Friday, March 31, 2006

March 31, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

She is absolutely GORGEOUS!!!

Technology is absolutely amazing, and I'm glad to be pregnant at a time when 4D scanning is possible.  According to the doctor performing my scan, 4D has been available since 2001.  I can imagine how many mommies have been made happy by the lifelike images of their little ones in utero.  Many of the images were a little distorted, but I definitely saw a pair of chubby cheeks, a beautiful chin and lovely lips.  I wasn't able to determine if her eyes were deep set, or if her nose had a bridge or not, but judging from these images, she's going to be a beautiful baby.  Oh boy.

This is one child that's going to have to learn that she shouldn't depend on her looks to get through life.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

March 29, 2006 - NOT A Pregnancy Blog

Over the last month my husband and I have been compiling documentation requirements for his permanent residency in the Philippines.  We both really enjoy living here now, and with the new arrival on the way, it's something we seriously consider and talk about.  The only downside is that we're far away from his family, a family that he's very close to.  This family is also getting smaller, what with the passing of Rob's grandfather many years ago, followed by his uncle, and then his mother.  And now, Rob and another cousin have moved away from the US (this other cousin moved to New Zealand to help open Blowfish Sushi there... fantastic sushi chef).  We all do stay in touch via webcam and Skype (  Yes, technology is making this world much smaller.

The irony is that although we have all this new technology at our fingertips that enables us to communicate much more easily with others, we tend to be more isolated, more "in our own worlds".  Thanks to tech, we can avoid (if we choose to) all human contact (I read something like this in an alleged letter by George Carlin that's been circulating the internet for a while now) and be a virtual island in the virtual world.  We can send out for groceries or restaurant food... have clothing from The Gap delivered to your doorstep after online ordering... computer supplies from PC or Mac Warehouse ready to be shipped... or furniture from Pottery Barn all boxed up and ready to be sent to you. 

As convenient as all of this is (especially in the dead of winter), it's important to still touch another person... to maintain flesh-and-blood relationships... to hold hands... to look into another person's eyes... to fall in love... to fight and make up.  This kind of tactile communication is something my laptop can't give me, something I will always want and need.  I mean, my computer can't put its arms around me... give me a foot massage... offer long, passionate kisses or outta-this-world lovemaking... provide intelligent and thought provoking conversation... hug me... etcetera, etcetera. 

I'll always want to be touched, and to touch back.  It's basic, it's simple, it's human.  And sometimes, it can be pure magic.

Monday, March 27, 2006

March 27, 2006 - Something Different

No, this isn't an update on my pregnancy thus far... but in case you're wondering, I have only 6 weeks left.  I've been checking baby websites to see what exactly I have to bring to the hospital.  It's a list I'll have to print out and take to heart.  I'll probably start packing a few weeks before my due date, just to play safe.  To my Manila friends, you'll definitely know by text when I'm in labor and getting ready to push this baby out.

I wanted to write a little rulebook by which I want our daughter to live her life.  Not very many people get the chance or opportunity to choose the way they walk this earth, and I want my daughter to have that for herself.  Therefore, I want her mantra to include the following:

- I will not merely go through the motions of my life... I will live life to the fullest
- I will think outside the box
- I will not let anyone say to me "you can't"... nor say the same to myself
- I will love fully with my whole heart, each and every time
- I will not marry until I meet "The One"... the one I will love like no other
- I will not bully another person... and I will stand up for those who are taken advantage of

That's all I have so far... I'll be editing this list as I think of more to add, so watch this blog entry for updates!  Let me know if you have anything to add, I'd love to read your thoughts.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

March 25, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

In case I haven't mentioned it, I've once again taken up knitting.  I asked a friend to bring home knitting supplies for me so that I could make a baby afghan for the little one, something to keep her warm and secure, something made by my own hand.  When she's wrapped up in it, it's mommy's love and hard work that holds her.  An hour or so ago, I found that I dropped a stitch, and felt the frustration rise inside of me... I then did a little research over the internet for what to do in case that happened.  I took a deep breath, brought out my knitting, fixed the stitch and kept going.  Now it's as good as new, as if nothing bad happened.

