Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Flying with an 18 month old

     It can be a scary thing for first time parents to travel with their little one on their first long flight. It definitely was for me. I will admit that I was more nervous about the flight than my husband. I am the type of person who cares about what other people are thinking or saying. My husband, on the other hand, could probably care less. I kept worrying about how the other passengers will react to my child if he acts up. I know this can be a common fear in many people. Here is my personal experience and what we did to try to have the best experience for all.

     For our flight to Orlando, we were up bright and early to catch our early morning flight! We had to wake up Liam and he was surprisingly in a good mood! Probably because he woke up at the Happiest Place on Earth and new he was about to head to another happy place.

  He is Mr. Independent already. He wanted to hold his Mater that he built with his dad and his backpack. Whenever I offered to help he would say "No" or if I tried to hold anything for him, he would take it back. I can't believe how fast he is growing!

     Now as I had mentioned before, I was feeling very nervous about our flight. When we would talk about our trip to other people before left, I always expressed my concern about how he would do on the flight. I know Liam has a lot of energy and I had no idea how I was going to keep him still for 5 hours on an airplane. My dear, sweet husband listened to my concerns day in and day out up until the day finally arrived when we would get on that plane. He had saved up money and surprised us with first class seats! I was shocked! I never even brought up the idea to get first class seats because I knew it was just a ridiculous amount of money. I was completely touched by how thoughtful my husband had been. We were all pretty excited to experience it!

     When we got to board, I was so impressed with all the leg room! It was perfect for Liam to stand up and walk around. This was great because as we waited for the rest of the plane to board, we let Liam walk around and get a little more energy out. We absolutely loved being in first class and who wouldn't? Cal and I joked that maybe this wasn't such a great idea because now we always will want to fly First Class and that will not always be possible!

   So how did the flight go? It was difficult! Our flight was pretty early in the morning and he was a ball of energy. We tried to run him before we boarded so he could get out all of his energy out, but he still did not want to sit still. The first hour we were able to keep him occupied with one of his play packs. He would color with me and then he found the stickers. Our flight attendant got a good laugh at Liam's decisions on where to put his stickers.

     We were offered some breakfast. I wasn't too hungry and had a cheese and cracker plate while Calvin had some oatmeal. Liam munched on some of our food. After breakfast is when things got a little harder. Liam was finished with sitting still. We resorted to using the Ipad and putting on a movie for him. He usually loves Monsters Inc, which is what we played, but for some reason he was scared of Randall! I understand that he is the villain of the movie, but Liam was never scared of him before. So whenever Randall appeared, Liam would whine and try to bury himself into either mine or calvin's chest.

      We knew Liam was due for a nap which explained why he was getting cranky. Calvin tried to walk him around to hopefully rock him to sleep, but Liam wasn't having that. To us, we felt like we were making the other passengers in first class feel uncomfortable. I happened to notice the two gentlemen sitting across from us kept staring. I assumed that they were giving me looks of disapproval and pretty much, "get your child under control!". At the end of our flight as we were getting ready to get off the plane, one of the gentleman who was staring at us earlier said to me, "He's a good kid". I smiled and responded, "Thank you! We tried our best." and he assured us that Liam did very well and that he knew his daughter wouldn't have done as well as Liam had. Needless to say, we were shocked! Now that I look back on it, Liam wasn't necessarily screaming at the top of his lungs or running around like crazy. He would fuss and whine, but of course to self conscious first time parents on their first long flight, it seems like he is the loudest person on the plane. To us, everything that we thought Liam may have been doing that would disturb the other passengers, seemed 10 times worse than it really was. I was just finally happy to get off that plane and off to our hotel!

     On our way back home, it was a totally different experience. We left Florida in the early evening this time around. We flew from Florida to catch our connecting flight in Los Angeles. This first leg of our flight, we had first class seats again. We pretty much did the same things we did the first time around. Liam was running around all day and we also made sure to let him run around the airport before boarding. 

      Once we took off, we gave Liam another one of his play packs. He colored and again stuck stickers on mommy. This time it was on my head! Silly little guy. When he got bored with that, we turned on a movie for him. I believe we watched How to Train a Dragon 2. He sat through the whole movie and was very interested.
     When the movie was getting close to being over, we could tell he was getting tired. He was fussing a little. We tried our best to help him get into the most comfortable position possible. Soon he was off to dream land. He must have been pretty exhausted. He slept through the last hour of the flight, while we waited an hour for our connecting flight at LAX, and all the way home. He did wake up when we landed, but it was only for a little while. Once we got in our car to head home, he was asleep for the rest of the night. 

     It was definitely two completely different experiences and the only thing we did differently was the time of the flight. Based on my personal experience, I highly suggest booking a flight that would be either during their nap time or bed time. Another thing you may be saying to yourself is, "we don't have first class seats with all the leg room". To be completely honest, the leg room was more for me. I thought that Liam would want to just hang out in the extra leg room that we had, but he didn't. He wanted to run up and down the aisle instead. All you really need is snacks, activities like coloring, or something like an Ipad that would have apps and movies on it. And for my advice for caring about what other people on the flights think, just don't. I was so worried about him during the first flight and assuming others were judging us, but it was all just my stress and anxiety. As long as you're doing all that you can to ensure your child is comfortable, there's nothing more you can do. I just kept telling myself that I paid just as much money as everyone else on this flight and I deserve to go on vacation too. 

