go time…?

39w2d. it’s 10:40pm and my mil just led us in a group prayer because, after talking to my ob on the phone an hour ago, it seems like i’m in the early stages of labor. this morning at my 39-week appointment my ob asked if i would like for her to strip my membranes and i said, “yes.”

for those that don’t know, it sounds like a painful process but the procedure is more uncomfortable than agonizing. the ob swipes a finger across the lining of the amniotic sac to separate it from the uterus. this sets off the release of prostaglandin hormones that can trigger contractions. 50% of  women tend to go into labor within the next 24-48 hours.

for the rest of the day, i experienced spotting and cramping – normal after the procedure – but starting around 7pm i noticed my back start to ache and then go away. after we put penny to bed i noticed a pattern and then started timing them around 8:30pm. i’m pretty sure they are contractions because the pain radiates in my lower back area. they have been lasting for around a minute and the time between the contractions are anywhere between 5-8 minutes.

i finally called the ob around 9:30pm and she confirmed that it seems like i’m in the early stages of labor. her advice was to wait until the contractions get to a point where i have to pause and breathe through them. they’re uncomfortable, and i’m grimacing, but they’re not really preventing me from resuming my activities. i was folding laundry and timing them at the same time. currently i’m in bed, hoping to get some shut-eye before we possibly have to go in later tonight or tomorrow morning.

when i thought about the baby possibly arriving tomorrow, my eyes welled up with tears thinking about penny. i was hoping to see her in the morning (maybe i will) and be able to kiss and hug her goodbye if i had to go to the hospital. i know she will visit me at the hospital and see me then but my wish was to hold her for one last moment before she loses the status of being an only child.

if anything, i’m glad dennis had today off and it was a gorgeous day to boot. we spent time outdoors this morning at the playground near our neighborhood. and after penny’s nap we went to the mall with my in-laws and then ate dinner at seoul bbq. penny absolutely loves korean food – it’s basically the only thing she’ll eat these days. she did very well sitting in the booster seat and eating her meal… but most of all, i really cherished the “quiet time” we all had together before the baby arrives. perhaps it was the last supper. 🙂

i’m not sure when i’ll be able to update my blog again but if the baby doesn’t arrive within the next few days, there could be another entry sooner rather than later.

let’s see what’s in store!

palm sunday

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getting ready to leave for church

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having fun while waiting for the other children to arrive

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using a mouse as a phone

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snacking on blackberries while playing on the keyboard

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she loved having esther fan her!

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outdoor shopping on palm sunday

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weekend fun

think the worst of the sleep regression has subsided. I really don’t want to jinx it but the past few nights have been penny waking up at her “normal” hours – once a night. this is, of course, excluding last night.

penny had her 4-month vaccines on friday afternoon. i learned this after the fact but it’s advisable to schedule vaccines after 1:30pm so your baby can sleep through the discomfort at night. penny’s appt was at 2:30. she cried a little bit but stopped immediately when dennis picked her up. she was her usual self too just a little quiet. she also ended up sleeping fine that night, but her naps the next day were affected. it was obvious that she was exhausted but she took 4 half-hour naps on saturday. the short naps ended up disrupting her nighttime sleep as because she woke up at 11:40pm last night and it took two tries to put her down. (I finally succeeded at 12:20am.) Then, she woke up at 2:20am so dennis fed her, but she didn’t end up falling asleep until 4:30am!

a little out of it after the vaccines

a little out of it after the vaccines

we weren’t sure if we would be able to make it to church today on account of everyone being tired. but when i put penny down for her morning nap – knowing it’d last a half hour – we scrambled to get ready by taking turns showering, dressing, and getting penny’s diaper bag and other essentials ready to load into the car. lo and behold, penny woke up at the half-hour mark but we were able to go to church! anddddd she was so good today. we made sure to feed her (during service) and kept her preoccupied with toys and a stroller fan blowing on her. (it was really stuffy in the room.) she became a little fussy because she was tired but i changed her diaper in the bathroom and walked around with her in the hallway to give her a break, and fresh air. she was content and let my friend, grace, hold her while dennis and i ate lunch.

full belly = happy baby

full belly = happy baby

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now we’re home and watching the patriots! well, dennis was watching the patriots.. but he ended up taking a nap with yuri so currently i’m the only one awake in this house.

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this past weekend was dennis’ weekend off. he has a 3-day weekend every other weekend and i look forward to them (maybe as much as he does!) for family bonding time and, naturally, the assistance with penny. yesterday when penny struggled with her naps and we couldn’t catch a break, we tag-teamed by taking turns napping while the other fed, played, and put penny down for a nap.

there was a small farm fair near our neighborhood yesterday and after penny’s first nap we walked over to check it out. we ate hot dogs, checked out homemade crafts and wares, and brought home fresh microgreens from the greenhouse.

there were also two alpacas. one saw yuri and kept craning her neck around her own to take a better look at her 😀 it was hilarious. the alpaca even came closer to inspect yuri more carefully and yuri didn’t like it at all!

makes me think of

makes me think of “the emperor’s new groove”, one of my favorite disney movies

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thursday was also our friend, john’s 30th birthday and we celebrated at sushi house, an all-you-can-eat sushi joint! he and my friend, alice, are set to wed next year and dennis is the best man 🙂

as usual, i was nervous about going out but penny ended up being fine (since we already put her down for the night). in my last post, i talked about socializing more and going out. it felt refreshing to catch up with friends and have “me” time.

happy birthday!

happy birthday!

although i don’t like to place penny on her back for too long because she’s in that position most of the time due to naps and bedtime, i have been laying her down on occasion to try and encourage her to roll from back to tummy.

