My C-Section – Post 2 of 2

Posted on February 23, 2013
"you must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star. "
~ friedrich nietzsche

Here now is the continuation of the previous post about my c-section, please go there and read that first before this one, at least the disclaimer portion if you just wandered here from google or something. :)

Ok so, I last left off at the moment they separated me from my baby and I had to camp out in the recovery room while my husband hovered around our daughter while the nurses did whatever it is they do with newborns… check their blood glucose and stuff like that. I thought I'd only be in recovery for an hour, but I think I ended up being in there for at least 3 hours (nothing went wrong, I merely had to wait there for all the numbing sensation to wear off), I was so upset about that. How horrible it is to be apart from your newborn right when you want to see her the most.

I wasn't able to sleep at all in recovery because there were lots of people walking around tending to other patients, and I was constantly wondering if I would be able to leave soon. In retrospect, if I had known what I know now, I would have tried to fall asleep there.

When I finally got wheeled to our private room the first thing I saw was my topless husband holding our newborn (he was attempting to have skin-to-skin contact with her in my absence, because that is supposed to be good for babies, especially newborns). They had ended up having to feed her from a bottle because I was in recovery and they wouldn't allow me out to breastfeed her in there. I was kinda pissed about missing that as well.

I was still semi numb and had painkillers going on, and was asked not to try and sit up or anything like that, so at first I was not in any pain. They put these squeezey things on my legs to help prevent blood clots. For the first several hours, maybe the first day, a woman would have to come in periodically and and clean me up (after birth, even if it's not a c-section, your uterus is shrinking and ejecting lots of blood and leftovers). I still had the catheter in because I was not yet able to get up to go to the bathroom on my own.

For the first whole day I just looked at her (my baby) talked to her, fed her (periodically, breast feeding consultants would wander in and see if I needed any guidance). DH had to manage all of the diaper changes at first since I wasn't able to get out of bed. It was really a nice room, private (just us), pretty spacious and there was a separate cot for DH to sleep on, with the little hospital bassinet between us.

The following day they took out my catheter and it was time to try and get up and walk to the bathroom myself. I felt super weak in my abdomen, and I was timid because I had no idea what it would feel like. It wasn't really painful, as I am recalling, it was more of a really extreme stiffness. Like, imagine if you sat on your legs for a couple days, and then tried to move and stretch them. It would feel really stiff and tight and uncomfortable. That's how it felt. It felt uncomfortable but also kinda good at the same time.

I felt like I was half bent over like an old lady at first, but then I got myself to a corner of the room and used the walls to slowly and carefully straight myself up into a more normal standing position. I was told not to stretch (or else it might pull on the incision too soon. It felt like I was stretching it, but I don't think I was, because I hadn't yet been fully standing.

I did not, at any time, feel like I was in very much pain in my uterus or at the incision. I had plenty of general discomfort, but I cannot say I was in pain, other than some mild aches as the meds wore off each time. But even then, I didn't really notice a very big difference between the ache during those times; Very slight.

The surprising thing that DID hurt -and this hurt A LOT and I was almost to tears- was my shoulder. I thought at first that maybe it was "referred pain" but a nurse claimed it was gas trapped in my body. Whatever the hell it was my left shoulder FUCKING HURT. And yes, that f-bomb was necessary. I was literally saying to them "This is ridiculous, I have no pain anywhere else, can you please do something to ease my shoulder pain?!" and they said they couldn't. I still do not understand why. All they said was "walk more." My shoulder hurt for days. It was finally gone a week later, but then I would periodically get sudden shoulder pain for a moment in the months following the c-section. It's gone completely now.

I think it was around day two that they wanted me to poop. LOL… I needed some help with that but it eventually happened and… ugh, without being too graphic it was kind of a scary feeling (having just had your abdomen open and then to go #2). They indicated that I shouldn't push, but I didn't have to. I felt a lot better afterward; I didn't even know there had been discomfort there until it was gone. Haa… around the same time, actually maybe more like day 3, they allowed me to shower but said not to wash the incision area.

The meals were kind of interesting. The first day there I was only allowed to eat clear liquids… so clear broth, water… some other things I can't remember. I begged one of the nurses to bring me coffee and she agreed, but she said "I'm giving it to you black, NO MILK OR SUGAR!" and I was like "Oh god, yes, thank you that's fine, anything!" lol the next meal was also liquid-y or semi-liquid… like jello or a fruit cup I think? After that was oatmeal, and them finally I got to have pancakes and bacon for breakfast and I think chicken and veggies for dinner near the end.