     I hope this helped a little for those first time parents worried about taking a long flight with their child. If not, I hoped you at least enjoyed reading about our little experience!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Our 3 Year Anniversary

Rise and Shine!

     We were up early to make it to California Adventure for magic morning! Magic morning is when a designated park is open an hour earlier for hotel guests. We knew we wanted to make it over to check out Olaf's Snow Fest. It was our number one priority since Liam loves his Frozen and he's only met Anna before.
Olaf's Snow Fest
7 A.M. and ready to meet Olaf!
     We walked right into Olaf's Snow Fest and were greeted with this
So Pretty!
     There was no line to meet Olaf. Unfortunately for Liam, seeing a larger than life Olaf when you're half awake wasn't the most fun idea for him.
Liam's not quite sure about Olaf
Liam giving Mama a warm hug instead
     After a not so successful meet with Olaf, we went to go play in the snow. Liam loved this!
He kept picking up the snow and saying "Cold! Cold!"
     There still wasn't a line for Olaf and Liam was able to wake up a little more. So we asked him if he wanted to see Olaf again and he nodded yes. We crossed our fingers and hoped for a better meet and greet. This is what we go:
High fives for Olaf!
     Overall, we absolutely loved visiting Olaf's Snow Fest. We are glad we went straight here during magic morning because as soon as the park officially opened for all guests, there was a long line immediately. It was so calm and quiet when we were in there. Liam had so much room to run around in the snow and we were able to let him roam free without worrying about him getting trampled by other children or adults. We also got to meet Olaf twice! When you visit California Adventure and especially if you, your child, or anyone in your party are big Frozen fans, definitely go check it out!

     When we were done with Olaf, we still had a good amount of time before the park officially opened to guests so we headed over to try and ride Monsters Inc. It wasn't open yet, but we did notice a familiar face and went to line up for Sulley! Liam recognized him and pointed him out from afar, but when it was our turn to say hello, he was not having it. He wanted nothing to do with him and he chose the farthest place to be for the picture!
Liam was not having it!
     Then off to our beloved Animation Building! We had our wedding reception here and it was seriously one of the best nights of our lives. We even have friends still tell us they wish they could relive that night with us! Every year when we've visited the parks, we make sure to take pictures at all the spots we shared amazing memories at during our wedding.
January 19, 2012
D. Park Photography
January 19, 2015
    Of course we headed inside and noticed a lot of changes! First off, "Once Upon a Time" has been changed to Arendelle! We noticed that they added some clips from Frozen on to the screens. Liam loved when Olaf appeared. Then we quickly realized that the Anna and Elsa meet and greet was now inside the Animation Building.
D. Park Photography
Liam cant keep his eyes off of Olaf!
     We quickly headed over to line up in the literally non existent line. What a difference from 6 months ago when we lined up for about an hour to meet Anna. Now we only were in line for about 5 minutes before we were able to meet Anna AND Elsa! It was a major difference meeting Anna and Elsa this time versus when he first met Anna. Before he was shy and would bury his head into my chest. Now, while waiting in line he was singing "Let it Go" and when we finally got up to see the sisters, he had his eyes glued to Elsa the entire time. When the girls paid a little too much attention to Liam, he quickly tried to divert their attention to Calvin by pointing to him and saying "Daddy!". We later noticed that every time he met a Princess and he felt uncomfortable, he would try and direct her attention to daddy. We posed for a picture and you can see that Liam is trying to show his best Elsa with a little hand pose.
Liam loves Elsa
Posing like Elsa
     We then decided to go check out, For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Singalong Celebration. We ended up getting fast passes for the second showing at 10:30 and we had about 2 hours to kill before then. So we headed over to our wedding ride, The Little Mermaid~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure. Love this ride so much! Liam was more aware of everything and waved to Ariel and Prince Eric at the end. It was the cutest
D. Park Photography
Visiting our wedding ride
D. Park Photography
Liam was intrigued with all the beautiful colors on the ride.
Afterwards, we headed over to Cars Land. I was getting a little rumbly in my tumbly and had to get my hands on my favorite churro bites! Definitely a must have when visiting Cars Land. Head over to the cozy cone and grab yourself some the next time you're there! I'm actually craving some right now.
Even little Liam loved his churro bites so much he had to photobomb my picture!
     Then we saw Lightening McQueen and we had to stop for a picture with him. One of Liam's first words was "car" and that was thanks to his good pals, Lightening McQueen and Tow Mater. So you know we had to go say "hello".
Lightening McQueen
     As we were saying bye to Lightning, Liam kept saying "Car! Car!" and the cast member kept laughing and saying "yes, he is a car!"

