Yearly Archives: 2015

Lucia’s Monthly Photos: Seven Months Old

Dear Lucia,

I don’t know how you do it but each day you just keep getting cuter and smarter and more and more amazing! It seems that you’ve really matured this month (our little sophisticated baby 😉 ) and that you’re not just a little chunky baby anymore (although you’re still plenty chunky)…you’re a gotta-get-in-on-the-action, full-of-life, so-much-fun baby.

The most memorable thing this past month has to be your first flight ever when we went on a family vacation to Oahu, Hawaii! You were such a great travel companion and we had an absolute blast exploring the island with you and your big sis. You were a few weeks younger than Sirena was when she went on her first flight.

Here are the latest and greatest things you’ve been up to this past month!:

  • Baby sign language: When you turned 6 months old I started using the sign for milk each time I fed you and Daddy would do the same. Just the past two weeks before you turned 7 months you’ve started using the sign yourself! At first I thought it was a fluke but you have consistently used it when appropriate and I am just blown away. I need to dust off my baby sign language and try to remember the other good ones we used with your big sis–it makes communicating so much easier before oral language really kicks in!
  • New noises: Blowing raspberries, gargling milk (hilarious!), smacking your lips together over and over, shrieking (this one isn’t our favorite, we gotta admit), and you’ve started making the “ba” and “da” sounds
  • Lots of new teeth: You’ve got a third tooth finally poking through on the bottom and three (count ’em THREE) more coming in on the top (this is in addition to the two bottom teeth you’ve had since 3.5 months old)
  • New physical abilities: You can clap your hands (which you love to do), you try to grab at everything, you rub your belly when you’re eating milk (adorable), and you’re very close to crawling–you lean your upper body over, sway your torso forward and backward to propel yourself onto your belly (although most times your feet get stuck underneath you so you’ve still got a lot of practice to do)

We love the big personality you, the littlest member of our family, has. We love the light that you bring to our days. We love YOU, Lucia.




The Seven Month Rundown


  • Trying out solids: We’ve jumped into the realm of solid foods and so far you’ve been enjoying the experience! We started out with banana, avocado, sweet potato, scrambled egg, oatmeal with almond butter/milk, and whole wheat bread (the soft middle part). You find the entire experience of tasting new foods and mushing it in your mouth fascinating although you’re still trying to get the hang of it (most of it ends up sliding down out the sides of your mouth, haha).
  • Lola!: You are a big Lola fan, making chirping noises when she comes around. You like to sit next to her and rub your little fingers through her fur (and try to grab a handful but we’re working on a more gentle touch). When I ask, “Where’s doggy?” you look around for her.


  • Being sick as a dog: You got hit with the second cold of your life and this one was a doozy. Sirena got croup, then a cold, then an ear infection and a week later when Sirena was finally on the mend, you, me, and Daddy all got hit with the same cold but of course it affected you the worst. You were so congested you could barely breathe laying down in bed so Daddy and I had to take shifts holding you upright so that you could sleep. And then you developed a double ear infection (and come to find out you were cutting 4 teeth at the same time to top it all off). It was 2 weeks of almost complete misery in our household and boy are we glad to be on the other side. More than anything, we felt so awful for you because you are still so so young to have to deal with a cold like that. I guess that’s what happens with second children when you’ve got germy older siblings around!
  • Separation anxiety: Just the past few days you have become really upset when we walk away from you, even if for only a minute. This is a very common stage for babies your age but it breaks our heart to hear you cry out and to see the big fat tears streaming down your cheeks!


Monthly Photos

7 months

And here’s Sirena’s seven month photo in the armchair for comparison’s sake

The Many Facial Expressions of Lucia


Family vacation to Oahu, Hawaii!

Over the summer we decided to take a family vacation in October which is typically off-season for a lot of places so it’s not as risky to fly standby using Kevin’s flight benefits. Initially we had the grand idea of taking the girls to Spain to visit my good friend Heather and her family. We expedited the processing for Lucia’s passport (paying an arm and a leg!) and had every intention of going until Kevin looked up the flights and saw that the flight from Newark, NJ to Madrid was filling up fast so we couldn’t take the chance of not getting on the flight there with two little munchkins in tow. 🙁 We then had our hearts set on visiting another good friend, Sneha, in New York! We were going to stay a few nights at the beach on the Jersey Shore then a few nights in New  York City. We had only decided on NY about a week or so before our intended departure date and we found the hotels were filling up really quickly and that they were exorbitantly priced. We were so stressed about finding a hotel that could accommodate us (we needed at least a suite so that Lucia could be put to bed early and we could hang out in the living room area without disturbing her) and that wouldn’t break the bank and that was in a safe area and we had to make the sad decision to cancel those plans as well. 🙁 🙁

So what to do with less than a week before our departure date with no idea of where to go? Oahu! We found a hotel two blocks from Waikiki Beach for 6 nights for just a little more than we were going to pay for 2 nights in NYC so we knew it was meant to be. Kevin and I have been to Maui (that was Sirena’s first trip to Hawaii) and the big island (for our honeymoon) but never Oahu and there are multiple flights to/from there each day so the chances of us getting on a flight flying standby were looking good. Less than a week after deciding on our destination we were there! Now that’s the best kind of travel planning, no months and months of anticipation. 🙂


Tues, Oct 20 (my birthday!)

We woke early that morning to get on the 8:40am flight from LAX to Honolulu and we were lucky that there were over 80 seats available so we got the entire 5 seat middle row to ourselves! This was Lucia’s first flight and she was a dream! This was Sirena’s upteenth flight and she was an old pro. We couldn’t have asked for better travel companions. A woman in the aisle across from us even commented to us that she didn’t realize the kids were there the entire time and how well-behaved they were. 🙂

IMG_0963Can you tell they’re tired?


Lucia’s first flight!

We picked up our rental car and immediately drove to get some lunch at Soon’s Kal-Bi-Drive-Inn, a Korean/Hawaiian restaurant. We then headed to our hotel, Aston Waikiki Sunset, to get settled in.

IMG_0976The girls enjoying our awesome view from the 14th floor!

We decided to check out the pool area which was beautiful but the hotel cast a shadow over the pool in the mid-afternoon so it was pretty chilly and we couldn’t hang that long.

IMG_0983(1)Birthday photo with my girls <3 after our quick dip in the pool

In addition, Hawaii is 3 hours early compared to California so the girls (and us!) were getting tired pretty early on–Lucia actually went to bed at 4pm! Sirena and I took a walk down to Waikiki Beach once little sis was in bed to pick up some Subway to take back to the hotel for dinner and of course we couldn’t resist putting our toes in the ocean for a few minutes.


Sirena did NOT want to get out of the water

That night, the three of us were in bed by 7pm (10pm CA time so it was a looong day!).


Wed, Oct 21

So what happens when we go to bed ridiculously early? We’re all up and at ’em at 3:30am!

IMG_6335In case you ever wondered what Honolulu looked like at 3:30am…you’re welcome.


This is what we do at the butt crack of dawn

We decided to make a short drive to Nu’uanu Pali Lookout to watch the sunrise. Both girls fell asleep on the way there so we had to go out in shifts: Kevin first and then I took Sirena out on my own while Lucia continued snoozing.


