Adeline's Birth Story

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The past month's been a rollercoaster to say the least and having a baby is truly life changing.  Today I'm excited to share Adeline's birth story with you.  I remember when I was pregnant, all I did was read birth stories to mentally prepare.  People will say you can't compare too much or expect yours to be the same experience.  Which is true, so I would suggest the same if you're obsessively reading stories like I did, haha!  But I did enjoy hearing other peoples' stories, so I'm sharing mine.

Giving birth was one of the hardest and emotional things I went through, second to postpartum recovery (more on this on another blogpost).  Looking back, I would say my labor experience ended up being good considering how I started emotionally.  I'm so glad I had a safe and uncomplicated vaginal delivery with a healthy baby girl.  In the end, that really is what matters.

Let me just start by sharing what my ideal birth "plan" was.  What I really wanted was to labor at home as long as I could. The only medication I was open to was the Epidural and even then, I wanted to wait it out.  My husband I took labor/delivery classes that emphasize natural pain management and I've talked to several other moms that gave birth naturally, so I wanted to give natural birth a try.  At least go as long as I could.

But I say "plan" because in my case, everything went out the door.    

On September 29th, we went in for what we thought was our normal weekly doctor's appointment. At the end of our appointment, he told us that I had high blood pressure (for the 2nd week in a row) and protein in my urine.  I didn't know what that meant.  But turns out that could mean I have preeclampsia, and the doctor seemed concerned enough to send me to the hospital next door to get checked and monitored for the next 2-3 hours.  When you have preeclampsia, there is a possibility for the mom to get seizures and pose risks for both the baby and mom.  The only way to fix this is to deliver the baby.  The worst part of that appointment was that he uttered the words I didn't want to hear would happen.  He told me "if your numbers don't improve or stay the same, we would induce you tonight."  Induce? My heart dropped because I REALLY wanted to at least start labor naturally. I knew what that meant - getting Pitocin to speed up the process and I really didn't want Pitocin.  We headed over to Hoag next door and on the way there I started sobbing.  I was scared.  My husband tried to calm me down and reminded me to breathe since we were getting monitored for my blood pressure.

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We arrived at Hoag at around 11am.  After monitoring me for 2 hours, at 1pm, I was diagnosed with mild preeclampsia.  I was told I would get induced that evening as soon as a delivery room opens up.  They then hooked me up to an IV (which was annoying because it makes you less mobile).  From 1-5:30pm, we waited.  For 4 hours I laid there feeling mentally unprepared and like I couldn't/didn't want to do this yet.  My mind went back and forth between "why's this happening?  I don't want this" and "everything happens for a reason. It'll be okay."  But overall, I wasn't in a good mental state at this point.

At 5:30pm, a delivery room opened up.  They checked my cervix and I was 2cm dilated.  We immediately started the induction process with Cytotec (a drug to soften the cervix) and they said they would check back at 9:30pm to see how dilated I was.  I had contractions but they were light.  Hopeful that my contractions would progress more after the Cytotec so I wouldn't need Pitocin, I did whatever I could in the room to speed it up naturally.  Took walks, sat and rocked on a yoga ball, stretched and moved my hips, etc.  But when they checked me at 9:30pm, I was still at only 2cm.  My heart dropped again, knowing that we'd be starting Pitocin.  Which they did.

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Once I got the Pitocin, my contractions started to get more intense.  I had to concentrate more and breathe through them with the help of my husband coaching me.  This continued until 12:30am.  When they checked me at 12:30am, I was 3cm dilated.  I was happy to hear that.  But then my nurse told me she was going to need to break my water now to "speed up the process" so if I wanted to get the epidural, now would be a good time.  I was caught off guard.  Now they were going to break my water too?  I tried to be strong and ask if it was necessary.  The nurse said it was to help speed the process and suggested I get the epidural because breaking the water would feel really intense.  I felt somewhat cornered.  I wish I was stronger but felt vulnerable considering I had preeclampsia.  That was the bigger concern.  My contractions were getting stronger and I felt mentally unstable, so I agreed to get the epidural.

