July 2006 Archives

Jazz and Blues

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I wanted to listen to some 30's jazz, and when I asked Dav if he had some, he pulled out this old school record player and some nice albums he got from his mother years ago. The sun set, Tesla was sleeping, I munched on food, and blogged. All is well : )

new activities

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Tesla has a few new "firsts": we decided to slowly introduce a pacifier. I've read a lot about this and initially didn't want to use one at all, but seriously there were way too many moments when Tesla used me as a human pacifier, totally not hungry for the boob but using me just for comfort. That's all nice and well, but every so often, I need rest. So in the interest of a balanced life, we decided to experiment just a little. Well...she doesn't really like it. But the few times she has sucked on it totally reminded me of the baby on the Simpsons with that sucking sound and the pacifier moving in/out...really cute!

We also started giving her a few moments on her belly to let her use her neck. Daddy has been the coach in this.

Lastly, we gave her breast milk in a bottle for the first time. We heard that some babies, if not introduced to the bottle til later, might reject it even when necessary (ie. when I go back to work), so we're going to have her use the bottle 2x a week with breast milk. She didn't seem to mind it. Plus, this allows daddy to feed her : )

Happy Birthday Elida!

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Today is Elida's b-day. We did a small celebration earlier, but today is the day, and her family joined. It's the first time I got to meet her lovely parents and siblings.

Elida has gone all out and spoiled me rotten on my b-day the last few years, but with Tesla on my hands, I wasn't able to do much special activities : (

The gathering today was a BBQ in Dolores Park. First, it took me about 2 hours to get there! First, to leave, I kept having to feed Tes, then change her diaper. Then our neighbors whom I've been wanting to meet saw me leaving and invited me to meet their baby girl. Then after loading the car with a mountain of baby stuff, I stopped by the deli for some items to bring. Then I had to feed Tes again...but I made it there! Once there, Tesla dozed the whole time. Elida's mom kindly held her while I chowed down on super yummy BBQ by Elida's dad. I was pretty tired by the end of the afternoon, but totally happy I made it out.

Happy Birthday Elida!!

I was flabbergasted (I love that word) when I received a beautiful gift package from mlle a. that contained handmade items for Tesla, myself, Dav, and my mom! I got a lovely hair pin, Dav got chocolate, and my mom a little something that I'm sending to her without opening since it's so nicely wrapped. And Tesla, my golly...she got the most precious handmade bib, with matching booties, and a burping towel. They are too nice to use, but I'm a firm believer of using lovely things instead of saving them away. So I get to relish whipping out a matching handmade burping towel that matches Tesla's bib.

Thank you, mlle a. for taking the time and thought. It really really touches me!

Lots of cuteness

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I love watching Tesla and Daddy cuddle up. She seems so big to me now as she grows everyday, but when I see her with Dav, I love noticing how small she still is.

I also, um, love her cute butt. A butt picture is not easy to take, but I always give her butt a pat when doing a diaper change. Is loving her butt strange?

Daddy's big hand

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Or Tesla's small head.


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And now it's just us five

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Three humans plus 2 kitties, that is.

My mom went back to Tokyo last Thursday (it's taken me this much time to catch up on blogging). My dad had been sending love postcards to her everyday, so I'm sure he's thrilled to have her back.

I cried as Dav pulled out of the driveway with her waving out of the window. The realization that the blissful month - where we shared my pregnant belly, then delivery, then the first weeks of Tesla's life - has past made me sad. Like I said before, there is so much going on yet life is zooming by. I can't hold onto anything and it's hard because I very much want to. I'm so grateful for having shared this time with her. Plus, she totally helped. Now that I can't wake up, plop Tes down with my mom while I eat breakfast, or have my mom cook a yummy dinner or vaccum, everyday is a lot of work! Luckily Dav is a huge help. He will be doing some work in August though, so my real challenge begins then.

My mom had some fun too though. She rode on Dav's motorcycle, went sailing, visited the De Young museum, ate at Green's, had a sunset dinner in our RV, and had a beautiful Mexican bayside dinner in Tiburon.

I'm very happy that we already have tickets to visit Tokyo in September, so my dad and the rest of my Japanese family can meet Tesla, and so my mom can see her grown. I don't look forward to the plane ride, but I do look forward to being in Tokyo.

