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The waiting

October 11, 2009   

Just a week and a half ago, I was nervous and wishing the baby would arrive late, because I felt panicked and worried about, well, everything.

In the last week, I’ve come to a place of readiness and waiting (as has Seppo), which has turned to impatience to meet the little guy! Almost every night, I experience what feels like really low-intensity regular contractions about 10-20 minutes apart, which convinces me that I’m in early labor, only to have those contractions go away by morning.

We had two non-stress tests (NST) and amniotic fluid scans last week, and everything seems to be better than fine, so there is no rush to get him out of there. I know this, but this doesn’t stop my impatience! πŸ˜€ I have another regular doctor’s appointment on Tuesday and another NST on Wednesday.

I think he knows we don’t have a name yet and is waiting for us to make up our minds. Heh.

I was really stressed out during the middle to the end of this week because it turned out that the insurance company had the wrong identifying info for me. I hadn’t known I could contact our outsourced HR administrator to resolve the problem for me, so I spent several days on the phone trying to get things worked out. It was stressful because the insurance company representative stated some extremely alarming things regarding my coverage (or lack thereof, in their eyes). With Seppo’s assistance and a follow-up by our HR administrator, the issue got straightened out, but it was a stress point that I didn’t want to have to deal with. I wish the insurance company rep hadn’t been so alarming in his statements, which threw me into a panic and an embarrassing breakdown/crying jag.

I really don’t enjoy feeling/looking weak in front of others, especially strangers, especially in a business setting. I hated that it happened that way, but it is hard to discount the role of an overwhelming amount of hormones coursing through the system, as well as all the normal stresses involved with getting ready for a baby.

I’ve been napping on and off throughout the last few days. I haven’t been sleeping well because of the contractions — both the physical feelings of mild contractions and the mental awareness that they are happening — but I think I’ve also been extra tired. I’ve pretty much had the phone going straight to voicemail.

My mom is coming on Tuesday, late at night. When we booked the tickets, I assumed that we’d be home with the baby by then, and Seppo could slip out to pick her up, but now I wonder if the baby will even be born by then. Who knows, really. He’ll arrive when he wants to arrive. He’s not listening to his mom even now; can you imagine when he’s a teenager? :p

We had a cleaning crew come to do a thorough cleaning before the baby comes. They came on Saturday and did an amazing job. I can’t believe how fast and thoroughly they worked. This really helped us get the last bits of organization for the baby done, so we can focus on the big picture instead of worrying about small details. It’s such a load off my mind.

I’m still writing the thank you notes (and looking up people’s addresses) from the baby shower, but at the rate I’m going, I’ll be including pictures of the baby with the thank you notes! πŸ˜€ Well, not if the little guy refuses to come out. :p

We’ve been filling our evenings and weekends with a combination of trying to get ready for the baby and going out to do random things that will be harder to do when the baby is here, like eating out or even going to Best Buy. It’s hard not to think, “This will be our last outing before the baby, surely,” only to have the days keep passing.

Dear baby,

You might as well come out already. We have prepared a good home for you and we are ready to love you. Well, we already love you, but we want to both be able to hold you and look into your face and find out what you are thinking. I can’t speak for your dad, but I’m not too excited about the changing diapers part, but I’ll do it because I love you. πŸ˜€ We’ll show you all sorts of exciting and new things. The world has so much to offer. You’ll get to meet all sorts of wonderful people, like grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and little friends (most of them are bigger than you, but some will be coming after you). It’ll be much better than being inside. I wouldn’t lie to you!

Love,
Umma

My gift to my son

October 6, 2009   

I wrote last week about parents wishing to provide for their kids what it was that they themselves wanted to have as kids. I posited that for me, perhaps it was ready & early access to books/learning, or maybe it was the freedom to be determine your own path.

But as I sit here, restless yet tired, I think I know what it is that I’m giving to my son.

I’m giving him the best father that I can imagine: Seppo.

The Final Countdown

October 5, 2009   

Every time I hear that phrase, I think of GOB from Arrested Development and mentally go into “doing cheesy magic” mode. Da da dun dun, da da dun dun dun, da da dun dun, da da dun dun dun dun dun! *cue doves*

But seriously, this is the final countdown. The official due date that my doctor and I have on record is Wednesday, 10/07/2009, and that came from the first ultrasound. The date that came out of the 12? 16? (I no longer remember) week ultrasound was 10/05/2009, but since it was so close to the original due date, the doctor and I never changed the records to reflect this.

