Friday, April 22, 2011


 On Friday, April 15, 2011, at almost 2pm, my life changed forever. At that exact time, as I sat in front of my faithful laptop, tapping away at the keys while listening to my iPod and celebrating that my MIL had finally left my house for the day, my water broke. The word "broke" is actually a bit of an understatement. It erupted. I stopped typing and sat very still, trying to decide what to do next. I was quite sure I hadn't just peed in my pants but then again, pregnancy does strange things to a girl. So, I decide to stand up and go check this out in the bathroom. As I do, my poor pants are suddenly flooded with warm wetness and it is entirely too much to be mistaken for urine. My heart begins pounding in my chest and I realize this is that moment Xiaolong and I have been planning for and waiting for this whole entire time. I attempt to sop up the mess while dialing his number. He's happy to hear my voice, thinking I'm just calling to say hello but I quickly interrupt him with an urgent plea:
"Honey, come home NOW. My water just broke."

He's as stunned as I am. "Really? Oh my God. Ok. DON'T MOVE!" I love how he says it too, like I'm going anywhere alone when I am streaming rivers of warm liquid. "I'm on my way!"

When he got here, it seemed like we were two chickens with our heads cut off, running about back and forth, trying to figure out if we had everything and if we needed anything else. Finally we get out the building and down the stairs. I am even more grateful he is with me as we had to walk all the way to the next major street (not a bad walk but 5 minutes which is a lifetime when your water just broke) in order to find a taxi.

At the hospital, they cart me off to our own hospital room in a wheelchair. That part was kind of fun. But then, all the annoying tests started. You learn quickly not to be embarrassed about random people looking at your lady parts. Even though they are trained doctors and nurses, it's still a bit humiliating. After some checking, I was not yet dilated and now we had to monitor the baby. Meanwhile, my husbands well-meaning but annoying parents showed up. His mom is trying to get me to eat and at this point, I've started having contractions. I don't want her in the room. I don't want ANYONE in the room with me EXCEPT my husband. He shoos her away, allowing me to keep my dignity for a shred longer.

The pain starts to come in as the contractions get closer together but I'm not dilated enough for them to administer the epidural just yet. So I must suffer with this pain but at least I've got a wonderful husband who is kind enough to rub my back the whole time. Night comes and I'm told we'll likely deliver in the morning. I'm also told to try to get some rest. Oh suuuuuure. No problem. It only feels like I'm being split in half. That's easy to sleep through for sure. Ugh. By 6am, they determine we're ready for the epidural and I cry (and puke) with relief. I'm carted off to the labor room.

But my relief is only temporary. My epidural doesn't take. It works for maybe 45 minutes, just dulling the pain and then suddenly, my pain becomes horribly unbearable. That's when they tell me the baby has turned around inside me and we need to try to turn it back. Oh good. Of course! So, they make me lay in certain positions but all of it spells pure hell with these contractions. Each one worse than the last and so close together I am in constant pain at this point. I have now been in labor for nearly 24 hours and there is a decision to make. And since my husband is now in tears because he cannot stand to watch me suffer in pain like this for another moment, we made the decision. Emergency c-section.

Off I'm carted into the operating room. I feel like a large fish getting ready to be filleted as they transfer me to an operating table. They tie me down and start to prep me for surgery. Everything feels weird and I am so cold. They administer some sort of pain medicine and keep asking me if I feel it when they poke me. Yes. Yes. Yes. How about here? Yes, I feel that too. And then suddenly, I feel awfully funny. As the mask comes over my nose the room spins out and I'm gone but I'm still there. I know what's happening, but I'm totally tripping. I feel like I'm bubbling over and I can't control it but I like it. My random trip continues and I can soon hear the baby crying. And somewhere I think I hear my husband telling me I did it and it's a girl, she's beautiful and he loves me. And then, I fade out again. It is April 16, 2011 at 11:28am.

I come to in our room. My in-laws are there fussing over a bundle of blankets I can only assume is my baby. My husband is standing by my side lovingly and the doctors are checking my vital signs and monitoring my heart, commenting that all seems to be normal and has gone very well. A nurse takes my baby to me and puts her to my breast to start her feeding. I become quite afraid inside. I have to take care of this little person from now on. Me! I focus through the haze of the drugs and look at her and my fear just disappears. I'm weak so I can't hold her myself but I long to. My husband tells everyone the name we had chosen for a girl, which we kept secret until the birth: Raelynn Sharon Qu. She's named for 3 very special women in my life. My mother, Rae, who passed away when I was a little girl; my stepmother, Sherry Lynn, who came into my life when I was a teenager and no matter how difficult I was, loved me and was there for me (and still IS there for me too); and for Pixie, whose real name is Sharon. She was my mom's best friend and long after Mom was gone, Pixie has always looked after my brother Phillip and me.