You snooze, you lose Lucia! 😉


My glamour shot girl


It was sooo windy there but Sirena didn’t care, she had a blast running around since we were the only ones there!







 A rooster calling on the chickens (one of which Sirena decided to name “Butthead” haha!)

At LAX the day before we met a woman named Madonna who had just been visiting her grandkids in Cerritos (one of which was Sirena’s age which is how our conversation started) and was on her way back home. It ended up that she worked at the hotel across the street from where we were staying and she invited us to their breakfast buffet the following day so we decided to take her up on the offer this morning and boy are we glad we did! It was all-you-can-eat and she only charged us for one adult meal. She also gave us a doggy bag FULL of food which was so awesome.

After our crazy early morning and huge breakfast we went back to the hotel for a family nap (me and Lucia in the bedroom, Kevin and Sirena on the sofa bed). After getting some much-needed rest we made our way down to Waikiki Beach for some late afternoon fun. It was so awesome being just walking distance from this amazing beach!



Me and my favorite 3 year old



Seaside nap


Lucia’s first time in the Hawaiian waters



That face! Poor thing.


Much better!



Thurs, Oct 22

Before we all fully adjusted to our new time zone we decided to capitalize on another early morning wake up call and pack up the girls for a drive to the North Shore.

As soon as we got off of the freeway (Oahu is the only Hawaiian island with actual freeways most of which are found in Honolulu) we felt like we were on the two-lane highways that we were used to in Maui and the big island–beautiful, lush surroundings, roadside fruit stands, turquoise waters only a stone’s throw away from the highway–ahh, paradise.

We grabbed an early lunch at Mike’s Huli Huli Chicken, a permanent food truck that had incredible chicken (Kevin was a fan) and the most amazing garlic shrimp (yummy!)


Sirena was in heaven with our Blue Hawaii smoothie

With Lucia’s random naps and feeding schedule we spent a lot of the drive sightseeing while on the road. It was definitely not the way that Kevin and I prefer to do Hawaii (we love to do a lot of excursions, using the awesome guidebooks by Andrew Doughty to find the gems and must-see things of the island, stopping every few miles on the long drive to check something cool out) but we had decided before we left to focus on the girls this trip and that we’d just have to go on our own another day to see everything.

In the North Shore our destination was Shark’s Cove which is a kid-friendly tide pool and beach. Kevin and Sirena were the only ones that ventured out into the tide pool while Lucia and I hung out in the shade of the palm trees.


Crinkle nose, my favorite!


IMG_6378That night after putting Lucia to sleep, the three of us celebrated by birthday (belatedly) with a yummy confetti cake (and another earlier-than-normal bedtime…we know how to party!)

IMG_6406 IMG_6405

Fri, Oct 23

For breakfast we were invited one more time to Madonna’s hotel for a breakfast buffet and she ended up comping us our entire meal…so awesome! We were so grateful for her generosity.

Our big breakfast fueled us up to walk a few blocks to the Honolulu Zoo! We spent a couple of hours there and really enjoyed the quaint and well-kept grounds–not too big to be overwhelming, just the right size for a family with two small kids (it reminded us a lot of the Oakland Zoo!).



Wild peacocks out roaming the grounds, these were arm’s length distance from us




The highlight was the Keiki (Kids) Zoo with a great playground, petting zoo, and rest area.


Sirena had the most fun climbing on and around this huge tree with the greatest above-ground root system.





Our only family photo of the trip!

After the zoo we walked back towards Waikiki Beach to have lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise–my mom’s husband Steve is related to one of the owners and graciously gave us a gift card to enjoy a meal there (just like he did when we were in Maui!) We then went back to the hotel for a much-needed family nap.

We decided to go back to Waikiki Beach (you can’t compete with walking a few blocks versus strapping the girls in the car and driving to another beach when it comes to simplicity!) but this time we left the phones and cameras at the hotel thinking the whole family would take a dip at the same time (and we didn’t want to risk leaving valuables on such a crowded beach). It turned out to be a little too chilly to put Lucia in the water so once again Kevin and I took turns going into the water with big sis and hanging out on the beach with little sis. The lighting was INCREDIBLE–we were there from 4-6pm so the sun was making its way to the horizon the entire time we were there and it cast the most amazing warm light on the girls, I was really kicking myself for not bringing anything to capture the moments on camera!

That night after putting Lucia to bed the three of us stayed up until (gasp!) 9pm watching the movie “Boxtrolls” that we rented from the lobby.


Sat, Oct 24

We wanted to do one last beach day so we headed out to Ko Olina Lagoon near the Disney Aulani Resort. There are 4 lagoons in this area and we went to Ko Olina Lagoon #4 which is the farthest from the resort. It had the most amazing, clear, warm water perfect for wading with little kids!











Another seaside nap for the little munchkin






After a fun (and tiring!) morning in the sun we had a really nice lunch at Monkeypod Kitchen just a few minutes from the lagoon. We then treated ourselves to some yummy ice cream at a shop around the corner and of course the girls crashed on the drive back to the hotel!


Island girl

After putting Lucia to bed, I decided to take an evening walk with Sirena to do some shopping in Waikiki. I put her in our umbrella stroller and ended up walking over 2 miles total until a little after 8pm! We had a blast checking out some fun Hawaiian souvenir shops, buying clothes for the family and gifts for a few folks back at home, and just spending some one-on-one time together which we very rarely get any more.


She was STOKED to get a Spiderman balloon animal from one of the street vendors. Spidey even came home with us!


We checked out this awesome underground t-shirt shop called 88 Tees and brought a few shirts back from there


This was in front of Nani’s Gift Shop which she found hilarious (Nani is what Sirena calls my mom)


I let her drive me around the block a few times 😉


Sun, Oct 25

Our last full day on Oahu we decided to visit Pearl Harbor–we knew we couldn’t come all this way and not visit such an historic site (Kevin for the military aspect and me for the significance to US history). Sirena loves airplanes so we decided to focus our visit on the Pacific Aviation Museum (there are quite a few museums/attractions to visit at Pearl Harbor).






They had a ton of mannequins dressed up, this was a silly photo I took over the shoulder of one peeking out and seeing Kevin and Sirena in the distance


Sirena was so happy to find “the shark plane” from the museum’s advertisements…and there was even a mini one that kids could pretend to fly. Score!



Can you see Sirena in the cockpit?


They were in their element, that’s for sure.



Afterwards we were all pretty exhausted but needed to get some food so stopped at Young’s Kalbee, a delicious Korean restaurant. Sirena was so wiped that she actually remained asleep when Kevin got her out of the car and stayed asleep sitting on his lap for a good 15 minutes at the restaurant (unheard of these days!) She woke up in time to eat some lunch and then passed out again at the hotel for a couple of hours during family nap time.

The night before on our shopping excursion, Sirena and I bought two Hawaiian dresses for her and Lucia that I really wanted them to wear on the beach at sunset so I could take pictures of them. We just barely made it to Waikiki Beach for the last 10 minutes of sunlight. Sirena wasn’t in the best mood (come to find out she was sick, more on that below) and then Lucia faceplanted into the sand after only a few photos (and we had to rush to the water fountain to rinse the sand out of her eyes, poor thing) so I didn’t get any stellar shots of the two of them together but I am happy with how they turned out overall.