So if the baby is “on time” — and no one expects the baby abide by the exact # of days we outside in the normal world are counting — then he’ll arrive sometime between Monday and Wednesday. If he’s a procrastinator like me, then he’ll arrive a bit late.

We’ve been doing some last minute things, like getting vaccinations (me, Seppo, and the dog), arranging for a dog walker for the first few weeks (he’ll be taken for 2.5-3 hour play/swim/hike sessions with other dogs, three times a week to start), buying some last minute stuff (pump, which I haven’t opened yet since I just read that it may be partially covered by my health insurance), borrowing some stuff (bottles, lightweight stroller frame for baby seat), and going to eat at some places we likely won’t be able to go to for a while.

It’s pretty nutty.

I still need to do things like clean up my bedside stand and my side of the room to make room for baby stuff, store away all the things we won’t need for at least a month into the spare room closet, contact the neighbor to ask if they’d recommend their cleaning service to us to have them come in periodically in the first month or so to help out, and just tidying up and trying to get the mind into a calm place in general.

OH WAIT. Then there is the fact that we still do not have a name. 😐 That is definitely more of a priority now than it used to be. Hopefully, we won’t end up naming him Whatshisface. πŸ˜€

As for the date, my sister is rooting for 10/6, Seppo’s dad is betting on 10/8, Seppo’s aunt is hoping for her birthday (I think 10/9??), and I’m rooting for Tuesday (10/6) so that we’ll be able to transition seamlessly from Seppo’s work from home day to the scheduled doctor appointment in the afternoon to the hospital and BAM! Heh. Yeah, sure.

I think my mom will be able to come out at the end of next week or the beginning of the week after. I am looking to book a ticket now.

Nesting, Nagging, and Nurture Shock

October 4, 2009   

Note: I might as well write this out rather than having it sit around in draft/ghost form, even if I don’t get to go in depth.

I guess this post is brought to you by the letter N. πŸ˜€ To be clear, the three topics have very little to do with each other (at least not directly, just vaguely in terms of my current state of thought), and are not meant to present one coherent thesis.

Nesting. I keep hearing about the nesting instinct and how it kicks in as the due date arrives. I wonder though how much of the last minute frenzy of preparation is just the normal reaction to any sort of deadline, versus a specific & distinct biological reaction to a baby coming. It’s kind of fruitless to try to determine any sort of breakdown though, because the end result is last minute prep anyway.

As for me, I’ve been so sleepy this past week that I’ve barely gotten anything done. I’ve done my best to ensure all the bills are up to date and that I’m calling and arranging things that I can from a resting position, but even a short jaunt out with Mobi or to the store leaves me in need of hours of sleep/rest afterward. There are several hours a day when I feel really great! Middle of the day and about an hour or two after meals are two distinct times that I feel like I’m totally fine and can do a lot more. πŸ™‚

Nagging. I don’t remember why I was thinking about nagging. It probably has to do with some late night thought about how I want to interact with our pending child, how I interact with my own mom, and why sometimes this communication goes completely awry, even when both parties have the best intentions. To the best of my ability, this is what I believe happens during what is commonly perceived as “nagging”:

Nagger’s thoughts: I don’t know why I have to remind them again. I told them before. I can’t even tell if they are listening/paying attention. Is this getting through? Did they just forget? How many times do I have to repeat myself before it sticks? How many times do I have to repeat myself before they “hear” it? I am so tired of repeating myself! They should know better!

Naggee’s (yes, I know this is not a word) thoughts: I don’t know why they are telling me again. They already said this a million times. Do they just like to repeat themselves? I already know this and I will do/not do as they say, because I’ve made up my own mind. Maybe if I ignore them, they will see that I have no interest in hearing them repeat themselves and they will stop. They are being so annoying!

I think that the word “nag” is an unfortunate way to categorize and dismiss this type of communication that can happen between parents & kids, spouses, coworkers, etc. I recall when I was in high school, my mom would come into my bedroom every morning and say to me, “Wake up! You are going to be late!” Then she’d tsk and say, “If I didn’t wake you in the mornings, you’d never get to school on time.”

Every morning, I reacted in a very predictable way to this: I got angry or irritated or just hurt, depending on my teenagery mood of the day. Why?

  • I felt that I knew exactly how long I take to get ready, much better than she did, and she was asking me to wake up on her schedule, not on my assessment of my schedule. In short, I felt she was robbing me of my right to self-determination.
  • I felt that she had a poor idea of me, as a person, believing that I was so irresponsible as to be unable to accomplish a single task like get to school on time without her.

