Friday, August 30, 2013

Introducing MAIA GRACE MEAD... The Birthday Girl!

Maia Grace Mead arrived early Thursday morning on August 29, 2013!! So much for Thursday night's induction! She just couldn't wait and was in such a hurry to enter this world! Thank you everyone for your constant support of prayers and kind words... we are feeling truly blessed!! =)

It all started Wednesday evening dinner time when I started having small and painless contractions. I really didn't pay too much attention to them since they were random but I did mention it to Gordon and my brothers, who all became paranoid and started asking me every few minutes if I had another one. At this time they were coming about every 30 to 45 minutes, but they all convinced me to start timing them and I ended up downloading one of those contraction apps on my phone, which came in really handy! After a few hours pass by, along with some more random contractions, they all start telling me to call and check to see if I should go to the hospital... I really didn't think it was time yet since they weren't increasing in pain or minutes, but I called Labor & Delivery anyway. The nurse suggested I wait until there was a pattern with the contractions, unless I was leaking blood or fluid, or couldn't take the pain anymore. I told her that I wanted to wait a little bit longer and maybe even try to go to sleep and see what happens in the morning! As soon as I get off the phone with the nurse, the contractions did start to hurt just a little bit and the next thing I know, there's a pattern of contractions coming about every 15 minutes! So I told Gordon that I was going to take a shower and fix myself up, just in case we have to go to the hospital! By the time I was done, the car was all loaded up and ready to go, so I decided not to wait any longer and we headed out to the hospital.

The ride to UCSF took us about 30 minutes and we arrived sometime after 1:30am. While on the way, I called the nurse again and let her know that we were on the way because I felt more comfortable if I were already there, rather than wait. So when we left the house, contractions were about 15 minutes apart, 45 sec long... by the time we arrived at the hospital, they were 5 minutes apart, 1 min long!!! Although the pain had increased, I still wouldn't have considered them painful. I was still able to walk to the ER, but they insisted I ride in a wheelchair, so I did. We made our way up to Labor & Delivery on the 15th floor where we were put in a triage room since there were no other rooms available at the time... we were told it's "baby season" meaning a lot of us were doing more than cuddling during the winter! So I changed into a gown and waited for the doctor to come and check me to see how far I was dilated. By this time the pain was starting to increase more and I had to control my breathing to get through them. The doctor checks me and says "oh wow, you're already 6-7cm!!" I was in shock!... all I managed to say was "WHAT?!!" Next thing I know, they're rushing me to the operating room to deliver the baby! 

I looked at the clock and it said 2:05am and there I am in the cold operating room on this super skinny bed and in walks Gordon... all suited up in his sterile uniform! He saw me on the skinny bed and jokingly asked what do they do for bigger girls and the nurse said they have "extensions!" She was serious too! I really tried to laugh but at this point I just closed my eyes and tried to breathe because the contractions seemed to come every 2 minutes! Every time I had a contraction I needed Gordon's hand for squeezing purposes and I didn't think I could take the pain... I even asked the nurse if I could have something for the pain, but I was rejected!!! It was too late... it was time to push!! They wanted me to wait because the doctor was also handling a c-section across the hall, but next thing I know, my body starts to push and I hear the nurse yell "get the doctor back here, she's crowning!" So then I push 2 more times and she's out!!... but I didn't hear a cry right away, instead there's a pause and the nurse says "time, 2:49am" and then I hear crying. I also hear the doctor say, "wow, that's really rare and lucky in some cultures." I had no idea what they were talking about... I was just so relieved I wasn't in pain anymore and I opened my eyes in time to catch a glimpse of Maia being taken away by the pediatrician. So then they tell me that Maia was born still inside the amniotic sac! My water never broke! That's why I heard a pause before she cried... she only started crying once the sac was broken! I was in awe at first, but then it all sounded kind of gross to me! Anyway, Gordon went back and forth between me and Maia, but she was brought into another room where she had her own team of doctors and nurses, so we waited patiently.

Gordon in his OR uniform
Drs and nurses working on Maia

We were really sad we didn't get the chance to hold her. But knowing that she was the priority, we were ok with that. I was brought back to the triage room to recover with some warm blankets. They told us to try and get some sleep, but that was pretty much impossible with our thoughts on Maia... not to mention the thin accordion-like walls and the stiff chair Gordon was supposed to get comfy in and fall asleep! Gordon checked on Maia again, but the doctors were still behind closed doors "working on her" is what he was told... but we eventually get about 1 or 2 hours of sleep. 

We are then told there's a room available for us on another floor... finally! Before we head over to our room, Gordon checks on Maia who is now in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). She is stable with an IV for her PGE heart meds and also has a breathing tube to help out with her breathing. She is officially 6lbs 13oz and 18 1/2 in long... she's a cutie! Even with all her accessories of tubes and wires attached, the first thing everyone seems to notice is her hair! It's extremely dark and thick, and there's a lot of it! 

