Watch motion picture of Jasper doing not much other than being cute:

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Dave and I are parents! Jasper Lawrence was born June 1st. I'd post the photos on facebook but uploading them makes me want to pull out my hair. So please check out our flickr account and we'll be adding more as time goes by.

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The Big Sneeze

So crazy things happen to your body when you're pregnant. I'll spare you most of the insanity, except I sneezed the other day. I sneezed a HUGE sneeze and pulled a muscle in my side. It hurt so bad, I had trouble walking to the taxi to get home. I had trouble walking....because I sneezed.

So I made it home. But wondered if I should get myself checked out. I was really in pain. I waited and waited and thought I would be okay but then around 9 pm, I tried to pick up my bag from the floor. Silly Debbi. I nearly started crying; it hurt so bad. So I decided it would probably be best to go and sit in A & E (Accident and Emergency, not the tv channel) and see a doctor just to make sure it was a pulled muscle and not something more serious.

Let me diverge from this story to point out that I seem to carry this baby big...meaning that everyone expects me to give birth at any moment. (I am currently only 32 weeks) Everywhere I go, I get stares. Hong Kongers (not realizing I can understand them) comment to themselves or their friends: "Hoa dia!" (Very big). I'm not actually that big. My fundal height is right where it is supposed to be and I haven't gained much weight in my face, just the necessary areas. Otis's position just seems to make things look larger. I tell you this because when Dave called the taxi, the driver's eyes got really big when she saw me get in. Here is an HUGE! pregnant woman in pain!! asking to go to the hospital! All the way to the hospital I could feel her eyes on me, pleading with me, to not give birth in her car.

Anyway, we make it to the hospital and I give them my HK ID card in A&E and I get back some papers. The receptionist says "Go to 7F." Right then, 7F. I'm thinking it is a room or a bed in emergency. Sweet, I get to bypass triage! But there is no room or bed in emergency called 7F. So Dave and I are wandering around the hospital. Eventually we ask someone to point us in the right direction.

We end up in Obstetrics.

An assistant, who doesn't speak any English comes over and I say, "Baby ok, ow ow." and point to my side. The assistant makes Dave stand outside and takes me into a room. She takes my blood pressure and my temperature. Then leaves. Eventually a nurse comes in. It turns out that I had managed to get admitted to the hospital somewhere between handing them my HK ID card and finding 7F. And they want me to spend then night.

At this point, I am beginning to doubt my reason for coming to the hospital (I'm sure Dave is also doubting). And when it comes down to it, Dave and I are just simply confused. Why are we in Obstetrics? It is probably a pulled muscle that needs some panadol (tylenol) and some rest. Turns out that in Hong Kong, if you are pregnant and show up at the hospital you get directly sent to Obstetrics. They don't trust emergency doctors with their patients. If you have a pulled muscle...Obstetrics. Broke your leg?...Obstetrics. Heart attack?....Obstetrics. Having a baby?....Obstetrics.

And they want me to spend the night because there is only one Obstetrician for the ENTIRE hospital and they don't know when she will get to me.

Dave was getting a little hot under the collar. Let me say that again. Dave, the calm, rational, unemotional person in this partnership was getting upset.

I, on the other hand, was as cool as a cucumber. Well, as relaxed as I could be while clutching my half water/ice bag to my sneezed out muscle at 10pm at night after mistakenly being admitted to a hospital. I eventually worked out a deal with the nurses that I would be admitted for 2 hours. I said I'd stay for 2 hours because that was the estimated waiting time in emergency. If the doctor managed to see me in that time...great. If she didn't, then I would just go home.

So they dobblered me and the baby's heart rate was great. They asked me to change into these awful pepto-bismal pink hospital clothes. I declined. Then they decided to do a full fetal wellness check up. I got hooked up to a fetal monitor for 20 minutes and had to press a button every time Otis moved.

It wasn't visiting hours, so Dave had to sit outside the ward by himself.

I had some embroidery that I worked on. I listened to the other women watch Cantonese melodramas on the teeny tiny televisions they had in the ward.

Eventually the doctor came by. She did an ultrasound on my kidneys. Then she asked if she could check up on Otis. I said she could. Turns out he is very active and he has very long legs. I joked that he didn't get that from either me or Dave. She though that he might be a big baby but when she inputted all her data, he was "within the normal range". No 10 pounders for me. Huzzah!

I needed to wait just a little bit longer and then I was discharged. We were home by 1:30am...with panadol.

And to be honest, although it was baffling and confusing, I'm glad we went. I know more what to expect when Otis does come. What to bring, where to go. I felt very respected by the nurses and doctor. Everyone explained what was going on. Nobody manhandled me. It was a positive, learning experience.

The nurse said she's looking forward to seeing me in 7-8 weeks.

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Cue the Tiny Violins Please

I'm finding life a little hard.

