet has a shower nozzle), we decided to take her into the regular shower. we wrapped her up in a hand towel to reduce slippage and keep her warm and also turned down the water pressure. i prepared myself for a scream-fest, but when i took her from JR and tentatively sprayed her body with water she didn't let out a peep. it still took two of us to manuever the showerhead and get her completely washed, but maya seemed perfectly content; in fact, she fell asleep part way through the shower. i was sooooo relieved and happy about this! now, i'm not sure if she'll be this peaceful during the next shower, or the one after that, or 2 years from now, but i'll take what i can get.


    oh what a day!

    you know things are starting to look up when you can have pizza again and not get heartburn -- hallelujah!

    oh yeah, happy thanksgiving everyone! enjoy the turkey (or equivalent vegetarian dish)!


    whoo-hoo ... ramen!

    my mom mentioned that chabuya was opening a branch here in los angeles. i couldn't help but get excited -- chabuya has (had?) a pretty good reputation in japan, even though it's starting to become a "chain." the chef won a ramen "tv champion" some years back (1.31.2002) and his ramen looked pretty darn good. and since the ramen restaurant selection in la isn't fantastic, any new blood is always welcome.

    turns out chabuya (unfortunately, i don't have the address, but it's on sawtelle -- surprise, surprise!) just opened a few days ago. i mentioned it to JR and he was excited too. now, when will we be able to go??

    spoiled rotten

    the other day a big package came for ian and JR from one of my best friends, K. (this is the same friend who, after seeing pictures of maya for the first time, was proud and ecstatic that maya looked totally asian!)

    "auntie K" likes to spoil ian on his birthday and this year was no exception. in fact, this year she went crazy despite my (half-hearted) attempts to stop her. she had seen on ian's amazon wishlist that he wanted the star wars lego ps2 game. but i told her not to get it because we didn't have the console. so, instead of getting a boardgame like i had suggested, she decided to get a ps2. she said it was partly for JR as a reward because he had "stuck with" me -- what is that supposed to mean?!

    anyway, here's ian opening up his package and seeing with delight his new toy. it also came with a teenage mutant ninja turtle 3 game.

    thank you, K, for being a wonderful auntie and giving ian things he really wants!


    somebody's been eating my porridge!

    ian's class just finished a unit on "goldilocks and the three bears." he came home with this adorable hat(??) he made and some paper puppets. he put on a puppet show, doing different voices for each of the bears, and it was one of the funniest things i'd ever heard. i wish our darn camcorder worked so i could save it for posterity.

    as long as you don't mind the mess

    we had some visitors this past weekend to see maya. normally, having company over is the best way to get me to clean the house. however, in my current zombie-like condition i wasn't able to tidy up very much. i hope they didn't notice the dust and clutter too much ...

    on saturday, our friends D & P came over with food (ribs!). while they were here, my aunt, uncle, and grandma came up from orange county. since my parents hadn't seen them in a little while, my mom and dad dropped by, too.

    on sunday, A, her husband D, and baby D came over. i hadn't seen A and baby D since brunch in october. my, how baby D has grown! he is absolutely adorable. he's gotten quite big since i saw him last and much more sturdy looking. and, after holding 7 pound maya, he felt like a ton of bricks (in a healthy way, of course)! i can't imagine maya weighing that much in two-and-a-half months ...


    saturday was ian's last soccer game for the season. it's kind of a shame since he's gotten quite good, especially at defense. at this game he blocked the ball quite a few times. he has such a look of intense concentration and purpose while he plays; i know he's putting everything he's got into the short 10~15 minutes he plays each week.

    after the game the team headed to mcdonald's for the team party. (we were rather disappointed about this because we do not take ian to mcd's ever and we did not want to take him ... but he couldn't miss the team party!) i didn't go because i stayed home with maya, but according to JR he had that proud look on his face when he received his trophy.

    ian's still not sure if he's going to play again next year. me, personally, i'm not as against this whole soccer thing as i was at the beginning of the season. i think ian's improved greatly and he probably did learn something about trying his best and sportsmanship.