On the 5th (my birthday) my parent's both showed up to meet their grand daughter and brought me some flowers and a cupcake. Before that some balloons and a bunny for my baby had been in the room, requested to be put there by my oldest sister who lives on the other side of the country and couldn't be there. I was exhausted but it was so nice, and my mom had to say the cliche, "our baby had a baby!" lol

The nurses had also continually offered us pitchers of water in our room. The stupid thing was, I was ordering iced water several times until a nurse finally says "you should ask for room temp water with no ice, cold water causes gas." I was like "That would have been nice to know earlier…"

Backing up a bit, the other thing that happened was that basically every hour or two a nurse was barging into the room to take my blood pressure, or check the baby's glucose, or whatever else. As such I got NO SLEEP for the entire (I think it was 3 or 4?) few days we were there. That was probably the worst thing about it all. Everything else was so amazing and pain free and smooth, and me and my baby were as healthy as we could be… but my shoulder killed unceasingly and I was (actually my husband AND I both were) becoming severely sleep deprived.

We tried to get the nurses to leave us alone so we could sleep, but that didn't pan out very well either. The next time I will try sleep masks and ear plugs and see if that helps at all. As soon as we got home from the hospital we all slept for several hours and woke up feeling a MILLION times better. You're supposed to wake a newborn yourself for a feeding if the baby sleeps for many hours in a row, but guys… seriously, we had NO SLEEP in days. We were both literally starting to get batty. It was only that first night back that we didn't wake her in the middle of the night for a feeding. She was still pooping and peeing on schedule and all was well. It was a great relief.

Being home and being able to get some solid sleep finally made everything all better. I was refreshed, happy, and I was able to walk and do things right away. We had been worried I would be bed ridden, but it wasn't like that at all. The only hard part is when you first have to sit up and get out of bed, you have to do it slowly and carefully, and there's a little bit of pain. As soon as I was on my feet though, I was fine, just took it easy and didn't try to rush it.

After two weeks I was able to go for walks outside. I would eventually feel fatigue in my abdomen and had to stop, but it seemed like things were healing and getting back to normal really fast. I've always been a fast healer, which was one of the reasons I felt good about choosing c-section, I knew my body could handle it. I'm still worried about the next one, but I think that's normal… who is NOT nervous about a major surgery?

I had no complications and no infections during my healing. I have felt like my old self for several months now (it has been just over one year). I feel like I healed very fast in the first couple months, I was actually back up to brisk-walking 2 and 3 miles a night after my 6 week checkup.

I have some very very mild numb spots near my scar (which is very pale and white [I am very pale], and almost gone now). When I was first home I felt like the entire scar was completely numb, but month by month sensation came back, and now it's only mild spots that have less feeling than I remember. It's not a big deal and I don't notice it unless I'm purposefully feeling around there to check.

Did I mention I'm pregnant again? :) I got pregnant again just days before my daughter's first birthday, so my uterus has had one full year to heal. I have heard that this a safe amount of time in between, and the baby is not due until September. You may remember if you've read the older posts, it took us over a year, and the use of clomid to get pregnant the first time. This time we got pregnant with no meeds, from having unprotected intercourse… *wait for it* … ONE. TIME. We both cannot get over it. We literally had sex without protection ONCE… to be honest we weren't really trying yet, and we figured one time would be ok… NOPE! For the past few weeks we periodically look at each other, shake our heads, smile, and say "once…" in that *I seriously don't believe this* way. lol

That is not to say that our second baby is an oops, we were planning to have another. We wanted them maybe two or two and a half years apart, and would have been trying again in a few months anyway, it just happened a couple months sooner than planned. As it stand now, the second baby will be born about three/three and a half months shy of our first child's second birthday, so we are about a half a year early for number two. It happened so easily though I actually prefer this, we got to find out sooner that this time would be effortless to conceive. It's better than having to try and try and try, as we had to before. :)

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日本語勉強中 – Post #1

Posted on February 23, 2013
“any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
~ albert einstein

Japanese Learning: How I personally look things up...
…the post wherein I feel like I am unlocking my dirty little secrets. lol

WAIT... ADVICE DISCLAIMER: I'm at an intermediate level so usually my advice is for beginners and fellow intermediates presented with a "let's swap study ideas" intent. I'm not a teacher or a tutor. My advice is not about the language itself, it's a series of suggestions on how to study via my own experiences. So, if you're here to learn Japanese, it ain't gonna happen. These are just study method suggestions.


