Friday, April 30, 2010

Through Christy's own words

This was an email Christy wrote to a friend of ours, and I was CC'ed on it. But I thought she totally nailed it in terms of her physical and emotional stress at this point:

"I am doing well, still bed resting at home and waiting for the babies to come. To tell you the truth sometimes I find it unreal that I am carrying two in there. I feel kinda strange having two babies moving and kicking in my belly. And they already have different schedules and personalities!

I watch lots of TV and browse the web during the day. But not much can keep me sane during bedtime when I can’t fall asleep. The discomfort of carrying more than 11 pounds of mass & fluid has gotten the best of me. I’ve passed the “calm and peaceful” stage. On top of the heavy weight, I was freaking out about my huge belly with the stretch marks. I lost it last night because I couldn’t imagine how much bigger the belly will grow and how much more stretch mark will developed. I felt like a freak show when looking at myself in the mirror and wanted the babies out ASAP.

It’s such a struggle..."

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

做月子. The healing month

Now that all the prep work for the twins arrival are almost in place, I need to think about getting ready for Christy's recovery as well. In the Chinese medicinal philosophy, there are three time periods when women can rebuild the health functions of their bodies: first period, after birth, and menopause. In thousands of years of practice, there has been a rich accumulation of studies on how certain herbs and recipes play various functional roles in these critical times. On top of strict diet of certain "functional foods", there are a whole lot of routines that go along with them all within the first month immediately following the birth. All in all, I've seen some people that look younger and feel healthier after this process. so Christy and I decided to get a full-on healing program. We evaluated a few services that deliver freshly-made healing functional food for the four-week time period, as well as cooking this whole program ourselves based on 月子餐 cooking recipe We just decided to go ahead and leave it to the professionals, and not have to worry about anything

Below are two top options we've looked at, and eventually we went with the second one.

益膳坊: $2500
廚房準備好之後馬上真空冷凍經由 fedex 送到, 一次寄送一個星期的份量, 冷凍真空包放進大同電鍋, 跳起來就可以食用
(Couple of my friends in north califonia tried this company and really liked it.)

京品月子膳食: 4 options range from $999 to $3750
使用莊淑旂風車月子藥包 / 全酒料理 / 專業中央廚房 / 菜色天天有變化 / 資深專業台式月子廚師 / 外州冷凍月子膳食低溫宅配 / 嚴選品質
(This one is in Rowland Heights, I am ordering from them.)

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WEEK 32!!!!!!

That is right, ladies and gents, we're past the critical point of 32 weeks!!! Christy had promised the twins if they behaved and stayed in until this point, she would celebrate and feed them cakes!! So, as first step of being a "promise-keeping" parent, I went to Beard Papa in Sawtelle and got all of us some delicious treats to celebrate this milestone. According to doctor Silverman, we're safe at this point, babies have been administered steroids, and they are close to 4lbs each. We're now shooting for two more weeks, and that will be really phenomenal.

Even though we're very happy about that, it's painful to carry twins at this stage of pregnancy. Christy is now having constant back pain, carrying 10lb worth of weight in her belly all the time. It's hard to breathe right, she can barely get any sleep during the night, and can't eat much at one time because the stomach is being compressed from below. The belly is enormous compared to her tiny body, and she's having to support her heavy belly all the time with her hand, which is giving her minor wrist injury. Thank goodness for the invention of bedresting, I can't imagine how my grandma did it with her twin pregnancy ( yes, my mother is part of an identical twin sisterhood ) during 1949's China civil war when she carried her twins to fleet from inland China all the way to Taiwan, and a lot of the journey was on foot, with insufficient water and food along the way.  Go Grandma! I'll save the story for another day. Meanwhile let's march onto another week!

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Getting the "Nursery" look

An excellent way to dress up the baby room without having to worry about introducing toxic fumes from the paint, we find, is to use vinyl wall arts such as the one by Wee Gallery

It only took me 20 minutes to bring this room to life!