Thank you, mom. And thanks dad for letting me have her : )

Tesla is a Campalicious baby

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Toni had a gathering of our Campalicious BM friends for Elida's early b-day celebration. It's not until next week, but it was perfect so my mom could attend. It's so nice to be able bring Tes along, have her held by her various aunties, and for all of us to enjoy hanging out with friends. It's so necessary to know our social life doesn't have to end.

But having my mom join was the best. We discussed how visiting for one week is one thing, but living here for a month gives a much better view of our lifestyle, and daily rhythm here. I'm so happy my mom has had the chance to see how Dav and I live ... and how Tes is part of such a great community. Kudos to our friends for welcoming her to various gatherings.

Tesla visits Six Apart

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Now I understand. When you have a baby, you wanna introduce them to everyone! At least for me...so I was quite pleased to be able to stop by Six Apart and show off whom everyone watched grow in my belly. Of course, she was blogged. Mena lovingly held her and gave us pooh the bear socks and a bib : )

Although I hadn't been in for 3 weeks or so, the office felt a world away. It was great to see everyone, but my life is so focused on diapers, feedings, and laundry! I'm loving it though.

After Six Apart, my mom and I went to South Park for a nice French lunch. It feels good to get out and about.

Our video attempts

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Click to see video

Click to see video

When Tesla wakes up, if she isn't instantly howling for a feeding, she has a pretty funny routine of 101 expressions. It's a ton of fun to watch and very cute. So Dav got out his video cam, and set it up running while she was about to wake up. Of course, she fussed for like a second, then went back to sleeping several times, so Dav has to edit a long-ass video down to the cute parts.

In the meantime, I made my own video attempts with my phone. I didn't get her most hilarious expressions, but still it's nice to see her kick around in action.

Kats, the big brother

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So the cats are still pretty bummed that we have a new "pet" who takes all our time, leaving very little kitty attention. But we've let them on the bed now, and they take turns cuddling up. Once Tes cries, however, they give up and leave. I think they've resigned to the fact that she won't be going away. When I have a moment without Tes, they come for attention. I do my best to let them know they still are my #1 kitties. I was pleased that recently, when I left Tes to nap on our bed, Kats decided to hang around her a bit.

Tes makes me laugh

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Here are some bonus pics I just took. One yawning, one sorta winking at me, one with her eyes open. Ain't she just adorable?

sleeping Tesla

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For the first week, Tesla's activities were literally sleep, wake up, cry, feed, poop, then sleep. Really, that was it (and boy did that keep us busy). So, many of my pics so far are of her sleeping. But, we have definitely noticed that she's opening her eyes more, looking around. She reacts to sounds too, as Uncle Sean demonstrated by jiggling his keys during a recent visit. Even today, Dav danced with Tesla to some new beats he downloaded. Her eyes were wide open, eyebrows raised high, as if she was bewildered but also loving it. Later, Dav said Tes laughed!

My favorite is the 2nd down on the right. It's her blissful post-boob expression, completely drunk on milk with slight suction cup-like marks around her mouth. I love the one below it too. She grinned during one of her dreams...

First celebratory dinner

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I forgot to post these pictures from our first home dinner after the hospital. I suppose forgetting to post will happen a lot now with Tes on my hands. But I wanted to document this special dinner for Tes so she can later see how her grandmother loves her, and how we enjoyed this meal.

My mom made Tai (Red Snapper) for good luck, sekihan for happiness, and lotus root symbolic for long living. A very special moment to commemorate Tesla's homecoming : )

One week

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The previous 3 posts were from while Kokochi was down due to server issues. What timing! I was definitely very emotional the first few days home, and really needed to share. Now my hormones are stable and I'm more chill. But initially, I was overwhelmed with so many emotions - totally at awe at birth and meeting Tesla, physically exhausted and wondering how much my body could take, completely in love with Dav and appreciative at how he stepped up to do so much for me/us, mourning and missing my pregnant belly, processing the whole c-section ordeal, and just deeply grateful for every moment of this experience (no matter how tired I was).

