Thursday, November 30, 2006


This is one of the first shots of the sisters. It's always been hard to get g to pose in one position long enough for a good picture. It's gotten even more difficult to get both of them in the same shot. g has been very good to little s. If anything, we worry really about her persistent desire to pick her up, give her a huge hug or straddling her for a big kiss. It must be hard for her to understand why she couldn't just throw herself on top of her little sister as she does with me or G.
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Little s

This is a picture of s, finally with her eyes open. She is growing slowly but surely. It has been a wild ride for us so far. You would think that since she is the second that there would be no surprises. Life has other plans.
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Monday, November 27, 2006

she ain't heavy....

well, at least, she is getting heavier. We took little s to her follow-up visit. Sad to report that she is still a little yellow (asian baby jokes aside.) So off we went to another blood test to check for bili levels. The doctor suspects breast milk jaundice. That means that there is something in my milk that s is reacting to that causes her to be so yella. There is no cure for it. If we persist with breastfeeding, she is going to be yella for that length of time. I am a bit on the fence about how to proceed. Admittedly, I am slightly depressed about this. This time around, I felt that I was so prepared to have breastfeeding go well. I was feeding religiously the first 2 days to make sure that my supply came in. Woke up my sleepy baby every 2 hours for feedings that took an hour. Now it comes to this. That my milk might be causing this problem. So we are taking her off the juice for a week to see if the jaundice disappears. Despite pumping with g for a year, all of a sudden I hate pumping. s is so much more effective at removing milk and pumping does hurt sometimes. It also becomes too much of a numbers game. How much did I get today? It used to drive me nuts. Then there is the constant threat to the supply. I can't eat too little, stress too much, forget to pump, etc, etc. Ok...whining over.

Good news though...s has regained her birthweight and then some. She is now a little heavier than a small bucket of rocks. She started life at 6 lbs 3 oz. At her hospitalization, she shrank to 5 lb 10 oz. Now she is at a "whopping" 7 lb 1 oz (naked).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Poor s in phototherapy

I would have commented on the jackie o shades except that s was actually in phototherapy and was so uncomfortable in that thing. Posted by Picasa

Baby s

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Aftermath

Today is day 11. 11 days since s arrived and as a family, things have changed a lot.

g has been really good to s. She has been very affectionate, at times, too affectionate. She, being only 2, does not know her own strength or her own weight. I am saddened to report that g has been acting up a lot lately. I don't really blame her. In the last 2 weeks, she has been through an upheaval.

She had to deal with the evil nanny. G started working 2 jobs, one in the morning and another at night. Her whole daytime and nighttime routine has changed. Then I went into the hospital for a couple of days. s came home and has not made any attempt to leave. In the span fo 2 weeks, her whole life changed and she doesn't understand why. She doesn't understand why her daddy doesn't give her baths anymore, why he doesn't read her bedtime stories and put her to sleep.

That's why she is really acting up on areas that she can control. Not wanting to eat. Not wanting to sleep. She would freak out over the smallest things, about how she had wanted the blue crayon and was handed the red, about how she wanted the pink shirt and not the white one. I feel bad because I have been the heavy for these last 2 weeks. I have been the one to keep her in check, to tell her that she is not allowed to hit, not allowed to do this and that.

I hope that she will come to grips with everything soon. She is becoming such a wonderful little girl. I can't help but stare at her constantly now. In comparison to s, she is such a big girl in every way. It's hard to imagine that she was once this small.

s is doing better now. I had thought that since I have experience with this already, the second should be a little easier to deal with. We came home from the hospital and I have noticed that s seemed so sleepy. That is normal. So we proceeded with life for the first few days. On Monday (we returned home on Saturday), I just noticed that s seemed to be getting even sleepier instead of the opposite. When we brought g home, she was sleepy for all of a day. Then she proceeded to not sleep at all, but that's a separate story. Feedings were getting more difficult because she would just doze off. I thought that maybe she didn't like the taste of my milk. So I tried to give her formula. That didn't help much. I called to make an appointment to see the doctor on Tuesday morning just to get her weighed and examined. We went that morning. The doctor said that she looked jaundiced but it didn't seem too bad. He sent us to the lab to get the blood test asap. She got tested and found that her bilirubin level was 15, which was good news in the sense that though it was elevated, it was not enough to be dangerous or require any phototherapy.