IMG_6688Before heading back to the hotel we took a 10 minute walk to get some Hawaiian shave ice–no trip to Hawaii is complete without shave ice!


Mon, Oct 26

This will go down in history as the day from hell (Isn’t it funny that each of our trips to Hawaii has one of those?? In Maui our day from hell was when Sirena got an ear infection on the Road to Hana when we had zero medicine and had to drive hours to the nearest Emergency Room. This day wasn’t nearly as bad but it was definitely comparable…)

We were up at 2am because Sirena said she has to use the potty. After 10 minutes of being up she threw up unexpectedly. She was able to go back to bed but I was wide awake by that time and patiently waiting for our alarm to go off at 2:45am.

Kevin and I got ourselves ready, packed up, and then woke the girls up at 3:15am. We all got into the car at 3:30am and dropped the rental car off at 4am. We made it through security without any incident and made our way to Gate 11 to check in for our 6am flight to LAX which we had checked that morning and it had over 100 seats available for standby so we thought we were in the clear. When we checked in with the gate agent we were told that an earlier flight to SFO had been cancelled so many of those passengers were moved to our 6am LAX flight and that it wasn’t looking promising for us to make it. Kevin was taking it all in stride while I was silently panicking because our luggage (me/Kevin/Lucia’s suitcase) and our two car seats made it on the 6am flight and we didn’t and because Sirena proceeded to throw up a second time at the gate. Luckily we kept Sirena’s suitcase as a carry-on so we had an extra set of clothes for her. We had 5 hours to spare until the next flight to LAX at 11am that we were hoping we’d get on somehow so we took our time cleaning up, getting breakfast, and looking at some of the shops.

IMG_1096You sure can’t tell here that she was sick as a dog (our tough girl)


Lucia was completely oblivious to what was going on, haha

By 10am we made our way to Gate 12 to check in with the gate agent. It wasn’t looking promising for this flight either but we waited around anyways. During the time we were waiting Sirena proceeded to throw up again and made a mess of her clothes (and the carpet). Wardrobe change #2 for Sirena. After all of the passengers were boarded, they called our name and said that there was ONE seat available and that we had to choose right away if we wanted it. Initially we were going to send me and Lucia if there was one seat available but the next flight at 12pm was looking really good (still over 100 seats available) and we took a chance and gave my seat away in hopes that we’d be able to be on the same flight at 12pm. We had to walk at least 1/2 a mile, me carrying Lucia while she was napping in my arms (not in the carrier) and Sirena’s suitcase over my shoulder and Kevin pushing Sirena in the stroller with two backpacks on, to get to Gate 16 where the 12pm flight was taking off from.

IMG_1105At Gate 16, Sirena was trying to nap on Kevin in the weirdest position

While waiting at this gate, Sirena proceeded to throw up a THIRD time and again made a mess of her clothes and the carpet. Wardrobe change #3 for Sirena! This of course happened as the plane was boarding and our row was being called…talk about stressful! In the end we were so grateful to be walking onto that plane, that our plan had worked out, and we actually ended up getting an entire row to ourselves.

We had spent 8 hours at the airport and then had another 5 hours on the airplane. Somehow (miraculously!) the flight was pretty uneventful–Sirena was in good spirits and didn’t have another throw up episode and Lucia was a dream (as always). So from being awake at 2am to landing at LAX at 8:30pm and home at 9:30pm I think it’s safe to say that this crazy horrible day more than made up for our amazing vacation! 😉 It definitely gave me a real look at the realities of flying standby (with kids) but in the end we are so happy we made it to a destination that’s been on our wish list for a while, we got to fly there for free, and we had such an enjoyable and relaxing time with our wonderful little travel buddies.

IMG_1111Until next time, Hawaii…aloha!

Lucia’s Monthly Photos: Six Months Old

Dear Lucia,

Here we are, half way towards your first birthday (I know, I’m crazy for putting it that way)…I really can’t believe it! It’s amazing how it both feels like it’s gone by incredibly fast but it also feels like you’ve been in our lives forever. You’re pretty magical in that way. 🙂

Here are the latest and greatest things you’ve been up to this past month!:

  • At your 6 month doctor’s visit you weighed in at 19.14 pounds and you measure 27 inches long. You are growing like a champ!
  • Just this past week you’ve been able to sit up unassisted and what a game changer it’s been for you! You immediately smile and your eyes light up when we lift you up to a seated position, it’s given you so much more independence to be able to sit up. You like to reach out for things seated in front of you and every now and then topple over sideways if you lean too far one way or another. Getting you into the car seat has become slightly more difficult because when we sit you down you immediately sit up and lean forward trying to grab at something so we have to gently push you back in your seat to strap you in.
  • Your hand and eye coordination is off the charts–you are already grabbing at your pacifier and have successfully stuck it back in your mouth a few times (your Auntie Jessie was blown away when you did it the first time!)
  • You respond when we call out your name, it’s incredible. Kevin and I noticed it a couple of weeks ago and Nani and Auntie Jessie both made the same observation separately recently too.
  • You’ve begun following very simple directions/mimicking–Nani helped out during your 6 month photo shoot and you kept putting your hands up into your mouth (see 6 month photo below!) Nani told you, “Lucia, put your hands down,” while she put her own hands down slowly and you copied her. We thought it was a fluke but you proceeded to do it three more times! I’ve been testing this out in other situations (like pointing to something and saying, “Look over there, Lucia,” and you will proceed to look to where I’m pointing).
  • You are moving like crazy! While on your back you will push down with your feet and scoot backwards…and you move FAST! We can’t leave you on our bed anymore and I learned that lesson when I turned my back to put something in the dresser and when I looked back at you your head was hanging down over the side of the bed upside down, scared the bajeezus out of me! You, on the other hand, found it hilarious.
  • Sirena continues to hold a very special place in your heart–I was doing something silly with a sweater on my head and you were chuckling at me. Sirena copied me and did the exact same thing and you were laughing SO hard at her! Sirena totally upstaged me but I have to say, she’s the only person I’d rather you laugh harder at than me. 😉

There have been a few times while driving in the car that you’ve been crying really hard and nothing would work to calm you down but then I would start singing to you and you’d immediately stop crying. It warms my heart that you can find comfort in my voice and I hope that continues for many, many more years to come.




The Six Month Rundown


  • “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” song: I don’t know what it is about that song, but when we sing it to you (especially if we move your arms for you like a dancing pirate at the same time) you get so happy!
  • Rodeo girl: When I sit you on one knee facing out, as soon as I let go of your torso and just let your hands hold onto one finger on each of my hands, you start moving your body like crazy and it reminds me of a rodeo cowgirl! I need to get you a little cowgirl hat and do a short video of it, it cracks me up!


  • Distractions during mealtimes: The days of distracted nursing have begun (oh joy!) It is so hard to feed you when big sis is around, let me tell you. I have to be pretty strategic in scheduling our day so that I can nurse you with some privacy, otherwise you can barely focus and finish a feeding.


