O-Blog-Di, O-Blog-Da

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

D-Day: August 19th

Apologies for the exceedingly long gap between posts, but I had the holidays and a three week trip back to the States to focus on as well as the not-so-small fact that WE ARE INDEED HAVING A BABY! It still hasn't sunk in, believe it or not, mostly because I am wary of getting attached to the idea too early. I'm not being morbid, just realistic. The last two people I found out were pregnant both unexpectedly miscarried before they were out of the first trimester and I have no right to think that I will be any luckier. Of course I am hoping and praying every day that things go smoothly, but you just never know. I trust my body that whatever happens will be for the best, but I really hope we are going to meet our little guy/girl in August!

If you are curious, my HCG levels doubled normally from 206 at 13dpo to 1706 five days later, which indicates a normally developing pregnancy at that early stage. However, I am not feeling sick at all which is a little strange after being under the impression for only my whole lifetime that most women have morning sickness when they are pregnant. It turns out that just under half of women don't experience that particular joy of pregnancy, and I will be glad to count myself as one of the lucky ones as long as everything else turns out to be fine as well.

So, we're back from a much needed visit home. It was refreshing in ways, but after living with family for almost three weeks and having no access to certain coping strategies while pregnant, I would gladly get on a plane to just about anywhere, including here. We're now trying to plan a vacation for the Chinese New Year at the end of the month, but so is everyone else in this part of the world. You would think that competition would drive prices down but that doesn't seem to be the case. Flights are ridiculously expensive. We'll see.

I am considering getting a job teaching English for the remainder of our time here. My work before kept me on a long-term career track in media and advertising, but that contract ran out before the end of the year and frankly I'd rather explore a different avenue this time around. The ad industry just isn't the same over here. It's at least five, probably closer to ten, years behind technologically, and creatively maybe twenty. The concept of thinking outside of the box doesn't exist here. The frustration isn't worth it, not to mention the pitiful pay. I'm sure a lot of people would tell me that trying to discipline and teach a room full of smart ass pre-adolescents can be pretty frustrating, but at least they can't take my ideas and run with them. And if they did it would only end up making me look good, right? That's the point of teaching, isn't it? The money's decent for the amount of time you put in, though.

On a more exciting, positive note: we just found out that some good friends of ours, another ex-pat couple who also live here, are expecting a baby, too. We conceived two weeks apart. How cool is that? I cannot tell you how relieved I am that I will not be doing this alone. Yay! We'll check back on that when I'm at 14 weeks and she's at the end of the first tri. Wish us luck!

I'm now off to indulge in a pregnancy nap, which I will try to accomplish despite the constant banging and sawing of the construction crews down the street, the barking dog who lives in the street below our windows, and the frequent buzz of scooters circumventing traffic though my neighborhood. At least the recycling people who live across the alley haven't decided to bring out all of the neighborhood's aluminum cans to flatten incessantly with a hammer. Thank god for small miracles!

I'm back. No mistake about it.

Happy New Year. Here's wishing 2006 and the Year of the Dog bring health, happiness, and prosperity.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Great Expectations

Okay, lame, but pertinent, post title. I had written off the possibility of becoming pregnant this cycle since I was obviously experiencing symptoms of an impending visit from AF. So it struck me as odd that I would be feeling nauseous not one, but two mornings in a row. I was sure it would be too early to feel queasy, but I have always been closely in tune with my body and I realized something was slightly...I wouldn't say off, just different. So, yesterday I bought two HPTs, the cheap dipstick kind.

When my husband got home, I eagerly showed off my newly acquired audio editing skills demonstrated in an intro/outro piece I had worked on for a project. After showing me that he was sufficiently impressed with my creativity and resourcefulness, he spied the tests on the coffee table and asked,"What are those?" I said,"Oh, yeah, I haven't been feeling like myself the last few days, so I thought it would take my mind off of the possibility if we could just test." So, we tested. And it was positive. At first I wasn't sure (uncertainty compounded by my husband repeating,"There's nothing there, it's negative."), but by the time five minutes had elapsed, a faint, pink line was clearly visible on the stick next to the control line. Huh? Really?

