Monday, October 20, 2014

17 weeks pregnant

Total weight gain/loss: 4 lb

Maternity clothes? Yes, shirts, but still in regular jeans and shorts. Getting close to busting seams though. 

Stretch marks? No. Hoping that the fact that I've birthed three previous babies without getting any means I just don't get them, ever....but we will see.

Sleep: pretty good still. I had wild dreams the first part of pregnancy but they've simmered down enough for me to get a good nights sleep lately. 

Best moment this week: a referral for my detailed ultrasound was finally approved. Also, I think I felt some movement last night, but too soon to know for sure.

Miss anything?: friday night cocktails with NZ.

Movement: Maybe?

Food cravings: Lemonade & graham crackers. 

Anything making you queasy or sick: nope. Had morning sickness the first 12-13 weeks that hit Wilbur fail every afternoon at 3:00, but it has passed and now pretty much everything sounds good to eat. 

Gender: we can find out at my next ultrasound but NZ won't be able to go with me, so I'll wait to find out until we're reunited. Hold onto your horses, aunties & grandmas. 

Happy or Moody?: Happy. I've got a lot of good going on in my life right now. A husband, two healthy kids with another on the way. 

Looking forward to: Having NZ join us in a few weeks and getting to spend holidays with all of our family.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Carla is NINE months!

Happy 9 months to the happiest little girl I know.

                 

She melts my heart every single day with her toothy little smile.

She's sprouted three more teeth since last month. She's a teething machine! With her newfound chompers, she's also become an eating machine. 

Chicken? Sure. Crackers? Heck yeah. Bring on the steak! (Just kidding, no steak yet.)

She will often clear her tray and finish off her big brother's food....especially  if it's spaghetti made by her Nonno. She devours it. 

Most of the clothes we brought over with us are getting a bit snug, so she's moved up to 12 month size on most things except pants. I also put on her first pair of shoes--but she wasn't a fan. They came off as quick as they went on. 

                            

Due to a lingering snotty nose after our flight home, Carla got to meet her pediatrician for the first time this week. She weighed in at 17lb, 7oz. Grow girl grow! Carla also moved out of her bucket seat and into her convertible, and she is a happier traveller because of it. She can finally see out the window at all the things her brother is yelling about. 

"Cemeeeeent mixer! Tankah chuuuuuck! Towing engine!" 

We've spent a few afternoons at our house since  being back. Our first time home, the neighbor kids all greeted us at the car door to see the kids. It was a really nice homecoming. Every time I go to the house in the late afternoon, they come out to hang out with my kids. I think that says a lot about our neighborhood--when 15 year olds willingly hang out and entertain a 9 month old and 2 year old. No doubt, I have quite a few baby sitters available now...which is good, because if the picture below is any indication of what's to come.....I need more eyes. 

                

This age is so fun though. Carla is really mobile and has even done some balance checks, letting go of whatever is holding her up and standing unassisted for a whole .0002 seconds.  She's also a big time babbler, shrieker and laugher, and it's super cute. She adores her brother, even when he sits on her face. He's a stinker, that one. They feed off each other and it gives me hope that one day he will stop sitting on her and start sharing. A mom can hope, right? 

In our first month home, Carla has been to the zoo, pumpkin patch, a few parks and Target (too many times to count). 



Her favorite by far, are the swings.

                 
                    
       

Friday, October 10, 2014

Perpetually pregnant

I've got to preface this post by saying--I am really excited to be growing another baby--because I'm afraid while writing this post, it may come across a bit differently. 

While sitting in my OB's office today, for my first appointment with her, I had to go over my pregnancy history with the nurse. I couldn't help but do the math..it's 2014 now. My first miscarriage was 2008. I have been pregnant or trying to get pregnant for every single year since 2008. 

That's crazy.

Six years.

Sixth pregnancy.

When I found out I was expecting again, I was in disbelief. I was still very much a slave to nursing tops and Carla's on demand feeding schedule. I hadn't yet dropped all my pregnancy pounds, although it was coming off, slowly but surely. I hadn't even had the chance to join my husband for Friday night cocktails--one of my favorite things we've done together throughout the years.