Monthly Photos

6 months

And here’s Sirena’s six month photo in the armchair for comparison’s sake

The Many Facial Expressions of Lucia

Lucia’s Monthly Photos: Five Months Old

Dear Lucia,

You are such a refreshing addition to our family. No matter how upset/tired/hungry/cranky you are, you always (and I mean always) find it within yourself to give me, Daddy or Sirena a good chuckle. You are such a chill baby–many people have commented on how good you are, just hanging out, going with the flow, taking the world in and learning as much as you can. Here are some fun observations from the past month:

  • You watch people when they’re talking, moving your gaze from one person to another, as if you’re really listening and are a part of the conversation!
  • You also love to watch us eat, moving your gaze from the food in our hand as it goes into our mouths. Only a month or so until your digestive system is mature enough and we’ll start trying out some solids, so fun!
  • You’ve just started to take a special interest in your furry sister Lola. You perk up when you see her coming around, you giggle when she licks your feet, and you watch her intently when she plays fetch.
  • Your noises have really taken off since last month. You make a little shrieking noise, then gurgle, then make a low monster growl sound (when you’re concentrating on something or when you’re getting upset). You’ve also started making the “ga” sound.
  • The first two weeks of this month you were drooling buckets every day, soaking through your onesies at least once or twice a day. The last two weeks it hasn’t been a problem as much but it’s only a matter of time until it starts up again I’m sure!
  • You have the sweatiest little feet in the whole world! I thought it was the heat but even on cool days those tootsies are super sweaty.
  • One of the funniest things you do is smack your arm down over and over again. If you’re sitting in your bouncy chair you’ll smack one arm down on your leg over and over again (I like to put a squeaky toy under your arm and you’ll smack it and make noise). If you’re being held by me you’ll smack your hand on my shoulder over and over again. It cracks me up!
  • One of the most amazing things you do is put yourself down for a nap (a dream come true for any parent!) Usually it’s your mid-morning nap that we can lay you down with the white noise machine, a pacifier in your mouth, and a burp cloth in your hand (you like to put it in your face just like your big sis used to!) and you will eventually put yourself to sleep. It doesn’t happen every day but just about every other day. You are INCREDIBLE.
  • The biggest news this month…you can roll over from back to tummy (which you do ALL day long)!

One of the things I say to you at least 5 times a day is how much I appreciate you. You are just pure sunshine and I’m so lucky to be able to love you as much as I do.




The Five Month Rundown


  • Bath time: You get so giggly when we get you set up in the bathtub. Your favorite thing to do is suck on a wet washcloth while we clean you.
  • Your toes!: You have finally realized that you’ve got two feet and ten toes to grab onto and you play with them constantly when you’re laying on your back. You also roll your ankles around in circles pretty often which is so adorable to see (mostly when you’re sitting in your bouncy chair or stroller). Your monthly photo this month is a great example of your active little feet. 🙂


  • Being sick: You had your first cold at 4.5 months old and it was so sad seeing such a tiny person like yourself struggling with a stuffy nose and raised body temperature (no real fever, thank goodness). Your big sis didn’t get her first cold until much later…that’s what happens when you live with a toddler who goes to preschool I guess! Poor thing.
  • (Beginnings of) Stranger Danger: A few times lately you’ve begun crying your eyes out when you’re with someone you’re not super familiar with.
  • Biting: (This is more a dislike on your mama’s part) This month you’ve begun testing out those brand new teeth and have been biting me when nursing (ouch!!) We’re working together to get past this phase, hopefully soon!


Monthly Photos

5 months

And here’s Sirena’s five month photo in the armchair for comparison’s sake

The Many Facial Expressions of Lucia

Lucia’s Monthly Photos: Four Months Old

Dear Lucia,

You are such a chipper, cheerful, squishy little baby especially now that your newborn days are well behind you. You LOVE to laugh and the belly laughs have been coming out with a lot more intensity and a lot more frequently which is so fun! We can already tell that you’ve got a big personality and I’m pretty sure you’re going to be the little jokester of the family.

At your 4 month appointment you weighed in at a whopping 18.4 pounds and the doctor didn’t believe your head measurement (“The nurse must’ve measured it wrong”) so she measured it herself and turns out it was right! She then asked if she could measure our heads and lo and behold, you come from a family of big heads, haha!

You’ve been slowly figuring out what the purpose of your hands are and have been testing them out by reaching for and grabbing toys and also attempting to put the pacifier into your mouth by yourself. Another huge milestone you’ve reached is…drum roll please…you already have your two bottom teeth! I could not believe my eyes when you opened your mouth and I saw two pearly white teeth shining. They were already actual teeth (not tooth buds) so they must’ve broken through around 3.5 months (unreal!)

Something I love about you is how expressive you are with your eyebrows–when something interests you (a noise you hear, a toy you see, a song I sing) you raise your eyebrows as if to say, “Tell me more,” which is so adorable. Day by day you are becoming more and more interested in and engaged with the world and it is an honor to follow along so closely on this journey with you.




The Four Month Rundown


  • Mimicking Lola with your tongue out: (Half-kidding with the Lola reference) You stick your tongue out all day long which is so cute. A month ago that was one of your cues that you were hungry but now you seem to do it all the time no matter what!
  • Sucking in your lower lip: It cracks me up to see you suck in your lower lip all throughout the day–this is something that your big sis does in deep thought and, turns out, something that your mama does too (but didn’t realize until recently)!
  • Sophie the giraffe: Your big sis didn’t care much for Sophie (the squeaky teething toy that every baby I know has) but you seem to be a big Sophie fan!


  • Lately when I delay feeding you too long, especially at bedtime, you give me heck for it–you won’t eat if I’m sitting down in the glider but wait for me to stand up and walk around before you latch on! I have to feed you like that a good 5-10 minutes before I can sit back down (which is comical when you’re literally attached to me). I sure hope this phase doesn’t last long…if you can imagine, this is no easy feat with an 18 pound baby. 😉


Monthly Photos


Here’s Sirena’s four month photo  in the armchair for comparison’s sake

Lucia’s Monthly Photos: Three Months Old

Dear Lucia,

It’s official, you’re not a newborn anymore! You’ve been growinggrowinggrowing like a chunky little weed (we unofficially weighed you at 17 pounds!) and we love each and every squishy, loveable inch of you. It’s amazing how every day you’re becoming less of a bobble-head newborn 😉 and more of an interactive, engaging baby! Here are some of the fun things you’re working on:

  • You’ve started getting excited by toys and try to reach out and grab them
  • You like to arch your upper body back to roll on your side (once you rolled completely over from back to tummy on your own!)
  • You’ve been drooling like a fountain and chewing on your fingers like a champ which can only mean one thing: teething! You’re not in any real discomfort yet (as far as I can tell) and it can be a few months of drool/chewing before any teeth pop through, but the process is definitely starting
  • You’ve been sleeping for longer stretches most nights (Mama thanks you immensely!!) and generally only wake up once

What we love most about you is how smiley you are. You dole out big, gummy grins all day long and nothing makes us happier. You are super flirty, you smile with your whole body, you chuckle and squeal when something cracks you up, and you’ve got a big personality already which we are enjoying getting to know better day by day.

With your three month “birthday” comes a bittersweet reality for me: my maternity leave is officially over and I’m returning to work. I’m grateful for the time that I’ve been able to spend with you, my sweet squishy baby, and wouldn’t trade it for the world.