Over a year ago… possibly even longer ago than that I said I was working on a Japanese learning blog post. I started, and then kept moving from topic to topic, and it just kept getting longer and longer and I've been getting distracted intermittently, so we are going to do this in installments! This is the first one. I wanted to start with something quick and immediately useful… no prerequisite, no set up, just "here's what I do" and GO!

For the sake of not reinventing the wheel, I'm going to assume you already know how and when to use a dictionary and kanji radical look up. I rarely use a word dictionary, but kanji radical look up gets used quite frequently. So… skip that for now. Below are the ways I dig up meaning when I run across something new and wonder "what does it mean" or "how is it used." Most of the time a regular dictionary or lookup can't tell you the nuance of meaning and give you real world usage examples… if it does it's likely highly sanitized and overly general (thus, not very useful).

This is where the awesomeness of the internet comes in...

- Google search: [word] 意味
… (usually pops a useful yahoo japan answers result)
** example to try yourself: エポックメイキング 意味

- Google search: [word] 英語
… (usually pops a useful weblio result)
** example to try yourself: とろける 英語

- Google image search: [word]
… (hit or miss, but sometimes can give you a general "feel" for the word, this one is especially good for slang terms or elements of culture where a variety of visuals might be handy)
** example to try yourself: ドヤ顔

- Japanese wikipedia search: [word]
… (doesn't always return a useful result, but always worth a try, beginners have the bonus option of switching over to the English page once they locate the term on japanese wiki… BUT it's not always a one-to-one page/cultural meaning match, so be careful)
** example to try yourself: 屋久杉

Ok onto the nitty gritty details of what I usually do…

I sometimes just start with a basic google search, just the word or phrase by itself, and see what pops up; to see how people (native speakers online) are using it. Sometimes it's a good idea to try to reduce it down to a simple form if you know it (like for example, reduce a verb to it's dictionary form first, and if I'm having a hard time I can also try other verb forms if I know them and see what pops up).

Bonus: just like in English, google will correct you if you mistype or they think you meant something else "did you mean…" which is sometimes awesommmmeeee sauuuceeee.

Once you have isolated your word/verb/short phrase (…you should even look up katakana words that you think you already know because sometimes they end up having a different connotation in Japanese than they do in English; パンツ is a famous example) do that funky google search, white boy〜♫

Here is an example I looked up recently: エポックメイキング (epoch making) … so, I know what those words mean in English myself, but I have a hunch that there might be something more going on, especially seeing as they are being used together in a way that isn't normal in native English (suspicious!), and I want to make sure I'm not just guessing at it, so I hop on over to google and do a search for: エポックメイキング 意味 (imi) … imi means "meaning" in Japanese. Adding 意味 will narrow down my search to show where people have asked specifically, in Japanese, "what does epoch making mean?" Try it, and you will see what I mean in the first search result.

"BUT THE ANSWER IS IN JAPANESE TOO." Yeaaa, it is. If you already know some basic Japanese, finding an explanation of the new word you want to learn about in japanese is actually quite helpful. You want your brain to build new Japanese language thoughts whenever possible (do not feel bad if you can't, but keep trying, you will pick up on new words and phrases and grammar even if you don't realize it), rather than translating into english thoughts which might be how you started off, but aim to change that as you move forward; This will pay off in the long run, I promise you.

I do basically the same for the other first couple methods I listed in the beginning. I am usually quite happy to see a "weblio" link when I search for [word] 英語 because they tend to give several example sentences using the word or phrase, which is helpful (more nuanced than a dictionary lookup). From there you can go back and do the plain or 意味 google search again to see where it's being used in a broader context. If you don't know a lot of Japanese yet, try skipping straight to the 英語 search method (and then after you get the gist of what it means go back and do the 意味 search, because why not?). Get that learn on.

For science-y words, or political terms... etc (things that aren't slang) wikipedia usually can return a solid, helpful result. For slang and obscure concepts, or "I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT COULD BE!" words and phrases try a hail mary google image search and see if there's a pattern among the images.

Try theドヤ顔 example and you will get the idea of what I mean. You are looking for the commonality between the top 10~20 images. That will give you at least a first step/peek toward understanding what it might mean, or a clue as to how you can fine tune your search. Make sure you click on some images to see how the word or phrase was used in the source that went with the image.

There you go… a quick and dirty primer on how I bend google to my will.

