12.12.2018

Milo's Birth Story

My sweet Milo,

I still can't believe you're here and that I carried you for 9 months. I never thought I would ever get that chance. How lucky am I to be able to become a mom through two different, miraculous, and beautiful ways. 

The night before you were born was full of emotions. As I put your sister to bed that night, I held her a little longer, told her I loved her a few extra times, and I just couldn't stop the tears from falling realizing that the very next day, you'd be here to join her and join our family.

The next morning, June 13th, we took our time getting ready and being with your sister. Your Yai Yai and gramma + grampa were here also awaiting your arrival. We confirmed plans of when your gramma and grampa would bring your sister to the hospital, took our last photos as a family of 3, and headed to the hospital. On the way, I listened to Peace In Christ by Hilary Weeks on repeat. I was excited and I knew things would be OK, but my anxiety of the c-section was driving me crazy and I needed calming peace. Listening to that song still brings me back to that exciting, anxious, crazy, blessed day.

We checked into the hospital then met up with our birth videographer/photographer. She filmed us waiting patiently to be called back and I remember thinking that was the perfect way to get my mind off of what was about to happen! Finally, I was called back alone and I changed into the hospital gown and socks. As I stuffed my shoes and clothing into the plastic bag provided by the hospital, I had to take a few deep breaths. This was really happening!

The next hour or so was hard for me. For the first half, I was still alone and the nurses prepped me for surgery. I'm not sure if the nurse was new or what but she was not my favorite. She couldn't find a vein and just kept poking and poking. She "found" one but nothing was happening so she pushed further in but still nothing. She tried the other arm and at this point, I was so nervous, annoyed, stressed, I had to close my eyes and pray it would end soon. As I squeezed my eyes shut tight and said a little prayer to myself, she is still poking around for a vein then I just feel a squirt and warm liquid all down my arm and hand. I couldn't open my eyes! When she was finally done with the IV, I opened my eyes and sure enough, the right side of my bed was covered in blood. I wanted to quit right then and there! That same nurse came back in and washed my arm and hand off and tucked the blood stained sheet under my body.

The other nurse came in and told me that my blood pressure had risen and that it would have to lower significantly before the surgery. No kidding! I was super stressed out because that other nurse made the IV seem/feel like major surgery!

Finally, Yai Yai and your dad were able to be with me. That alone helped with my blood pressure! I remember just laying there in silence staring off into space, silently having a panic attack. Your dad has never talked so much in the years I've known him. He was trying so hard to get me relaxed and not thinking about the c-section. Bless him.

What felt like the longest wait picked up quickly and my doctor finally came to see me. She sat on the bed with me and read over my birth plan. She introduced me to the anesthesiologist and he also read over the birth plan with me and asked me a few questions. They both reassured it was going to be quick and that it was all going to be OK.

Next thing I knew, I was walking down the hall to the OR with your dad by my side and the video/photographer following behind us. They stopped us at the door and told your dad he needed to get changed. I could tell he was starting to feel frazzled when he was frantically looking around for bathroom to change in! The nurses quickly told him the robe was suppose to go over his clothes haha.  That was a nice a little humor break before entering the cold, bright operating room by myself.

I remember hearing the radio on and thinking, "man, this is just a normal day for them but my world is about to turn upside down!" I hugged a pillow and bent forward while the anesthesiologist tried several times to find the perfect spot for the epidural. It's definitely unnerving when you hear, "you're just so petite, I'm having a hard time." That made me freak out even more! He asked me to stay still and I answered him in my head, "how am I suppose to do that when you just said you can't find the right spot of this dang thing!"

Finally, a jolt hit my body and my left leg jerked. He asked me if I was OK and I told him that I was but I wanted to make sure it would work throughout my whole body and not just my left leg. He laid me down and reassured me that it would quickly numb everything. I nervously asked him to test it out. He asked if I could feel the tap and of course, I couldn't. I asked him if it would last the whole surgery and he reassured me that it would. I think he could tell I was over the edge at that point and asked me if I wanted something to calm me down. That was not a part of my plan but I knew I needed it. He was so kind, gave me what I needed to take the edge off, and rubbed my forehead until your dad was allowed in.

As soon as I saw your dad by my head, I just started to cry. I tried to catch my breath but the reality again was hitting me! The anesthesiologist came over again, rubbed my forehead and told me to calm down. He must have thought I was insane but he was still so kind! I honestly loved him and considered him my best friend in that operating room!

