Sunday, September 27, 2009

Now I am nervous

In 12 hours I will be going to the hospital to deliver via C-section. Having this much advance notice is oddly reassuring and freakin scary all at the same time. Reassuring b/c I can arrange for child care, make lists and plan, Bill can get vacation time in advance, etc. But scary b/c I remember how crappy I felt during and after.

With Lana, I was induced, but it was determined that my pelvic bones are way too narrow to allow a baby's head through, so I was taken back for a C-section. I never read the chapter on C-sections in What to Expect.. and we missed the birth class on C-sections, so I was pretty oblivious at the time, getting wheeled to the OR. This time though, I know what's coming and I am not looking forward to it. Perhaps you or someone you know had a C-section and was walking around that afternoon and running a marathon that weekend, but I thought it was pretty painful and I was surprised how immobile I was and for how long.

I know it will be fine, I will get some percoset, in two weeks I will be almost feeling like I can get out of bed, etc. But I still feel nervous about surgery--things happen. My OB is coming home from vacation today and I have the first case tomorrow--he better not be jet lagged. But even with a well-rested and competant surgeon, things happen. So say a quick prayer for me and little baby. I don't want any surprises--just a routine surgery and a healthy baby.

Bill will be with me during the day, but will come home to be with Lana in the evening and overnight. My inlaws will have her during the day and will likely help out with me at home, once I am released and Bill goes back to work next week. My mom is staying the nights with me in the hospital. I am so lucky to have so much help this time, especially compared to last time.

So that's it. I am nervous, but excited. I feel like I am about to defend my dissertation or take the SATs. Something big and life-changing is about to happen. I had a raspberry jelly donut today to take the edge off--it helped. I hope my good eating habits return once this baby is out. I am not going to live a long life on nachos, nutella and jelly donuts. Tomorrow we are a family of four!

Here are some final pregnancy photos taken yesterday:

This one was from last weekend--I feel sorry for my shirt, its almost not going to make it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My big girl

Dear Lana,

I am feeling so proud of you lately and a little sad that our time with just the two of us is almost over. I know that your little sister will be a gift to you ultimately, even though you may not see it that way for a long time. But, you have become my little buddy, my girl, no wait--my big girl.

You go to school now and you will tell anyone who will listen about school--literally anyone--people off the street--you broadcast how much you love school. You tell me about your new friends, who was the special leader, who you played table toys with. You tell me about circle time, what songs Miss Sue teaches you, the books that are read, and of course the snack--very important indeed.

You finally are totally going on the potty all the time with no accidents--hooray for that! But I know you are proud of yourself and that this qualifies you for official big girl status in your eyes. You remind me every day about which toys are for big girls and which toys are suitable for babies. Sometimes I want you to stop growing up so fast--like when you say you like Hannah Montana--yikes! How do you know about Hannah Montana? You are only 3?? You tell me you saw her in the Disney Store and she has beautiful long hair and makeup. Okay, stop it--you are really making me nervous. Wubbzy is still cool, right? I love Wubbzy!

I know we are making a huge deal about you being a big girl and your new role as big sister in our family, but you are ready for it. Miss Independent, you are not a follow-the-crowd-kind of girl. You have a great spirit and I am always impressed when you approach other kids (even older kids) to politely ask for a turn. I would have never done this at your age! It was too scary for me, but not for you!

Your imagination astounds me--it is so creative, you make us laugh and when you laugh, well life is perfect b/c you have the best belly laugh in the whole world. I love your made-up princess fairy tales, your birthday parties for Hello Kitty and your dance moves. I especially love introducing you to your audience--it goes something like this, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Mama proudly presents Miss Lana Ru-Yi starring as the magician of the night--YAY!!!" (cue clapping and your grand entrance). I also have been loving your help in the kitchen--you make some killer pancakes and you can crack an egg almost as good as I can.

You have been sweet, oh so sweet. I know you are saving sour Lana for when I bring home your little sister, which is okay. Its going to be rough for me too. I will be crabby too. I feel like these last few days are creeping up on me. I want to enjoy every minute of you, undivided. I feel sad that from now on things will be different. I will miss our morning cuddles especially. I will figure out a way that we can still have our special time and I hope that you know you will always be my special big girl. Your face makes me smile and you are by far my greatest accomplishment in life.

So I know things are about to change and get a little tricky, but just know that I am proud, so very proud of my big girl.

