Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk

In our China life, there is no such thing as a "quick" errand.  Inevitably, something happens that causes your projected time spent on said errand to grow exponentially.  Case in point, my trip to the market a year or so ago.  

Well, we've gotten pretty spoiled here in America where the fictitious quick errand actually exists.  So we figured it wouldn't be such a big deal to swing by the grocery store with all three kids in tow on the way home from our tasty BBQ dinner to pick up some milk.  (I'm terribly obsessed with milk here, by the way.  Milk that doesn't require refrigeration and comes in a juice box is...well, as my dad puts it, a bit grim.) 

Knowing I would just be a second, Kevin dropped me off so we wouldn't have to bring our circus of a family inside.  Knowing I would just be a second, I passed over getting a cart (Fatal Error #1).  Two gallons of milk, 6 bananas, and 5 pears later, I was in the self check-out line.  The funny thing about not being pregnant anymore is that no one gives you special treatment like before.  Had I been hugely pregnant and standing in line with two gallons of milk, 6 bananas, and 5 pears, some kind patron would have probably let me cut.  But now that my baby bump joined the outside world, I'm just a dumb lady who should have gotten a cart.

As you might know, two gallons of milk can be a little heavy, so I set one down (Fatal Error #2).  Moments later, there was a gallon of milk that had taken a fatal leap and was gushing its dairy goodness all over my feet.  Could have been my gallon of milk.  Yup, most definitely was.  

It really wasn't that great of a crisis.  They called someone to clean it up and even sent a guy to retrieve me another jug of milk.  But the great triumph was the realization I had as I was leaving the store: All of that just happened and I didn't even cry!  I didn't even have the urge to cry.  So maybe there is hope for this hormonal new mom after all!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Confessions of a Hormonal New Mom

This is latest & greatest gadget in baby theft prevention:

I'm not sure what it's officially called, but on the street (and by that I mean the hospital halls) it's called "Baby LoJack." Basically, it keeps small, defenseless people from being carried off by big bad people. An unfortunately necessary device in today's broken world.  

But what Baby LoJack does not do is help sleep-deprived, slightly crazy new mothers differentiate between big, bad people and innocent, helpful nurses.

On the day of Hudson's birth, our night nurse came in for a middle of the night visit.  She was a terribly sweet woman with an undeniable, very recognizable accent.  She checked me and then told me that she was going to check Hudson's vitals as well.  Either she didn't say so or my fatigue precluded me from comprehending it but I missed the part of the conversation where I was told that she was going to take him away for his check-up.  The next thing I knew, she was gone, my baby was gone, and I was all alone (except for Kevin who was scrunched up on the tiny couch next to my bed, sleeping soundly).

And that's when the hormonal delusions kicked in.  Where has my child gone?  After all, this is the furthest apart we've been in 9 months.  What if this "nurse" isn't really a nurse at all and she's running away with my child at this very moment?  So what if she did a thorough check of me and had the exact same accent as the person who really is my nurse...must be a very convincing baby thief.  On and on my imagination raged until there was only one thing to do...



"Someone took Hudson, and I don't know where he is.  What if it wasn't the nurse?  Will you go find him?"

Husband of the year award was earned in that moment when he peeled himself off the couch, put on his shoes, and went in search of the little baby that wasn't really missing at all.  When he returned, he told me that there were a handful of pink & blue hatted babies in the nursery, one of them most likely Hudson.  Unfortunately, the most likely left enough reasonable doubt in my mind to press the subject further.

"But what if he's not?  What if he's gone forever?"

"Trust me, Beck," my most patient husband replied. "And if you don't trust me, trust Baby LoJack."

Ah, Baby LoJack, restoring sleep to hormonal, exhausted women across America (except for this one, of course, who laid restlessly in bed until her sweet newborn returned from the nursery).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Same, Same But Different

One of the perks of forgoing an epidural is that you get to tag along with baby to the nursery for his first bath.  Well, it was more like "hobble along" instead of "tag along," but you get my point.  Little Man got a scrub down and had his hairs did into a stylin' door-to-door salesman combover part.  