We went home and proceeded with the rest of the afternoon. Then I noticed that s never really woke up since we had returned from the doctor and the lab. In fact, she endured a heel prick and the squeezing of blood from her tiny heel without waking up at all. She responded to touch, to the cold, to diaper changes, but she never really opened her eyes. So I called the doctor again and told him that she has not been awake since we returned from his office at 10:30 AM. The doctor told us to meet him at the hospital. G was at work. Gmom was going to have to take care of g and I had to bid her a screaming farewell. I took s to the hospital and waited. They took another battery of blood test. They hooked her up to an IV and since she was already there, the doctor decided to hook her up for phototherapy. The blood test results were not good. Her bili levels went up to 18. Again, not critical but the fact that it was a upward trend is not good.

That was one of the longest night of my life. They gave us a foam eyepatches to safeguard her eyes during the phototherapy. We stripped her down and placed these things on her. They were so obviously uncomfortable and worst, they would not stay on. So I had to constantly adjust.

They had told me that the phototherapy machine had a heating unit to keep the baby warm despite being naked. I believed them. s wouldn't stop crying though. She would only stop when I held her. Her extremeties were getting cold. I was feeling so torn. s would only stop when I picked her up but if I carried her the whole night, we might as well discontinue the therapy. After 5 hours of this, one of nurses finally realized that the type of phototherapy machine that they gave us did NOT have a heater. There was scramble to find one that had a heater. The best they could do was to give us a heater unit. So the arrangement was the heater unit was positioned above the phototherapy unit. There was a sensor on the heater unit that sometimes detect that something is obstructing the patient, so it will issue a LOUD beep. That was my whole night and day, hitting the reset button to stop the beep alternating with rearranging the foam eyepatch on s's eyes.

The next day, s's bili levels kept a steady decline. We were finally discharged around 9:00 PM. I hope that is the end of that.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Birth Story.... a first person account

It began on the wednesday, 11/8/06. I was at work and been feeling irregular contractions. Not a big surprise since I have been having Braxton Hicks ("practice contractions") for weeks now. The contractions did seem more consistent then. I was at work and busy. There was still so much to do and so much to follow up on. I ignored it. That night, it seemed more difficult to ignore. The contractions were coming on about 10 to 15 minutes apart, only sort of consistent. The contractions also were pretty mild. I called the hospital service just to be sure. The doctor on call told me that unless I am sure that my bag of waters broke that with mild contractions that far apart, they'll probably just send me home.

The next morning started off like any other morning. Gmom was with us because of the whole nanny situation. I was preparing for work and G (who just started his night job) was prepping for a day of play with g. The contractions started coming in when I woke up. I thought it would be a repeat of last night. I started noticing that they were coming in at 15 minute intervals more or less. So I had an internal debate about whether or not I should go to work or stay at home. There are still a pile of paperwork and follow-up items that need to be done, but it seems that the contractions were coming. I decided to work from home and see where these contractions go.

I logged on and started my emails. Made a few phone calls. Contractions were coming at 13 minutes but they seem to be a lot stronger. More emails. I had to update my status sheet just in case this is the real thing. Gmom and G took g to the park, to the swings. Peace and quiet as I try to send my developer his to-do list for the week. Closed out a couple of bugs that needed to be tested. Contractions started to come in at 9 minutes, mild and still very tolerable. Finally finished my status report. I saw that my friend, S, was online. She worked in the same office, so I asked her to make sure that our boss would check the email that I sent him. I also told her that I was in labor. It was odd when I finally articulated that, it became real. It clicked in my head that this baby was going to be born whether I finish my emails. Contractions were coming in still at about 9 minutes but they were getting stronger and more painful. I have to send my boss the status update and my own labor update. I typed a detailed email and attached the report. Hit Send. Got some odd error message. RATS!!! Contractions were much stronger now. I didn't need to see how far apart because I knew that this was it. I took a deep breath and called G. I told him to head on home. I re-typed my emai to my boss, hit Send and prayed that it gets there. No error message this time. Cool.

