Foxlet: Weeks 1 – 10

So it’s official: we’ve spilled the beans, and Sean and I couldn’t be more excited that our little Foxlet is on his or her way!

Now, I know that even these days, 10 weeks is still considered kind of “early” to announce your pregnancy, but honestly, it’s taken a LOT of willpower to even wait this long! Being patient has never really been my strong suit (Sean says that if it’s a girl, we’re going to name her Patience so that I’ll finally have some, har har), and with such a huge development (and one that’s affected me so severely — more on that later), it’s been really hard to bite my tongue.

But now that the word is out,  I can’t wait to answer all the questions that you were never planning on asking me about my pregnancy! This kind of stuff is probably super boring to many of you, so feel free to click away if you’re not interested in hearing about the nitty gritty deets, haha.

But that said, without further adieu…

Due date?

September 20, 2017

Foxlet’s size?

Foxlet is currently the size of a kumquat, petit four, or a golden snitch!

How did you find out?

The old-fashioned pee-on-a-stick way. I actually found out suuuuuper early — an entire week before I was even supposed to miss my period! I was just 3 weeks, 4 days pregnant (which really means I’d only actually been pregnant for about 11 days, as doctors calculate your pregnancy from the first day of your last period), but I just had a feeling something was up. So I took a test… and then had to do a double-take when that (then very faint) line appeared! I took like 12 more tests over the next week just to be sure, lol, but there was no mistaking it from the beginning. I was knocked up!

How did you tell Sean?

I wrapped up a daddy parenting book and presented it to him, then showed him the positive tests after he unwrapped the present! He was surprised, but very happy. He may or may not have gotten a little misty… but he’ll never admit it. 🙂

How did you tell your family?

I was able to wait all of 20 minutes before FaceTiming my sister to tell her the big news, haha. I wish I had done something “better,” but I just felt like I had to tell her as soon as possible! I didn’t do anything special when I told my brother and sister-in-law either — just went over there and had a big emotional reveal, lol.

For my parents though, I ordered mugs off of Etsy that said “Popo… Again!” (the Chinese term for grandmother) and “Grampy… Again!” and had them open them at the same time. (We got “Grandma” and “Grampa” mugs for Sean’s parents, too.) I was able to capture my parents’ reaction on video:

How long were you trying?

We actually weren’t technically trying, although I went off my birth control in October, and had started tracking my periods (which were kind of all over the place!) in the Ovia fertility app. So I got pregnant the second month after I stopped my birth control. I’m very aware that this is not the case for a lot of people, and am, of course, incredibly thankful that it was able to happen this way for us. Our original plan was to officially start “trying” after our 1 year wedding anniversary in January, but it just ended up being a happy sort-of-surprise that our plans got moved up a bit!

What was your first symptom?

I started getting many of your typical first trimester symptoms pretty early — by week 5, I was already exhausted, nauseous, etc. But my very earliest symptom was definitely the INSANELY vivid dreams I started having right away! I’ve been keeping a dream journal in my pregnancy app (Ovia Pregnancy), and here’s a mere sampling of some of the entries from the first weeks of my pregnancy:

How have you been feeling?

TERRIBLE. Name a typical pregnancy symptom, and I’ve probably experienced it thus far. Exhaustion, nausea, insomnia, being super emotional, sore breasts, tender nerps, bloating, constipation, heightened sense of smell… sorry to be so vivid, but being knocked up ain’t a bed of roses, I tell you what. The nausea has been the worst part of it for me, because for so long it was completely constant, with no breaks and offering no relief at all. I feel a little guilty complaining when I know there are many women who would love to feel pregnancy symptoms at all — even the terrible ones — but it really has been a tough run these past six weeks.

I try to remind myself that if I didn’t have any bad symptoms at all, my anxiety would probably flare up like crazy and I’d think something was wrong with me or the baby. So maybe it’s been a blessing in disguise? (A very good, extremely convincing disguise.) My OB did prescribe me some medication which seems to have been helping a bit over the past week, and I’m hopeful that things will get better once I get into my second trimester… cross your fingers for me!

What about morning sickness?

Ugh, what a misnomer. I get why there are so many jokes about how it should be called “all day sickness,” because it’s actually no joke! I haven’t been vomiting that much (it only seems to happen when my stomach is totally empty), but I have had constant, unending nausea since before my 5th week. Until about week 9, it would start about 5 minutes after waking and last until I went to bed at night, and I won’t lie, it’s been really miserable.

