Wednesday, October 22, 2014


7 lbs 14 oz
length undetermined :)  the pediatrician got distracted. 

Okay, he finally has a name.

Mclean Ryu Miller
also known as 
"Mack the Dragon".

We'll call him Mack for short.  

Mclean is the last name of my great grandparents from Rockland, ID. Hortense and Melvin.    Two of the most wonderful, hard working, funny and optimistic people I've ever known.  Grandma said that if anybody named their child after her (Hortense) she'd never speak to them again!  I hope she doesn't mind us using Mclean.

Ryu is a boy's name that means 'dragon' in Japanese. we really like it. and the kanji for it is pretty awesome, too.

Holy Smokes.  What an outrageous three days.  The top picture is one of the only pictures I've taken of the kid- and if you know me- I tend to take a lot of pictures!  It's just that I've been slightly preoccupied. with pain and exhaustion and the inability to move.

Here's one from the hospital bed :)  

Sunday morning- just as I'd checked in to the hospital to have this little monkey- I thought to myself: "this is going to be a pretty boring birth story".  Boy- was I wrong.    I had the whole thing planned out.  The induction scheduled.  everything was to go perfectly.  

Kent dropped me off at the hospital and took the kids over to church where he stayed for an hour to play the organ.  He left the boys with friends- took Metta to another friend's house for the day- and then returned to the hospital to be with me.

I'd started pitocin around nine AM and when he arrived around 11 I was feeling some contractions- but nothing significant.   He read a book on endocrinology while I read some general conference talks to make up for missing church :)  the nurse asked about specifics for our birth plan and I responded that the only thing I cared about was getting an epidural,  She laughed and said I'd be fine.

I was getting induced because I'm very afraid of not getting an epidural.  Ike's labor was so fast I didn't get one until I was dilated to a 10.  and it was terrible. I was so scared. I had PTSD from it a little.  It really truly is a fear for me.  I was induced with metta and I got the epidural in good time so I planned for it again.  

Around 12:30- I had progressed to a 4.  I should have asked for an epidural then.  I KNOW I am a crazy fast laborer.  that's why I was getting induced!!  but the contractions still weren't even bothersome.

At about 1:30 I decided I was getting uncomfortable. I called for the anesthesiologist at 1:45.

It took him a few minutes to get there but he showed up just as I really needed him.  perfect timing.

And then it all began.  my nightmare scenario.  in real life.

He set up shop and talked  a few things over with me.  It was 2:30. he got started.  Only something was wrong.  It was taking time- longer than usual. and he kept asking me to arch my back a little more.  relax my shoulders again.  chin down further. 

and then he started mumbling something about "os, os, os".  bone, bone, bone.

the contractions were strong- but still manageable.

after about 15-20 minutes he stood up and did a little walk around the room.  "are you a dancer?" he asked.  "Are you a swimmer?"  I told him I ran a lot- and did spin- but I did not dance or swim.  He came back and tried again. and again. and again.

I have NO idea what was wrong.  He just kept hitting bone and could NOT get into my epidural space.  At first I was fine- not too worried. I'd done this easily three times before.  NO PROBLEM.  and then suddenly about 30 minutes into it- the contractions started to hit me hard.  I sat hunched over "like a cooked shrimp" (his words) for almost 80 minutes.  I was so focused on him getting the epidural in. I was SO TENSE!  the contractions were hurting badly and I was stuck in this awkward position literally PRAYING over and over that it would finally work. I held kent's hand and sqeezed it so tight through each contraction.  I had stopped talking.  

The OB came in and was watching the baby's stats.  They were starting to get worrisome- so I had to put on oxygen.  At this point I was a little frantic- but remained as still as I could hoping and still praying over and over that the epidural would GO IN.  Kent could tell I was really stressed and in immense pain. He was stressed for me. and now was starting to worry about the baby.

Near the 80 minute mark- I felt a ZAP down my leg/ And the anesthesiologist moaned. I was between contractions and asked what had happened.  He told me he'd accidentally punctured the dura of my spine.  gone past where the epidural should go. I had no idea what that meant. I asked if that was okay and if it would still work.  I was still dying and in so much pain.

