Monday, October 31, 2011
Tuesday was my last official day in the office and we were having network testing for a pilot called THE QUICKENING. The actors testing for the lead roles were all a little thrown to see a very pregnant woman sitting in the room with them and I think many worried I would go into labor during their auditions. Fortunately, or unfortunately, no one's performance was earth-shattering enough that it brought on labor, but we did find people to cast.
The next day I had a meeting in the morning with one of the actors from THE CLEANER, the Benjamin Bratt show I worked on that only went two seasons on A&E. We met at one of my favorite places, The Alcove in Los Feliz, because I'd be working from home that day and wanted to stay on the east side. He had some show ideas he wanted to pitch me so so it made sense to take the meeting on that side of town.
Then I went downtown to meet Kiko for lunch. All the while, I was having contractions, but nothing major. They ranged from being normal Braxton Hicks to being mildly uncomfortable. Still, as a first time mom, I felt like labor was imminent.
That evening, I passed my mucus plug. Yuck! I wasn't prepared for that and freaked out a little when I saw it. Fortunately, our house keeper, Jorgelina was home, and she (a mom to 2 kids herself) reassured me that everything was normal. Now, I was convinced the baby was coming any minute and Kiko needed to get home. (I am strategically leaving out more details of this story for gross-ness purposes...)
That night, we went to bed, feeling anxious and excited, only for me to wake up just before midnight with more consistent contractions. These were the real things, I just new it, so we started timing them. They were ranging from coming between 4 and 7 minutes apart (strange for these early contractions, I know now) and NOW I really knew, the baby was on his way. We remembered from our birthing class that we should try to do something to distract myself in the early stages, so as not to run through our bag of tricks too fast. We watched FATHER OF THE BRIDE 2 on the TV and Kiko eventually feel asleep, but I stayed up all night, not able to ignore the excitement that our baby would soon be here.
At 6 am I called the doctor, who told me I could either come to the hospital to get checked or just wait till my 10 am appointment. I decided to try to wait it out for the office appointment, which gave me more time to clean the house and take care of last minute things. We went on a mad cleaning spree, because my brother and sister-in-law would be coming over to stay with the dogs over night. I needed the sheets to be cleaned, the floors had to be mopped and vacuumed. It was a sudden obsession. We left the house, saying a dramatic goodbye to the dogs and telling them "next time we see you, we'll have a new baby with us." Hospital bags in toe, we left the house.
Well, we were wrong. At the doctor, I was barely 2 cm dilated and she sent me home. I was so disappointed and also completely exhausted. She urged me to rest, which of course was impossible. I waited out the day at home with Kiko, trying to get stuff done and trying to relax, all the while feeling discouraged about when the baby would finally come. How will I know when it's the real thing?
That night, we kept our plans to take Matt & El to see a live taping of the NPR show "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me," mainly because our doula urged us to stay busy and keep my mind off things. We had dinner at Islands and I enjoyed a chocolate milkshake. My brother teased that we needed to call the radio show "Wait Wait, Don't Have Me," since I was having contractions throughout the performance. I think there was a part of me that truly believed Peter Sagal would be delivering my child. It didn't happen.
We went home after a fun night, and Kiko immediately passed out in the bed, exhausted from our "false alarms" the night before...I knew sleep was what I needed, too. If only I could force myself to fall asleep...
I lay on the couch, listening to my Hypno-birth tracks on my ipod, trying to relax and get in the zone, and the contractions kept coming.
Eventually, I started to cry, mainly because of exhaustion, but also because the intensity of the pressure started to really pick up. Not wanting to wake up Kiko, I kept to myself, but the tears kept coming. Eventually, I didn't know what to do and I worried that if I told him "this was it," he would not believe me after our previous experiences....I cried louder, convinced he would have to hear me and he would come to the den to rescue me. No dice.
I slowly walked into our room, leaned over the bed, and called "Kiko, Kiko..." He finally awoke, and rallied quickly to be an amazing support system, and yes, this was the real thing...
A little after midnight, our back-up doula, Joni, arrived at the house. We had never met until that night, but she assured me after going through one contraction together, we'd be like sisters...She wasn't wrong.
