Like a boss

My new work arrangement – working from home part of the week – has been working out beautifully. The days I work from home are so much less stressful. I get more time with my dumpling, both in the mornings and the evenings. I’m much closer to home (obviously) but with that comes the added convenience of being close to things like the grocery store and our auto mechanic. I can run a quick grocery errand at lunch or do a load of laundry between answering emails. The dumpling’s daycare is two minutes away, as opposed to between 45-60 minutes away from my office. All in all, it’s been fantastic and I’m so grateful my company is even willing to do this.

The only downside has been my setup. When I first approached my boss about equipment, he hedged, saying that he wanted to wait a while to see how this would all work out. That was almost six weeks ago. Since I’ve been back to work, I’ve been working off my laptop and a portable monitor. If you’re familiar with a typical office setup, you can see how limiting it’s been. I’ve been toying with the idea of just purchasing my own, but kept procrastinating. But, last Friday I discovered that my laptop’s Ctrl key was no longer working. This, ladies and gents, is what sent me over the edge. (In my defense, I use short cuts in Excel constantly and kept erasing my work as I tried to copy and paste or search.)

So, over the weekend, I took the plunge and purchased two monitors, a new keyboard and mouse, and a dock for my laptop. It came in Tuesday and I have been in work heaven (if there’s such a thing) since then.

It’s amazing what good tools can do!

Baby’s First Flight!

Last Tuesday, exactly a week ago, we got a postcard in the mail. My mom had recently finished renovating her newly acquired office building and she was having an open house. This was a huge milestone for her. She’s been in business for over 11 years, but she’s rented her space the entire time. She had outgrown her original space long ago and had slowly leased additional suites in the same building. These suites were not all together though, so she and her employees were constantly running through common area to get back and forth. Plus there was a lack of security, given she had to rely on other tenants to lock the exterior doors. Then there was also the fact that the entire building shared a bathroom. Etc. Etc. Lots of reasons why this new building is going to be such a huge step up for her and her employees. Plus her own building! With her name on it!

When we got the postcard invitation to her open house, Luffy asked me if I was going to attend. It was on Friday though, middle of the day, in my hometown (5+ hours away by car) and Luffy also happened to be out of town that day.

“No,” I chuckled, “I’ll just send her some flowers to let her know we’re thinking of her.”


Last Thursday, around 2pm, I got a call that registered with my hometown’s area code. I answered, instantly recognizing my mom’s business partner’s voice. He and my mom’s best friend (who also happens to be her employee) wanted to surprise my mom by having me there for her open house. They’d cover the flight, they’d pick me up, they’d even purchase a car seat if that made things easier for me. My mom always planned surprises for everyone else and they wanted the chance to surprise her.

What could I do but agree?


Thursday night, as I lay in bed contemplating the next day – flying with the dumpling all by myself – I dissolved into a ball of nerves. What on earth was I thinking?! Flying home, with no one to help me with the dumpling?! I’m crazy! I’m insane! I should be committed!

As 11pm and then midnight and then 1am rolled around, I tried frantically to adjust my plans. I even got on the phone with the airlines to try to take a different flight (that actually didn’t exist – turns out I tend to misread things when it’s 12:30 in the morning and I’m freaking out). I tried desperately to come up with a solution that would allow me leave the dumpling at daycare and be home in time to pick him up. (To be clear, we have plenty of friends and family in the area who would have been here for the dumpling in case he needed it. I wasn’t just going to abandon my young to daycare and go jet-setting.)

Finally, probably around 1:30 in the morning or so, a mere four and a half hours before I needed to get up, I calmed myself. I could handle this. I was flying with the dumpling, not some stranger’s squalling infant. We would be fine. Worst case scenario, the flight is only 45 minutes long, I’m pretty sure I (and my seatmates) would be able to survive anything for just 45 minutes. And with that thought, I finally managed to get to sleep.


I awoke with a start at 5:45 because omg the baby! He hadn’t made a peep all night. Of course, the one night I’m riddled with nerves and can’t sleep is the one night he sleeps all the way through. Because of course. I tried to roll over and go back to sleep, but I was wide awake. Which was probably ok because the dumpling ruined my plans to get ready before getting him up for the day by waking up at 6:15 and nursing for half an hour. But even with the curve ball, I got him fed, myself showered, breakfast eaten, Jas got her medicine, and we were out the door by 7:30!

