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Yassy’s note; Hospital bag checklist

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 35th week – 37th week“, I wrote Liam came to our family about 3 weeks early and he has spent next 3 weeks in NICU.

We visited him everyday, and fed him at least one or two feeding time out of 8. He was well cared by NICU doctors and nurse.

At NICU, I could ask questions  regarding baby care which we had never experienced before. Therefore,it was a good opportunity for us to learn the baby care basic one vs one at NICU.

I think learning from the nurse there gave us some good guidance and some confidence to be a parent.

I will write more on Liam’s NICU stay story later.

Before moving on to NICU story and my parenting adventure story, I would like to share the information that  may help those who are currently pregnant.

In my case, my water broke at our high risk OBGYN on exam chair so, I did not have to worry about how we get to the hospital after the water broke but,I learned that having a big towel ready for the day your water break is the good one.

Nurse instructed my husband to put the big towel over the car seat and I wore obgyn’s medium size towel  to keep the water from leaking into the towel on the seat too much.

For us, the emergency entrance for the labor and emergency was only 3 minutes or so away so, I did not have to endure the pain and  I did not have to sit on the towel too long.

After everything happens, I feel like everything magically fit into the great timing.

I had to go to regular OBGYN in the morning that day and my mother in law took me there but if we did not go together that day and comes home to eat lunch and leave again with my husband while she stays at home, my mother in law would not have no idea how to get to the hospital with my hospital bag!

Also, as if Liam has planned, my water broke at high risk obgyn while I was doing sonogram,which ended up having 2-3 sonographers plus doc there ended up helping me to get to the emergency center next to the hospital.

Then, I did not have to be in pain for 30-40 min from home to the hospital and we could get to be admitted right away….

It still amazes me how everything strangely worked out such a great timing.

I sure did not enjoy when anesthesia doctor asked me to sign the paper for epidural during short break from contraction that comes and goes in 2-3 min.

I do not remember what I signed for!

Although my husband read the paper so he knows,He was a great supporter and appreciated for it:)

Hospital bag checklist..

When I got pregnant finally and coming closer to the due date, my sister told me that I should be ready to pick up the hospital bag and go by 35th week and start getting ready around early 30th week.

By around early 30th week, my parents sent me all kinds of stuff that would help my delivery from PJ after the delivery,top wear that is easy for me to nurse Liam,extra pregnancy pants etc.. It was nice of them.

The box also got gift from my sister which was kimono style front open inner wear for Liam. I really liked them!

When babies are not having steady neck,using the front open clothe was much easier to let him wear and changing diaper/clothe than using onesies which you have to slip baby’s head through.

Especially when babies diaper got leaked, I did not like to pull up messy soaked area through his head to get the clothe off when I tried onesie for Liam.

Later,I found out that carter’s onesies can pull it down through the hips but even then, wet spot could touch here and there while front open clothe can be removed right away without touching any other places.

Back home in Japan, she said to me that the hospital gives check list for what to include in the hospital bag but here in the sates, I did not get any list from our OBGYN and it seems natural practice here in the states.

One thing that helped me was e-magazine for expecting mothers from Japan I was reading because it got check list there and, I could cross out what I put, what I did not put or skip the items that I thought would not be necessary because of cultural difference etc..

Since I did not get to have a hospital bag check list from our OBGYN, I asked them what the hospital normally provide to mothers and babies.

I thought that that by asking the question opposite way, I could cross of what I do not need to bring to the hospital.

Here is my personal check list for the hospital bag

*Must have*

** money (cash, card both)

** insurance card

** driver’s license (ID items)

** documents; Birth certificate request form for OBGYN to fill out and sign for Liam to submit to Japanese embassy

*Things that would use right away at the hospital *

** Front open Maternity PJ;I was wearing long length PJ that comes to about knee 3 count

** pocket tissue 2 count

** slippers ; it is because I am getting used to wear a pair of slippers inside the house.Comfortable to wear it than shoes especially when I needed to go back and forth between my room and NICU for the first 3 days which they allowed me to stay for.  1 count

** hospital would have ones for you to use **

** face towel

** bath towel

** clock

** breast pump

** socks

** shorts after the delivery (cheese clothe like material.I wore it during the 3 day hospital stay)

Liam was at NICU so I could stay at the hospital maximum 3 days long.

Back home in Japan, hospital would let the mothers to stay for another week even if the little ones are not at NICU.

** pad after the delivery

** Things that would need after the delivery **

** pen

** nursing bras 2-3 count

** nursing pad

** shorts after delivery (my sister got some and shipped some for me from Japan when I said I could not find ones here in the states)

** pads (maxi pads) 1 pack

** socks 2-3 count

** jacket 1 count

** things you need for bath; shampoo, conditioner, body soap, hairdryer,comb,gel etc..

** things you need for teeth cleaning;toothbrush, toothpaste,cup,face towel etc..

** Makeup items

** nursing pillow;I used breast friend.I really liked it.

It has back cushion to support my back and it has adjustment belt which I liked very much because it prevent the pillow to move around and also it works when my husband or other person would like to use it.

Also, the surface is not too squishy and flat.This nursing pillow was not too bulky.

Some other things I liked was that I can wash the cover (cover can be removed) and it got pocket at front side where you can put bottle or washcloth/bibs etc.

I really liked the front pocket. This is one of the items that we brought to hospital everyday to nurse Liam at NICU

Nursing cover ; I liked Boppy Nursing cover because you can fold it into compact mini pouch.

** plastic bags (plastic grocery bags) for multiple purpose such as using one to put dirty clothe for laundry etc..  handful amount

** camera

** clothe for discharge day

** snacks

** For babies **

Our son spent next 3 weeks at NICU so we did not have to worry much about things we need at the hospitals but..these are what Japanese expectant moms would bring to hospital for babies

** diapers 1 pack

** clothe 1-2 count

** swaddle 1 count

I did not get myself bottle with straw and cap for delivery, but nurse gave me one to drink water on the day after Liam was born.It was nice. I think it would be nice one to put one yourself in your hospital bag.

Besides hospital bag for delivery, you would want to be prepared for the arrival of bundle of joy at home as well.

Be prepare for the new addition to your family..

Here is the list of *must be prepared by the delivery date at least*  from Japanese maternity magazine

** baby inner wear long 3 count,short 3 count,total 6 count

I like to use 100% cotton clothe because it absorb sweat and good for skin care

** sleepwear 6 count

Up until Liam can sit, I was letting him wear footies for cold month, rompers for hot month.

After Liam can sit, I started letting him wear 2 pieces PJ;top and bottom. I like 100% cotton ones.

** bath tub

I like “Fisher-Price Precious Planet Whale of a Tub

** baby body soap; I like Johnson Johnson head to toe body soap

** nail clipper

** wash cloth; I like “Organic Washcloth” from TL Care because it is nice size and it is soft, and absorb water very well. I like their hooded towel as well.

** wipes

** diaper

** bassinet; we like Arm’s reach mini Co-sleeper. We really like this bassinet and we actually got 2 at home.One for upstairs,one for downstairs.

It converts to a free-standing bassinet,and it got two caster wheels which make it easier to move around the house.Also, I liked soft mesh for ventilation.

Another thing that I liked was it got nice storage space underneath the bed section; 4 side pockets and large lower zippered compartment for storage.

** baby carrier;we got ergo 360. I like them because it is easy to wear and gives me good support with wide belt around waist and feel comfortable around shoulder/neck because strap is wide soft thick one.

The strap does not come off from shoulder as well because there is one clip part to secure strap together to prevent it from coming off from shoulder.

Also, it does not make gap between baby and mother/father when it is being used.

** car seat

** stroller; we liked ” BOB motion travel system ” because ..

1. 2 wheels front (sturdy), and can roll on bumpy road if needed to be
2. easy to push, and it gives smooth ride
3. easy to fold (just simply pull the string )
4. The wheel has air inside and you can pump the air into it when the tire got flatten
5. It came with car seat
6. you can hang the diaper bag on the handle,and more space for other stuff needed to be carried under the seat
7. 2 way facing stroller
8. got adjustable handle
9.  can recline the seat when the kid become the age they do not need to use the car seat in the stroller anymore but themselves

Having all of these as basic *must have* at home by the baby is born is good.

Be ready for the big day and for the new addition to your family.

What items were in your hospital bag?

Were there anything that you thought you would need but ended up not using it?


Jul 14, 2015 | Comments are off | Pregnancy

Yassy’s note:Pregnancy week 35week 37 week

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 33 week – 34 week“,I wrote about how my pregnancy went from week 33 through 34 week,and shared some of the sonogram picture of Liam with you.

Here,I would like to share my pregnancy and Liam’s growth from 35 week through 37 week.

June and July 2014 was busy months for us, preparing for the arrival of our son.

Since I was in 34 weeks already then and not much time left to go look for things so, we decided to look for pediatrician next for his arrival.

Choosing a pediatrician for babies…

For us, choosing a pediatrician was one important decision we had to make before our son’s arrival.

Personally, I like asking around friends and families about which doctors they like and why, which doctors they do not care for and why;  take those as things to consider.

Then,  I like to search the doctors on our own also and finally, we pick a few places interested to go seeing.

After that, we get to meet the doctors/staffs, look around inside the clinics and get the rough atmosphere of the clinic and how they run their business and how doctors are communicating with patients, then we can decide which one to go to.

For me, these are the things that I was looking for in the pediatrician for Liam (our son) to be.

** No matter who we were to decide on, the doctor we wanted for our son had to be the one who accept our insurance policy.

1. the clinic our son gets to meet the same doctor every time

2. I wanted the doctor and nurse who can interact with our son positive way

3. doctor who can really take time to listen to our questions and answer

4. doctor who is knowledgeable in many things medically

5.  doctor who has good child care philosophy

6.  doctor who we can trust, feel comfortable with, and being responsive

One of the pediatric clinic we went told us that they did not have room for us to become their patient. It was strange to be denied to get us become their new patient because I thought anyone could go see a doctor with their choice and there would not be “you can become our patient.” or “You cannot become our patient” conversation.We would not have those types of conversation back home in Japan because people can go see a doctor of their choice and rarely they get denied to be seen.

It was good that we were not accepted after all because I realized that they had more than one doctor and our son might see the different doctors each time. The place was clean and nice and staff was ok but I felt everything we dealt with there in short time sounded very business-like and I did not care for the atmosphere as much.

Another clinic we picked was good. The doctor’s philosophy;healthy diet brings good overall health, matched to mine and I was comfortable talking to her.

For instance, she says….”a lack of fiber—naturally found in fruits and vegetables—and too much packaged macaroni and cheese could be the culprit.” for problem a  kid can have.

Her goal is to emphasize how important lifestyle and nutrition is, and how we really need to pay attention.

Also, I found her effort to make the office kids friendly (with colors, with pictures and books and toys in the waiting room) was nice.

The waiting room offers an orange couch and bright green chairs, a play table with vegetable toys, a bookshelf filled with many books for kids and interesting posters such as the one that says… “Eat food, not too much. Mostly plants” .

You also get to watch food videos, exercise and healthy living will play during office hours.

The five exam rooms are labeled according to fruits and vegetables.

When we visited her, she told us that they use fruits and vegetable pictures for room instead of room numbers because it is easy to remember for kids and makes it fun for kids and make the clinic place to learn for healthy eating.

When Liam was born and visited them for the first time with him, he was lead to the room “sweet pea room” right away so he can wait for the doctor there instead of waiting at the waiting room.I thought it was nice on their part.

When Liam got older, he was moved to blueberry room, and now he is assigned to carrot room;the big boy room we call it:-)

In addition to that, she got kitchen where she teaches classes for healthy eating for kids and parents and they have got their own garden to grow vegetables and I liked that place a lot.

Nurse and staff were friendly and they made us patients feeling comfortable asking anything on our mind.

I like the fact that she  is not type of doctors who gives out antibiotics for everything to treat.

I am happy with her for now most part.

If anything to say,we tend to be waiting for the doctor to come in much longer than before now and, when she comes in, even if I got things that I wanted to ask her written on my notebook, sometimes, she is time pressed or something and I cannot ask her to my heart content.

They got patient portal system and we can message her electronically any time we want if not emergency.I thought it was good idea at first.

I tried using the system but there were times I did not get reply until we nudge them a few times, and I was giving up asking her things. The doctor says if not emergency questions, ask via patient portal. I think it is great if we get response in timely manner,though.

One thing that I can say to new moms like me,who has lots of questions on child care because of being new to the field, I suggest to write down questions you like to ask your doctors so you do not forget to ask on the spot.