But then you stop me and say "What about online translating software?" - Only people who don't want to really learn Japanese use them (and it's not just because they are an easy way out so your brain won't absorb it as having learned something… though that is part of it, they are also often wrong (like dr noonien soong *snort*) and thus you will be learning ridiculous errors using them). I actually have already written a whole post on the machination diabolique of auto-translators, but I will save that for another day.

For now, I wanted to give you something that is useful rather than a complaint.

Oh oh oh… and one last side note; If you don't already know about this: now you do. On the bottom select "Furigana" from the first box, and "Hiragana" from the second box… pop in your kanji you want to know the "reading" of and hit "translate now." HOW USEFUL IS THAT? You are welcome. (note that they say that converter is not 100% accurate, so be careful when using the tool and double check it whenever possible, for me it has only failed one time out of many).

My C-Section – Post 1 of 2

Posted on February 16, 2012
"fortune and love favor the brave."
~ ovid

First : This is my body, not yours; If this fact bothers you, too bad. You can't have or control choices about my body (the same way I have no say about yours)… you're just going to have to come to terms with it. Also... if you don't care to hear details about my body, you probably shouldn't read on either, lol.

Disclaimer about personal medical choices : One would hope that this much is obvious and didn't need to be said outright, but before I begin I wanted to acknowledge the following biases and common sense information. Firstly, this is the personal blog of one woman. I'm not you, you're not me, and I'm not a doctor. Please keep the following information in mind; I'm only one woman and you should NOT base any of your own medical decisions on MY outcome, please speak with YOUR doctor and base your decision on what makes sense for YOU personally. Always remember that you could end up with a different scenario and outcome than you read about here or anywhere else. Each outcome is different and unique. This post is by NO MEANS "advice" on c-sections, nor am I promoting c-sections beyond how it worked for me in my own life. Please talk to YOUR doctor and do YOUR OWN research.

Additionally, here is some more info you may like to know about me (in relationship to my health and how it may affect how my body deals with major surgery [which c-section is!]): This was my first pregnancy and first c-section (my first surgery and hospital stay as well). I'm 30 years old (29 when I got pregnant, and turned 30 two days after my baby was born). I'm a very healthy person, I rarely get sick. When I do get sick with something like a cold, it usually is very short and not severe. I also rarely have headaches. I've always been in my target weight range for my age/height, or if not then only a little overweight. I've never been underweight and also never been fat or obese (except I feel fat right now, since I was just pregnant LOL). I'm pretty sedentary, but I love to walk. Before pregnancy I walked 4 miles a day (briskly for cardio). I don't always eat the most healthy, but I do avoid greasy fast foods, I try to make smart choices about food. I have no chronic, genetic, or environmental illnesses or notable allergies to speak of.

I had an ideal pregnancy, I didn't even have any morning sickness. I also heal very fast from injuries, and my stretch marks and scars usually fade very well (I love piercings, and have many of them, I have never had any scar issues or keloids related to those, and they all healed very well and very fast). I have a pretty decent pain threshold as well and a strong will. I also don't scare easily and am not a very emotional person (except in private with my husband), I like to approach things rationally and know as much as I can ahead of time. As long as I have information and knowledge on my side, my natural curiosity about things usually can carry me the rest of the way through even the most harrowing experiences with little fearfulness.

I have barely any hips to speak of, and a smaller than average vagina. My own personal feelings regarding this, and family history of births (birth experiences of people I am genetically related to) made me worry about it with regard to vaginal birth. From the very beginning I felt I wanted a c-section. At one point I allowed some people to scare me into considering vaginal birth, but then, after a lot of fact checking and research (about elective c-section, emergency c-section, vacuum extraction, vaginal and pelvic floor trauma etc) along with my husband, I soon switched back to c-section and never looked back. The choice has always been mine, and my husband supported whatever I chose. I am VERY happy with my choice, and my outcome could not have been better, it was prefect and ideal for both me and my beautiful baby.

So there you go… now that that is out of the way, I can tell you all about my elective c-section.

Ever since my early/mid-teens I always assumed (and wanted) to eventually have kids (not have them THEN of course… it was just my outlook for my adult life). I don't remember when, but I eventually decided that 25 would be a good age to have my first child, but I ended up not being with the right person, nor had all my "ducks in a row" at that time, so I was forced to wait a bit longer. It also turned out that I had a little fertility issue to deal with. I'm still not sure what was wrong (not ovulating? not ovulating on time?) but two months of clomid sorted it right out, and my husband and I were able to finally get pregnant after having tried for over a year unassisted. I had a wonderfully ideal pregnancy with only one major bout of headache and some general physical discomfort during the final month (otherwise had none of the usual pregnancy woes except for some hormone induced acne… ugh! lol… it's gone now, yay!).

