Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Best. Delivery. Ever.

Setting up a home in a new country without a car involves getting a lot of deliveries, large and small. Anyone who has lived with me knows my unhealthy love for packages and deliveries of all kinds, no matter what's inside.

As a result, the past three weeks have been filled with squeals of delight each time there's a knock at our door: whether it's from the Ikea man,

(it's hard to believe this transformed into a table, chairs, and a couch)

the organizer store man,
the moving company men (that one was especially good...),

(our stuff!)

the refrigerator man,

(Oh no. Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen...)

or the dryer man.

These deliveries have been particularly exciting because they represent our house becoming a little bit more of a home, my life falling into a little bit more of a routine, and every-day activities I used to take for granted becoming a little more convenient.

But my favorite delivery came all the way from the U.S. in the middle of the night on Wednesday...

(My Mom!)

Best. Ever.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Found: The Man, The Hospital, The Ninety-Seventh Percentile

I met my third and final OBGYN this week (one for every trimester... literally). Finally! The man who will actually deliver the baby! Meet Dr. T. C. Chang:

He could not have been more kind, professional, helpful, respectful, or patient. I'm so relieved and grateful. Perhaps the best thing about him is that I can understand everything he says (which is a really big deal for Singapore)!

The hospital? A sort of women's hospital specializing in Labor and Delivery, chosen by virtue of Dr. Chang being based there. I did have serious doubts when the cab driver who picked us up from our house to go to the hospital kept saying, "Thompson? That far. That very far. Too far." Delivering a baby somewhere "very far" from our house may not be the best idea? But we were there in 15 minutes. Singaporeans have a skewed sense of "far."

I expressed to Dr. Chang my very real concern that I'm 5'2" with narrow hips, and I am having a 6'7" man's son. He measured the baby to make sure he's on schedule size-wise. He smiled and said everything was "in the normal range" and that I shouldn't be worried. Sigh of relief.

Then he made the mistake of showing me the baby's measurements on a control chart... I majored in Statistics for my undergraduate degree. Having no way of knowing my educational background, he politely explained that the white line in the center represented the average measurements of a baby at 30 weeks, and that the two red lines above and below the white line represented the normal range of fetuses at that age. At which point he pulled up the femur chart, the stomach chart, and so on, all of which were at the 60th or 70th percentile... perfect for a healthy boy, and nothing I can't handle. After all, I'm tough. The last chart was the head, exactly on the upper red line. Dr. Chang said it was larger, but still within normal range so there was definitely nothing to worry about. My nerdy-statisticy self squinted to see what the upper bound was exactly... the 97th percentile.

That's correct. Our baby's head is bigger than 97 percent of all 30-week-old fetus heads. Normal? Maybe technically... but this mother's fears about delivering her giant, bobble-headed, Fabio-sized baby have not been assuaged as the Dr. hoped they would be. Good thing it's a cute head...

 (he's looking up so you can see his profile)

Bottom line: the epidural decision just became a lot more straight-forward.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Singapore Flyer

Amid trips to the grocery store, Ikea, and Singapore's version of Best Buy and RC Willey combined, Fabio and I took a play day to explore our new city.

The highlight was definitely the Singapore Flyer: a 45-story ferris wheel on the bay. A tourist trap? Probably. We've yet to talk to a Singaporean who's gone on it. An awesome tourist trap? Most definitely! The views were breath-taking, and we grew to appreciate what we now call home on a whole new level.

The view from the top of the "Flyer"

On the way down

Our next stop was this Merlion we keep hearing about: the majestic symbol of Singapore! At first, we were kind of disappointed:

Then we realized we were at the wrong one. The real Merlion is a 8.6 meter statue of a fish with the head of a Lion that sprays water into the bay all day, every day. (That's 4.5 Fabios for all you non-metric readers.) It may sound kind of crazy, but that's only because it is. Somehow, it really works here, though. See?

This place is growing on us pretty fast, I must say. We love random shops, giant ferris wheels, squeaky clean public transit systems, beautiful tropical plants everywhere, amazing Indian food, and super nice people... but most especially, we love:

Ruby red, rhinestone-studded refrigerators on special!!!
(Note especially the fantastic handles.)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Diagnosis: Pregnant

This week,
  • I did not cry watching Marley and Me on T.V. – I wept;
  • I definitely did not drink three glasses of chocolate milk in one sitting—I drank four;
  • One Japanese stranger did not rub my belly—two did.
  • I was not sitting comfortably in a room where everyone else was freezing—I was fanning myself off.
  • I could not paint my own toenails because I kept falling over—so my mom painted them for me.

 I think there’s a baby inside of me.

My belly-rubbing friends, Mimi and Nang

Sunday, August 7, 2011

And Now I Live In Singapore

On Thursday morning I woke up with a worry. My plane departed from Salt Lake City at 9:55 AM, commencing my pilgrimage to finally, FINALLY join Fabio in our new home. My worry: when I arrived in Singapore Fabio wouldn't be able to find me in the airport and I would be lost in Asia without the correct money or a cell phone. Fabio assured me that a 6'7" man would have no trouble finding a 7-month pregnant blonde woman in an Asian airport at 3:00 AM. Apparently we're both anomalies here, or something...

So I took a deep breath, packed a few last-minute things into one of my four checked bags, and drove to the Salt Lake Airport. (One may think four checked bags is a lot, but it's not when one remembers I'm actually packing for three people, not one: Pregnant Katie, Skinny Katie, and Baby G.)

The check-in was a breeze, and thanks to the help of my dear parents I didn't fall over hauling my bags around. We walked to the security check-point and hugged goodbye. I was surprised I didn't cry (except when I said goodbye to Tucker, but I think that was symbolic... or hormones... it's a thin, faded line between the two these days).

I flew to LAX, and from LAX to Tokyo. The flight didn't feel nearly as long as I anticipated. The two seats next to me were empty, so I just put the armrests up and laid down. I had a moment of insecurity where I thought, "Am I allowed to do this?" but I reassured myself with "Oh well, I'm pregnant!" (Yes, I do apply this same dangerous dialogue to my eating habits.)

I was only in Tokyo (technically Narita, I guess) for two hours--long enough to have new empathy for people who travel to the US and don't speak English. Even though the signs and announcements were technically in English as well as Japanese, I still had no idea what they were saying. I would have most certainly been stranded there if it weren't for several Japanese people on my LAX to Tokyo flight who I knew were also connecting to Singapore. I just awkwardly followed five steps behind them and made them really nervous (especially when they stopped at the Duty Free Store!).

Then from Tokyo to Singapore. Again, the flight didn't feel as long as I anticipated (although the last hour and a half were unbearable because I was so anxious to finally be in Singapore and see Fabio). We landed with a jerk and a loud noise that really startled Baby G. I anxiously deplaned and hurried to immigration, where it hit me that I was an immigrant, immigrating. As I stood in line, I was struck by this stunning, three-story statue towering over all the "immigrants":

I think it struck me because it was so symbolic of the life Fabio and I are hoping to build here.

After immigration I approached bagged claim, relieved to see Fabio waiting patiently for me. We picked up my bags and were finally in each other's arms again after six weeks apart. Turns out, a 6'7" man has no trouble finding a 7-month pregnant blonde woman in an Asian airport at 3:00 AM. It felt so good to be with him, I hardly noticed the drunk driver who almost killed us on the way home and our cabby who seemed to believe that lane lines were really just suggestions.

And now I live in Singapore!