It is hard for doctors to delaying the reply if asked face to face. I always write down questions on my notebook and I try to ask her as much as I can on the spot instead of asking via patient portal thing.

At high risk OBGYN..

From 35 week and after,at High risk OBGYN, we were told that Liam will be monitored 2/week for the growth and my placenta function etc..

I was told he is still growing but slower rate and now his growth went down from 16 percentile to 12 percentile.

Doc said that if this number went under the 10 percentile, they need to intervene and probably would like to do amniocentesis to make sure his lung is fully developed and then if it is,then deliver him early.

He told us that as long as he keeps growing, it makes him happy.

On the positive note, while the sonographer was checking Liam,she told us Liam got hair by the day we were seen,and wiggling a lot and needed a little chasing game to take a picture of what she needed to take a picture of.

Hearing all the assessment, Liam sounded like he would be out before full term week.

One more month to the due date (August 2014) ..

As the due date approaches, we were busy with 2 OBGYN; high risk OBGYN and regular OBGYN and high risk one wanted me to come 2/week. Therefore, our schedule was very busy with all those checkups.

When we went to high risk OBGYN, Liam’s head was way way low and the sonographer could not take a picture of his face so, she took a picture of hand and a foot.

With hand pic, I can see it is a hand,but the foot picture is hard one.I still cannot see it is the foot even though sonographer typed out where the foot is.

At the regular OBGYN, since they look at sonogram pics from high risk OBGYN,we did not do sonogram there but they checked blood pressure,weight, and belly size.The doc said everything looks good and I was doing good.

Since she asked me if there were anything new high risk doc told us about so, I told about percentile got down last time when high risk doc checked measurement.

She said not too worry because percentile is not accurate to the t and sometimes, it can be a little off and sometimes, depending on how it is measured, percentile can go up and down.

Also, she told us about one lady who was worried about getting lower percentile but when the baby was born, this baby was 30% percentile:-)Much higher than the doctor was expected:)

I did not know when Liam would come out then but I hoped he will be able to stay in my belly as long as he can to learn to breathe and to make his lung mature.

How doctor measure your babies..

According to pregnancy family education website,the measurement in centimeters from the top of your pubic bone to the top of your uterus (the fundus) should be about the same as the number of weeks you are pregnant, with an allowance of up to 2 cm either way.
For example, if you are 26 weeks’ pregnant, you should measure between 24 and 28 cm. Your fundal height can be measured between 24 and 36-37 weeks, since once your baby “drops” into the pelvis in late pregnancy, the measurement may not reflect his or her true size.

By late pregnancy, the baby can no longer fit on the screen of ultrasound and so his or her size will be calculated by combining several measurements in a mathematical formula, as is done at the 20-week scan.

Measurements include the width of the head (biparietal diameter), circumference of the head, and the abdominal circumference, which are plotted on a graph over a period of time.

The length of the upper leg bone (femur length) may also be measured.

What percentile means is that,for example, out of a sample of 100 babies, a percentile value of 45% means your baby weighs more than 45 babies and weighs less than the other 55 babies.

You can read the full article on how babies are measured at pregnancy family education page here.

 Another high risk OBGYN visit..

At the high risk OBGYN. I have done Biophysical test;ultrasound plus Non stress test (to check his heartbeat etc).

Liam was very active during the sonogram but he got tired and sleepy and he fell asleep during the non stress test. So, he got the buzz,which made him wake up to monitor his heart beat.

I remember I was feeling sorry to wake him up by buzz on my belly.

At this point, doctor told us that he will measure him next time again and decide what to do next from there. There, he said that he would do the amniocenteses to make sure his lung is matured enough to breathe on his own, and if his lung was mature,then he would deliver him early.

Amniocentesis test..

Amniocentesis is not done without risk and, I read one lady who did that resulted rupture the membrane and lost the baby or those who had bleeding during 1st and 2nd trimester has more higher risk of miscarriage by doing this test, or the study published on ncbi says “If elective delivery is being considered prior to 39 weeks’ gestation, ACOG currently recommends that fetal pulmonary maturity be confirmed to minimize the incidence of iatrogenic RDS.

However, such recommendations are based primarily on studies carried out prior to the routine use of antenatal corticosteroids to accelerate lung maturity and the liberal use of ultrasound to confirm gestational age.

Moreover, despite technological advances in the field, recent studies suggest that testing for fetal lung maturity at a more advanced gestational age (> 36 weeks) is neither reliable nor cost effective.

Taken together, these data mandate reconsideration of our current recommendation of amniocentesis to confirm fetal lung maturity prior to elective delivery at 36 to 39 weeks’ gestation in well-dated pregnancies.”

I also read one incident where lady was induced and that resulted baby’s death…

It also can cause another complication such as uterine infection, water leakage and so on.

Having matured lung is good so he can breathe on his own without being in the NICU, but I wonder amniocentesis is really necessary when you know there are risks involved like this especially with my situation. Liam was long waited son conceived via IVF and he was the last embryo remaining and last chance we could try hoping to be lucky to have a kid we can call of our own.

I read that when the baby’s lung is not fully mature,it seems like those ladies had the test done again after 1 week from the initial amniocentesis test.

I understand that doctor wants to keep baby inside the womb as long as possible and they do the repeated test to check the timing to take the baby out, but when there are even some risks that comes with it, I thought I would rather skip the test and if he needed to come out then, come out and being nursed at NICU sounds better than having all the possible risk of losing him..

To be honest with you, I was very stressed over this. To do amniocentesis test or not…

However, Liam decided to make it easy for me to decide; he decided to come out before the even talk of doing the test or not.

Before he decided to come out, we went to OBGYN 1-2 more times.

One time we had to visit regular one and high risk one on the same day. We walked as fast as we could after the high risk OBGYN visit to visit regular OBGYN (they are in the same building), and I was blood drawn, weigh in, blood pressure, heartbeat check and we did strep B test and cervical test.

The regular doctor said that my cervix is dilated and thin already and my body is ready to birth.That being said, some people be ready even weeks before the real birth time and some people do not dilate and thin and ready.

So, she said if our high risk OBGYN decided to induce me because Liam’s lung was mature enough, the birth itself would be easier on me.

I was glad to hear that.

My hospital bag was almost ready. I was hoping he will be coming out after we take birthing class and breastfeeding but we ended up being able to attend breast feeding class because he was born before the birthing class:-)

At high risk OBGYN again..

At the high risk OBGYN, we did growth measurement.

Sonographer said that the little Liam got lots of hair on his head:-)

Since he is positioning himself way low for the head position, we got no pic then.

That week was 35 week and 5 days (36th week) and, she said he weighed a little over 4lb.

After the growth scan, I did non stress test;the recording of heartbeat for 20 minutes.

Then, we talked to doctor after that.

Doctor’s first suggestion was to do another growth scan 2 weeks later which puts me in 38th week because Liam is gaining weight and still growing.

He did not mention what percentile Liam was on that day.

That day, doctor told us that the amniocentesis test is another option and we can decide whether we do it or not on the first day in the 38th week.

He let us decide but, if we do amniocentesis test, and lung was mature,then,we would have delivered the baby that week.If the lung was not mature enough,then, it seems the doctor said I would receive the steroid shots (2 kinds?) to develop Liam’s lung mature,and then, take Liam out from me.

The most worried part of the test was miscarriage but he said I would not miscarriage because I am in the last trimester.Miscarriage is more of those who are in less than 20th weeks,he said.And the test will be done in about 10-15 min including prep and collecting fluid from my belly.

When we were leaving the room, he said if I went into labor in 37th week, he would not stop it and let him comes out.That exactly what happened with Liam. I think he was overheard doctor’s talk from inside my belly. He was born on 36 week 2 days (37 week).

I had lots of things to think/research about amniocentesis test and steroid shots to mature the lung of babies, but we got 2 more weeks to reply and we were planning to talk more and decide on that.I wanted as less invasive as possible, as natural as possible if I could choose it but, I was not sure if it was best for him to double checking his lung maturity in week 38..

2 days after since the high risk OBGYN visit, my in law mother visited us to help us out.It was really good timing because 2 days later, I went into labor.

It was also good that me and my mother in law visited the hospital area together that morning because otherwise,she would not have known how to get to the hospital with my delivery bag that I prepared for the labor.

Actually, we still talk about how Liam came about.It is because how I went into labor was unique and so memorable to our eyes and to others.

Welcoming Liam to our family..

July 15 2014 Liam NICU

Liam 1 day old…..

Liam sure had big entrance into our life from the start to the delivery time!

2 days after in law mother arrived to help us out, I had to go to 2 OBGYN back to back.

In the morning, my mother in law took me to regular OBGYN and I had to direct her how to get to the hospital in her car.

Then, in the afternoon, we went to high risk OBGYN and I was in the room with sonographer and right about finishing off the sonogram picture, I felt the big jump in my belly and noticed that my water broke..

So, I had to go to the emergency at the hospital,which was 2-3 minutes drive away. Then, I was admitted to deliver Liam at about 4pm.

My contraction was every 2-3 min already then, and after about 7-8 hours later, he came out to meet us.

He was sent to NICU right away after he came out to meet us, and I was released 3 days later from hospital. He could not come home with me..but we both went back to NICU every day to feed him.

Here is the Liam day 2. Looking at this picture now, he looks very different and it reminds me of the day how he came about. It is interesting to know that my water breaking accident at the exam room at high risk OBGYN was so rare that almost all nurse and staff and doctor recognize me well:-)

After Liam and us got settled, we went back to high risk OBGN office to show Liam to the doctor who was on vacation and to show nurse the result of my water break accident in the exam room.

I think Liam determined his own future and made our decision for amniocentesis test  very easy (he came earlier than testing day so we did not need to think about do the test or not do the test).

I also kept telling Liam to come out when my husband is around if he can and he did that.He made travel time to hospital easier for me as well; just a couple of minutes drive from OBGN office, and I did not have to suffer 30-40 minutes drive from home. I thought it was nice of him:-)

At the labor room, I was very nervous because I did not know what to expect. I simply held tight the amulet my parents shipped to me for the easy delivery without complication plus my husband’s hands.

I still remember I kept asking my husband if Liam was ok after Liam came out to our world because I did not get to hear his crying right away as I see on tv before. Liam needed a little bit of TLC and then a little bit of pause and then… finally I heard him crying.

That first cry we heard, I got very emotional and started crying. I saw tears in my husband’s eye and nurse’s eyes as well.

Me and my husband knew how hard,long, emotional long road it was for us to get to this point.

Looking back everything we did to get to the birthing day, we both felt the joy we felt then was the one that we cannot express with words.

My pregnancy journey has ended, and another parenting door opened.

Being a mother for 10 months plus to Liam, I feel that parenting or being a mother is very hard job but it is such a rewarding job as well. I really enjoy every second I get to spend with our son.

Despite the all the cries and feeding every so often when Liam was much younger and got me zombie every day due to lack of sleep,that little smile made my day super special. I enjoy watching over how he grows right in front of our eyes.

I feel it was yesterday that I gave birth to Liam but already 10 months has passed!

Time flies!

Stay tuned for more stories with Liam!


Jun 03, 2015 | Comments are off | Pregnancy

Yassy’s note:Pregnancy week 33 week – 34 week

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 31 week – 32 week,I wrote about how my pregnancy went from week 31st through 32nd week,and shared some of the sonogram picture of Liam with you.

Here,I would like to share my pregnancy and Liam’s growth from 33 week through 34 week.

June 2014 was busy month for us, preparing for the arrival of our son.

Preparing for our little prince “Liam”..

Since only 7 weeks left til full term pregnancy, we have started looking around baby stuff more since week 31st,which we thought that we would not have to worry about miscarriage or uncertainty of gender of the baby..

Diapering items and more..

After purchasing stroller crib, bassinet,baby clothes,we got another big thing we got was a diaper bag.

I remember browsing through the internet to find the perfect diaper bag for me.

I was trying to get ready to pack things for delivery time for just in case around that week, and as I do so, I was trying to get stuff needed for little Liam little by little.. A couple of stuff per baby store visit after good research for me was the good pace to find things for Liam.

First thing I did to find the diaper bag for me was to browse through the web, then, picked a couple of brands that I like to see and touch and feel at the store. At that time, I found 4 candidate bags.

1. Carter’s zip front fashion tote bag 16x 12×5 size
2. Carter’s out and about tonal dot diaper bag 20x12x6 size
3. JJ cole Satchel diaper bag 16 x 11x 6 size
4. Skip hope Grand central Take it all diaper bag 18 x 13 x 6

What I was looking for in the diaper bag was..

