Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Restaurant Dining at its Finest

I was invited to but my lunch at McDonalds today from this helpful staff. Jacob wore an apron made of his woobie and a Mickey Mouse chef hat. Maddie and Ben specialized in fancy dishes like spaghetti (rubber bands in medicine dosing cups I got at my hospital stay), noodles (more rubber bands in cups) and chinese dumplings (bean bags). It was delicious!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Mask

This is the mask my kids made me today. Maddie made the paper part and Ben made a chain of elastics so I could wear it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Anti-Angie

That has been rattling around in my brain for about two weeks. “The Anti-Angie.” It’s how Brian described Gina one afternoon while we were talking. Now that I put it in writing, it seems like that would be a very negative thing, but it totally wasn’t. We were discussing how I’m trying to loosen up and how things are so different with her here. She does laundry and finishes every single batch. She starts dinner before lunch by getting out the proper meat to thaw. After lunch she chops vegetables that she will need. Midafternoon you will find Gina assembling the meal so it’s ready to pop in the oven. She’s amazing. She, as Brian puts it, is the anti-Angie.


When she started I told her that I don’t love cooking so I cook a double batch or enough of anything I make to do two dinners and plan it as a leftover meal. It was fine with me for her to continue that way and just warm a meal every other day. I have come to the conclusion that she is paid to cook here so she wants to do a great job. She cooks something every single night. I figured on the weekend she had Saturday and Sunday nights off so I would end up cooking what I wanted. Nope. Since she cooks so many amazing meals in the week, we spend our weekends eating her leftover meals. It’s fantastic, delicious and mentally confusing to me. You can’t teach an old dogs new tricks when it comes to meal planning.


And left overs…that was a source of contention when we were newlyweds. Brian ate leftovers for lunch. In the Robinson home that was a major sin. If there was enough of something for another meal then by golly it better be used for a meal. If there wasn’t enough to feed the family then it would be used as a pick your own dinner buffet night. We did NOT eat leftovers for lunch. Never. EVER. Now he is laughing inside and telling me to please eat leftovers for lunch. I remember about once a week. Otherwise I have a standard old everyday variety sandwich I’ve had every lunchtime since birth.


The Anti-Angie is pretty great. I wonder how much of her style I will be able to adopt while we’re together. I’m learning lots from her. I figure anything I can learn to do like Gina can only make me better at this housewife thing. I do have to say though, we went to dinner and a movie last Friday night and left her with all four kids at dinner time with the bedtime routine after their bedrooms had been fumigated so she had to set up new sleeping bag beds in the playroom and settle them down from the excitement while she bottle fed Ashlyn. You know, regular life in a family. It was the first time since she arrived on February 1st that I saw dishes still in the sink at 9:30pm when we returned home. It made me feel just a little bit better that she might not really be superwoman like I thought. Four kids must have kept her pretty busy. I know they keep me on my toes!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Count Down to April 22nd

Ben is ready for his birthday. We figured out he turns eight in 648 hours and he can hardly wait!

Quality Daddy Time

There has been a pink VHS tape on the shelf in my room since we unpacked last April. No label. No clues. Today I finally took it downstairs to see what exactly it was. To my delight, and Ben, Maddie and Gina, it was a video recording of one of Brian's first paid gigs. It was a birthday party for the daughter of a friend and coworker. Maddie was instantly glued to the screen. I was ready to take it out, label it and put it away. It was obvious though that this magic show had a recorded audience as well as a live one. So Maddie is spending some quality time with daddy even though dad is actually at work.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Jake Enjoys Church Services

We all know church services are not exactly guaranteed to be a blast. Here is how Jake chose to pass the time one week before the baby came. I was so uncomfortable in the pew I wished I could have joined him on the floor.

Hardest Worker Out There

For a country that seems dead set on supplying every individual a job, Brian and I find this mechanical guy a bit hilarious.

Ashlyn's First Word

Maddie wanted to hold Ashlyn this afternoon. While she was on her lap she sneezed and made the classic "achoo" noise but Maddie heard it as "ah-too". Now Maddie is all excited because Ashlyn said her first word, "too". I guess this baby is just smarter than your average 16 day old child.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dangerous Day Today

I woke up feeling good today. I was in bed by 8:00 last night to relax and watch TV.   I fed Ashlyn about 11pm then she slept a nice 5 hour block. I woke up just after 7am. Not a bad night overall.*  


So I feel good and that’s where it gets dangerous. I was up early enough that Brian left for work on time instead of cover the morning routine for me so I could sleep in. I made the kids lunches and snacks for school. Managed the whining Maddie all morning without screaming at her or bonking her in the forehead to get her attention (which may or may not have happened yesterday – I’m not saying). I even did reading and letters with Jacob before he left for school. He’s getting really good at it and I think I can credit the Letter Factory video (that’s how Ben learned best too).


