hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Thursday, March 18, 2010

mila | frex, grin N munchie . the update

hello everyone!!!!  first i want to say thank you so much for all the well wishes.  it was awesome of you guys to stay on with me as i tweeted through the labor and delivery for as much as i could... when i could.  i had my phone on one hand and curtis' hand on the other and really had no idea whatsoever who was out there watching or listening to the tweets.  i have my tweets going thru hootsuite and that updates all of my facebook pages (even the fan ones) so i bet i was duplicating messages all over the place.  i just finally today took a peek at who was out there suffering thru the whole thing with us and i'm in shock!  holy cow you guys!  we feel loved.  

so lemme tell you what happened but be warned.. i'm still super sleep deprived so if the spelling goes awry or the words turn to gibberish i either dropped my forehead on the keyboard or drooled on the keys. 

kaya was actually due on thursday the 11th, the same week that the whole photography community was out to WPPI (i'm still bitter about missing out on this).  our friend, regis chen (child photographer extrordinaire) signed up to do our labor and delivery photography but of course, like everyone else, he was going to the annual pilgrimage to the desert.  so we promised him that we would either push the girl out early or keep my legs crossed till he got back.  if you guys had read my last blog post you would have seen that the last visits to the doctor were telling us that kaya was running late.  funny that the timing was working out and initially we were pleased.  but as you all know, the discomfort was starting to take over and pleasure quickly turned to impatience.  kaya's due date came and went, the WPPI krew had returrned from the raging party, stories were getting swapped and life was moving on.  it was time and i was looking up ways to get kaya out of me.

there were 3 things that could help with getting a baby out or so they said.... walking, spicy food and sex.  i made sure we had all 3 items in our daily routine :D  i was gonna work this system and work it good.  

sunday night (march 14) i was startled by something that i had to look up on the internet.  shame on me for not knowing about the mucous plug.  i passed that phase sunday night.

monday (march 15), curtis was off to work, i was finishing up some of my side job items -- i still do a little bit of BA work here and there (BA stands for business analyst).  i had a roster of vendors to talk to, clients to email and paperwork to do.  some of the documents were in the garage and the computer was upstairs.  i think i did 3 trips up and down 2 flights of steps within a couple of hours (walking - CHECK).  by the time i hung up the phone with my last call i was starving.  it was way past lunch and i could tell that i was going to be needing a long resting nap after i ate.  i took the first bite of my leftover indian food (spicy food - CHECK) when i felt a tiny gush.  now people... i have learned that with pregnancy you lose control of your body.  incontinence is NOT uncommon.  so my initial thought was ... ugh.  i peed my pants.  then i thought..  ok, 2 more bites ... i'll change real quick then come back and finish my plate.  but then i remembered that i passed the mucous plug the night before and so i figured i better call curtis to come home.  you know, just in case.  at this point i still haven't had any contractions, it's 3.15 PM and i'm still hungry .. oh ... and i was leaking again.  hmm... i guess i really did break my water.  (tweet - CHECK).

curtis was on his way home, i've changed, eaten and made a call to the hospital.  they wanted me to come in for sure.  

4.18PM yep, that was my water that broke but we're not dilated at all and still no contractions.  i've been checked into the hospital.  

education time:  when the water breaks it means the seal that protects the baby from infection is ruptured.  both mom and baby have to be carefully monitored until delivery because of the risk of infection.  

5.10PM regis called, he's on his way.  he wants to document EVERYTHING.  he's in for the long haul.

6.30ish doctor is administering pitocin to induce labor since i'm still not contracting. 

9PM regis needs a starbucks and curtis needs food.  i'm still waiting for the action to kick in

11.17 PM  oh shit.  that's what contractions feel like!  3.5 cm dilated hook a sistah up!

11.46 PM epidural has been administered.  at this point i'm at a happy place but something is weird.  it doesn't take long before i'm in severe pain again.  WAVES of severe pain and there isn't much time in between the sets.  i'm getting hit and i'm getting hit hard.  they are giving me more stuff for the pain but it's just not working.  so much activity around me.  i can hear the nikon shutter clicking away in the distance.  it's regis, he's getting all of this.  the sound is reassuring.  curtis is rubbing my head, holding my hand, soothing me.  i love him.  his voice is the only thing that's keeping me together.  he knows what i need.  he's been keeping the nurses at bay when i needed a break from them and let's them thru at just the right time.  we're in sync.  thank god.  lord there was pain!  