Love, Mom

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Our Saturday

Today we had a memorial service for my dad here. He had a funeral back on the east coast a few weeks ago. My dad's wife was thoughtful enough to send some of his ashes to me in a beautiful little urn. We decided to have them buried at a local cemetery so that we could have a place to visit Dad, talk to him, bring flowers, take the girls. My inlaws already have purchased plots and we were able to get another plot in the same row, which will be very convenient in the future. So this week, I asked my friends for suggestions for poems and prayers, I spoke to the pastor, I got all the paperwork ready and yesterday I went to our garden an clipped some flowers to bring. I was actually kind of impressed with the arrangement I made, especially b/c I am not good at it and its fall, so my pickings were kind of slim. I dreaded today. A lot. I spent the whole week an insomniac, I cried often. Just thinking about having another goodbye to my dear father was overwhelming--like ripping the band-aid off all over again.

We woke up to a rainy day--a pouring rain, but the weather cleared out just in time for us to get to the cemetery. They had a tent set up, with 5 chairs to accomodate all of us--myself, Bill, mom, and my inlaws. Lana squirmed on my lap and chatted a bit, but overall she behaved quite well, considering. The pastor was terrific--he kept it simple and personal and we had the opportunity to tell some happy memories at the end--which each of us did. The sun even came out for a bit--I am not saying its divine intervention or anything, but it was uplifting to see the sun while we were talking about our memories of Dad. It was hard for me to say goodbye again, but I am comforted that a part of him is here with us, in a place he thought was so beautiful. I only wish he could have spent more time in life here--exploring the Pacific NW with us and enjoying his grand daughters. All in all the day was easier than I thought it would be, although I felt pretty tired and blue the rest of the day.

When we came home, we focused on getting the final details worked out for the baby's arrival. I washed all of the newborn clothes. My mom cleaned out our basement freezer and plugged it in, so we can put some meals in there. Bill installed the car seat base into the minivan, cursing the entire time--why is that such a maddening feat? Bill also had a fun time sanitizing the Diaper Champ which was pretty funky. I packed my bag for the hospital (finally). It felt good to get ready. I can't believe a week from Monday (or sooner) she will be here. A new baby, a new life. Holy shit, I can't believe we are starting over, doing it all again. I won't be sleeping, my boobs are going to hurt, 10 poops a day, the spitting up, hauling around that diaper bag. Will I remember how to do the baby thing? It was such a blur the first time around.

Lana had kind of a rough day too. She came down with a cold yesterday and didn't sleep well or long enough and she was a cranky cranky crankerton this morning. She cried about getting dressed, she screamed and threw a fit about putting on her shoes, she tantrumed about absolutely everything. It was nothing short of miraculous that she made it through the memorial service and lunch without incident. Then I got her a fat nap this afternoon which restored her back to normal, but now its 10:30pm and she is still awake in her room talking away.

Now I am relaxing with some strawberries I am spreading with nutella. I am obsessed with nutella all of a sudden. I don't know why, but its good, real good.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Make me laugh--just try it.

I am having this problem where I feel a little detached from the rest of the world. I look around me and everyone seems happy and normal and as much as I want to join them, I just can't. I feel this weight of sadness that I would love to just shake off, but I can't. Feeling depressed is something I am not used to--its not familiar at all. I am all about anxiety--now that is familiar--being stressed, keyed up, an insomniac, tightly wound--yes, that I know, but sad and depressed--its a new world and I don't like it. Not like I enjoy being all stressed, but at least I have some general coping mechanisms there. I am trying to be social, to be happy at least at times where its appropriate, to laugh, but I can't help feeling like there is a cloud that surrounds me that I can't really see through completely. Bill is being so supportive by recognizing that I am grieving, that I am not going to be in the best mood or the most patient. He is good like that and I am grateful that I have a partner who gets me so well.

But this kid of mine knows how to crack me up. In my darkest moments, she will just say something that makes it impossible to stay sad. Like the other day I was crying, no sobbing would be more like it and she was watching tv. She said to me, "Mommy, you are crying too loud, I can't hear the tv--can you be quiet please?" Little stinker! But I had to laugh. Yesterday I was in the shower, feeling blue and when I got out she was all decked out in her pink sparkly shoes, yellow jammies, her fairy wings on upside-down and fairy wand in hand, dancing like a maniac to classical music--seriously, how can I not laugh at this one? Or like when she was splashing in the lake with Bill yesterday (we are having a mini-heat wave) and she slipped and fell, almost going under and she jumps up with surprise and says, "WHO TURNED OUT THE LIGHTS???!!" Bill and I both laughed our heads off.

