Friday, November 13, 2009

Our Miracle

After 5 years of trying and 4 miscarriages, we finally got our miracle baby, Benjamin. Thanks for all the love, support and prayers.

P.S. More photos to come...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

39th/40th week. Last prenatal post (hopefully)

I had my last prenatal check-up yesterday. Biophysical profile and non-stress test showed baby is doing just fine. However, despite the pressure in my pelvic floor and groin, I am not dilated yet. Nada. Zip. Not a squat. The doctor said that the baby is stuck higher in my pelvis. He estimated that the baby is now over 9 lbs. and cannot descend anymore. He could induce me and pump my vein with Pitocin but it would be a futile attempt. The best scenario with inducement is that my baby will be born with shoulder dystocia -- causing dislocated shoulder and/or fractured collar bone. It is inevitable that I would undergo C-section due to my small pelvis and gestational diabetes causing baby to be large. I did not need too much convincing. I am ready to get this boy out. The soreness in my groin is becoming too unbearable that I need assistance to initiate walking. I am scheduled to have C-section this coming Monday, Nov. 9, at 1245 PM, unless I start laboring before that.

So, I will be out of commission for few days. Thanks for all the support and sharing. You made my 9 1/2 months passed so much quicker.

Monday, November 2, 2009

39th week

Throughout my pregnancy (so far), I complained and I bitched (sorry for my French) about every little things. Well, this week I entered a new level of pregnancy experience -- false labor. It started Friday but it was not that bad. By Saturday evening, the pain or soreness in my lower abdomen at times becomes unbearable. It progressed to the sides and upper part of my uterus, but no back pain. Getting up from chair and walking become dreaded chores. My husband does not want me using the stair when he's not home for fear of a fall. I did not want to call the OB-Gyn last weekend because the baby is moving just fine (and I do not want to end up to the emergency department again). I called a friend then my sister to ask them on their labor experiences. Both have different experiences than mine. The pain and contraction dissipate with positional changes. I was able to have a goodnight sleep, believe it or not, that Saturday night possibly due to exhaustion from soreness, overflowing toilet and worrying. I talked to the nurse this morning and she said that I am having false labor and unfortunately could go on for days....No one told me that false labor can be this painful . I cannot wait for the L & D day....

Upadate: Baby boy is about 8.5 lbs as of last Wed.
To pass time: I am listening to chick flick Summer Affair (hope it's good) , reading Oprah magazine, and catching up with This American Life podcast.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mommy's letter

I am now in my 38th week of pregnancy. It will not be long and you will be out of my tummy. I am excited to see you. I have been waiting for you for a long time. You are my miracle baby. Pregnancy has not been easy due to my history of multiple pregnancy losses. Initially, I tried not to get attached to my pregnancy to protect myself from pain. The first trimester of my pregnancy was really tough due to my bad morning sickness but I treasured those nausea and vomiting because I knew that the sicker I get the healthier you become. As my belly grows, the more confident I get that you will make it. We waited to buy clothes and gears because of the lingering fear. It even took us a while to get the bassinet and stroller out of the box. Those movements of yours are re-assuring me and your daddy that you are okay. As the weeks go by, the more excited we get.

Now, I am starting to enjoy my pregnancy. Your daddy, Jason, is also very excited. I can sense it in the way he talks to you inside my belly. You are starting to respond to his voice by kicks and jabs. It is such a good feeling to feel you move, baby.

We just installed your car seat. I think we are ready for your arrival. All the baby clothes and diapers are washed. The bags are packed. The carpet in the house are shampooed. The only thing I need to work out, I think, is my own heart and mind. I would like to be a good mom. I promise to protect and love you, baby. Yet, I have this issue I need to work through -- that's forgiveness. I need to forgive myself and my parents. It is hard to come. I think it is the hormone causing this dark emotion of overwhelming anger. The more I demand an apology, the more elusive it comes by. I just have this epiphany that I should give this forgiveness no matter what, so, I can be freed from this dark emotion. That way I can give my love to you uncontaminated by this darkness. I would like to be the happy mom, baby.

I promise to do my best to prepare you for this world. It is not easy but I think it would be an adventure. I thank God for choosing us to be your parents. There are many things for us to learn and literature to read about child rearing. It is overwhelming at times but I know it is worth it, so, you will grow up happy and well-adjusted. We are excitedly waiting for the new chapter of our life -- together.