What I now think was going through her head:

  • Going to school is the single most important thing for Ei-Nyung right now. The best way I can help her is to get her started on her day.
  • I’ve never seen her wake up without my prompting, so it’s clear she needs to be prompted to wake up. When will she learn to get up on her own?

When I think about this with 20/20 hindsight, it’s clear that either one of us could have ended this “nagging” cycle by proposing that for one week, I am left to wake up on my own and see if I am late to school. If I am, then she is justified and I have no business complaining or being hurt. If I am not, then I should be left to wake myself up every morning.

The most frustrating part of it, for my teenage self, is that my desired time to wake up was always only about 5 minutes later than my mom’s internal panic timer for rousing me out of bed. Over those 5 minutes, we had countless pointless arguments and silent treatments over the years, and for no real reason except that we couldn’t quite articulate our positions well enough to each other to break through our habits.

If I had said to her, “Mom, I hear you and I understand you are worried and why you are worried. Let me handle it for a week and see if it works out,” then maybe she would not have felt like she was being ignored, wondering if she was getting through, wondering what I was thinking.

Even for things where I disagreed with her, it would have been better for me to have expressed it than have tried to just ignore her, making her feel unheard & frustrated, like her advice and wisdom were not getting through. Instead, in typical teenager fashion, I ignored her and hoped she would stop and just know she was being “annoying” and “nagging”.

Nurture Shock. Good book. Give it a read. I should probably say more, but I’m running out of steam. It’s along the lines of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” as far as being readable and exploring certain types of social/behavioral phenomena (raising of children, in this case). Maybe Seppo or Mack, who have also read it, will have something interesting to add about it. πŸ™‚

Lunchtime Blogging

July 28, 2009   

Been crazy busy with work lately. Not so unusual, but it’s pretty exciting. I wish I had a couple of breathers to just sort of clean up all the messy corners and tighten up the loose bolts, but time is limited.

Sleeping badly lately too, probably far less than before getting pregnant. Hip joint and left shoulder hurts like a mofo. Hip joint pops every time I get up and hurts like a joint that shouldn’t pop.

Clearly have been tweeting too much, as I can only seem to write in fragmented sentences.

Looking forward to the new season of America’s Best Dance Crew. Woo!

The public areas of the house are starting to tidy up Β and feel nice.

Trying to figure out when to have my mom come out to help with the baby.

Found out yesterday that my sister told my dad I was pregnant. It is nice to know he knows. I’m still reluctant to talk to him, for complicated reasons. I may write him a letter. He has a job as a security guard and is working. With my grandmother’s recent passing, I don’t want to have regrets about not reaching out to him later, but it is still really hard.

It kills me that even with all the money I make, I don’t make enough to Β pay all the bills here, shore up our financial security, and still get my mom off food stamps. I breaks my heart that she’s still on food stamps. It just kills me.

I’ve finished the Sookie Stackhouse series (up to the most current one out) and started Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. She got me with her free Kindle book, Darkfever.

Looking forward to getting away to Hawaii in August. At the same time, I think about my dad in Korea and my mom and think, gah, is this really, really ok? Couldn’t I be helping them more? I know there are things I need to do for myself too but in the long run, what will make me happier?

A blogger I read regularly is getting divorced. It saddens me more than it should, given that he’s a stranger.

I’ve been cooking Korean food the last few days. Simple Korean food (not restaurant food) really feeds more than my body; making it and eating it calms me, makes me feel rooted, and other touchy-feely bs that kinda makes me want to hurl, but there it is, undeniably making me feel good. Truly, it is comfort food.

I feel tired. I feel restless. I feel like things are changing faster than I can really take in. I don’t feel like myself, but a wimpier, weaker, whinier version of myself. This too shall pass. I’m not used to it, but it’s not like it’s a permanent state.

I recently reread my NaNoWriMo project from 2 years ago. Or has it been three years already? It wasn’t as good as I had hoped it was. Oh well. It was a learning experience, and I think I can come up with something better.

I’d like to organize my photos. I wish I had more photos as a baby.

Seppo and I talked about how amazing it was that we are where we are in life right now. I was born in my grandmom’s house, lived in houses without running water or indoor plumbing or a modern stove (cooking was done over the fire), and now I live in the Bay Area, in a great neighborhood, living a comfortable life, calling some incredible people my friends, with access to all sorts of material and cultural goods and experiences. It’s crazy. Honestly, if I thought it was just through my own hard work and not also through a series of incredibly lucky events and helpful people, I’d be the most arrogant ass on Earth.