The contractions at this point were torturous.  I was miserable and wanted out.  He told me he'd just given me a spinal- like for a c-section- but that the needle was way too big for that and now I had a big hole in my dura.  I only cared about the drugs!  could I get the spinal!? was it going to work!?  could he take the pain away!?  I was DYING.  no tears. no screaming. just true fear that I was going to have to do this alone.  

He told me he would leave in the catheter- but didn't have the right meds. He'd be right back and bring  fentanyl.  It was 100 times more powerful than morphine.  I told him I'd take it!  and then my water exploded just as a contraction started. and the OB saw my face and saw the baby's vitals and made me roll over to push. My water was tainted with meconium and the baby's stats were still rocky.  Kent had a slight;y nervous look on his face and the OB looked stressed.  I asked my doc if he was nervous.  He said: "a little".  
Side note: I really loved my OB.  he was honest and great and from poland :)

  I was totally ready to go. The baby was engaging.  AHHHHHH.  those next contractions were indescribable.   Unless you've been there- you will never ever know.  and I never ever wanted to know.  The anesthesiologist pumped a small dose of the fentanyl into the cath as I started pushing.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Pushing out a baby is INSANE. and so terrible.  The OB and especially Kent were so impressed with my pushes.  I just wanted to be FINISHED!!  It hurt so bad. and then there was a baby head,  Kent asked of there was a nuchal cord (around the neck).  At first they said no- but then they realized there was and it was so tight they couldn't get it off  Dr. M told me to stop pushing.  HA! stop?!  my body felt like it was heaving everything out of itself.  He cut the cord off the neck before it was fully delivered because he couldn't get it off with his hands.  and then out came the rest of the baby with a final giant heave from me.  3:51. I was SO RELIEVED. it was OVER. 

Kent's face was mortified.  and the other pediatrician wasn't there yet because it had all happened so fast,  The baby wasn't really reacting.  low tone. terrible color. no crying.  the anesthesiologist grabbed the baby and told kent he needed his help.  Poor kent.  I don't think he'd planned on resuscitation of his own kiddo.  we were really lucky to have the anesthesiologist there  He intubated baby Mack and tried clearing his airway.  It took a few minutes and then I heard what sounded like a baby kitten.  some soft itty bitty cries.  and then just another minute later- some better sounding cries.  he was just fine.  and honestly- I was never worried.  There were several very compentent medical professionals working on the baby.  Kent says he thought for sure he'd be taking the baby and an ambulance to a a japanese NICU!!

baby Mack was bruised and ugly and purple faced.  and things were so stressful that we didn't even get the camera out until later!  I ended up getting some local anesthetic so they could finish everything with me.  Kent stayed with the baby to make sure he was fine.

It was long and terrible and hard.  and I never want to do it again. The anesthesiologist congratulated me on a drugfree child birth,  I think the fentanyl took the edge off there at the end- but it was the most painful thing I've ever experienced. and terrible.  did I mention terrible??

I've got lots more story to tell.and it only gets worse (and better)!  it will have to wait. I am exhausted.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

waiting it out....

I'm sitting here - alone- waiting for Phanfone to hit!  Kent is in Tokyo for his pediatric boards.  and I'll be mighty mad if he doesn't get to take them!  tomorrow is a 'typhoon day" so if he were here- he'd have the day off to spend with us!!!  and if the testing center has to close- we aren't sure what they'll do.  it's a nationally certified medical board exam and there are very specific  rules about the day it can be taken!!
I can't believe the timing of this huge storm.  It's the equivalent of a category 4 hurricane.  which is huge. and It's set to hit Tokyo between 6-8 AM.  literally the exact time he'll be trying to get to his test and get started.  As soon as it's over- it will be a great story.  the time he had to take the biggest test of his life in a giant typhoon!!  for now- it's a little stressful. 

 Luckily - he's with another pediatrician friend from Dayton and they are checked into the New Sanno hotel and all hunkered down for the night.  Send some prayers their way that everything will work out.  
my job is to not have a typhoon baby.  I'd have to give it some outrageous name like 'stormy' or 'phanfone'- and I don't really want to do that.

