Toddler Mom

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since my last post!  What a whirlwind, this parenthood thing.

My daughter is 15 months as of yesterday, and a joy.

Well, generally.  This week she’s been really, really into daddy, and not so much into mommy.  She barely acknowledges that I’m there sometimes, and actually pushed me away yesterday when I tried to hug her.

This morning, however, I was starting to take it personally and she sensed it, which was amazing.  Her daddy held her, and she stopped what she was doing, locked eyes with me, and stroked my face.

Melt.

Being a mom is like re-learning how to live.  A non-parent co-worker of mine said it best last week: “You spend your whole life working to make your life as perfect as possible – save money, right job, right spouse – in order to prep for a baby.  Then, you have a baby, and they blow everything up.”

I’m paraphrasing.

Here’s an even better way to look at it:

Coke Ad About New Parenthood

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that after 15 months, I’ve finally gotten my shit together enough to start writing one blog entry.

Let’s talk about being a Fat Asian Chick.

I met two huge milestones these past few weeks.  I made it under 200 pounds for the first time in ages, and better yet, my doctor just gave me the okay to stop taking insulin!  My diabetes is in check based on my stellar A1C blood test; I’m exercising at a more reasonable 2-4 times a week; I’m getting more sleep; and generally just being healthier overall.

I am four, little pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight!

[Mentally dancing at my desk right now.]

My next health goal is to lose 20 more pounds, hopefully within the next six months.  If all goes well, and other factors fall into place, we’ll start trying for another baby!

Hopefully.  Let’s do this madness again.

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Healthy Update and Humorous Anecdote

I spent the morning at the local EDD office waiting to speak to someone about my disability payments (why having a baby is a disability eludes me).  They gave me a number and told me that it would be a two to four hour wait.

By the fifth hour, my boobs were leaking.  Profusely.  I did not anticipate quite so long a wait, and forgot to bring breast pads the one time that I needed them.  My nursing bras were nowhere to be found, so I wore a constricting regular bra.

Thank God I was wearing a black top, because with the milk build-up (I’m suppose to nurse or pump every three hours), and the tiny infants spread throughout the waiting room with their mewling cries, my blouse was sopped by the time I left.

Hopefully, no one was looking too closely.

As far as healthy lifestyle changes go, I’ve cut my portion sizes and caloric intake by a lot – not counting calories, but I’m not doing the “I’m-breastfeeding-so-that’s-my-excuse-to-eat everything” diet anymore.  Instead of 3-4 servings of something, I’ll have 1-2.  I’m eating lots more fruit and lots less carbs, especially white carbs.

Best of all, I’m not eating all the time anymore.  I eat when I’m hungry, instead of eating when I get bored.  Or stressed.  Or upset.  Or happy.  Or because there’s food there and I’m thinking about it.

In terms of exercise, this FitBit One device has made all the difference.  My goal is 10,000 steps a day, and although I’ve made it to about 8K today and yesterday, I feel really good.  I’m making conscious decisions to walk further in all of my daily activities.  When I have a moment to myself, even 15 minutes, I do something active.  (Except, of course, when I’m blogging.)

In turn, it’s making me think about exercising more to win the dietbet.com challenge, so today I did 30 minutes of yoga at home, creaking all the way.  To top it off, I did about 30 reps of different kettlebell exercises.

I feel great, but it’s going to hurt in the morning.

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Flashback – Birth Story

As we got closer and closer to my November 5th due date, my OB and my perinatologist kept close watch on Noelle’s position in my belly.  She was in a breech position, she was big, and I had at least two fibroids, which meant that I would have to have a scheduled C-section.  Up to this point we had still been hoping to experience a natural birth – well, natural as in vaginal, but with an epidural – but it wasn’t meant to be.

The doctor scheduled it for Tuesday morning, October 30th.  It was one of the most frightening and amazing experiences of my life.

We arrived while it was still dark, and we were running late.  We got there at 5:15 a.m. instead of 5:00 a.m., but the nurses didn’t say anything.  We went to a birthing room, took pictures, smiled at each other nervously.  I changed into a gown and after a while, they prepped me for the doctor.

