MicroblogMondays: Four-Month-Old Is so Much Fun – Okra


I love our boy.  His personality has really emerged in the last month or so.

When Okra was born, he was this itty bitty thing that was 6 lbs only.  His features were more prominent back then because his face was skinny.  Fast forward four months.  At his most recent check up, he weighed 14 lbs 6 oz and measured 26 inches.  He has grown over 8 lbs and 6 inches since birth.  Lifting him and carrying him around has been harder and harder.  But he has the most kissable cheeks ever.  So juicy and so soft.  Whenever I lift him up or carry him, I can’t help but kiss his cheeks all the time.  Just like his sister, Okra is also a very good looking baby.  He has the softest hair (much softer than Bunny’s) that is wavy in the front and curly in the back.  There is a little curly strand on top of his head that has earned him the nickname “onion” by my mom.  After he lost his baby hair early on, he was bald for a while, so the hair on top of his head is here to stay. I love stroking his hair.  He has a very round face, nice thick brows, big and round eyes, extra long eyelashes, and a straight tall nose.  His double chin is super adorable.  He looks a lot like Bob but with Asian features.  He actually does not remind me of our donor at all as he is Bob’s mini-me.  Okra has chunky arms, body, thighs, and toes.  His toes are super cute.  He is just one chubby baby that has all the juice that I want in a baby.

Okra drools constantly.  He wets his bib quickly and needs to change into another.  It’s interesting that his gums, upon examination by our pediatrician, were not as swollen as Bunny’s, although Bunny doesn’t drool at all.  He bites on his clothes, his hands, my hand, or the burp cloth.  Basically whatever comes into contact with his mouth.

Okra is the needier baby out of the two.  He loves to be held and used to cry a lot.  His crying is very loud.  His mouth is wide open and his lips and uvula vibrate.  He still cries more often than Bunny but is more easily consolable these days.  I think he is getting more mature and can regulate his emotions a little bit more easily.  Okra is definitely a mama’s boy.  About a month ago, he started to develop a preference for me.  Whenever I walk by, his face lights up and his smile grows big.  He tracks my every move.  Even when he is crying, he would stop once I lifts him up.  It warms my heart to know that he loves seeing me so much.  My mom jokes that when he sees me, it’s like him seeing honey.  Okra’s smiles are very sweet.  He laughs loudly just like his sister. When he is not crying, he is a super sweet baby who loves to look at people with his big eyes and looks happy.

Okra naps much better than Bunny.  He cries at first.  Then his crying turns into this mumble that sounds a lot like complaints.  When I hear that, I know that he is about to fall asleep.  He would then yawn, and continue to whimper a little.  Then he’d be out.  He would usually stay asleep for about an hour to two hours.  He sometimes cries very loudly during his nap but would snap out of it himself and goes back to sleep on his own.  Unlike Bunny, Okra had a more difficult time going down for the night.  For a while, I found myself rocking him for 10 to 20 minutes before he would calm down enough to sleep.  I realized that this pattern was not productive for him or me as he was relying on me as his crutch to fall asleep.  I felt that he was ready for some sleep training.  I consulted with my friend who used a modified crying it out method.  We started with letting him cry for gradual intervals before going in the room to console him for about 30 seconds without picking him up.  The intervals went from 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 9 minutes, to 10 minutes for the first night.  It took him 25 minutes to fall asleep.  The second night started with 7 minutes, 9 minutes, and 10 minutes.  We didn’t even have to go to the 10-minute interval and Okra fell asleep after 14 minutes.  Ever since then, the subsequent days were on and off with a few minutes of crying.  After working at it for a couple of weeks, Okra has gotten the routine down.  After our 7ish feed, Bob comes home to play with them for a little bit.  We read a couple of books, sing a few songs, and pray together as a family.  I first put down Bunny who just falls asleep on her own.  Then I put down Okra by swaddling him, holding him, and telling him that I love him and I will see him in the morning.  He would go down calmly.  I go to turn off the lamp, turn on the sound machine and the night light, and exit the room.  He has been going down for the past many nights without even a whimper.  I am so proud of him for being able to fall asleep without my help.  Routine is powerful.

