Friday, March 17, 2017

a life update, the [almost] spring edition

We literally just got back from a doctor's appointment. Ruby is growing so fast! I am 31 weeks pregnant, and she is measuring ahead in regards to her weight. She already weighs 3.6 pounds! I find it hard to believe she will at least double that in the next eight weeks. For a while she was also measuring ahead in length, and I thought: we are going to have a tall baby, but Sean would always look at me and just laugh. Yeah, I guess you could kinda call me short. Now she is measuring a little behind in her length, which neither of us really find all that surprising.

She is very active all the time and loves to wake me up in the middle of the night or do somersaults while I am trying to teach. Our apartment has been taken over by baby stuff, and I sometimes like to just look at all her clothes. Maybe I am a little excited to play dress up with all of the adorable things my mother sent us and friends have given us (because we are bad parents and only bought her six onesies).

We just cannot wait to meet her!

I had a very bumpy ride this last month. I am seeing the doctor every other week now, and four weeks ago, we had a really scary experience at my 27 week appointment. My blood pressure reading was really, really high at 160/88. The doctor diagnosed me with mild preeclampsia. This condition is really serious and usually only affects women much further along than I was. The doctor said that if my condition worsened, they would have to deliver Ruby regardless of how far along I was into my pregnancy. They were so serious about it because preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia and HELLP syndrome, which can be fatal to both the mother and baby.

Cue massive amounts of panicking; me because I was worried about Ruby and Sean because he was worried about me and Ruby. The doctor told us to buy a home blood pressure reader and meticulously track my blood pressure. Our orders were clear: come to the hospital if I had a reading of 170/110 or if I had any of the other symptoms associated with preeclampsia such as severe, sudden swelling or a persistent, severe headache. Sean dragged me to the nearest medical supply store and grilled the poor worker about the best, top quality machine. In the end, we paid more than $200 USD for a blood pressure reader. To give you an idea, there were plenty of others for sale for $20 USD. Sean was not messing around though.

We went home and researched everything we could about how to lower my blood pressure. We read about diet, yoga, deep breathing, exercise, etc. The most promising thing looked to be diet. We read about reducing salt and sugar and caffeine intake, so I have been on the most boring and strict diet for the last month. No coffee, no sugar except the sugars found naturally in fruit, no sauces, no salt, no nothing. Truthfully, it's been pretty dang miserable. However, it seems to be doing the trick for now. My blood pressure is better than Sean's these days and hovers around 115/81, which is perfectly normal. My doctor still wants us to keep a close eye on it and asks about it at every appointment, but much of our outright panic has subsided. We know that any day I could get a reading of 170/110, but after researching a lot about premature babies, I feel so much better with where I am at now in my pregnancy than where I was at when we first heard the term preeclampsia. While of course I want to carry Ruby to full term, every day and every week she stays inside me is just making her stronger. If my blood pressure takes a turn for the worse or I develop any of the other symptoms of preeclampsia, I am confident we will all be okay in the end.

We also had a little scare about gestational diabetes at my 29 week appointment two weeks ago, but after spending four hours at the hospital last weekend getting my blood drawn four different times after guzzling so much sugar water, my results came back negative. Both the doctor and I were kinda expecting a negative result because I weigh less now than I did when I got pregnant and the first test only had very slightly elevated levels, but I was also feeling like the world was enjoying throwing all these scary medical conditions my way, so on the other hand I was kinda expecting to hear: you have gestational diabetes and now on top of your diet for blood pressure you have to be on one for diabetes too! However, the universe was kind to me.

So, phew. 

I was ecstatic to leave the hospital tonight after a normal, drama free 31 week appointment. I was beginning to wonder if we would get anymore of those...

My dog is such a weirdo. He has developed two new hobbies: sniffing car tires and chasing birds.

Does anyone else's dog love to stop and smell car tires while out on a walk, or is it just my dog? I bet it's just my dog. I am trying to convince him that it looks weird when he does it, but he doesn't seem to care.