As Maddie left to walk to school this morning with Gina I told her it was a dangerous day and I meant it. When Mommy feels good she does too much and it puts my recovery back a few days. That’s what happened last week – though I knew it would happen and there wasn’t much to be done about it. Wednesday was my doctor to remove stitches. Thursday was Ashlyn well check since her discharge from NICU. Friday was parent conferences at the school. Saturday was Ben’s pinewood derby. It was too much but it was all important. I spent Saturday afternoon and evening napping on the couch. Sunday I played board games with the kids until they had to go to church then napped and watched movies. (Don’t worry, I listened to a service in the morning so I could get a checkmark for church “attendance.”) Monday I was still pretty tired so I slept a little more.


As I loaded Jacob in the carpool van to go to school Jennifer came walking up to deliver her Anderson to the van. That probably saved me. We sat on the couch and visited. Then another friend dropped by to visit. Before I knew it Jacob was on his way home and I hadn’t done anything of real value. Unless you count taking it easy so I don’t regress in my recovery as valuable, which I suppose it is. So it was a fun day but it won’t be long before I go nuts for lack of productivity.


*Other than the bed bugs making me itch still – is there an end to this disaster? And why doesn’t Brian get bit when me and the three big kids all have reactions? They spray again on Friday but I’m losing hope that it’s going to fix the problem anymore.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

C-Section Pic

You can't do that in the US! No photos in the vicinity of the surgery so no one gets sued. They put Ashlyn on my chest. My hands weren't strapped down like they did in Virginia and Texas so I could sort of hold her while they continued to work on my innards and told Brian he could take a picture. Then the anesthesiologist told him to get by me and he'd take a picture. Then he says can he take another one so he can get Dr. Loh in it too. He was totally cool and entertaining.

After Brian left the operating room with the baby they had to work on me for an hour more to get me put back together properly. As the doctor said multiple times, "it's really a jungle in there" after four c-sections. The anesthesiologist was cracking jokes and entertaining me which was a great way to distract me because while there was no sharp pain it did become incredibly uncomfortable to the point I wanted cry and to tell them to just stop pushing and squishing and pulling and leave me open. I was done. I guess it's just hard to fix some messes like me.  Notice the white ribbon on the left. It apparently held me open and they hung and IV bag on the other end as a counter weight. That cracked me up. Totally functional. Totally primitive. I like it.

Ashlyn Comments

Jacob held Ashlyn the first time and after just a couple minutes he commented in alarm, "Mom, where are her glasses? She can't see ANYTHING!" Such is the perspective of the kids in my house. We'll take her in to the eye doctor in a few months and see if she got my eyes or daddy's eyes. I'm praying at least one of our kids got daddy's eyes.

Ben thought she had teeny, tiny everything. Tiny fingernails, tiny head. She sticks out her tongue a lot. He claims he got the first kiss she ever gave away when she licked his face.  He loves to hold her and look at her.

Maddie thinks Ashlyn has a little bit of hair and her eyes are small. She loves to hold her little sister and tell everyone who will listen about her.  She says Ashlyn tries to grab her glasses already. She wanted to take a picture into her school class to show her off to all her friends. 

Here is an email excerpt from my email conversation with her teacher I thought was hilarious.

Sorry we weren’t organized enough to send pictures of the baby on Monday. She was still in the hospital so the weekend didn’t quite go as planned. And our printer wasn’t working well. Brian said he could print them at work. I laughed so hard when he brought home near poster sized prints last night. I guess he was working on another project and forgot to change the paper size. Once it was done he figured why reprint.

Ashlyn was released from the NICU yesterday morning (Monday) so Maddie finally got to meet her in the afternoon. She was so pleased to have a sister and loved holding her so much she didn’t want to go on any play dates at all but wanted everyone to come to our house to show her off.