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penny’s still napping (2 hours exactly so far) so i should take advantage and see if i can manage some shut-eye myself. hopefully the next time i post, penny’s sleep regression will have ended!

*edit – just as i saved this post, penny woke up, crying..but fell back asleep. Whew..

happy (?) 4 months

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i had a rough first month of motherhood – latching issues, nipple pain, and an oversupply of milk leading to mastitis. i kept hearing “it gets better” and “the first month is the hardest.” well, i’m four months in and i find that every month brings with it a new set of challenges.

penny is 4 months old as of yesterday. with each passing day, i still get amazed at how much she’s learning. for the past few weeks, penny has been laughing out loud, observing everything more intently, and looking around to see where dennis and i are. she has also been trying to roll from back to tummy but hasn’t been successful yet. she uses her legs – they are so strong! – to lift her back up and teeters back and forth before landing on her back again. i’ve been encouraging her by laying toys on either side for her to look at. i also slowly roll her onto her side so she can fall onto her stomach via gravity.

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a very happy baby

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staring at the mobile over her crib

penny has been going through the 4-month sleep regression for the past two weeks. it started off slowly with penny making random night wakings instead of the usual 2-3am. then, she started to wake up at midnight, then 11:30, and 9:30, and two nights ago at 6:40 – thirty minutes after she went down (kicking and screaming, of course). we knew she was exhausted because she had skipped her last nap and had been awake since 2:30pm. but, she was also hungry. for the past few weeks, penny’s been way too distracted during the daytime to nurse longer than 7 minutes so i’ve been having to bottle-feed and pump so she can look around and still get her daytime calories in. since i’m usually alone with her most of the day this is not an easy feat.

babies go through the so-called “sleep regression” around this time because their sleep cycle is beginning to mature and mimic that of an adult’s. babies have difficulty transitioning from one sleep cycle to the next and may wake up early from naps or repeatedly during the night because they don’t know how to fall back asleep on their own. so, they look for us to help them. monday night, at least, penny woke up because she was hungry and ended up falling asleep while dennis bottle-fed her. she slept for the next (almost) 9 hours and woke up at 3:30, nursed, fell asleep and woke up around 7. last night she woke up at 2:30 and i sat outside her door for 20 minutes to see if she would fall back asleep on her own. i ended up going in because it seemed like she was hungry (her cries were slowly increasing in volume and intensity.)

during this time, babies are also dropping their last nap – they go from 4 to 3. there still have been days where penny is taking 4 naps but she recently has been refusing the last one so we’ve been trying to put her to bed sooner than the usual 6:30-7pm if her last nap ends in early afternoon; otherwise her awake time from her last nap until bedtime would be 3+ hours = overtired, cranky baby. contrary to popular belief, babies won’t wake up sooner because you put them down sooner. sleep begets sleep so the more quality naps your baby takes, the better she’ll sleep at night. penny has been taking 1 short nap in the morning, then a long 2-3 hour nap, and then another short nap before bedtime.

with the sleep regression, we don’t know when she’ll wake up so i’m always fearfully staring at the monitor. she has been crying out and flopping her legs around at random times during the night but falls back asleep usually – whew. hoping this all subsides soon because then we have teething to look forward to.. AND she’s getting her 4-month vaccines on friday.. :*(

we’ve had a busy weekend. after meeting with my ob last week for an annual check-up, he advised me to go out more with and without penny so i can socialize and not go stir-crazy. i got really emotional when i shared what i’ve been feeling and being at home all day with a baby and a dog. i feel more and more confident the more i take penny out so i need to keep doing it.

friday night was a short date night. dennis and i put penny down for the night and went to go eat dinner at barcelona in west hartford. i was falling asleep on the way there! although penny was on my mind the entire time, i still enjoyed having a nice dinner with dennis. 🙂

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on saturday, i met up with genie and mouy and their little ones at the mall. we ended up buying baby clothes from babygap and not a thing for ourselves, but we are going to schedule a shopping trip for US soon.

as mouy said it

as mouy said it “we roll 3 strollers deep.”

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i brought penny to church again last sunday. i was a little late because i waited for penny to wake up from her nap. she was in a great mood until we got to church… for one thing, she needed a diaper change, and she was also hungry. but my mil was excited that she came and whisked her off to see her friends despite me warning her that penny would cry. and cry she did! it must’ve been overwhelming to have 15 (i kid you not) jibber-jabbering middle-aged women sticking their faces in the stroller to look at you.

my mil meant well: she was just excited.. but next time, feed and a diaper change first because after i did both penny was in a much better mood and even let others (some whom she’d met for the first time) hold her. this is AFTER i was forced to nurse her in a supply closet because all the rooms, and the nursery, were occupied…

about to leave for church

about to leave for church

ben & olivia

ben & olivia

my friends, the gardners, came to church too. there was bibimbap for lunch that day and olivia is looking at the omelets being made. 🙂

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we celebrated my mil’s birthday that evening at our house with korean food and a cake. dennis bought this hazelnut cake from a ukrainian bakery near where he works.

happy 65th birthday :)

happy 65th birthday 🙂

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playing with penny before her bedtime

playing with penny before her bedtime

before i go, here are some pictures from penny’s 4-month “photo shoot.” i have a lot more but let’s not get too carried away…

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dennis thinks it looks like she’s waving ^^

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she loves putting her fist in her mouth

awww

awww

yuri wanted to be with her

yuri wanted to be with her