Labor, Postpartum, Caris Coming Home & Caleb’s Favorite Word

I got a voicemail from Emily Lam today calling to congrats and hi.  And she want to know how we’re doing and updates and so forth.  So rather than just simply call her or email her, I’m dedicating this post to her (and to any of you who are interested in reading all the details about our lives). This is a long post for those of you who like to read short stories.  For those of you who like picture books, scroll to the end.

Warning: Graphic pictures abound.  Not of poop, but of birthing babies.  You’ve been warned.

The Labor

Caris’ due date was February 14, so three weeks before that day, we’re still getting things done around the house to prepare for her.  Preparing for Caris’ arrival was a little more daunting of a task, since there’s now a little boy running around the house getting into everything and distracting us at every moment’s chance.  So we were ready to a certain extent.  We have her crib ready, which she’s not even going to use for the first couple of months anyways.  We got her dresser and diaper warmer.  Her clothes are washed and mostly put away.  We even did a private session with the hypnobirthing instructor (more on that later).  Everything is coming along for that February 14 date.

Of course Caris didn’t want to have anything to do with our plan.  On Sunday, January 25 at 8pm, Yvonne started getting contractions.  Very mild, but different than her braxton hicks.  Lower as though Caris was trying to kick her way out.  The contractions were coming every 10-20 minutes at that point and lasting only 20 seconds long.  Yvonne was in denial, and for good reason too.  Caleb has these same type of contractions 4 weeks before he was born, and so she thought it might be the same with Caris.  I, on the other hand, was getting ready, mentally if not physically.

Monday morning rolls around and Yvonne doesn’t feel any contractions throughout the night.  So I’m thinking, “good.”  We should have a few more weeks to get things ready.  And then right after she wakes up, she starts feeling her contractions again picking up right where they left off the night before.  10-20 apart.  20 seconds long.  Nothing to worry about except for me deciding to go to work or not.  I want to stay home just in case since I know Yvonne’s body can get rolling pretty quickly.  She convinces me that it should be okay.  So I head to work.

Yvonne has these contractions throughout the day with the same length and intensity.  Around 4pm, her contractions are getting stronger, longer and closer together.  She calls me to update me.  She tries to tell me to stay at work longer and says she’ll be fine.  But I’m not falling for this again.  Last time she told me that, Caleb popped into my hands when I got home.  I head for home.

I’m almost arriving at home, when I get a phone call from home.  I’m expecting her to tell me that her contractions are strong and she can’t handle it and has to go to the hospital.  But no.  Here’s the funny part.  She calls me to tell me she’s on her way to take Caleb to Gymboree.  Here’s a woman who’s in active labor, or close to it, taking her son to play at Gymboree.  How silly is that?

One thing we had just discussed this past weekend was deciding who’s going to watch over Caleb when Yvonne’s in labor.  And how would that timing work out with Caleb and his sleep/nap schedule.  This boy has had no one but me or Yvonne put him to bed.  And he’s sometimes hard going down as well.  If Yvonne goes into labor in the morning, who watches Caleb?  If it’s in the evening, who puts him to sleep?  Ideally, Caleb would be put to bed by one of us, Yvonne goes into active labor and gives birth to Caris overnight, with enough time for me to go home and greet Caleb good morning.  Well the ideal just did happen.

We had Denise come over to watch him as he slept.  Yvonne’s dad was to come over as well and stay overnight.  We’re so grateful to have people come over on such a short notice.  What a blessing.

So the labor progresses and we’re putting Caleb to bed.  Caleb wants “Mama” to put him to bed tonight and she does.  I am off finishing up the last touches on things to bring to the hospital, packing up the car, eating and writing blog posts.

Caleb falls asleep, and we’re finally off to the hospital at 8pm.  Labor is progressing quickly, but not as quickly as Caleb.  Yvonne isn’t dying of pain, I’m feeling calm and somewhat ready.  We’ve only been practicing our hypnobirthing for only a week, so that’s kind of a concern.  And with all of the problems that could occur with Yvonne, there were so many things that we couldn’t control.