I held my husband’s hand as long as I could before they rolled me to the operating room.  They ushered my husband into the final recovery room, to wait until they were ready for him to enter the OR.

The OR was filled with unknown and intimidating instruments and machines.  It was noticeably colder than the rest of the hospital, made more acute by the thin blanket and the even thinner gown.  The anesthesiologist was there, a slight woman from China, who tried to comfort and calm me.  I wish I could remember her name.

There was a nurse, but my OB was not there yet.

I started to get scared – really, really scared.  They sat me on the edge of the table, and made me arch my back and administered the needle.  I think they did a spinal tap, not an epidural.  (The whole experience is fuzzy in places for me, hence this record.)  It hurt.

They laid me down quickly, and then slanted my whole body to the left, so that I felt like I was almost falling off the table.  There was no warning until they were going to do it, which added to the disorientation.  I am still not sure what the reason for this was.  I immediately felt numb from the waist down – completely, utterly numb.  It scared the shit out of me.

I was crying.  There was activity all around me.  My doctor, and at least two others, came in.  There was probably one or two more nurses.  Everyone was being very efficient, and it was all very intimidating.

They raised the blue divider between my face and the surgery site, and finally, finally let my husband in.

He took one look at my terror-stricken face and took my hand.  I think he kissed me.  He stayed seated by my side for a long time, and stared into my eyes and comforted me.

There was tugging, like my mother said there would be, but no pain.  There was the smell of burning flesh at times.  I felt poking and prodding, and conversation floated in and out.  I asked my husband if he would like to watch, and he said no, he wanted to be here focused on me.

I have never loved him more up to that point.

After a while, the doctor asked him if he would like to see Noelle come out.  He looked at me questioningly, and I nodded.

A minute later, there was laughter.  Even my husband started laughing.

What the hell could be funny at a time like this?

“She peed on the doctor!”

My petite Filipino doctor had pulled out one leg, then two, and then her little butt, but Noelle was resisting and holding herself in my uterus with her little arms!  The doctor was tugging her out, getting frustrated, and Noelle was pissed.  So, she pissed on the doctor.  Actually, it was most likely being exposed to the cold air that did it.  It just so happened that it was a strong enough stream to hit the short doctor in the face, twice.

They took her to aside to an incubator, and my husband looked at me again.

“Go!”

And he went.  The anesthesiologist told him “film it,” even though he wasn’t supposed to.  And he did, which I didn’t find out until more than a month later, when my colleague came over to visit and he pulled out the video for her to watch.  A nurse saw him later and then told him to stop filming.

I was crying all the way up to this – as soon as I heard her first cry, everything stopped.  All the fear, all the uncertainty, immediately stopped, and all I wanted to do was hold and protect this wonderful little person we made.

IMG_2843

They cleaned her up, pronounced her healthy, and brought her over to my face.  I kissed her several times, and my husband and Noelle went to the recovery room for the “babymoon” – skin-to-skin time with a parent to promote bonding.

I was blissful.  I didn’t even care that they took another 20 minutes to sew me up, or mind the smell of my own flesh burning as they cauterized me.

Finally, they finished and rolled me into the room with my husband and our daughter.  They lay her tiny little body on my chest and left us alone for several hours to soak her in.

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The Impossible

[MOVIE SPOILER ALERT]

“Let’s go to a movie.”

“Great!”

“How about The Impossible?  That’s supposed to be uplifting.”

“It’s a movie about a tsunami, how can that possibly be uplifting?”

“It’s supposed to be very well-made and have an uplifting story.”

“Okay, let’s do it.”

Half hour into the movie, I have almost walked out of the theater, tears are running down my face as a screaming baby is being carried away in a car by the tide.

Dead bodies, little body bags, horrible injuries, babies and children separated from their families, desperation, horrifying stories… yeah, let’s have the new mom watch THAT.  The only reason I didn’t walk away was because I had to stay for the uplifting part, or else I’d have nothing but awful nightmares without some kind of redemption in the story.