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Stepping into my old man's shoes

At the time of this entry, my dad is on his final country-wide motorbike tour with all his retired military comrades, this will mark the official beginning of retirement for him. 2010 is a good year for my dad, for one thing all his children are now married, and he finally gets to come to the States and reunite with my mom after 12 years of being apart from each other (My parents really sacrificed themselves only to give us better opportunities in life). As the D-day approaches, I often think about how I would do, what I would say, where I would be in those important moments of my children's lives, and I can't help to reflect and think about my dad.  When my parents had me, my dad was 30, which means he was only 27 when he had his first child. People in my parents' generation were fearless. There was not much contemplation of money, job, and status. Simply put, they just went ahead and did it, and figured things out along the way. Fast forward to today, so many of us feel the hesitation to commit to something, for that we feel that we need to be prepared for it, whether financially, mentally, or having to face the fear that we'd lose freedom - the nature of attachment.  The design of this pregnancy process is brilliant, it gives us time to let the reality sink in, this time lets us gather courage and wisdom, the time forces us to face ourselves with honesty and get clarity on what we want to leave with our next generation. Both me and my dad are in transition into the next stage of life and I'm grateful for the great example he has set for me to follow.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Brith Plan

So I read from various books on the importance of creating a birth plan.(pain medication, blood transfusion, my participation during the procedure, cord blood, and wound closure etc..) This morning we came prepared to discuss it with Dr. Weiss. The twins are now 3lb6oz and 3lb13oz, both very healthy and punching and kicking REALLY hard. However the cervix length reducing down to 14mm from 22mm last week. Dr. Weiss almost sent us to the hospital, but Dr. Silverman saved us from going there considering hospital is really not a pleasant place to be, and we're still looking bordering okay to stay home. Dr. Weiss said that the birth plan is simple: As soon as we have frequent (10-min) contractions, we call him, and he'll meet us at Cedars-Sinai and get ready to meet the twins. As far as other details, he's completely aligned, and even exceeded our expectation to say that he only does cosmetic surgery closures on the wounds. (we forgot his practice is on the famous Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.) We now feel a lot more relieved!

wk 31

it's week 31 and half. This has been an exhausting week due to travels for work, and it may have been the last time I travel before labor and delivery time. Before I left for Wisconsin Christy was worried that her frequent contractions was not a good sign. I urged her to stay relaxed and be rigorous about taking Motrin to ease off the contractions. Luckily it worked, the twins were good to us this time.

My clients in Wisconsin has been enjoying stories that I bring to them every time, and they even help me come up with suggestions for names. great group of folks! Sitting in the hotel room on Tuesday night, I opened up my outlook and saw Christy trying to pin me down to ramp up on C-section knowledge, then I spent the rest of the night reading and watching the following links.

Giving birth by cesarean section

Birth surprises: 15 things moms didn't expect

Live birth video 
These are especially helpful to watch, making me realize what amazing tasks human bodies are built to endure.

Recovering from a cesarean delivery

With c-section, stitches may be best

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Week 30!!!!

Wow! After weeks of mini baby dramas, we finally got here! Every week to us so far has been a major milestone, but from here on now they will be even more significant. Our goal is to keep them in 2 more weeks! Just 2 more! The twins are now weighing 3 lbs each. Although Christy hasn't been able to take contraction medication that was prescribed to her because of low blood pressure, the strict bedrest has done wonders! The cervix length has now stablized at 22mm, so it looks like we'll be able to keep them in the oven for a little longer. The twins are now moving and kicking harder than ever. I was able to see the twins pushing and moving through the visible movement on the belly surface. The twins are now so heavy, that Christy described as "having a bowling ball sitting on your stomach 24/7".  As soon as I had that visual in my head, I actually felt short of breath for a few seconds...

Few More Pieces To Go

The diaper changing dresser unit has been sitting in its intended location since we bought it a month ago. Finally I got some time this weekend to break open the box and put it together. I was very impressed with the quality of the materials and how thoughtfully it was designed (including four built-in rubber pads on the bottom of the wooden legs). With this built, the nursery basics are all set for their arrival, we now just need to ramp up on stocking up extra bed sheets and matress pads for those late night throw-ups (no, not me, the twins.) 

A Must Have For Bedresters

A week ago I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and got Christy this breakfast in bed command-central table, and the rest is history. This has been set up to contain all the key books/vitamins/snacks/ and is used interchangeably to serve meals on, and surf the web inbetween meals. It is such a godsend and makes her bedrest at least bit more enjoyable.