Hi Angie,
Ashlyn’s pictures were such a big hitJ We have put them up if that is ok. Yes Maddie is proud. I told her I am sure she’ll make a super big sister.
She is also thrilled to have a helper-she said she does not have to help with the laundry anymore-hilarious!! I asked her what she did instead..I teased her-do you sit and have a cup of tea instead? She said NO that’s for grown ups!! Then I said I bet you help mom look after Ashlyn instead and she said yes.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Brian took the kids to Disney on Ice tonight. It must have been fun because Maddie was so tired she only made it this far in the door before collapsing on the carpet.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Jacob and I just finished macaroni and cheese lunch together. He jumped up from the table and said, "I'm going to clear your bowl for you mom because your body is tired and it needs to rest." I think he is the cutest kid ever today.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Singapore Hospital Experience

I’ve found the c-section delivery experience different here than in the US. Overall I prefer here better but though I’d write down some of the differences because it’s been entertaining to say the least.


·         Instead of checking into the hospital through the lobby, going to a pre-op place then being taken to another staging area until I could go into the operating room I went straight to MY room and had time to unpack my things (which we left in the car because you don’t need them up front in the US).

·         Parking charges were covered here for the first four days after delivery. That’s a nice perk but we didn’t realize how valuable it was until my fifth day here when I was discharged. Brian parked from 9am to 4pm, not quite a full day. It cost him $39.50. Ouch.  Then the hospital parking is often full (land space is at a premium here). He had to park at the mall next door or other shopping spots. We’ve spent at least $100 in parking in five days. Never mind the road tolls to get to the hospital and petrol cost.

·         You can take your baby home in a taxi. No car seat installation checks. No mandatory bring your car seat to the nursery to make sure the baby fits or whatever the heck they are checking for, to be honest I don’t actually know what the poor nurses are doing.

·         No wheelchair required. If you can walk yourself to your car/taxi then, well, you can walk yourself down. In the US it was a liability issue. No discharging mother was allowed to walk to the front doors that I’ve ever seen.

·         Since Ashlyn is in NICU I have to pump the breast milk and have it delivered downstairs. I did so for my regular admission days. Since I had to stay an extra day my quota of breast milk bottles ran out or my free allotment was gone with the regular price of admission. The last day they told me I had to buy bottles. Seriously? I had to buy my own bottles and they would sterilize them for me. Or if I had some at home I could bring those in. I almost started laughing at the nurse that came to inform me of my little problem. Brian was about to leave the house to come see me and I caught him just in time. He went digging through the storage tub of baby gear and pulled out every bottle and cap we owned and brought it all to me with a Sharpie. We labeled all my bottles and lids and commenced using my own gear. Isn’t that hilarious?

·         You can check your bill at any moment in time with a quick trip to the cashier downstairs. Try doing that in the US. Just this last autumn I got a statement of benefits for a doctor visit one of us had in 2009 in the US. I can’t imagine why the system is about to fall apart if they haven’t figured out a bill from over two years ago. Here you pay in full at discharge. End of story. No fighting for payments to be made and in the end, everything is cheaper. My final bill for everything was $12,000. We estimate Ashlyn will be near the same at $12,000, maybe a $1,000 more now with this extra, extra, extra day since she was just under $8,000 two days ago. And we have to pay it. The hospital isn’t going to hassle with the insurance knocking down costs and just choosing not to pay for random stuff. Not their problem. And overall, if you convert the currency, we think it’s a pretty good bargain all things considered. I believe my US c-sections were around $10,000 US without an extra day. The cost here, converted to US dollars is about $9,000 for me and included extra surgery time and an extra day stay. That’s what happens when you take insurance games out of the mix and pay actual cost instead of imaginary cost at negotiated below cost rates.
Of course we do have insurance in the US but that’s my problem, not the hospitals problem. We’re out of network – go figure. So let the games in the US begin…we will file with Aetna this week to get at least a portion of those bills reimbursed.

·         NICU is totally different. Outstanding care in both I believe, though this is our first personal experience.  Difference is that the NICU here is just for the babies. No vinyl style chair for a recovering mommy to sit in and visit her baby and nurse. When I come down they push an office chair over for me to sit on. No arm rests, no relaxing holding your baby. They totally encourage you to come down lots, they just don’t make a camp out here style atmosphere.
Then it’s time to finally feed the baby. In the US I have sat or stood next to friends with their NICU babies and you can have as much or little privacy as you like with curtains or blankets. Realizing your location though, I don’t see a huge need to be overly private. Everyone knows what’s going on and as long as you are somewhat discrete if others are around then who cares.  Well here they are so incredibly worried about privacy when feeding. They pull the curtain all the way around you tight. And if it got bumped or came open even two inches on the far corner really far from me, they would get up from the nurses desk, walk all the way over and close that precious two inches of curtain to maintain my complete and total privacy. I’m sure it was for respect of hypersensitive mommies doing this for their first time but holy cow they were like curtain Nazis and Brian and I would laugh in there.