Interesting what one can learn by doing a little knitting.  It does seem like an intimidating craft.  At least I thought so when I first gave it a try, but after a little practice, I found it to be easy... calming... meditative.  If I don't let my frustration get the best of me.  It teaches me patience and gives my hands something to do for a quiet time.  I'll definitely teach my little girl how to do this; whether or not it takes is entirely up to her.

Whether or not it takes...

As a young girl I was exposed to dance lessons, the piano, theater... obviously one of these "took" hold of me more than anything and everything else.  As a parent, it's something I'm thinking about: exactly what should I expose her to, to figure out what'll take?  Part of me wants to wait and see what she tends to do: be it an affinity and love for athletics (gymnastics, golf, soccer), the arts (music, dance, drama), the sciences (mathematics, biology, chemistry), language and literature (I see her wearing glasses in her not-so-distant future)... who knows?  I guess the only thing I can do is to expose her to as much as possible, and see what sticks.  She may develop a passion for one thing, and indulge a liking to many different things... or master a few, dabble in more...

I guess I just want her to have the best of what's out there, and for her to grab life by the horns and enjoy it.  Given that she'll be born into an artistic family (composed of more than just my brother and me; there are dancers, actors, singers, visual artists, musicians, chefs) I have a feeling that she'll have an artistic inclination, but it would be really refreshing if she departed from the arts and went into something else.

Who knows?

All I can do is be attuned to her, encourage her, attend to her... try to help her figure out what her unique path in life is, the path God has paved for her.  I was fortunate in that God's hand was very active in steering me towards what I'm doing now, and can only hope and pray that He's just that same way with her. 

Day by day... stitch by stitch... just like knitting a baby afghan.  I'll have to be patient and watchful, to make sure it comes out beautiful.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

March 22, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog


I found the sleep position.  Well, sort of.  Day to day, it varies: it could be the position of the pillow, the position of my body, the position of the baby.  But at least I don't feel like I'm having a heart attack from the acid going up my gullet.

We've also settled on the baby's name: NICOLE.  It's now been immortalized on a charm attached to my bracelet (given to me by one of my best girlfriends since we were both 15 years old).  We had lunch together (sans children and spouses) then headed to the mall, and straight to Joyce Orena's shop to get the new charm (as well as to replace a lost letter in another charm).  I also got another couple of charms that I thought were so cute and cool.  I'm reserving links for when the next kid comes along, or when another charm catches my fancy.  As we parted, I was able to give my goddaughter (her daughter) a kiss and a hug.  She's such a good baby.

My friend also told me about the nightmare that her son unleashed when he was due to get his shots... had to be held down by 4 people, the needle nearly broke, and the doctor had to inject him twice.  Not to mention, she gave him one stern talking to afterwards.  Poor kid, he got the time-out chair when he got home.  I don't think I ever saw my friend with that look on her face.

Parenthood.  Its joys, its sorrows... holding down a screaming child at the doctor's office.

Is that what we're going to face?  Are we ready for this?  Or will we end up crying alone in the bathroom from frustration and anger?

I think the answer is that parenthood is going to be the most fulfilling, frustrating, joyful, empowering experience.  I don't think anyone ever feels completely prepared for what's to come.  People tend to romanticize the "beautiful bundle of joy" that it is when it comes home from the hospital, but how about when you catch your child smoking or drinking?  Kissing?  Sneaking out of the house, and sneaking back in?

But how about those first steps?  That first tooth?  And later on, graduations and weddings?

Yeah, we're in for a monster of a ride.  I think we're as ready as we'll ever be.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

March 19, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

Sleeping... is... difficult.

No, I'm not speaking about insomnia (a problem I think I've finally licked, thank goodness), but rather the challenge of finding comfort in my 8th month of pregnancy.  The last couple of nights were a mini-nightmare for both Rob and myself: I thought I was having a heart attack, he was getting attacked from worry.

