Baby update! (with pictures)

Again life happened and the resolution to post regularly died a sad silent death. It’s been so long since I last posted I forgot my username and password. Time for a life update and another attempt to revitalize this blog!

To say that much has changed would be a huge understatement. Let’s see, some highlights since my last post in December (of 2016??):

  • Found out we were expecting in January.
  • Transitioned out of my teaching role at Harbor-UCLA to go full-time at the Children’s Clinic in May.
  • Decided with the new baby coming would not have enough time/energy/money/fill-in-the-blank to continue with seminary so ended my time at Talbot early with a certificate in Theology also in May.
  • Moved into a new home mid August
  • Closed escrow on our old place mid September

And the most wonderful highlight of 2017:

  • Welcomed baby Cody Jackson Tsai on September 21st at 12:18 am, coming in at 7 lbs, 4 oz and 18 inches.

The whole delivery was ridiculously fast. Priscilla went in because of some light bleeding. She didn’t really have any contractions, but we just wanted to be safe. Checked in around 6:30 pm, contractions started picking up and becoming regular, and made a little change by 8:30 pm so hospital decided to keep her. She was admitted around 9:30 pm and close to midnight the baby was ready to come out. 2 pushes later, enter baby Cody!

She progressed so fast that there was no time for an epidural. Her primary OB didn’t even make it (I was ready to jump in there, but thankfully there was a backup OB). That was basically Priscilla’s worst nightmare, but she pushed through it like a super champ (yes on the pun!). I’m so proud of her and amazed at her strength. The end result?

Well, at least a week later after he has been cleaned up, fattened up, and most of the jaundice had gone away. 1st days he looked like this:

2017, and particularly the last several months, has been a huge whirlwind of activity and it took finally being on paternity leave to have some space and time to reflect. And sadly, very shortly after Cody was born, Ansley caught Hand Foot Mouth Disease from daycare, and unselfishly shared it with me (we’ve been working on this).

Thankfully she bypassed the oral lesions and her hand and feet lesions didn’t hurt. Luckily, I caught the whole package deal. And I have to say these ulcers and blisters hurt like a motor scooter. As the lesions spread from my mouth to my hands and feet, making each bite and step excruciating, I couldn’t help but think of Job 2:7-8

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

Now obviously it’s not that bad but it has been quite miserable this past week. And as much as these lesions hurt, what has been so much harder has been not being able to hold my new baby and be with Priscilla in these early days. Sorry Priscilla that I haven’t been able to be there for you. And I know how painful it has been for you to have to turn Ansley away too.

Not to all of a sudden get too preachy, but I think through this I understand a little bit more of the immense suffering of hell. Whatever physical pain there may be, I suspect it will not compare to the emotional pain of being separated for all eternity from our heavenly Father, with whom we have been created for deep, intimate relationship.

I’m off the soapbox now. Thanks for reading and would so appreciate your prayers for Ansley and my recovery, and for Priscilla’s and Cody’s continued health. Please pray for my anxiety too as I know what doctors do to babies less than 28 days old with fevers.

Some more pictures!

Looking back, Ansley was probably the most contagious here…

SD visit!

Wow sorry for not updating for so long. I have a pretty good excuse though, it was March Madness. Just kidding, I didn’t even watch a single game entirely. Incidently, I was third in my church bracket. Not bad for just picking randomly.

Life has been very much different since the new year! It has been so much fun being a dad. That’s because Priscilla is doing most of the work =P. Since I am back at work now, she let’s me sleep through the night. It is crazy how fast she is growing up. Here’s a fairly recent picture, and one of my favorites!

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Absolutely adorable. We’ve been so bless, she’s done so well. Just this week she went on her first overnight trip! I got invited to speak to a pre-health class at Point Loma University so we made a family trip out of it. No melt-downs or anything, she was quite the trooper. It is crazy how much we have to pack though just for one night.

It was a really fun trip. We got to spend time with some old church friends, as well as with Dr Nick, which is always an encouragement.  The day of the talk Priscilla and I enjoyed brunch at the Mission Restuarant in PB (can’t believe I never been there before), and then exercised the spiritual discipline of bargain shopping at the Carlsbad outlets.

Speaking for the pre-health class was such a privilege as well. It was so good to be with these students whose heart for patients has not been hardened by the trials of training and the frustrations of the realities of patient care. Even though I was supposed to be ministering to them, I was blessed and encouraged by them. I needed to be reminded of convictions God placed on my heart when I was in their shoes, and that I need God’s spirit to start softening my heart up again to love.

So, to the pre-health class, thank you. I will be praying for you as you continue to seek God’s calling for you. And if that happens to be medicine, I pray that God would strengthen and guard your heart as you go through your training and beyond. Dr. Choung and Dr. Buzzell, you are doing a great work. May God persevere and bring to completion the work that has been started!