I was certain we would have to try for at least a few cycles. I've read so many accounts about the difficulties that can arise in terms of conception. I had such a hard time believing it that I insisted on using the second test to make sure it wasn't a fluke. Positive again. But, again, faint. So we decided to go out and get a few more (different brands this time) to use in the morning, the best time to test. Both of the brands I tested with today were positive as well. I reserved the third test for later this week or next when I start doubting again.

I called the clinic where we had had a preconception visit in October and they said they had an opening after lunch if I wanted to come in to have a blood test. (Actually, it wasn't that easy since the receptionist's English wasn't great--this became clear only after she retrieved my file in order to give me my blood test results from a month and a half ago. "Noooo, I need to have a NEW blood test done...you know, a pregnancy test...did you understand any of what I just said or should I start over? Ok, here we go..." My Chinese isn't good enough to discuss clinical procedures, or else I would have tried that, but such is life here.)

To make a long story short, we went to the clinic this afternoon where I had my blood taken for a quantitative analysis in order to confirm the pregnancy. Oh, and they decided to give an ultrasound to see if they could visibly confirm it, which I thought was a bit premature given the fact that I was today only 13 dpo. I suppose I could have refused, but I'm fascinated by those machines. It was totally unnecessary and of course they didn't find anything, but it didn't hurt anything either.

We get the results tomorrow. Right now I'm in this kind of limbo where I'm still not really believing it and that we may have concieved, but there's always a chance that I will miscarry. When will it feel real? Maybe when I'm full-on puking into the toilet?

For the time being we are cautiously ecstatic and feel lucky as hell. The realist in us is preventing us from getting too excited just yet--but it's building. Are we going to have a baby?

Monday, December 05, 2005

I Felt the Earth Move Under My Feet

One of the more interesting things about where I live is the frequent brushes with natural "events", for lack of a better word, namely earthquakes and typhoons. (A typhoon is the same kind of tropical storm as a hurricane; for some reason when these storms develop west of the international dateline in the Pacific Ocean, they are called typhoons, not to be confused with a tsunami, which is essentially a giant wave that is generated by large undersea earthquakes.)

Anyhow, we had a really mean typhoon season this year. At least four that made it to category 4, plus two that became super-typhoons. (Yes, there is such a thing called a super-typhoon and imagine finding that out only when there is one heading directly for your house.) Living in the city, a safe distance from the coastlines that take a lashing, we were relatively sheltered from these storms and endured them with almost childlike anticipation as they passed through. (Who wouldn't get excited about the chance to stay home from work with a few bottles of wine, a couple decks of cards, and a wide selection of downloaded entertainment to watch with friends all day?)

I grew up in upstate New York where frequent blizzards would result in the occasional "snow day" for school children, and sometimes the working population if the storm was disruptive enough. Imagine my surprise at learning that in other parts of the world, they have this same kind of weather perk, only on a sub-tropical island it is known as a "typhoon day". It's very cool. It seemed as if every other week this summer (typhoon season) I had a day off that happened to fall on a Friday or a Monday, making the weekend an extra long one. (For all of the green people out there, yes I understand that the increase in number and severity of these storms is likely due to global warming, and yes it does concern me greatly. I still think storms are cool. And also, I'm not trying to be insensitive to those who survived the wrath of Katrina this year-a disaster compounded by a recovery effort that only this administration could so royally screw up-and do understand that storms can be dangerous and destructive.)