Okra has very good lower body strength.  Our pediatrician told us at the four-month visit that Okra has the muscle strength of a 6-month-old.  When he was about 2.5 months old, he would hold onto our hands and stand up on us without needing support for his neck.  Since turning four months, I let the babies play in a hand-me-down jumperoo with books underneath it.  Okra can sit in it and bounce on the books while using his hands to manipulate the knobs and buttons for 15 minutes.  He looks very tall when he plays in that thing.  His hands, on the other hand, are not as nimble as Bunny’s.  For the longest time, he would hold a fist with his thumbs pointing up when we offered him something.  It wasn’t until these past couple of weeks when he started to take things from us with his hands. Unlike Bunny, he loves tummy time, and can be flipped on his tummy for an extended period of time.  Okra also chats a lot with us.  He sees us and starts talking.  He loves to be tickled.  He also likes reading and songs.  He can focus on a few books and look at every single page with me.  He likes “When Cows Get Up in the Morning” and laughs hysterically when I sing “Moo-oo”.  This is such a fun age.

Other than his reflux and congestion, Okra is healthy for the most part, although he just caught a cold last week and has been coughing and more congested than usual.  It’s heartbreaking to hear a little baby cough.  He is definitely feeling sick, but he is still a happy baby.  We clear his nose with saline drops and Nose Frida constantly.  He cries like a crazy person when we lay him down and show him the saline drops bottle.  Sorry but we have to be mean to him because that’s the only way he can breathe better.  Since he has gotten sick, his appetite has tanked.  I just hope that he doesn’t lose weight and Bunny doesn’t catch the cold from him.

Okra is such a fun baby at four months.  I can’t wait to see what his and his sister’s next tricks will be.


MicroblogMondays: Four-Month-Old Is so Much Fun – Bunny


Bunny was a beauty when she was born.  Now at four months old, she continues to be gorgeous with a full head of black hair, bright and big dark eyes, a tall and straight nose, beautiful lips, and a delicate chin.  She looks like a mixture of Bob and our donor.  Even her fingers, legs, and feet are dainty.  She is such a good looking baby.

This girl truly loves to smile, laugh, and chatter.  She is definitely the social butterfly who would forego a nap to hang out with people.  One time a very good friend of mine came to visit for the first time.  The two of them had such a good time that Bunny missed her nap and my friend missed most of the basketball game that she was supposed to watch with her husband.  Although she doesn’t nap well, Bunny is a very good sleeper.  She goes down by herself at night after her 7pm feed and doesn’t need any help with falling asleep.  You give her a binky and she is fine.  She wakes up in the morning chattering and laughing in the crib to herself.  You go in to look at her and she would give you the biggest smile that would brighten anyone’s day.  My mom often jokes that Bunny would be the best person to see on Chinese New Year’s Day because her happiness would bring fortune for the upcoming year.  Bunny rarely cries.  When she does, you know that something is up with her.  The good thing is she is easily consolable, which makes it a lot easier for me.  When you talk to her, she responds with her baby coos.  She is very alert and tracks people and things with her eyes.  She notices her brother Okra more often and always reaches her hand out to him.  Whether or not he takes her hand is hit or miss.  When Okra cries, she has a concerned look on her face and sometimes would also pout and start crying.

Baby girl seems to love reading.  Whenever I read her a book, she looks at all the pages I show her with such concentration she seems a lot older than 4 months old.  She can read through a book like Llama Llama Red Pajama with me.  She also loves it when I sings “Slippery Fish” to her.  This is a song I learned from our library’s “Bouncing Babies” program.  Whenever I sing “Gulp gulp gulp” and “Oh No!”, she laughs.  Bunny doesn’t quite play with the soft blocks that we bought for them for Christmas yet.  Her hands are still too tiny for the size of the blocks.  She does squeeze and grab a firefly toy and seems to enjoy it for a few minutes.

Physical strength wise, baby girl is very good with her hands and fingers.  She holds on to a toy for a long time.  She drops the toy and picks it right up without difficulty.  She loves to grab my hair with a grip so tight that sometimes it’s hard to pry her hand open.  Her fingers are also very nimble.  She takes off her binky and puts it back in her mouth.   Recently when she lies on the play gym, she gets frustrated that she can touch the dangling rings above her but can’t get them down.  She would yell for attention and eventually cry for help.  Bunny hates tummy time; she cries within a few minutes into it.  I still make her do it.  She recently started to want to stand on her feet while sitting on my lap.  It seems that her lower body strength is finally catching up with her brother’s.  She rolls to one side all the time.  She kicks her legs up and towards her face while lying down.  When you lay her in her crib one direction, you’d often find her facing the other direction in a few minutes just by kicking her legs, rolling to one side, and moving her bum.  Swaddling has been harder because Bunny Houdini’s arms escape quite easily.  But we will continue to swaddle during sleep until we absolutely can’t.  She can sit up with support with a strong and straight neck.  After the babies turned four months, we let them play in a hand-me-down jumperoo.  Although Bunny’s legs can’t touch the floor, she sits in it well and manipulates a bunch of the knobs and dials on the jumperoo with ease.

