Sunday, January 20, 2013

a baby story

Exactly one month ago we welcomed our 3rd little baby. I have always recorded my children's birth stories so here is Darren's.


My mother-in-law, Elaine, arrived on Wednesday. A few days before my due date. Tim's last day of work before the Christmas holidays was on Thursday. And it was Thursday night right around when Tim came home that I started to have contractions...

I was induced with Marisa and obviously had an epidural. With Natalie, my water broke in the middle of the night, which obviously started labour and I only felt a few contractions before receiving my epidural at the hospital. So it was a first for me to have my labour start by feeling contractions first and having to monitor the timing between them. Part of me was saying, this is the real deal, the other part of me was like, nah...

They started around 7:30 pm. I was at the dinner table talking with Elaine all while they were coming every 13 minutes for the first hour.  "I think I'm having contractions...These feel different," is what I told Tim to have him start keeping time while changing from his work clothes to his 'I'm heading to the hospital to have a baby' clothes. There was one 20 minute gap between contractions so it made me think that it was just a false alarm. At that big gap Tim and I decided to take a walk in hopes of getting the contractions going again. And sure enough, during our lovely evening walk in the brisk cold London air the contractions were now coming every 8 minutes apart for the second hour.

They were pretty darn strong contractions. As I felt them coming I would stop and hold on to Tim, well, more like squeeze his jacket or his arms until it passed and then keep on walking. At times I wanted to just buckle in my knees and fold over from the pain but I did pretty darn well to stay calm and focused and bear it.

(To back track, in England, I noticed whilst talking with some British women, that most women here have natural births. Hospitals here have birthing pools so you could labour in it or even have your baby in it. My first thought was "Are you kidding me? How am I going to have a baby here? I'm going to die doing this naturally!" But at the same time I didn't want anyone sticking a needle in my spine if they weren't used to giving them out all the time! So dilemma...
I pondered long and hard on my alternatives and come up with a baby plan that felt right.
So, when in Rome...)

So my plan, thanks to my hippy SoCal friends, was to do this labour thing naturally using Hypnobabies and labour in the pool to ease the labour pains and contractions. I was so ready to do this. I prepped for months before D-day and I felt pretty confident moving forward...

Well, when we arrived to the hospital, I was lead into a waiting type room where they checked me to see if I was progressing before admitting me. The nurse said, "You are at a 5!" And as she pulled her hand out my water broke! "Great," I thought, "this baby is coming quickly." When my water broke with Natalie it was only 4 hours later until she was born. I just knew this time would be faster and my midwives have warned me repeatedly that this one would be faster as well.

The nurse in the delivery room upon looking at me when entering the room said, "You are very calm. You don't seem to be in labour." I sorta smiled and said, "Well, I'm trying to stay focused by using Hypnobabies...(yadda, yadda)."
That quickly went out the window...

Of course, the birthing pool wasn't filled even though I called before hand to have them fill it before I arrived and I was just praying it wouldn't take long to fill so I can start concentrating on my Hypnobabies and feel some relief from the contractions in the warm water. But my fears came true.

Another nurse came over and said, "I would not feel good if I didn't know the tub wasn't 100% clean. We are going to clean the tub and it will take about 15-20 minutes."
In the back of my mind I just knew, I wasn't going to make 15-20 minutes. Yet my stubbornness denied it. This wasn't part of my plan! I will be in that pool!

So I was brought to the room next door so I didn't have to breathe in the fumes from the cleaning supplies. I was pretty ticked but all I could do at this point was get through the contractions that were now progressing quite rapidly.
In fact, the next little bit was a complete painful blur. It consisted of contractions one on top of another allowing me only one breathe in between them and me in complete dismay that this was actually happening to me. Natural child birth.

The pain I was feeling was crazy intense. I just held onto Tim's hand moaning and literally screaming, "I CAN'T" or "OH MY GOSH!" or "THIS IS SO PAINFUL!" It must be hard for a man to stand by and watch your wife go crazy suddenly. My dear husband even tried to caress my stomach and I just snapped, "DON'T TOUCH MY TUMMY!" haha Looking back that comment cracks me up. Can't you tell we have young children? I used tummy instead of stomach. ha.

Then suddenly, as if things weren't painful enough, the intensity raised tenfold. The nurse is telling me not to push.
"If you push before you are all the way to a 10 there can be swelling....." (I don't remember what else she was saying. Her voice was a muffled blurb.)
"I'M NOT PUSHING!" I repeat over and ever again. And I really wasn't! It was sort of an out of body experience. I had zero control over what was going on.

