Sunday, February 1, 2015

2014 in Review --> Three and a Half Months of Mommyhood

Well after about a year's hiatus here we are again.  It is so hard to believe that we have a little human of our very own now.  Our little Kai.  I have had the thought "I'm very blessed" many times before but never ever has it felt so truly real.
So much has happened in the past year that it has been, at times difficult to remember all the details.  I never had a chance to consolidate everything into one 'story' so here is my feeble attempt at doing so.  (a.k.a the longest post in the history of posts!) I'm sure there is a ton missing but this will have to do for now.

Our first trip to Colorado!  It was a wonderful thing to meet my long-lost sister Inger for the first time.  Man, how awful did I look at the time.  I was so tired from coming off of a very difficult rotation at work so as per usual all of our travel plans were put together at the eleventh hour. 

Little did we know that we were pregnant at the time!  In retrospect, I'm glad that we ended up not being able to ski. :-P  After over a year of trying for this my reaction was not of one of surprise or euphoria but more of an "OK! It is about time!  Let's get this show on the road!".  

My first Mother's Day!  And The best coconut cake I have ever made.  Nomnoms!

The view out of our on-call rooms at work at dawn.  A beautiful blessing for working the long strange hours. (You can *just* make out the Chicago skyline)

Oh...the countless hours I spent that spring planning out our garden which was doomed from the beginning.  Just look at all those different kinds of carrots! :-D  Someday I will have the garden of my dreams!  Until then...plan, plan, plan.

Coming home from overnight call only to have this happen.  Vicky was never this friendly until I became pregnant.  Our theory was that she liked the extra warmth I was emanating from that extra little person. ^_^

The first belly photo!  ~2months

And our official announcement ~3 months.  This was so much fun!  A strange thing I realized throughout last year was that I was never nervous or worried about the pregnancy, delivery, or baby caring.  I suppose I just assumed it would all work out.  And it has so far!  :-)  

And I'm not sure whether this was when I started having more free time or whether this is when 'nesting' kicked in, but I finally got around to painting some furniture which I had been wanting to do for AGES.  I absolutely ADORE the pink shelf.  It is little things like a pop of an unexpected color that make a place my own. My list of similar things to do is SO long and it progresses so terribly slowly.  But little by little I will make my home.

And finally I was looking pregnant!  Oh, and there is nothing so ephemeral than the smell and beauty of lilacs.  It is such a shame that they are so fleeting.  One can only enjoy them for a handful of weeks.  And if you cut them to put them in a vase on a table they only last a few hours!  I suppose that makes me appreciate them all the more!  If I could have had it work out I would have had them as my flower of choice at our wedding. 

The 20 wk ultrasound!  And this is when we found out that it was a boy!  This was a much more emotional day than was anticipated.  There was so, so, so much happiness but while Yathi and I were still in the parking lot getting ready to leave I received an email from a loved family member with such vitriolic words stating that I should not have become pregnant and it was so selfish of me to do so.  So selfish to bring into the world a child that would need to be cared for by others while I went to work.  I cried so much that day. 

Finally no longer an intern!  Some have found it more difficult as a second year but (at least so far) I have not found it to be so.  I feel there is more of a stride in one's step that happens once you know where all the bathrooms are in a place. :-P

This was right before a wedding party.  So many of our friends got married or had babies/got pregnant this year.  We all blamed it on the record setting COLD winter. :-P  And in retrospect, this was a poor purchase.  I only actually wore this dress once.  Working as much as I do, where did I think I was going to go? Silly Gina.

Hosting the new intern's party.  Super hero's / Super Villains.  I don't think I've ever had such an amazing costume in my life.  I was pretty proud of myself for putting this together.  And Yathi of course pulling off his sexy Jedi pose. ^_^

And Mommy came to live with us!  Phew, that was such a big move.  It took FOREVER just to sort through the 20 years worth of things she had accumulated and figure out what to keep, what to sell/give away, what to throw away.  And soooo dusty.  I was sneezing for 2 weeks straight after that.  Along with her came her dog.  The adorable and now quite elderly Bear.  He was so excited to have a back yard for the first time in his life.  He didn't know what to do with himself.  :-)

We thought we had a lot of books before.  But with the addition of all my dad's old books/bookshelf we now have the beginnings of the personal library I always wanted. Interested in Plato, the Third Reich, the History of Man, Mark Twain, Physiology, Biochemistry, Anatomy, the History of Medicine, The Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, Tolkien, Chaucer, or just a raunchy romance novel?  We have you covered. :-D