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Home Sweet Home (A recap of this past week’s excitement)

Wow what a whirlwind of a week this turned out to be. During my sermon last Sunday I half joked that when we met again for service we might be new parents. I have to be more careful with my words.

Even though we are a full week early, the timing could not have been better. The baby turned out bigger than anticipated, and the doctor even said that if the baby stayed until her due date, Priscilla would have needed a c-section. Looks like Someone knows what He is doing.

These last several days are just a huge blur. Now that we are finally home, I have a chance to process it all. More for my own sake, here’s a recap how our little miracle came into this world. If you don’t care for the details, you can scroll through to see the pictures. It all started about 9 mos ago after a romanti… just kidding we won’t go that far back.

Tuesday morning (12/30/14) while I was getting ready for my last week of work, Priscilla mentioned she had a small amount of discharge that was more watery than usual. She hadn’t had much in terms of contractions, but after an extensive review of medical literature on Google, we decided to just go in to be safe. Turned out to be a good call.

Around 8:30 am we arrived at Labor and Delivery, and they sent off a sample to the lab. Thirty minutes later, the nurse confirmed that Priscilla was leaking amniotic fluid. Even though it was a very small amount, they decided to admit her to induce labor since she was at a higher risk of infection (GBS + for the medical people) and told us that the baby will come in the next 12-24 hours.

Hearing that, I went into panic mode since I thought I still had one more week to prepare. While Priscilla got admitted, I went home to tie up what seemed like a million loose ends for work, church, and just regular life before disappearing for at least 3 days.

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Turned out I didn’t have to rush since her induction lasted quite a long time because other than the fluid leaking, Priscilla was not at all in labor. They started the medicines around 10 am, and by 10 pm she was only about 3 cm dilated. We spent the day chatting, watching movies/shows, and hanging out.

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Originally we had wanted a natural delivery without too much meds on board, but by that time Priscilla was exhausted from being in the hospital all day. We decided to go for the epidural to help her relax more, and that turned out to be another good call.

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Around 10 pm, the epidural went in and early AM 12/31/14, things started to move, but even then it was still painfully (pun intended) slow. The rest of her water broke, and the contractions started to come on stronger and stronger.

After around 4 am, she finally reached 10 cm and was ready to start pushing. Unfortunately, the baby didn’t seem to want to come out. 2.5 hours later, Priscilla was pooped out (not literal), and the baby only progressed a small amount.

Around 6:45 am, the doctor came in and decided to give it one last go at pushing. If baby didn’t come out, then it was to the OR we go. Praise the Lord it didn’t come to that. With the help of a vacuum and some extra encouragement, Ansley entered the world at 7:06 am!

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Almost 24 hours after going in for a quick check just in case, we had a brand new baby girl. The next two days was setting into a routine of feeding, resting, and showing her off to visitors. We have had so much support and love from those around us, thank you! I have never gotten so many Facebook likes with any other pictures/status updates.

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All the leftover time, we just hung out and enjoyed the gift God has given to us. We were sad we weren’t able to be with family and friends on New Year’s Eve, but we had fun celebrating as a new family. And by celebrating we mean feeding and changing poopy diapers past midnight.

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Your eyes do not deceive you, that is a steak dinner they give for new moms! As for the rest of the stay, it was pretty uneventful. Ansley had some jaundice that needed additional blood tests, but those turned out fine. Friday 1/2/15 in the morning we were discharged home!

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It really is a miracle, this whole birthing thing. As I watch my daughter move and squirm in her new bed, it’s surreal to think only days ago it was her that was making Priscilla’s stomach move. God really has knit her from the womb, and as I have loved her before she came out, I know that God has loved her even before she was conceived.

It’s crazy that as exhausting as these last couple of days have been, it is just the beginning. We are in totally way over our heads, but surrounded by friends and family, and with God’s guidance, somehow we trust that it will turn out alright.

A big thank you again to all who have come alongside of us in this journey, and a thank you ahead of time for walking with us. It’s going to be an eventful 2015. Happy New Year!

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16)

 

Wrench in the Plans – Big announcement!

Since one year has passed since the book was published, I decided to read through the book again to see what my impression would be a little more removed from the initial writing.  Thankfully I still stand by what I have written.

Actually I was pleasantly surprised. Not to be prideful, but the book is pretty good! I’m surprised I wrote some of that, thank you Holy Spirit. Not that I thought what I wrote was trash before, but it’s hard not to be insecure about something that is out there for the world to read (albeit the size of that world that has actually read it is pretty small).

I came across this quote and I had to chuckle a bit.