    2 weeks.

    maya @ 2 weeks :: november 18, 2005
    (sorry for the late posting)
    • she's getting to be a bit chunkier
    • forget the hairy shoulders ... her entire back is hairy!
    • she's still cross-eyed, but much more alert
    • she will punch JR in the chin given the opportunity
    • she's a poopy machine!
    • everyday she blesses us with a 3~4 hour stretch of sleep ... we just don't know when it will be
    • she's loud, just not in front of guests


    happy birthday

    it's grudge girl's birthday today!
    happy birthday, GG! may you have a fantastically enjoyable day and year.
    wishing you the best from la-la-land!


    not exactly back to normal

    not that i thought things would get back to normal right away, but the first couple of days JR was back at work were kinda hard. i was at home for most of the day but i wasn't able to get anything done besides unloading the dishwasher ... and breastfeeding maya ... over and over and over again. she is literally draining me of my life juices. no wonder she's gained so much weight!

    and it was three days since i last showered. yes, you heard me right: three days. i finally felt like i accomplished something today when i got to shower before 10am, i did a load of laundry, checked my email, went to the library with ian, made dinner and did the dishes. not bad, right?

    there's just so much to do but i have no energy to do anything. so, don't be surprised if i don't get around to blogging very often. i'm going to try, but i don't think i'll be online everyday ... at least, not until i start having withdrawals!


    day eleven

    we went back to the pediatrician this morning to have the girl checked out. we were there a week ago because the doctor wanted to make sure she wasn't snorting anymore. at that point she had lost some weight and was down to exactly six pounds. this morning? she was up to 7lbs 1oz. according to the doctor, newborns at this age are supposed to gain an ounce a day. she's ahead by 10 ounces! in one week she jumped from being in the 10th percentile for weight to being in the 25th percentile. so, she may not be snorting anymore, but she's still our little piggy!

    i'll be using our pink chick cushion every week to show how much she's grown -- thanks to lily's rooster once again for making it!

    p.s. her umbilical cord came off yesterday and fell on the floor. we wouldn't have known had JR not stepped on it.

    happy birthday #5

    just as grudge girl marveled at how it's been over a decade since she's become a mother, i too am astonished that i've finished year 5 of being a mom.

    i've had the pleasure of lavishing all of my attention on just my boy for almost five full years. i'm blessed to be his mom; i really couldn't ask for a better son. he's sweet, smart, sensitive and funny. i know he'll be a great brother to maya because he's just a great person, even at five years old.

    happy birthday, big guy!

    the name game part II

    on saturday we had a party at my parents' house because it was my mom's birthday that day, the boy's birthday on sunday, and it was time to have the girl's shichiya for her meimei (naming). JR's family (including his cousin who was in town) joined us for yummy food made by my mom, cake and presents.

    and i'm taking this opportunity to reveal the kids' names because i'm getting a bit tired of calling them "the boy" and "the girl." besides, the girl's name is clearly written on the meimei paper my mom calligraphed: maya. the boy's name is ian. JR remains JR 'cause it's easier that way!

    and how did we choose the name maya? well, it was the girl name we picked out when we were pregnant with ian. and the reason we picked it the first time around? because my parents had considered using it for my name when i was born. it's the name of a mountain behind my hometown in japan (kobe), which has a temple dedicated to the buddha's birth mother, whose name was maya. the name works in english and japanese, which is what we wanted.

    and, in the end, i relented so she has JR's last name and my last name as her middle name. i guess it's less confusing that way, but still ...


    for the boy's birthday JR and i decided we just couldn't do a birthday party this year because we weren't sure when the girl was going to be born. instead, we gave the boy the option of going to legoland with JR or taking some friends to see a movie. the boy chose legoland, which would be his first trip to a real amusement park.

    i was totally bummed that i couldn't go with them. i've taken the boy on almost every major outing (except sporting events) and i couldn't believe i was going to miss this one. i insisted that JR take lots of photos (i must've reminded him like ten times to take the camera and extra batteries). all day friday, while they were gone, i was kinda sad, but at least the boy had a great day.

