Silly me, what was I thinking?

Random musings that Chris and the cats don't want to hear anymore...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

So tired

I've been wanting to blog. When I'm in the shower, I start composing entries. But I can't seem to find that elusive intersection of time, energy, and state of mind necessary to sit down and write something.

So, in brief: Lilian You-Ying Hales-Yang was born on Saturday, November 1, at 4:30 a.m. She weighed 7 lbs., 15 oz. and measured 21 inches long. My water broke around 8 a.m. on October 31, so we thought we had a Halloween baby on the way, but she had different ideas. We were discharged from the hospital the following Monday and went home, where my family was waiting with open arms and hot food. The next 24 hours were among the worst of my life: my milk was late coming in, the baby was hungry, and we both cried for a lot of those 24 hours. The home-care nurse that UCSF sent and a nurse-practitioner in the pediatrician's office set us on a path back to happiness, my milk finally showed up, and we've been doing better and better since. At nearly 3 weeks old, she weighs over 9 lbs. and has thus far been a pretty chill baby. She cries, of course, but so far, we've been able to figure out why and remedy the situation. Our longest stretch of sleep has been about 4 or 5 hours each, but only because we each take a middle-of-the-night feeding (Chris gives her a bottle of expressed breastmilk). I still wake every time she so much as squeaks, though, so my 4-hour stretches of sleep are not without interruption.

I'm working on some posts, including a detailed version of the delivery (mostly for my benefit--there's some goriness involved) and some other stories and observations, but there's no telling how long that will take me.

This is currently my favorite picture of Lily:


Saturday, October 18, 2008


Wow, has it really been that long since I last posted? I just finished my first week of maternity leave (no baby yet...her official due date is October 26) and what I've learned is that while I am very good at wasting time when I have a lot on my to-do list, I am very bad at relaxing and doing nothing when I don't have a to-do list to fret about. I end up fretting about, well, not having anything to do. How stupid am I? Actually, I do have a to-do list, but everything on it is contingent on us getting the drywall repaired in the baby's room. We've known for a while that we needed some electrical work done in the hallway outside the baby's room and we've been dragging our feet. What we didn't know is that that work required pulling power from the baby's room, which required cutting holes in the walls of her room, which we'd already painted. So now the electrical work is done, but the holes are still there. This will be remedied on Monday, so starting Tuesday, I'll be free to nest and fret to my heart's desire.

Actually, she'll be sleeping in our room for at least the first month probably, so even if she were to arrive before the work is all done, it would be okay. Just not ideal. I've finished pre-washing all her tiny clothes and linens, we have 80 cloth diapers ready to be pooped on, and our freezer is stocked with food. So now, it's just waiting. I am not good at waiting, especially when what I'm waiting for is so exciting. Chris said he jumps a little every time I call him at work, so I've taken to starting every call with, "I'm not in labor!" instead of "Hi!"

I just need to take a moment here to state the obvious: baby clothes are so freaking tiny! I can't get over it. The socks are especially adorable. I can't believe she'll be so small.

Okay, back to waiting.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Amnesia and survival

I had lunch today with Irvin and Karen, which was fun and entertaining as it always is. Irvin and I haven't seen each other in a while, so we got caught up and he asked me the usual questions, like how I'm feeling and how the pregnancy is progressing. And then he asked, "Do you enjoy being pregnant?" And I had to stop for a moment to think about that, because no one really asks. And the short answer is, "not really." I've been really lucky thus far, in that I have had an easy pregnancy. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being a dream pregnancy and 10 being a nightmare pregnancy, I think mine has been around a 2 or 3. There have definitely been little problems here and there, but nothing that required medical attention or that proved to be more than a minor annoyance. And yet, I can't think of any reason I'd prefer to be pregnant than not be pregnant.

Over the years, I've gone back and forth on whether I wanted kids, but the one constant has been that I've wanted to experience pregnancy and birth. For a lot of women, I think it's the other way around: they want the kids, but don't want bother of pregnancy. For me, going through the physical experience of being pregnant was always an issue of intellectual curiosity. It's definitely one of those things that you can try to describe to someone who hasn't experienced it, but almost impossible, I think, to really convey the entire experience. The problem for me right now is that, well, I've experienced it! I know what it's like to feel nauseous and exhausted, to be unwieldy and yet still growing, to feel an active baby kicking and punching, to feel the physical aches and pains and the mental and emotional worries about the baby growing, to experience how pregnancy changes a simple act like turning over in bed or getting out of a low-slung chair...and now, I'm kind of ready for it to be over. Been there, done that, time to move on.

