Thursday, September 18, 2014

Start of Something - A New Life

I am lying here with Charlie Rhoades Fadner a blond little bundle of perfection, curled up asleep at my side.  My fortune cookie from last Wed, Aug 27th said to trust my instincts.  I took this advise to heart as my due date drew closer.  Well, it was close, and yet I still supposedly had about a month to go!  I still had my birthday and our anniversary to celebrate (Aug 30 & Sep 1st).  Jonathan had a big week in prep for starting his 2nd year of grad school.  Jack and I - and Charliebelly - were essentially moving back to NYC after a full 3 months away.  And it was HOT - the hottest week of the summer.

You know how other moms just “know” things.  I encountered many women in that last week who looked at me and said it’s gonna be soon.  I heard many words of advise and encouragement.  Most frequent was “Drink lots of water” since it was the hottest week of the entire summer.  My feet were killing me.  My appetite was huge.  Sleep was nonexistent.  I had ongoing contractions for weeks, which was confirmed at the Dr. on Tue, Aug 26th where they hooked me up to a monitor and sure enough saw contractions!  YET, I kept assuring myself to chill, thinking I still had weeks to get through.
Let me remind you, my due date was September 22 and it was still the end of August...

As the delivery day drew unexpectedly closer…

On Thur, Aug 28th, we drove to an NYU potluck in Brooklyn.  A stretch of road was so bumpy I was afraid I was going to bounce Charlie out!  Jack kept shouting “Charlie bumpy!  Charlie bumpy!”  I was joking about it at the party … Thankfully we took a different road home.

On Fri, dinner with our dear dear lovely awesome friends, Steven and Bea and Monty!  YAY!

On Sat, we celebrated my birthday by going to see Pippin on Broadway!  It was the show that Jonny and I met working on together.  We almost named Jack Pippin and Charlie’s full first name is Charlemagne (Pippin’s father & king).  Seeing the show brought back so many memories on so many levels - memories of Jonathan and I, acting with the kids and my time at Berkeley Playhouse, aerial dance and performing, my life dreams - I cried through the whole thing!  It was an internal battle to not burst out uncontrollably - pretty ridiculous.

That night we had my favorite - Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake!!!

Sun and Monday were pretty uneventful.  I think I got my eyebrows waxed or something.  And ate leftovers of !!!Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake!!!  

On Tues, we went to an NYU Students with Children gathering which was something that I’d wanted to join up ever since last year.  So, that was super awesome!  We met friendly parents from all over the world and in many different fields of study - not a huge group, which is good, and the kids were close to Jack’s age.  Everyone kept telling me about Charlie, “Oh, it could be anytime now!”  And I was like, “I know!  I know!”
I walked home from the subway that afternoon and was followed by this young man, maybe like 23 yrs old, for blocks and blocks.  I didn’t actually notice him - I was singing songs with Jack and walking along when he cornered me.  He totally hit on me, saying how beautiful my smile was that he had to ask me out and please would I go out with him and I’m like HELLO - I’m walking my 2 yr old and bursting with a baby on the way, Are you insane?!?  And I’m married.  He was like, Oh, so you’re not the babysitter?  I’m like NO, NO, NO, bye bye.  
I’m guessing the pregnancy glow cast a spell on the poor guy.

On Wed, we went to the stupid DMV and J and I were both really crabby.  I was having contractions, lots of them, still.  My night of sleep was awful and crampy…

On Thur, September 4, 2014, I continued to experience highly uncomfortable contractions.  That morning I felt compelled to take my prego picture a day earlier than usual, call it a woman’s instincts.  Had I waited til Fri morning, there woulda been no more prego lady!

Sep 4th - Final prego pik -
Next, I requested that we drive to the hospital so that when labor comes, we know where we are going.  Jonathan drove and was grumpy about traffic.  We got to the hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, and walked into a magical palace of glory!  The hospital is sparkly new and has a feeling of futuristic utopia!  We couldn’t tour the Labor/Delivery floor, but I was content to walk in and out.

At the glorious hospital
Later, we walked to the park to let Jack play and I was saying, “If these Braxton-Hicks or whatever they are don’t let up, I’m not gonna be able to do anything for the next few weeks!”  And Jonathan replied, “You were like this with Jack too.”  I don’t really remember that so we continued on…

I made dinner, but by the time I sat down to eat I could barely eat.  After dinner I decided to lay down and time my contractions.  I was finally suspecting something more than false labor.  
Jackrabbit, my sweet boy, came and cuddled with me on the air mattress that I’d been sleeping on because it’s right in front of the air conditioner.  He was SO loving and cuddly.  I asked Jonathan to take a picture because it might be the last time Jack cuddles with his Mommy without a little brother around.

Jack's last cuddle as an only child

The contractions were coming every 7 minutes.  It was no fluke, people.  By the time I called my clinic, they had increased to every 3-4 minutes.  The doctor said “Take a shower and go to the hospital in about an hour.”  I asked, “I am in labor, then?”.  She said, “Yep!  Good luck!”  She wasn’t on duty and I was too uncomfortable to care who was on duty.  I couldn’t believe I was actually in labor!