Here’s a quick list of things off the top of my head that could go wrong:

  • Quick birth which could cause tearing which could lead to
  • Blood loss.  With Yvonne’s low platelet count, we could have a repeat postpartum recovery like after Caleb.  Slow recovery and healing.  3 months of bedrest. On top of the sleep deprivation and postpartum depression.
  • C-section.  Again with Yvonne’s low platelet count, she’s a bad candidate for C-section or any type of surgery for that matter.  A platelet transfusion would be almost guaranteed.

There’s numerous combinations that could have led to the above situations.  We took the hypnobirthing class to help us with a calm, relaxed natural birth.  The priority was to not have Yvonne tear, cause that would help with blood loss and recovery time.  But even with all our efforts and planning, we knew we would never have that ultimate control.  But by His grace, He is faithful and answered our prayers in the abundance.

We got admitted into the Arcadia Methodist around 8:15pm.  (I had much higher hopes in this hospital than our last.  Our treatment and care was piss poor when Caleb was born.  We didn’t notice at the time, but it’s only be God’s grace that Yvonne survived what happen.  And when I say “survive”, I literally mean not dying.  You can ask me or Yvonne for more details later.)

We get set up in our labor and delivery room.  Labor is going well so far.  Contractions are getting stronger and longer.  Transition hits.  She’s fully dilated and effaced.  The water is broken.  2 pushes later, out comes Caris.

We were at the hospital for just about 2 hours before Caris came.  Timing was absolutely perfect.  Transition was relatively short.  Pushing was less than 10 minutes.  Yvonne was absolutely great handling the pain and labor.  She impresses me often, but this one ranks up there.  I know she’ll give me a lot of the credit for it, but she’s the one actually having the baby.  And I knew all along she was going to do great.  And she didn’t disappoint.

God is so good.  I look back at everything and see how He graciously answered our prayers.  Yvonne only had a very slight tear.  Blood loss was good.  Blood pressure remained normal.  Even having Caris born at 37 weeks, where she’s full term, but smaller so she could slide out more easily.  There’s no way we could have planned it this way.  But thank God.


Caris was born Monday, 22:23, January 26, 2009.  She was 5 pounds, 11 ounces and 19 inches long.  When she came out, she didn’t cry at all.  Not one bit.  We were waiting for her to cry, but nothing ever came out. (She has since then found her cry and sounds very similar to Caleb.)  She just laid on mommy’s chest and starting sucking away.

Yvonne is doing great.  The tearing was very slight, but she’s already walking 10 times better than when she had Caleb (maybe not that much.  It’s hard to quantify, but she is walking fine.)  Breastfeeding is going well.  Apparently both our children like their food.  Caris is latching well.  Yvonne’s nipples are still sore from the drinking and sucking, but that’s to be expected.  We need to toughen those babies up.

(Wow!.  I just found maybe 5 grammar errors in the last 2 sentences.  I guess that’s what happens when you’re writing at 1 in the morning.  If you see more, my apologies to you.  Just let me know so I can correct them. I don’t like proof reading.  That’s what you’re for.)

Caris is a hungry-saurus just like Caleb was.  She’s been a great eater.  She latched on well. She’s eating pretty much every 2 hours.  And she’s pooping just about the same amount as well.  I wonder if she can beat Caleb’s average of 12-14 diapers a day the first couple weeks.

Yvonne hasn’t gotten much sleep though.  Even though she hasn’t had to take care of Caleb has much the past 2 days, she’s still feeding Caris.  And Caris doesn’t always sleep in contiguous hours like we want her too.  We’ve forgotten how much better Caleb sleeps now.  Sleep deprivation is going to hits us hard, we expect.


We want to make a special point to not forget about Caleb with the new girl around.  We know she’s going to get a lot of attention, especially since she actually needs it since she’s kind of useless now.