G arrived. We headed into the city for the hospital. Who knew that there would be traffic into the tunnel at that time of the day (~10:30 AM on a Thursday)? As we approached the tunnel, the contractions were truly coming in and they were painful enough to require the lamaze breathing. We finally made it through and got to the hospital around11:45 AM. We parked the car and checked in. We went to Labor/Delivery and the desk was staffed with Filipinos. Although I don't do this often, I decided to speak to them in Tagalog. I thought they would at least try their best to get me my own labor room. The triage room was occupied so they did my triage in a labor room. When they finally laid me down for an initial check, the doctor on call told me that I was already 8-9 cm dilated, 100% effaced and in +1 position. She mentioned briefly that there might not be time for an epidural. In my mind, I discounted that. They told me that the last time but they were able to sneak it in. So I was fairly confident still that I would be able to get my pain medication.

My doctor arrived around noon. She checked me and said that I was ready to push. G asked about the epidural and the doctor said that the baby was RIGHT THERE. Apparently there was a blood test that needed to be done and completed before the epidural could be administered. The blood test would take 30 minutes at least. I haven't been there 30 minutes yet. So they splayed me and told me to push. I think for the first few minutes, I still didn't believe that they wouldn't give me the epidural. I had no idea all of a sudden how to push. I couldn't comprehend it. So I tried to push through the pain. The doctor said that pushing through the contraction would help me deal with the pain better. Ah....NO!!!

I am still at a loss for the words to describe the pain that I felt. I tried to push but really it didn't feel like anything was happening except that the pain intensified. I started to shake violently. I don't remember much of what happened. I only remember snippets. I remembered one of the nurses say that I wasn't pushing effectively. I recalled thinking that it was because I was in so much pain. I also remembered I said at one point, "TAKE IT OUT". Yes, I said IT. Horrible, I know.

Then at 12:20 pm, after one final heaving push, it was over for me but the beginning of little s. She was truly little, weighing in only at 6 lbs 3 oz and measuring 18 inches. Everyone who has seen my stomach has been speculating that she was going to be at least 8 lbs. I was much larger than I was with g. Yet somehow she was exactly the right size for my inadvertent natural childbirth.

Again, her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. So her cord was cut quickly and she was taken for examination by the nurses. Her Apgar was a 9 which is excellent.

Afterwards I told G to just go to work that night. Arrangements were made for pick-ups, drop-offs, g and Gmom for the next few days. Who puts whom to sleep? Who sleeps where? What was needed when? After G left for work and I was left to watch the rest of Dr. Phil, I thought that it seemed weird that my mind was occupied with everything mundane at that moment when something quite monumental had occured only a few hours ago.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What's in a name

This will definitely be one of the oft asked why s?

well, we should start first at the very beginning. So why g became g?

g - I chose the name because of an early fascination with Oscar Wilde. In college, I had begun to become interested in acting and met a few actors in school. I was really impressed with one of the actresses not only for her talent, but for her wit, intelligence, funny, funky and "i-am-my-own-person" attitude. So impressed that I always remembered her performance in the role of the Lady g in "The Importance of Being Earnest."

h (g's middle name) - G chose this one for the song not really for the comet. It was featured in a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter, "H comes to Jackson". For those who are really interested, you can hear a sneak preview here -

s - No, she is not named for the tv character nor for the city that auntie K lives in. This came about when one night we were watching "America's Got Talent" G took a liking to a pint-sized,8 year old stand-up comedian, "s the kid". She was an ok comedian and didn't make it past the 2nd round. Kids should stay in school anyway.

e - Absolutely no idea where I got this from. Anyone who has any clue, email me.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The big birth from G's perspective

So our new family has finally settled down. I picked up little S and mom yesteday morning from the hospital. Life has been pretty hectic the last few days with me beginning a new night job and the anticipation of the new baby. But the timing of everything was perfect.