·         Room size is totally different. With Ben and Jacob I had my own room by virtue of available space at the hospitals. With Maddie I had four roommates in four days. You could have fit my shared room here in Singapore in the space of the single bed room in the US. Wow were things tight. The visitor chair couldn’t even be turned to face the patient because there wasn’t enough room for it that direction. The privacy curtain around my bed was right near the foot of the bed but on the other side when they wheeled in each of my two roommates the transport beds didn’t fit in the tiny aisle space so it was half over the patient on their way in. When they tried to unload one gal into her bed the transport bed wheels hooked on my tray table and knocked it over. I could totally see what was going to happen so I just grabbed the ceramic mug of water and held it until they passed and then righted my tray table back.  Talk about tight quarters!

·         Eating post c-section has always been a down side for me. With Ben I had to pass gas before I could eat. It took two days. Add that to the day it took to labor before we opted for a c-section and I was famished. Three days of no food was brutal. Maddie and Jake I got to cut out the extra day and I believe I probably ate about 24-36 hours later. Here there was no gas passing requirement and I got soft diet at 24 hours – breakfast late the next morning, real food by dinner the next day. My second roommate was a c-section too. She had her surgery in the afternoon and ate full breakfast the next day. She also got her tubes out less than 24 hours later, to me that’s too fast. It means the catheter is gone and you have to move to the toilet, often and quickly but your body isn’t ready to do that yet. At least mine isn’t. Mine came out about the same as in the US, 30 hours or so post-surgery.

·         Caesar. That’s what they are called here. No c-sections in Singapore. Lots of people don’t know what I mean unless they think for a second. So I’ve now had three c-sections and one Caesar.

·         Nurse care was not good, maybe even rotten with Ben. They were busy and didn’t listen to me about the pain. Being the first I didn’t know any better. They got near the point of yelling at me for not feeding enough. The last day, when they changed me from IV pain meds in my back at the epidural site to orals I almost punched the poor, sweet southern nurse. She said, “Well sweetheart, this thing wasn’t even in!” Seriously? I had no pain meds after a c-section for three days. I could barely get out of bed the entire three days. I was a complete and total disaster and they kept telling me push this little button and it will give you more pain meds. And for three days those pain meds slowly, slowly leaked one drip at a time into my sheets. Idiots. But no one would listen to me when I said I needed help and the pain meds weren’t working. Overall it was a very, very bad experience.
Maddie and Jake deliveries had good nursing and I was pretty happy.
Ashlyn’s delivery here in Singapore was fantastic! The nurses came within about 90 seconds of pushing the call button almost every time. Only once did they use the intercom to ask what I needed instead of coming straight in to help me. They were happy, helpful, prompt and attentive. Every nurse, every shift, every time. They fell in love with Jacob too and he did not disappoint. More than one nurse actually came in to my room to ask if Jacob was coming to visit this day or that. They were so sweet to him and he loved them too. It’s the specs and his smile I think. Makes him too cute to resist.
One day I showered and got the chills and got stuck in the bathroom completely unable to move because my muscles were clenched so tight I couldn’t budge. Couldn’t get to my bed, couldn’t get dressed, couldn’t even reach the emergency cord to pull for help. I was crying and upset because it hurts so bad (it’s happened all four times for me – it was just really bad timing this time). I was stuck, naked on the toilet shivering and praying for help. When I had  a brief break in the shivers I reached a second towel and got it on my shoulders. When I had my next break I made a break for my bed wrapped in two towels. When I finally got myself out of the bathroom in my room the nurses were just finishing changing me sheets and I climbed in and one nurse just hugged me and let me cry for a minute, then brought me warm milo and checked back often to make sure my temperature was regulating, then got me a wheelchair so I didn’t miss my first chance to hold Ashlyn and feed her which is what I thought was going to happen and was part of why I was so upset. The next feeding would be shift change so no visitors, then it would be six more hours of waiting since we could just take her off her oxygen for feedings only, not just to hold her. They got me warm and in a wheelchair so I could go down to the NICU. The nurses here are fantastic and each one was from a different country. I had nurses from Singapore, Philipines, Yemen and tons of other countries, all with a story of what brought them here.


