Friday, April 13, 2012

One of the Best Nights Ever

My pregnant body is completely exhausted, but I have to journal about this amazing night. I would put it in my physical journal, but I am too tired to write...I wouldn't be able to read it :)

Jamin is deploying soon and let's just say that I have been such a horrible, whiney, unloving, and chaotic wife. My lack of talking truth to myself and quiet time with God has been the root of my fleshly ways. This week has been so, so, wrong on my part.

Tonight, Jamin took me on a surprise date that I resisted even going on. I had no idea where we were going, and since he told me to wear my cowboy boots, I was thrown off even more. I thought we were going square dancing :) Anyway, we pull into the parking garage downtown Louisville and he shows me the receipt stating that we are seeing Death Cab for Cutie - probably my favorite band in the world. I smile and turn to Jamin who has tears in his eyes because finally, for the first time this week, I look happy. I start crying, because I feel so convicted for being so terrible to him when all he wants is for me to be happy. You want a man who loves his wife as Christ loves the church? I've got one, thank You, God. In the concert hall there are assigned seats, so my very pregnant self can sit, and Jamin actually got center floor seats 2 days before the concert. The concert begins and opens up with our song and it is so lovely, picturesque, and perfect. I start bawling because, in that moment, all I could feel was God's Grace. Here He was, blessing me with this perfect moment, our song, played by my favorite band, and my husband and best friend by my side...God's Grace is what made this night.

I have been such a butt this whole week, and God decides to bless and forgive me for my awful ways. What is so ironic (but totally planned by God) is that I had to fill in and lead the Women's Bible Study today which was on Self Control and all I had to offer was how little Self Control I've been having.

After tonight, I just want to thank God, once again, for His awesome Grace.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

No, We're not Crazy...Well Maybe a Little

I usually don't feel the need to explain myself, but recently I have felt in my heart that I should explain why my husband is deploying to Bahrain despite the fact that I will be giving birth (again) while he is gone.

We have not been offended by anyone, but we have been getting vibes that people don't understand why anyone would this. For me, as Jamin's wife, I just want to make sure that no one thinks my husband is a total bum, jerk, or horrible person for choosing to take this assignment. So as a wife, I feel like it is my duty to stand up for my husband in case people have had that thought cross their mind.

1) We have total peace about the situation and prayed a lot before putting our name in for the assignment. We didn't know if Jamin would be chosen, and he wasn't at first, but we were open to what God had in store. As a husband, Jamin feels the call and need to provide for his family, and this was an opportunity that he was given. As a wife, I am called to trust the Lord by supporting my husband in following what God has called him to do.

2) No, we don't love money and security more than family. In fact, that is why we decided to take this deployment, to have more time together. With this deployment, Jamin can come back and finish school without working crazy hours like before, so that we will be able to actually see and spend time with him. Yes, we have to sacrifice a year, but in the long run our family will get to spend more quality time together because of the benefits of the deployment. Jamin also had plans with the Navy that fell through for this summer and other key doors closed before this one opened.

3) Yes, Jamin feels awful that he is leaving. No man wants to leave his family or miss ANOTHER birth of their child. In fact, I don't feel sorry for me, I feel sorry for my husband. I'm the one that gets to be with our children. I'm the one who gets to kiss them each day while he has to be apart from them. I couldn't imagine being so far from my children, it would kill me. He is such a good man to sacrifice his comforts and time with his family just to make sure that we are provided for.

4) Don't worry, he'll be safe. My husband may seem like a totally motivated Marine (which he is) but he's not going to volunteer for something that could likely get him killed while his wife is back at home pregnant. Plus, I would kill him if he died :) No really though, God is control and he could die driving to Walmart just was easy as going to Bahrain...we can't control everything.

So are we crazy? Maybe a little...but that's ok because sometimes God calls people to crazy lives. My mentor, (I love you Nannette), reminded me what a privilege it was to be a military wife. We are constantly FORCED to just trust and rely on the Lord. I am a hard-headed, control freak and, to be honest, I don't know if I would be as close to the Lord if I hadn't been given this crazy life.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Brain Hurts and it's not from the Aluminum in Vaccines

No, it's from my monthly research on vaccines. You've got the pro-vaxers, non-vaxers and the in-betweeners. I've heard and seen both. I have friends who vax and their babies are fine and then those who vaxed and they had scary side-effects that no mother would want to face. I think I'm an in-betweener. We did not vax River until last month and we found a great doctor who is flexible with OUR vaccination schedule. What is our vaccination schedule? I have no idea. I just listen to my doc, do tons of reading, and after I get totally stressed out, I am reminded that I should have prayed before my "process" of figuring this stuff out. After praying and talking with J, I find that God gives me peace on what I should or should not do.

Since being a mom who believes in natural parenting, I have set personal guidelines for vaccines and my children:

1) I cover the whole process in prayer. God is big and He covers everything.

2) I don't let anyone rush my decisions and believe that God helps us decide on good timing. I, of course, take into consideration recommendations on when certain vaccines should be given, but I am also aware that you have the right to be flexible.

3) I don't want to overload my child with shots and chemicals. Hence, this is why I have a different schedule.

4) When it comes to my child's health, time and money do not matter. We are living a financially humble life right now and I often LOVE to save money, but if it takes me 15 co-payments and 15 separate doctor visits to make sure I can accommodate my child's health, I will. God will provide.