Caleb is trying to go about his business with the new baby around.  He tries to “play” with her by poking her hat and saying “eh”.  Or poking at her nose or mouth.  Suffice it to say he isn’t so gentle around her.  His poking can hurt.  He does give her kisses though.

Caleb also likes to copy his sister.  Well at least copy her cries.  She cries, he screams.  She whines, he screams.  Nothing better than a screaming child every time your newborn cries.

Caleb is getting large.  According to our unofficial scale, he’s now 25.5 pounds.  He’s starting to get chunky again.  And not only chunky, but taller as well.  Comparing him to Caris, I can see how much he has grown.  While putting on his diaper today, his butt is so big.  And then putting on Caris’ diaper, she doesn’t even fill up the newborn diaper.

In only 19 months, he’s grown so much.  Yvonne and I are thinking he probably knows about 80 words.  Although out of those 80 words, he probably only makes a dozen distinct sounds.  They all sound similar.  You just have to pick up the context or the little accents to know what he’s talking about.  Next time you see, ask him how old he is.

Caleb ushered in the toddler years a while back with his first temper tantrums.  But his “no” phase didn’t come.  That is until a few weeks ago.  Caleb has found his new favorite word, “nah.”  His natural response is “nah” now even when he actually wants something.  I guess it’s easier to say no now and then change your mind later.  He loves that word so much now, that he even sings using just the word “nah.”  And why does he sing?  Not cause he doesn’t want something, but just because he loves that word.


The Pictures

Now on to the real reason you came here.  Some pictures.

Yvonne in labor, just before we head to the hospital

Yvonne arriving at L&D

Yvonne in active labor/transition.  Notice the smile on her face?  That wasn’t there when Caleb was born.

Warning:  Birth ahead. Fascinating.  Click to see.

Caris on mommy’s chest


Mommy & Caris

Daddy & Caris

Caleb & Caris

Caris’ first night (of many) with Mommy

“Doo-doo” & Caris

Grandpa & Caris


First car ride


Caris’ first night at home

Caris after breast feeding

Close up!

La la la

My eyes!  My eyes!

“Why does that red light keep flashing at me?”

So this is how they’re suppose to sleep in the car seat. Caleb never liked it when he was young.  That was his prime time crying spot.

Here’s Caleb finally enjoying the car seat as intended.

Caleb & Caris sleeping

With all the attention always centering around a new baby, Caleb needs some pictures of his own.

After taking pictures of Caris, Caleb wanted some action too


Trying to live out his normal life at Gymboree

He likes to hold as much as possible

But he often takes on too much to handle

His new toy outside on the street.  The cable box.

Check out that blueberry.

And finally, holding grandpa’s hand.

Labor & Delivery (The Mom’s Perspective)

So, this a little late of a post, but I’ve been a bit busy… 🙂

As Chris mentioned, we thought we’d have an early baby since I was showing so many prelabor signs. But, Caleb didn’t come early. And as each day passed by, I stopped thinking so much about whether this would be the day… and I starting keeping myself busy. For example, 2 days before labor, I spent the day at Disneyland with Rosalyn. We met at 7:30AM and waited in the Finding Nemo Submarine Ride line for 3 hours. Crazy, eh?

On Wednesday, 6/27, I saw my OBGYN in the morning. Anytime, he tells me. Same thing he’s told me for the past 3 weeks. I ran errands all morning. Felt really tired in the afternoon. Tried to take a nap… and out of no where, my water breaks at 5PM. Poopers, on my comforter. First thought: Gotta wash my comforter. So, I start a load in the washer. Then I realize, oh I should call Chris and Nancy (our doula).

Call them. Nancy tells me she’s going to check back with me in the morning to see how labor’s progressing. I say ok… and figure most women take forever in the early labor stage. I tell Chris to take his time coming home… didn’t want him to get stuck in bad traffic. I go downstairs to see if I can watch some MacGyver episodes and finish my photo scanning project. And, I eat heaps of food, leftover desserts, and drinks (since they don’t let you eat in the hospital during labor).