If I were to have to choose, I’d choose to have any other babies in Singapore. The care is fantastic.


Eating lunch at the Delifrance in a tropical rainstorm. Temperature is still fantastic though the humidity had hit and chased me indoors bu the time i had finished my 10am breakfast.

What a relaxing day. I was worried that not being home to take a nap would be hard on my recovery and sitting up on the hospital lobby couches would be hard on me. This is proving ten times more restful than a day at home with my cute kids even with a nap. Ha! Never thought it would turn out that way. Plus lunch was a BBQ chicken sandwich that rivals my Grandma Manning's cooking and it just felt so American. Of course i got it with fresh mango juice. Gotta love the perks of Singapore life!

Amazing juice and fruit on every corner. In fact the shops in hospital crack me up. There is one that sells flowers and fruit. There is more fruit in the store than flowers. What am I going to do? Buy someone a jackfruit and take it to their room? How they gonna prepare it? I didn't pack a knife and plate in my hospital stay bag.

It's March...Shouldn't I Still Have a Coat?

It's 10 am Sunday morning the first part of March. In my head I should be wearing a coat or at least a jacket. Instead I am sitting at the hospital Delifrance outdoor patio. I should be sweating and sticky but today, here in the shade the weather is perfect beyond description. The temperature mild, humidity low, breeze light and not hot and oppressive (can't bring myself to say cool though it feels it relative to normal Singapore). The fountain in the stone paved flower garden is peaceful and the jungle bird calls delightfully relaxing. God sure make a beautiful world. Today I will have to enjoy this as my church service. Not a bad trade to the three wiggle monsters we cart off to the regular Sunday services with markers and coloring books. Soon enough I'll be right back in the thick of it only with four wiggle monsters. They sure are cute ones though.

Brian dropped me at the hospital this morning for the 9am feeding. Ashlyn is getting 30 mL by bottle when I'm not around every three hours. She got 25 mL in ten minutes before she got sleepy. The nurse said to try for those last 5 mL. I got her woke up just a little and in ten more minutes she fell asleep but weighed in with a whopping 65 mL in 20 minutes with me today. No worries if breast feeding will work out at home now. She may not stay in premie clothes I've got for her very long!

The feeding is going great. Breathing and oxygen saturation levels show her immature lung has developed sufficiently. Now we are on to jaundice. Levels have been up and down. Her morning test was 228. One more day suntanning under the blue lights in the NICU then she should head home tomorrow. Bummer to be delayed. Again.

Plan for today is catch the 9 am, noon and at least 3 pm feedings. If I'm still feeling good maybe even 6pm. Then head home to rest. I prepared for this. I took both types of pain meds, brought the pump and the laptop, put my medical binder on as tight as I can manage to keep my insides in place while my abdominal muscles heal up. Cash in my pocket to get good healthy meals. Actually I don't have pockets. That's one of my beefs with the maternity clothing industry. Just cause I'm pregnant (or post pregnant bit still chubby) doesn't eliminate my need for pockets. Some of us don't like to carry purses or bags but carry one I must until I slim back down.

Tomorrow I come back at 9 am to feed and get lab results then, hopefully, take her home. In a taxi. Haha.

To An American

I sit now in the lobby of the hospital while Brian is loading all my gear in the car. I've been thinking through our plans for today and tomorrow. We've got things basically figured out. We hang out together until the 4pm feeding. Go in at 3:30 so we don't miss it. Brian drives to the financial class we have been taking together. I take a taxi home.

Then I considered this from an American frame of mind. If a girlfriend of mine in Fairfax had ever told me that she got discharged from the hospital and took a taxi home I'd think her husband was a first class idiot. Seriously. To me now, living here, seems to make perfect sense. It's the perfect option. In the US I think I've only ridden in a taxi on our one trip to NYC. I wouldn't have even known how to call a cab.