The Three Month Rundown


  • The great outdoors: Nothing calms you down like being outside and looking up at the trees. When you’re having a rough time for whatever reason, I whisk you outside to our patio and sit you down on a cushioned chair to stare up at the purple flowered tree blowing in the breeze and you are immediately calmed and content for quite a while.


  • Sleeping on the go: Something me and Daddy have been struggling with a bit is getting you to stay asleep once we leave the house. You don’t fall asleep in the car easily (something we could guarantee would knock your sister out) and when we’re out during nap/bedtime so not doing your typical routine, you have a really hard time tuning out everything else to fall asleep. Timing our outings for when you don’t need to sleep has been something I didn’t think I’d have to worry about so early in the game!


Monthly Photos

3 monthsHere’s Sirena’s three month photo in the armchair for comparison’s sake

AND Sirena wore the same onesie that Lucia’s wearing here at 3 months…but in her SIX month photo!


The Many Facial Expressions of Lucia

Lucia’s Monthly Photos: Two Months Old

Dear Lucia,

What a busy second month of life you’ve had! You have grown like a champ (we unofficially weighed you at 15 pounds, whoa! Almost no one believes us when we tell them how old you are, you just don’t look it!), you’ve given us your first real laughs, and you’ve been doling out the smiles a lot more freely lately. You’re getting stronger by the day and your neck strength is unreal–you are so close to holding your head up completely on your own which I know is going to make you one happy baby. You also went on your first vacation this month (8 days long!) to the Bay Area with Mama, Daddy and Sirena and you turned out to be a fantastic little travel companion.

The last couple of weeks I’ve noticed that you follow a schedule pretty closely every day, give or take about an hour or two–you take a long 2- to 3-hour nap every afternoon (which I try to join you for most days), wake up to eat and stay awake for an hour or so, bath time, eat and bed time around 6:30pm, wake up around 11pm to eat, wake up around 5am to eat, cat nap in the morning and eat every couple of hours then repeat. It’s amazing that you’ve got some semblance of a schedule at such a young age and it really really helps me a ton in planning our day and thinking about Sirena’s schedule too.

Since feeding you is such a big part of my day and our relationship right now I thought I’d document some observations I’ve had so that they’re not forgotten: I haven’t used the Boppy breastfeeding pillow basically this entire month (something I used with your sister until she was closer to one year old!) because you’re big enough to rest comfortably on my thighs but something funny that I’ve noticed is because your head rests so heavily on my arm you leave a marking of the outline of your little ear just about every time you eat; you make this cute chirping sound when you’re just about finished eating and you’re falling asleep; even though you fought Daddy giving you a bottle at weeks 6 + 7 you finally took one without a hitch at week 8 (thank goodness!); the dead weight of your little body resting against my shoulder at the end of a feeding when you’re passed out is so comforting and sweet, I hope to never forget that feeling.

My most favorite thing about you and your newborn self is the way you curl your body up in the fetal position when I pick you up after you’re just starting to wake up. Your feet come together, your little booty pushes out, and you make the cutest facial expression known to humankind. I know one day in the very near future you’ll stop doing that so each time you do it I make an effort to take it all in.

You are such a little joy and we love you to pieces.




The TWO Month Rundown


  • Ceiling fans: Nothing gets you to smile or chuckle as much as a good ol’ ceiling fan! Spinning or not you don’t discriminate.
  • Bath time: You are so chill in the tub! Our little fish.


  • Being loved on fiercely by your sister: Sirena loves (and I mean LOVES) you and wants to express that love for you as often and as mushy as possible which to you as a little newborn can be overwhelming at times. She kisses you and hugs you and tickles you and sings to you and makes goofy faces at you and it’s so sweet to witness until she gets a little carried away and we have to tell her to back off and give you some space  when you start to squirm, make an angry face, and cry out for help. 😉
  • When mama tries to feed you and you’re not hungry: Sometimes when you’re fussy and I cancel out other possible issues I try to feed you and if you’re not hungry for milk you waste no time in telling me. It’s kind of comical the way you will push away from me and cry out, makes me imagine you’re saying, “Get that thing out of my face!” Haha!


Monthly Photos

2 months

Big sis photo bomb!

And here’s Sirena’s two month photo in the armchair for comparison’s sake

The Many Facial Expressions of Lucia

[Coming soon…]

Lucia’s Monthly Photos: One Month Old

Dear Lucia,

I am at a loss for words to describe just how incredibly fast this first month of your life has flown by! All of those days (and weeks) we were impatiently waiting and waiting (and waiting!) for your arrival seem like a lifetime ago.

You are a really amazing newborn, if I do say so myself. 😉 When you’re awake you’re super alert, checking out the world with those big, blue eyes of yours. You have incredible neck strength, already lifting your head up to look in the direction of your big sis when she calls  your name or sings to you. You have gained an amazing amount of weight (we unofficially weighed you at home and you’re around 12 pounds already!) which can only mean that you and me are a great team, baby girl. You’ve been testing out your voice and making some cute “ahh” sounds, trying to communicate with us in a way other than crying (so thoughtful of you). You have already begun to dole out some adorable baby smiles which makes me so incredibly happy. And I cannot thank you enough for being a really great sleeper. I feel light years ahead of how I felt when your big sis was a month old because you give me much longer stretches of sleep during the night.

Already you have taken a liking to your big sister and her silly antics which brings me so much joy. I know you two are going to be the best of buddies (not to mention Lola, although you haven’t really noticed your furry sister yet!) We’re only a month in and we already LOVE having you a part of our family.




The One Month Rundown


  • Swinging: You are not a fan of the bouncy chair we used for Sirena but we borrowed a swing from our friend and it has been a true lifesaver! You like to chill in the swing a few times a day and it’s been such a game changer, allowing us a bit more time to get things done around the house or with your sister.
  • Dance parties/Music: Your Daddy is the king at calming you down by putting some tunes on and having a dance party, it’s so cute. Sirena and her baby doll Nine join in on the dance party most times as well.
  • Your right hand: There’s something about your right arm, you love having it up near your face as much as possible for some reason. When nursing or when you’re sleeping, your little right fist is either just below your chin or next to your cheek.


  • Being still: (See first three points above) When you need help falling asleep there is no way in heck you’re doing it with us just sitting down. You need us up walking/dancing around with you.


Monthly Photos

I’ll be taking a photo of Lucia in this little brown armchair each month for her first two years of life to see how much she grows and changes! I did the same thing for Sirena and treasure these photos so much. Here’s S at 1 month old for comparison’s sake.

1 month

The Many Facial Expressions of Lucia

Life with Lucia (her first month)

Lucia’s first day of life

When Lucia was placed on my chest I was completely overwhelmed with how much she looked like Sirena! It was as if I had given birth to Sirena a second time, I was blown away. When Sirena was born she was pretty alert but it didn’t compare at all to how alert Lucia was. She just stared at me with her big eyes for those first 5-10 minutes in my arms and I just stared right back at her. Just a few minutes after she was born my sister and Sirena arrived and it was surreal telling S that here was her brand-new sister, after all those months talking about it! She and Jessie left the room and Kevin took L while the midwife and the birth attendants joined forces to help me get out of the tub and onto the bed. After I was settled, Kevin brought L back to me so that we could attempt breastfeeding and she latched on immediately which I was so happy about.