Which brings me to the amnesia part. You often hear women talk about how they forget what pregnancy and labor are like and how that obviously must be a genetic survival mechanism, because who in their right mind would want to go through that again? I can see now how absolutely true that is and again, I've had an easy time of it, so I can imagine that if I feel this way, women who have it much tougher must feel the entire 40 weeks dragging by. Being in the thick (ha) of it right now, I can honestly say that I'm glad I did this and got to see what it's like and I'm 100% excited about meeting the baby and watching her grow, but I don't know if I want to be pregnant again. And yet, Chris and I have always talked about having 2 kids. So unless we decide to adopt or use a surrogate, I will have to go through this whole thing again. And in order to do that, I'm going to have to forget the downsides of this pregnancy. And I have no doubt that I will, because even many of the women I know who had horrible first pregnancies (including my own mother) went on to do it again. They managed to forget, so I know I will too. (Either that or they are just mentally tougher than I am.) The survival of the human species depends on that amnesia.

That said, there is one thing that makes me a little sad when I think about giving birth and being done with the pregnancy itself. The baby and I, we are this little system right now. She's fully contained within me and fully dependent on me. In a way, it's the most private relationship possible. Chris can feel her kick when he's around and she's awake, and he has his own interpretations of her personality based on her actions. But I'm the only one who is with her every moment of the day. I feel every single little squirm, bump, and kick and I'm the only one who can. At this moment, I don't have to share her with anyone. A part of me is always tuned into her because she's always there. I feel like I know her intimately and I think I will miss that once she's born. Naturally, an entirely different and ultimately richer relationship will develop once she's on the outside, but for now, I still get to have this one little thing that's just mine.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Odds and ends

We've been so busy lately, I haven't had time to sit and collect my thoughts. I still haven't quite collected my thoughts, so this is just brain dumping:

1. L.A. baby shower: my sister and parents hosted a baby shower in Cerritos and invited both families and close friends. I've never been quite comfortable being the center of attention, so I requested a co-ed shower, which turned out great. The dinner was awesome (thanks, Stella!), the cake was tasty, the company was excellent, and now, our little baby will be the belle of the ball. She has no shortage of adorable, pink outfits. Someone asked, "What if the doctor was wrong and you're having a boy?" I guess he'll have to be a boy who wears a hell of a lot of pink!

2. Birth preparation class: we took the intensive, one-day childbirth prep class offered through UCSF last Saturday. It was a lot of information to take in in one sitting, but overall, we both found the class valuable. There was a lot of discussion about pain medications and we watched footage of actual births, including one all-natural birth, one helped with narcotics, and one with an epidural. There's still a lot of information to sift through, but I feel more informed and ready to deal with the birth. I might be singing a different song when the time comes, of course.

3. We just hired someone to do the housecleaning for us. Chris has been advocating this move for a long long time, but I've resisted. As it turns out, I have a strong streak of Protestant work ethic. I just had a hard time dealing with the idea of paying someone to do something that I can do for myself. But the reality is that I can't really do it anymore, at least not as easily, and it's only going to get harder. As a result, the bulk of the housekeeping falls to Chris, but given the time demands of his job, it came down to hiring someone or resigning ourselves to living in squalor. Make that squalor + fur. So we hired someone to come every other week. She's coming for the first time this week. We spent part of the weekend picking up stuff around the house so she'd be able to clean (it's hard to clean surfaces that you can't actually see) and the house is already looking way better than it has in a long time. Ironic that it took hiring someone to clean to get us to pick up the crap around the house.

4. I've definitely moved out of the wonderful pregnancy glow of the second trimester. I'm not exactly suffering any serious complications, but it's just not as comfortable. Obviously, my belly is getting even bigger and that makes it harder to do simple things. For the past few weeks, I've been having pain over my pubic bone, as though someone had kicked me square in the crotch. It's normal and expected pain, but knowing that doesn't help it hurt less. Sometimes, just walking is painful enough to make me short of breath. Now I'm having this weird issue with the Eustachian tube in my left ear. For a few days, it was randomly clearing, even though I couldn't tell it was clogged. It would suddenly clear and everything would instantly sound louder. Today, it's not doing that. Instead, every 30 seconds or so, I hear a faint click/pop sound in that ear. It's surprisingly annoying for such a minor bother. I'm beginning to think I'm playing host to some little insect. (Gross.)

5. Someone needs to figure out how to make pregnancy disability and family leave from work easier to figure out. Even the people in our benefits office are not always clear on what the rules are and need to confer with each other to figure out each person's specific situation. How I long for the ease and generosity of the parental leave rights of Sweden!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why it's good to be very pregnant

I got out of jury duty today because I'm very pregnant. The judge told us it would be a 4-week trial, starting a week from today and the schedule would be Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. to noon. He told us we could fill out a personal hardship form but that many would probably be denied. I filled out the form and said that I have bi-weekly OB appointments now and will soon have weekly OB appointments and that my OB probably could not accommodate Friday afternoon only appointments for me. And I got approved for a hardship dismissal! Thanks, baby!

However, I do not recommend pregnancy if getting out of jury duty is your only goal.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

That gust of wind is my sigh of relief

You know what's better than maternity pants with the stretchy waistbands? Dresses with no waistbands.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Grow the hell up!

Chris sent me this, which made me laugh out loud.