(Our original doula and my dear friend, Amy, contracted the swine flu and wasn't able to come near me or within a mile of the hospital, so she hooked us up with Joni.) I was initially skeptical of meeting someone new at this intimate moment in our lives, but Kiko texted her and insisted we get the help. I am so glad she was there.
We labored at home until about 8:00 am, at which time we all felt my contractions were coming fast enough that we could go to the hospital...well, it wasn't until about 5:40 that evening that Joaquin Porter Ochoa was born, so after about 19 hours of active labor, we had our little miracle.
Some day I'll write about the rest of the birth story, but for now what I am fixated on is this waiting...this pre-labor that can last weeks, days, or hours, depending on the individual. I find myself clinging to my experience with Joaquin's birth, replaying the events in my mind like a broken record, trying to remember the magnitude of every early contraction and all the other things my body was doing in preparation for his birth.
I reflect back to this because it is what I know, and there are so many unknowns in childbirth. My rational mind is trying to tell a logical pattern I can follow to help me know how this next birth is going to go. The thing is this - every birth is different and every baby is different. Though I had one type of experience with Joaquin, this one with #2 is already unique and different and I am realizing that no matter how much I try to get ahead of what my body is doing and to guess when she's going to come, it's really not up to me. Other than trying every natural way to induce labor I have read about, I have to realize that all I can do is be patient and wait...
She will come when she is ready and I need to be ready and rested whenever she (and my body and the other pregnancy gods) decide it's time.
In the meantime, it's so hard to just chill and go about with my life. I feel like at any moment, my water will break and it will be a mad dash to the hospital. But that's not the case. Though I am excited and anxious, I know patience is what I need to practice. Besides, today is Halloween, and I am determined to go trick-or-treating with Joaquin. In fact, I'd be heart broken if I had to miss out on it so now I am pleading with her to stay inside just a little longer...
Our plan was to take Joaquin to Disneyland for trick-or-treating one of these nights the past few weeks, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to pay the additional money it cost for the extra Halloween event...
So today we will wait...and we will do our Halloween thing with the soon-to-be big brother, and what will be his last Halloween as an only child...
Now if I can only learn to relax and enjoy this pre-baby time and realize that being pregnant at this stage is still probably easier than having a newborn.
Amen to that! Happy Halloween. Wishing everyone lots of treats...
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011
One of the many reasons I love living in Southern California is the ability to access the beach or mountains with a relatively short car trip. Last week, Joaquin, his auntie and I ventured to Santa Monica for a day of fun in the sun.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I never thought I'd be happy to be back in my "Montgomery home" again.
Sure, the floors are still grimy. Yes, we picked up an ant infestation in the bathroom and the kitchen while we were in DC due to a hidden Cheerio or two under the bathmat and one under the fridge. (Luckily, since Kiko beat me home, he got the ant problem MOSTLY under control before we came home.) And yes, there is still that faint smell of musty cigarettes. Now, not only does our TV not work properly, but the dish washer is broken and my bedside table lamp is out of order...however, in the midst of all of these less-than-ideal circumstances, we are back together as a family in our temporary Southern home and I feel I can breathe a sigh of relief.
I never thought I'd be so happy to be in that springy, uncomfortable bed again, but at least now I am next to my husband and more importantly, I made it safely out of DC with a healthy child....Though I actually had a wonderful time in DC, the last few days were rough because Joaquin had a fever of 102 for three days. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only mother that thinks her child is going to die every time he is sicker than the last. Normally, I am a fairly laid-back mom, but when he was sick this time, it was the first time he's been really lethargic and not showing signs of his normal, happy, inquisitive, chatty self. Add to this worry the fact that we are in someone else's home, imposing on their generosity, without a car, 3000 miles away from our pediatrician and everything familiar to us, and I was a basket case. The poor kid has been dragged from time-zone to time-zone, to new, unfamiliar place, to new, unfamiliar place and he has been a trouper!
Fortunately, we went to Laura's pediatrician who was amazing. If I ever move to DC, Dr. FInkelstein will certainly my doctor of choice for my kids. We waited 5 minutes in the waiting room before they took Joaquin and me in. Both Dr. FInkelstein and his nurses were patient, kind, and very talkative, asking us all sorts of questions about Joaquin, what we do, our time in DC, etc. Turns out, Joaquin just had a bad virus and not an ear infection or strep throat, like the doctor first wondered based on his symptoms.