Sunday the plan is to drop me at the hospital and Brian goes home so Gina can go to her church. Then he takes the kids to our church. If Ashlyn can come home I take a cab home - unless the meeting end time lines up with the discharge time. Such is Singapore life and we love it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Happy Face

I should take a picture of my happy face to show how excited I am that the doctor just signed my discharge papers. That would be to counter balance the "This Is My Sad Face" post about Jacob not getting a brother the other day.
Instead I'm going to get outta here and go try to feed that cute baby downstairs before the well meaning nurses fill her tummy yet again. Don't they know we're trying to get her released?

Maybe Sunday?

First, we got to hold Ashlyn yesterday for the first time. She’s so tiny and warm and perfect. Sorry I didn’t get to posting yesterday. At least I don’t think I did. My head is foggy on what I’ve done when.


Now the latest.

Doctor just checked in with me for the morning. Ashlyn did get overnight hood oxygen so she could get a good solid rest but it’s already gone again for the day. Today she stays in NICU but moves down to level 1 which means monitoring only. She could come up here but I counted 23 babies and one nurse at 4:15 am when I went down the hall to get my sterilized bottles to pump and I know my roommate had her baby with her. Yeah. Ash can stay downstairs where someone can really watch her just one more day. The whole week she’s been in there have been at least three nurses and no more than four babies.


Then she can discharge from the NICU rather than through the regular nursery. Great news. It’s possible if today is stellar she can come home Sunday instead of Monday. That gives me motivation to camp out in the lobby several more hours today. Our original plan was to stick for two feedings then head home for me to rest and hope to catch two feedings later when the kiddos were done with dinner and winding down for the day.  Repeat on Sunday – two morning, two afternoon. Come back Monday for morning feedings and cross fingers she could come home.


So the agenda for today:
Talk to Dr. Loh about Ashlyn

Talk to Dr. Loh about my discharge (yeah, my doctor and Ashlyn’s doctor have the same name – it’s a little confusing sometimes but entertaining. Remember my post about how Mr. Lim does everything? Well, I guess Dr. Loh does all things medical.)

Get pain meds in hand

Pay monster bill downstairs


Feed Ashlyn

Sit in lobby

Feed Ashlyn

Sit in lobby

Feed Ashlyn

Sit in lobby

Repeat ad nauseam until I’m too tired to stay.

Sleep at home – maybe on the couch tonight if I’m too tired to climb three stories to get to my bed (and climb in my bed which I admit is a bit of a mountainous height since we got the new mattress last year before we moved)


I almost hate to post anything at all because with every report I get the plan changes. Why publish it if it’s not going to happen. Just leads to emails that say, “But I thought you were going to…..” I know. That’s just the way it goes with medical stuff I guess. The “current” situation is always different than when you last checked in.  Oh well. I’m hoping and praying she’s a tough cookie and pushes for Sunday discharge. I think she can. I think she can. I think she can.

I Got A Fancy Visitor Today

This is how Maddie showed up at the hospital to visit me yesterday. I love that the pre-K she is attending totally indulges her creative spirit. She had apparently been wearing this unicorn horn all afternoon. It was expertly crafted by Ms. Fiza, the aid for the class and is made of rubber bands, crumpled paper and staples. Then she had a play date at Sierra’s house and they had a fashion show so she wore the beautiful ensemble home from the play date and to the hospital. She is so full of confidence it’s inspiring. If we could all love ourselves as much as a five year old does and think we looked as great as she was feeling yesterday there would be a lot less depressed people in the world. We love her to pieces.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ashlyns Morning Plans

This morning Miss Ashlyn still looks yellow so they will do the blood test for jaundice and take advantage of the chance to treat her with lights while she’s already in the NICU if needed. They lowered oxygen to 21% overnight and she tolerated it well so she goes back in the hood today then if she’s doing great we try a real feeding which means we could maybe hold her for the first time today. The chest xray yesterday looked more like immature lungs rather than wet lungs which is not very common for a baby at 38 weeks but obviously it happens because here we are.


Doctor Loh is hoping she can try room air in the morning tomorrow and if she can suckle well possibly discharge on Sunday.  Only one day after I leave so that would relieve lots of stress about coordinating our lives without taxi rides to deliver pumped breast milk and visiting the hospital to nurse her.


Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ashlyn Update for Tonight

Ashlyn has worked herself up on feedings from her start at birth of 2ml to 3ml the next day, then 6ml this morning and a whopping 10ml as of tonight so keep her settled and happy. If I upped my calorie intake by a factor of five in 48 hours there might be some negative repercussions but for her it's great news.

