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Finally, I am working on building some more websites for affiliate/adsense income. I built one at the beginning of this year as an experiment and barely updated it, and so far in a year it made a profit of $200 or so. It is not bad considering that there is very little overhead to keeping the site around. I really need to research good keywords and affiliate programs to make it more profitable, though.
Since my husband went back to work this month, it has been really quiet around the house. Even though I am keeping myself busy I feel that I still need some human interaction, so I am sort of looking forward to going back to work. On the other hand I really enjoy working on my own and spending all the time I want with my baby. Another thing I realized in these few months is that I will probably do fine without a permanent job, too. I have many skills that I could make a living with as long as I use them and work towards my goals.
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At approximately 7:10 am on October 13th I woke up with very wet panties. At first I thought it was just extra vaginal discharge because that happens throughout a pregnancy. I walked to the bathroom to urinate, and when I sat down I just felt a gush of water escape into the toilet. To be honest, I was not 100% sure that my water broke because it was more than two weeks before my due date. On the other hand I didn’t know what it could be besides amniotic fluid. So I remembered from the classes that I could check if it’s really water by examining the color and odor of the liquid. This is when I sniffed and touched the liquid. I know this sounds gross, but normal amniotic fluid is actually sterile and smells like nothing. I woke up my husband and told him that I thought my water broke at this point. He said, “What? REALLY?”, and sounded like he jumped out of the bed and started to pack a bag in a flurry. I told him to calm down and take his time because chances are it would take a while for the baby to come and the hospital is about 5 minutes away. Then I called the Labor and Delivery department at Kaiser and they told me to go in since it does sound like my membranes have ruptured. After getting everything together and sending emails to our employers, we headed to the hospital in one of the rainiest days of the year.
We arrived at the hospital at around 8:00am, and it was just about the time the nurses,doctors, and midwives were changing shifts. It took a little while to fill in some forms and then the nurses repeated tried to verify that my water really broke. They used to have a chemical strip of some sort that can be dipped into the fluid to see if it’s really amniotic fluid, but according to a nurse they stopped using it due to false positives. A nurse took a couple samples of the water and couldn’t really figure out if it was water or not, so she brought in a midwife with a speculum and a flashlight and was about to subject me to some uncomfortable prodding. This is when a bit of water gushed out and the midwife said, “well, you can see it right there, your water definitely broke!” I thought to myself, “well, I knew that!” I guess they often have women that go into the hospital who believe their water broke when in reality they peed on their legs.
So it took around an hour or two for them to completely confirm that I was to stay in the hospital and I was hooked up to a monitor that checked for contractions and the baby’s heart beat. At this point I was really feeling nothing at all. Later on I found out that this condition is actually called prelabor rupture of membranes. Basically, my water broke before any contractions and if the baby does not come out within a certain time period there is a chance of infection. I did test GBS positive a week before so I was hooked up to an IV with penicillin. They also decided to start me on pitocin to start my labor due to the chance of infection. Pitocin definitely wasn’t my first choice because I knew that it would unnaturally speed up my labor, but I was sort of anxious to get the labor started, too. So by 11am I had a bag of penicillin, a bag of pitocin, and a bag of saline attached to my IV. It was quite annoying to move around with all those things attached.
The next few hours were quite boring. Basically, I was not feeling anything happening. I will spare you the details of going to the bathroom with all the IV and monitors, but it was just kind of annoying. I had my hubby’s PSP, and he had his DS, and we were just passing time with our games. A nurse brought in lunch for me and my hubby went down to the Kaiser cafeteria. Apparently this cafeteria is super cheap, and you could get a fairly large double cheese burger for less than $3. My hubby was happy and ate his burger in front of me while I ate a fairly bland turkey sandwich. Every hour or so the nurse upped the pitocin dose a little bit, and they constantly checked my blood pressure and temperature. I stood up and walked around every once in a while because it was so boring.
The pitocin started at 1ml per hour in the morning, and was upped by 1 or 2mls every hour. Finally between 3 to 4pm I started to feel some contractions that were like menstrual cramps and the pitocin dose was up to 6ml or 8ml per hour. It wasn’t really that bad and I was still able to go to the bathroom on my own through these contractions and just get through them by rubbing my tummy a little. My hubby also offered to rub my tummy and back but I didn’t really need it.