And then I got to laugh at my anxious self as the dumpling did beautifully in the airport. He peaked out from his carrier as we went through security and made our way to the gate. He slept while we waited to board and woke up to be delighted by the airplane. A kind couple behind me shifted seats so that I could have a row to myself. I nursed him as soon as we took off and he nodded off for his first nap of the day. He slept the whole flight and woke up just as we were touching down. We made our way through my hometown’s small airport to find my mom’s best friend. As promised, she had a newly purchased car seat in the back. She had, adorably, given up YouTubing for installation help and had taken it to the local fire station. We chatted excitedly as we made our way to my mom’s business. With her business partner keeping her distracted from the security camera feeds, we made our way inside.

When I rounded the corner into my mom’s office, she stared at me, completely shocked and not really putting the pieces together – to see the dumpling and I standing in her office on a Friday morning. But the second passed and she burst into happy tears and came around her desk to envelope us both in a hug. She took the dumpling from me, hugged me again and again, and then proceeded to direct the set-up for her open house one-handed as she carried the dumpling everywhere – her mood notably lifted.

It was so much fun getting to surprise her like that! She was so shocked to see us and we made her day. We also got to surprise many of my extended family (including my own granddad who got the opportunity to meet his great-grandson!). Of course, with only two people in-the-know, we surprised nearly everyone who came out to support my mom. My mom had a blast showing her grandson off to all of her friends.

Since I was travelling alone and I needed to be back home to teach my first class the next day (which – SPOILER ALERT – didn’t end up happening because of a stomach bug I picked up along the way), our flight home was at 4:30 that afternoon. Mom drove us to the airport, sad to see us go but ever so happy that we came.

The dumpling did well on the flight home, although he was much more tired and therefore a touch more cranky. We made it home in time to get him into bed on time. Then I took a hot shower, had some dinner delivered, chatted with Luffy, and climbed into bed myself, exhausted from our busy day.

And then I got back up and puked, but let’s just pretend the story ended on my happier note, shall we?

The Newborn Chronicles: 9w2d

The tides are turning my friends. It dawned on me this past Monday that I only have three weeks of maternity leave left. Three weeks! And for the first time, when I thought of returning to work, rather than looking forward to the return to my routines, I felt sad. Just three short weeks left of hanging out with Little Dumpling. Then, Luffy and I decided to arrange some transitional days for the Dumpling at his day care provider. A couple of half days, a couple of whole days – good for both of us as we begin a new routine. However, this means I really just have two full weeks left. Two! TWO.

Luffy is already making fun of me because just a few weeks ago I was going on about how I couldn’t wait to go back to work and to share the responsibility of caring for the dumpling. But now. Now I’m a little saddened by the thought of not seeing him all day. We’re finally to the point where our days have some routine. The Dumpling’s getting big enough for me to actually enjoy. He’s awake for about an hour now, more or less. He’s all smiles when he’s well rested. He loves his play mat (an adorable little activity gym that I opened on a whim). He stares at the toys overhead and smiles at his reflection (he loves that guy in the mirror!). He’s becoming more and more vocal. He coos at us all day long. I’m expecting his first giggle any week now. He finally enjoys his swing and will take some naps in it if needed.

Our biggest progress though has been on the sleep front. When we last chatted, Luffy and I were so frustrated with the two or three hour dance it took to get the dumpling down for the night. On good nights, he would wake every three hours like clockwork. On the bad, it was every hour and a half or less. One particularly low morning, Luffy found me at 6:20am, crying on the couch as I nursed the dumpling again. I had just put him down at 5:30 and he was up again. Luffy suggested we look into sleep training because he couldn’t stand to see me upset like that, frustrated with the Dumpling and with myself.

The turning point came at our two month appointment. Our pediatrician gave us the go ahead to try sleep training. Her opinion was that it certainly couldn’t hurt. If it didn’t work, put a pin in it and try again in a few weeks. She told us we were overthinking the sleep thing. We were trying everything to force naps to ensure that the dumpling got close to the 15 hour recommendation. She told us that the dumpling would take care of his sleep needs; we just needed to provide the opportunity and environment for sleep.

Now, it’s still a work in progress. Definitely not perfect, but the change has been so nice. He’s falling asleep all on his own most of the time. I no longer have to spend twenty extra minutes after each night nursing to rock him; I can just put him back in his Rock ‘n’ Play. He’s sleeping longer stretches on occasion too and I firmly believe it’s because he can fall asleep on his own (and therefore no longer absolutely needs us when he wakes between sleep cycles). He’s doing really well and I am so proud of him.

