Tag Archives: Family

Baby Jaanu’s Birthday!

Here is my baby’s birth story! Sorry, it’s so long…

I was high risk from the start because of hypertension before pregnancy. Mid pregnancy I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was on meds for both, but the numbers remained controlled till the end. Still, they made the doctors nervous and they wanted to induce at 39 weeks. I refused to be induced till my due date. This was an ongoing battle with my care providers.

Also, I took an at home study course for Hypnobabies. I planned on an “as natural as possible” childbirth. I knew I had some issues that could require interventions, and that’s where the “as possible” entered. I practiced Hynobabies often. However, I wasn’t as diligent as I should have been. I believed in its efficacy, but I never expected a pain free birth. I hoped for the promised, “easy and comfortable childbirth.” Apparently, a quick entry was also in my baby’s plans…

The night before:
I couldn’t sleep. My lower back and hips hurt slightly, but what REALLY hurt was my BUTT! I kept going to the bathroom hoping that pooping would relieve pain. Nope. I didn’t sleep at all. In hindsight, I was in early labor.

The morning:
Sunday, July 13th. 38w4d. I wasn’t due for another week and a half and the husband and I had plans. We were going to finish setting up the baby’s nursery, meet with our landlord, and go up to Alamogordo to meet with our doulas. It was going to be a busy but uneventful Sunday.


I woke up to my bloody show. I thought, I have at least a couple of days. Wednesday maybe? The husband says as long as he can go to work on Monday, he’d be happy. I felt crampy and started to track the cramps. I realized that while some of the pressure waves (the term for contractions in Hypnobabies) were 12 minutes apart, some came as short as 6 minutes apart. I was in early labor!

I notified my doula and told my Husband, we were still thinking Monday, hopefully later in the day. Our landlord stopped by, and while we were talking, I took note that my pressure waves were coming stronger and possibly closer together. Whatever. I still had a long way to go. After all, none of it hurt. And it’s only been like a few hours!


As my landlord was leaving, around 10:30, a pressure wave hit and I went to to the kitchen to finger drop it off (a hypnosis technique to ride through a pressure wave). As soon as I leaned against the counter, I felt a pop and a gush of water. I felt gross, like I peed myself before it hit me… Did my water break? I calmly call out to the husband, “uh, I think my water broke.” He came in and I told him maybe not, because it wasn’t clear like I thought it was supposed to be. but it wasn’t yellow like pee, and it didn’t have a smell. Called my doula, and she said to take a shower, where I realized that my “water” was green. Not only did my water definitively break, but my baby pooped meconium in the amniotic sac. :::Sigh:::

I was in active labor! I was having a baby at least late that night or by next morning!

We started timing my pressure waves, and this time the husband did it so I could continue doing the finger drop technique. During this time, I felt the pressure waves, but there was no pain. Just intense pressure, ebbing and flowing. I felt like they were maybe 5 minutes apart. Not more than a minute long. Well, husband confirms that they are about 50 seconds long, but they were coming at every 3 minutes or less! I decided it was time to go to the hospital. We notified the hospital and my doula, and headed over to the hospital. We got there around 12:30.

After we had been processed through triage and put into my room, it was chaotic. The staff was setting everything up, and people were coming in and out. The midwife and nurses asked me a lot of questions. I have no idea when my doula came in. I was distracted by the pressure waves and the flurry of questions. MY BP was really high. I think as high as 150s/100s, which made the medical staff freak out. They kept reminding me that I was high risk. That raised my blood pressure even more. It was like they were preparing me for the worst. The midwife was nice enough, but, as the husband put it,  she was “mission oriented”, and perpetuated a negative attitude. By the end of their “stuff”, they checked me and I was 5 cm dilated, about 80% (or more) effaced. Finally, they left around 1:30, periodically checking on me.

Thankfully I had my team. My doulas and my husband made an exceptional support crew. They helped me labor through all my pressure waves. I got massages, encouraging words, and lots of love. I felt like a celebrity!

My pressure waves kept coming, eventually stronger and stronger. The Hypnobabies CDs were playing in the background, and they helped center me. As labor progressed, I realized I didn’t like being still. I kept moving from the bed to sitting on the ball to sitting on the toilet. Sometimes I laid on my right side, sometimes my left. I was getting more and more uncomfortable. Thankfully, I also had a wonderful nurse. She was totally supportive of my desire to birth naturally, and as long as everything was going okay, she was letting us be. She asked me if I wanted the internal monitor for the baby, but I declined.