And his last fever (knock on wood) was at 4:45 AM yesterday morning.
So though the beds in our DC hotel and Dan & Laura's were like beds in the Four Seasons, I wasn't getting much rest in them because I was worried about my little guy.
Even though he was ill, and operating on little sleep, Joaquin was still a fairly pleasant travel companion. Sure, there was the two temper tantrums. First, he was upset because he wanted to get on the airplane and wanted to hold his ticket, so he sat down in the walkway repeating "I want to get on airplane...I want to get on airplane...I want my ticket." I could feel the glares of other passengers like daggers through my spine, as they prayed they were not siting near me and my heathen child. Then came temper tantrum #2, when we were seated on the plane and I broke the news to him that he did not get his own seat and had to share with Mama. Luckily, both tantrums lasted about 45 seconds and he quickly recovered. The rest of the flight he was happy, and is slowly grasping the concept of having to turn off all electronic devices until the captain says it's okay to use them. I explained to him about the light above our seats reading "Turn off electronic devices," and how it's not possible to watch Go! Diego Go!, Handy Man, or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while these lights are on. (We have broken up with Dora, temporarily, after the Swiper incident.) He says to me, "Mama, turn off that light. I want to watch Diego!"
With every airplane he flies on, he's learning he can't always have what he wants when he wants it.
There is something about traveling that always makes you appreciate things getting back to "normal." And, quirky though this city is, I am enjoying my time in Montgomery and want to make the most of our less than 2 remaining weeks here. (Hooray for going to our REAL home in just a short time!)
I know this blog is like free therapy for me and to any of you who actually read it, thank you...I always feel better after I purge my latest adventures on this site and today I am feeling particularly grateful for a healthy baby and a reunited family unit. Oh, and minus our TBD Labor Day getaway, we only have 8 nights more here until we come home....) Cheers!
(pictured below is the charming house I stayed in while stranded in DC...Isn't it awesome? Though, not a great picture...) Thanks again, Dan, Laura, & Siena!
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Sunday, August 28, 2011
Joaquin and I were supposed to leave later and had to connect in Charlotte, North Carolina. So not only did it not seem likely that our flights would not happen, but Joaquin woke up that morning with a fever, which persisted off and on all day Saturday, so the best option seemed for us to stay in DC until Monday and wait out the storm.
Fortunately, we have amazingly hospitable friends in Dan and Laura as Joaquin and I shacked up with them the last couple days. The stranded hurricane house-guests took refuge in Colonial Heights. And throughout the storm, their house never lost power, so we all felt very lucky, as just a block away, houses were dark and streetlights were out. I don't know what we would have done without their kindness and I am truly grateful for their warmth and friendship.
Tomorrow, we venture back to Montgomery to spend time with Kiko while he finishes his last two weeks of JAG school, then it's back to California to get ready for baby número dos and to resume our routine. Hooray! Among other things, I miss our dogs so much it hurts...
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Friday, August 26, 2011
We realize Joaquin often looks really serious when we take his picture, even though in general he is a smiley little boy, so I thought I'd share this shot.
Other notable things about Joaquin right now, at 21 1/2 months, are:
-He can count to ten, but he always skips 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8. So it sounds like "one, two, free, (pause) eight, nine, ten!" He loves to jump in the pool, and always counts like this before he jumps into your arms.
-If he's walking in between two adults, he'll ask for one of each of their hands and say "I wanna woo," which in Joaquin translates to: Please pick me up and swing me, saying "woooo!" while you do it.
-He is obsessed with Thomas the Train. He has two Thomas trains with him, and one is "Thomas," the other is "another Thomas." The same goes for both of his Percy trains. He likes to have Kiko or me "be" one, and he hardly ever offers for us to "be" Thomas. Usually, it's "Mama, you want to be Dash? Wanna be Dash?"
-He likes markers, too. He always offers for Kiko or me to "be" brown or yellow. He is particularly fond of the purple and blue markers.
-He likes to stack all of his markers together so they make a marker sword.
-He loves all animals, particularly dogs, cats, horses, giraffes, and dinosaurs.