     We checked the time and realized it was 10 and we should go over and start lining up for the Frozen singalong. It was super cute and I enjoyed it. Liam on the other hand, he didn't understand that it was a "singalong". In the beginning, he was getting angry at me and everyone else who was singing along. He would mumble some gibberish and swat his hands around as if to tell us to stop. I couldn't stop laughing.

Liam was singing "Let it Go" before the show started
He is so into it
The whole gang!
     When the show was over, we headed out and found someone who was on the top of our list: Doc McStuffins! Liam has been loving Doc McStuffins recently. He loves watching her on TV, he sings along with her theme song, he has a Doc plush that he sleeps with, and he has the figurine set from the Disney store. He loves her. So I dart over and get in line. Liam sees her and gets so excited. He kept screaming "Doc! Doc!" and doesn't quite understand that we have to wait in line. When we are next, he is literally dragging me to go up to her.
Liam couldn't wait!
Fist bumps with Doc
     Soon we realize time is escaping us and Liam's nap time was coming up quick. We decided to head out to grab Liam some lunch, revisit our ceremony venue to take our traditional picture, and then rush back to the room to feed Liam and put him down for his nap. 
     After our family nap, we got back up and headed back into Disneyland to finish off our day. We knew exactly where we were headed first and that was to Liam's favorite ride, Its A Small World. But first we had to stop in front of the castle. Its the standard picture you must take whenever visiting Disneyland!
     Our cruises around the world just keep getting better with Liam. Every time we take him on it, he always does something different. He learned how to say "Small World" this trip and would always ask to ride it. Then we headed over to Alice in Wonderland. My all time favorite movie and one of my favorite rides in Disneyland. Afterwards, we decided to head out of the park to ESPN Zone for dinner and Calvin really wanted to build a car with Liam at Ridemakerz.
Father and son bonding
He was so proud of his car and insisted on carrying it by himself
      I know, how could we decide to call it a night already at the parks? We only did two attractions. It was actually quite simple. When you have an 18 month old, an early flight the next morning, and 10 days in Walt Disney World coming up, it was the easiest decision to make. Our main goal with visiting Disneyland this trip was just to relive our wedding day and that is exactly what we did. We started it off by having lunch and sharing hugs with two very important friends who have become family and who helped make our wedding day unbelievably amazing! It's only natural we always see them during our anniversary! We were able to visit all our special places, plus we got to get in some must-dos for Liam like meeting Olaf and Doc McStuffin. We also made sure we got in Liam's favorite ride and mine since Alice in Wonderland isn't an attraction in Walt Disney World.
     Needless to say, we were excited to begin our next adventure. I was feeling quite anxious about our plane ride because I know my son and I know he has a lot of energy. How were we going to keep him occupied on a flight for 5 hours?! Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

First stop... Disneyland!

     Had to play mommy and daddy this weekend. Poor Calvin has been suffering from extreme tooth pain, but couldnt get an appointment until Monday so he's been down for the count. Lets just say my back is killing me! Mommy life, am I right? But now the boys are in bed, the dishes are clean, the toys are put away, the laundry is finishing up, and I finally have some mommy time. 

    So the first stop of our coast to coast trip was our beloved Disneyland! We started with our first of four flights this trip. Needless to say, my biggest stress of this whole trip were the flights. We have taken a plane before and when Liam was less mobile, he did really well and we had zero problems. The last time we were on a flight, Liam was a little antsy and wanted to walk around. He didn't understand that we needed to sit down. This time I was prepared. I had packed him a little backpack filled with little goodies he had never seen before. 
Liam's goodies for the plane
      In his bag, I included some snacks like his cheddar bunnies, organic apple sauce, and cookies. He usually doesn't get cookies so we included it as a last resort to keep him occupied if need be. Plus, we're on a super fun vacation and vacation means delicious junk food! I also included some books, a little toy, and a play pack. The play packs are amazing! They include crayons, a small coloring book, and stickers. I had also packed different play packs, books, snacks, and toys for the other flights we still had, just to keep everything fresh and new. On our flight to Disneyland, I was able to keep him occupied with a pack of cheddar bunnies and a play pack!

     Our flight was only about an hour long so we were at our destination very quickly. We were picked up by some very dear friends of ours. Bless her heart because it took her and Cal some time to stuff all our luggage in her car. It is definitely not possible to pack light with an 18 month old for a two week long trip. We had two suitcases we checked in, a carry on suitcase, a stroller, a car seat, a backpack, and a diaper bag. It was insane the amount of stuff we had, but we did use pretty much everything we packed!