after that point i can't remember much past the waves of owwies.  i know that they checked how far i was dilated --  twice.  the first was at 4 cm and i was told i was doing good then the last check showed 7 cm and it was around 7 in the morning.  i was shaking terribly and felt ridiculously cold.  but i remember touching my leg and was surprised at how hot my skin felt.  i could hear someone telling me i had a fever.  then chaos.  lots of activity around me and then a doctor calmly telling me that they wanted to do a c-section.  they were worried about kaya's heart rate.  they were worried about mine too.  my heart rate had gone up too high and stayed there.  they couldn't make it come down.  i wanted to tell them that it's coz i'm in pain and i can't stop the shaking.  they said kaya's heart rate was up too high too then came down too low and wasn't coming back up fast enough.  they wanted consent and they wanted it fast.  i just nodded my head.  i was in pain.  of course they knew what they were doing.  who was i to say no?  

i'm getting wheeled into the OR.  the expressions on the faces around me are full of worry.  i don't even know these people.  they're all rushing around like mad.  i whispered to the nurse who was closest to me... calm down.  it's ok.  you guys got this.  she smiled then she told me that she loved my eye color.  i had to tell her they were contacts (i had the blue ones on).  then curtis was there.  so relieved to see him.  he looks worried. then lots n lots of numbness and talking and i'm awake and i'm feeling them push and pull in my belly then a release of weight.  it was kaya.  they got her out.  she's not crying yet... where's the cry?  i can't keep my eyes open.  i'm sooooo tired.  then i heard her.  curtis is crying too.  he got to see her.  he's crying and i'm so happy.  i got to see her for a moment and then they take her for tests.

while i'm in recovery curtis and regis go to find kaya.  the doctors were cluing me in on what happened while i ate popsicles to keep me quiet.  in a nutshell...

          [my heartrate + fever + infection] 
       + [kaya's heart rate + possibility of infection due to early water break] 
       + slow dilation pace  
        = emergency c-section

kaya was born at 8.15 AM 03.16.10 -- 6lbs 15 oz 20.5 inches long

since then i've been doing some recovery and kaya is under observation and antibiotics.  it was confirmed that she had an infection as well but doctors are happy with her progress.  she'll be going home on tuesday.  

she has a head full of hair.  big hands (let's hope it means she's gonna be tall and grows into them), curtis' ears, my toes and we're not sure whose nose.  she's perfect.  she's got her daddy so hooked on her already.

a funny note... i love UCI.  it's a great hospital with the bestests awesomest staff but the labor and delivery wing is currently (partially) under construction.  my temporary room after the surgery was a tiny lil closet of a room.  it was pretty cozy until i heard what sounded like a dripping noise.  i called to the nurse to inquire about it and right before our eyes the drip turned into a pour and the pour turned into a waterfall.  a pipe had burst over my bed and half of my bed was getting rained on.  more chaos and adventure.  i can't seem to get enough.  an omen for the future?

regis has all the awesome pictures and i can't wait to see them and share.  for now... here's the one i tweeted.


  1. I thought we didn't do drama??!!

    I can't wait to meet my "granddaughter." ;)

  2. The whole misadventures of Natalia being born is something I'll hold dearly. I got to wheel her out of the O.R. (my ex had a c-section too). As I was wheeling her out to meet the family, I couldn't feel my feet touch the ground.

    Through the good times and the not-so-good times, it's been bliss. Enjoy the ride guys.

  3. Girl! This post made me laugh! Happy to hear everyone is ok! She's beautiful!

  4. You are totally A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I am so happy for your new little family. Thank you for letting all of us share in your joy (drama). XOXO

  5. OK I laughed and cried! Good job, momma!

  6. I can barely talk right now, but I'm about to fall out of my bed laughing and wheezing trying to catch my breath.

    I'm just overjoyed for you and your new family. I can't wait to meet Miss Kaya and hear her side of the story.

    Thank you so much for allowing us to be there with you.

  7. OHHHH Michelle.....I can't wait to see you guys!!!! I was worried and now glad everything is ok!!!! <3 xoxoxo

  8. What an ordeal! You guys must have been really freaked out when you were getting wheeled into the OR. I am glad everyone is healthy and happy. Job well done Mommy and Daddy!!

  9. Laughter and tears is what life is all about. I am so happy for you and Curtis! So exciting!

  10. Awesome post! Congrats again to you & Curtis!

  11. How the heck did you remember all those details during that whole ordeal!? Congrats and can't wait to see the pics!

  12. Congratulations! I know much of what you went through after delivering two children of my own...it will be more and more wonderful by the day, minute, second...enjoy! xoxo

  13. Michelle, Thanks for sharing....love how candid you are. Congratulations to you and Curtis on the birth of little Kaya! Can't wait to see pics!!!HUGS!

  14. WOW! I was laughing and crying throughout the entire post! Can't wait to meet my "photo niece" Love you Michelle!!! You are going to be an amazing MOM!

  15. Wow! Oooooh... Does your baby look like me???? Maybe I can borrow her sometimes and pretend she's my baby!!! lol!
    I'm glad the two of u are ok. Can't wait to meet her!

  16. totally cried, laughed, loved...thanks for sharing this beautiful story.