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saying "wee!" during take-off and landing makes flying more fun.
you can never have too much chocolate milk stashed inside your purse.
you also can never have too many napkins or shout wipes, because it is highly likely the over-abundance of chocolate milk will end up sprinkled on the outside of your purse, your shirt, or your pants.
there are a lot of kind people in the world; I learned this when a 250 pound retired Marine offered to let Joaquin put either his head or his feet in his lap while he (Joaquin, not the former Marine,) slept in my lap on the airplane. he obviously was a dad and empathized; either way, i appreciated the gesture.
it can be emotionally unsettling to watch someone take your car seat or your suitcase away at check-in, but this sadness is quickly forgotten once you retrieve them at the baggage claim. i look at the baggage carousel with a whole new appreciation after seeing it through the easily impressed eyes of a toddler. it's like a choo choo made up of suitcases that goes around and around...
airplanes are easy to confuse with the Disneyland Monorail.
everyone, even a stranger, becomes a fair target to play Peek-a-Boo with when you're on a plane.
yelling "we're so high, we're so high!" when you reach cruising altitude is perfectly acceptable.
if you wear sandals all day during travel, including on your walk through a dirt path in the park, when you take your shoes off at night your toddler is likely to tell you, "Mama, you have poo on your feet!" I guess that was his way of telling me it'd been a long day and it was time for me to bathe.
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two californians arrived in washington, d.c. after getting up at 4:15 in the morning, riding on 2 airplanes, and almost losing our car seat at the airport, just in time for the biggest earthquake to hit DC in over 100 years!
our dear friend, laura, picked joaquin and me up at Dulles International airport with her precious 15 month old daughter, Siena. Siena and Joaquin haven't seen each other in quite some time, but Joaquin was sharing his new airplane toy with her in an instant and making eyes at her in the back seat.
joaquin also started calling Laura "Tia," which is what he calls his aunties on Kiko's side because "Tia" is aunt in Spanish. Laura is a dark haired beauty like his west coast tias, `but I am not sure if he was confusing her for his Tia Alana or Tia Livvie, or if he just felt like calling her Tia. Either way, Tia Laura it was and I think she was touched.
Laura drove us to her house, which is in a charming part of D.C. called "Colonial Village." The neighborhood is comprised of period 1930s homes, all with similar colonial architecture, and it's bordered by Rock Creek Park. I immediately fell in love with the neighborhood, and of course, Laura's hospitality made it hard not to feel relieved to be in someone's home after being in hotels and a seedy apartments for 3 weeks.
While we were feeding the kids lunch, all of a sudden the house started shaking and dishes rattled. (Now, Laura is also from California, and between the two of us California girls, you'd think we'd know what to do in an EARTHQUAKE! But we're in DC....there are no earthquakes in D.C.! Or so we both thought....)
We grabbed the kids from their chairs, then stood under one arched doorway then another, then she's like "let's go outside," which seemed like a great idea to me because this house was old...and likely has not been through many earthquakes like California structures.
As we scurried outside, her neighbors were all coming outside also, calling from their front porches, "Oh my god! Oh my god! Is this/was that an earthquake?"
Of course, then Joaquin, being the parrot-child that he is, starts saying "Oh my God! Oh my God!"
I tell him, "we're okay, we're okay," and then Siena starts crying, and Joaquin repeats "we're okay, we're okay." It was very sweet.
So we decide to move our lunch outside and have a picnic on her front lawn, just so we can be ready in case there's an aftershock. I am still not sure if going outside was our best move, but it made us feel a lot safer.
I am glad I arrived when I did, because apparently, traveling in and out of DC for the rest of the day was not easy. Kiko and the rest of his JAG crew got stuck in Atlanta as their plane was delayed, and public transportation and traffic in the greater DC area was a mess well until the evening.
I guess being from California, I felt like a somewhat seasoned earthquake veteran, even though it still got my heart racing and my blood pumping...
After the earthquake, we took a nice long walk through Laura's neighborhood. I enjoyed the architecture and also was amazed at how there is a woodsy park in the middle of Washington, D.C. Our capital city is pretty amazing! It was also wonderful to reintroduce Joaquin into being outside, since the weather in Montgomery has kept us more or less cooped indoors and near the A/C unit.