I took the suggested shower, while trying to pack my hospital bag and gather essentials for Jackrabbit.  It was approaching 9pm, and Jack’s bedtime had come and gone.  Jonathan, well, he was scrambling around, pretty much caught of guard!  We had no one to watch Jack!  Not part of the plan - Jonathan expected to be the rock and hold my hand through labor and give me all his love and attention, but instead he was on Jack duty!
Immediately after the shower, I lost my delightful mucous plug - gross! yay!  OMG - it was really happening.
Jonathan had to get the car so I slowly made my way downstairs, met a couple acquaintances on the way down who were sweet and supportive but I was pretty much not able to accept any help.  Those contractions are super uncomfortable!  LOL
I literally stood at the street corner, bracing myself on a tree, waiting for the car.  It was the hour of gangster wannabes hanging out on the street and I am not kidding, a couple guys were like, “Hey.”  I laughed deep down inside but the pain masked my amusement and I just held my composure as best I could!

The car ride was free of traffic jams - Halleluia!  Jackrabbit sang Happy Birthday in the car with Daddy which definitely helped ease the discomfort.  Jack sat own at the piano the day Charlie was born and sang him his own special version of Happy Birthday Dear Charlie, which we happily caught on video:

And now, back to the action ...

Eventually we, Jonathan, Jackrabbit, Me and the persistently pushing yet still to be born "Charliebelly" arrived and went up to the 3rd floor to get admitted.  It was 10pm.  Paperwork, paperwork.  The admitting lady called back to the nurses, saying “She (referring to me as I grasped onto her desk for dear life) is very uncomfortable.”  
I went to a receiving room and got checked.  I was 7 1/2 cm dilated already!  The nurse said it would be fast and I thought, “Yeah right.”  36 hours of labor for Jackrabbit - I doubted this would be fast.  My contractions were coming in couples so I had literally no down time.  Yikes!

Next move was to the delivery room.  Since J & J were staying out of the way, I resorted to using the pretty pink bedpan as my trustworthy hand to hold.  I held that bedpan so dearly and desparately to my face that when a nurse trued to pry it out of my hand, I zapped her with laser beams.

Whatever Doctor that was “on duty” hadn’t gotten there yet.  A very kind and youthful resident doctor came to my room.  He told me it would be very fast.  I was like, “Whatever’.
But, to my surprise, when I told them I felt like I needed to push, he said “Push!”
That’s when my shock hit it’s peak.  It finally proved true - this was going to be fast!  I pushed for the first time… The second push my water broke!… The third time and the baby’s head crowned part way.  I had to push again to get his head out all the way.  It was about now that the admitting lady reappeared with papers for me to sign!  LOL!!!  I could not even see where or what I was signing, but she gosh darn it all did her job!  … Fourth push and Charliehorse pummeled out!

I cheered “Yay Charliehorse!”  and everyone laughed .  Charlie was crying nice and loud.  Jonathan and Jack came in right away and saw the umbilical cord being cut.  Jonathan said he wanted to cut it and a guy intern said “Too late.”  Real nice, guy, thanks.

I remember the rushing emotion of complete disbelief and of course joy that Charlie had been born.  It was 3 1/2 hours from when I timed my contractions, and there he was!  A perfectly healthy baby boy at 7 lbs 6 oz, 20” long with BLONDE hair!!!  That part blew me away the most!  Of course, 3 out of 4 of his grandparents are blonde so it was completely possible, but still, that Chinese gene runs strong and I thought it would dominate through everything!  I love being surprised with amazing things like blond babies that come out easily with no drugs or painkillers, ready to greet the world!
He nursed right away.  I felt so good - crazy as that sounds after giving birth - but the euphoria and miracle of having a baby overcomes all pain and exhaustion!

To be real, I did have to tolerate the few stitches after Charlie came out and my body was trembling uncontrollably for an hour or so as well.  But those things were minuscule comparatively!

Jack greeted his little brother with kisses and funny comments like “yummy booboo” and then Jonathan took him off in his stroller to get Jack to fall asleep for the night…

They definitely look like brothers!




The next morning was Fri, and like clockwork, I got up and was ready for my regular photo that we'd been taking every Friday morning for over 8 months, but now there was a baby there!  

Fri Morning - a few hours old
Any new mother knows that the next couple days are like living in a bubble with your newborn.  Charlie was so sweet and easy, and still is a week later - he slept and nursed and slept and occasionally let out a very loud, high-pitched banchee scream instead of crying, so that’s fine with me!  Compared to the 36 hours of labor, the pitocin and epideral, the drama of the cord wrapped around his neck, the emergency vacuum I experienced with Jack - I had so much more energy and clarity this time around!  I also had and still have this new sensation of peaceful calm and I feel more grounded that ever.  I believe that Charlie is the missing link bringing harmony to our family!


Ka pow!
My photo journal has now come full circle.  With the help of a wonderful artist and friend, Ken Bernstein, and of course my dear hubby Jonathan who took all the photos, we created this fantastic video that follows my body’s natural growth and progress from beginning to end to the beginning of a new life.  The song is one that inspired the title of my first pregnancy blog “Start of Something”.  It’s a song that Jonathan wrote the music and lyrics to and is sung from the perspective of an unborn baby, though it can also be interpreted as a universal sense of discovery of the unknown.  I just love this song and the meaning!  We recorded it together at the beginning of this journey and now, like I said, it’s all come full circle.  

Here is the final video: “Start of Something”

To stay true to the end, here are my last photos in the Start of Something Series:

Week 35
Week 36
Week 37
Charlie 1
Charlie 2
Charlie 3
Life amazes me.  Thank you for joining me on this journey!  Please share your amazing lives with me.  This journal has allowed me to feel connected to a greater whole and appreciate that we all travel through such similar yet unbelievably unique and magical experiences in this world and beyond!  
Call it nature, god, spirit, universe, Love… life is simply amazing!

We all start somewhere!

With all my love - Kimbirdlee and The Fads

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