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Baby Jaanu’s Birthday!

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

Background:
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.

Right….

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!

Sure…

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.

Hospital:
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!

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A few minutes after she was born

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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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Bipolar Days

“‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
You’re in then you’re out
You’re up then you’re down
You’re wrong when it’s right
It’s black and it’s white
We fight, we break up
We kiss, we make up”

“Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry

Those lyrics epitomize how I’ve been feeling lately. One moment I’m excited about being done with the thesis, the next stressing out about it. One moment I’m nervous on getting the house clean for the husband’s homecoming, and the next picking out a cute homecoming dress.

All these mood swings have kept me busy along with the real things that have kept me busy. So I’m behind on my reviews. Tomorrow I’ll write up my review for Biting Bad, and then my review for the ARC of Heart of Venom.

Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to read City of Bones before my husband comes home so that I can drag him to the movie theatres to go watch it. Don’t worry husband, I won’t force you to watch it if it is filled with teen angst (well, too much teen angst). And I probably won’t review it as the book as been out for awhile. But if I get a chance to go see the movie, maybe I’ll do a compare and contrast? We’ll see.

I still have to review a few more ARCs, and of course prepare for my thesis presentation, my trip to LA, and my trip home. A lot to do! Expect me to be dead when I finally reach the beach around the end of Sept. Or at least behaving like the dead and sleeping on the beach. At least the mood swings will be over with!

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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30 things to do before 30

But nothing in life was set in stone and nothing in life is promised us. Not happiness, not joy, not love. Everything was variable and mutable and inconstant.

Death’s Rival by Faith Hunter

Right after I got engaged (end of 2007), I made a list of things I wanted to do before 30. I found a draft of the list on my computer the other day. So I present to you an updated version. I have less than 2 months to finish the list! Let’s see how far I got:

1. Marry the love of your life–When I made this list, this was my number one priority. Because of my husband and our struggles with love and family, I had this fear we would never make it. I wasn’t sure if marrying him was the right decision. Thankfully, it was the best decision I ever made.

Completed: 4/4/2009 or 5/24/2009

2. Help a complete stranger for no other reason than to commit a random act of kindness–I can’t think of a specific incident. So I hope I have done this. Now I feel like if I do it, it won’t be random because it will be to complete this list 😛 So I’ll consider it completed.

Completed: At some point.

3.  Develop and routine a self-care routine–I have a routine for self care, but it is not routine, as in regular, yet. My goal is to do it for a straight 2 weeks, and then I will count it completed.

Incomplete

4. Step out of your comfort zone–I have always taken chances. But stepping out of my real comfort zone was going from a regular civilian to becoming an Army Wife (still a civilian, but you know what I mean). It had moved me to Texas, a state I probably wouldn’t have considered otherwise. I have gone from a staunch democrat to a staunch democrat who can see other people viewpoints (Let’s not expect miracles). And, I learned to deal with my husband being gone all the time. Believe me, this was definitely me jumping out of my comfort zone.

Completed: 4/5/2009

5. Choose a signature haircut, lip shade and/or perfume–Victoria’s Secret Amber Romance. It is awesome. Not sure when I got it, pretty sure it was around wedding time

Completed: Early 2009

6. Love and accept your body–Ongoing process. I remember the day I realized I was hot. It was right after I got pictures from my first boudoir shoot when the husband was deployed last time. I looked like a model for sexy lingerie. In fact, I looked better than some real life plus size models. I was impressed. The husband even more so 😉

Completed: November, 2010

8. Scream out loud, restrained, to let out some steam–I always had trouble with expressing anger. It almost always turned into some form of depression. I have yelled in frustration after a lot of anger being held in. But I never screamed,  unrestrained. Screaming into a pillow or into the open sky, I want to do that. 

Incomplete

9. Stop slouching–I stand up straighter than I used to, but it’s not perfect. I will consider this incomplete.

Incomplete

10. Create a wardrobe you can be proud of–I think I always knew how to dress better. But when I was under my parent’s thumb, I could never dress as I wanted. Clothes were always expensive, and plus size clothes used to be ugly. However, clothes have vastly improved, I have money now, and I dress how I want. Slowly collecting clothes over time, I found ways to look sexy, pulled together, and cute all at the same time. I think I have a pretty good collection of clothes, shoes, purses, and accessories.

Completed: Sometime within the last year

11. Know your correct bra size–I used to think I was 44 DDD…. Around my 26th birthday I went to my first bra store that sold extended sizes, and got measured at 38K (38H UK). I looked less sloppy and skinnier. I loved my new look. Plus, now all my bras are REALLY pretty.

Completed: September, 2009

12. Get back to my favorite hobby: reading–As you all know, I came back to this full force. School, life, depression distracted me from my loves. But when the 7th Harry Potter book came out, I realized I wanted to go back to reading more and regularly. It took me awhile, but in 2010, I went back to reading full fledged. I think in 2011, I read 350 books. Last year was only 155, but you know, now I reread a lot. So I still get about 350 books read every year 😉

Completed: Every day for the rest of my life!

13. Take risks at work or have at least one career change–Well I am at the cusp of that. I am finishing my thesis, will find a new job, and then outside of family and work, will concentrate on my writing career. This is my dream right now; my goal. I want this to happen. I want to be able to write 3 books a year, and get as many things published. I am putting this under complete. The decision is already made, and steps are being taken for it to come true.