So- I'm blogging to keep me distracted and pass the time!

I've had these pictures on my computer for a few weeks now and just haven't gotten around to getting them posted.  We had some great adventures yesterday and maybe I'll get those posted during our mandatory stay inside day tomorrow.

A few weeks ago- the base had their annual friendship festival where they invite the Japanese community to come on base and see our planes and eat american food!  the line for the steak and corn on the cob meal was INSANE!  an we were there at 9 in the morning!  It was such a hot and muggy day.  and there were so so so many people.  we didn't stay long!  heat, humidity, and long lines are NOT my thing. 

 the kiddos got to sit in a few helicopters and were happy.

 metta loves to give thumbs up and peace signs- but it still requires a lot of concentration and effort on her part.  it's adorable.
 later that day- things cooled off and we finally checked out Showa Park- an amazing gigantic park nearby.
 the only unfortunate aspect of Showa is how LARGE it is.  we WALKED and WALKEd and WALKED.  next time we'll rent bikes!  the kids got pretty irritated and exhausted until we found the playgrounds.  and then suddenly they had plenty of energy and their legs were functioning perfectly.  I don't blame them.  It was awesome.

the Japanese have figured out so many ways to make slides.  They use every material imaginable.  It makes every park pretty exciting and new.  

and these giant bouncy nets?!   it's like a giant game of spiderman.  so so cool.

 I LOVE this picture.  they had a lot of fun playing with the Japanese kids. look at their faces!! Laughter is a universal language.
this park had some spots that were reminiscent of mayan temples.  never fail- every single place we go- has  ZILLIONS of stairs.  I love it.

look how tropical it is!
 after the nets - we stumbled upon the dragon playground. can you see metta??  these things are HUMONGOUS.

and probably pretty dangerous!  but- super fun.  I'm a very non helicopter type parent so I just think all of these places are pretty neato.

and yet another amazing slide.  we passed this one after we'd already been there for several hours and were finally headed back to the car.  the kids begged to stop and play more!  at this point Kent and I were exhausted.  I can't believe how much energy they have when the fun stuff shows up.

these last pictures are of miss metta early this week. she's done this about 3 times in her life- but this week was the worst. I try to wake her up in the morning and I CAN'T! She will not open her eyes for anything.  she slept until noon this day.

 she does this creepy half eye open sleep.  she's done it since she was born.
 we took the boys to school and she slept in the stroller.  I even went on an hour run!!

I dressed her.  and tried to feed her and get her to use the toilet.
kent came home at lunch to check on her just to make sure nothing was really wrong!  I wasn't terribly concerned- but it was time for her to get up!

he finally got her up and she was just a little groggy.
I think she's going through a growth spurt.  she's been eating like CRAZY, too.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

weekends and COSTCO!!!!

Parenting is tough beans.  definitely the hardest thing I do.  and I feel like I've had a rough couple of parenting days.

Zeb told Kent that I try to starve them while he's at work!  ha!  that one made me laugh out loud.  he's also REALLY good at finding any contradictions in the things I say or do.  It's terribly obnoxious and I have to remind him regularly that I'm the adult :)  He actually told Kent and me that we are training him to be mean to his kids!!  I told him he was right!!  that's EXACTLY what we are doing!  and Ike is a rascal in his own right.  He's our defiant kid.  Just says 'no' when we ask him to do anything he doesn't feel like doing.  even simple things like:"you need to eat breakfast before school".  it's beyond aggravating.  although - I still prefer the mouthy bratty kids to a newborn screaming and keeping me up all night!!  have I mentioned that's coming in three weeks?!  EEEk.  maybe that's why parenting is getting to me this week.  I'm a little anxious.