We've achieved a rhythm of sorts - even though each day and night still brings new lessons and surprises - and we're settling into family home life. Tesla is one week old. And she is already changing and growing. She has more chubbiness, her hands are more coordinated, she stares longer, and she is experimenting more with different body movements. It's a pleasure on one hand to see changes everyday, but I also want to stop time. She's so precious and tiny! A friend with a 3 month old came by the other day, and I couldn't believe how big she was. I remember how tiny she was too when I saw her as a newborn. The biggest lesson so far is Letting Go. Life is flowing over us, and I'm super aware of its energy at the moment. I'm a part of it, but can't control or hold onto it. It goes...

Tesla has consistently given us about 5 hours of sleep each night...which is generous! I'm tired for sure, but this is doable. I'm getting the knack of breast feeding so the sometimes hourly suckling during the day is no longer a painful ordeal. The cats seem to more or less accept Tesla's presence and understand she is very important to us and won't be going away. They hang around us constantly to get any attention they can get, and I try to hug/pet them as often as I can. To me, they are handling this transition quite well, bless their little hearts.

I never expected to stay so long and feel so entwined with Kaiser Permanente on Geary. First, I must say that I am 110% satisfied with the quality and personal care I received. I had high expectations based on my prenatal care, but the labor, delivery, OR, and recovery teams were just amazing. We went through rounds of shifts with all the variety of teams and personalities, but I ALWAYS felt my needs and desires were considered first. I felt like I was at some luxury facility and I was a special celebrity. I would happily be one of those cheesy "these guys are great" gushing candidates to put on an advertisement.

In addition to everything being explained to us, and our wishes respected, once in recovery, we got one-on-one nursing/swaddling/diaper advice from the staff each day and night. That's one advantage of having to stay longer in the hospital; we got a lot of lessons to take home (nevertheless, breastfeeding IS quite hard...and I'm still astounded at how challenging it is).

I actually had a slight complication with my c-section incision and could have stayed longer. Well, I shouldn't say slight. I haven't had the courage to actually look at "the complication," but judging from the reactions of Dav and my mom who have seen it, it's pretty significant. Basically I have a seroma. A blood clot prevented my incision from healing between the layer that keeps my guts in and the fat/skin layer. At this point, the best is to let it heal inside out, slowly. So I have a big open wound. I'm on vicodin, and as long as I'm on schedule, I can move around and deal with the twice daily cleaning that Dav does (Dav is so good). Luckily (and this is my MAIN concern), this all doesn't affect breastfeeding, so lovely Tesla has not had a drop of anything else but my milk. I would have been beside myself if this complication forced us to use formula for Tes. So, I keep focusing on the bright side.

Leaving the hospital was emotional for sure. Being wheeled down in a chair, holding Tesla while daddy was weighed down with all our stuff, seeing others smile at us for our new beginning...all underlined the marking of this new chapter. I felt like I was coming out of a cave. As I waited in the lobby as Dav to get our car, I had a few moments to sit with myself and appreciate the trust Tesla had in us. We were about to take Tesla out into SF, a world that was going about its business as usual. For Tesla, it's another layer of "outside" to experience. So many more firsts to come...

These past few days have been pretty hard, and you've stepped up to do everything needed, plus be by my side. I think you are more tired than I am! I knew you'd be a great partner and father, but the immediate involvement and attention to detail in caring for both Tesla and I have made me fall in love all over again. To stay in the sterile hospital, waking up at 3am to take Tes in your arms so I could doze, following all the care instructions (you are the diaper king far and beyond), being patient that I have the boob goodies and you don't no matter how much you want to comfort Tes, and just being here with me all the time is the best gift of all. Not anyone can or would do this.

And now I'm in recovery, with a crazily bloated body that even I don't recognize, with engorged boobs that must make you wonder where the hell your former wife is, with an inch deep gouge across my belly that you have to clean and dress 2 times a day (very gross, I know), and having to help me get up, sit down, even put my undies on. I am completely relying on you with no luxury of embarrassment or playfulness. This is at its most basic, like I imagine we'll take care of each other when we're 90 years old. Hopefully, we'll look back on this soon with a sense of humor, amazed at how trashed my body is over post-partum, post-surgery, and becoming an instant milk-machine.

I love the way you talk to Tesla; it's a soothing voice I've never heard from you before. I know she's listening and is already Daddy's girl. She is lucky to have a father so involved. Right now it's just about swaddling and a clean butt, but it will lead to more very soon. The way she stares into your eyes will just get deeper, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing you two continue to bond.

