Saturday, July 27, 2013

13 weeks

Original post written 07/12/13

How many weeks? 13

 Showing? As of this week, yes. 

 How am I feeling? Apprehensive. Morning sickness has subsided.  I've been having dizzy spells which may be low blood pressure.  I had realllly low BP with Sal so it wouldn't be too far fetched to think that's what it is again.  Most days I am in denial that we are actually expecting again. 

 Doctor’s Appointment? We had an appointment last week. Baby measured a little bit bigger than its gestational age. Last visit it measured 3 days smaller. S/he wouldn't cooperate and give us a profile shot, but everything appeared to be growing right. The tech that did my NT scan didn't speak English, which sucked, but we've seen enough scans by now to know that the baby is growing and pret much knew what she was looking at. I think I saw something between the legs, but it could've been an arm waving..I'm thinking boy, while NZ says girl. After the scan, we saw the OB. Sadly, I did not feel as positive about him this time as I did after our previous appointment. The overall consensus in our family is that the Doc's answers were vague and not exactly to the point. He let me stop progesterone (can I get an  amen?!) but added more folic acid and baby aspirin due to my history of loss. 

We have to decide whether to do a DNA test for any congenital issues. If this were the UsA we would decline the test. However, this being China, if I were to be carrying a baby with special needs or in need of immediate surgery post birth, special arrangements must be made in advance for emergency care. The closest NICU is thirty minutes from where we will deliver. It's not like America where half the hospitals have a NiCU or a helicopter can life flight to a top notch facility. Add to that, the NICU could potentially not have space since they are few and far between here. It's scary to think of anything going wrong, so we will think positive, but perhaps we should do the DNA testing to "be prepared".

 Workouts? I've been doing our 5k Monday walks to Starbucks with my ladies, and another friend and I walked to a local mall, probably about 3k one day last week. Otherwise, nothing. I keep thinking I should get my dumbells out and lift shoulders and arms but have yet to get off the couch. 

 Sleep? Napping less & staying up a tad bit later. The crazy dreams are in full effect though. Last week I had a dream one of my old college roomates chased my ol man with a butchers knife through Home Depot. Uhm, yeah-whhhhhhat?!the.bleep?! 

 Weight Gain? Up .1 kg from last visit. 

 Baby Preparation? Nope. Gonna stick to my "not-buying-anything-til-30-weeks" rule again.. We may have to make an exception and buy formula and the second seat and car seat adapter for my stroller when we are in the US in October but I will be 25+ weeks by then. Close enough, right?

 Likes? Nectarines, Wuxi peaches and apples with peanut butter. Also eggs. Love eggs. 

Dislikes? The smell of China's public restrooms/troughs rotting in the hot humid sun. Seriously puke worthy when walking by...even moreso now that I've got a super sniffer nose. Oh, and garlic has not been my friend as of late which makes me super sad because I usually love garlic in everything!

9 weeks

Orginal post written June 15, 2013

How many weeks? 9

Showing? Not yet, but I still felt whale-ish walking around Bali in my bikini.

How am I feeling? Aside from freaking out when I don't feel any symptoms, I'm feeling pretty good. Major tiredness/jet lag from returning from the states doesn't help. Have had a few moments of "pukeworthyness", but so far have kept it all in.

Doctor’s Appointment? I had one at 6.5 weeks while still in the USA which showed a teeny tiny speck with a heartbeat. My eyes welled with tears because I kept telling myself it probably wouldn't be viable. The day before we left for Bali I had a panic attack and convinced myself that I had lost the baby (sudden loss of symptoms) so we ended up at the local hospital and received an ultrasound and good news. Baby measured good and had a strong heartbeat. Next scheduled one is in a week at an expat hospital in Shanghai where I plan to deliver. I will be seeing an American born and trained Chinese OB. 

Workouts? Said goodbye to Jillian. Jumping jacks make me have to pee. I've been doing my daily errands on foot, so walking is my best effort.

Sleep? I've been napping while Sal naps. Usually two hours a day!

Weight Gain?  2 lbs since I had last weighed myself. Started at 112 lbs

Baby Preparation? Some discussion of what changes we will need to make to have room for two.

Likes/Dislikes? Loving Egg salad sandwiches, cereal, apple huge aversions yet.

**this post was originally written June 15, 2013***

Monday, July 22, 2013

Goodnight, Beaver.

Nine lives.

Thirteen some odd years.

And boy did he live them out to their fullest.

It's with sadness that we said goodnight to our beloved cat last night. We recently noticed a severe weight loss and shift in his eating, so a trip to the vet confirmed kidney and liver failure. We attempted to rehydrate with an IV but by the next day, it was evident, his time with us was coming to an end. We're sad to let him go, as he has been with Nick longer than we've been dating/married and this cat has seen some things, yo. Coon fights, crow attacks, long naps in the bushes, a move to China for his retirement years....he's done it all. We will miss him.

As Sal would say, "nite nite titty".

May his pain and suffering be over. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Say whaaaaat?

