Three months and growing fast

I have to say, it’s cute that I ever thought I’d have time to keep up with a family blog. I’m soooo tired. Kudos to the moms that are able to find time to write, take beautiful photos and edit videos. But at this point, this blog will just be to help us remember Cadence’s milestones.

At three months now, Cadence is smiling, cooing and giggling. Her neck is fairly strong and she pushes herself up during tummy time. She looks as though she will roll over very soon! The issues she had with gas and colic seem to have gone away and now we are experiencing sunny days with Cadence. Besides her inability to have a normal poopy diaper (only blowouts), we love where she’s at right now!

She is starting to use the Mama & Papa seat to sit at the table with us during meals. No solid food for her just yet though. She’s just drinking pumped milk every day and one bottle of formula at night. I question how long my pumping journey will go but telling myself to go one day at a time.

Ba Noi (grandma) helps us watch Cadence once a week! They are establishing their own bond and hopefully Cadence is picking up on Vietnamese. Danny and I go up to his office in San Marcos twice a week and the other days I’m working. I’m literally falling asleep while I type this. Exhaustion is definitely creeping up on me.


Two Month Baby Update

This post originally began as Cadence’s one month update but time flew by and I wasn’t able to finish the post in time. Now Cadence is two months! And just like that I’m back to work. I was only able to take 8 weeks for maternity leave! Wah! Here’s the little babe:


The first night we took Cadence home, she slept great! We have her in a cosleeper next to our bed. We were supposed to wake her up every 3 hours to feed but generally, she would wake up on her own for feedings. After the first night, sleep was a little rough for the coming weeks. At around 7 weeks, Cadence started sleeping longer, waking up only once around 1am – 2am to feed. Because my milk didn’t come in until day 5 or so, we were already having to feed her formula and she was taking a bottle from the very beginning. So Danny and I would take turns with the night feedings. I so appreciate him for helping with these especially after hearing that other dads didn’t have to when mothers were exclusively breastfeeding. Also, Danny only took one week off in the beginning and immediately went back to work so I knew he was often exhausted in the middle of the night too.


Nursing, pumping, washing bottles. Repeat. My schedule seems to revolve around feeding. I almost never left the house in those first weeks because between nursing and pumping, how was there time for anything else?

After two visits to the lactation consultant, we found out Cadence had tongue and lip tie. We clipped both at around 4 weeks, which we were told would help prevent future speech impediments (tongue) and possible gapped front teeth (lip). It would also help with breastfeeding.

The following weeks, we had to do several exercises to a) ensure both the lip and tongue would heal properly and the tissue wouldn’t grow back and b) work on Cadence’s sucking skills.

While I could usually get her to latch, it was very painful because she would barely open her mouth (shallow latch). After taking her to a breastfeeding support group, I found out she wasn’t transferring milk well either. So now if I nurse, I always follow up with a bottle of pumped breast milk. And I’m pumping around the clock. Two middle of the night pumps still and pretty exhausted.

Mama’s Body.

Luckily I’m healing well and my stitches look as though “they never even happened,” says my OB. I gained 40 pounds during pregnancy and I have about 10 pounds left before getting to pre-pregnancy weight. No stretch marks but still have the linea negra (although lighter). Amazing what our bodies can do. Quite miraculous.

Life is good. Loving all the little things.

Panda Mom

Cadence’s Birth Story – March 8, 2018


March 7, 2018 – So labor begins…

On March 7, 2018, there was a gas leak in San Diego that led to gridlock traffic around town when my husband (Danny) and I got off work. That day I started to feel back-to-back contractions and we sat in that traffic hoping it wasn’t time to go to the hospital yet.