Bunny’s recent feeding pattern has been a bit worrisome.  She had been taking 3.5 to 5 or even 6 oz per meal for a while.  The day after our trip, she returned home and began to lose interest in her bottles.  Sometimes she’d take a whole bottle.  Other times she only takes an ounce or two.  When she is done, she sticks out her tongue, turns her head, and blocks her bottle with both hands.  I started to feed her in the nursery with the curtain drawn, lights out, and sound machine on to reduce distractions.  The situation has improved a little bit with this strategy.  But her daily intake has been variable.  One morning after having not eaten for eight hours, she only took a couple of ounces.  I was literally in tears sitting in the dark worrying that she’d lose weight.  I never thought that my child’s feeding pattern would make me so emotional.  I had many speculations of what might have caused this problem: Reflux meds not working?  Reflux meds dosage not correct? Formula not appropriate?  etc etc.  She still vomits at times and spits up at times, but she seems happy before and after.  My friend A who has twin girls is always the wise one.  She also experienced a period of time when one of her twins was also eating variably.  She said she’d spent too much time worrying about her daughter.  Instead, she wishes that she had enjoyed her baby more.  She advised me to call the nurse line if I wanted a peace of mind.  The nurse basically said that Bunny’s behavior is quite normal for this age, and I have been doing everything I can to make sure she enjoys her meals.  Babies at this age are curious and highly distractible so minimizing distractions in the environment would really help.  I have since learned to let her enjoy her meal as much as she wants without looking or acting worried.  If I try a few more times and she doesn’t take the bottle anymore, I won’t force the case.  We have been trying to stretch the babies’ sleep til 7am.  But because Bunny eats more when drowsy, I have been having myself and the night nanny feed her at 6am.  At our four-month check up, our pediatrician reassured me that at this age, some babies have what he calls “appetite slump”.  Maybe Bunny is one of those babies that doesn’t need to eat as much to still have enough calorie-intake.  He kindly suggested for us to let her wake up naturally then feed her.  We will take his advice and let the babies sleep until whenever they wake up.

At our four-month check up, our pediatrician said that Bunny is very healthy.  She now weighs 12 lbs 15 oz, which is 21st percentile.  Her birth weight was 6 lb 9 oz, so her current weight is almost double of her birth weight.  Her height is 25.5 inches, which is 87th percentile.  She wears 3 to 6 month and 6 to 9 month clothes.  She still wears size 1 diapers.  Doctor said that her growth is fantastic.  However, if I am concerned about her eating pattern and her weight gain, I can always bring her back for another check up in two weeks.

Bunny brings so much joy to my life.  I am so fortunate to call myself her mother.  It’s so fun to watch her grow and reach milestones.  I am so lucky to be able to stay home to witness her and her brother’s growth during these first few months of their lives.

MicroblogMondays: Four Months

The babies are four months old today.  They are so much more interactive with us and with each other these days.  They hold hands frequently when we place them next to each other.  Lately this is seen quite often:

Chinese kung fu, anyone?


MicroblogMondays: Choked Up

This Christmas was obviously different from the many Christmases in the past now that our twins are here with us.  We had a low key Christmas still.  One manmade but fully decorated Christmas tree, four stockings, and one present from us for the babies (and other presents from friends and family).  Regardless of how low key it was, I felt tremendously blessed that the babies have helped make this season extra special.  Christmas day was not unlike other days.  Other than opening presents in the morning, we had the same routines as usual.  Well, except for one moment when I was particularly reminded of the blessings that our life has become.  While feeding Bunny, there was a sweet moment that I noticed.  She was quietly eating while holding my fingers.  I was choking up a little while enjoying this tender moment with my daughter knowing that it took such a long time and tremendous effort to get to this point.  Once again, I am reminded to not take these little precious moments in life for granted.