    Then we were off to our hotel, Paradise Pier. We absolutely love this hotel. For those that don't know, the Disneyland resort has three hotels: the Disneyland Hotel, The Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, and the Paradise Pier Hotel. We love all of their hotels and have stayed in each. The Disneyland and Grand Californian will always hold a special place in our hearts because it reminds us of our wedding. Plus each hotel has something extra they offer that appeal to me. For example, the Disneyland hotel is more themed. The bed headboards light up and play "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" and the hotel lobby has tea cups that you can sit in while waiting for your party to be checked in. The Grand Californian is absolutely gorgeous and has its own private entrance into Disney's California Adventure park. But our current favorite is Paradise Pier. Yes, it is the furthest of the three hotels from the parks. We found that the easiest way to get to the parks is to cross the street and cut through the Grand Californian. But after having Liam and staying here, it works for us. The cast members have always been so nice and helpful. We also love how quiet the hotel is. When you have a napping baby and two exhausted parents, you need all the quiet you can get to ensure everyone is happy! 

     This time we did have access to their concierge level, known at Paradise Pier as the Beachcomber club. We were actually a little disappointed in this. We had stayed at the Disneyland Hotel before and enjoyed their concierge level. The Disneyland Hotel had more selection when it came to the food that they offered. The set up of the lounge is a lot nicer as well. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the Beachcomber club and I wish I had. We didn't have much time at Disneyland, but we had a full schedule, so we were running around everywhere. I will say that it was convenient to stop by the Beachcomber club to stock up on some water bottles before heading into the park though! Those $3.75 water bottles in the park add up!

    After we checked in, we met back up with our friends and had a delicious lunch at Tortilla Jo's in Downtown Disney. Delicious! Their tableside guacamole is a must have! I swear it was the best guacamole I've had and they make it in front of you! Hence the name, "Tableside Guacamole"! Then we headed over to Build-A-Bear workshop because Auntie Sue wanted to build a snowman with Liam! Thank you again Auntie Sue!
Building Olaf with Auntie Sue and Jacquelyn
   We bid farewell to some of our favorite people and headed back to the room for the three of us to get a much needed nap because we had something fun planned later that evening. We were going to take Liam to watch Fantasmic for the very first time and I was so excited. It is my all time favorite. I remember the last time we were able to watch it was during our babymoon at the Fantasmic dessert party. Liam was in my belly and he was kicking like crazy during the show. It could have been the sugar I had from the dessert, but I'd like to think it was because he enjoyed Fantasmic just as much as I did!

     They no longer off the Fantasmic dessert package that we experienced. I'm actually kind of bummed that they no longer offer it because it was so convenient. You get a dessert tray filled with delicious goodies, drinks such as hot chocolate, and an actual chair to sit on with a great view of the show. Now, they have a variety of options to view the show. They still have a dessert package, but it's a different setup. We didn't do this option, but our dear friends have and I believe they went to the Hungry Bear restaurant to have their desserts there and then were given a fastpass for the show for a preferred viewing area. We opted for the dining packages. 

    There were two options: On-The-Go dining package and the dinner package. We opted for the dinner package. We had a choice between The Blue Bayou and Riverbelle Terrace. Of course we wanted to have dinner at The Blue Bayou. Who wouldn't? But unfortunately, they were all booked. Luckily, Riverbelle Terrace still had availability and we were able to get a reservation there. When we called to make the reservation, we double checked the pricing for Liam. Adults are $41.99 and children between the ages of 3-9 are $21.99. We were assured that Liam would be free. For those of you traveling with a child under the age of 3, your child can eat for free but only from your plate. If you wanted to order him or her a meal, you would be paying $21.99. It was disappointing because we know at Ariel's Grotto, they have toddler meals and Liam would get a macaroni and cheese for free because he was under 3. They do not do this at Riverbelle Terrace. When we asked if they had the toddler meal like Ariel's Grotto, we were informed that the table service part of the restaurant was new and they didn't have something like toddler meals set up. We just could not justify spending 22 dollars on a meal for Liam, so Calvin ran over to Jolly Holiday to pick up Liam a grilled cheese for a much more reasonable price. We weren't upset about this and completely understand that each restaurant has a different setup, we just wish we knew earlier so we could have picked up something for Liam before getting seated. Overall, dinner was good. You get an appetizer, entree, and dessert. For our appetizer, we both had the creamy corn chowder soup. For our entree, I had the pasta primavera and Calvin had the New York strip steak with Cajun shrimp skewer. For dessert, Calvin had the apple pie and I had the chocolate mousse cake. Then at the end of your meal, they present you with a fast pass to the preferred viewing area. 

     We had some time to kill before the show started so we decided to hop on a ride before the show. We had about an hour until we needed to line up. Our show started at 8:45 and we were told to start lining up around 8. Note to self and everyone else, line up earlier! We finished dinner around 7 and noticed that no one was lined up and thought we had time. We jumped on the jungle cruise which had about a 30 minute wait. After we were done with that, we went to line up for the show and it was a mad house. There were so many people and there was no real line. We overheard people in the front saying they've been in line since 7:15. We finally found the back of the line and waited patiently. There were a lot of people complaining at the poor cast members who were trying to get everyone where they needed to be. Yes, I will agree that the system for having everyone line up wasn't very organized and it was easy to get confused, but no one is going to get anywhere if people are stalling the lines and yelling at the cast members. They are trying their best to do what they are instructed to do. Calvin and I were more irritated at the rude guests than anything else. To make matters worse, this big group came at the last minute and created a second line and tried to cut in front of us. Needless to say, they did not get in front of me. I waited in line like I was supposed to and followed directions. We finally found a spot, sat down, and waited patiently for the show. It was AMAZING! All the rubbish we had to deal with in the beginning was a thing of the past and the three of us were in awe of such a magical show! 
I was so excited to watch Fantasmic with Liam!
     Thus ends our first night. We made a mad dash out of the park, straight to our hotel room, into our PJs, and off to bed. The next day was our anniversary and only full day at the parks. We planned to make the best of it. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 6, 2015

I'm Back!