Somehow through all of this I began to put together the nursery.  You must realize that until now, this room had been used as a storage room and was absolutely stashed with a tremendous number of miscellaneous boxes that had to be sorted through before anything could be started.  Soooo tedious.  But I was so happy to finally be able to bring out of boxes the things that I had started to make for the future baby when we started to try for a pregnancy.  The rocking chair cushions, the pillow, the ball, the painted shelf, the curtains, and the rug in this picture I put together.  And the window rod came from our local forest preserve.  I ended up not having everything completed by the time that Kai came around.  As a matter of fact, it STILL is not done.  But I love the fact that I was able to make these things myself and make it our own.

All the lilacs are gone! :-(  

And the belly gets still bigger.  I think this was at about the point when Kai's kicks were very obvious.  Before this I would be lying in bed, trying to keep so tremendously still...trying to hold my breath...trying to see if those feelings were really kicks or not.  And trying to see if I could see the smallest hint of a movement on my belly.  These were truly awesome moments. :-)

Life in a hospital.  Anybody who works in one is familiar with the 1-10 face scale to 'help' patients figure out how to describe how much pain they are experiencing.  I don't know anybody who thinks that they are very accurate.  Apparently one of my patients agreed.  His son, who happened to be an artist, drew this for his father to point at when the nurse came in.  This is gold. 

This is about the point when 'being pregnant' started actually changing the way I walked, got up out of a chair, rolled out of bed.  But not so much as later on when I bent down to pick up a fallen pen while sitting in a chair at work and literally fell forward out of the chair onto the floor.  *How mortifying...and hilarious* Gravity is an evil mistress at times. 

Repeat ultrasound ~27 weeks.  Already had those pinch-able kissable cheeks. And still loving the whole pregnancy thing.  The funny thing was that one of my own patients was in labor when this was taken.  I ran to this office for an hour to get this done, hoping all the while that I would not miss anything important.  With my schedule it was so difficult to find appointment spots that would God forbid that I miss or need to change one...

Now I feel as though I have 'some' understanding of what hot flashes are.  Until this point, I had always been the cold person in the room when everybody else is steaming.  And now...Yathi was stealing warmth from me instead of the other way around for the first time ever.  *warmth stealer!*

Our first ever garage sale!  This was a lot of work but it paid for Kai's crib and car seat!  ~80% of this came from the DAYS of organizing through the aforementioned 20 yrs worth of accumulated *stuff*.  Ughh.  And only one person that we know actually came by to buy stuff.  Poo.  Thankfully some Polish lady from a couple blocks away who spoke not a word of English came by and bought a ton of things.  My skills at selling things to people who don't speak your language honed through the years of working at fleemarkets came in handy that day. :-D

Remember how I said that the garden was not meant to be?  This is why.  After all the weeks of careful planning, planting, watering, transfering, fertilizing, all became too much and this is what happened.  This is after the rabbits came by and ate all the onions, leeks, broccoli, and kale but before the squirrels came and stole all of our corn cobs.  Doomed.

Such a wonderful baby shower!  I was so happy with the way that it turned out!  Right before this, Yathi had sat me down and we decided that I was going to give up the reins on making it happen.  Since we had nobody to host the party, I had spent hours and hours and hours putting together ideas for decorations, games, food, presentation that were beautiful, quirky, colorful, and cheap and it was going to take just about as long to put it all together.  This was at the same time that I was putting together the nursery, organizing my mom's move-in, and trying to stay on top of work.  It was getting to be too much.  Yathi took my ideas and made this happen.  And it was perfect. :-D  Everyone who came were so generous.  We were so surprised and thankful!

The doctor who did my ultrasounds said that residents/doctors who have irregular schedules (periodically flipping between nights and days) notoriously deliver early.  She turned out to be right in my case.  Not quite premie status but not too far off.  This was taken after coming home from a 24 hr call.  You can't tell from the picture but it was raining.  I just had to get the picture in front of the rainbow though!  ^_^

My mom's flowers overtook the porch and suddenly our backyard was filled with color!  The perks of having a mommy with you. :-D

The morning of Step 3 (Day one of two)!  I was worried about taking it while pregnant.  I was trying to balance the necessary caffeine to keep me awake and focused with the desire to not have to take too many bathroom breaks.  Bladder compression is a real problem people. :-P Thank the Lord these tests are over.  Now I just need to take the Family Medicine Board Exams next year...and every seven years of my life until I retire.  *sigh*

At the in-law's house.  At this point you start thinking "You know what?  I'm going to eat WHATEVER I want." 