And just like that, all of the things I looked forward to doing once Carla started taking bottles were pushed off into the future. My wants would have to wait. Someday I will feel like myself again. 

But for now, I feel perpetually pregnant. 

I'm almost 16 weeks but look 24. The belly is being rocked. When people ask how far along I am, and learn that I'm not even half way, they often tell me it must be a big baby. Or, they tell me, "well, it is number three, you know." And inside my head, the asshole in me is repeating FOUR. This is going to be the fourth baby I've grown and birthed. But you know, I don't want to be an asshole, so I keep that whole snarky FOURTH CHILD inside my head to save any weirdness. 

My hopes for this pregnancy is that I am able to enjoy it. My previous pregnancies were filled with so much anxiety that I lived from appointment to appointment and sometimes made appointments in between just so I could know that the baby was still alive. I was scared of reliving that moment when I learned Denise was no longer living. I still am...but I'm hopeful that I can put fear aside and really just roll with the punches. I'm in a really good place in my life, surrounded by family and easily accessible physicians. I've had two healthy children with no complications. That's got to mean something, right? 

Yet, I still wrestle with that feeling of doom.

This coming from a woman who saw her baby and its heartbeat just two hours ago. 

The countdown is on to my next appointment. 

Such is the life of the perpetually pregnant. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Repatriation

We're Californians again!

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple of weeks, but as you can imagine, life has been busy since we landed almost two weeks ago. The kids and I are here to stay, but we're wanting time to slow down before NZ heads back to China in a few days. We will miss him.

My days have been filled with errands, and phone calls, and getting utilities switched back over, etc. I managed to fit a trip to the salon in, and finally got my hair done for the first time in two years, and aside from growing another human, I'm feeling more and more like myself again. It's amazing what a hairstyle will do for your sanity. 

                          

I had anticipated the purchase of my car and agonized over the choices within our needs, but when it all came down to it, I looked at one minivan and knew it wasn't the car for me. We purchased my wheels in record time once I had ruled out the minivan, and I'm happy with my choice. It will serve our family well, and the kids will dig the dual DVD players once they're both forward facing. Welcome to the American way of overindulgence. 

Right now, I'm a bit panicked about my prenatal care, as my insurance was a train wreck upon receipt of our cards--none of us were assigned the physicians we had selected. I gave up and saw a new PcP, and like him well enough to stay, but now insurance isn't showing me as a member of the HMO group I was assigned to, so my authorization for prenatal care is at a halt. It will all work out, but it's quite frustrating. I've got better things to do than spend an afternoon on the phone explaining and re-explaining my situation to different reps, only to be disconnected. I mean, really? As of today, it might be fixed, but it took a hell of a lot of my attention to get things straightened out. 

The kids have adjusted really well. Jetlag was only an issue for two nights, which is a record in this house. Carla did share a cold with Sal and me--apparently licking airplane seats isn't a good idea. I think we are all past the worst of it now. 

                               

We have had some fun since getting back- the kids and I went to the Santa Barbara zoo last week while NZ fished with his dad, and we took a trip to the pumpkin patch with friends. We've had a few friends host dinners for us, which has been a nice break from all the eating out we've been doing. It's great to catch up and hang out with those we have missed. 


I guess that's all for now. Time to get today started. 

Go go go! 


Monday, September 22, 2014

An 8th Anniversary announcement

Thought I'd share something that is just the icing on the cake of my husband's and my 8th wedding anniversary which happens to be today.


My due date might be April Fools Day, but this certainly isn't an early April fools blog post.

It's for real.

Yes, Carla just turned 8 months old. 

She's still an infant...and I found myself staring at two pink lines when she was just six months old and almost exclusively nursing. I took tests for three consecutive days before calling my OB to confirm. 

Here in China, there's a one child per family rule (there are some exceptions), so imagine the look on the pharmacy clerk's face when in rolls my double stroller with two little ones, and me asking for an HCG test with my handy dandy google translate app. 

The pharmacist brought me a box of birth control pills. I kid you not.

I shook my head and handed them back...saying super slowly in English, "preg-nan-ceee teeeest" as if she'd understand that better than the translation. She then points behind me..condoms.

This was going nowhere fast.

