Birth Story: Baby #4

May 20, 2014 15 comments

It was August 2013. My wife and I were trying to have a baby for a few months and while at a retreat with our church’s college students, her period came. Later that month, we took a pregnancy test and to our surprise, it came back positive. My wife had an appointment with the midwife and they confirmed the pregnancy as having begun prior to the retreat. *shrug*

A few weeks later we go to church, and she finds she’s bled a tiny bit but it seems to have stopped. I end up going to coach football practice for our church and after several hours, towards the end, I get a text: “I’m bleeding a lot…I don’t know what to do.” She was at Awana – a children’s Bible study club our kids LOVE. So I go to pick her and the kids up. While waiting, I alert our midwife and she says it doesn’t sound too bad and that we’ll monitor it. The bleeding’s getting worse. On our way home, we call the midwives and she tells them how much she’s bled (pretty much a pad every hour or something like that). The midwife cautioned us and told us that we should go to the hospital.

We drop the kids off at home and as we are leaving the house, she gushes more blood. We start driving towards the hospital. We were both sobbing and saying our goodbyes to this little one we never got to know. The car was quiet, but then I whisper, “I’m kind of hungry.” “Me too,” my wife replied. We figured the baby was gone anyway so may as well get some food since we have no idea how long we have to wait in the ER – I think I had a McWrap and she had a hot chocolate and apple pie. I’m not gonna lie – McCafe is McDelicious.

We get to the ER and to our surprise, it is EMPTY.

We’re admitted and told that we’ll be getting an ultrasound soon. Our nurse arrives and after some conversation, my wife tells her how we were at Awana – turns out she’s a believer and her kids went to Awana as well. “We don’t know how God works, but we know it’s for our good” she told us.

The “transporter” as I like to call them, took the brakes off of the wife’s bed and wheeled us over to the ultrasound room. We get into the dark room and tell the story to the technician. “Ok, let’s get in there and see what’s going on,” she said.

WOOSH WOOSH WOOSH WOOSH

I was seated, looking down at the floor but my eyes shot up to the screen. “There’s your baby,” the technician said. “It’s alive,” my wife exclaimed. “It looks alive to me,” the tech said, as we could see the little being on the screen.

What an emotional day! Wife was diagnosed with subchorionic hematoma and she was under strict guidelines and watch for a miscarriage.

8 months later, she said she felt like Free Willy. “But you won’t be jumping into the air anytime soon,” I replied. Sometimes I say unwise things. The baby’s due date was on Friday and Monday morning, my wife (supposedly) wakes me up in the middle of the night and says she’s feeling a contraction. I have no recollection of this the next morning. She says the discomfort is really deep but it doesn’t feel like labor. For some reason, I thought it best not to go to work today.

That was around 5:30am. It’s now around 9am and she’s been feeling intermittent contractions but nothing too unbearable. We were joking and having a good old time, but we still felt it necessary to call our midwives. Since it was during office hours and my wife didn’t get a cervical exam at her last checkup they scheduled us for a labor check at 11:30am. The birth center is quite a drive away, so we decide to head there early. She has a few more contractions on the drive over but she’s laughing and the contractions are getting further apart, so we’re basically making backup plans to walk around the mall or a local park.

We get there around 10:40 and we are seen around 11. The midwife performs an exam and says, “Are you feeling these contractions?” We thought she was going to say, “Because these are what we call Braxton-Hicks, honey. What is this, your first child?” and that she would tell us to go home and she’ll see us in a week.

Instead, her next words were, “because you are at 9cm dilated.” ^_^

This past Friday, and many times before that, many ladies at our church had been praying for my wife to have an easy, peaceful labor. God definitely answered those prayers.

So we ended up staying. We got situated but the contractions were still very intermittent. The midwife offered to break the bag of waters to speed up the labor but we declined and figured it best to let her body do what it was going to do.  Later, the contractions began to get more regular and more intense. The baby’s back was towards my wife’s back, which meant back labor. So she labored on her hands and knees to try and get the baby to turn. After 3 births, I’ve finally figured out how I can actually be useful during the childbirth: I squeeze my wife’s hips together, kind of like I’m playing an accordion, and the counterpressure seems to really help her relax during the contractions.

Up to this point, the labor was pretty “easy” (easy for me to say, right?). But then it got intense around 1:12. After a false alarm were she felt she had to push, she had a few more contractions, her water broke at 1:30, and after two pushes, our fourth baby was out. It was a BOY! My wife had been praying for a playmate for S#1, and God provided.