Side note: you're probably wondering what do contractions feel like?  It feels like really deeeeep pressure pains.  The good news is the actual painful part of a contraction is a few seconds when it's at its peak.  At the beginning of the contraction, you feel it come on gradually.  I don't know if you'd call it "pain" but it's definitely uncomfortable.  But when the contraction is at its peak, it almost feels like a Charley Horse in your lower abdomen.  It does hurt and you need to breathe through them.  DEEP breaths and have your husband or whoever is your "coach" to remind you and actually do them with you.  Then you feel the pain subsiding and gone after.  It's like a wave.  I read a lot about how to get through contractions, and it's true that it's a mental battle as much as it's physical.  When you're going through a contraction, you can't let the contraction get stronger than your mind.  You have to focus, accept it, and breathe into the pain.  Keeping in mind some affirmations helped too.  I really liked this one - "the power and intensity of your contractions cannot be stronger than you, because it is you."  I can probably go on and on, but that's in a nutshell what contractions feel like, and how you get through them.

Ok, back to the story!

The epidural only took about 20 minutes but it felt like forever because I was having more intense contractions at the same time and had to wait in between contractions to administer the epidural.  I remember it pinching and hurting for a split second, but overall it was uncomfortable.  I was leaning on my husband, breathing deeply and heavily until it was over.  Right after it was done, I started shaking uncontrollably.  Must of been the hormones and adrenaline.  They called it the "mama shakes" and is completely normal for it to happen.  

I remember getting the epidural was the turning point during my labor.

From there, it was smooth sailing.   Up until that point, my mind felt all over the place but once I got the epidural, I felt SO much better not only physically, but mentally too.  I was able to relax.  The irony is that during my pregnancy, I was so iffy about getting the epidural.  But it ended being the one and only thing that helped me relax and push me through the rest of labor.

At 2:30am, I was 6cm dilated. 

4:00am, 9cm.

6:00 am, 10cm!

By 7am, I was pushing.  I only pushed for about a total of 20-25 minutes and all the nurses were so surprised at how well and how fast I did.  I even surprised myself haha.  Especially because they warned us it might take awhile since this was my first time.  What I found interesting is that the epidural will take away the pain of the contractions, but you can still feel the pressure from it.  This pressure helps you to know when to push.  Funny story: the nurses had to tell me to stop pushing during my 2nd "practice" push so they can call my doctor.  She was coming out!  We waited about 20 minutes for my doctor to arrive and my legs were still up on the stirrups and everything exposed haha.  Modesty really goes out the window.  

And on September 30th, 2017, 7:47am, Adeline was born!

I can't exactly describe what the feeling was like when she was put on my chest.  There was a huge sense of relief, love, and joy.  But also this feeling like... "here we go..!"  Feelings of doubt and insecurity of being a new parent rushed over me, but equally an excitement of being a mom to this girl.  That really is a blessing, and gift from God.

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My labor experience wasn't what I intended/wanted but I had to trust my doctors, nurses and ultimately God, that whatever happened was for a good reason.  It's been one month since, and I still can't believe I did it...give birth!  Haha.  All this time I was worried about how I was going to do it, but our bodies really do know what to do.  This experience taught me that nothing's in your control and that you have to trust the process. You have to keep an open mind going into it.   I'm so thankful for a safe delivery of our girl.

Welcome to the world, Adeline Airi Viray!

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How to Prepare for a Baby Part 1: Hospital Bag Essentials

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Hooray!  I'm 39 weeks, and less than a week away from my due date (10/5 to be exact!)  I can't believe d-day is so soon.  That said, I thought I'd share on how I'm preparing for a new baby this last week.  Part 1 is today's post about hospital bag essentials and Part 2 will be about how I've been preparing emotionally/mentally.

I'm also excited to be partnering with Gymboree on today's post!  One of the items you'd want to pack in your hospital bag is a newborn outfit for when you and your baby is ready to go home. Or when you want to take cute photos at the hospital, duh!  When it comes to baby clothes, Gymboree has some of the cutest outfits, widely available in stores and online.  They also make great gifts for baby showers!  

I've asked several other moms on what their lists were,  and I've decided to bring the following items.  I only want to bring what's necessary, and not overpack!

FOR BABY

1.  Going Home Outfit!

I can't imagine what it's going to feel like to bring the baby you birth, back home.  WOA.  What a perfect time to dress up your baby for the first time!  I'll be bringing one of these cute outfits from Gymboree! Which one do you guys like?  I know I'll be taking lots of photos, so I can't wait to start dressing her up.

gymboree newborn clothes hikari murakami blogger
gymboree newborn clothes hikari murakami blogger

 Thanks so much to Gymboree for sending me these cute outfits to post!