Monday, October 19, 2009

37th week (Baby Shower)

I'm so touched by people who tirelessly support me through this pregnancy. My former co-workers from Mercy (yes, I'm officially jobless since middle of September) had planned this get together in a restaurant located in our town. I, honestly, expected fewer turn out because most people live on the west side of Des Moines (we're on the east side) and it was Sunday evening when most working people would like to unwind. I was pleasantly surprised to see more (than expected) familiar faces I haven't seen for months. Everyone is just rooting for me and my baby.

My Mercy family

Hubby and I

Sunday, October 4, 2009

35th week.

it's sunday.

yesterday, emergency hospital visit.

another bout of spotting.

found to have contraction. was given terbutaline and iv fluids.

poked several times. lost of modesty.

otherwise, everything is fine.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

(not so) Quick look of our Fertility History

  • July 1999 - Met and started dating.

  • June 2000 - Got married and decided to wait few years to have children. Started using birth control.

  • August 20002 - moved to Dallas, TX

  • January 2004 - Returned to Iowa.

  • November 2004 - Bought a new house.

  • Summer of 2005 - started to try making a baby.

  • Fall of 2005 - unsuccessful. Went to OB-Gyn for consultation. Suspicion of PCOS given due to irregular menstruation. Had blood tests for hormones. Everything normal. Recommended to start Prenatal vitamins and Clomid. Did not pursue Clomid. Loraine continues to work 2 jobs. Halted plan to have baby for next year as both thinking of job change. Started birth control again.

  • Dec. 31, 2005 - Loraine experienced bad menstrual cramping. Jason went to store for Midol. No relief. Drove to ER but miraculously got better once we arrived in the hospital. We sat in the lobby for an hour just in case cramping comes back. It did not, so, we returned home. Upon returning home, Loraine noticed a glob of tissue in her pad. Did not think of it as anything of significance and flushed it in the toilet. This is our first miscarriage.

  • Summer of 2006, we tried on and off again. August 2006, Loraine had a new job in home care and decided to hold off having baby until next year.

  • Sept 2006 - Found out I was pregnant. Not very happy initially due to new job but accepted it eventually. Went to San Francisco for planned vacation. Miscarried 2nd day of our 4 day planned vacation. Passed the tissue in ER. Stayed in the motel near the airport for the rest of our SFO getaway. We were both depressed and felt guilty. Returned home. Broke the news of miscarriage to people whom we shared our pregnancy news. OB-Gyn said, "At least you know you can get pregnant." This is our 2nd miscarriage.

  • January 2007 - We tried again.

  • End of February 2007 - Found we were expecting again. Very happy. Loraine with morning sickness.

  • March 2007 - First prenatal visit. Everything was going fine. Heard heartbeat at 8 weeks. We were elated.

  • April 2007 - first ultrasound. Baby was moving but about a week smaller for gestational age. No concern from the doctor. Very busy at work. Had several heavy lift patients but doctor did not give me any lifting restriction, so, business as usual.

  • May 2007 - Loraine was feeling better. Very busy at work. Had 16th week prenatal visit. Unable to locate fetal heartbeat through Doppler. Doctor decided to give me another Ultrasound, unable to locate any heartbeat even with US. Baby stopped growing at 12 weeks and 3 days. We were devastated. Next day had D&C. This is our 3rd miscarriage and we are not the same since.

  • June 2007 - Had several blood tests again to figure out what causing multiple miscarriages. Everything normal . Very frustrating.

  • September 2007 - returned to doctor as Loraine missed 3 mos. cycles. Negative pregnancy test. Doctor suspected increased stress due to Loraine's father just moved in with us from the Philippines. Prescribed oral progesterone (which she did not take) to start menstruation. Had blood tests again for hormone level. Everything normal (again). Used natural topical progesterone from health store instead of synthetic prescription one. It was successful in inducing menstruation.

  • October 2007 - started using herbal supplements to enhanced fertility. Started phasing out sources of toxic chemicals at home. Loraine started using topical natural progesterone to normalize cycle. She did not know that it also inhibited her ovulation as she was using it as what was written in the direction - apply twice daily at 14th day of cycle. She does not ovulate until the 16th (sometimes 17th day) day cycle. RE said that if you used it before ovulation, you will not ovulate.

  • October 2007 to April 2008 - we tried to get pregnant but unsuccessful.