Grief is a weird process for me. I have never lost anyone close to me. I don't know how to act, how to be, how long this feeling will last. I am wishing I could stay pregnant for another month b/c I am suddenly feeling totally and completely not ready. People are assuring me that, like Lana, this baby will give me that feeling of happiness or at least take the edge off of the sadness. Lana is so great at making me laugh these days and I am so grateful to be laughing instead of yelling, as I so often do with the stubborn 3 year old. Kids are such a wonderful gift.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gratitude, compassion and poop

How's that for a title? So much is going on and I have so little time, so this is going to be one of those I am all over the place kind of posts.

The sympathy cards are pouring in every day. They have not stopped. Its crazy, really. Beautiful letters and notes from friends, relatives I haven't seen in 15 years, friends' parents, even one from my Dad's boss whom I have never even met. They don't make me sad, they make me proud of my Dad and they make me smile. Weird. I am grateful, so very grateful for all of these people who are thinking of me during this time. Its overwhelming the love I feel from others.

I have received compassion and grace in the strangest of places. Like my father in law, who is not confident enough in the English language to say much of anything to me directly, said to me: "In the Chinese Buddhist tradition, when a man passes away peacefully, like your daddy, it means that he was a good man, the best kind of man and now he is in Paradise." It was very touching to me and strangely reassuring. Perhaps b/c I often think--what if my whole belief system is not how the world works? It was helpful on some level to think that even from the Buddhist point of view, Dad is in a good place and he is happy.

Then there is Lana. She asks me where is heaven. I told her up in the sky, higher than the clouds. She waves to Grandpa Dennis up in the sky. She makes him a pretend blueberry pie, wraps it up in a box with a ribbon and a note, "To Grandpa, from Lana. We miss you." and she throws it toward the sky and asks me if he likes it. She asked me if Grandpa sleeps on the fluffy soft white clouds and if he still is feeling sick. The perspective of a 3 year old is so fascinating.

I am doing the best I can to cope with all of this. I guess its relatively easy for me b/c I am far away and I am just going about my business. When I stop and think about it, of course I feel very sad, and I expect that as time goes on it will hit me in different and unexpected ways, especially as the baby comes along and as the holidays approach. I have also been very distracted b/c my grandparents came for a visit from Florida and stayed with us for the past week and a half. My uncle and his girlfriend from Arizona were here too. So to say I have been busy is an understatement. They all left this morning and I am trying to take a deep breath in and enjoy some solitude.

Finally, the poop part: LANA FINALLY POOPED ON THE POTTY!!! Big news people, big news! She has been pee trained since last year November, but has been very scared about pooping on the potty--she has been asking for a Pull-Up, crapping in it and then we changed her right away--we have been doing this for months and months. I was beginning to think she would be starting Kindergarten with a Pull-Up in her back pack. I had tried all the methods--bribery, encouragement, forgetting about it, naked days, undies or nothing at all (she held it for a week), cutting a hole in the pull-up and sitting her on the potty, but none of it worked. Then my mom took her to the toilet and after she peed, my mom said, "When you poop, this is how we will wipe" and she gave her a demo. I think this did the trick. Maybe she was confused about how she would get cleaned up? The next day, she did it and here's the best part--she did it for Bill!! He misses all the milestones, but he was thrilled and honored to get the pooping one! She has done it now consistently for 4 days and she is so very proud of herself. I swear I almost cried when I saw her face beaming with pride that she finally did it. Then I called myself lame and got over it. We made a huge deal about it. We baked a cake, she got the Spaghetti Factory Play Doh set she has been coveting, Bill even did a handstand and knocked the pictures off the wall by mistake! It is such a great gift to me especially with the new baby coming (3 more weeks--eek!).

So there you have it, the serious, the surprising and the totally ridiculous. I guess that's how I should answer when people ask me, "So how are you doing?" Or I could just say that I am doing as well as can be expected.