It reminded me of not so very long ago when we had a first bath with our other buddies.

As they would say in Thailand, "Same, same but different."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How It All Went Down

Now I’m no expert at birthing babies, but I’m pretty sure there were some anomalies present in little Hudson’s debut.  For example,

Being asked for your birth plan after you’ve already given birth…

Arriving at the hospital already 10 cm dilated…

The nurses not letting you push because the doctor hasn’t arrived yet…

The time elapsed between arriving at the hospital and delivery equaling approximately 27 minutes…

Yup, I’m pretty sure that’s not normal.  But that’s how things went down on a rainy Tuesday morning here in ATX.  Here’s the scoop for all of you who are into the whole birth story…

I woke up a few times Monday night with less than pleasant contractions.  Nothing intense enough to make me roll over and kick Kevin but enough to make me remember them in the morning.  I tried to get the day started like normal, but contractions got the better of me.  We started timing them and practicing the relaxation techniques we had studied but after being reminded by my sis-in-law that “early” labor could last for an entire day, I decided to go about life as usual.  So I sucked it up, took a shower, got dressed, and joined the buddies on the living room floor to play.

Kevin took the boys downstairs for lunch, but I stayed upstairs on the couch.  And that was when my water broke.  Thankfully, I made it to the hardwood floors because it’s very awkward to spill your baby juices all over your parent’s couch.  Not that it's any less strange to go into labor in your childhood bedroom.  I mean, this was the place where I drew braces on my Barbie dolls.  These were the walls where I hung Leonardo Dicaprio posters.  And now it was where I would work to bring my son into the world.  My life has come full circle indeed!

We called the doctor, who said we could keep laboring at home until my contractions got more intense.  So that’s what we did.  I guess I needed a more specific definition of “intense” because within the next few hours, I wanted to push.  And that is not a good thing!

My dad drove us very “intentionally” to the hospital so Kevin could sit in the backseat with me.  Since the hospital wasn’t expecting us, we were put in a triage room in L&D.  A nurse finally (and I say finally with a very dramatic intonation, even though it probably wasn’t very long at all) came to check me. To my surprise, I was already at 10 cm.  So off we went to the delivery room to have a baby.

But what really happened was that we went to the delivery room to wait for the doctor.  For anyone who is curious, it is not a pleasant feeling to want to push out a baby but having ten people tell you that you can’t.  Not a pleasant feeling at all.  But what is pleasant is watching several nurses scurry around, trying to accomplish in five minutes what they usually do in an hour, including setting up an IV in a patient with notoriously tricky veins like mine.  It’s just plain ol’ good entertainment (for everyone except the suffering mama of course).

To spare you all the gory details, the doctor showed up. Pushing occurred.  A baby was produced.  He was gross & cheesy & I loved him at once.  We spent the next few hours in the delivery room, swooning over our little man.  My parents came to the hospital with the boys, who were more excited about wearing mama’s shirt and spinning around on hospital stools than they were about meeting their brother. 

At least there were some people who were actually excited about Hudson…

My two days in the hospital were like a vacation (except instead of bringing me drinks with wee umbrellas, I was asked to sign forms at 4 AM) but we were ready to come home and start our crazy life with three under 3.  Let the games begin!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Peek, Party of 5

We welcomed our newest little buddy on Tuesday!
Hudson Thomas
Born May 15 at 3:37 PM
7 pounds, 8 ounces
21 inches

I'll share the dramatic story of little man's arrival once we get home from the hospital.  But in the meantime, I think I'll go stare at my baby some more...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

So I had myself a little birthday last week.  My rockstar of a mom friend Carrie once told me during my pre-motherhood days that the best birthday, Mother's Day, any-day-ending-in-y gift ever is just a few hours alone.  At the time, I thought she was exaggerating.  Now I know she's exactly right.  It's easy on the ol' budget too, seeing that I've been whisked away from the land of cheap produce and plopped in the middle of Consumerland US of A.  (But I would be remiss not to mention the fab camera my parents & husband bought me for said birthday.  I guess that makes me a happy consuming citizen of Consumerland USA!)