Completed: Some time in 2012

14. Bake a cake from scratch that is edible and aesthetically pleasing–I am a pretty decent cook. Everyone says so. The husband is eager to come back home so he can finally eat my cooking. But I am not a very good baker. I burn things in the oven, get the ingredients wrong, and I am terrible at decorating. But maybe I’ll try something for the husband’s homecoming.

Incomplete

15. Cook a four course meal that is also aesthetically pleasing–again, I’m a good cook. But I can never make it look presentable, like for guests. Garnishing and saucing are some of the skills I I need to work on. Again, maybe this is something I can work on when my husband gets home.

Incomplete

16. Bungee Jump or sky dive–I have been wanting to this FOREVER! But I am always afraid with being obese that I would hurt myself. LOL I doubt it’ll happen before my birthday, but there it is.

Incomplete

17. Help a friend find love–Epic fail on this one. Playing matchmaker is never really a good thing, but I really hoped to at least meet someone and go to a friend and say “OMG, I met someone for you!” 

Incomplete

18. Visit all continents (Antarctica is excused)–This was really in a lifetime, but even then I only got Europe, Asia, and of course N. America. No Australia or South America. 

Incomplete

19. Deal with your issues–Funny thing is, when I originally made this list, I had no idea I had depression. I would have found myself to be mentally stable. But since then, I discovered a lot of my issues that was holding me back. I admitted I had depression and anxiety. I finally relented a few years ago and starting take medication. My life was saved. So I more than dealt with my issues.

Completed: July 2010 (the month I started taking Welbutrin)

20. Learn to feel pride in your work–I am not there yet. I may not hate myself all the time, but I still struggle with looking at my work and feeling pride. I still see everything that is wrong. Frustrating, but maybe with the thesis defended in August, I will get past this.

Incomplete

22. Get something published–This was originally in reference to a respected professional I/O psychology journal. Now, it’s related to me publishing out in the real world. Since I upkeep a blog and write regular reviews, I will consider this done. I know, I’m really stretching this one.

Completed: May 15, 2012 (The day I started this blog)

23. Become self-aware–This kind of goes hand in hand with number 19, but in this case I mean realizing my strengths and weaknesses. Being aware of my sexuality and what I like. Being aware of what kinds of pain I can or cannot tolerate. I think I became more self-aware when I moved to Central Texas.

Completed: Sometime in 2011

24. Own a flattering suit or blazer–I need to get one, especially since I’m defending soon. 

Incomplete

25. Develop positive relationships with good people–When I made this list, I was starting to realize that I may not surround myself with positive people. People who would enrich my life. I didn’t know how bad it was until later, but it was there. Now, I refuse to surround myself with poisonous people. I have had even loved ones judge me for it, but I stand my ground. If you are poisonous to me, I don’t want you in my life.

Completed: End of 2009/Beginning of 2010

29. Swim in an ocean–I haven’t swum in the ocean in so long… It’s hard, and you can’t get far, but it’s doable. Don’t think this will get done either.

Incomplete

30. Make yourself a 40 things to do before 40 list–Cause you know, at least this way I’d have 10 years to finish the list! 

Incomplete

 
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Posted by on July 6, 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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The Great Reread of The Great Gatsby

“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead,”

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This isn’t a review of a “Great American Classic”, but rather comparing my thoughts from when I was a teenager to now.

I still love the story. It is a story about a person observing the wealth, craze, and vapid selfishness of his peers. The fancy lifestyle fascinated me now as it did 10-15 years ago. Nick Carraway is still the innocent but sweet character who is in over his head with New York’s wealthy. He’s probably closest to being my first book boyfriend. He’s my favorite character in the book for two reasons. One, he’s honorable, even when he didn’t have to be. He doesn’t care much for what others thing. He’s the narrator of the story and appears somewhat neutral, but in reality, he’s not a neutral narrator. He is our moral compass.

That brings me to my next point: I love the “I’m watching” narration. It’s first person objective POV, officially. Nick’s role is detached from the main story. However, that is not completely true either  Nick Carraway may be objective to the actual events that happen, but his opinion is still inserted throughout. It’s debated whether a first POV can be truly detached, but either way, it’s a form of narration that appeals to me, especially when it comes to eventual stories I want to tell.

One of the major changes this time around was that I noticed how empty all the rich people were. When I was younger, I thought Daisy, Tom, and the gang were selfish and corrupt people. This time, I noticed that they weren’t bad, but rather they were “nothing”. Machines of society, they moved through the motions. Instead of hating them, I pitied them. At 15, I believed Daisy loved Gatsby but was stuck in bad choices. I now think she never loved anyone, not even herself. It’s sad; I pity them.

And speaking of pity, Instead of finding Gatsby romantic this time, I found him pathetic. He believed till the last minute that Daisy loved him and would run away with him. He searched for someone to love him since he never loved himself. Maybe it’s me finding my own happy ending–love isn’t about changing everything you are for someone else. I don’t think Gatsby loved Daisy, but he did believe he loved her.

When I was a child, I saw the book through an innocent’s eyes: a romantic tragedy, full of pretty people and pretty things. Now as a happily married woman, I saw a tragic story about people who are searching for love but never find it. They never knew what LOVE is.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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