The pain really started to spike after 4pm. I remember this since Ellen was on TV and my hubby was doing breathing exercises with me as each wave of contraction hit me. The contractions were still not very regular and were spaced between 2 minutes to 5 minutes apart so the nurse upped the pitocin to 10ml per hour. I went to the bathroom again and a few small blood clots came out. We told this to the nurse and she said that it is a good sign because it means that the cervix is definitely opening. In the next hour or so each contraction suddenly got much more painful and I was clutching the hubby’s hand. The nurse came in and asked if I wanted some pain medication and I said yes. She immediately suggested an epidural, and I asked her to check how far along I am because I knew that I couldn’t get an epidural if I’m more than 7cm dialated. At this point, I guess the nurse figured that I couldn’t have been that far along since my contractions have been detectable for only a few hours and an average labor for first time moms lasts somewhere around 12 hours. She performed an extremely uncomfortable vaginal exam on me to feel how wide my cervix is, and as she was prodding around she kept on exclaiming, “Oh wow!” I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad, but finally she said, “I think we are almost ready to have the baby.” Both my hubby and I said, “Really?” She replied, “Yup, you are more than 9 centimeters dialated, and there is just a little bit of cervix left on one side.” I was actually quite relieved because this meant that they would not be shoving a needle into my spine, and the baby was coming soon. In all honesty I really did not want an epidural because becoming paralyzed just sounded very scary.
The nurse offered me some fentanyl for the pain, and I agreed to it because in the childbirth prep classes they informed us that analgesics like fentanyl won’t paralyze us and just takes the edge off a little bit. She came in with a small syringe and injected it into my IV, and then gave me an oxygen mask. The oxygen mask was actually pretty great and I breathed through each contraction. I could still feel everything, but the pain wasn’t as piercing. The nurse got a delivery team ready and then asked me if I feel like I want to push. I really felt like pooping with each contraction, and I told her so. She said that was good and then stuck her hand up there once again, and when a contraction comes she would tell me to push. At first I wasn’t pushing very hard, and then they started talking about having to vacuum suction the baby out. That sounded pretty horrendous so I tried harder on the next few contractions. I could feel the baby’s head moving through my hip bones and then on the last contraction I pushed about 3 times in succession and with a gushing noise the baby came out at 6:17pm. My husband described that noise as, “it sounded like you exploded”. The baby cried almost immediately after he was out and I was allowed to hold him for a couple seconds. My hubby bravely cut the cord and I was grinning widely at him. Later on my hubby said that it sounded like I was dying, but really it wasn’t that bad. The doctor that delivered the baby sewed up a couple tears I had, and then the placenta was delivered about 5 minutes afterward. They cleaned him up and measured him. His gestational age was 37 weeks 3 days and that is considered full term, but he only weighed in at 5lbs 15ozes. Nevertheless the doctor said that he was a perfect size for me, and they were all surprised that I didn’t have an epidural. She actually said that I had high pain tolerance, but I don’t think that was the case. I had a lot of support from the hubby and lots of prayers on my side. Also, the classes we took beforehand gave me a lot of information so I knew what was happening.
The baby and I spent the next couple days in the hospital because they wanted to observe us and I also got a lot of hands on training on breastfeeding from the nurses, but we are home now. Overall I thought that my birthing experience was not as bad as I expected it would be. I think perhaps women are told way too many horror stories about labor, and that creates anxiety and more bad experiences. The thing I feared most was really a C-section or any other type of surgery, but that was not necessary at all and I am thankful for that. I do think that the modern medical system does more tests and procedures than what is necessary, but I thought that the staff at Kaiser were quite professional and we got the care we needed. I do feel a bit different now that I am a mom, but I’m not quite sure I could quite pinpoint what that feeling is. I do know that my hubby and I really love our cute little nugget. Anyway, this post is getting quite long, so I am stopping here. I definitely have less time to blog these days as we are adjusting to caring for a newborn, but hopefully I will have more time to write as the baby gets into a more regular feeding schedule. Right now he is going for my boob quite frequently so it is difficult to concentrate. Hopefully you enjoyed reading my story!
