Party of FIVE - Driving, Surviving, and Thriving

I opened up blogger for the first time in almost two years. I found several "family update" drafts (four to be exact) that never got published. Apparently I'm most motivated about two months after having a new baby! 

We welcomed Kai into our family at the end of July. His delivery was quite different than the other two. With Emi and Noa I went a week overdue and I expected to do the same thing this time around, too. I was a little too set on it because when labor started, I was convinced it wasn't the real thing and just pre-labor. All day long my contractions came but they were inconsistent (every ten minutes for 25 seconds, and then 25 minutes would go by with nothing, and then another contraction but for 35 seconds, and on and on). But I wasn't even past my due date, so it couldn't be time, right? Looking back, the intensity of my contractions (and the sounds I was making...iykyk) should've been a clear indication that things were progressing but I kept telling myself that they would become more intense once it was the "real deal." After 20 minutes of consistent contractions in the late afternoon, we knew it was time to buckle down and we'd probably have a baby sometime in the next few hours. All along the plan had been to labor at home as long as possible and then show up at the hospital and have a baby (this is what we did with Noa and it worked beautifully). Instead, we showed up at the hospital with our baby. 

My water broke at home unexpectedly and after another contraction hit, I knew we needed to leave as soon as possible. We did not, in fact, have hours. Chris started running around like the men do in the movies, tossing our stuff into the car while I cleaned the floor (how I was able to do this I have no idea) and changed my clothes. We got into the car and I knew baby's arrival was close. It was unbearable sitting down so I hopped up on my knees (I was in the front seat since we had carseats in the back). Chris asked if he should pull over and I couldn't answer. After about two minutes into our drive, I told Chris I could feel baby's head. He swerved and pulled over so quickly I almost toppled over. He had time to put the car in park, help me with my clothes, and then he caught the baby. Three minutes into our ten minute drive to the hospital, Kai was born on the side of the road in the car. I rubbed him, he cried, and he breathed normally. His color looked fine and I held him skin to skin. Chris looked at me and said, "Well, should we just go to the hospital? We're already in the car and on the way." So that's what we did. We called the hospital to let them know we'd be arriving and they met us at the emergency room entrance. Kai was still attached to me at this point so we did all of the afterbirth stuff plus newborn tests at the hospital. Due to his speedy birth, the doctors had concerns about some respiratory issues but overall, Kai was healthy. 

We had a great hospital stay and came home to our girls after 24 hours away. They met him first thing in the morning and that will be one of my favorite moments ever. Noa kept talking about how small he was ("His eyes are small!" "His nose is small!" "His fingers are small!), how there wasn't a baby in my belly anymore, and how he was born in the car. Emi was smiley and in a giggly mood. When we brought Kai close to her, she grabbed his hand, smiled, and bounced happily. It was such a special moment. 

Some commonly asked questions. What was going through your mind? In the few minutes we were in the car before Kai's arrival, I wasn't really thinking, more just feeling the inevitability of what was happening. After Kai was born, I felt extreme relief; I wasn't pregnant anymore and labor was over! Our baby was finally here! Then the "did we really just have our baby in the car?!" hit haha. How did Chris handle playing midwife? I don't know if it was the adrenaline, shock, or Chris' disposition (probably a combo of all three), but he was very calm. He didn't freak out or get squeamish at all. Was your car completely destroyed? No. The seat definitely needed a good scrub but there was hardly any blood at all. Overall, I wouldn't recommend a car birth, not because of the cleaning hassle but rather the process of getting a birth certificate. It was a major pain. Fun fact: Kai's birth place is "auto" and the cross streets of where we were. 

Overall the transition has gone well. The first week of Kai’s life was a little scary since he went back to the hospital and stayed in the NICU for four days for reasons unrelated to his wild birth. Everything turned out fine but it was a hard and emotional week for everyone.

