Baby’s First Laugh

SQUEEEEE!!!!

The dumpling laughed for the first time on Saturday!!

I knew he had to be close. He’s been doing this thing where he’ll tilt his chin up and open his mouth into a wide, hammy grin. Each diaper change, I’d been taking the opportunity to tickle him and blow raspberries on his tummy. It finally worked on Saturday.

I squealed to Luffy, who was taking a nap, poor thing. But he laughed! Such a beautiful little sound.

I managed to get him to laugh one more time that evening (which I captured on video and have managed to share with everyone – seriously, it’s coming to a theater near you), but he hasn’t laughed since. Serious baby is serious.

And that’s about all the news I have. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a video to watch.

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?

Baby’s first cold

We lasted just under three months. My poor dumpling.

It was the introduction to daycare, of course. We weren’t overly cautious with him as a newborn – we’ve been taking him to restaurants and stores since he was just a couple of weeks old – but we did always take precautions like covering his car seat and staying away from huge crowds. By his last day at the original daycare however, he already had some nasal congestion and we’ve gone downhill since.

We’ve been really lucky in that, so far, it hasn’t seemed to affect his temperament or sleep. He coughs at night but it doesn’t really appear to wake him. For the first time I have zero guilt about him being in his Rock N Play still because the incline is undoubtedly helping him sleep better at night. He’s his usual happy self during the day, although he does appear annoyed at all the coughing (not that I can blame him!). He hasn’t run a fever so far. All really good signs that he truly is battling just the common cold because, oh my, is it ever hard to listen to your baby cough and hack. He’s so young and his lungs are just so tiny! Poor dumpling.

He passed it to me, of course. There’s only so much my immune system can do when it’s being constantly bombarded by the germy little guy. What can I say? He likes to sneeze and cough on me as he’s nursing. So we’re both a little miserable and phlegm-y. It’s quite the cold because I have been fighting it for a week and a half with minimal improvement. Texas isn’t helping because the weather can’t decide which season we should be in today. Monday was spring with highs in the upper 70’s. Today’s back to winter with cold winds and a high in the low 50’s.

So yeah, send us get well wishes! And tissues because we are fresh out.

Back in the Saddle Again

I’m back! (cue Steven Tyler mic tip and hair flip)

Welp folks. My maternity leave has officially ended. I am on my third day of being a working mom. I think it’s going pretty well. It’s nice to be back at my job, using my brain for things other than keeping track of how long it’s been since the dumpling has slept. Though it’s a little dusty up there, I’m pleased to report that I do remember financial terms and can still label a balance sheet! Back in October, this time seemed like an eternity away. When the newborn days hit us hard, January seemed like it would never arrive. And now we’re here. That chapter has closed.

Three days in and all I have to say is whew! There’s just so much to remember to get the dumpling and myself out the door every morning. Milk. Lunch bag. Computer bag. Diaper bag. Pump. Pump parts. Seriously – did you pack the pump parts??? (A crucial piece that I forgot yesterday and had to turn around and drive all the way back home for.)

I have a pretty great arrangement with work. If you’ll remember (waaaaaay back at the beginning of my pregnancy), I worked out an arrangement that I would work from home part time. Today is the first day of that and I think I’m really going to like it. Mornings are a lot smoother when I’m not as concerned about getting myself out the door to go downtown. I can also pump while working, which is very convenient as I’ve already seen why working and pumping moms often stop pumping. It’s just such a nuisance. Yes, I know you’re providing sustenance for your child. Woo! But it also means 20 to 30 minutes (every three hours or so), locked in a room at work, feeling weird because you’re shirtless. It means interrupting conversations and meetings because you’re boobs are full. Or not interrupting conversations and meetings and then realizing that it’s 3pm and you’ve only pumped once. It means stopping what you’re doing right now because you’re already behind on your pumping schedule. Since I’m working from home most of the week, I think I’ll be more likely to keep up with pumping as it’s just my conversations with Jas that might get interrupted. (And who are we kidding, she’s a cat… she’s probably happy that I stopped talking to her and left her to nap in peace.)

We did change daycares. I feel pretty good about the new place so far. Everyone is warm and welcoming. Even though it’s a center (which I always stigmatized as huge and impersonal), the staff and teachers have greeted the dumpling by name every morning. They tell me that he’s the happiest baby! So many smiles! They also have a great app that keeps us up to date on his day in real time (he’s napping right now). They can also send us pictures through the app which is how Luffy and I got to view the dumpling’s displeasure with tummy time on Tuesday. I, however, am very happy that he’s getting regular tummy time and stimulation as I seriously doubt he was getting such attention at the last place.