When we got home, early labor began around 8pm with mild contractions at 10 minutes apart. By 10pm, I called Kaiser Labor & Delivery to let them know the contractions were getting closer and closer. I tried to sleep but the pain was becoming stronger and more frequent; I laid on the ground, wrapped myself around the pregnancy ball, etc. At 4am, contractions were every 4 minutes and I started bleeding (bloody show). It was time to go! I took a quick shower and my husband packed up. He dropped me off at the entrance of the hospital as I waddled in. Quickly, a staff member got a wheelchair and brought me to triage. I was 5cm dilated!
The nurse was impressed that I had waited at home so long. Since I was already in active labor, I decided to get the epidural then. By 5am, we were waiting in the delivery room and contractions were intense! It wasn’t until 7am that the anesthesiologist came to our room, leaving me with two hours of intense contractions and lots of time to reflect on how my mom gave birth to my siblings and me naturally. How did she do it? Respect.
I had a hard time slouching my back down and relaxing (in between contractions) so he could get the epidural needle in. I kept flinching every time he’d touch my back… to the point where he yelled at me about the seriousness of holding still. I was nervous I was going to botch this, my ticket out of pain island. But eventually, he did it and the epidural kicked in. I could see contractions come and go on the monitor, but no pain. It was magical.
Since I had a normal pregnancy, we were asked if we were OK with a midwife delivering the baby. Yep! So they sent in Karen who checked my dilation again at 9am. 8 cm dilated!
At the time, the baby was occipult posterior (“OP”) or sunny side up, so they recommended for me to try different positions to turn the baby. I laid on both sides around a peanut ball and then on all fours swaying side to side, alternating positions every 15 minutes. At 11am, my temperature started going up. I had a fever of 100 degrees so was put on antibiotics through an IV. Nurses told Danny and I to take a nap before the pushing would begin. At 12pm, Karen came back to check on me and dilation was at 10cm! However, station was 0, meaning the baby was still high up on the pelvis. If we waited a little longer, the contractions could help push the baby down. At 1pm, baby had moved a little lower and it was go time!
Trying different positions to get baby to turn downward
From 1:24pm to 2:24 pm (my husband recollects the exact time from watching a clock in the room throughout the entire labor), I pushed! There was so much pressure on the lower abdomen and pelvis region that the epidural could not help alleviate. I was given an oxygen mask between pushes and a cool towel on my head, while Danny and one of the nurses help my legs up. More than an hour later, I was exhausted from pushing, worn out and crying, while the baby had not moving down. The baby’s heart rate started going up and so did mine. My temperature escalated to 102, then 105.
Suddenly, a doctor came in and three more nurses. All I could see was bright lights and the faces of strangers, telling me to push. Danny and I were both nervous because we knew it was serious. Because the baby’s heart beat was rising, the doctor needed to reach in and rotate her, which is precisely what she did. I had to keep pushing throughout the process, which was the most painful thing I’ve ever felt. After some time, Danny could see Cadence’s head crowning. He was getting emotional and his eyes started welling up. But I could see him trying to hold back and keep it together for me.
Several more pushes and at 3:18pm on March 8, Cadence was born.
Skin-to-skin time also important with dad

Cadence was immediately put on my chest for skin to skin while the nurses sucked the fluids out of her. Her first cries were so soft, but a huge relief to hear. Danny cut the umbilical cord and the midwife stitched me up. Not long, everyone left the room and we were able to peacefully hold our new baby.

Danny had text my family when I was in labor, and my mom immediately bought a ticket out to San Diego (from Denver) that afternoon. Danny’s mom picked her up and the two arrived at the hospital around 5pm. Danny’s mom is a first time grandma; and Cadence is the first girl grandchild for my parents. So very exciting for both sides of our families!
The next day, we were told that Cadence was at risk of jaundice because: 1) we had A-B-O incompatibility, in which mom’s blood type is O+ and Cadence’s blood type is A+ and 2) it is common for Asian babies to have jaundice. Pediatrician recommended for us to stay overnight and do phototherapy to reduce her bilirubin levels before going home. We had to leave her in a bassinet under a fluorescent light. Hard to see her your tiny newborn squirming and crying to be held, but having to leave her next to you.
Phototherapy overnight to reduce bilirubin levels (at risk of jaundice)
Another way to reduce bilirubin was that she needed to poop it out, but since my breast milk also hadn’t come in, I was barely able to feed her. So we started with formula feeding through a nipple shield and syringe. Throughout the two days at the hospital, she was poked for blood tests, newborn screenings and the hepatitis B shot. I could feel that protective mother instinct kick in, but knew these things needed to be done.
Our little babe’s first ride – we’re going home!

Fortunately, the following morning, her bilirubin levels went down and we were told we would be discharged by the afternoon. Leaving the hospital was exciting! Strapping her tiny body into our car seat made it all feel so real. Truly could not have done it without my amazing husband/support person and the staff at Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center. After months of anticipation, our baby Cadence is finally here.

Baby Bump

What is in the Babylist Hello Baby Box?


I just received my #HelloBabyBox from Babylist so thought I’d put together an update post specifically on what is in this box. First, to receive the box, sign up for a baby registry! What we loved about Babylist was that you can add items from any website. The registry allowed us to find the best prices and items to pull them into one comprehensive list.