As I said before, I did seriously consider doing a normal vaginal birth at the hospital. However, I quickly discovered that the uncertainty about what could happen (What if they have to use a vacuum extractor that's dangerous for my baby? What if I tear severely or end up with incontinence or sexual disfunction? What if something else goes wrong and it turns into a dangerous emergency c-section? … most of these things were quite possible for me personally, based on a history of birth complications in my immediate family members, I was not merely being scared out of the blue) was causing me unrelenting worry and distress on a daily basis. We did research (as I mentioned) and as soon as we switched back to choice of elective c-section (knowing all the possible risks) I immediately felt relieved. I still had some fears (the main one being blood clots), but with elective c-section we felt there were far fewer, giant, looming question marks and "what if"s. The c-section risks were more predictable, very cut and dry (no pun intended) and easier for me to mentally prepare for. I also felt that since I have a history of being healthy and healing well that this was the smarter choice. The biggest factor was it being the safest choice for my baby.

Vacuum extraction and emergency c-section were the two absolute deal breakers for me, there was NO WAY I was going to risk putting myself or my baby through those two situations.

Once I let my choice be known to my doctor (who did not try to push me one way or the other) it was time to pick a date. He told me the optimal days that I could choose from, and we picked one (two days before my own birthday). The date we chose, of course, was past the 39 week mark (this was also a must for me). So now the juicy bit you probably were waiting for… my description of how my c-section went and how it "felt."

It all happened pretty quickly. I came in two hours before. There was no boring or anxious waiting time because for the entire two hours a nurse was asking me questions and prepping me (setting up my IV, giving me lots of fluids etc). I also met one of the doctors who would be working on me (there were two who did my c-section, my OB and this other guy) and the anesthesiologist. Next they brought in a jumpsuit for my husband, while he was dressing in the prep room they took me to the operating room and the anesthesiologist started the process of giving me my spinal. First she scrubbed my back and I felt a pin prick (this was the local numbing stuff), then she did the actual spinal, and I didn't feel a thing. I was expecting getting the spinal to hurt, but honestly I felt nothing. The nurse from before held me during it (I was asking a ton of questions so I think she thought I was scared). It was comforting though. Soon my legs started to feel cold, and then started to go numb. The nurse helped me lift my legs onto the table and I laid down.

My legs felt like they were "going to sleep." The anesthesiologist asked me to tell her if I felt (I guess it was a cotton ball with something on it?) as she rubbed it across spots on my stomach and abdomen. I was supposed to tell her if it felt cold or not. This was to find the boundary of where the numbing started and ended. The numbing gradated from just under my boobs to just below my ribcage, everything below that was completely numb. Oddly, after this, as they were putting in my catheter I guess, I noticed I still had some sensation in my clitoris. The other doctor seemed to think this was odd, but I only felt it the one time, so maybe it was just the last thing that went numb for some reason. lol

Anyway, so then they put up the screen so I can't see… but they went a little overboard. It wasn't a short little screen like in the youtube videos, this felt more like it was half a tent over me, it just seemed larger and more obscuring than the ones I have seen in videos of c-sections. I started to get worried that they would start before calling my husband in, so I kept asking for him repeatedly. Then someone said my doctor (my OB) had arrived. But the screen, as I said, was blocking basically the whole room except for what was directly behind me, so I was like "Uhm, can I SEE my doctor??" and they were like "Oh… ok" (I was like… yes, let's just let people cut me open without me seeing my doctor first… right). lol… anyway so he came around so I could see him and said hello. Then I asked for my husband again, I must have sounded annoyed this time because the nurse from before ran and got him (she was great btw, very nice the entire time… the others in the room all basically seemed to be ignoring me and I felt like a piece of meat).

Another nurse who I had met a couple weeks before, and who was prejudice against my choice to have a c-section (and who seemed to also be "put off" that I'm an atheist) was in the room, which didn't make me very happy, but I let it go, I was too preoccupied and excited. Anyway, so my husband came in, and I asked if they were going to test my sensation… so the doctor started doing something and asked me if I could feel it, and I said no. I guess at that moment they started cutting. I didn't feel a thing… well, I mean I didn't feel any pain or direct touch sensations, of course. So now the juicy bit where I describe how it actually felt as a whole process.

