Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A glorious day

Today was a beautiful day, my favorite kind of day - sunny and breezy. This was the view on my way to work:

Alas, I was going to industrial concrete blight.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bun wreaks (minor) havoc on oven

People keep asking me if I have morning sickness. I understand. Before I got pregnant, that's the only side effect I knew about pregnancy. That, and getting a big bump. How naive I was. It was only after I was with child that I learned of all the other side effects.

(in rough order of their appearance):
breast tenderness: Any sort of movement is painful and I have to wear a bra 24/7.

fatigue: I came back from the U.S. thinking, "great, I'll have jet lag, which means I'll naturally go to bed and wake up early and can finally exercise in the morning before work." Not so - I think I'd fall asleep at 9pm and have trouble waking up at 8am. It's a lot better now.

increased urination: toilets must now be easily accessible. at. all. times.

itchy skin: apparently caused by the expansion of the skin. In the early days, I would unconsciously scratch my belly a la Homer Simpson, even in the middle of meetings. Thankfully, moisturizing every day helps.

blemishes: I'm still waiting for that pregnancy "glow" that I read about in the books. I feel like my skin is more uneven, and I'm not sure if they are pimples or an allergic rash, but I have itchy spots on my neck. On the other hand, my hair is less oily now.

lower back pain: thankfully this only lasted for a couple of weeks. I changed how I carry my purse, I try to move around more, and I've been swimming once a week. Also occasionally getting massage.

heightened olfactory senses: you know how those vampires in Twilight brag about their superior sense of smell? That's me. Except I'm not a vampire.

taste change/cravings: Thankfully I don't have nausea, but my increased sensitivity means that the smell of many foods now turn me off. I really dislike typical Chinese lunch options - the garlic and grease is just too much. I had chive and pork dumplings (formerly my favorite dumpling flavor) the other day for dinner and I could still feel the taste at the back in the morning. Gross.

Instead, I've been craving noodles (mostly Italian pastas in tomato or olive oil-based sauces, not typical Chinese noodle dishes like 炸醬麵 - zha jiang mian - noodles with fried bean and meat sauce) and salads.

increased appetite: I now get hungry every three hours. However, I can't eat too much at any one time lest I get something strongly reminiscent of heartburn (decreased space for the stomach?), so this works out well with the "eat small meals throughout the day" recommendation. Oh, and when I get hungry, I must eat straight away.

weight gain: to be expected. The recommendation in Taiwan is 2-5-5 - that's the number of kilos to be gained by trimester. I've mostly been on track. I'm trying to walk more during lunch so that the increased appetite doesn't result in too much weight gain on mommy. Yes, I'm eating for two, but right now the second one is the roughly the size of an avocado (or, in a nod to Taiwan, the size of a guava), so I can't be eating like Michael Phelps in competition.

gas: pregnancy hormones slow everything down, including the digestive system. I have never belched or farted more in my life. I try to explain this to the hubster when I let out a fart that would make a college frat boy proud that it's the baby, not me, and I'm still a classy, well-bred lady. Heh.

nasal congestion:
lately, when I get up to pee in the night, I have trouble falling back asleep because as soon as I lie down, my nose gets all stuffed up. Apparently also related to those relaxing muscles. Evidently also due to my increased blood flow (my blood volume is supposed to have increased by 50% since I'm also breathing for two).

sensitive gums: related to the increased blood flow mentioned above, my gums have become more sensitive. They even bled a couple of days ago! They never did that before. My doctor did warn me about this - she long ago recommended switching to a softer toothbrushes during this time.

sensitive eyes:
I've been wearing glasses a lot more lately. Contacts just seem to be harder on my eyes right now.

That's about it so far. Overall, I think I'm in pretty good shape. From what I've read and heard, there are many more women that have it much worse—I haven't had the other side effects, like constipation, hemorrhoids, excessive salivation, and nose bleeds. So I'm thankful.

The growing belly

Yes, there is indeed a bun in the oven:

Behold, the progression:

7 weeks - still flat

13 weeks - bump can be confused with overindulging - there are guys with bigger beer bellies!

16 weeks - looking like the bun is beginning to "rise"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I love Tide-to-Go

Today while at work, I was absently-mindedly scratching a bite I got last Saturday when I smelled iron. Darn it! I'd scratched too much and drawn blood. Then I looked down on my pants and realized I'd gotten a blood stain. I quickly reached for my Tide-to-Go stain remover stick. Voila! No more stain.

I love this stuff - if you're messy like me, it'll save you lots of laundry effort. I keep one in my purse. My friends love me because when they have a dinner spill, I'm the one with the Tide-to-Go. And, when Abi and Horia visited us in Taiwan, they asked me to buy them 2 bulk packs at Costco because apparently, they don't sell them in Hong Kong and they love them, too. Abi apparently keeps one in every purse. It's a smart idea.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quince and mamey sapote

Awhile ago I thought that perhaps the mystery fruit the hubs brought home was quince. But as soon as we cut into it, I realized it definitely was not quince. The texture was soft and starchy like mashed potatoes, but with a sweet flavor. I tried to Google the name our Filipina housekeeper called it, but was unable to find any definitive results. Then, recently, while researching mangosteen, I found out that the fruit is actually called mamey sapote.

mamey sapote

Mystery solved!

Was it good? Well, I'm not particularly a fan of starchy fruits, but I do think it would be a great addition to smoothies - sort of like how bananas always seem to smooth things out and add creaminess.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Birthing trends

A couple of weeks ago, a CNN article caught my eye "Out-of-wedlock births hit record high." It's not surprising, especially given the increased media coverage on some unmarried moms, like Angelina Jolie, Nicole Richie, Jamie Lynn Spears, Bristol Palin, Nadya "Octomom" Suleman... I'd be interested to see the figures for Taiwan as well. So many people tell me that nowadays, the most common reason for couples to marry is because of an unplanned pregnancy.

Honestly, this news bugs me a lot. Not because I'm a traditionalist in the strictest sense - I'm fine with gay marriage, gay couples adopting children, and single women with the means to provide for children having children (whether adopted or biologically, so a "yes" to Angelina Jolie, a "no" to the Octomom). But I really feel that bringing life into this world and becoming a parent is such a huge privilege and responsibility, the action of doing so really requires some reflection. Not that people with unplanned pregnancies can't be and aren't great parents - I'm sure there are many, and I know of several.

But really, this isn't some got-a-great-deal-on-priceline-let's-go-on-a-getaway moment. This is 18-years, nay, a lifetime, of responsibility. Or as this one blogger so eloquently put it, "to be a really good parent...she would have to happily put aside her girlhood. To become the woman her body is convinced she is." Sometimes that needs a little thinking through beforehand. And with all the birth control options available nowadays (this isn't 1952), you could argue that it isn't an old-fashioned belief to be disappointed by unplanned pregnancies, but rather a very modern belief.