** roomy
** water proof
** durable
** better if it got stroller strap so we can hang it on the handle if bottom storage area under the stroller was full

After looking for the items at the store and tried to put it over my shoulder or check how things are with my eyes, I ended up getting Skip hope Grand central Take it all diaper bag 18 x 13 x 6.

I love the diaper bag because it got so many compartment/pockets ( large, divided sections, 11 pockets including 2 large exterior zip pockets, 2 insulated side-pockets that fit extra-wide bottles and a cushioned changing pad ) and it comes with water proof diaper changing pad and light in weight and roomy, plus it got strap so we can hang it over stroller’s handle side.

Only minor thing that I thought would be better for the bag is to have shoulder strap,which this one does not have one.

Other than that, I like using the bag very much. This bag is with Liam everywhere we go for last 10 months:-)

Liam diaper bag

Skip hope Grand central Take it all diaper bag..

After the diaper bag, I thought of diaper pail but was wondering if we really needed one or not.

I read that the diaper pail can hold more than 30 diapers. However,I thought that I would not keep the dirty diaper long time and I also thought that I would not think I would keep that much of diaper in the house at a time.It also looked like waste of money but at the end, we decided to try it out and we got one.

I think it is good one to have around the house after all.

We got playtex diaper genie and I like it.

For diaper, I know that at the hospital NICU, the nurse was simply tossing the diaper without roll and tape it but, we roll the diaper up and tape it cross so the diaper becomes triangle shape if it were pee diaper. Then, if it were poo diaper, we put it in scented bag and tie it up and put it in the diaper pail. Therefore, our pail is not stinky and messy at all.

For the diaper sack/bag, I like the bag called “Sassy 75 count disposable diaper sacks“. It is scented bag and it works great for poop diaper.

I know there is a roll of bags just like dog’s poop bag but I like Sassy one better. I like the size of the bag very much.Also, it has good scent that seal in the smell of dirty diaper.

We carry it in the diaper bag to use outside as well.

When it comes to diaper items, one of the diapering item we love a lot is diaper caddy called “JJ cole Diaper and Wipes Caddy in slate“. This caddy comes with one waterproof changing pad.

We put everything we need for diaper changing time in that caddy;diapers, wipes,diaper rash cream,disposable diaper sack etc..  and we move around with it inside the house. I like how well you can organize it at one place.

In the drawer of that caddy, we keep most used grooming items such as nail clippers.

At the regular OBGYN..

At another regular OBGYN,I weigh in, blood pressure check, belly size check,and we heard the heartbeat of Liam. It was 155 bpm.

I asked about the paper that has list of items we need to bring to the hospital but the doc said they do not have one but told me what we need to bring as base.She said hospital would provide diaper so, we did not have to bring it.Also told us that the nurse will teach us how to breast feeding the baby so, that was good to know.

Back home in Japan, when expectant mother gets close to delivery week, OBGYN will give them a list of items for the big day but apparently, here in the states, at least ours did not do the same.

One thing we did not know was that, we needed to submit the paper that has our insurance company info, due date info etc beforehand.So, we need to do that soon.I do not know if it is to reserve the room for us or simply make the delivery date easy for us by being able to skip the time to spend on the paper work on arrival.

As for baby stuff..after regular OBGYN visit, we got the whale bath tub.

Whale bath tub for Liam

Planet Whale of a tub..

This whale tub is from Fisher price and it is called “Planet Whale of a tub“. I like this tub.

I like the fact that we can use it from infant to toddler age by simply removing the stopper that is secured in the middle and it has non slip thing on the back.

Since the tub is whale, we got kneeler with whale shape too:)I thought it was cute.

When my sister in law came visit us last year and saw it, she and her husband burst into laughter because it looked funny.

Also, for the bath time needs, we got crocodile thermometer at babies r us. It is called “Dreambaby Room & Bath crocodile thermometer”.

I like this thermometer very much. It is easy to use it and checks the temperature quite fast.Also, when it is too hot for babies to take a bath, it gives red light flash, good temperature for green light.

I know you can check the temperature with your own wrist but,I felt more comfortable using the crocodile thermometer.

Palette was interested in the tub when  we first brought it in, and came to sniff and did not run away.It was good.

As we gather things for Liam’s arrival, it made us feel again we really got to able able to meet our boy soon..finally the impossible dream were to be becoming possible dream/reality:)

At the High risk OBGYN…

At the high risk OBGYN. I did ultra sound plus non stress test.

That day, Liam was active and felt his movement while sonographer iwa looking at him, but he was hiding his face (face was back/down),and the sonographer could not take any sonogram picture then.

During the exam, she checked baby’s body movements, muscle tone (flexing the arms and legs), and breathing movements (the baby’s ability to move her chest muscles and diaphragm), and the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding him.

Then, we were lead to non stress test to monitor baby’s heart rate changes when he’s moving.

I think nurse told us each check category gives me 2 points as max score and 5 category including non stress test makes the full score 10.

Out of 10 score, today, Liam scored 10 points out of 10:) He was “A student” 😉

Everything was good, and the doctor was happy about it.

The nurse at non stress test got to witness my rectangle belly (Liam loved stretching a lot besides turning/rolling).

She was laughing the lump appeared on my belly and other nurse just came in with other lady for her non stress test glanced at my belly and we were all laughing.

Yes, my belly becomes real rectangle when he does stretchy thing. It hurts me but I had to be patient for another 7 weeks and no more rectangle belly:-) Now, thinking back, I really miss that moment though.

 Fetal MRI….

Because of Liam’s heart condition, our high risk OBGYN wanted me to visit the Children’s hospital in DC for fetal MRI, more ultrasound, fetal eco and genetic counseling and more.

I was told that I did not have to fast or anything but no coffee, no tea, no OJ, no soda.

I did not drink coffee,sodas etc during my whole pregnancy time but I liked drinking OJ often because for some reasons, I craves for it and drinking one small OJ box a day or so was my normal.

When I was told I would not be able to drink OJ, I was sad..

At the same time, I was curious why I cannot drink OJ.. my usual drink to get the day going and satisfy my thirst.

A day before fetal MRI, I drank water instead.

The fetal MRI was schedule very early in the morning and we had to be at the hospital in DC at 7am. Therefore, to beat the traffic and make it easier for us to be there on time, we decided to stay at the hotel in DC one day before the procedure.

I do not like narrow space and I was nervous about it but their MRI for pregnant ladies were much more spacy around the body and,I did ok with it although staying still was not something that I could for long time.

The doctors basically saw Liam in the uterus through MRI to get the better understanding his body structure, heart and other organ’s etc..

Following the MRI, we also did fetal echo cardiogram, ultrasound, and follow up from team of doctors from various department;radiology, pediatrician doc who performs surgeries on babies,cardiology,genetic counselor etc..

There were lots to absorb, but we decided to be positive for whatever that comes  to our way.

They have primarily looked his heart with all those tests and they did confirm the medium size hole in the bottom chamber muscle of the heart where the chamber pumps the blood to lung.

When we heard that we were worried but the doctor told us the hole would more likely close on its own with rate of 50% chance.

If not, we could try with med or non invasive surgery and we do not have to go with open heart surgery as we previously thought.So, it was hopeful.

Another thing they mentioned was he being small;arms and legs are 10% shorter than peers.

That was something we were told over and over again from high risk doctor but we did not know how far behind he was.

As for his weight, we heard he was 16 percentile so, it is still okay (still in the normal range) but when you look growth, head is growing as it should and shows the size is at 33 weeks which I am, but body is at 28th week gestation measurement..

Therefore, they told us it will be something to be monitored closely. Being behind 4 weeks is not so much of concern at this point but if it falls behind 8 weeks or more, that would make them worry more. She said if chest measurement is falling behind, it also indicate he would have breathing problems etc..

Depending on how he grows in uterus, it might required them to take him out of the womb earlier but they prefer to let him stay inside my belly as long as possible.

Looking at head bone structure, the doctor specialize in bone development in fetas did not think it will be dwarfism,and she thought It might just be he being small but it could also be something larger underlining problems might be there but this bone specialist doc who we were told she is one of top doctors in the field in the world cannot give us the clear diagnose after MRI and ultrasound etc… might be a good hopeful sign.

She also brought up it might be the case where I would simply need bed rest (I did not ask her but more exercise/walking effects baby’s growth).

When they were talking about growth chart, she mentioned something like his bone measurement went off more since 2 weeks ago and, incidentally, it is when we started visiting baby store after doc appointment and then went to grocery store and came back with pain in the ovary area (lower abdomen).

I do not know if it was the coincidence or not, but we could try easy on errands and rest more at home although doctor did not ordered us to do so.

Anyway, one thing after another to absorb and understand the situation..I was already worrying parent to be, but I was hopeful that the team of doctors would take good care of little Liam.

This is our little son to be “Liam”  in pregnancy wee 33.

Liam sleeping 33 week 3 day June 24 2014 blog

Liam 33 week 3 days sleeping..

With 34 week baby development, according to pregnancy corner website, Liam should have been weigh close to five pounds and measure between 15 ½ and 17 ½ inches.

Most of the organs are almost fully matured, with the exception of the lungs. The facial features are very distinct at this point.

As the fat continues to build under the skin,Liam would be looking a bit plumper and would be taking on his or her mature facial characteristics.

To read the full development for baby and your body change at 27 week at pregnancy corner website, please click here.

When we went to high risk OBGYN,we came out a little confused and worry sick again.. He sure coming to our life dramatic way.

Last week, when we went to DC hospital, I was told they do not know what is causing head growing normal rate, body grow behind about 4 weeks in measurement but their final thoughts given to us was either he is simply being small, or some sort of bone related problems (not dwarfism) , and placenta,blood flow, amount of amniotic fluid amount are all good.

But then, the high risk doctor said the opposite; placenta was not working as it supposed to and it is probably what is causing the head growth, body growth difference, and considering all the abnormality like heart being located more toward center with med size hole, it could be some sort of chromosome related issue besides down syndrome.

As you can see, each doctor seems to have their own opinion on this and since every doctor says the different things, we were confused and frustrated a bit.

After the assessment, doctor told us to come see him 2 times a week to monitor the growth much more closely.

His plan was to take Liam out from me if Liam has stopped growing,and he does not think (at this point) that I would carry him full term (He was saying as long as he keep growing, I keep gaining weight,he would not be delivered premature but he had different idea then).

Hearing all of these.. it looked like he may come see us sometime next month.

I was hoping that despite the all the odds, he will be in fact just being small and healthy.

More stuff for Liam:Swing..

After the OBGYN,we went to baby store and got swing for him.

When we look around things in there, I felt like I could have more positive thoughts about him, instead of being worry..

My husband assembled it on the same day we bought it, and we were listening to the music it plays. I like how quiet it swings and not loud music is being played.

The one we got is from Ingenuity.” Inlighten Cradling Swing Seneca“.

After 10 months with Liam, I feel Liam did not use this as much as I thought he would.It is simply because he was not that fussy baby and slept real good and did not have much problems he being unhappy.

However, when he had crying spell and nothing worked, this swing helped me a lot. Liam liked it very much.

Liam in the swing 092414

Liam 2 months old fell asleep in the swing..

Next big thing to prepare for Liam’s arrival was to look for the pediatrician for him.

Stay tuned for more entries. More stories to come.


May 20, 2015 | Comments are off | Pregnancy

Yassy’s Note:Pregnancy week 31week-32 week

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 27 week – 30 week“,I wrote about how my pregnancy went from week 27th through 30th week,and shared some of the sonogram picture of Liam with you.

Here,I would like to share my pregnancy and Liam’s growth from 31 week through 32 week.

June  2014 was  busy month for us, preparing for the arrival of our son.

Preparing for our little prince “Liam”..

Since only 10 weeks left til full term pregnancy, we have started looking around baby stuff more.

The very first thing that we have looked at was the stroller. I have asked other moms about pro and cons of various types of strollers and tips on selecting a good stroller. I think hearing what other moms liked or what they did not liked was good to narrow down our necessary things for Liam.

The very first thing that we decided to purchase for Liam was a stroller with car seat. The stroller in the picture does not have a car seat installed yet.The seat was still in the box.).

Liam stroller

BOB Motion Travel System in orange with car seat..

At this moment, after using this stroller for almost 9 months, I can say that this was the great stroller purchase.We both like the stroller very much.

The stroller is called “BOB Motion Travel System“, and it is with infant car seat attached in the stroller. It comes with car seat base as well. Therefore, you can simply transfer the car seat from stroller to the car seat base in the car to go somewhere by a car.

