Birth Story: An end and a beginning

Dear Maya,

Your due date was 3/7/2012. "They" say that you should try to tackle big life changes in doses. Don't have big changes occur too close together. Then life happens and the changes just kind of come. My first words of advice for you are cliche but true. Take it easy, relax and be flexible. You can only do a few things when change comes your way. Ignore it, fight it or go with the flow. There is only right answer there if you want to live peacefully. 


Grandma (Mama's Mom) arrives. She is uber excited to visit Mommy and can't wait to meet you.


We lost Grandpa Castañeda one year ago today. Grandpa had been sick and in the hospital for a few months now. He was such a strong good man and I wish you could have met him. I think he knew it was his time but our family wasn't ready for that. He was such a trooper and kept fighting and working to get better. I think he did it more for his family rather than anything else. That is what he was about; family. He sacrificed so much of himself to provide for his family.  I was too worried to leave your Mother and worried that I would miss your birth so I wasn't there when he passed. He knew you were coming and understood. He would have wanted me to be here with my family because that is the way he was. Unselfish always. We miss him dearly. He was the Castañeda glue, if you will.

3/5/2012 - 3/8/2012

Maya, Maya, Maya. We should have taken your delayed arrival as a sign. You were going to come when you were ready and not a moment sooner. Your due date came and went. We thought there was a sign every day; every hour and nothing. Surely it is going to be any day now.


I decide at the last minute to fly back to Ohio for Grandpa's funeral. I was so worried that I was going to miss you being born but Grandma Gibson was such a great help with Mama that I decided I had time to go. I jump on a red-eye on Friday, 3-9-2012 at about 11:30 at night.


I arrive at Detroit airport at  7 AM. I have time to change into my suit at the airport bathroom, get my stuff and drive to Toledo for the funeral that I believe started at 9 or 10 AM. I get there just in time. It is hard for me to imagine a world without my Dad but it never felt so empty as it did that day. I got a text from one of my good friends the day before. He went to Grandpa's calling hours and texted me a simple line. "Tons of respect in that room, man." That made me feel so good. That is what Grandpa deserves. Oodles and oodles of respect. I'm so glad I was able to go to the funeral. It was a theraputic emotional ride. 5 PM hit pretty quick and I was back on the road again back to Detroit to catch a 7 PM flight.


I thought for sure you were going to be born on 3/11. The one thing I forgot to schedule was sleep. I was going on 48 hours without sleep so I thought for sure you were going to come that day. I guess I should thank you for holding out a little longer?

3/12/2012 - 3/14/2012

Okay. At this point it is getting a little ridiculous Mai. C'mon out . Join the party. The water is warm. At this point Grandma's visit was nearing an end and she still hasn't seen you! She was super helpful for us and couldn't fathom missing you at this point so she decides to extend her trip another week. It was getting to the point where we started to worry she was going to have to extend it a second time.

We also had something else to worry about at this time; induction. They had scheduled an induction on 3/13 for 3/16. 

That led us to the whole crazy accupuncture adventure. It all seems like a dream somtimes.

Then the next day hit. It hasn't been the same since. 

The Glue

Grandpa was truly the glue for our family. We gathered because of him. We laughed because of him. We are, because of him. There are a fair amount of years between you and your closest first cousin on the Castañeda side Mai and I think that is proving to be a blessing in disguise. The life you bring helps us. Even though we are far away right now, the amount of support and love that we see from all of our families and friends is overwhelming. I know it is a lot of weight to put on your shoulders but you are becoming that glue. Helping us through this time.

You're also pretty darn funny and cute, so that helps.

And here are some random pics of you eating Pho with Tofu. Why? You know, to not be too serious. My second piece of advice. Never take yourself too seriously and smile and laugh at least once a day. Heck, make smiling and laughing what you do MOST every day. Life's better with smiles and laughs.

Maya Rose Castañeda: What's in a name?