R has another doctor's appointment on Wednesday and I pray that I can get things figured out before my visit. I would appreciate your prayers too!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Really ORGANIZED Chaos

My last post was entitled "Patience" although I don't think that I have been very patient these past few months. Since then we have moved into our new place and I spent the last few months de-cluttering my life since our new place is about 40% smaller.

We've made a few adjustments with J being out of the USMC and in seminary. Let's just say that our life is chaotically "simpler" :) . We found a wonderful church where J is interning and I am helping out with Sunday School and the Worship Team. Life as a parent is still an awesome joy and I've learned that Crystal's life works best on a schedule.

I love fun, randomness, and creativity but for me to function and stay sane and healthy, I NEED a schedule...a color-coded one too!

I think that most people should have a schedule, especially stay at home wives and moms. I've always said, "But I'm a night owl!" Well you know what, that's a bad excuse and I found myself staying up too late just to get "alone" time while my poor hubby would go to bed saddened without me. I was starting to look a lot like someone I did NOT want to be. Then, because I went to bed late, I'd wake up late and be unproductive. Now, I will say that I don't believe in "baby training" and the first year of baby is tough and you just have to nurture them and be on their schedule.

I finally decided to whip my myself into shape. I made a family schedule and gave R a bedtime routine. It's only been 2 weeks but it has been AWESOME. My baby girl goes to bed early, I get to spend time with my hubby, I wake up early and work out, and most important of all, I get my alone time with the Lord.

I pray that I can keep this up! I feel like I am finally getting settled into our new home and place. I really like Louisville and I really love our new church. God has once again blessed us tremendously. After leaving my awesome church family in Okinawa I thought that I would never find a church again. My church now is no CCO but it's special in its own way and J and I have really been blessed there.

Thank you Lord, for Your continued Faithfulness.






Saturday, April 23, 2011

Patience

It's been a LONG time since I've blogged about anything. Currently, I am traveling between Indiana and Alabama visiting and temporarily staying at Jamin's and my parents' house. How have I been coping with this? It could be better.



I could be spending more time with the Lord, trusting in Him, having more patience, and being content with my situation. I really miss Okinawa. I know the Lord is here too, but it seems as though there are so many distractions in the way. It was easier when I was on a little tiny island, away from so many people just "Keeping up with the Joneses". I am not saying that everyone here is like that...it's just that I've seen so much of it since being here. I am grateful to be near family and friends, but, frankly, I am going through culture shock. On top of that, I am without a house, living out of a suitcase, and that's been adding to the challenges.





No matter what my circumstances though, God is still God. And I will find peace in Him.





I've learned that it is easier to trust the Lord when you are forced to. I had to trust the Lord in Okinawa because I had no choice with Jamin being deployed while I was pregnant. I had to fully depend on the Lord. Here, Jamin is with me and we are in a sense "free" to do whatever...I have to purposely depend on the Lord and not give in to the illusion that I am in "control" of how I carry our my day or week.





It has all been spiritually challenging...it sucks leaving a church that you are totally in love with. Jamin has been patient and keeping me accountable so that is a blessing.





We will be moving into our new place at the end of June, so we'll see how all of that goes. My prayer is that God will continue to be the focus of my life despite the efforts of the enemy using the world to distract me.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dear Okinawa, these are the things that I will miss about you...

(will be adding as I remember more and more things)

1. My wonderful church family at Calvary Chapel... the humility and humor of Pastor Rick, ranting with Glenn about rat poop in Chocolate, Kevin and his sarcasm, jammin with Fred and my girl JB and doing a bunch of accents during sound check (tee hee), Nannette and her motherly wisdom (along with so many other women), Amy, my sunshine and bus-buddy, having lunch with beautiful Andrea after Women's Bible study, Keiko-san and her cuteness (along with Yoshi), all of the kids and their faithful, awesome moms, all the women I met who helped me be a better woman, wife, and mother (through FB and at church), always being challenged in my faith and time in the Word and with the Lord, and the list can go on forever...
2. Tarako
3. Iburishake sushi at the sushi go round next to our house
4. Natto
5. Nursing and diaper changing stations at the malls
6. The safety
7. The work ethic of all the Japanese people
8. The clean bathrooms and their heated toilet seats
9. The 100 Yen Shop, Manue, Bunny Store, Shimamura, Birthday Store, Rimune, Jusco, San E
10. The bright colors and cuteness of everything
11. Mentaiko French Bread at the Bakery in MaxValue
12. Mochi Ice Cream
13. Lierre Blanc... oh how I love thee...my favorite (French) Restaurant
13. Ordering my Lassi and Lunch Set at Cafe Unizon
14. Diakon No Hana and all of your deliciousness
15. Turkish Ice Cream from Istanbul
16. "Big-Booty Donkey" the hamburg restaurant
17. Sukiya dates with Jamin
18. Yakiniku
19. Izikaya
20. Purikura
21. Blending in (I'll really stand out in KY!)
22. Bike rides in the neighborhood
23. Wash cloths with my meal
24. The plethora of drink machines and how they have hot drinks/soups in the winter
25. Family Mart and Lawson...your fried chicken, delish snacks, and your cleanliness!
26. Cheeza, Kewpie Mayo, and all of my favorite snacks and foods that I don't know how to name
27. Lots of sunshine
28. Clear teal waters
29. The hoaky theme parks (Pineapple Park!)
30. Forest Adventure Park
31. My friends and students at OCSI
32. Dried Squid Tempura with Mayo
33. Fried Chicken Skin from Toride
34. Hanahou, JiJi Cafe, Cafe Green Green
35. Taro and Milk Tea Tapioca Drinks
36. The adorable fabric
37. Obligato's original dressing (I'm still trying to re-create you!...I got your tortilla soup though!)
38. Umibudo, Mozuku, Hijiki
39. The JA fresh market and the passion fruit when in season
40. Being able to buy things from Okinawa Yard Sales
41. Great meals at parties with Lauren, Michelle, Mark and Christina present
42. My Toyota FunCargo
43. Getting pedi's with JB
44. Karaoke boxes
45....