For the next couple of hours the birth team allowed us bonding time and all of the visitors (Nani and Bopa, Grandma and Papa, Auntie Jessie, Brianne and Brian) got their chance to hold L. Kevin and I were finally able to eat the dinner my mom had bought for us at Hole Mole 5 hours prior and boy did it hit the spot! Turns out L was born on “Taco Tuesday” so my mom and Steve had to fight the crowds and wait an incredibly long time to get the food in the first place. Maybe L is destined to be a foodie just like her big sis (and mom)?? After a couple of hours Jessie took Sirena back to her place so that she could get some rest from the crazy evening she just had.

Vickie came back into the room to prep for L’s newborn tests. It was such a difference from the hospital experience–she laid a blanket out on the bed right next to me and performed everything (other than weighing her which was done on the scale just a couple of feet from the bed) right there with all of L’s family surrounding her. All of us were anxious to find out how much L weighed and Libby, one of the birth attendants, commented that she had to be at least 9 pounds. All of us were shocked and said there was no way! Libby was certain that she was at least 9 pounds and I had a hard time believing she knew what she was talking about because L seemed so itty bitty compared to my now big toddler! The moment of truth arrived and L weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds, 9 ounces!! She measured 21.75 inches long and her head circumference was 15 cm. (For comparison’s sake, S weighed 8 pounds and measured 21.5 pounds, not sure about head circumference). Libby commented that L’s head was the biggest she had witnessed yet and was amazed at how well I did (if you think about it, a woman’s cervix dilates to 10 cm). Up until L’s birth she said that the largest head she witnessed was 14.5cm which she says was a “doozy.” It was at this point that she told me that of all of the midwives I could have been paired with for L’s birth, Vickie was the best one for me. She said that Vickie was the best at coaching moms through the pushing stage so as to minimize tearing and I know now that with a baby’s head as large as L’s, if I had birthed in a hospital and not had a coach like Vickie working with me, I would not have had the healing birth that I had set my intentions on and I would have had a much longer and painful recovery. I am so grateful for Vickie, my birthing team, the birth center, and Kevin of course for supporting me in my decision to birth there. It was so nice to hear all of the positive feedback from our visitors, everyone commented about how different the experience was even for them as visitors from a hospital experience and it was so wonderful hearing those comments.

Three hours after she was born I started getting restless and exhaustion was starting to take over so I asked Kevin to ask Vickie if we could start wrapping things up. Our visitors began leaving so that I could get cleaned up and dressed and so that Vickie and the team could talk with me and K about what our next steps would be with a brand-spankin’-new baby at home. It took about an hour for all of that to be taken care of and at just 4 hours old we made our way out of the birth center and on our way home. My mom and Steve caravaned behind us so that they could help us get settled in the house and Steve commented about how amazing it was that I walked out of the birth center, into the car, and walked into my home just 4 hours after giving birth (with Sirena’s hospital birth I used the wheelchair to go anywhere those first 2 days). In every way imaginable, birthing at the birth center was a much more calm, pleasant, empowering experience than my previous hospital birth and I cannot say enough good things about it!

We greeted Lola (who had held down the fort for us since we left at 6pm) and she gave Lucia a good sniff and quickly returned to her bed (she loooves her sleep). Kevin, Lucia and I made our way to the bedroom as well and were able to sleep peacefully, without any interruptions from nurses/doctors or beeping machines or bright fluorescent lights like at the hospital, for a few hours.

The next morning Jessie brought Sirena home to get acquainted with her little sis. It was so emotional seeing the two of them together finally after imagining it for so long!


Her first Week

Lucia had three doctor appointments within her first two full days of life–it was somewhat overwhelming to get us all out of the house on time for three appointments with a 3 y/o and a 1-2 day old! But somehow (somehow!) we did it. We first saw her pediatrician when she was not yet 24 hours old and she wanted to see her again the following day as well. When the nurse practitioner came out to the lobby to get us and she asked us how old she was she couldn’t believe that she was less than 24 hours old! They don’t get many babies coming in who are born in a birth center so it was a new way of doing business for them, seeing a brand-new baby like that (babies born in the hospital are generally observed around the clock by nurses/doctors for the first 2-3 days of life). She had lost some weight those first 24 hours but it was a very minimal decrease so there was no concern there at all. By her second appointment she had gained the weight back and then some (she was born at 9 lbs, 9 oz and by day 3 she was 9 lbs, 13 oz!) Our pediatrician was super happy about her weight gain and she said she was an overall healthy looking newborn! The third appointment Lucia had was back at the birth center where they conducted the newborn screening. It was surreal being back in the room where she was born just days before.

That first week we stuck around close to home either at our house or at my mom’s and we welcomed a nice group of visitors to the house to meet the little nugget throughout the week. Here are a few photos from L’s first week:

IMG_3994Snuggles with Daddy


First time taking the new double stroller out for a ride! We walked the block at our annual neighborhood garage sale when L was 4 days old.


A very unhappy baby getting her first bath!


Another attempt at a siblings shot


Other Adventures

We were out and about a lot more after her first week which felt really nice.

We took a trip to the Long Beach Main Library (which Kevin and I hadn’t been to in years). Sirena had a blast in their huge children’s section and Lucia, well, she just slept through the whole excursion. 🙂




Sisters both passed out in the car

We surprised Sirena after preschool one day and took her and L to Rancho Los Alamitos for an afternoon visit.



Lead the way, big sis!



We also made a trip to Royal Palms beach in San Pedro–this is a really special place for my family because my mom grew up spending a ton of time at this beach with her family and she took me and my siblings there a bunch growing up as well. It was really special to take my girls there to continue the tradition. My mom, Steve, Jessie, Derek, and Steve’s grandson Christian joined us for a very nice (but super chilly!) afternoon.

IMG_4041Jess and I stayed on the rocks so I could feed L and keep her toasty while the rest of the gang went to the tide pools.




Auntie Jessie holding L


My First Mother’s Day With Lucia

My one Mother’s Day wish was to go to the Renaissance Faire with my family which I am so happy to report we were able to do!

That morning my mom invited us over for some coffee and pan dulce and it was a really nice, relaxing Mother’s Day morning. Then Kevin, Jessie, the girls, and I were on our way to the Ren Faire. It was Faery Day at the faire so Sirena was happy to dress for the part.




Sirena was a bit taken aback by the people in character who would approach us but she did agree to wave her magic wand for this lady 🙂



Jessie trying on some amazing masks!


Lucia’s first concert!





The one photo that was taken of me and both my girls–me changing a diaper and helping Sirena with her drink. Typical “mom” moment, right??



Sirena wanted Mama to ride the giant swing with her. I gotta be honest, it was a spooky ride! Those guys pushed us sooo high, I almost thought I’d slip out at one point but I had to keep my cool in front of Sirena to not freak her out, haha!



Queen Sirena at your service



My little munchkins

Lucia’s birth story

Tuesday, April 21st–Lucia’s birthday

1:00 AM – 3:30 AM

I was woken up by some intense contractions and after a few rounds decided to put the Contraction Timer app that I had installed on my phone to use thinking today might be the day. For 2.5 hours the contractions varied in frequency from 8 minutes apart to 12 minutes apart, lasting 30-50 seconds long each. The birth center advised that we call the midwife when they were 8 minutes apart and lasted one minute long for one hour so it was still too early to call. They were intense enough that I had to breathe really deeply to get through each of them but they began tapering off around 3:30. I decided to turn my phone off and try to get some rest which, luckily, I was able to do.