At some point, the pressure waves became… not exactly painful, but pain is the closest terminology I can find. I got to the point where I could barely “keep it together.” I remember vaguely saying, “I don’t know if I can do this.” I couldn’t keep still. My Doula kept reminding me not to tense up, but when those peaks hit, I didn’t know how NOT to tense up. I did remember the hypnosis mantra, “deeper and deeper”, and kept using that, and I think it helped.

(Fair warning… my memory from here on out is fuzzy… I was focused on birthing my beautiful baby.)

The medical staff really needed to keep the baby on the monitor, but it was having a hard time picking up baby’s heartbeat externally, and I was moving way too much. So they again recommended the internal monitor and this time I agreed. They had to check me again, and I was 7 cm dilated. This was sometime after 4:30 PM. I was officially in transformation (transition in Hypnobabies language). The husband went to grab dinner quickly.

I thought at this point I had a few more hours, then an hour or 2 of pushing. So maybe another 4 or 5 hours? Nope, by the time the husband came back (which he claims was exactly 37 minutes), I had gone from 7 to 8 to being fully dilated. That was around 5:10 PM. Then the baby’s heart rate started dropping.

The action around me got crazy again, with me ready to push and baby’s heart rate dropping. So I tried a couple of pushes. They weren’t nearly strong enough. My midwife said that if I didn’t push this baby out right now, the OB was going to come in and want to do a c-section. That scared me. My doula counted to 10 and I gave one big push. The midwife was surprised, the baby had come all the way down. It didn’t hurt at all, and I was ready to push again. And another countdown with one more push. I felt pressure and heard a pop and felt slime slither out of me. Then a baby whimpering. She was out, head and body all in one push! I had my baby girl!

Baby Jaanu was born July 13th, 2014 at 5:21 PM. She was 5 lbs. 9.8 oz., 17 3/4 inches long. Total labor time, maybe 13/14 hours? Active labor… less than 7. Pushing… 10 minutes.

Just in case you are curious and made it this far…Stage 3 and first meet:
I am not sure of the exact reason, probably because of the multiple complications, they didn’t immediately give my baby to me for skin to skin, and she was whisked off to the warmer. It was the only wish that didn’t go according to my “plan”.

I was in a haze, exhausted, and felt like I was having an outer body experience. I bled quite a bit, and my placenta hadn’t delivered. So the painful stomach compressions came, and eventually I got Pictocin to help stop the bleeding and the placenta deliver. Eventually, it came out with a soft plop, and the bleeding slowed. I had 2nd degree tears that the midwife had to sew up. I could barely do that, my legs were stiff and refused to relax. I kept trying to see my daughter, and I could hear her whimpering and my husband talking to her.

According to the husband, she was fine. They dried her off and did her checks (I still don’t know what her Apgar scores were). Her sugar levels were good, but her temp was low and they kept her under the warmer. They gave her all the shots and eye ointment. She took them like a champ. Finally, she was ready, as was I. They gave her to me. She was this tiny person, finding her cozy spot. It took both my doulas and me to get my breast to maneuver into her little cupid bow mouth, but she latched and we were united. ❤

She is now two weeks old. Happy 2nd week birthday Baby Jaanu!



A few minutes after she was born



This morning at 2 weeks

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Posted by on July 27, 2014 in Uncategorized


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It Didn’t Matter

Baby Jaanu Kwon–July, 20th 2014

I had many life changes in the past month. None of it compared to finding out I  was pregnant.

It did’t matter that the husband and I had been trying for over 2 years, which was interrupted by deployments. It didn’t matter that I have wanted this for a long time. Did it matter that I was almost 3 years past my wish of when to have kids? No. Did it matter that pregnancy is a normal part of life and billions of women and families have gone through with it No.

Because, I, me, Zeenat, this woman, right here, was PREGNANT.

So while this blog will continue to be book reviews and writing, I will have a lot to sat about baby jaanu. You are forewarned.

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Posted by on December 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Why aren’t you posting?

The world might be vicious and treacherous and deadly, but it couldn’t kill laughter. Laughter, like love, has power to survive the worst things life has to offer. And to do it with style. 

Blood Rites By Jim Butcher

I’m a slacker. I know. Not only have I not been posting, but I have not been reading. I barely have the energy to pick up books and read a page. But there are reasons for my absence. Here is why:

1) I FINALLY FINISHED MY THESIS! I turned it in and defended it! Last Thursday! My whole body feels the lightening of the stress. It was as if I had weights dangling off of me, and they turned into birds and flew away. I’M DONE!!