The afterbirth was shocking. When my wife delivered the placenta, the midwife said she had vasa previa – and if the bag of waters had broken any earlier, there could have been major complications. In fact, she held up the umbilical cord for 10 seconds and the cord severed from the placenta completely. Praise the Lord for His providence.

We named him, God is salvation, because for Baby #4, God truly was our salvation. From the SCH to vasa previa, every time I see him nursing and with every diaper I change, I am reminded that God is my salvation.

Thanks be to God.

Praying for Boston

April 16, 2013 Leave a comment

I was going to post a vacation guide for families visiting Boston yesterday – I’m glad I didn’t. We spent the past week in Boston – I was there for work, my wife and kids were on a stow-away vacation – and loved the city. We stayed at the Westin Copley Place – a wonderful hotel with pleasant and helpful staff, and a Fogo de Chao on the ground floor. If you know me, you know I love meat (though I have been trying to cut back on my red meat intake) and know that I always think Fogo is a good idea, only to come to regret it horribly when I get the meatsweats after the meal.

Every day, I looked forward to exploring the city with D1. Since she’s 5 now, she doesn’t need to nap (or so she claims) and since D2 and S1’s nap times were right when my workday ended, we ended up having a daddy-daughter date pretty much every day. She’s all of 42″ tall so with her wee little steps, we can only explore so far but it helped that the Boston Public Library, Prudential Center, Copley Square, Newbury St, etc…were all a very short walk away. We especially loved exploring the Boston Public Library – the grand spaces and architecture were a neat contrast with a little girl doing the peace sign.

Daughter_Boston_Public_Library

We walked up and down Boylston St, looking at all the shops and waving hello to passersby – she’s too naive to know that some people may not be all that friendly – but unlike DC, most of those people waved back or smiled at us.

My wife being a huge fan of running and having recently watched Spirit of the Marathon together, we noticed all the Boston Marathon 2013 signs. We later found out the marathon was on Monday when we asked locals what the tents that were being constructed on Copley Square were. Although our trip was scheduled to end on Friday, we contemplated staying to watch the race thinking it’d be an awesome experience for the kids. D1 was really excited about the race and we raced the last stretch of the route – she won, naturally. But we ultimately decided against it since my vacation time was pretty limited this year after our trip to Thailand.

On the drive home, we talked a lot about how much we loved the city. The history, the architecture, the food, and the people – Boston was high on our favorite places to visit and we couldn’t wait to return and explore more of the city.

And then we heard the news of the bombing yesterday.

My wife and I were both shocked and were grateful we decided against staying. As we discussed the news, D1 heard us and asked what happened at the race. “Sometimes, bad people do bad things,” was the best that I could come up with. She’s too naive to know that there are bad people in the world, other than her dad who says no to chocolate, ice cream, and TV. As her little brain tried to wrap around the notion that someone would willfully hurt others, she came up with that profound response that has bewildered parents forever: “why?”

Looking at the pictures, it’s hard to believe that the wonderful scene we saw just a few days ago as we waved at Bostonians dining al freso and enjoying the beautiful weather, was replaced with carnage and chaos.

I couldn’t explain to D1 why bad people do bad things; but I did make sure to tell her that there are also courageous people like the first responders who do good things.

With all the recent tragedies, not to mention the wars and tensions overseas, it’s easy for me to feel afraid for what the future may hold, especially for my kids. But then I remember all the smiling people, the laughter and smell of fried dough filling Boston Common, and that’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to be a better person and try to better the world and hope my kids will grow up to do the same. In the meantime, I’m praying for Boston and all the wonderful people I had the privilege of meeting there last week.

Categories: Travel Tags:

A Letter to My Son: Your Baptism

April 2, 2013 Leave a comment

Dear Son,

On March 31, 2013, Easter Sunday, you were baptized. It was far less harrowing for me than your circumcision. I’ve mostly gotten over that, though I did feel very apologetic for a while – much like I was when we had our dog neutered when I was in high school and it felt like every look he gave me was, “How could you let them do that to me?”

Your day began when I gave you a bath on Sunday morning, which you still really hate. You’re losing a lot of your chub and although I REALLY REALLY miss your rolls, I don’t miss the cheese I’d often find lurking within said rolls. So aside from you now actively trying to escape the tub, bathing you is far simpler.

