Entries in Baby Stuff (6)



Baby RenRen,

You’d probably still be in the womb if it weren’t for Pitocin. Like Emmy and Odessa—you were induced. They were both still cooking after their due dates so the OB decided to get the party started. But with you being the 3rd baby and your dad being 6’6” and all, there were concerns you might come out the size of the Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin and ain’t nobody got time for that. So we made an appointment to come in on your due date and prompt a little action right from the get. That’s what she said.

Third baby. Everything’s supposed to go fast, right? Easy, right? Slip’N Slide right? I actually wouldn’t know, I’ve never had the privilege of slipping and sliding. The backyards I grew up in and around were concrete and rocky and Asian. We don’t intentionally spray water all over everything and try to fall down. That would be both wasteful and dangerous.

In any case, I was under the notion the third baby was just going to ease right into the world, and more or less fit right into the sched. As a producer at NBC Bay Area with 3 kids repeatedly said, while gently peer pressuring me into having three kids, “The third baby is the family’s baby. The baby just falls in line. It will go with the flow.” And of course I read zero baby books about birthing and labor, to keep with the tradition of how I went in blind with baby #1 and #2. I mean what good is The Good Doctor if I can’t treat him like a human Alexa MD? “Good Doctor, what does a contraction feel like?” “Good Doctor, what is this poop pain?” “Good Doctor, is labor supposed to feel like you have to poop but you’re not pooping?” It doesn’t matter that he’s not an obstetrician. I still expect answers. Just like the relative who wants him to look at a purple rash. When there’s a doctor in the family, he treats all-comers related by blood or marriage. #doctorlife as the millennials would say in a sing song voice.

So there we were, bright and early, ready for the IV and the drugs to start puffing me up and forcing my uterus to contract. The drip hit my system at about 7AM. You arrived 12 HOURS LATER. As Odessa would say, “For real life?” Yes, for real life. At least we managed to binge-watch the OJ Made in America documentary. I can only imagine what the nurses were thinking every time they came in to check on me.

The whole thing took way longer than I expected. Only when we were at the hospital did I hear for the first time, “Oh third babies are tricky. They are either really fast, or they take as long or LONGER than the first.” Say what?

After the OJ binge, we did a lot of hall walking, with the wireless monitors velcro’ed around my enormous belly, and The Good Doc maneuvering the IV pole behind me. Design suggestion for architects blueprinting future OB wings: install a track for laboring women. A nice circular loop with mile markers and some natural light, and extra receivers so the monitors don’t get out of range, forcing the nurses to go looking for you because they’re worried you fell off the grid. Then just put the pregnant moms out there and let them grind away until it’s time to push.

When that time did come, I was dangerously close to not being able to have an epidural. Every time, and I mean EVERY single time, I have said, “I’m gonna try to go without an epidural.” Wisely, every single time, The Good Doctor has put on his most nonchalant, non-judgmental face and said, with his most supportive and sincere tone, “Oh yes, definitely. You should try.” If he were Kevin Spacey, this is where he would turn to the camera with a South Carolinan accent and say “Yeah right.”

This was my closest call though. A skilled doctor managed to get the epidural in about 20 minutes before I felt like I had to push in earnest. I’d like to think I would have made it gracefully without the drugs, but we’ll never know. Spacey, toward camera, “Yeah right.”

With the epidural in, the laboring experience was fairly straightforward. Once my doctor and nurse reminded me HOW TO DO IT. The nurse: You remember what to do, right? Me: ??? Actually I don’t!!! Nurse: Take a deep breath and exhale while you count to 10 and bear down. Me: Oh yeah, now I remember. *INHALE* 

The thing is, you forget. Especially if you’re me. I have the worst long term memory. I blame the years of general assignment reporting where I had to exercise my short term memory so much on a daily basis that my long term memory bank grew dusty and cobwebby. Every brain cell was focused on becoming a mini-expert on that day’s story. Remember, process, deliver the story, delete.

Also, nature tries to trick you into forgetting all the loco that comes with childbirth so that you’ll repeat it and we won’t become extinct.

So I’m inhaling and pushing during the exhale and bearing down and our doctor, our lovely doctor who came in on her holiday weekend to deliver this baby, is so encouraging and upbeat and cheering me on so hard, “That’s it Vicky! THAT’S IT! You got it Vicky. YOU GOT IT!!!”

Except I didn’t got it. I would look down and think I had pushed the baby out, along with a pot of gold, because she was so enthusiastic and excited and…nothing. Not one piece of baby anywhere. But this is also a part of the labor mind game. The doctors and nurses have to cheer you on like you’re about to score the Super Bowl-winning touchdown. Even if you’re just barely moving the baby millimeters down the birth canal. Because you’re freaking exhausted and hungry and cranky and even with the epidural you still feel all the body parts doing crazy things that they don’t usually do, so the medical people are smart. They make you feel like a million bucks even though you’re a tired, grunting, primal being in mother beast mode with your uterus in the driver’s seat.