2) My adviser and I had a talk. I decided NOT to continue on with comprehensive exams and dissertation. Meaning, No Dr. Kwon. It was a hard and easy decision at the same time. Hard because I felt like a quitter. By not finishing it, was I saying, “I know I’m not smart enough, so I quit.” Am I failure? But my adviser told me “You are brilliant, but I don’t think you want to do this.” And he was right. I was not motivated to finish. Research was NOT a direction I wanted to go. And hearing someone who is 10 times smarter than me say that I’m smart was a huge ego boost. In the end I realized, I wasn’t quitting, but I was starting something new.

3) Travels, visits, holidays. This is just a busy time of year. Just went to Chicago, sister coming for thanksgiving, and in a few weeks going home for the holidays. There is no break. It’s cleaning, packing, unpacking, cleaning, and the circle goes on.

4) I got off my depression meds. Completely. Bye bye Welbutrin XL! I went cold turkey, too. It has been nearly two weeks, so far I am still sane. No breakdowns, no tears, and no suicidal thoughts. Life is good! I have had no negative triggers lately, so there has been no tests. We’ll see what happens when I run into negative triggers.

5) The husband and I decided we needed more space. We are moving sometime in April of next year. So we are sorting through stuff, getting rid of things, etc. etc. He has been doing most of the work. He’s such a trooper. ❤

There is one major life change I have not mentioned yet. However, it will take a long post just to talk about this one item, so I’ll post about that later. As if finishing your master’s, getting off of depression meds and moving isn’t enough of a life change 😛

As for plans, I hope over the next few weeks I can settle down and read more and review more. I have huge backlog for NetGalley and Edelweiss. They will be a priority for reviews, so my regular reads may or may not get reviews. Sorry for that! But I hope to get back to my creative writing, also.

For a long time, life froze me from moving forward. I was stuck. Now after all that hard work and a few laughs later–I’m finally moving to Act 2!

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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Uncategorized


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The Family You Choose

“Blood is one thing, but that’s not all that goes into family. The family you choose is the family that really matters. They’re the ones who’ll keep you standing.” 

Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire

The husband and I celebrate 3 anniversaries. And by celebrate I mean I remind him what day it is, and he says, “happy anniversary.” Sometimes.

In April, we celebrate our official wedding anniversary. The day we got married in the eyes of god, or more precisely, the eyes of the government, and witnessed by a few friends. All of our paperwork match that date. That’s the day we started receiving extra BAH. Technically, it’s our only anniversary.

August is when we celebrate our relationship. Our first real date. That’s the day our love story started. It was when we found the missing piece in our lives. It is the real start of the Zeenat and Husband show.

But officially and reality aside, marriage to the both of us didn’t start until the world accepted us as a couple. Obstacles were put up to prevent that day from happening. From family to the army, from flower issues to my worsening depression, I thought someone, who didn’t want this marriage to happen, would come in and ruin our weekend.

But four years ago, family and friends, those that loved us and believed in our love, got together to make my dreams come true. People from all stages of my life, from childhood to college, Shuttle and Army, took up responsibilities and jobs to make the 3 day event happen. Because of them, four years ago I got my dream wedding. A wedding where we redefined the meaning of family.

Happy anniversary to my “family”. Thank you for all your love and support, and for blessing our hard earned marriage. You are the family we choose.

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Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Back to the Heart

“It’s not that I can’t live without you
It’s just that I don’t even want to try”

“Back to Your Heart” by Backstreet Boys

Happy (legal) anniversary to my husband! We have been married for four years. He hasn’t run away yet! 😉

Yesterday on my Facebook page, I posted this editorial in regards to Marriage Equality. It resulted in a friend unfriending me. I don’t hold it against her; she was very graceful about it. Bigot is defined as someone who is intolerant of other ideas because of their own ideas. I can see how the word is inflammatory and hurtful. Sometimes, the truth hurts.

But, how do the people who know my history, think I would believe differently?

I grew up in a Muslim household and knew growing up that my only option was to marry a Muslim man. How hard could that be with over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world? When I grew up and fell in love with a non Muslim man, I realized it wasn’t that simple. It wasn’t about who was available or what was moral, but what my heart wanted. Your heart knows when you are compatible in ways that matter, when you complement and support each other, and that you understand each other in a way no one else does. Not about desire or physical attraction, but rather a soul deep connection. Hey I tried to move on, but my heart had made her choice.