Major sweepstakes alert!  

Gymboree is celebrating September, since it's the most popular birth month! They've teamed up with 5 of their favorite baby-focused brands to bring new and expecting parents the ultimate giveaway for their baby! Their Baby’s First Bundle sweepstakes is giving away over $2,000 in prizes from Gymboree, Summer Infant, OXO Tot, Ergobaby, Magic Cabin, and Beech-Nut.  Make sure to enter in their sweepstakes HERE!  You don't want to miss this chance!

2.  Swaddle(s)

I believe the hospital gives you some, but if you prefer to bring your own (which is going to be much cuter!), you should!  I'm bringing mine from Aden and Anais.

3.  Burpcloth

This was an item I didn't even think about it.  I'm such a newb.  You gotta prepare for spit ups!

FOR MOM

1.  PJs and Slippers

These might not seem like necessary items, but if I can be a little more comfortable, I'll go the extra mile!  I've heard you only get those hospital gowns that expose your back unless you have your own clothes.  While I'm sure it's fine and still bearable, if I can get into my jammies I will.  Slippers are to keep my feet comfortable and warm if I need to walk around the hospital/go to the bathroom.

2.  Nursing Bras (and Nursing Pads)

For when you breastfeed and easy access for the baby :)  Nursing pads are for your leaky boobs!  Enough said.  I think the hospital gives you some, but bring some extras of your own so you don't need to ask your nurses all the time.

3.  Nipple Cream

To keep your nipples from drying out and help it heal in between breastfeeding sessions.  

4.  Essential Oils

I've used Lavendar and Peppermint essential oils throughout my pregnancy.  Lavendar for when I feel anxious, and peppermint for when I felt nauseous.  They both worked well for me and I intend to bring them for during labor too.  My friend gifted me an aroma diffuser, which I'll be bringing too!

5.  Light Snacks

I've heard that once you're checked into the hospital,  they don't feed you while you're in labor (for good reason) except ice chips.  Reasons being, you might get sick (throw up or diarrhea, ick) and I guess the emptier your stomach, less likely this will happen.  But did you know average first time mom's labor is 24 hours?  I can't imagine not having anything in my system for that long.  So I was advised to bring light snacks, like granolas, nuts, and honeysticks.  If I end up not needing to eat, then so be it.  But I'd rather have some options.

6.  Going Home Outfit for Mom

I know we can be excited about dressing up the baby all cute when going home, but don't forget to bring your own going home outfit!  Doesn't need to be fancy - In fact, I've heard that after what your body's just gone through, you're going to want to be COMFORTABLE.  No jeans, or tight waisted pants.  Think loose! Loose tank top and loose pants/leggings.  I'll probably bring a loose top and loose black overalls.

gymboree newborn clothes lo and sons hikari murakami blogger

Hope this helps for all the first time mommies out there.  For all other experienced mommies, please let me me know if I'm missing anything!  Adjust the list accordingly to your liking, but I think (or hope!) this is enough.  You don't want to overpack especially because you'll be bringing something extra and special back home...your baby!

Second Trimester Recap & Highlights

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OH the glorious 2nd trimester!

Now that I've experienced the 1st trimester (read all about it HERE) and we're now at 31 weeks and into our 3rd trimester, I can say with confidence that 2nd trimester was the BEST trimester!  I can't believe time flew by SO fast.  It still feels like it was just yesterday that we found out we were pregnant.  But at the same time, so much as happened since.  I'm looking back at my 2nd trimester and sharing some of the most memorable recaps!

1.  Bump, bump, bump

My bump actually became a noticeable baby bump after week 17.  Until then, I wasn't showing to that extent, so I probably looked like I had a really bloated stomach.  It was in this trimester that I started getting comments like "you're showing now!" or "cute bump!" People wanted to feel the bump and I definitely felt and looked more pregnant.  For some reason, the baby bump made me feel good and empowered :)

2. Flutters?  Tapping?  Is that the baby kicking?

I knew I was suppose to start feeling the baby kick in the 2nd trimester.  While everyone ranges of when, people were saying around week 21 and on, you should feel movement.  I wasn't feeling her at week 21 and 22, and I was starting to get worried.  But when week 23 hit, I started noticing what felt like small taps.  At first, it was really hard to tell if I was feeling the baby kick or if I was just gassy, lol.  But eventually I just knew it was the baby kicking.  And once you know what it is, it's a surreal feeling.  Being a first time mom, it was neat to experience this for the first time.