    on the way home they dropped by JR's grandparents' house for dinner. the boy received his birthday present -- the newest addition to our family -- an R2D2 voice-activated robot! (the same one your family has, grudge girl!)

    home sweet home

    the girl and i came back to our house on friday after a week at my parents'. i was starting to get restless there, even though i was being totally taken care of. and, of course, i was really missing the boys. it was nice to get back to the familiarity of my own house and all the clutter that it entails; after the sparse (relative) neatness of my parents' house my own house looked like a total disaster zone even though nothing had changed since i was there last week.

    one of the best parts about getting home was that there was a package waiting for me from grudge girl. sweet, sweet grudge girl had sent gifts all the way from indiana for everyone in my family. there was an adorable hat and wonderfully girly degas book for the girl; star wars stickers (chosen by her son) and a fabulous david macaulay book for the boy; rice bowls for each of us (fyi, GG: the boy claimed the green monkey bowl as his own ... and i think i'll take the yellow kitty one!); and two great chicky mini-buttons, which i'm going to attach to the girl's diaper bag. i was totally thrilled to get such great goodies from a friend i made online! thank you sooooo much, grudge girl!

    the girl and i are still trying to figure out the best sleeping arrangements -- the first night we slept in the bed, but i had to leave the light on and i know neither JR or myself got any good rest. so the last two nights we've been sleeping on the couch, which is pretty darn comfortable. but when the boy wakes up early in the morning i have to move back to the bed. tonight we're going to try sleeping in the girl's room on the futon i borrowed from my parents. hopefully that will work out for all of us.

    tomorrow JR goes back to work. i have my doubts that things are going to go "back to normal" but i'll do my best: getting up in the morning to get the boy ready for school, getting some chores done (not!), getting dinner ready, and, of course, blogging!


    one week

    1. her hair is amazingly soft
    2. she burps with the best of 'em ... and spits up too!
    3. pink is not her color
    4. she cries during diaper changes during the day but not during changes at night
    5. she has hairy shoulders
    6. she has a crazy strong neck and she can already push herself up
    7. she has two swirls of hair on the back of her head (apparently, in japan, that means she's going to be a stubborn kid -- great!)
    8. she doesn't have baby fat yet
    9. she cries like a girl
    10. gotta love that newborn milky smell


    doing things a bit differently

    instead of going home from the hospital, i decided awhile back that i was going to go to my parents' house for a little while after the birth. it's not unusual in japan for the mother and baby to go back to her parents' home and the father to commute to see the baby (i don't think most men get paternity leave from their work). this way the mother is in a familiar environment and can be taken care of by people she's comfortable with.

    why did i decide to do this? well, number one, i'm lazy and i always jump at the chance to have someone else take care of me. who better than my mom? and, number two, JR made a boo-boo the first time around and i wasn't going to stand for that again.

    i tell this story all the time but i have to repeat it here, too. after the boy was born JR immediately got sick with a cold. that, coupled with the stress of being first-time parents and having to sleep on an uncomfortable cot at the hospital, made it worse. so, when we returned home from the hospital with the boy, JR was totally sick. he slept in the bed and the boy and i slept on the couch for three nights. not that JR requires a lot of attention when he's sick in bed, but i had to take care of a newborn and a sick spouse while dealing with my own afterbirth issues. as you can imagine, i didn't want to have to do that again. not that there was a guarantee that JR was going to get sick again with this birth, but you never know.

    when i told JR my plan to go to my parents' i think he thought i was kidding at first. then he realized i was totally serious. but he didn't object. honestly, i don't know how feels about my decision to do this because he never told me, but i'm sure he wasn't totally happy about it. so, for the last three days i've been staying with my parents around the clock while the boy and JR come to see us during the day before going home to sleep. JR takes the boy to school, comes over to my parents' house to spend a few hours with the girl, goes to pick up the boy, runs some errands and comes back in the late afternoon to be with us and have dinner.