  • April 2008 - we decided to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). Was given several blood tests according to cycle day. Had ultrasound of the ovaries. HSG to see if tubes are open and not scarred. Everything is normal and functioning well. Very frustrating. He prescribed Clomid. Instructed Loraine to stop progesterone and herbal supplements. Started Clomid.
  • May 2008 - Found a schoolmate in Friendster and she read in my blog about my fertility issues. She recommended the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Started taking basal temperature. Clomid seemed to normalize mentrual cycle.
  • August 2008 - Found to be pregnant. Went ahead for our planned vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado per RE's approval. Beta level seemed to be doubling every 48 hours. Loraine had some bouts of abdominal cramping. Discussed to RE possible need for progesterone supplement. Was told by RE that progesterone level normal and did not need it. Had US at around 6 weeks of pregnancy. Everything was fine.
  • September 2008 - At 8 weeks of pregnancy, returned for another US. No heartbeat found. Devastated. After a week, Loraine had another D&C. Chromosomal testing for Jason, Loraine and baby done. Jason and Loraine are normal. Baby found to have trisomy 16. This is our 4th miscarriage.
  • October 2008 - Returned to RE. Okayed to start trying again. Prescribed Clomid again. This time he added Metformin and with Loraine's request progesterone suppository to be applied after ovulation.
  • November 2008 - Stopped Metformin as it caused bad gastrointestinal side-effects (diarrhea and nausea).
  • December 2008 - Stopped Clomid as Loraine read that it can cause increased miscarriage and dries up good cervical fluid. Loraine very busy at wok. Travelled in the middle of snow storm more than 100 miles to help out another facility couple of times. Missed period this month but negative pregnancy test.
  • January 2009 - Resumed Clomid. Normal cycle but work very stressful. Had 2 car accidents. Loraine's father moved out to his own apartment. Called RE to discuss next step - possible IUI or IVF. Earliest appointment that can be given was March 1st.
  • February 2009 - Stopped Clomid. Started Metformin again to normalize hormone. Continues with basal temp monitoring and progesterone suppository. Ovulated at 16th day cycle.
  • March 1st 2009 - First day of missed period. Had appointment with RE. Pregnancy test that morning. Came out positive. RE notified. Beta level elevated. Returned after 48 hours and it more than doubled. Continued with Metformin and progesterone suppository. Called regular OB-Gyn. RE would like to do US but we decided to just hold-off for our regular OB-Gyn. RE office not happy.

Loraine continued to take Metformin up to 10 weeks of pregnancy and progesterone suppository at 12th week. We'll see the end of this story.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

33rd week

I planned to post the most recent ultrasound but due to my bulging belly, unsteady knees and hips as well as low location of our scanner, I would not dare it.

Anyway, baby is now 6 lb weight. Everything is within normal limit said the doctor. Although, I have a high normal amount of amniotic fluid possibly due to my GD. I have to be more consistent with my blood sugar level she told me. I, now, have to see doctor every week.

Anyhow, I was worried that the umbilical cord is around baby's neck. The ultrasonographer kindly checked on that and she reported that no cord around neck was found. We saw his face and he is definitely getting chubbier. He pouted his lips when being prodded to move so his head circumference can be measured.

Well, we still have some things to do and some decisions to make.

1. We need to look for a pediatrician.
2. Still wavering on Circumcision idea. We asked our doctor about it and she said that in developed country there is no medical need for it. It is mostly social reason. So, we might pass on circumcision. No additional trauma needed.
3. We have t0 wash couple more times our pre-fold diapers. Yes, we decided to use cloth diapers due to environmental, monetary and health reasons. We still bought "more earth friendly" disposables in case of emergency or when going out. Initially, I was overwhelmed by the options when it comes to cloth diapering. We came a long way from just a "lampin" (flat diaper) and pins. Now there are so many options for pre-folds materials (chinese vs. indian cotton. vs bird's eye), diaper covers (PUL, fleece, wool), pocket or all-in-one. We decided on combination of pre-folds (indian cotton), PUL cover (cheaper), and all-in-one's. We'll see what works better.
4. I need to find alternative shift for my job. We decided not to place baby in daycare for a while but my husband and I need to find ways to do it. I'm supposed to go back on Dec. 22. I am already dreading the idea of leaving him. Good luck to us.
5. I need to read the manual for the breast pump.
6. We need to attend a birthing class.
7. Review infant CPR. It is always confusing as they change protocols every couple of years.

That's all I can remember for now. For sure something will come up. So much things to learn.

Monday, September 14, 2009

32 weeks Update

They said that after the 1st trimester the success of pregnancy jumped to 90 percent. But there's that 10 percent chance something wrong could happen. I am fixated at that 10 percent chance. Anyway, as my pregnancy progresses and the more I feel the baby moves, the more confident I get. So far, we bought some big ticket items such as co-sleeper bassinet and travel system (stroller with infant car seat). I still don't have the heart to get them out of the box, though. And every time I buy something for the baby, I check their return policy. Okay, I still have 8 weeks to go, so the return policy needs to be within 90 days. Oh, it is driving me crazy. I am just glad that we got lots of clothes from garage sales, my sister and recently from a good friend who (thankfully) also loaned me her breast pump which could cost 300 dollars. I also find myself more motivated to do baby shopping when baby is active. Yes, my shopping mood depends on kicks and nudges from this little human being.