Our boy name was really cool too, and someday we hope to be able to use it. For now, our little Raelynn is our world and we're just beyond overjoyed to finally be home with her. We were in the hospital for 5 days. In China, your family members empty your catheter bag and you have to bring your own diapers and towels and shit like that. It's rather absurd. By the afternoon of my third day there, I was made to attempt walking around the room, with my husband of course. And then forced to pee without the catheter. I have to admit, after 9 months of getting up every hour to pee (sometimes more than once an hour) it was so nice not to have to do that. But I had to get back to being my usual self. So began these little trials. Unfortunately, my husband's boss needed him for some projects so he had to go off during the day. Which delighted MIL of course because in their culture, it's her duty to come care for me and the baby. If she doesn't do it, the neighbors will gossip, so I am told. I'm not making this up either. They truly believe this and she thinks she'd die of shame if she didn't fulfill this duty.

Indeed, she was trying to help but she kept getting on my nerves. Being trapped in a room that small with her was more painful than when Raelynn turned the wrong way inside me, believe me. But the story of how she's been annoying me from the hospital and beyond is for another time. And it's a good one. But Raelynn needs her mommy right now and I'm praying to God it's not another explosive poop bomb that she fired away, somehow launching it out the side of the diaper legs, right onto her monkey-patterned onesie and on through to the big baby blanket my parents bought her. She's worth it though. I look at her and I see my husband's sweet face. He says she looks like me. We both can agree that we are completely smitten with her though and it seems that while we were very close and in love before all this, the bond Xiaolong and I share is even more incredible and strong. I never imagined someone could ever change my life so much. Thank you, Honey, for making my life an amazing one.


  1. Yeah the pain is unreal, right? But once you hold your sweet baby, you forget it all. She is so adorable, and Iove how you picked her name. Thanks for sharing your story. I absolutely love the middle pic of Raelynn on the rainbow blanket. Congrats mama.

  2. LOVE this story (and the pretty baby photos)!!! Wow, a C-section AND having to deal with an overbearing MIL?! So lucky you have a perfect, healthy and beautiful new baby girl to dote on and get you past all that drama. ;-) Sending lots of love and healing thoughts for a quick recovery! xoxo -Alisha

  3. Just finished reading about your really difficult birth experience (reminiscent of mine when birthing Dorian!) and feel so bad that you had to endure excruciating labor and now recovery from what is truly major abdominal surgery while handling all the joys as well as the fears of motherhood. I have no doubt that you will be a stupendous mother...just remember to breathe now and again and let your instinct for loving be your guide. No matter what you're trying to master--from breastfeeding to bathing or from laundering to scheduling and everything in between--just know that in time you'll find the best way to take loving care of Raelynn.
    And yes, you surely did make me cry joyful tears with your explanation of your exquisite baby girl's name. I'm so proud to have you bestow that honor on me...and I promise to live up to it as best I can! Right now that means continuing to crochet madly to complete the baby blanket I've been making for you to wrap Raelynn in love from me.
    Love you my sweet. Keep blogging and being in touch as your most happy and meaningful journey unfolds.

  4. I'm really nervous about having a baby here in China - but after reading this, I feel fortunate to not have a Chinese MIL. I really couldn't deal with that. No doubt about it. I don't know how you do it. Your blog is so funny!!! We should get together so you can tell me how NOT awful it is to have a baby in this country.. hahaha! ~Cat

  5. I read this back when you posted it, but reread it just now to see if I had different reactions after having one of my own! You're lucky they let you keep the catheter as long as your did! They took mine out right after I got back to my room after recovery! I also had a difficult delivery, and have been debating whether or not to write about it. I know it may be TMI for a lot of people, but at the same time, if it can help someone not go through what I did, it's worth it. I'll probably run it by you before clicking that publish button! ��

  6. YAYYYYY! You entertain me every week and I thank you so much for that. Now your a mom and I have no doubt with your humor and forth rightness you will be a great one. Enjoy every second of it for it goes so fast.