We got orange one thinking it would stand out from the crowd:)

Here are what we liked on the stroller..

1. 2 wheels front (sturdy), and can roll on bumpy road if needed to be
2. easy to push, and it gives smooth ride
3. easy to fold (just simply pull the string )
4. The wheel has air inside and you can pump the air into it when the tire got flatten
5. It came with car seat
6. you can hang the diaper bag on the handle,and more space for other stuff needed to be carried under the seat
7. 2 way facing stroller
8. got adjustable handle
9.  can recline the seat when the kid become the age they do not need to use the car seat in the stroller anymore but themselves

When we brought in our first purchase for our son, Palette looked as if “What is that? How can I play with it?” but she was not terrified with unfamiliar object so it was good.She came sniffing at it.

At the regular OBGYN..

Also, the month of June was busy month for me to go to OBGYN as well. The closer I get to the full term, the more frequently we needed to visit the OBGYN.We had to go to high risk OBGYN and regular OBGYN plus heart doctor for Liam so our  calendar was full of appointment.

The very first regular OBGYN appointment in June,2014,we did not do sonogram but we did weighed in,checked blood pressure,and belly size,and checked Liam’s heart beat (158 bpm).

We were told he was wide awake when they checked the heartbeat:)

He was growing steady and healthy in my belly.

I remember May 2014 had many rectangle belly time; 2 bulging lumps,one on each side of belly..I thought Liam was doing biiiiig stretch.

It usually followed by a little kicks and.. I somewhat felt like he was rolling towards my pelvic side as if rolling down the hill.

He sure was active as the term gets closer to full term week,I thought he was practicing Tae kon do there:)

I really wish that I took the picture of rectangle belly then, because it would have been one of a kind sort of experience for me… Especially when I know for sure that I would not be able to get pregnant again.

At the high risk OBGYN..

With the very first high risk OBGYN appointment in June, the sonographer lady took another 4D picure  and we got interesting ones this time as well.

One of the pic shows as if he is saying “Please do not take picture of me!” holding hands in front of his face and I thought it was cute.

Liam pic 1 June 9,2014

Then; Liam 31 week 2 days, holding hands in front of his face..

When Liam was around 2 months old, I saw him sleeping similar posture with his hand over his face.It reminded me of this sonogram picture.

Liam in raccoon footie 10 09032014

Now; Liam 2 months old sleeping similar posture to the sonogram..

Another one was him sleeping with thumb sucking. When Liam was 3 months old, he started sucking his thumb and when I took the picture of him doing so reminded me of this sonogram picture.

Liam 31 week 2 days thumb sucking blog pic 2 June 9,2014

Then; Liam 31 weeks 2 days sucking thumb…

Finger of the day -Liam Oct 23 2014

Now; Liam 3 months old sucking thumb…

With 31st week baby development, according to pregnancy corner website, Liam would have been about 15 inches and weighing between three and three and one-half pounds.Then,he would have been over half the size he will be at birth.

As baby fat continues to accumulate, he would have been gaining weight much more quickly in these last two months. The digestive tract and lungs are almost mature, and the lungs are able to inflate properly at this point, producing surfactant to help prevent the collapse of the lungs after birth.

The ears are fully developed, and the website says that he would have been listening to everything it can hear inside the womb.

It also said that the babies at this stage can hear Mom’s breathing  and heartbeat, they can hear music, and they can hear the voices of others.

Also,the toenails and fingernails are fully formed, and the baby can even scratch itself in the womb.

Liam would have been  swallowing and urinating up to a half liter a day.

To read the full development for baby and your body change at 27 week at pregnancy corner website, please click here.

After the usual measurement & pictures via abdominal sonogram, this time I had to go to another room to test the heart rate; Fetal Non stress test,which you get 2 belt that monitor.. one for heart beat, and the other for contraction.

Then, I stayed there for about 20 min for them to monitor the heartbeat.

Now and then, he moved around and nurse had to adjust the stuff and another time, he started to fall asleep and they want to measure the heart rate when he is up so, she came with buzzer which gives vibration to wake him up. Liam got twice buzzer one time:)

I was told then that we will be monitored weekly with this test.

I asked the doctor if he still think I have high chance of premature birth and he said to us that unless some complication occur,such as placenta problems or other urgent condition occur for them to act quickly, my chance got shifted from “high” to “medium” now and I was told that I may have chance to carry him full term and I was happy to hear that.

In the end, I did not carry him to full term but it was not super early for him to come out so, I am happy for that.

Crib, bassinet and more..

After the high risk OBGYN visit, we went to baby store again, and got him some clothes for him to wear over underwear my little sister gave me.

My husband picked cute outfit with hat that got dog ears. I picked some clothes that are monkey or racoon theme ones because it was very cute clothe and I could not pass it.

Looking around the stores, there were so many stuff for the baby care. I was amazed how much stuff babies would need.

After the clothe and stroller, we started looking for bed and bath time stuff, diaper bag etc….

I was amazed how many things that we had to get for Liam. It looked like endless list. However, imagining the life with Liam, I sure enjoyed shopping stuff for him.

With the crib, we decided to buy one big crib that got diaper changer and some drawers for the storage,and can grow with the kid.

The crib we got is called “Sorelle furniture Tuscany 4 in 1“. The Tuscany Crib can be used as a crib, &  Full-size bed with headboard on a metal bed frame, or Full-size bed with headboard and footboard using optional wooden Adult Rails. The crib grows with your children.

I remember my husband was working hard to assemble the bed one night.

The crib is something that we have not tried yet, because we decided to use bassinet up until he grows out of it for convenience.So far, Liam is using bassinet still but soon, he will be sleeping in the big bed.

With bassinet, we got 2 same ones with different colors;one upstairs, one for downstairs. Having the two was simply the convenient for us.

The bassinet we got is called “Arms reach Mini Co sleeper“.I really like them. It is not that heavy bed. I like the size and big storage space on the bottom and side pocket is big enough to hold some necessary things for your children.

I tend to keep bed sheets now but, when Liam was much younger, I stored swaddle cloth,diapers in big bag under space and kept diaper itself,rash cream,protective paper thing for accidental fountain, and poop bag on one side pocket and for the other,I kept health related stuff such as thermometer etc..

Another thing to note is that the sides are mesh and it gets good airflow, and I do not have to worry about his little nose gets covered by bed bumper cloth etc..

Also, it has roller on the bottom on one side.Therefore, you can roll the bassinet out the room to wherever you want your babies to be at.

For the travel purpose, you can fold it in small and put them in the bag to carry.

Best part would be that the bed is about the same height to our own bed.Therefore, when I put his bed next to our bed, I can peek him easier. You can also attach the co sleeper to the adult bed.

Since I tend to have a bad back, we tried using leg extension kit;since bed gets higher, I did not have to bend over much. For the  picking up purpose, it was good height. However, we did not care for it.It got shook big when Liam got older and started pulling his legs up and bring it down to the bed.It looked like the bed was not sturdy when leg extension kit was used. Therefore, we have removed the leg extension kt and it is now at the same height to the time we bought this co sleeper bed.

We got more stuff that we got in the month of June. I will write about it in my next blog entry.

Stay tuned!

Do you have something you really liked to raise the babies that will be in the “must have” list for new moms?


May 05, 2015 | Comments are off | Pregnancy

Yassy’s note:Pregnancy week 27 week – 30 week

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 22 week – 26 week“,I wrote about how my pregnancy went from week 22nd through 26th week,and shared some of the sonogram picture of Liam with you.

Here,I would like to share my pregnancy and Liam’s growth from Week 27th week through 30th week.

May  2014 was  busy month for us, partly because we had to go see another doctor;cardiologist for Liam’s heart issue.

It was heavy rainy day that we had to go see cardiologist from Children’s Hospital and, we ad to take cardiogram.

The cardiac issue was brought up wen our high risk OBGYN was doing anatomy test and, first he said that he could not see the vein/artery he should have seen in the picture, and that is why we had to go see the cardiologist to see Liam’s heart much closer, much extensive tests to know better about his heart condition.

The doctor said everything looks fine to him for structure wise, but position wise.. maybe a little off to the center but nothing major to worry about.

I was glad to hear that.

Since Liam was curling up when he was ready to be seen via cardiogram test (Well, he was moving a lot around early 5am and at about waiting time in the clinic but apparently, he went to fall asleep when it became the time to be looked at,lol), I walked a bit to see if he changes his position.It made him look better but not much.

I wrote about kick game with Liam as part of Taikyou exercise/building relationship with unborn child through the game.

First some times, Liam was shy to my husband’s touch but by May, he liked to play with my husband “kick game”; my husband tap my belly gently and Liam kicks back the area my husband tapped. It is fun.

The kick game made my husband giggles.

By the way, the maternity pillow I liked to sleep with after right around 20th week, my husband tried my maternity pillow to sleep around this period of time when he was on night shift work schedule and I was up working with/taking care of Liam. He loved it and he wanted one for himself. So, he got one for his own.

Therefore, that maternity pillow “Leachco® Snoogle® Total Body Pregnancy Support and Feeding Pillow in Ivory“ will get 2 votes from our family:-)

Tale of Lucky 4 leaf clovers…

One day in May 2014, I happened to find 2 lucky 4 leaf clovers in our yard. I like keeping charms with me so, I picked them and pout it in between the book to dry out to keep long.

Do you know how the 4 leaf clovers became lucky charm in the modern days?

According to lucky 4 leaf clover website, it says “It is the Celtic Charm and carried out to the modern days. In the early days of Ireland, the Druids believed that they could see evil spirits coming when they carried a shamrock, or three-leaf clover, giving them a chance to get away in time! They thought four-leaf clovers offered magical protection, and warded off bad luck.

What the 4 leaves stands for?

The website says “faith”, “hope”, “love” and “luck”.

It also says that the odd to find one 4 leaf clovers are 10,000 to 1! Therefore, I got to find the super lucky charm in the month of May:-)

The full article on the 4 leaves clover can be found at the 4 leaf clover website here.

After the cardiologist visit, at the high risk OBGYN..

When we went to high risk OBGYN, we did sonogram 4D picture.

I really enjoyed watching how they can make the sonogram screen picture into 4D and I liked how Liam was moving real time in my belly. It was very interesting visit.

He was a wiggler then, and moving a lot there.One point time, he was yawning and, sonographer took the 4D pic but since I was giggling,and Liam was moving,the picture looked like a ghost but I think we got one that was cute and can see him well.

This is him in my belly, yawning.

Liam 27 week 2 days yawning May 12 2014 blog

Liam 27 week 2 days “yawning”…

Here is Liam “thinking”...

Liam 27 week 2 days thinking blog May 12 2014

Liam 27 week 2 days “thinking”..

Liam 27 week 2 days thinking II My 12 2014blog

Liam 27 week 2 days still thinking..

With 27th week baby development, according to pregnancy corner website, Liam would have been close to 15 inches in length and weigh over two pounds. Then, it also says that the eyes continue to develop, the layers of the retina are forming, and the membrane that covers the eyes separates to form eyelids.

Also, it says that the baby is developing its own waking and sleeping patterns around this time.  The tissues and grooves in your baby’s brain continue to form.

Interesting thing they says is that some experts believe that the baby begins to dream at this point, and you may feel baby’s hiccups. Babies’ lungs continue to mature and they inhale and exhale amniotic fluid.

To read the full development for baby and your body change at 27 week at pregnancy corner website, please click here.

After the high risk OBGYN, we went to regular OBGYN. No sonogram then, but we got to hear the heartbeat,and doctor measured my belly size,blood pressure and glucose test (2nd time, 1 hr tolerance test).

Last time, I did glucose test with high risk OBGYN due to family history, we had to go to Quest but this time, it was ok to do at the regular OBGYN office.

It was way too sweet and it was a little difficult to drink but I managed to drink it all.

Cord blood banking..

On the day, they gave us a flyer about baby’s cord blood banking (for a fee,cord blood banking will process cryopreserve baby’s stem cell rich umbilical cord blood for its family’s future medical use.).

We are suppose to reply this;either store,donate for research,or discard.

Did any of you kept/store it?

Liam’s issue was heart, and not blood related issue so, we were not sure if saving the cord blood would help Liam in the future if we kept it.

Luckily, baby heart specialist from children’s hospital was going to see us then, before the next appointment with regular OBGYN,so, I decided to ask the heart doctor if he was in fact suspected as congenital heart defect or any other heart problems, this cord blood would save his life or not.

You can read on cord blood banking information at the cord blood website here.