It started a couple of nights ago... I had just finished dinner (a nice, big bowl of one of my comfort foods, arroz caldo, with chopped spring onions and toasted garlic) and was watching TV in my semi-lying down position on the recliner.  I then started to feel a tightness in my chest, one I immediately attributed to a food allergy.  I didn't link my body's position to anything else, and I had felt this kind of tightness before after eating certain foods (I also thought that maybe my afternoon swim might have had something to do with it).  An antihistamine would usually do the trick, so I took a couple of Benadryl.  However, this time, the tightness didn't go away.  It stayed, and it bothered me.  The tightness extended up to my throat (and I'm very, very paranoid about that part of my anatomy).  I felt like I couldn't breathe.  I tried all sorts of sleep positions, then decided to sit up for a while.  I also took a couple of Tylenol to relieve the pain.  Finally, after many hours of figuring it out, I ended up falling asleep in this sitting position, almost upright, comfortable enough, propped up against a couple of pillows.  I woke up the next morning feeling normal again, wondering what the heck that night was about.  We went about our day (househunting!), and just lounged around.  Rob wasn't feeling so well anyway (stomach trouble), so we were housebound.

Since I didn't swim... didn't eat anything that would trigger an allergic reaction, I thought I would be pain free this next night.  NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!  I lay down on my side as I normally would, and there it started.  The tightness in my chest!  The tightness in my throat!  I started to panic again... I sat up, started rubbing my chest... I started then texting my doctor to try and figure out what was wrong.  She said it sounds like gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), that as the baby grows larger, she pushes acid up, making this mommy feel very uncomfortable.  She then recommended a stronger antacid to counteract  the pain, as well as suggested that I eat an early, small dinner.  I started to cry from the frustration of this... this is probably the most uncomfortable I've been since my pregnancy began (save for the bouts of morning sickness).  Rob was up with me, handing me some tissues and keeping my spirits high.  So we then started to figure out a most comfy, upright sleep position.  We found one... of course my coccyx was a mess (my tailbone felt a bit of pain from sitting all night), and that was that.  After some time, the heartburn feeling left, and I was feeling better... I was able to sleep quite fitfully.  We might have to bring the recliner upstairs to the bedroom for my sleeping now.

At this time I'm 31 weeks and 2 days pregnant, with around 7-9 weeks left before the big birthday.  As much as I will love this little girl from the moment I lay eyes on her, I really would like the pregnancy discomfort to end.  It would be nice to have my body back to myself.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Pregnancy Blog

Eight weeks... that's all I have left.  Eight friggin weeks.

To be honest, I'm now quite tired of being pregnant.   I'm thankfully not physically tired or exhausted; just tired of being pregnant.  I've been in this state of infanticipation for... hmmm... past 7 months now, and it's getting a wee bit old. 

Having said that, I want what's best for my baby, and if that means more time housed inside mommy's warm belly, then that's what must be done.  I'm quite happy though with my genetics in that I haven't gotten swollen, I don't have preeclampsia, my feet don't look like they've been immersed in water for months, my nose hasn't expanded to the extent that it would need its own ZIP code... yeah, I've been very lucky.  Very lucky indeed.

So, in preparation for the coming newborn, Rob and I have been boning up on our baby-related reading.  I also got him a book called "What To Expect When Your Wife's Expanding" (thank heavens that Fully Booked carried it... I took one look at it, and knew I had to get it for him).  We also have The Baby Owner's Manual (oh trust me, if you can get yourself a copy, even if you aren't expecting, grab one... it's way too good).  That will probably be our most valuable (and later on invaluable) piece of infant literature.  I have a breastfeeding guide, written by the La Leche League, which will be my bible as far as getting the baby girl to latch on and suckle.  This is going to be one huuuuuuge adventure, one that I don't think any new parent is ready for, but will go on anyway.

I'm now formally at the stage where my old pre-maternity clothes no longer fit... where I can't wear closed shoes (I have to check my shoe size after I give birth, to see if I did go up a size or not)... where I have to make sure I'm well cooled (even an ice-cold office would be too warm for me)... where the swimming pool is my savior.  I've started also knitting a baby afghan (materials courtesy of a friend that just flew in from the States), and I have less than 8 weeks to finish it.  8 weeks.  In 8-10 weeks, we'll have a bouncing baby girl.  Oh she'll be an active one, if my belly movements are to be believed.

This should be fun.  I can't wait for her to get here.