So yeah, it’s going to be tough leaving him. I feel like we picked a good day care provider. I think he’ll have fun there and be well cared for. I’m excited to return to work. I’m looking forward to more routine. But I’m also sad to know this chapter is quickly ending. I’m not looking forward to the days I’ll be away from him the longest (I return to teaching my exercise class at the end of the month, but I will start attending class as practice sessions). I know we’ll be stretched a little thinner and we’ll probably flounder a bit as we work through establishing a new routine. But we’ll get there. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my last few weeks of hanging out with Little Dumpling.

The Newborn Chronicles – 5w6d

So. I believe you know that Little Dumpling was in the breech presentation… I might have mentioned it once or twice or three hundred times. Not only did that lead to my c-section, it also meant that Little Dumpling could potentially have hip problems. I refused to look into this because I know what happens when you turn to Dr Google. Despair. Doom. Death. No thank you. I just kept my fingers crossed that he wasn’t in frank breech presentation, the one likeliest to cause problems.

As it turns out, he was. This meant that his legs were extended, feet up by his head. Our pediatrician ordered an ultrasound of his hips be performed around 6 weeks of age. We had that ultrasound this morning.

That, in and of itself, was fun. Have you ever tried to keep a newborn still when he doesn’t want to be still? It’s like wrestling a greased pig. To add further challenges, they needed images when he was “relaxed” – meaning not active. Lolz. It took us probably half an hour, along with rejected pacifiers, a touch of sugar water (I didn’t really want to use this so I barely dabbed the pacifier in it), and our trusty white noise app. To my untrained ears, the radiologist kept going back and forth between “no problem” and “problem.” They eventually got all the images they needed and sent us on our way. Unfortunately, they’ll send the report to our pediatrician and we don’t have another appointment for two weeks. I’m not sure if they’ll call us earlier with the results, although I do plan to give them a call tomorrow to find out!

After the ultrasound appointment, Luffy asked me what could be wrong – what were they looking for? Since I don’t know myself, I had to turn to google. Apparently the biggest concern for little breech babies is developmental dysplasia of the hip. Basically it means that his movement was restricted in the womb, thus the hip might not have developed normally. It can cause an unstable hip, which leads to problems walking and, in the worst cases, the hip dislocates. There are varying degrees of course. Most cases remedy themselves as the child grows. In more severe cases, a brace is required to hold the hip in the socket as the child grows. In the most severe cases, surgery is required to repair the hip joint.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all looks good! I really can’t imagine keeping him in a brace for six to twelve weeks (it would be anchored at his shoulder and basically hold his knee up by his shoulder – can you imagine?!). And I really, really can’t imagine my sweet baby boy undergoing surgery. We’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, we’re slowly coming through the Wonder Week. He’s much more alert now, for longer periods of time. I think his fussiness has decreased a tad. A touch. Maybe? He also gave us his first toothless smile yesterday morning! It was gorgeous and just as wonderful as I imagined. Of course, he was smiling at his daddy and wouldn’t return the smile to me – the one who is sustaining him merely through the power of mah boobs – but that’s ok. I’m not jealous or anything.

We went to Luffy’s parents’ house for lunch yesterday; our first time since the dumpling was born. I had to joke about my major demotion in status. You see, when I was pregnant, Luffy’s parents basically skipped right over greeting him and would immediately come to me, seeing how I was doing, ushering me in, sitting me down. No though. No such reception. Both Luffy and I were passed over completely as his parents swooped in to greet the dumpling. They immediately wanted him out of the car seat and took turns carrying him around their house. As a new mother, it was both adorable and infuriating. I kept telling myself to relax, after all, they raised Luffy and he’s just fine. What can I say, it’s been just me and the dumpling for six weeks! After we ate lunch, they wanted to run by Luffy’s aunt’s house (where his grandparents live as well) to show off the baby boy. We couldn’t turn them down so off we went to show off our precious little one.

And I think that’s about it for now. As I’ve mentioned before – the days are long and boring and exhausting and precious as I care for this little guy.

Blissfully Happy

I’m sitting on my couch right now, with Friends on as background noise for Little Dumpling. Luffy is napping beside me; he came home early from work. Little Dumpling is in his pack ‘n play in front of me, napping like a champ. Jas is soaking up the last of the afternoon rays in the office, worn out from our play session earlier.

I am blissfully happy at this moment. Wonderfully, completely, absolutely happy.

