Monday, November 9, 2015

Levi's Induction Birth Story




Levi Alexander Iliyn
37 Weeks
10/18/15 7:56PM
6.4 lbs 19 1/4 in.


   Might as well dust the cobwebs off this blog-slice of the internet and for my own memories sake AND because I love reading things like this, all nosy like and such, here it is: "The Most Awesome Induction of Baby Levi 2015!" I cannot stop smiling about this day, thanks to postpartum hormones and that new baby smell, and because it truly was awesome. Plus, macaroni and cheese was involved. First, you'll need a little back-story. About the pregnancy, not the mac & cheese.

   Early testing through my regular midwife's office revealed that this time around, things would be quite different. My body, my DNA, had literally changed since my first pregnancy-labor-delivery, and now, posed a serious threat to our baby. (You can read more about "Antibody E" {here} It's weird and random and science and I still don't quite understand the logistics) Scary words like, "interventions" and " transfusions" were being tossed around. Juggling appointments between my midwife and perinatologist resulted in many hours spent waiting in doctor offices (with a three year old and an iPad) and anxiously praying over the flashes and beeps of numerous in-depth ultrasounds. Every time we heard the technician say that baby boy had scored an "8 out of 8," we exhaled.

   Our goal changed from 30 weeks to 35 to 37. There comes a point when baby is better on the outside than the inside. Daniel had just finished his last day of work before taking paternity leave, when my phone rang during a last minute Friday afternoon trip to JJ Jump with Josiah. Over the noise of bouncing children, my midwife excitedly informed me that my induction had been scheduled for Sunday at 7:30AM, set in stone, good to go.
I spent most of that Saturday in total nesting mode. Cleaning the entire house, packing our bags, and thinking cervical-ripening thoughts. My labor and delivery with Josiah {read about it here}, mostly at home until I ventured to the birthing center at 9cm had been such an incredible experience and this new induction big hospital business had been looming over my head for quite some time...I was trying not to worry and hold on to the fact that earlier in the week my stats were 2 cm/50% effaced. No matter what happened though, I wanted a baby out and about. No matter how. Such a "mom" thing to say, right?

   Early Sunday morning, Daniel and I whispered goodbye to Josiah and left my parents' house in the darkness and coldness of an Oregon October. We quickly checked in on the maternity floor and were ushered to our room by my 1st l&d nurse of the day. By 9AM, I had been poked and prodded, ordered a bagel from the hospital menu, and cracked open "The Girl on the Train." My midwife arrived soon after to place the 1st round of Cervidil and talk about the game plan for the next several hours. I braced myself for a potentially loooooooong day (days?) of Cervidil and Pitocin and a never ending commentary about my cervix. So, we settled in. Daniel, on the couch in front of the big window overlooking the courtyard. Me, in and out of the bed, bathroom, pacing around the room like my childhood cat, Bella, did before she gave birth in my bedroom closet.

   At 2PM, Nikki, my midwife, popped in again to check any progression that had taken place. 4cm! I'll take it. At this point, my contractions have been extremely consistent for a few hours and since the Cervidil is doing the trick, we will hold off on anything else. I'm still comfortable, walking, talking, eating my delicious hospital macaroni and cheese, and visiting with Daniel's parents who stopped by on their way to the airport. My father-in-law jokingly asks Nikki if the baby will arrive before he has to leave on his trip. She answers, "I think we should definitely be having baby by today!" Uhhh, yes please! Nikki decides we will continue laying low and waiting. She knows I'm aiming for another natural birth and we're hoping my body takes over and runs with that plan. With that, she steps out for a bit, telling us that if anything doesn't change, she'll plan on being back in a few hours. Also, I have the option of grabbing the doula on-call if need be. I'm blissfully munching on my pasta lunch, nodding "sure!"

   At 4PM, my new l&d nurse glances at my monitor, "These contractions are impressive! Are you feeling it?!"  Up until this point, they have been the slight tightening over and over. I can tell they are now changing, becoming more intense. I toss my book and phone to the side table and begin getting in the "zone."

   At 5PM, I've moved to the birthing ball and commandeered Daniel to his role as back-massager. He camps out on a tiny stool behind me and it's a win-win for both of us. Some instant relief from back labor for me and a nice view of Sunday night football for him. By the time our moms stop by the room for a quick visit, I am concentrating and focusing on breathing through each contraction that hits. I overhear their conversation but at this point have to tune out every two minutes or so when another wave hits. They leave at 6:30 to go pick up Josiah from AWANA, and I glance up at the clock for the first time in awhile. My new mantra is, "Nikki will be back at 7PM. Nikki will be back at 7PM." Along with my old mantra of, "Pizza!"

   At 7PM, I'm standing by the hospital bed, leaning over to rest on my elbows when a contraction rolls around and my water breaks! Daniel presses the call button and a flurry of nurses rush in, along with Nikki who has just returned to the hospital. She quickly examines me, almost in disbelief, "You are fully there!" I let out a sigh of relief and then say, "Yes! And I feel like pushing!" They pull up the bar across the bed, but that option is SO not comfortable this time around. Someone suggests, "Why don't you stand up again? You seemed to be doing well in that position!" I readily agree and roll over to the side of the bed. With the next four contractions, I bear down during each one and it feels so good. My body has completely taken over by this point. About ten minutes of pushing later and we hear that baby boy arrive with a loud cry at 7:56PM! Since I'm standing up, my three nurses and Nikki have to catch the slippery little guy and weave him back though my legs so I can hold him. Daniel says they were basically right up and under me, ALL of me, while I was pushing, with flashlights...thanks ladies! Seriously. Nurses ya'll.