Other than that, Bubu is making some progress in terms of becoming a normal-ish canine. First, when my friend came over the other day, he actually sat by her and let her pet him. Score one for the Bubu! Second, we encountered a Shiba Inu on a walk a few days ago, and rather than puff himself up like he usually does while cowering behind me, he actually approached it and tried to play with it. I say try because the Shiba didn't really know what to do with Bubu's strange overtures, but I will still give the guy credit for trying. It was really cute and he seemed really pleased with himself for the rest of the day.

We have also been taking a lot of off leash strolls. I am the only one who gets to do this because he pretty much only listens to me when I call his name. We have a little game we play where he chases me as I waddle around. I cannot wait to try taking him on a run after Ruby is born. Sean has done it a few times as it is obvious this dog loves to run!

It's hard to believe that I only have five more weeks of work left before I start my maternity leave. It's not even a full 25 days either because my 8th graders are going on their annual camping trip this upcoming Thursday and Friday and then we have a four day weekend coming up too.

The last time I went 10 months without working was when I was unemployed in 2010. During that time, I started my young adult realistic fiction novel After (which, shame on me, I still have not finished much to the disappointment of Sean who was hooked after the first 70 pages) and then we spent months backpacking through Southeast Asia. I think these 10 months will be spent a little differently (although also with a lot more money floating around, thank goodness).

While I am very excited about maternity leave and Ruby, I know in some ways I am closing a chapter of my life. I know there is no human way possible I can be the same teacher I am now after Ruby is born. I will still go to work and love my kids and my classes, but it will be different. It will have to be. There will be far less of me to go around. I am slightly concerned about how we will manage, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.

I know it sounds cheesy, but I will really miss my kids. I am going to miss the entire last quarter of school with them, and we have been having a wonderful year. I only hope my maternity leave replacement enjoys them as much as I do. I guess I should rephrase that: I hope the kids make it easy for her to enjoy them as they have made it very easy for me to enjoy them.

While we have certainly had some highlights the last few months-- mostly involving adventuring all over Taiwan-- my life feels pretty confined to the couch lately. It is getting uncomfortable just to get out of bed let alone take a long scooter ride or do an activity that requires a lot of walking or standing.

I have a fitness tracker, and each day at work I usually accumulate 10,000+ steps. And that's just from work. I also usually take Bubu on at least three walks a day. Suffice it to say, by the time the evening or the weekend rolls around, I am usually horizontal on the couch reading or watching our latest obsession Grimm.

We cannot even go out to dinner these days due to the strict diet I am on, which Sean is also following for the most part to be supportive (although I know he sometimes cheats when I am not around, and I totally don't blame him because my diet kinda sucks).

I know I should be relishing the last few weeks we have together alone, but I also feel like I am waiting to get any semblance of a normal life back. You know, one in which I can go out to eat when my friends do and ride the scooter to the grocery store without driving 5mph and carefully navigating around every bump and not religiously monitor my blood pressure multiple times a week (it used to be day) and spend a few hours with my friends doing something active.

I know, I know.

So many people are like: in your dreams Jackie-- you are going to have a baby. And while that is true, Sean and I are also masters at crafting the kind of life we want to have, and that is the kind of life I want to have. I know we will 110% support each other in that way. I will hold down the house while he plays disc gulf with his buddies every weekend and climbs at the gym a few nights a week, and he will do the same for me when I want to play tennis or get coffee with a girl friend or go on a scoot adventure. It may take some time, but I know we will figure it out. It may not be the same, and I don't even want it to be exactly the same, but I am really, really ready to be done with this particular part of life in which we live day by day hoping that my health stays solid so Ruby's health can too.
I guess all of this word vomit can be summarized in one sentence:
Only eight more weeks to go before we embark on our best adventure yet! 


  1. Love this post. I'm so excited for you! I just stumbled upon your blog today but can't wait to read through your past posts. I think we'd be great friends in real life. :) I also love that your dog sniffs tires, haha. <3

    1. Awe, thanks! I always think I can be friends with people who live in and love the Pacific Northwest :)


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