Monday, December 20, 2010

Life with Baby and Hubby


I haven't really blogged since Jamin got back (understandably) but things have been going well. It's a blessing to have him back again. Here are some quick updates:

Hubby:
He's an AMAZING father. He is always willing to change diapers, burp her, or do whatever he can to give me a "break" when I need it. He sings to her, reads stories to her, and kisses her about as much as I do and that's a TON! Does River have chubby cheeks or are they just swollen from the thousands of kisses she gets a day?


I find myself a bit "clingy" with him since I keep thinking that he's going to deploy. I'm not used to him being home for so long!

Baby:
I adore her. I love all of her funny habits: rubbing her feet together while she's eating, puckering and sticking out her lips when she's concentrating, sleeping with her arms spread out above her head when she's out, and gurgling when I change her diaper. I also love her stinky feet and arm pits :)

Being a mom has been pretty awesome and I'm ready for another one (plus 4) :) We've gotten our "routine" down...which is not really a routine at all but things have gotten a lot easier with River sleeping through the night and maturing. She even put herself to bed last night for the first time and I hope that she keeps it up!!!

Cloth Diapering:
I recently tried a SunBaby diaper and found that they work quite well. They are cheap, super cute, and have a trimmed fit. The only thing I don't like about them is how they stuff (the insert doesn't snap it) but they are neat. I don't think I'll buy anymore for now because we have enough.

I bought more GroBaby/Gro Via Soakers and I absolutely love them (be sure to prep them!). I think that I would go with the GroBaby/GroVia system if I had to do it over again. You don't have to stuff diapers and they save time and space. We always use them for outings and use our Bububibi's at home. Although stuffing can get old, I like stuffing my Bububibi's because I can get in a lot of extra inserts for overnight use.

We still have and use other brands such as Bum Genius and Sposoeasy and those are great too...I guess variety isn't bad :)

Future:
I found out recently that we are moving back to the states as early as February. Although I will enjoy being near family and friends...I AM BUMMED! I will miss Okinawa (the FOOD!) so much and most of all, my church family at Calvary Okinawa. :( I can only pray that one day, we'll get to come back for another tour.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Birth Story (Finally!!!!)



It was September 11, 2010, (my due date), Saturday night, and I couldn't sleep. I wanted to go to church, so my mom and I tried to go to bed early. I couldn't sleep, and at 5:35 a.m. (September 12, 2010) my contractions started. These contractions were more "complete" than before – I had some before, but I'd have more pain on one side, and they were irregular. These new contractions were strong, even around my hips and back, and were 6-10 minutes apart. I was REALLY hoping that this would be the day!

I decided to try to sleep since I had heard that you should always get your rest. Sadly, I couldn't sleep and decided to call my Doula, Angela, at 7:00 a.m. for advice. Later, my contractions were 10 minutes apart and I called Angela again at 9:15 am. Angela suggested that I shower, and the shower helped me relax. After my shower my contractions shortened to about 3 minutes apart and I tried to wake up my mom. She didn't believe that I was in labor even though I told her I had had contractions for hours. Maybe if I would have screamed she would have believed me :)

Angela arrived at my house at 12 p.m. and I was talking well between the contractions. Angela said I didn't look like I was in labor between contractions but she assured me that I was in labor since I kept asking, "Am I really gonna have a baby?". I was in doubt since I had so many painful symptoms for a few weeks prior. I swayed, stood, and breathed through each contraction. I couldn't talk during the contractions and I hated sitting or lying on my back. My contractions slowed to 6 minutes apart, so we decided to walk the stairs to loosen up my pelvic muscles. I walked up 17 small flights of stairs and we used the elevator to go down when we reached the top floor (I couldn't walk down the stairs because I was getting charlie horses that way-ouch!).

At around 2 p.m., my contractions got stronger and my mom offered us some fortune cookies. I opened up my cookie and was shocked by its message: "You are capable, competent, creative, careful. Prove it." Talk about the PERFECT message for someone like me going through natural labor!

At 4:30 p.m. we decided to walk more flights of stairs. My contractions were stronger and about 6 minutes apart. After my walk, I leaned on my birth ball for a little while and I was getting tired. Angela rubbed my back while I tried to lie down and get some sleep. I got up at 6 p.m. to use the restroom and started getting chills. At 6:21 p.m. my contractions were a minute long and my mom continued to ask when we were leaving for the hospital. "I don't want her to have a baby here!" she would tell Angela :) Even though I had consistent contractions for 12.5 hours already, I was still in doubt that I was actually going to have a baby!