Around 6:30PM, I start feeling pretty strong cramps in my lower abdomen. Strong enough to take my concentration off of Macgyver. But, Nancy told me that most women feel labor pains radiate to their back when they’re actively laboring. My pain was just in my lower abdomen. So, I must not be laboring yet. ok, I’ll go up and take a shower to relax. In the shower… ouch… these hurt more. I’m resting on all fours in my tub (just felt more comfortable for some reason). Man, I’m a wimp. I already feel like I have pain, and I’m probably not in labor yet, right?

Nancy calls back around 7. Says she just felt like she needed to call back and check in on me. Told her what I’ve been feeling. She says I still sound calm/cheerful, so she’s going to take a nap and check back with me in a little while. Man, these pains are coming every 4 minutes already. I’m sweating. Let me lie on this cool bathroom tile floor. Ah, better. Chris is home. Finds me on the bathroom floor. I go downstairs with him. These pains aren’t letting up. Still only in my lower abdomen. Sometimes they’re coming one on top of another. Chris calls Nancy. She comes over. I labor for an hour at home. But the pains are coming kinda quickly and I feel burpy and a little shaky already. Chris is eating leftover DinTaiFong dumplings. His food smells strong… making me nauseous. But I want him to eat, so I don’t say anything about the smell. I can’t be this far along in labor. I think to myself i must be emotionally causing myself to feel this way already. I don’t wanna go to the hospital and be one of those women who’s only 1-2 cm dilated and gets sent back home. Nancy tells us we should go to the hospital.

Car ride was no fun. In the 15 minute drive, I had 7-8 contractions. Had to stop for contractions on the walk into the hospital. They made me go to labor evaluation by myself. The nurse was task-oriented. put on this gown, give me a urine sample. What’s taking so long, she asks. I’m on the floor having contractions. Yuck! I would never be touching a hospital floor if I was of sane mind. At this point, it just doesn’t matter anymore. I want my husband. Where is he? On goes the fetal monitor. Why are you putting oxygen on me? You’ve got variables (stress on the baby during contractions usually due to cord compression). The heart rate looks fine, though? Yes. Vaginal exam – owh. Nurse tells me she thinks I’m 5-6cm. They roll me into my labor & delivery room. Where’s Chris? All these questions. Tired of talking. One nurse starts an IV. What are you hanging? LR. OK, I’ll take Lactated Ringers.

Finally, they let Chris & Nancy back with me. I’m feeling out of control already. I want to sit up to labor. The nurses tell me I have to lay on my left side with oxygen since the baby’s stressed. Too tired and in pain to fight. I’m clinging to Chris, who’s whispering how much he loves me. You better! (Hee-hee… I don’t remember actually thinking this at the time). Nurse says I’m only 5-6cm. Nancy tells them they should check me again. 8cm. In a few minutes, I begin to feel rectal pressure like I have to push. No, you can’t push yet. Where’s the doctor? They’re like 6-7 nurses in the room now. I have to push, or I’m gonna explode. Pant they tell me. uh, ok. i’ll try. i want pain meds, i want pain meds. (chris says i never said this out loud, but i was certainly thinking it.) ok, you can push. phew. 6-7 contractions with 6-7 nurses yelling out numbers at me as i push, caleb was born. and finally in came the doctor… just in time to clamp the umbilical cord. 10:45PM – less than 6 hours from when my water broke.

caleb was so alert. his cry was strong. and he pinked up in less than a minute. he took to the breast without a problem. so cute. this baby came out of me? yay, praise God caleb’s here!

A Baby is born! (A father’s perspective)

So you all heard that Yvonne’s water broke. Well not much longer did she give birth to a beautiful baby boy.