    i know it can't be easy for JR. not only is he driving around all over the place taking care of business at home, but he's not spending a lot of time with the girl. i'm actually depriving him of the crucial bonding time with his daughter that he should be having while he has time off from work. and, being a typical mom, when he offers to burp her or just give me a few minutes without her, i say, "that's okay, she's fine where she is" and i continue to hold her.

    i'm totally grateful that he's going along with this without uttering a single complaint. it's allowed me to recover without worrying about any of the housework. because i know if i was at home i'd be overdoing it, trying to get things done and worrying about the boy. this way, i know i'm in good hands with my mom, the boy is in good hands with his father, and i can concentrate on the girl.

    originally i thought i would stay here for about 10 days. but i miss my boys. i really miss them. and the more i think about it, the wronger it seems that JR isn't with his daughter 24 hours a day and i'm not available for the boy when he needs his mom to be there during this transitional time for our family. so i'm going to go home soon. after all, my parents' house isn't my home anymore -- i have my own home and my own family. that's where i should be.

    lastly, i have to say that i seriously couldn't ask for a more understanding, cooperative husband. thank you JR. i love you.


    must. find. something. to. eat.

    here are some pictures taken by the boy of the girl "crawling" up JR's chest and attacking his neck.

    how to have a baby in under 20 minutes part II

    the girl headed off to the nursery while JR went to repark the car (the car was still in the emergency parking area), but he managed to catch up with the nurses and get these pictures of her getting goop put in her eyes and taking her first bath.

    during that time i sat around the l&d room by myself until my parents showed up. i was on an emotional, natural high. of course i was tired, i was sore, i was overwhelmed. but more than anything i was just excited that the girl was finally here. i had given birth again ... it's just such an amazing, unbelievable experience. and when it's such a whirlwind experience you can't help but stop to think about how crazy it was and be startled at how much your body can tolerate and withstand.

    and i started really thinking about how this tiny little creature was going to change my life and the lives of her father and brother. i hadn't thought about it too much while i was pregnant. i knew rationally how our everyday lives would change, but i had deliberately avoided thinking too hard about how our lives would change on an emotional level. i'm not sure if i was scared to think about it; i've been so comfortable with where we were as a family, the routines we had, the dynamics of just three people. and all that was going to change.

    but i put off thinking about it too much because i was just so tired. at around 3am they moved me to the regular hospital room. unfortunately, the maternity ward was so crowded that they put me into the "overflow" area, which are the older double rooms (the new rooms were singles that were remodeled last year). it was just me in there but there was no room (and no cots) for JR to stay with me. although reluctant, we decided that it would be better if JR went home to get some uninterrupted comfortable sleep so he could take the boy to school in the morning. i was sad that we would be separated on such a momentous night, but practicality won over sentimentality.

    the girl came back to the room after awhile and i fed her and looked at her. i have to repeat this, but it's just such an unbelieveable experience to look at this brand new, tiny little life and truly understand that she came out of your body. she's your child forever. it really is the miracle of life.

    the next day i got a roommate. the poor woman had just had a c-section, her baby was 2 months premature and in the nicu, the meds were making her vomit, and she had to come to this dingy room and share it with a girl who had a very easy birth. i felt so bad for her that she couldn't have her own room so she and her husband could have some privacy. (if i get a chance i'll elaborate on her circumstances.)

    i was feeling pretty good. the hospital staff wasn't overly attentive, even though i had heard really good things about the nursing staff at this particular hospital. i have to say that i had a much better hospital experience with my first birth. but it really didn't matter since i was recovering quickly and i could go to the bathroom and walk around the maternity ward on my own. the one thing about the staff that i appreciated was that they were willing to take the girl to the nursery pretty frequently so i could get some sleep. this was particularly helpful since most of the time i was alone and didn't have anyone to keep an eye on the girl while i dozed off.

    the one thing about the girl that we were concerned with was that she snorted A LOT while she breathed. it was like the opposite of most people: she snored while she was awake and breathed quietly while she slept. it was kinda funny because she sounded just like a little piggy, but it was also disconcerting because we wanted to make sure she could breathe easily and not aspirate. that was the one thing we had the doctors check for us over and over again.