Hello again!

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Where do I begin? First, we finally came home yesterday. We were in the hospital for so long that days and nights had all blended. It was quite emotional to emerge and see SF again. Dav stayed with me the whole time sleeping on an uncomfortable side bed, but I couldn't have done it without him. Adjusting to actually seeing Tesla (vs. feeling her snug inside me), and recovering isn't easy. I almost feel like I've emerged from a safe womb into a new reality. We've had several days/nights of the nap/feed/diaper routine with the support of a team of nurses (we got SO much valuable one-on-one instruction that I'm almost glad we got the extra time in the hospital), and now we're on our own.

I should first clarify to those who might not know yet that I ended up having a c-section. This was a very hard route to take both emotionally and physically. I'm definitely still recovering in both aspects. Basically, I did opt for an epidural, and after many hours, I came to a point where I wasn't dilating even with good solid contractions. More importantly, Teslas heartbeat dipped more than a few times causing all of us concern (even had a quick run to the OR just in case they needed to get her out within a minute). In the end, we didn't want to take any more chances. To be honest, I was pretty upset about it. Birth is incredibly deep and personal; I'll just leave it at that. But I try to focus on the immensely bright side that we now have a beautiful and very healthy baby girl. She drinks with gusto, has strong limbs enough that the nurses tease us, and isn't jaundiced.

Here are a few moments from labor that I never got around to uploading (duh!) [I feel weird sharing such personal moments, but this really is a need for me and how I process stuff. Please skip if it's not your cup of tea...]
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I want to take a moment and thank everyone who sent your love and support via comments and emails. You have no idea how much it meant to me to come home after such an experience to have your words. I think the post-pregnancy hormones are making me teary and emotional, but I'm working my way through missing pregnancy, processing the delivery, and appreciating having Tesla in our arms. To know you were watching for her inspires me. So thank you very much to each one of you.

Our daughter

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Tesla Rhea Yaginuma

ok, we're heading out...

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not sure if we're too early, but we're heading to the hospital. I'm scared that I won't even be dilated, but it hurts so I sorta wouldn't mind getting the car journey over with...I'm in good spirits :) p.s. actually, as soon as we packed up, I got a better handle so we're still at home actually...but will go soon...

1 minute-ish

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Got to a point where I could lie down and snooze between contractions instead of constantly walking which was real nice. About 1 minute and about 5 apart or so, but I think it may not be regular yet. I'm up walking again cuz it freaking hurts, and I'm loving my birthing ball.

Still here...

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I know it's early and there's a long road yet to go, but I'm already totally feeling it. Pretty much just resting, then walking around the house to ease the pain. I'm not into doing anything else. My mom just made me a sandwich that I'm forcing myself to eat for energy, but I've got very little appetite. Dav putters around me, but I'm not in the massage stage yet. Swaying back and forth is my thing for now. The contractions are still very short, so we're not timing or anything. I cannot imagine what levels I've yet to reach...I feel like a wimp! I'm very glad I haven't burdened myself with some goal about how this labor should go. I'll just do the best I can...
So this is what I'm in for...geez. I had been feeling cramps for the past 24 hours, but no big deal. Then around 2am today, I woke up to more discomfort, ended up rolling around on the floor since I was moving so much and didn't want to bother Dav. By 3am, the discomfort became distinct "on" discomfort, with long "off" in betweens, so I got back into bed to snooze. The "on" has been super short...like 5~10 seconds, and the "off" long enough that I actually fell asleep forgetting what's happening. I'm thinking this is a nice gentle way to ease into the real deal. But I'm getting a glimpse of what the "on" is going to be like. I can't imagine the "on" being a minute long! It's too uncomfortable to be lying down now, so I'm up alone (well, not really; Kats is with me). It was pretty funny that for a while in bed, I kept turning or getting up to go to the bathroom, and Kats never budged. As usual, I had to climb over him! Sheesh. So things are going well. I'm trying to welcome this pain. We sure tried hard to get it going: played ping pong at our local bar with Dav (I beat his ass), my mom massaged that special inducing area, and Dav and I, you know, snuggled ;) Whatever it was, something has started. Could be a long ways away though...I sense this is just the beginning.