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3.  I performed on stage with the baby!

 I have to say the highlight of my 2nd trimester was performing on stage at 22 weeks pregnant.  You may or may not know that I used to be a dancer.  I danced competitively since I was in high school, in college I joined a hip hop dance crew called Kaba Modern, and continued to dance years after.  I stopped about 6 years ago.  But a very special opportunity came up this year to dance again with the alumnis of Kaba Modern.  Our directors chose a dance piece I choreographed back in 2009, to bring back to stage this year!  I posted a link below if you want to check it out (the piece starts at 2:13)!

I was nervous going into the whole process because there was lot of worries surrounding dancing while pregnant.  Could I do it? Would something happen to the baby?  Is it safe?  I didn't have anyone close to me that went through something similar that I could seek advise.  But after consulting with my doctor and a promise to myself that I would only do what I could, I decided to just go for it. I'm so glad that I did, because I got to perform again....with the baby in my belly! I was so blown away from the support I got from the team, I couldn't be more grateful and happy.  Also sad that it ended.  It was such a fun experience and I get to share this with the baby when she's growing up!

4.  Cravings

Haha, cravings crack me up because it gets so specific.  My main ones were....meat.  Either briskets from Korean BBQ or Shabu Shabu.  Mcflurrys... 3 days in a row.  Ice cream. Lots of it :p

5.  You feel like yourself

The best part of 2nd trimester is that nausea (usually) goes away.  You get your appetite back.  You get your energy back.   I know this can be different for everyone, but I really did feel a lot better and more like myself.  I don't know if it was the baby and elevated good hormones? but I was really happy in the 2nd trimester.  My suggestion is to take advantage and appreciate this trimester.  Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have, but eat what you like, do what you like and makes you happy, and don't stress too much.

It's hard to believe the next recap will be right before the baby comes!  Or maybe even after.  I hope to share my birth story when our baby girl comes.

But until then....wish me luck on the 3rd trimester!

Pregnancy Recap on My First Trimester

hikari murakami OC LA makeup artist blogger pregnant

I can't believe we're already at the 6 month mark of our pregnancy!  Helloooo, where did the time go?  I'm well into my second trimester and thought it would be interesting to do a recap on my first trimester.  Here are some questions I got and answered them as honestly as I could.  Everyone has different experiences and I always like hearing about others' stories, so here's my recap! Hope you enjoy.

1. How did you find out?

Besides the obvious peeing on a stick and going to the doctors, I'll tell you some of the reasons why I took a test in the first place.  I went to Hawaii for a makeup/hair job from 2/6-2/9 and I remember feeling oddly nauseous this one time during the trip, and then when I came back to LA. The first time I noticed how nauseous I was, was after our 3 hour boat ride photoshoot.  The weird thing was, I wasn't nauseous during the boat ride, but it was after.  I don't easily get motion sickness either.   At the time, I thought maybe it was just an aftermath from the waves and being off my center of gravity.  I was also hungry because we hadn't eaten since early lunch time.  By the time we got back to the dock, it was 7pm.  Eventually after we ate, I did feel better.  So I brushed off the nausea.  On 2/9, When I landed in LA, I felt really tired and kind of nauseous.  But this nausea felt like it was because I hadn't eaten a decent meal in hours.  We got home and I tried to eat but could barely eat anything.  I didn't want to throw up by eating (looking back, this was a mistake and I should of eaten something!  I'll go into this more later).  On 2/10, I was back at work but the whole day I was soo nauseous up until dinner.  I forced myself to eat some Japanese udon and kind of felt better after.  At this point, I thought something was off.  I rarely get nauseous and even if I did, it doesn't prolong like that.  And it was then that the actual thought of "what if I'm pregnant?" popped into my mind.  So I took a test on 2/11.   I'm bad about knowing exactly when my period comes, so I really had to look back to see how late I was.   It didn't help that my periods are not exactly on time every month so this wasn't a primary indicator.  So in my case, I went with my gut instinct and that I was abnormally nauseous as reasons to take a test.