    JR came back the next morning, my mom came in the afternoon, and my in-laws brought the boy to visit after school. the first thing he said was, "she's so small!" he had that "awwwww!" sound and expression and the gigantic-est grin on his face. it was really sweet to see him excited. i know it's going to be hard for him in the future because we're going to expect a lot and ask him to sacrifice some things while we raise the girl to be as independent as he is. i'm relieved and happy that at least his first impression of the girl has been positive.

    we were discharged on saturday afternoon. the boy chose to miss his soccer game that day so he could come to the hospital to get us. i was really glad to get out of there, even though i wouldn't have the luxury of the nursery staff taking the girl off my hands for a few hours every once in awhile. we could finally start our lives as a family of four!


    how to have a baby in under 20 minutes

    [warning: this is a very long, detailed post about the actual birth. some of you may find it interesting, but i wrote it for my own records.]

    [edited: 11.08.05]

    the easiest thing to do, of course, is to wait at home until the very last moment possible and then rush to the hospital. that's essentially what happened to us:

    after the ob appointment on thursday morning i started to think that this girl was just going to take her time in arriving. my regular ob was on vacation last week and i had met with another ob in her group that i'd never met before. after informing me that i was 2cm dilated she didn't mention anything about signs i should watch for or to call her if i started feelings contractions, and she said i should come back in a week. so i just went home to get on with my day and lead a "normal" life until the time came.

    i went to target to buy diapers (and the new 'star wars' dvd), i blogged, i helped the boy with his homework, made roast chicken for dinner, and settled in for a night of movie-watching with the boys. while watching 'revenge of the sith' my friend JM called. she's my best friend from japan who recently moved to jakarta. she and her family were visiting los angeles for a few days to go to disneyland and we were hoping to meet up during her brief visit. i informed her that nothing had happened with the baby so we could meet on saturday. i then half-jokingly said that i'd try my best to get her out while she was at disneyland so she could meet the girl.

    the boy fell asleep part way through the movie, but JR and i finished watching the movie. i even did the dishes. sometime around 9:30 we started watching 'pirates of the caribbean,' which was on tv. we were just hanging out, enjoying each other's company and relaxing. but then at 10 my stomach started to really hurt. i mentioned it to JR and he was the one who insisted we start timing the pain if it returned. he didn't trust me to make the right decisions about whether the pains were contractions (i have a certain history of thinking my contractions are not real). the second pain came about 15 minutes later. the next one was 8 minutes later. it hurt, but it wasn't unbearable; it could've been gas for all i knew.

    i decided to go to bed at a little after 10:30 but the pains continued. i tried to lie down but i couldn't hold still during the pains. JR was convinced these were contractions and i was starting to think the same. i became convinced when i felt like i had to go to the bathroom. that's what happened with my labor with the boy too; i felt like i had to have a bowel movement. so i was running in and out of the bathroom for awhile while JR continued to watch the clock and start finishing up the hospital bag packing. if i wasn't in the bathroom i was roaming between the bedroom and the living room, breathing hard during the pains, and grabbing anything i could to get me through the pain.

    JR called the ob sometime after 11 (at this point i wasn't in any condition to watch the clock) and left a message with the after-hours service. but the ob never called back and i was hurting. we decided to just go to the hospital. we had called my mother-in-law to get the boy and she arrived at midnight. we took off for the hospital and arrived 20 minutes later. during the car ride my contractions were four minutes apart. i was pretty scared that we weren't going to make it to the hospital on time because during my last visit to the toilet before leaving the house i had a huge urge to push. that got me off the toilet right away -- i wasn't going to have my baby on the toilet! i even contemplated telling JR to pull into the firestation on the way to the hospital because i thought i wouldn't make it.