Maia and Mommy
Mommy & Daddy with Maia

Maia and Daddy

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Craziness Has Begun!...

We are days away from meeting our baby girl and all the craziness has started! Unfortunately, part of all this chaos was the loss of Lola (Grandma) Henia. She was my dad's aunt, my great aunt, but she had love for everyone, so pretty much she was everyone's grandma. We saw her for the last time in the hospital on Sunday and it was very hard to see her struggle with each breath... but she's in a better place now, with all our other loved ones that have passed. For my own precautions, I had to wear a mask and make my visit somewhat of a quick one because another patient on the same floor had TB! It was uncomfortable and made my face hot and sweaty, plus it was not cute!... but it was necessary. So now along with everything else that's planned, we will also be attending a funeral sometime in the next few days... and that's how our week got started.

Today was also a busy one that started off with Kindergarten orientation. Marcus was so excited to be back in the school environment and see some familiar faces, along with many new ones. He even asked if he can come to school on Saturdays! Gordon smartly answered "Of course, when you get older and do very bad in school, you will have to come on Saturdays but I don't think it'll be any fun!" Aside from meeting the teacher we also met a few new families and even took a family photo. We scheduled our first meeting with the teacher and there's also some homework for the parents! The homework is more for me though since it's mostly filling out forms and I happen to have nice handwriting compared to Gordon, who cannot read his own writing! So Marcus is ready for this school year... and so are we!

Gordon was awake and laughing but wanted the pic to look dramatic!  
After orientation, we quickly dropped Marcus off at home with Papa (grandpa) and headed over to Kaiser for Gordon's cortisone shot for his back. It was a little confusing because they kept calling it "surgery" so we thought it was because they had to put him under anesthesia. Well it turned out that it was a shot... and I think we were in and out of there in less than 45 minutes! It turned out we were actually late, but in the end it didn't matter. They took his vitals, went over his medical history, his meds... and he was on his way. They asked me to come back into the room about 15 mins later and he was pretty much ready to go home! The nurse couldn't help but ask about the baby since I'm so obviously pregnant. We shared stories of Marcus and she was touched with our story of Marissa and Maia... plus all the craziness that's going on this week! But life goes on and so must we...

Both my brothers are here now... Russell aka "Jig" is here for a week from NYC and Rommel aka "Dada" is here from LA, but he's officially moving back home. Jig is also the best man at his friend's wedding while Marcus is the ring bearer. So they will be taking Marcus to the rehearsal and wedding, while we will be in the hospital! I wish them luck!... just kidding, Marcus is a good kid, but he's still a kid! I really do want to go to the wedding and anything is possible, but most likely I will be at the hospital, so I'm encouraging the hubby to go and have some fun!

So these are the last days of waiting... I will hopefully have a somewhat flatter looking stomach on Friday! Not likely, just some wishful thinking! I think I'm just hoping not to get asked when my baby is due, AFTER I've given birth! Anyway, I'm sure there will be other, more important things to think about by the end of this week! Right now I'm just thinking about stuff I might be forgetting... I do need to familiarize myself with my new breast pump! So excited... not really! Pretty soon it will be down to "hours"... I'll probably post something when I'm being induced and nothing is happening yet... so until then, think happy thoughts!



Monday, August 19, 2013

10 More Days To Go...

So this past Friday the 16th marked my 37th week of pregnancy, and as of today we have 10 more days of waiting until I'm induced! Slowly but surely, we're getting closer and closer to meeting Maia!! I think we're ready... kind of. We have baby furniture, baby gear, baby clothes... I just need to wash a few more things like sheets and blankets, and the crib needs to be put together. But we will wait until the last minute to satisfy the procrastinator me! We actually could wait a bit longer since the baby will not come home right away, but we might be busier than expected after the baby is born, so I don't really feel like taking that chance! 

On Saturday Marcus and I attempted to put together the bassinet. It's the same one that Marcus used and I'm actually surprised that we still have it! When I opened up the box, everything seemed to be in there except the instructions!! Oh well... it took me about 45 minutes to put it together! I pretty much sat on the floor the whole time since that was the most comfortable position for me! But we got it done and that's one less thing out of the way. Marcus insists he can still fit in it (and he really can), but I don't think it will support his weight... so instead, he's using it to hold some of his toys! 

Along with all the baby preparation, Marcus will also be a ring bearer at a friend's wedding on Labor Day weekend! I was really hoping to be there, but I'll be at the hospital probably pumping. So I'm a lil sad that I will miss out on lil man going down the aisle... so for those that will be there with cameras, I'm expecting some nice shots of the entire entourage, especially of Marcus!! He loves getting all dressed up and was kind of disappointed he wouldn't be wearing a tux, but he's excited about wearing a bowtie and maybe some suspenders! Of course, he's mostly excited because of the party after the ceremony... he is a dance machine!! So watch out! 