Back home in Japan, saving some parts of umbilical cord (dried) in the small wooden box for keepsake has been our custom. My mother has a little bit of dried umbilical cord of mine in the small wooden box.We call it “Heso no wo”.

When I got this umbilical cord blood banking flyer, I wondered if the doctor here would give us some of umbilical cord like Japan as keepsake after they dry them out….

Welcoming my father to our house in the states…

Another big thing in the month of May was that my father visited us all the way from Japan. From here to Japan, it takes about 14 hours (to Tokyo,Japan). He needs another connection flight to Tokyo so, extra distance beyond Tokyo but he tries to come visit us when he can.

We try to go back every other year to Japan but, because of IVF schedule-pregnancy, we could not go back in 2014. Therefore, he came here instead.

It is nice to have my side of my family here in the states and show them around and spend time together. It is more meaningful stay than simple “visiting” because they are living in Japan and I cannot visit their house whenever and they cannot visit us whenever. Only short 1 week or so is what we can have to spend time together face to face in the same country.

These days, with the help of technology, we skype with them every week and,I can get to see and talk with my parents and my sister family and my grandmother. I think it helps Liam to get to know them over the skype before meeting them face to face and he would get to hear more of our language;Japanese, and,I think it is good mental stimulation for him as well.

My parents love to see how he grows and interact with him through skype and when Liam smile or giggles, they smile/laugh and enjoy the time very much.

When my father was here, we visited Maymont in Richmond (You can read what you can do  by visiting maymont website here.

It is the 100 acre historic site with children’s farm (where kids can pet animals),gardens,and more.

We walked all the way around and pretty tired.

The site got us exercise pretty good.

On the way back home, we stopped by the Greek restaurant in the downtown Richmond.It was my father’s first experience of trying Greek food and he liked it although he was not so much of fan for spanakota and tazjiki sauce.

I love spanakota and tazjiki sauce but,unfortunately, I was not allowed to enjoy feta so, I did not get to eat the spanakota but I could enjoy Gyro.

When my father visited us, my sister got him to deliver the baby clothe for Liam. I remember seeing those itty bitty clothe the clothe was so tiny and cute!

When it comes to raising babies/kids, she knows more of it (has 3 kids, 1 more on the way),so I have been asking things here and there, and she is a good helper:)

One thing she said to me; she needed lots of bibs and mittens (so baby would not scratch themselves with nail),and told me to prepare basic baby stuff at least 1 month prior.

Hearing that,we started thinking that we really should start getting things for Liam soon then.

After my father went back home in Japan, we went to high risk OBGYN to get Liam checked up by baby heart specialist via sonogram again.

They still saw some concerns and we were asked to go see him at his hospital in DC next time for fetal MRI.

Liam was in good position on the day when the doctor tried to see his heart so, he could see better of his heart.

Next month was fetal MRI month.

More on Liam’s growth and my pregnancy adventure for later.

Stay tuned.





Apr 08, 2015 | Comments are off | Pregnancy

Yassy’s note:Pregnancy week 22 week – 26 week

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 17 week – 21 week“,I wrote about how my pregnancy went from week 17th through 21st week,and shared some of the sonogram picture of Liam with you.

Here,I would like to share my pregnancy and Liam’s growth from Week 22nd through 26th.

April 2014 was relatively happy month.

Last time when we went to high risk OBGYN, and talked about what would be the next step after abnormal result of AFP test, he suggested to re-test it especially because if the level of the AFP elevated (only 0.1 above the cut off number in my case),  because it will change how they approach to monitor me & our boy (more sonogram,more testing ,preparation for the delivery timing etc..) and, he suspected if sonogram did not pick up the spina bifida ,then, it was provably due to bleeding/spotting.He also said that if it came back normal,then, it will give us peace of mind.

So, we did re-test AFP and tried another 99% accurate harmony blood test in March then.

That harmony test result and second AFP screening test result came back in April 2014 as “negative”,which made me/us very happy.I remember I received the call from Genetic counselor at high risk OBGYN telling me that screen test Harmony and AFP repeat test came back all normal, and all of my heavy feeling/worries disappeared:)

On the phone, he told us that the cut off number for the AFP level at the lab they are using is 2.5 and I was 2.6 last time to be categorized “abnormal”, but re-test result came back with number 1.5 with 2.5 cut off number:)

I was very very happy, and at the same time, I was surprised that me being spotting more could change that much of result.

My husband was very happy to hear the news too.

On the very same phone call day, at night time, I could feel the big kick from Liam as if to say “Hey guys, I am very ok in here. No worries”.

As always, every time I felt his kick, I called my husband to come and let him touch my belly so he could feel the next kick from Liam. I still remember my husband was placing his hand over my belly,anticipating for Liam’s  next kick, talking to him gently “Hey,little guy..” with a big smile on his face. It was the great moment.

However, first some months, I think Liam was shy to my husband’s voice and he did not kick back as fast as he did with my talking. Then, I read the section on Q&A in my Japanese maternity magazine article about “Why the little one stops kicking when father touches mother’s belly”.

I thought it interesting because Liam tended to be quiet when my husband touches the belly for a bit. Sometimes, he did not response to his touch. He needed some time to get used to my husband’s voice and touch.

I remember once my husband was  talking to Liam “Hey,little guy.If you can hear me, give me a sign”,lol.

Well, after a few seconds later, Liam did kick for him:)

The magazine said that 90% of baby boys stop kicking,50% of baby girl stop kicking when they feel someone different is touching mother’s belly.

Did your husband experienced the same like mine;when they put their hands on your belly, your little one stop kicking?

I am curious to know…

That one little kick for us meant a lot to us and much more so when you think about how long it took for us to get to that point with repeated fail result of IVF and this strong Liam was the last embryo, last chance to try IVF..

Of course, my parents in Japan was worried over the tests,  and I made a call to them letting them know everything was all right.

Back home in Japan, OBGYN there does not screen pregnant ladies this much.They do have screening test but not as many tests as pregnant ladies are going through here in the states. Hearing so many tests are done in the states, my side of my family was surprised.

Liam’s very first kick I felt was on March 25th 2014 and, as the days go by, I started feeling more and more of his kick and, I felt strange in my belly and it was hurting especially when he tries to do the stretch work (??) in my belly making my belly rectangle but, I did enjoy his kick every time.

April was more active kick month for Liam.

I remember placing my hand on my belly and said “kick” and after a few seconds later, I felt the kick:)

Yes, I was playing the kick game I was writing about in my previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 17 week – 21 week“. It was fun!

Liam seemed to get active,kicking and dancing at night time, and peak time was like 11pm-12am..

Sometimes, he was still playing,kicking after midnight and I keep being awake in the bed while I hear Palette’s snore:)

Now and then, he was kicking non stop 1 am,2 am etc and he was still kicking at about 7am. Then, he sometimes got quiet a bit but started kicking again from morning-afternoon-night.

I remember thinking, he might have a quiet day next day from all the workout he did on the day.

When I called my parents in Japan around that time, my mother told me that maybe around this week (22 week), he will be able to hear our voice etc.. and we should start reading books,singing to him, talking to him more,which Japanese people call this “ta-i-kyo-u” and they are believed to be good for the little ones.

People say that when you start talking,singing,reading to unborn baby, when they were born, they would recognize the voice and, make them feel relaxed.

I do not know how common in the states or outside Japan, but I did Taikyou throughout my pregnancy as you read it in my previous entry titled ““Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 17 week – 21 week“”.

In the middle of April, I had to be up early to go to regular OBGYN while it was heavy rain (hard to see the front through the window)..

Palette the Corgi had early breakfast too and, she was eating it with one eye opened,yawning and slow pace,lol.

When I needed to be up that early, often time, Palette had very early breakfast,eating meal with one eye opened,yawning but she did not complain. Often time, she seemed to go back to heavy sleeping after we left the house because she always welcomed us with big stretch and yawn:-)

At the regular OBGYN, I did not get to do the sonogram (maybe because high risk OBGYN does sonogram every time I go in),and just heard the Liam’s heartbeat through the machine;it was 143 bpm.

Nurse said, he must be wide awake.

After talking to the doctor, I was told I have to do the glucose tolerance test again at 28th week while I did it already earlier because I had relatives who were diabetic. It is not a painful test at all physically but,I just have hard time drinking super sweet juice.

In the same month, we went to high risk OBGYN. I did not know this but they can measure the weight of the baby by using baby’s anatomy.

At that time,which was 24 weeks and 2 days,, I was told that little Liam is weighing approx. 1 lb 3 oz.Here is Liam on the day..

Liam 24 weeks 2 days  1lb 3 oz Apr 21st,2014 blog

Liam 24 weeks 2 days..

With 24th week baby development, according to pregnancy corner website, Liam would have been almost a foot long and is about the same size as an ear of corn at 1 ½ pounds (approximately four ounces more than last week).

It said that baby’s brain continues to develop, as do the taste buds and lungs. Also,the lungs begin to develop branches and cells that produce surfactant, a chemical agent that will be needed to inflate their little air sacs once your baby is outside the womb.

Liam’s eye would have been still shut, but he would have been using his hands and feet to maneuver and develop their sense of touch. The hair on the scalp is still growing at an even pace, and he would have been continuing to inhale amniotic fluid into its lungs as practice for breathing after birth.

I remember the sonographer kept telling us “Oh,the baby is practicing breathing” while checking on him.

Compared to average baby development, Liam was a little smaller side,but doctor told me that as long as he keeps growing, and I keep gaining weight, since I am thin, I do not have to worry about it.

You can read more on what is happening with you and your baby in week 24 here at pregnancy corner website.

However, doctor’s concern was his heart.

We were scheduled to meet baby heart specialist from DC later.

The sonographer and doctor took looong time looking at his heart on the day, and after we left the facility, I had belly discomfort (pain). Maybe too much pressing and stuff..

After coming back home, Palette inspected me every inch of me, and did not let me go.Her nose was glued to back of my leg:)

Sleeping comfortably…

After 24th week and after, I was having muscle sore on my right upper thigh through right hand leg knee..

The sore was the result from sleep position.

Therefore, I was trying to find the comfy way to sleep,but no luck. I used 4 pillows piling up to support me, but still not good enough for me to be comfy.. I even tried using clean big fluffy Palette’s bed and it was better but no luck for the best..

I then started thinking that maybe my best solution is to sleep in the recliner chair or some sort.

However, I ended up buying the pregnancy pillow called “Leachco® Snoogle® Total Body Pregnancy Support and Feeding Pillow in Ivory“.

It was comfy enough and, I was happy about the purchase.

It gave me the back and tummy support needed during pregnancy, and it was perfect for sleeping comfortably.

In fact, my husband liked the pillow as well, and he ended up getting one for himself.He still is using the pillow:-)

One thing that I read for pregnancy sleeping position is that, it is more comfortable sleeping side ways because belly would give you the pressure and get uncomfortable sleeping on your back. I also read that it is best to sleep looking left  because it increases the amount of blood and nutrient that will be carried to the placenta and babies.Therefore, I was sleeping on my left side.

Now, some more months to go, and Liam came to meet us. Stay tuned for more stories.


Mar 24, 2015 | Comments are off | Pregnancy

Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 17 week – 21 week

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 13 week – 16 week“,I wrote about how my pregnancy went from week 13th through 16th week,and shared some of the sonogram picture of Liam with you.

Here,I would like to share my pregnancy and Liam’s growth from Week 17th through 21st.

March 2014 was cold snowy month due to Titan,the ice storm,plus Vulcan, the snow storm,Wiley the winter storm.

As I wrote in the previous entry, my parents in Japan shipped the box to me, but it did not arrive within 10 days, even 14 days later.Therefore, at the both ends, we asked post office what has happened to the box they tried to ship.

The state side post office said that they only can see the record that says the box was scanned to get loaded into the plane to the states but no record shown it arrived on the state side.

Me and my parents both worried wondering if it got lost in the air, but early March,finally, it showed up.I still do not know what has happened to the box that made the box arrived so late but,it looked like it was not opened by somebody and not missing any items so,all was ok.

One of the stuff my parents sent me was “belly band”. It was pink and cute, and some pregnancy pants, and an amulet for safe delivery without complication.

When I received the box, I made a call to my parents to let them know about the arrival of their box and on the phone, my mother told me that my father will be visiting us in May 2014.I was so happy to hear about that.

I cannot see them everyday or even every special occasion because they live so far away ; 14 hours flight away,to be exact. Therefore, it was nice to hear that my father will be visiting us soon.