We then dressed you in your transport clothes – as any parent with multiple children knows, you never transport your kids to an important event in the clothes you want them to be wearing at that event – and headed to church. Once there, we dressed you in the tuxedo onesie mommy made for you. Grandma and grandpa on mommy’s side were there, but grandma and grandpa on daddy’s side had to be at their church for Easter Sunday.

Daddy shared briefly with the congregation on what your name means and the significance of your baptism. There tends to be disagreement regarding infant baptism but for us, it basically means we will do our best to raise you in a loving, Christian home and when you’re old enough, you can decide if you want to confirm your faith. I also joked to the congregation:

“Don’t let that adorable look on his face fool you folks – I assure you he is a sinful, selfish being, and he needs Jesus.”

It was a joke, but there is some truth in there that mommy and I desire that you live your life for something more than just yourself.

When our pastor sprinkled water over your head and laid hands to pray for you, first you pushed her hands away, then you grabbed her hands and started clapping them for her, then you tried to eat her hand (you do this with EVERYTHING), then you started clapping her hands for her again. I know I should’ve been closing my eyes during the prayer but it was hilarious. And people in the congregation found it hilarious too – as the prayer continue the laughter was increasing as more and more people were opening their eyes to look.

So that was your baptism. It doesn’t mean you’re saved nor does it mean you’re forced to stay a Christian. It was mommy and daddy’s way of saying to God, our family, and church that we will do all we can to raise you with Christian values, and our hope is that the way mommy and daddy live out our faiths will be a testimony to you.

You’re almost a year old now and you’ve brought and continue to bring so much joy to our lives.

Love,
Dad

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , ,

A New Beginning

March 28, 2013 11 comments

My wife and I are celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary today. I was hoping to take her to some fancy restaurant after dropping our kids off at our in-laws, but instead we’ll be heading to a restaurant close to my in-laws and hopefully won’t be getting the dreaded, “HURRY UP AND GET HOME” phone call with kids wailing in the background.

In the Bible, the number 8 is associated with new beginnings and resurrection: 7 is the day of completion and rest, so 8 is the first in a new series, and Jews were to be circumcised on the eighth day. As we celebrate 8 years of marriage, it feels like God is giving us a fresh start and it’s hard to keep track of all that’s running through our thoughts and prayers.

And this is why I decided to take up this blog again. Safe to say that blogging got tiring for me because I wanted to be a “good” blogger who not only wrote material but also engaged my readers and other bloggers. Far too many times, I found myself thinking about a clever tweet relating to parenting without actually doing any parenting or thinking “This will make a great post” instead of enjoying the moment with my family. My tendency to get addicted to things didn’t help matters. I checked my iFriend all the time: “Hold on hon, I have to see if anyone tweeted me.” In fact, my relationship with my phone has escalated to the point my wife calls it my ife now (as in wife). She jokingly says that but there’s certainly truth in there that even a husband as dull as I noticed.

I don’t know if this blog will be any “good” but I do want it to be something I can look back on and maybe even my kids can read in the future.

Now back to my wife. The reason I mention the Biblical meaning of the number 8 is because God really is giving us a new beginning and resurrection. Dreams I’ve long forgotten are being restored. Emotional and spiritual wounds and scars I’ve tried to suppress or didn’t even know were affecting my present are being healed. My kids are growing up way too fast – D1 is 5, the age at which I had my first crush – and my wife and I have been praying for wisdom on how to raise them. I used to have a neat 5 and even 10 year plan for life but almost all of that is changing. As much as I’d like life to be formulaic and predictable, it isn’t.

And that’s why as we celebrate our anniversary today, I’m grateful for my wife. The future is uncertain and raising kids can be scary and frustrating at times, but I’m glad we get to take this journey together. She makes me want to be a better man for her, for my kids, and for everyone we meet. She encourages me when I’m down and reminds me of Christ’s example of humility when I’m proud. She lets me eat her last bite of cheesecake. With a woman like that by my side, I think I’ll be ok in trying to be the best dad I can be.

Thankful

November 29, 2012 2 comments

Since my family is leaving for a month-long missions trip to Thailand shortly, in all likelihood, this will be my last blog post of 2012. While I’m super excited for visiting our friends in Thailand (not to mention Mr. Donut), I’m positive the stress-levels in our home will be elevated as we have to begin packing and are attempting to send out our New Year’s greeting cards prior to leaving, so I thought it’d be a good time to reflect on what I’m thankful for this past year (in no particular order):

- For funny kids: particularly D1. Sure being a parent can be challenging often at times, but it’s also incredibly hilarious. In Sunday school, D1’s teacher has been teaching them about the armor of God:  belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the preparation of the gospel of peace, , shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit. So each week, they learn about the piece of armor and make it. The teacher then collected the item and held on to it until they completed the unit.