6:45 AM – 9:00 AM

Sirena woke up at 6:45 and came into our room for her morning snuggles. I told Kevin about my evening and he immediately got excited. We tag-teamed getting Sirena ready for preschool and he took her to school by himself because I was too nervous to leave the house in case things started picking up again in intensity while out. Kevin told Sirena when he dropped her off that either Nani or Auntie Jessie might be picking her up from school that day, just to give her a heads-up. We texted our moms and my sister telling them to be on alert that day because things were definitely happening.

9:30 AM – 10:15 AM

Kevin and I took Lola for a nice long 45 minute walk through our neighborhood. It felt really good to get out in the fresh air and be physically active instead of cooped up in the house and stuck with my thoughts (which have the tendency to spiral when I’m stressed out which, as you can imagine, I was starting to become). The weather had changed drastically from the days prior–it was overcast and cooled down quite a bit which was such a nice change especially for a super pregnant woman on a long walk! I started using the Contraction Timer app again while on the walk and they were picking up in intensity but were coming along with the same inconsistency as before. Throughout the walk I had to pause when a contraction began and either breathe it out in place or attempt to walk and breathe it out (walking during the contraction sometimes felt better than just standing in place).

10:30 AM – 12:00 NOON

Kevin thought it’d be wise to pack all of our stuff into the car just to be ready whenever the time came. I continued timing my contractions and it was at this point that I began feeling them more intensely in my lower back so when a contraction would begin I would lean over onto the couch or the counter or the table, breathe deeply, and sway back and forth to get some relief. For about 20 minutes during this time my sister called me to ask some work-related questions (she’s taking over part of my job responsibility while I’m on maternity leave) and 2-3 times I’d have to tell her to hang on, put the phone down, and breathe/sway through a contraction.

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Kevin and I made ourselves a significant lunch to help us power through the afternoon. We ate on the patio and it was nice to have some one-on-one time in the outdoors not knowing when the next time we’d have a moment to ourselves would be if Lucia decided to make today her birthday.

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

My contractions were still feeling intense in my lower abdomen and lower back but were still coming on inconsistently and my thoughts began to spiral. I didn’t know if things were really progressing or if this was false labor (and if so, I didn’t know how long I’d be able to handle it!). I also was so unsure as to when to call the midwife (I didn’t want to raise a false alarm but also didn’t want to progress so quickly that we wouldn’t have enough time to make it to the birth center). I decided that I needed to center myself and get myself in the right head space so sat down to chant (Buddhist prayer) which I did during this time. I texted with my sister and told her I was getting nervous and she called me which I so desperately needed. She helped talk me through my feelings and reminded me that I am a strong woman who can absolutely have this baby naturally and create the healing birth experience that I had set my intentions on. She told me it was more than okay to cry if I felt that was necessary just to get it out. After hanging up with her I did cry and felt a huge release in doing so. From 2-3pm I made a concerted effort to chant and time the contractions and then call the midwife at 3pm to get her opinion on how things were progressing. For that hour the contractions were getting more intense–I’d have to rise up to my knees from my cross-legged position, lean over on a stool, sway back and forth, breathe deeply, and make a low “ahhh” sound relaxing my jaw to get through each one. They were still somewhat inconsistent in how frequent they were coming along (from 8-12 minutes apart, lasting 45-60 seconds each) but their intensity made me think that the time was getting near to meet our little girl.

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

I called and left a message on the birth center’s pager for the midwife on call and within a few minutes was called back by Vickie, the midwife who was on call that day. We had only met with Vickie a couple of times during our prenatal visits so I didn’t know her too well and was feeling a little disheartened that it wasn’t midwife Allison on call that day (the one who we had felt the closest connection with during the pregnancy). Turns out Vickie was probably the best midwife to work with me during Lucia’s birth, more on that later. On the phone Vickie was very matter-of-fact about things–she asked me about Sirena’s labor (so she could get some idea as to how quickly it went for me the first time) and she said that although my contractions were still a bit inconsistent in frequency, as a second time mama things could change in a heartbeat and so she was going to begin getting ready herself and make her way up to the Long Beach birth center (she was located in south Orange County so appreciated the 3pm heads-up so as not to be stuck in terrible traffic). Before hanging up she said she wanted to wait until my next contraction began so that she could hear me talk through it (or not) and get a feel for how intense they were–but of course during our whole 10 minute phone conversation I didn’t have one contraction! She said that regardless, she’d make her way up to Long Beach and call me when she arrived so that we could meet her at the birth center and check on my progress.

From 3-4pm I continued to chant and time my contractions.

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

I texted my mom and sister asking if one of them could please pick up Sirena from preschool for us. My mom said she’d be happy to and would pick her up at 5pm. I finished chanting and decided to take a shower, have a glass of wine (I had bought a bottle of wine for just this occasion, to help relax me during early labor), and get myself ready to go to the birth center. Vickie called me at 5pm letting us know she had arrived and that we could begin making our way to the birth center.

5:15 PM – 5:45 PM

Kevin and I left for the birth center at 5:15pm and arrived at 5:30pm. Vickie greeted us and had us go back to the examination room. I was so happy to hear that I was 4 centimeters dilated (which was exactly how far along I was when I was admitted to the hospital for Sirena’s birth!) She suggested that we walk around the park next door for 30 minutes and then check in with her again afterwards to see if things were progressing.

5:45 PM – 6:15 PM

Kevin and I made two loops around the neighborhood park next door. It was surreal being out there, walking past the playground where kids were happily playing, walking past people who were out walking their dogs, all while I was hugely pregnant and had to pause every 8-10 minutes to lean on Kevin and breathe through a contraction. We wondered how many of the neighbors whose homes were across the street from the park were looking out their windows and thinking, “There goes another pregnant woman and her partner, walking her baby out!” I continued using the Contraction Timer app so that I could report back to Vickie how they were coming along. Before going into the birth center we went to the car so that I could get a protein bar and coconut water to fuel up.

6:15 PM

We checked back into the birth center and let Vickie know that they maintained their intensity and frequency during the walk. She wanted to watch me through a contraction and, yet again, it seems I got stage fright and a contraction wouldn’t happen while in the lobby! She suggested we go outside again for another half hour of walking and to check in with her afterwards.

6:15 PM – 6:45 PM

As we left the birth center and started our second round of laps around the park I noticed that my mom was getting out of her car in the parking lot. She told us that she left Sirena with Jessie because she wanted to make sure she was there in time and didn’t miss the birth so she joined us for one lap around the park. My contractions were getting more intense and frequent and I was having a hard time focusing with an “audience” so we asked my mom if she wouldn’t mind grabbing us some dinner from Hole Mole (a taco shop two doors down from the birth center) while we walked another lap around the park.

P1100390My mom snapped one photo of us walking around the park 🙂

Each contraction was coming along quicker and were more and more intense especially towards the end of our second lap.

6:45 PM

We checked back in to the birth center and luckily I had a contraction a minute after arriving so Vickie was able to observe me. Afterwards she said that it was very clear things were definitely coming along and that she was going to call in the birth attendants and start getting the room ready for us.