     So sorry for being MIA! Mommy life had taken over and when I finally had some down time, I took the opportunity to get some rest. But I am back and going to try and be better at blogging. It's a new year and a new start! 

   The Tan household started off the new year with a big bang! We did a big coast to coast Disney trip. What do I mean by "coast to coast"? We were going to visit Disneyland here on the west coast and then fly straight to Walt Disney World on the east coast! It may seem like a crazy idea for most, but we're a Disney loving family and it sounded like a fun adventure. That is exactly what it was, an adventure. Now how did we come up with this plan you ask? 

   Originally, we were planning a trip to Walt Disney World with two of our good friends, Jennifer and Peter. Unfortunately, we weren't able to go together but the Disney World travel bug was already planted in my head. So I thought, when else could we go?

   My husband and I have made it a yearly tradition to visit Disneyland on our anniversary in January. We like to revisit our venues and relive our special day. We also like to visit our ceremony venue and take a picture holding a photo from the previous year. It's become so fun to look at! 
3 years and counting
   Well, when researching flights, I noticed that Virgin America would fly from San Francisco to Los Angeles and then to Orlando. Then the wheels started turning. LAX had a direct flight to MCO. Bingo! We'll fly down to Disneyland and celebrate our anniversary as we always do, then fly directly from LA to Orlando! Surprisingly it didn't take too much work to get the hubs on board with my plan and soon I was planning our big Disney trip!

  We were both excited because this was going to not only be Liam's first time to Walt Disney World, but it was also going to be our first big family vacation! Plus, who are we kidding, we missed Disney World too! 

  Stay tuned for how we traveled with an 18 month old coast to coast and survived!


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Labor and Delivery Finale

      So, remember when I said that I wanted an unmedicated birth? That was the plan going into all of this. Being that my pain level was only a 2 or 3 for the past few hours I've been on Pitocin and the fact that they had to turn down my Pitocin because my contractions were so strong and close together, I really thought I was going to do this. I was going to be able to have my unmedicated birth. Fast forward another couple hours and the game plan changed. That 2 or 3 pain level I was maintaining literally sky rocketed to a 7 real quick. I remember feeling really uncomfortable in bed, so I decided to stand up. I also remember Calvin sleeping while I was going through the most intense pain I've felt in my entire life. Luckily my mommy was there and she really helped me. I could talk through each contraction, but they were extremely painful. It's funny how to this day that  can't describe the pain to you, but I just remember it being very unpleasant.

     When we met with our doula before all of this and went through positioning and tips on how to deal with pain, I remember thinking to try and find some kind of rhythm. There was a rocking chair in the room, so I grabbed that and leaned against the back and just rocked back and forth while my mom massaged my back. My IV machine started beeping and my mom came up with the idea to focus on that. So I rocked myself according to the beat of the beeping. I remember at some point, while rocking, I was facing my sleeping husband. I know it was the pain speaking, but I was so angry that there he was sleeping in peace while I was going through all this pain with my mom. It's just so unfair that we both decided to have a baby and we both share 50% of ourselves in Liam yet I'm doing 100% of the hard work. I said to my mom "Look at him! How can he just sleep and I'm in so much pain?!". My mom tried to calm me down and redirect my attention to something else. The rocking wasn't working anymore so we moved over to the bed when I was hunched over. My mom was still rubbing my back and I was just trying to focus on anything but the pain. My mom is so sweet and I'll never forget her saying, "Just imagine yourself at Disney. There's Mickey, Goofy, and Donald. 'Hi Mickey!'". I couldn't help but let out a little giggle. My brother and sister were in Hawaii at the time and visited Aulani. I told my mom that I wished I was with them right now. My mom was amazing and did whatever she could to help distract me. But the contractions were winning. At some point, my lovely hubby woke up. I managed to get a few words out and told him to take pictures. Why did I want pictures at such a time? Why did I want evidence of all of this? Simple. Even though I was going through all of this, I wanted to be able to remember it. I knew at the end, I wanted to be able to look back at the entire experience and really appreciate it.
Breath in....
Breathe out...
     Anyways, I don't know why, but I got back in to the bed. It was bad. I even got to the point where I was banging my head on the bed rails. The nurse came in and tried to see if I wanted pain medication. She knew I was hesitant about it. I was still thinking about it even through the contractions. My mom, who was very firm before I went into labor that she was against epidurals, was encouraging me. She  kept saying "take it, just take it. You need to rest". I could tell it was hurting her to see me hurt so bad. Calvin knew how bad I didn't want any pain medication and said he wanted me to do what I felt most comfortable with. I told him to text my doula and to ask for her opinion. My nurse offered me another pain medication, Fentanyl, before the epidural to basically take the edge off. My doula told me that it would basically feel like I've had a couple of margaritas. My worry was that it would pass through the placenta. It was such a hard decision to make and I kept struggling with it. I told my nurse I needed to think about it. She suggested we check my cervix to see how far I am. If I'm close, then I would have decided to just fight through it. Turns out, I was still either 2 or 3! I ended up giving in. I could barely breath because the contractions were just so close. My nurse ordered it for me and then she set it up. The next thing I knew, my body felt kind of cool. Then I remember saying to Calvin, "I feel buzzed" with a big smile of my face.
     The only thing with Fentanyl was that it only lasted about 10 minutes, although it literally felt like 2. Once that was over, I thought I could get through the rest without anymore medication. I thought this little break would help me refocus. Wrong! I tried to get through a couple contractions when I said out loud to Calvin, "It's coming again! That wasn't even 1 minute inbetween!" My nurse came back and said she could give me one more dose of the Fentanyl if I wanted to. I gave in again and told her "yes, please!". She ordered it and when she came back in with it, she mentioned the epidural. She informed me that the anesthesiologist was about to go in for a C-section and that if I wanted one, I should get it now because it would be awhile before I could get one. I was so torn. I know I made this decision based on the pain, but I couldn't help it. I nodded yes. My nurse gave me the Fentanyl and told me that it may be awhile before the anesthesiologist made it over. But, she was literally there within seconds.

