Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tsinghua and a One-Month Old

I don't believe that I've more than barely mentioned this on my blog so far. This being our crazy plan for our lives over the next year. In short, we are currently planning to have our baby in mid-April, spend a month at home trying to learn the ropes, and then fly from SFO to Beijing in mid-May. At the end of July, we'll fly back home for another 6-18 months before we head back to China "long-term" (whatever that means these days).

Yes, we are crazy. Yes, we will be ordering refundable plane tickets in case we have to face any unforeseen medical complications. And yes, we do have to figure out how to get our very little one a passport and visa within 3-4 weeks of his or her birth. Considering how attractive normal passport shots are, I can't wait to see one of a one-week-old.

Our original plan was actually to go from March to May. Pete has an exchange program set up with a research lab at Tsinghua University in Beijing. It's a really fantastic opportunity to him, and they already had it all set up and ready to go when I got pregnant with a due date in April. We did briefly entertain the idea of giving birth in Beijing, but for many reasons (top on the list being the impossibility of getting international insurance with maternity coverage after you're already pregnant) decided against it.

While I'm excited about going back to China and getting to spend more time there, of course I'm pretty overwhelmed. Mostly by all the little details and things I'm going to have to figure out in the midst of what will already be one of the most overwhelming times in my life. Like getting a passport for our child. And finding a good pediatrician in Beijing who speaks English. And traveling with all the baby stuff, and figuring out how to get the rest of the baby stuff we need when we're over there. And spending 10 weeks of my life cooped up in a one-bedroom apartment with a baby and no friends and no American TV. And trying to sublet our apartment so we can actually afford to keep it, and keep all our stuff there.

But how cool will it be for our baby to know he or she became a world traveler within the first weeks of life? I also have a feeling that walking around campus with a little one in a stroller will probably help me meet more people than I expect. Despite how utterly overwhelmed and exhausted I will be, I look forward to the actually living overseas again, even if for less than 3 months. 10 weeks is long enough to settle in just a tiny bit.

Now, what would be really nice is if the program would provide us with a cooking/cleaning lady who came along with the furnished apartment we get. Dream on.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Placenta of the Low-Lying Persuasion...and other random thoughts

I woke up yesterday morning with a little more spotting (you may remember that I had some a couple of weeks ago at 12 weeks). I wasn't too concerned, as it was brown and stopped quickly. I did email my OB to let her know. Then, my husband and I were silly enough to have sex last night (it's been a while, okay? My fatigue has taken its toll on our sex life). And I woke up in the middle of the night with quite a bit more blood, darker red this time. It continued until this morning. So I called my OB's office first thing this morning and was miraculously able to get in to see her within a couple of hours.

She checked out my cervix and said that, beyond the blood (ick!), the cervix itself looked fine. So she moved on to an ultrasound. (As a side note, there are certain benefits to having minor complications. Without this, I wouldn't have gotten another ultrasound until 19 weeks, in mid-November. Now I'll probably even get a few extra later on!) The baby is looking much cuter than at 7 weeks. Very active arms and legs--it looked like he or she was trying to suck a thumb--either that or poke an eye out. My OB was able to tell quickly that the reason for my bleeding is a low-lying placenta, which would be called placenta previa if I were a few more weeks along. The placenta is partially covering my cervix, thus causing some bleeding. At this point, I guess it's not as uncommon and has a 90% chance of righting itself on its own. I'm definitely praying for that option. The bleeding isn't fun even when I do know it's okay.

Until then, I'm on "pelvic rest." No sex, no orgasms, bouncing of the pelvis (whatever that would entail). She said I'm okay to continue my prenatal exercise videos and biking, though I think I would be put on stricter rest if I were further along that 14 weeks.

Other than that, this second trimester is definitely treating me better so far. My gas has majorly subsided, the nausea is all but gone. I'm still kind of waiting for that extra energy to kick in, as I'm mostly just tired all the time, with the occasional tired headache.

Now for a few other random thoughts floating in my head that I can't connect together:

  • I found out this week that another couple at our church is expecting just two and a half weeks after us! Though they aren't really close friends or anything, we definitely get along well. And they're with the same hospital and insurance company (Kaiser), so we can take all our classes together--which will definitely make them more tolerable for my husband, who simply can't wrap his mind around how a childbirth class could possibly take 7 hours.
  • Professional maternity photo shoots freak me out. I sincerely apologize if you love them and either have had one or plan to get one when you're pregnant. I promise not to judge you :). But I'm simply not at all attracted to the shots (becoming very common, it seems) of the hugely pregnant women either naked or mostly naked, sometimes covering her boobs with her hands. And even without those, the whole thing strikes me as another marketing ploy we've fallen for, crafted by the increasing number of professional photographers out there. When our parents were young, the only time they hired a photographer was for their wedding. Otherwise, they would just go to Walmart to get a nice picture taken. Now, we get engagement shoots, bridal portraits (if you're in the South), wedding shoots, maternity shoots, newborn shoots, and who knows what else. I also think Hollywood has had a role to play here, but I'll stop now.
  • Pete announced our pregnancy on Facebook. I was initially against it, for reasons most of you here in the IF community can understand, I'm sure. But he convinced me that 99% of the people who saw it would either be absolutely thrilled for us or simply ambivalent. So I acquiesced on the condition that the announcement be cute and not annoying, and that neither of us will overshare about the pregnancy or birth on Facebook in the future. So here's what he came up with (with my help):
Two matching long-sleeved shirts......... $20
Two matching square brown pillows..... $15
Two matching brown dress socks......... $2
Knowing there are actually three people in this picture...... priceless.

Okay, it's dorky, but kind of cute, I guess. And he's absolutely right that Facebook is by far the most efficient way of getting the word out to all those people who do care but who you would never take the time to call individually. And it gives those who already knew permission to spread the word.

But I promise, no ultrasound pictures or bump pictures will ever be on my FB profile!

If you're pregnant, did you or will you announce your pregnancy on Facebook? If you're not pregnant and trying, do you think you will? Would seeing the above post on one of your friend's profiles have ruined your day? I suspect it still would, depending on how you're feeling emotionally and how well you know the person posting. In the end, I kind of decided I had to take the risk that this might upset some people, just like my future huge belly will upset some people. I can't control that, but I also can't hide my pregnancy. I just try not to be obnoxious about it!