Thursday, November 9th started off like most days. g woke me up at 8 am that morning. I would have prefered to sleep in a bit more but I should get my body reaccustomed to sleep deprivation. My mom was with us that morning so after breakfast we decided to take g out to the park. She's such a fan of the swings and slides. F stayed behind to do some office work. It was about 10:30 am when I got a call on my cellphone from F. She told me she thought it was time. My mom, g and I rushed back from the park. We threw everything into our little Honda Civic and headed out. Ordinarily the drive out to NYC should only be about 10 minutes. But that morning there was so much traffic in the Holland Tunnel. F's contractions were growing so much stronger in the car. I really was afraid I was going to have to do the delivery. After a bit of swerving and maneuvering, we finally made it out to the hospital by 11:30 am. We rushed up to the maternity ward where the nurses were just casually standing around. The Filipino nurses thought F was chinese and started speaking bad Cantonese to her. When they realized she spoke perfect english and also Tagalog their eyes brightened up. She was given the VIP treatment. When the doctor came in to check on the situation we found out F was already 9 cm dilated. Unfortuately for her it was too late to get the epidural. That bit of info did not register in her mind. As she pushed and pushed she pleaded with the nurse and the doctor to give her an epidural. But it seems they can't just give you one. There are some blood tests that need to be run to see if you qualify. The test was being expedited but it would take about 30 minutes and the doctor feared that by the time the results came in the baby would be out. So F was encouraged to just push. She was such a trooper. I have never seen that side of my wife before. Her eyes became bloodshot and her face turned dark red. She looked possessed as she was holding her push for the 10 count. I did not recognize the mother of my children. At the same time I was scared of her I was also scared for her. I did not know if she would be able to do it. But instinct prevailed and by 12:20 pm little S was born.

The whole family is doing great. Pictures to follow.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

This is it....I think

I have been experiencing mild contractions all last night and got myself all worked up. Then they faded. What a buzz kill. This morning, the contractions started coming back. I debated on whether or not I should go to work. I decided to just work from home for about an hour to see how things progress. Well, they have progressed. They are coming on strong and consistent now. Right now, I would say they are about 5 minutes apart and about a minute long each. BOY, do they hurt? I have to remembered that I actually signed up for this gig.

I'll keep y'all posted.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The resolution

We had decided to fire the nanny that same night (Monday) when I saw the video. We called G's mom for a consult a to how best to handle the situation. There is a slightly delicate situation of this lady being a friend of G's aunt. So it was decided that Gmom would come in and take care of g until we can find someone else or when I go on maternity leave.

An addendum:

By sheer coincidence, the day that Gmom came in to fire the nanny, she took g to the playground. There she saw a chinese woman. She casually asked if she knew anyone who would be interested in caring for a child. The woman said that indeed she did. The phonelines started burning. I was on my way to work then. I was already running a little late because I didn't want to leave g with the nanny for another minute, so I stayed behind to wait for Gmom to arrive. I got the call from G that we were meeting the prospective nanny by the train station. So off I went to train station. Admittedly my guard was up and I was going to be a little hard to impress. She seemed like a nice enough person. The big hitch is that she only spoke Mandarin. G only spoke Cantonese. Gmom only spoke marginal Mandarin. So it is definitely going to be interesting to say the least. I was also slightly impressed with the new nanny that in that first meeting, she tried more than a few times to get g to look at her. She even gave g a kiss on the cheek and tried to carry her. That is more than the other nanny did in the 2 months that she was here. We'll have to see.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Nanny Saga - the conclusion (hopefully)

Hopefully this will be my last entry about our "nanny" - term used loosely to describe individual that was retained by us to keep watch over g. Yesterday was a fairly average day. I came home from work. G got the job that he has been applying for, so we had planned a little post-birthday/new job celebration. He had called ahead to the nanny telling her that she would need to make any dinner preparations for us. The evening was proceeding as usual with a festive undertow. I was thinking of going to one of our favorite restaurants in Manhattan for dinner and maybe pick up some groceries in Chinatown. It was g's bedtime. We started the sleep sequence and as G took g in for her stories and Barney sons, I went to turn off recording for the day.