Ughhh!  We brushed it off after with an episode of Modern Family, because frankly, I don’t deal well with this sort of thing.  I didn’t before the baby – I would cry at the drop of a hat – and I definitely don’t do well now as a mom.

There is a point to this.

As a mom, watching those kids get separated from their family, or worse, watching or hearing about kids getting hurt, was utterly devastating.  I don’t mean to make non-parents think that they are heartless, but I have got to say, it hurts in a whole new different way watching that kind of thing.

We rushed over to my mom’s and I held onto our sleepy baby for dear life.

I really want to work on getting healthy, and mainly for my daughter.  I want to be here for her for a long, long time.

Today, I’ve blown away my step goal of 10,000 and got around 15k.  I took a long walk to Trader Joe’s and back.  I did my official weigh-in on dietbet.com – it was in the evening, so it went to 217.2 pounds!  I have no idea how I gained six pounds in a week and a half, but I’m hoping that it’s mostly water weight.  That works out to me losing 2.2 pounds a week.

It’s really true, putting money on it does get me more motivated.  It’s not that I expect to win a lot of money from this, but it sure does make me want to get as close to the 4% weight loss goal as I can.

I’ve cut my portion sizes, I’m more aware of everything I snack on.  I ate slower at every meal, and stopped after one serving to see if I was still hungry.  I had fruit, I had vegetables, I had lean meat.  I skipped the amazing popcorn with real butter at the movie theater and even the soda my husband got, which I usually have a few sips of.

I actually feel pretty good.

It’s just past midnight again, and it’s time to go.

Did I mention that one of the tools I am using is blogging as much as I can?  I’m aiming for even just a short post, but at least one every night.  It’s really, really helping me focus.

More tomorrow.

 

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Overachiever

So today was a resounding success as far as moving in the right direction for weight loss.

After having lunch with my mom and one of my brothers, and taking Noelle for her first trip to the awesome Chinese supermarket called 99 Ranch, we went to my mom’s and I took a long, glorious and solo walk.

My body hardly knew what was going on.  I couldn’t remember what having tired muscles from exercising felt like.  It was just a leisurely walk, but man did it feel good.  Of course, I was still trying to figure out what I was doing while walking, so I had KPCC on the headphones, which I was not paying attention to because I was checking Facebook for a third of the walk, but hey, I’m still getting my bearings.

I was carrying the little Fitbit One device in my pocket for it’s first full day of use.  It had automatically set my goal for the day at 10,000 steps, which I didn’t even hope to get close to, but once I logged in my laptop tonight a message popped up – Way to go overachiever!  I am 2,628 steps over my goal today.

Bolstered by the encouragement, I checked my emails and joined Fitocracy, which I thought was a social media site connected to Fitbit, but figured out that it was not.  The site looks pretty fun – “leveling up” when you get enough “points” for exercising and such.  A Facebook friend is on it, and has been so enthusiastic about getting healthy.  We’ve exchanged several encouraging messages and tips today.

I also saw a news report on The Today Show this morning about dietbet.com, and just joined!  The premise is sort of like an office Biggest Loser bet – a bunch of people put money in a pot and try and lose a lot of weight.  The difference is though, whomever loses 4% of their body weight in 4 weeks splits the pot evenly with everyone else that loses 4%, instead of winner takes all.  I just dropped $50 for a game that is up to $24k that starts in… three days.  I have to lose 8.5 pounds by the end of the four weeks.  In the TV interview they were talking about how money is a huge motivator for weight loss… worth a try!  We’ll see how it goes.

Okay, it’s midnight, and time for me to go to bed.  Tomorrow is a new day!

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And Today, I am Superwoman

Maybe it’s the delirium working, but today I rocked.  I could hardly get out of bed, but once I did, I was moving all day long.