In the last week, we have experienced two of the biggest earthquakes since we arrived last January. Early one morning last week, I was jolted out of a sound sleep, awoke with a gasp and instinctively put a death-grip on my husband's thigh as he lay asleep next to me. (I guess the purpose in doing this was to both wake him up as well as make sure he was there and going through it with me.) That particular earthquake turned out to be a 5.8 on the Richter scale, but the epicenter was a good distance away so we only felt it as a 2 or 3. That typically happens when we experience earthquakes here: the epicenters seem to be closer to the fault lines in the ocean which are further south and east of us, so we end up only feeling the residual shaking. We used to swap earthquake stories with our ex-pat friends after a notable one, thus exposing our newbie status, and we were told repeatedly,"If the movement is from side-to-side, there is really no danger, even if it's a big one; when the movement is up-and-down, that's when you get the real damage."

I don't know if that is true or not but I found out what they meant about a half an hour ago. I was on my couch surfing the web when the whole building jumped. Yes, folks, today I learned that my apartment building can jump. It kind of felt like hitting a speed bump in a car at high speed. It was jarring. And things fell off the tables, windows rattled, my cat shot off the couch to hunt the intruder who knocked the pencil jar off the desk in the bedroom, blah, blah, blah. I checked the local earthquake report and discovered that it was only a 4 on the Richter scale, but that it wasn't very deep (only 9k) and more than that, the epicenter was about 5k east of where I live. That means it felt like a 4, not a 3 or a 2, like usual. It wasn't all that scary, and only lasted about 20 seconds, but I'd be lying if I said my heart wasn't in my throat and I didn't freeze solid until it was over. (Yes, I know you're supposed to get to a door frame or something, but I was lying down with a cozy blanket and my computer in my lap--I'm still here, so I guess it's not that big of a deal.)

I was home alone at the time and had no one to share it with, so I thought I'd share it with you. As natural disasters go, this doesn't even rate. But I would call it an "event". And as far as storms and earthquakes being cool and all, I'm pretty sure I'd choose, if I could, to never find out if there is such a thing as a super-earthquake.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Oh-My-God!Father

We watched the Oscar-winning screen adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Streetcar Named Desire last night and I'm very glad to say I learned something...

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Marlon Brando was fucking HOT!

I love discovering vintage hotness. I am so looking forward to finding and watching the rest of his films, except The Godfather Trilogy, which, being Italian, I've viewed multiple times in my life. He wasn't hot in those, though, just old.

Call me clueless but, who knew?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I Drank the Kool-Aid

Finally. I am jumping on the blogging bandwagon with the hope that...well, with hope for a lot of things. I discovered the blogosphere in all it's glory this past summer. I have spent many hours reading, laughing, crying, and learning from an amazing online community that I want to be part of. Something has held me back until now, when I need an outlet most. My husband can only listen to so much! I'm jumping in head first, putting my feelings on the line. Please be nice!

I am living abroad, feeling displaced and anxious to go home. The first few months were fun, don't get me wrong. I'm not going to say I've hated every minute of it because that wouldn't be true. My husband and I were really excited to have the opportunity to live abroad before we have children (if we are fortunate enough to have them-I don't take that blessing for granted). He's here for his career and I came to support him-a decision that was 100% mine. I even managed to find a kick-ass job which furthered my own career for the majority of the time we've been here, but it was contract work that ended in October.

For a while it was enough to feel competent and worldly, tackling a culture and language that is so different from what I know. I'm proud that I can speak enough to get around and do the things one needs to do to live a normal life here. Unfortunately, the novelty has worn off and there are just so many things I miss about home-my family, my dog, my job, and good western food, to name some. I've realized that it's just plain hard to go beyond your comfort zone and try to make it in a world that isn't your own. It's humbling.

We'll have a good dose of home over the holidays, when we will be in the States for three weeks. I'm counting the days until we fly. I'm hoping to return to Asia renewed, with a positive attitude and a plan for how I'm going to spend the rest of my time here. I'm hoping that I will find new open doors and opportunities that could come along no place else. I'm hoping that my husband and I will be blessed with the news that we are starting a family of our own. I'm also hoping that I'll make some friends through this blog who will help keep me company along the way.

Welcome to my world. I promise that all of my posts won't be as sober and dramatic as this one. I just feel the need to make it known where I'm at, in my life and in my head. Thanks for listening.