SF's micro-climates

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This was from a few afternoons back when it was gorgeously sunny, and we decided to take a quick drive. We chose Twin Peaks that we can see from our living room so mom could view back where we live. It was hot and beautiful in Potrero Hill, but we could see the fog rolling in on the peaks, so we bundled up. It was freaky windy! My mom couldn't believe that just 20 minutes away the weather could be so different. She had thought it strange that no one planted trees on Twin Peaks...until she got up there and realized the wind just would not allow that. I laughed so hard watching her and Dav have fun with the wind.

patrick roddie photography

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I was most fortunate to have bumped into Patrick Roddie, an awesome professional photographer. I had never met him, but knew about his Hips book, and also from just seeing "webbery.com" on so many cool Burning Man photos. He simply came up and asked if he could take pictures of my belly. Of course. To have a great photographer document my funny shape just days before welcoming who's inside...now that is super cool!

He spent a good 6 hours with me earlier this week both at his studio and at my house, bless his heart, since I am not very comfortable in front of a camera. He took, um, 840 pictures! A lot were of me just trying to adjust being stared at by a gigantic camera. But Patrick is totally skilled...we chitchatted to get to know each other, he made me laugh, he made me tea, his cats came to play, and he somehow captured some pretty nice shots.

He does all sorts of pictures (including weddings), and I really like his style. Nothing too posed, he uses neat angles and natural light, and he takes the time to get a person as they are. I never thought working with a photographer would be so much fun! If you are interested in getting pictures taken, I highly recommend Patrick.

Due Date

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Today is the official due date...but we know it's just a suggestion of when she might show up. Tis very strange that our lives will change so much ANY time now...

It's a nice occasion, however, to take note of these 2 items. The first is a picture of 2 daruma that Dav and I have had since last Burning Man. I brought these from Japan; you fill in one eye to make a wish, and when the wish comes true, you fill in the other. Last year at a particular snuggly moment with Dav, I brought them out and proposed we each make a wish. After we each filled out an eye, we shared our wish. Mine was to get pregnant. His was to have a baby safely born. I practically burst into tears at how in sync our wishes were. My daruma's 2nd eye is already filled in as I did get pregnant (duh). I'm looking forward to Dav completing his daruma dude.

The other picture is of an anzan (安産) lucky charm for safe delivery that Ian and Izumi gave me at my birthday. At the time, it seemed far away, but I like saying "hi" to it everyday now.

Ian and fam stopped by, so we took them on a short ride in our new moving castle...well, it's *so* not new, but to us it is ; )

We got it for the next few years at Burning Man, since we'll have a little one with us. Man, never thought I'd even step foot in an RV! Julia and Tyler got a huge kick out of it though.

Dav, being the true geek that he is, created an automatic baby arrival email announcement system that uses a landline phone since we might not be able to use cell phones. If you'd like to receive an announcement, sign up here: http://newbaby.akuaku.org/

In Dav's words:

If you put in a cell phone number and select your correct provider,

you'll also get the message via SMS (for you eager beavers). If you're not sure which provider is the right one, just try sending an email to yourself using the address listed. It'll be your 10 digit number @ whatever. Example: 4151231234@mobile.cinuglar.net

The system is kind of cool, it's Ruby on Rails on the server side, but the phone call uses Tellme Studio VXML voice activation to collect the birth data and format the email.

Don't forget to look for the validation email after signing up.


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Lovely Elida took this picture. Thanks for capturing this moment!!

Mom cooks a feast

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Taking advantage of these last moments, and my mom being around, several friends gathered to sample my mom's amazing cooking, and for hanging out. I made coroquettes (or actually, made Elida make them and Rachel cook them as I was beat tired), and my mom made hamachi kama (provided by Rachel), sole (provided by Toni), pickled gobo, daikon salad, rice with cooked celery and seasoning, and miso soup. Delicious!

I was a bit stressed at first after spending the last few days cleaning and preparing, and overdoing it physically. I just didn't have it in me to cook for a group, but my mom graciously stepped in. I enjoyed the evening, and it was great to see all, but now am ready for some quiet time.

p.s. see the cute baby outfit Rachel gave us? Perfect!!