Dear Maya,

In case you are wondering why you are named Maya Rose Castaneda, here it is; We pulled it out of a hat. That’s it. It was in a big hat with many names. In fact, Foster helped sniff it out. Totally Random.

Ok not really but by the time you are reading this you already realize that one of our hobbies is “Mess with Maya.”

Let’s start with Castaneda. Technically we should use the “ñ” (énye) in place of the “n.” So Castañeda is your last name. Pronounced Kas-tah-nyed-(th)a. The “th” sound is very subtle. Don’t worry; it’s ok to use the “gringo” version. I have all my life. It’s just nice to know the authentic version.

Your middle name is Rose. Rose was the name of your Great Grandmother on your Father’s side. It was your Grandpa Carlos’ Mother’s name. In fact, it has been a tradition for the first born girl to carry on the name Rose in some shape or form. (Thank your cousin Maria for that tidbit) So that means that you are related to about 1,032 women named Rose. That number is just an approximate. I’ll gather the factual data later.

We almost settled on a different version of Rose: Rosemary. This was because when we first moved to Seattle against your mother’s will, (she was shackled and forced to move) one of the first things that made Seattle ours was all the wild rosemary. We would go on walks in our Magnolia neighborhood and your mother would make me steal branches of rosemeary to help make the scary place we lived smell better. In the end, you’ll always have Seattle in you no matter where we are and Rose just sounds better than Rosemary with the full name.

Maya, Maya, Maya. Where did Maya come from? Your mother and I struggled with your first name for some time. In fact, while your mother was pregnant and before we found out your sex, I was convinced you were a boy. I told her I had a gut feeling about it. This is probably why Daddy doesn’t gamble that much. A gut feeling probably just means I’m hungry.

Anywho, I had your name if you were a boy: “Jupiter Castañeda”

I’ll give you a second to revere in it’s awesomeness.

So that name would have caused a lot of controversy so it is probably better for everyone that you came out a girl. But with that said, we wanted you to have a name that is all your own.  A name you can own. A name that is strong and proud. Maya won out over a list of many names and as I’m writing this you are proving to be indeed a perfect Maya, even at 8 days old.

Here is a list of some of the other contenders:

  •  Isabella – This was the runner up to Maya.  It was your Great Grandmother’s name, your Grandma Anita’s mother. It was a close one but Maya won out in the end, as it should have.
  • Gracie or Grace – This was my top runner for a long time. I thought that this was a strong name because of Grace Hopper. She is one of the pioneers of the Computer Science field. Now I realize you are reading this one the palm of your hand and the notion of “home computer” seems foreign to you at this point but know this; Grace Hopper helped move us a forward. A very positive female role model indeed. At the end of the day this name still didn’t fit. Like Isabella, it was very common and we wanted something that just said… you. Something that said Maya.
  •  Ava – This was your mother’s favorite for a long time. In fact when first starting dating around the year 2000, she mentioned that if she ever had a daughter she wanted to name her Ava. Well, as it turns out, so did 900,000 thousand other people between then and your actual birth date. So for the sake of being one of many Ava’s in your class, this name was also passed.
  •  Unicornia or Lorelei 2 – So your buddy Lorelei was six years old when you were born. Frustrated with your Mommy and Daddy’s name procrastination she took matters into her own hands. We all called you Unicornia while you were In Utero. It almost won out. Seriously. Don’t ever forget that your name could be Unicornia right now.

So that’s it Maya. It was a long journey to get there but we believe Maya Rose Castañeda holds the power that you possess. You have a great role model in Maya Angelou that shares your name but plenty of other strong women who surround you in your every day life, especially your mother. Time to rule the world and bring peace to all the planets.

If nothing else, we wouldn’t have the wonderful song that Grandma Diane made up for you:

(To the tune of Copacabana as made famous by Barry Manilow)

Her name is maya, Maya Papaya.

She's the cutest girl, west of O-hi-ya.