Neither of our families were happy. His was better. They were against it for various reasons, including religious. His mom even suggested he, “not get married, just live with me.” But they eventually supported his decision and their relationship is rebuilding. My family was, and still is, against it. They tried to not only prevent me from marrying my husband, but also tried to prevent my younger sister from this “dangerous path.” My father sent out e-mails and dragged other people into the conflict, in order to make me look bad. He told people that supporting my marriage and going to my wedding was a sin because, “Muslim women cannot marry non Muslim men.” Not only did my parents not come to my wedding, nor did a bunch of other people. Some of my parents’ friends wanted to support them, others because they agreed with his philosophy. My relationship with my parents were over. And, It spilled over to my sisters. One sister chose to side with my parents, and the other chose me. The one that chose my parents, joined in to control my youngest sister. They tried to prevent her from participating in my wedding planning. They watched who she spoke to, and kept her under lock and key. Literally. They locked her bedroom door at night so she wouldn’t run away.

All because they felt my marriage was sinful. Sound familiar?

I swallowed and took what people threw at me, from the empty concern to the blatant, “you are not Muslim. I’m not coming to your so called wedding.” Relatives and friends I was close to reduced their contact with me to polite interactions. People lied about why they couldn’t come to my wedding, thinking that was the better than owning up to their own beliefs. I hurt when people said, “I support your choice even though I think your marriage is immoral and wrong”. My heart constricted when my marriage is referred to as “illegitimate.”Abandonment hurts, and in combination with other difficult situations in my life, I fell into a deep depression. I didn’t get out of bed on most days and contemplated suicide on several occasions. While I dragged myself through grad school and planned a 250 people wedding from 800 miles away.

But I was lucky. I also had a terrific support system. My husband. My youngest sister. Extended family. Friends. People who stood by me, helped me put on a fabulous wedding, and kept me together. After our wedding, I learned the true meaning of love. Of Family. Of friends. It’s not based on blood or morality. It all goes back to the heart.

And, I have legal protection.

So, yes. I think you are acting bigoted if you are against marriage equality. Why would I think otherwise? Sure, you have the freedom of speech, the right to your feelings and opinions. You have the right to vote according to your morality. Having that right doesn’t change definitions of the term “bigot”. It doesn’t change how your righteousness suppress other people’s lives. It is our right to have the love that our heart chose for us, and the legal protections associated with it. It doesn’t matter if the marriage is between two Christian men, two Atheist women, or a Muslim girl and a Christian man.

Regardless of anyone’s morals, I have been married for four years to a man who exemplifies love, kindness, and tolerance. Here’s to a hundred more!


Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Three in a Row

My glasses are half-full, dammit.

Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

So I’m celebrating my third period 28 day cycles. Actually, the last two was 28 and a half day cycles. You’re probably thinking, why is she excited about getting her period? Who in their right mind gets excited about that!?!?

Well, during my teen years, I got my period regularly every month, exactly 28 and a half day cycles. For fourish years it was perfect. Well perfect in the sense that it was regular. I was usually in bed for days, in so much pain I could barely move. I hated it. I was too young to appreciate what I had.

One day, I stopped getting my period. I didn’t get it for four cycles, and being the good little virgin girl, I knew it wasn’t pregnancy or STDs. So my mom took me to the doctor and they put me on birth control so I would get my period regularly. Never really found out what was going on.

When we started trying to get pregnant, I found out I had PCOS. I was not ovulating, so my body didn’t give me a period. Which is why it is exciting that I am getting my period regularly again. I may be ovulating again, and the chances of me getting pregnant (when the husband gets back) is a lot higher.

So although it’s gross and painful, and my day is worrying about buying tampons before I run out, my glass is half full, dammit! I will deal with the pain if it means I can get pregnant.

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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Decisions Matter

“…when you know life isn’t forever, the decisions you make matter. You don’t have the next hundred years to try to fix a mistake.”

Dying Bites by D.D. Barant

I was sitting at home, trying to decide what I should do about the truck. Should I sell it? Should I get it registered? Should I wait around and save money to buy a car? I ponder and then pick up my phone to text the husband to see what he thinks.

But wait. He’s deployed. Not here. I can’t simply text. I can’t call. He may or may not be online at some point today.

There are so many things that are hard about deployments. The distance, the increased responsibility. The loneliness. The fact that I have to wash my own damn dishes!

But it’s the little things like this that trips me up. There is no easy way to ask my husband his opinion. I just have to decide. No input, no “team decision making”. Just make a decision. Sure, that’s fun when I’m trying to decide whether I should buy that new book or not (the answer is always yes when I’m making the decision by myself!). But, it’s not so easy making decisions that impact both of us as a family. The decision I make matters for our life together and we should be making them together. I hate making them alone.

Less than 9 months…

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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Uncategorized


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