    but we made it to the hospital and checked in at the maternity ward. the nurses were pretty casual and weren't in any rush to get me checked. maybe i looked okay because it was between contractions but they took their merry old time getting me into triage. the nurse wanted me to give her a urine sample before changing into a gown, and i was like "i don't think i can give you any pee at this point!" but i tried and again had a huge urge to push while i was in the bathroom. i had a contraction and when the nurses heard me grunting and moaning through it, i think they finally realized that i was farther along than they realized. they checked me and when the nurse saw that my water bag was about to burst she really kicked into gear. they were going to move me to labor and delivery, and the second i sat down in the wheelchair my water broke in a huge gush and i had another contraction. that's when they started to run down the hall towards the l&d room.

    when they got me there the nurses rushed around getting me hooked up to a fetal monitor, an iv, and an oxygen mask. they kept telling me to breathe deep for the baby and i tried so hard during the contractions not to push but it was incredibly hard not to. i focused on a sticker on the light on the ceiling and grabbed on to JR's hand. i remember JR's hand being cold and slightly damp. he wasn't saying much but i could tell he didn't know what to say because he was worried. [actually, according to JR, he was more scared of me than for me. during my labor with the boy i snapped at him a lot because he was bugging me and he didn't want to repeat that performance.]

    then i had a huge urge to push and when i did, i felt something starting to emerge. but since the nurses had been telling me to keep breathing, i thought i wasn't supposed to push so i sort of stopped. but at that point JR said, "you're doing it" and the nurses said to push so i exhaled hard and finished the push and felt something slip right out. "you did it. you did it." i remember JR saying that twice.

    without asking us, the nurses cut the umbilical cord and whisked the baby off to the heat table. i heard her healthy cry and i just felt tired at that moment. i held JR's hand and closed my eyes. i'd been hooked up to the fetal monitor for seven minutes; it was 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital. there was no time for a epidural. there was no ob there. it was just me, JR and the nurses.

    [i almost forgot that the afterbirth was possibly worse than the actual birth. the nurses wanted me to keep pushing to get the placenta out. i was making noises and trying to push but i could tell my abdomenal muscles were done working for the night. so the nurses starting pushing on my belly really hard to get it to come out. it was quite painful since the nurse kept jabbing at my belly button over and over and over again in the same spot. i still feel bruised there. meanwhile, another nurse showed us the umbilical cord: "look how long and curly it is! it looks like a telephone cord!" the nurse found it pretty amusing and kept holding it up to show us. JR didn't get a picture of that!]

    the ob finally arrived about 10 minutes later. she didn't really say anything to me, which was weird because she had been quite chatty during our appointment that morning. one of the nurses mentioned that i tore a little during the delivery. when the ob checked i heard her say, "that's not just a little!" and so she started the whole process of "sewing up my bottom," as she put it. i think the stitches took longer than the actual delivery, probably because of my "impressive hemorrhoids" that the doctor had to work around. while i lay there JR got to hold the girl and show her to me. just looking at her newborn face and talking with JR helped me to relax during the stitches. once the doctor was done, she said congratulations and left. that was it. crazy, huh?

    [i finally got a chance to hold the girl after the ob left. she felt so tiny and soft. i was startled at the amount of hair she had. it was so black -- much darker than the boy's hair was at birth. she definitely looks like me because she's much more "asian-y" with that shock of black hair. but at this point it's hard to say who she "really" looks like. i got to breastfeed her for a little while before the nurses took her to the nursery for her tests and bath.]

    JR got a chance to call my parents during the stitches. i hadn't had the time or energy to let them know we were going to the hospital (my mom was supposed to come with me) and i felt bad that they missed the birth. they were good enough to come out to the hospital to see me while i recovered. i'm also thankful to my in-laws for watching the boy that night and making him feel special as the big brother.