Right after we received my parents’ box that contained safe pregnancy amulet,I kept it inside my purse every time we visit OBGYN.I just felt like having amulet with me calmed me down.

As for how I was during the March, I felt warm,tired and somewhat pain in the lower belly and I often went to nap. When waking up.. I often felt better, but felt a little nausea.It was not as bad as I needed to stay in the bathroom to throw up,though.

Because of nausea,I did not feel like eating much, but I tried not to miss the meal because it would have been bad to Liam in the belly nutrition wise.

One thing I ate and could eat even if I had nausea was Yogurt with fruits. I do not like flavored yogurt because it is sugary and not nutritionally good either. Therefore, everyday I ate plain yogurt 3 times a day (2 scoop of spoons) over fresh cut fruits and, I fond myself finishing up one 32 oz yogurt cup container within 1 week:)

I remember I liked eating various fruits with yogurt so, I made yogurt plate like.. strawberry,kiwi,and grapes with dash of yogurt on top.No sugar added.

I think it was good routine for Palette as well, because when the container got empty, she got to lick the cup however she wants.She licked the cup squeaky clean…she does not mind that she is getting yogurt covered eyebrows.

Palette and yogurt cup 2

Palette and yogurt cup..

My belly was not noticeable to others yet,when I am wearing the clothe.

This month was when I was hitting close to 20th week;the middle week in the whole pregnancy journey. It was the time when me and my husband has started thinking about more on car seat arrangement or idea of parent-kid class he wants to take with him/her:)

Child birth classes and breastfeeding classes..

Child birth classes and breast feeding classes are two of the classes my husband and I were thinking of attending before Liam was born.

We are the first parents and everything what we went through was new to me,and we thought that attending classes would help us prepare for the big day and feeding after the birth.

The classes we could have attended had 2 options;weekly classes lasting for a month or so or one day deal taking about 3-4 hours long. We wanted to attend but around 20th week,we did not find the classes that suits to my husband’s work schedule, and we could not sign up for the classes until much later,when we finally found the hour we could go.

It would have been nice if hospital could offer online course on this matter but, I think teaching technique online for the birth might have been difficult, and might not be as effective as “hands on” approach.

Childbirth classes we wanted to go included information on the labor process, relaxation, breathing , role of the partner, medical interventions, cesarean delivery, & the post partum period. The class also included a tour of the maternity ward. Both classes were at the hospital.

I thought,as for birth classes, knowing what to look for as sign of labor, knowing the whole process, knowing what I needed to do during the labor, where we will be at after the birth looked good thing to know beforehand.

In the end, we did not to get to attend the birthing class because class was hold only about 2-4 times a month, and we had hard time finding the time that fits to our schedule plus, Liam suddenly decided it was time for him to come out before we get to attend the birthing class we have finally found the time we could and were supposed to attend.

However, we could attend breastfeeding class at the hospital.

It was 3 hour class for parents focusing on the basics of breastfeeding the babies. The class was great way to learn the basic of how to breastfeed the baby such as the skills and overall knowledge to help Liam and I to start.

You would think that breastfeeding comes naturally to both mom and babies, but I learned that breastfeeding actually involve practice,patience and knowledge.

Especially, Liam was born almost 3 weeks earlier than due date, and spent 3 weeks at NICU, when he was at NICU, he did not know how to suck yet which is the skill that babies would learn around 37th week in mother’s belly.

For him, it took more time with me to practice and his effort. It was not a easy start, but he got hang of it and he became pro for the breastfeeding. When he became pro, he spent like 40 minutes total.. really. I liked watching him sucking milk with his eyes closed and then fall asleep in my arms.

Often time, I found the drip of milk on his cheek. He was so cute. Well, to me, he is always be my son and he is cute always,but breastfeeding gave me different emotional level of comfort and love.

It was something you cannot feel when you give bottles to the babies for the feeding.

Anyway, the class was informative and it was good move to attend the class. Overall, the class gave us more knowledge on breastfeeding and it worked great for Liam and I.

As for OBGYN visit, we had only 2 visits;one for regular OBGYN visit,and the other for high risk OBGYN visit.

When we went to regular OBGYN, we could hear the heartbeat.Last time it was 144 bpm,but this time was 138bmp.I was told above 110 is good one so, I was not worry,then.

Every time we visited the OBGYN and had a chance to hear Liam’s heartbeat, it made us smile knowing he is doing fine in my belly.

I was expected to have sonogram done there too, but it was only heart beat monitor and we did not get to see Liam on the screen.

In fact, thinking back, I had only one sonogram done at regular OBGYN place and more often at high risk OBGYN. Maybe the reason why the regular OBGYN did not do sonogram after the first one is because they could see the sonogram picture taken upstairs;at high risk OBGYN.They were in the same building.

AFP test result and beyond..

The regular OBGYN visit in March was stressful after meeting my doctor because when the doctor came in, she told us that they have found an abnormality on AFP test, and we might have a chance of birth defect with Liam.. although there are possibility of false positive as well..

Back at home, I remember kept thinking about that.. I know I should not stress out myself because first screening test was negative, and the genetic test that I had done before IVF came out clean, plus when I check online how the odds are calculated, the factor of just being over 35 is already push up the risk number up,and I saw many posts on forum about false positive among IVF ladies..

Many IVF ladies who had negative at first screening test ,positive result with second trimester AFP test gave birth to a healthy child after all.

Plus last time we were at high risk OBGYN, I know that they were measuring size of the head but everything looked good (the date was after AFP test was done by general OBGYN),we were told.

Next appointment with high risk OBGYN was close then, and I though that since they would do the anatomy test, they would see it on the sonogram and tell us if anything was horribly wrong..,which I hoped that would not be the case.

I remember I kept  praying that the result was false positive…

According to pregnancyabout website, this AFP test is said to have over 80% false positive; 80% of pregnant ladies who got positive with AFP gave birth healthy kid.

The site says that the false positive rates depend on many factors, including inaccurate gestational age, maternal age, weight, and presence of diabetes.

You can read the full article on AFP test at pregnancyabout website here.

Later in the March, we visited high risk OBGYN,and spent 4 hours there for the anatomy test.There, we found out the sex of the baby; boy.

Since I had positive result with AFP test at regular OBGYN, the high risk OBGYN told me about it  before the anatomy test we were scheduled to do.

In the conversation, the genetic counselor commented that if I were spotting (bleeding) often,then, it could make the test positive as well.It gave me a bit of relief.

According to him, when AFP test comes back positive, chance of having open neural tube defect (NTD) is 1 in 47, and it also means that there are possibility of having babies with other birth defect such as abdominal wall problems (there will be an opening in the abdomen, through which various abdominal organs can protrude;intestine,stomach,organs can be formed outside the body), or placenta problems etc..

However, incorrect gestational age,which in our case would not likely be the case since Liam was conceived via IVF,  maternal age, and bleeding/spotting could make the result false positive.

He said that that the cut off number is at 2.5 and above that number is considered positive and I was 2.6.

My result was only 0.1 above the cut off number but, he wanted me to repeat the AFP test plus do another genetic test called “harmony“,which he says that it has over 99% accuracy to detect the birth defect.

Also, on the very same day, our doctor talked us about possibility of follow up test such as amniocentesis,which I read that it has a little bit of risk of miscarriage and I was not comfortable doing that,knowing Liam was conceived after so many tries, and waited for him for so long. Taking risk for that test did not look like good thing for us.

You can imagine how much stressful I was, and how much I was worried over this.

However,knowing the test is known for lots of false positive result, it gave me a bit of relief.

I do not understand why AFP test was needed when the test is known for high false positive result. It is good to know the possibility of genetic abnormalities before birth when it comes to care at home or care at the hospital but still, if it gives lots of false positive, it will give pregnant ladies a lot of stress,which all of us know that stress is not a good friend to pregnant ladies.

If the doctor wanted to provide birth defect information to parents-to-be, then, I thought that skipping the AFP test and,instead, offering the harmony test which has more accurate result than AFP would have been much more understandable and practical.

Anyway,there was still a bit of concern with birth defect but, no matter what outcome will be, me and my husband have  had already decided that we will give him best care possible and he will be cared with lots of love.

Here are the sonogram pictures taken in March. I was in 21st week;20 weeks 2 days to be exact. Our sonographer captured Liam’s itty bitty foot prints and I thought it was very cute!

With 20th  week development, according to pregnancy corner website, Liam would have been around 11 oz and around 7.5″ long. Then,his lung would not be yet mature, but he would have been breathing.

It also says that the  dark green sticky substance called “meconium” is being produced. Meconium consists of cell loss and amniotic fluid that has been swallowed with digestive secretions. Lanugo (fine hair) still covers the body, and the hair is growing. The ears are fully functioning on their own.

You can read more on what is happening with you and your baby in week 20 here at pregnancy corner website.

Liam 20 weeks 2 days March 24,2014-1 blog

Liam 20 weeks 2 days old..

Liam 20 weeks 2 days foot prints  March 24,2014 -2 blog

Liam’s foot prints…

Naming the baby..

After the baby’s sex was revealed, we had fun thinking about his name. Having something positive in my thoughts was good one for sure.

We already knew that we will name the baby with Irish origin name for the first name, and Japanese name for the middle name.

In Japan, parents name kids wishing for the baby to be.

For example, my name means “healthy kid” in Chinese character because it is what my parents wish for me to be. My sister’s name in Chinese Character means “graceful kid” because my parents wish her to be. My mother’s name means “honest and beautiful” because her parents (my grandparents) wish her to be.

We named our little one “Liam” because the name had the meaning of “strong willed”,”desire”, and “protector”.

His Japanese middle name “Tsubasa”in Chinese character means ” Just like birds, open the wings and flies high in the sky to the goal; set up the goal and make an effort to get there.” The Chinese character also means “wisdom/smart”, “support/help others (considerate)”.

Liam’s first kick in the belly..

After the high risk OBGYN visit day, I started feeling Liam’s kick. As you know, this is my very first pregnancy and I did not know what to look for when doctor asked me many times whether I felt his kick or not. However, as day passes by, I started feeling what I am feeling on my lower belly (I was always being told I carried Liam very low) is actually his kick.

March 25th,2014.That is Liam’s first kick anniversary date,lol.

Now I felt his kick in the belly and knew that he now can hear us talking, it was around this time that I have started “ta-i-kyo-u” ( the prenatal care of an unborn child through the attention of a pregnant women belly; talking to the babies, listening to the music, playing games with unborn child in the belly).

What is Ta-i-kyo-u?

Ta-i-kyo-u is the prenatal care of an unborn child through the attention of a pregnant women belly; talking to the babies, listening to the music, playing games with unborn child in the belly.

It is believed that how pregnant ladies communicated with unborn child through babies (Ta-i-kyo-u) would have some effect on babies’ brain development and personality if not a lot.

According to joseibigaku website (written in Japanese), there is a story about pregnant ladies gave birth to a baby who did not cry as much (colic) and not too handful when she did Ta-i-kyo-u throughout her pregnancy.

It also says that by doing Ta-i-kyo-u, you too could relax and it could help keep you from feeling irritated, or any worries or stress from taking care of babies after they were born.

Ta-i-kyo-u itself is said to be the tool to build the relationship even before they are born that effects babies’ brain development and personality. Also, by stimulating the baby’s brain cell, it is also believed that you would have a baby who is curious about many things around them, have a babies that has less crying spell during the night.

When to start Ta-i-kyo-u?

Often times, I read that starting Ta-i-kyo-u from around 5th-7th months in the pregnancy. I have started this around 20th -21st week,because I read that babies can now hear our conversation through belly. It was also the time that I have started talking to Liam in the belly everyday,explaining what I am doing, what I am eating, what I hoped he would be liking etc..

Many books or magazines that I read say that it is good to simply talking to the babies, explaining things in your daily life and let their father talk to the babies as well.

I also read that listening to the music is also fine thing to do.

Many Ta-i-kyo-u CD includes piano music or classical music played with other instrument or music from music box (o-ru-go-u-ru). I did not buy them but rather, I was listening to Japanese artist “Yoshiki” playing classical music. He is very good piano player although he was originally from band “XJapan” where he played drum often.

Here is one of the music that I used to listen to for Liam.

I will be your love by YOSHIKI

Another music that I used to listen to is by “yu-min” (Japanese singer/song writer). This is not a classical music but I read that whatever music you choose, music that makes you relax and feel comfortable and feel good about is good to listen to.

The song is titled “Babies are popstars”. I liked the lyrics too.

Babies are popstars..

Another one that I was listening to although it is not a slow tempo,classical music is that the theme music from my favorite Korean historical drama ” Chuno”. This music is uptempo but, i really liked the music so,I was listening to it often.