So it turned out to be a busy weekend for us. We found out that Gordon's mom was in the hospital because her white blood cell count had gone down to 0... scary! She's been on some medication for her cough/lungs that has caused this drop in her white blood cells, so after tests and lab work, they figured this out and she is now on a different medication that does not have this side effect. She was able to have visitors on Sunday so we drove up to Santa Rosa to see her. She's doing better but is still a little weak. We all don't get to see each other much, so she was very happy to see us and my big bump too! We also got a chance to hang out with Julie, my sister-in-law, so it was nice to catch up with her. But our visit didn't quite put Gordon at ease because he had a dream that his mom died... so he's been a little extra edgy lately with everything going on!

As for me, besides my doctor appointments, I've also been taking non-stress tests twice a week now for about a month. Fortunately, Baby Maia has been performing well. They look for a minimum of 7 accelerations in her heart rate to make sure she responds well to stimuli. The nurses love her since she gets it all done in about 5-10 minutes. However, by law they must keep me there for at least 20 minutes. So far, so good... for now the wait continues as we prepare for next week's chaos!!! Labor and delivery may turn out to be the easiest part!!... Wish us luck!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Before becoming a Family of 4... actually 5!

So on the weekend of July 26, we decided to take our last lil getaway as a family of 3. We were choosing between Lake Tahoe and Monterey, and ended up closer to home in Monterey! Mainly because Tahoe is a longer drive, which would've been uncomfortable for Gordon's back and my "bigness." But we all love Monterey, so we knew we'd have fun!

As we kept mentioning to Marcus, this was going to be our last outing as a family of 3, but he corrected us each time, letting us know that we were a family of 4, and becoming a family of 5!! So we stand corrected! It's actually very sweet and touching to know that he includes his little sister, Marissa, in pretty much everything we do. To this day, he still "sees" her and talks to her, so I do believe she's very much a part of his life! For mommy and daddy, it does get somewhat awkward at times. For example, when we go out to eat, we are listed down as a party of 3. But Marcus will sometimes argue with us and the hostess that there are 4 of us! So I sometimes feel the need to explain to him that not all of us have a special relationship with Marissa, so we all can't see her. He also feels bad when that 4th place setting is taken away and he'll comment "don't they know that she's hungry and she wants to eat too?!!" But it's all very sweet... and who am I to say that he doesn't have this special relationship with his sister? Although I personally don't have any type of experience regarding ghosts, or people that have passed, I do believe that there are people out there that do... and maybe Marcus is one of them! Plus, overall he's handled the past couple of years so maturely when it comes to such adult situations. He's currently working on learning what exactly DORV (Double Outlet Right Ventricle) is. He was a little bit disappointed to learn that the first diagnosis of HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome) wasn't accurate, because he had practiced over and over how to pronounce it correctly and knew the meaning of the diagnosis!

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Anyway, so after about 2 hours of driving down Highway 1, we arrived in Monterey! We were about an hour early for check-in at our hotel, so we dropped by the beach. Marcus has always been in love with the beach, so he didn't mind at all! It was nice and sunny, so he and Gordon spent most of the time chasing the water, trying not to get wet. But in the end, they both had soaked shorts. I had fun too just watching them, although I felt like a beached whale when it was time to get up and leave! Marcus' water day continued as our next stop was the hotel pool! He's our lil daredevil so he loves being thrown around, doing cannon balls and flips, and scaring everyone around him! 

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We also spent some time at the Monterey Aquarium. Marcus enjoyed all the different fish, especially the sharks and seahorses. He didn't like touching the tide pool animals too much because it left a funny smell on his hands, even after washing. Gordon and I didn't enjoy it that much because we were somewhat overwhelmed with the smell of the people around us! I know it was muggy outside, but for some reason it smelled like many people didn't bother to shower that day! So our sense of smell kind of distracted us! We then spent the rest of the day by the Wharf and Cannery Row... and some pool time back at the hotel.

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Before we knew it, our long weekend was over and it was time to head back. It may be a while before our next vacation, but hopefully we'll be able to have more weekend getaways sooner rather than later! Thank goodness it really doesn't take much to entertain our lil man... sometimes he just wants to get out of the house! 

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So now it's back to reality... getting the house ready for Maia and also getting Marcus ready for school. It will all happen in the same week too! The last week of August might be a little chaotic with Kindergarten orientation Tuesday, first day on Wednesday, my induction night on Thursday, and hopefully Maia's birthday on Friday! Fortunately, both my brothers will be here to help out, so I'm planning to sneak in a mani-pedi somewhere in that week too before heading to the hospital! So for now we continue to wait patiently... it's really all we can do! We're all very excited, especially Marcus who's starting to make special requests, like how he wants to be the one to cut the cord! Sorry, not gonna happen!!! Needless to say, he thinks he's ready for big brother duties, minus diaper changing!... and I think after watching this short video, you'll see he's ready too!

episode 01 from marcus mead on Vimeo.