Your dad was my other best friend. He took over for the anesthesiologist and rubbed my forehead while he talked to me and told me how much he loved me and how strong I was. I was nervous I would smell weird things and feel extreme amount of tugging on my body but whatever the anesthesiologist gave me made things a bit foggy so I wasn't really 100 percent present. I didn't feel much of anything and just laid there like a vegetable with tears rolling down my face. Finally, I could hear that sweet cry and they lowered the blue curtain to show your sweet face to us through the clear drape. I remember saying loudly, "he looks like me!"

Unfortunately you couldn't come see me right away because the nurses were concerned about you. They worked on you for quite a while, around 20 minutes. I just watched as the doctor was gluing me up. You cried and cried and although you couldn't hear me from where I was lying, I kept telling you it would be OK. Your dad was the first to hold you. He took a photo with you then a nurse wrapped you up and brought you over to me. Still you were crying and as I held you and kissed your sweet face, I told you that you couldn't cry on your birthday!

It was such a surreal moment. There I was being operated on, holding a baby I never thought I would physically carry in my own womb, looking back between your sweet face and your dad's sweet face. I will never forget that moment. I soaked it all in. I was no longer concerned what was going on behind that curtain and I just held you close.

After some skin to skin, we were moved into our room where we would stay for 2 nights. I remember not wanting to put you down yet being so tired and not sure how my arms were operating. A few hours after your were born, you were able to finally meet your big sister! She was excited but I don't think she fully comprehended what was going on. She was mainly concerned about me and kept talking about how I was hurt. After the fog cleared, you and I snuggled as much as possible with the World Cup playing in the background. I was so tired yet so happy to have you here with us!




















1.07.2018

WE'RE EXPECTING....WHAT?!

As most of y'all know, I am used to negative pregnancy tests. You can imagine the absolute shock when this one was a positive! I thought it was a sick joke!

Leading up to taking the test, we had sat down as a couple and made the decision to be done with adopting and fertility treatments. Not that we had negative views of adoption or fertility treatments but we were content as parents to Mia and made the decision to keep our family small. So pretty we were not planning to have another child and we were not trying for a baby.

In early September, a thought came to my mind, "you are still going to get pregnant." I pondered about it and concluded that I was not going to put my body through more fertility treatments. I was done. As October rolled around, I kept getting this nagging feeling I was expecting. I went to the dentist and got an X-ray. The dental assistant asked if I could be pregnant before taking the X-rays and without skipping a beat, I said no. That's what I was used to saying. But as the appointment went on, I kept asking myself, "what if I am?!"

If you've gone through infertility or the process of trying to get pregnant, you know that is such an annoying and nagging question. You don't want to get your hopes up but you want to be positive. So since we weren't trying and I truly believe I couldn't get pregnant, I brushed it off. But still, the thought kept creeping into my mind!

I decided I would get a dollar store test since it was going to be a negative once again and I didn't want to waste money on another negative result. I bought two different kinds from the dollar store and went home to test. Right away, the test came up positive. Stunned, shocked, dumbfounded does not begin to explain it. I was seriously so confused. And really thought it was a sick joke. I went downstairs to tell Russell right away and didn't even sit to think about anything. Russell was also stunned and confused but as you will see in the video, really excited. He was way more excited about it at the beginning than I was!

After telling Russell and getting over our shock and confusion, I tested again. Another positive. I still didn't believe it. We drove to the store to buy more tests. Another positive. I still didn't believe it. I tested the next morning. Another positive. I still didn't believe it. I called my OB and asked for a blood test. They say, "honey, if you've taken 4 tests and they were all positive, you're pregnant." I explained our situation and why I was reluctant to believe it and went in that same day for a blood draw.

Five days later, I got the call and they told me it was positive. Again, I asked, "positive means I'm pregnant?" I just couldn't believe it! I didn't trust that it was real until our first appointment at 7 weeks. It was the most out of body experience to see that little gummy bear and once I heard the heartbeat, I couldn't deny it any longer!!

I found out at 5 weeks and at the 6 week mark, the all day nausea began. Definitely made it more real! I am feeling much better now with anti nausea medicine and I am getting my energy back! We will find out the gender on the 16th and we cannot wait to share it with y'all!

Along with Russell's reaction, I am including his parents' reactions at 8 weeks when they came to care for Mia so we could go on a cruise (notice the sea sickness bands; those things saved me those first few weeks!), and my cute and super Asian mom's reaction at 14weeks days before Christmas.

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for your excitement and love! You guys are so excited for us and that as helped things become more real for me! Thank you for being a part of our life and loving us!


10.09.2017

Summer of 2017


This past summer has been the best yet! Mia was older to enjoy the water and play in it. We did as much as we could and Mia was up for any adventure we came up with. We can't wait for next summer with her!

Here's a video we made of our summer (without clips from our San Diego/Disney trip)

9.01.2017

How We Met!