They lowered the oxygen level of the CPAP from 35 to 30 yesterday and down to 25 when the pediatrician checked her tonight. It does mean her breathing rate is up but she's tolerating it well enough. If she stays tough through the night they will remove the CPAP tubes in the morning when the doctor comes back and monitor her again.

We are looking at getting her a suntan though as even I can see she's looking kind of yellowish. A little bit of jaundice is likely starting. Blood tests in the morning to see where she is on the belirubin count then they shall see if she gets to have the lights.

I'm grateful that even though she's in the NICU we aren't having one of those terrifying life and death experiences some parents face. It's mostly calm and easy going with problems, but time and patience are the most important factors. Things could be a lot worse so I'm thinking our "troubles" are just little bumps in the road and Ashlyn will be just fine soon enough. Brian and I (and the kids) can hardly wait to really hold her for the first time.


What exactly is that? Otherwise I've been okay with the hospital food so far.

I have a seafood allergy marked on a neon orange wristband and my file though. Yesterday they brought me the menu when I could start a soft diet again. Choice available for soft diet was fishball soup. I told the lady I can't have that. She asks me what I think is a soft food that I like. I suggest scrambled eggs. She says okay to write it down. I write "scrambled eggs". She says "No write on soft." I look for a line to write it on but don't see one. I point, "Write the word soft here?" She affirms. I wonder since scrambled eggs seem pretty darn soft by nature should I have written "under cooked" instead? Ended up not mattering. Never got those soft undercooked scrambled eggs. Got chicken broth again instead.

Another time a different lady brought the menu. I get daily choice of Chinese, Western, Malay, Vegetarian or Local Diet. Every option, including the western meal, had fish. I got to hand write in "grilled chicken breast" for my choice. I think they ate pretty lax on the menu here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Productive 3am Thinking about Baby Names

I just realized something. All our kids have repeat initials for first and middle names except Jakey. We almost made Jacob a Jacob Joshua because we couldn't decide which to use as his first name between the two. In the end we used Jacob Robert after my super cool uncle Rob. Guess he's the odd man out for sure now with Benjamin Brian, Madison Mae and Ashlyn Anne. Sorry kiddo. It just sort of happened that way this last time without us thinking about it.

Ashlyn in NICU

After several hours breathing enriched air in a box, the doctors decided Ashlyn needed additional help.  Last night they changed her to a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device to inflate her lungs so they can dry out.  She now has air tubes attached to her nose and a food tube in her mouth.  Hopefully this will help dry out her lungs so she can leave the NICU tomorrow.  If she has peed enough by tomorrow they will remove the CPAP and test her oxygen saturation levels while she breathes unaided.

All of Angie's tubes were removed today so she was allowed out of bed.  We took the long journey down one floor to visit Ashlyn in the NICU.  This was the first that Angie was able to see Ashlyn since leaving the operating room.  Angie appears to be recovering well.

This is My Sad Face

Maddie was all smiles when she heard it was a sister. Ben wanted to look at the baby and see if he could figure it out but through the frosted glass window he couldn’t really tell. Now that he knows it is a girl he is happy the boy-girl pattern was maintained in the family. Jacob was the best. He said, “Mom, this is my sad face because I don’t WANT the baby to be a girl.” He cracks me up. Maddie was helping show the sad face when i asked to see it again so i could take a picture of it in case you were wondering what got her so down.

Ashlyn Anne Zufelt

Brian just went down to attempt to register the baby birth with the government office so I guess we are committed.  We’ve named the baby Ashlyn Anne Zufelt.


We think she’s pretty cute for a kid wearing a box on her head.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Baby Girl

Brian's email to the family right after delivery announcing the birth with her stats. Obviously I've updated her status below but wanted to include her official weight length and time.

We have a new baby girl! She was born Mar 6 at 8:28 a.m. (Mar 5 at 5:28 p.m. Utah time). She is our smallest baby at 2710 grams and 48 centimeters (5 lbs 15.8 oz and 18.9 inches). After an hour of observation she still needed help keeping her oxygen levels up so she has been transferred to the NICU to receive oxygen and additional monitoring. She is doing well and should be out in a few hours after she gets all the fluid out of her lungs.

Angie is doing well.

Pee Baby Pee!