But after about 15 pushes--the Good Doctor will have to confirm--but I think it was relatively manageable and clocked in under 45 minutes from first push to last. I also had a mirror towards the end. I know, I thought that was crazy gross before but there is seriously something incredibly unforgettable about actually seeing your baby being born. I wish I had done it the first two times. Even with my poor memory, I think I will always remember that instant and the indescribable sensation of seeing and feeling something simultaneously that is as close to an out of body experience that I’ve ever had.

Then the doctor lifted you up, RenRen, and you were a purplish blue perfectly formed human being. You didn’t cry right away, and now that I think of it, I don’t know how you did on your APGARs but you must have done okay because you sure can yell and scream with the best of them now.

You were just a warm, soft, tiny and impossibly perfect person out in the world for the first time. I’ve often said I would endure 10 births for every one pregnancy because the birth itself is such a miracle. Pregnancy is month after month of endurance. Labor is a few hours of crazy but the reward at the end is so tangible and magical. A human!

I've read several articles that say how important it is for us to be awestruck in our lives. To be in awe, to feel like you are part of a giant, amazing, way beyond yourself universe. Having that feeling of being in awe is supposed to help lower your blood pressure and stress levels and give you a sense of connectedness. It’s an awe often felt when you’re out in nature. Maybe a walk in the redwoods, or standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Giving birth definitely qualifies for a level of awe unmatched by any of my other life experiences. I’m grateful I’ve felt this awestruck three times. Don’t even think about asking me if we’re going to try for a boy.

Love you Renley Jade,






Don't you just love when someone slows down their blogging and then when they do post, it's all about really happy things? Then you probably want to adjust your bookmarks because it's about to get reals.

I have been pregnant 6 times. I have two children to show for those 6 pregnancies. Those are pretty sorry odds for any tiny lives hoping to flourish in this body. I jokingly call it my hostile womb: 1) because humor helps me cope with the crappy things in life, and 2) because if I stopped to think too much about it, I'd be really sad. But the truth is, before Emmy, we had two miscarriages and before Odessa we had another one, and recently, the most recent one. And hopefully the last. Maybe for sure the last.

That's the problem that led to this problem in the first place. Indecision and a bit of FOMO. FOMO, for those of you who don't have it, is Fear Of Missing Out. It is irrational and annoying, but sort of unavoidable, especially if you're like me and you have a bit of grassisgreeneritis. And no, that's not a campaign line for legalizing pot. It's another annoying syndrome, one that causes restlessness and self-questioning. They're all in the class of mental self-assessment, wherein you're constantly judging yourself and what you're doing and is it enough and should you be more and is there more and where is more. I try not to let myself get too carried away because, frankly, it's dumb. I have more things to be grateful for than I can possibly deserve and if I spent every moment being thankful it still wouldn't be thankful enough because I am really, really lucky to be so happy in this lifetime. 

But, we live here, in the Silicon Valley, surrounded by 23 year olds who turn down 3 billion dollars for an app they invented that doesn't even cure cancer. Or herpes, which could really benefit its teen audience. So sometimes you get caught up and wonder why you're not inventing the app that could stop herpes once and for all.

Back to FOMO. I had never really considered having three children. Three seems like a lot, especially when you already have two awesome ones. But more is more, right? More love, more fun, more family. Even though it's theoretically 1/3 the time and resources for each child per parent, aren't we giving them a whole 'nother person to love and be loved by? Another phone number to call if one sibling is unavailable? It was a conundrum because I also didn't want to be "copping out," like somehow I'm more of a warrior if I have a third. I mean, everyone's doing it these days and you get more street cred if you go above and beyond. Why stop at two when three is the real deal?

Dumb, I know. It was not well thought through on my part. Even though I had asked people about it for months. Every time I met a parent of three or a person from a three sibiling family, I gave them the third degree. No pun intended. Pros, cons? Does one of the three always become a loser? Do they all get along famously? Is someone a third wheel? How often do they talk? What happens when it's two against one? I mean, I grilled people like I was holding the powerful accountable for #WeInvestigate. And the responses were great anecdotes but they didn't strongly sway me one way or the other.

The decision was finally made with a bit of caution thrown to the wind, devil may care, just do it Nike-ism. The Good Doctor was fairly neutral in all of this. I won't speak for him (isn't that a first) but let me say he was completely supportive of staying with two or going for three. Essentially, he was zero help.

For me, making a decision, even if it ends up being the wrong decision, is better than being a state of limbo. I hate analysis paralysis. 

But the instant the test came back positive, I was conflicted. Happy, worried, incredulous, concerned. There were all these extra feelings associated with this test that I hadn't experienced when we were trying for our first and second babies. 