(feel free to freestyle the rest of the versus and choros from this point)

Birth Story: Acupuncture to the rescue

Maya's due date was March 7, 2012. There was a lot going on in early 2012 for our families and to say this date was eagerly anticipated is a gross understatement.  We'll get into the other aspects of Maya's birth story later but this post will focus on the frantic few days before her actual birth.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Amy had a Dr. appointment. We had been walking, eating spicy food and Amy even gulped down a tablespoon of castor oil trying to get this baby moving prior to this appointment. The previous weekend provided us with a few contractions that we thought for sure we would be on our way by the time this appointment hit. We went to the appointment and nuthin. She was dilated and effaced the same, for the past two weeks. At this point we are pretty convinced it's a hysterical pregnancy and nothing is going to happen. ever.

Our Dr. talked to us about induction but we didn't want to go that route, at least not yet. Nevertheless we set the induction date for Thursday, March 15. sigh.

We had been talking to friends about alternate, natural ways of inducing labor and most of them just seemed like old wives tales. Most common advice was "the baby will come when she is ready and not before." Thanks. That helps. The one treatment that seemed to have more positive results was acupuncture. There wasn't any definite "yes this works" type of information out there but there were no negative reports and there seemed no risk of danger.

Tuesday afternoon, I (Ed aka Daddy) talk to a good friend of ours (Megan) and she recommends Josie Zhuo. Amy and I figure, why not, it can't hurt can it?

I call Josie and explain our situation.  She responds quickly and says she would like to get two sessions in for this. I'm thinking ok, it's Tuesday afternoon now and they want to induce on Thursday morning, how is this going to work. I make the appointment for Amy at 3 PM. It's 1:55 PM. I have five minutes (I'm at work and have a 2 PM meeting) to call Amy, make sure she wants to go, give her all the info and make sure she can get there within the hour.

Amy calls me around 3:45. She made it to the appointment and says she has second one tomorrow at 3:30. So far, it was a good experience. Both of us are still very skeptical about this working.

Amy picks me up from work at 3:00 PM the next day, we get there and I'm floored. The place is a little scary and it definitely doesn't give off this "welcome" type vibe. If anyone knows Amy, you would be impressed that she didn't just drive by once she saw it.

We walk in... Skepticism is rising.

Once I meet Josie all my ingorant preconceptions are gone. She couldn't be any more sweet, caring and genuine. I feel bad for feeling apprehensive about the legit nature of the place. Josie explains that the session will take 45 minutes and that I'm welcome to come back for the last 15. I figure I'll walk around and find something to get into for a half hour.

I decide to hop into Chocolita for a cup of joe or something. This cafe is a few blocks from Four Seasons and I had to pass several bars on the way there.  For those of you that know me, please stand back up. It's a shock I know. I figured it was bad taste to head back to the healing clinic reeking of IPA.

As I'm about to order I hear this song. (Jonsi, Boy Lilikoi)


Now this is odd. Amy and I have been both playing music for Maya in the womb. I played this Jonsi song for her almost daily for the last few months. This was the first song that Amy noticed her move in the womb to. We called it "baby dancing." We call this "Her song."

At this point I think it has to be a sign. I explain this to the girl working behind the counter and she's excited to be a part of it. I feel the need to buy more than just a mocha from this place and decide to get the girls (Amy and her mother) some chocolates to preserve this moment.

I head back to the clinic to check on Amy and Maya.

Again, those of you that know Amy should be impressed. Very impressed.


As we get in the car and start the ride home the mood is completely different for us. The drive there was tense and emotional. You could feel the past few weeks of stress in every move we made. I could tell Amy was relaxed and positive now, after her acupuncture treatment. If nothing else we thought, the acupuncture was a great experience.

Amy had her first real contraction on highway 99 as we entered the Alaskan Way Viaduct. It was 5:11 PM, Wednesday March 14.

Maya would be born in just over 9 hours.