A few weeks ago, D1 told a lie to my wife. When she confesses to my wife that she did in fact tell a lie, my wife asks, “D1, why did you lie?” Her response? “Because mom, my teacher has my belt of truth.”

- For that first bite of rice not causing me to go all Nutty Professor:  My goal weight was 175 and I met that in early October, mostly due to a low-carb diet and lifting weights. Once I met the goal weight, I figured it was time to eat some rice. I’m not gonna lie – I thought I’d go all Nutty Professor and all the fat would suddenly come back after that first bite. Thankfully, I’ve been keeping steady at 175 and I hope to do so for the foreseeable future.

- For my parents: we’ve been living with them for more than a year now, and somehow, we haven’t had any major blow ups. I’m grateful that they’d give up their freedom and comfort to house us. It’s easy to let myself become ungrateful and only think of the inconveniences living with them may cause – choosing to be grateful has been both challenging and a source of personal growth for me.

- For juicy baby fat: D2’s thighs were mighty juicy, but S1’s are even more amazing. For his last checkup, he was off the charts for weight and 90th percentile for height. The little guy’s 6 months old and weighs around 20lbs; D2 weighs about 25.

- For my wife: nearly 8 years of marriage and I’m falling more in love with her every day. This year marked a lot of change and challenges for her: quitting her job and becoming a homeschooler, caring for the kids while I nursed my sprained ankle and stomach issues, birthing and nursing S1, and encouraging me as I spent more time at the gym.

- For this blog and my readers: while I don’t update nearly as much as I used to (those who blog regularly with 3 or more kids, I salute you!), I’m thankful that this blog has been an outlet for my musings and helping me to become better at organizing my thoughts. The people I’ve had a chance to meet and converse with have been an invaluable resource & encouragement in my life.

As we look toward the end of another year, what are you thankful for?

Random Update

August 27, 2012 16 comments

I don’t know about other parents with 3 kids, but after having S1, I’ve had as much success at gathering my thoughts as D1 and D2 have at gathering their toys: the moment they’re gathered, they’re all over the place again, to the point you just say, “This is futile.” So while I’ve had plenty of blog fodder over the past 3 months, e.g., D1 saying S1’s package looks like a bun and me no longer being able to look at a pork bun the same way again, I’ve had difficulty putting 2 or more sentences together in a coherent manner. The result is a random update for you readers:

  • Remember my goals for my 30th year? Well, I sucked something awful at them until this post, and since April, I’ve lost 24 pounds. I was 206 on 4/17; 182 this morning. Been doing a low-carb diet, going to the gym 3 times per week and running with the wife 2 times a week.
  • People ask me if having a son is any different. Yes. He has a junk and said junk is in fact easier to clean. Also, diaper changes are always an adventure because you never know when he’ll make it rain.
  • People warned me, but still, the first time he peed on me, I was shocked by the force and speed the urine traveled towards my face. I mean, it’s akin to a tiny, plastic water gun shooting with the pressure of a fire hydrant.
  • Going to the gym isn’t very fun some days but my kids motivate me. Not just so that I model an active lifestyle for them and do my part to ensure I’m around for a long time, but also to intimidate potential suitors. I know it’s still years, if not a decade(s) away (hopefully), but I want to be able to say to that kid, “I’ve been training years for you, punk.”
  • I used to hate running. Mostly because I couldn’t run very far or fast. Now, I love it. I’m still not particularly fast, but somehow, my wife and I ended up running almost 7 miles in 86 minutes a few weeks ago. You never know how far you can go when you’ve got an encouraging wife by your side.
  • Even more motivating when said wife gave birth less than 3 months ago.
  • Since we’re homeschooling, my wife didn’t need to go back to school this August. I thought she’d be somewhat sad. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Having been a high school teacher for 7 years, this was the happiest I’ve ever seen her in late-August.
  • Instagram is hard to use for stalking random people for people with fat fingers like me. #SorryIWasJustStalkingYourPhotosIdidntMeanToLikeThem
  • We’re still living with my parents. It’s both a blessing and a challenge. I’m sure the feeling is mutual.
  • I wore a pair of short-shorts (5″ is pretty short for me) for the first time last week for a run. Felt like I was running naked. Good thing my thighs are so pale – they’re super reflective. Safety first.
  • With 3 kids, there’s always at least 1 person crying or whining in the house at all times.
  • I may or may not contribute to said whining. *ahem*
  • D2 has NO interest in potty training.
  • Our trashcans are constantly filled with crap. Literally.
  • If you eat a bunch of chia seeds and there’s no bathroom near you a few hours later, you’re going to have a bad time.
  • My wife was away for a 3-day trip. They were in their PJs/underwear/diapers/naked for most of those 3 days.
  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: teething is no fun. Yes, S1 is teething at 3 months. *sigh*
  • I’m busier than I’ve probably ever been. I’m more scatterbrained than ever. The number of things I forget is usually greater than the number of things I remember. But I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy or laughed as much as I have in the last 3 months. Having 3 kids isn’t easy but it’s a joy.