The third one felt like I had stepped up to the edge, and slipped over. Intentional and uncertain at the same time.

Then when the nausea and fatigue kicked in, the "What have I done?" feelings intensified. Not to the point of any serious regret, but having those doubts at all was totally odd. I never had doubts about Emmy or Dessy. I was always certain about two. But three was here and I was not fully committed. Which seems horrible to say and there's a tiny part of me that wonders if that emotional state caused any of the physical issues that led to this baby being a non-baby.

It was a mixed bag of feelings. Like of course we would be excited to meet a new person. The two we have are just so funny and perfect and amazing. Why wouldn't the next one just add gobs more fun? But when I'm barfing and crabby and feeling guilty for not playing with the two I have, while Asian Grandma makes dinner and I'm immobile on the couch, the doubts set in about just how much this person would add versus subtract. 

I have never said it doesn't take a village to raise children and I've never been in the running for a Mom of the Day, let alone Year award. Plus I think I'm a 38 on a scale of 1-10 of Parents Who Worry About How Their Children Will Turn Out. So now I'm exponentially increasing the level at which I need to perform to be a Mother of Three. I'm barely a Mother of Two. More college savings, more music/dance/soccer/math/keeping up with the Lees lessons, more all around chaos. I know some people say a third just falls into the mix, but I'm not so much a mixer as I am a careful and meticulous positioner.

Turns out, all my worries were for naught. But it was a crappy ride to get here.

This was the first non baby that actually had a heartbeat in the early viability scan. All my other miscarriages were declared very early on, and no one even developed a heartbeat. But this one had a heartarte of 80 beats per minute at 10 weeks. Very low, and the doctor even warned me that I wasn't "out of the woods yet" and to try not to "get too attached." She meant well. And she was right. Two weeks later, there was no more development and no more heartbeat. It was declared.

The whole process of it after that is just very procedural, and maybe a blog post for another time. For now, that's it. It's an empty feeling after being so fraught with emotions. There's sadness for sure, disappointment, anger that this has happened yet another time with no tangible medical information for exactly why. But there's also a tiny feeling of relief. Maybe this just wasn't meant to be. Maybe we're just supposed to be four, a manageable, easy, complete family with two parents and two sisters and...that's all. And that's enough. More than enough. Plenty. It's a miracle and blessing and so, so much to be grateful for. It seems so idiotic to have to go through all of this to reach such a simple conclusion. But that's where I am. Feeling a little dumb for going on such a parabolic journey to get someplace I should have already been. 


Baby Botox

In keeping with my previous baby plastic surgery themed post, I present to you Dessy's best Angelina Jolie pout. This was before we did the bottom lip.

I kid. She happened to get this crazy swollen lip the night before a scheduled doctor visit. By morning she was back to her adorable self but I showed the pediatrician this photo and she thinks it was an allergic reaction, possibly to a new bottle we tried last night. My cursory search on Tommee Tippee nipples found that they are made from a silicone material but I'm not sure if there's any latex mixed in. The doc says that may have been the culprit.

Either way, that $9 bottle is out of the rotation.




Picked this up at Whole Foods after a neighbor and preschool mom told me it is a must when you have a second child and the first child enters school. Because that first child becomes Patient Zero and is suddenly the vector for every horrible germy disease possible.

Sure enough, Emmy started preschool and by 7 weeks, Dessy started sounding like a snuffleupagas. Stuffy and snotty. A newborn should not have to work that hard to breathe, my poor little sleepurrito. (Combo word: sleep + burrito.)

So the trick is to put saline drops in her nostrils, tilt her back for 3 minutes, then suck the bejesus out of her nose. Apparently there are battery operated snot suckers, but nothing compares to the sweet sweet power of a determined mother's mouth. Keep your dirty jokes to yourself.

There are few things in life as satisfying as manually removing mucus from your child's nose so that she can breathe better. Again, stop it.

Bonus: somehow this thing is engineered so that the snot never gets anywhere near your mouth. It doesn't even get close to the blue sponge filter thing. So even the orally squeamish parent The Good Doctor has given it a go. Trust me, there's nothing like seeing a green blob of boogery goodness in the tip of this device, and the knowledge that you vacuumed it out yourself.

Getting it in Emmy's nose is a whole 'nother challenge. If you have suggestions on how to convince a 3 year old that the NoseFrida is her friend, please share. Bribes, logic, reasoning, begging, guilting, surprising, coaxing, commanding, and all my forms of strategery have been ineffective so far. 


Super Kawaii Mittens

Too bad I can't get Emmy to put her hands in them. She took one look at these and ran the other way. Bought them from Nest Maternity in San Francisco during our story on the Belly Armor blankets. I didn't protect her from radiation in the womb but I'll be damned if her fingers get frostbitten.