Everyone and their mother has told me to sleep when the baby sleeps, but I just can’t do it right now because it would be such a waste of this perfect moment.

A Birth Story

As I predicted, that Tuesday morning was uneventful. My mom was in town, as I mentioned, so she joined us for our morning walk as Luffy and I freaked out a tad. (Our go-to meme for the weekend was Tina Belcher’s, from Bob’s Burgers, anxiety noises.) We packed up our hospital bag for the extended stay. Mom and I finished a movie we had started the previous night and then I showered again with the clinical soap. Time positively drug by until it was finally time to head to the hospital.

Since I was already checked in, we were buzzed right back. The nurses complimented me on our punctuality and began the process of getting me ready for surgery. I changed and they started an IV line. I answered a slew of questions about medications and complications and medical history. Once all that was done, we waited around for the scheduled time. Luffy changed into his surgical gear and then… then we headed back into the OR to change our lives.

They left Luffy in the hallway while I went back and was prepped for the spinal. Honestly, that part was the scariest since Luffy wasn’t there and I was in the OR all by myself. Such a surgical space, all sterile and bright. My nurse was fantastic in getting me to relax and into the right position for the spinal. Once it was administered, I laid back on the table and basically hung out while they hooked up all their monitors and disinfected (and shaved) my belly. I tried to relax; I was nervous about how the spinal would affect me. (I had heard that a lot of women start having a panic attack because they can’t tell if they’re breathing anymore.) My doctor came in and greeted me again and then finally they brought Luffy back. He had a huge smile on his face and he sat right down beside me and grabbed my hand. It was a sweet moment – our last as just the two of us.

The surgery started and there were some weird sensations, as they opened me up. Time stood still and then I heard him cry! Little Dumpling had arrived! I immediately starting crying myself and said something silly – probably along the lines of there he is! My doctor had them lower the drape so he could show us Little Dumpling who looked so chubby. They set him to the side and pulled Luffy around so that he could take pictures of Little Dumpling being weighed and measured. Everyone joked because LD just screamed and screamed – no mistaking that his lungs were just fine! (His APGAR scores also reflected this liveliness – he scored an 8 and a 9 at his one minute and five minute intervals.) Then they brought him to me so that we could get a little skin-to-skin action, which was a challenge because of the drape and the fact that I’m so short! There wasn’t a lot of room, but we did it. I marveled at him and just sort of stared at this little dude, this little wrinkly squalling newborn. We were fascinated with his extraordinarily long fingers and he had so much hair!

As the procedure came to a close, they took Luffy and LD back into recovery and finished me up. I was wheeled out, after speaking with my doctor, and spent two hours in recovery being monitored. LD spent a bit of time in the warmer and a bit of time with me. The drugs administered during the surgery made this time a little hazy (like, I still remember it and I was there but I felt a little loopy). We took pictures of LD and updated our friends on his arrival. Luffy looked perfect holding LD. I really can’t describe the feeling of watching him hold our son. Just perfection. I fell a little deeper in love with him in that moment (as I would further over the next few days).

At one point, a passing nurse asked me if my mom was perhaps here – waiting? When I affirmed that my mom was indeed waiting, the nurse told me there was a woman pacing the halls, wringing her hands, who hadn’t sat down in two hours – might that be her and should the nurse at least tell her everything went fine? My poor mother – so anxious! Luffy left recovery occasionally to update his parents. The pediatric nurses took LD away for a few heel pricks as his bilirubin levels were high and he had a weakly positive Coombs test (meaning my blood cells had started producing antibodies against LD’s blood cells). The two hours I spent in recovery were a blur of emotions and weird feelings as my body started processing out the spinal block.

Finally, it was time to go back to our room. At first, I was dismayed to find we were headed towards their overflow section (which meant smaller rooms), but we did just fine. My parents were waiting, as were Luffy’s – everyone was excited to see the little boy! We shooed everyone out after a few moments because it was time to try breastfeeding! Amazingly, LD latched right away and even managed to get a bit of colostrum from me. The rest of the evening is a blur for me. I had nausea around 6pm and got medication. It came back around midnight and I actually vomited before getting another dose of medication (I had thought the nausea might pass without it – I was wrong). Luffy actually got quite a bit of sleep – mostly because LD was still exhausted from delivery and slept most of the night. I’m pretty sure I held him on my chest for most of the night. I got up out of bed for the first time around 5am. Go me!