      She came in and introduced herself. I was feeling good because of the Fentanyl, but of course nervous as hell about the big needle about to be inserted in my spine. Everything literally was a blur because of the Fentanyl. She asked my mom to leave the room because Im assuming she didn't want my mom to pass out from the needle, or at least that's what I heard. Then she asked Calvin to sit in front of me because they didn't want him to pass out either plus to be my support. I was then asked to sit at the side of the bed and hunch over. I was hunched over leaning against Calvin and I kept whispering to him "I'm scared. I'm scared. I'm scared". Before I knew it, I was all set and helped back into bed. I was given a little yellow button to press whenever I felt that I was regaining feeling in my legs. It literally was instant. My legs felt so numb and the pain was gone! It was nice. I was finally able to relax.  
Smiles again!
     I felt extremely disappointed in myself. I know I'm being hard on myself, but I had set a goal and couldn't achieve it. I felt like I was letting Liam down too by getting the epidural and the Fentanyl. I felt like I was hurting him. But in the end, I actually did what was best for me and Liam. For hours, I had been stuck at 2 or 3 centimeters. After I got the epidural, my doctor came in at some point to check me again. Not much progress still, but she broke my water. It was a quick and painless process and then we wait again. Calvin had called my doula so that she can make her way over since my doctor said this should start to progress. I was still expecting a long wait until I would finally get to 10. I knew I needed to rest and because I felt like I was up for hours on end, it was pretty easy to fall asleep. After my nap, a nurse came in to check me. I was waiting for her to say 3, maybe 4. The next thing she said caught both Calvin and I by surprise. I was at a 9! Holy crap! In a couple hours,  I jumped from a 3 to a 9! All my body needed was a chance to relax. I needed to relax and that is what helped me progress to a 9. So although I didn't want the epidural, it was exactly what I needed. Right when we found out I was at a 9, we called my mom to head over as soon as possible. Even she was surprised because she wasn't gone for long before she had to rush back over. Before I knew it, I was being prepped to start pushing. 

     I will spare everyone the specific details, but it was quite the experience. I was so happy to have my little team with me. Each and every person contributed exactly what I needed to help get Liam out. Initially there was Cal, my doula Krystal, my mom, and my nurse. The doctor doesn't come until the very end to "catch the baby". Krystal was simply amazing as well. I was obviously nervous and had no clue what I was doing. I couldn't help but doubt myself a little. I was scared, but Krystal helped me snap out of it. I will never forget how she reminded me that I knew exactly what I was doing. I am only supposed to push once the contractions starts and once it stops, I should stop pushing. Since I had the epidural, I wasn't feeling the pain of each contraction. I was basing the start and stop of each contraction on my instinct. Initially my nurse was telling me when a contraction was happening and when to push. Krystal had noticed that right when the contraction was about to start, I was already double checking my instinct by referring over to the monitor. She reminded me that I knew my body and I knew what I was doing. I felt more comfortable to believe in myself. I also had the best nurse ever. I believe her name was Marina. She was so sweet and excited to be there to help bring Liam into the world. She was encouraging and helpful. I remember telling Calvin later that I was so happy that she was my nurse. Then there was my mom. I love my mom and she's like my best friend. Ever since I thought about giving birth to my child, I knew I wanted my mom there. Just her presence alone was comforting. Who doesn't feel safe when their mom is there?