    [story to continue ...]



    the next "iron chef"?

    so i've already mentioned how i like to eat, but i also love to read food magazines, browse cookbooks, and watch food-related tv shows. we don't have cable so i only get to watch the food network every once in awhile. but more than those shows i enjoy a certain japanese show that my parents get on their japanese satellite tv : docchi no ryouri (which dish?) show. (it's also on ksci, channel 18, in los angeles, although i can't remember when.)

    each week they have two dishes pitted against each other and they prepare them during the show. (for example, the october 27th show pitted wonton ramen against chashu ramen -- i would've loved to see that one.) a panel of guests has to decide which dish they would rather eat. they get three chances during the show to "vote" for the dish that looks better at that point. after the third "vote" whichever dish has the more votes wins, and those who chose that dish get to eat it. the panelists who chose the other dish have to sit there and watch the others eat (japanese game shows are cruel that way).

    it's really fun to watch the preparation of each dish and try to guess which one is going to win. i also like that they feature restaurants that serve the dishes. (the website has recipes for each dish; it's all in japanese, though.)

    if you ever get a chance to see this show (it could be on other indpendent tv stations that show japanese shows), let me know what you think. i actually like it more than "iron chef."

    some progress

    four more days until my due date. i'm finally starting to relax about it and be okay with just letting nature take its course.

    i saw the ob this morning and after struggling to find my cervix (apparently it's waaaaaaay back there behind a few twists and turns) she said i was about 2cm dilated. and instead of losing my mucus plug in one fell swoop, apparently i'm losing it gradually. so no glob of mucus to look for unlike everyone else i know! (was that more info than you needed to know? i thought so.)


    food on my mind

    i like to eat. i can't remember when it started, but i find that food is a central part of my life. it's not like i'm a total foodie or gourmand; i don't make a gigantic effort to find the best restaurants or spend all my money on food. but i do like to eat. if the food makes me happy then it's done its job.

    lately i've been thinking about eating a lot. part of it is because i now get heartburn due to the pregnancy and i have to watch what i eat. i never experienced heartburn until i got pregnant and it really puts a damper on meal time (and i finally understood how horrible it was for JR, who gets heartburn quite frequently). but regardless of the threat of heartburn i can't help but imagine food in my belly.

    today i had a hankering for cha siu bao and other dim sum-y things. i've always liked cha siu bao, but today i REALLY had to have a hot one. i could just feel my teeth sinking into the chewy, but soft, bun and taste the sweetness of the pork on my tongue. and, of course, i couldn't just stop with bao -- i'd have to have some jiaozu (sp?), siumai and hargow too. and, to top it all off, i would get some congee, rice porridge, with 100-year duck egg. unfortunately, the closest place that has good dim sum is 15 minutes away and i just didn't feel like going out (especially since i have to fill up the gas tank in the car) or spending money.

    instead, i found myself eating a can of chili from TJ's and then snacking on six mini snickers bars from our halloween bowl. sad, isn't it?

    on a daily basis i've really been craving sushi. i know, i know, pregnant women aren't supposed to eat sushi, but i'm japanese ... i'm immune to whatever's bad in sushi! if there's one thing i know won't give me heartburn during pregnancy, it's sushi. the only thing stopping me from having sushi everyday is the cost!

    other than that i love noodles. i haven't had it in months, but i often think about vietnamese pho noodles with meat, tendon and tripe mixed with tons of bean sprouts. i don't like to complicate the beef broth so i keep mine plain except for the addition of a few chilies. a side of summer rolls is good too.

    but more than any other kind of noodle, i enjoy a hot steaming bowl of wonton mien, chinese egg noodles with wontons. i have yet to find a satisfactory bowl of noodles near where i live (not that i've been looking very diligently). i did, however, find a frozen kind that i'm content with at the chinese market. i just had the last of it on friday and after finishing off my bowl, i sat there in a daze for about 10 minutes just thinking about wontons.

    and, last but not least, i always like ramen noodles. i'm particularly a fan of the tonkotsu (pork-based) soup, but lately i've also awakened to the spicy tantan-men. yummy! unfortunately, LA is not particularly known for its ramen restaurants. the special ramen at santouka in the mitsuwa marketplace in torrance is pretty good, and i know there are a few more places i should try out but nothing has jumped out at me as really good ramen. you gotta get the "real deal" in japan.

    so, that's what's been on my mind as of late. i'm trying not to think about the baby ... just about what i'll eat after the baby arrives!