Friday, September 4, 2009


My Daddy is gone. He died last Thursday, two days after my last post. He passed away peacefully in home hospice care after receiving visits from friends, family and phone calls from his cousin, my mom and myself. He was 62. Lung cancer took his life so quickly--he was diagnosed when I was in my first trimester and here I am about to deliver and he is already gone. He was doing well on chemo--it was working--the cancer was shrinking and then out of nowhere, the cancer grew, then spread and within 2 weeks of us knowing the chemo stopped working, he died. I feel so much sorrow that I didn't travel to see him to say goodbye, but we did Skype and I know he knew it was me, although he was unresponsive by then. The vision of him lying in the hospital bed, puffy, unable to speak is one I wish I didn't have in my brain. I know he is in a better place and his suffering is over. But I have such enormous grief and sadness, I don't really know what to do with these emotions.

I have been completely overwhelmed by the level of support I am receiving from family and friends. Every single email message, sympathy card, handwritten letter and phone call is so very appreciated. Although I feel so much sadness, I have truly never felt so loved and supported by so many people. It is truly amazing when I stop and think about it.

I listened to his funeral via telephone and I wanted to share the letter I wrote that was read at his service:

It is my sincere regret that I am unable to attend my dear father's funeral services. He meant the world to me and I will miss him every day for the rest of my life. I made a promise to him that I would make sure that his granddaughters will know him through photos, stories and his legacy will live on in them. I am so grateful that he walked me down the isle at my wedding and had fun times with Lana and I feel so much sadness that he never got to experience the joy of holding his second granddaughter who is yet to come. When I think of all the experiences he will never share with my family, my heart is truly broken.

Dad was such a warm and sincere person. He was also wickedly funny and laid back. My dad used to love to read books to me when I was little and thought nothing of spending hours lying on the floor coloring pictures of all things girly. He was such an attentive father--the kind of father who was destined to have a daughter, just because he was so good at it. He was always my biggest supporter in life--taking such pride in my accomplishments and hugging me close during life's disappointments. He was never critical or judgemental. He taught me how to play tennis, how to drive and how to cook. He loved a fancy supermarket almost as much as I do. Any struggles that we had as a family when I was growing up were always overshadowed by the love we felt for one another, his sense of humor and the appreciation we had for simple things.

So much of who I am as a person has been influenced by my dad. But it has become evident over the last several days that I am not the only one. I have easily 100 messages from people who knew my dad, some recently, some from years ago with general heartfelt comments about Dad's character and some with very specific memories of him. One friend said that he was a sincere, humble and gentle person who touched anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. Another said that he will always remember my Dad's corn chowder, love of Pink Panther movies and his uniform of a sweatshirt, jeans and slippers.

I am so grateful that my dad found love again in his life. He loved you Martie and you gave him so much joy and a renewed sense of purpose. He often talked about how blessed he was to have a second chance at love and how lucky he was to be surrounded with a great big family and many loyal friends who accepted him like he had always been there.

My dad is so special to me, but I know he is special to so many people. I am so comforted to know he is no longer suffering, that he is in a better place, reunited with his parents. Although right now my frief is infinite, he will always be with me in my heart.

As if the past week wasn't interesting enough, as I went to my routine OB appointment, he found I was measuring small and sent me for an ultrasound. The ultrasound revealed that my amniotic fluid was very very low. I was admitted to L&D and monitored for a few hours. This was the very day my Dad passed away. I was released and told to hydrate like crazy, rest and come back for another test 48h later. I did hydrate and we all worried and then I went back and my fluid levels were normal--not just normal, but on the high side of normal. My OB determined it was probably the ultrasound tech's inexperience and I got an abnormal result by mistake. Whatever the case is, I cannot believe how one little human error could cause so much stress and worry to us at a time when we were already stressed and worried to the max. I'd like to think it was my Dad's (or God's) way of alleviating my guilt for not traveling, but the truth is that its probably just a weird coincidence.

Now we have the task of getting ready for this new baby. I have kind of let go of a lot of my expectations for a good breastfeeding experience and hoping she is not colicky, etc. I just want a healthy baby and all the rest we will just figure out. I know my Dad is still with me--in my heart, in my girls. I can feel his presence, as corny as that sounds. I know that grieving is a process and I am only at the beginning, but we will get there. I have a wonderful support system and a new baby to welcome into the world.

What the fuck is wrong with the font colors? This is so distracting, but I don't have the energy to fight with it anymore--damn you blogger.