We had help from day one. Chris' mom happened to be in town to watch the girls for a few last minute dates before baby's arrival (ha) so she stayed with them while we were in the hospital. My mom arrived the day we left the hospital and stayed for three weeks. She did all of the laundry, cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping. I wish everyone got to experience this because it truly made such a difference. She also helped Emi every single night. In the three weeks she was here, Emi only slept through the night three times. Emi often cries/screams at night so despite having a newborn, we felt extremely well rested because we knew Emi had someone to help her and we didn’t need to get up. I’m so grateful for my mom and all that she did while she was here. I’m also willing to bet that she was very grateful to go home and sleep in her own bed haha. 

During that time my dad came for three days and also got to meet Kai and spend time with us. Chris' parents, Doug and Carolee, stopped in San Jose on their way to Japan so they got to see Kai within the first few weeks as well! All the while Chris was on paternity leave and got to spend every day at home. I spent most of my time in bed resting, nursing, and eating while Chris played with the girls and my mom took care of running the house. Kai is almost two months old now, Chris is back at work, and life feels like it's creating it's own new rhythm.

A bit about life in general. 

Emi started kindergarten! She rides the bus and has a full day of school. I wasn't very emotional about it since she's been going to preschool for two and a half years and she rode the bus for part of that time BUT it's very exciting and I'm very happy for her. She seems to like it so far! She gets therapy at school and brings home lots of art projects. Her moods can still be a little volatile but much of the screaming/raging has subsided...except at night. We're still trying to figure that out. She took Kai's arrival in stride. Since Emi likes to move her arms and legs around quite a bit and Kai is still little, they haven't spend a lot of time physically very close to each other, but one time we brought Kai to Emi's face and she turned her head and gave him a big kiss. It was so cute we asked her to do it again so we could take a picture and instead of kissing him, she brought her hand up and shoved him away. It was a very definite "No thank you, once was enough" haha. It's been very sweet to watch Emi's relationship with Noa grow over the past two years; I'm looking forward to seeing her relationship with Kai emerge. 

It's impossible to describe what it's been like to have Noa in our family the past two years, but in short, it's been fulfilling, eye opening, and so fun. The majority of the time, I've felt like a first time parent who is unreasonably proud of their daughter and thinks she's a genius at everything haha. She is loud and expressive at home and reserved and observant everywhere else. She is a hilarious and thoughtful toddler.  Our house is full of laughter thanks to her. The other day she told us she couldn't say please because there were germs in her mouth. The next day it was because there was too much spit. She loves to draw, read books, go on walks, and watch the movie Totoro. She is very, very talkative in Japanese but says a few words in English that she happily announces "Grammy taught me."

Leading up the Kai's birth, Noa gave my belly hugs, toys, and lots of kisses. She greeted my baby belly and would often bring her doll to me and say "Same!" while pointing at my stomach. I think she had a pretty good grasp that a baby would be arriving. Since Kai's arrival, she has been very affectionate, she wakes him up so they can "play" together, and she shows him everything she's doing. There were some colossal tantrums the first few weeks that left Chris and me bewildered, but she has mellowed out a little bit. We're still dealing with a lot of big feelings but it feels more in the realm of "typical two year old" and less "there has been a huge change, what is going on?!"

Chris is still working at Apple and I'm still at home with the kids. We both like our day jobs and wish there was more time for each other and our hobbies, but we squeeze them in as best we can. We love the Bay Area and plan on staying here for the foreseeable future. We've been here five years but there is so much left to explore! Sleep has evaded our home for years now (Noa also wakes up at night) so Chris and I are tired, but we're really happy. Despite my serious anxiety about our sleep deprivation with three kids, so far that part hasn't felt much different. We definitely feel outnumbered when they're all awake though. 

Having a new baby has brought so much joy into our home. We feel very blessed to have our family and the life we've created here the past few years. I remember feeling so nervous after having Noa because I couldn't picture what life would be like with two kids. We still have a lot to figure out (obviously) but as we learned after having Noa, you just kind of do it on the go. Did we have hard days and miserable moments? Absolutely. But somehow we adjusted, adapted, and grew and here we are, adding another one to the mix. I still don't know what life will look like exactly with three kids and the needs they each have, but I believe that we'll figure it out, making mistakes and happy memories along the way.

Look at those fuzzy cheeks!! One of the best parts of snuggling a newborn, all the fuzz!