Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How do I not disappoint?!

I've been sick for the last two weeks, and I had been running a fever for nearly six consecutive days. SIX DAYS of running a temperature, having the chills, being too weak and tired to do much of anything, having a non-existent appetite. How was I going to convince my body to accept food, when I had this involuntary gagging reflex thing? Yesterday was day 6 of running a temperature, and thankfully after my early afternoon fever, I became and am still fever-free.

This whole time, I've been scared, quite scared, a nervous wreck, that I wouldn't be able to produce enough breast milk for the twins. I alone am their food source. Being so sick for so long had me on my knees and sobbing, but the thought of being hospitalized or of not eating enough for them really had me worried.

Lord, let my appetite and body functioning return to normal soon. Give me the strength and whatever else is necessary to make what the twins need. Amen.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Boy Parts

I have one sibling, and that sibling is a girl.

My firstborn, whose left eye is recovering from surgery in this picture, is a girl.


My second born also is a girl.


And, my third born is a girl.


See the look on my son's face? About sums up the situation.


I know very little about raising boys. So much to learn, so much to learn.


Let us start with boy parts. I really have no clue how those are supposed to look. Chose to have this little one circumcised, not so much for religious reasons but for medical reasons: easier to avoid UTI's, easier to keep clean, etc. That was done within the first week of his life.

Changing my son's diaper, especially after he does #2, seems more challenging (than my girls). There are so many crooks, crannies, and crevices to wipe and clean. I'm not exactly sure how little boy parts are supposed to look.

Here is where the story gets a bit more interesting. When my son was about three months old, a friend who helped change his diaper was concerned that some foreskin might be growing from the head onto the shaft. I panicked. I couldn't fathom having my little boy under the knife at three months to correct a foreskin problem. My heart was jumping out of me, my mind was racing, I was quite worried. A couple days later, I had a pediatrician friend at church look at his boy parts. How is his stuff supposed to look? Is it okay? Does he need some correction? My friend said it look fine. Whew. I wiped sweat off my brow.

A few days ago, while my eldest was having surgery on her right eye, the same pediatrician friend changed my son's diaper while we were at the hospital. I told her I think something looks amiss on his boy parts. Again. I just can't seem to get a handle of how things are supposed to look, but I thought something looked different. She thought so, too. In fact, she not only thought my son should get seen by his pediatrician; but, she thought his pediatrician would likely make a referral.

WHAT?! My heart was thumping so loud the whole hospital could hear. My son's nearing 6 months of age, now. I cannot imagine him going under a knife now, to correct stuff down below. She's thinking that perhaps something at the base was reattaching. Not good. Not good at all.

I made an appointment for my son to see his pediatrician the yesterday. The good news is that the doctor doesn't think there is a foreskin growth problem. There is a little cyst at the base, on the shaft, with liquid the body produces as a lubricant when the penis is uncircumcised. Something like that. All I heard was that it's nothing to worry about.


Anyways, I have much to learn on raising boys. Alright, dear son. I am listening and learning. Ready when you are.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

My birth story with twins

It's been over five months since I delivered my twins. . . I am done writing my birth story regarding them.

My Birth Story with Twins, Christine Myo and Christian Ahai, on October 1, 2011

Lily Chang

The time was around 6:30 pm. Dusk had arrived and sunlight was fast fading. Family members were in the kitchen of the home starting to eat dinner, while I was in the bathroom. I was getting ready to join everyone, when my body said otherwise. One of my water sacs had broken; a slow but steady stream started to flow. I was excited and frantic at the same time. I knew this time would come, but vivid memories of my natural VBAC with my previous birth came flooding back.

As soon as I composed myself and announced to my parents that my water had broken, I called my doula, Karen, who lives an hour away in Colorado Springs. By the grace of God, she was actually close by, finishing dinner with her husband at a restaurant in Littleton. She said she would be at my house in ten minutes. Meanwhile, I took a shower and made sure my hospital bags had what I wanted in them. During that time, I started experiencing active labor contractions. The pain had started. Soon after my doula arrived, my dad stayed behind with the girls, while my mom drove my doula and me to Swedish Medical Center. En route, I called the Midwifery Group at Swedish and spoke with the on-call midwife – Mary Wilterdink – to inform her that my water had broken and that I was heading towards the hospital.

Upon arriving at Swedish Medical Center’s Emergency Room, I was told I needed to answer some questions to complete my registration. The information I had submitted for pre-registration wasn’t enough?! This was torture; my contractions were occurring every five minutes or less, and each contraction was excruciatingly painful. I dreaded each subsequent contraction since each one brought me to my knees in writhing pain. After three contractions, the time between contractions narrowed to two and half minutes. The intensity and frequency of the contractions told me we didn’t have much time. How many freaking questions did this woman have to ask before we could head to Labor and Delivery?! Thankfully, the urgency was sensed by the staff, and I was soon wheel chaired towards Labor and Delivery.

Once in my room, I had to put on a hospital gown. The time was probably around 7:40 or 7:50 pm. I still had the ability to disrobe myself and put on the gown. Soon after attempting to empty my bladder, I was hooked up to some monitors (to monitor my heart rate and the heart rates of the babies) and an IV. I was depending on the hospital staff to work fairly quickly, since the labor contractions were out of this world and merciless. Inside I was again panicking like before; I must be completely out of my mind to volunteer for an entirely natural delivery twice, back to back.