At 7 p.m., we finally left for the hospital. It was 13.5 hours after my contractions started and I was glad that I could wait so long before going to the hospital (I didn't want them to "rush" my labor...little did I know that there was going to be NO rushing with this labor). Angela, my mom, and I were in one car while Anna (who was also pregnant and due in November) followed (I asked her to help with pictures and communicating with Jamin). The ride wasn't too bad, but it was very bumpy (those Okinawan roads!) and that didn't help the contractions. The Orion Beer Festival was going on, so we hit some traffic and we got to the hospital at 7:50 p.m. At 8:20, I was in Triage and they started EFM and took my vitals while I was standing (I refused to lie on the bed). The EFM showed that River's heartbeat was strong and she was well oxygenated, so they took it off. We could tell that the nurse didn't believe I was in labor because she kept saying things like, "if you are admitted" and I was laughing and mingling between contractions. The nurse examined me at 8:45 p.m. and I was 6-7cm dilated and fully effaced, she was shocked. :)

At 9:05 p.m., I was in the labor room and they made me take all of my earrings out (that took while). We went over my birth plan and they let me walk around in the hallway. I got to Skype with Jamin out there because the Wi-Fi worked (it didn't work in the labor room). I kept on laboring and doing different positions with the ball, squat bar, and whatever else was around me. I did everything but lay on my back...I was so uncomfortable that way. There was a point when I was "dancing" on the bed but the nurses told me to get down :)

At 11:20 p.m. I started to get the urge to push. My water still had not broken and at 1:25 they did another exam and told me that my cervical lip was still all the way around and that River's head was still high. This meant that I couldn't push since it could cause swelling and she would never get out except through C-section. The one good thing was that her heart beat was super-strong during my labor so they didn't have to "do anything" to me. I didn't want them to break my water because it could have added stress to River. So far, my birth plan was going as planned. Jamin was on the phone, but then took a break to get dinner.

At 2 a.m. my contractions slowed down and I wanted to sleep, but couldn't. I think that this is when I started to shed some tears. I was exhausted since I hadn't really slept for about 40 hours. About an hour later, I tried to go to the bathroom, but I couldn't make it, so I got back to the bed and just squatted. At about 4 a.m., my water kind of leaked. They put me on oxygen since I had to "pant" to hold my urge to push. I was totally confused and frustrated because I wanted to push so bad. I hadn't planned to NOT push! I had planned to PUSH!

At about 4:30 a.m., Dr. Papson came in, checked me, and told Angela that my baby was sunny side up (posterior position). It was a good thing that I wasn't on my back because I would have had awful back labor. It was ironic that River was sunny side up because I tried everything during my pregnancy to prevent her being in that position by watching my posture...I guess you can't prevent everything. After this I started to experience the hardest part of my labor which revolved around the fact that I was not allowed to push. Since my cervical lip still had not opened, I had to keep on "holding" my pushes...which seemed impossible. I remember that I moaned a lot and my inner "mama bear" came out. When an urge came, I would stare into Angela's eyes as she coached my panting. My mouth was dry because of the oxygen mask, but I had to have it on or else I would have passed out from the panting. My poor mom was praying and trying to encourage me. I was at the point where I wanted them to do something, like give me something just so I could push, but there was nothing they could do. I just focused and prayed that River would come soon. I was determined to do all that I could in order to prevent a C-section. I remember I wanted it silent during each contraction and I even told Jamin to "please, shut up" on the phone :)

At around 6 a.m., I got some urges to push that I absolutely could not hold back, and I felt like I was tearing. "Angela, get the doctor! I feel like I'm tearing!" I told her. The nurses came in and checked me and said, "I see a head!" and I was thanking God! We all thought that I was going to end up with a C-section. Dr. Papson came in and she said the words that I had been longing to hear for HOURS, "Ok, honey, now you can push". I pulled myself up into my squatted position and was SO PUMPED about finally pushing and gave it all of my might. After the first push I believe that River's head started to appear and they let me feel her head. It was one of the coolest feelings in the world and I was ready to push again because I wanted to meet her so bad. I gave it another push and the doctor told me to lay back...I started to lay back and Dr.Papson said. "Honey, I REALLY need you to lay back now!" . I was squatting so low and there was no room between me and bed for River to come out. When I leaned back I felt her come out of me. She was born in the water sac and it broke as she came out. River Eden Hien Bailey was born at 6:17 a.m. I cut the cord (which was SO cool) and they placed her on my chest right away. She had so much hair and was crying so well. I was thanking God for my healthy baby girl.

After a couple of minutes I started to detect that something was wrong. The doctor said, "Page Dr. Mimimsky." She then said it again, "Page Dr. Mimimsky 911". One of the nurses started to massage my stomach to get the placenta out and get my uterus to contract (that pain was worse than the labor). Suddenly a flood of people came in and I then felt lots of pain on my stomach and things being shoved in me. I had bad postpartum hemorrhaging (due to my uterus not clamping down (uterine atony) and the doctor had to get a small piece of my placenta out with some forceps. She was also trying everything she could to stop the bleeding. I just stared at River and focused on her. When I wanted to look and see what was going on, Angela was at my side, reminding me to just focus on River. My mom was squeezing my hand and praying. I was also praying that God would spare my life so that I could be there for River...I really thought that I might die. The doctor asked me if I wanted pain medication as she was working on me and repairing my tear and I was like, "UH, yeah!". They could have given me cocaine! River was born and the only reason I refused drugs was for her, not me.