Ok so… my whole lower half is asleep, but of course if they move my body, my upper half can tell, because it's attached, and moves as well. Also, my stomach and ribs were still able to feel, and they got a little sore (I'll get to that in a moment). So the initial cutting and so forth I didn't feel anything at all. Then -I guess- they moved onto pushing her down and out of the incisions they made, THAT WAS A TRIP. First of all, because I couldn't actually feel on my skin and organs, my brain (in all it's evolutionary wisdom) had to fill in the gaps in the absence of that sensory info. So, instead of feeling like a really low incision (reality) it felt -to my upper torso and imagination- like everyone on the other side of the screen was grabbing one edge of a huge gash in the middle of my stomach and were all tugging violently in opposed directions. It sounds scary, but it was more kind of shocking and then a bit amusing because I didn't feel any pain from it, just the pressure and movement. It was like "whoa whoa whoaaaa" and then "Hahaaa" I felt like a piece of luggage being pulled around and shoved.

At one point someone started pressing very hard on my stomach (up high, where my actual stomach organ was, near my ribs) and it started to hurt. I felt like I could have puked (but I didn't because they give you antacid before the procedure). It got more intense so I told the anesthesiologist about it and she gave me morphine. From there on I felt absolutely wonderful. I've never experienced a narcotic before, this was my first time. I felt very mentally blurry, but it also felt really good and I was a little drowsy.

My husband and I were nervous (he couldn't see anything either, the screen was that large). We kind of just stared at each other and held hands. A few moments later we heard her cry. I don't have words for the look on my husband's face, but it was a really amazing moment. After that moment passed he stood up to peek over the screen and saw her. He said, "Well, she's definitely a girl." lol… he sat back down and they readjusted the screen for some reason.

Another moment later they brought her around to the little table where they suctioned her nose and mouth and clipped her umbilical stub. She scored 9 for all of her APGAR tests (meaning she was pink, strong, and breathing perfectly right out of the womb). 9 is basically the best/highest score a baby can get. I told my husband to go over and take photos. It took -for what seemed like- a while but they eventually brought her to me and laid her on my chest. Up until that point she'd been crying and her eyes were closed. As soon as they set her down on my chest I touched her face and said "Hello pretty, I love you." and she immediately stopped crying and opened her eyes. My husband said she hadn't opened her eyes while on the table, so likely I was the first thing she ever saw (albeit blurry? lol).

After a very short moment with her they whisked her away and my husband followed to watch over her while they monitored her and gave her a bath. I was left to be sewn back up. I felt great from the morphine and didn't feel a thing. I could hear some talking but the only bit I managed to process was that they were giving me buried stitches and dermabond for my incision so that it would scar nicely/minimally (not staples which I have heard are horrible and don't heal well). I think someone else also mentioned "You didn't lose very much blood." After they were done sewing me up the doctors left and the nurses cleaned me up and prepared me to go to the recovery room.

This post is super long now at this point, so I'll stop here and do a second post about the actual hospital stay and my recovery at home (spoiler alert: it went perfectly as well, lol). In the second post I'll talk about the hospital stay, breastfeeding, and how I healed at home.

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Full news coverage

Posted on May 16, 2011
"If you wait to do everything until you're sure it's right, you'll probably never do much of anything."
~ win borden

All right so, a quick update. A little over a week ago my at home pregnancy test showed two lines. This was only our second month trying clomid, so we are thrilled that it both worked, and that we won't have to move up to more costly measures. We have told most friends and family already, but not at work yet as we have not yet been able to confirm that it is a "normal growing pregnancy" as my doctor put it. I'm only 6 weeks along now.

I had my first ultrasound a few days ago, which confirmed that I was pregnant (by viewing my lining thickness and my corpus luteum… physical indicators of being pregnant). We also saw the "yolk sac" … to be exact, the doctor saw TWO sacs! This may be in indication that we are having twins! However, whatever is inside these sacs was too small yet to see, so there's still a lot of worrying and nervousness going on. My next ultrasound is in four and half days (one week after the first one).

Some people have cautioned that I may be announcing this too early. If something were to happen with this pregnancy, I would want to announce that as well, and know that I'm not alone and not "hiding" it. It's true that I have my husband for support, but… I'm not the type of person who can simply hide their emotions for a month until the risks are lower. Perhaps that can also be viewed as selfish too. Anyway, I chose to announce it… I already started by talking about the clomid, I might as well give this thing full news coverage. :)

Edit: Oh! I also wanted to mention that we've already received some baby gifts that we are very thankful for. Probably most importantly were the blankets and the bottle (and advice!) from my oldest sister Kim (which was also advice that our other sister Lisa had passed on to her). Both of my sisters have been happy for me and helpful, telling me not to worry and making sure I'm doing things right.

