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Birthday

We are so happy for the arrival of our first born son, Siam Huu Nguyen. He is absolutely adorable. We are both recovering well.

The night of his birth was filled with exciting and scary moments for me.

Over the last several weeks, my blood pressure has been borderline high and creeping up slowly. When the doctor gave me a fetal non-stress test to check the baby’s heart rate and movements, the results were ok, not great. Like a little bit of movement, not a lot. Doctor ordered me to take it easy, rest at home, and come back in a few days to retake the test. Unless I start having contractions, bleeding, or don’t feel the baby move. Chances are, if the second tests show the same thing, the baby should come out. He might not be thriving in my womb anymore.

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On Monday night I was getting ready for bed around 11:00pm and started feeling contractions. Everybody’s been telling me how many many hours it takes to deliver a baby and how I should stay home as long as possible.

But they were really close together. Like 5 minutes apart right from the beginning. So I woke Liem and my mom up and they started timing the contractions. Less than 5 minutes apart. Ok, it’s late at night, and without traffic we can get to the hospital by taxi in 5-7 minutes. Then around 1am I started bleeding. My OB/GYN nurse, certified midwife Mom looked concerned. Time to go.

When I got to the hospital, my blood pressure was normal, 120/81 and I was dilated 1 cm (10cm is when you actually push the baby out). But contracting every 5 minutes. So they hooked me up to a monitor for baby and found that he was decelerating: heart rate was dropping during the contractions. That’s not good. Mom is looking worried. So they said the baby would have to come out soon. Likely before morning, likely by c-section.

At 3:00am, my water broke. But there was the baby’s poo (meconium for all you healthcare people) in the water. Baby’s got to come now because there is a risk that he’ll inhale the poo. Which is also bad. At this point, I was only dilated to 3cm. My labor was progressing fast for a first timer, but he needed to come out immediately.

So they prepped me for surgery, and Liem got scrubbed down and came in to hold my hand. He watched the whole surgery. I was laying there, awake during surgery, numb from the chest down, arms spread, praying the entire time. Watching Liem’s facial expressions and listening closely to the dialog between the doctors.

Baby Siam came at 4:11am. 3180 grams (~7lbs), 51 cm (~20.5″). He didn’t cry for several seconds. The cord was wrapped loosely around his neck. He was a little blue. First APGAR score was a 7 (7-10 is good). They cleared his lungs. No meconium (poo) seen. Then he starts crying! Next APGAR (5 minutes later) was a 10. He’s pink! They prep him, wrap him, let me kiss him and whisk him away for tests.

I get stitched up. I fall asleep. Mmmm. morphine.

At 6:30am or so, the pediatrician came in. She said that Baby Siam was wheezing a bit so they put him on oxygen (see the video of the astronaut helmet in the previous blog) and a culture was taken to see if any bacteria from the poo had gotten into his blood. Antibiotics just in case. IV saline fluids. No breastfeeding yet, until the the doctor says he’s ok.

Meanwhile, I’ve just had abdominal surgery. So I’m on an IV and have to lay flat for what turns out to be 36 hours. It’s worse than being bedridden, because not many things are within arms reach when you have to be flat: light switches, ice chips, cell phone, remote control, etc.

The next day, the wheezing stops and his breathing improves and he no longer needs the oxygen helmet. And we get to try breastfeeding. I’m thinking it’s going to be pretty hard because he may be groggy from the medication and c-section, and I have to do it from a lying down position. But, he’s a natural. He’s so good that they say if he feeds well again, they’ll take him off the IV fluids. Good, because I was a little sad seeing his tiny little hand with the big needle and tubes coming out.

Now I’m upright, walking around the room, blogging, eating soft foods, and Siam is doing well enough for us to keep him with us in the room. He’s a really good eater, and all he does at this point is eat, sleep, and fill diapers, but it’s pretty hard to take my eyes off him.

So thanks a million for the prayers, even if you didn’t know what was going on in real time!

-Downy

SIAM NGUYEN

Welcome to the world, baby Siam Nguyen. Born at 4:11 am on December 22nd,2009. Roughly 6.9 lbs and 20.5 inches.

The labor pains started at 11:20 pm and wasn’t exactly sure how the whole “timing of contractions” worked… but you learn quick when it’s time. The contractions started off lasting for 45 seconds each and they were only 2-5 minutes apart for the first hour. Because the contractions where so close together we had to rush to the hospital.

Luckily, Downy’s mom was around which is good for two reasons… she is Thai, so she can speak to the doctors and nurse in their native language. And also, because she is a certified midwife / OBGYN Nurse. She arrived to Thailand in perfect timing.

At the hospital we monitored the baby’s heart rate and due to complications… the baby needed to come out of Downy’s body right away. A C-section was performed and I had a front row seat to hold Downy’s hand. Witnessing a C-section is not for the squeemish… people don’t realize that it’s major surgery and I can go into detail but I’ll refrain because it’s pretty graphic.

After a little while watching them operate, they pulled the baby out and did the standard protocol on all C-section babies (tests, checks, etc) They brought the baby out so that we can briefly see him up close. It’s one of those really surreal moments in your life. For us, everything happenned so fast.

They stitched Downy up and she is now recovering from surgery. She is knocked out like trout right now, so it gives me a little time to write.