Then suddenly, Darren's head is crowning. The nurse quickly comes to my side because Darren is literally flying out. Now she is telling me to push. "HOW DO I PUSH??" I yell. Again, I had zero control to stop pushing or to push! I couldn't tell what my body was doing! I was just a bystander going along for the ride. "Put your chin to your chest!" Umm, ok, I nod my head downward and "pop" he was out! I swear I didn't push. Just like that, Darren arrived.

And in that very instant, just like the movies, I felt zero pain. Not because I was in a dreamy state of looking at my new child but because literally once he was out, there was zero pain! It was unreal. Just like the movies.

My dear friend in an email after giving birth asked me, "Does 'ring of fire' ring a bell?" Oh YES! Ring of fire perfectly describes giving birth naturally.

Yet, the feelings of holding a new child are always magical. Darren's very warm body against mine, looking into his eyes for the first time, finally seeing his face I always dreamed about. Tim and I were instantly in love for the 3rd time again.

We are so grateful that the Lord has entrusted us with another sweet spirit and here we go again to adjusting our lives and schedules with our new little addition! We love our baby boy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

nursery days

Yesterday I took Natalie to nursery to say goodbye to her teachers and friends. Natalie only did one term of nursery here in the UK. When we had told the main teacher Alice about a month ago that she would not be attending the following term due to the baby being born and us leaving in March, she started to get teary-eyed! Her teachers adored her.

I wasn't planning on sending Natalie to nursery at all, but it proved to be great for her for that time. She was a little hesitant at first for me to leave her every morning, yet after school she found pride in having her own place to go, having her own friends, when she would swap school stories with her big sister.

  • Natalie's favourite activity in nursery was painting.
  • Her best friend was this darling little British blonde girl named Roisen.
  • She ate the most during snack.

A funny nursery story:
I got to attend a field-trip with Natalie to the theatre to see "Rumpelstiltskin". I was in charge of Natalie and Roisen during the trip. On the train on our way I overheard Natalie and Roisen's conversation:

Natalie: "I burped!"
Roisen: "You what!"
Natalie: "I burped two times!"
Roisen: "Then you need to say 'pardon me' two times!"

Oh how proper Roisen sounded up against my girl's thick American accent. haha Oh dear...

Another story told to me by her teacher:
They were having tomatoes to eat and Natalie in her American accent said, "I don't like tomatoes." (Tomatoes is pronounced toe-mauh-toes here in England.) A little boy next to her turned toward her and said, "Why do you talk like that?" Natalie's response, "Because I'm from California."
Boy nods and replies, "Oh. Well, I'm from Greenwich!"

And then the kids had a discussion on how they got to school and where they all live. They thought that Natalie traveled from CA to school every morning. Cute.
The teacher then had to intervene and give a mini geography lesson for everyone! ha.

Natalie and Nadia.

Natalie and Sharna.

It was fun to watch Natalie gain some independence and freedom from the shadows of her older sister. It is always neat to watch your children blossom and explore new avenues. Plus, gaining a bit of a British accent isn't half bad. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy 150th Birthday London Underground!

It seems like yesterday I was writing a post about my culture shock to the UK, specifically ranting about why anyone on earth would want the tube map as a keepsake, and in the oddest form. An umbrella, an eraser, on toilet paper.... I mean really, why??
Well, here I am 2 years later and I saw a vintage tube map for sale at the Greenwich Market and I so wanted it. I wanted it, I wanted to frame it, I wanted it up in my house. Good thing the price of it forbade me from buying it.

I couldn't help but have a smile on my face as I read these two posts today on The Time Out London blog about the iconic London tube. Only those who live here can truly understand the 30 details of why I will actually dearly miss the tube!...

Happy 150th Birthday London Underground: 30 reasons we love the tube

...Plus, I must add reason #31. Where else can I capture moments like this?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2 weeks

Light is hard to come by in London. Especially in the winter months. I tried my best with the natural light that was coming in one cloudy day...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


2012 rocked.

It was seriously one of the best years yet.
After watching the many spectacular firework shows line the city skyline last night for the New Year I told Tim, "I just don't know how 2013 can be better than 2012."

And it's true. I mean, I don't want to be a 'Debbie Downer' but I just can't get myself to get excited for the New Year. I don't know what will lie ahead, but cheers to 2013 and that it will be a good one!


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