So now Luffy and I are once again shifting our roles a bit, finding our groove in this new routine. Luffy helps me wash the daycare bottles and pumping bottles. I take time each night to get the dumpling’s bottles ready for the next day (right now, he’s getting all fresh milk because I’m battling a cold and want to make sure he’s getting all my antibodies). Luffy picks up the dumpling when I’m working from the office. I race home from to nurse. But at the end of the day, we get to spend a little time with our dumpling; coaxing adorable smiles that make the entire day so worth it.

The Newborn Chronicles: 11w1d

Little Dumpling is at daycare right now.

The house feels empty.

I feel a little lost.

Drop off went well! He’s too young to have separation anxiety right now, so the hand off was simple (for him at least – I didn’t really want to let him go). We found a lovely in-home daycare that I’m sure I mentioned once upon a pregnant time. I like that it’s a small group of mixed aged kids and he’ll have one teacher the entire time.

As I drove home without my baby this morning, I had to remind myself about all the reasons why I decided to be a working mom. Providing for our family, ensuring that by the time it really matters Luffy and I will both be able to spend much more time with the Dumpling. And, to be perfectly honest, I think I’ll enjoy it. I miss my job and my coworkers. While these last couple of weeks have been enjoyable, I do miss having responsibilities and contributing to our household. I mean, if someone wanted to pay me to stay home all the time, I’d take it.


I wrote all that yesterday. The morning passed quickly and then it was time to pick him up! And then I spent the afternoon breaking down a bit.

He didn’t smile at me when I picked him up. He was fussy (because he was tired) and I tried not to take it personally but I had looked forward to that reunion smile all morning long.

And then he didn’t smile at me all afternoon. He slept for a couple of hours and then woke because he was extremely hungry (I would realize later that I hadn’t sent enough milk for him). Then he fussed immediately after eating because he was still tired. I didn’t get a smile until early evening.

And all afternoon I thought to myself – I broke my baby. My happy, beautiful baby boy. I broke him by sending him off to be cared for by someone else. Which is a ridiculous thought, but I had it anyway. And I fretted over diapers and a skin blotch and a random toe boo-boo. Luffy tried to talk sense into me, repeatedly, but I was a lost cause. I secretly thought the Dumpling would wake a hundred times during the night because we had thrown him so far off schedule. He didn’t. He woke up at his usual time, nursed, and went back to sleep like normal.

This morning’s drop off went smoothly but I came home and cried. I cried to Luffy. I cried to my momma. I cried in his nursery. I just missed him so damn much. Luffy tried to brighten my mood by pointing out that he still sleeps most of the day anyway. I bawled that at least I could look at him.

I’m better now. The dumpling slept better today at daycare and he came home in a happy mood. He even got some play time in on his mat before going down for a nap. Tomorrow’s probably going to be rough as well because it’s his first full day.


Once upon a time, also known as the beginning of maternity leave, I couldn’t wait to pass the Dumpling off to his daycare provider. To tap out, so to speak. The monotony and tedium of caring for a newborn wore on me. I missed my routine. I missed working. I missed having responsibilities that didn’t involve changing a diaper or trying to get an infant to sleep. I looked forward to January and returning to work like kids look forward to their birthdays. I didn’t understand those moms who were already lamenting the passing of time and the return to work.

Now though, now I get it. We’ve established our own cozy little routine. It took me some time, to settle into this role of mother, but I truly enjoy it now. The days don’t feel quite so monotonous when I break it up with tummy time and hanging out on the floor. The dumpling has matured enough that any fussiness usually has an obvious reason (he’s tired, most likely, the little boy loves to sleep). I’ve gained enough confidence as a mom not to rush over at every cry and whimper. I no longer view his cries as a failure on my part. I can listen to him and know which cry means “I’m hungry” and which one means “I’m falling asleep, leave me alone.” The days, which at first felt so long, now fly by.

My maternity leave officially ends Friday; I’m due back at work on Monday. I know I’ll enjoy being back at work. I’m looking forward to trying out my new arrangement (working from home half of the week). I’m looking forward to interacting with my coworkers; I miss those guys. But. I also know I’ll miss the dumpling so, SO much. It breaks my heart to know that I’ll see him in the mornings to nurse and then won’t see him again until bedtime. We plan to get him up earlier than we technically need to, just so we can all hang out while he’s all smiles and coos. This also means though that he has to go to bed earlier, so that cuts out any evening time together (again, the boy loves his sleep – it took us a solid five minutes just to wake him up this morning!).

I’m going to miss his smiles. I’m going to miss carrying him around the house. I’m going to miss just hanging out with him while he naps or plays on his mat. I know I’ll get to see him on the weekends, but I have to share him on the weekends. With Luffy. With Luffy’s parents (who will want at least a couple of hours of our time). I will selfishly miss this time when I got him all to myself, when I got all the smiles and all the coos.

I’ll just miss him so damn much.

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!