Anyway, right now, it seems like pregnancy is just doing wonderfully. I'm still obsessed on baby's movements as my baby is unpredictable and most of the time changes his schedule when to be active. We will have another ultrasound next week to find out how big and heavy the baby due to my gestational diabetes. My concern now is that I have not really gained weight for about 5 weeks now probably due to change in diet. I expressed that concern to the doctor and she said it happens once a woman starts eating better after diagnosis of gestational diabetes. However, I already gained total of 20 lbs since the onset of pregnancy (most of it was gained the 1st half of pregnancy). Not bad considering I"m at the overweight side of the scale.

For now we still have some decisions to make. The biggest thing is regarding circumcision. It will be for the next posting.

Friday, August 28, 2009

29th week update

Exactly a week ago today, I woke up with spotting which anxiously prompted us to have an emergency visit to the OB clinic. I was given a vaginal exam and boy I just screamed and called on the "Lord's name" due to unbearable sharp pain it caused me. I was not dilated but was found out to have a yeast infection. I was also given a non-stress test. Everything was fine but was told to return Monday. So far, everything was fine. My husband and I also had a heated argument this week which really made me worried to death that it affected my baby. But so far, he is still kicking and my husband really feels badly about that silly argument.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On "Julie &Julia " book

I, finally, finished the book Julie & Julia (actually about 2 weeks ago). I should say that the Julie Powell who wrote the book and the "Julie Powell" in the movie are completely different people. Okay, yeah, they are both secretaries and Democrats but the author or should I say the real one is quite a bit edgier. She's kind of funny and annoying at the same time. It is probably the "hormone" thing I should say. The "obsession" to follow through her project is palpable and quite stressing, if not relate-able. Her adventure in cooking those daunting French recipes is such a plot that a novice-wanna-be chef like me should learn from. There are times that you want to scream and just tell her to STOP her insanity and give herself and her poor husband a break. Anyway, it paid off for her. Now, she is a celebrated author with a blockbuster movie based on her life.

It is a fun read but also a look at the thought of a young woman at a crossroad in her life. Turning 30 and feeling inadequate and lost with a grim diagnosis of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), Powell decided to do something that is meaningful to her. The only person who supported her all the way through is her husband, Eric. To be able to cook those complicated recipes from Julia Child's cookbook in a small kitchen with all the "worst-thing-that-could-happen" happens is such an accomplishment. It also affirms that I made the right decision not to buy Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Who needs the stress when Julie did it all for you?

Okay, Julie Powell has a wide vocabulary as well as imagination and can find the right words to express the situation and feeling. But she also has a "sailor's mouth". Who can blame her using those curse words while following a 40-plus-year-old cookbook? Anyway, this book is not only about cooking but also finding one's self amidst the chaos of the everyday grind.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Julie and Julia

Once the baby arrives, watching a grown-up movie in theatre will be a luxury. So, off we went to watch the movie Julie and Julia. I have the book (bought for $2 in Half-Price Bookstore's sale shelf) for couple of years now. I attempted several times to get into it but just can't (stuck at page 45). I don't know the particular reason. I love Julia Child (I still watch Baking with Julia in PBS). I love good food. I love anything French (I think). Perhaps, the author of the book, Julie Powell, reminded me of myself -- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which is not mentioned in the movie; too grim, perhaps), in her 30's but still lost, etc. etc. However, I probably envy her for her courage to do something outside the box -- to sign on for deranged (as she called it) assignment to cook the 524 recipes from Julia Child's classic book Mastering the Art of French Cooking (published in 1961) for a year and blog about it. I saw the aforementioned cookbook and the recipes are daunting for me, who could really use tons of palate and cooking skill polishing. If we win the lotto, the first thing I would do is enroll in Le Cordon Bleu (like Julia). The closest here is in Minneapolis but hell (excuse my French), I'll go to Paris for that (if money is not an issue).