Life, despite all the little bumps and bruises, is great. The bumps and bruises are tiny, insignificant. Our child-to-be has every chance to live to great life, and I just have to make sure he doesn’t become an entitled person, but an appreciative one. πŸ™‚

Reflections on time passing too quickly

June 10, 2009   

Yesterday, as I was sorting through a bunch of old things we had in our giant filing cabinet, I found a bunch of pictures of me with my little brother (now 15) from when he was an infant.

Just like any parent might tell you, I remember the day when those pics were taken like it was yesterday! I remember him being tiny and helpless and gurgling, just barely struggling to move his hands and his bobbly head around. I remember him laughing when I made funny faces. I remember his delight when he pushed something through a hole cut in a box for the first time! I remember him crawling and learning to walk.

And now, he’s 15. I remember when he first stopped running to me for hugs when I visited him at home w/ my parents! And when he wanted me to stop holding his teeny hand out in public.

Man, now that we are expecting a child of our own, I am so excited about going through all the small and big milestones with our son, but also pre-sad about when he doesn’t want to be cuddled anymore, when he’ll be too big to think Mommy and Daddy are the best in the world! :'(

The little bro is coming to visit for a month starting this Saturday. We’ll make him help move our furniture around (it was all shuffled in order to get our floors fixed, which is starting today!) and finish up the painting. Hehehehe. Here comes free labor! Maybe I can make him wash the car too.

Random advice from my sister

June 2, 2009   

This was an interesting piece of advice I got. I had been contemplating cutting my hair really short before the baby is due, with the idea that I won’t have a lot of time to take care of it, and I won’t want it to fall into the baby’s face or anything later.

My sister’s take on this was that she had the same impulse, but it’s better to grow it long enough to be able to tie every strand back from the face, because when it’s short, it’ll need to constantly be trimmed or it’ll fall in my eyes and drive me nuts when I don’t have a hand to spare.

Good one! I will take her advice and keep growing out my hair. I can get almost all of it back into a ponytail right now, so it’ll just need a little more.

Zee Sexola

June 1, 2009   

It’s a boy! Husband & I had individually guessed girl, and the grandmothers-to-be guessed boy. I guess the elder generation takes this round!

In other news, my long-time friend (I’ve known him since the third grade) and his wife (who is totally awesome) just revealed to me that they are expecting their own baby, just about two weeks after ours. I am so very excited for them. We are making plans to meet up for lunch or dinner soon. It has been entirely too long. We don’t live super-far from them, but our work schedules have been such that we’ve had a lot of trouble meeting up more than twice a year. I know, totally shameful.

But now I can look forward to playdates for parents and kids, not just with them but with other friends who have young kids and who are expecting. How wonderful to be able to go through this process at the same time as good friends… πŸ™‚ I am truly lucky.

I only wish family (on both sides) were closer by so that they would be able to grow up with family near. We are still lucky to have our close friends live in the Bay Area, so I can’t complain.

Visiting Family

February 5, 2009   

My husband and I have been visiting family in an undisclosed suburban location for the last several days. The trip is from Saturday to Saturday.

My stomach had intense cramps the first few days, which made me wonder if something was going wrong with the pregnancy, then the cramps more or less stopped, which made is wonder (again) if something was going wrong with the pregnancy. Ha! Can’t win! πŸ˜€ I think it’s actually going ok though.

I feel constantly hungry. I’m embarrassingly gassy. I think it’s a combo of the pregnancy plus the daikon kimchi (white/not spicy) I’ve been eating. That stuff is potent for gaseous activity.

My mom, as expected, has dropped a couple of comments here and there about having a kid. She wrote me a letter, which was so sweet that I cried, which said stuff about how proud she was of me and incidentally *cough* mentioned that she’d like to see us welcome a little one into our family this year. It is hard to lie to the family, but I am determined to keep things under wraps until later. My sister is picking up sashimi tonight for dinner, so I’ll have to somehow figure out how to get out of eating it without attracting attention. Heh.

It’s been a fairly good visit so far. We’ve fixed the cable modem issue (with money) and have played with the kids and tried to entertain the little bro. We’ve gotten small gifts for the kids and had some tasty frozen yogurt.

My husband brought his book about expectant fathers, and I brought a Jenny McCarthy memoir about her pregnancy, which I’ve blasted through already.