Since I figured that I had at least a few minutes before G was done and g was asleep, I decided to review the nanny cam video. The day was pretty uneventful. So I decided to look through Friday's video.

Again the first few clips didn't seem any different from the general indifference that g gets daily until I got to IT. The lady was sitting on the floor. g was clutching onto her puppy, trying to get her attention. g tried to snuggle up to her, but the lady seems to be more engrossed with her singing than bothering with a kid. g continued trying to get close to her. She eventually fell over with a little "nudging". The lady then patted her on the butt. It was a pat but not a very affectionate one. g was annoyed and tried to hit her back. The lady did it again. g tried to hit her again but the lady deflected the swats. The lady then started "flicking" g in the face. She kept doing it even when g started to cry. It upset g so much that aside from crying, she went to the door and started calling for her daddy and then her mommy. The lady did NOTHING to soothe g. She continued singing,laughed then went to the kitchen to get a drink. This went on for more than 20 minutes until g just got tired of crying. I guess she must have realized that no one cared at that point.

I can't really put into words what I felt as I was watching all this unfold. I still can't. I have gone through cycles of emotion. I went from extreme anger to extreme sadness. I calmed down enough to go and get G. He saw the video. I needed a moment to think. I also needed a moment to suppress the desire to come at her with a baseball bat. So we decided to go to dinner, somewhere local. I lost my appetite. I really couldn't focus. I felt bad that as G was excitedly recounting his new internship and the prospect of his new job, all that I could do was replay the scene again and again in my head.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The elusiveness of sleep

Even at this age (2 years), I am still wondering why sleep is still an issue with g. It is not as hard as the first few months (or year) when I was practically begging g on bended knee to shut her eyes so that I could shut mine. We have gotten into a rhythm and for the most part, she has been able to sleep on her own. We have had the same sleep routine for years now. It consists of a nice warm bath, a few storybooks and some songs. At one point, there was a nighttime bottle which she finally was weaned from at around 18 months. At the earlier points, there was also extensive rocking, shushing and soothing which thankfully stopped after the first few months.

Now although the routine has stayed the same for a while, sometimes she would cry out after the fifth repeat of the Barney/twinkle, twinkle song. Sometimes she would fall asleep immediately after the routine. Then there are other times like tonight that after 2 hours, she is still awake inside our room, keeping herself quite entertained, talking to herself. Last night, she slept pretty easily for the first few hours and awakened at 10:00 pm, stayed awake till 1:00 AM.

What drives me nuts though is that there is no way for us to tell what kind of night this is going to be. Will this be the easy night when she will fall asleep when we put her down? Will this be one of those night when she will cry for 2 minutes and then fall asleep? Or, will it be like tonight when she has been up with no sleep in sight?

I try to tell myself that sleep is one of the states that just could not be forced upon anyone even (or specially) a child. She will sleep when she wants and will remain asleep as long as she wants.

Her being awake though is still jarring to me although I don't really have to do anything with her anymore. It's almost like not being sure if I left the light on inside a parked car. It's quite unsettling. I feel like I should be doing something to facilitate sleep though I am not sure what that should be.

So now I sit here, trying to settle into the night and unwind, while hearing her constant chatter in the room is causing my shoulder to tense up. What can I do? Do shoulder rolls while I patiently wait for the day when I can have a good chardonnay.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A day alone with g

It's mostly alone though. G had to work today. A recap...G quit his job because he found another one. His boss asked him to come in on a Saturday when he finally found someone to replace G. So I spent most of the day caring for g by myself. Not that this has never happened before but because of the nature of G's new job (or jobs depending on how many he actually gets. He will be freelancing.) It's a little difficult for me nowadays because of the weight of the baby. There are also times when g prefers to be carried.

Friday, November 03, 2006

What to do?

g was happily waving goodbye to us this morning as her grandmom started reading her a story about spiders. It was almost a distraction to have to bid farewell when she seems to want to get started on her book. This is a stark contrast to how it is when we leave her with her nanny. Despite the nanny being a presence in our lives for almost 2 months, g still cries 75% of the time when we are about to leave. The other 25% of the time, the nanny bribes her with some food. She would still be whining a little though. I feel guilty everyday that I have to go to work. I felt guilty then with only the suspicion that g is being neglected by our nanny. Now I feel so burdened with guilt.