Luckily metta has been pretty great lately. she doesn't point out my weaknesses quite yet!!  She potty trained herself completely.  I can't believe how easy she was.  and how she'll even keep herself dry at night now.  she's a toilet champ. It was all in a matter of two days. I was keeping her in diapers and pull ups when we went out and about because of the japanese hole toilets and just being busy- but she's totally fine.  no accidents!!

so- this weekend- we went shrine and park hunting.  We found this fabulous shrine super close to base!  we'd passed it weeks ago and finally made the time to go back.  it was huge. and lots more amazing than we could see from the road! We are trying to understand the culture and religious aspects of the shrines here - but there's a lot we still don't get!  I'm always worried about the kids running around and being inappropriate- but there are usually Japanese kids running around doing the same things as our kids so it isn't too bad!!
 this shrine had HUGE LONG dragons winding all over the staircases and the buildings.  the kids really loved them!  Japanese art and style is so unique and so amazing to look at!  and their architecture always includes LOTS of stairs.  which I love.  tires out the kids and keeps us moving.
I LOVE the colors in their buildings.  they are so visually stimulating!  this giant orange pagoda was stunning.

we never really know what all of the statues and idols at all of the shrines are.  This shrine had a huge mountainside covered in miniature statues.  and the people cover them with toys and trinkets and fruits and tea.  We don't know if they are dedicated to the statues- or in memoriam of people.  and the Japanese really truly do LOVE little character and cartoons and anime.  they are EVERYwhere.

here is the huge hillside covered in statues.  
some of them had bibs and raincoats on them!  there were race cars and stuffed animals.  and flowers and food.  

I took a picture of this sign because Kent could read (at least part of) it.  It says something about 'hand wash and toilet exist to the right'.  At least that's what I think he said.  Kent is pretty amazing with these kanji.  Every time we go out- he astounds me.
oh- and speaking of Kent.  He's got his pediatric boards a week from today!  so send out some prayers for him.  I know he'll do fine!  but I think he's a little stressed :)

there was an entire complex of buildings here.  We don't really understand the significance of each building.  some are obviously dedicated to different Gods or entities- but we don't really know why or who.

The colored dragons are so amazing.  I'm really learning to love the Asian flair to things and can't wait to buy some great stuff for our house!!

I definitely want a giant buddha belly in our house.

 check out this building!!

zeb and ike under a dragon!

One large main building had a ceremony going on inside.  there were people chanting on the loudpeakers and the gongs were being gonged (is that a word??!).  People walk around the big building and roll their hands along these metal turning lanterns.  Other kids and families were doing it- so we gave it a try, too.

fall is just starting here and I couldn't be happier.  the humidity is almost gone and the air is crisper and cooler.  I can't wait for the leaves to change colors! and we lucked out with such a cool weekend on the volcano eruption day!  we had shut down our A/C units to prevent ash getting sucked in!  we didn't really even get anything. I was kind of hoping for a snow fall of ash but the winds died down and the ash didn't ever accumulate here!  the volcano that erupted  was a couple hundred kilometers away,


after our long day- we celebrated a little more of our ten year anniversary with putting the kids to bed, some takeout from "taj mahal" a new delicious indian restaurant we found with the world's friendliest owner who gave us all free "mango lassy", and a viewing of the latest episode of project runway.  even with crazy kids and hard parenting weeks- I'm happy to be married to kent!

and I totally forgot about all of these pictures from last weekend!   we made our first trip to COSTCO  when kent was on call.  I think it will be our 'call weekend' tradition.  Kent can't go further than 20 minutes from base- so costco is just about the exact distance. and it was so welcoming!  I felt like I was wandering the aisles in Utah with my family! it's the very same costco as in America!

well- except for the octopus:

oh, and the american ice cream is 17 dollars :)

and the pizza is covered in shrimp.

they do have LOTS of samples, though :)  we even ended up buying these udon nooodles!

but check out the line for the dessert samples!  and you thought the sample lines in Utah County were bad!! but the japanese people wait so politely in these long lines for their free taste :)
But, seriously- the store is very comforting and feels so familiar!

and lunch was lovely!!

the coolest part is the grocery cart escalator walkways.  They have them at ikea, too.  they are ramps to and from the parking garages that fit the grooves of the cart wheels so you don't fly down them!

 hooray for costco!! and their free samples.  and pizza and hot dogs.