Sal wasn't sure how he felt when he heard the news...

But he came around and shares our joy....

Words can't express how excited, scared, anxious and happy we are to be expecting again. 

I  found out I was pregnant again while in California. NZ and I were out shopping and all of a sudden I felt faint.  "Nick, if I didn't know better, I'd think I was pregnant."  He didn't say anything, and I quickly dismissed the silly notion because that just doesn't happen to us. Sal was four years in the making--no way we would be so lucky to get pregnant while he's still such a little guy. 

Two days later, still feeling faint and tired, I bought a test.

Sure enough, two pink lines.


I may or may not have uttered some expletives, but they were happy expletives. 

We were scheduled to fly back to China a few days after my discovery,  so I called my old OB and they fit me in before we left to confirm we had a viable embryo.  Right away, my Doc eased my fears and said, "strong heartbeat. One baby. Six and a half weeks."


I got my little printout of our speck of rice, thanked the staff and headed to my car with a sigh of relief and smile on my face. That night, NZ and I raided our storage facility and pulled out my maternity clothes to bring home to China. It felt good to be pulling them back out. 

Two days later, we boarded the plane bound for China with the happiest secret in the world on our minds. 

Stay tuned for an overdose of pregnancy updates, my takes on maternity care in China and most likely a few freak outs and obsessive posts about how I'm gonna juggle a toddler and a newborn come January.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I can see clearly now...

...too bad the forecast is for thunderstorms, cause these guys have been washing the windows on our high rise for the last four days. We were lucky enough to be home to catch them rappelling down in front of our kitchen one afternoon and Sal got a kick out of the man outside our window who was smoking a cigarette with one hand while wiping windows clean with the other.

This was an unexpected treat for us. Our windows were looking a little worse for the wear, with all the recent rains and smog filled days literally leaving a thick film of grime between us and our view. 

Keeping my fingers crossed we get at least a week without rain so I can enjoy our view again!

Sunday, July 14, 2013


This will probably be my last monthly update on Sal. I just feel like at some point, the monthly updates lose their luster, and I have no intention of making my readers suffer through a blog post titled "Thirty nine months" (c'mon, after 24 months, let's just say two, three, four years old) anywhere down the line. At some point, I have to call it quits, so I've decided  that this will be it. I will probably switch to quarterly updates instead. We shall see. 

At eighteen months, Sal can finally call himself "bottle free". Yes. It's true. No more bottles! I admit, it took nothing more than effort from me to make the change. I can't even claim that he protested it at all. Now he drinks his milk in a sippy cup with meals, and we've started reading 2 stories before he goes to sleep. About the same time we retired the bottle, Sal's 3 hour afternoon siestas came to a screeching halt, and he now naps just 1.5-2 hours per afternoon. Still nothing to complain about, but now that I've had a taste of 3 daylight hours to myself, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the longer naps. 

Our favorite thing about Sal at 18 months is his growing vocabulary. He cracks us up with his pronunciation of kitty "titty" and fox "fawk", but we continue to work on annunciation the "kuh" sound for kitty and "ox" sound at the end of fox so that no one thinks we've taught him dirty words. He can quite clearly say, "cat", "bye", "dad", "apple", and "ball" amongst others already mentioned. 

We've spent some hot afternoons inside (it has been over 32c the past week and super high humidity) and I've found that he really likes basic gymnastics. He's able to put his head on the floor between his arms and do a somersault with assistance. We are working on tuck, pike and straddle positions, and he thoroughly enjoys turning any mattress or couch cushion into a trampoline. He also likes to hold onto Nick and hang upside down like a monkey on a tree.  

We have new pantry shelves that he scales like Spiderman (leaving me gasping for air every time I walk in to find him three shelves high). I would pay pretty much anything for a decent mommy and me gymnastics class around here, but Gymboree is the only thing we've got available and its across town, in mandarin and ├╝ber expensive. For now, instructions from his mama will have to do. 

I found out our gym memberships include free swimming for babies, so we spent one morning before lunch in the baby pool at the gym. He didn't like it as much as the outdoor pool in Bali, but I think if I take a little raft or some balls next time, he will find that it is actually quite fun and refreshing to spend the morning in the pool. 

One of the biggest milestones for month 18 is that Sal took his first ride on our electric scooter. He's a professional floorboard rider now, riding between NZ's legs, manning the horn when need be. I see this becoming a favorite activity of his in the next few months. He lights up when we tell him to get his helmet. He will even put it on in our apartment and wear it down twenty five flights to our parking area in the heat.

I can't believe in six short months, he will be a full fledged two year old. I'm going to have to brace myself for endless days, but the saying is so true.....The days are long, but the years fly by.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sunday scootin'

We took a Sunday scoot to escape the heat and humidity (or at least fool ourselves that it wasn't that hot out). With the help of google maps, we navigated ourselves to Decathalon, a worldwide sporting goods chain to pick up a helmet for Sal. Yes, I know in America, a bike helmet on an electric bike would never fly, but believe me, with us rising three deep, we aren't breaking any speed limits. I think people riding pedal bikes can actually out run us. 