So on my birthday, I took a shower.  I didn't remove the toys from the bathtub but just kicked the various helicopters, blimps, and headless genies out from under my feet.

On my birthday, I drove the car alone (not the Monster Truck if you're wondering).  I did not have to listen to the Elmo CD, sing the self-composed gorilla song that has become Micah's favorite, or listen to commentary on anything & everything that is going on outside the car.

On my birthday, I went to a bookstore that encourages the reading of their plentiful supply of English books by not wrapping them in plastic and even providing comfy chairs.

On my birthday, I ordered a Chai latte and drank it while it was still really, really hot.

On my birthday,  I got overwhelmed by the abundance of English books and opted for a pregnancy magazine instead.  And I cried into my latte while reading one of the articles.

On my birthday, I found a book that I used to read to my friend Rachel's daughters and, for nostalgia sake, bought it for my own little buddies.  Because it really is true that it's more fun to give than receive (even on your birthday).

On my birthday, I felt lonely in my quiet car so I tried to call my sis-in-law, who was unfortunately otherwise engaged.

On my birthday, I came home after only an hour and a half and was so happy to see all my menfolk waiting for me.

So not a very thrilling birthday, I'll admit, but a satisfying one nonetheless.  And the best part?  Since I'd had such a laid back morning, I didn't feel like I was about to keel over from fatigue during the boys' nap that afternoon, so I got to spend some good time in the Word (before falling asleep myself, I will admit).  This is my hope & prayer for my life as I close out my 20's this coming year:

...that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may 
be filled with all the fullness of God.  ~Ephesians 3:16-19

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Different House, New Car

We spent last week in Houston visiting some of Kevin's family & some of our American friends from Chiner.  As we made the tour from one house to the next, Micah got in the habit of announcing, "Different house!" each & every time we got in the car.  Yes, my son, that is your life.  Get used to it.  Different countries, different time zones, different cities, different houses.  You are, after all, a wee world traveler.   

We spent a steamy Houston afternoon with my friend Amy, her kiddos, and some of her friends.  We so looking forward to getting back to Chine so we can resume life with these fab folks.

Then there was all the playtime with the boys' two sets of twin cousins: Morgan & Harper (whom Micah fondly referred to as "Diaper") and Woody & CeCe. 

I still can't get over the wonderful wonder-ness of having a backyard.  A huge expanse of green right outside your own door.  You don't even have to put shoes on if you don't want to.  So I exhort you, my suburban American friends, appreciate your backyard today!

As if Kevin's side of the family didn't have a large enough grandkid explosion, Kevin's sister Terra & I will usher in grandkids #13 and #14 this month.  Kevin's other sister Shannon will welcome #15 in September.  

I do realize that this post is entirely kid-centric.  Yikes.  I've become one of those moms who only talks about her kids.  We'll have to do something about that...

Before we left Houston, we picked up our new ride that will accommodate our fast-approaching need for three car seats.  There is an organization based out of Houston that helps put vagabonds like us behind the wheel of snazzy, donated cars.  I'll be honest, I had my heart set on a Chevy Astro.  Spacious, humble, economic.  What more could you want?  So when we were walking through the parking lot toward our car and were led passed an Astro toward a big ol' Expedition, my heart sunk a bit.  We're thankful to have something that fits us all, despite the fact that I'm afraid to drive such a monster of a car and it requires a second mortgage to fill the gas tank (not that we're even adult enough to have a first mortgage).  

We're settled back in Austin now, waiting for baby to join the party!