What about you? How have you been?

Categories: Family Tags: , , ,

Indoctrinating My Children

July 17, 2012 9 comments

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve probably wondered if I would actually go through with it. Sure, I believe it…with all my heart. And I’ve been a devoted follower for so long…But to manipulate impressionable children? To abuse my authority and the fact that my children will believe most everything I say?  What if when they get older, they decide it’s not for them and turn away? “I mean come on, Pop…don’t you think it’s a good idea to let them decide on their own when they’re old enough,” you might ask.

No.

Yes, I’m indoctrinating my children, brainwashing them even. And I do it unashamedly.

D2 in her O’s gear

That’s right, I’m raising Orioles fans. And I’m kind of wondering if this might be considered cruel and unusual punishment because frankly, the Orioles have been bad for a long time. And it hasn’t only affected their fans; it’s also affected their players.

But it wasn’t always this way.

While I did miss the glory years & world series championships, I grew up watching Cal Ripken, enjoyed the opening of Camden Yards, The Streak, Brady Anderson–who I thought looked like Luke Perry on steroids–and his sideburns + jump cup adjustment, Calomar, Murray’s 500th, Jeffrey Maier, and going wire-to-wire in ’97.

Since he was busy with work, my dad was never able to take me to a game. But I remember sitting at Camden Yards, enjoying funnel cake and thinking, “Man…when I have kids I’m going to take them to ball games.”

My wife thinks baseball is boring. I know right? I wondered how that could be possible too. But there are two surefire ways of convincing my wife to do any activity with the family: 1) say that it’s making memories for the kids and 2) make sure the kids look really cute in matching outfits. The fact that the Oriole’s Dugout Club  is a great deal doesn’t hurt either. So I bought the family matching jerseys and hats and did my best to get them excited for their first game.

“WHO WANTS TO GO TO THEIR FIRST ORIOLE’S GAME?!?!”

“ME!!!” the girls would shout in unison. They’re at the point where they do this for everything. “WHO WANTS TO BRUSH THEIR TEETH?!?!” “MEEEEEE!!!”

“See D1, and D2, isn’t the Oriole cute?” Seriously, the logo redesign really helped as the old bird was kind of boring: I bought D1 an Oriole’s hat with the plain bird a few years back and she never wanted to wear it.

So needless to say, after enough brainwashi…errrr, convincing, they were really excited for their first game. So we got all dressed up and they looked pretty cute if I do say so myself. And it didn’t hurt that the O’s were in FIRST PLACE!

After the 3rd inning or so, D1 asks me when we’re going to go home. Coincidentally, that may have been the inning we finished our hot dogs and funnel cake. We were able to make it through 5 innings before the kids started getting really restless. Still, those 5 innings of spending time with my family and root, root, rooting for the home team were awesome.

While it is challenging taking 2 kids and an infant to the ballpark, it’s been a great way to spend time together as a family. Sure, the O’s are starting to come back down to earth (sending 3 starting pitchers to the minors? That’s a clown rotation, bro) but making memories is well worth the cost of admission (and parking. Don’t ever forget the parking).

And while you may disagree with me indoctrinating my kids into loving the Orioles, I think we can all agree on teaching my kids about the goodness of funnel cake. Oh how wonderful are your ways, oh funnel cake! How majestic is your splendor! How delicious is your taste!

What about you? Do you feel bad for making your kids root for a losing team? What are some fun family activities you do in the summer?

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