I woke up this morning with a sore, sore throat. Normally, a sore throat wouldn't get me down. But it is a sore throat on a looong string of other random sicknesses and discomforts starting from our Chinese New Years vacation. We had the food poisoning, then we both sunburnt really badly, the bug bites that had me in the scratching  pain/ecstacy cycle. Then I had the cold that turned into bronchitis and now I have this sore throat. And I'm sitting here wondering what this sore throat represents. Another 2 weeks of being ill? Is our new house somehow one of those toxic houses that make it's inhabitants ill? And in my crazier, more panicked moments I worry that I'm going to end up with something really serious. Swine flu?

And it isn't just me. Dave is sick too. He never gets sick! He's had pink eye and now a rotten cold that has lasted a week. It is hard work to take care of each other when you're both sick.

And I kinda feel like I've reached the end of my sickness rope. I'm tired and upset and I'm not sure how much more I can take.

I'm sure this is a teeny blip on a life well lived, but while I'm here, it is really hard to see the good things.

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Unicycle hockey

I wasn't there two weeks ago when this was shot, but this is what I do on Friday nights:

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Recreating Everything

Warning. This post is about fetuses. If you are tired of hearing about fetuses....don't read this post. But because I have a little fetus that kicks me means I'm a bit distracted from other things. Please know that I can't help myself.

We went for our ultrasound on Wednesday. And we saw Otis*. Sometimes it was difficult for us to know what exactly we were looking at. The technician would say, "You'll have to use your imagination here, but these are his kidneys."

And we would turn our heads to the side and look and try and imagine kidneys or the cerebellum, or the gall bladder. It didn't really matter that we could truly see that black and white blobby thing was Otis's gall bladder. Personally, I was looking for an arm coming out of his forehead. Which he doesn't have. He also has a good looking spine with no spina bifida. His legs are in alignment. The nuchal fold is good. He has 10 fingers, a nose, a mouth. He has a heart that beats with 4 separate chambers. He was mostly compliant but at the end, he refused to move so the technician could get a better look at his heart. And throughout the ultrasound, as I saw him on the screen, I felt him move.

It is pretty crazy that I was looking at Otis before he was even born. I still have 20 weeks of baking to go before we meet him. My imagination is running wild. What does he look like? Who will he look like me or Dave? Will he be a happy baby? What will his personality be like? Will he be social like me? Or studious like Dave? Or neither? Will I be the mother I want to be? I have all of these questions that can't be answered quite yet. And that is okay. I'm knitting together a baby and becoming a mother myself. These things take time. And I'm coming to terms that our lives are going to change drastically. And that takes time too. So I have my questions, but I'm happy to wait for the answers.


*We don't know the sex of the baby. We didn't find out. But instead of referring to the fetus as...the fetus or the baby or it, we just go with the name Otis and the pronoun him.

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My baby loves Optimus Prime

Being pregnant in HK is a very interesting experience. My co-workers have tons of advice for me. And in my Canadian mind, I'm baffled by the advice. I'm not supposed to eat watermelon, mango and banana. I'm not supposed to run, jump, lift things, or get upset. My co-worker bumped me in the hallway and apologized for two days after. I usually have no problems integrating myself into Chinese culture, but I think pregnancy is where I really stick out. I'm running off of the advice that was given to my mom, when she was pregnant with me. Dr. Norris said that she could do everything that she was already doing, but she probably shouldn't take up sky diving. So, I'm trying to take that advice to heart. My co-workers just shake their heads at me as I run down the hallway and tell me to slow down. But I just smile and go off to eat my watermelon.

One of the best parts of being pregnant in HK is that was that one of my students now quizzes me everytime he sees me. "Ms. Debbi, your baby like spiderman? Ms. Debbi, your baby like sharks? Ms. Debbi, your baby like transformers?" I always answer yes to each of his questions. "Ms. Debbi, your baby like dinosaurs?"  

The rest of his class has picked up the question too. Everytime that I go into their classroom, most students have their hands up ready to ask me, "Ms. Debbi, your baby like Hello Kitty/ice cream/chocolate/McDonalds?" (yes/yes/yes/NO. I cannot, in good consious, say that my baby likes McDonalds.)

Their class teacher rolls her eyes and laughs everytime they start quizzing me. But I think it is good for them. They need to search for the English vocabulary for what they want to ask me. It's fun. I laugh, the class teacher laughs, the children laugh and learn. Perfect.

So although I'm breaking all the HK pregnancy rules, my co-workers know that it is part of me being who I am as a Canadian (or at least someone who isn't from HK). I seem to be fine, and the baby seems to be fine, so they aren't too worried. (My one co-worker wants to see how the kid's temperment turns out after all the bananas I've eaten.) I've really tapped into a part of HK culture that I had never seen before, which is great because I'm so interested in how it all works. I'm sure there is much more to be learned though.

And in case you were wondering, Yes, my baby LOVES transformers, especially Optimus Prime.

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