The next day (Wednesday) was pretty good – also a bit of a blur. My parents brought breakfast for Luffy and enjoyed some newborn snuggles. I got real food at lunch time. My parents gave us privacy during the afternoon for our hospital’s nap time. Everyone got a bit of sleep. My parents brought us dinner (pho! ultimate comfort food) at Luffy’s request (again, he wanted to make sure I was well taken care of and knew the pho would make me feel better).

I’ll pause here to commend my husband. He took such good care of me – of us. He was, and continues to be, absolutely incredible. He loves our little boy so much, it makes my heart hurt. He immediately dived into diaper changes and was the first to figure out that LD likes to hold someone’s hand (holding his hand can help calm him down and I used the trick too while trying to nurse over the first few days). He watched over me, making sure I was doing ok, enforcing rest and naps, questioning care if needed. He was fantastic. Even after we came home, he knew without prompting that my recovery from surgery would need sleep and lots of it. Thus he and my mom took the night shifts that first night home, allowing me to (try) to get a full night’s sleep. He is my foundation and I truly couldn’t have done it without him.

Back to our story – Wednesday night was not a good night for us. I’ll give about 10% blame to LD because my milk had (obviously) not come in yet and he was frustrated with nursing. There wasn’t much for him to have and he had no patience to work for it. The other 90% of blame I’ll assign to the overnight pediatric nurse on duty. The problem was that she kept telling me she wanted to check LD before he nursed. The first time she told me that, I was nursing him (probably about 8pm), so she said to just page her when he was hungry next but that she hoped to be back at 10pm. 10pm came and went, with no sign of her. LD woke up and started fussing at 10:15 and I paged her. And I waited and waited and waited as LD howled and became more and more agitated. Finally, at 11, I said screw this and nursed him (not well, because he was so upset). The nurse did not come by until midnight – a full hour and a half after I paged her. She apologized for not getting there sooner but I wanted to rail at her that she should HAVE TOLD ME so that I could have nursed. LD was asleep once again and so she said to page her again before nursing next time. This went on and on and on. It was awful. Luffy and I passed LD back and forth, each trying to drown out the screaming and catch a few zzz’s.

In hindsight, I don’t know why I ever waited that first time. When she didn’t show up in ten minutes or so, I should have just nursed. My newborn does not have to be on your schedule and he should eat when he wants to. Also, I probably should have requested a bit of formula to get LD over the hump before my milk came in. The only positive thing the nurse did was to suggest a formula dropper to get LD interested in nursing. I don’t think it actually did anything for nursing, but it did give him a few calories to make it through the night. I finally got to sleep around 6am and heard later that Luffy refused to let at least two nurses/techs come in the room for fear of waking me up.

As awful as Wednesday night was, Thursday was good. We were discharged! Before 1pm! Go us!! Going home was fun and surreal. We introduced Jas to LD – completely adorable. She totally missed him until he cried and then was like whaaaaaat is that????? Later in the evening, when I was trying to nurse (again, not well, LD is super impatient), he was crying and Jas was biting me like mom – why aren’t you helping that poor squalling human???? (And I’ll clarify, it was love bites, like she does when I’m not paying attention to her. Clearly I just hadn’t noticed the little guy was upset and she wanted to right that!) She’s been wonderful around him though, generally leaving him alone. Although, adorably, she has sort of taken over the co-sleeper we set up the Sunday before he came. She really likes it and sleeps there a lot.


I’ll take a break here. Obviously it’s been a while since I posted and there’s plenty to update everyone on. We’re home though! Doing well. LD is gaining weight and chubbing up beautifully. Jas is doing good. Luffy is amazing. I’m finally in a good place again, mentally. All is well.

Quick update!

Hello from the other siiiiiiiiiiide!

I don’t have to much time, so this won’t be a full update. However, can’t keep everyone waiting for ever. 

Little Dumpling is here! He arrived on schedule (Tuesday, October 25th) at 1:01pm, weighing 6 lbs 13oz, and measuring 19.5 inches. Quite the little peanut!

We spent a couple of nights in the hospital, of course, but we both did well. We were discharged on Thursday afternoon, which was my doctor’s optimistic timeline, so that made me happy. 

We’re home now, with my mom here to help (omg, so much help, I kind of wish she could stay forever). 

Luffy was incredible through it all and he continues to be amazing and supportive. He loves his little boy so much that it makes my heart melt. 

Ok, more to come later. Wish us luck as we move into the second week!