“I am not sure what the future will look like, especially if little Jacks and Priscillas come into the picture. At the rate I’m taking classes, it will take me six years to finish this two-year seminary MA program. Maybe I’ll only be able to take one or two years of classes and have to call it quits. Perhaps I’ll love it so much I’ll take ten years and get the full Master of Divinity degree. Maybe God will grow our church and I’ll end up in full-time ministry. Or maybe the ministry will fizzle out and I’ll focus mostly on patient care, who knows. I’m not very used to living with such uncertainty, but there has been such an intimacy with God that I haven’t experienced in a long while” (Pg 14).

Well, it’s been about two years since I first wrote that, and the uncertainty continues! I just started the third year of my six year plan at seminary, but looks like a little wrench has been thrown into my plans. A cute one I’m sure and hopefully she looks more like Priscilla than me. Introducing the next big uncertainty!

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photo and design by Tanya Liu. Thanks!

If you pray, please keep us in your prayers! And if you have any good tips on raising girls, send those my way too.

Happy Father’s Day!

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I’m really glad to be able celebrate this Father’s Day with my dad in Hawaii on family vacation. He’s been wanting the whole family to visit Hawaii again because the last time we were here, it was right before my dad started his post-doc program at Harbor-UCLA two-plus decades ago. He brought all of us there to vacation there before he left for California.

While in Hawaii, we actually made a last-minute decision for me to go with him while my mom and brother went back to Taiwan. That would start the process of us eventually moving to America. How different life could have been had that never happened.

It’s amazing what my dad has accomplished since that first Hawaii trip. He completed his post-doc, and because of his notable work, he secured green cards for all of us to move to America. To practice medicine here, he would have to re-do a lot of his training, so he made the sacrifice of moving back to Taiwan to work so that my brother and I could grow up here.

Because of his perseverance and hard-work, we moved from apartment to condo, and eventually to our own home. My brother and I had everything we needed (and even what we didn’t need), and had all the opportunities to pursue our academic and personal goals.

Dad, even though you are not a believer, you have had the most influence in shaping my understanding of God. One of the first verses that spoke deeply to me was 1 John 3:1, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” Because of your sacrifice all these years, putting our well-being above your own, I connected to that, having had a tangible example of that kind of self-less love.

Dad, thank you. I love you.

 

Book Update!

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Sorry that I missed last Thursday’s post. I’m not sure I have fully recovered from the week-long retreat 2 weeks ago. Some exciting news (to me at least)! The book is now in the physical proofing stage so, Lord willing, it should be ready to order in the next two or three weeks. A big thanks again for all who have helped with feedback, proof-reading, prayer, and just encouragement throughout the project.

Seminary is starting again in a couple of weeks so I probably will be able to post just once a week. It has been such a crazy summer, praise God for all that He has done. My prayers go out to all who are starting school soon, especially the new college freshmen!

Here’s a great view from the retreat, enjoy!

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Looking for the love of your life??

Since I am a huge fan of Gary Thomas’ Sacred Marriage (anyone considering being married at any point should read it!) and since the youth of our church love to talk about relationships, I picked up his newer book The Sacred Search. As the name implies, it’s about the process of getting to marriage (which I, for one, am glad I’m done with). The tag line is “What if it’s not about who you marry, but why?” which challenges readers to think first about the why of marriage. If we figure that out, then we’ll more likely make a wiser decision on the who.

All in all, I think it’s a great read. The first eight or so chapters is a bit elementary for one growing up in a conservative Asian church where the dangers of dating and making choices based on infatuations are drilled pretty deeply into our souls. But the second part of the book really is helpful in pointing out what we ought to be looking for (and avoiding) in order to have a God-honoring marriage for the purposes of His kingdom. If your hormones are raging, I would recommend this book.

Here are some quotes that I highlighted:

“There isn’t a person alive who can keep you enthralled for the next five or six decades. If they’re really funny, really attractive, and you’re really infatuated, you can be enthralled for a few years, but selfish people-even wealthy selfish people, or beautiful selfish people, or famous selfish people-eventually get bored with each other, and the very relationship that once gave them security and life feels like prison and death” (pg. 18).

“Mutual attraction is a shakey foundation, because marriage is about growing old together more than it is about being young together. Is this a person for whom age will increase your devotion and respect, or will this person gradually lose what most draws you to them now?” (pg. 98).

“When you’re dating and in love, it’s not that difficult to build and enjoy a relationship. It doesn’t take someone of great character to accompany you to movies and nice restaurants, to go on fun bike rides or hikes or sit in a Starbucks or make out on a couch. Most people can do that” (pg. 117).

“You get to start protecting your kids before they’re even born. Give them a godly mom or dad” (pg. 126).

“Compatibility that matters isn’t about sameness as much as it’s about having the most important things in common, beginning with a shared vision for life. Sincere appreciation and genuine respect for your future spouse matter far more than similarity.” (pg. 157)

Do you believe there’s the one out there for you? Or is that a concept that’s been shaped more by our society than by Scripture?