Three loads of baby laundry done, big pot of chili lime chicken soup made, mom visited and let me plant the front porch with annuals while she watched Noelle, house picked up, best friend visited for a couple of hours, work friend visited for a couple of hours, phone calls made, and of course, baby cared for all day.  And periodic pumping, a poopsplosion up the back all the way to the neck, followed by baby bath time, and one and a half loads of laundry folded.

And did I mention setting up FitBit and 20 minutes of yoga?  Yep, I rock.

For Christmas, my brother got me a FitBit One.  I did not expect to be able to set it up so soon, since I am notoriously slow in doing anything with new technology, but I did it, and this little device will track my steps and stairs walked, my sleep, and help me lose those 52 pounds.

Also, I made more smart choices today than I have done in the last month or two – ate fruit three times today, along with more water, and lentil soup. Didn’t dig up carbs; ate a ham, green pepper and cheese omelet in the morning; chicken soup in the evening.  Normally, I would have too much of some kind of leftover dessert – pumpkin pie, ice cream, something – and today I just had two teeny tiny cookies the size of half dollars.

I consider this the first day of me actually trying to get in shape.  I can do this.

 

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Bleary-eyed Exhaustion

It’s 9:41 p.m., and I’m so tired I’m starting to see spots.

I’m not quite sure why I’m so tired – we got up early to take Noelle to see her doctor, but she slept for a good part of the day.  I even managed to get a few episodes of Weeds in on Netflix in the afternoon.  I made phone calls, puttered around the house, checked on the baby.

But I’m pooped.  It’s taken me 45 minutes to write these few sentences so far, as I’ve been distracted by SVU and Chicago Fire.  I also can’t seem to focus very well on anything for more than 15 seconds.

This, I am learning, is a default setting for new moms.

It’s been made a bit worse today I think because my husband has returned to work.  I’d gotten so used to him being around during the day these last two weeks, being without him for a long period of time is mentally exhausting.

That sounds so lame, now that I’m re-reading it.  But I don’t know how else to explain it.  Maybe it’s the cumulative exhaustion from nine weeks of not enough sleep.

Some days, I don’t even know what I’m doing that’s so tiring.  I’ve had this conversation many times before with different people.  “Your child is just a baby, she can’t even crawl!  How hard can it be?”  “She sleeps 18 hours a day, what are you doing with your time?”  And my favorite, “Why don’t you sleep when the baby sleeps?”

At this point, I’m too tired to smack them, or even feebly wave my hand in their direction.

It’s like a non-stop, 24/7 train ride.  I move stuff from one room to another, in a constant stream of motion.  Pacifier on the floor to sink; bottles assembled and put in the pantry; baby clothes piled and waiting to be folded; insulin needles taken out of the drawer to put in the guest room, where I’m sleeping nowadays because my snoring is so bad it keeps my husband up; underwear to be thrown in the dirty laundry; then a run to the restroom; then the baby cries, and I run to make a bottle or start warming one, depending on the severity of the cry… it just goes on and on, for hours and hours and hours.

The next thing I know, it’s 3 o’clock and I wonder what the heck happened to my day.

I had all these grand plans – starting a load of laundry, maybe, or cooking a meal to put aside for the next day – but then she cries again and it’s time to feed, burp, diaper and play.

It’s wonderful, time with her.  She’s responding to me more, and cooing and talking.  She’s playing more with the tinkling toys I dangle over her, and swats at them once in a while.  Her cries are starting to sound very distinct – “Hi, someone pick me up please, I’m bored,” “My diaper is wet and it’s just slightly annoying me,” “I’m hungry NOW FEED ME DAMMIT!” “I’m getting a little peckish, but I can be easily distracted,” “Excuse me, my mobile has stopped playing music, and since I have little motor control at the moment, can you reach up and turn it back on?” and my favorite, “I’ve been sleeping and I just want you to pick me up and hold me so I can snuggle and go back to sleep.”

Today, she was given five shots at the doctor’s office.  The cries that she had were unlike any that we’ve heard so far.  Cries of utter bewilderment and pain – it was heart-breaking.

And then, this evening, smiling and cooing and gurgling.

She’s so, so worth it.

Baby Noelle

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