Side note - I am not the best on airplanes, but if there is anything to get me over my fear of flying, it was the idea of spending 5 days alone at our place in Montgomery, while Kiko traveled to DC with his JAG classmates...I've never been so happy to get on a plane and go somewhere!
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Monday, August 22, 2011
Joaquin asking me, "Mama, you want some ice ceam?" (No, that's not a typo. That's how he pronounces cream.)
A far-away shot of the baby bison at the zoo. These animals are amazing to look at. "So cute," says Joaquin.
And here is Joaquin with the baby Maddy loaned him. He was putting her to sleep by pressing her eye-lids closed. Good practice for baby sister!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
In my 8 days of being in Montgomery, my favorite place so far is the Montgomery Zoo. It's great, even as far as zoos go. Now, if you know me even slightly, you know that I love animals. But sometimes zoos give me the willies. Something about seeing all those animals in cages, with people gawking at them and yelling doesn't always sit right with me. But there are a few zoos that I love, including the Santa Barbara Zoo, and now the Montgomery Zoo.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
One of Joaquin's favorite things to do at his grandma and grandpa's house is to feed the "neigh neighs" carrots or apples, or whatever treats he can find. Since he was about 11 months old, he's been obsessed with finding the nearest adult (usually it's Ta, AKA Grandpa), to take him "outside outside" to see the "neigh neighs" AKA horses. Now he knows he cannot go outside with his shoes on, so his pleas will usually start out with "We need shoes ON. Go outside." Then he'll proceed to scan the adults in the vicinity to see who is wearing shoes, then he'll decide who he's "chosen" to take him outside.
The trip from the house to the barn is not met without it's own unique challenges for a 20-month-old. First, you must make it past all 6 dogs, which usually are either blocking the pathway, eager to find someone to play ball with them, or they are already running around, creating a stampede across the walkway every 6 feet or so. So just making it past the 6 rambunctious dogs is a feat in itself.
Sometimes Ta helps navigate the sea of dogs, parting them just enough so Joaquin can pass safely and make it to the barn.
On this particular feeding of the neigh neigh trip, we gave Geoffrey, the horse, an apple instead of a carrot because we'd already given him 4 carrots that day and we thought he might want a change. Apple or carrot, I think Geoffrey is satisfied. We are always careful to hold the apple or carrot at the bottom, away from Geoffrey's eager chompers.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
(Picture above is from his 3rd or 4th trip (who's counting) last August with Daddy's cousin, Donna. He is about 9 months old here.)
(The pic above with the castle is from his 2nd trip in April of 2010. He is approx. 5 1/2 months.)
Hey, I know a lot of you Disney-doubters question whether Disneyland is really a good place to take a baby or a toddler, arguing that it's either germ-filled, over-stimulating, or that it's just plain pointless because the little kids just won't remember spending the day at the Magic Kingdom when they're that little. But I beg to differ. I think Disneyland is a great place to take young children, especially if you live close to Anaheim, or if you have an annual pass, thus can justify taking several shorter trips rather than one big trip, where you feel the need to pack everything into one day.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
My son is like most spoiled American kids in that he is not suffering from a lack of toys. He has cars, trains, stuffed animals, puzzles, blocks, balls, etc. But of his plethora of toys, none bring him more joy than his most prized possessions --- the 7-inch-plastic Woody and Buzz figures that Uncle Rob bought him in January.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Monday, March 07, 2011
Music class was a lot of fun, if not slightly silly. It was exactly like what they make those classes look like in the movies --- a cheerful and goofy teacher with a friendly face and a nice voice singing songs in a highly animated form...It was amazing, she knew all the kids names and worked them all into the "hello" and the "goodbye" song. Joaquin's favorite part was when they got to choose their own instruments from the box. He chose a drum and did not want to part with it when it was time to put the instruments "to bed."
Our day of fun continued when after a morning nap, we went to the Disney Studios lot to see Uncle Rob for lunch. I don't know what he liked more - the fact that Uncle Rob took him to the studio store to buy toys, or the really docile squirrels that almost let Joaquin pet them.
We finished off our activities by going to the post office to send Daddy a care package. Hopefully Kiko has earned the privilege of receiving his mail.