We showed G's mom that footage yesterday and yes she was very annoyed. She is still hesitant about hiring a non-relative or a stranger to come into our home which is understandable. However I feel that in our current situation I don't think I should tolerate a bad situation indefinitely. I know that some people will say that it may not be quite so bad. I don't quite see it that way. Neglect is not as bad as abuse but that doesn't make it more acceptable.

I guess I am back to the drawing board again in this regard. The other twinge of guilt is having to put the baby into a daycare situation when she would only be about 2 months old.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

So I now know (part 2)

So where did I leave off....

Another oddity I saw was that the nanny ate ALL.THE.TIME. Before you think I am some evil overlord who would refuse her nanny nourishment, what I mean is that there were only small pockets of the day when she is not putting something in her mouth. After breakfast, she started munching on 2 slices of bread. When she was done with that, she started snacking on what looked like dried pumpkin seeds. She was chomping on that for over an hour. Then she prepared lunch and ate lunch with g. After g's nap, she gave g a glass of milk and then started snacking herself for another hour. After her snack, she strapped g onto the her high chair and started making g's dinner. All this snacking and eating doesn't bother per se, what bothers me is that while she is doing this, she never once looked at g or paid any attention.

She is truly more a maid than she is a nanny. G had told her to stop doing the other extra work (cleaning, straightening up, etc) and just take care of g. I didn't think it would make a difference. And it hadn't. She had all but stopped cleaning except for sweeping here and there every so often. Yet the level of care has not improved.

Her impression of engaging a child is throwing the flash cards on the floor while she is snacking beside it. g picks it up and tells her what some cards are when she is around the vicinity.

BAD NEWS The nanny found the camera yesterday. G saw that she was probably moving something and touched the camera. She was staring at it for a while. G doesn't seem to think that she knows what she looking at. I think she does. She might be a little ignorant on some things, but she really LIKES nice things like cell phones, beauty products, etc. She has the new motorola while up until recently G was still using his circa 1990s startac. So I think she knows what a camera looks like and although we had a black tape on the lights, she probably has an inkling that it was on because the tape was partially drawn back.

The good that might come from her discovery is that she might be on her best behavior now that she knows she is being recorded. The bad is that she could potentially just bring g into the bedrooms where we would not be able to see what she is doing.

The true test is tonight's footage. If nothing has changed, then I could say that she doesn't know about the camera.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

So now I know

G finally got around to installing the "nanny cam" (of course, with the help of L.) It's all setup and ready to go. I think the inagural viewer was K, G's sister. She provided swift report for the hour that she saw on the cam (thanks, K). Yesterday we recorded a whole day's worth of "activities". Frankly I was not surprised at what we found. In fact it was exactly what I had expected. I have told many and I am sure you have heard this issuing forth from my mouth, that I don't think that there is any abuse going on with my nanny. That was never the purpose of the nanny cam. However I had felt that there was a lot of benign neglect going on. The video confirms it.

I watched about 10 hours of video last night (albeit without the sound) Yeah...we are still experiencing technical difficulties. I am also annoyed that I can't login from work because they block that specific port, but that's another topic altogether. Outside of about 25-30 minutes of flash cards and maybe half a book, g played by herself with the nanny in proximity.

I can count (actually even g can count that high) the times that the nanny engage g in actual eye contact. The nanny also has the annoying habit of parking g in her high chair for really long periods of time. We would usualy strap g up when her lunch/dinner/breakfast is cooked, cooled and ready to serve. I have noticed that she straps her up there even before she started started cooking. For lunch yesterday, g was in her high chair for about an hour and a half including eating time. For dinner, it was mercifully shorter only about an hour. By the way, it usually only takes g about 20-30 minutes to eat a meal in its entirety before she gets really bored.

Oh darn....gotta work now. will be back to post more.