The welcome box came in the mail about a month after we signed up. Here’s a glimpe of what’s inside:

  1. Babylist cards to let friends/family know you are registered on their site
  2. Sample of Pampers diapers
  3. Samples of Cetaphil (Baby diaper cream, moisturizing oil, wash & shampoo and lotion)
  4. Sample of Fridababy Windi The Gaspasser and the Fridababy Boogie Wiper
  5. “Cutest Baby Ever” sticker from StickyBellies.com
  6. Kiinde Twist Direct-Pumo Breast Milk Collection
  7. Lansinoh Latch-On Tips and Sample Lanolin Nipple Cream
  8. $50 Babysitting Gift Card from Urbansitter
  9. Sample of Boobease Organic Nipple Balm
  10. Coupon to Tiny Tags Personalized Mommy Jewelry
  11. $25 Gift Card to TeaCollection.com
  12. Stickers and art prints from Lucy Darling

I love that there are several items for mom in this box (not just baby products). Squeee!!! 😄

Baby Bump

What’s in the box (or bag)? Baby registry freebies!

You’re having a baby! Once the initial shock settles, you can move into the next phase of preparing for your little one’s arrival. Sign up for baby registries at your favorite stores and receive lots of free goodies (and coupons)! For us, we signed up with Amazon, Walmart and Target —  stores where we regularly shop (we’re bargain shoppers!).

There are a lot of other retailers: Buy Buy Baby, Babies R Us and Pottery Barn Kids. And also many sites helping you pull your items together into a universal registry: Baby List, The Bump, Blueprint Registry. They each have their own benefits, but in this post, I’m going to share what you can find in the registry welcome boxes specifically from Amazon, Target and Walmart. The best part is that these are all FREE! And so exciting to open, especially as a new parent.

Note: This post was written February 2018; the items regularly change in these boxes! I tried my best to link everything so you can learn more about the products. This took me for-EVER, but hope you find it helpful!

Amazon Baby Registry Welcome Box

First of all, how do you become eligible for this? Ahh! There were several steps to complete before this box arrives at your door.

  1. Sign up for a baby registry through your Amazon account.
  2. After your registry is up, there needs to be $10 of purchases made and shipped from the registry.
  3. When logged into your registry, click on “Registry Checklist” on the left side and go through the items Amazon recommends for a baby registry. Check every item (they do not need to go on your registry).
  4. Once these steps are complete, you can check the status of your welcome box. You should see a “Claim Now” button that will give a $35 credit for the box. Once you order the box, the total amount will adjust to $0.00.
  5. Note: For me, when I originally finished the steps, the boxes were out of stock. About a week later when I checked the status, the boxes were available again.

Amazon_Welcome_Box Continue reading “What’s in the box (or bag)? Baby registry freebies!”

Baby Bump, Panda Mom

10 Ways to Involve Your Husband [or Partner] in Your Pregnancy

First, yay and congrats to all pregnant mommas to be! Wishing you a happy and healthy pregnancy. If you have a partner, boyfriend or husband to embark on this journey with, this post is for you. When my husband Danny and I found out we were pregnant, he was ecstatic! I’m very fortunate to have a partner who has been so involved [and genuinely wants to be]! Most of these ideas were things he did on his own. If you need some inspiration or creativity on how to include your partner (who may feel left out or disengaged), read on…

[1] Have your partner rub belly oil or cocoa butter for you

I heard other couples doing this, and when I proposed the idea to my husband, he was all about it! We now include this in our nightly routine, where he helps rub belly butter on my stomach before we go to bed. I’m eight months pregnant, so it’s also a chance for him to touch my belly and feel the baby kicking. (We didn’t start this routine until month five).


I’ve been using two products: Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter ($12) and Bio Oil ($9). I’m pretty diligent about using the belly butter so I’m almost out of the 6.5 ounce jar. Will need to order more or switch to the Bio Oil only. To be honest, I have no idea if these are working or will work in the long run, but other mommas have given them good reviews. I’m nervous about stretch marks so trying to cover all my bases here — I will find out post pregnancy! Continue reading “10 Ways to Involve Your Husband [or Partner] in Your Pregnancy”

Baby Bump, Nursery

Our Mastursery: Baby’s Nursery in Master Bedroom

8 weeks until our due date and the nesting instinct is kicking in! Wanted to write a blog post about our “mastursery” which is a term used for a nursery in the master bedroom.

Since Danny and I currently live in San Diego with his family, we don’t have an extra nursery room for Baby Cadence. But we are fortunate to have the master bedroom which gives us plenty to work with. We just have to get creative with the shared space!


You can see our room boasts a mix of colors thrown together because we were given a lot of hand-me-down furniture and toys (thank you, we’ll take it all!). Also wanted to show a real representation of how the room looks compared to some other photos where the room looks bare/minimalistic with all colors coordinated perfectly. Not sure how first time parents are able to achieve that perfect Pinterest look on a budget. For us, we are working with what we got! We also still have up our wedding photos which are interspersed with the baby decor. Continue reading “Our Mastursery: Baby’s Nursery in Master Bedroom”