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Anyway, the hubby and I took several classes on preparing for childbirth and breastfeeding in the last few weeks at Kaiser. I think the classes really helped in letting us know what to expect at Kaiser and I was pretty reassured because they do promote a normal vaginal birth if it is possible. It was also good to know when to go to the hospital and what trouble signs to look for and the classes involved the dads quite a bit. We have asked our parents how they dealt with our births since we were both the oldest child for them, and to be honest they weren’t super helpful because we were both born in Asian countries decades ago and the procedures were pretty different. My mom just told me that it hurt a lot and she doesn’t remember much of it, and my dad said that he pedaled my mom to the hospital on a bike with a wagon. Apparently dads weren’t even allowed in the delivery room and he just remembers that he went home and boiled 8 eggs and brought them to my mom at the hospital after I was born. My parents also had extremely conflicting advice on what and how much to eat during the pregnancy so I am glad that there was more reliable health education at Kaiser. In general it seems that people love to give pregnant women advice, and a lot of the times it can be confusing and conflicting.
I am definitely getting more excited about the arrival of the baby now, but I also realize that our lives will change pretty drastically. In the breastfeeding class we were taught that the baby needs to be fed 8 to 12 times a day in the beginning because their stomachs are puny. That is definitely more work than I would have expected, but we will deal with it. The important thing is that we will have to work as a team. As to finances, I have been asked a few times by acquaintances if I will be a stay at home mom now that I have a kid. To be fair, most of these people do not know that I have a fairly well paying job. The fact of the matter is that we would have to live paycheck to paycheck if we were to live just on the hubby’s income right now, and even though many families do this I don’t feel like I would be comfortable living in that situation because that will definitely create more stress in our family. I make enough to justify paying for childcare after my leave is finished and our families may also be able to help out from time to time. Another thing is that we both want to retire early so it makes sense for me to keep my career and earn as much as possible right now. Some people may think that this is selfish, but I think our marriage is a bit more stable than some others’ just because we are both financially capable and we have never argued about something like not being able to pay a bill. I think a financially secure family environment is usually better for a child because a little kid shouldn’t have to share in the money problems of his parents. On the other hand, we will also make sure we don’t spoil our kid with stuff. We are hoping to perhaps have one of us work from home in a few years and move out of the Bay Area, but that is a long term plan. We have always wanted a kid, so we will make it work somehow. Our parents managed to raise us with very little means and send us to college so we should be able to do it too.
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This will be the first game that the hubby is shipping, and right now it is in open beta. It seems that pre-order sales are going really well so far and tens of thousands of people have tried out the beta. His company actually did not expect the game to be so popular in beta and there were some server issues and crashes, but those seem to be mostly ironed out by now.
For months I have been more excited about the game than he was because I was able to play the game more than him. He was busy working on creating the systems and fixing problems. Also, when you work on the same product for so long you can easily get sick of it. However, last night he got to see the nearly finished game in action and he thought it was actually quite fun and finally he said that he is excited about the launch of the game. Thousands of other players were playing at the same time and that made it much more interesting and hilarious than just testing the game alone. For example, we saw a newbie player who could not figure out how to block hits from the bad guys and just kept on standing in front of a gun and dying over and over again. Even after my hubby told him how to block hits he could not figure it out. I was just sitting on the side and laughing my butt off.
I am just glad to see that so many people are enjoying a product that my hubby helped create. Three years ago he quit working in enterprise software and took a huge pay cut to take this job at the game company, and now he is finally making a little more than his former salary. I think he was pretty brave to do that because the gaming industry is actually a pretty risky business since it takes so much investment to create a game, but if the game is a dud the entire company could just go kaput. This is especially true when the company is small. So I guess right now I am also breathing a sigh of relief because it looks like this game is poised to be quite successful and that means job security and possible bonuses for the hubby.
The hubby’s company is launching another game next year, and I am hoping that one is even more amazing. In my career I have released dozens of products already, but in all honesty none of them really excited me that much. I know that the products I released have impacted many people around the world, too, but a game is just much more fun, tangible, and comprehensible to most people. I mean, even my parents do not know or care that I helped make software that optimized call center performance, or software that help people write more secure code, but they know that the hubby makes games.
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Some good articles from her blog about her journey include:
– This describes her checklist for starting her business
– This describes how she got her business license.
I think it is really awesome that she is able to do something she loves to do and her hubby is pretty supportive. I thought it was pretty courageous of her to quit her fairly uninspiring job in this economy, too. I am sure that she will learn a lot more through this process of starting her own business and her success will depend on how much work she puts into it. The coolest thing about is that it will be her enterprise from the beginning.
Anyway, I hope that she gets lots of clients and buyers in the future and I am looking forward to see her new designs. Good luck !
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