My ONLY bare belly photo.  I had purposefully been avoiding these the whole time as I've always been a bit self conscious of the whole belly area but at this point it seemed so ridiculously large I just had to.  :-P  I'm glad there were not any code blues that I was in charge of at work during these few weeks.  The person would have died in the time that it took me to waddle to their room.  And stairs?  My nemesis.

My very last outing before delivery.  This was my mom's first time at an apple picking orchard and it was so much fun!  Even though it is so much more expensive than buying them in a store we love the picking process.  Maybe at our dream home we have a couple trees of our own!  My parents always planted fruit trees at the homes they owned but by the time the trees were actually producing fruit a few years later we had to move on.  Yet another reason we want a forever home!  And I adore the second picture of my mom.  One of the best pictures of her in several years. 

The long awaited moment! 37wks 6days.  I'll have to tell the story at another time but it is enough to say that it happened fast enough to make us authentically worried about the possibility of a home birth if there is a second baby.  And I was the worst patient ever and just refused to push.  But he came anyway.  Our precious baby boy.  

After a couple days in the hospital we were finally back home!  And while nothing was wrong with Kai, I was healing from the "skid marks" of delivery which made it near impossible and so painful to walk, or in fact to get into bed for nearly two weeks.  I was not fully healed until about 8 weeks after his birth and I now have a whole new respect for my new mom patients.  I am so thankful that I had Yathi and my mom to help to go to the pharmacy to pick up things for me.  I certainly could not have done it on my own.  The first couple of days at home were the most challenging and my emotions were running havoc.  Even though my rationale brain new that there was nothing wrong, I was afraid to leave Kai alone to go downstairs and eat dinner.  I would cry at nothing.  In fact, I would cry hardest when someone said something nice to me.  But that soon was over and we could all enjoy our little precious bundle of joy.  

The little burrito!  With that enviable full head of hair we wanted to cover him with kisses all the time!

Those little hands grasping your fingers are just the best. :-)  And that Boppy-like nursing pillow I made is seriously so useful.  

1 week old!  So adorable and so so loved.

Belly button created!  We were absolutely amazed that when he came home he fit well into some Premie sized shirts that my mom had bought for him.  Born at 6lb 13oz.  Though I'm not complaining  and I'm glad he was no larger. :-P 

After the tar-like dark sticky meconium poos were a thing of the past we delved into cloth diapering.  Except for about five diapers, our stash is made up of BumGenius 4.0s and Freetimes.  The are all-in-ones that are designed, in theory to last from birth until potty training.  We will see if that is true.  But it was so cute to see him in them when he was so little.  The bottom of the diaper is nearly at his ankles! Also, this changing mat is the best-est.  We were so surprised when we got this for our baby shower as it is about 6 times more expensive than what we would have bought for ourselves.  So thankful!

We were not expecting to have Kai around for Halloween as the "official" due date was November 3rd but here he was.  So there I was at Baby'sRUs a couple days before and this was literally the only thing they had left in Newborn size.  So perfect.  I think this was my first outing without him as well.  It is crazy to think of all the perfect timing and coordination it took to minimize baby fussiness and get back in time to nurse him.  Uggh.

We discovered that we love baby-wearing!  However we have not used it very often as it is perhaps more useful when you are out-and-about.  It was very helpful on the few occasions when Baby has been out of the house.  We have the front carry Bjorn, and two that I made myself, a wrap and a ring sling.  The ring sling I think will maybe become more useful when Kai can sit up on his own.  I love the wrap and there are SO many different ways to use it which of course means that there are so many ways that you can make a mistake and it takes a lot of practice.  I can't wait until it gets warmer outside so I can have more opportunities to take him for walks.  :-)

Yathi has absolutely taken on the role of a father so much more completely and quickly than I ever could have imagined.  He in many ways is so much better with Kai than I am.  Probably because he has so much more patience.  We were so so fortunate that he was able to spend the first month of Kai's life at home.  While he was still reading articles and working on his dissertation etc..., his help was absolutely invaluable.  And yes, he is reading Batman comics to Kai.

Kai's eyes when he was born were a beautiful grey color.  Now three months later, the grey has scaled back to only the outer ridge while the rest has filled in with brown.  My mom was very much hoping for colored eyes (as she hoped when I was born) but alas, genetics decree it was not to be. :-P  This was one of the few moments in the first month that he had his eyes open for an extended period of time and I was lucky to get this picture where you are able to appreciate the color of his eyes. 