The movie goes back and forth between the life of middle-aged Julia Child (Meryl Streep) in 1949 in Paris and the 2002 (post 9/11 era) existence of just-turned-30-year-old, government worker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) who lives in Queens, NY. It shows how these women's lives were parallel despite the generational gap. Both were trying to find their calling in life. Both found their voices and emotional satisfactions in the kitchen. It tells the story on how the middle-aged Julia Child, exposed by her husband's (Paul) sophisticated palate, became interested with French cooking after moving to post-war Paris in 1949 due to her husband's employment with the Department of Justice. In Paris, she tried to occupy her time by enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu and teaching American women expats on French cooking. Captivated by the French cuisine, she looked for French Cookbook in English. One of the funniest scenes in the movie is when her husband Paul gave her a famous French cookbook, Larousse Gastronomique, and she and Paul were trying to translate one recipe in English. Unable to find one, she, along with co-authors, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, collaborated on a French cookbook for American housewives. Initially, signed on to be published by Houghton Mifflin, the manuscript was rejected due to being too much like an encyclopedia. After a decade of writing and perfecting recipes for the manuscript and several moves later, Paul and Julia settled in Cambridge, MA . There, in 1961, the cookbook was finally published by Alfred A. Knopf after an editor tried her Boef Burguignon recipe and was impressed.

On the other hand, living in modern day and feeling unsuccessful, Julie Powell (who was an unpublished writer then) was drawn to get into the assignment and write the experience in her blog. It was 2002 and blog was then a relatively recent concept. She then became one of the most famous bloggers in the web that followers sent her food stuffs. Cooking recipes from the cookbook had it's ups and downs. She wrote everything in her blog -- successes and mishaps--as well as new discoveries on how to cook properly. In the process, she also found herself. She then got an interview from NY Times and became quite well-known that several publishers became interested on her. She found out, however, that Julia Child was not happy with her.

In general, the movie is light-hearted, maybe too feminine to some. It gave you an insight to Julia Child's life -- her struggles, humor, marriage, silent heartaches for being childless and successes despite finding her calling in her 40's (never too late, huh?). For people who love good food and humor (okay, add to that France), this movie is a real stimulant to the senses. Meryl Streep played the Julia Child role so exceptionally -- from the voice to mannerism. Only 5'6" in height (compared to Child's 6'2" frame), Streep is mesmerizing and larger-than-life in this role. I could never imagine anyone else playing Julia Child. Amy Adams is quite adorable as Julie Powell. This movie left me wanting to know more Julia.

Watching the movie will make you salivate for good, real food, which is not easy when you are trying to control your Gestational Diabetes. French food requires the use of real butter -- and lots of it! I felt my stomach gurgled several times and my husband moaned "hmmm... hmmmm" few times. If not in my current predicament, I would probably make Boef Burguignnon as soon as I got home. For now, however, this movie is a guilt-free, satisfying treat for me. The goal now is to finish the book...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


How can I get rid of this anxiety? It's eating me and driving me crazy. I know about Faith and the power of positive thinking. However, this pesky doubt and fear overwhelm my psyche, at times. Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Gestational Diabetes

It is official. I am one of the 7 percent who was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. I failed 1 out of 4 blood tests of my 3 hours glucose tolerance test, but still the doctor diagnosed me with GD due to my bad 1 hour glucose test and 1 so-so result.

So, I went through rigorous dietary and glucometer education in the hospital last Wednesday. The first 2 days of following the diet was not too bad but at the 3rd day, it was tough. I was hungry all the time and I was awake all night long due to hunger. The dietitian recommended not to have snack during sleeping time. I just cannot follow it. I feel like I am making my baby hungry. Anyway, now, I think, I figure out what works for me. I kind of put a little bit of Asian spin to the American plan they gave me. It is not fun to be put on a diet you're not used to when you are pregnant. Also, no fun to be a human pin cushion as I have to check my blood sugar at least 4x per day. However, I found out that light exercise or moving around (such as cleaning and shopping) makes my blood sugar normal.

Another story....
Well, in my attempt to eat healthier, I ordered a salad in a restaurant 2 weeks ago. I did not realized until the last 2 or 3 bites that there was a sprinkle of Gorgonzola cheese on it. Anyway, to make long story short, I contacted the manager and asked her to check if the Gorgonzola they use is pasteurized. Well, thank God, it is. But this incident convicted me to rent a Doppler monitor. So, now, we could check the baby's heartbeat everyday. Some days, though, it is difficult to locate when he is moving a lot.

Just my update... I promise to post some pics next time. I am just too lazy to download the software for my camera right now. But here's the peek of my belly at 26 weeks:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

early 24 weeks

I failed my 1 hour glucose test. My level was too high that 2 more points I would've been directly referred to diabetes class. Anyway, this scared me. I have to go back for the fasting test on Friday. The 1 hour test is just screening and the 3 hour fasting glucose tolerance test will be the definitive diagnostic test.