They got the bleeding under control and found out that I had a 2nd degree tear, which was common for first time moms (River also came out facing the wrong way and holding her hand up to her face so that didn't help). I refused an episiotomy to prevent a 3rd or 4th degree tear. They had given me River again after they took her vitals (agar score 8/9-good job girl!) and swaddled her. She was already sucking on her fist when she came out so I had a feeling that she would nurse right away and she did (it's still her favorite activity to this day). I had really bad chills and was very pale from the loss of blood (about 1600 milliliters), but I was just thankful that was alive for my baby girl. I recovered well and didn't need a blood transfusion, so that was good. Jamin was on speaker phone the whole time while Anna was talking to him and sending him live pics and vids on my iPhone. As I look back, I can say that I had a positive birth experience. I didn't do anything during my labor that I regretted and my birth plan followed through. Most importantly, River was healthy and that's all I really wanted. I was really thankful that my mom came and that I hired Angela as my doula. I was also thankful that Anna could be there to help me communicate with Jamin. I wish I didn't hemorrhage but that was just something that happened and I can only be grateful that I recovered quickly. I remember right after having River telling myself that that would be my only child but after a couple hours I was ready for another one :) Labor is amazing in so many ways and thank God for making me a woman so that I could experience it...even if it was 25 hours long!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dear Diaper Rash: I Freaking HATE you >:(

So, despite cloth diapering...River's got a bad diaper rash. It's not bacterial or yeast related, she's just wet and sensitive. We tried two types of disposables but they made things a little worse and we tried a bunch of creams (I have Triple Paste coming in the mail). So far, the best thing for her is Desitin (40% zinc oxide used with liner to protect my cloth diapers), lots of changes, and lots of airing out (on a those training pads for pets). The biggest problem (besides seeing this awful rash on my baby girl)? My daughter has decided to pee and poop with practically every diaper change and each "airing out" session. I've been peed and pooped on trying to keep her dry at least 7 times this week! It's almost impossible to dry out the rash so that I can put cream on it. All of my efforts are working and she's healing up...it's just driving me crazy and I honestly would rather be in natural labor because I feel like I had more control in that situation! Newborn poo is no fun with rashes, especially if you have a baby who is constantly eating and going. I'm not looking for advice...just venting. I know that this diaper rash is not that big of a deal but as a mom it's just hard to see your baby's skin so red and raw :(

In other news, my poor baby girl has been choking while nursing and I found out that I have "overactive let down" aka "too much milk" thanks to Google. Thank God for my wonderful friends who blessed me with a pump to help River nurse more comfortably and store up some milk for emergencies and date nights. I tried feeding her with the bottle the other day and it was a success...even though she was REALLY confused at first...I love that girl and all of her funny faces :) I also introduced two different types of pacifiers to her and she hates them both. I guess I'll keep my role as human pacifier for awhile.

Even though it's been crazy and River is not the easiest baby (or being without Jamin is hard...either one), I can still find joy each day. I have been keeping myself in check because the last thing I want is to be depressed and not do anything about it.

Time is passing quickly and I am so pumped about spending Christmas with Jamin...I can't wait to have my best friend and soul mate near me again.

***Update: I tried cornstarch again and it really helped try out River's skin before I applied the Desitin...hopefully she heals up soon!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Life with Baby


About 3 weeks ago I gave birth to my precious daughter River. This post is an update on life after baby. I will post my birth story as soon as it's completed...I am still gathering the info from everyone who was there.

Updates...

Mom's Visit: My mom's visit was amazing. We got along way better than ever and it took a lot of surrendering on both of our parts. Something about having a baby changes the dynamics of the mother and daughter relationship. I thank God that her visit was positive. I miss her a lot and my heart breaks for her since she can't be here with River. I was shocked with how supportive she was with my natural birth, nursing, and cloth diapering choices. There were moments where she got frustrated but with my doula there to explain everything to her, it made things better. My mom had a completely opposite experience (non-natural birth, formula, disposable diapers) and it was neat to see her learn so much from mine. Even though I took a different route than my mom, I learned a lot from her and I wanted her to know that. My mom went through a lot while she was here and I appreciate all that she sacrificed for me. At the airport, when she was about to go through security and say "goodbye", we saw an Okinawan grandma say goodbye to her grandchild and both lost it. I REALLY lost it and it was hard. I am usually able to stay strong and save my tears for the car but not this time. I told her "thank you for everything" and "I love you". She just told me to "always pray" and to "stay strong." My mom is a very spiritual person and we are very much alike. We pray, read our scriptures, and try to live according to our faiths. The main difference is who we claim as God. I offered my mom a video from church in Vietnamese but she said, "no thanks, I have my god". I can only hope and pray that one day she'll accept Christ.

Baby Weight: So, like I've said before...River is the best diet plan I've ever been on. I got to eat like a crazy woman and she ate it all in the womb. Now that I'm nursing, all of that food is making food for her and it's awesome. I gained 10 pounds with her and she weighed about 8 and then I lost another 10 from nursing. I'm also eating like crazy...I promise. I'm not trying to brag...I'm just really shocked, happy, and hoping that this happens with every Bailey Baby :). The one thing I can't stand right now is now much "fat" I have...I'm so soft and it's driving me nuts! I've lost a lot of muscle and I can't wait to start working out and toning up.