One Month Old!  And as per usual, sleeping. :-P  There truly is nothing more lovely than a sleeping baby's face.  

Just about at the same time we celebrated Kai's Baptism.  I was surprised by how many people were shocked that we did it so soon.  I have always thought it very strange that people wait a year or two to baptize their child.  I understand the concept behind waiting until they are much older so that they are able to make the decision themselves which is what several other Christian denominations practice but waiting one or two years does not put it in the hands of the child and it takes away much of the Catholic reason for doing it beforehand.  A few decades ago, people would not take their infant out of the house at all until their Baptism (which would happen as soon as possible) for fear that if, God forbid, the baby would die for some reason they would not be full fledged members of the Church.  It just made sense for us to do it this way.  It was also convenient for our schedule seeing that we were both still home.  Not to mention we had the advantage that babies that young sleep most of the day so there was no fuss. He was the only baby that slept through the whole thing! :-) 

One of the first caught smiles!  I can't get enough of those cute gums! ^_^

Just after Yathi had said "Babies are fashion accessories!" *Model Pose*  Seeing Kai peer over his shoulder is just the most adorable thing.

Just before Christmas Kai had his 2 month old well child check up and his first set of shots.  We were so proud of him because he barely cried at all!  (Once his legs became sore a few hours later we had a very different story.)  He is so cute and squeezable!

Christmas Day 2014!  My father-in-law was clearly so happy to have two of his grand-babies on his lap.  Now if only I can get him to smile for pictures. :-P

We bought this tree ornament to symbolize Kai's arrival this year.  It was particularly poignant because the baby of a friend of mine died a few days after being born earlier in the year.  So when we saw this simple little figurine of an angel holding this little baby we were reminded of how much we have to be thankful for. 

Grandma Maria or Lita as she likes to be called was slowly becoming more comfortable with Kai.  You should see the two of them now!  Thick as thieves!  Kai gives most of his smiles to his Lita. :-)

On that note, (as if we didn't already have enough children's books) we started building up a Spanish collection hoping that Kai will pick it up more completely and earlier than I did.  He has books read to him always as part of his pre-bedtime routine and often a couple times throughout the day.  I devoured books growing up and I remember being always surrounded by them, and by people who read constantly.  Is it any wonder that we have the crazy collection that we do?  I mean, 95% of Kai's English books are the books that I read when I was little that my mom could not bear to throw away for all these years.  ^_^

Just before I had to return to work I decided that the hair that I had been growing out for 4 YEARS had to go.  Snip snip. All gone.  I'm not convinced that I love it.  I probably will cut a little more in a few weeks but it does feel good to have a change.  Having such long hair was such a LOVE-HATE relationship. 

And so started the difficulty of finding space and time to pump every few hours at work.  So far it seems to be working out but I don't know for how much longer that will be the case.  Seeing this now 3 month old thrive with those chubby chubby cheeks has made it so worth the trouble though.  A friend gave him this outfit.  His very first pair of scrubs.  Oh the cuteness!

My mom loves to put this curl on the top of his head which gives him this mohawk look.  He is starting to look so grown up!

I somehow found time in the past couple of weeks to teach myself how to knit.  My first project was not very spectacular but this is my second one.  A lace style cowl.  I really like it!  I just need to block it out so that it lies a little bit more flat.  One of these days I will get myself a scarf pin and make the look complete.  I have been avoiding getting new clothing since I don't want to spend any money until I lose all this baby weight.  Last time I checked I just had 2 lbs to go!  Not through any help of my own.  I think I can only thank nursing for the weight loss.  500 calories a day.  Yes, thank you! 

Kai has finally started enjoying his baths.  And I've finally gotten around to using the giraffe hooded bath towel that I had made for him months ago.  I'm so glad he seems to like it!  And as for the sink baby.  We gotta have fun. :-D

And here we are, today.  Kai seems to be sleeping through most of the night these days *knocks on wood* and usually wakes up hungry around 4-5 am.  I've recently taken to feeding him and letting him sleep next to me if he is calm for the hour or two until I get up myself.  It is just the best. <3 nbsp="" p="">

I've been fairly eased back into work so I have yet to see how we will make everything work on those 80 hr week rotations.  But still, we are very very much looking forward to all the firsts that will come this year.  Of course we are only 3 months in, but family life seems to suit us, and I could not be happier. <3>

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