The doctor (pediatrician) just came with an update on our little lady. She is still grunting hard for each breath. The chest X-ray shows either very, very wet lungs or immature lungs. Time will tell but no infection or pneumonia so that is the positive news. She is on antibiotics as a precaution and starts the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) now for at least 24 maybe 48 hours. This will help her feel better by helping hold the lungs open so she doesn't have to work so hard to breath. If it is wet lung she will hopefully be able to process it out in the next 24 hours by peeing.

She's grounded to the NICU for probably at least 48 hours more before she can go to the regular nursery delaying her discharge for sure. I guess that's okay because mine is delayed too. The doctor keeps referring to my internals as "quite a jungle" and it took him a long time to repair and put me back together. I had planned to go home Friday but he says Saturday is likely the soonest he is willing to let me outta this joint.

Guess me and baby girl get to hang out together...sort of. Me on the 4th floor, her on the 3rd. Hopefully tomorrow I will be well enough to go see the baby. Then maybe it will seem more real. Sort of hard to name a baby you aren't connected to yet if that makes sense.

First Hospital Visit

Brian just arrived at the hospital with the kids to visit me. They all stared at the IV in my hand looking a little scared so we explained it simply. Maddie's next question was "Are we allowed to play games on your phone while we are here?" I think she obviously really missed me.

We asked if they want to go see the baby and they smiled. Since baby will be in NICU for one to two days until she is breathing better they can't really see much and can't go in. Brian offered to tell them the sex but Ben covered his ears. He wanted to see the baby first. Maddie was sworn to secrecy and her smile went from ear to eat when she heard she finally had a sister!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Baby Coming Soon - Boy or Girl??

We report to the hospital at 5:30 am to prep for 8:00 am surgery. Details coming soon. We're all anxious to know if it's a boy or girl. The bets are in from our clan.

Brian - girl, because he cheated and watched the ultrasound when the doctor said to look away if we really didn't want to find out. He looked the entire time and from his own expert conclusion figured he couldn't make out any details to point otherwise. Of course, we also both concur that we wouldn't have been able to tell with Ben or Jacob either on those fuzzy ultrasound screens.

Angie - girl, because it just feels like it's gotta be a girl

Ben - girl, because keeps a pattern - boy dad, girl mom, boy ben, girl maddie, boy jacob, must be a girl this time. I'm thinking he has a touch of the Robinson obsession for fairness down to the penny and my OCD on patterns and numbers. It's in the blood.

Maddie - girl, because she needs a sister more than anything in the world. It's taken many months but we have her finally resigned to love the baby even if God does see fit to send us a boy.

Jacob - boy, it will no longer be a yittle boy fluffy doggie. That's progress. Down side is that it won't have feet or legs. We're working one step at a time here to get the right picture in his mind. Hopefully it will all be clear when they meet tomorrow night.

Kathi Neilson - ??  She's the only one on the planet that knows the surprise. Don't be mad. She begged for months for me to find out. She needed to buy something inparticular that she can only get in Singapore before ExxonMobil moved them home to Houston, Texas in December. I had the doctor write it down and seal it in an envelope and gave it to her.

Are you mad? Yeah, I thought you would be knowing that someone knew and YOU didn't. That's why we didn't tell anyone she knew until this week. Don't worry. We don't know either and today I'm thinking it's really all kinda funny. As far as I know she hasn't told a soul.

Funny story on the special baby gift though. I hid the wrapped gift, sort of. I tossed it in the office in a box of paperwork that I wasn't ever going to get around to unpacking so that I would NEVER see it and not be tempted. Well, then we hired Gina. And I've gotten lots of boxes unpacked I hadn't figured I'd ever get around to working on.

For some reason Maddie decided to rummage through the box with the gift. She came running up to me, package in hand, fingers already underneath the edge of the paper ready to rip iit open. "LOOK MOM!!! We forgot to open this one!" "NOOOOO!!!!" I yelled almost in slow motion begging her to stop pulling at the edge that was beginning to rip. "Don't you DARE open that present!" I bellowed at her.

Poor girl was so startled by my response she looked scared. I have no idea how I got out of the situation without revealing the real reason she couldn't open said present. Heaven sakes I probably lied that it was for someone else. I don't know but it worked and she didn't open it. Crisis averted. Though the devil on my left shoulder was pouting at the angel on my right shoulder and calling her a party pooper and kill joy. Half of me wished she'd ruined it so I could just KNOW.

Tomorrow we shall know.  Care to register a guess before we find out?