      Last, but not least, is my wonderful husband Calvin. He helped calm me down by playing some Disney music on Pandora. That man always knows that the way to my heart is Disney. My little team was very aware that I wanted Liam out before midnight so he could share his birthday with Disneyland. My nurse loved that we had Disney music on and even commented on how it put her in a good mood. I specifically remember Calvin being right there next to me and helping me count through each push and giving me the encouraging words I needed to hear. He really stepped up to the plate when I needed him the most. 

I think I pushed for maybe an hour or hour and a half. I was trying so hard to have my little Disney baby, but Liam was born at 12:25 AM on Thursday, July 18, 2013. He weighed in at 7 lbs and 11 oz. and measured at 18 in. long. Even though he doesn't share a birthday with Disneyland, he will forever be my little Disney baby. He was brought into the world with Disney music and hey, his mom is a big fan! Words cannot explain how completely beautiful it all was. Right before he came out, I was in so much pain. Yes I had the epidural, but I guess it wore out by then and I had no time to think about pressing the button. I felt everything at the very end. I was in so much pain that I felt like a scene in the movies and I later found out that I scared Calvin. He did not like seeing me in so much pain and felt helpless not being able to make it go away. But once he came out and they put him on my chest, I was speechless. I have been wanting to be a mother and have a child of my own for a long time. I couldn't believe that he was here. My son was in the world, in my arms. It was simply amazing. 
Our first family picture
        Exhausted but so in love
Peacefully sleeping
Cherishing the little moments
     Liam, if you ever read this, please know that mommy loves you so much. You are mommy's dream come true. I promise to love you with all my heart and be the best mother I can. I will protect you from as much as the evil as I can. I will make sure you have the best of the best. I will teach you to have manners,  respect, morals, and values. I will make sure you grow healthy and strong. I will play in the dirt with you and get messy. I will play hide and seek, toys, draw pictures, play games, and whatever you want to do. I will make sure to have patience in times that are difficult. I will make sacrifices to ensure you receive the best. I will nurture your talents and support you in everything and anything that you choose to do. You are my life and my love for you is unconditional. Thank you for choosing me to your mommy. You make me so happy and I love you very much.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Labor and Delivery Part 2

     The last time I left off, Calvin and I were waiting patiently for a room to open up for us. It felt like forever, but it was probably only 20 minutes before we were brought to my room at around 12:45 pm. The nurse was so sweet and turned on the heat for me in the room. She handed me a gown and told me to change. I remember going into the bathroom and just taking a second to breathe. I remember talking to myself and saying how I couldn't believe this was it. I was talking to Liam and telling him how excited I am to meet him. It was happening! After I was in my hospital gown, I sat on the bed and we waited to be told what to do.

     While  we were waiting, we found out how thin the walls were. We were able to hear two births. The first one literally scared the crap out of me and I had to cover my ears. Let's just say I felt the pain through her cries. It made my anxiety spike even higher because I felt like it was foreshadowing the pain that was about to come. Then it was quiet. A little while later, we heard a lot of encouraging words like "Push! Come one!" and soon that was followed by cheering. It sounded like a total different experience. It was a little more reassuring that I was able to hear both sides of what was to come. The pain and joys of labor and delivery!

     A different nurse came in and she was super sweet as well. I must say, Good Samaritan Hospital has amazing labor and delivery nurses. All of them were extremely sweet, caring, and helpful. We were very lucky to have such awesome nurses. I think I had about 6 nurses during labor and delivery and then about 5 nurses during recovery. Okay, so please bare with me as its been over 6 months since I experienced all this and my memory isn't what it use to be. So some things may not be in absolute chronological order.

     The first nurse put in my IV for me. I was scared for this as I heard from multiple sources that it was pretty scary. It was definitely not an easy or fun process. It took her a couple times to get it right. She was really nice and apologetic the entire time. It took a couple tries because she was trying a position that would be easier for me to move my hand. My vein was not cooperating so she had to put it in another way.
     Then she put this monitor on around my tummy to monitor the baby's heart rate and contractions. I hated that thing! It was extremely uncomfortable and left marks on my tummy from being on so tight. I also always felt bad to move because if it couldn't pick up Liam's heart rate, it will notify the nurse and then she would have to come in and help me fix it. It was just super uncomfortable and I felt like I couldn't do much with it on.

I did not like this!
     After that was all set and done, the nurse helped me get into bed. She then went through a series of questions with me. After she was done and made sure I was all good, she mentioned that I should order something to eat because once they give me the Pitocin, I can't have anything to eat.

*Warning! May be a little TMI so please skip over this next paragraph if need be *
      Then she ordered my Cervadil, which helps to ripen the cervix and slowly releases a hormone to help stimulate labor. I would need to keep it in for 12 hours. Then they will check my cervix, see if  my contractions had started getting worse, break my water if needed, and so on if the Cervadil had worked. If it did work, we wouldn't need to start the Pitocin. I've never heard good things about Pitocin and was already disappointed that I needed to be induced so I was really hoping the Cervadil would work. The nurse even tried to make me feel better and told me that she hadsome some women get lucky and their contractions picked up and they didn't need Pitocin. Fingers were crossed! Well, she prepped me on the process before she went did the insertition. Let me tell you, it was not a pleasant feeling to put that thing all up in there. It literally felt like plastic. Ouch! Again, having awesome nurses really helped through all the yucky stuff. She was very apologetic and always made sure I was doing okay and not in too much discomfort. Once the Cervadil was in, she let me know that it would be in for 12 hrs. At that point, I will be checked and then it will be decided about the Pitocin.