MicroblogMondays: Never

I had a burst of energy the other day so I decided to clean the drawers of our bathroom.  It must have been a very long time since I emptied out the drawers.  Buried deep inside of one of them were these:

I remember my emotions when I purchased these tests.  Some were purchased during my first IVF cycle, and some other ones were for the joy of seeing two pink lines and the word “pregnant” after my first donor egg transfer.  I remember being so hopeful and so certain that my own pee would produce the magic word on the Clear Blue digital test or the beautiful pink lines on the First Response test.  The expiration dates came and went, and the me in my present day would never use any of these tests or any newly purchased ones on myself.  Although I have crying babies outside to prove that one doesn’t need to be pregnant in order to build a family, my thoughts and feelings at that moment were still a tremendous sense of loss of the ability to grow a baby inside of me.  I thought I had worked through my feelings about that.  I guess grief hits you whenever, especially at unexpected moments.  This is a reminder that I will never be pregnant or feel a life grow in my uterus.  That feeling sucks.

Needless to say, these tests or their new versions no longer belong to my bathroom drawers.


First Solo Tar.get Trip

I had my first solo Tar.get trip since the babies came home.  Our new mini-van is super spacious for all the stuff that I had to buy, but it felt kind of funny to be driving it around without the babies behind me.

I am going to try the store brand diapers.  If they are good, maybe we can save on that category.

The first trip away from the babies was good for me.  I am so grateful for my parents who are there to watch the babies.


MicroblogMondays: Feeling Silenced

My guy best friend is currently in town from out of state. Whenever he’s around, we always get together.  This time he came one week before his wife did so he could visit his parents with his 7-year-old daughter.  When we were making plans for dinner, my friend alerted me that I’d have to be prepared to explain to his little girl why I had babies coming without having a big belly.  Apparently he hadn’t told her our news yet.  I said I’d be ready to explain. And then he told me that he hadn’t had the talk with little girl about human reproduction yet.  When she asked questions about how babies came about, he told her to ask her teachers.  I guess he was uncomfortable talking about it and really didn’t want to do it at this point.  I told him that 7-year-old is not too early to learn about where babies come from.  He said he’d think about how to talk to her.

Fast forward a week later.  In the afternoon right before our dinner date, my friend called to finalize the details.  Then he asked, “Is it okay if we don’t talk about the babies tonight?”  Honestly I was taken aback by this request.  He went on to explain that he still hadn’t told his daughter about our situation, and he still didn’t know how to explain human sexuality to her.  So he thought that it would be better for us to simply not to talk about our pregnancy or anything that had to do with our preparation.

I don’t know.  I was sitting there with my phone in my hand feeling a little disappointed and sad.  I know that he wasn’t ashamed of our situation.  I know that he does want to celebrate our babies with us.  I know that it was solely his problem of having a hard time with this talk with his daughter.  It is simply his choice of parenting and it is a decision that has nothing to do with me.  But why did I feel that I was less than those who could achieve a pregnancy and proudly present their bumps?  Why did I still experience sadness and disappointment that my best friend could not rise above this situation and use this opportunity to educate his young child about unique ways of building a family?  If I were pregnant with a big bump, this wouldn’t have been an issue for him because then he wouldn’t have to explain how our embryos got transferred into the surrogate.  I know that I am not less than others who physically carry and give birth to their children, but my heart still ached that I could not just proudly talk about our excitement and our future.

Dinner was weird.  Bob and I sat there and talked about everything but our babies and surrogate.  Our life recently has been so engrossed by the preparation for the upcoming birth of our babies that I felt choked by this enforced avoidance of the topic.  It felt so unnatural and tiring to have to consciously watch our words.  When I handed my friend a thank you card for his gift, his little girl asked what it was.  Bob was so smart that he quickly changed the topic to distract the little girl.  And my friend finally asked how we were doing with everything, but it was done in our native language so his daughter couldn’t understand it.

It just made me sad that our joy and pride had become so hush-hush that night.

When we said our good-byes in front of the restaurant, I asked my friend how he was going to explain the sudden appearance of two babies in our life.  He said he’d wait to see if school would teach about human sexuality and go from there.  I know that his choice does not mean that he isn’t happy for us, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth for a few days because we could not openly celebrate this newest chapter of our lives with one of my best friends.