   The next few hours are full of oohing and ahhing over Levi with our family and friends. I'm eating ALL the food things being brought to us, totally famished after the marathon that is labor. In between bites of cookies and chocolate and scones and all the glorious hospital ice I want, I steal glances at our new sleepy bundle.

   Levi Alexander is here. Healthy and safe. He's perfect. Couldn't have asked for a better day.












Friday, March 27, 2015

Oh I Know, But WHERE Are You From?




I turned the ripe young-old age of twenty-seven the other day. The age you wake up to iPhone buzzes and dings, reminding you something different and special is happening that day besides it being garbage day. The age you ask yourself, "Did I turn twenty-six last year?" Subtract 1988 from 2015. Yes. Yes you did. Geez. I was just getting used to what 26 felt like: Not anything supremely exciting, but SO many possibilities with credit cards and car rentals! Air miles, y'all!

I'm pretty sure this was scanned in a buzzfeed or huffpost article, the news source mecca for us 20-something or others, and this THIS thing is ringing true already. "Twenty-seven is when you are finally comfortable with who you are." You can waltz into Forever21 in sweatpants and no makeup and be all, "Step aside teenagers, Mama's ready to drop $$$," and feel no shame. You aren't trying to impress anyone anymore, you just want that senior discount.

Now, I've been an outwardly confident individual for quite some time. Mostly, because I am quite stubborn and refuse to be embarrassed or do what everyone else is doing. Quite. Stubborn. Insert woman hair flip emoji.

Occasionally that has come across as being stuck-up but the other half-of me is so overly self-deprecating (almost to a fault), that any uppity-ness is quickly dismissed. I've been told my kindness is readily apparent in most situations, so on a scale of 0 to Kanye West, I think I'm doing ok.

I'm also, Korean. Kind of.

...

My home since the summer of 1988 has been Portland, Oregon. Green, picturesque, "Whitest City in America," Portland Oregon. Where I only had one Korean friend (also, adopted) in elementary school and one half-Indonesian friend in high school, Portland Oregon. Everything I ever learned about Asian culture derived from one random racist experience in San Francisco's Chinatown on a family vacation and various derogatory slang naively thrown about by my peers. If I had a nickel for every time someone said "Ching Chong" or squinted their eyes into "almonds" or wondered why I was so terrible at mathematics...* On the other hand, If I had a nickel for every time someone said, "You're not really Asian. You're so white!" At this point, I might as well be a unicorn, with a bunch of nickels. No one knows what to do with me.

The 90s were all about blonde hair and blue eyes, maybe it still is, I just don't care anymore, and I was always the Mulan, Jasmine, Pocahontas, or Posh Spice of the group. Which isn't a bad thing at all, cause they are queeeens, but when you're young and impressionable and not entirely Korean and not exactly Caucasian and the standardized test in third grade is asking you to fill in a "Race/Ethnicity" bubble and you're all, "American?" YOU JUST WANT TO FIT IN and be Britney Spears for once at the slumber party.

And that's what my family has always done. (Not let me be Britney Spears at the slumber party) Helped me fit in, encouraged me to stand out.
They didn't have a secret family recipe for kimchi and they sure didn't know what to do with my thick, coarse, wavy hair, but they loved (love) me, and that was (is) enough.**
I love when people are shocked that my all-American brother isn't my biological brother even though we "look so much alike." We grew up together. We have similar mannerisms, facial expressions, humor. We are family.

Around 2002, a funny thing started happening. "Positive" attention. All of us Eurasians were growing up in a world that suddenly was awake to the changing faces of a mixed generation. I remember one of my first meetings with Kelly Streit at Mode Models in preparation for a potential move to Asia, and he said, "They are going to LOVE your face over there!" He threw in a, "So hot right now," afterthought, I kid you not. Zoolander is real, people!

{On a totally unrelated note, here's a quote from one of his recent interviews:
Streit makes no apologies for picking certain models. “People say they want to see ‘normal women’ modelling. They don’t. A true fashion customer whether size 16 or six wants to see models on the runway that present the clothes in a certain way. The women we work with are naturally built pin thin. They are healthy. People want to see Prada as Prada is, and the models are the mould for that art. They are coat hangers.”}



I was still just a curious face to look at. On a coat hanger. Kellyyyyyyyyy!


...
Long story short. Here I am. 2015.
Depending on the season and my current shade of golden, I have been labeled all across the border. Without makeup, the dishwasher repairman will ask where my mom is. Genetics!
My husband and I produce 1/4 Korean, 1/4 German, 1/2 Ukrainian, All-American children.

These are just the facts, at an outward impression.

As human beings with all our complexities, experience, and nuances, we are so much more than our skin on the surface could ever show.

The skin I'm in though, is one I'm extremely proud of. It tells a deeper personal story at a glance, a reminder of a long story short.

One scan of my face is the ultimate enigma.

I don't fit in a box. I am complicated and unusual.

I'm 27 years old.

And I really really like me.



xoxo

Bon Bon






*In 2008, I lived in Hawaii for six months and was exposed to the Korean culture for the first time. Good Korean things, like, bulgogi, karaoke, and my big sister (unni) Jaeyoung! Bad Korean things, like, saying hello (anyoung haseyo) to a couple passing by and without replying they muttered to each other in Korean, "She's only half." I wanted to yell, "Hey! At least I know how to wait in a line!"

I obviously still have a lot to learn. We all do.



**I'm a double whammy of potential life train wreck: Adopted & Biracial. It is truly by God's grace that I have never extremely struggled with identity or depression, which is very much the norm. Adopted teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide. Biracial teens, 2x.



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