This past week, however, the mornings have actually been pretty okay, and the nausea hasn’t been settling in until around 2 or 3 PM (then lasting through the rest of the afternoon and evening.) The extra hours of relief in the morning have really made a big difference!

Any cravings?

Not really. I have a really weird relationship with food right now because I’ve been so nauseous that the idea of eating is repulsive in and of itself. But I’ve learned that I have to put something in my stomach every couple of hours, or I’ll throw up. So really the closest thing I’ve had to cravings so far is just identifying foods that I can fathom eating at all, let alone enjoy.

Some of the things that I seem to okay with eating pretty regularly include apples, applesauce, peanut butter pretzels, canned peaches, cereal, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. And generally, most desserts seem to sit all right with me… even if I wasn’t able to eat more than a couple bites of my dinner, lol. Foxlet likes sugar, I guess.

Any food aversions?

Yes! Um, basically all food is now gross to me so, um, everything? As I mentioned above, the concept of eating anything at all is quite difficult for me these days, but there are specific things that I am really turned off by, and the saddest part is that the list includes many of my former favorite foods! French fries, mashed potatoes, Chinese food, steak, burgers, chicken, hot dogs, tomato sauce (weirdly, raw tomatoes are on my A-OK list, but things like pasta with red sauce and pizza are blech), and salads (except for caesar salad) are all currently on my no-fly list.

Weight gain?

I’ve actually lost around 15 pounds since finding out I’m pregnant! (Although between the bloating and my inability to suck in my stomach without feeling like I’m gonna hurl, I definitely don’t look it.) My nausea and food aversions have been so intense that I’m eating way less than I imagine I normally do. I actually hear this is quite common (especially for plus-sized moms-to-be), so it’s not really a cause for concern. I’m sure I’ll gain it all back (and then some) as soon as I can eat like a normal human again.

How has work been going?

I thank God every day that I work from home and have such a flexible job, because given how tough the past 6 weeks have been, I can only imagine how much harder it would be if I had to go into an office every day! But work is good, aside from shifting around my typical work schedule around a bit to account for some extra sleeping or time spent being pathetic on the couch.

I spent this past week at a work conference in the city, and was a little worried about how well I’d do having to actually sit up and pay attention instead of wallow in self-pity, but it all turned out all right. I did spill the beans to my coworkers at the beginning of the week though, so they’d understand if I was a little less peppy than usual (or if I had to suddenly bolt out of the room — thankfully, that didn’t happen!)

What about working out?

Lol, well, those of you who know me know that even when I wasn’t pregnant, I hated working out. And with the much-mentioned nausea and general feeling-terrible-ness of this pregnancy, it’s been extra hard to motivate myself. But I know that movement is important when it comes to both my and Foxlet’s health, so I’ve been trying to get in at least one 20-30 minute walk every day. It’s not much, but I do think it helps (and it’s not too hard to convince myself to do it when the weather is as insanely nice as it’s been this week!)

How are Harry & Daxter doing?

Harry never seems to be bothered by anything, but I think Daxter definitely can tell something’s up. He’s been sooooo cute and cuddly with me since I got pregnant! I’m not 100% sure how he’ll react to having a baby in the house — he’s had plenty of experience around my nieces Mia and Kira, but has also exhibited a bit of jealous behavior in the past. I’m planning on doing several things to make sure both dogs are acclimated appropriately as things progress.

Baby names?

I’ve got a running list going, but finding names that both Sean and I agree on are few and far between. I’m sure that once we find out the sex of the baby, the name conversation will start taking place more often, but right now it’s not really top of mind.

What do you think the baby will look like?

Speculating on this has been one of the most fun parts of my pregnancy so far! Sean and I are both half-Asian and half-Caucasian — he is half-Korean, half-Irish, and I’m half-Chinese, half-generic white bread (I think my dad’s side of the family originates from Wales… like 14 generations ago.) Knowing how kooky genetics can get when it comes to mixed-race kids (just look at how different my siblings and I look!), it’s fun to think about how this kiddo could come out looking super Asian, or could come out with green eyes and dirty blonde hair.

 

Whew! I think that probably covers it for now. I gotta say, it feels so good to be able to talk (write!) about all of this! I’m sure that future updates will be much shorter and sweeter, and apologies for the wordiness of this post… but I’ve been keeping a lot bottled up over the past few weeks! If you’ve got any questions for me that I didn’t touch on today though, lay ’em on me!

Cheers!