So, I am trying to watch my carb intake. It is not easy especially for a rice-loving Filipino like me. I feel like the meal is not substantial without rice.

On another topic, my husband is really antsy on buying a crib. But I am still trying to hold off buying big ticketed items until maybe the 3rd trimester.

Friday, July 17, 2009

23 weeks

How I feel? Sour after-taste with every food I eat. Continues to have some mild abdominal crampings due to flatulence. Lower abdominal sharp pains from round ligament especially when moving too fast. Nose bleeding. Hemorrhoids. Hearty appetite. Insomnia. Urinary frequency.

New worry? My baby was silent or sedentary than normal for couple of days.

Activities? Garage saling for baby stuff. Knitting baby hats and socks while listening to audio books. I am living a sedentary lifestyle. Doctor's appointment on Monday, July 20 for glucose tolerance test. Still scared of appointments for fear of finding something wrong with the pregnancy. My co-worker, Barb, visited me this week. Nice to talk to someone other than my husband and parents. Watching Will & Grace DVD (courtesy of Netflix).

Need to finish? I need to complete at least 15 continuing education hours to renew my RN licensure. I was audited the last time and will be audited again this year.

Recent accomplishment? Finishing the required 40 hours continuing education hours (per 2 years) for renewing my PT license in the State of IA. I think IA requires too much continuing ed. Finishing some knitting projects (will post next time).

Plan? Plan to sew a diaper bag. Rent a Doppler monitor. Write letters to my friend Flora and co-worker Sarah. Listen more to classical music for my baby's sake.

Favorite thing ? Feeling my baby's movements.

Surprise to know? I am not interested in watching TV at all.

I decided to enjoy this pregnancy, no matter what!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Revolutionary Road

I finally saw the movie "Revolutionary Road" based on the 1961 novel of Richard Yates. Kate Winslet and Leo DiCario who played the main characters,once again, gave a solid performance. Sam Mendes, the director, consistently showed his genius in showing the dark side of what-we-called ordinary life (remember American Beauty?)

I saw the movie before I listened to the audio book (courtesy of Altoona Public Library). I was amazed on how the movie captured the main essence of the book. There are minor differences. The movie, of course, cannot capture all the thoughts and details of each characters. All in all, I think it is a good movie.

The backdrop of the movie is suburban Connecticut, in postwar-1955. It is a story of a couple, Frank and April Wheeler, who seemed to be living the American dream. They were young, bright and beautiful with a starter house and 2 healthy children. But people are complicated. Despite these, the Wheelers, especially April, longed for more meaningful existence. Perhaps, Frank's job in the city was too dull; or April did not really see herself as a stay-at-home mom. So, they planned to move to Paris, which was April's brilliant idea for a new start and sanity. Frank was in Paris during the war and loved it. Frank once mentioned to his wife that it was the only place where he felt so alive. April went through their finances and found out that they could live a comfortable life for 6 mos with their savings and from the sale of their house. She would find a job as a secretary for international organization such as NATO while Frank can take his time to find out what he really wants to do. Frank, initially, agreed with the idea; and April's preparation for the move went on. Their friends were skeptical with the idea. It was out of the ordinary. Conformity was the name of the game that time. Also, Frank was given a new job offer that was difficult for him to refuse. He started to doubt the idea of moving. Concurrent to this, April found out she was pregnant. Frank cunningly blamed April's pregnancy for halting the plan to move to Paris. This made their arguments worst to point of no return and redemption for both of them. The movie painfully protrayed the demise of a marriage and 2 people from inside out.

The supporting characters are equally interesting. One in particular is the character John Givings, the son of the Wheeler's realtor Helen Givings (Kathy Bates), who was a former mathematician but paranoid schizophrenic, and the only person who seemed to understand the Wheeler's desire to move to Europe. There were the Campbell's, their closest family friends and neighbors (Shep Campbell who secretly loved and desired April) ; the Givings (Helen and Howard)who introduced John to the Wheelers hoping that this would somehow "normalized" their son; and Maureen Grube, the plain-looking secretary whom Frank had an affair. The movie was not able to afford to go in depth with these characters. In the book, however, these characters were given more insights and personalities which added to the brilliance of the novel. Also, the book tells the childhood lives and memories of the Wheelers which gave their characters complexities.

It was, at times, difficult for me to watch due to my infertility issue as April had self-imposed abortion (this is before abortion was legalized in the US) . I would not want to spoil the ending. But this movie made me see the 1950's in different light. I used to believe that it was a good decade for family. Now, I doubt this belief. I can see how difficult it would be for a woman to have limited choices and so much expectations to keep up appearances for your husband and children. It made me understand how it lead to the evolution of the 1960's feminism movements. Anyway, the novel should be a must read for mature readers. It is definitely an American classic.