Yet again, my doula was superb at re-focusing me to think no further than one contraction, the next one. My midwife, Mary, was also a very calming influence. In what seemed like no more than five to seven contractions in the Labor and Delivery room, I felt a very strong urge to start pushing, of the sort where I could not necessarily stop from pushing. Mary calmly encouraged me to do whatever my body was telling me to do but to let her know the next time I felt an urge to push. In the state of Colorado, deliveries involving multiples, regardless whether vaginal or C-section, have to take place in the operating room. Mary needed to check me, and given the intensity of the contractions, I wasn’t sure how that was going to take place. Please, please, hurry!

When Mary checked me, I was complete: 10 cm dilated and completely effaced. I was ready to push with the next contraction. From there, everyone worked quickly to wheel me to the operating room. Moments later, I was in the OR, under bright lights, surrounded by people. I announced that my body desired to push yet again. One nurse, presumably an OR nurse told me to wait. Wait?! Wait for what?! My body is forcing me to PUSH. Mary, my midwife, told me to go ahead and push the next time I felt the same desire. A surge of relief hit as Mary gave me permission to push. Pushing would lessen the searing pain.

From there, a lot of the details and chronology of the detailed events blur. I remember balking at the suggestion that I had to put some of my own effort into switching beds. How was I supposed to muster the strength and coordination to do that when I was so huge and when the contractions were coming on so painfully hard and fast? Somehow we got it done. My bed and I were surrounded by people at every point.

My doula and my midwife, staying very close, gave me encouraging instructions, in breathing and in pushing. Baby A, the girl, was emerging. Mary (my midwife), in her comforting and reassuring voice told me when and how hard to push. At some point, Mary firmly but kindly told me I wasn’t pushing hard enough; and Karen (my doula) and Mary gently reminded me how to push. Awhile back, on one occasion at my house, Karen had me practice pushing. I was to bring my head and neck towards my lower extremities like I was doing a crunch and push as if I were having a huge bowel movement. Pushing with adequate force seemed impossible. I cried and wasn’t certain I was going to be able to push hard enough. I passed some stools and profusely apologized for doing so. None of the team seemed phased or bothered at what I had done. In what seemed like an eternity, but in reality five to seven minutes, I felt a quick and powerful gush of amniotic fluid fly out of me along with Baby A, head first. Christine Myo Chang-Nunley slid into the world at 8:10 pm on October 1, 2011, at 7 pounds 9.1 ounces, and 20 ½ inches long. I got to cut her umbilical cord; what a wonderful first experience that was.

Swedish staff laid sweet Christine on my chest. My heart melted at the sight of her. Moments later, the obstetrician presiding over the birthing decided to break baby B’s water sac. Moments later, painful labor contractions started. Growth sonograms done in the weeks preceding the birth indicated that baby A was bigger and heavier than baby B. I was counting on that. I was exhausted from pushing Christine out into the world. And now I had to push baby B out. Again, Mary and Karen offered instruction and comfort, letting me know when to push and that I was doing a good job. Like before, Mary was preparing to deliver the baby, while Karen was stroking my hair and gently coaching me. I had to convince myself I could do this: baby B was already descending and was smaller than his sister. Push, push, PUSH! Eleven minutes after Christine entered the world, her brother joined her. Like the previous birth, a large gush of amniotic fluid flew out along with baby B, head first. Christian Ahai Chang-Nunley was born at 8:21 pm on October 1, 2011, at 6 pounds 14.1 ounces, and 20 and ¼ inches long.

The work wasn’t done, yet. I still had to deliver the placenta for both babies. Thankfully, my body was allowed to take its natural course in delivering the placenta; so we waited. I was so exhausted I wanted to just curl in a ball and go to sleep. Not so sure how hard I was going to have to push to get the placentas out, I was a bit anxious. Not ten minutes after delivering Christian, my body was ready to deliver the placentas. With concerted effort and a bit of pushing, the placentas came out. They were huge and thick!

Soon, we left the operating room. My mom, my doula, my midwife, and a few other staff wheeled me back to my Labor & Delivery room, not twenty to thirty minutes after I had left that room for delivery. And the two babies, Christine and Christian, came with me. Within the first half an hour to forty five minutes of life in the world, I had the pleasure of bringing the babies to my breasts. How satisfying that was to breastfeed the twins that soon.

The time from when my water broke to when the twins were delivered into the world was under two hours. Welcome beloved Christine and Christian. Each day, I am thankful for swift, complication-free deliveries.

Friday, March 02, 2012

The twins at 5 months

The youngest darlings in the family, my twins, were five months old yesterday.


What is this pair doing these days?

Rolling from belly to back (though that isn't all the time, yet).
Making eye contact.
Observing the world.


Something I find a bit humorous and perplexing is that I've been asked after informing the interested party that one is a boy and one is a girl: are they identical?

Really (I am thinking)? You mean, being different genders isn't sufficient to demonstrate not being identical?!


Happy 5 months, Christine & Christian.