Found this online here. What a joyful and AWESOME photo pregnant with expectation. I can’t wait to take photos like this of my little Ninja.
Our ultrasound from 38 weeks. Ninja boy was so active during the checkup that his heartrate was elevated, so the doc asked to do an ultrasound and fetal monitor check to ensure he was normal. Normal he is, and extremely active! I’d rather an excited child than placid one, I suppose.
Him, from the side. Isn’t his nose positively ginormous? It was hard to get this shot – the radiologist said he kept placing his hand in front of his face, like a celeb trying to fend off the paparazzi. Good that he prefers privacy to airing his dirty laundry for all to see!
So we’re just 2 days from the actual due date, and I’m going stir crazy, just waiting and waiting and waiting. It’s funny; we started this entire journey in a little bit of shock; “We’re pregnant? We’re….pregnant??”; only to end it in wild anticipation, joy, expectation, and extreme impatience; “Come out NOW!! I want to meet you and tell you in person that some of those kicks were really painful!” Every day I moan a bit at my belly, urging my little Ninja baby to come out, telling him it’s time, pretending to spank his upside-down belly which, when facing outwards, I am convinced is a sign he is mooning me from the inside. Little rascal.
That being said, I also keep telling myself that I can’t imagine the kind of change that will happen once he arrives, and that perhaps I’m kidding myself that I’m ready. Last night, while Ninja Dad and I were sitting in bed reading our respective iThings, I turned to him and said “you know, by this time next week, we’re going to have a baby.” It hit me, again, how different life will be, how tired we’ll be, how not-like-it-is-now everything will be. How do you get mentally prepared for that? I think like Ninja Dad’s doctor said to him last year right after we got married, we have to “just have kids” and throw ourselves into the life of it; trying to think through everything ahead of time is only a small part of the preparation; the rest is in the heart and the openness of accepting What Will Come.
…I just want it to come NOW.
Getting pregnant was the start of a ticking clock, a clock that counts off all the milestones to come as my husband and I move rapidly, irreversibly, towards parenthood. Because our careers did not stop with the spark of our son inside me, we sometimes feel time is truly rushing forward, as we balance my health in the pregnancy with the careers we need to ultimately support a family of 2+.
Admittedly, while I am apprehensive about how to shape my son’s character, how he’s going to become a functioning, conscientious and well-adjusted member of society, somehow the “caring for the baby” part doesn’t seem that daunting. That doesn’t mean I think it will be easy; I have siblings who have all been through this before me, and I acknowledge and will learn from their vat of experiences, of pain and stress and pleasure and joy, of trial and success, of dedication and devotion.
I say it’s not daunting because, in the last 10 years, I have consistently been facing the open road of uncertainty with more curiosity and excitement than apprehension. In 2003, I packed up my car with clothes, books, my computer, and a huge collection of CDs and drove my car from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Denver, Colorado, spreading it out leisurely over 4 days. At the behest of concerned adults, I booked 2 of my stopovers in advance, and yet enjoyed taking detours on a whim, stopping at rest stops with the high hopes for yummy, greasy food. I look back now with vivid memories, remembering how nice it was to not be afraid, to just drive in a general direction and trust.
That was the first of many adventures. Almost 10 years later, I have had many additional detours on a whim. Beijing doesn’t even feel like an endpoint; I know there will be more turns to come, and I look forward to it. I like to make things up as I go, based on some preconceived notions and values that have guided me this entire way. Even my job and career now are not what I imagined just 2-3 years ago, but the decision to take on this job wasn’t overwhelming; it felt right, and I went with the flow.
Sometimes I wonder whether I’m crazy to not be more scared. To not be more apprehension, worried all the time, makes you feel a bit like an under-achiever as a mother-to-be. After all, don’t they say that if you are not sure if you are ready is a good sign you are going to be ready, because it means you are staying alert, always preparing, etc?
Well, maybe I am crazy. But, it has gotten me this far, and it is comforting to know I have not lost out by facing the unknown with excitement instead of constant worry. I think we’re going to be ok, which is why I gayly go about my days with happy, and not cloudy, daydreams of the as-yet unmolded future.
When you’re a hungry preggo lady, a 1 hour phone call is about 55 minutes too long. Too bad I was giving a phone interview and couldn’t just say “Excuse me, but I’m starving and will call you back later.”
I miss being able to lie down on my front to read, write, or draw. It’s as if that lying down position is associated with being a kid, with being so much closer to the floor and splaying out, carefree. Not a kid anymore…
Here I am, writing my first substantial post from a service apartment in Shanghai. No, I’m certainly not that rich or need such cushy surroundings most of the time; but would you really say no when your new boss offers to put you up in one for your business trip?
Not saying the cushiness isn’t appreciated when you’re 5.5 months pregnant!! That’s right, 5.5 months, 22 weeks, and feeling rounder than ever before. My mom told me via video skype that I was “bigger than ever!”, and to a girl who has had mild weight issues her entire life, that was not so good to hear…
That being said tho, for the first time in my life I don’t feel guilty being a bit bigger than the girl next to me, and I can’t tell you how relieving and liberating that is. Not just because you live in anxiety about feeling overweight much of your life, but because you realize now that your size has a purpose; I am big, because I am growing something worth my time. I don’t just take up space anymore; I have purpose.
Then again, I am also in Shanghai with the purpose of work. Working in strategic development is no easy job, and I’ve been exercising both my mental capacity and sheer stamina to keep my thoughts straight and moving forward. My new boss(es) and teammates are great, and I envy their ability to keep so many facts and ideas straight. This pregnancy brain-muddiness and forgetfulness is NOT conducive to productivity!! I’m hoping that even as I relax over the weekend, I can spend at least 3 hours – instead of my normal 1.5 – getting my thoughts down, organized, and ready for action next week.
I refuse to say I’m not being very productive, tho. I am growing my SON, and no one can tell me that I am sparing him any love, commitment, and thoughts and prayers during this time. To my darling little ninja baby, you can kick momma in the gut all you want – I am here for you!
I sometimes find that I find myself more interesting if I write what I’m thinking versus “just thinking it”. Note, I’m not saying anyone else has to find it interesting, but, it is therapeutic for me (since it is, after all, a nice feeling to find yourself interesting); ergo, I write.
I wrote the title of this blog in a somewhat whimsical mood; “Me in the Motherland” is supposed to capture 2 aspects of my life. Well, 3 actually:
- My husband and I live and work in China, which is often referred to as the motherland.
- Being ethnically Chinese, this is the motherland of my heritage, something I cannot claim to 100% know or understand, and therefore continue to explore.
- I am pregnant, and expecting to give birth in the Year of the Rabbit and thus enter my own “motherland”.
There you have it. Me in the Motherland.
As a disclaimer, I can’t and won’t claim to represent any views of “all Chinese people”, “all mothers” and “all Americans/foreign nationals in China” without acknowledging that I’m simply talking about what I, myself, think.