Somaliland: The Abaarso Story

I know I owe you an update as to what’s been going on around these parts, but I come to you today with a message of a different kind. My brother, Ben, who I mention ummmm basically all the time on here, has been filming an amazing feature-length documentary, which is in its final stages and just launched a Kickstarter to get to the finish line!

The film features 5 students from a school in Somaliland, and their education journey as they attempt to get into US colleges, universities, and prep schools. Their stories are incredibly touching — most of them are the first of their families to go to school at all, let alone to have aspirations to become college graduates, doctors, and the like. Given the current political climate surrounding immigration and the fact that Somalia is on the list of banned countries, it’s more important than ever to make these students’ stories heard.

More than just wanting to support my brother, I have personally met one of the students featured in the movie, Farah. In addition to her being just a great, fun girl to spend time with, I was so moved by her spirit to learn, to work hard, and how much she wants to give back to her community. These are rough, divisive times, but — as my friend Harry says in the video below — it’s important to hear stories like this to remind us of how insignificant our differences really are.

So, with that said, I invite you to please check out the video for the documentary below, and then find out more, share, and offer your support, on their Kickstarter page.

1 Year Ago

A year ago today, a blizzard had descended upon the mid-Atlantic region. Snowfalls of up to (and beyond) 30-inches were forecasted. People were hunkering down in their homes, ready to tough it out for the long haul.

Oh, and also I was getting married.

Reflecting back on that day, a year later, aside from the fact that I’m still amazed that my wedding actually happened at all, what sticks out to me is basically this:

Of course I got married in a blizzard.

I mean, if it was going to be anyone, of course it was going to be me. I just had to be that little bit extra, don’t you know? Besides, with my penchant for overthinking, people-pleasing, and general anxiety, I think that throwing a blizzard at me on one of the already-most-stressful days of my relatively young life was probably a pretty smart choice. It really helped me put things in perspective.

After all, I got married in the midst of the biggest blizzard to hit the DC area in a century, and everything still turned out okay. And here we are, exactly one year later, still standing strong.

Not to brag, but I think Sean and I kind of crushed this whole first year of marriage thing. I’ve heard it said that the first year of marriage is the hardest, which — if true — must mean that he and I are in for a pretty smooth ride! Sure, we’ve had our verbal tussles, great moments and less great ones, and for the life of me I still don’t understand what is so hard about putting your dirty clothes IN the hamper instead of right next to it, but this past year has still, without a doubt, been the best one yet.

I can’t wait to see what this coming year — and then the fifty after that — bring as well. The adventure has still just begun!

All Smiles

I can hardly believe it, but it’s true. After years of toil, trouble, and pretty much constant tooth soreness, I am officially done with my braces!

Some of you may remember that back in February 2014, I got lingual braces behind my top teeth. I got them removed a little over a year later, and then, because I just have to do everything as inefficiently as possible, a couple months later I started Invisalign.

My bottom teeth were still quite crooked, and I decided that I wasn’t actually as satisfied as I thought I’d be with just a straight top set (this happened right around the same time as Sean’s proposal, but I’m sure that’s just coincidence.) I posted an update on my whole braces journey back in June, so I won’t repeat everything again, but as you can probably guess, I have one final update for you:

 
I’m done!

I had my final Invisalign appointment at Smiles at Fairfax Corner last week, after a year of my initial Invisalign treatment, plus an additional 5 (?) months of adjustment trays. Phew! It sounds like a lot of time, of course, but the reality is that time is going to press on anyway, so why not perfect your smile while you’re at it?

It definitely took much longer than I thought it would, considering how I had already gotten lingual braces on top, but that just goes to show that you really should just take care of your top + bottom teeth at the same time. A lot of the reason that my Invisalign treatment took so long was to correct my bite — which may or may not have gotten more out of whack due to my linguals-on-top-only. It’s hard to say.

Regardless, I’m thrilled to be able to finally say I am D-O-N-E. No more switching out aligners. No more attachments on my teeth. And you better believe I will be wearing my retainer every night until the day I die. I’m not letting these puppies backslide the way I did in college! Putting your own money into your smile really makes you value that retainer, I tell you what.

I may end up getting a permanent retainer (a wire glued to the back of my teeth) if it’s deemed necessary in the future, but for right now, I’m just going to relish not having anything permanently attached to my chompers. If you have any questions about either Invisalign OR lingual braces, I’m happy to answer them! Because I can! Because I’M DONEEEEEEE!!