So I'd like to start by saying that I am pretty sure Ed Sheeran was talking about us when he wrote "people fall in love in mysterious ways" in his song, Thinking Out Loud. It's pretty interesting and we're convinced it was the only way possible for us to even know the other person existed since we would have never crossed paths any other way. I also want to add that we did not tell our friends and family the real way we met for YEARS because we didn't want to be judged. But obviously, we feel better about it now, almost 7 years into our marriage haha.

The story starts in Provo, Utah; although only one of us was living there. Russell was attending Brigham Young University in Utah and I was attending CSU Monterey Bay in California and in a relationship with someone who was serving a mission for our LDS church. I was not dating anyone else and in fact, I was planning my wedding to this missionary that I was very committed to. Anyway, the night before the beginning of my spring break, I had a friend request on Facebook. I opened the request, it was Russell, and automatically had this very familiar feeling about the face staring back at me on the screen. I wondered if maybe I had met him at a church camp in Utah years before so I accepted with the intention of asking how we knew each other.

The next morning, there was a message waiting for me. It was from my new "Facebook friend", Russell. Here is the exact message that I've kept all these years: "hey look im really sorry...my friend got onto my account last night and started adding people and posting stupid stuff as a joke so you ended up being one of them. that is weird that we are both friends with **** and **** though. anyways you can delete me. sorry once again." I replied with, "hmmm alright. thats weird. you can go ahead and delete me. and its fine. just didnt want to completely ignore the request and be rude if i did know you."

But the conversation didn't end there. A half hour later, he Facebook chatted me and wondered about the two mutual friends we had because the two of them live on the opposite ends of the country. One of which he has known since Kindergarten and I knew her from college, and the other he met on his mission and I "Facebook met" through a FB group for missionary girlfriends (yes, this group really exists.) I explained that to him and we kept chatting about school, my missionary boyfriend, etc. I made it very clear that I had a boyfriend (more like my fiancé in my eyes) and that if we were going to continue to talk and get to know each other, it would only be as friends. Obviously, I thought he was as handsome as can be but I was VERY dedicated to my missionary boyfriend. Don't even get me started on how dedicated I was, you can ask my friends from college haha.

Anyway, I went on my spring break, returned back to work and school, I continued to be dedicated to my boyfriend who was on a mission, and lived my life. Russell and I talked on and off. I think just a week after Russell and I became Facebook friends, my missionary boyfriend and I parted ways. And before you jump to the conclusion that I broke it off with him to be with Russell, you are incorrect. I just don't want to go into details of the break up and point fingers at anyone. Especially so publicly. Let's just say we both agreed to part ways although it was hurtful.

A few weeks after that, Russell asked if he could come visit me for his spring break and I said yes. Remember we had never met in person! He drove from Provo, Utah to Monterey, California in the middle of the night and the next morning we met in person for the first time! It was weird but awesome and we had our very first kiss maybe 10 minutes after meeting face to face! WHAT?! Again, he felt so familiar to me, like he had been my best friend my whole life.

After that, he returned to school in Utah and I stayed in California to finish my senior year. I graduated from college, moved to Utah to be with him a few months after, and the rest is history!

As I am writing this, I am nervous of people judging like, "he could have been a serial killer" "don't encourage people to meet strangers online" "that happened way too fast" and so forth but we truly believe that we met in the way that we did and felt the familiarity that we did for a specific reason. We believe that every couple has their own story and no matter what it looks like to those from the outside, if it's right and meant to be then it'll happen when and how its suppose to! We're thankful God had this exact plan for us to meet. Thanks, Facebook!


5.20.2017

Mia's Story, Part 3

Part 3: The Hospital Stay

After our first emotional moment as a family of three, I was able to feed Mia a bottle and snuggle her a bit longer. Russell also got a turn at skin to skin and I could tell he was a little nervous but so in love with her! Mia was weighed and measured in front of the both of us and we were also able to be there when she got some shots. That cry broke our hearts! After she was all done, she was wrapped up again and placed into her birth mom's arms and they were able to have some time together before being moved to our separate rooms. 

Russell and I walked out of the room and sat down in a waiting area and I remember vividly how we just sat there quietly staring at the wall and holding hands. We just couldn't believe what we had just experienced and it was just so so surreal! We were parents! But were we?! Reality and excitement settled in again as we read texts and messages from family and close friends who we shared some photos with. I remember our thumbs moving so fast to share her name and all of her birth information! But I also remember a feeling of nervousness for we knew that there would be tears and hard things to come.

