In our family, we like to write emails. Your dad and I wrote letters to each other when we were dating. We exchanged letters on the day we exchanged vows. And though we have moved on to texting these days as our preferred means of talking throughout the day, once a year we sit down and write letters to each other on our anniversary. When your brother came into our lives, I started writing letters to him because this one blogger I love wrote these incredible monthly letters for her kids that were heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Not because everything was perfect, but because it was real. My 23 year old self vowed to do this for my future offspring. This time I want to write to remember. The good, the bad, the whole of it, in hopes that one day you will see that God made our crazy imperfect stories into something beautiful.
I will never forget the day you came into our lives. It happened to also be the day that we moved out of our home into a rental for the year so we could embark on our remodel. Your dad and I hoped and crossed our fingers (and legs – hah!) that you would wait until after we moved, but #MurphysLaw you came right after packing day and about the same time as when the movers pulled up to our house that morning.
The night before your birth day, we went out for dinner after a full day of packing. We went out to Beijing House for some black bean noodles and sweet and sour pork (jajangmian and tang su or aka, your Father’s guilty pleasure). During dinner I started to have a crampy feeling in my back but I just chalked that up to moving around too much during the day. I went home, put Wes down for bed and decided to go lay down for a bit. Usually when I would have contractions, lying in down in bed would stop them. This time they hung around for a bit. I was in denial so I scrolled around on Facebook, probably watched some makeup and home organizing tutorials on Youtube and then my friend Sally happened to text me and ask me how I was doing. I told her my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and then she slapped some sense into me.
I waddle out to the living room and see Tim on his laptop doing some work and I say “I think we need to go to the hospital?” Tim is usually the freaker outter between the both of us, but in that moment, he flashed a smile and said, “Really?” Yes really. He closed his laptop and said “Let’s do this.” (har har how cute that he used the plural pronoun aka the royal we when we all know who is going to have to push a baby out.) In an hour his parents were over ready to camp out in our empty house void of furniture and food (bless them) and we were on our way to the hospital.
We parked in the lot and walked over to the delivery floor beneath the light of the Super Moon. I recall a conversation with someone telling me weeks ago that she would bet I would go into labor during a full moon. I gave her a courtesy giggle. “That’s cute, woman. Yes, the moon’s orbit around the Earth has the power to cause my uterus contract.” I stand corrected. Being veterans, we tried use the door that was closest to the elevator we needed but it was already locked for the night. Cue waddling mama back to the ER entrance. We walk down the very long hallway and shared an elevator with some nurses who were coming back from their break.
“Ooooh, 3rd floor! How far apart are your contractions?”
“Yay! It’s happening! First kid?”
“No, it’s our second.”
“I knew it! You can always tell by how little you pack the 2nd time around. First time parents always look like they are moving in!”
(I recall when I had Wesley how I brought TWO LAPTOPS with me. I am relieved to know I am a cliche.)
We were admitted at 11pm on November 14 and within an hour, I was in my delivery room getting hooked up to an IV and 5cm dilated. I spent a couple minutes thinking how long I should wait until I asked for the epidural and then I looked at the clock and it suddenly dawned on me that I could either be in pain, or get some sleep. This doesn’t seem like a big deal but as a parent, you learn that the phrase “get some sleep” comes with a big ass asterisk at the end of it because any given night, you just have no idea what kind of sleep you are going to get. Will it be a nightmare? A faulty diaper that soaks the pjs? A scary light? A tooth cutting? Just being alive? Any of these things are fair game for a kid to cry in the middle of the night. For the first time in many nights, I wasn’t going to be under the same roof as a toddler. In addition to that, I was just about to add a newborn to the fold. This was quickly becoming a non-issue. Nurse Gladys, call up the anesthesiologist! Nurse Gladys was great. I felt like I made a new bff in the few hours she took care of me. She was from San Diego, was a mom of 2 boys (same age gap as mine were going to be) and had a love for English names like I did (her boys were Edward and William). Together we could’ve formed the roster of a prep school in Oxford, England. The epidural was in at 1:30am and Tim and conked out for the next couple hours. He definitely got better sleep than I did thanks to the arm pressure cuff that would death grip my bicep every 15 minutes, but all in all I was still getting some good rest.
At 6 am a doctor and a nurse come in and tell me that there’s a lot of activity going on. (This is the best part about an epidural. People tell you when you are having contractions!) I am now 8cm and the doctor breaks my water to help things along. I thought it was going to be much more involved, but he literally took what I thought was a crochet hook and in a second, it was all done. And then there was Amie. Amie came in to take care of me and exclaimed “Ugh. You are all wet!!” Woman. How is this my fault. The doctor broke my water. And even if he didn’t… this is Labor and Delivery! Not potty training camp! Everything here is wet!! I was so afraid that she would be my push nurse since Gladys just left. Thankfully she came by 30 minutes later to say bye and I bid her a very enthusiastic goodbye.
Tim woke up and we decided to kill some time and watch Shark Tank. The new nurse Debi told me that when I feel constant pressure, to let her know and it’ll be time to push. Sounds good. I didn’t really know what this should feel like because with Wes, I was woke up at 10cm and told to push. I asked her what it should feel like. “It’s like you have to poo.” Oh. Awesome. Tim goes to get coffee around 7:30 and I start to feel more pressure but I didn’t want to cry wolf. Actually it was because I wanted to keep watching Shark Tank. So after 20 minutes of Mr. Wonderful and 3 unsuccessful pitches, I call up my Nurse Debi at 8:30am and tell her I think it’s time. They take one look and say, “Oh yes it is!”
I do a push or two and she says, we are going to have this baby before 9am. Sweet!! She was right. I guess being a L&D nurse for 15 years, you get pretty good at predicting how things will go. You came into the world at 8:55 am, screaming your way into the world.
Before you came, I was really nervous about having the emotional capacity to love. I would ask my friends of 2+ kids in a whisper… “Can you really love another kid like your first kid?!” They would always reassure me, yes. Don’t worry! I am so glad they were right. I can’t explain how it happens other than it just does. The minute you were placed on my chest, it just felt right. Even though your name still seemed too new to “suit” you and in that moment, I probably couldn’t pick you out of a room of Asian babies… I loved you for no good reason. That may sound totally awful. But son, it’s one of the best feelings to be loved for no reason. You were loved before you even had a personality, achievements and good looks. Your very existence prompted us to love. Our family of three that I was so content with minutes ago expanded by one little six pounder, and it was just perfect.
We love you little guy. Welcome to our family.
9 lbs 6 oz (you were 7 lbs 2 oz at your two week check up so Grandma Lam was OVER THE MOON to know that her efforts of fattening the dairy cow (that’s me by the way) had paid off)
- While the doctor was getting ready to snip the umbilical cord, your little hand grabbed the shears! The sharp part! Oh boy. “I’ve never seen a baby do that!” exclaimed the resident. Greeeeeat. I am imagining having to baby proof everything or crating you as a toddler.
- You grunt a lot. You don’t really cry, you just grunt. We tried sleeping next to you in our bedroom but your gratuitous grunting made it hard for us to sleep so you got kicked out to our living room. You’ve been sleeping swaddled up on the Baby Bopper Lounger on our sectional – simultaneously breaking about 35 rules about infant care.
- Getting your nails trimmed is THE WORST. It may or may not be because you have PTSD from the time one of your parents nicked your index finger.
- Current sleep/eating thing: Every 3 hours on the dot.
Nicknames: Sir Grunts a Lot and Baby Brother