But, as she was showing me my birth control options, I spied them. The tests. At the equivalent of 50 cents in US money, I bought two. That would surely be enough to confirm my suspicions. 

The kids and I made our way home and I raced to take the first test. I was stumped. My eyes were playing tricks. I thought I saw two lines, but figured it was my eyes seeing through the test strip. 

               

Maybe it was a faulty test (picture me uttering: "damn, china!")? So, instead of waiting til the next morning, I busted open test #2 and peed on that one.

Same result.

What the whaaaa?!

So what did I do? Took a picture and texted it to NZ, naturally.

I mean, what husband doesn't love getting texted pregnancy test pictures in the middle of his work day?

After seeing it, he wasn't sure either and told me to take another test.

I slept on it, and ventured out the next morning to the same pharmacy with the same pharmacist. I bought one test. I shouldn't need more than one, I thought. The clerk was definitely puzzled, and if her giggles were any indication,I'm pretty sure she made fun of me to her colleague as I was leaving.

So, I took test #3 and wouldn't you know it, another faint double line.

By now I'm uttering to myself, "effing China!" for all these faulty tests. Too embarassed to go back out to the Pharmacy again, I sat on the possibility of being pregnant for the day. 

The next day, I was determined to get a cut and dry answer. I loaded up the kids and walked 3 kilometers to the next nearest pharmacy so that I wouldn't have to face the same clerk again. And this time...I stocked up on those bad boys. 

I was NOT going back for more. No way!

Got home and took test #'s 4,5 & 6 and they were all clear as day.

TWO pink lines.


Confirmed the following week by bloodtest, and an ultrasound the week after.

I'm thrilled. Pretty sure my old man is thrilled too. After the journey we have been on, to get to this moment and have this chance at parenthood, yet again....there's no other feeling than that of thankfulness. I still recall the long hours spent in waiting rooms at the fertility clinic, hoping that one day, we would get just ONE live baby to bring home. Four years later, I've been lucky enough to have TWO, and another on the way. 

Here's to hoping we keep our sanity with three littles under three. 





Monday, September 15, 2014

Carla is 8 months old!


We have teeth! 


Two to be exact. They popped through just after she turned 7 months old. No fever, no cold, not really fussy--just a few nights of waking once and going back to sleep. Hopefully she sails through the rest of her teething days. I was prepared for an ordeal and she made it really easy on me. She's one tough cookie, that girl.

Speaking of tough cookie--Carla received her first "shiner" aka. Black eye courtesy of big brother Sal. He's very possessive of his trucks, and she's very persistent. Put the two together and it's a recipe for a fist full of wooden truck wheels in the face. I'm sure it's not the last time someone gets clocked while playing tug of war with toys. I'm just feeling a tad guilty I turned my back for a few seconds to get lunch together. I seriously need another set of eyes. And while we're at it, another set of hands would be great too.


Nothing is safe. Carla has learned how to pull herself to a stand using furniture, and she took a few side steps today, so I know cruising furniture is next on her lost of things to accomplish. What was once safe on our coffee table, is no longer. Time to move cell phones, soda cans and remotes to higher grounds. She's quite tickled with herself for climbing things, and I love the "look at me!" grin when she masters climbing something new. 

Am I ready for her to cruise? 

Absolutely not. I thought I had another month based off comparisons to her brother. He started pulling to a stand around 10 months old...we saw it coming and were prepared. With Carla, we were playing in the living room and I rolled over from playing with Sal on the floor to see her perching herself against a box of duplos. 
Thanks to my friend Brandy's IG feed and pictures of her daughter eating rice and beans, I added rice to Carla's meals and she loves it. That's probably how she got to 17 lb, 13 oz this month. She's eating a lot of purees still but I've also started cutting carrots and apples into small (I'm talking smaaaaaall) cubes and steaming them until tender for her to use as finger food. I toss some rice and halved kidney/garbanzo/pinto beans on her high chair tray and she goes to town. I was adding banana but oh.my.gawd.  Let me just say that manhandled banana acts like glue when paired with rice and beans. It's straight to bath after bananas.  

 She seems to enjoy self feeding, and despite the mess it makes, I'm happy to see her figuring out how to get food from point A to point B. We are all eating at the table now, so it's nice to have her sitting with us as opposed to rolling on the floor pulling at our feet  while we scarf our dinners down.