June 27, 2007, 22:45
Caleb Joshua Wong is born
6 pounds 13 ounces
18 inches long

So I must start from the beginning. That was 3 and a half weeks ago when Yvonne started bleeding. Apparently she had lost her mucous plug. Of course we not knowing much about pregnancy and labor start looking this stuff up on the net. We find out that labor is imminent! That’s a sign that labor should be starting soon! It could start the next day. Or it could start a week from then. At least that’s what I read.

So the next day comes and goes. And then the next day. And then the one after that. And then a week goes by. Yvonne still is bleeding periodically. But the OB says that’s normal and labor can start at ANY TIME. So again, 2 weeks go by. 3 weeks….

Where’s the baby?

3 and a half weeks later after we were expecting an early baby, Caleb finally decides he’s had enough of it and breaks out only 2 days before the due date.

Thanks for making us worry, Caleb.

So at 5pm yesterday, Yvonne calls me at work telling me her water broke.

(Now for those of you who are ignorant of this fact, like I was before this child, the water breaking is NOT typical for labor beginning. In fact, only about 10 percent of labors does the water break before the labor actually starts. Most water breakage occurs during the middle or end of labor when the baby is about to give birth. So when you see all these movies about the mom’s water breaking and them giving birth 5 minutes later, that just don’t happen. It’s all a lie. Mostly at least. Anyways…. I digress).

We knew what to do if the water broke and we were early. But the baby is full term and the water breaks, we didn’t know what to do. So again, the internet is my friend. I read that labor usually begins within the next 24 hours. Sometimes immediately. Sometimes 24 hours later. But sometime within that period. So I figure that labor for the first child usually lasts 12 hours. And she just broke her water, but she’s not necessarily in labor yet. So I decide I didn’t need to rush home just yet. And neither did Yvonne. “Take your time,” she tells me.

So I go do some 3v3 and 2v2 action WoW before going home (I suck by the way). And then proceed to go home at my normal time. I figure if Yvonne was in lots of pain, she’d call me by now. It’ll only be early labor now anyways.

By the time I get home at 7:35, she’s lying on the ground of bathroom writhing in pain, like the kind of pain she used to get with your tummy. So it’s serious time now. But that’s weird. It’s only been 2 and a half hours. Early labor usually lasts longer than that. For the next hour and a half, she’s fighting it hard. Definitely active labor. This labor is going fast. I call up our doula and soon after she arrives, we decide to go to the hospital.

We get to Queen of the Valley at 9:20pm. Now here’s the part the kind of got me mad. After getting admitted, they wouldn’t let me be with her for another 30 minutes. And she was in so much pain the she couldn’t stand or sit. It was brutal. Transition has started, and I couldn’t be there when it did.

I finally got into the room with her at 9:50pm, and she was working hard. Moaning and groaning. Honestly it sounded as if she was dying. If she had gotten shot the abs, that’s the kind of sound I would think she’d make.

Transition to pushing didn’t seem like a change at all. It was painful throughout. And the doctor wasn’t even there yet. He was on his way. But Yvonne was moving too quick for him! After 15-20 minutes of pushing, the baby was out and crying and in Yvonne’s arms.

Now for those of you who have never witness an actual labor, that is quite an experience. I know you high schoolers have seen the video giving birth. Or even if you watched Knocked Up, you saw a glimpse of the baby crowning. Yeah. I saw all that. And those videos/movies are nothing compared to real life. In those videos and movies you saw, you could see the pain. But those were easy. Yvonne’s… Not so easy. But she did great. Spectacular. In all honesty, I should have been complete grossed out. Yet, I wasn’t. God must have had something to do with that.

Seriously though. It’s gross. It’s nothing like what I seen before. I think the grossest thing was when after giving birth to the boy, the placenta has to come out later. It’s just this big ol’ bloody glob that shoots out. It’s quite disgusting. Yet I wasn’t disgusted by it. Strange, huh?

Anyways. I must go shower and brush my teeth. This has been one long post! Hopefully you’ve made it this far! 🙂