Nursing: River came out of the womb ready to nurse. They placed her on my chest for the second time after cleaning her off and she latched on right away. I was blessed that she was so ready because I heard that nursing could be difficult. The two things that I struggled most with was her latch (she's really impatient and sometimes folds her lips inward) and the couple days before my milk came in (she was REALLY hungry and fussy, poor thing). Nursing is a lot easier now and my favorite position is the side lying position because well, River and I are both lazy and we get to relax the best this way :) One thing I love about Japan is that in the malls in the baby section they have a nursery where you can change and nurse your baby in a private room. When I am in the stores on base, I've found myself nursing in a toilet stall. I don't mind nursing in public but I get a bit self-conscience when I'm alone and surrounded by strangers who are single, male, Marines and Airmen.

Cloth Diapering: A lot of people have been asking me how cloth diapering is going and I have to say that I really enjoy it. For awhile I was doing a small load of laundry a day but now that River's also fitting her one-size AIO's, I can do laundry every other day. She's gotten a small diaper rash even with CD-ing but the doc says that it's not too bad. I love how I don't have a bunch of trash to take out with CD-ing...especially with Jamin deployed (he usually takes out the trash). I hear how many people say it's inconvenient but if you really want to do, you just do it...like nursing or anything else. I haven't tried my cloth wipes (made from old t-shirts) yet since I didn't want to overload my mom (we just used unscented baby wipes) but I just got a wipe warmer and wipe solution so hopefully soon.

Getting Around: Getting around has been challenging without a husband but I have managed to run a few errands. There are days where I don't get enough sleep and I wish that someone could drive me to my destination. Grocery shopping isn't too difficult with baby wearing but carrying groceries up to the apartment can be challenging. There are times when I feel intimidated to go out with a newborn without the help of a husband or friend but I suck it up and do it anyway...there are more difficult things in life and I enjoy the challenge.

Joy: Knowing the postpartum depression is very real, I thank God that I've experienced mostly joy since giving birth. There are moments when I wish that River would just stop crying or that I could have a moment to myself but I look at her and I can't help but smile and feel all warm inside. I actually laugh more than smile because she's such a funny baby. She's so noisy and dramatic and it's just hilarious. She grunts, whimpers, and sounds like a kitten when she cries :) Another thing I love about River is that there's someone to kiss and talk to around the house! She's keeping me company while her poppa's gone. We have Bible time together and I just love kissing and sniff-kissing her (us Vietnamese folk don't kiss babies...we sniff them and suction them up to our noses...it's the best kind of kiss).

I really miss Jamin and wish that he could be here and yes, it's sometimes hard to see so many moms with their husbands and babies with their daddies but frankly I don't have the time to feel sorry for myself. I've also been blessed by so many people willing to help is whatever way. I have over 2ish months to go before Jamin gets home and I can only hope that this joy lasts and that God gives me the strength to keep on going. I believe that He will ;)

***Cloth Wipe Update: So I tried out my recycled cloth wipes (mixed with distilled water and wipe solution) with a wipe warmer and I really like it! It cleans so much gentler and better than a baby wipe and I toss my wipes into a bucket later for washing. I'm going to try to keep this up at home (baby wipes while I'm out) and see how it goes.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Just Me

It's late and I should be trying to go to bed but I'm very determined to prep my newborn kissaluvs. It's also just me (as it has been for most of my marriage) so I decided to blog. Sometimes I get a little lonely but my talk radio, podcasts, Pandora, and best of all, Lord Jesus, keep me company. I can't wait till Jamin gets home...I can't imagine what it will be like when we get back to the states and we're together for more than 7 months straight...we've never been together that long before. I have friends who miss their hubbys when they go on weekend trips and all I can think of is how blessed they are. I am not bitter, I am truly happy for them...being with your hubby is just a blessing. Jamin and I have learned to take in all of the seconds that we have together. Deployment puts everything in perspective and you don't have time to take each other for granted. I miss that man. He's my best friend and soul mate.

I finally finished Ina May's Guide to Childbirth a couple of days ago and I feel like I can give birth now. Not like I am a master at giving birth, I just feel more confident, hopeful, and encouraged. It was a slower read than my other books but I loved all of the information and research that she provided. A must read on my pregnancy book list. She just came out with a new book on breast feeding but I don't think I can read it in time. I am now reading Dr. Sears' Baby Book and Vaccine Book and of course the the Word. My breakfasts' with Jesus and His Word are something that I hope to keep up with the new baby. I have friends who get their daily Word in during breast feeding...maybe I'll do that :)...we'll see.

My mom is coming in 2 weeks and I'm actually kinda looking forward to it. Yup, you read correctly. God's been helping me to be more compassionate towards her. My grandma just visited her and my mom shared with me the struggles she had with her mom. It opened my eyes to why my mom is the way she is and reminded me that I just need to love her. I wrote a long, good, bit, in my journal last night of how I need to seriously step it up and soften my heart for my mom. Lord help me...I've said this many times and the enemy always attacks. I was reminded tonight, though, that no matter what my situation is, my God is bigger than that. The battle is the Lord's (1 Sam 17:47).

Well, I should go...the newborn CD's are about dry and I need to put them in River's room. I also need to drink more antacid (warm water+baking soda, completely dissolved) because my heartburn has been killer these past 3 days...