All smiles!
     At this point, my mom had made it to my room and Calvin had gone home to pick up my hospital bag and some pizza for the nurses. I hung out with my mom as we waited for him to return.
We talked and watched a little TV. Then my mom reminded me to order some food before the kitchen closed. I'm not going to lie, and neither will Cal, but we loved and truly missed this part. I was allowed 3 meals a day and lucky Cal got to have a meal as well. They want mamas to eat! When I called to order, I asked what I could order and she said anything and everything! For my first meal, I ordered a turkey sandwich, salad, sliced peaches, a roll, a brownie, and apple juice. It was a lot of food!

The look on my face...
     I made sure to order enough because I wouldn't be able to eat once I got the pitocin. I'm glad I ordered that much food too because I ate this on Tuesday, July 16th, evening and I didn't get to eat another meal until Thursday, July 18 at around 1:30 AM. Yes my friends, I didn't eat an actual meal for almost 2 days! I was able to eat jello, a popsicle, water, and juice but that was it. No legit food though! Oh! I forgot to mention. I've never been in there, but there was a room where they had a fridge, microwave, and goodies such as soda, juice, ice creams and popsicles that were available to all mothers an fathers to be. That was extremely nice to have.

Now, we play the waiting game. There wasn't much progress and I wasn't feel much in terms of pain. I could feel my tummy harden. It was uncomfortable, but not painful.
Waiting game
     My mom stayed for a few hours and then had to head home to get dinner for my dad. We figured it was going to be awhile until anything really happened so my mom said she would plan to come back the next afternoon, but of course to call her if things change.  I literally spent the rest of the evening watching either Full House or Friends.

I knew I needed to get some rest because I had to save all my energy for the birth, but I just couldn't sleep. Poor Calvin had this little chair that pulled out into a mini cot, but he had no trouble falling asleep.
Hubby's bed
     Around 2 or 3 AM, a nurse came in to take out the Cervadil and to check how dilated I was. The nurse was really sweet, but she had quite a bit of trouble getting it out and it was not a pleasant experience. After she did that, she had to check my cervix and I was wishing on every star and crossing all my fingers that the Cervadil worked and would jump start my labor without the need of Pitocin. Yea, no luck. I needed the Pitocin. Once I was given it, I would not be able to eat until I had given birth. I can have water, jello, and popsicles but that was it. Because it was 3 in the morning, my options were very limited to get some kind of food into my system. I had my leftover roll from my meal earlier and the small side salad. I ate all that up and soon the nurse was in to administer the Pitocin.
     I was terrified. I have never heard anything good about Pitocin. I heard that the pain is more extreme and poor Liam would also be disturbed more by the contractions. I didn't want it at all! It was administered at 3:30 AM and now we wait until it takes full effect. I couldn't sleep before and I definitely couldn't sleep now.  My nurse would check on me periodically. I wasn't feeling any pain, just discomfort. The nurses would always ask my pain level on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the most painful. I swear I was at a 2 or 3 for the longest time, but according to my charts, I was having contractions on top of each other. She even had to turn the Pitocin down because I was barely getting a break, according to the charts. Liam was doing great and the nurses would always comment on how happy he was.

     My doctor came in to check on me in the morning and still not much going on. I still wasn't dilated much. It really is discouraging to hear that your only at 1 or 2 centimeters. She also warned me that it could take awhile and I might not give birth until Thursday. She told me she would be back to check on me in a couple hours and see what progress I had made then. Also at that point, she would break my water if it didn't happen before then.

 *Side Note* You all should know by now that I am a HUGE Disney fan. July 17 is Disneyland's birthday. Ever since I passed my due date, Ive been hoping and praying that he would come on the 17th. So when my doctor said he may come on the 18th, I kept praying he'd be here on the 17th. I felt like it had to be destiny that he was so close to being my little Disney baby!

     It definitely was a more intense waiting game than the 40 weeks of waiting I did while he grew in my tummy. Luckily, I had a bunch of friends and family who kept in touch with me and offered their support.My mom came back that afternoon to help me and be there for me. My doula was amazing and made sure to keep in contact with us while everything was going on. We hadn't ask her to come yet because I wasn't making much progress and I didn't want to pull her away if all I was doing for hours was just laying there watching television. I was getting so much love and support from my friends Jenn, Michelle, Ari, and Katiria. You girls have no idea how much you guys helped keep me calm. My cousin, Priscilla, would check up on me too and it felt really nice to feel the love and support. You all helped give me the strength to keep going. I love you all!

Calm before the storm
 Now we wait!