It’s been a long time coming Siam. We love you. And, a lot of people have been pulling for you… all smiles in Bangkok.

SIAM is the old name for Thailand and it seemed fitting since it’s his birthplace. Plus he’s 1/2 Thai (SIAM) and 1/2 Vietnamese (NGUYEN)

Below is a video of the little guy… just 30 minutes old. He had to be held in an oxygen shield for a while… one of the standard procedures for C-Section.  Anyways, we had a great father / son talk… I like to lay down the law early.

Thank you everyone for all your love, support, and prayers. We really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, appreciate it. Really.

Liem

Getting closer…

It’s getting closer to the due date and Downy’s mom just arrived last night. We went to the hospital today to get things checked up and everything seems ok. Just that Downy’s blood pressure is a bit high so we’ll be back to the hospital in a few days. She is in full term now so the baby is ready to come out… depending on how high her blood pressure is in a couple of days, the doctor might induce labor!

We’ll keep everyone posted… we might be getting an early Christmas gift.

Liem

Things are going well here in Thailand… I think each day we’re adjusting better and better. It’s been crazy busy at work and this weekend we have a 3 day weekend for the king’s birthday here.  So had some time to take some special photos of Downy’s pregnancy. The butterflies were painted by a talented friend of ours named Ise.

So time is quickly approaching and we’ll be parents soon. A lot of emotions. I think Downy is a little  nervous… but her mom is flying over here in a week so that should make things a bit better. And it helps that her mom is an ob/gyn nurse. =) Anyways, hope you enjoy the photos… we’ll be in touch again soon.

Happy Holidays… we miss everyone. We miss Christmas. We miss cold weather in Christmas.

Liem


Photo Updates

Sorry it’s been a while since we’ve blogged. Liem is in full swing with work, and I volunteer every day for several hours. We are both taking Thai classes (he is learning conversational Thai, I am learning how to read and write)

So it’s been really hectic here over the past few weeks…

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October 27 was our 2 year wedding anniversary! Liem took me on a dinner cruise along the Chao Phraya River, which runs through Bangkok.  We both had a really good time.

Yummy Thai, Pan Asian, sushi buffet.

Thai dancing. Our entertainment for the evening.

One of many bridges we passed on the dinner cruise.

Capped the night off with some mini cupcakes I bought from the local bakery.

He still gets me flowers…

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A week later, our 50 moving boxes came by ocean cargo from NYC. Time to nest!

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I mid November, we went for a routine ultrasound. Baby Nguyen is healthy and growing! At 34 weeks (8 months) he weighs 2010 grams (4.43lbs)

this one is his face

This one is of the ribs.

This one is called “anatomy” … Definitely a boy.

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We went to a Japanese art exhibit at the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center in late November.

This alien was waiting for us outside. She’s taller than the sky train!

This robot greeted us inside. Male or female?

Looks kinda like the Guggenheim on the inside. Giant polka dot balls were part of the Japanese exhibit.

Got my own belly ball to show too 🙂

Robots on a ferris wheel.

Liem in his element.

That’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed!

-Downy

This past weekend, Liem and I went on a retreat with a church called Song Sawan. They are closely connected with NightLight. It gave me a good opportunity to show Liem who I work with each day and allowed both of us to become closer to this amazing community.

We were in Isaan, a region a few hours North of Bangkok. It was nice to get out of the city for a weekend and back to nature. Lots of laughter, tears, joy with 50 others.

There was Thai worship music. There was Scripture. Testimonies. Games. Deliverance. 5 Baptisms and one accepted God into her life!

We came back to the city with a sense of renewed spirit and refreshed, ready to battle the upcoming week!

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Baby bump: week 31 (7+months)

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This bright, blue bus was our ride to Isaan. It matches my shirt. It features a super loud sound system and disco ball for dancing!

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It rained pretty hard the night before, so there were lots of flooded streets all over Bangkok.

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Singing worship songs in Thai. There are no words to describe the love for God in the room.

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Worship gathering.

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5 women were baptized this weekend. So beautiful…

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Volunteers in the woods! I love being around such amazing women with amazing hearts.

Noble Awards

Just recently found out that AnnaLynne McCord has picked up a Noble Award on for her work with The Blind Project. We’ve been fortunate to have her on our team to spread awareness about sex trafficking, to her Hollywood colleages.

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Looking back when me, Anthony, and Chad started the organization our goal was to spread awareness and that’s why we called it The Blind Project… to open the eyes to those who are blind to the issue of sex trafficking. We are so amazed and humbled to see how far it’s come.

Have to believe that’s why me and Downy are in Thailand. Downy is helping women who have been exploited by the sex trade and I am working in advertising. But together, we can use our resources to help these victims and open the eyes of those here in Southeast Asia.

Below is a video from the event this past weekend. It’s a bit long but you get to see Anthony and a very good speech by AnnaLynne (by the ways, the person standing next to Anthony in the video is the wife of ‘Uncle Jesse’ from Full House, random).

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I am excited to see what the upcoming year will bring. We have some new fashion / jewelry designers on our team and one of our upcoming projects will feature fashion goods made by rescued victims in Southeast Asia.

At the very heart of it all is the sad truth that slavery is still in existence today – much more than it ever was in history.

We are so very thankful for everyone who has supported The Blind Project thus far.

God Bless,

Liem