God Bless and if your hubby is home, give him a great big kiss, a hug, and just thank God he's with you.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Seasons


Tomorrow is my last day as Children's Minister at CCO and I'm ready to go into the next season called "motherhood". I was blessed with the opportunity to head up VBS (which was awesome, thank God) and Sunday School. What I loved most about my season as Children's Minister was getting to know the kids, meeting new people in the church, and working with the leadership team at CCO. I loved knowing that my church was led my real, genuine, and godly people. I pray that I can find the same kind of people when we move back to the states.

VBS was so fun this year! Our theme was Egypt: Joseph's Journey from Prison to Palace and we had a bunch of local Japanese come this year. Since we are an English-Japanese church, we had everything translated into Japanese too. My favorite moments were when we were all dancing and singing praises to God in English and Japanese. It was like a tiny glimpse of what heaven might be like, when all people from different nations gather to praise God. The theme song this year was called "One True God" and it was so fitting for a country that has many idols.

In other news, I am 35 weeks along and getting very short of breath! I can't wait till River "drops" so my lungs can have the space they had before. I went to the doctors the other day and they felt my belly to give me an idea of how she might be set in there. She seems to be head down so that's great news! I asked the doctor if she could move into a breech position but the doctor thinks that since she's so packed in there, she probably doesn't have the room to flip around. I keep reminding River to stay "head down and face mommy's back"...I hope she listens!

I think my obsession of buying cloth diapers is dying down-maybe not :). My CD count is now 30 and I haven't spend too much money. I recently bought some newborn diapers which I heard good reviews on. These should be a better fit for River when she is newborn. I also won some diapers covers on eBay to go with the newborn fitted CD's and I can't wait till they all get here. I get teased about all the poop I'm going to have to deal with but did you know that technically, even if you use disposables, they recommend you put the baby's poop in the toilet? I just learned that today in a podcast! Just like everything with a new baby, I know it's not easy-breezy but I feel good about the decisions I've made. People can say this and that but when you have your own baby, you can use your own convictions to decide how you want to raise them.

My personal and mothering convictions usually always go back to doing things "the natural way". I'm not a huge environmentalist even though Jamin and I believe in reducing waist, re-using, and going green and I'm not against technological advances. I'm just big on minimizing the chemicals that my family is exposed to...to a certain extent. There's no use being a nazi about everything...life wouldn't be as fun :) I mean I love organic and natural foods but I had a whole box of kool-aid pops in like 4-5 days a couple weeks ago...and don't get me started on Church's Fried Chicken...or should I mention all of the greasy extra "butter" (oil, artificial colors, and natural flavors -aka MSG) I pumped on my popcorn last night at the movies...

Amen for God's Grace...we can't control everything and we don't have to, thank God!

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Birth Plan

I decided to post my birth plan as a reference for other mothers to use when writing their personal birth plan. My doula gave me a bunch of different birth plans to look through while I was revising my draft and I found them very helpful. I took what I liked, left what I didn't, did a bunch of research, talked to a bunch of moms, prayed, and wrote my birth plan. My birth plan could still be revised since I am still reading/researching. It was a lot longer but my doula helped me simplify it. I have a packing list and goal list but they are separate from my birth plan. It is understood that in the end I just want my baby to be born healthy and that I am open to procedures not in agreement with my birth plan in case of an emergency. Please note that this is my personal birth plan and I'm not saying this is the only way one should give birth...just posting it as a reference for expecting moms.


My Birth Plan


I would like time to discuss every suggested treatment or intervention with the right to give informed consent or refusal after such discussion.


Please do not ask me if I want any pain medications during labor. I wish to give birth naturally without drugs and medications.


Interventions

-I do not want to be induced or augmented.

-I would like to avoid a c-section and have the time and opportunity to deliver using natural methods.

-I wish to avoid an episiotomy and would like taking time to push or waiting for the urge to push.

-I would like vaginal exams to be done only upon my request.

-I request a hep-lock in lieu of an IV placement.

-I would like limited/intermittent fetal monitoring.

-I would like the freedom to move around, shower, drink, and eat during labor.

-I would like the doctor to avoid the use of forceps or vacuum extraction.

-I would like local anesthesia to repair a tear if needed.


Labor/Delivery

-I would like to use a mirror to see the baby being born.

-I would like the chance to feel the baby's head when she is crowning.

-I would like the cord to be clamped and cut after it has stopped pulsating. I would like to cut the cord. If I am unable, I would like my mother to if she is present.

-I would like the baby to be placed on my chest right away for bonding and I would like to breastfeeding immediately.

-I would like to rub the vernix into my baby's skin.

-I do not want routine Pitocin to deliver the placenta. I would like breastfeeding to naturally deliver the placenta.


Postnatal:

-I would like the baby to stay with me at all times.

-I wish to delay the Vitamin K shot and eye ointment for 1-2 hours after birth. I do NOT wish to give the baby the Hep B vaccine.

-I would like to avoid pacifiers, bottles, and formula because I plan to breast-feed exclusively.

-I would like the evaluation to be done while the baby is on me. For evaluation procedures that cannot be done with the baby on me, I would like them to be delayed a couple hours after birth. I would like to give my baby her first bath.


Environment

-I would like for the lights to be dim and room to be quiet unless music provided is playing in the background.

-I would like there to be photography and the birth to be recorded on video since my husband is deployed.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

4.5

Updates:

-About 8 weeks left! Time is flying! I can't wait to meet River!

-I passed my 3-hour gluscose test! Yay! No Gestational Diabetes...Praise God!