2.  HOw did you feel when you found out? 

I share in depth in my last blogpost of how I really felt when I found out.  Initially my reaction wasn't sheer joy but now that time's past and as my body is changing, I have a newfound excitement about this!  Read about it here.

hikari murakami OC LA makeup artist blogger pregnant
hikari murakami OC LA makeup artist blogger pregnant

3.  Did you have morning sickness?

I guess I kind of already answered this in #1, but yes, yes I did... good news is that, my morning sickness never got to the point of throwing up.  Hallelujah!  Contrary to popular belief, my morning sicknesses didn't happen in the morning.  It happened sometimes during the middle of the day, and then in the evening.  I did read that just because it's called morning sickness, it doesn't necessarily just happen in the morning, so this wasn't a surprise to me.  My morning sicknesses were just these waves of nausea that would come and go.  When it came, it really sucked because you feel like you can't and don't want to do anything.  The thought of certain foods, or even thoughts, would trigger my gag reflex so bad.  I didn't even crave coffee anymore, and you all know I'm a coffee LOVER.  But nope, body said no during first trimester.  If I thought about Thai food or KBBQ, which I usually love, I felt sick.  Even the thought of me traveling, made me sick.  Or when I scrolled through Instagram and looked at my phone for awhile, it made me feel sick.  One time I was driving and the nausea hit all of a sudden, I had to breath so hard so I wouldn't throw up while driving, haha!  But despite all this, I will say that I was one of the lucky ones that had a relatively easy first trimester when it came to morning sickness.

4.  So how did you get rid of Morning Sickness?

I did several things that helped with my nausea.   All thanks to the internet and finding tips that literally felt like it was saving my life.  This was the number one thing I researched because I HATE feeling nauseous.  I have pukephobia.  I will do anything not to throw up.  Haha!  So here's a few things that helped me, and hopefully it'll help you too!

  1. Snack, and snack OFTEN! Never go too hungry because it's when you get hungry that you can feel more sick.  One of the worse things you can do is not eat when this happens.  Usually when I nibbled on something, the nausea subsided for the most part. I've never been so snack prepared in my life. I was never the type to meal prep, but snack prep for pregnancy I did!
  2. Ginger Ale or San Pellegrino (Blood Orange to be exact ha!).  I don't know if it's the carbonation or what, but these 2 drinks made me feel so much better!  
  3. Grapes, saltine crackers, nuts, and yogurt.  These are the snacks that I brought everywhere with me. I could only eat saltine crackers and grapes when I was in the middle of a nausea wave.  Find foods and snacks that you can tolerate, and stock up on them.  Listen to your body when the thought of certain foods make you gag vs. food that give you comfort.
  4. Peppermint essential oil.  I carried this with me at all times and sniffed when I felt nauseous.

5. what were the major body changes ?

Some of the things I experienced aren't necessarily first trimester specific, but it might be good to know it's completely normal if it happens to you too!  

  1. I lost weight.  Usually you think pregnancy = weight gain and I thought this would happen right off the bat.   But because you feel sick most of the time and lose your appetite, I found out you tend to lose weight in the first trimester.  As long as you're eating, you should be fine!
  2. I was thirsty.  I'm one of those bad ones that didn't drink that much water, and would drink coffee more than water (oops).  But once I got pregnant, I was THIRSTY and wanted to actually drink water.  I got good about it too.  I brought around a water bottle with me and filled it up whenever I could and made sure to drink good ole' H20.  It almost became a comfort thing to drink water.
  3. I got leaky.  OK, TMI. But most preggos go through this.  Your bladder control isn't as strong, your baby is  pushing down, and your muscles down there loosen up.  So if you laugh too hard or sneeze, you might...leak.  Sorry mama.  
  4. I ran out of breath easier.  Especially when walking up and down the stairs.  Slightly embarrassing at work when I go to the bathroom and come back up to my desk and I'm huffing and puffing.  But what can you do?
  5. I didn't start "showing" until week 17 (second trimester).   I felt my pants getting tighter towards the end of my first trimester, and noticed what seemed more like a not-so-cute bloat bump.  But not a cute baby bump yet.  Everyone shows at different times, and it's good to remember that.

All in all, my first trimester was thankfully easy.  I felt that this transition was more of a emotional and mental one vs. hurdling the physical challenges.  And as mentioned in my last blogpost,  I didn't feel fully ready or actually excited about being pregnant until I hit the second trimester.  As I'm writing this and comparing how I felt back then vs. how I feel now, it's affirmation that the mind and body does prepare and adjust to life changes, no matter what you think.  Second trimester's been amazing and can't wait to recap this one for you too!

hikari murakami OC LA makeup artist blogger pregnant