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Quick update…

Posted on March 5, 2011

ClomidThe pill in the photo is called Clomid (you can read about it here). As my husband and I have been trying for over a year to have children, with no luck, my doctor has perscribed me these pills which should -hopefully- help me ovulate. There's a slightly increased risk of multiples when taking clomid, which is actually a good thing for us, as we were kind of hoping for twins. I'm just hoping it works, period.

My next major post will be a supplement to a youtube video that I made some time ago. It will be about studying Japanese (focusing on the area of self study and using manga as a study aide). I'll feature a lot of the texts and tools I personally use, as well as offer techniques for people at different stages in their learning.

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Loquacious, huh?

Posted on February 26, 2011

Don't worry, my blog won't always be full of these big, personal posts. There's just a few topics I've been wanting to write down is all. I'll start up with hobby and fun related posts soon. ;)

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All Growed Up

Posted on February 25, 2011
"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."
~ e. e. cummings

Imagine that sound of bassy, echoey drums being rolled. Not like a sharp, snappy, magician or comedian drum roll; More the tribal rolling of drums, as if something epic or meaningful is about to happen. This is what I imagine would sound in the distance, in the movie of my life, when I reach a major turning point.

To anyone over the age of 16, I think the idea of a maturity turning point should be fairly obvious. What is not immediately obvious to the teenager might be that life is full of these. They keep on happening. So as I mentioned, usually the first noticeable (that isn't to say this would be the first, but maybe… the first major) maturity turning point happens for the teenager who is hovering around the topic of their first time having sex.

Unfortunately, this can happen sooner or later than someone might wish… but either way, sex is usually a turning point (or the catalyst of a turning point to come -no pun intended), even if it turns a person in the wrong direction. From there you start thinking of relationships as much more important, and permanent than you used to. Most people step up into high school just a little less petty and foolish than they were in middle school.

As you move through graduation, and college, and your first job, and your first time being fired from a job, your first big breakup maybe… you keep facing up to this maturity thing. Every time you turn a corner there's a new epiphany making you grow up just a little bit more. You maybe sigh and go "Oh crap, what an idiot… well ok, here we go again, the right way this time."

I'm on my way to age 30, just a few more months now (10 to be exact). Seems like sex is stirring up a new turning point for me. My turning point now is realizing that in order to reach my next life goal, I must change the way I think about myself, completely. This is not to imply that I would lose myself, but rather I have to modify how I think and behave and picture myself (no more stressing about what size jeans I have to fit into). My goal is to have my first child. For the past few years I've been gearing up for it, and for the past whole year my husband and I have been actively planning, preparing (mentally and financially), and trying for this.

In my preparation I realized things, one by one in small bite-sized epiphanies. I had to drop some thing out of my life. Some things I enjoy (caffeine! oh god, caffeine!) and even some things that I thought defined me (my slightly high-strung, argumentative nature *ahem*), can be hazardous to this future child I'd like to bare. Within the last few days I realized that for the next good while -if I do get pregnant- my body will no longer belong solely to me. It will house my child for the better part of a year, and then feed my child beyond that. From there my daily energies, wants, and needs become my child's needs above and before my own.

I'm ready for this, but as I said, I only just realized I have to seriously redefine what I feel is important, and start thinking of the child first, even before I get pregnant. My body needs to be full of vitamins, my health and mind need to be in harmony, by finances and relationships all need to be calm and in order. Above all, I need to really analyze and prepare for all of my routines to change and morph as I go through all of this. The bright point for me is how rewarding I know this will ultimately be, and those drastic changes don't have to be a forever thing either. I also can relax on the knowledge that my husband will be free to care about my needs as I go about sacrificing things for the child's needs in body and mind.

I guess the biggest thing was that, as I picture myself as a mother instead of a young upstart, I look at things I used to care about, or make a big deal about and I scoff at how petty they now seem. So here I am, right on the cusp of my next step of maturity, and it feels damn good, actually. I feel a lot of relief, that's always the reward you get from growing up. You take on new scary responsibilities, but you're armed with the permission to grow up, you're not in the dark anymore, the confidence builds up behind you and that relaxes you.

It's like an "ah ha!" moment. Even just writing this out, gives me cause to stop, sigh, and smile.