My husband would have seen me being strange,but I was okay with it. Outside the house, I talked to Liam through my thoughts,without actually spell it out loud.

Besides talking,listening to the music, reading the books for babies are said to be good one too.However, babies cannot see the pictures ad stuff so, I read that explaining what are on the book is also good to do when you read the book to the babies in the belly.

Besides all of these, back home in Japan, some pregnant ladies like to talk to them in English or play the English speaking CD hoping for the advanced development for the language area.

You can actually find English CD for Ta-i-kyo-u in Japan.

Theories behind this talking to the babies in English is because it is believed that if the babies hear the English spoken by native English speakers, the babies’ ear would learn the pattern of English pronunciation better than  they would learn much later after they were born.Therefore, they could understand or learn English easier since it was the language/sound they would feel familiar with from the time in the belly.

In my case, Liam would have already been listening to English through TV,music, or wherever we go, so I talked to him in Japanese. I still do. Because I would like him to be able to communicate with my side of my family well as well.

Kick game..

Besides all of these above, some people like to build the relationship with unborn babies by playing game.

This game is called “kick game” in Japan, and it is very simple to play and I used to play with Liam in my belly too.

Basically, you would gently tap your belly and wait for the babies to kick back. I read that you can play this game from 6th months pregnant time.

First 2 weeks, babies would learn that the tap on the belly from mother is the sign that says “Lets play” and then another 1 week, they would learn the rule of the game; kick back number of taps mothers have tapped on the belly.

Here is how to play the kick game.

Level 1

1. tap your belly gently where you felt your baby’s kick and say “kick”, and wait until babies kick back

2. repeat

Level 2

1. Once level 1 is easily done with babies;when the babies start kicking back with your saying “kick”, tap the opposite side of the belly to where the baby has kicked by saying “kick”

2. wait til babies kick back at the spot where you tapped

3. when the babies could kick back the opposite side of their original kick point, you can change the tapping spot

Level 3

1. Up until now, you were waiting for the babies to kick back where you tapped, but now, you will go first

2. You can say “one”, “two” etc and tap the belly as you count and let the baby kick back the number you have tapped the belly

This game was quite fun to play.

I miss Liam’s kick and this kick game I used to play with him….

I sometimes felt my belly around talking to Liam saying “Is this your butt? Is this your head?” etc.. Checking the position of Liam was fun too.

Husbands cannot feel all of these wonderful babies kick etc..,so I always let my husband place his hand every time I felt Liam’s kick,and encouraged him to talk to, and also let him feel how Liam was positioning etc..

I think doing so was good relation building way for him and Liam:-)

I was always being told by doctors that I carried Liam very low. It was funny when I had the rectangle belly now and then;Liam must have been stretching or something. One side got bulged round, the other bulged but not round,making my belly rectangle.

I really should have taken the picture of rectangle belly.. I missed the chance.

I do not know if Ta-i-kyo-u helped Liam’s brain development,personality etc.. but one thing that we know is that he does cry but he does not cry to extreme. Only time he cries are wet diaper time, and food time.

He sleeps well. Everyone who we talked to seem to wow him hearing how well he sleeps especially night time. Since when he was around 3-4 months old,he slept around 10 – 12 hours or so without waking up.

When he was around 4 months old, his aunt,uncle has visited us too, and they were surprised how long he was sleeping without waking up.Liam was actually the last one to be up in the family:-)

One thing that I read regarding talking to the babies in the belly,by the way, is that you should talk to baby slowly,clearly and gentle tone.

Did you do anything similar to Ta-i-kyo-u while you were a pregnant?


Mar 10, 2015 | Comments are off | Pregnancy

Yassy’s note:Pregnancy week 13 week – 16 week

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 1 week – 12 week“,I wrote about how my pregnancy went from week 1 through 12th week,and shared some of the sonogram picture of Liam with you.

Here, I would like to share my pregnancy and Liam’s growth from week 13 through 16th.

February 2014 was the month of pregnancy week 13 through 16. It was the month of worry for me because that months had spotting from red color to brown color most of the weeks in the month, and on and off, I saw the bright red in the toilet water,which made me worry about the miscarriage.

I had no spotting days, too but it was not many days.

I was already had the worry of miscarriage along with early delivery from the start because of the heart shaped uterus, which is called Bicornate uterus. The shape of the uterus could make Liam not being able to grow as he could have been in the normal pear shaped uterus due to the space issue.

Since my IVF doctor has told me before that trying to stay in the bed,not moving around too much would help the spotting issue as well as drinking water, I followed that suggestion and I did not move around much and spent as many hours as possible laying down on the bed or couch.

I was feeling pretty tired here and there, and it was not a problem for me.

It was also the months of lots of screening tests.

When I got pregnant, I was in mood of eating lots of fruits and had various types of fruits topped with plain yogurt every day. I particularly liked strawberries. Strawberry anything really got my attention throughout my pregnancy.

Strawberries are high in folic acid (a.k.a Vitamin B9),which pregnant ladies would want a lot of, so, I felt good eating them a lot knowing the good health benefit.

Besides strawberries, I liked eating spicy food as well,which I learned later that craving for spicy food can mean you would have a baby boy according to the old wives tale. I do not know if those are accurate ones, but in my case, it was right.I liked spicy food and I gave birth to a son:-)

Since I loved strawberries so much during the pregnancy, my husband got me gourmet chocolate dipped strawberries for Valentine’s day! I thought it was nice of him.It was so good,needless to say..

Folid Acid in diet while you are a pregnant..

According to babycenter website, Folic Acid is good for the pregnant ladies because it prevents NTD (Neural Tube Defect),which is birth defect of spinal cord such as spina bifida, and brain birth defect such as anencephaly.

It also says that some researchers found that taking enough amount of folic acid in the diet would lower the risk of other birth defect such as cleft lip, cleft palate, and certain types of heart defects.

Not only that, taking enough Folic Acid is needed for you and your baby also, since it will make normal red blood cells and prevent a type of anemia for you,and it will also help rapid cell growth of the placenta and your developing baby.

You can read the full article on why you would need to take enough Folic acid during pregnancy at babycenter website here.

In the end of January 2014, we did first trimester screening test and sonogram test to check the NTD (Neural Tube Defect).

The test was done at my high risk OBGYN.There, I did blood test for down syndrome,which needle was poked into 4th finger and mark the red on designated section on the test paper,and we did abdominal sonogram to check the fluid flow on back of Liam’s neck and nasal bone.

The test result came back first week in February 2014.It was negative.

You can read more on the pregnancy first trimester screening test detail at hopkins website in PDF file style here.

AFP Blood screening test..

At 15th week and 3 days, we visited regular OBGYN and, they draw blood from me for AFP test (alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood test) to check the level of AFP in pregnant ladies blood. According to the webmed website, AFP is a substance made in the liver of an unborn baby (fetus). The amount of AFP in the blood of a pregnant woman can help see whether the baby may have such problems spina bifida,anencephaly etc..

The test can be used to detect other chromosome abnormality such as down syndrome as well.

It was basically the same screening blood test,checking the same/similar stuff from different angle; AFP level in the blood.

You can read more on AFP test at webmed website here.

Besides the blood screening test, we did not get to see Liam via sonogram but did hear the heartbeat,which was 153 bpm. At 12th week, Liam’s heart beat was 163bpm so, it was down a bit.Therefore, I asked about the change in the heartbeat and the nurse assured me that it was normal to have slower rate as the pregnancy progress.

At that appointment, I was told that in a few weeks, I will be feeling baby’s movements which is kind of like a bubbles in the tummy. For me, it was my very first pregnancy and I did not know what to look for but when it happened later, I knew it was Liam’s movement and I enjoyed talking to the belly/Liam everyday. I remember I let my husband place his hand over my belly when I felt the movement and we smiled each other.

He talked to Liam too.

I miss that movement in the belly very much!

After the AFP test is done, in the same week, I had to do the glucose tolerance test. Normally, the test is done in later in the pregnancy but because of the family history, my doctor wanted me to do the test twice.

I had hard time drinking very sweet juice in certain set time for the test but I did. The test came back normal and I was glad.

Glucose tolerance test..

According to the babycenter website, glucose tolerance test is the blood test to check how your body regulate the sugar level.

In my case, I went to Quest and got a cold sugary drink and I was told to finish drinking it within 15 minutes.Then, waited 60 minutes to get my blood drawn. For me, how sweet the juice was was the only problem in the test.I do not like sticky sweet anything…

You can read the detail on the test at babycenter website here.

That February,2014, we also visited high risk OBGYN.

This time, we could see the bone structure like baby’s spines, and it was amazing to look at.

The sonographer tried to look at the sex of the baby, but our little was squirming a lot (moving/dancing too much) , and she could not get a good look at it. Liam really moves a lot even today and I have to watch out for flying arms and legs:-)

Therefore, we still was not sure if we were going to have a baby boy or baby girl.For us, whichever sex was good enough for us because we love him/her no matter what.

This is Liam at 15 weeks 6 days in my belly.

Liam 15 weeks 6 days Feb 21 2014 blog

Liam at 15 weeks 6 days..

The sonographer lady took a picture of our little baby’s foot print as well.I thought it was cute:)

Liam 15 weeks 6 days February 21 2014 foot prints blog

Liam at 15 weeks 6 days..foot prints..

According to pregnancy corner website, at 15 week, baby  will be weighing 1.75 ounces and reaching four inches in length. A fine hair called lanugo covers the skin, keeping the baby at a constant body temperature.The lanugo does this until the baby is born, and it disappears just before birth.

During the fifteenth week, the bones in the ear are hardening, and your baby is now able to hear sounds, including Mom’s heartbeat, speaking, and breathing.

It also says that the baby is making faces, squinting and frowning, and sucking on their thumb. Since last week the arms and legs have grown longer than the head. Taste buds are forming, and the fingernails and toenails are growing longer by the day.

You can read more on what is happening at 15th week of pregnancy at pregnancy corner website here.

In the month of February 2014,my parents in Japan shipped me a box that got amulet for safe birth/pregnancy without complication plus other stuff unique to Japanese custom to wear in coming 5th month.

Usually, the box from them arrives in 10 days or so, but this time, it did not arrive for more than 2 weeks and it got me worried but after all, it arrived ok. If it did not arrive, I would be very upset for missing amulet for my pregnancy.

At this point, I did not get AFP test result yet and, I was not so concerned about it.

Until we see Liam’s face/hear Liam’s voice, though we were still nervous about whole thing during the pregnancy. The first time for everything is very nerve wracking.

Right after we received my parents’ box that contained safe pregnancy amulet,I kept it inside my purse every time we visit OBGYN.I just felt like having amulet with me calmed me down.

In fact, when I went in labor, I was holding the same amulet in one of my hands until Liam is born,holding my husband’s hand in the same hand.The amulet got curled up from me squeezing it hard,but it comfort me as much as my husband’s presence did:-)


Feb 24, 2015 | Comments are off | Pregnancy

Yassy’s note; Pregnancy week 1week -12 weeks

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Natural IVF cycle and finally…“,I wrote that since we did not give up on building a family of our own, we tried two more round of IVF cycle;Natural IVF cycle with frozen embryo.

Once with 2 embryo in September,2013,which ended up not getting a good news, and the other time with one last standing embryo (Liam) in November 2013,which turned out to be our little Liam to be.

I wrote about this before, but I do not know what to say about the last IVF cycle with Liam to be. The last remaining embryo ,which is “Liam” to be, beat the odd!  Our doctor was amazed for the result knowing it was the last embryo, and that it would have been our last try with IVF. Liam could be called as “miracle baby” for that.

My husband sometimes say that he still cannot believe that we got our own son who gives us smiles everyday.

This strong baby “Liam” is now 6 months old. Time passes by so fast!

Liam was such a great Christmas gift for both of us.

How to count your pregnancy week..

One thing that I found interesting for the pregnancy weeks is how to count your pregnancy week.

With naturally conceived pregnancy, the day one in the pregnancy is the first day of the last period is the pregnancy day 1.

According to parenting website, to calculate the due date manually for the naturally conceived babies, you can add seven days to the first day of your last period, then subtracting three months, then adding a year. wil give you the due date for the baby.

With IVF conceived pregnancy, especially if you were to use the frozen embryos, then, using the embryo transfer day to calculate the due date will give you the most accurate due date for the baby.

When I was a pregnant, I used the IVF due date calculator at the IVF connection website here. The IVF connection website got not only having the calculator but also plenty of information regarding IVF  and IVF conceived pregnancy etc..