I'm looking forward to our move home at the end of the month which will mark Carla's first time ever in the USA. Just saying that seems crazy to me. It will also be her first time meeting grandmas, grandpas, Nanas, aunties, uncles and cousins. The only two family members that have met her in person have been her Nonno and auntie Stephanie, and she was less than 8 weeks old when those visits happened. I'm hoping for an easy transition, but I'd be foolish to think that we won't have any hiccups. Jetlag can be a bitch on its own--add one kid and it's brutal, two kids and well......we'll have to see just how long one can survive on zero sleep. It's usually only a few days until we've adjusted, so my fingers are crossed cause we have lots on our to do list upon landing. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Oh no,she didn't...oh yes, I did

Today is Monday.


That means its Starbucks day. A couple of years ago one of my fellow expats organized a group of ladies to walk to Starbucks almost every Monday. Since it's about 5k round trip, we called it 5k Monday so it sounded better than saying "Starbucks, again?". Anyways, attendance has died down, but there is still a small group of us that walk there on Mondays.

Our old Starbucks is under construction as of late, so we've been meeting at the new one. I love the new one, mainly because it has a western bathroom inside. The old one had a public restroom located nearby that only had squatties..no western toilets. This was fine, but there wasn't  any changing areas for babies. So, I often took my kids to a corner of the old store, laid my disposable mat down and got them changed as fast as possible. 

Sal has this innate knack for pooping every.time.we.go.to.starbucks. I've heard coffee has that effect, but I think that it's more a function of having a diaper on than anything else. Yet, he doesn't poop anywhere else when we are out.

Only Starbucks.

With no useable changing areas.

So, when this new Starbucks opened, I was excited. They have a toilet Sal can use.  We take him out without diapers now, even in the car. I do admit to throwing them on him when we are going to be out for a long while, and today was one of those days. So, my two diapered kids and I arrive to the new Starbucks and within minutes, he's disappeared from our table, and I spy him lingering behind a twenty something guy wearing headphones. He's looking over his shoulder at whatever was on the guy's phone.

And then the facial expressions started.

And then a couple grunts and red cheeks.

Followed by "yeave me ah-yone. I'm poopin!" 

He totally dusted that poor guy.

So, I grabbed my changing pad, wipes and diapers and handed Carla off to my friend. We headed towards the new clean bathroom only to find a "sorry. Toilet not working" sign and a barista telling me I could go outside to change him.

What the whaaaa?

Whatever. We're in China. C'mon Sal. Let's put on a show. 

And guess what I did?

Right outside Starbucks doors, on the pavement, I laid my kid down on a chintzy changing mat, opened a poopy diaper and cleaned him up while people passed by. A few gawkers got the stink eye from me but most people just walked by like it "ain't no thang". 

Crazy, right?

It totally goes down in history as the craziest place I've changed my kid. 

Gets better though.

We head back in Starbucks and wouldn't you know...he poops again.

Seriously, kid?!

I grabbed my stuff and tried to laugh it off as we headed out to do a public change again, but this time the barista followed me out and kept pointing ahead and telling me erlo, meaning second floor. She walked me to nearby Pizza Hut and yelled in the door at the waitress who took me to the second floor where there was a bathroom. 

Again, only squatties. 

The waitress returned downstairs as I decided how to tackle poop diaper 2.0 and after some back and forth with myself, I decided that the bathroom wouldn't do. I looked at the floor and just pictured Pee water being mopped around. I'd rather change him outside on the pavement. As we were heading back downstairs, poop filled diaper and all, I saw that there were seating areas upstairs. No one was there, so I stripped him down and changed him in a booth on the bench. If this were America I would have had a shit fit if I saw anyone do this. Seriously, I'd be alerting management and trying to get that person 86'd from Pizza Hut for the rest of their days. 

As I walked out of Pizza Hut after disrespecting their booth with the stench of kid poop, I laughed to myself. Am I really the same girl who would b-line home from Target when my kid pooped so that I wouldn't have to use a public changing area? The thought of using a public changing booth disgusted me.....

Oh China, look how far I've come.