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New Places

Posted on February 21, 2011
"I'm an adaptable nomad. My roots are inside of me."
~ julie delpy

I think everyone, in some capacity, enjoys exploring a new place. For example I've visited France and Japan, and of course loved every minute of it. Even sitting in a hotel room in a new place can make a person bristle with excitement. Not everyone, however, can fully enjoy separating themselves from what is comfortable and familiar while striking out into a new place. Many people, I think, would like to remain somehow tethered to the old places while exploring the new. While I can understand that feeling, it's just not for me.

I can become extremely stagnant and uncomfortable when I have been in one place for too long. When I am in a new place (but know I'm going back to the old place) I feel like I can't completely, 100%, enjoy myself and relax. The idea that "this is going to end soon" is always gnawing around in the back of my mind. Now, moving to a new place, that's different. The mere prospect is like a ball of fire in your chest (warm, stimulating, exciting), and if you stay in one place too long it cools and hardens, and then sits there like a lump weighing you down. I know I'm not alone on this.

I've lived in several places in the United States. In my adult life, the notable places are: Michigan (where I grew up), Tennessee (only for two years), and California. Each of these three places have been wildly different, and sufficiently stroked my predilection for that ball of fire associated with "moving on" and "starting fresh." Along with being satiating and building me up, each place also wore me down in different ways, each with varying degrees of coarseness. In that respect, moving around a lot can "polish" a person.

With that, I have to say, my nomadic urges are spurring me on once again. I'd love to live in a new place. Some way or another, Seattle ended up in my crosshairs. Ever since getting the idea of Seattle in my head, any mention of the name sets my heart aflutter. Any pictures or articles about the place inspire a vague arousal. Hahaha… yea, weird huh? So that's what's in my head, it's kind of like a crush, sort of an… "Ok wow… this is enticing, but geez, I like, barely know anything about this Seattle… what if it doesn't like me?"

Haha… right?

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Obligatory Introductions…

Posted on February 20, 2011
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."
~ e. e. cummings

My name is Lynn (also known as natsuki or natsukigirl online, I also sometimes go by the moniker tokirocket or riotalice). As of writing this post I am a 29-year-old web developer girl (oh come on, let me be a girl just for a little while longer, hey?), living near Los Angeles, California with my programmer husband Darrell and two female cats, Lydia (tortie) and Pyper (tabby). My current goal in life is to start my family (see also: produce demon spawn). We've been trying for about a year (we even have our names picked out; Parker for a girl, and Elliot or Benjamin for a boy), but apparently one of the reasons it's taking so long is we haven't been "timing things right"... who knew sex was so hard?

I've been online since the age of 12, and have been a web-designer for almost just as long. When I first discovered fan-made anime websites I immediately wanted to create one of my own, for the series Sailormoon. My father handed me a book about HTML and told me that if I learned to hand-code and planned out my website, that he would get me a domain name. That domain is (I haven't updated it in several years, and I'm currently in the process of moving it over to my new server). I do not remember what life was like before computers, manga, and the internet.

I am most well known online for being an extremely avid ( some may say, elitist ^^;; ) Japanese manga (comic books) collector. I heavily promote the idea of collecting and reading manga in it's original language (enjoy them the way the artist originally intended) and thusly I enjoy promoting the learning of the Japanese language whenever possible. I myself have been studying Japanese both casually and formally since the age of 13. Although I can easily enjoy the manga I collect, and find it fairly simple to articulate myself in Japanese online, a recent trip to Japan showed me that I shouldn't be so cocky to claim any real fluency. I hope to remedy this in the coming years as I would like to raise my children with a strong knowledge of Japanese in addition to native English.

I'm also fairly well know in Japanese music circles as the girl who made (The girlyrock site is also temporarily down as I'm moving to a new server)

Besides manga I also collect and photograph Japanese and Korean fashion dolls ( 着せ替え人形 ). Some examples of dolls I collect would be; Takara Neo Blythe dolls (Japanese Blythe doll modeled after the 1972 vintage Blythe doll by Kenner), Takara Licca-chan, Sekiguchi Momoko, and a variety of ball-jointed (articulated resin) dolls from Latidoll, Fairyland, Luts, and Volks... among others.

The goal of this blog is to regain my blogging legs and actually write something useful, about hobbies and life... a far cry from the ten long years of petty personal blogging I did in my youth and young adult years. I hope to be both edifying and entertaining with my writing here. Thank you for visiting. :)

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