They assigned us to our rooms; Mia's birth mom had hers and the hospital was so accommodating and also had a room for us. Our room was towards the back and her birth mom's room was closer to the nursery. The four of us (birth mom, Mia, Russell, and I) were able to go into the nursery together and watch Mia get her feet stamped and get her first bath. It was around 3 in the morning and we were all so tired (especially birth mom!) but we all couldn't take our eyes off from Mia!

We all decided that Mia's birth mom should get a good night's rest that first night we were all at the hospital together so Russell and I rolled Mia into our room at around 3:30 in the morning. I remember this night like it was just yesterday! I remember taking her out of her bassinet feeling so unprepared! I sat with her in the rocking chair while Russell got cleaned up from a whirlwind of a night. I rocked and sang to her and kissed her over and over again. I prepared for a long night of crying and feeding but Mia was out like a light! We placed her back into her bassinet and placed it as close as possible to the bed. The hospital bed was too small to share so Russell took the hospital bed and I had the pull out bed. We didn't get that much sleep that night since we were constantly waiting for her to wake up and need us but she never did! 

At around 6:30 in the morning, a nurse came into our room and seemed to be super surprised that we were still laying in our beds and that Mia was still asleep! We felt like she was sort of disappointed in us for not waking Mia to feed but we were told to never wake a sleeping baby! She told us to wake Mia up and feed her a bottle so we tried and tried, but Mia did not want to wake up! The nurse had to show us ways to "startle" wake her so that she would have some milk! Poor girl was just so tired from the night before!

A little later, Mia's birth mom came to get Mia and wheeled her away to her room to have some time with her. Russell and I left the hospital for some breakfast and to give them the time they needed. It was so nice to have some family in town so that they could help us pass the time that we weren't with Mia. We would stop by birth mom's room every now and then to say hello and hang out but we tried our best to give her the time and space she needed. That Saturday was Birth Mother's Day so we spent some time with her talking about the night before and gave her the gifts we had picked for her. It was also so refreshing to be with birth mom and her family. It just felt so comfortable and like they were a part of our family too. Mia also stayed in her birth mom's room that night and Russell and I tried our best to get a good night's rest but we were super anxious about the day ahead of us that we didn't sleep much.

The next morning was Mother's Day and the day Mia's birth mom was going to sign the relinquishment paperwork. Russell and I woke up super exhausted but so eager to see Mia and finally have our family meet her. We went to visit Mia, her birth mom, and her family in the morning and we were able to partake the sacrament together in birth mom's room. That was one of the most spiritual moments of my life. As we sat quietly in her room, listening to the bread and water being blessed, I felt a rush of peace come over me. I felt His love for Mia's birth mom, Mia, and for us. I remember sitting there trying to hide the tears and hoping that Mia's birth mom was feeling it too. I sensed my Savior, Jesus Christ near and I thought of the selfless young woman who was about to make the largest sacrifice of her life in order to bless Russell and I. I couldn't stop thinking about how much I admired her and how Christlike she was to me! After we had the sacrament, we talked about the plan for the remainder of the afternoon and were able to hang out with Mia and her for a bit longer before returning to our room to wait until it was time to see Mia again as our daughter and take her home from the hospital.

Around lunch time, the social worker and notary came to our room and had us sign some paperwork before going to birth mom's room. They explained to us what she was about to sign and told us the time frame of when it would be done and left our room. We spent the next couple of hours pacing back and forth in our room, looking at the clock a few dozen times, praying for us and for birth mom numerous times, packing our bags and repacking it, walking down the hall to get more and more Coke, trying to watch TV and I can't even remember what else. We didn't even think to take a picture as we waited in our room. That day was such a blur to me. We always felt confident and weren't super scared that she would change her mind, but we did occasionally allow doubt to creep into our minds. But above all, we were just so worried about Mia's birth mom and we wanted her to be OK.

After what felt like a really long time to us, we asked our family members to come up to meet birth mom's family in a lobby area as we waited for Mia's birth mom to say good bye to Mia alone in her room. When she was close to being ready, we were asked to get back to our room with our families. Then with a light knock at the door, Mia's birth mom walked into our room wheeling Mia and her family were close behind her. Immediately, emotions hit all of us in the room. I remember just beginning to sob because I was so happy but so sad at the same time. She had Mia dressed in a onesie that said, "Best gift ever." And she truly was! She also gave us a letter she had written for Mia to read when she is older and a lotus bracelet that matches hers. We all said our good byes and hugged as tightly as we could, hoping it would tell her how thankful we were for Mia and for her! She left with her family and again, we all began to sob. It was such an emotional day and one we will never ever forget!

Looking back, that weekend was super emotional but also super special. I feel like Mia was a week late so that she could gift her birth mom and I the experience of sharing Birth Mother's Day and Mother's Day with one another in the hospital.