Saturday, August 29, 2009

35 weeks: top of Taipei 101

Even though Taipei 101 was completed in 2004, I've yet to go to the observatory at the top. Well, on Tuesday, I went up to the top.

Thankfully, the wind damper is much larger than the bump.

Last Saturday, we went to the pool and the beach (I got plenty of Vitamin D for the little guy) and on Sunday, Jen organized a baby shower for us.

We had a great time catching up with friends - thanks for attending, all! With the generosity and kindness of our family and friends, I think we're pretty much all set for the arrival of our little guy.

Of course, I could not resist baking cupcakes for the occasion. I baked mini and regular-sized Devil's Food cupcakes with blue-tinted cream cheese frosting.

I tried the King Arthur recipe for the first time, mostly because I was too lazy to bake my favorite (but much more involved) chocolate cake recipe, Old-fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake, and I didn't have any soy milk on hand to bake my alternate easy go to recipe for vegan chocolate cupcakes. While the cake was tasty, the Cook's Illustrated recipe is far superior. And if you want to be able to whip up yummy cupcakes in a flash, keep some soy milk on hand.

Friday, August 21, 2009

33/34 weeks: busy busy bee

Been busy running about town, taking care of errands, and catching up with old friends. Last week I finally set up my iSight (it was really very easy; I don't know why I took so long to get around to it) and caught up with friends far and wide - some remotely via Skype, some over the phone, and the old-fashioned way: in person. Angela was visiting from Singapore, so there was dinner with her Friday night and a last-minute baby shower for her on Sunday afternoon:

In the photo, I'm at 33 weeks and she's about 6 weeks behind me. I'm looking forward to when our boys can play with each other.

Saturday was also another checkup - my ninth so far! Check-ups are now going to be 2 weeks apart. From my last visit to this, I haven't gained any weight but the baby has gained an estimated 400g (woo-hoo! I hope that means I've lost 400g! ).

Afterwards, we took a pre-natal class on positioning techniques during birthing. Of all the courses offered by our birth center, I thought this was the most important one and I had to sign up for it two months in advance. Nevertheless, at least the first half was lecture. "When are we going to get some real practice?" I thought to myself. Finally we got to practice, and I was selected as the instructor's demo model, so I got to practice twice.

We learned how to:
  1. use a birth ball: including sitting, squatting, kneeling while leaning forward on it for support (aka fit ball - this I already know how to do from my years at the gym)
  2. sit astride a chair while the hubs applies pressure on various parts of my hips and lower back to release the back muscles and open the pelvis
  3. Lie flat on the floor above a shawl at waist level - the hubs can then stand astride me and hold both ends of the shawl to just slightly lift it (and me!) a centimeter or two above the ground. This was my favorite - it really relieved a lot of lower back pain!
  4. One not-so-cool thing that happened last week was that I got two telemarketing calls from formula companies - on the same day! The first woman actually introduced herself as someone from the prenatal course, so at first I was confused as to why she was speaking in that classic too-fast-I'm-doing-a-sales-pitch tone while being very obscure as to who she exactly was and who she represented. When I could finally get a word in, I politely asked her to take me off their call lists.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

32 weeks: Typhoon Morakot brings cooler weather

Typhoon Morakot has come and gone, leaving behind cooler weather. Thank goodness! The time before a typhoon comes is always hot and muggy, and there's nothing like swampy steamy weather to make one feel particularly pregnant.

Thankfully we suffered no damage, although I saw on the TV news today that a hotel (mostly due to shoddy construction) in the Jhihben (知本) Hot Springs area of Taitung County (台東縣) had collapsed into the swollen river. I believe it was Jhihben that I visited as a child on a trip to Taiwan; back then it wasn't so developed and you could just play in the river and lie on a stone as warm water gurgled over you. Perhaps we'll take our little boy there someday - not during typhoon season, of course!

jhih-ben (zhiben) hot springs
No one was hurt as the hotel had already been evacuated. (Photo source: Taitung Government Department of Culture and Tourism)

So what do we do when there is a typhoon? Stay inside and relax, of course! I hope our baby doesn't mind Mommy poking around as she tries to figure out what is the head and what is the butt, and which way he is facing. Just checking to make sure he's in the right position.

I'm sure he thought beach time was more fun:

(photo taken on July 26)

here's a video of the hotel collapsing into an overflowing river.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Blog recommendation: Rural Doctoring

It's a typhoon day today, and for the past couple of days I've been utterly hooked into reading Rural Doctoring, a great blog about a family physician working in rural Northern California. She is a great writer, and although I was initially drawn in by her birth stories series, her other stories about practicing medicine are equally thoughtful and thought-provoking about the decision-making behind providing care. Highly recommended.

Monday, August 03, 2009

31 weeks: simple acts of kindness

Friday was my last day of work—one of my co-workers at the parent company waited for me to finish packing up my stuff and kindly helped me carry it to my car. Now we've exchanged pleasantries by the water cooler, but I don't know her well so I was really touched by her kindness. It's acts of kindness like this that makes up for others' passive-aggressive immaturity (I know, almost every workplace has at least one of those, but it's these acts of kindness that re-inspires one's faith in humanity).

Saturday night Neil got some practice (and did a great job!) playing with little Effie at Emily's farewell dinner.

It's been hot, hot, hot - steamy hot. I feel like all I do is sweat all day. Air conditioning is nice, but then there's a huge contrast when you finally step outside that just makes you feel even hotter. And I can't bring myself to turn it on at home for environmental reasons. Thankfully we've been getting a good breeze up in the mountains.

Sometimes I do feel a bit unwieldy, especially in this heat, and I'm definitely finding myself short of breath more easily these days, but I wouldn't trade the privilege of being able to carry my little boy for anything else. I love feeling him kick and roll and get the hiccups.

We've been cooking lots of cooling foods and other foods (trying to utilize the oven all at once to keep cool and save energy): mung bean and job's tear soup (cooling), pesto with whole-grain linguine, baba ganoush, whole wheat bread, and cheesecake. Yum!