Medication after positive pregnancy result and beyond..

With IVF conceived pregnancy, fertility doctor has told me to keep taking the prenatal vitamins,baby aspirin, progesterone and estradiol until 12th week of pregnancy. Those medications were to support/maintain the pregnancy.

With over the counter medications,  we got the list of medication pregnant ladies can take. You should talk to your doctor/OBGYN first but here is the list that I got. If you do plan to breastfeeding the baby, keeping the list of drugs you can take during the pregnancy time is great because medicine you could take during the breastfeeding would probably the same or similar.

I do breastfeed Liam and, when I got cold, I made a call to our OBGYN and made sure the”Tylenol cold” listed under the safe to take drug during the pregnancy time is still good one to take.

Once before I thought of asking about the medicine what to take when cold, I was not thinking clearly and took “Day Quil”. It is fine to take during the breastfeeding time, but it did reduce the milk supply as I read on it somewhere on the internet later on. Therefore, I do not take Day Quil anymore and stick with Tylenol products.

** For aches; discomfort,headache,fever; Tylenol (regular/extra strength),Tylenol sinus, Tylenol PM

** For cold; sudafed, Tylenol Flu, Tylenol Cold, Claritin-D

** For cough; Robitussin, Dimetapp, Halls/Sucrets Cough Drops,Mucinex

** For Heartburn; Indigestion; Tums, Maalox,Mylanta,Rolaids,Zantac, Pepcid, Gaviscon, Tagarnet, Prilosec OTC

** For Sinus congestion; Saline Nasal Spray, Sudafed, Tylenol Sinus, Claritin D

** For Allergy; Tylenol Allergy, Benadryl, Benadryl Allergy, Claritin

** For Difficulty sleeping; Benadryl, Tylenol PM

** For Constipation; Colace, Milk of Magnesia (tablets/liquid), Beneful, Metamucil, Fibercon, Cirucel, Konsyl, Senokat

** For Diarrhea; Immodium

** For Hemorrhoids; Preparation H, Anusol (Ointment/ suppositories), Nupercaine,Tucks Pads

** For nausea; Emetrol

Nutrition after positive pregnancy result and beyond..

On the very last day we visited our fertility doctor, he set us off with a small information packet regarding the pregnancy along with information sheet on Liam (vital record of embryo).

According to the paper that I got, it says that main goal for maintaining the healthy pregnancy is to not to loose the weight. Also, it encouraged patients to eat additional 300kcal per day over the normal consumption.

What encouraged not to eat was deli meat and hotdogs that are not heated well to avoid listeriosis.It was also advised patients not to eat undercooked meat,fish,poultry.

I was told that it will be ok to eat medium rare steak or sushi or drink coffee as long as I am not eating a lot of by OBGYN, but I stopped eating steak and stopped drinking coffee, and I made sure that all the meat that I ate was well cooked one.

I love cheese. I was told to make sure that any dairy I will consume is pasteurized one, and avoid soft cheese such as brie,feta etc..

Eating variety of healthy fresh food, and try to eat balanced meal each day are also the goal throughout the pregnancy weeks.

I remember I ate lots of yogurt,lots of fresh fruits, lots of liquid (to keep me hydrated), some good omega 3 fatty acids rich fish like salmon along with variety of vegetables.The fertility clinic advise patients that it is ok for them to eat about 6-12 oz of small fish like salmon in a week.

Fertility clinic also got a information sheet that advised patients who have tough nausea time to…

** eat small frequent meal

** avoid hot/spicy food

** Well hydrated by consuming 6-8 cups of water each day

** Try to avoid strong odors

** Try going for walk and getting some fresh air 

Some people goes through tough nausea experience ,but mine was rather mild. I did get nausea and sometime,I did not feel like eating (although I made myself to eat for Liam), but I did not skip the meal.

What helped me for the nausea was to drink something or eating fresh fruits or ice cream or yogurt.

Although the fertility clinic encourage patients to avoid spicy food for nausea, spicy food was something that I craved a lot of. I did not care for the smell of dish washer soap and,I avoided that.

As for walking, I wanted to keep doing small exercise each day like walking but for me, moving around seemed to trigger the bleeding/spotting so, I remember I was on the bed lots of time, try not to walk around much especially when I was under 12 weeks.

The food that I craved a lot of was strawberry,black olive, plain yogurt with fresh and spicy food. I still like to eat black olive that I did not care for before. Yogurt also became one of those things that ” have to have one in a day”.

I now share the yogurt with our dog “Palette”. When the yogurt container gets emptied out, Palette makes sure to get it super clean. She dives her head into the yogurt cup and when she lifts her head up from the yogurt container, she sometimes got yogurt eyelashes,yogurt head etc.. It is so funny but she really really like yogurt!

Palette and yogurt cup 1


Palette and yogurt cup mine

This is mine….

 What is happening with you and your baby..

 One thing that I had as weekly routine stuff to do during my pregnancy weeks was to read up two websites on what will be happening with me that week and what will be going on with Liam in the belly.

Reading up about how I am changing day to day and getting information about what to do, what not to sort of things as tips and how Liam would be growing in my belly that week gave me plenty of information and I enjoyed reading the article week by week.

One website that I visited often is called “Pregnancy corner “, and the other website is called ” The Bump“. Both very informative and very good ones to read up.

One other thing that I did to following up with my changes and Liam’s changes is to watch the youtube video produced by pregnancy chat. You can find their youtube video channel here. I watched their channel until I give birth to Liam. I found the video was very easy to understand and helpful.

How to read the ultrasound pictures..

According to the eimedical website, various body tissues absorb sound waves while others reflect them. The density of the tissue dictates the speed at which the echoes return.

It says that that FLUID like amniotic fluid is always BLACK and TISSUE is GRAY. The denser the tissue is, the brighter white it will appear in ultrasound.Then, the brightest white being bone.

 In the ultrasound picture, you will always find the date,and time on top.

 In the picture,especially when sonographer was measuring anatomy of the baby,you will see the x mark on it.

You will also see pregnancy week; It usually noted after “GA”; OwOd. W means weeks. D means days.

Sometimes, you will be abbreviation on the picture when sonographer has measured something of your babies.

 For example, width of the baby’s head being BPD; biparietal diameter, FL means length of the long bones;femur length, TTD is the width of the abdomen; transverse trunk diameter. GS means “gestational sac“; the sack where the baby is in. CRL means “Crwn-rump length”; the length of the baby’s head to his/her butt.

 Sometimes, different sonographer measure the baby and baby’s posture/angle they can see is different and measurement can be slightly different each time.

Watching over Liam’s growth through the ultrasound..

 The very first regular OBGYN as a pregnant woman was in December 2014. It was close to the Christmas week.

 Very first regular OBGYN appointment was rather wasting time though. Because we told them we are through the fertility clinic and we will be coming to them but, when  we got there, we had to wait for 2-3 hours in the waiting room and when my name was finally called, I was asked to pee in the cup for the pregnancy test.

 Since we told them we were through the fertility clinic and we will be coming with the ultrasound image of our little Liam (6 weeks and 5 days) , it was not something we were thinking of happening at the OBGYN.It is simply because we have the ultrasound image of our son and why need pee in the cup to check the pregnancy positive/negative test for our visit….?

  Anyway, when we told about it with the little Liam ultrasound image on our hand, the nurse said that by the time our name was called, the sonographer time was up and she went to home, and we got nothing to do there…and have to come back in January 2014 for the actual visit as a pregnant woman.

Here is Liam at 6 weeks 4 days old. This is the ultrasound image picture we brought to our local OBGYN.

According to the pregnancy corner website, at this time of 6 weeks of pregnant,Liam would have been forming eyes and nostrils and it would appear as black dots.Then arms and legs will be like stubs.Also, lungs,pancreas, intestine, and liver are also forming at this stage and size of the baby will be about lentil ; 1/4″.

Technically, in the ultrasound image, he was past 6 weeks, so he must have been growing into the blueberry size;7th week development.

7th week development include mouth,eyes and tongue forming,developing his own blood type. Then,intestine,appendix are fully formed. You may see toes and fingers in the ultrasound picture. The pregnancy corner website says that teeth and tongues are forming inside the mouth as well in the week of 7th weeks too although you cannot see them.

Liam 6 week 4 days old Dec 16

Liam 6 weeks 4 days old..

 It was cold,rainy day and by the next appointment time in January, we would not be seeing Liam in my belly for 2-3 weeks and since we were getting used to see how things were going in my belly weekly basis, it was tough/anxiety time especially when I was spotting here and there and sometimes, I saw red blood in the toilet and it really got us worried if Liam was doing ok.

 Come January 2014, we got to see arms and legs in the ultrasound image and it made us smile. Knowing he was doing all right since the last image scan at the fertility clinic was such a relief.

 This is Liam with arm and leg first appeared in the ultrasound image.The sonographer said that this little one is really wiggly and moving a lot:-)

With 8th week development for the baby from the pregnancy corner, Liam would have been forming gonads. Also, the hardening of the bones begins to occur, and the elbows, wrists, and other bones and joints are taking shape along with facial features such as nose, ears,jawline and mouth and teeth. The website also said that if you look closer, you can almost count all twenty fingers and toes!

Liam 8 weeks 6 day Jan 3 2014 blog

Liam 8 weeks 6 days…

 When I visited regular OBGYN, our doctor has suggested us to go see high risk OBGYN one floor down just because I have got bicornate uterus (heart shaped uterus).

 Therefore, after the visit, we started seeing both high risk OBGYN and regular OBGYN. I was busy with OBGYN visit throughout the pregnancy time.I visited weekly basis for some time and as I get close to birth, 2 times a week for high risk OBGYN,1 time a week for regular OBGYN. We were monitored very closely.

 Next Liam’s image that I got to take home was end of January.I had more visit with regular OBGYN but when we go there, we were simply did testing and hearing the heartbeat and not ultrasound. We were wondering if they decided not to do the ultrasound because they know that we will be going to the high risk OBGYN who would closely monitor both of us.

Just around 11th week, we went to regular OBGYN for the first trimester screening test (blood test,pup smear,breast exam etc etc..) and we did not get to see the little Liam with sonogram and we were a little disappointed.

But I remember the nurse put a device on my tummy so we got to hear the heartbeat.Bom,bom,bom…

They said heartbeat was 162 per minutes and it is good.The doc said then, in about 3 weeks, I would start feeling the little one’s movement.

 The doctor was really nice one and, I could ask question comfortably and when we did screening test, I asked her about allergy.Because I was curious if what I eat will raise the probability of food allergy of little one; for example, if I eat egg a lot, if kid will have egg allergy and should avoid common allergen food to eat during pregnancy?

It may sound silly question but I was curious.

Her answer was no. She said, the way we manufacture food is making more kids allergic to variety of food,but what mother eat would not make kids more prone to be allergic to certain stuff.

After the visit, we visited high risk OBGYN.There, I did blood test for down syndrome,which needle was poked into 4th finger and mark the red on designated section on the test paper,and we did abdominal sonogram.

Everything was good with little Liam and sonographer made the image into 3D! It was cool to see that.

That day, looking at the picture, my husband was wonders if it was a boy (He thought he was seeing something).

With them, it seems like we need to do a lot of testing.First one ordered to do was glucose test,which I was told I will be served sweet drink and after 1 hour later,check the sugar level. Normally, glucose test will be done much later in the pregnancy week but because of family history of diabetes, they wanted me to check twice.

Next time we went there,I was told I would do the anatomy test,which they would check every detail of the babies including gender.

This is the picture the sonographer took regular ultrasound image plus 3D image one. Liam looked cute in the 3D image:-)

According to the pregnancy corner website, in the week of 12th week, Liam would have been forming the vocal cords and nails, and developing eyebrows and lips.

Liam 12 weeks 5 days blog

Liam 12 weeks 5 days..

Liam 12 weeks 5 days 3D Jan 30th blog

Liam in 3D;12 weeks 5 days..

Overall, because of how my uterus is shaped (heart), they said I would have possibility of premature birth and possibility to have kidney problems (which they want to check later).

I understand their position is to go with extra caution with close monitor with me and Liam but, listening what will be ahead of us made me a little nervous than I was before.

IVF was stressful stuff to go through but all of these during the pregnancy weeks was also stressful,full of worries… Stress is not a good one for the healthy pregnancy so I tried to focus on positive stuff but every time we went to high risk OBGYN, I felt like I was given more stuff to worry… even though I understand their position in the situation.


Jan 28, 2015 | Comments are off | Pregnancy