7:00 PM – 7:30 PM

I had tested positive for Group B Strep (a very common bacterial infection found in many pregnant women that can be passed on to babies during birth, I had tested positive for it during Sirena’s pregnancy as well) so she had to give me penicillin via an IV every 4 hours and wanted to get started right away in case Lucia arrived quickly. As Vickie was hooking me up to the IV she asked me about Sirena’s birth. I told her about the labor and the pushing while on my back which led to tearing and a really long recovery. I told her that it was my hope to make this my healing birth and she said that she would do everything in her power to help me minimize tearing and have the healing birth experience I wanted.

While hooked up to the IV for around 30 minutes I used an exercise ball to rock around on between contractions. Once a contraction started I had to get up off of the ball because the low back pain was too intense and I could not stand it sitting down. Towards the end of those 30 minutes I was having a really hard time getting up off of the ball at the start of each contraction so once I was disconnected from the IV I decided to remain standing.

In between contractions I was able to take the whole experience in–it was so refreshing to see Vickie turning on (electric) candles and dimming the overhead lights to set a comfortable mood in the room and it was surreal to see her getting all of the newborn baby things together for when Lucia arrived.

7:30 PM

Libby, one of the birth attendants, arrived and introduced herself. She and Vickie continued to get the room ready while I worked through each contraction every few minutes. Things were getting more intense and I told Kevin to update our family and friends via text. He read me what he was going to send and he had included something about me not yet being in active labor. I was bewildered and had to ask Libby if I was, in fact, in active labor or not and I was grateful to hear that yes I was definitely in active labor! If that wasn’t active labor I didn’t know if I could handle anything more intense than that for a long period of time! Kevin updated his text message to let everyone know my status. 🙂

7:45 PM – 8:30 PM

Kevin put on some classical music which was a nice mental break in between contractions. He went out to the car to get our bags so that I could change into a nursing sports bra and a robe and we’d be ready with Lucia’s things (clothes, diapers, car seat, blankets) once she arrived. From my purse I grabbed out the affirmations that I had brought with me to help me remain focused–the ones that were the most helpful for me were, “I trust that my body knows how to birth this baby,” and, of course, “This is my healing birth.”

During each contraction I had to continue to lean my forearms onto the dresser, hang my head down low, rock my lower body back and forth, and make a low “ahhh” sound while relaxing my jaw. The back labor was getting really hard to manage and as if she could read my mind, Libby arrived with a heating pad that Kevin placed on my low back and it was pure relief. The heating pad was my saving grace during this period!

Vickie and Libby had asked if I wanted to birth in the bathtub and I said yes so they began filling the tub up. The other birth attendant, Raquel, arrived around this time and introduced herself but I could barely focus on anything other than the work my body was doing so she was mostly behind-the-scenes during the birth.

Around 8:30 during another intense contraction I knew that the period of labor called “transition” (which is a relatively short period of labor just before the pushing stage) was upon us because I got nauseous and felt like I had to throw up (the same thing happened during labor with Sirena).

8:30 PM – 8:45 PM

Vickie had told me earlier to continue to drink as much water as possible so that I could relieve myself frequently which would help Lucia continue to descend. At this point it was the second time I felt that I had to use the restroom and so went into the restroom connected to the birthing room and had closed the door most of the way. While sitting down I had an incredibly intense sensation that I needed to push and called out to Kevin and Vickie saying so. Vickie rushed in telling me that the toilet was not a pleasant place to have a baby (I couldn’t have agreed more!) so she and Libby helped me walk back out into the birthing room.

The tub wasn’t quite filled up yet so they encouraged me to get on the bed on all fours because it seemed to Vickie that that’s where I got the most relief during the contractions (leaning forwards). As I lifted my knee to get on the bed I was overwhelmed with the sensation of my water bag breaking! They continued to help me climb on the bed and within a minute of being there my arms were shaking so bad, almost violently, and I was having a really hard time keeping myself up (over the course of the day I had walked for 2 hours and had been standing the last hour and a half through the contractions so it’s no wonder that my body was exhausted). I stayed on the bed during one contraction but after it was over I was able to squeak out the word “bathtub” and luckily Kevin heard me, asked me if I wanted to get in the bathtub, and I was able to enthusiastically nod my head in agreement. The whole team helped me get off of the bed, get out of my robe, and get into the bathtub.

8:45 PM – 9:10 PM

Having my body surrounded by warm water was a huge relief. My body temperature rose pretty quickly and I was sweating and feeling a bit uncomfortable and again, as if she could read my mind, Libby came to the rescue with cold washcloths which she laid over my back and had Kevin rub my forehead with another. Each time they placed a new cold washcloth on me I would nod my head enthusiastically because that was the only way I could communicate to them that that was exactly what I had needed and it was so appreciated.

I was on my knees in the tub, leaning my forearms onto the sides of the tub, for the first part of the pushing phase. As a contraction came on I would relax my knees into the side of the tub, lean my head down, relax my jaw, and let out a low moaning “ahhh” sound. After a few rounds of this Vickie told me that it seemed to her that I was actually stifling the urge to push through my deep breathing and I nodded in agreement. She told me that at this point I needed to listen to my body and if it told me to push, I needed to push. It was so reassuring to hear her tell me that it was okay to push as hard as my body was telling me to–I had been afraid to do so because I was afraid of tearing but hearing her telling me it was okay was so helpful and a huge relief.

During the next few contractions I did as she had advised and pushed when my body told me to. Vickie was helping me minimize tearing with massage and hearing the verbal feedback throughout from Libby saying, “You’re doing an amazing job,” was so extremely helpful and appreciated. The noises that were coming out of me were primal, there’s really no other way to describe it! It’s so incredible how birth taps into the most basic animal instincts within each woman.

After each push I knew that Lucia’s arrival was getting that much closer so at the end of this period and after a contraction I was able to squeak out the word “moms” to Kevin–he asked me if I wanted our moms to come in at that time, I nodded in agreement, and Raquel went out to the lobby to get them.

9:10 PM – 9:23 PM

After our moms arrived Vickie told me that I needed to flip over in order for Lucia to have enough room to come out. They helped me maneuver my body into position which was no easy feat because I could barely be of any help as pregnant as I was and as far along into labor as I was. Kevin continued placing cold washcloths on my forehead which were so appreciated and Vickie continued to massage me.

It was during these final 3-4 sets of pushes that Vickie had to coach me so that I would keep any tearing to a minimum. She told me that at this point I had to prevent myself from pushing as hard as my body wanted to so that I could ease Lucia’s head out and the way to do that was to breathe out like I was blowing out a candle. Vickie was in my ear breathing just like that so that I could mimic her. This was by far the most intense experience of the entire labor and birth. After that final push I felt Lucia’s entire body squirm its way out of me and it was the most incredible relief I have ever felt in my life! Vickie caught her but immediately passed her to Kevin and he’s the one that brought her out of the water and onto my chest. She came right out of the water and into this world squeaky clean and as soon as I laid my eyes on her I was overwhelmed with pure love for this new little creature we had created and brought into our family.



And in an instant we went from being a family of three to a family of four and our lives haven’t been the same since.

 P1100411Sisters meeting each other for the first time