Friday, July 10, 2009

22 weeks + anxiety.

This is not a good week for me. For one, I am having difficulty sleeping at night. Insomnia sucks. My husband is affected too; and this makes me guilty which in turn adds to my stress. I am stressed that this is affecting my baby. I tried different things like drinking milk at bedtime, no napping at daytime, etc. to no avail. Then, this morning, I felt some lower abdominal cramping after repositioning. It is mild but intermittent. It could probably just gas (which I have lots of those lately). I called the doctor this morning. I talked to the nurse and she told me that it is a growing pain but call again if it becomes worst and more frequent in duration.

I am really tempted to rent those Doppler ultrasound!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Breaking the Silence here...

I woke up too early yesterday morning after a restless night. Four times I got up to use the bathroom. Urinary frequency has not left me. Also, the unbearable heat of this summer affects my sleeping pattern. Anyway, the major reason I cannot sleep was my apprehension for my Level 2 Ultrasound. This is our second ultrasound with this pregnancy, in which the first one was back in March when we were 7 weeks pregnant. I had spotting then and the feeling of nervousness is still vivid in my memory. Even with expanding belly and fluttering sensation of fetal movements, I just cannot help myself but be worried. With 3 (possibly 4) miscarriages in my belt, who can blame me, right??

Anyway, everything went fine. It took about 50 minutes to finish the ultrasound. Every anatomy is intact. My baby has a 4 chambered beating heart which is really enough for my sense of peace (for now). The others such as 2 legs, 2 arms, brain, kidneys, stomach, good spine, and a penis are just added bonus for me.

Before I forgot, we are now in our 20th week. It is just a miracle to be this far...

Just want to share this from the book A Few Good Eggs by Julie Vargo and Maureen Regan:

Ten Fears Pregnant Women with Infertility Complexes Have
1. Fear of losing your baby.
2. Fear of becoming attached to your unborn baby because you are afraid of fear #1.
3. Fear of telling people you are pregnant in case fear #1 comes true.
4. Fear of hearing the worst news possible at each doctor's appointment.
5. Fear the baby will be stillborn.
6. Fear that all your stress about possible harm to the baby is harming the baby.
7. Fear that every time you go to the toilet, you will find blood in your panties.
8. Fear that each pain in your abdominal area is disaster waiting to happen.
9. Fear that everyone else who knows you thinks you're crazy.
10. Fear that you will not be able to stand the pressure of the next nine months.

In addition to these "fears", I am afraid that every wrong twists and turns or even improper lifting will cause the placenta to dislodge. But as my friend said, it is out of my control. The only things I can control right now are my diet, level of stress and rest time.

I decided (apprehensively) to divulge my condition now because 1. we are halfway in our pregnancy, and 2. if ever something happens, that I would be writing it in this blog anyway.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Nine Years and Counting

It's been nine years since we tied the knot. Time flies like an impatient tourist. Many things changed. We lost our innocence. Our old friends have new stories about parenthood. Yet, in our world, it remains just the two of us.

We like to think that we changed for the better. Gone are rose colored glasses. To be un-assuming is our new philosophy. Yet, we found more love and patience with each other. I think infertility made our marriage stronger. We are together not for a child, but for each other. I never felt so loved.

I will not change anything at all. I love this life with its heartaches and complications. I cannot imagine going through this journey without him...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Still here

I am still here and kicking. In good spirit, thank you.... On medical leave until December 22, 2009, if everything goes well. My days are full of anxiety but at the same time with unnatural calmness. I've been knitting and listening to audio books (from the library). My mantra this week is "not to worry on things I cannot control." I will try to catch up with my blogging soon...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

After Many Springs

Last weekend, we were drawn to visit Des Moines Art Center as the famous painting of Iowa's native Grant Wood (1891-1942) is on display. The painting was titled American Gothic which is owned by Art Institute of Chicago. It is part of exhibition portraying Midwestern Modern Regional Paintings. The exhibition runs from January 30 to March 29. Admission is free. It was my first time to visit the Des Moines Art Center and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount and quality of permanent collections that they have. I am not expecting it for a city the size of Des Moines. Anyway, the paintings, photographs and documentary films on display for the exhibition portrayed life in the Midwestern United States during the Depression. It is eerie due to the fact that we are again in the midst of unprecedented economic crisis. The exhibit continues to be relevant for the present day.
The three painters that I was drawn to were Grant Wood (of course), Thomas Hart Benton, and John Steuart Curry. They were the most influential painters of their time. They are hailed Midwestern Triumvirate of American Regionalism. They were critics of abstract expressionism. I, personally, prefer realism painting because I am impressed by the details of the work.
John Steaurt Curry (1897-1946) Tornado Over Kansas, 1929, oil on canvas
Muskegon Museum of Art

Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975)

Cradling Wheat, 1938

Saint Louis Art Museum

Grant Wood, The Birthplace of Herbert Hoover, 1931

Des Moines Art Center

Spring Fever

I cannot believe we're already in February. Time seems to go faster when you're older. I am glad, though, that January is over. It was a tough month for me. Aside from 2 car accidents, my job is not going that great for me. I finally broke down and just cried my eyes out to my 2 co-workers then to my supervisor. They are very understanding and supportive. I attributed this heightened emotional instability to fertility drugs and hormones. I was advised to see a counselor. I did that but I continue to feel blah and empty. The counselor encouraged me to join a support group. I would check on that, soon. So, this month, I stopped taking Clomid and I feel like my old self, almost.

I know in my heart that I am not over my grief. It is grief from losing 3 pregnancies in the last 2 years. We tried to put on an I'm-okay-facade but deep inside we are left with this empty hole filled with aches and sorrow. And it does not take much to put me in that mood.

Early March of 2007, I found out I was pregnant. I had morning sickness during that pregnancy. At 12 weeks of that pregnancy, during my check-up, everything was okay. I thought I was safe but at 16 weeks check-up, they could not find any heartbeat. It was devastating to be so close to your wildest dream yet helplessly watching slipped away from you. And we are never the same again.

It is funny how your body plays tricks on you. It's been an abnormally warmer February. Temperature is spring-like and it was spring during my first trimester in that pregnancy and I feel the same thing right now-- morning sickness; and I am pretty sure I am not pregnant. It is just amazing how temperature like sense of smell brings back same old body emotions.

For now, we try to live life the best that we can.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Just a quick update on what's going on with me...

I got involved in two car accidents in less than a week!

I feel so relieved to get it out in the open. I thought I was a pretty good driver. It is such an awakening to realize that I am not. For now, I am extra careful with my driving. I follow the rules by the book. So, if ever I get into accident again I can proudly say ( if I survive) that it is not my fault!

I was so depress for a short time after the 2nd accident. The 1st accident was my fault; the 2nd one was weather related. But the 2nd one just brought me to the ground. I thought I have to quit my job and stop driving altogether. But that emotion passed and I decided to stay on because I have to pay for my mishaps. We have a thousand bucks for deductible and 800 bucks for the repair of the rental car that I damaged from the 2nd accident. Ouch! I have to tap my savings... Also, we are bracing for a raise in our car insurance premium. And, oh before I forgot I have to pay my traffic ticket for failing to yield to oncoming traffic. That's another 100 bucks.

I know I am still lucky that no one was hurt. So, for that, I am thankful..

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Empty Nester

I am so tired. I can feel it in my bones. This weekend had been very busy. We moved my father to an apartment, so, he can be closer to work. After about a year and a half of living together, I am conflicted between feeling of relief and missing him.

Our relationship is not perfect, maybe far from it. We are just two flawed individuals who happened to be related. We never lived together this long since 1979 (that's when I was 5 years old). He worked as a cook in a cargo ship when we were growing up. He was home only about 2 to 3 months a year. I did not really know my father until the time he lived with us. The funny thing is that it is like looking in a mirror. I can see the resemblance in mannerism and character. It is true that an apple never falls too far from its tree. It explains my timidness, painful shyness, occasional indifference and my perpetual need for re-assurance.

I still cannot believe he is not staying with us anymore. Now, we have to prepare our lunch, shovel snow, bring out the garbage and recyclables, fold the laundry, mop the kitchen floor, clean the bathroom and bake bread. I never realized how much help he does for us. I will also miss that every morning, he brought my purse, lap top and lunch bag in my car. He stayed out until we drove away. I am actually beginning to cry.

I know, though, that it is for the best that we live apart. We actually get along better when we don't live together. We have our conflict. I thought it will get better with time but I was wrong. It is much peaceful this way.

I worry about him constantly. Does he have enough food to eat? Is he keeping warm? Is it safe for him to walk to work? It is like having a child! My husband is constantly reminding me that he is a big boy and he could take care of himself.

We visited again this morning. I cut his hair. We assisted him in hanging curtains. We noticed that he seems happier. My mother will be moving in with him in a week and I think he is excited.

I wish all the best to my parents...