兩隻老虎, 兩隻老虎, 跑的快, 跑的快!

Thanks to Alfred and Alla who continued to give us lots of cute baby clothes, this week we received from them an adorable tiger blanket!! Thanks so much guys~ My two little tigers will love it!

My Savior Is Here

Last Sunday my mother-in-law came in from Taiwan to do me a huge favor - keep me sane.  On the day she arrived, I just felt soooo relieved. For weeks I had been exposed to what it's like to be a stay-home care taker, while there are still expectations I needed to fulfill at work. The tough tug of war gave me a glimpse of what's inevidibly coming for me in merely weeks, it was just all too suden for me to be ready for. Mom came on Sunday night, I went into work (first time in 2 weeks) on Monday, and traveled to Boston for 3 days following that. Not only mom took great care of Christy, she made cooking seem sooooo effortless!! it was as if she pulled these dishes out of her pocket because the kitchen seems so clean afterwards. I can't believe how blessed we are!! The two soon-to-be-grandmas took Christy to Dr. Weiss while I was in Boston, and thanks for the strict bedrest, the babies are doing great, now 3 lb each!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Belly Support

At this point of twin pregnancy, people always come up to us and ask if they were coming out any second now. it's 29 weeks but the belly sure looks full term if there were only one fetus in it! Christy got this support belt which she would only wear at home. because it's kind of scary looking if seen by a random stranger.. It's necessary, but this one works only okay. We think there are better support belts out there.

WK 29

After the episode we had last week, Christy and I learned a few things: Apparently if you have full bladders it can trigger contractions, so the best thing to do at this stage of pregnancy is to constantly drink water (because babies need lots of fluid) and constant use the bathroom, even if it means that you have to get up 5~6 times a night to do it. This is the 3rd week Christy is on bedrest, and bedrest is not easy, besides the physical discomfort on pretty much the whole body, it's emotionally challenging as well. On the upside, the twins are safe and sound thus far, and I still have some time to finish up my share of readings, classes and lots of other stuff we still need to buy before they come into this wonderful world.
On the side note, I discovered my good friend M was recently admitted to the hospital for MRI and treatments, while in the hospital room M was reading my blog on the steroids, as she was getting the shots as well. M is back to healthy state now and I just wanted to give her a shout out and wish her all the best!

The Expectant Father

Father Knows Best: The Expectant Father, Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be; The New Father, A Dad's Guide to the First Year; Fathering your Toddler (2nd and 3rd years)I've been reading a book called The Expectant Father, by Armin A. Brott & Jennifer Ash. it is such a wonderful book that explains month by month what I need to expect, physically as well as emotionally on both me and my wife. I have learned a tremendous amount of knowledge just from this book, and occasionally I'd drop some knowledge bomb on Christy to impress the heck out of her. I highly recommend any expectant dads out there to get this book or the whole series going into the first year and toddler years.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Speed Dating

Contours Options Tandem II Stroller, Tangerine shown in picture is the awesome twins stroller Annie gave us. It is easy to maneuver, folds up nicely, sturdy, and multi-functional. It has all the right stuff, but it's something I only recently began to accept as something I will need with me everywhere I go. A car that will pack all (stroller, 2 infant car seats, diaper bags, groceries, nanny, christy, myself, and potentially if we need to travel somewhere, luggages), fuel efficient, affordable, and yet doesn't make a wrong statement about me is just very difficult to find.  WHERE ARE YOU, MY SWEET RIDE!?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thanks everyone!

Thank you Continuum for sending a very elegant orchid plant to us. it brightened the patient room as well as warmed our hearts! It has been very stressful for me as an expectant father over the past two days. On one hand, I felt powerless because the hospital has now taken over, and it's only made worse by watching Christy get the steroids shots and yet i can't do anything to stop it. There are many sources (including NIH) that suggest both short and long term risks on these steroids for unborn babies, but at this point we had to do it because the short term benefits (they get to survive premature labor) outweight the risks. I've been very torn on this subject, but we're blessed to have so many friends and family sending us encouraging words and sharing experience and even expert medical opinions. I truly appreciate it guys! Now onto the next milestone