-I finally gained weight! 4.5 pounds...now my doc's records don't look so crazy. I could tell I gained weight too...I think it's all in River's strong legs. She's been kicking and flipping and who knows what in there!

-I found a doula (birthing coach/patient advocate) and I am feeling so much better about giving birth. My mom will feel better too, I believe, with someone there to explain to her why I am choosing what I am choosing for my birth plan.

-I finally wrote my birth plan. I might put it on here...we'll see.

-I got some new books. These were recommended by my doula and moms at my church. They are The Vaccine Book and The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth. Right now I am focusing on all of my birthing books since that's coming up soon! I feel like I've read so many books since I found out I was pregnant but that's expected. I feel that as a mom I have the responsibility to educate myself as much as I can about pregnancy and childbirth. I can't fathom going into labor and "handing over" by child birth experience to the doctor without reading up on what he wants to do with me and my child. I mean, it's my body and my baby girl! I don't have anything against doctors...I just personally believe in education. I mean, I don't go to church and just take it what the pastor says...I read my Bible and do theological research if I have questions. I do what I can with what I know and I trust that God's grace and faithfulness will take care of it all.

-I haven't decided on going with re-usable baby wipes yet but I want to try. A Japanese lady at my church told me that some Japanese women cut up old t-shirts to use as reusable baby wipes. How thrifty!!! I've found some soft, cotton shirts and started a pile of baby wipes to try. I cut them out and then wash them in hot water and dry on high heat. The CDing moms told me to just soak them in distilled water and then they're good to go!


-I still hate getting groceries. I don't mind when
I'm not pregnant and my husband is not deployed. My car-seat stroller frame has been a big help in getting the heavy bags from the car to the apartment.

-I am AMAZED at God's faithfulness. I was looking through my old Xanga blog and I talked about "getting closer, spending more time, being alone with, and focusing more on God" in like, every other post. I look at my life now and God's pretty much made up for that lost time. Yes, my husband's been gone for 2/3 of my marriage but I always figure that God wants to spend more alone time with me and that time has been so fruitful!

Friday, June 18, 2010

CD-Cloth Diaper

I feel like I've been blogging a lot lately...it's too bad my Facebook doesn't update from my blogger right away.

SO, today I went to a Lunch n Learn by Chisaibums to learn about CDing (cloth diapering). There were a bunch of really sweet moms there who were very informational. I decided to blog about this to help me wrap my head around everything I learned.

Here's a breakdown of what I gathered:

Definitions:

-pre-folds: an absorbent cloth that you fold and place in the diaper to soak up everything; you can layer these, sometimes they can bunch up

-diaper cover: used with a pre-fold or insert/pad, is waterproof on the outside

-AIO cloth diapers: all-in-one diapers-they include the insert/pad/liner (usually attached) and are easy to use

-pockets: some CD's have a pocket that you have to slip the pre-fold/insert/pad into-some mom's find this more work

-wet bag: a waterproof bag for your used or un-used CD's


Info:

-there are TONS of different CD's out there...use a whole bunch of different kinds or stick with one brand, it's up to you

-there are organic, natural, and synthetic CD's-I prefer organic or natural material touching the baby, the outside can be synthetic

-cotton and bamboo seem to be the best, they soak up more and are not as irritating to the baby

-if you want your baby to feel "dry"-go with a synthetic material touching your baby; if you are potty training and want your child to feel "wet" so that they can know when to go or not, stick with a natural material touching your baby

-fasteners: you can have velcro (attached to the CD), snaps (attached to the CD), pins, or plastic snaps that act like pins

-to prevent velcro from snagging while washing, you can buy big velcro pieces and stick them on the exposed velcro while washing; some CD's have a place for you to tuck the velcro when washing

-they even have re-usable wipes, they are like little cloth wipes that you apply solution or distilled water to (either by soaking or spraying); newborns should stick with distilled water for at least 2 months-less chemicals and irritants on them)

-you can't use Desitin or regular detergent with CD's-they have natural bottom balms for the babies that are CD safe and detergent should be free of dyes and perfumes (it's better for the little ones anyway)

-wool covers help keep your kid extra dry and protected-wool adjusts to the baby's temperature so they are not too hot or cool

-CD's save money (although a big investment at first), are better for the environment, and are better for your baby's health (less rashes and irritation)

-it seems like there's a lot of washing with CD's so I'm not sure about the water/electricity costs...you usually line dry so you save money there

-you can reuse and resell CD's and if you have a bunch of kids, you can save a lot of $ :)

-as your little ones grow and there "waste" grows, they have disposable liners that make clean up a lot easier; they also have diaper sprayers that attach to your toilet to make clean up even easier

-some moms use disposables when traveling and overnight use-that's up to you


I think that's all I can remember for now. There have some CD's off base and I got a 2 pack of diaper covers since they were on sale. I don't have any experience with CDing yet since River isn't born but this is the route I'd like to take. I've re-vamped my baby registry since I got a better idea of what I wanted from touching and feeling the CD's at the Lunch n' Learn. I think CDing can be intimidating but the extra work seems so worth it to me, just like exercising, healthy cooking, buying organic when I can, and re-using my shopping bags...it just makes sense. I hope that my blog post helped anyone who was interested in trying out CD's and I hope that I have a good CDing experience once River is born!

Wow...when Jamin gets back he's gonna have a lot to learn. He has 9 siblings so he got disposable diapers down to a T but cloth diapering? He can do it :) I'll send him this blog post to give him a head start :)