Our scooter has provided a sense of freedom that we've been missing for over a year. It feels so good to get out as a family, depending on no one but ourselves. We can come and go as we please, and make just-because trips to the store. 

It feels unbelievably awesome.

We're smiling again.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saving face, by lying to my face

Ahhh, what would life here be without some more growing pains?

My newest "I-just-can't-wrap-my-head-around-it" cultural divide is that of what I, and most westerners would consider lying. Like bold faced lies.

As in, not telling the truth to "save face."

I've mentioned before that the Chinese culture has this innate need to "save face", or to not bring shame to themselves or their families. This in turn, means that at times, they will lie to protect themselves from losing face, and also, as a "courtesy" to the person they are lying to, as to not upset them (assuming the person being lied to doesn't find out).

But what happens when we, as Westerners find out we are being lied to?

We (or I), take it personally. Especially when it is someone that I trust, and have come to love as a part of our family. My insides hurt. My heart is heavy. I'm sad.

Our ayi has been dishonest with us. This being said, I also know she has a good heart. I know she cares about my son, and wants to keep her job with us. I'm contradicting myself, aren't I? How could someone who lies, actually care? 

 I think her recent lie ( about dropping my husband's shirt off at the cleaners, when she really hadn't) was a small harmless one that really was just an inconvenience to us. It by no way put us in danger. It simply meant that my husband took an hour out of his day to go retrieve something from the shirt at the cleaners who had no record of receiving the shirt that day--even though the ayi claimed she had dropped it off. When called out about it, she admitted she had not dropped the shirt off at the cleaners that day. Had she been honest right away, my husband could've saved himself a trip to the cleaners and she could have just retrieved the item from my husband's shirt and brought it to us the next day....but she didn't. Instead, she lied.

The lie that makes me lose trust more than anything is something that I've mulled over in my brain for the past few weeks. Before we left for the US and then Bali,  I specifically told her that she must come each day and clean our floors and care for our cat. Caring for the cat entailed cleaning the litter box, throwing the waste outside (gotta be specific here, so it doesn't stank up our house) and feeding the cat food and clean water daily. 

NZ and I have been so lucky to have friends here that are cat lovers. They sweetly offered to check in every few days to snuggle with Beaver while we were away. It was brought to my attention by my friend who had stopped in, that the same cat vomit was on our floor two days in a row, indicating that the ayi did not come as arranged. My friend actually stopped in twice in the same day before alerting me to her concerns about our ayi not coming.  When we told her [ayi] that we knew she hadn't come each day as instructed (because of the lingering cat vomit and furballs around the house) she lied and said she went in the morning and that my friend must have missed her. Here's my beef--even if she had come in the morning, she still neglected to clean up after the cat (the floors), in my western eyes, she didn't do her job. She didn't hold up her end of the agreement. She lied.

It's hard to know where to go next. What steps to take. How to deal with this cultural difference. Some of the articles I have read basically say westerners will never fully comprehend why Chinese people lie and do not feel that it is immoral. Some articles claim they tell lies to save face, to not rock the boat, or to keep peace. I have to step back and remind myself as I bounce back and forth between anger and hurt that I need to make an attempt to understand and respect the culture of the people I live amongst, but it is oh so difficult. I was raised to believe all lies are bad. 

Perhaps we will need to sit down and have a talk with her (translated, of course) and explain that we won't be mad for her telling the truth, but that if we catch her lying on one more occasion, she will lose her job with us. I really don't want another ayi. I want her. I just want her to be honest. As I said before, we love her. To our  knowledge she has never stolen anything from us, has been wonderful with our son, and keeps our home sparkling. 

So, what's a family to do? Accept it as a TIC (This Is China) situation, or take it to heart like a Westerner and give her the three strikes you're out warning?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July fourth

Happy birthday, America.

The 4th of July isn't celebrated in China, except maybe at one of the local expat bars....offering Budweiser and hotdogs and burgers at a discount. We've yet to find good hotdogs this side of Hawaii, so the plan is to stay home, cook up some good ol Australian filets and baked fries. 

That's American, right?

I'd much rather be at our usual Fourth of July hangout (miss you Morgan and Julie!) waiting for the city of Thousand Oaks to light off their display of fireworks and eating good watermelon and BBQ, but for this year, we will make the most of what we've got. 

This morning Sal and I made a cake. This one pales in comparison to what I'm really capable of, as our oven is a countertop toaster oven, and our only pans are bread loaf pans from IKEA. I used my last box of funfetti cake mix  since this is a special occasion. The funfetti is saved for special occasions since we smuggle it in our suitcase to get it to China. The stuff is like Gold,I tell ya. Forget saving the best bottle of wine, it's cake mix  (and green enchilada sauce) we savor 'round here.

So, with our whole hearts and best attempt at celebrating, Happy Birthday America. If there's one thing we leave this experience with, its our gratitude for our freedom and those who fight to protect the Land of the free and home of the brave. 

Monday, July 1, 2013


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